Thursday, August 20, 2015

Driftwood Magazine

Have you heard of Driftwood Magazine? It's a beautiful, brand-new magazine, available in both digital and print formats, that is geared towards the "seasoned" vegan. You might recognize the managing editor (Michele Truty) as one-third of the team from Vida Vegan Con, and my very good friend Sarah Cadwell (who laid out Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's most recent book) is the art director! With a stellar team like that, the magazine couldn't help but be awesome.

There are many different ways to subscribe. As I said before, you can choose both print and digital formats of the magazine (and have subscriptions to both, if you'd like), and you can choose a yearly subscription or just one issue at a time. I opted for one digital issue to start (only $5) because the printed price tag ($14 for one, $50 for a year) is a bit much for a poor college student like me, but I will definitely be saving my dollars to purchase an entire year of the digital subscription after reading this first issue.

Basically, the first issue is just plain awesome. It covers the vegan lifestyle, traveling as a vegan, and basically living a pretty awesome life that just happens to be as a vegan. These are my favorite articles:

  • behind the scenes at Upton's Naturals ("Behind the Stache")
  • eating vegan in Tel Aviv ("Tel Aviv: Is the vegan revolution here to stay?")
  • an interview with graphic artist Nicole J. Georges ("Nicole J. Georges")
  • portraits of vegans ("Vegan Faces", a feature that will be present in each issue)
  • one woman's fight to get more vegan options on Amtrak trains ("Dream Into Change")

So, as you can see, it's easily worth the $5 for a digital copy and, if you're a little richer than I currently am, the $14 for a print copy. I promise you you won't be sorry.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What I'm Reading: August 2015

D and I had a to visit the lovely Alki Beach in West Seattle last weekend, and caught a glimpse of the sunset while we were there.
Well, August has been a BUSY month, and not in the good or fun way. Biochemistry II has been a very challenging course so far. The subject matter is more difficult (topics include cholesterol and steroid hormone metabolism, vitamin D synthesis, and amino acid synthesis and degradation, just to name a few), and the teacher this quarter expects us to draw out the chemical structures a bit more than the last teacher did, so I'm spending a lot more time memorizing those in addition to learning the material.

However, even though I'm exhausted and a bit burned out (I have been in an accelerated course for 6.5 weeks now), I'm still enjoying the school and my new friends, and I honestly wouldn't trade this experience for anything (although, I really wouldn't mind having a paying job!).

Because I've been so busy reading my biochemistry textbook, I haven't really been busy reading much else. But here are a few links I've found on the web in my "free" time:

--Here's an article about hemp seeds and their benefits. I eat hemp seeds every morning as a topping for my breakfast oatmeal, and now I feel even more vindicated in doing so because of this article.

--I will be trying these dark chocolate almond bars from Minimalist Baker as soon as I have a moment to make them. Although, honestly, that's probably a very dangerous situation for me, as I have a hard time saying no to chocolate in the house!

--I'm so excited about Driftwood Magazine, the new magazine for "seasoned" vegans. It's out now!! I'll be reviewing it soon, so stay tuned!

--I just tried this recipe for strawberry frozen yogurt this evening, and it was so refreshing. I substituted maple syrup for the agave, and coconut yogurt for the regular yogurt. It was a smashing success.

--I'm sure you've read (or at least heard of) the article in the New York Times that presented a scathing view of Amazon. It made me seriously contemplate taking my business elsewhere.

--I think this would be great: the FDA is proposing new nutrition labels that would include the amount of sugar in a food as a percentage of the daily value, just like everything else already shows. I wonder if people would stop drinking as much soda if soda cans or bottles had this information on it?

--I'm always a fan of using fresh, seasonal fruit in desserts, and this recipe for chocolate chip blueberry bars from Chocolate Covered Katie sound like the perfect way to do that!

--I signed up for Vegan Mofo! It'll be happening in September, and it's a little different this year. Check out this super cute picture for it, and keep an eye out for my posts!

