Saturday, September 11, 2010


Vegan Cupcakes....could you just die, or what?!?! Oh my goodness, BFF...if you love cupcakes (and I know you do), you MUST get this cookbook:

 Even if you are not vegan, this is a cupcake-lover's and baker's must! I promise you that these cupcakes are better than anything with eggs & dairy. They are so moist & so tasty & so very easy to make! My non-vegan friends and family love mother thinks they are better than the local bakery's vegan cupcake & my friend says they are the best cupcakes in the world!

These are the Green Tea cupcakes with my own added touch of silver sprinkles. I made them last easy!!! And just look how pretty!

The cupcakes pictured here are Chocolate Stout cupcakes. The husband makes these (see I told you easy!), and they are so rich and delicious! So good with a tall glass of ice cold soy milk!

Here are the Banana Split cupcakes (my personal favs!)...aren't they pretty??

So my challenge to you BFF is this... Next time there is a birthday party or event that calls for cupcakes...give vegan cupcakes a chance! I guarantee that everyone will rave about them! And don't go making a batch of "regular" cupcakes as back up...I promise you won't need them! Anyone will enjoy these, unless there is something seriously wrong with their which case we'll forgive them.


Friday, September 3, 2010

How did your BFF become vegan??

I've had this question a lot, and have been debating on whether or not to blog about it, or just answer it on FB. But...if I'm giving you all this awesome vegan advice, I think it's important that you know where I came from. Thank you Nadia for the question, and here's the answer.

Let's start at the beginning, I grew up in a very health conscious house. My mother believed in her family eating all natural, organic, preservative-free food. We did eat meat, but it usually came from a local farm north of where we lived. Incidentally, I have etched in my brain a visit to the farm where I was hanging out with the farmers daughter in the slaughterhouse while she ate Fruit Loops and we watched cartoons on a tiny tv. Sounds like something right out of the Twilight Zone, right? Even though I didn't see any animals being killed, I will never forget the smell of the place, mixed with the smell of Fruit Loops...still gagging! Anyway as a child, I did not love meat. I demanded that my mom make for me a separate spaghetti sauce that was meat free (which she lovingly did) and I was no fan of pork chops that's for sure. At age 8? 10?, I remember asking about the source of the meat. In my head I liked to think of the animals being humanely euthanized, pain-free and willingly. I think even then I knew it wasn't true. But I asked about the ethics of eating animals & the answer I received was that this is what the animals are raised for. Which is a truthful answer without getting into right and wrong.

At age 19, I one of my BFF's was vegetarian, I worked in a restaurant with a lot of vegetarians, and I took an ethics class that talked about eating animals. This really stirred the pot for me & I decided that I was going veg. But for the uneducated 19 year old, that meant that I ate grilled cheese, mac and cheese, and french fries. Not a well balanced diet and definitely not one for the long haul. Needless to say that I was only vegetarian-ish for awhile & soon fell off the wagon. I did not have the 'a-ha' factor or moment to make the change last.

My 'A-ha' moment (sorry about going "all Oprah" on ya) happened when I got my dog when I was 20 years old. He was only 5 weeks old when I got him & I had to give him puppy formula because he was taken from his mamma to soon. It was love at first sight. It was also not so long after that I realized that he is not different from other animals...if you think so, ask yourself why? Once that connection was made, it was really difficult to separate. I definitely had my moments of backsliding, but this time they came with a heaping spoonful of guilt...and who wants that? The easiest way to alleviate this guilty feeling was to stop eating meat...change my behavior. And that's what I did.
He was just a little bigger than my hairbrush!

So onward we go as a vegetarian. Or pesca-vegetarian, because I still ate seafood. It was actually a carnivorous friend who got me to stop eating fish. She asked me what the difference was between land and sea creatures...why was one okay for me to eat and not the other. Now I'm not sure if she was really curious or really wanted to challenge me, but challenge me she did, and this was my reply: There is no difference, but seafood is just harder for me to give up. Shortly after she asked the question, I stopped eating fish. The guilty feeling that I was ignoring was no longer ignorable. And many other things after this just gradually faded away...eggs began to disgust me, we switched to soy milk for hubby's lactose issues, etc. Hubs and I often discussed that we knew veganism was in our future...we were totally not prepared for how soon it would arrive.

