Stirfry and Marinated Tofu

Well work is really kicking me in the boots. Luckily this week I have taken the 3rd and 4th off, to celebrate the national holiday with my friends. We will going up to my apartment to go to the large summer festival to see some of our favorite singers/bands and maybe lay at the beach and get some food before fireworks. Then the next day we are having a BBQ back at home with all of our friends and watching fireworks. Ill probably be making a few pasta/potato salads for the party and bring my own hot dogs.
And btw, does anybody know an American brand of hot dog buns that are vegan? I cannot find any! Im also curious about the PETA list of 'Accidentally Vegan,' the email on the page does not work, so I couldnt FWD my question to them. A lot of the food on there has mono,di-glyercides and I just wonder
What does PETA consider vegan enough? I will not consume any foods that have glyercides, unless I know for fact they come from a plant source. And the small issue we all have is that everyone views their own veganism to different extremes. Even at a potluck, how do we know that one vegan is at the same level as us, or if we are serving a dish that is below their standard food. Its all so curious. With veganism there really is no straight cut line, like with being a vegetarian. Most people realize that veganism is no dairy and eggs and no meat. But do they even know about the hundreds of other ingredients? Probably not, because I didnt even really realize it til a few months ago. Now I love checking the boxes of any foods, even if I am not going to buy or eat it. Just so curious to see all the 'crap' companies put in their food.

Now onto the food. Last week, my dad and I were on our own. Both of us were not feeling up to going out to get food. We both were pooped from moving and building all that stuff. So he decided to have leftover chicken, and I had a craving for something with tofu and veggies. I opted for a stir fry. I just found all the veggies we had and chopped them all up (red pepper, onion, broccoli, zucchini, and celery) put them in my wok and then made a variant of the Vegan Dad's sauce for tofu and cashew stir fry. My oh my did it turn out delicious. By the time it was all ready to go, I realized I never made my rice! So I turned to the trick of cooking cous cous in the microwave that I learned by Catherine of Food Snob. It was great cause the cous cous stuck to every bit of the sauce, very delicious.

The next night, my mom said she was going to be cooking brown rice with veggies and stock. They were going to be grilling meat, so I was like Ill do the same. I made a marinade with soy sauce, hoisin sauce, garlic, red pepper flakes, onion powder, salt and pepper, and then water to thin it out. I let the tofu marinate for 40 mins, and then put them on the grill. They turned out very very good. Had a lot of flavor and a bit of heat from the pepper flakes. Id definitely make it again.

That was really all the cooking I did last week, other than left-overs and quick meals I could make for work, since most of my large meals were had at work. Im off to work in a few hours, so Im making some whole wheat pasta to bring along. I still cannot believe June is going to be over in a few hours. Where has the time gone.


My Apartment!

Well on Sunday, we head up North to school in a large rented van with all my crap. We arrived 20 mins earlier. And went scrambling trying to get ahold of my landlord or the manager. Apparently my landlord forgot to tell the manager Id be coming that day. But after ringing his door and the office so many times, we got his attention. It didn't take too long to get all the crap in doors, but we were there from 10 to 5 working on building all the stuff from IKEA and unpacking. All of it is done, and this is what my place currently looks like. The images are a bit pixelated, but just click on it, and you'll get the full image. I realize, most people dont want to look at 10 photos of an unfinished place, but im too excited. The apartment is 105 years old, all cabinets are original and there is a beautiful fireplace and claw-foot tub.

The entryway.
My bedroom!

The beautiful and large closet in my room.

My new super large desk, so excited to have space for once! Only problem is I need to figure out storage until I can afford a filing cabinet. Who knew they were so expensive.

The dresser from IKEA. Its huge and wide, can't wait to fill it.

The living room. The dining area, because of the window seats we have room to seat 6-7. We'll be covering both of the seats with new fabric, since they are old. The fireplace though is gorgeous!

The living room bit, we still are trying to work the details of how the layout will be. As the tv in any area is awkward.

My adorable bathroom. It will look much better once it is decorated. But for now it is quite bare. My roommate wants bright colors, so I obliged.The small small kitchen. This will be my new place of cooking soon. At least I will have cute pots and pans and serving wear. There is a ton of storage in the closet that will make due for my pantry. And the view is amazing, so compromises.

The start of my shelf for cookbooks! All the rest are at home, but so glad they have a home now.


I luckily had Monday off, cause I was EXHAUSTED. So I slept and slept and really only ate leftovers, prepared soups, and rice and lentils. But I got some momentum going later on in the week.


30 Days, Sandwich, and Red Pepper Curry

Days off. How we love them. But apparently I get so excited that I don't sleep the night before...5 am came and I was still online, but for good reasons. Helping a friend with a paper and philosophically debating with another friend on animal welfare, consumerism, capitalism, and other related ideas. He is a heavy meat-eater, but respects my beliefs.

