vegan

Monkeys Picking Our Coconuts!?

On Wednesday, I was scrolling through the Power to The Veg! Facebook group and stopped on an article from NPR about the coconut industry. This article said that around the world, coconuts are being harvested by monkeys who are trained and then chained to trees. Trainers seem to take a pretty lackadaisical approach and say that the monkeys are merely chained so they don't "run away." The pictures are horrifying and the logic behind needing chains so these creatures won't escape the work they're forced into was equally as heart breaking. 

We were immediately alarmed and emailed the supplier we buy our coconut from because they have the direct relationship with the farms they source from and visit them regularly. We faced some tough conversations and what-ifs while we waited for a response. We know that sometimes there's an endless spiral effect when you're trying to decide "what's good" and "what's bad" for veganism- where do your dollars end up, what practices do these companies engage in, does it ultimately help people consume fewer animals?  These practices are not something that we would ever want to be a part of or condone or encourage through buying power, nor would we ever expect people who purchase from us to want to be a part of this either! It was pretty clear to us that we see ourselves as vegans first, and bacon pushers second. 

This morning, we received a forwarded response from the coconut farms through our supplier. They let us know that no animals are involved in the process of harvesting their coconuts and also informed us that coconut plucking is a trained profession in Sri Lanka. We were relieved to receive this news and as a company we're dedicated to making sure that we source our ingredients thoughtfully and responsibly. 

Here's their response: 

" In Sri Lanka we have NO "monkey business" at least where coconuts are concerned. They do harvest the coconuts when they are hungry but don't share with us humans. 
Coconut plucking is a trained profession in Sri Lanka, there is a dedicated community practicing this profession. So animal are NOT involved."


Eggless Easter: Deviled Potatoes

Honesty hour.

I (Andrea) have never eaten a "real" deviled egg. But if you mention those suckers to Kyle? He'll tell you how much he used to love them and how many he could eat in a sitting. The idea of an egg yolk mixed with mayonnaise never appealed to me- I didn't even eat mayo until I went vegan and was schooled on the glory that is Vegenaise! But these Devilish Potatoes that Isa posted on the Post Punk Kitchen blog caught my eye and I've wanted to make them ever since. There's pretty much no potato recipe that I'll turn away from!

Our recipe uses ingredients that you've probably already got in your kitchen, and comes together pretty quickly once you've roasted your potatoes.

There's a ton of variations you could try on these, we'll list some of ours at the end of the recipe!

Deviled Potatoes

Ingredients:
9 small potatoes, we used baby gold potatoes (approx. 2" diameter)
1/4 cup Vegenaise
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp yellow mustard
1 single serve Rations Tofu Scramble Seasoning
Smoked paprika, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. While your oven is heating up, scrub your potatoes. Pierce your potatoes with a fork, make sure to do this a few times around the potato to let the steam out of it as it cooks. We lightly coated our potatoes with oil and salt, since we'll be eating the skin!
  2. Bake the potatoes for about 30-35 minutes. 
  3. Once your potatoes are out of the oven, let them cool completely. Cut the potatoes in half, lengthwise. Use a melon baller or spoon to scoop out the centers of the potato. Collect the inside of the potato in a bowl as you scoop it out! Set aside your potato "eggs".
  4. Take the bowl with the potato that you scooped out and make your filling. We used our small food processor for this, but you can use a fork or a potato masher if your potatoes are very tender. Mix the potato, Vegenaise, lemon juice, mustard and Rations Tofu Scramble Seasoning together until smooth.
  5. You can use a spoon to fill your potatoes, or you can use a pastry tip! Fill your potatoes and sprinkle them with paprika.
  6. Stuff in your mouth. Or feed your guests... if you have to. ;)

Pepperoncini Variation: Sub out the lemon juice for 1 whole chopped pepperoncini, you can also add a splash of the brine from the jar into your mixture.

Coconut Bacon Variation: Try it topped with coconut bacon, or even throw coconut bacon into the mixture, especially if you're using a food processor.


March Madness at Guru Donuts

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Meet Guru Donuts, the perfect little donut shop in Idaho.  You can find vegan and non-vegan donut perfection here, sprinkled with creative toppings. They've just unveiled their brand new menu for March and we have to say, we're sort of in love? Maybe we're a little bias though ;)

In the starting line up for March Madness comes...dun a dun dunnn...

A vegan maple bacon topped donut, using our coconut bacon! They use real maple syrup and coconut milk in their glaze, then top it off with our smokey salty goodness. Is there anything better?! No. There's not. I answered for you. 

If you're in Boise, check out Guru Donuts. Or if you're one of those crazy road tripping vegans on the hunt for donuts, be sure to include Guru on your next foodcation!


Vegan Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pull Apart Bread

You'll definitely be the most popular person at your game day party when you bring this with you! Or... you can eat it for lunch because you need to take a picture of the recipe. The things we do for you! ;P

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This pull apart bread is SUPER easy to make. It requires no technique- other than cutting bread. Use a serrated knife and you've done the hardest part of the recipe!

Vegan Cheddar Coconut Bacon Ranch Pull Apart Bread

1 loaf round bread (we used Italian, sour dough would work too!)

1 stick Earth Balance butter

5 slices Daiya cheddar

1/8 cup Daiya cheddar shreds

1/2 cup Phoney Baloney's coconut bacon

Vegan Ranch Dressing

Green onions for garnish

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Cut the loaf of bread width-wise and length-wise but don't cut all the way through to the bottom. You want about 1 inch squares. 
  3. Cut thin pats of the Earth Balance butter and stuff it into all of the crevices. Leave a tiny bit of butter to rub onto the top of the bread. You don't want to stuff it too far down so that the squares break apart, and you want to leave room for the cheese.
  4. Cut Daiya slice circles in half and stuff them into the crevices. We had to break some of the slices into smaller pieces to get the entire thing full of cheese. 
  5. Use that little bit of Earth Balance left to put onto the top of the bread squares, then sprinkle Daiya cheddar on top. I guess this is optional but we like how the shreds get crispy.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. If you find that the cheese isn't get melty enough, you can turn your broiler on. The high heat will get everything melted in about a minute so keep a close eye on it!
  7. Once it's done baking, throw coconut bacon into the crevices.
  8. Drizzle vegan ranch, more bacon, and green onions on top.
  9. Fight for who gets the middle piece and ENJOY! :) 

Vegan Cheddar Bacon Cheese Ball

Anything you can eat, I can eat vegan. Bacon cheese balls are NO exception.

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This cheese ball is perfect for a fancy schmancy wine & cheese night, or if you're a bearded man [read:Kyle], paired with a hearty porter or stout. 

My only tips for a tasty cheese ball are:

  • Taste as you go! Adjust your spices accordingly.
  • Lemon adds to the tangy-cheesy flavor, but be careful not to add too much!
  • If you're finding your cheese ball to be too crumbly, add a bit of olive oil to smooth it all out

Vegan Coconut Bacon Cheese Ball

1 cup raw or roasted cashews (I prefer roasted)

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/3 block of tofu (I used extra firm, just don't use silken)

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

2 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp liquid smoke (remember, you're adding smokey bacon to it, so don't over do it!)

4 tsp paprika

3 tsp yellow mustard

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tbps onion powder

Coconut Bacon (around 1/3 of a cup)

  1. Add the nuts to a food processor and let it run on high until the nuts look like bread crumbs.
  2. Add the tofu, lemon juice, liquid smoke, and yellow mustard to the nut mixture.
  3. Add nutritional yeast, paprika, garlic, and onion. Let the food processor run until everything comes together in a dough.
  4. If your dough is too dry, add some olive oil.
  5. Pour coconut bacon into a bowl.
  6. Take the mixture out of the food processor and form into a ball. Roll the ball around in the bacon until the bacon is wedged into the surface.
  7. Cover the cheese ball, and place it in the fridge. This will let all the flavors settle and come together. It will firm up and become sliceable after a few hours. If you want a softer cheese, leave it in the fridge for less time.
  8. Eat with crackers or bread or with a spoon or a fork. Whatever floats your boat.