Ethical Business Spotlight: Sunflower Diner

Hello again!

This week’s Ethical Business Spotlight features Hayette Bouras, Co-Owner of the all-vegan Sunflower Diner in Asheville, North Carolina! Discover more about Sunflower Diner’s journey to create scratch-made, vegan comfort food!

Let’s jump right into the interview!

Sunflower Diner, Asheville, North Carolina

1. What inspired you to create Sunflower Diner and what makes it unique?

Sunflower Diner is the culmination of a lifetime of interests for me. I have always been a lover of food and health and spent 20 years working in many different restaurants. Having been a vegetarian since age 7, it wasn’t until a few years ago that a nutrition course in college inspired me to go vegan. Sunflower Diner is unique in that it is the only 100% vegan diner in the area and that it is situated in an awesome local natural foods market.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup IG @sunflowerdineravl

2. Your IG feed features mouthwatering dishes like cornbread waffles with organic sweet potato and black bean chili, tacos with maple dijon seitan crumbles, Cuban sandwiches, baked goods, burgers, pancakes, and much more. If you had to choose just one menu item to represent what Sunflower Diner is all about, which would it be and why?

So hard! The mission of Sunflower Diner is to create vegan comfort food that anyone can enjoy, regardless of dietary preference. With that in mind, I really love our Westside Hot Mess dish. It’s one of our fluffy coconut cream biscuits, smothered in our savory mushroom gravy, topped with our tofu scramble, drizzled with our sunflower-cashew queso sauce and served with a vegan sausage pattie. It’s so comforting and yummy.

3. On October 1st, you celebrated Sunflower Diner’s one year anniversary. Congrats! What has been the biggest challenge and biggest surprise during your first year?

Not only was it the first year that we were open, it was my first time opening and co-owning a restaurant. There was no way of knowing what 2020 would bring and so navigating the pandemic was definitely the biggest added challenge to this already challenging learning experience for me. Luckily, we had the support of our customers, our staff, and the community of people who make the West Village Market continue to thrive. The biggest surprise for me has been the overwhelming enthusiasm for our vegan menu. The vegan community of our area and beyond are showing up and showing support – it has really been heart-warming and encouraging.

4. Asheville is a fun and artsy city situated in the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains that is quickly becoming a destination spot for delicious vegan food! How has the community played a role in the diner’s success during this year’s shutdowns and restrictions?

As I mentioned before, we would be nowhere without the amazing community of vegans in our area. So many people reached out to us to buy gift certificates, and continued to support us through our curbside and takeout options. As restrictions were lifted, we were surprised to have many people from other cities and states coming to dine with us and appreciate every single person who makes the trip to our tiny little diner.

5. What’s next for Sunflower Diner?

Well, in the near future, we would love to expand our hours which were greatly reduced as a result of the pandemic. Further out, we hope to outgrow our little space and think about a stand-alone brick and mortar in a couple of years.

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Sunflower Diner is now open for take-out orders and delivery. Check out their Facebook page and Instagram for info and updates!

Head on over to my Instagram to enter to win a $20 gift card to Sunflower Diner!

Review: Best Plant-Based Jerky Ever from Urban Cowboy Foods

Hey Friends!

I always love to try the newest vegan snacks out there and am excited to share the Best Plant-Based Jerky Ever (that’s the actual name!) from Urban Cowboy Foods!

When considering shifting to a plant-based diet, people often think they will miss out on the foods they love the most. Luckily for us, just about anything and everything can be made from plants, including jerky!

Urban Cowboy developed a delicious plant-based jerky and I got to try the Black Pepper flavor. I must say I’m impressed!

Urban Cowboy Best Plant Based Jerky Ever

I’ve had plant-based jerky in the past, and the biggest challenge is nailing the texture. Urban Cowboy did it. Their jerky is chewy but not too tough and absolutely bursting with flavor. It’s made with mushrooms, gluten-free soy sauce, natural smoke flavor, and spices to deliver an authentic jerky flavor that is on point. It even has 13 grams of protein, making it a satisfying and good-for-you snack!

If you’re vegan or just looking for a low calorie, plant-based snack that goes big in the flavor department, give the Best Plant-Based Jerky Ever a try!

Daily Crunch Snacks: Healthy, Delicious & Vegan

Helloooo again!

It’s been a minute since I reviewed any new snacks and I’m thrilled to share my new favorite with you!

Daily Crunch Snacks offers super healthy, insanely tasty snacks that are non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, and keto. They even won Good House Keeping’s Best Healthy Snack Award!

If you’re anything like me, you try to eat as healthy as possible, but aren’t into bland, boring snacks (celery sticks? No, thanks!) Well, I got to try out three flavors of Daily Crunch Sprouted Almonds and I’m a huge fan!

If you didn’t know, almonds contain healthy fats, protein, fiber, magnesium, and vitamin E. They are a nutritious snack, but raw or roasted almonds kind of lack in the flavor department and generally aren’t very exciting.

So, what are sprouted almonds? Sprouted almonds are soaked in water and allowed to germinate. They are then dried at low temperatures. This process not only enhances the nutritional value and makes them easier to digest, but it also makes them really crunchy!

Daily Crunch Sprouted Almonds

The Daily Crunch Sprouted Almonds Just.Almonds. are the epitome of what sprouted almonds should be! This snack is crunchy, satisfying, and let’s the delicious, natural flavor of almonds steal the show!

Daily Crunch Coffee-Soaked Sprouted Almonds

Calling all coffee-fiends! This is the snack of your dreams! The Daily Crunch Coffee-Soaked Sprouted Almonds offer the same addicting crunch with the flavor of freshly ground coffee beans. These are a must-try!

Daily Crunch Golden Goodness Sprouted Almonds

Last, I tried the Golden Goodness Sprouted Almonds made with turmeric and sea salt, and was actually shocked at the mouthwatering flavor! They’re made with nutritional yeast (a staple in every vegan’s pantry that gives food a cheesy taste) along with coconut aminos and onion powder to deliver a nutty, zesty, cheesy snack. If you’re looking for a healthy alternative to chips or other flavorful yet unhealthy foods, this is it!

I highly recommend giving Daily Crunch Sprouted Almonds a try… and you may even get a chance to win some in my upcoming holiday giveaway! 😉

See you on Instagram!

Oubble Organic Skincare Subscription Box

There’s a new subscription box in town!

Oubble (love saying the name!) offers a truly customized subscription box filled with samples of small-batch, organic skincare products. Best of all, they work exclusively with women-owned businesses. Empowered women empower women, amiright ladies?!

When you sign up on the Oubble website, they walk you through a bunch of different options to ensure you’re getting samples that fit your specific preferences and needs. Make sure to click that you’re interested in vegan products!

Right now, they are offering $2.00 off of your first box! You always get free shipping, a gift on your bday, and you can cancel anytime! Love that!

So, the kind folks at Oubble sent me a box to try and I got exactly what I was hoping for! I’m always looking to discover new cruelty-free and vegan products (you may have guessed, it’s kinda my thing 😉). I received 6 samples from companies I have never heard of before!

Oubble Box Samples
Oubble Box Made Simple Face Mask and Toner

I received Auromère’s Pre-Shampoo Conditioner, Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques Organic Sweet Chai Lip Scrub, Lenora Organic Skincare Coconut Cacao Organic Antioxidant Mask, Vermont Soap Lavender Ecstasy Body Wash, and a Rose Grapefruit Face Toner and Strawberry Hibiscus Face Mask from Made Simple Skin Care.

If someone let me loose in a room full of skincare (a total dream come true) and asked me to pick out 6 samples, the samples I received are pretty spot on! I love fruity scents and masks, and the pre-conditioner is prefect for my extremely dry hair.

The Bottom Line: I love that Oubble box supports women-owned businesses and exclusively offers organic skincare. Their questionnaire at sign-up asks all of the important questions to make sure you get samples you will actually like, and it totally worked for me!

If you love natural skincare, Oubble is for you! 💚

Oubble Skincare Box

WANTED: Contributors for this Year’s Vegan & Cruelty-Free Holiday Gift Guide!

The holidays will be here before we know it and I’m putting together this year’s Vegan & Cruelty-Free Holiday Gift Guide… but doing it a little differently!

I’ve met a lot of amazing vegan bloggers and companies over the last year and want to help support them!

So, this year, I am looking for 10 vegan bloggers to contribute items to the gift guide, in the form of a short, high quality video and/or image, and written description (no more than 200 words). All contributors will be fully credited for their submissions.

The product categories that will be included in the gift guide are:

  • Cosmetics
  • Hair care
  • Skincare
  • Body care
  • Snacks
  • Clothing and apparel
  • Subscription boxes
  • Deliverable gifts (think cookie boxes, meal services,etc.)
  • Health and #wellness
  • Other

If you’re a vegan company that sells any of the above, or a vegan blogger who would like to contribute, please send me a DM with your ideas on IG @ Vegantreasurehunter or email vegantreasurehunter@gmail.com.

All submissions will be subject to review and edited to create one cohesive gift guide. Submissions may not be accepted if the quality of the video/image or written description do not meet the requirements. All contributors will be required to share the guide on their IG.

Here’s to a happy holiday season!