Thursday, December 29, 2011

Smoothie Greatness

After derailing with the rant I posted yesterday, I figured I ought to jump back on the positive train and show some simple, delicious and nutritious food that Jamie and I enjoy  !       The picture above is a smoothie I made for Jamie's breakfast this morning. I should have taken an "after" picture...the smoothie had turned a fabulously deep, rich purple. That mug the stuff is's actually a blender-mug.  A cap with a blade gets screwed onto the top , then I turn it upside down and attach it to the blender base and give a minute or so on high and ta-da !...a fanastic smoothie.   The flavors/variations are truly endless.   This one, from the bottom up is : almonds ( soaked in water overnight to soften ), vanilla soy yogurt, hemp oil ( about a tablespoon ) some ground flaxseed ( can't see it in this picture ), a banana ( this one's not frozen, but frozen chunks are really great ) and frozen blackberries.   No ice.   No need when your fruit is frozen.   I also added some oatmilk to thin it out enough to drink through a straw.   I'll post more on Smoothie Greatness in the coming weeks...such an easy way to start ( or finish ! ) the day.   The nifty blender is a Back to Basics model.   It comes with two blender mugs and two other blender containers and lids, and two blade bases.   The decently powerful motor makes it really useful for lots of small, quick  chopping/blending jobs in our kitchen.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How to Stay Positive and Move Forward ?

OK, so I havent posted anything in what, 5 months...and that post was just a notice that we've moved !   I should post more.   If nothing else it helps to ground me in this insane time of willful  ignorance of the steep costs of breeding and eating animals.   Costs to the environment, human health and, of course,  the price paid by the billions and billions of animals continually bred to die     This new article by Mark Bittman ( who, knowing what he knows, should have given up eating animals years ago, but that's another, sad, story) about the prevalence of troublesome, antibiotic-resistant  bacteria in meat, dairy and eggs reads like a futuristic look into the history of human stupidity and greed.
How to stay positive and move forward in the face of such concrete evidence that things are not going to improve, in any meaningful way, any time soon ?   I don't know.  One step at a time ?   One day at a time ?   I should be encouraged by the public's dawning awareness of animals' sentience and the medical community's assurance that a vegan diet is not only adequate, but extremely healthful.   And I am.  But damn, it requires such a hefty bitter dose of  willful fantasy to pretend that it's ever going to be enough, I feel it stick in the back of my throat at times.   Many times.   Meeting others involved in the work is very very helpful.  
Give up ?   Never.   Teaching others how to cook seemingly strange vegan ingredients feels like the most positive thing that I can do, at this point in my life.   I will never forget when I finally ( finally !  50 years old ! ) realized the whole story behind our obsession with cow's milk and the needless, endless generations of animal suffering it necessitates.  We are kept in the dark about the truth for a reason.   My hope is that I can help open a few more hearts and minds through offering a gentler way to live on this planet.   And the food...ah, the food is fantastic.  Here's some proof ...thousands of tasty recipes and reviews on one well organized site :
And here's to a New Year filled with positive advocacy for animals and bringing some reality to the table.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Asleep At The Wheel

I was so caught up in our big move to Boulder, CO, back in May and June ( and on into July ...) that I failed to really completely take on board the significance of the latest in animal welfare progress.   It took a listen to Our Hen House's 78th podcast on the way to Denver this morning ( to tour Denver Tofu!...but that's another story !) to jolt me awake. I was aware of the discussion and heard the rumblings, but I guess was not ready to jump back in.   Jeez...I had turned a deaf ear so that I would not have to react/deal with what was probably less than great news. But should this agreement between the Humane Society of the United States and United Egg Producers become actual federal law, it would, according to HSUS , " ....represent the first time that any species of animal is provided with federal protection from abuse while on factory farms, the first federal farm animal protection law in more than 30 years, and the first time that chickens used in food production are provided any federal protections at all ".   Great news, actually. I'm awake now.   Time to help keep the momentum going on this very important development for farmed animals, laying hens in particular.   But what we really need, rather than incremental slow change is a wake up call to the everyday people who make food choices several times a day, everyday.   Most do not know the horrible conditions that these animals must endure, just to bring cheap, unnecessary animal products to the market.   How to get people to understand ?   One way is to have people meet chickens, ducks, turkeys, goats, cows, sheep and pigs and see just how much more than food they are.   Animal sanctuaries are a great place to meet them, and Peaceful Prairie, just west of Denver , is one of the best.
Go to United Poultry Concerns for many resources ( including recipes ! ) and important updates.
Stay awake.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Continue to March

Sigh.   So much effort ( research and reports ) on the environmental and human health impacts of eating animals and their "products", but damn little ( by the mainstream press) on the fact that these animals are living, breathing, sentient beings.    However, Mark Bittman had a good article  ( despite dishing about eating lambs with his lentils :/ ) today, referring to The Environmental Working Groups recent report on the environmental impacts of eating meat and dairy, plus a few good links to more discussion on the subjects.   I didnt see any reference to animals as actual living, breathing beings on EWG's website, in fact, on their home page, there's a huge plate of steak ( grassfed, organic and "humanely-raised" no doubt...)  being offered up...sigh.  
Here are a few more links to explore:
The Environmental Working Group.
An essay pointed out by Bittman in a previous article about egg production, by Michele Simon at Food Safety News : Who Really Benefits From The Egg Industry Deal ?
And the indispensable Factory Farm Map.     ,which ought to be on display in every grocery store.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wrap Recipes for the Summer !

Here in Boulder there are lots of fresh tortilla/wrap makers for these great filling ideas from Healthy Happy Life, but really, just about anywhere you can find decent wrappers nowadays.   Enjoy !

More Unhappy Cows in California and the World

Ugh....when will we wake up to what is really behind the diary industries, and especially California's completely ridiculous Happy Cow campaign ?
Besides misery for the cows and calves involved, the environmental degradation, wildlife displacement and human health issues all add up to real reasons to give up dairy products.   In this article, Jonathan Berry, a  former executive at a dairy manufacturer in California recounts some of the common management practices and speaks out against them.
Here's a few new recipes to try, using cashews for body and creaminess, from Healthy Happy Live :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Kale Chips !

I heard about and read about Kale Chips for many months before I even tried them.  Jasmin and Mariann at Our Hen House raved about them several times, and recipes abound on the internet.  And  I was curious about trying another way to get more kale in me and others, but frankly, it wasnt until I saw a tiny bag of them for almost 5 bucks at a grocery store that I thought, " Ok, I need to try these and see if they can easily be made at home".   And the answer is : Yes !   Super simple to make, and highly addictive eating !   Here are several recipes, and then the way I do it :)
From Vegweb : Kale Chips 
A raw recipe , and how I ended up making them :

Baked Kale Chips  

1 bunch curly kale
Olive Oil
Seasoning salt, nutritional yeast...herbs maybe
Wash, destem and dry the kale either with  a run through the salad spinner, or rolled up into a clean towel and patted dry; then tear it into bite-sized pieces ( the kale, not the towel ! ) Or, wash, tear, then dry. They'll shrink to about half their original size, so tear accordingly.
Drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil ( or mist with olive oil using your Misto like Theresa did at a recent gathering ! )
Sprinkle with a little bit of seasoning salt ( Spike is good ! ) and a little nutritional yeast sprinkled on is good, too.  You could also use a curry seasoning, hot chili pepper flakes...whatever you like :)
Massage it all together to lightly coat the kale pieces with the oil and spices.
Spread the kale pieces out in a single layer on cookie cooling  rack, (preferably the kind made with a small wire grid ) and set that on a baking sheet, so that the leaves are surrounded by air, not laying on the baking sheet.  This will help them cook evenly and get nice and crisp.
Bake at 300 degrees for 10-13 minutes.   Watch very carefully so they don't burn. 
I made some a week ago, and kept them in the fridge, sealed up.   They got kind of limp, so to recrisp them, I tossed them into a baking pan ( no rack) and into the toaster oven at 300 and baked them for, ( I'm not kidding ) ...3 minutes.   Just enough to lift out any moisture that was making them soft, but not enough to cook them anymore.  Perfect !
Next week I'm going to experiment with some herbs rubbed into the kale, along with the oil.  Maybe I'll remember to take pictures !

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Omnivore Bingo !

I just saw this on Facebook, posted by Joan Ozelis Calpin, who got it from Vegansaurus...absolutely hilarious and  relevant :)
Check it out !

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dairy Alternative Class !

A few weeks back, on February 5th, I had the privilege of introducing 20 enthusiastic people to great plant-based, vegan alternatives to cow's milk ( and diary products ) at The Common Market in Frederick, Maryland.  A two hour class can barely cover all the pre-made products available to buy , such as cheeses, cream cheese and sour cream, much less the dozens of vegan cookbooks ( with more coming out every month ! ) to make your own  AND all the online resources....but we tried !    I could not have done it without the help of Zoe, their Programs Manager.  Her experience with managing many past classes warned her that I was trying to cram too much in to too short a time, so she reined me in and stayed ( worked ! ) the whole two hours portioning, serving and generally keeping things going smoothly.  Thank you, Zoe !

 We started off with bags of popcorn, sprinkled with Nutritional Yeast ( for it's cheesey goodness ) as we sampled chilled commercial oat, hemp, almond and soy milks and a coconut kefir.  I whipped up a cashew milk from just cashews soaked overnight, a teaspoon of agave nectar and some cold water.  Then we had Tortilla chips with melted Daiya cheese, both the Cheddar and the Mozzarella styles.   In a blender I made a double batch of MacnCheese sauce using half for people to see how it would be on pasta ( we used saltines to dip...pasta too hard with our set up ) and half got mixed with a salsa to create a fantastic Queso Dip !   We finished off with a fantastic Lemon Teasecake, from the must-have cookbook, The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook , by Jo Stepaniak. 
I do hope the participants got a feel for all the delicious vegan dairy alternatives out there, and some reassurance that we do not need cow's milk for calcium or any other nutrient.   Dairy cows must endure some of the worst abuses in the animal-use industries, and  it's completely let's give them a break and explore more humane ways to feed ourselves :)
Next post will include a link to get all the handouts we used in the class...including the recipes!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

More Milk Myth

I was dismayed to see  this New York Times article, The Long and Short of Calcium and Vitamin D, perpetuate the myth that humans need to consume cow's milk to get enough calcium.  The author, Jane Brody, mentions plant-based foods, but in a way that sounds confusing and dangerous:
But some other desirable foods are problematic, at least when it comes to calcium: you’d have to eat so much broccoli to approach the level in milk that it could be toxic to your thyroid gland. Other vegetables with calcium, like spinach, collards, kale and beans, contain oxalates that block calcium absorption.
Come on.    She makes it sound like the oxalates  completely block any absorption, and pretty much concludes you should just stick to cow's milk and dairy products. Plant-based milks are barely mentioned.  Sigh.
The following is from, and can help clear the muddied waters:
Conclusion on Calcium and Vegan Diets
The US recommended intake for calcium is 1,000 mg for most adults. The UK's recommended intake is 700 mg. Given the results of the EPIC-Oxford study on vegan fracture rates, it is prudent to get 700 mg per day. For the average vegan, this probably means drinking one glass of fortified soymilk each day in addition to an otherwise balanced diet.
Table 5. Plant Foods High in Calcium
FoodServing Ca (mg)
cow's milk (for comparison)1 C300
typical calcium supplement1 tablet300-500
soymilk, fortifiedb1 C200-300
tofu (if 'calcium-set')1/2 C120-300
orange juice, fortifiedb1 C250
blackstrap molasses1 T187
sesame seeds2 T176
collard greensa1/2 C133
veg baked bean1 C128
navy beans1 C128
kalea1/2 C90
tahini1 T64
broccolia1/2 C50
almonds2 T50
aCooked | bRead the label for calcium amounts | T - tablespoon
Calcium Tips
  • Many non-dairy milks are now fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and/or vitamin B12. Many orange juices are fortified with calcium.
  • Shake calcium fortified non-dairy milks before pouring as the calcium can settle to the bottom.
  • The calcium in kale, broccoli, collard greens, and soymilk is all absorbed relatively well.
  • The calcium in spinach, Swiss chard, and beet greens is not well absorbed, due to their high content of oxalates, which bind calcium.
  • Calcium supplements can inhibit iron absorption if eaten at the same time. (4).
  • In addition to the calcium in the leafy greens listed on the right, leafy greens also contain vitamin K which is good for bones.
  • The Daily Value for calcium on food labels is 1,000 mg. Therefore,if a food label says it has 25% of the daily value, it means it has 250 mg of calcium per serving.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

CCAN'S Polar Bear Plunge !

