Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Yes, There ARE Men's Vegan Boots--And We Found Them

Boots are a classic addition to any man's wardrobe. Offering a masculine fashion statement with a variety of looks, there is a boot to suit many a different purpose. Perhaps you like the western look, as if you're fresh off the cattle ranch, or native inspired moccasins that provide you with warmth, comfort and protection for your feet. Those who own motorcycles are in need of a tough pair of boots to protect their feet while riding. If you're the rugged, outdoorsy type, a great pair of hiking boots is definitely a must have in your closet. Whatever style it is that you want in a pair of men's boots, there is no shortage of choices out there on the market.

The problem with the men's boots available in the mainstream footwear market is that while they are stylish, they are often not very comfortable and durable, and are often made from materials that are derived from some poor innocent creature and materials that wreak havoc on Mother Nature. You spend good money to buy a nice looking pair of boots, yet the costs go way beyond their monetary value. That's definitely some food for thought.

If you are one of the growing population of people that is becoming increasingly aware and conscientious of animal welfare and the state of the environment in which we live, there's great news. You no longer have to compromise your personal values by buying mainstream fashion. The choice now exists for vegan fashion! With the strong push for lifestyle changes that promote eco-awareness, preserving the environment and making the world a better place, vegan fashion is becoming increasingly popular.

So, if you're a man who loves his boots and is also all about doing your part to protect the critters and the planet, consider the option of buying yourself some men's vegan boots. What's so great about men's vegan boots? Well, first of all, you're not going to have to search high and low, day and night, looking for that elusive retailer who only has an option or two in stock. The choices are limitless, as many major manufacturers and designer names have recognized the need for vegan options and have included men's vegan boots in their style lineup. Many men turn to the internet when they're looking for the widest possible selection of vegan footwear options.

Best of all, men's vegan boots do not sacrifice style or budget to be earth friendly. You get the same great looks at affordable prices. The major difference is that these great boots are made from plant-based, synthetic and recycled materials, living up to a no-harm standard. They will easily biodegrade once they have outlived their lifetime. They will be cozy from the start, offering you years of comfort for your feet and a durability that outlast that of mainstream footwear. What man could ask for much more in a pair of boots? This is the perfect fit! If you're in the market for a new pair, try some men's vegan boots on for size today.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Are You Sure That's Vegan? An Updated Review From The Cookbooks Today Crew

Are You Sure That's Vegan? is a vegan cookbook produced by Claire Gosse. I have had an early copy for awhile and have been testing out some of it's recipes. I want to let everyone know I am not Vegan and am very picky. If these desserts taste like cardboard you will hear about it!

The first think you will notice about this book is the high quality images of the desserts. I love this. When you are making desserts for a party or BBQ, you want them to have that WOW factor. When you have such high quality images you can tell which desserts will have people drooling as soon as they seem them.

I guess another thing you have to make sure is the book is completely Vegan. This might seem ridiculous since Vegan is right in the title, but you would be surprised what you find in some of these other "vegan" cookbooks. If they are calling for butter or eggs, then obviously the cookbook is worthless. Every ingredient in here is vegan, so that is a great start.a

Images are great, everything is Vegan and the instructions are simple, clear and easy to follow. What else does a cookbook need? Well there is one thing I think any vegan cookbook review should include: What does the food taste like? Well I tried three recipes:

Peanut Butter Cups - These were super simple to make and tasted amazing. There is no way you would know these were vegan. The use of dark chocolate give these a much better and more mature taste than their store bought counterparts.

Pecan Pie - Another great recipe. I love how easy these are to follow so far. Very clear instructions, especially for a guy who has never made any kind of pie. This was also dynamite tasting - I shared this with many of my friends and they had no idea it was vegan. A couple people don't believe me to this day. This one will soothe any sweet tooth.

Key Lime Cheesecake - This was the big test to me...Vegan cheesecake...impossible! Well my biggest doubt was also my greatest success. I was once again able to follow the instructions and I produced what I am proud to call my best dessert ever. I could not stop eating this - the lime just made it so fresh tasting! it was decadent but the citrus notes added a lightness. People in my family went nuts for this. I still get requests for it.

