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Help Kickstart the “HEMPEH” Revolution!

Have you heard about "HEMPEH" yet? I sure hadn’t. But the sweet folks at Smiling Hara Tempeh contacted me today & asked that I spread the word about their exciting kickstarter campaign. So I checked it out, & this stuff sounds awesome!

Soy-free tempeh does not exist on the national market, & this company will be first ever to offer a highly digestible soy-free protein alternative called “HEMPEH!” Hempeh is soy/gluten-free tempeh fortified with hemp seed for optimal health benefits, paired with organic legumes. They just launched a Kickstarter  to bring two types of Hempeh to the marketplace— "Black Bean Hempeh" & "Yellow Split Pea Hempeh" — & so far it’s going strong!

In addition to being good for you, Hempeh supports a good cause. The beans and hemp in Hempeh are from Growing Warriors Project, a healing farm in Kentucky that teaches war veterans how to farm & feed their families & local communities. 

So watch the video, visit their kickstarter page, make a donation & score some fabulous goods, & help spread the word on facebook by sharing their virtual “event.”

Tempeh is my personal favorite veggie protein, & I am a big supporter of the magical powers of hemp. I cannot wait to give Hempeh a try for myself. 

Yay!


Field Roast introduces…VEGAN CHEESE SLICES! 

Yep, that’s right! Field Roast has introduced a new line of vegan cheese, Chao Slices! Creamy Original? Coconut Herb? Tomato Cayenne? Need now please! 

via vegansaurus: 

We have yet to get our hands on some, but it should be in stores soon. And we’re thrilled that they’re now officially a “vegan meat & cheese” brand! Because YOU KNOW their veg sausages are FANTASMIC. 

Fantasmic, indeed! This is such an exciting time for vegan cheese!!! YipEeeeeeeee! Gimmee, Gimmee!

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Surprise!

Ohhhh, it’s finally starting to feel like fall around here, & I’ve been craving oatmeal. It is a very “healing & grounding” dish for me & I need a lot of that these days. I just returned from a yoga retreat at the Zen Mountain Center where the monks prepared 3 beautiful meals for us each day. Breakfast was always oatmeal or amaranth, fruit, & yogurt. At the end of the spread was a large bowl of peanut butter & you know I smothered my bowl with it! Since returning home I’ve been making a simple version with cooked apples & blueberries, & a swirl of raw almond butter, but it was time to get inspired & change it up.

It’s a pumpkin palooza everywhere I look – from blogs, to the markets, & door steps in my neighborhood – & I don’t mind playing along!I had some leftover pumpkin puree & decided to add it to my morning oatmeal along with seasonal spices, walnuts, chopped apples & a dried berry blend. But it needed just a little more of something special…

A few months ago, the kind folks at Soom Foods reached out & asked if I would like to try their chocolate sesame butter. Would I ever! They sent me a generous jar that I secretly stashed away, waiting for the right moment to open it. Over the summer I’d planned to make a chocolate banana soft serve, but that didn’t happen. I suppose it still could! To be honest, I’ve been afraid to open it because I knew it would be amazing & I would find every excuse to dip a spoon in the jar & eat the whole thing in a matter of days. So I’ve been saving it. But as I was about to dive in to my breakfast I realized it was missing something! So I opened the jar put a healthy dollop right on top! 

Oh my heavens. This rich & chocolatey addition to my pumpkin spice oatmeal was out of this world. I am in trouble now, but at least I am not eating it straight off the spoon. YET. Of course, the nut butter is optional, but highly encouraged, especially if you can get your hands on the chocolate stuff! On it’s own the oatmeal is rich & creamy, with a hint of pumpkin & warming spices. Oh, fall, I am so ready for you…

Get the full recipe at Vegenista’s Kitchen. Enjoy!

Ooooh, & the choco-sesame butter is amazing on crisp fall apples! I may or may not be trying to develop a Chocolate Tahini Cookie recipe too! Stay tuned!

