Monday, August 22, 2011

Back from vacation, lots to catch up on, part 3

When I got back from vacation, I was thrilled to see that I had received a package in the mail while I was away.  And when I opened it up, I was surprised when I realized that not only did it contain the necklace I had ordered from dkany on Etsy, but also some various other goodies.  But I am getting ahead of myself, so I will start from the beginning.  

A few weeks ago, I began researching different sanctuaries, as I would like to have at least one to which I can contribute in order to help provide for the animals who are being cared for there.  Prior to embracing abolitionism, I saw Farm Sanctuary as the best sanctuary, the most active, the most vocal, the most popular, the best chance of doing something for the animals now.  While no doubt the care they provide to the animals is essential, I would now prefer to put my money, support, and time toward a sanctuary that not only cares for animals, but also promotes veganism upfront without endorsing "humane" farming or advocating for welfare reform measures.  

And that's where I was thrilled to stumble upon for the Animals sanctuary once again.  This organization's website is simple and straightforward and contains beautiful pictures of the animals who call this place home.  Under the Why Vegan tab, they have many links to point out the problems with dairy, "free range" eggs, and "humane" farming.  On their Links/Contact tab, they provide links to recipes and shopping and nutrition information, as well as even linking to the Abolitionist Approach website and pamphlet.  And on their Sponsor/Donate/Buy tab, all the way at the bottom, the jewelry that they were selling caught my eye.  I've been wanting to get myself a vegan-message necklace for a while now, but I hadn't seen any that I really liked.  Here, however, I found a lovely necklace to help start conversations regarding veganism, and the money went to the sanctuary, to help the animals who live there.

And so, back to the package that I received...  I opened it up to find the beautiful necklace that I had ordered.  It's a simple heart with the words "vegan" and "ahimsa" with a little leaf in between.  I've been wearing it every day since I got it, and it's already been useful in helping me to explain to others the connection between veganism and ahimsa (nonviolence). 

vegan ahimsa
(Sorry for the poor picture quality.)

Also in the package were four vegan-message buttons, as well as business cards and information regarding sponsorship of animals at the sanctuary, which I will definitely be using to help spread the word about veganism in general and this sanctuary in particular.

surprise goodies!

So, for anyone who wants to help the animals now, who wants to make a difference today, I urge you to go vegan and then to lend your support (if you are able) to those who are caring for sanctuary animalsDonate, sponsor, or buy items from for the Animals sanctuary to support their efforts to provide a safe place for these animals, and/or plan a visit to see if you can help out on site.  I know I will be!

Peace.  :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Back from vacation, lots to catch up on, part 2

So, this past week, my family, Zach, and I went on vacation to Ocean City, New Jersey.  Armed with my vegan sunscreen (Organic Natural SPF30), I was ready for some sun, haha!  There were so many seagulls and sandpipers and sparrows and other birds, so I had fun greeting all my little friends.

Seagull friends

Many little friends resting together on the sand in the evening 
(there were even more to the right, but I couldn't fit the whole group into my photo)

While I cooked most of my meals during the week, it was nice being able to have a few meals and snacks on the boardwalk; in addition to various water ices and hot pretzels, I was able to enjoy many goodies from a restaurant--Bashful Banana Bakery and Cafe--which clearly marks the items that are vegan!  

[Honestly though, they should just make their entire menu vegan.  And while I'd obviously say that about any place, I don't have any doubt that this restaurant could really make it, could be successful in both furthering their business and in showing people how wonderful and varied vegan food can be.  With how good their vegan offerings are, it's (to me) a no-brainer to go all the way with it.]

One night, Zach and I split the ambrosia smoothie, which we both thought was pretty good.  It was made with apple juice, bananas, strawberries, orange mango, and a couple of ice cubes, blended all together.  It was really nice because after you ordered it, you were able to watch your smoothie getting made while you waited.  Unfortunately, I didn't think to take a picture of it, but ah well.

The next morning, we had breakfast there, and I ordered the "Burrito Duo"--two burritos (whole grain tortillas) filled with tofu, peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes, topped with grilled tomatoes and with fresh fruit (watermelon, strawberry, and honeydew melon) on the side.  After starting to eat, I realized I probably could have ordered just one burrito and been filled, so I ended up taking the second one home and having that for part of my lunch, which is when I tried the salsa, which was, for me, a bit too spicy, but it was good nonetheless.

And that night, Zach and I came back to try the famous "Banana Whip"--we decided to get one plain (just bananas) and one with raspberries.  In short, these were amazing!  The machine that they use to make these desserts is incredible--they put frozen bananas through it, and when it comes out, the texture of the banana whip is so smooth, it's pretty much like ice cream.  Zach and I shared the two banana whips (the one that I had gotten, topped with raspberries in a raspberry sauce, was extremely sweet!) as we wandered the boardwalk, and I only thought of taking a picture once we were nearly finished, so I didn't bother at that point.

The next day, I got a "Naked Veggie Burger" (a veggie burger without the bun) for dinner.  Not only are their homemade veggie burgers vegan, but they are also gluten-free, so double-bonus for any vegans who need to avoid gluten.  It came with their homemade hummus (also vegan!) and sat on some lettuce, carrots, and tomatoes and had sprouts scattered atop it and some more fresh fruit on the side.  All in all, it was a great dinner, as you can see!

In conclusion, being vegan is easy, even when on vacation.  Regardless of the ease, though, it's the very least we owe to nonhuman animals.  So please go vegan, and encourage others to do the same.

Peace.  :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Back from vacation, lots to catch up on, part 1

The night before we all left for vacation, my mom and I made a lovely vegan dinner together, so I thought I'd share a picture of it here.

My mom picked out a recipe for us to try from a vegan recipe book that she'd put together for me about a year ago, filled with clippings from magazines and old recipe books, even ones that she'd copied down, handwritten.  This one was from a magazine, a "peanut-broccoli pasta" (a quick search and here's the recipe online: that was already free of animal products to begin with, but that I modified slightly to fit with what we had available at the time.  Modifications included plain penne and some other random pasta instead of the whole-wheat bow-tie, smooth peanut butter instead of chunky, no tofu, 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, and leaving out the salt and pepper to add individually, if desired.  (The vegetables--broccoli and red pepper--were the only things we didn't change!)  I worked on this recipe while she made the potatoes, slicing them up and sauteing them in olive oil and thyme.

Our meal turned out to be great, though the crushed red pepper in the pasta dish was a bit stronger than we had expected it to be (even though I had halved it to begin with), so next time I may just use a pinch, if at all.  Later that night when they got back from a soccer game, my dad finished up the leftover pasta, not at all intimidated by the crushed red pepper, and my sister took on the leftover potatoes, so all in all, this dinner was a hit.  

Peace.  :)