Eburg Veg Eats: Cafe C5 on 4th Ave

Ellensburg’s favorite little food shack has become a sit down restaurant where we can all enjoy the best plant-based options in the city in a comfortable indoor setting!

Yeah, I said it. With the recent updates to the menu, Cafe C5 has blown away the competition to take first place for most and best vegan options in rodeo city. Nearly anything on the menu can now be ordered vegan and Chef Devin even goes above and beyond in response to feedback when new menu items could be made vegan with small adjustments and delivers the vegan version as soon as the very next day - like he did with the newly added, mouth watering buffalo style cauliflower bites.

I have tried several different items from the updated menu and I think it’s safe to say you can’t go wrong with your order, so I’ll cut to the chase and break down how to order vegan at Cafe C5. As a side note, the chips served with every meal are vegan but honey is present in the dipping sauce.

- They are so veg friendly here that if you inform them you want to eat vegan they will help customize your order -

Fried Cauliflower Bites are vegan when ordered buffalo style and without dipping sauce

Fried Cauliflower Bites are vegan when ordered buffalo style and without dipping sauce


Cafe C5 Vegan Menu Ideas



Cafe C5

213 W 4th Ave Suite 104
Ellensburg, WA 98926

Open Tuesday through Saturday
11am-8pm

Sun & Mon - NOT OPEN


All photos featured on this blog are copyrighted images. © January Bear Photography, 2019

My Top 10 Favorite Bloggers

The past few months have been busy and chaotic, and unfortunately one of the things that took a hit was my ability to maintain the Eburg Veg blog. While my frequent breaks from internet and social media were nice, my goal for the upcoming year is to find a sense of balance between my real and digital worlds. Of course I’ve still been eating, and you can follow my restaurant food updates in the image gallery here.

Evolve Clothing & Jewelry was kind enough to host an Eburg Veg popup during the Ellensburg Downtown Association’s annual Holiday Girls Night Out on December 6. I made a variety of sweet treats for the event, including 2 kinds of cupcakes, 3 kinds of cookies, and 3 kinds of truffles. If you enjoyed anything that you tasted, many of the recipes are already here on my blog!

girls night cupcakes.jpg

Here’s the menu of what I made. Click the links if you need sweet holiday recipes!

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes
Orange Spice Cupcakes
Perfect Sugar Cookies
Snowball Tea Cakes
Lemon Rosemary & Walnut Shortbread
Chocolate Orange Truffles
Mocha Truffles
Garam Masala Truffles


Recently while thinking about making an effort to get back to blogging regularly, I found myself reflecting on the people I have been lucky enough to know or interact with online who consistently inspire me. I thought that it would be terrific to honor them by compiling a list of my favorite bloggers and social media accounts to share.


Tajda Ferko
My Vegan Minimalist

What drives me every day is seeing other food bloggers like Cupful of Kale and Broma Bakery sharing the love for food through incredible, drool-worthy photography. “ -Tajda Ferko

Slovenian blogger Tajda Ferko is one of my go-to sources for ideas because in addition to sharing incredible food images and recipes she posts tips for more sustainable living and features brands that make cruelty free and responsibly packaged cosmetic items. Sometimes I get a little jealous of the items available in the UK where Tajda lives, but ever since beginning my own journey to reduce waste I am especially drawn to bloggers like her who are a constant source of inspiration for anyone looking to live a vegan or minimalist lifestyle. Be sure to follow her if either of these topics are on your mind!

Follow Tajda Ferko on Instagram - Facebook
myveganminimalist.com


Gloria Clay
Award-winning Independent Vegan Chef 

“I cook from my soul to feed the souls of others” -Gloria Clay

I love following Gloria on social media because of the amazing soul food she posts. She comes up with creative ideas to feed her omni husband on the two nights a week he eats vegan and takes her creations to competitions (and wins). Like a true creative, she even gets new recipe ideas while she is sleeping and wakes up to write them down! Reigning from Sorth Carolina, she has been in the medical profession over 25 years and says after going vegan overnight and never looking back she thought about Noah’s Ark “and how each animal walked side by side and I figure that’s how we are suppose to walk with them, side by side and not on our plates.”

Follow Gloria Clay on Instagram - Twitter  


Ndem Etim Nkem
Hot Chocolate Fitness

“Never stop learning, pushing boundaries and doing things out of your comfort zone.” - Ndem Etim Nkem

California based fitness blogger Ndem Etim Nkem is an amazing motivational resource for anyone looking to take charge of themselves while sticking up for animals. Following him on instagram reminds me to do yoga, eat a variety of healthy foods, and love myself every day. He’s fun, upbeat, and a great personality to watch on youtube because he always speaks honestly with a side of humor while reminding you to be true to yourself!

Follow Ndem Etim Nkem on Instagram - YouTube - Facebook
Additional food accounts on Instagram - Facebook
hotchocolatefitness.com


The Vegan Gents
Digital Coaches Manny & Danny

“Being vegan isn’t a sacrifice it’s an evolution.” -The Vegan Gents

The Vegan Gents are really adding a lot of class to the plant scene! The inspiration for their name comes from modern sophistication, which is definitely reflected in everything they do. They are located in Boston, MA and offer in-person lectures and cooking demos in addition to being an online resource for non-locals. They have content available for download directly from their website and a ton of mouth watering recipes that are sure to impress the guests at your next dinner party. Check them out anytime you’re feeling fancy and want to make something to reflect your mood. “We have to become less polarized in order for veganism to truly last. When we make enemies of those who don’t agree with us we only widen the gap that we’ve been trying to bridge…Life is full of 7 billion perspectives and if we learn to listen we’ll learn to love.”

Follow The Vegan Gents on Instagram - Twitter - YouTube - Facebook
thevegangents.com


Alejandra Tabares
The Half Avocado

“The best way to go without doubt is to eat more plants than everything else.”

Colombian born, now Australian based instagrammer Alejandra runs an amazing account as The Half Avocado. Every post wows me with how colorful, flavorful, and mouth watering it is and I am checking her page all the time when I feel like I’m in a meal rut and need some healthy new ideas. There are always so many great ideas about food to eat, zero waste strategies, and books to read.

”I want to spread the vegan message, and for me the best way to do it is sharing my passion for homemade and wholesome food. This is my activism. This is the way others can see how delicious we eat. Small changes make a huge impact too, for you, for the planet and for the animals. Don’t feel you have to be vegan overnight, but the best way to go without doubt is to eat more plants that everything else.”

Follow Alejandra Tabares on Instagram


43123243_1917312155017332_6037125109225881600_n.jpg

Darcy Reeder
Journalist, Vegan Pastry Chef, Kaleidoscope Play & Learn Facilitator

“When we communicate our truths, the world gets better.” -Darcy Reeder

It’s such an amazing feeling when one of your personal heroes is also someone you know! I first met Darcy when she owned a vegan pizza restaurant in Seattle and even though we have both moved from there (in opposing directions) we manage to see each other 1-2 times per year and bring our badass vegan kids together. Darcy has been writing for magazines and websites like Raise Vegan and Medium about a variety of topics including veganism, feminism, and parenting. She had so many great reflections about this experience to share:

”Since becoming a parent, I see everything through the parenting lens. My hopes for a kinder, more sustainable world are the same, but the urgency feels greater because of this one incredible person. Every time I see something in the world that needs to change, I think about how to explain it to Tzivia (and how to better the world so we don't need to explain so many shitty things to our kids), how to raise her to be an ally, and also how to raise her to access feelings of joy.”

”I've always preferred literary journalism, first-person writing, and admitting to my passions rather than feigning impartiality. I hope to be a support for others in their struggles and journeys, especially parentsintersectional feminists, and aspiring vegans. Blogging allows a platform for traditionally marginalized people's voices to be heard!”

Follow Darcy Reeder on Medium - Raise Vegan Magazine - Instagram
d
arcyreeder.com


The Vegan Major
(Depending on your rank, you can call him, “sir”)

“The Winds of Change are powerful, but that will settle down as your body adjusts to its new plant-based diet!” -The Vegan Major

This London based “instagraph” account is by far one of the most entertaining people in my instagram feed. His account was originally created simply to share the food that other people posted with the vegan friend who helped him transition from a 25 year long “vegetablarian” into being fully vegan (over the course of a year), but after sharing some original content it became apparent that the “Vegan Army” needed a Major! I love a good theme almost as much as I love humor and the Major never disappoints. The food posts are mouth watering comfort food delights, greasy bar food, junk-tastic vegan treats, and always accompanied by absurd and hilarious remarks throughout the comment feed. Pro tip - ALWAYS read the captions on his posts. All joking aside, it’s great to see an animal rights activist use their sense of humor to gain a following, or in this case form a brigade!

Follow The Vegan Major on Instagram


Etoile
Family and Cuisine

“Food should be enjoyed not something to be stressed over!”

One look at the images above will tell you why Etoile is one of my favorite food bloggers and instagram pals. Half French, half Australian, currently residing in the UK (near London) the flavor pairings in her simple yet stunning dishes never cease to amaze me! Inspired by creating meals for her adorable vegan family, many of the recipes she posts are sugar free and gluten free, in addition to being vegan. (I’m ready to add guilt free to the list!) Her website is dedicated to food but her instagram feed adds another dimension by giving you a window into the adventures of her family and I love seeing all that fellow vegan mom love!

Follow Etoile on Instagram
familyandcuisine.com


Lindsay Robeson
The Plant Powered Parents

“It’s never too late to change your eating habits for health or ethical reasons.” - Lindsay Robeson

Lindsay is one of my first insta-loves because her feed is probably the absolute cutest there is. Full of gorgeous food images and photos of her adorable Phoenix, AZ based family, her account is everything I aspire for. The good news? You can get her recipes in Raise Vegan Magazine! One of her goals is to support new vegans through showing the world her happy and healthy vegan family. Each one of her posts is sure to bring a smile to your face!

Follow Lindsay Robeson on Instagram - Raise Vegan Magazine
theplantpoweredparents.com


Mark Frecknall
Healthy Insta-foodie “Vegan_Days”

“Trust your own convictions and remember to keep smiling.” -Mark Freknall

Located in Nottinghamshire, UK, Mark is one of my favorite “regular people” on instagram. We started our accounts right around the same time and I have always drawn so much inspiration from the creativity in his food images. He posts minimum of once per day so there’s always a beautiful new creation to see! He went vegan less than a year ago at the age of 52, and as a self proclaimed foodie who had always loved cooking and baking wondered how that would translate to a vegan lifestyle. “Whilst researching vegan diets it became clear that this could easily continue and to be honest it opened up many possibilities that I'd not considered before.” Check out Mark’s feed when you want beautiful plating ideas and healthy meal inspiration. He doesn’t brag about it, but eating vegan has also helped him lose weight and take control of his health!

Follow Mark Frecknall on Instagram


All photos featured on this blog are copyrighted images.


Dirt Lover

It's earth week! It's earth month! It's time to talk about how to save our species and let everyone know! I have been so excited seeing stories popping up about cities, and even countries, who are ditching single use plastic. Corporations are filing lawsuits in response, and people are resisting them and fighting back by living sustainably in the face of capitalism, proving not everyone is trash. (See what I did there?)

mother dirt rocks.jpg

A favorite friend of mine has launched a project called Go Strawless Ellensburg and I got to help during the first Friday art walk at Gallery One by talking to people about single use plastic straws, getting them on board to withdraw the straw and bring back the 'stache. Or to choose using cool reusable straws, or carrying a cup like this one that Jonas loves! Bonus points go to the people helping the big changes happen, by approaching restaurants and asking that plastic straws be offered as an option (or not), instead of accompanying drinks automatically.

Not sure why straws are a big deal? Here are a few key facts:

  • 500 million plastic straws are thrown away in the US every day

  • It takes up to 200 years for a plastic straw to degrade

  • Plastic never completely biodegrades, but turns into hazardous microplastics

  • Not using a straw & using a reusable or compostable straw are easy alternatives!

I will be at the CWU Operations Earth Day event on Wednesday this week getting students and faculty to sign up to go strawless, talking to them about ways to reduce plastic use and what is always the elephant in the room at any eco-conscious gathering - the environmental hazards of raising animals for food. Come say hi and give me a high five! P.S. Thanks to everyone who came to Cascade Kids during Girls Night Out last week to support the cause, and who bought items from the Eburg Veg shop!

Screenshot_20180417-012120.jpg

The real mother load is the earth-tastic event I have teamed up to help host with Ceyla & Chicken (who have put an incredible amount of effort into the details of this amazing experience) on Earth Day - this Sunday, April 22 at Hal Holmes Community Center from 11-1.

Are there ways you want to help the planet, but you don't know where to start? This is the event for you! We are both toddler moms so everything was designed to be especially thrilling for young children while teaching about the very real difference every single person makes - no matter how young or old! Play with worms and learn how to compost, make reusable bags out of old t-shirts, plant a flower garden for bees, make art out of recyclables, learn about plant-based cooking with kids (that's me, of course), participate in a book swap, get your face painted, enjoy live music, and take part in a special Earth Day storytime with the children's librarian, Ms. Sue!

 

20180331_175354.png

I know we live in a great town, because these are only two of the many things happening this week in honor of our planet. Like and follow Eburg Veg on facebook for information on other family friendly events and ways you can pitch in. Because, like any good relationship, we should all celebrate our relationship with the globe by doing something nice on our anniversary!

All photos featured on this blog are copyrighted images. © January Bear Photography, 2018

Rebirth

Spring is here! Well, kind of. I'm still waiting on some April snow...

My delightful houseplant corner

My delightful houseplant corner

It's time to take inventory of our lives, plant seeds, assess our goals, change direction, and clear out all of our literal and figurative clutter. The cusp of rebirth is an excellent chance to take big picture things and watch how all of the intricate oversights in our daily lives play into them. Jonas and I are getting ready to move house so now is the opportunity to take these sentiments to heart more than ever. Transitions offer excitement for new encounters plus a bit of the growing pains of letting go. You know, like the other day when I cried about my garden. (No worries, I'm all stocked up on pots now!)

 

What's new?

-->   The Ellensburg Downtown Community Garden has been in a questionable gray area of whether or not it will exist for some time now, so let me be the first to tell you how elated I am that we have the green light on another year and ideas are in the works for the children's garden this season! Follow Kid-itas County on facebook or check the website to keep current on the program schedule.

-->   My local friend Diedra has been preparing to launch a new business based around toddler play, we have put our heads together on some ideas, and I am lucky to have the chance to help her with the planning and execution of an Earth Day event for next month. We'll share more details as it gets closer, so stay tuned! In the meantime, check out what she has planned for Ceyla & Chicken by clicking the web link above or finding them on facebook.

-->   I launched the Eburg Veg shop featuring items I had for sale at the Spring Fair, plus a few more! As the shop gains popularity more items will be added to the inventory but right now I haven't even fully decided on some of the packaging. Don't worry, productive progress comes from procrastination. I used an alliteration, so the logic must be sound.

-->   In my continued mission to cut out plastic use in our house and reduce our overall waste I have been having a hard time figuring out shampoo and conditioner, but not anymore! This week I discovered that apple cider vinegar is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G as hair conditioner.

-->   I found out that all of the beer brewed by Iron Horse uses vegan clarifying agents. This means I now have confirmation that both Iron Horse Brewery and Whipsaw Brewing use brewing methods that are completely compatible with a plant-based diet! Keep a look out for animal ingredients in some of the brews though (like the appearance of bacon at Whipsaw) and use your own judgement on whether or not beer counts as a whole food. I'm gonna say that if you drink the whole thing it probably does, am I right?

-->   I finally tried the "something vegan" on the menu at Iron Horse Brewery and it was really good! I have no clue if they will ever feature the same item again, and from what it seems they might not either. So, onward brave plant food enthusiasts, drink yourselves some whole foods and take a risk on the mystery meal. If you need an excuse to go to the pub, you can call it "market research" like I did.

"Something vegan" at The PUB by Iron Horse Brewery

"Something vegan" at The PUB by Iron Horse Brewery

In closing, please visit my shop and give me several dollars in exchange for the unique and beautiful things you see so that I may continue to figure out how to ship. I will probably deliver locally, so never be afraid to ask. If I don't know you personally, I bet it's about time we change that anyway. 

All photos featured on this blog are copyrighted images. © January Bear Photography, 2018

Fair Enough

This weekend I'm going to be at the E3 Spring Fair with a table for Eburg Veg. This is an annual event (previously known as KEEN's Winter Fair, but now presented by HopeSource) where Ellensburg locals come to learn about what's going on in our community in relation to the intersection of Education, Environment, and Economy. I'm incredibly excited to have the chance to talk to people about how to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their diet, cutting down on single use plastic, getting involved with the children's garden at the downtown community garden, and celebrate how awesome our planet is while educating children about ways we can all protect it.

Since I have plant-based popups on my mind, I went back and forth between registering as an exhibitor and registering as a vendor. I decided to go all in and come up with some items to sell and hope that I can successfully raise money to execute that perfect brunch menu Jonas and I have been tirelessly working on. Everything came together in this beautiful way with finding a commercial kitchen space to use (thanks to one of the nicest people in our town), coming up with some sweet treats to offer, and the crafting and gathering of some simple items that will help people cut down on single use plastic items that are typically used and thrown away. I was having trouble narrowing down what kind of baked goods people would want to buy, knowing that I need to plan to sell out so I put a vote to the Eburg Veg Community facebook group. This is the list we came up with:

Lavender Truffles
Key Lime Cupcakes
Energy Bites
Mocha Truffles

I was surprised to see chocolate cupcakes at the bottom of the list, but since the facebook poll didn't display it as a option unless you clicked to see more I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and I'm making them anyway. Also, it would be kind of weird to have your only cupcake choice be lime. Since I realized how popular truffles are I'm thinking about coming up with a third kind to offer; any suggestions in the comments will be heartily considered! I might end up just doing whatever I want anyway, but I'd still love to hear your input.

Key Lime Cupcake in all of its earth day color-scheme splendor!

Key Lime Cupcake in all of its earth day color-scheme splendor!

