When you find vegan Easter candy on etsy, only to click through and see that it’s actually soap.

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

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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!).
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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.

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…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.

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:

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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.

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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…)

criFSMas 2010: The Big Fat Saucy Vegan Food Post

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

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So. We’ve harassed and humiliated the dog-kids. You’ve seen my shiny sparkly goodies. Twice! And yet, my holiday blogging would not be complete without a FOOD POST!

While x-mas is oftentimes an excuse to overindulge, this year I went overboard – owing in no small part to the fact that I handmade a number of gifts, including a couple tons (okay, I exaggerate, but not by much) of chocolate goodies.

But let’s begin at the ending, shall we? As in: criFSMas dinner!

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I did most of the cooking the day before – which was, for us, the 23rd – so that we could be as lazy as possible the day of. I prepared a deep-dish lasagna feast with tons of veggies (green and yellow zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms and garlic) and plenty of oozy, gooey cheese (in this case, cheddar and mozzarella Follow Your Heart). (Jump to the end of this post for the recipe!)

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I also breaded and froze some vegan mozzarella sticks – my first-ever batch – so they’d be nice and ready for their date with the deep fryer next day. Spoiler: they are terribly delicious, and surprisingly easy to make. (Recipe via Hell Yeah It’s Vegan!)

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(More below the fold…)

Sweet Vegan, Etsy!

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

About this time last year, I was singing the praises of EtsyEtsyVeg and Vegan Etsy in particular – as part of the October VeganMoFo’ing madness. A few months prior, I’d purchased some yummy vegan cookies and cinnamon rolls from The Cupcake Mint and sent them to my mom for Mother’s Day; since they were a big hit, I decided to go the vegan baked goods route for Christmas, as well.

After some searching, I stumbled upon Sweet V Confections, an all-vegan bakery (baker, singular?) located in North Carolina. Sweet V makes a variety of, um, vegan confections, ranging from candies and cupcakes to brownies and cookies. Can I get a nomnom?

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Sitting at the kitchen table, a cordless phone in one hand, my grandmother Arnie shows off a basket of vegan goodies from Sweet V Confections. In keeping with the Christmas season, the basket is striped red and green, and the wrapped cookies all sport festive white, green and red ribbons. The lights of a Christmas tree glow faintly in the background.
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While all the vegan bakers on Etsy make my mouth drool, I chose Sweet V because the seller offers customizable gift baskets – and with holiday decor, to boot! Score! I decided to purchase a basket each for my grandmothers Arnie and Vita, as well as my great-uncle Ken (who’s still alive and kickin’ it at 101 years young; my grandmothers clock in at an unimpressive-by-comparison 94 and 84, respectively).

In each basket comes three dozen cookies (nom-er’s choice!), along with six peanut butter cups, six peanut butter and jelly cups, and nine peppermint patties. For Arnie, I chose chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, and butterscotch chocolate chip cookies; for Vita, chocolate chip, peanut butter, and gingerbread cookies; and for Ken, chocolate chip, butterscotch chocolate chip, and gingerbread cookies. Yummy, festive and cruelty-free!

Sweet V Confections on Etsy

A screenshot of Etsy seller Sweet V Confections’s storefront. Taken on October 7, 2010.
(Yes, I planned my mofo’ing well in advance this year!)
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Of course, like many Etsy sellers, Sweet V will also consider custom requests. At the time of this writing, the shop features 33 creations, all of which sound heavenly: Fudge Filled Sandwich Cookies. Cherry Walnut Fudge. Cookies n’ Cream Cupcakes, Jumbo size. Orange Cream Chocolates. Pecan Bourbon Balls. S’more Fudge. Let me repeat: S’more. Fudge. (Oh yes she did!) Conceivably, one could create a custom basket containing any variety of these chocolaty, sugary miracles. (If you do, please send it my way, mkay?)

Naturally, I can’t really offer a review of Sweet V Confection’s products, since I wasn’t lucky enough to sample any. But. I can say that the recipients had nothing but good things to say about the cookies and chocolates. This won’t really come as a shock to the vegans in the audience, but no one even suspected that the items were egg- and dairy-free, and were (pleasantly?) surprised and more than a little impressed when I broke the news. (Pffft, who says vegan foods are gross and boring? As if!)

