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Vintage Recipes from My Real Life, by Victoria Moran

Sharon Auerbach, a reader of this blog, wrote me the following: “I was so impressed by your comment about the “Lemon ’Stedda’ Chicken” recipe, which you posted in your February 4, 2014 article/blog entry ‘In Praise of the Classic Cookbooks’: ‘I’ve made Marylin’s “Lemon ‘Stedda’ Chicken” at least once a month since this cookbook was published in 1990.’

“In a way, getting excited about a new recipe can be kind of like getting excited about a new article of clothing- it seems so fabulous at first but after you wear it a few times you realize that it’s uncomfortable when you sit down in it, or it is a pain to have to iron all the time, or the colors don’t go with anything else in your wardrobe- etc.  In other words- I see great value in recipes that have withstood the test of time!  While I’m certainly not against experimentation, I’d like to try some recipes that have very high odds of being ‘keepers’.  Would you be willing to share your wisdom?  If there are other recipes that you make at least once a month, I would love to try them!”

Well, Sharon, and any other traditionalists out there, I’m here for you. First, I want to draw your attention to a few recipes that are in Main Street Vegan (the book), which fall in this tried and true category. They are:

  • Neat Loaf – page 50, from The Peaceful Palate, by Jennifer Raymond
  • Baked Chee Spaghetti Casserole – page 58, from Ten Talents, by Rosalie and Dr. Frank Hurd

samantha marie baked chee

  • Cool Dilly Tofu Dip (or Dressing) – page 298. I found it on the wall of a food co-op in Downers Grove, Illinois, in 1977. How’s that for history?

To follow are perennial faves that I didn’t borrow for Main Street Vegan. I’ve given an Amazon link for each book. Please note that these are the copyrighted work of their creators. I always like to get that in. Writers and creative folks of all stripes are having a hard time in the Internet era.

Green Bean Casserole

From Ten Talents ©1968, Rosalie and Dr. Frank Hurd – Here’s an Amazon link to the 2012 edition.

I love this cookbook and made this dish for Thanksgiving last week, as I have for every TG since, gosh, since forever! There are no amounts given here; I generally use two 10-ounce packages of frozen, organic beans and one full recipe of cashew milk gravy. I find that this serves 6 nicely.

  • Green beans, cut & steamed (I use frozen and don’t steam in advance)
  • Cashew milk gravy (recipe below)
  • Almonds, blanched, sliced
  • Dry bread crumbs, seasoned
  1. Lightly steam green beans in boiling water and salt.
  2. Pour over beans cashew milk gravy.
  3. Stir in almonds.
  4. Top with seasoned crumbs, salt and oil (thread on).
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Cashew Milk Gravy (white sauce)

  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup raw cashew pieces
  • 2 Tbls. arrowroot powder
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 Tbls. oil
  • ½ tsp. salt

Blend the above ingredients together. Stir constantly until thickened over medium flame (about 3 minutes). Dilute if necessary. (Note from Victoria: I use a lot less oil than I used to and find that this recipe works fine with no oil at all.)

Aztec Salad

From The Peaceful Palate, by ©1992 Jennifer Raymond

My assistant, Danielle, and I had this salad for lunch today. I was out of peppers so I added an avocado. This recipe is naturally oil free. “Seasoned rice vinegar,” if you’re unfamiliar with it, is a slightly sweetened vinegar that has a richness that’s almost oily; it can actually stand on its own as salad dressing.

  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans
  • ½ cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • ¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 2 Tbls. seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbls. apple cider or distilled vinegar
  • 1 lime or lemon, juiced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Drain and rinse the beans and place them in a large salad bowl with the onion, peppers, tomatoes, corn, and cilantro. In a small bowl, combine the vinegars, lemon or lime juice, garlic, cumin, coriander, and red pepper flakes. Pour over the salad and toss gently to mix.

Real French Dressing

From The American Vegetarian Cookbook from the Fit for Life Kitchen,

©1990 Marilyn Diamond

Okay, so I said I’m using a lot less oil these days. I still use in this exquisite gourmet dressing that wows guests every time.

  • 4 Tbls. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 ½ Tbls. lemon juice
  • ¼ to ½ tsp. Dijon-style mustard

Ground rock salt, seasoned salt, or salt-free seasoning (optional; no salt is necessary because mustard contains salt)

Freshly ground pepper (optional)

Measure oil and garlic into salad bowl. Add lemon juice, mustard, and seasonings to taste. Whisk until dressing is light yellow and thick. (Note: Especially with tender greens, avoid combining dressing with greens until right before serving. The salt component in the dressing will wilt the salad if it sits too long.)

