Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How do you respond to a crisis? Vegans fundraise!
(Part Two.)

So yesterday you learned all about the great vegan fundraising efforts happening for Haiti right on Etsy. What else are vegans doing? We're all having bake sales!

OK. Now, on its face that sounds a bit silly. But hear me out. When done right, a good bake sale can bring in some dough, (ha ha! - pun enjoyed but not intended) and I'm talking dough that can be counted in hundreds or even thousands. And believe me when I tell you we're doing it right. You get some vegans together who are really into baking, and the delicacies that come forth are out of this world.

And then there's the matter of quantity. There are bake sales happening all over the U.S. and in parts of Europe, and maybe elsewhere too. Several bake sales have already happened here in the states. I don't know about all of them, but those I do know about have taken in close to a collective $10k! Of course every penny is going straight to Haiti. Each bake sale team has chosen its own worthwhile organization to support - groups being donated to include Doctors Without Borders, Partners in Health, World Society for the Protection of Animals, and Food for Life Global.

I'll be participating in the bake sale here in NYC - it's going on all day long at Moo Shoes on Sunday, January 31st. (Hey fellow NYC VET members - hope to see you there!) Yeah, I'm making cupcakes. You know it. We're donating proceeds to Doctors Without Borders - those docs are doing amazing work, and amazing doctors are a big part of what's needed there right now. This bake sale is gonna be HUGE - and with an insane raffle too. Srsly ppl, do not miss this event.

I'll also be stopping by this month's Vegan Drinks on Thursday the 28th, which will be featuring its own mini vegan bake sale for Haiti! (Like that event needed to get any awesomer.) They will be supporting Sodopreca, a group of veterinarians heading across the border from DR to help out.

[Geography Lesson] Hispaniola = the island on which are the countries of Dominican Republic and Haiti.[/Geography Lesson]

Also this coming weekend are the big vegan bake sales in Chicago and Portland - I know those will be major. I'm excited to see that my home town ot New Orleans will be getting in on the Vegan Bake Sale action on February 6! Isa of the Post Punk Kitchen is doing an amazing job of keeping a comprehensive Vegan Bake Sales for Haiti list. Readers - If you're involved in any sales please leave a comment and give us all the details!

But guess what? Bake sales aren't it! There's also the amazing Josh Hooten and his partner Michelle of Herbivore Clothing Company: they teamed up with Ink Brigade to create this fab t-shirt. Naturally proceeds are going straight to the epicenter. Shirts have just begun to ship - I've already ordered mine... you're waiting for what, exactly?

So that's the news flash folks. Vegans are compassionate about animals - we're also compassionate about people! When you care, you care. And it's important to realize here that everyone can help. So you're not a doctor or nurse who can go volunteer; so you don't have "disposable" cash to donate. No matter. Pick up that wooden spoon and whip up those chocolate chip cookies! Can't bake? Then just go volunteer your time during the bake sale - it takes a good staff to run one successfully. No bake sales in your area? Organize one! Or get creative and see what else you can come up with. We can all do something, and at times of such desperate need we all should.

So do it people - shop on Etsy, eat a cupcake, and buy a t-shirt for Haiti!

Monday, January 25, 2010

How do you respond to a crisis? Vegans fundraise!
(Part One.)

As every reader undoubtedly knows, a few weeks ago the country of Haiti suffered severe damage in an earthquake measuring 7 on the Richter scale. Just over a week later, it endured an aftershock of 6.1. This was a severe blow for a country already enduring hardships barely imaginable to most of us, and its ramifications will be far reaching and long lasting. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, pretty much the whole world has jumped to action.

Being a person who had my own city partially destroyed in a semi-natural very-disaster not so many years ago, I have to say that sitting here watching this happen is really, really anxiety provoking. I have absolutely zero connection to Haiti, other than the facts that it's also populated by humans and cool animals and is on the planet earth. Nevertheless, the mere thought of the magnitude of human suffering that is happening there right now makes me start to freak out and cry a little bit. The only consolation I have for it is in focusing on what I can do, and that is to get involved in (and tell you about) all of the fabulous fundraising that is happening in the vegan community.

I am, frankly, just amazed at the outpouring of charity that has come from vegan contingents all over the world, beginning just a few days after the first quake. What are we doing?

Well for starters, many Etsy sellers have started to donate a portion of their sales to various relief organizations currently working in Haiti. I, for one, will be donating 50% of the sale price of any item in my my shop bright. until further notice. I'll be rotating monthly among a few worthwhile orgs including Doctors Without Borders, Partners in Health, and the World Society for the Protection of Animals.

Vegan Etsy Team member Panda With Cookie will be donating 100% of all profits from her clearance section to Doctors Without Borders, via a NYC bakesale that I'll be telling you about tomorrow. Vegancraftastic is donating 100% of sales of her knitting patterns to Doctors Without Borders through Ravelry knit and crochet community. And Sweet V Confections - yeah, that's right, think dessert - is donating 100% of chocolate fudge sales and 25% of all other sales to Doctors without borders! Mmmm, delicious compassion...

In addition, Vegancraftastic, Cards and Jewelry by Michele, and many (many many) other stellar Etsians have donated items to Hearts for Haiti, an Etsy shop which also donates 100% of all proceeds to Doctors Without Borders. At the time that I'm writing this, thanks to all the artisans who have donated items to sell, Hearts for Haiti has generated close to twenty thousand dollars!

As if that weren't enough, Michele and other VET members are also involved with another animal-friendly Etsy group, Etsy for Animals, which is having a Haiti Animal Relief Fundraiser. Various percentages of the sale price of Etsy items tagged with this moniker are donated to the World Society for the Protection of Animals,

So there you go. Want to help Haiti, but not sure what to do? Just do some shopping with the Vegan Etsy Team and you'll be on your way!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Member of the Week: Cards & Jewelry by Michele!

This week's VET Member of the Week is Michele of Cards & Jewelry by Michele. You'll find that this shop holds a wonderful combination of intriguing paintings, striking photographs and other fine art, and simply adorable bobbles. Let's hear from Michele in her own words:

How did you choose the name of your shop and how long have you been a member of Etsy?
I have been selling on Etsy for about 3 years. I'm still trying to come up with a creative shop name that fits. ;) I will love ideas!

I sell custom animal portraits, cards and prints of my paintings and photography, and jewelry/accessories made with vintage and recycled findings. I am inspired by my love of animals and nature in all of my creations, and hope to pass on the love and respect I feel for them to others.

I run Etsy for Animals: Artists Helping Animals and give at least 10% of my shop sales to our animal charity of the month. I also have items listed with 50% or 100% to the Etsy for Animals charity of the month and other charities. In addition I have items listed with 100% to charity in these wonderful shops: Hearts for Haiti, Vegan Craft Samples, Handmade 4 Hounds, and Brynn Alex. I also love donating handmade items to animal charity auctions and fundraisers.

What are some of your favorite things about Etsy?
I love that you can truly find anything you can think of, handmade, and know that it wasn't made in a factory with workers being paid minimum wage. It's so wonderful to be able to find unique, artistic, amazing things on Etsy! I especially love finding items helping charity; it's great to shop for a cause! I also love the communities I have become a part of with my teams, uniting with other animal lovers, vegans, veggies, and eco-friendly artists/crafters. It's great, and helps me feel connected to others with similar ethics.

Do you sell your items outside of Etsy, either online or in retail shops?
I sell in craft fairs once in a while, and sell my jewelry in this wonderful DIY boutique/art gallery in San Francisco, CA called Needles & Pens.

Have you been featured anywhere?
How long have you been vegan, and what made you go vegan?
I have been vegetarian since I was 13, which is 16 years, and vegan for 12 years. I became veg and vegan because of my love for animals. I try to live my life in the most compassionate way possible for animals, and that means being vegan. ;0) The moment that really switched on my "vegan switch" was when I was 17 and saw the film Baraka; I saw the male baby chicks being ground up alive, as a byproduct of the egg industry. I then started thinking about leather and meat and how all animal products cause suffering.

I went to a farm/arts boarding school at the time, and had a chance to spend time with, connect with, and photograph/draw/paint the amazing, beautiful farm animals there. I started researching factory farming, and did a final project and gallery exhibition incorporating a long research paper about the cruelty and environmental impact of factory farming. It also incorporated paintings, photography, and collages inspired by the animals at The Putney School and my feelings against factory farming.

What are your favorite foods?
Avocado, Turtle Mountain Purely Decadent soy ice cream, vegan pesto, tofu and mushroom tempura, rice, salad... soy lattes, mango, tahina, hummus, seitan...

Do you have any favorite vegan things, like books, websites, stores, etc.?
I'm currently reading and love Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. It's so great, and amazing for the animals that it's selling so well and getting such great publicity, such as on Oprah! I also love all of Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson's books. I can't wait to read The Face on Your Plate; I loved When Elephants Weep and The Pig Who Sang to the Moon. I also love Veg News magazine, and Pangea.

What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have?
I love walking in nature, especially with our foster seeing eye pup, Whiskey, and like to go to the gym and do yoga. I'm getting better with my vegan baking and cooking, and am trying new recipes. I love painting and making jewelry for my shop and for auctions helping animals.

Do you have any animal companions?
My husband and I have two adopted kitties. I adopted Moses from the Feral Cat Foundation in CA, and we adopted Tala together from the Be'er Sheva SPCA here in Israel, where we currently live (my husband is Israeli). We are also fostering the cutest, sweetest, most amazing seeing eye puppy, Whiskey, for a year; it has been wonderful.

Do you have any future plans for your shop?
I will be making and listing new jewelry and pins soon, and as always I will be using vintage/recycled materials. I will also be adding more of my artwork and photography as cards and prints.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I love Vegan Etsy!

;0) Michele

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Three Cheers for Three New Team Members!

Please welcome our three newest Vegan Etsy Team members - Crooked Metal Jewelry, Kittee: Craft Maker to the Stars, and Soapwalla Kitchen. Stop by their delightful all-vegan shops, take a look around, and of course make them your favorites!

Blue Goldstone and Sterling Silver Wire Wrapped Bracelet
from Crooked Metal Jewelry

Polka Dotted Number
from Kittee: Craft Maker to the Stars

Almond Oil and Oats Soap Bar
from Soapwalla Kitchen

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Make Your Own Herbal Flea & Tick Bandana

Herbal Flea & Tick Bandana

1 bandana (can be found in most craft stores)
1/2 tsp rubbing alcohol
1/4 cup water
2 drops cedarwood essential oil
2 drops lavender essential oil
2 drops citronella essential oil
2 drops geranium essential oil
2 drops neem essential oil

In a bowl, mix all ingredients except the bandana together. Add bandana, soaking it with the mixture. Hang to dry. When it’s dry, it’s ready to use. Tie around your dog’s neck, allowing two fingers of space between their neck and the bandana. The repelling benefits should last for about a month. After that, wash the bandana and repeat.

You could also use a collar instead of a bandana. :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Vegan White Chocolate Orange Almond Truffles

So this is where too much Vegan Blog hopping gets me!

A while ago, I came across these super yum looking White Chocolate Walnut Truffles on the VegSpinz blog and I was immediately overcome by the desire to stuff my face with them!

So I decided to create a variation of my own...

White Chocolate Orange Almond Truffles

All ingredients are in approximate values since I just throw stuff in without measuring. Feel free to modify the amounts to your liking.

1 C Vegan White Chocolate Chips
1/2 C Cashews
1/4 C Soymilk (use as required)
1/4 t Orange Essential Oil
1/4 C Almonds
1 C Vegan Dark Chocolate Chips

For the truffle mixture:

-Grind the cashews into a fine powder, add a dash of the soymilk and blend, add a little bit more soymilk if required and process into a very creamy paste.
-Melt the white chocolate chips (in a double boiler or in the microwave).
-Toast the almonds and crush them lightly into tiny pieces. If you have the patience you can chop them :oP
-Mix the cashew cream and orange essential oil with the white chocolate.
-Add in the almonds and mix well.
-Pop in the freezer for around 20 minutes or so, until it has hardened slightly.

How to proceed:

-Melt the dark chocolate chips.
-Make little balls of the truffle mixture and dip them in the melted chocolate.
-Drop them on parchment paper.
-Pop in the freezer to set again.

Note: I have used truffle molds for these. These can be used by coating the walls and bottom of the mold with the melted dark chocolate. Putting a bit of the truffle mixture in and covering the top with a layer of melted dark chocolate.

Enjoy! :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Welcome new members!

We have two new members to welcome to the Vegan Etsy Team: The Ginger Card Company and Crafty Moon Crab Soaps. Be sure to visit and favorite their great shops!

Twinkle Twinkle Little Soap Set
from Crafty Crab Moon Soaps

Peace Pendant
from The Ginger Card Company

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Great Vegan Etsy Give Away

Every month, or even Bi-Monthly sometimes, the VeganEtsy Team hosts a give-away challenge that awards a prize pack of vegan samples from it's team members.

Pretty In Pink

Start: Now

End: Jan. 30th

• Go to Etsy.Com and search for items that are tagged with VEGANETSY TEAM. Look for any and everything that is pink! All shades of pink are welcome.

• Respond to this post with the link of the item you picked and a short quip about why you picked it.

• Each person can only respond 1 time for 1 entry into the drawing. Blog followers get double entry.

• All contestants will be assigned a number. These numbers will be placed into a random generator at the end of the contest to determine the winner.

• Please note you must have contact information!
If you do not have any contact information in your user profile, please leave a email that you can be contacted through to inform you of your winnings.

This contests prize grab bag is sponsored by:

The VeganEtsy Team
Inc. Greetings
Late July Photography
Uber Duper Creations
Saving Estelle
Starrlight Jewelry -&- Designs
Pink Bubble Designs
Strange And Violent
Bright Design
Threaded Smiles

Monday, January 11, 2010

The importance of eating seasonally.

When my fiance comes home with zucchini in December, a tiff always ensues. "That's a summer squash!", I scoff. "But it'll go great in the stir fry," he retorts.

Granted... but.

There's really something to be said for eating produce that is grown not only within a hundred or so miles from your house, but also when it's supposed to be grown. Tomatoes? Well, sorry, but you're just not supposed to be eating fresh tomatoes in January, not if you live anywhere in the northern hemisphere (and based on landmass vs. water distribution on the planet earth, you probably do). Do you really want a vegetable that was grown hydroponically, picked when bright green, shipped a few thousand miles, and then ripened with ethylene gas? Because if you're eating a January tomato, that's what you're getting.

The bottom line? Local, seasonal, and preferably organic produce will taste best and be the best for you. And it's often the best value as well - it costs money to make plants do what they don't want to, and that cost shows up in the consumer's pricetag.

So, why not go for the butternut squash instead? The cabbage, turnips, and potatoes? And if you want a little tomato-ey kick during those long winter months, you can get really industrious - take those ripe summer tomatoes and can them (this can also mean jarring) and then you'll have them in winter as well. After all, there's nothing wrong with frozen and canned vegetables! Just so long as you're eating plenty of fresh ones as well, of course.

Great! But... what is in season when? I've known that it's best to eat seasonally for, oh, just ages now. Trouble is, though, that I rarely have the time or energy to get down to the utter and complete madhouse that is the Union Square farmer's market. And as odd as it sounds, CSAs in my area are actually rather competitive and hard to get into. So how do I know what, in fact, is in season?

Luckily, we've got the internet! And there are fine people who have compiled this information for us. There are charts for fruits and vegetables available from the BBC that are a great jumping-off place. And don't be a wimp like me - if your town has a farmer's market, get down there and support it! CSAs are also of course a great way both to support local farmers and ensure that you're eating nothing but fresh, seasonal produce. This post on The Sustainable Scoop goes into more detail on the whole eating locally gig, if you're looking for a bit more inspiration.

So there you have it darlings. Make 2010 the year you start eating seasonally!

melissa bastian.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

New member!

This week we have a new member, Pink Andie Designs! Please take the time to check out this great shop and give them some hearts!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Vegan Craft Samples New Years 2010 Bags

It's that time again, time to celebrate the New Year with compassion and love for all creatures of the earth.

New Years Vegan Craft Sample bags are now on sale and 100% profits will go to Pigs Peace Sanctuary

Meet Bubba and Charlie, two old time piggies at Pigs Peace Sanctuary

We have a limited supply of sample bags this round, so please dont hesitate to order if you want to be sure to get yours! Check out all of the great contributors here

Interested in contributing to our sample bags? Helping animals AND promoting your handmade items? Please sign up on our website under "get in the bag"

You can order your sample bags in our etsy shop or on our website

You dont have to be a member of Vegan Etsy to contribute or buy a bag....but being a member of Vegan Etsy is pretty awesome!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A New Year, A New Tradition, A New Fudge!

When I was a kid, I had a huge gaggle of relatives on both sides of the family. Holidays were insane - we'd show up at some relative's house and twenty-five people would be trying to kiss me! But eventually I'd struggle my way through all of the cheek-pinchers to a table decked out with glorious treats. The standout among these has always and forever been my Great Aunt Julie's rocky road.

Just imagine it - huge mounds of melt-in-your-mouth chocolate, secreting chewy marshmallow and just the right amount of walnut. Are you dying of sugar overload yet? Well, Aunt Julie passed long ago, and with her went her holiday delights. Two decades later, though, not a winter passes when I don't think of that decadent treat.

This holiday season has been one where I've been trying to claim some traditions for my own household. After all, traditions have to start somewhere, don't they? And I realized that the time to bring back the joy of rocky road (vegan style!) was long past due. And so, here we have it: Melissa Bastian's Rocky Road Fudge!

Rocky Road Fudge

  • 2 cups of chocolate, coarsely chopped then measured
  • 2 cups (yes really, two cups) of powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/8 cup "milk" (I use Almond Breeze, but use whatever floats your boat - soy, rice, hemp, whatev)
  • 1/8 cup rum
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup marshmallows, quartered then measured
  • 1 and 1/2 cups walnuts, measured then roughly chopped
  • Melt your chocolate. You can use a double boiler for this, but I've actually found that it isn't necessary. It's much more helpful to have a nonstick pot! Stir constantly, and remove from heat as soon as you only have a few little lumps yet. You want to heat your chocolate as little as possible, because you have to let it return to room temperature before using it. How does it stay liquid when it started out solid? Magic.
  • Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper. I swear, this is why parchment exists, and I love it.
  • Chop your walnuts - how big or small depends on how you like it.
  • Quarter your marshmallows. I've used Dandies for this, but I feel that Sweet and Sara's would be wonderful as well - just a little pricey maybe. Marshmallows are very sticky when you cut them open! I find it helpful to use some powdered sugar on the chopping board and on my hands to coat the newly exposed sides, so that the marshmallows don't stick to the board, each other, me... (Of course, if you can get ahold of the mini Dandies, no chopping is necessary!)
  • In a large bowl, whisk together coconut milk, other milk, rum, extract, and powdered sugar. (If your powdered sugar has little sugar rocks in it, run it through a sieve or sifter first.) Mix in your marshmallows and walnuts. (This is about when I switch from a whisk to a spatula. Walnuts + whisk = baagghhh.)
  • Stir in your ROOM TEMPERATURE chocolate. Seriously people. It cannot be hot... unless of course you want to make fudge soup.
  • Pour/scoop the mixture into your prepared pan, and use a spatula to spread it not quite to the edges.
  • Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours, until completely firm. Then break into chunks or cut up, display nicely on a plate, and watch your loved ones go wild.

Some additional notes...

*I like to use three 1 oz. squares of semi-sweet and six of unsweetened - plenty of sugar is added later!
*If you have bought a normal size can of coconut milk, this recipe is only going to use about a third of it. You may want to think about creative ways to use the rest - coconut milk goes bad quickly once opened! Of course, you *could* always make a triple batch...
*The rum here is optional - you can up the milk to 1/4 cup and leave it out. But I like the tiny punch it gives, and I swear it doesn't leave the fudge tasting very rummy. Conversely, you can do a full quarter cup and leave the milk out entirely!
*Eternal thanks to Celine of Have Cake, Will Travel, whose whiskey peanut fudge recipe started me on all of my crazy fudgy journeys.

Happy New Year everyone! May only your dessert be a rocky road!