American Vegan Kitchen

I am beyond thrilled to bring you Save the Kales! first ever author interview! Tamasin Noyes is the author of the previously mentioned cookbook “Vegan Road Food: Delicious Comfort Food from Blue Plate Specials to Homestyle Favorites”. Tami, sweetheart that she is, agreed to talk to us about her awesome recipes, her inspiration, and navigating her path to getting published.

READ THE WHOLE INTERVIEW UNDER THE CUT!

Here’s a photo of the Spicy Balsamic Maple Wingz. My stomach is literally growling.

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Where is my sunshine, my only sunshine?

First things first – A huge thank you to YOU (yup, you there!) for stopping by! Every day our little Save the Kales community grows bigger and with it, my heart. Corny but true. I’m a sap. “Thank you” is the point, sincerely. Onward…

Am I the only one that loves rainy days? I was having a hard time planning todays post because I’m so excited about whats coming up later in the week, so today is all about:

A Rainy Day Well-Spent

For starters, let’s talk comfy clothes! If you have the luxery of being in bed all day, you want to be comfortable, kinda sexy, and eco-friendly if possible! This adorable and beautiful camisole (with panties sold seperately) from SandMaiden Sleepwear fits the bill. Made partially from organic cotton, you can choose your color from swatches available in the shop. There’s no reason you can’t feel glamorous and cute, even if you spend the day under a comforter! Camisole is $66, panties are $36. Go here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/sandmaidensleepwear

I love a good cup of coffee. I like dark coffees but need cream, so let’s all say a little prayer for Turtle Mountain and their So Delicious Coconut Milk creamer! It’s very smooth and creamy and doesn’t taste like coconut milk (which is only half disappointing… mmm, coconuts), though it comes in several flavors and makes a great alternative to dairy half-and-half. The company makes a million other wonderful products including ice creams and yogurts, so look for them in your health food store or your local grocery store – they are turning up all over the place!

That would take us to brunch! The best meal ever invented! If you must go outside, do yourself a favor and find some yummy and warm food to quiet your grumbling belly. If you’re in the Lehigh Valley, that would mean going to my favorite brunch place ever ever EVER on earth, Blue Sky Cafe. Blue Sky Cafe is a gorgeous urban bohemian restaurant with the friendliest waitstaff around and the most delectable menu. They have something for everyone, but are VERY veg-friendly, and if you’re vegan, I recommend something from the All Stirred Up portion of the menu, without eggs. My favorite is the Jon Solomon’s veggie stir, and be sure add soy sausage to it! Heaven on a plate, I swear. Everyone that works there is adorable and creative, and it’s also a fine showcase for local art. Check out the full menu here: http://www.theblueskycafe.com/menu.html

Next, something I’m very excited about, especially on a day like this – BOOKS! It’s absolutely impossible to pick favorites, but here’s some that really stand out to me at this moment in time.

This Must Be the Place by Anna Winger –   If you liked “Lost in Translation”, you’ll love this. It has the same melancholy, rainy-Sunday feel to it, but is written with so much eloquence and beauty it has really stood out to me as one of the best books I’ve ever read (I can’t choose one, but I can pick many!). Ex-patriots in a foreign city, living parallel lives and questioning their situations. If you’re one of those people that judges a book by the cover AND the first paragraph (I am), let this whet your appetite:

“Ninety years is not such a long time in the scheme of things: the life of a person, if they are lucky; a room just wide enough to touch both walls with outstretched hands. In other places such a building might have seen only the soft swell of progress, but here? Ninety years of drama, followed only by this… “

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn – I’m just not talented enough a writer to give a review of this book that would do it any justice. I can easily say it’s one of the most perverse, disgusting and graphic books I’ve ever read. Many reviews of the book are from people who admit they couldn’t finish it because it was just too much. But beyond the shock there lies a story of purity and innocence. It’s about a family of sideshow freaks and the influence they come to have on their audiences, as well as struggling to live in a world of “normals”. Trust me when I tell you it will haunt you long after you have finished it. I came to actually love the characters like real people and was heartbroken to have finished it. Start it, and then please stay with it and finish. Your life will be richer.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson – I’ve had this on my “to read” list for years, inspired primarily by my love of World’s Fair antiques that came from my father. This is a true story of the building and organizing of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, paralleled with a story of a serial killer who became very prominent in Chicago and got away with many well-calculated murders before anyone discovered them. It’s a story of community-building, architecture, politics and manipulation. It’s a historical book that reads like a novel. I only have 50 pages left, so as you can see, this is how I’ll be spending part of my afternoon. I finally found it for one dollar at the library book sale, but you can get it on Amazon.com for less than a dollar!

