Happy National Mulled Cider Day... and Happy End of VeganMoFo 2013!

A fond farewell to VeganMofo 2013!  What a ride it's been.  I'm excited that I did in fact manage to get a post up for every day of September... some of them a bit late in the day, but whatever.  Even more fun, I saw so many excellent and exciting and amazing vegan blogs!  This truly is a brilliant community.

So, today is National Mulled Cider Day.  Well, it won't be cold enough for that here in Nola for oh, say, another two to three months.  Right now we're still excited when it gets into the 70s.  So what shall we have instead?  How about some fresh carrot apple orange juice down at Beaucoup... or maybe even a juice snoball?  Sounds right to me.  Happy endless summer, Nola... and happy end of VeganMofo!


Happy National Coffee Day!

Being a port city, New Orleans was a coffee town long before the Starbucks craze swept the nation.  But much like chocolate and other foods that are "exotic" to North America, here in the states these days we must be careful about sourcing our coffee responsibly.

If you're out on the town and need a cuppa, stop by Fair Grinds, Krewe du Brew, or Hey! Cafe for fair trade beverages to go... or to stay, with soy milk.  And to get the best of all worlds for making your own coffee at home, pick up some freshly and locally roasted French Truck fair trade coffee from Hollygrove Market.  You'll be supporting fair labor practices as well as two local businesses - and you'll get some delicious coffee out of the deal!

An unambiguous statement outside Surrey's, an uptown brunch spot.


Happy National Drink Beer Day!!

Happy National Drink Beer Day!  There are plenty of local beers in Nola, and by and large they are vegan!  Myself, I'm an Abita fan.  I make sure to keep a few in the fridge for unexpected company - as does any good New Orleanian.  Abita Strawberry is an annual springtime favorite, Satsuma takes us through the summer, Fall Fest lets us do autumn in style, and Amber is always a solid choice to accompany your favorite pizza.  Pick some up... pretty much anywhere.  Just remember to enjoy responsibly!

Pick Six at the Mid-City Rouse's


Happy National Chocolate Milk Day!

So, for this day, I had great hopes of getting a vegan chocolate milk at Milk Bar.  The trouble is, I made some assumptions based on the name and look of the place that in no way match up to what they do or have.  So when I went in and asked about it, they kinda looked at me like I was a crazy person.  So it goes.

What you can do, though, is get a chocolate milk or hot chocolate with soy at any area PJ's.  Go for it!  You could also get some chocolate almond breeze at any area grocery, sweetened or unsweetened.  It's delicious!


Happy National Pancake Day!

The internet can be a magical place.  One day this past summer the hubby craved pancakes for breakfast, so I hit up the Google.  And I quickly discovered the most wonderful pancake recipe - vegan, fast, easy, light and fluffy - perfect!  Enjoy.

  • 1 cup flour (whichever kind you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Set out all your ingredients.
  • Set a stove element with a pan to medium heat.
  • Combine the 4 dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder -- two Tablespoons, not two Teaspoons as some have suggested, salt) in a bowl.
  • Add the soy milk and vegetable oil to your mixture.
  • Mix until smooth.
  • Now the pan should be ready for your batter, so spoon one pancakes' worth of the mixture into the pan.
  • Flip [carefully] when you see bubbles in the middle of the pancake, or if the edges are looking stiffened.
  • Repeat until the batter is gone, and try not to eat them all while you're cooking them.

You can, of course, also hit up Santa Fe Tapas the next time they're serving pancakes at their weekly Saturday vegan brunch - they truly are divine!  See?:


Et tu, Facebook?

Hello friends.  For some reason, my Facebook account is frozen - and thus so is the New Orleans in Green FB page.  I do not know what caused this problem, and can only hope that it will resolve quickly.  In the meantime, please email me if you see any crazy posts from me selling Viagra or some such.  Thanks!

Happy National Crab Meat Newburg Day!

Vegan Crab Meat Newburg.  IMPOSSIBLE you say?!  But watch.

First, head over to the westbank and pick up one of these bad boys from Hong Kong Market:

 (Yes, that *is* a pile o' jackfruit the size of watermelons.)  OR get some canned young green jackfruit in brine, one pound's worth.  Next, follow this recipe, substituting a pound of chopped up jackfruit flesh (or the canned stuff) for the crab meat, and using vegan butter, sour cream, parmesean, and sherry.

And tell me how it turns out!  


Happy National Mushroom Month!

