Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Go Vegan with Oprah!

She's doing a 21 day cleanse, which is vegan, sugar-free, caffeine-free, alcohol-free, and wheat-free. What's left?! Find out on Oprah's blog where she shares her menus and a few recipes. Oprah says, "How can you say you're trying to spiritually evolve, without even a thought about what happens to the animals whose lives are sacrificed in the name of gluttony?" Oprah is recognizing that conscious eating goes far beyond calorie counting, and in the process could become a "Skinny Bitch!" More importantly, conscious eating is about this, this, this, and even that is just the tip of the (melting) iceberg. Hey Oprah, have your chef make "Chickpea Cutlets" from Veganomicon, goes well with a green salad, and risotto topped beet circles. Do you think Oprah will stick with it?

How about her Chef? His name is Tal Ronnen, and he's worked Sublime in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Candle 79 in New York City and Madeleine Bistro in Los Angeles. He assisted rocker Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders in opening her restaurant, VegiTerranean in Akron, Ohio. He is also the founder of Veg advantage, a non-profit dedicated to helping other chefs offer vegan selections on their menus. That's quite a resume, and wouldn't it be nice to have him cooking?! For dessert, Oprah might like Apple pie from The Joy of Vegan Baking.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


I was excited to find a package from ProBar on our doorstep. They sent a sampling of their new 'Sweet & Savory' line for my consideration. How fun! I learned that Pro Bar is a whole food meal made with organic ingredients, no trans fat, rich in raw foods, and vegan. Sounds good, eh? They really are, but we had to play favorites, and Art was willing to humor me with a taste test. We ranked the bars according to what we thought we'd like (anticipated). Then, ranked them again after tasting and analyzing each bar (actual).

Art(anticipated) -- Art(actual)
#1MaplePecan #1MaplePecan
#2CocoaPistach #2CherryPretzel
#3CherryPretz #3KettleCorn
#4KettleCorn #4CocoaPistach
#5SesameGoji #5SesameGoji

Vic(anticipated) -- Vic(actual)
#1CherryPretzel #1CherryPretzel
#2KettleCorn #2KettleCorn
#3SesameGoji #3MaplePecan
#4CocoaPistachio #4SesameGoji
#5MaplePecan #5CocoaPistachio

I'll pick up a ProBar next time. Each bar is packed with whole pieces of nuts and fruit, and the combination of sweet and savory flavors keep your taste buds interested. They're delicious and good for you. What is your favorite flavor (anticipated or actual)?!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Flore & Fun

Art wanted to take me back to his current favorite, Flore (3818 W. Sunset Blvd. Silver Lake 323.953.0611) because last time we had brunch, which is a limited menu compared to the dinner and not a fair sampling of the many delectable options.

We both started with a bowl of the soup of the day 'Roasted Broccoli Soup' and I nearly licked the bowl. It was so tasty! I put the sprouty things in mine which tasted like radishes.

I was torn on what to order, and mentioned the 'Delectable Selectable' to our server. He kindly tipped me to get 'The Salad' instead because it includes all that and more: Bed of mixed baby greens topped with portions of tofu egg salad, shredded carrot, baked tofu, roasted beets, edamame salad, tomato, avocado, daikon sprouts, and a side of hummus. $9.95 Such a great sampling of the delicious, fresh food.
Art's regular is the 'Avocado & Seitan Salad' $8.95, which is basically what you see. We enjoyed the patio street scene.

If you have kids in LA, you gotta go here....

The Boone Children's Gallery -- LACMA West
6067 Wilshire Blvd. @ Fairfax Ave. 323.857.6128

This photo shows only a small portion of the large, stocked art studio that everyone is free to explore.

The exhibit is called Construct -- where you can learn, play, paint, build, and be artists. It's so great.

The Boone Children's Gallery is an open art studio for everyone.

Here are Abi & Liv painting to their heart's content.

We enjoyed checking out this city built from recycled materials, complete with planes and rocket ships hanging from the ceiling.

Did I mention that this is all free?! Free of charge for you, and for the kids. This must be the best deal in town for kid's activities. I highly recommend it, and we'll be back for sure.

The girls were zonked out in the backseat when we drove by
Nature Mart on Hillhurst and Art says, "I'll drop you, and park," gifting me a rare opportunity to shop hands-free. I wandered around a bit, then spotted something I've been wanting to try for years -- Uncle Eddie's Vegan Cookies. I had to cross state lines to finally find them, and it was well worth it. I selected the peanut butter chocolate-chip cookies and they were soft, super delicious, and a family favorite for sure. Wish we had another bag.

