The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Starting a College Cooking Club By Madeline St. John

Posted on April 08, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

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How can I go about starting a cooking club on my college campus?

While this process is going to vary from school to school, at the small
liberal arts college that I attend (Goucher College in Towson, MD), the
process of starting up a club is simple.

What you need:
• A student president (i.e. yourself)
• A treasurer (i.e. your best friend or your roommate or that random
guy you connected with over X-hobby)
• A faculty advisor (i.e. your favorite professor)
• Student interest (i.e. some number of interested students that
probably varies from campus to campus; at Goucher, there is no set
number; it is judged based on the club, though they do provide space to
list ten members on the club petition form)

Once you have all of these items, you simply fill out a form and prepare
a little speech to present in front of Club Council. At Goucher, Club
Council consists of about 15 students, who represent various clubs.
After you petition to start up your club, the fate of whether or not
your club gets approved is in their hands. Clubs are more likely to be
approved if
1. they fill a niche that was previously unfilled,
2. there is a lot of student interest, and
3. they contribute something worthwhile to the campus community.

If your college does not have a cooking club and you can find enough
interested students (Free food? Who wouldn’t be interested?), then you
should be good to go.

Another thing Club Councils will probably be looking for is a cohesive
mission statement and a plan for the structure of the club. How is it
going to work? What kinds of events are you going to have? Where are you
going to get funding (most colleges have some sort of allotted club
budget)? Consider these questions carefully.

Because Goucher is so small, a lot of the clubs are the product of a
group of friends getting together and starting them up. Unfortunately,
it often happens that when those students graduate (or study abroad),
the club dies out, especially if the club leaders do not actively look
for club members to continue their legacy. So if you do decide to start
a new club, be aware of this issue, and keep your eyes peeled for a
successor.

The way that the Goucher’s Cooking Club functions (started by a couple
of my friends) is that we have weekly meetings, during which we either
cook a meal or dessert. We meet for a pretty long period of time—usually
three hours—so that we can cook multiple dishes or several desserts.
Typically, we choose the recipes at the beginning of the week and send
out an email saying what we are going to be making that week (usually,
our meetings are on Fridays). At this point, Cooking Club has a
substantial email list, with over 100 people.

How did Cooking club get so many people on its email list? It started
with posters. Also, the club president set up a table at a number of
different events, like “club rush,” at which clubs set up tables and
interested students can move from table to table to learn about clubs
they are interested in. Word of mouth is also one of the best ways to
get people interested.

Because of the large email list, the club does not really do any
advertising for weekly meetings other than sending out emails. The
meetings can typically only support about 10 people, because you don’t
want too many cooks in the kitchen. However, we do hope to have some
larger group activity, at some point, for which we might engage in other
advertising techniques, like putting up posters or making a Facebook
event (there is currently a Facebook page). Cooking club has cooked food
for several events, like a fall festival and International Students Day,
but it has yet to host any event involving non-club members.

To prepare for weekly meetings, after emailing members about what we are
cooking, the club president makes a list of all the ingredients and the
amounts of ingredients that we are going to need. A day or so before the
meeting, we go shopping for ingredients. When the club was first
starting, we often purchased cooking supplies as well as ingredients,
because, as we planned meals, we would discover more materials we
needed. For example, we would want to make cupcakes, but we wouldn’t
have a cupcake pan.

At Goucher, the club treasurer deals with reimbursements for all of the
purchases. Fortunately for us, because Goucher has such a large budget
for clubs, all Cooking Club’s purchases are paid for by the college. In
fact, in comparison with some of the other clubs, cooking club does not
spend that much money.

