Category: Holidays & Observances

"That it will never come again / Is what makes life so sweet." *

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

After last year’s elaborate space pirates fsmas theme – complete with canine Firefly cosplay and a tree full of handmade pirate ornaments – I decided to take it easy(ier) this time around. (At least with the decorating. The baking is another story!) So this year’s fsmas card theme was a little rushed and last-minute, but awesome just the same: Carl Sagan. More specifically, Carl Sagan quotes.

Truthfully I just really, really wanted to use the starstuff quote on a holiday card. It’s my favorite and I get choked up and leak strange, salty liquid from my eyes every time I think of it. To think that our bodies – hearts, hands, heads – are constructed of the remnants of long-dead alien stars. Such a strange and beautiful and wondrous idea. Yay science! (Adam’s rib or fallen stars? No contest!)

This year, Mags served as our coverdog, both because she’s never been and, perhaps more importantly, her pictures came out quite nicely. This main card is the one I sent to friends and family but, as per usual, I made “alternates” for each of the dogs (and Lemmy too!). I can’t stand to leave anyone out and besides, I welcome the thinnest of justifications for spending the day with Photoshop. For each of the animals, I chose a different Sagan quote – mainly for consistency, but also because he’s an eminently quotable guy.

As much as I love how the main card came out, I think Kaylee’s is my favorite of the bunch. There’s just something about her face and the way she’s addressing the camera. And the apples and the apron! It’s all just too perfect. Like she’s ready to bake a motherfucking apple pie and you’d better get the hell out of her way. NOW PASS THE EARTH BALANCE PLEASE! and thankyouverymuch.

Finnick was surprisingly well-behaved during the photo-taking; turns out his fear of the camera almost dissipates when there’s food around. We dressed him in a pirate tie that we originally bought for the cat (OH THE SHAME!); it was the only piece of clothing we thought he’d tolerate. And he did! I might make him wear it 24/7 now, just for my own amusement. His look is reminiscent of Cartman the fetus salesman, I think.

And for Lemmy, I couldn’t help but make an extra-snarky version of his card, just because. (By which I mean, just because he’s been snacking on the garland and batting my ornaments off the tree all month. CATS.)

Unfortunately, I forgot to include each dog’s name on the card (doh! me) – but if you hover over the image or click through to flickr, they’re right there in the file names. Easy peasy!

 

2012 Holiday Card - Mags (Main)

“The nitrogen in our DNA,
The calcium in our teeth,
The iron in our blood,
The carbon in our apple pies
Were made in the interiors
Of collapsing stars.
We are made of starstuff.”
——————————

2012 Message Label

(Against the backdrop of the aurora borealis:)

May your star shine bright this holiday season!
Best wishes from all of us in the Garbato-Brady Pack:
Kelly, Shane, Ralphie, Peedee, O-Ren Ishii, Kaylee, Jayne,
Mags, Finnick, and Lemmy (otherwise known as “The Cat”).

I printed these out on 4×6″ sticky labels and affixed them to the back of the main card.
Way easier than handwriting on 50+ cards!
——————————

(More below the fold…)

Shiny Happy Spaghetti (It’s FSMas decorating time!)

Monday, December 24th, 2012

2012-12-21 - FSMas Decorations - 0149

 

For several years now I’ve been meaning to do a “31 Days of FSMas” series, with tips and tutorials for giving your holiday festivities a flying spaghetti monster flair. (Two words: pasta and pirates!) Between Vegan MoFo and real life holiday chores, I always run out of time. Sigh. Maybe next year? (Famous last words.)

Instead of a series, a big old roundup featuring pictures of this year’s decorations. I didn’t go all out with a theme like last year, when I made all the holiday tree ornaments by hand (to match Kaylee and Jayne’s Firefly-inspired costumes) – but luckily I had enough existing decorations to deck the house in swag just the same. (…is the understatement of the year.) Lots of sparkle, but not much organization. Just glitter. EVERYWHERE.

So here are my principles of FSMas decorating, in no particular order:

 

1. You can never have too many flying spaghetti monsters.

2012-12-21 - FSMas Decorations - 0074

(More below the fold…)

Eat to the Beat: Pumpkin Marshmallow Chocolate Chip Cookies & Ray Parker, Jr.

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

 

The song: “Ghostbusters (Theme)” by Ray Parker, Jr. (lyrics)

The foodstuff: Pumpkin Marshmallow Chocolate Chip Cookies from Little House on the Vegan Prairie

The connection: It’s Halloween and there’s a STAY PUFT MARSHMALLOW MAN in this movie!

 

Pumpkin Marshmallow Chocolate Chip Cookies (0066)

 

Happy Halloween, y’all! Next to FSMas, this is my favorite day of the whole year. Sixteen-hour horror movie marathons with all the vegan junk food and frozen Tofurky pizzas you can eat? SIGN ME UP!

We’re talking movie theater popcorn, salt and vinegar chips, Twizzlers, Go Max Go candy bars, ice cream sundaes, Skittles, candy apples – and new this year, a freshly made batch of Pumpkin Marshmallow Chocolate Chip Cookies! Little House on the Vegan Prairie dreamed these up last Vegan MoFo and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about them since!

 

Pumpkin Marshmallow Chocolate Chip Cookies (0052)

The fruit of my loins!
——————————

(Yeah, I usually have a stomach ache and/or sugar headache on November 1st. But you know what? SO WORTH IT.)

Sticky, ooey, gooey mess aside, these are pretty simple to make, with no unusual ingredients required. Just compassion and Dandies, yo! The result is a soft, cakey chocolate chip cookie with a hint of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice (the Thanksgiving spices!), covered in sweet marshmallowy goodness.

First you mix your dry ingredients, then your wet stuff. Then you add the dry to wet and lastly, fold in the Dandies and chocolate chips. The cookies rise considerably, so give them enough space to expand on the cookie sheet. The marshmallows puff up too – sometimes well beyond the bounds of the cookies they’re attached to! As they cool and contract, the Dandies leave little cavities in the cookies. Swiss cheese cookies, oh noes!

Pumpkin Marshmallow Chocolate Chip Cookies (b-0006

Pop the cold cookies in the microwave for ~15 seconds for maximum meltiness.
(Yes, I own a novelization of Ghostbusters II. DON’T JUDGE ME!)
——————————

A neat little workaround I found: don’t add the marshmallows until after you drop the batter onto the cookie sheet. Position one or two marshallows smack dab in the middle of the cookie and press down gently. As it bakes, it’ll drip over and down the cookie, but mostly stays on top – no hallowed out spaces in the cookies or clinging to the neighbors!

As part of her Hurricane Sandy preparations, Vegan CineGrub also made Ghostbusters-themed cookies yesterday: Ectoplasm Stay-Puft Cookies. PJ describes them as “Coconut Marshmallow Snickerdoodle” things, but they look a lot like the Pumpkin Marshmallow Chocolate Chip Cookies – only green! How cool is that? Now I know what I’m making next Halloween! Even if you don’t like cookies (MONSTER!), you should visit her place anyway, ’cause she’s got a real live pic of the Ghostbusters car. Are you jealous yet?

Enjoyed to the sweet ’80s sounds of Ray Parker, Jr. in honor of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, a likeness of which I purchased special for the occasion. (But I shall enjoy him year-round! He makes for the most adorable of nicknacks, I tell you what!)

