Monthly Archives: November 2011

APPLE CARROT SWEET SLAW

I am totally going to toot my own horn when it comes to this one… fast, simple, healthy, and soooo tasty!  I have been in love with this slaw and have been eating A LOT of it.  This makes the perfect snack or after meal dessert.  I really love the flavor combination and the fact that it is all WHOLE food.

I did not include measurements for the ingredients because this is not a recipe that needs exact measurements.  Simply make as much as you would like.  The slaw does keep well in the fridge as long as you do not add the raisins or walnuts until you are ready to serve / eat it (or they will become soggy).

I used equal parts apple and carrot.

INGREDIENTS
 
shredded apple 
shredded carrot
fresh orange juice
cinnamon to taste (I use THIS cinnamon)
raisins
chopped walnuts for garnish (I buy my walnuts HERE)
 

Put the shredded apple and carrot in a bowl and mix well.  Squeeze the orange juice onto the apple and carrot, sprinkle with cinnamon to taste and mix to incorporate.

If you plan on serving the slaw immediately, go ahead and mix in the raisins and chopped walnut.  Otherwise wait until you are ready to serve the slaw and add them at that point or allow people to top their slaw themselves.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

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Filed under Breakfast, Dessert, Fruit, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Quick, Raw, Recipes, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian

PRODUCT REVIEW – Conscious Box

I recently received a Conscious Box in the mail to preview and when the kids and I opened it we felt like we were so excited.  Conscious Box is a new subscription service that in their words, “[I]s a monthly delivery of pure and sustainable products that are handpicked from businesses that care for the planet.”

I was impressed by the efficient packaging of the Conscious Box.  So often when I receive something in the mail I am dumbfounded by all of the extra packaging that accompanies the product.  In speaking with Jameson Morris,  the Conscious Executive Officer at Conscious Box (and Founder of Organic Soul), I was impressed to learn that they focused a great deal of time on the packaging for the actual box.

“We had been developing the box for over 4 months and spent a long time trying to find a ‘conscious’ manufacturer. The boxes  are made from 100% recycled material and manufactured, wind powered facility, and printed using sustainable vegetable inks!”

I have reviewed other monthly subscription services before (click here for my review of blissmobox), however Conscious box differs from other monthly subscription services in that the actual box is smaller than other similar programs. According to Jameson, Conscious Box purposefully made a smaller box because they didn’t want to ship out a ton of full size products every month.  The theory behind their decision to create a smaller box stems from the fact that they truly are trying to be as conscious as possible.  Since their customers will be “sampling” the products, there is always a chance that they may not like a certain product and if they had mailed out a full sized product to that customer the product would go unused and would be wasted.

The purpose behind the Consious Box is for the customer to discover new products that they like and will in turn purchase for themselves.

We definitely enjoyed sampling products in the Conscious Box and definitely found some that we will purchase.  It was fun to receive a box that had food samples as well as body care samples.

To sign-up for the Conscious Box click here.

For more information about the Conscious Box click here to be directed to the FAQs page.

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Filed under Product Reviews, Services, Vegan, Vegetarian

FALL PERSIMMON PIE SMOOTHIE

Happy almost Thanksgiving!  I LOVE this holiday and how it encourages us to get together with our loved ones.

I am spending Thanksgiving with 27 loved ones and can’t wait! I thought I would share my children’s Thanksgiving placemats with you.  It is a tradition where I live that kindergartners make placemats for their Thanksgiving feast at school and then they bring them home as a keepsake.  I love these.  It is so funny to see what the kids write and to watch their parent’s reaction to what they are thankful for.  Last year I read my son’s Thanksgiving poem that highlighted all he was thankful for and all I could think after reading it was that I was thankful for that fact that his family was listed before Biz Markie (who knew he even knew who Biz Markie was???).  Really???  Out of the mouths of babes…

Tomorrow is a wonderful day of cooking which also means a wonderful day of eating.  I encourage you to start the day off right with a nice Fall smoothie.

TIP - When I go shopping at my local Mother’s Market I treat myself to a fresh-squeezed juice.  I always bring the container home, wash it, and save it in the cabinet so I have a great container to use when I am running out of the house and want to bring a smoothie with me on the run.  Recycling is the best!!!I made this smoothie the other morning as I was running out the door to go to the hairdresser and ended-up happily sipping it throughout my appointment.  I loved it so much I made it for breakfast the next day too.  Stock-up on persimmons at the Farmer’s Market…they are wickedly good right now.

