- 4 of 5 stars to Stranded in Space by C.J. Atticus http://t.co/XxHOB88ew4 ->
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In the four days between my making this ice cream and photographing it, Shane asked me every single night whether I’d taken the pictures yet – since he’s not allowed to eat the homemade ice cream until I can photograph it for the blog. A little whinier each night, he sounded a kid waiting for…well, his ice cream. Annoying and a slightly endearing all at once. Needless to say, he’s super-stoked to see this post go up!
This is a pretty simple recipe, and a tasty way to use up leftover cranberry sauce. By my best estimate, you’ll need about a cup of cranberry sauce per four to five bananas, which ultimately yields about a quart of ice cream. But just in case you like your ice cream with an extra cranberry kick, I included instructions for making two cups of sauce. You can stick with my basic recipe or swap it out for your own favorite version. Just be sure to simmer as much of the moisture out as you can!
Also, feel free to dress this up with chocolate chips and dried cranberries; cinnamon (~ 1 teaspoon), nutmeg (~ 1/4 tsp), and allspice (a dash); some extra lemon or orange zest, perhaps in addition to a few tablespoons of frozen OJ concentrate); or a shot of bourbon or triple sec.
Cranberry Banana Ice Cream
(Makes a little more than a quart of ice cream.)
4 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
(This makes about two cups of cranberry sauce, or enough for 1 to 1 1/2 or even 2 batches of ice cream, depending on how heavy your hand. You can use the leftovers as an ice cream sauce, in oatmeal, on savory foodstuffs, etc. If you’d rather not have any extras, reduce this recipe by half.)
4-5 overripe bananas, peeled, sliced and frozen
sugar to taste (optional)
a splash of non-dairy milk or creamer, if needed
1. Begin by making the cranberry sauce. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Cook on medium, stirring occasionally, until the berries burst (about ten minutes). Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook until the sauce has thickened up considerable. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature until continuing to step #2.
2. Transfer one cup of the cranberry sauce to a food processor and pulse until it’s relatively smooth. Some chunks are okay.
3. Put the bananas in the food processor and pulse until smoothly blended. Most likely you’ll need to stir them by hand several times, as the frozen chunks tend to gather and become “stuck” on one side of the bowl. If necessary, add a splash of non-dairy milk or creamer to get things moving!
Alternately, you can allow the bananas to defrost on the counter top for 30 to 60 minutes beforehand, so that they’re easier to work with. Before putting them in the food processor, break them up into smaller chunks with a butter knife.
Note: Since introducing extra liquids (such as non-dairy milk) into the mix results in a slightly icier finished product, I prefer defrosting to non-dairy milk. If you’re in a hurry, pop the bananas in the microwave for 20 to 45 seconds instead.
4. If the bananas aren’t sweet enough for your taste (sometimes this happens if you freeze them before they’re sufficiently ripe), add a bit of sugar to taste. Any sugar works fine – white, brown, etc. – but I find that powdered sugar results in a smoother blend. If you’d like a stronger cranberry taste, add some more sauce.
5. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container. Enjoy immediately as soft serve, or pop the ice cream in the freezer for an hour+ for a firmer dessert. Store any leftovers in the freezer in an airtight container. If the frozen banana ice cream proves too hard to scoop, microwave it for ten seconds to help loosen it up (or let the container sit on the counter for ten to thirty minutes prior to eating, depending on room temp).
- animals aren't gifts http://t.co/jY66M42kPy ->
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- When legend becomes legend. http://t.co/mbQYmFB8LG ->
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Season of the Witch
(Full disclosure: The publisher sent me a free copy of this book for review at my request.)
“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” – Exodus 22:18
While the term “witch hunts” often conjures up images of the Salem Witch Trials, the truth is that those American colonists persecuted for witchcraft were but a drop in the bucket. From the mid-1300s through the 1700s, tens of thousands of people were imprisoned, tortured, and executed across Europe for the crime of heresy, including practicing witchcraft. In Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times, Rocky Wood, Lisa Morton, and Greg Chapman offer a succinct yet chilling account of the witch trials in graphic novel format.
Driven by fear, superstition, greed, and misogyny, religious and “secular” authorities alike found new and inventive ways to interrogate and kill these hapless victims, whose property was routinely confiscated and redistributed among the nobility, offering a powerful motive to accuse the innocent of consorting with the devil. In more extreme cases, this strategy backfired (or rather, progressed to its natural conclusion): entire towns were laid to waste as citizens were murdered en masse and others fled: “Finally, in 1593, the executions in Trier ended only when the city and its people were too impoverished to continue, the population had too much diminished, and food became scarce because farmers had been among those burned at the stakes.” (page 86)
Likewise, misogyny was a driving force as well; a majority of those tried and executed for witchcraft were women – including Joan of Arc, who was convicted of heresy for wearing men’s clothes. (After the first offense, she was imprisoned for life, as only repeat offenders could receive a death sentence. She resumed dressing as a man after an English Lord tried to rape her, in what was likely a trap devised by her enemies. Yet another piece of history I don’t remember hearing about in high school!) The authors recount the life’s work of one Henricus Institoris, also known as Kramer, the Dominican priest who co-authored the witch hunting bible Malleus Maleficarum, i.e., “The Hammer of Witches.” Kramer ordered that women accused of sorcery – overwhelmingly young and “buxom” – be stripped naked prior to their interrogations, which he frequently performed himself, alone behind closed doors. As the authors so charitably note, “The Inquisitor clearly had a passion for helpless, unclothed victims.” Had Karmer been born in different time and place, he might have become another Ted Bundy or Arthur Shawcross. Kramer proved so extreme that he was formally denounced by the Inquisition in 1490.
The illustrations by Greg Chapman are stark and often grotesque – appropriate for the subject matter, in other words. While Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times might prove useful in introducing high school readers to this shameful chapter in human history (one of many), I suspect that parents and teachers might object to the nudity. (The subjects of which are primarily attractive young women. It’s difficult at time to tell whether this accurately reflects history – see, e.g. the previous paragraph – or is just in keeping with current cultural norms. Some of the panels are oddly reminiscent of a 90s S&M scene.)
The authors also take care to note that, while the mass hysteria that swept Europe during the height of the witch trials may be long past, women and men are still being condemned to death for witchcraft to this day. Saudi Arabia, for example, still classifies witchcraft as a crime punishable by death; 74% of those charged are women.
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They Shoot Narwhals, Don’t They?
(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review at the author’s invitation. Also, trigger warning for discussions of violence, including that of a sexual nature.)
“Hierarchies feed oppression because it allows for valuation: those at the top are more valued than those at the bottom. Oppressors like hierarchies that keep animals at the bottom because then you can do to humans what you do to animals if you say that the humans are like the animals. So it feeds oppression to have animal objectification.” – Carol J. Adams (page 492)
“Change is hard, but not changing is just as hard.” – Carol J. Adams (page 487)
“Now I can look at you in peace; I don’t eat you any more.” – Franz Kafka (quoted on page 490)
In Bleating Hearts: The Hidden World of Animal Suffering, author-activist and longtime vegan Mark Hawthorne examines some of the effects of these human hierarchies, which universally place nonhuman animals – an estimated three to thirty million species, comprised of trillions upon trillions of individuals – at the bottom of the proverbial shit pile. (That such categories even exist – human animals, and all the “others” – is itself a testament to the self-centeredness of the human species.)
While I was expecting an encyclopedic, A-to-Z look at animal suffering, Bleating Hearts is something much different; Hawthorne shines a light on practices that, for whatever reason, don’t garner as much attention in animal activist circles: Balut eggs, an Asian delicacy that involves boiling developing duck embryos alive. The plight of the ever-popular slow lorises (please don’t forward those YouTube videos, people, no matter how cute they seem!). Dolphin-assisted therapy (cruel, and a scam). Horse fighting (which often ends in the serial rape of a mare, positioned in the ring to induce the stallions to compete). Rogue taxidermy. If you think you know all there is to know about animal exploitation, think again. Even the most seasoned activist will discover something new within these pages.
- On page 364 of 436 of Shifters, by Douglas Pershing http://t.co/Jn99zVQM5C ->
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I’ve been feeling bummed about the holidays, so Shane volunteered to make Thanksgiving dinner this year. All by his little lonesome! And to sweeten the deal, he made it a Thanksgiving pizza. (Back off vegans, he’s mine!)
This year’s pie was a lot like 2011′s masterpiece, but with one crucial difference: Shane added a top crust, thus doubling the carb count. The result was kind of like a giant pot pie..or an honest-to-goodness pizza “pie.” He also stuffed it with mashed potatoes (I swear the layer was nearly an inch thick!), stuffing, Tofurky (slices AND Kielbasa; a weird choice, but I’m not complaining), and gravy, with extra gravy to garnish. Basically I ate my weight in gravy, is what I’m saying.
