Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Favorite Vegan Things of 2008

I've been thinking about all of the wonderful things that I've experienced in 2008. I've traveled to some pretty amazing places and I've eaten some delicious vegan food! Here is a list of my favorite vegan things of the year, in no particular order:
  • Vegan blogs. Although I knew of their existence for a while, this is the year I really started reading them (and writing one!). It's so fun to see all of the inspiring food pics and to read about everyone's vegan experiences, whether they're product or restaurant reviews or travel accounts.

  • Kauai. This trip inspired me to start my blog. Though I've traveled to many cities and countries around the world, I've only recently started to vacation to tropical places. My worst fear was to get stuck on a boring island with nothing to eat. This was so not the case with Kauai, a vegan paradise!

  • Chickpea cutlets from Veganomicon. So easy, so good.

  • SCUBA diving. I'm not officially certified yet, but I will be soon. Breathing under water is scary and awesome. I'm hooked!

  • Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World took over my kitchen in 2008.

  • Humpback whales, sea turtles, and monk seals. It was an unforgettable experience hanging out with them!

I'm sure there's a billion more things I could add to the list, but I'm going to stick with this. Happy New Year's Eve everyone!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holiday Cookies

I think I make more cookies in December than I do the whole year! Here are a few of my favorites:Frosted sugar cookies: I used this iced sugar cookie recipe that I found on Cooking at the Pacific Outpost. For the royal icing, I found that I couldn't use the Vegan With a Vengeance recipe because I din't have soy milk powder. Instead, I used this recipe for vegan royal icing (I found it on Vegan Nutritionista) which I believe is originally from The Joy of Vegan Baking (I really need to get that book already!). This cookie was labor-intensive. That said, it was pretty fun frosting them. Vegan With a Vengeance's sparkled ginger cookies are super delicious and very December-y. This was my favorite cookie to make and eat. It was easy and very winter appropriate. I love the combination of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and molasses. I found that if I left them in the oven for 10 minutes, they stayed soft on the inside, and if I left them in for 12 minutes, they were perfectly crispy.OK, so these Big Gigantoid Crunchy Peanut Butter-Oatmeal cookies from Vegan With a Vengeance don't exactly scream, "happy holidays!", but they are one of my all time favorite cookies ever. They're relatively easy to make and so addictively good. Plus, when you use peanut butter, oatmeal, and substitute whole wheat pastry flour, they kind of seem healthy. Almost.

Next year I'd like to try to make peppermint bark, snickerdoodles, and sugar cookies that look more like these:

These beautiful vegan peppermint cookies are are from Vegetarian Times. For now, I'm cookied out!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Fair Trade and Green Holiday Gift Ideas

Global Goods Partners is a non-profit group dedicated to helping women-led small businesses in marginalized areas around the world. The Global Goods Partners website lets you directly support these women and their families by offering handmade items made of sustainable and eco-concious materials. These items, everything from stuffed animals to bracelets, are made by women in poverty-stricken communities in Africa, Asia, and South America. These change purses (above) are made of sustainable palm fiber by a group of women in a poor and underdeveloped region of Columbia. At $22, they would make a unique, eco-friendly gift that supports social justice. And they're cute!

These change purses are also made of recycled material: Thai-Burmese dresses! At $8.50 each, profits from these cute little purses go toward helping refugee women become business, community, and government leaders.

Artisans from Cambodia make these $18 recycled paper coasters. Profits from the sale of these coasters go toward Friends International, a group that helps support health care, counseling, education, and vocational training to Cambodian street children.
These bracelets are made from wood that is native to southern India. The colors come from natural vegetable dyes. They're only $4 each!
These felt Christmas stockings are made by women in Nepal. They are hand woven and dyed. Profits go towards supporting women-led households in poor regions near Katmandu.
These $6 ornaments made by South African children out of cans and wire found on the ground.
The Global Goods Partners website is very easy to navigate, the prices are reasonable, and the rewards are abundant. Each item description also comes with a description of the people who made the item, and where your money goes once you've purchased it. I love this program!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Earth and Animal Friendly Vegan Boots

It is freezing out here. My cheap vegan boots from last year are falling apart, not to mention they provide little in the way of insulation against the bitter cold. It's time for new boots! I've found many promising vegan options, and I thought I'd share them in case you're looking for vegan boots too.

I found these at Zappos, which has free shipping and a nice return policy. They are Earth shoes, made with microfiber and faux shearling. They look cozy and sturdy, are Vegan Society certified, and are at the top of my price range ($138.95).
Over at Ragazzi Vegan, everything seems to be $68.00. Out of the many vegan options, I'm considering these:
I like that these can be folded over, scrunched, or worn up.

These are water-resistant faux suede, which I love (since wet boots=misery!):
These look similar to the grey sweater boot from Ragazzi, but they're $50 from Alternative Outfitters:
Love 'em or hate 'em, these Ugg style boots sure keep your feet warm ($48 from Alternative Outfitters):

These boots, $44.50 from Alloy, come in many colors:I love these shoes by Simple, offered at $110 on Moo Shoes. Not only are they vegan and super cute, they're made with hemp, organic cotton, bamboo, coconut, and recycled car tires:

Over at, they offer free overnight shipping and free returns. It's amazing how fast they send out their shoes! I found another sweater-style boot at $49.95:

Here's another one from, also at $49.95:
Vegetarian Shoes and Bags had these cozy options at $54.99:

and more sweater boots, these are $49.99:

Over on Planet Shoes, I found these Earth shoes that are Vegan Society certified at $114.00:

I love these from
Over at, I found these for $39.99:
These canvas boots won't keep you that warm or dry, but they're so cute ($88 from Urban Outfitters):

There are so many vegan options out there, it seems like every year there's more and more. It's funny to think back to when I was first vegan, I used to freeze all winter in my Converse low tops. Thank goodness for vegan boots!