Web Feast Friday

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Welcome to the final Web Feast Friday of Vegan Mofo!  Getting involved with Vegan Mofo, and participating along side some of our vegan blogger role models/celebrities has been a tremendous honor and inspirational experience.  Instead of posting random bits from around the internets, I thought I would post some recent highlights from some of our most favorite vegan bloggers.  The following peeps provide us with many recipes, much inspiration, and a network of passionate and enthusiastic advocates for all things vegan.  If you don’t have these folks bookmarked or queued up on your RSS feed, start clickin’!!!!!

–  Post Punk Kitchen was one of the first vegan blogs we started following.  Their forum alone is a great resource for recipes and menu ideas.

–  Vegansaurus single handedly planned the eating/dining schedule for our recent San Fran vaca.  This is a great blog for news, reviews, and the occasional profanity-laced post.  A true inspiration!

–  Will Travel for Vegan Food started out as a Kickstarter campaign, and is now a favorite read of EPL.  Who wouldn’t want to just travel around the U.S., eat vegan food in new and interesting places, and write about it.  That what dreams are made of folks.

–  Hipsterfood combines vegan food with artsy pics and Wes Anderson-ish fonts to create one of our favorite food photography sites.  They also publish Chickpea Vegan Quarterly which is our favorite quarterly vegan publication.

–  Nobody does vegan dessert quite like Chocolate Covered Katie!

–  For those of you who dabble in the raw vegan lifestyle, I give you Choosing Raw.  Plenty of great salad, juice, and smoothie recipes to help you get your raw on!

–  Last but certainly not least, Happy Herbivore.  Lindsay and Happy Herbivore are an institution when it comes to cooking, eating, and living a vegan lifestyle.  Her blog, along with the HH cookbooks, will continue to be an inspirational guide for our Sunday brunches, holiday dinners, and blogging exploits.

In true Web Feast fashion, we leave you with this Black Lips/Rza from Wu Tang Clan gem:

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Treat yo self! Portland, OR edition

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There is one reason I remain in the corporate world: mandatory pre-meeting icebreakers. Yes, there is the whole part where you get to know the nuances, neuroses, and embarrassing moments of your co-workers that you can strategically use against them later as covert punishment and/or boredom quenching entertainment.  My favorite part is where I get to make up shit about myself.  My last team thought I was a WWE tagteam star, traveling the small regional circuit until I had to quit to follow my dream of being a standup comedian. The group before that thought that I was in the Navy Seals and every time they would ask a question, I would stare dreamingly into the distance and whisper, “I can’t talk about it.” I prefer to remain the wildcard in the office. The wildcard may play the Ghostbusters soundtrack on loop, use idioms incorrectly like “twelve of one, 1/6th of another”, start a fight club, wear pajama jeans, and decorate their office with an inappropriate amount of artificial foliage.  The best part is ambiguous unpredictability really makes any level of work seem exceptional. All my leaders know – you want to motivate Hayley, have her organize the mandatory fun or give her an occasion to bake/consume treats.

So it was no surprise when I discovered and instantly fell in love with the hilarity of David Fullarton’s “Pictures with words on them”, especially the mischeviously apathetic “apology” card.

http://www.davidfullarton.com = the perfect words to express how you really feel

Ahhh…Few things will make me feel better after a long day then passive agressive notes. Yet on those really tough days you just have to decompress, head to your fave city, and TREAT YO SELF! Snacks, facials, desserts, whiskey, cashmere sweaters – whatever gets you mellow, just TREAT YO SELF. Take this advice from the Parks and Rec crew:

As a vegan ya’ll, Portland is a place to treat yo self to sweets galore! The following is just some flavas of our favorite city – more to come!

PORTLAND ‘TREAT YO SELF’ TOUR 2012

TREAT YO SELF: Voodoo Doughnuts 

Our last trip to Voodoo involved a wiry  gentleman preaching to the line (yes, you WILL wait in line) about the dangers of obesity. Come for the ambiance – stay for the apple fritter.

The magic is in the hole.

If you build me that shelf Evan, I will fill it with donuts. Your call.

Your mouth will lose every shred of it’s once dainty composure.

If it’s passing dem lips then you gots to unzip.

TREAT YO SELF: Stumptown Coffee

Portland staple and the best drip we have tasted. I’m not totally sure, but you may have to have a handlebar mustache to work there.

There will be a dog out front. You will want to feed it. Don’t.

Cleansing the pallet on the way to more noms.

Road fuel – full octane.

TREAT YO SELF: Sweetpea Baking Company

Super bummed that I didn’t get a picture of the gluten-free monster chocolate chip cookie with frosting and topped with, what else, another cookie. I’m not sure the official name, but I call it the loss-of-limb – diabetics beware! We never go wrong at Sweetpea for treats, and their veggie lunch menu looks pretty legit. We recommend the Charlie Brownie (seen here) – tastes like a dense, salty and sweet, chewy and flakey Butterfinger bar.

If treats came with disclaimers, this one would be “Guaranteed to lower your self-esteem”. I’ll take two.

TREAT YO SELF: Back to Eden Bakery Boutique

Three words: Vegan soft serve. BOOYAH! We have been having an epic hankering for good dairy-free ice cream, and Back to Eden gave us variety with not only multiple kinds of soft serve but a huge selection of ice cream shakes AND sweet treat baked goods. We ordered a PB & J shake, a chocolate lavender shake, and a cinnamon roll – all amazing.

Is that allure I feel?

A vortex of frosting.

Not your boyfriend’s PB&J.

I got so excited my alien-hand hit it off the table moments later in a fit of glee.

The iceberg tip was tantalized and we are, as always, getting our immune systems prepped for the next round of treats. Hey, the best part about Portland is having our great friends, Sarah and Brian, doing their noble duty by priming our bellies for the lavish culinary delights of PDX.

TREAT YO SELF: Costco bulk

That much dried fruit just becomes counterproductive.

Now don’t you feel better? Looking back on memories of good food gets me ready to face another day! The 4th of July is fast approaching – enjoy your feasts my delightful friends – and be sure to use this opportunity to tell drunk people fake stories about your life.  Cheers to being the wildcard!!!

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Black Bean Brownies with Strawberry Glaze

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Suped up nutrition thanks to Vitamin K mofo

I was overcome this week with an urge to bake something and eat the whole pan. It’s probably because I ran the Portland Rock ‘N Roll Half-Marathon this past weekend and I can justify that my metabolism is still amped up, so I need to fuel it…right? That’s what I get for reading too many Runner’s World and Triathlete magazines; I begin to trick myself into thinking their tips are equally useful for a runner who will sit on a curb halfway through a race to house a bag of twizzlers and pet a stray dog. But my argument will always be: why bust your ass running if not for the perverbial carrot at the finishline? It just so happens that my carrot is also deep fat fried and dipped in chocolate sauce.

Yet after a late night of watching Ironman hype-up videos and with our unexpected range of post-run mobility pumping up our egos, our newest gauntlent-off-the couch has been dropped to complete the 140.6 mile Ironman trek in 2014 and made official through our pinky sworn-in ceremony. So I guess that means we will be trading unrefined sugar and chocolate chips for black beans and bananas. But you will have to pry gooey frosting from my swampy, muscular, freakishly veiny hands because that is not making the cut!

Black Bean Brownies with

 Strawberry Glaze

*Thanks Happy Herbivore!

Black Bean Brownies

The name for these brownie poppers were going to be “Bean me up Shoties” until Evan reminded me that no one like puns. BOOOO!!!!

Strawberry Glaze

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium sized strawberries, puréed (about 2 tablespoons purée)
  • 1-2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions:

  1. Mix ingredients together.
  2. Dip brownies into the glaze.

For those people with a passion for the artistic and/or no children and too much free time otherwise spent reading gossip, add sprinkles and cut up strawberries into hearts for a special touch

Vintage cookbooks – Episode 1: Leprechaun Cake and Other Tales

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Only after we received the third Amazon.com box in a single day did I figure that Evan had a new niche interest.  This is how it works: Evan reads a blog and they mention something that sparks his interest and before long, he has followed a hyperlink trail that ends with what I call a ‘theme spree’ on Amazon. The maiden theme spree was in the summer 2009 when the front door was drowning in boxes for nearly two full weeks with every bike bit you can imagine – racks, handlebars, seat stems, fenders, reflectors, and tools galore. Soon after was the bike fuel extravaganza when our cupboards began to overflow with assorted pre, during, and post-workout gels, powders, drinks, bars, and pills including the apparatuses to stow said fuel. There was the travel book period, then the Etsy kitch artwork period followed by the owl art period, and who can forget the day that an existential convo with a beloved friend sparked the spirituality-book incident of 2011 (we literally had to purchase a new bookcase to accommodate that one).  A tiny bit of concern began to swell in my throat: what could this be now?

