Sunday, December 31, 2006

My Pig Winnie

This year we adopted a pig from the Farm Sanctuary in NY (in previous years we have adopted chickens). By adopting, I mean that we pay a donation to the Farm Sanctuary to provide for her care. My pig is Winnie. You can see a pic of her if you click on her name. Here is a link to Winnie's story. We plan to go visit the Farm Sanctuary this summer and meet her (if anyone else is interested in a summer trip to the Finger Lakes region this summer, let me know).

Anyway, we adopted a pig because we felt so bad about the horrible cruely that pigs endure in factory farms. Pigs are very intelligent creatures and are even smarter than dogs. This peta fact sheet says that they can even play video games. Pigs are kept in very crowded conditions and most never see the light of day. Female pigs are kept in crates too small for them even to turn around. Babies are taken from mothers when they are days old and kept in such crowded conditions that they would bite each others tails (except that they cut off their tails and break off their teeth without painkillers). In addition to all of this the conditions in which they are transported and slaughtered are just as horrendous... no,worse. Please read the fact sheet that I linked to above and make an informed decision.

If you eat pork, why do you think it is ok to eat pigs? Why not dogs? What is the difference? Is one more cuddly than the other? Why do we (humans) have these artificial lines in our heads about which animals are ok to eat?

Consider sponsoring an animal at the Farm Sanctuary this year. The number of animals that they can help depends on the number of sponsors in a given year. They do really good work and deserve any support you can give them.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Soft Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

1 Tbs ground flax seed
3 Tbs water

2 2/3 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup carob chips
1/4 cup chopped dried turkish apricots (can substitute other dried fruit)
1/2 cup really good raisins
2/3 cup chopped pecans

2 medium bananas, mashed
1/4 cup safflower oil (or canola oil)
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick spray.

Mix the 1 Tbs flax seed and water in a bowl and set aside for about a minute. Stir again just before mixing with other ingredients.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Mix the mashed bananas with oil, almond butter, maple syrup and the flax/water mixture. Stir well to mix in the almond butter. Add this wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir well. Press the mixure in the baking dish. Bake about 20-25 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. Cut into 12 bars.

These would be really good served with some vanilla soy yogurt.

A Holiday meal

On holidays we make something different. We have never been much of traditionalists. Holidays just give us an excuse to make something a little fancier than usual. Last night we had Butternut Vindaloo stuffed in Kabocha Squash. We threw some brown basmati rice in the bottom of the squash.

Butternut Vindaloo stuffed in a Kabocha Squash

We also made some vegan sugar cookies. I think these might be the best sugar cookies we have ever made. We decided to forgo the food coloring.

Vegan Sugar Cookies

I put the sugar cookie recipe in the extended entry. I didn't just link to it because (a) I didn't want to lose it if they ever take their web site down and (b) their frosting recipe was awful. I added my own frosting recipe below.

Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes

Last week we made Red Velvet Cupcakes out of the cookbook Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World. They were really good. I like this cookbook, with one reservation. I do not like the frosting recipes because they contain shortening which gives the frosting a slick feel. I have found that replacing the shortening/margerine mixture called for in the frosting recipes with all margerine fixes the problem. We also made the Chocolate cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream frosting. I think the Chocolate ones were better than the Red Velvet (and didn't contain red food coloring), but I forgot to take a picture of those. Here are some pics of the Red Velvet cupcakes:

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Vegan Pot Roast

I made this a few weeks ago and just finally downloaded the pics from my camera. This is a vegan Pot Roast from a recipe in The Vegan LunchBox. The roast is made from a homemade seitan (wheat gluten) of sorts. It was really good and definitely worth the effort. The Vegan LunchBox cookbook is really good. We haven't made anything out of it that wasn't fantastic.

Vegan Pot Roast

I brought the leftovers to work for lunch the next day and 2 of my co-workers looked at me with disbelief and one of them said "but I thought you were a vegan". Ha.

Prep pics are in the extended entry.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Vegan Wine List

Trying to find vegan wine is well, trying. I have started making my own list by emailing vineyards that are common in liquor stores in my area and by searching the web. Here is my list which I will keep adding to and revising. Email responses are in the extended entry.

Cline (Reds are vegan, not sure about white) *
Bonterra (White only) *
Frey (All)
Fetzer (White Wines are vegan)
Yellow Tail (Reds are vegan, Whites are not)
Beringer (White)
Thumbprint Cellars *
Louis Jadot Beaujalais Village
Penfolds Clare Valley Cabernet Merlot Shiraz *
Penfolds Clare Valley Chardonnay *

BonnyDoon *
Fat Bastard *
Bogle *

------- Notes ------


Dear Kristin,

Thank you for visiting our web site and for writing. We sincerely appreciate your interest in Bonterra Wines.

We use egg whites in the fining process of our red wines. However, our white wines are free of any animal products and are vegetarian and vegan friendly.

Ages ago, it was discovered that egg whites added to wine would aid in removing unwanted tannins. This 'tannin fining' process is used to improve the flavor of red wines by limiting the astringency caused by the tannins. The egg whites settle to the bottom and are then filtered out. All residue of the egg whites is removed from the wine.

Thanks again for writing.

Best regards,

Bonterra Vineyards
Wines of Distinction


Dear Kristin,

Thank you for taking the time to contact Penfolds Wines.

Penfolds produces two completely organic wines. These are the Penfolds
Clare Valley Chardonnay and the Penfolds Clare Valley Cabernet Merlot
Shiraz. These are available in Australia through the Penfolds cellar
door and are widely available in the UK.

Penfolds other wines are made with the regular winemaking process and
this includes the process called fining & filtration. During fining
small amounts of protein elements are added to the wine and whilst they
are removed from the wine during racking and filtrations some traces of
these elements may remain. The amount that remains in the wine is so
small that it is measured in parts per million. There are many fining
agents used however only a few are made from animal products so you will
need to check the labels on wines to check which contain animal
products. The agents containing animal products are:

- Fish products - Isinlgass
- Milk products - Casein
- Egg products - Albumen
- Animal products - Gelatin

I hope this is of some assistance to you.

Kind Regards,

Kiel Smith
Consumer Relations Coordinator (Australia)
Penfolds Wines

Bonny Doon:

Thanks for your interest in our wines!

Even though we try to be as ethical as viticultually possible, our wines
are for the most part not vegan.

Some of our red wines may be vegan as we normally do not filter or fine
our reds. However, there are instances when we use either skim milk or
egg whites as fining agents to remove microscopic particles that could
cloud the wines. But to be on the safe side, our wines overall cannot be
guaranteed vegan.

Please let me know if you need any more information.


Patrice Riley
Office Assistant
Bonny Doon Vineyard
PO Box 8376
Santa Cruz, CA 95061
831-425-6740 (Phone)
831-425-3856 (Fax)

Fat Bastard

Thank you for your Fat bastard inquiry.
Our wines are fined with egg whites, so they are not vegan.
Kind regards,
H. Wallace
Click Wine Group
Seattle, WA


Subject: Vegan
Date: December 26, 2006 1:06:19 PM EST
To: kristin

None of our wines are have been fined.
Sent from my BlackBerryĂ‚® wireless device

Subject: RE: Vegan wine?
Date: December 26, 2006 1:11:59 PM EST
To: kristin

Yes, our wines are vegan.



Hi Kristin - I do not "fine" the wines using any animal products. We
manage the fermentation such that the wines are not overly tannic when

Best regards,
Charles Tsegeletos
Cline Cellars


Thumbprint Cellars

Hi Kristin,
Thank you for your interest in Thumbprint Wines. All of our wines are vegan. In fact, very few of our wines are filtered or fined at all; that just removes the good flavor!
If any of our wines are fined, betanite, a diatanaceous earth, is used.
Hope that answers your question; if you would like to order wine or become a wine club member, feel free to emai this address or call the tasting room at 707-433-2393.
Have a Happy New Year!



Thank you for your email. Bogle winemakers use several products in the
production of our wines, including gelatin and egg whites. These are
classic and standard materials used in the making of most wines in
California today.

Hope this information is helpful to you.
Best wishes,

Jody Bogle VanDePol
Customer Relations/Wine Club/Export

Friday, December 22, 2006

Favorite vegan products

This list will continue to grow over time.

Coffee Creamer - Silk Plain Creamer
Tofu - Nasoya
Milk replacement - Eden Soy Milk, or Enriched Rice Dream (tastes like skim milk)
Butter replacement - Earth Balance
Egg replacement - Ground Flax Seeds and water for hearty baked goods, Ener-G for desserts, Tofu for quiches and scrambles
Bread - Vermont Bread Company Organic Bread
Wine - Frey Zinfindel
Honey replacement - Maple Syrup or Agave Nectar
Nutrional Yeast Brand - Red Star
Vitamins - Chewable Multi-Vitamin and Mineral Formula by Pioneer
Energy Bar - Cliff Bar - Peanut Crunch
Sugar - Hain Organic Cane Sugar
Powdered Sugar - Hain - Organic Powdered Sugar
Brown Sugar - Hain - Organic Brown Sugar
Cookie - Liz Lovely Cowgirl cookies

Lipstick - Zu Zu Luxe
Concealer - Clinique All About Eyes Concealer (works well for blemishes too)
Makeup - Clinique Soft Finish Makeup
Eyeliner - Clinique Quickliner for Eyes
Blush - Clinique Blushing Blush Powder Blush
Mascara - Aveda Mosscara

Skin Care
Deodorent - Lush Aromacreme
Shampoo - Lush shampoo bars, Aveda Sap Moss, or Aveda Shampure
Conditioner - Aveda Sap Moss
Lotion - Jason Unscented Vitamin E, Lush Sympathy for the Skin
Face Moisturizer - Lush Almond Kisses
Lip balm - Lush Eggsnog
Hand Soap - Kiss My Face Self-Foaming hand soap
Soap - Lush Sexy Peel, Lush Karma

Socks - tdb
T-shirt - Food Fight grocery, or Vegan Freak
Purse - tbd
Wallets - Matt & Nat

Web Sites
Vegan store - Food Fight Grocery, Cosmos Vegan Shoppe, or Vegan Essentials.
Vegan Freak
Podcast - Vegan Freak Radio

Vegan - pronounced Vee-Gan, not Vay-Gan

I just wanted to mention that I am not from the star Vega. I am not a "vay-gun" and I don't "vay-gunize" recipes and I don't eat "vay-gun" food. I am not an alien.

It is pronounced "vee-gan".

Saturday, December 16, 2006

But, I could never live without cheese...

People often come up to me and say things like "I could go vegan except for {insert favorite food here}". If you have ever thought this then you should do just that. Go vegan except for that one thing. You'd still be making a difference. You'd still be killing less animals and causing less suffering. If you've thought I could go vegetarian, but never vegan. Do that. You'd still be making a difference.

If you are on the fence about going vegan, then I challenge you to try it for 3 weeks. Just try it. You'll see how easy it can actually be. Going cold "tofu" is the only way to do it. A lot of foods like cheese are addictive and once you get them out of your system for a couple of weeks you may find that you no longer crave them.

There is a great book to help you make that final step towards veganism called "Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World" by Bob and Jenna Torres. I highly recommend it for anyone considering going vegan.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Is kosher meat more humane than other meat?

I was asked by a co-worker is kosher meat was humanely slaughtered meat and I promised I would investigate and report back. I'll warn you ahead of time, this one might get a bit gross. My co-worker told me that she thinks that when something is labeled kosher that it means that the animal was humanely killed. I didn't know anything about this so I did some internet research.

Personally I don't think it is possible to "humanely" slaughter an animal. Think about it. How humane would you find it if someone slit your throat? or your pet's throat? I never find killing to be humane. But, is it MORE humane than other slaughterhouse methods? The answer is unclear. It depends on which slaughterhouse (more about that later) and whether you care about how humanely the animal is raised.

Kosher Slaughterhouse procedure vs other slaughterhouse procedure - According to Judaism 101, "Ritual slaughter is known as shechitah, and the person who performs the slaughter is called a shochet, both from the Hebrew root Shin-Chet-Tav, meaning to destroy or kill. The method of slaughter is a quick, deep stroke across the throat with a perfectly sharp blade with no nicks or unevenness. This method is painless, causes unconsciousness within two seconds, and is widely recognized as the most humane method of slaughter possible". In a traditional slaughterhouse cows "are shot in the head with a bolt gun, hung up by their legs, and taken onto the killing floor, where their throats are cut and they are skinned. Some cows remain fully conscious throughout the entire process" (link).

Jewish Beliefs on Compassion - "Whether we look at modern Jewish social justice work or ancient rabbinic rulings, Jews have always insisted on the importance of having compassion for animals and reducing unnecessary animal suffering—tsa'ar ba'alei chayim in Hebrew" (link).

Is it really more humane?

Unfortunatly, PETA has undercover video which shows that not all kosher slaughterhouses are as humane as they claim. "PETA’s undercover investigator videotaped workers at the plant who were ripping the tracheas and esophagi out of the throats of fully conscious cows and improperly slaughtering them with the result that many were still attempting to stand three minutes after their throats were slit." (link, and Washington Post article). The USDA did find that Agriprocessors violated the humane kosher laws, and even worse that USDA Inspectors took gifts as bribes to keep quiet.

Even if Kosher meat is more humanely killed, the meat generally comes from the same inhumane factory farms as all other meat. "Cattle raised for kosher meat are castrated, their horns are ripped from their heads, and third-degree burns (branding) are inflicted on them—all without any painkillers" - (link). Since it is important to Jews to have compassion for animals and reduce animal suffering, I cannot see any alternatives other than to stop eating meat (cows, chickens, pigs, and all other animals).

And if you have managed to read this far, I encourage you to check out for more information about how eating meat fits in with the commandments of the Torah.

Hopefully, since I am not Jewish, I didn't manage to incorrectly use terms or say something offensive. If I did, I apologize.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

A poll for ye

I love polls. While I think I only have about 2 readers on this site (I really hope there are more than 2), I thought a poll would be fun. Please vote in the poll. You'll be anonymous, and I won't even know who you are... so go ahead and vote. :)

Oh, and no peeking at the answer before you vote. The answer is in the extended entry.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Friday, December 1, 2006

Are you man enough to watch?

Here is a video which shows why I am vegan. I am going to warn you that it is not easy to look at. You may not be able to get through it. You may not even be able to bring yourself to look at it. It's heartbreaking. If you can't bring yourself to look at it, I understand, but I'd like you to think a bit about why you don't want to see it., The website the meat industry does not want you to see

I admit, that I could not watch the whole video.