I think Claire knocked this cookbook out of the park. So many Vegan cookbooks just have a real health food granola feel. Nothing wrong with that of course, but Are You Sure That's Vegan? proves that Vegan doesn't always have to be like that. Vegan desserts can be every bit as decadent, delicious...and naughty as traditional ones. Check it out!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Cooking can be a hobby, an art and even a very reliable business. The best chefs basically combine all of the above. Despite of this, everyone has to start somewhere. You can start using cookbooks and simple recipes which can provide step-by-step instructions for coming up with a very delicious meal.

For those who get tired and frustrated by being picked on because of their cooking, you can basically go on your nearest bookstore and choose the best cookbook. If you aspire to be a great cook, worry no more because you can achieve your dreams with the help of cookbooks. Who would not want to cook a meal and get praised for it.

If you are just starting in the culinary area, whether you just like cooking or love it so much that you want to begin a career out of it, you basically have to start somewhere. Starting out somewhere can definitely be through finding the recipes of the best professional chefs. You can basically start out on family cookbooks because they teach basic cooking. You can easily learn about cooking methods, cutting and measurements.

You can find many cookbooks on different bookstores all over the country but you need tips when it comes to finding the best ones. There are so many cookbooks that focus on different specialties. If you want to find the best healthy cookbook, then you must read on to get tips in finding one. It is basically a cookbook that contains healthy recipes and provide information with regards to cooking healthy meals.

People mean varying things when they talk about healthy meals. There are those who consider anything that is healthy as long as it's cooked at home. There are some who follow much stricter dietary guidelines. While some people are vegans, or desire less meat on their diet, there are also those who look for organic foods. Basically, there are so many different kinds of diets which in turn goes with specific cookbooks. They provide ample information for each particular diet. Usually, each cookbook promotes a healthy output.

You must take note though that healthy cookbooks are not created equally. There are some cookbooks which claim to be healthy despite using processed ingredients. These ingredients contain high calories and much sodium or sugar. The point is that there are those which do not really support a healthy diet despite claiming that they are.

Nowadays, experts have leaned towards a healthier diet that relies on low sugar, high quality protein and avoids processed ingredients. Restaurants have taken notice also, and have revamped those famous restaurant recipes and made them healthier. If you really want to find the best healthy cookbook and same with other cookbooks, you should take note of the following points:

- Reaches Where You Stand Now
- The cookbook should be able to help you relate whether you are a beginner or not. It must be able to assist you easily, especially if you are just a starter in cooking.
- Easy to Understand
- A great cookbook is something that can be read with ease and comfort. You don't need to consult a dictionary or go online just to clarify something in the cookbook.
- Solid Information

If you are looking for a healthy cookbook, it is a great one if that cookbook provides information regarding what are the foods that are good and the foods that are not advisable to eat. It is a good one when there is enough solid information, which could widen up your horizon when it comes to healthy foods.

Basically, when you want help in finding the best cookbooks, it is best that you go online and read reviews. With the help of internet, you can find many information regarding the best cookbooks that should be on your list. You can also join forums on cooking. You can find many online tips from these forums as well. Maximize the potential of the internet because this is one information hub that can raise your overall awareness and knowledge about cooking.

When you have found and started mastering the basics, you can then further your own cooking skills by looking for more reliable cookbooks. The best tip in finding the best cookbooks is that you must go for the ones that provide recipes from famous restaurants. They do not only provide great recipes but they are also tried and tested ones that people have really liked through the years. You can also get several professional tips with regards to food pairing, making desserts and drinks, plating your dishes, etc.

As you move forward, you can easily practice and as time goes by, you can eventually make your very own recipes. Take it one step at a time. All you have to do is start by finding the best cookbook that you can ever find. Follow all of the tips mentioned above and you'll be a great cook in no time.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Our Trip To Dragonfly Neo-V Cuisine's Lunch Spot: On The Fly

Wife and I sat down for lunch this week at Dragonfly Neo-V Cuisine.  This is a vegan restaurant in Columbus, Ohio that we are quite fond of.  Neo-V stands for new vegetarian but it is a vegan restaurant.  Directly next door they have On The Fly which they describe as vegan street food.

The space that is On The Fly is very unassuming, very simple.  I like this idea because I tend to assume that if there is a lot of glitz and glamor on the interior you are simply distracting me from what's going on my plate and more importantly what will end up in my stomach--.  You won't find thousands of dollars worth of chandeliers or severs who use Montblanc pens.  It's quite the opposite: recycled seats, no servers at all and wooden hand me downs for wine racks.  There is a baroque ceiling pattern above, original hard wood floors below and not much else in between.  Making food the focus.  Good choice.  You can hear the Blendtec vs Vitamix war going on in the kitchen.

Wife ordered the soft corn tacos.  I ordered the griddle cake.  We got truffled guacamole for an appetizer.  Everything we ate was delicious.  Everything was vegan.  The truffled guacamole came with shredded carrots and a side of baby greens with some type of balsamic dressing.  The soft tacos came with vegan chili, a cashew butter vegan cheese, baby greens & hot sauce.  My griddle cake was burger-like & served on a bun with a sweet thousand island sauce.  I washed it down with a birch beer; wife had a tea.

What I really enjoyed about this trip outside the food and the company was that On The Fly is just your average run of the mill space not situated on a major road.  It is somewhat of a destination spot, especially for us, but it isn't pretentious feeling or overpriced.  My griddle cake was $6.95, the tacos were $5.95.  We did get a sugar cookie also.  It was okay.

The chef of both Dragonfly Neo-V Cuisine and On The Fly, Magdiale Wolmark, was diligently taking inventory as we ate.  He gets most of his ingredients from their in house garden...I remember the first night we ate at Dragonfly we enjoyed the largest most delicious asparagus we have ever eaten and they came right from out back of the restaurant.  Wolmark is in the process of creating a vegan cookbook entitled the 'Seed To Table Cookbook".  This vegan cookbook will demonstrate how to grow your own ingredients and prepare them in creative recipes.  Just the type of book we like to review. 

There were two other couples eating around us and enjoying what was a very hot afternoon.  The sound of construction had escaped the area and the birds were hard at work.  Their general manager was there briefly as we arrived but left to tend to who we thought might be her daughter's needs.

They do change their menu based on the seasons of course so there is always something new coming up.  That is the beauty of eating locally--you eat based upon the growing season.  You need not be vegan to enjoy these foods either.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

2 Moms In The Raw Bars At Starbucks.....Our Review

Healthy?  Sure.  Tasty?  I would agree.  My only real issue with these bars is they were somewhat dry.  Wife thinks they look sort of like bird food.  Well they do look a bit like bird food but they are much a healthier option than the iced double venti extra caramel macchiato.  Then again, an entire Pizza Hut pizza might be healthier than that.  I kid, I kid.  I had the blueberry and apple granola bar and found it just enough to satisfy my impulse moment.  Wife's assistant coach is on a gluten free diet and I bought her one too--she loved it!

The ingredients in that bar are Millet, Buckwheat, Coconut, Flaxseed, Sunflower Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Pecans, Almonds, Pepitas, Apples, Agave, Cinnamon, Sea Salt and Blueberries. 
Shari, one of the company owners, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2004.  Forced with a decision, she came to the conclusion that if she was going to treat the disease she would do it with a more natural approach.  She looked into the raw diet approach to health and wellness, and had trouble finding a sufficient raw food bar to take on-the-go.  So she invented her own.  I love it.  Can't find what you are looking for?  Create it.  The rest is raw, organic, vegan history!

I envy Shari for her courage.  She became her own activist and ventured into the world of entrepreneurialism simultaneously.  Having the Starbucks account is pretty sweet--we need healthier options like these granola bars.  I haven't seen the sea crackers but should they turn up I'll be sure to try them.  2 Moms In The Raw needs there own shop here in good old Columbus.  Best of luck Shari!     
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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Vegan belly update:

Well....the minutes seem to be ticking away much faster than normal as the date approaches!  Wife has 7 weeks to go.  July 2nd is the day of delivery.  Wife is still very active and feeling great.  Her customers give her the business every day on how great she looks and how it angers them intensely.  Lol.  Much more content coming.....been very busy creating, creating, creating!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Why did we become vegan? Husband Says:

Husband: I was vegan last.  I still ate meat up until I met the Wife.  I was always health conscious, and very aware of the how agricultural industrial complex in all its splender (sarcasm alert) functioned.  I have seen all the internet documentaries on how horrible animals (that are cultivated to become human feed) are treated up to their deaths.  I always thought that they (the slaughterhouses of the world and the like) could not all be bad, unethical, unsanitary, immoral, etc.

My choice to become vegan was more health related than it was ethical or moral but inc.  Still, I feel as though the change that has occurred in me mentally as well as physically has been remarkably positive.  Now I have always been thin.  Eliminating meat and dairy from my diet has resulted in losing weight, but I am at a very healthy weight for my height.  I look great (in my humble opinion;) and feel even better.  I have tons of energy and I get plenty of sleep.  I have no protein deficiency and won't even take Advil to cure my headaches--which I get once or twice a year at the most.  Wife was vegan before I met her, so I followed suit.  It happened rather naturally.
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

TOMS Shoes: A vegan cause in a time of major suffering

It seems so absurd that people in other countries have to suffer in the manner they do.  We have enough resources on the planet to solve all of these problems.  Life's current model can really feel antiquated at times.  I have been trying to find a way to make a small positive impact in peoples lives all my life in subtle ways.  I think of the current struggle in Haiti with the earthquake and how horrible it must be there.  As if that country needed a major catastrophic earthquake to deal with.  This situation along with countless other individuals who suffer needlessly on our planet burns at me.  People ask me all the time what they can do to help?  Enter TOMS Shoes.

TOMS Shoes was imagined and created by Blake Mycoskie in May of 2006.  He took a trip to Argentina and quickly noticed that many of the children walking around did so barefoot.  To make a long story short, he created TOMS Shoes under the preface that for every pair of shoes he sold, he would donate one pair of shoes to a child in need.  One for One.  The twist?  Not only do they donate 'One for One', but they travel to the countries and physically put the pair of shoes right on the child's feet.  I am really moved by that.  This type of human interaction WILL make tomorrow a better day.

I encourage you to look into TOMS Shoes if you want a place to start taking small, philanthropic steps (no pun intended).  These shoes are all the rage right now in L.A., and there are major name brands teaming up with TOMS to co-brand under the 'One for One' philosophy.  They are great looking, comfortable shoes.  Most importantly, you give a child a gift they will use immediately.  Disclaimer--if you click on the TOMS Shoes banner link above or below and make a purchase I will be compensated because I am an affiliate.  My pledge is to donate a portion of the proceeds to the victims in Haiti.  This is a two for one type of child receives a new pair of shoes and someone else gets supplies/food/etc.
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Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat

So who is Tal Ronnen?  Well, a talented chef no doubt.  Talented before he started cooking for Oprah.  Then he hit the lottery and was chosen to be the chef for Oprah on her diet cleanse.  The rest is vegan cooking history!
When we dine out at restaurants--being the visual learners (spenders) that my wife and I are, we order two ways.  We take the advice of our server if they can articulate the specials or popular menu items and it is something that fits into our diet lifestyle.  The other way we order is simply from the pictures on the menu.  Done.  A good looking picture sells us the dish every time.  In The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat the pictures of the ingredients and dishes knocked our socks off.  They are absolutely stunning; you have to see them for yourself!  So many vegan cookbooks lack true vibrant, eye popping visuals but this vegan cookbook made picture quality the focal point.  This doesn't take away from the content of the cookbook either.

