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Lots of fun and love at the Big Love Fest in Asheville, North Carolina

Pig Statue Downtown Asheville

We volunteered out at the Big Love Festival in Asheville, North Carolina on May 6, 2012. We worked “crowd control” so we were two of the people attempting to keep people safe and guide cars safely through the open road that ran through the middle of the festival. This task was not as easy as it may sound. The cars were the easy part. You wouldn’t think that adult humans need to be told to stay off the road so cars can pass them without hitting them. Apparently, many do need to be alerted to this safety precaution. We had a great time though, and at the end of the day there were no injuries or fatalities, so that is a win, right? We thought so. We have a new respect for police officers who have to perform this task on a routine basis. They deserve a hearty “Thank You” the next time you are kept out of harms way.

Live Music Downtown Asheville

There was some great live music at the festival.

Big Love Festival Attendees

There were lots of attendees at the festival, the beautiful weather certainly helped!

Beautiful Asheville Sky

A beautiful sky in downtown Asheville, NC. See all those canopy tops? There are a multitude of crafters to shop at when you are attending the festival.

Compost Bin Downtown Asheville, NC

How awesome are compost bins?

It was a great day, and I hope you can go next year if you haven’t made it out yet! We love Asheville!

 

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I Heart Veg Press Release – Pass It On!

Online version with embedded photos and social links

A PDF to print, send, and share:

I Heart Veg Bakery Press Release

I Heart Veg™ A Dedicated Vegan Bakery Opens in

Black Mountain, North Carolina

New Asheville Area Bakery Offers Customized and Made to Order Vegan Treats That Can Only Be Defined As Edible Art

Black Mountain, NC (PRWEB) April 24, 2012

Asheville area residents who crave a sweet treat made with compassion should look no further than I Heart Veg, Western North Carolina’s exclusive dedicated vegan bakery located in Black Mountain.

I Heart Veg had their Grand Opening in February and has quickly become known by vegans and non-vegans alike as the bakery to seek out for an assortment of customizable and made to order gourmet baked goods.

“We work hard to prove that vegan baked goods are the triple threat— beautiful, delicious, and ethical,” said Jeannie Striegel, co-owner of I Heart Veg. “Our decorated cakes and cookies are works of edible art. We love working with our clients to create a unique and customized treat, and we feel privileged to be asked to participate in the special moments of their lives.”

As a “bake on demand” bakery, you won’t find shelves of stocked pastries waiting for you at I Heart Veg. “We want our food to be fresh, and we don’t want to waste an ounce of product if we can avoid it. Not only does this help keep our products affordable, but it is a good green practice that eliminates perfectly good food and packaging from being trashed at the end of the day,” said co-owner Loren Striegel.

I Heart Veg does not use any animal products or by-products in their ingredients. There are no eggs, dairy, hydrogenated oils, or high fructose corn syrup in any of their products. All chocolates are 100% organic, vegan, and fair-traded. They try to choose packaging that is earth friendly and is compostable, recycled, or easily recyclable. The Striegels support other local food producers by using locally grown fruits, herbs, flowers, and grains in their baked creations.

Their delectable assortment of scratch made treats include: cupcakes, chocolates, candies, rustic cookies, highly decorated cookies, cakes, baked donuts, cinnamon buns, biscuits, muffins, sweet breads, rustic breads, s’mores kits, and hand sculpted flowers and cake figurine toppers.

As new transplants from Illinois, this driven couple took a leap of faith and bet their future on the new place they love to call home.

“It’s easy to say that we fell in love with the beauty of the area, but we fell harder for the spirit of entrepreneurship that resides in these mountains. We specifically moved here to start a small business and become a part of a community that supports those endeavors,” said Jeannie. “We may be a small bakery, but we’ve got big dreams and big hearts. We love our new home and want to grow with this wonderful community.”

The owners of I Heart Veg are passionate about supporting the arts, education, and animal welfare issues. “Love Asheville—Go Local” card members are eligible for a 10% discount on all purchases (some exclusions apply), and the Asheville Vegan Society dining card members and local Meetup group participants are eligible for a discount as well.

The bakery hours are 8:00am until 7:00pm Monday through Sunday, but you can order online anytime you have a craving. I Heart Veg is participating in many area tailgate markets, so be sure to friend and follow them in social media and sign up for the bakery newsletter to stay informed on market dates and locations and receive updates on new items and promotions.

