STOP everything you’re doing with your tofu ASAP

This. post. is. URGENT!

The reason for its urgency? It’s because I recently (as in like 8 months ago, but still, recently) found a new way to prepare my tofu, and I am NEVER going back.

I clearly feel very strong about my new tofu prep method, hence why I very badly need to share it with you guys!

So what’s the deal with how I prepare my tofu? Lemme break it down for you guys.

First things first, I always freeze my tofu. Have you guys ever frozen your tofu before? It creates a WHOLE other texture that, in my opinion, is way more lovely to work with. When you freeze tofu, then defrost it and press it, it has this spongy texture that wasn’t there before. With this spongy texture, the tofu soaks up 100 times more flavors than when it was unfrozen and pretty dense and solid.

In order to freeze tofu, I like to take it out of its container, drain as much liquid from it as possible, then wrap it in tin foil and place in the freezer! One thing that is nice about freezing it is that you can stock your freezer with blocks of frozen tofu. Pretty handy!

Once the tofu is fully frozen (I usually leave it in the freezer overnight) it’s time for it to thaw. I always just throw it in the microwave on a microwave safe plate for 5 minutes, pour the liquid that has melted onto the plate in the sink, and do this 2 more times for a total of 15 minutes in the microwave. (Wondering why I microwave my tofu for so long? It’s because the microwave that my boyfriend and I have in our apartment is ANCIENT. It’s an oldie, but I’ve learned to work with!)

After this, you’ll have a thawed (and very hot!) block of tofu. Now, there’s 2 things you can do next. I used to swear by pressing my thawed tofu for an hour in a tofu press, because it squeezes everrryyyyy last drop of liquid out of it, leaving room for seasoning and flavor, but there is a problem with my old method. From squeezing it like crazy, it creates a super dense, flat piece of tofu. If that’s what you’re going for, then there’s you’re method! But I prefer another way. Instead of pressing it for an hour, after I’ve taken my tofu out of the microwave, I simply press it with my hands between 2 plates over the sink for 10 seconds or so. Just get some of the liquid out, and you’re done. This method leaves the tofu pretty much 3 times thicker than if you pressed it for an hour, and it’s also a lot fluffier and lighter. I prefer it that way!

Alright, now it’s time to reveal my biggest tofu secret…

Are you guys ready?!

……………..

I always marinate my tofu in spiced up veggie broth for at least 24 hours before cooking with it!

Well now that that is off my chest, lemme explain!

One day, I was thinking about how people prepare chicken/other types of meat, and how I can apply that to tofu. (Side note: I never aim to make my food taste like meat, but I do enjoy taking little tid bits of non-vegetarian cooking for inspiration!) I was thinking about the use of broths for marinades, and kinda made a connection that since I’m squeezing all of this liquid out of my tofu, leaving it semi-dry, that there’s all this room for a delicious marinade!

I’m prob not the first person to think of this, but the thought process kind of happened naturally so it feels very much like my own and near and dear to my heart ❤

(I love food, can you tell??)

Marinade wise, clearly homemade veggie broth is always optimal, but store bought absolutely does the trick as well! Whether I’m using homemade or store bought broth, I always add a TON of herbs and spices to zest up the broth a little bit. Fresh or dried basil, dried thyme, lots of pepper, both fresh chopped garlic and garlic powder, and cumin. Whatever your go-to spices and herbs are for your everyday cooking, add them!

When marinating my tofu, I like to slice it a certain way to optimize surface area, while also making cooking with it later a breeze. After I have defrosted my tofu and let the piping hot block cool down a bit, I slice it down the middle on its side, so that I have 2 slabs of tofu that are the same looking size, but half the thickness. Does that make sense? Hard to describe without pictures!

(And while we’re on the topic of blog pics, I was going to provide my strange overly sunny outdoor photos that I usually do my for recipe posts, but this one seemed too instruction-based to photograph. I don’t know, it just felt like I would be taking weird pics of murky looking broth and uncooked tofu, and that they wouldn’t really be necessary!)

Anywho, here’s a lil life changing tip about marinating your tofu: so you know those rectangular white plastic containers that Chinese takeout comes in? They are the PERFECT size for marinating tofu! 2 tofu slabs fit swimmingly in one of those containers, and then you have a nice snap-on-lid for your container after you’ve poured your marinade in.

And that’s pretty much the deal with my tofu prep. I like to let it marinate for at least 24 hours, and then you’re free to cook with it as you’d please! My absolute FAVORITE way to utilize this tofu prep method is to slice the slabs in half diagonally so you have 4 big triangles, batter and bread it with cornflakes, and then deep fry it!  I have plans to post about that tofu recipe, so expect a mildly unhealthy and extremely delicious tofu recipe soon 🙂

This tofu is also amazing raw as it is in salads. It has SUCH an amazing taste from the broth and herbs, and is really juicy and delish. I also love to cut the tofu into strips, dust it with flour, and pan fry it in some olive oil until the outside is super crispy.

So let’s recap. My tofu prep method goes like this:

  1. Freeze it
  2. Defrost it
  3. Press it
  4. Slice it
  5. Marinate it
  6. EAT IT!

Let me know how you guys like my tofu prep method! Have you been doing the same thing all along and we’re actually tofu soul mates?! Let a girl know!

Have a great night everyone and hug a veteran today in honor of Memorial Day! (My dad is a veteran! Hi dad! Thanks for your service!)

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It’s an egg-free world, and we’re all just living in it

Okay maybe the title isn’t tooooo accurate, but a girl can dream!

