Thursday, July 24, 2014

You, me and several pints of something SO Delicious....

I'm in bed on the cusp of some kind of illness, when the blog police (my sister) knock on my facebook wall and let me know that it has been far too long since I've updated my blog. She's right, as per usual.

That's fine because tonight we get to talk about ice cream. Now, I don't need to tell you that its summer and that there's a season for ice cream. We'll just skip to the part where I tell you why So Delicious ice cream is pretty great. But don't just take my word for it! I'm bringing in another ice cream expert (my boyfriend, Aaron) to give you the scoop (tehe) on the goods in my freezer. This is important because he really likes the flavors of ice cream that I'm generally not so fond of and I want to make sure this isn't totally bias. Also, he wouldn't have it any other way.

Meet Aaron, he's also a carrot cake expert.

Here's what the fine folks at So Delicious sent to me...
Cookie Dough, Mint chip, Butter Pecan, Vanilla Bean, and Cookies and Cream.

My Favorite Pint 
My favorite of the pints was the Coconut Milk - Cookies 'N Cream. Don't get me wrong, I love coconut milk but when you're not expecting a flavor of ice cream to taste like coconut milk, it's a tiny bit distracting. I felt like this was one of the flavors that tasted the closest to what I had anticipated. Also, there is huge chunks of chocolate cookies in it! I'm not highly concerned with things being gluten free. In fact, it's fair to say that I whole-entire-heartedly love gluten. However, if you are concerned with gluten, you'll be stoked to know that the Cookies N' Cream pint is gluten free!

Aaron's Favorite Pint (I'm passing the computer to him. His words, not mine...)
Hi, nugans. Welp, I guess this is the first of what will hopefully be many cameos on this blog. So I and my tongue are gonna try not to screw this up too badly. (This is the first time I've blogged. Ever.)
I'm slappin' my seal of approval on the Butter Pecan. Which is weird, 'cause that's not ordinarily my bag. Not even close. But the thing is, they really nailed it with that flavor. It seems the thing with non-dairy ice creams is that whatever milk substitute they're using tends to dominate the flavor landscape. In the case of coconut milk-based deals like these, that's not a bummer -- far from it. Let's call it a mild distraction. But here, the intense richness of the butter/caramel/brickle/whateverthehellyoucallit was very much in gear and the pecans were seriously amongst. That stuff is gud.

Honorable mention goes to the Mint Chip. The green stuff used to be my go-to as a kid, back in the days before I got hooked on the hard stuff (chocolate chip cookie dough, for the uninitiated among you.) This Mint Chip is white. Not green. It's different from my old fix in a lot of ways, actually. It's not super creamy like you'd expect dairy ice cream to be. It's lighter. More refreshing. You taste the coconut milk clearly, but you welcome the flavor because it plays so nicely with the mint and the abundant chocolate chips (which they also got right here). It's a nice, slightly-less-sweet-than-you-were-expecting, almost tropical dessert experience.

...Back to Sam:
Holy Hell!!! Vanilla Bean is SO much better when you make it with coconut milk! I would put this on everything! Cake... pie...waffles..... sandwiches, it's gold! I used to make fun of my friends who would order vanilla bean when we went out for ice cream, in the past. You know, because it's obviously the boring choice. However, this would probably be my go-to if they didn't have Cookies N' Cream on the table.

So Delicious also sent me a box of Mini Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream Bars. Admittedly, these were the first things we tried because we were running out the door for a band rehearsal when the box arrived. We figured they would be great for breakfast, since we hadn't had any yet.

**PRO-TIP: Stirring your mini coconut milk chocolate ice cream bar in your coffee will be the best thing you've done all morning, trust me.

Fun Facts about So Delicious:
If coconut milk isn't your thing, don't sweat it! So Delicious makes awesome ice cream and yogurt flavors out of their other kinds of non-dairy milks too!  They also make yogurts (and a GREEK YOGURT!) which I will write about later when I have a few different kinds to test out!
Trying to keep sugar out of your diet? No problem! They have ice cream sweetened with monk fruit. Yes, that's a thing. It is usually extremely low-zero calories. It looks a lot like an apple on the outside and it is native to southern China and northern Thailand. Ice cream and yogurt aside, this company makes loads of dairy-free products! Check out the rest at So Delicious!

