Sports Bar Goes Vegan Friendly!

When I make my weekly trip to Cincinnati, there hasn’t been one visit where I didn’t pass the sports bar chain, Yard House; little did I know they have an entirely vegan friendly menu! They list it as their “Gardein” Menu, and thankfully they skipped out on the infamous vegetable plate! ūüėČ Vegan options include a Thai “Chicken” Pizza, Chicken wings, hummus, a Blackened Chicken Torta, and a vegan burger! Almost everything can be made vegan on the menu, just double check with the servers about condiments. I was accompanied by omnivores who were floored by how much of the chicken wings tasted like chicken! I ordered the BBQ Chicken Pizza as an entree (and brought a jar of V-Grits Mozzarella for them to top it with) while others ordered the non-vegan version, and even the servers had to double check which pizza was free of animal products! I was ecstatic to see a classic sports bar making some vegan gains! Way to set the bar for the rest of them, Yard House! If you ever spot a location or are in the Cincinnati area, I would definitely recommend checking this place out! I’ve been craving those wings ever since!

img_9782img_9783

Sugning off for the sentient,

Sammi

A Guide for the Ultimate Vegan Sundae

so-delicious

You scream, I scream, we all scream for cruelty-free ice cream! Ice cream and pastry shops have just started to make gains¬†in the vegan world! Louisville hasn’t got an all-vegan ice cream spot yet, but we’re lucky enough to have options at places like McQuixote’s, Dairy Kastle, Arctic Scoop, Comfy Cow, Baskin Robbins, Graeter’s, and occasionally Louisville Cream, Annie Mae’s Sweet Cafe and Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen! But if you feel like staying in for the night, practically any grocery store carries a variety of nut-milk based indulgences! Cashew milk is my personal favorite base (soy milk is a good runner up!) and comes in flavors like Dark Chocolate Truffle (10/10, would recommend ūüėČ ), Salted Caramel Cluster, and Snickerdoodle. Even the famous Ben & Jerry’s recently launched an all vegan almond-milk based line of ice creams, including flavors like PB & Cookie and Chocolate Fudge Brownie that can be found at Kroger’s or Target! You can also make your own healthier spin on ice cream by throwing some frozen bananas in a blender with a little¬†dairy-free milk! And what ice cream sundae could be complete without the toppings?! We have just the cure for your creamy sundae indulgences! Vegan sundae toppers include:

  • Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
  • Junior Mints
  • Dandies Vegan Marshmallows
  • Smucker’s Marshmallow Topping
  • Smucker’s Chocolate Magic Shell
  • Shredded Coconut
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Pretzels
  • Fruit (strawberries, pineapples, raspberries, cherries, bananas)
  • Soy or Rice Milk based whipped cream (for purchase at Lucky’s) or SoDelcious CocoWhip
  • Ice cream cones (most are actually vegan, but check the allergens to be safe!)
  • Oreos
  • Potato Chips
  • Nuts: hazelnuts, walnuts, almond, peanuts, etc.
  • Dates or Date Syrup
  • Herbs (like mint or basil)
  • Frosting
  • Popcorn
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Brownies made with Ghirardelli ¬†Double Chocolate Brownie Mix
  • Cookie Dough from Half Peach
  • Trader Joe’s or Enjoy Life Foods’ Dairy Free Chocolate Chips
  • Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
  • Jam
  • Girl Scouts Thin Mints
  • Granola (watch out for the animal products though, particularly milk and honey!)
  • BeeFree Honey
  • Peanut Butter
  • Almond Butter
  • Date Syrup
  • Let’s Do Organic Vegan Sprinkelz

You might have to dig through your bowl just to see the ice cream! We all need to indulge sometimes, and a big bowl of our favorite sweet treat might be just the cure. There’s no shame in a little taste testing! ūüėČ

Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi

Are Turkeys Aware?

