Celebrating Easter ‘Vegan Style’

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Stressing about ‘Veganizing’ Easter this year? No need! There are lots of Vegan treats available & they taste even better than the non-Vegan ones!

Easter is a time of pure childhood bliss. Devouring chocolate bunnies & running around the yard searching for hidden eggs… What child doesn’t look forward to this all year long?

Obviously, The Easter Bunny brings most of the goodies. Not mom & dad. BUT many Vegan parents like to help the bunny out, and add a few goodies to the basket. I also like to paint eggs with my children. Wooden ones of course. I find them at Michaels, along with paint and other decorations like sticky gems and ribbon. The great thing about decorating wooden eggs, is they last forever and make wonderful gifts for the grandparents.IMG_2121

Easter egg hunts may be an issue. Many hunts are put on through schools, churches & towns. This makes if tough for a Vegan parent to ensure their child ends up with Vegan treats. I recommend allowing your child to participate. Holding your child back from this event may make him feel alienated and uninvolved with friends. What I do is have my kids hand me all the non vegan candies and give them to their friends, or donate them. Then we go buy a something special. This usually works just fine for most Vegan families. The thrill is in the ‘hunt’ for the eggs anyway!IMG_6682

Filling a Vegan Easter basket is ridiculously fun. Seriously, I LOVE shopping for Easter basket treats. My children’s baskets are filled with 4 types of items. Healthy Snacks, ‘Special Treats’, Fun Stuff (ex. toys & games) & Useful Things (ex. clothes, shoes, accessories).

Lets start with Healthy Snacks.
I often add foods such as dried fruits. ‘Peeled Snacks’ are a family favorite. Protein bars are always a hit with the teens. I recommend ‘Pure Bars’. I usually add a few packets of ‘RAW Protein Powder’ to my 14 year old son’s basket. A new favorite snack that will be added to our baskets this year are ‘Chockalet Kale Chips’. They are out of this world and your kids will not realize they are the least bit healthy!

Next up are the ‘Special Treats’

If you are only going to order one amazing type of vegan goodie online, you need to buy ‘Inglorius Monk Whoopie Pies!’ We enjoyed these delicious treats last month, and my kids went absolutely crazy for them. It’s hard to find a good Vegan Whoopie Pie in our area. Actually impossible. They offer pumpkin, chocolate chip, lemon (my favorite), peppermint and more. This company only uses sustainable, organic, non-GMO ingredients in their products and they partner with local family farms. I have been told that they have a special egg pie. I am excited & I will update this post when ours arrive. Order now for Easter delivery!Unknown-1

*UPDATE* The whoopie pie eggs have arrived and they are as adorable as they are delicious! What a great addition they will make to your child’s Easter basket! The eggs come in chocolate raspberry and vanilla raspberry. They also offer a super cute heart shaped chocolate dip vanilla pie. Did I mention how much I adore these whoopie pies?!?!
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What Easter basket would be complete without a chocolate bunny? Unfortunately almost every bunny out there contains milk. I do find however, that many health food stores sell Vegan bunnies this time of year. If you can’t get your hands on one locally, I have found a non-dairy bunny and lots of other vegan candies, including a very pretty peanut butter chocolate egg at ‘VeganStore.com’.
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As for ‘Fun Stuff’, my daughter loves the princess legos that are all the rage right now. My son is a teenager so a gift card will be perfect.

‘Useful Stuff’ is my favorite part of the Easter Basket buying process!! I purchase many of the items that my children need. So in other words, I have to buy these things anyway, so adding them to Easter Baskets is win, win for everyone! This years ‘needed items’ will include, toothbrushes, belts, hair bands, bathing suits, flip flops, sunglasses, laptop case, lunch bag, gymnastics leotard & soccer socks & cleats. Yep, I am putting a toothbrush and socks in my son’s basket. ;)

Hopefully this has given you some ideas about how to enjoy Easter with your children. Many newly Vegan parents fear holidays because they assume Vegan kids can’t celebrate like all of the other kids. But I can assure you that this is one worry you can throw out the window!!

Lastly I would like to recommend that you adopt a farm animal as a gift for your child. Farm Sanctuary has a wonderful ‘Adopt A Farm Animal Program’. This is a gift that keeps on giving and it will remind your children one of the reasons that your family has most likely chosen to be Vegan.Susie Moo_228x200

“Straight From The Earth” Cookbook Review.

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I have recently been introduced to a cookbook written by a health minded mother & daughter duo named Myra & Marea Goodman. Their book “Straight From The Earth” offers dozens of plant based recipes that utilize whole foods to create meals that are nothing short of amazing. You will find recipes for ‘Hearty Beet Soup’, ‘Cabbage & Carrot Crunch Salad’, ‘Grilled Fig Sandwiches’ & ‘Plantain Tacos’, just to name a few. The recipes were created & tested by these two talented ladies, and their passion for food is apparent on every page.

