April 16, 2014

Cooking up new traditions

Monday night was the first night of passover, and I cooked all day for our family seder, but didn't make a single thing that usually appears at every holiday meal at our house. There was no potato kugel, no cranberry sauce, no big tofu centerpiece-thing — nothing I've always connected to a holiday feast — except maybe for the green salad. There were no complaints, and no one refused the containers of leftovers that were sent home when it was clear that, as usual, I had made way too much food. Passover is a holiday with many dietary restrictions which vary according to which tradition you subscribe to. No one eats wheat, spelt, barley, rye or oats, or their derivatives, but the Ashkenazic tradition also excludes any food that swells when exposed to liquid, like rice, beans, etc. If we did that, there would be almost nothing for us to eat, so we subscribe to the Sephardic Jewish customs, as they relate to Passover, and which allow grains, seeds and beans except the five mentioned above. Quinoa, for various reasons I won't go into, is okay. It's also forbidden to eat food which has been leavened with yeast, baking powder or soda, or by fermentation. This used to seem like a big deal, but since I started avoiding gluten, except for the leavening bit, it's pretty much business as usual. We're actually not very religious, but we like tradition.

After the Seder service, the meal traditionally begins with matzoh ball soup. I used to dearly love matzoh balls, back in the old days, when gluten was no object, but this year I made something entirely different and untraditional, and it really made me happy. I started with a version of the eat your greens detox soup from The Oh She Glows Cookbook (recipe here). I used half reconstituted shiitake mushrooms and their broth for half of the mushrooms in the recipe. The soup is so good, and so stuffed full of veggies, it's practically a meal in itself. Instead of matzoh balls, I made a recipe of the 'egg' topper from Miyoki Schinner's chicken and egg dish in her book, Japanese Cooking: Contemporary and Traditional, It's a simple blended mix of silken tofu and arrowroot that is cooked on top of the soup. It has the same comforting effect as matzoh balls have, and makes the perfect replacement. (recipe here.)

I found a recipe for Passover quinoa pilaf on Nava Atlas' blog, Veg Kitchen that seemed perfect for a holiday meal. Filled with cauliflower, dried cranberries, onions, garlic and parsley, and topped with toasted pine nuts, it was both simple and delicious. It's a dish you won't want to save just for holidays. (recipe here.)

To go with the quinoa, I made maple-orange baked sweet potatoes with a touch of cinnamon. I don't really like sweet potatoes, but these tasted good to me. I really appreciated the touch of orange — both the flavor and the color! I don't have a recipe for this — just made it up on the spot.

I also served a big platter of chia corn cakes from a recipe in the book, Chia (reviewed here), except they didn't contain chia seeds or baking powder, as in the original. I used two flax eggs (two tablespoons of ground flaxseed mixed with six tablespoons of water, and whipped with a fork to a thick, slimy, goo) instead of baking powder, and it worked perfectly. They were loaded with green onions, which the ones in the photo are missing. I cooked them on a cast iron griddle in the afternoon, and warmed them, covered, on a baking sheet before dinner. I think the corn cakes were the highlight of the meal. There was also a salad, but you all know what salad looks like.

For dessert, I whipped up yet another batch of gluten-free chocolate almond brownies from The Oh She Glows Cookbook (recipe here). Seriously, you might as well just go buy the book. The brownies were just a little flatter than usual because I left out the baking soda and subbed extra flax eggs, but they were no less delicious. (I also used less fat and sugar.) The brownies become even better the second day, so I recommend making them the day before you need them. These are way too good to have around the house.

Maybe for the next holiday dinner I'll revert back to my old patterns, or repeat this dinner, or forge ahead and try something completely different. Do you tend to make the same holiday meal over and over, following family traditions, make something new every time, or combine new and old? What are your traditional choices for Passover or Easter?

p.s. I didn't take a single photo at our actual meal, so all the photos are of leftovers the next day, except for the corn cakes. The corn cakes photo is from a previous post, because there weren't any leftovers!

April 10, 2014

Lessons learned at Seattle Vegfest - preserved lemons

There's always a moment when Vegfest looms, when I wonder why I go. I don't buy very many packaged, convenience foods, and most of the stuff I taste at events like this is quickly forgotten. Why spend a whole day tasting a ton of food I'll probably never eat again? Why, indeed. Probably because it's fun, and who can resist free samples by the zillion? Since Vegfest was March 29-30, and I really have forgotten about most of the sampled food, instead of giving you a blow-by-blow of what I ate, I'll tell you about a couple of things that stood out, and about what I took away from the cooking demos — including how to make preserved lemons!

Remnants of some of our haul. (I really like the Raw Revolution and the coconut water.)

This was the first year since moving to Seattle that we attended Seattle Vegfest without volunteering for a four-hour shift. The first surprising thing we noticed about being ordinary attendees, was the ridiculously long line to get in when the doors opened at 10 a.m. on Sunday — volunteers just walk right in, no waiting necessary. At first I was miffed by the hoards, but then I realized that it's a good thing when a vegetarian festival draws big crowds.

Because we had the whole day free, we were able to attend all the cooking demos we wanted to see, as well as leisurely check out the samples — all 500 of them. We ate a LOT of samples, and I actually remember at least two of them. The Harbor Creek Farms cranberry horseradish was a surprise hit, and next time I'm at Vegan Haven, our all-vegan store, I'm going to buy a jar. I also tried Neat, and much to my surprise, I liked it a lot. I don't know if I'll buy it, but I recommend it as a plant-based meat that has decent ingredients and tastes really good. It's true I ate way too many So Delicious ice cream products, but you all know how irresistible they are.

While we were roaming around stuffing ourselves, we ran into Jill, the delightful co-owner of Someday Farm Vegan B&B on Whidbey Island. My husband and I spent an idyllic weekend at Jill's establishment (You can read about it here and  here) back in August, 2013. She was a very unobtrusive host, and we barely saw her except when she was delivering unbelievable breakfasts to our door, so I was surprised that she recognized us instantly. I was also taken aback when I realized she was wearing one of my what do vegan's eat t-shirt designs! I really hope to visit the B&B again, soon.

We attended three cooking demos, the first of which was Indian cooking by Sunita Shastri, author of Indian Vegetarian Delights, and founder of Meghana Foods. Sunita specializes in South Indian cuisine, so I was especially interested in what she was going to cook. She made an spicy bean dish, Dal Makhani, and Quinoa Upma, both of which looked really good until she added a wad of butter to one, and a glob of ghee to the other. Everyone who sampled the dishes seemed to enjoy them. I have a copy of the recipes to try at home, so at some point I'll get to taste them.

My version of Miyoko's dish, with Beyond Meat and bok choy.

Next we attended a presentation by Miyoko Schinner, author of Artisan Vegan Cheese, with whom you are probably all familiar. Miyoko's cheese demo was on Saturday, so we missed it, but I really wanted to see her Japanese cooking demo on Sunday. Miyoko has two other, earlier cookbooks, The Now and Zen Epicure: Gourmet Recipes for the Enlightened Palate, and Japanese Cooking: Contemporary and Traditional, and I am a big fan, especially of the latter book. (I've reviewed it here.) Miyoko entered the stage dressed in a kimono, speaking in animated Japanese, complete with singing. She spoke in Japanese for several minutes, as we all watched, rapt, before flinging off the kimono with a laugh, and continuing in English. She told a story about her favorite childhood comfort food, which she had veganized for Japanese Cooking, and said she was going to show us how to make it. It's called Oyako Donburi, or Rice Bowl With Chicken and Egg. The literal translation is pretty unpleasant, so we'll stick with the chicken and egg. For the chicken, Miyoko used seitan, which made the dish too gluteny for me, but I was psyched to make a GF version when I got home. I finally got up the courage to try Beyond Meat chicken strips (had a coupon for a free box), and added some bok choy for a little green. I have to say, it really was comfort food — I've made it again since then, and will probably continue to make it. I found a link to the recipe for you.