Happy National Mushroom Month!  What a wonderful month to celebrate.  I've often debated with myself whether my favorite food is noodles or mushrooms.  Noodles or mushrooms, mushrooms or noodles??  What a battle!  It raged and raged, until one day it dawned on me: I need not choose.  As luck would have it, these two foods happen to pair perfectly!  Therefore, my favorite food is noodles with mushrooms!  (Unless there are oyster mushrooms on the table, in which case other food may as well not exist.)

My luck did not stop there.  Did you know that mushrooms are cultivated throughout the Gulf south?  True story!  What that means is that I don't have to look far to find locally grown shiitakes, portobellos, buttons, and even more exotic varieties.  Joy!

How far is not far?  Well they're practically everywhere: at the farmer's markets, at the Whole Foods, and even at the Rouse's!  Mushrooms galore wherever fresh produce is to be found.  You can also join a foraging group at City Park to find all manner of delicious fungus.  (Just don't do it without the proper info - eating the wrong mushrooms is usually a bad idea!)

Happy mushrooming y'all!

Local shiitakes at the farmer's market
Louisiana and Mississippi mushrooms at Rouse's
Texas mushrooms in bulk at the Uptown Whole Foods


Happy National White Choclate Day!

Ooh, white chocolate. Why chocolate makers can't figure out that vanilla + cocoa butter = delish, I do not know. All I do know is that over and over again, they stick dairy products in there. It's notoriously difficult to find high quality vegan white chocolate, and generally vegan bakers have to order it on the internets.

So, there will be no shopping guide here for local vegan white chocolate.  What you can get locally though, right at the Uptown Whole Foods, is a little something I like to call White Chocolate Wonderful.  (I like to call it that because that's what it's called.  It's also a perfect descriptor.  It's made by Peanut Butter & Co, who have an adorable little storefront in the Village.  Stop by next time you're NYC way.)

This product combines the delicious sweetness of white chocolate with high quality creamy peanut butter.  You could use it to make the sweetest fluffernutter sandwich in the world, or bake with it... ooooor just eat it by the spoonful.  Because really, NOMS.

Incidentally, if you're concerned about the use of palm oil (and you should be), note the Greenpalm certification on the back, just a few over from the vegan cert.  While Greenpalm isn't perfect, it is a step in the right direction where sustainable palm oil is concerned!


Happy National Pecan Cookie Day!

As we've discussed before, pecans are a New Orleans food tradition.  How fitting, then, to eat pecan cookies!  Get you some pecans over at Hollygrove and give this awesome recipe a shot.


Happy National Punch Day!

I loooove punch!  I didn't used to.  But then, as a joke, we registered for a real cut glass punch bowl when we got married... and someone got it for us.  So what do you do when you suddenly own a real cut glass punch bowl?  YOU FREAKING MAKE PUNCH THAT'S WHAT.

My favorite punch is simple and delicious.  To make it you will need:
  • a large punch receptacle, such as a punch bowl (which works best for presentation and serving)
  • a two-liter bottle of high quality ginger ale, chilled (sub some or all unsweetened citrus sparkling water for a less-sweet but still flavorful punch)
  • a bottle of vegan champagne or sparkling white wine, chilled
  • one quart of Brocato's lemon Italian ice (if you're not in Nola, I suppose some other Italian ice or sorbet will do)
  • two lemons, cut into thin rounds and frozen
To make your punch:
  • Run hot water over the outside of your lemon ice so that it can easily slide out.  Invert it so that it lands as a pillar in the center of your punchbowl.
  • Pour your bottle of ginger ale slowly over the lemon ice.
  • Next, pour your bottle of champagne over the lemon ice.
  • Finally, float the frozen lemon slices on the top of the punch, around the pillar of lemon ice that will still exist a bit after all that pouring.
Now invite all of your friends over to enjoy your delicious punch!  Spontaneous vegan punch party!!  And then get really excited that all of your friends are over and that you are totally jacked up on sugar from this delicious punch!

The end!

Of course, you could also just make some Kool-Aid...  Ahhh, memories.  ;)


Happy Butterscotch Pudding and Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Avast, me mateys!  And take heed: for today be the day fer celebratin' that most extraordinary of delights: Butterscotch Puddin'!  Meself, it's me favorite of such custards.  For nary a few pieces o' eight, ye scallywags can procure a powder fer the thing.  Combine it wi' the milk o' the almond and the nectar o' the coconut, and even the scurviest of mutts ca'not be thwarted. No doubt it'll shiver yer timbers, whether ye be sea dogs or land lubbers!


Happy National Cheeseburger Day!

