Sunday, November 16, 2008

Choose a Compassionate Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate with family and to be thankful for all that we have. Somehow, the murder of 300 million turkeys each year doesn't seem to fit in with that equation. Instead, have a compassionate Thanksgiving with all the veganized trimmings you want and a non-meat centerpiece.

Here are's top ten reasons to forgo the carcass at your celebration:

10. Your body will appreciate a holiday from saturated fat, cholesterol, and hormones.

9. You won’t sweat the environment and food resources devastation guilt trip.

8. You won’t spend a sleepless night wondering how the turkey lived and died.

7. Animal advocates will cherish you.

6. You won’t have to call the Poultry Hotline to keep your family alive.

5. Fruits and vegetables don’t have to carry government warning labels.

4. Commercial turkeys are too obese to breed. Won’t happen to you.

3. Your kids can tell their friends about their cool “tofurky.”

2. You are what you eat. Who wants to be a “butterball”?

1. You won’t fall asleep during the football game.

For a vegan Thanksgiving, try a Tofurky centerpiece with some of the following sides:
  • cranberry sauce (some are gelatin free)
  • mashed potatoes with roasted garlic
  • steamed green beans
  • maple-glazed carrots
  • mashed sweet potatoes
  • roasted potatoes
  • pasta salad
  • vegetable soup
  • butternut or acorn squash
  • fruit salad
For dessert, you can make vegan versions of:
  • pumpkin pie
  • "cheese"cake
  • chocolate cake
  • trifle
  • cookies
  • spice cake
  • bread pudding
  • pound cake
  • brownies
  • just about any other baked good

As you can see, ditching turkey and other animal products does not limit your options in any way, and there are plenty of delicious dishes to choose from!

So, please choose a compassionate Thanksgiving that leaves murder and cruelty out of the celebration. Your conscience and millions of turkeys will thank you.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

15 Ways To Jazz Up A Veggie Burger

Veggie burgers are a great, versatile choice for a simple meal. There are many different types, brands, and flavors, and they can be healthy (certainly healthier than a beef burger!) Personally, my favorite brand is Gardenburger, but many others are good too. However, after a while, veggie burgers can get pretty boring and basic if you don't know how to make them interesting. So, here are 15 ways to have a satisfying veggie burger!

  1. Instead of microwaving your burger, try frying on the stove or better yet, putting it on the grill. The flavor will be much better and it will be crispy, not soggy.
  2. Instead of using raw onions, trying browning them in the pan first. This makes them more palatable if they are too strong raw, and it adds a different flavor.
  3. Try a patty other than a meat-mimicking flavor. Sometimes it is better to appreciate the thing for what it is, not what it is supposed to be. Switch your Boca Vegans for chili and bean, vegetable (Gardenburger Veggie Medley is great), extra garlic, or some other original flavor.
  4. Make your own patty with pre-made meat substitute, and you can control the seasonings.
  5. Ditch the bun! Use lettuce to wrap your burger (a wide leaf from a head variety works best, try Boston lettuce.) Let the burger cool slightly and try to blot as much oil as possible from the burger and toppings before piling up. The crunch of the cool lettuce around the burger is fantastic, but make sure you have extra napkins around!
  6. Another novel way to wrap up is to use a pita pocket that is cut in half, or whole if it is the size of the burger!
  7. To make a Middle-Eastern style burger, do #6 and top with hummus, tomato, onion, and cucumber.
  8. To go all the way Middle Eastern, use a falafel burger instead of a regular patty. You can make them the same way you make regular falafel, just shape it into a patty.
  9. Make it a BBQ! You don't have to grill it, but add pickled jalapeƱos, BBQ sauce, hot sauce (try a smoky flavor) and the basic lettuce, onion, and tomato.
  10. For an alternative to a creamy sauce, top your patty with thinly sliced avocado. It reminds me of the sauce on a Big Mac, but it tastes much fresher!
  11. If you still want to mimic fast food, use two patties (or slice a thick on in half) and make a double decker burger (with out without a middle piece of bread.)
  12. Make a toasted panini if you have a press by putting the patty in between two slices of bread and adding some vegan "cheese."
  13. For a coronary inducing not-so-healthy option (but delicious if its your thing,) deep-fry the burger in a deep fryer or saucepan with an inch of high-smoke-point oil.
  14. So this may not really affect the taste too much, but try to make the burger look like it belongs on a McDonald's poster (aka photogenic). Use a bun, fluff the lettuce, and make it look neat. It may not use any different ingredients than what you normally have, but it has been proven that people think visually attractive food tastes better.
  15. Top the burger with fried mushrooms (keep frying until they start to become crispy.) You can also add some fried mushrooms and vegan "cheese" to create a faux "mushroom and Swiss burger.")

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