Sunday, January 27, 2008

Better Bathing

Probably the last thing that Marc gave up for his vegan lifestyle was Ivory soap. I was never that big a fan, but he had used it all his life and was resistant to using anything else until I pointed out that it is made of animal fat - yuck! Does that sound very clean to you?

Now, I must admit that I am not perfect when it comes to choosing vegan products, but I have started to become much more conscious about what I buy for the outside of my body as well as the inside. PETA has a great little brochure with a list of safe companies for toiletries and cosmetics that I just always have in my purse now (you can order your own here:

Recently, Marc has switched over to using my favorite shower gel, Shikai, and it's become his favorite too. It comes in many great scents (we like the lavender mint one right now), and is completely animal- testing and product free. At first it seemed extravagant to buy shower gel instead of soap but it didn't take long to realize that it's actually more cost-effective because of how long it lasts and how little waste there is compared to soaps that melt away. Try it out and you can bathe with a clean conscious as well as body!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Perfect Pancakes

Well, it's Sunday again, and I was trying to decide what to write about, when I realized I was hungry and wanted some of Marc's Perfect Pancakes. Even though we just had them for dinner Wednesday night (yes, dinner!), I was craving them again. This is a wheat-free recipe as well as vegan, but I can honestly say that they are the best pancakes I've ever had. Here's what you'll need:

1 cup pancake mix (we use Arrowhead's Gluten-free Pancake and Baking mix which uses organic rice flower and a touch of cinnamon)
2 tablespoons Ener-G egg replacer
2 tablespoons agave syrup
1 cup rice or soy milk
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil for the pan

Mix all the ingredients (except for the oil), slowly mixing in the soy milk until you have a pour-able consistency (not too thin; you may not need the whole cup of soy milk).

Heat oil in pan on medium. Pour mix into pan. Once the edges of the pancakes are crispy and you see bubbles in the middle of them, flip the cakes and finish the other sides. We enjoy ours with organic maple syrup and Earth Balance spread (the best butter substitute we've found; it fries, bakes, spreads, and melts). You can also garnish it with a teaspoon of your favorite jelly (make sure it's vegan, of course).

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Great bag by Astrosatchel

So, it's that time of week again, and today I'm going to feature a great vegan bag that a close friend gave me for Christmas. It's created by Janna Hurtzig of Astrosatchel and I love it. Mine is an olivey green with a mustard colored bird. It's the perfect size to carry your normal necessities such as wallet, phone, camera, vegan lip balm, etc. and also throw in a journal or sketchbook, scarf or even a shirt. I've already gotten numerous compliments on it. The bag itself is made of vinyl and the strap is nylon. The appliqué is also vinyl with some nice stitching. If you're in the San Diego area, you can purchase one like it at All Vegan, a cute little shop in University Heights. Even non-vegans can enjoy some guilt-free shopping there! They also carry shoes, chocolates and other vegan goodies. Happy shopping!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Sipz review

So Marc and I went out to eat at Sipz Vegetarian Fuzion Cafe last night, compliments of his great co-workers who gave him a gift certificate for his birthday. For those of you not familiar with Sipz, it's a mainly vegan restaurant in Clairemont Mesa. Actually, out of their rather extensive menu, there are only two or three items that aren't vegan (everything's vegetarian), which makes us wonder why they don't take the plunge and just make it fully vegan. Regardless, it's still got a huge vegan selection.

We ordered the Aloha Rollz and the Vegan Miso Soup to start with (although they brought the Vege BBQ Chicken first, even though Marc asked for it with his meal—we just laugh, because they always do that). The Aloha Rollz were delicious and the presentation was great too ("Aloha" was written in ceviche on the plate). The miso soup was chock full of seaweed and tofu and yummy, although not spectacular. Still, it's nice to go to a place that doesn't put fish stock in the miso soup! The Vege BBQ Chicken was good as always. It uses more of a sweet bbq sauce than a smoky one.

For our main meals, Marc got the Spicy Thai Fried Rice, his old standby. I do agree that this is one of the best dishes on the menu. I was torn, but ended up getting the Spicy Basil bowl with tofu, as I'm trying to cut down on wheat products and I'm sure the "chicken" is made with wheat gluten (although I didn't ask). I've decided that I really prefer the Cashew Chicken bowl, as there's something about the sauce in the Spicy Basil bowl that I don't love. Next time I'm going to try the new Teriyaki Tofu, which sounds really good.

I should have stopped there, but Marc ordered the chocolate chip cookies (which are very soft and sweet) and I wanted something sweet too, so I ordered a Refreshing Green Tea Boba with soy milk (you do have to specify as they carry real milk for the tea drinks). For those who may not know, Sipz actually started out as a small coffee/boba tea shop and then expanded to carry food. It was really uniquely tasty, as it had a very floral taste due to the jasmine tea used. I loved it, but unfortunately it made me so full, I couldn't even eat my complimentary fortune cookie!

The prices are quite reasonable and the service is efficient. Our food came really fast, and that is often the case there, even though it is usually fairly busy (it's a good thing they expanded the space a year or so ago). The lights are a little brighter than they need to be, but that's a minor point I suppose. All in all, it was a very enjoyable meal.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

"Happy Chicken" Salad

We call this our "happy chicken" salad, because the chicken is happy it didn't have to die for it! It's a very easy, no-cook recipe that anyone can make in about 5-10 minutes. Here are the ingredients:

One 8 oz. package of tempeh (we like Lightlife's organic soy tempeh)
1/4 of a small red onion, diced
One small stalk celery, chopped
One tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup vegan mayo (our favorite is Follow Your Heart's Vegenaise, either the grapeseed oil or regular)
A pinch of red pepper flakes
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Break the tempeh up into very small pieces and then combine all ingredients and stir with a spoon. That's it, you're done! I told you it was easy. It's delicious on a sandwich with lettuce, avacado, and sprouts. If you're trying to avoid wheat products, like I am, you can have it in lettuce cups. Form cups from lettuce leaves, spread hummus in the center of the cups and add chicken salad. Enjoy!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Great vegan boots on sale!

This will be short and sweet because I have a bunch of other things I should be doing, but I didn't want to wait too long to post this in case the sale ends soon or they run out. I got these boots back when they weren't on sale and I love them. They're leather and wool-free and made by Charles Albert. Come to think of it, it's the second pair of his boots I have, so he seems to have a few vegan options, but this pair is much more comfortable to wear. They have a nice amount of heel and they're surprisingly easy to walk in. I've even danced in them comfortably! They're on sale for only $19.99 at

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Welcome to Vegan Weekly!

So, my husband and I were sharing a delicious seaweed salad (vegan of course) the other day and I mentioned how I think it's the best seaweed salad in San Diego. We got to talking about how tricky it can be to find quality vegan food if you don't know where to look or if you're new to eating vegan. We thought we'd share what we've found and learned since we've been vegan for a little while now (4.5 years for me and 2 for him). Vegan weekly will also be a place where we will share recipes (Marc is an amazing vegan chef!) and shopping tips for vegan products, such as shoes, bags and other cruelty-free goodies.

So, by now you're probably wondering "Where is the best vegan seaweed salad in San Diego?" It's at Chow Noodle House, where the old Celadon used to be, on University between 5th and 6th in Hillcrest. For only $5, you can try it and the place has a really nice ambiance as well. It's a noodle house and although it doesn't have as many vegan choices as Celadon (which is now a few blocks south on 5th), you can still enjoy a full vegan meal there with a few questions and adjustments. By the way, if you haven't tried Celadon yet, you're missing out on the most delicious Thai food, with numerous vegan options. Enjoy and check back weekly for more vegan love! Oh, and happy new year—for those of you who are thinking of becoming vegan, I can't think of a better time to start than now (hint, hint). I'll always remember what a vegan friend said to me while I was still vegetarian that gave me the confidence to try it: "It's not as hard as you think it is."