Friday, July 17, 2015

What I'm Reading: July 2015

Lake Washington on a beautiful, sunny afternoon
I'm back in school again (this time, a biochemistry prerequisite [my very last prereq!!] that consists of 12 hours of class + 4 hours of lab A WEEK), so time is a luxury. Here are some things I'm reading when I have a chance:

...written while listening to Rihanna's Talk That Talk...

--This article summarizes the recently published Dietary Guidelines...including recommendations to eat a plants-based diet and increase fat consumption (depending on what type of fat it is; unsaturated is obviously better than saturated).

--Look at this amazing recipe for Vegan Chipotle Cauliflower Steaks! Wow.

--My very favorite grocery store from Portland is finally coming to the Seattle area! I'm so excited!! 

--Ack. People are STILL not eating enough fruit and vegetables. Eat more, people, please! 

--I read this book over the fourth of July weekend. It was a page-turner, but because it has some really deep issues, I had to keep taking breaks from it to soak in sunshine and light before going back to it. It's definitely worth a read.

--Vegan Mofo is returning in September! I'm not sure if I can commit to doing it this year, but it's going to be a bit different - there will be prompts given for every day. That should make it a bit easier to come up with stuff to write.

--This blueberry quinoa salad from Minimalist Baker looks like the perfect way to ingest some fresh blueberries I just got at the farmar!

--I found this website about CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest), which acts as "...the organized voice of the American public on nutrition, food safety, health and other issues during a boom of consumer and environmental protection awareness [since] the early 1970s. CSPI has long sought to educate the public, advocate government policies that are consistent with scientific evidence on health and environmental issues, and counter industry's powerful influence on public opinion and public policies." Sounds like my kind of organization.

--I really want to try this Almond Butter Marble Cake from Vegan Richa. Whenever it cools down enough outside that I actually want to turn on my oven again, I will! 

--What dietitians and nutrition professionals are drinking this weekend.

What are you reading right now?

Friday, July 3, 2015

Vegan Cinnamon French Toast from Plant-Powered Families: A Review

Happy July! I'm so excited to share a review for a cookbook* today that is a serious game-changer. At least, it was a game-changer for me! This book is really fantastic. Dreena Burton is well known for creating delicious, healthy plant-based foods, and this book is an example of just how talented she is. I've followed her forever (I can still remember looking at and being so excited by Vive Le Vegan! when it first came out!) and, when I got the opportunity to receive a copy of Plant-Powered Families, I jumped on it. In my opinion, it's her best book yet.

Here are a few recipes from the book to whet your appetite:
-Homemade Hemp Milk (p. 44)
-Baconut (coconut bacon, p. 73)
-Oven-Dehydrated Kale Chips (p. 74)
-"Magical" Applesauce Vinaigrette (p. 105)
-Seasoned Polenta Croutons (p. 114)
-Artichoke Sunflower Burgers (p. 143)
-Autumn Dinner Loaf (p. 160)
-Vanilla Bean Chocolate Chip Cookies (p. 185)
-Vanilla Bean Almond Butter Fudge (p. 197)

What makes this cookbook so great is not only the wonderful recipes, but also all the features included in the cookbook. It has a great introduction that helps you get started with a vegan kitchen and pantry, plus appendices in the back that include tips for parenting picky eaters, ideas for what to use in school box lunches, and nutritional information for foods and ingredients used throughout the book.

I'm thankful that many recipes are already gluten-free or can easily be made gluten-free, and many have recipe notes for how to make them gluten-free, as well as nut-free. Most recipes are already soy-free and use whole, unprocessed foods (like hemp! there is so much hemp - one of my favorite foods!). Also, beautiful [and colorful] pictures accompany nearly every single recipe!

For this review, I tried the Cinnamon French Toast (found on p. 36). This recipe caught my eye because it didn't call for any soy products or other strange filler ingredients that many vegan French toast recipes list. I changed two things from the original recipe: I used black chia seeds (I had them on hand, and didn't feel like going to the store to get white ones) and I used hemp seeds instead of cashews (which is included as an option in the recipe notes). The result? A wonderful and delicious breakfast dish. The toast had a great texture and I truly felt like I was eating "regular" French toast. I loved that I was eating a whole-foods-based breakfast that was soy-free and high in nutrients such as protein and omega-3 fatty acids. D and I both approved, and finished the dish rather quickly.

The only things I'd change about the recipe are:
-I'd use a coffee grinder to grind the chia seeds and hemp seeds separately before adding them to the blender with the liquids (this is only necessary if you're using hemp seeds instead of the cashews originally called for in the recipe)
-I'd add just a tiny bit of sweetener (maybe some coconut sugar?) to the batter for a little extra flavor

I'm really pleased to be able to share the recipe with you here, and besides the minor notes above, this recipe is perfect as is, and I recommend you make some immediately! Breakfast for dinner, anyone?

Even more, I'm excited to offer one lucky reader a free copy of this wonderful cookbook! Find the entry for the giveaway below the following recipe. The giveaway is now closed. Thank you for entering!

Cinnamon French Toast
Serves 3-4
I remember French toast fondly from childhood - and so does hubby. It was the "treat" breakfast we had as kids, probably far easier for our parents to make than pancakes, and a great way to use up odds and ends of breads. This version is much healthier than what I ate as a kid, and I tell you our girls love it just the same.

1 cup + 1-2 T. plain or vanilla unsweetened nondairy milk
1 T. white chia seeds
1/3 cup soaked and drained cashews (see note for nut-free option)
3/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 - 1/2 t. pure vanilla extract
1/8 t. sea salt
sliced bread of choice (see note)

In a blender or using a handheld blender, puree the milk (starting with 1 cup; see note), chia, cashews, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and sea salt until very smooth and thick (it will get thicker as it sits a little while and the chia swells).

Prepare a nonstick skillet by wiping over with a touch of oil (you need a nonstick skillet, or this will be a sticky event!). Turn heat to high for a few minutes to heat up the pan, then reduce to medium/medium-high.

Dip a slice of bread into the batter. Turn over and let it sit in the chia mixture for a few moments to soak, then remove and place in the skillet.

Repeat with the other slices, frying 2-3 pieces or more at a time, depending on the size of your skillet. Fry for 3-5 minutes on each side, until light brown. Keep the heat high enough to get a good sear/crust on the bread, but reduce if it's scorching. Note that the slices will be sticky until they are ready to be flipped, so be patient. Repeat until all bread is used. Serve with fresh fruit and pure maple syrup. Another fun serving idea is to make sandwiches out of the French toast, slathering some nut butter between two slices, then serving with maple syrup.

Nut-Free Option: Replace 1/3 cup of cashews with 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds.

Bread Note: You may use 6-10 slices of bread, depending on the size of the slices.

Milk Note: After the batter sits for a few minutes it can become quite thick. You can stir through another 1-2 tablespoons of milk if it has gotten too thick with standing (if you have less than half the batter left, use just 1 tablespoon).

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*I received a complimentary copy of the cookbook to review; however, all opinions are mine.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

What I'm Reading: June 2015

summer break = sailing! this is D learning how to sail a small sailboat
Now that I'm done with school for the term (hello, summer break! goodbye, thoughts of organic chemistry!), I'm able to spend some time reading things I want to read! Here are a few links to things that have caught my interest lately on the web...

-Thinking about where our food comes from, specifically non-organic produce.

-I'm not a super big fan of the paleo diet (or really, any fad diet for that matter), but this is a pretty funny article about the paleo diet. 

-In our organic chemistry labs, we had to deal with some pretty awful chemicals. When I read this article, I felt like I was reading a procedure for an o-chem lab. Ick. 

-Thankfully, in regards to the previous article, you can make at-home protein powders that are completely safe for consumption (whew!).

-I want to make this soo badly. Now that I'm out of school for a few weeks and have some time to kill, I think I will!

-It took him years of research and contacting the federal government, but due to his research on trans fat, this 100-year-old was finally able to get it recognized as unsafe.

-This is my new favorite TV show. I needed a break from House of Cards, but still wanted something edgy. This was it.

-These are good, basic rules to follow for healthy eating.

-This is so depressing. We need to figure out a way to stop wasting food! 

-People tend to focus on nutrients rather than whole foods. I'm so thankful that I'll be attending a college that focuses on whole foods rather than nutrients.


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