12/6/13 Giveaway Friday: The Lucky Ones and Vegan Express

The lucky ones by Jenny Brown adn Vegan Express by Nava AtlasToday’s giveaway features two very different books that go very well together. If you’re on the fence about going vegan and are looking forward to something that might serve as your tipping point, I highly recommend The Lucky Ones: My Passionate Fight for Farm Animals by Jenny Brown with Gretchen Primack. It’s not a graphic exposé of the factory farm industry (though it does touch on that nightmare) buy one woman’s journey from surviving childhood cancer (to which she lost a leg) to founding the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. As described on the back cover, only her ever-loyal cat kept her from the depths of despair. Some years later, Jenny made the connection between the pet she so loved, and the animals on her plate.

The only reason I’m giving away this heartfelt, highly readable book is because I still have the hardcover copy, and the publisher very kindly sent me the paperback edition not too long ago. The original stays in my personal library! What I love most about this book are the descriptions of the rescued farm animals, and their distinctive personalities — a reminder that these animals aren’t “meat” but social beings who give and receive love, much like any dog or cat that we might consider part of our family.

So what to do and what to eat once you’ve decided to stop eating sentient beings and their byproducts? Vegan Express is a good way to start, featuring more than 160 recipes, plus lots of tips and menus for meals that can be made with ordinary ingredients in no time flat.

To enter to win both of these books, which will come to the winner as a set, simply leave a comment below, telling us why you’d like to have these books in your personal library. Make sure to leave your e-mail address in the field that requests it, so that I have a way to reach you. Entries will be accepted from 2:30 pm Eastern Standard Time on Friday, December 6, 2013, to 9:30 am Eastern Standard Time on Saturday, December 7, 2013. Good luck!


Nava’s Fall 2013 Speaking and Exhibit Schedule

Unlike this past spring, when I traversed the US from one end to another, this fall’s talks and appearances will keep me close to my slightly upstate NY home. I’ll be wearing all my various hats for these events — nonfiction writer, vegan cookbook author, and artist, so I’m really looking forward to that.

Friday, Oct. 4 – 26 – Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY – Opening reception for I Do? — a group exhibit about marriage equality. Alas, I won’t actually be at this opening, but it promises to be a fascinating exhibit exploring this hot-button issue. My most recent limited edition book, Why You Can’t Get Married: An Unwedding Album, will be part of this exhibit.


Saturday, October 5 – Catskill Animal Sanctuary, Saugerties, NY – CAS’s annual Shindig will be filled with farm animals, food, speakers, demos, and lots more. I’ll be demonstrating how to tame kale, from Wild About Greens at 2:30.

31923_10151467498174859_1910602025_nOctober 14, 2013 – February 21, 2014 - University of Washington Libraries, Seattle, WA: “Under the Wings of  Artemis: Scholars, Artists and the Places Between.” This beautifully titled of exhibit of artists’ books from the U of W special collections will include one of my signature pieces, Sluts & Studs,which will also be discussed in a book that accompanies the exhibition. I don’t know if there will be a formal opening for the exhibit, but, since I’ve already traveled to the west coast twice this year, chances are I won’t be attending.

Friday, November 1 – Oblong Books, Rhinebeck, NY – A reading by several of the contributors to the anthology A Slant of Light: Contemporary Women Writers of the Hudson Valley. I’ll be reading my essay, “Self-Acceptance: A Hard-Fought Battle.” I believe this event begins at 7:00 but please confirm at Nava’ Fall Speaking and Exhibit Schedulecloser to the date.

Wild About Greens by Nava AtlasSunday, November 3 - Pine Plains Library, Pine Plains, NY – This will be my only solo talk this fall; an in-depth but fun demo of recipes and tips from Wild About Greens. The event runs from 2pm to 4pm.

Saturday, November 9 - Millbrook Winery, Millbrook, NY – Sip & Sign, a local author booksigning event. Sample local wines, and get a little tipsy while exploring books by Hudson Valley authors. I’ll be there with several of my titles, including Wild About Greens,  Vegan Holiday Kitchen, and The Literary Ladies’ Guide to the Writing Life.


The Next Big Thing: A Cookbook Authors’ Blog Hop

Chocolate Peanut butter truffles

Wild About Greens by Nava AtlasI was invited by the wonderful and prolific Robin Asbell to participate in this game of cookbook author tag, in which we each choose a few of our colleagues and answer the same questions about our foodie lives. Such fun to be in this great company! Aside from working on a new cookbook, I’m also traveling around like a crazy person, still promoting my previous two cookbooks, Wild About Greens and Vegan Holiday Kitchen; working on some juicy art projects which include my limited edition artist’s books (I’m excited and honored to be speaking on the subject at Duke University’s Perkins Library later this month); I just relaunched The Literary Ladies’ Guide to the Writing Life web site; and when I’m finished with my next cookbook manuscript I want to get back to an engrossing nonfiction project I’ve been working on forever.

What is the title of your upcoming book?

It’s titled Plant Power: How to Practically and Joyfully Transform Your Kitchen, Plate, and Life. It will be both a guidebook and a cookbook for people who want to adopt a more plant-based way of living, starting with their own kitchen. The recipes will be vegan, of course, but we’re aiming for those who want to rethink their eating habits in a more plant-strong direction, even if they don’t go fully vegan.

Who is publishing your book and what is the expected release date?
HarperOne in San Francisco; it will come out in the summer of 2014. I’m in the throes of it now; the manuscript and photos are being worked on as we speak. It’s being gorgeously photographed by Hannah Kaminsky, who I’ve chosen to tag on this blog hop!

How long did it take you to research and write this book?
I usually take a full year or more, but this one has a tighter deadline. All told, about 8 months.

What inspired you to write this book?
I was actually approached by the executive editor of HarperOne who came to me with this almost fully formed concept, title and all, and thought I’d be the right person to do it. I was flattered, and accepted!

What is your favorite aspect of writing a cookbook?
I think it’s the challenge of finding new ideas and new food concepts, after having done this for so long. It’s amazing how every year, there seem to be new ideas about food, cooking, and health, to wrap one’s head around.

What is the hardest aspect of writing a cookbook?
Same answer as the previous!

What interesting things would we find in your refrigerator right now if we were to open it?
Nothing all that interesting; there is, however, an explosion of greens and other leafies: Kale, collards, baby spinach, romaine, pea shoots … when it comes to greens, I really walk the talk.

What is your favorite sound in the kitchen?
That’s odd, I would have asked what is my favorite food aroma in the kitchen. But in either case, I have no idea at the moment.

What three ingredients can’t you live without?
With a vegan diet, I feel like our repertoire of foods is so diverse that it’s hard to choose three. One food group I’m never without in the fridge, no matter what the season, are  the aforementioned leafy greens. I tried to give up coffee, but I’m seriously addicted. And I’m also an avocado addict as well. Other than these, I enjoy diversity from one week to another, one season to another.

So do you have an agent?
Oh yes, the lovely Lisa and Sally Ekus of the Lisa Ekus Group.

Which actors would you chose to play your main characters in the rendition of this book?
I wouldn’t want to cast a cookbook, but I am working on a creative nonfiction book project that’s on hiatus at the moment while I work on Plant Power. But I can totally see Kate Winslet as the female lead. The male lead is tougher because of his very unusual self-identification; but I’m thinking Matt Damon. The actress who played Julia Child’s sister in Julie and Julia would be a good Eleanor Roosevelt. And Angela Bassett would be good in the role of the male protagonist’s beleaguered first wife. Of course, in answering this, I come off like someone quite delusional, and perhaps I am!

I’m tagging the following lovely ladies to continue in this blog hop, as I know they are all working on their next big thing, and as they post their answers, I’ll turn these into live links:

Others who have already participated in this hop include:


Nava’s Spring and Early Summer Speaking Schedule

Wild About Greens by Nava AtlasThis spring you will find me all over the map, traveling to various venues to speak about my personal work as well as to demo the joys of healthy plant-based food. Please join me if you are in the California bay area, suburban NYC, Raleigh-Durham NC, slightly upstate NY, or Portland, OR:

February 10-13, Richmond, CA: Codex International Book Fair

March 3: NY VegFest, NYC (past)

March 10, Great Neck Library, Great Neck, NY: A plant-strong plan for the spring holidays — a demo and discussion of Vegan Holiday Kitchen  and Wild About Greens- 2 pm.  (past)

March 23, Raleigh, NC: Wild About Greens — food demo, discussion, and potluck, co-sponsored by the Kadampa Center and the Triangle Vegetarian Society. 6 pm.