 

Pumpkin Marshmallow Chocolate Chip Cookies (0022)

“I’m with cookies.” You and me both, Stay Puft. You and me both.
——————————

Today we’ll be revisiting Ghostbusters, which I haven’t seen for years. Also on the roster – tentatively, since we usually play it by ear: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Cronos, The Tall Man, Inside, Red: Werewolf Hunter, Wrong Turn, Tales from the Hood, The House of the Devil, and The Shrine. I’m also thinking about The Cabin in the Woods, even though we already saw it in the theaters. THAT GOOD.

Do you like scary movies, vegan? Check out this list of animal-friendly horror movies I compiled last Halloween. We ticked a bunch off our list in 2011. Soylent Green? It’s delicious.

 

null

 

P.S. This isn’t goodbye! I have a few extra “Vegan MoFo B-Side” posts lined up for the rest of the week (including a “best of” link roundup), AND I’m participating in the Virtual Vegan Potluck tomorrow. (Which for me is 11PM tonight. Silly time zones, always messing things up.) Stick around for more beautiful food and delicious music, mkay?

 

veganmofo 2012
Eat to the Beat

white space

Today is (Women) Read Comics in Public Day!

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

2012-08-28 - Reading Buffy in Public - 0016

 

In honor of the occasion, here I am reading Volume 1 of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus at the park! I recently finished watching the series on Netflix for the first time (Late to the party much? & also: SO MANY FEELINGS!) & couldn’t stand for it to end, so I decided to give the comics a try. As of this evening, I’m also three episodes into Angel. (Oz!)

Anyway, if you identify as a woman and would like to participate, the tumblr womenreadcomicsinpublicagain.tumblr.com is taking submissions all week! The event coincides with the annual Read Comics in Public Day event, and is “designed to show the scope and diversity of female comic readers.”

I’m kind of a newbie – other than Buffy, the only other series I’ve read is The Walking Dead – and not really the best person to hit up for recommendations. But I’ll take ‘em if you’ve got ‘em! Hint: strong women are a must. (Comic book creators, pay attention. If I find a series I love, I will buy all the things!)

This particular collection was a birthday gift from mom. Yay mom!

PS – Here I am!

you are what you eat (and I am a pizza!)

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Another pizza roundup, because it’s been entirely too long since the last one!

The Vegan Pizza Day That Was Giveaway!

2012-01-21 - Bowl of Sexy - 0007 [with text]

Hey friends! Do you love pizza? Of course you do! Now through Monday afternoon, take a pic of your vegan pizza and share it with us at fuck yeah vegan pizza for a chance to win one of three prize packages stuffed with goodies from Tofurky, Daiya, Lightlife, Gardein, Nasoya, Tofutti, Field Roast, Bob’s Red Mill, and Upton’s Naturals (for US & Canadian readers) or a ginormous box of vegan meats and cheeses from Redwood Foods (for mainland UK residents).

Even if you lose the giveaway, you still win at life! (‘Cause you got to make and share pizza, duh!)

(Too much shameless self-promotion? Never!)

I am a Pizza, by Charlotte Diamond

So I was searching for music for a pizza mix tape (NO I SHIT YOU NOT) and found this video on the youtubes. I’ve listened to it at least a dozen times now and the lyrics are stuck all up in my head. I sang it to Peedee and O-Ren during our afternoon walk in the park, but I don’t think they enjoyed it. Whatever, they’re dogs, they eat poo. Anyway it’s dope and you should totally give it a listen so that it sticks in your noggin too. Then I won’t be the only weirdo wandering the streets yelling “I AM A PIZZA!” at the top of her lungs.

Cheesy Penne Pizza

2011-12-19 - Leftover Penne Pizza - 0003

With mozzarella Daiya, sauteed carrots, mushrooms, garlic and tomatoes, and baked penne pasta, all on a fluffy white pizza crust. I have yet to write up a recipe, but basically you just make up a dish of your favorite oven-baked pasta and set aside a few cups (three? four?) for the pizza prior to baking it. (Two meals in one!) Layer it on top of some red sauce, top with a lil’ extra cheese, and bake the pizza as you would normally. Nom!

Extra-Easy Vegan Bisquick Cheese Pizza

2011-12-17 - Basic Bisquick Pizza - 0002

Aside from using store-bought bread, this Bisquick pizza crust is about as easy as it gets! Because it doesn’t contain any yeast, you don’t need to let the dough rise at all. (Pizza in a pinch, anyone?!?) It also makes for a pretty foolproof thin crust recipe – what you see is what you get! Quick and yummy, and super-useful for those nights when you’re craving pizza but are in too of much of a hurry to make a proper dough. Definitely a keeper!

(More below the fold…)

The Great CriFSMas Food Roundup!

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Sure, so maybe the holidays are, like, SO LAST MONTH. But my house is still dressed to party, and besides, better late than never! Vegan foods never go out of style, yo.

Let me begin by saying that I didn’t do nearly as much baking this year as last. With the exception of some cookies for our neighbors, I didn’t make any gifts by hand. Mostly ’cause I was pressed for time, but also because I’m still trying to work off the ten pounds I gained by “taste testing” 2010′s handmade presents.

Instead I hit up Vegan Etsy: an assortment of vegan candies from NoWhey for my grandma Arnie; SuperFoxySweets vegan chocolate truffles for my grandma Vita; and a PB lover’s sampler box, along with peppermint patties, extra peanut butter cups, and a pumpkin roll (all from Sweet Vegan Delight) for my mum – all for less than $150! SUCH A STEAL!

Elsewhere on the internets, a box o’ vegan wine for my aunt Cindy and her BFF Hank (from Clos LaChance Winery, though I don’t see any vegan options at the moment) and a Ron Swanson mug for Shane.

2011-12-23 - Shane's Gift - 0008

2011-12-23 - Shane's Gift - 0009

“Just give me all the bacon and eggs you have. Wait … wait. I worry what you just heard was: Give me a lot of bacon and eggs. What I said was: Give me all the bacon and eggs you have. Do you understand?
——————————

(From Peachy Apricot on etsy, in case you want one for your own bad self.)

My sister Meesh was easy; her only wish was more fruit leather, so I sent her a few pounds of the stuff. (We have a huge container in the freezer. Great for distracting Ralphie from his allergy shots!)

My brother-in-law sent us a basket of vegan goodies from Marge’s Bakery in Northridge, CA. It’s not an exclusively vegan establishment, but it has a decent number of vegan options relative to its non-vegan offerings.

2011-12-20 - Treats from Marge's Bakery - 0006

The basket included four varieties of cookies: California Snowballs (melt-in-your mouth good!), Kiss of Lemon (thin and crispy and very lemon-y; my least favorite of the bunch), Ginger Snaps (soft, chewy, and surprisingly delicious, since I’m usually lukewarm on these) and Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies (crunchy, like most store-bought cookies, and super-delish – but also quite small). They were devoured in less than a week.

Also present: two loaves of sweet bread. Namely, zucchini bread and carrot cake. (The latter is technically a cake, I guess, but it had the look and feel of a sweet bread to me. It was remarkable similar in texture and sweetness to the zucchini bread, in any case.)

2011-12-20 - Zucchini Bread - 0002

The zucchini bread was at least as good as my own recipe, but not necessarily better. Sweet but not sickeningly so. I especially loved the sweet glaze on top of the bread, which added that little extra something to the bread. (Note to self: you simply must find that recipe!)

