Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S VEGAN -- PART 2


Here I list baked and frozen goods and a few staples. Who knew veganism could be even more yummy & versatile?

All following listed items (as well as the items listed in part 1 of 'I Can't Believe It's Vegan' in the post below this one) are courtesy of PETA.org/I can't believe it's vegan. Much thanks to them for their informative site which turned my life -- and perspective -- around in the best way!

Click on the PETA logo on my sidebar to get to their website to learn more.

Thanks to Peta and my friends/fellow bloggers for letting me share this information:


BAKED GOODS:

*Arnold's Potato Sandwich Rolls

*Baker's Inn Hearty Potato with Grain

*Baker's Inn Raisin Wheat

*Cobblestone Mill Hoagie Rolls

*Cobblestone Mill Jewish Rye Bread

*Cobblestone Mill Kaiser Rolls

*Cobblestone Mill Onion Rolls

*Cobblestone Mill Party Rolls

*Cobblestone Mill Pumpernickel Bread

*Cobblestone Mill San Francisco Sourdough Bread (NOTE: Nearly all things sourdough are vegan)

*Cobblestone Mill White Sub Rolls

*Dutch Country Soft Potato Bread

*Krispy Kreme Fruit Pies (Apple)<----Vegan Krispy Kremes? Be still my beating ♥

*Krispy Kreme Fruit Pies (Cherry)

*Krispy Kreme Fruit Pies (Peach)

*Thomas New York Style Bagels (Blueberry)

*Thomas New York Style Bagels (Cinnamon Swirl)

*Thomas New York Style Bagels (Everything)

*Thomas New York Style Bagels (Plain)

*Thomas Toaster Bagels (Cinnamon Raisin)

*Thomas Toaster Bagels (Plain)

*Weight Watchers Fork Split English Muffins


REFRIGERATED & FROZEN FOODS:

*Anne's Flat Dumplings

*Athens Phyllo Dough

*Athens Phyllo Mini Shells

*General Mills Roasted Potatoes with Garlic and Herbs

*Keebler Fudge Shoppe Fudge Pops

*Luigi's Italian Ice

*Marie Callender Frozen Fruit Pies and Cobblers

*Mrs. Smith's Cherry Crumb Pie Slices

*Mrs. Smith's Deep Dish Pie Crust

*Mrs. Smith's Dutch Apple Crumb Pie Slices

*Mrs. Smith's Peach Pie Slices

*Pillsbury Cornbread Twists

*Pillsbury Pizza Dough

*Pillsbury Turnover (Apple)

*Pillsbury Turnover (Cherry)

*Pinata Flour Tortillas

*Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread

*Smart Squeeze Fat-Free Margarine

*Smuckers Uncrustables Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly

*Smuckers Uncrustables Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam

*SuperPretzel Baked Soft Pretzels


BAKING:

*Aunt Jemima Coffee Cake Mix

*Aunt Jemima Whole Wheat Pancake/Waffle Mix

*Betty Crocker Bisquick

*Betty Crocker Bisquick Reduced Fat

*Blue Bonnet Light Margarine

*Crisco All-Vegetable Shortening

*Crisco Original Cooking Spray

*Crisco Zero Grams Trans Fat Per Serving All-Vegetable Shortening

*Duncan Hines California Walnut Brownie Mix

*Duncan Hines Creamy Home-Style Frosting (Chocolate)

*Duncan Hines Creamy Home-Style Frosting (Classic Vanilla)

*Duncan Hines Creamy Home-Style Frosting (French Vanilla)

*Hodgson Mill Bran Muffin Mix

*Hodgson Mill Caraway Rye Bread Mix

*Hodgson Mill White Bread Mix

*Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Gingerbread Mix

*Jell-o Instant Pudding (Pistachio)

*Jell-o Instant Pudding (Banana Creme)

*Jell-o Instant Pudding (Lemon)

*Jell-o Instant Pudding (Vanilla)

