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North Texas has experienced an impressive increase in the number of food trucks traveling the highways and roads serving unique foods from grilled lamb, gourmet cupcakes to chopped liver. More cities like Arlington, Richardson, Frisco and Dallas are embracing the trend and opening up special "mobile" parks and recreation sites to meet the demand. At last count there were over 44 privately owned food trucks in Dallas, alone. However, less than 1% of the active and operating trucks are fully 100% plant-based, vegan or vegetarian.

Research shows more carnivores are interested in purchasing and eating more healthy food options at retail and mobile locations. A local Dallas Farmers Market startup pop-up kitchen, Soulgood, is building its organic vegan and vegetarian fast food truck. The company, owned by Integrality, LLC, has launched a public campaign to crowdfund the capital needed to finish the project. The company has spent two years operating as a temporary vendor in The Shed at the Dallas Farmers Market and collecting feedback from patrons who express a growing demand for more plant-based options and mobility.

The company just completed a market analysis project with graduate Accounting students from the University of Texas Dallas with rave reviews for their work in the community, business model and plans for expansion and growth. Soulgood expects to launch the new vegan food truck this Fall after raising $6,000 to finalize the mobile kitchen equipment installations.

Soulgood is a vegetarian and vegan fast food pop-up restaurant which serves healthy organic vegan and vegetarian fast foods using locally sourced ingredients and sustainable practices. The company's mission is to save the planet, people and animals by serving foods with integrity and no regret.

To learn more read the latest CEO Mom Magazine feature about the founder and the company's purpose.

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In a quiet suburb 13-miles west of Downtown Dallas, a local elementary school has added more fiber to their lesson plans. In Grand Prairie, Colin Powell Elementary School has re-opened its local garden on campus. The garden is an oasis located behind the elementary school on less than a third of an acre. The fenced garden contains six garden beds, a rainwater harvesting center, a shed, a bench and a small containable pond that is filled with rocks today with the hope of replacing the rocks with small fish and turtles.

Powell Elementary Garden Club launched its fall gardening classes last month and has begun clearing the land, planting seeds and integrating lessons into the curriculum to teach students about planting fruits, vegetables, shrubs and herbs. "We feel this garden provides many teachable moments for the teachers and students. Believe it or not, we have found some students are not familiar with plants such as broccoli or cabbage," shares Amy Swinehart, First Grade Teacher for Colin Powell Elementary in the Grand Prairie Independent School District.

The school's goals are to create a community within the school and expose the students to sustainable farming practices at an early age. Teachers would like to introduce nutrition at an early age in hopes of doing their part to combat obesity on a small scale. "The students are able to take what we grow back to the classroom, research the plants and then share a meal together," states Swinehart. The goals seem attainable but the teachers worry the external community may not support their mission. The garden has been vandalized and has had property stolen including plants on numerous occasions. "We need the community's help to ensure this garden is safe. We're working on a plan to secure the space all year round," states Kevin Pennebaker, Art Teacher and Garden Club Coordinator for Colin Powell Elementary.

Despite the challenges, the school plans to continue its effort to re-launch the Garden Club this month and has recently been awarded a grant from a local nonprofit called, Rain Ranchers, who will provide two 255-gallon rainwater barrels to help the gardeners harvest fresh rainwater to sustain the garden during the brutal Texas seasons and to save money on water.  The school also partners with Real School Gardens whose staff comes out to the school to provide free seeds, training for the staff, volunteers and students.

The Powell Elementary Garden Club is planning a garden day fundraiser and is looking for more community partners to volunteer, provide materials, gardening supplies and funding to help sustain the project. To learn more contact Kevin Pennebaker at (972)642-3961 or Kevin.Pennebaker@gpisd.org.

Story by Cynthia Nevels, amateur chef and Natural Food Enthusiast.

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Snappy SaladsIf you happen to work near the Richardson-Campbell Road area and you are looking for a healthy and flavorful alternative to fast food, stop by Snappy Salads to see what is new on the menu.  Snappy Salads is an award-winning, eco-centric, guy-focused, and innovative new restaurant located at 320 W. Campbell Road just off the intersection of I-75 and Campbell Road in Richardson, Texas.

