Sunday, December 25, 2011

Moment of Silence for Ed Shannon's Lasagna of Christmas Present

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No this photo doesn't do this holiday meal justice. But when you're so eager to eat something - you can tend to convince yourself that whatever photos you have are actually pretty good - when maybe they are just a little left of "works". This classic Italian feast combines Tofurky Italian Sausages cooked in red wine, handmade meatballs made with LightLife Gimme Lean and of course the traditional Lasagna made with tofu-ricotta combined with some Daiya Mozzarella. Of course - it is always served with a side salad and some green beans but - ya know - you guys already know what green beans look like.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Holidays from The Shannons!

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We didn't make this the internet gave it to us.

I know we've been MIA lately. I've been completely submerged in our book. Last night I literally passed out on the sofa with my laptop about a foot away. I was up till 3am with Fright Night on and a cold cup of coffee trying to think of new ways to say "blend" and "mix" while still making sense. Spoiler Alert! Our book will have a lot of blending and mixing in it.

I am yet again hopelessly behind on my emails, Facebook messages and as always my dishes. Seriously not even 'college me' would approve of the state of our kitchen at this moment. But I enough about me. I'm getting a lot of emails asking for suggestions for Christmas and Hanukkah dinners. So I went through and compiled this greatest hit list that I hope will help some of you out with inspiration or remind you of a recipe you liked but maybe you haven't made since last year... whatever.

Happy Holidays! XO - Annie (Dan too) 

PS - Please don't think I haven't missed you all because I have.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Betty Crocker Project : Candy Cane Cake

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So the other night I poisoned myself with vodka and orange juice to try and shake this bad case of writer's block I've been dealing with. I did shots and typed. I giggled till I cried and typed and ate pizza and drank more shots. Did it help? Was I able to make some progress on the anecdotal sections of the book? I'm embarrassed to say it did. Though what I wrote needs way more editing than my usual random typing. I know there is a lesson here and I'm hoping it's "don't fall into bad habits like thinking every time I'm stuck on something the answer is doing shots of alcohol so strong it can eat the stain off a table"*.

My Weapons.

Will I be drinking again anytime soon? Dear God No. Yesterday was just awful. What was left of my brain vowed revenge for their fallen brethren and punished me severely for most of the day. I think that although my experiment was a success, it's something that I should hold on to for those rainy brain days. I guess you're also wondering where the cookies are. Well, I made this cake yesterday and it was just too fun to keep to myself and much cuter than the brown on brown hazelnut latte cookies. I already love campy bunt cakes but this one has a brightly colored and flavored peppermint swirly ribbon inside it that is pretty cool too. It's a super sweet treat to bring to a holiday party or make for someone who has a Christmas birthday. It's also super easy.

Don't press on the cake when you cut it - it will crush the prettiness.

'Tis the season for sharing...

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Plan

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I currently have a little bit of writer's block. I mean just a little bit but enough to be really sad about it. That's why I have come up with a plan that I'm 100% sure will work. I won't bore you with the details* but it won't be pretty and it involves being brave.

Wish me luck. Updates and cookies tomorrow.

* I also don't want anyone to try to talk me out it.

Friday, December 9, 2011

We want to know what you like about donuts...

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Mini Donut Charms by Rosemary Travele (Yes - I REALLY want one)
Today I'm writing the donut section of our book and I need data. If you have a moment please leave a comment answering these questions: 
  • What is the best thing about donuts?
  • What are your thoughts on jelly-filled? 
  • How often do you make donuts? 
  • When you make them are they usually raised fried donuts or baked?
Thank you so much for your help! XO

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Betty Crocker Project : Marinated Tempeh Ratatouille Heroes

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Back when I was a little vegan, one of the very first dishes I ever made was Ratatouille. Now if you're not familiar with this traditional French Provençal dish that is usually already vegan -- well that's a shame. See this dish sounds fancy but it's actually very easy and great way to get not-yet-vegans to enjoy a meat-free dinner. Don't believe me that the French could have a dish without obscene amounts of butter and cream in it? Check out Julia Child's recipe. 

But after years and years of roasted veggie platters being the only option at weddings and restaurants with table cloths -- vegans can find it hard to really appreciate even the best Ratatouille. That's why we were originally less than super excited when it came time to tackle Betty's Ratatouille Heroes. I felt I was obligated -- no -- it was my duty -- to make something special with this recipe. The world didn't need another vegan roasted veggie sandwich and we need to complete our mission of making our way through Betty's Big Red. I also couldn't help but notice that the building blocks of Ratatouille have so much potential for something more. 

We really hope you'll give this sandwich a chance... it might not be pretty but sometimes a sandwich comes into your life at just the right time and is full of all kinds of good things that might make you feel a little better about all those cookies you want to eat later. 

This could be that sandwich. Don't worry - cookies are coming up next.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Return of Very Special VegNews Contest & Soy Nog Cheesecake with Buttery Rum Sauce

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Almost a year ago from this very day, we posted a recipe for Soy Nog Cupcakes and a contest. A contest that was so epic -- people got so excited that for the year following this little contest -- we were still getting emails asking when we were going to have this contest again... Well. Here it is! 
The return of The Very Special VegNews Contest* and this year's awesome Soy Nog recipe! As we mentioned last year -- this is a magical season! We have excuses to buy and make presents for each other. Which I love. People host parties centered around cookies.Which is as awesome as it sounds. People donate and volunteer more during these winter holiday months than any of time of the year. Which is incredibly important and I wish happened more. There is random mistletoe everywhere to kiss your husband under. Which is one of my favorite holiday traditions**. And the retour au sommet... Silk Soy Nog hits the shelves.

I was trying to find a way to top last year's cupcakes and then it hit me... everyone loves vegan cheesecake. I mean everyone. Bring this clandestine vegan treat to any party and watch it disappear plate by plate and you are guaranteed at least one "Hmmm. This is vegan?"

This is a recipe that I think might become a new tradition for us - like partnering up with one of our favorite magazines, VegNews--the premier magazine focusing on a vegetarian lifestyle since 2000--to bring you this contest!

All you have to do to win is leave a comment below answering these 3 questions:
  • What has been your favorite Meet The Shannons Recipe thus far? This will help us plan out our posts for next year.
  • What recipe have you always wanted to see veganized? This will help us make sure the book we're writing covers everything you ever wanted.
  • What is your favorite feature on - Book Club, Cafe VegNews, Savvy Vegan...?
Before you leave your comment - Remember in order to win one of our contests, you need to be a "Member" of Meet The Shannons. If we can't email you, then we can't send you your prize! So before you leave your comment with the answers, make sure you use the "Join" button in the right hand column of this blog.

We'll randomly choose a Member from the correct answers posted below on Jan. 1st and send you a MAJOR AWARD! (Please keep in mind that it will take a few days for processing and shipping). What is this major award all the kids are talking about? Well, a gift pack from VegNews, of course! This includes a one-year subscription, the current issue of VegNews, an over-sized tote bag, and six vegan cookies, a gift pack totaling $50!

I know. That is a Major Award! That goes great with vegan cheesecake... let's make some.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sorry More Technical Problems...

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We still have corrupted photo files - which sounds a lot sexier than it is. We'll be back soon!
Until then enjoy this Tea-bot from Kikkerland. He has improved both our lives by 80%.

Thank you for understanding! We'll be back soon!

XO - The Management

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Beer-Battered Green Beans

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So, we've been a little MIA lately. We had computer issues that ended up being a bigger deal than I thought because we needed that computer for our photos. We also had a photo shoot for our "about the author" section with V.K.Rees Photography that was literally magical. She was able to take photos of me that I actually like. It's was like some kind of Harry Potter moment. I've been setting up 2 completely awesome contests for December. You're going to love these. And of course, there is the book...

The deadline for the manuscript for our book is about 2 weeks away and I admit I'm nervous and excited and busy. There's the recipe testing and writing and the typing out of recipes and then double checking there's no typos and just so much to do. I've been so terrified of mistakes and I've literally been micromanaging myself while being excited to finally have the best job in the world.

I had to stay in Brooklyn over Thanksgiving and missed out on The Shannons' Annual Vegan Feast. I can tell you I did make the best of it by getting a lot done - including a Peking Tofurky with drumsticks and Asian vegetable wild rice. But I missed going to Boston to see everyone and spending the holiday with family. This is the first time I have missed Thanksgiving since Dan and I became "us" and it was kind of sad.

But enough with the sad stories, today we're going to talk about Beer Battered Green Beans. You've seen Green Bean French Fried whatever on the menu of all those TGIF-ish places. I've always kind of joked that this trend was a dubious attempt at "healthy fries" after Super Size Me*. I mean after that movie, everybody seemed to be deep frying their green beans. Weird or wonderful? Maybe both.

Having said that - These fries are good! They are delicious. I mean I was really shocked at how fraking good these fries were. Green beans are one of my very favorite vegetables so it was fun to play around with a new way to make them but you have been warned just because these little guys are green doesn't mean they are "health food"... They are a fun, vegan, basket of food that will go great with a cold beer and some Hockey. We should love them for who they are.

Game on!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Day Parade #10 : Pomegranate & Cranberry Sauce

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So there has been a perfect storm of bad luck lately. I'm having a hard time right now remembering what came first. Let's see Dan had to go to Denmark and Israel for work. He's working on this new project having to do with electric cars which is completely awesome except that right now we're writing a book and I miss him when he's not here. We spent all those years apart. I wasn't really all that surprised that when he got home, I felt a part of me that I didn't even know was having some kind of silent tantrum - exhaled. You never really realize sometimes how far you've come or how happy you are till the things that make you happy go to Denmark and come back with pretty scarves for you.

Oh yes and speaking of writing a book - the screen on the laptop I usually use literally burnt out*. So I had to temporarily move to a much smaller machine that didn't have all my files and photo. I know some of you have noticed the lack of posting. I know others who are currently recipe testing for us have been patiently awaiting emails with attachments that were smoldering away in a broken machine in Park Slope. It's been back now for less than 24 hours and it's like having an old friend back. A friend that always has interesting and funny things to say - well show.  

There has also been a birthdays, holidays, shopping, friends visiting the city and all this typing. I've missed most of these things because it's hard to type and go to birthday parties. We even had to postpone Dan's birthday because of all the typing.

We also had a great time last week being one of the Special Guests on VegNews' Holiday Twitter Chat - Turkey Talk. We shared some recipes and met a bunch of awesome tweeters. Robin Robertson shared her Pumpkin Tiramisu recipe. I'm convinced this is a work of art and am dying to try it out. Over at VegNews they launched their first Holiday Cookie Contest with an amazing first place prize!

But enough chatter. Tomorrow is the big day! The Super Bowl of Food! I feel terrible that we weren't able to add more to our Thanksgiving Day Parade this year. It's been too much for me really. But before I miss it - I thought I would share this last minute recipe that is super easy and quick and classier than those tin can jelly molds. It also has so much vitamin C in it - I'm pretty sure it will make you look a year younger. Isn't that what anti-oxidants do**? I think I heard Suzanne Somers say that once.

I love the flavor of this sauce on Tofurky sandwiches and on biscuits and off my sticky fingers. I know a lot of you already have your cranberry sauce set but if you haven't... and if you were considering skipping it... I hope you'll give this recipe a try. It will make you understand how cranberry sauce earned it's spot on the table during one of the high holy days of food***.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Where we're going we may not need roads but we're going to need these books! (Yes this is a pretty awesome contest)

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Don't worry it will all make sense.

I think every vegan hopes that a day will come when people all over the world are willing and able to adopt a cruelty-free lifestyle that's better for them, the environment, and of course, the animals. Until that day comes, it's up to us vegans and veg-curious to help show the world how easy and fun being a compassionate consumer can be. This is the story of one anonymous reader who is doing what she can to help make this hope a reality.

Recently Dan and I got a email from a reader (who wishes to remain anonymous) who wanted to donate some books for a Meet The Shannons contest. She wanted the books to be prizes at a benfit for Farm Sanctuary, but plans had fallen through. Being an awesome activist, she wanted to make sure these books made it out into the world to help inform and educate people about how easy and important a vegan lifestyle is. So she asked that we give them away on our blog. Challenge accepted!

When the box came, it had a lovely note and 4 brand-new never-been-touched books! Four books that any vegan or veg-curious or just plain animal lover would want on their shelf.

We tried to figure out what would be the perfect contest. We wanted to do something really special--but I'll be honest, we're really focused on the Meet The Shannons book right now and the days are a blur of typing and cooking. Type Type Type. Cook Cook Bake Cook. Wash Dishes. Repeat.

But somewhere in all that, I found these beautiful organic carrots (see photo above) at the market around the corner. So here's our contest! Leave a comment below telling us what you would do with these colorful little carrot buddies and we'll randomly choose ONE Comment from a Member to win 4 cruelty-free living classics!

We're choosing randomly so you can be as honest as you want. In other words, if you would just gobble 'em down with a bowl of vegan ranch dressing or if you would feed 'em to your house rabbit - it's all good. Sorry, you have to be a member to enter, so that we can contact you later to send you your brain feast! If you're not already a member, you can find the button to join in the right hand column. We'll be choosing the winner on Friday November 18th.

Special thanks goes out of course to our book donor but also to these authors who are helping make a better future for all of us.

PS - Don't forget to adopt a turkey!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Betty Crocker Project: Thanksgiving Day Parade #9 : White & Green Beans

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Yes, the rumors are true! We have another contest launching tomorrow! But until then, please accept this healthier take on a Thanksgiving classic: Green Bean Casserole.

I adore Green Bean Casserole. It's one of my very favorite dishes on the planet, but I can completely understand why some folks might want to enjoy a flavorful green bean dish this Thanksgiving not include the flour or the margarine. This recipe is a really delicious substitute. It's a side dish with some character and charm--it's like the Captain Kirk of green bean dishes. Or maybe Jean-Luc Picard, since it has Dijon mustard in it.

Is it exactly the same as the classic green bean casserole of old? Sorry, no, not exactly--but it's damn good, and what's fun about everything being the same all the time?

I wish I had more time today to write a better post to go with it, but we're less than a month away from the deadline for our book and I really need to be typing out the donut section today. See you tomorrow!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Betty Crocker Project: BLT Crostinis

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Keep an open mind - This is actually a pretty remarkable appetizer.
I've heard that a 'fear of commitment' is one of the most popular self-diagnosed phobias in our society. I understand it but it's not really a phobia I have. I mean I'm not perfect. Needles can send me into a panic attack and sandwiches with wet pasty bread give me the chills. I also might have a mild case of social anxiety issues that I should Google more about. Though I'm pretty sure it's just run-of-the-mill shyness. Don't worry I'm getting to my point.

See recently something pretty awesome happened. I was featured in vegan chef superstar Kathy Patalsky's 2011 Veggie Girl Power series over on Healthy.Happy.Life. I'm beyond flattered to be part of this interview series that includes Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, Leanne Mai-ly Hilgar, Stephanie Morgan, Anya, Kathy Freston, and Portia de Rossi. This is an amazing group of women doing extraordinary things in the world by promoting healthy living and helping animals. My excitement combined with the fact that we are currently writing our book created this perfect storm of chattiness that made my interview a bit long but completely sincere. I hope you'll take a minute today to check it out if you haven't already.

In there I talk about all the different crostinis we've been making lately for the party section of our book and briefly walk through how to make Mexican crotinis. This lead to a few emails last night asking us what crostini recipe so far is the most random/unusual/delicious. See many of the folks who have been following The Betty Crocker Project know that sometimes Betty comes up with some dishes that might seem kinda random but that's how our little project fills it's danger and adventure quota. Going into this project we had to commit to going into each recipe with an open mind. Today's post is one of those recipes where that pays off.

I had intended to save this recipe for the book but there is a little smudge on the plate that ruined the pictures and so many of you seemed really into having crotinis at your holiday dinners and potlucks - I had to share. If you're following along in your own Big Red you probably noticed there are lot of changes but really I think these changes only make these little buddies better. I actually love these crostinis in a way that I've never really loved BLT sandwiches. I hope you'll give them a chance and add some kitschy Betty-Style novelty to your next party.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Betty Crocker Project: Thanksgiving Day Parade #8 - Roasted Rosemary & Dark Beer Tofurky

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So this is one of those blog posts where I feel like complete honesty in easy to follow bullet points is called for:
  • This recipe is an amazing way to level up your Tofurky. It has a dark and rich unique flavor that is intended to recreate what you get when you brine a turkey. Our process isn't really anything like the long one used to brine turkeys but the result of this recipe seems very similar. 
  • This recipe makes a thin but flavorful crust on the outside of your Tofurky that doesn't recreate a "skin" completely but it's wonderful. So you can really appreciate it.
  • We cooked Brussels sprouts in the dark beer marinade like Betty suggested but it was not my favorite thing to ever happen. The marinade reduces over the vegetables to makes something too strong for me but I do suggest instead steaming or roasting your Brussels sprouts and then using the leftover marinade to make a gravy by adding 1 cup of vegetable broth.
  • You can skip the flavor injector step if you want but it's kinda cool.  You really should give it a try if you can.

I think this photo shows you the delicious crust.

 And don't forget to enter to win a coupon for a Free Tofurky Feast!

You ready to show this Tofurky who's boss!

Today's is Dan's Birthday!

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Dan & The Ladies at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary
Today is the anniversary of the best day of all the days! Today is my husband and co-pilot for Meet The Shannons Dan's birthday!

Obviously I'm madly in love with Dan but I do have good reasons. He's so creative, thoughtful, smart, fun and dedicated to making the world a better place. I could rave about what a lucky gal I am or brag about where I'm taking Dan to dinner tonight but instead I'll just ask you to please do something sweet for the animals and take a not-yet-vegan friend out for a veggie burger tonight for Dan!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Tofurky Meets The Shannons Contest!

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Cajun Deep Fried Tofurky with Okra Giblet Gravy

It's no secret that we love Tofurky! We love the deli slices for lunch in sandwiches and salads. We love the roasts with Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes. We love the leftovers cut up into chunks in pot pies. I mean what's not to love about this vegan classic that has become a Thanksgiving tradition all over the world? Not only is it a compassionate alternative to eating sweet birds like Beatrice at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary and Skip and Victoria at Farm Sanctuary but Tofurkys are prefect for whatever creative cooking ideas you want to experiment with during the holiday season. 

We've deep fried them Cajun style after injecting them with a spicy marinade all Paula Deen Style and served them with okra giblet gravy. We've roasted them over an over flame and a can of beer. Yes, we are talking about the infamous beer can Tofurky. We've wrapped it in vegan bacon and brushed it with sea salt and black pepper. We're glazed it with orange and miso and partnered it with Asian vegetable stuffing. Tomorrow we're posting a recipe for a Tofurky roasted in Dark Beer and Rosemary. Today we're launching our Tofurky Contest!

I won't make you wait any longer. Here's the contest! Leave a comment below telling us what Vegan Thanksgiving tradition or dish you're the most looking forward to and we'll randomly choose ONE Comment from a Member to win a coupon for ONE FREE TOFURKY FEAST! That includes:
  • One Tofurky® Roast (made with organic non-genetically engineered soybeans) - now 20% larger
  • Savory Giblet Gravy
  • Wild Rice, Whole Wheat Bread Crumb Stuffing
  • Tofurky® Jurky Wishstix
  • Organic Chocolate Cake from Amy's Kitchen
  • Happy Tofurky Day card & coupons
We're choosing randomly so you can be as honest as you want. In other words, we won't judge if your favorite Thanksgiving tradition is football with pizza veggie dogs or surfing and smores. Sorry folks you have to live in the United States to win. You also have to be a member so we can contact you later to send you your feast! If you're not already a member, you can find the button to join in the right hand column. We'll be choosing the winner on Friday November 11th.

So who wants to win a FREE Tofurky Feast?!?!?

Friday, November 4, 2011

2011's Thanksgiving Parade begins with #7! Roasted Tomato & Fennel Bisque

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OK. I admit we might be pushing it a little bit by adding this to the Month of Baking but you do use your oven to melt the vegan cheese. I've also noticed a lot of Tweets and Facebook Statuses about runny noses and sore throats so I thought it might be a good time to post a recipe that takes your mom's tomato soup a step further.

Original bisques are French soups made with crustaceans that were too beat up to be sold in the market but over the years the term has also been used to also describe cream-based vegetable soups. Sometimes the term means both. So not the most compassionate soups on the block. We used fennel, sea kelp and some vegan sour cream in ours to make it a bit nicer to both sea spiders and our bovine friends. We decided to add the toasted crouton (that you can't see) and melt the Daiya vegan cheddar on top as a little shout out to tomato soup's BFF grilled cheese sandwiches.

