Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Well, after a few months of Invisalign, then spacers, and now molar bands, it's time for full-on braces! Tomorrow I get brackets on all my little toofies. Fun times. 

What I'll look like tomorrow, from We Heart It

I'm preparing myself for lots and lots of soft foods. Bring on the polenta, oatmeal, hummus, applesauce, and juice. I also found this helpful list of soft vegan foods for people with braces. 

Wish me luck!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Tips for the Vegan Wino

When I first went vegan, the last thing I thought about was if my wine was vegan. I mean, how couldn't it be? It's made from grapes, right? People stomp on them in big vats like in I Love Lucy. Actually, I don't want to think about people's feet in my wine, either. Either way, I spent a long time drinking whatever wine I fancied and enjoying my ignorance. You can imagine my surprise when I made my very first trip to Barnivore

If you haven't heard (and I'm pretty sure you'd be hard pressed to find a vegan these days who hasn't), Barnivore is an online vegan alcohol directory that helps vegans find out if their favorite tipple is safe for consumption. As Barnivore explains, "brewmasters, winemakers, and distillers may include animal ingredients in their products directly, or they might use them in the processing and filtration." Non-vegan ingredients most often show up in the filtration process, when the wine is clarified after fermentation. As weird as it sounds, things like isinglass (from fish bladders), seashells, animal gelatins, and animal albumins (from egg albumin and dried blood powder) show up in these processes. I've been told that these ingredients don't normally show up in the final product, but that still doesn't make it vegan. And it certainly doesn't make me want to drink it. 

The Barnivore App

Luckily, Barnivore has made it easier than ever to access their vegan alcohol directory by creating two iPhone apps: "Is Your Wine Vegan?" and "Is Your Beer Vegan?" What's even cooler is that they're free! I was quick to download the wine version, as I'm a serious wine lover. I use it lots. 

Wines are listed as Vegan, Some [vegan] and Not [vegan]

Now, as you might imagine, there are thousands upon thousands of wines out there, and Barnivore can't possibly list them all. It is hard to navigate through the wine aisle of the grocery store searching label after label for one that matches what your little iPhone screen says is vegan. Luckily, there are a few really good staple wines out there that show up almost everywhere. A few of my favorites are Red Truck, FishEye, Smoking Loon, Charles Shaw Reds (aka Two Buck Chuck), and Yellow Tail Reds. And let's not forget some of the more luxurious favorites: Veuve Clicquot and Groth are both vegan, too. 

Sadly, an old favorite of mine, Root:1, is not vegan. But that's okay! There are tons of great options out there, and I've already made some new favorites. 

So next time you're about to enjoy an "adult beverage," as my dad calls it, check on Barnivore first. You can drink and be a responsible vegan at the same time! Oh, and obviously, please drink responsibly. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Vegan Scones, Choose Your Flavor!

Hello, all!

There is a new item available for purchase at Augusta Vegan Bakery: Vegan Scones! To be honest, I can't believe it's taken me so long to get around to offering scones on the site. They have always been a favorite pastry of mine, and they were one of the first things I taught myself to make. I remember the first successful batch of scones I made; they were non-vegan just like I was at the time, and they were delicious. I felt so accomplished. Now, I've veganized the recipe so I can share it with the world! These are so yummy, that it was very hard to take these pictures without devouring them first. Sounds silly, I know, but it's the truth.

Anyway, sorry for the shameless self-promotion, but I couldn't help it. Order some now, so I have an excuse to bake a big batch and sneak some for myself! Hope you are all enjoying the spring air!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sunday Morning Mochi with Stir-Fried Veggies

For the past few months, my fiance and I have been following the advice of Alicia Silverstone's book, The Kind Diet. Silverstone discusses the benefits of plant-based diets in the book, outlining all of the wonderful perks that come with living the vegan lifestyle. Of course, my fiance and I didn't need any more convincing, but we did find some new information and inspiration that led us to choosing a more natural diet comprised of whole foods. My fiance has been following Silverstone's Superhero plan almost exclusively, while I tend to fall of the path fairly often (no surprise there, considering my love for vegan baking). I do my best to stick with it, especially for meals we eat together.

