Dec 30, 2011

White Chocolate and Macadamia Cookies

*2.5 cups flour
*2/3 cup chopped white chocolate
*2/3 cup maple syrup
*2/3 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
*1/2 cup raw sugar
*1/2 cup oil

1.  Chop macadamias and white chocolate.
2.  Mix all ingredients together.
3.  Bake at 180C for about 10-12 minutes.

Makes:  16 huge cookies

Dec 27, 2011

Smoothie Muffins

These are called smoothie muffins because they were made out of my leftover smoothie ingredients; peaches and banana.

*1 banana
*1/2 cup raw sugar
*3/4 cup non dairy milk
*2/3 tin peaches
*2 cups self raising flour

1.  Blend peaches and milk together.
2.  Add everything together and mix.
3.  Bake at 180C for 20-25 minutes.

Dec 26, 2011

Fact Sheet: Dairy Milk

Dairy milk.  We are told that we must have it or our bones will break; that there is no other good source of calcium; that it is the only 'real' milk.  It is the default substance that is put in our coffees, cereals and biscuits.  There are, in fact, many sources of calcium that do not require cows to be milked and their calves killed.

'Got milk?' by Mark J P

Like every female animal, female cows only produce milk for their babies, not for any other reason or any other species.  In order for them to continue to lactate, they are 'forcibly inseminated' to make them pregnant.  Once they have their calf, it is removed from them within 12-24 hours and kept to either become veal or another dairy cow.  Cows normally bond with their calves for up to 8 months700, 000 calves are sent off to slaughter each year in Australia.  They are legally allowed to be starved for up to 48 hours before being killed, in Australia.

'Calves on slatted floor' by Compassion in World Farming

19-50 year old men and women only require 1,000mg each day.  Two glasses of fortified soy milk can provide you with 750mg and two glasses of dairy milk can provide you with 600mg.  Obviously this changes with brands (and also between soy, rice, almond and oat milk), so check labels.  Not only this, but animal protein can cause the blood to become acidic and leach calcium from the bones.  It's a good thing then that calcium is not only found in dairy milk.  In order to absorb the calcium, you need to ensure you get vitamin D.

Other sources of calcium include:
  • green leafy vegetables
  • tofu
  • soya mince
  • white/brown bread
  • orange juice
  • tahini
  • baked beans
  • broccoli
There are a lot of alternate sources of calcium.  If you are interested in using some dairy free alternatives, there are lots of chocolates, icecreams, yoghurts, milks, butters and cheeses that are dairy free.

Dec 24, 2011

Gingerbread Cookies

Unfortunately I cannot remember where I got this recipe from, so if anyone knows, please tell me so I can credit the original creator!  Pretty sure it was somewhere on though.

*1/3 cup oil
*3/4 cup raw sugar
*1/4 cup molasses
*1/4 cup non-dairy milk
*2 cups flour
*1/2 tsp each: baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon
*1.5 tsp ground ginger

1.  Mix all ingredients together.
2.  Wrap in plastic, refridgerate for 1 hour.
3.  Roll out flat and cut out shapes, or into balls and press flat.
4.  Bake at 180C for aprox. 8-10 minutes.

Makes: 16

Dec 23, 2011

Children's Books

I've recently been looking for children's books that teach respect for animals and have animal rights themes.  I am hoping to influence my little brother so that he learns about animals in a different light to what we are shown via meat sales in shops and cooking shows on the TV.

I'm also hoping to buy them through Better World Books as I love their ethics.  So far I've found the following that look good:
I am also looking forward to Steven the Vegan's debut.  It was finally fully funded by awesome people who wanted to see it published!  Amazing!

There is a HUGE LIST here thanks to vegbooks.  I've just listed the ones that I liked the sound of most.  Feel free to leave a comment about which book/s you like the best for your children/cousins/siblings :).

Raffle to Help the Philippines

Tragedy struck the Philippines in the form of a tropical storm, named 'Sendong' about a week ago.  There were massive floods, with buildings torn down and people swept away.

The death toll has exceeded one thousand with as many as four hundred people missing.  There are fears that the dead bodies will bring disease. There are currently half a million people affected by this disaster who need food, shelter and clean water.

It is because of this horrible disaster that I have put together a mini raffle with five prizes.  Tickets are only $1 each and all money will be going to help the Red Cross in the Philippines.  Please spare $1 to help people through this difficult time.

Read more in these news articles:

Dec 18, 2011

"Egg" Salad

*1/2 cup shallots (green onions)
*1/2 tsp turmeric
*2 tbsp parsley
*1 tsp pepper
*1 tsp salt
*1 tsp dill
*300grams tofu
*1/2 cup mayonnaise
*1/4 tsp paprika
*1/2 tsp garlic powder

1.  Drain tofu then crumble into a bowl.
2.  Chop up shallots.
3.  Add all ingredients to tofu and mix up.
4.  Taste test and adjust as required.

Dec 16, 2011

2011: The Year in Review

Thank you to all of you for your support, feedback and kind words this year.  I've had a lot of fun making things while studying and having a group of supportive people like you has really given me the inspiration I need to keep this all going.  I've had a couple of rough patches and sewing really helps me keep everything together, I really appreciate all your support.

I'm excited to declare that in 2011 we raised $2,506.24 for charities (and counting, still a couple of weeks to go)!  Here's the break down of where the money went:
Amazing!  Here's hoping we can raise even more next year!  Have a charity that you love?  Email me about it!  I'll be working with Brisbane Valley Cat Rescue for semester one at uni next year in order to organise a fundraising event.  It's a rather scary looking task but I'm hoping that it'll go smoothly.  At worst, it will be a learning experience.  I hope that you'll be able to come along and support me with this too!

Some more highlights from this year gone past:
  • I started posting a lot of vegan recipes
  • I passed 8,000 blog views
  • I passed 1,100 awesome fans on facebook
  • I had 6 giveaways
  • I held 3 auctions and 1 raffle
  • Interviewed 9 artists/crafters
I'm looking forward to bringing you even more awesome things in the future!  This blog really inspires me to share and connect with people and is helping me reconnect with my love of writing and cooking.  I'll be doing regular raffles; one each two months, to raise money for different charities.  As always, I look forward to you being a part of these and sharing them around.

Dec 14, 2011

Movie Review: Food Matters

This documentary looks at health from the point of view of good nutrition and prevention.  It explores the failings of modern medicine, the control that pharmaceutical companies have over scientific publishing and regulators and the health benefits of vitamins and minerals.

They look into the age of food, soil quality, agriculture, genetic modification and many other issues that people should consider when buying things to eat.  They explore a few studies (not many unfortunately) where vitamins cured depression, alcoholism and cancer.  I think that they needed a bit more science in this video as well as hard facts but documentaries are always trying to push a certain view point.  That said, eat your vitamins!

Dec 13, 2011

Christmas Gift Ideas

Here is a short list of Christmas gifts that can help the environment, people living in poverty and animals.

Edgar's Mission Calendar or Christmas Cards, vegan recipe book, hat or shirt.
Cute bat Calendar from Bat Conservation and Rescue QLD, Inc.

$25 gift voucher for Kiva to loan money to an entrepreneur.

Donate to Animals Australia or adopt a sheep symbolically.

Buy a card through the RSPCA to help animals.

Buy a card through Oxfam to help people living in poverty.

Grab a bottle of wine from Goodwill Wines to help out a charity of your choice.

Adopt a tiger through WWF.

Adopt a koala through Save the Koala.

You can also try and check out op shops for awesome gifts that will have you recycling and getting something unique and helping a charity.

If any of you don't have family members who'd appreciate the gift, I sure would ;).  Haha!  Let me know if you give anything from this list.  I bought a card through Oxfam for a friend and I'm hoping to save up enough to do a donation to Animals Australia too.

Dec 12, 2011

Potato and Corn Patties

Cooked without oil, gummy.
Fried in oil, crispy.

*1/2 onion, finely chopped  $0.27
*1 clove garlic
*1 tin corn kernels               $1.46
*parsley, salt, pepper, oregano, paprika
*4 potatoes                          $1.68
*1 tbsp flaxseed
*1/4 cup water
*1/2 cup plain flour            $0.05

1.  Fry onion and garlic.
2.  Boil potatoes and then mash.
3.  Mix all ingredients together, spoon into fry pan and cook.

Makes: 10

Note:  I don't think that I made them quite thin enough.  If you make them thinner they're more likely to cook nicely through to the middle.  I have not tried baking them but I'd be interested to hear if you do!

Total: $3.46 or $0.35 each.

Dec 11, 2011

Lentil Spaghetti

I was scrounging through the remains of my food and discovered that I had enough left to make me some awesome lentil spaghetti.  I had originally intended to make spaghetti and meatballs but I used all my tvp on pies!  I used this recipe and this one for inspiration, as well as a few others I looked at.

With tin of tomatoes
Without tin of tomatoes.

*1 cup dry red lentils        $1.00
*1 onion, chopped            $0.54
*1 zucchini, grated           $0.84
*1 carrot, grated                $0.34
*2 garlic cloves, minced   $0.10
*2 cubes vegetable stock  $0.54
*basil, oregano, thyme
*handfull of spaghetti      $0.35
*1 can diced tomatoes      $0.80

Variations:  Add chopped celery, mushrooms, make some tvpballs.

1.  Prepare 2 cups of water with the veggie stock, boiling.
2.  Add the lentils, zucchini, carrot (and/or celery, mushrooms) and tomatoes.
3.  Fry onion and garlic in pan.
4.  Cook pasta.
5.  Add onion and garlic to lentil mix.
6.  Pour lentil mix onto drained pasta (add tvpballs if you made some).

Makes:  Two serves.

Total: $4.51 or $2.25 per serve.

Dec 9, 2011

Movie Review: Meat the Truth

This documentary takes a look at the meat industry from an environmental viewpoint.  A lot of people think that the major causes of greenhouse gases and environmental devastation are things like cars, airplanes, keeping the lights on, etc.  This documentary shows how meat consumption is a big (and easy to stop) problem.

"Farming places more strain on the enviroment than the entire transport system globally." - Meat the Truth.

If you would like to know more about the environmental issues surrounding the meat industry, click here.

Dec 8, 2011

Banana Pudding

This recipe is mainly based off another of's recipes.  It's a pretty healthy dessert, all things considered.

*300g tofu                      $3.24
*2 tsp vanilla
*3 large ripe bananas      $1.08
*1/2 cup raw sugar         $0.29
*1/4 cup nondairy milk  $0.25

Optional: I reckon you could add banana chunks if you wanted to.  Want it chocolatey?   Add a few tbsps of cocoa.  You could add some cinnamon or maple syrup if you wanted to as well.

1.  Blend.
2.  Taste.
3.  Adjust.
4.  Chill.
5.  Eat.

Total: $4.86

Calories: 1206
Protein: 44.5 grams

Dec 6, 2011

Fact Sheet: B12

One of the things that you need to know how to get if you're vegan is B12.  There are not many known good non-animal sources of B12.  However, the B12 from animals is actually due to the bacteria that the animals consume when they eat grass or dirt.  That's right, B12 is made by bacteria.  Personally, I was displaying symptoms of B12 deficiency when I was an omnivore simply because I was not eating healthily, so B12 intake is not just an issue for veg*ns.

eating by davedehetre

B12 is important for cell division and blood formation (1).  It also is important to maintain the proper function of our nervous system (2).  Symptoms of B12 deficiency include heart palpitations, depression, fatigue, weak pulse, mentruation problems and memory problems (3).  If you haven't been taking a B12 supplement or keeping an eye on your intake, regardless of your diet, you should talk to your doctor about getting it checked.

Adults require 2.4mcg each day (4).  While we do store the B12 in our liver (2), you can become deficient over time if you are not replenishing the stock.  It also seems that the more you take, the less is absorbed in one go.  Therefore, a person should take5-10 micrograms per day or 2000 micrograms each week (1).  If you're taking an iron tablet, check out the label (for example this one has 50micrograms of B12 in it).  A lot of them have B12 in them.

nutritional yeast by daniellemakes

If you want to ensure that you are getting enough B12 each day, there are many multivitamins and supplements available.  The Vegan Store has this multivitamin which has 150 micrograms of B12 in it.  B12 is also found in fortified nondairy milks, fortified cereals and there is quite a lot of it in nutritional yeast (nicknamed 'nooch') (1).

Just a note: I am not a doctor, dietitian or anything like that, I am just providing this information for those of you who may not know or who have an interest.  If you want more info, check out my sources or use Google.


Dec 4, 2011

Pasta Bake

*500g mix frozen broccoli and cauliflower  $2.66
*250g pasta  $0.50
*1 jar pasta sauce  $1.07
*white sauce: 4tbsp flour, 2.5 cups nondairy milk, 2 tbsp Nuttelex, 1 tsp paprika  ~$1.95

1.  Cook brocolli, cauliflower, basil and pasta in a pot.
2.  Make white sauce in another pot, stirring until thick.  Add in order: Nuttelex, milk, flour, paprika.
3.  Drain pasta mix.
4.  Combine all ingredients.
5.  Put in baking dish.  Bake at 180C for 20 minutes.

Makes:  Two serves.

Total:  $6.18 or $3.09 per serve.

Calories: 1297 or 648.5 per serve.
Protein: 61.9 or 30.95 per serve.

