BREAKING NEWS – Japan’s Whaling Program Deemed Illegal by High Court

As some of you may know, I am a HUGE Sea Shepherd fan.   I have been a donating member of them since forever, and even had the pleasure to chat with Paul Watson when I was working for the Alaska Wildlife Alliance.

They are not perfect in their execution, but they are in their mission: They are one of a very small number of activist groups that ACTUALLY get involved in the cause.  They literally put their lives on the line.

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Every year, they head to the Southern Ocean to protect endangered whale species from Japan’s whaling program.  While Japan uses a loophole (for research) they process and sell the whale meat back home to a rapidly dwindling customer base.

This ruling from the UN’s International Court of Justice is hopefully the final blow in the battle over whaling in the Southern Ocean.

The release from Sea Shepherd is here.

Product Review: Trasharoo

One of my BIGGEST pet peeves of people in the offroad community is the laziness.   Note that this is also a very small minority of us, but it does happen.  These people toss out beer cans, napkins, and all kinds of trash in the woods.

And, I want to pick it up when I see it.  But there is honestly nothing nastier than someone’s lunch bag or old stinky, sticky beer can from weeks ago being placed into your Jeep.

Enter the Trasharoo.

Taking the Trasharoo on a camping trip in 2013. We fit our inflatable boat in there!

The Trasharoo is a large, durable, canvas bag that is designed to be slung over the rear OUTSIDE tire on the back of the Jeep.  Emphasis on “outside” as now all the stinky, nasty trash can be kept out of the cabin. Continue reading Product Review: Trasharoo

Show us YOUR Man Card and WIN some goodies!

My post regarding veganism and the “man card” was incredibly popular.

And, the feedback was amazing.  I realized that there are actually so many vegans and vegetarians out there whom are already breaking the stereotypes.

So, we want to see your mancards and womancards (yes, such a thing exists)!

Continue reading Show us YOUR Man Card and WIN some goodies!

Eating Vegan and the Processed Food Dilemma

As vegans, we have all lived on some deserted islands.  We have all defended our protein intakes.  And, we have spoken (or perhaps marched) on behalf of the animals.

But of all the curves the omni crowd throws at me, the one I struggle with the most is the topic of processed foods.

I am what I like to call a “meaty vegan.”  I grew up in the woods of New England, eating wholesome foods like ham steaks, meatloaf, and spaghetti sauce “flavored with meat.”  So personally I enjoy the meat analogs that allow me to bridge the gap between my personal heritage and veganism.

I am a meaty vegan, and this is my food.

But that also comes with it’s own set of concerns, mostly around the fact that most of this food is highly processed and contains a lot of oil, salt, and sugars.

So what is this meaty vegan to do?

Continue reading Eating Vegan and the Processed Food Dilemma

Restaurant Review: Native Foods Cafe [Portland]

In my opinion, there are two titans of the vegan “fast/casual” restaurant market:  Veggie Grill and Native Foods.

Fortunately for us vegans, they both take a different approach on their food so we truly get to enjoy the strengths of each.

Bright and light, the interiors of NFC are always inviting.

Veggie Grill uses purchased meat analogs where Native Foods makes all their own stuff.  Both options are great, but with Native Foods you can enjoy food that you just can’t make at home.  Another plus?   Native Foods has ventured further inland than VG, with locations in places like Boulder, Washington D.C., and Chicago.

Continue reading Restaurant Review: Native Foods Cafe [Portland]

Can you Be Vegan and Still Keep your Man Card? (Possibly NSFW)

Manly stereotypes have been around as long as the image of a brawny lumberjack graced the wrappings of our favorite paper towels.

We have “Hungry Man” frozen meals, deodorants that promise zombie-slaying odor fighting, and tales of men that eat raw meat they slaughter themselves.  Marketers show us that the only real way to enjoy a sports game is by drinking beer and slapping some juicy steaks on the grill, or downing a platter of buffalo wings.

But where do tofu scrambles and bags of soy curl jerky come into play?  I want to identify some of the fallacies (freudian slip intended) that exist.

Continue reading Can you Be Vegan and Still Keep your Man Card? (Possibly NSFW)

Why I have not been posting to the blog…

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Pardon the messy garage, you know how it can be during a project!

I have been spending every free post-work minute in the garage working on my expedition trailer!  Last night I installed a new wiring harness, tongue box, mounted the tent and added cables to the tailgate.

Getting ready for the maiden voyage!

Recipe: Scott’s Vegan Pasta Bake

One of my fav dinners to make is something I threw together a long time ago.  We had a few different vegan meats left over and I wanted to combine them into a hearty dinner.

A yummy, easy dinner.

This vegan pasta bake is easy, hearty, and makes great leftovers for work.

Continue reading Recipe: Scott’s Vegan Pasta Bake

Restaurant Review: Brass Tacks [Portland]

There was a study (er, an article I saw on the internet, so it MUST be true) that there is a certain color of red that instinctively makes humans hungry.

Think about one fast food brand that does not have this same red in it: McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Jack in the Box, Carl’s Jr., In ‘N Out, etc.

It just so happens that the vegan meatballs at Brass Tacks are the EXACT same red.  That must be the reason I am drooling like a Pavlov dog each time I walk into the place.

Their meatballs bring all the boys to the yard. Damn right, they’re better than yours.

Brass Tacks is in a non-descript building facing Vancouver at Fremont.  The interior is austere and a bit cold, attributed mostly to the huge glass windows along the front that make for great people watching.

Hmmm Dovetail must be operating under a secret bunker somewhere in Alberta. How are they still making cookies!?

While BT is very accommodating and knowledgeable about veganism, they do serve meat, so keep an eye out on the menu.

But what a menu.

What the menu lacks in quantity (there are 4 options + 1 special), Brass Tacks makes up for in quality.  The white bean meatballs are housemade, and they are some of the best I have ever had.  The housemade “ham” is also amazing.

4 vegan items and 4 meat!? WE TIE!

I have yet to try the Salamigeddon, as the word “spicy” scares off this New Englandah.   Their new Curry Chicken Salad will be my next choice for sure.   But those meatballs are just amazing and I find it hard to order anything else.

Melanie tried the Velveeta Underground along with the potato salad, claiming to love both.  The sammy looked really good, but paled in the sloppy beauty of my meatball sub.  I tried the potato salad and it was good, but I am not a huge potato salad fan, so take my criticism with a grain of salt.  Or paprika, as there was a metric ton of it on the salad.

Velveeta Underground, sans Velveeta. Or ground.

Brass Tacks is an in-and-out place with not much in the way of comfort.  But that is part of the allure of the joint.  It’s utilitarian yet the kraft paper tray liners harken back to a 1940s lunch bell place, where lunch was scarfed and you went back to riveting the bridge together before your 20 mile uphill walk back home to  milk the cows.

Not sure who Lou or Neil are, but how do you get your own cup at this place?

And that is why Brass Tacks will be on my fav lunch spot list along with the Veggie Grills, Homegrowns, and DC Veg’s of the world.  They offer enough difference to make it awesome.  In Portland, no two lunches are ever created equal.

I still make the choo-choo noise every time I eat.

Next time you are craving a great, hearty lunch that is relatively inexpensive and delicious, hit up Brass Tacks.

A beacon or a warning?

Building an Off-road Expedition Trailer

UPDATED!  I am building a SECOND expedition trailer!  On 4/1/2016 I purchased a 1946 Willy’s M100 trailer from a seller in Livermore, California.  

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The Craigslist post.

While on a recent trip to San Francisco, I happened to open Facebook and saw a unicorn – a 1946 Willy’s M100 for SALE!  And the price was right. So I bought a trailer hitch, installed it in a dirty alleyway, and the following morning dragged the trailer all the way to Portland.

At this point, plans include better electrical, paint, fab and welding, 37s, and a few extras.

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Day 1: In Livermore, California.

4/10/2017:  My friend is doing the fab work for this phase of the build which includes new fenders, platforms before and after the fenders, extended tongue and tongue deck, fitment of a CJ tailgate, and a new bumper.  We are also discussing the possibility of a raising platform to make better use of the annex.

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The trailer below this point was built and sold.  Read on for build notes!

Last Summer while camping on the Rubicon, we camped at the base of a small ledge near Buck Island Lake.  Our tent was on the ground at the base of this ledge.  All night, (what I though could be potentially drunk) drivers drove their rigs around the area.  The thought of one of them not seeing our tent, and attempting the ledge kept me up all night.

Our campsite at BIL: On the right (ledge can’t be seen).

So finding a way to get up off the ground has been on my list.

In addition, the ability to have “just enough” creature comforts without having “too many” is appealing to me.  Also, as trail-bound vegans, we tend to bring all our food with us, so the additional space is critical. Continue reading Building an Off-road Expedition Trailer