How’s everyone’s week going? So Wednesday I told you guys why I’m not down with the egg industry and why we shouldn’t eat eggs. Today is a (more fun!) part-2 to that post: what to use for baking/cooking when you’ve decided to give up eggs, aka egg replacers!

Follow Your Heart’s VeganEgg

So first and foremost, I can’t write a post about egg replacers without talking about Follow Your Heart’s VeganEgg!! I feel like the VeganEgg was all I heard about last summer for a month straight from the vegan community, and I wasn’t complaining. This “egg” is a BIG DEAL!

If you don’t know what the “deal” with the VeganEgg is, let me break it down for ya. The VeganEgg is a plant based egg replacer, consisting of mostly algal protein and algal flour. “Algal” means that it is derived from algae, this algae being produced from microalgae found in the Netherlands. The algal ingredients contains healthy lipids, healthy carbs, micronutrients, essential amino acids, and are a great source of dietary fiber. Aka, the VeganEgg can kick a real egg’s butt any day.

Taste wise, I think the VeganEgg is great. It gets it’s eggy taste from black salt, but isn’t tooooo eggy at the same time. My absolute FAVORITE use for the VeganEgg is making French toast, which I just posted about the other week!

When I still ate eggs, I used to be an omelet PRO. I really do mean pro too. I had mastered the art of omelet making, meaning I could flip any omelet no matter how big and stuffed with veggies it was. Luckily, now that the VeganEgg exists, I can use my pre-existing skills to make omelets again. The other day I made the most perfect omelet of my life with the VeganEgg. It contained mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and Miyoko’s Winter Truffle cashew cheese. IT. WAS. LIFE CHANGING.

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It may not look that fancy (I only took this picture to send to my mom and not for blog-purposes), so excuse its “casual-ness,” but lemme tell you, this omelet was superb.

Alright, so let’s move on to some other ingredients and I’ll stop fan-girling over the VeganEgg!

Bananas

Bananas are such a popular egg replacer, and such a delicious and healthy one at that! They are great for replacing eggs in cakes and cookie recipes, because of their binding properties. I’ve found that the general rule of thumb with using bananas to replace eggs is to use 1/2 of a ripe banana for every egg in a recipe.

When I have bananas that are getting a little too brown for my liking, I peel and freeze them and save them for baking and such! The browner the banana, the sweeter and tastier for baking 🙂

Flax Eggs

A “flax egg” is a goopy substance made from flax seeds that works as a fabulous egg replacer. To make a single flax egg, combine 1 TB of ground flax seed with 3 TB of water. Stir, and refrigerate for 15 minutes and your egg is good to go!

We use them at the chocolate shop I work at (Lagusta’s Luscious!) for making candied pecans. Like bananas, they also work well to bind things, hence why they’re great egg replacers! In my opinion, these work best in pancakes because of their nutty taste.

Applesauce

Applesauce is probably my most used ingredient when replacing eggs in cakes. We always seem to have applesauce in the fridge, so it’s a really easy choice. (Also, just throwing this out there: am I the only one who can eat literally a half of gallon of apple sauce in like 10 minutes?! I turn into a monster when it comes to applesauce. It becomes an “eye on the prize” sorta situation with me… Scary stuff.)

Using applesauce as an egg replacer is a piece of cake. Substitute 1/3-1/4 cup of applesauce for each egg, and that is that!

Ener-G Egg replacer

The Ener-G Egg replacer is great for mimicking eggs in baked recipes. It is pretty much flavorless, and all ya do is mix it with water and viola! It is made from potato and tapioca starch, so it gets a check plus in my book for not being super processed and made of chemicals.

Silken Tofu

Silken tofu is SO versatile. I love using it for smoothies, and I even have a delish vegan sour cream recipe that consists of mostly silken tofu. It’s great! Silken tofu is great for baking because it adds a dense-ness to your baked goods, which is why it is best for baking brownies and other dense baked goods. To use it as an egg replacer, substitute 1/4 cup of silken tofu puree for 1 egg.

Soda

This one may sound a little out there, but I hear people swear by it! Using soda to replace eggs is mainly used when making boxed cake mix. Most boxed cake mix is vegan, so mix that with 1 can of soda and that’s all you need to make your cake!

This video has some fun cake and soda ideas, the toppings and such aren’t vegan but I like to use them for inspiration!

Canned Pumpkin or Squash

This one is great for cakes or cookies that can really use a fall-spice to them. All you have to do is substitute 1 egg with 1/4 cup of the puree.

Vegetable Oil

When making cakes, vegetable oil works great with substituting eggs as well. Just add 1/4 cup of vegetable oil!

Vegan Yogurt

Any kind of vegan yogurt works well for replacing eggs, especially in breads and muffins. It makes things super moist and delish, just the way I like my baked goods! You’re probably catching on to the substitutions trend, but I’ll say it anyway: sub 1 egg with 1/4 cup of vegan yogurt!

Here’s a cute lil chart that I love to use as a reference for egg substitutes. Plus, it’s from Vegan Street so that’s always a huge plus 🙂

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The few egg replacers that I posted today are just the tip of the iceberg, and just cover the baking side of the spectrum. When it comes to scrambled eggs/egg salad/pad Thai etc, that’s a whollleeeee other story (which I’d love to get into at a later date!) When so many replacements for eggs exist, we really have no reason to support the cruelty that goes on in the egg industry!

Do you have any other egg replacers that you can’t live without? I’d loooove to hear them, I’m always down to try new substitutions!

