Friday Feature: Sweet Vegan

Today we visit with Sweet Vegan, creator of awesome vegan yumminess on Etsy!

How’d you get started on Etsy?
I don’t remember how I heard about it , but I am a florist and I wanted another outlet to sell my floral arrangements and bridal bouquets. I needed a bigger audience than the small town I live in. I thought it was such an awesome idea to have a site where things were handmade with love.

What was your inspiration for your shop?
I started with ExpressionsFloral because I used to own my own floral shop. However, I started Sweet Vegan because I saw a need for it in myself and in others… Most people I know think that Vegan food is bland and tasteless and I wanted to help change that stigma. I have tried store bought items and have been disappointed too many times by lack of taste and dryness. I wanted to make food that everyone can enjoy and show people that you can have great tasting food and not know it’s vegan. It shouldn’t be a word you have to shy from. I have lots of awesome recipes that have great flavor, I enjoy baking and I needed a new outlet for my creativity. So I created a store where I could do all that, bake foods that are made with organic, minimally processed ingredients that taste awesome and anyone can enjoy!

What’s your favorite shop item and why?
Oh that is a hard one, because I love sweets! However I would have to say that my Lemon Tea Cake Wookies

are my favorite. The cookies themselves have a unique flavor which comes from the EVOO and of course everything is better with cream cheese frosting :D

How do you unwind when you’re not creating?
I sit down with a good book or snuggle down with my sweetie and watch a movie.

What’s your favorite kind of cupcake?
Tirimisu :)

What pushes you to want to create something?
I don’t talk a lot, I listen and observe. Through that I get ideas and my brain starts mashing them into unique combinations and that is what makes me want to create .

What’s your fantasy job?
I would love to work in Las Vegas, LA, NY and do event planning and/or Hotel floral designing!

Do you have a secret guilty pleasure?
Etsy…well I guess it’s not secret anymore!

List 3 things you are so obsessed with it is torture to ever say no to.
Hats, books and movies, purses

Do you have a favorite author? When you read, do you use a proper bookmark, bend the page, or grab anything handy to mark your place?
Favorite author is tough because my taste varies, but here a few that I like to read over and over again: Jane Austin, D. H. Lawrence, Wilkie Collins, Leo Tolstoy, Dan Brown, Jean Auel and Ursula La Guin. I use whatever is handy at the time to mark my place :)

What is your best childhood memory?
Camping. Dad would come home from work on Friday and say “load up” we’d throw some things together and off we would go to the coast. Sand, water and lots of campfire fun!

Consumer Reports on Chicken

Update: The FSIS salmonella testing results are available here.

The new Consumer Reports (Jan. 2010) has a report on the safety of chicken (pay only, no link).

Campylobacter was in 62 percent of the chickens, salmonella was in 14 percent, and both bacteria were in 9 percent. Only 34 percent of the birds were clear of both pathogens. [snip] Among the cleanest were air-chilled broilers. About 40 percent harbored one or both pathogens.

That’s shocking. In other words, 66 percent of the chickens in the store are contaminated with deadly bacteria. The answer is not more antibiotics,

store-brand organic chicken had no salmonella at all (although) 57 percent of those birds harbored campylobacter.

The answer, according to Consumer Reports, is proper procedures and disinfectant of equipment in chicken farms, slaughterhouses, and processors. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) monitors the compliance of chicken companies with their infection control plans. According to Consumer Reports, the USDA has begun posting this data online, though it isn’t archived. However, I could not find it. The closest I came was a press release from Jan. 2008. The release says:

On March 28, 2008, FSIS will post on its Web site completed verification sample set results from establishments in Category 2 or Category 3 beginning with results from young chicken slaughter establishments (from FSIS Seeks Comments on Salmonella Sampling Programs and Activities)

I intend to follow-up on this with Consumer Reports and the FSIS.

Of course, vegans would say that the solution is to stop eating chickens, that the cruelty of killing them is not worth the meal. I am struggling with that idea right now, but I think that protein is more important to human diets than they acknowledge.

In other food meat safety news, I did find where the FSIS posts their information on Quarterly Enforcement Reports (tables are PDF) and Residue Violators (PDF) — which companies had meat with excessive chemical residues. I was disappointed in the former as details are not provided, though company names are, and in the latter because almost all the data was a year old in the Nov. 2009 report.

I would love to know what percentage of meat processors are listed in these reports, but I have no idea how many meat processors there are in total in this country. I hope, probably optimistically, that it is a low percentage.

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