Feature Friday: Vegan Cuts November Beauty Box

The time has come. The time to release the Kraken!!! No, not really. Krakens are scary, but I bet they make great snugglers… I digress.

Over the last 2 months, we’ve been hard at work making 3000 bars of soap for the beautiful and wonderful subscribers of the Vegan Cuts Beauty Box. Yes, you read that correctly – 3000 bars of soap

We were approached by Vegan Cuts earlier in the year and at first we were apprehensive to commit to such a large undertaking. After all, we’re just 2 people and 3000 is a big, BIG, number. But how do we say no to Vegan Cuts and deprive our fellow vegans of our awesome & ethically vegan soap? Well… clearly, we didn’t say no.

So, for the last 2 months, Matt and I have had numerous hot dates: in our kitchen or dining room making, prepping, wrapping, and packing soap. Being the superstitious Irish girl that I am, I didn’t want to share this super exciting news until it was a done deal & out the door to the Vegan Cuts subscribers. Here are a few pictures from the process:

vegan cuts soap

Freshly cut soap ready to cure

Soap Curing

Soap curing on the rack

vegan soap

Heat Shrinking is a go!

vegan soap

Ready to label!

Nestled in together ready for packing

Nestled in together ready for packing

vegan cuts

Ready to send to Vegan Cuts! We did this 15 more times!

vegan cuts

Handcrafted vegan soap made by just 2 people for all the Vegan Cuts subscribers!

After all that, we’re going to take a nap. Much love & peace to Vegan Cuts – some of the most awesome folks we’ve worked with.

 

 

Veganly Yours,

Megan

Let’s Talk about Katherine Heigl….

My guilty pleasure is the “Entertainment” section on Google News. Sure, I check the world & US news – I pretend to have some culture about me, but I love the celeb news. That being said, I do not enjoy gossip. I like to know about new TV shows, movies, Oscar praise, and up & coming actors, but I don’t read about the Kardashians (why are they in my news feed anyway?) and I certainly don’t partake in any celeb nudie photo shenanigans.

Katherine Heigl

But for real… Let’s talk about Katherine Heigl for just a minute. I don’t pretend to know all the details about her reputation in Hollywood or anything about what happened with Grey’s Anatomy, but lately I’ve seen stories about her being a “bitch” and a “diva” to work with. Recently, I saw an article where she apologized for people getting the wrong impression of her. Why is she apologizing for other people’s misinterpretation of her?

 

Here’s my issue:

 

In a world of female empowerment and #BanBossy campaigns, why can’t women speak their minds about what they want & need to be successful? Unfortunately, in our society, it’s all too common for a woman to be labeled these things because she knows what she wants and won’t play games to get there. When a woman speaks her mind and it’s unpleasant subject matter, (i.e. – wanting a raise at work, not getting desired results from employees, demanding to be treated with respect in a relationship), she’s instantly labeled as a “bitch.” Or you get someone like Beyonce or Ariana Grande who knows what she wants, knows what it will take to get there, and demands nothing but the best from herself and those around her… well, she gets labeled as a “diva.”

 

How is this fair? How are we, as women, going to get equality with men (equal pay, better maternity/paternity programs a la Sweden, etc.) when women are willing to attack and label other women for being strong an outspoken? Because Katherine Heigl demanded more of herself, her writers, and her fellow cast while on the set of Grey’s Anatomy, she got labeled as a “difficult-to-work-with-bitch.” Just because something is unpleasant to hear – and sometimes deal with – does not make the subject matter any less true or relevant.

 

To my ladies: don’t stop yourself from speaking your mind. Speak your mind respectfully, but truthfully. To my gents (and ladies): don’t label women as crazy, bitches, or divas, just because you don’t want to deal with the ugly truth of whatever the subject matter may be.

 

Gotta go through a storm to get a rainbow.

 

Veganly Yours,

 

Megan

Food Friday: Gluten Free, Vegan Biscuits and Gravy

Growing up in the south, I’m pretty familiar with good ole country food – grits, sweet tea, chicken-fried meats, and anything made with bacon, lard, and butter. Biscuits and gravy are no exception. I’m not so much a fan of biscuits and gravy, but occasionally, the craving hits me.  As it should happen, a recipe found its way into my inbox and with a little vegan magic (and a lot of googling), here’s a recipe for gluten-free biscuits & gravy.

 

Biscuits

  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons cold Earth Balance buttery spread

Gravy

  • 1/4 cup vegan butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 Tablespoon tamari
  • fresh black pepper to taste

 

PREPARATION

Biscuits:

  1. Place butter in the freezer for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 450°
  3. Lightly oil a baking sheet or place a piece of parchment paper over the baking sheet.
  4. Combine coconut milk, water and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl and set aside.
  5. In a medium size bowl, add rice flour, tapioca starch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, dried basil and dried dill. Gently stir to combine.
  6. Add cold buttery spread to flour mixture and use a pastry cutter or two knives to incorporate. Don’t overmix, it will lead to hard biscuits.
  7. Pour in the coconut milk/apple cider mixture and stir until just combined.
  8. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of batter at a time on a baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes.

Gravy:

  1. Melt vegan butter in a large skillet and saute the onions and garlic for 5 minutes.
  2. Add mushrooms, herbs, and salt and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally so that mushrooms don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  3. In a small mixing bowl add the water and the rice flour and whisk to combine.
  4. Slowly add water mixture to the mushrooms and stir to combine.
  5. Add tamari and cook on low for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally until gravy thickens.
  6. Pour warm gravy over warm biscuits.

 

Veganly Yours,

 

Megan

Food Friday: Herby Cheddar Biscuits

It’s been about a billion years since we’ve been to Red Lobster… not that I’m complaining. When I learned Red Lobster goes through more seafood than the entire country of Japan, I was done. Since going vegan, I’ve occasionally gotten the craving for those delicious herby, cheesy, biscuits served before the meals.

 

Finally! Here’s your recipe. These are deliciously wonderful and quite addicting. Best if they’re served with a large group of people, like your upcoming dinner party (or your vegan Thanksgiving!), so you don’t eat them all in one sitting.

 

INGREDIENTS

For the Biscuit:

  • 2 1/2 cups pancake mix
  • 4 tbsp cold vegan butter
  • 1 cup vegan cheddar style shreds
  • 3/4 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

For Brushing on the Top:

  • 2 tbsp melted vegan butter
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, minced

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Using a pastry cutter or fork mix the flour and cold butter. Do not overmix, it should be quite crumbly. Add the non dairy milk, cheddar and mozzarella (or just one cup of cheddar) shreds and use your hands to form a dough (do not over-mix, it will still be quite crumbly.
  3. Place nine equal portions on a lightly greased baking sheet. You may need to roll the dough a bit to form a ball.
  4. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until light golden brown.
  5. Remove from the oven and melt the butter, garlic powder and parsley. Brush over the top of the biscuits before serving.

 

Veganly Yours,

 

Megan

Food Friday: Vegan Chai Frappucino

I became addicted to Starbucks chai lattes years and years ago. The sweet & spicy flavors blended so well with mellow soy milk that I couldn’t get enough. Eventually, I quit Starbucks cold turkey. Only occasionally do I pop in  – mostly because we’ve found a great little indie coffee place in downtown Raleigh called The Morning Times (more on them another day).

 

Earlier this week, an email from Amy’s Healthy Baking appeared in my inbox and sure enough, she had a recipe for a frozen chai treat. After whipping up Amy’s recipe, I made a few modifications and came up with another great version. Head over to Amy’s Healthy Baking – she’s got tons of great recipes: some are vegan & some are veganizable!!

 

Vegan Chai Frappucino

1 c super strong chai tea, chilled
½ c almond milk
1 tsp organic cane sugar (I use wholesome sweeteners)
2 c ice cubes
  1. Steep the chai for 30-45 minutes (the longer, the stronger) in freshly boiled water
  2. Put chai in fridge to chill it (about 20 minutes)
  3. Add all of the ingredients to a blender, and pulse until smooth.

Note: I’d be willing to bet you could make a bunch of chai at once, keep in a airtight container in the fridge and make a frappucino as often as you like. I may have to try this… 

 

We’ve been bad…

You may have noticed we’ve been a little silent as of late… and there is no excuse. We’ve been busy making thousands of soap bars for you and other vegan soap supporters across the country & in Canada.

 

Being busy is a great problem to have – certainly no complaints. We recognize our lack of posting and we have a ton of great posts coming soon.

 

In the meantime, have you seen our new website? Do you like the new look of the blog?

 

Namaste!

 

Food Friday: Vegan Fried Green Tomatoes

By Megan Vick

 

My most favorite restaurant in the world is closing soon and I have been heartbroken since I got the news. Friends are out of jobs, customers are out of delicious local food, and I am out of pickled ramps and butternut squash gnocchi (not served together, I swear).

 

During our last visit there, we had delicious fried green tomatoes and I have been determined to recreate them. I think I’m doing pretty well so far… the best part is, instead of frying them, I’ve baked them in the oven for a healthier version. This recipe makes a great appetizer for 2 or small meal for 1 person. They were so good I forgot to take a picture – shocking, I know.

 

Here’s what you need:

 

  • 2 large green tomatoes (preferably organic)
  • 1/3 cup almond mik (either plain or unsweetened… I’m sure any plant milk would work here)
  • 1/2 cup flour (almond, chickpea, all- purpose… anything you like)
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

 

Here’s how to do it:

  • Preheat oven to 425F
  • Slice your tomatoes into thick slices (or quarters if you want to be fancy)
  • Put almond milk into bowl – set aside
  • Combine flour, pepper, salt, garlic powder together and mix well in another bowl – set aside
  • Dredge tomato slices in milk, then in the flour mixture – be sure to cover both sides completely
  • Put slices on a baking sheet, pan, or dish
  • Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes until coating is golden brown

 

Pro Tip: Serve with some vegan ranch (a la Native Foods Cafe) for dipping or a balsamic reduction – Divine!!

 

You can thank me later! Enjoy and Namaste