I hope everyone is enjoying themselves! It is unseasonably warm over here and I am loving it. Our windows are open giving the house much needed fresh air. My husband and I replaced our old fluorescent lights that were in the kitchen and replaced it with cool/neutral toned lights. It is so nice and bright now. I have no clue why people keep using warm toned bulbs because the daylight colored bulbs just give a nice fresh breath of air in our house. I think it is now making Jon think about replacing our lights throughout the house, since the last owner had pretty much all the cheapest fixtures up.
Also I want brag just a little about how I was able to get the new Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavors! So far my husband and I tried two of them, tonight we will try the other two and I will try and get a review up. So far my husband says it is his favorite vegan ice cream out there. The previous champ was Trader Joe’s chocolate cherry soy ice cream.
As you might of seen in my book reviews, I am a huge Junji Ito fan. I was such a big fan I couldn’t wait until his newest releases to be translated and bought a copy of Mimi no Kaidan that was in Japanese. I haven’t been able to do anything other than look at the drawings, until now. I found a website that fansubs Junji Ito’s entire work. I am not one to really like reading fan subs other than when there is no legal way to read the story in your native tongue. I for one am just excited to read what I bought so many years ago.
I always gripe when I see people toss food out because their food is past the expiration date. I mean BEFORE even opening it up. In fact in an episode of Dear Hank and John, the question of “I ate boxed powder mac and cheese that is a year past expiration date am I okay?” resulted in two different responses. Hank said yeah it’s fine, John was pretty avid about saying it would be bad. Whether or not John was joking I think it is really wasteful, and this article backs up Hank’s response, it might not taste as great, but it is totally fine.
This is super exciting to hear someone placing their ethics to their business. Ravi DeRossi has several restaurants in New York City and went vegan. He thought that the demand for vegan food wasn’t enough and went through many years of having his business conflict with his ethics. He finally said enough is enough and is converting all his shops vegan. He is doing it one at a time, so I am excited and would love to try all 15!
This is a great article spotlighting how the medical industry is a little male bias. Many women face painful periods and are often ignored. The scarier truth is that there are some diseases that are linked with period pain and we have no reason why periods are painful for some people but not for others. Periods are pretty taboo to talk about with most people, and especially with men. I have heard stories of guys who didn’t understand why we didn’t just “hold it in,” thinking it is something similar to peeing, and I have personally had a friend who didn’t know that girls had “three holes.” Point is that we need to be more open about this stuff.
Sex is Hard
If you had a crummy Valentines Day, maybe this will cheer you up. At least you don’t have guys stabbing your abdomen because they don’t have time finding your lady parts and you know how to have sex.
I’ll level with you guys. If I was perusing the blogosphere I probably would poo-poo this recipe. I am usually the kind of person who makes everything from scratch. It has only been recently I started to use pizza dough from a grocery store. When I tell my husband that I don’t want to cook, and I want to have pizza it actually means I bought premade pizza dough and I am usually making a pizza. Nope, no ordering out. Is it because there isn’t any vegan pizzas available? No, I am just so hard wired to make dinner that not cooking dinner is still cooking.
So what is this recipe then? Well, during Thanksgiving I hosted dessert for my family and thought I should offer whipped cream. I bought So Delicious Coconut Whip and thought it would be a hit. The problem is that nobody touched it because I totally forgot no one in our family actually uses whipped cream, or rather they only have it in very specific situations (aka angel food cake.) So I kind-of got stuck with a full tub and refroze it, having it sit there since.
Then I randomly wanted some ice cream and thought I might as well make some nice cream. Short of some ripe frozen bananas, I took a gamble and used my frozen peaches and leftover So Delicious Coconut Whip. It worked out. It wasn’t just peach flavored, but the coconut whip peaked through in the flavor, which I really liked.
I figured I would post the recipe since you never know who will find the recipe valuable. I mean honestly, you can’t make everything and I might see myself picking up some more cocowhip for a party. And there will be leftovers, so I would probably find myself making this again. Is the recipe healthy? I would say it is better than normal ice cream. Your fruit is full of vitamins and fiber. And even though traditional whip cream is heavy on calories, the vegan cocowhip only uses 120 calories total, with 8 grams of fat, less if you use the reduced fat cocowhip.
A quick note on the ingredients, the coconut whip MUST BE FROZEN! Because of this reason I don’t recommend replacing it with homemake rad whip or whipped cream from a can. I used home frozen peaches where I left the skins on. Storebought peeled peaches will give a smoother texture. You can also use whatever fruit you want. Want pineapple? That would be cool. Want berries? Tasty but you might want to add a little bit more sweetener. Mangos? Okay I need to stop, I’m getting hungry. And finally I used maple syrup but you can use whatever liquid syrup you want.
This collection of book is a little spooky related. We have a collection of short horror comics by Junji Ito, a suspense horror by Shirley Jackson, and a collection of comedic stories about cats, which uses a lot of horror tropes. Maybe I was feeling the super old school vibes of reading ghost stories during Christmas time? Perhaps not. I partly wrote up these book reviews in such a small grouping because I checked out We Have Always Lived in the Castle from my library. But it is nice to be able to write only 3 reviews instead of 8 all at once.
What I am Currently Reading
Imperium: A Fiction of the South Seas – I was reading an article about a vegetarian who lived only on coconuts. Surprise he died of malnutrition! The man inspired this story, and thought it would be an interesting read.