*Keebler Ready Crust Pie Crusts (Graham Cracker)

*Miracle Muffins

*Pillsbury Treat Toppers Chocolate

*Pillsbury Treat Toppers Vanilla

*Reduced Fat Bisquick

*Royal Pudding & Pie Filling

*Tropical Source Dark Chocolate Chips


EXTRAS/STAPLES (soups, gravy's, seasonings, etc.):

*Campbell's Franco-American Mushroom Gravy

*Campbell’s canned mushroom gravy

*Del Monte White Corn Cream Style

*Green Giant Cream Style Sweet Corn

*Healthy Choice Garden Vegetable Soup

*Hormel Vegetarian Chili

*Hunt's Manwich Sauce

*Kraft French Fries Seasoning

*Kraft Shake 'N Bake (Original Chicken Coating Mix, Original Pork Coating Mix, and Hot/Spicy Coating Mix)

*Kraft Taco Bell Taco Dinner

*Manischewitz Sweet Potato Pancake Mix

*McCormick Fajitas Seasoning Mix

*McCormick Original, Hot, and Mild Chili Seasoning Mix

*Near East Original Rice Pilaf Mix <---One of my very favorites: most other rice pilafs have chicken flavoring

*Near East Spanish Rice Pilaf and Toasted Almond Rice Pilaf

*Near East Toasted Pine Nut Couscous and Roasted Garlic & Olive Oil Cousous

*Nueva Cocina Black Bean Soup, Cuban Style

*Old El Paso Fat-Free Refried Beans

*Old El Paso Taco Seasoning Mix

*Old El Paso Taco Shells

*Progresso Soups (Lentil, Hearty Tomato, and Tomato Basil)

*San Giorgio Pastas (Angel Hair, Elbow Macaroni, Rigatoni, Rotelle, and Spaghetti)

*Swanson Vegetable Broth

*Thai Kitchen Noodle Bowls (Thai Peanut and Roasted Garlic)

*Washington Instant Mashed Potatoes


**Did you also know that you can get vegan margarine, coffee creamer, 'cream cheese', 'sourcream', 'yogurt', 'ice cream', 'whipped cream' ('Silk' soy whipped cream comes in a can -- not to be confused with other supposed 'non-dairy' whipped cream, cans or otherwise: they all contain milk derivatives even though they say 'non-dairy') and mayonnaise....?

Now, with all these great products on the market--there's no excuse not to eat a great meal and then have your cake & eat it, too!

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”.
~Mahatma Gandhi


Peace & cruel free living,
~Jo

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S VEGAN -- PART 1


Did you know....the following items are all vegan?

Keep reading as some of these items may surprise you -- they did me:

**Categorized to make it easier to find what you didn't know you were looking for ;):

CEREAL:

*Apple Jacks

*Peanut Butter Captain Crunch

*Cinnamon Life

*Cocoa Puffs

*Cocoa Rice Krispies/Original Rice Krispies

*Corn Pops

*Fruit Loops

*Golden Grahams

*Kix

*Life

*Reese's Peanut Butter Puffs

*Trix


BEVERAGES:

*Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate-Chocolate Hazelnut flavor

*Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate-Chocolate Mocha flavor

*Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate-Double Chocolate flavor

*Nescafe Java Iced Coffee

*Nestle Nesquik Cocolate Syrup

*Nestle Nesquick Strawberry Syrup

*Nestle Nesquick Vanilla Syrup


SNACKS:

*Chick-O-Sticks

*Chocolove Dark Chocolate Bar

*Chocolove Orange Peel (Dark Chocolate Bar)

*Cracker Jacks

*Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili Flavored Tortilla Chips

*Entenmann's Fudge Delights Fudge & Mint Cookies

*Famous Amos Sandwich Cookies (Chocolate)

*Famous Amos Sandwich Cookies (Oatmeal Macaroon)

*Famous Amos Sandwich Cookies (Peanut Butter)

*Famous Amos Sandwich Cookies (Vanilla)