Pumpkin fever! I love the flavors of fall & I’ve been craving oatmeal after last weekend at the Zen Mountain Center. The monks made is the most delicious oatmeal for breakfast. I had pumpkin purée to use up so I made some creamy “Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal” topped with chopped walnuts, dried berries & apple. Recipe coming soon to the blog! #vegan #vegenistaskitchen  (at vegenista’s kitchen )

Pumpkin fever! I love the flavors of fall & I’ve been craving oatmeal after last weekend at the Zen Mountain Center. The monks made is the most delicious oatmeal for breakfast. I had pumpkin purée to use up so I made some creamy “Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal” topped with chopped walnuts, dried berries & apple. Recipe coming soon to the blog! #vegan #vegenistaskitchen (at vegenista’s kitchen )

Café Gratitude Plans for First San Diego Restaurant! 

Rumors have been circulating for months, & I am so happy to confirm that it is official! The "Iconic Vegan Restaurant" Café Gratitude is set to open their first San Diego County restaurant in Little Italy in early 2015! And how do I know this? I just so happen to have the press release in my hot little hands! 

(LOS ANGELES – September 22, 2014)

Café Gratitude, the organic & vegan mainstay with restaurants in Los Angeles, the Bay Area & Kansas City, is taking its consciously-sourced & thoughtfully-prepared cuisine south to San Diego with a new location planned for Broadstone Little Italy, a new mixed-used development overlooking the ocean. The dining destination, revered for its community-focus & eclectic, seasonally-driven menu, will be joining a new crop of retail spaces underneath the artfully-designed residences located at 1980 Kettner Blvd.

"We are so inspired by the incredible community & dining scene in San Diego," says Lisa Bonbright, CEO of Café Gratitude Southern California. "There is so much positive energy in the area with new restaurant openings, & we are thrilled to be part of the evolution."

Café Gratitude will begin construction on the 4,000 square-foot restaurant this fall with plans to open its doors to San Diego locals & residents of Broadstone Little Italy in early 2015, approximately eleven years after the opening of its first location in the Bay Area. Like its sister restaurants, the San Diego destination will feature a 100% organic, seasonally-driven vegan menu crafted by Executive Chef Dreux Ellis to resonate with diners of all dietary persuasions, while honoring a commitment to responsible sourcing & respect for the environment. Inspiration for Ellis’ vibrant menu is drawn from the bounty of local farmers markets & Café Gratitude Founders Matthews & Terces Engelhart’s Be Love Farm in Vacaville.

In addition to serving breakfast, lunch & dinner, daily, the restaurant will also offer Café Gratitude’s signature cleanse program featuring freshly pressed organic juices & wholesome vegan dishes. Grab-&-go breakfast pastries & unrefined desserts will also be a draw for diners stopping in for a cup of Stumptown coffee, homemade milkshake or nutrient-dense elixir for the road.

The Café has become known for its wholesome dishes named after often tongue-&-cheek affirmations like "I Am Crunchy" (housemade granola with fresh fruit & coconut yogurt), or the house favorite "I Am Whole" (a macrobiotic bowl featuring adzuki beans & seasonal organic ingredients over local brown rice or quinoa).

ABOUT CAFÉ  GRATITUDE:

Café Gratitude is a collection of 100% organic vegan restaurants that specialize in gourmet vegan cuisine. The menu & environment is designed to support health & sustainability for both the community and the planet. Dishes are named after affirmations like "I Am Whole," & are composed of real, organic ingredients from sustainable sources. The restaurant also works closely with local farmers to serve produce at its peak of freshness with deference to seasonality. Daily operations are conducted according to the principle of “Sacred Commerce,” whereby guests are offered both healthy food & a healthy ambiance that encourages them to view their lives from a perspective of gratitude. 

Isn’t this the most exciting news ever? Since the unfortunate closing of Casa de Luz, our local veg & healthy dining community has been longing for a new fresh, healthy, clean & modern establishment to enjoy a “finer” dining experience. I visited the Berkeley location for the first time a few years ago & loved it. I have been dying to make the drive up to LA to visit their new location, but time has not allowed me such luxury. The good news is, only will I not have to drive to L.A. for a wholesome fix, I will be able to walk there from my family business office. WINNING! 

And by them saying this will be the “first” San Diego location, is that a hint that there will be more locations to come? How about a Gracias Madre? Oooooh, ooooh. Ok, one wish at a time. For now, “I am Grateful” that in early 2015 we will have this wonderful restaurant in our city. 

I am in touch with their PR team & as soon as I have an exact date, or information about a grand opening, I’ll share!

(Photos & Press Release via JS2 Communications) 

National Vegetarian Awareness Month
Hey, hey party people! I’ve been “off the grid” for the past few days at a yoga retreat, so I am a little late to the party on this, but for those of you who don’t know…October is "National Vegetarian Awareness Month" which was established by the North American Vegetarian Society in 1977.
Help make a difference this October by telling your friends & family about the benefits of vegetarianism & veganism Or better yet, cook them a delicious plant based meal. Let’s celebrate peace & compassion through a kind diet & way of life. Please help spread the word!
(image via http://www.fix.com/blog/national-vegetarian-awareness-month/)

National Vegetarian Awareness Month

Hey, hey party people! I’ve been “off the grid” for the past few days at a yoga retreat, so I am a little late to the party on this, but for those of you who don’t know…October is "National Vegetarian Awareness Month" which was established by the North American Vegetarian Society in 1977.

Help make a difference this October by telling your friends & family about the benefits of vegetarianism & veganism Or better yet, cook them a delicious plant based meal. Let’s celebrate peace & compassion through a kind diet & way of life. Please help spread the word!

(image via http://www.fix.com/blog/national-vegetarian-awareness-month/)

Evolve Skin Vegan Deodorant Review & Giveaway!

Hello everyone! It’s time for a giveaway & you’ll definitely want to enter this! 

One of the main questions I get is "Who makes a cruelty-free, natural-based, deodorant that actually works?" And up until recently I had a handful of less than confident answers. I’m not exaggerating when I say, I’ve tried them all. Some have worked better than others. Some haven’t worked at all. Trial & error is expensive & frustrating. I finally thought I’d found my winner, until I got to the end of the stick, & then experienced & unsightly rash. It turns out it wasn’t only me….my Mom had the same experience. Bummer, back to the drawing board! But, just as I was about ready to throw in the towel, & resigning to be either a stinky, sweaty mess, I got a message on facebook from Evolve Skin, LLC asking if I would review their "best selling" deodorant. Willing to try anything, I jumped at the chance. The worst that could happen is that I’d be let down, again. But I was used to that kind of defeat, so why not? Bring it on!

After reading the product description, I had really high hopes: 

About Evolve Skin “Tickle Stick” Vegan Deodorant ~

Moisturizing, organic virgin-coconut oil has lauric acid that kills odor-causing bacteria. Organic, GMO-free cornstarch helps to absorbs perspiration. Sodium bicarbonate raises the pH level, making the underarm area less friendly to odor causing bacteria. Our special essential oil blend is antiseptic, anti-fungal, & antibacterial helping to combat odor while leaving a light, fresh scent. Vegan candelilla wax helps to provide long lasting protection while giving the busy-bees a break!

Sounds great, right? If only it works!

I received a small sample in the mail & skeptically I applied it, & off I went to a full day of yoga teacher training. If there ever was a time to put a deodorant to the test! After morning practice outdoors on the bay, I did a whiff test. All good. Odor free & relatively dry…but there were many more hours yet to come. As the day went by I’d swipe & sniff, discreetly, of course, & to my surprise & delight, I was still dry & surprisingly fresh. And by the end of the day, I was convinced. This stuff works! After several days of use - long work days, yoga teacher training weekends, afternoon hikes, etc., this deodorant passed test after test, & never caused any discomfort or irritation. Hip, hip hooray. 

CLAIMS: This soft solid deodorant will change your mind about natural deodorants. This is not an antiperspirant & therefore will not clog pores. This aluminum-free deodorant safely absorbs into your skin & kills odors on contact. Feel confident knowing you are protected naturally, using a product that is earth & animal-friendly! 

INGREDIENTS: Organic Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil, Organic Shea Butter, Sodium Bicarbonate, Organic Cornstarch, Candelilla Wax, Essential Oil Blend

PROS: All natural ingredients. Handmade in small batches. Recycled packaging. Cruelty-free. Vegan Friendly. Subtle scent. Smooth & creamy texture. Highly effective. It really works! 

CONS: None for me. However, some people may have a sensitivity to sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). If irritation occurs, discontinue use. I have experienced painful breakouts & irritation with other vegan deodorants, but this was actually very soothing for my skin.

THE VERDICT: I loved the sample so much, I bought a full size tube. Like I said, it kept me fresh & dry even through the hot summer months & long & active days of yoga teacher training, & did not cause irritation. I also love that it is handmade, vegan & eco friendly. It’s important to me to support local &/or small artisan businesses! This is my new favorite deodorant. 

So, who wants a "Tickle Stick Vegan Deodorant" of their very own? I am so excited for you to try it & am so confident that you will love it as much as I do, so I’ve teamed up with Evolve Skin to giveaway a "Tickle Stick" to one lucky reader! Follow the steps below & enter to win! The contest open to US residents only. 

~~ENTER NOW!!~~

 a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Good luck! The winner will be announced on October 8th. In the meantime, check out Evolve Skin’s entire line of handmade, cruelty-free products ~ body lotions, scrubs, mists & more. Shop the main site, or shop through their Etsy Shop. Be sure to follow Evolve Skin on facebook to stay up-to-date on all of their beautiful handmade offerings, holiday season is coming up! 

Vegan Pumpkin Round-up

Awww yeah, let pumpkin season begin! These all look delicious. 

Mmmmmm, mmmmm…what to make, bake & devour? 

Saint Francis Organics IndieGoGo Campaign

I wanted to give you guys a little preview of a wonderful brand that I will be reviewing soon! Saint Francis Organics is a manufacturer of organic personal care & cleaning products. That is what they do, but they believe it is why they do it that is most important: 

We produce these products because we believe the good health of humans impacts the good health of the environment, which impacts the overall health of the world. We want to be part of the detoxing solution by making products with natural, organic ingredients & absolutely no harsh, synthetic chemicals. Our products are vegan, gluten-free, safe for septic & gray water systems, & we never test on animals.

Saint Francis Organics is gearing up for the launch a new line of NSF Certified & USDA Organic body, hair & baby formulations over the next couple of months. All of the products are going through the 8-12 week NSF certification process (QAI) now, & NSF facial & cleaning lines will launch in the second quarter of 2015.

In preparation for these product launches, Saint Francis Organics started an IndieGoGo Campaign on September 29, & it is already going strong! Through the campaign perks you can try a variety of their current products to see what they’re all about, & I am pretty sure you will fall in love! With the help of conscious consumers like us, Saint Francis Organics will soon be able to launch the next generation of NSF organic products. But they need our support! Unlike many of our favorite brands who have “sold out” to parent companies that do not share the same values, Saint Francis Organics has stayed away from large investors who want to take control of decision making, & ultimately affect the integrity of the brand. So please, take a moment to watch the heartfelt video, make a contribution if it calls to you, give their products a try, & help spread the word.

Our skin is our largest organ, so what we put on our bodies is just as important as what we put into our bodies. Let’s help Saint Francis Organics help carry out their mission of developing healthy alternatives that are free of harmful chemicals to use everyday on our hair & skin, & in our households.

Please visit their IndieGoGo Campaign to view the perks, make a contribution & learn more. And stay tuned for a product review!

Farm Sanctuary Benefit Brunch with Katie’s Healing Kitchen

A few weekends ago I had the exciting opportunity to photograph my talented chef friend Katie’s pop-up vegan brunch, benefiting the 2014 San Diego Walk for Farm Animals.It was absolutely delicious & for a wonderful cause! 

On the menu: 

  • Organic fair-trade coffee with coconut creamer, green tea, & citrus mimosas
  • Banana-nut Muffins
  • End of Summer Parfaits with Coconut Yogurt, Chia Pudding, Local Peaches & Housemade Granola
  • Lentil Mushroom Tacos
  • Raw Strawberry Acai Cheesecake

Yum! So much goodness. I’ve got a full recap & review & am sharing the "Banana Nut Muffin" recipe over at Vegenista’s Kitchen

If you are local to San Diego & have not come to one of Katie’s events, I encourage you to sign up for her newsletter so you can get up-to-date announcements, as they sell out fast! Katie has some classes coming up soon at Great News, & her next pop-up, although not yet formally announced, will be a dinner on October 26th. So come on out!

And in the meantime, now that fall has officially arrived, put on your oven mitts & get baking.