Have a lovely night everyone!

To eat or not to eat chicken periods, that is the question

I’m someone who likes to call it like it is. Even if it’s something that I’m originally in favor of, I still want to know the truth, no matter how gross it is. Call it dramatic, I call it not sugar coating something.

So if you couldn’t guess already from the title, this post is about eggs and the egg industry!

I understand the appeal of it all. I used to be an egg fanatic, to the point where it was just gross. For instance, when I first met my boyfriend, I had no clue that he hated eggs. I was vegetarian at the time and once told him that my roommate and I ate a whole carton of eggs in one day, because we had made so many deviled eggs. (Little did I know, he was practically throwing up on the inside because of how gross that was to him!)

My point to that (semi-pointless!) story is that I understand thinking that there’s nothing in the world wrong with the egg industry. It feels good to buy free range eggs and think that you’re doing good because you truly believe that what the carton says is true, that the hens are living on a grassy field and enjoying the sunshine and each other’s company.

So basically, even when I considered myself against the exploitation of animals, I still ate eggs. So all you vegetarians out there, and even just plain omnivores for that matter, I get you.

BUT! After educating myself on the matter of the egg industry, I very quickly realized that I was no longer down with supporting something so inhumane.

When it comes down to it, it’s easy to think that since the egg laying hens don’t die, what’s the big deal? The deal is that instead of having a relatively short life and then being slaughtered, these hens live long(er) lives of absolute torture. Not to mention, once their prime egg-laying years are over, they too are slaughtered for meat just as other animals raised for meat are. The egg industry very much so wants to keep the inhumanity a secret, and make us all think that the mother hens want to lay eggs for us, yadda yadda yadda. Their lives are hell, and it’s all for the sake of human consumption.

Hens are pretty much treated like machines. They go through extremely unnatural procedures to up their production rates, are crammed into as small of a place as possible to save room, and are not treated as living things but more as a product. All the egg industry cares about is production and money, and not the feelings of these poor, beautiful birds.

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To address the title of this post, eggs come from chicken menstruation. Chickens have much faster cycles than human females do. It can take as little as 21 hours for a chicken to produce an egg, but it is still the same concept as a human female getting her period, their eggs are just much larger than a human’s is. It’s kind of funny to me that tampon commercials use blue liquid when demonstrating the strength of their product instead of red liquid because the thought of a woman’s period is so gross to so many people, yet we’re eating chicken periods for breakfast. It’s a crazy world we live in!

Another reason why I am not down with the egg industry is because of the mutilation of the hens that happens. Wanna know something that the egg industry doesn’t want us to know? Hens are “debeaked” at just a few days old, without the use of anesthesia or pain killers.

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What’s debeaking? It is what it sounds like, it is the burning off of the chicks beak. Not only is this extremely painful, but it also causes major health issues for the hens. They are unable to drink and eat half as well as when they had beaks, and leaves them with “acute and chronic pain, leaving the hens with a condition scientists have compared to phantom limb syndrome in amputees.” The reason for the debeaking is to prevent the hens from harming each other (because they live literally on top of each other for their whole lives and, I don’t know, maybe get a little agitated every once in a while) but in reality, it does not stop injuries from occurring.

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Another thing that I don’t particularly love about the egg industry is the disposal of male chicks. Male chicks are considered a “byproduct” in the egg industry, so at just 1 day old they are ground up alive. This happens at all hatcheries, whether it be cage-free, free range, organic, or battery.

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There are so many male chicks that they just don’t know what to do with them. I do not find this to be an excuse, but rather another reason why the egg industry should no longer exist.

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So how many of you guys know what forced molting is? We’ll start with molting, which is the replacement of old feathers with new ones. Chickens naturally do this over the course of a year, usually in the winter. During winter, nature “discourages” hens from laying eggs and instead encourages them to spend their energy keeping warm and growing more feathers. The egg industry takes advantage of this by starving hens for 5-14 days so they go into shock and unnaturally molt. Along with starving them, they are kept in complete darkness the entire time. This, in return, “pumps a few hundred more eggs out of exhausted hens when it is deemed cheaper to “recycle” them rather than immediately slaughter them after a year of relentless egg- laying on a calcium-deficient diet.” Forced molting doubles the mortality rate of hens during this period.

Another unfortunate aspect of the egg industry is the high-usage of of battery cages. A whopping 95% of eggs in the US come from battery caged hens. What is a battery cage? Battery cages are small wire cages where egg laying hens spend their entire lives. They are shoved into these cages with many other hens, and are not even able to move their wings or stand up.

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Can you imagine spending your whole life cramped in between 2 other people, not even being able to stand up or move your arms? I go crazy on 5+ hour flights, and that’s me just sitting in a semi-comfortable airplane seat with the convenience of a flight attendant at the push of a button.

Free range conditions are not much better. “Free range” just means that they are not kept in cages. While this is absolutely a start, don’t get me wrong, the conditions these hens live in are still horrible. They are usually confined to cramped, indoor rooms, never see sunlight, and debeaking, grinding of male chicks, and forced molting absolutely still goes on.

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20,000 hens in one barn still counts as free range. That is crazy! That little fact alone shows how the egg industry purposefully manipulates us with terms like “free range” and “cage free” and wants us to believe that our eggs come from happy hens. No such thing.

Another thing I’d like to throw in there is that the hens are not gorgeous and feathery like we see on egg commercials. They are sometimes balding and look horrifying compared to what a chicken should naturally look like. I like my chickens alive, happy, feathery, and beautiful 🙂

Here’s a short vid of the “life cycle of a battery cage hen.” Weird song choice if you ask me, but it’s def worth a watch!

