The Beast in Me.

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I’ve been a BeyondMeat fan pretty much from the start. The first time I tried the “chicken” I, like many vegans before and since, had to check the ingredients twice to make sure it didn’t contain actual chicken. Taste and texture are so spot-on that its been known to even fool world-class chefs.

BeyondMeat has done it again. This time with beef. The Beast Burger, packed with 23 grams of protein, this is not your ordinary “veggie burger.” In fact, if a veggie burger were walking down the sidewalk and saw The Beast coming from the other direction, it would cross the street. Against the light.

Move over wimpy veggie burgers. The Beast is in town.

I didn’t know what to expect although I had a tiny taste when I was at ExpoWest. The Beast had babies (of course it did) in the form of sliders. I got to sample a BeyondMeat slider and was blown away. Their booth, reminiscent of a certain burgercentric fast food franchise, was slinging the sliders alongside some chicken tenders (which I am anxious to get into my belly after drowning them in Buffalo sauce). The Beast Baby (Beastly Sliders) was very convincing. I was hopeful The Beast was just as good; and it is.

But bigger.

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This is the burger you bring to the BBQ when everyone is expecting you to bring hummus.

This is the burger you bring to the potluck when everyone is expecting you to bring kale salad.

This is the burger you bring to the marina when everyone is expecting you to bring quinoa. But bring quinoa anyway since it’s a superfood.

The very same day that I got to try The Beast for the first time, also happened to be Taco Tuesday so I whipped up some pepper quesadillas with the BeyondMeat chicken. Folded into a gluten-free brown rice tortilla, glued it all together with melted VioLife cheese and Tofutti sour cream, and served with some Mexican rice and hot sauce.

It was a very good day. Beyond very good.

There is no reason whatsoever to eat animals ever again thanks to companies like BeyondMeat (and other trend setters in the meat-replacement market). Delicious, nutritious alternatives make it easier than ever to …

Go vegan. 

Banner_ResizedCOMMENT ON THIS POST if you want me to send you an online coupon toward any BeyondMeat product.

Mastering the Art of Vegan Cooking: Annie and Dan Shannon Are At It Again

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You know those friends you always extend an invite to for your vegan potlucks? The ones who never know what to bring? Or, better yet, how about your friends who aren’t vegan and panic at the idea of coming up with a dish that everyone will love.

Get them Master the Art of Vegan Cooking (Grand Central Publishing) by Annie and Dan Shannon (Betty Goes Vegan) and these very same people will RSVP with confidence.

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As a matter of fact, get everyone you know this book. As is the case with the authors’ first successful tome, Betty Goes Vegan, this book masterfully guides the aspiring chef through “standards” that everyone knows and loves. A very personal introduction gives you a sense of the authors’ lives (who now reside in Brooklyn) and this lets you know that every recipe comes from the heart.

And, as it turns out, is good for your heart.

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Dr. Greger (among other whole-foods, plant-based doctors) of NutritionFacts.org has gone so far as to say the #1 killer of Americans, heart disease, is 100% preventable.

100% preventable.

How? Well start with the recipes created by the couple behind the successful blog, “Meet the Shannons.” Stick to these recipes and your heart (and waistline) and taste buds will thank you.

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The first recipe I tried was their Vegan Bacon, White Bean, and Spinach Risotto (page 155). To give you an idea of how easy this recipe is, I made this on my lunchbreak. And it turned out amazing.

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Onions and risotto begin to crack in your pan as you introduce white wine and vegetable stock over the course of thirty or so minutes. Stir in the spinach, beans, nooch, and spices and a simple dish is elevated into something amazing.

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As an aside,  I think these two photos of nutritional yeast should be stolen from my blog and circulated widely. “Nooch,” as it’s known to those who use it nearly every day deserves more glamour shots like these. Meanwhile, back to the recipe.

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The step-by-step instructions and use of the phrase “pinch of celery salt,” makes me love this book more than anything. It should be noted that almost every ingredient was Wegmans brand. Wegmans is considered the #1 grocery store in America and they are about to break ground on a NEW store in Brooklyn (so “The Shannons” will soon know why everyone loves Wegmans). The headline of this linked article, by the way, is: Brooklyn Freaks Out Over Wegmans.

