Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Meal Idea - Refried Bean Quesadilla

Here is a quick meal idea!

I try and keep a container of homemade refried beans in my fridge for a quick grab and go snack.

Sometimes I want something a little fancier so I make a quesadilla. If a quesadilla can be called fancy!

Heat up a dry skillet and place a whole wheat tortilla in it. One half of it, spread your beans and top with whatever you like.. I used nutritional yeast, green onions and chopped campari tomatoes in this one.

This is a good recipe to use up any leftover veggies you have in your fridge.

Fold it over and allow to brown before carefully flipping it and browning the other side. I'd normally top this with guacamole but I was out of avocados. It would also be delicious with my vegan queso sauce drizzled on top!

Super easy, super quick with no time for excuses.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Respect and Justification

I don't apologize for my views and I don't apologize for how my veganism makes other people feel or how it may make them look at their own values and beliefs. It has nothing to do with me. 

However, sometimes I am subjected to comments regarding respect and justification from meat eaters and I feel that I need to address these two things on my blog. It's a little bit of tough love.


At some point in every plant eaters life they will hear this sentence:

"I respect your choice to not eat animals so you should respect my choice to eat them"

Ok.. so here is my stance on 'respect'. I can and do respect the personal choices people make regardless of whether I understand them - like whether to believe in god or not, what color to paint their house, how they cut their hair, what clothes they wear, if they have tattoos and piercings, what kind of car to buy, who to vote for, what stores they shop at and who they choose to love or have sex with. I respect your right to eat an Oreo over a banana .. even tho I'd rather you had the banana, it's none of my business. I respect the right of a woman to make decisions for her own body like birth control, abortion and plastic surgery. I respect a man's right to watch porn or hire a hooker.

I do not, however, respect the choices people make when there is a victim of some sort. I don't respect serial killers that kill for the thrill or people who abuse, torture and neglect cats and dogs. I don't respect men who beat their wives and children and I don't respect pedophiles who exercise their personal right to molest a child. I don't respect the personal choice of someone that decides to burn down a building or start a wildfire. I don't respect the personal choice of my neighbors to crank their music up at 2am.

I don't smoke, drink or do drugs but I do think that it's s personal choice to participate in those behaviors.. however, if you want to smoke in my house, get into a car while drunk or give drugs to a kid, then those are no longer personal choices. They affect other people and I have a problem with it.

Those choices affect others .. be it on an individual level or a community level. I want people to be considerate of the whole when it comes to making 'personal choices' because many choices aren't actually 'personal' at all.

Do you see the difference?

I do not respect people that make the choice to eat other beings when there are other choices, which there are 99% of the time. Plus, choosing to eat animal products affects more than just that animal - it affects the environment and the only planet we have to live on, people are starving because land that can grow food for people is used to grow grain for land animals and to keep them, people get diseases from eating animal products, working in the slaughterhouses and factory farming industries. As a taxpayer you pay for the costs of their healthcare - medication, surgeries, and disability payments.

You may be thinking, 'well, I'm sure you have friends and family members that eat animals' and yes, I sure do and while I may enjoy their friendship and love them ... and even respect them in other areas of their lives, I do not and cannot respect their choice to eat animals and they know it. I can agree to disagree with people but I cannot respect certain behaviors.


One thing that I have a very big problem with are when people try and justify their animal eating behavior by drawing strange lines. One example are people who eat everything animal based except veal. They some how draw a line at eating baby cows. They very often say 'well, it's cruel to lock up baby cows in a small crate and deny them sunlight and grass and, plus.. they are babies!' .. and it sure is horrible but that happens to ALL ANIMALS RAISED FOR FOOD.

Almost all animals are still babies when they are slaughtered for the dinner table. They are 5 weeks to 6 months of age. We still call a dog a puppy if it's under a year old. Your freezer is full of baby corpses.

Another example is the 'free range', 'cruelty free', 'farm raised', 'cage free', 'grass fed' and any other wording used to make it seem like these animals are living the high life in a big pasture under blue skies. It isn't happening, folks .... there may be a few farms here and there that raise their animals that way but I can assure you that you probably can't afford to eat them.

The meat and dairy industries are interested in making money, they are not interested in treating the animals kindly. In the US, 10 BILLION land animals are killed for food each YEAR. 10 billion. It's 45 billion worldwide and those numbers do not include sea animals.

This is why there are dirt feed lots, where thousands of animals are packed into small spaces, fed grain to fatten them up, pumped full of drugs to deal with the fact that grain is not their natural diet and then slaughtered in what is not and never can be called a humane practice.  'Humane' to the industry is stunning the animals and hopefully knocking them unconscious while they are slaughtered alive. Their hearts are beating.. they must in order to bleed them out .. while they are cut into pieces.

