Add a little fall festivity to your dip display with this recipe!
Baking the dip inside the pumpkin allows for some of the pumpkin flavor to seep through. If you want to get really pumpkin crazy, you can use a fork to shred the pumpkin flesh into the dip.
1 pie pumpkin, 2 c chopped spinach (frozen or fresh), 12 oz artichoke hearts, 2/3 c unsweetened almond milk, 3 garlic cloves, 1 bag dairy-free mozzarella cheese, 1/2 yellow onion, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Lightly caramelize minced garlic and diced onion in olive oil.
3. In a bowl, mix the caramelization with the other ingredients, minus the pumpkin.
4. Gut the pumpkin. (Save the seeds for baking the best pumpkin seeds ever!) Place it in the oven, top off, for 45 minutes. The dip is going to bake alongside it and then in it, conveniently at the same temperature.
5. Pour the dip ingredients into a casserole dish. Cover with tin foil to prevent browning and bake for 25 minutes or until cheese is nearly melted.
6. Remove the dip ingredients from the baking dish and pour the contents into the pumpkin. Continue baking for the remaining 20 minutes. Make sure tin foil is over the hole of the pumpkin to prevent browning.
7. After baking, if desired, shred the pumpkin flesh with a fork and mix in with the dip.
8. Use dipping food of choice–from chips to crackers to bread or veggies!
9. Remove any leftovers from the pumpkin and store in fridge in airtight container.
2. Gut the pumpkin, separating as much goo as you can from the seeds. Be sure to save every last one!
3. Spread on a small baking sheet and sprinkle with the above spices in whatever amount you deem delectable! I recommend going easy on the fennel. I went easy on the paprika, too, because I’ve got a limited tolerance for hot spices.
4. Bake for 40 minutes, rotating frequently.
5. Remove from oven and spread around baking sheet to keep from sticking. Allow to cool.
6. Serve, eat, enjoy! Store in cupboard in airtight container to prevent staleness.
When I was twelve years old, I sat in the back seat of my dad’s car rifling through the beach bag looking for something to drink. I saw the word “lemonade,” opened the bottle, and took a swig.
“Dad?” I said. “This lemonade tastes weird.”
My dad peered in the rearview mirror and calmly told me, “That’s because that’s not lemonade.”
I gave him a confused look.
“That’s alcoholic lemonade,” he said.
I promptly proceeded to spit out the window and dab my tongue on a towel, following that up with a dramatic montage that involved me asking my dad what was going to happen, was I going to be drunk, was I going to die?
When I was 23, I poured some of the punch bowl contents into my cup at a party, being sure to plop the enticing sorbet on top. I then filled up my cup again. I was really unexpectedly emotional that night. I found out later that was spiked punch. Considering I had zero tolerance for alcohol, that may have explained my emotional state. Maybe.
When I was 24, I was playing with my plastic water glass and my friend’s plastic whiskey glass, which looked exactly the same. I took a swig of what I thought was water, then immediately spit into the cup. I told my friend I’d pay for a refill of his whiskey. He denied the offer. He wasn’t mad; he was simply amused.
Those are the only times I’ve ever had alcohol in my life.
In the first five minutes that I begin talking to someone new at a restaurant, based on my ordering, they ask me two things:
1. Why are you vegan?
2. Why don’t you drink?
Despite my attempts to steer the next 30 minutes of conversation in another direction, the table topics continue to revolve around my lifestyle choices, usually due to incredulity and discomfort from the other party because, ohmygod they could NEVER give up cheese and have I really NEVER had alcohol?
It exhausts me.
I’m so very tired, people, of being the spotlight of attention just because I am different from you. Just because I make unique choices. Just because I make you uncomfortable.
I don’t sit at that table and lecture people on their cheeseburger and the beer they are sipping, but somehow, my salad and water make people uncomfortable.
I am all for deep and meaningful conversations, but this is not going to turn into one of those. This is going to be 30 minutes of you trying to mask your judgment of me but failing miserably. This is going to be 30 minutes of me hearing the same insulting jokes I’ve heard a hundred times before. This is going to be 30 minutes of me taking deep breaths while the walls close in and I get backed into a corner with no one to defend me but myself, bored at this point and just waiting for the organic leap to the next tête-à-tête to determine if you’ll ever be able to get past me being different.
Why do I have to explain myself? Why does my being different make you uncomfortable? Why do you feel you have to defend yourself when all I’ve said is “No, I don’t drink” and “Yes, I’m vegan”?