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Here are two recipes that I have recently made for my family. Enjoy!

Barley, Quinoa, and Cannellini Bean Loaf (or Burgers)

I prepared this delicious loaf while my kids were at school. I had a nice, quiet kitchen and I enjoyed the entire process of creating an amazing meal for my family.
The ingredients for this recipe are packed with nutrients & protein, and the flavor of the mustard & spices is simply phenomenal.
It takes a bit of prep time to make this loaf, but I assure you that it is well worth every minute. This would be a wonderful meal to make for an everyday family dinner or a celebration with friends.

Serves 6

3 cups/720 ml low-sodium vegetable broth
½ cup/100 g hulled or pearled barley, rinsed
Salt
½ cup/85 g quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
3 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, small dice
2 medium carrots, small dice
1 stalk celery, small dice
2 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ cups/255 g cooked cannellini beans (rinsed and drained if canned)
⅔ cup/80 g dried whole-wheat bread crumbs
¼ cup/30 g pine nuts, lightly toasted and finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp Dijon mustard

In a medium saucepan, bring 2 ½ cups/600 ml of the stock to a boil. Add the barley and ½ tsp salt. Return to a simmer and cook, covered, for 30 minutes (or for just 15 minutes if using pearled barley). Add the quinoa, return to a simmer, and cook covered, for 15 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat, but leave the grains in the pan.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 350°F/180°C/gas 4. Generously grease a 9-by-5-in/23-by-12-cm loaf pan and set aside.

Mix the chia seeds with the remaining ½ cup/120 ml of the stock and let them sit. The seeds will become thick and gelatinous (this is our egg substitute, which also adds great nutritional benefits).

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the carrots, celery, and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the oregano, ¼ tsp salt, and a pinch of pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the beans to the pan with the grain mixture. Mash the mixture with a potato masher until the beans are partially broken up. Add the sautéed vegetables, bread crumbs, pine nuts, chia seed mixture, parsley, and mustard and stir until well combined. The mixture will be thick like cookie dough and a bit of a challenge to stir. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, press down and smooth out the mixture, and bake until the top is firm and golden brown, 45 to 55 minutes. Allow the loaf to rest for 15 minutes before cutting it into slices and serving.

1 Serving: Calories: 320 | Fat: 11g | Carbs: 46g | Protein: 10g | Sodium: 480mg | Dietary Fiber: 44% |
Potassium: 13% | Vitamin A: 70% | Vitamin C: 10% | Thiamin: 50% | Riboflavin: 15% | Niacin: 10% |
Vitamin B6: 10% | Folate: 15% | Calcium: 10% | Iron: 20% | Copper: 15% | Phosphorus: 25% |
Magnesium: 25% | Zinc: 15%


Sesame, Orange, and Hazelnut Cookies

These cookies are like nothing else I have made before. I can’t believe that I never thought of adding sesame seeds to cookies! Now I’m going to be throwing them into everything I bake! The flavor of the orange zest is a wonderful addition. Once you make these cookies & realize how simple and tasty they are, you will make them every time you have company over. I know I will!
I actually doubled the recipe and put the extra dough in the freezer. ;)

“I’ve always loved sesame candy, so I wanted to create a cookie that featured sesame seeds as a predominant ingredient. These crunchy cookies are packed with sesame seeds, enhanced by the flavors of orange, hazelnuts, cinnamon, and ginger, and adorned by a hazelnut in their center. These cookies aren’t too sweet, and sesame seeds are a good source of many minerals and fiber, so they are a relatively healthy choice. If you’re serving a Mediterranean meal, like Three-Color Hummus and Baked Falafel Pitas, this would be a perfect dessert.” —Myra

Makes 30 cookies

2 tbsp ground flaxseed
¼ cup/60 ml very hot water (about 180°F/82°C)
1 cup/200 g packed light brown sugar
½ cup/120 ml melted coconut oil
¼ cup/60 ml pure maple syrup
1 orange, zested
1 ½ cups/210 g whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup/140 g sesame seeds
¾ cup/105 g hazelnuts, skins removed, 30 whole reserved, the rest chopped medium fine
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground ginger

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 325°F/165°C/gas 3. Lightly grease two baking sheets and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flaxseed with the hot water. Allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes until it thickens (this is our egg substitute). Whisk briefly, then whisk in the sugar, oil, syrup, and zest.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sesame seeds, chopped hazelnuts, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined.