After I got some sort of sleep, I decided to make what I was calling a HOT! A Hummus, Onion, Cucumber sandwich...then why hot? Because I apparently do not know what a cucumber is called. My dad finally questioned my logic with my name. So I decided to just stick with BLT, making even more sense. Just hummus on toasted whole-grain bread with cucumber, dill, season salt, and fried onion bits. Cucumber and dill is probably one of my favorite lunches.

And somehow the debate from the night before lead into my watching of the show 30 days. If you haven't heard, Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) has a reality series where one extreme will go to the opposite end for 30 days. He has done living on minimum wage, living with handicaps, and more. But this episode I was told about by the Vegblog. A deer hunter from the Carolinas would be heading to LA to live with a demonstration planner for PETA and her vegan, animal rights activist family. I was extremely worried about the show, I just hoped that it wouldn't put our cause into a bad light or make it out to be some kind of joke. It turned out to be an amazing 45 minutes of television. The hunter went with a closed mind, but he was able to open up while he experienced demonstrations for KFC, UCLA animal experimentation, and Burberry fur industry. He also ate fully vegan and worked at Animal Acres. My major issue with the episode is that for a few points I was agreeing with the hunter, he was extremely frustrated with people just continually being a broken record and not give him the hard facts. He said he would just have uped and left if he had to live with the founder of Animal Acres. I know it probably was frustrating having to work with someone you knew was going against your cause, but she continually tried to reason with him by bringing up Nazi Germany and slavery in our nation. I had a hard time seeing through this argument, as Im all about the facts, the science, the psychology, and economic sides. I know nobody will listen to me if I just go on about emotion. But if I can prove with my schooling that a vegan lifestyle is healthy or that all animals have developed sensory system, or even refute that a fucking plant has feelings...well then I think I will effect more people and get through further. The show was extremely emotional, I cried not once, not twice, nope not even just three, four times. I HIGHLY recommend watching the program. You can watch it on hulu, for free, and legal, beginning June 25th. There are little tidbits of the program already up.

I really want my mom to watch it with me, I think that if she sees first hand the events that took place just in 30 days, not too many months ago, she might take some interest in what I believe in and stop wanting to be ignorant. It hurts that after almost a decade of trying to talk about what is important to me I stil cannot get through to her. She doesnt want to hear about it and becomes disinterested and just shows to me that she doesnt want any part. Tonight I tried to talk about the episode and how great it was, but it was all just 'oh? hmmm' 's. My sister's friend is vegan and has been talking to my sister about some of the major issues with factory farms, my sister relayed that to my mom, and she listened! My dad is even worse. Anything I make, anything I bake he just turns away from it. I have a feeling if nobody tol
d him they were vegan, he would eat 30. But with my vegan brownies, my mom loved them, tried to get him to try one, no do. I just don't get it. On the program the PETA employee was able to turn her whole family into vegans. I know that probably will never happen with my family, but I wish they could see the health benefits, want to see the horrors that I am aware, or even just take some interest in what I believe and care about. I try telling my mom that I want to make a difference in farm animals lives, she makes it obvious that she doesnt agree with my desires. She just told me I keep changing my mind. But I am only changing my mind because I know my calling, my passion, my life is within the animal rights realm.

Anyways, watch 30 days! You will love it. And if you are unable to watch it at Hulu and want a copy, I can try and figure out my DVD recorder and send it to you. It was that awesome.

I did promise that I would be cooking today since I had the day off. Though, my mom comes home and says she is making dinner for us all. She has this recipe she wants to try and it can easily be veganized. It came from the Chicago Tribune a few days ago, it is called Saucy curried chicken, but mine was obviously with good 'ol tofu. The recipe calls for honey, but we used sugar water and calls for yogurt, but I didn't have any soy yogurt so cream cheese whipped into a bit of soy milk did the trick. Laid out on a bed of orzo and topped with fresh mint and a plate of salad; this meal was delicious. It looked easy to make and could easily be tampered for a spicy or mild mood. Very delicious. So thank you mom for making dinner!

Tomorrow back to work, so no cooking. But I will be doing the last bits of packing and getting ready for my big move.


Chickpea Shepherd's Pie and Brownies

I work even more hours this week. I even worked Monday 8pm to 5am. So I am extremely exhausted already from all the work, and still have 3 more days left. Though, I am moving this weekend, so that is adding to my work level. Tons of stuff I got to have ready for the truck. But Im not moving everything this weekend, just the big stuff. I just feel so bad since my mom is doing a lot of the packing and did all the painting I was supposed to do today. I kept telling her no, but she insisted.

Now onto the good stuff...FOOD, of course.

Monday before I left for work, I made another one of Vegan Dad's recipes. Like I said I adore his dishes because they are quick, easy, and yummy. This one was Cheesy Chickpea Shepherd's Pie. It doesn't look too pretty in the picture, but it was delicious. The longest bit was cooking the potatoes. I used Yukon Gold and cleaned the skins well so I could keep them on. The mashed potatoes made up the top and bottom, but in between was peas, corn, and an eggplant-chickpea cheesy mixture. Using milk and nutritional yeast. That bit was so good it could have been just eaten on its own or as a side. I'll definitely be making this one again. Im eating the leftovers at work. It looks to me that the recipe makes about 5 servings for one person. Since it was so quick, itd be great to cook once school starts and have a ton of already prepared meals. Delish.

Then yeseterday was my grandmother's birthday. But she wasnt feeling well, the poor dear. She is hitting the high 80's, so most days are slower. But she is still kicking and for the most part good an healthy. Even though she said she didn't want to go out, we still came over to check-up on her (she is the most stubborn lady in the world, even a blood infection didn't make her call the doctor). She turned out to just have a cold and so did my grandad, so we just opened presents at their house. We got her a digital photo-frame, my mom will be putting on photos of all the grandkids and then the one great grandbaby. After the photos are on, I think she will really like it. They were planning on getting hot dogs, I was thinking Id go home and get mine, when I remembered I cannot find any buns of any kind that are vegan. NONE! A whole aisle at two different markets, none. Im going to have to head out to Whole Foods, urgh. So instead got my chickpea shepherd's pie. I was extremely crabby yesterday. The overnight at work the night before was hell. We outsourced people to do our inventory, so I was just there to double count and help them out if they couldnt find a SKU number. We had to double count 25% of the store, but everybody kept telling us different ways to determine the 25%, so I got yelled at because the guy running it told me to do it different than one of my managers. Then they never gave us our paid breaks or a full lunch, we got half a lunch. So 9 hours in the middle of the night practically...so nobody really got on my case the past couple for being lazy and cranky, since I have reason. But I did cheer up once I got the chance to take a ride in my uncle's Cobra. Its apparently a really expensive car (150,000 and up) but his he made himself, like a kit. It's crazy to think he made it. It apparently can go up to 200mph, but he doesnt know how fast he has gotten his. It makes a load of noise and gets loads of attention. The seatbelt is a harness! It was just crazy, but a fun time. I couldnt imagine driving it often, but he loves it. My mom sat outside waiting for us to get back, she told me later. "I bet your blog friends dont have a Cobra," I just laughed cause she knew already that those photos would go up on my blog, oh dear.

I had a bit of a headache afterwards, but I was so giggly and what not that I was a bit happier. I worked again today til 11. I was going to go out with my friends to the open-mic at a coffee house, but I was too tired. I decided to make brownies. I used the recipe I found here. But we did not have any sugar, so I used agave nectar. I cut the agave to a hearty 1/3 cup. They baked extremely well, it was the first time I used applesauce as a replacer. I was a bit skeptical, but they look and taste like brownies. I think they are a bit too chocolately sweet for me though, next time Ill use only 1/4 cup of chocolate chips, and less nectar. But the more it cools down the easier it is to eat, so we shall see. Im very pleased with how they turned out, it took a whole 10 mins to make, so I sat and typed this up while they baked.

Tomorrow I feel like making either mexican or chinese food. Im off, so Ill definitely be cooking. So we shall see what I decide.


Chickpea Burritos

Well I know I promised loads of foods and what not. But work got the best of me. I worked more hours than scheduled, and still have another long day tomorrow. But then I get a day off. Woooohoo, but not really as I am working inventory so Ill be at work from 8pm to 5am, so that will not be fun. Anyways, so that is my reasoning for not doing all the cooking I wanted to do this week.

But I did make one of the recipes I wanted to. I looove Vegan Dad's recipes. He always has quick and easy meals that are simple but delicious. And I tend to have all of the ingredients just on hand. So I decided to make his Chickpea tostados. What I loved about the recipe is it used hot spices, but then cinnamon. I had never thought about using cinnamon in a spicy dish. It was sooo delicious. The spice from the cumin and chili powder would flood your mouth, but then was cooled down by the sweetness. It was really great. For my toppings I used red pepper, lettuce, black bean and corn salsa, refried beans, and a little mozzarella cheese. My mom had already started making dinner for me, when I told her Id be making my own dinner. So she had a potato for me. So I put refried beans and salsa in it. It was good, but I was stuffed from my burrito that I didnt really eat much of it. Due to work I was super busy and tired. But I was able to eat the leftover chickpea and onion mix 3 days in a row. It was that good. I made two days burritos and the other day I had cooked some whole wheat pasta to take with work, but I had extra. So I mixed the chikpeas in with a little refried beans and mixed it up good. Then topped it with a little salsa. It was good and filling. The rest of the week was made up of hummus and veggies, leftover alfredo.
And tonight pizza! I had made it because my friend who is spending the summer abroad in Prague leaves tomorrow. So we were going to do something before she left. She invited me over for pizza, so I said sure, I'll just bring maybe some pasta. But then I realize I had the left over dough. I had to defrost it in the microwave, a bit of it dried out, but most of it was still good. Just a plain cheese using Tofutti mozz slices. It turned out really well. The cheese got a bit runny it melted so well. So I just waited 10 minutes to eat and it was PERFECT! IT was so amazing. I was so glad. Her sister is vegetarian and wanted to try it. And she said she loved it. She had had a lot of bad experiences with soy cheeses, but who hasnt. Though she thought the pizza was amazing. I was really glad.

