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

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… 

 

Treatment Tuesday: A Little Goes A Long Way

By Megan Vick

 

Stahp

That’s right. Just stahp!

 

You’re using too much lotion!!! This might be a little bit of a rant, but it is something that needs to be addressed – and quickly.

 

We love going to sell at our local farmers market. It gives us a chance to connect with you, our customer, who we may not otherwise get to meet and talk to when we sell to stores. One thing that we’ve noticed a lot lately is the interest in our lotions and hand creams. Several people have come up to us and asked if our lotions are greasy. Let’s talk about that:

  1. Our lotions are not greasy – it’s one of our most common compliments. Not to mention: no lotion maker will ever admit to having greasy lotions. It’s best if you ask for a sample right off the bat and judge for yourself.
  2. All lotions will be greasy if you squeeze an entire ounce of lotion into your hand just to rub on your forearms.

 

We’ve seen not one, not two, but four (4!) different women approach our booth, squeeze a 1/2 – 1 ounce of lotion into their hand and slather themselves with it. Now, that may work in winter. In Iceland. But you will absolutely feel disgustingly greasy if you do that with any lotion – especially if you add the fact that you’re standing outside in July heat and humidity in North Carolina.

 

Ranting aside, the point is to conserve your lotions and creams. You can always apply more to your body if you don’t feel hydrated enough. You can’t, however, get rid of that slippery, slimy feel after you’ve applied too much. Believe me, I want you to use the hell out of our products – but don’t overuse and abuse them to the point you begin to dislike the brand.

 

Namaste.

Family Vacation – The GRAND Canyon (part 1)

By Megan Vick

 

The Grand Canyon truly lives up to the word “Grand.” (Something tells me “The Huge Colossal Massive Canyon” would not go over well, although it may be a more appropriate description.) We spent 3 days in Tusayan, AZ – which by all accounts is barely a town, but it is only 6 miles from the park entrance. There is no internet and barely any phone service, so it’s truly a vacation. Completely disconnected from the world… it was lovely.

 

Food

It was much more difficult to find vegan food in Tusayan compared to Las Vegas. In a no-stoplight town, there was a Wendy’s, McDonald’s, a steakhouse, and a mexican restaurant. Luckily, I brought yummy snacks and we spent most days being active around the canyon. We hit up the Mexican restaurant one day for a late lunch and I got as close to vegan as I could by eating some yummy enchiladas without cheese and sour cream. We weren’t there for the food – that’s for sure. The truly breathtaking Grand Canyon took all my focus.

 

Grand Canyon

What can you say about The Grand Canyon that hasn’t already been said… We’ve been back for 2 months now and it’s still so fresh and incredible. Pictures simply don’t do the canyon justice, but here’s a good story:

 

While we were in the throws of booking our trip, someone highly recommended taking a mule ride to the canyon. After looking at some interesting tours, we decided that a 3-Day trip (1 day ride, 1 day in the bottom of the canyon, 1 day ride back) was a bit too much. I’ll be honest – our idea of camping is the Holiday Inn in Tusayan where there was no internet (True Story… no interwebs for 4 days…).  We agreed we would take a 3 hour mule ride along the canyon rim – sounds fun, right?

 

Leading up to the trip, Matt & I had a growing sense of unease about this mule ride. After doing a lot of research, we realized you can walk along the same trail for free (instead of the $120 per person mule ride). Then, we realized, you don’t actually ride a mule alongside the canyon, you ride for an hour and a half to the canyon, hitch the mule for 30 minutes, then ride an hour and a half back to the barn. Yeah… not for us. Plus, we were never really comfortable making a creature ride us along the rim of a canyon for pleasure. Seems a little cruel and unusual – but that’s just me…

 

I’m sure the trip is fantastic, but we cancelled anyway and hiked our way along the rim – which was beautiful. They also have buses for you to ride from lookout point to lookout point – and you can catch the same bus back to the parking lot if you don’t feel like hoofing back the way you came (which is what we did).  Here are some fun photos from the trip.

 

The whole family at the Canyon

The whole family at the Canyon

 

 

Megan & Matt on a ledge with nothing beneath us. Mom did not like taking this picture.

 

I really made Mom mad here. I told her to take a picture in case it's the last one... ever. She was not happy.

I really made Mom mad here. I told her to take a picture in case it’s the last one… ever. She was not happy.

 

 

I am cranky because I hit my head on that stupidly low tree branch. Mom said it was insta-karma for making her nervous.

I am cranky because I hit my head on that stupidly low tree branch. Mom said it was insta-karma for making her nervous.

