How To Be Vegan - A Book Review & Giveaway

Have you heard of Elizabeth Castoria's new book, How To Be Vegan? I'd seen it around, but I hadn't really read any reviews on it and whether it would apply to someone who is already vegan. I made my transition to being vegan over a year and half ago and I have learned so much. According to myself I'm doing a smashing job of it, so at first I thought maybe this book wouldn't apply to me so much. However, I know that there is so, so much more to discover and I'll never ever stop learning more ways live a compassionate life. 

I really discovered a lot from this book. How To Be Vegan covers everything from cruelty-free eating, living with kindness, dating non-vegans, traveling as a vegan, decorating with animal-free products and is also full of fantastic recipes. If there was a class on how to be vegan, this would be the textbook. But, definitely like a textbook you'd want to read because it is completely comical and very engaging (I don't know a lot of textbooks like that).

Even if you aren't vegan, you probably know someone who is and I urge you to read this book for his or her sake. Plus, you might learn a thing or two about us veg-heads. Or maybe you'll be inspired to make a reduction in the animal products used in your life. Even if it's just a small bit.

A Gifted Writer 

Elizabeth really makes starting out as a new vegan incredibly unintimidating and easy. I wish she'd released this book two years ago. Shes starts out with the basics. It's like Begin Vegan 101. Then, the book ventures into what being vegan means with regards to food. She also discusses what it entails to creating a vegan home. I really enjoyed the chapter on vegan-friendly traveling. Oftentimes, I feel that it can be wearisome to research. My favorite chapter is on manners and how to deal with difficult people, as well as how to interact with a significant other that might not be vegan, and of course, the much appreciated advice on holidays. I think all vegans can relate to the graph that demonstrates the correlation of the number of times a person is asked where he/she gets their protein as a vegan, in relation to the probability that his/her head will explode. It's titled Spontaneous Combustion - The Hidden Danger of Veganism. Elizabeth speaks the truthest of truths. 

Seriously Amusing

This book will crack you up and it's a quick read because it's so entertaining and dynamic. It includes everything from a short history on veganism, to a list of vegan celebrities, to the positive impacts on the environment by reducing the consumption of animal products. I love the quippy quotes and funny infographics. There's a lighthearted spin to all the well-grounded information, that makes it really enjoyable to read. While Elizabeth does touch briefly on the horrors of why we shouldn't exploit animals, it's not dwelled upon. Which is especially nice for those with very sensitive hearts...like mine. I also like that this book is in no way demanding. There's no "You're not vegan if you eat honey!" or "Oreo's aren't healthy so you shouldn't eat them!" In fact, there's a vegan by accident list that I found especially interesting. 

A Beautiful Book

I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that I do judge books by their cover. Literally. I can honestly say I was draw to this book a great deal because of it's cover. It's gorgeous! Not just the outside though. The inside of the book is splashed with colorful charts, side-splitting Venn diagrams (yes really, my favorite is Should I Date This Person?), and beautiful color blocks and titles. 

Should I Read This Book?

Yep! Even if you aren't vegan and never plan to be. You'll probably learn a lot! If you've been vegan for 25 years, I still think you should read it. Even if you're the founder of veganism and know everything there is to know...it's hilarious and there's great recipes. Besides, do you really know the go-to vegan dishes for popular world cuisines? Probably not. Gochujang, a Korean chili paste, is usually vegan. Bet you didn't know that, I didn't. Unless you're Korean, then you might know that. 

I Want To Buy It Right Now!

Alright, alright, hold your horses. It's probably (okay, maybe) in your local bookstore and if not, you can find it on Amazon. The best part is that after you've read this lovely book, you can tell all your friends about it. Pass it along to a veg-curious family or friend! Or, just leave it in your break room with a "Take me home and bring me back here when you've finished reading" sticky note. Who knows who you'll influence to lead a kinder life!

Win It!


Artisan, the publisher, granted me permission to post a recipe from the book and I chose this wonderfully delicious Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce. 

I made it exactly as written except I used a food processor to shred the vegetables and I drained off any excess juice into a cup first before combining. I gave the juice to my dog. Peppers don't really agree with me that much, "intestine"ly speaking. TMI. I've made these kinds of salads before and I learned the hard way that any excess liquids from vegetables really need to be drained off or the dish can get really soupy as it sits.

I would also probably use half the soy sauce and leave the amount of water the same. Even with draining the vegetable juice, it was a teeny bit soupy still and quite salty for my tastes. Also, this is a cold salad. Make sure to keep it refrigerated and eat it cold or else all that peanut butter will melt! 