We weren’t sure what to expect – would the bottom crust cook all the way through, or simply collapse under the weight of all that deliciousness? would the gravy leak? would our oven implode from the sheer awesomeness of it all? – but the end result was bitchin’. Seriously, this is one good pizza. I might even like it better than the naked, one-crust version – but not if I’m the one making it. That top crust is tricky, yo! You’ll need two pairs of hands and a giant spatula to pick it up.
Shane mostly winged it, but here’s a basic recipe for you to follow, if you’d like to try it for your own bad self. Feel free to swap out any of the “side” recipes (mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy) for your own favorite version. Each recipe makes a big batch, so you WILL have leftovers. Better to have a little extra than not enough, though, am I right?
Pro tip: You can make some of the items a day beforehand, so pizza assembly goes more quickly. BUT the mashed potatoes and gravy are easiest to spread/drizzle when a little warm, so if you’re using leftovers, you should reheat them a bit first. You don’t want them hot, though, since they can compromise the integrity of the crust. Room temp or slightly warmer is best.
Also, one caveat: I have zero idea how easy this is to cut without a Pizza Press. My guess is, not very. Consider yourself warned!
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It’s easy being cheesy!
(Full disclosure: The publisher sent me a free copy of this book for review at my request.)
Vegan cheese! No two words in the English language are able to arouse the excitement, the vociferous debate, the unbridled passion of vegans quite like “vegan cheese.” (Except – maybe – “free pizza”!) Whether arguing about the merits of Daiya vs. Teese or swapping our favorite cheesy sauce recipes, us vegans love to cut the cheese. (Sorry I’m not sorry.)
John Schlimm’s latest cookbook, The Cheesy Vegan, doesn’t disappoint. Filled with recipes for cheesy sammies and cheesy pizzas and cheesy pasta dishes and cheesy soups and sides (and an entire chapter of mac & cheese! ONE WHOLE CHAPTER!), there are also a ton of recipes for homemade cheeses: Cheddar. Mozzarella. Brie. Swiss. Feta. Ricotta. Blue. Jack. Muenster. Wine. American. Cottage. Cream. Parmesan. Nooch cheese. You name it! If it’s cheesy, it’s in here.
Better yet, the cheeses are all pretty easy to make: just blend and chill. I’ve been on the fence about whether I should give Artisan Vegan Cheese a try, since (from what I’ve seen) some of the recipes border on alchemy. But these are actually recipes that homemade cheese novices like myself can pull off with some ease!
While choosing recipes to test for this review, I tried to select dishes that would allow me to experiment with a variety of the homemade cheeses. Six weeks, seven cheeses, and thirteen (plus!) meals later, and I think I’m finally ready to do this!
For what it’s worth, I’ve been allergic to milk my entire life – so I’m not exactly the best judge of whether vegan cheeses taste or even behave like their non-vegan counterparts. Luckily, my husband was more than happy to help with the taste-testing and opinionating. (We’ve both been vegan since the mid-aughts and consider ourselves connoisseurs of vegan cheese.)
With that disclaimer out of the way – let’s get cheesy!
- On page 93 of 436 of Shifters, by Douglas Pershing http://t.co/QeMGpLZV9P ->
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Are we there yet?
(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through a Goodreads giveaway.)
Fifteen-year-old Jess is trapped in a car, hurtling toward California – and eternity – with her dysfunctional family. Father John is a gambling addict who recently lost another in a long string of jobs; older sister Elise has just discovered that she’s pregnant; and mother Barbara is heavy into denial, too busy maintaining her family’s reputation to deal.
When some dude referred to only as Marshall predicts that the Second Coming is but weeks away, Dad decides to take the family on a road trip from Alabama to California, so that they can be among the last people Raptured up to heaven. Although this impulse mostly remains a mystery to his daughters, perhaps Jess is onto something when she thinks, “He always sounded so excited when he talked about the tribulations. He liked the idea of all the sinners getting what was coming to them.” Along the way, Dad hands out tracts and tries to save the souls of strangers from eternal damnation. But his efforts are half-hearted at best: as Jess observes, “He didn’t really want all 7 billion people on the planet to be saved. We wouldn’t be special then.”
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