Eggs are also not as healthy as they are cracked up to be (see what I did there?!) It’s no secret that eggs are packed with cholesterol. Eggs are the single largest source of cholesterol in the American diet.

ALSO! Crazy news here people, consuming an egg a day may shorten your life! Harvard did a study where they followed 20,000 doctors over 20 years and found that “those doctors consuming at least one egg a day had a significantly higher all-cause mortality risk, which essentially suggests that consuming even just one egg a day is significantly associated with a shorter lifespan.” CRAZY TOWN. Who new that an omelet each morning could seriously put a damper on your life span?!

So I recently posted about Toronto Pig Save. TPS has a sister organization for chickens called, you guessed it, Toronto Chicken Save. Along with TCS, United Poultry Concerns is an amazing non-profit that is “dedicated to promoting the respectful treatment of domestic fowl.”  If you feel like you want to start helping out the ever-so-deserving chickens of the world, check out these organizations!

Chickens are gorgeous animals. I love animals. I don’t want them to suffer, especially if it is for my benefit. End of story.

Let’s show mother hens some respect and leave eggs off our our plates from now on. Have a lovely night everyone!! ❤ ❤ ❤

 

A vegan guide to shaving

HEY y’all!

Today while taking a shower, I realized that a lot of the products I use are pretty different than what you would expect to see in your “typical” shower. Specifically my shaving products. Half of them are different because of my vegan cruelty free lifestyle, and half of them are because I prefer to opt for natural products whenever possible. So today I am going to do a little breakdown of essential shaving products for a cruelty free/vegan life!

So, first things first, let’s discuss…

Razors!

As many of you lovely educated people def already know, many razor brands test on animals! While this can be a huge bummer, there are still great razor options out there!

First off, I prefer to use men’s razors. Compared to women’s razors, they usually have more blades per razor head, they get a “closer shave,” and they last longer. Even if the men’s and women’s razors cost the exact same and are made by the same manufacturer, I have found that they usually have more blades than women’s razors. Hence, why I choose to use men’s razors.

So I’m going to share a lil treasured tip of mine that maybe you all know, or maybe I’m about to blow your mind. Rite Aid and CVS brand don’t test on animals! So you know when you’re at Rite Aid or CVS and there are all of those products that do test on animals, like Neutrogena and Clean and Clear, and then the Rite Aid/CVS “knock offs” of the products? Well those “knock offs” are cruelty free!!

I don’t have any hard concrete evidence as to why they don’t test on animals, and yet the other brands do, but here’s my guess: On all of the “knock off” products, they all say “this product can be compared to bla bla bla but is not affiliated with the brand bla bla bla.” My guess is that since they are just straight up taking the formula used to make that product to make their own, they don’t need to test on animals because the ingredients clearly are good to go for human use already. If you know any actual info on this, PLEASE fill me in because I would love to know if my theory is correct!

How great is that though? Products that are cheaper and cruelty free with the exact same formula as the name-brand products?  I’ll take it!

So my go to razor is a CVS/Rite Aid brand men’s razor. Simple enough, easy to find wherever I am, and pretty cheap too!

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On to…

Shaving cream!

While I don’t use shaving cream anymore (more on that in a sec!) I used to use Pure Silk shaving cream, which is cruelty free and also super cheap. I also never had a problem finding this shaving cream in stores, so it’s convenient to find when shopping which is always a huge plus. Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 3.06.55 PM.png

I know Alba Botanica and Kiss My Face make shaving cream as well, so if you’re a shaving cream kinda gal, those are worth looking in to!

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I personally don’t love shaving cream because it can be harsh on your skin and contain a crazy amount of chemicals. I always feel like my legs are super dry after I shave with shaving cream, and I really think it’s because the chemicals in the cream are drying my skin out! Not a fan of having dry skin, so I prefer to use…

Shaving oil!

My go-to shaving oil is just some good ole extra virgin olive oil. It keeps my skin SOOO smooth, and is really thick and luscious so it does its job well. Olive oil is also a natural lubricant, so you cut yourself waaaay less when using olive oil than when using shaving creams. I keep a little tupperware container of olive oil in my shower at all times and fill it up when it empties.

One thing that I love about using olive oil for shaving is that I never have the added cost of shaving cream on my Rite Aid/CVS bills! My boyfriend and I have a HUGE jug of olive oil in our kitchen that has lasted us forever and seems to be bottomless, so whenever I run out of olive oil in the shower, I refill my little tupperware and am good to go! Cheap, and works SO MUCH better than shaving cream.

So a couple years ago when I became obsessed with coconut oil (along with everyone and their mother,) I really wanted coconut oil to work as a shaving cream for me. The smell is to. die. for. and it has so many amazing health benefits when applying it to your skin. Unfortunately for me, coconut oil does not work well on my legs. No clue why, I can use it just fine on my hands and face as a moisturizer just fine, but on my legs? Something just isn’t right. I always get horrible razor burn on my legs when I shave with coconut oil, and the bumps are super painful and last for days. I am CLUELESS as to why my legs want nothing to do with coconut oil, yet my dry hands practically crave it.

ANYWAY though, I know that some people swear by coconut oil for shaving, so don’t knock it until you try it! Coconut oil also has natural antiperspirant properties to it, so if you shave your armpits with it, it’s pretty much like shaving with a super creamy and smooth deodorant. Win/win!

