Tag Archives: @VeganGr

Let’s Talk Turkey: F*CK Factory Farming

Since the data says that 97% of people are against cruelty to animals, it’s time for a reality check folks. I don’t like to push politics and policy on this blog much, but the reality of it is factory farming is fricking terrible. It’s bad for the environment, it’s bad for the quality of food that omnivores consume and it’s effing terrible for the ANIMALS on the farms. Most people don’t realize that there are no federal laws protecting farm animals from cruelty while they are housed on a farm or during transport to slaughter. There are limited protections for cows and pigs at slaughter that are inconsistently enforced and no protections for chickens or turkeys. Factory farms—which raise and slaughter billions of farm animals each year—view animals as cheap commodities rather than as individuals with their own needs and feelings. The cruelty inflicted by factory farms on these helpless animals is unconscionably brutal and would be considered a felony if cats or dogs were the victims.

To raise awareness and a few bucks for the Farm Sanctuary’s amazing mission and work, in October I’m walking with Team Vegan GR in the Farm Sanctuary Walk for Farm Animals to give animals a voice and to challenge the cruel practices of the factory farming industry. Please support my participation in the Walk for Farm Animals by making a donation today!

For more than 25 years, Farm Sanctuary has relied on the Walk for Farm Animals to support its life-saving mission to protect farm animals from cruelty, inspire change in the way society views and treats farm animals, and promote compassion. For more information about Farm Sanctuary, please visit their web site: www.farmsanctuary.org.

Need additional inspiration? Education? A kick in the ass? Let’s talk turkeys: 

Turkeys raised for human consumption are crowded into poorly ventilated industrial production facilities, sometimes with as many as 10,000 birds packed into a single factory building. In 2007, 265 million of these naturally explorative and socially sophisticated birds were slaughtered in the United States. Bred to grow alarmingly faster than their wild counterparts, turkeys suffer from numerous health complications, including heart disease and painful leg disorders.

turkey factory farm

  • Due to selective breeding, commercial male turkeys rapidly grow to a weight 3 times larger than wild male turkeys in only 4 months. Rapid growth and resulting heavy body weight can lead to heart problems and painful leg issues, which can eventually lead to crippling.
  • Male turkeys are bred to develop such large breasts that they can no longer mount females to reproduce naturally. Artificial insemination managed by humans is responsible for all reproduction in domesticated turkeys.
  • Turkeys may be confined so tightly that each bird has only between 2.5 to 4 square feet of space each. This space only gets tighter as the turkeys grow larger.
  • The dusty, ammonia-filled air inside these facilities is a consequence of poor ventilation and overcrowding. This highly contaminated air is associated with a host of health issues, including respiratory damage and irritated, swollen eyes.
  • Because a single worker may be responsible for the care of as many as 30,000 birds, these and other illnesses and injuries can easily go unnoticed.
  • Crowding at this level can cause turkeys to injure each other with sharp beaks and toes — a concern to producers because it damages the flesh — so turkeys often have portions of their beaks and toes removed at a young age. Turkeys are routinely debeaked, a painful process in which part of the sensitive, nerve-filled beak is removed using a hot blade, shears, or a high-voltage electrical current. It is also a practice for turkeys to have a portion of their toes removed with surgical shears. Each mutilation is done without pain reliever or anesthetic of any kind.

turkey poults on factory farm

  • Once they reach market weight — on average, 99 days for hens and 136 days for toms — turkeys are thrust into crates and transported to slaughter. Severe injuries, such as dislocated hips and wing fractures, have been reported as a result of rough handling during crating.
  • Transport may involve travel over long distances, subjecting turkeys to unfamiliar noises, motion, and extreme temperatures. These stresses, coupled with the deprivation of food and water during transport, contribute to the hundreds of thousands of turkeys who die before they even reach slaughter.
  • Following a stressful transport, turkeys arrive at the slaughterhouse. Although the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act requires animals to be rendered insensible before shackling and slaughter, the USDA does not interpret this law to include birds killed for food, and it does not protect turkeys

So WTF are you waiting for? Support me in my walk to educate the public about these egregious abuses and support legislation to end them.  Gobble, gobble. That’s “thank you” in turkey.

Veganize your “normal” food cravings with VeganGR

At VeganGR, we find that one of the stumbling blocks for many people struggling to eat a more plant-centered diet is that they feel like they are going to have to give up eating all the wonderful meals they grew up with and love. The truth is, anything can be veganized! Of course, that doesn’t mean you’re ever going to have a vegan porterhouse steak, but it’s really easy to replace certain flavors and foods in pretty much any recipe once you get the basics down. For instance, we use cashew cream in place of heavy whipping cream in recipes. Other substitutions are easier: Earth Balance butter in place of dairy butter or margarine, almond milk in place of cow’s milk, or vegetable broth in place of chicken broth. Take, for example, one night last week when Jon and I saw an ad for Olive Garden. It sparked a memory in him of having some sort of creamy potato and sausage soup from there many years ago. A quick Google search revealed it to be Zuppa Tuscano Italian Soup. We also found some copy cat recipes. A few minutes later, Jon was in the kitchen making it. Here’s the original recipe we found (from Food.com).

The ingredients:

  • 1 lb Italian sausage (I like mild sausage)
  • 2 large russet baking potatoes, sliced in half, and then in 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup bacon bits (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups kale or 2 cups swiss chard, chopped
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

This recipe is pretty simple, and super easy to veganize! We happened to have some Tofurkey Italian Sausage in the fridge, so we used that. You might already know this, but most bacon bits are accidentally vegan, just check the label and you should be good to go. We didn’t have any on hand, so we just left them out. For the chicken broth, you could just sub vegetable broth, but we’re partial to Better Than Bullion’s No-Chicken Broth. It’s a great way to replicate the chicken flavor, and color in soups. The hardest part of this (which isn’t so very hard at all) is making cashew cream in place of the whipping cream. It’s pretty simple, especially if you have a high-powered blender like a Vitamix. Soak 1 cup of cashews in water overnight, or at least for several hours (you can skip this step if you have a high-powered blender) Drain and rinse. Place them in your blender and cover with ½ inch of water. Blend on high for a few minutes until they are smooth. If you think they’re too thick, add more water. In the end, this is what our recipe looked like:

  • 1 lb Tofurkey brand Italian sausage chopped into small pieces
  • 2 large russet baking potatoes, sliced in half, and then in 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups kale or 2 cups swiss chard, chopped
  • 16 ounces Better Than Bullion No-Chicken broth
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 cup cashew cream

Instructions:

soup bowl with breadsticks on the side

Chop or slice uncooked sausage into small pieces. Brown sausage in your soup pot. Add vegetable broth and
water to pot and stir. Place onions, potatoes, and garlic in the pot. Cook on medium heat until potatoes are done. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Turn to low heat. Add kale and cream. Heat through and serve.

VeganGR: Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta & Spinach

My friends at VeganGR are pretty rad. From time to time they help me with content on this blog which is a life-saver really. Here’s a post that will help you with the fall chill. 

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s The Post Punk Kitchen and her cookbooks. One of our favorites is Appetite For Reduction. There are 125 low-calorie vegan recipes in it. The best thing we’ve found about these recipes is that none of them feel like diet food. Each dish is a fully satisfying meal.

One of the easiest (and delicious) meals to make is the Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta and Spinach. This recipe is super easy, very forgiving, and a great one-dish meal. This has been a wonderful dish to share with non-veg friends, as it always gets rave reviews. It’s also easy to modify and add your own touch. You could add vegan sausage, other veggies, vegan mozzarella cheese, or whatever you can dream up!

Here is the version I made last week:

For the Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta:

1 medium-size head cauliflower, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
2 t. olive oil
1/4 t. salt
1 pound extra-firm tofu
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 pinches of citric acid
2 T. of water (normally you can skip this and the citric acid and just use 2 T. of lemon juice, but I was out)
Ground black pepper to taste.

Roast the cauliflower in the oven by tossing it with olive oil and salt and laying it down on a pan with parchment paper. I like mine dark so I turn my oven up the highest it will go and let it stay in the oven until pieces start to char. I toss it a few times during this process.

When it’s done, I pull out the food processor and give the roasted cauliflower just a few pulses to break it down some (don’t over chop – you don’t want it to be too small). Then I mix that together with all the other ingredients to create the ricotta cheese layer. I usually end up adding a few extra pinches of salt till I have it tasting how I want it. This ricotta recipe is a great addition to any pasta dish – it doesn’t have to be used solely for this recipe!

For the Red Sauce:
There’s a recipe in the book to make your own, but I was lazy and used a jar of G.B. Russo’s Fire Roasted Eggplant and Zucchini sauce. Whatever your favorite is will do!

The Assembly:
For this part you’ll need lasagna noodles and about a cup of fresh spinach.Put a small amount of sauce in the bottom of your pan. Just enough to get it wet. Then repeat this 2 times.

  • Lay your noodles. I used No Bake Whole Wheat Lasagna noodles by Delallo.
  • Put down 1/3 of your ricotta mix
  • Cover that with a layer of spinach.

Top that with one more layer of noodles and a little sauce. Normally I sprinkle some black olives over the top to give it some saltiness (per Isa’s instructions in the book), but on this round I was out, so instead I saved a bit of the ricotta mix and put a little of that down for my top layer.

Bake for 40 minutes on 350 and you’re done!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

EcoTrek Fitness Bars-Yep, They’re Vegan

This is a reblog from Kolene Allen of VeganGR. Periodically they review items for sale that are vegan or accidentally vegan. EcoTrek Fitness bars are available online, sometimes shipped in health/wellness boxes, or if you live in the Midwest…grocery stores and gas stations. My personal fave is the Chocolate Raspberry bar. Tastes too good to be healthy-really, it does.

I would never call myself an athlete, but I do try to keep in shape by running 3 miles 3 times a week. My post run recovery usually includes a green smoothie, normally packed with coconut milk, whatever fruit is in the house, and a handful of spinach or kale.

The times when I’m in a hurry and need something in a pinch, or I don’t feel like fussing with the blender, I reach for an energy bar. There are many on the market, though many of them are not vegan. And of those that are vegan, few qualify as edible due to the taste factor. That all changed when Cari Draft, founder of Grand Rapids based EcoTrek Fitness, sent us a sample of her whole food bars to try out.  Cari founded a program that offers outdoor group workouts that integrate cardio, strength training and flexibility. Then she created her very own whole food bar that is packed with 10 grams of protein and created from ingredients of the highest quality nutritional content. There are no refined sugars, artificial sweeteners or genetically modified ingredients anywhere in the bars.

Despite the fact that these bars contain green foods like spirulina, wheat grass and spinach, you would never know it. There are three flavors to choose from and each one is covered in chocolate and tastes like a candy bar!  Each one is 100% vegan and made right here in Grand Rapids. There are three flavors currently available. Dark Chocolate Toasted Coconut, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter, and my favorite, Dark Chocolate Raspberry. During my first bite I thought, “There’s no way this is good for me.”  I did a double check of the ingredient label, and I was wrong. These bars are packed full of goodness.

You can find EcoTrek Fitness bars at every single Meijer store and at a number of other places in Grand Rapids and Michigan, or buy them online.

For more vegan goodness, check out VeganGR.com

VeganGR’s Not All Sugar Is Created Vegan

This blog first appeared on VeganGR and is written by the talented and wonderful Jon Dunn.

Sugar in the Raw | 35/365Ever heard of bone char? It’s got a few names and according to wikipedia, you may also know it as bone black, ivory black or animal charcoal. It’s a pretty gruesome process as you can imagine, but the short of it is, animal bones are baked in an low oxygen environment to create a charcoal of sorts. It’s a 200 year old process, first patented in 1812! The applications for the finish product are plentiful.

Tricalcium phosphate, the resulting product is used as an anti-caking agent in spices. Also this stuff is used in cheese, and as a raising agent. But the trickiest use of them all for vegans, is as a refining agent for sugar.

Thankfully we live in a time where raw and natural sugars are more easily available. But sugar is in so many prepared foods. Is the sugar that went into those products vegan?

So here are our questions for you.

1. Were you aware of bone char and it’s relationship to the refinement of sugar before you read this post?

2. If yes, are you concerned about your sugar?

3. Do you go so far with sugar to make sure that any product you buy that is made with sugar has only vegan sugar?

For more Vegan-related issues, places and things, head over to vegangr.com

Rustic Vegan Kale Salad – Also, VeganMoFo Intro, Yo.

vegan mo fo banner

I have no idea how I could have let this recipe go unpublished from my blog for this long. I keep a recipe blog for selfish reasons really, it keeps all my lovely meals in one place so I’m not concerned with the bookmarking madness that is my Chrome browser. So when I went searching for ‘kale salad’ in my own blog and found not one result I became really upset…at…myself. Damn it self!

This little number is a weekly dinner and lunch staple, so my apologies for letting this one slip through the cracks. I also managed to forgot it’s Vegan MoFo! The Vegan Month of Food where veg bloggers are to unite and blog DAILY about vegan noms [OMG, that won’t be a reality for me, but I will try a few times a week this month]. I VeganMoFo’d in 2010 and 2011, but must have lost my mind in 2012 where I can find no archived MoFo posts. Boo.

Luckily, my good friends at VeganGR guest blogged for me today, so I am just one day behind the daily blog for Vegan MoFo 2013. This recipe comes from Heidi over at 101 Cookbooks. I’ve taken a few liberties to veganize her dish but have stayed true to the taste. Not ready to go vegan on this…keep the cheese, and for God sake butter the bread to make breadcrumbs if you are not vegan.

  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale [really any kale will work here, if you find it tough, be sure to let the lemon dressing do some work on the kale in a bag or bowl for a few hours to soften the texture – you know, if you are serving the queen or something]
  • 2 thin slices country bread, or two handfuls good, homemade coarse breadcrumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves, mashed and minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus a pinch
  • 1/4 cup vegan parm or other salty vegan cheese [Not vegan? Hit it hard with Romano-and thank me later.]
  • 1.5-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for garnish [I go lighter on this one adjusting for the lemon juice I net, I hate an oily dressing, I prefer more juice to oil]
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Freshly squeezed juice of one lemon
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  1. Trim the bottom few inches off the kale stems and discard. Slice the kale into 3/4-inch ribbons. You should have 4 to 5 cups. Place the kale in a large bowl.
  2. If using the bread, toast it until golden brown on both sides and dry throughout. Tear into small pieces and pulse in a food processor until the mixture forms coarse crumbs, or crumbs to your liking.
  3. Pound or mince the garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of salt into a paste. Transfer the garlic to a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup cheese, EVOO, lemon juice, lemon zest, pinch of salt, pepper flakes, and black pepper and whisk to combine. Pour the dressing over the kale and toss very well (the dressing will be thick and need lots of tossing to coat the leaves). Let the salad sit for 5 minutes, then serve topped with the bread crumbs, additional cheese, and a drizzle of oil.
  4. This makes the most excellent lunch for DAYS. Also tastes super yummy with some grilled tofu on the side or mixed in. The tangy dressing will more than make up for the blandness of the tofu so no need to marinate the tofu before hand. Perhaps though add a little extra salt to the tofu steaks when grilling them up to round out the taste.
  5. Find Heidi’s original recipe and more kale noms here: 101 Cookbooks.
  6. Wanna get really crazy? Try this with orange juice and orange zest.

VeganGR Blog Take Over Part 2: Quick Sauerkraut

You know you have good friends when they take a veggie gift and your smartass comment about blogging for you and actually do it. So Jon and Kolene over at VeganGR have been the recipient of some ridiculous veggies from my summer surplus…Jon, the resident chef, and Kolene, the photographer came up with Sauerkraut when faced with a do or die cabbage situation a few weeks ago. Here’s what happened, according to Jon:

Faced with an exorbitant amount of cabbage (I mean, A TON of cabbage. See previous post about Adrienne’s gift of 40lbs of veggies), there was only one choice.

Sauerkraut.

Now, let’s be clear about this. I am lazy, and I hate waiting. I also have a mild fear of home fermentation.  Recent attempts at rejuvelac based cheese turned into a science experiment into mold than a delicious vegan chèvre. I am determined to plod on, but until I become the king of producing lactic acid, I needed another solution.

A Google search for “quick sauerkraut” turned up far fewer hits than you’d think. This recipe looked promising, so I went with that.

I didn’t have apple cider on hand, ‘cause like, who does? So I doubled the water. To balance and bring in the sugar I think the cider was intended to, I added a little sweetness. The result was really nice, and the hit of a recent summer barbecue!

Ingredients:

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced very thin
  • 1 medium green cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1 ¼ C apple cider vinegar
  • 1 C water
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 tsp caraway seed
  • 2 T sugar

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in pan, and add onion. Cook over medium heat until onion turns translucent.
  2. Add rest of ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook covered over low heat for 30-45 minutes. You want the cabbage nice and tender. Keep an eye on it, you may need to add a little more water.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

VeganGR Blog Take Over Part 1: Eggplant Gravy

I have a small problem: I bite off more than I can chew. This would explain a few things: 1) my 15 lb weight gain in the last two years, 2) my zest for ordering multiple appetizers and never being able to eat an entree at a restaurant, and 3) subscribing to multiple CSA’s in the summertime and then freaking out when it gets to July/August and I have like, triple of everything.

I hate letting good food go to waste so I act as veggie broker to my friends giving them extras of my goods that Mr. Wonderful and I will just watch shrink and die in the confines of our fridge. In the case of eggplants, luckily I can broker all of them off to friends. It’s the only veggie I do not like, well, at least I thought I didn’t until my friends at VeganGR got a hold of my surplus and made eggplant into gravy!

I told Jon Dunn to write a guest post for me and then I could keep my own mouth shut up there, so here’s what he has to say:

There are lots of advantages to being friends with Adrienne and Derek. But the best is that they give us veggies. LOTS of veggies.

Seriously, Adrienne has admitted she’s been overwhelmed with the summer haul from her three (3!!) CSA shares. So, she’s been kind enough to share the wealth. The only requirement was that we blog about what we did with them.

So today, let’s talk eggplant. Adrienne is not a fan, so it was an easy decision to slough them off on us. It’s a good thing, because I can’t get enough of them! I thought I’d share with you a unique recipe I created one time that was kind of an accident.

I had an eggplant, wasn’t sure what I was making for dinner, but threw it in the oven. Then I started making other foods that were ENTIRELY unrelated to an eggplant. So here I was, with a beautiful roasted eggplant and mashed potatoes. So naturally, I made gravy.

Combined with cashews, garlic, and a bit of herbs, the eggplant comes together in a really silky smooth gravy when you blast it in a high power blender. Make sure you fully roast that nightshade. Hopefully for those of you that hate this wonder-veg, that dread of seeing the eggplant in the CSA box will vanish with this recipe!

Ingredients:

  •  2 medium eggplants
  • ½ C raw cashews (these need to be soaked if you’re not using a high power blender such as a vitamix)
  • 1 C water
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp salt (more to your taste)
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • pepper to taste
  1.  Cut your eggplants in half lengthwise. Score the skin, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  2. Roast the eggplant in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when the skin looks all nice and toasty.
  3. Remove eggplant from the oven and remove the skin (let that sucker cool a bit before you go burning yourself!).
  4. Drop all the ingredients into your blender, set it to high and let it go for a couple of minutes. You’ll know when it’s ready when it’s all silky smooth.
  5. Serve over mashed potatoes, baked tempeh, chicken fried tofu, or any other amazing food that begs for a nice home-style gravy.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Wanted: Vegan Sandwiches

In a recent poll of the Wonderful residence…we miss sandwiches. Two recipes to fix that situation follow for bread spreads. These taste equally as good on crackers or straight from the bowl around midnight. I mean if you say had a hunger pang in the night.

From Happy Herbivore (pictured):

“Tuna Salad”

  • 15 oz chickpeas (canned or from dry) rinsed and drained
  • 2 celery stalks, washed and diced
  • 1 – 2 T pickle relish or sliced pickles
  • 1 tsp onion flakes or powder
  • 2 T nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 T low sodium soy sauce or Tamari
  • 3 T vegan mayo (I used half and still had great consistency)
  • 1/2 tsp kelp powder (this is the “fishy” salty flavoring)
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice 
  • pepper and salt to taste

I deviated  a little from the original instructions provided as I like a specific texture of spread. Mash chickpeas in a large mixing bowl OR pulse 3-4 times in a food processor-do not puree, or make hummus instead, you can’t really go wrong here I guess. Dice celery into bite sized pieces. Chop up pickles into small dice too. Add all ingredients to the large bowl, stir, stir, stir. Add more mayo or kelp as needed to taste.

IMG_7306 IMG_7304 IMG_7305 IMG_7302 IMG_7297 IMG_7303 IMG_7300 IMG_7301 IMG_7299 IMG_7298

“Tuna” Salad

Courtesy of Jon Dunn at VeganGR:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 2-3 T Vegenaise
  • 1-2 T sweet pickle relish or pickle chopped
  • salt pepper to taste
  • 1/2 t dulse or kelp granules or other “fishy” seasoning (optional)

Send chickpeas through a couple of pulses in food processor (can be done by hand by the less lazy). Mix blended peas with the Vegenaise, sweet pickle and seasonings. EAT ON ANYTHING.

**note – all of the following ingredients are really to personal taste. Some people like green onion, mustard, or all sorts of other stuff in their tuna salad. Basically, you’re following whatever recipe you would with tuna, but using chickpeas instead.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

My friends Jon and Kolene over at VeganGR are always making vegan chocolate chip cookies and slipping them into non-vegan events with great results. By great, I mean no one can detect the damn difference between the vegan chocolate chip cookies and “normal” chocolate chip cookies.

I’m not wild about any butter/margarine substitute, so I took a crack at an Earth Balance free recipe posted on the Post Punk Kitchen instead. I was not disappointed. The texture was a little crazy, but not in a bad way. The tops of these guys were like crackly almost, flaky certainly, but honestly, a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth in a cruelty free way.

A little bonus: in using canola or veg oil, you don’t have to fight that battle of getting the butter/margarine “room temperature” which ultimately ends up in me making margarine soup in the microwave because I don’t have the patience to zap it slowly and/or I didn’t plan to make cookies at 9am that morning and now it’s officially an emergency at 10pm to get a cookie crammed into my pie hole before I hit the hay. Don’t pretend you have not experienced this same emergency before. It’s a real problem.

Makes two dozen two inch cookies or about 16 three inch cookies

  • 1/2 brown sugar
  • 1/4 white sugar
  • 2/3 cup canola oil (it’s a lot, I know…but no other oil is used)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk)
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca flour (I used Arrowroot and still had sound results)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cups chocolate chips (vegan)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease two large light metal baking sheets.

Mix together sugars, oil, milk and tapioca flour in a mixing bowl. Use a strong fork and mix really well, for about 2 minutes, until it resembles smooth caramel. There is a chemical reaction when sugar and oil collide, so it’s important that you don’t get lazy about that step. Mix in the vanilla.

Add 1 cup of the flour, the baking soda and salt. Mix until well incorporated. Mix in the rest of the flour. Fold in the chocolate chips. The dough will be a little stuff so use your hands to really work them in.

PPK directions: For 3 inch cookies, roll the dough into about ping pong ball size balls. Flatten them out in your hands to about 2 1/2 inches. They will spread just a bit. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes – no more than 9 – until they are just a little browned around the edges. I usually get 16 out of these so I do two rounds of eight cookies. Let cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.

For 2 dozen two inch cookies roll dough into walnut sized balls and flatten to about 1 1/2 inches and bake for only six minutes.

I found however, it took a little longer to produce a cookie that was cooked through. Check on them every minute or so to insure you don’t burn ’em until they are to your liking.

When life gives you over-ripe bananas, find an egg replacement and add a few walnuts to make Vegan Banana Bread

I’ve been a vegetarian for quite some time now, and I have always had strong feelings about going vegan, as in, I’d really love to and then I start thinking…of cheese, eggs and Greek yogurt.

Confession:  I am a dairy whore.  The thought of not eating Habanero Mango Cheese from Horrocks ever again frankly makes me nearly faint.  Like most things, jumping in to a vegan lifestyle with both feet is so scary, so I will make small changes where possible and hopefully will get there someday.

My friends Kolene (@suckahpunch) and Jon (@jon_dunn) however, have basically jumped in head first.  I’m so proud of them.  They began a Twitter group Vegan GR (@vegangr) and a website where they scope out vegan friendly restaurants and vendors around GR and basically run around doing good all day long.  I’m serious.  Case in point, Kolene’s birthday wish is raising money for Carol’s Ferals a non-profit feline organization which performs TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) services in Western Michigan and Jon works for Best Friends Animal Society  where he is the wizard behind their online presence.  I know, right?  You want to hate them, but you cannot help but love these people!  I don’t even LIKE cats and I gave to Kolene’s birthday wish.  They are compelling people for the case of a vegan lifestyle.  Lots of give in those two.  They inspire me to try, at least sometimes, to foster a vegan diet and so perhaps with their help, I will kick my dairy habit and become a vegan too.

I’ve posted vegan baked goods on this blog in the past (Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles) from PPK’s Isa Chandra, but this recipe I took from this little cutie named Claire who runs this blog called Vegan Cooking.  Check her out and while you are at it, bake a vegan dessert like this one I’m giving to Kolene for her birthday.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Vegan Banana Nut Bread

  • 1 3/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup Demerera Sugar (I subbed brown sugar)
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans or Walnuts
  • Equivalent of 2 Eggs Using Egg Replacer (I used 1T Golden Ground Flax Seed Sprinkles which I picked up at TJ Maxx of all places for about $3, mixed with 3T tap water)
  • 2-3 Ripe Bananas Mashed
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp Fresh Ground Nutmeg

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Sift together dry ingredients. Stir in nuts, egg replacer, bananas, oil and vanilla. Mix well.
Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for 45-60 mins (until knife comes out clean). Cool for 5 mins before removing from pan. Cool on wire rack.