Product Review: Penzeys Spices


While out in California for work, I came across the most amazing spice shop in Santa Monica. Penzeys Spice shop is gigantic, with every quality spice and blend of spices imaginable. Their spices just add another element of flavor to any dish that I make, whether it’d be a dessert, salad or savory meal. I cannot live without them in my kitchen. And as a vegan, I find spices to be of upmost importance, a way to add outstanding flavor to any dish. My absolute favorites are:

  • Green Goddess: blend of green onion, sugar, basil, celery flakes, minced garlic and dill weed (I mix it into a little olive oil and apple cider vinegar to make a fantastic dressing for my kale salad);
  • Balti Seasoning: blend of green onion, sugar, basil, celery flakes, minced garlic and dill weed (I add some to my lentils or rice for a tasty curry touch);
  • Sunny Paris Seasoning: blend of shallots, chives, green peppercorn, dill weed, basil, tarragon, chervil and bay leaf (I use on EVERYTHING! I sprinkle in salads, sautéed veggies, rice, stews, the list goes on and on…)

[* all seasonings mentioned above are salt-free!]

Their seasonings come in glass containers and are hand-blended and fresh. Best part, after searching the web (so to buy more spices online), I found that there are two actual shops in the Chicagoland area as well (Naperville and Oak Park – see the location information below)! Check out their website:

Naperville, IL
River Square Shopping Center
22 E Chicago Ave.
(630) 355-7677
Mon.-Sat.: 10:00AM – 6:00PM
Sun.: 11:00AM – 5:00PM

Oak Park, IL
1138 West Lake St
(708) 848-7772
Mon.-Fri.: 9:30AM – 5:30PM
Sat.: 9:30AM – 5:00PM
Sun.: 11:00AM – 5:00PM

Top 20 Reasons to Go Vegan

As World Vegan Month comes to an end, this article serves as a fantastic reminder of just how amazing veganism is and the importance of animal kindness and mindfulness. Check out Huffington Post’s “Longevity, Anyone? Top 20 Reasons to Go Vegan During World Vegan Month” by Kathy Stevens. Kathy is an incredible author and has two wonderful books out as well — Animal Camp: Reflections on a Decade of Love, Hope, and Veganism at Catskill Animal Sanctuary and Where the Blind Horse Sings: Love and Healing at an Animal Sanctuary, both of which I’ve read. Cheers!

Veggie Vending Machine in Chicago

Veggie Vending Machine in Chicago

Such a fun concept! A vending machine with Healthy Options! When I think of vending machines, I think of the typical options: soda, chips, cookies, candy bars and other processed items. Farmer’s Fridge is the complete opposite, in a new and exciting way. On-the-go hand-crafted, healthy, fresh salads. Visit this kiosk…yes, I said kiosk and choose from one of several options (some of which include: North Napa Salad, Crunchy Thai Salad, High Protein Salad to name a few). They also have breakfast, snacks and more. In addition, all meals are served in recyclable jars. Can’t get any better than that. I am definitely going to check this out and will fill you in on my thoughts and provide more details!
Location: Garvey Food Court, 201 North Clark Street, at West Lake Street.

Plant-strong & healthy living: Rip Esselstyn at TEDxFremont

Rip Esselstyn, former firefighter and author of The Engine 2 Diet, gave this really great, entertaining presentation on the plant-based lifestyle and how he led his fellow firefighting crew on a 28-day plant-based journey. A really enjoyable, descriptive look into this amazing lifestyle. The time is here! Slay the dragons! 🙂

Plant-Based on a Budget


Since becoming vegan, I have found that there are a lot of people who believe the plant-based/vegan diet to be expensive and difficult to maintain. “How do you budget such an exorbitant lifestyle?,” they ask. It’s not as difficult as it seems and definitely can be affordable. I found and love this really fantastic website that has all you need to eat Plant Based on a Budget. There are great recipes, videos, and more. The Berry Chocolate Cheesecake Squares are amazing.  Check out their website!

Forbes’ Top 10 Food Trends of 2013

Forbes magazine recognizes “High-end Vegan” as one of the Top 10 Food Trends of 2013 quoting Mike Thelin, co-founder of Feast Portland, stating, “The new wave of veganism is more about health than animal welfare. For better or worse, this is why it will have more staying power.” Mike’s projection is right on, this is definitely one “trend” that will stay. Quite Exciting! Check it out!