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Meatout Mondays is our colorful weekly e-newsletter. Each issue features an easy and delicious recipe, great product ideas, health information or breaking news, and inspiration to brighten your week.

Here on the Meatout Mondays Blog we archive articles from our weekly newsletter and post helpful tips, encourage comments from readers like you, and build community.

 

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Nutiva Chia Seeds

on Wednesday, 26 February 2014. Posted in Products

Nutiva Chia Seeds

Once known for putting the "chia" in Chia Pet, chia seeds are now quickly becoming known for their vast health benefits. 

In addition to aiding in digestion, stabilizing blood sugar, boosting energy, and lowering cholesterol, chia is found to contain omega-3 fats, calcium, phosphorus, and manganese. Plus, just one ounce of chia has 11 grams of fiber (that's about a third of the recommended daily intake for adults). It's also now being studied as a treatment for type-2 diabetes. So many good things!

Fun fact: "Chia seeds come from a flowering plant in the mint family that's native to Mexico and Guatemala, and history suggests it was a very important food crop for the Aztecs," said Terri Coles

If pudding isn't your thing chia is also great in smoothies, granola, oatmeal, and non-dairy yogurt. It also works great as flour and egg substitutes and is perfect for thickening sauces!

Find product and nutritional information at Nutiva.com.

Being Vegan in the Military

on Tuesday, 25 February 2014. Posted in Inspiration

Being Vegan in the Military

A lot of people have asked me “Is it difficult being vegan in the military?” To put it simply, I would say “sometimes”. It’s not really all that simple, though.

Since there aren’t many vegan soldiers in the U.S. Army I’ve had difficult times finding other people who have a common understanding of the type of diet I choose to have. Many higher-ranking officials say that “the Army doesn’t recognize veganism.” This is usually the response I get when I inquire about separate rations, which just means they cancel the charges for the meals at the chow hall, and the money would remain a part of my paycheck. As a soldier in the U.S. Army, if you are single and regardless if you eat at the chow hall or not, money is taken out of your monthly paycheck in order to pay for your meals. I’m still trying to find ways to make the military recognize vegans.

Sure, people could argue that I should just eat the iceberg lettuce and cherry tomatoes at the chow hall, but that is obviously not a suitable or sustainable meal plan for anybody. Since I am in the Infantry, the job is physically demanding more often than not. One thing I can appreciate is that I make a substantial amount of income to sustain my vegan diet. With that being mentioned, I can’t say that I’ve had a more difficult time with veganism than in U.S. Army Basic Training.

When I entered Army Basic Training, I knew it wouldn’t be a walk in the park. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I didn’t know that I would hate the very lifestyle that I enjoyed so much before I joined the military. I could say that I was starving throughout my entire Basic Training experience. I look back and wonder how I even made it through the rigorous training.

To Army standards, Basic Training doesn’t seem so strenuous, or difficult. I’m sure any average citizen would disagree though. There were times when I just wanted to give in and eat what the rest of the guys were eating. One time, I even picked up a slice of Canadian ham pizza and motioned it towards my mouth. I felt so hungry. Not to mention we were only given 3-5 minutes to eat. I don’t remember exactly, but it was too quick for me to even think. I had to sit properly, keep my eyes on my tray and remember that I was a vegan. I never forgot I was vegan, but the whole culture shock gave me a big sense of fear. That’s the whole purpose of Basic Training in its initial stages, anyway. I was scared the Drill Sergeants would ask me why I wasn’t eating, or assume I was a privileged teen acting picky. I didn’t want to be noticed. Then, something struck me! It was as if that little light bulb turned on. I said to myself “Whatever struggle you face here, no matter how difficult it is, remember that the animals on industrial farms have it worse. Remember that labor camps in North Korea are worse. Remember who you are and what you vowed you would never do is still a part of you today.” It was difficult, but I never let a piece of meat touch my paper tray ever again.

After I graduated Basic Training and Infantry OSUT in 2012, I was assigned my first duty station. There were many things I had to overcome while adjusting to my new duty station in Fort Wainwright, Alaska. One of the main concerns was “lack of protein."

We vegans tend to get this “lack of protein” as an insult from others in the civilian world, but in the U.S. Army, it’s almost seen as a matter of fact. I decided it was time to prove my duty station and the others around me that vegans are highly capable of accomplishing any Army standard, and in some cases, perform better than others. As I’ve trained my body; my ability to push myself, my stamina, my strength and energy have all increased sufficiently. One thing I made sure to do while accomplishing all of this was to not brag or boast about any of my achievements. I always strive to maintain humility because I try to live by: “Don’t do to others what you don’t want done to you.” This is one of the main reasons why I’m vegan. That saying solves any confusion.

I have proven myself to my peers and leadership, but can I prove to the U.S. Army that vegans are capable and that our lifestyle should be recognized by the military? To this day, I continue to have a few soldiers ask me where I get my protein from. I wouldn’t recommend answering sarcastically. I’ve had the feeling of wanting to reply in a rude way, but I just go with the assumption that they are actually curious as opposed to thinking they are ready to go in with the insults and doubt. I’d say about 85% of the time, people completely ignore what your answer and assume that you do not get enough nutrients and protein. I overcame that though when I started feeling better and when my body began to get into shape. I see great results, and I’m the one walking in my shoes, not them.

My vegan story goes something like this: In August 2010 I came across a video titled “Glass Walls”. I don’t think the footage would have made an impact on me if I hadn’t already liked animals so much. I remember when I was about 12; I saw the movie Finding Nemo and could not stop thinking about the classic line “Fish are friends, not food.” I think that saying stuck with me up until watching “Glass Walls” at the age of 17 when I became an ovo-vegetarian.

