Category Archives: books

Cookbook Giveaway: Vegan Mexico

vegan-mexicoVegan Heritage Press let me check out their newest cookbook by Jason Wyrick Vegan Mexico Soul-Satisfying Regional Recipes from Tamales to Tostadas. It’s chock-full of authentic Mexican recipes like Moles, Chilaquiles, Abodingas, Atoles, and even baked goods like Bolillos and Sugar Skulls. He also has some fun fusion recipes like Mushroom Crêpes in Poblano Chile Sauce. The book is divided into chapters starting with staples like rice, beans and salsas and then moving on to Street Food, Tacos, Tortas and other Sandwiches, Enchiladas, Tamales, Salads, Soups, Main Dishes, Grilled Fare, Small Bites, Bread, Drinks, and Sweets. You can see the whole table of contents on the Amazon Preview. I made the Frijoles de Olla and turned them into refried beans and I thought they were pretty delicious. I also made the Pumpkin Seed Tomato Salsa which was super easy, creamy and delicious and put it on top of the Northern Mexico Chimichangas (deep fried burritos) I was surprised my Texas friends had never had these before! veganmexicochimmichanga1

I think this would be a great cookbook for someone who cooks a lot and wants to try out Mexican techniques, or someone that knows how to do Mexican food but doesn’t know how to veganize recipes. The recipes always give options for removing oil or using vegetables instead of tempeh or seitan. It would also be great for anyone with a grill, Jason Wyrick clearly loves his. So if that sounds like you or someone you love I’m giving away a copy for my US readers.

12/9 update: Contest Closed thanks for playing!

All you need to do is tell me if you have ever had a chimichanga and if so, when and where? Make sure you put your email in the comment form so I can contact you.

My bff and I used to binge eat them on the last day of Girl Scout camp and then our parents would pick us up and want to take us out to dinner. So then we would eat Chinese food or whatever on top of the chimichangas and spend the rest of the night moaning about being too full. Then we would repeat the entire experience the next summer. It was the best of times.

Pre-order THE TACO CLEANSE cookbook and CHANGE YOUR LIFE

It wasn’t long ago that I was feeling really down. I didn’t know where my life was going or what I was even doing. Some friends and I started experimenting with a new way of life, eating tacos for every meal for a whole month. It was dramatic how much our lives changed for the better. We started selling a zine to document our findings and the word spread all the way to New York City where The Experiment Publishing heard our message and decided to help spread it to the masses. We’ve worked long and hard on expanding the original zine into a full cookbook and now you can pre-order the book and fill your life with eternal joy and never ending splendor. cropped-taco-cleanse-cover

Check out The Taco Cleanse blog for more information, recipes, stories, and other inspiration coming soon.

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter !!!

And Pre-Order the Book! It’s sure to sell out!

GIVEAWAY and Review of Vegan Tacos by Jason Wyrick

If you follow my Instagram than you’ve seen that the last few weeks I’ve been pretty consumed with making vegan tacos. It isn’t the first time I’ve dedicated my life to tacos and, I can tell you, it won’t be the last. I’ve had so much fun and I’ve learned a ton from Jason’s wonderful book Vegan Tacos. I love his infectious enthusiasm for tacos. In fact, when I read the way that he described eating a fresh tortilla for the first time I kind of fell in love with him. He’s a kindred spirit. The book is filled with pictures of him making tacos for his friends and family in his lovely backyard kitchen and you can really see that he wants to spread the gospel that tacos are life, or the best parts anyway.

Vegan Tacos starts with a history of the tacos, including Jason’s own family’s brushes with Mexican culinary legends. He then goes into all the different special ingredients so you can tell your cascabel chile from a habenero and then talks about tools that you might invest in like a comal or a molcajete. Won’t someone out there please get me a molcajete? I have to make my guacamole with a potato masher like some sort of philistine! It then gets into the most important chapter, the tortilla. I’ve long been a tortilla snob at restaurants but for my own taco making my tortilla press was stored on top of the refrigerator and neglected to very special occasion status. I was perfectly happy to get tortillas, still warm mind you, from Fiesta or Central Market. But, with Jason’s encouragement, I’ve gotten into the habit of pressing out tortillas every day. I even broke my old aluminum tortilla press and sprung for the cast iron version. It’s true what he says, the cast iron one presses out much thinner tortillas. Now that it’s habit and I’ve gotten good I can make quite a few in no time. Making your own tortillas makes all the difference in the world and is the only way you will ever get to the perfect taco.

