Thursday, December 25, 2008

Purely Decadent !

Wow...This is the best ice cream I've had in years !!!! My sweet husband picked it up at a mainstream grocery store ( tomorrow he's going to look for more flavors ! ) I've seen it around, but had not tried it yet. The chocolate flavor is smooth and rich, and blends seamlessly with the incredibly silky coconut milk. I can't wait to try the other more making excuses or apologizing for vegan ice creams ! The ingredients read : Organic coconut milk, organic agave syrup,chicory root extract, cocoa, carob bean gum, guar gum, natural flavor. What baffles me is if such a good product can be made from such simple, pure ingredients without harm to the animals, why on Earth would you have it any other way ?

Friday, December 19, 2008

For The Birds

This morning I made 10 "suet" cakes to give away as gifts, and to feed to the wild birds that visit our feeders. I used tofu tubs as molds. Last Spring I used tofu tubs as seedling starter trays.
the recipe I found online and then adapted, using some older wheat germ and buckwheat kernels to bulk it up a little. I hope they hold together ! They're all in the fridge, chillin down and firming up right now.
I'd followed an older thread online about making vegan suet cakes for birds and someone chimed in and said that the vegan was "self-righteously imposing their warped values on the natural order of things" if using animal suet rendered from farmed animals was not imposing on nature, or , the very animals who had to endure very unnatural conditions and then slaughter. Jeez !
I'll post the recipe later :>

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Gingerbread Peace Activists

The results from the flurry of baking for CCAN's Open House at Mike Tidwell's home in Takoma Park on the 13th of December included these guys, ready for action and totally vegan !

Mike graciously lets us set up our vegan advocacy tables and tent during the event to offer plant-based food information and bake sale goodies to compliment their message of reducing our impact on the planet. Chesapeake Climate Action Network promotes individual actions such as eating lower on the food chain, replacing old lightbulbs with CFLs , installing solar panels, collecting rain from your roof in barrels for the garden, and writing to our representatives in government demanding clean renewable energy. Check out their website and get involved :>

Mike Tidwell is a tireless, informed and engaging speaker and writer for the cause and can be heard hosting Earthbeat Radio, along with Daphne Wysham and on Jay Tomlinson's excellent podcast, The World On Fire , as well as appearing on numerous television shows. He's written essays for Orion, Audubon, Grist and others as well as authoring the prescient book Bayou Farewell and a follow-up of sorts, Ravaging Tide. It is an honor to be associated with him, CCAN, the small army of dedicated interns, and of course, Jay!

Here's the recipe for the cookies. Of course, use organic ingredients when ever's better for everyone . The dough is easy to work with, and does'nt spread out or puff up too much while baking. Makes 10-12 4" delicious Agents Of Change.

GINGERBREAD FOLKS ( adapted from a Vegetarian Resource Group recipe )
1/4 cup oil
1/3 cup evaporate cane brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses ( not blackstrap...use a mild molasses )
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup oat flour ( grind some oatmeal in a blender till is is finely crumbled...some bigger particles are don't need it as fine as wheat flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh orange zest ( optional but nice :> )
1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon orange juice
Beat together the first 3 ingredients in a large bowl ( or bowl of stand mixer ). Sift together all the rest of the ingredients except for the orange juice. Add the dry, sifted ingredients to the sugar and oil mixture, alternating with the orange juice. Refrigerate dough for several hours. Roll out dough no thinner than 1/8", cut out shapes, transfer to baking sheets and bake at 350 for 8-12 minute...depending on shape and thickness. The thinner they are rolled the crisper they will be when baked. Don't over-bake ! Cool on racks. These also freeze well.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Vegan Baking Musings

It has recently occured to me that there seems to be two major reactions to vegan baking, as a subject.
The predominant one : " How could you possibly bake without eggs, butter, milk ? ! ", and then there is, " What ? Why would there be any animal "product" in this bread, cookie, pie, cake..." I was of the first opinion before I became vegan. But pretty quickly I came to (and after two years of baking, sampling, reading, talking about, sampling some more....) the second opinion...why would you want to sully sweet baked goodness with the pain and suffering inherent in animal abuse and slaughter ? Especially when easy effective alternatives abound.