Turns out that a random search of Amazon yielded a hit for The TVP Cookbook, published in 1991 and including only recipes made with, what else, Texturized Vegetable Protein (TVP). This was just the inspiration needed to begin a quest for old school, vintage (pre-1993 apparently) vegan and vegetarian cookbooks. I have to say, I’m pretty stoked about this new obsession and cannot wait to share with you these hilarious and often eccentric gems. And how could we not begin with:

Leprechaun Cake and Other Tales

That leprechaun looks super amish.

This.Book.Is.A.Treasure. For two reasons: 1. Each recipe is preceded by a story meant to teach children about friendship, caring, and healthy cooking. 2. The recipes are named after storybook characters AND have safety instructions. Come on…who wouldn’t want to present a dish to your pals called “Unicorn’s Golden Chutney”? The recipes are super easy to prepare and are meant to work together as one or two meals. Enjoy the citrusy, texturally diverse taste of the Magical Moroccan Couscous inspired by our heroines David and Bina in the story Leprechaun Cake!

MAGICAL MOROCCAN COUSCOUS

Magic all up in your mouth!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup orange juice (or other fruit juice)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup pitted dates, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup almonds, sliced
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Bring the juice and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a small pot. Remove from heat, stir in couscous and allow to sit covered for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a separate pan, saute dates, raisins, almonds, and cinnamon in 1/2 cup of water for 2 minutes. Add cooked couscous. Mix well and serve warm. Makes 5 , 1/2 cup servings.

MAGICAL MOROCCAN COUSCOUS NUTRITION: 221 calories – 0 g total fat – 0 cholesterol – 6 mg sodium– 41 g carbs – 3 g fiber – 15 g sugar – 9 g protein- 4 WW points

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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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“If you don’t run…you can’t win.”


Evan and Hayley glad to see a friendly face in the otherwise un-vegan friendly stretch between Zion and Bryce National Park, Utah.

The Sunday before Evan found the job posting that eventually moved us to Southern Oregon began with a breakdown, and (as it usually does) ended in a breakthrough.

I will admit, I fell down the rabbit hole first. Without providing all the ‘victimy’ details – I had lost the happiness in my work and this unhappiness manifested itself as swollen teary eyes, trouble getting my head out of bed, and blaming everything for my sorrow besides myself . The corporate world was stripping the varnish of my otherwise inspired and compassionate facade, and I could feel my soft underbelly becoming more calloused by the day. I, we, needed a change, and quick.

There is this slippery slope we balance on most days called sensibility. Sensibility is the little voice that whispers things in your ear like “don’t reach your hand in that cage” and “keep that out of your mouth, it’s probably not a chocolate chip.” In those cases, I tip my hat to sense.  There is another, more cynical side of sensibility that had been doing a damn fine job of keeping me in place by saying things like “you’ve built up a month of vacation at this job and make more money then you could ever use, why would you leave?” and “all of your experience will keep you in this field anyway, so why leave a good thing? and “are you really going to leave your mother in your early 30’s when you know kids will be coming eventually?”  Ah guilt…it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Then there is this other statute of the (economic, therefore debatably sensible) universe called the law of diminishing returns.

The next day, Evan applied and eventually took a transfer to the beautiful Medford, Oregon – and I left sense behind in Iowa to begin life again. Evan and I have taken an oath that we will be less concerned about WHAT we will be in 5 years and focus more on WHO we will be in 5 years. We have big plans…

That brings us to the whole purpose our little Eat.Out.Loud project and why you should give a shit.

Let me start by sharing what Evan and I are not. We are not registered dietitians, doctors, or other licensed medical practitioners in any shape or form.  We are not members of PETA and we do not stand on street corners shaming others who are finding their happiness in a different way then we are. We are not selling anything or promoting anything based off any motivation besides our own completely biased (but I must admit, tried and tested) opinions and experiences. Our beliefs is that few beliefs are ‘right’ and you should do whatever the hell brings you happiness, as long as it isn’t at the expense of hurting others for your amusement.

What we ARE (and that goes for everyone) is so much more relevant. We are walking testimonials for the nutritional rags to riches tale advocating for a plant based lifestyle and keeping the youthfulness and fun in physical movement. The flavor of our lives and those around us have been monumentally enhanced by passionate championing for small, incremental changes in mindset and lifestyle. We are pros in not taking ourselves too seriously and we dedicate our lives to finding the humor and light in all people and experiences. We are here to be servant leaders for those on a journey for nutritional, physical, and emotional wellness – and a sounding board for all regardless of their journey.

We hope you find a little piece of whatever you may be seeking in this place. Look for recipes, gear reviews, sweet travels and trails, worthy (or not) adventures, and the funny shit that we experience on our plant-based journey.  As always, comments, suggestions, and feedback is welcome.

Hayley & Evan

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