I got the idea to serve the soup in espresso cups from Martha Stewart's Wedding page. When I was planning my wedding, I remember seeing it and thinking that it was a really adorable idea for serving soup to a large group of people and I wanted to share it in time for Thanksgiving. Soup isn't generally thought of as being part of Thanksgiving but if you're looking for something different, these little buddies might make a good opening course. We got a lot of emails last year from folks who served our Macaroni & Sheese Cups as starters at their family get together and loved them. So the individual serving soups in espresso cups that you can sip like you're pretend British and eat with those adorably dainty coffee spoons seemed like it could possibly make for the most adorable starter for any dinner party ever.

You can also enjoy it in a bowl. Yawn.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Betty Crocker Project : Baked Vegan Chicken & Waffles

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My only compliant about this recipe is that I didn't add enough Maple syrup in the pictures.
When I lived in Atlanta, there seemed to be signs everywhere for Chicken and Waffles "Shacks". I mean even Motown Legend Gladys Knight had a chain that seemed to be in every strip mall*. Which at first I assumed meant they served waffles in the morning and fried chicken at night. Imagine my Northern girl surprise, when I learned about this heart attack inducing dish was a staple in Soul Food cuisine. I mean I had lived in St.Louis and spent time in Kentucky and Louisiana and never heard of such a thing. But any cuisine can vary from region to region. Take the French dish Ratatouille: It originated in Nice and was simply seasoned with thyme and black pepper but then those show-offs down the coast in Provence started adding all these green herbs and a bit of lavender and the flavor turned into something completely different. Well, Soul Food is no different**. You can go to a completely legit Soul Food restaurant in Texas and have a pretty different experience than you would in Florida or Tennessee. From what I gather, the epicenter of Chicken and Waffles is Georgia. At first it seemed strange to me but then when I thought about it. Is it really that much weirder than having a side of fried bacon or sausage? I mean it's savory and oily meat with sweet waffles.

So when I was putting together a menu for a vegan Soul Food dinner party, I started thinking of ways to veganize this classic unique dish while also making it a bit more healthy but didn't have a proper waffle iron to pull it off. $40 later and here we are enjoying Baked Vegan Chicken and Waffles. I have to admit I've fallen in love with this unusual but awesome combo.

Speaking of awesome combos... Tonight we're going to a Hen Party with free cupcakes! No, not a British bachelorette porn and baked goods extravaganza. There is a party for our dear friend Jasmin Singer over at Our Hen House. If you find yourself anywhere near Manhattan tonight you should stop by and say "Hi". Just Click Here for the details if you didn't already click on the other link.

Even if you can't make it tonight - You can still enjoy this Georgian country classic! If for not other reason than to add it to the list of things you've done in your life.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Family Album : Launching The Month of Baking with Vegan Good Things' Leinana Two Moons & Tuscan Lemon Cake

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Way out East there was this lady I wanna tell ya about*. Goes by the name of Leinana Two Moons. At least that was the handle her loving parents gave her with a little help from her husband Anthony. But you may not know her by that name. See, this Two Moons, she writes the ultimate cruelty-free living blog Vegan Good Things. I first met Leinana over Twitter back when The Betty Crocker Project was still an angry fit that hit me like a hammer from the heavens above. I can't remember when or how we became friends, but I know that over the years I came to rely not just on her posts and kitchen skills, but on her clever insights. I'm so privileged to call her my friend and to have her feedback and encouragement. In a world that has multiple The Fast and The Furious movies, I think have higher standards than the general population concerning what's "cool", but I can say this with no hesitation: if you're interested in going vegan but not in turning your life upside down, Leinana is one of the coolest vegan gurus out there.

November is going to be our Month of Baking! Yes, we'll still feature Thanksgiving recipes like last year, but we also plan to bake now that it's cold enough to crank that oven. To launch it all off, Leinana made our Tuscan Lemon Cake. This is one of my very favorite cake recipes ever and I have to admit her tips at the end are dead on! Again, Leinana's feedback = awesome. 

But... aw, hell. I've done introduced it enough. Here's Leinana!

I can’t remember when I first discovered Meet the Shannons, but I do remember that I instantly loved it because 1) I actually wanted to eat ALL the food on it, and 2) I loved their crazy sense of humor and all their funny links. I totally related to the food they were making, and I was excited that they were veganizing the types of recipes that I grew up eating. I also admired all the amazing animal activism that they did, but in my personal life, the best kind of vegan outreach has been trying to make delicious vegan food that manages to surprise and comfort people at the same time. I love showing people that anything, really anything, can be made vegan. Want a pepperoni pizza? I can make a vegan one! Want a tuna noodle casserole? Make a vegan one! I just feel that if people realize all their favorite and familiar dishes can be easily veganized, AND they start to learn about the various reasons – health, environmental, and ethical – for not eating meat and dairy, then there really leaves no reason for them to not consider going vegan. It seemed clear to me that the Shannons share this same approach and this is exactly what they manage to accomplish for so many people with their blog.