Monday, May 12, 2008

So Cal.... So Nice

We had a blast in Santa Monica! We rented bicycles and cruised the boardwalk taking in the scene. Then we hung out on the pier before heading to the beach.

The girls took naps on the way to the Grandparents where they would spend the weekend.

Art & I were on our way to San Diego!

We picked up 4 orders of our favorite 'Sweet & Sour Ckn' from SipZ to-go. We downed 2 of them on a bench in Pacific Beach watching the surfers.

We stayed in our friend's pool house, and we ate the other 2 orders of sweet & sour beside the pool.

Our friend also loaned us a couple bicycles and that is how we got around. Riding bikes along the boardwalk is one of my favorite things in life.

But it made us hungry, and we were ready for something else! We found our way to
Veg-N-Out in San Diego's North Park area.

I had a 'B.B.Q Chick'n Burger' and Art tried the 'Dijon Chick'n Mushroom burger', both with the house salad. We shared an order of Onion rings.

It's a small, casual, vegan & vegetarian restaurant with a patio to enjoy. Great food!

We were at the Goodwill on Garnet, when I looked across the street and saw this brand new sign. We walked over and the owner was literally painting the walls of this not even opened yet restaurant. Right now, they have the store open with all kinds of raw & vegan supplies. Next time we're in San Diego, we'll try Synergy. The owner told me they have raw vegan ice-cream!

I picked up a bracelet and vegan bar for my good friend who I was about to see.....

It was awesome to see
Karen. We caught up to her in La Jolla with Mattie and friend Barney. We had a great time chatting it up, and she gifted me a big bag of birthday goodies. What a sweetie-pie! Thanks, Karen!!

Back in LA, we wanted to go back to the Hollywood Farmer's Market. We couldn't resist getting more soul food from A Taste of Life, including black eyed peas, macaroni & chz, bbq tofu, greens, rice, and cornbread.

We ate it on the curb with everybody else. So delicious, and all vegan.

I also picked up a mango-raspberry-peach cobbler from CobblerMania. They sell cobblers at several Farmer's Markets, and their slogan is, "So good you'll (want to) slap somebody!" Can't say I had that impulse, but it was very delicious. The cobbler has a hand-rolled crust, is dairy and egg free and sweetened with Agave nectar. All the cobblers, including peach, apple, pear, and rhubarb are made with fresh, hand-cut fruit.

Then, we picked up one of these unique bouquets for my Mother-in-law for Mother's Day.

We've been having a great time here, and I'm really amazing at all the new veg eateries.

Hope you are doing great, and I'll be by to say hello soon. :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Leaf cuisine

Yesterday, we had lunch at Leaf cuisine, it is:


They recycle, compost, use non-toxic cleaning supplies, bio-diesel vehicles, recycled paper & corn based to-go cups. Grains, seeds & nuts are soaked & sprouted. Their food is not heated above 110*F.

We were eager to give this nutritious, environmental, ethical, healthful, green, living foods restaurant a try!!

We went to the Sherman Oaks location (14318 Ventura Blvd - cross street is Beverly Glen) 818.907.8779

We shared a 'Tropical Trip' smoothie, and it was a delectable mix of mango, papaya, pineapple, banana, coconut mylk & dates. $5.99

I ordered the 'Trinity Sampler Salad' which is choosing 3 selections - what a great way to sample the menu! I chose Veggie Sunburger (veggie-seed croquettes topped with sweet tangy tomato sauce) Flying Falafel (sprouted chickpea falafel croquettes with creamy tahini sauce) and Bombay (sprouted lentil croquettes topped with creamy coconut-curry sauce) My favorite was the falafel. The salad was fresh with many kinds of lettuce, sprouted mung beans, cabbage, carrots, sprouts, tomatoes. $11.99

Art wanted the 'Hale Kale Salad' (chopped kale, avocado, sprouted wild rice, mung beans, tomatoes & cayenne) but they were out. $9.99

So he ordered 'Coconut Mushroom Medley Sandwich' (coconut & portobello loaf with mushroom sauce, romaine, tomato & sprouts between slices of herb bread) $9.99

Last night, we rode the Metro Rail to Olvera Street for some Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Here we are waiting in line, listening to the mariachi band, & watching people buy souvenirs at the outdoor markets. It feels like Mexico!
By the time we sat down, it was too dark to snap photos of our potato tacos and margaritas. OLE! We hopped off the metro at exciting Hollywood & Highland to have a beer before heading home. The kids are having a blast too @ Camp Grandparents! :)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Vegan Variety along the 101

After a nice long winter in Idaho, we are stoked to have a short visit to California to see family, friends, and have some fun!

We visited the Hollywood Farmer's Market, this morning, where we used to shop for organic produce and enjoy socializing and some food when we lived in LA.

Now, it's great to visit and see that many of the vendors are still there, and some have gotten better.

After passing some irresistible strawberries and piles of asparagus and other yummy veggies, we had to take time out for some grub.

We have loved the vegan soul food place for years, but we had never known the name, they are called
A Taste of Life and we thought it was more like a taste of heaven.

The food was served, as always, with a smile and there were so many choices. As I snapped this photo, they asked if I was a vegan blogger. At first I was hesitant but I then admitted my mission, and they were very happy to let me know that they love vegan bloggers and they also love all things vegan!

We shared a $10 plate of food: mac & cheese, greens, bar-b-que tofu, and black-eyed peas. Of course, it's all vegan, along with the cornbread. We were tempted to go back for seconds but we had to save room for later.

Our market bounty: HUGE artichokes, strawberries, fingerling potatoes, oranges, lemons, and beets, as well as some pistachios.

After Art treated himself to a haircut in Silverlake, and myself to a Goodwill binge, we went to Flore (3818 W. Sunset Blvd. 323.953.0611), where they were having their Sunday brunch. I got the bagel, soy cream cheese, tomato, onion, avocado and a side of potatoes. Art got the Tofu Benediction which was amazing with a tahini style hollandaise, tofu on toast with kale, tomatoes and avocado. Art ate his quickly and did not flinch when the man at the table next to us asked what Art had ordered. It was too late because now brunch had ended and it was lunch time. Too bad for us because the lunch menu is amazing and extensive ... we will have to come back now (awww, too bad, huh?)

We also had a late nite dinner last night at Astro Burger (on Melrose near Gower) which was great as usual, I got the gardenburger with vegan patty, avocado, soy cheese, tomato/lettuce, veganaise and mustard! Art got his usual.... veggie ham sandwich. Along with fried zucchini sticks the tab was $17!
This fast-food restaurant sells it all ~ meat, vegetarian, & vegan.

We worked up another appetite after taking a 3 mile walk that we used to do many times back when we rented an apartment in the "Beachwood" area of LA. It's a beautiful loop through the Hollywood hills with amazing architecture, lush landscape, and breath-taking views of the city and Hollywood sign. Art had the great idea to go to Leonor's Restaurant. There was a point in our lives when we ate here every night. We ordered the same things. Mine is their "Salad Forever-Young" with cabbage, beets, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, & soy oil & apple cider vinegar. Art goes for the "Chicken Salad" made with soy mayonnaise, soy chicken and topped with soy cheese & avocado. They serve massive portions of food featuring super fresh veggies and all vegan. Go to their Studio City 818.762.0660 or Valley Village 818.769.6315 locations for great food with no frills.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Compost Happens!

A composting bin is the perfect way to make Earth Day last all year! This is what I've learned...

1. Get a bin (Check this site for options)
2. Layer the bottom with sticks & fill 3/4 full with leaves or newspaper. Add enough water so it resembles a damp sponge.
3. Toss in scraps. Stir. Cover with 3 inches of newspaper or leaves each time you add.
4. After about 6 months you'll have nutrient rich compost.

What do you need to make great compost?
1. air
2. water (moist, but not soaking wet)
3. carbon = brown organic kitchen & yard waste (leaves, straw, wood chips, newspaper)
4. nitrogen = green organic kitchen & yard waste (dry grass, salad ends)

You need a lot more carbon than nitrogen, so rip up your newspapers. And the smaller the pieces you add, the faster the process.

Things to avoid: meat (duh), dairy (double duh), oil & fatty substances like salad dressing, citrus because it's hard to break down, diseased plants, pet poo

Things to add: leaves, sawdust, hay, straw, fruit, clean veggie waste, jack-o-lanterns, coffee grounds including the filter, tea bags

Even the smallest things, when done collectively, can make a big difference.