Monday, May 31, 2010

National Vegetarian Week - Vegan Thanksgiving Shepherd's Pie

I was told this story a few month ago about a Dairy Farm, one of their cows and one of her calves. You see, to have a dairy cow to continually produce milk you have to continually impregnate her. A lot of people hear this and think nothing of it, but just imagine spending most of your life pregnant just so someone else can drink your milk...

Once the little baby cows are born they're separated from their mothers. The mama cows are put back to work and the baby cows are either sold to the veal industry or they'll be sold to another farm for either studding reasons or they too will live the exciting life of a dairy cow.

Once this dairy cow has her baby - let's call her Mavis - Once Mavis had her little baby Sammy, Sammy was taken away from her so she could get back to work and he could find a new job of his own. Mavis went into a deep depression. She missed Sammy, missed him bad.

He had been loaded onto a truck and driven 5 miles down the road to another farm. That night Mavis some how busted out of her lavish stall and walked 5 miles down the road following the cries of her son. When the owners woke the next morning to find Mavis gone they received a call from the other farmers who told them where she was.

With her son.

I can give you 1,000 reasons to come over from the "Dark Side" (as one of my friends calls it). That story. Images of animals being beaten and tortured. I can tell you how it will help your heart, reduce your chances of certain cancers, lower the obesity rate - which is totally out of hand in this country.

I can sit here an ask you to go to a pet store and stare into the eyes of cats, dogs, fish, lizards, snakes, monkeys and what ever other animals your local pet store carries. I can beg you to adopt older animals because everyone wants the kittens and puppies. 

I can plead that you help get signatures so that Factory Farming is fixed in Ohio and then at some point BANNED for once and for all. 

But in the end it's your decision. Just like being Pro Live vs Pro Choice.
Just like eating a Twinkie that's filled with crap that's really just not good for you is your decision.  All I want is for you to see my side of the coin. All I'm asking is that one day a week you don't eat meat.

I'm asking you to be Pro-Education. Understand. Learn. Read. Explore that there is more happening that we're told. Find the truth! Be your own Woodward and Bernstein. ASK millions of questions and NEVER take no for an answer! These big companies that run this country should be answering to us - not running us over. Not stripping us of our ethical consciousness because they're want more money.

Be vigilant and in the end if you still don't agree with me, that's fine, but at least deep down you'll know that you have good valid reasons not too. Until then, here is my last recipe for you. It's a take on a delicious Shepherd Pie and the greatest American Classic dinner ever to be consumed - Thanksgiving!

Here is my Vegetarian Weeks Recipe List: (including links to past recipes!)

Monday:  Tortilla Roll-ups (- I've posted these before but they've always been a hit so I'm posting them again. If you plan on going online and googling Tortilla Roll-ups you won't find this recipe. I made this up one [very] drunken night years ago - it was an accident and a delicious one at that.)

TuesdayHotwing Potato Wedges (created for tailgating and because I feel I miss out on the finger licking fun of hotwings. This is a good alternative and it's delicious TA-boot)

WednesdayVegetarian/Vegan Pizza (people see the word "Vegan" and cringe at the idea of eating cardboard slathered in wallpaper paste. Don't be that guy... don't be that guy...)

ThursdaySalsa Bean Burgers with extra salsa sauce (I made this the other day and my husband loved it - the patties are big and filling, plus there was left overs so I had them for lunch for 2 days.)

FridaySalsa Avocado Dip (pretty much sums that up)

SaturdayBBQ Tofu with jasmine rice (once again - not brain surgery)

SundayThanksgiving Day Sheperd's Pie (There is nothing I love more than thanksgiving dinner. I make it at least 4+ times a year in different guises. This is one of my favs because I love shepard's pie and I love potpies and I love eating hearty meals. I apologize that its in the 80s this week.)

Vegan Thanksgiving Shepherd's Pie

You will need:

5 medium-large sized potatoes (or feel free to do a mix of 3 white baking potatoes and 3 sweet potatoes. I'm the only lover of the sweet potato in this house so I don't get to mix it up.)
Vegan chicken patties (Like these)
Fresh Cranberries (canned cranberry sauce has a TON of High Fructose Corn Syrup in it. Ick.)
Green Beans (and any other Veggies you like to have at Thanksgiving Dinner)
Vegan Butter or Olive Oil (2 TBSP)
2 TBSP Flour
1 1/2 Cup Vegetarian Broth

Start by making the Gravy:
Take the Olive Oil or Vegan Butter and melt it down. Put in 1/2 chopped Onion and about 1/2 Cut Mushrooms - You want the mushrooms because of the meaty taste (which isn't a bad thing in gravy) if you do straight onion you will have a very sweet gravy. (same thing if you decide to switch out the broth for some of that Silk Non-Dairy Creamer - sweetest gravy EVER) Saut√© the onions and mushrooms until nice and golden and there are bits on the bottom of the pan. Mix in the 2 TBSP of Flour (aka - forming the roux).
Warm up the Vegetarian Broth in micro for about 2 minutes - add the heated Broth to the mixture. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up all those delicious bits off the bottoms of the pan.
Lower the heat and let it get to thickening.

In another pot wash and dice up the potatoes. Bring the water to a boil (add a touch of salt) toss in the potatoes. (Feel free to peel them. I don't.)
Boil till you can stick a fork into the cubed potatoes and it moves through easily. Remove from heat, drain, mash'em up to the consistency you like. (Add some vegan butter or seasoning. I usually just do Salt and Pepper to taste.)

Steam up your veggie.
Make your cranberry dressing.
(if you're making sweet potatoes do them now too.)

Pre-Heat your Oven to 350 degrees (176C)

Grab a big old baking dish. Put part of your mashed potatoes on the bottom of a greased baking dish. Use a towel to form a crust around the pan. Fill with your cooked veggies, top with part of the gravy, add the cranberries and cover with the rest of your potatoes (or sweet potatoes) - put in oven. Bake for about 1/2 hour (until a nice golden crust is formed).

Allow it to cool for about 15 minutes, then cut into squares - add extra gravy and eat!

New Links have been added so please take a moment to check them out!

(Links to what is in the above picture: Earthlings (documentary about animal cruelty put out by Joaquin Phoenix; Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: Awesome cookbook and here is the blogThe China Study: This book talks about nutrition and why we have heart disease and so much else wrong with us; Vegan Freak - book and blog, previously listed below; The Joy of Vegan Baking - direct and to the point!; Veganomicon - a book I want wicked bad!)

Vegetarian/ Vegan Resources:

If you are looking to become Vegan or Vegetarian and just don't know where to begin because its hard. (because it honestly is a hard thing to do - I've fallen off the wagon over the last 20 years, but I keep trying) Here is a link to a ton of resources that you can DOWNLOAD FOR FREE!!! And who doesn't like free?

MORE Reading!!

And finally here are some other sites you just cruise around and check out:

Don't know where to shop? You can go to Whole Foods or Trader Joes - both have lots of veggie friendly foods. Not by some place that has either of these stores? Farmers Markets!!! Too busy for the farmers Markets?

We live in a day and age where we aren't hunters and gathers - we are shoppers and consumers. I understand why the Cherokee went hunting, but we have stores on every corner. There really is no reason for us to be consuming large quantities of meat. (And don't start giving me the "protein" argument. I will never agree with you. I was a vegetarian the entire time I was pregnant and my son was born strong and healthy, to the point it was a topic of conversation in the birthing room.)

It's easy and it's cheap to eat meat, but at what cost? It's effecting everything from global warming to your liver - so give it a go! Try my recipes, look up some other ones! One day a week say TO HELL with animal products! 


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