Happy National Cheeseburger Day!  Every now and then, I really do enjoy a good veggie burger.  The best I've ever had is the one that's served during Saturday brunches at Santa Fe Tapas.  And since they're now using the new Daiya slices, it's the perfect place to celebrate cheeseburger day!  Check out this beauty, and on a pretzel bun, no less:

Vegan Cheeseburger Heaven at Santa Fe Tapas


Happy Apple Dumpling Day!

Did you know that there are apples grown right next door in Mississippi?  Honestly I had no idea, until I spotted apples at Hollygrove Market.  Local apples!  Freaking fantastic.

How do you enjoy eating apples?  Since it's apple dumpling day, perhaps you can try these shortcut apple "dumplings."  There are many variations of this dish on the internets, but all essentially go like this:
  • roll apple slices into crescent rolls and place into a buttered pan
  • melt together more butter, sugar, and cinnamon; pour mixture over rolls
  • top with orange juice or citrus soda, about 12 ouces
  • bake "until golden brown," about 40 minutes
As you can see, it's easy to veganize.  Just pick up some Immaculate Baking Co. crescent rolls at the Nola Food Co-Op and some apples from Hollygrove and get to it!

Sunday Breakfast.... yesssss.


Happy Cinnamon Raisin Bread Day!

Truth be told, I have mixed feelings about raisins.  I love grapes, mind you.  And sometimes I like raisins quite a lot.  At other times, well, they're just too much.  A good cinnamon raisin bread, though, is something few will argue with.  And here in Nola, we need only to pop down to Artz Bagelz for a fresh cinnamon raisin bagel - schmear with some tofu cream cheese for a perfect Sunday breakfast.  Good enough for your grandmother's china!


Happy National Creme de Menthe Day!

There tends to be some confusion about the veganity of alcoholic beverages.  There's the first hurdle: there are non-vegan alcoholic beverages?!?!  Yes.  Second hurdle: WHAT?!

Beyond the more obvious items such as Bailey's, there are many types of alcohol that use animal products in the refining process.  These animal products are namely isinglass, a substance somehow extracted from the swim bladders of fishes, and egg albumin.  Suspect items include dark beers, all wines, and some liqueurs.

Lucky for all vegans across the globe, there is such a thing as Barnivore - the most comprehensive database of what drinks are and are not vegan.  (Barnivore, you guys rock!)  When I began designing cocktails for Vegan Drinks New Orleans, I spent a lot of time researching, on Barnivore and elsewheres on the internets.  And one of the things I discovered is that most "creme" liqueurs such as creme de caco and creme de menthe are in fact generally vegan! 

Vegan Drinks New Orleans has been on hiatus for a while, but keep your eyes peeled for an event to pop up soon!  When we do get together for some cocktails, order yourself an almond milk Grasshopper: a minty and refreshing New Orleans original, veganized!

A fine selection at the local liquor store... ehrm, I mean, the Mid-City Rouse's.


Happy National Cream-Filled Donut Day!

BREADS ON OAK HAS DONE IT AGAIN!  Behold, the trial run of their new vegan, cream-filled donuts!!  These things are terriffically declicious!  Please pop by their Facebook page and tell them how much you appreciate their vegan goodies, and how wonderful it would be to see vegan donuts more often!

Chamain displays Sean's creation made specially for today: vegan cream-filled donuts!

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

* * * * * *

Mmmmmm, cream filled donuts.  Heck, for that matter, mmmmmm donuts.  The Vegan Donut is something of a holy grail.  As we discussed on National Donut Day, there is as of yet no one consistently making vegan donuts in Nola - with the exception of the mini gluten-free jobs at The PeaceBaker.

But do not despair, Nola vegans!  If you are brave, you can make your own!  You can also... help me twist the arms of local bakers with vegan options to get up on it!  In a FRIENDLY way, of course.  :)  Because, really New Orleans, we deserve THIS:

Boston Creme donut from Dun Well, NYC.  NOMS.


Happy National Peanut Day!

Ohmygoodness. Yes, here we go with the freaking peanuts again!! For those of you keeping track, this is the EIGHTH National Day involving peanuts or peanut butter. (There are still two more to go, too.)  We really do love us some peanuts, huh? Except, of course, for those of us with deadly peanut allergies. Sorry y'all.

The good news is that now I can share with you my favorite boiled peanut recipe! If you've never had boiled peanuts, it is actually a real treat. And the awesome part is that you can usually get locally grown raw peanuts at Hollygrove Market! This is, in fact, how I discovered the joy of boiled peanuts - I got some in "the box" and had to figure out what the heck to do with them.  Stop by this Saturday and give boiled peanuts a shot - you'll thank me, I swear.