*Food Lion Animal Cookies

*Food Lion Ginger Snaps

*Food Lion Oatmeal Cookies

*Food Lion Saltines

*Food Lion Sandwich Cookies (Assorted)

*Food Lion Sandwich Cookies (Chocolate Creme)

*Food Lion Sandwich Cookies (Chocolate Fudge)

*Food Lion Sandwich Cookies (Double Creme-O's)

*Food Lion Sandwich Cookies (Duplex)

*Food Lion Sandwich Cookies (Mini Chocolate & Vanilla Cremes)

*Food Lion Sandwich Cookies (Peanut Butter)

*Food Lion Sandwich Cookies (Vanilla)

*Food Lion Snack Crackers

*Food Lion Sugar Cookies

*Fred Meyer Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

*Fritos (Barbecue)

*Fritos (Original)

*Ghirardelli Twilight Delight Intense Dark

*Goldenberg's Peanut Chews (Original)

*Goya Flan

*Goya Spanish Style Custard Flan Mix

*Grandma's Peanut Butter Sandwich Cremes

*Herr's Onion Flavored Rings

*Keebler Animal Crackers

*Keebler Club Crackers

*Keebler Ice Cream Cups

*Keebler Vienna Fingers

*Kettle Brand Potato Chips Sea Salt & Vinegar

*Kettle White Popcorn

*Krispy Kreme Fruit Pies

*Lance Captain's Wafers

*Lance Choc-O Cookies

*Lance Peanut Bar

*Lance Sugar Wafers (Strawberry Creme)

*Lance Sugar Wafers (Vanilla Creme)

*Lance Van-O Lunch Cookies

*Mambas

*Mary Janes (regular and peanut butter kisses)

*Mates Pudding Mix

*Mrs Freshley's Oatmeal Crème-filled Cookies

*Munchos

*Murray Butter Cookies

*Murray Cinnamon Grahams

*Murray Coconut Bars

*Murray Southern Kitchen Iced Oatmeal Cookies

*Nabisco Double Delight Mint'n Creme Oreos

*Nabisco Ginger Snaps

*Nabisco Halloween Oreos

*Nabisco Iced Oatmeal Cookies

*Nabisco Oatmeal Cookies

*Nabisco Oreo Chocolate Ice Cream Cones

**Nabisco OREO Cookies (yes, you read that right--OREOS!)

*Nabisco Oreo Thin Crisps

*Nabisco Original Graham Crackers

*Nabisco Saltine Crackers

*Nabisco Teddy Grahams (Chocolate and Cinnamon)

*Nature's Path Deep Chocolate Cookies

*Nature's Path Ginger Spice Cookies

*Nature's Path Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

*Nestle Double Chocolate Thin Mints

*New York Flatbreads (Everything, Garlic, and Fat-Free)

*Now and Later

*Ritz Regular Crackers

*Ruffles Potato Chips (All Dressed)

*Ruffles Potato Chips (BBQ)

*Ruffles Potato Chips (Plain)

*Smarties (U.S. version only)

*Sour Patch Kids

*Sun Chips Original flavor

*Swedish Fish

*Town House Original Crackers

*Tropical Source mini chocolate bags

*Wheat Thins (Original, Multi-Grain, and Reduced Fat)

*Wise Onion Rings

*Zesta Original Crackers

*Zotz

This concludes part 1 -- part 2 tomorrow.

**The above was courtesy of PETA.org/I can't believe it's vegan.

Friday, July 16, 2010

PIZZA AND BEER


What would a Friday night be for some of us without pizza and beer?

For vegans, it can be downright painful to watch friends and family down the gooey, cheesy, hot & yummy deliciousness that is pizza.

That leaves me and my beer...with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich cursing why I ever did this!!!!

Thanks to some new products out there and plenty of websites with recipes, pizza can now be ours, too!

So, there. Muuwaaahhhaaahhhaaaaaa!

I am very excited to go to my favorite local health food store today, 'Clark's Nutrition And Natural Foods Market' (www.clarksnutrition.com) and pick up a new melty vegan cheese product called 'Daiya'.

'Daiya' has gotten great reviews as, let's face it, good melty vegan cheese that contains no Casein (a milk protein found in many supposed 'dairy free' products. Again, this is why I label read...) is hard to come by.

I also found an easy & fun vegan pizza crust recipe on-line courtesy of VegWeb.com.

EASY VEGAN PIZZA CRUST:

Ingredients:

~2 cups unbleached flour (I'm a bit of a purist and prefer things as natural & organic as availability and budget allows)

~1 cup whole wheat flour

~1 tablespoon baking powder

~12 oz. beer


Directions:

*Preheat oven to 400 degrees (Fahrenheit -- not sure what it would be Celsius, sorry to say...)

*Mix all ingredients together (if dough is a little sticky and hard to work with, add a bit more flour)

*Spread out on a lightly greased 12" round pizza pan (or 12 x 18 baking sheet)

*Add pizza sauce, 'Daiya' vegan 'cheese', veggies &/or whatever else your heart desires (I'm going to try artichoke hearts, mushrooms, olives, red onions, bell peppers & maybe pineapple!)

*Bake for 20 to 25 minutes

**Serves 4

Enjoy with your favorite beer.

For dessert: try the vegan -- and quite tasty -- peanut butter, chocolate and banana cupcakes in my last post.

Being vegan doesn't have to mean deprivation of our favorite foods -- like I said in my introductory post to 'Rabbit Food' when people ask me what I eat since I don't eat meat or dairy (as if that's all there is): I eat everything else!

And you should too -- Friday night or not.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

SOME VEGAN BENEFITS & CUPCAKES WITH YOUR COFFEE?


A good hostess, vegan or not, always has something to offer her guests.

In this case, a little information and a kick ass cupcake recipe (technical term) will have to suffice.

WHY GO VEGAN?:

I've read a lot about the environmental and health benefits of being a vegan, and found on-line the most comprehensive and plain-speak articles in which I 'borrowed' a few excerpts to share with you, which explains it so much better than I ever could:

ENVIRONMENTAL:

"Eating vegan is more environmentally efficient than feeding the animals in a meat-based diet. Veganism also greatly reduces the wastes, pollution, and deforestation caused by mass raising of animals.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans lead the way in a global trend. They are eating more meat than ever before: the average American consumes nearly twice his or her weight in meat each year.

Today, our planet is home to nearly 1 billion pigs, 1.3 billion cows, 1.8 billion sheep and goats, and 13.5 billion chickens - more than two chickens for each man, woman and child on the planet. We have altered vast ecosystems and devoted massive resources to support the world's burgeoning livestock herds. These animals need to be fed. They need water to survive. If they are ranged, they need land. And these animals produce enormous quantities of waste.

The ecological footprint of meat production is deep and wide, and ranges from forest destruction in Central and South America for ranching to suppression of native predators and competitors in the United States. Nearly one-quarter of the world's meat, primarily beef and mutton, depends on a natural ecosystem - rangelands. Yet, as overgrazing becomes the norm in much of the world, rangelands are being pushed beyond their limits.

Huge amounts of food - not to mention the water and farmland required growing the food - can be freed up by modest reduction in meat production. For example, if the 670 million tons of the world's grain that is fed to livestock were reduced by 10 percent, the resulting grain could feed 225 million people or to keep up with growth in the human population over the next three years.

If each American reduced his or her meat consumption by just 5 percent, roughly equivalent to eating one less dish of meat each week, enough grain would be saved to feed 25 million people - the number estimated to go hungry in the United States each day."



NUTRITION:

"All of the following nutritional benefits come from a vegan diet full of foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, and soy products.

1. Reduced saturated fats. Dairy products and meats contain a large amount of saturated fats. By reducing the amount of saturated fats from your diet, you’ll improve your health tremendously, especially when it comes to cardiovascular health.

2. Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide energy for your body. When you don’t have enough carbohydrates, your body will burn muscle tissue.

3. Fiber. A diet high in fiber (as vegan eating usually is) leads to healthier bowel movements. High fiber diets help fight against colon cancer.

4. Magnesium. Aiding in the absorption of calcium, magnesium is an often overlooked vitamin in importance to a healthy diet. Nuts, seeds, and dark leafy greens are an excellent source of magnesium.

5. Potassium. Potassium balances water and acidity in your body and stimulates the kidneys to eliminate toxins. Diets high in potassium have shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

6. Folate. This B vitamin is an important part of a healthy diet. Folate helps with cell repair, generating red and white blood cells, and metabolizing amino acids.

7. Antioxidants. For protection against cell damage, antioxidants are one of the best ways to help your body. Many researchers also believe that antioxidants help protect your body against forming some types of cancer.

8. Vitamin C. Besides boosting your immune system, Vitamin C also helps keep your gums healthy and helps your bruises heal faster. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant.

9. Vitamin E. This powerful vitamin has benefits for your heart, skin, eyes, brain, and may even help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. A diet high in grains, nuts, and dark leafy greens is full of Vitamin E.

10. Phytochemicals. Plant-based foods provide phytochemicals, which help to prevent and heal the body from cancer, boost protective enzymes, and work with antioxidants in the body.

11. Protein. That protein is good for your body is no surprise. It may be a surprise to learn that most Americans eat too much protein and in forms such as red meat that are not healthy ways of getting protein. Beans, nuts, peas, lentils, and soy products are all great ways to get the right amount of protein in a vegan diet."

DISEASE PREVENTION:

"Eating a healthy vegan diet has shown to prevent a number of diseases. Find out from the list below what you could potentially avoid just by switching to a healthy, balanced vegan way of eating.

12. Cardiovascular disease. Eating nuts and whole grains, while eliminating dairy products and meat, will improve your cardiovascular health. A British study indicates that a vegan diet reduces the risk for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Vegan diets go far in preventing heart attack and stroke.

13. Cholesterol. Eliminating any food that comes from an animal and you will eliminate all dietary cholesterol from your diet. Your heart will thank you for that.

14. Blood pressure. A diet rich in whole grains is beneficial to your health in many ways, including lowering high blood pressure.

15. Type 2 diabetes. Not only is a vegan diet a weapon against Type 2 diabetes, it is also "easier to follow than the standard diet recommended by the American Diabetic Association." Read more about it here.

16. Prostate cancer. A major study showed that men in the early stages of prostate cancer who switched to a vegan diet either stopped the progress of the cancer or may have even reversed the illness.

17. Colon cancer. Eating a diet consisting of whole grains, along with fresh fruits and vegetables, can greatly reduce your chances of colon cancer.

18. Breast cancer. Countries where women eat very little meat and animal products have a much lower rate of breast cancer than do the women in countries that consume more animal products.

19. Macular degeneration. Diets with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens, carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes, can help prevent the onset of age-related macular degeneration.

20. Cataracts. Much the same way macular degeneration is headed off by a vegan diet, cataracts are also thought to be prevented through the intake of the same fruits and vegetables. Produce high in antioxidants are also believed to help prevent cataracts.

21. Arthritis. Eliminating dairy consumption has long been connected with alleviating arthritis symptoms, but a new study indicates that a combination of gluten-free and vegan diet is very promising for improving the health of those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

22. Osteoporosis. Bone health depends on a balance of neither too much or too little protein, adequate calcium intake, high potassium, and low sodium. With a healthy vegan diet, all four of these points set a perfect scenario for preventing osteoporosis."

PHYSICAL BENEFITS:

"In addition to good nutrition and disease prevention, eating vegan also provides many physical benefits. Find out how a vegan diet makes your body stronger, more attractive, and more energetic.

23. Body Mass Index. Several population studies show that a diet without meat leads to lower BMIs–usually an indicator of a healthy weight and lack of fat on the body.

24. Weight loss. A healthy weight loss is a typical result of a smart vegan diet. Eating vegan eliminates most of the unhealthy foods that tend to cause weight issues. Read more about weight loss and a vegan diet here.

25. Energy. When following a healthy vegan diet, you will find your energy is much higher. This blog post in Happy Healthy Long Life describes how NFL tight-end Tony Gonzalez started eating vegan and gained energy–while playing football.

26. Healthy skin. The nuts and vitamins A and E from vegetables play a big role in healthy skin, so vegans will usually have good skin health. Many people who switch to a vegan diet will notice a remarkable reduction in blemishes as well.

27. Longer life. Several studies indicate that those following a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle live an average of three to six years longer than those who do not.

28. Body odor. Eliminating dairy and red meat from the diet significantly reduces body odor. Going vegan means smelling better.

29. Bad breath. Vegans frequently experience a reduction in bad breath. Imagine waking up in the morning and not having morning breath.

30. Hair. Many who follow vegan diets report that their hair becomes stronger, has more body, and looks healthier.

31. Nails. Healthy vegan diets are also responsible for much stronger, healthier nails. Nail health is said to be an indicator of overall health.

32. PMS. When switching to a vegan diet, many women tell how PMS symptoms become much less intense or disappear altogether. The elimination of dairy is thought to help with those suffering with PMS.

33. Migraines. Migraine suffers who go on vegan diets frequently discover relief from their migraines. Read more about the food-migraine connection in this article.

34. Allergies. Reduction in dairy, meat, and eggs is often tied to alleviation of allergy symptoms. Many vegans report much fewer runny noses and congestion problems.
Too Much in the American Diet.

The typical American diet not only consists of too much food, it also relies on too much of unnecessary food products or toxins. The following list explains how a vegan diet can eliminate these problems.

35. Animal proteins. The average American eats twice as much protein as necessary for a healthy diet and much of that is from red meat. Getting protein from beans and grains is much healthier and reduces the risk for osteoporosis (see above).

36. Cow’s milk dairy. The human body is not designed to digest cow milk and cow milk dairy products, yet the idea of milk being healthy is pushed through advertising. As many as 75% of people in the world may be lactose intolerant and many people suffer from undiagnosed milk allergies or sensitivities. By eliminating cow’s milk from your diet, you are improving your overall health.

37. Eggs. Many nutritionists believe that the number of eggs in the American diet is too high. While sometimes disputed, it has been shown that eggs can raise cholesterol levels.

38. Mercury. Most of the fish and shellfish consumed has mercury in it. While some fish have less than others, it is almost impossible not to be putting mercury in your body when you eat fish.

39. Sugar. Most people have heard that Americans consume way too much sugar. Relying on other sweeteners that are not synthetic, processed, or derived from animal products is a healthier way to eat. Many vegans do not eat processed sugar due to the fact that most of the cane sugar is refined through activated charcoal, most of which comes from animal bones."


**Jo here: Now, in regards to the sugar issue: many vegans still eat sugar -- I'm one of them. I don't consume it by the pound, but I don't deprive myself either.

'Dominoes' sugar (yellow bag) is known to still use activated charcoal, so I simply stay away from that brand of sugar.

Also, many vegans don't eat honey because of the bee factor. I don't go out of my way to eat honey (bees make honey anyway -- perhaps most vegans object to the beekeepers smoking them out and the maiming that can sometimes occur) but I will do so occasionally.

With all that said, is there a better combination than bananas, chocolate and peanut butter???

I don't think so!!!

Below is a vegan cupcake recipe from my favorite cookbook: 'Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World' by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero (I have all their cookbooks and love them!).

Vegan cupcakes are just as tasty -- the only difference you'll maybe notice is that they tend to come out with the density of a muffin.

