Relish Tray: Daiya’s Havarti-Style “Cheese” Wedge

relishverb. to delight in something that satisfies one’s tastes, inclinations, or desires.

daiya havarti

My name is Michelle & I am a Havarti-aholic. It all started several months ago when, upon release of Daiya’s wedge-style flavors, my friend Diva LaVida recommended that I try their Havarti flavor immediately because it was just that good. However, I rarely purchase vegan cheeses anymore. With so many great vegan restaurants in Chicago, I find that I can get my fill of cheesy flavors without adding it to my grocery list. Cut to last week when I decided to pick up a cheddar wedge as a gift for a recently dairy-free client. As I stood in the aisle at Whole Foods, cheddar in one hand, Daiya coupon in the the other, I decided now was as good of time as any to try this Havarti flavor for myself.

With no gluten-free crackers suitable for cheese at home, I opted to try my wedge on apple slices…and proceeded to devour half of the package in one sitting. Thankfully, my consumption has slowed down slightly [and I’ve learned to pre-arrange my slices on a plate to prevent mindless grazing from the package], but I still should buy stock in Daiya with as often as I’m purchasing this wedge. It’s amazing, guys! And for the most part, it’s pretty neutral on the nutrition scale. With a tapioca flour, palm oil & coconut base, it’s soy-free, gluten-free, & of course, dairy-free without too many unnecessary ingredients or preservatives. Overall, I feel okay about getting my apple a day with a side of this stuff…it’ll still keep the doctor away.

Want to go dairy-free, but you’re not quite sure how? As your health coach, I can help.
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Out with the old, in with the new.

Happy New Year, lovely readers!

I must confess that January 1st may be my favorite holiday.

I’m a sucker for a clean slate, making lists, and planning for a bright, new future…and having an excuse to spend the day in my PJ’s after a night of champagne isn’t too shabby either.

2012 was an exciting year for me, full of learning and growing, but 2013 has even bigger changes in store…more on those as they unfold.

In the meantime, here’s a look back at my favorite highlights from the past year:

January 2012:

Rang in the New Year with Nick & some lovely friends.

nye 2012

February 2012:

Dyed my hair pink for Valentine’s Day. It suited my look, personality, & mood so well that I’ve kept it that shade ever since.

pink hair 2012

March 2012:

Started my business, Health Happiness & Hula Hoops, & signed my very first client…my mother.

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+ Nick & I celebrated 2 years of dating.

two years 2012

April 2012:

Upgraded from waiting tables at a greasy spoon omni-diner to the infamous [&, more importantly, vegan] Chicago Diner.

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May 2012:

Had my blog [& Nick’s sweet potato tacos] featured on the Daiya Foods recipe roundup.
[Thanks again, Daiya!]

daiya blog 2012

June 2012:

Discovered the wonders of green juice.

green juice jars

July 2012: 

Turned 28, celebrated in style, then immediately started a week-long juice & smoothie fast.

birthday dress 2012

August 2012: 

Played bridesmaid at my best friend’s wedding.

bridesmaids 2012

September 2012:

Graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition with an AADP certification & helped my mother lose a total of 26 lbs during her 6 month program!

karen's 5.5 month transformation

October 2012: 

Taught my very first Sugar Blues Workshop on how to deal with sugar addiction & find healthy ways to satisfy your sweet tooth.

sugar blues 2012

+ Participated in Vegan MoFo.

pink vegan mofo

 + Had my first freelance health & wellness article published over at The Nest.

the-nest-logo

November 2012:

Celebrated 2 years as a vegan.

a sugary celebration is in order.

+ Nick & I held our 2nd annual vegan friends-giving feast.

thanksgiving 2012

December 2012: 

Set sail on a beautiful Caribbean cruise to attend the wedding of another close friend.

bahamas 2012

+ Got snowed in for a few days in Indiana during Christmas.

snowed in 2012

+ Rang in the New Year at home with friends, good food, & 20’s style clothing.

nye 2013

What are your best memories from 2012?

Make Something Monday: Sweet Potato Tacos

Being the baker of the household, I am usually the one to make brunch at home. Pancakes, muffins, & donuts are my specialty. The omnivore, on the other hand, has pretty much one breakfast recipe in his repertoire: breakfast tacos.

Normally made with eggs and boring white potatoes, they’ve been veganized and colorized with yummy sweet potatoes to make them Michelle-friendly [he’s such a thoughtful boyfriend :)].

