Monday, August 30, 2010


With the recall of eggs in this country causing fear and concern, I thought this would be a good time to discuss why I DON'T EVER EAT EGGS. Salmonella is the least of my concern, but the conditions of farms that raise chickens increase the likelihood of outbreaks such as this. This morning the media showed a short clip of a chicken in these conditions and you can immediately notice something is a little different about her than the ones you would see if you were to look into someone's back yard farm. The chicken had her beak clipped off. The front of her beak is distorted by a cruel practice called debeaking, which cuts through bone, cartilage and soft tissue. This is done since these birds are placed in such unnatural conditions that they will peck each other and do harm. The unnatural conditions also cause their feet to grow into the cage wires and lay eggs more often due to stress of artificial lighting. Their bodies are covered with bruises and abrasions, have feather and psychological disorders since there are commonly 4 hens in a 16-inch square wire cage.

A chicken at Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary.

Before I went vegan, I thought the animals used to produce eggs and dairy were unharmed since they weren’t being killed. I was so wrong. The consumption of eggs not only supports this type of cruelty, but these chickens are killed for their meat as well, after one year, since their bodies are so taxed they are considered “spent” and do not produce enough eggs for profit. Many people believe that egg laying hens are the most abused of all farm animals. The torture they endure is unimaginable. The conditions of the farms produce an unimaginable amount of waste as well. There is nothing ok about these farms.

Male chickens being dumped in the trash (literally) since no use to chicken farming. Photo compliments of Farm Sanctuary.

“Free range” or “cage free” eggs are really no better. These chickens may not be in the wire cages, but they are not free, they are still debeaked and suffer from bruises and abrasions and their bodies are just as taxed producing all those eggs in such close quarters and they too, will be killed for their meat at the end. I once visited one of these “cage free” egg farms, and there is no daylight for these chickens. The farm was under so much security and fear of exposure that cops were called on me, when I was visiting as a representative of a restaurant purchasing the eggs. They didn’t want people to know the truth. Even backyard chickens are not cruelty-free, since the males born in this industry are usually killed right away.

Photo compliments of Farm Sanctuary

Eggs are not necessary in your diet. They are not needed for cooking or baking. Tofu makes a great scramble, and eggs in baking are easily replaced. Even if they weren’t, to me it is not worth the suffering of others just for a pleasurable food experience. Please consider taking eggs out of your diet if you have not already or at least cut back considerable. For every one egg consumed, a hen has to endure hours of absolute misery.

Photo taken at Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary

Please support farm sanctuaries that give animals a second chance of a truly free and wondrous life. In Oregon, Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary and Out to Pasture are both great places to support. Farm Sanctuary has farms on the east and west coast and does a lot about education concerning animals used in agriculture. The Humane Society of the United States also has a lot of great information about the cruelty of farm animals (and other animals) on their website as well.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"It tastes like milk chocolate"

Liz (left) wanted me to quote her about the chocolate frosting tasting like milk chocolate. Chelsea (right) was the birthday girl.

I enjoy making cupcakes for people when I have the time. When my friend Chelsea asked me to make some for a birthday gathering, I was sad to say no cause I was just too busy. Luckily she was having two celebrations and I could help out for the other one. I try to come up with slightly different flavors and I knew she liked chocolate and disliked fruit. I was going to go with coconut, but then realized she is not a fan of coconut (expect when it is in my cookies I found out). I did have almond slices though and a little bit of cocoa powder. I made 18 cupcakes and brought them to a bar where the birthday fun was to happen.

There were more cupcakes then people though, so Chelsea went table to table offering strangers the cupcakes. People loved them, and I loved them loving them! It makes me want to bake stuff once in awhile just to give to strangers and see their happy faces. A friend recently made some cupcakes and left some on my doorstep to greet me from my day at work. It made me so delighted! Cupcakes really do have the power to make people joyful, and I am going to have to use that power more often. It is just the right thing to do.

Almond Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Almond Cake:
½ cup Soy Margarine
1 cup Organic Raw Sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
½ cup Silken Tofu
1 ½ cups Coconut Milk
2 tsp Vanilla (or 1 tsp Almond Extract)
2 ½ cups Unbleached White Flour
1 Tb Baking Powder
½ tsp Salt
1/2 cup Sliced Almonds

Chocolate Frosting:
1/2 cup Margarine
3 cups Powdered Sugar
2 Tb Cocoa Powder
2-5 Tb. Coconut Milk

Cake: Cream together the margarine and sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla and blend, then the tofu and blend some more. Pour in the coconut milk and blend until incorporated. Add the flour, baking power and salt and blend until just mixed in. Fill greased muffin tins, or cupcake cups about 2/3 full with batter. Bake at 350°F for 18-20 minutes. When cupcakes are done, the top should spring back when lightly touched.

Frosting: Blend the powdered sugar, cocoa and margarine together. Add coconut milk, a little at a time, until you reach the desired texture. Frost cupcakes and add a few almond slices on top if desired. Makes 18 cupcakes

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Baking without Dairy & Eggs Class

I forgot how exciting it is to hear new or possibly new vegans talking around you. That exploration into something new that helps the animals, the planet and yourself can be extremely rewarding. The talk I gave last night concerning baking without dairy and eggs will hopefully give people some more tools to be successful at their new lifestyle.

One thing I heard discussed last night is whether you will actually see a personal difference when adapting to a vegan diet. The truth is, we are all so different and our bodies react in their own special way, it is hard to say. When I went vegan I was young, I was not as in tune with my body and I didn’t really care about health since it was all about the animals for me. I was too distracted trying to change the world. I do know that now, I have good cholesterol readings. I was such a cheese addict I know that would not be the same case if I was not vegan. I have become more aware of nutrition. I look younger than my age. Whether a person has a noticeable change when they go vegan may not always happen, but I guarantee, that all individuals will reap benefits by switching to a plant based diet. And most importantly to me, I can live with my conscious of knowing my life (mostly) did not cause the suffering of others through my dietary choices.

Here are some links to recipes I thing you will enjoy.

Non-dairy cheese class (ricotta, cheese sauce and my roasted red pepper cashew spread).


Gluten Free & Vegan Recipes!

Black Eyed Peas and Greens Soup (It is so good!)

Buckwheat Stuffing (also gluten free)

Fresh Collard Wraps

Mango Mint Salad

Cannellini Herb Spread

There are lots more recipes on my blog for biscuits, pancakes, cupcakes, cakes, sour cream lasagna, cookies, gluten and so much more!

Here is the information from the class:

Dairy Free Baking

• Any recipe which calls for milk, a replacement can be used. These include “milk” made from soy, rice, almond, oat and even hemp. Soymilk works the best as a replacement.

• To replace butter in a recipe, use a non-hydrogenated margarine or shortening. Earth Balance is a non-dairy margarine which works really well and Spectrum has a shortening made from palm oil. Using a regular oil may not work properly for the recipe.

• If a recipe calls for buttermilk, simply add 2 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar per one cup of milk replacement. Stir, and let stand a minute.

• If a recipe calls for milk powder, you can use a non-dairy milk equivalent in a powdered form. Two brands which work well in baking includes “Better than Milk” Soy Powder and DariFree Milk Powder Alternative made from potato. If a recipe calls for less than 2 Tb of the milk powder, you can simply omit the ingredient.

Egg Replacers

Flaxseed Meal: 1 Tb. flaxseed meal + 3 Tb. water = 1 egg. Mix together flaxseed meal and water, let sit a couple of minutes, then add as you would egg. This is a useful egg replacement that works for most applications, but will add some color specs to your baked goods.

Chia Seeds: Combine 1/3 cup of seeds with 2 cups water and let sit a few minutes. Use ¼ cup gel per egg. Very versatile and works for most baked good, plus it adds nutrition.

• Starches: Combine 1 Tb. of starch (corn starch / potato starch) + 3 Tb. water = 1 egg. Eggs are mostly used as a binder in cookie recipes, so this works best with cookies.

• Bananas: Use ¼ cup of mashed banana per egg. Great for muffins or sweet breads that benefit from a banana taste.

• Apple Sauce: Use ¼ cup of applesauce per egg. Works best in muffins and sweet breads.

• Blended Silken Tofu: ¼ cup tofu = 1 egg. Blend before adding to the recipe. Great for cakes! This will gives cakes a moist texture without being too dense.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions. I am happy to help!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Egg and Dairy Free Baking Class Tonight!

As part of Try Vegan Week here in Portland, OR, I am teaching a class on egg and dairy free baking. Learn to veganize your favorite recipes and why vegan baking is so much more fun! Plus, I will be available to answer any questions you have about egg and dairy free alternatives, whole grain baking, gluten free info, veganism, how cute my rats are (especially eating tofu) and so much more!

Baking Without Dairy & Eggs
8 pm at Bay Leaf
(4768 SE Division St.)

For more information please go to or here is a link to the whole week’s schedule.

Biscuits made with a veganized buttermilk.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Camping requires cookies

The other Chelsea eats the cookie while waiting for the ferry.

Baking cookies the night before a camping trip has become a ritual and I like it. The trip to San Juan Island included a 5 hour drive, 2 hour ferry wait and 1+ hour ferry ride, so the cookies made good snacking. The plan was to use the cookies as a sandwich with roasted vegan Dandies marshmallows as well, but sadly, the marshmallows were placed in the cooler and got ruined. It really was sad. I’ve only gotten to roast marshmallows twice in the last 15 years, since vegan versions are still fairly new to the market. Luckily there were orcas and beautiful landscape, deer and friends to distract me from this flaw in the trip. And the cookies were great by themselves.

Chocolate Chip Oat Coconut Cookies

2 cups Organic Unrefined Cane Sugar
½ cup Vegan Margarine
½ cup Almond Milk
2 tsp Vanilla
2 cups Unbleached White Flour
1 cup Quick Rolled Oats
2 tsp Baking Powder
¼ tsp Salt
½ cup Shredded Coconut, unsweetened
½ cup Vegan Chocolate Chips

Cream together the sugar and margarine until smooth. Add the almond milk and vanilla and blend some more. Add the flour, oats, baking powder and salt, and mix until mostly combined. Add the coconut and chocolate chips and finish mixing until combined, but careful not to mix too much. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes. Form into balls and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes before cooling on rack. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.