Fall Pasta: Butternut Squash, Sage, Shiitake & my Secret...

Give me a big bowl of warm pasta on a chilly fall night, and I'm a happy girl. Especially if that bowl contains some big yummy chunks of my Roasted Butternut Squash. This is a great pasta recipe for when 'red sauce' just won't satisfy. I call this dish simply, Kathy's Fall Pasta. It combines the flavors of sweet Roasted Butternut Squash, lightly smoked shiitake mushrooms, warmed fresh sage, plenty of black pepper and one of my all time favorite pasta add-in secret ingredients. Get my totally cravable recipe and find out my secret ingredient!...


Secret Ingredient: Home-Roasted, Oven Roasted Garlic!
Yes, my secret ingredient is simply, roasted garlic. But not the kind you find in a jar. It has to be at-home-roasted. A big whole bulb smothered in EVOO and sea salt. Yum. Here's how you do it:
1. Chop off the top 1/8 " tip of a fresh garlic bulb. So the garlic cloves are exposed. (Peel is still in tact though)
2. Place whole bulb in a piece of foil.
3. Drizzle 1 Tbsp of EVOO over top of garlic. Pinch of sea salt too.
4. Wrap tightly in foil so oil doesn't spill. Place in 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes.
5. Remove from foil, let bulb cool for about 5 minutes.
6. Hand-squeeze the soft roasted garlic cloves out of bulb case and into a bowl. It's that simple! You'll get about 3 Tbsp of roasted garlic per small bulb.

Kathy's Fall Pasta
vegan, serves 4

4 cups cooked pasta (any variety you'd like)
2 cups of Kathy's Roasted Butternut Squash
*use my recipe for best flavor results
1 1/2 cups shiitake mushrooms, de-stemmed, cleaned and thinly sliced
1 tsp liquid smoke
*I use Colgin vegan brand
2-3 Tbsp fresh orange juice (or 1-2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar)
1-2 Tbsp Vegenaise
3 Tbsp Olive Oil (extra virgin always)
3-5 Tbsp at-home roasted garlic (see above)
palmful of fresh sage leaves, chopped roughly
sea salt
black pepper
optional: half a sweet white onion see below for add-ins

Directions:

1. Prepare the Roasted Butternut Squash. Set aside. If you'd like, you can use less than 2 cups of squash in this dish. I use the full 2 cups, because I love butternut squash. Use my squash recipe to prepare - Link above.

2. Prep your mushroomhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifs, sage, fresh OJ and optional onions. (You may want to start boiling your pasta water with a pinch of salt as well.)

3. Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil and 1 Tbsp orange juice (or 1/2 Tbsp vinegar) to a skillet. Saute mushrooms, (optional onions) and liquid smoke on med-high for 3-5 minutes or until the mushrooms are cooked to your liking.

4. Turn skillet heat to low, add a pinch of salt, a few dashes of pepper, a few pinches of sage leaves and toss in pan. Remove pan from heat, set aside.

5. Boil pasta (you can use any variety of pasta you'd like.) You will want about 4 cups of pasta. Drain cooked pasta and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

6. Add 2 Tbsp EVOO, 1 Tbsp orange juice (or 1/2 Tbsp vinegar), 1-2 Tbsp Vegenaise, a few dashes of black pepper and the rest of your chopped sage to your (still hot) pasta in the mixing bowl. Toss well. Make sure pasta is well coated. The hot pasta will gently heat up the fold-in ingredients (especially the sage) to intensify the flavors.

7. Next, add your oven roasted garlic. Again, use as much as you'd like - I like a lot! I used two small bulbs of roasted garlic. (Remember, roasting garlic greatly mellows out the 'garlic' flavor) Fold garlic into your pasta. It should be creamy, a bit sticky and perfectly translucent-esque cream colored - with a few darker edges around each clove. Smells divine, right? The creamy roasted garlic almost mimics the texture of adding a pinch of Parm cheese.

8. Next, fold the shiitake mushroom (onion optional) saute into the pasta.

9. And finally, gently add into the mixing bowl about half of your roasted butternut squash. Fold it into the pasta. It's OK if it 'mushes' around a bit and coats the pasta. Just don't over-mush. Leave the remaining butternut squash out, to be applied directly to the top of your pasta plated dishes. (Not folded in). Also, those diners who want more squash can easily add it to their plate.

10. Garnish with the leftover squash, fresh sage, black pepper and even a squeeze of fresh OJ/vinegar/EVOO if you'd like.

Eat at once, also tastes great the next day for lunch!



Add-ins:
*Vegan Tempeh Cubes.
*Vegan Field Roast Grain Meat Co. Sausage-Apple Sage flavor.
*Roasted Beets.
*Olives.
*Parsley, chopped.
*Fresh Chopped Spinach or Fresh Arugula
*Beans! Toasted garbanzo beans would be divine.
*Toasted nuts, cashews, pecans, walnuts.
*Sliced apples.
*Fresh Ground White Pepper.
*Cayenne or harissa for spice.










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My "Happy Halloween" Top Ten List!

Happy Halloween from Healthy. Happy. Life. and The Lunchbox Bunch! I hope your Halloween weekend is filled with fright, festivities, fun and flavor (of the vegan kind of course.) Here are my top ten favorite frightful (and festive) Happy Halloween delights! And no, surprisingly, they don't all have to do with food...

My "Happy Halloween" Top Ten List
*in no particular order*

1. Costumes!
No matter how old I get, I love wearing some sort of costume on Halloween. I usually decide very last minute what I want to be (in fact I'm still deciding for this year...) A few of my favorite costumes ever: Rainbow Bright (custom costume from my mom when I was 8 years-old), "Princess Fairy" (at least 2-3 Halloweens worth), a tap-dancing black cat (with my sister. I was 5.)Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz (loved my ruby sequin-coated slippers. Where are those anyways?..), a 50's Girl (loved those big girly Poodle skirts) a Can-Can girl (complete with giant pink and red ruffled puffy skirt) Ginger from Gilligan's Island, a sparkly-green-leaf-covered forest-fairy (over-did the glitter that year), Cleopatra (although my golden beaded headdress kept falling off and people kept asking me if I was a 'prom queen'), a baby (wore PJ's and pig-tails to school...now that was fun!), last year I was Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities (inspired by the short-lived Broadway musical which I fell in love with), and my fave costume of all time was when I was Marty the Pink Lady from Grease with a few of my best friends in high school. Fun. Fun. Fun.

2. Pumpkin Pie Shake
OK, so I just thought up this recipe last week, but I love it! Great for pre-trick or treating for kids. Also good for Thanksgiving next month! Pumpkin Pie Shake Recipe.



3. Garfield's Halloween Special
I've been a fan of Garfield the cat ever since I was a little girl reading comic books in bed. And proud of it! Fave Garfield comic ever - (Jon: "Garfield, why are you sitting in my scrambled eggs?" Garfield: "Because they're warm." ) Hee Hee. Love Garfield. So every year I have to watch the Garfield Halloween Special - you can see it on YouTube. Here is Part One below, part 2 and 3 are on YouTube:


4. Vegan Candy!!!
Yes it's true. Some mainstream candy is actually vegan. So whenever my non-veg friends start saying "Halloween must suck for vegans" I just start naming off all the mainstream candy varieties that are vegan. My faves: Sour Patch Kids and Twizzlers. You can see a great list here by VegNews Magazine.

5. "Spooky" Hot Spiced Cider, "Creepy" Apple Ginger Juice and "Ghostly" Pom-Bellinis
Cider - There is nothing better than a hot mug of spiced cider on Halloween eve. And yes you can even spike it with a shot of brandy if you'd like. I make mine very simply: Add Farm Fresh Apple Cider (not apple juice) to your mug. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and a few spices: cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves... Heat and serve. Really easy. Totally festive.
Apple-Ginger - This murky colored "Apple Ginger Juice" juice could be 'swamp water' or a 'witches brew' for sure. But the taste will perk up any Halloween activity and leave you feeling anything but 'spooked'. Apple-Ginger Juice Recipe.
POM-Bellinis - I love making a simply beverage out of prosecco sparkling wine and fresh crushed pomegranate juice. Great for Halloween because they take on a bright red color. Vampire's Brew perhaps?

6. Pumpkin Muffins
Yes, another pumpkin-flavored treat for my Halloween celebration. Pumpkin-Pecan No-Oil Added Muffin Recipe.

7. Halloween Parties, Parades and Haunted Festivities!
I love a big gathering of fun-friendly folks dressed in costumes and mingling about. My favorite costume extravaganza is NYC's Village Halloween Parade. It can't be beat. But I'm sure your town has a few awesome costume party gatherings of their own. Always fun to attend, and yes it's OK to just people watch! And yes, I LOVE anything spooky: haunted houses, haunted corn mazes, scary spooky parties, ghost stories...love it all.

8. Scary Movies (And some not so scary)
What's your favorite scary movie? Or at least Halloween themed? I love getting spooked while cozy on the couch, in honor of Halloween. My favorite scary (and some not so scary) Halloween movies: Hocus Pocus, Scream, Poltergeist, The Shining, Beetle Juice, The Goonies, Casper, Nightmare on Elm Street, Blair Witch and my fave cartoons: Garfield's Halloween and It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.

9. Trick or Treating!
Obviously I don't go trick or treating anymore. But it created so many fun childhood memories. But in my neighborhood growing up in Santa Cruz California, Trick-or-Treating was the thing to do. Throngs of costumed kids paraded the streets and sidewalks from 6pm-10pm. In fact the owners of the houses on my street really couldn't close their front doors for more than two seconds without hearing a "Trick or Treat!" I remember my mom having to run out to the store to buy more candy because we would always run out! So while I hope everyone gives out vegan treats this year, or maybe even a few non-candy treats this year - I hope everyone gets a few treats and very few tricks.


10. Pumpkin Creativity
You just have to buy a pumpkin for Halloween. The question is: what do you do with it? Carve it? Fun idea and great for kids. But for adults, you may want to leave that pumpkin whole and wait until after Halloween for the creativity to begin. Slice up the pumpkin, roast the seeds and roast the pumpkin. You can puree the pumpkin fresh for some flesh pumpkin pie or even a "fresh pumpkin" version of my yummy pumpkin pie shake.

Whatever you do this Halloween, make sure it is Happy and Healthy!!!





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First Ever World Pneumonia Day - Nov 2nd. I'm in. R U?

Fact: Every 15 seconds, pneumonia kills another child. That’s 5,500 child deaths every day, and a staggering 2 million child deaths every year from a preventable, treatable disease.

November 2nd is the first ever World Pneumonia Day. Join celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Hugh Laurie and support the cause. Wear blue jeans on Nov 2nd to show your support!

Vicks Advocate.
I was honored to be invited by the Vicks company to be one of 5 top tier bloggers chosen to attend the first ever World Pneumonia Day Global Summit, as a Vicks Advocate. I will be attending this prestigious event in NYC on Nov 2nd, and will blog about the event. Keep reading to learn how Vicks is making a difference. And learn the staggering facts about how Pneumonia affects our world. And learn what you can do to help...

Vicks Supports the Cause.
Vicks is 100% committed to children’s respiratory health and is honored to help support World Pneumonia Day. Vicks is an official member of the Global Coalition Against Childhood Pneumonia and has partnered with Save the Children to help deliver treatment to children stricken with pneumonia all over the world.

"We have what it takes to prevent and cure childhood pneumonia. Yet the disease tragically claims more than two million babies and toddlers every year. We can stand on the sides and continue to watch this tragedy unfold or we can step in and change the ending. World Pneumonia Day gives everyone the chance to act.” -Save the Children Artist Ambassador Gwyneth Paltrow.

How you can help:

*Wear blue jeans on Nov 2nd to show your support.
*If you have a blog or social networking account, pass around this post and re-post the WPD logo on your pages. Awareness is key.
*Donate to the fund. Afterall, most antibiotic treatments cost less than one dollar per dose. Give vaccines: just $20 protects a child for life against the two deadliest strains of pneumonia.
*Sign the WPD pledge.
*Send an email. Make a call. Plan a visit. ...to your local officials, congress and/or the White House.
*Host your own WPD event.
*Visit the WPD website to learn more and details about how you can get involved. You can download logos and banners on the website.

Pneumonia Facts:

Pneumonia is deadly, especially for children.

• Pneumonia kills more than 4 million people every year – half of these deaths occur among children under age 5.

• Many people are surprised to learn that pneumonia is the disease that is responsible for the largest number of deaths in children under 5 worldwide.

• One child dies from pneumonia every 15 seconds. That’s 5,500 young lives lost every day. A staggering 2 million child deaths every year."

Pneumonia Solutions:

Pneumonia is a problem with solutions.

• More than ever before, we now know how to protect and prevent children from catching pneumonia, and how to treat those suffering with this illness.

Preventing pneumonia before it occurs is key.

• Vaccines are a safe and effective tool for preventing pneumonia before it occurs.

• Millions of children in developing countries still lack access to life-saving vaccines.

Children should have access to effective and affordable treatment:

• The treatment for most types of serious pneumonia is usually antibiotics, which typically cost less than one dollar per dose.

• Tragically, only an estimated 1 of every 5 children with pneumonia receives antibiotics.

Take action to save lives.
Now.






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Updated: Reactions to Natalie Portman on Top Chef.

UPDATE: Darn, so the chefs only had to cook vegetarian! Too easy! Natalie was vegetarian when the show taped...she supposedly went vegan a few months ago after reading Jonathan Safran Foer's book "Eating Animals". But still, glad to see a vegetarian show. It's better than nothing! My live tweets and "the word on the internet" about the show are after the jump...

Veg Consensus. So after reading all my @replies on twitter and perusing a few of the online comments, the veggie consensus seems to be that the episode was a big disappointment and even a little "offensive". These cheftestants seriously need a yummy, creative vegan meal at a restaurant like Pure Food and Wine, GoBo, Candle 79, Sublime, Real Food Daily, Blossom, Dirt Candy or even a nice Babycakes cupcake! Geez, all veggies (practically?) Where's the tempeh? Seitan? Grains? More beans? Nuts? Where's the Protein? Very dismal. I'd walk away from those 'entrees' with a serious craving for some....food! Maybe a lovely raw vegan lasagna at Pure Food and Wine. Or some butternut squash risotto from GoBo. Or a beautiful seitan medallion from Blossom or tempeh from Candle. Or some amazing Asparagus Paella from Dirt Candy. Or maybe just a spelt crust pizza with some Daiya cheese....yum...

@Lunchboxbunch. My live tweeted thoughts of Top Chef with Natalie (first tweet starts at bottom...just like twitter...):

"West Coast, watch #TopChef tonight, but it's indeed disappointing...I'd leave hungry! Where's the tempeh? http://su.pr/2aKR38about 11 hours ago from web"

"@LoCoallergylife I think it was a comment on the "banana polenta" dish...gotta love creativity!about 12 hours ago from web in reply to LoCoallergylife"

"OK, Natalie Portman is hilarious, her comment on fave dish: "who is his dealer & does he want more clients!?" Funny. #topchefabout 12 hours ago from web "

"My TopChef thoughts on what the cheftestants made....where's the protein?!about 12 hours ago from web "

"@bakeanddestroy Natalie went vegan (again) a few months ago, she was vegetarian when the TopChef episode was filmed.about 12 hours ago from web in reply to bakeanddestroy"

"I really wish "cooking veg*n" didn't simply mean chefs cook a plate of veggies! More beans, tempeh, grains, nuts....veg*ns like to EAT too!about 12 hours ago from web "

"@gonepie gonepie RT "I think this was filmed before she was converted by the Foer book." ...my thoughts as well...about 12 hours ago from web in reply to gonepie"

"Natalie says she is 'vegetarian'...why not just say vegan? *shakes head* Well it's better than nothing! r u watching TopChef East Coast??about 12 hours ago from web "

And here was my original post about this highly anticipated episode:

Now this is "must See TV"! Vegan actress Natalie Portman will create quite a challenge for the meat-obsessed chefs competing on BravoTV's Top Chef, season 6 Las Vegas. On tonight's episode, apparently the gang of contestants is brought to Tom Colicchio's restaurant Craftsteak Vegas and shown piles of meat ingredients. They get excited *sigh*. The twist comes when the person they will be cooking for is none other than the actress Natalie Portman, a vegan. I can't wait to see which chef's pull off vegan dining like a true pro. And which chef's whine themselves into being kicked off! (A la on Top Chef Master's when a few chef's whined and groaned at Zooey (not Emily.. :)..) Deschanel's vegan/gluten-free diet) I posted about the "God only knows what vegan's eat..." quote. Below is a video-clip preview of tonight's 'veg-themed' Top Chef episode...




www.bravotv.com



images: bravotv.com and tecasan shoes image (Natalie Portman line)


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Best of VGP: Top 35 Quotes, Trends and Faves.

You've read the interviews, now read the "Best of VGP" wrap-up post. If you still need to catch up, you can find all 8 of the "Veggie Girl Power" interviews here.

Ahead, I've compiled my Top 35 Fave Quotes from the interviews, as well as a few trends and VGP faves. (I tried doing a 'top ten' but failed miserably. I love each and every quip and quote!) Check it out...

My "Best of..." What an amazing bunch of ladies I had the pleasure of featuring in my very first "Veggie Girl Power" Interview Series. The response from my blog readers was amazing! So many of you were thrilled to learn more about Amanda, Chloe, Erin, Karina, Kristen, Marilu, Rory and Sarma. I'm so inspired by what these ladies had to say, below are my picks for the best of the best trends, quips and quotes...

TRENDS! Fave Products/Brands of the VGP ladies:
* Vegenaise! (Big fave).
* Field Roast Grain Meat Co. "Sausages"
* Allison's Gourmet brand
* Dr. Cow Cashew "Cheese"
* Bob's Red Mill Flours
* Uncle Eddie's Vegan Cookies
* Yerba Mate Tea
* Coconut Water
* Hemp Products
* Daiya Vegan Cheese

Other Trends I Spotted:

* AM trend: Starting the day with pure fresh hydrating water! (Or another liquid beverage, but water was the fave)
* I Love Animals. It all comes back to the love of animals. All the veggie ladies have been inspired by their love of animals in one way or another.
* Hungry? Fave eats for dining out: Pure Food and Wine, Candle 79, Real Food Daily, Veggie Grill, M Cafe, Sticky Fingers, Babycakes, Madeline Bistro, Green, Sages, GoBo, Sublime, Dirt Candy, Sripraphai and Blossom were a few of the VGP ladies' faves.
* Keep it 'Farm' Simple. Organic Produce, Farmers Market Produce and "whole foods" always win out with these ladies. No fancy brands or packaging required. Pass the fruit bowl, raw nuts, fresh-picked veggies and whole grains please.

Who Would the VGP ladies award the VGP label (Or some well-deserved props to)... to?

Amanda: "All the women she has worked with in kitchens"
Chloe: Ingrid Newkirk, Rory Freedman, Kathy Freston, Samantha Ragsdale, Emily Deschanel
Erin: Emily Woesthoff, Babycakes General Manager
Karina: Susan of Fatfree Vegan Kitchen
Kristen: Shazzie, Angela Stokes-Monarch
Marilu: Dr. Neil Barnard, PCRM
Rory: Ingrid Newkirk, PETA
Sarma: Chloe Jo Berman

Beverage Favorites! Drink up like the ladies do, fave smoothies and juices:
Sarma: "My favorite is called Swan Greens. It’s cucumber, spinach, and dandelion greens with a little grapefruit, pear and a touch of tarragon, spearmint, and yuzu."
Rory: "A smoothie with banana, berries, hemp seed milk, and ground flax seeds."
Marilu: "I am not usually a juice/smoothie girl. I rather prefer to eat the whole fruit, because I like my body having to work on digesting the entire food."
Erin: " I like just simple pressed apples with cucumber, lemon, and cayenne pepper."
Kristen: "I love starting my day with fresh organic green juice. A favorite combination is cucumber, celery, and kale. It’s gentle and alkalizing."
Karina: "My current favorite smoothie features pomegranate juice, a frozen banana and blueberries. Sometimes with hemp milk."
Amanda: "When I do have a smoothie I usually go for something with bananas for the stress-reduction and strawberries for the Vitamin C since I spend my days trapped in a kitchen."
Chloe: "I am a carrot juice OR all greens (no apple) juice gal."

"Veggie Girl Power" Interview Quotes: My Top 35 Faves.
And NO these are not ranked, I love them all, it was hard enough choosing my Top 35!

35. "First I debate with them. I love to be right, but will accept when I'm wrong. I respond to every critical email I get. If the critics are being irrational or we can't agree to disagree respectfully, I say "SUCK IT" and carry on with my mission - which is to help animals." -Chloe Jo Berman on how she deals with critics.

34. "Go vegan. Seriously. It will change your life in the most profound, indescribable, unexpected ways." -Rory Freedman

33. "..one of my other favorites came to me from my friend Dhrumil who always tweets good quotes. “As long as you don’t forgive, who or whatever it is will occupy rent-free space in your mind.” (Isabelle Holland)." -Sarma Melngailis, on one of her fave quotes.

32. "Have fun. Food should be about fun. .... There’s so much pressure about what we “should” be eating and what foods are going to keep us young forever, and what’s good for our skin, and what’s going to save us from cancer, and what’s going to keep our colons clean, and what’s going to save the world. Food gets treated like a medicine cabinet, or a political essay, or a dangerous substance and at the end of the day you wind up with anorexic twelve-year-olds and people hiding behind a screen of allergies and diets and fads" -Amanda Cohen's message to girls.

31. "You have one body. That’s it. It’s not a car. There are no trade-ins." -Marilu Henner

30. "..you don’t have to be a bully to be strong, and you don’t have to scream to run a kitchen." -Amanda Cohen

29. "You get what you give." -Erin McKenna

28. "The best tip I have is to listen to your own body. Try different things and try them at different times because your body could change over time." -Kristen Suzanne

27. "Compassion for animals and the desire to help them is what compelled me to write Skinny Bitch. I believed (and still do) that if people were aware of what they were contributing to every time they ate meat, they’d be motivated to change." -Rory Freedman

26. "...soy allergies are on the rise (I am allergic to soy and beans/legumes). Awareness is on the rise, however. And availability. So that's good news." -Karina Allrich

25. “It’s not going to kill you, so don’t give up.” -Amanda Cohen

24. "..listen for your inner passion. When you discover what it is, go for it unabashedly. " -Rory Freedman

23. "Be a girls girl, act out of love. And NEVER be afraid to open your big mouth and sing out, Louise." -Chloe Jo Berman

22. "To tell you the truth – LOL – I think to myself, “Oh you poor thing, you just don’t ‘get’ it.” -Kristen Suzanne on how she deals with the critics.

21. "I’m always convinced the good guys will ultimately win." -Sarma Melngailis

20. "I want to inspire creativity in the kitchen. And in life!" -Karina Allrich

19. "I don't respond. I knew going into this that there would be haters. You can't please everyone, which is why I do things from the heart and know that at least I will be happy." -Erin McKenna on how to face critics.

18. "Life is short. Make today delicious." -Karina Allrich

17. "Animals. The ethical and political reasons regarding animal rights are the driving forces behind my actions." -Kristen Suzanne

16. "When someone calls me crazy, it only boosts my confidence and determination." -Sarma Melngailis

15.
"It's sad how often I have to explain what ACTUALLY goes down in factory farms to incredibly educated people - many of whom call themselves Eco experts. OY vey." -Chloe Jo Berman

14. "I always called myself an “animal lover” but ate eat meat at every single meal. When I learned that animals were confined, tortured, and slaughtered, just because I liked how they tasted—I went vegetarian in that instant. There was no way any living, feeling being was going to be tortured and slaughtered because of me." -Rory Freedman

13. "Negative comments don’t bother me because I've never minded being the odd person out or the dissenting vote." -Marilu Henner

12. "It’s always organic or I’m not buying it. That’s one thing I’m adamant about. I recognize that I can’t always have organic at restaurants, but I make it a point to have everything organic at home. In fact, when I’m at restaurants, I write on the receipt, “I’d eat here more often if you offered organic options.” -Kristen Suzanne

11. "Meat and dairy kill! A plant-based diet is better for everything: humans, animals, and the environment. " -Marilu Henner

10. "Recently someone pointed out to me that negative personal comments usually say far more about the people making them than they do about you." -Sarma Melngailis on critics who make 'personal comments'.

9. "When I’m passing someone who’s wearing fur or riding in a horse-drawn carriage and I don’t feel comfortable speaking up, I hear Ingrid’s voice in my head, “Never be silent. Say something. Anything."" -Rory Freedman

8. "When a member at marilu.com is worried about comments or criticism, I tell them to “Imagine yourself with this little coat of "Teflon" so that the slings and arrows of others bounce right off of you. Just smile, nod, and move on with the knowing awareness that you're going to look a lot better than they do in a few years! ...I’ve been smiling, nodding, and moving on for a long time!" -Marilu on the critics.

7. "YES!!! Yes yes yes. " -Sarma Melngailis on whether veg*n diets will be the majority and not the minority one day.

6. "Losing my parents in their fifties (my father of a heart attack at fifty-two, and my mom of arthritis at fifty-eight) changed my life forever. Their untimely deaths propelled me to take action and alter everything about my lifestyle. I became a student of health and my own in-house experiment after talking to nutritionists and doctors, going to bookstores and medical libraries, taking human anatomy classes, and reading over 400 books on the subject of food and health." -Marilu Henner

5.
"I get so frustrated when I see people (women particularly) who spend their lives looking for the perfect shoe or perfect shade of lipstick. REALLY?!! Ladies, we are the backbone of society, we have babies to feed, nations to help, animals to speak out for. I can't stand a weak woman." -Chloe Jo Berman

4. "I always try to convey to people that with raw food, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. So many people dismiss it entirely because they think they have to turn their life upside down or it’s just too hard, and that if they’re not 100% perfect, why bother. But it’s perfectly okay to just shift. As long as it’s in the direction of better food that makes you feel better." -Sarma Melngailis

3. "If you feel it in your heart, you must go for what is tugging at you." -Erin McKenna

2. "Yes! I am totally hopeful, and with good reason. Never before have there been so many books, films, and organizations dedicated to veganizing the planet. Vegetarianism is trending higher than ever before, and it shows in the number of food products on the market, news stories, and the flood of information that’s making its rounds. Whether it’s ethically-, health-, or environmentally motivated, more and more people are making the transition." -Rory Freedman on the future of veg*n diets.

1. "The key to your life is how you deal with Plan B." You can aim for Plan A. You can arrange for Plan A. But "Plan B" is what actually happens to you. It's your resilience in being able to roll with the punches and move on to Plan B that really makes your life." -Marilu Henner

And lastly, a few of the funnier/sarcastic quotes...

VGP LOL:

Chloe says, "I could stuff my face 24 hours a day and not mind. I'm not the fasting kind."

Rory shamelessly admits, "I will be the first to admit I am a shitty-ass cook, so thankfully, my publisher hired a recipe developer to help with Skinny Bitch in the Kitch. I’ve gotta say, the mac ‘n cheese recipe from Kitch is the best I’ve ever had."

Rory, guilty as charged, "Allison’s Gourmet, Vegan Treats, and Sticky Fingers have all officially ruined my life. "

Amanda's
quirky breakfast combo, 
"Cereal with orange juice on it. It sounds gross, but I love cereal and hate milk so it works for me."

Marilu's
kids invent the word 'rambitious' (love it), "being wife to my fabulous husband, and mom and chauffeur to my two young rambitious (their word!) teenage boys!""

Sarma's
mallomar breakfast - yummy -"I also love these mallomars we make in our takeaway. Sometimes I have them for breakfast (after my juice)."

And I'll close by repeating Chloe's very Veggie Girl Power quote regarding critics, because quite frankly, it makes me smile,

"First I debate with them. I love to be right, but will accept when I'm wrong. I respond to every critical email I get. If the critics are being irrational or we can't agree to disagree respectfully, I say "SUCK IT" and carry on with my mission - which is to help animals." -Chloe Jo Berman on how she deals with critics.

Your Turn! Have a fave I didn't mention, or just want to chat about your fave quote from the list? Comment or tweet it! I'd love to hear what resonates with you guys.

About The "Veggie Girl Power" Interview. This series celebrates female trailblazers who inspire us! Featured Ladies were chosen for their unstoppable "Veggie Girl Power", aka a female with experience, wisdom, creativity, skills, heart, worldliness, passion, grace, drive, dedication and personality! Each interview question was 'filed' under one of these VGP characteristics. Read all 8 interviews, in full, here.


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Pumpkin Pie Shake. Vegan. Pie Lovers'.

If you love pumpkin pie, keep reading. If you don't like pumpkin pie, keep reading. Oh go on, be adventurous, you only live once. And you really can't go wrong with my vegan Pumpkin Pie Shake. It's bursting with vitamin-A and fiber rich pumpkin-y goodness. And who doesn't love anything-pumpkin-flavored in this festive fall season? It's cool, creamy and really tastes like a bite of pie! You can even swirl a mound of rice whipped cream on top, for a more decadent treat. Go on, get adventurous with your smoothie today, try it, taste it, have fun and love it. Fun, festive, fall. Get my recipe...


Pumpkin Pie Shake
vegan, serves 2-3

15 ounces organic canned pumpkin - 1 can (not pie mix)
*Farmer's Market brand of organic pumpkin really is my fave.
1/4 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup non-dairy milk, vanilla (soy or hemp preferred)
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup vegan chai tea concentrate
2 Tbsp soy milk creamer
2 dashes cinnamon
1 dash cayenne
2 dashes nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups ice (coconut water ice cubes approved for this pie shake)
optional: 1/2 frozen banana, pinch of flax seed oil/meal for added nutrition

Directions:

1. Add all your ingredients, except the ice, to the blender.

2. Blend on high until smooth. Yes the pumpkin will make this smoothie thick, so be patient while blending. If you need to add more 'milk' go ahead.

3. Keep blending and slowly add in the ice. Make sure it blends icy-smooth! Again, if you need to add a bit more liquid, do it gradually. You can always do a taste test before pouring and modify as needed to suit your own tastes. I added in a few extra cashews because I liked the body and flavor that they added.

4. Pour, sprinkle with cinnamon on top. Whipped rice cream-optional, but yummy.

Serve! Delicious any time of day. Dessert-friendly.

And yes, it will taste like pumpkin pie! Bold beautiful pumpkin flavor.

Notes and Alterations:

Table for One?
Just making this smoothie for yourself? You can easily halve the ingredients for a nice sized smoothie for 1.
Creamier? If you want to turn up the 'creaminess' a notch, add in a bit more soy cream, non-dairy milk and even a spray of whipped cream blended right into the blender.
Dessert Please! You can easily make this into a delicious pumpkin-ice-cream style shake by removing 1 cup of ice from the recipe and replacing it with a big scoop of vegan soy/hemp/coconut/rice cream. Vanilla flavor of course.
Perfectly Pumpkin: Feeling super adventurous and cringe at 'canned veggies'. Well OK, grab a 'pie pumpkin' roast it, puree it and chill the pumpkin puree in the fridge. Use it in place of canned! I haven't tried this, but I'm sure it's super-yum.










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Sarma Melngailis's Veggie Girl Power Interview!

Sarma Melngailis is the Co-Founder of NYC raw vegan restaurant Pure Food and Wine and Founder of One Lucky Duck (online store/raw snack brand/juice bar/takeaway). "Raw Food" (kept below 118 degrees) may sound like a quirky diet trend to the newbies out there, but raw vegan food is actually a lifestyle. Sarma's company slogan says it all, "Eat Raw Live long." If you think raw food can't be classy, modern and mmm-out-loud delicious, snag yourself a reservation at PFW (when in NYC). You won't regret it.

Being Sarma. I can only imagine and dream of what it must feel like to be Sarma. I mean, how many girls have their very own gourmet-raw-vegan-organic restaurant and juice bar in their backyard (and office)? Fresh coconut water on tap at any hour of the day, raw falafel with tabhouli lunches, a mallomar at dawn, a Swan Greens or Bunny Brew juice (my fave) in the afternoon, a sneak-peek taste-test of tomorrow night's PFW chef's tasting menu, another mallomar in the evening. Yum! And Sarma deserves every ounce of her success. It's not easy being the "One Lucky Duck" in the big bad pond of NYC dining...

Trailblazer, in the Raw. Sarma has unabashedly changed the definition of "raw food" dining. She's earned the PR spotlight, spread her message about raw food, and put a 'cool girl' face on the raw food lifestyle. With the success of her brand, she has trailblazed a path for future raw vegan foodies to follow. And I'm sure she's had to chop down a few weeds and vines along her journey towards putting the words raw food, modern and fine dining in the same sentence. "Veggie Girl Power" to the max! Read Sarma's 'raw' and inspiring interview...

My PFW Bliss. The first time I dined at PFW with my non-veggie husband, he kept asking, "Wait, are you sure this vegan?" He thought the cheese was dairy cheese and he really had no idea what some of the savory and gourmet ingredients were, but the bottom line was that he loved it! With a forkful of Zucchini and Local Hothouse Tomato Lasagna, a glow of pure bliss on my face, I assured him, "Yes, this is vegan, and it's raw!"

OneLuckyDuck Lemon Cheesecake (it was amazing!):
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Sarma: Veggie Girl Power! How can you not love her: She's running the show at one of the most innovative and progressive restaurants in the city (really, the world). She has authored and co-authored two raw vegan books. She's in constant raw food bliss: a green shake here, a mallomar there, a few raw snacks in between. She writes an addictive and informative blog about her raw-foodie-life. She made a twitter account for her adorable kitty cat. And she has that nifty "signature Sarma" duck tattoo of her One Lucky Duck logo on her shoulder. Though I've never met Sarma personally I've seen her a few times while dining at PFW. I always want to run up to her and shout "You rock!" But alas, that's not really my style. Just seeing Sarma there gives the dining room a warm vibe. My rule of thumb for dining: you can judge a restaurant by how often the owner or 'celebrity chef' brand name dines or hangs out there. It's clear that Sarma is a hands on leading lady - she lives, breaths and eats the PFW/OLD brand.

Gourmet Raw Food. Anyone who has dined at PFW, located in the Gramercy Park neighborhood of Manhattan, knows what a unique establishment it is. Sarma has effectively taken "raw food" and given it the 'fine dining' 'gourmet' treatment. PFW, which opened its GramPark doors in June 2004, is a far cry from what raw food was just a few years ago. And it may not even be what you expect today. On the menu you will find 'Dr. Cow Tree Nut Cheeses' 'White Corn Tamales with Raw Cacao Mole' and 'Morel Mushroom and Hempseed Burger with Manna Bread and Pickles'. And guess what, there is absolutely no tofu, tempeh or seitan anywhere on the menu or premises. That's right, no tofu.

And now onto Sarma's interview....

About The "Veggie Girl Power" Interview. This series celebrates female trailblazers who inspire us! Featured Ladies were chosen for their unstoppable "Veggie Girl Power", aka a female with experience, wisdom, creativity, skills, heart, worldliness, passion, grace, drive, dedication and personality! Each question is 'filed' under one of these VGP characteristics.

Each featured lady was chosen for her significant contribution towards making this world a more beautifully vegan-friendly place.

Q1. Name and 'title'.
Sarma Melngailis, Co-Founder of NYC raw vegan restaurant Pure Food and Wine, Founder of e-commerce store, takeaway store, and raw snack brand One Lucky Duck (oneluckyduck.com), co-author of Raw Food Real World (Harper Collins 2005) and author of Living Raw Food (Harper Collins 2009).

Q2. DRIVE: Yawn, sunrise, what is the first food/drink you reach for to start your "Veggie Girl Power" day?

Sarma:
First I go for water with lemon or lime. Then juice. Right now I’m all about these juices we make and bottle each night at the restaurant using a Norwalk press juicer. My favorite is called Swan Greens. It’s cucumber, spinach, and dandelion greens with a little grapefruit, pear and a touch of tarragon, spearmint, and yuzu. I mix in some thawed E3-Live, and sometimes some Vitamineral Green powder, and then a few drops of liquid stevia to sweeten it some more. I’m hooked. If I don’t have this in the morning I feel completely deprived. Later on when I get hungry again, I go for One Lucky Duck chocolate or vanilla crispies with hemp milk and a sprinkle of raw cacao nibs and a few goji berries. It’s a good energy wake-up cereal. Yummy.

Q3. HEART: As a "Veggie Girl Power" trailblazer you inspire so many girls/women, who or what was your inspiration at the start of your journey to today?

Sarma:
Thank you! I didn’t have any specific person that was consistently inspiring, though there were a lot of people I found inspiring in various ways. I think I get more inspired by Richard Branson than anyone else, but that’s not to do with raw or vegetarianism, of course. He’s more my inspiration for how I want to build my company, and change the world. He reminds me that it’s okay to go against the norm, to make things fun, and to want to pursue projects or ideas that some people may think are crazy. When someone calls me crazy, it only boosts my confidence and determination.

Q4. EXPERIENCE: When people ask you why you 'went VEG' what is your usual answer?

Sarma:
It started out as an experiment that became permanent after I experienced feeling SO much better, and reading everything I could get my hands on in the area of going raw and vegan. My favorite book of all time on going vegetarian/vegan is John Robbins’ Diet For a New America. I love love love that book. I wish that book could be read by junior high and high school students everywhere, so they at least have some better facts with which to make up their own minds about how they’d like to eat. It’s a beautiful book.

Q5. WORLDLINESS: Celebration dinner out, where do you go?

Sarma:
I’m in my own restaurant so much and I love it there. But if I was going out to celebrate something really special, my number one destination right now would be Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Everything about that place is lovely. It’s not a vegetarian restaurant but my friend Dan Barber does amazing things there, and they will of course do vegetarian or vegan if you ask for it.

Q6. CREATIVITY: "You can judge a veggie girl by her beverage"...what are your favorite juice/smoothie recipes?

Sarma:
My favorite juice right now is the one I mention in my first answer above. I’m lucky I don’t have to make it myself! I’m also hooked on green shakes. I have a recipe online… It’s kind of long to print here. Otherwise, I also love simple cucumber and mango with a tiny splash of vanilla, chilled with ice. It’s thick and filling but not heavy or too sweet.

Q7. DEDICATION: Are there any foods or food brands that you simply couldn't live without?


Sarma:
I’m pretty sure I could survive without watermelon in the summer, but it would be a huge drag for sure. I think without greens I’d go nuts. I always want dark greens and lots of herbs. I’m a freak for parsley and cilantro. And I love macadamia oil… that’s my favorite oil to use. It has so much flavor. We carry it at oneluckyduck.com. I also love these mallomars we make in our takeaway. Sometimes I have them for breakfast (after my juice). I’d also really miss coconut butter if I couldn’t have that. And One Lucky Duck ice cream. It would be sad to have no more of that.

Q8. WISDOM: What is a favorite life tip or quote of wisdom that you have shared with the world?


Sarma:
Good question. Is it lame that I can’t think of anything? I’m not one of those people that tosses out quotes very often. My own personal favorite quote is one I can’t really share. Or, it would sound all wrong if I didn’t explain why I like it, and would take too long to explain. But one of my other favorites came to me from my friend Dhrumil who always tweets good quotes. “As long as you don’t forgive, who or whatever it is will occupy rent-free space in your mind.” (Isabelle Holland). That one resonated with me because it’s something that took me a while to learn but it really is so much more freeing to let things go, than hang on and stew.

I also like our “Eat Raw Live Long” T-shirts and slogan. I liked it so much that I trademarked it years ago. I think I like it because in big letters on our T-shirts it looks really bold. I’m actually wearing one now!

Q9. SKILLS: And equally important, what is one of your yummiest recipes you have shared with the world?

Sarma:
For sweets, I think the Milk-Chocolate Mousse Layer Cake is one of the yummiest. But it’s hard to choose. (Of course, it’s not really milk chocolate). That cake is so yummy… we put it with vanilla and chocolate ice cream and chocolate sauce. For something easy and savory and summery, one of my favorites also from Living Raw Food is the Heirloom Tomato, Fennel, and Avocado Pressed Salad with Caper Dressing, Pistachio, and Mint. OH wait. Now I think one of the yummiest recipes might be the Spicy Thai Lettuce Wraps with Tamarind Dipping Sauce, or the Zucchini and Heirloom Tomato Lasagna with Basil-Pistachio Pesto, Tomato Sauce, and Pine Nut Ricotta. Those are classics from the first book and both still on our menu. Can you tell it was hard for me to pick just one?

Q10. PASSION: What is the one message that you try to project to your fans and those you inspire?

Sarma:
Again, hard to limit it to just one thing! But I always try to convey to people that with raw food, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. So many people dismiss it entirely because they think they have to turn their life upside down or it’s just too hard, and that if they’re not 100% perfect, why bother. But it’s perfectly okay to just shift. As long as it’s in the direction of better food that makes you feel better.

Q11. PERSONALITY: Who would you award the "Veggie Girl Power" label to? And what have you learned from them?


Sarma:
Immediately I thought of Chloe Jo Berman. Because she just seems like a super glam super-vegan-woman. She’s so glam she’s almost like a Barbie doll of herself. I admire that she’s totally outspoken, that she carries herself with so much confidence and style, and that she works to bring vegan information to people in a fun and useful way through her newsletters. (girliegirlarmy.com). From her I learned where to find some fierce vegan shoes when I needed shoes for a party. Shopping is definitely not my expertise.

Q12. GRACE: How do you respond to negative comments from critics, in real life or on the web?


Sarma:
I try to learn something from it and not take it personally. Though sometimes I fire back if I think I’ve been misunderstood, or if someone misunderstood something about us (meaning, the restaurant or one lucky duck). An example is when people get mad and email me about our prices, and then I can’t help launching into a heartfelt response on that. It happens rarely, but I feel like it’s important for people to understand how hard it is to do what we’re trying to do, and what we sacrifice to do it. Once people know then they understand.

When the comments are personal to me, sometimes they’re funny. That stuff doesn’t bother me much. Recently someone pointed out to me that negative personal comments usually say far more about the people making them than they do about you.

Bonus Question: Yes or no-do you think veg*n diets will ever be the majority and not the minority?


Sarma:
YES!!! Yes yes yes. I’m eternally optimistic about everything, but that aside, I definitely think we’re moving in that direction and it’s pretty exciting. Even if people aren’t all vegan, I think people are shifting and will continue to shift towards simply eating far less animal products, or at least those more naturally and humanely raised, which isn’t as destructive for the environment. Of course, there are a lot of forces and a lot of money behind keeping people eating crappy factory meat and pasteurized dairy, and junk food too… but I’m always convinced the good guys will ultimately win.

Did you know? Here's how you can connect with Sarma online:

Pure Food and Wine restaurant website.
One Lucky Duck: E-commerce store featuring One Lucky Duck packaged raw cookies and treats, both of Sarma's raw food books, and loads of other good stuff.
Sarma's Blog.
Sarma on Facebook
Sarma on Twitter
PFW on Twitter
One Lucky Cat (Sarma's kitty) on Twitter

Kathy's blog posts about PFW/OLD:
One Lucky Duck Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake.
Mallomar.
Raw Snacks Post.

Don't miss the Veggie Girl Power wrap-up post.."Best of VGP.." later this week!


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Rory Freedman's Veggie Girl Power Interview.

Proud to be a Skinny Bitch. "Rory and Kim created a new identity for the vegan girls out there. We didn't have to be "health-obsessed-crazy-vegans". We could now be skinny bitches." -Kathy

Rory Freedman is the co-author of the best-selling book Skinny Bitch. If you haven't read it cover to cover (preferably in one sitting, because you won't be able to put it down) I suggest you get your pretty paws on a copy ASAP. With a touch of tough-love, Skinny Bitch teaches you how to "stop eating crap and start looking fabulous". Rory and Kim (the dynamic co-author duo) started out their journey simply as two strong "Veggie Girl Power" women with a message, and suddenly everyone was listening.

Animal Advocate/Vegan Superstar. During the Skinny Bitch explosion, Rory quickly grew to become a veggie celeb A-lister, famous for her passionate love of animals and tell-it-like-it-is communication style - bold and honest, with a halo of obvious charm and grace. Rory is a dedicated and inspiring animal rights advocate who networks her bum off to get the word out on animal causes both big and small - from an abused shelter puppy to a Farm Sanctuary fundraising event. It's safe to say that Rory has the power of the people in her hands. Whenever I'm feeling a little "out of the veggie loop" I simply click on Rory's Facebook page and get scoop galore. Plus, her tireless efforts always inspire me.

Read Rory's kick-a** (sorry I had to, it was the Skinny Bitch in me) "Veggie Girl Power" interview...

My Skinny Bitch Story. I picked up my copy of Skinny Bitch back in 2005, by pure accident. I liked the title, brief description and the fun cover. As I began reading the book, I quickly realized that OMG, this book is promoting a vegan lifestyle-something I had only recently decided to embrace full-force. Though I was already a long-time vegetarian. My reaction: Wow. When I read this girl-power, butt-kicking, truth be told book - I was pretty much floored into vegan bliss. There I was, sun-tanning with my casual read book, and I could not put it down. I remember turning to a friend and saying, "Oh my God! You have to read this book!" (And I was only on page 15). By page 15, Rory and Kim had already laugh-out-loud brilliantly nailed smoking, drinking, coffee, soda and caffeine to the wall. Loved it. Skinny Bitch will change your relationship with food and your own body. Don't call this a 'diet book', it's a lifestyle reality check, with some serious "Veggie Girlfriend Power" built in. It felt as though Rory and Kim were laying in the sun with me, chattering away. I was all ears. I think I got a really bad sunburn that day...

Veg*n: a 4-letter word. I don't know how I got through my teenage veggie years before the Skinny Bitch empire changed the world. Before Skinny Bitch, most vegan girls out there were clumped into some sort of identity described as 'crazy, health-obsessed, granola-heads, Birkenstock-wearing, wheat grass chugging, tree-hugging, overkill-vegetarians'. It certainly wasn't 'cool' to be vegan. (Or at least in my experience.) Skinny Bitch changed that. Rory and Kim created a new identity for the vegan girls out there. We didn't have to be "health-obsessed-crazy-vegans". We could now be skinny bitches.

Read the Book. I've posted this before, but it's important to repeat. I often get asked: "I'm just starting to explore veganism and wellness in general, what books should I read?" My answer is always the same: You must read Marilu Henner's Total Health Makeover, Rory Freedman's Skinny Bitch and read Rebecca Wood's The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia ~ cover to cover. Then we can talk recipe books from there... See my entire list of books that I own and love here.

And now onto Rory's interview....

About The "Veggie Girl Power" Interview. This series celebrates female trailblazers who inspire us! Featured Ladies were chosen for their unstoppable "Veggie Girl Power", aka a female with experience, wisdom, creativity, skills, heart, worldliness, passion, grace, drive, dedication and personality! Each question is 'filed' under one of these VGP characteristics.

Each featured lady was chosen for her significant contribution towards making this world a more beautifully vegan-friendly place.

Q1. Name and 'title'.
Rory Freedman, Skinny Bitch.
(Kathy Adds...Best Selling Author, Animal Advocate, Vegan Superstar.)

Q2. DRIVE: Yawn, sunrise, what is the first food/drink you reach for to start your "Veggie Girl Power" day?

Rory:
Water first. Gotta get that first glass in to set the tone for a day of hydrating. Then a smoothie with banana, berries, hempseed milk, and ground flax seeds.

Q3. HEART: As a "Veggie Girl Power" trailblazer you inspire so many girls/women, who or what was your inspiration at the start of your journey to today?

Rory:
Compassion for animals and the desire to help them is what compelled me to write Skinny Bitch. I believed (and still do) that if people were aware of what they were contributing to every time they ate meat, they’d be motivated to change. And in changing their diet to one that is cruelty-free, they’d be ensuring their own health and vitality, as well as the planet’s.

Q4. EXPERIENCE: When people ask you why you 'went VEG' what is your usual answer?

Rory:
I always called myself an “animal lover” but ate eat meat at every single meal. When I learned that animals were confined, tortured, and slaughtered, just because I liked how they tasted—I went vegetarian in that instant. There was no way any living, feeling being was going to be tortured and slaughtered because of me.

Q5. WORLDLINESS: Celebration dinner out, where do you go?

Rory:
In LA, Madeline Bistro, for sure. In NY, Candle 79 or Blossom.

Q6. CREATIVITY: "You can judge a veggie girl by her beverage"...what are your favorite juice/smoothie recipes?

Rory:
When I do juice fasts, I get creative. But my go-to-girl is cucumber, celery, parsley, apple, lime, and ginger.

Q7. DEDICATION: Are there any foods or food brands that you simply couldn't live without?


Rory:
Daiya cheese is the latest and greatest. Allison’s Gourmet, Vegan Treats, and Sticky Fingers have all officially ruined my life. And as boring as it sounds, I’m a whole foods girl: fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, daily.

Q8. WISDOM: What is a favorite life tip or quote of wisdom that you have shared with the world?


Rory:
Go vegan. Seriously. It will change your life in the most profound, indescribable, unexpected ways.

And listen for your inner passion. When you discover what it is, go for it unabashedly.

Q9. SKILLS: And equally important, what is one of your yummiest recipes you have shared with the world?

Rory:
I will be the first to admit I am a shitty-ass cook, so thankfully, my publisher hired a recipe developer to help with Skinny Bitch in the Kitch. I’ve gotta say, the mac ‘n cheese recipe from Kitch is the best I’ve ever had.

Q10. PASSION: What is the one message that you try to project to your fans and those you inspire?

Rory:
Relating to animals: spread the veg message as far and wide as you personally can. It’s up to each one of us to change the world.

Relating to us as individuals: You can do and be and have anything you want. So figure out what it is you were put on this earth to do and go for it.

Q11. PERSONALITY: Who would you award the "Veggie Girl Power" label to? And what have you learned from them?


Rory:
Ingrid Newkirk. It was a PETA mag that changed my life in the blink of an eye and got me to go veg, so I owe that first immeasurable step to her and everyone at PETA. Additionally, I am continually inspired by Ingrid’s fearlessness and tirelessness in fighting for the rights of animals. When I’m passing someone who’s wearing fur or riding in a horse-drawn carriage and I don’t feel comfortable speaking up, I hear Ingrid’s voice in my head, “Never be silent. Say something. Anything.”

Q12. GRACE: How do you respond to negative comments from critics, in real life or on the web?


Rory:
At the beginning of all this, every harsh word stung. But at this stage, if it’s a fair and accurate criticism, I own it, take it in, and make peace with it as quickly as possible. If it’s mindless shit-slinging that comes from someone who’s self-loathing, ignorant, or arrogant, I don’t let it land on me. So many people are hurting—they lash out at others to distract themselves from their own pain. It’s sad.

Bonus Question: Yes or no-do you think veg*n diets will ever be the majority and not the minority?


Rory:
Yes! I am totally hopeful, and with good reason. Never before have there been so many books, films, and organizations dedicated to veganizing the planet. Vegetarianism is trending higher than ever before, and it shows in the number of food products on the market, news stories, and the flood of information that’s making its rounds. Whether it’s ethically-, health-, or environmentally motivated, more and more people are making the transition.

Did you know? Here's how you can connect with Rory online:

Facebook: Rory Freedman
Twitter: Rory Freedman
Website: Skinnybitch.net


Skinny Bitch Books: Skinny Bitch, Skinny Bitchin', Skinny Bitch in the Kitch and Skinny Bitch Bun in the Oven. There is a line of Skinny Bitch Fitness DVD's too. More info: see the Skinny Bitch website.


Don't miss the last amazing lady in the VGP series...the awesome Sarma Melngailis of Pure Food and Wine and One Lucky Duck fame. That's Monday..




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