Snappy Salads offers a menu of unique salads that differ from traditional flair with a style and intensity of flavor combinations that cater to all but works to show men it is cool to try a salad every now and again. The restaurant’s take out bags display their belief in this philosophy that their salads are - so good, even guys like our salads.

While working in corporate America, owner and chef, Chris Dahlander, envisioned Snappy Salads as a result of his own frustration with finding an alternative to fatty burgers and fries while constantly maneuvering his tight work schedule. He launched the new restaurant with the goal to always serve high-quality foods while being mindful of the impact his choices may have on the environment.

Over the years, Chef Chris began to notice his tastes began to change. He decided to embark on creating radical and progressive new Menu Salads.  After 12 months of testing and tweaking, Snappy Salads now offers five new menu salads that clearly are challenging the preconceived notion that salads are just for lunch.  The Bam Bam Salad is power-packed with quinoa, spinach, arugula, artisan mix, dried bing cherries, hand-chopped almonds, red onion, red cabbage, pulled chicken and a handmade Sweet Parsley Vinaigrette.  The Speakeasy evokes all the nostalgia of a traditional hot-bacon dressing that gently wilts a bowl of spinach, onion, pulled chicken, sliced egg, and mushroom, but gets an update with a bacon brittle topping.  The Thai Chicken Lettuce Boats and Yellowfin Tuna Salad were so popular as featured salads, that they were easy additions to the menu.  And, without a doubt, the centerpiece of the new Menu Salads is the Chef’s personal favorite the Gaucho, with a grilled-to-order marinated beef tenderloin that crowns a mixture of artisan lettuce, udon noodle, tomato, cilantro, mint, peanut, savoy cabbage, mango, and fresh-sliced avocado.  The Gaucho is sure to create an army of raving fanatics just like the Grilled Avocado has done.

If you would prefer a spot of wine or beer to accompany your salad, you will be excited about the Xingu Black and Omission Lager gluten-free beers which are described as quite light and delicious. For wine lovers, Snappy Salads offers a nice iL Moscatto, a Caymus Conumdrum blended white, and Kenwood’s Pinot Noir wines in half-bottle servings. This ensures that your glass is always perfectly fresh.

The ambiance of the restaurant reflects Chef Chris’ attention to protecting the environment. All the tables and stools are made from reclaimed wood recovered from tobacco factories of the 1920s.  The delicate glow of lighting beams through recycled mason jars, wine bottles and Dr. Pepper bottles. All lighting energy is less than 350 watts which means less energy to run and less to cool. Chef Chris is also committed to having great teams to ensure a unique and personal customer experience. Chef Chris shares, “There are no “big I’s and little u’s” at Snappy Salads.”  The company has a policy where all team members start out as dish washers, including new managers. This ensures that every team member knows the importance of every detail in the restaurant and how all details merge to support the overall success of the restaurant.

Without question Snappy Salads is a great place to consider when thinking of high quality food, unique customer service, and a great place to gather for a guys night out for fun at the newest location in Richardson. Don’t worry North Dallas there is a new location opening September 6,2013 near SMU at Greenville Road.

 

Story by Cynthia Nevels and Teresa Walker, amateur chef and natural food enthusiast.

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Paul and Stephanie Jarrett

There are new vitamin supplements, frozen and fresh health foods, and health products launched every day. If you are looking to make a lifestyle change you know how challenging it is to keep up with what is on the market. It is even harder to find samples of these products to find out for yourself what works for your body and what doesn’t before you invest your hard earned money.  

In 2012, Paul and Stephanie Jarrett had just finished running the San Francisco half marathon. They were given a bunch of different samples of healthy products. “It was fun to receive them, but it got us thinking about how none of the companies were at the event gathering market data – and how difficult it must be for those companies supplying the samples to measure the return on their investment (ROI),” shares Paul.