March 25, Durham, NC: Presentation and talk for the academic community and public at Duke University:  Clarissa Sligh and Nava Atlas in Conversation: Race, Gender, and Identity in Artists’ Books. 6:30 pm, Perkins Library, room 318.

April 12-14, New Paltz, NY: Mohonk Mountain House — Healthy Living: Culinary Tips for a Plant-Based Palate, a weekend of food demos and tastings with Nava Atlas, Fran Costigan, Leslie Cerier, and Whitecliff Winery. My demos will feature recipes and tips from Wild About Greens.

May 24-26, Portland, OR: Vida Vegan Conference — I’ll be speaking on several panels at this annual vegan food and lifestyle blogger’s event.

June 15, Guilderland, NY: Guilderland Public Library — Demo and discussion featuring Wild About Greens as part of Guilderland LIbrary’s Tastes Good/Get Healthy Series. 11 am

July 3-7, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, PAVegetarian Summerfest, at the grande dame of Veg Conferences, I’m a mere part of this amazing line-up of experts in the field of veg cuisine and nutrition.


Nava’s Late Winter – Spring 2013 Speaking Schedule — Food, Books, and Art

Postal Angst by Nava AtlasThis spring you will find me all over the map, traveling to various venues to speak about my personal work as well as to demo the joys of healthy plant-based food. Please join me if you are in the California bay area, suburban NYC, Raleigh-Durham NC, slightly upstate NY, or Portland, OR:

Feb. 10 – 13, Richmond, CA: Codex International Book Fair — I will be exhibiting my limited edition books (including Sluts & Studs, Dear Literary Ladies, Mislabeling Hillary, Postal Angst, Why You Can’t Get Married: An Unwedding Album, and more), as well as the trade editions of The Literary Ladies’ Guide to the Writing Life, and Secret Recipes for the Modern Wife.

March 10, Great Neck, NY:  Great Neck Library — A plant-strong plan for the spring holidays — a demo and discussion of Vegan Holiday Kitchen  - 2 pm.

Wild About Greens by Nava Atlas - coverMarch 23, Raleigh, NC: Wild About Greens — food demo, discussion, and potluck, co-sponsored by the Kadampa Center and the Triangle Vegetarian Society. 6 pm.

March 25, Durham, NC: Presentation and talk for the academic community and public at Duke University’s Rubenstein Library with Nava Atlas and Clarissa Sligh, tentative subject: gender, race, and identity in artist’s books. Time TBA

April 12-14, New Paltz, NY: Mohonk Mountain House — Food and Wine Festival -”The Plant-Based Palate,” a weekend of food demos and tastings with Nava Atlas, Fran Costigan, Leslie Cerier, and Whitecliff Winery. My demos will feature Wild About Greens.

May 24-26, Portland, OR: Vida Vegan Conference — Speaking on two panels at this annual vegan food and lifestyle blogger’s event.

June 15, Guilderland, NY: Guilderland Public Library — Demo and discussion featuring Wild About Greens as part of Guilderland LIbrary’s Tastes Good/Get Healthy Series. 11 am


VegKitchen is Seventeen Years Old!

Spanish vegetable stew

Veggies2smIt just dawned on me that VegKitchen.com went live in January, 1996 — seventeen years ago, and ancient history in internet terms. Of course, it started small, but that’s how things usually start, right? And it has changed and grown ever since. I remember chatting with Mollie Katzen back then, comparing notes, as we seemed to be among the first food authors to go online with our own sites. We marveled at the prospect of having 500 visitors per day; now VegKitchen receives more than 5,000 visitors per day on average, and much higher in the fall due to the popularity of the vegan Thanksgiving area. The numbers continue to mount as interest in healthy, plant-based eating grows.

The biggest change to VegKitchen happened in November 2010, when we switched to the WordPress platform and went from vegetarian to vegan (lagging way behind my actual lifestyle change, as I had gone vegan in 2001). Not that I’m doing a commercial for WordPress, but it made it so much easier to grow the site rapidly and edit at will. We also began incorporating a lot more contributors from the food world, who share articles and recipes on the site, adding other voices to this fast-growing area. And by the way, when I say “we,” I’m basically referring to myself, my webmaster Allen Jezouit at Berkshire Direct, and my assistant, Rachael Braun, who tends to the site almost daily. I thank them for their contributions to VegKitchen’s recent growth.

VegKitchen is but one of three major careers I juggle simultaneously — the others include writing cookbooks and other non-fiction; and visual art (mostly text-driven — I guess I really like words!). It has become a great way to connect with others in the healthy food and vegan communities, and a platform for sharing information that people are seeking these days. It still boggles my mind that VegKitchen is seventeen, and I look forward to celebrating twenty years online in just three years from now.


Signed copies of Nava’s books — great holiday gifts!

I have a good supply of Vegan Holiday Kitchen on hand, so I’m putting them on sale here for the same price you’d pay on Amazon, with the shipping. In addition, I just received a batch of my 2009 book of humor, Secret Recipes for the Modern Wife, at a bargain price. These orders go securely through PayPal. You’ll see a space there for a message, where you can list to whom you’d like the books inscribed, or if you want them simply signed. So, here’s what’s on sale! These prices include shipping on U.S. orders; for Canadian orders, please add an additional $5.00 for shipping.


Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava AtlasVegan Holiday Kitchen: More than 200 Delicious, Festive Recipe for Special Occasions

With more than 200 mouthwatering recipes, Vegan Holiday Kitchen is your go-to resource for recipes and menus for major holidays. Vegans can at last celebrate the holidays with gusto and enjoy every course of the meal—from appetizers to desserts. What’s more, these lovingly crafted dishes will satisfy everyone who loves great food, no matter what their culinary preferences. There’s no reason to wait for a special occasion to enjoy these recipes—they’re healthy and uncomplicated enough for everyday fare. Read more about Vegan Holiday Kitchen.


secret recipes for the modern wife by nava atlasSecret Recipes for the Modern Wife: All the Dishes You’ll Need to Make from the Day You Say “I Do” Until Death (or Divorce) Do You Part 

Flavored with frustration, simmering with rage, and iced with affection, these “recipes” will make you laugh as you multitask your way through the challenges and joys of matrimony. Enveloped in them are the secrets — delicious, distressing, and everything in between — that accompany women on their marital journeys. Please note, this is NOT a real cookbook! But it IS a perfect gift for newlywed, newly divorced, and those in it for the long haul. And for anyone who loves retro art and imagery. Read more about Secret Recipes for the Modern Wife.


Shopping Organic on a Budget

Organic farming first emerged out of the natural grocer movement that arose early last century. In the last twenty years, the word organic seems to have permeated every level of consumer society. The term organic foods describes consumables grown without synthetic hormones, fertilizer or pesticides. Lately, it has also come to mean foods that are not genetically modified, irradiated or abused with non-nutritive food additives.

Organic food is the most rapidly growing element of the American grocery business. In the US, organic groceries grew 20% a year over the last five years. It had the strongest growth among the fruits and vegetables department. The very selective and careful nature of organic growing coupled with the rising demand for organic grocery items means that organic groceries are often more expensive than non-organic food. It becomes very important to save money while pursuing good health. Three ways to save organically include:

1. Bulk-buy at an organic grocery store or in the organic section of a standard grocery store. Organic fruits and vegetables often have very specific seasons. Bulk buying followed by a good bout with canning can help a family take advantage of cheap organic prices during sales. They can then store the products for use at a later time.

2. Farmers Markets – One of the great new renaissance features of urban and suburban life, farmers markets often have lower priced organics, and save you gas, you don’t have to make the trip to a local organic farm. Again, the best credit cards come in handy when cash is low, provided the vendors accept plastic. Preservation methods help the buyer enjoy their savings throughout the low availability seasons.

3. Neighborhood gardens – Another wonderful resurgence has come about with the rediscovery of neighborhood gardening. There are many community plots that are tended by groups of gardeners, many who grow organically. Pitching in and helping with the local organic garden project can be a wonderful, healthful hobby by itself, as well as way to save money on organics.

With a little creativity and ingenuity, organic food can become a part of a family’s regular grocery habits without the family going broke in the process.