Why Vegan isn’t Good Enough

Since we started Shorganics way back in 2011, the trend and popularity in veganism has only increased. There are blogs and websites dedicated to all things vegan and even vegan skincare.

But to us, vegan isn’t good enough. It’s not good enough to just be “cruelty-free” and “vegan” on your label. Have your ingredients ever been tested on animals? What about processed on equipment?

Even answering “no” to those questions isn’t good enough for us. Bottom line, is there a bunch of synthetic, processed junk in your finished product, food or cosmetics?

Short answer: Probably.

There is a growing trend in skincare to have cruelty-free and vegan skincare, but the level of synthetic, lab-created chemicals is off the charts. Too many of my favorite vegans are turning toward large brands (typically owned by one of the over-arching corporate conglomerate) that are “vegan” but have so little to do with plants and botanicals.

Many companies put “botanicals” and “plant oils” in the product, but they are so far down the list of ingredients that they serve no purpose in healing or helping your skin. And don’t get me started on “anti-aging” anything. The FDA is fining companies of all sizes who claim anti-aging because it’s a lie. You simply cannot reverse aging.

So, the question is: if people are willing to eat a minimally processed, reduced meat/dairy diet for their health, why are people still slathering themselves with rubbish lotions and face creams?

Check the ingredients. If you have questions, ask the manufacturer. If you don’t want to ask the manufacturer, email us. We won’t lie to you. We’re happy to sort out The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly.

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Food Friday: Delicious Vegan No-Knead Bread

 

FINALLY!

We finally found a homemade vegan bread recipe that turns out beautifully with minimal effort. Recently, we had a Pampered Chef party at our house (seriously considering being a consultant) and we got a ton of stuff. One of my most dreamed about purchases is the Deep Covered Baker. Not only does it come in a beautiful deep cranberry color, but you can do tons of different things with it – including making bread!

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker
  • KitchenAid (or similar) stand mixer
  • Patience

 

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (use Wholesome Sweeteners – it’s vegan!)
  • 2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups hot water (120-130 degrees F)

 

Recipe:

  • Lightly oil Deep Covered Baker (I use an oil sprayer, but a light brushing with a pastry brush works too)
  • In KitchenAid stand mixer (or large 11+ cup food processor), combine dry ingredients in large bowl
  • While machine is running on low, add hot water slowly until dough forms into a ball and starts to thump around
  • Once the dough ball starts thumping, let it spin 20 times in the bowl.
  • Place dough into greased bowl and cover with a damp tea towel (not washcloth – don’t want fibers getting on the dough)
  • Let rise 15 minutes
  • Punch down 1-3 times and shape into a large loaf
  • Place loaf in Deep Covered Baker
  • Cut a slit in top of loaf (long ways) with a flour-tipped knife (so the dough won’t stick). Create diagonal slits from the center line so you have a branch/leaf look on the top of your bread (this helps it rise – it’s not for decoration)
  • Put the lid on the Deep Covered Baker and place in a cold oven. Turn oven to 400 degrees and bake for 50 minutes
  • NO PEEKING!! The bread is rising beautifully – I promise!
  • After 50 minutes, remove from oven and turn bread out onto cooling rack.

 

vegan bread

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vegan, no knead bread

Feature Friday: Vegan Cuts November Beauty Box

The time has come. The time to release the Kraken!!! No, not really. Krakens are scary, but I bet they make great snugglers… I digress.

Over the last 2 months, we’ve been hard at work making 3000 bars of soap for the beautiful and wonderful subscribers of the Vegan Cuts Beauty Box. Yes, you read that correctly – 3000 bars of soap

We were approached by Vegan Cuts earlier in the year and at first we were apprehensive to commit to such a large undertaking. After all, we’re just 2 people and 3000 is a big, BIG, number. But how do we say no to Vegan Cuts and deprive our fellow vegans of our awesome & ethically vegan soap? Well… clearly, we didn’t say no.