beatrice

Save-the-Turkeys Day is just around the corner! While stuffing our bellies full of delicious, cruelty-free plates on plates of food, and getting faced with some unethical food choices, it might help to remember that turkeys are far more intelligent than they’re typically given credit for! As vegans say, if they use their eyes to see, they use their brains to think! Even Benjamin Franklin had a fit when the Bald Eagle was chosen over the Turkey as the National Bird, and wrote a letter stating the Turkey was a “much more respectable bird” and a “bird of courage” rather than the unimpressive, scavenging Bald Eagle. I have only been in the lovely company of turkeys once, and were¬†such sweet and curious little fellas! The ones I met were far from shy, and you could find them bobbing their heads in between lines of people waiting for food. They were just itching to see what all the fuss was about! Some of a turkey’s favorite activities include cuddling, being stroked and pet, clucking along to music and playing their own version of football with things like apples! They’re so smart in fact, that they have an astounding sense of hearing despite having no ears! They can even recognize each other’s voices! That comes in handy for them, since they thrive on affection and love making long connections and friendships with humans and birds alike. Being as curious as they are, they also enjoy exploring and are able to remember up to 1,000 acres of geographic content, which is definitely an advantage when they’re stocking up on food! Turkeys can live up to ten years, despite that they typically only live a few short months in animal agriculture. This time of the year, it is particularly important to show our love and appreciation for these friendly, loving birds. Let’s all do them a favor and extend our compassion to leave them off our plates this season! If you would like to take an extra step to help our beautiful feathered friends, you can adopt a turkey! How cool would that be?! Happy cruelty-free holidays!

Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi

Surprising Store Finds for the Vegan Junk Food Enthusiast

After going vegan, you might start to realize that grass and greens can be the least of a vegan’s concerns!¬†With so many sweet and salty, animal-approved temptations out there, the “Potato Chip Vegan” even began circling around the vegan world for the herbivores dedicated to animal ethics who don’t mind indulging on some cruelty-free treats. If only kale tasted as good as chocolate frosting! Here are some surprising store finds to satisfy the Potato Chip Vegan in you!

  • Lay’s Classic Potato Chips
  • Lay’s Regular (unbaked) BBQ Chips
  • Kettle Brand Maple Bacon Potato Chips
  • Betty Crocker Baco’s & McCormick Bac’n pieces (and some other vegan bacon bit brands)

bacn

  • Oreos
  • Popcorn at Regal Movie Theaters and sometimes AMC Movie Theaters
  • Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos
  • Junior Mints
  • Bugles
  • Airheads
  • Swedish Fish
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Skittles
  • Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
  • Krispy Kreme’s Glazed Cherry Pies
  • Duncan’s Chocolate Frosting
  • Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix

bacnss

  • Unfrosted Strawberry Poptarts
  • Xtra Tangy Buffalo Wing Pringles
  • Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
  • Nutter Butters
  • Thomas Blueberry Bagels
  • Smucker’s Marshmallow Topping
  • Ritz Crackers
  • Burger King’s French Toast Sticks

ftoast

  • Earth Balance Cheddar Squares (vegan Cheez-Its)
  • Auntie Anne’s pretzels (with no butter)
  • Fruity Pebbles
  • Reese’s Puffs
  • Cap’n Crunch
  • Original flavored Pretzel Crisps
  • Dark Chocolate Pretzel BarkThins

If you’re feeling like indulging, save the grass for our cow friends ūüėČ and show omnivores what they’ve been eating vegan all along!

Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi

Thanksgiving Veganized

What better way to give thanks than celebrating lives instead of eating them? With so many vegan substitutes, it gets easier and easier every year to veganize Thanksgiving! You can even have V-Grits cater your Thanksgiving spread with vegan Turkey Pot Pie, a healthy bean & oat based Thanksgiving loaf, Mac and Cheese topped with breadcrumbs, Beans & Collard Greens, Orange Walnut Quinoa Salad, Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce, homemade Bourbon Balls and 6 packs of Elixir’s Harvest Cider Kombucha! Did your stomach just growl, too? You can even make some yummy side dishes and appetizers with our cheese line! Add spinach, artichokes, garlic powder and italian seasonings to our Mozzarella sauce for a yummy spinach and artichoke dip! Or try our Mild Cheddar sauce over broccoli or in a potato casserole! Don’t want to fuss over appetizers? Put out a bowl of our Pimento spread with veggies or crusty bread for dipping and you’re good to go!

For even more Thanksgiving options, though, there’s a whole grocery world of holiday vegan spins¬†waiting to be explored! You can replace the dairy in homemade mashed potatoes with creamy coconut milk! Since just about every Thanksgiving side pretty much requires butter, Earth Balance always seems to do the job! Kite Hill also makes amazing vegan cream cheese and yogurt, if a recipe you want to try calls for it! Green Beans and yams can easily be made vegan, too. There are also some good lookin’ vegan turkeys out in stores! Tofurky (no, they are not made of tofu ūüėČ ), Gardein (featured below) and Field Roast vegan turkeys are some of the most popular out there! There are even versions that are pastry dough wrapped or filled with stuffing! Even Trader Joes has a Turkey-less Stuffed Roast! I haven’t experimented with any vegan Turkey’s personally, but they have all been reviewed to be pretty gnarly! For dessert, luckily the typical (double check allergens just to be safe!) pastry dough is vegan! Top some apple filling with a sheet of pastry dough as a crust and bam! You’ve got apple pie! In Lucky’s Market, neighbors to our line of V-Grits Cheese Sauces are rice milk and soy milk based vegan whipped cream! I haven’t gotten a chance to try it yet, but I cannot wait to drench my holiday sweets in mountains of that stuff! We hope this makes your veganized holidays a little bit easier! Happy cruelty-free eatin,’ folks!

gardein_holiday_roast_570

Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi

Atlanta VegFest

I don’t know what that “Panda” song was talking about, we were too focused on all the vegan shenanigans¬†in Atlanta! We were so lucky to be a part of the 2016 Atlanta Vegfest! Vegfests are generally an overwhelmingly happy time for any plant eater, especially in a big city! I mean, being surrounded by thousands of vegans and eating some of the yummiest food around? Count me in! And of course, no vegan road trip is complete without checking out some of the best spots in town along the way!

Cashew in Chattanooga, Tennessee was our first stop. Donut breaks are the best kind of breaks, am I right? It was placed fittingly in a cute, trendy part of town and had some beautiful plant-strong art! We grabbed raspberry jelly filled powdered donuts and chocolate donuts with sprinkles before hitting the road again. I also got a beet and kale juice because you know, have to at least pretend I’m trying to eat healthy! The cake donuts were super moist and delicious, I would definitely recommend checking them out if you’re ever in town!

atlanta15

Once we arrived in Atlanta, for Kristina and Jeff it was practically a no-brainer where to go for dinner! Cafe Sunflower brought on the class! It was a beautiful place that¬†had vegan scallops (texture was spot on!), ah-maze-ing vegan chicken wings with sugar cane “bones,” vegan chicken enchiladas, vegan steak fajitas, and a mouth-watering dessert plate to choose from! At some point into the three appetizers, entrees, and dessert that passed on the table, I seriously questioned what tastes people think¬†vegans could be missing out on! The next day I topped my vegan chicken enchilada leftovers with our V-Grits Mild Cheddar sauce, talk about the perfect combo! We all agreed the trip to Atlanta was worth it just for that amazing meal alone! We were even lucky enough to meet the sweetest vegan Uber driver afterwards! What are the odds!

Atlanta VegFest was beautiful, to say the least! An overcrowded room of vegans and the vegan-curious is my own personal happy place. We brought samples of Mac and Cheese, gooey with our Mild Cheddar Sauce, and crackers with our southern Pimento spread. We’re happy to say¬†that we felt everyone there shared our same enthusiasm about our cheese line, and we even sold out of the¬†250 jars we brought in three bustling hours! The festival made us even more excited to be selling on Vegan Essentials¬†hopefully by the end of next month! After we filled the vegfest-goers cheese needs, it was time to partake on the fun ourselves! We got to see the friendly face of¬†David Carter (wearing a shirt I need in my closet), an NFL Lineman and animal activist! Carter acknowledges that veganism overlooks people of color and food deserts, and works to overcome those divides! How rad! Not to mention, he clearly puts all the vegan protein questions to shame! We also indulged in hot fudge vegan sundaes (too bad I ate mine too quick to take a picture!) and a range of vegan products from protein-loaded quinoa bites to yummy vegan meats! I couldn’t leave without snagging a new member to my vegan wardrobe, a grey scarf covered with animals by Compassion Company. On our way back home, we stopped at the Chattanooga Whole Foods for snacks and were surprised with super creamy and super pink sorbets of the fruity variety! All in all, it was a great day! We’ll definitely see you again next year, Atlanta! Thanks for the loveliest vegan noms!

Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi

Joella’s Veganized!

Where do I head when the V-Grits food truck isn’t out and I’m in need of gnarly vegan noms? No place other than a fried chicken joint! It might come as a surprise that Joella’s Chicken has one of my favorite plates of food in town.¬†They have a Vegan Chicken Plate that’s impressed several of my omnivorous friends, leaving their bellies full (even from the ones who claimed vegan food isn’t filling ūüėČ ) and taste buds satisfied! Their spice blends give their vegan chicken a nice kick! As for sides, my go-to’s are always the Crispy Thin Fries, and Kale Salad with currants and almonds (minus the cheese!)! Other vegan side options include a Black Eyed Pea Salad and a Vinegar Slaw. Maple Syrup and BBQ Sauce are the two vegan sauce options, but bringing my bottle of Follow Your Heart vegan ranch has never disappointed me!! Wash it all down with one of their tasty, cane-sugar house sodas and you’re set! Happy eating, folks!

img_8865img_8866

 

 

Vegan for President?

humane-party

There’s a new presidential party on the block, and it’s vegan approved! Despite being the underdog, Clifton Roberts had no hesitation to take over the position of being CEO to¬†the “Humane Party,” and is running for president in this year’s election! It might take a few more elections¬†before this party is close to being as well recognized as the others, but I’m liking where they’re headed! The Humane Party identifies itself as a party based on science and ethics. Their primary goals are to achieve rights for all animals (human and not), maintain a sustainable and progressing economy, and keep candidates in politics who have humane values, both personally and politically. Beyond wanting to abolish practices of animal agriculture, the Humane Party also works to ban GMO’s, increase national security, decreases practices that promote profiting from engaging in war, strengthening the¬†education system and stabilizing equality. Roberts isn’t the first plant-eater to make their way into politics, though! Other vegans and vegetarians in politics include Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Congresswoman Betty Sutton, Maryland State Senator Jamie Raskin, California Assemblyman Jim Beall Jr., and New Jersey State Senator Corey Booker! With the constant news outbreaks of alarming environmental, health and ethical practices of the animal agriculture industry, it will only be a matter of time before veganism begins its takeover into politics, and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds for our furry friends!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Got (Vegan) Milk?: A Plant-Based Milk Guide

Dairy?! Isn’t that so like, 2011? With so many new, modern vegan alternatives, dairy is on its way to be a thing of the past! The dairy industry hides that ethically, they are even worse to cows than the meat industry. Just like a baby zebra gets milk from their zebra momma and a baby giraffe gets milk from their giraffe momma, the only breast milk humans need to receive is from their same species, not a cow’s! Milk has additionally been proven to be linked to acne, ovarian cancer, bone fragility, and more (thanks for the links, PETA!) And can you just imagine that how that one milk-discovery dude¬†even got to finding it? Talk about weird! There are so many non-cow milks these days that it’s almost overwhelming to pick just one. And even with all those vegan milks already out there, I feel like I hear of a new type just about every week! But don’t stress! I’ve done my fair share of experimenting, and will help you find the right plant-based milk¬†for all your dairy-free needs!

  • Coconut milk: You can always find a few cans of coconut milk in my pantry! And if you’ve seen Chef Kristina’s episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, you know how dire coconut milk can be! Coconut milk is rich, thick and creamy. It makes a great homemade whipped cream, base of a rich soup, or can even be a good binder! It has a pretty strong taste on its own, but you can throw coconut milk and coconut oil into your coffee to¬†make it extra foamy!
  • Cashew milk: Props to the vegans who lived through the grim times before cashew milk was known to human kind! Cashew milk is my absolute favorite in any plant-based alternative. Cashew milk ice cream and cheeses (*cough cough,* V-Grits cheeses ūüėČ ) are what I have found to be closest in taste to the harmful dairy products we grew up loving! The ice cream (SO Delicious is my favorite) is super creamy, and has even fooled my family of omnivores. Even on its own, cashew milk is delicious in a glass. A little maple syrup goes a long way to spice it up, though!

00

  • Almond Milk: Almond milk is definitely the hippest milk out right now! Every coffee shop is carrying it, even Starbucks adapted to the trend and started selling it this year! Almond milk is a little sweeter and tends to be a little thinner than the other milks. It’s also yummy on its own, but especially with a chocolate chip cookie nearby! ūüėČ
  • Soy Milk: Soy Milk is the OG milk!! It was every vegan’s go to for any dairy alternative back in the day. Soy milk still is great in coffee, and does well as an ice cream base! Soy milk also tends to work well as a dairy-milk replacement for recipes!
  • Banana Milk: Bananas are one¬†of the most beneficial foods for your body! This milk typically isn’t found in stores, but throw some bananas and water in a blender, and you’ve got banana milk! Banana milk is a great drink on the go to get a little extra energy and potassium boost in!
  • Hemp Milk: Hemp milk is another super healthy milk worth trying! I’ve primarily used this milk for smoothies!
  • Rice Milk:¬†Rice Milk is low in fat and one of the least allergenic milks out there!! I’ve had rice milk over fruit, and it is yummy in or as the base of desserts!
  • Ripple: One of the newest milks on the dairy-free block is Ripple, or pea milk. If you’re wondering why they call it ripple, maybe just say pea milk out loud! ūüėČ Ripple is getting trendy due to having high protein levels (one gram of protein per ounce!), just like peas. I have yet to try this milk, but I can’t wait to get my hands on some!

ripple.png

As stated earlier, there are an endless number of milks out there! These days people make new vegan milks just to test if a food product can be turned into a milk! Other replacements out there include hazelnut milk, macadamia nut milk, quinoa milk, oat milk, flax milk, and more! So make an ethical and healthy turn into the dairy-alternative section next time you go grocery shopping, I promise you won’t regret it!

Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi

Happy World Vegan Day!

Today, plant-eaters everywhere are rejoicing for World Vegan Day! The first person¬†to coin the term “vegan” was Donald Watson. Watson was a man quick to become an animal advocate after witnessing his furry friends’ lives first-hand between local butchers and his uncle’s farm. Eventually, Watson decided that people who¬†went beyond abstaining from just meat needed to be recognized and collected, for what he¬†said was “the beginning and end of vegetarian.” After what was clearly a world-changing¬†conversation between he and a small group of other non-animal product consumers, they settled on the name “vegan,” which was derived from the word “vegetarian.” Bummer for us vegans, “Dairybans” and “Benevores” were tempting runner-ups! Within just a few years of the terminology being established, they also put in place that the vegan movement was a movement of people who choose not to partake in animal slavery and exploitation. Like any other vegan, Watson tended to not keep quiet!! ūüėČ He even got his siblings to convert! He was an active animal rights speaker and leader who went on to be one of the creators of the Vegan Society and their newsletter, The Vegan News. Also like most vegans, Donald Watson led a thriving long life as a plant-eater! He even climbed mountains and refused medications at the age of 92! How much more rad could a 92 year old be?!

veganman.jpg

A following chair to the Vegan Society, Louise Wallis, started the tradition of celebrating “World Vegan Day” on November first in order to commemorate¬†the establishment of the Vegan Society, and the terms ‘vegan’ and ‘veganism’ being brought about. This year marks the 73rd year of celebration! With the community and awareness growing every day, veganism continues to come such a long way since¬†the November of 1944! So today, let your veganism (or vegan curiosity) thrive! Read up on the facts, spread awareness to family and friends, donate to an animal sanctuary, cuddle up with a vegan documentary, and pig out on killer (not literally, of course!) vegan food! Increased liberation of our furry friends and enjoying the company of fellow plant-eaters is definitely worth celebrating!

Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi