Thursday, December 17, 2009

Green Tomatoes (without meat, dairy, or Kathy Bates)

I picked up my CSA share on Saturday, and I had a veritable plethora of green tomatoes and some assorted hot peppers (jalapenos and the like).  I’ve never cooked with green tomatoes (that’s a Southern thing, apparently, and quite frankly, Texas isn’t really Southern – it’s Texan*.), so I snooped around the internet, fished through approximately 2 billion recipes looking for something to do other than fry them and wound up with the following: 

Hot N Spicy Green Tomato Soup with Crispy Pancetta 

The recipe was fairly simple to veganize:

1. Skip the pancetta and just add a tad bit more oil for cooking the onions to make up for the missing grease.

2. Substitute veggie broth for the chicken stock.

3. I had a leftover Chipotle Field Roast Sausage, so I diced that up and quickly browned it and set aside to fill in for the pancetta (not necessary, but I liked having something crunchy on top). 

Ok, so I had so many tomatoes that I had to try the frying thing as well.  Luckily, I remembered staring at this recipe for a month while my favorite vegan food blogger was working on getting her book out (more on that to come because I really like a few of the things from this book so far). 

And to top that, I’ve been hearing so much about Gardein lately (I don’t eat a lot of faux meat, but thanks to the Oprah exposure, I had to give this a shot), that I went all vegan Paula Deen and fried up the faux chicken according to the Fried Green Tomatoes recipe.

So, now I had a meal fit for a king Southern gentleman.   

The highlight was definitely the fried green tomatoes (with a bit of balsamic reduction and served on some mixed greens from the farm) and the Gardein (the closest thing to real chicken texture that I’ve had) was a very close second.

Final Result:  All of it was good.  Damn good.  Gluttonous good.  Like I’ll likely not eat for the next 24 hours because I’m so full – well… except for the glass of chocolate Silk and the TCB chocolate chip cookie sitting next to me on the desk while I type this.  But, seriously, 24 hours starting…….now.


*Green tomatoes are not tomatillos (something I do know how to cook being from Texas), but this soup has a consistency and taste similar to the tomatillo sauce you would put on enchiladas, tamales, chile rellenos, etc.  That being the case, I’m planning on topping some vegan tamales with the leftovers tomorrow evening – nice bonus, I must say.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Chanukah Potato Latkes

I like mine crispy on the outside and just a little soft on the inside. How about you?

Here’s my recipe:

5 pounds potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 yellow onions, quartered
½ cup egg replacer
1 cup matzo meal (flour, bread crumbs, or panko bread crumbs can also be substituted)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
Oil for frying

Grate the potatoes and onions together in the food processor. Mix in the dry ingredients. Let the mixture stand for about 5 to 10 minutes. Heat a sauté pan with a thin layer of oil to medium high. You can use canola, vegetable, or even peanut oil. Form about a 2 tablespoon ball gently in your hands so it does not fall apart. Drop it into the pan and flatten lightly with the spatula. Allow the pancakes to fry for a few minutes before moving them or else they may fall apart. Flip them over and press gently to flatten. Cook until golden brown.

Feeds about 8-10 people.

Serve with your choice of Tofutti sour cream or applesauce.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Holiday Reds

According to VegNews Magazine, Yellow Tail’s Shiraz is America’s “Favorite Vegan Tipple.”


Okay, we get it. Yellow Tail’s red wines ARE vegan-friendly (no egg whites or isinglass used in the fining process), affordable, and available in some of the most remote areas of the country. But here in Dallas, vegans don’t have to settle for reds that are only a step above Boone’s…or maybe Mad Dog 20/20.

Here’s what we’re buzzin’ on this season:

Michael~David - 7 Deadly Zins

Michael~David’s 7 Deadly Zins is a full bodied red wine with heavy notes of blueberries, raspberries, chocolate, and tobacco. Hints of vanilla make this vegan-friendly, uber-jammy red easy to sip alone, but it also pairs well with a box of Spiral Diner’s Double Chocolate Fudge Brownies. 7 Deadly Zins can be found at just about every DFW wine outlet, but the best values are at Goody Goody ($11.67), and Central Market ($11.98).

Dry Comal Creek - “Black Spanish” Dark Red Lenoir

The fact that this wine is produced in the Lone Star State is only part of why we’re such big fans of Dry Comal Creek’s “Black Spanish” Dark Red Lenoir. It’s also made entirely of the Texas-native Black Spanish grape! This spicy, vegan-friendly red wine boasts notes of mulberry, black cherry, chocolate, and compliments a variety of Texas-style vegan eats. Grab a bottle of our favorite Texas gem at vegetarian-owned Dallas Fine Wine & Spirits.

Stephen Vincent - Crimson

We’re responsible for tipping-off Barnivore to Stephen Vincent’s Crimson, a vegan-friendly syrah-cab blend that features blueberry and ripened plum notes. We heart this budget red for its fruit-forward, medium-bodied frame, making it the perfect wine for mulling this holiday season! Go ahead and splash a jigger of brandy in your mug…we won’t tell.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Whole Foods' Faux Chicken

Ever call up your favorite Asian take-out, and are greeted with, “Sweet & Sour Tofu?” instead of something like, “Thank you for calling...”? 

Totally embarrassing, right?