 
FALL PERSIMMON “PIE” SMOOTHIE
 
INGREDIENTS
1 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened So Delicious coconut milk)
1-2 Tbs salba, chia, or flax seed
1 very ripe Hachiya persimmon (That is what I used)
OR
2 nice ripe Fuyu persimmons
1 frozen banana
1 cup ice
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
 

Place all of the ingredients in your high -speed blender (I used my Vitamix) and blend until nice and creamy. Enjoy!!!

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Filed under Drinks, Gluten Free, Holiday, Recipes, Smoothie, Vegan, Vegetarian

SRC – Rosemary Root Veggie Pot Pie (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

As I mention a moment ago in my post for Cherry Oat Scones,  I was fortunate enough to be asked to post twice for this month’s Secret Recipe Club reveal today.

The second blog I was assigned was A Couple In the Kitchen.  I love the tag line for their blog, “The couple that sautés together, stays together.”  How much fun is that?!?!?!  It sounds like this couple has a blast together in the kitchen.  While looking through their blog I was really excited to see that they participate in Meatless Mondays.  I had a tough time choosing which recipe I would make, but I narrowed the field down to two… Spicy Chickpea and Carrot Tangine or Rosemary Root Veggie Pot Pie.  Ultimately I chose to make their Rosemary Root Vegetable Pot Pie because I have been meaning to veganize and gluten-free-ize (totally not a real word, but you know what I mean) a pot pie for a long time.

Since the Couple in the Kitchen used puff pastry, I knew that I would need to come-up with a vegan/GF savory pie crust and I did so pretty successfully.  My goal was to reduce the overall fat content in the recipe and up the protein content.  I also added some peas to the veggie mix since I am partial to peas in pot pie.

The end result was really REALLY tasty, but I did learn a few things that I will take with me the next time I make this (there will definitely be a next time).  I had way too much filling for my family of four, so next time I am going to use a total of 4 cups of veggies (and will add sub in some parsnips for some of the potatoes) , but I will still make the same amount of sauce because I wanted the filling to ooze more than it did this time.  I will also add 1 more cup of liquid to the sauce next time (equal parts broth and non-dairy milk) to make it a bit more loose (It was pretty darn thick, but that is probably due to the fact that I used GFree flour vs. wheat flour…adjustments always have to be made when converting recipes to GFree).

To view the original recipe click HERE.  

INGREDIENTS

CRUST
3 Tbs. flax meal
¼ cup + 2 Tbs warm water
1 cup gluten free flour mix
1 cup almond flour
¼ tsp Herbamare
¼ cup Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread or Earth Balance vegan butter spread
 
FILLING
4 cups of chopped fingerling potatoes
2 cups chopped baby carrots
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary, with leaves removed from the stems
½ tsp dried thyme
Salt to taste
Small splash olive oil
 
SAUCE
2 Tbs. Earth Balance vegan stick butter
1/2 of a finely chopped onion
1 celery stalk, diced
1/4 cup gluten free flour
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup milk (I used So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk)
1 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
1 pkg. Trader Joes Organic Baked Savory Tofu (7 oz), chopped into ¼ – ½” cubes 
Salt and pepper to taste
 
Non-dairy milk for brushing tops of pies
 
~

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

To make the crust begin by making your flax egg by combining the flax meal and warm water in a small bowl.  Set the bowl aside to allow it to congeal.

Combine the gluten free flour mix, almond flour, and Herbamare in a mixing bowl.  Once well mixed, cut in the coconut spread with a pastry cutter.

Once the coconut spread is completely cut into the flour mix, add in the flax add and mix until the dough forms a ball that easily stays together.  If your dough is too dry add some water (I didn’t need to).  Place the dough in a bag and put it into the fridge to rest and cool.

In a large bowl, toss the chopped potatoes and carrots with the olive oil, rosemary, thyme, and some salt. Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees F for 30-45 minutes until tender.

When there is about 10 minutes of roasting time remaining, melt the butter in a medium stock pot over medium heat. Sauté the chopped onion and celery until softened, then add the flour. Cook for 2-3 minutes until it starts to brown.

Slowly stir in the vegetable stock and milk, and cook, stirring often, until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the vegetables from the oven and add them to the gravy along with the peas and chopped pressed tofu; mix well. Cover and turn off the heat until you are ready to fill the pies.

For my pies I used a mini pie pan from Sur La Table.  To prepare the pie dough for my molds I removed the dough from the fridge and rolled half of it out to about 1/8 of an inch thick.  I then used the pie mold cutter and prepared the bottom halfs of each pie.  I repeated the step with the remaining pie dough and prepared the top pie shells for each mold.  I had enough pie crust and filling left that I used a bread pan and made a pot pie casserole of sorts.

Brush the tops of the pies and casserole with some So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk and put them in the oven for 15-25 minutes.  The individual pies cooked in 15 minutes and I left the casserole in for 25 minutes.

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Filed under Gluten Free, Main Dish, Recipes, Secret Recipe Club, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

SRC – CHERRY OAT SCONES

It is time again for the Secret Recipe Club and this month I was lucky enough to be asked to make recipes from two blogs!  The first blog I was assigned was A Tale of One Foodie’s Culinary Adventures.  I was really excited when I received this blog again…many of you may remember that I was assigned this blog last month and chose to make her Oat Roasted Pears (click here for my version).

Lately I have been scouring the web and cookbooks trying to figure out my holiday menus and one of the categories on my watch-list has been Christmas morning breakfast recipes.  When I saw Erin’s recipe for Cranberry Oat Scones a lightbulb went off in my head…perfect for Christmas morning!  I love taking a conventional recipe and veganizing it.  I have also been meaning to try Earth Balance’s new Organic Coconut Spread and thought this would be a great opportunity to try their new product.

This recipe is definitely more sinful than usual for me, but Christmas morning is truly one of those special occasions you hear me referring to.  It is fine to indulge on “occasion”…the problem is that most people use that term too liberally.

As for changes to the original recipe, I used a gluten free flour mix (click here for the Gluten Free Goddess’ recipe) instead of conventional wheat flour and upped the amount by 1/4 cup (GFree flour acts differently than wheat, so sometimes the amount needs to be adjusted), coconut sugar instead granulated sugar, eliminated the salt (the coconut spread was salty enough on it’s own), used dried cherries instead of cranberries (that is what I had in my pantry), and used So Delicious Original Coconut Milk Creamer instead of the buttermilk.

This recipe veganized beautifully and you would never know that it is gluten free!

INGREDIENTS

2 1/4 cups gluten free flour mix
4Tbs coconut sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread, chilled and cut into cubes
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup dried cherries
2 tbsp finely grated orange zest
2/3 cup So Delicious Coconut Creamer

Preheat the oven to 425F.

In a food processor, combine the flour, 4 Tbs of coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the cubed coconut spread and pulse until it is chopped into small pieces and the mixture is crumbly. Pour into a large bowl and stir in the oats and cherries.

In another bowl, whisk together the orange zest and coconut creamer and add to the dry ingredients. Stir quickly with a fork until the batter begins to cling together.

Having made scones before, I knew that the dough in the picture above was too wet and it was at that point that I determined that when making these scones gluten-free it is necessary to add an additional 1/4 cup of gluten free flour mix.  Once I added the additional flour, the scone dough was the perfect consistency.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently pat into an 8 inch square about 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut into four 4-inch squares, then slice each square crosswise to make 8 triangular scones (shown below) and cut each triangle in half again to make a total of 16 scones.

Set triangles on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat sheet (what I used below). Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the tops with coconut creamer and sprinkle the tops with coconut sugar.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden (mine took 15), then transfer to cooling rack.

I served my scones with Tart Cherry Jelly and the combination of the scones with the jelly was amazing.  This will be the perfect Christmas morning treat!

For a printable version of this recipe click here.



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Filed under Breakfast, Dessert, Gluten Free, Recipes, Scones, Secret Recipe Club, Vegan, Vegetarian

PRODUCT REVIEW – Virgil’s Zero Diet Sodas

I am not a big soda drinker, however I do enjoy a root beer float from time to time since soda seems more like dessert to me than a drink to quench my thirst.  Reed’s recently sent us some of their Virgil’s Zero all natural sodas to try.   I have to say that I really enjoyed making floats with Virgil’s Zero Rootbeer and their Black Cherry Cream Soda along with some So Delicious Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Ice Cream.  My kids were on cloud nine when they came home from school and I handed them root beer floats.

What I really like about Virgil’s sodas is that they are sweetened with Stevia and their ingredient list is small and pronounceable!!!  If I am going to have soda as a treat I don’t want it to be loaded with sugar and artificial flavors.  Virgil’s Zero Sodas have:

“No preservatives, no caffeine and no artificial anything in addition to being gluten free!”

The flavors that we were sent to try were Virgil’s Zero:

  • RootbeerSuper yum!
  • Cream SodaJust like the original I remember as a kid
  • Black Cherry Cream Sodagreat flavor and really nice with vanilla ice cream
  • Real ColaOur least favorite…my husband (aka Mr. Diet Pepsi) was not a fan…bummer because I would really like to get him off Diet Pepsi.
  • Dr. BetterMy son LOVED this one.

I recommend you give these sodas a try if you are looking for a better alternative to conventional soda and diet soda which are loaded with HFCS and artificial sweeteners respectively.

For more information about Virgil’s Zero brand sodas click here.

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Filed under Product Reviews, Vegan, Vegetarian

GUEST BLOG – What’s Wrong With Oil by Sarah Taylor

I met Sarah Taylor at the Healthy Lifestyle Expo when we were introduced by a mutual friend.  Sarah is one busy vegan lady!  In 2002, she went vegan overnight after reading a copy of John Robbin’s book, Diet for a New America.  Four years later she wrote Vegan in 30 Days as a practical approach and step-by-step plan for helping others to become vegan (It has since been published around the world in several languages).

Sarah holds Certification in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University, and is currently working on her next vegan book, called Vegetarian to Vegan, which will be available next year. She is on faculty at the Nutritional Education Institute, and has worked as the Motivational Trainer for Joel Fuhrman, MD, author of Eat to Live.  Sarah has been interviewed for numerous radio and internet shows, including NPR, PBS and EarthSave Radio, among others.  She is an “Expert” blogger at VegSource and also runs her own weekly blog (click HERE).

After I went to the Healthy Lifestyle Expo I mentioned to you all that I was now convinced oil is not healthy.  Sarah does a fantastic job of explaining why in today’s Guest Blog post.  I sincerely hope you take the message to heart because doing so could prevent you from ever having to suffer a cardiac event.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH OIL

by Sarah Taylor

We have been taught that oil – especially olive and canola oils – are heart healthy.  They are good for us, and we should swap out butter and margarine and cook with these heart healthy oils instead.   However, I believe that nothing could be further from the truth.

The heart healthy rumor about oil came from the study that coined the “Mediterranean Diet”, The Lyon Diet Heart Study.  In this study, all 605 patients had survived one heart attack.  The patients in the treatment group were told to eat a “Mediterranean Diet,” high in fruits, vegetables, breads, beans, nuts, and seeds.  They were told to go light on dairy products, fish, poultry, meat, eggs, and wine.  They were also told to add in olive oil, for its monounsaturated fats.  The people in the control group were given no dietary advice, and ate a diet typical of most Westerners, particularly high in saturated fat.

The study had very good results:  The people on the Mediterranean diet were 50-70% less likely to experience any kind of cardiac ailments.  Since olive oil was specifically recommended in this study for it’s monounsaturated fat content, this is where the belief that olive oil is healthy originated.

But what we don’t hear about the Lyon Diet Heart Study is this little factoid:  Fully 25% of the people on the Mediterranean diet had either died or experienced a new cardiac event during the four-year study.  That’s one in four people on the Mediterranean diet!

Compare this to Caldwell Esselstyn’s diet, which is vegan with no oil or other fats included.  The patients in this study had suffered from an average of about three cardiac events before the study started.  Of all of his patients that fully adhered to his diet, there was not one further cardiac event in twelve years.

If you want further proof, here’s another compelling study:  A group of students’ arteries were tested after eating a 900-calorie breakfast, to see the effects of fat on the blood vessels’ ability to dilate and contract.  Our blood vessels need to be able to expand and contract to regulate blood flow to the organs that need it most.  Half of the students had a fat free breakfast of 900 calories, and the other half had a fatty breakfast of 900 calories.  After breakfast, the student’s arteries were tested to see how quickly their arteries could bounce back after being restricted for five minutes.  The arteries of the group that had no fat in their breakfast bounced right back after being constricted for five minutes; but the arteries of the group that had the fatty breakfast took up to six hours to regain their ability to dilate and contract normally.  All oil, my friends, is 100% fat.  Even olive oil.

Heart disease is not really a disease of the heart; it’s a disease of the blood vessels that occurs when blood (and the oxygen it carries) cannot get to the heart because the vessels are blocked up and compromised.  When a blood vessel to the heart gets clogged up and closes, then the heart does not receive any blood, and a heart attack occurs.  Our vessels are probably the most important part of our overall health, and fat undoubtedly has a negative effect on our vessels – even “healthy” oils, because they are still 100% fat.  Therefore, many doctors, including Caldwell Esselstyn, recommend no oil in the diet.

I’ll finish with my personal experience with Dr. Esselstyn.  After being vegan for 4 or 5 years, I stood up at a conference and asked Dr. Esselstyn this question:  If I am 100% vegan and therefore not ingesting any cholesterol, why does my cholesterol remain so high at 230 mg/dL?  He challenged me to get the oil out of my diet.  He said that “eating fat causes the body to manufacture excessive amounts of cholesterol,” even if those fats come from plants.  I honestly didn’t believe him, but agreed to his challenge anyway.  My cholesterol had never been below 200 mg/dL, even when I first had it tested at 19.

After just one month on his oil-free vegan diet my cholesterol fell to 151 mg/dL, and my LDL was so low that it was imperceptible on the cholesterol test!  When I added oil back in to my diet, my total cholesterol jumped right back up over 200 mg/dL again, and my LDL to 120 mg/dL.  For me, this is personal proof that really hits home:  Oil is not healthy!

For more information about Sarah’s company click HERE. 

Olive oil image courtesy of eHow.com 

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Filed under Cholesterol, Education, Fat, Guest Blog, Heart Health, Vegan, Vegetarian

ASK GRETTIE – Urinary Tract Health

My latest column for Chic Vegan…

One of the topics I get asked about often is urinary tract health.  Many people (mostly women) experienceUrinary Tract Infections (UTIs) from time to time and they want to know if there is anything they can do naturally to keep a bladder infection at bay.

A few years back I was suffering from recurrent bladder infections (3+ in one year!) and hated having to take antibiotics.  When you truly need antibiotics they can literally be a lifesaver, however it is well known that antibiotics are vastly over prescribed in the United States and the overuse is detrimental for individuals and the public at large.

After drowning myself in jugs and jugs of cranberry juice (I even resorted to the unsweetened 100% cranberry juice), my UTI’s persisted.  In an effort to avoid another UTI and avoid the antibiotics that oftentimes accompany such an infection, I began researching the issue and discovered that there are steps we can take as well as an amazingly safe natural product we can use when needed to ensure our urinary tract health and avoid infections.  As a result of my findings, I have not had a UTI since!

MY MIRACLE

Thankfully my research brought me to Dr. Jonathon Wright.  I stumbled upon this post from his Tahoma Clinic blog which discussed the benefits of the simple sugar D-Mannose in the fight against UTIs.  With regards to the safety of D-Mannose, Dr. Wright states:

“D-mannose is very safe, even for long term use.   D-mannose is a simple sugar, very little of it is metabolized. It doesn’t interfere with blood sugar regulation, even for diabetics. It creates no disruption or imbalance in normal body microflora. It’s safe even for pregnant women and very small children. In the less than 10% of cases where the infection is a bacteria other than E. coli, antibiotics can be started in plenty of time. (Many physicians will likely advise collecting a urine specimen for culture, if possible just before starting D-mannose, so that the bacteria can be identified as rapidly as possible in the few cases when D-mannose doesn’t work.)

WHAT IT IS AND HOW IT WORKS

As mentioned above, D-Mannose is a simple sugar that occurs naturally in both cranberries and pineapples.  Since very little of the sugar is metabolized by our bodies, most of it is excreted through our urine.

So what does this have to do with UTIs and how can it help cure them?  The bacterium that causes most UTIs is called Escherichia coli (“E. coli”).  When we become infected with a UTI most often it is caused by bacteria called Escherichia coli (“E. coli”).  This E. coli likes to attach itself to the walls of our bladder which causes a multitude of problems.  Fortunately for us E. Coli LOVES D-Mannose.  When we drink water that has been mixed with D-Mannose, the D-Mannose makes its way to our bladder and the E. Coli lets go of our bladder wall and grabs on to the D-Mannose.  When we urinate the E. Coli leaves our body.  I am amazed by how simple and effective this remedy is.

Whenever I feel that I may be coming down with a UTI, I drink water with D-Mannose and I do not get one!  I travel with D-Mannose…I am that big of a believer.

D-MANNOSE DOSING

The usual dose for D-Mannose powder is 1/2 teaspoonful (2 1/2 grams) stirred into water every 2 to 4 hours. If the infection is not substantially better within 24 hours, it is probably not being caused by E.coli. in which case it is recommended that you contact your regular physician.

My favorite brand of D-mannose is by pure encapsulations (click here for more information).  I always keep a container or two in my home.

ADDITIONAL PREVENTATIVE MEASURES

In addition to Dr. Wright’s suggestion to utilize D-Mannose, Dr. Joseph Mercola suggests that there are simple steps you can take to help promote a healthy urinary tract:

  • Drink plenty of water every day – this dilutes your urine and helps you regularly flush your system.
  • Urinate when you feel the need.  Don’t resist the urge to go.
  • For women, wipe from front to back and use unscented and unbleached toilet paper as many young women react to the dyes and chemicals in other toilet papers.
  • Take showers instead of baths.
  • Cleanse your genital area prior to and after sexual intercourse.
  • Urinate after intercourse to flush out your urinary tract.
  • Avoid feminine deodorant sprays, douches, and powders that can lead to irritation of the urethra and genitals.
  • Only use cotton sanitary napkins and tampons.  97% of women believe they are made of cotton, but the truth is LESS THAN one percent actually is.

I hope these tips are as helpful to you as they have been for me.  Bladder infections are no fun!

Here’s to health!

Gretchen

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Filed under Chic Vegan Column, Education, General Vegan, Urinary Health, Vegan, Vegetarian

ADOPT-A-TURKEY

I am sure that a lot of you are planning your Thanksgiving meals full swing right now (so fun!) and for many of you (including me), you will be going to Thanksgiving at someone else’s house where a roasted Turkey will take center stage.  Thanksgiving can be a touchy time for plant-based eaters / vegans (which ever label you prefer) in that so much focus is put on the turkey and as a result we tend to get a lot of attention from family and friends for not consuming any.

I know a lot of you feel guilt about attending a Thanksgiving celebration where turkey is served.  Rest assured that there is something you can do to help offset your guilt…Adopt-A-Turkey!  For 25 years now Farm Sanctuary has been rescuing turkeys at Thanksgiving time (and all year round).  Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt-A-Turkey project:

“[S]eeks to end the misery of commercially-raised turkeys by offering a compassionate alternative for Thanksgiving. Since 1986, Farm Sanctuary has rescued more than 1,000 turkeys, placed hundreds into loving homes through our annual Turkey Express adoption event, educated millions of people about their plight, and provided resources for a cruelty-free holiday. For a one-time $30 donation, anyone can sponsor turkeys residing at Farm Sanctuary. Sponsor a turkey and receive a special adoption certificate in your name – or give sponsorships as gifts for family and friends. Donations are also needed to support our lifesaving efforts to promote a compassionate Thanksgiving and protect all farm animals.”

For the second year in a row, Ellen DeGeneres is the spokesperson for this wonderful project.

Says DeGeneres: “Did you know that every year between 250 and 300 million turkeys are bred for slaughter in the United States? More than 46 million for Thanksgiving alone. So, this Thanksgiving instead of eating a turkey, please join me in adopting one from Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt-A-Turkey Project and you can give a turkey something to be thankful for.” 

Image of Ellen courtesy of VegNews

Turkey images courtesy of FarmSanctuary

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Filed under Animal Welfare, Education, Farming, Vegan, Vegetarian

NATURALLY SWEET CINNAMON DRIED APPLES

Dried apples are so yummy.  With our recent trip to the apple orchard (click here for the post), I had a TON of apples to use and since we all love dried apples, we thought we would try to make some.  One of the great things about dried apples is that you needn’t worry about whether or not the apples you use are pretty (clearly the one below was not)…all that matters is that the apples are tasty.

My parents bought me an apple peeler (NORPRO Apple Master)  while at the orchard and it has quickly become one of my favorite kitchen gadgets…it makes the peeling, coring, and slicing of the apples as easy as pie (sorry, I couldn’t help it).  When prepping the apples all we had to do was push them onto the gadget, spin the handle,  take the cut apple off and slice it down the middle to make little moons.  The slicer also makes the cuts perfectly uniform which means that the dehydrating time is even for all of the slices.

While the apples were nice and sweet on their own, we thought we’d sweeten them-up a little bit more by making a syrup from the fresh cider that we pressed at the orchard.  All we did was pour some cider into a saucepan with some cinnamon and simmer it until it reduced down to a syrup.

We poured the syrup over the apple slices and them tossed it all together.

We then placed the slices on the mesh trays of my Excalibur dehydrator and dehydrated them at 115 degrees until they were as done as we liked.  I wish I took note of the exact timing, but I didn’t.  I believe it took about 4-6 hours.

The dried apples turned out perfectly with a touch of extra sweet and cinnamon.  The kids love it when I put them in their lunches.

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Filed under Fruit, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Raw, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian