Lunch on Monday was quite different to what I normally make: A spinach and walnut bake.. I think that anything ‘bake’ sounds very American. Sure enough it came from an American book thanks to the twitter christmas kringle.
I’ve actually been sticking to the meal plan, so Monday was spag and no-meat balls. Super easy, with simple ingredients that were in the press anyways, and even tastier..Tuesday was dinner out in Yamamories, so no photos I’m afraid.. and today risotto.
In an attempt to save a bit of cash and time wondering what the hell we’re going to eat, I’m jumping on board the Menu Plan Monday idea. I can’t promise lengthy posts and recipes, but I will make sure to post some pictures of each meal.
Monday: – Mushroom and Sun-dried tomato risotto
Tuesday: Eating out in Yamamories to celebrate Nick’s animatic hand-in
Wednesday: Pasta, fiery tomato sauce and bean balls.
Thursday: Aloo Shimla Mirch (Potatoes and Pepper) with Onion Pilau from Spicy Vegan
Friday: Stuffed Butternut Squash and Mushroom gravy with veg on the side
Saturday: Walnut burgers, home made cajun wedges
Sunday: Away to Sligo to get NCT done on Monday morning. I’ll bring some rice, veg soup, beans and Franks red hot for a pot-luck back home.
You know sometimes you think up half of a meal, but it needs something extra. This is usually where my omni house-mates and say I need some chicken. It’s funny how many people still see chicken as some form of extended vegetable. Forget that! There is nothing better than a stuffed pepper! I’ve been pretty broke the last couple of moths so haven’t been buying nice bits and pieces to put together according to some tasty looking recipe in on of my many vegan cook books. Instead, most of our cooking has been done based on what is at hand. Peppers are the best vessel for those tasty odds and ends that you can’t bring yourself to just plopping down on a plate.
So, rather than a recipe, here’s some ideas:
For one, pitta that is on it’s way out makes good crumbs, some walnuts if you have them, tomatoes of course to add both taste and moisture, and some onion, with whichever choice of herbs you prefer. Personally I’ve started to like a bit of spice more and more so some chilly powder, garlic salt and usually basil (which I add to everything), and the obligatory salt and pepper. Blend the lot, stuff the pepper and bake while you cook the rest of your food. Oh, and don’t forget always blanch your peppers before baking so that they’re nice and soft. Just pop them in boiling water for a few minutes.
Another day while cleaning out the freezer, I came across the ends of those packets of frozen veg. Boil them up until they’re nearly cooked, chop roughly. Start a frying pan with some olive oil and an onion, toss in your chopped veg, throw in a tin of tomatoes and your choice of seasoning, as well as some black eyed beans, or whichever beans you prefer.
The National Animal Rights Association was officially formed one year ago, on 1st July 2007. I should qualify first, that I am not affiliated with them in anyway, but I received their yearly review. They have achieved such a great amount of positive change over the last year, that I wanted to share. If you are interested in getting more active in protesting for animal rights, they are now a well established platform, and are always looking for more support. You can get more information on their upcoming demonstrations and other events on their website.
A highlight of their activities over the last year:
“N.A.R.A.’s Year in Review from 1st July 2007 – 1st July 2008″
103 Leafleting Sessions
13 Information Tables
We have sent out over 60 information packs (e.g. Fur Packs, Circus Packs, Vivisection Packs, Vegan Starter Packs and Campaigner Starter Packs)
And we have distributed a total of over 44,000 leaflets
FUR FREE SUCCESSES:
Brown Thomas & BT2 stores nationwide
Sharpsville (Temple Bar, Dublin 2)
Flip (Temple Bar, Dublin 2)
HelterSkelter (Temple Bar, Dublin 2)
The Real McCoy (Temple Bar, Dublin 2)
Flairline Fashions (Pamela Scott & Richard Alan stores nationwide) *awaiting confirmation in writing
FOIE GRAS-FREE SUCCESSES:
One Pico Restaurant (5-6 Molesworth Place Schoolhouse Lane, Dublin 2)
South Bar and Restaurant (Beacon South Quarter, Blackthorn Road, Sandyford, Dublin 18)
Citi Bar & Lounge (Dame Street, Dublin 2) have now stopped using snakes as ”student night” entertainment
Decor (Wexford Street, Dublin 2) have stopped selling horns, animal skulls and fur rugs
NEW CAMPAIGNS STARTED:
OTHER CAMPAIGNING NEWS:
Our official website was launched in November, and has already gotten over 3200 hits.
We now have both Myspace and Bebo pages
We’re getting regular media and press coverage of our events, and interviews on our campaigns
Almost every day now, we are contacted by new people wanting to join our group
As part of our new Go Vegan! campaign, we are now sending out Vegan Starter Packs on a weekly basis
We are now supplying activists all over the country with campaign materials, and helping them to set up groups in their area.
Recently a branch of N.A.R.A. has been set up in Co. Limerick
Personally, I’m not a rights protester. I can’t, however, argue with the positive results that have come out of NARA’s campaigns over the last year, but it would be interesting to see how the people’s rather than companies perceptions have changed. There are a couple of issues at stake here. Protesting, and petitioning has indeed removed fur from shops, stopped foie gras being sold in Dublin restaurants,rescued snakes from being used in nightclub acts and has resulted in other positive outcomes. I would hope that this change in action will be reflected in a change in perception by the people that shop in these places. I can’t be sure. Say a women likes to buy fur, not just likes, but sees it as some sort of symbol of success, or power, or something else she feels qualifies her. Will she stop, buy something else, or will she go to a different shop? Personally, I am more interested in talking to people about my beliefs, having a conversation and presenting my argument. Changing perception and social belief, rather than changing actions of commercial businesses. Protesting does not seem to lend itself to getting the argument and reasoning across. Still, that’s my trouble with protesting, not with this organization. I applaud their successes, and hope that some of the rest of you who sympathize with them may find an outlet through helping them protect animal rights.
when we sit outside with a beer or two enjoying that great bar-b-que smell. Mmm. Nick has a great marinade that we have been using for out veggi skewers. It’s about one part oil to one part soy sauce with a half part sugar. Whisk it about with a fork and let your veggies soak for a while as you wait for the flames to die down on the charcoal.
As a vegetarian, pizza was one of our favorite take-outs, in fact I’d say that pizza was easily Nick’s favorite food before we started trying to be vegan. We’d go a week vegan, have a pizza, then start over again, another couple of weeks, another pizza, until we finally went out to Pizza Hut to have our “final pizza”. Since then, we’ve been making our own at home, experimenting with making cheese sauces out of Nutritional Yeast and Soy Cheese. Nothing bet that damn tasty Dominos base. A little bit of googling revealed the dough ingredients:
I had been toying with the idea of ringing and asking for a pizza without the cheese, wondering is it even possible, would they laugh, will I need to give a huge explanation, maybe even lie and say that I was lactose intolerant? Mostly, I was put off ringing out of the fear of getting laughed at. About a month ago I bit the bullet one night when the presses were sparce and I was too hungry to be creative. The phone call was a complete success, no laughter, on questions, no problem! And the pizza, well.. great! Something felt missing, as was natural, but they seemed to compensate for the lack of cheese with double of all the veggies that we ordered!Yum. And the sweet bar-b que sauce meant it was super flavorsome. And yes, the bar-b que sauce is also vegan. Barbecue Sauce Ingredients:
- High fructose corn syrup, tomato paste, distilled vinegar, molasses, brown sugar, salt, modified food starch, spices, mustard bran, natural flavour, onion and garlic powder, colour, lemon juice, preservative (E211)–M
NursingDegree.net have recently posted an article on their site entitled 57 Health Benefits of Going Vegan. As Billy at Vegan Talk says, it’s exciting to see veganisim being discussed on a nursing website. Recently Oprah’s 21 days of ‘spiritually conscious’ cleanse threw the vegan lifestyle into the spotlight. As probably one of the most influential women in the media, she has hopefully shown how rewarding, and accessable Veganism is. With this new support of the Nursing Degree Network from a more medical perspective, hopefuly some more people will be able to weigh up the positives.
Some of the highlights discussed are the nutrition benefits from eating a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, and soy products. In particular they dispel the myths that vegans lack protein. As it is, most Americans (and I’d say the rest of the Western world) in fact have too much protein in their diet. Beans, nuts, peas, lentils, and soy products are all great ways to get the right amount of protein in a vegan diet.
They go on to discuss how you could potentially avoid a number of diseases by switching to a healthy, balanced vegan way of eating. In addition to good nutrition and disease prevention, eating vegan also provides many physical benefits such as longer life, better skin and hair, reduced allergies and weight loss. Now I can’t vouch for the last one, since becoming vegan I’ve stayed around the same weight, but regularly bake vegan treats and love to cook too much for my tummy’s good! However I have had far less trouble with my asthma, dust allergies, and sinus troubles. I used to be constantly stuffed up and blowing my nose, now it’s only in the mornings that I have sinus trouble. Even around hay and horses, my eyes aren’t as itchy as they were before, and I recover a lot more quickly.
In addition to the health benefits a vegan lifestyle and diet also is hailed as helping the environment to avoiding serious bacterial infections. Finally they end with a list of resources to show how a vegan diet isn’t all about being healthy, but can also be tasty and fun. I defiantly recommend taking a read of the list.
So why did you become vegan? Or even vegetarian? I’d like that my path from vegetarian and inevitably vegan stemmed from a deep moral belief in saving animal lives, or other earthlings as they’ve been called. Even that I could have seen the wider benefit that such a diet would lend a more positive climate and social cognition. I had friends who were vegetarian back when I was an omnivore, and yet, I never stopped to think. I never really considered where this lifestyle choice came from. Originally I gave up meats, out of a dislike for anything but processed meat. It seemed pointless, so I decided to stop. Still, I would have been classified as a pescitarian, but an inquisitive pescitarian. Wanting to learn everything about vegetarianism, I began to research, and quickly learned that fish could indeed feel. That they could feel themselves drowning, how in the past did I convince myself otherwise? It seems so obvious now.
The path to veganism started with leather, and a nagging (also recently vegetarian) boyfriend. How, in good conscience did we continue to buy a product that results directly in the death of an animal. After watching those videos, Meat your Meat, Earthlings, we ate up all the information we could get, a further side to the picture emerged. Factory farming, egg laying chickens that were sold for stock, male chicks culled at birth, veal, milk cows sold for cheap meats, and all that waste that comes from animal farming. It was time to start thinking about and make a personal change. We both decided to go vegan, and I’m glad I’ve had his support, it’s made the experience more of an adventure that a test. I do have a silly belief that things in Ireland aren’t so bad as those shocking videos. That the farming must be on a smaller scale, and of course there are those organic free-range options. If the entire system is to change, we have to make a statement in how we live. Slowly, my boyfriend and I are seeing that for us, that is not enough, that the exploitation of another species is unnecessary. We have been living healthy and happy lives, and I have found something more in myself because of it.
I have found with time, that it gets so much easier. Once you know where you can buy alternatives, and go out for a meal with friends, you wonder what took you so long to make the change. Nick and I still get a buzz out of finding a new vegan option. We’re currently looking into some of the internet information supporting and against the fact that Tesco donuts may be vegan. How great that would be, how little it would have mattered back when we were omni. That brings me to an interesting comment that I received on my Spud Snacks blog where I talked about Tescos vegan margarine Pure.
I have to say, it gave me a jolt to see that they had began catering for vegans (or at least lactose intolerant people, but it was win win). I read the ingredients, everything checked out, and we’ve been using it ever since. What I did not know was that the cultivation of one of the ingredients, Palm Oil is has been hailed as one of the largest threats to the endangered species, the orangutan. Not only that, the Rain-forest Action Network have got people to go out into their local supermarkets to spot products with Palm Oil. Over 500 so have been registered with www.theproblemwithpalmoil.org
Here’s a wee video describing in better words that I can the trouble with Palm Oil
Some of the highlights include the deforestation leading to the loss of habitat for plants, animals and indigenous communities; global warming; basic human rights have been neglected, with locals losing their land or working for those large corporations that run the plantations. Workers are apparently often forced into “debt peonage,” which has been considered by the Rainforest Action Network as modern-day slavery. More information can be found on their site.According to the Pure company:
As a company, we are very aware of environmental concerns such as those you highlighted. Palm oil is an important food ingredient, however, there is much concern that not all palm oil is being produced in a sustainable way. We are keen to understand and to keep abreast of the situation and are affiliate members of the ‘Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil’ (RSPO) through the Margarines and Spreads Association (MSA). In 2004, the RSPO was established to address these issues and promote sustainable production and the use of palm oil. Members of the RSPO, who are involved in all aspects of palm oil production and usage, are actively promoting the use of sustainable palm oil and endorsing the principles and criteria of the RSPO.
Our oil suppliers estimate that we should be able to buy palm oil that is traceable to a sustainable source to RPSO criteria within two years. So at this stage we are unable to make any guarantees about the source of our palm oil.
At least they are honest. They are indeed tackeling one of the main trouble with the crop, but to what extent will that solve the bigger picture. I honestly can’t answer. As yet, there are still two years to go before they can even vouch for where their Palm Oil came from. So what do we do? Or, rather what do I do? My first thought when I read the comment alerting me to this issue was. Oh no, I need my buttery spread. Pretty soon after, this seemed quite funny. Like an omni stating they couldn’t give up their steak, or a vegetarians addiction to cheese. I’ve managed to do both, so far. Why can’t I give up Pure? Unfortunately, that does leave me with another problem. The email from Pure also stated:
We do not have an alternative to palm oil currently. When making a spread, a hard oil must be combined with a soft oil to produce a solid product. The hard oil can either be a soft oil which is then hydrogenated to make it hard (also known as a hydrogenated oil) or a naturally hard oil. The only hard oils available are palm and coconut. We choose not to use hydrogenated oils in any of the Pure range, as these are undesirable in the diet. Instead, we use palm oil in the smallest possible quantities in order to produce a solid spread. Most, if not all, other spreads contain palm oil and this is labelled as ‘vegetable oils’.
Vegetable oil may actually mean palm oil, and in fact often does. I will have to start emailing the sources of products we use that contain vegtable oil. I am aprehensive of finding out the results. So what if the baking margarine I use that contains palm oil? Can I go without, should I? I don’t know yet. After Palm Oil, what about the other large corporations are responsible for environmental and social destruction, or the other ingrediants that are indirectly not vegan? I am tackeling a small part direct injustices as I can. My thoughts at the moment are that it is those indirect ones that will be more difficult to tackle, espically when the reward is not as present or immediate. I am glad however, that I have been made more aware of something that would have slipped right past.