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Vickie Velasquez

Vickie Velasquez is a business analyst, manager, entrepreneur and co-founder & co-host of Vegetarian Zen Podcast.

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Recent episodes featuring Vickie Velasquez
8 Vegetarian and Vegan Thanksgiving Main Dish Ideas (VZ 334)
Vegetarian Zen
Well just like that, we’re already into the November and Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  I’ve mentioned in the past that Larissa and I tend to be “just the sides’ type of gals. This year though, we’re looking for a genuine vegetarian or vegan main dish ideas that we can take to our family get together.  So, with a little help from our private Facebook group, The Peas and Carrots Society, here are some of our top contenders!   The 8 Contenders for Our Vegetarian Thanksgiving Feast! Roasted Vegan Thanksgiving Bowl from I Love Vegan  We are HUGE fans of bowls (as evidenced by our own book “Buddha Bowls The Vegetarian Zen Way.” So when we found this recipe by I Love Vegan, we know it was worth being on our list! From their site: “Easy peasy vegan Thanksgiving in a bowl! Roasted veggies, toasty pecans, mashed potatoes, and easy vegan gravy, all in 1 bowl and ready in less than 1 hour. Serves 2.”   Vegetable Pot Pie from Vegetarian Zen This is one of my favorites! Larissa makes this with a traditional pie crust but she makes a separate one for herself (and for her dad when he visits) that has a thicker biscuit topping.   Definitely a great comfort food and the leftovers heat up very well!     Vegan Meatloaf from My Darling Vegan Total cook time is about 1 hour and 15 minutes. When I became a vegetarian, there were a few things I knew I would probably miss primarily because I grew up eating these meals. One of these meals was meatloaf. Of course, as I started learning more about eating meat-free, I found to my happy surprise that there are a LOT of different ways you can recreate some of your favorite meat dishes without  meat.  Meatloaf is one such recipe that isn’t too hard to recreate.  There are quite a few recipes out there but I liked this one because it has a maple tomato glaze that looks amazing.    Thanksgiving Risotto from Whole Foods Gluten free Dairy Free Vegan High Fiber Who doesn’t love a good Risotto? This one is made with several fall favorites to include pumpkin puree, brown rice, roasted pecans, sage, and cloves. It looks hearty enough to be served as a main dish for your vegetarian Thanksgiving but can be great as a side or for potlucks .   Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash by Cookie and Kate The first time I had a vegan stuffed acorn squash, I was working in corporate and our company Thanksgiving celebration included some vegan options. Once such option was stuffed squash. I had never had stuffed acorn squash and when this plate came out of the kitchen, boy were my omnivore friends jealous.  This recipe from Cookie and Kate is close to the one I had.  The recipe is vegetarian but can easily be made vegan by omitting the cheese.  The stuffing consists of quinoa, hulled pumpkin seeds, and cranberries to name a few of the ingredients.    Mushroom and Spinach Quiche  from The Vegetarian Times One of my favorite vegetarian dishes is quiche. Light and easily complimented by most sides, this one is perfect for your thanksgiving day feast!    Vegan Mushroom Wellington from Delicious Every Day Our community LOVES mushroom Wellington as it’s come up on several posts.  Mushrooms make a great meat substitution so this recipe will definitely serve as a great main dish complimented with a side of roasted potatoes which Delicious Every Day also includes in their post for this recipe.    Whole Roasted from Delish Cabbage This one takes about 2 hours total cook and prep time but the reward is a  savory, sweet, and salty on the outside and super tender on the inside roasted cabbage.    We hope that these 8 recipes have given you some inspiration to try something new this Thanksgiving. We want to thank our Peas and Carrots Society members for their input and a special thanks to our Golden Apple Roundtable members who support us via Patreon.   Also mentioned in this episode: Our revamped Resources Page! Off-the-shelf cranberry sauce can contain gelatin (not vegetarian/vegan) and other undesirable ingredients such as high-fructos corn syrup. Instead, try making your own! Here is a homemade apple cranberry sauce from Vegan Huggs. Thanksgiving Vegetarian Zen Style (Our Pinterest Board)   Thanks for listening! Peace and Veggies, Vickie and Larissa Please note that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through to the product using the link we have provided. We never recommend or provide affiliate links to products or services we do not use ourselves, and our ultimate goal is to provide helpful products and advice to you, our readers and listeners. The post 8 Vegetarian and Vegan Thanksgiving Main Dish Ideas (VZ 334) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.
