Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Festive Times

Wow- Christmas is gone already? And 2010 just around the corner?

Well, hope all you folks had a fantastic holiday like I did, and Happy New Year to you! I was blessed with the Christmas gift of a Canon EOS digital Rebel Xt and have had a jolly time twiddling with it all week. Unfortunately, having gotten the camera used, it didn't come with a computer hook up so I can't show off any of my photographs (just as well, the pictures have been a bit unpredictable). I thought I might instead show you a photograph close to my heart...

You may recognize this photo, as it's appeared on the blog once before and is my profile picture. It depicts last Christmas- Sisters Vi and PJ (rats) enjoying cookies nestled in the tree. As this year's holiday progressed, I couldn't help but think of PJ, wishing she were with us.

How things changed with our menagerie (of pets): just this year we lost a cat and PJ, and adopted three degus and three bunnies. How things change! Many bloggers have been saying '09 was a drag, and relish the opportunity to start a fresh decade. I disagree, with the bad 2009 part. It been be quite a year- for learning, personal growth (both mentally and literally- it's amazing how many inches you can grow in just 365 days!), and new beginnings. I have read many life changing books, developed more love and bonds with animals, and I feel prepared for the new decade.

The blog will be undergoing some changes, too. I'll be adding more features for easier navigation, indexes, etc.. I have one New Year's resolution right now- post more regularly!

Of course I have my other resolutions, but I think I'll wait till New Years Eve to put them on paper, for now I just want to enjoy the life and love of the last couple days of the year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Along with gift buying, card making, preparing for company coming, and the need for a dessert plan for the holidays, the kitchen has been cranking out the creations of various reworks and twist of the old holiday classics.

Out of this came- macaroons! Some might write off a vegan sugar-free macaroon, since eggs and sugar are two of the three ingredients in the traditional version. Of course, I had to prove them wrong and create something that would taste good, and I hope you'll agree I succeeded. I have made these with brown rice syrup as well, which makes for a crunchy cookie on the outside. My taste testers (aka family members) preferred it with agave, so I went with that. Besides, brown rice syrup can spike blood sugar in diabetics, whereas agave nectar won't as much.

Gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free, oil-free

1/4 c. hot water
2 tablespoons ground golden flax seeds
1/4 c. agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 c. unsweetened coconut shreds

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a large cookie sheet.

In a medium sized bowl, blend together the hot water and ground flax until smooth. Allow this mixture to sit for a few moments to gel up into a nice goop. At this point, beat in the agave nectar and vanilla. Thoroughly incorporate the coconut shreds. Press some of the "batter" into a small ice cream scoop and drop onto the cookie sheet, repeating this with the rest of the "batter", packing the cookies together onto the sheet as needed, since they won't spread. Alternatively, you could use a spoonful of "batter" and shape it into a mound for your cookie. In any case, bake the macaroons for about 20 minutes, until the bottoms have browned, and turn the heat of the oven down to 300 degrees F, without taking the cookies out if the oven. Let them dry out for an additional ten minutes or so, when the tops of the macaroons are tanned. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Great eaten hot or cooled.

Makes 18 macaroons

Printable recipe

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A litttle cup of love

A cup of love, you say? Why, yes, but not the beverage kind. Remember those Reese's peanut butter cups? With all that milk-saturated chocolate, hydrogenated margarine, and crappy peanut butter? Yeah, yeah, they were good, but oh so unhealthy. VEGirl decided to take the matter into her own hands and late one night a pure chocolate peanutty cup of love emerged.

Mine aren't an identical copy. Goodness no, they are much better! Not exactly healthy, but most definitely an improvement over the original. Give them as holiday gifts, stuff in stockings, or at least get them out of the house before you are tempted to eat the whole batch!

Peanut butter cups of love

You will need: 25 candy wrapper cups

1/3 c. peanut butter
2 teaspoons arrowroot starch (or cornstarch)
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt

1 1/2 c. chopped chocolate or chocolate chips
2 squares (1 square inch each) 100% cocoa bakers chocolate (about two tablespoons) (optional)

Set out 25 little foil candy cups. In a small bowl, mix together the peanut butter, agave, arrowroot, vanilla, and a healthy pinch of salt. Form this mixture into twenty-five 1/2 inch balls and set aside.

Place the chocolate chips and baker's chocolate, if using, in a heat safe bowl (for the microwave or toaster oven), or in a double boiler. Whatever melting method you use, stir the chocolate frequently to prevent scorching, until it is smooth.

Now to the assembly! Take a foil cup, fill it a third way with melted chocolate, then press one peanut butter ball into it. Top it off with more chocolate, filling the wrapper almost to the top. Repeat this until all your wrappers are filled. Allow to set completely before serving, gifting, or gobbling yourself.

Printable recipe

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Holiday Gift Guide

The holidays are officially upon us, and everyone has to start thinking about gifts! My oh my! This year, I want to spread the vegan/animal-friendly/environmental word through gifts. Here are some ideas for you!

Sponsoring an animal for someone is a great gift. A lot of animal organizations and foundations have this system; you donate money for a particular animal and the person you gift it to receives a certificate of thanks. This is a great one for long-distance gifts. places such as Farm Sanctuary, and local organizations offer this.

Building on the previous gift idea: donate to environmental/humanitarian/animal organizations, depending on the gift receiver's interests or passion. Since not all organizations give you the option of donating in someones name, you could make a little certificate of recognition yourself!

Gift products made with recycled materials. Preserve is a company that uses old yogurt cups and consumer's #5 plastic to make kitchen, tableware, and personal care products. Their process of manufacturing these products uses much less resources and power then making normal plastic. The products also look nice! Check out their website.

Bake you present! Baking or making candy for people is a sweet (*haha*) way to express your gratitude to them for being a great friend or family member. I have a list down to the floor of baked goods to create the people on my nice list! The way to make sure you cook the right thing for people is to sneakily ask them in the middle of conversation or something. I like Hannah of Bittersweet's list of baked gift ideas. You'll also see some recipes on my blog coming up!

With the need to restrict spending more and more, giving recipes and samples for low-cost beauty and household products are good gifts. For instance, recipes and samples for homemade soaps, lotions, lip balms, cleaners, etc. These are also more eco-friendly, since they don't come in all the packaging and the ingredients are generally easy to buy bulk and cheap.

Well, that's all I have for now. What are you gifting this year?

Friday, November 27, 2009


As the title ought to imply, VEGirl standing for Vegan, Environmentalist, Gluten-intolerant girl, I am an environmentalist. I strive to use no plastic products, reuse paper with a blank side, and much more.

Although I home school, I go to a few clubs at the local middle school and am the student president of the environmental club, so it's my job to make the agenda, organize projects, etc. I have found, and am still finding, that eco-harming products are around every corner! When looking to save the earth, of course there's reusing, recycling, donating to organizations, you know, the obvious stuff. But then there's shopping, for food, I mean. Plastic packaged chips, cookies, bread, crackers, cereals, flour, dried fruit, chocolate chips around every corner. Some of these problems can solved with buying bulk (though those products come from bigger plastic bags sometimes), or ordering from companies that sell food in paper products.

These are helpful and all, however some baking ventures are made very difficult when you don't want to contribute to global warming. Such plastic packaged products as silken tofu (normal tofu, for that matter) and soy yogurt are being used by like minded bakers for texture and form. I have begun setting out on a VEGirl adventure to make gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free, low-fat, environmentally friendly baking. Sound impossible? Well, it's far from perfect, but I discover new eco-baking 'things' every day. Consider this post a little "progress report".

Eco-Baking, in the flesh (non-animal derived)

So, here are five tips on making your baking eco-baking:

Make your own tofu. When you buy tofu in individual block, they come in plastic, as does silken tofu. Even the tofu in the bulk bins are from large plastic bags. It may take some effort to make your own tofu, but if your a tofu-monster, like me, and eat about a block of tofu a day, that's gets pretty expensive and plastic-y. It actually ends up being cheaper to make it yourself, but just be sure to buy organic soybeans, to avoid the nasty GMO's (genetically modified organisms). You can't make silken tofu, but you can adjust the softness and hardness of the tofu.

#2 Agave nectar has been a real problem. It is such a great sweetener, and it's suitable for my diabetic grandmother, who I want to make deserts for! The agave nectar available at grocery stores comes in a small plastic bottles, and they don't sell it in glass online. So, we ordered a five gallon bucket of nectar. I figure the whole pail will last me about a year, and at least I can reuse the bucket.

#3 I love brown rice syrup! It comes in a small glass jar at my local health food store, although I'm thinking to order it in a 5 gallon bucket online. First, though, I have to try brown rice syrup SOLIDS. How cool is that? I'll let you know how that goes. Brown rice syrup is a really great sweetener in baked goods. With a mellow flavor, a texture and consistency like caramel sauce, brown rice syrup dries brittle, so it's great in crispy cookies, such as my Snazzy Ginger Snaps. It also makes for a fantastic nut bar. Just toss together your favorite nuts and seeds (chopping is optional), your choice dried fruit, and if your feeling mischievous, a few chocolate chips. Add just enough brown rice syrup to coat and hold its shape in a pan. Let dry completely, or overnight. Cut into bars and enjoy!

#4 Buy fresh, loose, and ideally: local. Fresh produce is the best way to go, and you can buy loose, meaning you don't need to carry them in an icky old plastic bag. Try not to buy canned products, as they are lined with plastic, both harming to the environment and you! Things like coconut milk are difficult to make yourself, so experiment with a fresh coconut. When using fresh produce, you may find that a pleasant more intense flavor emerges in your baked goods.

#5 Buy bulk! In my Five Ways To Slash Your Plastic Intake, I talked about bringing a large bag of reusable shopping bags, bulk bags and empty jars to the grocery store for bulk buying. I highly encourage you to do this. It's all in one bag and has everything you need. Buying bulk, instead of buying individual (plastic) packages of food is so much better for the environment and creates much less cluttering garbage on your part. To store your bulk items, keep them in an airtight container. My family uses glass jars, which enable us to see what's inside, and we can label them with permanent marker, which washes off with a bit of effort. Glass storage jars are available online, but I think some are very overpriced (not all, but some). We just use old pickle jars (funny story, we got tons of them since my grandfathers friend used to own an Orange Julius), as well as half gallon jars, quart jars, and other miscellaneous ones.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Before you eat, give thanks for something good in your life. At least your not eating a turkey!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gobbling without the Gobblers

If you visit this blog, you may be vegan. If you're not, check out an article on turkey living (and dying) conditions here. Anyway, I hope you have decided to have a compassionate holiday this year, and gobble your food without the gobbling turkeys on your table.

I recently bought "The Inner World of Farm Animals" by Amy Hatkoff, and am blown away. Complete with beautiful full color photos, clear and concise writing, and stories about individual animals, this book is a wonderful addition to your shelf, to say the least. It is a message; farm animals do indeed have feelings, feel pain, and large social and intellectual capacities. There are even studies to back it all up! The book covers chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, cows, pigs, sheep, and goats. Each species of animal has unique behavior and characteristics.

Receiving the book so near to Thanksgiving, I jumped to turkeys section of the book and read eagerly. If you have met turkeys before, I am jealous, because I have never really met one. Turkeys are so amazing! I knew they had lots of vocalizations, could recognize each other, etc. but seeing it in print was very gratifying. I enjoyed reading that a turkeys snood, which hangs down from her forehead, changes color according to mood. They know the lay of the land they live on, are extremely curious, and their memory is impeccable. They also apply their knowledge and change themselves accordingly. I want to include a couple quotes about turkeys from the book. Again, I recommend you purchase it, you'll be glad you did.

"If I had to sum up my experience with the wild turkey, the most profound thing I discovered is that they are so much more complex in their intelligence, their behavior, and their problem solving ability than I ever imagined. They are sentient beings. By every measure and definition of intelligence, in their environment and in their world, they were without question so much more intelligent than I was. The time I spent with them was this wonderful kind of humiliation. We are not superior beings, we are just different beings. We are not more interesting creatures."

-Joe Hutto

"Turkeys display immense affection towards humans. They love to be caressed, and people often remark that they respond like their own dogs and cats. Turkeys even make a purring sound when they are content.

Some turkeys are more affectionate then others, climbing into your lap and making themselves comfortable as can be. At Farm Sanctuary in California, a particularly friendly turkey named Lydia became known for propensity of a hug. As soon as you crouched down, she would run over to you, press her body against yours, and crane her head over your shoulders, clucking all the while. It's amazing how so generous a hug can be given my something with no arms."
-Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, founder of Compassionate Cooks

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pecan Joins the Party

I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving, and I love nearly every dish my family has on the menu: tofu loaf, broccoli, Waldorf salad, stuffing, cranberry sauce (yum...), mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, and apple pie. But wait, you say, what about pecan pie? In the past, pecan pie has been an unpleasant eating experience, with it's sickly sweet taste, non-existent nut flavor, and the tooth ache afterward. Hey, I didn't even know I liked the taste of pecans until yesterday!

This Thanksgiving, though, that's all going to change. Never having made the traditional pecan pie, I went with my gut feeling and the dessert took a turn for the better! With the mild sweet taste of brown rice syrup, the pecan flavor is apparent, and rampant, as there is quite a large helping. The sweet taste of maple syrup, both in the filling and the crust, speaks of autumn leaves and whispering winds. This pie left my whole family wanting more, and I'm sure you'll enjoy this new twist on the old icky stuff!

New Age Pecan Pie
vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free

For crust:
1 c. sorghum flour
2 scant tablespoons maple syrup
4-6 tablespoons water

For filling:
2 c. brown rice syrup
1/2 c. maple syrup
1 teaspoon guar gum
3 c. pecan pieces

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a small bowl, "cut together" the flour and maple syrup with a fork until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Adding one tablespoon of water at a time, combine it with the flour "crumbs" until the resulting dough holds together well. Press the dough into a pie pan, building it 3/4 inch up the sides. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until it is slightly cracked and beginning to tan lightly on the edges. Let cool while your prepare the filling.

In a medium saucepan, bring both the syrups to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently. Once boiling, turn the heat to low and whisk the mixture constantly for one minute. Let simmer, whisking often, until a bit of cooked syrup dropped in a cup of cold water is stringy and brittle.

Now, don't waist any time, take the cooked syrup off heat and immediately add the guar gum and pecans. Mix thoroughly, but quickly so the mixture doesn't set in the pan, and pour into the crust. Refrigerate the pie until it is chilled through. For best cutting results, pop the pie out of the pan and carefully carve out slices.

Makes one pie

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Breaking all the Rules

When you are gluten-free, some aspects of baking just get missed altogether. Like, for example, kneading dough. I have very fond memories as a small child- kneading my own little bread dough ball, for my own personal bread loaf. Gluten-free dough is generaly too sticky. And rolling out dough- you can just through that out the window. If you ever roll out a gluten-free dough, it's between wax paper and it's really difficult. Reminiscing about these things, I seem to have accidentally made a baked good that does both, breaking all the seemingly inescapable "laws" of gluten-free baking! Oops!

The fun about his cookie is that you have to work it into a ball, roll it out, "cookie cutter" it, and then you can enjoy a tasty snack 20 minutes later (which, by the way, are delicious with a cup of hot chocolate.)

I have never been too fond of ginger snaps, but this particular cookie won my heart at once. Thinking I was making a spicy snicker doodle, what slid out of the oven was most certainly not a snicker doodle, but spicy gingersnaps! I have high hopes for this particular concoction, as it could be the base (without the spices) for a cracker. Only time will tell.....

Snazzy Spicy Gingersnaps
gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free, oil-free

1/2 c. soy flour, lightly packed
1 c. sorghum flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 c. whole almonds, ground OR 1/4 cup leftover almonds grits from Basic Almond Milk, dried out and ground down
1/4 c. + 2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons fresh ginger root, diced
scant tablespoon agave nectar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and get out a cookie sheet. You don't need to grease it.

Heat a pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the ginger and agave nectar until the ginger has absorbed all the nectar and has begun to brown. Scoop out of pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the soy flour, sorghum flour, ground almonds or almond grit, cayenne, curry, cinnamon, and salt. Add the brown rice syrup and the candied ginger and mix/knead the dough with your hands (yes, your hands. Just wash them before you do this) until it forms into a ball. This can take 3-5 minutes, so don't give up or be tempted to add extra liquid.

Place the dough ball on a floured surface (use more sorghum flour) and roll the dough out anywhere between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. If if begins to crack, dab a bit of water on it and continue rolling. The thinner the dough, the more crispy a cookie you're going to get. Using your choice cookie cutter(s), shape the dough and place them on a cookie sheet, you can pack the raw dough together, since the cookies won't spread. Re-roll the leftover scraps and "cookie cutter" them, you may have to add a bit of water to get it the dough to hold.

Bake the cookies for 15-20 minutes, until they become firm and, if you have a thinner cookie, begins to brown on the edges. Let cool briefly before serving, so the cookies can become firm and crunchy.

Makes 20-25 cookies (depending on the size of your cookie cutters)

Printable recipe

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Five favorite foods

It's a lazy Sunday, I have had a buckwheat pancake brunch, and now have to face the fact that I am horrible at posting on this blog regularly! I will try harder, but since today is Sunday, and food is on my mind, I'll tell you about my five favorite foods.

I am modeling this after the "Vegetarian Food for Thought" podcast called, you guessed it, five favorite foods. Using the criteria of foods I eat almost every day, I have compiled my own personal list of favorites, what I do with them, and what's so great about them. What's the appeal for you? Well, for me, apart from loving to make lists, I hope you gleam some information from this.

#1 Bananas. I love bananas. I eat at least one, if not two or three, bananas every day. They contain lots of different vitamins and all 8 amino acids our body cannot produce itself. They're also high in potassium, vitamin c, and vitamin B6. Bananas also have fiber (duh!), which is good for healthy bowl movement. Fiber also gives you a full feeling, even though the banana has no fat!

My favorite way to eat a banana is to:
(a) Slice it onto my breakfast, weather it be cold or hot.
(b) Snack on one to "hold me off" until my next meal, normally accompanied with a couple nuts and some dried fruit.
(c) In a fruit smoothie, yummmmmmmy......
(d) In a baked good. Banana bread is good!

#2 Carrots. Though it may seem a simple and obvious food, carrots are just so amazing! There is so much you can do them, and they have a huge health benefit. Their orange color should clue you in to the fact that carrots are high in beta-carotene (vitamin A), in addition to vitamins C, D, E, K, B1, and B6. they are also rich with in potassium, biotin, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, including lots of phytonutrients. And, of course, they are high in fiber.

Carrots are good....
(a) Shredded raw on salads,
(b) Cooked in tofu scramble and beans
(c) Heavenly when steamed in an oven roast (with potatoes, tofu, pumpkin, and onions)
(d) Juiced. We recently picked up a used juicer, and the only time we've used it so far was for an apple carrot juice. It was great!

#3 Tofu. I am so glad I'm not allergic to soy, because if I were, I wouldn't be able to eat tofu. The soybean is so nutritious, and is most notable for it's high protein content. Tofu is so delicious just crumbled up and eaten plain, but I love to do other things with. Here are some things you can try with tofu:
(a) Crumble it up plain on a salad or a bowl of rice.
(b) Slice it and fry it until it's really crispy, and eat it in a sandwich.
(c) Tofu scramble!!
(d) Use it in a stir fry
(e) Grill it! (Especially on 4th of July)

#4 Rice. Rice rocks. It is one of my favorite grains. When I first became vegan, I practically lived on rice, but have now expanded my love to millet and kasha. Oh, and buckwheat (despite the name, their is no wheat in buckwheat. It is kasha in it's not-toasted form, and is delicious in pancakes). After all this, my love for rice still persists. Brown rice is preferable to white rice, since it is a whole grain, and has all it's nutrients and fiber will intact. However, white rice will do in a pinch.

To cook brown rice, heat up your water in the appropriate sized pot, and meanwhile wash your rice. The ratio is 1 cup of uncooked brown rice to 1 1/2 cups of water. If you are using basmati brown rice, let the water come to a boil, then dump in the rice, turn the heat down to low and close the lid for an hour, or until rice is sticking to the bottom of the pot. For all other varieties of brown rice, use the same procedures, but it doesn't matter if you heat the water with the rice, or dump it in afterward.

When your rice is finished cooking, your can eat in in many ways:
(a) Serve it with beans, tofu, salad, or any other dish dish that needs some grain with it
(b) Make a rice pilaf! You would just cook the rice with all the ingredients and flavors.
(c) Re-heat it with non-dairy milk, nuts, fruit, and spices for a tasty, hearty breakfast
(d) Use it in a stir fry
(e) Serve it with soup, as a replacement for bread
(f) Use it for a rice pudding

#5 Almonds. Almonds are so healthful, and have a fantastic taste. They contains all the "good fats" that our body needs, protein, can help prevent diseases, and much more. Check out this page for more nutrition information.

My favorite way to eat almonds? Well.....
(a) Eat 'em straight up! They taste so great, why not?
(b) Chop them up and put on hot cereals, along with some sliced fruit.
(c) Use them in baked goods. Muffins, scones, cakes, cookies, the possibilities are endless! pssst- add some almonds to my banana bread. Talk about tasty!
(d) Use them in a stir fry. Frankly, all nuts taste wonderful in stir fries.
(e) Make marzipan. I have not yet mastered a marzipan, well, my first and only try flopped miserably, but I'll get there!
(f) Make trail mix. Throw some almonds, walnuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, raisins (or whatever dried fruit you have on hand), and chocolate chips together and, voila!, you have a scrumptious trail mix! It's a great on-the-go snack, and very filling.
(h) Make almond milk, here is my basic recipe:

Basic Almond Milk

1 cup almonds, rinsed
5 cups water

Toss the almonds and 1 cup of water into your blender, and puree until smooth. You may need to add a little more water so it doesn't get too thick. Add the remaining water and blend briefly. Strain the milk through a cheesecloth, or a porous bag.

If you want to get more milk out of the grits, toss them in the blender with a couple more cups of water, and blend. Strain the liquid and mix it with the first batch of almond milk. Note that this milk will be more watery. Store milk in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Pour over cereal, or drink straight up with a cookie!

Yields 5-7 cups of almond milk

Printable recipe

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A memorial

It's Veterans day, when people honor the dead and living who fought (or who are fighting) in the war. However, I would like to honor another, who did not die in battle. She fought her own silent war, as a victim of disease. I would like to honor and memorialize the passing of Pepper Junior, PJ for short- a rat with spunk, spark, silliness, and spirit.

Last year, I had been web surfing on Petfinder, a site for shelters to post adoptable animals, when I saw that there was a litter of baby rats at an animal rescue center a few hours away. At this time I was still in public school, so the day after school ended, we hopped in the car and picked up our friends Vi and PJ on June 14th, 2008. Vi was the spunkiest one in the cage, but PJ was the one set apart from the others. She huddled in the corner of the tank, and did not want to have anything to do with the other rats. My heart reached out to her, and we took Vi and PJ home. The little rats were only two months old, and still in awe of the world.

Once they were home, we promptly took them camping. Our family had never taken rats on camping trips, but it proved to be exciting for them. Once last summer, they camped for two weeks straight, when my mother had a forest service job, and my sister and I traveled with her to a small (and boring) town. Mom would drive two hours to tromp around the woods identifying plants for the service, and my sister and I would hang around the camp site and town. When the rats were let out each night, they loved nothing more that to jump off our heads onto hanging fabric and screen windows in the tent. Other shorter camping trips that same summer were just as fun for the girls.

PJ, who had originally been super shy, came out of her shell one day and became the leader of the two rodents. Vi, who had previously been top rat, was booted down a social level as PJ took command. She was always so athletic, and excited to do anything. The two girls were hilarious. hopping around their play areas. They especially liked the Christmas tree when it arrived that winter, climbing it and seeing the house in a whole new light. PJ enjoyed skittering down the branches, and going back up to hop on our shoulders and get carried somewhere else that was fun.

Beautiful, athletic PJ, Christmas 2008

Vi and PJ, enjoying their 2008 Christmas present- decorated rat sized ginger cookies. (top- PJ, bottom- Vi)

Spring and summer passed, and PJ was still in top form. She liked to crawl onto the floor and chase passing bunnies, and was always fascinated with the degus. Until early October. We began to notice a bulge at her stomach, but dismissed it as some excess fat. But she became less active, just eating and walking around a bit. It was hard for her to do exercise. She became obsessed with staring at the degus, and would do nothing else. It continued to get worse and worse, until finally, Friday November 6th, we took her to the vet. She could hardly get her feet to move her body because her tummy was so swollen. Her breathing was labored, and she was in obvious pain. After taking an x-ray and an ultrasound, the vet diagnosed uterine cancer. Without our knowing, cancer had sneaked into her body, entwining it's merciless fingers around her organs, and pushing on her spine and lungs. The veterinarian took PJ to surgery. But although we hoped for her to come home safely, the cancer was so severe and far gone, she had to be euthanize in her sleep. We received the call on the afternoon of Friday, November 6th, 2009.

PJ, 2 weeks prior to her passing

The whole family is so glad for the time we spent with PJ, but to me, death at one and a half years old still seems so young, even for a rat. Vi will hopefully be okay without the company of her sibling. We are spending lots of time with her.

PJ was such a beautiful rat, and a wonderful friend. I'll never forget her.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Branch, anyone?

The summer months, having rushed out to be replaced by an instantly chilly autumn, has seemed to sadden the rabbits in our household even more than it saddens me. With piles upon piles of plain parsley topped with carrot chunks, and a couple other miscellaneous things, the past couple weeks has shown little variation for the rabbit's breakfasts and dinners, which ordinarily include things like freshly picked dandelion greens, clover, and other free goodies of nature. By comparisons, the food options have recently been very limited. I don't wish to tell them that it will be the same for the months to come. The family is anticipating high costs this winter just to meet the rabbits palate needs, let alone our own herbivorous ones.

A house rabbits diet should mainly consist of hay and lots of vegetables and leafy greens, as well as fruit. Pellets, supposedly, too. We started making our own mix with vitamin powders after hearing a shocking story from our friends at River's Wish Animal Sanctuary, in Spokane, WA about a bunny who died of a pellet plug-up in his system. Ever seen a pellet expand in water? Well, imagine what unlimited pellets can do in a bunny tummy. After hearing that story, we stopped giving our three young rabbits (they about 8 months old now) unlimited commercial pellets, and made our own mix, which we currently dish out about a 1/4 cup morning and evening to for them share.

But though store bought produce goodies will be rare, my mother has found some bunny snacks on her morning walks. Such as a thin apple tree branch! Just as horses, rabbits would naturally eat bark, branches, tree buds, etc.- certainly in the winter days, I would imagine, when food is scarce. Whatever the case, all three rabbits munched on the sticks until they were gone, it seems it's time to restock already. Another interesting thing- the degus like the branches as well! Today, I thought you might enjoy meeting the three little musketeers. (All these pictures were taken in late August, 2009, in the outside pen my mom and I set up)

Nancy, who plows ahead with life with no regard for her personal safety. She is quite the personality!

Sweet little Lizzie!

Shy Smidge, who is famous for his high and twisting jumps around the living room.

Ahhhh...... life is good. With lots of tree branches.

(By the way, for those who are wondering, all three rabbits are mini-Rex siblings who were rescued from a breeder who shows rabbits, and then sells them to be turned into dog food. Luckily, these bunnies were rescued by River's Wish Animal Sanctuary, and found a loving life-long home with us)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Bananas for Bread

Get it? After having the inclination to make a banana baked good, I quickly found out that banana bread traditionally contains sugar, butter, eggs, and wheat flour- everything I work to exclude from my baking! Well, after a few different loafs, I came out with this baby. Made without the nuts that had previously been in it, using almost black bananas, as well as a couple dry ingredient tweaks, this mildly sweet bread is great with breakfast or just as a snack.

The millet flour, which gives an almost earthy aftertaste, could most likely be omitted and replaced with brown rice flour, however, I like the millet flour- it gives the taste of whole food goodness- reflecting the healthfulness of this delicious baked bread.

Banana Bread
gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, sugar-free, fat-free

1 1/2 c. brown rice flour
1/2 c. millet flour
3/4 teaspoon stevia powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon apple cider vineger
4 over-ripe bananas, medium-sized

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and grease a bread loaf pan.
Sift together the rice flour, millet flour, stevia, baking powder, and salt. Peel the bananas into a separate bowl, and mix and mash them until there are no lumps left. blend in the cider vinegar. Add the wet mixture to the dry blend and mix until just combined. Transfer the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean. This takes about an hour to bake in my oven, but, like I've said before, our ancient oven isn't good at holding heat and several other things could be wrong as well. I wouldn't be able to tell. So- just trust the toothpick. This is great hot or cold, however it's easier to slice when cooled. But who cares, right?

Makes one loaf of bread

Printable Recipe

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Well, you or your kids have probably already finished trick-or-treating, but I'm still up and felt compelled to say........Happy Halloween!

I have a couple cool things coming soon. I'm so excited to share this- I will soon put up a vanilla cupcake recipe, that is GF, vegan, low-fat, and sugar free. I just have to do a couple tweaks, and it will be perfect. Unfortunately I can't do this for a week or so, because the five gallon bucket of agave nectar we ordered (we are bulk kind of people) wont arrive until Thursday-ish. However the original "prototype" cupcakes were not tasted by just me, but by the whole family- decked out in Hannah's Monster (green) Frosting, and set with a vegan marshmallow tombstone ghost thingy. Oh- and a mint sprig that somehow survived the cold outside.

Second order of business- though not in time for Halloween, I will soon disclose an Almond Bliss Bar recipe. I wanted an original name so that the Almond Joy won't sue me or something. Almond Joy's encompass three of my favorite things- chocolate, coconut, and almonds. mmmmmm..

Happy Halloween (again),

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Simple peanut butter cookies

These peanut butter cookies are gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, sugar-free, low-fat and fantatic tasting, if I do say so myself. They aren't technically fat-free, since the peanut butter is, well, nuts. But the oils and fat in peanut butter are very nutritious.

SIMPLE gluten-free, vegan,
soy-free, sugar-free, low-fat,

fantastic peanut butter cookies

1 c. sorghum flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. agave nectar
1/2 c. water

1/4 c. chocolate chips (optional)

Grease 2 cookie sheets and pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Sift the sorghum flour and salt together into a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mix the peanut butter, agave nectar, and water together until smooth. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and combine thoroughly. Add chocolate chips if desired.

Take your prepared cookie sheets, and drop the dough onto them by the spoonful, spaced evenly. Press down each cookie with a wet fork. (Note: you don't need much space between the cookies, since they won't spread)

Slide the cookies into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Check them after 10 minutes, since our dinky old oven from prehistoric times doesn't hold heat well, so it takes way longer to bake in our oven than it would in a newer one. You know they are done when they are firm to the touch. Serve hot or cooled.

Makes about 32 cookies

Enjoy your cookies,

Printable recipe

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkin and spice makes everything nice!

I am very excited to share this recipe with you, the first on this blog. I guess I'm getting a bit ahead of myself, with Thanksgiving a month away, but I couldn't wait any longer to experiment with some pie pumpkin. I hope you enjoy these muffins, I sure did! By the way- they are great with a cold glass of almond milk. mmmmm...... :)
Note: the recipe is still in the proportions that I originally made it in, which makes 7 muffins. Double it for more muffins, I think you could squeeze all the dough into 12 tins.

Gluten-free Vegan Pumpkin Pie Muffins

1/2 c. brown rice flour
1/2 c. millet flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon stevia powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon powdered orange peel
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt*
2 cloves
1 all spice
1/4 c. molasses
1 c. uncooked pie pumpkin, cut into small chunks
1/4 c. raisins (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and grease your muffin tins.

Put the pie pumpkin chunks in a small pot with 1/2 inch of water, and steam it on medium heat for fifteen minutes, or until soft. While that is cooking, sift together millet flour, rice flour, baking soda, stevia, cinnamon, ginger, and salt into a medium sized bowl. With a mortar and pestle, grind the all spice and clove, and add it to your dry mix. You may be able to use a spice grinder.

When the pumpkin is finished cooking, drain as much excess water as you can, then dump it into a small bowl and thoroughly mash it up. Add the molasses and mix well.

Add the wet to the dry and mix well, but don't over stir! Put in the raisins if desired. Divide the batter into your muffin tins. These proportions make 7 (on the small side) muffins, but if you double the recipe, you could probably squeeze it all into 12 small muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes. Cooling them is optional.


* I thought I detected a little too much salt when I used this amount, but my family didn't notice, so you make the call. If you generally don't like too much salt, use a bit less than 1/8 teaspoon.

Printable recipe

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Two dreams in one post

I hope that you are not sick of product reviews and me raving about GF vegan snacks and sweets. Are you? Well, I'm going to tell you about two GF vegan dreams in one post. What a (sweet) treat.

Dream #1:

A literal dream, made by one of my favorite companies- Taste The Dream. They manufacture my favorite rice and soy ice cream, a wide variety of non-dairy milks, and as I recently found out.... chocolate. Now, I have a special spot in me for chocolate. I love darker percent chocolates (85%-mmmmm...) and mixing chocolate with other similar flavors (chocolate and strawberries.... chocolate and almonds.... chocolate and garbage.... anything goes with chocolate) and when I was strolling up and down the candy isle at my local Co-op, I found my dream chocolate. I immediately bought it and the second I was strapped in the passenger seat, I shared a piece with everyone.

Heavenly. As my mother said- it taste like milk chocolate- only healthier. The second a bit of this chocolate pops into your mouth, smooth and pleasant flavor rolls in and coats your tongue, meanwhile turning on every happy button in your body. Taste The Dream chocolate comes in many flavors, including Rice Crunch, Raspberry, Almond, Pure Dark, and Creamy Sweet. Looking for a "milk" chocolate? This is your golden ticket.

Dream #2:

Marshmallows. It may seem like a vegan oxymoron, but the Chicago SoyDairy Dandies air-puffed marshmallow tastes exactly like marshmallows as I remember them. I wish I could tell you more, but they just taste like delicious marshmallows! Apparently they also melt for rice crispy treats and s'mores. I can't wait to try!

Happy sweet-snacking,

Saturday, October 24, 2009

5 ways to slash your plastic waste

#1 Okay, this is a no-brainer. You should already be doing this, yet I see so many people carry 50 plastic grocery bags every day. So- number 1: use reusable bags. For any situation. There are a few options for this:
(a) Use plastic or paper bags that you used on a previous shopping trip. The only flaw I see in this is the concern that the bags would rip on the third or fourth use.....
(b) Some chain supermarkets have reusable bags for sale in their stores, the thing is, a lot of them are made of plastic material. Go figure. Well, you can sometimes find old, yet functional, bags at thrift stores. Go hunting around, you'll be surprised at what you find!
(c) Or... (drum roll please)... buy a bag made of a bio-degradable material, such as cotton. Then, after you have gotten your use out of them, they will biodegrade, which is doubly good for the earth! Try purchasing your bag from Reusable Bags.

#2 Buy (and eat) little to no processed and packaged crap. Don't act so shocked, we all know it's crap. More commonly known as junk food, but crap, nevertheless. Apart from improving your health, junk food is packaged in so much plastic I feel like I'll explode. This is not to say that you can't have the occasional treat, but if you avoid the junk and focus on whole foods for the foundation of your diet, you and Mother Earth will fare better.

#3 Buy and USE a stainless steel water bottle. This will hopefully prevent you from buying those little plastic bottle of water. I know there tempting, so quick and cold, but resist it, you'll get into the habit of having your trusty stainless steel bottle around. You can buy lots of different sizes, and different tops, too! Buy your bottle from Klean Kanteen, or from a local store, where they are cropping up at a great speed! If you buy from a store or supermarket, just be sure that the one you choose is completely stainless steal (except for the top of course), because some companies are trying to line them with plastic. Kind of defeats the purpose, don't you think? Anywho, check out Klean Kanteen for information and a huge display of bottles.

Use tins and reusable containers, NOT PLASTIC ZIPLOC BAGS, to store food. Instead, use a bowl with a plate on top. So what if you have to wash it afterward? And besides, if you have a washing machine, you can clean it in there. Although, washing dishes by hand (which my family does) uses less energy. Plastic bags, after they're used, will ordinarily throw them away or, as my family did for years, wash them to use again. However, when you throw plastic ziploc bags in the trash, they clog up landfills, and when you wash them, they release harmful chemicals. Icky! So, QUITE USIN' 'EM! Use:
(a) A bowl with a lid on top.
(b) If you need to keep something in an airtight container, use a metal tin. I don't think you're
supposed to put them in the fridge for fear of rusting, but I would double check that. So
anyway- you can store bread, cookies (mmmm.....), or other such things in a metal tin. You
can commonly buy these cheaply at thrift stores (saving plastic and reusing. Bonus!)

When you need to take a lunch or snacks to a destination:
(a) Use a metal tin
(b) If you must, use a reusable plastic container (though metal is better)
(c) I have seen specially designed stainless steel lunch containers at health food stores, though I
do not have one, I'm sure they're handy.
(d) Use bio-degradable waxed paper bags for snacks (they are also good for dog poop bags, but that's another story)
(e) And of course, take water in a stainless steel bottle!

You know those rolls of plastic bags in the grocery stores for carrying fruits, vegetables, and other bulk items? Well, give 'em up. Buy loose fruits and vegetables, and use cloth, old plastic bags, or paper bags for bulk items such as nuts, grains, and flour. It's that simple! In fact, it is very useful to have a shopping bag filled with reusable bags and sacks for groceries, as well as glass bottles and jars for buying bulk liquids.

More to follow.....

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Will you forgive me?

Hey everyone-

Just wanted to let you know.... I am still getting used to this whole blogging thing. So I, uh, a little while ago I sort of accidentally disabled the commenting option for you readers. But don't fear! I just fixed it! Now you can leave your comments!

Also, I haven't posted anything interesting (at least I think so) in a while. This is pretty much due the fact that in the past two and a half weeks I a have been sick. Twice. first with a mild flu, a week or more feeling better, then the one I got Saturday, which we think was swine flu. But I'm taking my last day "off" today, feeling almost normal, just to be safe, then back to busy life tomorrow.

And lastly, some good gluten-free vegan, mostly sugar-free and low-fat baked good recipes are coming your way. I'm on the brink with a couple, so stay tuned.

Thanks for understanding-

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Nana's Nummy Cookies

Imagine a cookie- that is vegan, free of both wheat and gluten, contained only natural fruit sweeteners, no GMO foods (genetically modifies organisms) and also was dense, moist, and mouthwatering-ly delicious. Well, wake up, 'cause now it's a reality.

I cannot say enough about Nana's gluten free cookies, made by Nana's cookie company. Not all their products are gluten-free, but every baked good is vegan, GMO free, and contains no refined sugars. And they taste

Yeah, I think you get it now. I have tried both the chocolate crunch and lemon cookies (because that was the gluten free ones that were available at my Co-op), but there are others, like ginger and plain chocolate, plus cookies bars and cookie bites. The chocolate crunch cookie had a wonderful cocoa flavor, that wasn't clouded by sugar, and then a nice little crunch from the puffed rice in it. The lemon is absolutely fantastic, with a tangy lemon scent and flavor, but not overly sweet. That is another great thing about them, you aren't left with that horrible taste in your mouth, that refined sugar gives you.

The cookies come individually wrapped in plastic, and are a bit spendy, so I don't get them often, just as an occasional treat. We used them for our Easter basket this past Easter.

I encourage you to try them, they are so yummy. They will give you a brand new view on healthy gluten-free vegan treats.

Happy munching,


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Soy Whip

OMG I discovered the most delicious thing in my life.

Yes, it's Soy Whip from Soyatoo!®

This is straight from their website:

Soyatoo!® Soy Whip™:

  • is 100 % vegan & free of cholesterol
  • contains 40 % less fat than classic whipped cream
  • is gluten free
  • contains 0% trans fat and is heart-healthy
  • is perfect with fruit, desserts & beverages
  • has incredible flavor and texture and no soy bean taste
  • comes in a practical spray can

YAY! And in addition to ALL that, it tastes fantastic. We had it on a chocolate zucchini cake that I made (gluten-free vegan, obviously!), and then the next day, in a homemade mocha. Just heavenly. It practically tastes like dairy whipped cream! No soy aftertaste, if you know what I mean. It was so good I did what my Grandpa used to do before I went vegan- I sprayed the stuff straight into my mouth. Please don't gross out and leave. It was delicious! I can't wait to use it for Thanksgiving....

Signing out-


Saturday, August 29, 2009


About three months ago, the family adopted three degus from River's Wish Animal Sanctuary in Spokane, WA. They were, I believe, rescued from a rodent breeding facility. These degus are about 7 years old (I think), and absolutely hilarious. They have come a long way since they got here. I hope you enjoy these photos!

This is the cage we built for them (they are on the top three floors, and the rats are on the bottom two floors. The two rodent groups are separated, of course). It's not as big as the cage they were in at the sanctuary, but they get out to play in Degu Disneyland (way below).

I think this picture was taken shortly after they arived at their new home. Their names are Cesar (boy), Jesse (boy), and Artemis (the only girl). Naaawwwww......

We have a tin of mixed seeds (from our garden, such as parsley seeds) that we sprinkle around their cage for a delicious challenge! This degu is foraging for his (or her, it's hard to tell) favorite seeds.

They just can't get enough!


This is Degu Disneyland. There are containers underneath the fabric, holding it up so the degus can run under it. The basket, box, and hidey hole, all from their cage, are also fun features. The degus love to chew more holes in the fabric so they can have more entrances and exits!


For Degu Disney Land, all the stuff that isn't already found in their cage, is displayed here....

.... And packed into this multi-use bucket for easy storage! The bucket is something the degus like to crawl in. It's just a really old Lincoln Log bucet that has been painted.

"Hoped you enjoyed these pictures"

-Artemis, Cesar, Jesse, and VEGirl

Saturday, August 22, 2009

First Ever Leafleting Experience!

Last Friday at a local festival, I went leafleting for the first time ever! I was handing out Why Vegan? booklets from Vegan Outreach. I was expecting to be there handing out booklets for at least an hour, but when I started with about 70 booklets, they were gone within half an hour! WOW! It was definitely not what I expected, which was lots of people grilling me for information and wondering why a 13-year-old was concerning herself with animals. But no! Yippee! The leafleting was surprisingly easy, all I did was say "Brochure for animals?" while holding out a leaflet right in front of the person passing, and they either said "Sure" or "No thanks." And to my pleasure, no rude comments!

So anyway, I wanted to give some tips for those teens and children who want to leaflet. Don't be afraid! Just do it!


  • Wear nice looking, presentable, clean cloths. Have your hair looking nice, and if your wearing makeup, have it be very light and friendly. You don't want to look like a raccoon (no offense to raccoons! But physical features should stay true to the animal!), and you want to look professional so people will take you seriously.
  • When choosing the place to leaflet, choose a place or event that will have lots of people, yet where your not in the way too much.
  • Choose how many booklets to order depending on the crowd or foot traffic of people who will be offered the booklet. A lot goes in a short amount of time. Be prepared!
  • Before leafleting, remember what your intentions are. For me, it's to raise awareness about the animals suffering, and to provide information for a solution-- veganism. If you have your intentions straight, you will answer vegan related questions with ease.
  • Always be polite, kind, and SMILE SMILE SMILE. :)
  • If someone refuses the booklet, just say something like: "Okay, well, have a nice day!"
  • If someone says something like: "I like meat" you can say something back like: "This booklet is for people who like meat" or: "Well then you'll like this, it has plenty pictures of meat in it."
  • If someone asks a question be brief and polite. And if they ask something that really doesn't have to do with the topic, just be polite and always bring it back to what is relevant. So if someone says: "What about the insects killed in the growing of vegetables, don't you care about them?" You can politely say back: "Yes insects are killed in the process of vegetable growing, but insects are also killed in the growing of way more crops for animals raised and killed for human consumption. The fact is insects, humans, and farm animals are dying because of factory farms, and the suffering of them can be put to a stop." (Hope that didn't sound too corny)
  • When offering someone a booklet, try holding it in front of his/her stomach, or putting it out before they are right in front of you. This lets them take a leaflet with little effort, so you don't seem like a nuisance.
  • Always have a stack of leaflets in your hands, and keep more easily accessible, such as in a bag right behind you, or a bag slung around your shoulders.
  • Smile, smile, smile
  • SMILE (OK I think you get it now)
  • Relax, you helped the animals and now treat yourself to a break!

As an extra, I want to credit the book-- "Striking at the Roots A practical guide to animal activism" -By Mark Hawthorne that I got a lot of my leafleting tips from. The book is all about ways to be an efficient animal activist. If you've ever said or thought: "I want to help animals but I don't know how," then this the book for you! I have a link on the sidebar under Recommended Readings that will take you the book at Amazon.

Hope this helps for all of those who want to leaflet.

For the animals-

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sorry Everyone!

I would like to apologize to anyone who has noticed that the template and layout of the blog keeps changing, over and over...and over! I'm trying to find one I like, which involves scouting around the internet and testing different ones. I hope it will settle soon. This one right now (called Meet the Chef) is from the most adorable website, that has the most adorable and awesome templates, for free! Check it out here.

**UPDATE** 9/13/09= changed the template again. Sorry! Again!

Thanks for you understanding!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

rat friendly phrases

OK. Now, if you know me (though you probably don't since this is only my second post), you may know I absolutely love rats. I have two pet rats who were rescued from a shelter, Vi (Violet Caterwaul. Not my idea, blame it on my sister. But still, I do think it's cute. Oh, and 'caterwaul' just as a cutsey name, not like the real definition) and PJ (Pepper Junior, named after one of my first rats, Pepper. PJ looks and acts surprisingly like Pepper did!).

Upper left: Violet in some wrapping paper. Unfortunately I don't have a good picture of her face, so this is the best I've got.

Lower left: PJ steals some trail mix and enjoys herself

But more about that another time, right now I want to bring to your attention the violent quips we make at rats in our everyday speech. We unfortunately do this to other animals in our speech, Look at the 'compassionate cliches' podcast at Compassionate Cooks. (A podcast is like a pre-produced radio show. Sorta.) ANYWHO: I knew a few, but did a google search and marveled at, OK well about 20 rat phrases, but still, some weren't so flattering. And I really don't think we need to add to the bad picture humans have made for the sensitive, intelligent, social, and totally wonderful creatures. I want to identify some of these harsh comments and offer alternatives for them.

Rat's!- OK, now I am going to take some of my words from the website I found (ratswhiskers.tripod.com/bioratphrases.html) cause it words this nicely. SO, Rat's!-- an exclamation of dismay. Why would we be dismayed, and hence cry "Rat's" when we really should be saying "Rat's!" in a happy, joyful voice. Rat's, in my opinion, don't symbolize sadness and misfortune. So, might we instead say "Shoot!" or "Dang!" or "OMG!" or SOMETHING. Jeez, for all I care, display your talent for colorful swearing, but let's not take our dismay out on rats.

ratted out- as in: "Ratted on his best friend to the police." Or some variation on this. Basically meaning: "they told on us!" Like I said before, rat's shouldn't symbolize misfortune, and they also shouldn't symbolize betrayal. So might we instead say something like...."They told on us!" "They tattle-taled!" or if your feeling dramatic- "They betrayed us!"

Rat faced- to have a face with a rat like appearance. Pointy nose, black looking eyes, prominent front teeth, and maybe some whiskers. I guess I don't really have a problem with that. Admittedly, rat's features wouldn't be too attractive on a human, but on a rat, it's flippin' adorable. So we'll that phrase stay.

To smell a rat- from the website again: "to suspect the involvement of a traitor in your midst." Honestly, rats DO NOT have that bad of a smell, and their cage won't even smell that bad if you use a type of grass hay. We just discovered this method and are loving it. You smell the lovely odor of hay until you next clean the cage. Yippee! Oh, right, rat friendly phrases. So, say- "I suspect a traitor" OH OH OH! I have one: "I smell a traitor." A human one, obviously, 'cause, you know, humans can stink and all.

ratty- to look all torn up and shabby. Rats have very good hygiene, and groom themselves until they look B-E-A-utiful! So we could look:"Shabby" or "grubby" or "dirty." You get my gist.

Pack rat- It's SOOOOOO CUTE when a rat drags food or an object into hiding, and hoards it in their cage. So I don't have a problem with this phrase, because this doesn't give a false impression of rats.

To look like a drowned rat
- What I want to know is WHY was the rat drowned in the first place? Yeah, yeah he could have fallen into a lake but, I'm suspicious. And I don't want to walk around making references to the dead. So. To still say we have a roughed up appearance, we can say.... "you look like you've been dragged up mt. Everest and back" Or even "you look like a drowned human!"

OK, that's all for now. I know their are even more, like: Mall rat, gutter rat, rat tail, rat's nest, rat's arse, rat fink, rat trap, rat tail comb, rat pack, rat king. But, more of that another time.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

VEGirl's Fruit smoothies...yummy

Fruit smoothies are a wonderful way to start the day. Now, I used to never be a huge smoothie person... I had this idea in my head that fruit was too expensive (turns out it depends on the fruit), but Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's 'vegetarian food for thought podcast' changed that. And I now eat LOTS of vegetables and fruits. Smoothies are great in the summer, when you want a cold, fruity breakfast without spoiling your lunch. ANYWHO, I only have one recipe right now, because I used what was on hand at the time, but more recipes to follow! You should feel free to develop your own fruitylicious smoothies. Just keep in mind that you can use any kind of milk (not from animals, of course!), and that I looooove banana and use a lot of it, so feel free to cut down on the banana content. Also remember to leave the skin on the apple, so it's in the smoothie, because the skin contains most of the good nutrients on an apple, like potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

Apple and banana smoothie

serves 2

2 large bananas
1 large apple
pineapple (as much or little as you like)
2 Tablespoon or so of ground flaxseeds (for all the good 'stuff' in their, like alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which can be made into omega three fatty acids in the body)
almond milk (enough to achieve the desired consistency. You can even cut some of the almond milk with water)
4-6 ice cubes (to make the smoothie cold)

Cut all fruit into bite size pieces. Place all ingredients in blender. Liquefy. Grind in ice cubes. pour into glasses and serve. Enjoy!


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