Recap of Boswell signing, MKE’s Vegan Cookies segment, and Riverwest Co-op signing this weekend!

MoFo is over (just in time for my finals) so this blog will be getting a little more love (and updates!) like SBYM got throughout November.
Thanksgiving break was absolutely crazy! I think the whole weekend comprised of working and homework. It was fun, but I was ready to pass out after it all. I was on the Milwaukee news on Black Friday (video here), then spent the rest of the day in Chicago (nomnomz Diner).

Sunday was a book signing at Boswell Book Company, an awesome local bookstore with a great selection run by super nice people. Support your local bookstores!

For the event, I made hypnosis lollipops, cashew cappuccino nanaimo bars, and thin mints, all in the book of course.

Signing bookz

Over 20 books were sold during the hour-ish and a great mix of people came out to the signing.
Awesome! Thanks, Boswell!

For a new segment of Milwaukee’s Vegan Cookies, I have more East Side Ovens cookies I picked up at the bakery of Outpost Co-op over the weekend.

Chocolate Pecan Sandies
These may be my favorite ESO cookies that I’ve tried. They were decadent, flavorful, and nutty, and didn’t taste “healthy” at all, which is something I’ve noticed in some of their other cookies. They’re still awesome, but I’m partial to the most hedonistic desserts I can find.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
These were pretty good! Lightly flavored, and bursts of chocolate.

Speaking of co-ops, the Riverwest Co-op in Milwaukee has amazing food. And I’m going to be doing a book signing there this Sunday, December 12th from 11am-2pm! If you’re in the area, I’d love to meet you, so c’mon out, get some delicious brunch, cookie, samples, and a book!
I keep the “Events” page at the top of the blog updated with upcoming events, so check it out! I hope to see you guys in Chicago later this month! (And I’ll post about New York with Melisser once finals week is over and I’m not dead!)


Talk and baking demo, elementary-style! Catering! **Autographed VCC Giveaway!**

I have quite a few things crammed into this post! And they’re all very exciting!

#1. A couple weeks ago, I went to my friend’s school to talk to his classes about veganism, baking, my book, and art. They seemed very interested, and thought I was HILARIOUS after accidentally uttering the words “shit” and “titties” during my speech. Hah.
We ended the day by baking Giant Bakery Style Double Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Teaching kids about baking and getting in the kitchen with them is something I’d be very interested in doing again in the future! It was so much fun, and they had a blast!

#2. If you’re in the Milwaukee area and would like to order cookies from me for an event, I now am advertising catering services. Click the link at the top of the page for more information! Cookies and prices are currently on a case-by-case basis, but I will get more concrete information up as soon as I can! I’d love to bake for your holiday parties coming up next month, or anything at all, so send me an email at vegancookies@wordpress.com!

#3. Oh hey, I have a contest for a signed copy of The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, starting NOW!

Write me a haiku
All about vegan cookies,
My lovely readers

If your poem wins
I will bestow upon you
Vegan cookie book

[I’m sure you can write a more eloquent haiku about vegan baked goods that sounds less like caveman speak.]

I am doing a giveaway of a signed copy of The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, right here, right now! To enter, write a vegan haiku about cookies and post it as a comment on this blog entry!
The contest closes this Thursday at 2pm CST! I’ll select finalists and a panel of judges comprised of awesome vegans will vote on the winner.
I will make a post with the winner and the winning haiku on Friday or Saturday! If it’s you, please send your mailing address ASAP to vegancookies@live.com and I will ship your book on Monday.
**US entries, only please.**



Interview with Melisser the Urban Housewife about Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life!

I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with Melisser Elliott quite a bit over the past few years when she visited Chicago. Last time, we did a photoshoot for her article in Vegetarian Times, and also talked about plans for our upcoming books. It’s nearly a year later and in less than 2 weeks, we’re joining forces in NYC for a book signing at the newly-opened Champs Bakery in Brooklyn!
In fact, she has a whole US tour going on right now for her fabulous new book, The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life! My copy arrived in Illinois last week and I’m anxiously awaiting my trip home in a few days when I’ll get to see it!
Melisser is a kickass vegan lady, my book label-mate, and a good friend, and I have for you guys an interview with her!

Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life is coming out in just a few short weeks! Yay! Where will it be available for sale?

The book is available at http://www.vegangirlsguide.com, as well as on my upcoming book tours! Of course, fine retailers such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other book shops will have it as well.

What can we expect to find inside?

I tried to touch on as much of veganism as possible, not only for people looking to go vegan, but for those of us who’ve been vegan for awhile and want a handy guide or a book to pass on to people curious about veganism. It has the who-what-where-when-why of veganism, lots of little tips to take the learning curve out of everything, interviews with vegan ladies and businesses from around the world, plus recipes and crafts!

Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life will be quite exciting and unique, with so much of your experiences to share as well as contributions from other people in the vegan community! What was your motivation to write it, and what was the process of making it happen?

I wanted to show people that veganism can be easy and it really is what’s best for the animals, environment, and your health. I started by outlining everything I could think of about veganism, then started to fill in the blanks. I asked others what their questions they had early on and what they wanted to know more about. I probably could have written a few more chapters, there’s so much to say!

How long have you been vegan and how has that decision impacted your life? What were you doing in your exploration of veganism and in your kitchen before you started The Urban Housewife and your book?

I’ve been vegan over 3 years now and I was vegetarian for 6 years. I’ve always been compassionate towards animals, hence going vegetarian, but I didn’t really know about veganism and the evils of the dairy and egg industry. Once I learned about it, I had to go vegan, and it’s now a huge part of my life. I’ve met wonderful people all over the world and have become active in the fight to save animals. Before I was vegan, I was working as a makeup artist for magazines, but not really doing anything for others. I actually started The Urban Housewife right before I went vegan to blog about all the baking I was enjoying, I never knew it would evolve in to veganism, tons of new friends, and a book deal!

Traveling is obviously a huge part of your life. Is this something you always wanted, or expected to be doing? What has been rewarding about visiting places all over the world?

My family never travels, yet I always found myself wanting to see new things. As soon as I had my own money, I started to check out new cities, but I didn’t expect to be regularly traveling the world. It’s something I’m really passionate about and I’m so fortunate to have experienced other cultures, amazing food, and a lot of fun. I basically spend every spare penny on going somewhere and have managed to travel very inexpensively!

What are your favorite cities to visit? Where are your favorite vegan eats? Where have you NOT been that you would love to visit, and why?

I have a tattoo devoted to my favorite cities, so I’ll start with the ones on my arm; San Francisco, NYC, Berlin, London, Tokyo / Kyoto, Stockholm, and Vienna. I also like the food in Portland, Austin, Chicago, and Los Angeles! There are SO many places I want to go! In the US; Denver, Atlanta, Omaha, Asheville, Minneapolis, Nashville- if it has good vegan food, I want to go there! I’m excited to check out Philly, DC, and Boston for the 1st time on my tour. I’d really like to go to Canada finally! I plan to travel all over Europe now that I live in Vienna. I’m also hoping to see India, Thailand, and China someday, and I wish Australia and New Zealand were closer to me.

How are your vegan adventures and your awesome trips correlated? Tell me about your upcoming book tours and how they came about!

It may sound silly, but I plan trips around awesome food. If I hear about some fun new vegan dining option, I want to go! As for the book tour, I was asked to speak at Northeast Florida Veg Fest and agreed to before I moved overseas. Once I had moved, I decided if I was going to fly across the world, I should make it worthwhile, so the book tour plan was hatched. It’s gotten crazier than intended with dates being added as recently as last week. I’m only home 6 days in November, due to all the travel, plus I’m hitting a few spots in Europe the 1st week of December. Here are my book tour dates:
November 6th Jacksonville, FL Northeast Florida VegFest, talk at 1:30pm, signing to follow November 7th Washington DC at Cafe Green, 4pm to 6pm
November 10th Philadelphia, PA at Grindcore House, 6pm to 8pm
November 12th Manhattan, NY at MooShoes, 7pm to 9pm
November 16th Syracuse, NY at Strong Hearts Cafe, 7pm to 9pm
November 17th Boston, MA at Peace O’ Pie, 7pm to 9pm
November 20th Brooklyn, NY at Champs Bakery, 7pm to 9pm
November 21st Montclair, NJ at Go Lightly Eco Store 1pm to 3pm
November 28th Paris, FR at Paris Vegan Day, book signing and talk
November 30th Manchester, UK at The Thirsty Scholar, 6pm to 8pm
December 2nd Brighton, UK TBA
December 4th London, UK at Vx, book signing and talk 2pm to 6pm – 5% off all Vx purchases at the event!
December 5th London, UK at the Animal Aid Christmas Fayre, talk at 3:15pm, signing to follow

Tell the story of how you got Strummer! Is she going to be joining you on the book tours?

The story of Strummer is a pretty crazy one! On the day before Fathers Day in 2008, we were taking a walk to our co-op, partaking in our usual routine of fawning over every dog we see. As we approached two men and a tiny chihuahua, I couldn’t help but comment on how adorable their puppy was. Next thing I know, I am being told to take the dog, as they didn’t want it and claimed to have found it on the sidewalk. Totally shocked, we walked away with a shivering, flea ridden, hungry 1.5 lb puppy. We spent weeks looking for lost dog signs and posting ads online, but no one claimed her and we already had her shots and she had started puppy classes, and so the era of Strummer began! As for the book tour, I wish Strummer was coming with me, but the road is not the place for a 2lb chihuahua who hates cars, buses, and planes!

Tell me about your other endeavors: The Urban Housewife blog, Sugar Beat Sweets, and Cruelty Free Face!

My brain doesn’t shut off, so I have a million projects. My longest running one is The Urban Housewife, my blog about my daily life with a focus on vegan travel. Sugar Beat Sweets is a vegan bakery I started in San Francisco in 2007 and has now grown to a 5 vegan lady collectively run bakery, with a storefront opening early next year! Cruelty Free Face is my site for all things vegan beauty. I was a makeup artist for 10 years and wanted to use that knowledge to teach people basic makeup skills and also where they can find cruelty free cosmetics.

What’s next? Do you have ideas for new projects lined up, or what do you hope to accomplish in the future?

Sleeping! hahaha. You know, I always have something up my sleeve. I have a few book ideas, I’m always looking for new ways to spread compassion for animals and get people involved in activism. I’m sure you’ll see me with a crazy new project soon!


Chicago VeganMania 2010!

I had the pleasure to not only attend, but give a baking demo, at Chicago VeganMania 2010 this year! The whole week before, Vegan Week: The Ultimate (which I made a huge blog post about on Seitan Beats Your Meat, here), was leading up to this giant vegan party!

Estimated number of cookies baked during that week: 25 dozen, or 300

To kick off the cookie baking for the week, Isa asked me to make cookies for her demo at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Culinary Activism: Becoming a Baketivist and Beyond. I was totally up for it, of course, and spent Wednesday evening making Ginger Cookies, Chocolate Peppermint Creme Bars (recipe here), and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Jamming out while baking.

Ellie and I went over to Lindsay’s to bring the cookies to Isa.
Milwaukee vegans represent! Ellie, me, and Lindsay.

Photo by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

There were some leftover chocolate peppermint creme bars that were quickly hidden from everyone, so they went home with Lindsay. Look how happy she is! And that was before she got all the bars!

After a fun-filled Thursday at UWM, Friday was devoted to baking. Louzilla flew in from Pennsylvania, so her and I, and my friends Ryan and Corey prepared for Chicago VeganMania.

I put them to work sticking labels on postcards for the demo.

Whole Foods in Milwaukee carries a giant 2lb tub of Earth Balance, so we just HAD to get it for this mass cookie-baking.
This is what 2lbs of Earth Balance looks like!:

By 2:30am, I finally got mostly everything planned out. Everyone else was asleep. Then it was time for bed.
Set up for baking demo the next day:

All the cookies. Chai Cookies (made by Louzilla and Corey), Chocolate Peppermint Creme Bars, and Hypnosis Cookies.

Then it was the day of Vegan Maniacs. Chicago VeganMania 2010!
I got up at 6am (a whole 3 hours of shut eye!) and got ready quickly, knowing the clock was ticking.
Upon arriving, the first person I ran into was Fran Costigan, then the super sweet Gina showed us to the kitchen to store our supplies for our demos.

Marla the Vegan Cupcake Fairy was floating around making sure everything was going smoothly! The first time I met Marla was at the Chicago Diner last July where she asked me if I would be interested in doing a demo at VeganMania. Of course I was!

A few days earlier, she posted about these adorable bottlecap necklaces on the VeganMania Facebook page, so I asked her where they were being sold so I could get one of my own.
Turns out, the one I picked she made herself! ❤
In a couple weeks or so, the necklaces (as well as shirts) will go on sale on the website to raise money for next year's VeganMania! Follow their Facebook page (posted above) and check the website to get your very own necklace or shirt and donate to veganism!

Shortly after getting situated, we made a few rounds at the exhibitor hall, then got really HUNGRY. On the way to get food we found Isa and John. We had a brief discussion about our honeymoon plans. See, we’re getting married in Maui next year.
Luckily Soul Veg was there to take care of our hungry vegan needs, and we took ourselves outside to sit and eat for awhile before Isa had to get ready for her first presentation.

Mac n cheese, greens, and BBQ seitan (which I, of course, spilled on my shirt and had to change my shirt twice. good thing I brought extra clothing!).

Isa also did her Baketivist presentation at VeganMania.

Bake sales, ft. PDX PPKers!

All these people (and more!) had their eyes fixed on Isa and were listening attentively. She’s so goddamn awesome at what she does AND pretty: cooking abilities and mainstream appeal!

They’re starstruck. Louzilla and Isa.

Lou, Ryan, Corey, and I got Gyood ice cream, then went to Isa’s demo, pumpkin bisque!
This is pumpkin ice cream! So much pumpkin all at once.