I may or may not oftentimes "forget" to put my lunch in the work fridge and I may or may not have done this with this particular noodle salad and...it was sad and soupy (my fault!)...but still really, really delicious! I definitely recommend you make this.


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This was such a wonderful book that really explained what it means to be vegan in a friendly and non-judgmental, easy sort of way. I am absolutely delighted by it and I hope you will be too. It doesn't matter if you're thinking of going vegan, or grew up that way. Let me know what you think of the book, if you read it! 

*DISCLAIMER*  PRODUCE ON PARADE IS A PERSONAL BLOG WRITTEN AND EDITED BY MYSELF ONLY, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED. MY REVIEWS ARE COMPLETELY BASED ON MY OWN OPINION OF THE PRODUCT REVIEWED. I AM NOT PAID TO WRITE POSTS. THESE PRODUCTS WERE SUPPLIED TO ME AS GIFTS FROM THE COMPANY TO TEST AND REVIEW. OTHERWISE, IF I MENTION A COMPANY BY NAME AND THERE IS NO DISCLAIMER AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST, I AM MERELY WRITING ABOUT SOMETHING I LIKE, PURCHASE AND/OR USE. THE FACT THAT I DO RECEIVE A PRODUCT AS A GIFT TO TEST AND REVIEW, WILL NEVER POSITIVELY INFLUENCE THE CONTENT MADE IN THIS POST.

Cranberry & Mint Cream Scones

This weekend was magical. Scones were involved, for one. Lovingly made with lowbush cranberries handpicked here in the valley forest. Even the rain held off long enough for us to get outside for a delightful walk through the damp woods. Heavily scented with tart and pungent highbush cranberries and the unmistakable aroma of yellowing leaves. 

Autumn light is decidedly the most beautiful light of the entire year and is not to be squandered. I think my friend Nate really said it best. 

I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.
— Nathaniel Hawthorne
Produce On Parade - Cranberry & Mint Cream Scones - These flaky, mildly sweet, and deliciously creamy scones are filled with fresh mint and tart cranberries.
Produce On Parade - Cranberry & Mint Cream Scones - These flaky, mildly sweet, and deliciously creamy scones are filled with fresh mint and tart cranberries.
Produce On Parade - Cranberry & Mint Cream Scones - These flaky, mildly sweet, and deliciously creamy scones are filled with fresh mint and tart cranberries.

We even encountered a sleepy bunny friend on the trail. Don't worry bunny, you're safe with us.

Produce On Parade - Cranberry & Mint Cream Scones - These flaky, mildly sweet, and deliciously creamy scones are filled with fresh mint and tart cranberries.
Produce On Parade - Cranberry & Mint Cream Scones - These flaky, mildly sweet, and deliciously creamy scones are filled with fresh mint and tart cranberries.

Regarding scone and muffin making, I only ever consult one source. America's Test Kitchen. Those folks know their stuff and scones are not to be trifled with. My recipe is veganized and adapted from their blueberry scone recipe.

I have a love/hate relationship with baking. Making these scones was no exception. Tortured with fits of frustration from holes in my dough...being a perfectionist can be burdensome when it comes to making pastries. However, even with a couple openings where tiny cranberries menacingly dared to escape, these scones turned out wonderfully. They're really quite easy and I wouldn't say they take more patience than any other scone recipe. 