Maybe that's what is so wonderful about vegan baking...every cookie, cake, pie or loaf of bread that gets baked without using the animals is a silent offering to them.

I'm getting ready to go into bake-sale mode for an upcoming event and look forward to introducing more people to the joys of vegan baking ( and eating ! ).

So many great vegan cookbooks out there now..including this fantastic one by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: The Joy Of Vegan Baking.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Western Maryland Vegetarian Society and a recipe

Wow...almost 2 months since I've posted anything. It's not like there is a lack of vegan related topics to blog fact, the further I get into this, the more I realize how much loops back to our society's brutal ( or indifferent ) treatment of animals and our disconnect from nature. Living right across from a cow and calf operation is a constant sad reminder.
But yesterday afternoon, I took a break and attended a Vegan Holiday Potluck in Hagerstown, hosted by Western Maryland Vegetarian , met some great people and am now re-energized ! We had some fantastic food at the potluck . The big hits were Chocolate Almond cupcakes made by the daughter of a couple attending. I'm sorry I don't remember their names, but I do recall that the young baker got the recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. I think there was a total of 15 people ...and like Ginnie says, we were all speaking the same language :> Nice, also, to see a table loaded with beautiful, tasty vegan foods and not have to wonder about it's origins.
And now, a recipe for a chicken-like Seitan. It is easy to make, just make sure you have everything. I've made this several times and love it as a sandwich filling ( slice it thinly ) , cut into strips and fried up for fajitas, chopped up and added to a Shepard's Pie...and it freezes very well. The recipe originates from Ann Gentry's Real Food Daily cookbook. Lot's of great recipes in it, and all vegan !

Chicken-style Seitan:

1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more for pan, plus 1/2 cup canola oil

2/3 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3 1/2 cups gluten flour

1 cup garbanzo flour

2/3 cup nutritional yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1 3/4 cups freshly cooked cannellini beans, see Cook's note*

1/3 cup tamari

3 cups water

*Cook's Note: If your blender isn't large enough to hold all of the water called for in this recipe, add just enough of it to create a smooth and creamy bean puree, then stir the remaining water into the puree in a large bowl. You can substitute canned organic white beans for the freshly cooked cannellini beans, if desired. After draining, a 15-ounce can will yield 1 3/4 cups of beans.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line an 8-inch square baking pan with 2-inch-high sides with parchment paper. Lightly oil the parchment paper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 5 minutes, or until tender. Set aside to cool.

Stir the gluten flour, garbanzo flour, nutritional yeast, and salt in a large bowl to blend. Puree the beans, 1/2 cup canola oil, tamari, and sauteed onion mixture in a blender until smooth, adding some of the water to create a smooth and creamy consistency. Whisk the bean puree and the remaining water in another large bowl to blend. Quickly stir the bean mixture into the flour mixture until a very wet dough forms. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking pan and smooth the top. Cover with aluminum foil.

Place the pan of Seitan Dough in a larger roasting pan. Add enough water to come halfway up the sides of the pan of seitan. Bake for 2 hours, adding more water to the roasting pan if necessary, or until the seitan is firm on top. Cool the seitan to room temperature. Quarter the seitan into 4 equal (1-pound each) squares.

The seitan will keep for 2 days, covered and refrigerated. Wrap the seitan squares separately in plastic wrap, then enclose them in a resealable plastic bag and freeze them up to 1 week, if desired.

Yield: 4 1/2 pounds

Saturday, October 25, 2008

It's The Animals !

Animal agriculture has been in the news a lot lately. October has seen a lot of coverage.

Oprah's powerful October 13th show focused on California's Prop 2 coming up for a vote Nov.4th. Both proponents and those opposed to the initiative were well represented. Video clips were shown from a variety of sources, even some undercover footage taken in a veal barn. The farmers who oppose Prop 2 insist that they will be ruined, forced to give up the business of raising animals for food. They happily gave tours of their modern 'farms', unabashedly presented hundreds of enormous sows living their lives out in gestation crates so confining that they cannot ever turn around, or hens crammed into cages suspended in barns, their feet, wings and beaks in constant danger of becoming entangled in the wire of the cages....presented this as the most modern humane way...this way they're free from food competition, aggression from the other animals and can be administered shots and have their health managed much more individually....all in the name of better animal health and food safety, they say. Other farmers, who use more "humane" methods, also happily gave tours of their farms, insisting that more sunlight, space ,natural food and opportunities to stretch wings and root in the dirt is not only better for the animals and the taste of their flesh, but also for the farmer's bottom line. HSUS's Wayne Pacelle spoke eloquently and patiently for the animals who have no voice in all of this debate over their bodies and lives.

Michael Pollan wrote a fantastic 8,000 word letter to the incoming president addressing changes that need to be made in how we grow and eat our food in the October 12th issue of the NYTimes magazine. Very worth reading.

And this week's NYTimes Magazine has an article about Wayne Pacelle, titled, The Barnyard Strategist, and how he's shaped the HSUS in the last four years into a very powerful politically savvy voice for farmed animals as well as advocates for cats and dogs.

Daily reminders of food prices going up , due in part, to feeding 70% of US grain to farmed animals and to quote Pollan's letter to the president, "...40% of the world's grain output today is fed to animals; 11 percent is fed to cars and trucks, in the form of biofuels."
Animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of global manmade greenhouse gases. We're bringing the planet down for the luxury of eating cheap animal flesh and their secretions. How is it that people can't connect the dots, now that it's been drawn out for us to so plainly see ?

Even the comic strip, Mutts, written and drawn by Patrick McDonnell brought the animals' plight to the table in the Washington Post for the week of October 12-17th with the animals themselves sweetly pleading people to hear their voices.

So. I should be happy that all of this is hitting mainstream America. Right ? I am, to some degree. What I'm not seeing, feeling, is the outrage that I had hoped people would feel when they see what a horrific, filthy , polluting, cruel scam the whole animal agribiz is. It is still business as usual. Pollan weakly promotes eating less meat , but mentions grass-fed beef as the answer so often I wonder if he's got a stake ( no pun intended, seriously ! ) in it. But it's not just "meat"'s dairy, it's's the animals !!!!!!!
I keep hoping Pollan will come to his senses and go vegan. What a force he could be. I do really love his idea of a White House Organic garden on the South Lawn....what a wonderful example.

So. Yes. Word is getting out. But with the constant election buzz on and the economic meltdown in mid-ooze, I think the message that industrial animal agriculture is bad, bad, bad, just becomes background noise. Too bad it can't sell air time for the networks like the silly doings of celebrities and/or the presidential and vice presidential candidate's mudslinging. Sigh.

Well, as my husband says, Continue To March...!

One more thing.... You would think that the alternative to breeding, feeding, applying antibiotics and growth hormones; disposing of all the waste of the animals and dealing with the attendant water, air, and land pollution; and finally slaughtering, processing, shipping and storing ( all very energy intensive ) of the body parts and by-products was something so repulsive and difficult as to be a non-starter. Tofu ? Plant milks ? Nuts, grains, fruits, vegetables...such simple, easy and incredibly tasty ways to feed ourselves without bringing down the planet. It feels so good to be vegan, but so sad to take this all in.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New Calves in the Field

My husband and I live directly across from a "cow and calf" operation. On the surface the farm presents the perfect pastoral scene: green rolling hills fall away to a creek that meanders along the edge of some woods. Birds flit in and out of the trees, deer emerge and browse. We've seen 5 kinds of woodpeckers, Indigo Buntings, Redstarts, Blackpoll Warblers, and enough other kinds of birds to wear binoculars many days that I walk with my neighbors and our dogs through the woods. There are even nesting owls and hawks within the little forest.
Cattle navigate in the sea of grasses, content to eat, sleep, chew their cud and tend to their young, who are born right there in the field. Sometimes you can see them minutes after they enter the world. You could even see them being born, if you knew when to look.
The cows udders swell with milk for their babies...just a little though, not like those hideously stretched, distended and painful looking udders on the poor milk cows. The young calves play amongst each other, literally kicking up their heels, nuzzling faces and forming friendships. Sometimes they follow us, as we walk the dogs along the fence line, the bolder ones making a big show of coming closer and closer then suddenly, expolsively, eyes rolling wildly, losing their nerve and wheeling off, arcing clots of dirt, grass and manure through the air. These "meat" cattle enjoy a relatively peaceful and natural existence, until the calve are "weaned ": rounded up and herded onto a transport trailer and hauled off to feedlots or other "finishers". The mother cows bawl heart-breakingly for days, calling for their calves. The calves are all of 4-5 months old. Where ever the calves are , they must be terrified. The cows are already pregnant with the next calf. This process will continue for several years until the mother cow herself will hauled off to a feedlot or slaughterhouse.
The latest mass calf removal happened to fall on the day we hosted the Vegan 101 class on the 7th of September. ( see previous entry by Tanya...thanks for taking and posting the pictures, Mark ! ) I was unaware of the frantic calling, bawling, crying of the mothers...calling their babies over and over and over....until i stepped outside to walk one of our dogs in the early evening. I was all aglow with how well the class went... we had shared stories, recipes and food completely animal-free, and got to introduce some of the great food to people new to veganism. So it took a few minutes for the mothers' cries to penetrate.

Inside my head I wailed, " I am SO, SO SORRY ....." over, and over and over again. I can still hear them, and my own voice.

Scratch the surface of any food animal enterprise, no matter how "humane", and you will find an endless stream of needless suffering imposed on creatures whom we feel entitled to use. Going vegan alleviates the direct connection to the meat, milk and egg industries ( and going vegan is a direct action ), but it heightens your awareness of a horribly skewed food culture that views a simple, peaceful, nutritious plant-based diet as radical and extreme.
I'm only two years into being vegan, and every single day delivers new ( and many distressing old ) examples of why I continue to advocate for a vegan diet on behalf of the animals.

This evening I noticed down where the hill levels out and meets the stream , at the edge of the woods, 8 brand new calves and their mothers resting in the sea of grass. A few of the babies stared at us with wide-eyed curiosity as we walked by.
To the cows and their calves whom I share the sky, the rain and the Earth with, I can only say, again, I am so, so sorry.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Photos - Vegan Cooking 101

Photos from the Sept. 7 Vegan Cooking 101 demo are posted on our Picasa album. See for yourself all the great nibblies, like those in this photo. Delish!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

playing with graphics

Playing with stuff in Photoshop again....

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Vegan 101 Class

On September 7th, a Vegan 101 class was given by several New Leaf Vegan members, and held at my home. Tanya and Mark came early, bringing plant and nut milks to sample, taco filling ( for a dip ) homemade Hickory Bits ( where's the recipe, Tanya ?? ), chips, plates and bowls ( that are awaiting their entrance into the compost heap ) and some good ideas on setting up the event. We had 12 great "students" attend who spanned the range from committed vegan mothers raising their children vegan to a certain mother-in-law who gamely came along to "see what it's all about". It was really nice to see so much enthusiasm, curiosity and a willingness to try new ways with food !
We made a very simple seitan,tossing it into the oven to bake ( wrapped in foil )while I demonstrated making Eggless Egg Salad and Chickpea Of The Sea ( recipe to follow ! ) We also sampled 2 other types of I had made the day before ( a 'chicken' type)and J brought some fantastic chewy BBQ seitan that she had made at home. All 3 seitans had different textures, flavors and nutrition...and all very cheap to make at home. Good news when a little tub of it costs close to $4.00 in a grocery store, if you can find it! Homemade seitan is can slice it up for sandwiches ( hot or cold ) brown it up and use it as you would ground beef ( before you went vegan :>) in any number of ways. maybe we should have a seitan contest at some point...just to get the creativity going !
The plant and nut milk table was a hit...rice, almond, hazelnut, hemp, soy, oat were standing in for cow's milk. All were offered chilled with chocolate syrup on the side for those who wanted it. Hemp is my current's got lots of protein, calcium and some omega-3's. Oh, and it tastes great, too !
Gina brought some fantastic brownies and the recipe for them, and we made ( with the help of 17 year old V )and baked some Oatmeal Chocolate chip cookies to demonstrate that beaten ground flax seed can replace a hen's egg very nicely, adding fiber and omega-3's.
We talked about beans and grains (and sampled some Quinoa and Blackbean salad )and I wish we could have covered more nuts and seeds...nut butters, too ! So much to cover, because there is so much food that is just have to look beyond what's being pressed on us through clever advertising. The following is from Appetite For Profit
.." the food industry spends upwards of $36 billion annually to market its products.." and " corporations spend roughly $12 billion a year directly targeting children with junk food marketing. If parents are supposed to be the ones making decisions for their children, then why are companies bypassing parents altogether and marketing directly to kids? Because corporations such as McDonald’s aim to undermine parental authority by getting children to nag their parents. And it’s not only marketing for junk food that parents must contend with, but also for toys, video games, clothing, CDs, cell phones, computers, you name it."


