Sunday, March 27, 2016

Celebrate Easter with Witches and Trick-or-Treating

Did you know that witches and trick or treating are part of Scandinavian Easter traditions, which are still celebrated in parts of Sweden and other Scandinavian countries? On the Saturday or Thursday before Easter, young children dress up as witches or påskkärringar (the kindly, apple-cheeked, headscarf wearing kind, similar to Italy's la befana, the Christmas witch!) and go door-to-door asking for candy or other treats. How neat is it to have Halloween-like traditions in springtime?! 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Food Review: Sweet Magic Bakery Cookies

Sweet Magic Bakery's Orange Zest Sugar Cookies

In my never-ending quest to eat all the vegan things, I was thrilled to be approached by My Cottage Foods to try Sweet Magic Bakery's gluten-free and vegan cookies. My Cottage Foods delivers local craft food straight to your door and helps smaller companies gain exposure by offering up their organic and allergen-friendly products through their online store. My Cottage Foods is like having your own local farmer's market online, and it's so cool! Not everything on their site is vegan, but many products are, including a few varieties of Sweet Magic Bakery's cookies.

Sweet Magic Bakery has a mouth-watering selection of cookies (though not all are vegan, so always check the ingredients!), and I was lucky enough to receive their Gluten-Free Vegan Cinnamon Spice Molasses and Orange Zest Sugar cookies to try. Owner and head baker Vivian Van Natta has been baking her whole life (her fondest memories are of helping her mother bake in the kitchen) and she was inspired to offer up allergen-friendly baked goods since she has a dairy- and gluten-intolerant friend as well as many customers who want to avoid dairy and/or gluten. Her goal is to make vegan and gluten-free baked goods that are delectable! Keep reading to see if she succeeded...

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Los Angeles Vegan Street Fair 2016 Report

The second Vegan Street Fair was held this past Sunday in North Hollywood, California! This year promised to be bigger than last year (read about last year's event HERE!), with more space, more ticket options, and (most importantly) MORE FOOD!

It was held just a few streets over from last year's event, but on a wider street with much more space, and it grew from about 40 vendors to over 90! The vendors were mostly restaurants and food vendors, but there were also clothing companies, vegan lifestyle magazines, animal rescue and sanctuary booths, and many more! Some of the food vendors this year included Blue Window, SunCafe, Casa Coqui, Vegan Pizza, The Ridiculous Baking Co., and soooooo many more!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Food Review: New Grounds Food's CoffeeBars

When I was offered a chance to try three different flavors of the energy snack CoffeeBar made by New Grounds Food, which boasts "a cup of coffee in every bar!" I was intrigued. As a coffee drinker, I had to know more about a healthy energy bar that also doubled as a caffeine pick-me-up! Plus, all their bars are made with fair-trade coffee, and are organic, non-GMO, vegan, and gluten-free. and come in three yummy flavors - Mocha Latte, Coconut Mocha, and Caramel Macchiato. Yes, please give me ALL your CoffeeBars!

Two college students, Johnny and Ali (who you can see in the first photo above), came up with the concept for CoffeeBar. Their mission is emblazoned on the back of every CoffeeBar and says:"Starting out in our college dorm room, we were two freshmen who wanted a simpler way to stay energized, without sacrificing nutrition. We promise this delicious, edible coffee will give you the natural, on-the-go energy you need to keep on exploring!"

Friday, March 18, 2016

Food Review: Ben and Jerry's Non-Dairy Ice Cream

I'm a little late to the party on this, but I FINALLY found the exciting new non-dairy and vegan ice cream flavors that Ben and Jerry's recently released! I wasn't really searching for them in earnest before, because, let's be honest, my freezer was already full of vegan frozen desserts! When I finally spotted them at Target (two of my local Targets didn't have them, but I found them by chance at the Target at the Irvine Spectrum if you're local), I HAD to buy all four flavors...for science, right?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Eat All the Vegan Things: Vegan Street Fair Returns to LA this Sunday

Vegan Street Fair returns to North Hollywood on March 20th, 2016 with 
triple the space for their annual bite-sized vegan eats celebration! 

Who is excited for Vegan Street Fair this weekend?! I know I am!! Last year was a total blast (see pics from the event HERE!), and this year will be even BIGGER! More space, more vendors, and more fabulous people excited to EAT ALL THE VEGAN THINGS!

The official press release and more info on the event follows:

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

10 Irish Horror Films to Watch on St. Patrick's Day

Are you sick of watching the same horror movie every St. Patrick's Day? I mean, Leprechaun and its spawn are all good and fun to watch while drinking some green beer and munching on vegan colcannon, but why not celebrate this St. Patrick's Day with other Irish horror films?

Ireland is filled with so many spooky stories and legends that it is mind-boggling that there aren't more horror films set there that feature its lore. Also, we can't forget that Halloween has its roots in Samhain, which started in Ireland (can someone make a historical horror film based on Samhain, pretty please??).

Monday, March 14, 2016

Top 10 Vegan Products at Natural Products Expo West 2016

This past weekend I attended the Natural Products Expo West at the Anaheim Convention Center to scope out all the new vegan goodies coming out this year! I attended last year (check out my report!) and the year before (read all about it here), and every year has gotten bigger and bigger, with each show having more and more vegan options!

This year I was only able to attend for one day, but I tried to visit as many vegan and vegan-friendly booths as possible. It was fun seeing so many old favorites, seeing new vegan food items, and visiting with many of my favorite vegan people and companies! Though I had a whirlwind day, I feel like I covered a lot of ground in eight hours on the show floors and can bring you my top 10 favorite vegan food products from the Expo, plus some honorable mentions.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Beauty Review: Pacifica Kale Detox Deep Cleaning Face Wash

I have used Pacifica Sea Foam Complete Face Wash religiously for about two years now, and I still highly recommend that cleanser (read my full review). However, when Pacifica released their Kale Detox Deep Cleaning Face Wash specifically formulated for oily and/or acne-prone skin, I knew I had to try it!

Pacifica is a 100% vegan and cruelty-free line, and all of their products I've tried have been of the utmost quality. It is a brand I trust, and a brand I return to time and time again. Not only do they have face cleansers and other skin care products like moisturizers and makeup remover wipes, but they also have a full makeup line, perfumes (they make some of my favorites!), and they have also recently announced they are releasing more skin care products as well as hair products! The Kale Detox Deep Cleaning Face Wash is one of their newer products in their expanded skin care line.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Haunting the Halls of Expo West this Weekend

I'm heading back to the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim this weekend (check out last year's coverage!) and haunting the halls for another year to find the yummiest and raddest vegan products!

Expo West is a HUGE natural food and products expo in the US, where new products are unveiled and companies showcase their products to buyers and the press. I usually visit my fave vegan brands to see what they have cooking, and I also end up discovering new companies and vegan products!

Expo Wests boasts a wide variety of vendors across the spectrum - from food to beauty to health and beyond! It is not an all-vegan Expo (yet!), but there are a lot of companies that are either vegan or showcase vegan options.

I've attended Expo the last couple of years, and I'm looking forward to returning this year, which may be my last. I will be reporting any fab finds and delicious dishes via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, so be sure to follow me there if you want up-to-the-minute details on the Expo!

After the Expo and once I've had some time to recover, I'll post a re-cap of everything as well as my favorite vegan products from the Expo, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

Are you attending this year? If so, I hope to scare you there!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Watch Now on Netflix: Murder Maps (2015)

Murder Maps is a docu-drama television series that takes us back to the Victorian era and beyond to the most shocking and surprising murder cases in history you might not have heard about. Host Nicholas Day guides us through historical crimes, their perpetrators and victims, as well as the then burgeoning field of forensics and how new techniques helped police solve these often gruesome crimes.

I was intrigued by the premise of this show, and it didn't disappoint! It mixes historical reenactments of the crimes with discussions from historians, criminologists, and scientists. Plus, many of the crimes they covered were news to me, and I am a junkie for historical murderers, so woo hoo!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Restaurant Review: Cafe Gratitude in Newport Beach, CA

Cafe Gratitude breakfast!

Cafe Gratitude recently expanded into Orange County with the opening of its newest restaurant in Newport Beach, California. Though there are several Cafe Gratitude locations up in Los Angeles, I had never been to one, so I was excited that one was opening so close to home! 

Gratitude is 100% plant-based, with 99% of their items being vegan - the only items that you need to watch out for are honey and bee pollen in some of their drinks and/or dishes. These are usually noted on the menu descriptions, but you can also ask your server to be sure. They also have many gluten free options and they use organic ingredients whenever possible.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The 4th Annual Spook Show Scares Up Some Fun this Weekend

UPDATE: Check out my recap of the event HERE!

Boils and ghouls, step right up for the 4th Annual Spook Show, held at the Halloween Club in La Mirada, CA this Saturday, March 5th, 2016 from noon to 7 PM.

The outdoor event brings together Halloween enthusiasts from all over Southern California to browse vendors selling arts, crafts, curios, props, jewelry, costumes, decor, music, and more! There is also live music, food trucks (Southern Fried Vegan will be there, woot woot!), and the Halloween Club has their biggest sale of the year during the Spook Show.

I went to the event last year and it was a lot of fun (check out pics)! Tons of cool props, toys, collectibles, art, crafts, etc. to look at, plus many attendees dress up in costume. It's like having Halloween in springtime!

You can find out more about the event via Spook Show's event page on Facebook!

Scare ya there!

UPDATE: Check out my recap of the event HERE!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

What I Ate: Pizza and Donuts Edition

Heartbreaker Pizza for Valentine's Day - hand-shaped vegan crust topped with
tomato sauce, vegan mozzarella, onions, vegan sausage, and kale.

Well, February appeared to be a pretty decadent month for me, at least based on what I ate. Looking at the photographic evidence, my diet seemed to consist of a lot of pizza and donuts. Oops or success, depending on how you look at it!

Though I wish I could subsist on pizza and donuts alone, I cannot, while I do looooove both! I promise I eat healthy on occasion, though I don't usually take pictures of my healthier meals. I'll make a better effort to document my healthier meals in the future! In the meantime, though, you can join me in drooling over the many pizzas and donuts I enjoyed in the last month, as well as a few other decadent meals and a few healthy ones as well!
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