What are some of your favorite rainy day rituals?

Bottoms Up

The dull throb in my head is telling me that I have no choice but to write about something I had a lot of this weekend, red wine.

It’s common knowledge that a little of this is good for us, somehow… Right? YES and let me explain. For starters, the amount of wine we are talking about is one glass a day. Consuming much more certainly won’t be healthier, it will only make you eat burritos in front of the fridge at 3am.

Studies show that consuming this small amount can help lower the risk of heart attack in folks middle-aged by as much as 30-50%. Consuming red wine may also prevent further heart attacks from people who’ve already had one. Red wine can also raise good cholesterol, and lower the bad. People in the Mediterranean who consume red wine often (among eating healthy, delicious food!) have some of the lowest numbers of heart disease.

One of the most studied antioxidants in red wines is resveratrol, a compound found in the seeds and skins of grapes. Red wine has a high concentration of resveratrol because the skins and seeds ferment in the grapes’ juices during the red wine-making process.

Red wine also gives us red wine vinegar! Vinegar is made from the oxidation of ethanol by acetic acid bacteria. Cooks use vinegar for many purposes such as; pickling, deglazing pans, making sauces and is found in certain desserts.  There are several different qualities of red wine vinegar. The longer the wine vinegar matures, the better it is. Most red wines can be matured up to two years.

Now let’s talk about a common wine taboo – boxed wine. I am here to tell you that boxed wine is becoming cool thanks to its eco-friendly packaging and manufacturing! A standard wine bottle (holding 750 milliliters) that travels from a California vineyard to a New York store generates about 5.2 pounds of carbon-dioxide emissions, while a three-liter box generates only half the emissions per 750 milliliters. The cardboard box can also be recycled, and is less work to produce than a bottle.

If you really want to get particular, many wines are not vegan as animal products or byproducts can be used in the processing. These ingredients are filtered out of the wine before it is sold, but vegans may choose to stay away from some wines because of this. Typically these ingredients are used as processing aids in the “fining” or filtration part of the winemaking process to help remove solid impurities such as grape skins or stems. For a full list of vegan wines, go here: http://vegans.frommars.org/wine/

I know when it comes to wine there are kinds I love (pinot noir is my favorite!), but usually I buy what’s in my budget with the most beautiful label.

What wines are your favorite?

“Cabbage: A vegetable about as large and wise as a man’s head.”

It’s going to be a series of gray, windy days, so let’s lighten things up with some art, shall well? While searching for products for my “packing a lunch” post, I accidentally stumbled upon a very neat theme of printed art on Etsy – vegetable art!

Stay with me, guys. I’m not talking about those potato-prints you did in 2nd grade… although, they were pretty neat. I mean these very neat posters and stationary cards from clever print artists. For very reasonable prices, these beauties would look so cute framed and hung in your kitchen! Get rid of the rooster or sunflower themes you currently have (please!?), and try something handmade and kitschy instead.

This Corn Nerd print by Wonderthunder is the print that inspired this entry! Corn!!! Wearing GLASSES! And an argyle SCARF! Could anything be cuter and better than this? Is it wrong of me to say that the corn is kind of… attractive? Print is 6″ x 12″, and is one of only 50 made. All this for only $10. Go here and see the rest of the shop for more prints of food in clothes, and the cutest slice-of-bread pillow you’ve ever seen! http://www.etsy.com/shop/wonderthunder

I love type and text in art! The colors in this one are bold and bright. This is a series of “signs” the artist made in honor of some phrases that parents tell their kids over and over, like Eat Your Vegetables. “Use this series to remind your kids to toe the line, or to keep a spouse or significant other on the straight and narrow.” You tell ’em!  No one will ever forget the brussels sprouts again. Cost $60 at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/johnwgolden

How can so many wonderful things fit in one print? Letterpress type, retro inspired design, Farmers Markets, and that lovely green cabbage! My eyes can’t handle it, I need sunglasses to help with the radiation of awesome. This Farmers Market Produce print is one of many by YeeHaw designs. Simply lovely, and for only $25! See the rest of their fresh colorful produce art here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/YeeHaw

Do you know a veg-couple that needs a wedding or housewarming gift? Check out this Delectable Duo. Artichokes and mushrooms love each other in real life, too, I’m quite sure. You get both prints as a handsome set, for a mere $40. They are limited edition of 80/each, so click here and order some right away!  http://www.etsy.com/shop/nateduval

Have you ever looked at a block of tofu and thought, “Gee, you’re cute”? I know I can’t be the only one! Now you can get all your tofu-hugs out without making a mess of your clothes and wasting food. This Plush Tofu Pirate wants to be squeezed, and he could make a cute gift for a veggie child, too. Why is he a pirate? Why NOT a pirate, I say! Yarrr he’s only $12, go here or walk the plank: http://www.etsy.com/shop/pandawithcookie

Where my gardeners at!? I am so envious of anybody with a tiny plot of land for which to grow their own food. I’ve tried basil plants many times, and it always ended in tragedy. If you have a garden, I have some plants for you. 1. Give me some of your lovely veggies, please 2. Get this awesome Grow Your Own Food print and show your pride! Gardening is cool, and this proves it.  Only $20 – this and many more fantastic prints here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/bluebicicletta

Did you know vegetables could be so elegant? I am in love with set of 10 Bahay Kubo prints, all made with oil-based ink and colors are hand painted. Each print has a vegetable, and the Filipino name of the vegetable at the bottom. These can be ordered individually, but for only $65 the entire set would look perfect framed and scattered around your kitchen! Shop here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/pabili

What vegetable do you think is the most fun to look at? The many layers of the pointy artichoke? The soft smooth purple of an eggplant? Tell me!

Love Note on a Napkin

I know my friends from the womens college where I did my undergrad schooling would dramatically roll their eyes at me for admitting this, but I love being domestic. Maybe it’s the novelty of acting like June Cleaver, but it brings me so much joy when I can prepare food for others, do the laundry, and occasionally dust.

One of the most wholesome small acts I enjoy is packing a lunch for my partner. I remember being in elementary school and being so excited to open my Jem and the Holograms lunchbox  (yes!!!) to see what goodies Mom had in store for me. And now, I think taking the time to prepare a wholesome, satisfying lunch for my loved one is a tiny gesture that equals big love.

Today I’m going to highlight a few products that can make packing lunches easier, cuter, and better for the environment. All products are handmade via Etsy:

Reusable Insulated Lunch Bag A classier, more adult step up from a plastic lunchbox, a good lunch bag is a great way to transport your food and prevent confusion in the break room fridge. These bags from Julie Meyer are insulated, helping to maintain the temperature of the food (hot or cold), and made of vinyl and water-resistant nylon so they can easily be washed out if your salad dressing spills. So many cute designs, it’ll be hard to choose! Prices range from $21-26, and bags can be found here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/JulieMeyer

Reusable Coffee Sleeve If you get coffee to go, you know a sleeve (usually cardboard) is essential to sparing your precious fingers from a scalding burn coming through the cup. While these sleeves are slightly better than using two cups, they are still very wasteful. Why not purchase a stylish reusable sleeve? You’ll never forget which coffee is yours when its your turn to make the coffee run for the day, and these sleeves are small enough to throw in a purse, and they’re washable! They also keep your coffee warmer for longer periods of time – like a coffee sweater! Sleeves from She Sews Lovely cost only $6.50 each, or check out her shop for deals on orders of multiple sleeves! http://www.etsy.com/shop/karley

Snack Bag Alternative While convenient, plastic snack bags are wasteful. They carry some crackers or veggie sticks for a few hours and then get tossed out. Tupperware is an alternative, but can get very clunky to carry around. Thankfully, there are many affordable (and adorable!) reusable snack bags available. These  from Snack Savers are made from high-quality cotton, and lined with water and stain resistant nylon – completely washable. They close with a thick strip of velcro. Bags come in various sizes and range in price from $6-12 ($12 for a set of two sizes). The most difficult part is choosing which designs to get! http://www.etsy.com/shop/sacksavers

Bento Box These fabulous Japanese food containers have really caught on in the United States. They are very cute, very practical, and all the little compartments make finding your food a lot of fun! You can find many types of bento boxes online and in some upscale grocery stores. Or you can get this wonderful set from Ojamiya. It comes with a hand-stamped, handmade lunch bag, a bento box with strap to close it, and chopsticks! Using a bento box is also a great way to control food portions for those of you concerned about that. This is just one of many sets, and sells for $29.50. You can find more sets here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/ojami

Bamboo Flatware Set This is a great little set to keep in your desk at work, or to take out when you know you’ll be getting food from someplace that would normally give you plasticware.  Bamboo is sustainable, and these sturdy utensils are easily cleaned with water and only need some oiling once in a while – you can read about how to take care of them on Pony Up’s  site, and also browse various designs for the handmade roll-up case. You get the utensils and case of your choice for only $20! http://www.etsy.com/shop/ponyup

What did you have for lunch today?

“Speak your Truth”.