One more thing,
I'm pretty sure Aaron forgot to mention the fact that he pretty much ate all of the Cookie Dough ice cream before I could even get to it. It's fair to say that he really really enjoyed that one too.

Thanks to So Delicious for not only sending us all this ice cream to try out but for being so great to speak with via email! (I'm talking to you, Hillary!)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The sad truth about your guitar strap...

In case it wasn't mentioned before, I'm a musician. I play guitar and I sing (just like every other asshole in Seattle, but maybe a little better than you're average Joe). I usually play acoustic guitar but that was mostly due to the fact that I moved around a lot and couldn't keep a band together. Now that I'm established in Seattle, I'm picking up my electric guitar again and starting to write the kind of music that I always wanted to write. It's really exciting because I never wanted to just be a singer-songwriter.

...I wanted to be a mother fucking powerhouse.

Anyway, today I picked up my guitar and realized that I needed a new strap. While I was wandering around the music store, it occurred to me that all the straps were either entirely made of leather or they were partially leather. BETCHA DIDN'T THINK ABOUT THAT, DID YA?!

Never fear, my friends! Vegan guitar straps do exist!!

While these companies are not entirely cruelty free, they do have vegan friendly options. Here's a few worth looking into:

Couch - Meh, there's a lot to chose from

Souldier - **This is my favorite. Custom design one for a pretty decent price, actually.

Splaff - Rubber Straps (If you're into that kind of thing...)

If none of those are fancy enough for you, get crazy and make your own with one of THESE THINGS!

Carry on...

p.s. In case you were wondering, this is my music. 
And since you're here, here's some free downloads!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Blog Police

My baby sister just sent me a .gif of Nicki Minaj wagging her finger at me for recent lack of blog posts. She's not the first person to tell me to post this week but when Nicki Minaj wags her finger at you, you cower in fear. That or you rap battle her and you lose. Rightfully so, my sister is the blog police. She has her own kick-ass blog about how to live with Dysautonomia and POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) called Let's Feel Better (Check it out!).

I have a hard time remembering to do anything on a weekly basis, none the less on a daily basis. BUT, I'm committed to this. So, here's what's been going on....

My mom came into town last week! I haven't seen her in my neck of the woods for about 4-5 years. I live out in Seattle and since it's easier for me to come out there with my work schedule, I usually have to go out to Florida to see her.

She was really enthusiastic about trying the vegan foods that we had out here and we had some incredible meals in the last week. The fourth of July was especially awesome. I really thought my stepdad was going to insist on grilling up some fish or meat but since he's an orthodox jew and I'm respectful of his kosher household, he was pretty understanding about eating vegan at my place. Which is a relief because I'm still not over my love for seafood.

We ended up going to our local co-op and picking up a bunch of different vegan hot dogs. I found a recipe for Mexican Street Corn and whipped that up too by replacing the spicy cream sauce with a combination of vegan mayo and sriracha. A few friends of mine came over and were pretty determined to make takoyaki, so they whipped up a vegan version for us. It probably lasted 20 seconds. I couldn't even really take a photo of it, it was gone so fast. But if you're like me and you love takoyaki, it can be done and it is amazing! (In case you were wondering, we ditched the fish flakes, subbed the mayo for vegan mayo, and subbed the octopus for vegan sausage...because that's all we had to use. I'm sure there's a better replacement for the fish, we just didn't have anything.)

Right after my mom left, I was feeling a little heavy from all that food....
Maybe I'm eating too much soy?
I decided to switch to fruits and veggies for a few days to see if I feel any better. My weight never really fluctuates but lately, I'm gaining a pound or two. We'll see how it pans out.

It doesn't help that the very nice people at So Delicious just sent me a big package of ice cream for me to sample! (By the way, that is a FABULOUS freaking package to receive in the mail, in the heat of July!) Alas, my quest for a good vegan yogurt must continue!

I'll let you know what all that deliciousness is about, in a few days!