Using a tablespoon, scoop out 30 heaping tablespoons of cookie dough. Roll the dough into balls, then arrange fifteen on each baking sheet, spacing them about 1 in/2.5 cm apart. You should have three rows of five cookies on both sheets. Press down on each ball until the cookie is about 1/3 in/8 mm thick. Place a whole hazelnut in the middle and press down so it’s snug.

Bake until the cookies are golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to a wire rack and let the cookies cool for a few minutes before transferring directly to the rack to cool completely. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

1 cookie: Calories: 140 | Fat: 8g | Carbs: 15g | Protein: 2g | Sodium: 25mg

Pipernilli Vegan Cookies!

Pipernilli Vegan Cookies!

 

I have recently been introduced to a cookie that hands down takes 1st place in cookie deliciousness.

In fact they are so delicious, you will truly want to savor every bite.

Pipernilli cookies are baked fresh daily in Brooklyn NY. using fruits & veggies such as sweet potatoes, bananas & carrots. They are soft and moist with incredible flavor. 

My favorites are Banana Chiffon & 14 Karat Cake. 

If you are looking for a special Vegan treat for your Valentine, you may want to buy some Pipernilli Cookies!

How To Cope With An Anti-Vegan Spouse

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So often I am asked by readers, “I want to raise our kids Vegan but my husband won’t allow it”. Obviously this issue could also concern men who want to go Vegan as a family. But so far, I have only been contacted by women with this problem.

First I want to make clear that I do not judge a parent for being weary of feeding their children a plant based diet. We are a meat & dairy obsessed society. Most of us grew up on milk, cheese, hamburgers & chicken tenders. Our mothers & grandmothers made delicious home cooked meals like meatloaf and mac & cheese that will always be close to our hearts. Our fathers cooked ribs & hot dogs on the grill every summer. Food means more to most people than just nourishment. Food represents our childhoods, our family, our heritage, our most cherished memories. How can you blame people people for not wanting to give all of this up?

The good thing is, veganism does not require that we erase our childhood memories of special meals. Even I smile when I think of my mom’s tuna casserole. And I’m not ashamed to say it. What your spouse needs to understand is, plant based foods are not only extremely healthy, but they can be delicious & satisfying as well.

Spaghetti dinners & pizza night are here to stay, and veggie burgers are amazing cooked on the grill. Childhood is still fun & memorable without animal products in our children’s diets. The food we feed them may be different than the food our parent’s fed us, but their childhood memories will be just as special. I imagine my children will think back fondly on my tempeh piccata with mashed potatoes and my fettucini with kale walnut pesto.

Dad may also worry that having a Vegan child will ensure that his son will be the scrawny kid, chosen last for dodgeball. Of course this is ridiculous, but many people still associate protein with meat. The great thing is, that plant based diets offer us loads of protein. Truthfully, many people are getting too much protein from their Standard American Diet (SAD diet) and this can lead to major health consequences.

I recommend compiling as much current information about the benefits of vegan diets and sharing this information with your spouse. Encourage him to read books by Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Watch Forks Over Knives or Vegucated together. Attend a veg conference, lecture or workshop. Explain about the cruelty of animal farming. If you are lucky maybe there is a vegan friendly nutritionist or dietitian in your area. The Vegan RD has loads of great information on her website.

Even if your spouse does not approve of a completely vegan diet for your children, I’m assuming that he does allow them to eat vegetables. So feed them as many plant based foods as possible!! Enjoy “Meatless Mondays” and try excluding meat, dairy and eggs from your child’s bagged lunch. Your children will benefit from this.

There is no magic answer to the question “how do I deal with my anti Vegan spouse”? Every relationship is different. If the kids are old enough, ask them what they want to do. Of course, you should never put them in the middle of the argument. At the very least, your Vegan lifestyle will be a great influence on your children, and they may follow in your footsteps when they are old enough to make their own decisions. ;)

Sweet & Sour Tempeh

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This is a quick & easy recipe that your kiddos will most likely enjoy! 

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. tempeh thinly sliced

1 cup veggie stock

1 tb soy sauce

2 tb sesame oil

1/2 fresh pineapple chopped into bite size pieces

1 orange bell pepper cut into 1 inch squares

1 whole white onion sliced

Sauce:

1/4 cup pineapple juice

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tb agave

2 tb cornstarch

2 tb soy sauce 

Cook the tempeh for 10 min in veggie stock & soy sauce. Remove the tempeh & save the liquid. Heat oil in skillet & sautee’ tempeh until brown on both sides, also sautee’ the peppers & onions.

Add pineapple juice to tempeh liquid and cook, adding vinegar, agave, soy sauce & cornstarch. Heat until thickened.