2011-12-25 - Carrot Cake - 0003

The highlight of the carrot cake was most def the frosting, which was delightfully spicy (Not in a hot way! I detected hints of Pumpkin Spice – but then my palate’s not all that sophisticated, so who knows?) and stood a good inch in height. Maybe this is what transforms a humble carrot loaf into a cake? Either way, NOM.

(More below the fold…)

The Vegan Pizza Day That Was!

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Okay, so maybe Vegan Pizza Day has moved to June 28th. But the party’s still on at fuck yeah vegan pizza!

null

Come celebrate the Vegan Pizza Day That Was with us, ALL WEEK LONG! Americans & Canadians, share your vegan pizza photos with us for a chance to win one of three awesome prize packages featuring buttons, tees, totes – & more free product coupons than you can wag your tongue at! – from Tofurky, Daiya, Lightlife, Gardein, Nasoya, Tofutti, Field Roast, Bob’s Red Mill, Upton’s Naturals, & more! I may or may not have burned a few mix tapes especially for the occasion!

We also have a special Early Vegan Pizza Day giveaway for those in the mainland UK. Share your vegan pizza photos for a chance to win a prize package of vegan meats and cheeses from Redwood Foods! There are enough goodies here to keep you happily snacking for a month or more. (Or a week, if you’re anything like me. omnomnom!)

veganmofo 2011 - vegan pizza takes over the world

A cheesy, saucy, sexy time will be had by all! Vegan Pizza Day, so nice we’re celebrating it twice.

Vegan Puppy Chow (for Humans Only!)

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

2012-01-12 - Puppy Chow - 0006

 

Up until last year – when I received a free sample of the stuff with a basket of vegan goodies from Sweet V Confections – I’d never heard of “puppy chow.” At the time, I thought it sounded gross. Looked gross, in fact. (I’m not joking when I say that I’m the fussiest eater you’ll ever meet, at least outside of the six- to eight-year-old age group. Hey, I’m working on it!) The baggy of white stuff sat in the fridge for nearly a year before I cracked it open. (And then, only after I’d finished most of the other junk food in the house.) Then I promptly devoured it all. Not that there was much of it, but still. PUPPY CHOW IS DELICIOUS, Y’ALL!

So much so that I made a batch all for my own bad self. I started with a rather simple recipe from PETA, which I altered slightly; the recommended 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar wasn’t nearly enough to coat all the squares, so I ended up using nearly twice as much. Also, the chocolate-peanut butter sauce required much more time in the microwave, especially near the end: the hotter the sauce, the more fluid – and the more fluid, the easier to mix with the rice cereal.

Anyway, it’s really good! Not as pretty as Sweet V’s specimen – really, I found it impossible to evenly coat all the rice squares, and ended up with a number of large globular chunks of chow – but still yummy. And that’s what counts, yes?

 

Vegan Puppy Chow (for Humans Only!)

(Based on this recipe from PETA.)

Makes 9 cups.

Ingredients

1 cup semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup vegan margarine
9 cups rice cereal squares
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions

1. Combine the chocolate chips, peanut butter, and vegan margarine in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave for one minute. Remove and stir; continue microwaving in 15-second increments, stirring in between, until the chocolate, peanut butter, and margarine are blended well. Add the vanilla and mix well. Then microwave the mixture for 15 to 60 seconds, so that the chocolate-pb sauce becomes hotter and more fluid.

2. Place the cereal squares in a large (preferable flat and shallow) container and pour in the chocolate mixture. Stir gently until all the squares are coated.

3. Add 1 1/2 cups of the powdered sugar to the container and seal with a lid. Shake gently until the sugar has coated all the squares. Add additional sugar and repeat if necessary.

4. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes, or until the chocolate hardens. Once solidified, store in the refrigerator.

"I got heathens aplenty right here!"* Merry CriFSMas from our crew to yours!

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

2011 FSMas Card MAIN

May your holiday be bright and shiny,
and your ‘verse, filled with shindigs and thrilling heroics.
- Kaylee and Jayne
——————————

Happy holidays, y’all! As I said the other day, I’ve been dying to do some holiday cosplay with Kaylee and Jayne ever since we adopted them five years ago, and this year I finally got to it! I decorated the entire tree with pirates in their honor (The crew of Serenity? Space pirates! Totally relevant to Pastafarianism, since doctrine holds that the decline in pirates is correlated with global warming – and thus in order to avert the apocalypse, we have to bring back piracy. Check and mate.), which was no small feat seeing as I made most of the ornaments by hand over a two-month period. I also hired someone to custom-make Kaylee Frye and Jayne Cobb outfits way back in August. Oh, the planning that went into this holiday card!

Unfortunately, my seamstress totally flaked (Updated to add: full story here!), leaving me to cobble together costumes from off-the-rack pieces at the last minute. Instead of a green mechanic’s jumpsuit and floral blouse, Kaylee is wearing her shindig dress – that is, a Cotton Candy Dog Dress by East Side Collection. And while Jayne isn’t sporting a trademark brown Jayne Cobb ringer tee, she does look pretty badass in a green army jacket – really an Army Green Utility Jacket by Zack & Zoey.

Of course, the Jayne hat is the star of the ensemble; I actually had three custom-made for me by two different etsians: Sam’s Crochet (that would be the adorably floppy, Rasta-style hat Jayne and Peedee are wearing) and Whitaker Knits (the smaller hats with the orange tie, as seen on Ralphie and O-Ren, below). Rounding out Jayne’s look is a Browncoats logo pin I scored on Amazon. (It’s on her chest and not clearly visible in all the photos.) I also picked up some cute ID badges on eBay, but couldn’t find a place for them in the final outfits. Instead, they became ornaments for the tree.

Here’s a little character collage I put together for my family, who are not Firefly fans (THE HORRA!) and thus didn’t get the reference. Side-by-side comparison time! How do you think I did?

2011 FSMas Card - Kaylee-Jayne Comparison Collage

All’s shiny that ends shiny, I say.

Outtakes and extras after the jump!

(More below the fold…)

"Ha HA! Mine is an evil laugh!" (i.e., the shiny-yet-sacrilegious CriFSMas finery post)

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

This year I’d really hoped to do a “31 Days of CriFSMas” series. There was to be tutorials for making ornaments by hand, decorating tips, diy greeting card ideas, menu suggestions – even a list of festive viewing options. (Actually, I’ve planned on doing this for several years now, but veganmofo always leaves me exhausted and burnt out.) This year seemed an especially opportune time, seeing as I’ve been planning it since July and created many of the ornaments on the tree from scratch. But since time cannot be rewritten – that is, unless you are a Timelord or happen to know one – I’ll just have to cram it all into one ginormous megapost. Sound good?

The Pirate Tree

2011-12-05 - Pirate Tree - 0001

What better place to start than the tree? Whereas in years past I’ve gone heavy on the pasta-themed ornaments, this year I decided to do a full-on pirate theme – with a special focus on Firefly. Space pirates are totally relevant when you’re a Pastafarian, yo! Also when you’re the guardian of two dogs who are named after characters on the show! I’ve been dying to do some holiday cosplay with Kaylee and Jayne ever since we adopted them five years ago, but this year I actually took the initiative and did it! (Hence the early planning.) I’ll post photos of the dogs later this week, but suffice to say that their costumes directly influenced the look of the tree. Since I’ve never done a pirate tree before, almost all of the ornaments and decorations are new this season.

The decorations are mix of re-purposed items (pirate toys from the Dollar Store; some cool and inexpensive pirate and nautical wood party favors from Jo-Anne Fabric; glass bottles that look as though they might hold messages from castaways, also from J-Anne Fabric; “gold” skull & crossbones metal charms found on eBay), Firefly merch (ID badges for Kaylee Frye and Jayne Cobb; a Serenity keychain), and diy ornaments made by gluing pirate stickers and photos onto bottle caps and card stock.

2011-11-17 - Making Pirate Ornaments - 0003

2011-11-20 - Making Pirate Ornaments - 0003

2011-11-20 - Making Pirate Ornaments - 0004

2011-11-22 - Pirate Ornaments - 0013

It’s this last group that I wanted to make a tutorial for but really, it’s all very simple. Throughout the summer I saved up whatever bottle caps and lids I could (the flatter, the better) and when I had a pretty good collection going, I laid them all out on the floor of the barn (on top of a drop cloth, natch) and spray-painted them black. Since you’re likely to have collected lids made of variety of materials – plastic and metal, mostly – make sure you buy a spray paint that’s suitable for each.

Then hit the internets and gather up as many pirate-y pictures as you can: google Firefly/Serenity (the art produced by this fandom is both plentiful and delightful!), Pirates of the Caribbean, pirate Amy Pond, women pirates (girl power!), etc. (Though that last search term turns up some rather depressing results. To cut down on the number of sexy pirates, search for historical woman pirates. You won’t get many results, but the hits you do get will be awesome!) Next, resize ‘em so that the portions of the photos that you’d like to use are similar in size to your caps and lids, then copy and paste them onto 4×6, 5×7, and/or 8×10 canvases (depending on the size, you’ll be able to fit between one and five images on each), and either print them up at home or order them online at Sam’s Club or similar.

The hardest part is cutting the images to fit snugly inside the lids. Cutting a circle freehand is pretty much impossible, as I quickly learned. Instead, try to find a circular item – a cup or bottle, for example, or even another, slightly smaller lid – and use it to trace a circle on the image. Though still difficult, the guide will help you to cut a much rounder circle. (Just go slowly!) When done, simply glue the photo into the lid. (A heavy-duty, acid-free glue stick works well for this.)

If you can find circular stickers – I happened to have some 1.5″ round skull & crossbones stickers left over from last year – these are a nice option too. While they don’t offer a whole lot of variety, they do come pre-cut. Score!

For hanging, you can either glue a jump ring (used in jewelry making and available at craft stores) to the back of the lid or, if it’s made of plastic and thick enough, drill a small hole into the “lip” of the lid. Either way, string some curling ribbon or a pipe cleaner through the ring or hole to make a loop that can then be used to hang the ornament from the tree. (Curling ribbon is much easier to work with, imho.) We stuck with black to match the tree’s color scheme (namely, black and gold).

(More below the fold…)

Vegan Thanksgiving Pizza, with all the fixings!

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

2011-11-24 - Thanksliving pizza - 0028

My Thanksliving Day eats, in all their carbalicious glory! The Thanksgiving Pizza came out smashingly; I’m super-glad we decided to do a test run, since this gave us a chance to tweak the recipe. The assembly was still a little messy, but not the hot mess of last week.

Anywho, this pizza features a layer of garlic and chive mashed potatoes mixed with gravy, followed by hickory smoked Tofurky slices, more gravy, and carrots, sweet corn and green beans. As much as I would have loved to have thrown some stuffing directly on the pizza, Shane and I couldn’t figure out how to properly cook it together with the pizza – since the breadcrumbs need to marinate in vegetable broth and all – so instead we gave the crust a hint of stuffinf flavor by infusing it with veggie broth. And, for bonus points, we served stuffing on the side, along with extra gravy, homemade cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes and mixed veggies (both left over pizza toppings). For dessert, we dined on razzleberry pie topped with vanilla ice cream. Both store-bought, since we were exhausted enough after cooking the main course to even think about making the sweets by hand!

You can find recipes for all of the homemade items (PIZZA INCLUDED!) here.

2011-11-24 - Thanksliving pizza - 0058
 

Two slices down, six to go!

2011-11-24 - Thanksliving pizza - 0044
 

Shane’s plate; he slathered his stuffing in cranberry sauce.

2011-11-24 - Ice cream with cranberries - 0005
 

Personally, cranberry sauce – being sweet and sugary and all – strikes me as more of dessert item. Which is why I enjoyed a few spoonfuls with a bowl of vanilla ice cream while waiting for the dough to rise! But I digress…

2011-11-24 - Thanksliving pizza - 0037
 

My plate! “Gravy” is the word of the day, dontchknow.

2011-11-24 - Thanksliving pizza - 0051
 

The only time it’s acceptable to eat a pizza with a fork is when it’s
a) covered in mashed potatoes or b) a deep dish pie of some kind.

2011-11-24 - Thanksliving pizza - 0053
 

Licking my plate clean!

2011-11-24 - Razzleberry pie & ice cream - 0001
 

Bring out the pie!

2011-11-24 - Razzleberry pie & ice cream - 0007
 

Pizza & ice cream, could a more perfect pairing exist?

Tell them stories! Also: vegan experts needed, VegListings, and shopping vegan on etsy.

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Emma loves her Papa

Emma loves her papa!
CC image via flickr user Vegan Flower (Molly!).
——————————

Hey there lovely people! I have a homework assignment for the dog people in the audience. Don’t worry, it’s short and kind of sweet and won’t distract from your holiday festivities. Dr. Frank McMillan at Best Friends Animal Society is studying human-nonhuman bonding and, as part of his background research, is soliciting stories of love and devotion from those who share their lives with dogs. How do you know that your dog friend loves you? The answer can be short or long-form, simple or multifaceted. Just TELL HIM STORIES! (Always quote His Dark Materials. ALWAYS!)

Here’s the call for submissions, which appeared in the November/December 2011 issue of Best Friends magazine:

BEST FRIENDS NEEDS YOUR HELP

If you have a dog who expresses love toward you, we would like to hear your story.

In a very special new study, we are looking in-depth at the emotions of bonding and affection – love – shown by dogs toward their human companions. For background research, we would like to collect stories of dogs’ expressions of love. The story could be about a single incident of your dog’s show of love and devotion, or the ways your dog demonstrates love within your overall relationship. It could simply be an answer to the question: How do you know your dog loves you? If you would like to share your story, please email it to Dr. Frank McMillan at dr.frank@bestfriends.org.

You may recall that I’ve written about Dr. McMillan’s research previously in this here space; see, e.g. Scientists, Poets, Changemakers and Heroes (Volunteer Opportunities & Action Alerts). (Wow, has it been two years already?) Participating in vegan-friendly research projects such as this is an awesome and fun way to contribute to science. And easy, too!

Dr. McMillan posts notices of current research opportunities in Best Friends magazine, which comes “free” with a $25 donation to Best Friends. (We made a donation in Ozzy’s name for their annual Blessing of the Animals ceremony.) In the future, I’ll try to relay new notices as quickly as possible, for those who don’t get the magazine. Forgetting is easy, since a) I tend to let my subscription lapse and b) the notices are somewhat inconspicuous and easy to miss! But I’ll do better, I promise. This stuff is important, yo!

While we’re doing the bulletin board thing, joyful vegan goddess Colleen Patrick-Goudreau recently posted this notice on her FB page:

Call for vegan experts: I’m building a directory of everything from vegan wellness practitioners (chiropractors, acupuncturists, dietitians, naturopaths, nutritionists, psychologists, nurse practitioners, massage therapists, veterinarians) to vegan cooking class instructor and chefs. Wherever you are, if you are vegan and fall into any of the first categories, please email lisa@compassionatecooks.com so we can include you. If you teach cooking classes or have a catering company or are a personal chef, please email colleendavis@compassionatecooks.com. We need the city and state your in, your name, and your website! PLEASE PASS IT ON!

Also, VegListings is a newish directory for vegetarian and vegan businesses; it might come in handy for shoppers as well as business owners, especially with the holidays fast approaching! In the past I’ve put together social justice-themed buying guides; this year, I briefly considered compiling a list of vegan shops on etsy (love me some etsy!) – and then I stumbled upon the Vegan Etsy Team page, making my idea seem redundant.

null

…and I hope you will too!

So go, browse, buy (if you can). If not, maybe you’ll be inspired to give gifts crafted by your own two hands this holiday season. It’s fun!

(Image via Herbivore, by way of Vegan Etsy.)

Update, 4/9/12: Due to a recent negative experience on the site, I’m afraid that I can no longer recommend etsy to my friends, family, and readers (and ESPECIALLY not for expensive and/or custom orders!). While the majority of transactions do go smoothly, don’t expect any help from etsy’s customer service on those rare occasions when you have a problem with a seller. Seriously, they were a nightmare to work with – worse even than the seller who never delivered on my custom order, even after six months of haggling.

That said, I still love and support the many vegan storefronts on etsy, and will continue patronizing those that have a presence elsewhere on the web.

Experimenting with a Thanksgiving Pizza!

Monday, November 21st, 2011

2011-11-20 - Thanksgiving Pizza (test) - 0002

You heard me right people! Shane and I made a holiday pizza tonight and it was YUM-TASTIC! Gravy, Tofurky slices, garlic and chive mashed potatoes, carrots, even a crust flavored with veggie broth – this pizza has it going ON! If these pies were able to withstand the vagaries on the US postal service, I’d send several each to every lucky Jane and Dick on my x-mas list come December. AND LEAVE THEM BEGGING FOR MORE!

Unfortunately, our execution was less than stellar – my Facebook status from earlier tonight was full-on panic mode, to wit: “emergency alert: pizza disaster in progress!!!” – so I don’t yet have a recipe to share with y’all. BUT. The good news is that we know where it all went wrong and are trying again come Thursday! So probably you’ll have a proper recipe by the weekend.

Until then, feast your eyes:

2011-11-20 - Thanksgiving Pizza (test) - 0014

2011-11-20 - Thanksgiving Pizza (test) - 0020

2011-11-20 - Thanksgiving Pizza (test) - 0010

(The final product will be topped with a variety of mixed veggies; if this pizza looks a little sparse, it’s because we had all but given up by the time we got to the last layer. The dough gave out on us and we needed to get the pie in the oven, asap. NOTHING THAT TWENTY MINUTES AT 425F CAN’T FIX!)

Casper the Friendly Ghost PIZZAS!*

Monday, October 31st, 2011

2011-10-26 - Casper the Friendly Ghost Pizza - 0017 Casper the Pizza Man

The resemblance is spooktacular!
——————————

Earlier this week, I feeling hungry and lazy and craving some pizza, but the husband – oh maker of all things pita pizza ’round these parts – was at work and thus unable to service me the way I so often required servicing (i.e. WITH FOOD. I’ll pause for a sec so that you can picture that, mkay.) The horras, right? After a little moping and low blood sugar-induced faintness (I know, such a child!), I realized that I had some white rolls sitting in the fridge. Perfect for mini toaster oven pizzas, just like dad used to make me as a kid!

The first few batches came out looking like angel wings to me, at least when you touched them tip-to-tip, like so; but, after further noming, I saw that the shape of the rolls was just the slightest bit curvy, and vaguely reminiscent of a ghost. And so Casper the Friendly Ghost Pizzas were born! (Also: an excuse to eat more mini pizzas!)

These are super-simple and quick to make, with maybe five minutes of assembly and ten minutes of cook time required. You just need:

2011-10-26 - Casper the Friendly Ghost Pizza - 0007

  • one ghostly roll, cut down the middle (mine is from a megachain store which shall remain nameless but rhymes with “Mall Fart”; each roll makes two pizzas)
  • red sauce
  • vegan mozzarella cheese, sliced or shredded
  • something round for the eyes and a mouth. I used black olives and cherry and Juliet tomatoes, but you could just as easily use any round fruit, veggie or vegan meat. Think: carrots, zucchini, sausage or hot dog links, etc.
  • Start by cutting the roll down the middle. Add the red sauce, followed by the cheese, “eyes” and “mouth.” Bake in a toaster oven at 425 degrees F for ten to fifteen minutes, or until the cheese is nice and melty. Eat and repeat!

    (Fyi, if you can’t find any ghost-shaped rolls, use something round – like a soyburger bun or English Muffin – and make a mummy instead!)

    For the cheese, I went with Vegan Gourmet’s Follow Your Heart. Rather than shredding it, I cut thin strips from the block, thinking that layered pieces would give more even white coverage. I also added a few shreds towards the bottom of each ghost’s body, for that ragged, ripped sheet effect. Pre-cooking, they looked more like goatees than anything else. Pubescent Casper, represent!
     

    2011-10-26 - Casper the Friendly Ghost Pizza - 0009

     
    As it turns out, the cheese got so melty that everything just kind of melded together. So use that Daiya if you’ve got it! As long as the cheese reaches maximum ooziness, you should be safe with cheese shreds or slices. (Plus I find that I pile on less cheese when I stick to shreds. I fail at thin-slicing things.)
     
    2011-10-26 - Casper the Friendly Ghost Pizza - 0025

     
    Clearly, Casper is the ghost on the left; as per the line drawings, he’s white with sparse black facial features. Plus I fashioned him outta the top piece, so he’s fluffier and so much the better for hugging and cuddling. (It’s Casper the FRIENDLY ghost, yo!) But who is his red companion on the right?
     
    2011-10-26 - Casper the Friendly Ghost Pizza - 0018

     
    An evil twin? His lady friend, if you know what I mean? (AND I KNOW THAT YOU DO.) Casper’s pizza boss, perhaps?

    Kelly food. Yeah, that’s what.

     
    * Sorry for the caps, I JUST LOVE PIZZA SO MUCH!

    TAKE ALL THE VEGAN PIZZA

     
    Vegan MoFo 2011 logo banner

    Veg-sploitation Halloween Horror Flicks Even a Vegan Zombie Could Love!

    Monday, October 31st, 2011

    The husband and I have a longstanding Halloween tradition. Three words: horror movie marathon. Three more: vegan junk food. There will be John Carpenter and Stephen King and Tofurky pizzas and fancy movie popcorn and more gallons of homemade vegan ice cream than you can wag a tongue at.

    This year’s picks include a few films that might be loosely described as vegan-friendly, inasmuch as they contain elements that are potentially anti-speciesist or might otherwise appeal to vegan sensibilities: vivisection that triggers an apocalyptic plague; nonhuman “monsters” who prove more human than the story’s human protagonists; cow meat pies secretly swapped for those containing bits of human flesh; bird flu and mad cow disease; exploited animals out for revenge – all these and more make for a “vegan-friendly” horror flick. “Veg-sploitation,” in more colorful terms. (Like “sexploitation,” but SEXIER! AND VEGAN! ‘CAUSE VEGAN = SEXY, YO.)

    For those who’d like in on the festivities, I’ve compiled a list of veg-sploitation horror flicks that appeal to the vegan zombie in all of us. (What’s that? You don’t like horror movies? LALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!) Many of these I’ve seen, some I haven’t; so there are bound to be a few lemons on the list. (Poultrygeist, I’m looking at you!) Most are pretty f’in awesome, though.

    In the queue this year: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Soylent Green, along with three or four more as-of-yet undetermined movies.

    Got a favorite vegan-friendly horror flick I missed? Tell us in the comments!

    (Unless otherwise noted, the summaries are snagged from Netflix.)

    null

    Soylent Green (1973) – “Set in a polluted, congested New York City in 2022, this sci-fi thriller stars Charlton Heston as Robert Thorn, a gumshoe looking into the murder of a corporate executive (Joseph Cotten) whose company makes a nutritious synthetic food called Soylent Green. But in the process of tracking down the killer, Thorn unearths shocking information about the product’s ingredients. The cast also includes the great Edward G. Robinson in his last film role.” Soylent Green is people! No more outrageous than if it were chickens!

    Attack of the Vegan Zombies! (2009) – “Joe and his wife Dionne have had yet another bad crop for their winery. Faced with the prospect of losing the family farm, Dionne convinces her mother (a witch) to cast a spell upon next year’s crop. The crop is such a success that Joe hires some college students to help them harvest. However, when a nosy neighbor begins poking around in the fields, he finds out more than he bargained for. Now the question isn’t how to best harvest the crop, it’s how to keep from being harvested!” I do not understand where the vegan zombies fit in, but I would like to find out! (plot summary via imdb)

    Isolation (2005) – “On a desolate farm in the Irish countryside, destitute Dan Reilly (John Lynch) — in return for cold cash — allows his heifers to be part of a genetic study intended to boost bovine fertility and beef output … until the experiment goes awry. When one of his cows spawns lethal mutants, Dan and a few other unlucky folks suffer the repercussions of meddling with nature in this unsettling chiller also starring Essie Davis and Marcel Iures.”

    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – “Director Tobe Hooper’s horror classic is a gruesome reminder that a movie need not be complicated to scare the daylights out of viewers. Sally (Marilyn Burns), her wheelchair-bound brother (Paul A. Partain) and their friends travel to a vandalized graveyard to see if their grandfather’s remains are intact. En route, they come upon chainsaw-wielding maniac Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen), and it’s a fight to the bloody death between good and evil.” The greatest vegetarian movie of all time?

    King Kong (2005) – “Set in the 1930s, Peter Jackson’s remake of the black-and-white classic follows a group of adventurous explorers and filmmakers (including Jack Black, Adrien Brody and Andy Serkis) to mysterious Skull Island, where they search for a legendary giant gorilla known as King Kong. The team battles dinosaurs and, with the help of a beautiful woman (Naomi Watts), manages to capture the mighty ape and ship him back to New York.” Like Rise of the Planet of the Apes, minus the ape revenge fantasy. A kind of prequel, perhaps?

    null

    Alien Resurrection (1997) – “Sigourney Weaver and Winona Ryder star in the fourth installment of the Alien series. Two hundred years after Lt. Ripley (Weaver) died, a group of scientists clone her, hoping to breed the ultimate weapon. But the new Ripley is full of surprises … as are the new aliens. Ripley must team with a band of smugglers (including Ryder) to keep the creatures from reaching Earth. Includes the theatrical and extended cuts of the film.” The scene in which Ripley stumbles upon the failed Ripley clones – her sisters – shattered my heart into a million pieces. Since when is Alien a tearjerker!?!

    Willard (2003) – “In this remake of the 1971 horror film by the same name, Crispin Glover plays a shy young man named Willard who is constantly pestered by his co-workers and has no friends save for his beloved pet rats. When one of the rats is killed at work, Willard exacts bloody revenge on all those who did him wrong — with the help of his furry friend Ben, an unusually intelligent (and lethal) rat who leads his cohorts to commit horrific murders.” Okay, so maybe Willard proved to be a back-stabbing, narcissistic frenemy to his posse of rodent roommates. But still: A POSSE OF RATS! If I lived in NYC, I’d totes be a female Willard, but better. As in, nicer to the rats.

    28 Days Later (2002) – “Twenty-eight days after a killer virus was accidentally unleashed from a British research facility, a small group of London survivors (including Cillian Murphy and Brendan Gleeson) are caught in a desperate struggle to protect themselves from the infected. Carried by animals and humans, the virus turns those it infects into homicidal maniacs — and it’s absolutely impossible to contain. Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) directs.” There goes vivisection, unleashing a zombie apocalypse again! When will we learn? Also: Cillian Murphy and Naomie Harris. Yes please!

    null

    Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) – “Johnny Depp reteams with director Tim Burton for this big-screen adaptation of the hit Broadway musical, earning an Oscar nod as vengeful Sweeney Todd, who becomes a deranged murderer after being falsely imprisoned by a sinister judge (Alan Rickman). To cover his tracks, Todd enlists the help of Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter), who disposes of the victims by baking them into tasty meat pies that become the toast of London.” Reviewed by yours truly here.

    Little Shop of Horrors (1986) – “Plant yourself in front of the tube and veg out with Frank Oz’s horticultural horror flick. Gawky Seymour Krelborn (Rick Moranis), looking for a way to save his job in a ramshackle, skid row flower shop, purchases a curious exotic plant hoping it will make business bloom. And it does. There’s just one problem: The little creeper possesses a rapacious appetite for fresh human plasma … and it’s mushrooming out of control!” A carnivorous, human-munching plant. From the ’80s. IN MUSICAL FORMAT. This one’s a must-see, odontophobia be damned!

    null

    Zombieland (2009) – “An easily spooked guy, Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), joins forces with wild man Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) to fight for survival in a world virtually taken over by freakish zombies. As they destroy scores of the undead, they meet up with two other survivors, Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) and Wichita (Emma Stone), and journey to a supposedly safe abandoned amusement park. Ruben Fleischer directs this horror romp.” Two words: VEGAN TWINKIES! Two more: Woody Harrelson!

    Daybreakers (2009) – “Earth’s population is up against a vicious plague that’s transforming everyone into vampires and draining the world of an increasingly precious resource: blood. Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke) and “Elvis” Cormac (Willem Dafoe) must decide what happens next. As the human race count nears zero, will vampires feast on the few men and women who remain, or could science hold the key to a less destructive solution? Sam Neill and Claudia Karvan co-star.” With the development of synthetic blood, are vampires morally obligated to dine on it, instead of humans? Or does their physical superiority give them the right to dominate this “lesser” species?

    Swamp Thing (1982) – “When the botanical experiments of Dr. Alec Holland go awry and a lab explosion renders him more plant than man, rival scientist Anton Arcane plans to capture the Swamp Thing and learn his secrets.”

    null

    Black Sheep (2006) – “On a quiet New Zealand ranch, a genetic experiment has gone horribly wrong, transforming a calm flock of sheep into killers hungry for human blood in this outrageous comic gore-fest. Those bitten become ravenous were-sheep. As the body count rises, a desperate handful of outnumbered survivors take a last stand against the bovine onslaught. Who will live, and who will be the next victim of the vicious killer sheep?” …and hilarity ensues.

    Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006) – “What happens when a fast-food chicken franchise is built on a sacred Native American burial site rife with restless spirits? Zombie chickens! Now it’s up to high school grad Arbie (Jason Yachanin) to find a way to destroy the featherless fiends. Or will the fowl beasts turn the hungry drive-thru customers into the insatiable undead, too? This gleeful free-range romp through the supernatural also features Kate Graham and Allyson Sereboff.”

    Severed: Forest of the Dead (2006) – “When a forestry company’s profit-driven decision to genetically engineer trees goes horribly wrong, a mismatched group of loggers and environmental activists become ravenous flesh-eating zombies. And although a few uninfected survivors remain, their chances of getting out of the wilderness alive are as remote as the forest itself. An ensemble cast stars in this undead gore fest that makes a run-in with a wood chipper seem tame.” I’M ROOTING FOR THE ABOLITIONIST VEGANS. (Rooting! Get it?)

    Dead Meat (2004) – “You are what you eat! The seventh level of hell is unleashed when a mutated strain of mad cow disease infects the countryside, turning people into flesh-eating zombies that like their food … fast! Caught in the middle of this gory upheaval is Helena (Marian Araujo), a young Spanish tourist, and Desmond (David Muyllaert), the local gravedigger. Together, they must join forces and fight for survival or else become appetizers in a zombie feast.” Horror flick or speculative fiction? You decide!

    null

    Mad Cowgirl (2006) – “Director Gregory Hatanaka’s decidedly twisted thriller stars Sarah Lassez as Therese, a health inspector whose progressively delusional psyche leads her on a surreal — and bloody — odyssey. To cope with her marital split, Therese takes up with a slimy televangelist (Walter Koenig), indulges her appetites for sex and beef, and obsesses over a kung fu TV show. Meanwhile, her meat packer brother (James Duval) may have infected her with mad cow disease.” Ew.

    Meat Market (2001) – “When two former employees of a company that conducts bizarre medical experiments put two and two together, they realize that a series of “animal attacks” reported by the media are actually the work of flesh-eating zombies created by the company. As the walking dead invade the city, the two truth-seekers team up with three vampire women, a washed-up Mexican wrestler, a wounded soldier and a mysterious scientist to fight for their lives.”

    Flu Birds (2008) – “A tight-knit group of teens find themselves fighting for their lives when unexpected visitors — a flock of flesh-eating birds infected by a malicious virus — crash their carefree camping trip in the woods. With each deadly swoop, the flying predators are spreading their dangerous strain and transforming the locals into bird feed. Can a shrinking group of survivors fight back and reclaim the skies?” The Birds meets Bird Flu meets zombies. Hello, awesomeness!

    Beast Within (2008) – “Terror catapults onto the screen as a new form of avian flu turns its unsuspecting victims into voracious zombies. Pleasure-seeking 20-somethings partying in a remote mansion must then battle the flesh-eating monsters and the infected birds. Armed with flamethrowers, brawn and scientific know-how, the friends barricade themselves against the horrors of the night, but will any of them live to see the morning light?” See: above, plus flamethrowers.

    Masters of Horror: Dario Argento: Pelts (2006) – “Sleazy fur trader Jake Feldman (Meat Loaf) will do just about anything for a quality skin. When Jake crosses paths with a trapper (John Saxon) offering raccoon pelts, he jumps at the chance to score big bucks and win a stripper’s heart. Little does Jake know that the supernatural furs wield bloody revenge upon anyone who covets them. This very different kind of skin flick is the 19th episode of the hit Showtime series.” MEAT LOAF! “I would dew anyTHING for LOVE…”

    null

    Harry and the Hendersons (1987) – “Returning home from vacation, the Hendersons — George (John Lithgow), Nancy (Melinda Dillon), daughter Sarah (Margaret Langrick) and son Ernie (Joshua Rudoy) — accidentally run over a strange Bigfoot-type animal (Kevin Peter Hall). They decide to take the friendly “Harry” home and adopt him as a pet. But soon, they’re scrambling to hide their new friend from authorities and Bigfoot hunters. This charming family film won a Best Makeup Oscar.” Not a horror film – heck, not even a monster movie, as evidenced by Harry’s gentle demeanor and compassion for his fellow nonhumans – but I just had to include it on this list anyway. I COULDN’T NOT INCLUDE IT! It’s Harry and the fucking Hendersons, yo! A vegan classic.

    Vegan MoFo 2011 logo banner

    Tweeting Mother’s Day (Again!)

    Monday, May 9th, 2011

    A vegan vanilla cupcake topped with vanilla buttercream and
    shredded coconut. Staked in the middle is a cute, pink and yellow sign
    wishing the nom-er a Happy Mother’s Day!
    CC image via flickr user mishl982.
    ——————————

    In honor of Mother’s Day, I spent much of yesterday tweeting about veganism, motherhood, and the exploitation of female bodies in animal industries (with an obvious emphasis on agriculture). In fact, those of you who follow me on twitter probably saw your feeds flooded by my steady stream of tweets! (Sorry for that, y’all!) In comparison to last year, I planned ahead this time: the day prior, I queued up a bunch of tweets using Hoot Suite, so that they’d begin posting while I was still snuggled up, all warm and cozy in bed (under a dog pile several layers deep, no doubt). Once I awoke and was reassured that it was working correctly, I scheduled the rest of the day, with a tweet going out every five or ten minutes until nearly 11PM. Way easier and more consistent than doing it by hand throughout the day! (Also, possibly less obnoxious, though only slightly so.)

    After the jump you’ll find a digest of all of yesterday’s tweets (minus the ones for which I used twitter’s built-in RT feature. For some silly reason, those don’t make it into the list. Sigh.) If you compare this to last year’s round-up – which I totally don’t expect anyone to do! – you’ll find that I recycled many of 2010′s tweets, but also added quite a few new ones as well. This is partially due to laziness on my end, I admit. But also, when I went over last year’s list, I had a hard time trimming it down: so many of the posts, articles, photos, pamphlets, etc. were that compelling. I hope you agree!

    I’m already working on a list of resources for Father’s Day (June 19) so if you have a blog, post, idea or theme you’d like to suggest, I’m all eyes!

    Smooch!

    “Smooch!: Both Tommy (left) and Freedom (right) were rescued from slaughter. Tommy is an Angus, raised for meat consumption. Freedom is a male Jersey, a dairy breed. Male dairy calves are unwanted and sent to auction and raised for veal or backyard slaughter. Now both live at Animal Place and obviously Freedom loves Tommy!”
    CC image via Marji Beach on flickr.
    ——————————

    (More below the fold…)

    Bittersweet Mother’s Day Kisses & Vegan Birthday Wishes, Redux

    Sunday, May 8th, 2011

    2011-02-14 - Kaylee & O-Ren - 0002

    This morning, I woke to vomit in the bed. Kaylee vomit, to be exact, which makes the situation slightly less bad than it might otherwise have been. (Also, it helps that it wasn’t on my pillow. Yes, that has happened. To Shane! Muahahaha….)

    “What’s the diff?” you’re probably wondering; “Puke is puke, is it not?” Actually, there’s a 50-50 chance that I can match a pile of vomit to a dog – or at least one of my dog-kids – based on its content: Peedee likes to steal and nom on my earplugs, Ralphie is a grass and dirt eater, and during the spring and summer months Kaylee turns into a decidedly non-vegan bug hunter – but that’s beside the point. Kaylee vomit – and mishaps involving bodily fluids – is different ’cause it comes from Kaylee. Sweet, sweet Kaylee, who’s suffered so much in her short life – yet harbors not one resentful cell in her entire being – and with whom it’s impossible to become angry. At least, not for more than a split second at a time.

    It’s difficult to celebrate Mother’s Day without also mourning for the billions of nonhuman animals whose reproductive systems and maternal instincts we exploit for our own gain: “laying” hens, “dairy” cows, “breeding” sows, and so on. For many vegans, it’s those females farmed for food who have come to symbolize motherhood hijacked and corrupted on Mother’s Day. But for me – a vegan who’s only visited a handful of farmed animal sanctuaries, and has yet to befriend and know a cow, hen or sow on a personal level – Kaylee is the representation of motherhood subverted.

    Today I’d like to republish a piece I wrote for her last Mother’s Day. Every word rings as true now as it did then. More so, even: during the last two years, I’ve been struggling with some minor but chronic health issues. Whereas the other dogs – as much as I love and adore them – oftentimes add to the stress with their constant demands for attention and occasional doggy outbursts (bark! bark! bark!), to the point that I sometimes have to hand them off to Shane … not Kaylee.

    While I long to comfort, coddle, pamper her – as a down payment on the debt humanity owes her for the pain she and so many like her have endured at our hands – so often, too often, it’s she who takes care of me. Rarely does she ask; never does she take. Most times, she is content to lay beside me, graciously accepting strokes and kisses; laments whispered. She is unflappable in her devotion and, despite all that she’s been through, manages to exude a sense of calmness. Of peace and pleasure, long delayed.

    2011-04-02 - Kaylee Macro - 0004

    Always soft but steady in her presence … my rock, made from marshmallows. She keeps me sane.

    Happy mother’s day to all the moms in the world: human and non, biological and adoptive, same and cross-species, of all genders, ages and orientations. I hope you have a compassionate and peaceful day! And to those who are separated or estranged from your mother(s), my heart is with you.

    P.S. My birthday is tomorrow, but my wish remains the same: live vegan, or at least as vegan as your life circumstances will allow.

    (More below the fold…)

    furkid friday: happy mother’s day

    Friday, May 6th, 2011

    2011-05-08 - Mothers Day Collage 02

    Scenes of compassion, consideration and love from my own life.
    Counterclockwise, from top-left: the family of geese who shared “my” pond last year,
    and who have returned again this season (no goslings yet though!);
    my sister Michelle and brother Mike cuddle and comfort our canine sibling Shadow
    shortly after surgery to repair her shattered back leg;
    Ralphie and I share a moment during a sentimental visit to
    our old neighborhood in Fairport, NY; and
    a mother cow licks her baby clean.
    Sadly, both were the property of our former landlords, and are most likely ground beef by now. It was a privilege to live next to such lovely creatures – but one constantly clouded by sadness and despair, given their near-certain fate. The knowing can be painful; but the not knowing is far, far worse. Go vegan, for you and for them.
    ——————————

    One does not need to be human to feel the deep-seated instinct to protect her babies, to seek the warmth of one’s mother. When animal advocates point out the obvious – that mothers and their babies suffer profoundly when they are separated, that harming one’s baby causes emotional trauma to the mother – we are accused of anthropomorphizing. We are portrayed as having centers as squishy as marshmallows, as having naive, sentimental, childish minds. In fact, it is a cold biological imperative, not just an emotional one, that drives a mother to want to nurture and protect her young: entire species would be wiped out if not for a mother’s instinct to defend her babies. I think, though, that it’s highly arrogant and self-serving to presume that humans alone have an emotional stake in their babies’ livelihoods. [...]

    One also doesn’t need to be a mother to be deeply driven to protect another. Long before I ever had a baby, I felt the same kind of adrenaline surge when someone intentionally whipped a hard rubber ball at my dog as I would have if he had done that same thing years later to my son. I chased that guy down the beach, screaming at him, and he ran away as if his life depended on it. Maybe it did. I’m a non-violent person, but you don’t mess with the ones I love.

    For Mother’s Day, I propose that we honor this natural drive within all of us to protect the ones we love, the ones who depend on our consideration, by not consuming the products of exploitation and cruelty. This common thread of wanting our babies to thrive is natural and noble, a key part of our essential being. Whether we are men or women, children or adults, human or hen, that universal mother is in all of us. Let’s celebrate without exploiting another innocent mother who had not only the autonomy of her body but also her babies stolen from her for our appetites. Let’s connect to that profound mothering spirit that links us together. She wants her babies to be well and protected from harm. I think we can understand.

    Happy Mother’s Day to everyone.

    ….with extra special hugs and kisses (and a few odd few bitter tears) to Miss Kaylee, of course.*

    2007-02-04 - Harassing the Dogs, PM ed. - 0005

    * Usually I stick with the status-neutral “Ms.,” but Kaylee prefers “Miss.” It makes her feel young, yo!

    ** The quote is excerpted from The Universal Mother… by Marla Rose, the one and only Vegan Feminist Agitator. Read and share, please and thanks.

    furkid friday: ralphie’s thoughts on earth day

    Friday, April 22nd, 2011

    boil down to this:

    2011-04-13 - Ralphie & Rennie Digging - 0026

    GRRRRRRRR!!!!!

    He’s a grumpy old fart, just like mom!

    (More below the fold…)

    vegan v-day miscellany

    Saturday, February 12th, 2011

    So I know I’m a few days early, but for Valentines Day I made a double batch of Pink Pooch biscuits for my dog loves! Bone- and heart-shaped, natch:

    2011-02-10 - Dog Treats & Book Piles - 0017

    2011-02-10 - Dog Treats & Book Piles - 0041

    2011-02-10 - Dog Treats & Book Piles - 0028

    I mostly followed Molly’s recipe, but subbed in cranberry sauce for beets, since I didn’t have any on hand. (Also: a few added tablespoons of raspberry jam for extra coloring.) It took a bit of kneading before the jellied sauce was fully integrated into the dough, but once it was mixed in, it gave the biscuits a nice pinkish-purplish hue.

    2011-02-10 - Making V-Day Biscuits - 0018

    The color faded a bit upon baking, but luckily the dogs don’t seem to mind!

    For the heart-shaped biscuits, I just used regular Valentines Day cookie cutters that are available in most box stores this time of the year. The larger hearts are obviously too big for my little guys and gals to handle with ease, so I cut ‘em in half, all jagged-like, before baking. I told Kaylee that that’s what she does to my heart every night when she refuses to cuddle with me in bed, but I don’t think she got the hint. Either that, or she’s just acting obtuse. She can be crafty, that one (and especially where food is concerned), so I wouldn’t put it past her. Harumph.

    In other v-day news, I temporarily bumped this post – originally published two years ago – up to the front page in honor of the occasion. (I admit it – I love all the photos of gratuitous canine canoodling!) As has been the custom for several years now, I still plan on “tossing Valentines Day to the dogs.” The weather is supposed to warm considerably next week, and I hope to spend all my free time outside, soaking in the sun’s depression-busting rays, out-speed walking the winter blues, BDFs (best dog friends) at my side.

    Whatever your plans for v-day, make them as cruelty-free as possible, mkay? If you’re still shopping around for edible goodies, please use the Food Empowerment Project’s Chocolate List as a guide. Better yet, give your sweetie some handcrafted sweets, made by you with love (and vegan, fair trade chocolate, of course!). May I suggest peanut butter cups, coconut bonbons, rocky road bark, or chocolate covered pretzels? Or perhaps some chocolate-shaped vulvas for the vegan feminist in your life? (Oooh, me me! Pick me!)

    (More below the fold…)