But tonight, we're eating raw!
I did my first attempt at making cashew cheese, which was really simple! It's also the best thing ever.
I threw in a bunch of rosemary from my garden and I'm going to make stuffed portobello mushrooms with it. I found a great recipe at Check it out!

Friday, June 27, 2014

What's the best remedy to a hard day?... Surf Sweets!

This has been a very challenging week for me in my personal life. A year ago, I left Colorado completely heartbroken to move back to Seattle. One $400 speeding ticket and a few thousand miles later - I had to rebuild my life. I did. I did it really well. And a year later, it sort of fell apart again. Such is life?

As a professional musician, my first to-do was to obtain a new band. I managed to put together a killer band and the last year has been a whirlwind of some of the largest crowds I've ever played to. We've played bunches of shows outside and inside of Seattle, recorded, and got fairly close to each other.

As of two nights ago, we're down to two players. Ahead of me are two of the biggest shows I've ever had the opportunity to play (one of which, I'll be headlining). I'm sad that my bandmates had to part ways and I'm scared that I'm not going to be able to pull it off in time. This isn't the only challenging thing going on, it was just the last straw. In my right mind, I know it's all going to work out...but damn...

Just as the day was coming to an end and I was ready to crawl in my lady-cave and hibernate until things were looking up again , I came home to find a package waiting for me from non-other than Surf Sweets! (With that kind of timing, it's as if they knew it was my #1 comfort food...)

Surf Sweets has a line of organic and naturally sweetened vegan gummies. Instead of gelatin, they use pectin and tapioca syrup. I'm not going to lie, these were the most delicious gummy candies I've ever had. They sent me a few different kinds to try out, including their Organic Fruit Bears, their Sour Berry Bears, Peach Rings, Sour Worms, and their fruit chews.

Don't judge me but I  ate most of these while bawling me yes out last night. At least I didn't have to cry about overeating animal hooves or really bad junk food.

All the ingredients in these candies, you can really feel good about. If I had kids, I'd have no problem sending them to school with these and then collecting them after school when their sugar rush has ended.

My personal favorites were the Sour Berry Bears and the Sour Worms (but I'm partial to sour). The runner up's were the fruit chews and the Fruit Bears. A few of my girlfriends came over today and we snacked on the peach rings and fruit chews.

The sour candies were not overly sour. Some other gummy candies are so sour that the roof of your mouth hurts and parts of your tongue kind of feel like they melted off. These were just sour enough to be considered sour but not really as intense as a warhead.

The Fruity Bears were really interesting! They had a grapefruit flavored bear in their that was a surprise to me and now I kind of wish they had a bag with only that flavor (not that the other flavors weren't great too. But grapefruit?!?!)

As far as peach rings are concerned...Usually, I don't like peach flavored candies because artificial peach flavoring tastes a lot less like peaches and a lot more like a headache but these Peach Rings tasted just like peaches! The other girls really seemed to like them. In fact, they finished off the bag as soon as turned around.

Another thing I liked about them is they didn't seem to stick to your teeth like other gummy candies. But when you cry yourself to sleep with candy by your side, this is bound to happen...

So if you're just making the transition to veganism or you're just looking for a healthier candy, you have the Brand Nugan mark of approval for a solid, cruelty free gelatin replacement. Thanks for saving the day, Surf Sweets! <3

(P.S. I have The BIGGEST crush on Kat Dennings.)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Moving Tiny Mountains

Being a regular at a coffee shop in Seattle has it's benefits. Your baristas know your name, sometimes they know what to make you before you walk in the door, and when you go vegan...they take note!

I used to order a soft boiled egg and toast every morning when I came to this cafe. Occasionally I get a killer craving for eggs (that could have been a terrible pun). Anyway - my new regular breakfast is toast with kalamata olive tapenade. Not a bad replacement!

And today, they made **lentil soup and made special note that it was vegan.

Please excuse my shitty phone camera.

If you're a regular anywhere and you've made the transition to veganism, let them know! They might be really helpful with your transition. I found that the more people that you tell, the less likely you are to slip-up. More than most of the time, people want to help you/be respectful of your lifestyle. 