I have also heard that shaving with avocado oil is a real dream, but I have never had the pleasure of using it as a shaving oil. Try it out if you have it at home though!

My favorite reason to use oil as opposed to shaving cream is that it leaves your skin SO smooth after shaving. A perfect amount of oil is left behind after shaving, and you’re practically already moisturized after hopping out of the shower!

Razor burn cures!

As I mentioned above, I sometimes get bumps on my legs after shaving (especially after using coconut oil!) I swear by using Rosebud Salve to get rid of razor burn. I think it may have something to do with the moisture trapping properties of the Rosebud Salve, but it works like MAGIC.

Along with Rosebud Salve, tea tree oil is also great for making razor burn disappear. It’s also super effective for fighting pimples yet gentle enough to use on your face (I loooooove tea tree oil!)

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Some people also say that coconut oil works to get rid of razor burn, which is funny because that is the cause of my razor burn. Again, def try it and don’t let me deter you from using it!

So that’s about it for my vegan guide to shaving. Did I miss anything? What are your can’t-live-without vegan shaving products?!

On another note, who’s excited for the premiere of The Bachelorette tonight?!?!?! I am SO EXCITED because I LOVE JOJO!

A little fun fact about me that you guys def didn’t know, I recently became obsessed with The Bachelor franchise! So obsessed that I watched 13 seasons of it in just one year…! While I could be ashamed of this, I am just not. We all have our awful guilty pleasures, and the bachelor is my number 1 and I chose to own this “flaw” of mine.

(Did that confession make you guys want to stop reading my blog…?)

Either way, enjoy these shaving tips and have a lovely day everyone!

 

Dry shampoo: one of the many loves of my life

Cue the All American Rejects because I have a dirty little secret…

I only wash my hair once a week!

(Sorry if that was super cheezy, I couldn’t help myself!)

Anywho, how do I manage to only wash my hair once a week yet keep it looking super clean and not all gross and oily? My secret is my favorite dry shampoo brand, Batiste! (Actually it’s probably not so much a secret, I feel like everyone and their mother is using dry shampoo nowadays but for now, we’ll call it my “secret”)

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For anyone who doesn’t know what dry shampoo is, it’s basically a powdery-spray that you spray on your roots to soak up oil. It kinda speaks for itself, it’s a shampoo that doesn’t need water! It works SO quickly and always leaves my hair looking cleaner and fresher than the day after I shampoo it, it’s crazy!

Batiste dry shampoo is just perfect in every way. They offer a bunch of different scents, all of which smell great. It sprays on the perfect amount of dry shampoo and soaks up all the oil ASAP. It’s also not too expensive, I believe I pay like $8 at CVS for a can of it, so it’s nice to not have to empty my wallet every time I want to buy it. I wouldn’t change a thing about it!

Now let me tell you, I have tried a LOT of dry shampoos, and some of them suck. Some of them even leave your hair looking dirtier than when you first started! After trying many, many, manyyyy different types of dry shampoo, I stumbled across this one and never looked back.

When looking for a new dry shampoo, the main reason I decided to take a chance on this one is because it is cruelty free and certified vegan. It was love at first “scan” when I scanned this dry shampoo with my Cruelty-Cutter app and saw that it wasn’t tested on animals ❤ ❤ ❤

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Oh, and what’s that cute mint green brush next to my dry shampoo? It’s just The Wet Brush. I used to stay away from brushes because of how damaging they can be to your hair. Before the wet brush, I think it had been like 8 years since I had actually brushed my hair with a brush. I was strictly a comb girl because brushes tend to rip out my hair like crazy.

Then one day, I was reading one of my favorite blogs (The Skinny Confidential!) and saw this brush in one of the posts. Lauryn, the owner of the blog, swears by it and says it’s super delicate on your hair, so I read a bunch of reviews which all happened to be amazing, then ordered one for myself. The bristles are soooo gentle on your hair that barely any hair gets ripped out even on your knottiest days! It’s also only like 10 bucks so it’s a total win/win.

See how clean it is?

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That’s because it doesn’t yank out half of your hair every time you use it!

Back to the dry shampoo, though! Every since I started my washing my hair once a week/using dry shampoo ritual, my hair has gotten soooo much healthier. Specifically my ends! By the end of the week, my roots are looking cleaner than ever, and my ends have had a week of moisture from my hair’s natural oils. Since washing your hair everyday strips it of its natural oils, my hair stays soft and silky throughout the week which is so nice compared to having straw-like hair!

So sometimes, I like to deep condition my hair with coconut oil (who doesn’t!) For my hair, coconut oil can sometimes be super stubborn to get out. Sometimes, I’ll think I washed all of the coconut oil out of my hair, but as my hair is drying after my shower, I start to notice that I didn’t get all of the oil out which can end up looking like a greasy mess. Instead of re-washing my hair (which ain’t good for it!) I just use dry shampoo on the roots. This way, my ends are nice and shiny and soft all week and my roots are as clean as can be!

I never travel without my dry shampoo, because it is so imperative for my hair care routine! It’s so easy to use and leaves me with cleaner, more voluminous hair. What’s not to love! I can’t stress enough though how great this brand of dry shampoo is, and how awful some other brands can be. If you’re a dry shampoo newbie, def save yourself a load of trouble and just skip to this one!

How often do you guys wash your hair? Are you well versed in the dry shampoo world or is this all news to you? I’d love to hear about your hair-care routines, and your fav cruelty free and vegan products!

Happy Friday everyone 🙂

Betty White: a godsend to both humans and animals

If there is one thing that the world can agree on, it has to be the fact that we all LOVE Betty White. Who doesn’t love that amazing powerhouse of a woman?! While we all adore her for her wittiness and precious charm, there is another huge reason why she should be appreciated, and that reason is her animal rights activism! Today I want to tell you guys why Betty White is the bomb when it comes to what she has done for animals.

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Betty White is currently 94, yet she’s living life better than 99% of the rest of us. That woman is just straight up hilarious and soooo carefree. Along with her loveable humor, she always seems effortlessly happy, and I think that is such a beautiful quality to have.

She has been a vegetarian for over 30 years, and she now considers herself vegan. It’s prettyyyyy easy to be vegetarian now a days, but 30 years back? It seems like a whole other time when Gardein and Field Roast products were not a 5 minute drive away at the local grocery store, let alone even existed as brands.

In the early 1970’s, Betty produced and hosted the series “The Pet Set” which focused on celebrities and their animals. While the show was lighthearted and fun, she always managed to work in some information on how the audience could help out with a current animal rights issue. In my opinion, this seems to be the best way to inform people whom usually would not be interested otherwise. Here is a clip of one of the episodes of the show below! It is soooo adorable, just like our Betty ❤

One thing that intrigues people is how Betty manages to stay so young. She has “credited her youthful complexion to giving up red meat” which I think is a really awesome way to spread the fact that meat isn’t actually that good for us after all.

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“I do have more in common with animal people. I find myself disappointed with those who are not interested in animals, they lack a certain warmth and tend to me a little self centered. Animal people have a certain empathy – this isn’t just me talking now. Research has shown this to be true.”

Betty has sat on the “board of directors for ‘The Morris Animal Foundation’ for more than 25 years” which is a nonprofit that funds research studies of the overall protection of animals. When speaking about her role on the board, Betty said “It won’t come as any surprise that I love animals deeply and dearly.” What a lovely little lady!

She has sponsored more than 30 studies through MAF, and her sponsorship has helped lead to the discovery of information on postsurgical pain management for dogs, cats and horses, bone cancer in dogs, congestive heart failure in dogs and preventing blood clots in cats with heart disease, and many more ground-breaking discoveries. She has also “increased legal protection for sea otters in California and the establishment of a research program focused on reducing sea otter mortality” and established the “Betty White Wildlife Fund, which provides wildlife researchers timely monetary aid to respond to unexpected events.”

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BTW, just a random thought on the Bettster, does anyone else think that she should have played the old woman version of Rose in Titanic? Totally feel like she would have been a spectacular fit…

Anyway! Betty supports the Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM, whom I am traveling with this summer on the 10 Billion Lives Tour! More on that later though 🙂 ) and Friends of Animals. Betty even started a campaign called “Betty’s Bucks for Balls” to promote spaying and neutering your pets to stop pet overpopulation. What hasn’t this wonder woman done?! Seriously though, these are just her animal rights accomplishments. She has also had a wildly successful acting career, how did she fit all of this into her life?!

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I could go on for pages about her accomplishments in the animal rights world, but I will refrain. I will leave you all with this sweet quote from the woman herself: “If you’re come in from a bad day and you just have the touch of an animal…it just kind of calms everything down. They are wonderful caretakers.”

Go hug your dog and have a great night everyone! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

French toast+VeganEgg=Breakfast perfection

Hey guys!

Who here has had Follow Your Heart’s VeganEgg? For anyone who doesn’t know what the VeganEgg is, it is a plant based egg replacer made by Follow Your Heart. I love it for all different types of recipes, but my favorite use for it is by far for French toast.

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Before you start to think “if it doesn’t have egg in it, then what is it?!” let me tell you! The VeganEgg has whole algal flour, whole algal protein, modified cellulose, cellulose, gellan gum, calcium lactate (plant source), carrageenan, nutritional yeast, and black salt. It is also certified vegan, gluten free, soy free, cholesterol free, and Kosher. So basically it’s a cruelty free, healthier version of an egg. Three cheers for the VeganEgg!!

I never used to love French Toast before I was vegan. No clue why, I just never really got into it. It’s kinda funny that my love for French toast developed when I was vegan, and I have the VeganEgg to thank for that!

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So let’s get to it, I present to you my VeganEgg French Toast Recipe!

1 VeganEgg
1/3 C soy, almond, or coconut milk
2 T maple syrup
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t vanilla
2-4 slices Italian Bread
Vegan butter, or any other type of oil for your pan

Follow the instructions on the VeganEgg packaging (2 T VeganEgg mix per 1/2 C ice water) and set aside prepared VeganEgg. Mix the soy milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla together in a bowl, then add VeganEgg to the mix and whisk. Soak your Italian bread in the egg-batter mixture for a couple of minutes until the bread is nice and saturated, but not toooooo saturated that it is falling apart. I like to do the bread soaking on a dish, and flip the slices of bread every minute or so to ensure even coverage.

Melt vegan butter in a pan on medium heat. When your butter has melted, place your saturated pieces of bread on the pan. Let them cook on each side for about 5-7 minutes each, or until the outside looks nice and crispy. I like to use the slow and steady approach with this recipe. Cooking the French toast slowly on medium heat ensures that the middle is nice and cooked as well, as well as the outside getting nice and crispy. If you cook it too hot and too fast, the outside will burn and the inside will still be all soggy and wet.

