Author: Savage

Vegan Falafel Sandwich with tomato, cucumber, and Garlic Cilantro Mayo. Plant Based. Vegan. | | SavageSandwiches.com

Falafel(ish) Sandwich

Falafel might be the best thing to happen to chickpeas. Besides hummus, of course. 😉 Falafel is a deep fried ball made of chickpeas. Sorry… that description doesn’t do them justice. Because they are really good! And they are also:

  • super filling,
  • packed with protein,
  • customizable, and
  • easy to make!

This week I was in a discussion with some people who had “tried out” being vegan for a week. One complaint I heard was that they were hungry. It took me back to when I first started eating vegan, and how I was starving all the time. One reason for this is that I didn’t know how to eat. (Think lots of oreos and spaghetti.)

Now that I have more time and recipes under my belt, that isn’t a problem. But it was a good reminder to watch what I was eating. And what I wasn’t. And I realized that I was eating a lot of bread and tomatoes. (Thanks, Summer). But I wasn’t eating enough legumes. (Beans)

So I decided to whip up this sandwich, which features the amazing chickpea, which is a bean.

Speaking of beans, beans have really gotten a bad rap. I mean, have you heard the rhyme:

Beans, Beans the magical fruit.
The more you eat, the more you toot

Or how about:

Beans, Beans, they’re good for your heart.
The more you eat, the more you…

You get the idea. Poor beans. Beans are awesome! They are cheap, can be used in a variety of ways, and they are packed with nutrients. #BeansAreSexy

Anyways… back to the falafels. Why am I calling them falafel(ish)? Because I figure that covers me when someone starts saying “This isn’t a falafel… THIS is a falafel!” But falafel still sounds better than fried bean ball.

To make these, I used a chickpea base that I also use to make chickpea salad sandwiches. I make a lot and then just use it different ways. I started with dried beans. You can buy the ones in a can, and I do for those times when I don’t think ahead. But I think the dried ones taste better.

I cook them up following the directions on the bag, and then throw them in my food processor. THIS IS KEY. I have made chickpea salads for a long time by crushing them with a fork, and they were just meh. Then I made them in the food processor and finally figured out what everyone was talking about. It’s a texture thing. With the chickpeas, you also process up garlic and some greens. I used spinach, because that is what I had on hand. I’ve also had them with parsley and with kale. Really any green works.

Once the chickpeas and greens are shredded, just add some veggies. I added onion and bell peppers. A it of lemon juice, and you are good to go!

That’s the base recipe. For falafels, I add flour. How much? Enough so I can form them into patties and they don’t stick to my hands. Then fry them up in some oil. (I used olive oil.)

And what do you eat with falafel? Well… some type of cool salad and yogurt. But I don’t have vegan yogurt, so I made this sandwich with roasted-garlic cilantro mayo and a salad of cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden. Delish! Maybe next time I’ll add some cucumber to the mayo. Hmmm… the possibilities.

Falafel(ish) Sandwich - Vegan

Chickpeas, spinach, and veggies are fried up and served with a cucumber tomato salad and roasted-garlic cilantro mayonnaise. Vegan. Plant based. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1 handful baby spinach
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped bell peppers (I used red and orange)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup flour, or more as needed
  • oil for frying
  • 2 slices good bread
  • chopped tomato
  • chopped cucumber

Roasted Garlic Cilantro Mayonnaise

  • 2 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced cilantro
  • 2 tbsp vegan mayonnaise

Instructions

Falafel

  1. Put chickpeas, spinach, and garlic in food processor and process until chopped fine.

  2. Add onion, bell peppers, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

  3. Add flour as needed to form chickpea patties.

  4. Heat oil in frying pan. When hot, add chickpea patties. Fry until golden brown and then flip. About 4 minutes on each side. 

Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise

  1. Combine vegan mayonnaise, roasted garlic, and cilantro.

Sandwich

  1. Toast bread, spread Roasted Garlic Cilantro Mayonnaise, add falafel, tomato, and cucumber.

August 2017 Income Report. | | SavageSandwiches.com

August 2017 Income Report

Hooray! Another month in the books… and our first FULL month! How did we do? Well…

Expenses

$9.33 Hosting – Siteground

$31.79 Adobe Cloud – I use this for photo editing, workbooks, etc. I love their products and use them for many things.

Total: $41.12

I’m not including food, because we eat it all and I was going to buy it anyway.

Income

Now here is the fun part! Prepare yourself! So exciting…

AdSense: $0.71

Total: $0.71

Soooo… I made -$40.41

Man. I feel accomplished. Added to Last Month’s income, I’m at a total of $-101.67

Wow. So this may turn into a game of… will she be able to pull out of the red and into the black? It’s kind of weirdly motivating though. Strange.

What’s New

Changed the Site to Vegan – Yup. I knew it would happen, and it did. I took down 9 of my 12 posts from last month. Why? It felt right to me. Plus, now I don’t have to worry about marketing to a vegan audience. Or feeling weird writing about meat, when I don’t really resonate with that. You should be the change you want to see in the world. I want to feel good about what I’m creating. Now I do.

Added 12 posts, 9 of which were Food. I really need to get this number up, but I did spend a lot of energy doing other things, like…

About Page – Now you can see who created the site.

Cleaned up Blog – So last month there was just a page with all my recipes. Now there are categories (like toppings) and it looks nicer.

Changed my Post Image Template – I like my new template. I went from:

Fresh vegetables, garlic, and onions in a robust tomato sauce. The Italian Veggie Sandwich. Vegan. Vegetarian. Plant-based. Healthy | | SavageSandwiches.com

to

Vegan BLT with Eggplant Bacon and Sriracha Mayo. Plant Based. Vegan. | | SavageSandwiches.com

But… there has already been an issue. My mom told me it looks like two different recipes, and was confused because the white stretches the whole picture. So… I may be revisiting this, but right now I like it and it looks good on Pinterest.

Instagram – I started an Instagram account for Savage Sandwiches. It is @annasavagesandwiches because @savagesandwiches was already taken, which I was aware of when I got the name. I am not too keen on the current IG handle, so suggestions are welcome.

Facebook – I started a Facebook Page for Savage Sandwiches. I’ve been off Facebook for a while, so I’m interested to see how it goes.

Added some Food Blogging posts – Just like this one, I have added some “behind the scenes” posts about my foray into Food Blogging. Like how I take my pictures.

Mailing List – I started a mailing list! I made an epic Ultimate Sandwich Guide as a giveaway when you sign up. (yay) Then I took it down, because it wasn’t vegan. (boo) I also sent out my first ever email… which went to my mom, brother, and sister. Then I had to call them to make them open it. (womp womp)

That about covers it. So, there were a lot of bloggy things that got done this month.

What’s Working

That Reuben Sandwich is still working. It has spikes in interest, and is still driving most (all) of the traffic to this site. Thank goodness for that post, because otherwise it would be crickets on here.

I have seen a bit of traffic on some of the other sandwiches, which is encouraging!

What’s Not Working

I need to stay motivated to TAKE PICTURES. I made a bazillion sandwiches this month, because I eat a lot of sandwiches. But I was like, “I’ll take pictures of the next one. I’m too hungry now.” Pretty sure that isn’t going to help this site out.

The Numbers

Numbers don’t lie. So let’s see…

Page Views: 2.6K  woohoo!! Not too shabby.

Bounce Rate: 91.85% Let’s see if we can get that down.

Avg Time on Page: 00:03:43 Better than last month!

Time of Day: Nights and Weekends. Pretty standard.

Pinterest Pins Avg Daily Impressions: 3,379. That number is so wildly skewed, because of the massive views I got early in the month.

Instagram Followers: 42. Pretty darn good with only 7 posts.

Facebook Fans: 0. Yeah… I need to work on that, I guess.

All in all, I’m really happy with these numbers. But it would be awesome to get them up next month!

What I’m Going to do Next Month

Go to Tahiti and forget this blogging thing. Just kidding!

  • Stay focused on Content. The allure of trying to get people to come to the website is way more appealing than making content. Because it’s easier and more instant gratification. Stay the course! Content is King.
  • Theme my Posts. I started doing this last week in my Vegan BLT Feast, and it really helped me in writing my mailing list email and content creation. By theming, I cut down on the work I had to do by batching a lot of recipes.
  • Clean up my Pinterest Boards. I’ve turned the website vegan, but my Pinterest is still all over the place. Time for a major overhaul.
  • Pin my new recipes. Speaking of Pinterest, I need to throw my stuff up there.
  • Pin 15 recipes a week. I’m going to aim for 5 recipes, 3 times a week. These aren’t my recipes… just recipes I find on Pinterest. Shouldn’t be too hard, I cook a lot. And now that it’s all vegan, I’ll WANT to pin stuff.
  • Post on Facebook 3x/week. My stuff, other stuff… really what I need to do is…
  • Research Facebook Marketing. Luckily, I just signed up for a free class. Just in time.
  • Post 1x/day on Instagram. I’ve already planned out my posts, so this shouldn’t be a problem.
  • Send out WEEKLY emails… to my mom.
  • Create an Ultimate Vegan Sandwich Guide to give people when they sign up for my email list.
  • Get a PO Box. I don’t want my home address on my stuff. You know… to protect me from all my crazy fans. 😉

Anything else I’m forgetting? I feel like there is. We shall see. Keep on keeping on… and Sandwich Like You Mean It!

~Anna the Savage

Food Photography on a Budget. | | SavageSandwiches.com

How I take my Food Pictures with No Props and No Lights

The most important part of being a food blogger is pictures. Sad, but true. Nobody can taste your food through a computer screen, and with so much competition out there, the only way to get noticed is with really good pictures. You eat with your eyes first. And these days, many people only eat with their eyes. Most people who come to your site will never actually make or eat your food. They will look at it, drool, and leave.

Knowing that, the most important things you need for good pictures are: Read more

Food Blogging Part 1. | | SavageSandwiches.com

My Foray into Food Blogging

This site is about sandwiches. I like sandwiches. I like eating. I like food. But I like blogging more. I thought it might be interesting to document the growth (hopefully) or slow death (hopefully not) of this site for myself and for others thinking about jumping into the “Online Thing”. Plus, my mom asked for some “behind the scenes” action. Well here you go, Mom! 😉

How I became a food blogger

This is me.

I have always been online doing something. I’ve had blogs. I’ve had “advertisement” sites. And I’ve made websites for other people. In the process of making websites for others, I’ve amassed a lot of knowledge about coding, photography, SEO, social media marketing, design, and editing. But I never put those pieces together for ME.

One website I helped out on was my brother’s website. A few years ago, he decided to make money online and started a website for jerky. Yup, jerky. He made lots of jerky, wrote up his recipes, and posted them with pictures.

my brother, the food blogger

I helped set him up. I bought him a domain name and set up hosting. I hooked him up with a nice theme and customized whatever he needed. He, in turn, learned all he could about food blogging, and worked his butt off! Fast forward to now… he is making money. Good money. He plans on making more money, quitting his job and sailing around the world with his wife.

Once again, I thought “Why can’t I do that?” And then it hit me… I CAN.

The Process

Deciding on a Blog Topic

This is not my only website, nor will it be my last. But it is the one I am concentrating on and attempting to monetize right now. We (my husband and I) decided on a food blog. (Probably inspired by my brother’s success.) Then we tried to think of a niche we could fill. I have no idea how we decided on sandwiches, but we immediately thought it was a good idea. I guess that remains to be seen. 😉

For our niche we needed a topic that didn’t already have a lot of competition, but was something people would be interested in. People eat sandwiches. I’ve never met a person who didn’t. And they probably have the same problem we do… boring sandwiches. So we figured there would be interest. As for competition… a Google search returned sandwich stores, but no exclusively sandwich websites. So we ran with it. (Of course, there are many food websites that have sandwiches, so who knows how this will turn out.)

This is a free stock photo.

