Austin: Save-a-Turkey-Trot

Saturday, November 21
9:00am
Festival Beach
(North Lady Bird Lake Trail and I-35)

Every Thanksgiving across the United States, the local Turkey Trot race is an annual running tradition. Like these venerable races, we want to get people out and exercising and giving thanks for life. Giving thanks for life, we believe, is also having compassion for all living beings. So we say, “Save a Turkey!” Get out and run and walk with us as we spread the message of hope and compassion the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

Preregistered entrants are guaranteed a 100% organic race t-shirt.

Overall male and female winners will have a turkey at Farm Sanctuary sponsored in their name.

Local, organic fruits from farmers at Austin Farmers Market will be available to refuel/refresh with. Entrants are encouraged to head over the market after the race to support our local producers!

Register or sign up to volunteer here.

RSVP with the VRA here here.

I’ve got my Thanksgiving turkey! Have you?

I adopted a turkey at Farm Sanctuary. You can do the same here.

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Turkey Myths

Is it true that turkeys are dumb?
There is a tendency for people who eat turkeys, or other animals, to perceive “food animals” as unworthy or undeserving of respect and compassion. One way for people to rationalize their choice to eat animals is to dismiss these beings as dumb. There is even a rumor that turkeys are so dumb that they will look up in the rain and drown. This claim is ridiculous and false. Farm Sanctuary has cared for turkeys for more than 20 years, and when it rains, the turkeys go inside their barn. No one who works at Farm Sanctuary has ever seen a turkey drown in the rain.

Do turkeys really suffer?

Every year, between 250 and 300 million turkeys are bred for slaughter in the U.S. Sadly, these turkeys are not protected under most state anti-cruelty laws, and they are specifically exempt from the federal Humane Slaughter Act. To meet consumer demand for white meat, commercial turkeys have been anatomically manipulated to have abnormally large breasts. As a result, the birds cannot mount and reproduce naturally, and the industry now relies on artificial insemination as the sole means of reproduction. In addition, most factory farmed turkeys, comprising the vast majority of turkeys raised for holiday dinners, endure painful beak and toe mutilations, because they are given only about three-square-feet of space on which to live. Through all of this physical manipulation, the industry has yet to grow an animal who does not feel pain and is not curious, social or friendly.

Thanksgiving Tradition


But Thanksgiving is a tradition – why do we need to change it?

Using a turkey as the centerpiece and symbol of Thanksgiving is a relatively new tradition invented and actively promoted by the poultry industry during the 20th century. Thankfully, humans are not bound by cruel traditions. Just because we’ve done something routinely in the past does not mean that it is automatically right. Traditions must evolve over time in order for our civilization to thrive. We must strive for better, more compassionate ways to interact with one another, and with other animals. Find more information on the history of Thanksgiving here.

What do vegetarians eat for Thanksgiving?
In addition to staple Thanksgiving foods like baked squash, savory stuffing, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, and cornbread, there is also a growing variety of products that have been developed specifically to take the place of turkey at the Thanksgiving table. One popular product is called “Tofurky,” a meat-free, faux turkey roast made by Turtle Island Foods in Hood River, Oregon. If people want to make something themselves, they can just stuff a squash or pumpkin, instead of a turkey. After all, celebrating a compassionate Thanksgiving entails celebrating ALL life by giving up the broiled bird. Find vegetarian holiday recipes and more here.

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Valentine’s Day Events and GF Chocolate Love Bites Recipe

(Cross posted from Vegan Vanguard)

Okay, I’m pretty busy keeping a lot of balls in the air right now, but I’m so proud of this gluten-free cake recipe that’s so moist and delicious you can serve it to anyone and they’ll ask for another slice, and these Love Bites which are as ubiquitous in my house around Valentine’s Day as bunnies and chocolate eggs are for Easter or flags and grilling are for Independence Day. They’re the definitive sign that Valentine’s Day is upon us. So I’m reposting the recipe for you to enjoy.


Or, if you’re in Austin, you could save the baking for another day and come out and buy a few Love Bites from The Natural Epicurean’s 5th Annual Bake Sale. I’m leading the baking this year, and I planned the menu as well as created most of the recipes. We’ll have three different kinds of Love Bites, including a chocolate mint mousse version, Cheesecake with Chocolate Hazelnut sauce, Blood Orange Coulis, Blackberry Coulis and Pineapple Ginger Coulis, and Hello Dolly Bites, all of which will be vegan, gluten free, and free of refined sugar, plus Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cashew Créme Cheese Icing, Baklava, and Spanakopita, which will be vegan and free of refined sugar. Some of our items will also be soy free. The bake sale will be on the Casa de Luz Campus at 1701 Toomey Rd., Saturday, February 14, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm or until we sell out.

I won’t be able to attend the whole bake sale, though, as I’ll be teaching a the Annual Aphrodisiacs: Cook to Love, Love to Cook class, where Rachel Zierzow and I will be making showing how to make a luscious and seasonal meal of: Artichokes with Lemon Butter, Porcini Mushroom Soup with Chestnuts, Tempeh Italiano and Toasted Pine Nuts over Seasonal Greens, Risotto Milanese, Maple Roasted Winter Squash with Apples and Fennel, Chocolate Amaretto Mousse with Almond Tuile and Kumquats.

The class is Saturday, February 14th, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm at Casa de Luz in the Cielo Room, and the cost is $55.00 for a single attendee and only $27.50 for a friend or family member who enrolls and attends with you. Per couple, it is $82.50. To register, please call (512) 476-2276.

Love Bites
Christina Terriquez

Yields: 20 servings

Valentine’s Day is a perfect special occasion to indulge in something really decadent with your loved ones. However, one of the biggest problems with indulging is the indigestion and feeling of heaviness that accompanies most baked goods. Nothing ruins romance like an upset stomach or feeling bloated and too-full.

These Love Bites are gluten-free for easy digestion. They have a complex yet classic combination of flavors which is rich and satisfying, yet their petite size makes them a perfect end to your meal, that won’t leave you or your sweetheart’s tummies feeling overstuffed.

Ingredients
1 recipe Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
1 recipe Crème Anglaise for garnishing, optional

1/4 cup organic juice sweetened raspberry preserves, diluted
with 1 or 2 teaspoons of water

3/4 cup organic unsweetened non dairy milk, like soy, oat,
coconut, almond, rice, etc.
1/2 cup organic grain-sweetened chocolate chips

organic fresh raspberries for garnishing, optional

Directions
Prepare Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake and Crème Anglaise according to recipes.

Place chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl. In a saucepan, heat soymilk over medium-high heat until soymilk just begins to boil. Pour hot soymilk over chocolate chips and let stand for two minutes. Whisk soymilk and chocolate together until a smooth homogeneous texture is achieved.

To assemble Love Bites:
Place a wire cooling rack over a cookie sheet.

Cut off any crisp or tough edges of Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake and set aside for other uses. Cut remaining cake into individual servings using a small heart cookie cutter, or cut into 1 inch squares. If using a cookie cutter, make sure it is no more than 2 inches by 2 inches.

Cut heart in half, so that you have doubled the amount of hearts.

Spread 1/4–1/2 teaspoon of thinned raspberry preserves over the top of half of the hearts, then place another heart on top, creating a sandwich.

Place heart sandwiches on a wire rack/cookie sheet set up. Slowly pour chocolate sauce over each heart, allowing some chocolate to flow down the sides of each heart If chocolate has thickened, heat it or whisk in a tablespoon or two of more nondairy milk. Decorate hearts with raspberries while chocolate is still soft, if desired.


Place chilled and whipped Crème Anglaise in a small plastic bag and cut the very tip of one corner off the bag. Use the bag to gently drizzle crème over each heart.

Allow chocolate and crème to set up. Share with your loved ones.

Variations
Try using a different flavor of preserves or Cashew Crème.

Substitute your favorite cake recipe for the Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake.

Add 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract to soymilk before boiling.


Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
Christina Terriquez

Yields: 9–16 servings

1/3 cup organic quinoa flour
1/4 cup organic chick pea flour
1/4 cup organic white rice flour
1/3 cup organic, free-trade cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon organic ground cinnamon, optional
1/4 cup organic safflower oil
5/8 cup organic unsweetened soy milk or coconut milk (1/2 cup
plus 2 tablespoons)
1 1/2 teaspoons organic white wine vinegar
1/2 cup organic agave nectar
1/8 teaspoon unrefined sea salt, Lima or SI brand recommended
1 tablespoon organic ground flax meal
1/4 cup filtered or spring water
1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon organic almond extract, optional

Directions
Preheat over to 350° F.

Prepare one 8 inch square cake pan by lightly brushing with safflower oil, then lining with an 8×16 inch piece of unbleached parchment. Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, sift flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon together.

In a large bowl, mix remaining ingredients together. Add dry ingredients and gently mix to incorporate.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30–50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool completely on cooling rack. Run a knife along the edges of the cake, and use long ends of parchment to gently remove cake from baking pan.

Variations
Double this recipe for a two–layer 8 inch square cake.

Frost with Creamy Chocolate frosting, chocolate ganache, Tofu Cream Icing, Cashew Creme, or serve with Orange Blossom Syrup.

Garnish with a fruit sauce made with fruit sweetened preserves diluted in apple juice or water and thickened with kuzu.

Crème Anglaise
Christina Terriquez

3/4 cup organic unsweetened soymilk
2 tablespoons agar flakes
1 organic vanilla bean
1/3 cup organic coconut milk
1/4 cup organic light agave nectar
1/4 cup organic amasake
1 tablespoon organic vanilla extract
1 tablespoon organic coconut oil, optional

Directions
In a medium saucepan, combine soy milk and agar flakes and let rest for 10 minutes.

While agar and soymilk are resting, split vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape the tiny black seeds from each half, and put vanilla seeds and pod into soymilk.

Add remaining ingredients to saucepan and simmer for 10–15 minutes, until agar flakes have dissolved and sauce has thickened slightly. Remove vanilla pod from sauce. Remove from heat and blend in blender or with immersion wand once again. Use immediately for glazing.

If using sauce for garnishing, cool until set. After sauce has set, purée in blender or with immersion wand. Sauce should be soft custard consistency.

Notes
Crème Anglaise is usually made with cream, refined sugar, egg yolks and vanilla beans. This vegan version is much healthier for your heart.

Store it in a squeeze bottle (this is a perfect use for your agave nectar bottles when you’ve used all the agave inside), and use it to garnish any other desserts you make that week.

Make a double or triple batch and put it in an ice cream maker for a rich, French Vanilla-style ice cream.

There’s a vegan in Beaumont!

Texas, y’all!

It’s tofurkey roasting on an open fire
By Humberto Martinez
December, 16, 2008

Turkey, cheese logs, eggnog and ham – these are the foods of the season.

But they’re foods that Tim Sebile, who is a vegan, can’t eat. Not in the traditional sense, anyway.

Sebile, who works at the Basic Foods store, hasn’t eaten meat or any other animal product for six years. It’s a way of living he said he’s proud to be a part of, even though there aren’t many vegetarians or vegans in the area.

Coming up with an alternative recipe isn’t hard, Sebile said, and if you’re a vegan or vegetarian for animal rights reasons, there shouldn’t be any temptation to cheat.

“You can have the same things other people eat, just made with different things,” he said. “Most people think if you’re a vegetarian, it doesn’t taste good, but that’s not true.”

Keep reading. Kudos to the Beaumont Enterprise for publishing this story.

Cross posted from The Vegan Tree House.

Thanksgiving

Here’s what I had:

Wheatsville cranberry-orange sauce, Wheatsville tempeh with carrots and leeks, Veganomicon stir-fried collard greens, Wheatsville rosemary biscuit, homemade candied bourbon sweet potatoes, homemade seitan sausage balls, homemade roast parsnips, and Wheatsville mushroom gravy. This was SO GOOD. More pics on my blog.

We finished up with some coconut cream pie, also from Wheatsville.


Post your pics!

Guide to a Vegan Vanguard Thanksgiving, Part 3

Where Can a Vegan in Austin Go to Get Their Thanksgiving Grub On?
Cross posted from Vegan Vanguard

In Austin, there are many food-related events for vegans in the days leading up to, and including Thanksgiving Day.

Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts
Annual Very Best Thanksgiving Class and Luncheon
Great community-building event, where all dishes are vegan and gluten-free.
Class is 9:00am-noon, lunch is 12:15pm-1:45pm
Saturday, November 22
Class & lunch are $55 for the first person, $40 for the second, or attend lunch only for $25
512-207-0598
1701 Toomey Road
Austin, TX 78704

Royal Co-op
Vegan Thanksgiving Potluck
Enjoy a sense of camaraderie and meet new people
4:00pm
Sunday, November 23
512 478-0880
1805 Pearl Street
Austin, TX 78701

Happy Vegan Baker
Eat Thanksgiving dinner in your own home without having to prepare a thing.
Complete 8-part meals prepared by Inge
Order by 5 pm on November 25, pick up or get it delivered(for a fee) on November 26.
Full meal is $28 per person, but dishes can be purchased separately.
Order via the website, phone 512-657-3934, or email inge@happyveganbaker.com

Casa de Luz
Austin’s only totally vegan restaurant continues its tradition of offering lunch on Thanksgiving.
11:30am-2:30pm
Thursday, November 27
$15 includes full meal and dessert
1701 Toomey Road
Austin, TX 78704
512-476-2535

I know other cities are host to similar events, unfortunately, I don’t have any info about them.

Guide to a Vegan Vanguard Thanksgiving, Part 2

What Do I Eat, Now That Turkey’s Off The Menu?
Cross posted from Vegan Vanguard

I remember the panic of my first Thanksgiving. I had been a perfectly content vegetarian for about 4 months, and while I had experienced my share of food disasters, for the most part, I was having a lot of fun learning about nutrition and trying out new foods. Then, a few days before Thanksgiving, something occurred to me: for the first time in my life, I wouldn’t be able to join in the family traditions. I wouldn’t be eating the turkey, or the gravy, or the giblet stuffing, and I definitely wouldn’t be making my family’s annual Thanksgiving Jell-o. As I was only 14 at the time, this was a big moment for me, and I suddenly felt extremely alienated and isolated. Not because I wouldn’t be eating turkey, but because I would be breaking one of the few traditions we observed, and I would be the only one doing so. I thought that I would be left out. As it turns out, my mother was great, and set aside stuffing for me without giblets, the other dishes that couldn’t be converted were things I didn’t really care for anyway, so I was able to be part of the family and share most of the meal.

What did I eat instead of turkey for my first vegetarian Thanksgiving? I actually don’t recall. I think it was some savory tofu dish that seemed daunting at the time, and ended up tasting okay but was generally underwhelming. The point is, the food itself didn’t really matter, having my family make an effort on my part was enough to allow me to realize I could never not be a part of the family, and see how loved and accepted I was. I do know that for Christmas that year, and for the all of the Thanksgivings since that I’ve spent with them, my parents bought me a Tofurky. A whole Tofurky. Just for me. I’ve always appreciated the sentiment, even if I didn’t really enjoy the entrée itself….I rag on it a bit, but it does make things easy, and I know many people who enjoy it immensely.

I actually was not a big fan of turkey on Thanksgiving, because it usually came out kind of dry and wasn’t particularly flavorful, which may account for why I don’t miss turkey and don’t care for Tofurky roasts. Give me a variety of delicious side dishes, or even just a plate of dressing and cranberry sauce, and I could be totally happy. I do enjoy the ritual of cooking for days, having a big production leading up to the main event, and then the delicious sedated afterglow, though. Plus, JD, my love, has a healthy appreciation for tradition, so we do a full spread, and we do it right.

I’ve been away from my family for 6 years now, so I’ve had some time to work on my Thanksgiving dishes, and I’ve done many different things for the vegan entrée at my Thanksgiving celebrations. For a few years, I made a simple harvest bake by mixing fall vegetables like celery, onions, sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, and parsnips in a casserole dish with tempeh or seitan, seasoned it all with soy sauce, garlic, herbs, and wine if I wanted, and baked until everything was tender. I’ve also made yummy but not especially festive protein dishes like tempeh marsala. Last year I tried making a tofu and gluten mock turkey, but it was terrible. I generally enjoy foods more when they’re not trying to mimic something exactly, so I should have known better.

I usually try to do something a little different each Thanksgiving. Here’s a recap of last year’s Thanksgiving feast. I haven’t finalized this year’s menu yet, and there are over 20 recipes in contention, including chocolate bourbon pie, cranberry sorbet, cranberry, currant and champagne relish, cranberry upside down cake –yes, I have lots of love for fresh cranberries–and yuba holiday “duck”. I do know we’ll definitely be making the Cranberry, Fig, and Walnut Cornbread Dressing and Spiced and Caramelized Butternut Squash from last year’s menu as well as traditional favorites like mashed potatoes.

Many blogs have compiled great recipes and ideas, some of my favorites include:

Vegan Bits – The link will take you directly to a compilation of holiday recipes, but check out the more recent posts for more Thanksgiving info.

PETA’s VegCooking – Tons of recipes, most of which look like they were tailor-made for home cooks with limited time.

Bryanna Clark Grogan
– The vegan food mogul and author offers up recipes for some of the most common holiday dishes. Great info, ideas, and recipes for soy-free vegans.

Karina’s Kitchen – Anyone with gluten or wheat allergies will understand why Karina is a Gluten Free Goddess. While it’s not a vegetarian or vegan blog, Karina does make sure her vegan readers have plenty of gorgeous recipes to try. In her pre-Thanksgiving post she includes tons of dishes that everyone can enjoy, just make sure click on any recipe that sounds inviting, as many of Karina’s recipes have tips or variations for vegans.

101 Cookbooks – Heidi’s compiled and organized all of her vegan Thanksgiving recipes, so you don’t have to search. She’s even separated all of the vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes on another page so everything is simple and easy for her readers. I love Heidi’s style because it’s simple, elegant, beautiful, and everything starts with quality ingredients.

Unturkey
– Do you remember Now and Zen’s UnTurkey? So do the vegans who created this site. They’ve opensourced the recipe, so you can recreate it in your home.

Finally, there’s Field Roast – many people serve the Celebration Roast version, but I’m partial to the Hazelnut Herb Cutlet. The official website also offers recipes.

Up next: Guide to a Vegan Vanguard Thanksgiving, Part 3 – Where Can a Vegan in Austin Go to Get Their Thanksgiving Grub On?

Guide to a Vegan Vanguard Thanksgiving, Part 1

How to Have a Thanksgiving with Less Stress and More Quality Time
Cross posted from Vegan Vanguard

Thanksgiving is almost upon us. For most people, this is a day of family, food, and hopefully, love and community–but for some vegans and vegetarians, especially new vegans or vegetarians and their families, Thanksgiving can be especially stressful. Here are some things I’ve picked up over the years:

If you’re around all of your family for the first time since making a huge lifestyle change, your family is bound to be curious. Some people handle their curiosity better than others, but be prepared to play 20 questions with each and every one of your relatives. I’ve experienced everything from family members who sneakily fed me dip loaded with bacon grease, to cousins who went out of their way to make sure I had something I would eat, to my immediate family who have always been supportive. I’ve had people try to serve me butter and eggs, or ask if chicken and fish are okay. I’ve even had family members assume my veganism was a result of my (Catholic) high school brainwashing me. Remember that when your family voices concerns, they do so because they love you. Gently inform them your beliefs, and, if they persist, agree to disagree. Remember, you’re not going to change everyone’s mind all at once, and getting in someone’s face, being beligerent, etc. only gives vegans a bad name while doing nothing to further the cause, and ultimately, Thanksgiving is a day for family, friends, and gratitude.

Nothing makes people understand veganism like amazing vegan food, so, if possible, take an amazing vegan dessert to share with everyone. If you can, help prepare the whole dinner. Not only is this great bonding time, but you can try to convert some of the dishes and make them vegan. This can be especially helpful for your hosts who want to accommodate you, but are unsure of what exactly is and isn’t in your diet. Some dishes can be easily converted, with no loss of flavor using everyday ingredients available at most stores, for example make vegan dressing/stuffing (use vegetable stock and bake in a dish instead of stuffing the turkey), or vegan mashed potatoes (use Earth Balance or olive oil instead of butter, and soy milk instead of milk). Make sure to pay special attention to the presentation of anything vegan you serve, because your food will be judged. I used to find it helpful to wait until after people had started eating and enjoying a dish before mentioning that it was vegan–although now everyone I know is well aware that I’m vegan.

If you know nothing will be vegan, or are unsure if there will be anything for you to eat, eat ahead of time and/or take a dish you love, to share with others. This is a good general tip for vegans at any event, and it makes any food you find that’s accidentally vegan, a happy surprise!

Instead of obsessing about food, relax and enjoy the company. This a good general tip for everyone. In my experience, it does the most to promote veganism because it shows that vegans can be well-adjusted and social, and that veganism can be easy and fun. In college, both of my roommates became vegetarians after living with me, and they each said something along the lines of, “You showed me it didn’t have to be hard (to give up meat)”.

On the flip side, don’t act like a vegan martyr. By that, I mean the modern common usage of martyr, i.e. someone who is constantly suffering. Being a vegan is a choice made freely, and it’s something to be happy about. If you feel deprived or angry about it, you’re doing it wrong. Additionally, no one wants to hang out with someone who is down about everything. One of my best (omni) friends, J, met a cute vegan girl, and wanted to take her out, but they couldn’t get their schedules to align until one night when J was going out to a steakhouse with his friends for a birthday party. The girl repeatedly said she didn’t mind going to the steakhouse, and they wanted to hang out with each other sooner rather than later, so the plans were set. As soon as they stepped inside of the steakhouse, the girl loudly declared, “It smells like death in here,” and proceeded to make snide comments all evening. Did anyone have a good time that night? Of course not. I’m not saying you should stay mum if you’re uncomfortable, but I know I would like to eat without having to defend my choices, and I’m sure my dining companions feels the same way. Since we respect each other, even if we disagree, we can enjoy spending time together.

Up next: Guide to a Vegan Vanguard Thanksgiving, Part 2 – What Do I Eat, Now That Turkey’s Off The Menu?