Stephanie Jarrett worked in the nutrition industry and knew how difficult it can be to determine the ROI of distributing samples, and the industry spends billions doing it.

An idea sparked and in 2012 they launched Bulu Box. Bulu Box is a fun and easy way for people to discover vitamins, nutrition or other health products. You just sign-up for a monthly or annual subscription, and Bulu Box will send you a box filled with different premium sample products based on your health needs. You share what you think about the products by completing online surveys and engaging in social media promotion. In exchange, you receive points that convert into cash which you can then use to buy the full-size version of the products you like.

The company is growing and has already secured $550,000.00 in capital and is working day and night to close their next round of $1 million for their startup. They are raising capital to invest in hiring more talent, investing in marketing and boosting their advertising.  

“We have found people want functional foods, foods that serve a purpose,” states Jarrett. We look forward to seeing how this company fairs in combining health, nutrition and purpose on Main Street. To learn more or order your first Bulu Box visit www.bulubox.com and sign up for your first month.  To listen to Paul’s latest interview on Disrtupt Radio click here.

Story by Cynthia Nevels, amateur chef and natural food enthusiast.

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When you think of food festivals, Pleasant Grove normally is not the first place that comes to mind. Next Saturday, Mayor Mike Rawlins and local city officials look to change that perception in southeast Dallas. The Taste of Pleasant Grove kicks off its first festival in Memorial Park on July 27, 2013.

The fun filled day will include food tasting, a cook off, shopping, a mini car show, an 85-foot boot camp obstacle course, and boxing matches. Children can enjoy inflatable slides, pony rides, clowns and face painting. The highlight of the event will be an evening concert by Havana NRG, a timba-influenced Latin salsa band.

 

“This is a great opportunity for families and friends to eat, play and shop together, but more importantly, local businesses and budding entrepreneurs can showcase their products,” states Georgia Reese, event coordinator and President of Clarice Community Services.

 

Taste of Pleasant Grove happens Saturday, July 27, 2013. The free event will be held at the Crawford Memorial Park at 8700 Elam Road, Dallas, TX 75217 from 8 am to 8 pm. Event sponsors include Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Starwalk of Dallas, INKS, Integrality Consulting, Soulgood Vegetarian to Go and Eastfield College Business Club.

Story by Cynthia Nevels, author of Soulful Vegetarian Cooking: A Southern Girl's Meaty Love Affair and Romantic Journey to Natural Foods on Instagram, amateur chef and natural food enthusiast.

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When you think of food festivals, Pleasant Grove normally is not the first place that comes to mind. Next Saturday, Mayor Mike Rawlins and local city officials look to change that perception in southeast Dallas. The Taste of Pleasant Grove kicks off its first festival in Memorial Park on July 27, 2013.

The fun filled day will include food tasting, a cook off, shopping, a mini car show, an 85-foot boot camp obstacle course, and boxing matches. Children can enjoy inflatable slides, pony rides, clowns and face painting. The highlight of the event will be an evening concert by Havana NRG, a timba-influenced Latin salsa band.

 

“This is a great opportunity for families and friends to eat, play and shop together, but more importantly, local businesses and budding entrepreneurs can showcase their products,” states Georgia Reese, event coordinator and President of Clarice Community Services.

 

Taste of Pleasant Grove happens Saturday, July 27, 2013. The free event will be held at the Crawford Memorial Park at 8700 Elam Road, Dallas, TX 75217 from 8 am to 8 pm. Event sponsors include Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Starwalk of Dallas, INKS, Integrality Consulting, Soulgood Vegetarian to Go and Eastfield College Business Club.

Story by Cynthia Nevels, author of Soulful Vegetarian Cooking: A Southern Girl's Meaty Love Affair and Romantic Journey to Natural Foods on Instagram, amateur chef and natural food enthusiast.