I've been practicing the recipes this week to smooth out any kinks before I'm on the spot to make a million (ok not a million, but a lot) delectable confections and there are a few things I have noticed. I've made key lime cupcakes before, but I cheated and used regular limes. Can I just ask why nobody ever told me how tedious it is to squeeze tiny limes? Also, my recipe was half the size that I thought it was, and I still gave up and made key lime-lime-lemon juice cupcakes. I need your thoughts and prayers people. My fingers are worthless.

mocha truffle.jpg

The good news is that I have an awesome lavender truffle recipe that I concocted for my mom on Valentine's Day this year. Piece of cake, right? Or trifle of truffle or something. I decided that I didn't like any of the mocha truffle recipes I found online and that it would be easy to adapt the lavender one. Simple switch, big kitchen explosion. I wish I could make this stuff up. Lots of cleaning and a trip to Goodwill for a $3 vintage chafing dish later, I was able to try again for the mocha truffles. No explosions, everything going smoothly. But of course there's this little thing where they are supposed to be scoop-consistency in a few minutes yet I'm sitting here hours later waiting for them to harden so I can take a nice picture and act like life is a breeze for my blog. If you see the picture here when I post this, we'll act like this conversation never happened, deal?

Tree Bulk Bag.jpg

Luckily most of the other items I will have for sale don't have to be manufactured by me. The area where I do have some creative input is on designs for reusable bulk shopping bags. My talented artist mother, Diane Huckabay, has an art piece that started as a sketchbook doodle and over the years shows up in various incarnations and she was sweet enough to let me use it. You'll know which one is hers since mine are a little more slap-happy! I currently have 5 bag designs and am working on designs for produce-sized and large grocery-sized bags. Maybe in the future I'll figure out how to ship and set up a store on my website, but don't count on it. I'm happy to make items and deliver locally for anyone interested!

Major Gains Bag.jpg

I know I may have offered a little too much information about my process getting ready for Spring Fair, but I meant it when I said I'm incredibly excited. Events like this in our community always remind me what amazing and caring people are out there in the world, even on my most cynical days. We have a bunch of awesome kids here in Ellensburg and I'm thrilled at any chance to come up with creative activities to share with them. Check out the details below, and if you come to the fair on Saturday, please introduce yourself - I'd love to know all of you personally!

27654435_10155566378031387_4026106766515633187_n.jpg

All photos featured on this blog are copyrighted images. © January Bear Photography, 2018

Conversations with Erin

Since being in Ellensburg, Jonas and I have had the privilege of meeting a very intelligent, kind, and compassionate person that many of the locals are familiar with, Dr. Erin Zamzow. Erin provides holistic veterinary medicine to small animals and horses. Additionally, she has a part time house call practice, is a mom, and owner of an animal supplement business, Vivo Animals. Lately Jonas has been telling me he wants to be friends with pigs so we took a trip out to Erin's house for a visit this week. I talked to Erin a little bit about her animal nutritional supplements, eating plant-based, vegan issues, feminism, body positivity, and our plans and goals for what we want to do in the community with the Eburg Veg project.

Erin helping Jonas give Daisy a snack.

Erin helping Jonas give Daisy a snack.

Erin has graciously offered to share a bit of insight for our blog about some things she faced in veterinary school and how it helped shape her core choices over the long term.

"I remember the day so well.  It was early in my freshman year of veterinary school so probably late August or early September of 1986.  I remember all the newness of moving to Pullman, Washington, settling in with my fiancé  and roommate into our townhouse, finding out where the grocery stores and good coffee spots were, excited to embark on this 4 year marathon of learning to be an animal doctor. I was sitting with my class in a lecture hall at WSU veterinary school (one that no longer exists since the renovation of the veterinary school and teaching hospital) in a class called Animal Production which we soon dubbed “slaughter class”.

Here I was, a 22 year old idealistic veterinary student coming face to face with the reality of not just how animals were actually treated in food production but how they were regarded (or rather, disregarded) by the veterinary community in general.  I viewed the pictures on the big screen at the front of the room through often squinted eyes and listened to my professor matter of factly go over how many chickens could be crammed onto a ‘broiler floor” for maximum meat production with the least economic loss (sick and dead birds), as the practices of debeaking chickens, castrating young animals without anesthesia and cutting tails off baby pigs were calmly presented as needed for efficient and safe animal production. As the hour went on I became increasingly horrified.  I looked over to a few of my classmates to gauge their responses. There were approximately 3 of us that seemed to be sickened by the information we were being presented with. Perhaps more were bothered by it but not enough to speak out against it or consider changing their dietary choices. That first few days of class we were bombarded with information that was so at odds with my concept of what veterinarians were supposed to do, help animals.  The reality that THIS was part and parcel of veterinary education hit me like a brick wall and I knew early on I wanted nothing to do with it other than to try to stop it from happening.  I remember talking about it with a couple of my classmates who were already vegetarian and knowing without a doubt that I could no longer eat meat.  

Back at the townhouse I shared with my fiance’ and another veterinary student who was a friend from the pre vet studies at CWU, I proclaimed that I was going vegetarian right then and there.  After I explained why to my fiancé, he agreed to stop eating meat as well.  Learning about how animals were actually raised and killed for food was hard enough, the fact that very few people out of my class of 100 seemed to care at all added a whole other level of despair and frustration to these revelations.  

<There were other challenges in veterinary school but that is too much to go into here.  >

 "I hope to see access and socioeconomic barriers to a plant based diet come down so all can eat a more compassionate and planet friendly diet if they choose to."

For almost 30 years I was mostly vegetarian with some occasional “sustainable” seafood.  I was a classic example of cognitive dissonance- not wanting to face they hypocrisy of my concern for farm animals and my continued consumption of dairy and eggs.  A few years ago I limited my egg consumption to only ‘pet’ chicken eggs (from chickens that friends or neighbors kept with free run of the yard, a safe coop at night and who lived out their natural lives) and decreased my consumption of dairy.  My younger sister had shifted from vegetarian to a vegan diet about a year before I did.  I finally made the shift to a vegan diet and lifestyle January 1, 2015.  I did miss cheese and butter and ½ and ½ for my coffee at first but I adapted fairly quickly.   Any temptation to eat dairy in the first few months after removing it from my diet was quickly dispatched by the image of a mother cow and her calf being cruelly separated.   I don’t miss dairy at all now and I love being a creative and innovative plant based cook.  My husband and sons are not vegan but they eat most anything I cook and don’t bring any meat into the house.   Even my dogs are on vegan food now- something I have learned more about in the last year and realize is not a fit for all dogs.