OK, here's the Chickpea recipe. It's lifted and altered from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's fabulous cookbook : Vegan With A Vengeance. In her book it's called Chickpea-Hijiki Salad Sammiches. You'll be amazed how much it tastes like tuna !

I call it : Chickpea Of The Sea.
1 tablespoon dried hijiki, dulse or wakame granules, or other finely ground sea veggie
1 can ( 15-ounce) chickpeas, drained
2 tablespoons Fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons finely minced onion
1/4 to 1/2 cup finely diced celery
2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast ( Red Star Vegetarian Support )
salt and pepper, seasoning salt to taste.   I like a little ground cumin, too.
3-4 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
Stir the lemon juice or vinegar into the celery ,sea veggies, onion, nutritional yeast,salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside for a few minutes to soak.
Then mash the drained chickpeas into the stuff with either a fork or potato masher  until no whole chickpeas remain. Add the mayo, and mix it all up.
Use in sandwiches, wraps, lettuce cups or as a dip.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lip Smackin' Smooze

While wandering through Whole Foods, my husband recently discovered Smooze fruit ice. It is a refreshing and delicious vegan treat and perfect for a quick cool-down during these hot summer days. In its tidy little package, this chilled goody is not as messy as Popsicles, and nutritionally it has only 5o-70 calories and no high fructose corn syrup. This makes Smooze a smart choice for children and calorie-counting adults. Thanks to 100% coconut milk, this fruit ice is sinfully creamy and the tropical flavors (passion fruit, pineapple, mango, and pink guava) will transport you to a balmy beach in the South Pacific. Don't let its small size fool you, it is completely satisfying and full of flavor. I have fallen in love with Smooze and I bet you will too!

Lovin' Cake Love

In the last couple of years, the humble cupcake, once relegated to home-baked, school birthday party treats, has surpassed cakes, brownies, pies, and pretty much any other pastry, as the dessert du jour. Every bakery in town has a plain and fancy selection. However as a vegan, unless you live near only a handful of vegan bakeries in the country, you will need to drag out the bowls and baking pans and make your own. So what a delightful surprise when my husband and I were walking through Tysons mall and found the Cake Love bakery in the food court with two (!) vegan cupcakes for sale! We bought one each of the yellow and chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting, and the verdict is...yum! The buttercream frosting is wonderful...creamy, buttery, easily melts in your mouth, and has just the right amount of sweetness. The cake portion is not extraordinary, but it is good and I give the cupcakes an enthusiastic thumbs up.

The big story here is not that I've discoverd a really good cupcake, but that a mainstream bakery is progressive enough to offer vegan (and even gluten-free) items. Cake Love is the dream come true of lawyer turned baker Warren Brown; his story is inspiring and a must read on the website. Be sure to check out the information under the Green Label as it includes a great explanation of vegan products and veganism as well as links to and With two locations in DC, two locations in Virginia, and three in Maryland, if you live in the area, plan a special day that includes stopping in to Cake Love, thanking them for considering us vegans, and enjoying an absolutely lovely treat. If you don't live in the area, well they do'll have to save your pennies, but no doubt you'll have no regrets.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Whale of A Tale

If you’re looking for an easy and entertaining read this summer, grayson by Lynne Cox, is a great choice. This is the true story of a solitary event experienced by the author – swimming in the California coast with a lost baby whale looking for his mother. Lynne was only seventeen at the time, but certainly no ordinary teenager; she had already swum the English Channel, twice, and the Catalina channel, and her comfort and ability in the water comes through in her writing. Her connection with Grayson (the baby whale) is extraordinary, but Lynne’s vivid and reverent description of the sights, sound, and feel of the ocean will equally hold your attention. In the following example, Lynne senses an intensifying energy in the water and takes a look below the surface:

“Thousands of baby anchovy were darting through the water like lit sparklers.

