Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Gentle Barn

A few weeks ago, I came across an article about an incredible animal sanctuary in California called the Gentle Barn. They take wounded and abused animals that even shelters won't take, and give them a place to live out their lives surrounded by love. They have private groups visit during the week, many of them at risk children, who come just to spend time with the animals.
They are currently trying to raise $200,000 to build 2 cattle sheds. They want to rescue 60 cows (many of them are pregnant) from a now closed dairy farm. The cows have been living in the most awful squalor and need medical attention ASAP. A private benefactor has said that they will match donations dollar for dollar, so they need to find $100,000 from other sources. Please try and help if you can! To find out more about the farm and the cow rescue read more here or watch this video from the Ellen Show.


Why vegan?

I gave up meat because there's no doubt that there can be cruelty involved with its production. But for the longest time I still used dairy products because I bought into the whole 'cows grazing in a pasture' scenario. Scenes like that are so few and far between anymore. Animals are a commodity, mass produced units that enable people to make money, and very sadly they are treated disgustingly.
This undercover video shows common occurrences at Conklin Dairy Farm in Ohio. I've watched many, many videos like this since I became a vegan because I feel it's important for people to know where their food comes from and what happened to it before it reaches their fridge. If people ask me why I became a vegan, it's because I want to look at the food on my plate and be assured that no cruelty was involved.
There are very strong images on this video, please make sure no children are watching.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Pancakes are a regular at our house on Sunday mornings. I'd never eaten this kind before I moved to the USA, mostly in England they cook a thinner pancake similar to a French crepe. There's even a 'Pancake Day' on Shrove Tuesday which traditionally was a way of using up rich foodstuffs in preparation for Lent. Anyway, when I moved here me and hubby went to IHop and I was introduced to the American pancake, so I decided to try and find a healthier, vegan version that we could eat at home.After some wrangling, this is the result!

Basic Pancake Recipe

1½ cups of all purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar (or whichever alternative you prefer)
3 teaspoons egg replacer (I use Ener-G)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1¼ cups soy milk
Water if wanted
Spray oil

•Put a pan on the heat while you mix up the pancake batter. You need a hot pan for these babies!
•Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl or mixer.
•Gradually add the wet ingredients apart from the water.
•When everything is nicely mixed together, add water so that it’s the consistency you prefer.
•Lightly spray the pan with oil if needed, then drop ¼ cup of batter into the pan.
•Wait for a few seconds until you see lots of bubbles on the top, then flip over! The pancake will rise a lot more when it’s flipped.
•Leave to cook for about 30 seconds then plate.
•Repeat until all the pancake batter is used. I usually get about 13 or 14 out of this mix.
•Top with whatever you like and enjoy!

This recipe is so versatile it's silly... often I add cinnamon and vanilla essence, sometimes nuts to make them special. If I'm feeling virtuous I sub half of the flour for whole wheat flour they still rise beautifully. Whatever you like in or on your pancakes, go for it and experiment!