Monday, August 29, 2016

International Vegan Junk Food Day 2016

#IVJFD2016

In honour of International Vegan Junk Food Day 2016, I am posting this picture of vegan oatmeal cookies, not homemade, and French fries.













Thursday, May 5, 2016

Zucchini and Carrot Loaf

Many, many years ago, when I was still at university, a friend of my American cousins was visiting us for a few weeks.   Like most of my Californian cousins and their friends, I thought she was wonderful and worldly in a way that we were not.



She embroidered intricate designs on her clothing and on bandanas and she was a really good baker.   One day she announced that she would be making zucchini bread, and I thought at the time that nothing sounded more dreadful than bread made with zucchini.  She promised that it would be great, and went ahead and made it.  I tasted it reluctantly and was more than pleasantly surprised to find that it was fantastic.

That was forty years ago.



The other day as I was making banana bread (here is the link: http://downrightvegan.blogspot.ca/2014/12/cranberry-banana-bread.html) I remembered my friend's zucchini bread and decided I would try to invent a recipe that was vegan version of my friend's cake.  I used my banana bread recipe as a base for it, but had to do some tweaking of it.  For starters, I didn't have enough zucchinis on hand for the recipe and was reluctant to go to the store because I had to play Florence Nightingale to my very sick cat.




My banana bread requires three bananas to make 1 1/4 cups of bananas.  I had that muchzucchini but I wanted to make two loaves so I supplemented my zucchini with carrots, and the loaves turned out just fine.



The batter was very thick and I was afraid that baking soda alone would not be enough to make the bread rise so I also added baking powder.



This recipe makes two loaves of bread.

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees

Wet ingredients

Mix together in a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of your stand mixer:

Egg replacer to the equivalent of two eggs.   I used ener-g egg replacer.
2/3 cup of canola oil
2/3 cup of pure maple syrup



Carrots and Zucchini

You will need a total of 2 1/2 to 2 2/3 cups of grated carrots and zucchini.  I measured out a total of about 1 1/3 cups each.  I didn't press the grated veg down too hard in the measuring cup, but the difference in total volume is based on the fact that when I pressed down on the grated veggies to measure them, the veggies expanded back up a little bit.

Add these veggies to the liquid ingredients and mix for for about ten seconds.



Dry Ingredients

Mix together in a large bowl

2 1/2 Cups of all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
Pinch of salt
1 cup of chopped walnuts
1 cup of dried cranberries

Add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and the veggies in the bowl of your mixer, or if you are using a hand mixer, add them to the wet ingredients.

Mix until blended.  This batter is very stiff.

Prepare two loaf pans in your usual manner and then add the batter evenly to the pans and press down a bit to make sure there are no air pockets in your batter.

Bake in the oven for 30 - 35.  All ovens differ, and when I checked mine at 30 minutes it was not quite done.




Your loaf is done when a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean and dry



Tuesday, January 19, 2016

How I Became a Vegan



Some conversions come like lightening out of the blue and others take a little longer.  As far as being a vegan goes, I am sad to say it took me a long time to come around to seeing the hidden evils of dairy products and eggs, in fact I was a vegetarian who thought that veganism was a little extreme.  How can not eating eggs or dairy be considered extreme when judged against the actions that bring dairy products and eggs to the table?  The dairy industry is cruel - that's extreme.  The egg industry is cruel - that's extreme, too.

I was already a vegetarian long before I became a vegan, and had been since my child was about eight years old.  One day at school, he had learned that meat was nothing more than the bodies of slaughtered animals.  Prior to that he had thought that meat was an item that was purchased at the store and he was unaware that it was the flesh of animals.  Always a very sensitive child, my son's horror at his discovery was palpable.  He was inconsolable about the harm that he had contributed to, and this made me stop and think.   I took our already-made chicken dinner to an elderly neighbour, and we became vegetarians on the spot.

It took me much longer to understand the cruelty inherent in the dairy and egg industry, and therefore it took several years before I became a vegan.  This is the story of how it happened. One morning, before work, I was reading the paper.  There was an article in the Toronto Star about a woman who had a farm sanctuary for rescued hens.  I was drawn to the article because the photo that accompanied it showed a hen wearing a little sweater.  The article explained that that hen, and the others that were rescued, needed sweaters because they lost their feathers due to being jammed together in the too-small crates that are routinely used in egg-laying facilities. It was October and the hens were cold, plus winter was coming and their feathers would not have been re-grown by the time the really cold weather started.  I was aghast at the implications of this.  I looked up the woman's farm on-line, sponsored a chicken for the year.  I could not get the picture of the sweater-wearing, featherless chickens out of my head. Those images followed me around.

About two weeks later I was sitting in church one morning and during the announcements, our priest was talking about the church Christmas luncheon and was telling us that for that dinner we had our choice of turkey, roast beef or salmon.  That bothered me because I was a vegetarian (but that's a topic for another post). And then that image of the chicken in her little sweater popped into my head, and in that moment, at church, I knew that the answer was veganism.  From that moment on I never knowingly ate animal products again.  I became an avid label-reader.  I no longer wear leather or wool or feathers.  I gave my woolen yarn stash to some women at my church who knit scarves and mitts for a shelter in Toronto, and donated my woolen clothes to charity.