My exercise of choice is running. I started a few years ago when I found myself feeling out of shape, and noticed all the time I spent complaining and feeling bad about it could be spent actually doing something to change it (imagine that!).

Last year I started searching for podcasts to keep me company during runs, and came upon something so wonderful you must believe when I tell you it has been, quite literally, life-changing. Colleen Patrick-Goudreau  is a Vegan Warrior to say the least. She is a cookbook author, writer, podcast producer, a teacher of cooking classes and lectures – to name a few.

You can find out about all of her endeavors through her website, Compassionate Cooks (.com) – and here’s a short video where she talks about her transition to veganism.

Today I want to draw your attention to her podcast, “Vegetarian Food for Thought”.  I was searching for something that would give me some recipe ideas, and what I found in this podcast is so much more! For starters, Colleen is very well-spoken and deeply intelligent. Her vocabulary alone will make you feel smarter, but it is the eloquence with which she speaks about issues often times difficult to articulate. Topics range from favorite foods to the historical context of vegetarianism to how to be the lone vegan at a party.

She can talk about lentils for twenty minutes and make it interesting. More than that, her enthusiasm and encouragement  for a more peaceful world, and a deeper understanding of self and others are the invaluable gifts you will gain as a listener.  Never “preachy” and always inspiring, Colleen has become a personal hero and one of the factors that motivated me to start this blog!

Go, right now, to itunes and find the podcast “Vegetarian Food for Thought” and download every episode. And keep an eye out for her cookbooks at your local bookstore, “The Joy of Vegan Baking” and “The Vegan Table”.

Get thee to… an outdoor cafe!

I love this weather because it’s like pre-Fall. I mean, I know we have to go through pesky, stupid hot summer, but it’s so nice to wake up and throw on a sweater in the morning and be a little chilly but comfortable. The kind of weather that makes you find excuses to do things outside. Thus, laptops and wireless internet are brilliant inventions, and I get to make this post from the sidewalk of my favorite cafe! Unlimited coffee, sunshine, and people walking soooo many DOGS.

Just as finished that last sentence, I ran into an old friend doing some shopping on Main Street and it filled up my heart! What is it about weather that so deeply affects our moods? Isn’t it true that the sunnier it is outside, the sunnier your soul feels?

I’m going to postpone the “Weekly Pet Adoptions” post, to share with you some of the most beautiful words ever to be typed out on keyboard. I was sent some of these messages in response to my “glow worm post”, and I want to preserve them here and also share with you the thoughts and feelings that connect us all to each other. To the authors whose names I will not mention, these words resonated to my core and I thank you for being open and brave enough to share them.

Every day we have opportunities to positively influence the lives of others, and be reminded that we are all human beings, and truly being human(e) to one another is what it’s all about.

Perfect arrangements of alphabet letters:

“Jaime: If those words were drawings and your audience were children your book would surely have the Caldecott Medal imprinted on each copy.”

” It felt reassuring to me to read what you had written this morning. …I could actually provide an example to people for whom an example is rarely given. I got where I am today walking down a road on which I had no direction.

I quite literally swallowed hard, pushed ahead, and said fuck it and I have to repeat that process every single day or it will all be for not. …Like you said, it is about finding that past, that purpose so easily lost in the turbulence of afflicted thought to show a clear path through it, back out of the storm.

It’s always going to storm, but the weather changes just as quickly.”

“beautiful, timely, and real. thank you for putting this out there. some of the most horrible moments i’ve experienced have inspired some of the most incredible transformations, and i wouldn’t be who i am w/o having gone through all of it. i also wouldn’t have the empathy or compassion i have for others who struggle, fall short, or fail to live up to their own or someone else’s standards.

i believe the wake-up calls always come right on time, no matter how much my ego protests.

if someone rejects me or deems me or my behavior somehow so unacceptable that there is no open space left for any chance to get it together, i tend to emerge w/ a much stronger sense of who i *really* am and what i need to do to heal from the pain of abandoning *myself*. this initially pisses me off, because i’m left thinking, “why couldn’t so & so just give me some time to get my head and heart worked out instead of just dumping me?” but then, i realize that the universe unfolds the way it does for reasons i’ll never understand and acceptance seems to begin at that point…

who is w/o faults? who doesn’t deserve a chance to get it right?

for every bad moment that’s been used to define me and judge me, there are *far* more good moments, great moments, and exquisite moments i can recall…

some people take up the invitation to become inquisitive – to accept, change, learn, love, forgive, and grow. i have been waking up. and i’m grateful.”

You can choose to be stuck or you can choose to be strong. The amount of effort is the same.

When you begin to seek beauty in your life and within yourself, I promise you will find it. Happy weekend, everybody.