Our last chef presentation was by Alan Roettinger, who cooked a dish from one of his cookbooks, Extraordinary Vegan. He made Quick Spicy Slaw, and Avocado Relish With Preserved Lemon, both of which were indeed, extraordinary. The second dish contained preserved lemon, which he taught us how to make. It's so easy, that even I am willing to do it. In fact, I made a jar for myself, and just made a second jar as a housewarming gift for a friend. The preserved lemons may sound  exotic, but easy to do, and not too expensive. For the gift I bought a 26-ounce Weck canning jar, a cool kitchen towel to use as a wrapping, and a bag of organic lemons. The jar and towel are from Crate and Barrel and cost $3.95, and $4.95, and the organic lemons were $3.99/bag at Whole Foods. (I used organic lemons because the peel is used in cooking.) The most expensive thing was probably the coarse gray Celtic sea salt I used because I had a bag in the cupboard, but any kosher-style coarse salt will do. My cleverness and time are priceless, of course. There was a larger, slightly cooler jar I was considering, but I chose the Weck because of the wide mouth, and the fact that unlike the other jar, I could grab it with one hand. The Weck canning jars are pretty great- looking, and make nice containers for a food-based gifts.


Now, as your reward for reading this far (or for skipping to the bottom, as the case may be), here's a video of Alan Roettinger teaching how to make preserved lemons. He neglects to mention that you should totally clean the jar, lid, utensils, cutting board, etc., before beginning. I washed the jar for my lemons in hot, soapy water, but I boiled everything for the gift jar. (Not the lemons, of course.) There are lots of Internet instructions to be found on the topic, and I read quite a few. Basically you wash the lemons, trim the ends and any ugly spots, slice them lengthwise into quarters stopping within an inch of the bottom, stuff each one with a tablespoon of coarse salt, and add them to a jar, pressing them down as you go. Some say to leave the jar in a cool spot, some say to refrigerate it, and one actually said to keep the jar in a warm spot. Although I left my jars on the counter for the first two days, they are spending the month required to complete the project in the fridge. I can't wait to try my exotic lemons. When you make yours, be sure to push the lemons down — even the first one in the bottom of the jar. They need to be squashed a bit so they fit closely together, and so they release their juices.

Have you made preserved lemons? Where did you keep the jar while the lemons fermented?

April 06, 2014

Oh She Glows Cookbook: review, recipe, and giveaway

As I read reviews of Angela Lidden's new cookbook, I was mentally trying to figure out how I could possibly fit another cookbook into my collection, because it was obvious I would have to buy it. Described as a book lush with gorgeous photos of fabulous recipes, it sounded like just the sort of cookbook I would spend hours perusing. I love a good cookbook with lots of beautiful images. I had resigned myself to buying a copy when the publisher unexpectedly offered me a review copy. That was an offer I couldn't refuse. And, yes, it's filled with glorious photos, and yes, the recipes look and sound deliciously tempting.

The Oh She Glows Cookbook provides a great deal of basic ingredient, how-to and kitchen equipment knowledge, as well as insight into the author's personal health journey. The chapters include: my natural foods pantry; my favorite kitchen tools & equipment; breakfast, smoothies, juice & tea; appetizers; salads; soup; entrées; sides; power snacks; desserts; homemade staples; and basic cooking chart. There are more than 100 recipes included in the collection, and each one is introduced with an engaging paragraph by the author, Angela Liddon.

Terrible night/no light photo of wonderful brownies. Bah humbug.

I was delighted to find a familiar recipe in the collection. Although I am acquainted with Angela's beautiful blog, Oh She Glows, (really, who isn't — it's one of the most popular vegan blogs on the Internet), I had only made one of her recipes before — gluten-free chocolate almond brownies. They were terrific, and may be the only brownies I'll ever make again. I served them at a dinner party, and they were a huge hit — no one would ever guess they were gluten-free. The recipe in the cookbook, is essentially identical to the version on Angela's blog, so you can give it a try if you'd like to sample one of her sweet treats.

In 2009, Angela created an energy bar so popular, her enthusiastic fans practically demanded that she sell them, so she started a one-woman bakery where she cranked out 500 glo bars a week. By herself. Since I had all the ingredients on hand, it seemed like a good idea to whip up a dozen of the celebrated bars — they looked and sounded so good. They were easy to make, and I have to say I like them better than just about any other bar I've tasted. They are filled with wholesome  ingredients, and not too sweet. I'm going to share some with Miss E and her family, tonight, and keep some in my freezer for me. Angela has included two of her many glo bar recipes in her cookbook, and the one I made is the classic glo bar. And guess what? I searched and found the recipe online for you. You can see it here. (I made mine with puffed rice and sunflower seed butter.)