The book gives an incredibly basic definition of 'vegan' to the effect of eating everything in the world except animal products.  How easy is that?  It dispels the top non-meat/dairy diet myths like 'not getting enough protein'. 

After the basics the author discusses his favorite ingredients with more rich photos.  Some of Tal's favorite herbs include thyme, saffron, basil (our favorite), rosemary, mint, and chives.  In fact, one of the recipes in this cookbook is made with a blackberry basil sauce.  Yes!  More and more we are incorporating thyme into our cooking regimen and my wife loves chives. 

This vegan cookbook is important in that it really promotes eating seasonally.  Eating seasonally encourages a more sustainable living.  By eating seasonally, you reduce the carbon footprint being stomped on the planet.  You support local farmers.  Best of all, when you become tired of eating the foods of the season a new one arrives with a fresh new slate of goodies to enjoy!  There is a winter dinner, spring dinner, summer dinner, and fall dinner incorporating only ingredients of the season.  I really enjoyed this aspect of the cookbook.  

The Conscious Cook includes plenty of delicious recipes that are filling.  If you are looking for vegan cookbooks where the pictures do the talking, this is the book.  The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat was fun, the food visuals were top notch, and we refer to it often for inspiration to try ingredients we don't often think to use.
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet

I am never quick to jump out of bed and run to purchase the latest celebrity book/dvd/whatever it is they are trying to naturally I waited to read this cookbook.  I do share one thing in common with Alicia Silverstone though and that is being vegan.  Alicia Silverstone rose to stardom with her lead role in Clueless and has leveraged her stardom to promote causes she is passionate about, one of which is living a vegan lifestyle.  Her latest book, a vegan cookbook, is one of those vegan cookbooks that incorporates practicality to the vegan diet and lifestyle and I believe this to be the reason it has become so popular so quickly.

The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet runs 320 pages and is half vegan content and half vegan cookbook.  The content in the beginning of this book is broken down into layman's terms and easy to understand which makes it a quick read.  The second half of the book is Alicia's own vegan recipes that are neither over-the-top nor too outlandish to prepare.  There are vegan cookbooks around that are much more intricate and scientific; this isn't one of those vegan cookbooks.  If you are a beginner you certainly won't use all of these recipes, but there are a few good ones to get you going.

There are some statistics in this book that will get you thinking.  In her 'Pills Vs. Plants' piece, Alicia goes on to explain that Americans alone purchase 50% of the drugs on the planet!  Vanderbilt University is set to receive $10 million alone from Johnson & Johnson to develop new drugs with another $100 million to come if they reach certain research milestones.  Talk about power and influence.  Switching over to a plant based diet, according to Alicia, would reduce our risk of disease and improve our overall well being--reducing the need for pills.

The book also explains terms like GMO's (genetically modified organisms) in easy to understand lingo and addresses some common fears for those who might be hesitant to give up meat and dairy in their diets.  Questions like "How will I get enough iron?" are addressed and simplified.  The answers are not sophisticated and that is a point in this book.  A vegan diet isn't complicated or sophisticated, it's a matter of adjusting a portion of your lifestyle to improve your health.

This vegan cookbook breaks down a vegan diet into three types:  The Flirting Diet, The Vegan Diet, and The Superhero diet.  The flirting diet suggests you start frequenting vegetarian restaurants and adding some vegan meals to your diet.  The vegan diet is a vegan meal plan all together.  The superhero diet is a macrobiotic diet and makes whole grains/beans/vegetables the centerpiece of your diet.  Three stages of dieting for wherever you are in your lifestyle journey.

Two recipes in particular that I really enjoyed were the Moroccan Couscous with Saffron and the Crispy Peanut Butter Treats with Chocolate Chips.  I wouldn't normally prepare the first but there is a great looking picture of it inside.  It was equally delicious to taste.  The second was a no-brainer.  If you are the Blendtec vs Vitamix type, you'll love these recipes.

Overall the book was a simple read and gave me some really different recipe ideas to implement.  The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet is one of those vegan cookbooks that I will refer back to mostly for the recipes she includes. 
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