So, for the last 2 months, Matt and I have had numerous hot dates: in our kitchen or dining room making, prepping, wrapping, and packing soap. Being the superstitious Irish girl that I am, I didn’t want to share this super exciting news until it was a done deal & out the door to the Vegan Cuts subscribers. Here are a few pictures from the process:

vegan cuts soap

Freshly cut soap ready to cure

Soap Curing

Soap curing on the rack

vegan soap

Heat Shrinking is a go!

vegan soap

Ready to label!

Nestled in together ready for packing

Nestled in together ready for packing

vegan cuts

Ready to send to Vegan Cuts! We did this 15 more times!

vegan cuts

Handcrafted vegan soap made by just 2 people for all the Vegan Cuts subscribers!

After all that, we’re going to take a nap. Much love & peace to Vegan Cuts – some of the most awesome folks we’ve worked with.

 

 

Veganly Yours,

Megan

Food Friday: Gluten Free, Vegan Biscuits and Gravy

Growing up in the south, I’m pretty familiar with good ole country food – grits, sweet tea, chicken-fried meats, and anything made with bacon, lard, and butter. Biscuits and gravy are no exception. I’m not so much a fan of biscuits and gravy, but occasionally, the craving hits me.  As it should happen, a recipe found its way into my inbox and with a little vegan magic (and a lot of googling), here’s a recipe for gluten-free biscuits & gravy.

 

Biscuits

  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons cold Earth Balance buttery spread

Gravy

  • 1/4 cup vegan butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 Tablespoon tamari
  • fresh black pepper to taste

 

PREPARATION

Biscuits:

  1. Place butter in the freezer for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 450°
  3. Lightly oil a baking sheet or place a piece of parchment paper over the baking sheet.
  4. Combine coconut milk, water and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl and set aside.
  5. In a medium size bowl, add rice flour, tapioca starch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, dried basil and dried dill. Gently stir to combine.
  6. Add cold buttery spread to flour mixture and use a pastry cutter or two knives to incorporate. Don’t overmix, it will lead to hard biscuits.
  7. Pour in the coconut milk/apple cider mixture and stir until just combined.
  8. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of batter at a time on a baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes.

Gravy:

  1. Melt vegan butter in a large skillet and saute the onions and garlic for 5 minutes.
  2. Add mushrooms, herbs, and salt and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally so that mushrooms don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  3. In a small mixing bowl add the water and the rice flour and whisk to combine.
  4. Slowly add water mixture to the mushrooms and stir to combine.
  5. Add tamari and cook on low for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally until gravy thickens.
  6. Pour warm gravy over warm biscuits.

 

Veganly Yours,

 

Megan

Food Friday: Herby Cheddar Biscuits

It’s been about a billion years since we’ve been to Red Lobster… not that I’m complaining. When I learned Red Lobster goes through more seafood than the entire country of Japan, I was done. Since going vegan, I’ve occasionally gotten the craving for those delicious herby, cheesy, biscuits served before the meals.

 

Finally! Here’s your recipe. These are deliciously wonderful and quite addicting. Best if they’re served with a large group of people, like your upcoming dinner party (or your vegan Thanksgiving!), so you don’t eat them all in one sitting.

 

INGREDIENTS

For the Biscuit:

  • 2 1/2 cups pancake mix
  • 4 tbsp cold vegan butter
  • 1 cup vegan cheddar style shreds
  • 3/4 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

For Brushing on the Top:

  • 2 tbsp melted vegan butter
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, minced

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Using a pastry cutter or fork mix the flour and cold butter. Do not overmix, it should be quite crumbly. Add the non dairy milk, cheddar and mozzarella (or just one cup of cheddar) shreds and use your hands to form a dough (do not over-mix, it will still be quite crumbly.
  3. Place nine equal portions on a lightly greased baking sheet. You may need to roll the dough a bit to form a ball.
  4. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until light golden brown.
  5. Remove from the oven and melt the butter, garlic powder and parsley. Brush over the top of the biscuits before serving.

 

Veganly Yours,

 

Megan

Food Friday: Inspiralized Miso Roasted Tomatoes & Carrot Noodles

By Megan Vick

 

I had the honor of getting a spiralizer for my birthday from my mother-in-law. I’ve been really getting into cooking lately, but we’ve really worked hard to cut back on pastas. While we LOVE LOVE LOVE pasta, it’s getting too heavy for us in our old age (late 20s, that’s old – right?). Robin introduced me to zucchini noodles – zoodles – and I’ve been following a blog, Inspiralized, for a while.

 

Now, I don’t know Ali – the wickedly talented chica who is the end-all, be-all for Inspiralized, but I like to think she’s my homegirl. So many dishes of hers are either vegan already or can easily be veganized by either leaving out the meat or subbing something like Beyond Meat in its place. The meals are crazy fast to make and don’t get crazy with ingredients. Her posts are super-fun and the recipes are wonderful and healthy. Check out this Miso Roasted Tomatoes & Carrot Noodles.

 

 

Miso Roasted Tomatoes and Carrot Noodles

Prep Time: 10 minutes/Cook Time: 20 minutes/Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp light yellow miso
  • 1 tbsp peeled and minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp honey (I used agave to keep it vegan)
  • 2 tsp lime zest
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 3 large carrots, peeled, Blade C, noodles trimmed
  • 4 scallion stalks, thinly sliced (I didn’t have these, so I didn’t use them – still turned out great!)
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the vegetable oil, vinegar, miso, ginger, seasame oil, honey, lime zest and lime juice until smooth. Season with salt.
  3. On a baking sheet, toss the tomatoes with 3 tablespoons of the miso dressing and season with salt. Roast for 20 minutes, stirring, until the tomatoes are charred in spots. Scrape into a large bowl.
  4. While the tomatoes are roasting, bring a medium saucepan with water to a boil. Once boiling, add in the carrot noodles and cook for 2-3 minutes or until al dente. Drain into a colander.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, add in the carrot noodles, tomatoes, scallions and the dressing and toss well. Divide into bowls and top with sesame seeds.

 

Now you have a delicious meal to share with your friends using your awesome new spiralizer. Thank you to Ali at Inspiralized.com for awesomeness every single day.

2013: Year of the Vegan

By Megan Vick

So, for those of you who haven’t heard, Jay-Z and Queen B are embarking on a 22 day journey into the vegan diet. Please note, I said ‘DIET,’ not ‘LIFESTYLE.’ In just the few short days following the start of the power-couple’s adventure into veganism, they’ve already received both praise and criticism from vegans and non-vegans alike. (For reference, they started on 12/4, Jay-Z’s 44th birthday.) One of the very, very, very first things I read, was, “I’m pretty sure those shorts Beyonce is wearing are leather. She clearly isn’t embracing veganism.” The second thing I read was, “Don’t they both wear fur?” Yes and yes. Bey does rock leather in her wardrobe and most rappers have a fur or two in the closet. No one is denying that.

 

Vegan Jay-Z and Beyonce

 

 

It’s important to remember (for all the snobby vegans who give veganism a bad name) that just to have such an high-profile couple try the vegan diet for a few days is a step in the right direction. Many celebs have gone vegan over the last few years and whether they credit ethical reasons or health reasons or Forks Over Knives, who cares! For many people, myself included, the transition to a vegan diet can be extremely challenging and difficult. It can also be expensive if you’re unsure of where to shop for fresh produce (your local farmers market!) or if you don’t have the proper tools in your home to make some standard vegan staples (rice cooker and hand blender, for starters). As always, don’t judge people, even those in the public eye. Jay and Bey should be complimented on embracing plant-based meals for 22 days. Hopefully, they will stick with it.

 

Let’s embrace all who want to learn more about the LIFESTYLE, even if it means starting with the diet. 2013 has been the “Year of the Vegan” and with positivity and mutual respect, more people will feel comfortable ditching  meat in favor of chickpeas, kale, and tofu. If nutrition is a concern, there are hundreds of vegan blogs with free recipes and great information on the web to help anybody who wants it. I certainly didn’t just figure out how to cook a vegan meal. It was this beautiful, welcoming vegan community that helped my transition. Encourage people to follow their desires – especially embracing a healthier lifestyle. Keep life positive and you’ll stay positive. 

 

Good luck to the power couple (who I happen to adore anyway). And if you haven’t read Jay-Z and Beyonce: Vegan Power or Celebrity Hype, you need to read it. It’s awesome!

 

Namaste y’all!