On my end, Kristen was very nice and easy to work with. She responded to all my questions and updates quickly and with nary a hint of Christmas frazzle. I placed the order on December 16th – a little later than I would have liked – and she had the baskets assembled and shipped within a few days. Extremely pleasant, hassle-free and reasonably priced, too.

Come to think of it…I might gift myself a basket of goodies from Sweet V Confections this holiday season!

What about you, mofo’ers? Which vegan Etsy shops get you all hot and bothered?

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.

Vegan MoFo 2010 logo banner

VeganMoFo, Day 17: Vegan Treats On (Vegan) Etsy

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

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My mother is notoriously difficult to shop for. If you buy her clothing, odds are she won’t like it. Give her jewelry, most likely she won’t wear it (allergies). She doesn’t have much extra time to read books or watch movies; now that her nest is empty, she works three jobs (making her kids look like lazy asshats in comparison!). Edible yumyums are a good choice, but I’ve fallen back on chocolates so often that I’m starting to look somewhat unimaginative. So when Mother’s Day came around, I found myself in bit of a pickle. And while I love pickles, it’s not my favorite place to be.

For whatever reason, Etsy came to mind, and I decided to check it out. The craftacular Etsy, by the by,

is a website that provides the general public with a way to buy and sell handmade items as well as vintage items and craft supplies. Handmade items cover a wide range including art, photography, clothing, jewelry, edibles, bath & beauty products, and toys. The site follows in the tradition of open craft fairs, giving sellers personal storefronts where they list their goods for a fee.

Etsy allows sellers to self-organize into different “teams” – which are kind of like plazas composed of similar store fronts. Teams can form around a location, craft, medium, interest, lifestyle, philosophy…I think you know where I’m going with this! Etsy boasts two teams of interest: EtsyVeg (tagline: “Your source for unique goods from vegan and vegetarian artisans”) and the more discriminating Vegan Etsy (“We Read Ingredients” – please and thank you!).

After much browsing – I am an obsessive comparison shopper – I settled on some baked goods from The Cupcake Mint: 1 Dozen Giant Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies; 4 Oatmeal Raisin Spice Vegan Cookie Cream Sandwiches; and Half Dozen Jumbo Vegan Cinnamon Rolls, samples of which are pictured above (photo courtesy my lil’ sis). Naturally, I cannot attest to the yumminess of any of these, since 1,000+ miles separated my mother the baked goods and myself, but I heard from my mother, my grandmother, and yes, even my sister that they were incredible: huge, gooey, soft, sweet – everything cookies and pastries should be. Win!

Anyhow, since my minor victory, I’ve taken to browsing Etsy in search of gift ideas. I prefer to support fellow vegans with my purchasing power whenever possible, and Etsy is home to some really talented vegans! (Many of them women, which is a double bonus for this vegan feminist.)

For example, the Vegan Etsy team features 146 members, including these storefronts, which are among my favorites:

* The Cupcake Mint, whose specialty is – duh! – cupcakes. Mark my words, cinnamon rolls – one day, you will be mine.

* KT’s Kitchen – Another vegan bakery, KT’s has a wide variety of goods, including Liz Lemon cookies, which makes me all smiley and happy.

* UberDuperCreations, which sells handmade dog dishes and treat jars, as well as vegan and animal rights zines. Dog treat production will be resuming sometime in the future!

* SweetFritsy is home to vegan baked goods and some homemade candies, too. Everything is crazy cute, especially the seasonal Halloween goodies.

* Cody Pendent rocks the party. And if you were to buy me the Little Red Riding Hood, you’d totally rock, too. (*wink, wink*)

* Starrlight Jewelry makes incredibly gorgeous goth jewelry – and for animal companions, too.

I could go on and on, but seeing as it’s 7PM and I’ve yet to eat dinner, probably all I’ll do is inventory vegan bakeries and drool on my keyboard, so it’s best to wrap this shit up. Etsy can be a magical place for vegans, especially if you know where to shop! Many of the sellers are individual DIYers or small businesses, so if you have a special request or need something made custom, Etsy is your friend. There are also lots of good deals to be had, plus the aforementioned fuzzy wuzzies that come from supporting Team Vegan.

(More below the fold…)