Outer Banks Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants

By Megan Vick

 

It’s come to our attention that the restaurants we found up and down the Outer Banks not too long ago are not as vegetarian and vegan friendly today. We’ve taken down the original post until we can interview and fully vet another group of establishments.

 

It’s a shame such a popular tourist destination has a decreasing number of places for the increasing number of vegetarians and vegans in America. But make your voice known in a positive manner! Let your servers and management know when you visit a restaurant so they can work with you. In the meantime, stay strong – the OBX is a wonderful place to visit and you should not miss the opportunity should you have it.

 

Namaste.

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Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry… Oh My!

By Megan Vick

 

A couple of weeks ago, at the Outer Banks Seafood Festival, our good friend, Sara, dropped by and gave us one of the best gifts imaginable. You see, Sara is the one and only Sara of Kind Confections Vegan Bakery and special delivery was dozens of DELICIOUS vegan goodies. You need to try all of these – NOW!

 

 

CLASSICS

 

Vegan Pumpkin PiePumpkin Pie Bites

These little morsels of deliciousness were my favorite, but I’m also in a pumpkin-y mood lately. A perfectly baked mini crust with perfectly seasoned pumpkin pie filling and a dollop of whipped “cream” on top made this a borderline-sinful treat. I decimated these in less than 48 hours. I’m not proud of myself, but MAN – they are swear-out-loud amazing.

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Cupcakes with Tahitian Vanilla Bean IcingVegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Wow. Another dozen of these – gone in hours. What you may think as a simple chocolate with vanilla cupcake is not as simple as it appears. Made with real (yes, REAL) vanilla beans, the silky smooth texture and true vanilla flavor of the icing with the rich chocolate cupcake makes this a perfect dessert for everything.

 

 

 

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

 

Tahitian Vanilla Bean

If you need to get your vanilla fix, these are the way to go. Vanilla cupcakes with vanilla icing – again, both made with real vanilla beans. And these little dudes are FAR from plain ole vanilla. It’s no exaggeration when I say I ate 5 within 10 minutes. And the only reason I ate them that slowly is because I was watching TV while chewing (and I can’t do 2 things at once – no joke).

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Peanut ButterVegan Chocolate Peanut Butter

Oh holy moly… these are the desserts that make me swoon. If I am not eating one, I am constantly thinking about Kind Confections’ Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes. Not only do you have the deliciousness of the chocolate cupcake I previously mentioned, but you get Peanut Butter Icing!!! And the minute you take a bite, you get the surprise of rich, creamy peanut butter inside the chocolate cupcake. My mouth is quite literally watering – no, let’s just call this drooling – over writing this description.

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan Carrot CakeCarrot Cake

I’ll be honest, I am not a carrot cake fan. My husband is the carrot cake lover in the house. Funnily enough, I LOVED each one of these morsels. Perfectly spiced with no holds barred, this dessert is deliciously decadent. I ate these so fast, I barely remember doing it. I’m a serial cupcake eater – I need help.

 

 

 

 

FUN WITH FRUIT

Now typically, I’m a traditionalist. I like my chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter, and more chocolate. Occasionally, I branch out and make a lemon tart, or an apple pie (vegan, of course), but I prefer to stick with the classics. Never having had any of Kind Confections fruit inspired cupcakes, I was curious to give it a go.

 

 

 

Pina ColadaVegan Pina Colada

I’ll be upfront – I HATE coconut (and bananas, oatmeal, and raisins). But I enjoyed the Pina Colada cupcakes. I tried a bite of one since I was extremely hesitant, but the coconut is not overpowering and the cupcake is beautifully sweetened by pineapples. Yum! Also, since I obliterated the chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, and the pumpkin pies, I gave these to my hubby.

 

 

 

Orange DreamOrange Dream

I do love oranges. I love the smell, I love the fruit, I love the zest, I love the color. These cupcakes did not let me down!!! Sweet, but not too sweet, and orangey without being too fruity for a dessert. These make a nice, light change from a traditional orange-flavored dessert.

 

 

 

 

Strawberries N CreamVegan Strawberries N Cream

These cupcakes tasted EXACTLY like strawberries and cream, but in cupcake form. Sara’s famous creamy vegan icing works perfectly with a strawberry cupcake (yes, made with real strawberries) to make a luscious treat. You’ll be in paradise after eating these. All you need is a pool boy (or pool girl) fanning you in a cabana.

