On Sunday August 24th at 10am something amazing is going to happen--Holey Moley Coffee & Doughnuts is going to be holding a FREE vegan doughnut and coffee tasting at their newly opened location on Milwaukee Street!
RSVPs are capped at 50 people and samples will be available while supplies last, so be sure to RSVP and get there bright and early at 10am! Get all the details on the Meetup site.
Joe Sorge and the other awesome folks at Holey Moley want to get your input on what vegan flavors would be fun, so be sure to comment on the Meetup page or on Facebook or Twitter to make your voice heard!
There are so many great vegan snacks, treats and sweets available these days that it's hard to try them all. So, come join us at the Milwaukee Vegan Meetup on Saturday June 14th at 5pm to try a huge variety of delicious vegan treats! It'll be a casual meetup where you'll be able to snack at your own pace and mingle with others. The event will go until about 8pm, so you don't have to arrive right at 5pm, but make sure to check in when you get there. To cover the snacks, it's only a $5.46 charge--what a deal! Make sure to RSVP by Friday night at midnight!
We'll have something for everyone there--sweet, savory and healthy! Here are some of the items we have in store for you....
First, a selection of Larsen donuts--Bavarian Cream, Raspberry-filled and frosted rings. Larsen Bakery is located in Racine, but you can also order their donuts through VeganEssentials.com. You prep them at home in the oven and spread the frosting on yourself and you have delicious, fresh donuts on the spot! Also from Larsen we'll have vegan kringle--everyone from Wisconsin knows about kringle, but did you know you can pick these up at your local Outpost Foods? The vegan ones taste just like the original!
Earth Balance, famous for their buttery sticks, has been releasing all kinds of snacks lately. The cheddar squares are the latest, but they also have flavored potato chips, aged white cheddar puffs (kind of like a healthy Cheeto), and P.B. Popps, which are "popcorn cuddled in peanut butter and a bustle of oats"--trust me, these things are addictive.
We'll also have some Cedar's Hommus served with fresh baby carrots and Flamous Organic Falafel Chips--these are pretty amazing too.
If you don't make kale chips at home, Brad's Raw Cruncy Kale chips are the next best thing...and they come in different flavors if you're feeling adventurous. A friend of mine recently brought home some "dang" toasted coconut chips back from her trip to New York, along with a bunch of other snacks, but these were the winner. Outstanding. And...I happened to order the salted caramel variety from VeganEssentials...I can't wait.
You can find these next two snacks all over the city--Kettle brand Maple Bacon potato chips are vegan and they taste like breakfast! Find them at Outpost, Riverwest Coop, Whole Foods and some mainstream stores too. You know those cookies they serve on the plane called "Biscoff?" Well, imagine a bunch of those made into a spread...wow. This is a favorite of many of my friends and can be served on bread, crackers, chocolate or get crazy and spread it on a Biscoff cookie! You can find this at Target and I believe a bunch of other local stores--you may also see it under another brand, "Speculoos." (I know--weird name, but it tastes just as good!)
To drink, we'll have a variety of Santa Cruz organic lemonades--cherry (my absolute favorite), raspberry, mango, strawberry and more. You can find these at Outpost and Whole Foods and probably some other local stores too.
We were lucky enough to find a vegan-friendly place to host our snack-o-rama. Halo Soap is a local company run by Stacie Cherubini--she has locations in Cudahy and Bay View, but also sells online. She has been making soap and other skincare products for over 11 years, so she really knows what she's doing! Plus, she and everyone who works there is super-nice.
The majority of Halo products are vegan, with the only exceptions being some products that contain beeswax or honey. There are products for everyone--women, children and men! Here are just a small selection, but you can browse her entire store online as well. Stacie is offering all of the attendees a 10% discount on the day of the meetup, so if you need some soap or skincare products, support a vegan-friendly local company! If not, no worries--there's no pressure to buy anything! :)
Recently I got to spend a long weekend in Wisconsin Dells and was lucky enough to hit The Cheese Factory all-vegan restaurant three times while we were there. The Cheese Factory was previously a vegetarian restaurant (with some vegan options) with an emphasis on their old fashioned ice cream parlor offerings. They briefly closed last year (temporarily breaking my heart), but have re-opened as an all-vegan, non-GMO restaurant (making me fall in love all over again). They still have a wide variety of entrees and a delicious selection of bakery, vegan ice cream desserts and fancy coffee drinks. I am so thrilled that they were brave enough to make that change and stand out in a town full of standard American (non-vegan) food.
For our first visit, it was dinnertime and we started off with the hummus appetizer. The hummus was very good and the pita bread was outstanding. I ordered the "Our Daily Flatbread," which was described as "seasoned soy and roasted nut spread with fresh herbs, kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, fresh basil, grilled veggies and balsamic reduction on toasted flatbread." The spread was incredible and the marinated veggies were very flavorful. My boyfriend had the "What a Wiener"...haha...it's a "flame-broiled jumbo frankfurter served on a grilled bun with our home-made sauerkraut, house bbq sauce, house coleslaw and dill pickle." He really enjoyed it. For dessert we tried the Caramel Crunch Cake, "almond coffee cake with vanilla cookie crunch filling and chocolate ganache." I loved this!
We headed back for dinner on our second night there and started with the "Chicken Nuggets" with BBQ sauce. They are exactly what they look like and they had a great flavor and texture. Kids would love these! For his entree, by boyfriend ordered the Asian Medly--"rice noodles, grilled broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, baby corn, onions, kale, bean sprouts, and seasoned tofu tossed in mildly spicy coconut curry sauce, garnished with roasted cashews, coconut and pineapple." It had amazing flavors and he loved it. I ordered the Southwest Platter, which was "layers of organic brown rice, seasoned tofu, chipotle black beans, grilled veggies and red chili sauce served with spinach quesadilla and fresh fruit salsa." In a healthy dish that could have been bland, they really dressed it up with outstanding flavor and the spinach quesadillas were so delicious that even my boyfriend (who hates vegan cheese) loved these. We both ended up taking some home so that we could fit dessert--this time the Cocoa Mousse Cake. Amazing!
Our last trip to The Cheese Factory was for brunch. I ordered the Granola Griddle Cakes, "two organic home-made pancakes filled with home-made granola, served with Earth Balance “butter,” organic agave-maple syrup blend and fruit garnish." I hardly ever order pancakes, but I'm so happy I did! With a little help from my boyfriend, we polished these off! This time, he went for something more unique--The Mushroom Lover's Skillet--"five varieties of locally grown organic mushrooms including portobello, shitakii, porcini, oyster and button all slowly simmered in “sour cream” and burgundy wine sauce. Served with grilled ciabatta bun, sweet potatoes, roasted garlic, roasted red pepper and small salad." Again, the spices and flavors were outstanding on everything. Where else in the area can you get vegan, organic, non-GMO food like this with tons of Gluten-Free options as well? The Cheese Factory makes me want to visit Wisconsin Dells just so I can dine on incredible food! So, if you find yourself out that way, make sure to check them out--they are located in the heart of The Dells!
Recently my boyfriend and I wanted to get out of town for the day, so we headed to Evanston, Illinois--home of Northwestern University--to check out the all-vegetarian Blind Faith Cafe. I had visited once before and enjoyed it, but it had been many years, so I thought it would be worth the hour and a half drive to try again.
We got in town in the late afternoon and planned to walk the area before our 7:30pm reservation. We hit some shops and also had a few beers at Temperance Beer Co. which was Evanston's first craft brewery. After we walked off the beer, we made it back to the restaurant just in time and ready to eat.
The menu at Blind Faith Cafe is about 50% vegan and 100% vegetarian, so the servers are very knowledgeable and can address any ingredient questions you may have.
We decided to start off with a bowl of miso soup, which we intended on sharing, but it was so flavorful we ordered a second bowl! Next up, we really enjoyed the potstickers with orange-shoyu sauce. They were outstanding.
I ordered the Seitan Marsala for my entree. It's described as, "Medallions of homemade seitan sautéed with button mushrooms and onions in sweet Marsala wine, served with roasted squash and sweet potato, green beans, and jasmine rice." The marsala marinade was delicious on the seitan and mushrooms and it worked great with the mashed sweet potatoes and beans. My boyfriend ordered the Black Bean Ginger Tofu described as, "Tofu and julienned vegetables in cilantro, lime-coconut sauce with black beans, fresh ginger and garlic. Served with jasmine rice." The sauce was amazing--we couldn't believe how flavorful this dish was! We shared both dishes and ended up taking some of the black bean dish home and it was great as leftovers too.
I can't pass up a fancy dessert, but we were already getting really full. I figured a brandy poached pair with a red wine reduction was a light choice, right? We finished the whole thing and loved every bit of it!
Blind Faith Cafe also has a bakery on-site and offers many items out front in a display case. At least half of these were vegan, so I had to bring a few things home. We got a blueberry coffeecake muffin (pictured below) and some chocolate cake truffles and even a vegan cornbread muffin. Everything was tasty, but those chocolate cake truffles were pretty insane!
If you find yourself in between Chicago and Milwaukee and you're looking for a delicious and potentially fancy meal, I highly recommend Blind Faith Cafe!
The Ste Martaen Vegan Food Truck from Chicago is visiting Milwaukee on Saturday April 19th. If you haven't tried their food before, now is the time! They accept pre-orders to be sure you get the items you want, then they have several stops across the city to deliver the delicious food!
Submit your order to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put MKE in the subject line. The cut off for orders is 1PM Friday. If no confirmation is received by end of day, resubmit your order.
They accept cash, credit cards or The Level Up. Watch their Facebook or Twitter accounts for updates during the day in case they are running late.
Buffalo Wings $10 (GF) (Nut Free)Vegan chik’n (soy protein) on sugar cane “bone” smothered in fresh made buffalo sauce
Milwaukee Wings $10 (GF) (Nut Free) Maple glazed bbq vegan chik’n (soy protein) wings on a sugar cane “bone”
Soul Veg Specials $8 each
BBQ Twist Sandwich (contains peanuts)
BBQ seitan simmered in barbecue sauce and other spices, twisted, piled high and served on a bun.
Black beans, corn, rice and jalapeno pepper spread
“Rib Tips” Pita $7 (Nut Free)
Vegan BBQ’d “rib tips” (seitan) served on pita with a creamy jalapeno spread
Buffalo Chik’n Pita $7 (Nut Free)
Spicy vegan chik’n (soy protein) served with a creamy dill sauce
(GF) Mac and Cheese $6 (Nut Free)
Mac and Cheese $5 (Nut Free)
Pecan Pie $5
Ste Martaen Cheese $5 each
Olive, Smoked Gouda, Pepper Jack, Muenster & Colby (GF)(Soy Free)
1:30PM – 1:45PM
S Kinnickinnic Ave & S California St
Bay View Milwaukee, WI 53207
2:00PM – 2:15PM
4500 W Wisconsin Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53208
2:30PM – 2:45PM
E Capitol Dr & N Oakland Ave
Shorewood, WI 53211
2:55PM – 3:10PM
2305 N. Prospect Ave
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53211
3:15PM – 3:30PM
1221 E Brady Street
East Side – Brady Milwaukee, WI 53202
3:35PM – 3:50PM
E Center St & N Fratney St
Riverwest Milwaukee, WI 53212
Back in February, my boyfriend and I drove down to Kenosha for the day to check out the new (as of September 2013) all-vegan cafe called Sol D'licious. I never really spent any time in Kenosha, but their website really does a great job of sharing all the fun things you can do there. We just really scraped the surface of potential activities (even for winter), especially since most of our activities were focused on eating and drinking :)
Our first stop was at Sol D'licious for a late lunch. We really saved our appetites because we wanted to try a variety of things. Although they have lots of smoothies and juices, we didn't end up having room for that, but we did get to try an amazing white bean soup and hummus (we dug in before I remembered to take the picture!). I ordered the BBQ seitan sandwich (left) and my boyfriend got the tofu burger. Both of them were very tasty. I also bought some kale chips I thought I was going to save for later, but ended up chomping them all down while we waited for our food. They were really good! To top it all off, we tried the vegan cinnamon roll--it was warm and gooey and delicious!
Everyone who worked there was super-friendly and one of the owners, Dama, stopped by to visit us. She asked how we enjoyed our food and talked a little about her goals for the business. Not only does the location house a cafe, but they also offer massage services, juice fasts and plenty of fitness classes from pilates and yoga to zumba and qi gong. Dama is aiming for success and hopes to open a similar location in the Milwaukee area next year if all goes well!
Next stop--Scoops Ice Cream! Yeah, we really stuffed ourselves on this trip :) Scoops is a cute ice cream parlour and candy store that offers the same brand of vegan ice cream you can find at Babes Ice Cream - it's made in Madison, Wisconsin by the Chocolate Shoppe. Again, I sort of dug in before I took the picture, but this is the Butter Pecan Soy flavor--mmmmm.... They had four different vegan ice cream flavors available, as well as a few vegan sorbets.
After doing a little shopping at the downtown stores, we headed over to a brewery/bar that we saw downtown close to Scoops. It's called Public Craft Brewing Co. They were just opening at the time, so we were the first ones to stop in. I talked to the bartender who said that all of their beers were vegan...yay! I tried the K-Town Brown and the Get-a-Way Wit Bier...both delicious! The bar was really comfortable to hang out at--they had tables and couches and a bunch of games and books. We decided to play a game while we slowly enjoyed our beers.
Before we headed home we briefly stopped at the Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets to check out the Converse store to pick up some new kicks...lots of great deals to be had there. Overall, we had a great time in Kenosha in the coldest days of February, so I think it would be even more fun to visit this summer and enjoy more time outside exploring and visiting the lake front. And, now that we know there's tasty vegan food readily available, that just gives us one more reason to visit!
Dr. Richard Oppenlander will be speaking on Thursday April 17, 2014 at 6:30PM at the SC Johnson Golden Rondelle Theater in Racine, Wisconsin. He will redefine the word "sustainability" and presents the facts,the perspectives and the data on how our food choices impact our water, land and our health. This is a great event for vegans and also those just starting to learn more about how our diet can affect the environment.
Get all the details in the flyer below and make sure to RSVP on as directed at www.scjohnson.com/visit. You can also visit the Facebook event and interact with the event coordinator and others attending the event.
Marty Tribble is a local yoga instructor, life coach, vegan and much more. She writes a fantastic blog called Ahimsa Kitchen with tons of great vegan recipes. She and John Arms have organized a retreat to help new and old vegans expand their plant-based culinary skills.
From Marty:"Are you an established vegan, new vegan, or vegan-curious? Whether you are already on the plant-based foods path or just beginning your exploration, this retreat is for you! Come build your plant-based culinary skills in an accepting, loving, commUNITY oriented atmosphere."
Visit Marty's website for lots of details on all the great things you'll learn about healthy vegan cooking and food preparation.
What's included: Lectures, Q&A, hands-on tutorials & cooking demos, all food supplies and equipment, all meals, gentle yoga for digestion, and lodging Friday and Saturday night.
Cost: $375-$425 per person, depending on when you register
When: Friday April 25 at 5pm through Sunday April 27 at 3pm
Where: Shalom House in West Bend, Wisconsin
Details and Registration: http://www.martytribble.com/midwest.html
Other links for Marty Tribble Yoga:
Recently I sat down with Cassie, owner and creator of a new vegan whole foods dessert company called V.Sweet. We swapped stories and I was reminded of how comforting it is to talk with others who have gone through similar struggles upon discovering the problems with the standard American diet. As a mother and someone who leads a healthy lifestyle, she has struggled with satisfying her (and her family's) sweet tooth without relying on processed sugar or other unhealthy ingredients.
I asked Cassie to sum up her company and she shared the following:
"My mission for V.Sweet is to create a whole food dessert company passionate about creating hand-made, vegan desserts sweetened only by what nature has provided. I take pride in the transparency of our ingredients, business, and intentions. By promising to use only whole foods, organic and local whenever possible, we always cook with love and intention so that you can truly live healthy and eat sweet. I want to serve the health-seeking community of vegans and whole-foodists alike who, like me, want to see more food on our shelves without preservatives and ingredients we can't read."
Although Cassie is in the beginning stages of developing her company, she already has several well-tested products online available for purchase. She shared some Peanut Butter Chocolate Date Balls and Vegan Fudge with me. At first I was a little worried--I had tried a lot of "healthy" desserts in my time and they were never comparable to the "unhealthy" ones in flavor or richness. When I brought them home, I even told my boyfriend (before trying them), "you probably won't like these because they're healthy." WOW. I was totally wrong--everything was incredible!
The date balls tasted like the buck-eye ball cookies my mom used to make--rich chocolate and peanut butter flavors with a great texture. Of course, once I realized how amazing these were I shared them with my boyfriend and another guy friend who wouldn't normally appreciate a "healthy" dessert--they both loved them! These are made with only Medjool dates, raw organic cacao powder and natural peanut butter.
Thrilled with my first taste, I moved on to the vegan fudge. Now, I'm not a huge lover of regular fudge--it's always too rich for me, so again I was a bit hesitant. The ingredients are 100% organic maple syrup, organic brown rice syrup, peanut butter, organic coconut oil, organic raw cacao, bourbon vanilla, and pink himalayan sea salt. These tasted like Reese's peanut butter cups--so flavorful without being overly sweet! My boyfriend loved them too, of course. :)
Cassie is determined to expand her business this year. To get the word out to more people in the best ways possible, she has dedicated herself to this as her full-time job. A few weeks ago, she launched a Kickstarter Project for V.Sweet Dessert Company and encourages everyone to check it out. Make sure to visit soon since the Kickstarter ends on February 21st!
Cassie wanted everyone to know:
"I love the strong, growing vegan community here in the Dairy State and since I am a bootstrapping solo-preneur who has not taken on any partners, I hope you will feel comfortable with my accountability and level of commitment to getting V.Sweet off the ground and continuing to serve the Milwaukee area (and beyond!) for as long as you seek health and still have a sweet tooth:). I pride myself on being open and honest, so please feel free to contact me at email@example.com with any feedback or questions about me, V.Sweet products, or the Kickstarter project and I will get back to you quickly! Thank you!"
If you live in the Milwaukee/Waukesha area and you want to order some of her desserts, you can do so online and have them delivered, or you may be able to arrange for a pick-up/drop-off situation if you contact Cassie directly. Enjoy healthy sweets and support a local business at the same time!!
Rocky Shepheard, creator of The Vegg vegan egg, was kind enough to send me some of the Vegg to try, along with the great cookbook you see here. If you haven't heard of it yet, the Vegg is a powdered, natural product that mimics eggs in both flavor and texture. There is also a baking mix that is slightly different that was created specifically for egg replacement in baking.
The 1.56oz size I received makes the equivalent of 30-40 yolks. This size is available at VeganEssentials.com for $6.99, but you can get the larger 4.5oz size at the Vegg Shop directly for $8.50 and it provides over 99 servings.
