St. Patrick’s Day 2012

As I mentioned in my last Friday Snippets post, we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day this year, though usually we don’t! We didn’t do the traditional go to an Irish pub/drink green beer/get lots of whiskey route, but rather were invited to a family gathering across the Narrows Bridge. As the boyfriend’s mom is vegan (and gluten-free), we thankfully know that whenever there’s a family gathering, there will always be food for us to eat.

I didn’t take too many pictures, so here are a few that I shot throughout the evening:

This was taken during our trip over to the aunt’s house. I posted this to Instagram with the caption: “good ol’ unincorporated Pierce County.” It’s true, when it’s not crazy snowy/power lines aren’t going out, it’s a beautiful place! Views like this are why I love living in Washington state.

Here’s a set up of the table before other dishes were laid out, (aka, meat). I thought the green decorations were adorable.

The bf’s mom made the Gluten-Free Goddess’ gluten-free Irish Soda Bread and it was amazing! She left out the currants and caraway seeds, but it definitely didn’t affect how well this turned out. If you’re ever looking for a dependable gluten-free bread recipe to make on St. Patrick’s Day or any day of the year really, try this one. All of this bread was gone in a flash!

And lastly, here’s my plate which consisted of (clockwise starting from the top): Sauteed green cabbage in a white wine mustard butter sauce, gluten-free Irish soda bread slice, carrots and parsnips and baby red potatoes.

And not pictured: the awesome gluten-free peppermint brownies that I contributed, that were made from dun dun dun…a box! I know, I know, but I was running really low on time and really am not so well versed in the world of gluten-free baking yet. I thought I’d give Cherrybrook Kitchen’s Gluten Free Fudge Brownie a try, and they came out perfectly. I added 1/2 tsp. of peppermint extract and it provided just the right punch of flavor. I highly recommend it for anyone else out there who needs to bring a gluten-free dish to a gathering and/or is also short on time, (no one will ever know they came from a box!).

Said brownies were pretty much all gone at the end of the night as we nibbled on them/kept going back for seconds, etc. as we played Phase 10 throughout the night.

Did you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year? If so, what delicious vegan dishes did you make/enjoy?

Friday Snippets – St. Paddy’s Day edition

Hello and happy Friday, friends!

The Internet has been rife with Friday Snippets fodder this week, so I won’t hold back any longer. Here are some cool things I read/found online this week that you may have missed, many of which just happen to be related to a certain Irish holiday coming up tomorrow:

Me, Katie, Becca, Taylor, and Brit hanging out at the Gala during the inaugural Vida Vegan Con.

- After sitting on pins and needles for what seemed like eons this week, the three brainy vegan babes behind the Vida Vegan Conference (VVC) decided where the next conference will take place: VVC 2013 will be in Portland again (yay!) and VVC 2014 will be in Chicago, (woo!). I was honestly hoping for Chicago, but this is the best of both worlds, as now I can attend 2013 just by driving down I-5 and I can finally experience Chicago in all its glory for the first time with tons of other vegans. More details will be announced in the coming weeks, so be sure to “like” the Con on Facebook.

O’Hara’s Celtic stout. Photo by Helen of Vegtastic.

- St. Patrick’s Day is tomorrow! Do you all celebrate? I was much more inclined to in college, (then again, who wasn’t?!) but this year has me waxing nostalgic on some fun times I had on the holiday in the past. Thankfully I’m getting together with family tomorrow eve for a big dinner and lots of Irish beer no doubt, and will be making some sort of vegan, gluten-free dessert to share. In case you’re looking for help on what to make for your own party, check out these great resources: Helen of Vegtastic put together a great list of vegan-friendly Irish beers; VegNews posted a whole menu of Irish delights to help you out; and the Family Kitchen on Babble posted a recipe for a vegan Shamrock Shake! I can’t remember the last time I had one, but they used to be a family tradition growing up. Maybe it’s high time I brought them back, cruelty-free style.

Gorgeous Black Bean Soup photo by Cat of The Verdant Life.

- As I recently purchased a new laptop, I’ve been doing some cleaning up of photos and organizing things related to the blog behind the scenes. One thing that I noticed immediately is how many soup-related posts I’ve written! I have no shame about this fact and honestly can’t help it – fall and winter and sometimes most of spring in the Pacific Northwest qualifies as soup weather, and thus I make and eat a lot of it. My friend Cat of The Verdant Life totally gets my soup appreciation and love, and shared some of her thoughts on just why it’s so amazing in a post this week. Go on, read it. I promise it’ll make you want to cook up a batch to eat for the next few days.

Silly fun times at Blubeard Coffee. Photo courtesy Tacoma Cash Mob Facebook page.

- There are so many great things about Tacoma, and one of them is the fact that its residents love to support each other and their businesses. A few days ago I saw chatter of a Tacoma Cash Mob on Twitter, and then it mysteriously jumped onto Facebook as well. Tacoma evangelist Katy Evans is one of the individuals started the project locally and it really seems to be taking off! According to a Tacoma KOMO story on the local movement, a cash mob is: “groups of strangers who descend on beloved independent retailers—bookstores, bakeries, wine shops—and spend at least $20 each.” The Tacoma Cash Mob Facebook page has created an impressive list of local businesses, and locals can “vote” for the next business that is to be descended upon by “liking” photos of their favorites. Many vegan-friendly spots are represented including Corina Bakery, Pho King and Bluebeard Coffee, as well as non-food businesses such as King’s Books and Orange on 6th Vintage. If you love supporting local Tacoma businesses too, check out the page and “like” your favorites, and keep up with happenings to see when the mobs will be scheduled.

I am going to go figure out what I’m going to bake for tomorrow now. Have a grand weekend, all!

Tacoma/South Sound Vegan Holiday Gift Guide – 2011

If you’re like me, you probably feel as though December came up way too fast this year. If you’re also like me, you’re attempting to make your holiday shopping more focused on locally-created and sold products and goods. If you’re still on the hunt for gift ideas for your favorite vegan that can be found in the South Sound, you’ve come to the right place.

I’ve created the Tacoma/South Sound Vegan Holiday Gift Guide in order to help out those of you who on the hunt for cool, unique and interesting gifts that can be found in town and that do not harm animals. I hope some of these ideas help you find gifts for the people you hold dear, vegan or not.

Price key: up to $25 = $, $50 and below = $$, $75 and below = $$$, $100 or more = $$$$

A few notes: All photos are mine, unless otherwise noted, (in that case, they’re from the companies/creators). These items are not all from vegan stores and are not all made in Tacoma, but rather all ARE vegan and are all sold locally. I personally own many of these items and support these companies, but I was not given any of the items, and was also not compensated by companies or asked to put any items on this list. I’m also a member, volunteer and newly elected board member of the Tacoma Food Co-op. Okay, now that that’s out of the way, here you go!

My summer toes, thanks to Girl Talk.

A mani/pedi (or both!) from Girl Talk
I have a feeling that many local vegans don’t know about the wonder that is Girl Talk Salon. No, not the band, (though they’re awesome, too), Girl Talk is a one-woman nail show located on 6th Ave., in the salon located directly next to Valhalla Coffee Co. Owner Stephanie is vegan herself, and makes the scrubs, lotions and bath fizzies that she uses for nail treatments. She also uses cruelty-free polishes, will give you a tarot reading for fun if you like, and is one of the sweetest women in the city. I won’t let anyone else touch my toes. Info. $$-$$$ (if both)

Slice of pumpkin cake from Corina.

Sweets and coffee

I think you guys should all know by now how wonderful I think Corina Bakery is by now. They make vegan pumpkin loaves, chocolate chip, peanut butter and quinoa cookies, NRG bars, cupcakes, cakes, pies and specialty items by request. Down south, if you’ve ever had a vegan cupcake, muffin or cookie in an Olympia cafe, chances are it was from The Bearded Lady Food Co.  In addition to traditional treats, they sell full-sized tarts, tortes and cheesecakes, which are rare, decadent treats for us ’round these parts. Why not grab a nice selection of baked goods and a promise to come over and catch up and share the bounty? Add in a pound or two of beans from Bluebeard or Valhalla in Tacoma, or Olympia Coffee Co. or Batdorf and Bronson in Oly,  and you’ll have one happy friend. Corina, Valhalla, Bluebeard, Bearded Lady, Oly Coffee, Batdorf. $

Nurture Botanicals personal care products from Oly Vegan

I stopped into Olympia’s new all-vegan lifestyle shop this weekend in anticipation of creating this guide. The shop has tons of great gift items, and I’ll highlight a few. One was the array of herb and essential oil-infused personal care items from Nurture Botanicals. A few great gift items that stood out from this line: Skin Detox Soaking Salts, (above),  natural laundry soap, and peppermint lip butter. Perfect for the aromatherapy obsessed individual in your life.  Info. $-$$

A rockin' raw salad (and juice) from Amerawcan Bistro.

Gift cards to Tacoma’s and Olympia’s vegan and vegetarian eateries

The way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach, (you can quote me on that). While some may be cutting back on their dining out budgets these days, a gift certificate to a local restaurant will allow your friends or family the chance to get out on the town, have a date night, enjoy time on their own or gather with other friends and enjoy delicious food or drink. Tacoma’s only all-vegan cafe Quickie Too, vegetarian and vegan-friendly Caffe Dei and the nearly all raw/vegan Amerawcan Bistro are all excellent choices. For those in further South Sound, the greasy diner with a heart for vegans, Darby’s, vegan-friendly with excellent cocktails to boot, Quality Burrito, and Lacey’s nearly all-vegan Asian fusion spot Tofu Hut are all great bets. Quickie, Caffe Dei, Amerawcan Bistro, Darby’s, QB, Tofu Hut. $-$$

Courtesy of A Scent of Scandal Candles.

A Scent of Scandal Candles from Oly Vegan

Who doesn’t need another great smelling candle in their home or office? A Scent of Scandal 100% soy wax candles come in a variety of scents, burn for 30-35 hours and Oly Vegan had some great seasonal offerings available in the shop, including: Ho Ho Homo, (fruitcake scented, hehe), Santa’s Pole (candy cane) and Challahback Girl, (challah bread). I grabbed an earthy Morning Wood (sandalwood) scented one for myself. Info. $

This was shot during the Vegan Bake Sale we held for Precious Life Animal Sanctuary back in May. Photo by Lisa Patton.

Vegan Cookbooks from King’s Books

Have a friend or family member who’s considering transitioning to veganism, or has been vegan for sometime but could always use a new cookbook or few? Head on over to King’s Books and pick up a copy of “Veganomicon” by vegan cookbook queen Isa Chandra Moskowitz, the ultimate guide to starting out as a vegan, “Becoming Vegan” by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina or  Jonathan Safran-Foer’s “Eating Animals.” You can never go wrong with vegan books/cookbooks. Info. $

Photo courtesy of Libertine Tacoma

Libertine Tacoma salts

What gift do you get for the vegan who has everything? Culinary, one-of-a-kind salt blends, of course! Libertine Tacoma creates gourmet, handcrafted salt blends packaged in re-purposed scientific flasks and beakers, (love), in a variety of flavors such as Chipotle, Balinese Blend, Alderwood Smoked, and Trifecta, a naturally purple tinted salt. Don’t be fooled by some of the titles or suggestions for these salts: just because they’re recommended to be used with fish or meats does not mean they’re not vegan. I recently picked up a blend at the Tacoma Artist Craft Fair, and I’m finding the uses for it are seemingly endless. Grab a few as a main gift or grab a couple as stocking stuffers. Info. $-$$

Alchemy Goods Laptop sleeve from Marlene’s Market

For the person who’s uber plugged in and constantly click-clacking away at their laptop, why not grab them a cool, recycled from old bike tubes sleeve for their most prized possession? You know their old one is beat up anyway. For the non-label donning or not into designer goods set, these minimalistic bags will fulfill their intended purpose and be nice to the environment, all without being loud about it. Info. $$

 

Photo courtesy of the Tacoma Food Co-op

Tacoma Food Co-op membership

For the ultimate in green, local and vegan-friendly gift giving this holiday season, consider giving a Tacoma Food Co-op membership to the foodie and/or diehard Tacoma lover in your life. Lifetime membership at the co-op is a flat $100, and for that members get special discounts, become part of their greater cooperative community, and leave the store with a fuzzy feeling, knowing full well that their dollars stay in Tacoma and support local farmers and businesses. How wonderful is that? If you’re not able to gift a membership but still want to support the co-op in your giving this year, consider giving a gift card in any amount, a co-op t-shirt, bumper sticker or grocery bag, (pictured above). If your loved ones are supporters, these are great ways for them to show their co-op love. Info. $-$$$$

Jenny Macc purse from Oly Vegan

Sassy and handmade with lovely attention to detail, a new bag from Jenny Macc via Oly Vegan is the perfect gift for your mom, aunt, grandma, sister, cousin…you get the idea. Cruelty-free and fashionable purses and bags can sometimes be hard to find if not searching online, but thankfully Oly Vegan has started working with this fabulous creator and will continue offering them up to South Sound residents at competitive prices. There are a ton of styles and sizes in the store, so go check them out, before they’re gone! Info. $-$$

I will be visiting family and friends, (and eating at tons of my favorite vegan restaurants) soon, so I’d like to wish you all Happy Holidays before then! Thank you all for your support of Vegan Moxie since it launched earlier this year in March, and I’m looking forward to more posts and South Sound vegan love in 2012, (if we’re all still alive)!