                 Some of the 200+ people who braved the icy waters ...note the actual ice on the shore !
Chesapeake Climate Action Network held it's 6th annual Polar Bear Plunge to raise both awareness of climate change and to help fund their ongoing efforts to Fight Global Warming--Keep Winter Cold !   CCAN, headed up by founder Mike Tidwell,  works tirelessly educating the public as well as public officials.   This year, Congresswoman Donna Edwards of Prince Georges County plunged to show her support !   Here's a snippet from CCAN's website about the event:
OXON HILL, Md. – Holding signs that said “Keep Winter Cold” and “Save the Polar Bears,” hundreds of DC-area residents plunged into the freezing Potomac River Saturday urging the new U.S. Congress to take real action on global warming. With extreme weather intensifying worldwide, including unusually intense recent snowfall in the U.S. consistent with climate change, participants urged elected officials to embrace electric cars and offshore wind power instead of dirty oil and coal.
So, what does all this have to do with New Leaf Vegan Society, ?   Well, New Leaf provided about 300 cookies and muffins to the hungry masses...over 200 of them !    I baked my buns off for several days, but man...people go through that stuff like crazy !    I used recipes from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Veganomicon for Carrot Orange Muffins ( adapted from her Applesauce Oatbran recipe ) Chewy Oatmeal Raisin cookies, and from her Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar some awesome Deluxe Cocoa Brownies and Banana Oatmeal Breakfast cookies.    I also adapted a recipe for Ginger Molasses Cookies I found on Vegweb.   Lori Hill of Lori Hill Productions ( green weddings and events and a dynamo speaker ! ) invited New Leaf back ( this is our 3rd year ! ) and encourages me to spread the vegan word with brochures I bring and leave on the table with the baked goods. 
New Leaf's own Jamie plunged for CCAN, and we havent added up his pledges yet, but it looks like we may have made the $ 350.00 goal ( relatives are sending checks, so we're not sure yet ! ).   I ( Dale ) do not's WAY too cold for me, but I hold Jamie's robe and take pictures !    Check out Vineet's blog, the Green Vine for a nice slide show of the event !

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Three New -To-Me Cookbooks

Just got three more vegan cookbooks the other day ( of the 3,603 "vegan " titles listed at Amazon ! ) and can't wait to get started sampling some recipes.   Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's Color Me Vegan is the newest and looks especially promising with it's refreshingly creative layout and emphasis on nutrition and flavor from the whole rainbow of  plant-based foods.  Each color gets an essay on the unique nutrition it brings to the table, handy prep tips and recipes from Starters and Salads  to Desserts. From the "Orange" chapter :  Roasted Orange Beets with Tangerines,Peanut Pumpkin Soup and General Custard's Cream Pie with Almond Oat Crust...just 3 of the 18 recipes in that chapter alone !   Read some of the 30+  reader reviews on this latest of Colleen's cookbooks  on Amazon here.
When not writing cookbooks, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau produces very helpful podcasts and is behind an amazing website that offers forums, recipes and much more.  See it all here, at

Vegan On The Cheap , by Robin Robertson  , is welcome addition to her long list ( 6 ! ) of cookbooks, and would be a good choice to go along with her essential Vegan Planet, since this new book has some great recipes for meat alternatives that were missing in it, including a recipe for "Big Stick Pepperoni" and "Smoky Tempeh Bits" ( a tasty stand-in for bacon bits ).   She proves that eating vegan does not have to be expensive, and lists the costs per serving of each dish.   I have my eyes on the "Corned Seitan and Cabbage" recipe for St. Patty's day :)

And last but not least is The Nutritional Yeast Cookbook, by Joanne Stepaniak.   All the recipes in this slim book ( 143 pages ) use Red Star brand Vegetarian Support Formula Flakes nutritional yeast. This particular brand is vegan, some are not...they may have added whey.   And I know...what a sad, utilitarian name...there ought to be a campaign to find a more inviting name for this incredible food !  I got this book to gain a better understanding of nutritional yeast (NY ) in a vegan diet, and to check out the recipes.  There is a short chapter on how it's grown, harvested and dried in preparation to be sold as a finished product, and a nice chart listing its amazing nutritional profile ( just 1.5 tablespoons has 8.34 grams of protein, 8mcg of vitamin b12, 3.9 grams of fiber...and loads of other nutrients ), followed by lots of recipes from breakfast items to desserts.    There's Classic Quiche with Cheddary Crust,  Creamy Kale and Potato Chowder, and Apple Babka.  NY really is a chameleon...I've used it myself to enrich baked goods ( 1-2 tablespoons, sprinkled on popcorn,  added to sauces and gravies and it's a must for making "cheezy" sauces !   I love the stuff, altho it took me  awhile to get over it's name and apparent obscurity ( I'd never been aware of it before going vegan ).  All recipes in this book are vegan :)     This same author wrote The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook, which pretty much covers the same ground as this book, and then builds on it.   Buy The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook.