What a fantastic idea – vegan Choc creme eggs! Just in time for Easter. ??????????????
A BIG THANK YOU to Alicia Galantic from healthingyou.com for these three scrumptious recipes. These recipes are big on taste, health and compassion – so get cooking and feel GREAT about it!
Thanks Alicia. ?
Black Bean Broccoli Burger
- 2 cans of Unsalted Black Beans
- ½ of an Onion
- ½ of an Red Pepper
- 1 cup of Broccoli
- 3 tbsp. of Nutritional Yeast
- ¼ cup of Oat Flour
- 1 tbsp. of Vinegar
- 4 tbsp. of Garlic Powder
- 4 tbsp. of Cajun Pepper
- 1 tbsp. of Kosher Salt
- 1 tbsp. of Spicy Mustard
- 1 egg replacement
- 1 tbsp. of Coconut Oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Place the beans in a bowl and mash thoroughly or blend lightly
- Dice the onion, broccoli, red pepper and place in bowl with beans (set aside)
- Place the egg replacement, vinegar, mustard in bowl and stir thoroughly (wet mixture)
- Mix the wet mixture with the beans until it comes very moist.
- Blend the raw oats until it becomes a flour and stir in a bowl with the seasonings
- Next, mix the dry mixture into the bowl with the beans.
- Place the coconut oil on a pan and spread evenly
- Form the burgers into flat circles (size of your fist)
- Bake for 15 minutes and turn on other side, bake an additional 15 minutes.
- Note: these are extremely good on a whole wheat or gluten free bagel.. toast the bagel until golden. Melt the cheese on one side and place 1 tbsp. of vegenaise on other, followed by all your favorite toppings! I left this open because there’s a wide range of options to satisfy everyones needs.
Raisin Nut Energy Bars
- 2 cups of Raisins
- 3 tbsp. of Nut Butter
- ½ cup of Almonds
- 4 tbsp. of Chia Seeds
- ¼ cup of Coconut
- ½ cup of Pecans
- ½ cup of Sunflower Seeds
- Blend the raisins in food processor or high speed blender until smooth (may have to add some water)
- Scoop the raisin butter in bowl and add the nut butter, nuts, seeds, and coconut
- Place Parchment Paper on top of pan and form squares out of the mixture
- Add extra coconut on top of the bars and place in freezer for 3-4 hours
Carrot Banana Bread Sticks
- 3 Bananas (the more ripe, the better)
- ? cup of Carrots Blended in Liquid
- 3 to 4 Raw Baby Carrots to be Shredded
- 2 tbsp. of Organic Apple Sauce
- 1 cup of Brown Rice Flour
- 1 tbsp. of Baking Powder
- 1 tsp. of Kosher Salt
- 2 tbsp. of Cinnamon
- ¼ cup of Stevia Sweetener
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Spray non-stick spray in 8×8 baking dish
- Place carrots with little water in high speed blender/processor until liquid
- Mash bananas with applesauce and blend with carrot juice to form the wet ingredients
- In separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients such as brown rice, sugar, baking powder, salt.
- Take the raw baby carrots and shred small pieces within the dry ingredients
- Blend the wet and dry together until mostly smooth
- Pour the batter in the baking dish and cook for 50-55 minutes
There is something about vegans and food. Specifically, vegans and their food. I know that that is somewhat of a sweeping generalisation, but I can confidently declare that most of the vegan crowd I hang with sure do have a thing about the glory of what they choose to eat.
Years ago, as a child discovering my world, I was eating my dinner in front of television with my father. That was quite the norm in our house. Suddenly overcome with that childlike curiosity, I asked Dad where meat comes from. Wouldn’t you know it, a cow just happened to be on the screen, right then. Saving himself too much trouble, he pointed at the cow and simply said, “Them.”
What a slap in the face! Never would I have expected that I was eating the very beings for who I felt so much love and connection, even as a four-or-five year old. “I’m never eating meat again,” I spluttered. The irony of that scenario is that I didn’t have the remotest clue as to what was involved in turning a living, breathing, sentient being into a piece of flesh on a plate, but just like that, I knew it was wrong.
My resolve must have lasted at least for a meal or two. I made a couple of attempts at vegetarianism in my teens, even though Mum always made sure I at least ate gravy so that I would get some “goodness”. (Vegetables obviously weren’t good). It wasn’t until after I had moved out of home, had turned 26 and above all, witnessed the foulest thing I had ever seen to that point in my life (the commercial slaughter of a cow) that I finally gave up eating meat for good. Blissfully ignorant of things like battery cages and bobby calves, of castration without anaesthetic and infants being torn from their mothers, I carried right on eating eggs and dairy. I made especially certain that I got my three serves of dairy every day so that my skeleton wouldn’t desiccate by the time I turned 40 (yeah, clever marketing, dairy industry).
Besides, I was particularly fond of scrambled eggs, ice cream and – the big one – cheese.
If I were inclined to wallow, I would waste energy on wondering why it took another 17 years before I properly became vegan. Because it was only when I made my commitment to that philosophy and lifestyle, that something profound happened to my food. The Food Blinkers came off!
I can bet money that many vegans reading this will be nodding their head and smiling wryly in agreement. It’s not intellectual; it’s this thing we viscerally understand. Our lifestyle choice is not all about the food – but omg – the freaking food! More about that later.
The first tentative steps into veganism were on a lonely road for me, back in 2000. There were no mentors, no vegan friends; my Mum thought I was aiming straight for malnutrition. Soy milk tasted like ear wax. I certainly didn’t get 99,300,000 hits when I Googled “vegan”! My biggest ally was one supportive friend with whom I grew up. She moved to London and would visit her Mum back in Perth a couple of times a year. This dear friend would prepare suitable meals for me when we all caught up at her Mum’s, and she also presented me with my first vegan cookbook (called The Vegan Cookbook), which she lovingly and thoughtfully brought back for me from England. As far as I recall, there were no vegan cookbooks available pretty much anywhere in the universe at that time (apart from England!), and if there were, either I couldn’t find them or they must have been forgettable poop.
And you can’t jimmy a banquet out of forgettable poop.
I faltered soon after; admitting my Achilles Heel was made of little more than Jarlsburg. And most certainly the cheapest kilo block of cheese in the supermarket chilled section, because I ate so much of the stuff. When I ordered a deep pan pizza at Pizza Hut, that thing had extra cheese on it anyway, but I would order it with extra cheese on the extra cheese. Couldn’t be arsed cooking? Cheese sandwiches for dinner. Cauliflower was invented to be smothered in cheese sauce, because otherwise – what’s the point to a cauliflower? Dessert? Cheesecake. Tiramisu. Cheese and jam sandwiches.
What I have since discovered is that cheese is often the stumbling block for many humans who are vegetarian and are considering veganism. While they earnestly gravitate towards giving up all animal products because these people are truly compassionate and realise the moral implications of their continued consumption of, in this case, dairy, their yearning for cheese is a powerful yearning indeed.
It is a bit challenging for me to relate to this now, but I went through it big time. Nowadays the thought of eating a huge chunk of solidified, salted fat hardly has the pulling power it used to. I have since discovered a little dairy opiate called casomorphin and the subsequent suggestion that addiction to dairy is real. Jonathan Bechtel can give you a leg-up about it: “Beta-casomorphin-7 is a naturally occurring opiate, which is a compound that creates euphoria and is the basis for drugs like morphine, codeine, and oxycodone”. There is plenty of information about casomorphin; the fact that casein is present in the milk of mammalian mothers and its conversion into casomorphin helps calm an infant. There are also plenty of references to it as “Nature’s crack”. The short story is that if you tell yourself that you would go vegan except that you are addicted to cheese, you are exposing your crack for all to see…. The truth is you are an addict and should immediately enrol in a 12-Step program.
None of this was relevant to my epiphany about dairy, though, especially since I found out about casomorphin long after I embraced veganism. I once walked into a Peter Singer lecture in Perth a vegetarian. He talked about what happens to calves in the dairy industry. And I walked out vegan. Message received and understood. Me suffering withdrawals from cheese could in no way justify what happens to those babies.
Human mothers reading this, if you aren’t vegan now….consider how you would feel if someone took your baby away from you after he or she had suckled just enough colostrum for it to do its job. The wonder of motherly love is often represented by an image of Mother Cow and her baby. You think she doesn’t feel loss when a human takes her newborn away for the entirety of its infancy or even its life? Or do you believe that because she can’t tell you her pain in a language that you understand, that she doesn’t suffer? She might meet her daughter again when she (her daughter) is introduced to the dairy herd to begin her own continuous cycle of pregnancy, calving, loss, lactating and, finally, slaughter. Her sons are not so lucky – you can’t get milk out of a boy; many will be killed within five days; many will be slaughtered at four months of age for veal. Some will be allowed to mature into bulls to inseminate the dairy herd, after semen is artificially collected for artificial insemination. Are you shuddering in disgust yet? This is shudderworthy stuff.
Just another thing to remove those big, gentle beings from their natural urges and instincts.
Once I became vegan it did not take long and I was meeting other vegans and being shown all sorts of things of which, till then, I had been unaware. A couple of vegan social groups were forming as other people tested the waters around them. We started to gather once a week and share food and ideas, stories and information about new products. Then my partner, Jiffy, watched Earthlings and renounced his vegetarianism for veganism too. Together we embarked on an adventure that has been so incredibly rewarding and, just as a bonus, we have picked up some of the most amazing friends one could ever wish for.
They are kind, compassionate, generous; they love animals; they love their food, and they are eye-wateringly funny.
When we get together for a social gathering you can pretty much bet on the fact that the gathering will involve two things – firstly, food. Lots and lots of food. Secondly, lots and lots of laughing. We gather, we eat and we laugh. And eat. Mainly eat. And laugh.
Most gatherings involve a fair amount of awe to boot. I could tell you that I respect life and nature enough to feel humbled by it all, and cultivating a sense of awe helps one to stay grateful (and it would certainly be the truth). But mostly we are in awe of the food. You see, there is something about vegans and food. Speaking for myself, I experience sheer joy and amazement when I gaze upon a vegan spread. Commence fanging, and the experience becomes slightly transcendental.
This is probably beautifully described by my recent exchange with a shop assistant I met in a health store in a suburban shopping centre. I was looking for something and I asked him to help me locate it. I informed him it would have to be vegan and he piped up that he was a new convert to vegetarianism. He had been vego for only three months and boy, was he ever enthusiastic about his newly-adopted lifestyle. I listened to his exuberant sharing and thought I must have sounded a lot like that at times. Actually, I probably still do.
Then he told me all about how he had gone to a store or market and bought an organic cucumber. “The taste!” he squeaked, close to happy tears. Ah yes, Grasshopper – you are on your way.
So, what is it about vegans and food? For a start, the food is awesome. It is amazing. The vegans I hang out with give a damn about making meals tasty and, mostly, nutritious. Some omnivores are under the mistaken impression that vegan food is all healthy, but it isn’t. We have junk food too! But pretty much all of it, healthy through to junk, is delicious.
Secondly, vegans get a big kick in ‘veganising’ old favourite recipes. Just last weekend I was looking through my books for a banana cake recipe. The only one I could find without hitting Google was in one of two favourite vegetarian cookbooks I hoard from my former life. It called for milk, butter and eggs. Milk and butter are a no-brainer to substitute (soy milk or homemade cashew milk, and vegan margarine). Eggs? I made a vegan egg substitute staple – use a stick blender to blast a tablespoon of ground flaxseeds with three tablespoons of water (equivalent to one egg). The recipe said two eggs, so I doubled the amount. Organic flaxseeds and filtered water, I might add. The cake came out of the oven all risen and cake-like. I split it in half, loaded on sliced, fresh strawberries macerated overnight in maple syrup, clapped it back together and topped it with a ‘cream cheese’ frosting. It was moist (mwah!), succulent (mwah!) and tasted so very, very, really very good.
While cakes are easy to veganise, the point here is that veganism is not a ‘diet’; it is especially not a lifestyle of doing without. It is a lifestyle of creativity and invention, wherein is thrown even a little bit of ingenuity, and you get the whole cornucopia of good stuff. Spaghetti bolognaise? Check. Gourmet hotdog with spicy Italian sausage? Check. Pizza? Of course! Lasagne – with ‘cheese sauce’. You got it. Breads, pies, cookies and the entire gamut of desserts from trifle to tiramisu – complete with whipped cream! If a soy cream is not to your liking, soak some unroasted cashews in water, then blend the crap out of them in a good-quality blender, one that purees those suckers at 38,000 rpm into the smoothest, creamiest consistency possible. Maybe add maple syrup or vanilla essence. Presto! Cashew cream! I even found a recipe for meringue on a packet of commercial egg replacer a few days ago. Haven’t gone there yet, but it is on my list of things to do. I now have visions of vegan pavlova.
And the best thing about veganising? Besides the deliciousness and the fact that nobody gets hurt? One has a really appreciative bunch of munchers who will gratefully lick their plates clean and weep with joy as they declare the cook a Vehicle of Greatness.
Ultimately, though, what I believe is the thing behind ‘vegans and food’ is less about the food itself than one might think. After all, there are plenty of omnivores out there who get almost as much pleasure from eating. From my own experience, I am convinced that this tangible lightness of being is more to do with the absence of guilt.
Oh, did you just feel something?
When I used to eat animals I could easily wipe off an annoying sense of doubt about what I was doing by declaring profound statements such as, “Humans were meant to eat meat!” This was clearly when I was someone’s God’s right-hand person and had an intimate knowledge of His (or Her) plan. As if! The truth is, I thought I did. I heard my Dad say it a few times in an effort to underscore his ‘right’ to consume someone else’s arm, although I’m not sure who gave him the right. Why was I feeling doubt about eating meat? I didn’t want to feel it; frankly it was interfering with my enjoyment of chowing down on someone else’s leg, not to mention all those other bits of someone else that tasted so good. I adored animals, but it was simply their lot to lie down and die so that I could eat their corpses.
That’s right, punters – ‘meat’ is just another word for ‘corpse’.
When I look back, I remember sometimes feeling horribly guilty and I guess that the guilt was actually always there – young, healthy animals being killed just so that I could have steak or a Christmas turkey. A few moments of taste, is all. Burdened with empathy, it is hardly surprising that I did become vegan – but it was hands down the best thing I have ever done. The added bonus was that once I made my life’s commitment to veganism, I unwittingly shed the guilt yoke. Granted, it took me a while to notice. I knew I felt better about not eating animal products right from the get-go, but sensing and acknowledging that aforementioned ‘lightness of being’ didn’t happen for maybe a couple of years. Once I became aware of it, that sense of lightness was and is a most wonderful way to be.
Perhaps this is why we often hear omnivores complain about vegans wanting everyone to go vegan. Never mind that it is better for the planet, for us and of course, the animals – we have simply discovered a better way to be that goes far beyond walking the talk, and we really want everyone to feel this amazing way. It also goes far beyond ego and the human concept of us being the centre of the universe, or God’s chosen, or whatever you like to call being plain old selfish. In the Grand Scheme of Things, it is possible that we are no more a miracle than a dung beetle. Or, to put it another way: a dung beetle is every bit as much a miracle as we.
The bearable lightness of being. Why try it?
Because it is just awesome.
For the critters
I made this breakfast pie today and it’s seriously yummy! Thought I’d share with you all.
Ps: I recommend reducing the sugar to half cup or even a bit less if you don’t like things to be too sweet. Also to make your own egg replacer – all you need is 1/2 tsp bicarbonate to 1 tsp cornflower to 1 tbsp water (per egg). Whisk well.
Baked Oatmeal Breakfast Pie (Website Link)
I got this recipe from vegweb.com
- 1/2 Cup applesauce or pureed pumpkin
- 3/4 Cup sugar
- Ener G egg replacer for 2 eggs
- 1 Cup vanilla soymilk
- 1/2 tsp ground sea salt
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 3 Cups dry oatmeal (instant or regular)
- 1/2 Cup of raisins
- 1 Tbsp or 2 brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Mix in egg replacer, soymilk, salt, baking powder, apple sauce, sugar and oatmeal.
- Beat well then stir in raisins.
- Pour into a lightly greased pie pan.
- Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight (or 8+ hours).
- The next morning, preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Bake, uncovered, about 35 minutes or until firm. Serve hot.
- Makes: 6-8 servings, Preparation time: 10 minutes plus 8 hours in the fridge, Cooking time: 35 minutes
Be careful, it may seem cooked on outside but mine was still a bit raw in the middle so be sure to use a skewer to test the inside. If still gooey – cook another 5-10 mins till it’s right. Oh and I add nuts too …. Walnuts go really well in this. This is yum on its own, or my fav way to eat it is served hot with oat milk poured over the top, or you can slice it and butter it and eat it for morning tea. Seriously good!
*apologies for the quality of this picture, it is the one that is featured on vegweb.com, unfortunately I cut into my cake and devoured it before I had the presence of mind to photograph it. 🙂
This dessert looks absolutely delicious, and very VERY good for you!
Vegan burgers at four separate locations across Perth? YIPPEE! I haven’t had the opportunity to try them out yet, but Vegan Sparkles isn’t the only one who raves about Jus Burgers vegan options. With burger bars located in Northbridge, Fremantle, Leederville & Subiaco – we’re all virtually just around the corner from delicious cruelty free nosh! I’m definitely adding Jus Burgers to my MUST VISIT list!
A great write up on a vegan friendly cafe in the Perth CBD. Thanks Vegan Sparkles!
An article on Sydney Morning Herald’s website about impending amendments to the definition of “Free Range” egg production reveals some worrisome changes, but comes as no surprise to most animal advocates. It represents a shining example of what animal protection groups already know – that Animal Ag. industry guidelines will always be amended and manipulated (yes, even free range) to allow for more intensive production rates.
“Egg labeling has become a contentious issue after the Australian Egg Corporation, which represents most egg producers, devised a new standard that would allow a free-range egg farms to have as many as 20,000 chickens per hectare.
Free-range farmers and animal welfare groups are outraged by the new standard, which they say is unethical and will not give consumers any confidence in the free-range industry. The present model code allows 1500 chickens per hectare.”
This is happening because the bottom line is – free range production cannot adequately meet the immense demand of “product” from the buying public. So producers have to find ways to increase yields to meet market demands. These changes will often happen without consumers knowledge, and can mean ongoing suffering for millions of Australian hens every single year.
“Our main concern is that consumers’ voices will not be heard and without any consumer representation at this forum, it will be very hard for the minister to get an idea of what consumers expect when purchasing free-range,” Ms Just said.”
If we want to help put an end to factory farming, the answer cannot lie in purchasing Free Range eggs due to the inherent volatility of the industry standards. We need to take a leaf out of the vegans book, and stop purchasing egg products all together – it’s the only way to ensure that these animals are protected from ongoing exploitation. At the end of the day, leaving eggs out of your diet is relatively easy – so it’s certainly worth a thought.
I made the “faux butter” today and it turned out beautifully! Tastes great and is very VERY similar in texture, meltability and flavour to regular butter. I highly recommend this to anyone wanting to reduce or eliminate Palm Oil from their shopping lists, and to eat more healthily. (and of course, no animal products!) Thank you Veganster for this little gem. ?
I just found this wonderful blog spot featuring amazingly delicious & healthy looking vegan recipes! Check them out at vegiehead.com!