DECEMBER 30, 2006 9:53 AM

Last night, this dinner fell out of the clear blue sky, potluck style, onto my table: sweet potato burritos with a yellow heirloom tomato sauce, bayless black beans--and the two big surprises--curried rice and buckwheat cornbread (courtesy of Uncle Juan and Curly). The buckwheat cornbread (which was brimming with grains and seeds) was one of the most unique panbreads I've ever tasted (that's a cue to the chef to post the recipe...)

DECEMBER 29, 2006 10:17 PM

Tofu, maple syrup, seeds, nutritional yeast, yeah! These cubes are the stuff dreams are made of.

DECEMBER 29, 2006 4:43 PM

Skeptics love to pick on us animal compassion types for being too "granola" (whatever that means). GUILTY AS CHARGED! My suspicion is that if they had the opportunity to taste Noodles's AMAZING blueberry granola (swamped here in homemade soymilk flavored with agave nectar and vanilla), they'd be packing up house in no time for the big move to their new animal sanctuary in Vermont. But tighten the heel-straps on those synthetic Birkenstocks, cuz this is not your gramma's granola.

DECEMBER 29, 2006 3:53 PM

Who needs chicken broth or parmesan cheese? We like to let the arborio rice, the sundried tomatos, and the chick peas speak for themselves in this creamy vegan version of the classic Italian favorite. Those brussels sprouts on the side? Over two months later, they're still as tasty as the day they were picked. End-of-harvest veggies have CRAZY staying power!

DECEMBER 29, 2006 2:58 PM

Don't let the relative sizes of their portraits fool you. Watch Singer take off the gloves and give Colbert a taste of his own medicine!


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DECEMBER 29, 2006 1:44 PM

An Old Friend With An English Accent
Vegan English Muffins are hard to come by in Grand Rapids. We found these at Trader Joe's on a recent trip to Chicago and put 'em straight to work on opposite ends of the famous extraVEGANza! breakfast sammy. Tastes like a dream and commands the Queen's English with all the rapier wit and charm you'd expect from a Merchant Ivory protagonist (it's like having breakfast with Rupert Everett).

DECEMBER 26, 2006 10:33 PM

Video of Tom Regan's lecture "Animal Rights: An Introduction" at the Interdisciplinary Lectures on Animal Rights at the Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg on the 24th of May 2006. Tom Regan is excellent.

DECEMBER 25, 2006 9:14 PM

Got health? If not, then consider the position statement on vegan and vegetarian diets by the leading authority on nutrition in North America based on their seventeen-page review of the recent nutrition research:

    It is the position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada that appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. . . Well-planned vegan and other types of vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence. . . A vegetarian, including vegan, diet can meet current recommendations for all of these nutrients. . . Vegetarian diets offer a number of nutritional benefits, including lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein as well as higher levels of carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, potassium, folate, and antioxidants such as vitamins C and E and phytochemicals. Vegetarians have been reported to have lower body mass indices than nonvegetarians, as well as lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease; vegetarians also show lower blood cholesterol levels; lower blood pressure; and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer.

Read the full position paper and check the sources here:
Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada: Vegetarian Diets,” Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 2003;103:748-765.

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DECEMBER 20, 2006 3:11 PM

From the UK's The Independent newspaper:

Don't follow the herd and give a cow for Christmas:
These gifts are not a good thing. They serve only to increase, not diminish, poverty

. . . Paying for farm animals to be gifted to impoverished communities in the developing world, notably Africa, has moved from novelty to omnipresent fashion. . . The message might bring comfort to the target audience, but such schemes, sadly, are not a good thing. They serve only to increase not diminish poverty. Why? Because farming animals is an inefficient, expensive and environmentally destructive way of producing food. All farmed animals require proper nourishment, large quantities of water, shelter from extremes of weather and veterinary care. Such resources are in critically short supply in much of Africa. . .

For sources for humane giving this holiday season, see Humane Charity Seal of Approval program:

DECEMBER 18, 2006 11:50 AM

Well, not exactly...
But this BBC News article entitled High I.Q. Link to Being Vegetarian is nonetheless an interesting little piece of brain candy. Eat your brussels sprouts and discover special relativity!

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DECEMBER 17, 2006 11:54 PM

A 24-minute documentary about the horrors of industrial agriculture in Michigan produced by Michigan Sierra Club.

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DECEMBER 17, 2006 1:08 PM

From the Mantel to the Plate!
It's time to turn those fall home decor accents into a delectable side for your Christmas feast. Take that acorn squash off the mantelpiece, preheat the oven to 425, and get ready to start mincing garlic.

What you'll need
2 acorn or carnival squash, seeds scooped out and cut into crescents
Salt and Pepper
4 Tablespoons olive oil (plus extra for tossing squash)
2 Tablespoons lime juice
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons cilantro or parsley, chopped.

Here's what to do...
(1) Toss squash crescents with olive oil, salt and pepper; (2) place squash on a cookie sheet or roasting pan and roast in 425 degree oven until soft and getting caramelized (about 30-40 minutes, turning occasionally); (3) while squash is roasting, combine oilive oil, lime juice, garlic, and cilantro (or parsley); (4) when squash is just out of the oven, toss it in the vinaigrette and serve immediately.

Part of a delectable Christmas ensemble near you!
Our festive winter squash joined a chorus of other holiday favorites: pecan and macadamia encrusted seitan cutlets, cornbread stuffing, braised cabbage, and mashed potatoes and gravy.

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DECEMBER 17, 2006 12:29 PM

Let me just say before this post begins that my intention is not for this blog to become a sentimental reminiscence over our pets. However, as humans we have the tendency towards such an emotion and it is hard to escape it in our lives. After all, isn't part of being human to experience and express our emotions? Anyway, this post isn't meant to debate such things, but rather to express Christmas time as my cat experiences it.

Although our cat doesn't look forward to the Christmas season, she definitely remembers it the moment we take out the tree. This year our real tree was too prickly for Stinker, so we opted for our fake tree variety. Each branch bent to her weight as she climbed to the top, hissing and biting at anyone who tries to take her out of it. We let her be, thinking of her as an oversized Christmas ornament. As we laid out the tree skirt, she lent a paw in spreading it out and kept the presents company while we enjoyed mimosas. It's that time of year again. Time for family and friends to come together...and time for our pets to join us as they do any day of the year.

BEST OF 2006
DECEMBER 13, 2006 11:45 PM

As the year comes to an end, we can't help but think back to the many highlights and culinary triumphs, especially those shared with good friends. Well, tonight we didn't have to think too far back into the reaches of our memories, for tonight in December, one of these "Best of" moments was in full effect.

Noodles whipped up these curry vegetable pouches on a bed of greens, seeds, and raisins. The Vegucator, Moles, Splinters, and Pickles were all left speechless. Maybe it was the perfect texture of broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms, and onion? Maybe it was the spicy coconut cashew curry sauce? Maybe it was the chick pea, cardamom, cayenne crust? Maybe it was the flax oil, Bragg dressing on the greens? Maybe it's when it all comes together and rose colored shades abound ...

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DECEMBER 13, 2006 11:26 PM

The final meeting of our drawing class was a true celebration, featuring fantastic artworks and fantastic treats care of Noodles- olive rosemary bread, hummus, lemon banana bread, blueberry carob muffins, and cranberry cashew carob muffins. Holy smokes! We were all so appreciative of her culinary expertise.

In addition to all of these treats, I picked up a pack of Chocolate Cherry Stars from Marie Catrib's on the way in. You should pick up a pack too because they are scrumptious.

Thanks to PJB for the ice coldizzes.

DECEMBER 10, 2006 12:43 PM

This spicy curry features tofu, crimini mushrooms, broccoli, onion, garlic, and cabbage all slowly simmered in a cashew coconut curry with a bit of tumeric and red pepper flakes. It's served along side the supergrain, quinoa, with a bit of Earth Balance, Bragg, and Sriracha. Noodles really outdid herself with this masterpiece.

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DECEMBER 9, 2006 9:40 PM

There's no better way to say "Gledelig Jul!" to your Norse kin than to bake them a few loaves of Julekage. Slather it with Earth Balance right out of the oven and prepare to be dazzled.

DECEMBER 9, 2006 9:00 PM

After a couple of these, Santa'll have to let Rudolph do the driving.
Leave these high-octane holiday cookies for ol' St. Nick and he'll be a bleary-eyed wreck before he's halfway up the chimney. And since they're made with vegan vanilla wafers (from Mediterranean Island at 44th and Kalamazoo), he won't have to worry about getting the business from Dasher, Dancer, Donner and Blitzen.

You will need...
Six ounces vegan vanilla wafers
1 cup confectioners sugar + extra for rolling
2 Tablespoons cocoa
1 cup chopped nuts (we combine almonds and pecans)
1/2 cup whiskey or rum
2 Tablespoons corn syrup

Here's what to do...
(1) In a food processor, crush vanilla wafers. (2) Transfer to a large bowl and add sugar, cocoa, and nuts. (3) Combine rum and corn syrup and pour slowly over dry ingredients. Mix. (4) Refrigerate until firm. (5) Shape into balls. (6) Roll in confectioners sugar. Makes approximately 2 1/2 dozen.

Add them to a festive array of other holiday favorites, invite your friends, and take away their car keys. A very MERRY Christmas indeed!

