November in Philadelphia…there is that chill in the air that just makes me want to cozy down with Miss Caroline Kitty, good book in one hand, comforting treat in the other. Friends, I say, “Why not feed two birds with one scone?” Grab a cookbook and tantalize your taste buds to savory town!
I love books, all kinds of books. But sometimes there’s nothin’ like fishin’ for new recipes. Nowadays there’s great vegan cookbooks and countless fab-u-lous vegan recipes that are just as easy to prepare as they are tasty. And, btw, if you’ve been thinking about going vegan, but are afraid it might be too overwhelming, you should check out The 30-Day Vegan Challenge by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. Full of encouragement, cooking tips, and, of course yummy recipes, this book will give a boost to anyone striving for a healthy vegan lifestyle.
Another helpful hint I have is to check out older recipes. You see, back in the day, things like milk and eggs were not always easy to come by, so don’t be surprised if you find some vegan-by-default recipes in Grandma’s cupboard. Such as wonderfully scrumptious desserts…. hmmm, what could better than cake? ….Maybe chocolate cake?
Here’s one of my all-time fav-or-ite treats! Super easy and super fun.
Vegan Chocolate Cake
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 ¾ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup cocoa, sifted
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 cup cold water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar. Combine remaining dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another. Add to creamed mixture, alternating dry and wet ingredients. Beat till smooth. Pour into a 9 inch, greased and floured pan. Bake for 30 minutes.
When cool, top off with your favorite icing or cover with powdered sugar. But most of all, enjoy!
Until next time, Friends…keep cookin!
I’m back from the Taking Action for Animals conference in DC, and I’m feelin’ refreshed and rejuvenated! I met so many wonderful people…and talked with my friends at AAVS, too…such a pleasant visit. Every year I go to this conference, I learn something new and come home…well, ready to take action!
Friends, now, more than ever, I’m convinced that the way to make positive change for animals is through education. Some think it’s cliché, but knowledge is power, and as a retired librarian, I’ve seen folks, especially kids, blossom with interest and energy, ready to be proactive for the greater good after learning about those in need. Kids, I do believe with aaall my heart, are key to creating a better future for animals, and for all of us.
The start of a new school year is near, and I’ve got a plan to help kids help animals. I contacted Animalearn…Laura and Nicole who work there are sooo fab-u-lous! They gave me a lot of great information about humane science education to give to the district office and schools in my area. Check it: for the young kiddies, the cutest stickers (ever!) and Fascinating Animal Profiles; for teens, students’ rights brochures and must knows about animal dissection; and for teachers, Science Bank catalogs and the most recent AV Magazine titled “Humane Teachers for Humane Students” (word!).
Anyone can donate these kinds of items to their local schools…it’s a great way to reach out! Many, including teachers, just don’t know about humane science education, and Animalearn tells me that most teachers are surprised when they learn how high tech some of the dissection and training alternatives are.
Kids who are nurtured to have empathy and to respect animals will grow up to be compassionate adults…citizens who will make choices being aware of how those choices might affect animals, choices that will ensure a healthier, happier world for all.
I’d love to hear more ideas about how, together, we can do more to create compassionate classrooms. Friends, write me! I’m always glad to hear from you.
Until next time,
I’m so excited….packing for my trip to Washington DC and the Taking Action for Animals conference. I went for the first time last year, and had an absolutely a-maz-ing time! There is so much to learn and so many great people to meet. And best of all, I’ll get to see folks from my favorite groups – AAVS, Animalearn, and Leaping Bunny!
btw, Friends, I’ll be tweeting from the conference, so follow me on Twitter. Let’s tweet together!
Until next time in DC,
I just had to share a little story with you all. The other day, I was visiting with some neighborhood friends…. We were sitting, chatting away, enjoying Philly’s finest soft pretzels when a fly joined us…busily buzz, buzzing around. Well, I must say, he was a funny, rather plump fellow, whose presence was admittedly not enjoyed by all.
One of the ladies tried to shoo him away, but Buzz the Fly kept coming back, and back, and back again. Then in a flash, he left the table and moved to an open screened-in window. My neighbor quickly jumped up and closed the window, leaving the fly buzzing, trapped between the screen and the glass. Buzz the Fly had obviously captured the attention of us at the table, he was also noticed by ten-year-old Jackson.
Jackson is one of my fav-or-ite kiddies on my block. Oh, and he’s so smart, and such a caring boy. Seeing the fly trapped,…well, Jackson spoke up. “We can’t leave the fly in there. He’ll get hurt!” Words were not said, but the annoyed glances spoke volumes, and they were not lost on Jackson. “If the fly was a dog or our cat Muffin, we’d never lock him up like that. A fly is an animal, and we shouldn’t treat animals that way.” Out of the mouths of babes.
With the precision of a team of synchronized swimmers, all at the table glanced down in shame. “Jackson, what do you think we should do?” I asked. The dear boy thought a moment, then said, “Maybe we could open the window just a bit….enough so the screen could be pushed up, so the fly could fly away to the outside.” What…a…brilliant idea!
Once Buzz went on his way, Jackson did the same, preferring to go outside to ride his bike. Us ladies? Well, the chatting began again, only with a different tune. The lady that shooed at the fly said, “you know, that little tike, he made a good point.” We all nodded. “Speaking of animals in cages,” another said. “I just heard that the local shelter is having some troubles. Maybe we should do something to help.” All of us agreed. “What about a bake sale?” “We could include homemade doggy treats.” “I wonder if we could get the newspaper to come?”
One small child, moved us ladies into action. Let this be a lesson for all of us, Friends. Kids may say the darnedst things, but they can also make the best animal activists.
Until next time,
It’s the start to a beau-ti-ful spring in Philadelphia! Miss Caroline Kitty certainly seems to agree, her tail flicking to and fro as she sits at our window watching robins hopping and squirrels scampering about. Spring time just makes me think and wonder of all the good things that await us….every color of the rainbow in my tulip bed, the smell of fresh, lush, green grass, and longer days to enjoy.
With spring’s sense of renewal and energy, it’s a good time to plan for the future, especially when it comes to our companion animals. Makes me think of a dog named Henry, a sweet golden retriever, who’s got a little gray around his muzzle.
He and a neighbor and her boys passed by, and I just couldn’t help but say hello. The boys were sooo excited because Henry had just come to live with them. Turns out, Henry’s people mom had recently passed away, but she made arrangements years ago to make sure that he would be well cared for. Henry’s only lived with his new family for about a month, but my neighbor says that he seems happier now and enjoys being with the kiddies.
It’s something we may not really want to think about, important as it may be…and I cannot imagine what Miss Caroline Kitty would do if I weren’t around anymore. But if she needs it, I’ve set up a Pet Trust for her. A Pet Trust is a legal arrangement…. You specify who your companion should live with and how much money of your estate should be left to cover life expenses, like food and vet care. I know the thought is a bit unpleasant, but, Friends, as responsible pet parents, we must do it!
Actually, the folks at AAVS are just wonderful…they’re the ones who gave me information about Pet Trusts. It’s a little tricky because each state has a different way to set them up, so do consider getting legal advice. You can also learn more at www.professorbeyer.com. I found it sooo helpful!
On a lighter note, I was thinking…. I just looove hearing stories about other people and their companion animals. You know a little about my Miss Caroline. Tell me about your precious ones! I’m always glad to hear from you.
Until next time, Friends,