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To finish off the overall “retro” aspect of this dish, I plated the risotto in my vintage Mikasa bowl that belonged to my Nana. The pattern on this set will always remind me of her and we’ve eaten many wonderful dishes from this set.

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One more cool thing about this book is that each recipe let’s you know how much each serving costs (just in case you want to charge your friends at the potluck). This creamy risotto costs $1.87/serving and I bet I could charge $5. Maybe $7 (depending on the friend).

You can buy Mastering the Art of Vegan Cooking now at most bookstores around the country and online here.

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Mastering the Art of Vegan Cooking makes it easier, and tastier, than ever to …

Go vegan.

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Shoot to Kill: Vegans and Video Games

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There is a Facebook group called “Veganism” that has over 30,000 members. From time to time I like to post comments or questions, share my vegan point of view, or get feedback from fellow vegans.

This past weekend I posted an image of a video game, Big Buck Safari (this link is to the trailer and worth watching before finishing this post), that I saw at our local mall, with the following caption:

… unbelievable. This is an actual arcade game? In addition to the “Big Buck” you can also kill elephants, giraffes, cheetahs, and … ostriches. Really?

I’m worried about the kids who enjoy playing this.

I clicked “post” and expected overwhelming support, encouragement, and understanding about why I was disgusted by this video game featuring elaborate, gorgeous, detailed animations of wild animals frolicking in their virtual habitat — with a target on their back. 

What I didn’t expect (in the 150+ comments) was:

It´s just a game! I prefer that people kill animals in a game rather than in real life.

… and …

Eric get a reality check. It’s NOT REAL. Every gamer knows this. Do you think people get possessed by Satan just because they like heavy metal too?

… or, this winner …

Anyone who thinks this way is a fucking idiot. I’m more worried about oppressive fuckstains than about kids playing hunting games. Those games are harmless fun.

Keep in mind, I posted this on a vegan page.

Now I’m all for video games. In fact, I used to spend hours playing Doom over a 9600 baud modem and loved grabbing the BFG (Big Fucking Gun) and blasting away all the bad guys. Or my opponent.

At bad guys or my opponent.

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Not wildlife. Elephants and ostriches. Animals.

As each comment was posted I felt my point drifting further and further away. I started to feel like I discovered the dark underbelly of some people’s idea of veganism. Ahimsa, anyone? Again, I am not ignorant in thinking that this is real life but I am clear in my thinking that these comments are being made by vegans. Vegans who apparently enjoy (and will spend money on) lifting a rifle, pointing it toward a running animal and pulling the trigger. I wonder if this is where Kendall Jones got started?

Want to know what these “vegans” might look like? Click here. Notice how before each round the player is reminded to aim for vital areas: HEAD and HEART.

Really? 

As I continued to try to make my point (as well as fuel the content for this blog post), one other phrase kept coming up by my opposition: you need to separate reality from fantasy.

Fantasy: the forming of mental images, especially wondrous or strange fancies; imaginative conceptualizing.

One of the last comments on this post pretty much summed up my entire experience and my point about the disconnect between some vegans and video games promoting the killing of animals:

Well, Eric C Lindstrom, it’s too bad you thought this kind of oppressive and classist bullshit was welcome here. Next time you think that you have any business expressing this sort of shit opinion, maybe just shove a handful of rocks in your mouth instead.

Spoken like a true vegan.

Go vegan.

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BeyondMeat Helper Classic Vegan Cheeseburger Glutenfree Macaroni

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I’ll admit it. When I was an omnivore, I used to eat Hamburger Helper. Partly because it was easy to make but also partly because it is so damn delicious. Saute the meat, add the pouch, pour in the water, add the noodles, cover and pace around for 25 minutes while it became a meal as delicious as an angel’s wing.

I don’t eat meat anymore. Nor angels.

But, I am a BeyondMeat fan and, in addition to their chicken strips (and nuggets and The Beast), they make a delicious beefy crumble. Perfect addition to chili, vegan shepard’s pie, and now, my masterpiece: The BeyondMeat Helper Classic Vegan Cheeseburger Glutenfree Macaroni.