Well, that’s how I feel at the Whole Foods deli in Highland Park. Kinda like my favorite take-out joint, the guys here usually start filling my order before I even make it all the way to the deli case.

Hmm…maybe it’s time I start a collection of disguise wigs just like Uncle Nancy.

What keeps me—and so many other vegans—coming back are the deli’s fabulous faux chicken creations! Whole Foods’ Mock Chicken Salads, Sweet Chili Soy Nuggets, and Savory Mushroom Soy Nuggets are beautifully presented, packed with flavor, and the chicken-style soy nuggets taste and feel like the real deal.

Mock Chicken Salads come in two different styles. Original Mock Chicken Salad is made with diced soy nuggets, Nasoya’s Nayonaise, celery, and parsley. The Sonoma Mock Chicken Salad contains red grapes in the mix, and Follow Your Heart’s Vegenaise is used instead of Nayonaise.

The deli’s Sweet Chili Soy Nuggets are prepped with broccoli, carrot shreds, and a sweet Asian chili sauce, and the Savory Mushroom Soy Nuggets are made with wild mushroom and sage gravy, onions, parsley, and a few other add-ins.

Whole Foods’ faux chicken deli offerings are not only big sellers with the veggie crowd—omnivores dig ‘em, too! At least according to Whole Foods checker Jon Adams.

“I would say at least half of the people who buy the fake chicken also have real meat in their carts,” states Adams, “And the other half are vegans like you who come to the line with lots of beer and wine,” he says laughingly.

Um—that was research. I swear.

The popular Soy Nuggets are produced and distributed by a North Carolina-based company called Delight Soy. The company produces its goods on a small scale, making them available on an irregular basis, and only at a short list of natural markets and eateries.

“That’s why when they sell out, there could be long stretches before you can get more,” says Adams.

But you can usually find Delight Soy’s plain Soy Nuggets and Soy Patties in the freezer case at the Whole Foods on Lemmon. A single serving (3 nuggets, or 1 patty) contains 130 calories, 7 grams of fat, 9 grams of soy protein, and 2 grams of dietary fiber. Four-serving packages sell for $5.99, and very little prep work is needed to recreate your deli faves! The best part: No wig required.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Shh...'s not official yet.

Bliss Raw Cafe tentatively opens at Preston Center on December 15.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Re: Who wants to join a CSA?

I've been meaning to post a response to Drew's piece and finally found some time with the slow work week. Here's the ugly/wonderful truth about CSAs.

Firstly, I'm a current shareholder in a CSA in Balch Springs (more to come in a later post complete with pictures, interviews, thought, etc.). Investing in a CSA is much more difficult than simply saying "if I pay x amount, then I get x amount of food." It's not the grocery store, it's real life, and real life depends on sunshine and rain. Any guarantees made by a farmer should be taken with the utmost caution.

In the CSA formula, the farmer is the most important variable as this is where your investment is going. The idea is that with your investment money, the farmer can devote 100% of his/her time to growing quality food for you instead of spending a significant share of their time and resources marketing themselves at farmer's markets, restaurants, etc. What your investment money can't do is change the weather by importing peppers from Holland (that's what super markets are for).

Drew highlighted a local CSA, Tucker Farms. Here's a line straight from their website:

Be aware that buying a share is not an iron-clad guarantee of vegetables every week. If a freak storm or bad drought destroys the crops, there may be little to “share.” And usually, there’s no money back guarantee. It’s a shared risk.

That's about as clear cut as it gets, but I'd like to add to it this:

"WE LIVE IN NORTH TEXAS. When was the last time we went for a year without a freak storm or drought? And there's NEVER a money back guarantee. Also, if you don't like eating leafy greens in the winter, you'll need to move south of the equator or go to the grocery store, because that's a big part of what grows in the winter in real life!"

All I'm saying is that you shouldn't expect a 1/2 bushel of anything if it rains over 24" in a month (like it did way back in........oh yeah, October).

Ok, now that I'm done scaring you, I want to tell you why I am (and why you should be, if it's right for you) in a CSA.

1. I love my farm and my farmer.
I believe in supporting local businesses, in reducing my impact on the environment, and eating quality organic produce. My farm and my farmer enable me to do all of the above. In addition, my farmer can answer questions that the produce guy at the grocery store can't. She can tell me definitively when and how what I'm eating was produced and how I can grow some of it at home (should you be in to that sort of thing).

2. Nothing tastes better than produce picked that day.

3. I get to try new things.
Apparently we don't get to see but a fraction of the total catalog of edible produce in the super market. It's all dictated by huge supplier's profits on common, popular fruits and veggies. Your local farmers don't believe in that kind of thing. They plant stuff you've never heard of in addition to the regular stuff. And very typically plant unfamiliar varieties of things you have heard of. They're all good.

4. If you want farming to go back to its roots, you have to be part of the solution.
My farmer can't compete with the huge producers, no more than you or I could. But, when you can gather some like-minded folks to help share the risks of the single farmer, that farmer can flourish in their own right. It's an amazing concept (not surprising that everyone in the Northeast and on the West Coast are way ahead of us on the concept, but we're catching on!!).

5. While Whole Foods might be organic, this stuff is ridiculously organic.
Hand plowing, hand weeding, on-site irrigation, natural & organic pest control. This is so environmentally friendly, it's ridiculous. My farm has a homemade wind and solar-powered water pump. How cool is that?

A good resource for finding a CSA in your hood is Just be sure to know what you're getting into. Things you need to do/decide:
  1. If the Fall is rained out and there's a drought in the Summer, will I be going hungry because I spent all my grocery money on the CSA? (The answer should be no.)
  2. Am I willing to share with friends and/or learn how to can food lest the occasional onslaught of food go to waste? (When the weather is nice, folks have been known to have more food than they know what to do with. This is, of course, a good thing.)
  3. Can I cook or am I at least willing to try? (If you can't, what are you going to do with all these veggies?)
  4. What crops will be produced and when? (You may get sick of eating the same things over and over during certain seasons, but, again, this is real life - nothing is grown year-round like it is in your nearest super market.)
  5. Is "Organic" important to me? (Not all CSAs are organic.)
  6. Is "Local" important to me? (If you're joining CSA, it should be).
  7. Are you grossed out by people talking about locally-raised, grass-fed meat and raw milk? (You shouldn't be because CSA farmers generally run in circles with the folks who produce those products and often offer their products at additional costs to their shareholders. I think it's a wonderful thing - I just join the other vegans on my farm by not purchasing their goods.)
  8. Commit to visiting the farm before joining and understanding how things are done.
  9. Commit to meeting the farmer before joining - this is where your investment is actually going!!!

Ok, all done. Now get out there and eat local (after some research, of course).

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Who wants to join a CSA?

The concept has apparently been around for awhile, but with the recent locavore and organic food movements becoming more popular, CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture) are gaining popularity once again.

Here’s the concept in a nutshell: a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Purchasers make payments before the growing season and in return receive proportionate amounts of produce each week throughout the growing season.

EatGreenDFW reports that Jerry Tucker of Tucker Farms is offering shares right now! Depending on the growing season, he is planning on a 32 week growing season, but it may even last longer! By my calculation, that’s almost 8 months of farm fresh produce, weather permitting. You can expect 40 to 50 different varieties of vegetables, and herbs, upon request. Tucker will speak with you in advance, to ask you your likes and dislikes. He says that you can even customize your selection each week by email.

Both half and full shares are available with the half shares priced at $300 (or less than $9.50 a week) and the full shares at $500 (or about $16 a week). A full share is supposed to yield a half bushel (about 13"x13"x6" box) of seasonal vegetables, and can be paid off in installments of $125. More details are available here.

Here’s the catch: Tucker Farms is near Ennis, about 45 minutes south of Dallas on Rte. 75. If there’s anyone out there who wants to join the group or knows of any other good CSA’s, we’re trying to arrange a local pickup here in the DFW metroplex. Give me a shout at if you’re interested or leave us a comment.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dog & Kitty City Annual Holiday Raffle

It’s that time of year again when the question abounds - “what are you thankful for?” This year, I’m fortunate to be thankful for many reasons – one of which is to be introduced to such a great organization – the Dallas Humane Society Dog & Kitty City no-kill animal shelter (DKC for short).


DKC is the city of Dallas’ only no-kill shelter, providing a home for so many dogs & cats that otherwise may not have had a chance to live, much less the opportunity of finding a forever home with a loving new family.


Each year the holiday raffle is one of DKC’s most successful fundraisers, and hopefully this year is no exception. Raffle tickets go for a mere $5 a piece and offer the chance of winning some great prizes, including items such as:

  • Professional pet photo session with blue mutt photography
  • $100 gift card to Whole Foods Market (where you can buy a plethora of vegan goodies)
  • 2 $75 gift cards to Bolsa MarketCafeWine Bar – a favorite of Dallas Vegan
  • An obscene amount of wine – we’re not absolutely sure whether or not it’s all vegan – but after you finish the first of 2 double-magnums of doghouse chardonnay, you may not remember much in the morning anyway

Click here for a complete list of raffle items

For tickets, please visit – come to Dallas Vegan Drinks tonight (Thursday 11/12) and make a direct purchase (you need not be present anywhere to win).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Vegan Drinks November – This Thursday, 11/12


Just a reminder, Dallas Vegan Drinks is this Thursday, November 12th, at Idle Rich Pub.

Our first Vegan Drinks was awesome, so we’re looking to keep the momentum going.

What is Dallas Vegan Drinks?

Dallas Vegan Drinks is a continual work-in-progress designed for you, the DFW vegan community. We want everyone to come out and talk-up an organization you belong to, or maybe a new restaurant you found - anything having to do veganism and all that implies. With your continued participation and feedback, we’re sure this will become a fun monthly networking & social opportunity for all of us.

New for November

This month, we’ll be trying something a little different. The “official” event at Idle Rich lasts from 6-8pm, but some of us plan to move on and grab a bite to eat afterwards. This time we’ll be heading to Cosmic Cafe. Feel free to join us and continue the conversation with some new friends.

Find us on Facebook

If you haven’t become a fan on Facebook yet, you might not have seen the event listing for Dallas Vegan Drinks. Be sure to check it out and RSVP!

Dallas Vegan Drinks
Thursday November 12th, 6-8pm
Idle Rich Pub
2614 Mckinney Ave
Dallas, TX

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Celebration Restaurant

Although Celebration Restaurant has been a Dallas institution for almost 40 years, they made the news most recently as they were reportedly shut down by the City of Dallas for holding a neighborhood farmers’ market without the required permit.

I had not been to Celebration for many years, and at least since I’d turned vegan. I remembered the place as a meat-and-potatoes, homestyle-type, southern American restaurant where we would go for large gatherings. With all this hubbub about them holding a farmers’ market, I decided to do some investigation to see if there were any decent options for us vegans.

It appeared as if there might actually be some good vegan items, since according to the restaurant’s mission statement, Celebration is “striv[ing] to become a leader in the Dallas environmental movement by supporting local farmers and vendors by taking conscious measures to reduce our carbon footprint.” Among those measures, they claim to use local ingredients whenever possible.

Celebration is also holding a “Dinner with Dialogue” on the second Monday of each month. On November 9, for example, Pamela Walker, author of Growing Good Food to Eat in Texas is scheduled to speak about sustainable agricultural practices, and also Michael and Debbie Sams of Full Quiver Farms and Dairy.

Given the promise of potential vegan options, I made a reservation for 13 people, and we were fortunate enough to snag one of the private rooms that I remember so fondly. The place itself is a stone building and it’s got a very camp feel. The menu features mostly meat items with only 2 vegan options: spaghetti and a vegetable plate, which was a little disappointing.

The lack of selection in entrees is made up by the fact that they are served with your choice of soup or salad, and you can order free “seconds” (and thirds, and fourths, in our case). The Light Basil Vinaigrette with Garden Salad and Fresh Vegetable Soup are both vegan, and we ordered both:

The vegetable soup had a slight metallic taste, although it was chock full of veggies. The salad was a hit-even without the croutons, which we did not verify whether they were vegan.

For entrees, we chose the spaghetti and marinara, since we could order it with our choice of veggies, and, as you can see, it was nothing fancy:

The veggies available on our visit included spinach, broccoli, new potatoes, local acorn squash and okra. We were told that the vegetables are typically steamed with light seasoning and olive oil, but you should probably check for specifics upon your visit.

Since we ordered them steamed, they were very simple. You could probably request that they be sautéed, if you prefer.

Overall, I enjoyed the simplicity of our meal and the selection of veggies, including local ones. But, I didn’t feel like the restaurant has yet fully realized their goal of being a “leader in the local environmental movement.” Most on-menu items contained one of our typical plot spoilers, which here included some type of meat or dairy. Vegan options could have been more clearly delineated on the menu, which still proved to be a bit confusing for us and our server, despite my advance preparation. In my opinion, being a leader in the local environmental movement would necessarily include a greater focus on vegan options. I hope to see the menu here continue to evolve to meet this goal.

Celebration Restaurant, Catering, & Market
4503 W. Lovers Lane
Dallas, Texas 75206

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

This Week in Dallas

Sorry for our brief hiatus. We’ve been super busy working on our main site (coming soon)!

So here’s the deal—we’re putting Veg-Head of the Week on hold for a bit. Just too much on our plates at the moment. But we promise VHotW will return shortly.

Check out what's happening for veg-heads in Dallas this week...

Skinny Bitchin’ in Dallas

Join Kim Barnouin, co-author of Skinny Bitch, at The Joule tomorrow for organic wine tasting and desserts. Bardouin will be in town celebrating her newest venture Click HERE for more details.

We’re all about sampling Bliss Raw Café’s new menu! We hear they’ve just launched a killer raw Vietnamese Pho, California Pizza, and a long list of decadent raw desserts created by celebrity chef Miranda Martinez. Get ‘em while they’re hot! Or maybe we should say “cold.”

You know those Soy Nuggets and Mock Chicken Salad we always rave about? Well, you can now buy those same soy nuggets (plain) in the freezer case. We were totally stoked to get that scoop!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Spiral Diner Cookbook: Sweet Potato Pie

Check out what I'm baking instead of pumpkin pie this holiday season...

I finally tackled Spiral Diner's Sweet Potato Pie from their upcoming cookbook! And I've gotta say - it's hella good! Too bad y'all missed it at Vegan 101's Halloween Party last weekend...CRAZY GOOD TIME!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Are Pixy Stix Sandwiches Vegan?

I think it’s an obvious statement that we are each one of us vegan for a variety of reasons. I dare say we likely don’t all agree on the big stuff: politics, religion, so on and so on.  We probably don’t even all agree about the differing degrees of veganism or the ends we’d like to see from these lifestyle means.  

I celebrate that diversity.  It’s what can make this movement successful.  You see, you need the preppy assholes (like me) to go vegan as much as you need the punks and the hipsters to go vegan if you’re striving for real change.  I call it the Breakfast Club Theory - we’ll achieve more if we have on our side “a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal.”  Differing ideals bringing attention to one cause – pretty good stuff.

With that in mind, I was so pleasantly surprised to find a (very) conservative and (very) religious columnist and blogger for our own Morning News with some interesting views on food & veganism: Rod Dreher.

The very omnivorous Mr. Dreher contributes pretty regularly to DMN’s Religion Blog as well as his CrunchyCons Blog over at (the self proclaimed largest spiritual website) – not the typical avenues one would expect for getting info and engaging in discussions about eating local, the ills of factory farming*, veganism or even Mercy For Animals' cause (I think we’ve seen that one before).

Religion (Eastern Orthodoxy, if you must know) was the motivation behind Rod’s (very) brief vegan stint.  The Great Lent requires that followers give up meat and dairy for a little over a month.  I know, I know, that seems too easy.  What I like is that he gave it a shot, and in doing so brought attention to our cause on a variety of levels.  I’ll take Bible beaters and Skinny Bitches alike, whatever their reasons. 

*Read that report from the Pew Commission – awesome info.  Just print it double-sided at your office (hope my boss is not reading this), because it’s pretty long.


 And because I couldn’t resist, I’ve assembled a vegan Breakfast Club of my own:


The Brain, the Athlete, the Basket Case, the Princess, & the Criminal 

Oh, and no definitive answers on the vegan status of Pixy Stix through a limited amount of research, so use your best judgement.

LUSH Holiday Collection 2009

Yay! It’s Christmas in…umm…October! Well, at least here at Dallas Vegan. The good people of LUSH Cosmetics just sent us a few products to sample from their 2009 Holiday Collection. We couldn’t be more thrilled!

LUSH offers an array of unique, handmade body products (bath bombs, bubble bars, shower jellies, and bath melts), 75-80% of which are totally vegan! Some of our year-round faves include the AvoBath Bath Bomb, Sweetie Pie Shower Jelly, and the Sex Bomb Bath Ballistic.

Hmm…maybe that’s why vegans taste better—erm—we mean smell better…yeah.

Here’s what’s keeping us fresh these days:

Candy Cane Bubble Bar

We were stoked to find the classic pink & white Candy Cane Bubble Bar in our holiday sample pack! This bar of bubbly goodness will make your tub so super-sweet and frothy, you’ll think your bathing in a vat full of cotton candy. ($5.95)

Satsumo Santa Bath Bomb

A fat Santa-shaped bath bomb with bright notes of orange and lemon. We busted our Satsumo Santa in half to spread the cheer over two long baths. (Albeit, back to back.) Like the AvoBath Bath Bomb, Satsumo Santa’s sharp citrus scent will make your warm bath both relaxing and energizing. Nothing like a little yin with your yang, eh? ($5.95)

Snow Fairy Shower Gel

To put it simply, we’re in love with the Snow Fairy! The catalog description reads: “Candy floss pink with a sweet, magical scent and iridescent brush of glitter, a non-surprising hit with the ladies…a more surprising hit with grown men!” No argument here. ($8.95 - $19.95)

Want to Believe Bath Melt

This X-Files-esque lump of charcoal and fennel claims to “detoxify the naughtiness right out of you.” Um, we’re holding onto this little gem until after our crazy weekend at the Oak Lawn Halloween Street Party…that’ll really put it to the test! ($6.95)

Swing by our favorite LUSH retailer at NorthPark Center and grab a few vegan bubble bars for a chance to win LUSH’s Bubble Beard Photo Contest. And send us your best shot, too!

Our local winner will get a slab of LUSH’s Play Your Cards Right Massage Bar, and the winning photo will be featured on Dallas Vegan!

Submit your photo to by November 2, 2009. Winner will be announced on November 6, 2009.

Lather up, folks!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Veg-Head of the Week: Mia Bissette

This week I have the honor of presenting our “Veg-Head of the Week”, Mia Bisset. She’s not only a vegan, but an animal lover and a distance athlete that uses her racing as a means to raise money for animals in need. It’s difficult for us to sum-up all of her accomplishments (because it's such a long list!), so we’re going to let Mia make the introduction in her own words. Welcome Mia!

My name is Mia Bissette and I am honored to be Veg Head of the week :) I so appreciate the wonderful vegetarian/vegan community here in the DFW area and I look forward to meeting more and more of you!

I had the great blessing of being able to retire as a hair stylist after 15yrs (in 2006) and really follow my passion which has everything to do with the welfare of animals large and small. I became a vegetarian in April 2006 as well, after a friend described to me how she was stuck in traffic behind a chicken transport vehicle and the horror she witnessed. Ten months, after learning the truth about the dairy industry, I became a vegan. I still fly high everyday knowing that I no longer contribute to the mistreatment of any animal.

I've had the great fortune to work with groups who do everything from rescue and rehab dolphins and whales off the TX coast ( to caring for exotic cats (lions, tigers...) in a wonderful rescue sanctuary ( and finding homes for unwanted dogs and cats ( I also became a certified veterinary technician after 2 yrs of school and passing the state and national boards. Finishing first in my class was a proud moment for me. In the future I'd still like to be part of rescue teams who find homeless animals after major disasters.

My most recent accomplishments have involved doing triathlons to raise money for a rescue group or farm animal sanctuary that I choose because it touches my heart. Two yrs ago I raised over $1000 for Animal Acres in Acton, CA ( by completing a sprint triathlon here in Dallas. Last year I raised close to $3000 for Ruff Houzen Rescue ( run by my friend Ashley Paige in Los Angeles, CA., who has single-handedly rescued and found homes for over 600 cats and dogs. Ashley is definitely one of my heroes and a great inspiration to me.

