Quantum Vegan Talks Plant-Based Diets on WAMC’s Food Friday

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You never know what will happen on a call-in show. That’s why I was a little baffled at first as to why I got myself into doing an episode of the weekly food-related talk show Food Friday on WAMC, a public radio station that covers a large swatch of the Northeast. It’s a neat show that connects the public with unique food experts and business owners in the area for weekly discussions of diverse topics. A friend turned me onto it a long while back, but it took me until just recently to make a connection. The awesome folks over at the studio invited me in for an hour of Q & A with whoever wanted to call, email, Tweet or send a Facebook message. More channels, more fun, right?

Right! I got to chat with host Ray Graf before the show and during breaks, answering his questions about plant-based diets, and later on in the show I shared my favorite simple snack: stuffed dates! We did have one or two surprises along the way, which is to be expected when you’re doing a live show, but it kept things interesting for the duration.

In case you missed it, you can stream the entire show on the Food Friday website.

I really enjoyed being part of Food Friday, and I look forward to going back in the future to answer more questions about veganism, plant-based diets, health and anything else that you want to know! Keep an eye on the Upcoming Appearances page for dates and to see where you can catch me in person in the meantime.

Thanks to WAMC for featuring QV and for the invitation to do more shows! Even if you’re not in the Northeast U.S., you can listen to Food Friday online live or go through the archives to listen to older episodes.

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What is Sugar Doing to Kids? Focus on Albany Asks Quantum Vegan and Barbara Swanson

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Last Friday (February 12th), I returned to the Focus on Albany show along with author and consultant Barbara Swanson to chat with host Cynthia Pooler about the harmful effects of refined sugar consumption on children. Barbara Swanson has appeared on the show previously to discuss the health implications of sugar in general, and it was a pleasure to be able to share air time with her and offer valuable information for parents, teachers and others who work with children.

You can listen to the show here:

We managed to fit a lot into a half-hour episode! Some questions that were addressed include:

  • Just what does sugar do to kids?
  • Why does sugar seem to be so addictive?
  • Is sugar responsible for childhood hyperactivity?
  • What factors are affecting families’ abilities to enjoy nourishing foods?
  • What does it feel like to “break free” from sugar?

Barbara and I will be back on Focus on Albany in the future to address even more about this and other issues raised during the show. If there are any questions you’d like us to answer, please share them in the comments!

You can connect with Barbara Swanson on Facebook and find Focus on Albany on Blog Talk Radio, Facebook, Twitter and iTunes. And of course, you can always follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!

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Be My Vegan Valentine: Treats & Recipes for a Special Day

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In the interest of full disclosure: I received Dandies vegan marshmallows to sample, and this post contains affiliate links.

Hearts! Candy! Warm fuzzies! Oh my!

Major retail stores have been pushing Valentine’s Day merchandise practically since Christmas, but here at QV, I like to be a little more timely (or perhaps a bit fashionably late) about holidays. Therefore, I bring you a post just about a week before this highly commercialized, heart-filled celebration!

I know, I know. Most of you are looking for that perfect vegan wing recipe to chow down on during the Super Bowl, but there’s nothing wrong with rounding up a few sweet recipes to share on the 14th! Read on for tasty Valentine’s Day delights suitable for chocolate lovers, cookie monsters and anyone who likes food on sticks.

valentines cookies by Austin White public domain images vday post

Super Candy Sources

If you’re looking for decadent vegan candies to give as gifts, these companies have you covered. Be prepared to fall into a sugar coma! (And snap to later with a smoking credit card and the vague notion that you just procured enough chocolate to feed an army.)

  • Lagusta’s Luscious Valentine’s Day collection — Find them locally or shop online!
    • All chocolates are 100% vegan, organic and fair-trade
  • Sjaak’s 100% organic vegan chocolate
  • Natural Candy Store — Be sure to check shipping deadlines for your area to get vegan, allergen-free, junk free candy delivered in time for the holiday.
  • Dandies Vegan Marshmallows — Use them to make these Heart-Shaped Crispy Treat Sandwiches with strawberry filling.
    • From Chicago Vegan Foods, the makers of Dandies: “The first Non-GMO Project Verified marshmallows on the market, Dandies are made with all-natural ingredients and completely free of gelatin, artificial ingredients, and high fructose corn syrup. The products are produced in the company’s dedicated facility, which is free of dairy, eggs, peanuts, and tree-nuts. Dandies marshmallows are also free of wheat, gluten and corn, 100% vegan, and certified kosher by the Chicago Rabbinical Council.”
    • Find them in vanilla, mini vanilla and pumpkin varieties!

