Wednesday, December 28, 2016

We Joined the Honey Brook Organic Farm CSA...finally....

I've decided that this will be the year of doing things.  I've been saying I am going to do all sorts of stuff, and then nothing actually happens.  Well, those days are over, folks.  To start this new proactive and productive version of me, I joined a CSA.  Which I said I was going to do for the past seven years but never followed through on because I grow so much myself.  Now that we're fully vegan, I'm buying three times the amount of vegetables, and I felt like now is the perfect time to try it out.  Whatever we don't eat, we can freeze, or I can always juice in my fancy new juicer.

New Jersey is pretty hit or miss in terms of organic farming.  What they do have are a lot of farms that practice animal agriculture, and as a vegan, I do not want to support that.  Sorry, but if you're the kind of person that can raise a baby, then look into his loving eyes and slit his throat....yeah, I'm not doing business with you.  There is no such thing as humane meat people, that's some serious bs.

It was between Melick's Town Farm and Honey Brook Organic Farm.  Melick's had the positives of being run by vegans (or so I'm told) and they have fruit orchards, so unlike most CSA's, you'd also get fruit in your weekly box.  The negative was that their closest pickup, wasn't that close to me, and I couldn't confirm if they were organic.  Honey Brook has a pickup ten minutes from my house, weekly pick your own items if we are so inclined to take the drive down, and they are organic.  Interestingly, the organic CSA prices were comparable to the non-organic CSAs near me.

What is a CSA?  Community Supported Agriculture provides an influx of money for the farmers at the beginning of the season, to purchase seeds and supplies, and in return, the member receives a season of produce. It's a way for farmers and consumer to share in the risk and rewards of farming, as you can't control the weather or sudden spurts of disease or insects.  It's the truest definition of farm to table, in my opinion.  Honey Brook members can opt for pre-packed boxes, or they can go to the farm every week and pick all their own produce.  I hear you get more bang for your buck doing it that way, but it's a 45-minute drive, so not realistic for my family.

If you're interested in joining a CSA, check out Local Harvest.  And if you're interested in joining Honey Brook's CSA, check out the links below.  (For the record, I am receiving no compensation for promoting their CSA.  I'm just sharing info)

Hello & Happy New Year from Honey Brook Organic Farm!:
The Early Bird Applications for on-farm pick-up at our Pennington and Chesterfield farms are online now, as well as our two Early Bird Boxed Share applications
If you wish to become a member of our CSA program in 2017 & want to pick up at our Pennington or Chesterfield farm, there is still time to mail in your Early Bird application! After 12/31st (the deadline for submission of the Early Bird applications for on-farm pick-up), membership feeswill increase to reflect the increase in production costs.
Farmer Jim and I, as well as our farm staff, wish you and yours a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year! ~ Farmer Sherry Dudas  

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Vegan Christmas Presents - Shop a Non-Profit!

Still looking for presents for your favorite vegan?  Are you against how materialistic the holidays have come, but don't want to disappoint friends and family members by nothing giving them something you wrapped?  My mother always said to buy yourself a present to so you're getting at least one thing you actually wanted.  So maybe you're just looking for a present for yourself.

Do something good and shop at a non-profit's online store.

You know I love my "Give a Cluck, Go Vegan!" shirt.  Get it here at United Poultry Concerns.  I wear it when I grocery shop to make people feel uncomfortable...yes, I'm an ass.

How about a cute cosmetic bag from the Beagle Freedom Project?  They have t-shirts on their site, but if you were lucky, you got one during their fundraiser like I did that says "Stop Testing on Beagles"

Cosmetic Bag

I am super excited to get my Vegan AF shirt from PETA.  FYI they also have a Vegan Holiday Chocolate Box.  I also picked up a ton of stickers.  My daughter puts them on all her school stuff and it really seems to be starting a lot of great conversations amoungst her peers.

Vegan AF Fitted T-Shirt

Admittedly, a little pricer, but remember it's for a good cause...Farm Sanctuary has some great stuff.  I'm still on the fence about this shirt....Farm Sanctuary Vintage Rainbow Tee
How about some hot sauce from Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary?


If I didn't hate long sleeves so much, I'd buy this shirt from Mercy for Animals.