Produce On Parade - Cranberry & Mint Cream Scones - These flaky, mildly sweet, and deliciously creamy scones are filled with fresh mint and tart cranberries.
Produce On Parade - Cranberry & Mint Cream Scones - These flaky, mildly sweet, and deliciously creamy scones are filled with fresh mint and tart cranberries.
Produce On Parade - Cranberry & Mint Cream Scones - These flaky, mildly sweet, and deliciously creamy scones are filled with fresh mint and tart cranberries.
Produce On Parade - Cranberry & Mint Cream Scones - These flaky, mildly sweet, and deliciously creamy scones are filled with fresh mint and tart cranberries.
Produce On Parade - Cranberry & Mint Cream Scones - These flaky, mildly sweet, and deliciously creamy scones are filled with fresh mint and tart cranberries.
Produce On Parade - Cranberry & Mint Cream Scones - These flaky, mildly sweet, and deliciously creamy scones are filled with fresh mint and tart cranberries.
Produce On Parade - Cranberry & Mint Cream Scones - These flaky, mildly sweet, and deliciously creamy scones are filled with fresh mint and tart cranberries.
Produce On Parade - Cranberry & Mint Cream Scones - These flaky, mildly sweet, and deliciously creamy scones are filled with fresh mint and tart cranberries.
Produce On Parade - Cranberry & Mint Cream Scones - These flaky, mildly sweet, and deliciously creamy scones are filled with fresh mint and tart cranberries.
Produce On Parade - Cranberry & Mint Cream Scones - These flaky, mildly sweet, and deliciously creamy scones are filled with fresh mint and tart cranberries.
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Cranberry & Mint Cream Scones
These flaky, mildly sweet, and deliciously creamy scones are filled with fresh mint and tart cranberries. NOTES: Feel free to use almost any berry in place of the cranberries. Larger berries will need to be cut and if they’re frozen instead of fresh be sure not to thaw them. Try to work with the dough as little as possible and keep all ingredients chilled thoroughly the process. America’s Test Kitchen consulted.
Ingredients
  • 9 Tbsp. butter (1 stick + 1 Tbsp. ), frozen
  • ½ cup coconut or soy milk
  • ½ cup vegan sour cream
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for working (10 oz.)
  • ½ cup vegan sugar, plus additional for sprinkling (3 ½ oz.)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • ½ tsp. table salt
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • scant ¼ cup scant ¼ cup fresh mint, minced
  • 1 ½ cup 1 ½ cup fresh cranberries (7 ½ oz.)
Instructions
Grate one stick of butter into a bowl and place in the freezer until ready to use.Whisk together the milk and sour cream in a small bowl and place in fridge until ready to use. In a large bowl whisk together the flour through and including the mint.Add the frozen, grated butter to the flour mixture and toss with fingers. Slowly add the wet mixture to the dry mixture while stirring until just combined. Flour a work surface and hands. Knead the dough about 8 times, until it forms a ragged ball. You’ll need to keep adding flour to prevent sticking, as the dough is quite sticky. Roll the dough into a 12 inch square. Fold it like a business letter by bringing the bottom 1/3 up and folding the top 1/3 down over the bottom. Next, grab the left side and fold inwards, folding the right side over the left to form a perfect 4 inch square. Place on a plate and put in the freezer for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 F. Melt the one tablespoon of butter in a small bowl in the microwave for about 10-20 seconds. Layer a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Remove the dough from the freezer and roll into a 12 inch square again, keeping your work surface dusted in flour. Evenly scatter the berries among the square, pressing them into the dough gently. Now, tightly roll the dough away from you into a 12 inch long log. Gently flatten the top with the rolling pin, so it’s 4 inches high. Cut into 4 rectangles. Cut those in half diagonally. You should have 8 scone triangles. Transfer the dough triangles to the parchment paper lined baking sheet ensuring enough space between them for expansion. If they happen to be a bit wonky, reshape them as necessary. Coat with melted butter, then sprinkle well with sugar. Bake at 425 F for about 20 minutes until the tops are just barely golden. Cool on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes once done. Store in an airtight container.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8 scones
Produce On Parade - Cranberry & Mint Cream Scones - These flaky, mildly sweet, and deliciously creamy scones are filled with fresh mint and tart cranberries.
Produce On Parade - Cranberry & Mint Cream Scones - These flaky, mildly sweet, and deliciously creamy scones are filled with fresh mint and tart cranberries.
Produce On Parade - Cranberry & Mint Cream Scones - These flaky, mildly sweet, and deliciously creamy scones are filled with fresh mint and tart cranberries.
Produce On Parade - Cranberry & Mint Cream Scones - These flaky, mildly sweet, and deliciously creamy scones are filled with fresh mint and tart cranberries.

I adore Bailey's spotted mouth! We rang in Autumn, officially, with this Alaskan pumpkin porter on our playful walk. 

Produce On Parade - Cranberry & Mint Cream Scones - These flaky, mildly sweet, and deliciously creamy scones are filled with fresh mint and tart cranberries.

German Word of The Day

Scones --> Teegebäck (tea-geh-beck)

Good Deed of The Day

Beyond Meat is offering a free pallet of their brand new Beast Burgers to burger joints that agree to offer them. You can ask your local or national burger chain to serve them by tweeting #beastme at them! Pretty cool huh? It'd be great to see more (or any) vegan burger options around!

Thai Purple Pasta

Ever since I stumbled upon black bean noodles, I've been absolutely dying to try them. It's like my life wish, these noodles. Is this normal? Anyways, I finally found some at a health food store in Anchorage along with Beyond Meat (OMG!). I knew exactly what I wanted to make with the both of them. 