These are a Few of Our Favorite Things (2019 Edition) (VZ 333)
Vegetarian Zen
The Holidays Are Upon Us! The fall and winter months are our absolute FAVORITE seasons of the year! Maybe it’s because it’s actually cool enough outside to spend some quality time in nature. Or maybe it’s because all of the decorations, lights, good food, and time with family make this time of your extra special. As the year draws to a close, we want to share a few of our favorite things that have helped make 2019 an awesome year!   Our Favorite Things of 2019 Leuchtturm1917 Journals  I journal almost every day as it helps to clear my head. I am also obsessed with Bullet Journals and variations thereof. I had been a long-time user of Moleskine notebooks (don’t worry, they’re not made from moles’ skin!), but then I heard about Leuchtturm1917 notebooks on an episode of the Tim Ferriss Show. They came highly recommended…by amazing author Neil Gaiman! He talked about how much he loved the quality of these journals. I bought my first one in a beautiful emerald color (which really doesn’t look emerald to me, but that’s what they call it).  It’s a beautiful journal that I use every day!  Corkor Wallet Since we started podcast in 2013, we’ve seen a LOT of new products in the cruelty-free vegan space. One of the products Larissa loves is her Vegan Corkor wallet. She’s had it for at least 4 years now and has put it through its paces, for sure! After years of being shoved in her back pocket, the cork has worn smooth but it’s held up incredibly well. Corkor wallets are: vegan (vegetable leather) 100% animal-free and Peta-Approved sustainable light material (weight) soft and smooth water resistant   Here’s how they minimize the impact on the environment: Use a sustainable natural material.  Minimize the use of polyester. Use non-toxic water-based inks.  Use water reutilization systems. Source and manufacture locally.  Make items by hand and in small batches. Design for longevity and durability. Keep packaging simple. Ship in bulk to logistics warehouses to reduce carbon emissions.   Besides wallets, they also offer bags in various styles including mini bags and crossbody bags, plus belts for both men and women. If you purchase a Corkor product, here’s a great article on how to clean your cork wallet.    Tatuo 7 Pieces Portable Stainless Steel Flatware Set Travel Cutlery Silverware Set Reusable Utensils with Case, Stainless Steel Knife Fork Spoon Chopsticks Straws (Rose Gold)  This set is great to take to the office or on the road! Help reduce plastics (including straws) by bringing your own silverware wherever you go!   Shipt. “Bringing the store to your door.” The Shipt grocery delivery service has been a game-changer for us with respect to saving time. Although we both work from home, going to the store is still very time consuming. Shipt has helped save us time, and I’m pretty sure it’s saved us money on impulse buys too! Here’s how it works: You download the app (or use their website) and designate your local grocery store. Scroll through the aisles of the store and select your items. You can specify how many of each, and also leave notes for your shopper (e.g., 3 yellow bananas and 2 green ones, etc.) Select the time window you would like your groceries delivered to you. A shopper will let you know when they’ve started shopping for you and will communicate with you via text with any questions regarding your order.  Your shopper will deliver your order to you!  When you use our referral link, you will save $50 on annual membership for your first year (regularly $99 but only $49 with link!) A $50 crecit is added to your account once the referral is complete and you’ve been a member for 30 days.   Astra Jigsaw by Lenagames   Astra Jigsaw HD is a challenging digital  jigsaw puzzle game including lots of puzzles. Larissa has been a jigsaw puzzle fanatic pretty much since she was old enough to hold the pieces! While she still loves working physical puzzles (nothing can truly replace the satisfaction of putting those pieces together), it’s not always practical these days (no space!).  Astra Jigsaw is by far the best app she’s found…and yep, she’s tried multiple. It’s free to download and does offer some free puzzles. The remaining puzzles are organized into “collections”, with themes including Holidays, Art, Kids, Autumn Colors, Gardens, My Favorite Things, multiple countries, and more. You can even upload your own photos to work as jigsaw puzzles!   Lush Ocean Salt Scrub  This stays in my shower!  Made with scrubby sea salt, softening avocado butter and refreshing lime, skin-softening silken tofu, mango butter and japan wax (a vegetable wax) in place of lanolin. This product contains ZERO synthetic preservatives. Note: In reading through the reviews, most were very positive. There were some concerns, however, about it being scratchy for people with sensitive skin . If you are lucky enough to live near a Lush Cosmetics store, you may want to make a visit to try it first, or start with the smaller container.   Homder Sleep Headphones Bluetooth 5.0 Eye Mask for Men Women, Noise Cancelling Sleeping Mask Block Light, Soft Comfort with Adjustable Strap for Sleeping, Meditation, Travel, Washable Recommended by Danielle but I’m about to place an order for these myself.  A 2 in 1 sleep eye mask and headphones You can position the speakers and adjust the volume. Charged batteries provide about 8 hours of listening time. 18 month warranty    Trixie Pet Products  Our puppers love their Trixie treat puzzles! We call them “rainy day toys” because they help to keep Cosmo and Ruthie entertained and from becoming too restless when we can’t get out to go for a walk.  We also just bought a fold-and-store cat hammock/cave/scratching post combo for the cats.  Trixie makes good quality, reasonably priced products and have a large selection on Amazon (click the link to check them out!).   Plum Deluxe Tea  Back in episode 209 of the podcast we interviewed Andy Hayes of Plum Deluxe Tea. Since we spoke to him, his business has been growing, and Plum Deluxe now offers a Tea of the Month Club in addition to their regular product line.  Plum Deluxe is organic, fair trade, and handmade.   There are one-tea or two-tea per month options, priced at only $10 or $16, respectively.  In addition to the tea, you’ll get brewing instructions, tea pairings, and recipes. You’ll also have access to a private, supportive tea lover’s community.  Free shipping is included on ALL of your purchases. You’ll also receive some members only specials and discounts, and you can cancel anytime.  This sounds like it would make an incredible gift!    Vitamix Blender Interviewing Dr. Brooke Goldener about how she reversed her lupus through healthy nutrition motivated us make smoothies a regular part of our routine again.  We bought our Vitamix in 2013 when we became vegetarians. It’s really an amazing appliance! We’ve had it for nearly seven years and it still works perfectly. Yes, Vitamix blenders are pricier than standard kitchen blenders but they are strong and they last.  Besides smoothies, you can make hot soup, frozen treats, nut butters, baby food, quick bread batter, and more. You can also grind nuts and seeds, and grind grains to make flour. Your Local Animal Shelter It’s soooo easy to support local animal shelters! A simple Google search will provide you with information about all of the shelters in your area. Learn about their policies, hours, locations, and, most importantly, what they need. If you’re not in a position to take in a new family member, please consider donating either cash or items like blankets, food, leashes, or toys. Even easier… adoptapet.com is a powerful search engine for locating pets for adoption, but also for finding all of the shelters and independent rescues in your area (or nationwide!). To find shelters and rescues, simply go to Adoptapetn.com and click on the “Shelters & Rescues” link at the top of the search box, and enter your zip code or city/state and your desired search radius. Clicking on the links in the search results will give you information including phone numbers, websites, and contact info…plus photos and info about adorable pets in need of homes. Well there you have it! These are a few of our favorite things. We’d love to hear some of yours so let’s continue the conversation.  You can head out to our Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest page and leave your comment under the post for this episode.   Please note that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through to the product using the link we have provided. We never recommend or provide affiliate links to products or services we do not use ourselves, and our ultimate goal is to provide helpful products and advice to you, our readers and listeners. A Special Thanks To Our Sponsors: The Golden Apple Roundtable (our Patrons) on Patreon!   Other products mentioned in this episode: Lush Greeench Deodorant Vegan Roadie Ireland Travel Farm Sanctuary Adopt-A-Turkey Thanks for listening! Peace and Veggies, Vickie and Larissa The post These are a Few of Our Favorite Things (2019 Edition) (VZ 333) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.
Epic Vegan with Dustin Harder of The Vegan Roadie (VZ 332)
Vegetarian Zen
Who is Dustin Harder? Dustin Harder is the host and creator of the original vegan travel culinary series, The Vegan Roadie. The show is described as a version of the popular Food Network series Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. He is an author, recipe creator, and graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute.   Living La Vida Vegan Dustin became a vegan in 2009 but loved to travel well before then. Therefore, it would only stand to reason that he would combine both! Dustin now travels the country (and the world!) educating people about the joys of living “plant-strong”! Click the link to check out The Vegan Roadie YouTube Channel.   Dustin’s Books The Simply Vegan Cookbook is Dustin’s first contribution as an author. Forget about vegan cookbooks that require specialty ingredients and leave you unsatisfied. The Simply Vegan Cookbook takes vegan cooking to the tastiest level with easy, delicious recipes that are fun to make and delightful to eat. As the creator and host of The Vegan Roadie, Dustin Harder has traveled over 110,000 miles―and visited every grocery store along the way― to find out which vegan foods are (and are not) accessible. Taking this into account, The Simply Vegan Cookbook provides healthful, balanced vegan meals using easy-to-find, affordable vegan ingredients.   Epic Vegan is Dustin’s highly anticipated follow up to The Simply Vegan Cookbook. It’s is a choose-your-own-adventure kind of book that proves that vegan doesn’t mean boring, bland, or difficult. Start with basic, easy recipes and then go further, if you dare, to build epic creations by combining those easy recipes to make Instagram-worthy creations. Some veganized fast-food favorites include: The Noritos Los Taco Cray Cray Bread Loaded Baked Potato Soup in a Pretzel Bowl Some originals include: The Bacon Cinnamon Roll Peanut Butter Burger Festive Cheesy Bread Everything Buffalo Cauliflower Wings Churro Cup Sundaes Crab Rangoon Pizza, it’s fun for everyone!   Get in the kitchen with friends and family to get hands-on and create your epic! Dustin says: “After muddling my way through the judgement of others, I have this advice to offer: It’s about YOU. I want you to honor your journey, and for goodness sake, have some epic fun along the way!”   Thanks for listening! Peace and Veggies, Vickie and Larissa   Please note that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through to the product using the link we have provided. We never recommend or provide affiliate links to products or services we do not use ourselves, and our ultimate goal is to provide helpful products and advice to you, our readers and listeners.   All the Places to Find Dustin: Vegan Roadie Website Instagram Facebook YouTube Twitter   Products Mentioned: Simply Vegan Cookbook Epic Vegan Rouxbe Online Cooking School  2020 Ireland with Dustin (not mentioned in the show but still something you should check out!) The post Epic Vegan with Dustin Harder of The Vegan Roadie (VZ 332) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.
All About Pumpkin! Health Benefits and, of Course, Pumpkin Recipes! (VZ 331)
Vegetarian Zen
A sure sign that Fall is here is that pumpkin is everywhere! From coffee drinks and baked goods to jack-o-lanterns–yes, everywhere! But how much do you know about pumpkins?   Pumpkin — fruit or vegetable?  Pumpkin (Cucurbita Maxima) is technically a fruit. It’s a type of winter squash in the same plant family (Cucurbitaceae) as cucumbers and melons.   From Wikipedia:  “The word pumpkin originates from the word pepon, which is Greek for “large melon”, something round and large. The French adapted this word to pompon, which the British changed to pumpion and to the later American colonists became known as pumpkin.”     What is the best time of year to find fresh pumpkin? Pumpkin is a cool-weather fruit, and are at their best between late September and early November.    5 benefits of pumpkin 1. It’s nutritious As you can imagine, pumpkins are packed full of nutrients. They contain good amounts of immune-boosting nutrients including vitamin A, C, E, folate, and beta-carotene.  Vitamin A is also great for your eyesight, particularly as you age.   2) It’s low in calories Like many fruits and veggies, all of the nutrients mentioned above come with a small number of calories, meaning you get more bang for your buck. A ½ cup of pumpkin has only 15 calories! Of course, we’re talking about raw pumpkin, NOT a sugary latte or a can of pumpkin pie filling (both of which contain a ton of added sugar).   Bonus: pumpkin’s high fiber content also helps curb your appetite.    3) It’s Great for Your Skin We all know that too much direct sun exposure is bad for our skin, but did you know that you can use pumpkin pulp to create an all-natural face-mask that can help soothe your skin?  According to an article from One Green Planet (citing the International Dermal Institute), pumpkins can help brighten and smooth skin as well as providing us with acne-fighting zinc and vitamin E.    4) It may help in the treatment of diabetes Note: This benefit is definitely one you want to discuss with your doctor before making any changes. Some studies have shown that pumpkin may be used to treat diabetes. In a Reuter’s health news article published in 2007 (citing the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture), pumpkin extract was found to help control their blood sugar levels in both people with diabetes as well as pre-diabetics. The study found that pumpkin extract not only helped lower blood glucose levels but also helped increase insulin secretion and insulin-producing beta cells.  Again, please consult with your doctor before changing anything you are currently using to treat diabetes or pre-diabetes.   5) It’s good for dogs  You may have guessed that pumpkin is good for dogs because it’s a main ingredient of many natural dog treats.  Pumpkin is great for curbing diarrhea or resolving constipation in dogs, but you should always get him checked out by a vet if you see blood in his stool or witness any other signs of illness.  Pumpkin is a fiber-rich food that gives your pup a vitamin boost just as it does for humans. The fiber is a prebiotic that helps fight harmful gut bacteria.  Fresh or canned is fine but canned pumpkin is actually more concentrated (and thus more beneficial) than the water-packed fresh version.  Warning: DO NOT give your dog canned pumpkin pie filling as it may contain Xylitol, which is deadly to dogs!    5 Easy Vegetarian and Vegan Pumpkin Recipes Roasted Pumpkin Seeds We found a GREAT recipe from The Lemon Bowl that not only includes a “how-to roast” section but also some tips for making the best roasted pumpkin seeds, some suggested toppings, and how to store them to maintain freshness.   Vegan Pumpkin Pie – This recipe from Alison Andrews at Loving it Vegan looks AMAZING!   Vegan Mac and cheese – Full disclosure: we haven’t tried this recipe by Dana at Minimalist Baker, but we are more than comfortable sharing recipes from this trusted resource. We’ve tried other recipes by Dana, and they’ve been consistently amazing and easy to make. We wanted to include this one because it looks great to take to a Thanksgiving potluck.   Vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte from Vegan Huggs – We like this recipe by Melissa Huggins at Vegan Huggs because you can make it with either traditional espresso or strong brewed coffee.  She does note that the drink will taste more like a “latte” with espresso, however. There’s also a link to a guide about which plant-milks go best in coffee.    Pumpkin Sage Soup from Candice at the Edgy Veg. This hearty vegan pumpkin sage soup is sure to warm you up and fill you up on a cool fall night!  We hope this episode helped you learn more about pumpkins and given you some great recipe ideas!    Please note that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through to the product using the link we have provided. We never recommend or provide affiliate links to products or services we do not use ourselves, and our ultimate goal is to provide helpful products and advice to you, our readers and listeners. A Special Thanks To Our Sponsors: Vegan Starter Kit from Nutriciously   Thanks for listening! Peace and Veggies, Vickie and Larissa The post All About Pumpkin! Health Benefits and, of Course, Pumpkin Recipes! (VZ 331) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.
20 Years of HappyCow with Eric Brent (VZ 330)
Vegetarian Zen
Holy HappyCow, Batman! It’s Been 20 Years! Like many great ideas, HappyCow was born out of necessity. As a passionate world traveler, Eric Brent routinely encountered challenges in finding vegan-friendly restaurants. In 1997, Eric was living in India when he realized that the only online vegan/vegetarian resource guide was not being updated. At that time, he had an idea to create his own online resource to assist travelers and people everywhere find plant-based/ vegan food options. After putting the idea on hold for a couple of years, he decided to teach himself coding and create his own site.  Thus, in 1999, HappyCow was born!     20 Years Later Today, HappyCow is a thriving online community. More than a restaurant and health food store guide, the site is an ever-evolving online hub that serves millions of visitors each month. The website consists of members from around the world who are passionate about the vegan lifestyle. It offers resources to support this healthy, compassionate, and environmentally sustainable way of living.  The company is vegan-owned and operated from a vegan perspective by vegan and vegetarian staff. In our interview, Eric talks more about HappyCow and the directions he hopes it will take in the future.   Where you can find HappyCow: Website Instagram Twitter Facebook YouTube Pinterest   You Might Also Enjoy: Talking Turkey with Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary   Please note that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through to the product using the link we have provided. We never recommend or provide affiliate links to products or services we do not use ourselves, and our ultimate goal is to provide helpful products and advice to you, our readers and listeners.   A Special Thanks To Our Sponsors: Buddha Bowls: The Vegetarian Zen Way   Thanks for listening! Peace and Veggies, Vickie and Larissa The post 20 Years of HappyCow with Eric Brent (VZ 330) appeared first on Vegetarian Zen.
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Stats
Episode Count
241
Podcast Count
1
Total Airtime
4 days, 23 hours