I am addicted & I have a feeling you will be too.

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Ingredients

2 large sweet potatoes, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 orange bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 c cilantro, chopped
1-2 handfuls pepperjack Daiya
1 package Wholly Guacamole, or homemade [optional]
1/2 tomato, diced [optional]
salt & pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste
red pepper flakes to taste
a few turns of olive oil for the pan
your favorite vegan tortillas

In a large pan, brown the garlic in olive oil over low to medium heat.
Add diced sweet potatoes and cook until slightly softened.
Add peppers, cilantro, & spices & heat until everything is tender, but not mushy.
Remove veggie pan from heat.
In a toaster oven or conventional oven, heat tortillas at around 300 degrees for 5-10 minutes.
While tortillas are heating, add Daiya cheese to veggies & cover pan to retain the residual heat & melt the “cheese.”
Assemble your taco & top with optional guacamole and/or tomato slices.
Enjoy the deliciousness!

Make Something Monday: Stuffed Peppers w/ Mexican Style Rice

Today’s Make Something Monday post is a guest written by Nick Conrad [aka the Omnivore]. It’s one of our favorite dishes to make at home & was a huge hit when we served it at our Vegan Thanksgiving: Stuffed Peppers w/ Mexican Style Rice!
There are three phases to the stuffed peppers: the rice, the beans, and the peppers. Since the rice takes the longest lets start that first. Here’s what you’ll need:
[from AllRecipes.com]
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2/3 cup diced onion
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked white rice
  • 1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon powdered saffron
  • 3 cups water

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over a medium-low heat.
Place the onions in the pan, and saute until golden.
Add rice to pan, and stir to coat grains with oil.
Mix in green bell pepper, cumin, chili powder, tomato sauce, salt, garlic, saffron, and water. Cover, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to simmer.
Cook for 30 to 40 minutes, or until rice is tender. Stir occasionally.

While thats cooking, you can start the beans. Black beans are the best but you can use others as well. Here’s what you will need for the beans:

  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 Jalapenos, chopped
  • 1 can of beans (15.5 oz)
  • 2 tsp of olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes

Place the garlic in a small sauce pan along with the oil and red pepper flakes.
Cook on low to med heat for about five minutes until the garlic is golden brown. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
Next, add the jalapenos. Cook for another five minutes and then add the beans.
Cover and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for about 10 minutes or until the rice is ready.

Now you can start the pablano peppers. Here is what you will need:

  • Two Pablano peppers (Cut in half and cleaned w/ seeds removed)
  • 1/2 cup Daiya Pepper Jack Cheese
  • 2 Morning Star Vegan Grillers burger patties

First preheat the oven to 350 and place frozen burger patties directly on the first rack in the oven.
Next place the four pepper halves in a large pot and cover with water.
Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil peppers for about five minutes.
Remove the peppers and set them aside.
Remove the burger patties from the oven once they are warm & thawed.
Dice or crumble, your choice, the patties and set them aside.
Once the rice and beans are done, you can assemble the stuffed peppers.
Rice goes in first then the beans, the burger patty crumbles and the cheese on top.
Place all the peppers in a baking pan or casserole dish.
Now place the pan in the oven and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes until the cheese has fully melted.
Plate & serve each pepper half with additional rice & beans on the side. Enjoy!

 

Make Something Monday: a Daiya duo

The second I heard about Daiya’s new pepperjack flavor I knew I had to try it.  Spicy cheeses were my favorite in my pre-vegan days so I was excited to try out a whole new selection of hotter vegan recipes.  I was pleasantly surprised to find how much this flavor tastes like the real thing.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Daiya’s cheddar and mozzarella, but they do have a bit of an aftertaste that’s not fooling any omnivore.  The pepperjack flavor, on the other hand, might just slip by undetected.

First: Nachos!

directions: 1. place chips on plate. 2. make mess on top.

A pretty easy recipe, I topped my nachos off with salsa, diced tomatoes and jalapeno pepper slices after heating the Daiya in the microwave for about 2 minutes to melt it over the chips.  These things were so tasty that I ate most of the plate myself, despite having made them for my parents and the Omnivore.  Thankfully, making seconds takes…well, seconds!

Next: Inside Out Grilled Cheese!

not pretty, but pretty tasty!

I can’t take credit for this idea.  I discovered it among the entries for Daiya’s Get Cooking Contest and thought it sounded so yummy that I had to try it with the pepperjack flavor. Here’s the how-to from the contestant:

Very messy, but totally worth it!  I added a slice of tomato inside mine and it really brought out the pepperjack with a less spicy contrast.  Enjoy!

Around the World in one little City

The Omnivore and I have been eating some amazing meals out lately [perhaps too many if you check our wallets].  He loves Mexican, I love Sushi, and we both love Italian so we bounce around a lot with our dining venues.  However, anytime a place proves to be extra vegan-friendly, I’m more than happy to return on many occasions.
Here are some recent meals worthy of a second stop:

Hiro’s Cafe‘s All You Can Eat Sushi

Vegan on a Roll.

While it pales in comparison to my all-time favorite sushi place, Hiro’s all you can eat sushi menu is always tempting at just under $20.  It satisfies my constant sushi craving while allowing the Omnivore to indulge in two of his favorite things: eating a ton and saving money.  This place only has a few pre-listed vegetarian rolls, but they’re very open to modifications on any roll on the menu.  Granted, I’ve baffled a few of the sweet waitresses by asking for the Organic roll without the salmon or the Angel’s Kiss without fish or mayo, but they are more than happy to oblige once they understand the concept.

Pie Hole‘s Pizza with Daiya cheese

*objects in photo are tastier than they appear.

My commute to and from work takes me right past Pie Hole nearly every other day.  So imagine my excitement when I read in their window that they now offer VEGAN CHEESE! I had to give it a try.  The menu is mostly build-your-own-slice style so you can put whatever veggies you’d like on top.  I chose artichoke hearts, baby bella mushrooms, and of course, vegan cheese…it was totally delicious.  My only complaint was that the counter workers weren’t sure if any of their specialty sauces were vegan. I was fine with the traditional tomato sauce, but it would be nice to know my options next time.

P.S. I have it on good authority that Pie Hole is looking into even more vegan toppings…so stay tuned!

El Nuevo Mexicano‘s Quesadilla Vegano & Platanos Fritas con Nieve Vegano

Delicioso.

Thank God for the vegansaurus! post on this restaurant or I might never have known about their mouth-watering vegan menu.  Before going vegan, I loved Mexican food. However, much to the Omnivore’s dismay, it kind of lost it’s luster once cheese went off the menu.  That’s why I was ultra-impressed to find that El Nuevo Mexicano didn’t just create a list of vegan dishes from ingredients they already had, but included Daiya cheese and vegan chorizo in many of their delicious options.  I ordered the Quesadilla Vegano, savored every sweet, cheesy bite, then followed it up with a vegan dessert [yep, that’s right, the menu includes dessert!] of fried plantains topped with coconut ice cream.  The verdict: Heavenly! I can’t wait to go back for more!

7 Questions: Lindsay Wolf of Kiss me, I’m Vegan!

One of the greatest parts of becoming a part of the vegan community is how welcoming and friendly other vegans tend to be.  We’re all coming to the cause for different reasons, but we share a passion for animals and a love for the world around us.

Lindsay Wolf of Kiss Me, I'm Vegan!

Recently, I met fellow blogger Lindsay Wolf on the message boards of The Kind Life.  Not only is Lindsay’s Kiss Me, I’m Vegan! blog absolutely adorable, but I instantly felt like I could relate to her.  And even though we barely know each other, she still agreed to answer the VTB questionnaire [complete with a Chicago Diner shout out!]:

VTB: What made you decide to go vegan?
Lindsay: It’s a bit of a story, especially because veganism wasn’t something I was seeking out at all at the time. I was happily living in the dark about so many atrocities going on around me, and it took a random scene from a film to jump me out of that place. Back in 2007, in an attempt to show me a crazy movie ending, my husband played for me the end of Fast Food Nation. It was the point in the film where cows in a slaughterhouse are forced onto the kill floor to be slaughtered for meat. I was an emotional wreck, my shirt soaked with tears, and I could barely control the shame and shock overcoming me, as I watched what was horrifically occurring onscreen – scared, innocent animals screaming out in fear and desperation, trying to do everything they could to save their own lives, were being violently killed for their flesh. In that moment, the lightbulb of my conscience lit up deep inside, and I knew in my heart that my life would never be the same. I realized that if I called myself an animal lover, I needed to mean it fully, and that meant no longer eating the flesh of animals. Boy, was I in for the ride of my life!
VTB: Was it a gradual process for you or an immediate lifestyle change?
Lindsay: It was definitely gradual. I started with baby steps – cutting out all land animals, but still eating fish, eggs, and dairy. After about a year, I decided to forgo meat entirely by giving up fish, but I was still very hesitant about going all the way to becoming vegan. How could I part with cheese? No more omelets? What about whipped cream?! Fear was a huge deterrent for me – I had already given up what I felt was so much that I was afraid to give up everything completely. Little did I realize what I would be receiving in return.
After a few months of researching a vegan diet, as well as learning about what dairy and eggs really are in terms of health and animal welfare, I decided to start taking vegan “breaks” – I would spend a day, or a few days, eating only vegan food. It’s almost comical when I look back on those days – I was having a secret love affair with veganism! I was still so scared to jump into it completely, because I knew it would be something I’d have to do with 100% of me (as my dad likes to say, I’m a “hurricane” when it comes to my passions in life – once I decide to do something, I give it my entire focus and effort). But as the months went by, I started longing for the vegan days more and more. After simply dipping my toes in the waters of a vegan lifestyle, I was beginning to get hooked. By October 2008, I was a full-fledged vegan. And now, I can proudly say that I live as cruelty-free a lifestyle as I possibly can – I am vegan in all aspect of my life, not just in my dietary choices.
VTB: What sort of changes did you notice in your body and in your life from going vegan?
Lindsay: Well, I was super sensitive in the first few months of living vegan. It’s really hard not to be, when you’ve chosen to live vegan as a way to honor animals. To me, it seemed like a completely hopeless situation at first – the realization that animals were being tortured, neglected, and abused, without me wanting them to be or being able to save them, all over the world and all the time. I would even say I felt sad about the whole thing for a little bit, BUT – the good news is that as I learned more about vegan cooking and animal advocacy, I felt stronger and more convinced that I could be the change I wanted to see in the world, as Gandhi so eloquently put it. There’s something so beautiful that happens once you educate yourself enough to learn that the simple act of living vegan and sharing it with others can create positive change in the world for both animals and humans alike.
Physically, I would say I felt lighter, healthier, and had a lot more energy – but my biggest challenge when I first started was tackling eating healthy as a vegan (which can be an especially difficult task when you’ve fallen head over heels for vegan baking!). Now, after two years of living this way, I’m finally learning how to eat a balanced, healthy, wholesome plant-based diet. But it definitely took time.
VTB: What was the hardest animal product for your to give up eating? And have you found a viable replacement for that food?
Lindsay: CHEESE. Especially the stinky, old kinds. I was addicted. Literally. I mean, cheese – and all milk products – by nature has addictive elements in it, because milk is designed to be a delicious, soothing, and nurturing food for a baby. So saying goodbye to cheese was really hard. But once I really took the time to think about the fact that I was stealing milk from a baby and contributing to the veal industry every time I ate dairy, I didn’t want to be a part of it a moment longer. And yes, I have found more than one viable replacement thankfully! Daiya vegan cheese rocks my socks. Dr. Cow Tree Nut Cheese is the bomb. And I love me some We Can’t Say It’s Cheese non-dairy spreads by Wayfare foods. Besides that, I make a mean raw homemade cashew cheese.
VTB: What’s your favorite vegan product or recipe?
Lindsay: That’s like asking your soulmate what their favorite thing about you is! There are just too many amazing vegan foods and products out there! Hmm… For recipe, I would have to say Bryanna Clark Grogan’s Breast of Tofu – funny name, but one AMAZING dish! You can find the recipe here. I love it because it shows someone who has judgments towards tofu that tofu can be absolutely fabulous and comforting when cooked right. I’m even able to make a yummy gravy out of her marinade. For favorite product, I’d have to say Field Roast sausages – they are absolutely amazing and can be thrown into almost any savory recipe.
VTB: How do family and friends feel about your choice?
Lindsay: My family was a bit weary at first, but here’s the cool thing – since my going vegan, my mom and husband have gone vegan, my mother-in-law is almost vegan, my stepmom has stopped eating land animals, my brother is vegetarian, and my sister has stopped eating meat, fish, and eggs! I swear – if you keep being a positive influence to those around you, there’s no limit to how much people may surprise you.
Friends were a little different – I had a few who took my choice to mean that I was threatening their personal way of living, and when they couldn’t see that I was still the same, loving, happy person I always was and that the change I was making in my life had nothing to do with them, some of us had to part ways. But going vegan showed me that your true friends are the ones who won’t allow their judgments to get in the way of a friendship. And it just so happens that many of my friends now are actually new ones I’ve made who are also vegan – I’ve found an amazing vegan community in both NYC and now here in Los Angeles that gives me so much support and love.
VTB: What’s the craziest vegan recipe or product you’ve ever tried?
Lindsay: The Radical Reuben at Chicago Diner in Chicago was by far the craziest dish I’ve ever had, in that it tastes JUST like a reuben. It was kind of scary, actually! But soooo delicious… 🙂

