Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Last Day To Vote!

Hi All!

Well, I just got back from a trip back East, and I just wanted to spread the news that voting for the VegNews Veggie Awards closes at MIDNIGHT TONIGHT! So if you haven't yet cast your vote, today is your last chance!

I was nominated for "Favorite Online Vegan Bakery," and I am absolutely thrilled to be included! I wrote about the contest in an earlier post, here. If you'd like to cast your vote, please visit the following link:


It's quite an extensive survey featuring a huge variety of notable vegan and vegetarian businesses and groups. In order for the survey to count, you'll have to vote in at least 50% of the categories listed. So do your best! You'll also have to enter some identifying information at the end, too, but all in all you can do the whole thing in five minutes or so.

Thank you so very much! Stay tuned for some coverage of our trip... We had a serious vegan feast!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pretty New Packaging

Lately, I've been pretty busy trying to come up with new ideas for Augusta Vegan Bakery. One of the first things on my list was to create a pretty new logo that I could put labels to use when I send out orders. I knew I wanted it to include my grandma in some way, and I wound up settling on the idea of doing a drawing of her, kind of like something you'd see on an old cookbook. I might still make some changes, but this is what I have so far:

This drawing was based on my grandmother's high school portrait.

Now, thanks to all these new-fangled printers, I can have the logo wherever I want! For an order that shipped out this morning, I printed on sticker paper and made these little label tags:

These are Madame Cohen's Honesty Cookies and Mini-Olive Oil Cakes.

Also, now you'll know where your package arrived from with these large logo labels for the outside of the box!

The logo is a little off-center, but I'm still working out the kinks.

These were a lot of fun to make, and I'm very glad I finally took the time to do it. This project was long overdue! I feel like the product looks a little bit more professional now, and definitely more special. Let me know your thoughts!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Blackberry-Rosemary Muffins

Today's yummies were inspired by our Sunday trip to the farmer's market. Earlier this week, I made cookies inspired by our findings there, and today I bring you muffins! Some of the most beautiful (and delicious) finds of the market this season are the wonderful variety of berries. I saw these blackberries, and knew I had to make something with them:

The gorgeous blackberries I snagged from the farmer's market

I haven't had muffins in a while, so it seemed like the way to go. Also, I was filling in for our client services coordinator, who was out sick. Every morning, she creates lovely plates of food for our clients, so this was an opportunity for me to get some baking in, and share it with my co-workers! Overall, these seem to be a hit!

Adding the berries and rosemary to the batter

My plan of attack was fairly simple: I just adjusted my favorite berry muffin recipe to include about 1/8 cup of chopped fresh rosemary, and two cups of halved blackberries (they were too large to put in whole). I sprinkled some sugar on top at the end for a little sweet touch, too. They came out a little wonky due to a lack of a muffin tin, but we know it's the taste that counts, not the shape!

The final product!

I just loved the way these to flavors went together. The rosemary is so fragrant, and the blackberries are a burst of summer flavor. The texture of the muffin was great, too. it was moist and fairly dense. All in all, an excellent experiment! If I can make these again successfully (and have them look a bit prettier), I'll definitely be adding them as an item in the shop. I'll be sure to post an update when that happens!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Veggie Awards!

Hello, all, and happy Wednesday!

Today I'm going to tell you about a happy bit of news I received not too long ago. Augusta Vegan Bakery was nominated for a Veggie Award for "Favorite Online Vegan Bakery" from VegNews Magazine! As I'm still a pretty tiny operation, I was shocked and absolutely thrilled to hear the news. What a wonderful honor to be nominated, and I am completely flattered!

The decision will be made by popular vote. As explained in an email to me," the 2010 Veggie Awards [is] the world's largest survey of vegan people, places, and products. Last year, 35,000 readers cast their vote, and this year we expect that number to surpass 40,000." Absolutely amazing! Winners receive a feature in VegNews Magazine, as well as an online feature, a logo to use on their website, and press coverage. Oh, and let's not forget bragging rights! Very cool.

It seems to me that I'm an underdog here, but what an awesome opportunity! Who knows, if everyone I know tells someone else that they know to vote, I might have a chance! You can vote at the link below:


As you'll see, it's a rather extensive survey featuring a huge variety of notable vegan and vegetarian businesses and groups. In order for the survey to count, you'll have to vote in at least 50% of the categories listed. So do your best! You'll also have to enter some identifying information at the end, too, but all in all you can do the whole thing in five minutes or so. Also, if you do go and vote, you'll have my eternal gratitude! And surely that's worth something.

Hope you're all enjoying the summer! Stay tuned for some yummy farmer's market inspired muffins later this week!

Monday, August 16, 2010

End-Of-Summer Sweet Treats: Orange Pistachio Cookies

Yesterday, my fiance and I ventured out for a delicious adventure to the farmer's market. Between the gorgeous California morning sunshine and the brightly colored fruits and vegetables, it was the perfect way to celebrate the last few weeks of summer. Visiting the market at this time of year is always exciting, because it's peak season for local farmers. Beyond the usual stands with beautiful dark green kale, graceful leeks, and fragrant herbs, you can enjoy the summer-specific sweet corn, luscious peaches, and succulent strawberries. All of these natural goodies got my mind reeling, and my creative juices flowing.

The first treat born from this newfound creativity occurred just this morning, while I was still at work with nothing to do. What a perfect time to get baking! So I stretched my imagination and came up with these little beauties: Orange Pistachio Cookies.

These are delightful cookies, just bursting with orange fragrance. The sugar coating adds a sweet crunch while the inside remains soft and almost cake-like. Chopped pistachios add a touch of texture, and a perfect complimentary flavor for the orange. I made these using applesauce as an egg replacer, as well, which was new for me. I think it performed just perfectly, and it didn't add any unwanted apple flavor.

What a fun experiment! I'm really happy with the results. So happy, in fact, that I added them as an item on my Etsy shop. Check them out here.

Summer is a great time to taste some delicious local fruits and vegetables, so if you haven't visited a farmers' market yet, I highly encourage you to do so! As you can see, it can produce some excellent results. Stay tuned this week for another farmers' market-inspired treat!

Friday, August 13, 2010

An Introduction

Welcome to the Augusta Vegan Bakery Blog! Here, I’ll be posting updates, ideas, and inspiration that I come across during my baking adventures. I hope you’ll enjoy your visit here, and that you’ll check back often.

I suppose I should start off with a little introduction. My name is Veronica, and I started Augusta Vegan Bakery from the kitchen in my Los Angeles apartment last summer. I do most of my sales through Etsy, a fabulous marketplace for homemade goods, though I also fill local or special orders upon request. I absolutely love to bake, and I especially enjoy putting a vegan twist on the classics. I like to think that my baked goods are just like grandma would have made if she’d been vegan!

I switched to a vegan diet in the spring of 2008, and I never looked back. By removing all animal products from my diet, I’ve seen vast improvements in my health, energy, and overall morale. Veganism has also awakened a serious passion for food in me, and over the past two and a half years I’ve spent hundreds of hours in the kitchen coming up with new recipes. I’ve chronicled some of my food adventures at another blog called La Vie en Vegan, but I’ve found that Augusta Vegan Bakery has really proven to be the most rewarding outlet for my passion. I love experimenting with baked goods, and having the bakery allows me to stretch my creative muscles on a regular basis!

The name Augusta Vegan Bakery was a sentimental choice, named for the town in which my grandmother, Minerva, grew up: Augusta, Kentucky. I chose the name for several different reasons. First, Minerva was always a great artistic inspiration for me growing up. She was an incredibly talented watercolor painter, and left behind an absolutely beautiful body of work. On hot summer days, we would sit outside together sketching and painting the flowers that grew in her garden. She encouraged me to get my thoughts down on paper, no matter what they were or if I thought they were “good.” Though I didn’t realize it at the time, the hours we spent together making art taught me to be a better artist not only in my painting and drawing, but in everyday life. I find myself using the creative tools I learned from her in my cooking and baking on a regular basis, and it’s when I embrace this free creativity that I create the most wonderful results! She was an amazing woman, and unfortunately passed away earlier this year. She continues to inspire me daily, and having a small business named in her honor helps me feel just a little bit closer her.

My grandmother, in her twenties.

Another reason I chose the town of Augusta, Kentucky to be my bakery’s namesake has to do with the mood and feeling I get when I think of the quaint southern town. Though I’ve never been to Augusta, Kentucky, I have spent a great amount of time in other cities throughout the state, and I seen many photographs of what the town looked like when my grandmother was growing up. The photos evoke a sense of quiet and simplicity, and take me back to a time when days weren’t rushed and when family was the most important thing in life. On my visits to Kentucky, I find that these values are still upheld, which is a refreshing change from the fast paced L.A. life I lead. This is the feeling I want to convey with my baking; a sweet, simple moment in your day that offers breathing room from the busy outside world. If I were to open a bake shop, I imagine that it would have a broad front porch with white rocking chairs, a beautiful quaint interior with antique family photos on the walls, display cases with perfect little vegan cakes and cookies, and glass pitchers filled with sweet tea. You could sit at a table and chat with your neighbor, or just soak up the sunshine in a rocking chair while enjoying a cruelty-free cookie. My dream is to create a sense of comfort and calm while gently introducing the kindness and benefits of the vegan diet.

The family home in Augusta, KY.

So that’s the (very) long and short of it. I hope that I can provide some worthwhile thoughts and ideas in the future, and learn something myself along the way.

If you’re interested in learning more, please visit my Etsy shop, become a fan on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter.

Thanks for visiting!