This year I completed my first Olympic distance triathlon and raised just under $4000 for PETA! ( I've also rescued and found homes for 15 dogs this year, one of whom has become another hero of mine and one of my best friends. The other 14 went to loving homes.


During this past year I have become very interested in eating mainly a living raw food diet. I still love some vegan goodies as well but mainly stick to raw these days. I went to a wonderful class to learn some preparation techniques and raw food recipes here in Dallas when we were so fortunate as to have Jackie and Gideon Graff here from Atlanta, GA. I'd love to share one of the recipes with you. From the great minds of the Graffs I give you the Raw Apple Pie with Raw Nut and Date Pie Crust…

Nut and Date Pie Crust
1 c. almonds, soaked for 12 hrs., drained and dehydrated
1 c. pecans, " " " " " " "
1 c. walnuts, " " " " "
1 1/2 c. medjool dates, pits removed
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp vanilla powder (5 vanilla beans + 1/2 c. buckwheat groats in a blender till powder) this in airtight container in fridge or freezer
~or~ 1 tsp liquid vanilla

  • Place almonds in food processor and process until it resembles flour
  • Add salt and vanilla and process well
  • Add pecans, walnuts, and dates to food processor and process until mixed well
  • Press mixture into 8-10 inch glass pie pan

*Crust may be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen


Apple Pie
1 nut and date pie crust
6 golden delish or fuji apples peeled and cored
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp cinnamon
4-6 medjool dates pits removed
1 tsp vanilla powder
1 c. raisins
2 tsp flax seeds, ground fine

  • Prepare pie crust
  • Place 1/3 of apples, salt, cinnamon, dates, and vanilla powder in food processor process until mixture is almost consistency of apple sauce
  • Continue adding apples, processing only until apples are chopped into small to med. size pieces
  • Add raisins
  • Stir in ground flax seeds and mix well and let sit for 15 mins.
    The raisins and flax seeds will soak up the juice from the apples
  • Place apple mixture in pie crust

Optional: top with chopped walnuts and a few more raisins


I encourage everyone to look into raw foods and to incorporate them into your diet. Thanks to Jackie and Gideon for this wonderful and easy recipe (

Thank you, Mia, for that great write-up! We look forward to seeing more awesome things you do for animals in the future!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Unhealthy Arlington? Not so fast…

Contrary to popular belief (at least belief held by Men’s Health magazine), there’s more to Arlington than fast food and Jerry World (both of which are decidedly not vegan-friendly).

However, we’ve been tipped off to a few goings-on in Arlington that we thought we’d pass along that might help improve its “unhealthy” image.

First, in response to the nationwide press, the city now plans to have a downtown farmer’s market on Fridays through the end of the year. Get there today to pick up some fresh veggies.

Next, head to the Arlington Whole Foods Market on Saturday from 1-2:30 and sample some fabulous Hail Merry Products, which are now available there (Hail Merry will also be in Richardson on Sunday).

Here at Dallas Vegan, we're big fans of the Chocolate Mint Miracle Tart!



Finally, if you’re not sure what to do with your fresh veggies once you get them - Head to a raw food lecture on Monday, October 26th.


Now, we’d just like to see some vegan-friendly restaurants we can dine in before watching the Cowboys choke at the last minute of a game (Sorry…I shouldn’t let my bitterness for attending the home opener spoil this delightful story). Tell us if you know of any!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

“What’s The Point Of A Meat-Filled Life? or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Eat A Vegan Diet”

Firstly, thank you to the Dallas Vegan family for welcoming me to their little (and rapidly growing) corner of the blogosphere.  I hope to not disappoint.

Secondly, “Have a Cheeseburger. It will make you feel better.” 

Never has an odder shot across the bow started such a silly war of words.  A brief (very brief) background for those unfamiliar:  Eddie G and Jamey wanted Fair-fare.; Omnivores didn’t care-care;  Dave Faries threw out a dare-dare. 

And we answered.  Sort of.

When I say “sort of,” I mean that we all threw out anonymous blog commentary on one of Dallas’ finest food-blogging forums.  Fair enough – it’s a viable medium in this day and age.  With that in mind, my first assignment is to gather a selection of Dallas’ loudest food related (and some non-food related) blogging voices and see what they have to say about our agenda/lifestyle/diet.  I’d like to paint them in broad strokes for the sake of my loquacious ways with the goal being to expound upon some of the details/debates in the coming weeks.  This week: Dave Faries’ What’s The Point Of A Meatless Life?

If cheeseburgers are the omnivores’ ammo, Dave Faries has elected himself to the rank of General for their army.  Actually, that’s unfair.  Maybe he’s our Great Mediator – the one who can initiate the end to the on-going cold war between the Meatless and the Meaty.   In whatever capacity he’s acting, it is his column that is up for discussion.  He posited the simple question: “What’s The Point Of A Meatless Life?”  He further stated, “I’ve never understood why one would choose to be vegan or vegetarian in the first place.  Well, there is one exception.  If someone doesn’t really like the flavor of meat, a vegetarian/vegan diet makes perfect sense.”

Dave, there are many things I like, including the taste of meat.  If your reasoning is a simple as “Liking: Doing :: Not Liking: Not Doing,” then we are at an impasse.  However, I hear you’re a wonderfully intelligent man (or so Eddie G says), so, in turn, let me ask you, “What’s The Point Of A Meat-Filled Life?” 