Purple Potato Tacos with roasted Hatch Peppers, Queso Fresco, and Salsa Verde on homemade Corn Tortillas

The next chapter has other essential skills and recipes to elevate your taco making. Jason uses mojo de ajo in most of his recipes and though I had never heard of it before I knew I’d have to make up a batch to fully enjoy the book and I’m glad I did. This garlic and citrus infused oil has made all the difference in sauteing. I love it and it will become a kitchen staple. There are also recipes for pressed seitan, achiote paste, chorizo, and techniques like pan roasting vegetables. Not in this chapter but towards the end of the book with the condiments are some recipes for vegan cheese, a fermented Mexican Crema, Queso Fresco from homemade tofu, and Queso Oaxaca which is a melting cheese based on a Miyoko recipe. Having all of these base recipes and techniques has definitely elevated my taco making and having all these components on hand makes dinner tacos a snap to prepare after work.

Vampire Tacos with Queso Oaxaca

After that we get into the main part of the book, the taco filling recipes starting with Tacos de Asador or “Tacos with fillings charred over an open flame.” I sadly don’t have a grill anymore so I couldn’t fully utilize these but Jason does give directions for cooking them on the stove top or in the oven. You can see my Vampire Tacos above didn’t quite curl up like bat wings without the heat of the grill. I really want to try the Tacos with Smoked Mushrooms, Jalapeño, and Lime from this chapter and the Yucatecan-Style Barbecue so maybe I will just bite the bullet and get a grill.

The next chapter is Tacos de Guisados “Tacos made with stewed fillings” and these tacos made good use of vegetables in recipes like Tacos with Sweet Potato & Chard or Mole Tacos with Seared Zucchini, Wilted Chard, and Pepitas Chard but there are also “meat” heavy recipes like Tacos with Vegan Sausage, Seitan, and Chorizo or the Tacos with Hot Dogs in Tomato Salsa. I made the Tacos with Pintos Borrachos, Poblano Strips, and Queso Fresco except I was out of peppers and I added avocado and green chile peanuts and they were so so easy and delicious. Jason always gives tips to make short cuts in recipes or tips to make them more healthy too.

Next is Tacos de Comal “Tacos made with sautéed fillings.” which are probably the tacos that most non-Mexicans are most familiar with except with vegan spins like Baja-Style Tacos with Lobster Mushrooms and Ten-Minute Seitan Carnitas it also has traditionally vegan tacos made from Cactus (nopales) or Potato and Peppers (rajas) which is what I usually get a Mexican taco stands around Austin that use lard in the beans. I’ve never gotten one with purple potatoes though! It’s pictured up top. Tonight I am going to make Tacos with Huitlacoche and Fresh Corn from this chapter. Jason gives plenty of tips throughout all the sections like how to remove cactus needles or make sure you wash your huitlacoche from its canning liquid if it isn’t fresh. This kind of stuff is so helpful for a newbie and so often left out of cookbooks.

Tacos Dorados “Rolled tacos, fried golden and crisp.” which are more like flautas or taquitos are in the next chapter and I do want to try both the Tacos Dorados with Plantains, Black Beans, and Roasted Garlic and the Tacos Dorados with Squash Blossoms and Potato. The former is one of my favorite non-fried tacos so I can’t imagine how good it will be in dorado form! The latter will have to wait for next spring when squash blossoms are in season. Or maybe I could plant some right now…I could probably harvest the blossoms before the winter.

Then next is Los Otros Tacos “Other tacos in a class by themselves” which include the vegan mainstay they Guacamole taco and a recipe for Michoacan-Style Carnitas which I plan to make this weekend. There is a discussion for the latter of whether seitan or jackfruit make for better vegan carnitas so you can decide which is best for you.

Chapter 10 is Tacos de Canasta “Classic breakfast ‘basket’ tacos, sauced and steamed.” which I had never heard of but sounds super interesting. Basically you dip tortillas in a sauce, stuff them up with the different fillings, fold them, add them into a cooler or crockpot and then layer with caramelized onions and then parchment paper and keep alternating layers until you are all loaded up and can “sweat” the tacos. Whoa! I have to try these the next time I have overnight guests cause what a brunch would those make!

Chile Rellano Tacos

Next Chapter is the kind of breakfast tacos I’m used to, Tacos Mañaneros “Breakfast tacos from both sides of the border.” I tried the Chile Rellano with Hatch Peppers above. They are stuffed with a cream made from toasted pepitas, roasted tomatillos, and garlic but the recipe doesn’t call for the deep fry that I am accustomed too. Somehow they reminded me of the tacos I first had as a young’un at my beloved Jolly Tamale. Next time I’ll deep-fry them though using his tempura batter as suggested.

I also tried the Hash Brown and Black Bean Tacos with Tomatillo Avocado Salsa which were easy peasy since my salsa was already made.

He does have a recipes for tofu scramble too in the Breakfast Tacos with Poblano Strips, Mojo Scramble, and Pinto Beans which sounds delicious and I will surely try that soon.

The next couple of chapters are dessert tacos, think Spicy Cinnamon Tacos with Salted Coconut Cajeta Apples and Agave Crema and then Fusion Tacos but I haven’t tried any from either chapter yet. I don’t think I’m ready for Kimchee tacos YET!

The next section is “Toppings, Sides, and Drinks” which starts with traditional toppings like Taquería-Style Carrots Escabeche and Pickled Red Onions, moves into a whole chapter of salsas, hot sauces, and guacamoles like Toasted Pepita Sun-Dried Tomato Guacamole, and then continues with rice and bean recipes and other sides like Fruit with Chile, Lime, and Salt. And, then ends with a chapter on drinks that includes tons of aqua frescas, a discussion on pairing beer, tequilla, and mezcal, a recipe for a Grilled Lime Margarita with Mesquite Smoked Salt and even ends with a port. I am going to make the Watermelon Cactus Fruit Agua Fresca with Tequila Añejo Shots as soon as I can.

So you can see it’s very comprehensive. I think people who are willing to dive in and take on all the projects are going to get a lot out of this book. I also think that people who haven’t ever had a good taco could really get into this although it might seem a bit overwhelming. I think if they take advantage of the shortcuts and see the substitutions it should be pretty easy to follow though. Jason’s friendly approach and love of tacos really comes across so that should help quite a bit. This book seems terrific for folks on specialty diets as well. It would be easy to omit all the soy out of the recipes, Jason even gives directions for using peanut milk in the homemade tofu for the queso fresco recipe. Omitting gluten should be easy too, all you have to do is use beans for seitan or any of the other ingredients he always recommends like eggplant, mushrooms or sweet potatoes depending on the recipe.  This goes for people following a whole foods based diet or an E2 diet as well. Since Jason started his road to veganism eating a health food diet and co-authored the book 21 Day Weightloss Kickstart with Neal Barnard, MD he has a lot of experience in that area. The only people who might struggle with this book are those unfortunate to not have a well stocked Mexican Market in town. Although there are plenty of substitutions offered I fear it might be really frustrating to not be able to use basic authentic ingredients like poblanos and masa.

So have I sold you yet? Are you worried I’m a shill? I’m not although they did give me a free review copy I am just an extreme lover of tacos! If you aren’t so sure yet here is the recipe for Hominy and Seitan Tacos 
in Roasted Garlic Cascabel Sauce which I made last night.

Hominy and Seitan Tacos 
in Roasted Garlic Cascabel Sauce from Vegan Tacos by Jason Wyrick

Tacos de Pozole y Seitan en Salsa de Chile Cascabel y Ajo Asado

I love using cascabel chiles in this taco for their pure red chile flavor. They are a nice looking chile, so I always put a few on the plate for presentation. The contrasting flavor of the hominy (aka pozole), with the chewier seitan, all work together to make a very rustic-flavored taco. This is one of my favorite taco creations. Make them low-fat by simmering the seitan and hominy in the sauce instead of sautéing in oil. If you don’t want to use seitan, substitute potatoes, zucchini, chayote, mushrooms, or any vegetables that will provide a substantial texture. Just sauté the vegetables at a medium heat long enough to brown them before adding the sauce. You can even use pinto beans (but don’t sauté them).

REGION: CASA DE JASON | HEAT LEVEL: 3 | MAKES 8 TACOS

The Filling (choose either seitan strips or portobellos)

10 cascabel chiles or 4 guajillo chiles

1/2 cup rehydrating liquid (after rehydrating the chiles)

10 cloves garlic, pan-roasted

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 cups seitan strips or 2 portobello mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch thick strips

1 cup cooked, rinsed hominy

8 thick (5 to 6-inch) corn tortillas

Rough Salted Chile Powder

A sprinkle of chopped roasted and salted peanuts per taco

1. Bring a small pot of water to a simmer, add the cascabels, and simmer until soft, about 10 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of the simmering liquid and remove the stems from the chiles. In a blender or food processor, puree the chiles, roasted garlic, reserved simmering liquid, oregano, and salt. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the seitan and sauté until lightly browned, about5 minutes. Add the reserved sauce and hominy and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.

3. Warm the tortillas. Fill them with the seitan hominy mixture and finish them off with a rough salted chile powder to taste and a sprinkle of chopped roasted salted peanuts.

 


THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

If you got to the end of what is probably the longest review I’ve ever written than surely you are interested in winning a copy of Vegan Tacos please have a US address and a valid email that you check and comment below with an answer to this question: An extraterrestrial lands in your backyard and says, “take me to your taco”, what do you do?

 

 

 

Happy August

I’ve been trying to save money for an upcoming trip so I haven’t been eating anywhere interesting. I haven’t even been buying breakfast tacos!  I’ve been focusing on summer produce from the garden and local farms. My tomatoes are dying from the heat now but they were so beautiful this year.

I’ve been making lots of easy tacos

I also made my first ever blueberry cheesecake and I couldn’t believe how good it was. I should make another one this weekend. I wonder if cherries are still around (recipe from Vegan Pie in the Sky)

I’ve also been cooking quite a bit from Vegan Eats World. This Mango Avocado Salad is the perfect summer food

And I grew the most beautiful yellow eggplants. Here they are in a stew with okra, tomatoes, and corn. This recipe is from Herbivoracious. I want to try his seared watermelon this weekend.

I got to go to the beach in Port Aransas. I sure wish I could spend a week there.

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Warmest ocean water ever

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On that same trip we saw the biggest tree in Texas!

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State Champion Coastal Live Oak

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I had to take a million trips to Chicago this year but at the last one I got to see some terrific concerts and all was right with the world.

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Ready to hop back on tour #pagesiderageside

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Now that it’s August I’m just trying to make it through the dog days. Hopefully with lots of toobin’ trips

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Getting ready to tube our troubles away

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And of course, the best way to stay cool.

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I'm going to drink all of these…

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I think it might be time to bust out my kiddie pool.

GIVEAWAY and review for Vegan Finger Foods

Recently I was contacted by Tamasin Noyes and Celine Steen about receiving a review copy of their new book Vegan Finger Foods and doing a giveaway as well. I excitedly agreed. I love the recipes I’ve tried from their earlier Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day and Tami’s American Vegan Kitchen. With a bakesale and baby shower coming up I knew that I’d get a lot of opportunities to try out recipes.

Upon cracking the book open the first thing I noticed was all the lovely photos take by Celine and the very modern ideas. I had a hard time deciding what I would try because so many different recipes were appealing. I think the recipes in this book would appeal to all the different kinds of vegan diets out there. There are recipes that feature whole foods, are soy free, soy heavy, gluten free, bread based, raw, baked, complicated, easy, cupcake heavy, sugar free, comfort food, or chocolate based.

The first chapter is a short primer on finger foods and any types of special ingredients they use. Then it goes into “Veggie-Centric Finger Feasts” with recipes like “Kale Cucumber Cups” and “Snacking Chickpeas” these were all vegetable heavy and on the easier side. Next was “Stuffed and Dipped” with recipes like “Sauerkraut Stuffed Seitan Rounds” and “Baked Buffalo Tofu Bites” which I think most excited me. Then “Bread-Based Bites with recipes like “Pull Apart Pesto Bread” and “Spinach Swirls with Quicky Marinara” and finally “Sweet Little Somethings which includes recipes like “Creamsicle Ice Lollies” and “Goji Berry Cacao Bites”.

