Vegan Thanksgiving and the Popularity of the Mashed Potato – [A Crueltyfree, Glutenfree Celebration]

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My plan was to shoot a photo of ALL the food (of which, there was plenty) and write a blog post featuring numerous photos and descriptions of the perfect vegan Thanksgiving (known in the vegan circles as Thankliving). Best laid plans.

As soon as the foil was taken off the food, the kids swooped in like hungry vultures and started to devour everything! I couldn’t grab my camera fast enough as I watched all these dishes begin to evaporate. I did get a photo of my mashed potatoes (since I took it before we left the house). I think this is a sign of just how great vegan food is (and how raising kids vegan is more than viable).

I’m pretty sure I am going to leave out some food items but here is the short list of what we had on-hand. No one left hungry.

  • Celebration Roast – Stuffed with corn bread stuffing. The perfect centerpiece to the table.
  • Mashed potatoes – ย Clearly the most popular dish (in spite of the fact it broke the “no nightshades” rule).
  • Chipotle scalloped sweet potatoes – Sweet and hot and orange. What more would you want in a food?
  • Cranberries – ย Had to have them. The sweet and tarty nature of this balances so well against the savory foods.
  • Penne Alfredo – ย My old stand-by. Creamy and full of basil. I think I need to start calling this “pesto Alfredo.”
  • Roasted Brussels sprouts – ย I love Brussels spouts. They are like tiny cabbages (which is actually what they are). Whenever I eat them, I fell like a giant.
  • Noodle Kugel – perfect addition to the Thanksgiving/Hanukkah mash up. Will have this the next time this happens in another 20,000 years.
  • Kale salad (of course) – ย This is always a great dish to bring to any vegan dinner. Vegans love kale. All hail kale.
  • Gravy – ’nuff said.
  • Four different pies and ice “cream” for dessert – Apple and butternut squash pies and two flavors of ice cream (one that featured Gimme! Coffee).

Back to the gravy. I made four quarts of my delicious gravy (recipe here) ย and realized two things as I had plenty left over. 1) Non-animal gravy doesn’t harden into a disgusting lump of fat the day after. It stays smooth and edible, as is; 2) leftover gravy blended with rice makes the most amazing Thanksgiving-themed risotto. Going to add that to my repertoire.

There is truly a reason to celebrate when you know you are eating with a group of 15 or more who all share the same passion for compassion.

Don’t go hungry. Go vegan.

Gravy: It Isn’t Just for Meat Eaters Anymore

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I have always loved gravy. Loved it when I ate meat and love it just as much now that I am vegan. Gravy on mashed potatoes. Gravy on French fries. Gravy on open-face chicken-free sandwiches. Gravy on coconut ice cream. You could put gravy on a shoe and I would eat it (provided the shoe was from this company).

There is something about that liquid gold that really tops off a dish and with Thanksliving this week, you can be sure I will be making some gravy. A lot of it. In the spirit of the season (and perhaps to save a turkey’s life), I’m going to share my gravy recipe so that every follower of this blog can feel the warmth of the season (as it drips down the sides of the mound of mashed potatoes and soaks the gluten-free vegan dressing and finds its way into your already overstuffed belly).

Holiday Gluten-free Vegan Gravy

Ingredients

  • 1 cup shiitake mushroom (or other favorite mushroom) chopped fine
  • 1 finely chopped white onion (or vidalia, if you can get your hands on one)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter
  • 1/2 cup rice milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free vegan Bob’s Red Mill All-purpose Baking Flour
  • 2 cups vegetable bouillon (we use Better Than Boullion)
  • Parsley
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme (did you sing these last four ingredients?)

In a large pan or pot over medium heat, water saute the mushrooms and onions until soft (1/4 cup of water will probably work and most will evaporate during the process). Add the chopped garlic and cook an additional 3-4 minutes, stirring often (the trick to really goo gravy is to always be stirring).

Melt the 1/2 cup of vegan butter and stir in the rice milk. In a jar (this is my Mom’s trick) shake up the 1/4 cup of flour with 3/4 cup of warm water until fully dissolved. Pour flour mixture slowly into the pot, and keep stirring. This is already looking like gravy and smelling like gravy and it’s just getting started.

Pour in the 2 cups of vegetable bouillon and lower the heat to simmer. Add a teaspoon each of the four spices (if using fresh, add a tablespoon each and make sure they are VERY finely chopped). Keep stirring until the desired consistency/thickness. Add water if too thick, add more magic flour from a jar if too thin. You’ll get it right. Salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer into a gravy boat with ladle or simply ladle directly into your mouth. For even more gravy, quadruple this recipe.ย Enjoy!

Go vegan.