Then milk began to gross me out even though that was my favorite thing to drink before bed. A month later, the more I did research on vegetarianism, I would find horrible truths behind the egg industry. I didn’t stop eating eggs until I coincidentally searched Joaquin Phoenix on YouTube. I only searched him because I liked his performance in Signs. That search changed my life completely. I found one of the ultimate documentaries that truly unlock the meaning of awareness for the earth, Earthlings. I immediately became a vegan after watching it.

I don’t regret going vegan because my body is thanking me. My mind is clearer than ever, my body feels stronger, and I don’t get sick. I find that strange considering that people around me get sick quite often. The reason I decided to remain vegan in the military is because it keeps me disciplined, maintains my humanity, and strengthens my body for difficult tasks. I’m not big on forcing these vegan ideals onto other people, but if anyone is ever curious, I try not to go into a defensive mode. I try to explain to them what, how and why I live a vegan lifestyle. I think that’s the best way to go about things. Occasionally, I slip up and fall for an argument.

Even though my body reacted horribly during my plant-based diet in Basic Training, I have to
remember that it was not the diet; it was the deprivation of food. I believe if I ate the right amount of vegetables and fruits, I could have excelled exponentially during that 4-month training. I still get the occasional field problem where I don’t bring enough food and go a little bit hungry, but I have great leadership within my platoon that assists me with food when I need it.

My Platoon Sergeant, Platoon Leader and Team Leaders from the two other teams help me. My stance on this is that I want the U.S. military, in general, to consider veganism a special way of living until they have vegan options available throughout the entire organization. Religious specialties such as Muslim and Judaism are considered “special cases” and get separate rations, but vegans are not considered in the same light. I feel like I’m the only one in the military that actually wants vegan food to be an option. More variety at the salad bar would be a big step. If there is anyone else out there with a similar dilemma, please join in on this fight for vegan-lifestyle awareness in the military. It’s for you, me, the animals and the planet that we live on.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My name is (Specialist) Alexander Contreras, but Alex is preferred. I'm currently 20 years old, and I'm an 11B Team Leader in a Scout platoon under the branch of the U.S. Army. I joined the United States Army in 2012. I currently live in one of the coldest states in America, beautiful Alaska. I'm from the good old south, which some might disagree, Houston (Channelview), Texas. I became vegan in August of 2010 after one month of being an ovo-vegetatrian. Animals are my reason for living vegan, health comes second to that. My aspirations are to become an actor and an influential person that helps to spread the message of animal welfare. I am currently studying Japanese(Lvl2. Beginner), Korean(Lvl1. Beginner) and Spanish(Lvl5 Intermediate-low).

Strawberry Chia Pudding

on Monday, 24 February 2014. Posted in Recipes

Strawberry Chia Pudding

Looking for a quick, simple, and healthy new dessert (or breakfast) treat? Packed with fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds are considered one of nature's super foods. They've been shown to stabilize blood sugar levels and, according to Fettle Vegan (the makers of this recipe), help fight snack attacks! Don't let the look deter you, this sweet treat is light and surprisingly delicious. 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup chia seeds
2 cups coconut milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk)
3 Tbs. maple syrup (or agave nectar)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup strawberries (fresh, frozen or thawed)
sprinkle of chopped almonds (optional topping)

Directions:

1. In a quart-sized jar combine chia seeds, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla. 
2. Put the lid on the jar and vigorously shake until everything is well mixed. Use a spoon to scrape any chia seeds that might initially be stuck to the bottom and then give another shake.
3. Place the jar in the refrigerator and let sit for 2 hours. This allows the mixture to gelatinize.
4. After the 2 hours give the jar one more shake, pour into serving dishes and top with strawberries and almond sprinkles. 

NOTE: The mixture will last for about one week, refrigerated.

 

Find more delicious vegan recipes at FettleVegan.com.

 

Vegan Figure Skater Takes Silver

on Saturday, 22 February 2014. Posted in Inspiration

Vegan Figure Skater Takes Silver

Vegan Figure Skater Takes Silver

Canadian Olympian Meagan Duhamel and her partner Eric Radford won a silver medal in pairs figure skating at this year's Olympic games in Sochi, Russia.

Duhamel proudly took to Twitter announcing that she is an "Olympian, vegan, yogi and nutritionist."  Wonderful! 
Congratulations to Meagan for being an outspoken and shining example of what healthy vegan eating looks like. 

Meagan joins the ranks of a swiftly growing population of vegan athletes around the world who continue to demonstrate how healthful and nourishing veganism truly is.  

Read the original article here on Ecorazzi.com.

9 Million Pounds of Meat Recalled

on Thursday, 20 February 2014. Posted in News

9 Million Pounds of Meat Recalled

Last week the US Department of Agriculture's Food and Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) announced a recall of almost 9 million pounds of meat because it came from "diseased and unsound" animals, and was not properly inspected. 

This incident comes just days after Tyson Foods announced a recall of 34,000 chicken products containing salmonella that has sickened seven people and hospitalized two. 

Avoid risking your health and the health of those you care about by choosing to thrive on plant-based foods. It's quite simply better for you, for the environment, and for the animals.

Read the original article on FarmUSA.org.

What to Expect When You're Expecting a Vegan Baby

on Thursday, 20 February 2014. Posted in Inspiration

What to Expect When You're Expecting a Vegan Baby

It Begins
Congratulations! You’re going to be a vegan parent and it’s going to be amazing. The next several months are sure to be some of the most eye-opening, inspiring, and research heavy times in your adult life. There is something about being vegan that just begs you to question every single thing surrounding birth. From a homebirth to a natural birth to hypnobabies to cloth diapers to vaccinations to circumcisions to extended breastfeeding to babywearing and everywhere in between, chances are you’ll fall somewhere along this spectrum. Ultimately though, if you’re a first time vegan parent, you’ll encounter some things that are outside of your control like your friends and family members asking questions that could send you over the edge. The key is to take it all in stride and arm yourself with as much knowledge about the 10 month process and beyond to keep yourself cool, calm, and collected along the way. Your little one depends on it.

Going Vegan
I started my vegan journey at a marine park, one year before becoming pregnant. Innocently enough, I swam with dolphins. A week later, someone on Facebook mentioned that dolphins were captive and led horrible lives in places like these. I did not want to believe it. I searched the internet high and low for anything that could prove him wrong. What I saw that day changed my entire life. Images of dolphins being killed in Taiji, accounts of orcas committing suicide while in captivity, and stories of dolphin trainers being killed flooded my computer screen. Through tears and audible cries, I made the decision that no animal would suffer for my enjoyment ever again. When I became pregnant in 2013, there was no question that I would have a vegan pregnancy and a vegan baby.

A New Vegan Life
Now I’m not going to sugarcoat this for you. The pregnancy and the birth was the easy part… and my son was born vaginal breech! If you’re new to this pregnancy thing, here’s my best advice:

  • Stay active! Studies show that babies born to active mothers are brought into this world with less interventions than their non-active counterparts. This means less c-sections, less drugs, and more natural birthing, if you so choose. This is not specific to vegan mothers, but it is crucial for a beautiful birth.*
  • Take those pre-natal vitamins. Rainbow Light and Deva sell vegan vitamins.
  • Eat healthy vegan foods. Try to avoid processed and junk foods as much as possible during this time. My midwife told me that if I gained more weight than was normal (normal is 25-35 lbs**) I'd have to push out a bigger baby. That stuck with me for the duration of my pregnancy. I ate as healthfully as I could knowing full well that it was integral to the success of my birth.
  • Take a birthing class of some kind. I strongly recommend Hypnobabies to all new mothers. When I went in to the birth center for my son’s birth, I had already done the majority of my birthing time (laboring) at home. I was complete at 10 centimeters the second I got there and my son was born two hours later. I firmly believe that Hypnobabies had everything to do with that and I am forever grateful.
  • Have a good support team. Nothing can make the difference between a confident birth and a questionable birth like those around you. Interview doulas, find the best midwife or obstetrician for your family who understands your vegan lifestyle, and let everyone know ahead of time that you plan a fully vegan pregnancy.
  • Stay confident. No matter what anyone tells you, stand firm in your convictions about this journey. You are doing EVERYTHING right.

That, ladies and gentlemen, was the easy part.

The Hard Part
Remember when you first went vegan? Everyone all of a sudden had a degree in nutrition. Who is giving out these nutrition degrees so easily? I can honestly say that nothing was more disheartening than the questions I received after becoming pregnant. Thankfully, my support team consisted of my vegan husband, my midwife, and my vegetarian in laws. Talk about being in a bubble of peace. That surely did not stop the questions from people who clearly had my best interest at heart, but did not have the proper faculties to ask in a tactful and supportive manner. I picked some battles and let many more go, as the stress of having to confront such people was simply too stressful for my growing fetus. That little one trumped everything for me, and the conversations I was willing to take on pre-pregnancy seemed all too trivial while pregnant. If you find yourself in such situations and feel the need to respond, I recommend doing so calmly and lovingly, for both your sake and your baby’s sake.

Here are a few questions and some answers I used that might help you build your arsenal of responses for the best possible outcomes:

Question 1: How will your baby get enough protein? (My favorite!)
Answer 1: During pregnancy, we need an average of 70 grams of protein in second and third trimesters or 6 to 6 ½ oz a day. You can get 1 ounce of protein from many sources including fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and grains. Did you know that 1-tablespoon of peanut butter, ¼ c of beans, or 12 almonds all equal 1 ounce, respectively?*** Pretty cool, huh?

Question 2: What will you do if you crave something like meat? I heard that happens.
Answer 2: I’ll cross that bridge when, and if, I get there. (I knew I wouldn’t and surely didn’t.)

Question 3: Is it safe?
Answer 3: It is absolutely safe. (You really don’t need to answer anymore than
this. Unless you want to explain that there are women out there who grow perfectly healthy babies by eating the typical SAD or standard American diet with reckless abandon, this confident response should hopefully thwart off any further questioning.)

Question 4: What if your child wants some chicken nuggets at a friend’s house? (Yes, someone asked me this while 4 months pregnant.)
Answer 4: We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. (Can you tell this was a battle I chose not to pick?)

Question 5: What if he asks me for a piece of steak?
Answer 5: We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

Do you see the theme here? The point of me posting these questions is to give you a sense of what types of questions people will ask you. You probably have so much more knowledge under your belt about the vegan lifestyle and can answer all of them gracefully and with ease, which I encourage if you feel so inclined. For me, it just was not worth getting into debates about my child’s current or future life. In many cases, I used the genuine line of questioning to help educate my loved ones on how I was going about having a healthy vegan pregnancy. In some instances, it didn’t matter. Many people had made up their minds about how they felt about my growing baby and my lifestyle choice. Ultimately, you should know that no matter how you go about your daily lifestyle as a vegan pregnant person or partner of a vegan pregnant person, you are doing everything you can to give your child a perfect start to their perfect life. Congratulations to you and that beautiful growing baby with amazing vegan parents.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jessica Schoech (pronounced Shay) lives in Los Angeles by way of the Bronx, New York. She is the founder of The Vedge App, mother to young son Kenny aka Goose, and a personal trainer. She has been leading a vegan lifestyle since 2011 with her husband Ken and has made it a central part of her everyday life. She is an avid juicer, foodie, and traveler who lives by one rule: eat all the vegan things.

SOURCES
*http://www.patient.co.uk/health/pregnancy-and-physical-activity
**http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/healthy-weight-gain
***http://americanpregnancy.org/what-to-eat-during-pregnancy/

Hampton Creek Foodss Just Mayo

on Wednesday, 19 February 2014. Posted in Products

Hampton Creek Foodss Just Mayo

No time to whip up your own mayo for the mushroom and onion sliders? Try the latest innovation that's sweeping the vegan movement: Just Mayo by Hampton Creek Foods.

Using the company's highly anticipated Beyond Eggs product to replace the egg yolk that's typically found in traditional mayonnaise, Just Mayo is completely free of cholesterol, dairy, eggs, gluten, and soy. It is also certified Kosher and contains no artificial flavors or colors.

With more products on the horizon and backed by game changing investors, including Bill Gates, Hampton Creek Foods is set to take the egg industry by storm.

Find Just Mayo on the shelves of Whole Foods Stores around the country. Or purchase online from Vegan Essentials

Find product and nutritional information at HamptonCreekFoods.com.

One Meal at a Time: Nanci's Road to Veganism

on Tuesday, 18 February 2014. Posted in Inspiration

One Meal at a Time: Nanci's Road to Veganism

Ve-gan (vee-guh n). a person who does not eat or use animal products.

My journey of discovery began almost six years ago and I've never looked back. The change started with dropping red meat from my diet. At the time, it was a rebellious endeavor during my early 20's. I was empowered with the phrase, “I don't eat red meat”.

In my late 20's, I became a Mother. Oh the joy and work that brings! In addition to raising a bouncing baby girl I adjusted my eating habits slightly and the new catch phrase in my life was, “I only eat white meat in the home.” (What?) My logic continued, “If I cook it I know what goes into it”.

Looking back on my attempts to a unique identity, I'd say I may have been sleep-deprived. As a new Mom that notion made sense. I even tried to impress my way of thinking onto that of my daughter. “No sweets for this kid”. That didn't work for too long. The Forces of Grandparents were against me.

Resistance was futile.

I remained alone in my efforts. My husband was cool with my quest. As long as the food was good, he'd eat it. I was so thankful I didn't marry a man who expected meat and potatoes for dinner. He's creative in the kitchen, and just enjoys good food.

Before my daughter hit 'The terrible two's', we had increased to a family of four. Two happy girls for us, less sleep for me and my label remained, 'I don't eat meat outside the home'. As the girls grew up, feeding the four of us was easy. Eating out was fine, the three of them had their food and I enjoy exploring the vegetarian dining options.

There came a time when my conscience and taste buds started to change. I became more enamored with the vegetarian options and less excited about the meat I was eating while hiding in my home. I started exploring the idea of changing my label to 'Vegetarian'. It was easier to say and required less of an explanation. I had an unhealthy love affair with milk and cheese so my planets seemed to be in line. I felt as though my journey for self-discovery had ended. I would become, wife, mom and vegetarian.

Of course, this new way of eating came with loads of questions from family and friends. “But where will you get your protein?” I received more doubtful questions about my decision to become vegetarian than support. Except from my husband and kids.

While my kids were young and easily influenced by their parents, cooking for all of us was fine. I might make a vegetarian lasagna, big salad, and chicken nuggets or fish sticks, taco night, spaghetti night with the meatballs on the side- something to please everyone. Darling husband remained easy to feed - after he adds his hot sauce topping, he's happy.

My belly made the next move. We (my belly and I) had to get rid of cow's milk. The pain and bloating was too much. I was no longer in love, it was an easy break up. Around the same time, Santa blessed me with an iPod Touch and my husband blessed me with an introduction to the world of podcasts.

My world changed in January 2008 after I discovered Food for Thought podcast by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. The first podcast podcast addressed the question I had heard over and over. “The Protein Myth and Vegetarianism”

I was home. I learned so much in the 8 minutes 53 seconds, I couldn't stop. It was like I was talking to a good friend. She had so much helpful information! I became the student, information she shared was just the teaching I needed. What else could I do to improve my diet and my health? I think I listened to the first 10 podcasts. I was shocked to learn of the abuse that animals endured all for the benefit of ending on a dinner plate. How could humans be so cruel and how could I not make any other choice but to become vegan.

My life was changed, in an instant. I didn't need to ween myself from cheese, it was easy and logical. I continued to be educated and informed that I could get all the nutrients I need from plants. Some of the strong creatures in the animal kingdom were plant eaters. If gorillas, hippos, rhinos and cows could do it and thrive, so could I.

Food for Thought is a podcast you can listen to on iTunes or from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's website, http://www.compassionatecook.com. You won't be sorry. The website is a gateway to the world of better health and education to live a more compassionate life.

I'm not a perfect vegan. But I'm a happy vegan. I hope you find your truth, one meal at a time.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Married to the man of my dreams (who is NOT a meat & potatoes man), raising two amazing young ladies (one in college and one still living at home) and the proud vegan in the room for six years. I respect everyone else's choices as long as they continue to respect mine.  Whether it has to be washed, chopped, or eaten just as is, there's always something wonderful to eat in my kitchen.

Caramelized Onion & Mushroom Sliders

on Monday, 17 February 2014. Posted in Recipes

Caramelized Onion & Mushroom Sliders

A perfect mini handhold for a party, for the kids, a snack, or an appetizer, Fo Reals Life's easy Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Sliders are super versatile! Top with some homemade vegan mayo (recipe HERE), arugula, and a side of chips or fries for a flavorful, party favorite! 

Ingredients:

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 large onion, cut into quarters and sliced thin
1 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1 heaping tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1 tsp. smoked paprika (or liquid smoke)
6 rolls or buns (collard greens or lettuce leaves work well too)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Heat a large nonstick pan over high heat, add the onions and mushrooms and stir frequently until onions are lightly browned. 
3. In a medium bowl smash the beans with a fork until all are roughly mashed. 
4. In a separate bowl use your hands to mix all remaining ingredients together (if it gets too dry add a touch of water but be careful not to over-moisten). 
5. Separate the mixture into six balls and then flatten each into patties. 
6. Place burger patties on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet, place in oven, and bake for 15 minutes. Then flip the patties and bake for another 10 minutes. 
7. Serve on your choice of bread or greens!


