The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog


Posted on November 26, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Dina Gharib
VRG Intern

After The Vegetarian Resource Group sent out a press release about our upcoming Pre-Thanksgiving Potluck, we were contacted by a local newspaper to present our story, and promote our annual event. The Journalist along with a photographer stopped by the home of our Outreach Coordinator Nina Casalena to discuss our 33rd annual upcoming vegan potluck dinner. In preparation for our feature, Nina and I did research to find tasty meals that would also be photogenic and delicious. We wanted to create dishes that would appeal to the reader’s eye, but we also wanted to imply that vegans can eat a hearty thanksgiving meal. With that in mind, we decided to steer clear from our favorite dishes that would photograph as “mushy” and unappetizing.

Larry Pearl interviewing Dina Gharib

After hours roaming the internet, we opted to make a colorful salad along with a golden puff pastry dish and snicker doodles (cookies). To split up the load, Nina decided to make vegan snicker doodles while I opted to make a vegan kale, mushroom, and seitan Wellington along with a mixed green salad topped with pomegranate, avocado, apple, carrot, tomato, and a raspberry vinaigrette drizzle.

Brian Krista photographing Nina Casalena in her home in Baltimore, MD.

We started off the afternoon with a quick 15 minute interview about The Vegetarian Resource Group, veganism in general, and the Pre-Thanksgiving potluck. While Nina and I were nervous at first, the journalist put us at ease with his kind disposition. Questions that were asked include: “Why did you decide to go vegan?”, “What does VRG do?” and “How many people are you expecting at the potluck?” Nina was able to answer all of their questions thoroughly and in a relaxed professional demeanor.

After baking, plating, and garnishing our wellington and cookies, it was time to make the salad. The photographer shot Nina preparing the salad, and plating it beautifully. Once all the food was prepared Nina and I, along with our dishes, had a mini photo shoot. When we were finished, we answered some quick last minute questions, served the reporter and photographer some snicker doodles, and deemed it a job well done.


Posted on November 25, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Please support The Vegetarian Resource Group and join our efforts to broaden awareness, educate, and instill values of ethical and environmental responsibility through vegan research and outreach.

Here are a few ways your gift helps further vegetarian outreach:

  • $22 Buys 200 brochures for outreach to students
  • $100 Pays for registration and a table at a community festival.
  • $250 Buys 20 T-shirts for VRG volunteers who staff VRG booths at events around the country.
  • $750 Prints 5,000 vegan stickers
  • $10,000 Enrolls donor as a VRG Patron and supports long term programming and research.

The Vegetarian Resource Group works year round to make it easier to live healthy vegan and vegetarian lives. Thank you so much for your support.

-Nina C
The Vegetarian Resource Group Volunteer Coordinator

To donate visit

Call (410) 366-8343

Write: The Vegetarian Resource Group, P.O. Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203.

Buy Vegan Items on Fur-Free Friday — November 28th, 2014

Posted on November 25, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

November 28 is Fur-Free Friday and one of the biggest shopping days of the year in the USA. The Vegetarian Resource Group makes it easier for you to find gifts that do not contain fur and leather. Our Vegan Guide to Leather Alternatives lists both stores and online stores that sell vegan shoes, boots, jackets, faux fur coats, gloves, purses, luggage, computer cases, iPhone cases, ballet shoes, guitar straps, musical instrument cases, watch bands, and much more! Listings are primarily for the USA, Canada, and Europe. See:

Vegans Know How to Party Limited Time Special Discount Offer

Posted on November 21, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Between now and December 15th, 2014 we are offering a holiday discount on multiple copies of Vegans Know How To Party, written by Chef Nancy Berkoff and published by The Vegetarian Resource Group. You can order 2 copies of this book for $35 (30% off) or 4 copies of this book for $50 (50% off). One copy of this book retails at $25. Place your order here and indicate in the comments section what your are ordering and the number of copies:

Vegans Know How to Party is a 384-page book with color photos. It would be a wonderful gift during the holiday season. Not only will you find incredible recipes for baked goods such as pies, tarts, cakes, muffins, cookies, and other desserts, you’ll also enjoy recipes for appetizers, soups, salads, main dishes, and more. In addition, there are chapters on basic party planning, entertaining children, cooking for a crowd, working with a caterer, and party planning for people with diabetes.

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Meals and VRG’s Pre-Thanksgiving Vegan Potluck Featured

Posted on November 21, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Vegetarian Thanksgiving meals and VRG’s Pre-Thanksgiving Vegan Potluck was recently featured in the Baltimore Messenger! You can find the full article at the following link:

*Please note some of the poll information was cited incorrectly, you can find the true numbers at the following link:

For more information about veggie Thanksgiving meals, see:
For more information about VRG’s Pre-Thanksgiving Vegan Potluck, see:

Kristina of fullyrawkristina Shows Off VRG Merch

Posted on November 20, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Everyone here at The Vegetarian Resource Group was pleased to see Kristina of fullyrawkristina showing off our Be Kind to Animals bumper sticker at this years Texas Veggie Fair. If you would like to purchase one yourself, visit our online catalog or send payment to The Vegetarian Resource Group, PO Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203.

We would like to thank our amazing volunteer, Whitney Blomquist, for bringing this photo to our attention.

VRG Thanksgiving Events 2014

Posted on November 20, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Check out these VRG holiday events you will not want to miss this month!

VRG’s Pre-Thanksgiving Vegan Potluck: Baltimore, MD
Sunday, November 23; 5pm-8pm

Please join us at our 33rd Annual Pre-Thanksgiving Vegan Potluck co-hosted by our friends at Bmore Vegan Drinks.The event will be held at the cozy North Baltimore Mennonite Church (4615 Roland Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21210). We welcome vegans, vegetarians and the veg-curious alike to join us for an evening of delicious food and company!

Admission is $4 per adult; children are admitted free. Please bring a vegan dish – made without meat, fish, fowl, milk, cheese, eggs, honey, or other animal-derived ingredients – that serves four as a contribution from each member of your party. If you are unable to cook, you may bring a prepared vegan dish for four from a local natural foods store or restaurant.

To reduce waste, we encourage you to please bring cutlery and your own plate to fill up with tasty vegan dishes! Don’t worry, we will have disposable ones available for those who forget. We also welcome you to bring a non-perishable vegetarian canned food item to donate to the church, who will distribute it to those in need.

“GREEN is the New BLACK Friday” Shop, Spa and Benefit Day at Shankara Vegan Restaurant: Bethlehem, PA

Friday, November 28; 10am-4pm

Please join VRG at the “GREEN is the New BLACK Friday” Shop, Spa and Benefit Day at Shankara Vegan Restaurant (201 East 3rd Street Bethlehem, PA, 18015). The Lemongrass Spa and Origami Owl will be featured vendors. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the VRG so don’t miss your chance to get some of your holiday shopping done while also supporting a good cause!

If you have any questions about these events or would like to discuss opportunities to volunteer, please contact Nina at

We are looking forward to having you join us!

You may also be interested in the following veggie Thanksgiving resources:
Veggie Thanksgiving Events in the US
Restaurants Serving Veggie Meals on Thanksgiving Day
Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes


Posted on November 19, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Laura McGuiness

Recently in my Renaissance Literature class, I had a guest lecturer speaking about Margaret Cavendish. We read several poems by her, one of which caught my interest by the footnote preceding it, stating: “This poem is one of the most remarkable expressions of empathy for the non-human to be found in the period.” The poem, “The Hunting of the Hare” (found here: is about the hunt of a poor little rabbit, Wat, who eventually dies at the hands of hunters. It culminates with a unique and (at the time) extremely controversial idea, one which basically castigates humans for believing all animals were made specifically for man’s benefit.

Anyway, in class I learned that this poem was actually in response to Descartes’s idea of animals being akin to automatons. Cavendish brings animals on the same moral plain as humans and produces empathy to trick the reader into identifying and feeling for Wat. Once they acknowledge this related state, saying otherwise makes them a hypocrite. It was a fascinating argument that was extremely revolutionary for its time. I also learned that Margaret Cavendish visited a Royal Society, which was (at the time) performing cruel and unusual experiments with small animals. She made a spectacle, stormed out, and proceeded to write a book, Blazing World, which is a thinly veiled parody of what she saw at the Royal Society. Her novel is essentially about animals performing experiments and her (as an empress) chastising them for doing so and calling their results rubbish.

You may or may not find the above interesting; however, I thought anybody who had a love for both animal rights and literature would find this fascinating! I also got excited about learning such animal rights-related ideas at a public university in a class completely separate from animal rights.

Here are Some More Restaurants Serving Vegan Meals on Thanksgiving

Posted on November 18, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Ravens Restaurant at the Stanford Inn in Mendocino, CA

Millennium in San Francisco, CA
Make reservations here:

Pena Pachamama Center in San Francisco, CA

Arya Bhavan in Chicago, IL
Make reservations here:

True Bistro in Boston, MA

Kalachandjis in Dallas, TX

Green Vegetarian Cuisine in San Antonio, TX
RSVP here:

Bamboo Garden in Seattle, WA

The Green Owl Café in Madison, WI
Make reservations here:

If you missed our first list, you can view it here:


Posted on November 18, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Amanda Matte

“Tierras Enamoradas”, or Lands in Love, is an all-vegetarian hotel and resort in Costa Rica’s otherworldly cloud forest. I was fortunate enough to spend some time there last month, and after only a brief introduction decided I never wanted to leave. The indescribably beautiful scenery provides the perfect backdrop to a place that emanates love – especially for animals. The on-site restaurant is entirely vegetarian, with many amazing vegan options from which to choose. I sampled a large portion of the menu over the course of my stay, as my mother – a fellow vegetarian – and I each tried something new at every meal and shared. In that way we were able to cover a great deal of territory. Some of our favorite options were the pad thai, the Israeli breakfast (a chopped salad with tahini, avocado, and tofu), and the vegan Bolognese over pasta. The desserts were also incredible, most notably the homemade milkshakes in a large variety of yummy flavors. There were plenty of vegan options on that list (made with soymilk).

One of the most exciting aspects of Lands in Love is the welcoming atmosphere. For instance, guests are encouraged to arrange a cooking lesson with Naama, the resort’s awesome chef. There is an on-site “pet hotel” which houses many rescued dogs and guests are welcome to take the dogs for walks. We made some very sweet canine friends there, and loved the multitudes of animals that wandered the 280 acre property, from horses to cats to ducks. Countless thrilling activities are available to guests, too. We tried zip lining, white water rafting, and canyoning, all of which were amazing, exhausting, and perfectly complemented by an artfully-prepared vegetarian meal upon our return. For the vegetarian traveler, it doesn’t get much better than Lands in Love.


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