VEGAN CUTS SNACK BOX, March 2013: Goodies and Treats and some Body Sugar, sugar.

If the only real-mail you receive are bills and those annoying packets of coupons for fast food chains, sign up for monthly Snack Boxes from Vegan Cuts and make mail fun again!

Vegan Cuts, an animal-friendly coupon site (excellent in it’s own right), has put together the very best in Surprises You Already Know About. That is, you’ll know you’ll have a box of goodies coming, but you won’t know what they are until you open it.

Oh, the suspense! The anticipation!

Great stuff. Making things difficult for indecisive people.

Great stuff. Making things difficult for indecisive people.

Every month has a different variety of snack samples and products. The March box has ten (TEN!) different items to eat up or slather on, or I suppose, if you’re feeling frisky – both?

In the March box (clockwise):

The best part of this snack box (I mean, aside from a BOX OF SNACKS ARRIVING ON YOUR DOORSTEP) is that it costs less than $20.

Boxes are only $19.95!

Go go go… get a subscription! Then get one for a friend. It’s the gift that keeps on giving if you sign up for a multi-month subscription. 

Head over to Vegan Cuts to get the latest updates on the BEST offers on always, all-vegan products, like gorgeous handbags and scented candles to jewelry and DVDs. I’d take one of everything.

VeganCuts

Save the Kales! Vegan TV Show: Behind-The-Scenes at Brad’s Raw Foods

We visited the wonderful folks at Brad’s Raw Foods Chip Factory, located just a short drive outside of the Lehigh Valley, PA. Some of the sweetheart ladies on his staff made this little behind-the-scenes video on our filming day:


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Save the Kales! relies on co-producers, camera crew and interns to make each show (a team that has grown over the year and they are my little TV show family!), and now you get to see what some of these guys look like. The Brad’s Raw Foods episode will be on television and online in March. Check it out!

 

 

 

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip Quiche

To learn more about the Save the Kales! half-hour television show, click here. STK! is a vegan cooking + lifestyle show which airs in Pennsylvania, and full episodes are available online.

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Sometimes you just want to indulge, ya know?

This is a (vegan!) quiche inspired by a luscious, creamy spinach artichoke dip. If you need to impress Holiday guests, tofu-fear-mongers, or just want a hearty dinner reminiscent of an old comfort food — we’ve got you covered.

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip Quiche (makes 2)

  • 2 pre-baked vegan pie crusts (*baked about 15 minutes)
  • 1 block firm tofu, water drained
  • 8 oz. vegan cream cheese (one container of Tofutti brand)
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil, to sautee veggies
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 can artichoke hearts (not in oil)
  • 1 bag spinach

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, blend tofu, cream cheese, garlic powder, nutritional yeast and almond milk. Add mixture to a large bowl.

In a pan, sautee the red onion in a little olive oil until soft, about 2-3 minutes. While thats cooking, chop the artichoke hearts into halves or fourths. (Don’t cut too small; you want big chunks of artichoke!) Add to the pan with onion for 1-2 minutes. Rough chop the spinach, unless you’re using baby spinach. Add spinach to the pan and cook at medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes. The spinach will get much smaller in volume once it cooks.

Add the veggies to the creamy mixture, and mix everything well. Pour 1/2 of the mixture into each pie crust. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, and the top of the quiche will start to turn golden-brown.

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip Quiche by Save the Kales!

*I used a pack of two pre-made, frozen vegan pie crusts. Check your freezer section and read ingredients. I pre-baked these for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Do this in the beginning and leave the oven at 350 to bake the assembled quiche.

Save the Kales! makes a vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip Quiche

CAN BE MADE GLUTEN-FREE using a gluten-free pie crust!  One viewer wrote:

“I made two and took one to a Thanksgiving party Wed night and nobody knew it was gluten-free or vegan. In fact, a few ladies asked me for the recipe so gave them your blog address. 

The second one I froze and baked it for brunch today where there were a lot of meat eaters, and the first thing gone was the quiche 🙂 They almost fainted when I told them it was vegan.”

… Hey, now that’s nice to hear.

A little slice of heaven! I mean, Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip Quiche.

You can watch the whole half-hour episode on my Youtube Channel, which includes:

… Watch all half-hour episodes HERE.

.     .     xo     .     .

PRODUCT REVIEW: Sprout Skincare from Brooklyn, NY

Sometimes life hands you something serendipitous.

Only a few weeks after reading about a SPROUT skincare product in a magazine, and being immediately struck by their graphic design and all-natural skincare claims, I got this little goodie bag of products to slather all over myself. And listen up: they are maaaaaarvelous. 

The first thing you’ll notice about all of their items is that the ingredient lists are very small and many are sourced from small, conscious companies in the United States. They are very easy to pronounce and likely contain ingredients you are familiar with.  Examples: almonds, sea salt, rose water, apple cider vinegar.

(If you’re thinking “Yum!” at this point, I will admit to tasting some of the Exfoliant. Just because I could. Yup.)

Next, you’ll notice the products look very clean. Nothing is dyed, full of chemicals to change the texture, rolled in glitter, etc. These are truly the epitome of “all-natural”, and they look and smell (and taste!) like they are supposed to.

But the third, and most important thing? THE PRODUCTS WORK. They work very well. 

I’m a lady who still has occasional breakouts and skin problems, and some Big Skincare Companies I’ve tried in the past literally made my skin bleed. It’s obvious that natural products are better for those of us with problem skin, are concerned about what we put on our bodies, and want to stay vegan/animal-friendly… but with “greenwashing” abound, it’s hard to know who to trust.

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I happily report that SPROUT is trustworthy and effective (and vegan!), like that friend you meet a summer camp who comes into your life to show you how to do your makeup just when you need it most. In fact, a week and a half into using the products without mentioning them, I received an email from someone saying, “Your skin looks great! What products do you use?” No joke.

The Sprout tagline sums it up:

Simplicity is the essence of Awesome.

WHAT I GOT:

Exfoliant – This looks like cookie crumbs. After splashing some water on my face, I pour a little of the powder into my hand, then use my fingers to dab it on my face. I make small circles all over my cheeks, chin and forehead. After a few moments, rinse with clean water. It leaves skin super-soft, without harsh dryness, or like you rubbed course sandpaper all over your face.

Cleanser – Smells light and fresh with a hint of rose. Despite wearing a lot of makeup, I’d squirt some on a cotton ball and go over my whole face. (Sometimes twice if it was a LOT of makeup.) My skin felt clean, not dry or greasy, and redness and occasional acne spots actually improved.

Toner – Nice to use after all that cleaning. It feels like it helps tighten my pores, and never feels chemical-ish like so many other toners.

Lip Balm – YUM! I got cinnamon, which was perfect for the fall. Made with cinnamon oil and coconut oil (and just a couple of other things), it felt so good on my lips, made them soft, and this flavor is perfect for September/October! In case you were wondering, it made kissing extra-delicious. Significant Other approved.

Cream – It’s a lotion/moisturizer/body oil/body butter hybrid, and It. Is. Fantastic. Rub it on your face, put some on your body, and it’s also excellent on your lips. Pretty much just get some and start at the top of your head and put it on everything, all the way down. A tiny dab on your finger goes a long way. If you have 25 different lotions in your bathroom, listen to me: throw them away, and get this one. It will save you money, time, counter space, and be better for your skin.

Save the Kales! readers can shop at a DISCOUNTED PRICE!

I’ve teamed up with Vegan Cuts to offer you 10% off all orders by using the discount code BLOGFRIEND. So start that holiday shopping early, folks. *Discount doesn’t apply to shipping. Expires October 31st. 

– Follow this Link –

You can get all the items I mentioned in the Full Mini-Kit, priced at just $58. With that 10% savings… hey now, that’s a deal!  Thank you SPROUT and VeganCuts. My clean, refreshed face is smiling very big for you.

COAL TOWN: My (vegan) Visit to Scranton, PA: The Fanciful Fox, GreenBeing, and Eden Vegan Cafe

One perk of having a comic for a boyfriend is that he sometimes gets free rooms when he performs out of town – and if I arrange it correctly, I get to go too! I grew up in Wilkes-Barre, PA (Kingston, specifically) which is just a stone’s throw away from Scranton.

Chick’s Diner, Scranton PA

Scranton “The Electric City” is undergoing the same young, creative revitalization that I love about my current home in the Lehigh Valley. Small businesses, music and DIY efforts have continued to pop up all over the city in the past several years.

Beautiful old sign downtown.

But there’s a bonus for vegan-folks: there is a stretch of Adams Ave., downtown, that is a tiny vegan mecca. A record store, next to an all-vegan cafe, next to a tattoo shop with vegan ink, next to a boutique that sells fair-trade items and handmade vegan bath and body products. Who would have thought!? Scranton! Giving Portland a run for it’s money!

