My “Happy Holidays” To You!

My “Happy Holidays” To You!

Since I can’t have everyone gather around my piano for some carols, I got behind the mic (in the home office!) just to send some holiday love and light everyone’s way. Whatever one’s religious beliefs, this song about compassion is for all of us. I hope you enjoy.     Happy Holidays from my family to you and yours. Peace to all (human and nonhuman) during this holiday season. Looking forward to connecting with everyone again in January!...
Two New Cookbooks for Holiday Festivities

Two New Cookbooks for Holiday Festivities

I’m having fun with two cookbooks I recently purchased — both are hot off the presses, just in time for the holidays! During school breaks, I’m especially eager to try new recipes, so I’ll be using both of these books throughout the holiday season. Candle 79 Cookbook: Modern Classics from New York’s Premier Sustainable Restaurant One of my favorite restaurants in NYC has come out with its cookbook. It’s the perfect companion to the cookbook from its older sister, Candle Cafe. Whenever I’m back home in the city, I make sure to visit Candle 79. Now we all enjoy a taste of New York no matter where we are. The first recipe we’ve tried from the book, the Nori- and Sesame-Crusted Seitan was outrageously delicious. I’m thinking about making the Stuffed Poblano Peppers for the Superbowl. Tempura Zucchini Blossoms also are calling me. Vegan Holiday Kitchen: More Than 200 Delicious, Festive Recipes for Special Occasions This book is organized by holiday, offering whole menus for every occasion from Christmas to Passover to Fourth of July. The Vegg Nog is happening this week in our home when we set aside time for decorating the tree. The Shepherd’s Pie is a great dish to bring to a potluck party this holiday season. A couple of side dishes I’m planning to try in the upcoming weeks that are also listed in the Christmas section: Glazed Onions & Brussel Sprouts and Spiced Pears & Fresh Figs in Red Wine. But I’m not waiting until Rosh Hashanah to try the Challah Bread...
Facebook Vote! Holiday Gift Ideas

Facebook Vote! Holiday Gift Ideas

Once again, ’tis the season. As always, I like to consider creative gift-giving ideas that encompass the spirit of the season without succumbing to consumer frenzy. So, for this month’s CFF Facebook Vote, I asked you to suggest and vote for your favorites. Here are the holiday gift-giving ideas that everyone was talking about: Adopt/Sponsor an Animal at a Sanctuary Adopt a Marine Mammal from Oceana Donation to an Animal Rescue, Shelter, or Local Non-Profit Vegan Fashion and Accessories Books About Animals or Wildlife Homemade Vegan Baked Goods Vegan Wines and Liquors Vegan Bath & Body Products Gift Certificate for a Cruelty-Free Spa Treatment Subscription to VegNews magazine Trip to Volunteer at a Sanctuary And the winners are… All great ideas for compassionate gift-giving! The top three picks from last week’s vote: adopt/sponsor an animal at a sanctuary; donation to a rescue, shelter, or local non-profit; and a trip to volunteer at a sanctuary. Thanks to all who participated in this month’s CFF Facebook Vote. I hope everyone is enjoying this holiday season. Truly, the greatest gift is the time we share with our loved ones.   Have you “liked” us on Facebook yet? Don’t miss out on all the fun! The CFF Facebook page gives you a chance to share your favorites and hear from others. And once a month, we have a CFF Vote. The page has become a wonderful online community that’s growing by the day. Hope to see you there!...
Holiday Baking (& Chocolate Chips!)

Holiday Baking (& Chocolate Chips!)

Traditionally, Mom would start her Christmas baking right after Thanksgiving. Trays of Italian cookies went to all our family and friends. It’s a wonderful childhood memory, and a tradition that continues with a little tweaking of the old recipes. With a few simple substitutes, even the oldest family recipe often can be updated to a cruelty-free fave. And, with all the fabulous vegan cookbooks available now, with a little exploring, you might even find some new holiday baking recipes that are worthy of becoming a tradition! Here are some tips for the non-dairy baker: Butter Replacements Earth Balance (use the sticks, not the tub!) Smart Balance Light Egg Replacements 2 tbl. Arrowrrot Flour + 1 tbl. water 1 tbl. Ground Flaxseed + 3 tbl. water 1/2 banana 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce Ener-G Egg Replacer Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer Chocolate Chips Good news! Going vegan does not mean having to give up all chocolate. Most dark chocolate is vegan, and the following brands of semi-sweet chocolate chips are vegan-friendly, too! Ghiradelli Whole Foods 365 Organic vegan chocolate chips Guittard Trader Joe’s Milk Replacements Soy milk is the ubiquitous nondairy replacement, but I prefer: Almond Milk (Try Almondmilk by Silk) Coconut Milk (by So Delicious) Cookbooks The Joy of Vegan Baking (Colleen Patrick-Goudreau) Vegan Holiday Kitchen (Nava Atlas) Vegan Baking Classics: Delicious, Easy-to-Make Traditional Favorites (Kelly Rudnicki) Babycakes Covers the Classics: Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes from Donuts to Snickerdoodles (Erin McKenna & Tara Donne) Bonus Tip! Trader Joe’s Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies are delicious. If you’re not much of a baker but still want some cookies handy for any holiday visitors that...
Toy Drive!

Toy Drive!

Today is the feast day of St. Nicholas, so let’s talk about toys! Whether it’s for human or nonhuman kids, organizing a toy drive, or just donating some toys on your own, is a wonderful way to bring the joy of the season to those less fortunate than ourselves. At school, the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund once again has been collecting toys from law students to will go to  Hope Animal Shelter, Tucson’s only no-kill shelter. Last year’s drive was a huge success, and this year we have another box filled to the brim to deliver. Yay! A couple people have asked me why toys rather than food and necessities. First, I want to say that we also contribute to food and clothes drives happening this time of year. But shopping for toys to donate is such a fun activity — I love making the trip to the store!  And, from an organizer’s perspective, it’s very easy to get others to participate in something so fun and inexpensive. It’s also nice for the animals or children on the receiving end: the holiday season is something special for everyone and, while core provisions are always appreciated, a toy brightens a little one’s day in a different way. I encourage everyone to look into local shelters or children’s services to find out some options for giving. Perhaps you can put a donation box out at your school or workplace and watch the act of kindness multiply. In the spirit of St. Nicholas, with minimal expense and effort, we can bring holiday joy to so...
Seafood for an Italian Christmas Eve

Seafood for an Italian Christmas Eve

Buon Natale e Buon Appetito! Any Italian holiday is a marathon of course after course of fantastic food. As a young child, you learn to pace yourself. And just because I’m vegan doesn’t mean I’m willing to give up on these beloved traditions; they just require some tweaking. However, Christmas Eve requires a little more effort than usual because the traditional dinner is a seafood extravaganza from start to finish. Even the pasta sauce is usually something seafood-based like red crab sauce or white clam. These days, we substitute a pesto for the pasta course, but we’ve been looking for ways to add some de-lish faux fish to the table as appetizers and main dishes. Finally, we’ve found faux-fish options worthy of placing next to all the antipasto and side dishes (contorni) that the Discorfano family cooks up for the holiday: meet Sophie’s Kitchen. This new-to-the-scene vegan seafood company offers a variety of plant-based products (elephant yam, used for years in Asian foods, is a base ingredient). SK also has joined the Non-GMO project, so no genetically modified organisms here. All-vegan products to choose from: Shrimp (gluten-free) Prawns (gluten-free) Squid Rings (gluten-free) Breaded Fish Fillets (contain textured vegetable protein) Breaded Calamari Breaded Shrimp Crab Cakes This Christmas Eve, we’ll be adding the Calamari and Breaded Shrimp to the table, hoping that the non-vegans of the family will enjoy them as much as we do. Breaded, with a dipping sauce… probably the best bet for a mixed veg and non-veg crowd. Awesome Web Site Features First of all, this web site is just so colorful and pretty, I encourage everyone to at...