Certainly a genuine answer to Dave’s original question could be that the point of a meatless life is one’s desire to not contribute to an environmentally unsustainable, cruelly efficient, and, in many aspects, health-depriving industry.

Certainly a genuine answer to my rebutting question could be, “It tastes good.”

I’m a recently reformed meat-eater.  In AA terms, I’m carrying my one-year chip.  There weren’t twelve steps for me - just a one step realization (through a decent amount of research, mind) that the many reasons for a meatless life far outweighed that one glaring reason for a meat-filled one.

As stated, I will be explaining these reasons in greater detail over the coming weeks and hopefully inviting you all on a fact-finding mission (or at least a fact-based opinion-finding mission). 

I’ve explained to many a newly met vegan that I still have to read a daily argument in support of our lifestyle.  When someone like Dave makes available a forum for those arguments, I can only applaud his actions.  It’s also possible that Mr. Faries doesn’t truly believe everything he said.  That the food columnist for a local alternative weekly wouldn’t be best served by pumping up the comment volume with a fiery, debatable topic would be a conclusion not easily ignored. 

But, oh, some of the things he said.  Surely he must believe them if he had the courage to argue them.  “Because ancient humans lived off the hunt as well as the gather, there’s no fundamental wrong in a steak, a rack of lamb, or roasted cuy for that matter.”  That’s another gem from his post.  What it presupposes is that ancient humans’ environment, survival strategies, and ethics are directly related to those of modern man.  What this post presupposes is…maybe they aren’t? 

Basing fundamental rights and wrongs on 200,000 years of history will leave one with a very mixed palette (or should we say palate, as the case might be?).  I prefer that we would base our understanding of fundamental wrongs on all the knowledge gained in that time.  Like irrigation, for example.  It’s pretty ancient in its own right, and at present, it’s a practice used to produce an alternative energy source for humans.  Alternative, that is, to the product of another perfected practice: Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).

Dave’s remark that, “You can argue the harm caused by large slaughterhouses.  They unnecessarily stress the animals, sometimes create public health issues and pump more than their share of pollution into the environment,” is a statement I can agree with.  His cop-out that, “Of course, that doesn’t prevent a person from finding meat from environmentally friendly free range farms,” however, isn’t the solution I was hoping for. 

“Environmentally friendly free range farms” are better, in theory, than CAFOs in my book.  Then again, the next sentence in my book would be that veganism, in reality, is better still. “Free range” is ambiguous at best - the USDA applies that term to poultry only and their definition states that producers must only allow poultry “access to the outside.”  So, under current regulations, “free range” is stuck in a very gray zone.  The eschewing of meat and animal products is not.  [This is not to say that I’m against truly “free range” farms.  I’m a huge proponent of local farms and even local, family operated, meat producing farms.  They’re not all perfect, but there are good ones out there that care about their processes and products.  Not everyone who considers his/herself a vegan will agree with me on that point, but I’m putting it out there.  Discussion to take place at a later date – promise!]

Fear not, Dave, we still love you.  You give Dallas the opportunity to hear from Veggie Girl Guy and the vegan community a chance at a lively debate.  At least you didn’t argue about carrots’ souls or potatoes’ eyes.  Just kidding Uncle Nancy, I love you too.   

But, of all the people I’d find through researching our local bloggers’ various spotlights on the vegan community, I stumbled upon the most unlikely ally.  I found an extremely religious, conservative, National Review-contributing voice whose opinions and experience in the vegan arena stood out above the rest of the food critics.  Hell, he’s not even a food critic.  But more on him next time….


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dallas Vegan Drinks - October 2009

Despite the gloomy weather, several dozen local veg-heads came out for Dallas Vegan Drinks’ inauguration at Idle Rich Pub last Thursday. Our Jamey Scott did an amazing job coordinating the event!

Attendees mingled with Dallas food celebs Lisa Petty of NBC-DFWGood 2 Go Taco’s Jeanna Johnson, and a number of high-profile veg-heads—Brad Cameron (“bc” of Dallas Observer’s City of Ate commentary fame), vegan musician Justin Wilson (Red Animal War, Saboteur, The Numbers Twist), and Tough Cookie Bakery’s Chris and Jennie McEwan.

Idle Rich Pub served veggie brats in honor of Oktoberfest, and a few veg-friendly purveyors handed out gifts and discount coupons, including Good 2 Go Taco ($1 off any vegan tacos), Tough Cookie Bakery (free vegan cookies at the White Rock Local Market), and Lush (cosmetic sample-pack).

After a few vegan beers, Jamey and I chatted-up Brad Cameron about organic, sustainable farming (a subject he’s all too familiar with). Brad went on and on about the ill practices of commercial farming, even going as far as describing methods used at his in-laws’ farm. We were so impressed by this ex-UT frat guy’s knowledge on the subject, we decided to include him as the newest member of Dallas Vegan!

Can you blame us? I mean—anyone who can dominate blog commentaries like this guy deserves a platform of his own, don’t you think? Check out Brad’s first post tomorrow, where he’ll tell you what he thinks about other Dallas food writers' views on veganism.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Veg-Head of the Week: Dianna Wike

Veg-Head of the Week, Dianna Wike, is a true inspiration! This 57 year-old veg-head began her cruelty-free path nearly 35 years ago, when most of us were still…umm…not born yet. At least here at Dallas Vegan.