I also got a chance to try this Double Chocolate Decadence Cookie from Alternative Baking Company Inc. It was very very yummy. Very large and very delish. I wish I had heated it up a bit. It was very cakey since it was so thick. But I would definitely by one again. Though I do love baking my own. I will be making my grandad some cookies for Father's Day. Though I am still unsure what to do for my dad. eek, one day left! Ill figure something out. And I also want to try and make Isa's blueberry brownies. I have to return the book tomorrow, so Im going to have to make it tomorrow, or just pay fines for the book being late. Once I get my first paycheck Ill be heading over to the bookstore to get Veganomicon and a few other cookbooks. Anybody have a favorite?

Well other than work this week, I did get to IKEA! It was amazing and fun and so bad to my checkbook. I was able to get all my dishes, glasses, silverware, and a load of kitchen supplies. Plus a new dresser, desk, and chair. I move in a week, so its exciting as can be. So next week will be spent working a ton, packing, shopping, and hopefully getting to make another Vegan Dad recipe of Chickpea Shepherd's Pie (Im on a chickpea kick) and want to try a frittata recipe. So look forward to that.

Off to go eat a slice of cold pizza and watch a movie.


Weekend in short

Well I have no photos for you all from this weekend. But I was a busy bee.

First off, HALLELUJAH! I am done with summer school. I believe I finished strong with good exams and good grades. Im just glad it is over, it was tiresome. I do not like having THAT structured a schedule. It did me well, but now I have time to enjoy my time.

So my parents did take me to my favorite Thai restaurant. Though, I did not take pictures as I was a bit embarrassed. Especially since the waiter has been there for years, knows my order by heart, and is a bit inappropriate (always asking me about dates and what not, but good food is way more important). He was a bit calmer since my parents were around, but I still was not going to be caught taking photos. Anyways. So he comes up and asks if I want my thai eggrolls and pad thai with tofu? And I told him about no eggs for me, so he told me I should try the rice rolls, which were rice paper, fresh vegetables, marinated tofu, served cold with a delicious dark sweet sauce. My entire family enjoyed them, it was perfect for a hot day. Then I decided to order the pad thai without egg and made sure no fish oils. It was just as good without the egg, I just wish I had more tofu! Its always the first thing that goes. I also ordered it a bit hotter, which was delicious. So in total, it was a great meal with my family.

The next day, my mom and I prepped my new room all day for paint. I started moving my clothes and packing up things, organizing, and what not. It was a very productive day, my mom and I both were pooped. For lunch I had leftovers from the night before. And for dinner my mom was going to make sausage and potato salad. So she asked what I wanted, I said Ill make my own version. While fishing out my hot dogs, I saw that there were still a lot of prepared 'meats' that were not vegan. So we threw away maybe 6 boxes of half eaten morning star and boca products. I dont like throwing things away, but when they are half opened, cant do anything with them. I realized that I didnt have any buns or time to run to the store or make any thing. So I made one of my childhood favorites of Crescent Dogs, I used a quarter slice of Toffuti Cheese singles and my favorite veggie dog, Smart Dogs. I was so happy when I found out that Pillsbury Crescents were accidentally vegan. They are just the perfect little finger food dinner. My mom was making Sour Cream Potato Salad. So I did the same. Here is the recipe.

Sour Cream-Dill Potato Salad serves two
2-3 potatoes, cooked, peeled, and cut in blocks

1/2 cup Vegan Mayonnaise
1/2 cup Vegan Sour Cream
1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 cup Cucumber, sliced in fourths
1-2 tsps Dill weed

1. Mix Mayonnaise and Sour Cream in separate bowl.
2. Place as much of the mixture you would like into bowl with peeled potatoes
3. Add Vinegar and mix well.
4. Add Cucumber and Dill.
5. Serve cold and with a dash of dill for garnish.

All done! Super easy, probably didnt need to give you all a recipe, but it is a great fluffier version of the American potato salad. Its delicious and quick.

Today we painted the room, its a gorgeous green (very soft, yet bright). We finished in a few hours. I got fired from using the rolling brush. Apparently wasnt doing it right. So I did all the fine touches and used the small brush to get up against the molding and ceiling. Now that that bit is done, the next big step is to get the current furniture gone. We are going to turn to freecycle to get rid of the furniture. It is a great program that allows communities around the world to get rid of their things through yahoo groups for free. The new owners pick up normally same day. And what's great is you can do as much getting rid or as much getting as you like. Their mission is to reduce waste and save resources. Great program! So after the furniture is gone, or atleast displaced for now, we will set up my 'new bed' and take apart my own bed. I will be painting my normal bed white to make it antiquish, and it will be moving to Milwaukee with me. I am buying a new dresser for my apartment, so my current will have be moved into my bedroom in my house. Its all so confusing! But when all is done it will have been a great benefit for my entire family for me to be in this other bedroom.

My main reason for moving into the bedroom across the hall (actually was my first bedroom when I young, but it is smaller) is the fact that the air vent in that room is MUCH better. In winter I will be warm and in summer I will be freezing. Currently I am freezing my ass off in winter and dying of heat (currently am extremely hot), so no more wah wah wah from me. Also it has a walk in closet. Also I've grown out of my current room. I believe I re-decorated and moved to this room when I was starting Junior High School, so 11? I painted it a beautiful blue and got all metal silver furniture with oak woods. And all things to do with blue stars. So for my current taste it just does not match. And it is very cluttered with its large open shelves.

I have been designing my room for Milwaukee to the dot. I have floor plans and measurements and everything you'd ever think a home buyer would do, yet Im just going to be living there for a year, maybe two. The building I will be renting from is 109 years old and is a Historic building in Milwaukee. It is just gorgeous with beautiful crown molding, original built-in cabinetry in the kitchen and walkways, large stone fireplace, claw-foot tube, original hardwood floors, and huge bay windows. Oh my! Amazing huh? Well we pay in sq feet in the kitchen, but really that is the only drawback. I will manage and because we have floor to ceiling closets in the hallway, I will just keep my pantry out there. Anyways, my room will be shabby chic and antique! I already have sheets all ready. And on Tuesday we are off to Ikea to find me a functional/large desk, awesome dresser, bed side tables, and all kitchen supplies needed. Im like madly excited. One of my favorite hobbies ever is decorating. I adore it. Its just too much fun. And Im so psychotic with detail that I go on and on and on to make sure it is perfect.

Well I will be taking photos of both finished rooms, so just you wait.
It will have been worth the lack of photos and boring rambles til that moment.

But, aside from all that rambles. After we finished painting, my dad and I decided to get dinner (my mom had already eaten with her friends). So we decided to try the other Thai place in town, we used to always go together. But they changed owners. We forgot, but that was because we werent impressed the first time. Now the lady was gabbing away to apparently her daughter when we came in, didnt even get off the phone. Nor helped us. She finally called someone from the kitchen to help us. I ordered the Garlic Tofu, it sounded delicious. And my dad ordered Ba-Mee. Came our dinner, and my tofu looked very fried, more like seitan. I looked at it for a bit and was confused. I didnt have any silverware aside from my chopsticks, so I bit into it, and chewed. It didnt taste like anything, but I spat it out. I asked my dad to try it, and he said what I was hoping it wasnt....chicken. FUCK! Its so ironic a few days after I had posted about my frustration with vegan food, well now somebody serves me fucking chicken. My dad was worried of how I would react, but I didnt want to be emotional about it. The waiter had disappeared, so we had to interupt the gabbing lady to confirm it was chicken. She said sorry and ran off to get it changed. Though our waiter even repeated tofu back to me, I remember it perfectly. So maybe he said tofu and wrote chicken, no idea. So that left me a bit freaked, not a bit...a lot. I kept reasoning with myself that my conscious decision to not eat meat products was what is important, because I had been served chicken or maybe ate something with a non-vegan dye, or whatever the case. I try my damn hardest to make sure food while eating out is vegan, but like we saw on Hell's Kitchen, sometimes we are told something is vegan/vegetarian, but it truly is not. Each person's definition of vegetarian is different. A lot of people don't realize that most vegetarians do not eat fish, others dont realize that eggs/dairy is not the only thing a vegan refrains from eating. So if served an item that is not vegan, it does not make us any less vegan. It does not mean that I must start the clock over back to 0 days. I do not feel good about it...at all. I wish it did not happen. But I have consciously made a decision to not support the meat industry, I have made a decision to be a voice for animals, and I will do so. My truest concern from the night's mishap, was the fact that the chicken probably was just thrown in the garbage. The poor chicken's life went to waste. I don't want any chickens to be served up on a plate, but the fact that it had to live in such horrid conditions for nothing. I just feel horrible. I wish I just took it home to my mom or something. At least then the food would not be thrown out. I know I get a bit more emotional over such things than most. I've always felt bad when I didnt like a gift or a toy. Hell I wrote my initials on all fast food toys as a kid, because I felt bad if I didnt like them all equal. Id split my sleeping time with my stuffed animals, because if I always slept with one, I thought all the others would feel bad. Even today, I am the biggest hoarder of things because I will feel bad if somebody finds out I got rid of the scarf they made for me 6 years ago, or feel bad if I threw out a card somebody wrote me for my birthday when I was 12, and the list goes on. It was an accomplishment the other day getting rid of a ton of clothes I do not ever look at, and got rid of a ton of papers and crap that was just left in boxes. I still have 6 under bed storage containers filled with different things. I still have my memory boxes (7 in total) from the past 6 years. But each time I go back and sort, I get rid of more. I still feel horrible, but I know I gotta do it.

Well after dinner, my dad went and got my mom and him some ice cream bars. He bought me a slushie. And I just lounged around watching HGTV with my mom. I think though Ill watch a movie and get to bed. Sorry again for the lack of photos. Been so busy with cleaning and what not. Though I will be cooking a storm this week. Get ready!


Pizza, Cookies, Presentation

Well, summer school is only a few hours away from being over with. I have finished my History course and just have my ethics final tomorrow morning. But I feel like its been too long since I made these foods I have saved up (since they are long gone) so I want to update.

So last weekend I decided to make a pizza! I was really excited and inspired by Isa's amazing little pizza section of VwaV. Then I saw this amazing recipe in the Student's Go Vegan Cookbook of Caramelized Onions, Walnut, and Sage pizza. All those sweet and savory flavours on a pizza, hell yes? That morning my mom and I went shopping at the supermarket to get the sage and pizza dough. I was willing to make my own if I couldnt find a pre-made that was vegan. And of course, no luck. The pizza doughs that they had one of the following: dried honey, parmesan cheese, egg. So I was like wtf, who puts dried honey in a pizza dough. I was complaining a bit, telling my mom how I dont get why manufacturers decide to change a simple dough into some mishmosh of ingredients that do not belong. I kind of got angry, because she got snippy that it was only cause I didnt eat it. Well Im sorry, I dont get the point of dried honey on a pizza dough. But my opinion.

I have been having a really hard time finding good pre-made products in my supermarket that are vegan. Whole Foods is in the psycho busy/stuck up suburb near me, and I just hate shopping there and dealing with the traffic. But Im going to haul my butt over there sometime next week to get spices and popcorn in bulk. If I havent mentioned, Im psychotically obsessed with popcorn. I feel so lonely without it for a day. My roommate last year gave me an article talking about the additive in popcorn that caused lung cancer. But I only eat packaged popcorn when I was away at school without a kitchen. At home I make my own popcorn and dont think there is any other way to eat it aside from a little salt. Love my tangents? Im so easily distracted. There has been a few incidents that I realize something is not vegan after I buy it and have eaten part of it. Like my Kashi Go Lean (honey), Morningstar patty (egg whites), Boca Italian Sausage (egg). Im freaked out that I ate it and feel so guilty. I know if somebody told me something was vegetarian when I was younger, to find out that it was made with chicken stock or ham (brasilians don't really consider ham meat) I would feel nauseous by the thought or Id already know I was told wrong cause Id be needing to run the bathroom. In a non-vegan world, Im unsure how to handle this new issue of accidental eats. Especially while out to eat...we can be told something is entirely vegan, but then be served something with a mono, di-glyceride. If it is dairy or egg, I feel a bit calmer about it because it is a by product and was not linked directly to the slaughter of the animal. But I also do not want it to happen very often, if ever in the future.

How do you deal with accidentally eating a non-vegan item? What justification or argument is helpful to explain to others who are aware that you have had a non-vegan food?

My sister at a restaurant was like how do you know that isnt cooked in animal fat? I freaked out, she was right. I didnt know. I just assumed as I cook it in canola. But I don't know how to respond to that.

Back to the food, pizza. Yes, pizza. Saturday while researching for my presentation on factory farms I made my dough. It was super simple, I never really realized how easy it was. My dough turned out perfect! I loved Isa's directions, she really had thought of every question I would have had. Now my VwaV is covered in water spots and flour, but well worth it. I have half of the recipe in the freezer, oh yeah!

Making the pizza was simple as pie (oh my, such a comedian!) Just caramelized two large yellow onions, crumbled walnuts, and dried sage. The recipe was a sauce-less pie, but I thought it would add another element. Boy oh boy, cooking the onions was my favorite bit. I love caramelized onions to pieces, I had to stop myself from just eating them plain. The onions were truly the winning piece on the pizza. When I took it out of the oven, I realized my pizza looked like a sausage crumble pizza. The elements together just rocked, like I cant explain it. I never thought of putting a nut on my pizza, though the walnuts were soft enough to crumble and the flavor and crunch was a beautiful addition. Id definitely make this pizza again. Though with my extra dough, I hope I can get my hands on Teese to try and make just a plain 'ol cheese pizza.

Now the entire weekend I devoted to working on my presentation for my history class. I got to choose the topic. I wasn't originally thinking along the lines of animal welfare. But he told us to think of what topic we have the most books already on, most interest, and passion. Well that was obvious, I own like a billion books on factory farms and different exposes and opinions. So I switched from Holocaust Media to the Evolution of the Factory Farm. I had a hard time starting because the books I was using were very economically based, so to find research on just the plain history of agricultural was difficult. Though, after I got the ball rolling, it never stopped. I also got another book a day later that was titled
The History of Agriculture, turned out to be a great source to help tie in all the periods I focused on, mainly Middle Ages, Agricultural Revolution, Industrial, and World Wars. I had the hardest time to make my presentation only 10 mins, I had a good 5hours of information that I would gladly talk about. So I chose wisely, and tried to make the information on the impact on animals, health, and environment as in their face and disgusting and wow-factored as possible. It was also really liberating to do the research on legislation within the EU. I cannot even believe all the laws that have actually been passed within the EU. America is so fucking behind its not funny. I always say I should just move to Denmark, but I need to stay here and help change the way we think about animal welfare and our food sources.

The presentation went well, I for some reason, was extremely nervous. My voice shook the entire time, but I was completely confident with my words and what I was saying. The same think happened last year while doing a presentation on the Lack of Women in Major Art Galleries. But after I started, I got more fluid and bam. I made vegan chocolate chip cookies for the class to prove that veganism is delicious. I also handed out that large fact sheet that Robbin's put together. And of course there was a video, short, but to the point. I got an A on the presentation, I was happy. But I dont care about the grade, I just want to make sure that I got my points across clear and that I maybe cause one of the students or teacher to think twice about their food source. Or someone to remember even just one thing and tell it to another.

Aside from study study study, this weekend I found my lost wallet. I had lost it a month before. It had all of my credit cards, license, school IDs, paper work from Brasil, copy of my passport and my Brasilian visa, and FUCK my Social Security card (I had put it in my wallet while I was moving back home). I had gotten not an hour of sleep the day I moved home, so I couldnt remember for the life of me if I brought it into the restaurant on the way home. I canceled all of my cards, got a new license, was in the process of calling all the credit bureau and applying for a new SScard. I was stressed because of the process, I was so scared that somebody was going to steal my identity. But while cleaning up my garbage can that had spilled over, I saw a lone sock and a 'shirt'. I grab the sock and shirt. But I realize the 'shirt' is my Damien Rice tote bag and my WALLET. I was like freaking mad, slap happy. I couldnt do anymore research, so I decided to make those Chewy Chocolate-Raspberry Cookies from Veganomicon. Super simple recipe, but rich flavor. Everybody enjoyed them, I found them extremely sugary, but I think its because we used jam and not spreadable fruit. They are gone and my family is sad. They sure do love that I love to bake. I made a second batch of chocolate chip cookies for them this week.

This week I really didnt do any cooking. I mostly had rice and beans, random garbage pail salad concoctions, or hummus and veggies/pita. Tomorrow due to the last day of class, my mom wants to go and celebrate at my favorite thai restaurant. But I wish I could find a menu online first, so I could make sure that I could veganize their pad thai. We shall see, and of course I will talk about it. My family thinks Im crazy for taking so many photos of my food, their loss. :)


Dear KFC,

So I still get emails from PETA. Im not really a big supporter's of theirs. But I do support most of their campaigns and their ultimate goals, its just the way they go about things....but that is not the important bit. You may have already heard about their victory with KFC Canada. I got this email from the Ingrid correspondents:

Dear Sarah,

I have great news! Thanks to the help of PETA's more than 2 million members and supporters, we've just scored a major victory for chickens killed by fast-food chain KFC.

Following more than five years of intense campaigning, numerous undercover investigations, and over 12,000 demonstrations against KFC around the world, I'm happy to announce that KFC Canada will be making sweeping changes to the ways it raises and kills chickens slaughtered for its restaurants.

KFC Canada agreed to this historic new animal welfare plan following seven months of closed-door negotiations with PETA. With today's announcement, the company plans to do the following:
  • Phase in purchases of 100 percent of its chickens from suppliers that use controlled-atmosphere killing (CAK)—the least cruel form of poultry slaughter ever developed. KFC Canada is the first major restaurant chain to commit to phasing in the exclusive purchasing of chicken meat from CAK slaughterhouses.

  • Make a vegan faux-chicken item available at the majority of KFC restaurants in Canada.

  • Improve its animal welfare criteria to reduce the number of broken bones and other injuries suffered by birds.

  • Urge its suppliers to adopt better practices, including improved lighting, lower stocking density and ammonia levels, and a phaseout of growth-promoting drugs and breeding practices that painfully cripple chickens.

  • Form an animal welfare advisory panel to monitor the changes and recommend further advancements.
However, outside Canada, KFC has yet to stop the worst abuses of chickens. We are now focusing on using this momentum to force KFC—both in the United States and around the world—to meet the new standards set by KFC Canada. By making an urgent donation today, you can help our campaign work to spread these improvements for animals to all of KFC's stores worldwide.

In short, PETA's KFC campaign is far from over. We will continue to pressure KFC to stop the worst abuses of chickens, like scalding birds to death, slitting their throats while they're still conscious, and drugging and breeding them to grow so large that they cripple beneath their own weight.

Please write to KFC in the U.S. using its online comment form urging it to make the same changes worldwide that KFC Canada has made. Please also take a moment to e-mail info@priszm.com (KFC Canada's parent company) and thank them for raising the bar on animal welfare.

For all that you've already done—and will do now—to help in this historic KFC campaign, thank you.

Warm regards,
Ingrid Newkirk
Ingrid E. Newkirk

I decided to do what she told me, they gave me the link, i just had to click and type a few words. I made it short and to the point, but no way harsh. Just commended the efforts of KFC Canada, I asked for a response back, I was entirely too curious.
Hereis their response:

Dear Sarah L:

Thank you for expressing your point of view on animal welfare.

KFC is committed to the well being and humane treatment of chickens and we
require all of our suppliers to follow guidelines developed by us with
leading experts on our Animal Welfare Advisory Council. Our suppliers
receive audits at their poultry facilities to ensure they are in
compliance. Failure to comply with our strict guidelines could result in
termination of our supplier agreement if remedial action is not taken.

Additionally, we have taken a leadership role with our trade associations
to establish standardized guidelines for the entire poultry industry,
including quick service restaurants. Our company also adheres to the
American Meat Institute's Animal Welfare guidelines for the humane
treatment of other animals bred for consumption.

We recognize that the breeding of any animal for human consumption may not
be palatable to you, and we respect the choice you have made. However, we
also respect the choice of millions of our consumers who frequent our
restaurants for the high quality, delicious food we offer.

We would like to assure you that we will continue to take the matter of
animal welfare very seriously. For further information about our
position, or the guidelines we follow, please feel free to view our
websites at www.kfc.com or www.yum.com. Thank you again for taking the
time to share your perspective.


KFC Consumer Affairs

I just love how they say they have their producers follow their guidelines. Well as we have seen their guidelines are low or they are doing a poor job of enforcing any such guidelines. I also love the fact that they say that they are a leader in poultry industry, when he is just talking about the commodity and enhancing the rate of production. This is removing from the welfare of the animals. Just so funny that he says they respect their own customers choices. But if they knew what was going on, they would think twice about what they were eating. Just think back to the 70s when the American public found out about the procedures of raising calves for veal. The consumption of veal in the nation has dropped to a quarter of what it was in '75.

Well consumers, is your KFC meat of high quality and delicious? I tend to believe that most people getting chicken from KFC are there because of short time, short money, and lack of knowledge on the corporate side of the chain.

If anybody else does contact KFC and click the box to tell them to contact them, I wonder if it is a standard response. The correspondent failed to acknowledge the changes to their corporation in Canada. But even so, I decided to venture of to www.yum.com, and it took me a few quick steps to find their 'guidelines' for poultry welfare. I read this page and another page, but they are constantly saying 'we recommend' 'may from time to time...' or 'our supplies tell us'. These phrases are so ambiguous, it just sounds like these are recomended proposals for their suppliers, and if they don't comply, well they must show documentation, but if they can have a good reason, then hell with the guidelines. And the best part, the bottom of the page, a link to TYSON! Oh god, now don't get me started. I see that you say all these things, but then look at Tyson. It's pathetic that our nations completely disregards ethical and humane standards when it comes to making a buck.

I must get going though. I'll have a post on some of the foods I've made in the past few days after my presentation is over. Im really excited about my presentation, I had to cut back on some parts. My section on laws in the EU and UK was over 5 mins long, I had averaged it a good minute, not 5! Haha, it makes me happy that I have to pull back instead of try and scrap for things to speak about. I can't deny that Im passionate about welfare of factory animals. If I ever do move to DC, don't doubt for a second that I will try and become very active in COK. As I was doing some research last night on the 28-hour law, I was reading a paper I wrote 4-5 years ago, speaking about how the law is so outdated and that the transportation of animals is mostly by trucks, when this law is only for rail cars. In just those short years, the law has been amended because of COK! I just love seeing how things are improving, yes slow. But we are making a difference. Everyone should pat their backs. And if that is too embarrassing, Ill come over and pat it for you.