The name alone is a mouthful.

To get the party started, finely chop one white onion (think about those onions hidden under the bun of your favorite fast food burger). Saute in a little olive oil until very soft (probably 10 minutes on medium heat). Now put your meat in them. One bag of BeyondMeat beefy crumbles and stir clockwise. Add a little water to keep things moist and at the end add a big squirt of organic ketchup. Stir and set aside.

Bring to boil 4 quarts of salted water to cook your pasta (penne, elbows or spirals). We use only Tinkyada gluten-free brown rice pasta in our house. Cook until done, drain and set aside.

In your 4-quart pot, bring to a simmer a cup of soy (or any non-dairy) milk and stir in one shredded block (or shredded bag) of your favorite vegan cheese (I use VioLife). Stir frequently as this will quickly become a sticky sauce. Just as it looks perfect (add more milk if needed) add salt, pepper and a 1/4 cup of nooch. Keep stirring as your assistant pours in the pasta. Keep stirring. Did I say stop?

Once the pasta is fully coated in cheese, stir in the BeyondMeat mixture and serve immediately (as if you wanted to wait). Tastes just like a cheeseburger … doesn’t it?

You’re welcome.

Go vegan.

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BONUS for MEATY VEGAN FOLLOWERS! For a LIMITED TIME, you can use this code 25Off2015 at checkout in the BeyondMeat swag shop to get 25% off your order!

Join the #PlantPure Nation Rally at the White House and Appear in the new Documentary!

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Original post from ONE GREEN PLANET by 

Everyone has heard of The China Study and Forks Over Knives. Now, the people that brought us those fantastic pieces of health promoting awesome are about to put PlantPure Nation into our collective repertoires too.

And they’re not holding anything back in the quest to do it. Officially releasing nationwide on July 4th of 2015, the crew has been on tour in promotion of the new documentary and accompanying book since March, bringing the rough cut of the film to 23 select cities in an effort to spread the word. Their next stop? The White House!

She’s actually holding amber waves of grain. Awesome.

The Film Makers Behind 'Plant Pure Nation' Are Heading to The White House and They Want You There Too

On May 9th, 2015 Dr. T. Colin Campbell, the author of the China Study, along with his son and PlantPure Nation Director Nelson Campbell will introduce a plant-based dream team to the assembled crowds at the rally to support a healthier food system. Who’s part of this dream team, you might ask? How about famed physician Dr. Neal Barnard, the founder and president of the Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and Dr. Michael Gregor, Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture for The Humane Society of the United States. Throw in the musical stylings of Driftwood and the author of By Any Greens Necessary, Tracye McQuirter, as emcee and we’ve got ourselves a plant based rally!

Dr. T. Colin Campbell and his son Nelson in a scene from the documentary

The Film Makers Behind 'Plant Pure Nation' Are Heading to The White House and They Want You There Too

The film follows the progress of a nutritional pilot program designed by Dr. Campbell in the state of Kentucky that would document the health benefits of a plant-based diet. Sounds pretty straight forward, right? Well, as it turns out, there are strong forces in the form of industry lobby groups that would prefer consumers just keep to the status quo when it comes to eating and they succeed in killing the state bill that would have funded the program.

As the bill’s sponsor, Kentucky State Representative Tom Riner put it, HB 550 was watered down to “a shadow of its former self”, turned “from steel to Reynolds Wrap.”

Weird, who knew that food was so political? Actually, the Campbells know firsthand and, for them,  opponents killing a bill and throwing up a road block or two are nothing new. Nelson decided that a different approach was necessary. The resulting documentary follows his grassroots program in which the people of his hometown, Mebane, North Carolina, take part in 10 day “jumpstarts” to prove that plant-based eating can not only begin to improve your health in just a week and a half, but it’s easy, tasty and sustainable for the long run too.

The first Plant Pure Nation Jumpstart Group

The Film Makers Behind 'Plant Pure Nation' Are Heading to The White House and They Want You There Too

The film not only includes the story of the Campbells’ quest to deliver health to the masses, but it will also include footage from the promotional tour (which goes through June 10th) and rally as well as they try to bring their message to the masses.  The film has a kickstarter campaign running through mid-May to raise funds in order to bring the movie to more cities upon release (it will open in 100). Currently sitting at $119, 369, it needs just a bit more help in reaching it’s 150,000 goal so if you want to see this movie reach broader audiences, this just might be the kickstarter for you.

Stoked for the movie to come out? Whet your plant-based appetite with the trailer

You can also get a glimpse of what the documentary is talking about with the PlantPure Nation Cookbook, which came out earlier this year. In the true spirit of keeping the entire project a family affair, the book is written by none other than Kim Campbell, Nelson Campbell’s wife. You can take a sneak peak at some of the recipes here.  Spoiler Alert! They’re delicious.

Check out the PlantPure Nation website to see if their tour is stopping in a city near you this summer. Who knows, you may even make it into the finished cut of the film!

To donate to their kickstarter and help them reach their $150,000 goal, click HERE. They won’t get any of the funds raised unless they meet their minimum!

Also, join the PlantPure rockstars Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Neal Barnard and even Farm Sanctuary’s Gene Baur at the rally in Washington D.C. on Saturday May 9th, 2015 in Lafayette Square from 11am to 1pm to be part of an incredible event for change.

Lead Image Credit: Plant Pure Nation

Original post from ONE GREEN PLANET

Gene Baur on The Daily Show: April 6, 2015

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Last night’s episode of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show featured this interview with Gene Baur, of The Farm Sanctuary (it also happened to be my birthday). This is one segment you must watch.

The massive audience (2.5 million viewers nightly) that watched this and was able to learn from Gene is the arguably the single most important step toward a vegan future I’ve witnessed since going vegan. Please share widely. Gene’s composure and posture and calming way of answering Jon Stewart’s questions opens so many doors for transitioning vegetarians or curious omnivores.

He is such an asset to our movement.

For more about Gene and his new book Living the Farm Sanctuary Life, read my own review here.

Go vegan.

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“Living the Farm Sanctuary Life” by Gene Baur

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You can’t judge a book by its cover, or so the saying goes. In the case of Gene Baur‘s new book, I beg to differ. From the title to the subtitle to the photo and callout, the cover of Living the Farm Sanctuary Life (Rodale Books) pretty much says it all.

The author Gene Baur, is the President and co-Founder of The Farm Sanctuary, which is comprised of three separate farms that operate on either side of the country: two in California and one in my own backyard (New York’s Finger Lakes region) in Watkins Glen, NY. An activist, athlete, and truly the ideal human for his position as spokesperson for the animals, Gene takes us on a personal journey (outlined in ten steps) from starting the Farm Sanctuary to how to live a happier, healthier and more compassionate life.

His new book delves deeply into his own love of life — and all things living:

“Humans are complex. We have the capacity to express enormous cruelty or enormous kindness. Certainly the vast majority of us would prefer to live kindly rather than cruelly, to be healthy instead of sick, and to live in accordance with our values and interests. To achieve this vision, I encourage people to live according to a set of Five Tenets that can help us live more happily on this earth together.”

Want to know Gene’s Five Tenets of Farm Sanctuary Living? I recommend you buy the book … Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

The first section of the book, as good a read as any on the subject, takes the reader through these tenets and provides us up-close and personal access to many of the animals who live happily and safely at the sanctuary — meanwhile, weaving personal life experiences with life’s observations.

I was very surprised (and excited) to see that Living the Farm Sanctuary Life also showcases countless (over 100) delectable recipes and beautiful full-color photos (as a matter of fact a friend of mine, Kayle Martin of Cowgirls and Collard Greens has two recipes in the book). The recipes make up over half the content and provide each course in vivid, easy-to-follow instructions.

Imagine starting your day with “Pancakes with Orange Moscato Syrup and Pine Nuts”; lunch on “Tacos with Salted Grilled Plantains, Salsa Verde, and Pepitas”; dinner of “Lobster Mushroom Tostada Tower” (from Joshua Katcher, vegan fashion entrepreneur and founder of the website The Discerning Brute). All finished off with “Sweet & Sara Peanut Butter Chocolate Rice Crispy Squares.” Each recipe is submitted by a long, illustrious list of vegan celebrities, bloggers, and chefs and brings the book to a delicious conclusion.

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As someone who went from 100% omnivore to 100% dietary vegan overnight and eventually went full-on ethical-vegan, I can say that individuals like Gene, and Living the Farm Sanctuary Life are exactly the kinds of meaningful messaging that makes all of this make sense: living alongside all beings on this amazing planet and, in the case of Gene and this book, co-existing in peace with the animals on their own ground and own terms.

Sharing the planet.

The book is set for release on April 7 (the day after my birthday) and can be pre-ordered now through Amazon. If you’re a vegan who wants a reminder as to why you’re doing what you’re doing, or if you’re a transitioning vegetarian or curious omnivore, this is the book for you.

Living the Farm Sanctuary Life reminds me to take stock in my own life. To stop and smell the everything. To love and live and recognize the beauty in all around me. I am truly honored to have been asked to review Living the Farm Sanctuary Life and am anxious to give it as a gift to my family and friends.

Go vegan.

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@Ruby_Roth: Vegan Children’s Book Writer and Illustrator (and, Pet Portraitator)

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Anyone who knows me knows I was born a cartoonist. This is something that I can’t get rid of if I wanted to. Ever since I was a kid, I could draw. There was nothing more exciting to me as a 10-year-old than my mom buying me a ream of paper. A ream. That was like a million blank canvases to attack with my pencils and Sharpie markers.

Sharpie is the official marker of cartoonists and breast-signing rockstars.

I’ve said for years that when I “retire,” I would live on Cape Cod and illustrate children’s books for fun. I love kids and I love cartooning and I love Cape Cod … so, there you have it.

Flash forward a couple decades and my God-given talent for art translates into graphic design and a career. Meanwhile, especially with two little babies at home, I’m still a fan of children’s books and right now I am an admitted #fanman (the grown up version of #fanboy) over Ruby Roth. I blogged about her a while back.

Her style of drawing is so unique and magical and her vegan messaging is … relentless. She is gorgeous, intelligent, and talented and can go toe-to-toe with any media outlet accusing her of being too honest, and possibly morbid, in her writing.

Ruby tells it like it is. Animals are raped, tortured, and killed so kids can have a “Happy” Meal.

Want to see what I’m talking about? Watch this. The reporter in this introduction actually says, “… the kids hear the lines, then they repeat it and then they don’t want to eat meat.”

Um, yeah. That’s the point. Seriously, watch this now. The blog will wait. I have NO idea how Ruby keeps her cool.

il_570xN.743947785_9zoqOkay, this was a very long introduction to my surprise gift for Jen.

Jen is a cat person. In spite of the fact she is followed everywhere she goes by Kimchi (known by some as either “Shadow” or “Kiwi,”) our rescue vegan poodle mix, she’s still not a dog person; she’s a Kimchi person.

It was my encouragement that we got a dog and Jim at the SPCA hooked us up with the best little dog possible. Kimchi is great with the kids and is spoiled whenever Cooper eats (as more than half of what he eats ends up on the floor). Kimchi is a part of our family.

So, when I discovered that THE Ruby Roth does pet portraits … well, I had to have one (shown at top). He style translates beautifully into this arena and, since the portraits are of animals, it fits right into her vegan messaging.

Amazingly, yesterday, I also had the privilege to talk with Ruby over the phone and she is every bit as delightful as you’d imagine. Enter: #Fanman. She was so generous with her time to talk with me about her career, cartooning, children’s books, veganism, and the relentless media. As it turns out, we were both in Anaheim at the same time but didn’t know it (hoping to actually meet her in person soon).

I really can’t encourage you enough to get your own portrait done of your pet from Ruby. Support a true vegan!

This illustration of Kimchi is a surprise gift for Jen … who is only finding out about it by reading this blog post. Love you, Jen.

Go vegan.

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#MeatOut: A Vegan Curmudgeon’s Perspective

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Today is MeatOut 2015. One of these days where we encourage omnivores to set aside their bacon, put down their turkey, and give their beef a rest. Like its weekly counterpart, Meatless Mondays, I’m really not a fan.

Enter the Grumpy Vegan.

Sure, asking the masses to embrace veganism (a plant-based diet) for a day is a nice concept. Those who commit to it wake up and have toast (probably with butter), a bowl of cereal (most likely with dairy milk), and a cup of coffee with cream. Hardly vegan but they’ve only committed to no meat— good for them.

For. One. Day.

Big whoop. I am unimpressed. These same people have had countless meatless days in their lives and they never even knew it. Oatmeal with fruit and juice in the morning (not to mention they will eat as many eggs as they want today). A salad at lunch with a crust of bread and vegetable soup. Pasta with tomato sauce for dinner. This is a plant-based day and somehow having them say they are taking part in MeatOut …well, it’s meaningless.

If these same individuals actually cared about animals or the environment at all, they would stop the rape, torture, and ruthless killing of animals full time. They don’t. They haven’t made the connection or they simply don’t care. I really don’t want them on “my side.”

Guaranteed, tomorrow they will eat extra bacon. Order a meat lover’s pizza, and swallow down two dozen chicken wings because “they earned it” for what they endured. They will do all this in their leather sneakers and wool socks while adjusting their silk underwear.

Poor bastards. So glad they lived through today … tomorrow the animals won’t.

Go vegan.

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Miyoko’s Kitchen, Part Two: Cutting the Cheese

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Originally posted on BitterSweet:

Before embarking on a cheese-tasting journey, one must will themselves to forget everything previously assumed about the essential experience of vegan cheese. Erase those early memories of eating yellow-colored wax back in the early 90’s, concocting funky wallpaper paste in home kitchens during fits of DIY determination, and even the reasonably melted shreds smothering dairy-free pizzas today. Even as a cheese-lover in a previous life, the flavors contained in these small, simple packages are a step up from anything I had enjoyed as a child. With or without that frame of reference, I’ll spoil the suspense right here; anyone with taste buds would be impressed by these offerings.

As mentioned briefly in part one, the whole line of Miyoko’s Kitchen cheeses are cashew-based, seasoned, inoculated, and aged in different ways to create a whole rainbow of flavors. Most wheels are firm, sliceable numbers ideal for fancy cheese platters (or…

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PlantPure Nation: The truth is a stubborn thing …

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In my business I am so fortunate to work with like-minded clients. When I launched ThankTank Creative, there was risk associated with being so niche or targeted but I knew where my beliefs and passions resided and moved forward building an agency focused on veganism, social justice, and environmentally-conscious companies … and the risk has paid off.

All of our clients are on the same path as we are: working toward a better future and, in many cases, working toward a vegan (or, plant-based) future.

Late last year I was contacted by the producer of Forks Over Knives, arguably the most important documentary touting the benefits of a plant-based diet. John Corry, along with an amazing team of film professionals and Director Nelson Campbell (son of T. Colin Campbell) were working on a “follow up” film titled, “PlantPure Nation.” After talking with John and Nelson at length, I knew we had to work on this project and help bring the film’s message, and longer-term mission to the masses.

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Today this film’s Kickstarter campaign has launched. 

I could go on here with reasons why you should support this film but I urge you to watch the video attached to the campaign. No one can say it better than T. Colin and Nelson Campbell.

www.PlantPureNation.com/OurKickstarter

Please support the campaign (any dollar amount). Share the link. Share this image (above). Share this blog post and help bring this message to America and beyond. We can control our own health and our own health can be controlled by diet.

Go vegan.

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Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Spicy Mexican ChorizOats

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This recipe for Mexican-style chorizo made with gluten-free steel cut oats (vegan, soy free) was originally created for a contest that Bob’s Red Mill (a company I love) was conducting. Create your best recipe with steel cut oats. I thought this recipe would win based on the clever name alone: ChorizOats. Get it? It’s chorizo combined with oats. You probably didn’t need me to explain, huh?

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Anyway, it turned out amazing. It’s not unlike soy chorizo except that you use cooked steel cut oats (gluten-free) and therefore this is health food. Seriously, there is nothing wrong in this list of ingredients.

