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November 14, 2011
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Jessica and I have been bad little bloggers over here. I don’t know why, but we just sort of petered out on co-blogging.  We apologize for that. But if you want more of either of us, please check out our other blogs. Jessica can be found at The Domestic Vegan, and I can be found at my new cyber home, The Home Fryes.

We hope you’ll come see us over there, and thanks for reading!!

Recipe Review: Quinoa, Avocado, and Sweet Potato Timbale With Roasted Tomatillo Dressing

September 16, 2010

I don’t think the title of this recipe is nearly long enough. You can’t even tell what kind of ingredients are in this dish!  Oh wait a minute, yes, you can.

My boyfriend and I made these the other night, and they were delicious!  The recipe is from The Conscious Cook, and this is the first thing I’ve made out of there.  Technically, this is in the “salads” section of the book, I think, but you can definitely make a meal out of these.    And while there are a LOT of steps involved in making these, they turn out SO pretty and are so delicious, that I definitely felt like it was worth the time and effort.  I plan to make them at my next dinner party to impress the hell out of everyone!

Someone posted the recipe here if you want to check it out!

I Grew Up on a Farm, and I am Vegan

March 30, 2010
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One of my latest pet peeves is when people find out I’m vegan and because I went to a liberal-hippy college in a metropolitan area and now live in that same city, they assume that I’ve always been that way – and that I’ve never even set foot on a farm.  It is both one of my pet peeves and something that brings me great joy, actually, because that’s when I get to say:  “HEY, I GREW UP ON A DAMN FARM, so maybe you should stop assuming things about me when you have no idea what my story is.”

It drives me nuts on the one hand because people like to think that only rich kids who grew up in “the big city” would choose such a “silly diet”.  I can just hear them saying, “Ah, it’s sad that they don’t respect our farmers, that they don’t know how much work it is, how much we do to feed those ungrateful brats!”  Guess what?  I DO know how difficult farm life is, and I love my father for what he did, and how hard he worked and made us work.  My upbringing is something I will always cherish.  But, I still choose veganism. To me, this doesn’t negate any of the respect I have for those who work hard to feed people (I’d just like them to feed people with different food – that’s all.)

This post is the result of an annoying argument I somehow got myself into over this post on HumaneWatch.org (egads).   I don’t even know why I bothered to post, but I did, and boy has it brought out the…well, the uninformed.  The most recent post that really rubbed me the wrong way was posted by Stephanie B, who wrote this:

Mindy,

While I am not trying to start a fight with you on this, it shows you have never lived or worked on a farm. While I’m sure you think all the corn in the US can be eaten by humans only 22% of the corn grown in the United States in 2005 was edible. The rest is dent corn grown to sustain livestock, produce ethanol, and used as starter seed for next years crop.

I understand you saying that your vegan diet is your choice, but studies show that people who eat only veggie can suffer from the same problems people who meat. Also people who are vegan are more likely to be extremely under weight and anemic.

My last point is that my farm animals are enjoyed just like the dogs and cats. We eat them, because they outlive there usefulness. While Smokey and Libby can’t become glue, our horses can become more useful products to help people in the future.

I hope you can see this from a farm girl’s point of view.

Thanks

Yes, Stephanie is upset with me because her horses can become glue, and I am not appreciating that!  She is also upset with me because CLEARLY I have never lived on a farm, nor do I know that most of what the US produces these days is produced not for human consumption but for “livestock” consumption.   These are things you could know without ever having set foot on a farm, but let’s not dwell on that.  Lastly, Stephanie is also quite concerned about Americans becoming underweight and anemic – which is clearly turning out to be a real problem in the US.*

Anyway, I wanted to share with you some of my response to Stephanie, which I’d like more “farm girls” (and guys) to read – to show that not all of us vegans are rich-hippy-city kids or something (I’m ok with rich-hippy-city kids being vegan too, obviously – but that just wasn’t my experience, and I get tired of the stereo-types).

My response:

I am well aware of how farms work, because I worked on my family’s farm from the time I was 9.  We had 2,000 acres of soybeans, corn, sunflowers, wheat and barley.  I plowed the fields in the spring, combined each harvest, and drove grain trucks to the elevators.  Most of what we grew was grown for livestock consumption (imagine how many more humans we could feed if that land were used for human-grade crops!).  I spent many hours on my friends’ cattle farms.  I watched calves being born, I watched them grow, and I watched them get shipped off to slaughter. My boyfriend’s family were pig farmers, and I saw how they had 1,000 hogs in one big barn (“small family farmers”, mind you), each in small gestation crates or other pens that were too small for them. I heard how he and his dad would slam the runt piglets into the ground until they died if they knew they were too weak to survive.  I didn’t question it then because it was all I knew. I didn’t know how unnatural it is to keep such curious, intelligent, wonderful animals cooped up like that (and yes, I know all farms are not like that).  My point is that you shouldn’t assume I know nothing about farms – I know more than most people ever will.  And yes, I still choose to be vegan – isn’t that crazy!!!??

You say that your animals “outlive their usefulness”.  My fundamental belief is that no animal should have a “use” for humans, and therefore cannot “outlive their usefulness”. You and I disagree, which is fine, but don’t assume I’ve chosen veganism blindly, and that I know nothing of farming.

The bottom line is that we all have our reasons for choosing veganism, and making that big of a lifestyle change isn’t something that most of us do blindly or without researching quite a bit.  All the vegans I know (and I would bet I know more than Stephanie does) are far more informed about nutrition than 99.9% of the meat-eaters I know.   We kind of have to know about veganism because we get questioned about it ALL THE TIME.  And while I don’t purport to eat all healthy food all the time, I sure as hell can talk circles around most of my omnivore friends about what is and isn’t healthy.  And I most certainly can defend against pretty much any “why you shouldn’t be vegan” statement with actual facts.  I don’t struggle with obesity, and I don’t struggle with being underweight or anemic.  I am healthy, active, and for the record: I enjoy the food I eat now more than I ever have before – largely due to the fact that I know that my diet is better for humans, better for the planet, and better for animals.  It gives me a peace I never had when I was eating animals, and I couldn’t be happier.
_________________

* According to USA Today, as of 2004, “Being underweight is not a common problem in the United States, affecting only about 2% of adults, compared to two-thirds who are overweight or obese.”

Want to Win Some Stuff?

March 26, 2010
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Check out my friend Al’s blog These Little Piggies Had Tofu, and enter to win some rad vegan stuff.  All you have to do is answer a question. It’s that simple.  And a 3 year old will determine your fate.

Feel free to share the candy winnings with me if you win!

Things That Make Me Want to Scream: 51 Buffalo Shot & Killed for Roaming

March 22, 2010

GAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

That was me screaming.  I am also throwing my hands up in the air in disbelief, and trying to quell the INTENSE desire to throttle pretty much every human being in this story.

Let me give you a quick recap:

Down in Texas, some jerk (Wayne Kirk) owns a HUNTING RANCH.  He has all these buffalo there and other humans pay him $3,500 to shoot one.  To “hunt” one – where hunting is defined as “domesticating animals, fencing them in, and then shooting them for fun”.   You know, that kind of hunting.  Anyway, 51 of Mr. Kirk’s buffalo get out of their fencing and roam onto another lovely human’s ranch – the ranch belonging to Jackie Doyle Hill.  Mr. Hill then shoots all 51 of them because he was annoyed that they were on his property.  Now Mr. Kirk is suing Mr. Hill because of all the money lost because Mr. Hill didn’t pay him $3,500 to shoot each of those 51 buffalo.  Mr. Kirk says this is a “terrible injustice!”

From NPR.org

Well, I guess that is the one thing I can agree with Mr. Kirk on: this was a terrible injustice!  But I really couldn’t care less that Mr. Kirk is losing out on the money he would have gotten from paying killers.  My concern here is that no one in this story even mentions a) how disgusting “hunting ranches” are, (I mean, people actually PAY to come and shoot an animal that can’t escape????) and b) that these animals are more than just dollar signs.  They were living, breathing, sentient beings who existed for their own purposes – purposes that had nothing to do with making Mr. Kirk thousands of dollars.  Instead, they’re just seen as objects to be shot and killed for sport or out of annoyance.

The story ends with Mr. Kirk saying this:  “Slaughtering animals, to me, and I think the state feels the same way — in fact I know the governor’s office does — is a terrible injustice.”

I find this interesting.  Something tells me that the governor’s office could not care less that animals are slaughtered, since billions of animals are slaughtered every year in this country for human consumption alone.  The governor’s office might care about Mr. Kirk’s lost revenue, but something tells me the sympathy starts and ends there–with money.

I am so appalled.  What Mr. Hill did is despicable, without a doubt, but Mr. Kirk is kidding himself if he thinks he’s any better.

Restaurant Review: Saffron in Minneapolis

March 4, 2010

Jeff’s birthday was a couple weekends ago, and to celebrate, I took him out to eat at Saffron Restaurant and Lounge in Downtown Minneapolis.

When I made the reservation I mentioned that I was vegan and asked if they’d have any problem accommodating me. They said it was absolutely no problem. When we got there, they noted that I was vegan, and brought me a menu with items checked off if they were or could be done vegan. Those items were:

  • Baba Ghanoush
  • Yellow Lentil Dip (SO YUMMY)
  • Giant beans
  • Olives/picked veggies
  • Fried Cauliflower
  • Green salad with fried pita chips (delicious)
  • Beet Salad
  • Entree: Vegetarian feature (changes often)

Green Salad

Winter vegetables with chickpeas in a beet vinaigrette

The atmosphere is relaxed, but upscale and romantic. We got a nice corner table with a full view of the restaurant and had just a wonderful time.  The salad had fried pita crisps on it, over which Jeff and I basically fought.  And my winter vegetable medley was out-of-this-world good – which is saying something considering I don’t even usually like beets and this dish was full of them!  Either I just thought I didn’t like beets and I actually do or Chef Sameh Wadi knows how to prepare them just right!

One thing to note about this place, just so you’re warned, is that there are some pretty gross things on the menu: veal, foie gras and lamb brains (BRAINS!!) for example.  That said, it’s not like they make you order that stuff. :-)  And I appreciated them accommodating me without making it seem like it was a huge hassle, and for making something that was healthy, balanced, and full of vibrant and delicious flavors.  I’ve been to a lot of nice restaurants where the chef seems to have no idea what a vegan would want to eat, so I end up with something pretty bland and uncreative – and usually lacking a good protein.  Saffron’s chef knows what he’s doing in a kitchen and clearly is familiar with vegan and vegetarian fare.  Go check it out if you live in town, or stop by if you’re visiting!

Cherry Chocolate Bomb Shake – OMG

February 25, 2010

Hello everyone!  Happy Thursday!

I am continuing the chocolate theme we have going on here by sharing with you an absolutely AMAZING vegan (and raw) smoothie!  I made Kristen Suzanne‘s Cherry Chocolate Bomb Shake yesterday on a whim, and I am in love.  I am sorry to say that I don’t have a picture of it (because, erm, I drank it too fast)…  But imagine cherries, blended with a banana, blended with water, blended with cocoa, and there you have it!  ;-)  You can also see the final product in Kristen’s video embedded in her recipe post (linked above).

This shake tastes so indulgent, but it’s incredibly healthy!  It’s a perfect drink for me right now, since I’m participating in a 30 Day Sugar Cleanse & am staying away from typical dessert offerings.  This honestly tastes like a naughty dessert, but is 100% guilt (and added sugar) -free!

I am telling you guys, this smoothie is life-changing!  It is so fantastically good that I made it again for breakfast today.  The only changes I made were to omit the hemp seeds & add a splash of almond extract, since almond makes everything cherry even more intense.  Also, it’s really filling so I split it with Nick (which I was kinda mad about, since it’s so delicious, but I had to share the love).  :)

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