Food Friday: Delicious Vegan No-Knead Bread

 

FINALLY!

We finally found a homemade vegan bread recipe that turns out beautifully with minimal effort. Recently, we had a Pampered Chef party at our house (seriously considering being a consultant) and we got a ton of stuff. One of my most dreamed about purchases is the Deep Covered Baker. Not only does it come in a beautiful deep cranberry color, but you can do tons of different things with it – including making bread!

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker
  • KitchenAid (or similar) stand mixer
  • Patience

 

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (use Wholesome Sweeteners – it’s vegan!)
  • 2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups hot water (120-130 degrees F)

 

Recipe:

  • Lightly oil Deep Covered Baker (I use an oil sprayer, but a light brushing with a pastry brush works too)
  • In KitchenAid stand mixer (or large 11+ cup food processor), combine dry ingredients in large bowl
  • While machine is running on low, add hot water slowly until dough forms into a ball and starts to thump around
  • Once the dough ball starts thumping, let it spin 20 times in the bowl.
  • Place dough into greased bowl and cover with a damp tea towel (not washcloth – don’t want fibers getting on the dough)
  • Let rise 15 minutes
  • Punch down 1-3 times and shape into a large loaf
  • Place loaf in Deep Covered Baker
  • Cut a slit in top of loaf (long ways) with a flour-tipped knife (so the dough won’t stick). Create diagonal slits from the center line so you have a branch/leaf look on the top of your bread (this helps it rise – it’s not for decoration)
  • Put the lid on the Deep Covered Baker and place in a cold oven. Turn oven to 400 degrees and bake for 50 minutes
  • NO PEEKING!! The bread is rising beautifully – I promise!
  • After 50 minutes, remove from oven and turn bread out onto cooling rack.

 

vegan bread

IMG_1453

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_1454

vegan, no knead bread

Ringling Bros to End Live Elephant Show

Wow! What a win for elephants & for all those who boycotted, protested, petitioned, and spoke out against the cruel and abusive treatment of elephants at the circus. Ringling Bros is expected to end their elephant shows by 2018, but what happens then?

 

While we are thrilled that the elephant acts are ending, it brings up an interesting question: Will people have as much exposure to elephants? For many people, their love of elephants stemmed from a childhood experience at the circus. Many kids take field trips to the circus in school, not as a fun activity, but as a type of cultural exposure.

 

After time, will people fail to recognize the majesty of the elephant?

 

Probably not – thanks to the good ole internet.

 

Luckily, elephants will no longer be subjected to cruel circus practices. Now… to work on the poaching and ivory trade….

 

Baby elephant & mom

Women in the Workplace

For a long time, I’ve kept my head in the sand about women in the workplace. Personally, I had never really experienced sexism in the workplace and frankly, I figured most women really did get paid fairly and equally compared to their male counterparts. And since I’ve spent  most of my working life working with women, I never assumed men actually talked down to female employees.

 

Oh… how naive I was.

 

Recently, I’ve experienced the joys of womanhood. We truly do have to fight to move up in the workplace. Not only have I experienced it personally, I’ve seen other watched it happen to other women who work with me. Without going into details about the everyday banality of my life, I was truly shocked to experience such condescension toward me, while a male colleague received a vastly different reaction with the same information.

 

What do you do when your employer preached equality but consistently overlooks you for a promotion because “you’re doing great where you are?” It’s a tricky situation. You can stand up for yourself, call people out on their hypocrisies and lies… but then you’re the bitch. You can defend your brand and products, but then you’re the bitch.

 

Basically, the minute you open your mouth after someone dismisses you, you’ve sealed your fate as a bitch.

 

So go ahead. Call us bitches. Call us aggressive. At the end of the day, woman who are like this believe in something and are standing up for what they do and for what they’ve created. We know ourselves better than you know us and we can do the job you refuse to give us.

 

And call us bitches when we don’t laugh at sexism, ageism, racism, or whatever -ism just because you’re the boss.

 

Women, let’s wear the word “Bitch” like a badge of honor. When you’re the bitch, it simply means you get what you want and stand up for what’s right.

 

Just remember, us Bitches – real bitches, badass boss bitches – are kind, compassionate and loving, too.

 

bitches get stuff done

2015?! Already?

Well, we did not see this coming. Actually, we did it coming, but wow! 2015 just snuck up on us. As you might imagine, the days between Thanksgiving and New Years are a bit of a blur. Between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday (still haven’t gotten that one down), and then Holiday Shopping madness, we woke up on New Years Day only to realize it was time to do our yearly inventory!

 

But here’s the good news: then we took a vacation!

 

True story. We packed our bags and headed to the Azores off the coast of Portugal for a week. We’ll have some pictures soon.

 

While climbing volcanic mountains on vacations, we made some resolutions for 2015. Here’s to sticking to writing more blogs – one of the many resolutions we made!

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