The reality is that even if small 'humane' farms exist the animals are still all butchered in the same USDA approved slaughterhouses that the 'common' animals are slaughtered in. It's a law. If you buy meat for consumption then it has to be butchered at a USDA approved facility. There are only a few companies that provide the beef, pork and chickens to the public.. they just have multiple brands they package and sell under. Pretty much all of the meat in your grocery store comes from the same few places.

By using this odd justification, people try and make themselves feel better about eating animals. Perhaps they know on a moral level that they shouldn't be eating them so they think if they make certain concessions like paying more for what they think are 'better' products then they are somehow not as responsible for the horror.

In truth, anyone that eats any animal products of any kind holds the same responsibility. You cannot sugar coat murder, neglect, abuse, torture and exploitation. You cannot make it better.

I realize that people who eat animals maybe can't see this as I do so I want to give examples in non-animal terms that might make sense to people still choosing to eat animal products.

Saying 'it's ok to eat a pig if they were allowed to live their whole 6 months in a sunny barnyard with a watering hole and straw to sleep on and had a nightly belly rub by the farmer' is like saying 'it's ok for a pedophile to molest children if they take them to Disneyland first' or 'it's ok to beat my wife if I buy her a diamond ring first' or 'it's ok if i murder this hooker. She's a drug addict on welfare so no one will miss her.'

Obviously, you should find those statements appalling and wrong.

You cannot justify behavior that is inherently wrong. Even if you somehow make it 'less' wrong or justify why it's ok in some circumstances.. it's still wrong. If you don't think eating animals is wrong then own that.. don't tell me that it's too hard to be vegan or that you don't have time to eat plant foods or that the bible says you should eat animals or that your doctor says you 'need' meat to survive or that you simply can't take another breath without eating cheese.. don't tell me you 'love' animals right before you bite into a burger ... just tell me 'I like meat, it tastes good, I'm going to eat it and I don't give a shit about the animals that die for my hunger' ... just admit that truth about yourself and own the choices you make. Don't try and lessen your guilt by making excuses or trying to justify why you think you have to eat other sentient beings.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Recipe - Roasted Garlic Aioli

You are welcome to share this recipe but I want it linked back to this blog. Thank you.

Aioli is mayo seasoned with garlic. I had been hearing about the Wildwood brand of garlic aioli and how popular it was and how yummy it was but I couldn't find it locally. I started to investigate and I discovered the ingredients of the Wildwood aioli were the same exact ingredients (minus garlic) as the vegenaise vegan mayo!

Such luck! So.. I set out to make my own!

First, you need to make roasted garlic ... find the instructions on one of my former posts!

Now.. I know there are people in this world that don't like mayo (I don't understand you but I know you exist!) .. I'd like to invite those people that hated dairy mayo to try vegan mayo. I've heard so many stories from people about how they hated dairy mayo but really love vegan mayo. So, you may want to give it a try one day!

Ok.. back to the recipe!

Shelly's  Roasted Garlic Aioli

1/2 cup Vegenaise
5-10 cloves roasted garlic
1/8 tsp dry mustard (optional)
1/8 tsp smoked paprika (optional)

You just smash up the garlic and mix everything together! I used 10 cloves in mine but it really depends how garlicy you want it.. remember that once it sits for awhile, the flavors will meld and it will get a stronger flavor. I like to add a little smoked paprika and dry mustard for a little zing but it's all about how you like it.. so it's optional!

This will be amazing on a Tempeh BLT or Tofurky sandwich. It would also be good used in place of plain mayo in a potato or pasta salad.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Snack: Nutty Salted Date Caramels

I love caramels and even tho you can absolutely make vegan caramels, I'm too lazy to embark on candy making most of the time so I combine a few yummy ingredients and fake it!

My friend, Morgan at Little House of Veggies told me to try this.

This is a sweet snack that is quick and easy and more healthful than candy!

They are so rich that I can usually only eat a few.

Nutty Salted Date Caramels

Dates (barhi ,shown or medjool are my faves)
Raw nuts (walnuts, shown or almonds)
Sea salt

Pit the dates and remove the weird little end they have, wrap each date around the nut and sprinkle with sea salt. If you use medjools, you can usually get one nut into each half of the date because they are so big.

They taste a whole lot like caramels!

Spirulina & Barley Grass Juice Powder

I love the smell of coffee but I hate the taste of it and for that I am thankful. I'm glad I never fell into the coffee pool that I see so many of my friends drowning in.

I have my own version of a morning pick me up and I look forward to it every morning. My first 16 ounces of water each day is blended with 1/2 tsp of spirulina, 1/2 tsp of Just Barley and sometimes I add in 1/2 tbsp of decaf instant tea. I pour it over a huge glass of ice.

I use a classic Blender Bottle. I picked them up at iHerb and VitaCost.  Amazon.com has them as well. The bottles come with a steel ball that helps to blend powder into liquid. You just shake it and pour or you can take it with you. You can find them for $5 to $8 each

Note: if you haven't ordered from iHerb before, you can use my referral code for $5.00 off! Just enter in the code AWE648 .. sometimes you can get 410 off $40 .. so double check.

If you haven't ordered from Vita Cost.. click here for $10 off your order!

I love the way drinking spirulina and barley grass just seems to wake up every cell in my body! I really notice it if I don't drink it first thing in the morning. I try to have 16 ounces of water before I have breakfast. It gets my body moving along .. much like coffee does for everyone else.

Not everyone likes the 'green' flavor but I love it and I crave it. I will say that I do not like the flavor of sea veggies like nori, seaweed and the like but I love the flavor of spirulina and BGJ! 


The folks over at Natural News have a fantastic article about spirulina so I'll let you head over there to read all about it, why it's good for you and why you may want to add it to your day!

The brand of spirulina I use is called Nutrex-Hawaii. There are other brands, of course, but I did some research and this is the one I decided on based on reviews and how it's grown and processed. It comes in powder or pill form. I like the powder because I actually love the green grassy flavor to it but some people don't. I also like that I can add the powder to a smoothie if I want to. 

The bottle says 1 tsp is a serving but I use 1/2 tsp so I should get about 300 servings out of one 16 oz bottle. On amazon.com you can get it for $25 to $28 with free shipping. I signed up for their subscribe and save plan and knocked an additional 15% off. You can adjust the shipping time to every 6 months and you can always skip the shipment if you want. It's a really easy way to save but you have to pay attention to your subscribe and save items so you don't get shipments you don't need! I have quite a few items on my account that way.

Barley Grass Juice Powder (BGJ)

I use the Pure Plant brand called Just Barley. Click the link to read about the history and benefits of BGJ. 

As always, I research various brands and I found this one to be the best reviewed. It's 100% organic and just barley grass with no additives or fillers. I've had other brands and they've tasted so horrible that I couldn't finish them. I love the taste of this but I like the green grassy flavor. I do tell people to give it a chance. I actually crave this now. You can always add it to a smoothie if you want to hide the flavor. I usually get this from iHerb or Vita Cost as they seem to have the best prices.

They have an 80 gram jar that has 80 1 tsp servings. I use 1/2 tsp so I get 160 servings.  I pay about $16 a bottle. 

As with spirulina, BGJ can be used in fresh juice or in a smoothie if you prefer.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Original Recipe: Massaged Kale Salad

This salad was almost 100% raw and almost 100% healthy and then I went and added crispy tempeh bacon to it.

I can hear the voices in your head saying 'but, tempeh bacon is healthy' and yes, crazy head voices,  it sure is... until you pan fry it in olive oil.


Is there a 12 step program for tempeh bacon addiction? Did I say that out loud?

So.... if you want it 100% raw, leave out the tempeh bacon. If you want it 100% healthy bake your tempeh bacon. (but it's damn good fried crispy in olive oil .. shhhhh... be quiet naughty head voices!)

I found a recipe online but when I started messing with it and adding things... it suddenly became my recipe.

Shelly's Massaged Kale Salad
Makes 2 entree salads or 4 side salads

8 oz of kale, stems removed and broken into bite sized pieces
1 small onion, very thinly sliced
2 carrots (or a couple handfuls of baby carrots), shredded
1 small avocado
6 cherry tomatoes (cut in half) or 3 small campari tomatoes (cut into 4)
8 slices temeph bacon, fried crispy (optional.. but not really)


2 tbsp water
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
juice from one lemon (please use a fresh lemon)
1 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp tamari (or soy sauce)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp salt
dash cayenne (if you want it to have a little spice to it)

In a large bowl, combine the kale, onions and carrots. Set aside

In a smaller bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and mix until smooth. (I used my Magic Bullet blender.) If you need to add an additional tablespoon of water, do so... you want it smooth and the thickness of a creamy salad dressing. No lumps! Not too thin!

Now... with your hand.. seriously.. the necessary tool here is your hand ... massage the dressing into the veggies ... making sure you massage it into each kale leaf. Use a swedish massage type effort.. not deep tissue! The acid of the vinegar and lemon juice and the fat of the avocado will soften the kale.

Let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

Plate the salad and top with tomatoes and tempeh bacon.. I know you're using it.