FIVE QUESTIONS: An Audio Interview!

How fun! My pal Dustin Schoof from local paper The Express Times invited me to the office to be part of a weekly online segment called “Five Questions”, in which they talk to local people makin’ cool things happen.

 (Confession: When I met Ryan over two years ago, I did the ‘ol Google search to snoop around on him online and actually found a Five Questions segment with him! Then he got his new job and he did another one about that a few months ago. We’re 2:1, and he’s winning. Harhar.)

It was a tad awkward when Dustin asked me “What can we look forward to in the future?” because there are some good thing brewin’ but I can’t talk about them yet – eep! Maybe we’ll have to do another one of these once I can unzip my lip.


GO HERE to listen to the Interview (click the link at the end of the article)

And thank you once again Dustin! You can check out Dustin’s band Blue Jean, too. They will be playing before a Pixies show in November. Yeah, THOSE Pixies. Heart attack central, right? Isn’t supporting each other FUN!?




GIRL HATE: You Are Not in Competition, And You’re Missing Out

This article came to me by way of Lavanya, a lovely lady who is also dating the fella’ that gives my boyfriend the best haircuts. I’m so glad she dug this up because it’s something I think many of us can relate to (sadly). Sometimes we need to see something out of the context of ourselves to rewire our own thoughts and actions.

Have you ever disliked a girl for no actual fault of hers? Perhaps you didn’t even actually know her. Or know much about her. But you’ve concocted an idea in your head of why she is hate-worthy in order to boost your own confidence or self-esteem. Looking for validation – asking mutual friends about her, stalking her online (what’s up, facebook?), drawing conclusions about her as a person based on her looks or interests or gossip?

Have you ever been the victim of girl-hate? Have you ever gone about your life without any direct connection to someone only to find she has talked down on you, rallied friends and family to do the same, all because something about you threatens her and emphasizes her insecurities? 

Most of us can agree we’ve been on both sides. And all it’s done is wasted our time that could have been spent shining our own lights and living our own dreams. Ironically, it seems that this happens most between two people who, upon getting a chance to actually know one another, would get along and perhaps flourish a friendship.

This is an article on a website meant to empower teenage girls, but damn, we can all take a lesson.



“…it’s hating someone because we’re told that, as girls, we should hate other girls who are as awesome as or more awesome than ourselves.”

“You probably feel a little threatened by her because you two are so similar, but you’re afraid she’s an even better version of you.”

“Look: confidence is not a crime. It does not mean a girl is a bitch or a slut, or thinks she’s better than you. It just means that she likes herself. And personally, I don’t wanna live in a world where any girl with healthy self-esteem is labeled a whore…”

“Sometimes we can convince ourselves that pointing out flaws in others makes us feel good, but ultimately, those moments of pleasure are fleeting. In the long run, they get you in the habit of looking for flaws in everyone, including yourself.”

“Hating people is stressful. Negativity is tiring. Causing drama is dumb.”

…. and to wrap it all up:

“Here’s the thing—the horribly, eye-rollingly cheesy thing: no one can be a better version of yourself than you. And becoming the best possible example of your you-ness does not include focusing on how much you dislike another person.”



This is one of the best articles I’ve read about food in quite some time (link at bottom).

Breakfast or dinner or neither?

At it’s heart, it points out that so much of what we think about food is because of ingrained marketing. This is something I talk about often when given the chance with relation to veganism and nutrition – WHY is the first question EVERYONE asks veg*ns “How do you get your protein?” Why is everyone so concerned with protein? Why does everyone think meat is the only/best source of it?

How come no one ever says “Wow, you must get a whole lot of phytonutrients”?

Why do we immediately associate milk with calcium?

What about THIS for breakfast?

 Why do we immediately think of fish when seeking sources of Omega 3’s? (And more specifically, if I asked, “What kind of fish?”, you’d probably answer “Salmon!” Hmmm, those salmon farmers sure are happy you said that.)

Why is salad not considered a breakfast food, but pancakes are? Have you ever ordered grapefruit juice at dinner, not spiked with something? Regardless of whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or neither, consider your notions of food and think about where all of that “nutrition information” (quotes intentional) comes from:

ARTICLE: Why The Breakfast Most Americans Will Eat Today is a Corporate Scam


It seems like 70% of my cooking these days is spent on various soups, stews and chilis.  Don’t worry, if you live locally you can reap the benefits as I add more of this to my menu! (An updated one will come out very soon!)

