Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Goodbye VeganMoFo! We'll miss you... until next year!

Farewell, VeganMoFo 2010. It's been a wonderful month of amazing blog posts from a crazy large number of amazing vegan bloggers. We're proud to say that a fair number of those bloggers are our teamies! We're also proud to say that we've posted every day - though, admittedly, not usually about food. Ah, well, such is the life of a vegan - it's not just about the food!

And so we bid VeganMoFo adieu. Thanks for everything, VeganMoFo! Get back home safe! And don't forget to write!! :D

Monday, November 29, 2010

Vegan Etsy Holiday Market at the V Spot Vegan Cafe!

As promised, here are some more details on the VET holiday market in Brooklyn, which will feature a number of VET artisans! We're very excited to be hosted by V Spot, an excellent vegan restaurant in the shopping district of Park Slope. If you're in the NYC area, we hope you can stop by and join us this Friday evening for the launch party! And if not, we're sure you'll enjoy perusing the wares any time during the holiday season - and sitting down for a bite and a nice sip of something as well! One tip: the breakfast empanadas during brunch are TO DIE FOR!! :D

Vegan Baadusha Recipe

Baadusha is a deep fried South India dessert which is made on special occasions like festivals. We've been making these babies for Diwali in the recent years. One of the quickest desserts to make! The only 'work' involved is the deep frying and even that can be easy with a partner.


2 C maida/all purpose flour (I do intend to try these out with whole wheat flour at some point though)
1/2 C cold coconut oil + more for deep frying
2 C sugar
2 C water + more for the dough
A generous pinch of baking soda
Tiny pinch of salt
Chopped nuts - pista, almond, cashew

Fry the chopped nuts in a bit of coconut oil until lightly brown, strain and keep aside.

Pour this strained oil plus the remainder of the 1/2 C oil into the flour along with the salt and rub everything together until crumbs form.

Sprinkle the soda on top, add a little bit of water and knead into a soft dough.

Cover with a moist cloth and keep aside for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare a slightly thick sugar syrup with the sugar and water by boiling them together.

While the syrup is still warm, heat the oil for deep frying.

Shape the dough into little balls, flatten them and press your thumb (or index or whichever finger you like) down in the middle to form a crater in each one.

In batches, deep fry them in the hot oil on a medium flame until golden brown and transfer them directly into the warm sugar syrup.

Let them soak for about 10 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer them onto a plate and place the nuts in the craters.

After they cool slightly, the sugar syrup will harden a bit and form a layer on top.

At this point the Baadushas are ready to munch on. :)

Hanukkah, here we come!

Hanukkah falls quite early this year, beginning at sundown on December 1st. Hanukkah is the celebration of light, or more specifically the triumph of light over darkness. As (a terribly simplified version of) the history goes: after reclaiming Jerusalem and the holy temple from the Greeks, a single day's portion of oil miraculously burned for the Maccabees for eight days during the temple's rededication. This is why a menorah is kept burning for eight days during the modern celebration.

Although the holiday generally falls close to Christmas, and traditions have now come to include gift-giving, it is clearly a very different celebration. Unique from most Christian celebrations, many important days in the Jewish calendar acknowledge the triumphs and tribulations endured by the Jewish people throughout their history.

Well, I'm all for lighting candles, but what I enjoy even more are potato latkes and dark chocolate gelt! Like the celebrations in cultures found throughout the world, part of the Hanukkah celebration involves eating special (and delicious) foods. Especially those that are fried! This is another way to commemorate the oil that lasted eight days. Does anyone have favorite vegan Hanukkah recipes or treats they'd like to share with us? (Also, who can tell us how to play spin the dreidel??) The comments section awaits you!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Exciting Announcement: Vegan Etsy Holiday Market
at V Spot, Brooklyn!

Hello world! This morning we are excited to tell you that the Vegan Etsy Team sellers have been invited to participate in a Holiday Market at the V Spot vegan restaurant in Brooklyn, NYC! The official launch party of the Market will be held on the evening of December 3rd. More details will be released as they become available; for now, just get ready to head to Brooklyn and get your shop on!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Turn Black Friday into Green Friday with the Vegan Etsy Team!

Here in the states, this Friday after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday. Why? Maybe because businesses expect to get enough sales to put them "in the black". Or maybe because for those who work in retail, it's the most nightmarish day of the year! Any way about it, it's expected to be a day of shopping frenzy! Christmas is coming! Buy those presents!!! (And since you're out, why not slip in a few goodies for yourself?) But, where is all that money going?