Thanksgiving 2011

This Thanksgiving, (or Thanksliving, Tofurky Day, or any other name you prefer!) was my 6th vegan celebration, and I believe it was the best one yet. The boy and I decided to be adult-like and do our own celebration sans family/friends, and it was a really nice feeling to not have to worry about messing up the gravy or pleasing the omnivores.

The main Thanksgiving dish is always the one that I dread and contemplate much longer than any part of the meal. My first year as a vegan, I went the stereotypical route with my first Tofurky Roast that I took to my grandma’s for our annual dinner at her house. I made the roast, vegan mashed potatoes and brought a vegan pie, and the family thankfully veganized some of the vegetable sides. My grandma surprisingly LOVED the Tofurky, which only reaffirmed how much she rules.

When in doubt, Tofurky it up. (Courtesy Tofurky.com).

The next year I made a lentil loaf (it was just fine), and the year after it was a chickpea and vegetable filling stuffed puffed pastry dish (total disaster – and was the catalyst of my current puff pastry fears). The next holiday it was a tofu and veggie quiche type dish made by the bf’s mom (delicious!) and last year’s plans were totally derailed due to Mother Nature killing electricity in a county nearby, so we ran out day of for a, (wait for it…) Tofurky roast again. And it was delicious again! But this year, I knew I wanted to try something else, but also didn’t want to worry too much about the main as I knew I was going to go all out in prepping the dessert.

Over in the Twitterverse, I saw @Tofu_Mom – aka Marti or the author or Vegan Food; More Than Tofu and Sprouts discussing a new product I’d never heard of: the Field Roast Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute. It just sounds so fancy, right?

Courtesy: FieldRoast.com

It’s essentially a Field Roast sausage, hazelnut, cranberry and ginger stuffing filled loaf wrapped in flaky, (impeccably executed) puff pastry. Once she described it, I knew I had to try it. And the next day, my wish was granted: Henri, the General Manager of the Tacoma Food Co-op sent me an email that consisted of a picture of the box and said, “we have these in the store now! And they’re yummy!” So I naturally ran over and picked one up.

Apologies for the lighting making it appear not cooked, but it was indeed. We served ours with roasted carrots, onions and butternut squash, along with ample gravy for smothering.

Thanksgiving is not Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes in my book. Here they are, being lovingly mashed and seasoned with Earth Balance and fresh rosemary and thyme.

The ubiquitous (at least on this blog), roasted Brussels. In recent years I’ve decided that Thanksgiving can’t happen without them, too.

As I mentioned before, this year I knew I was going to get my hands dirty with dessert, and dirty them up I did. I busted out my brand new copy of Vegan Pie In The Sky and when I saw the Sweet Potato Brazil Nut Crunch Pie recipe, I knew it’d be perfect for our T-day dinner. We love sweet potatoes and Brazil nuts, so clearly this was a win-win. I was a little worried as I hadn’t made a pie crust from scratch in years, but despite not being perfect looking, it still tasted phenomenal. Here it is after the first round in the over, pre-topping:

And here’s the after. The flavor of this pie is sublime, as it combines creamy cool sweet potatoes with island-inspired lime, coconut milk, rum and brown sugar with warm and rich Brazil nuts. You can’t taste it, but this recipe was a huge hit. If you have the book, I highly suggest making it soon.

And here’s the whole gang, in all their Instagrammed glory. From top going clockwise: The White Bean and Kale recipe from Yellow Rose Recipes, (a tradition of ours since last year – I could fill a plate with it), mashed potatoes and gravy, Field Roast slice, roasted veggies, Brussels and lazy woman’s stuffing.

And last but not least, the pie money shot. When paired with Rushmore on Blu-ray (pushes glasses back) , it was the perfect ending to a lovely Thanksgiving. And pie was enjoyed for many, many days to follow.

 Hope all of you had wonderful Thanksgivings! Did you try a new vegan recipe this year that was a standout on your holiday table?