Keep an eye out for the Pumpkin and Cinnamon Chili, and perhaps THIS?!:

Spicy Asian Soup with Veggies (baby bok choy among others!), fresh made tofu that is firm but silky smooth, fresh made noodles (no eggs!), topped with sprouts, cilantro, chili garlic paste and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil. YES!!!!!


On a completely unrelated note, I have to ask: What are some of your favorite movies that are PERFECT to watch in the Fall? This is serious as nights get longer and Sunday afternoons get snugglier.

FOODS OF THE PAST TWO WEEKS: Smattering of Photos of What I’ve Been Eating

While I work on my time management skills, I wanted to show you some photos of what I’ve been cookin’. I don’t have the recipes posted now, but I can give them to you if you’d like for the ones that aren’t obvious!

Coconut Peach "ice cream".


Curried lentils over arugula topped with red onion and dill.


Sweet Potato Pancakes with Cinnamon Rum "Butter" and Toasted Pecans!


Football food! Vegan Buffalo Wings "Cheese" Soup!

Whole Wheat Pizza with Olive Tapenade, Tomatoes and Walnuts.

Whole Wheat Pizza with Olive Tapenade, Tomatoes and Walnuts.

What’s the best dish you’ve made recently?

Birdfoot’s Grandpa

It’s been a whirlwind week getting back on track to “normal life” (what is that?) since the ‘fest has been over. Look for my sappy mushball recap at the end of the week!

Until then, please enjoy this poem titled Birdfoot’s Grandpa. I found this poem years ago while living near Ithaca, NY in the very vegan friendly ABC Cafe near Cornell University. A few times a month, me and the Farm Sanctuary staff would go there to feast on giant bowls of the best guacamole and salads covered in a baked tofu called tofu kan.  

One night I was flipping through one of the many communal books and came across this piece that so simply and innocently evoked not only feelings of caring for animals but how we can apply that sensitivity to ourselves and others. Enjoy.

Birdfoot’s Grandpa by Joseph Bruchac

The old man

must have stopped our car

two dozen times to climb out

and gather into his hands

the small toads blinded

by our light and leaping,

live drops of rain.

The rain was falling,

a mist about his white hair

and I kept saying

you can’t save them all,

accept it, get back in

we’ve got places to go.

But, leathery hands full

of wet brown life,

knee deep in the summer

roadside grass,

he just smiled and said

they have places to go, too.

Day of Reflection on the Little ‘Fest That Could

 The past 48 hours have been a time of seeking out folks for feedback, constructive criticism, and overall impressions of Bethlehem Vegfest. The responses have been overwhelmingly positive, though I’m excited to continue to improve more aspects next year.

I am working on a post about my overall reaction to the ‘Fest. It’s long, it’s wordy, it’s emotional and it will  likely take me another day or two.

Until then, here’s two more blog posts to keep you satisfied:

Bethlehem Vegfest was featured on Our Hen House today – something really incredible because their work reaches a large audience, and I love that Bethlehem is continually showing up as a vegan presence to people in other areas. Jasmin and Mariann are activists that work endlessly on giving the people tools they need to empower themselves to spread the message of veganism and animal rights. (I was particularly interested in their thoughts on our Vegfest, as they have been to so many others across the country, and am excited to share some of our discussion with you in an upcoming post.)

Not only that, but their podcasts – which are FREE to download and a joy to listen to – will have a special Bethlehem Vegfest segment next week, including none other than superwoman Danielle Konya of Vegan Treats. I cannot wait to hear this episode.  Go check out their work, download a billion podcasts, and then take action.

(*** Also check out a segment of their website/work that ties in Gay and Queer activism, called The Gay Animal. These ladies don’t stop, and we are better off for it!)

From Here Now lehigh valley blog

A local lady new to the blogging scene (and a dear friend, at that) is Colleen Marsh with here blog From Here Now. Colleen writes a positive, inviting blog about all the little treasures found in the Lehigh Valley, places to go, businesses she supports, recipes she makes her own kitchen.

Colleen went to Vegfest and wrote a great blog about her impressions of it (positive!), followed by a billion recipes for everything she made for a vegan dinner that night.

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I am very happy to say that I just had a meeting this morning with some folks about a project that will be an all-vegan project, something the other folks involved had thought about for a while, but seeing the incredible attendance of the fest made them realized that now is the time to act! It’s still top secret, but once it gets rolling we will want all of your support to spread the word.

My heart feels all big and fuzzy. Thank you for being a part of something that quite literally has the power to change our community for the better.

VEGFEST Starts in 12 Hours…

This must be what a bride feels like before the wedding day. All the planning, talking, excitement…. one big day and in a few hours it’s over. I picture myself looking over the Greenway tomorrow at 5pm as people filter out, tables get folded up and feeling a little pang of sadness — though luckily, unlike most weddings, we will get to do it again next year.

My hope is the day will leave a positive impression in people’s minds. A day they went out with their families, friends and dogs, learned about all of the talent that we have right here in our own city. That there are like-minded people who want to work toward sustainability, organic and whole foods, and fostering community and supporting local businesses.

For those of you coming to Vegfest (and how I hope you are!), here is some last-minute info:

  • The Save the Kales! table will be part of the Livelocal table. I will likely not be at the table most of the day, so feel free to come find me and say hello! I’m serious, I want to meet you and see you.
  • I will have t-shirts for sale! They are gorgeous, soft, nice-fitting, made in the USA and printed by a local vegan-owned screen printer, Bird Apartment. 
  • PARKING IS FREE! Meters and city lots are FREE!!! Don’t be alarmed if you find something stuck to your windshield when you get back to the car – it may be a paper saying “On a normal day, this would be a parking ticket but Vegfest is Awesome so you parked for free today!”
  • Maps of the fest layout will be available to pick up!  There are 19 different zones (holy moly!) to help you navigate through the tables and tents.
  • Speakers, Cooking Demos and live Music all day! In between on the eating and shopping, you can watch and listen to some awesome stuff. GO HERE FOR A SCHEDULE.
I hope I can sleep tonight!
See you soon. Biggest hugs to all of you. xoxo

Bethlehem Vegfest Makes Life Better (Really).

A few nights ago, I was working at my part time job in a bookstore and talked to a customer purchasing the DVDs of Food, Inc. and Forkes Over Knives. I told her I had just been on a discussion panel for the latter, to which she happily chirped, “So have you heard about Bethlehem Vegfest? It’ll be next Saturday!”

You can’t imagine what a great feeling it is when complete strangers excitedly tell you about an event that you have been helping to organize for several months.

I see the posters everywhere. Businesses, public bulletin boards, the newspapers… I’ve even seen some hanging in the windows of people’s homes. Every time someone talks about it, posts it online, wants to do an interview for an article, it spreads the excitement for something that — stay with me now — has the power to change the world, change lives.

Let me explain.

It’s not simply about the lives of animals that are spared by choosing a plant-based diet or simply choosing more veg dishes, not just about making a positive environmental impact (by making much less of an impact), not just about the way treating your body well makes your mind feel better, too…

What is, for me, maybe the most exciting thing is the way it has been embraced by the community. There has been nothing but support and enthusiasm for this event from local people and businesses who have only asked “How can I get involved?” from day one.  The desire to make more of ourselves can resonate in our lives and in us, and we can continue to create positive change in ways that ripple farther than we can see.

I’ve told you my story. About two years ago I was considering a move to somewhere else in the country, anywhere else, to escape from myself and from a town I had been deceived and told had nothing here for people like me. If we wanted to find a creative community, or things to do, or art or music or food or interesting people or a career to be passionate about, we had to leave.

Sabrina Ward Harrison

My choice to stay was deliberate. My choice to change the way I thought about this place and my life has only lead me to experiences I could never have thought up back when I was planning an escape. So much is about perception – we see what we choose to see. And one of the biggest lessons learned has been: we can make our own lives. And it seemed a lot of us started to open our eyes wider at the same time.

When the Downtown Bethlehem Association asked if I’d like to be a co-organizer for Bethlehem Vegfest, I was humbled and honored. Part of the mission of my work and this blog is “Cooking, Community and Compassion” – and “Community” is so much more than a physical space of people who live together. It is about action: working together to better and improve that space because it is where we live our lives, together. 

To me, Vegfest is a manifestation of the desire for something new in a town that embraces it’s history. We are forward thinking people, and we are in good company.

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Bethlehem Vegfest on Facebook

Article about Restaurant Week (NOW until Sept 10th) from Lehigh Valley Live

Article for Laini’s Little Pocket Guide website

… and check out the current issue of The Mix free weekly paper! (out NOW through Sept. 14th)