Just in time for the holidays, a vegan Bailey’s recipe!

by Paul Jarvis

This recipe is from my cookbook, Eat Awesome (use the link to get it for 50% off).

I don’t drink, but a lot of my friends do and they love this concoction. It tends to get whipped up and pulled out around Christmas, but really, it can be great for any occasion (Tuesday is a good occasion, for example). I have no idea how long this lasts in the fridge, since it tends to disappear really quickly.

Serve on ice, use in coffee, or keep in your (secret) flask.

baileys

INGREDIENTS

  • • Coconut milk
  • • Maple syrup
  • • Vanilla extract
  • • Espresso
  • • Whisky
  • • Cocoa powder

DIRECTIONS

  1. 1. Combine a can of coconut milk with a couple squirts of maple syrup, a few teaspoons of vanilla extract, 1-2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, and 2-3 shots of espresso (or 1⁄2 a cup of strong coffee). Add in whisky to taste, usually 1-2 cups.
  2. 2. Blend until smooth. Taste to adjust sweetness and alcohol content.
  3. 3. Serve chilled and store in a sealed container in the fridge.

What’s In My Bag: Paul Jarvis

 pauljarvis-stuff
I’ve almost always got with me:
• sunglasses (even though I live in a rainforest).
• mala beads
• iphone, with recycled skateboard back cover
• big skinny wallet
• headphones (haters: it’s fake leather, don’t worry)
• my fuji camera (optional)

 

What’s in your bag? Organize and shoot your bag contents, tell us what’s there and why, and tag @thediscerningbrute on Instagram or @discerningbrute Twitter and you might get featured on TheDiscerningBrute.com if we like it!

 

Milk Your Nuts

by Paul Jarvis

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Hi there,

Let’s have a candid talk about milking nuts. Yes, it’s a running joke with myself and my ebook, but I talk about it because I care. Let me dispel some myths about making your own nut milk.

1. It’s easy. Takes me no more than 5 minutes start to finish. I put a bowl of almonds in water before I go to bed. In the morning I rinse them, blend with about 5-6x more water than nuts and strain them through a nut milk bag into a container. That’s it. I don’t bother adding anything else to it (do that later if you want, by adding: agave, maple syrup, vanilla, cacao, etc) and the whole process is over as fast as my coffee can percolate.

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Squeezing out my nut sack. Homemade hemp milk.

2. It’s cheap. Cheaper than buying a carton of soy or almond milk in the store. I buy bulk nuts online for about 60-70% less than stores sell them for. In Canada, I use realrawfood, and in the US you can even order large bags of organic nuts from Amazon (I’m sure there are other suppliers). I get almost 30 1.9L mason jars of nut milk per 5lb bag of almonds, which is what, less than $2 a jar? Better than the $5/carton I could pay for organic nut milk in the store. Hopefully you’ve got a blender. So your investment is a $10 nut milk bag (which lasts a very long time – mine’s still going after 3 years).

3. It’s better. I dare you to try the best “cartoned” nut milk against some you made yourself. Yours will have at most 3-4 real ingredients. The store-bought kind is full of preservatives and other long-words that don’t sound like food.

4. There’s no waste. Yes, cartons are recyclable, but they also need to manufactured, transported and recycled, then processed all over again. It’s kind of wasteful (recycling is the least useful ‘R’ in ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’). If you order big bags of nuts, you’re not using or creating a HUGE whack of packaging. The earth with french kiss your face for using less stuff.

5. It’s funny. Think of all the jokes (most of which I’ve used to death) you can use with your friends and co-workers about making your own nut milk each week. It doesn’t get old.

So go forth and start milking nuts! And leave your best jokes below.
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homemade granola with homemade nutmilk  

 

Tips for Vegan Travellers

On my most recent trip I ended up in the Grand Canyon, which actually has it’s own town, but is pretty scarce on vegan options. Luckily I had a cooler full of great vegan grub (veggie burgers that are great cold, hummus, guacamole and pre-made quinoa I got the day before at a Whole Foods when I stocked up in their deli). So my wife, our friend Richard and I hiked to a remote part of the rim and enjoyed a great lunch with our feet dangling thousands of feet from the bottom of the canyon.

