Sunday, July 26, 2009

Compassion Over Killing Vegan Hot Dog Giveaway!

That's right! Today a few friends and I stood on the sidewalk in the Highland Square area of Akron and gave out free vegan hot dog samples along with a bunch of literature which Compassion Over Killing sent for us to distribute. It was an incredible success! July is officially National Hot Dog and Sausage Month, so COK decided it would be a perfect time to provide healthy, cruelty-free alternatives to the public!

Livia and I made this glorious sign advertising our mission!

Liv had the awesome idea to include this eye-opening chart - can you believe the differences? Less of the unhealthy stuff & more protein = delicious vegan hot dog.

Here's Liv with her stack of literature!

And me posing with the tongs.

Liv's fiance, Justin, passing out literature. He was the brains behind the whole operation, the one who contacted COK and called the city to make sure we wouldn't get fined for handing out food.

And this is Mama Chicken, the terrified kitty of our photographer, Tessa. She mostly hid in the bushes, but we still considered her our mascot.

We ended up giving upward of 50 hot dog samples out - and with rave reviews! After a day in the sun, we all felt extremely pleased with how receptive the Akronites we met were to our cause.

My health/Earth-conscious friend Linda and her grandson stopped by for some chow, too!

Great success!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Happy Trails Farm Sanctuary & Noms!

Previously unaware that there were any animal sanctuaries in NE Ohio, imagine my surprise when I was told there was one in Ravenna, about 30 minutes away! And that there was a vegan potluck going on! Olivia & I went out to Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary a few Saturdays ago and enjoyed a lovely tour of their facilities and residents and then relaxed with delicious homemade vegan treats. After the owner gave us some background on the sanctuary, Liv signed up to be a volunteer at the facility and I signed up to be an emergency rescue volunteer. So far, Liv is loving visiting her four-legged friends and swimming in their poo! She couldn't be happier. :D

This is one of the smaller goats, a breed of pygmy, I believe. He was very friendly. :)

This is Radar. He was born with abnormalities in his back feet - he doesn't really have any. But he gets around just fine on his stumps.

Here is Liv w/ one of the mares rescued from a neglect case.

And HERE is one of the huge horses that came to the sanctuary via the Amish Retirement Program. Absolutely gi-normous.

*squee!* Here are the 6 pot-bellied piglets! There's a runt in there somewhere... seeing them scamper around was definitely the cutest moment of our stay.

This is Anselmo, a rescued farm pig. He is just like a huge puppy. Our tour guide called his name when we arrived to his area and he ran over like a golden retriever excited to see guests.

This is one of the many rescued cock-fighting roosters who live at the sanctuary. They were so sweet and so very vocal.

And here are some geese! This big guy was loving the attention of so many people and was strutting to show it.

In kitchen-related news: I finally broke down and bought a cheap food processor. And I LOVE it! Here is my former basil plant all food-processed into a tasty pesto over some soba noodles. I feel as if my kitchen is much more complete.

Mmm... a Tempeh BLT w/ Fakin' Bacon. So delish.

Mmm! Gardein Tuscan Chicken breast w/ tomato & basil sauce w/ "Forbidden" black rice & sauteed mustard greens w/ peppers! The package comes w/ 2 breasts, so I had 1 more for lunch the next day. Seriously good stuff.

There has been much cause for celebration this month. It was my 23rd birthday this month, I got my 1st big girl job, and Liv got a job in a vet's office. Needless to say, much of this celebration was in the form of alcohol. A friend of mine and myself have decided to take a month away from heavy drinking. His rules aren't as stringent as mine, but to each their own. Here are my rules:

  1. No drinking. There are other ways to celebrate.
  2. No smoking (which I only do when I drink, so: easy).
  3. Eat leafy greens at least once a day.
  4. Get some form of physical activity at least once a day.
  5. Laugh more!
Above is Rule #3: a big, spinach & arugala salad! With cherry tomatoes, peppers, broccoli & a homemade dressing of Vegenaise, dijon mustard, garlic salt, lemon juice, & fresh ground black pepper, this salad was a meal on its own.

But that doesn't mean I didn't have some Eco-Planet "Cheddar" Crackers along with it! I have been looking for these ever since I saw Erin include them in her laptop lunches and was so psyched to see them in the clearance section of Kreiger's the other day. They taste just like I remember Cheez-Its to taste. Yum!

My co-worker, Woody, & his wife, Laurie, took me out to VegiTerranean to celebrate my new job on Tuesday. It was such a lovely time! It was also their 1st visit to the Veg & they were more than impressed with every course, which just melted my heart! We started with tempura-battered asparagus fries w/ a horseradish-ranch dipping sauce... amazing! Here is Laurie's salad: strawberry citrus.

And mine: Raw "tuna" salad w/ an agave-mustard dressing. OH my god. This was fan-fuck-tastic! Our waitress told me the base for the "tuna" salad was pecans. It didn't taste a damn thing like tuna (chickpeas work best for that), but this salad I would rank right up there w/ the Rustic Tuscan Chopped salad (and we all know how I feel about them shits... NOM!).