When we first started communicating with each other online, I just knew that Annie was someone I really wanted to be friends with. Lucky for me, she and her husband have since moved to Brooklyn, not far from where we live, and now we are all friends in “real life” as well. Not only are we friends, but we seem to have some kind of vegan food ESP going on. It works something like this: I suddenly have a craving for something sort of nostalgic that I ate growing up (like cheeseburger pie or shrimp gumbo) and no sooner do I think it than Annie posts a recipe for it. It’s kind of amazing. The same thing happened when I recently had an overwhelming craving for lemon cake. I wanted to make one, and Annie reached out to ask me if I wanted to make her Tuscan Lemon Cake for a guest post.

I’ve since made this cake a few times and I’m totally in love with it. Annie calls this a “special occasion lemon cake recipe,” and it is special, although for me the occasion is usually something more like “Tuesday” or “Sunday.” This cake comes out incredibly moist and hits just the right tart-sweet notes. It’s pretty much a perfect lemon cake.

Just a couple of notes about the recipe: definitely scrape your mixer beaters, because a lot of the lemon zest seems to stick to them, and you want that zest to end up in the batter. Just use a spatula to get all the zest off and then mix it in. Also, it helps to wait a little while for both your cake and your glaze to cool before you drizzle the glaze on top, or else it will just run off the cake and pool onto your serving dish. Then you’ll have to spoon it over the cake again until it sticks on top. Other than that, there’s nothing I can add to improve this recipe. I know it’s become somewhat cliché to note that “it doesn’t even taste vegan,” but it’s true. There’s nothing about this cake that anyone, vegan or not, wouldn’t love.

* If you're seen The Big Lebowski as many times as I have, you'll appreciate this intro more.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Betty Crocker Project : Brown Sugar Pumpkin Cookies with Maple Frosting

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Ta-Da! This is a soft, sweet and delicious cookie that is pretty much wonderful. I know a lot of us are overdosing on pumpkin right now but these little buddies aren't so pumpkiny that they'll put you over the edge into Mrs. Mia Wallace territory. Dan brought the extras to work today because this recipe can make 3 dozen small cookies. They are also really easy and quick to make. So pretty much perfect party noms.

Have a Happy & Safe Halloween everybody!

Happy Halloween - IOU One Cookie Recipe

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Happy Halloween!
Some answers to frequently asked questions. Please expect a wonderful cookie recipe soon.

1. I've heard you're working on vegan souffle recipes. Can I get a progress report?

Actually it's going really well. Thanks for asking! We're still in that testing phase where we're trying to figure out the formula that's the prefect storm of flavor and texture. Here are some photos of our favorite ones thus far. These tester souffles were flavorful while still rising. We are still working on it though because we really want to get the impressive lava monster souffle puffs without sacrificing flavor. We're 98% sure we'll get this in time to include it in the book. One thing I can promise is that we will never surrender.

Vegan Cheese & Broccoli Souffle

Chocolate Souffle

2. I would like to talk to my boyfriend/parents/roommate about trying out Meatless Monday with me. Do you have any tips and can you suggest a few recipes that we can start off with?

We both love the Meatless Monday campaign. In a perfect world everybody would be vegan every day, but until then I consider getting people to eat three vegan meals a week a success. I think the animals not being eaten would appreciate it, too. If the ultimate goal is to decrease meat and dairy consumption and increase the availability of vegan options in restaurants and stores, then this is a big step in the right direction.

If you feel awkward about talking to people about Meatless Monday, there is a a really fantastic video HSUS just launched today that can do it for you!

These are some easy recipes that I think would be good for cruelty-free living novices :


Shannon Smoothie I
Whole Wheat Banana & Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Pearberry Crumble Cups
Mexican Scramble
Garlic Cheezy Biscuits


Antipasto Salad
Avocado & Smoked Sheese Salad with Toasted Walnut Dressing
French Dip Sandwich
Rustic Avocado Sandwich
Caribbean Black Beans
Asian Beef-less Noodle Bowl


Fettuccine with Cannellini Beans & Artichoke Heart Alfredo
Vegan Creole Spice Popcorn Chicken
Chili Pots
Margarita Pizza
Taco Burgers
Beef-less Stew

Hope this helps! We'll be back later with those cookies.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The world really is going Vegan! Yes! There will be lots of pictures!

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Vegan in LA
Everyday we get emails from all over the world from people who are living or looking to explore a cruelty-free life. Last night, I was looking through the stats for our Facebook Fan Page and was incredibly impressed to see that literally people from all over the world from every age group and demographic are interested in being vegan! I have to admit if you had sat down 16 year old me and told her that - she would have never believed you. I was a very jaded teenager*.

So you can imagine how happy I get whenever I hear about a new awesome veg-friendly restaurant. I mean for a long time vegan restaurants had a pretty bad rap for being nothing but sprouts and nudists. They were never really that bad in my opinion but these days there are pretty revolutionary things happening in veg-friendly restaurants. A-list celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and her wife Portia de Rossi are opening vegan restaurants and you can pop into places like Foodswings in Brooklyn where you can enjoy vegan Butterfinger Milkshakes and Pizza Fries. I mean this is the definition of a dream come true.

So we thought it would be fitting to post some photos from some of the vegan hot spots around the world! I couldn't fit them all in one post so here are some highlights in a slideshow. Special Thanks goes out to Quarrygirl, Melisser Elliot, John McDevitt, Sarah Posey (our Facebook Fan Page covergirl), Marisa Miller Wolfson, Joel Bartlett, Libbe Blain and Rachel Foss for submitting photos and helping us with today's post.

If you're looking for a veg-friendly restaurant near you there are a lot of great online resources. We suggest,, and of course a little googling**. 

Ready to get really hungry?

Get the flash player here:
(If you can't see this slideshow - visit our The world is going vegan! Album.There is also more info on where you can get this delicious food.)

If you're looking for a veg-friendly restaurant near you there are a lot of great online resources. We suggest,, and of course a little googling**.

PS - You can find more photos on our Fan Page in the Restaraunts that have a Heart Album. If you ever have a great photo from a veg-friendly restaraunt you'd want to share - just email it to Shannons@MeetThe

* It might be possible I was a bit of jerk.

** Which even after all these years still sounds dirty to me but is undeniably helpful.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Creole Spiced Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Soup with Vegan Parmesan Croutons

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This. Is. Creole Spiced Butternut Squash Soup!*

Let's make some.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Homemade Dill Pickle Potato Chips

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I should be working on our book right this second. I should be going through the over 500 recipes right now making sure that I have the right gadgets for each recipe listed. That was the first thing on my list for today. Actually I should be doing a lot of things right now. 

But instead I got sucked into Wil Wheaton's clever blog that goes so well with coffee. Then I figured since I already was enjoying a little online browsing, why not get around to reading about Joss Whedon's new project? Spoiler: There's still not much out there about it. At least not enough for me.

That brings us to now. I'm watching Tron and sharing with you a recipe for one of my favorite little savory treats. I first had them in Canada back when I was in college. I couldn't believe all the different types of potato chips they had up there like Gravy and Ketchup. I wasn't in love with those but the Dill Pickle flavored ones won over my heart. Now you can find these random flavors pretty much everywhere but at the time it was one of those things that made Canada somewhat exotic. I also love making homemade potato chips. So really this recipe is a perfect storm of awesome. Here are a few fun facts about these and other chips before we start: 

 Shall we begin?

Monday, October 24, 2011

The World Go Vegan Week Contest!

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So cute.
 I really love having things that might not be one of a kind but are darn close. I like things that are screen printed by hand and little vintage-y things that have to do with 80's cartoons and toys from my childhood that are actually from the 80s and not Hot Topic. I love kitchen toys that are shaped like robots, wallets made from recycled bicycle tires from Sweden and pillow cases with love letters on them*. That's why I get a lot of things from Etsy. On one website you can find handmade and vintage wonders from all over the world that are all the more special because they aren't mass produced in sketchy factories and really are treasures*. One day I was on Exaltation's store, falling in love with this Oxytocin shaped necklace when I found something just marvelous. If you're not familiar with it, Oxytocin is the neurotransmitter responsible for love and bonding in all relationships. It's basically romance in chemical form. Ironically though what stole my heart was a sweet, little simple and classic necklace that says my favorite word : Vegan.

It's World Go Vegan Week right now and we have special posts planned but to start it all off we're partnering with Exaltation for a fraking kick-ass contest! You guessed it! We're giving away One of these adorable Vegan Necklaces to One lucky Meet The Shannons Reader! These cute little necklaces tell the world that you're a hero to the billions of animals who suffer and die every year for meat and dairy products while being a little more discrete than a cape.

All you have to do to win is leave a comment telling us 2 things :
  1. If you could be eating at any veg-friendly restaurant in the world tonight where would you be?
  2. Everyone has their own super power. Baking. Knitting. Jitterbugging**. What do you think your super power is?
Of course there is no wrong answers and don't worry about trying to be the most creative. Consider this a brag board that might lead to you one day having an awesome vegan necklace of your very own. Before you leave your comment -- remember in order to win one of our contests, you must be a "member" of Meet The Shannons. If we can't email you, then we can't send you your prize! So before you leave your comment with the answers, make sure you use the "Join This Site" button on the right hand side of this blog under "Friends of The Family" .

We'll randomly choose a member from the comments posted below on Oct. 30th and send you your MAJOR AWARD! (Please keep in mind that it will take a few days for processing and shipping). 

* Yep. I have gotten all these things on Etsy.

**  OK - They're not all treasures.

*** Seriously adorable word right?

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Betty Crocker Project : Mini Pumpkin Pleasecakes (Cheesecake)

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 I haven't been sleeping all the great lately. It's not really anything to be concerned about. There is no real mystery as to why. I've been sabotaging myself by doing all kinds of things I shouldn't. I mean what do I expect if I watch American Horror Story right before I go to bed?

The other night I woke up in the middle of the night because the cats were bickering in the kitchen and my first thought in my slightly unconscious mind was "They must have cornered that troll* from the 1985 feature film adaptation of Stephen King's Cat's Eye." I mean obviously. Because that's what happens to your brain when you overdose on monster movies. AMC's Fearfest has had me in it's clutches for weeks now. I skip anything with any real gore and focus more on the classics like Teenage Zombies.

Between the leaves changing color and the black and white movies, it just felt like it was time to add a vegan classic to our little blog. Vegan pumpkin cheesecake is actually one of the first recipes I ever tried out on non-vegans back in my Olympia days when I worked at a domestic violence shelter as a sexual assault counselor. This recipe has evolved a lot since that first Thanksgiving cheesecake I brought for the families and residents in the shelter. That while I have fond memories of it, I am willing to admit was a pale shadow of this recipe. It's a much firmer and creamier pie. I've learned how to have a more logical head around pumpkin. I mean it's a fall tradition I respect but over the years my maturity has brought an understanding that sometimes you don't have to use the whole can**. I also have to admit the New Yorky style of this version's sweet almost cookie-ish crust makes it my favorite but you can also put this filling in a regular old pie crust and not sweat the spring-form pan. Either way, pumpkin cheesecake is awesome.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

NYC gets Vegucated!

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It's a scientific fact that for centuries, New York City has attracted a higher percentage of the most talented and creative people in the world than the original York (or as some might call it, Old York City). When we moved here, I have to admit I was both excited and intimidated by this. I mean if we're being honest here, I'm more Brooklyn than Manhattan, and sometimes I'm pretty sure the Manhatteners can spot it. How could they not? But tangents about my awkward nerdness and the social dynamics between these two neighboring boroughs aside, we were both excited about moving to New York because the few people we knew here were part of that talented and creative demographic I mentioned earlier who are busy doing some of the most amazing things to make the world a better place for animals. A lot of those spectacular people were at the New York City Premiere of Vegucated last week.

Veganistas Alex Jamieson and Marisa Miller Wolfson - Photo Credit : Jessica Mahady

It was a sold-out show with an audience of 500 beautiful people dressed for the red carpet in a city know for its fashion.  But people weren't just there to get their picture taken; this crowd came ready to see this new feature-length documentary that followed three meat-loving New Yorkers experimenting with a vegan diet for six weeks. I know I've been raving about this film a lot lately, but I just got so excited when they won the award for Best Documentary at this year's Toronto Independent Film Festival. It's the kind of film that everyone - even the most experienced activist and hardcore vegan - should see. It reminded me of the days when I first made the choice to go vegan, what it was like to become the kind of person who cared about what I ate, and realizing for the first time the implications of my eating habits on others.
I had the best looking date there.* Photo Credit : Jessica Mahady 

I won't lie. It won't be like some highschool yearbook that only shows the fun parts. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you might even blush a bit; but you'll be glad you took this trip down memory lane by proxy. Every vegan's story is different. Some people are like me, and decided in some kind of lightening bolt moment that they didn't want to contribute to the suffering of animals and went vegan on the spot. But for others it was a growing experience that took time and a little effort to find a way that worked for them. I think it can be easy to forget that journey when you've been vegan for years and your closest friends are vegans and activists. Watching Vegucated didn't just remind me why what we do is important, it also has some encouraging and inclusive messages that people at any stage in the vegan spectrum** can relate to. Plus, I couldn't be happier or prouder of my friend Marisa Miller Wolfson. I mean seriously, how many people can honestly say they're a documentary filmmaker? And no I don't count all those people who say it to get women into bed... that's why I added the 'honestly' part.

Vegans are so good looking - Dan Piraro and his lovely wife Ashley.
Back to the event! The food was remarkable! Brooklyn's own V-Spot served their infamous black bean empanadas. There was actually a pretty notable spread featuring food from quite a few of New York's Vegan Hot Spots like Candle Cafe, FoodSwings, Cinnamon Snail, and Verite Catering. Even Sweet & Sara vegan marshmallows to dip in a dark chocolate fountain. And of course we can't forget Smuttynose beer from City Swiggers and organic wine from Frey Vineyards. They even had some of my favorite frozen treats from Soy Delicious.  I know I've said it before, but it bears repeating: no one loves food like a vegan! You had to be brave and assertive to get the good stuff from the buffet table. If it wasn't for Dan, I'm pretty sure I would have starved.

Girlie Girl - Chloe Jo Davis -  Photo Credit : Jessica Mahady

We had great seats between Matt Rice from Mercy For Animals and the Cartoonist and longtime Animal Advocate Dan Piraro and his wife Ashley. If you've never met Ashley, you should know that she is probably one of the most passionate and exciting activists on the planet. Lord only knows how many animals she has saved just by being awesome. We got to see Chloe Jo Davis from Girlie Girl Army, which is always pretty much the definition of 'Vegan Treat', and catch up with more friends than I can name.

Between the film, the food and the friends - it was one of the first nights of hopefully many that reminded me why this is the best city on Earth.

If you haven't seen Vegucated yet -  The Let's Get America Vegucated! Autumn 2011 Tour is currently underway and might be coming to a theater near you soon! Click Here to find a screening near you!    

* The skirt is part of H&M's New Conscious Collection, and this photo is a great reminder on why I need to remember good posture. SIGH.

** The Vegan Spectrum - I like to think that inside everyone is a vegan waiting for their chance to get out. Some of those inner vegans are completely free to live and explore all aspects of a cruelty-free life with no exceptions and for others that vegan is only allowed out to enjoy a cute LOLcat... but I have a hope that even the furriest wearing, meatiest eating, heart-of-ice hunter will someday have that personal moment many of us have had that made being a vegan make sense and work for them. They'll let that inner vegan out and start making choices that reflect that innate compassion for animals so many of us started out with as children. I mean there are very few of us out there that were born vegan and if we can make this choice why can't they? I'm believer that there is always enough room in the Vegan Club and everyone is welcome.