I didn’t go vegan for health reasons, I did it completely for the animals but as learned more about animal agriculture as a contributor to climate change and social justice issues, I became more ‘evangelical’ about the vegan message.  I hope to see access and socioeconomic barriers to a plant based diet come down so all can eat a more compassionate and planet friendly diet if they choose to. We see so much injustice in this world and choosing a more compassionate diet is just one way I can mitigate some of the suffering of both human and non human animals.   Humans are at a place in our evolution where we have access to so much information and so much technology, we know better and it’s time to do better."

Daisy trying to decide whether or not to come in the house after Jonas opened the door.

Daisy trying to decide whether or not to come in the house after Jonas opened the door.

I think that hearing Erin's point of view is a powerful message to all of us. The veterinary practice is often thought of as a field for those who want to help animals but in reality nobody in our society is exempt from disassociating from trauma to survive. For a veterinarian that can mean choosing to regard an animal medically and not acknowledging the thoughts and feelings that accompany sentience, or choosing to work only on animals that we typically categorize as pets so that they can still go home and eat an animal who has the same intelligence as their own child without having to attach the experience to what they witness in their daily lives.

For the rest of us not DVM types, it's important to embrace roots. The journey that something takes to get to us is our responsibility even if it doesn't feel like it. Buying things locally is important to sustain our local economy and limit the resources used for the items we consume. Cutting down our meat and dairy consumption is also the responsible thing to do because it saves water, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and is a smarter use of plant foods to eat them directly without processing them through a farmed animal before consumption. And the roots of what something is - pig, cow, mother's milk and not "bacon," "beef," "cheese" are also important to acknowledge the sacrifices someone made for our pallets in the face of the human structures that intentionally enable and employ our cognitive dissonance for profit.

That's some pretty heavy stuff. Check out this picture of Jonas having a blast on the trampoline at Erin's house to give yourself a break before your head explodes. He's a super cute kid. He told me that Erin's pigs are his pigs too now, so we got to talk about sharing friends.

jonas trampoline.jpg

But seriously, even if it's just for your own health, your family needs to eat better. And if you haven't yet, watch this.

Special thanks to Dr. Erin Zamzow, DVM for her guest post this week!
Ellensburg Holistic Animal Wellness
Vivo Animals

All photos featured on this blog are copyrighted images. © January Bear Photography, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

Try a Sample!

We put a call out on facebook on December 30. The mission? One person willing to commit to eating a plant-based diet for the month of January. The world calls this Veganuary. We call it Sample Veg-Eburger. (Read that out loud. It's cute!) The post received scattered interest but among the respondents was Martha, an Ellensburg local, and by default the rest of her family since she prepares their meals. I met with Martha that week for an interview to find out about her current eating habits and help her through a month of drastic dietary shifts.

Martha tries a sample of strawberries and cream, coconut style!

Martha tries a sample of strawberries and cream, coconut style!

Martha and her husband had recently been traveling and had the opportunity to dine at Veggie Grill. They were blown away! Martha went into the month with this really great attitude that eating plant-based would probably be easier than she thought once she found items to substitute for the animal ingredients she was used to eating in her favorite meals. Her family was interested in giving it a shot since they knew it would be good for their health, could help them cleanse, and held beliefs that the Bible references eating animals as unclean. Martha thought the biggest challenge would be figuring out what to eat when going to family parties.

We spent some time talking about eating habits. These questions are great to think about in general, but especially when addressing big dietary changes. How often do you eat out? Do you meal plan? What grocery store do you shop at the most? What does your typical shopping list contain? What are your go-to meals? How long do you usually take to prepare your meals? Are you more interested in altering the meals you are used to eating or trying new foods?

We decided to focus on finding items that would be acceptable substitutions in the traditional Mexican meals that Martha cooks, which center heavily around cheese, chicken stock, and meat. Since she is used to meal planning and typically spends 2-3 hours preparing dinner, trying new things did not present a difficult challenge for her. However, there was still a bit of trial and error with finding suitable recipes - and her husband was a tough critic! The one recipe that Martha said she made most throughout the month was a vegan fideo soup from Dora Stone, of Dora's Table and Mi Mero Mole.


Sopa de Fideo from Dora's Table

Ingredients

1 tbsp. Oil (optional)
8 oz. Whole wheat thin spaghetti, broken into 1 in. pieces
1 can (14.5 oz) Diced tomatoes 14.5 oz
1/2 Onion, white, chopped
3 Garlic cloves, peeled
10 cups Vegetable stock
2 Mexican zucchini, diced
1 Avocado, large, diced

Preparation

  1. In a medium pot get your vegetable stock boiling hot and set aside.

  2. Set a large pot to medium heat and add oil. Once oil is hot add broken up noodles and toss to coat in oil. Continue to cook until noodles are golden brown, about 3 minutes.

  3. While the noodles are browning, place the tomatoes, onion, garlic, and 2 cups of the vegetable stock in the blender and process until smooth.

  4. Strain this mixture directly into the golden noodles still in the hot pot. Stir to prevent the noodles from sticking.

  5. Let mixture simmer for 1 minute. Add the rest of your stock and set heat to high. Let boil until noodles are al dente. Stir often. Season.

  6. Set a medium sauté pan to medium-high heat. Add zucchini and sauté for 3-4 minutes until tender. Season with salt and pepper.

  7. Add zucchini to soup.

  8. Garnish with diced avocado and serve.


On January 1, we launched the Eburg Veg Community facebook group to support Martha and others who want to eat more plant-forward meals, and to connect with other people in Ellensburg that are eating consciously. Martha continues to be an active participant and has everyone drooling over her meals and hoping she will open a restaurant someday!

Martha and I remained in contact throughout the month, and when February came around Jonas and I went to her house for a follow-up interview and recipe tutorial. Jonas and Martha's daughter, Aby are the same age and had fun playing together while I got the low down on what it was like for Martha to be plant-based for an entire month.

Toddler chefs Jonas and Abigail

Toddler chefs Jonas and Abigail

Before this sample month, Martha said she did most of her shopping at Grocery Outlet and Fred Meyer. During January she went to Super 1 more than usual and did much more Amazon shopping to get lower prices on buying large quantities of items that she used a lot of, like these boullion cubes. The other item she found was the Daiya farmhouse block, which tastes a lot better than the pre-grated shreds available. Her favorite food score was a method of making sour cream using cashews that her friend shared with her. She says above all else, she will definitely stick with the recipe since she likes it a lot better that any of the sour cream products she was eating before. She found that after cutting meat out of her diet she ate a lot more lentils, black beans, garbanzo beans, and tofu. She started experimenting with smoothies more and really enjoyed it. Martha said that her food budget stayed the same but there was an unexpected perk since it actually took her less time to prepare meals eating this way!

Green smoothie featuring the coconut whipped cream Jonas and Aby made.

Green smoothie featuring the coconut whipped cream Jonas and Aby made.

There were hiccups along the way. Martha continued to purchase and prepare meat and dairy for her husband and her daughter and said sometimes it was hard to deal with the temptation. She compared it to compulsive shopping - how you sometimes will buy something just because it's on sale when it's right there in front of you and looks like a good deal. "I have to stop and remind myself that just because other people are eating something doesn’t mean I need it. I learned to eat before going to events or eating a vegan version of whatever other people were eating when I get home later. People knowing that it’s a challenge aren’t as pushy and I don’t really want people asking a bunch of questions!"

Martha says that she definitely recommends other people trying this. She found a lot of inspiration from instagram, especially dorastable, rawvana, vegan_mexican, and even though she didn't say it I know she meant to mention eburgveg too. The take away? "I feel like I have more energy than before but I’m more gassy!"

The Most Important Meal of the Day

If I could eat brunch regularly, I would. I mean I kind of do, except that it’s really just me delaying breakfast to a lunch time and eating something more filling and/or savory than I would typically eat for an on-time breakfast. Brunch always seems like a fancy white people thing and maybe there’s something about it being inaccessible that causes allure. All I know is if someone can nail a brunch menu it should be considered a high level form of energy work.

Today's brunch, which has Forager yogurt in there somewhere.

Today's brunch, which has Forager yogurt in there somewhere.

Jonas and I talk a lot about our goals and one of them is to have local plant forward pop-up events in Ellensburg. The concept seems simple, but there are actually a lot of steps leading up to hosting a temporary restaurant event. I have zero experience in food service and Jonas is barely 3 so his skills are also a bit lacking. Needless to say, we have a lot to learn! I figure that it won’t do us much good to get to the point where we have completed all legal and administrative tasks to be ready for launch without spectacular food to offer so we’ve decided to start a focus on creating the perfect brunch menu.

Jonas eagerly awaiting the end of the photograph so he can eat his toast.

Jonas eagerly awaiting the end of the photograph so he can eat his toast.

This is the tasty part, but another whole set of skills to learn since plating is a new notion for me. I watched a video about creating avocado flowers but like all beautiful things in life I’m going to have to practice a bit. When they look pretty enough I will place them on top of the yummy seasoning stuff instead of using savory bits to hide my shame. Calling all millenials in Ellensburg to try my recipe for avocado toast! We can talk about the real reasons why we don’t own houses and how it isn’t guacamole tears. Seriously, come over. I can never have enough avocado loving friends.

I make the best biscuits and gravy ever (no joke, you can ask anyone) so I have a sell out pop-up brunch baseline. I have a solid pancake recipe that is definitely one you haven’t tried before, but will have you trying to get sneaky on my secret recipe. One time I made a vegan breakfast sandwich (using tofu in the place of egg) that was incredible. I was in my early 20’s so of course I didn’t save the recipe and Jonas and I are starting from scratch on this one. I have a feeling we will try, and try again. Insider tips accepted and appreciated! I love that we are to this point where plant-based meals don’t have to prove their deliciousness anymore and now the real goal is to leave people thinking they have been deprived by only eating their traditional favorites. But, you know, I’m still going to work on the breakfast sandwich because balance is important.

This was instantly Jonas'&nbsp;favorite breakfast sandwich ever,&nbsp;because it's the first one he's ever eaten.

This was instantly Jonas' favorite breakfast sandwich ever, because it's the first one he's ever eaten.

We’re dreaming of an earth week pop-up and definitely need to network so if you or someone you know might be interested in collaborating please feel free to reach out! We are also always accepting new friendships and taste testers so there’s no time like the present to take on a mama & toddler for your inner circle. We can be mindful together, over a scrambrito. I’m trademarking that, don’t take it.

Check out this article about brunch. It has nothing to do with my article, but it's a great read.

All photos featured on this blog are copyrighted images. © January Bear Photography, 2018

Disposable Culture

I read a lengthy but insightful post from a member in a facebook group where people share stories about ways they are cutting down on waste in their lives, helping each other find tricks to make it easier. This post referenced our “disposable culture” and it really got me thinking about the drive for over-consumption that is present throughout our daily lives and how it causes a very real rift in the value of our connections with one another. The use-and-throw-away experience we repeat with every object we encounter has created a discardable sense to everything we do.

A bag containing one year's worth of my plastic bags.

A bag containing one year's worth of my plastic bags.

One of the main things I appreciate about living in Ellensburg is the way our town represents strength in community. In many ways it is easier to live here than other places; from the accessibility of the layout and community size, variety that downtown and CWU campus offer, willingness to assist and treat others with kindness that nearly everyone here possesses, and the close-knit way everyone comes together to help those in need. It came as a shock to me how many people threw tantrums like oversized toddlers in reaction to a bag ordinance encouraging consumers to find a more sustainable way to take away their groceries. Rather than shut people out who don’t see right and wrong the same way I do, I sought to really understand why people are having this reaction. There is one obvious reason; changing habits is hard. This is precisely why a program like charging five cents per plastic bag is effective, because monetary incentives are persuasive. But some of the things going on in people’s heads have deeper roots than that.

The lack of transparency that enables large for-profit businesses to increase revenue through channels that compromise the greater good is the largest culprit. We throw garbage away and it is gone. We (maybe) recycle our plastic grocery bags in the bin at the store and they are gone. The public lacks general knowledge of what happens to waste, the amount of energy used to recycle, which items are even recyclable, and what will happen if we don’t work to fix the very real problem our planet is facing. There are no demands for quality over disposability and we are not holding companies responsible for manufacturing items in an ethical way. Spoiler alert: it’s more expensive for them to worry about sustainability, so they won’t do it unless we make them.

How many plastic bags did your family acquire last year?

How many plastic bags did your family acquire last year?

I saved up one year’s worth of my plastic bags. What you see pictured is less than the average American family, who takes home 1500 plastic bags per year. Plastic bags are used for an average of 12 minutes, and then 1% of them are recycled, with the other 99% going to the landfill or littering the ocean. It takes 500 or more years for a plastic bag to degrade, and it will never degrade completely since it turns into microplastic which absorb toxins and pollute the environment. This is not ok.

I am making real changes this year. I have not accepted a single plastic grocery bag. I have still purchased some items packaged in plastic and used plastic bags for bulk items, but I will be cutting those out too. I wanted to weave my plastic bags into reusable bags and was trying to figure out a way to do so when I saw a video that made plastic fusing look easy. I gave it a try and it’s not (thanks DIY fairies) so I think I’m giving myself permission to recycle my year’s supply of bags! I am working on some bag designs that reflect our local community values in the hopes that I can get some in the hands of the people who don’t want to pay the five cent fee. Here’s a test bag I painted the night I was so disappointed about not being able to fuse my plastic bags into reusable bags. The design needs some work but I’m excited to get other people on board with fixing our disposable culture and putting value in ourselves, our objects, and our planet back in style.

DIY produce bag is a work in progress. I'm also working on designs for full sized bags and bulk bags too!

DIY produce bag is a work in progress. I'm also working on designs for full sized bags and bulk bags too!

While these steps are only one small part of changing the overall crisis picture, it’s something simple we can all do. Did you know glass is infinitely recyclable? Use glass containers. Reduce the amount you bring into your home. Reuse the crap out of them and then recycle them. Don’t be tempted to throw them away - It takes over 1 million years for a glass bottle to decompose! Humans are not vampires, we don’t have time to wait out that kind of thing. And for the love of god, please stop buying fruits and vegetables wrapped in plastic. We have an amazing farmer’s market here - go to it!

All photos featured on this blog are copyrighted images. © January Bear Photography, 2018

A New Year to Waste

In the past few months I have been reflecting on the different types of lifestyles lived among people I know and the prominence of plastic in consumer culture. Having a toddler, living fairly far from a large city, and not having expendable income, I feel like it would be almost impossible to completely cut out plastic. But just because I can't be a zero waste hero doesn't mean that it's not important to pay attention to how much plastic cycles through my household and think about ways to use less of it. When it comes down to it, as someone who composts and recycles, what waste am I really creating if not just plastic?

I'm not typically one who makes resolutions for the new year since I've always thought it's important to consistently be the best version of yourself, to grow and challenge your thoughts and behaviors, no matter which month it is. But there's just something about life after 30 that makes you want to do the things that other people are doing since you are swimming in a sea of attempting to adult at all points of the day, and things like announcing that you are setting goals is something that you can definitely check of off your adulting list once a year.

So here it is world! I'm an adult, and this year I resolve to prioritize worrying about waste over worrying about my waist. Conveniently, Ellensburg just passed a new bag ordinance giving people like me who know better but don't always do better the kick in the pants we need to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Because there's no bad time to save the planet.

Screenshot_20180102-215245.png

I've narrowed down the biggest household waste categories and am tackling them in order of what saves me money first, since that's a terrific motivator. Specialty vegan items (i.e. processed foods that come in fancy packages) are going to have to take a back seat. Eating whole foods is healthier and costs less anyway, am I right?

As anyone who is vegan in Ellensburg probably does, I go grocery shopping at every single store since they each have a different selection and different prices on things. I usually go to Better Life Natural Foods infrequently for harder to find items, but that is about to change. Jonas and I took a trip there this week to check out the bulk section and really take note of what is available. The cashier was nice enough to let me photograph a list of all the items in their bulk bins and I'm hoping to get a list together of all the bulk items that can be bought everywhere locally.

On my list for this trip were ingredients to make this seitan recipe since, much to my dismay, (have you heard about my lord and savior field roast?) I'm going to have to cut down on plant meat favorites. Speaking of which, does anyone have suggestions for how I can make this recipe sans plastic wrap?

 

Jonas loves deodorant, although he still thinks it goes on your elbows.

Jonas loves deodorant, although he still thinks it goes on your elbows.

A million plastic bottles a minute are bought around the world and while the majority of them might be water bottles, how many am I going through when I buy shampoo, toothpaste, cleaning products, and other "essential" hygiene items? What I found out this week is that I can make 3 ingredient deodorant with things I have in my pantry that I actually like better than any of the stuff I've ever bought. Okay, I'm sold! Check out this recipe, and one part of the reason I need to order wholesale baking soda from the health food store from this point forward. 
 


DIY Deodorant

  • 6 tablespoons arrowroot powder (can substitute with cornstarch)
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • optional 20 drops essential oil

Mix arrowroot powder and baking soda thoroughly. If you live in Eburg and it's 21 degrees outside, heat the coconut oil until it becomes liquid and add essential oil to it. I used 10 drops lavender and 10 drops roman chamomile but you can use whatever suits your fancy or omit completely. Stir several times as it cools to keep baking soda incorporated.



The other place where plastic creeps into our lives is toys. I don't really buy toys for Jonas and I've never been a fan of toys made out of plastic so thankfully he doesn't have many but this is a weird level of petroleum addiction where things made of plastic are wrapped in plastic and have nowhere to go but the landfill. 

Other than the obvious learning and play that take place using household items and real world experiences, there are simple ways to cut down on plastic waste (and save money too) that don't require simply eschewing toys. We are in a hard core play dough phase so I found a great recipe and an excellent use of the neon food coloring that sits on the top shelf of my pantry without a real purpose. The bonus is that instead of thinking his mom is annoyingly thrifty, Jonas now has way more play dough than I would have ever purchased and it's a much more pleasing texture to work with.