Deciding on a Domain Name

Once we had our topic, we needed a domain name. Our checklist for our domain:

  • A dot com – I know you can grow websites with .net or .org or whatever, but I have big plans for this site, and I can’t have people being confused because someone else has the .com address. Plus, some people don’t even know about other extensions. Only .com (*cough*mom*cough*)
  • Easily spelled – It’s amazing how mangled some names become. If your friends can’t spell it, get a new name.
  • No numbers as words – I don’t want something like “sandwiches4you” or worse, “sandwiches4u”. Although that is kind of catchy… I don’t want to have to explain my name. “It’s sandwiches for you, but with the number four and the letter ‘u’.” Yeah… I’m not going to say all that. Just a personal thing.
  • Contain a keyword – This might not be as important these days, but search engines still love a site with a keyword in its name. I wanted “sandwich” or “sandwiches” to be in our name. And it is.
  • Not copyrighted – This should be a no-brainer. I don’t want something I can’t legally own.
  • Available on social media – This almost stopped savagesandwiches from being our name. Someone on Instagram and YouTube has been using the moniker savagesandwiches. And they aren’t about sandwiches. It’s a comic strip… I think. Either way, we finally decided that we were going to go with it, because it checked all the other boxes.

Setting up my food blog

As soon as we bought our domain, I linked it to my hosting and threw a WordPress install on it. If you are interested in doing that, there are a bazillion sites to show you how. In fact, most hosting sites have a one click install these days. I use SiteGround for hosting. I did my research. (I’ve had clients on every hosting imaginable.) SiteGround is the fastest hosting right now. And that is way more important than any other stats. Plus they have good customer service. If they lose speed and another company becomes faster, I’ll switch over and let you know!

This is a “mockup” of my site. Done in Photoshop.

Once the install was done, I picked a theme. At the time of this article, I use Make. I already owned the Pro edition (Make Plus) from previous website work, but the free one is really good too. I used that before I went pro. It doesn’t matter what theme you pick since you can change it at any time. Just make sure to pick one that is mobile friendly. (They ALL should be mobile friendly in this day and age.)

Then I customized my settings and installed some important plugins.

Google for blogging

Google is the King. Long live the King! I write nice things about Google, because I think they are watching me. Really. Does that sound paranoid? Because it’s not. Anyways… it’s important to cover all your Google bases when setting up a website. Most importantly, I needed:

  • An Email Address – technically, I have an email address with my domain, but I like Gmail. Nothing beats Gmail, so I used my G Suite account to set up an email address and make sure that anything sent to “@savagesandwiches.com” comes to my email. Why don’t I just use my personal email? Because having an email from your website is more professional, it allows me to keep things separate, and I own it.
  • Google Analytics – I need to know how I’m doing. Is anyone coming to my site? What are they reading? This helps me know what to focus on… what’s working and what’s not. PLUS… if I have traffic and it disappears, I know something is wrong and can fix it.
  • Advertising via AdSense – I didn’t need to sign up for this. Really, it’s not unusual to go more than a year before making money. The goal is to grow your traffic big enough to apply for a better marketing agency like MediaVine. BUT… I like the little boost I get from making money – any money – so I put AdSense on my site right away. NOTE: I already had an AdSense account from other ventures, so I could do this. If you are applying for a brand new AdSense account, you need to have CONTENT on your site first. So get writing!
Another free stock photo. I am so lazy right now!

Start Creating Content

Once I had my blog set up and my email and Analytics in place, I started creating content. I did not start the fun stuff (email list, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, etc) because I wanted to make sure I didn’t get distracted. Social Media makes it easy to put all your content on THEIR site in return for “likes” and comments. Just remember: Likes and Comments are not MONEY. You need to focus on YOUR SITE first and foremost. (Can you tell that I’m talking to myself right now?)

I started making sandwiches and photographing them. That’s my actual WORK. But it actually isn’t what I spend most of my time on these days. I’ll talk more about that later. But first, I want to tell you How I take my Food Pictures with no props and no lights.

 

Vegan BLT with Coconut Bacon, Avocado, and Garlic Basil Mayo. Plant Based. Vegan. | | SavageSandwiches.com

Vegan BLT with Coconut Bacon, Avocado, and Roasted-Garlic Basil Mayo

If I ever make a “best of” page, this sandwich will be on it. This BLT blew my mind! And I’ve been eating a fair amount of BLTs since having my Vegan BLT Feast. So you can take my word for it. Or rather, don’t… because you need to make this and experience it for yourself.

Drooooooool.

Let us examine this masterpiece, shall we?

