Healthier BeyondMeat Meets GlutenFree Vegan Risotto all Day Long

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For the new year Jen and I decided to kick up our vegan diet a¬†notch and go full-on, whole-food plant-based (WFPB). Being vegan was just becoming too easy (also, I had to wean myself from french fries somehow and this seemed like a great time). We’re sticking to this every day of the year with the exception of the first of the month and special events (potlucks) and holidays (Groundhog Day, Arbor Day, etc.).

So far, we’ve successfully made it through Day One with the help of this delicious and very simple risotto. This creamy recipe is 100% WFPB (until you add the optional, but totally worth it, BeyondMeat chicken strips at the very end).

You’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice (risotto rice)
  • One 38 oz. container of vegan vegetable¬†stock
  • 1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • One 6 oz. package of triple washed organic baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (nooch)
  • One package of BeyondMeat grilled “chicken” strips (defrosted)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large non-stick cooking pan add 1/4 cup of the vegetable stock and bring to a boil (you can also use a tablespoon of EEOV here but that’s not on our diet … damn it). Add the chopped onions, garlic, and mushrooms and¬†saut√© until soft (about five minutes, stirring). Stir in the arborio rice and cook for an additional five minutes over medium-high heat, coating the rice (you’ll start to hear popping sounds … since this recipe is poppin’).

Pour in one cup of the vegetable stock and lower the heat to medium. Stir constantly and with purpose. From here on out you’re going to be feeding the rice the vegetable stock and stirring (adding ingredients along the way). It’s an excellent arm workout.

Once the first cup of liquid has been absorbed, add a second cup (see what I mean?). After the third cup, add the chopped basil and the spinach (the spinach is going to look huge in the pan but will cook down as you introduce it to the rice and stock). See what I mean?

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Once the spinach has been completely incorporated, add another cup of vegetable stock. This entire “feed the risotto vegetable stock” process will take approximately 40 minutes (and you will end up using the entire carton of stock). After the final drops of vegetable stock have been added, stir in the nooch until full incorporated (you should have a creamy, cheesy texture at this point). If it seems like it needs more liquid, add a little water or squeeze a half a lemon into it (citrus gives any dish a burst of flavor and freshness).

Test the texture of the rice (perfect, isn’t it?) and finish off by stirring in¬†the whole package of torn BeyondMeat chicken strips into the finished risotto. Heat for an additional five minutes until the BeyondMeat has warmed up. Salt and pepper to taste. If you want … top with some vegan parmesan and a sprig of basil. Your friends are going to be so impressed by you: 1) You made a delicious gluten-free vegan risotto; 2) You topped it with a sprig of basil which is called “garnish” and you’ve never done that before.

They’re all impressed and, after dining on this dish, they’ll all¬†want to #GoVegan.

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LOVE this recipe?¬†Want more like it? Pre-order The Skeptical Vegan NOW! Available at Amazon.com¬†and Barnes and Noble! More than 25 of my¬†favorite meaty dishes¬†… veganized and made simple!

A Vegan Dream Come True: Fast Food Across America Veganized

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I get it. There are vegans who will only eat organic sprouted tofu on top of a quinoa kale salad sprinkled with non-gmo goji berries. More power to them. However, from my personal experience, the vast majority of vegans I know love junk food and many have expressed a longing for (convenient) vegan fast food (evidenced by the incredible success of the new¬†Amy’s Drive Thru¬†[@amysdrivethru]¬†in Northern California … open 11.5 hours a day/7 days a week and the line is consistently around the block).

So, ThankTank Creative, in conjunction with MeatyVegan.com, presents the following famous fast food franchises … veganized.

NonDairyQueen

Avacados BurgerKing DrMcD KFC LittleCaesars PIzzaHut TacoBell VeganDonuts

“There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination. Living there, you’ll be free if you truly wish to be. If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it. Anything you want to, do it. Want to change the world? There’s nothing to it.”

~ Willy Wonka (from Charlie and the Dark Chocolate Factory)

Go vegan.

