Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Lush Toothy Tabs

Lush have a few new products out but the one that I am particularly excited about is their vegan 'toothpaste'...which isn't actually a paste, but rather a tablet that you chew! You pop this spearmint flavoured tablet in your mouth, give it a bit of a chew and then start brushing with a wet toothbrush, and then rinse.
There are five other varieties available in the UK, so I am hoping these will make it down to us here, too.
And yes, they are all vegan too.
Don't know where Lush is in Perth? Check out my original post about them for details.

Recipe: Lemony Roasted Potatoes

If you grew up in a Greek family, like me, you will be familiar with potatoes cooked this way. If not, you can find this recipe in the hefty Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz but I have altered it just a little bit, as I have found that the amount of lemon juice called for in her recipe just a bit too lemony for me.

What you will need:
1 and a quarter kilograms of potatoes. The recipe calls for medium to small sized russet potatoes, which I could not find so used Ruby Lous, instead. Basically, any potato variety that is good for roasting will do.
1 quarter of a cup of olive oil
2 or so cloves of garlic, finely chopped (optional)
No more than a quarter of a cup of lemnon juice. This will make it very lemony. Put in less if  you want a milder lemony taste.
1 tsp each of dried oregano and parsley
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 quarters of a cup of water

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celcius.
Peel potatoes, slice lengthwise and then slice each half into wedges.
Grab a casserole dish or a deep baking pan and combine the olive oil, garlic (if using), herbs, salt, tomato paste, and the water. Add the potatoes and toss to cover with sauce.
Cover the  baking pan with foil or use lid on casserole dish. Place in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. During this period, stir the potatoes around a few times.
Once this period is up, uncover and bake for 15-20 minutes. Most of the sauce should have evaporated and some of the potatoes should have browned around their edges.
I find these potatoes go well with steamed green leaf vegetables  (spinach, asian greens like bok choy etc) or even a salad.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Vegan friendly hairdressers?

One of the things about being vegan, is that you often need to apply your principles to all sorts of aspects of your life, which only goes to show how much the exploitation of animals permeates throughout modern society. For example - hairdressing salons. A vegan needs to consider what products the salon may use on them. I would say your chances of finding one that exclusively uses vegan friendly products is pretty slim, so start with trying to find one that stocks and uses a line that is, and insist that is what you want them to use on you for shampooing, conditioning, bleaching, tinting etc. If worse comes to worse, and they hold nothing that is suitable for a vegan but you want to use their services (ie the hairdresser has an awesome cutting/tinting/ etc technique), ask them if you can bring your own products for them to use. I have had success with this in the past. Oh, and while you are at it, politely suggest that they consider stocking and using some vegan product ranges and why.

A little while ago, I went and had my hair done at Wildilocks. They have salons in Melbourne, Wellington NZ and in Perth. Infact, they started out in Perth! They do cuts, colours, and styling, as  you would expect, but they also offer dread extentions. Oh, and if you like your colours kinda wild, they have those too. I went for "Nuclear Red" by Special Effects whose products are also vegan friendly.
Here is a photo of me with my new 'Do'---->
Finding a complete vegan hair product line is pretty hard. Wildilocks uses  Everescents and some of their products DO contain animal ingredients such as beeswax, silk amino acids, lanolin & shellac, however, so  double check specific products. I emailed them, querying their vegan suitability and they sent me a document  with full ingredients lists of every product, plus a document from their supplier, for the silk amino acid ingredient they use. With this information, I can pick and choose what is suitable for me, call the salon when I make my appointment and make sure they have it in stock to when I come in for my appointment.
Wildilocks also use products from Margaret River Hemp Co. From their webiste: "Our Margaret River products are certified cruelty-free. All use
plant-derived ingredients and so are suitable for vegans, with the
exception of the lip balm and the shaving bar which both contain bees
wax." Again, pick and choose, accordingly.
Instant Rockstar is another line Wildilocks uses, which does not test its products on animals. I have not been able to ascertain if they use any animal ingredients or not, however. I tired looking on their website and contacting them, to no avail. So, it would be a case of peering at the physical bottles to work out the suitability of this brand, I am afraid.

All in all, some research and investigation is required if you want your hair salon appointment to be vegan friendly. How willing a salon is to accommodate you, is the key to it all. If they treat your queries as a 'nuisance', go elsewhere. I am confident you will be treated well, and have your vegan concerns respected at Wildilocks, as I have been in touch with the owner and she has been sympathetic to my needs and queries. Try them out!

Saturday, 27 August 2011

LEDA - all vegan, all yummy!

It comes as no surprise to me that a lot of the 'allergy-free' and 'gluten-free' brands and companies out there, are also great for vegans. LEDA is one of them and they state the "entire facility is Vegan, with all of our products suitable for vegan consumption."

They create quite a good range of goods but I shall just mention a few here that I have tried and liked.
We MUST start with their Chocolate Rum Balls which do actually taste like rum and that is because they ARE made with rum. They also contain chocolate and roasted macadamia pieces. Yum!
Mintons are dark chocolate biscuits with a peppermint filling, which I LOVE and Chocolence is just like a TimTam....though BETTER!

Their gingernut and coconut cookies are also delicious and crispy.

The best thing is - LEDA products are available from Coles, Woolworths, some IGAs and from health food stores.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Event: Big fathers Day breakfast launch at PAWS

PAWS will be opening for Breakfast at their city store and cafe from the 4th of September, Father's Day. From that day onwards, the breakfast menu will be available from 9am to 11am, 7 days a week.
On the 4th, however, all fathers will get a free short bread cookie and coffee. Bring Dad along to Paws on Father's Day and  support a true cruelty free cafĂ© and show that we don’t need to compromise our ethics to eat out!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Recipe: Grated Vegetables with chili and rice noodles

This is a quick and easy recipe and is gluten free, to boot. Because the veggies are grated rather than chopped/sliced, they are quicker to prepare and to cook.

What you will need:
rice vermicelli 250g (I prefer Chang's Rice Noddles vermicelli)
1 small onion, chopped finely (optional)
1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)
a dash of chilli powder - strength is up to you
2 medium zucchinis, grated
2 medium carrots, grated
1 medium orange sweet potato, grated
1 tsp oregano, dried
2 tbsp olive oil

Prepare the noodles  as directed on the packet.
Heat oil in a wok and then add all ingredients except for noodles. Stir fry for about 10 minutes so vegetables are tender. Add the noodles and stir through until heated.
Serve with some vegan parmesan cheese on top or add salt if you wish.

How easy is that!?

Events update, recap, whatever you may call it!

I recently went to a fundraiser for BAWA and I am happy to report that the event helped to raise $2375! One of the organizers writes: "A fantastic result. This donation will ensure a brighter future for many homeless animals, ensuring a life free from suffering as a result of poor community awareness of animal welfare, nutritional hardship and lack of medical care." Fantastic!

Last Sunday, I attended and volunteered at the Ban Live Export Rally in Perth. The turn out was massive - most likely over 1000 people of all ages. I and my partner were working behind the merchandise stand, where we were kept very busy for hours - we almost sold out of everything - but I was able to dash out now and then, to take some photos which can be viewed here. People were very generous with their donations to the Stop Live Exports group to continue with their campaign and we had people queued up to send emails to their MPs and to sign petitions. There was a Wish Garden for the kids, colouring in sheets and placards suitable for them to hold. The band Dilip and the Davs played for free and added an upbeat party atmosphere to the proceedings. Speeches were made by various Greens representatives, and the national president of the RSPCA, Lynne Bradshaw.