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So, a couple of notes about this recipe. I prefer to use Italian bread for this French toast, rather than regular loaf bread or specialty French toast bread. Something about it just comes out tasting like a delicious cinnamon cake, where as loaf bread isn’t as exciting. And who doesn’t want their French toast to be exciting?!

Another little tid bit, you will have extra egg mixture if you only make 2 slices. I like to save the egg batter for another breakfast, and then when I do decide to use it, making the French toast is that much quicker and easier.

ALSO! If you are wondering why I have maple syrup in my recipe, it’s so it makes the French toast crispy and caramelized on the outside. It also tastes a tiny bit like marshmallows when you burn the outside, because the sugar in the maple syrup is burning and getting all delicious!

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If you haven’t ever come across the VeganEgg in your shopping travels, you can order it from Amazon or any of the shops listed on the Follow Your Heart VeganEgg page. Trust me, you will be happy you made the purchase.

Plus, a carton of the VeganEgg (which is equivalent to a dozen eggs) costs about the same as cage-free eggs. And we all know how “cage-free” is a bunch of crap just used to make us consumers not feel guilty about the treatment of the mother hens! I’ll save that for another post though…

So I hope you guys enjoy this recipe and let me know if you think I should add anything to it! I always love feedback 🙂

Goodnight y’all! ❤

 

Save a cow, wear a pineapple!

So, EXCITING NEWS!

There is a new vegan fashion label on the market called Piñatex, and they have thought of the coolest new way to make faux-leather.

Instead of using a cow skin, Piñatex uses…

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Pineapples!

Okay, not the juicy yellow part, but their tough green leaves!

Piñatex began after founder Carmen Hijosa visited the Philippines and saw how horrible leather tanneries are. After getting a sneak-peak into the leather industry, she decided that she wanted to created a more sustainable and cruelty free alternative, using pineapples!

Sounds crazy? It just may be, but it works! “The key is processing the pineapple leaves in such a way where the fibers can be transformed into different textiles mimicking the most desired fashions.”

Besides being cruelty free (ya know, not requiring cows to be skinned and all..) they are also extremely eco-friendly, biodegradable, and are dedicated to the local labor force. Piñatex aims to “develop new textiles using natural fibres, which are the by-product of the pineapple harvest, thus no extra land, water, fertilisers or chemicals are utilised in its production.”

How amazing! I can get down with that!

So currently, Piñatex is more of a material than it is an accessory brand. While there are a few products made by other companies of this leather and also some prototypes, this isn’t the type of brand where you order bags directly from their website. Maybe they’re aiming to do so for the future, but as of now they are more of a material-based website than they are a product one.

Speaking of prototypes, here are some gorgeous looking bags and shoes below that are made of Piñatex.

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I LOVE the off-white cream color. Very fabulous if I do say so myself.

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There are even prototypes of car seats made out of Piñatex! That has always been a concern of mine, car wise. Not that I am at all in the position to be buying new cars (HA!) but I always thought that it would kinda suck to fall in love with a car, only to realize that its interior is made of cow.

While I love that this product is eco-friendly, the main reason I love it so much is that it is a cruelty-free alternative to leather.

Who here has seen Earthings? Narrated by Joaquin Pheonix, it has a superb section dedicated to the horrors of the leather industry. Before watching Earthlings, I never knew toooo much about the leather industry. I don’t know why, I never would buy leather but I also never educated myself on the subject. For instance, I had no clue that a different type of cow is used for leather.

One thing that really bothers me about the leather industry is the treatment of the cows during transportation. (Just to make one thing clear, the treatment of the cows during the WHOLE process is awful, not just during transportation!) So a lot of leather comes from India, where there are laws against slaughtering cows. In order to legally kill the cows, they have to be transported to ground where killing cows is legal, and they do this by foot.

During transportation, “workers routinely break cows’ tails and rub chili peppers and tobacco into their eyes in order to force them to get up and keep walking after they collapse from exhaustion on the way to the slaughterhouse.” While I have no clue how someone could kill an animal, I am even more clueless as to how someone could torture an animal like this. With killing, at least the animal’s misery will be over soon, ya know? But rubbing things into their eyes and breaking their tails? Repulsive.

Once they have made it to the slaughter house, conditions are still just as disgusting. “If they make it there alive, workers bind together cows’ legs and slit their throats — all while they’re still conscious. Cows are sometimes still alive and kicking as their skin is ripped off their bodies.

I still am dumbfounded as to how anyone could do this to an animal. Plus, cows are such sentient beings. “According to research, cows are very intelligent animals who can remember things for a long time. Animal behaviorists have found that cows interact in socially complex ways, developing friendships over time and sometimes holding grudges against other cows who treat them badly.” If that’s not proof that we should not be treating these gorgeous animals in such horrible ways, then I don’t know what is.

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I’m sorry but no fashion accessory is EVER worth this type of torture. Especially when so many gorgeous faux-leather options exist!! Which is why I am so happy that Piñatex is making such huge strides in the cruelty free fashion department!

I am ALL for vegan fashion, but when it’s also super nice quality and really really cool looking, then you can absolutely count me in. I am reallyyyyy looking forward some fabulous shoes and purses made by the lovely and ever-so-progressive Piñatex ❤

Have a good night everyone!

 

 

 

Nothing’s sweet about cow bone char

Helloooo everyone!

Weird title, right?? Well today’s post is a weird one as well!

So today’s topic is one that may surprise you guys, or maybe you all already know what I’m about to say and this post is pointless..? Either way…

Did you guys know that non-organic sugar isn’t technically vegan?

Let me break it down for you: non-organic sugar doesn’t contain any animal products, so technically its contents are vegan. But here’s where it gets tricky.

While its contents are vegan, non-organic sugar “is processed with animal bone char,” the bone char usually being “derived from cow bones.”

If you’re cool with your sugar being processed with bone char, then by all means do you, but for me, I’m not tooooo happy eating something that had to be processed with an animal’s body part.

But that’s just me.

There is good news though!!! Organic raw and/or natural sugar is not processed through cow bone char so it is considered vegan!

And even better news, organic sugar is SUPER PRETTY! Seriously though. Organic sugar is SO sparkly, and kinda champagne colored. I had always known that regular non-organic sugar isn’t vegan, but didn’t really have this fully enforced until I started working at a vegan chocolate shop (Lagusta’s Luscious!!) When I first started working at Lagusta’s, I thought that she had some special beautiful sugar because it is SUCH a pretty hue of off-white. LOL. Nope, just some good ole organic sugar!

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See? Very sparkly and champagne-like. Plus, in my opinion it tastes better, and other people agree as well. “Pure sucrose, or white sugar, is bland—other than being sweet, it doesn’t really have much flavor at all. Evaporated cane juice and other less refined sugars have a warmer, richer flavor profile that a lot of people enjoy.”

While there is no nutritional difference, I still prefer to opt for the cruelty-free route.

Plus, you can almost always find it where non-organic sugar is sold, so the convenience factor is there as well.

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How do you guys feel about this? I’m someone who likes to use organic sugar in the kitchen, but when I’m out at a restaurant eating a vegan sweet, I don’t ask if their sugar is vegan or not. For me, it’s not the most important thing. I’m way more concerned if what I’m eating contains dairy, eggs, etc. How about you guys, do you ask if the sugar used is also vegan, or do you let it fly?

It’s pretty crazy the things that us humans use animal’s bodies for. Sometimes it can feel discouraging, almost as if everything we’re doing harms animals in some way and it’s super hard to avoid it. But, slowly but surely things are changing! Don’t believe me? Last year at the Animal Rights National Conference the closing plenary focused on how the vegan movement is slowly paving the path for a humane future, and that “we’re winning.” It was so SO SO inspiring and I’m pretty sure I cried out of happiness at one point hahaha. I’ll leave you guys with 2 clips of the speakers from the closing plenary below, get ready for MAJOR goosebumps and a feeling of wanting to change the world right here, right now:

Have a nice day everyone! 🙂

 

My “you need to make this ASAP” coconut curry simmer sauce recipe

Emphasis on the ASAP.

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So the other night my boyfriend, Jon, and I decided we wanted to try and recreate our favorite coconut curry sauce from a Thai restaurant near our apartment. I always get this one dish called “coconut curry tofu” and the sauce is just so perfect that I always assumed there was no point to even try and recreate it. Well, I’m glad we were feeling ambitious the other night because not only did we successfully recreate it, but we created something WAY better. I don’t know what it is about our sauce, and I honestly don’t think I’m biased, I just like it waaaay better.

So let’s get to it!

Coconut curry sauce

1 can (about 2 cups) coconut milk
3 T curry powder
3 T coconut oil
3 T soy sauce
1 T maple syrup
3 t sugar
2 t minced garlic
1-2 t crushed red pepper flakes, depending on how spicy you like it
1/4 C chopped basil or cilantro, whichever herb you prefer more

Like all of the recipes I post on here, this sauce is super simple to make. Except for the basil/cilantro, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. When the sauce has thickened up enough, add the chopped basil/cilantro and you’re done!

Sometimes, cilantro is ALL I want on dishes like this. Other times, basil does the trick so I guess it’s just whatever you’re in the mood for! Which do you guys prefer?

I call this sauce a “simmer sauce” because I love to let whatever I’m serving it with simmer in the sauce for 15 minutes or so, to cook more and soak up all of the flavors.

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So for this particular dish, I paired this sauce with tofu and potatoes, and served that over rice. For my tofu, I love to freeze it, defrost it, press it, and then cook it as I usually would. Freezing tofu gives it such a nice texture, and soaks up 100 times more flavor than it would usually. For preparing the potatoes, I like to skin them, nuke them in the microwave until they’re cooked, dice them up into bite sized pieces, then pan fry them for a few minutes to get them just a little bit crispy. After my tofu and potatoes are all prepared, I put them in the sauce and let them simmer for about 15 minutes.

You can use this sauce for anything though! You can serve it with any veggies over rice, you can even get multi-cultural with it and use it as a sauce for a ramen and veggie stir-fry. It’s up to you!

As for the coconut milk, I have made this sauce both with canned coconut milk and boxed (is that the right word? lol) Silk brand coconut milk. Both work great! If you want a low-fat option, go with Silk (or any other brand!) coconut milk, and if you want a thicker sauce, definitely opt for full-fat canned coconut milk.

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My apologies that the sauce starts to look a little cold/matte by the end of the photos. The reason for this? My dog Astro was outside with me being cute as EVER so I played with him for a half hour then realized that I was outside to take pictures, and that I had spent the majority of my free time playing with my dog. Story of my LIFE.

ALSO I have no clue why 2/3 of my photos make the sauce look super brown. Maybe it was the angle? Eh, I’m clearly no professional photographer so what are ya gonna do. The color is more true to the first photo though, just an FYI!

Let me know if you think this sauce could use any extra ingredients, I always love tweaking recipes! Have a lovely night everyone!