The first recipe I tried was the Tahini Caramel Popcorn. The first batch came together like magic. The second batch went awry when I dropped my fork into the caramel and then tried to retrieve it with my fingers. I learned that you NEVER put your fingers in hot caramel, it sticks right to your skin and burns burns burns. So, while I  was dealing with that, I wasn’t stirring and  the caramel cooked too long. Also, I think because of the humidity here I had trouble with the caramel really solidifying because the popcorn never became rock hard until I tried putting it in the fridge. So, I ended up selling them as Tahini Caramel Popcorn Balls at the bakesale. They were a hit! The tahini really added an interesting element. My friends that tried them loved them and they are GF so a perfect bakesale treat.

The one recipe that kept calling my name every time I flipped through the book was the Nacho Potato Skins. I found this recipe a bit overly complicated for me, like instead of calling for a small chopped onion they call for something like a half a cup of finely chopped onion. I know most folks prefer this kind of precision but for me, in something like a black bean salad, I just want it to be super simple. But then, I also thought the step of coating the potatoes with adobo and then crisping them again seemed like an unnecessary step but I am so glad I didn’t skip it. Just that little bit of flavor and crispness made the recipe for me. We used big russet potatoes and had one each for dinner. Dan couldn’t believe I ate mine with my hands but I told him it was a Vegan Finger Food! They were totally delicious and hit that junk food note even though they were, dare I say, healthy nacho potato skins using fresh vegetables, beans, and homemade vegan queso. They were very fresh tasting and had lots of flavor, I loved them.

Next, I had to decide which recipes to use for a taco themed baby shower. I wanted things I could mostly make ahead of time but that would go with the overall menu. I knew that my guest of honor is way into jalapeno poppers so these were definitely in from the start. Actually, this recipe probably turned out to be my favorite from the book and I would definitely make it again. I even used their tip of using gloves when dealing with the jalapenos (whenever I’m doing a cookbook review I try to actually follow all the directions). Somehow, I had never used gloves before. As an incredibly lazy person I always thought it was easier to be super careful when de-seeding hot peppers than to find some gloves. Boy, was I wrong. With gloves you can go a thousand times faster. And you are probably a lot less likely to touch your eyes (or other sensitive areas) with gloves on accidentally. For this recipe you hollow out the jalapenos, make a cashew cheese, plop a tablespoon of it in each jalapeno half, and then invert it onto a plate of panko and cornflakes, and bake them in the oven. They had all the crunchy cheesiness of traditional poppers without having to deep fry or use cheese. And they were super easy. A total win.

Finally, I decided to also make the Baked Lenteja Taquitos instead of the Pulled Jackfruit Mini Tacos because I figured that growing baby would need some extra protein. These seemed super easy; you cook up french lentils and then mix them with some mashed potatoes and spices, roll the filling in tortillas, and then bake them in the oven. When shopping at Fiesta I came across their homemade corn tortillas that were nopale flavored so I kind of had to try them. They did not work well at all in this recipe, however. I think fresh flour tortillas or even store-bought corn tortillas would have held up much better in the rolling process. They tasted good though! And they were crowd-pleasers as well.

There are still many recipes I want to try! The Brewpub Cauliflower Dip, Tiny Tomato Pies, and the Portobello BLTs are all going to be coming out of my kitchen sooner rather than later. And if you are worried about getting the book because you don’t entertain, never fear! Many of the recipes can easily be scaled up for dinner (like those BLTs) or used as side dishes like the Green Beans Jalfrezi. It also seems like a GREAT book for coming up with things to bring to a potluck, and God knows, if you’re vegan you have to go to potlucks all the time. They back section of the book has sample menus like “Hot Summer Nights” and “Extra Easy Entertaining”. You can check them all out on the Amazon Preivew. I really do think this book has something for everyone. I think some vegan millionaire should buy a ton of copies and send this book to every bar because bars here never have interesting vegan options. 

Giveaway Closed!

If you would like to win a copy please comment below and answer this question: If someone was throwing a party for you, what would you want on the menu? Make sure you add your email when you leave the comment in the form so that I can contact you if you are the winner!

Win a copy of “Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day”

Vegan sandwiches from shitty restaurants can really make you kind of disappointed by sandwiches. If you are lucky, they will have the standard hummus sandwich or veggie burger, otherwise you can sometimes order a PB&J off the kids menu. If not that, you are stuck with the worst sandwich in the world; the condiment sandwich aka the “veggie sandwich”. Sorry but lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, ketchup, and mustard does not a sandwich make. If you grew up eating tons of sandwiches, like I did in the old USA this can be very disappointing. Don’t you wish someone would come and solve this nightmare problem? And that there was someone who could restore their former glory? This book is called “Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day” but really I think Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes are the ones who deserve the superhero status. They sent me a copy of their new cookbook for their book tour and I am so happy they did! My boyfriend is even happier since he was begging me to get a copy of the book the week that it came out. And he couldn’t care less about cookbooks usually. (yeah I don’t get that either) He loves sandwiches so much that I recently smuggled him one from Illinois across four state lines so he was very excited about this one.

This book has all the old favorites like, the Dagwood, the BLT, and the Fishwich. It has veganized American classics like the Country Sausage & Biscuit or the a KFC knockoff. It has international sandwiches like a Shwarma, a Bahn Mi, the Welsh Rarebit, Bierocks, or From Russia with Love, They have breakfast sandwiches like Mexican Chick-Un and Waffles and Berry Stuffed French Toast Pockets. They even have dessert sandwiches like an open-face Bananas Foster cake sandwich or a chocolate panini. They have also come up with all sorts of combinations that only a couple of awesome vegans could create like, Tofu Pomegranate Pockets, Onion Ring Ranchocado, or the Mac-Shroom. And if you have no idea what any of these should actually look, never fear, like there are tons of glorious pictures throughout. Nearly every sandwich has a mouthwatering shot.

The last chapter contains everything you need to really get down with making homemade sandwiches with several different amazing sounding seitan recipes to make your own cold cuts from, recipes for rolls and even a brioche, and then tons of spreads and condiments that you could use to enhance any old sandwich. There is also a great index and little symbols telling you if a sandwich is potentially gluten free, if it’s quick to make, or keeps well to bring to work. And speaking of preparing ahead, there is a whole section on how to pack up sandwiches so that you won’t have soggy bread and tips on each sandwich throughout.

I have a sandwich that I brought to work today and I’m so excited to eat it. I had a really hard time deciding which one to make, but in the end I went for the one that sounded really easy, the Peanut Butter Bacon Banana Sandwich. Filling in for the pig so he could live another day is a really well put together recipe for broiled smoky chickpeas that I absolutely loved and feel I will be making all the time. 

When I was assembling the sandwich I thought those chickpeas would be flying everywhere but we just had a few men overboard, most of them clung to the chunky peanut butter and just ripened bananas. I did make one mistake since the recipe called for soft rolls. I didn’t want to make anything and thought that these dinner rolls I found at Whole Foods would work fine, but they didn’t squish down at all when I fried them up. They were, in fact, hard rolls. A better sub would have been hamburger rolls. They were delicious though, even though we had a hearty soup on the side Dan was already fixing his second sandwich before I had even sat down to eat mine. All the flavors came together beautifully.

This is the perfect book for vegans that like really exciting food and recreations of old favorites. It does call for some ingredients that you wouldn’t find at any old store but it definitely doesn’t rely on grocery store vegan meats and cheeses, there are recipes included for those to make your own. And although their are some great sounding healthy options, some recipes call for a good old fashioned deep fat fry. There is definitely something for everyone.

CONTEST CLOSED KZ Cakes is the winner! Her comment was “Okay this is really gross, and un-vegan but when I was little I used to make what was called “Special Sandwiches” which were white bread, both halves slathered in Miracle Whip and filled with cheeze puffs. Ew right? I don’t even remotely want to veganize it.” eww indeed. And hilarious.

Do you want to make glorious sandwiches too? Just comment below and let me know what your favorite sandwich was growing up. Bonus points if it is a concoction you came up with yourself or if it’s a regional favorite. And if you can’t think of one tell me the worst vegan sandwich you ever had at a restaurant. I know you can do that. You have until 11-2-12 to leave a comment.

 

All I want for Christmas is you….NOT

God I love a good “not” joke. In my mind I live in a world where Wayne’s World just came out a couple years ago and the year 2011 still seems like the future. But the future is now and Christmas is coming, so here is my annual gift guide. This really sprung from a “things I wish people would buy me” post but the people in my life do not tend to buy me presents from the internet. So maybe your family will. Or maybe you just want to buy yourself something from independent artists or for the vegans in your life. Either way, it is one of my most favorite posts to do.

For vegans especially it is really nice to get gifts that go to a good cause so may I first suggest the Sunny Days in Texas which helps a farm animal sanctuary and was put together by myself and a bunch of awesome folks here in Texas.Or the Hungry Monkey Vegan Cookzine which I just got the other day and benefits rescued lab monkeys!

I really really want the Beagle Freedom Project 2012 calendar, because they are doing amazing work freeing beagles from animal testing operations and they are doing such a great job raising awareness of the issue. And I love beagles like crazy.

Another great gift idea that supports trap and neuter programs for feral cats is the Teal Cat Project, which reclaims or I guess claims old cat tchotkes and makes them beautiful. They are out of cats this second but more are surely on the way and they have cute T-shirts and other items. 

If you’d like to support a wonderful vegan artisan and know someone who longs for the days of Mystery Science Theater 3000 check out this awesomest of awesome Tom Servo Apron. Panda With Cookiehas the cutest stuff on ety including moose onesieis, tofu pirate pillows, and even personalized cat ornaments made to order!

Panda With Cookie also teamed up this year with Food For Lovers, aka the makers of the most addictive and greatest queso in the world to make a little gift set that includes a little felt ornament or a queso cozy (soooo cute)Another one of my favorite crafty vegans, my zoetrope had the cutest paintings, pins, plushes, and even a 12 month wall calendar on sale it her shop. I ❤ the space dachshund!

If you know someone who is always cold Treewool could change their life for the better! Headbands, scarves, hats and even an ear warmer are all on sale inside her shop and it’s all vegan and handmade.

A lot of vegans are big Buffy nerds and most of them would be stoked to find these Yummy Sushi Pajamas so that they too can make rousing speeches while wearing them.

Or maybe the vegan in your life is a Star Wars nerd, if so they will probably love you for the rest of your life if you get them this R2-D2 planetarium. You can watch the stars while listening the John Williams soundtrack!

Or maybe your vegan is that other kind of nerd that has fantisized about wearing an original Star Trek uniform her whole life. Here is an etsy seller who will make them to order!

Or maybe you want to wear it for that special someone which could lead to needing these next Christmas.

Or if you know more of a general nerd baby, not necessarily star trek, then perhaps this narwhal plush is the way to go. 

Other gifts that your friend might like, or maybe your friendly neighborhood hippie is this amazing mushroom growing kit which has everything you need to get started.

This kitchen tape timer is another great idea for the person in your life who maybe would be classified as a kitchen nerd. Or a foodie or whatever. 

This robot tea infuser is the perfect gift for the tea drinker who is anti-lace and pretty flowers but pro robot and stainless steel.

Or maybe you know someone who loves mushrooms, woodland scenes or terrariums, or all of the above! You could buy this super cool one on etsy or you could probably make one yourself for a few dollars and googling “moss terrarium” 

It is a fact that most vegans love cookbooks and a lot of us have a TON so if you are buying one for Christmas, be on the safe side and get them one that came out in the last couple months like Vegan Pie in the Sky (maybe they will make you a pie)

Or the nice glossy Candle 79 (maybe they will make you seitan piccata)

Or if they want to learn to grow their own food or flowers I highly recommend Garden Anywhere

A fantastic idea for the child in your life it “A Christmas Horse Named Cairo”  It’s about Cairo, the Palomino who was rescued last December, and told thru the eyes and voice of Brooke’s youngest, Gracie, age 5. Sunny Day Farms receives all the profit.

If you still have no idea because the only thing you know about this person is that they are vegan it’s hard to go wrong with Rescue Chocolate, who donate money to animal rescue organizations

Or if the only thing you know about them is that they stink, a nice Lush gift box will make them very happy, make sure to get one with the V symbol.

Don’t forget to that your four legged friend needs to feel love this holiday season as well, check out these adorable pet bowls, that are nice and elevated so your friend won’t have to struggle to eat. 

Or if your cat is scratching up the place might I recommend this turntable for him to try. 

Finally, if you know a human out there who wants to ROCK check out the Monster Ballads Xmas. 

And if you really do want to get me something check out my pinterest board. You will learn that I really like blue and orange.