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Easter Eggs
Apr15

Easter Eggs

In addition to choosing cruelty-free alternatives for the chocolates and candy in the Easter basket, there’s the tradition of the Easter Eggs that needs a little makeover… Coloring Easter Eggs Rather than dying a bunch of eggs that most people wind up throwing away a few days later, painting and decorating wooden eggs can become a new family tradition. Year to year, you can add to a collection of your child’s handiwork– extra-special keepsakes to have around when they no longer believe in you-know-who. Use a clear coat sealer when the painting’s done so that the creative masterpieces will stand the test of time. Don’t forget to have the kids paint the date on their eggs! Easter Egg Hunts Even when I was a young child, egg hunts made use of the hollow plastic eggs that opened in half. These are great for public egg hunts as well as those you create in your home. What’s fun about using these eggs is that you can get really creative about what to put inside: you can fill the eggs with a few jellybeans or a Jolly Rancher or two; or, I remember a few Easter holidays when a couple of “select” eggs had dollar bills inside; or maybe the Easter Bunny will leave a special little note inside one. A super-cool option — especially if you’re planning an Easter Egg hunt for a bunch of kids in the neighborhood: ready-made assortments of  plastic eggs by Bee International. I love the “Noah’s Ark” eggs that are shaped like animals and filled with Smarties and bubble gum. They also have “Sports Buddies” eggs — plastic eggs that have “bodies” of footballs and baseballs. For those of you who want to merge the secular with the religious, Bee also offers religious tin eggs, inspirational pictures etched on colorful metallic eggs.  I made this discovery at a Wal-mart Neighborhood Market. Not ready to give up real eggs completely? Then please please please go for the FREE-RANGE eggs. At the very least, use cage-free eggs, which are only slightly more expensive than eggs coming from battery-cage hens. They’re not 100% cruelty-free, but the more humane treatment of the hens makes the cost well worth it. If you (or family and friends) remain unconvinced that switching to cage-free is worth the extra cents to the dollar — or that it’s just not that important to be a priority — I urge you to watch and share this video, Wegman’s Cruelty. Be warned: it will leave no doubt in your mind because the images are haunting. About 17 minutes in, the story of one hen in particular brought tears...

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For the Easter Basket
Apr14

For the Easter Basket

Yesterday, in celebration of my friend Denise and also Passover, we were talking matzo ball soup. But I know some of you already are thinking about Easter, which is just a couple of weeks away. So today and tomorrow, it’s all about the upcoming visit from the Easter Bunny. Here’s the cruelty-free scoop, in time for all your holiday basket shopping. Chocolate Goodies Chocolate Decadence Dairy-free (and gluten-free!) Easter chocolates, including the larger-sized bunny for the basket’s centerpiece. Sjaak’s Organic Chocolates Sjaak’s makes all kinds of delicious dairy-free chocolates, including a vast selection of Easter goodies!  The Dark Chocolate Sitting Bunny is perfect if you’re going to be making up an Easter basket for someone. For a more “grown up” Easter indulgence, I’m thinking the lavender truffles are the way to go. Whizzers Speckled Eggs Miniature chocolate “eggs” in a speckled candy shell to make the contents of the basket as colorful as they are tasty! Candies: Jellybeans Jolly Ranchers Now & Laters (my fave!) Pez Sweet Tarts Swedish Fish Dots Sour Patch Kids (always my brother’s fave!)...

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Matzo Ball Soup!
Apr13

Matzo Ball Soup!

Today is my friend Denise’s birthday. She couldn’t be more like a big sister to me. And Denise is the one who first introduced me to matzo ball soup (her fave), so today’s post is my way of sending a big “Happy Birthday” hug across the miles. In a previous post, I’ve mentioned the blog Meet the Shannons: it’s written by the couple who are veganizing the entire Betty Crocker cookbook.  If you haven’t yet checked out the blog, I highly recommend you do — the picture of the Princess Leia and Han Solo figurines alone makes it worth a peek. Among the many recipes, Annie and Dan Shannon offer this Matzo Ball Soup recipe, and it’s a keeper. As they say, it’s got chutzpah. ingredients: 1 cup matzo meal 1/2 cup nutritional yeast 3/4 teaspoon Braggs 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1 package firm silken tofu 1/2 large red onion 9 cups vegetable broth ( we used low sodium by Imagine, which also makes a No-Chicken broth) 2 tablespoons white wine 1/2 cup olive oil 3 carrots (sliced like coins) 1/4 teasopoon celery seed 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped 1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped 2 pinches onion powder directions: Blend tofu, 1 tablespoon vegetable broth, and oil in a food processor. In a bowl, mix matzo meal, nutritional yeast, Braggs, and pepper. Combine the two mixes in the bowl, until everything is moist. Cover the bowl and put in the fridge overnight. Next day: About an hour and a half before you want your soup , fill a pot with the remaining vegetable broth, white wine, carrots, celery seed, parsley, dill, and onion powder. bring to a boil. Put some parchemnt paper in a casserole dish. remove matzo mix from the fridge. Form very tightly packed balls, about the size of a melon ball, and place them on the parchment paper so that they don’t touch. Drop the balls, one at a time, into the boiling broth. The cover the pot and leave it on for about a half hour. (No lifting the lid to check up on them!) Annie Shannon says: “After that half hour, lift the lid and watch your Matzo balls rise to the top.” Happy Birthday,...