Wike states, “Back in 1975, I was 22 years old and recently divorced. I weighed 92 pounds and was a total mess! I read a book called Remember, Be Here Now by Ram Dass, and it was a huge influence on my life at the time. So, that was when I became a vegetarian.”

Now a vegan for almost 20 years, Dianna Wikes is a friend to all animals. She’s known at her office as the “catch-and-release” gal (sparing the lives of geckos, spiders, and the like), and also does volunteer work at DFW Sheltie Rescue.

Wikes resides in Plano with her omnivorous husband of 30 years, two Shelties (Chip and Dale), and a Peach Fronted Conure (Buddy)…all rescued!

Well—maybe not her husband ;)

Veg-Head of the Week: Dianna Wike

Years Veg: 35 (vegan for 20)

Favorite Veg-Friendly Dig: Chuy’s in Plano

Favorite Recipe: Vegan Cornbread

Dianna Wike's Vegan Cornbread

1 cup unbleached white flour
1 cup corn meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 TBSP of maple syrup
1 cup soy milk
¼ cup oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray iron skillet with cooking spray. Put dry ingredients in one bowl, and mix them. In a separate bowl, mix oil, maple syrup and soy milk together and whisk to froth. (The more bubbles the better.) Add the milk mixture to the dry... stir just until moist. Bake for 25 minutes.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Let’s face it—Plano doesn’t have much choice when it comes to upscale vegan restaurants. You can try your luck at Jasper’s, but you may just be eating a plate of sautéed veggies du jour. Sushi bars, on the other hand, seem to be cropping up on every street corner. Naan strikes a perfect balance for us vegans with its blend of upscale Japanese and Korean food located in the Shops at Legacy.

Naan has been awarded many accolades including Best New Restaurant 2003, Best of Big D from D Magazine and Texas Monthly in 2004, and four stars from Zagat in 2006-2009. Most recently, Naan was selected to receive a readers’ choice award for Best Sushi by a local publication.

We dined with the restaurant’s proprietor, Peter “MK” Kim, who recommends starting your meal with some vegan sushi. Naan has great standard maki or rolled sushi, including mixed vegetable, cucumber, and avocado rolls. But, Naan goes the extra mile for us vegans with their latest creation: the “Dallas Vegan Roll.”

Rich, creamy, sweet, spicy, and crunchy, the signature “Dallas Vegan Roll” really satisfies. The signature roll is made with cucumber, avocado, yamagobo, daikon, tempura asparagus, onion, and sweet potato, wrapped with soy paper, avocado outside, drizzled with sweet teriyaki sauce and siracha.

Other vegan offerings include the incomparable “Drew’s Veggie Roll.” Named after yours truly, this one has lettuce, seaweed salad, avocado, and daikon inside, with a cucumber wrapper, topped with spicy sauce, mango sauce, and drizzled with ponzu sauce. Doesn’t the cucumber man resemble Eddie just a little bit?

You could totally gorge out on the sushi here, as did Eddie and myself, but if you are so inclined, give the Korean dishes a try, as well. Typical plot spoilers at Korean restaurants include include pork, seafood, fish sauce and egg. Naan is very sensitive to its vegan constituents and there are many items available without these ingredients on the menu, and substitutions can be made on other dishes if you ask your server.

Start off with a seared tofu appetizer. Not traditional Korean fare, but it’s awesome, so you should try it anyway. It’s topped with a spicy soy sauce and what was described as a fresh pico de gallo salsa:

As for the more traditional Korean fare, try the vegetarian Bi Bim Bap, which translates as “mixed.” This dish is actually vegan, ordered right off the menu. It’s a cold dish with mixed Korean veggies and served with the traditional chili paste. You can mix everything together, or just pick it out individually to taste each component on its own:

As for the hot entrees, try the Dol Sot Bi Bim Bap, without steak, which is a similar dish to the vegetarian Bi Bim Bap, but served in a hot stone bowl. We splashed some of the Korean chili paste on top, mixed this all up, and gently incorporated everything together to expose the crispy rice goodness underneath:

Another hot vegan entrée is the Tofu & Mushroom Bi Bim Bap, without oyster sauce. Stir-fried tofu and shitake mushrooms with mixed veggies are served on top of Korean rice, and served in a hot stone pot with all that crispy rice goodness on the bottom:

With winter on the horizon, you’ll certainly want to order up a big fiery cauldron of Kimchi Stew (kimchi chigae) or Spicy Tofu Stew (soon dubu chigae). Make sure that your server knows you want it to be made without meat and with tofu instead. Ours came with both tofu and kimchi, topped with green onions:

Finally, don’t skip the Korean-style pancake (pajun). Menu options only include a seafood version, but it can be ordered special with either green onion or kimchi. We really enjoyed both, but our favorite was the green onion version served up on a cast-iron skillet:

And, how could I fail to mention--Naan also serves happy hour daily from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. with a plethora of drink specials, including $1 sake, and select half-priced sushi.

Legacy Naan

7161 Bishop Road

In the Shops at Legacy

Plano, Texas