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Create a Vegan Feast for the Big Football Game

vegan party food
You can have your vegan party and eat at it, too!

Whether you love the game or loathe it, football gives people a chance to socialize and EAT. My goal here is not to discuss the politics of football, as I have plenty of opinions on the topic, but to provide some assistance for planning a vegan feast for those who are happily partying on game day or being forced to attend the festivities. You still gotta eat, so let’s dig in!

festive display of vegan party food

I was inspired to create this plan when I watched the Tailgate, Failgate episode (aired on June 29, 2018, Season 2) of the Netflix series Nailed It! The participants had to create a snack stadium and I thought it was a great idea to offer a veganized version.

While I used a large number of faux meat products, you are free to omit anything you don’t want. I used this opportunity to test some new products and discover how some were best prepared. I’m always working on ways to bring meat eaters into the vegan path, and faux meats have always been an on-ramp for people who are curious about what we eat and if the lifestyle can be convenient and tasty. If you don’t like them, you can still create a fun food offering that doesn’t include them. I’m linking to the items I used as they are available. Can these items be expensive? Yes! I advise that if you know you want to do something like this, plan ahead and look for the best deals. Stock up your freezer until you are ready to go.

Vegan Cheese

Violife Just Like Feta – I never liked dairy feta cheese, but THIS non-dairy feta is insanely delicious. Like, “I could eat the whole block” good if you know what I mean. I cut it into blocks and put toothpicks into it for easy pick up. Your mouth and tummy will thank you for this one.

violife feta cheese for vegans
violife feta cheese for vegans

Faux Meats

Field Roast Breakfast Links Apple Maple – I followed the instructions and pan fried them. This was my first time trying them, and I really enjoyed them. I wish I had made them wrapped in some crescent rolls, but that will have to be another day. For this time, I just plated them so guests could use toothpicks or tongs.

Field Roast Breakfast Links Apple Maple
Field Roast Breakfast Links Apple Maple
Field Roast Breakfast Links Apple Maple

Gardein Chick’N Sliders – These are certain to be a hit at your party or tailgate. Gardein is always a winner, and their Chick’N Sliders are delightful and many guests will wonder if you grabbed the wrong box by mistake. I always enjoy these little tasty treats. I cooked them in the oven for that added crispness.

Gardein Chick'N Sliders
Gardein Chick'N Sliders

Tofurky Plant-Based Deli Slices – I like a variety of options, but you’ll notice I never add a faux bologna to the mix, as I grew up having to eat bologna and hated it. Faux or not, my memory remembers the flavor and I don’t wish to recreate it, but if you like it, they have that option available, too. The Tofurky deli slices I chose for the menu were Peppered, Hickory Smoked, and Smoked Ham Style. I rolled two slices together at a time and secured them with a toothpick. These are great to dip into sauces (see the Zhoug sauce below). I enjoy the deli slices and find they are very filling.

Tofurky plant-based deli slices for vegan lifestyles.
Tofurky plant-based deli slices for vegan lifestyles.

Pure Farmland Plant-Based Meatballs – Italian Style with Dairy Free Parmesan Alternative This new product on the market is very tasty. The package recommends to cook them in the oven, and they turned out perfectly. A toothpick and a little spaghetti sauce for dipping, and you’ve got a winning combination. They taste great, and when cooked in the oven, are soft and juicy.

Pure Farmland Plant Based Meatballs
Pure Farmland Plant Based Meatballs
All that “juice” is what came out of the meatballs in cooking. I didn’t add oil or any sauce during cooking.
Pure Farmland Plant Based Meatballs

365 Everyday Value Turkey-Style Deli Slices – Available at Whole Foods, these are yet another option for your deli meat needs. These are are also a great option for your sandwich and snacking needs. I usually place two slices on each sandwich, but feel free to stack away on your sandwich tower.

plant-based turkey-style deli slices applewood smoke and herb roasted cholesterol free vegan faux meat
plant-based turkey-style deli slices applewood smoke and herb roasted cholesterol free vegan faux meat

Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders – These faux tenders are delicious. I frequently will make a gravy to serve with these, but for this party meal, we just went with dips – especially the zhoug sauce!

Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders

Louisville Vegan Jerky – My favorite of the three is the Smokey Carolina BBQ. I enjoyed this first taste, but I have to say, it didn’t have the feel of jerky to me. It felt like a seitan product, which it is, but it didn’t have the “pull” or mouth texture of jerky. Enjoyable, but I prefer the Primal Spirit Vegan Jerky.

Louisville Vegan Jerky
Louisville Vegan Jerky
Party table with vegan jerky and vegan chicken sliders from I Heart Veg.

Gardein Barbecue Chick’N Wings – What is a party without a plate of vegan wings? These saucy delights have been served at our events for a few years now, and everyone always wants to know how to purchase them. They are sweet, tangy and messy! If you want, you can choose to omit the included sauce packet and add your own to the plain wings. Get creative!

Gardein barbecue wings
Gardein barbecue wings

Veggies and Fruits

You can add any and every veggie and fruit you like. I went with broccoli, cauliflower, red and green grapes, carrots, celery, green bell peppers, and black olives. Don’t forget the avocados in the guac! Go with baby carrots and smaller bags of florets if you want to shave off some prep time.