If you have your own recipe and want to share it here … please click COMMENT on the left and add it! Would love to have new recipes for gravy to try!

Eating More Meat May Lead to Longer Life

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[EDMOND, OK] Earlier this week, researchers at the Midwestern Institute for Meat Consumption, in Edmond, Oklahoma, released new data that suggests increased meat consumption may actually add years to your life. In a blind study, participants were offered beef, chicken, and pork in a Brazilian barbecue-style setting for one week and the results were later published.

“Contrary to what vegetarians and dietary vegans want you to believe,” remarked Dr. Frederick Lundquist, who headed the study. “Increased meat consumption seems to add years to human life. It’s our firm belief that every American, and some Swedes, should embrace this information and go whole hog with eating meat and meat-like substances.”

The study suggested that human life extension from consuming more meat (CMM) can be achieved in the following ways:

  • Humans may actually be getting too much blood to their heart and organs, resulting in undue stress on these body parts with what researchers are calling “fast blood.” By consuming meat, the arteries actually slow blood flow to a reasonable speed. Dr. Lundquist added, “think of it as a highway and meat acts as the police radar, making sure the blood flows at a reasonable speed.”
  • Meat consumption, and the continued support of the meat industry means there are less animals on the planet stealing precious oxygen required by humans. By eliminating animals, the planet can sustain more human life through more available oxygen.
  • Humans may actually live longer with the belief they climbed to the top of the food chain all on their own. Denying humans this bravado is a blow to human ego (HE) and could result in depression that may result in early death.
  • Consuming meat also leads to erectile dysfunction thereby assisting in controlling world population, leaving more room to roam and more food to consume, and more oxygen to breath, for the humans currently residing on the planet.
  • Eating meat and the continued support of the meat industry fuels the U.S. economy and provides jobs that provide retirement plans and nobody wants to die before retirement.
  • Eating more meat results in obesity and overweight humans are less likely to be swept away by wind storms or sucked up into air conditioning ducts or jet engines โ€“ oftentimes resulting in death.

This study was sponsored by Tyson and National Beef and copies are available by calling 786-837-9897. Calls to theย Midwestern Institute for Meat Consumption and Dr. Lundquist in regard to this study were left unanswered.

Go vegan.

Bacon: And Other Words that Belong in the Vegan Vocabulary

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W. Bishop

It’s time for the vegan community to stand up and claim some words that omnivores currently think they own. Since going vegan, I’ve been inundated with comments from my meat-loving friends about using words that they, for some reason, think are exclusive to being flesh-eaters. It’s time we vegans got these words back.

  • Meat. Or, meaty. This word conjures up images of flesh on a grill or a slab of animal at the butcher, however, the word “meat” also refers to the meat of a mushroom. Or the meatiness of an eggplant. “Meat” does not belong to meat eaters and the Meaty Vegan wants this word back.
  • Milk. Milk comes from a coconut and can be made using nuts (and other seeds). Something non-dairy can be milky just as much as something can be creamy.
  • Cream. And creamy. While these words connotate an image of dairy cream, pretty much anything with a creamy texture can be considered cream. Therefore, we can put cream in our coffee without being called out.
  • Cheese. Same as cream. Can be made with any number of ingredients and we vegans don’t have to explain ourselves (or prove ourselves) if we’re serving macaroni and cheese. Or a cheesy Alfredo. It’s vegan.
  • Butter. If we offer butter on something or list it as an ingredient in a vegan meal, it’s vegan. Contains no dairy. Which comes from cows. Did you know that butter comes from cows?
  • Bacon. This is now a flavor and no longer a cut of pig. If something can be bacon-flavored and not contain actual pig, it can still be called bacon. I make my bacon with mushrooms. And it tastes like bacon. Kevin Bacon contains no pig.

One word/flavor that we cannot truly claim is “chicken.” For some reason, chicken is both the flavor and the animal. We do have un-chicken or chicken-free products that let us know what to expect when eating them but the word “chicken” will always be both the flavor and the animal. Which brings to mind another question entirely.

Would meat eaters ever go to a steakhouse and order cow? Or, two fried eggs with a side of pig? Words like “steak” and “tenderloin” and “pork” help omnivores further detach themselves from the actual beast from which these foods are derived. Would a BLT be as popular if it were a PLT?

Go vegan.

Herb-Crusted Vegan Gluten-free Crab Cakes: Annapolis Style

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Annapolis, Maryland has long been one of my favorite cities in the U.S. The rich history, the sailing, the architecture, the Naval Academy and … the crab cakes. On one visit, years ago, I ate crab cakes at literally every restaurant that served them. I took diligent notes on what I thought made a crab cake delicious and came home and reverse engineered these notes and created my own award-winning Herb-Crusted Crab Cake. A recipe so good, it was recognized byย Bon Appรฉtit Magazine.