I'm starting to think that I might nail this whole adulting thing by the time I'm 40. I'll keep you posted.

Jonas loves this home made play dough!

Jonas loves this home made play dough!

I'm excited to see where I will be with my reduction of plastic use by the end of the year. It's always been a far off dreamy fantasy of mine to live off grid, but I'm pretty sure that lifestyle is reserved for people who understand basics like how electricity works, not just because you're an introvert and want to hide out making art and music all the time.

I'm looking for feedback and shared experiences - please let me know ways you've cut down on waste and any awesome recipes you have to help me replace the stuff I buy in containers!


All photos featured on this blog are copyrighted images. © January Bear Photography, 2018

No Butter, No Eggs, No Problem!

I was fortunate enough to find a blog in my early vegan days that features what is still my go-to holiday cookie recipe. Sugar cookies that are soft, decadent, and offer the perfect hint of almond that has everyone who tries them telling me they are the best cookies that they have ever tasted. Thanks to this recipe, I've never understood why some people have the impression that baking without eggs or dairy somehow compromises the final product. Does that sound like something you would say? Stop reading now, go make some, fill your lying mouth with cookies and never speak such a thing again.

Jonas taking a break during all the holiday cookie chaos.

Jonas taking a break during all the holiday cookie chaos.

This was a lucky holiday season where Jonas and I had three opportunities to make perfect vegan sugar cookies, each batch more incredible than the one before it. We spent the first part of December in the Seattle area hanging out with our pal Jules, who is two days younger than Jonas and has also been vegan his entire life. The whole trip was a blast already, but our timing ended up as such that we were able to attend the Seattle Vegan Families holiday cookie swap. Before going to this event I was unaware of what a cookie swap even was, but now that I know I can tell you no holiday season will ever feel complete without one again. If  you aren’t sure what a cookie swap is, here’s a breakdown:

Each baker makes one kind of cookie, totaling one dozen for each other baker's family to take home, and a few extra to samp
le at the party. Our host family made a cookie decorating station that the kids loved, and a recipe booklet so everyone could recreate any cookies they enjoyed. The best part? I went home with a tray of 8 dozen cookies, all unique and vegan!

'Tis the season for colds and flu so as the event got closer people were dropping off and I ended up making about 11 dozen cookies, which is way more than I’ve ever baked at one time and they were smaller and a little crunchier than usual. I still received great feedback on the recipe, securing its position in my forever cookie rotation. My favorite cookies at the party were Mexican wedding cakes and chewy lemon
frosties, but there were so many great options! Jonas and Jules got a little bit too used to having a big box of cookies around and even days after I hid them they were still asking for cookies at every meal.


Mexican Wedding Cakes Recipe  
3 dozen cookies

  • 1 cup vegan butter, chilled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cup flour
  • 6 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • powdered sugar for coating


Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, cream vegan butter and vanilla. Add powdered sugar and flour and work into butter mixture until a stiff dough has formed. Fold in walnuts. Shape into 1" balls. Bake 2″ apart for 10 minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet; allow to cool for several minutes. When they’re still slightly warm to the touch, roll in powdered sugar. If they’re too hot, the sugar will melt, but if they’re completely cooled, it won’t stick as nicely. Allow to cool fully before storing in an air-tight container. Refrigerate until serving. If desired, roll in powdered sugar again right before


Jonas kept asking to go back to the cookie party so once we were home he chose a few of his friends to invite over to decorate cookies at our house. We baked this chocolate cookie recipe and changed it a bit to add black bean aquafaba and peppermint, then topped it with crushed candy canes we found on clearance at Fred Meyer. We baked another batch of the perfect vegan sugar cookies and cut out a variety of shapes, made a few colors of frosting, and set up a topping bar including sprinkles, candy, and these amazing quinoa gems we found out about from our friends Darcy and Tzivia during the cookie swap. The set-up was pretty simple and the kids had an absolutely amazing time kicking off Christmas weekend!

Jonas holding the vegan chocolate peppermint cookies we made.

Jonas holding the vegan chocolate peppermint cookies we made.

For our Christmas festivities at home we baked cookies and listened to holiday music while building Jonas’ present, a colorful play kitchen that he was delighted to receive. We took the cookies as a present to Auntie’s house near Seattle and flew to Denver for the family holiday party to see all of Jonas’ cousins. The holiday party is always this beautiful whirlwind of everyone coming together, snowball fights, gift games, and a little bit of talk about God and aliens. I treasure with gratitude that Jonas gets to grow up in this community. We hope that you made wonderful memories with your family this holiday season and would love for you to share your favorite cookie recipes with us!

Watch Jonas as he enjoys cookie parties and other festivities for the holidays!


All photos featured on this blog are copyrighted images. © January Bear Photography, 2017

The Best Meal in Town

The first thing you do as a vegan when you move somewhere new is find your people. In Ellensburg, you'll find the Vegetarian Society, founded by Jim Schwing and the late Cynthia Murray, and powered by Howard & Willow Jeanne Lyman and several other very dedicated members. I must admit, I fan-girled hard and the first time I attended a gathering I asked Howard Lyman to sign my copy of No More Bull - he of course happily obliged.



On the third Tuesday of every month, the Ellensburg Vegetarian Society hosts the best meal in town, otherwise known as the vegetarian potluck. What you’ll find is a group of incredibly welcoming people and a variety of amazing flavors that rival even the best vegan restaurants I’ve been to. To top it off, the only people that need to label their dish are the ones including extra ingredients, like milk or cheese. Old habits die hard, however, and I’ve still never taken a dish without labeling it!

Each month there is a little something extra with your meal. I’ve watched movies, listened to lectures, enj
oyed presentations, and learned a few things I didn’t already know even though I’ve been earth conscious for a long time. There’s always this really entertaining interlude prize drawing where Howard describes stuff in interesting ways and his natural wit makes winning even the most mediocre prize the highlight of your night. You can win some really great stuff - this month Jonas chose a crisper/oven air fryer for french fries. He might be trying to tell me something about what he wants to include in our diet!

If you want to know more about what to expect, get a glimpse here at the end of Jonas’ video about making linguine for the pot
luck.