Cauliflower florets and mini carrots
variety of veggies

Chips, Crackers, and Mixes

Real Food From the Ground Up Cheddar Crackers – I really like these “cheddar” crackers. They are a great little snack that are not overwhelming with the taste of cauliflower. You can taste it, but it isn’t a bad thing, and it gets pretty close to the cheese crackers I once knew. They make a great change of pace between the other options on the table.

From the Ground Up Cauliflower crackers in cheddar flavor.
From the Ground Up Cauliflower crackers in cheddar flavor.

New York Style Bagel Crisps, Everything Bagel – If you have guests who like a little more bite than the chips and crackers, the bagel crisps are the route to take. They go really well with all the dips and especially nice with the Violife Feta Cheese.

New York Style Bagel Chips Everything Bagel

Tortilla chips and Original Chex Party Mix – the crowd favorites must have a seat at the table.

tortilla chips


Guacamole made by moi is the centerpiece of this vegan feast.

Salsa is a must for the tortilla chips. Don’t forget, you can shake things up by adding a favorite with Dorito’s Spicy Sweet Chili. They are vegan and so good.

Zhoug Sauce – Trader Joe’s knocked it out of the park with this sauce! A bit spicy but refreshing, this sauce is a great spread on sandwiches and as a dip. I love to add it to a morning tofu scramble as well. It is a versatile sauce that will prompt you to cook just so you can add this sauce to it.

zhoug sauce from trader joe's
The green sauce is the zhoug sauce.

Vegan Ranch Dip – Trader Joe’s has scored a touchdown with this creamy ranch dip. Proving you don’t need buttermilk to make a delicious ranch, the dip is thick and ready for all of your chopped veggies and chips. Grab two, you’ll go through the first tub very quickly.

Trader Joe's Vegan Ranch Dip

Sabra Taco Inspired Hummus with pico de gallo – A slightly spicy hummus that adds a little zing as a dip for your deli meats and veggie sticks is always a good thing. It makes a great chip dip, too!

Sabra Hummus

Spaghetti Sauce – The sauce is for the meatballs. You can opt not to have it, but it really is a great choice for the meatballs.

Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream – While I didn’t use this as a dip, I did pipe it on top of the guacamole for the field lines.

vegan guac football field


Chex Muddy Buddies – While I’ve had this mix before, I hadn’t made it. I used the recipe on the Chex site and the mix turned out perfectly! A small cup of these delights and I had my chocolate and sugar fix in one swift hit. I used the Rice Chex.

muddy buddies


I’m not against using disposable products. It isn’t my first go-to item, but I recognize that for most people, this is a staple in the house. There are some great companies that make items that you can toss in the compost pile, but if you are like me and reuse the cups for art projects where you have to mix resin or paint, this makes a great compromise. Additionally, you can clean them and recycle them. Reuse what you can! I’ve reused disposable cups in the garden to keep rabbits from eating my fragile seedlings. Cut out the bottom and insert over the little plant for protection at the base.

Additionally, there is a new product that is being tested in game stadiums across the country and is currently available for purchase in trial packs. Ball has created an aluminum cup that is infinitely recyclable, keeps your drinks colder, and is customizable. Additionally, they are made in the United States from aluminum that is sourced in the United States, too. They will be used at the big game this year, too.

My vintage little football team is one that I purchased long ago in a bakery supply shop. This is actually the first time I opened the package and used them. This set was made by Wilton but is no longer available. You can pick some up at Ebay or Etsy.

football player cake decorations

I used a shallow foil pan as the field and plastic kitchen baskets as the stadium seats. You could cut up cereal boxes, use magazine holders, toilet paper rolls, whatever you can imagine, to create the stadium snack arena of your dreams.

Have Fun and Share Those Vegan Eats

No matter what you are coming together to share or celebrate, if you have vegan food on the table, you are spreading the love of compassion and undoubtedly impacting the view others have of the goodness vegan food has to offer. Share and have fun!

vegan football field snack stadium

This post contains affiliate links that provide us compensation if you click through or purchase the items, and this comes at no additional cost to you.

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Welcome Back…

We’ve been gone a minute, but we sure have missed you!

To our friends in Asheville, North Carolina, we miss you and thank you for your continued support. We are happy to say that Charlotte has been a great home for us, and we are getting back to all things vegan baking and spreading that good vegan love.

New! New! New!

One of your requests over the years has been tutorials. You want to know how to make beautiful vegan treats at home. Well, I am happy to announce that vegan baking and cooking tutorials are coming your way! There will be free content, online subscription-based content, and in-person classes available!

bowls shaped as hearts
Baking that vegan love!

Additionally, we have some good news coming soon — stayed tuned. Nope, our lips are sealed. That is all we are giving up at the moment. 🙂 If you know me at all, you know that I don’t want to jinx anything. Let’s just say that we are working hard to bring that vegan sexy back to your hungry belly!

Stay tuned, and until then, we will begin throwing lots of new information and fun stuff your way. It feels good to be back.


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Vegan Atari Birthday Cake – Vintage is Best

Cake in the shape of Atari Game Console

Loren’s birthday was a great time for me to experiment and whip up a vegan birthday cake shaped like an Atari game console, complete with joysticks. Atari was my beloved companion when I was little. I still have my original console, and it is fully operational. We love to play it, and I’m still collecting games for it.

atari game console shaped vegan cake

For Loren’s cake I made our vegan chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. The joysticks and game console are all cake, and covered with fondant. The vertical joystick controller is chocolate fondant. All trim on the controller was cut from fondant by hand.

vegan atari cake

The little details on the cake make a difference. Due to the scale, I did not replicate all of the print on top of the game system. I did, however, hand paint a little Atari logo homage. The wood grain was a mix of brown and white fondants.

Packed up and ready to share with co-workers!

vegan atari shaped fan cake

This shaped cake was a blast to make, and Loren loved it.


Atari shaped cake for Loren


He’s a bit more thrilled than when he turned 3. He must have been afraid of the cake sliding off of his legs. Little Loren is counting the minutes until he can dig in.

Child Birthday


Cake in the shape of Atari Game Console

The gamer boy in his Pac-Man ghost tee.

striegel I heart veg

Happy Birthday, Loren! 🙂 You can have your vegan cake and play with it, too!

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Avocados From Mexico Holiday House Party

Ingredients for Vegan Guacamole

We’re hosting an Avocados from Mexico Holiday House Party where we will feature some vegan recipes that center around Avocados From Mexico. We have limited space, but we’d love to meet as many of you as we can and enjoy some good food while we get the holiday season off to a great start. We know you can’t all make it, so we are filming videos of our recipes for you to watch and recreate this holiday season. We’d love to see what you make with avocados for the holidays. Is this magical fruit a staple in your holiday planning?

The party is Nov. 3 in Charlotte, North Carolina at 7:00 pm. If you can make it,
let us know.

Stay tuned, the first recipe video we’ll feature is for our Garlic Strong Vegan Guacamole.

Ingredients for Vegan Guacamole

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Vegans on the Move: An Update

Hello, friends!

First, let me suggest that you never move during a major heat wave. Second, never move to a third floor apartment during a major heat wave. The 115 degree heat guaranteed a slow motion move that I honestly thought would never end.

So, where has I Heart Veg landed? After a major shake up in plans and planning, Loren and I both landed in Charlotte, North Carolina. We were saddened to leave Black Mountain, but are thrilled an opportunity for Loren at UNCC opened up that allowed us both to stay in North Carolina. We currently still have our property in Illinois, so there are still trips back and forth in my future, but at least I can remain a resident of North Carolina alongside my partner in life and business. To our Asheville/Black Mountain family, don’t think of us as gone, and most certainly don’t forget us.

We don’t have a kitchen here in Charlotte, yet, so we are not shipping out food stuffs. New plans and projects are on the horizon, so stay tuned. We’ll be revamping site info. and updating listings. We’ll have more educational information, fun stuff, and tips and tricks thrown your way. We are excited to meet our new Charlotte vegan neighbors!

I’m going to be volunteering at the Democratic National Convention here in Charlotte, so keep your eyes and ears open for videos and posts coming your way.

We want to thank each and every one of you who sent us a kind note of support during our move. You know we heart you. We agreed to start this journey over a year ago and are still making our way. Thank you for welcoming us into your lives, your hearts, and your stomachs.

While it was difficult to shut the door on the bakery in Black Mountain for the last time, we are excited for the future. We feel like a little seed that was planted, tended to with love and care, and is now a plant that requires repotting or subdividing for further expansion and growth.

Much luv,

Jeannie & Loren

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Transformational Moments in Life – An Update

Dear Friends,

The future is uncertain for us. Our property in Illinois has not sold. Having to care and pay for two residences has been a hard stretch. As we’ve said before, we went all in for this dream, and there isn’t room for excesses.

Since the property hasn’t sold, and the business is not yet self-sustaining, we will have no choice but to return to Illinois. As many of you know, we work around the clock. We work in the bakery long hours and we have additional jobs. However, we have been actively searching for local employment all year. Asheville is one tough employment nugget to crack. We’ve had interviews and have more lined up, but employers are moving slowly, and if an offer doesn’t come by June 24,2012, we will be packing and moving back as our current lease is up on the 30th of June.

I Heart Veg will still exist, but we won’t be providing baked goods. Illinois does not offer the same opportunity for small businesses to exist as a cottage food industry. So, no, we can’t ship you our sweet treats, as we would not do that from an unlicensed kitchen.

All current orders will be fulfilled as promised, and any new orders will be taken on as time allows. We have to be prepared to move, so time is a precious commodity at this point.

Your support and encouragement has been amazing. Thank you for loving our products and spreading the word about us. We enjoyed meeting everyone, and for those of you who went out of your way to meet up at markets, order online, or phone in an order- we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you for supporting our small business dream and helping to make delicious vegan food a viable option. We will keep you updated on our progress.

We heart you all,

Jeannie & Loren

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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 or call 828-357-8061. Interested media outlets should contact Jeannie Striegel at veggie(at)iheartveg(dot)com.



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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