If you aren't into the stuff at the non-profits, how about buying from a company that donates to a non-profit group?  Ivory Ella donates 10% of it's profits to Save the Elephants.

My daughter is so obsessed with this shirt, I had to get it for her.  A portion of every item purchased from iHeartCats goes to feeding shelter cats.  They also help to feed shelter dogs with items purchased from iHeartDogs.  They work with Rescue Bank a Program of

Go Google your favorite sanctuaries and shelters and see what they have.  Don't need something wrapped?  Why not make a donation in someone's name? Join in on Woodstock Farm Sanctuary's fundraiser for Hay Every Day

Or sponsor an animal from Barn Sanctuary!  


 I hope you guys have gotten more people crossed off your list than I have!

None of these links are affliate links.  These are all just organizations I support and believe in.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

List of 2017 Vegan Festivals (VegFests)

Image result for tri state vegfest vendors

I know there are several lists out there already, but of the ones I've found, a lot of the links don't work.  Or they're links to old last year old.  I'm basing this off of my 2016 list and assuming they'll have another one this year.  If not, I'll delete and update as the year goes on.

Most of these VegFests are FREE!

Most events that are selling tickets are offering discounted tickets if bought in advance. I'll do my best to post ticket prices as well as event dates and locations.

Can you believe they're already listing VegFests for 2017? 

If I missed something, feel free to shoot me a comment and let me know!

  • n/a
  • n/a
District of Colombia

  • n/a
  • n/a
  • n/a
  • n/a
  • n/a
  • n/a
New Hampshire
  • NH VegFest - Manchester Community College, April 22, 2017
New Jersey
  • Tri-State VegFest - June 17, 2017, $15 Tickets, NJ Convention & Expo Center, Edison (I already bought our tickets!) (Check for specials on Groupon)
  • VegStock Sept. 9, 2017, Millville, NJ
  • NJ VegFest - Oct. 7-8, 2017, Meadowlands Expo Center, up to $35 per Ticket (I begrudgingly bought tickets, $35 for an adult ticket is expensive!  But, it's local and while I still have to pay tolls to get there, I don't have to drive 3 hours like I do for most other VegFests.  For this price, it better be astronomically better than the other VegFests we go to...just saying.)
New Mexico
New York
 North Carolina
North Dakota
  • n/a
  • Pittsburgh Vegan Festival - May 6, 2017, 12-7, $5 adults, kids free
  • Bethlehem VegFest - Aug. 26, 2017
  • Erie VegFest - TBD
  • Philly SEED Fest - August 13, 2017
  • Philadelphia VegFest - As per their Facebook page, "Plans for a 2017 VegFest have been postponed due to the death of one of the organizing partners. Prudently, we have taken a step back to focus on team-building and development of the organization so that we may move forward with the needed resources to properly facilitate the return of Philadelphia VegFest. Updates will be provided as we progress and notice will be given far in advance of the next scheduled VegFest so vendors may plan accordingly. We, like you, have missed Philadelphia VegFest and are dedicated to its proper return."
  • Scranton VegFest - August 13, 2017
  • Lancaster VegFest - June 3, 2017
  • NEPA Vegfest - Sept 16, 2017, Scranton, PA
Rhode Island
  • n/a
South Carolina
South Dakota
  • n/a
  • SLC VegFest - Sept. 9, 2017 (not on their site, but on their Facebook page as a response to a comment.)
  • n/a
West Virginia
  • n/a
  • n/a

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Easy Homemade Vegan Butter

This recipe is based off of Miyoko Schinner's vegan butter recipe from her amazing book, The Homemade Vegan Pantry.  If you don't own it, you should.

Yes, you can buy vegan butter.  Every grocery store I've been to carries at least one vegan butter.  Apparently, not true in Kuwait, as per my ex-military friend Mike, who is still there now.  So this recipe is for him.  The whole process takes me less than five minutes from start to finish.

I don't have a mini blender, so I use mason jars with my old Osterizer blender.  
Use a pint-sized one with the ounce markings on the side.

Add 3/4 cup of coconut oil.

Add 1/4 cup of non-dairy milk.

Add 1/8 of a cup of a neutral oil like canola or grapeseed.

Add 1 teaspoon of liquid soy lecithin.  

(I bought this huge bottle at the Vitamin Shoppe for $10. If you don't have one near you, you can order it on Amazon.  It's not just an emulsifier, it's also good for you. As per WedMD, "lecithin is used for treating memory disorders such as dementia...It is also used for treating gallbladder disease, liver disease, certain types of depression, high cholesterol, anxiety...[and] eczema.")

Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  

(I would use more if you want it to taste more like commercially made butter, but if you're going to use it for baking, then keep it to 1/2 teaspoon or less.)

If you want it to taste more like movie theater butter, add McCormick Butter Flavor.  It is vegan.  I don't normally add it, but if I am popping popcorn, I'll add it for that extra buttery kick.

Once everything is in the jar, blend away.

Once the lecithin is mixed in, it will look less orange, and more like a soft yellow.
I set my blender to "whip" and let it run for 60 seconds.

If you want it more yellow in color, add a pinch of turmeric.  I don't, but you can.

And voila!  Vegan butter.  

If I'm making mash potatoes or anything that involves melted butter, 
I'll just whip up a batch and use it right away.

Otherwise, I make tablespoon squares of butter using a silicone mold.  I think I picked up this mold at Bed, Bath & Beyond, but they're also on Amazon.  Sometimes this recipe fills it perfectly, sometimes it's a little less, sometimes it's a little more.  It all depends on how aerated it gets in the blender.  

Leave it in the refrigerator until they solidify then pop them out and store them in a container.

Why vegan butter?  Because dairy is bad for you.  Dairy is bad for cows and their babies.  And for anyone who thinks they're lactose intolerant, you're not.  You're just not a baby cow.  Stop buying into the bs of the dairy industry.  Most of the information about dairy being good for you comes from studies put out by the dairy industry!  Read real studies.  Do your own research.  The evidence is overwhelming.  Ditch dairy.  Lecture over.  Sorry, I can't help myself.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Vegan Mac n' Cheese

I have a friend, Pam.  I've known her for what feels like five million years.  She writes an amazing blog called The Mental Confessional and posts equally amazing photos on Instagram.

If you know Pam, you'd know she has these amazing sparkling eyes and the most contagious laugh.  You'd never know that Pam suffers from bipolar disorder and postpartum depression.  I know from her blog posts, that there are times that feel really dark to her.  But I also know, that through her writing she has become a beacon of light amidst the darkness for others with her honest and heartfelt writing.  I am proud of her every day for working hard at advocating for others, for trying to manage her illness and for always being the best mom to her boys.

So what does vegan mac n' cheese have to do with mental illness?  Well, dairy has been linked to depression, bipolar disorder, cancer, and even dementia.  Pam has taken steps to cut out some meat from her diet (see, I can be a good influence!) but I would love for her to stop with the dairy, especially if there's a chance it's a part of what's making her feel crappy.  So in honor of my dear inspirational friend Pam, I'd like to offer her my favorite vegan mac n' cheese recipe.  This cheese sauce is amazing.  We use it on chips, over baked potatoes, and it will be the sauce I use to make the Hubby's favorite broccoli cheese casserole with Ritz cracker topping for Thanksgiving.

I hope you try it and like it as much as we do.

All you need is pasta (obviously) potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, cashews, water, butter, lemon, mustard, salt and pepper.  Now, don't go calling shenanigans already.  I promise you, this will all come together into a cheese sauce thanks to some vegan magic!

After you boil the veggies and nuts, dump it all in the blender with the rest of the ingredients.  Don't strain the veggies and nuts, add that water too.

You wind up with this amazingly, warm, lucious, thick, creamy cheese sauce.

Pour it onto your cooked pasta.


Ta da!  Vegan Mac n' Cheese!

I did not come up with this recipe all by myself.  I took my inspiration from VegNews Vegan Macaroni & Cheese.  When I found this recipe, it was life changing!  I made a few changes in the ingredients and cooking directions, but I'd still recommend checking their version out.  I'd also consider subscribing to their magazine.  I do and I love it!  We use this cheese sauce for all sorts of things.  Once refrigerated, it becomes spreadable.


1 pound of cooked elbow macaroni

2 cups of water
2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup carrots, peeled and diced
2/3 cup onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of cashews

3-4 tsp of salt (I use kosher, but use what you like)
5 TBS of vegan butter (I use homemade, but use what you like)
1/2 tsp mustard (whatever you have will be fine)
2 TBS lemon juice (fresh or from a bottle)
black pepper to taste (I crank my pepper grinder 10-20 times)
1/2 tsp paprika

  1. Take a medium sized pot (if it's too big, the water won't cover the vegetables) and put in the water, potatoes, carrots, onions, and cashews.
  2. Bring it to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Put into your blender, the salt, butter, mustard, lemon juice, pepper and paprika.  Add the cooked vegetables along with the cooking water to the blender.
  4. Blend until smooth.  I have a high-speed blender, but I can't imagine this would be hard to do in a regular blender.  Just try it.
  5. Dump in onto your macaroni and stir.  I add peas for color, but since your sauce is all vegetables, you don't really have to feel bad for eating a big bowl of pasta.
  •       NOTE:  The measurements of the potatoes, carrots and onions are not exact.  I often add more or less depending on how many I peeled.  So if you have 2 1/2 cups of potatoes or 3/4 cups of carrots, don't freak out.  It's not a big deal.  But do try to dice the potatoes and carrots the same-ish size so they cook at the same rate.  Also, I buy roasted cashews because they're cheaper, and have noticed no difference in taste.
  •       DISCLAIMER: This does not taste like Kraft Mac n' Cheese.  Because nostalgia makes that crap taste good, not your actual taste buds.  This tastes more like real mac n' cheese.  The kind where you make a roux and then add milk and freshly grated cheddar.  I say freshly grated, because no one should buy pregrated as it has wood pulp.  Yuck.  Just saying...

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Vegan Product Review: Beyond Meat The Beyond Burger

I finally managed to pick up a package of Beyond Meat The Beyond Burger.  My local Whole Foods in Marlboro, NJ did not have them, because they suck and have a super limited amount of vegan products unlike the Whole Foods in Cherry Hill, Princeton, or even out in Philly.  Do I sound annoyed by that?  Yes, just a little.

They're packed like a standard beef burger.

Here's a close up.  They look real, right?

I used a little coconut oil, but it didn't need it.  It leached out a lot of its own oil.

Wowza, does it smell like I'm cooking a regular beef burger.  Don't know that I like that, but if you were an omnivore, that's probably a good thing. After a few minutes, flip them over.

And voila!  A meatless burger that tastes like meat.  (Served with Alexa onion rings.)

Does it Taste Like Meat?:  It really does taste like meat.  From the look to the smell to the texture. Now, if you ate this alongside a beef burger, you wouldn't have a hard time figuring out which was which.  But if you needed a burger option that's not a veggie burger, but won't contribute to you having a heart attack, then this is the way to go.
Will Meat-Eaters Eat it?:  Absolutely.  I think it's smart that this product is being marketed for meat eaters.  Even if they don't want to go vegan, for people with high cholesterol or other health issues, this is an easy swap for something they already eat. 

Is it Healthier for You?:  Clearly, it is.  For the record, to the people who say, you shouldn't eat things with ingredients you can't pronounce....there are no weird ingredients in here.  If you look at the list of drugs pumped into cattle, and the weird crap they use to preserve that meat...I'm sure you can't pronounce much of that.  Furthermore, if you're eating fast food burgers, then please, go educate yourself a bit on what they're putting in those. They're barely meat.  That's not a laughing matter, it's a disgusting level of filler and grossness because they know they're consumers will eat anything they put in there, no matter how bad.  You should want better.  You should demand better.

Image result for beyond burger vs beef burger

Would I Buy It Again?:  My husband and daughter liked them a lot, but it's not for me.  The whole time I was eating it, my brain was spinning out of control, like this internal barrage of lights and sirens, screaming, "Danger Will Robinson! Danger!"  My brain just couldn't reconcile the fact that even though I knew it was plant based, it just didn't taste plant based and that weirded me out.  I'm going to keep buying myself veggie burgers, but I'll pick these up for my family on special occasions. I think burgers like this are going to be the wave of the future.  I'd imagine it's significantly cheaper to produce this plant-based burger, than it is to raise cattle and kill it.  Fingers crossed.