Blinded by panic, they were frantically tearing away from their schools and leaping out of the ocean like popcorn cooking on high heat. They were trying to evade something larger.

Light was exploding around me like hundreds of tiny blue flashbulbs constantly firing.”

Lynne’s knowledge and ease of the ocean is enviable and wondrous and for the first three chapters, you will marvel at her ability to stay calm knowing something large and unidentifiable is swimming beneath her. Nonetheless, you want to be in the water with her or simply be her. On her back beneath the waves, she watches a school of stingray glide above her, observes sunfish basking in the sun near an oil rig, and is enthralled by a graceful, acrobatic show from a pod of dolphins. If you ever had a fantasy about being a mermaid, Lynne comes as close as humanly possible to living the dream…it is truly magical.

Therefore from the perspective of an animal lover, I was sorry to read the following passage about Lynne’s relationship with fisherman friend Carl:

“…Carl usually caught an extra halibut or two, and he always gave me some to bring home for dinner. It was always a little strange kicking ashore while holding a five – to ten – pound dead halibut above my head with fish juices sliding down my arms.

No fish ever tasted as fresh or as sweet as the ones Carl gave me. I liked the fish even more because they were from Carl and I could tell he was as excited about giving me the fish as I was receiving them from him.”

To be so intimately involved with the world of the sea and have an obvious love for its mystery and its inhabitants, and then to eat and thoroughly enjoy fish, to me, is a bizarre disconnect. I realize there are people who revere nature and still justify hunting or fishing and eating meat / seafood, but I can never really understand it. I suppose they feel it is all about the circle of life; whether an animal dies by man or another animal is irrelevant, it’s what happens.

To appreciate this connection is preferable to the alarming apathy and struggle to manipulate nature that is now the norm, but with particular reference to the ocean, considering man is tipping the scales and causing a possibly irrevocable imbalance with pollution, trash, and over fishing, perhaps Lynne could do her part to balance the scales and truly engage in her love of the ocean by abstaining from eating its inhabitants. Maybe she could talk to Carl too!

Despite this disappointing vice of the main character, this is a charming and heartwarming story. It’s a perfect read for your next visit to the beach. Get comfortable on the sand under a big umbrella, read this book, gaze intermittently at the gentle sea, and contemplate the intricate, marvelous world that lies beneath.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Speaking of Gardening...

This company, Terracycle, really caught my eye the other day...saw it profiled on the Weather Channel, I think. They sell worm-derived fertilizers in recycled bottles and jugs. They are recycling in an actual, meaningful way. So much of what we think is recyclable, is not...not in many local areas, anyway. We toss yogurt containers, and all sorts of other plastics in with the most recycled beverage bottles and jugs into the recycle bins, thinking that things will get sorted out on down the line. Often they do not. And you have no real way of knowing. Now at least some of it can go back into the stream of use...check out what Terracycle will pay you to send the less popular plastics to them.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New Life in a Used Tub

These are baby Swiss Chard plants starting life in a scrubbed out tofu tub. The tubs make pretty handy little flats for seed starting. Several other tubs are sprouting Redina lettuce and some Coreopsis and Texas Sage flowers. Seed starting is very addictive. And you must not start too early, or you will find yourself a constant slave to their tyrannical needs for sun, water and food...and not too much or too's got to be j u s t right or they sulk. Or worse, collapse and die. Then it's off to the compost heap, but I'd rather they live and grow. These tiny guys will grow up into big shiny-leafed plants and provide lots of wonderful food for very little effort. They could even grow in a roomy pot with some attention to regular watering and an occasional feed.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Co-op America

My husband and I belong to a fantastic co-op in Frederick,Maryland...The Common Market. They are a true grocery store selling real, whole food at fair prices...not a pill-pushing vitamin and supplement shop ( although they have a fabulous health and beauty department ! ) There are lots and lots of items available in nice clean bulk bins allowing us to buy as much or as little as we want at a time. I can even (grudgingly) forgive them the selling of "happy meat", eggs and dairy, because while people are buying those products they are at least exposed to more vegan products than they ever would at a conventional grocery store. Whole Soy Yogurt is standing shoulder to shoulder, sharing the same 'dairy' case as cow's milk and goat's milk yogurts. Tofurky brand Keilbasas and franks are laying side by side next to organic meat-based hotdogs. A great eat-in or take-out deli and salad/ hot food bar top it all off.

