Month: August 2014

One Day, One Year

one day eggs

This plate of 11 eggs represents one day’s worth of laying by our 13 rescued hens. These hens are all considered “backyard” breeds, not industrial layers, but they each typically lay one egg every 1-2 days.

This combined effort of 11 modern, domesticated hens on one DAY is nearly the equivalent of one YEAR’s worth of eggs for the their wild ancestor. Wild jungle fowl, from which our domesticated chickens have been bred, typically lay around 12-15 eggs per year, for the purposes of reproduction…not feeding another species.

Eggs are not a harmless food for humans, no matter how the chickens are treated. The hens bear the exploitation in their bodies, and will most likely die as a result of reproductive system complications.

Help end the exploitation today: Go vegan.

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Armenian Spinach Soup

What?! Soup in August? We say, “yes” to that as this soup is equally good cold or hot. A pot of this can be enjoyed now in the steamy weather and later in the cold of winter.

Armenian Spinach Soup

Ingredients:

12 oz. fresh spinach, chopped (The exact amount doesn’t really matter, but you do want quite a bit. I aim for about four or five cups)
1 can chickpeas
1 onion, chopped
2 to 5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup olive oil for sautéing, or use water
1/2 cup tahini
juice of about two small lemons
1 cup vegetable broth
four or five cups of water

Directions:

Saute the onion in olive oil or water until soft. Add the chopped spinach and half of the minced garlic, and sauté until the spinach is wilted. Add the vegetable broth, water, and chickpeas, and stir well. Simmer for about a half hour.

While the above is cooking, add the remaining garlic and the tahini to the lemon juice, and blend well. Add a small amount of the hot soup to the lemon/tahini mixture. This will prevent curdling of the tahini.

Add the lemon/tahini mixture to the hot soup, and mix well. Remove from the heat, and season with salt and pepper.

Gluten-Free Pecan Sandies

Here is the promised gluten-free Pecan Sandies recipe. This is from the very talented, Cara Reed‘s Decadent Gluten-Free vegan Baking book.

I bake a great deal though gluten-free goodies are not my forte. This excellent book may change all that.

Gluten-Free Pecan Sandies

Ingredients:

1 1/4 Cara’s All-purpose blend
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
3 Tablespoons maple syrup
3 Tablespoons shortening
2 Tablespoons vegan butter
1 Tablespoon nondairy milk
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
powdered sugar for dusting

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix everything together with a fork in a medium bowl until dough begins to form. It might be crumbly: simply place the dough on a piece of parchment paper and gently knead until a smooth ball is formed. Roll between 2 pieces of parchment until 1/4 inch. Cut into circles with 2 inch cookie cutter. Place on baking sheet and lightly dust with powdered sugar.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Allow to fully cool.

Thank you, Cara, for making gluten-free, vegan baking such a pleasurable experience. The eating is even better!

Pecan Sandies

Though I’m not proud of it, I can remember a time back in high school when I would demolish a bag of Pecan Sandies in two days.

My eating habits have changed remarkably over time and cookies are not a big part of my life, but now that I’ve made a veganized version of this old favorite, I may be in trouble.

They are really good! Be careful!

Pecan Sandies

Ingredients:

3 half-cup sticks vegan butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups small diced pecans, toasted

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the small diced pecans in a single layer on a cookie sheet with a silpat or a piece of parchment paper. Toast the pecans for four to seven minutes. It really depends on how accurate your oven is. The last thing we want is burnt pecans, so check for toasty goodness at four minutes, unless you know your oven very well. When the pecans are done, you can turn off the oven, but just don’t forget to preheat again, closer to the time you’ll be rolling out your dough.

Cream the vegan butter with the sugar with a hand mixer, a stand mixer, or a wooden spoon. Add the extracts, and mix in well.

Sift in the flour and the salt, and mix to combine. Add the pecans. I used my hands at this point to incorporate the flour and pecans.

The dough will be crumbly with all of those pecans, but don’t worry.

Form two or three balls of dough, and flatten them with your hands to form disks. Cover them with plastic wrap, and chill for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven during the last half of your chilling time.

Take the chilled dough, and place it on a floured surface. Since the dough is crumbly, I used both a floured rolling pin and my hands to roll and pat the dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut out shapes of your choosing, and place the cookies on a cookie sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. The dough is delicate, and it may be break apart. Just piece it back together with a few pats, and know that it will stay together after it is baked.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the center of the oven until the edges are beginning to brown. Allow to cool on the pan before you dig in. Enjoy with a big glass of non dairy milk or a cup of tea.

Curried Potatoes

We could eat potatoes everyday and all day, but it is always fun to come up with a new way to serve them.

These easy Curried Potatoes might just be the thing to try.

– Linda Nelson

Curried Potatoes

Ingredients:

10 to 12 red skinned potatoes, cut in half or fourths depending on size, with skins or without according to your preference. I left them on.
1/2 cup vegan sour cream or yogurt
2 teaspoons curry powder, or to taste
1/4 cup chutney (I used my own, homemade mango chutney)

Directions:

Scrub and cut the potatoes. Place them in a pan with cold water 2 inches above the potatoes. Bring to a boil, and boil for 15 minutes until tender. Drain, and add the other ingredients. Serve.

Mocha Mousse

If you want or need dessert in a hurry, this Mocha Mousse is for you. It takes minutes to whip up and only an hour or so to chill.

My non-vegan brother once ate two servings while we were discussing just what vegans eat. He railed on and on about just how much he hated tofu. You can probably imagine my glee when I said, “You’re eating it now. Would you like a third serving?”

– Linda Nelson

Mocha Mousse

Ingredients:

1 cup vegan chocolate chips, melted
1/2 cup cold coffee
1/2 teaspoon coffee extract
1 12.3 oz. package silken tofu (It must be silken to get the mousse’s creamy texture. It comes in an aseptic carton, and it doesn’t much matter whether you choose soft or firm.)

Directions:

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler or in the microwave in 25 second intervals.

Add the tofu, coffee, extract, and melted chocolate to a blender or food processor, and blend or process until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides once or twice.

Pour into containers of your choice, and chill for about an hour, if you can wait that long!

Plant Profile: Echinacea Purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

coneflower

I am not sure why specifically, but ECHINACEA PURPUREA or PURPLE CONEFLOWER is one of my favorite flowering plants. Native to the eastern and central regions of North America, the coneflowers are perennial plants in the Asteraceae (daisy) family and range in flower colors, including purple (which we will focus on here), pink, red, and white.

Echinacea purpurea has gained a lot of attention as a medicinal plant with immune-boosting properties. Although there is not solid evidence that it can prevent colds, Echinacea purpurea can be used effectively to reduce cold symptoms. Its roots are primarily used for medicinal purposes, either being steeped in hot water to make a tea or in alcohol to make a tincture. It is also used to fight many other infections, including flu, yeast infections, and urinary tract infections, to name a few. The leaves and flowers can be used medicinally as well. (See http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-981-echinacea.aspx?activeingredientid=981&activeingredientname=echinacea for additional uses and medical information.)

As a garden plant, Echinacea purpurea shares many of the beneficial qualities of other Asteraceae. Pollinators just adore coneflowers; it is a rare sight not to see someone or other crawling around the spiny center of the beautiful flower. The leaves are reminiscent of Black-Eyed Susans, with a deep dark green color, though the two are in different families. Echinacea purpurea can be grown from the seeds of dead flower heads (sow in the spring; if you clip the flower heads once they die you can also stimulate more flower production), or you can divide a large clump every three to four years.

Perhaps you may see some purple coneflower out on a hike or in a neighbor’s yard. It is a plant well worth including in your own flower bed or garden patch.

Small Acts of Kindness

Asking for support is not always easy. Often it seems that people expect that only large contributions are acceptable and appreciated.

Our Pig Rescue crowdfunding campaign has made great progress thanks to some generous donations, but we still have over $1,200 to go to hit our $3,000 goal. We can get there through the collaboration of a caring community all around the world.

This post will, we hope, reach a few hundred people or more through the web that is Facebook. If only **250** people who see this felt moved enough to contribute just $5 to our pig campaign, we would be at our goal!

And the best part of collaboration is that a small act of kindness has big, long-lasting results. Help us bring joy and love to the lives of two pigs, so they may be as happy as Lola with her bananas.

Thank you for all of your kind support.

http://www.youcaring.com/pet-expenses/help-triangle-chance-for-all-rescue-pigs-/213441

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Vegan Mango Lassi

I can clearly remember a moment in my life when I said to myself silently, “I’ll never be able to have a lassi again.” I said that about a great many things until I realized just how very wrong I was.

Being vegan doesn’t mean restriction. It gives us freedom! Our food choices are so varied, colorful, and so very much better for our hearts, minds, and bodies as we endeavor to do the least harm possible.

We eat and drink so many things we thought we’d be giving up. As my T-shirt says, “Anything you can eat, I can eat vegan!”

Vegan Mango Lassi

Ingredients:

1 cup plain non-dairy yogurt (I use soy yogurt for the extra tang)
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (choose according to your tastes, but I again used soy)
1 cup chopped mango (peeled and stone removed)
4 teaspoons sugar, or agave, to taste
A dash of ground cardamom (optional)

Directions:

Place all of the ingredients except the cardamom in a blender, and blend until smooth. Pour into a tall glass, and enjoy!

Gluten-Free Maple Nut Scones

What’s a baker to do? I had already had my nice, healthy breakfast of steel cut oats with banana, but these scones had just come out of the oven. The scent is delicious, but I’ve never made these before, and I wouldn’t want to post something that might hurt Triangle Chance for All‘s reputation. A taste test was necessary!

I did it for all of you, and I’m happy to report that my first attempt at a gluten-free maple scone is a winner!

They can also be made with wheat flour, if you prefer, though I think the blend of millet flour and oat flour that I made for this recipe adds to the nutty, wholesome taste and texture. If you do use wheat flour, leave out the xanthan gum.

Gluten Free Maple Nut Scones

Ingredients:

2 cups gluten free flour (you can use a ready made blend or make your own; see below for a recipe)
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold, cubed, vegan butter
3/4 cup soy milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon maple extract (you can leave this out, but I would recommend it highly, if you love the taste of maple)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425. Prepare a scone pan by lightly oiling it. You may also use a cookie sheet to spoon the dough onto, if you don’t have a scone pan. Remember to line the pan with parchment paper or a silpat.

Stir the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt all together in a medium bowl. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the flour mixture is crumbly. Stir in the soy milk, maple syrup, and maple extract and mix all together until combined.

Drop even amounts of dough into your scone pan or onto your cookie sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until they’ve browned lightly.

Cool on a rack for about ten minutes before adding the maple glaze.

Maple Glaze

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon melted vegan butter
1 tablespoon hot water
1/2 teaspoon maple extract

Directions:

Mix the ingredients all together, and top the scones with it and some toasted pecans.

I’ve borrowed some ideas from Cara Reed of ForkandBeans. com
I did use her wonderful gluten free blend in this recipe and in others.

Cara’s Special Gluten-Free Flour Blend

This makes nine cups of gluten free flour

Ingredients:

3 cups gluten free oat flour
3 cups millet flour
2 cups tapioca flour
1 cup arrowroot powder