Celeb Sighting at One of Chicago’s Well-Known Vegan Restaurants



On December 13th, Karyn Calabrese, the queen of all things vegan in Chicago, posted the above picture of her and Beyonce at one of her well-known vegan restaurants, Karyn’s Cooked off North Wells. When it comes to food, BeyoncĂ© finds herself at all things veggie now-a-days (she happened to be performing at the United Center that same night). I must say, I frequent Karyn’s Cooked A LOT. My absolute favorite is the Taco Salad Bowl…so good — a mix of lettuce, pico de gallo, guacamole and soy cheese topped with tasty grilled seitan and a side of chipotle sauce. Oh, and can’t forget! The freshly made donuts that you can find there in the mornings are the BEST!

Compassionate Fashion Designers with Exceptional Creativity

Fashion Designers with Compassion and Exceptional Creativity

In a recent article of Michigan Avenue Magazine, designers, Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart (Vaute Couture) and Joshua Katcher (Brave GentleMan), were highlighted and interviewed for creating some amazingly stylish and modern fashion designs that are also vegan. Vaute Couture (animal-free fabrics – sustainable vegan and eco-friendly) is known for its remarkable men’s, women’s and children’s designs. Brave GentleMan is 100% vegan men’s fashion line (that includes: suits, shoes, accessories, etc.).
Personally, I own one of these fun shirts from Vaute (pic below) that I received as a gift. I love wearing it, as it always seems to spark fun conversation when out and about.
Best part about these two, they are not only incredibly talented at creating phenomenal vegan fashion designs, they are good friends of one another and graduates of DePaul University as well. Yea, Chicago!


Indulging the Right Way This Holiday Season

The fun and always entertaining Jason Wrobel (who is the most amazing celebrity raw vegan chef) partnered with Eco-Vegan Gal, Whitney Lauritsen, to give us a few healthy, vegan-specific tips and recipes for this holiday season. It is very easy to fall off the wagon and indulge, indulge, indulge (in the most unhealthy way), but their advice encourages us to stay strong and continue to eat nutritiously while enjoying all of the festivities. These two are the best! Hope you enjoy their video as much as I did!

Holiday Treat: Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s


Found these on a VegNews post and the description of them made my mouth water. These vegan cookies are right up my alley, because when I give in to my sweet tooth every once in a while and eat something unhealthy, I tend to choose Oreos (which are also “vegan”), but these happen to be much more tasty. And considering the fact that they are a seasonal item (I’ve heard they’re only available for a couple short months), I headed over to Trader Joe’s and bought a box of them yesterday.

My thoughts — They taste just how VegNews describes them — a light, vanilla-mint creme filling (vanilla with bits of peppermint candies) in between two amazingly crisp chocolate cookie wafers. These vegan “joe-joe’s” are good! SO good, in fact, they actually have their own Facebook page with over Three Thousand likes! SO glad that I bought them and I am truly savoring every last cookie…yummm…

**Just heard that Trader Joe’s also has Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joe’s. Guess I know where I’m heading tomorrow (with high hopes that they are also vegan friendly)!

Recipe: Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread (Vegan)


Personally, I’ve never been a fan of eating overly ripe bananas. So instead of throwing them away (such a waste!), I turn them into delicious banana bread. And adding some chocolate chunks makes this recipe that much better. It’s simple, easy and yummy! Hope you enjoy this great recipe. Cheers! 🙂


dry ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup of vegan chocolate chunks

wet ingredients

  • 3 medium ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup agave
  • 1/2 cup of softened Earth Balance butter (coconut oil can be used as a substitute)


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. In another large bowl, mash the bananas, then add the butter and agave, and combine well.

3. Gradually stir the wet ingredients into the bowl of the dry ingredients.

4. Combine well until mixed.

5. Pour the batter into a non-stick loaf pan.

6. Bake for 45-50 minutes. The toothpick method is a great way to check if the bread is cooked through.

7. Enjoy!

Recipe: Vegan Spinach Lasagna

lasagnaThis is one of my favorite recipes. So incredibly flavorful. I’ve made it many, many times and it has even passed as a “very delicious lasagna recipe” among my non-vegan/non-vegetarian friends and family. That seems to be a pretty good test…will my meat-eating friends and family (the ones who are extremely hesitant to stray from their diets) return for second helpings of my dishes?? With this dish, it has been a definite “YES”. Best part, the preparation and cooking time are super quick. Hope you enjoy!


  • 1 1/2 jars of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 1 (16 ounce) package no-boil lasagna noodles (I use Delallo Organic Whole Wheat No-Boil Lasagna)
  • 1 package of silken tofu
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of miso paste (I use Westbrae Mellow Brown Rice Miso Soybean Paste)
  • 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Place the tofu block in a large bowl. Add the miso, nutritional yeast, garlic, basil and parsley. Add the salt and pepper and mash all of the ingredients together. Mix well.
  3. Assemble the lasagna: Spread 1/2 cups of the sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch lasagna baking pan. Arrange a single layer of lasagna noodles, sprinkle 1/2 of the tofu mixture over the noodles. Distribute the spinach evenly over the tofu (Sometimes, I choose to add other tasty veggies to this layer — depending on my preference, I may add mushrooms, zucchini, squash, and/or roasted red peppers also). Next spoon 1 1/2 cups sauce over the veggies, and top it with another layer of the noodles. Then sprinkle another 1/2 of the tofu mixture over the noodles, top the tofu with 1 cup sauce, and place a final layer of noodles over the tomato sauce. Finally, top the noodles with the remaining  sauce.
  4. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

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, sautĂ©ed 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: www.penzeys.com

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.