Alas, today I am vegan and crab cakes are off limits. Until now.

I was shopping at our local co-op when I noticed in the freezer section a line of vegan seafood from Sophie’s Kitchen. I have to admit I was a little leery at first but decided to try the vegan crab cakes. Maybe I was, once again, going to be able to enjoy one of my favorite, long-lost, foods. And, I am very pleased to report … I can.

When lightly fried, these vegan crab cakes turn out crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside and they taste very much like crab. With this particular dish (shown) I coated the cakes in chopped herbs (parsley and cilantro) and lightly fried them in sesame oil. Meanwhile, I whipped up a batch of spicy baked sweet potato fries (tossed in sesame oil, garlic powder, paprika and sea salt and baked at 450ยฐ for 30 minutes) and treated both the main entree and the side to chipotle dipping sauce. It. Was. Amazing.

The edges of the crab cakes were crispy and the herbs added a nice freshness to the dish. The dipping sauce goes so well with the cakes and the fries that I had to go back for more. I can confidently say that you could serve this dish to any omnivore and they will find it hearty, spicy, decadent, and delicious. And so easy to prepare and plate.

I am anxious to try the other vegan seafood products from Sophie’s Kitchen and encourage you to do the same. You can find them on Facebook here.

Go Vegan.

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London 2013: A Vegan Journey

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London 2013

Jen and I traveled to London this summer for a belated honeymoon (and then Chunneled over to Paris). While there, we got to visit nearly every vegan restaurant in the city and explored many of the streets and sights that were a part of Jen’s high school experience (she attended the American School in London). I have always loved London and this trip was particularly special since we were able to spend so much time together.

While we found so many of the restaurants we visited to be wonderful, we actually fell in love with SAF, which was two blocks from our hotel on Kensington High Street and located on the second floor of the Whole Foods market. It’s always great finding these unknown gems that are 100% vegan (with many GF options).

I would love to one day see a restaurant like SAF located in Ithaca. The menu was fresh and unique — the kind of food I love to prepare. If you’re ever in London, it’s really worth a visit (… and you’ll be just three blocks from Kensington Gardens).

Go vegan.

How Not to Starve to Death as a Vegan (and Get More Protein in the Process)

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If you scroll back through all my blog posts since launching MeatyVegan.com, you’ll find a pattern evolving. I have gone from the Reluctant Vegan (of which I still own a very handsome t-shirt Jen bought me with that blazoned across the front) to full-fledged compassionate, ethical, out-of-the-cupboard vegan. A man who constantly complained about there being nothing to eat, is now eating more than ever before. I can still recall the early days of veganism and going on and on about there being no selection of foods for vegans … at gas stations (while on the road) and vending machines (trying to get a quick snack). I now fully realize how ridiculous that was.

Imagine that. I can no longer enjoy a greasy breakfast sandwich that has been in a warmer for eight hours nor can I consume an 800-calorie chocolate bar.

Back then, I didn’t see the ignorance in this.

Today, I am not only thriving with amazing food every day, I am cooking up a storm all week long (and mostly on the weekends), trying out new recipes and creating foods that rival any omnivores best day. Not only are these meals tasty and filling, they are packed with vitamins, minerals, and protein … yes, protein. In fact, most of the meals I make are loaded with more protein than any person would need for a year.

Since making this life-changing, lane-changing, game-changing shift in thinking, some of my more popular dishes include:

  • Pizza. Gluten-free and vegan and every bit as good as a meat and dairy cheese pizza (the one here is pictured with soy chorizo).
  • Soy chorizo. I originally discovered the one at Trader Joe’s but have since made my own homemade version (using TVP) and it’s pretty amazing. Spicy and delicious!
  • Macaroni and cheese. Some soy milk and dairy-free cheese. A little nutritional yeast. Melted and poured over gluten-free elbows. You can broil it at the end to get that crispy top.
  • Chocolate chunk cookies. Jen’s recipe. These are so bad to have around the house because they are so good. Recipe on my recipe link.
  • Burritos and tacos. Pretty much all variations of Mexican cuisine translates beautifully to vegan.
  • Kimchi. I make a spicy vegan version of this Korean side dish that is so good for you that you can eat an entire jar in one sitting (it’s known to happen).
  • Lasagna. Red or white, this layered pasta dish is the perfect addition to any potluck and it’ll go fast.
  • Gluten free vegan bread. Took me 9 tries to get my recipe right but I got it right. Straight from the oven, this is one tasty, steamy loaf!
  • Broccoli quiche.ย Perfect for any brunch. Completely egg and dairy free.
  • Fettuccine Alfredo. There is so much you can do with cashews and this Alfredo sauce rivals any out there. Cashews also make wonderful cream/s.
  • Sweet Potato Fries. Toss in sesame oil, garlic powder, and paprika. Bake at 400ยฐ for 30 minutes (flip once midway) and serve with chipotle Veganaisse dipping sauce. Shut the front door.
  • Pรฃo de Queijo. Simple and gluten-free Brazilian cheese bread, or Pรฃo de Queijo, made with tapioca flour and dairy-free cheese. Seriously, kids will kill each other for this. Brings new meaning to “Hunger Games.”
  • Bacon. That’s right. Bacon is no longer a cut of meat, it’s now designated a flavor. So, with that, making bacon out of shiitake mushrooms is allowed and are great on baked potatoes with sour cream.
  • Chicken wings. With a product like Beyond Meat available, this dish is a no-brainer. Serve with your favorite wing sauce and celery and you can enjoy this while your pet chicken watches.
  • Salads. Yes I eat salads, too. Probably not as many as I should but I also cut myself some slack here … since eating all these other foods is so much fun!