Bacon – I used coconut bacon. This was my first time ever making coconut bacon, and it was the bomb. It added what has been missing from my tomato sandwiches thus far: crunch and salty savoriness. For the record, I am not a fan of calling it “bacon”, because it’s misleading. It doesn’t taste like bacon. It has its own amazing taste. Any ideas for a different name?

Tomato – For this sandwich I used German Johnson tomato. It’s huge and delicious and an heirloom. If you think there’s only one type of tomato, you need to get out of the grocery store. Get yourself to a Farmer’s Market, or even better… start a garden.

Lettuce – I used some red leaf lettuce, but you could use any nice leaf lettuce here. Once again, fresh and local is better.

Avocado – Everything tastes better with avocado. That is a well known fact. FACT.

Roasted-Garlic Basil Mayo – This is my most favoritest mayonnaise evaaar!! I have been known to put it on everything. Every sandwich ever. But seriously, the roasted garlic goes great with all these flavors, as does the basil. Everyone knows tomatoes and basil are best friends.

Bagel – You could put this on any good bakery bread, but I opted for a bagel, because I have a thing for bagels. Now you know.

Why is this a perfect summertime sandwich? Definitely because of the tomato. I wait MONTHS to eat tomatoes, because I refuse to eat tomatoes in the winter. Why? Because they are sad and tasteless and… sad. (Yes, I said sad twice. That’s how sad they are.) There is a reason why we eat IN SEASON! It’s cheaper, yes, but also because the flavors are so much more robust. So, I wait months for that first ripe tomato. And then, I eat tons and tons of tomatoes. Enough to last me until next summer.

So go get yourself some tomatoes and make this Vegan BLT Sandwich right now. Now. No, seriously. Go.

Vegan BLT with Coconut Bacon, Avocado, and Roasted-Garlic Basil Mayo

The BEST vegan BLT ever. Heirloom tomatoes, fresh lettuce, Coconut Bacon, and avocado. Slathered with my signature roasted-garlic basil mayonnaise. Get you some.

Ingredients

  • 1 bagel (or bread of your choice)
  • a lot coconut bacon
  • lettuce, summer variety
  • sliced tomato, I used German Johnson
  • sliced avocado

Roasted-Garlic Basil Mayo

  • 2 tbsp vegan mayonnaise, I use Vegenaise
  • 2 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil

Instructions

Roasted-Garlic Basil Mayo

  1. mix together the roasted garlic, mayonnaise, and chopped basil

BLT

  1. Layer on your bagel: lettuce, tomato, avocado, coconut bacon, and roasted-garlic basil mayo.

  2. Eat!

Throw a Vegan BLT Feast! Food Party. Plant Based. Vegan. | | SavageSandwiches.com

Vegan BLT Party Feast

I love the idea of make your own food parties. Food bars are where you let the guests construct their own meal from the ingredients you put out. I’ve seen pizza bars, taco bars, baked potato bars, and cupcake bars. But the best bar ever? The cupcake bar. A Sandwich Bar. And what better sandwich to start with than a BLT! Read more

Roasted Garlic Recipe. Plant Based. Vegan. | | SavageSandwiches.com

Oven Roasted Garlic

Garlic. Used in culinary dishes for thousands of years. And with good reason. It tastes amazing. Plus, it is good for your heart, fights cancer, and most importantly: garlic wards off vampires. Which is why I eat it, personally. 😉

You can eat the green shoots of garlic, which I do a lot in the Spring, as it grows everywhere. (You might have wild garlic in your yard too.) But the bulb is where it’s at. It doesn’t take many cloves to season a dish… it’s pretty potent, in a good way. But there is another side to garlic. A mellower side. And that is Roasted Garlic.

The first time I had roasted garlic was in a restaurant. It was an appetizer. They gave us a whole bulb of roasted garlic, and we scraped out each bulb, spread it on bread, and were in heaven. From that day on, I ordered it wherever I could. And since we didn’t go out much, I mostly just thought about it… and wished I were eating it. It never crossed my mind that I could make roasted garlic at home! Or that it was super simple.

Step 1: Assemble your tools and ingredients.

  • a bulb of garlic
  • a sharp knife
  • an oven-safe dish
  • olive oil
  • aluminum foil

Step 2: Off with its head!

Cut off the top of the garlic bulb. You don’t have to cut into all of cloves.

Step 3: Drizzle the oil.

Drizzle some olive oil into the garlic bulb.

Step 4: Cover and bake.

Cover the garlic with foil and pop in the oven at 375° Fahrenheit (190° Celcius) for an hour.

That’s all you have to do! Super simple and so good. I’ve read that you can store it with oil or something, but we always eat it very quickly. I just put it in the fridge and add it to whatever deliciousness I am making.

What should you do with your roasted garlic? Eat it on sandwiches, of course! Some sandwiches that use roasted garlic:

Heirloom Tomato Sandwich with Basil, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Roasted-Garlic Avocado

Veggie Tofu Sandwich with Roasted-Garlic Basil Avocado

Green Tomato Basil Sandwich with Roasted-Garlic Mayo

Vegan BLT with Coconut Bacon, Avocado, and Roasted-Garlic Basil Mayo

And here is a cheat sheet for your Pinterest Page:

Tomato Sandwich with Cream Cheese and Onion. Plant Based. Vegan. | | SavageSandwiches.com

Tomato Sandwich with Cream Cheese and Onion (vegan)

When I first started eating vegan, I scoured the internet for recipes. And nothing would make me angrier (and more jealous) than coming across a great recipe that used vegan products we just didn’t have. I’m looking at you, people in California… with your vegan ice-cream, yogurt, and cream cheese. But guess what?? My supermarket now carries some of those things, and now I’m the prick posting up recipes using these ingredients. Hahahaha! Sorry guys.

I totally bought some vegan cream cheese at the grocery this week. Usually I only get it when it’s on sale, because it is super expensive. But I really wanted to make this sandwich, so I bought some anyway.

Nut cheese. Geez. What a name. That’s right up there with Nutritional Yeast. Like, seriously?? Anyways, it tastes good. (And no, I’m not being sponsored by this nut cheese company… this is just the only nut cheese available here.) What does nut cheese look like, exactly?…

It looks like cream cheese. And it tastes like cream cheese. My non-vegan family members eat it and like it. So there.

Next on the list… tomatoes. Luckily, we are drowning in tomatoes this year. Gardening is the best, y’all.

And the onions are from the garden too. I decided to use red onion, because they are sweeter and so very pretty!

Look at my beautiful onion! Look at it! Now look at it again…

Ok. I’m done shoving my onion in your face. So you may have noticed that there aren’t many ingredients to this sandwich. That’s because it doesn’t need a lot of ingredients. The tomato and onion are fresh and in season, and the cream cheese gives them the creamy base to really let their flavors shine. Creamy nut cheese, luscious tomatoes, and the sharp bite of the onion… mmmmmmmmm… So good.

I could eat this for breakfast all summer long. The perfect summertime sandwich, imo.

Happy Summer Everyone!

Tomato Sandwich with Vegan Cream Cheese and Red Onion

The perfect light, crisp Summertime Breakfast Sandwich. Bagel topped with vegan cream cheese, ripe tomatoes, and red onion.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 bagel (open face sandwich)
  • 2-3 tbsp vegan nut cheese
  • sliced tomato
  • sliced red onion

Instructions

  1. Layer the nut cheese, tomato, and red onion on the bagel.

  2. Eat!

Coconut Bacon vs. Eggplant Bacon. Plant Based. Vegan. | | SavageSandwiches.com

Coconut Bacon vs. Eggplant Bacon

One of my pet peeves is when vegan food tries to imitate non-vegan food. Like Mac N Cheese. No matter what it looks like, vegan “Mac N Cheese” will never taste like dairy Mac N Cheese. Likewise, vegan “bacon” is not like bacon bacon. And why are we even trying to make bacon? …I digress… so, it should come as no surprise that I have not tried to make vegan bacon before. BUT I wanted to do a Savage Vegan BLT Party, so I kind of felt obligated to give the whole vegan bacon thing a chance.

There are lots of vegan bacon recipes floating around, but by far the two I have seen the most are Vegan Coconut Bacon and Vegan Eggplant Bacon. So these are the two I tried. Which one is better? Let’s see… Read more