On weekends, we all like to have a nice treat for breakfast. Unfortunately, pancakes aren't exactly "Superhero." Lucky for us, Miss Silverstone has provided us with a delicious (however unexpected) alternative: mochi! I had never heard of mochi before reading The Kind Diet. Silverstone uses it in two recipes: Pan-Fried Mochi and Mochi Waffles. Due to my lack of ownership of a waffle iron (wedding registry, here we come!), I'm left to enjoy just the first recipe, and boy do I enjoy it! My fiance and I have been making mochi almost every weekend, and it is so very delicious. Below is the way we like to make it, served with a yummy side of stir fried veggies and greens, and some tempeh bacon.

Sunday Morning Mochi with Stir-Fried Veggies


For the Mochi:

1 package mochi, cut into squares
1-2 tbsp oil (olive or safflower both work well)
1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1/4 cup brown rice syrup or agave nectar
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

For the Stir Fry:

1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp mirin (rice wine)
2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp umeboshi vinegar


Whatever veggies you want/have in the fridge!
I used:
2 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 daikon, sliced
1 cup frozen peas
3 scallions, chopped
1 cup purple cabbage, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup parsley, chopped
2 cups mixed greens


Begin by preheating a skillet (one with a lid) for the mochi over a medium-low flame. Add the oil. When the oil has heated, carefully place the mochi pieces in the skillet so that they're not touching. As they get bigger, it will probably be impossible to keep them from sticking together, but do your best. Cover with the lid and maintain the heat at medium low.

While the mochi is cooking, heat the oil for the stir fry in a separate skillet. Once it's heated, start adding vegetables in order of how long each takes to cook. I started with the mushrooms and garlic. Once they became tender, add the daikon. After a few minutes, when any liquids produced by the vegetables have cooked off, add the mirin (just like deglazing with regular wine). When most of the mirin cooks off, add the peas and scallions, and cook until heated through.

At some point during the stir-fry, you'll notice that the mochi has puffed up and is beginning to brown on the bottom. Carefully flip each piece, doing your best to keep them from touching. They'll be quite sticky! Once you've flipped them, use a pastry brush to add several drops of tamari to each piece. Do this carefully to keep the sauce from burning in the oil. Re-cover the skillet and allow the bottom of each piece to brown.

To finish off your stir fry, add the purple cabbage until it has just wilted. I overcooked mine a bit in these pictures, so try to keep it from turning a dull purple. It's best when you retain a little crunch and that vibrant reddish-purple! Once the cabbage has wilted, turn off the heat and stir in the parsley. Serve on top of the greens.

When the mochi have browned on both sides, remove them from the heat and plate them. Drizzle with syrup, and sprinkle the walnuts on top.

This dish is a fun, healthy alternative to the common Sunday brunch. I hope you find it as delicious and satisfying as I do!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Clean-Out-The-Fridge Soup

We all know what it's like. Having a fridge stuffed with weird leftovers and things that don't quite make a full meal can be frustrating. I'm actually pretty sure that this is how soup came to be in the first place. If it's not suitable as a meal on its own, toss it into a pot with anything else you can find, and voila! You've got a delicious mish-mash of flavors and a satisfied, full belly.

Last night, I found myself stuck as to what to make. So, I looked to Lauren Ulm's Vegan Yum Yum for inspiration. Here, I found a few recipes for soup, and decided to use her knowledge to create a "clean out the fridge" soup of my own. The final product was mainly based on her recipe for Vegetable Soup. The point, though, is that you don't actually need to follow a recipe to make a good soup. Just use what you have and go with it. As long as you use good judgment with your seasonings (let your nose be your guide), you will most likely wind up with a pretty tasty concoction. I did, anyway.

Clean-Out-The-Fridge Soup


1 tbsp olive oil
1 small to medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped
2 cups chopped mushrooms of your choice (I used shiitake)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
6 cups water
2 bouillon cubes
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup pasta (I used rice pasta, but use whatever you have)
1 can cannellini beans, drained
1 tsp salt, or more to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
3 cups baby arugula


Begin by heating the oil in a large pot. Add the onions, and saute them until they start to become translucent. Toss in the garlic, mushrooms, and herbs. Cook until the mushrooms soften and the herbs become fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the water, bouillon cubes, and tomato paste, and stir until the tomato paste has dissolved. Bring to a boil. Add the corn and pasta, bring back to a boil, then let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Then, add the beans and stir until they're heated through. Once the soup has come to a boil once again, season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, stir in the arugula until it has just wilted.

This is a great weeknight meal that will provide some leftovers for lunch the next day. It's good reheated, too! My fiance likes it because it's well rounded and has a good range of vitamins and other essentials. I like it because it tastes good. It's a win-win!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chocolate Truffles For Your Vegan Valentine

Looking for something deliciously decadent to give your Valentine this year? Well, a good place to start is with these rich homemade chocolate truffles! They're a very basic recipe, and are super-simple to make, but they sure don't skimp on taste. I made them for the folks here at work and was quite pleased with my results. I veganized this recipe from the Martha Stewart Living February 2010 issue.

So, without further chatter, I give you:

Valentine Chocolate Truffles

8 oz. bittersweet vegan chocolate, in morsels or chopped
1/2 cup Silk Vanilla Coffee Creamer
1 tbsp. Grand Marnier or other liqueur
1/4 tsp. salt
unsweetened cocoa powder, for rolling the truffles


Place the chocolate bits in a bowl. Bring cream, Grand Marnier, and salt to a simmer in a small saucepan. Pour the mixture over the chocolate, and let it stand for about two minutes. Then, whisk it until smooth and velvety.

Next, pour the chocolate into a small-ish baking dish (I used an 8-inch cake pan) and refrigerate until it's chilly. I'd recommend about an hour or so.

Finally, scoop balls of the chocolate mixture using a tablespoon and roll them in the cocoa powder, tossing until fully coated. My mixture was a little warmer than I'd like (I only chilled the mix for 30 minutes), so my hands wound up covered in chocolate when I tried to make these into perfect little balls. But, do what you need to do to get the job done. You may wind up with chocolate covered hands, but really, that's not so bad.

They're best when they're a little bit chilly, so keep them in the fridge until you're ready to serve or gift them.

A note about the chocolate choice: I used Ghirardelli chips that were 70% cacao. The chips were really rich tasting, so my truffles turned out really, really rich tasting. Think of it as making an even more concentrated flavor than what you started with. So, if you choose something lighter, you'll wind up with a more delicate flavor, if you choose something darker, you'll wind up with a more robust flavor. Just to keep in mind!

Happy (early) Valentine's Day!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti in Los Angeles

Hello Friends!

Sorry for the long absence. Unfortunately, one thing after another occurred back in October, including TWO bouts of the flu, and I just lost track of things! But fear not, I'm back. It's a new year, and I've got fresh eyes. And, of course, I'm ready to delve in to some vegan cooking.

One of the first things on the to-do list this year is to get involved more, and next Sunday's Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti at Locali in LA is the prefect place to start. On January 31, 2010, Locali will be hosting an awesome bake sale benefiting Doctors Without Borders. So if you're in the area, come by to sample some delicious goodies for a wonderful cause. Boyfriend and I will be there representing Augusta Vegan Bakery (my Etsy bakery) ready to sell and sample some yummy animal-free treats.

We hope to see you there!

5825 Franklin Avenue
Los Angeles, CA

To find a Bake Sale in your area, please visit the Post Punk Kitchen blog here.