My main course: Tuscan Gnocchi w/ roasted tomatoes, fire roasted red peppers, artichokes, and wild mushrooms in a tomato vodka sauce. This was the best gnocchi dish I have tasted there... My mouth is watering from the memories!

Here is Laurie's pasta (Woody's pics did not come out well at all! He got spaghaetti & vegan sausauge!): whole wheat penne w/ wild mushrooms, artichokes (?), asparagus in a cashew cream sauce. This has been on the menu since I first started eating at the Veg - and for a good reason!

My dessert: cherry-chocolate bread pudding w/ amaretto sauce & raspberry drizzle. To DIE for! Might be my favorite VegiTerranean dessert - and believe me, I've sampled them all!

Laurie's: lemon curd tart w/ a coconut macaroon crust & raspberry drizzle.

I believe my blog is fully caught up with all the goings-on now. :) This Sunday is a Compassion Over Killing-hosted event in honor of Vegan Hot Dog Month! We will be passing out literature, word of mouth, and vegan hot dogs in Highland Square. So if you live nearby - check it out!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Father's Day, Pride, Veganniversary, & my Birthday!

Well, would you look at that table? Gorgeous, huh? That would be the set-up for the dinner I hosted for my dads! It was a week before Father's Day, but we'll get to the reasons behind that in a bit... It was a special occasion, indeed. My bio-dad hadn't seen my apartment, yet, so there were 2 motives involved. Here's the menu I had made:
  • Sweet Onion Foccacia w/ olive oil for dipping (from The UnCheese Cookbook)
  • Avocado-Arugala-Jicama Salad w/ Spicy Vinaigrette (from Veganomicon, subbing arugala for watercress)
  • Capellini w/ Tomato Cream Sauce (Vegan YumYum)
  • Roasted Asparagus & Green Beans w/ Mustard Sauce (sauce from Veganomicon)
  • Chocolate Shortbread Cookies (from Vegetarian Times)
I'm such a recipe thief, aren't I?

For Father's Day Weekend proper, I was in Columbus for PRIDE!! :D It was my 1st Pride experience and I had a frigging blast. Here are a few photos...

The Wall Street Nightclub was hopping the night before...

The Human Rights Campaign was there w/ its huge banner stretching across the street. :)

While there were floats throwing boxes of those new HUGE Cheetos to the crowd , fellow vegan bestie, Sarah, and I worked up an appetite & decided to find some food we could eat. We landed at Betty's (I have pics posted from Betty's in a previous post!). She got a huge portabello flatbread sammich w/ homemade chips.

I got the Black Bean Hummus appetizer plate w/ toasted pita and a bunch'o'veggies. This was a lot of food... and it was ridiculously tasty. I'm usually not a big fan of black beans, but I took a chance and it worked out. I would for sure order this again!

For dinner that night we ended up at Phat Wraps, a new tiny grill that gives you your choice of protein (steak, chicken, or "veggie" which were slices of ham-like faux meat) and lets you top it with the veggies and sauce of your choice. Sarah & I both overdid it on the only vegan sauce they had, a spicy Thai chili dressing, and burned our tongues. But otherwise, it was a nice meal. All of the veggies were locally grown and, I believe, organic. They also sold cookies from Columbus' vegan bakery, Pattycake!

Mmm, how long has it been since I had a sticky bun?! Far too long, I assure you. The next morning, on our way out, we actually stopped at Pattycake and got some sugary breakfast sweets. :P This was so deliciously sweet, it gave me a tummyache on the ride home. It was so farkin' tasty...

Well, that concludes my Pride trip. Here we have some take-out from VegiTerranean, the only Akron vegan restaurant. (LOVE) Liv's fiance plated this for us while we assembled her wedding invites. That white sauce is a lemon-garlic-aioli, I believe, and it is fucking BOMB.

Did I forget to mention that mid-June was my Veganniversary?! Well, it was, and I couldn't be more satisfied and proud of myself! And what did I do for my accomplishment? I tried brussel sprouts again... and *liked* them. They still taste a bit bitter to me, but if I roast them long enough and use plenty of EB, they are actually quite tasty. Thank goodness I gave them another chance. :)

In other summer news: the 6th was my birthday. I'm 23 and feel only slightly more mature. :P My family got together for the 4th and we celebrated my b-day along w/ America's. Here is a plate of vegan food my mom & I made! She made this AMAZING bean-pasta-veggie salad that still makes me salivate to think about... and she even veganized the baked beans! The carnivores didn't even notice... I made some cole slaw which sits nicely next to a pickle and fresh 'mater. My wonderful mama also served a big tub of authentic garlicky hummus w/ pita bread. Afterward, she heated up a vegan cherry pie, but I was much too stuffed to eat a whole slice!

Liv & Justin were so incredible to my on my birthday... they cooked a big meal of veggie & tofu lo mein w/ a salad dressed in a homemade ginger dressing... NOM!! And Liv had let me pick whatever cupcake I wanted out of VCTOTW & I chose the Maple Cupcakes! I actually finished my last one today... these are so freaking incredible...! This was a birthday dinner I won't soon forget. :)