 

 

There’s more on the Grand Canyon to come!

 

 

 

 

Food Friday: Inspiralized Vegan Lemongrass Thai Green Curry Soup with Zucchini Noodles

By Megan Vick

 

When I got this recipe in my feed the other day, I am fairly certain I actually drooled. At my desk.

 

I’ll be honest, I haven’t had a chance to make this yet because we’ve been getting some big orders and making soap like crazy (more on that later). But this looks seriously delicious and further cements my girl-crush on Miss Inspiralized (aka Ali). Check this amazing-ness out: Vegan Lemongrass Thai Green Curry Soup with Zucchini

 

Yummy!!!!

 

Photo respectfully borrowed from Inspiralized.com courtesy of Ali Maffucci

Photo respectfully borrowed from Inspiralized.com courtesy of Ali Maffucci

 

 

 

Food Friday: Inspiralized Miso Roasted Tomatoes & Carrot Noodles

By Megan Vick

 

I had the honor of getting a spiralizer for my birthday from my mother-in-law. I’ve been really getting into cooking lately, but we’ve really worked hard to cut back on pastas. While we LOVE LOVE LOVE pasta, it’s getting too heavy for us in our old age (late 20s, that’s old – right?). Robin introduced me to zucchini noodles – zoodles – and I’ve been following a blog, Inspiralized, for a while.

 

Now, I don’t know Ali – the wickedly talented chica who is the end-all, be-all for Inspiralized, but I like to think she’s my homegirl. So many dishes of hers are either vegan already or can easily be veganized by either leaving out the meat or subbing something like Beyond Meat in its place. The meals are crazy fast to make and don’t get crazy with ingredients. Her posts are super-fun and the recipes are wonderful and healthy. Check out this Miso Roasted Tomatoes & Carrot Noodles.

 

 

Miso Roasted Tomatoes and Carrot Noodles

Prep Time: 10 minutes/Cook Time: 20 minutes/Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp light yellow miso
  • 1 tbsp peeled and minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp honey (I used agave to keep it vegan)
  • 2 tsp lime zest
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 3 large carrots, peeled, Blade C, noodles trimmed
  • 4 scallion stalks, thinly sliced (I didn’t have these, so I didn’t use them – still turned out great!)
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the vegetable oil, vinegar, miso, ginger, seasame oil, honey, lime zest and lime juice until smooth. Season with salt.
  3. On a baking sheet, toss the tomatoes with 3 tablespoons of the miso dressing and season with salt. Roast for 20 minutes, stirring, until the tomatoes are charred in spots. Scrape into a large bowl.
  4. While the tomatoes are roasting, bring a medium saucepan with water to a boil. Once boiling, add in the carrot noodles and cook for 2-3 minutes or until al dente. Drain into a colander.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, add in the carrot noodles, tomatoes, scallions and the dressing and toss well. Divide into bowls and top with sesame seeds.

 

Now you have a delicious meal to share with your friends using your awesome new spiralizer. Thank you to Ali at Inspiralized.com for awesomeness every single day.

Food Friday: Vegan, No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake

By Megan Vick

 

Holy vegan dessert, Batman! This vegan peanut butter chocolate cheesecake will KNOCK your socks off. It’s easy to make and can be eaten right away – that’s correct! No line, no waiting! The original recipe can be found here and let me tell you – this is just as mouth-watering as it sounds!

 

VEGAN PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE

 

INGREDIENTS

For the crust

  • 1 ¼ cup gluten-free pretzels
  • 6-8 tbsp. vegan butter, melted
  • ¼ cup raw turbinado sugar

For the pie

  • ½ cup vegan cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
  • ¼ cup raw sugar
  • ½ cup vegan whipped cream
  • 2 cup vegan chocolate whipped cream

PREPARATION

For the crust

  1. Put the pretzels in a food processor and grind them into crumbs.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the pretzel crumbs, the raw sugar and the melted vegan butter.
  3. Mix with your hands until it is all combined and sticking together. If it doesn’t feel sticky, add more melted butter. Press the mixture into a 9 inch pie plate including the sides.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

For the pie

  1. In a bowl, combine the vegan cream cheese, the peanut butter and the raw sugar. Beat with the electric hand mixer until it is smooth. Fold in the whipped cream gently. Spoon the filling into the pie shell, cover and return to the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  2. When the pie and filling have chilled, cover the pie with the chocolate whipped cream. Garnish with chocolate shavings, pretzels or your favorite topping. You can refrigerate the pie longer to let it set more or you can serve it right away.

 

Enjoy!!