 

 

 

 

Vegan Strawberry DaiquiriStrawberry Daiquiri

These were my favorite of the fruity cupcakes. What takes them over the top is the strawberry icing on top of the strawberry cupcake. It’s a strawberry double-whammy and you won’t want to stop eating them! These little bites are so delicious and so decadent, I nearly forgot to share them with my husband!

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, I got 3 types of cookie dough bites! Traditional, Gluten-Free, and Mint Chocolate. Again, these are all gone too because it saves me from having to make cookie dough in our house! These made a great stress snack while we watched The Walking Dead premiere.  The best part about each and every one of these desserts is they are all VEGAN! Yes, you read that right. True deliciousness can be vegan. Another great part of Kind Confections is how small each dessert is. That way, if you go crazy and 2, 3, or 12 in one sitting, it’s not nearly as awful as eating 12 regular sized cupcakes in one sitting.

 

Vegan Cookie Dough

 

Author’s Note: I’m not advocating you eat 12 of any type of dessert in one sitting. It’s probably not good for you, but hey – if you do it, I’m sure as hell not going to judge you.

 

Festival Recap 2013

By Megan Vick

 

We don’t often do festivals each year because of the time and labor involved with driving to a location, setting up/breaking down, and being there all day. Not to mention, there’s hardly ever any vegan food….  This year, we had 2 back-to-back Saturdays of events. On October 12, we participated in the Scuppernong River Festival in Columbia, NC. On October 19, we participated in the 2nd Annual Outer Banks Seafood Festival. We had a great time at both events!

 

Scuppernong River Festival

Growing up so close to Columbia, and since my husband is from this tiny town, I am quite familiar with RiverFest (as I call it). It’s a great street fair in honor of the fall farming harvest and there is also a morning parade which celebrates the local kids and their efforts in marching band, football, and other organizations. The Homecoming Court from Columbia High even gets to ride in the parade! We had a great time meeting other vendors and met some great new customers who are sure to be lifelong fans! We debuted our Orange Lemongrass and Patchouli Pine deodorants, as well as 4 new scents for candles and wax melts: Berries & Citrus, Lavender Lemon, Oakmoss, and Tulip.  Despite the cloudy and cool weather, everything was a smashing success.

 

Outer Banks Seafood Festival

On October 19, we participated in the massive Outer Banks Seafood Festival. Unfortunately, because of the traffic pattern for guests, many people missed the vendor tents, but we had a great time regardless! The weather held out for us and didn’t rain during the festival, making it a lovely, cool day for everyone involved. The OBXSF featured several restaurants from up and down the beach offering tastes of their culinary masterpieces. We had a particularly lovely day because our good friend, Sara, from Kind Confections Vegan Bakery popped in and delivered a massive box (no joke- this sucker was huge) full of her handcrafted vegan desserts (more about that later…). It was a great day seeing some of our regular customers and getting to meet many more new customers!

 

Thanks for all of your continued support! Until next time, pop over to our website or Etsy store to pick up your favorites!

 

 

Vegan Desserts on the OBX

By Megan Vick

I interviewed Sara, vegan, mom, and owner-extraordinaire of Kind Confections, a vegan cupcake business on the beautiful Outer Banks of North Carolina. EVERYBODY needs to try her cupcakes because they are all delicious. The Peanut Butter Cupcakes are indescribably yummy.

Vegan Cupcakes - Kind Confections

Would you believe these are 100% vegan! YUM! (Photo courtesy of Kind Confections)

How did Kind Confections begin? 
Kind Confections: KC was born from my desire to help show people there a kinder way to eat. When people think about Vegan, some assume it’s not a very tasty lifestyle. I want to change that stigma. I want to show people Vegan desserts are just as delicious as traditionally made desserts, if not better!

 

Desserts are usually thought of as tasty, but unhealthy. How are you trying to change that?

KC: A dessert is a dessert no matter how you slice it. We like to say if you’re going to treat yourself to a dessert, a vegan dessert is the way to do it! Our vegan desserts still have calories and sugar, but the reason we can say our desserts are more healthy than a traditionally made dessert are because of the ingredients we use. We use many organic, non-GMO, non-hydrogenated, fresh, pure, and natural ingredients. We also never use any animal products, (This makes them cruelty free and cholesterol free!), no artificial colors, or chemical food dyes either. People ask us why we only bake in “mini” sized, we feel like a small cupcake is the perfect size for a treat! (Even if you end up having 2!) It keeps things balanced and in line with healthy portion sizes.

 

What other vegan establishments would you recommend on the Outer Banks?
KC: Of course we highly recommend Zen Pops! They are the most amazing cool treats we’ve eaten, and believe us we’ve tried a LOT! We love Bad Bean for their tofu tacos and we’ve found most restaurants here on the beach will gladly work with you. This is a question we get asked a lot, we are currently in the process of adding a web page to our site with our recommendations. Stay tuned for that!

 

Any other favorite vegan/healthy brands (clothing, personal care, shoes, etc)?
KC: We definitely wouldn’t say this if we didn’t mean it but, we love Shorganics! All of the products are amazing and safe and Vegan! We are HUGE Shorganics lip balm lovers, HUGE.

 

What is the overall philosophy of your business?
KC: As I mentioned above, we just want to break down the misconception that vegan = yucky, weird, not delicious, etc. If we can show you that vegan desserts are delicious perhaps minds will be open to trying other vegan fare. Or even vegetarian, or even just doing a Meatless Monday every week. We know living a vegan lifestyle is not for everybody, but every day we are all faced with choices to make that effect our planet and the beings that live on it. If we can all make a kinder choice here and there it will all add up and really make a big difference!

 

 

Where can we find your delicious treats?
KC: At the Zen Pop shop! You can also scope the Kind Confections website for other locations and you can always order directly from us all year round.

 

Any upcoming plans?
Stay tuned to our website and LIKE our Facebook Page. You can also follow us on Twitter to keep up with all Kind Confection news and upcoming plans!  We also have a Pinterest, we Pin every day!

Hurricane Preparedness

By Megan Vick

Tis the Season! Mother Nature will soon be freaking out The Weather Channel as the Atlantic Ocean churns out some tropical systems starting in late August. Whether you’re a native (meaning this ain’t your first rodeo), a local (you live here, but hurricanes still freak you out), or a tourist (you’re high-tailing it outta here), here are some helpful tips for Hurricane Season.

 

1.) Hurricanes are not ‘CanesCanes Stanley Cup 06
‘Canes refers to the 2006 Stanley Cup Winning Carolina Hurricanes NHL Hockey team. Sure, they’ve sucked lately, but if you talk about ‘Canes, most North Carolinians are going to assume you mean angry Canadians living in the Raleigh area. Feel free to say “Hurricane,”  “Hurri-kin,” or address the storm by its name.

 

 

2.) Turn off the Weather Channel
Yeah. Turn it off. The beautiful thing about hurricanes is that they are usually not a surprise to anyone. We have the luxury (is that the right word?) of planning our evacuations or watching the storm turn in some unexpected direction and fizzle out.

Side Note: Don’t take screen shots of the Hurricane radar map in relation to the coastline and post it on Facebook. Chances are your friends have seen that same image in the last 24 hours too. It’s a storm, not an alien.

 

 

3.) Please Stop Buying Weird Stuff at the Grocery Store
I’ve never understood the desire to purchase perishables before a hurricane. If you decide to ride out the storm and the power goes out for a long period of time, your fridge won’t be able to keep your food fresh. Try PB & J fixings or canned fruits and veggies. If you’re going to have snacks, make sure they don’t require refrigeration or a lot of clean up. Also, it’s a good idea to have picnic ware to avoid a massive pile of dishes when the power comes back. Batteries are always a great idea – get all sizes, just in case. Also, don’t forget to refill your prescriptions well before a storm is slated to hit.

PRO TIP: If the power is out for several days or if you evacuate, be sure to change any water filters (shower, sinks, kitchen faucet, refrigerator) as soon as you can. When filters aren’t consistently used, they can grow some super funky algae which makes your water taste nasty.

 

Evacuation Route

 

4.) When in Doubt, Evacuate
Hurricane parties aside, these are serious storms and can have serious consequences whether you’re prepared or not. Lots of hardened locals never leave for hurricanes, but  the  OBX has seen its fair share of damage in the past. With the ever-present climate change, you can bet your booty we’ll have another big storm hit our coastline one day soon.

The Outer Banks is particularly subject to damage because we are susceptible to both Oceanside and Sound side flooding. Wind damage is another large problem during hurricane season, but in my opinion, the absolute worst part of a hurricane is losing power. Without power, your house will become muggy, sticky, and uncomfortable, especially during the late summer and early fall. If you have well-water, you won’t be able to take showers or flush the toilet. Things can get uncomfortable very quickly.

 

 

The Outer Banks is a great place to be at any time of year, but it’s best you’re prepared if visiting during the late summer and early autumn months. If you get worried, pop into a local restaurant and ask some of the locals what they think of the approaching storm. They’ll be honest and keep you safe. Trust me, the last thing locals want during (or after) a hurricane are tourists whining about hurricane damage.

4 Great Places to Shop on the Outer Banks

By Megan Vick

 

It has been a long time since I posted about my home, the good ole Outer Banks. My previous posts on Outer Banks Vacation Tips and Veg-Friendly OBX Restaurants get tons of views, so I know you’re dying to learn more about my little strip of sand.

If you’re not at the beach, you’re either shopping or eating. Right? Well, we’ve covered food, so now you’ll know where to shop.

 

1.) Cavalier Surf ShopOBX Sand
Cavalier and I go way, way back. It’s my absolute favorite surf shop on the OBX and they also offer surfboard rentals. Located on the Beach Road (Hwy 12) in Nags Head, this small surf shop will make you feel like family. Cavalier is wonderful because their prices are incredibly reasonable, they offer the best surf brands, and your choice of sandals/flip flops is practically unlimited.

For the guys, Cavalier has awesome board shorts and comfortable shirts (I should know because I steal my hubby’s Cavalier shirts). Ladies, some of the most awesome dresses and skirts in my closet have come from Cavalier Surf Shop. Feeling vegan? Cavalier offers tons of leather-free bags and footwear for both genders!

 

2.) The Christmas Shop
The Christmas Shop is one of the coolest places on the Outer Banks. This uniquely beautiful store has everything you need for Christmas – including beach themed lights, ornaments, and tree toppers. The best part about The Christmas Shop is that there is so much more than Christmas stuff. With a Halloween shop on the second floor, a large art gallery featuring local artists toward the back, and an old-fashioned candy shop, you’ll have everything you could ask for – and more!

Duck Sign

 

3.) Duck, NC
There are lots of little shops in Duck including boutiques, galleries, and gift stores. You’ll find anything and everything you could want right in the heart of Duck. Duck has a picturesque bike/walking path and you can always hear the waves in the distance. While you’re there, check out Tommy’s Natural Foods to pick up some wholesome and yummy beach snacks, and your favorite Shorganics products. (Shameless plug, I know.)

 

 

4.) Tanger Outlets
The ubiquitous outlet mall. While it’s driven by large, national corporations, they do have some stellar deals and you can get some great finds while shopping there. With huge brands like Coach, J.Crew, Talbots, Nine West, Merrell, and The Gap, the whole family will find what they need.

PRO TIP: Shop in the morning on a beautiful sunny day to avoid the crowds.

 

Happy Shopping!

The Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale

Vegan bake sales combine fundraising, community-building, volunteering opportunities (and often a chance to attract new volunteers), and vegan outreach. If you’re interested in any of these things and bake, know others who bake, or are friendly with local bakeries, you can put on a vegan bake sale. If your bake sale is part of the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale, all the advantages are multiplied. If you bake but are not vegan, don’t worry, no new skills are needed. If you can bake, you can bake vegan.

mom and baby cow

 

The Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale (WVBS) started in 2009. The concept is almost too simple: Groups (or individuals) around the world have vegan bake sales at around the same time. That’s it. Maybe its simplicity is why it works. Each participating group gets to do whatever it wants to with the proceeds, and has full autonomy. Each bake sale in the WVBS is unique; that’s a big part of the beauty and fun of the project.

 

Why a vegan bake sale, specifically? There are hundreds of web sites on veganism, so no need to repeat that information here. For me, when I found that virtually all eggs come from hens bred at hatcheries that kill newborn male chicks and virtually all milk comes from dairies that steal baby calves from their mothers, that was all I needed  to give up dairy and eggs and seek out alternatives. We have more info on dairy and eggs on our website. Fortunately, there are excellent alternatives to cow’s milk for moisture and excellent alternatives to eggs for binding.