Stuffed, No Stuffing Needed.

This morning, I celebrated Thanksgiving animal product-free, and I didn’t feel deprived at all.  I’d prepared a vegan shells & ‘cheese’ casserole for the whole family to try and [despite some initial trepidation] they all loved it!  No joke.

This is all that was left at the end of a meal:

my omnivore aunt thanked me for bringing such a tasty dish.

And I was a happy girl because I got to eat the leftovers a few hours later:

the green beans were flavored with a bit of EarthBalance 'butter.'

The boyfriend [who joined me for the family festivities] has requested that I make this dish again very soon.

Wanna try it yourself?
It’s created based on a few recipes online, but here’s my version:

2 cups whole wheat pasta shells
5 tbsp Earth Balance
3 tbsp whole wheat flour
1 cup plain rice milk
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 tsp Parma!
2 slices italian bread, torn into small pieces
2 cups Daiya cheddar cheese

  1. Prepare the pasta according to the package directions.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, grease a circular casserole dish with Earth Balance or non-dairy cooking spray.
  3. Melt your Earth Balance in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Once the “butter” is melted, add your whole wheat flour, pepper,  and Parma!. Whisk thoroughly for one to two minutes.
  4. Slowly add the rice milk, whisking all the while. Continue to whisk until the roux is thickened and bubbling.
  5. Add the Daiya cheddar cheese. Keep stirring until the Daiya has melted evenly into the roux.
  6. Meanwhile, your pasta should be done and have been strained. Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and disperse evenly.
  7. Pour the macaroni and cheese into your baking dish, top with bread pieces and a sprinkling of Parma! Bake for 20 to 30 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and serve [once cool enough to eat].

 

I’m Thankful for Vegan Sides.

Tomorrow, I will be waking up early to prepare a vegan side dish for Thanksgiving with my omnivore family.

As I’m preparing a dish that I’ve never made [with a cup less Daiya cheese than the recipe calls for], I’m getting anxious about how things might turn out.

how far can I stretch one package?

Stay tuned…

7 Questions: Allison & David Hazel of Beta Male

David (left) & Allison (right) of Indianapolis' Beta Male.

For this week’s 7 questions, VTB interviewed David & Allison Hazel of Indianapolis’ Beta Male.  Voted Indy’s Sexiest Band last year, they’re hardcore proof that a vegan diet does a body real good.

VTB: What made you decide to go vegan?
David: I learned about factory farming. Not the random act of violence, but the systemic violence and reprehensible treatment of all the animals in the industrial farming machine.
Allison: That’s what it was about for me. I was exposed to factory farming in college through videos from uncover investigations—mostly conducted by PETA. Many people, including me, tend to write off those videos as anomalous and only representative of the worst of the worst. As I read and studied, I learned that intensive farming and its inherent cruelty is the rule, not the exception. When kids go to college to study “animal husbandry” at Purdue they are studying business. It’s about keeping your eye on that bottom line: smaller cages, more antibiotics, bigger animals (through growth hormones). Add to that the fact that the meat, egg, and dairy industries are almost entirely self-regulated and you have a recipe for gross abuse.
Animals raised for food are bred to grow too big, too fast and live their short lives in filthy, cramped conditions. Egg-laying hens, for example, are kept 5 to a cage the size of a file drawer and are never even able to spread on wing until they are transported to slaughter. The animals are denied veterinary care, handled abusively, and made to undergo mutilations such as cutting off their testicles, tails, ears, and beaks with no painkiller. On the road to slaughter they are transported through all weather extremes. Then, at the end, whether they are young animals bred for meat or have just outlived their usefulness (“spent” hens and cows raised for milk), they are sent down the same slaughterhouse assembly line.
People imagine little cows running around pastures, chickens in the barnyard, and all of this bucolic imagery, but they don’t stop to consider the sheer amount of meat, eggs, and dairy produced. It’s not possible to satisfy our desire for these products in a way that is healthy and sustainable for everyone.

VTB: Was it a gradual process for you or an immediate lifestyle change?
David: I went vegetarian immediately, and gave up cheese after a few months. My knowledge and appreciation of veganism has definitely grown gradually.
Allison: When I had my “a-ha” moment about factory farming – realizing that these practices are the standard – I just went vegetarian that day. About a year later I came to realize that animals bred for their products – egg hens and dairy cows – suffer a fate worse than death before being killed like all the rest. I could no longer justify being party to that.
That said, David is right: my appreciation for veganism developed gradually. I was a bit of a junk food vegan. Now I’ve evolved into something of a chef. David once told me that limitations are what inspire great art. Somehow eliminating animal products from my diet expanded my culinary repertoire exponentially.

VTB: What sort of changes did you notice in your body and in your life from going vegan?
David: I lost 20 pudgy pounds when I went vegan. I have had stellar cholesterol and whatnot since then. as well. I recently noticed (as I’ve been trying to gain weight) that I can add lean weight and very little fat while eating like a fucking pig. Like crazy amounts of food.
Allison: Oh, same here. I went from a little pleasantly plump to the kind of girl you hate ‘cause she seems to eat everything in sight and never gain a pound. Ha! It changed my metabolism gradually.

VTB: What was the hardest animal product for you to give up eating? And have you found a viable replacement for that food?
David: Depends…sometimes I have different cravings. It’s usually when there is something like donuts in the break room or people eating something else that I used to love. There are pretty good replacements for a lot of stuff. I will never eat mayo or cream cheese (Vegenaise and Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese are better than the real thing).
Allison: It’s true—the Tofutti products (sour cream, cream cheese) and Vegenaise are actually better than the “real” thing. A lot of the fakes products aren’t. Sometimes your tastes change to appreciate the fake stuff and sometimes you just eliminate foods altogether and find that you don’t even miss them. Cheese is the catch for a lot of people. People often say, “You know, I could be vegan, but I could never give up cheese!” They are usually surprised when I say, “Then don’t give up cheese.” It’s not about personal purity or being the vegan-est person in the room. It’s about making the best choices you can for yourself, the planet, and everyone on it.

VTB: What’s your favorite vegan product or recipe?
David: mm…can’t answer this one. Too many good foods, and Allison makes something new and crazy like all the time.
Allison: Oh man…well, I loved meat, so for many years I had a weakness for fake meats. Gimmee Lean sausage tastes like the real thing. I fool meat eaters with my biscuits and gravy! Gardenburger Riblets [Editor’s Note: We think she meant Morningstar Riblets] are pretty amazing rib analogues. A lot of people have the hardest time with cheese, but there are some really great cheese alternatives that have come out just in the last couple of years. Daiya (available at Whole Foods) makes a great, melty, stringy cheddar and mozzarella. Follow Your Heart does cheese well, too.
Nowadays my tastes have evolved quite a bit so that I just enjoy more whole, simple, natural foods. My cooking style is somewhat akin to 101cookbooks.com, a blog I enjoy.

VTB: How do family and friends feel about your choice?
David: They didn’t understand and felt attacked or defensive for a long time. They are polite to my face about it. That’s how I should say it.
Allison: My family doesn’t take it quite so personally. They even think it’s kind of cool – especially now that it’s been almost 10 years and has outlived anything that could be considered a phase or a fad. They’re proud of me for being committed to something I believe in. I’ve overheard my dad bragging.

VTB: What’s the craziest vegan recipe or product you’ve ever tried?
David: Allison has made a few variations of tempeh “crab” cakes that are wild and awesome
Allison: Oh, truly. I started out with this recipe and it just sort of evolved. My favorite variation is an adaptation of this Martha Stewart recipe. This is a great example of learning to use a new product (for example, tempeh) and substituting it in conventional recipes. (Tempeh is amazing, by the way. Simply amazing.)
MacNiven’s in Indianapolis has vegan haggis. Oh, and there’s this great company called May Wah out of New York that ships every kind of crazy vegan meat you can think of including seafood.