Chicago VeggieFest, “Veg News Veggie Award” Nominee & Upcoming Fitness Book

I have such good intentions. I really do. I want to be blogging 3 times a week. I want to show that the local newspaper publisher who replaced my 4-year old vegan column with a fishing column made a mistake by bowing to local fish restaurants and related businesses. Yeah, I get they are the advertisers and I never did pay for a single ad. Nor did I get paid for my hours of work every week. Whatever happened to real reporting, asked the veteran, Emmy-winning reporter?

The publisher offered me a freelance job as a reporter for community events. “Somebody with your writing talent should be doing this.” “Somebody with my talent and writing skills AND passion for animals should be writing about improving the health of all animals, humans included. There are plenty of opportunities for me to do that, and still make a little bit of a living. If things change, I’ll sure let you know,” I responded.

I had wanted this blog to be the replacement for my weekly column. But sometimes, life just gets in the way.

In an ideal world, I would love to make a lucrative living doing all things vegan. Or even more than a minimum wage job. Wouldn’t we all? But as my publisher reminds me every so often, the name of one of his favorite books is “Don’t Quit Your Day Job.” And so I haven’t. Thank goodness for my personal training clients.

One of those “life-takes-up-time” events was last weekend. I had the pleasure of doing two cooking demos at the request of my publisher who was a sponsor for the Chicago Veggie Fest. It was my second year back to the 2-day event that attracts 25,000+. Held outside in Naperville, the event also hosted perfect weather. I did my usual promoting on Facebook and other social media platforms. The Veggie Fest peeps had it down to a science with changing countdown banners we could use each day before the event.

They really know how to bring in the crowds. Each one of my demos on the two different days, featuring recipes from my newest book, “Palo Vegan” and then from my middle child, “Kitchen Divided,” had close to hundred, maybe more, attendees.  A great team of volunteers stepped up to help me prep, though I had done much of the organizing and logistics the night before until 2 in the morning. Ah…the glamorous life of a book author. But I am really lucky that my publisher pays my way to so many of these kinds of events. Seriously, I love doing this.

Legendary activist and chief organizer of Chicago’s Veganmania, Marla Rose stopped in to check out my demo and to give a year’s worth of real-life (versus Facebook) vegan hugs.  She and her hubby, John, are the forces behind the outrageously activist website, Vegan Street. They crank out some of the best and poignant graphics on Facebook evah! And of course the parade of selfies and pix from the incredible peeps who bought our books. That’s my co-author, Alan Roettinger, behind us photo bombing. Or coming up with another great recipe, no doubt. Here are a few pix from the Thai and Indian restaurants my publisher took us to. I have no idea about the names, sorry. And I was too tired to write down the names of the dishes. All I know it tasted scrumptiousa the end of a long day.​

To cap off a great week, I received notice that the annual Veg News Magazine annual “Veggie Awards” had chosen “Paleo Vegan” as one of the top 12 finalists in the cookbook category. Pretty stoked about that, although the recipes from my co-author, Alan, are what made the book sizzle. I don’t expect to win, given the legends who are also in the category. As “they” say, just being nominated was a huge, humbling honor. Be sure to vote in the other 30+ categories. It is so great to see how the vegan universe is exploding. Just this week, I saw a story that said the vegan population in the US rose last year from 1 to 2%. As I like to say, with global warming and the resulting extreme weather, we’ll all be vegan in 10-20 years whether we want to or not, so hope you enjoy the recipes!  Gotta run!