When I opened up the noodle package, examining it, I realized they were not in fact my irrationally sought after black bean noodles but instead black rice noodles....whoops. I'm almost ashamed to admit how devastated I was, but alas they turned out to be fantastic.

On purpose, I normally don't buy gluten-free things, so I was surprised to discover that they had a wonderful texture. If you have celiac disease, are gluten-sensitive, or just avoiding the stuff for some reason you give these noodles a try. I think you'll enjoy them. 

Produce On Parade - Thai Purple Pasta - A beautiful purple pasta with sauteed red cabbage and plant-based meat, laden in a sweet, Thai sauce.
Animals never worry about heaven or hell. Neither do I. Maybe that’s why we get along.
— Charles Bukowski

I joined Full Circle a couple weeks ago and received my first box this week. In it was absolutely the most adorable tiny purple pepper, which you'll see in my next post. There was a lot of gorgeous stone fruit, some sturdy kale, and silky chard too (that guy's in the next post as well!) I ordered two bunches of beets because I must have them in excess and a little head of purple cabbage. 

Half of that little purple cabbage, you'll see found it's way into our purple pasta today. Good thing the noodles were already purple I guess! Feel free to use soba noodles in this recipe, I think they'd work beautifully. Black rice noodles probably aren't lingering around your local grocery store, so don't feel bad.

Produce On Parade - Thai Purple Pasta - A beautiful purple pasta with sauteed red cabbage and plant-based meat, laden in a sweet, Thai sauce.
Produce On Parade - Thai Purple Pasta - A beautiful purple pasta with sauteed red cabbage and plant-based meat, laden in a sweet, Thai sauce.
Produce On Parade - Thai Purple Pasta - A beautiful purple pasta with sauteed red cabbage and plant-based meat, laden in a sweet, Thai sauce.
Produce On Parade - Thai Purple Pasta - A beautiful purple pasta with sauteed red cabbage and plant-based meat, laden in a sweet, Thai sauce.
Produce On Parade - Thai Purple Pasta - A beautiful purple pasta with sauteed red cabbage and plant-based meat, laden in a sweet, Thai sauce.
Produce On Parade - Thai Purple Pasta - A beautiful purple pasta with sauteed red cabbage and plant-based meat, laden in a sweet, Thai sauce.

My cilantro has been showing off these sweet and delicate little white flowers now that the autumn leaves are falling and the mornings are windy and chilly. I'll be sad without my little herb garden in the coming month.

Produce On Parade - Thai Purple Pasta - A beautiful purple pasta with sauteed red cabbage and plant-based meat, laden in a sweet, Thai sauce.
print recipe
Thai Purple Pasta
A beautiful purple pasta with sauteed purple cabbage and plant-based meat, laden in a sweet, Thai sauce.
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ small purple cabbage head, chopped
  • 12 oz. plant-based meat strips (I used grilled “chicken” strips), thawed and halved
  • 9 oz. black rice noodles (soba work too!), dry
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • -- Sauce --
  • 2/3 cup water
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. vegan sugar
  • 1/2Tbsp. sweet chili sauce
  • dash of crushed red pepper
  • dash of sesame seeds
Instructions
Bring a large pot of water to boil for the noodles. Once boiling, parboil the noodles according to package but deduct a few minutes. You want the noodles to be a super al dente. Mine only needed three minutes, so place them in the water when prompted below. In a large rimmed frying pan, heat the oil over medium low. Add the garlic and sauté for a few minutes, until fragrant. Add the cabbage and meat strips. Increase the heat to medium and cook for about 8 minutes, until the cabbage becomes wilted and tender and the strips are heated thoroughly.Meanwhile whisk together the sauce ingredients, ensuring that the sugar has mostly dissolved. Place the noodles in the boiling water to cook. Drain when super al dente and add to the frying pan. Next, add in the sauce and stir well to coat. Turn the heat to medium-low for a few minutes, until the noodles have soaked up most of the sauce. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Serve hot and topped with sesame seeds and additional cilantro.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 5
Produce On Parade - Thai Purple Pasta - A beautiful purple pasta with sauteed red cabbage and plant-based meat, laden in a sweet, Thai sauce.
Produce On Parade - Thai Purple Pasta - A beautiful purple pasta with sauteed red cabbage and plant-based meat, laden in a sweet, Thai sauce.

German Word of The Day

Purple --> Violett (vee-o-let)

Good Deed of The Day

Don't take my word for how great being vegan is. Check out Bustle's, The 7 Best Health Perks of A Vegan Lifestyle.