Aglio E Olio Cheesy Vegan Pasta with Broccoli

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Aglio E Olio has always been a favorite of mine.  Garlicky olive oil sauce drizzled over my favorite pasta.

In the days before I was vegan, I’d top it with fresh parmesan cheese.

I recently tried a vegan version and it worked out wonderfully-it’s very cheesy and really satisfying!

I used rice pasta so this recipe is gluten free as well, but feel free to use whatever pasta you like.

For two servings:

Boil water for your pasta for two (I used Tinkyada Pasta Joy spaghetti: http://www.tinkyada.com/ – it’s awesome!) and get it ready while you’re preparing the rest.

I love garlic so I chopped finely 6 cloves (use whatever amount you prefer).

Cook the garlic in 1/4 cup of olive oil.

Once the garlic is softened (not too browned) add in 3 – 4 tbsp. of vegan parmesan cheese (an easy nutritional yeast and cashew mixture):

http://www.veggieful.com/2012/08/vegan-parmesan-cheese-recipe.html

Then chop up ½ cup of vegan cheese. I used Vegan Gourmet Monterey Jack though any kind will do:

http://followyourheart.com/products/monterey-jack-3/

Mix it all together until most of the vegan cheese has melted. 

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Once your pasta is ready add it into the mixture with a little of the water you cooked it in.

Keep the pasta mixture warm while you cook 1 cup of broccoli in the same boiling water.

Add the broccoli to the mixture.

Plate it and add parmesan cheese to the top.

Voilà-cheesy vegan aglio e olio pasta with broccoli!!!

I hope you enjoy it. 

A good recipe for the coming months of a cold—very cold – winter in Canada.

The Truth About Eggs

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Many of us grew up with a vision of farms as lovely places where animals frolicked in beautiful pastures and socialized with other animals while they ate themselves full. They had places to go when it rained or got too cold, but had the choice to be outside as well.

That may have been the way back then in the ‘good ol’ days’, but now most of our meat and dairy comes from factory farms where there simply is not enough space for the multitudes of animals that are kept. They are kept indoors for their whole lives, some cramped in so tightly with other animals, they cannot ever stretch and some can’t even turn around.

Thankfully, some farms are working toward better practices and higher standards of animal care.

And many small scale organic farmers are doing their best to provide us with healthy food, to take better care of their animals as well, allowing them free-range to the outdoors, and providing veterinary care when necessary – just caring more in general.

Still, most of us buy the cheapest meat, and the cheapest eggs and dairy we can find – this is not at no expense. Animals are living tortured lives so that farmers can get these cheap products to us. As long as there is demand, this will continue.

How many of us would still eat cheap eggs if we saw this picture from ‘Mercy for Animals’ website?

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There are better ways to get your eggs-visit a local farm and get them from healthy and truly free-range chickens.  Many companies say their chickens are ‘free-range’ but really they are not. Having access to a door you can never get to because of over-crowding to is not ‘free-range’.

Do your research. Be critical. Visit the farm yourself.

There are so many local farms, even near large cities. Do it for yourself and do it for the animals.

Or go vegan and make a delicious tofu scramble – tastes so much eggs it’s hard to tell the difference!

Here’s a great tofu scramble recipe on ‘thevword blog’ I’m going to try this week-end:

http://thevword.net/2012/03/southwestern-tofu-scramble-with-greens.html#comment-6400 

Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Blondies

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I have always loved chickpeas. Now I use them to make vegan gluten-free blondies!!!

Here is an easy and quick recipe to make:

INGREDIENTS:

1 can (15 oz.) of chickpeas rinsed and drained

1/2 cup of peanut butter (add more or less to taste or use different types of nut butters)

1/2 tsp of vanilla

1 tbsp organic coconut oil

1/4 cup of maple syrup (add more if you like them sweeter)

1/2 cup of organic dark vegan chocolate broken into pieces (you can use Terra Nostra rice milk chocolate or vegan Camino baking chocolate)

Preheat your oven to 375 F

Put all of the ingredients except the chocolate pieces in a food processor and process until smooth.

The mixture will be thick and quite wet – don’t worry as this produces delicious results!

Once your mixture is fairly smooth, stir in the chocolate pieces – but don’t process them.

Spread into 9 x 9 baking pan.

Bake for 30 -40 minutes.

They don’t rise very much but are delicious just the same!

They are done when you can put a toothpick in and it comes out clean.

Let cool down and cut into squares.

Refrigerate and enjoy!!

They are best, I think, right out of the fridge and seem to hold together better that way too.

Yields about 9 blondies.

Animal Suffrage

I recently read an interesting article called ‘Animal Suffrage’.

In it, the author, a veterinarian and former Vice President of Humane Society International, talks about how humans easily rationalize using animals for their benefit, not merely for financial reasons, but because people truly can’t accept that animals are worthy of our respect and care, and that they have feelings and empathy just as we do.

He argues that we suffer from “…a gross indifference that can rationalize animal cruelties and animal suffering because feeling for animals is either denied or repressed. Such a lack of empathy and compassion is as much a product of nature as it is of nurture; of how we our raised, influenced by cultural values and attitudes, and how we choose to respond to another’s plight that we may or may not have caused.”

He says that in order for things to change there must be an inherent change in us:

The nascent Animal Suffrage movement is one that recognizes that social change, moral progress, and especially the improvement in the treatment of animals, will never come through reason alone, but through a combination of sound science—facts—and genuine feeling, concern and commitment. Suffrage implies suffering with and suffering for, and it is only through such suffering that humanity will ever put an end to inhumanity in all its forms and situations.”

Here is Dr. Fox’s full article:

http://www.all-creatures.org/articles/an-tpr-animal.html

Earthlings

Earthlings-a new movie narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, a fellow vegan. Warning: Just the trailer is hard to watch (VERY disturbing images) but important.

http://earthlings.com/

In the trailer, Joaquin asks, “Isn’t it enough that animals have to literally run just from human progress?” Animals have less and less space to live their lives in — as we take over their habitats on earth and in water — they have less and less escape from us who will use, abuse, torture and kill them.

People don’t know what happens to animals daily and on such a huge scale – it is really unimaginable.

People don’t seem to want to really know the truth, but smaller groups of us are here to spread the message of truth.

Maybe someday, all animals will have a chance at a real life, free from misery and torment from humans.

The Disconnect

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Pretty powerful image – a sharp knife and fork with the little chick right there on the plate beside them.  My natural instinct is to get that soft little thing away from the sharp cutlery.

What is really sad is that a little chick’s fate on an industrial farm is far worse than if you killed it right there on the plate.

Millions upon millions of newborn male chicks who can’t lay eggs and can’t be used for meat, are deemed as useless and quickly put into plastic garbage bags and left to suffocate or ground up alive every day in the world.

Imagine that for a moment.

We need to stop this dis-connect and start to connect with the reality of how food gets to our plates and make wiser choices that protect animals and that better fit our own personal values as well.

More on newborn male chicks here:

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/worst-things-about-being-a-male-chick-in-the-egg-industry/