Monday, April 20, 2009

800 lb. Garbanzo and an Oatmeal Cookie recipe

This banner made it's debut at CCAN's Clean Energy Open House this Saturday, April 18th. New Leaf was there to offer free samples of fabulous vegan food and information on the hows and whys of going vegan. We had recipes of all the dishes : Chickpea of the Sea, Eggless Egg Salad, Spinach Dip, Chocolate Chip cookies...all except the recipe for these really awesome oatmeal raisin cookies.
I was hoping the banner would spark some conversation about our diets' neglected role in greenhouse gas emissions, and it did ! People are finally becoming aware of the cruelty, waste and pollution inherent in using animals as a commodity. We had help from, a fantastic organization that helps us get the message out there. Thanks Vegfund, and Animal Voices, where I first heard about it.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
From The Joy Of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
6 tablespoons water
1 cup vegan margarine, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oat bran
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups Old-Fashioned rolled oats
1 cup raisins ( or vegan chocolate chips )
Preheat oven to 350. Grease 3 cookie sheets.
whip up flaxseed and water till thick, creamy and somewhat gelatinous. Set aside.
Cream margarine, sugars and vanilla till fluffy , then beat in the flaxseed mixture, until well combined.
In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine the flour, oat bran, baking soda and baking powder, salt and the spices. Add to the margarine mixture and mix until blended and smooth. Stir in the oatmeal and raisins and stir til well combined. This is where I refrigerate the dough for at least two hours, to stiffen it up, so it won't spread too far out on the cookie sheet. Scoop out walnut-sized balls, set them 2" apart on the cookie sheets and flatten slightly. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Let them set up a few minutes on the cookie sheets before moving them to a wire rack to finish cooling. Makes 3 1/2 dozen.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Fantastic New Organization !

While having a look at Grist this morning I saw an ad promoting vegetarianism...and of course, I had to look ! What I saw gives me great hope to see that we are combining talents, energies and resources towards positive change. The tone of the website is upbeat yet urgent. The organization is called Let's Act Now, check it out !

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Guest Blogger -- Lori

I am a new vegan. I am a new vegan. I am a new vegan. Ok, I've said it 3 times. It feels good to say. It's been 5 weeks now and it has been an adventure with frustration, food boredom, sugar & meat withdrawals, enlightenment, lightness, some very inquisitive conversations, and plain stupidity. My brother, who has been a vegetarian for over 20 years asked me the day before yesterday if I was still vegan. I guess he didn't think I had it in me.

So, my life has changed. Some shows I used to love to watch, like Food Network Shows and Bizarre Food with Andrew Zimmern now sadden me. I accidentally ended up on the Food Network yesterday and they were cooking ribs. I found myself counting the number of racks and adding up how many dead animals they were grilling up. Selfish! But, I guess I was that way too.

Yesterday, Dale Ball came to my house and we cooked together! Thanks Dale, you're the best! Passover is coming up and I wanted to learn how to make some meat-like loaves with gravy. We made two that were very different, but both very good. I think the highlight was the mushroom gravy. In fact, I ate some for lunch today and basically used the vege loaf as a platform for the mound of gravy I put on my plate. We also made this phenominal chocolate/peanut butter pie. Everyone loved it and couldn't believe it had tofu in it. That tofu made it so filling.

Next on my culinary agenda is to get more vegetable dishes into my meals. I don't want to be a junk food vegan and I can't seem to get out of the plain steamed vegetable rut. Boring!!!

Well, thanks for letting me be your guest Dale. Now I'm off to create my own blog.

Vegan Cats

Adopting a vegan diet for ourselves turned out to be way easier than I had imagined.
But what to do about feeding our cats, however, has remained an uncomfortable issue. The dogs took to a vegan dog food ( V-dog) right away and have thrived on it for over a year now, and had been eating Nature's Recipe Vegetarian formula ( bought at Pet Smart ) for a year before that.
Sam and Nemo, our basically outdoor cats ( they come in to sleep at night ) were eating various brands of dry cat kibble and way too many wild creatures outside. We took in another kitty last November. He was 12 weeks old then and I knew that I'll always have to keep him inside to keep the birds safe. And what to feed him ? Of course I'd heard scary stories about vegan-fed cats getting sick and dying. That you cannot possibly feed a cat a vegan diet.
And what about imposing my "vegan values, lifestyle" on my poor pets, who cannot choose for themselves ? What about cats killing birds outside ? People tell me it's "natural" , it's what cats do ! But really, there's nothing natural about us humans clearing off land, throwing up houses, roads and parking lots ( with the attendant water run-off....but I digress....) , nothing natural about poisoning the soil with pesticides and fertilizers to grow lawns and ornamental shrubs and then turn out our pets on what's left of the wildlife. Hmmm.
What I came to was this: Standard cat ( and dog ) food is mostly slaughterhouse by-products or fish/seafood products and/or by-products deemed unfit for human consumption. And considering what I know about the state of the oceans and the awful truth of farmed animals' "lifestyles" imposed on them, NOT feeding our pet cats a vegan diet seemed incredibly selfish and cruel. Here's the article that finally got to me : Paul Greenberg's opinion piece in the NY Times . Thank you, Mr. Greenberg, for the wake-up call.

The Evolution Cat food kibbles arrived Monday, and the boys have all accepted it not only without complaint , but actually dove right in ! I had expected there to be a long transition period. Even the 14 year old, Sam, ( hunter extraordinaire, and responsible for the untimely deaths of numerous birds and small rodents over the years) gobbled it up right off the floor when I first opened the package and spilled some. I'm mixing the Evolution cat food with what was left of some Purina catfood kibbles, about half and half. So far, it's just the dry stuff...guess we need to order some canned ! I'll post about the transition now and then as we go, along with pictures of the guys. Featured today is the new guy, Tomsky, aka Mr. Cutey Pants.

Wiki Article Worth a Look

This article on "environmental vegetarianism" is pretty good ( if you ignore the odd criticism by an Australian towards the end ) and has lots of links to important resources.