Isa demo-ing and John and the amazing VeganMania volunteers preparing samples.

Cooking pumpkin!

The crowd!

After the demo, we walked around more, saw a few more people, and then decided we needed to step out and take a breather! It was 3pm at this point and my demo was at 4:45pm.
Lou, Ryan, Corey, and I walked over to Veggie Bite and got coffee shakes. I was already in a food coma and for some reason, thought it would be a good idea to get a large. Couldn’t finish it!

Ryan just got cheeze fries, but I let him try my shake. He promptly got up and ordered one of his own.

It was time to go back to the kitchen and prepare for my demo(!!). This would be my first baking demo/speech of the vegan persuasion, so this is how I got pumped.

Then it was demo time! I got set up with the help of Louzilla, Ryan, Corey, Ellie, Isa, and John.

Photo by Ellie Johnson

Isa introduced me before the demo. I almost got teary eyed before I even got started!

Photo by Louzilla Ryan

Photo by Ellie Johnson

In my presentation I discussed how my book came about (and made a really bad Hannah Montana joke…Louzilla and Ellie laughed!), substitutions when veganizing a recipe, demonstrated chilling and rolling hypnosis cookie dough, melting chocolate, and set up a food porn shot and explained my process of food photography.

This is the photo I took during the demo. Did I follow my own instructions? Note: I would recommend doing something about the condensation if this photo was going to be for real.

The demo ended with a Q&A session.

Photo by Christine Gurnik

This ending marked the end of VeganMania (well, for us at least. the after party was 21+). We all relaxed in the square until it was time to leave.

I promise, we were happier than we look.

Photo by Ellie Johnson

Luckily life didn’t go back to “normal” until Monday morning because Louzilla was still staying with me til then. We went and got food at the Riverwest Co-op and Comet Cafe to make sure Vegan Week: The Ultimate didn’t end too abruptly.
This was the best week ever, ever. So much great food, even better company. I finally got to meet Isa after nearly 5 years of PPKing and cooking from the books (and in the process, destroying my copy of VwaV. it’s held together by tape now.), and she is even more amazing and wonderful in person. I met a few new vegans, and had an absolute blast! I think the equivalent to VeganMania and Vegan Week: The Ultimate would be cuddling in bed with a bunch of puppies and eating vegan cupcakes.

Thank you to everyone who made this such a wonderful experience!


Vegan Bake Sale: Rocky Road Bars and White Cookies

I had the pleasure of testing out a couple of cookie recipes in advance for Carla Kelly’s upcoming cookbook, Quick and Easy Vegan Bake Sale.
After Carla sent me the recipes for her Rocky Road Bars and White Cookies, I got my hands on some Dandies vegan marshmallows and got to work. The rocky road bars are made of a sweet chocolate-y dough with all the add-ins of the favorite ice cream flavor: chocolate, marshmallows, nuts, and cherries. The white cookies are a sweet vanilla-flavored cookie with marshmallows and white chocolate chips. I didn’t have white chocolate, so I upped the amount of marshmallows in the cookies for a sweet and sticky treat.
Both recipes listed a drizzle of ganache as an optional addition. I’m not one to pass up a chocolate-y variation, especially when both recipes I made were calling for it.

Yum! Carla’s book is coming out in January 2011. Check it out on Amazon!:


Some new cookies… [and a recipe]

Hello everyone!
I’ve finished the cookie inventing and writing parts of this project, so keep checking back for updates on the book in the near future!

In the meantime, click here to look at the full collection of cookie photos.
And if you haven’t friended vegan cookies on MySpace yet, here it is!

As promised, some recent creations:

Vanilla Sandwich Cookies

Super Cute Turtle Cookies

Chocolate and Vanilla Jam Thumbprints

And a recipe! All the posts in which I include recipes are tagged with “recipe” under the “category” headline on the right of the screen. Here they all are: https://vegancookies.wordpress.com/category/recipe/

Chocolate Thumbprints
Makes 18 cookies

Aww, thumbprint cookies are so cute. With a fudgy texture and deep chocolate flavor, these are not your average thumbprint cookie. You can use any kind of jam you like. Of course they’re good with your typical strawberry or raspberry jam, but there are so many possibilities like peach or blueberry!

1/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup soy milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

3-4 tablespoons jam, your choice

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the oil, sugar, soy milk, and extracts.
Sift in the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt and stir until completely mixed. Add a bit more flour if the dough looks wet.

Shape into tablespoon-sized balls and place on a lightly oiled or parchment-lined baking sheet (do not flatten) and bake for 9 minutes.

Remove from oven and using your thumb, press into each cookie, making a thumbprint. Put about 1/2 teaspoon jam on each cookie. Return to the oven and bake for 3 more minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool and enjoy!