Tuesday, November 20, 2012

5 Years of Thanks

This year is going to be our 5th year having a vegan Thanksgiving.  And I'm thankful for that every single day!

Turkeys are such wonderful, sweet, compassionate animals.  It's so horrible to think of the abuses they go through - not only through genetic manipulation but how they are forced to live, that they are killed early and the actual gross physical abuse they are subjected to at the facilities.

I'm so glad we have our beautiful boy Jake with us.  He is a great reason to be thankful too!

Each year about 45 MILLION turkeys will be killed for this "holiday". That's a lot of violence on a day when we are meant to be expressing peace and gratitude.

The great thing about traditions is that they are so easy to change and/or create. Do something more than once and you have a new tradition!

We've had a compassionate, no-turkeys-or-other-animals-killed meal for going on 5 years now. Our

 meal includes: stuffing, root veggie mash or mashed potatoes (or both!), asparagus, Brussels sprouts, salad, pumpkin-herb rolls, gravy, fresh orange cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, apple pie and ice cream. Our "centerpiece" food have been Field Roast's Celebration Roast and their Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute. This year we are going to add stuffed, maple-glazed roasted acorn squashes.

Just sub out a few ingredients and 1 item and your celebration becomes thankful, caring and compassionate. A TRUE celebration for the season.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Autumn Goodies from Sugar Bean Bakery

Equal to my love of shoes is my love of baking.  And what's as much fun as accessorizing is picking out all the displays I want to use and my packaging.

In the Spring I did a booth for my bakery, Sugar Bean Bakery, and this past weekend was the Fall event.  Spring was all pinks and yellows and mint green but Fall calls for a different color scheme.  So I went with orange, creme, gold, dark brown and green.  This leads to new signage, vintage tablecloths and matching cake stands.  And the flavors included cinnamon, pumpkin, walnuts and nutmeg.

I ended up making:

Pumpkin whoopie pies
Apple Oat muffins
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffins
Vanilla cupcakes with autumn leaves
Cinnamon coffee cakes with walnut crumble
Spice cupcakes with vanilla bean frosting
Brownies with and without nuts
Spooky chocolate cupcakes
Lollipops in orange, lemon, chocolate and butterscotch
Rock candy sticks in orange and apple

We even served hot mulled cider and lemon-thyme water.

Admittedly, I do get a bit out of control with the decor (mini-topiary price holders!) but it's such fun I can't resist.

We had a great event and nearly sold out.  All the proceeds are going to The Gentle Barn (we do a different charity each time) and I can't wait until the Spring show!

More pictures on Flicker.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Compassionate Candy

We don't really get any trick-or-treaters in my neighborhood but if we did, I'd be printing out some of these little flyers to add to the bags.  What a great way to let kids and parents know that your goodies are compassionate!

There are two versions which you can download here - a Vegan only and a Vegan/Fair Trade option.  And remember watch out for carmine (insects used in red candies) and those with gelatin (ick!).

Here's a list of compassionate candy, but always double check the ingredients.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Milk Sucks

If these images aren't enough to convince you that dairy (all forms) is evil...

Maybe this will help...

For years, we’ve been told that milk does a body good. But does it really? Though touted as the healthier option at home and in restaurants, milk has roughly the same calorie count as soda and 2% milk contains the same amount of saturated fat as french fries. Given these two facts, the correlation between high milk consumption and high rates of Type 1 diabetes and heart disease makes sense. Even though one-third of Americans are lactose intolerant, the U.S. still consumes nearly 9 times the amount of milk that China does. So why do we drink so much milk? Because cows are making more of it. With the introduction of growth hormones like rBST, milk cows are producing nearly twice as much as they did in 1970.

Milk – bad for us, bad for cows.

View larger here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Meet Maple

There's a new girl in town and her name is Maple!

Maple was found by our local animal control wandering the streets.  A friend of ours let us know that there was a sweet girl with a hurt foot who needed a home, so we went and picked her up.

Jake took to her right away.  He even acted as a bit of a buffer against Butterscotch and Telly as the pecking order was established.

Sadly her hurt got a bit worse so we took her to a local specialist who prescribed some antibiotics, pain meds and foot soaks.   For the last week Maple has alternated her time between the porch, the chicken "playpen" in the yard and a softsided crate when sleeping indoors at night.

She's been good about taking her meds and letting us care for her foot, but we weren't sure what to do this past weekend, as we had planned on going out of town.

Luckily, she was able to come with us!  She snuggled into the carrier for a five hour ride and was good the whole way.  A few chicken purrs and some bored feather preening and we were there.

Maple did manage to get out of her outdoor pen the first night but was no problem after that.  It was a bit warm but she cooled off in the grass and charmed family and friends.

It was actually kind of fun traveling with her.  Who wouldn't like having a sweet girl along for the ride?!?

Her foot is looking much improved and we will take her back for a check-up next weekend.   We want her to heal up soon so she can run around with the other chickens.  But I may actually miss her being up by the house too!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Grimmy Grimms, We Love You.

I am beyond sad.

My sweet love kitty, Grimmy, has passed away.

Grimmy found us about 10 years ago. She showed up on our back porch and we let her sleep there at night.  Every morning she would cry outside our glass door until I came out and held her on my lap, where she would purr and purr.

Over the years, Grimm, who was a total house cat and a bit clumsy and crooked, would continue to be nothing but love.  She wanted nothing more in life than to be next to you or sleeping on you.  She would sleep on my pillow at night with her paw resting on my cheek or with her head resting on our arm, if she was next to us.  And she was just as loving with the other pets, especially Badger, our pup.

Sometimes Grimm would be pushy but generally she just wanted to be near you.  In the past year she developed diabetes but never fussed about getting her daily shot.  The vet said she purred for her whenever she was there.

But on Saturday, I was lying on the couch and Grimmy was right where she always wanted to be - sleeping on my chest.  I noticed she was breathing heavily through her mouth. I took her right in and we found that her lungs were surrounded with fluid and she couldn't get any air.  In the end, we discovered she'd had cancer but we never knew it.

I can't express how much I miss her and will always miss her. I loved this little (big) kitty with a big heart more than I can say.  I'd, selfishly, hoped for more time. For more days, months and years filled with her love.  I just hope that we gave her everything she needed because she gave me more than I could have ever asked for or been worthy of.

I love you, Grimmy Grimms. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Vegan Kickstart

I have, quite often, received comments and questions from friends and family who are edging their way into the more healthful way of eating - vegan.  Some are healthy eaters with a diet filled with plant based food.  Some are just wanting to cut out the animal abuse.  Here are some of my first pieces of information.


When we first went vegan we found Colleen's Podcast - Food for Thought and it was a great resource. We've been lucky enough to meet her in person and hear her speak and are huge fans of her cookbooks, especially The Joy of Vegan Baking.  She gives tons of info and all of her recipes are great!

2. Other Cookbooks and sites

We love Happy Herbivore for simple, easy, yummy meals and Chef Chloe is a rising start (winner of Cupcake Wars on Food Network, no less!)  You can't go wrong with either of them!

3. Find a Vegan Meet-up

You may be the first person you know to go vegan, but lots of folks have been there.  Check out groups on Facebook or find a local group.  It's fun and you can trade tips and recipes in person.

Knowledge is power and these resources will get you fired up to protect your health with plants and maybe convince someone you know to take charge of their health.

5. Eat some yummy food!

Whether it's some of Sugar Bean Bakery's cupcakes and whoopie pies, a Daiya grilled cheese sandwich or a pint of So Delicious' ice cream - there's tons of delicious food to enjoy that are not filled with animal cruelty or cholesterol.

6.  Be joyful!

One of the best, and most surprising, side effects of going vegan has been the feeling of peace that has come to us.  I never expected, although I'm not sure why, to feel so calm and peaceful just by changing how we eat.  But I guess when you take violence out of your meals, you can be filled with with this calm and joyful feeling too.