Combine sauce with tempeh, peppers & onions. Serve over brown rice.

Mystic Animal Rights Force~ A New Animal Welfare Group

Mystic Animal Rights Force~ A New Animal Welfare Group

Hey TheVeganMom.com fans! Thanks for taking the time to read my guest blog post dedicated to the new Mystic Animal Rights Force group. I am a vegan living in Southeastern Connecticut with a passion for animals and healthy living. I run a blog called Ethical Clips and I am a social media consultant for sustainable, vegan startup companies. 

So, what’s my story? It is generally one of an animal-obsessed little girl turned college-educated activist. In elementary school, I repeatedly and unsuccessfully attempted to talk my mother into letting me take home one of the classroom’s fluffy little baby chicks (…no, I didn’t have a plan for what would happen when it turned into a big chicken).  I wrote my fifth grade autobiography on why I wanted to be veterinarian when I grew up, ordered veggie burgers at wing restaurants and never felt right cutting up and eating a lobster while on vacation in Maine. 

During my first year of college, I finally made a split decision to give up meat after a classmate gave a presentation on the impact of veggie burgers versus hamburgers. The decision felt right and when people asked me “why” at the start of my diet change, I would shyly reply, “Well, I’m a really big animal person.” This was before I solidified my current position on ethics, health and the environmental impact of meat production and animal product consumption. Now, and only when people ask, I love confidently sharing the reasons why I choose to live a loving, ethical, plant-based life. 

The start of educating myself on living “meat free” was not easy, as many vegans may know. I researched and researched through what seemed like a black hole of blogs, websites and Internet videos. I watched Meet Your Meat and Food Inc. I decided to change my diet forever.  When I saw my first video of a slaughtered cow hanging upside down, left to bleed to death surrounded by metal and walls of concrete, I realized how hard of a fight this would be. A fight against the undoubtedly unnatural, a fight against pain and sorrow, and a fight against the norm, where hamburgers are presented at fast food restaurants and hidden behind smiling families in television commercials, while sad animals live miles away in misery.  These hamburgers are not only physically unhealthy, but also harbor the sad energy of the lives the animals led before they became food for humans. 

…But it’s not all sadness because we can make change. We can change the way animals are treated, we can change the way the environment is impacted and we can change the health of our own bodies. The average vegetarian saves 50 animals each year, not eating only one pound of meat saves the same amount of water as not showering for six months and 50% of meat eaters die from heart disease versus 15% in vegetarians and 4% in vegans. 

After living in southeastern Connecticut for a year, I decided there should be a larger presence for people looking to share their love for animals and a healthy, plant-based diet. When I attended The Seed vegan food festival in NYC this summer, I felt what it was like to be surrounded by people who truly, deeply care about animals.

I’ve started Mystic Animal Rights Force to bring people in Connecticut together into an environment where they can engage with other like-minded animal lovers through online discussions, meetups, dinner parties, documentary screenings and tons of other fun activities. Mystic Animal Rights Force will be an environment welcoming to vegans, vegetarians and, importantly, anyone interested in learning more about animal rights or a plant-based diet.

We look forward to starting up the online conversation and growing our network of new friends! Please head over and ‘like’ & share our Facebook page at: www.Facebook.com/MysticAnimalRightsForce. Reach us on Twitter at @AnimalRightsCT and by email at MysticARF@gmail.com.

Much Love,

Lindsay Rubin

Founder, 

Benefits Of Spelt Flour

Benefits Of Spelt Flour

Spelt is an ancient grain which has been referred to as “The Grandfather Of Wheat”. Spelt flour is high in fiber & manganese. If you are not familiar with the trace mineral “manganese”, just take note that it helps your body utilize key nutrients, protects cells from free radical damage, maintains normal blood sugar levels, promotes optimal function of your thyroid gland and keeps bones strong. And only 2 oz. of spelt pasta contains 8 grams of protein.

Spelt flour is more easily digested than wheat and is often tolerated by those with “Gluten Sensitivity”. This is not a gluten free food however, so those who have a gluten allergy should not try spelt without their doctor’s approval.

Spelt has also been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of diabetes. A complex carbohydrate found in spelt known as mucopolysaccharide, is thought to boost immunity & prevent blood clotting.

If you are thinking that this information sounds great, but are wondering how you will get your kids to actually eat spelt, no need to worry. Spelt flour pasta is delicious, and truthfully my kids don’t even taste any difference from their usual whole wheat pasta.

My favorite brand is “Vita Spelt”, and they offer many varieties of pasta including spaghetti, angel hair, penne & rotini. I recently made spelt penne tossed with fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil, parsley & olive oil. So easy. So healthy. And truly delicious!

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