Saturday, July 30, 2011

Vegan Cookbooks by Bloggers

With all the new cookbooks coming out, I thought I'd compile a list of those that were written (in the past year) by bloggers that I follow. Some I own, and some I will purchase as soon as I can.

Let's start with one that will be coming out in September:

(photo from Amazon)

Blissful Bites by Christy Morgan. You can find her blog here. She is a vegan-macrobiotic chef based in Dallas, TX. Check out her blog and find more about the classes she offers and more great recipes. She seems  very friendly and I wish I'd been able to meet up with her when I was in Dallas, but time didn't allow it.

And the most recent buzz has been all about this cookbook, which just came out:

(photo from Amazon)

Peas and Thank You by Sarah Matheny. This is one busy woman, I tell you! She's a mother to two of the cutest little girls and cooks up a storm. Sarah is one of the wittiest blog writers out there. Even if the particular post doesn't interest you, her writing will. She'll keep you reading. You can read her blog here.

And now onto one of the best vegan dessert makers:

(photo from Amazon)

Vegan Desserts by Hannah Kaminsky. I have one of her previous dessert books and it's amazing. She is by far one of the best creators of vegan desserts I've found. She also is one of the best food photographers! You'll be drooling just looking at her pictures. She contributes to various magazines and also has a crafty side. Check out her blog here.

This cookbook got a lot of buzz when it came out (yes, I own it for Kindle):

(photo from Happy Herbivore blog)

The Happy Herbivore by Lindsay S. Nixon. This is one popular lady. She currently lives in St. Maarten, which is quite a difference from her previous home of NYC. This book has a lot of recipes that are fairly easy to make and are delicious. Watch out....she's got another one on the way! Visit her blog here.

The following book got a lot of buzz too:

(photo from Post Punk Kitchen)

Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. She's already written several vegan cookbooks. This gal must be busy. She's from Brooklyn and has worked with Terry Hope Romero on a lot of projects. Check out  her blog here.

And well, this lady, is pretty famous already:

(photos from Global Vegan Kitchen)

Vegan on the Cheap and Party Vegan by Robin Robertson. She has several vegan & vegetarian cookbooks under her belt already and contributes to many magazines. Does she ever take a break? Robin lives in Virginia. Check out her blog here.

And now for the raw segment:

(photo from The Sunny Raw Kitchen)

Delightfully Raw by Carmella Soleil. I've followed her blog for a while now. She always seems to be traveling and posting beautiful photos from wherever she goes. She's got a few other e-books on her site. Check out her blog here.

I believe there is a cookbook in the works from Amber at Almost Vegan!!

And that's the lineup for today! I'll have to do another post for bloggers with e-books only available on their websites. That will be for another day.  Good job to these fellow bloggers (I guess they're not really fellows at all.....oops)! Keep the vegan cookbooks coming.......I'd love to write one someday.

So go out and support your "fellow" vegans/ their cookbooks! You can help, by tweeting about this post and/or posting it on YOUR facebook or blog.

Eat smart,

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Organic or not??

I think I've been brainwashed....well, not really. I've recently watched a few movies about organic farming. Of course it's better for you and the environment, right? No chemicals at all! Right?

Well, what about your local farmers? Would you rather ship organic tomatoes across the country, or eat local, but not organic, tomatoes?? Which  is better for you and the environment? Last  week, I came across this very dilemma in the store. (yes, it was Whole Foods, as my local store has squat for organic produce) There they tomatoes! And not a bad price either. But I remembered my local supermarket had locally farmed tomatoes. I was at a loss! What should I do? What's better for me? Those nice looking organic tomatoes were shipped all the way from California.....that can't be good. But....the local ones used pesticides....aaaaahh....what to do? I bought organic. Yup. But I'm still not so sure what the right decision was. Maybe with a decision like that, I should base it on price?

I don't have a problem buying organic, when there's no local option, unless it's outrageously expensive compared to the conventional (which the broccoli was, I tell you!). And I can't live without broccoli. That's a staple I must have in the house at ALL times! The kale was also twice the price of the conventional. That is my #2 staple.

What do YOU do? What are your thoughts on organic produce in general? Do you buy all organic? Do you buy organic when it's on sale only? (yup, I bought some awesome organic plums on sale last week...and they ARE delicious) Do you try to buy local? Or do you only buy what's on that "dirty dozen" list for pesticide residue, organically?

Here's the list of the "Dirty Dozen" you're supposed to buy organic:

imported grapes
bell peppers

What are YOUR thoughts on this whole organic produce thing?

Eat smart,

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


And the two winners from my coupon giveaway are.....




Congrats, ladies! Please email me your full name and address, so I can get those out to you right away.

Eat smart,

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Awesome summer foods!

I wanted to tell you about some of the great things I've been eating since I got back from the big Europe trip (you can read about my trip here and here).  Let me go back and start with 4th of July:

I made some gazpacho and it was perfect for a hot day:

We had black bean burgers (on a sprouted english muffin, since that's all we had) and my potato salad:

And for dessert we had Kathy's awesome Silk Chocolate Mousse:

Moving on, I made Gena's Hemp Hummus, which is really delicious:

Then I put some in a sandwich with my kale salad:

I don't have a picture of it, but I'm totally addicted to Angela's  Tahini Lemon Dressing!! It is the best thing ever and so perfect for this hot summer weather!! I make large batches at a time now and it's great for dipping too, because it thickens up in the fridge :) Go make!

I recently bought a Gardein product, because I had a coupon for it. We don't often buy this kind of thing, but once in a while is fine. I've heard good things about them, so we picked this up:

I heated them up in the microwave, like the package directions said. S liked them. He called them "smoky". They weren't my thing at all. The flavor of it was just weird. I didn't mind the texture, but...I don't know. I found the sauce to be a bit thick and gluey.  Have you had these before? I guess I'd be willing to try another "flavor" if I had coupons or something for it. But I wouldn't go out of my way for them.

I made them with my pesto:

Lemony Spinach Avocado Pesto:

1 avocado (Hass)
2 cups packed raw spinach, washed
4 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp minced garlic
1 small tomato, chopped (if adding to pasta)
raw almonds, chopped small (if adding to pasta)
salt to taste

Scoop out the avocado, minus the pit, and put it into a food processor. Add the spinach, lemon juice, and garlic. If you have a small food processor, like I do, you may want to add the spinach a handful at a time. You can scrape it down and add the next batch of spinach, etc.  Process until nice and creamy. Add the salt and process again. Add it to your pasta in a pot (if eating it with pasta) and add in the tomatoes and almonds. Let the tomatoes heat up and then it's ready! I liked it cold too. You can use it as a dip, with or without the tomatoes, and without the almonds.

And here a couple of finds from the store:

Coconut Bliss Ice Cream (If you want to win a coupon for this, and other items, enter today!!)

This stuff is GOOD!!!

And the latest from Galaxy Foods-vegan cream cheese (yum):

So, don't forget to enter to win some cool vegan food coupons....contest ends tonight!

What cool summer foods have YOU eaten lately?

Eat smart,

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My new juicer and a mini giveaway! [CLOSED]

No. I don't have a juicer to give away. Hahaha...I wish. Hey, Breville, if you're listening....I'd gladly do a juicer giveaway for you :)

Anyway, look what I recently got:

(photo from the Breville site)

It's the Breville ikon Multi Speed Juice Fountain. And it's awesome!

Yup, thanks to Cashback bonuses and 20% off coupons, I was able to afford this thing.  And summer here (95+ degrees) is the perfect time to get one.  I've only had it a few days, so I'm still on my carrot based juices. I've made carrot-apple-ginger juice, carrot-apple-celery-cucumber-ginger juice, and carrot-beet-ginger-spinach juice. All delicious! The one with the beet actually wasn't as sweet as the ones with the apples. And there's always lots of pulp leftover......I hate to throw it out. But I also hear that if you save it, you should use it up within a day (or maybe freeze it).

In honor of my new juicer, well ok, and because I had several coupons leftover from the NOLA VeggieFest 2011, I'm going to do a mini giveaway today. I've got some cool coupons, from Coconut Bliss to Manitoba Harvest Hemp Seeds, so if you'd like a few, there will be TWO winners! (ONLY OPEN TO U.S. ADDRESSES) Don't forget to leave your email address in your comment(s) if it's not available on your profile!!


Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment here with your favorite juice recipe or a link to your favorite juice recipe. OR you can tell me what the heck I can do with my leftover pulp.

Extra entries (leave another comment for each, here):

1. Like my Facebook Page AND leave a comment there telling me you want to enter this giveaway.
2. Tweet about this giveaway (include @TanyaTheViolist)

This giveaway will close on Sunday, July 17th at midnight CST.
Winners will be chosen by 

Good luck :)

Eat smart,

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Europe Trip Part 2: Netherlands and Belgium

And so part 2 of our journey began with a night train from Zurich to Amsterdam on the CityNightLine. When I opened the door to the compartment, my jaw dropped a little. Didn't look like the pictures I saw online. But, you know what? It was very cozy. I liked it.  The bed was pretty hard, but other than that it was fun! We had our own private bathroom, shower and all. We got a free drink when we started and it was fun, sitting on the bed, looking out the big window, drink in hand.

The morning breakfast setup:

Breakfast, which was included. Unfortunately it was yogurt, cheese, and meat. Well, they brought a bag of croissants (which I didn't eat) and regular bread. Coffee too. Luckily, I had my soymilk with me and I had some bread with jam. We took the OJ for later (we're not big OJ drinkers):

We stayed in the very nice B&B Hotel Malts in Haarlem. We had a big room looking out onto a main street. The first night was unbelievably noisy. It was a Saturday night. I mean, people were yelling in the streets until around 3 in the morning or so. The rest of our stay was quiet (2 more nights). So, maybe get an inner room if you stay on a Fri or Sat night. Breakfast was included, but we brought our own oatmeal. They had a very nice layout with lots of great breads and jams, etc. They, of course, also had meats and cheeses. There was a nice British woman there at bfast serving us coffee. She also offered freshly squeezed orange juice, if you wanted it. I had emailed the owner earlier and asked if I could bring soymilk to store in their fridge for my coffee....but she bought me some and had it in there when we arrived! Thank you, Andrea.

We stopped at a restaurant in Haarlem and they gladly made me a vegan plate out of one of their dishes:

We found a great vegan store in Amsterdam: Vega-Life. And they gave us a vegan map of Amsterdam!!! Haha...can you believe that? As it turned out, it wasn't quite as helpful as we thought it might be.

A soy latte with my vegan map:

We got the coffee, along with lunch at a wonderful place that store suggested: Bolhoed

And here's the interior:

It was delicious! S got some sort of big salad plate and I got the soup of the day plus a filled croissant, all vegan! Now, we tried to go there again a couple of days later for dinner. We arrived and they said it was all reserved and there wouldn't be anything for several hours! And the woman that day was quite unpleasant and not helpful at all.  Too least we got there once, and had a friendly waitress.

A hint for Amsterdam veg restaurants.....don't trust the place will be open when it says.  Actually, it was the same in Belgium.  As for Amsterdam, there were several places on that vegan map we went well out of our way to walk to and they just never opened.  And yes, I tried to go to Maoz....but it was such chaos inside with only one guy working and a ton of people in there.....I didn't even attempt. Actually I did, I tried asking, but it was just too busy. Maybe I just picked the busiest one??

We did get to one other vegetarian restaurant called the Golden Temple.  Let me explain that we got there when they were supposed to open, and we stood at the window staring in for about 20 minutes. We saw someone inside taking the chairs off the tables. Looked like they were going to open.  The guy FINALLY came out, and told us they were going to open about an hour late. I think someone called in sick or something and so they only had 1 or 2 people working.  But still, he should have come out and told us sooner...I know he saw us standing there for ever at the window.  Anyway, we went across the street and had a beer in the meantime. Came back when he said they'd open and the place was full!!!  How'd that happen? Anyway, we did manage to grab the last table. And I think maybe it was the owner that went around taking orders, holding his baby in his hands....hmmm.......service was ultra slow. But, the food was very good. Everything you see here is vegan, except for S's tzaziki sauce:

And for dessert, which I got "to go", was vegan carrot cake...delicious!

This was up on the wall, above our table.  Very cool....

We also found another place that had veggie food, but wasn't all vegetarian: Wagamama. It's a noodle restaurant. And they had beer! The bowls were absolutely huge might want to share. (sorry about the blurry phone pics):

You could choose which noodles you wanted, as they have some with egg and some without. It was all delicious!

At the market:

This kind of grossed me out:
A hamburger vending machine?? Ick.

But look what I found???? Isn't this awesome? We had to go in for a beer. But unfortunately, they wouldn't sell me a t-shirt. Sniff.

We visited Zaanse Schans with a friend. Here's me and S:

We took a train from Haarlem to Rotterdam and spent a few hours there. Not too interesting. If we'd had more time, we would've gone to see the dikes. Rotterdam is below sea level, like New Orleans. It was a very modern looking city.....but we did find a "pay by weight" cool place to eat: Spirit (in the Groene Passage). Everything was labeled....great place! And there's a good health food store in there too.

look at all those non-dairy milks!! (sorry they're so pics).

I grabbed one of these for dessert from the store:

Then we were on our way to Brussels. In general, I didn't find that Belgium was very veggie friendly at all. Except for the city of Ghent.  We did find a sushi place near our hotel in Brussels though...of course I only found out after it came to my table that they put mayonnaise in there......why would you put mayo in veggie sushi??  Anyway, they offered to make me a new one without and it was delicious. And then we went there a few more nights for dinner :)  There was also a nice coffeehouse near the hotel that had free wifi and soy milk! Good combination. It was called Karsmakers. They also have bagels and hummus. This stuff was all near the EU part of town. I had pricelined the hotel (Renaissance) and got a great rate, but it was about a 30 minute all uphill walk from the train station.  The hotel had a mini-bar in the room. So I took their stuff out and kept my soymilk, etc. in there! And there was a nice little health food store around the corner, so I got some soy yogurt and fruit there too. Very convenient.  I had emailed the hotel earlier to ask if they had soymilk. And they said yes. Of course, that first morning when I went downstairs to grab some coffee....they had no soymilk. They said they'd go out and buy some later in the day. Ok. Next day I did get my soymilk. Yay. But then the following morning the same soymilk. I don't get it...were there really that many people asking for soymilk that they ran out?? As it turns out, the manager came out after several minutes with the box of soymilk and told me just to take it to my room. Maybe they just kept it in a weird place..???

Rant rant rant......

So we were off to Ghent and well, the center of town is quite a walk from the main train station. But...I think there are trams and buses.  Beautiful town!! And they have a few vegan, yes VEGAN restaurants. We found one that was a bit off the beaten path, Komkommertijd. It was an all-vegan as much as you want! We got there right when it opened....except it wasn't open.  The guy finally opened the door about 15 minutes later.  I'm glad we waited.

Our placemat:


Another day we went to Bruges...also a beautiful town!

After a lack of raw vegetables for so long (do they eat those in Belgium??), we stumbled across a "make your own" salad place. Awesome!!

I forgot....we also stopped in Le Pain Quotidien in Mechelen. Did you know that place originated in Belgium? Yup. I had the grilled veggie open-faced sandwich and soup, both vegan. I also picked up a couple of vegan muffins for later.

And there you have it. My food experience in Europe. I feel as if I've forgotten something. Anyway, if after perusing my photos, I see I forgot a place, I'll add it right away.

If you want to see my beer tastings in Netherlands and Belgium, click on the links!
Read here about my food adventures in Switzerland.

Happy 4th of July weekend!!

Eat smart,


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