Local raw peanuts at Hollygrove
You will need:
  • 1-2 pounds of green peanuts
  • a big pot
  • Zataran's seafood boil - I like the liquid kind (this of course is just seasoning and contains no seafood)
  • salt
  • water
You will do:
  • fill a laaaarge pot with a gallon of water
  • add 1/4 cup salt
  • add 1/2 cup seafood boil
  • add cleaned green peanuts
  • boil for about three hours
  • let them cool in the pot liquor
  • eat and enjoy!  (just the peanuts, not the shells...)


Happy National Chocolate Milkshake Day!

I FREAKING LOVE CHOCOLATE MILKSHAKES.  I believe that is because I am human and have a mouth.  My favorite chocolate milkshake is found in NYC at Curly's on 14th Street.  Their vegan Mexican Chocolate Milkshake is the stuff dreams are made of, just a little bit spicy with a healthy dose of cinnamon.  Of course, every time I ever had one I got sick, sick, sick from all the sugar.

So what's a girl to do when she 1) doesn't want to get sugar-sick 2) lives in Nola which hasn't gotten around to having any vegan ice cream parlors yet, and 3) does want a sweet frozen treat?  Go to Superfood Bar of course!

Superfood has recently expanded into an airy, bright dining room.  It's perfect to sit in while sipping on your Chocolate Avocado or Chocolate Banana Nut smoothie.  These things are SO delicious, and also quite nutritious!  It's what I like to call the best of both worlds.  NOMS.


Happy National Hot Cross Bun Day!

So, I really don't know what a hot cross bun is.  Does anyone?  DO YOU?!  All I can tell you, from one of my favorite songs of childhood, is that they cost one-a-penny or two-a-penny.

Well, it's Vegan Dad to the rescue once again with his vegan hot cross buns!  Enjoy.


Happy National TV Dinner Day!

Must say, this is such a terrible day! It feels like a conspiracy of the food industry.  In collaboration with the TV industry.  And possibly the devil.

But... if we're being honest, who among us doesn't enjoy a junky meal in front of the idiot box now and then?  If you're looking for a quick meal to microwave and then plop down on the couch with, might I suggest Amy's Vegan Mac n Cheeze.  I first tasted this item at the 2012 Veggie Fest at the New Orleans Healing Center, as an offering from the New Orleans Food Co-Op. Given that it was made with rice pasta (so as to be gluten free), I was skeptical to say the least.  But it was a free sample so whatever.  Imagine my surprise to find that it is DELICIOUS!  Not healthy by any stretch, but delicious nonetheless. This treat is still available in the Co-Op's frozen section.

If you happen to look at the nutritional content... well, just remember it's OK to indulge every now and then, and have a light salad tomorrow!  ;)


Possibly the funniest email I've ever received..

OK.  This is off topic, but I just have to share.  Somewhere along the line I got onto some mailing lists as a "food blogger."  Apparently the people sending the emails don't do their homework too well... today I received this one, entitled "Story Idea- Frugal Paleo Tips."  It goes like this:
Hi Melissa,

Out with the Atkins diet and in with dining caveman-style.  The Paleo pallet focuses on meats, vegetables and nuts and avoids items such as sugar, grains and processed foods. 

The Paleo diet can sometimes get expensive. Would you be interested in some tips on how to go Paleo without breaking the bank?

Let me know!
Oh, yeah, I'm totally into that thanks!  Except for not at all.  What the heck y'all?  Do other bloggers get these too?

Happy National Teddy Bear and Cheerwine Day!

Today is National Teddy Bear Day.  I love teddy bears.  My favorite bear is my Snuggie, given to me when I was 2 years old and still a stalwart resident of my bedroom.  Teddy bears are named after Theodore Roosevelt (the "big game hunter" himself) - a very un-vegan guy who had a moment of respect (maybe) one day on a bear hunt - did you know?

I have noticed time and time again, though, that teddy bears are distinctly not food.  And so I'd like to take this opportunity to talk to you about Cheerwine.

Yes, Cheerwine!  That mysterious cherry soda you may have seen while driving through the Southeast.  Unlike Barq's, which used to be local but now has national distribution (and a different formula), Cheerwine remains wholeheartedly regional.

What that means is that the next time you're driving through the Carolinas, you need to pick some up!  It's worth it for the special treat you'll have once you get back home.  And if you just can't wait, check with Panda with Cookie to see if she'll whip you up a batch of Cheerwine cookies!!