It is hard to explain to non-vegetarians or non-vegans how right this decision was for me and for animals.  Some people think there is no moral aspect to the food we choose, but they are wrong, totally wrong.  When a being must die for a person to eat, when that person has options that are just as healthy that don't involve killing or cruelty, that's morally wrong.   Of course I have been offered the "what if you were stranded on a desert island with nothing to eat but animals, then would you kill and eat them?" question.  The answer is:  I'm living in Toronto.  There are no desert islands around here.  When I travel, I travel to the United States and Europe.  There are no desert islands there.  The odds are definitely against me finding myself on a desert island any time soon, but should I find myself there, I would look first to see the plants that the animals on that island were eating.

I am saddened by the specious arguments that non-vegans use to justify their meat eating, and this is everything from "we have canine teeth" to "it just tastes so good."   Our canine teeth are not canine teeth in the same sense as my dog or cats' canine teeth are.  Our canines are more vestigial and ornamental than practical canine teeth.  And of course meat tastes good: I used to love a good steak, but I'm no longer prepared to participate in the cruelty inherent in getting a steak to the table, and I am angered by people who don't care.  I am totally put off by people who say "Mmm, bacon!" when I am eating a vegan meal.  These people I ignore.

This is a link to the article that started me thinking seriously about the egg and dairy industry, and which helped move me into veganism, and which helped me begin to truly live my values of kindness and compassion.


http://www.thestar.com/news/ontario/2009/10/08/how_bald_chickens_help_troubled_kids.html

The Price of Eggs

Germany is the first country to stop grinding up male chicks as part of the egg-laying industry.
I have always believed that shoppers should understand the other price of the eggs they buy, beyond the money they hand over to the supermarket. The ground up chicks, the life of misery of laying hens, even free-range hens, and the trip to the slaughterhouse for hens that can no longer lay hundreds of eggs per year - that's the cost of eggs.
http://animalsaustralia.org/…/germany-stops-shredding-chick…

Monday, January 4, 2016

Veganuary



Here we are at the beginning of a new year.  If you are not already a vegan, why not start the year with a one-month vegan challenge:  eat only vegan food for a month!

Frequently when I suggest this to non-vegans, the answer is "No thank you." And then they follow up their polite rejection of the suggestion with all sorts of reasons why they can't, including "I love cheese too much to give it up, even for a month."

For people who were raised with a meat-centric diet, and I count myself as one of them - meat played a central role in almost every meal of my life - this can be a hard challenge to accept.  But it's not as hard as a confirmed meat eater might think: there are many prepared foods that taste almost like their non-vegan counterparts.  There are vegan sliced meats, vegan chicken fingers, vegan fish cakes, meat loaves, vegan soups, vegan ice cream and cakes, and there are even vegan cheeses.  It's not all tofu! Much vegan food is gluten free or can be made gluten-friendly.  Vegan foods made from scratch are tasty and satisfying and are not difficult to prepare, and are no more time-consuming to make than non-vegan meals.

Most non-vegans are already used to eating all sorts of vegan food, starting with that old stand-by, the peanut butter sandwich.  Other foods that are vegan are baked beans (if they don't have pork or bacon in them), salads with balsamic vinaigrette, fruit cups, other kinds of beans, pasta in plain tomato sauce - the list is almost endless.

There is no need to feel deprived -- the Canadian Dieticians Association says that a well-planned vegan diet is a very healthy diet for any person at any stage of life.  (http://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Vegetarian-Diets/Eating-Guidelines-for-Vegans.aspx)

But more than that, there are certain benefits of a vegan diet that go way beyond the food that vegans eat.  Most people consider themselves to be very kind.  They say they love animals and would never intentionally harm animals.  Nonetheless they spend their hard-earned money on meat, eggs and dairy products which can only be obtained through the brutalization, terrorization, and ultimate killing of animals.  When these people purchase meat or other animal products, they have paid someone to do to animals which they could never do themselves - harm and kill animals.  This means that a person who considers herself kind and compassionate, but eats meat and other animal-derived foods is not as kind and compassionate as she thinks she is.  This is a truth that many people don't want to hear.  There is no way to easily kill an animal.  They don't want to die.

So this January, why not try to be true to your values, and try to eat a vegan diet for the month?  It is my guess at you will feel better, both in body and soul, if you do.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

International Vegan T-Shirt Day

In honour of International Vegan T-Shirt Day, I am posting a picture of myself wearing a t-shirt that promotes veganism.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

International Vegan Junk Food Day 2015

It's international Vegan Junk Food Day, and in the spirit of the day, I'm sending my contributions to the cause!



I went to Starbucks to have a soymilk latte and I purchased a package of chocolate covered dates that had been stuffed with almonds.  Both the latte and the chocolates were delightful.