I just realized how lucky we are to live near enough to a such a great resource and am proud that we can help Co-Op America achieve some of their goals. Check out their very informative website and consider becoming a member.

They also include lots of useful information on climate change and the role of our eating habits. Look under "climate change" or "food miles".

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Some Good Food !!!

With all this attention to how destructive a meat-based diet is to the animals, ourselves and the planet, I've not paid a whole lot of attention ( online anyway ! ) to all the really fabulous food that far outshines what corporate animal ag wants you to know !! So here's a few great sites to get an idea of "what to eat" :) has a number of cooking videos featuring Colleen Patrick-Goudreau from Compassionate Cooks.

Vegetarian Resource Group has lots of recipes and solid nutritional information for the entire family.

The Vegan Diet site is a veritable encyclopedia of food !

Compassion Over Killing not only works tirelessly behind the scenes to relieve animal suffering, the also have a nice cache of recipes and ideas on how to go veg, including a great Vegetarian Started Kit.

Food Miles video

The SUV In The Kitchen

I just came across this article, The SUV In The Kitchen, and thought it presented a lot of important information in a nice easy to read way. The author, Laurine Brown, quotes Bill McKibben..." We're living on an SUV diet. Our food arrives at the table marinated in oil-crude oil."

Friday, March 14, 2008

More Milk Worries

Persistent industrial chemicals find their way into cow's milk. Yet another reason to give up dairy and explore all the other healthy, humane and sustainable alternatives. Check out this story over at Grist.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Animal Agriculture's Big Bubble

Who knew that animal agriculture was so destructive to the planet we live on ? Not only is it a nightmare for the animals unlucky enough to be born into industrial scale factory farming, but we are also poisoning the very air every living thing on this planet breathes.
How long can we keep this up ?
What's it going to take ?
The latest and largest recall of meat, all 143 Million pounds of, it ought to at least get people's attention. And I hope gets people thinking about, and questioning the whole dairy business. Most of those 500 cows a day that were being "harvested" at that slaughterhouse were spent dairy cows. What does that mean ? What's a spent cow ? If not Mad Cow disease that brought the cow to it's knees and made it a "downer", then what did ? Perhaps the endless cycles of pregnancy, lactating while pregnant, giving up the yearly calf 24 hours after birth, producing gallons and gallons of milk everyday brought her to her knees a little prematurely before the usual 3 or 4 years cycles end at a slaughterhouse.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Book Stack

Here are a few of the books I've been reading in the last few months in a continuing effort to understand how we, as Americans ( 'The Most Powerful Nation In The World' ), have come to the point where industrially grown/processed/packaged/microwaved foods have become the norm.
Starting from the bottom, I picked up this 1914 Yearbook of the Department of Agriculture at a book sale a few weeks ago. It provides an interesting snapshot of American farm life at the time. One article, titled Clean Water And How To Get It On The Farm, describes a scene ( with accompanying grainy photograph ) of how not to get it:
The rather small area shown comprised a hogpen, chicken yard, and cow lot, and contained a barn, manure pile, open privy, chicken house and a shallow dug well. The pump is of the old wooden type and is located at the foot of the stairs to the back porch. Waste water and slops are dumped into a small ditch presumably intended to drain away from the house and well,but which as a matter of fact fails to drain at all.


Let It Rot by Stu Campbell ( the 3rd book down ) is subtitled The Home Gardener's Guide to Composting. It's a nice light introduction to composting circa the 70's, and despite frequent references to God and quotes from the bible, is a useful little book. Campbell wraps up his introduction with this...."It's time for all of us to discover the larger benefits and cosmic beauty of little earthly things like composting." Hallelujah.

There is a gardening movement afoot using only plant-based fertilizers ( replacing bone meal, blood meal, animal manure and such )...I love this idea ! I've been wondering about all the pharmaceuticals fed to much of that gets taken up by plants, and in what form ? Veganic gardening seems like a nice way around all that and yet another way to keep things simple.