Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Grace Cafe: Best Vegan Burger in Bellingham!

Today's post is short and sweet, just a shout-out to The Grace Cafe, home of delicious bagels and vegan baked goods, and also, The Best vegan burger in town! The tasty sesame buns are made in-house, and they are so soooo good. Until yesterday, it had been awhile since I had a vegan burger, and then I really enjoyed this one at The Grace Cafe, so I  just wanted to remind you now about how delicious their burger are. The Grace Cafe is located at 1065 E. Sunset Drive, and is one of the most vegan-friendly places in town.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Vegan Cheese that TASTES Like Cheese!!!

Whenever an omnivorous friend of mine asks me if there are any good vegan cheeses out there, I usually try to explain there are some okay versions that aren't bad, and that most vegans will eat them because it reminds them of what they remember cheese tasting like, but that there isn't really anything that actually tastes like cheese. I am revising that statement because there is now a vegan cheese that actually DOES taste like cheese, and it's made by none other than the wonderful Seattle-based company,  Field Roast.

I happened to be at the downtown Food Co op on Friday where I ran into a couple of friends who are also vegan and they were excited to break the news to me that the Field Roast Chao Slices were on the shelf! I was bummed to see corn starch as an ingredient because of my corn allergy, but at the same time I decided to go for it and hope it was a small enough amount that I wouldn't be affected. (Unfortunately, corn starch is also in all of the vegan yogurts and a whole host of other vegan products).

Not sure exactly what to expect in terms of taste, but with high hopes since Field Roast is pretty awesome at just about anything they decide to make, I made toasted sandwiches with this cheese (with spinach and sauteed mushrooms) and was absolutely blown away by the flavor, the texture, and how well it melted.

Not only does it melt well, it is also good uncooked. This is the kind of cheese you could have with some crackers or some baguette slices and a glass of wine. Because IT TASTES SO DAMN GOOD.Thank you Field Roast for making something so amazing! I am a huge fan, and if I happen to ever get a craving for cheese, there is now a vegan cheese that will totally satisfy that craving. (And I would also like to go on record & say thanks to the Bellingham Community Food Co op for carrying this product. Please don't stop!) :)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Cowspiracy: the Sustainability Secret

One of the things I like to do with this blog is use it to share information with you that people share with me. Recently I received an email from someone named Brent who is trying to organize a screening at the Pickford Film Center of the movie Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret.

According to Brent, in order to make this screening happen, a certain number of tickets must be sold in advance before February begins. Here are some more details he shared with me:

WHAT: Screening of Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret
WHEN: February 5th 6:30PM
WHERE: Pickford Film Center
TICKETS: Tickets are $12.00 and must be purchased online prior to February 1st in order to secure theater. If the seating threshold isn't reached, the event will be called off and no one will be charged for their ticket purchase. Purchase tickets and watch the trailer here:

Brent added that he thinks this film would be of particular interest both to vegans and people interested in environmentalism.

As always, feel free to send your info to me about other events or news that you think would be of interest to the local & vegan community!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

"Veganuary" and "The Lean"

After the holidays comes the season of gym membership commercials and marked-down exercise equipment. January is typically the month of New Year's resolutions, many of which are related to health and fitness. I recently learned that it is also the month of "Veganuary," a campaign that encourages people to try going vegan for 30 days in order to "reduce the suffering of animals by inspiring and supporting people across the globe to go vegan for the month  of January." I also recently came across a copy of Kathy Freston's book, The Lean, in which she gives tips about how to make small positive changes to your regular eating habits that are sustainable and easy but that will also improve your health.  The book is billed as a 30 day weight loss plan, but after flipping through it, I don't think of it is a "diet" book at all. I am not a fan of "diets," because they typically don't work in the long-run.

The most successful eating plans in terms of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and fitness level are the ones that are sustainable and that don't rely on periods of deprivation followed by a return to unhealthy eating habits. And that's what's so great about this book--it's not another "diet" book. It does give you simple step-by-step advice on how to make one small change each day for 30 days, but the changes are not temporary and they are not difficult. And cumulatively they add up to a lifestyle shift towards veganism that is not focused on what you are "giving up," but rather what you are adding in--and there are so many wonderful things to add!

Even though I eat pretty healthy and am not trying to lose weight, and even though I have been vegan for nearly 15 years now, I still found some interesting things to consider in this book. I started today making a few of the changes Freston recommends, and these changes have helped me feel more connected to the effect food has on my well-being. And, at the end of the book, there are some simple recipes for dishes that I know I will be making, (like the one for sweet roasted carrots which I made this evening, and which tasted delicious!).

Earlier today I was trying to figure out what my first post of 2015 should be, and I was thinking about how so many of us start the new year out thinking about how we want to be healthier and happier than we have been the previous year, and so much of that is tied to what and how we eat. Food is such a wonderful thing that can enrich our lives by giving us pleasure and joy. And in addition to that pleasure and joy, food also makes us feel good physically by giving us energy and helping us be healthy. One of the many things I love about being vegan is that I get the best of both worlds--the satisfaction that comes from eating delicious food combined with the health benefits of being vegan. If you are already vegan, then you probably already know what I am talking about. And if you aren't yet vegan but are considering participating in "Veganuary," then I hope you enjoy all of the new food experiences and health benefits that await you!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Vegan Honey: "Bee Free Honee"

The cold winter afternoons are perfect for cozying up with something good to read and a nice cup of tea. Lately I have been enjoying a lemon ginger tea, and sometimes I like it with vegan milk and a little bit of sweetener. I know I don't need to tell you that most vegans don't eat honey, and a while back I heard about this new vegan honey called "Bee Free Honee." It is made mainly from apples and other organic and non-GMO vegan ingredients. 

Today I enjoyed a nice walk downtown, and while at the Co op I picked up some Bee Free Honee so I could see what it was like. It was one of those beautiful winter days, slightly gray but with patches of blue sky, crisp cold air and dramatic clouds. When I got home I was excited to make a cup of tea with my new vegan honey. I of course couldn't resist and had to taste it straight first by itself, and I can't tell you how amazed I was once I did.

Visually, it looks like honey--golden in color and the same consistency. But the taste is what is truly remarkable--like a high-quality local honey, rich and full and smooth-- and yet I could also taste a hint of apple flavor. I think anyone would be impressed by how similar to honey this is, and also how wonderful it tastes in its own right. I am a huge fan of this Bee Free Honee, and encourage you to try it out if you haven't already. (Also, it tasted great in my cup of tea!)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

French Toast Recipe Update

I love lazy Sunday mornings when I get the chance to indulge in making whatever it is I happen to be craving for breakfast before heading out for a nice hike. This morning I wanted French toast and I decided to change my usual recipe up a bit. I have to say it turned out particularly delicious, so I wanted to share it with you.

One thing I think is key to making delicious French toast is the choice of bread. I like a nice sourdough or a good rustic bread. Today I used Trader Joes vegan Tuscan Pane bread, always one of my favorites. This recipe made enough French toast batter to cover about 5 or 6 slices of bread.

In a bowl, whisk together:

1 cup unsweetened soy milk (or other vegan milk of your choice)
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kala namak
1 to 2 tablespoons shredded coconut or crumbled coconut flakes (optional).

Dip the bread into this mixture and coat on both sides and then cook it in a pan just like you would non-vegan French toast.  This French toast is super-easy to make. The kala namak and the nutritional yeast add a little bit of an "eggy" flavor to the bread, reminiscent of  the French toast of my childhood. Fruit toppings on French toast are always good, so I served mine covered with strawberries, blueberries, and maple syrup.

And, as you may already know, I love a side of greens with my breakfast, so I also threw together a little salad made from spinach, pear, and cranberries, dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette and sprinkled with sunflower seeds. YUM!