For our anniversary every year, we venture to the Fingerlakes wine country in New York. Coincidentally, right around the corner is Farm Sanctuary. We had tried to visit the farm in the past, but our timing was always off...we ran out of time, farm was closed to visitors...But in August of 2009, the stars aligned and we were able to visit the farm! It was a rainy, muddy day, and we were the only visitors (thank the saints!). I already new it was going to be an emotional day because I'm super sensitive when it comes to the mistreatment of animals. I was tearing up at the get-go, just thinking of all the wrongs in the world & I was super excited and nervous about meeting the cows. I have a soft-spot in my heart for cows (they are just big dogs!) and I just new it would be difficult and wonderful to see them. So our tour began with a video, talking about how the animals used for meat, eggs, and dairy industries are treated. More tears. Then we start up to see the cows. Our guide, my new farm BFF, was talking about a really awful story about sheep....I can't remember it now, because as soon as I got my first glimpse of a cow, I totally broke down sobbing (this is why I'm thankful we were the only ones on the tour). Farm BFF thought it was the story (it probably partly was), but it was really the cows...poor Farm BFF didn't know what to do with me. When I finally composed myself, we headed into the pasture with the "Special Needs" herd...most of whom have joint issues, are elderly, etc. This is where I met Snickers, the beautiful cow with a white heart on his front leg. As we were sitting with Snickers, Farm BFF was telling us his story. He was a veal calf and he was rescued with his mother, who's udders were so severely infected that they were dragging on the ground. This is where I learned that dairy industry = veal industry. Duh! I never really truly made this connection before. Veal was the very first meat I gave up in my teens, and unwittingly all along, I was supporting veal farming every time I bought ice cream or Gouda. That info does not sit well in a vegetarian's stomach. So we continued on with our tour, meeting all the wonderful animals and hearing their stories. We witnessed how many obstacles they've overcome and how they can even find forgiveness. Did you know that sheep comfort each other by leaning on each other, ie applying pressure? They find this comforting, and they help each other out in times of distress. The sheep did this to us...that day, when we were struggling to come to terms with our choices and the choices of the world. They came right up to us and leaned on us, we comforted each other. And during each visit to the farm, the sheep continue to do this...sometimes almost knocking us over! So needless to say, after that visit, both your BFF and her hubby were vegan.

Me with Snickers!
Another great question posed by Nadia was...How do you stay vegan and not fall off the wagon? For me the answer is simple. You cannot un-ring a bell, you cannot unlearn what you is not a choice for me. I cannot support an industry that is cruel to animals. I am also a yogi, and I follow the 8 limbs of yoga. Ahimsa means non-violence or non-harming. I cannot follow this principle and still eat meat, dairy, or eggs. It doesn't work for me. And this is what you need to look at...what is your motivation for being vegan? Is it just a diet? Because I don't know a single person who has adopted a diet as a lifestyle and stuck to it. I think the motivation behind being vegan needs to be something you're passionate about...animal welfare, healthy eating, etc. Sure if you're a strong willed person, you can make the choice to be vegan and stick with it. I am NOT strong willed enough...especially when it comes to food. But I am passionate about my belief that animals are not ours to use for food, clothes, or entertainment. That makes it so easy for me to be vegan:) I'll leave you with one of my favorite yoga mantras..."Lokaha Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu ~ May all beings everywhere be happy and free."
Look at the heart on his leg! RIP changed my life forever!

Until next time,
Your BFF

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What's on your mind, BFF?

What would you like to talk about? Anything you're dying to know? Something you're mildly curious about? Ask away! I have a long list of topics waiting in the wings, but I'd like to know what you're interested in learning. Comment away!

Your BFF
Happiness is a good belly rub!