I’m changing it up a bit today with a heartfelt shout out to a wonderful blog I’ve come to know, follow, respect, and love: The Friendly Fig! Written by Bianca Scartabello and Sara Day along with guest blogger Kate Brierley, this veg-friendly food and lifestyle blog shares recipes, vegan tips, cruelty-free style and product guides, giveaways, and hilarious anecdotes. Seriously hilarious…I was laughing out loud with this one! But on top off all that fabulous information, wit, magnificent writing, and mouthwatering recipes, they have an energy and enthusiasm that just makes you feel good. Period.
I was able to interview Bianca about The Friendly Fig, being a vegan cook, and the surprises of blogging. She also shared her to-die-for White Chocolate PB & Pumpkin Smoothie Bowl recipe, see below. It’s mega. Get in on it. And be sure to pop on over and say “Hi” to the lovely ladies at The Friendly Fig!
The Q & A:
1.) Tell us about the Friendly Fig and why you started it.
The Friendly Fig is a plant-based space for happy, healthy humans. As a writer, I have always wanted to start something, but never had the time or even the idea to get it going. Once I adopted a vegan lifestyle, it really hit me that this is what I want to share with others. I want to encourage and support those who want to live kindly! Above all else, I want to show people that veganism is not about depriving yourself! It is just as exciting, if not MORE exciting. Veganism has allowed me to be creative in the kitchen, and it is probably the best thing I could have done to improve my cooking and overall way of living.
My best friend and blogging partner, Sara Day, has been interested in veganism for a while. I knew I wanted her to go on this blogging adventure with me! With her help and voice, our site appeals to vegans, vegetarians, and just those in general who are flirting with a plant-based diet. I really love that we have this balance! I know a lot of people are interested in a plant-based diet, so I think it is nice to have a different voice for those who may be making a slow transition. We welcome all those who are ready to live kindly, whether that means vegan, vegetarian, plant-based, or even those who just want to participate in Meatless Mondays. One of my favorite vegan quotes is: “It is not about being perfect. It is about doing the least damage and most good.” I think this quote rings true with our message. We hope to inspire all happy humans!
2.) Your blog focuses on many aspects of living a happy, healthy plant-based life. What challenges have you encountered and how have you overcome them?
I think the biggest challenge for me was getting to know which products were not vegan, as in the products with weird names. For example, cochineal is made from insects. I would have never known! In some cases, “natural flavors” can be animal-based. Being able to read a label and know if something is vegan or not will come in time. But to get myself started, I used PETA’s guide. This is really helpful!!
3.) What are your influences or strategies for creating recipes?
If we are being completely honest here, my strategy is this: I open up the fridge and take a good look around. Hmmm… what in the hell do I have in here and what can I make work together? Haha! I hate hate hate wasting food and leftovers, so I will make sure I use every last ingredient in my fridge – as best as I can! Sometimes, things just work. Other times, maybe not, but those are the recipes I decide to keep to myself! Hehe.
Fun fact: My Dinner for the Lazy recipe came about this way. I had leftover black beans in the fridge that were getting dangerously close to going bad. If you’ve ever smelled bad beans, you know how gross it is. I was like welp, I guess I will cook these up with some frozen veggies. Oh, hey sweet potatoes in the pantry!
4.) What have you been most surprised by or excited about while blogging?
OH, I have two things. Number one, the fans!! I didn’t think we would have 300+ followers when I started this blog. It was kinda just a creative outlet. There are so many amazing people and bloggers that I have met (including you!!) and I am so happy to share with them, and grow from their knowledge and posts!
Second, the most exciting thing for me to date was having Endangered Species Chocolate agree to sponsor a giveaway with us. They are my favorite chocolate company, so you can imagine my excitement. And I got 6 free samples to review – SCORE!!!
5.) For some vegetarians/vegans, it can be tricky finding recipe alternatives or keeping their diet fun and interesting. What are your favorite vegan substitutes or tips for veganizing a dish?
My all-time favorite meat sub is tempeh. I just love it so much. It’s filling, it’s nutty, it’s versatile. One of my go-to dishes is Tempeh & Peppers… oohhhh it is sooo hearty!!
6.) On The Friendly Fig you create a lot of juicing and smoothie recipes, can you share a fall-inspired recipe with us?
Of course! I am currently obsessed with smoothie bowls… because seriously, how stunning, right? Gorgeous, bold colors in my bowl will inspire me and are always a great start to my day. I also love toppings, and smoothie bowls allow me to get fancy schmancy.
White Chocolate PB & Pumpkin Smoothie Bowl
1 tbs White Chocolate Wonderful Peanut Butter
¼ cup pumpkin puree
½ cup almond milk
1 tsp pure maple syrup
1 tbs flaxseed oil
Blend and pour into bowl – garnish with toppings! I went with chia seeds, cinnamon & sugar pumpkin seeds, Enjoy Life mini chips, and drizzle of more White Chocolate Wonderful (heated up for about 15 seconds in oven!) YUM!!
5 fun facts:
1.) Favorite meal of the day: Breakfast!! I love breakfast burritos, and I could probably live on them.
2.) Dream vacation spot: I want to visit Alaska so very badly… mostly for the orca watching!! Orcas are my favorite ❤
3.) Favorite splurge ingredient: Vegan marshmallows LOL Believe it or not, but marshmallows were one of the hardest things for me to give up… S’mores are my jam.
4.) Band/musician would most want to see live: I’ve seen most of my favorite bands, as I am a huge concert junkie. BUT, I have yet to see Florence + The Machine, and boy oh boy do I have a girl crush on her.
5.) One kitchen appliance/gadget you can’t live without: BLENDER/FOOD PROCESSOR. There is just no way.
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