What We’ve Been Eating

The last few months we’ve been busy writing, editing and finalizing the manuscript for Vegan Survival Guide to Austin. The process has been consuming. We devoted every spare second to researching and fact-checking, then whipped out our red pens and turned into editing machines. There was a solid day devoted to debating the Oxford comma and a whole week spent trying to take a single photo in which we looked like Authors. Here’s the closest we got:

author1

All of this activity meant we didn’t have a whole lot of time to cook (which we love) and then blog about that cooking (which we also love). Of course, we still had to eat. So, with little else to report besides the very exciting fact that you can now pre-orderVegan Survival Guide to Austin via bookpeople.com, here’s a round up of what fed us while we put our noses to the grindstone and got serious about book-making.

cakewich

Behold the Screameo, love child of Skull and Cakebones and NadaMoo! In the midst of intensive book writing in early October, Julie thought it’d be a keen idea to try out this whole ACL thing for the first time. For those of you unfamiliar with the event, the Austin City Limits music festival is an annual round up of big time music acts that play a series of stages in a downtown park. ACL draws many, many, many, many, many revelers inside its gates, a factor which Julie perhaps did not consider so well when she merrily began her trek to Zilker Park to see Jenny Lewis, Mac Demarco, St. Vincent and Beck. In addition to seeing all of those acts, she also saw three million other people also there to see those acts. But oh! She also saw her salvation: the Screameo. This little handheld dream brings together Skull & Cakebones cake and NadaMoo! coconut-based ice cream. These sweet sandwiches (reminiscent of the Chipwiches Julie devoured trolling Long Island delis as a kid) are currently only available at festivals and other pop-up adventures.

Let it here be said: Julie did not have a good time at ACL. But if Screameos are promised as part of next year’s lineup, she may actually consider enduring the masses again. Those suckers are good.

vegan nom

Nom nom nom Vegan Nom. Not long after Julie’s ACL misadventures, Carolyn swung by The Vegan Nom truck on North Loop to snag a final few pictures for VSG. It’s been rough, you know, how we’ve had to show up to work and sometimes work is tacos. Really freaking tough.

nice n full

Oh, Nice ‘N Full! Carolyn rolled up to their Rosewood trailer on a Sunday afternoon and sipped a surprise slushy wine while waiting for her Chicken Nugget Burger and dirty rice. Y’all, we cannot tell you how bummed we are that the kind folks of Nice ‘N Full have packed up and headed back to Houston. It was with deep regret that we took them out of the book. We wish them all the best! Suppose we’ll just have to ride down to Houston one of these days to get our fix.

vsg manuscript

We didn’t eat this. This was our first look at a draft of the book layout. Joining the text with the pictures hit it home. We made a book! An actual, honest to god book! It was about this time, maybe a few minutes after the excitement subsided, that panic begin to set in. Oh my god, we made a book. A BOOK that people might READ. There better not be ANY mistakes in it. Cue the red pens….

chknwaffles

How do you start a long day of editing? Carolyn prepared with Chkn’n waffles made from Gardein chickenless tenders with a homemade gravy based on a recipe from The Happy Herbivore cookbook. Because nothing gets the brain juices flowing like bites of waffle soaked in gravy. Nothing.

Somewhere in this span of time, we shot the cover for the book. We had some ideas in mind and, working in a bookstore, we were able to snap a few shots of covers we liked and send them along to History Press. Of course, we didn’t expect to have a ton of input. Traditionally, authors don’t have much of a say one way or another in terms of the face the publisher puts on their book. But after browsing the Cooking section at BookPeople, we had a vision. So, cognizant that it could all be for naught, one night we popped into Wheatsville, bought up their produce section, went back to Carolyn’s house and shot some set ups.

We were thrilled when History Press sent over the cover for approval. They’d used one of our shots! Not only that, they’d taken one of Carolyn’s photographs and built a vibrant, eye-catching cover around it. All of our book folk friends gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up. Huzzah!

VSG cover

Of course, there were a few design concepts that didn’t quite make it. Here are a couple versions of a Texas flag made of veggies and lima beans.

They didn’t quite make the cut, but we still found them darling.

Oh, hey, then Thanksgiving happened.

tgives

Carolyn hosted a vegan T-gives potluck at her house. Julie got down with the Isa Does It cookbook the day before and launched into a full-scale attempt at Pot Pie and Chocolate Molasses Cake. She also adapted a Smitten Kitchen recipe and made a vegan crispy sweet potato roast. And cranberry sauce. It was Thanksgiving, y’all, and we’d just spent two months building a book. We were celebrating.

The finished feast:

vsg tgives

 

By the time we made it through Thanksgiving, we were just about done with the book. The heavy edits were made and we went back and forth with the good folks at History Press about minor details such as color scheme and layout. With no research to do, food to photograph or histories to write, weekends began to be filled with normal things again like breakfast bagels.

bagel

That there is a sprouted bagel stacked with marinated, pan-fried tempeh, avocado and miso spread. Yup.

 

mac cheese

With time on our hands, we’ve gotten back to a bit of cooking. Julie spent a night crafting what is hands down the best vegan mac and cheese she’s ever made. So there’s that.

kale tempeh

There’s even been time for impromptu weeknight suppers like kale and Hearty Vegan tempeh stir fried with garlic, pomegranate molasses and rice vinegar. We even made it to the ATX Vegans Drink Christmas party at Cheer Up Charlies! Holy socializing, Batman!

We’ve had a wonderful, hectic experience the last few months. Now, we gear up for the big release. Vegan Survival Guide to Austin will be on bookstore shelves February 2nd, 2015. There will be a party. You’re all invited. Right now, BookPeople is accepting pre-orders through bookpeople.com. (Please, please, PLEASE only buy this book from an independent bookstore. Amazon is doing everything it can to strangle the book industry and make it impossible for people like us to earn a living while taking on creative side projects like writing this book. Please don’t help the Evil Empire along.)

What else are we doing? Cooking again. And eating the best vegan food, always. And thanking our lucky stars for the opportunity to make this book. And lobbying Skull & Cakebones to sell those Screamos in six packs at Wheatsville…..

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We Have A Book! Vegan Survival Guide to Austin is Almost Here!

VSG cover

We’re very excited to announce that our book, Vegan Survival Guide to Austin, is DONE and will be on bookstore shelves February 2nd! This was a labor of nothin’ but love (and lots of good eating). We’re so grateful to everyone who talked to us and helped us along the way. We’re very excited to share the finished book!

BookPeople, the best and biggest indie bookstore in Texas, is now taking pre-orders. We’re happy to sign and personalize books, just mention “Signed Copy” and the name in the comments field during checkout.

More news about our release party to come. For now, we’re busy feasting our eyes on this cover (we shot it at Carolyn’s house using a big bag of vegetables we bought at Wheatsville) and gearing up to start cooking tons of great vegan meals in celebration. This is the first book either of us has made. As both book lovers and booksellers, it’s a strange and giddy feeling to know that our words and photographs will soon be on shelves and in the hands of readers.

Huge thanks to everyone who took the time to answer our questions. We worked hard to gather as much of the history of Austin’s vegan community as we could, as well as capture its current spirit. Now the countdown to the book launch begins….