MENU FOODS: Baked Chick-Un

I was experimenting this weekend with new ingredients and textures, and this was one of the best outcomes! I’m so happy to introduce this to the Save the Kales menu.

You can order food from me now, I’ll deliver and everything!

This is a basic baked chick-un, 100% vegan, that tastes great with your favorite BBQ sauce, hot sauce, honey mustard (I recommend agave mustard), etc… This is baked, not friend, though you can fry it – try a little pan fry with some Earth Balance, bake it, or use a microwave if you’re in a hurry! It holds up.

I will continue to explore flavors and variations, but I’m really excited about this! It’s seriously SO GOOD. *Note this would not be appropriate for people with gluten intolerance or celiac.

ORDER: 5 pieces for $10.00; 10 pieces for $18.00

I am happy to provide sauces for you for an extra $1.00 or $2.00, half or whole order.

Baked Chick-un by Save the Kales!

I can also make this into smaller pieces which would be great as an appetizer while watching football. Wait is it baseball season now?

Here are  smaller pieces covered in buffalo wing sauce and agave-mustard sauce, respectively. Prices match the above listed prices for a half order or full order.

Both of these flavors are from only one HALF ORDER of Baked Chick-un pieces; buffalo wing sauce and agave-mustard sauce, by Save the Kales!

I also plan to make this a part of the bagged lunch menu I’m currently working on.

If you live locally and are sick of ordering pizza and chinese food on your lunch break or for dinner, you can order a Save the Kales! bagged lunch instead! I’m aiming to keep costs of these lunches between $5-$10. Stay tuned!

AIR EATER: Vegan, Gluten Free and Eco-News Blog

I was so happy to get an email this morning that Lidia from AIR EATER wanted to post a Save the Kales! video on her awesome blog!

This is a really great blog that features recipes like Shiitake Mushroom Bacon (HELLO!) , product mentions and reviews on Eco-friendly lunchboxes and healthy pre-packaged snacks, and really great articles I’ve not seen before on topics like how a vegetarian couple was rejected for adoption because the head of services claims a child needs to eat meat to be healthy. (That is not true. At all.)

From Air Eater regarding that last topic, “What is this ‘needs’ business? I have an issue with this statement and way of thinking. There’s a lot more to a diet than just what you eat, it’s the why part, that is the bigger issue. The mentality that the child will not have protein and become ill because of not eating meat is archaic and ridiculous. I’m sure vegan body builders would have a thing or two to say about wasting away to nothing.”

Right on!

And Lidia, blog author, has a cat named Yuki that looks just like Pierogi, so I’m even more of a fan. Baised, perhaps. But who doesn’t like cute kitties?!

(Sometimes Pierogi sleeps like a doughnut that is losing it’s filling.)

So please swing by AIR EATER and learn something new and delicious!


I’m stilled editing the videos from the trip to Providence, RI but wanted to share some of the better parts in photos. Unfortunately, most of the SUPER, AMAZING food was captured on video only, but we still managed to get some goodies, such as:

This horrible, horrible image placement on the back of the bus. The little chubby guy in a hat cartoon is actually quite cute when his face isn’t over a vent in the bus that gives him a perfect Hitler mustache. How did this get approved!?

The saddest sub-category of books I’ve ever seen. Anti-Optimism?! Who does that!? After this I balanced it by going to a section called “Kittens and Glitter”.

This is a most excellent cooperative venue called AS220 – they teach silkscreening classes, have an art gallery, live music, and so much wonderful vegan food. The video will include us eating here stuffing our faces with copious amounts of vegan Mac n’ Cheese with broccoli raab, among other things.

I appreciate the use of the sad face in this bathroom graffiti.

Took about a 20-block walk to this place, Julian’s, where we had an awesome brownie dessert with rice milk ice cream and took a vegan cheesesteak which we ate for breakfast the next morning.

On Day 2, we spent a good deal of time at the Culinary Museum and Johnson and Wales University. About 1/4th of the entire museum was devoted to diners – their beginnings, history, revitalizations, etc… and I was in my glory. Wish my Dad could see it! It made me nostalgic.

This was the coolest! This display combined from information about diners and the 1939 World’s Fair, the latter of which is also a fascination and interest of mine. My dad collected ’39 World’s Fair memorabilia. I have good memories of wandering around antique malls and getting him the best Christmas gifts. I saw this and my heart swelled!

This place had the best interactive exhibits!

Just me hangin’ out with my prize winning cow, before the two of us went into the pasture to eat some greens. Grass and kale, respectively.

If someone shot me with the Honey I Shrunk the Kids ray gun, I would live in this. It’s a bit of a fixer-upper but nothing I can’t handle.

A really wacky, handpainted chef’s jacket is an homage to Julia Child. It’s so silly and I love it. If any of you want to expand your artistic abilities, let’s make one for Save the Kales! I will rock that thing with pride.

An area of the museum was devoted to local companies and foods, and there was a great display about Tomato Pie (essentially, vegan pizza – a sicilian style baked dough with tomato sauce to be consumed hot or cold). The description said this is a “must have” for every party or gathering by residents of Providence, which is how those of us from Wilkes-Barre, PA feel about Middleswarth BBQ chips.

Check back soon for the videos that feature a LOT of the awesome food we consumed, some new recipes, and a menu so those of you locally can order batches of food weekly!

BURN IT ON PURPOSE: How to Char Peppers without a Grill

I’ve always heard you could stick some peppers on the burner of an electric stove to blacken them, but never tried it. It seemed… weird. And as someone who once made the mistake of getting a plastic mixing bowl too close to a burner, I was worried the pepper would melt and be impossible to clean.

Well, everyone was right! You can char a pepper on a stovetop just by putting them on the burner and using heat-resistant tongs to turn it every minute.

This is something you have to babysit – no leaving a pepper on the stove and then running off to check Facebook! You need to be able to turn the pepper and, general safety, not burn down your house by leaving it unattended.

As you turn the pepper, the inside is also cooking. Once the outside is mostly blackened, allow the pepper to cool before you handle it.

Once cooled, you can practically wipe off the blackened skin, scraping it a little with a knife of fork, or just by using your fingers.

This would be great in salsas, added to a burrito, stirred in a Mexican inspired veggie and rice dish, etc.






I used it along with some roasted sweet potatoes for a sweet and spicy soup. Love!



Let’s go in order:

  • 1. Our local newspaper is having a Best Blogs Contest, and Save the Kales! is nominated! (My other blog, HEART OF STEELcity, is also nominated, but more on that in a minute.) There are many blogs in many categories – go, check ’em out, and vote for your favorite. (I’d love it if it happened to be mine, of course, but check ’em all out!)

There are a few corporate blogs thrown in, and while they do awesome things and I mean no disrespect, I’d love to see this contest won by people who write first and formost because they are passionate about what they do, and passionate about contributing to making the Valley great, not just because they make a salary to do so. I’d love to see independent writers get recognition that comes from winning the contest since they aren’t the ones with marketing departments behind them.

A blog can only win one category, so while some of us are nominated for several, I’d love to see your votes go to: a) Save the Kales in FOOD b) and HEART OF STEELcity in NEIGHBORHOOD

Thank you in advance, and best of luck to my friends and fellow bloggers for keeping a caring, DIY vibe to the Lehigh Valley through your observations.

GO HERE TO VOTE (only once a day, but you can do it EVERY day!)

  • 2) Two weekends ago, Ryan and I took an overnight trip to Providence, RI which was essentially a food tour and documentation of said food tour. I’m currently editing a 2-part video full of delicious foods, drinks and excellent establishments that have both. This will come in handy if you every find yourself in Providence, or give you good reason to plan a trip!

Fancy painting of some cows in the hotel lobby. I don't see enough cow art.

Vegan white russians, cheesesteak wraps, mac and cheese, and brownie + ice cream desserts galore. Also a visit to the Culinary Museum at Johnson and Wales University. SO fun!

  • 3) My new blog post at the aforementioned HEART OF STEELcity blog documents our visit to a Turkish restaurant in Allentown. Um, you guys. This has been here forever but it’s new to me and it’s literally MY NEW FAVORITE RESTAURANT. Tons and tons of vegan options.

If you live nearby or visit from out of town, you need to go here, and you need to take me with you. I can’t stop thinking about it. I may write a love letter. Dear baba ghanoush, I like you, do you like me? Check one box.

You can see photos and read about it here:  HEART OF STEELcity

  • 4) Thank you to everyone who reached out after my last post about my father’s death and how it lead me to a veg-diet. Your posted comments and personal messages directly sent to me have shown, once again, how lucky I am to have the kindest folks in the world supporting me and you are all a testament to the kindness of people, the good in all hearts. I reflect on your words in times of sadness, and then feel brighter and better when I think about them, and you. Thank you. So much.