So, for those of you who wonder what vegans eat or think that we only eat salads? Think again. And think about going vegan … and …

Go vegan.

This is Kimchi, Our Vegan Dog

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This is #Kimchi, Our #Vegan Dog

This is Kimchi, our mini poodle mix. We adopted her from the Tompkins County SPCA a year and a half ago (a month before we all went vegan). We are animal rescue advocates and donโ€™t believe in supporting the breeding industry when there are millions of homeless dogs and cats ready to share their love.

Her primary dog food is Natural Balance Vegan formula and we also prepare our own vegan meals and always set aside some for her. She loves brown rice, quinoa, pasta, kale, broccoli, tofu, and just about anything we give her. Since dogs are omnivores (as opposed to cats who are true carnivores), she is a very happy vegan. This happiness is shown by her wagging tail and the smile shown in the photo above.

Unsure about raising your dog (or kids) vegan? Check out this pooch that lived to be 189, the oldest recorded dog!

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45,000,000 Planned Killings in November!

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With Thanksgiving just around the corner, now is a great time to explore what this holiday means to the unfortunate centerpiece of the traditional omnivore’s table: the American turkey. Turkeys are actually intelligent, social, beautiful wild animals that, at one point in U.S. history, was on the brink of extinction. Today, wild turkeys still roam forests around the country and can live long, peaceful lives in farm sanctuaries. This holiday, please consider being extra creative with your dinner planning and avoid all meat, dairy and eggs and celebrate “Thanksliving.”

Interesting turkey facts (you can share around your turkey-free table):

  • 45,000,000 years of evolution actually separates the turkey from a chicken.
  • Turkeysย can run at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour and fly as fast as 55 miles per hour.
  • In the wild, turkeys can live up to 10 years (as opposed to less than a year on a turkey farm).
  • Turkeys have between 5,000 and 6,000 feathers on their bodies.
  • Benjamin Franklin never proposed the turkey as a symbol for America, but heย did once praise itย as being โ€œa much more respectable birdโ€ than the bald eagle.
  • Turkeys are very athletic and are known to sleep in trees.
  • Turkeys actually see in color.
  • Turkeys are social, playful birds who enjoy the company of others. They relish having their feathers stroked and like to chirp, cluck, and gobble along to their favorite tunes.
  • There will be 45,000,000 turkeys killed this November in observance of Thanksgiving.
  • There are 300,000,000 turkeys unnecessarily killed each year for food. Want to see what a “humane” killing looks like? Click here.

This Thanksgiving, try something new andย Go Vegan.

4 out of 5 Doctors Prefer an All-expense Paid Vacation – [#Vegan #GoVegan #Pfizer]

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Postcard from Hawaii

[MIDWEST CITY, OK] The Center for Pharmaceutical Statistics in Midwest City, OK, reported this week that four out of five doctors prefer an all-expense paid vacation over prescribing a plant-based diet. The fifth doctor in the survey had no comment, and was busy packing for his annual, all-expense-paid Pfizer trip to Hawaii.

Lured by free pens and golf umbrellas, doctors across the U.S. admit that going on luxurious vacations two or three times a year is very nice and that, quote: โ€œit sure beats not going on vacation two or three times a year.โ€

โ€œI could never understand why my doctor was smirking when she was filling out my high cholesterol prescription every month,โ€ said one patient in nearby Norman, Oklahoma. โ€œNow I know. I hope she gets sunburned.โ€

Other patients interviewed were less shocked by the statistic. โ€œIโ€™d love to go on vacation,โ€ said one man after a recentโ€ฆ

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