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Pumpkin Pie in the Sky!
Nov16

Pumpkin Pie in the Sky!

Isa Chandra Moskowitz is a vegan-cooking goddess. Her cookbooks –especially Veganomicon and Appetite for Reduction — are among my favorites. Isa’s newest book, co-written with Terry Romero, is Vegan Pie in the Sky. Each Thanksgiving, I’m in charge of baking the pumpkin pie; it’s my one and only baking commitment of the year. So here’s the recipe I’ll be trying out this Thanksgiving morning while we watch the Macy’s parade. In the book, credit is given to Myrna Kornfield as having created the basis for this “custardy, spicy, not too sweet” pie recipe. Voluptuous Pumpkin Pie filling ingredients (for a 9″ pie): 3 cups pumpkin puree (I’m using Trader Joe’s Organic Pumpkin; however, the book gives easy instructions for preparing fresh pumpkins) 1/2 cup maple syrup 1/2 cup plain unsweetened soy milk (we’re going to use coconut milk) 4 teaspoons canola oil 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg pinch of ground cloves 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons cornstarch 1 teaspoon agar powder *Although Vegan Pie in the Sky offers several pie crust recipes, I’m sticking to a ready-made, organic traditional crust by Wholly Wholesome that I picked up in the frozen section at Whole Foods. directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a blender, pulse together the pumpkin, maple syrup, soy/coconut milk, canola oil, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, cornstarch, and agar powder until very smooth. Pour the filling into the pie shell. Bake the pie for 60 to 65 minutes, until the center looks semi-firm, not liquidy. Check the edges of the crust after baking for 40 minutes; if the edges appear to be browning too rapidly, carefully remove the pie and apply crust protectors to the edges to keep the crust from getting too dark. Remove the pie from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack for 30 minutes, then chill for at least 4 hours before slicing. Serve with whipped topping. We’ll be using non-dairy whip by Soyatoo. Thanksgiving Facebook Fun! Snap a photo of some vegan deliciousness from your own Thanksgiving table and post to the Cruelty-Free Faves Facebook page. It will be great to share all the culinary creativity. I’ll post a picture of my pumpkin pie, too!...

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Happy Happy Thanksgiving
Nov15

Happy Happy Thanksgiving

Looking for easy ways to update Thanksgiving traditions so that it’s truly a happy holiday for everyone — including the turkeys? Alternatives to Cooking a Bird If you really want to stick as close to the original tradition as possible, there are a few mock turkey options, most notably the Tofurky that comes complete with stuffing. Newer to the scene: the Celebration Roast by Field Roast. A couple behind me in line at Whole Foods last weekend was buying one, trying it for the first time. Each roast is made by hand, wrapped in a cotton netting and simmered to bring out all the flavors of the sausage-style stuffing (made of butternut squash, apples, and mushrooms). However, there’s nothing stopping any of us from creating an altogether new tradition of a favorite dish we reserve especially for this Thanksgiving Day. Last year, I shared a recipe for Polenta Stuffing that we just love, and I watched as some of my favorite restaurants, like NYC’s  Candle 79, promoted their vegan holiday dinner menus — all kinds of creative dishes! So, whether you’re at home exploring new recipes or dining out at a restaurant’s vegan feast, deciding to eschew the turkey actually opens wide the possibilities for all kinds of delectables on the Thanksgiving table. Adopt A Turkey! Farm Sanctuary has an awesome program where you can sponsor a turkey (for only $30). Last year, we adopted turkey Kima at the Farm Sanctuary in New York. This year, we’ve continued this new family tradition by adopting Raphael, who lives at Farm Sanctuary’s California shelter. He loves peaches, just like I do! Sanctuary Celebrations Farm Sanctuary FS has two locations — one in New York and one in California. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Farm Sanctuary rescues farmed animals and gives them a place to live the remainder of their lives in peace. Each year, they hold Celebrations FOR the Turkeys in both California and New York. Although I haven’t attended myself yet, I’m planning to make it to one in NY once we’re back on the east coast again. Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary Woodstock hosts a ThanksLiving celebration each year in October (mark your calendar for next year!). This event is a more formal affair — 250 people gather for an elegant dinner under a heated tent, enjoying the serenity of the sanctuary in all its autumn-leaves glory. FYI: The sanctuary just finished renovating a pre-Civil War farmhouse into a lovely bed & breakfast, the Guesthouse at Woodstock...

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Happy Birthday Cake for Mom!
Nov14

Happy Birthday Cake for Mom!

This past weekend we celebrated Mom’s birthday. Check out this pretty (and delicious!) vegan cake I ordered from Village Bakehouse here in Tucson. The Bakehouse is not a vegan bakery, but Paulette and her gifted staff will make vegan cakes to order for all occasions, including gorgeous multi-tiered wedding cakes. This beauty was a chocolate cake filled with fresh berries. So, even if you aren’t lucky enough to have a Sticky Fingers or Babycakes nearby that specializes in vegan baked goods, maybe your neighborhood bakery will do the same!  ...

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Mamas, Babies, and Agribusiness
Nov11

Mamas, Babies, and Agribusiness

So today’s post is less about a particular fave than it is about providing some basic facts and ideas that can be really helpful when we’re trying to explain to puzzled family and friends about our lifestyle choice… and why they might want to consider making more compassionate choices, too. Generally, people are familiar with issues concerning animals’ treatment when being raised for food, and arguments against animal slaughter. However, it’s often an eye-opening conversation when the subject shifts to the the implications that farming animals has on other animals — namely, the offspring of egg-laying hens, dairy cows, and pigs (sows). For example: growing up in an Italian-American famiglia, one of my favorite dishes was veal saltimbocca. Nevertheless, when I learned about how the calves were treated, I gave up my childhood fave in an instant. No looking back. But it wasn’t until years later that I learned how the veal industry is a byproduct of the dairy industry. The calves that become “veal” are the discarded male babies of the dairy cows. Bye bye dairy. It’s important that we take the time to recognize the links not only between the animal and the food product on the plate, but also the connections between agribusiness industries and the byproducts that, at first glance, don’t seem to require the slaughter or mistreatment of an animal. My experience has been that, when we share with others the reality of these connections, they often are moved to make some lifestyle changes of their own. Food for thought: 40 % of male calves born to dairy cows are sent to the veal industry. After all, dairy farms have no use for male cows. 180 million male chicks are killed each year by the egg industry, most of the time by sending them through a “macerator” that grinds them up instantly, or gassing them, or suffocating them in large plastic bags. Again, the egg industry has no use for males born to the hens. Each time a sow gives birth, her babies are torn away from her almost immediately and sold for slaughter. Pigs have been shown to be at least as intelligent as dogs, and are social beings. The sows show great emotional distress when their babies are taken from them. Dairy cows also have their calves torn away from them within days of being born. I once saw a video of a calf being pulled away from his mama: the image of the confused and scared little one was heart-breaking. In addition to what happens to the young, there’s the “afterward” for the mamas. Hens spend their entire life laying eggs — almost all of...

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Great Documentary on Farm Subsidies (our tax dollars!)
Nov09

Great Documentary on Farm Subsidies (our tax dollars!)

My Cruelty-Free Fave today is the documentary King Corn. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend your adding it to your Netflix queue today. It’s a very user-friendly way of understanding government farm subsidies, and how federal legislation — through the farm bill — puts our tax dollars in motion to create “cheap” prices for certain products at the grocery store. King Corn is a real eye-opener about the far-reaching effects of grain subsidies and factory farming here in America. Regarding animal welfare, the environment, and public health — it’s a must see. Here’s a trailer for the documentary: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiCRwMMh9k8&feature=player_embedded&noredirect=1&w=600]   Heads Up! Tomorrow, I’ll be posting a more in-depth look at farm subsidies and how they work on my Animals & the Law blog....

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Easy Egg Substitutes
Nov08

Easy Egg Substitutes

As promised, here are some easy egg substitutes for cooking and baking. Substitutes (each the equivalent of one egg): 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water (the best!) ¼ cup applesauce ½ banana, mashed 2 tablespoons water + 2 teaspoons baking powder 2 tablespoons Arrowroot flour + 1 tablespoon water 2 tablespoons corn starch + 1 tablespoon water ½ cup tofu, blended Ener-G Egg Replacer (always in our pantry!) Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer Tofu Scramble at the Post Punk Kitchen! If you’re looking for something to usurp the usual morning scramble, you must check out this recipe for Scrambled Tofu from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s blog, The Post Punk Kitchen. Really creative ideas that make scrambled tofu into something special. The PPK site is an amazing resource for all kinds of vegan recipes, and Isa’s cookbooks are high on my personal faves...

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