Thursday, September 30, 2010

Help your pet in the case of an emergency in your home

If (God forbid) there were a fire in your home, how would the emergency services know that there might be an animal in your home? As I wrote for This Dish is Veg today, Pet Plan and Wag'N have come together to help animals for National Fire Safety Month this October. It includes details on how to create you own personalized pet information poster to inform firefighters that there is a pet inside them home, what their name is and where they like to hide.
Go check it out, here!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Win a cruelty free watch with PETA!

PETA has teamed up with Fruitz to giveaway a super cute, cruelty free watch! To enter follow this link.

Today's posts for This Dish is Veg!

Two animal welfare articles today; the first on the dolphin hunt in Taiji, Japan and the second on the findings of a safety expert investigating the egg farms involved in the salmonella outbreak recently.

PLRS animals update - happy post!

Last week I posted on how the animal research lab in North Carolina was closing after an undercover investigation by PETA showed the handlers treating the animals with absolutely unnecessary cruelty. Happily today the SPCA in Wake County (who took in some of the released animals) has released their own video showing the already amazing progress some for the animals have made.
Happy days!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

No-meatballs in a spicy tomato sauce, and choccy pudding

Today my beautiful daughter has a VIP day at school where they can invite someone special to come along and see what they get up to all day. She's been practicing songs for a presentation her class is giving and is wildly excited that her Grandma (my mother-in-law) is going! To round off the day nicely, MIL is coming round for dinner afterward and I'm hoping to wow her with some vegan delights. So.... on the menu today is meatballs in a spicy tomato sauce, and some choccy pudding for afters. We love choccy pudding! I made it a few weeks ago as a follow on to the Tofu and Tempeh challenge I participated in, and I just knew it would get wolfed down - I wasn't wrong!
Anyway, on to the recipes... I've bought prepared meatballs in stores before and never really liked the taste. I'm not sure if it's because they tried to make them taste like lamb (I've never eaten lamb so couldn't tell), but whatever, they weren't nice. So these are more beefy tasting and all the family like them so I'm sticking to them lol!
Here’s what you’ll need.
  • ½ cup oats
  • ¼ cup soy milk (I’ve not tried it but I’m sure any plant milk would work fine)
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion (or onion powder)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (use more or less depending on your taste; we love garlic so I want lots!)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1½ cups of TVP (or a bag of veggie burger crumbles)
  • 1½ cup water (if you’re using the TVP)
  • 3 teaspoon egg replacer (I used Ener-G)

Ok. Start by preheating the oven to 400ºF then grab a cookie sheet and some parchment paper. Add the water to the TVP in a bowl to rehydrate it. The amount of water you need varies but I usually add equal amounts of TVP to water, and if there’s an excess of water just drain it off. Leave the mixture for about 10 minutes while you sort out the oats.
Next, soak the oats in the soy milk. I usually do this in the food processor to save on dishes. I find by using the food processor to whiz the mixture up a bit helps it stay together, when I’ve mixed it by hand they still taste great but are very crumbly and can fall apart when added to the sauce later.
When the TVP is rehydrated, drain off any water and add to the oats in the food processor. Add all the other ingredients and whiz for about 30 seconds.
Form into gorgeously yummy balls, then cook for 10-15 minutes until browned.

While they’re cooking in the oven, make the spicy tomato sauce… for this you need;

  • A little oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tin of tomato sauce

Fry the onions slowly in the oil until soft. I usually cook them on a low heat for about 20 minutes or so, so that they don’t go brown. Add the red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning and cook for about a minute longer. Pour in the tomato sauce and heat through. When the meatballs have finished cooking, plop them into the sauce! Easy peasy! Be careful not to move them around too much as they’ll break up. Serve over pasta or on their own and enjoy!

Balinese dogs to be vaccinated rather than poisoned

Second article today for This Dish is Veg - read it here!

Company develops plant based prenatal vitamins

First article today for This Dish is Veg - a company making animal free prenatal vitamins.
Read it here...

Basic bread recipe

Jeeze, I haven't put on a recipe on here in forever! Time to remedy that I think!
The thing I cook most often in my house is bread. Every day when me and my daughter are eating breakfast, the Kitchen Aid is whirring away in the background, mixing up what will be everyone's lunch.
I started making my own bread back when I lived in England, and soon discovered that once you eat home made bread, you can't go back to the store bought variety. Not only does it taste so, so different, but its free of all those nasty things that manufacturers think we need to eat, bleh.  Plus the smell of it cooking in the oven is something akin to olfactory porn - it is second only to the smell of fresh coffee in the morning!
This recipe is the one I use most often (given to me my lovely friend Kathy) and takes a little while, but produces the most wonderful, light fluffy sandwich bread. One of these gets devoured by my family every day! Ready? Here goes!

You will need...
  • 1 lb of white bread flour (or up to a half and half mix of white and whole wheat flour)
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 - 3 cups of boiling water
Mix the warm water, sugar and yeast together in a jug and leave to one side. Meanwhile, boil some water.  When the top of the yeast water has become foamy, add to the flour on a mixer with a dough hook. Mix for about 3 minutes and leave to rest for 10. Mix again for 10 minutes and then place in a large oiled bowl.
Place the bowl on the top shelf of your oven. On the bottom shelf, place a large (I use a 9" x 7") heatproof dish and fill with the boiling water. Close the oven door and leave the dough to rise for a couple of hours, or until double in size. Try not to peek for at least an hour, or all the steam will escape! Also, don't turn the oven on until you take the dough out...
When the dough is double its original size, turn out onto a floured surface and punch it into a rectangle. Roll it up from its short side and punch out again (dough is great for getting out any anger!!!)
Roll up again from the short side and place in a lightly oiled 1lb bread tin. Cover with a tea towel and leave for a hour until risen again.
Preheat the oven to 400 F, and cook for about 25 minutes until the top is browned and your house is filled with heavenly aromas...
I usually leave the bread in the tin for around ten minutes, and then it tips out the tin really easily.
Leave to cool completely before slicing, but if you can't resist, smother with vegan margarine and dribble as it melts into the steaming bread and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy..!

Will future generations condemn us for factory farming?

In an article in yesterday's Washington Post, Kwame Anthony Appiah (currently the Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University) asks which of our current practices will shock future generations the most. He says from looking at how our attitudes have changed to things in the past, that there are three signs that a practice is 'destined for future condemnation.'

  1. People have already heard the arguments about the practice. For example with slavery, the case against it had been around for a long time before legislation to stop it emerged.
  2. Defenders of the custom don't offer moral excuses but instead state that 'tradition, human nature of necessity' make it ok. (As in "We've always had slaves, how could we grow cotton without them?")
  3. Thirdly, supporters of the practice use 'strategic ignorance' avoiding information that might force them to see how cruel things can be, for those things that are so very convenient. Those who wore the cotton slaves grew didn't want to think about how they were treated, so abolitionists constantly drew attention to the conditions of the middle passage, making sure that the horrifying stories of the people's plight can to public attention.
In light of these three signs, Appaih gives four offerings to what he thinks will cause our descendants to ask "What the hell were they thinking?"
  • Our prison system
  • Our treatment of animals in food production
  • Our isolation of the elderly
  • Our treatment of the environment
 For the sake of convenience he states that people, animals and the environment are being pushed 'out of sight, and to some extent out of mind' as prisons, nursing homes and factory farms get bigger and the environment around us becomes more and more fragile.

Well worth a read, the full article is here.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Brutal dairy worker pleads guilty to animal cruelty

Billy Joe Gregg Jr., today pleaded guilty to six charges of animal cruelty after he was shown on video maliciously harming cows and calves at Conklin Dairy Farms in Ohio. He was sentenced to eight months in jail, ordered to pay $1000.00 fine and is banned from having contact with animals for three years. He will also receive counseling specifically designed for those who are charged in animal cruelty cases.
The undercover investigation by Mercy for Animals (MFA), showed farm workers;
  • Violently punching young calves in the face, body slamming them to the ground, and pulling and throwing them by their ears.
  • Routinely using pitchforks to stab cows in the face, legs and stomach
  • Kicking "downed" cows (those too injured to stand) in the face and neck - abuse carried out and encouraged by the farm's owner
  • Maliciously beating restrained cows in the face with crowbars - some attacks involving over 40 blows to the head
  • Twisting cows' tails until the bones snapped
  • Punching cows' udders
  • Bragging about stabbing, dragging, shooting, breaking bones, and beating cows and calves to death
"Gregg's punishment is a slap on the wrist compared to the unimaginable suffering endured by the animals who were victims of his malicious abuse," says MFA's Executive Director, Nathan Runkle. "It's an outrage that in Ohio it's a mere misdemeanor to sadistically punch, beat and stab farmed animals, break their bones and otherwise torture them. This case should serve as a wake-up call to all compassionate citizens that Ohio must do more to strengthen its animal cruelty laws."

Today's posts for This Dish is Veg

Firstly, Bob Harper of 'Biggest Loser' fame, on his affiliation with Farm Sanctuary on their Walk For Animals here, then an article on Nat Geo's upcoming magazine on the Gulf's oil industry.

The Ecologist releases video of California dairy farm investigation

As planning permission for the UK's first large scale dairy farm is about to be resubmitted, The Ecologist traveled to California to see for themselves the impact factory farming can have on the local community. The resulting video and article shows that they found intimidation, pollution, pesticides and illness.
Gone are the days of 'cows in the meadow, eating buttercups' - I hope that the people of the UK made a stand and realize that cheaper milk comes at a huge price.

Are you happy?

I've long been a believer in the 'If it's broke, fix it' outlook on happiness - if there's something in your life that sucks, change it. If you need to be going in a different direction, take small steps to do so.
The picture above sums it up beautifully!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Animal Research facility closing - animals to be released!

Last week PETA reported that they had filed a complaint against Professional Laboratory and Research Services Inc., (PLRS) after an undercover investigation. Today they report that the North Carolina facility is closing, and surrendering more than 200 dogs and cats hopefully including Clementine a senior dalmatian, who was taken from an animal shelter by a dealer and then sold to the research center for experimentation.

The circus is in town

Here in West Michigan, the circus is in town. Ringling Brothers are all over local media promoting their shows, promising fun for all the family. But sadly it's not so much fun being an animal at Ringling Bros. They have a history of animal cruelty and have been the subject of undercover investigations from organizations such as the one from PETA. 
The circus website claims that the animals are well loved and cared for, because the animals welfare is of the upmost importance to them, but why then are animals covered in laceration scars and being videoed when beaten by bull hooks? 
The 'red unit' shown in the video is the same team that are performing in West Michigan this weekend. what will be happening behind the scenes as you and your kids are waiting to see the show?

New commercial from PCRM

Todays article for This Dish is Veg.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I got a new gig!

Last week I starting writing articles for This Dish is Veg, an awesome eco-friendly, veggie-friendly, animal rights website. So far I've written three articles for them, and I'm loving every minute of it! Go check it out, here, here and here.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Another post today, check me out!

I've just read an awesome article on Grist about changing the food system by voting with your wallet, about asking questions of your vendors and choosing carefully where you buy your food. It's well worth a read and has some valuable advice.

Check it out!

Eating Vegan is Manly!

(Photo credit: Marco Grob)

This week the Men's Journal published a Guide to Going Vegan with some excellent advice on how to be animal product free in 3 weeks, perfect for the man you know who just needs a little nudge in the right direction! There's even some tasty recipes attached to get them started.

Bravo Men's Journal!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Low Carb Plant Sourced Diet Better Than Animal Sourced One

Low Carb Plant Sourced Diet Better Than Animal Sourced One

Phew, I made it!

It's been a crazy, but fun summer and I'm glad to say I made it through to the other side! Wee one is now back at school (second grader - so grown up!), my Dad is safely back in England after a weeks visit, and now I can get back to doing me stuff. Some exciting stuff coming up so watch this space! Normal viewing to resume soon...