We got into town just in time to grab some dinner at Eden – A Vegan Cafe. After running into a friend from Bethlehem (small world, eh?) I took my indecisive brain to the menu board to choose something for dinner. It is such a luxurious novelty to be able to order anything on a menu, as is. I went with a pizza with black olives, spinach and chicken and Ryan got an “Elvis burger” with housemade burger patty, tempeh bacon and cheddar cheese. I don’t know if we stopped to breathe or even chew.

Eden – A Vegan Cafe in Scranton, PA

We went back for lunch the next day and Ryan got a chicken + steak cheesesteak and I had an Italian hoagie. An Italian hoagie! So simple, yet so nostalgic. I remember my elementary school used to do “hoagie sales” (oh, Wilkes-Barre, I love you and your quirks) and it was always the best lunch for a bunch of hungry third graders.  Eating lunch that day was a quiet little moment of connecting to my childhood, through food (a hoagie no less!) near my hometown.

Bonus: The employees and owners are the sweetest potatoes! Incredibly kind and friendly, they help to make the atmosphere welcoming and upbeat.  Ryan hasn’t stopped talking about it, and I can’t wait to go back… Or convince them to open a location in the Lehigh Valley (pretty please with Vegenaise on top!?).

After spending the next morning having lunch with my (super-awesome) Mom, we went back to swim at the hotel, spent a little time flopped across the huge bed reading, and then went back to town.

GreenBeing is a beautiful shop that sells vintage + handmade items. Repurposed accessories, a great selections of men’s and women’s vintage clothes, art, housewares and jewelry can be found here, in addition to some absolutely awesome classes you can take through the shop if you’re a local – anything from screenprinting to bookbinding.

GreenBeing in Scranton, PA

Next door, I got to see a dear friend Amanda, who is co-owner of The Fanciful Fox (along with her sweetheart Mom, Kathie). I met these two at Vegetarian Summerfest 2011 and instantly fell in love with them. Their presence alone is calming yet energizing, and I can honestly say they are two of the kindest, nicest people I’ve ever met.

The Fanciful Fox in Scranton, PA

The Fanciful Fox carries only fair trade and vegan items: gorgeous purses, modern necklaces, coffees and teas, but the real bounty is found in the bath and body products Amanda and Kathie make in-house. Bath fizzies, lotions, candles, linen sprays, bar soaps, shampoo and conditioner… they have a little empire of ethical goodies.

Amanda, Trixie (tiny dog!) and me outside The Fanciful Fox.

… and if you can’t make it Scranton, you can still order from their shop online.

Saturday evening I was contacted by Lisa, a Save the Kales! supporter who has been so incredibly encouraging since we found each other over the last year. Sometimes, out of the blue, just when I’d need it most, I’d get a sweet email from her which would rejuvenate me and get my swirling brain back on track.

Lisa and me. Twins!?

Hercules, the manatee-dog. I think I left a piece of my heart with him.

We hadn’t met in person yet, so I was beyond happy to go to her house and meet her! There, we sat for hours at her table with her husband and all of their wonderful dogs and cats, laughing, talking about ideas for the future, sharing stories, eating nutritional-yeast covered popcorn, plums, and imbibing in homemade wine.  It was a truly lovely evening and I do feel as though I’d known them forever. (Thank you, both.)

I am so full of gratitude for a wonderful weekend reconnecting with friends, family, familiar city streets and new joyful discoveries. If you’re ever in Scranton, I hope you’ll stop by Adams Ave. and say hello to these wonderful people bettering their community and the world through compassion. 

Take-home goodies:

  • Autumn whipped body butter (it smells like October!), and men’s facial serum and beard oil, from The Fanciful Fox
  • Color-blocked bamboo mixing utensils made by The Kitschy Kitchen, from GreenBeing
  • Full bellies from Eden Cafe (not pictured)

Find these places on Facebook: The Fanciful Fox / Greenbeing / Eden – A Vegan Cafe

SAVE THE KALES!: New Half Hour Vegan Cooking/Lifestyle/Travel Show airs in May

Hey. You like watching things, right? Watch this:

Maybe The Law of Attraction is real after all.

Starting in May, Save the Kales! will be airing as a half hour television show of the same name. We’ll be cooking in a beautiful “studio” kitchen. We’ll be traveling to different locations (most in or around the Lehigh Valley) to meet the people and tour the places bringing plant-based food, and  sustainable and healthy living ideas to the masses.

Add in a mix of vintage thrift stores, farmer’s markets, animal sanctuaries, and more… and you get Save the Kales! Show. It will essentially be this blog in television format. 

(Wow. Wow. I still can’t believe it.)

ADG Photography

A new episode will air every month, multiple times a month, on RCN Cable – and be stored in the “On Demand” files so you can tune in any time. We will also air commercials leading up to each new show… which means you could be watching HGTV and see a Save the Kales! commercial. Isn’t that crazy!?

Don’t have RCN cable? Fear not. After a week of airtime, all episodes will go online to live indefinitely. My mother would never allow me to make a show that she wouldn’t be able to view from home. 🙂

(I have spent a lot of time in these last two months worrying about what could go wrong: the inevitable anonymous mean passive aggressive comments, the “She’s not as good of a cook as so-and-so, why does she get this?” speculations, the general vulnerability that comes when you put yourself in a vulnerable place… I was going to write about all of these because I haven’t been able to think about this show without thinking about them.

But for now, I’ll leave them aside. This is too good to tarnish with worry and anxiety. Besides, there is a lesson in everything and even the “bad stuff” can be a great teacher. I continue to learn all the time.)

ADG Photography

And I also have more faith in it now (and in myself, and maybe that was the trickiest hurdle of all). My goal isn’t to pretend I’m the most inventive cook, or the most knowledgable about vegan living and issues…

My goal is: to make this lifestyle accessible to people. Especially those who don’t know anything about it and feel it’s too difficult, overwhelming, or expensive. It’s not any of those things, but I don’t just want to TELL people, I want to SHOW them.

And at the end of each episode, if I can provide some knowledge and ideas for eating delicious plant-based meals on a budget, and hopefully entertain and highlight the people and places doing positive things along the way, it will be a success.

And here’s the best part: In a year from now, we will have so much experience and so many episodes under our belt. Perhaps by then a major network will be willing to pick up a show like this in it’s roster of meat-centric programming. While that’s not my driving force, it would be a very Cinderella-magical outcome.

One thing I’ve learned about trying to imagine the future: you can’t. So work hard, smile, and see what happens.

I don’t know that I’ve ever been more nervous or excited for anything in my whole life. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

–               –               –                  –               –                –              –

It would be impossible to talk about this show without mentioning Matt and Sarah of Lehigh Valley Mirror, my co-producers, directors, camera crew and editors. Lehigh Valley Mirror will also be airing as a half hour show starting in April, featuring independent and creative people and businesses in the LV. 

Matt and Sarah, I could never possibly thank you enough for believing in me to invest your time, skills, and friendship. I’d lasso the moon for you both if I could. You are dreams-come-true to work with. Thank you.

Sick Times call for Instant Soup (That’s not Full of Crap)

I’ve come down with whatever annoying cold 30% of everyone I know has had or currently has. THANKS, GUYS.

That said, I’ve not been cooking as much as I’ve been flopping on various pieces of soft furniture and devouring guilty-pleasure books and library movies I’m too embarrassed to mention. But a lady needs to eat, even if it’s just a cup of soup at 4pm!

Thankfully I had some instant soups left over from Ryan’s MANLY CAMPING/KAYAKING TRIP TO MAINE!!! a few months ago. (He still has a scar from when he “rescued his grandfather from the rapids”. Yes. Ask him to show you.) That was interesting because we had to pack non-perishable vegan food, enough for one week.

Vegan Corn Chowder

This is where this food post is a cop-out: I found these soups in the organic soup section of Wegmans. I simply followed the directions (add water! heat on the stove!), added some cannellini beans for protein and felt like I had done something really fancy when I added some parsley. Woooow.

ANYWAY. I’m posting because if you aren’t already sick but find yourself to be in the future, get a few packs of this soup (the company, Taste Adventure,  has a few other vegan soups as well) so you don’t have to debate running out to the store which would mean you’d have to put on real clothes. 

Taste Adventures brand Corn Chowder

It’s worth mentioning that the corn chowder is only full of whole foods – not a single chemical-sounding thing in it! It also has a thick, creamy texture which makes up the bulk of the soup thanks to dried pea flour.

Nothing glamorous, but hearty and warming on a sick, gray October day.