Find this and other great vegan recipes at FoRealsLife.com.

10 Power Couples Behind Some of Today’s Most Successful Vegan Establishments

on Friday, 14 February 2014. Posted in Inspiration

10 Power Couples Behind Some of Today’s Most Successful Vegan Establishments

Have you ever wondered who is behind some of your favorite vegan businesses and organizations? 

It turns out that some of the most successful vegan establishments are run by what you might call a "Vegan Power Couple," or couple who are together--romantically speaking. 

Check out this article that spotlights 10 Vegan Power Couples, what they do for work, how they got started, and when they fell in love. It just goes to show that when driven by compassion and a specific cause, perhaps love (for all sentient beings) truly does conquer all. 

Read the article HERE on VeganWeddingsHQ.com.

Vegan Weddings HQ

on Wednesday, 12 February 2014. Posted in Inspiration, News, Books & Media

Vegan Weddings HQ

Borrowed, blue, and vegan too--newly relaunched website, Vegan Weddings HQ provides vegan-friendly resources to couples looking to celebrate their big day in cruelty-free form.

In addition to its Vendor Marketplace the website shares real proposal, wedding, and honeymoon stories, provides resources, and guidance and tips via its comprehensive blog and forum page. It even provides a list of charities should couples forgo gifts in exchange for donations made to their favorite organizations.

Though a version of the website has been around for about three years, the website has been newly named and designed. It's celebrating the relaunch throughout the entire month of February, with Valentine's Day marketing its three year anniversary.  

Browse real vegan wedding stories and learn more at VeganWeddingsHQ.com.

Double Chocolate Truffles

on Monday, 10 February 2014. Posted in Recipes

Double Chocolate Truffles

Whether you're planning something special for your sweetie, for your friends, or for yourself this Valentine's Day we've got just the thing! Keepin' it Kind's Kristy has perfected the simplistic nature of these gorgeous truffles. With just six ingredients it's sure to become one of your favorite sweet treat recipes. Note: This recipe requires overnight refrigeration so be sure to plan ahead.  

Ingredients:

1 cup dark vegan chocolate chips (try SunSpire)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 Tbsp. melted vegan butter (we like Earth Balance)
3/4 cup chopped dark chocolate (check out this vegan chocolate guide)
1 tsp. coconut oil
Cacao nibs or vegan mini chocolate chips (for sprinkling) 

Directions for ganache filling:

1. Place chocolate chips in a bowl and set aside.
2. Pour coconut milk into a small pot on the stove and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and pour over the chocolate chips. 
3. Let sit for about 1-2 minutes and then stir until completely combined and smooth. Add the melted butter, stir, and let cool at room temperature. Once completely cool, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Directions for chocolate dipping sauce:

1. Use a double broiler (or a glass dish on top of a pot of boiling water) and melt the chocolate with the coconut oil. Stir until it's completely smooth. Remove from heat.
2. One by one, use a spoon to dip each ball of ganache into the chocolate and then carefully place it back on the lined baking sheet.
3. Top each truffle with cacao or mini chocolate chips or nuts. If you want to get fancy, cool completely and then drizzle some more melted chocolate over them. 
4. Keep chilled until ready to serve. 
 

For great step-by-step photos of this recipe and others visit KeepinItKind.com.

 

World's Happiest Cow

on Friday, 07 February 2014. Posted in Inspiration, News

World's Happiest Cow

German farm animal sanctuary, Hof Butenland shared a touching video last week of one of its volunteers providing Fiet (the lovable cow) with scratchies and cuddles that seemed to put him in heaven.

The video, promoted by the animal rights group Free From Harm, demonstrates that cows--among other sentient beings--feel pleasure, express emotion, and have the right to be free and happy.

Watch the short video and learn more at FreeFromHarm.org.

Update Vegan Planet Cookbook

on Thursday, 06 February 2014. Posted in Products, Books & Media, Tips & Ideas

Update Vegan Planet Cookbook

Popular and longtime vegan cookbook author Robin Robertson has released a revised and updated version of her classic, Vegan Planet cookbook which now includes 50 additional recipes. 

According to Robertson's publisher The Harvard Common Press, "The new Vegan Planet...has a newly expanded range of whole grains, super greens, new facts concerning cooking oils and how they relate to health, plus new saucing and flavoring ideas from" around the world. 

Some of Robertson's other cookbooks include Nut Butter Universe, One-Dish Vegan, Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker, Quick Fix Vegan, 1,000 Vegan Recipes, Vegan on the Cheap, Vegan Fire & Spice, and Party Vegan.

Learn more about Robin and her cookbooks at RobinRobertson.com.

Nativas Naturals Organic Cacao Nibs

on Wednesday, 05 February 2014. Posted in Products

Nativas Naturals Organic Cacao Nibs

Thinking about adding a dash of extra sweetness to your French toast recipe as suggested by Annie, the source of today's recipe? Navitas Naturals Organic Cacao Nibs has got you covered!

Known as "nature's chocolate chips," cacao nibs are made from the unprocessed beans that are used to make chocolate.  Rich in antioxidants as well as good fats, fiber, zinc, iron, calcium, and potassium cacao nibs (located at the center of each cacao bean) are not only tasty but are also a healthy topping for your favorite recipe.

Some of us have been known to pop a handful straight up for a quick snack too. 

Find product and nutritional information at NavitasNaturals.com.

Zesty Chocolate French Toast

on Monday, 03 February 2014. Posted in Recipes

Zesty Chocolate French Toast

Nothing says cozy weekend brunch like homemade French toast. Sweeten things up with some chocolate, cinnamon, and orange zest for a dream worthy all-in-one fix. Hunker down with this scrumptious chocolaty French toast and good movie for a relaxing bellyfull weekend, escaping the chilly winter wonderland. Today's simple recipe comes to you courtesy of Annie from the website, An Unrefined Vegan

Ingredients:

4-6 thick slices of whole grain bread
1/4 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours ahead of time
3/4 cup almond milk
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon 
1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Zest of 1/2 an orange
Sweetener to taste (agave or maple syrup will do)
Cacao nibs (optional)
Sliced strawberries (optional)

Directions:

1. Rinse and drain the cashews, then put them into a blender along with everything but the orange zest. 
2. Blend until very smooth (about 1-2 minutes).
3. Pour the mixture into a deep-sided baking pan and stir in the orange zest.
4. Heat a large cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat.
5. Dip the slices of bread into the chocolate-cashew mixture and then carefully place in the heated pan. Brown on one side then gently flip and brown on the other side. 
6. Keep toast warm in a 200
°F oven while you cook the remaining slices.

 

Find this and more great vegan recipes at AnUnrefinedVegan.com.

 

Meatout Menu 2014 - Cheese Lovers

on Saturday, 01 February 2014. Posted in Recipes

Breakfast Casserole

(Recipe from The Cookbook Aficionado)

Ingredients:

POTATO LAYER

4 cups yellow potatoes, cut into ¼-inch pieces
2 teaspoons oil
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste

TEMPEH SAUSAGE LAYER

1 Tbs. oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 (8-ounce) package tempeh, boiled in water for 15 minutes and drained
1/2 red pepper, diced
2 tsp. fennel seed
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 tsp. dried sage leaves
2 Tbs. gluten-free tamari
2 Tbs. maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
Salt & pepper, to taste
 
TOFU EGG LAYER

12 oz. extra firm tofu, drained
4 tsp. The Vegg
1 1/2 cups unsweetened soy milk
8 oz Daiya cheddar shreds
 
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F and lightly spray a 9x9-inch baking dish with oil.
  2. Boil potatoes for 6-8 minutes, or until just tender.
  3. While the potatoes are boiling, start the tempeh sausage. In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, add the oil, onion and garlic. Cook for a about 5-7 minutes or until softened, crumble the tempeh into the pan, then add the remaining ingredients. Stirring occasionally, cook the tempeh until it’s lightly browned, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Drain potatoes and then rinse with cold water.
  5. In the same skillet, heat the 2 teaspoons of oil, add the drained potatoes, basil, thyme, salt and pepper. Sauté until lightly brown, then spread evenly into prepared baking dish. Top with the tempeh, evenly spreading, and sprinkle half of the cheese over top.
  6. In a blender or food processor, add the soy milk and Vegg, blend for about a minute, then add the tofu. Blend until smooth. Spread evenly over the cheese, filing in any crevasses. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and bake for 50-55 minutes.
  7. Serve warm.

 

Mac 'n' Cheese

(Recipe from Fettle Vegan)

Ingredients:

12 oz. pasta elbows
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk of your choice
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
2 Tbs. tahini
3 Tbs. lemon juice
1 tsp. turmeric
1/8 tsp. cayenne red pepper
1/8 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.
  2. As pasta cooks, combine the raw cashews and nut milk in a blender or food processor.
  3. Once combined, add the rest of the ingredients. Blend until combined. Set aside.
  4. Once pasta is al dente, strain, rinse, and put back into the pot. Pour in the cheeze sauce, using a wooden spoon to gently toss and coat the pasta.
  5. Turn the burner back onto low and continue to cook the pasta and cheeze sauce together about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens to the noodles.
  6. Serve with a garnish of fresh basil or cilantro, avocado, or a little hot sauce, if you'd like.

*To reheat, simply warm the pasta in a pan with a little non-dairy milk, stirring 'til creamy. Saves well in a refrigerated space for about a week.

 

 

Garbanzo Beans & Broccoli Rapini Pita Pizzas

(Recipe from Vegan Fling)

Ingredients:

2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup water
1 bunch broccoli rapini leaves, chopped (remove stems)
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 pitas, halved horizontally to form 6 rounds (or something similar)

Diced and oven roasted potatoes (optional)
Tomatoes (optional)
Any other pizza toppings (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. In a skillet cook the garlic in oil over medium heat, stirring, until pale and golden.
  3. Transfer the garlic to a food processor. Add in 1 Tbsp. oil, chick peas, 1/4 cup water, and salt and pepper to taste, and blend until smooth.
  4. Cook the broccoli rapini in olive oil over moderately high heat until wilted.
  5. Add remaining 1/4 cup water and red pepper flakes.
  6. Cover and simmer for about 2 minutes until almost all the water is evaporated.
  7. Spread the garbanzo mixture onto the pitas and top with the broccoli rapini, potatoes or any other toppings you like.
  8. Arrange pitas on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are golden.
  9. Serve.

 

 

Lavender & Beet "Cheesecake"

(Recipe from Raw. Vegan. Not Gross. via Tastemade)

Ingredients:

CRUST
3 cups coconut flour
1 cups almond flour
1 cup beet pulp
1 Tbs. nutritional yeast
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 tsp. lavender
⅓ cup maple syrup
⅓ cup coconut oil

LAYER 1 (white)
2 cups coconut meat
1 cups cashews, soaked
1 cup maple syrup
½ cup lemon juice
½ a vanilla bean
½ cup coconut oil

LAYER 2 (pink)
2 cups coconut meat
1 cups cashews, soaked
1 cup coconut oil
½ cup beet juice
3 Tbs. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. lavender
1 ⅓ cup maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Blend all ingredients for your crust and press into an 8 inch springform, making sure to reinforce the elbow and sides so it doesn't break.
  2. Dehydrate overnight, or put in the oven for 2 hours at 200° F
  3. Combine ingredients for layer 1.
  4. Once the crust has cooled, pour layer 1 into it and place in the refrigerator to allow it to set up for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Combine ingredients for layer 2, and pour directly on top of layer.
  6. Refrigerate or freeze for at least 30 minutes.

*The cake will last up to three days.

 

Meatout Menu 2014 - Meat Lovers

on Saturday, 01 February 2014. Posted in Recipes

Breakfast Muffin

(Recipe from Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes)

Ingredients:

1 vegan English muffin - toasted
2 slices of extra firm Tofu, cut 1/2" thick
1/8 Himalayan Sulfur Salt per slice
1/8 tsp. Turmeric per slice
1/4 tsp. Nutritional Yeast per slice
2 small slices of non-dairy cheese (Daiya works great)
1 slice of vegan Canadian Bacon (such as Yves)
1 slice tomato
Small handful of pea shoots or other green
Dab of vegan butter

Directions:

  1. Slice tofu into 1/2" thick pieces and then sprinkle turmeric, salt, and nutritional yeast on one side of each half.
  2. Preheat a medium frying pan over medium-high heat, add vegan butter or a touch of oil
  3. Once butter has melted place tofu in pan, seasoned side down.
  4. Sprinkle the remaining seasoning over the unseasoned halves of the tofu. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until one side is golden brown. flip and reduce heat to medium-low.
  5. Top one half of tofu with vegan cheese. Once golden brown, place the other half of tofu on top of the slice that is topped with cheese.
  6. Place the vegan bacon on top of the tofu/cheese stack.
  7. Turn off heat and allow the cheese to melt and bacon to heat through. You can cover frying pan if you so choose.
  8. Once the cheese has melted place tofu egg stack on one half of a toasted English muffin.
  9. Top with a slice of tomato, greens and then the other half of the English muffin.
  10. Serve.

 

White Bean, Spinach, & "Chorizo" Stew

(Recipe from Lorimer Kitchen)

Ingredients:

1 16 oz bag of dried  -or- 2 15 oz. cans of Cannelini or Great Northern beans
64 oz vegetable stock (add an extra 32 oz vegetable stock if using dried beans)
1 cup dry white wine (cooking wine is fine)
2 links Soyrizo, sliced
2 cups fresh Spinach
1 clove Garlic, finely diced
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt

Directions:

  1. If using dried beans soak them overnight.
  2. Heat oil in a large pot, over medium heat.
  3. Once warm, add garlic and let simmer until fragrant (about 2 minutes).
  4. Reduce heat to low so garlic doesn't burn and add Soyrizo.
  5. Heat until Soyrizo is warm then add drained beans, salt and vegetable stock.
  6. If using dried beans, cook with additional liquid for about 45 minutes on high heat with lid on, or until beans are soft. If using canned beans, cook for 25 minutes on medium heat with lid off.
  7. When beans are soft add spinach and cook for about 5 minutes, on high, or until soft and wilted.
  8. Serve warm.

 

Italian No-Meatballs

(Recipe from The Cookbook Aficionado)

Ingredients:
Makes ~18 balls

1 8-oz pkg tempeh
Water
2 tsp. no-beef broth powder
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
1 Tbs. cornstarch
1 Tbs. instant tapioca
1 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1 1/2 tsp. basil
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1 small onion, grated
3 cloves garlic, grated
2 Tbs. tomato paste
2 Tbs. HP Sauce
1 Tbs vegetable broth or water
1/4 cup parsley leaves, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Cut tempeh into 4 pieces and place in a sauce pan.
  3. Add enough water to cover the tempeh, along with the “beef” broth powder.
  4. Bring to boil and then turn down heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from water, drain and let cool.
  6. Grate tempeh and mix with onion, garlic, and the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well with your fingers and knead for 1 minute.
  7. With wet hands, form mixture into 17 or 18 balls.
  8. Let rest for 5 minutes to firm up.
  9. Heat a thin layer of oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat.
  10. Add tempeh balls and cook, turning regularly, until browned all over.
  11. Remove from pan. Place in oven and continue baking for 15 minutes.
  12. Serve warm.

 

Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies


(Recipe from Keepin' it Kind)

Wet Ingredients:

3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
3 1/2 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
1 cup plain vegan coconut yogurt (or soy)
2 Tbs. coconut oil, melted (at room temp)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup coconut nectar (or maple/agave syrup)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups gluten-free flour blend (try THIS recipe)
1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup + 1 Tbs. cornmeal
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. poppy seeds, plus extra for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together the lemon juice, lemon zest, yogurt, and coconut oil. Add the sugar and nectar and mix until smooth. Mix in the vanilla extract until fully combined.
  5. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour your wet ingredients into the well. Use a spoon to mix together until just combined.
  6. Fold in the poppy seeds.
  7. Use a tablespoon to scoop heaping spoonfuls of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until set and just barely starting to brown around the bottom.
  9. Let cool on the baking sheet for about 2-3 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before serving or storing in an airtight container.

Meatout Menu 2014 - Veggie Lovers

on Saturday, 01 February 2014. Posted in Recipes

Easy Tofu Scramble

(Recipe from Peaceful Plate)
Makes 4-6 servings.

Ingredients:

2 cups of red onions, sliced vertically into 1/4" moons
1 & 1/2 cups of sweet corn, fresh
3/4 cup to 1 cup of pickled jalapenos, patted dry and quartered (adjust quantity based on heat preference)
4 tsp canola oil, divided
1 tsp. salt, divided
2 - 14 oz containers of extra firm tofu, drained and patted dry with a paper towel
1/4 cup packed cilantro, finely chopped
Black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat 2 tsp. of oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add onions and 1/4 tsp of salt, cook for 2 minutes, then add corn and jalapenos.
  2. Cook for 2 additional minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Wipe pan quickly with a bunch of dried paper towels to clean.
  4. Add remaining 2 tsp. of oil and heat pan again over medium-high heat until hot.
  5. Crumble the tofu into bite sized pieces and add to the pan. Let cook for 2-3 minutes, then stir and flip tofu. Let cook again for another 2-3 minutes and repeat until most of the tofu is golden on the outside.
  6. Once golden, add back in the onion, corn, and jalapeno mixture. Mix in the cilantro and remaining 3/4 tsp. of salt.
  7. Toss gently to combine, and cook for another minute or two.
  8. Taste and add more salt or black pepper if needed.
  9. Serve hot with a side of toast, potatoes, or grits.