The publisher sent me a list of recipes I could publish, and my decision on which one to choose was based on two factors — the ingredients I had on hand, and the one my son wanted. There were two recipes on the list I could make without going shopping, and they both sounded good, but my son had been hit by a potent bug that laid him low, and put him into the hospital overnight, and I wanted to bring him food, so he got to choose. When I offered the two options, he and his girlfriend chose eat your greens detox soup. The soup uses ordinary pantry ingredients, with extraordinary results. I made the recipe pretty much as written except I didn't have enough fresh mushrooms, so I subbed half the mushrooms with reconstituted dried shiitakes, and added the mushroom soaking water to the broth. I also used half kale and half chard since I couldn't quite harvest enough of either from my little container garden. I didn't use nori, and I did add freshly squeezed lemon juice (and some fresh chives). I thought the soup was wonderfully rich and intense, and I highly recommend it. (Look below the recipe to see how I used the leftovers.)

Eat your greens detox soup
Serves 3
  • 1 1/2 tsp coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups sliced cremini or white button mushrooms (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli florets
  • fine grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 to 3 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 large nori seaweed sheets, cut into 1 inch strips (optional)
  • 2 cups torn kale leaves
  • fresh lemon juice, for serving (optional)
  1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.
  2. Add the mushrooms, carrots, and broccoli, and stir to combine. Season generously with salt and pepper and saute for 5 minutes more.
  3. Stir in the ginger, turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon, and saute for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant.
  4. Add the broth and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 10-20 minutes.
  5. Just before serving, stir in the nori (if using) and kale, and cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, if desired.
Reprinted by arrangement with AVERY, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © GLO BAKERY CORPORATION, 2014.

The soup was so flavorful that I used some the next day to top a noodle bowl. I added some leftover lima beans to the soup, for protein, and separately cooked bean thread noodles. The leftover soup made a perfect noodle bowl, as the intense flavor held its own when combined with the noodles. (To cook the dried noodles, I placed them, nearly covered with water, in a small glass container, and microwaved them for one minute. I turned the noodles over and microwaved one additional minute. They were perfectly cooked and ready to use. You could also pre-soak them in warm water until softened, then add them to the soup pot to cook for a few minutes, or cook them separately in a small pot if you don't want them to soak up all the soup stock.)

FYI, most of the recipes in the Oh She Glows Cookbook are gluten-free, or can easily be made gluten-free, if that is a concern of yours. If it's not a concern, don't worry about it — it probably won't even enter your mind as you make the recipes. Though the techniques are easy, and the ingredients accessible, the results are wonderfully complex and satisfying. There are so many tempting dishes in The Oh She Glows Cookbook that I can hardly wait to get back into the kitchen; enlightened miso power bowl and creamy vegetable curry beckon. This is a book you might want to own!

Avery, the publisher of The Oh She Glows Cookbook, has generously agreed to send a copy of Angela's book to one lucky reader of my blog in the U.S. or Canada in celebration of U.S. Veg Week, April 21 to 27. There are no hoops to jump through on this blog — just leave a comment (with a link to your blog or email address), by midnight, April 15, and you'll be entered to win. I'll randomly select a winner using the random number generator. ( It's important that I can reach you to tell you if you are the winner, so be sure your entry links to a contact email.)

Full disclosure: The book was sent to me free of charge with the expectation of a review. All opinions are my own.

March 30, 2014

Chia, by Laurie Boone: a book review

Chia seeds and I haven't always seen eye-to-eye, like when they sneaked into my sugar jar and pretended to be an insect infestation, or when they added crunch and lumpies to a pudding that should have been smooth and creamy. I believe they are really good for me, and I always add them to smoothies, but they go into the Vitamix to become one with my breakfast drink. When I was offered a copy of Chia, by Laurie Boone, for review, I was intrigued — maybe I just needed some good instruction.

The book is divided into six chapters, the first five of which each speak to a different health benefit one would expect to receive from eating chia seeds. Each chapter contains health information, and recipes related to the health goals described in the chapter. The chapter topics include: healthy weight, super stamina for peak performance, the healthy gut, strong heart and better blood sugars, and chia for glowing beauty. Chapter 6 contains general, essential tips for working with chia, and 'templates' for creating your own recipes. Chia seeds are high in protein, fiber, minerals and essential fatty acids, and after reading through the book, and being convinced that adding more chia seeds to my diet would be a good thing, I looked at the recipes, and found quite a few that interested me. There are 75 recipes to accompany the health information, and since this is a cooking blog, it seemed appropriate to try a few.

I decided to start with the basics, and tackle my nemesis, chia pudding. You're probably shaking your head and wondering what my problem is, but although I like both crunchy and creamy foods, I don't like them mixed together. You will never catch me adding nuts to brownies or eating a bowl of (vegan) mocha almond fudge ice cream. So, I regarded the recipe for Velvety Banana Chia Pudding with suspicion. Instead of coconut milk I used unsweetened soy milk blended with a few cashews, and I doubled the vanilla, but otherwise I followed the recipe exactly. And guess what? I was wrong about chia pudding — I loved it. So did my husband, and the pickiest eater of all time — Miss E. I used, black chia seeds because that's what I had in my pantry, but maybe white ones would have been prettier. They both taste the same and have the same nutritional value.

The next recipe that caught my attention was Chia Corn Cakes. The book isn't 100% vegan, and occasional recipes might contain an egg or honey. Following the tips found in chapter six, I made chia gel, and subbed it for the egg.  Also as suggested if subbing chia gel for an egg, I added 1/4 cup of a different flour (in this case, garbanzo flour) instead of the milled chia in the recipe. (I didn't even know you could buy milled chia — and it's kind of pricy.) The corn cakes were great, and I'm sure I'll be making them again.

The cinnamon and spice sweet potato crisps sounded tempting, so I got out my mandoline and made paper thin slices from a sweet potato, as directed. The recipe said to use three medium potatoes and spread the slices in a single layer onto three large baking sheets, but after cutting just one, I had more than enough slices to cover three baking sheets. And I was real tired of slicing. It also took a lot longer to get them crisp in the oven than the recipe said. They were delicious and fun to eat, and I'm glad I made them, but probably won't do it again — too lazy.

The recipes are vegetarian and gluten-free. Most of the recipes are vegan, and those that are not, are very easily converted. The book contains a great deal of nutritional and fun information about chia seeds, as well as clever ways to integrate them into your diet.

About the author
Lauri Boone, R.D., is a registered dietitian and raw food instructor. She is a regular contributor to One Green Planet and has written articles for Crazy Sexy Life and has appeared in numerous media outlets including CNN, BBC Radio, NPR, the Huffington Post, Fox, Oxygen magazine, and the Vegetarian Nutrition Update. She has worked with clients in private practice and conducted nutrition classes for a variety of groups including Whole Foods Market, DC United Major League Soccer, and Avon 3-Day Walk for Breast Cancer. She lives in Victor, NY.

Fair Winds Press offers nonfiction books in a range of practical categories, including nutrition and cookery, fitness, parenting, beauty, treating sickness, mental health, and using new medicine..    

I received a free copy of the book for review purposes. I was not paid to write the review. All opinions are my own.

March 25, 2014

Balsamic asparagus, artichoke pasta and new, red sandals — it must be spring

I was in a store where I don't usually shop, looking for grape tomatoes for a recipe I want to re-vamp, when I spied a huge display of beautiful-looking asparagus. Finally — fresh organic asparagus at a reasonable price. They weren't exactly local, but California is a lot closer than it was when we lived in Wisconsin — so almost local.

I still have vivid memories of the first asparagus I ever tasted, even though it was a lifetime ago. I was at my boyfriend's house for dinner, and his mother had cooked a side dish of asparagus to a dull, grey-green color, and, unbeknownst to me, transformed the texture to slime. I'd never had asparagus before — my mother pretty much stuck to salad, and a few frozen things like peas and green beans — so I had no expectations. I put a piece of the slimy spear into my mouth, and had an immediate gag reflex which I did my best to suppress. I didn't know what to do because I didn't want to be rude and throw up, but there was so way I could swallow that disgusting asparagus. I looked at the rest of the spears on my plate with chagrin. I think I eventually cut them up and spread them around, like children do to avoid eating something, and covertly spit the mouthful into my napkin. I never thought I'd eat asparagus again, until years later, a friend cooked some for me, and asparagus was forever transformed in my mind. Now, I love it.

Back in 2007 I printed a recipe for balsamic asparagus, and I've been making the season's first asparagus pretty much the same way ever since. I make mine in a wok, though a large non-stick skillet was recommended in the original recipe.

Balsamic-glazed asparagus (adapted from a recipe in the NY Times, 2003)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), washed and trimmed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried minced garlic)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Add oil to a large a large non-stick skillet (I use a regular wok) and heat.
    When the oil is hot, add the garlic and asparagus, and spread out. 
  2. Toss for a minute then sprinkle on the vinegar.
  3. Reduce heat to medium high and cook, turning the stalks frequently to coat with vinegar, until they are bright green and crisp-tender. 
  4. Grind fresh pepper and salt over the top, to taste.
4 servings — unless you really like asparagus! My husband and I eat them all.

We had our asparagus with another favorite — (gluten-free) pasta with artichokes. I first blogged the recipe in 2009, and it's become one of our go-to pasta dishes. The original recipe called for artichokes marinated in oil, but I like to lighten it a bit and use either frozen artichokes or artichokes packed in water. We also added (re-hydrated and pressed dry) soycurls to ours; adding your favorite plant protein such as soy curls, beyond meat, or even beans, adds to the satisfying nature of the dish, though it's perfectly delicious without. The parsley accidentally didn't get added this time, and it really should have been. You should definitely add the parsley.

Tomatoes and artichoke hearts with pasta (adapted from a recipe by Sheila Lukins)

  • 12-oz. water-packed artichoke hearts
  • 1–2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-cup chopped onions
  • 2-tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1-24-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2- tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1-teaspoon dried basil
  • 1-teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2-teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2-teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4-cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • juice and zest of one small lemon
  • 1/2-teaspoon sweetener of your choice (just a few drops if using liquid stevia)
  • 1-cup of prepared plant protein (optional)
  • 12 oz. package dried pasta, cooked (linguini or thin spaghetti recommended, gluten-free if required)
  1. Drain the artichokes and cut them in half lengthwise.
  2. Sweat the onions in the oil for 10 minutes. (Cook over low heat in a heavy, covered pot, until translucent) Add the garlic during the last two minutes.
  3. Stir in the crushed plum tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, rosemary, sweetener and red pepper flakes. (Rub the herbs quickly between you hands to release their oils, before adding)
  4. Simmer, uncovered for 45 minutes.
  5. Add the artichoke hearts and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Stir in the parsley and half the lemon. Taste and add the rest of the lemon if you want more tang. Add salt and pepper if needed. Adjust sweetness, if needed.
What vegetables or fruits (or anything) announces spring for you? Ramps? Strawberries? Sugar snap peas? Or is it sandals?

Is it sandal weather yet? 

Now, about the sandals. First, I want to assure you that I bought the sandals of my own free will — no one sent them to me to review, though I wouldn't have refused if they had offered. I've been wanting vegan red sandals ever since I gave up my wonderful leather ones, and that was a long, long time ago. I love shoes and I love bargains, which is probably why I like the shoe store DSW so much. They have so many choices at good prices, and if you sign up for email notices, they send discount specials to you. My new Tevas are a closeout color, but since, coincidentally, it was exactly the color I wanted, it was a score for me. The original price was $80, but they were on sale for $49. I used an email coupon plus an 'earned points' coupon to bring the price down to $27.95 plus tax, with free shipping. And yes, they're vegan. There's a DSW near me so it's an easy return, but I'm keeping them. My only regret (true of anything ordered online) is the extra packaging it entails, though DSW seems to minimise the packaging compared to some places.

It's not that easy for me to find shoes because in addition to wanting them to be cruelty-free, my feet can be hard to fit. My first criteria for shoes, after vegan-friendly, is comfortable. I like them to look good, but I won't buy a shoe that I can't walk in for miles. (I should say I usually won't. I've been known to break this rule.) I was a little leery about buying Tevas because they've never felt comfortable to me in the past. My new Tevas, though, seem incredibly comfortable — I'm hoping for the best.

Kalso Earth Shoes used to make great-looking and extremely comfortable vegan sandals and shoes, but Earth seems to have moved more into the fashion shoe business, and their vegan collection is limited. I still love my old Earth shoes, but I've been forced to move on. I've had a lot of luck with J-41, the same company that makes Jambu. My J-41 shoes are usually much less expensive than similar shoes, extremely comfortable and ultra long-lasting. J-41 clearly labels their vegan shoes so you know whats what. Do you have a favorite vegan shoe brand?


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