Make Your Own Vegan Valentine’s Treats!

valentines candy box by twinrexes freeimages

twinrexes/FreeImages

Put in a little effort to bake or confect (Is that a word? It is now!) something special for the person you love — or all the people who make your life amazing! Give these great vegan Valentine’s Day treats as gifts, serve them on a heart-shaped plate to cap off a romantic dinner or make them the focal point of an amazing spread of party desserts!

Cake Pops

Who doesn’t love cake on a stick? Deck out these cake pops with ribbons and use different toppings like sprinkles, cocoa powder, cinnamon or shredded coconut to create a unique presentation.

Candy

They say it’s the thought that counts when giving a gift, so why not make your loved one’s day with delicious homemade candy instead of store-bought?

Cookies

heart cookies by nas freeimages

nas/FreeImages

I couldn’t do a roundup of treats without including some cookies. They’re a classic for gift-giving and party platters!

With this list on hand, you’ll have no problem making Valentine’s Day sweet for your significant other, your family, your friends — or yourself. Enjoy!

Love these recipes? Get more like them — along with plant-based health and lifestyle tips — every month in my newsletter!

Header Photo By Austin White via http://public-domain.pictures/

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Quantum Vegan Chats About Plant-Based Diets with Focus on Albany

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Last week, I had the opportunity to appear on Focus on Albany, a locally based Internet radio show. I met host Cynthia Pooler in the co-op cafe one evening after work when her plant-based dinner caught my attention. We connected over a mutual concern over diet’s affect on health, and this episode grew from that conversation. I’m grateful to Cynthia for giving me a chance to spread the word about plant-based diets!

You can listen to the whole show right here:

In this episode, we talk about:

  • The difference between a vegetarian and a vegan
  • Some of the health benefits of a plant-based diet
  • Soup suggestions to warm up your winter
  • Vegans, B12 deficiency and the best options for supplementation

Stay tuned to Focus on Albany for more QV appearances in the coming months! Follow the show on:

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Recipe Revamp: “Cheesy” Sriracha Cornbread Donuts, Veganized!

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I’ll admit it. I have a mild obsession with Sriracha sauce. (Enough that I finally learned that it’s SRIracha and not SIRacha…) The zippy taste, the afterburn that leaves your mouth tingling…I can’t resist. In fact, it’s the only hot sauce I happen to have on hand right now, and i don’t see a reason to buy anything else.

Given this devotion to such an epic source of spiciness, when I stumbled across this recipe for Cheddar Sriracha Cornbread Donuts, how could I not try it? I found it on a blog called Toaster Oven Love, probably while Googling around for something to have with chili that wasn’t the standard corn muffin I always make.

It’s a simple recipe very similar to corn bread, but given a cheesy twist and baked in a donut pan. To make these vegan, I replaced the the cheese with nutritional yeast, the egg with a flax egg and the buttermilk with almond milk and a splash of cider vinegar. The butter got swapped for applesauce. Using oat flour has the added bonus of making the donuts gluten free for those who can’t handle wheat.

The Sriracha, I left the same. Yes, that’s a full tablespoon of Sriracha.

A photo posted by Quantum Vegan (@quantumvegan) on

They’re great with stew (as pictured above in a recent Instagram shot), chili and as snacks if you’re into that kind of thing when you’re feeling peckish. Which, obviously, I am.

Making these reminded me of the morning at Vegetarian Summerfest when I arrived at the breakfast table to see one of my dining companions opening a bottle of, you guessed it, Sriracha.

“Is that what I think it is?” I asked. Excitement ensued, and several of us proceeded to douse our breakfast potatoes in the spicy sauce.

About halfway through the meal, I realized the friend sitting to my left was crying. I asked if he’d overdone the hot sauce, but he shook his head.

“No,” he replied, sniffing and dabbing at his eyes. “This is how I like it.”

If that’s how hot you like your food, feel free to go for more than a tablespoon of Sriracha for your donuts. But do so at your own risk–I found these to be plenty spicy enough as they are!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Recipe Revamp: "Cheesy" Sriracha Cornbread Donuts, Veganized!
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Adapted from a recipe on Toaster Oven Love, these unassuming little donuts pack a spicy Sriracha punch!
Author:
Recipe type: Bread
Serves: 6-8 donuts
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup unsweetened plain nondairy milk
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • 3 Tbsp warm water
  • ½ cup oat flour (or ½ cup of oats, ground in a blender)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Have ready a nonstick donut pan.
  2. Combine the nondairy milk and apple cider vinegar in a measuring cup. Set aside to curdle into vegan "buttermilk."
  3. In a small cup or bowl, whisk together the flax seed and warm water. Set aside to thicken.
  4. In a mixing bowl, stir together the cornmeal, oat flour, baking powder, baking soda and nutritional yeast.
  5. Add the "buttermilk," flax seed mixture, and Sriracha. Stir well to combine, but avoid over-mixing.
  6. Divide the batter evenly in the donut pan and bake for 15 minutes, or until the edges of the donuts are golden.
  7. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack or serving with your favorite chili!
Are you a Sriracha fan? Share your most daring Sriracha exploits in the comments!

(Featured image by Ian Ransley via http://public-domain.pictures/)

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Father’s Day 2015 — Make Dad’s Day the Vegan Way!

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happy fathers day lessons of life by sebadanon
It’s time to celebrate Dad! From vegan versions of traditional “meat and potatoes” food to dishes for the dad who likes an adventurous meal, it’s all here. I’ve also included a short list of guides and recipe collections to help you plan a great day for the most special guy in your life. (He deserves it–after all, he changed your diapers!)

Little Bites for Dad-Sized Appetites

Does your dad love hot wings? Make his day with this completely unhealthy but oh-so-delicious vegan version from Vegan Dad. In fact, just about any vegan “meat” dish from the Vegan Dad recipe files is sure to please!

Healthy. Happy. Life. offers up another classic with a mouthwatering collection of ideas for loaded potato skins. If your dad doesn’t mind a little green in his snacks, try this unique twist from Pinch of Yum that includes spinach and chickpeas. (Substitute vegan cheeses for the dairy cheese and you’re good to go!)

Spicy, Saucy Main Courses

If your dad’s a fan of barbecue, serve up these super-simple tempeh BBQ sandwiches from Oh My Veggies, or try a spicy seitan version from Vegetarian Times. For a different twist on the barbecue flavor, try BBQ Vegan Sausage With Potatoes & Greens!

For the dad who’s a sucker for all things spicy, there’s always chipotle chili brimming with tasty beans!

Perhaps your dad is more of a pasta man? In that case, MyRecipes.com offers a colorful, healthy recipe for Veggie Ribbon Pasta Shells stuffed with spirals of zucchini and carrots. Use vegan cheese or homemade cheese sauce in place of the dairy cheese for a vegan delight.

Sweet Tooth Satisfaction

Finish off the day with a delicious dessert that defies Dad’s expectations. Chocolate zucchini brownies are always a hit, and he’ll never know that the amazing moist texture comes from shreds of squash or that these treats contain no oil at all!lemon tree by MissFran

If Dad’s an apple dude, head over to Vegan Richa for a spiced apple cake that will knock his socks off. There’s even salted caramel drizzle to go on top!

I would be remiss if I didn’t include this beautiful vegan lemon meringue pie from Seitan Beats Your Meat. My dad has always loved lemon meringue pie, and I have fond memories of my mom making it for him around Father’s Day and sometimes for his birthday. I won’t have a chance to whip one up for the holiday this year, but I’m hoping to try it out before the summer is over. I’m dying to give that vegan meringue recipe a shot! (Seriously, meringue made from chickpea brine? Wild!)

Guides for the Greatest Father’s Day Ever

Need a little help pulling everything together before Sunday? These handy guides have you covered!

VegNews provides everything necessary for planning a tasty menu and fun activities that every dad will enjoy. It includes a vegan beer guide and a list of vegan-friendly ballparks for a traditional afternoon out!

With recipes like Dragon’s Breath Barbecue Sauce and Rude Chocolate Sauce, you can’t go wrong with this complete Father’s Day menu from Veg Paradise.

And, as always, One Green Planet has it in a nutshell: everything Dad could possibly want from appetizers to dessert. (Make sure you have a lot of time to stare at this one. And a paper towel in case you drool on your keyboard.)

Subscribe to the monthly Quantum Vegan newsletter to get more recipes just like these–along with plant-based news and tips–delivered right to your inbox every month.

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CleanCandy — Vegan, Gluten-Free, Non-GMO, Allergy-Friendly Hard Candies on Kickstarter!

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Natural candy line aims to replace “artificial junk” with healthier alternatives in classic flavors

I frequently tell people that I’m not a huge fan of candy. Since switching to a plant-based diet, this is largely true. I don’t crave sweet things very often or feel the need to have them if I find a sale on a flavor I used to enjoy. However, I must admit that making such a sweeping statement is a bit of a fib. There are some candies that I do love (like root beer DumDum pops) and miss (like Sour Patch Kids), but don’t eat because my body doesn’t tolerate the artificial ingredients. Even if it did, I wouldn’t want to be putting those things in my body.

That’s why I’m super-excited about CleanCandy®. The brainchild of the trio behind NaturalCandyStore.com, CleanCandy is a whole new kind of hard candy–one made without artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. It’s vegan, gluten-free, safe for people with allergies and uses only fair trade sugar. You can read the official press release below or head right on over to the CleanCandy Kickstarter campaign for the full scoop–and a chance to be one of the first to get your hands on CleanCandy®. The campaign only has five more days to go, so if you’d like to contribute, now’s your chance!

If the campaign reaches its goal, CleanCandy® will go right into production (and you’ll never see me again, because I’ll be too busy swimming Scrooge-McDuck-style in a vault full of root beer and chocomint).

UPDATE: CleanCandy made its goal and is now available through Natural Candy Store! Go grab some, seriously.

Candy Dish Makeover!

NaturalCandyStore.com Introduces First Hard Candies Made With Fair Trade Sugar Via “CleanCandy” Kickstarter

clean candy

Image courtesy of Kickstarter

May 20, 2015 – Surprisingly—despite the wide availability of other certified fair trade products like coffee and cocoa—there are no fair trade candies (non-chocolate) on the market, even though sugarcane is an important fair trade crop. That’s why the founders of online retailer NaturalCandyStore.com created CleanCandy®, the first brand of hard candy to use fair trade sugar.

Also vegan, organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, dye-free, kosher, allergy friendly, and made in the USA, CleanCandy® is sugar gone good—better for those who produce the sugar, better for those who eat it, and better for the environment.

“Sugar gets a bad rap often because of the company it keeps—regular hard candy is basically sugar loaded with artificial colors, artificial flavors and corn syrup,” said Dawn Van Hee, co-founder of NaturalCandyStore.com along with Irene Nelson (her sister) and Molly Hamaker (their mom). “With CleanCandy® sugar gets better friends in natural colors, natural flavors and organic brown rice syrup. No more guilt by association!”

CleanCandy® is now raising funds through a Kickstarter campaign for its first production run this summer which will include an assortment of seven classic flavors: Root Beer Float, Lemon Drop, Watermelon Wheel, Peppermint Swirl, Orange Slice, Butterscotch Button, and Chocomint.

Within the first five days of the campaign, CleanCandy® raised more than 35 percent of its 20K target and earned a coveted Kickstarter Staff Pick. Starting at $12, various sponsor rewards are available— from CleanCandy® mixes and single flavor packs to the “Clean Up A Candy Dish” package and an option for giving CleanCandy® to the school, church or organization of choice.

“We envision our CleanCandy® assortment replacing the artificial junk in candy dishes and on reception desks across the country—at doctors’ offices, restaurants, hotels, schools, and homes,” said Van Hee.

The CleanCandy® Kickstarter is running through June 15, 2015. For more information, contact Dawn Van Hee at dawn@naturalcandystore.com or (925) 288-1709.

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