Since I’ve already put out there why I don’t eat animals, I’ll talk about my sobriety, since at this point in our table talk, without knowing my full and short-lived relationship with liquor, you’re probably weighing the odds of me being a recovering alcoholic or a crazy religious nut. I can assure you, I am both. (Just kidding.)
I don’t owe you an explanation for why I don’t drink, but I’m going to give one to you anyway. And you’re probably not going to like it. You’re probably going to have some reflexive retort back at me because I’ve somehow hit a button I didn’t know was there to push. Or maybe, just maybe, you’ll say, “huh” and move on.
I don’t drink because I want to be in control. I don’t drink because I like reality. I don’t drink because I like to be present in the moment, no matter how shitty it is. I don’t drink because I like to face my problems head on and then learn and grow from them.
For the record, I don’t smoke pot for the same reasons (and yes I live in Seattle where I CAN HAVE ALL THE POT IN THE WORLDDDDD).
I am in fact often mistaken for being drunk–sometimes the drunk person–at a bar because there I am making my own dance floor with my signature crazy legs moves, singing at the top of my lungs, laughing my loud and wild and pure and unrefined laugh, and making an utter fool out of myself with absolutely no care in the world.
Maybe I am weird because I’m different. Because I naturally have no inhibitions. Because I’m not easily embarrassed. Because I’m okay with staring my fears and insecurities in the face without any vices and letting the world wash over me leaving me scarred and scared and oh-so-bring-it-on ready.
Because I want to always be wholly, truly, honestly and authentically me.
My lifestyle choices don’t define me. I am not just a vegan and just a sober person. I am a woman who craves integrity and humor, who has insane attention to detail, who is increasingly more curious about the natural world and our role in it, who loves love, who speaks her mind, who has lived here and there and done this and that.
So please. The next time you meet someone who is different than you, don’t define them by a label. Accept that they are different, embrace that they are different, ask yourself why their being different bothers you, make a mental note to address that issue with yourself later, and move on.
If you’re pumping iron and want to bulk up on your protein for mega muscles, this protein smoothie is both delicious and nutritious! The best part about it? It’s free of any protein powder!
As any healthy vegan knows, the Where do you get your protein? question is mind-numbingly exhaustive. The myth that meat is the only source of protein can make us want to pull our hair out.
My sassy vegan friend, who stopped eating animals when she was 8, pointed out that she should have been dead from protein malnutrition two decades ago based on the protein myth. But alas, she is an energetic vagabond much like myself. People don’t really know how to respond when she points all that out. (I recommend you try it out; the reactions are priceless.)
Beans, leafy greens, nuts, soy, and more can get you your daily recommended value (DRV) of protein, which is roughly 45g for women and 55g for men.
If you drink two 16-oz servings of this smoothie a day, you’re getting over 65g of protein. SAY WHAAAA!?! One 16-oz smoothie will bring you more than halfway to your DRV. Again, SAY WHAAAA!?!
Also, for reference, an empty jar of peanut or almond butter is usually 16 oz. Mmmmm, almond butter.
1 block extra firm (not silken) tofu (45g protein)
4 Tbsp almond butter (13+g)
1/2 c dry oats (5+g)
1/4 c almond milk (<1g)
1 c fresh blueberries (1+g)
1 large banana (1+g)
Makes: 32 oz
1. Mix all that protein-rich goodness in a blender.
2. Drink up! Have one with breakfast and another for a snack! Store in fridge or freezer.
Last night, I had a craving for vegan waffles. I don’t have a waffle-maker, but I could whip up some pancakes! However, I was lacking blueberries for my signature vegan blueberry pancakes. So I thought I’d add in some cinnamon.
Then I saw my bag of clementines and thought, why not? Below the clementines was a can of pumpkin I’d been meaning to use to make my popular vegan pumpkin bite cookies. Pumpkin and clementine sounded like a pretty good combo to me.
I added the kiwi in last minute because kiwi and clementine go very well together. The result was sinfully delicious, and my taste buds were so pleased that I thought outside the box!
I also used generic gluten-free flour for this recipe, which replaces regular flour 1:1.
1 c flour, 3 tsp baking soda, 3 tsp cinnamon, 3 Tbsp applesauce, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 can pumpkin, 1/3 c maple syrup (or sugar/sweetener alternative), 2 Tbsp olive oil (or coconut oil), 1/2 c water (or as needed for pancake batter consistency), 3 peeled clementines, 1 peeled kiwi, dash each of: nutmeg, ground cloves, ginger
6 medium pancakes (I ate them all)
1. Whip everything except the fruit together. Add additional flour or water as needed to get the pancake batter consistency.
2. Coat a griddle in coconut oil. Plop the batter blobs on there once the coconut oil is melted.
3. Cook each pancake on low-medium heat. You may have to press down on them with the flipper to make sure they cook all the way through.
4. Arrange the clementine slices and cut up kiwi on the pancake stack. I recommend squeezing some of the fruit juice over top of the pancakes, too!
5. Top with maple syrup, coconut whip and/or almond butter.
If you’re an omnivore, you probably have, like, a million questions for a vegan. Despite “green” diets becoming increasingly more mainstream, veganism is still a widely unaccepted concept. Vegans stick out among meat-eaters like the sober dude at the bar.
Though herbivores do appreciate a good debate with a meat-eater every now and then, it’s exhaustingly repetitive. Not only that, but one or both parties usually ends up being a little self-righteous causing off-color jokes about consuming carcasses to be routinely tossed around which then makes vegans like me get teary-eyed because we just love animals so damn much.
Thankfully, it’s relatively easy for an omnivore to educate his or herself on some common vegan diet misconceptions. You might find that vegans are just as misunderstood as the boy who wears pink or the girl who prefers skateboards to Barbie dolls. If you’re a vegan reading this, you best just print out handouts for your next potluck. You know you’ll need them.
1. So, like, do you eat eggs and milk?
Do eggs and milk come from animals? Then no, vegans don’t eat them. The vegan diet abstains from any animal products or byproducts, whole or partial. This means no red meat, poultry or seafood, no dairy and no eggs. True vegans avoid honey, too, because it comes from bees. To be even more precise, vegans don’t consume marshmallows, JELL-O, many brands of gum or most capsulated pills as they often contain gelatin, a stringy substance made from the collagen found in crushed tissues, bones and skin. Yes, you read that correctly—ground-up animal parts. Historically, glue was also made from gelatin. Stop gagging. What did you think hot dogs were really made of anyway?
Let’s clear the air here with some further distinctions. Vegetarians don’t eat things that had a face, meaning meat or seafood. Chicken egg yolks have not developed faces yet (and are usually unfertilized), so vegetarians can still eat the unborn like their omnivorous human friends. They eat dairy, too.
And lastly, stop calling yourself a vegetarian if you eat seafood but not meat. It’s super awesome that you don’t eat meat. But you’re not a vegetarian. You’re a pescatarian, and you’re just making it confusing for the rest of us.
2. Where do you get your protein?
No one asks plant-based dieters Dumbo and Mighty Joe Young where they get their protein, so why do vegans get asked? The first mistake here is thinking meat and dairy are the only means of obtaining protein. The second mistake is assuming the average individual requires a large intake of daily protein. In fact, according to the U.S. FDA, the average American has a daily recommended value (DRV) of only 50 grams of protein, a few grams less for women and a few grams more for men. To put that in perspective, the DRV for fat is 65 grams. That’s right, it is actually suggested that a normal, healthy diet contain more fat than protein. On average, females eat about 1.5 times the suggested amount of protein while men rake in double. The reasoning is clear: American diets revolve around animals.
Now it’s time to debunk the meat myth. Animals are not the only source of protein. Most foods—even vegetables—contain trace amounts of protein. For vegans looking to bulk up, nuts and beans are chock full of muscle-building amino acids. One cup of lentils, for example, contains 30 percent of your protein DRV. In my vegan diet, I still get twice the protein DRV.
3. Do you ever miss real food?
Real food? I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware that the casserole I just bit into was for display only. Next question.
4. Veganism is so unhealthy.
Actually, being lactose intolerant is normal. Modern society has developed a dependence on dairy that has genetically altered some humans to be tolerant of lactose. Cultures that don’t depend on dairy in their meals see a reduced number of individuals with this genetic variation; in East Asia, roughly 90 percent of the population is lactose intolerant. Humans are the only species on the planet that continue to drink milk after being weaned off the breast. And, we are the only species that regularly drinks a milk not from our own kind, all thanks to the many Bessie-filled barns around the globe.
Furthermore, meat has been linked to illnesses like cancer and heart disease. Red meat also causes joint pain due to acid crystallization that situates itself in joint pockets. Switching to a vegan diet has time and again been shown to shrink cancer cells—in just two weeks—because the body is no longer harboring animal proteins that promote cancer growth hormones. Most people just love bacon and cheese so much they’re willing to risk their lives for it.
5. We have canine teeth for a reason.
Our hunter-gatherer Neanderthal forefathers did not rely on meat in the capacity that developed countries do today. They labored for hours in the bushes of the Serengeti in pursuit of prey, often returning home empty-handed. And when they did make a kill, many tribes held a sort of ritual sacrifice. They also butchered and cleaned it themselves, then made use of every single part of the animal. We cringe when sheep tongue is a national delicacy, but at least no part of the animal is wasted.
What separates us from other animals is that we have a conscience. We can make informed, ethical decisions about our own well-being and that of animals and the planet at large.
I’ll also close this point with a fun fact. The land mammal with the largest canine tooth is the lovable, grass-eating giant, the hippo. Perhaps this suggests the presence of canine teeth does not presuppose a carnivorous diet, but rather acts as a form of defense. Something to ruminate on.
6. What do you eat?
Contrary to misconception, vegans don’t sit around chewing dandelions and gnawing on toothpicks. Quinoa, tempeh and hummus are filling vegan foods in addition to classic soups and heavy salads. Branching out from the basic hamburger and spaghetti recipes allows herbivores to get more creative in the kitchen. Vegans might not be able to order everything off a menu at a restaurant, but their diet is often jam-packed with variation.
7. You’re not going to change the world by being a vegan.
Whoa now. Not all vegans are trying to change the world. Each decision is fueled by different reasons. Some people don’t eat animals based on moral or religious rationales. For others, good health causes them to choose veganism. There are also vegans who are trying to be eco-conscious and environmentally friendly. And even if they don’t change the world, they’re educating people, creating beneficial conversation and debate and reducing their own carbon footprint by being self-aware.
As for the “hippie” vegans who are just jumping on the band wagon, so what? They didn’t judge you for mullets and parachute pants in the 1980’s, so don’t judge them for being vegan in the new millennium.
8. I could never do that.
If Steve Jobs had said this, he and Steve Wozniak never would have founded Apple in his parents’ garage. Veganism is a commitment just like anything else in life— job, family, exercise, New Year’s resolutions, AA meetings. When you believe in something enough not to give up on it, it’s pretty amazing the things you can accomplish.
9. You’re too skinny. You need to put some meat on those bones.
Some fat people are vegans. Some skinny people are omnivores. Diet isn’t the only thing that accounts for body type. Exercise, mental health and genetics play an important role, too.
Fun fact: I eat roughly 2,000 calories a day. Much more when I’m about to enter the hibernation phase of my menses. I can also bench press a Labrador retriever. Just saying.
Oh and while you’re sitting there calling me “too skinny,” run a quick data check. More than one-third of Americans are obese while less than two percent are underweight. Roughly five percent of the U.S. population was characterized by non-meaters in 2014, half of which were vegans. This is double the numbers from 2009 and only expected to rise. On top of that, 33 percent of Americans say they eat multiple meat and dairy-free meals in a week.
In summary, veganism is not synonymous with “too skinny.” And also, if you’re healthy and happy, then ignore the haters and love your body no matter its shape.
10. But meat gives you energy!
So does a bag of Pixy Stix. So does an apple. If a vegan diet does not support energy, then, pray tell, how do you explain the plethora of websites dedicated to professional vegan athletes? From boxers to cyclists to runners and yes, even body builders, vegans do extreme sports, too.
The act of eating requires energy, from chewing to the energy-intensive digestion process. Some foods require more energy to digest than others. Protein-packed meals like meat use up 30 percent of the food’s caloric count just for digestion whereas only 12 percent is used in fatty foods and 7 percent in carbohydrates. If you consume the same amount of calories whether on a vegan or omnivorous diet, the meat-eating option leaves less energy for you to climb a mountain, bounce on a hippity-hop or do whatever activity it is that you do.
11. You must fart a lot.
Thank you for your concern, but I actually fart a healthy amount.According to Purna Kashyap, a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist, farting up to 18 times a day is a sign of good microbial gut action—and is considered the healthy norm. Count your farts. If you’re not up to par, maybe it’s time you reconsidered what you’re putting into your mouth.
Even smelly broccoli farts are healthy. If you’re passing gas and it’s a clear-the-room egg smell, remind your victims that you’re just minimizing your cancer risk by gorging on sulfurous veggies.
What’s the take-home message here? The perks of veganism far outweigh the cons. Vegans lead healthy, adventurous, ethical and tasty lives. So please stop with the rabbit and bacon jokes. They weren’t funny eight years ago and now you’re just making yourself appear uneducated.
**Please note, this list is not all-inclusive. Dear vegans, please leave your list of grievances in the comments below.