DECEMBER 7, 2006 10:28 PM

1/2 Cup Organic Soybeans = 1 Quart Fresh Soymilk

Soy, rice, and nut milks are staple items in most vegan households. But keeping the pantry adequately stocked can get expensive. Moreover, some of the most readily available brands are now owned by industrial agricultural giants who aren't doing human beings, animals, or the environment any favors. Enter Soyabella. Just soak 1/2 cup of organic soybeans until they double in size, pop 'em into the machine, and wait fifteen minutes for the gurglin' and steamin' to stop. You can do rice milk in short order as well, and raw nut milks take just 30-45 seconds! The results are really impressive. We can honestly say that it's the best soy milk we've tasted (even better when you add a drop or two of vanilla and some maple syrup to the mix). The initial capital investment is substantial (between $90-120, depending on sales, etc.), but we split the cost with splinters and noodles and now we're all up to our eyeballs in very cheap soy milk (we get around three quarts per $1.00, depending on the price of organic soybeans).

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DECEMBER 6, 2006 6:44 PM

Traditionally, veganism hasn't been too popular with the Baby Boom generation. But that's going to change in a hurry, presuming that word gets out about T. Colin Campbell's The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-term Health.

Startling Implications, Indeed!
What would your parents say if you told them that a whole foods, plant based diet not only exponentially reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, large bowel cancers, breast cancer, alzheimers, and many other "diseases of affluence", but can actually REVERSE the effects of these diseases AFTER they've taken hold? If they won't take your word for it, maybe they'll listen to Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University. Worried about his credentials? Aren't all these nutritional studies just pseudo-science? The National Institutes of Health doesn't seem to think so, since they've awarded Campbell's lab the equivalent of 75 years worth of research funding over the course of his 45 year career. Not too shabby. If you're looking for a way to say "I love you, Mom and Dad!" this Christmas, The China Study is the gift for you. And pick up a copy for yourself, too, since it's never too early to start cultivating those healthy habits!

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DECEMBER 5, 2006 8:41 PM

Since eating the Jupiter's Gnocchi at the Red Avocado, I have been under its spell. Tonight I made this Gnocchi with onions, carrots, celery, garlic, kale, hearts of palm, canned heirloom tomatoes from Trillium Farms, coconut milk, maple syrup, Follow Your Heart vegan mozzarella, red pepper flakes, and s&p. (All organic ingredients) It was pretty alright, and by pretty alright I mean AWESOME!
Catch the fever, folks. Dumplings are your destiny.

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DECEMBER 4, 2006 5:15 PM

I spent this past saturday in Iowa City, Iowa with Juan, and after a grueling winter drive, dinner at The Red Avocado was much appreciated. This place is amazing, definitely worth a six hour drive, and even worth the fifteen hours it took us to get there. Of course, it was not the only reason for the trip, but perhaps the most enjoyable. I ate the jupiter’s gnocchi-
home-made sweet potato gnocchi tossed in a rich and creamy vegetable-tomato sauce: seasonal diced vegetables are simmered in a slightly spicy tomato-coconut milk broth until the sauce is dense and very thick, roasted red peppers and tofu cheese topped with toasted walnuts and sunflower seeds finish this rich and sumptuous dish.

Juan had vegetable tofu peanut satay, and we shared some chocolate cake for dessert.

The food, atmosphere, and ethos of the restaurant are all impeccable!
Check out the website for the vision statement, menus, some great links, and more.

DECEMBER 2, 2006 7:24 PM

Today my mom and I made a day of local art events. After a brunch at Marie Catrib's, we headed to the art show at Trinity Lutheran, located at Fulton near Robinson. Their tables displayed pottery, handcrafted boxes, and woven scarves. I picked up two skeins of yarn for a friend and we headed on our way. We stopped at the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) for the Eames Furniture exhibit. I love the building and as the sun peeked through the clouds and lit the other buildings around the art museum, I was reminded why I like living in GR. Susan and Erika's line at >>FWD was the event that the day was leading up to and I was not disappointed. The rest of the day is pictured below.

erika and susan debut

1. Diggie Pirate
After losing an eye, Diggie went for a pirate look with a patch over one eye. This only adds to his character, making him all the heart-ier for the home.

2. The Wall of Purses
Here is part of the wall of purses. Swimmie is featured inside the one to the farthest left. These bags are adorable, made of vintage fabric and featuring antique buttons.

3. Gus + PB and Bread
While Susan and Erika set up for the debut, I went to check on Gus. This piece of bread with organic peanut butter held his attention as I ate (and photographed). (Don't worry, he was not tantalized. He shared a piece of bread with me, too.)

4. People at >>FWD
If you squint at this photo, you can see the people in >>FWD, checking out the homemade shirts, sock monkeys and pillows.

5. Wall of Aprons
None of my pictures did the aprons justice, unfortunately. However, there are two empty nails next to those two aprons so a couple went home with others!

6. The Other Side of the Wall of Purses
Two of my favorite bags are in this photo. :) Can you guess which ones they are? The bags are displayed against a brown furry background with the evening bags on the far left.

7. Evening Bag
One of the evening bags made by Susan.

8. My Haul
My mom and I came away with these cuties. From left to right: Swimmie, Diggie Bitey, Diggie Petty. The Batsies were so tempting...

So there it is, a slice of local art life. Hope to see you all again soon.

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