What I’ve Read
I am a big fan of Junji Ito, he wrote my first graphic novel- Uzumaki. I managed to then search high and low for his english translations of Tomie (which a used copy of this book sells for $110 on amazon, anyone want to buy my copy?) Then he came out with Gyo, and I still loved his creativity with the horror genre. Then there was a dry spell. Not much was being translated and released in the United States, turns out Ito took a long break from writing horror comics. Fragments of Horror is his first collection of horror comics in eight years. Part of his time away from horror was filled in with his manga about the life of his pet cats (which I have a review below!)
Unlike his previous releases, there is no connecting thread with each story. Each story is it’s own individual story. Some are strong and others I could of done without. The book starts off with Futon, which is a story about a man who refuses to leave his futon due to the demons that he alone can see. The story is told from the point of view of his concerned wife. I thought this was a really strong story, short and to the point. It wasn’t anything insanely original, but the drawings are great.
The next story is a much longer one called The Wooden Spirit. A father and daughter prepare their house as they will start doing tours of the historical building. They get visited by a woman who seems to be very excited about the building. She stays with the family, but the daughter can’t quite figure out what is so weird about this woman. It ends up being a story about obsession and stranger danger.
Tomio – Red Turtleneck reminds me a lot of the Tomie series, a woman that mesmerizes men to their death. Tomio appears at his ex-girlfriends apartment asking for help, his head is about to fall off. His girlfriend is pretty distraught as she was dumped for a fortune teller they both went to. The story didn’t have too much going for it, and mostly was there for gore factors of a head coming off. Plus the “deadly hot” girl story has been done enough with the Tomie storyline.
I was much more impressed by Gentle Goodbye. Riko got married and lives with new parents. Her new home is very weird, she gets the cold shoulder from her in-laws, and she is convinced there is something creeping around the house. Turns out the family has a tradition of turning the recently dead family members into ghosts who fade away as everyone forgets them. The tradition is really weird, and Riko gets a lot backlash from her in-laws when she asks to turn her father into a spirit. It is a nice little ghost story.
Dissection-chan was a short story that I didn’t like right away, but it has grown on me. The story is about a girl who stalks a boy into adulthood, demanding he dissect her. There isn’t too much to this story, but it does create an eerie atmosphere that I can apprieciate. The story builds to the end, which I can imagine would be hard as the story doesn’t have an easy to solve plot. I am sure it wasn’t suppose to have any specific commentary, but as a vegan I saw a lot of parallels with live animal dissections.
Blackbird tells tells the story of Kume, a man who finds an injured hiker. The injured hiker is rushed to hospital, where he tells his story about how he had been hurt in the woods for an entire month to reporters. But how did he stay alive with so little food? The hiker confides in Kume about a mysterious visitor who fed him some unknown raw meat, but wouldn’t save him. The hiker was afraid he might still be visited by this women even though he was now saved. This is a really interesting story and reminds me of some of the traditional Japanese folklore. The women was a little distracting with her big puffy lips since she was suppose to be similar to a bird.
My least favorite story from the whole book was Megami Nanakuse. The story is about Kaoru, a woman who is an avid fan of the novelist Megami Nanakuse. Kaoru sends a fan letter to Nanakuse, and hears back with a special invitation to learn how to write. When she arrives she finds out that her idol isn’t as amazing as she once thought. This story is more filled with humor, but more potty humor that felt a little awkward and misplaced. It felt more awkward that the story seems to use a cross dressing man as a punchline. The story made me think of Misery only in reverse, where the author is using their fans against their will as their muse.
The last story is Whispering Woman, which was a horror concept that was completely new to me. The story is of Mayumi who is plagued with constant indecision, should she sit? should she sit with crossed legs? On the bed? On the floor? So her father hires someone to walk with her all day telling her in detail what to do. The work is hard so they don’t last much longer than a month, until Mitsu shows up. She and Mayumi seem to form a bond that went beyond everyones expectations. Mayumi’s father is a little suspicious about the relationship, everything is seeming to work too well. I have to say the ending was very different, and surprising to me, making this a great way to end the collection.
Overall, I loved and cherished this collection of stories, but I am a fan of Junji Ito. If someone was brand new to the author, I don’t think this would be the best way to start out. Even the author Junji Ito admits that he was a little rusty with the genre after taking such a long break. It is funny reading reviews on Goodreads since there is a lot of divide on which stories were everyones favorites. It felt great to get some new material from one of my favorite artists.
Another Christmas gift was Junji Ito’s comic Yon & Mu. As mentioned above, Junji Ito is a horror manga/comic artist. He decided to take a turn and write a comic that centers on some real life experiences. The story starts out with him and his wife moving into a newly built house, something that is fairly rare in Japan. His wife almost immediately asks if Junji is a cat person or a dog person, starting the the couple down the path of cat ownership. As someone who adopted a cat with my husband, I had lived with cats for a small amount of time, and he had not. So the stories made me think of when Jon first tried to win our cat Toulouse’s heart, and kind-of failed miserably at first. He tried so hard to get Toulouse to like him, but we all know cats like to have their own personal space.
What makes the comic work is Ito’s wonderful drawing. He captures movement very well, making a joke come to life that would normally be hard to make work on paper, like his illustrations on how to play with cats. He also uses his horror background to create humor. He first draws the new cats as possessed intruders, and slowly transforms himself into an cat obsessed freak. And let’s face it, if you like cats, you probably know there is something a little weird about you. He also has other great stories that are more so cute and enduring to any pet owner, such as not wanting to disturb sleeping pets.
What is fun about this book for Ito fans is that it does give a look into his personal life. He talks about his relationship with cats, but I was happy to see that they translated Q&A that were posted with original publications. There are even questions about his life before being a manga artist, questions about the current comic, and more. At first I thought they were a joke, which there might of been some tongue in cheek found in some of the answers. But it becomes clear that they are truthful questions and answers. The book ends with a summary of why the comic comes to an end, which is pretty much because of relocation because of the earthquake.
I can safely recommend this book to any cat or comic book fan. Even if you aren’t big on comics, this is a great book since it is filled with lots of humor. It carves it’s own little unique spot in comics since Ito perfectly blends his horror and grotesque drawing styles with light hearted humor. The only downside is that if you are a new reader to Japanese comics, it might take some time getting use to reading everything “backwards.” Once you get use to it, it is really easy to enjoy.
I picked up this book because it was recommended by a blogger… who I can’t remember which it was. The person was saying they were in the mood to read something spooky, and this book helped fill the void. I was pretty excited when picking it up, since Shirley Jackson is known for her writing in the horror genre, her most well known piece being The Lottery. The story, just like The Lottery features real life horrors, there aren’t any ghosts, monsters, or zombies.
The story takes place in a small town, where the last of the Blackwood family live together in their mansion. Merricat and Constance take care of their physically impaired Uncle on the last of the family’s money. Constance stays as a recluses in their home after the mysterious death of the family. One night the family was poisoned with arsenic in the sugar, Constance and Merricat didn’t eat any of the sugar, and their Uncle Julian managed to survive the arsenic, but it left him physically damanged. Constance was accused of murder, was found innocent. Merricat ventures out twice a week to get groceries, where she is harassed by the local villagers.
The major theme of the story is outsiderness. We find out that the Blackwood family treated the locals poorly. They didn’t want mix and mingle with people who were lower than them on the social ladder. They blocked their lawn from being used by other people and they moved far away from the village. Merricat and Constance keep in contact with only one person from the outside who is another rich socialite, who also keeps a clear distinction between the rich and the poor. Because of this, the locals in the town hate the family, along with resentment that Constance wasn’t committed for murder.
The story is told through they eyes of Merricat. Her isolation makes her extremely childlike, which is disturbing when paired with her sociopathic mindset. There is a small air of witchcraft in the book since the girls lives revolve around ritual, gardening, and sympathetic magic. There is nothing overtly pointing out that the Blackwood family might be witches, as the Merricat seems to not be aware of her specific actions. But she has a wide knowledge of poisonous and healing plants, performs small acts of magic such as nailing a book to a tree and burying coins, and in the beginning of the book she makes a very specific reference to warewolves. Merricat is the anti hero of the novel, we shouldn’t like her so much but we can’t help be feel sympathetic to her.
I really enjoyed the book, but it does start out a little slow. Once the story hits it’s climax it really comes to an end really quickly. This is a great spooky story to read, especially if you are getting a little bored with the typical supernatural story.
Hey everyone, this week has been a little weird. I got a text from my Mom on Monday saying our dog Madison couldn’t stand up and they made an appointment at the vet that night. The next morning I got a text from my Mom that she had been put to sleep. The first day I felt pretty fine. I thought it might of been because we knew she was in poor health the past two years. She had a lot of joint problems, going blind, loosing hearing, and had a harder time controlling her bladder. After all, she was 15 years old. The last time I visited my parents house, she was constantly slipping and sliding. A year ago if you tried to help her, she usually wiggled around in your hands hoping you didn’t pick her up. But in recent times, she gave up and surrendered, knowing she needed that help to get back on her feet. But the next few days I just felt like crap, and I kind-of ignored it. I’m feeling a little better, but she was in fact my first pet that wasn’t a rodent. I had guinea pigs when I was younger, and let’s be real, humans have stronger bonds with dogs (because of you know, evolution). Although I am sad to loose a friend, I am glad that she is no longer in pain. I think out of all people, my father is taking it the hardest. He didn’t seem to think she was in as much pain as everyone else thought. Maybe he was in denial. Maybe not. But it is a little funny when the day before we adopted Madison my Father played dumb about the whole thing, “Dad, are you excited about getting a dog?” “Oh we are are adopting a dog?” But I think the second he saw a small 3 pound puppy hopping through our over grown grass, he fell in love. The lawn also got mowed soon afterwards.
It was only a few days after bringing her home, I remember there was a huge hurricane and the power went out in the middle of August (or maybe July?) She wasn’t far in her house training, she was black, and there was no electricity. I just remember unable to sleep all night, having a crying puppy. I remember being distinctly afraid of taking her outside since it was so dark, nor could I even see her properly in the dark so I couldn’t get her leash on even if I tried. Poor puppy had worms and lets just leave it at this, we threw out the carpet the next morning. She got better and was a pretty wild pup. Everyone has a preconceived notion that poodles are well behaved dogs, but Madison was a fairly gross dog. She loved rolling around in our compost heap and would come in with smelly grey stuff matted in her fur. She managed to kill a family of baby moles, catch birds in midair, and later in life eat whole rotting fish. Classy dog eh?
A week before I left for college she drove across the country with my Mother to her new home in Saint George Utah. This would be her new home, which didn’t seem like a normal place for a black poodle. Saint George is located in southern Utah, so the area is a desert (not anything like Salt Lake City). She was pretty happy there since she was able to have someone home with her all the time since my Father didn’t work. She went on a lot of trails with him, and since it was so easy to keep track her she got to enjoy being off leash and smelling whatever she wanted.
After about 10 years of being in Utah, my parents moved back to the east coast. She came back with my mother and lived with my sister and her family until my mother found a new home. At this point she was showing her age, and was living with people who didn’t live with a dog before (aside from my mother and sister), so there was a lot of adjusting for the humans, and the dog. It was also hard for her since the house had three floors, and going up and down the hardwood steps was a little bit hard for her. I think it was a confusing time for Madison, and she didn’t get much stability until my parents found their home and moved in a few days after Christmas. She was able to live her new house for about a year.
I was originally going to write a Sunday Reads post, but it morphed into me just reminiscing over Madison. I loved her, and we had a strong bond when I was living with her. I secretly hoped at some point she could come and live with me again, but it was pretty hard to see her unless I came out to Utah since she was too big to fit as a carry on on a plane. She taught me a lot. I think without her I wouldn’t of been as aware of the genetic problems that occurred from “pure breeds.” I don’t think I would of transitioned to veganism when I did if I didn’t have a strong emotion bond with an animal. I’ll miss you Madison.
If there is some sort of marketing that I get suckered into, it would be trying new drinks. It started in grade school when my friends and I would go to the local Krauszer’s and picking any cool labels or oddly shaped bottles. I mostly remember Snapple’s element drinks and the whipper snapple drinks. Yes, Snapple sure knew how to take my money. But now that I am older I am less interested in sugary drinks, and more about healthy drinks. So now I try out all the new naturally sugary drinks that are at Whole Foods. Okay not all drinks are sugary, but most are sweetened in one way or another (including stevia) Lately I’ve been noticing bottles of maple water, and after my awful hangover, I decided why not? I was getting sick of normal water anyways.
So you are probably like me and wonder what the heck maple water is? It is pretty much the most raw state that you can buy maple tree sap. We all know maple syrup, but it has been boiled down to a thicker, sugary, and more flavorful state. Since the drink is pasteurized but not boiled down, it has much less sugar than maple syrup but has a similar nutritional profile. There is one company selling raw maple water, which I find perplexing since I thought most maple sap would ferment with some alcohol with a few days.
A lot of companies are selling maple water in the same vain as coconut water- full of electrolytes but with less sugar and calories. Less calories yes, coconut water has about 46 calories per cup and maple water has about 25. Maple water has about 5 grams of sugar per cup, while coconut water has 6 grams. After looking at all the different brands, it seems the nutritional values vary, usually having about 1-2% calcium, 30-40% manganese, 1% potassium, and 50 different phytonutrients.
The drink is surprisingly watery- totally clear. It tastes pretty much if I put a small drop of maple syrup in my water and stirred it around. It is a little weird, as I am expecting there to be more body to the drink. I think it would be pretty refreshing after a workout, more so than just water since it does have a little bit of sugar in it. And using maple water instead of plain water in a protein shake would be pretty awesome as well, adding a hint of maple to the mix.
Naturally I am a little wary. None of the companies are REALLY saying what is in maple water. It doesn’t seem like it has a long list of vitamins in it, and there aren’t many studies on the drink. So most of the health claims seemed to be pulled out of their asses. Is the drink good for you? Better than sodas and sweet teas, sure. It is a nice way to mix it up when you get bored guzzling water, but unless you really enjoy the flavor, I wouldn’t say to force it down your throat.
But what IS rad about this drink is that they are almost all tapped in the United States. That means if you are replacing all your coconut water with maple water, you are avoiding shipping tons of liquids overseas, leaving a lighter carbon footprint. The method is great for the environment as well, one that has been used for many years (remember it is the same stuff as maple syrup.) If you are in Europe, there is apparently companies that make birch water, which seems to be very similar nutritionally.
I think many vegans already know this, but Disney is a pretty rad place to be a vegan. No it isn’t 100% perfect, but when you go to restaurants they are incredibly helpful to work with restricted diets. I hear stories about people making reservations ahead of time, just so a specific vegan meal can be made for their visit. So when I went to Florida to visit family this year, we stopped by Disney Springs before heading home. Here is a summery of some of the vegan options I encountered. Please note Disney is known to change things around often, so some of these options could change by the time you visit.
If you are wondering, what is Disney Springs? It use to be called Downtown Disney, which is self explanatory. It is a fake little “downtown” market where there is no admission, free parking, but is filled with tons of stores and restaurants. There are a few other activities like live performers, a movie theater, amphicars, and world’s saddest little train. It is a pretty cool place to stop at if you get into Florida too late to warrant paying for a ticket to one of the parks. In our case we needed to wash away all the wholesome family togetherness with some pure flashy commercialism. If you are visiting Disney World I think this post by Vegan Cowgirl gives a pretty wide range of vegan options that are available throughout the park.
Earl of Sandwich
Marketplace, Disney Springs, FL
We needed a dinner pretty fast so we ate at Earl of Sandwich. It is a chain of restaurants, so if you are familiar with it, you probably already know what your options are. The place is pretty busy, but there is a great assembly line so everything runs super fast. I was also a little surprised that my food turned out the way I asked even with the super long lines and super busy workers. So if you are looking for a cheaper option, you are doing pretty good with this location.
I ended up getting the Hot Veggie sandwich, sans feta and Mediterranean dressing (I assumed wasn’t vegan). They have mustard at their little prep stations you can add some on your own or ask them to sub the Mediterranean dressing for something else, which I did. I found the sandwich really satisfy and yummy. They have other options that you could make vegan, such as Berry Chicken Almond Salad, Thai Chicken Salad, Thai Wrap, and Greek Salad, all sans chicken and cheese. I would double triple check with the staff if there is honey in those salad dressings to be 100% sure.
Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC
The Landing, Disney Springs, FL
Okay this was the place I was most excited about visiting at Disney Springs. If the name sounds familiar, it is probably because Erin McKenna is known for her New York City vegan gluten-free bakery Babycakes. Somehow I have never been to her New York City bakery, but have heard a lot of hype. So I was super excited to give the place a try, especially during a weekend where I had to ask so many questions about what was in my food.
We went towards the end of the night, so I had slim pickins. I ended up getting a coconut soft serve ice cream, half chocolate and half vanilla. The ice cream isn’t listed on their website’s menu, but it is totally real and super yummy. I found that the mix of chocolate and vanilla took away from the chocolate flavor, so if I had to do it over again, I would pick one or the other flavor. I also got their cookies and creme donut (which I don’t see listed…) And I have to say, the donut lived to the hype. It was so yummy, perfectly sweet, and I had no clue it was gluten-free. I really wish I could of tried one of the cupcakes, but they only have vanilla left at the end of day *yawn* Not for sweets? They have vegan savory options, but probably are only available early in the day, such as veggie biscuits and bagels with vegan options. I love these type of shops where there are friendly to vegans and other food restrictions so I can come in and just choose something.
What is even more rad is that the baked goods are found at other spots in Disney. I won’t list them on the blog incase they change, but the different locations are listed on Erin McKenna’s website. The main options are chocolate chip cookies and mini brownie cupcakes and seem to be mostly available at the resort locations.
Jock Lindsey Hangar Bar
The Landing, Disney Springs, FL
I love cocktails. So does my family. This is a great place to get a vegan cocktail. The place is suppose to be a bar opened by the fictional Indian Jones character Jock Lindsey. It had been awhile since I’ve watched the movies, but my older sister recognized some of the movie references. First let’s start with food. I personally didn’t get any, so I didn’t verify. But you probably have some options. Snack of Ra is a mix of African and Indian cuisine with a salad, and naan and injera crisps. Ask the waiter, you probably would have to ask for all injera crisps and no naan. Tanis Tacos are falafel tacos, one site showed it with a yogurt sauce drizzled on top, so ask the waiter if there is any and if it could be omitted. The place is set up to be like a bar, so food isn’t what you should be focusing on- it is the drinks.
I know a lot of vegans don’t drink because of health reasons or personal preference. Which why I kind-of like this place. There are non-alcoholic options for drinks, 4 in total, all looking pretty vegan. So which drinks are vegan? Well note that I am making this list by checking barnivore. If the liquor in a cocktail is not listed on the site I am assuming it to be vegan. I put a * next to the drinks that didn’t come up on the barnivore search, feel free to take another look incase they updated their database. If the beer or wine didn’t come up in the search I didn’t list it. Descriptions of cocktails are from their official menu
- AIR PIRATE’S MULE – Knob Creek Disney Select Single Barrel Reserve Bourbon and fresh Lime Juice topped with Fever-Tree Ginger Beer
- BAM’S BARNSTORMER – Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, Fever-Tree Ginger Beer, and fresh Lime Juice
- GERMAN MECHANIC – Bavarian Radler a.k.a. “Shandy” with Paulaner Hefe-Weizen and Simply Lemonade®
- HAIL MARTY – Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. Single Barrel Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey* bottled in Bond served with an Ice Sphere
- HOVITO MOJITO – Barson Quebranta Pisco*, fresh Lime Juice, Mint, and Simple Syrup topped with Soda Water
- PANCHO’S MARGARITA – Don Julio Reposado Tequila, Grand Marnier, and fresh Sweet-and-Sour
- FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH – St. Augustine Florida Cane Vodka*, Bols Blue Curaçao, White Cranberry Juice, and Sweet-and-Sour
- REGGIE’S REVENGE – Florida Cane ‘Orlando Orange’ Vodka*, Midori Melon Liqueur, White Cranberry Juice, and fresh Lime Juice
- THE SCOTTISH PROFESSOR – Monkey Shoulder Blended malt Scotch Whiskey, Hendrick’s Gin, Pear Nectar, Simple Syrup, and fresh Lemon Juice
- WRONG ISLAND! – Siesta Key Silver Rum*, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Tamiami Gin, Tippler’s Orange Liqueur, and Sweet-and-Sour with a splash of Coca-Cola®
- Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale
- Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale
- Kingfisher Premium Lager
- Lagunitas IPA
- Orlando Brewing I-4 IPA
- Paulaner Brewery Hefe-weizen
- St. Bernardus Abt 12
- Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
- SweetWater 420 Extra Pale Ale
- Xingu Black Beer
- Bodega Charcra Barda Pinot Noir
- Flowers Chardonnay
- Graham’s 20 Year Old Tawney Port
- Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz
- Jarvis Estate Estate Chardonnay
- Meiomi Pinot Noir
- Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Champagne
- Northstar Merlot
- Santa Maria Reserve Merlot
- Weingut Selbach-Oster Riesling Kabinett
My sister got the Cool-Headed Monkey which came in a cool glass. Sadly the Van Der Hum Tangerine Liqueur used in the drink was listed as not vegan on barnivore though I think that is because the wine made by the parent company isn’t vegan. So you could try it out. It was pretty sweet and fruity. I got The Scottish Professor (pictured above) and it was a classic cocktail. It is a really strong drink, just the way I like it. The drink reminded me of a whiskey sour, using the pear nectar to sweeten the drink. My other sister got the Singapore Sling (not vegan, Bénédictine Cointreau contains honey) which was pretty solid. My Mother got the Fountain of Youth which reminded me of the brightly color drinks from the 90s.
The Landing, Disney Springs, FL
Sadly when we went to Disney Springs it was the weekend of the Disney Marathon so the place was pretty packed. There was a weird waiting system to be seated, so ultimately we didn’t go here. But I found out that the go to vegan option in this place was a vegan burrito, which isn’t formally listed on the menu. The staff said that if need be the chef would come out and help find something that they could make for me to eat, which I assume will happen at any Disney location.
Even though I didn’t dine here, I figured this gives any vegan readers the option to eat at a sit down restaurant and not eat a salad. Other options: chips and salsa, guacamole (apps), house salad minus the queso, and seasonal fruit sorbet. There are also a bunch of seemingly vegan sides that you could get, though you would have to ask the staff. And I do know the veggie burger has cheese in it. For more options you can check out this post at Vegan Disney World, looks like Morimoto’s is the best sit down restaurant to dine at for vegans.
Hey guys. Anyone watched and enjoyed the Super Bowl? I enjoyed the game and surprisingly enjoyed the halftime show (that’s is normally really weird, and Coldplay didn’t even have to play Yellow to please me). Oddly I do like Coldplay’s new single Adventure of a Lifetime but the video guys, I just can’t. Is it just me, but is Coldplay SOO positive and upbeat that it makes you go crazy? I personally like my music to be angsty and full of deep political messages… okay not all my music. I mean I do love me some Stupid Hoe. But I guess I am getting off topic.
So much has happened this week and I kind-of fell behind on various posts that I wanted to put up this week. Oh well. But I do have a few links to share this week. I hope everyone enjoys it.
This is one of the funniest episodes of Judge John Jodgeman I’ve heard. It starts with a big bang with a case of a wife asking her husband to get his water collection methods under control. It is full of kombucha and fart jokes. What is there not to love?
This is kind-of just a fluff piece, but it is nice to see changing attitudes in fitness in Asia. I love Asian culture and you might notice most women are stick thin compared to some of the Western female counterparts. Getting shape in some Asian countries involve pretty much starving yourself. Nope, not sugar coating it either. So hearing that some women are opting to go to the gym and focus on strength is probably a good thing, even if most of these ladies are trying to loose weight in the end.
I’ve heard some things about this coffee shop in other news articles, but I find this really cool. There are so many things I am digging about this location, the diversity, females, and this cool new movement in Philadelphia of pairing a coffee shop with another store idea. There is this location and cinemug, that is a video rental and coffee shop. Maybe Alexa and I will stop here tomorrow?
I’ve listened to GastroPod before, and they provide awesome podcasts about science and food. This one tackles the topic of calories. It is fun to hear about what they are, and the pitfalls of calorie counting. Some information I knew about in the past, but others were fairly new to me. It is great listen for anyone who has struggled with dieting, or want some more scientific backup about why counting calories is a load of shit.
My sister emailed me this wonderful article about daily meal plan of the owner of Moon Juice. Oh boy was that article a load of shit. You know, the kind of crap that makes you remember why people don’t want to try my maca milkshake. The whole article is pretty much a promo for overpriced sprouted rice protein powder from the company, so there’s been a lot of articles bashing it. This one is clearly the best one.
It has been awhile since I’ve posted a recipe on the blog. I guess I needed a break from Vegan MOFO, where I posted a whopping 14 recipes, that is almost a new recipe every other day! And there is the holidays where I get a little scared of breaking out the new recipes and try to stick with the classics. And I really haven’t been feeling like cooking as of late. I think my new house set up seems like such a bigger commitment to either be in the kitchen or be on the computer. In the old apartment the computer was so close to the kitchen I could hear if something would overflow and hear timers, etc. Now the computer is on the second floor, and I just get anxious that something bad would happen.
But before I talk about this hot pot, can I stop and talk about mourning someone who died awhile ago? Last night I noticed that my husband has been really preoccupied, and more stressed than normal. Sure work might of been really crazy, but something seemed different. Turned out he found out one of the girls he dated in high school died, but it happened several months ago and he was just finding out.
I know this can suck, and can happen often in smaller town. It has happened to me, with my friend Pete. We were friends senior year of high school and he wanted to hang out during our breaks during college, but I was sadly in another state and couldn’t hang out. I made some comment about his brother with Alexa, then proceeded to ask about Pete. She was dumbfounded and told me he past away, like 2 years ago. Nobody mentioned it to me because everyone thought someone else told me.
It was weird, because I couldn’t really talk to many people about it, because everyone already knew for such a long time. They had already passed the different grieving phases, so I was kind-of left alone with my feelings. I felt terrible for not being able to go to the funeral, not being able to hang out when we could of, and I felt bad for his brother, who under the circumstances of the death, felt responsible. Where do you turn? Luckily I could talk to Alexa about it, and I had a friend in my area who actually went to college with Pete, and also thought I knew about the death. So it we talked about awesome he was.
For my husband this girl got his by a car while running, so maybe it hit him on a closer level since we both go running. So now I am a little nervous what my next run will do to his nerves. But it is bound to happen. I don’t know, it is such a weird feeling about finding out someone passed away so long after it happened, it can feel embarrassing and isolating on top of all the feeling you get from mourning.
But this post is about soup, so we will change the topic. This curry hot pot is one of my favorite weeknight dinners. It is super simple to make, and probably only need 10 minutes of prep time. Just chop, add broth, and boil. No sautéing, or prepping the protein. And even better, it is super easy to customize! That can be great when your partner doesn’t totally jive with your palette. In this case it is my husband not wanting his soup as spicy as mine. And if they don’t want tofu, it is easy to sauté some meat or faux meat for them. One wants a gluten-free diet? Use some other noodle (I’ve tried bean noodles, it is bitchin)
It is worth noting the star of this recipe are individual hot pots. It was something I never bought because I thought it was silly and maybe a waste of money. It went on a wishlist for our wedding, and my sister and brother in law bought them for us. I mean it is an expensive item- $36 a pot, and you need to buy TWO for a couple. But I can safely say this is the greatest thing for two people living with each other. It is nice to have our own bowls for own meals. I’ve already posted recipes for dolsot bibimbap and mushroom hot pots with these pots. Again, this made it so I could have my super spicy bibimbap, while my husband could have his whimpy version. If you in a serious relationship and living with your significant other, I totally recommend buying them. You get the satisfaction of making what you want but sharing a similar experience.
Keeping with the idea of customizing, this recipe is super flexible. I posted what I made in these photos, but I’ve switched around the ingredients. I’ve made this with seitan sausage instead of tofu, grilling the seitan and adding it in with the ramen. I switched noodles, switched the veggies (using sautéd onions, raw celery, potatoes, etc), this is a forgiving recipe. If you are thinking of different veggies to use, I usually use winter vegetables that last long in the fridge. Celery, radish, root veggies, cabbage, nappa, green onions, carrots, heck try out some beets. Go crazy. That is what I love about hot pots. Super simple stuff here.
If you are wondering where to get vegan ramen there are a few places. Some of the style of mainstream American ramen (oriental and chili) are vegan, and you can just toss the flavor packets. But that seems a little wasteful, but easy to find at your local supermarket. There is an organic all vegan ramen line called Koyo Natural Foods. They sell organic ramen noodles that are plain and have no flavoring. They also sell packets with powders, but I think my hot pot packs more flavor. Your next bet is to check out an Asian Market and look down their aisles. Look under the noodles aisle, ramen package aisle, and refrigerated sections. Read ingredients as egg can be a common ingredient in some of the fresh noodles. I found a package of noodles that came in round dried blocks, and came in one bag. So it saved money and packaging. Once you find a ramen source, you will likely go nuts for it. Continue reading
New York City is known for it’s large selection of vegan restaurants. Even if you aren’t eating at an exclusively vegan place, many tend to have a vegan option. The only downside is that New York City, particularly Manhattan, can be very expensive. Sure you could go to Chipotle, but that wouldn’t be an exclusively New York or vegan experience. When Jon and I went into New York to celebrate Alexa’s birthday we wanted a cheap place to eat since we know we would be spending more than normal on drinks and karaoke. VLife filled that gap.
Oh boy are you guys ready for some great photos?! Well too bad. These were taken with my cellphone because I didn’t want to lug around an expensive camera while at a bar (we went to Ginger Man, which has a killer vegan black bean soup) I already get nervous with my wallet and cellphone! Sadly, it was night time so you aren’t getting the greatest shot of the entrance, and we were a little intoxicated by the time we stopped in so I didn’t have the will power to stop and take a good photo before eating. That being said, enjoy the review.
Just like my review of Beyond Sushi, this is another hole in the wall sort of place (if you notice I do these a lot, as we tend to eat out mostly when out and about). There were a decent amount of seating, but the lighting and environment wasn’t the greatest. You can at least give them some points for trying. The walls are white with bright green circles, so it isn’t the worst. It seemed that there were a lot of take out orders with people picking up, and delivery people picking up orders (which BTW, looks like they use a third party service, not sure which one though.)
If you aren’t aware of the location of the place, it is on Manhattan island close to Penn Station. So if you are going to Madison Square Garden or just getting off/to the train this is a quick place to go. Other areas you will be walking distance of (like 10-15 min walk) would be K-town, Bryant Park, New York Public Library, Garment District, Empire State Building, and Times Square. If I was instructing a vegan who is heading into New York via bus or train arrive in Penn Station, I might suggest heading here first to grab a bite, then heading up north on the island to Central Park, Saint Patricks Cathedral, Rockefeller Center and all that fancy shit- but then again I don’t know what tourists do in NYC.
We were pretty hungry when we headed in, so we ordered fast. Jon got the Bodacious Burger, which is a soy based burger. The patty was pretty good, and super juicy which I don’t get often in a vegan burger. The burger came with a side dressing/sauce to spread on the bun. But the burger was juicy enough on it’s own that we saved the sauce for the fries, which is ordered separately from the burger. We picked their cajun french fries (which doesn’t seem to be on their online menu) with their mild chipotle chili sauce. The fries were very yummy, and my husband LOVED the sauce. Personally I found it a bit too sweet, but still a fun way to switch it up from ketchup.
I just came back from my trip from Florida (and had so many salads) where my Aunt made everyone authentic po’ boys. Naturally I couldn’t eat the shrimp, so when I saw it on the menu, I figured I had to get it. It was a little disappointing. This is my first time having fake shrimp, and they were actually close to the real thing. Sadly there were some problems with the authenticity of a po’ boy. The shrimp was simply too big (they probably should of just chopped the faux shrimp) and the batter seemed to have a hard time sticking on the shrimp. I guess I shouldn’t of expected so much from a regional food. But if you look past that, the sandwich was pretty good.
What I like about this place is the price point and location. This is a great lunch stop for most NYC tourists. The prices are cheap for the city, leaving Jon with a $7 burger, and me with a $9 sandwich, and fries that were an undetermined amount (it could of been $2 to add to my sandwich, or around $4 as a side, I don’t have the bill with me right now.) The Happy Cow got a lot of mixed reviews on their site and I can see why. I would probably give the place a 3 out of 5 stars, but might come back for more. Most everything is mock meats on the menu which can rub people the wrong way, but I rarely cook with them so they are usually a treat for me.
When I first went vegan I did it mostly for health related reasons. In the middle of it all I started to get sucked into the raw lifestyle. I slowly branched away from it, but I am still always interested in eating more raw food. I decided to try and eat more raw lunches and decided to use some of the recipes from Ani’s Raw Food Asia cookbook. I love Ani’s simple and easy recipes, making it quick and easy to prep a lunch.
The pictures are pretty true to what the food looks like, which I really like. Nothing drives me more bonkers than seeing a photo that will never match my recipe. Ani’s food does look inspiring to make, but there aren’t that many photos of the food themselves. The photos in the book are actually more about the sights and people that are in Asia. There are photos of Ani preparing recipes, and posing at markets. I would say this is annoying in a cookbook, but honestly, I like it. I find it relaxing and I like flipping through the book to just look at the photos. And let’s be real, do I need a photo for all these salads? Answer- no.
Unlike most modern cookbooks, Ani’s organization is a little all over the place. This might be a smart move. It isn’t often do that people sit down and read all of a cookbook. So Ani takes advantage of how people read a cookbook, by flipping through recipes, and gives information and facts throughout the recipes. Most of her tips are mostly about keeping up health, mentally, physically, and living an eco-friendly life. Before doing this review, I’ve read most of the note she has written, which I normally don’t do.
What does drive me nuts about this style is that certain recipes are scattered all over. I would of liked to have the sauces and pastes all grouped together rather than all over the place. If I just want to make that sauce, it is easier to find in a chapter devoted to sauces, rather than tucked away under the “rice” section. It isn’t a huge problem though. Otherwise, like any other cookbook there is an introduction, recipes divided up by types, suggested menus, then some more closing remarks about living a healthy life.
Ani’s writing is always easy, but sometimes a little too dumbed down. It is a little frustrating to read some poorly worded information, that ends up being false. I might know what Ani is trying to say, but it the wording makes the information easily misinterpreted. For example she talks about buckwheat and writes “buckwheat is a seed, not a wheat, so it’s gluten-free.” Yes buckwheat is gluten-free, and yes, it isn’t related to wheat. But “not a wheat”? That is just horrible english, and makes the definition of grains even more confusing for most people.
On the flip side there is also some great information that is very much true. I have to agree with many of suggestions she makes for living a generally healthier life. So I wouldn’t say that everything is false, but when it comes for nutritional and food specifics know that she is simplifying the information a lot.
In general I like Ani’s super easy raw style of food. This book is probably better than her other books for starting out with a raw diet since most of the food doesn’t use a dehydrator. The dishes are pretty veggie heavy which is what I am looking for in a raw recipe. I do wish she offered up more recommendations for substitutes for recipes that use a dehydrator. She does recommend using the oven but it would of been nice is she suggested other substitutes like using a rice paper wrap instead of her dehydrated coconut wraps.
What I do like about the cookbook is that it isn’t very judgmental, particularly at the end chapter. Ani shares her experience with raw food over the years, and admits that she doesn’t eat raw all the time. Nor is she totally a vegan anymore, but is more so a pescatarian (or maybe a flexi-pesca-tarian? Basically fish is only a small fraction of her diet.) It takes a lot guts for a person to admit when their health isn’t 100% when their whole profession is built on it.
The authenticity of the recipes are a little up in the air. Ani doesn’t claim that these recipes are authentic, clearly since some of the originals involve cooking. Some of the Korean namul and kimchis are probably rather close to being authentic since she has Korean roots, and says in her book she visits family in South Korea. I think it bothers me when Ani tries to call a recipe after an specific dish, and it just isn’t even close. For example the samosas were delicious, but didn’t use potatoes, nor did it have a wrap around it. The only recipe that really made me annoyed was the “black rice pudding” which was a recipe for chia pudding. Neither are anything alike, and it really should of just been left out of the cookbook in my opinion.
Overall, I think I would recommend this book to anyone who is trying to eat more raw foods. There are some light dishes that are quick to make. I don’t think there was a recipe I wouldn’t make again (except the ‘rice,’ but that isn’t exclusively something Ani has made up, just give me normal rice please.) Sure there are some modifications people might have to make if they don’t have a dehydrator, but if you have a blender and food processor, you will be able to make most of these recipes.
If you are interested in individual reviews of recipes just click to expand the review.