Factory Farms in the US

Here's a great website I just stumbled upon today called Factory Farm Map and, as you can well guess, it maps the factory farms in the United States. When you visit the site you are able to change the filters so as to see the difference for different types of animal operations, as well as the changes over time (1997-2007). It's a very useful educational tool since it also has information on how factory farms affect every single one of us in multiple ways.

I've also added a widget to the blog where you can see the map without leaving the page (check the lower right hand side of the screen). Seeing the information laid out like this is sure to make you want to analyze your relationship to this inadequate food system.

Make the last days of the year count and make 2011 a better year for your health, your karma and your planet: go veg!


Meatless Monday Recipes--make 2011 better than 2010!

Hi all,
I hope this chilly December has been treating you well and that your stomach has been enjoying the bounty and utter deliciousness of root vegetables as mine has. (Nothing like a big bowl of mashed potatoes to cheer me up!)

Being that it's the last Meatless Monday of 2010 I would like to challenge you to make a new year's resolution of sorts by making all your 2011 Mondays a day where you go veg and treat yourself to a scrumptious and nutritious vegetarian meal (vegan, if you dare).

What's more--you have tons of people on your side, ready to help you find great recipes that flatter the herbivore in all of us. Meatless Monday has a myriad of recipes to choose from, and you can even access them from our Virtually Vegan Sisters blog (thanks to blogger widget technology).

<----------Look! Recipes!

Just look to the left of this post for ever-changing veg recipes to keep you inspired every Monday of 2011!

Cheers to a bright and more compassionate new year!



This is my new favorite thing! I made a bunch of different kinds ahead of time for my holiday party this past weekend and they were a major hit. You do all the prep work ahead of time, and then warm them up just before serving. You pick the topping of your choice (I had: mushroom walnut pate drizzled with truffle oil, garlic hummus and a sundried tomato on top, and chipotle olive tapendae). You just cut a loaf of french bread into small rounds.......warm a skillet with some EVOO and warm the crostini for about 2-3 minutes on the stove. The bottom gets warm and crispy and the topping will get warm as well. Yummy!


Nori Wraps with Orange Cashew Cream

I believe I got this recipe from Dr. Weil's website, but I can't say for sure....sounds delicious regardless....

Light but filling, flavorful but simple, these wraps are my favorite summertime dish. The color of the nori sheets is a dark, shiny, green – almost black – and adds a striking contrast to the colorful filling.

Ingredients for Orange Cashew Cream

  • 1 cup raw cashews

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce

Ingredients for Wraps

  • 4 nori sheets (the kind used for sushi; found in the Asian section of a grocery store)2 carrots, grated or shredded

  • 1 medium beet, grated

  • 1/4 head red cabbage or green cabbage, shredded

  • 1/4 cup alfalfa sprouts

  • 2 avocados, sliced or mashed

  • Salt for sprinkling

  • Black sesame seeds, for garnish

Add the cashews, 1/2 cup of orange juice, and tamari to a blender, and blend until you have a creamy consistency. Taste, tweak if necessary, thin out with more juice, if needed, then transfer to a bowl.

Set out all your grated veggies in separate bowls, so you can grab them as needed to make your wraps.

Place a nori sheet on the counter or cutting board. Leaving a 1-inch border at each edge of the nori sheet, place a thin layer of grated carrots, grated beets, shredded cabbage, and alfalfa sprouts on top of the nori sheet. Place the avocado in a horizontal line across the middle of the shredded veggies, and do the same with the cashew sauce. Sprinkle on a little salt. DO NOT OVERFILL!

Working from the bottom, roll up the nori like a fat cigar, tucking in the veggies as you roll upwards. You should have a neatly packed cylinder at the end. Use a little water to “seal” the seam.

Serve as a wrap, as is, or using a sharp serrated knife, cut into 1-1/2-inch rounds.

Repeat. You should have enough veggies to make 4 wraps. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds for a pretty presentation.

Yield (Wraps): 4 servings
Yield (Dressing): 3/4 cup


Democracy Now!

Whether we are talking about veganism or not, it's important to get your information from credible and independent sources that aren't paid by industry to tell us what they want us to hear... (Take the "Got Milk" and "happy cow" commercials for example...!) Therefore, today I'd like to share a wonderful international news source for those of you that don't know about it. 

Below is more information about Democracy Now, but first I'm embedding an updated video of today's report (it'll update daily so you can watch it here or directly on their website).

ABOUT: "Democracy Now!’s War and Peace Report provides our audience with access to people and perspectives rarely heard in the U.S.corporate-sponsored media, including independent and international journalists, ordinary people from around the world who are directly affected by U.S. foreign policy, grassroots leaders and peace activists, artists, academics and independent analysts. In addition, Democracy Now! hosts real debates–debates between people who substantially disagree, such as between the White House or the Pentagon spokespeople on the one hand, and grassroots activists on the other."


Inide Insides: Pumpkins!

It's time I share another cool blog, this one simply presents awesome scans of fruits and vegetables: Inside Insides.
 I thought the pumpkin scans were appropriate given the holiday season, so here is a look inside and out of the great cucurbita!  Enjoy...


Wine + Apologies

Greetings all you Virtually Vegan Sisters followers! What a month it has been. I hate to sound so "cliche" but the Holidays really are a busy time! A couple years ago I took a vow of "No Presents" (I try my best not to give or receive any gifts) for any holiday. I rarely "get" anything from giving or getting gifts......so I wanted to hold that true and not participate in them. I make exceptions with "experiences" and booze! I lieu of a physical present I have no problem taking/or receiving someone for dinner, going to the theater, going to a concert, etc. I also never turn down a good bottle of wine!

Even with my No Present philosophy, the Holidays are still pretty hectic....but in a good way. This time of year I find myself spending more time with friends, family, and cooking in general. Those are all things I love! So I have (as I mentioned last week) lagged a bit on my VVS posts. That is where the "apologies" of my post title comes from.

And now for the WINE part. I was just offered a position as a Pourer at a new tasting room in Santa Monica. It is called Wine Expo and has been an existing wine shop on the Westside for years now......and 2 months ago they opened an adjacent tasting room. So I will be working there......starting tonight! The specialize in small producers, specifically Italian reds and sparkling. More details to come....but please feel free to come by and have a flight!

Wine Expo
2933 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90404


Meatless Monday: C'est la Vegan

I want to take the opportunity to introduce you to Kim from C'est la Vegan today.  This woman is not only an amazing baker in her professional life, but she is also a very inventive cook with mouth-watering recipes and one of the best blogs around!

Pumpkin Butterscotch Trifle

You should check it out and get inspired!
Last month she participated in "Vegan Month of Food (MOFO)" and presented really unique recipes all month long. Don't miss it!


All around the world - 2011

woo! My calendar got a feature on ApartmentTherapy.com today. Click here to read their post about calendars with international flair.

Are you ready for 2011???
I am!

Eco-Vegan, aka Ana Belen

Best thing I've heard today: ELT aka eggplant lettuce tomato sammich (as well as one of my many favorite songs). Can't wait to make my own version as well as tempeh barbecued ribs! I'm ready for the summer :)


Virtually Vegan Hanukkah

So last night we celebrated something different for a change...Hanukkah!!

We made latkes which are similar to hash browns.....yummy!!! Potato anything is comfort food in my book, so I was all for it.....

I will share the recipes soon......

A bit of "latke" trivia from Wikipedia:

Latkes are traditionally eaten by Jews during the Jewish Hanukkah festival. The oil for cooking the latkes is reminiscent of the oil from the Hanukkah story that kept the Second Temple of ancient Israel lit with a long-lasting flame that is celebrated as a miracle. Despite the popularity of latkes and tradition of eating them during Hanukkah, they are hard to come by in stores or restaurants in Israel.The word leviva, the Hebrew name for latke, has its origins in the Book of Samuel's description of the story of Amnon and Tamar. Some interpreters have noted that the homonym levav means "heart," and the verbal form of l-v-v occurs in the Song of Songs as well.Levivot need not necessarily be made from potatoes. Prior to the introduction of the potato to the Old World, levivot were and in some places still are made from a variety of other vegetables, cheeses, legumes, or starches, depending on the available local ingredients and food ways of the various places where Jews lived.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potato_pancake


busy beegan

I'm truly sorry for this delayed post but it's been such a busy week/month/season that my mind is out of the screen and into the world!
And, my world has involved lots of honey, actually...
which brings me to the topic of BEEgans. That's right--vegans that are A-OK with eating honey (from sustainable, responsible and small sources, of course). 

You can read more on this topic of veganism and honey consumption on the wonderful Native Foods Blog.
What I have to say about it is simple: bees are insects-not animals. So, the initial argument that honey is an animal biproduct is misleading. If we follow that logic and exclude "insect biproducts" in our diets and lifestyles there goes soil and pollinated vegetables and our entire agricultural experience as human beings. 
That being said, I do understand that what most vegans are opposed to is the fact that many bee operations are abusive, put bees under considerable and unnecessary stress, and have them pollinate pesticide-drenched crops leading to a doped colony and sub-par honey, etc. Therefore, the problem is the industry rather than the mere honey which is why I only buy and consume honey from small, local farms that respect the bees and their OWN need for their glorious gold goodness.  The honey is meant for their own, after all. But it's such a rich food for humans (medicinal! delicious! healthful! BEST sweetener option EVER) that completely doing away with (all forms of) it simply to call myself "vegan" is ridiculous to me.  That's why, I guess, I'm not vegan-- I'm beegan.


Not Feeling Very Vegan

Greetings all my Virtually Vegan followers! Yes, I echo Crafty Vegan by saying that I too have taken an extended break from VVS. I have been definitely riding the leisure train for the last couple of weeks and really relishing in relaxing, enjoying my family, and getting into the Holiday groove.

On a similar note, I will say that I have been riding the leisure train in regards to veganism. Aside from my cooking, which is "usually" 100% vegan, I have been indulging (if that is the word) in whatever yumminess I see in front of me that others cook or at restaurants. That has included a lot of cheese and a lot of seafood.

I haven't been feeling "bad" about it either. I have really been making the conscious decision to eat these foods. I'm not sure what that means or what I should be feeling, but that is just what's going on. I will say though that I have been making some delish vegan dishes at home lately: Thai coconut soup, pumpkin curry, split pea soup, etc.

So for now, I'm living the life of moderation. Happy Holidays......till next week!

Foodie Vegan

Thanksgiving Past and Holiday Events

Seems like I took an extra long Thanksgiving vacation...my apologies for not blogging until today :(....it must have been that delicious stuffing sadly cooked in chicken broth that made me forget....or was it the pumpkin cheese cake?!! Any how, my mind is back, my heart is in place and I am ready to make it through December healthy and animal product free!!

I wanted to share some info about events I have coming up.....some workshops and some fairs....

Tonight, Dec 1st at Iguana Imports, finger crochet class from 6-8pm. Workshop fee is donation based.

Dec 2, 3 & 4 Coastline Community College Art Gallery in Huntington Beach
Annual Holiday Art Sale

The sale takes place Thursday, December 2, through Friday, December 3, from 1 to 7 p.m., and Saturday, December 4, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition to blown glass objects, shoppers will also find one-of-kind of art objects and unique gifts from local artists including jewelry and ceramics. Parking and entrance to the Coastline Art Gallery is free.

2nd Saturday Artwalk in downtown LB, Dec 11th from 4-10pm and at Lyon'shttp://lyonartsupply.com/

Dec 12th at The Infinite, finger crochet class from 2-4pm, suggested donation $11