Here at the VET, we think it's important to think not just about what you "support" when you're talking amongst your friends and associates, but what you literally support when you pull out those bills or lay down that card. If you'll be shopping you today, we encourage you to give as much of that support as possible to small businesses run by real people - and especially vegan ones! And to also think of all the animals who need our help - not only at this time of year, but all year round.

As you probably already know, one of the best ways to find small vegan businesses is to shop with the Vegan Etsy Team! Our team is made up of individual sellers - real live people! - all of whom are vegan, running all-vegan shops. The majority of us give a portion of our profits to animal causes, and sometimes that portion is 100%! So you can feel good about shopping with us on many levels. Not to mention that our shops represent an incredible variety of wares!

To find us, just go to Etsy.com and search our team tag, "veganetsy team". If you'd like to narrow it down, just add another parameter:
And so on, and on, and on...Whatever it is you're searching for, we've probably got it!

And so, happy Green Friday, and happy shopping!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! (Happy Save A Turkey Day!!)

You simply must check out these two beautiful treasuries from Neva, both in the spirit of the holiday! I hope you are all having a wonderful and compassionate Thanksgiving - please fee free to share pics with us here or on Twitter! :D

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Vegan Craft Samples for the Holidays!

The Vegan Craft Samples holiday bag is here! The bags have just been unveiled, and they're going fast, so you probably want to order yours today! What's in the bag? Any number of vegan samples from crafters and artisans all over the world. Of course many team members contribute to the bags, as well as a large number of other vendors. The only way to really know what it's all about is to get one of your very own and discover it for yourself!

Bags are available in small ($15), regular ($25), and large ($25) sizes. You can also purchase a "subscription" for 2011 and receive every bag that comes out throughout year.

Importantly - and as always - 100% of profits from the sale of the bags will go directly to support animals in need. Funds from this round of holiday bags are going to Joey's Feline Friends!

To find out more, stop by the Vegan Craft Samples website or facebook page!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Caramel Appel Pie from Apryl Knight!

Just in time for Thanksgiving! Check out this amazing recipe from VET member Apryl:

April's Caramel Apple Pie
(With acknowledgment to "Katia and Granny's Perfect Apple Pie", "Brandi's Famous Caramel Apple Pie!", and all of the VegWeb recipes for vegan pie crusts.)

Ingredients for pie crust
* 2 3/4 cups whole grain pastry flour
* 3/4 cup Earth Balance or oil (or a combination of the two?) (one small stick of Earth Balance plus 4 tablespoons)
* 1 teaspoon sucanat
* 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
* 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 8-9 tablespoons cold soy milk

Ingredients for pie filling
* 3-4 apples, unpeeled and cored, then sliced or chopped
* 2 Tablespoons Earth Balance
* 1/4 cup brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon cardamom

Ingredients for caramel sauce
* 1 cup of brown sugar
* 1/2 cup Earth Balance
* 1/3 cup MimicCreme
* 2 1/2 - 3 tablespoons flour


Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

***Preparing Pie Crusts
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Combine Earth Balance/oil and soy milk with flour (food processor, hand mixer, or fork) until crumbly. Add vanilla extract. Divide dough in half. Place one half in between two sheets of waxed paper or aluminum foil and roll with a rolling pin until it fits the pie pan.

Bake bottom pie crust halfway (10 minutes or so). While it is baking, roll out the other half of the dough and slice into strips for a lattice top. Set aside.

*** Preparing the Filling
Chop or slice the apples. Saute the apples in Earth Balance for about 5 minutes. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom. Cook for a few more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

***Preparing Caramel Sauce
Put Earth Balance into a saucepan on medium high heat until melted, add sugar and flour, stir to mix, and bring to a boil. Wisk constantly to incorporate. Once the Earth Balance has melted and mixture is smooth, take the pan off the heat. Slowly add the MimiCreme to the pan and continue to whisk to incorporate. Whisk until caramel sauce is smooth. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes.

***Putting It All Together
Remove pie crust from oven. Fill with apple mixture and pour caramel sauce over the top. Make a lattice from the top crust strips on pie.

Bake for 15 minutes uncovered, then cover with foil and continue to cook at 350 degrees F for another 35-45 minutes.

Unfortunately, I've misplaced the pictures I took of this pie the last time I made it, but as soon as I find them, I'll post them here

Recipe by Apryl Knight of Knightime Creations

Monday, November 22, 2010

Are you following us on twitter yet?

If by some chance you've missed it, the Vegan Etsy Team is on twitter!! We've got a very active stream with lots of vegan and AR news, and of course lots of updates about member shops and activities. So what are you waiting for? Follow us today!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Holiday treasury happytimes from Vegancraftastic!