Flourless Chocolate Cake [Read more…]

How a simple smile made all the difference, by Danielle Legg, VLCE

Six years ago I was on a nationally televised show and the words “They deserve it” fell from my mouth.

myahhamoment (1)

When I said “they” I was talking about chickens, because as a child a rooster’s spur pierced my face as he landed on my shoulder. I used this as an excuse to eat chicken, although I wasn’t eating other meat at the time. “They deserve it” — words that would haunt me, if they hadn’t been the catalyst to my change of thinking. After that show aired I stumbled upon a video about factory farming. Although I grew up on a farm, I had no idea how “they” were treated, outside of what I saw and lived. Six years later, I can tell you, NO ONE deserves to be treated that way, ever. That video showed men swinging screaming birds, stepping on their necks, handling them with no care, kicking living birds away to remove the bodies of dead birds in a shed so huge and full that it seemed unreal, as unreal as the treatment these animals endure.


Obviously, after seeing that things had to change for me. I couldn’t be that person who sat idly by. I had to do something. So I did. I started out as the absolute worst advocate for animals, and in that first year of veganism I likely caused more harm than good. I was angry — for the animals and for the people in an industry whose jobs make them turn to monsters between the hours of 9 to 5. I was furious that I’d bought into all those pretty commercials touting happy, smiling animals. Everyone needed to know what I now knew — and I shouted it.

Unfortunately, shouting isn’t all that effective, so I started picking up books about change and how to make it happen. I don’t shout any more: in fact, I smile more often than anything. When someone makes a joke about bacon, or juicy chicken, I smile and say, “Oh, I know, I used to love that [animal product] too, and then I had a chance to play with [said animal, not on a plate, but at a sanctuary],” and I gush about Gloria Goat, or Jimmy Cow, or Velma Turkey, or Dino Rooster, or Bob Harper Pig, like they’re my dog or cat. I’ve also probably got a photo or several that I’m sharing as I talk.


This year was one of those birthdays that you have to do something big, only I don’t like parties and I generally don’t do much celebration type stuff. Now, I’ve been walking by this slaughterhouse with my dog, Arcot, ever since we’ve lived in Brooklyn. Arcot and I were even invited in for a tour one day, and Arcot-who eats vegan, but will pounce on nearly anyone smaller (less Peke, my cat) was frozen. There were two walls of chickens, and chickens on the floor, and he just kept looking at me wondering what this place was and why we were there. For a long time we diverted our walks because it was sad to walk by, but we’d still walk by now and then, and every time the man there always greeted us with a smile. He adored Arcot, he told me once that it was too cold for a dog, and I should get a coat for him, so he’d be nice and warm. [Read more…]

Find the Bounty of Just Enough this Holiday Season, by Carol Schneider, VLCE

The sparkling season is upon us – heaped with food, goods, people, and activity. Bounty and abundance are visually displayed in autumn’s horn of plenty and the Christmas, Hanukkah, or New Year’s images that follow as cheerful or overwhelming assaults, depending on your frame of mind.

While holidays are sometimes seen as troublesome, our veganism can, in fact, make them much richer because of the way it enables us to by-pass the excess that so often piles up on tables and in homes.

A look at definitions of some favorite seasonal words might help us use them better. Those below are from online dictionaries ranging from Merriam-Webster to Oxford to Cambridge:

Abundance – an amount that is more than enough; over-sufficient in quantity or supply; overflowing fullness; more than you need; extremely plentiful.

Bounty – a great kindness or willingness to give or benefit; something given generously; a good behavior, plenty in yield.

Enough – sufficient for the purpose to satisfy desire; as much as required; equal to what is needed; adequate number or quantity. [Read more…]

Holiday Shopping: The Vegan Way, by Carmella Lanni-Giardina, VLCE

holiday shopping the vegan way

The holiday shopping season has already begun! Holiday commercials are in full swing. Shopping malls are already having Santa visits and are brightly decorated in trees and winter themes. It all can be quite overwhelming!

That doesn’t seem to stop consumers, who are seeking the best deals in the final months of 2015. In the U.S., the National Retail Federation forecasts that the average American will spend $805 on gifts and non-gift items during this period. That will account for retail sales at over $650 billion!

What about the vegan consumer? Vegans currently account for 2.5% of the U.S. population; a number that’s growing. What if we accounted for 2.5% of that $650 billion in retail sales? That would be $16.25 billion, and that number cannot be ignored!

By purchasing vegan, cruelty-free products, we’re speaking with our wallets. We’re building a demand! So, what better time could there be to grow that demand than during the holidays?

While we speak with our wallets, we’re not excluded from indulging our loved ones or ourselves. Ethics may direct us in how we spend our money. However, we also strive to always be compassionate, savvy shoppers.

Finding the perfect vegan gift is getting easier. The number of vegan brands and retailers is growing. However, based on where you are, the access may still be a tad bit difficult. Here’s a quick guide to help you navigate the holiday shopping season! [Read more…]

The Joys of a Hand-Picked Life, by Victoria Moran

I’ve been weird for a really long time.

My friend, Rebecca Gott, and I were reading (well, trying to read) Practicing the Presence of God and The Way of Zen back in 8th grade in Kansas City. At seventeen, I took up yoga. Back then, people confused it with yogurt, and both were suspect. I became imperfectly vegan when my daughter was born. We had a home birth and homeschooled so she could travel with me on speaking trips. She saw the world, met the Dalai Lama, and a New York Times reporter once referred to her as “preternaturally self-possessed.”

Now, society is changing and I seem less weird than I used to. I knew it was coming about ten years ago when my mother confessed, “We used to think there was something wrong with you – doing that yoga and eating that tofu. But now my doctor is telling me I ought to be doing it.”

And just a couple of weeks ago, at a French restaurant, a friend asked if there was cream in the tomato soup. “Yes,” the waiter replied, “but our butternut squash soup is totally vegan.” He pronounced it right and nobody made a joke about Vegan being the next planet over from Vulcan.

It’s great to see my passions becoming (almost) mainstream, especially as I assess the benefits I’ve gleaned from my decades of a different-drummer lifestyle. In broad strokes, the three choices that have contributed the most health, peace, and grace to my life thus far are: [Read more…]

Eating with Integrity, by Zachary Koval, VLCE

Everywhere you look there’s a new diet, each with a claim that it’s better than the last. Give up this, give up that. We’re all looking for the quick fix. The health hack. 10 day juice detox. 30 day weight loss plan. Up and down. Back and forth. We either lose the weight and then lose the motivation, or continue chasing after some skinny carrot, a superficial mirage that we’ll never reach.

We can continue dieting, dining on guilt and shame, living lives disconnected from that which actually sustains us — or we can begin to reestablish our relationship with food stepping into a lifestyle rather than a diet.

I’m proposing a new way eating. Reconnecting to the source by looking at what we truly value and want for our lives and the world around us.

[Read more…]

Vegan Israel, by Barbara Ravid, VLCE

The country of Israel, with a population less than that of New York City, has the largest number of vegans per capita of any nation on earth. The Happy Cow website shows over 150 veg- friendly restaurants in the city of Tel Aviv alone. You can imagine how excited I was when my husband and I booked a trip to visit relatives in the vegan holy land. I was so energized that I atypically volunteered to write about my experience for the MSVA blog. My goal for the trip was simple: devour fabulous vegan food, photograph it, and write about it for this post.

After landing in Israel, we drove to meet my husband’s family for dinner at Halil, a typical Arab/Israeli restaurant in the city of Ramle. All entrees come with a bevy of vegetable salads to stuff into pita. While my family dined on their schwarma, I had my fill of the salads. My plate overflowed with eggplant, eggplant salad, chopped Israeli salad, sliced spicy carrot carrots, soft pillowy pita bread, and of course, large servings of hummus and tehina. (Side note: by the end of the trip I had eaten so much hummus and tehina that my veins began to course with the dips.) This was a great start to my Israeli vegan voyage.

Most of our in time in Israel was spent in the northern central district of Israel in the communal farming village (better known as a Kibbutz) where my husband grew up. About 5 miles from the kibbutz is the small town of Pardes Hanna-Karkur. A quick Happy Cow search yielded at least 6 veg-friendly eateries, and we chose Café Karkur for lunch. After trying to decipher the menu in Hebrew I ordered kabobs made from organic lentils and root vegetables served on top of mashed root vegetables.