I know the following seems like a lot of ingredients and extra steps, but it's really not that much more than making a batch of homemade non-vegan cupcakes.

These are B's very favorite (who's a non-vegan, mind you) and I promise that you and your loved ones won't be disappointed. I defy anyone to be able to tell they're vegan if you don't tell them. All they're going to taste is yummy goodness!

BANANA SPLIT CUPCAKES WITH PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING:

Cupcake Ingredients:

~1/2 cup pineapple preserves

~1/2 cup very ripe banana, mashed well (the darker & browner the banana the better)

~1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

~1/4 teaspoon baking soda

~1 teaspoon baking powder

~1/2 teaspoon salt

~3/4 cup granulated sugar

~1/3 cup canola oil

~2/3 cup rice milk or soy milk

~1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

~1/2 teaspoon almond extract

~1/4 cup finely chopped dark chocolate (stay away from 'Hershey's' & other name brands of dark chocolate -- most have dairy -- read labels and go to a health food store)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 & line muffin pan with paper liners

2. Stir pineapple preserves in a small saucepan over low heat until it can be poured easily when scooped up with a spoon. Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Push the mashed bananas through a sieve or blend for a few seconds to get rid of lumps -- they should be fairly smooth.

4. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl and mix.

5. In a separate, smaller bowl whisk together the oil, rice/soy milk, vanilla, almond extract and mashed banana.

6. Create a well in the dry ingredients and fold in wet ingredients, mixing just to combine -- don't over mix (very small lumps are okay)

7. Fill liners 2/3 full with mixture.

8. Top the batter of each cupcake with 1 teaspoon of the melted preserves

9. Top that with 1 teaspoon of the chopped dark chocolate

10. With a small knife, carefully stir each cupcake 2 or 3 times to swirl in the preserves and chocolate.

11. Bake 22 minutes or until knife inserted in cupcake comes out clean.

12. Let completely cool before frosting.

*Makes about one dozen cupcakes. Feel free to double the recipe to make more for your next gathering.

PEANUT BUTTERCREAM:

~ 1/4 cup margarine (non-hydrogenated/vegan), softened

~ 2 tablespoons of 'Earth Balance' margarine/shortening

~ 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

~ 1 tablespoon molasses

~ 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

~ 1 1/4 powdered sugar, sifted

~ 1 to 2 tablespoons rice milk or soy milk

DIRECTIONS:

1. With electric mixer (hand held is fine) cream together 1/4 cup margarine and the 2 tablespoons shortening/margarine at medium speed until smooth.

2. Add peanut butter, molasses and vanilla -- beat until very smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Beat in powdered sugar, mixture will be very stiff.

4. Dribble in rice or soy milk a little at a time, beating continuously until frosting is a pale tan and very fluffy.

5. Adjust the thickness of the frosting by adding more rice/soy milk or more powdered sugar.

6. Garnish frosted cupcakes with chopped nuts, chopped dark chocolate and/or banana slices if desired.

Last step -- ENJOY!

Monday, July 12, 2010

A VEGAN WELCOME



Hi, all. Welcome to my new blog about veganism.

If you've been following me on my regular blog, 'The End Of The Rainbow', then no doubt you know me pretty well by now. One thing I don't talk a lot about on there is my lifestyle in being a vegan.

How I began:

A few years ago there was an uproar over actress Jennifer Lopez when she came out with a clothing line that used real rabbit fur in it's lining of boots, jackets, etc.

PETA ('People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals') naturally got involved. I clicked on their website to learn more about animal fur as well as how the meat we eat goes from being a living animal to being in the butcher department in our grocery stores.

What I learned appalled me and I made a decision right then and there to change my lifestyle.

Not just what I ate, but also what I wore and what products I use.

I became enlightened: a word that I not only use frequently, but one that I do my best to practice daily.

Label reading has become the norm for me when purchasing shoes/clothing/accessories, food and healthcare products.