Neva began a wee bit of treasury fever among the teamies, and now Kala of Vegancraftastic has created this super fun holiday treasury of team wares! Click the pic and enjoy!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Vegan Book Signing Double Header Tonight!!

If you happen to be in the NYC area tonight, you simply must head to Champs Family Bakery 'round about 7pm. Why? Because there you will find Melisser Elliott, signing copies of the newly released Vegan Girl's Guide to Life, side by side with Kelly Peloza, author of the Vegan Cookie Connoisseur. You can't even believe how many amazing vegans are gonna be packed into this bakery... not to mention, Champs makes donuts! So seriously, NYCers, don't miss it. ;)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Guess what! We got treasuries!!

Our wonderful teamie Neva has been a busy bee making gorgeous, animal themed treasuries! Neva runs her shop, full of beautiful handmade jewelry and original art, to generate funds to care for feral neighborhood cats in need. And just check out these gorgeous team member treasuries she has created!! (Click on the treasury images to be magically transported to the fully interactive treasuries themselves! BY MAGIC I TELL YOU.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010


that's just what we're doing here in the states. And while it's fun and exciting and involves lots of GREAT food, we're not that many people when you think about global percentages.


What else is going on around the world? Are there any other interesting celebrations or traditions that you'd like to share with us? (That involve awesome food, maybe?) The comments section awaits!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Yepper, you asked for it, and here it is. This recipe comes from my dear friend Liz Cherry, a killer vegan cook and all around fantastic lady. I had her green bean casserole for the first time last year at Thanksgiving, and I've taken a solemn vow to never go another year without it. (Incidentally, it is also omni tested, omni approved!) This is an amazingly good dish that'll bring you right back to your mama's table - just sans animal. Let's dive in, shall we?

  • 1-1/2 cups UNSWEETENED nondairy milk (unflavored soy milk works well; I also find original unsweetened Almond Breeze almond milk to be good for cooking)
  • 1 cube veggie bouillon (if you don't have one you like, try Rapunzel)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup chopped mushrooms (button or baby bella work best)
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can French cut green beans
  • 1-1/2 (24-ounce) canisters vegan French fried onions (French's is the classic - it's got a surprisingly minimal ingredient list!)

**Before you begin, preheat your oven to 350* Fahrenheit, chop all of your vegetables, and have your spices and other ingredients at the ready.

1. In a saucepan, heat the nondairy milk and veggie bouillon; stir until the bouillon cube disintegrates. Just heat the milk; do not allow to come to a boil.

2. In a skillet, heat the oil. Add the onions, mushrooms, and carrots; saute until the onions are translucent. Add the herbs and spices (basil, garlic, marjoram, oregano, pepper, sage, salt, and thyme - and whatever other hearty herbs make you happy).

3. Make a thickener by combining cornstarch and cold water; mix well. Pour into the nondairy milk-bouillon mixture. Stir well, because this will coagulate pretty quickly.

4. Quickly add the can of green beans, the sautéed veggies, and about half of the French fried onions; stir well. Pour that mixture into a casserole dish or pan and top with remaining French fried onions.

5. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the French fried onions begin to brown. Remove. Eat. Enjoy.

Makes: 4 to 6 servings, Preparation time: 10 minutes, Cooking time: 20 minutes. Feel free to double, but you may need to add a little baking time.

If the recipe looks familiar, it may be because Liz actually posted it on VegWeb a few years back. It has garnered a four star rating there, along with a ton of appreciative comments!

Happy Vegan Thanksgiving Baking, and Happy VeganMoFo Day 17!! :D

This is *not* Liz's green bean casserole. But it could be YOURS!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Regarding the quest for vegan green bean casserole...

As you may know, I'm trying to wrangle my husband's top secret vegan green bean casserole recipe from his head. So far I have ascertained that it includes silken: tofu, herbs and spices (you know, whatever seems right), sauteed sliced mushrooms, *french cut* green beans, and of course the french fried onions on top.

How long do you bake it? "Until it's done."

How much of _____? "Until it looks right."

Um, yeah, OK. Cooks like a devil, that one, but not so much for the imparting. But I'm gonna keep on trying!

What about you? Have a #1 amazing Thanksgiving recipe that everyone covets?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Srsly tho, I just can't wait for x-mas!

Like many folks around the States, I don't celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday. But I sure do celebrate the heck out of it! For some of course it holds deep religious affiliations, and I respect that, as should we all. But it has come to be celebrated as a time of giving, and that's something we can all be a part of, regardless of belief or faith.