 

Roasted Kale Salad

(Recipe from Lorimer Kitchen)

Ingredients:

1 head of kale
3 radishes
6 medium beets
1/3 cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds
1/2 avocado
1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 cup + 2 Tbs. olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Wrap beets in foil and cook 35-45 minutes until soft all the way through (the bigger the beets the longer the cooking time).
  3. Allow beets to cool, rub off skin and cut into 1/4 inch slices.
  4. Decrease oven temperature to 300° F.
  5. Lightly rub kale with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  6. Cook kale in oven for 15-20 minutes until it's dry and crisp (after 10 minutes check frequently to make sure it's not burning).
  7. Place sunflower seeds on a baking sheet, while kale is baking, and put them on a high rack. Toast seeds for 3-5 minutes until very light brown.
  8. Remove and let cool.
  9. Cut radishes in 1/4 slices and place in a bowl with sliced beets and sunflower seeds.
  10. While kale cools mix avocado, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste in a small container and mix until creamy dressing forms.
  11. Mix kale with beets, radishes and seeds and pour dressing on top.

 

Vegetable Curry

(Recipe from Fo' Reals Life)

Ingredients:

1/2 large onion
5 cloves garlic
1 inch piece fresh ginger
1 - 28 oz can whole tomatoes (without salt)
3 Tbs. tomato paste
1 tsp. paprika
1-2 Tbs. curry powder
4 large potatoes, washed and cubed
1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets
4 cups fresh or frozen green beans
1 cup mashed cooked sweet potato (If you don't have cooked ones on hand you can peel and cube one medium sized sweet potato and add it with the regular potato)
1/2 cup unsweetened vegan yogurt 
1/2 cup water
3/4 to 1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup packed chopped cilantro leaves (optional)

Directions:

  1. Blend the onion, garlic, and ginger in your food processor or blender until it is mostly smooth.
  2. Add in the whole tomatoes, tomato paste, cooked sweet potatoes, paprika, and curry powder and pulse to process until the tomatoes are in small pieces.
  3. Add the blended mixture to a large non-stick pan and cook for 4-5 minutes over medium-high heat until fragrant.
  4. Now add the potatoes, cauliflower, and 1/2 cup water. Stir and then cover the pan with a lid. Turn the heat down to just a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
  5. Add in the green beans and cook for another 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the green beans are fully cooked. Stir in the yogurt and salt to taste with the heat on low. Stir and then turn the heat off.
  6. Stir in the cilantro and serve with some cooked brown or black forbidden rice.

 

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Overnight Oats

(Recipe from Fo' Reals Life)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup soy or almond milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk)
3/4 cup chopped fresh strawberries + another handfull of berries for when you put it together 1 Tbs. chia seeds 
A few drops of stevia (or your favorite sweetener to taste)
1 cup of chocolate sweet potato pudding (recipe HERE)

Directions:

  1. Blend the strawberries and soy milk together with an immersion (or regular) blender.
  2. Stir in the oats, chia seeds, and sweetener to taste.
  3. Put in the fridge and leave it overnight to thicken up.
  4. In the morning layer your bowl or container with chocolate sweet potato pudding, sliced strawberries and the strawberry overnight oats.
  5. Devour!

Meatout 2014 - Dining Out, Vegan-Style

on Saturday, 01 February 2014. Posted in Tips & Ideas

Meatout 2014 - Dining Out, Vegan-Style

Dining out vegan-style has never been easier!

Increasingly, restaurants are offering vegan options. Plus there are nearly 600 exclusively vegan eateries nationwide. Not in a what you might consider a vegan-friendly area? Not to worry, many restaurants have "accidentally" vegan items on their menu, or are at the very least accommodating - as any good business should be. :)

To start, here are some common items you might find on the menu of your favorite restaurant:

Breakfast

  • Granola with soy milk
  • Coffee with soy or almond milk
  • Bagel or toast with peanut butter or jam
  • Fresh fruit

Lunch & Dinner

  • Veggie burger with fries
  • Baingan Bharta
  • Thai curry with vegetables
  • Vegetable sushi
  • Rice, bean, guac, & lettuce tacos/burritos
  • Veggie sides (order a few to make a meal!)
  • Cheese-less pizza (or order out and add your own vegan cheese at home!)
  • Chips and guacamole
  • A large portion of Ethiopian cuisine is vegan
  • Falafel + a handful of toppings are already vegan

Dessert

  • Fruit sorbet
  • Some movie theater popcorn and candy

 

Don't stress about it though. Often times if you call ahead to a restaurant, and ask if they offer vegan options, or are able to hook you up, it'll be all good. If you're out and about and looking for a quick bite, try one of these mobile apps to help you find what's nearby.

Helpful Mobile Apps

  • HappyCow (shows how vegan-friendly nearby restaurants are)
  • YoDish (shows nearby restaurants with vegan and specialty-dietary options)
  • Yelp! (shows distance to nearest and most vegan-friendly restaurants)
  • Is It Vegan? (scan pictures and bar codes to quickly know if an item is vegan or not)

 

Most importantly, have fun with it! Vegan dining out doesn't have to be challenging or scary. Be upbeat and open to learning about what's near you. I have a feeling you'll find some favorites that you'll keep coming back to! :)

Want more resources about the vegan lifestyle? Check out our Meatout Mondays blog by clicking HERE.

 

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