I Heart Veg also ships most products throughout the United States. Corporate gift baskets, cookie bouquets, and hotel treat packages are also available.

For more information and to view an ever-growing menu, visit http://www.iheartveg.com or call 828-357-8061. Interested media outlets should contact Jeannie Striegel at veggie(at)iheartveg(dot)com.

 

 

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Vegan Easter Bunnies and Eggs

Stuff your baskets with these vegan sweets and you’ll have a compassionate Easter to chirp about.

Decorated Vegan Easter Eggs

 

Some bunny luvs you…

Some Bunny Luvs You Vegan Sugar Cookie

Packaged Vegan Sugar Cookie Bunny

 

Packaged Vegan Easter Egg Decorated Cookies

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See You at the West Asheville Tailgate Market

West Asheville Tailgate Market

Don’t forget to come by and pick up some I Heart Veg vegan baked goods at the West Asheville Tailgate Market on April 10, 2012 from 3:30 pm – 6:30 pm. The market location is 718 Haywood Road, in the
parking area between the Grace Baptist Church and Sun Trust Bank. Need directions?

We’ll have a variety of goods for you to choose from, so please come hungry and ready to shop! This is our first tailgate, and we are so happy to participate in the season opener. We are down our trusty Saturn, as the transmission decided it didn’t quite know what to do with the new mountain driving it is experiencing. The tailgates are even more important for us, as they are now are our own “kickstarter” program to get our wheels back in motion.

Yes, we accept credit cards in our booth! Show us your “Love Asheville – Go Local” card for 10% off your purchase total. Asheville Vegan Meetup Group members – you get 5% off your total purchase!

We hope to see you there, please come by to say hello and introduce yourselves!

Look for us beneath a white canopy with the following banner:

I Heart Veg Banner

 

 

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Our Bakery Grand Opening and Giveaways!

Ribbon and Scissors image

We are having our Grand Opening here at I Heart Veg Bakery and want to get you just as excited about us as we are to have the opportunity to supply you with all the vegan goodness you can stomach. Want to get in on the fun? Enter for your chance to win some pretty cool swag. 🙂 Get ready to have a Very Vegan Valentine’s Day! See the photos below of your potential winnings.

Please see the rules and regulations for each giveaway, and here is the bottom line for deadlines.

The contest runs from Friday, February 3, 2012, 12:01am EST – Tuesday, February 14, 2012, 12:01am EST. The contest is open to US residents. Once the winners are picked via Rafflecopter, the names will appear in the widget.  The winner will be chosen and notified by 7:00am EST February 14, 2012 and will have until noon EST February 14, 2012 to respond. We will pick another winner if no response.

We’ve got giveaways for locals only (you are local if you can get here and pick up the treats and tickets), and stuff for those who aren’t so local and need to have their sweets delivered.

How to Enter:

You have at least 11 entries per contest. Each entry has a different call to action. Note: You get 4 entries for signing up for the newsletter, but you can only sign up for the newsletter one time, so choose which contest you’d like to use those extra entries if you are entering both contests.

Either use your Facebook login, or your name & email to enter the contest.

We are using Rafflecopter for this contest!
Continue reading Our Bakery Grand Opening and Giveaways!

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Pardon Our Powdered Sugar Dust

Dream Dust Image

I’ve hinted… I’ve been silent…I’ve been waiting…but I’m happy to say I can finally announce that we are opening our I Heart Veg Cake and Eats Vegan Bakery this week! This bakery is a dream come true for us, and we can’t wait to share it with you.

Pardon our sugar dust as we move some stuff around here so that we can bring you our new online storefront. You’ll be able to order your goodies and have them shipped, and if you are a local, send in an order and pick it up at the bakery. We’ll soon be out at the tailgates, and hopefully you’ll start finding our products in your favorite stores and eateries. We’ll keep you posted.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Dream Dust Image

 

 

 

image credit: johnny_automatic

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Review: Teeccino Herbal Coffee Tee-bag – Vanilla Nut

Review for Teeccino herbl coffee, photo of cup, tee-bag

I love coffee. I love the flavor, the warmth in my hand, the taste, and the aroma. I drink a mug every morning to help get me going. I should say I make a cafe mocha every morning and give credit to my sweet Italian Moka pot. Sometimes I’d like a cup in the evening, but I don’t pour a cup because it winds up making me feel sick and I am reaching for an acid relief tablet. One cup of java a day is all I can handle. I wear the battle scars of one who once battled stomach ulcers.

So, most evenings I just brew a hot tea instead. I love tea, too. I love it cold or hot. But, I have to admit, sometimes I just really want another cafe mocha.

I was recently offered a free in-store sample of a Teeccino Herbal Coffee Tee-bag. I waited until I arrived back at home before sampling this new offering.

The front of the envelope states that it is an herbal coffee that is 75% organic, caffeine-free, and non-acidic. This particular sample was “vanilla nut” and is described as a “creamy vanilla accented by golden roasted almonds, dates, and figs.”

Ingredients: Organic carob, organic barley, organic chicory, dates, almonds, organic dates, vanilla extract, natural nut flavor, organic figs Contains: Almonds

When I opened the envelope that houses the individual Tee-bag, I was greeted by a pleasant aroma of what smelled to me like vanilla and coconut. No coconut in the ingredients, but it certainly smells like I should find tiny bits swimming in the Tee-bag.  Per the printed directions on the back of the envelope, I placed the Tee-bag in my mug and allowed it to steep for 5 mins. (3-5 min. range with boiling water). I followed the direction to “dunk the bag several times in the beginning for the best brew.”

As I stood nearby, watching the water in the mug turn a familiar shade that resembled black coffee, I hoped it would taste good because the aroma alone had gotten my hopes up so high I really couldn’t take the disappointment that I feared might await me.

I wish I could post a scratch and sniff sticker that you could smell, because the aroma from the brewed Tee-bag is so divine, it deserves to be shared. The vanilla and coconut scents mixed with a strong and distinctly “coffee” smell. My steamy cup beckoned the cat, dog, and Mr. Veg to the kitchen.

I didn’t add any soy milk, soy creamer, or sugars to my cup. The first sip needed to be naked— unfettered with other flavors and distractions. To my delight, that first sip rewarded me with the delicious taste of a robust roasted coffee.  Two more sips in and I was sighing.

Mr. Veg was eager to try it out. He declared that it “smelled amazing and tastes just like coffee.” He followed this statement up with a full inspection of the literature I’d received about the product. “I’d totally drink that” he said as he walked out of the room, followed by a pair of confounded pets who had waited to see exactly what had produced such a yummy smell.

Recap: Teeccino Herbal Coffee is delicious and would easily have fooled me, a coffee lover, into thinking that it was coffee.  Makes a great coffee alternative for anyone who wants to get off the java train, or just want a break from caffeine, coffee, and tea. I could totally see us replacing our coffee with Teeccino, and I’m thrilled and surprised by that.

You get a lot of healthy benefits in one cup, including:

– Antioxidants from carob, dates, barley and almonds

– Contains heart-healthy potassium and soluble fiber

– Prebiotic – inulin from chicory root supports beneficial microflora that improve digestion, regularity and intestinal health

– GMO-Free

I love the unbleached tea bag filter paper.

History of the product: The story behind Teeccino is inspiring for any entrepreneur.

Social Responsibility & Mission: A dedication to quality and sustainability that extends from the grower to the consumer.

green thumb Two green thumbs up for Teeccino Herbal Coffee! A perfume line cannot be far off.

Item: Teeccino Herbal Coffee Tee-bag

Price: free sample received at the store

Size: 1 Tee-bag (6g of Teeccino)

Vegan: YES!! All of the Teeccino Herbal Coffee products are vegan.

Review for Teeccino herbl coffee, photo of cup, tee-bag

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Track Your Garden Harvest Bounty Stats

Vegtables Harvest from the garden

A lot is made of planning the garden and keeping track of seeds and plant placement, but what about when the stuff starts to grow? There seems to be a shortage of material dedicated to keeping track of what you’ve actually grown.

We started keeping track of our harvested bounty last year. We started a simple Excel file and just kept a running tally with that program. We had a pretty impressive haul last year, some plants more than others. Check out our stats:

2009 – Garden

Cherry Tomatoes: 6.275 lbs

Cucumbers: 20.7 lbs

Zucchini: 71 lbs

Jalapeno peppers: .7 lbs

banana peppers: 1.4 lbs

Green Bell Peppers: 1 lb

Yellow Squash: 1 lb

Mixed Tomatoes (Big Boy, Roma,  Yellow, etc…) 211 lbs

lol yes, we love tomatoes

We do A LOT of canning, enough so that we have enough picante and spaghetti sauce for the winter. We haven’t hit our tomato yield from last year, but so far, we are surpassing last year in other plant growth.

Here are a few gems to help you start counting that harvest:

5DollarDinners.com has some great Gardening Printables, including this handy PDF for you to download that will help keep track of what what you harvest and when. While there isn’t a specific box for weight, you can just write it along with the plant name harvested. If nothing else, keep this print out by your weigh station to record into another file or system later.

Northerngardening.com has a sweet little garden journal that helps you start up your garden from planning to soil preparation, but also contains a great “harvest and yields” sheet that will keep track of those bounty stats.

Folia

We’ve just signed up for Folia, so excuse our sparse info., but the site looks very neat, with lots of features. Some features you do need to go “pro” for (aka pay), but until you decide if that is for you, you’ll have a blast using the free version. There is all matter of tracking what you grow,  swapping seeds, you can keep a journal, highlight your great garden photos… there is a lot to do and see here.

I’m tracking my garden:
MyFolia.com - Organise, track & share your gardening adventures!

Keep track of what you grow because it is fun. Keep track because it helps you see what plants do well for you (and are worth your time and investment). Keep track because you can start to see a pattern in what is lacking in either your soil, your skills, or your time. Keeping tracking of your harvest also helps you stay on top of what is coming in and needs your attention. Ripe tomatoes won’t stay fresh and lovely forever.

Please, do share your methods of keeping track of your bounty!

Vegtables Harvest from the garden

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What’s Sproutin’ – A Planting Update

It’s about time for a planting update.

We usually plant potatoes, and we’ve followed the advice to cut the seed potatoes into many pieces and plant them. We’ve been successful with this method, too.  However, we recently saw a potato farmer on tv proclaiming that the planted cut pieces encourages bacteria and mold growth that contributes to smaller yields as well. He said to plant the entire potato. He also said that ANY potato would do – you don’t need to purchase seed potatoes. Well, we’d already bought our seed potatoes, so we were late on that boat, but we do plan on buying a yummy potato variety and planting it to see what “comes up.”

This news is completely contrary to our local greenhouse that proclaims that a regular potato that has gone to seed just won’t do for planting. We shall see.

We’d love to hear your experiences with potatoes, do you buy seed potatoes or have you tried planting any ol’ potato and had great results? Let us know!

Our whole seed potatoes are growing:

Potato plant growing in the garden.

We lost six tomato plants early this season to a hungry rabbit. Specifically, this rabbit caught in the act in the garden:

A hungry bunny

We have a lot of rabbits in the yard. We give them sanctuary, some great grasses to hop in, some privet and forsythia bushes to rest and hop about in, and we don’t use pesticides/herbicides on our lawn. They are very fond of the clover that grows in the yard.

A particular favorite spot of theirs is the grass that inevitably grows in the cracks of the sidewalk that extends from our front door. Yes, I could spray a toxic cocktail and rid myself of the problem, but a little weed whack does the job, and they do their part as well. The grass/weeds that grows there seems very tender and they love it.

Mr. Bunny photographed above had found a small section of the garden fence that did not have a tent stake in place to hold the bunny wire (some call chicken fence/wire, but we don’t have any of those running around) in place against the larger, picket fencing. I went out to check on the plants and found him, all but patting his little pudgy tummy. The fence is now fixed and the plants are good to go.

Update on the gutter planting:

After planting the gutter garden, we had a number of nights that dipped into frost territory and we simply covered them with a blanket to protect the little seedlings. They’ve pulled through and are doing great.

Here is a larger spinach plant that we started inside in newspaper pots:

Spniach plant grown in newspaper pot

Here is a spinach plant that we started from seed in the gutters:

Spinach grown from seed in gutter.

The mixed lettuce is doing great:

Lettuce grown from seed in gutter

We really like the gutter gardens and plan on extending them around the fence. They are practical and make growing things like spinach and lettuce a snap.

Our little zucchini plants are starting to produce some flowers:

Blooms of zucchini plants

Our strawberry plants are producing a bounty of ripe strawberries, little though they may be. They are super sweet and just perfect for adding to some soy yogurt or topping off a slice of cake. Oddly enough, we usually have to battle the birds for the sweet bites, but this year the birds have left them alone and we are seeing ants devouring them.

A bowl of ripe strawberries

We hope you’ll share your garden photos and tips!