After the event, I went home, exhausted but also pumped from the good vibes of the rally, which was peaceful. I urge everyone who is against animal cruelty, to join in on the campaign to end this cruel trade. Although the two Bills introduced into Parliament were not passed, this is not the end of the fight.
Please sign online petitions and when there is another rally, please consider coming along. This issue is not about vegan/vegetarians vs meat eaters. It is about animal cruelty, and there were many at the rally who were of the latter group. We were (and are) united in our disgust at the suffering and cruelty these animals have to endure during their long and arduous voyages and the cruel, substandard slaughterhouse practices they face once on foreign shores.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Vegans who love books - beware!

I loooove books, so imagine my horror when I discovered that Amazon.com sell fur!
They have a whole range of fox fur items - including the vomit inducing foxtail keychains.
Don't believe me? Have a look at this:What a disgrace!

Guess who won't be using Amazon!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Recipe: Italian Veggie and Pasta Casserole

I found this recipe in the book "The Everything Vegan Cookbook" by Jolinda Hackett  and Lorena Novak Bull.
I have tweaked it just a little bit.

What you will need:

500 grams of pasta (spirals, corkscrews, small shells or bow ties)
1 onion chopped (optional)
3 zucchini sliced moderately thin  and halved if zucchini is large (Option - 2 zucchini and 1 can of kidney beans)
1 red bell pepper (optional)
4 cloves of garlic (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes
two thirds of a cup corn kernals
tsp parsley and basil
quarter tsp oregano and paprika
half cup bread crumbs
one third cup vegan cheese

1. Cook pasta according to instructions on the packet, drain well and then lay out in a baking dish.
2. Preheat oven to 220 celcius
3. Saute onion, zucchini, bell pepper and garlic in olive oil until soft - 3 to 4 minutes. Add tomatoes, corn and herbs. Simmer for 8-10 minutes.
4. Cover pasta with zucchini and tomato mixture. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and vegan cheese.
5. Bake for approx 15 minutes.

What I like best about this recipe is that it is very easy and you can make it gluten free by using rice pasta and rice breadcrumbs. I also love the Italian herbs. I am yet to find a vegan cheese that melts right but the taste is good, nonetheless.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Get Vegucated!

What do you get when you take three meat loving New Yorkers, put them on a vegan diet for six weeks and film it? Answer: a documentary called Vegucated. Now, the last thing you might be expecting is humor but the reviews of this feature length documentary keep on mentioning how funny this film is, at times. Yes, there is pathos and plenty to think about but this film promises to entertain whilst it educates.
Check out the trailer:

Also, check out the film's website for more information. At the moment, the makers are looking for financial backers in order to get the film released in theatres and on DVD. They are doing this via Kickstarter web page so check it out. So far, Vegucated has  almost 400 backers who have pledged over US$31,000. After watching the trailer, reading the synopsis of the film, and generally checking out both the Kickstarter web page and the film project's general page, I felt moved to put my money where my mouth is and can now proudly state that I am a Backer of this film! If you would also like to be a backer, you have 5 days left to make your pledge, so get in there and do it NOW!. Amongst the pledge packages, are signed copies of the DVD when it comes out in September, your name in the credits, a GetVegucated.com fashion T-shirt, house party screenings, and much much more! I am really looking forward to getting my copy when it comes out and you can bet I will be having screening nights for friends and will do a full review of it here on this blog.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Fundraiser for BAWA (Bali Animal Welfare Association)

A little while ago, I posted an entry about this event. Well, it was last night, and I attended, along with my partner and a co-worker. My estimation would have been about 100 people in attendance. There were plenty of nibblies - including food appropriate for vegetarians and to some extent, vegans - drinks, raffles prizes and a door prize. The venue, Cinema Paradiso, is a lovely cinema theatre and the crowd was keen to get seated for the movie Red Dog.  The movie was very funny, the dog was gorgeous, and yes, the story was a little sad. There were certainly some tears shed at the end of the film. It was the perfect film for a fundraiser for a group such as BAWA, that's for sure.
Pictured left is one of the BAWA people, Natasha, who helped to organize this event. Hats off to her and the group for  their hard work. If you would like to find out more about BAWA, please visit their website.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Event: National Rally to Ban Live Animal Exports - 14th August, Sunday

This is it, people! This nationwide event will be happening in a week's time. The image to the right is for the Perth rally. 
Guest speakers include Lyn McLaren, from the Australian Greens, WA Labor's Lisa Baker, RSPCA National President Lynne Bradshaw and a live stream from Lyn White from Animals Australia. Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettit will MC on the day. 
There will be a 'Wish garden' activity for children, plus placards suitable for children to hold. Also,
Stop Live Exports will be having a merchandise stall there.
This will be HUGE! Please come down for a 12 noon start at the Esplanade Reserve in Fremantle. Lets show the politicians that Australians find this barbaric 'trade' abhorrent and demand that it be put to an end, once and for all.

For those of you in other states, go to the Ban Live Exports web page for details on the rallies in your area.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Herbivore Clothing Company

The Australian $$ is up! Time to take advantage of that and order some lovely vegan things online from this American company. Herbivore Clothing not only have vegan friendly clothing, but also body care, books, stickers, cards, badges, wallets, etc...

I recently ordered 2 of their sale items - a wallet and an ID keychain, which also has a little zip up part for money. As you can see, the designs incorporate cats, books and my fave colour. How could I resist? The order took about 10 days to arrive from the USA. The best part - no leather, so no animal died for these products. Yay! I now have my eye on this T-shirt!

The Black Spurs

Now, I am going to admit straight out that I do not like country music....well, I didn't until I heard about an Australian band called The Black Spurs and their song "It Ain't Right". It is the romanticizing of the 'cowboy' lifestyle that sets my teeth on edge, really. But these guys have tackled a big issue in this song, and have done it from the 'flip-side' of the coin. This isn't a bunch of 'good ol' boys' going on about 'being Aussie battlers' and 'living off the land' etc. No, way. Have a listen to this song and check out their webpage.

Here is their blog entry:
"Ban Livestock Export Trade
Posted on Aug 01, 2011 at 08:32 AM

The livestock export trade is a cruel inhumane trade that has no regard for animal welfare. Although these animals are bred to be consumed there is a right and humane way to care and process these animals.

Why do these animals have to endure such torture and mistreatment from their birth to death for no apparent reason other than then that's the way it is?

Obviously a vegetarian based society is the ultimate answer to reduce the potential cruelty to these animals but will that also eliminate all the various forms, states and causes of animal mistreatment.

I think the broader question we should be asking ourselves is why do we misuse, exploit and mistreat the many resources and forms of life on this planet? Surely as consciously aware beings we know the difference between what is right and wrong. Listen to your own conscious and intuition and the answers become obvious.

If you oppose animal cruelty than you must oppose the livestock export trade."

Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Global Humane Chain

If you have not heard of the Humane Chain site, you really must check it out and join in. My partner and I have contributed our image to it, and so far, there are over 6000 photos on there!
The site is run by WSPA, a worthy global organization. Check out their website to see all the good work they have been doing for over 25 years.
And while you are at it, check out their merchandise  via  Neo Tokyo, whereby 20% of profit will go to the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) to aid in their many campaigns.

Keep Talking Fundraiser for Animals Australia

A little while ago, I posted about this event, which was to help raise funds for Animals Australia.
The event was greatly enjoyable, with live entertainment, silent auction, raffle prizes, awesome vegan and vegetarian food,
informative and moving speeches, and best of all - fantastic company. I do believe that around 80 were in attendance. There was a table of free literature on veganism, vegetarianism, and animal welfare, plus the group Stop Live Exports were selling T-shirts.
I SO wanted to win some of the books that were raffle prizes, but it was not meant to be, alas!
Best of all, the event was a real moral booster. It felt good to be surrounded by like-minded people who were being active in helping to fight animal cruelty.