Archive for February, 2012

Chaining Myself To The Mercy For Animals Stage

The four speakers I am most looking forward to at this year’s NYC Vegetarian Food Festival are all appearing on the Mercy For Animals Stage on Saturday.

  • Brendan Brazier 12-1pm
  • Dr. Michael Greger 2-3pm
  • Matt Frazier (No Meat Athlete) 3-3:45pm
  • Ashley Byrne (PETA) 4-4:45pm

Vegan triathlete, Brendan Brazier, the force behind Vega, will likely be a big draw. One of the, if not thee, most notable faces (and bodies) on pro-vegan athleticism, Brazier’s advice on training is highly sought-after. Not really sure how the speaker series will be run, but I’m hoping to get there early just to make sure I’m in the room for his talk.


Catching up on the Our Hen House podcast, I recently listened to the ladies interview Dr. Greger. A leading physician on plant-based nutrition, you can watch his exhaustive video library on pretty much everything you every wanted to know about food but never knew who/how to ask at Nutrition


Matt Frazier is bringing together a community of vegetarian and vegan athletes proud to “Run on Plants” with his site No Meat Athlete. On the surface, the site is aimed at runners but it’s such a huge resource that can be utilized by all veg*n athletes.


Ashley Byrne is a Senior Campaign Organizer for PETA. Again, the ladies at OHH are a big reason I’m looking forward to hearing Ashley speak. I’ve never considered myself an activist, but their everyday activism, use the talents you have, message has drawn me in and made me more curious about other outreach efforts/tactics.

Crunch On These Babies

I’ve been meaning to share one of my newest favorite products and yesterday I got a new impetus. While I was doing my laundry, I finally got around to clipping the coupons of Whole Foods’ January/February circular. The coupons don’t expire until March 31, 2012; so if you can still get it, be sure to clip the coupon for $1 off one box of CLIF Crunch Granola Bars.

I initially picked up a box of the White Chocolate Macadamia flavor for something like $3.00 at a Walmart visiting my hometown. Whole Foods will probably be more expensive than Walmart, even with the coupon, but take savings where you can get them.

Those babies were amazing! They’re obviously more fragile than a regular CLIF Bar because they’re crumbly, but they taste so good. According to the company’s website, on their Pick & Choose Em’ page, three of their CLIF Crunch varieties are vegan.

I’ve now also tried the Blueberry Crisp and it’s a very close second. If you’re looking for a tasty snack, whether you’re a CLIF bar fan yet or not, give their Crunch bars a try!

Take Two a Day And See Me At the Festival

Here’s a list of 12 vendors/organizations I am looking forward to most at the 2012 NYC Vegetarian Food Festival:

Chicago Soy Dairy – Had their Teese last year but can’t find it anywhere locally.

Saratoga Peanut Butter Company – I hope they bring their Gingerbread variety.

Bixby Co – Just so curious; I want to try a Bixby bar.

Vegan Bodega – First of its kind in NYC; picked me up some Vegan Queso at the Valentine’s Shop Up a couple weekends ago and I want to see what other goodies they’re gonna stock.

Herbivore Clothing – If I could get a “My body is not a graveyard” sweatshirt, that would be very cool.

Vaute Couture – Leanne has donated one of her beautiful coats to the festival’s raffle(s) to benefit For the Animals Sanctuary. Her coats and tees are loved by celebrities like Emily Deschanel, Alicia Silverstone, and Ginnifer Goodwin. Vaute Couture will only be at the festival on Saturday because the flagship store is opening in Brooklyn on Sunday. Congratulations, Leanne! I’m hoping the “Let’s Widen the Circle” tank will be available in my size at the festival. If not, I’ll be sure to pop by 234 Grand Street in Brooklyn!

Common Ground Center (Vermont) – Jim and Carole were so sweet when I met them at the Green Holiday Festival; hope to see them again!

Mercy For Animals – Picked up one of my most favorite tees at last year’s festival and got the chance to chat with Eddie, who is always wonderful. I’ll never be able to watch one of their videos, though.

Compassion Over Killing – They rock it co-organizing the D.C. VegFest and tirelessly working for animals. Hoping to finally meet Erica Meier and Katie Shamp.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society – On the seas, this society’s efforts are documented in the Emmy-nominated reality series Whale Wars. On shore volunteers are integral to the society’s efforts. Be sure to chat with them to find out more.

CLLCTV – With Dan Mims (The Ethical Man) and Megan Rascal ( on staff, I’m curious to find out more.

Vegan Cuts – Partnering with companies to bring you deals on vegan products.

Liebster Me This, Liebster You Back

Gearing up for the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival has been hectic (sites don’t really update themselves, you know), but when a super blogger like Play With My Food Liebster’s you, you have to act. That Jake over there, volleyed some really nice words at me, and they’re all true. (J/K. LOL!)

So what is a Liebster Blog Award? Liebster is German and translates into English as “dearest” or “favorite”. It’s a peer recognition award for bloggers who have less than 200 followers.

Jake was one of the first people to comment on my blog and I have nothing but high praise for Play With My Food. His blog actually embodies what I see as a great blog: eye-catching pictures, a unique voice/theme, and a window into others’ lives/kitchens. I mean, he let his readers get a glimpse at his vegan wedding! How great is that?

From the looks of things, the blogs below make the cut. The Liebsters go to…

Big Mike’s Eats. All Vegan, All Tasty, All The Time
Micah’s blog is a friendly affair. Alongside the amazing pics of Cream Cheese Wontons, Haggis, and Juicy Lucy Burgers, you’re likely to see his friends/family lending a hand and taste testing.
A Tablespoon Of Liz
Liz is such a little cutie pie with her rainbow sunshades! Her personality comes across in every aspect of her blog, right down to the yellow wallpaper. From veganizing Slutty Brownies, to making Kombucha, to her no-fun, holiday stint in the hospital is a dose of goodness.
Bacon is NOT an Herb
From recipes like Heart-y Tomato Soup and Award-Winning Vegan Chili to numerous restaurant reviews, this blog makes it look easy to be vegetarian/vegan in Central PA (aka middle-of-nowhere, which I think I can say cause I’m from small town PA.)
How to participate:

-Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.

-Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you.

-Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.

-Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed. (Some say just 3 or more blogs of less than 200 followers each)

-Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment at their blog.

Momma’s Jelly Meatballs…Veganized!

Since I was a little girl, my mother has been making Jelly Meatballs. When we saw the yellow slow cooker we knew. (And I say yellow not like yellowed, old, gross; like that 70’s yellow from when that yellow was cool…it probably complimented an olive fridge somewhere, lost to time.)

They were a real treat for us. I haven’t the slightest clue where my mother heard of this from. I don’t miss too much because the good out weighs. They were one of the things I missed about being veg. A delicious vegan variation can be achieved, with the same great taste and no guilt…okay maybe a little guilt cause too many Jelly Meatballs and you might just turn into one.

If you’re making a large batch, my momma says one jar apple jelly to two jars chili sauce. She would always slow cook the meatballs in the sauce for something like 12 hours. Non-meat substitutes won’t take that long to cook through, but I still recommend letting the meatless meatballs simmer in the sauce to take in its’ flavor.

For mine, above, I used Nate’s Meatless Meatballs. My mother used to roll very small meatballs. If you’re okay with eggs, you can use Veggie Patch’s Meatless Meatballs, which are smaller than Nate’s. If you want small vegan meatballs, you can roll your own using Lightlife’s Gimme Lean Beef; especially good if you’re slow cooking. If you are, ‘forget frozen,’ you could try recipes like those from Whole Foods, the Post Punk Kitchen, and Back To Her Roots.

My mom always used Apple Jelly, but I’ve been searching for months and just couldn’t fine a jar of it. So I actually used apricot spread, which still gave it the sweetness and thickness of the apple jelly. Ours were also always served over white rice; but, alas, all I had was Brown and Wild Rice.

If you’re flying solo, like me, and want a small portion of something different:

  • Mix 1/4 bottle of Chili Sauce (any brand; I used Walmart’s) and 2 tablespoons apple jelly (or apricot spread) together in a bowl.
  • Heat up a serving of Meatless Meatballs (time varies).
  • Heat the sauce for 45 secs, then pour over the meatballs.
  • Let sit for 15 minutes.
  • Heat a single serving of rice (I get the Ready To Serve cups of Minute Rice).
  • Reheat the Meatballs with Sauce for 30-60sec.
  • Pour over the rice and serve.

Simple, easy, tasty.

This Box of Chocolates Is Like Life

This box of chocolates cost $12. Despite what my sister might say, this box was worth $12. You’d spend nearly $2 a piece if you were buying from Godiva; there were 10 or 12 in here, depending upon how you look at it. More than that, though, this box of chocolates came with the feeling of finding the toy in the cereal box. The PB cups and Cookies and Cream Hearts were pretty much why I bought this while visiting Vegan Treats Bakery in Bethlehem this past weekend. Interestingly, they weren’t my favorite pieces. The Coconut was a favorite, really creamy. I was totally surprised, though, when I bit into one of the centerpieces thinking it was just a chocolate covered pretzel, only to find it was a vegan Twix! I was giddy and it was so good. Must try.

No Dice for Vegan Cheesesteaks

Surprisingly, while I had many, many, many animal-based cheese steak sandwiches in my youth, growing up near the city most known for them, I haven’t really partaken in the veggie variety over these last 9+ years.

Recently, I decided to see what was available, posing as Philly-style in NYC. I ordered a Philly Cheese Steak at FoodSwings in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I’m not sure if whomever thought it up had ever even seen the traditional version of the sandwich. It should be renamed Brooklyn Cheesesteak or anything else cause this sandwich, with its chunks of mock meat, ain’t nothin’ I’d ever seen in the City of Brotherly Love.

‘Surely a sandwich from home would stack up better,’ I thought. So two days later I ordered another. This time from Blackbird Pizzeria. Let me start by saying, I love me some Blackbird. Hell, my sister planned our whole trip home around me getting a slice of their pizza…oh, and try their fries! This sandwich just tasted off.

If you’re looking to convert someone who worships at the shrine of Pat’s or Gino’s, neither of these sandwiches would help your cause.

Look wise, Blackbird trumped FoodSwings. Taste wise, score for FoodSwings; which doesn’t mean their sandwich was good, just better than the other. Ultimately, if the two were married, it still wouldn’t be enough alone to convert a meat addict, but it’d be a much more worthwhile sandwich than its’ parents.

Vegan Fast Food
295 Grand Street Brooklyn, New York

Blackbird Pizzeria
507 s 6th St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19147


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