Month: August 2014

Easy Chocolate Vegan Fudge

Here is a very easy, gluten-free fudge recipe that you can whip up in minutes.

Easy Chocolate Vegan Fudge

Ingredients:

2 cups vegan chocolate chips (I use Equal Exchange)
1/2 cup coconut cream (do not use coconut milk)
1/2 cup nondairy milk (I went for extra decadence and used non dairy soy creamer)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts, dried cherries, or chocolate chips (any of these things are optional)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Line a 8 x 8 pan with wax paper.

Melt chocolate chips along with coconut cream, non dairy milk or creamer, and salt in a heavy saucepan over low heat until the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat, and stir in your optional ingredient/s.

Chill at least two hours. Peel off the wax paper, and cut into shapes of your choosing. Store in the refrigerator.

Adapted from Cara Reed’s Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking

Plant Profile: Crimson Clover

crimsonclover

Like all clover varieties, CRIMSON CLOVER makes a very useful addition to any gardening (or farming) plan for its multiple benefits. Probably the first thing we humans will notice is its striking beauty, with its dark reddish-purple flowers in a large, slightly conical head.

In warmer climates, crimson clover is typically grown as a winter annual cover crop, while in slightly cooler climates it can thrive during the summer (click here for sowing dates and other cultivation tips). Clover is a leguminous plant, which means that it harbors bacteria (called rhizobia) in its roots that can fix atmospheric nitrogen and convert it to a form that is usable by plants. This is why crimson clover is one of various nitrogen-fixing cover crops that are used to help replenish the nitrogen that gets depleted in soils used for agriculture (the nitrogen is typically released when the plants are tilled back into the soil; for those of us doing no-till, using it as a green mulch and letting it die back is a useful alternative option, though you might not get quite as much nitrogen that way).

Like all clover varieties (including yellow, the familiar white, and purple), crimson clover is a magnet for pollinators with its ample nectar production while flowering, so having a patch of it in your yard or a garden area is always a good idea for supporting pollinator species. When used for this purpose during the summer (not as a field- or plot-wide cover crop), crimson clover can be mixed in with other flowers to create stunning meadows or flower beds, or even between larger fruiting bushes and trees.

One way we like to use crimson clover is as an alternative to fescue and other grasses grown on most lawns, creating more of a meadowscape than a golf course green. However, note that crimson clover grows to about 18 inches tall, so be aware of any lawn-height ordinances in your area if you live in a city or town (in these cases, white clover is a better alternative, since it usually stays below 6 inches). For all you country folk, this makes a much more sustainable and wildlife-friendly landscaping choice than fescue.

(P.S.: The clover pictured here is shown with dandelion, another common and multiply useful edible that can be foraged in the wild, and gooseberries, which are a fun but not-too-common berry. We can talk about those in the future…)

 

Pecan Waffles

Our morning rituals are a bit… involved… here at Triangle Chance for All. These easy-to-make waffles are the perfect way to relax on a weekend morning after all the chores are finished, and they keep so well in the freezer that they might just make an appearance on more time-pressed weekday mornings as well! We prefer to pile ours high with a variety of fruit and a dash of maple syrup, but they’re delicious plain as well!

Pecan Waffles

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup toasted pecans (we used walnuts, also delicious!)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups soy milk
3 tablespoons vegan butter, melted (we use this easy recipe to make our own: http://trianglechanceforall.org/2014/04/24/simplified-vegan-butter-recipe/)
3 tablespoons maple syrup

Directions:

Toast pecans (or other nut) in oven or skillet (approximately five to seven minutes at 350 degrees in an oven). After they have cooled, chop into smaller pieces.

Preheat your waffle iron and oil lightly.

Combine flour, cool toasted pecans, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the soy milk, melted vegan butter, and maple syrup.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry with a few strokes, but do not overmix! Some lumps are OK.

Ladle about 1/2-3/4 cup of batter onto your hot waffle iron. Cook for about three to five minutes, until lightly browned. Recipe makes 4-5 large waffles.

Don’t worry if you cannot eat them all, they freeze beautifully as well! Just separate individual waffles with parchment paper.

Adapted from a recipe by Robin Robertson.

Help Triangle Chance for All Rescue Pigs!

Grassy Lola

Triangle Chance for All is gearing up to diversify our Microsanctuary’s resident population! We fell in love with Lola the pig during our foster period after we rescued her back in March. We were not ready then to keep her as a permanent resident here, and since the day we dropped her off at her new sanctuary home, we have seen other potbelly pigs in need of rescue but have had to say, “No.”

Now we want to say, “Yes!”