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A Visit to Equine Voices Rescue & Sanctuary

A couple of weeks ago, members of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund and friends (including my nephew Nicholas!) made the trip to meet some amazing horses at the Equine Voices Rescue and Sanctuary here in Tucson. Since 2004, Equine Voices has saved the lives of hundreds of horses — mainly mares and foals from the Premarin industry. These horses, for the purpose of collecting their urine in order to manufacture the hormone replacement drug (Pregnant Mares’ Urine), are subjected to horrible, stressful conditions and abuses; and each time the mares give birth, their foals are quickly sold off  to slaughter. Thankfully, there has been a decline in the use of Premarin; women are now seeking alternatives, including natural remedies. If you are taking Premarin or considering hormone replacement therapy, I urge you to speak to your doctor about suitable cruelty-free alternatives. Recently, Equine Voices has expanded its mission to include rescuing horses from abuse, neglect, and starvation. During these tough economic times, there has been an increasing problem of horse abandonment. In these cases, criminal prosecution under the state’s animal cruelty statute is a possibility, and the Tucson Animal Cruelty Task Force is hard at work rescuing these horses and enforcing the law. Equine Voices also rescues horses from the illegal drug trade: horses, weighed down with packages of drugs, are forced to journey across the border from Mexico, then left in the desert to die. In 2010, Equine Voices became the first Equine Sanctuary in the State of Arizona and the third in the country to receive the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries’ accreditation. Thanks to Karen Pomroy, founder of Equine Voices, for taking the time to share a wonderful morning with us! horses are frequently overloaded with drugs to cross the...

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Gardein, the new meat
Apr04

Gardein, the new meat

Whether you’re trying to keep your Fridays meat-free during this Lent season, on board with Meatless Mondays or thinking about it, or just a veg-friendly reader looking for the ultimate mock meat to add to some of your favorite dishes, Gardein is it. The first time I tasted Gardein “chicken” was at the banquet of the Taking Action for Animals conference a few years ago. It was served without being smothered in any kind of sauce, or in little pieces as part of a ratatouille or stew; rather, this lightly seasoned combination of soy, wheat gluten, grains, and spices was served cutlet-style, alongside some rice and vegetables. In terms of both taste and texture, it’s amazing how close it comes to real deal. Since that TAFA conference, the company has grown and we’ve gotten more adventurous in our own kitchen. We’ve checked out other Gardein products and none have disappointed. In addition to the Chick’n Filets, I buy the BBQ Pulled Shreds for my husband Seth — it’s a nice lunchtime sandwich treat. Other products we enjoy: Herb Dijon Filets, Tuscan Breasts, and BBQ Skewers. Bonus Tip! Check out the list of restaurants now offering Gardein. Even Chipotle is jumping on the cruelty-free...

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Fun with the Pup: Charitable Events
Mar30

Fun with the Pup: Charitable Events

Good times for a GREAT cause! As a follow up to yesterday’s blog about the FAIR organization, I wanted to tell you all about the Tucson Canine Classic: it’s the city’s largest dogwalk and companion-animal festival, and it’s happening again next month on April 23rd! This will be the third annual Classic, and Galileo and I will be walking for the third time! Part of the proceeds go to FAIR, so it’s become one of our “Mommy & Me” things to do… our way of giving back. In addition to the dogwalk, there are lots of exhibitors on the scene with all kinds of fun stuff. Each time, we’ve made sure to buy some extra special treats to bring home and share with Otis.  Also scheduled for this event, a vaccination station providing free microchips to the first 100 participants. Fantastic! Don’t have a dog but want to share in the fun? Last year, my friend Camille took advantage of the Rent-A-Pet option and had a blast with her new canine friend, Arnold. I encourage all Tucsonans to register today and come walk with us! If you’re not in Tucson, you might want to look into similar events in your own hometown. Local shelters and rescue organizations need all the support they can get. Events like the Classic are a fun way to help out and, at the same time, spend some quality time with a companion animal. For my NYC friends! The American Cancer Society’s Bark for Life takes place each year in Riverside Park. This year it will take place on Sunday, May 1st. I remember the time Pushkin (beloved beagle) and I were on our way to the dog run and found ourselves in a sea of approximately 1500 dogs and humans who were participating in the walk-a-thon that day. WOW! It really is amazing to see so many New Yorkers gathered in support and having some fun together! And, should you decide to venture to the park this year for the event, look for Pushkin’s memorial bench right outside the dog run at 105th Street...

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