I brought a huge container to one of our local Tex-Mexican restaurants (Viva) and we spiced up the already vegan burritos with this delicious addition.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free Steel Cut Oats
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or finely chopped
  • 1 6 oz. can organic tomato paste
  • 3 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T. (or more, depending on preference) favorite hot sauce
  • 2 T. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T. vegetable bouillon
  • 2 T. chili powder
  • 1 T. paprika
  • 1 T. smoked seasoning
  • 1 t. black pepper
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. cumin

Vegan sour cream (optional, depends on recipe but is worth every extra calorie. I prefer Tofutti brand), and vegan cheese (optional, but get your hands on some VioLife or Chao).

Cook Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free Steel Cut Oats according to package (1 cup oats, 3 cups water). Add vegetable bouillon just before adding oats and covering (will take 20 minutes to cook covered, stirring occasionally).

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In heated skillet, saute onions, pepper, and garlic in 1 T. olive oil (you can do this step oil-free if you’re one of those people) until soft, stir in tomato paste and lower heat. Add apple cider vinegar, hot sauce, cilantro and stir. Continue stirring over low heat for five minutes.

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Combine all dry ingredients in separate bowl and stir into tomato mixture and set aside.

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Once Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free Steel Cut Oats are done (can be left a little chewy) combine in large bowl with tomato mixture. You now have enough Chorizoats to fill six burritos, tacos, or quesadillas. The Chorizoats is also an excellent addition to vegan chili or cook further in medium heat frying pan and add as a healthy, spicy vegan pizza topping.

Go vegan.

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@BeyondMeat: Or, Beauty and The Beast

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I’ve been a fan of BeyondMeat pretty much since the beginning. In fact, certain people at BeyondMeat headquarters in California refer to me as “Superfan #1.” No idea if I am actually the first of their Superfans (formerly Brand Ambassadors) but I like to think I am. It gives me something to tell my mom so she can tell the girls at Mahjong and pretend she’s proud of me. 

This past weekend I flew to Anaheim to attend ExpoWest, the world’s largest natural products tradeshow. This is the one. 

In addition to meeting virtually every vegan ever, I got to visit all the companies I know and love since becoming vegan; including BeyondMeat. 

Last year their booth mimicked Taco Bell, this year they took on McDonalds. Topple the Golden Arch on its side and it makes a pretty sexy letter “B.” Last year they were releasing their beefy crumbles, this year it’s The Beast (burger) and breaded “chicken” fingers. Fast food fare. 

As I approached the booth and soaked in all the aromas that one would expect, I suddenly made eye contact with one of the BeyondMeat marketing team members, the beautiful Emily. 

We smiled. I was swept away by either her big brown eyes or by the fact I knew she was going to feed me. Either way, I heard angels. 

We chatted for a bit and I asked about Justin, another team member who I’ve known since coming on board. Justin is a dude. Probably the quintessential Californian but I can’t really say since this was only my second time setting foot in the state. 

We found him. Did some sort of handshake thing. Took this photo (above) and grabbed Josh, who will forever be known as “the man who put The Beast in me.”

Resting peacefully in a logo takeout tray was a wrapped mini burger (slider) alongside three breaded chicken strips (with a squirt of ketchup). I had been waiting months for this bite and it was about to happen. 

I heard angels. Again. I should have that checked out. 

The first bite of the beast was better than anything I could have imagined. If you’re still transitioning or you’re a vegan who craves a good burger. This is it. Firm and juicy. Slathered in ketchup. Resting in a soft slider roll. I could have eaten 50 of these little beasts (as an aside, the original Beast is BIG … haven’t had a chance to try it yet). Everything I miss about White Castle was in my hand and no one had to be killed to make it. 

Then I grabbed a chicken finger and dipped it into the ketchup. Crunchy. Juicy. A little bit of spice in the breading. Absolutely incredible. I ate all three and didn’t want it to end. Again, with the angels. 

I have to say in all honesty, I do wish the chicken fingers were gluten-free, I feel like this is a bit of a step back for the company since all their other offerings are GF. 

However … this little meal was a major highlight of the weekend and one I will cherish forever. Just like this photo of me and Justin that I am having blown up to poster size to hang over my desk. 

Go vegan. 

* In all fairness to my mom, she doesn’t play mahjong and she’s always been proud of me. Love you, Peg!