The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

VEGGING OUT AS A VEGAN TEEN

Posted on June 10, 2015 by The VRG

By Lily Donofrio

The life of a teenager is hectic and stressful. Hormones are raging, papers are due, positions on sports teams are being filled, social lives are being balanced, the working world is being introduced, bodies are changing, homework is taking up on average 2 hours a day, and such a depressing amount of more. We have boyfriends and girlfriends and pets and parents and siblings and teachers and bosses and coaches and best friends and secret admirers and advisors. It is essential for us busy bees to take some time to ourselves and relax.

How does one relax? Some take comfort in hot baths, vacationing, exercise, food, meditation, sleeping for obscenely long lengths of time, massages, Netflix marathoning, etc. The list can go on forever. I personally find relaxation in spending time with friends and vegging out. But different from the typical teenage binging, we do it vegan-style. We watch True Blood and Keeping Up With the Kardashians seasons over bowls of vegan cookie dough. We run out to the store to pick up Amy’s brand dairy free Mac n’ Cheese after major test weeks. We bake kale chips to satiate our cravings for salt. We have learned to keep our teenage norms animal-free.

It is so easy to prepare vegan comfort food. You just have to take recipes into your own hands and play around with ingredients. There are the obvious replacements like nut milk and Earth Balance Spread, and the not so obvious ones like using hot water and flax seed or avocados as eggs. Playing around with these variations is a great way to make veganism even more fun!

So if you are cramming for your finals, practicing relentlessly for your band’s gig this weekend, or swimming countless laps in the pool in preparation for your next meet, and are looking for a little bit of extra motivation, I suggest that you plan a night in with your buddies and cook up some intriguing vegan treats.

VEGAN COOKIE DOUGH

1 can chick peas
Almond milk, as needed
Sweetener to taste

Desired amount of vegan chocolate chips (I use 1/4th cup)
Blend chick peas in a food processor until smooth, add almond milk 1 Tablespoon at a time if preferred consistency is not reached. Add sweetener and continue blending. Mix in chocolate chips.

KALE CHIPS

Kale (2 cups obtains about ½ cup kale chip)
¼ cup oil of choice (I prefer sesame)
Seasoning of choice: SALT AND VINEGAR= 1 tbsp coarse sea salt, 1 tbsp Apple cider vinegar; CHILE LIME= juice of ½ lime, 2 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp cayenne pepper (another tsp if you prefer spicier); ASIAN STYLE= 2 tsp ginger, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tsp garlic

Add all ingredients together in a bag, shake thoroughly. Bake in oven set at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, or until crispy.

MICROWAVE MUG CAKE

1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp sweetener of choice
2 tbsp almond milk
2 tbsp flour
¼ tsp baking soda
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Vegan chocolate chips (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a mug, mix thoroughly. Cook in a microwave for 2 minutes.
OPTIONAL TOPPINGS= vegan chocolate chips, peanut butter, vegan ice cream, vegan coconut whipped cream.

THE GUAC (Yields 2 cups)

3 avocados
Juice of 1 lime
½ cup chopped onion
¼ cup favorite salsa
½ tbsp coarse sea salt

Harvest the meat from the avocado and mash. Prepare and combine all ingredients.

LOADED VEGAN NACHOS

2 cups of tortilla chips
½ cup soy crumbles (store bought soy crumbles or crumbled seitan)
¼ cup cashew nacho cheese (recipe below)
¼ cup salsa
Handful of jalapeños
Handful of chopped onion
½ cup beans (black or pinto)
1 cup lettuce

Arrange ingredients to your liking.

CASHEW NACHO CHEESE

¾ cup cashews soaked for 30 minutes
1 tbsp chili powder
½ tsp salt
Juice of ½ lime
1½ tbsp nutritional yeast

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

CHOCOHOLIC ICE CREAM

2 frozen bananas
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp sweetener
Splash of almond milk

Combine all ingredients in food processor, blend, freeze, and serve.

The Vegetarian Resource Group Booth at the Charles Village Festival – Two Interns Share Their Experiences

Posted on June 10, 2015 by The VRG

By Ivy Grob

With my fellow VRG staff, interns, and volunteers, I participated in my first outreach booth during the Charles Village Festival, an annual event located in the Wyman Park Dell in Baltimore, Maryland. It was my first look at how an outreach booth operates and truly my first look at Baltimore. I arrived only a week ago from Florida in order to intern with the VRG for the majority of the summer. I first fell in love with the scenery of Baltimore during my drive in, but after working my first booth I can now say I’m in love with the people and the atmosphere. The majority of people I spoke with were so welcoming and friendly, and surprised when I told them that I thought Baltimore was a big city. During the festival, I met a number of people who were already vegetarian and vegan and also a few who were transitioning. It was great to share some tips back and forth about cooking and food choices, and to see that Baltimore has a great community of people who share my beliefs. One woman came up to the booth and said, “I’m a new vegan, show me your absolute favorite cookbook!”

The most satisfying experience, though, was to share pamphlets and information to those who said they were not vegetarian, and to have the information be well received. This was truly the opportunity to explain why vegetarianism and veganism is necessary. I was able to share about animal rights and the environmental problems that comes from consuming meat and animal products. Some information was better received than others, but at least the information was presented for the arguers to think about. As I continue in my internship, I hope to continue to spread the message of vegetarianism and veganism at any other outreach booths to whomever I can.

By Navaal Mahdi

The 2015 19th Annual Charles Village Festival took place on May 30 and May 31 at Wyman Park Dell in Baltimore, Maryland. On these two beautiful warm days, the people of Baltimore and the surrounding areas came together to visit multiple craft and food vendors, play games, listen to some very talented live musicians, and participate in a 5K race as well as the annual Charles Village Garden Walk. The VRG was lucky enough to set up an outreach booth during the festival to talk to the variety of people attending.

When I helped at our booth on Saturday, May 30th, we had visitors who were vegetarian and non-vegetarian, and surprisingly, many of the non-vegetarians who visited us shared that they were in the process of becoming vegetarian or vegan. Folks walking down the pathway that had the booths of different non-profits on either side of it were drawn in by the variety of literature we had at our table, from books starting at $5 to free coloring books and pamphlets about our cause. Many were especially interested in the copies of the Vegetarian Journal that we had on display, and upon learning that there were delicious recipes in each issue, they would ask for their own copy right away!

Some visitors were kind enough to share their stories with us; one man explained to Matt, who is a regular volunteer at the VRG, and I that he was really close to being vegan, but found it too difficult to give up eggs for breakfast. Matt and I shared with him some other great vegan breakfasts, like banana pancakes or granola, and we also gave him the idea to mix flax seeds and water to achieve an egg-like consistency for baked goods and such. Another woman wanted to know ways to get protein while being a vegan, so we handed her a copy of the “My Vegan Plate” pamphlet we had available, which helpfully highlights sources of calcium and protein.

The Charles Village Festival was a great place to finish off my booth-working experience as an intern. It was heartwarming to hear the kind comments that people gave us about the information we provided, and it was even better to hear that non-vegetarians would make an active effort to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in their diet. I hope to continue to help the VRG at outreach booths as a volunteer after I finish my College internship!

My Vegan Plate Handout: http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/MyVeganPlate.pdf
To volunteer at VRG outreach booths, please contact Nina at vrg@vrg.org
To support VRG outreach, please donate at: www.vrg.org/donate
To join The Vegetarian Resource Group, please go to: http://www.vrg.org/member/2013sv.php

One-Night Stay at Velo Bed & Breakfast, a Veggie B&B in Eugene, OR, Offered in VRG’s Charity Auction!

Posted on June 09, 2015 by The VRG

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Get away, vegan-style, at Velo Bed & Breakfast! This veggie B&B sits on lovely wooded acreage, just two miles from the whimsical city of Eugene, OR. Bid on a one-night stay at this lovely B&B and more in The VRG’s Online Charity Auction!

Start bidding at: http://www.ebay.com/itm/251975922055

Velo Bed and Breakfast is located two miles southwest of Eugene, Oregon. It’s an ideal spot for cyclists; the riding nearby is superb. The countryside surrounding Velo Bed and Breakfast is prime Oregon wine country, with exceptional Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. Velo features two beautiful en suite rooms. Guests enjoy their own separate entrance and spacious separate living/dining and patio areas. Gourmet organic breakfast and dessert are included. For more information about Velo Bed & Breakfast, see: velobandb.com/

Restaurare: A Vegan Restaurant in Tulum, Mexico

Posted on June 09, 2015 by The VRG

By Amanda Matte

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Situated less than two hours South of Cancun’s international airport, Tulum, Mexico, has long catered to the gypset crowd with its mellow vibe and breathtaking beaches. The restaurant scene is another draw – the local abundance is top-notch, and nowhere is this better showcased than at Restaurare, a vegan delight on the jungle side of Tulum’s main road. I had the pleasure of dining at Restaurare while vacationing there last month, and was blown away by the creativity and freshness of the restaurant’s offerings. The food was so tasty that my fellow diner, a staunch carnivore, listed the tacos pibil – spicy vegan cochinita on chewy handmade corn tortillas – as the single best appetizer course during our nearly weeklong trip.

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Along with the tacos pibil, we sampled the locally sourced mole which featured oyster mushrooms and pumpkin in a rich, spicy sauce laced with dark chocolate, and the momo tofu – organic tofu stuffed with assorted vegetables and wrapped in hoja santa, an aromatic Mexican herb. The tofu was served over turmeric rice and accompanied by a complex savory red sauce. Next time I hope to try the Mayan curry made with coconut milk.

We were told that the cocktails at Restaurare are quite good, but unfortunately we didn’t have the opportunity to sample them. Soon after our arrival, the power went out (a frequent, charming occurrence at Tulum’s restaurants), so we enjoyed our vegan feast by candlelight and accompanied by water, as the blender and juicer were out of commission. I will be back for the tacos pibil and a watermelon, ginger and peppermint refresher followed by a short walk to the pristine beach just across the road.

For more information see: https://www.facebook.com/restauraretulum

Amanda is a former Vegetarian Resource Group intern.

THE CHOCOLATE HOAX

Posted on June 09, 2015 by The VRG

How do you know if to trust nutrition studies? Take a look at this
article about the chocolate diet: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-the-chocolate-diet-hoax-fooled-millions/

Readers may also be interested in reading Nutrition Is A Science: http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/nutrition_science.php

One Week of Vegan Camp Offered in The VRG’s Online Charity Auction!

Posted on June 05, 2015 by The VRG

CAMP

Treat a special child in your life to a week of vegan camp and support The VRG at the same time by purchasing at The VRG’s Online Charity Auction!

Start bidding here: http://www.ebay.com/itm/251976988071

Vegan Camp (VeganCamp.org) has been providing the optimal camps for vegan and vegetarian children for close to a quarter of a century. This summer, there are four overnight camp options from which to choose (while space permits) – the Explorers’ Experience for kids who love to be on the go, hiking, trekking, exploring, etc. – the Amusement Park Paradise for kids who love amusement parks with roller coasters and water slides – the Cyclers’ Safari for kids who would love doing some bicycling each day as well as swimming and other engaging activities – and the Recreational Respite for kids who would love a more relaxed environment, enjoying the campsite with a vast array of sports, swimming, crafts, etc.

Each camp is limited to a maximum of eight children and supervised and guided by two mature, responsible, adult, positive role-model counselors. Campers have come from far and wide to attend these totally vegan camps. The camps are based in the Los Angeles area, but campers have even flown in from as far as Virginia, New York, Israel, Korea, and Russia! Before bidding, feel free to contact Vegan Camp (info@vegancamp.org) to discuss possible plans for your child attending Vegan Camp this summer. Each of the camps has somewhat of a different theme and activities, but all of the camps have a bounty of totally vegan foods, loads of vegan snacks, special vegan marshmallow roasting, smores, and other such evenings, and so much more.

100% of proceeds will be donated to The Vegetarian Resource Group. Thank you so much for your support.

TACO BELL AND CARMINE UPDATE

Posted on June 05, 2015 by The VRG

According to CBS News, Taco Bell will be removing carmine from its red tortilla strips.

See: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/taco-bell-pizza-hut-booting-artificial-ingredients/

For more information on quick service chains, see: http://www.vrg.org/fastfoodinfo.php

The contents of this postings, our website, and our other publications,
including Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal
medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified
health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient
information from company statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure
about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and
mistakes can be made. Please use your best judgement about whether a
product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or
confirmation on your own.

JOIN THE VEGETARIAN RESOURCE GROUP BY JUNE 7TH, 2015 AND RECEIVE A FREE COPY OF THE COWSPIRACY VIDEO WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!

Posted on June 05, 2015 by The VRG

Cowspiracy-600x350

Cowspiracy is a feature length environmental documentary that uncovers the destructive nature of animal agriculture. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean “dead zones,” and many other environmental ills. For a limited time, The Vegetarian Resource Group will send you a free copy of this video ($19.95 value) when you join VRG!

Don’t forget, this offer expires June 7th, 2015.

To join go to: vrg.org/donate, pay $25 for one year (includes Vegetarian Journal subscription), and in the comments section mention that you would like the free Cowspiracy video.

Accomodation Offers in The VRG’s 1st Annual Online Charity Auction

Posted on June 03, 2015 by The VRG

Wanna get-away, vegan-style? Why not check out the veggie-friendly accommodations included in The Vegetarian Resource Group’s Online Charity Auction? We are offering stays in beautiful Bed & Breakfasts in amazing destinations such as:

New Paltz, NY – Hungry Ghost Guest House
Portland, OR – Cherokee Rose Inn
Freeland, WA – Someday Farm Vegan B&B
Big Pine Keys, Florida Keys – Deer Run B&B
Eugene, OR – Velo

Start bidding here: http://www.ebay.com/usr/thevegetarianresourcegroup

100% of proceeds will be donated to The Vegetarian Resource Group. Thank you so much for your support.

The Almond Milk Cookbook, by Alan Roettinger

Posted on June 03, 2015 by The VRG

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This cookbook is written by a private chef and serves up over 100 recipes using almond milk. The recipes are vegan and would be useful to anyone who is lactose intolerant. Nutritional analyses are included, as well as some basic recipes to prepare your own almond milk at home in case you don’t have access to commercially produced almond milk. Keep in mind that if you make your own almond milk at home, it will not be fortified.

Here are some of the recipes included in this book: Chocolate-Tangerine Smoothie, Cappuccino, Blueberry-Buckwheat Pancakes, Cream of Tomato Soup, Ranch Dressing, Linguine with Olive Sauce, Vegetable Pot Pie, Creamed Greens, Ethiopian-Style Yams, Cinnamon-Cardamom Rolls, Pumpkin Pie, Mocha Sauce, Chocolate-Orange Truffles, Caramelized Figs with Almond Cream, and Chocolate-Almond Ice Cream.

The Almond Milk Cookbook, (ISBN 978-1-57067-326-9) is a 156-page book. It is published by Book Publishing Company and you can purchase this book from The Vegetarian Resource Group at: http://www.vrg.org/catalog or from your local bookstore.

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