 

There are other advantages to vegan bake sales. Many people are allergic to dairy or eggs. Dairy and eggs are also prone to turn dangerous if left out too long. You don’t have to worry nearly as much with nondairy milk or plant-based alternatives to eggs.

mom and baby chicks

 

I came up with the WVBS idea in late 2008 after the new group I formed with three other people, Compassion for Animals, had our first meeting and someone suggest holding a vegan bake sale. I loved the idea and went online to learn about bake sales. My mind drifted, I formulated the basic concept, and a couple of brainstorming sessions later we had the WVBS. The first year of the WVBS, 2009, we thought we’d be lucky to get a dozen participants, and we really weren’t sure if we would get any. No one had ever heard of us or the event. Over 80 groups signed up, and VegNews Magazine awarded it “Veg Event of the Year.” Again, I think the utter simplicity and potential for “fun(d)-raising” were keys to its success.

 

If you do vegan outreach there are additional attractions to vegan bake sales and specifically  participating in the WVBS:

  • – It’s low-stress. Cupcakes are disarming. You can discuss potentially contentious topics in a friendly manner over a bake sale table filled with delicious homemade treats.
  • – The fun, low-key aspect of it often attracts volunteers who would not show up at, say, a circus protest.
  • – The nature of the event naturally invites questions about eggs and dairy. The public understand that animals are killed for meat but on the whole do not realize how much killing is involved in dairy and eggs.
  • – Vegan bake sales are a great opportunity to get your baking friends to try vegan baking – and be pleasantly surprised with the results.

 

Surprisingly, vegan bake sales can even be gateways to talking about the health advantages of whole foods-based vegan diets. Here’s how it typically happens: Someone sees all the wonderful cookies, cupcakes, brownies, and other creations on the table. She tries a sample (a plate of free samples is a nice touch at bake sales) and is impressed. She asks how you can bake without eggs or dairy, and one of the friendly volunteers explains. Next thing you know, you’re talking about protein, Vitamin E, and phytonutrients, because the person is interested in eating better. But – it’s the tantalizing tasty treat that got the individual’s attention, and let her know that if she goes vegan, she doesn’t have to give up her favorite dessert tastes. Even super-healthy diets can make room for chocolate chip cookies now and then.

 

(Tip: Go for taste above all else with your bake sale goodies. That’s what gets the conversations started.)

 

Over the last five years, WVBS bake sale proceeds have gone to a wide variety of causes, including animal sanctuaries, humane societies, autism clinics, community gardens, river cleanups, and much more—including green technology projects by Jeanette’s Pier in Nag’s Head as a result of the awesome bake sale hosted by Kind Confections. The WVBS has raised close to $200,000 for charities and grassroots efforts on six continents.

vegan pumpkin whoopie

Remember: bake sales don’t have to be big to be successful. We’ve had bake sales consisting of one person and a table, or two kids selling baked goods on their front porch. There have also been some huge ones with lines around the block and several tables packed with items.

 

Want to be part of this “meaningful world party?” It’s April 20-28, or as close to those dates as possible. The signup form is here. The WVBS website by now is probably the most comprehensive resource on the Internet for bake sales–period–and has many handy tips on putting together a bake sale and on vegan baking. The web site also has a schedule of participating bake sales, web banners, past highlights, and lots more.

 

Once you’re about 90 percent sure you’re going to have a vegan bake sale, you’re ready to sign up. Number one tip: reserve your location. Once you do that, the rest is relatively easy. Our bake sale tips page has all kinds of hints on how to find a good place for your event.

 

If you can’t organize a vegan bake sale, there are other high-impact ways you can participate. Check out the WVBS schedule to see if there are any participating bake sales near you. If so, and if inclined, contact them to see if they need bakers or volunteers for other duties. Or simply stop by the bake sale,  pick up some delicious items baked with love by talented, hard-working local bakers, and help out a great cause.

 

You can also spread the word! Tweets, Facebook statuses, and –of course—blog posts really help.  Fifth annual Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale – April 20 through April 28, 2013.

Vegan

 

 

*This is a guest post by Gary for the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale.