Our Top 100 favorite things about being vegan (celebrating our 100th post!)

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100_eurekamural

HAPPY 100th POST TO US! It’s been so much fun sharing our food, laughs, and life with you over the past year and we are excited for hundreds of more posts to come! As a tribute to what plant-based lifestyle has done for our lives, we are breaking the barrier of our normal hump-day laziness to share our top 100 reasons for being vegan (in no particular order).

100 Favorite Things About Being Vegan

  1. Having enough energy to workout, work long hours, cook delicious meals, write a blog, plan and partake in adventures, and live passionate life.
  2. Saving 50+ animals a year

    We found a magical snow elephant snowshoeing this weekend!

    We found a magical snow elephant snowshoeing this weekend!

  3.  All the amazing, compassionate, open people we have met because of our interest in plants
  4. Losing over 60 pounds between the two of us
  5. Creating and re-creating favorite meaty & cheesy meals
  6. Kayrn’s on Green (oh man – our fav)
  7. VooDoo Donut Apple Fritters
  8. Quick recovery time after hard workouts
  9. Discovering new substitutes (and proving that vegan cookies are breathtaking)
  10. MindBodyGreen
  11. Taking a more mindful interest the role each meal plays in the quality of my life
  12. Helping others to discover their healthiest, happiest selves (even a few more plants is great!)
  13. Yumm sauce
  14. Veg-fest’s galore: Portland, Chicago, San Fran

    Rockin' Out at Chicago Veg-Fest 2011

    Rockin’ Out at Chicago Veg-Fest 2011

  15. Eating Animals – good for thinkers of going veggie
  16. Papa G’s

    Deli of vegan deliciousness in Portland

    Deli of vegan deliciousness in Portland

  17. Portobello
  18. That sweet potato fries can be considered a meal
  19. Cruelty free products not tested, or made with, sweet fuzzy loving animals
  20. Daiya – we lika the cheeze!
  21. Post Punk Kitchen
  22. Coconut Bliss Ice Cream
  23. Veganomicon
  24. Predictable and extraordinary poops
  25. Millennium
  26. Vegetarian House

    All vegan chinese restaurant in downtown Portland - and right across the street from VooDoo Donuts!

    All vegan chinese restaurant in downtown Portland – and right across the street from VooDoo Donuts!

  27. Tofutti Cream Cheese
  28. Farm Sancutuary
  29. Food, Inc
  30. Vegan Essentials
  31. Clear skin (not for everyone, but most see an improvement)
  32. Lara & Halo bars
  33. Vegucated
  34. Sweet and Sarah marshmallows
  35. The Vegan Sourcebook
  36. Forks over Knives
  37. Trader Joe’s Vanilla Almond Milk
  38. Mastering the art of making our own meats
  39. Scott Jurek
  40. Sizzle Pie – Spiral Tap Pizza will bring you so much joy100_sizzle
  41. Finding veggie friends using Meetup.com
  42. Asian markets
  43. The Green Owl Cafe

    Where our love from BBQ Jackfruit was born

    Where our love from BBQ Jackfruit was born

  44. Vega products
  45. Soy milk commercials
  46. Food coop’s (and getting memberships to actually support them!)
  47. The China Study
  48. Happy Herbivore
  49. Planning vacations around restaurants, and maybe fitting in some other things
  50. Trumpet Blossom (get dessert peeps!)
  51. Vegan MoFo (vegan month of food)
  52. Chef Chole Coscarelli
  53. Babycakes
  54. Vegan Cuts – sign up for their monthly vegan snack box
  55. Diet for a Small Planet
  56. BBQ Jackfruit (and knowing what Jackfruit is – never would have ordered before going veggie)
  57. Tofu scramble Sunday brunch
  58. The Vegan Stoner
  59. Herbivore clothing
  60. The day that you can feel your body begin to crave vegetables more than junk food
  61. Vegan with a Vengence
  62. Isa Chandra Moskawitz
  63. The Joy of Vegan Baking (best.cookbook.ever)
  64. Taking our love for all beings to another level
  65. Warrior Force protein powder
  66. Sage’s Cafe – and Salt Lake City
  67. Mad City Vegan Fest
  68. No more cholesterol!
  69. Two Beans or Not Two Beans
  70. The Shop ‘N Kart (Our new favorite grocery store.)
  71. Getting creative at Thanksgiving and blowing your families mind
  72. Cinnaholic

    The best part of Berkley after the people watching

    The best part of Berkley after the people watching

  73. Meat is for Pussies  – veggies for bros!
  74. Vegan Brunch (another favorite – you can tell by the amount of pancake batter between the pages)
  75. Finding new and interesting ways to use tempeh
  76. Rich Roll
  77. Juicing – and having your body show you how happy it can really feel
  78. Prepping ourselves for our first visit this summer to NYC as vegans
  79. Dandies marshmallows
  80. Thunderbird Energetica Bars
  81. Chocolate-Covered Katie

    I love a girl that loves cupcakes:)

    I love a girl that loves cupcakes:)

  82. Upton’s Natural’s Seitan
  83. So Delicious coconut milk egg nog (that’s right, I said egg nog mofo!)
  84. Kickstarter funded veggie cookbooks like The Lotus and the Artichoke
  85. Earwax Cafe  – the place it all began for Evan, and we are still mourning it’s loss
  86. Cocomels – sea salt are the bomb
  87. VITAMIX!!!

    The day we finally got rid of our old blender and bought a Vitamix. We had feelings.

    The day we finally got rid of our old blender and bought a Vitamix. We had feelings.

  88. Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn
  89. Thai food – especially Tom Kha with Tofu NOMS!
  90. Veggie Superbowl menu planning!
  91. Bearded brother’s bars100_beard
  92. Moo Shoes
  93. Cornbread Cafe – I could curl up and live in their menu

    Cornbread Cafe in Eugene - sandwiches of the gods

    Cornbread Cafe in Eugene – sandwiches of the gods

  94. Sea vegetables on everything
  95. Babycakes cookbooks
  96. Slowly beginning to use coconut oil for literally everything
  97. Food Democracy Now
  98. Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
  99. Bare Escentuals  – cruelty free beauty
  100. Getting to do this amazing blog for you amazing people every day – we hope you enjoy reading it even half as much as we love sharing it with you. LOVE!

Vegan 101: How Samoas and Thin Mints can make you friends.


It can be tough to make friends as an adult. As we get older, it seems that time becomes more elusive, leaving many people to settle for the friends they already know from work or high school or beer league softball or yoga class. I’m not insinuating there is no value to long-term, meaningful relationships – just that there can be life-enhancing value in engaging with the unfamiliar – and that goes for anything in life. I have found that with every new experience my mind opens up, my creativity is stimulated, and there exists new things to learn about myself (not to mention new memories to laugh at that don’t include the same mishaps from high school…what a relief!)

Moving to Oregon we made a ‘brave new world’ list with ‘make friends’ at the very top.  And what better way to make these friends in a new world then looking for love on the internet?!  Thankfully there is Meetup, an online matchmaking site for all the shit you love to do.  Are you plus sized AND into playing sports? There is a meetup group in Virginia for you. Obsessed with your bearded dog? There is a meetup specifically for bearded dog owners to socialize called ‘The Dirty Beards’. As much fun as it would be to forego cultivating meaningful friendships for time alone laughing at peculiar meetup groups, we figured that the Southern Oregon Vegetarian/Vegan group would be a great place to start.

While I’m a little too curious about the members of The Dirty Beards meetup, it would be tough to beat the group of folks that we met during the last potluck of our new Southern Oregon meetup group.  The people were relaxed, loved talking about obscure kitchen gadgets and ingredients, and were as equally self-deprecating about the life of a vegan as we claim to be. What can I say, I dig talking about frequent bowel movements with strangers.

Onto the foods (great segway, I know). The pressure was on to represent who we were as people through our food – so Evan the Athlete prepared a protein power salad with lemon-tahini dressing and Hayley the Nostalgic-Sugar-Junkie celebrated the seasons with two kinds of vegan Samoas (one with shortbread, one without) and vegan/gluten-free Thin Mints.  We made our own touches to these recipes, but much of my help came from one of my favorite cookbooks, Babycakes Covers the Classics.  Now go out there with confidence adults, and make some friends!

Earn yourself a merit badge for being awesome.

VEGAN SAMOAS (with shortbread)

SHORTBREAD

  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance (melted, slightly cooled)
  • 1 1/4 cup cake flour (make w/ 1 cup all-purpose flour to 2 tbsp cornstarch)
  • 1/4 cup vegan sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 pans with parchment paper, and set aside.

Mix everything, knead into a cohesive lump. On a floured surface, roll dough to a 3/8″ thickness, cut into rounds (I used a biscuit cutter).  Cut out the middle to resemble the Girl Scout kind (I used the back side of a pastry tip, but you can even use a marker top or anything lil.)

Bake 15-20 min, or when the edges begin to brown.

COCONUT CARAMEL TOPPING

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp Earth Balance (melted)
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded coconut

In a small pan over medium heat, melt the sugar, stirring constantly.  The sugar will caramelize, and once it’s a deep copper color and begins to smoke, slowly add the Earth Balance and milk while stirring rapidly. Cook until there are no clumps of caramel and you can see the bottom of the pan when sliding the spatula across. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and coconut.

To assemble: once coconut topping is cool enough to handle, spread evenly on cookies top. Once completely cool, you can use wet fingers to make hale in the middle and even out for esthetics.

DECORATING

  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

Line pans that will fit into fridge/ freezer covered with wax paper. Use a double broiler to melt chocolate chips, then stir in coconut oil.  Allow chocolate to cool for 5-10 minutes, then dip bottoms of cookies into chocolate and set onto wax paper. Drizzle remaining chocolate over the top of cookies using a fork or pastry bag with a round tip. Chill for at least 30 minutes to set.

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

NUTRITION IN SHORTBREAD SAMOAS: 153 calories – 9 g total fat – 0 cholesterol – 48 mg sodium– 17 g carbs – 1 g fiber – 11 g sugar – 1 g protein- 4 WW points

VEGAN SAMOAS (*see notes for gluten-free) 

Ingredients:

DECORATING

  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two pans with parchment paper, set aside.

Pour coconut into skillet and toast on medium-low heat until golden brown. Remove from heat into dish to stop cooking and cool down.

In large bowl, combine coconut oil, brown sugar, milk, flaxseed, and vanilla until smooth. Sift in flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix together to form thick batter. Fold in coconut until combined.

Scoop 1 tbsp dough, 2 inches apart on sheets. Flatten with back of measuring cup and use your (or someone else’s) finger to work hole in center to look like Girl Scout kind. Bake 8 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Let cookies cool 5 minutes on sheet, then transfer to cooling rack. After cooling, transfer cookies onto wax paper surface for easy refrigerator storage.

Decorating: Melt chocolate chips in double broiler, then stir in melted coconut oil. Allow chocolate to cool for 5-10 minutes to thicken. Dip bottoms into chocolate and return to wax paper. Now, drizzle remaining chocolate over cooking using a fork or pastry bag with small, round tip. Chill cookies for at least 30 minutes to firm chocolate, then store in cool place in a tight container.

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

NUTRITION IN VEGAN SAMOAS: 182 calories – 12 g total fat – 0 cholesterol – 6 mg sodium– 19 g carbs – 2 g fiber – 13 g sugar – 2 g protein- 4 WW points

VEGAN/GLUTEN-FREE THIN MINTS 

MAKIN' IT RAIN THIN MINTS!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose baking flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum 
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 3 tbsp mint extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, arrowroot, xanthan gum, baking sode, and salt. Add the melted coconut oil, applesauce, and vanilla and mix until thick dough forms.

Drop dough by tsp onto sheets, 1 1/2 inches apart. Flatten each mound and smooth edges. Bake 7 minutes, rotate sheets in oven, bake for 7 more minutes. Leave on sheets 15 minutes before transferring to cooling racks.

After cooling cookies for 15 minutes, combine chocolate chips and mint in sauce pan or double broiler over medium heat. Stir until just melted, then remove from heat. Dunk the top of each cookie and smooth out with finger. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the chocolate to set before eating the shit out of them.

Makes 30 cookies.

NUTRITION IN VEGAN THIN MINTS: 129 calories – 7 g total fat – 0 cholesterol – 1 mg sodium– 16 g carbs – 2 g fiber – 10 g sugar – 1 g protein- 3 WW points

PROTEIN POWER SALAD with LEMON-TAHINI DRESSING 

Thanks to www.ohsheglows.com for the template to this great dish (and the pic since we forgot to take one.)

Ingredients for salad:

  • 1 cup green lentils (uncooked)
  • 1 cup kamut berries (uncooked)
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil, for sauteing
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • salt & pepper

Cook lentils and cook grains in separate saucepans or separately in a rice cooker.

Saute together onion, garlic, red pepper, and tomato for approx. 5 minutes. Add kale, then cook until kale is soft.  Stir in dressing (see below), then add lentils and grains – stirring until combined.

Remove from heat, add parsley.

Serves 6.

Ingredients for dressing:

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 + 2 tbsp cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast 
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 tbsp water

All all ingredients together in food processor and process until smooth.

Yields 1 cup.

NUTRITION IN PROTEIN SALAD W/ DRESSING: 323 calories – 13 g total fat – 0 cholesterol – 32 mg sodium– 44 g carbs – 13 g fiber – 4 g sugar – 17 g protein- 7 WW points

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