I feel really fortunate to live in Seattle because of the abundance of vegan options around me. The closest vegan restaurant is a short 8 blocks from my apartment (Highline, for all of you Seattleites). All of the cafe's carry some sort of milk alternative and most people don't look at you like you're an alien when you tell them that you don't eat meat. 

I've done a fair bit of traveling in the United States in the last few years (Every state in the continental U.S. and 145,000 miles on my toyota worth of traveling). Most of the larger cities seem to be pretty vegan friendly. However, smaller towns are really difficult for vegans. I'll do a post later on about how this works out for me. 

Have I mentioned that I'm a touring musician? ( My band usually goes on 3-4 day stints of smaller town gig playing. So far, finding eats has been pretty challenging. Fortunately, my boyfriend/guitar player is also vegan and usually helps us find ways to cheat the meat system. 

Another transitioning vegan in my life is my mother. She's made a couple attempts at veganism in the past but she was always alone in it. I think having at least one person to make the jump with you is really helpful. She's coming up to visit me here in Seattle, in a week or two, from Florida. Hopefully we can help her find some good alternatives to the foods she's having a hard time parting ways with!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Things I'll Miss the Most...

There's a few products that I've tried over the past 2 months that are just not cutting it. So, I decided to make a wish list of items that I hope to successfully find alternatives for, sooner than later.

1. Gummy Bears

 My all time favorite candy with one of the all time cruelest ingredients (gelatin, for those of you who didn't know). After some research, I found there are quite a few companies that make cruelty free gummy candies. (HOORAY!) I was up until 4am this morning researching and writing to different companies. Gummy bears are coming to me in the mail, now! BEST NEWS EVER!

2. Eggs

 I'm a bit of a creature of habit when it comes to breakfast. I walk down to my local coffee house almost everyday to work (from my computer) and I order a soft boiled egg and toast. I'm pretty sure that I'll probably never have a soft boiled egg again but as it turns out, I may have yolk again! I found a company that created Vegan egg yolks. Check it out!  THE VEGG!! Vegan french toast? Yes, please!

3. Yogurt
I would hardly call this "yogurt". 
Prior to going to converting veganism, I was madly in love with yogurt. Cream topped yogurt, FroYo, yogurt chips, yogurt muffings, ALL things yogurt. There's a bunch of co-ops and health food stores around me that carry vegan yogurts and all though I haven't tried them all, I haven't tried one that I like just yet. In fact, I've tried about 6 of them that I wanted to give to my landlord's cats. 

4. Boots

-I wear boots everyday. I wear them to weddings. I wear them when I'm gardening. I wear them to court (...I get a healthy mount of traffic tickets). The higher the boot, the better. I was never really impressed with leather but when it comes to shoe shopping, I can't afford to be too picky. I have super skinny calves and if those suckers don't lace up, I look like I'm walking around your dad's boots. I know there's a handful of companies that make vegan boots. Hopefully one of them makes a sweet knee high lace up boot that I can fall in love with. 


I don't even want to talk about cheese until there is a SOLID solution to this problem.

That being said, I've got some sample products on the way and I'll let you know what's awesome and what's going to be really awesome for your cat!

Calling All Brand New Vegans...

Nugan: (n.) A newly converted vegan.

I was a 8 year omnivore, a 17 year pescatarian and I'm now 2 months vegan. This could be a blog about all the reasons why I went vegan but it won't be. I'll keep it simple and predominantly about what I think is most important when it comes to solving problems, moving on. In a nutshell, I believe that there's many things that our money and actions affect that we don't take any responsibility for. So long as I have the ability to survive with out harming others, I will consciously make that effort. In the future, if my unborn children decide in their adult lives that they can justify eating animal products, at least they will completely understand the consequences.

All that being said, it isn't easy to reverse 25 years of non vegan eating habits. There are plenty of foods that I miss terribly. 

This is my mission to find alternatives that I think will help myself and others transition from unconscious consumption to fully conscious consumption. There's plenty of blogs about why we should be vegan but way more confusion on what we can use to replace the products that we once loved.

Follow along for tips, tricks, brand reviews and slip-ups.

(And by slip-ups, I mean things like unknowingly buying veggie bacon from MorningStar and assuming that it's vegan. ...Because unfortunately, it's not.)