Here is a list of things I’ve learned about the best, easiest, and most filling way to travel if you’re vegan.

PLAN AHEAD

This is the most important thing to do since not all restaurants or even small grocery stores have vegan options. Use the following tips before you leave your house. The more you plan, the easier it will be to eat when you’re hungry and away from your home.

HAVE A STASH

Keep food on your person or in your vehicle at all times, so if you can’t find anything vegan or know there’s nothing vegan where you are, you’re still covered. Things like not-delicate fruit and veggies, pre-made (at home) snacks or portable meals (my quinoa salad is a great go-to travel meal), energy bars, nuts and seeds — things that store easy and are hardy enough to last days or weeks make the best stash.

THE INTERNET IS YOUR FRIEND

Google where to find vegan grub in the places you’re going, find vegan bloggers who live there and pick their brains, use location-based mobile apps (like VegOut on the iPhone), or send out a tweet tagged with the city (and it’s airport code) asking for vegan suggestions. There are also lots of vegan groups online that are location/city specific that post information publicly. If you’re traveling in a different country with crazy data-roaming rates, do this before you leave home or at a hotel or café with wi-fi.

DON’T EXPECT TO BE CATERED TO

Although it’d be great if every restaurant had vegan options, some don’t even know exactly what “vegan” means (bonus: share my article with them in a friendly manner!). So don’t expect anything, but be vocal about how grateful you are if they can accommodate. It’s also helpful to ask the host/hostess before being seated if you can see a menu, or better yet, call ahead if you can. If they have something vegan, awesome! If not, ask if something vegan can be made. That way you aren’t wasting your time or theirs.

GET LEARNED ON UNINTENTIONAL VEGAN FOOD

As a last resort, there are a lot of conventional food that’s vegan by accident. It might not be the healthiest, but if you’re starving, it can be your only option. Things like Oreos, some chips (although make sure they don’t have milk!), Swedish fish, skittles, some dark chocolates, some breads (read ingredient list for eggs/milk/whey), most humus, probably all salsa, corn chips, etc are vegan. I’ve eaten a lot of tortilla chips with salsa/humus, and it might not be exciting, but it if you eat enough of it, you’ll at least be full enough to get to a better vegan option later.

Nowadays there are great vegan options in unlikely places. I’ve had some of my favorite and most satisfying meals in the middle of no where or in places I thought were totally carnivore-centric. So hold back judgement on towns or restaurants until you’ve actually checked if they can accommodate you. You might be surprised how deliciously they can fix you up something that’s not on their menu. And finally, if you find a spot with killer vegan grub, get a dish to go, so you have a second meal later on or the next day!

 

How to Cater to Vegans at Your Non-Vegan Restaurant

On my most recent road trip (with no specific destination), I’ve found myself in lots of places that aren’t exactly in the “Best Vegan Cities in the World” handbook (if such a handbook existed). And while I’ve had a ton of amazing dining experiences at non-vegan restaurants, I have unfortunately had a lot of experiences that could have easily gone much better if restaurants knew a few key things about veganism. 

This is a photo from a Thai restaurant that didn’t have a single vegan item on their menu, but was happy to make us something. We asked in advance to being seated and were pleased to find out they made every dish from scratch – so leaving out non-vegan ingredients was easy.

Below was written to simply share some ideas should any restaurant want to feed vegans. I don’t believe restaurants have to as it’s their business, and their call. But should they, I guarantee word would spread to the vegan community.

Dear food establishment owners/staff,

I spend months of each year traveling. A lot of that time is spent discovering and eating at new restaurants. But here’s the thing — I’m vegan. That means I do not eat meat (including fish), dairy, butter, honey or any ingredient that is made or harvested from animals. What do I eat then? Whole fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, spices, etc — it’s a broad range of easy to find ingredients.

To start, let me clarify, you don’t have to cater to vegans. It’s your business so it’s completely your call. This is written to simply share some ideas and suggestions so that if you do want to cater to the vegan community, can you easily do so. I guarantee that if you do, and do it well, word will spread. Even if it’s a single, well-made dish.

YOUR STAFF NEED TO KNOW YOUR MENU

Simple product knowledge goes a long way. I’d rather be told something is definitely not vegan than have a server have to go ask multiple times because they don’t have a clue what’s in any of the dishes on your menu. This happens more than you think (I can count on a single hand how many times a server has actually known their menu well). It’s a bonus if they know off-hand which dishes accommodate different diets.

IF YOU’RE GOING TO ASSERT THAT ANYTHING ON YOUR MENU IS OR CAN BE MADE VEGAN, ABSOLUTELY KNOW WHAT “VEGAN” IS

I have been served meat, dairy and honey so many times at restaurants after being told something could be made vegan. That just gets my hopes up and disappoints. So if you are offering to make something vegan by modifying a dish or creating a new one, make sure it is actually vegan. And if you aren’t sure, just ask — vegans are more than happy to talk about what is vegan and what isn’t (getting vegans to stop talking about it is another matter altogether). If you do make a mistake with the dish and serve it with a non-vegan ingredient, offer to fix it and move on. If you aren’t comfortable making substitutions or modifying dishes — I’d rather be told you can’t do it than have it done begrudgingly or in a half-assed way.

BE CREATIVE IF YOU’RE GOING TO OFFER A VEGAN OPTION

“Pan Roasted Vegetables” on pasta is not creative. Being creative is easy though, just put as much effort into creating a vegan dish as you did into creating the rest of your menu. If you need ideas, ask someone (even ask me — I’d freely help you brainstorm) or experiment — if you and/or your staff like the vegan dish, that’s a good sign. Or flip through a vegan cookbook for ideas, there are hundreds (I even wrote one).

OMNIVORES WILL ORDER A VEGAN OPTION IF IT’S GOOD

I can’t even count how many times I’ve been out for dinner with omnivores who’ve wished they’d ordered my vegan option instead of their meat dish. I also know a lot of people that aren’t vegan but eat vegan the majority of the time. Some people have rules about eating vegan too, like “I eat vegan 4 nights a week”. A vegan option will cater to far more people than just vegans.

VEGANS TALK

Vegans love to talk about places they eat and the vegan options available. If you have a good vegan dish, word will travel quickly. Want to tempt in vegans to eat your vegan dish? Promote it on social media and on your online menu (note: have an online menu). I routinely drive hours out of the way if I’ve received word of a good restaurant with a vegan dish or two. If the food is good, I tell thousands of people online how good it was. Make sure there’s mention of your vegan option(s) online though, or else vegans might find your restaurant, see nothing they can eat there, and promptly look somewhere else.

MAKE SOME EASY ADJUSTMENTS TO OFTEN-USED INGREDIENTS

Having items on-hand to help many more dishes become vegan is not a bad thing. Non-dairy creamer, for example, can go a long way if you serve coffee or tea. Same with items like vegan butter, vegan mayonnaise, vegan sour cream, etc. These all store well and can go a long way towards enticing vegans to frequent your business. A bonus would be to make your own of each of these (which is pretty easy to do). Make a killer, homemade vegan pesto mayonnaise to add to any sandwich, pizza, etc — and vegans will be climbing mountains to sing your praises.

The world (and restaurants found in it) by no means need to cater to vegans. I am not so self-entitled that I think every restaurant should have a vegan option. We’re a relatively small group of folks that eat out. But our numbers are growing. And past that, the number of people who know about food and care what goes into each dish is growing even faster. So knowing your menu inside and out and offering easy ways to accommodate different diets can make sense and more importantly, make you more money.

And don’t forget, a good vegan dessert is literally icing on the cake.