I washed them down with a warm beverage made from ground date pits and soymilk. Afterwards we wandered a few feet away to peruse the health food store from which the Café takes its ingredients. Among the many vegan items for sale were vegan cheeses, vegan egg yolk, The Vegg baking mix, frozen vegan omelets and a variety of flavored seitan products. As in most stores and markets in Israel, all kinds of dried fruits, nuts and beans abound.

I was curious as to why such a small town would have so many vegetarian restaurants and health food stores. The owner of Café Kakur explained that the town was the site of the first Democratic School in Israel, a school where students set their own curriculum. This type of alternative schooling attracted people who were open to alternative lifestyles such as veganism. Thus, the tiny town of Pardes Hanna is a must visit for any vegan touring this part of the country. [Read more…]

The Vegan Online: How to Be a Digital Activist, by Carmella Lanni-Giardina, VLCE


Veganism is growing. We have technology to thank for it. From social media to mobile applications, advocating for animals can be a click away on our computers, tablets and smart phones.

What defines an activist? According to the Oxford Dictionary, an activist is one who “campaigns to bring about political or social change.” Location is not part of the criteria. We can spread compassion and share our veganism without leaving our home or office. Our reach can be as limited or as wide as we like in hopes our messages will resonate with one person.

First, let’s talk about time. It can be a luxury for some of us. Busy schedules and multiple responsibilities may seem insurmountable. However, if our passion to create a vegan world is strong, we can spare a moment to make an impact. Downloading a vegan app, sharing a news story or donating online to an animal sanctuary can take just a few seconds. It doesn’t require travel, can be little to no cost, and will help many.

Activism is not just for extroverts. Introverts, like myself, can find our vegan voice behind the screen. Where protests, speeches or direct action may not be our style, technology gives us the tools to loudly speak out in our own way. The simplest act — a 140-character tweet or an Instagram post — moves veganism forward.

Not sure about how to become a digital activist? Here are some ways to get you started on using your voice through technology! [Read more…]

Walk the Path of Mindfulness, by Victoria Moran

To be mindful is to pay life such thorough attention that you glimpse the heartwarming beauty of all that is. With mindfulness, you don’t just do what you’re doing: you become what you’re doing. And when one task or conversation is finished, you move on to the next with the same attentiveness, the same conviction.

A mindful person is a blessing to everybody else because he or she is fully present. So often the person we’re talking with on the phone is also writing an e-mail or brewing the coffee. This doubling up is how we get things done. But when you focus on someone to the exclusion of everything else, you give something rare and eloquent.

Choosing a vegan lifestyle is one way to live mindfully. Instead of simply eating what’s available, or what we’ve eaten all our lives, or what our taste buds think is the cat’s meow, we choose to consume foods and beverages that we believe to be best for our bodies and that we know show compassion for animals. We’re mindful of our food and we’re rewarded with gifts such as peace of mind, improved health, and perhaps even longer life. [Read more…]

Vegan Nutrition: The Science is on Our Side, by Lita Dwight, VLCE


As a graduate of Main Street Vegan Academy, I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Robert Ostfeld, a vegan cardiologist, explain the many health benefits of eating a vegan diet.   He delivered the information with such confidence and clarity I knew he was speaking from a vast wealth of clinical experience. But at the same time, I wondered, if these health benefits are so clear, why is it so difficult to get definitive dietary recommendations from the rest of the scientific community?

When I asked Dr. Ostfeld to explain the disconnect, he politely suggested that the scientific community is not always motivated by improving public health. For example, some of you may remember last year the media frenzy that ensued after an article, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, came to the conclusion that eating less saturated fat doesn’t actually lower your risk for heart disease. You may ask yourself: How can that be? Doesn’t that come up against 3 decades of studies to the contrary?

cowWell, it turns out that, the dairy industry decided they needed to boost sales and approached Dr. Ronald M. Krauss, a researcher funded by the National Dairy Council, who combined studies that were previously determined to be flawed and put them all together in a “new” meta-analysis study to show that saturated fat has no correlation to heart disease. And bingo! Research now showed you can eat all the saturated fat you want.

Following the release of the new study based on Krauss’ “research”, the Chairman of Harvard’s Nutrition Department, Walter Willet, said, the conclusions were “seriously misleading and should be disregarded.” And he even called for its retraction! Instead, The New York Times food writer Mark Bittman exclaimed—Butter is Back! and The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet by Nina Teicholz became a New York Times bestseller. And we, the public, never got the truth. [Read more…]