Friday, April 25, 2014

Vegan bake sale

It's not often you walk into an art gallery to buy cookies and cupcakes, but lots of folks did just that today as the Mordam Art Gallery in Livingston hosted the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale.

Gallery owner Bonnie Goodman (right) with friend Ellie Howell made many of the vegan goodies. They also do a swell job putting together the area's monthly vegan potluck. These lovely ladies are never without a smile.

Bonnie said the first bake sale was four years ago during "Earth Day, Every Day" at the Emerson Cultural Center in Bozeman. Actually, they gave away goodies that day. They started selling the following year at Mordam Art. Bonnie said she had won a TV and decided to give it away as a raffle item. Before they opened the doors, eager people were lined up.

Each year friends and family make piles of delicious and fanciful goodies, but Bonnie admits she does a lot of the baking for the event.

"It's fun to share vegan cream cheese frosting with people who've never tried it before," Bonnie said. "People just can't believe it's vegan!"

Bonnie takes the opportunity to educate people about vegan eating, by displaying cookbooks and sharing recipes. She said, "We can't all afford a Prius, but all of us can eat more plants."

This year's sale raised $935. That money goes toward putting on the monthly potluck.

If you weren't sure how vegan baked goods taste, Bonnie offered samples of her locally famous -- and craved -- gluten-free red velvet mini cupcakes. With vegan cream cheese frosting, naturally.

Or you could try a bit of the homemade popcorn topper.

Bonnie set up a display to show the simple ingredients that go into vegan baking. See? It's not so strange after all.

And if you avoid wheat flour, there were some gluten-free options, which also turn up regularly at the potlucks.

I arrived just before lunchtime and was happy to see warm and savory mini-macs, which are an excellent alternative to mac'n'cheese. Thanks to MiChelle Franzen for contributing these!

And of course there were cupcakes galore.

Funny ones . . .

Pretty ones . . .

Ones that came from outer space . . .

But the best were the ones that were eaten. I hope you found your favorite.

I didn't get a pic, but I was told the gingersnaps I made (from Isa's Vegan with a Vengeance) were quite popular. Glad I could help!

Watch for more vegan baking adventures in Livingston.

For information, check out the Vegans Rock Montana website at and join the Live and Let Livingston group on Facebook.

Or come see Bonnie's imaginative and fun art -- and pick up a vegan recipe or two -- at the gallery.

109 S. Main Street
Livingston, Montana 59047
tel. 406-222-0321

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Good-bye to winter

What do brownies, garlic, and heart-shaped dog biscuits have in common?

They were all found at the last-of-the-season Bozeman Winter Farmers Market today.

Wrapped in the invigorating aroma of fresh-roasted coffee from Little Red Wagon and surrounded by live music from a solo guitarist, about 20 vendors displayed wares that included bright spring greens, goat cheese, jams and jellies, hand-knit socks, soap, and, well, a whole lot more.

I didn't go as an investigative reporter, I just wanted to meet everyone and see what the last market of winter looked like.

As usual, I found people excited about their products and already planning for summer markets.

Many of the vendors will be at the Gallatin Valley Farmers Market and/or the Bogert market. Others are going to Big Sky, Belgrade, Livingston, or Manhattan.

I was excited to learn about a new market open for the first time last year in Three Forks. Watch for a report this summer!

I am also making plans to improve this blog and my website at I will be introducing you to vendors and showing you around some of the farms and ranches. Every one of the vendors I meet has an amazing story to tell. Any of them who want to share that story will be heard here.

Check the list of Montana farmers markets as I update it and make plans to shop local this summer, or at least look for made-in-Montana products -- there are a lot of them!