Because of my own veganism, I was able to persuade the president and
treasurer of cooking club (who happen to be my roommates) to host some
vegan cooking. Before this, we also had made some dishes that happened
to be vegan, like a very delicious Thai curry butternut squash soup.
Also, almost all of the food we have cooked (if not all of it) has been
vegetarian (in part because meat just makes everything more complicated,
as well as the fact that two of the club leaders are vegetarian).
When we were purposely cooking vegan, we had a vegan dessert night, for
which we made cupcakes, no-bake cookies, and baked cookies. At another
meeting, we made soft, chewy vegan chocolate chip cookies. Having these
kinds of meetings that focus on vegan cooking is a great way to get
conversation started about alternative diets like veganism and
vegetarianism. Food (especially if it is paid for by your college!) is a
great way to raise awareness and interest. Alas, there is no vegan
cooking club on campus. But perhaps there will be soon…

NEW YORK CITY VEGGIE PRIDE PARADE By Rebecca Kaplan

Posted on April 08, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

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At Manhattan’s Veggie Pride Parade this year, hundreds of vegans and vegetarians gathered to share the power of veggie eating! Participants marched from Ye Olde Meatpacking District all the way to Union Square, spreading the message that veganism can help us to save the planet, be kind to animals, and improve our personal health. Here’s pictures.

https://www.facebook.com/veggieprideparadenyc2014/

I staffed a booth at the parade for The Vegetarian Resource Group. The parade was lots of fun. We passed out pamphlets, the most popular being
Vegan Kids/Pregnancy
Vegan Teens
Veganism & Saving Our Water
Veganism in a Nutshell
I Love Animals and Broccoli Coloring Book

Three Spanish speaking people came by and were really glad we had information in Spanish. I gave our leftover pamphlets to the NYC Vegan & Vegetarian Meetup Group, which will give out the information at their events.

Thanks to everyone who braved the windy weather and came out to demonstrate at the parade!

If you would like to help at future VRG booths, please email Brigette at vrg@vrg.org

CASSEROLE PROGRAM FOR THE NEEDY — VEGAN DONATIONS WANTED By Maria Pittarelli

Posted on April 07, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

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Our Daily Bread in Baltimore serves free meals to over 700 needy people 365 days a year. They said about ten percent of individuals ask for a vegetarian meal, which typically consists of macaroni and cheese, salad, fruit, cheese, bread, and a desserts. We were enthusiastically told that they would love to get more vegetarian donations to provide more options and variety. They accept canned fruits and vegetables, canned beans, peanut butter, cereal, oatmeal, and other shelf-stable donations.

They also have a casserole program where generous people in the community can make one of the casserole recipes on their website and donate it for use during the lunch service when needed. VRG’s Foodservice Advisor Chef Nancy Berkoff created three vegan recipes, which now have been posted as options on the website. Nancy tested these at a senior center in Los Angeles. The recipes are:

Brunswick Stew
Creamy Bean and Potato Casserole
Sweet Potato Black Bean Casserole.

The recipes and donation directions are at:
http://www.catholiccharities-md.org/our-daily-bread/odb-food-service/favorite-casserole-recipes.html

If you, your family, or a local group would like to make a vegetarian donation to this charity, they accept donations of any quantity on any day between 8 am and 3 pm. If you choose to donate a casserole, they will need to be in a disposable metal casserole pan sized 12” x 10” x 2 9/16” deep. I had difficulty finding this exact size, but party stores and some groceries sell a pan that is very close in dimensions (within half an inch) and that was perfectly acceptable to them. The casserole must be frozen solid before donating. In our case, homemade casseroles that were put in the home freezer at 5 pm were frozen by 9 am the next morning. Be careful to not stack the casseroles before they are frozen, as this can result in them breaking or leaking. Cover tightly with aluminum foil or the corresponding disposable lid, and label with the name of the casserole and the date it was made. If you are able to make a donation, it would be greatly appreciated and put to good use helping those in need who desire vegetarian meals.

If you are in the Baltimore area, you can prepare and donate these casseroles to our Daily Bread. You can enlist the help of others at your organization, church, synagogue, mosque, or any other meeting you attend. If you are not in the Baltimore area, you should be able to find a local charity which would be thrilled to receive these casseroles for their feeding programs.

Kayco-Kedem Partners with Whole Foods Market to Launch New and Exclusive Kosher for Passover Items for 2016

Posted on April 07, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

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Their public relations firm told The Vegetarian Resource Group the following kosher for Passover foods do not contain dairy, eggs, honey, or fish.

NEW Items for 2016:
-Gefen Frozen Mashed Potatoes (also Sweet Potatoes) & Herbs, Spices
-Prigat Juices, imported from Israel
-Yehuda Gluten-Free Unsalted and Ancient Grain Matz
-Gefen Chopped Garlic, Sautéed Onions
-Gefen Organic Beets (peeled & ready to eat)
-Wissotzsky Nana Mint Tea
-The Chosen Bean Fair Trade Coffee (three varieties)
-Harrison’s Sweet Shoppe Raspberry Syrup

ORGANIC VEGETARIAN AND VEGAN MEALS DELIVERED TO YOUR HOME OR OFFICE Trifecta Sweet Potato “Mash” with Brussels Sprouts By Maria Pittarelli, DTR

Posted on April 06, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

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I was able to sample one of the refrigerated meals from Trifecta organic meal delivery service. This meal is called Sweet Potato “Mash” with Brussels Sprouts. It was labeled as vegetarian, and the ingredient list shows that it is actually vegan. When I heated it up and opened it, it looked like mashed potatoes with some halved Brussels sprouts, slices of bell pepper, and onion pieces. I was surprised it wasn’t orange, but perhaps they use white sweet potatoes. I found the recommended heating time to be accurate. After three minutes, the meal was consistently hot throughout. Our volunteer coordinator tried it as well, and said “If it were a little spicier, this would taste like Indian food! Very good.” It is creamy with a strong herbal flavor, and the ingredients show tarragon, parsley, basil, thyme, and marjoram. This meal is more sweet than savory, which may appeal to some people. The larger chunks of vegetables provided some texture contrast, but they were still cooked soft. This is a great way to sneak in Brussels sprouts for people who may not generally enjoy them, as they are well disguised. I appreciated the presence of an ingredients list and a nutrition facts label, which showed that this meal contains:

370 calories
8 grams fat
345 mg sodium
65 grams carbohydrates
13 grams fiber
25 g sugar
9 g protein

I like that this meal is low in fat, relatively low in sodium for a packaged meal, and has no added sugars. It has an impressive amount of fiber, over half of the daily recommended amount. After finishing the meal, I was mostly satisfied. For those of you who use nutrition tracking apps, I will report that it did not recognize the barcode on the meal but did provide all the necessarily nutrition information to enter it. At 370 calories, it’s a bit small for a complete meal for an adult. I really liked the concept of this meal, with sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts being two of my favorite foods. Though I personally don’t care for tarragon.

For more information on Trifecta meals, see http://trifectanutrition.com/vrg

The contents of this posting, 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.

GREAT SAGE BENEFIT DAY FOR THE VEGETARIAN RESOURCE GROUP CLARKSVILLE, MARYLAND SUNDAY, APRIL 17, 2016

Posted on April 06, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

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GREAT SAGE BENEFIT DAY FOR THE VEGETARIAN RESOURCE GROUP
CLARKSVILLE, MARYLAND
SUNDAY, APRIL 17, 2016

Great Sage is a delectable Vegan restaurant located in Clarksville, Maryland that is part of Conscious Corner–a family of businesses dedicated to promoting healthy and mindful living by focusing on animal welfare, the environment, and community. Great Sage supports non-profit organizations by hosting monthly Benefit Days, where 10% of the proceeds are donated to a non-profit. We are thrilled to announce that on April 17th, 2016, Great Sage is hosting a Benefit Day for The Vegetarian Resource Group!

One of our wonderful volunteers will be in attendance during brunch handing out copies of the Vegetarian Journal and other Vegetarian Resource Group literature to interested patrons, as well as answering questions about veganism and The Vegetarian Resource Group. It is always a pleasure to represent The Vegetarian Resource Group in Great Sage’s welcoming and warm atmosphere. Great Sage’s bold menu features international flavors and organic ingredients with dishes such as their Smoked Vegetable Wrap, Enchilada Burrito, and Biscuits ‘n’ Gravy, and Mushroom Flatbread. Delicious desserts include Cranberry Almond-Pistachio Cobbler, GIANT Cinnamon Rolls, and Chocolate Lava Cake.

You don’t want to miss out on this mouth-watering Vegan cuisine and an opportunity to support The Vegetarian Resource Group. We are excited to see you there! – Brigette Dumais, VRG Volunteer Coordinator
See more at: http://greatsage.com/vrg-benefit-day-2/

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PINKBERRY NONDAIRY SOFTSERVE

Posted on April 05, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

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Pinkberry offers several nondairy frozen desserts. Note that according to their website that the coconut milk version contains sodium caseinate (a dairy derivative), so is not vegan.

The ingredients for Just Fruit Strawberry are: Fruit (Fruit (Strawberry Puree), White Grape Juice Concentrate, Pear Juice Concentrate, Natural Flavors, Fruit and Vegetable Juice for Color, Locust Bean Gum, Guar Gum), Water.

For other flavors, see
http://www.pinkberry.com/images/nutrition/Nutrition.pdf

Support The Vegetarian Resource Group – Become a Monthly or Quarterly Donor!

Posted on April 05, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

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The Vegetarian Resource Group is an activist non-profit organization that does outreach all-year-long. We table at different events through the USA and also send literature free of charge to other groups/individuals doing educational activities in schools, hospitals, camps, restaurants, libraries, etc. around the country. Our ability to continue doing this depends on people like you! Your donations allow us to promote the vegan message whenever we’re called upon for assistance. Please consider becoming a monthly or quarterly donor to VRG.

Thanks so much for your support. You can become a monthly or quarterly donor online here: https://www.givedirect.org/give/givefrm.asp?CID=1565

WHOLE FOODS TUBE FEEDING FORMULA

Posted on April 04, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

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by Maria Pittarelli, DTR

Liquid Hope is a shelf stable organic whole foods feeding tube formula
and oral meal replacement.

Ingredients include:
filtered water
organic garbanzo beans
organic green peas
organic carrots
organic whole grain brown rice
organic whole grain brown rice protein
organic flax oil
organic sprouted quinoa
organic sweet potato
vitamin blend
[potassium citrate, calcium citrate, acerola (C), sodium chloride,
mixed tocopherols (E), choline bitartrate, zinc citrate, biotin,
niacinamide, selenium methionine, cholecalciferol (D3, pyridoxine
hydrochloride (B6), riboflavin (B2), thiamine mononitrate (B1),
methylcobalamin (B12)]
organic broccoli
organic almond butter
organic kale
organic garlic
organic turmeric
organic rosemary
organic ginger
organic wakame (seaweed)

The company said: The vitamin D is not plant. It is D3 and the only thing in the product that is not vegan.

See more at:
http://functionalformularies.com/products/liquid-hope

This is not health care advice. Please check with your health care provider if this product is suitable for you.

Vegan Food Served at Major League Baseball Parks This Season

Posted on April 01, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

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The Vegetarian Resource Group received the following information from Veggie Happy:

More MLB vegan firsts
We’re receiving updated vegetarian/vegan menu listings for MLB parks for the coming season. As they continue to come in, we can already share a couple of vegan firsts: Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field has added vegan frankfurters to their menu this season. This marks the first time that this ballpark is offering any kind of vegetarian hot dog on the menu. It’s a big deal. (Only three MLB parks remain without a vegetarian hot dog on the menu . . . as of today.)

Also, Texas Rangers’ Globe Life Park will be debuting a vegan cart this year. “Vegan-themed portable cart offers a variety of popular ballpark fare and other healthy options that do not contain any animal bi-products. The menu consists of: Southwest Black Bean Burger, Vegan Nachos, Vegan Hot Dog, Vegan Jerky, Vegan Chili, Vegan Spinach Wrap, Shake It Up Salad, Fresh Cut Fruit and more! Located in section 16.”

Our Veggie Happy Manager Twalla has been influential at that ballpark and we applaud her! Check out her Veggie Texas Ranger Fans Facebook page .

We’ll keep posting updates to the We’re Veggie Happy Facebook page and will edit the MLB Venue Vegetarian Guide as new menu listings come in. Remember: fan feedback makes a difference! Use the contact information in the listings to relay your thanks or suggestions at the ballparks you frequent.

Things are looking up when a ballpark in Texas is proudly promoting its new vegan cart to the media. Happy 2016 baseball season, everyone!

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