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Kids Need Healthy Food!

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Remember what your mom said:

“Eat your vegetables.”

Of course, as a father of two vegan babies, we never have to say this because … well, that’s pretty much all they eat. Vegetables, fruit, rice, brown rice pasta, and so many¬†more plant-based foods are the entirety of their every meal and I wouldn’t want it any¬†other way.

Not sure how many parents of a two-year-old boy can say their kid hangs out in the refrigerator looking for broccoli. Or grapes. Or hummus. Or guacamole. Ours does and the 11-month-old baby is right behind him.

Raising kids vegan gives them an enormous head-start on a healthy future and it also is a compassionate reminder that animals are not food.

Animals are not food.

There are a growing number of organizations committed to ensuring that kids have access to plant-based meals (you should check out what PlantPure Nation is up to with their PlantPure Pods). Another organization near (geographically) and dear (I am friends with the Executive Director) to me is the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food.

I met Amie Hamlin years ago at the whole-foods, plant-based Friday Dinner held in nearby Brooktondale, New York. She is an incredibly committed and passionate woman who is helping to bring plant-based foods to all¬†public schools in New York (if you’ve heard about this on the news recently, Amie was behind it). We all want a healthy future for our children and the Coalition is making this happen … one school at a time.

The Coalition’s vegan recipes have been distributed to 25,000 schools nationwide and their Wellness Wakeup Call program is heard by tens of thousands of students around the country every day! And today (8/28/15) is a very important day to the organization.

Giving is Gorges.

The Coalition for Healthy School Food is teaching healthy plant-based cooking and nutrition classes in Ithaca and New York City and today is Giving is Gorges day in Ithaca. In the Ithaca classes, students cook vegan entrees that will be on their school menu for lunch that week. Kids, teachers, and parents love the program. Some teachers and parents are surprised to see the kids eating the food they make.

And the kids agree that the international recipes from different cultures are delicious. Today, your donation can help the Coalition for Healthy School Food raise additional funds. The group with the most donations (greatest number of donations) will get an additional $500! Please help them get this! Click here to find out why they had to tell kids to stop eating vegetables, and to donate.

Please share and Go Vegan.

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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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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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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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250,000 Year-Old-Man Unearthed: Confirmed Vegan

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[SHAWNEE, OK] Paleontologists at the Oklahoma Museum of Natural Sciences in Shawnee, Oklahoma, announced this week fascinating new findings into the diet and lifestyle of prehistoric man after discovery of a frozen 250,000 year-old human unearthed in Tura, Russia, an ancient village in the Siberian Plateau.

“As we melted away the ice to begin performing an autopsy on the body we were amazed at some of the accompanying¬†findings,” said Dr. Warren Almond, Director of the Oklahoma Museum of Natural Sciences.

“There is no doubt from the data that early man was, in fact, vegan. From the surrounding evidence to the preserved food particles extracted from the specimen’s digestive tract. Paleo man was vegan.”

These findings are in alignment with many of the teachings of Dr. Milton Mills of Falls Church, Virginia. His research and area of expertise has long pointed at signs supporting an herbivorous caveman.

“From the teeth to the toes,” Dr. Almond added during a lunch interview. “As Dr. Mills has said for years, early man was herbivorous and now we can conclusively state ‘vegan.'”

According to the autopsy report, as the ice melted away several items were revealed or dropped out of the encasement, including: Oreo cookies, Daiya cheese, and a half-eaten package of Nestle Double Chocolate Thin Mints; a vegan item that made the PETA Accidentally Vegan Food List.

Other evidence leading to the groundbreaking conclusion was nearly 45kg of hummus, quinoa, and “All Hail Kale Salad” in the digestive tract.

“As if these findings weren’t enough, we noticed that the prehistoric man also wore vegan Birkenstock sandals, a Blood Tight Apparel t-shirt, and carried an iMac with a “coexist” sticker covering the Apple logo,” Dr. Almond concluded. “Case closed.”

 

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Go vegan. 