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Whole Foods will open its doors at 5100 Beltline Road in Addison on Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 8:00AM. They have gone to great lengths to pay homage to Kaboom Town. Much of the artwork and decor reflects the town's highlights from the firework bursts to airplanes paying tribute to Addison's Flight Museum. The new 40,000 square foot building is green from floor to ceiling using reclaimed wood from Texas and 21 auto adjustable skylights.

The new store offers fresh and organic goodies for food and wine lovers such as custom cheese creations upon request, over 550 varieties of spicy and savory cheeses; and a new "Wine Geek" feature with wine favorites from local oenophiles, sommeliers, chefs and local media.  There will also be new ripe ideas hanging around on the flying banana display in the produce section and tasty lemon dill almonds. Local DFW suppliers will provide everything from Deep Ellum beer, wine to Dorper lamb. Patrons can try one of the many beers on draft and wine by the glass at the Spirit of 76 bar which has 25 beverages on tap.

If you are thinking about eating cleaner or adding more whole foods to your diet, try the concierge service. Guests can email or call in their grocery order and Whole Foods will do the shopping for you. They can collect plant-based goodies from local farmers and have it ready for you in time for dinner. Your first concierge order is free. 

If you are in the area, drop by on Tuesday, July 16, 2013, at 8:00AM. The first 100 guests will receive Whole Foods Market gift cards in varying denominations ranging from $5 up to $250. You can even charge your electric car at the new charging station.

 


 

Story by Cynthia Nevels, amateur chef and natural food enthusiast. Chef Cynthia is owner of Soulgood Vegetarian to Go and contributing writer for Eatgreendfw.com. She is the author of her latest book, titled "Soulful Vegetarian Cooking: A Southern Girl’s Meaty Love Affair and Romantic Journey to Natural Foods on Instagram."

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Jack’s Southern Comfort FoodThere is simply something magical about the great taste of southern comfort food. When you are famished and tired of eating fast food; you want something to hit the spot. Perhaps a bowl of homemade mac ‘n cheese, freshly picked peas or fluffy buttermilk biscuits could be the fix you need to help you relax and forget about your work day.

It helps to eat foods that are prepared with ingredients from local sources. If nothing else it makes you feel good about eating well. There is one restaurant in Dallas that understands how important local foods are to helping its patrons feel good about eating well.  Jack’s Southern Comfort Food is a family business with a mission to serve locally farmed produce, cage free organic eggs, pure butter and locally produced dairy. They prepare it in a way that feels like it just came out of your mother’s kitchen.

I asked Chef Jones why using local foods in his restaurant is important. Jones sharesd, “It is the way I grew up. It was important to my mother to find local farmers and artisans, bring home the goods and create something spectacular.”

Legendary Dallas restaurateur Scott Jones, started Jack’s Southern Comfort Food, a new restaurant, market and catering company that pays homage to this culinarian’s humble roots and his mama’s home cooking. Jones is a Texas culinary legend with a reputation for doing the best gourmet home-cookin’ outside of your mama’s and mee-maw’s houses. Drawing from his Texan and Cajun roots, Jones is known for such innovative restaurant concepts as Screen Door, Café Italia, gourmet a go-go, and Cowtown Diner.

Jack’s Southern Comfort Food will showcase samples at this weekend’s Taste of Dallas. The Taste of Dallas kicks off this Friday, July 12, 2013. You can, also, taste some of his can’t-beat-this-if-you-tried, shut-the-front-door kind of biscuit recipe at the family restaurant located at 1905 Greenville Avenue, where the sweet smell of home-cooked goodness wafts through the air. But you have to hurry, the restaurant will move to a new location and serve their last brunch on July 28, 2013.

 

Local food sources Chef Jones likes to patron:

Lemley’s Produce and Plants

Dallas Farmers Market

 

Rudolph Market and Sausage

Deep Ellum

 

Dallas Mozzarella

Deep Ellum

 

To learn more tune in to the Disrupt Radio interview, hosted by Cynthia Nevels, with Chef Scott Jones.


Story by Cynthia Nevels, amateur chef and natural food enthusiast. Chef Cynthia is owner of Soulgood Vegetarian to Go and contributing writer for Eatgreendfw.com. She is the author of her latest book, titled "Soulful Vegetarian Cooking: A Southern Girl’s Meaty Love Affair and Romantic Journey to Natural Foods on Instagram."

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2013 Taste of Dallas at Fair Park

Story by Cynthia Nevels, amateur chef and natural food enthusiast.

2013 Taste of DallasThe 27th annual Taste of Dallas will be held from 4 to 11 p.m., Friday, July 12, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday, July 13, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, July 14, in Dallas’ Fair Park. Taste of Dallas continues to support the their official nonprofit partner, the American Heart Association, which will offer free screenings, free CPR training and heart-healthy education at the event. Soulgood will debut its new vegetarian to go restaurant at the Health and Wellness Expo in the automobile building this year. The new Health and Wellness Xxpo will feature spas to massage, yoga and Pilates, dentists, doctors and nutrition experts will teach how to lead a stronger, healthier life.

Come out to see Chef Cynthia, author of Soulful Vegetarian Cooking: A Southern Girl's Romantic Meatly Love Affair and Journey to Natural Foods on Instagram (2013, CYL Publishing) and contributing writer for EatGreenDFW.com. She will teach you the secrets behind one of her favorite organic vegetarian recipes from her new book in a live cooking demonstration.

Click here to pre-order a copy of Chef Cynthia's new book today! She'll autograph books at the Health and Wellness Expo on Sunday, July 14th between 1:00PM - 3:00PM.  

To learn more about this year's Taste of Dallas visit www.tasteofdallas.org and order your tickets early! Will you attend this year's Taste of Dallas? Tell us all about your food adventures at eatgreen@eatsoulgood.com.

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In celebration of National Soul Food Month, Chef Keith “Buttons” Hicks and the team at Buttons Restaurant including investor, Herbert Hughes, hosted a stylish event at their Addison restaurant on the evening of June 20th.  Hughes provided a quick background of the vision to have a diverse social scene that would include diverse ethnicities, good food and good music.  There are currently two locations, Fort Worth and Addison with another hot spot coming soon to Houston. The celebration included several new items from Chef Buttons’ signature Southern Cuisine menu. It was thrilling to see how so many new items included fresh vegetables or in Buttons’ terms…fresh plants!   Chef Buttons shared, "It is importance for food not only to taste good but to be health conscious, as well."

The new Wedgeburg Salad includes a crisp wedge of iceberg lettuce with sliced ham, onions, eggs, tomatoes, bleu cheese crumbles and bleu cheese dressing. Surprisingly even non-bleu cheese lovers will find this starter to be quite surprising. Even vegans will agree with the absence of ham, the bleu cheese dressing had a smokey flavor that is lite and tasty.

Another starter to remember is Buttons’ Fried Green Tomatoes.  This crudité includes thick, hand-cut, fresh green tomatoes battered in Buttons seasoned corn flour, deep fried and served with an over easy egg, grilled sliced ham, red eye gravy and béarnaise then garnished with a colorful spring mix, tossed with jalapeno ranch dressing. This delightful starter will have you asking for more. 

One of the entrées featured in the tasting was Chef Buttons’ Fire Grilled Chicken and Plants. The course includes herb marinated chicken breast served with grilled ratatouille in a caper, butter, and white wine sauce.  It had a soirée of fresh vegetables including eggplant, squash, zucchini, asparagus, red onion and plump cherry tomatoes.  

Buttons is taking a new approach to combining hip, fresh whole foods and entertainment by now including theatre.

On June 24th, Buttons will premiere a Sunday night dinner and theatre event. The first presentation in Addison will feature local playwright Ty Ford’s Forbidden Love.  Coming in July, Buttons will feature its first Dinner Mystery, a type of whodunit for an entertaining interaction with dinner patrons. So stay tuned and make your way to Buttons for whole soul foods, music and cool socializing.

Have a favorite restaurant that serves whole foods, plant based goodies? Share them with us at eatgreen@eatsoulgood.com.