Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Please Help Amelia the Puppy This Christmas!

Amelia, the Christmas Pup Who Needs Your Help!

They say it's the season of giving...Well, I have a request. Not for me, but for my close friend, Erynne, who has one of the biggest hearts out there. 

Erynne recently adopted her puppy, Amelia, whose medical conditions have worsened rapidly over the last week or so. She's been on and off oxygen, and the vet thinks it may be a dangerous form of pneumonia, considering Amelia's other medical conditions. 

Knowing Erynne as well as I do, I can tell you that she will NEVER give up on this dog, just like I would never give up on my Adelaide, who's had many a costly health issue. (If you've ever had a dog, you know how strong the bond is, especially when you've struggled with the same kind of pain they're going through.) 

This pup is just as sweet as her owner, and would lick your face a thousand times for any bit of help you can give, no matter how small!!! 

If you would like to help out, here's the link for Amelia's Medical Fund:…/amelia-s-medical-fund/281914… 

And if you would take a moment to pass this along, please do! 

Thank you from me, Erynne, Amelia, and all who love them. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Spicy Fries w/Special Sauces


It's Vegan MoFo, Day 5!

Time for a classic: homemade french fries! I adapted this recipe from the one in Vegan with a Vengeance, and always serve it with two special dipping sauces: sriracha vegenaise and curry ketchup. Both sauces are extremely easy to make, but are still very special. 

Actually, this entire recipe so easy that I almost gave it one of my "For Really Lazy People" epithets, but I got weirdly attached to the name I'd already chosen.  

The following recipe makes 1 large serving.

S p i c y  F r i e s  w /  S p e c i a l  S a u c e s


For the fries:
1 very large russet potato
olive oil*, 2 TB-ish
cayenne pepper
chili powder
sea salt
freshly ground tricolor** pepper

For the sauces:
curry powder
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Rinse and scrub the potato until clean. I leave the skin on mine - it looks better and adds interesting texture - but some people may choose to peel it off at this point. 
  3. Slice potato length-wise into 1/4'' strips. 
  4. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil and spices. The first 4 spices are listed in order of most to least, in terms of how much I use. Lots of paprika, a fair amount of cayenne, and just a tiny bit of both the oregano and the chili powder. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
  5. Toss potatoes in bowl until strips are mostly coated. 
  6. Bake on a lightly oiled cookie sheet, for 30-32 minutes, flipping them about 20 minutes through.
  7. While the fries bake, prepare your sauces. In a small bowl, mix a few TB of Vegenaise with as many squirts of sriracha as you like, and in a separate small bowl, mix a few TB of ketchup with as many shakes of curry powder as you like. Using a chopstick or similar, stir each sauce until ingredients are fully blended. 

*Any oil with a high smoke point will do. I used Spanish olive oil, which I love for its buttery-ness.
**The tricolor pepper gives these fries such a great flavor - and it's so colorful - but black pepper will do if you can't find tricolor!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Polenta Bruschetta


It's Vegan MoFo, Day 4!

Today's recipe uses leftovers from yesterday's Californian Bruschetta recipe, with the addition of sauteed spinach and Kalamata olives, and polenta instead of bread. You can mix and match the toppings however you like. Makes a great appetizer, party snack, or meal on its own.

Toppings combinations, from left to right: sauteed spinach + tomato mix + sliced olives; ricotta mix + tomato mix; ricotta mix + tomato mix + sliced olives

P o l e n t a  B r u s ch e t t a

pre-cooked roll of polenta*
olive oil
2 cups fresh baby spinach, sauteed (optional)
Kalamata olives, sliced (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly oil a cookie sheet. 
  3. Slice polenta log into 1/2'' slices (the log I used made about 12 slices).
  4. Cover each slice with any combination of the following: a heaping spoonful of the ricotta mixture, a heaping spoonful of the tomato basil mixture, a spoonful of sauteed spinach, and a few slices of Kalamata olives.
  5. Bake in oven for 18-20 minutes.

*I used the 18oz package of organic, pre-cooked polenta, from Trader Joe's

P.S. I missed the deadline to sign up for the Vegan MoFo RSS feed/blogroll, so if you enjoy my posts, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE it if you added me to your feed! 

If you aren't sure how, here's an illustrated how-to guide I created! Or, if you're using feedly, you can simply enter "chooseyourownfoodchain" in the search box, click on my site, then add me! 

Here's my RSS feed url, if you need it:

P.P.S. You can also find me on Instagram 
( :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Californian Bruschetta

It's Vegan Mofo, Day 3!

Tonight I made what I'm calling a "Californian" variation on an old Italian favorite: bruschetta. Why Californian? Because it's healthier (ahem, it's vegan), and as ya'll know, California is notorious for its healthy lifestyles, and because I used sourdough bread, which although I've read originated in ancient Egypt before spreading to Northern Europe and then to Northern California, is considered a staple bread here in all of California. 

Because it's so late, I'm just going to post some teaser photos for now, and I'll be posting the full recipe tomorrow.  The recipe is now posted, below the photos!

tofu ricotta, which is also used in my famous Stuffed Shells recipe!

The bruschetta mixture of tomatoes et al.

Finito. Bella, salubre, e deliziosa!

C a l i f o r n i a n  B r u s c h e t t a


Sourdough bread, sliced 
(I used San Luis Sourdough, but any kind will do!)

For the tofu ricotta:
1 package (~16oz) of firm tofu
1/2 cup (or slightly more) of Vegenaise
2 to 3 TB nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder

For the tomato mixture:
2 1/2 large tomatoes*, chopped
1 cup basil leaves, cut Chiffonade style
2 garlic cloves, minced and sauteed
2 TB olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper**, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F***
  2. In a large bowl, mix the olive oil and balsamic. Add the rest of the tomato mixture ingredients, and toss well. It's best if you can let it marinate for an hour, but not totally necessary.
  3. Pat the tofu dry, and mash into a bowl. Add the remaining ricotta ingredients, and mash with a fork until all is blended. 
  4. Lightly oil a baking sheet and/or lightly oil both sides of each slice of bread.
  5. Add heaping spoonfuls of ricotta mixture to each slice of bread. Bake slices in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until ricotta has slightly darkened and firmed. 
  6. Top with generous heaps of fresh tomato mixture and serve! This would make a great party appetizer, but is also good on its own! 

*I used what I had, which was 1/2 beefsteak tomato (don't you hate the name?), 1 large garden tomato, & 1 cup of cherry tomatoes. The latter of the two, I picked from my neighbor's garden. I'll have to ask her what kind the garden tomato was. But 2 1/2 large tomatoes, whatever kind, should approximate the amount I used just fine.
**I really love using rainbow peppercorns. I buy mine at Trader Joe's.
***If you plan to let your tomato mixture marinate for an hour or so, no need to preheat your oven right away.

P.S. I missed the deadline to sign up for the Vegan MoFo RSS feed/blogroll, so if you enjoy my posts, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE it if you added me to your feed! 

If you aren't sure how, here's an illustrated how-to guide I created! Or, if you're using feedly, you can simply enter "chooseyourownfoodchain" in the search box, click on my site, then add me! 

Here's my RSS feed url, if you need it:

P.P.S. You can also find me on Instagram 
( :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pad Thai with Zucchini Noodles & Rice Noodles


It's Vegan MoFo, Day 2!

I posted two how-two guides earlier, to help folks who are having trouble setting up their feeds and/or adding individual blogs to their feeds, so I'm only now posting my recipe of the day.

I'd never made this dish before, and I must say, I'm already pretty fond of it. In fact, it might be a new staple. It's a recipe that I adapted from The Stoner Vegan's recipe, "Peanut Noodles." I even brought it with me tonight to share with my weekly creative writing group, and I think it was a pretty big hit. ;)

Without further ado, I bring you...

P a d  T h a i  w/  Z u c c h i n i  N o o d l e s  &  R i c e  N o o d l e s 

8 to 10 oz of rice noodles, cooked according to package* 
1 large zucchini, julienned
1/2 large yellow onion, sliced into short half moons
sesame oil**
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup water
3 TB tamari***
powdered ginger (or fresh), to taste
sea salt, to taste
1 lime****
1 carrot, shaved
2 green onions, sliced thinly

*I used over half a box of Thai Kitchen brand's "stir-fry rice noodles."
**I used spicy sesame oil, because I like hot foods, but whatever you fancy.
***You could use soy sauce or shoyu if you don't have tamari. And if you want to make this dish gluten free, use tamari but just make sure it doesn't contain wheat.
****Don't skip the lime. It's the magic ingredient, trust me.

  1. In a large wok, saute the onion in the sesame oil until onion is fairly translucent.
  2. Add zucchini to wok. Toss periodically.
  3. Add the water, then the peanut butter. Stir well, until peanut butter is fully blended, but being careful not to break the zucchini.
  4. Add the tamari, ginger, and sea salt. Toss.
  5. Add the (already cooked) noodles. Toss.
  6. Squeeze 1/2 (or more) lime over the mixture. Toss.
  7. To serve, top with shaved carrots, sliced green onions, and lime wedges from the remaining part of the lime. Bonus: If you have fresh cilantro, that'd make a great topping, as well. 

P.S. I missed the deadline to sign up for the Vegan MoFo RSS feed/blogroll, so if you enjoy my posts, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE it if you added me to your feed! 

If you aren't sure how to do it, here's an illustrated how-to guide I created! But if you're using feedly, you can simply enter "chooseyourownfoodchain" in the search box, click on my site, then add me! 

Here's my RSS feed url, if you need it:

P.P.S. You can also find me on Instagram 

Vegan MoFo Special Post | How-To Guide: Adding Individual Blogs To Your Existing Blogroll Feed!

Hello MoFo'ers!

Due to popular demand, I've made a second, illustrated How-To Guide for adding individual blogs to your existing blogroll feed! If you first need to know how to import the OPML file to your feed, see my first How-To Guide. Note: This guide refers to using feedly.

It's as easy at one-two-three.

1.  While on the homepage of your feedly account, click on the three dots at the bottom left.
From my homepage. See the dots at the bottom left, next to my name and the word "Upgrade."

2.  Click on those dots and select "Organize" from the drop-up list. It's toward the top of the list.
From my homepage

3.  Once you've clicked on "Organize" from the drop-up menu, you'll be taken to the screen below. From there, type in the name of the blog you want to add.

Let's say you're trying to add my blog to your feed (which you should, because mine won't be contained in the VeganMoFo 2014 OPML - All Blogs file, as I missed the sign-up deadline!). Click inside the search box at the top right, and just type in "chooseyourownfoodchain." A drop-down list will appear. Click on the one that shows up under the subheading "Sites" (in this example, it's the second one down).

From my Organize page

Almost there, I promise.... Now, click on that green "+feedly" button to the right of Chooseyourownfoodchain (or whatever blog name it is).
From my account. This is what appears after you click on the blog you just searched for.

You'll be taken to the following screen:
From my account, as I show you how to add Chooseyourownfoodchain to your list!

You now have the option of re-naming the blog (but why would you do that? ;)), and selecting which list you want it to appear in. I have checked the box next to "Vegan MoFo 2014," because that is what I named my Vegan MoFo 2014 blogroll feed.

Click the green "Add" button and VIOLA! You've added me (I hope) or whichever blog you've chosen to your feed!

Note: In some cases, you *might* need to know the blog's RSS url. If it's a blogspot blog, it follows the same general format. Mine is:
(for other blogspot blogs, just switch out "chooseyourownfoodchain" for whatever the blog name is).

Hope this helps,
foodchain / megan

Vegan MoFo Special Post | How-To Guide: Importing the Blogroll to Your Reader!

Hello MoFo'ers!

I'm making this post for anyone who's having problems with importing the blogroll file into your feed burner/reader. I think it's more difficult this year because there is no longer such thing as Google Reader. I don't know about you, but that's what I used to use, and it was a lot easier and quicker to figure out.

This year I am using Feedly. Here's an illustrated step-by-step guide to help you do it, too!

1.  Download and save the file that Kate posted on the Vegan MoFo site, which you'll find here. Remember where you saved the file (on some computers, it'll save automatically to your Downloads folder).

2.  Set up an account on (it takes less than a minute).

3.  On the left side of your feedly page, toward the bottom, there should be a little "..." button. It looks like three little dots. Locate that.

From my account homepage.
The three little dots are bottom left, to the right of my name and the word "Upgrade."

4.  Click on the three little dots, and a drop-up menu should appear.
Drop-up menu pictured above, bottom left side. From my account homepage.

5.  Select "organize" from the drop-up list. It will take you to the screen shown below.  Click on the grey button that says "Import OPML," which you'll find next to the bolded, black "Organize."
From my account's Organize page. Note: I'd already imported the file, so yours won't show the Vegan MoFo 2014 list just yet.

6.  Now you'll click on the grey "Choose File" button. From there, you'll select the blogroll file from whichever folder you saved it in. Unless you renamed it, the file should be called "VeganMoFo 2014 OPML - All Blogs." Select that, click "open." Finally, click the blue "Import" button.
From my account's Import OPML page

7.  Ta-Dah!! You have now added the Vegan MoFo 2014 blogroll to your feed.

Trouble-shooting FAQ:

Q1:  "But Megan, I tried that, and I don't see my own blog listed on the blogroll!"
A1:   Oh man, I'm sorry to hear that! I know the folks running Vegan MoFo are working on it. Maybe try commenting on their blogroll post to alert them to the trouble? But wait - are you sure you named it correctly? I know some folks' blogs *are* showing up, but listed as a different name.

Q2:  "I tried commenting on their post, but my comment didn't get approved. What do I do?"
A2:   Sometimes the comments go to the spam folder, in which case, they didn't see your comment in order to approve it. Try emailing them

Q3:  "Megan, why is Choose Your Own Food Chain, this very blog I'm reading now, NOT listed on the feed?"

A3:  I AM SO GLAD YOU ASKED. It's because I missed the sign-up deadline. :( But the good news is that you can still add me to your personal feed list! It's as easy as typing "chooseyourownfoodchain" into the search box on your Feedly's Organize page, but I've also created an illustrated guide to adding individual blogs to your feed. I did that for several of my friends' blogs that - for whatever reason - did not show up when I imported the OPML file.

Q4:  "Why are only three hundred-and-some blogs showing up on my feed, when I know that OPML file contained WAY more blogs than that?" 

A4:  I know, happened to me, too. Wish I had the answer to that one! I think that's another question for the folks at MoFo. I know they are working fervently on solving that one, though. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

MoFo Scramble! w/Wilted Arugula & Tempeh Bacon


It's Vegan MoFo, Day 1!

And now, let's start this off right with a little tofu scramble.

My favorite tofu scramble recipe has always been the one in Isa Chandra Moskowitz's time-honored Vegan with a Vengeance, and probably always will be.

The version I created today was inspired in part by Isa's classic recipe, and also by's 10 Meatless Meals You Can Make in 10 Minutes, my own laziness, it's-too-hot-to-cook, I-can't-wait-an-hour-to-eat, these-are-the-ingredients-I-have, and sometimes-I-can't-bare-to-measure-things. Sometimes, I can't help myself but add a few things here and there, so I won't call this recipe very quick and easy, but it is fairly so.

One little note: The fennel seed is really the magic in this recipe, so if you're going to skip a spice, don't skip that one!

M o F o  S c r a m b l e  
w /  W i l t e d  A r u g u l a   &  T e m p e h  B a c o n

onion, 1/2, diced
garlic, 1 clove, minced
firm tofu, 1 block
tempeh bacon, 3 strips (I used Tofurkey's Smokey Maple Bacon Strips)
nutritional yeast, 1/4 cup or less
1 lemon
fresh arugula, 2 generous handfuls
curry powder
fennel seeds
sea salt & pepper
  1. Saute garlic and onions in vegetable oil (or whatever oil you have).
  2. Prepare the spice mixture in a small bowl. Use equal parts curry powder and tumeric, and only a little cumin. Use maybe a teaspoon of fennel seeds, first crushing them in between your fingers. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add spice mix to pan. Saute for another minute or two. 
  4. Crumble tofu into pan. You can kind of squeeze it through your fists, which is a nice little trick for two reasons: it's the next best thing to pressing the tofu beforehand (which I didn't feel like doing) and it serves to add water to the pan, which you need to do anyway to deglaze it. 
  5. Squeeze half of the lemon over the pan. 
  6. Add the nutritional yeast, then the tempeh bacon (I broke the strips into small squares). 
  7. Continue to saute until mix is clumpy, deglazing pan with splashes of water as needed. 
  8. Squeeze other half of lemon over the pan.
  9. Stir in the arugula and let it wilt before serving. 
I like my tofu scramble with a cup (or three) of strong, French-pressed coffee. Maybe some hot sauce, too. Enjoy!

P.S. I missed the deadline to sign up for the Vegan MoFo RSS feed / blogroll, so if you enjoy my posts, please add me to your feed! If you aren't sure how to do it, here's an illustrated how-to guide I created!

Here's my feed url:

You can also find me on Instagram ( 

Vegan MoFo Is in September This Year!!?? | Well, I'm Doin' It Anyway!


I'm disappointed to have missed the sign-up deadline for Vegan MoFo. This is the second year in a row that I didn't find out until it was too late! The first year that I did it, which was November 2010, I found out by pure luck. Anyone know how to get on their email list or have tips on how to find out in advance?

That said, I'm going to MoFo this year anyway! You won't find me on the official blogroll, because of said missed deadline, so please add me to your feed, follow me, and stop back often! Leave comments! Share the love! I'll come visit you, too!

Happy MoFo'ing,


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Vegan Chicken Salad, Recipe #2

Here's another take on tempeh-based vegan "chicken" salad. It requires a little more shopping/ingredients, and a little more effort, compared to my Vegan Chicken Salad For Really Lazy People recipe ...but it's totally worth it!


V e g a n  C h i c k e n  S a l a d , 

R e c i p e # 2



To Saute:
1/2 package tempeh, crumbled
approx. 2 TB peanut oil

To Chop
3 stalks celery, finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
3 scallions, finely sliced
approx. 1/3 cup pickles, finely diced (I used 3 kosher dill spears)
optional: chop up some of the leaves from the celery stalks

To Mix
4 TB Vegenaise
1 TB (scant) yellow mustard
2 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 (heaping) tsp dried dill
1 to 2 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp celery seed
turmeric powder, enough to give it color
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black or tricolor pepper, to taste (I used tricolor)


Whisk together the "to mix" ingredients in a large bowl. Add the "to chop" ingredients to the mixture. Stir thoroughly to coat all pieces. 

Heat a small portion of the peanut oil and saute mustard seeds until they go "pop." Be careful not to burn! Drain excess oil and set seeds aside.

Add the rest of the oil to the now-empty pan and heat. Slowly crumble tempeh into pan. Aim to crumble into small bits. Saute until all bits are a light, golden-brown.

Combine the sauteed tempeh and mustard seeds with the rest of the ingredients. Stir thoroughly. Refrigerate until ready to serve.



Serving Ideas and Tips:
If you let this mixture sit in your fridge for a while before eating, the flavors will really combine nicely. I found that the lemon juice was slightly overpowering immediately after I'd made this, but once I let it sit for a day or so in the fridge, the flavors had melded together beautifully, and the amount of lemon was perfect. If you plan on eating this right away, perhaps experiment with the amount of lemon you use. 

Use for a sandwich with red onion, tomato, and lettuce; as a spread for toast points or baked pita; as a dip for crunchy vegetables (large leaves of romaine are excellent for scooping and rolling); in a flour wrap; or anything else you can think of! 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Lemon Miso Salad Dressing

What I love about this salad dressing is its simplicity and that it's mega-lemon-y. And, so long as you already have these ingredients, it's SO EASY to make. You know how I love cooking endeavors that start with minimal effort and end with astronomical flavor (aka, lazy cooking!). 


L e m o n  M i s o  S a l a d  D r e s s i n g 


3 tsp yellow miso
juice of half a large lemon
2 TB tahini
1 TB mild-flavored oil, such as sunflower seed oil
1 TB rice vinegar (or less)
1 TB agave (or more)
1 TB Bragg's Amino Liquids (or use tamari)
ground ginger, a pinch
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly with a fork or whisk. I also threw in some of the pulp from my lemon, for extra flavor bursts and added texture.


Serving Ideas
Serve by tossing with your favorite green salad. I enjoyed mine tossed with a simple mix of romaine and grape tomatoes, topped with black beans.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Vegan Chicken Salad For Really Lazy People

The dog days of summer are starting here in LA. Honestly, I couldn't be more ready for them. Hot weather, DO. YOUR. THING. Why am I so excited about the insane heat, you ask? Well, I tend to run cold; I despise wearing long-sleeved shirts; and I weirdly like the challenge that comes with the heat - it's sort of like taking a Bikram yoga class...all the time.

(Actually, I've taken two Bikram yoga classes in my life, and, well, I'm not really sure those are for me. ;) I will say, though, that I would give Bikram another chance.)

Anyway, I'm sooooooooooooooooooooooo lazy with cooking lately. I want to chop, like, nothing. Ingredient list longer than 5 items? No, thanks. Prep time is longer than...wait, there's PREP time? Pass. 

There has been a benefit to my laziness of late, however. That is, I'm so averse to even getting in my car to drive to the grocery store that I'm not spending extra cash on ingredients! So, I'm thrifty, too. Win-win.

And by the way, rather than "lazy," I prefer the phrase "energetically economical."

Okay no I don't.

Right, so without further is the recipe:

V e g a n  C h i c k e n  S a l a d  

F o r   

R e a l l y  L a z y  P e o p l e ! 

Alright, look, here's a forewarning: Given that this recipe was inspired by my laziness, it relies heavily on dried spices, which I just happen to collect in my kitchen cupboard. You can never go wrong with buying whatever dried spice is on sale, I say, but, I digress. Anyway, if you don't have all the dried spices, it's really okay. Don't knock yourself (and your wallet) out over it - just skip! I wrote viable substitutions where possible.

Stuff you have to saute
1/2 a package (4 oz) of tempeh (I use Trader Joe's, which comes in an 8 oz pack)
2 TB peanut oil (or any oil that doesn't burn when you saute with it)

Stuff you have to chop
1/3 cup pickles, diced (use whatever kind you feel like - I used 3 Kosher sandwich slices)
1/3 cup onion, diced (use any kind - I used white because it was already in my fridge)

Stuff you have to mix
3 TB vegan mayo (I love the Follow Your Heart brand, called "Vegenaise" and I used the original)
1 TB (or less) mustard (I used the standard yellow mustard)
dried tumeric (enough to give it color)
dried dill (maybe like 1 tsp)
sea salt, to taste 
black pepper, to taste (I used the tricolor peppercorn from Trader Joe's)
fresh lemon juice (squeeze maybe 1 or 2 tsps' worth)
optional: some mustard seed (use more mustard if you don't have mustard seeds)
optional: a lot of celery seed (see, there was mold on my *real* celery, so I doubled up on celery seed - if you don't have celery seed, you can substitute 1/3 cup celery, diced)
totally optional: black sesame seeds, a couple sprinkles' worth (I only used this to see what it'd look like...totally skippable)

What To Do:
Heat the peanut oil slightly. Slowly crumble the tempeh into the pan and saute until most sides are golden-ish.

Mix all other ingredients together, adding the pickles and onion last. Add the tempeh. Stir. Refrigerate until ready to serve so that flavors combine.

Serving idea: This tastes great in a sandwich! Pictured is mine: vegan chicken salad on toasted sourdough bread, with big leafy romaine, chopped grape tomatoes, and sliced avocado. Mmmm-MMM!!!

Serving idea #2: Double the recipe if you want to make it for your family/roommates/etc. or if you want it to last a couple of days. I specifically made the recipe small because I am only cooking for moi!

Monday, April 21, 2014

10 of Your Favorite Splurge Foods Are Totally Vegan

Check it out, folks! Ten of our favorites are already vegan! 

Can you believe it? 

1. Spaghetti.  This beloved household staple is typically vegan. Box of pasta, jar of sauce.

Box of pasta, jar of sauce.

- say it with me -

Box of pasta, jar of sauce.
Box of pasta, jar of sauce.
Box of pasta, jar of sauce.
Box of pas -

taaaaa...aaand just like that, you have dinner. Boil water, add pasta, drain, add sauce, heat more...DONE.

Ninety-five percent of the time, the pasta you have to boil in water contains no eggs (unlike the already-cooked stuff you buy in the refrigerator section), and the vast majority of jarred red sauces contain no milk or cheese ingredients (unless, of course, you buy the one that says "cheese" in the title!).

2. French bread. Buy a whole baton of it. Yep, totally vegan. Want something familiar and delicious in which to dip said bread? Try the totally-incidentally-vegan combo of olive oil, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper.

3. Potato chips.

4. Frozen French fries. They're are almost always vegan (potatoes, oil, and salt tend to be the main ingredients). Many times (really, most of the time), too, you can get French fries at a restaurant that just happen to be vegan. What would make them not vegan? If they're fried in animal lard, which is the case at SOME but definitely NOT ALL restaurants. Ask next time if you're curious!

5. Tortilla chips and salsa. There are some exceptions, such as, if you're eating at a very authentic Mexican restaurant, sometimes the tortilla chips are cooked in lard. Kind of same things as the French fries. You buy the bagged kind from the grocery store - almost always vegan (ingredients: corn, oil, salt). You get 'em out at a restaurant? Depends, so ask questions. Politely. Please.

6. Soft pretzels. The plain kind. Once in a while, they randomly throw milk in there, which is odd to me. I'm a native Philadelphian, and the REAL soft pretzels are akin to fresh French baguette (see above - ingredients: wheat, salt, maybe oil - simple). You buy them at a little street cart, which only enhances their effect. They're chewy, moist, decadent, and perfect for dipping into mustard, which leads me to...

7. Mustard. Okay, okay, I know it's not a super fancy or splurgy treat, but it goes with a lot of things that are treats, and...if we're talkin' your standard American yellow mustard, or your standard spicy Mustard (German or otherwise), it's almost always just a combo of mustard seed, vinegar, and salt. Now, honey mustard is a different story, as honey comes from bees, and technically what comes from an animal = not vegan. A lot of people just learning about veganism forget about the bees, but it's true, veganism accounts for the bees, too.

8. Water ice, aka Italian ice. Another Philadelphia favorite. Note: I'm only talking about the water/Italian ice, and not the water/Italian ice mixed with frozen custard. The latter = not vegan.

9. Chocolate nonpareils. I know. I was once just as amazed when I first found this out. And apparently "nonpareil," as I just learned, means "having no equal." Imagine that. Makes total sense, right?

10. Pickled pretty much anything. Pickled cucumbers (aka anything referred to as "pickles" in America, including Kosher Dill, Butter Pickles, Sandwich Pickles, etc. - although careful with the fried pickles, which although I agree are LOVE in a cripsy shell, you really do have to check on those to see if they're vegan), pickled carrots, Sour Kraut, Kombucha (just seein' if you were paying attention, lolz), peppers, relish (you still with me??), olives, tapenade, radishes, plums... the list goes on. And on. Especially if you live in a pickle-friendly country, such as Japan, where a major component of every traditional meal involves something pickled.

What about you? Discover some of your favorites that just happen to already be vegan? Share your example(s) in the comments!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

On Dogs, Psychology, & Dog Psychology: foodchain on the Radio!

Adelaide sits on the therapy couch, recalling the events of her puppyhood.
"And how does that make you feel, Adelaide?"

What does love mean in canine?

Last Wednesday, I was the special guest on Tanya Yarbrough's radio show, That Dog Training Show.

Don't worry if you missed it live! It's archived, so it's available for download any time! 

If you'd like to listen to this 30 minute show in which I discuss with Tanya my experience with human psychology; my experience with being a human companion to a dog (i.e., a "dog owner"); and my discovery of the similarities and differences between human psychology and dog psychology, then you should definitely check it out. If that link doesn't work, then go to the list of episodes and clink on the link for "Episode 06: 03/12/2014."

I speak from my personal experience, as well as my experience as a clinical psychologist (that's not licensed yet, but that's besides the point). 

Tanya is a Los Angeles-based, "mixed methods" dog trainer who's not only very well-informed (she's got a background in animal science plus tons of experience) but also SUPER hilarious. I highly recommend you listen to some of her other episodes while you're at it!