Miyokos Kitchen Launches New Website (and ThankTank Creative was there …)!

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MiyokosKitchenFullSiteI first met Miyoko Schinner at the Vegetarian Summerfest two years ago. That was a huge turning point for me as a vegan. As with many before me, cheese (especially creamy, rich, artisan cheese) was something I was not looking forward to giving up. During this event, Miyoko conducted a demonstration and tasting of her amazing culinary skills and actually performed a miracle … she made vegan cheese right before my¬†eyes (in one instance, she made mozzarella … which, on its own is not an easy task). I was immediately in love.

So, years later when I started my vegan marketing and design firm, I knew I wanted to work with Miyoko as she launched her incredible collections of vegan cheeses (referred to as cultured nut products because of California state law) to the world.

Interesting to note, that mid-way through the design and programming of the site, Miyoko was invited to New York to speak at the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen (about 40 minutes from where I live). Being the amazing woman that she is, she drove to have dinner with us in the pouring rain and got to be a part of one of our last-minute vegan potlucks. Needless to say, I became somewhat of a hero that day since she also traveled with three wheels of cheese. Plus, I got to introduce her to the Ithaca Vegan Mafia and take her on a post-rain walk around Cornell campus. It was a really nice evening.

So, today MiyokosKitchen.com finally¬†launches. With the help of ThankTank Creative and a huge team effort, MiyokosKitchen.com is open for business. The new site (which is still in its “organic” stage) features collections of cheeses that will satisfy anyone … especially omnivores. What I am most excited about, beyond having had this opportunity to be a part of history, is that Miyoko’s cheeses are so good … SO good … that they will help so many thousands of people take that next step toward veganism.

And that makes the world a better place.

Follow Miyoko’s Kitchen on Twitter and Facebook and go buy some cheese!

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Animal Concerns Texas (ACT) Radio Interview: ThankTank Creative

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Last night my interview with Animal Concerns Texas (ACT) Radio aired and I cannot say enough nice things about Greg, Liz and Tom and this NPR program. Everyone from the radio hosts to the producers was great to work with and I am thankful they are doing what they are doing in the great state of Texas.

If you’ve ever wondered what the Meaty Vegan sounds like … here is your chance.

Listen here.

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MeatyVegan Exclusive: Interview with Rob Bigwood from AMC’s “Game Of Arms”

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For the first in my interview series I wanted to chat with someone who I thought would fit the MeatyVegan image and what’s meatier than a professional vegan arm wrestler?

Rob Bigwood currently stars in AMC’s new reality series “Game of Arms” and he took the time this week for an exclusive interview with MeatyVegan. What I really loved about this interview is that, while I knew Rob was vegan, I didn’t know he was an ethical vegan and his answers to so many of these interview questions are right in line with my own beliefs.

I used to be a pretty impressive arm wrestler in my youth but when you see the guns on Rob you really can get a sense of true power and muscle. Proving, once and for all, that plant-power is true power and anyone who wants to argue this point, is welcome to go arm-to-arm against Rob Bigwood.

MV: Rob, you’re a professional arm wrestler and a vegan, doesn’t this mean you’ll never beat a meat eater? Don’t you need meat to be strong?

RB: I beat meat eaters all of the time! There are much healthier and cruelty free sources of protein and eating butchered animals limbs isn’t my thing.

MV: Most vegans are asked “where do you get your protein?” I’d like to ask, where do you get your haircut?

RB: I like this question a lot! I’ve been going to place in downtown Manhattan right off of Broadway for the past two years, but I also have a soft spot for¬†Astor Place Barber.

MV: What would we find in your refrigerator right now?

RB: Fresh Direct was just delivered this morning so this could take a while. Organic broccoli, almond milk, almond and peanut butter, coconut oil, Earth Balance, beans, berries, wheat bread, avocado, spinach, there is too much to list … should I keep going?

MV: Has your role on AMC’s new show “Game of Arms” led to other acting offers? Will we see you in the next Julia Roberts’ romantic comedy?

RB: Ha! I’m a terrible actor and feel extremely awkward in front of the camera. But I wouldn’t mind a scene with Scarlett Johansson, just saying …

MV: How do you train to arm wrestle and is the arm you don’t use to compete with basically weak like an overcooked green bean?

RB: The best way to train is to actually arm wrestle. It hits all of the weird angles and positions that are impossible to duplicate at the gym. I compete with both arms, though I was warned not to after the surgery on my right elbow. My right hand, forearm, and bicep are stronger at the gym then the left but it’s the exact opposite on the arm wrestling table.

MV: What inspired you to become vegan?

RB: Growing up we are conditioned to ignore where our food comes from with clever advertising.¬†I never connected that the hotdog or cheeseburger that I was eating was once an innocent animal that had its life viciously robbed. It was somebody’s mother, father, brother or sister. All animals have the same feelings¬†and share the same fears.

MV: What inspires you to stay vegan?

RB: Because I know in my heart that it is the right thing to do despite what others think or say. Animals need a voice and things (factory farming) need to seriously change.

MV: If you could have one non-vegan food converted to vegan food and taste exactly the same, what would it be?

RB: I haven’t found an amazing vegan Reuben yet.¬†Please tell me where I can find one!

MV: If you weren’t arm wrestling, what would you like to be doing?

RB: I’m actually an Interactive Art Director. I design mobile apps, websites, and anything else interactive. We just launched the new Comedy Central app for Android and Apple devices and it’s a pretty awesome!¬† I’ve also worked on some other huge brands including Air National Guard, Citi, Emirates, MSG and Pepsi¬†to name a few.

MV: What would you say to the younger readers who want to get stronger about being “powered by plants”?

RB: Do a little research on balancing the right nutrient dense proteins and carbohydrates but most importantly listen to your body. Vegan food can taste amazing and is the complete opposite of boring. There is absolutely no need to contribute in taking the lives of millions of innocent animals each year. Forks Over Knives and Peta’s Vegetarian Starter Kit are a few good places to start.

I couldn’t agree more.

Watch Rob Bigwood prove that plant-power can dominate on AMC’s “Game of Arms.” Upon airing, the premiere of “Game of Arms” was watched by 1 million viewers, with 626,000 of those viewers among adults 18-49. It is AMC’s highest-rated reality series premiere of all time. Check your local listings.

Go vegan.

No one has ever been told to ‘cut back on eating vegetables.'”

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“No one has ever been told to ‘cut back on eating vegetables.'”

~ Meaty Vegan

My Sister: The Born Again Vegan

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My sister is now vegan. She was vegetarian for a while but had a serious addiction to cheese (more specifically, had a serious addiction to¬†an Italian restaurant). Over time, I think she was seeing, and learning, about how a plant-based diet is not only good for your heart — it’s good for your mind. She read Victoria Moran’s brilliant “Main Street Vegan,” and decided being vegan was for her. I’m so happy that she is committed to being vegan and I know that over time, like me, it will all continue to come into perfect focus.

This week, she started a blog. The Born Again Vegan. A launching pad for her thinkings about being vegan and a place for her to share recipes and ideas and humor about begin vegan (which we all know there is plenty of out there). Please follow her blog and comment on her entries.

I’m not sure how much impact I had on her decision to go vegan but whenever I see someone I know, especially someone I care about, giving it a try … it makes me feel like I am making a difference. Like this is all worthwhile.

And, while he won’t admit I had anything to do with his decision, I also have a follower (in Wales) who recently went vegan after having numerous arguments with me about “no one is vegan.” I am taking credit for Michael becoming vegan … and that makes me feel even more like I am making a difference.

Then, two weeks ago a friend of mine messaged me from out of the blue on Facebook saying she loves my blog and is thinking about going vegan (but is sure her husband wouldn’t but maybe he would). I read and re-read her message. The fact that I wasn’t alienating her with my constant vegan posts and links … the fact that I was getting through to her and she was listening … the fact that, on some level I was inspiring others to stop and to¬†think

I now know I am making a difference.

Ge vegan.