This has not been an easy endeavor and I would be lying to myself and you were I to say that this has been an air tight transition for me with no screw-ups.

Sometimes I think -- especially when Pizza (my weakness) is brought into my home by my non-vegan son, 'B', and his friends and my husband, Ed -- why did I ever start this? Why didn't I just go vegetarian?

Then I remember what I've read about dairy farms.

::WARNING: READ NO FURTHER IF YOU REALLY DON'T WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT DAIRY CONSUMPTION::

QUESTIONS:

I get asked two questions quite frequently:

1) "Why not just be a vegetarian since using dairy doesn't kill the animals?"

A) Most dairy farms (now, not all -- I am speaking mostly from the standpoint of the big dairy corporations) use machines to milk cows which produces sores on their utters (which then produce blood and pus....how much of that gets in the milk we drink? I wondered...) and the cows are kept perpetually pregnant to produce milk which is very taxing on the animal. The babies are typically taken from their mothers and raised without that contact and/or used for veal farms, which I've seen in person -- there are few things more heart wrenching then seeing a starving calf kept isolated in a dark, hot crate to produce a more tender meat.

2) "If you don't eat meat or dairy, what do you eat?"

A) This question always kills me and I admit I find myself chuckling with just a slight roll of the eyes, I'm sorry to say.

My answer: Everything else. There's a plethora of food out there and more and more markets ('Trader Joe's', 'Clark's Nutritional Center', 'Whole Foods' and even 'Ralph's' & 'Stater Brother's') are catering to the needs of vegans and vegetarians by having readily available dairy and egg free mayonnaise, margarine, frozen desserts, soy milk, almond milk, dairy free 'cheeses' and fake 'meat'. Not to mention there many whole wheat and grain products for even healthier living.

A new product I'm particularly fond of is 'Gardein':









I'm also crazy about 'Vegenaise':







As noted earlier, my husband and son are not vegans and as such, I want to note that I'm sure there are many vegans out there who would be appalled to learn that I have no problem fixing them non-vegan meals -- our home is all about tolerance.

Many times Ed will go out of his way to buy me something vegan or take me to my very favorite vegan restaurant, 'Real Food Daily'(RFD) in Santa Monica (about an hour and a half drive for us) and even though he loves his meat and dairy, he generally enjoys his meals there. Same goes for 'B', my 20 year old son.

Acceptance and tolerance go a long way with us. It's about being kind to the people you love the most.

So, no, to answer that lingering third question, I don't despise people who eat meat and dairy -- it's just simply not for me.

With that said, I realize that PETA is an extreme organization but the good they do outweighs the bad for me.

Would I ever throw a can of red paint on someones fur coat?

Nope. That's not my place.

An ever so slightly dirty look on the sly perhaps, but no unkind words or actions are necessary.

Would I picket a circus due to their use and unkind treatment of elephants?

Absolutely.

Another question I've gotten thrown in my direction occasionally is how can I have so much compassion for animals but not for humans?

That question and it's inflection alone angers me with it's leaps and bounds of assumptions and nearly incites a 'How dare you?' response from me:

I am a fundraiser and activist for those who are afflicted with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and have been involved with the MS cause for nearly three years raising $12,000 to research a cause and cure.

I also have an open door policy with my son's friends that has been in place for years, opening my home and heart [and fridge] making my life even more enriched (MOST of the time--ha!).

So, I'll end my introductory post by saying that this blog is something I've wanted to put together for a while now. My therapist (yes, I see a therapist: again, if you know me and what we've been through these past two years and the toll that it's taken, this should come as no surprise) wants me to 'step outside of my box': to do something for myself. So, I'll be looking up knitting classes for beginners in my area soon as well as beginning this new blog about one of my passions.

I will post recipes and information and will attempt not to lecture. :D

I'm not here to incite the wrath of meat eaters and farmers, only to merely share what I know and why I live my life meat and dairy free.

So, welcome to 'Rabbit Food'.

Peace and serenity,
~Jo