Today we are launching a crowdfunding campaign for 60 days to raise $3,000. With these funds, we will be able to rescue two potbelly pigs in the coming months and provide them lifetime medical and other regular care here at the TCA Microsanctuary.

We value your support in donating, sharing, and inviting your friends to participate in our crowdfunding campaign! We are also offering a series of thank you gifts for different donation amounts.

Visit our crowdfunding page to find out more and chip in!

https://www.youcaring.com/tca-pigs

Roasted Green Beans

Fresh green beans are everywhere right now, so I couldn’t resist trying a new method of preparing them.

We’re rather thrilled with the results!

– Linda Nelson

Roasted Green Beans

Ingredients:

1 pound green beans rinsed, dried, and ends trimmed
2 to 3 teaspoons peanut oil (I used all 3, but I won’t again.)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
1 teaspoon sesame oil (I use toasted.)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger or 1/8 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon Asian red chili paste, optional
1 to 2 cloves garlic, or to taste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425. Toss the beans with one or two tablespoons peanut oil and sprinkle on the salt. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet, and roast until the beans are wrinkled and browned in spots. Open the oven to check on them and to shake them on the pan. This process took about twenty minutes in my oven.

While the beans are roasting, stir together the soy sauce or tamari, sesame oil, ginger, and chili paste, if using.

Heat 1 teaspoon of peanut oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat, and fry the garlic for a few seconds. Add the beans and toss in the hot pain.

Pour the soy sauce mixture into a serving bowl, add the beans, and toss to coat with the sauce.

Serve them right away on plates with forks. Don’t follow my lead, and eat them with your fingers while standing at the counter! I couldn’t help myself. They are that delicious!

This is an adaptation of a recipe from Leah Eskin of the Chicago Tribune. My non-vegan mother sent it to me, and I’m calling that a little bit of progress.

A Chance for Four More

When Board member and Treasurer Linda James came across four young chickens–two hens and two roosters–at the Harnett County Animal Shelter, she acted quickly in an effort to save their lives. Although we already had four roosters at our Microsanctuary, we put our heads together and decided we could make it work. After all, our mission is to save lives, and we will do what we can for the well-being of animals.

Linda went to the shelter before it opened and waited in line, hopeful that no one else would try to adopt the chickens before she was able to rescue them. Everything worked out perfectly, and Triangle Chance for All welcomed the roosters Tolstoy and Da Vinci (whom we call “the Leos”) and the hens Trudy and Annabel into our family!

Annabel, Tolstoy, and Da Vinci.

Trudy is quite a character.

Da Vinci inspects the camera.

Annabel (front) and Trudy (back).

Da Vinci (front) and Tolstoy (back).

Plant Profile: Chicory

chicory1

You have to wonder sometimes how certain plants become villains of the landscape and are dumped into that horrifying category of vegetation, “weeds.” While not every so-called weed is beneficial to humans in some way, a large number are. There are books and books available on foraging wild edibles, and you would be surprised to see how many of those are commonly found in the nooks, crannies, and cracks of our “civilized” spaces.

Today’s featured plant, CHICORY, is a ubiquitous perennial plant on rural roadsides and even in many suburban spaces. Tall and lanky, with attractive, aster-like blue flowers, chicory can make a healthful and beautiful addition to your landscaping if you can see past the name-calling you are probably used to. Besides wild chicory, cultivated members of the chicory family include radicchio and Belgian endive. (Our profile will focus on the wild variety.)

The reason that you see chicory in so many fairly desolate places is that it is hardy and grows in a wide variety of soil types, making it one of many pioneer plant species that will move in to disturbed soil before other plants are able to thrive. This makes it a good soil builder in your garden, pulling nutrients up from deeper in the soil with its long taproot; it then returns those nutrients to the surface by dropping leaves and when it dies back. Along with soil building, chicory attracts beneficial pollinators (much as other members of the aster family do).

Chicory’s leaves and root are both edible and have traditionally been used to detoxify the liver, as well as for stomach issues. Chicory is also rich in antioxidants, inulin, and prebiotics. The leaves can be eaten fresh as an addition to salads, while the chopped root can be brewed into a strong tea or steeped in alcohol to make a tincture. One other fantastic use of chicory root is as a coffee substitute.

Chicory “Coffee” Recipe

  • First, dig up, dry, and then roast the root.
  • Grind it as you would coffee beans.
  • To make the “coffee,” steep about 1 tablespoon of ground chicory root in 8 oz. boiling water for 8-10 minutes and then stir before drinking.

So, rethink your approach to “weed” species and consider how beneficial they sometimes can be to the environment, as well as to you.