I find that it's also a time when adults can stop being so serious, and indulge instead in alittle much needed childlike wonder and enjoyment of the world. Go ahead - stick out your tongue and catch a snowflake. Be dazzled by the bows and ribbons and lights. It's Christmas! Let your heart be light.

It's ALSO a time of unadulterated TREATS! I for one tend to find myself baking up a storm. Recent additions to the lineup that are quickly becoming holiday tradition include almond pignoli and Mexican hot chocolate snickerdoodle cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, and rocky road fudge - a creature of my own fevered imagination. And there are more treats to be found from our dear Vegan Etsy Team than you can shake a stick at - not to mention all of the other holiday adorableness!

I can't wait to decorate my 5 foot plastic tree (hey, give me a break - I live in an apartment in NYC) with the amazing sparkly animal ornaments made for me last year by fantastic team member Pinkkis - you gotta see it to believe it. And you will! You best believe that the minute the plates are cleared from thanksgiving dinner I'll be starting the decorating, and I'll be posting pictures! :D

Happy VeganMoFo Day 15 everyone!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Seriously though, what am I cooking for Thanksgiving?

OK, the big day is less than two weeks away! We are cooking for friends, and we still haven't nailed down a menu. This is getting a little silly.

In an effort to not drive ourselves completely nuts, as we are prone to do, I'm voting that we not try to cook ourselves into oblivion instead and get something pre-made for the main course. Last year we tried to more or less make our own Tofurky loaf thing. It was interesting, but did not to exactly what the recipe claimed it would. And it was complicated! Let's just say that there was cheesecloth involved. Honestly, when there's mock meat involved, I am perfectly content to let someone else do the creating. Though there's a very good chance that we will embellish!

Contenders include the Tofurky Feast, the plain old Tofurky Roast (which I believe is what comes in the Feast - it just also includes other stuffs), and the Field Roast Celebration Roast. Anybody tried either of these? I'd love to hear some firsthand opinions. Everything we've tried from Field Roast has excellent flavor, but how does it hold together? Inquiring minds want to know.

Then, there are sides. There must be sides!!

Last year I made a cream of oyster (mushroom) soup, and if I do say so myself it was freaking amazing. Too bad I have no idea how I did it! I could probably figure it out. But the question remains of whether to soup or not to soup. But, you know, everyone loves soup... And I do make a mean curried butternut squash...

Of course there will be something made from potatoes. WE MUST HAVE POTATOES! But what shall I do with them? I could just chop them up and bake them with some salt and pepper and rosemary. Because let's face it people, potatoes are delicious. But I could also slice them into thin rounds and then stack them into muffin tins, seasoning as I go, and bake them thus, resulting in crazy stacks-of-rounds! And then there's the mashed-or-smashed approach. Or... perhaps... a shepherd's pie? Oh my.

Now, something deep down inside of me wants there to be an object of macaroni-and-cheese like quality. But what if... what if instead of macaroni it were lasagna noodles, baked in layers in muffin tins with cheddar Daiya? Hmm... or perhaps a casserole of cheesy quina spaghetti?? My brain is exploding with insane ideas of cheeziness and starch. AND I LOVE IT!

Green bean casserole is a given. Jonathan makes it every year, and it is AMAZING. This has generated much interest, so if I can get him to give up his top-secret recipe (read: if he can figure out how he makes it without actually making it), I'll be posting!

Now, I'm sure you can tell that I'm a bit of a traditionalist. But I am rather fond of polenta. And so, I find myself wondering: do I need to make mini polenta pizzas? Do I???

And let's not forget the most important feature of the meal: dessert!

I want to make a pie... but what kind of pie? Definitely something with a cookie kind of crust - I have a recipe from, believe it or not, Martha Stewart's Everyday Foods magazine that can be veganized really easily for a press in pie crust basically made of crushed cookies. I'm there. But what to fill it with? I'm thinking of inventing something of the chocolate cream ice box variety - perhaps utilizing lots of coconut milk...?

There may also need to be cupcakes, and/or muffins. Because baking = happiness. Plus, I'll be needing to get my hands on some of Sweet & Sara's new Pumpkin Spice marshmallows, because Oh, My, Goodness, they are the magic of the season.

DECISIONS. Gotta make 'em. I know! I'll just take the next two weeks off of work and cook - I'm sure to have struck upon all the right recipes by the time the 25th rolls around! ;)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Savoring November

Soon, for so many of us, it will be cold, cold, cold, and the trees will be stark and bare. But for this brief moment called autumn, the air is brisk but not harsh, and the leaves are red and gold and orange - not yet all brown and fallen away...

Autumn Romance necklace from Art by Susmitha

Jasper Leaves bracelet by Crooked Metal Jewelry

Fall Foliage Cuties by My Zoetrope

Rose Hip Glycerite from Twig & Leaf Botanicals

"Hidden in the Holler" Autumn Leaves light switch plate from Aguavino

Friday, November 12, 2010

An inadvertent entry to the GVEG...

If you're on the west coast, or really anywhere in the vegan community (thanks to that there internet), you've probably heard of Food Fight! Vegan Grocery in Portland, Oregon. Food Fight! frequently designs its own wares, and one of its soon-to-be iconic logos is so apt to this month's Great Vegan Etsy Giveaway challenge that we just can't resist posting it here:

In all the many ways in which I have tried to explain my veganism to those who do not understand, I think this might just hit the nail on the head best of all... or at least in the fewest words!

Once again thanks to tha internets, you don't have to be in Portland to partake of their wonders; the website is fully stocked and functional (and often hilarious!). So swing by and pick up a tote - and maybe some white chocolate chips for your Thanksgiving baking? ;)

Happy VeganMoFo Day 12!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Speaking of a Thanksgiving Menu...

Every year it's the same thing at my house. The fun and excitement of, "what will we cook for our vegan Thanksgiving?!" mixed with the anxiety and dread of "what will we cook for our vegan Thanksgiving!??" Old favorites like green bean casserole and homemade cranberry sauce compete with shiny new ideas (Jackfruit tacos?!). What's to be the centerpiece: seitan, tofu, Tofurkey? A vegan turducken?

The fact is that when it comes to vegan Thanksgiving feasts, the possibilities are nearly endless. There are so many amazing possibilities for main courses, sides, and desserts that it can make one a little dizzy just trying to nail it down. But never fear: it can be done!

So tell us, what are your Thanksgiving plans? Comments please! If you'd like to share an original vegan recipe with us, we'd love to post it - and give you full credit of course! :D

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Have YOU adopted a turkey yet?

It's November - a time when the air gets a little crisper, vegan bloggers go crazy for VeganMoFo, we all plan insane Thanksgiving menus... and we all adopt turkeys at Farm Sanctuary!

Adopt a turkey? Why, that's madness! But no, it's true - you can adopt your very own turkey today! You won't actually be taking him (or her) home, of course; your turkey will be staying warm and snug at home at the Farm. But your donation will help provide all the necessities and comforts that make life there so grand!

If you haven't done so already, make adopting a turkey part of your Thanksgiving tradition. And if you haven't adopted a turkey yet this year, what are you waiting for?! :D

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life! Out now, signings everywhere!

It seems like every day the vegan community grows exponentially. And a big part of that growth is a proliferation of amazing vegan cookbooks! Just this week a new book has been released: The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life. But this is no ordinary cookbook. In fact it can hardly be called a cookbook at all, though I hear it does have some kickass recipes. So what is it? Well:

"The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life contains the basic who-what-where-when-why of veganism, but also has tips like what to feed non-vegans, the best vegan beauty products, fun vacation spots, and an assortment of recipes and crafty projects including Jackfruit "Carnitas" Tacos, Twice Baked Chipotle Sweet Potatoes, Cracked Coriander Seed and Chai Tea-Rubbed Vegan Steak Lo Mein, Double Chocolate Cookies, Purple Cow Cupcakes, DIY Dessert Stands, a Cross Stitch pattern by Stitch'd Ink, and how to make your own produce bags.

Reading like a Who's Who of vegan women, contributions from recipes to craft projects are contributed by respected vegan chefs and bloggers including Hannah Kaminsky, Celine Steen, Jenn Shagrin, Kittee Berns, Kelly Peloza and more."

And there you have it. Writer and editor Melisser Eliott is currently trotting the globe sharing the book with anyone and everyone - don't you want to meet her? The schedule of signing events currently looks like this, but you can always stop by the Urban Housewife blog for updates:
  • November 10th Philadelphia, PA at Grindcore House, 6pm to 8pm
  • November 12th Manhattan, NY at MooShoes, 7pm to 9pm
  • November 16th Syracuse, NY at Strong Hearts Cafe, 7pm to 9pm
  • November 17th Boston, MA at Peace O' Pie, 7pm to 9pm
  • November 20th Brooklyn, NY at Champs Bakery, 7pm to 9pm
  • November 21st Montclair, NJ at Go Lightly Eco Store 1pm to 3pm
  • November 28th Paris, FR at Paris Vegan Day, book signing and talk
  • November 30th Manchester, UK at The Thirsty Scholar, 6pm to 8pm
  • December 2nd Brighton, UK at RedVeg, time TBA
  • December 4th London, UK at Vx, book signing and talk 2pm to 6pm - 5% off all Vx purchases at the event!
  • December 5th London, UK at the Animal Aid Christmas Fayre, talk at 3:15pm, signing to follow
It's always great to support your fellow vegans, and it's also always great to smother your omni friends and co-workers in vegan baked goods! You never know - it may be a cupcake that makes them see the light. Happy reading, and happy VeganMoFo Day 9! :D

Monday, November 8, 2010

GVEG Entry: The Healthy View

Here's an entry from the current Great Vegan Etsy Giveaway that takes a different perspective than most: it's from a young person who turned to veganism as a potential avenue to health, and in the process has begun to discover all that being vegan can offer. I know you'll enjoy this extensive entry from Andrew "VegMuffinMan" Morrison, a relatively new vegan who's "loving every minute of it"!

* * *

My name is Andrew Morrison and I started off with a problem. A weight problem, like most of America today. Thing was, I actually wanted to do something about it instead of just wishing I could change. A friend of mine tried vegetarianism for a year and claimed they felt so much healthier after doing it. They eventually stopped it, but it gave me an idea. Starting on January 21st of 2010, I went vegetarian. I had wanted to do it earlier, but a friend invited me over for dinner and we had lasagna…no, not meatless lasagna.

I didn’t eat cheese, but did have things like ricotta pancakes, goat cheese, and a few baked stuff . But one day I decided that if I were to do this, I needed to go all the way. So I went for it all. In early April, I was a vegan. And from that January to April, I lost 80 lbs. I didn’t feel weak at all and actually had more strength and energy. I learned to do it without problems by reading other blogs and they helped so much with recipes and such. They helped out so much!

Veganism to me is a lot more than just a plate of raw vegetables. It is a complete lifestyle full of new discoveries and foods I had never even heard of before, but now love. Yes, you can make awesome cookies without eggs. Yes, you can have the best muffins you have ever tried without milk. Yeah, pizza is still the best food in the world with a little Daiya cheese on it. Heck, even Oreos and most Pop-Tarts are vegan. And so is an awesome pumpkin pie I made a few weeks back!

I don’t eat junk all the time and though compassion has become another reason for staying vegan, health is still a big thing to me. I am going to be in my body for a while, so might as well take care of it, right? I try to keep things as natural as possible. I don’t even own any all purpose flour. I only use whole wheat. And I love making stuff from scratch.

I am 16, I’m a vegan, and I’m loving every minute of it…..

-Andrew "VegMuffinMan" Morrison-

* * *

Rock on with your vegan pumpkin pie, Andrew! Happy World Vegan Month, and Happy VeganMoFo Day 7! :D

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Dairy Management, Inc.? The New York Times investigates.

This week the New York Times published an article investigating the actions of a group called Dairy Management (ever wonder who was behind "Got Milk?), which looks like a private investor group but is in fact funded by the U.S. Government. The article is receiving a lot of attention in the food world because it pulls no punches about Dairy Management's intentions: to push foods (mainly cheese) that are known to be major contributors to disease and obesity. Here are some highlights (rearranged for clarity):

While Warning About Fat, U.S. Pushes Cheese Sales

Published: November 6, 2010

Domino’s Pizza was hurting early last year. Domestic sales had fallen, and a survey of big pizza chain customers left the company tied for the worst tasting pies. Then help arrived from an organization called Dairy Management. It teamed up with Domino’s to develop a new line of pizzas with 40 percent more cheese, and proceeded to devise and pay for a $12 million marketing campaign.

In 1995, the government created Dairy Management Inc., a nonprofit corporation that has defined its mission as increasing dairy consumption by “offering the products consumers want, where and when they want them.”

And Dairy Management, which has made cheese its cause, is not a private business consultant. It is a marketing creation of the United States Department of Agriculture — the same agency at the center of a federal anti-obesity drive that discourages over-consumption of some of the very foods Dairy Management is vigorously promoting.

Dairy Management, whose annual budget approaches $140 million, is largely financed by a government-mandated fee on the dairy industry. But it also receives several million dollars a year from the Agriculture Department, which appoints some of its board members, approves its marketing campaigns and major contracts and periodically reports to Congress on its work. It also includes the National Dairy Council, a 95-year-old group that acts as its research and communications arm.

Dairy Management runs the largest of 18 Agriculture Department programs that market beef, pork, potatoes and other commodities. Their budgets are largely paid by levies imposed on farmers, but Dairy Management, which reported expenditures of $136 million last year, also received $5.3 million that year from the Agriculture Department to promote dairy sales overseas.

By comparison, the department’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, which promotes healthy diets, has a total budget of $6.5 million.

Every day, the nation’s cows produce an average of about 60 million gallons of raw milk, yet less than a third goes toward making milk that people drink. And the majority of that milk has fat removed to make the low-fat or nonfat milk that Americans prefer. A vast amount of leftover whole milk and extracted milk fat results.

Dairy Management, through the “Got Milk?” campaign, has been successful at slowing the decline in milk consumption, particularly focusing on schoolchildren. It has also relentlessly marketed cheese and pushed back against the Agriculture Department’s suggestion that people eat only low-fat or fat-free varieties.

In one instance, Dairy Management spent millions of dollars on research to support a national advertising campaign promoting the notion that people could lose weight by consuming more dairy products, records and interviews show. The campaign went on for four years, ending in 2007, even though other researchers — one paid by Dairy Management itself — found no such weight-loss benefits.

“Great news for dieters,” Dairy Management said in an advertisement in People magazine in 2005. “Clinical studies show that people on a reduced-calorie diet who consume three servings of milk, cheese or yogurt each day can lose significantly more weight and more body fat than those who just cut calories.” It was based on research by Michael B. Zemel, a University of Tennessee nutritionist and author of “The Calcium Key: The Revolutionary Diet Discovery That Will Help You Lose Weight Faster.”

The campaign lasted until 2007, when the Federal Trade Commission acted on a two-year-old petition by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, an advocacy group that challenged the campaign’s claims. “If you want to look at why people are fat today, it’s pretty hard to identify a contributor more significant than this meteoric rise in cheese consumption,” Dr. Neal D. Barnard, president of the physicians’ group, said in an interview.

Agriculture Department data show that cheese is a major reason the average American diet contains too much saturated fat. Research has found that the cardiovascular benefits in cutting saturated fat may depend on what replaces it. Refined starches and sugar might be just as bad or even worse, while switching to unsaturated fats has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.
My biggest question in all of this may be, why is the U.S. Government bailing out Domino's!?

And finally, an oldie but goodie... marketing cheese to kids certainly isn't a new idea...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

VeganMoFo Action with the VET

As you clearly know, we have a fun lil' blog here for the Vegan Etsy Team as a whole. But did you know that MANY of our members blog individually as well? We have a huge number of talented writers in our ranks. So it should come as no surprise that a number of them are participating in VeganMoFo as well! Here's a short list of some of our members who will be MoFo'ing the month through:

Augusta Vegan Bakery - Augusta Vegan Bakery blog

Jak Random Art - Baking Vinyl with Jenny Marmalade

Knightime Creations - The Traveling Austin Vegan

Miss Muffcake's Lost and Found - Miss Muffcake blog

My Zoetrope
- My Zoetrope blog

Panda with Cookie - Panda with Cookie blog

Veganville - Veganville blog

There may be even more! So happy reading, and happy VeganMoFo Day 6!

Friday, November 5, 2010

We support you, new and aspiring vegans!

As is shown in many of the entries in our current Great Vegan Etsy Giveaway, for many people becoming vegan is a process - a slow awakening, a gradual realization that not only is veganism what feels right, but that it's also fun and easy and chock full of amazing food! Check out this great entry from Kate, an aspiring vegan who we'd love to hear more from:
i'm working towards veganism because i believe it takes your body less energy to properly digest plant based foods. and, i love furry animals! and scale-y ones! and feathery ones! etc.etc.etc.
It definitely sounds like you're on the right track, Kate! If there are any points you need help on to complete your transition - how to substitute eggs in baking recipes, clearing up that silliness about "getting enough protein", and so on, feel free to drop a line. And remember, veganism is a great choice for your health, the animals, the planet, and basically everything you can think of! :D

It's OK that nobody (or next to nobody) knows how to be a perfect vegan overnight, and we work to make this blog a resource for anyone who wants to be vegan and is in the process of learning how. We've posted lots of recipes over the years that range from simple to complex, for example. And everyone should feel free to post questions about any issue at all in the comments to our blog posts. ("But how do I tell my parents I'm going vegan?" "What will my friends think?" "Can I eat miso soup?" "Can you boil coconut milk?" Ask away! We've got you covered.)

Of course there are plenty of other great resources on the internet as well! The Post Punk Kitchen is pretty much an endless goldmine of vegan wisdom. What's A Vegan?!, run by VET member JF Illustrations, is a another great place to submit questions on all things vegan (and see all the answers to the questions posed by others!). The list of great vegan resources is actually kinda endless. You'll see some of our faves listed in the sidebar.

Veganism isn't the least bit hard once you've got ahold of the basics, and we'd love to help you get there. So don't be shy, the water's fine! :)

And also, Happy VeganMoFo Day 5!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Another great entry: it's all about the love

We love to hear all the different reasons you have for becoming and staying vegan. This entry in our Great Vegan Etsy Giveaway from Louzilla is heartwarming:
I am vegan because I do not believe that there is any humane way to make money off of animals, no matter what “humane meat” promoters say, and I don’t want to feed into any industry that tries to do so. I think veganism is important because, though most people say “to love others you must first love yourself,” I disagree. I think that to love yourself you must first love others, and for me that was a love of animals shown through veganism (and other life choices). It means everything in my life--in short, promoting the vegan movement and helping the wellbeing of animals everywhere is my reason for living. For those around me this means raising awareness about industry practices they would otherwise never know about, and thus raising compassion.
Keep them coming everyone! We'd love to hear what veganism means to you.

Happy World Vegan Month, and Happy VeganMoFo Day 4!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fantastic Recipe: Vegan Deviled Eggs!

Check out this amazing recipe from Kelly Beth, co-proprietor of Twig & Leaf Botanicals. I have a feeling that this is going to become a standard at parties all over the world!

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Kelly Beth's Vegan Deviled Eggs (a.k.a. Potato Angels)

Small potatoes
Olive oil
4 Tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
Dash of hot sauce
Dash of garlic powder
Salt and Pepper
A dash turmeric (optional for yellow color)
Paprika for dusting at the end

Peel several small, egg-sized potatoes and cut them in half. Coat potato halves completely with olive oil (I use macadamia oil because I like the way it tastes). Place potato halves face down on an oiled cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes, until soft but not mushy.

While the potatoes are in the oven, mix veganaise or homemade vegan mayo, yellow mustard, diced onion, hot sauce and spices to taste all together in a bowl. I don't use measurements when I cook, I just go by what tastes good! When the potatoes are done, allow to cool. Then use a sharp knife to cut into the flat side of each potato, and then hollow it out with a spoon. You want to be left with a little cup-shaped potato. Add the scooped-out portion of your potatoes to your mayo/mustard mix and blend well. Then spoon / plop the mix into the hollowed out potatoes and sprinkle some paprika on top - so good! I make these for every get-together I go to. I'm pretty sure that's why I'm invited. :D

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Happy World Vegan Month, and Happy VeganMoFo Day 3! :D

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

And the entries are rolling in...

We've already gotten a ton of entries for our latest Great Vegan Etsy Giveaway, posted just yesterday morning! Here's one of my favorites so far - though they have all been wonderful.
To be vegan means that I have respect for all living things. To be vegan means that I believe in a peaceful world in which I refuse to partake in an abusive and violent system. To be vegan means that I love Mother Earth and want to make as little impact on her as possible, but make a huge impact with her children (all living things). To be vegan means that I shook up my own way of thinking and now I work to shake up others. To be vegan means that I have discovered a hidden talent for cooking and gardening. To be vegan means that I can taste foods better because there is no nasty dairy coating my poor little tastebuds. To be vegan means that I can sleep better at night.
Thanks for sharing your sentiments Andi! And remember vegans, it's World Vegan Month - get out there to educate and celebrate!

And of course, Happy VeganMoFo Day Two! :D

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Great Vegan Etsy Giveaway: Happy World Vegan Day!

***This contest is offically CLOSED!! Thank you for all of your wonderful entries, and we'll be having another one soon!***

Every month or two, the Vegan Etsy Team hosts a give-away challenge that awards a prize pack of vegan samples from its team members. This month's contest is held in honor of World Vegan Day, and also kicks off our daily blogging for VeganMoFo! Since it's all about tha vegan, you'll see why this month's challenge is...

The True Meaning of Veganism

Start: Now

End: November 31st

The Prize:
a Vegan Etsy Team sampler pack full of handmade goodies contributed by Vegan Etsy Team members

• In a comment on this blog post, tell us why you are vegan (or want to / are working to be), why you think it's important, and what you feel it means in your life and in the lives of those around you. We ask that you keep this positive - veganism always should be! There is of course no "right" answer here. Veganism is a personal journey in which we all share a common goal.

• Each person can respond 1 time for 1 entry into the drawing. (But 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! We can't make you the winner if we can't get in touch with you. If you do not have any contact information in your user profile, please include an email in your comment where you can be contacted to inform you of your winnings.

• The lucky winner will be announced in the first week of December. Good luck!

This contest's prize grab bag is sponsored by a number of our fantastic team members, including the Vegan Etsy Team Shop, Uber Duper Creations, Starrlight Jewelery, Veganessa, Pinkbubble Designs, and more!