I've been working with the standard egg replacement which contains the following ingredients: Fortified nutritional yeast (dry yeast, niacin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, thiamin hydrochloride, folic acid, vitamin B12), sodium alginate, black sea salt, beta carotene. It's a no-fat, no-cholesterol, gluten-free and soy-free option for dishes that work best with either an eggy flavor or that require a binder.
Our first question was "what's sodium alginate?" That was the only ingredient that we weren't familiar with. In fact, to create an actual yolk, one of the the recipe calls for you to add more of this. Well, we looked it up and saw it has been used for indigestion, dental impressions, and even help pull radioactive substances from the body (woah!). But Wikipedia also notes, "In recent years, sodium alginate has been used in molecular gastronomy. Ferran Adrià pioneered the technique, and it has since been used by chefs such as Grant Achatz and Heston Blumenthal. Sodium alginate is combined with calcium lactate or similar compounds to create spheres of liquid surrounded by a thin jelly membrane." Well, there you go--spheres of liquid surrounded by a thin membrane...makes sense. It's totally safe too, by the way, and you can even stock up on Amazon.com.
We made two main recipes so far. The first up: crepes. This is something my boyfriend loved to make, so we were excited to give it a try. I was in charge of prepping the Vegg. You can see the powder in the photo here. This recipe called for 1/4 cup, so I blended 1 teaspoon (I know this photo shows 2tsp, but don't worry, we did it right) with 1/4 cup of water in my mini-blender.
This was actually the trickiest part in both recipes we followed. You are warned not to mix the Vegg by hand--it probably would not be blended enough. So, my mini-blender worked great, but when you're working with such small amounts you really need to make sure you don't have any leftover lumps floating around or stuck to the wall. So, I'd suggest opening the blender once or twice and making sure all the powder was blended in properly.
As you're doing this you will notice the "egg" smell right away...it's a sulfuric smell that comes from the black salt in the mix. The texture is like a whisked egg.
For the crepes, the recipe was fairly simple--blending the Vegg with non-dairy milk, water and flour. The batter stuck together as expected and the crepes themselves were tasty. We sprinkled a little sugar on them and added some fruit preserves. And...had a side of tempeh bacon. They don't look as awesome as the photo in the cookbook, but they were delicious!
Our next recipe was Scrambled Tofu with the Vegg added. This time it called for 2tsp of Vegg powder mixed with 1 cup of water. We did that in the mini-blender again while in the pan we had already sauteed some onions and mushrooms (put aside) and were now cooking the tofu crumbles. I avoided all the other things I normally add into a scramble, such as tahini, soy sauce, and various spices to see what this would taste like on its own. I think all we added was a little garlic salt and pepper at the end.
Here you can see what it looked like right when we poured the Vegg into the scrambled tofu. As we cooked it, the mixture became firmer. At this point you can decide how "wet" you want your scramble and stop when you like the texture. When it was almost ready, we added the mushrooms, onions and chopped tomatoes in. We served them up like breakfast burritos. Although the flavor was good on its own, I always add hot sauce and that made it even better!
Now, my boyfriend is still vegetarian (so he does eat real eggs occasionally) and he has never been a fan of my regular tofu scramble. This, on the other hand, he really enjoyed because it was closer to a real scrambled egg. He said he'd definitely make this again, which is a big step for him :)
We only scratched the surface here with these two recipes. Some other dishes I want to try include the french toast that everyone seems to rave about, quiche, using it to coat veggies before breading and frying, and using it as a binder in a veggie burger (keeping all those tasty ingredients together is a challenge sometimes).
I would definitely recommend the Vegg to all vegans to try at least once. (If you're really put off by the sulfuric egg smell, I might avoid it though.) The cookbook is highly recommended too if you want a great selection of recipes to start your experimentation. If you do a lot of baking, the baking mix would be perfect for an easy substitution for eggs in standard recipes. Overall, I think there are a lot of possibilities here if you used to love the taste eggs or if you're like me and never really cared for them, but like the way they function in food.
Feel free to share your experiences with the Vegg as well!