Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Laziest Vegans Top Ten Asks Gary Loewenthal

Gary Loewenthal is the central brain behind the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale. The WVBS is a Vegan bake sale hosted by different groups all over the world, occurring between April 23rd to May 1st. In the first two years, the WVBS has donated $65,000 to different charities. Gary is also behind the non-profit Compassion For Animals. From Veganizing recipes on popular non-Vegan foodie websites, to doing good old fashioned vegan outreach on the streets of Virginia, Gary is a tireless advocate of Vegan food activism (and bunny rabbits!) But what kind of frozen dinner does he like?



What is your favorite veggie burger?
Any vegan burger from a burger joint that has a veggie option. The ready-made ones in the deli section of Whole Foods. I fear they're tasty because they're full of oil. Can I put in a plug for homemade veggie burgers? They're way under-promoted IMHO, and suitable for lazy cooks. Basically you mix everything together in a bowl, shape them into patties, then fry, bake, or broil them. There's a huge variety of recipes online and in cookbooks, so you're almost guaranteed to find one or three that you think are delicious.

What is you favorite frozen dinner?My wife and I probably rely a little too much on frozen Boca Chik'n Patties and Nuggets. But they're so handy! You can serve them open-face, on a bun, with barbecue sauce or secret sauce (Veganaise and Dijon mustard), topped with lettuce, tomato, and red onion, you can chop them up and put them on top of a salad - and much more!

What is your favorite ice cream?Purely Decadent with Coconut Milk - it's so rich and creamy!

What is your favorite chip or cracker?I know this is pedestrian, but I keep coming back to Saltines. Maybe it's because they're so neutral. Peanut butter, non-tuna salad, and everything else goes great with them. I like other flavors though, and buy them randomly.

For chips – Kettle brand; they’re so crispy! Addictive, too!

What is your favorite cereal?I like them all – I’m a cereal enthusiast! Various varieties of Bare Naked Granola are current favorites, but it changes over time. I find a midnight snack of Grape Nuts after a stressful day to be very grounding.

What is your favorite candy?The Go Max Go candy bars are rock stars, but I also like any bar that’s dark chocolate mixed with some other flavor – mint, lavender, raspberry, doesn’t matter – and dark chocolate assortments like you get in a gift package; those are fun.

What is your favorite cookie?I love anything homemade or bakery-made, but I haven’t found one packaged vegan cookie that I like. Friends say “You’ve got to try [fill in the blank], they’re so good!” And I try them and I’m like “eh.” For me, the gap between store-bought and homemade is huge. Possibly that was a subconscious reason for starting the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale – I wanted the public to see how good vegan cookies and other baked delights could be.

What three pre-packaged food items would you take to a desert island?After I built my water purifier, I would want organic peanut butter, whole wheat matzoh, and mandarin oranges.

Name a product you would like Veganized?Girl Scout cookies – all flavors. Imagine if every March, all the tables selling Girl Scout cookies outside grocery stores were totally vegan. What a great run-up that would be to the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale!

What are your favorite local and/or online stores for Vegan products?I’m biased toward Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe and Food Fight! Grocery because I’ve been to the stores and met the owners and they’re awesome! For things like shoes where I have to shop in person, it’s Pangea in Rockville, Maryland. Shout-out to all vegan stores everywhere, many of which have hosted bake sales!

I love supporting all local businesses that add vegan products. And an all-vegan Loving Hut restaurant just opened about a mile from my house, so I‘ll probably be a regular for life.

And that concludes The Laziest Vegans Top Ten. Thanks Gary!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Salt Lake City Treasure Hunt


I took a short trip to Salt Lake City and I'm happy to report that it's very Vegan friendly! Great places to eat include Sage's Cafe, Vertical Diner, Evergreen, Este Pizza and City Cakes. I also spent a lot of time at the Trolley Square Whole Foods. While there I found a couple things I haven't seen anywhere else.

In the freezer section I spied these Raw Macaroons from Raw Melissa. They're straight outta Utah and pretty good! Coconutty goodness.

I've heard rumors of Chocolate Pirate Booty but I haven't seen this treasure with my own eyes...until now. Pirate Brands has made a nice twist on the existing Pirate Booty and they are addictive! Absolute chocolate heaven. Now Pirate Brands, pretty please put some more flavor on the Tings, thanks!

One of Annie Shannon's favs, I was excited to spot the Eco Planet Cheddar Crackers on the shelf. Growing up with Goldfish I needed to know if they were really the Vegan equivalent. It's my pleasure to report that they are! Cheesy with cute shapes, kids (and adults) will love these.

This Pacific Mango Macadamia bar from Bora Bora is one delicious snack bar. Flavorful Mango mixed with the crunchy macadamia was a pleasant surprise. It fell apart in my mouth, in a good way. I really enjoyed this!


Last but not least, Sharkies Berry Bites turned out to be one of my favorite finds. They are similar to Annie's Bunny Fruit Snacks (which I also love). Fruity and chewy and fun for big and little kids. Chomp!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Upton's Naturals Seitan Tamales

Upton's Naturals is a Chicago based company that specializes in seitan. I've been snacking on these Upton's Naturals Chorizo-Style Seitan Tamale con Mole's for a couple months now and I love them! I'm not an expert on tamales so I can't vouch for their authenticity but I find them very filling and delicious. Since I'm always on the go, I like something that I can heat up and eat quickly.

As you can see, the tamale is full of black beans and seitan which makes it a hearty meal for its small size. Taste-wise the tamale has a bit of spice but it's mild. Upton's suggests steaming as the cooking method, or if not, microwaving is ok. All you do is open one side of the packaging and throw it in the microwave for 2 minutes. I only hope Upton's branches out and makes more of these ready to eat products, keep up the great work!

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Laziest Vegans Top Ten Asks Annie Shannon

It's time for the March edition of The Laziest Vegans Top Ten! I've asked Annie Shannon from the wildly successful Meet The Shannons to share with the world her favorite prepackaged Vegan convenience foods. When Annie is not converting Betty Crocker classics into Vegan form, she is helping protect our furry friends at In Defense of Animals. A fan of The Laziest Vegans from the get-go and a fellow Star Wars nerd, it is my pleasure to present Annie Shannon!


What is your favorite veggie burger?

I have to admit we eat more than our share of Boca burgers cooked in Braggs Amino Acid, Liquid Smoke and olive oil. I know we've all been eating them for years so that's not too exciting but we've even been experimenting with the ol' flavor injector and A-1 sauce to make them new again. On nights when we have more time - we love making our own seasoned patties using Match Vegan Meats.

What is you favorite frozen dinner?We love Tofutti Pan Crust Pizza Pizzazs. We put a few toppings on them and it's a fast easy dinner that pretty much takes you back to those french bread pizzas we all had at sleep overs when were kids. The Tofurky pizzas are good too but not as large. Size matters around here. ( Does that sound dirty?)

What is your favorite ice cream?This might be one of the hardest questions I have ever answered. I mean is there bad vegan ice cream? Peanut Butter Tofutti Cuties are priceless. I'm also tempted to go with Turtle Mountain's Purely Decadent Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl or Cookie Dough but recently I have fallen in love their Coconut ice cream with our homemade caramel sauce over the top and peanuts.

What is your favorite chip or cracker?Nevermind this is the hardest. It's kinda a tie between Eco-Planet Non-Dairy Organic Cheddar Crackers (they're like vegan cheddar Goldfish crackers) and these Rosemary crackers they sell at Whole Foods. If we have any Smoked Cheddar Sheese - those rosemary crackers are in trouble.

What is your favorite cereal?Pretty much anything vegan that makes my almond milk chocolaty is cool with me.

What is your favorite candy?Peanut Chews. Sorry Chic-o-Sticks - you're lovely but this one was easy.

What is your favorite cookie?We really love Uncle Eddies Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. They're really committed to supporting sustainable agriculture by using organic and fairly traded ingredients and environmentally friendly packaging so it makes me feel good about eating a bag of cookies for breakfast.

What three pre-packaged food items would you take to a desert island?After much debate with the Mr. - The Official Shannon Desert Island List :
Naked Juice's Blue Machines
Sweet & Sara Vegan Rice Crispy Treats
Kettle Potato Chips - Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper ( though one can dream a crate of Tings and Luna Bars would wash up from time to time)

Name a product you would like Veganized?Ya know if you has asked me this a few years ago - I would have said Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers and marshmallows but now there are amazing vegan marshmallows and the Eco-Planet cheddar crackers. There's a company named Sjaak that even makes a peanut butter cup that would put Reese's to shame. So I might have to go with Snickers bars or Sea Salt & Vinegar Chips. I'm not sure why that flavor of chips aren't always vegan but it's rare to find a brand that is. I often find Dill Pickle chips in places like Seattle and Boston that are vegan and pretty much wonderful in the same way. Also - Peanut Chews are pretty close to Snickers... So let's go with fish sticks.

What are your favorite local and/or online stores for Vegan products?We rely on Cosmo's Vegan Shoppe in Atlanta and Food Fight! Grocery in Portland and of course May Wah to get our hard to find mock meats - like vegan "shrimp balls". Sounds ridiculously gross but super good.

And that concludes The Laziest Vegans Top Ten! Thanks Annie!

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