Caramel Sauce for Apples (and More!)

by Sara Andrews

Author and Source: Unknown

I got this recipe off of the internet many moons ago but the original source is long gone. Credit to the unknown author wherever you are now – a tip of my vegan hat to you.

As a sauce on Walnut Fudge

Caramel sauce on Walnut Fudge

My absolute favorite use of this recipe is as a dip for apples, but you can use it as a sauce on desserts, on toast, or you can drizzle it over popcorn, or even eat it with a spoon >:)

Helpful side note: Organic sugar is always vegan – even if it’s not good for you. Shhhhh.

Ingredients

  • 1 (14 ounce) can of coconut milk
    • Full Fat – NOT the beverage kind in a carton, it’s too watered down – you will get a super runny sauce or it will not work at all!
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • pinch of salt to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a sauce pan, stir coconut milk, sugars, and salt over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Raise heat to medium high and boil sauce, stirring occasionally (a whisk works very well if you have one) until sauce thickens – about twenty minutes.
  3. Remove the sauce from heat – allow to cool for a couple of minutes and add vanilla.

caramal sauceIt may be very runny right after you finish making it. It thickens over time (starts right away but can take days to really start solidifying depending on how much fat was in your coconut milk) and as it cools – so if you want a thicker sauce – just let it sit for a few days or longer in your refrigerator. Refrigerate for up to one month.

Veganism and Pregnancy

By Hannah RhombergScan0014 (2)

One of the most exciting times in life is the expectancy and arrival of a new baby! With that comes the constant “advice” given by everyone around you and the seemingly endless supply of questions that come when those people find out you are vegan and pregnant.

“What does your doctor say?”

“What will you eat to stay healthy?”

While I am not a doctor, and I am by no means offering medical advice, I am here to say it is possible to continue a healthy vegan lifestyle while pregnant. My proof? My healthy baby boy!

I don’t intend to ramble on about diet plans, nutritional analysis, and scientific research. I believe that the most important guideline during pregnancy is simply learning how to listen to your body. Eat when you’re hungry. Rest when you’re tired. Get a mild amount of exercise to ensure appropriate weight gain. Sound basic? That’s because it is. Being vegan during pregnancy is not something radical. As long as you pay close attention to your body, and are mindful to your nutritional requirements, you should expect a very happy and healthy pregnancy.

What did your doctor say?

Personally, mine was agreeable to my lifestyle. She felt nothing was concerning as long as the baby continued growing, and I was gaining weight. To ensure the best possible care, it’s important to be honest with your medical team. Doing so will help you create a feasible plan. When you speak with your doctor, explain that you’re passionate about your principles. Ask for suggestions on how to fulfill any nutritional deficits you may be subject to, or if you have any medical history that may compromise the health of you or your fetus. If you wish, your doctor can help you connect with a nutritionist for further guidance. A few important plant based nutrients to focus on are:

Calcium – Soybeans, almonds, dark leafy greens

Protein – Chickpeas, lentils, soybeans, broccoli, tempeh, tofu

Vitamin B12 – Seaweed and nutritional yeast

Vitamin B6 – Walnuts, avocados, peanuts, bananas, tomatoes

Folic Acid – Avocados, lentils, lima beans, bananas, Brussels sprouts

DHA – Flax, chia, and hemp seeds

vitaminsWith all pregnancies, prenatal vitamins are important. I chose the brand Rainbow light. This brand is completely sourced from plants, and is healthy for baby. While the pills are somewhat large, they’re gentle on a queasy stomach. They don’t contain an overbearing, icky taste either. Not only are they 100% animal free, but they offer all the required nutrients a veggie momma needs!

There are many websites that offer detailed information on nutrition and even comparison charts on plant based vs. animal based nutrition. Veganstreet.com, for example, offers a plethora of information about veganism and nutrition. This site uses memes, stories, and a great blog that touches all those important nutritional questions. It also offers a large database of recipes that incorporate the above ingredients, and many more. You’ll be impressed by the delicious, healthy, and “wow! That’s vegan?” dishes.

What can you eat?

The best response that I have been able to come up with when people ask me what I eat is, “everything you do, I just don’t use animals to make it.” Any dish you can think of can be substituted with animal free alternatives. There are numerous vegan recipe websites and blogs on the internet. A simple search of “vegan recipes” on Pintrest gives you an endless supply, from copy cat fast- food recipes to one-pot, 5 minute pasta dishes. You can follow Veg eNews for Sara’s monthly recipes as well!

If you’re not one for cooking, you can purchase an entire array of vegan friendly foods and entrées at the grocery store.

You can continue a vegan lifestyle throughout pregnancy. It benefits your health, the baby’s health, and saves hundreds of animals’ lives. Moreover, vegetarianism makes an excellent foundation for teaching children compassion, empathy, and love. A few great websites to visit that discuss raising vegan/vegetarian children are:

Vegan-momma.com – This is a great websites that not only covers vegan pregnancy, nutrition, and childbirth. They also touch base on raising vegan kids and how to discuss the topic of veganism with them.

http://www.brit.co/raising-vegan-children is another resource that incorporates tips from 3 vegan moms on raising vegan kids.

The Everything Vegan Pregnancy Book” gives you a hard copy of information about staying vegan while pregnant while offering recipes that the whole family will love! You can order the book through Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Everything-Vegan-Pregnancy-Book/dp/144052551X

How To Keep The “eew” Out Of Your Brew

DSCF8297 (2)By Michael Finn

*Note from your authors: If you’re a new vegan, it can be overwhelming to see how many things that we eat, drink, and use have animal products. Remember, veganism is not about being perfect. Every vegan choice you make is a positive difference. A lot of people transition over time, and once you have some vegan habits down, changes like this are a lot easier.

Autumn is quickly approaching, and all across Wisconsin, excitement is brewing in anticipation for the annual celebration of Oktoberfest. Starting mid-September, ‘hopivores’ will congregate to bars, pubs, and festivals across the Midwest – all in hopes of quenching their mighty thirst for the frosty brew. For most, the festivities are a victimless pleasure; the drinks are delicious, and the autumnal merriment rejuvenates the soul. But for many unsuspecting revelers, especially vegans and vegetarians, a dirty secret must be unveiled before “ein prosit” is sung.

Numerous beers, wines, and liquors are produced with a hodgepodge of animal by-products. The medley includes isinglass (fish swim bladder), gelatin (sourced from boiled spines, bone & connective tissue), casein (a milk protein), chitosan (crustacean exoskeletons), albumin (egg protein), carmine (crushed & boiled insects), milk, honey, cream, oysters, shells, bacon, beef base, anchovies, and even blood!

These unsettling ingredients are utilized for three primary reasons: 1. Flavoring, 2. Coloring, and 3. Fining. While the purpose of flavoring and coloring are obvious, fining is a term generally unfamiliar to most of us. This process involves clarifying alcoholic beverages of impurities, sediments, and cloudiness. Fining ingredients include isinglass, gelatin, albumin, casein, chitosan, and shells.

Dried blood at one time was used as a fining agent, but was outlawed in the United States and France in 1997 (During the Mad Cow disease scare). It was mostly found in wine production. Blood is still utilized in some Mediterranean countries, and may be present in older bottles of wine here in the United States. For this reason, it’s always good to know how a particular wine was made during the year it was bottled.

Although fining ingredients are largely filtered out, trace elements may be present in the finished product. Despite whether trace elements are present or not, vegans and vegetarians will be averse to imbibing such products on ethical grounds. Some may object to the potential usage of animal based glue on drink labels. Alternatives could include cans or draft.

Animal ingredients used in the flavoring venue are numerous. We’ve all seen milk stouts, oyster stouts, bacon beer, cream liqueurs, and beers/liquors containing honey. Most of the time these additives are clearly marked on the label; however, so consumers know what they’re purchasing.

Other flavoring agents that could put the yuck in your cup may not be so overt. Beef base, for instance, is often added as a flavor enhancer to Bloody Marys. Worcestershire sauce, which (except for specialty vegan versions) contains anchovies, is also a common additive in this drink. Some raspberry and strawberry flavoring could potentially contain castoruem, which is a flavoring/scenting agent derived from the castor glands on Beavers (located near their anuses). Refined sugar that’s filtered through bone char is also sometimes used for flavor, but mainly in liqueurs.

So what can you do???

If all of this is seriously bumming your “Gemütlichkeit,” there is good news. You can utilize several tools that will help you steer clear of steer in your beer. Barnivore.com, for example, is an invaluable referencing source for vegans & vegetarians. The site contains an A-Z list of hundreds of drinks, and specifies whether they’re vegan friendly or not. In the event the drinks are unsafe, there is usually an explanation on why. The site also offers a plethora of information, including a form that you can send out to companies to inquire if their unlisted drinks are safe.

Several apps are available for download which offer the same caliber of quality. For the iPhone there is VeggieBrews, VeganXpress, Vegaholic, and Vegan Alcohol Guide. For Android there’s Veganlist and IsItVegan.

Personally, I use VeganXpress. This app harnesses the database of Barnivore. It too contains an A-Z list of beers, wines, and liquors, but also covers vegan menu guides and foods. It’s very helpful when you’re shopping or at a restaurant. It costs 1.99, but is completely worth it!

When it comes to being a compassionate consumer, it doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned vegan, fledgling vegetarian, or someone just beginning to contemplate vegetarianism. Staying informed is the best method for drinking with a clear conscience. The more you educate yourself, the less chance you’ll inadvertently consume bladder or bone scum. As we all know, animal parts pop up in a variety of unexpected places, so it’s important to have fun, but be watchful of sneaky companies that slip muck into their products.

Whether you’re staying in this Oktoberfest, or dressing up and jiving to the chicken dance, hopefully this article, and resources, will help keep you from crying in the hypothetical beer you found out isn’t animal friendly.

Cheers, fellow Animal Lovers!!
For further reading:
http://www.barnivore.com/
http://www.nomeatathlete.com/vegan-beer/
http://www.thekitchn.com/as-it-is-vegan-week-136676

All Hail the Great and Versatile Potato! or Two Potato Recipes Everyone Will Love

by Sara Andrews

I was inspired by the last bit of hot weather in Wisconsin to share two of my favorite potato based recipes that are excellent for picnics and potlucks.

Both of these recipes contain vegan mayonnaise (contains no eggs – and have the added benefits of no cholesterol and not worrying about these sitting out for a bit and giving anyone food poisoning!).  There are many commercially available vegan mayos available and many of them are carried at standard grocers and even places like Target.  While my personal long term favorite brand is Veganaise – people are raving about Just Mayo and it may be easier to find depending on where you shop.  Or, if you prefer, you can make mayo from scratch – try this recipe from Blender Girl for Raw Vegan Mayonnaise.

Potato Angelspotatoangels

This is a recipe my husband literally begs me to make.  It’s a creative re-imagining of classic deviled eggs.  This recipe is a slightly modified version originally posed on VegWeb – the original posting is sadly now gone.

I do admit I don’t follow the recipe too closely for these – and I recommend you adapt it to your own taste preferences and needed quantities.  This recipe is easy to double or triple.

This recipe makes 12 potato halves – so servings depend on if this is a snack or part of a meal.  I would count on a minimum of four per person depending on the setting.

Ingredients

  • 6 egg sized and shaped potatoes – Peeled and halved
    • the type of potato depends on your preference  – they are peeled so the color doesn’t matter – I usually look for the ones that look the most egg shaped and are of a consistent size so they cook evenly
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise (see note above)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of finely chopped onions
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Paprika for decoration

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Coat the potato halves with oil.  I usually put them all in a bowl and stir them with my hands.  Place the potatoes flat side down on the cookie sheet   Bake for about 45 minutes – you may need to bake longer if you are using larger potatoes.
  2. Mix the rest of the ingredients (except the paprika) together in a bowl.  Once the potatoes are baked and have cooled enough to be handled – use a knife and spoon to hollow out the potato – I usually use a grapefruit spoon.  Put the potato you are scraping from your halves into the mayo/mustard mix.  You are creating a small shallow into the potato in which to add the topping – it doesn’t have to be that deep.
  3. Stir the mayo/mustard/potato mixture – try not to eat it right out of the bowl. You can either pipe the mixture onto the potatoes for a very professional decorated look – or just spoon it on like I did in my photo above.  Dust with paprika to make them pretty.

Creamy Vegan Potato Salad

This is my go to creamy potato salad recipe – and I am thrilled at the results each and every time I make it.  Again – you can adjust the amounts you make easily.  The amounts in this recipe Potato Saladmake a large bowlful – seen to the right here.

One of my favorite things about this recipe is the use of broccoli stalk. Who knew it could be so delicious?

My recipe has some minor changes, but you can find the original here.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups (about 8 medium sized) red skinned potatoes largely diced/cut into cubes
  • 1 cup (about 1 bunch) green onions finely chopped
  • 1 cup (about 4 ribs) celery finely diced
  • 1 cup (about one bunch) parsley chopped
  • 1/2 cup (about 1/2 medium) finely chopped red onion
  • 1 1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise (see note in introduction)
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sea or table salt, plus salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Place the chopped potatoes in a large pot – cover them with cool water and add 2 tablespoons of salt to the water.
  2. Bring water to a boil – lower temperature to simmer -simmer for about 10 minutes.
  3. Rinse cooked potatoes with cold water and drain.
  4. Move the potatoes to your serving bowl and mix with all of the chopped vegetables (except the parsley).
  5. Make the dressing:  Stir the mustard, apple cider vinegar, and mayo of your choice with a spoon until combined.
  6. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix thoroughly.
  7. Stir in the parsley and season to taste.
  8. Serve chilled or a room temperate.

I hope you enjoy these wonderful potato recipes and share them with others!