One of my favorite artists ever, he makes my heart and eyeballs feel good, Rob Ryan


(Written yesterday, Monday March 7 2011)

It’s taking me a long time to type this. I’m gasping for breaths and swallowing my heart. I wasn’t sure if I could, or even should, talk about this here but it is my life and it is me and what happened set in motion literally the very foundation for seeing the world with more compassion and, thus, birthed Save the Kales. People ask “What made you decide to be vegetarian/vegan?”  This is what inspired it. So.

Ten years ago today, my dad died.

This is what happened, as I have understood it. It’s hard to know for sure. He had complications with his diabetes and was a big, tough stubborn guy that didn’t monitor it. It lead to an infection in his foot, which started to spread.

I remember visiting him at his place when it first took a turn for the worst. Making him a bunch of sandwiches that he could keep by his bed because he couldn’t get up. He told me it was the flu. It is strange to be seventeen years old and do the sort of caretaker role reversal that usually comes much later in life.

He finally went to the hospital, and they were surprised he was still alive as his blood sugar levels were so high. So much morphine. The infection in his foot spread through his leg, and it would be amputated. A few weeks later I saw the uncovered amputated leg, right at the knee. It looked like someone made a quilt out of my fathers limbs. A perfect square patch craftily sewn on.

During the two months he was in the hospital, we planned. We planned and dreamed. He told me about a desire to move to Memphis, maybe, somewhere with good Blues and good food and good cigars. One day he surprised me. Not particularly a religious man, my father – a big, motorcycle riding, construction man – claimed to have had what he could only describe as a near-death experience. “If someone else were telling me this, I’d think they were crazy”, he said, “But Jaim, I can’t even describe the colors.”

He was looking good. Months went by. Then something went wrong: blood poisoning. The doctors cut him open, holding his organs in their hands, cleaning them, living pulsing pieces, cleaning up an oil spill inside his body.

He had been in and out of consciousness all day. For the couple of months that he was in the hospital, I was able to see him every day. By now a few days had passed and weather prevented a daily visit. On this night, this last night, I arrived at 7pm. He was back in intensive care, visiting hours were very strict, and only had 30 minutes. It was just the two of us.

His eyes were rolling back in his head, then he’d come around and ask me about my day. Making jokes. Eyes roll back. Longer this time. Making a joke about hospital food. When the thirty minutes were up, and we were hugging goodbye, his entire body and mind healed for a moment. He looked at me clearer than he had in months – my dad, back to normal, the sickness instantly drained and replaced by love and strength (and maybe, as I’d come to find out, a knowing). When he told me he loved me I’m not sure he ever meant it as much as he did then.

I don’t know much about sick people, or those on the verge of death, but I think he knew. And I think he waited for me. And I’ve always had peace because of that.

The drive home from the hospital was a difficult one, navigating street signs that become abstract paintings through tears. It was only a five minute drive back to my house. I had just walked in and took off my coat when the phone rang. My mother began crying and saying “Jaime, I’m so sorry…”

I couldn’t understand it then. The way death comes on so instantly. How you can talk to someone one minute and you get home and find out you’ll never be able to do that again. I was too numb to cry. I walked out the front door and began walking. I don’t know where. Down the middle of neighborhood streets, looking around at houses full of families with still-alive fathers, knowing I wasn’t one of them anymore.

When I finally found my way home, my best friend and her Mom had come over after hearing the news, bringing a bagel basket and sympathy cards with my name on the envelope. It didn’t seem right. One commented that I was handling it well. How are you supposed to handle it? He was alive two hours ago. Now he is not.

What are you supposed to do when your father dies? You stand in the kitchen and eat bagels.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

After that happened, I became very sensitive to anything or anyone dying. My Dad’s sickness lead to vegetarianism, and his death was the direct cause of my shift, later, to veganism.

Long before I ever educated myself about factory farming, slaughterhouse practices, and animal abuse, I came to the conclusion: If I were to eat animals, it would be killing an animal’s dad.

My experience with my father’s death – while not something I am ever thankful for, I wish I could call him up right now – launched for me what has become a way of life, and now, my career. With death comes a rebirth.

It’s been meaningful and personal to me to reflect on this. I admit that for the past year or two, all of the information I’ve been absorbing related to veg-issues and lifestyle has been primarily about health and nutrition. I got lazy about the rest of it. We go through shifts in our lives and our focus can change, but writing about this flipped the switch in me to re-educate myself on the other elements of veg-living: animals and animal welfare, the environment, food politics, and so on.

Moving forward, I reinstate a commitment to myself – and to my dad – to live as much to my ability in a way that promotes kindness and does as little harm as possible.

While this post as difficult to write, and for obvious reasons sad, when I think of my Dad I can’t help but laugh because that’s all we did for seventeen years. Our lives together were full of laughter, road trips, vacations to small towns full of antique malls and unique diners, cooking crazy combinations of food, blues music, singing ridiculous made-up songs loudly in public, and love. Lots and lots of love. I wouldn’t trade any of those seventeen years for a longer time spent with someone else.

I miss you Dad. Maybe it will turn out heaven does exist after all, maybe I’ll see you there. You taught me to think for myself and truly embrace who I was, always supporting whoever that would turn out to be. I will continue to carry your heart in my heart.

With love.

“I held him close for only a short time, but after he was gone, I’d see his smile on the face of a perfect stranger & I knew he would be there with me all the rest of my days.”

-Brian Andreas

EYE CANDY… and cake, and doughnuts, and vegan soft-serve ice cream, and and and…

Vegan Treats in Bethlehem, PA

What a day! It’s nearly 1am and I have been going nonstop since early this morning! In lieu of a text-heavy post, which my droopy and half-closing eyeballs are prohibiting, please accept these delicious visuals. Today we had nearly a three hour meeting about VegFest.

Can I say for a moment how open-mouthed in awe I was when Vegan Treats owner Danielle whipped out her phone and began to read off the personal contact information for, like, every single vegan and animal rights group EVER? When she oh-so casually mentioned she knows pretty much the entire staff of VegNews Magazine, I felt like a freshman in fashion design school finding out that her teacher just happens to know everyone at Vogue. No big.

I'll have one. One what? One of everything.

Her help and enthusiasm (and um, connections) have inspired us to reach far beyond what we were originally thinking in terms of speakers… again, not sure what the possibilities are, but we’re going to keep dreaming and trying to make it happen. Wow. I am literally so excited that I can’t sleep. Hence this post. Yay! Yawn!

My dreams look like this.


Ryan and I are off to Providence, RI for the weekend where we are planning to eat at Nice Slice (buffalo wing pizza! vegan cheesesteaks! chipotle faux-meatballs!), Crazy Burger (an entire vegan burger menu!), and Julian’s among others. What’s wrong with planning a trip around food? NOTHIN’.

See you next week!

My notes are probably like "How do we make it possible to eat our body weight in cupcakes and grilled tofu?"

Warning: If you have a hard time making decisions, you will need to mentally prep before coming here.


YOU ARE NISE: Small Connections, Big Feelings

$23 from ShirtsManata, via Etsy

While I understand the safety precautions in the saying “Don’t talk to strangers”, it’s a rule I try to break every day. Even if it’s something as simple as complimenting someone on their earrings, I do believe it can set in motion a shift that begins with  a positive feeling and can extend to carrying those feelings through passing kindness along to others. It’s a ripple effect and everyone wins. It can be disarming and help everyone involved connect to the moment. I think compliments can be practices in mindfulness, or “being here now” in the present moment.

I work part time at a bookstore which satisfies not only my need for health insurance, but indulges my utter book lust and love of talking to and meeting people. Yesterday evening I had the pleasure of helping a nice young lady, maybe nine years old, collect her books for what was sure to be an exciting evening of reading (no sarcasm here!).

As I was chatting with her, she pulled out a tiny notepad and began scribbling something down. Then she tore out the page, slid it across the counter to me, and smiled a big toothy grin.

It was like the (non)Grinch Stole Christmas as my heart swelled in size and I yelped “Is this for me!?” She nodded yes. I asked for her name, told her mine, and said that her note was the BEST part of my whole day and I was going to put it on my fridge so I can see it every day.

This small, simple act was so selfless. So easy.

We can all do similar things every day to remind us of the connections we have to each other. The most sincere Thank You to Hailey, wherever she is, for putting out friendliness and love with her random act of kindness.