Dec 3, 2011

Fact Sheet: Pigs

Pigs by rajthesnapper

"[Pigs] have the cognitive ability to be quite sophisticated. Even more so than dogs and certainly three-year-olds." 
  - Professor Donald Broom of Cambridge University Veterinary School (2)

Cool Pig Facts:
  • Pigs can live 9 - 15 years long (1)
  • Pigs enjoy music (6)
  • Pigs are as good at video games as primates (7)
  • Their courtship ritual involves a song between the male and female (6)
  • Mother pigs sing to their young to inform them that milk is flowing (2)
  • Pigs are not dirty; they enjoy being clean (4)
  • Pigs are the 4th most intelligent species of animal, after primates, dolphins and elephants (1)
  • Pigs enjoy swimming over mud (2)
Swimming Pigs 2 by Nate Derrick

Pig Meat Industry
  • Pigs are sent off at age 4-6 months to be killed for food (3)
  • Female pigs are pinned down in stalls so that they cannot move around after giving birth (6)
  • Pigs are not given the space to move around and root in soil, let alone swim (2)
  • Up to 10% of breeding pigs are killed due to illness, lameness or not falling pregnant readily enough (2)
  • A lot of pigs have their tails cut off (without anaesthetic) so that other pigs don't chew them off due to being so bored (5)
  • Pigs are castrated without anaesthetic (5)
Pig biting a bar on its pen by Compassion in World Farming


Dec 1, 2011

Charity: Bat Conservation & Rescue QLD Inc

The charity that I have chosen for December is Bat Conservation & Rescue QLD Inc (BCRQ).  They are a group of dedicated volunteers who rescue bats, care for them and educate the public about them.

Did you know that flying foxes only have one baby each year?  And that they are important to help spread the seeds of trees around?  I didn't!

These people are doing amazing work looking after these adorable creatures but they cannot do it without the financial support of people like you.  Do you love bats?  Have a love of vampire fiction?  Head to their website and help out or leave a message of support on their facebook page.

If you'd like to support them, buy their calendar, shop on their store, grab a vegan cupcake from me at the markets or enter my raffle, $1 per ticket and ALL MONEY goes to this amazing charity.

Nov 30, 2011

November Wrap-Up

November is over today!  It seems like the months go faster and faster the closer you get to the end of the year!

Thanks to everyone who supported Kommoner this month.  So far we have raised $35 through the Raffle for Bat Conservation and Rescue QLD.  They are also my charity for next month and will receive 10% of all sales for December!

Altogether we raised $36.50 for Nothing But Nets, enough to get 3 mosquito nets to families in need!  Yay!

This month I tried out 4 new recipes: Sausage Rolls, Potato and Gravy Casserole, Lentil Lasagne and Zucchini Bread.  I also reviewed a couple of books and movies and got to talk to two other crafty folk: Megan from Cubies and Josh from Ruffbat Creative.

I also brought out a whole bunch of new designs:  Piglet, Todd and Fredrika, plus a whole heap of brooches and bookmarks!

Nov 24, 2011

Zucchini Bread

*1 medium zucchini, grated  $0.63
*1.5 cups self raising flour   $0.16
*1/4 cup water
*1.5 tsp cinnamon
*1/2 cup raw sugar               $0.10
*1/2 tsp salt
*1/2 cup vegetable oil         $0.57
*1/2 tsp nutmeg
*1 tsp vanilla

1.  Mix all the ingredients together.
2.  Pour into a tin.
3.  Bake at 180C for 25-35 minutes until top is golden brown.

Makes:  8 slices.

Total:  $1.46 or 18c/slice.

Calories: 2176 or 272/slice.

Protein: 24.8 or 3.1/slice.

Nov 23, 2011

Christmas Menu Ideas

I don't celebrate Christmas, but I know that a lot of people do, so I've gone and looked through the internet and compiled a list of cruelty-free recipes and ideas that you can use at home for your Christmas celebrations.  Make it a day of love and life!

Barnivore is a great guide if you're looking for vegan alcohol to sip on during the day.


Instead of eating a turkey, how about adopting one?  They'll love you for it!

I hope that this has given you some ideas on how to celebrate your Christmas without harming animals and while lowering your environmental impact.

Do you have a favourite vegan recipe that you use for Christmas?  Leave a comment to share it with everyone :).

Nov 22, 2011

Lentil Lasagne

I have not had lasagne once since I became vegan.  Total bummer.  Also, I am laaaaazy when it comes to trying out a new recipe and a lot of the recipes out there require nutritional yeast which is out of my grasp financially.  I found this recipe up on the Sanitarium website and played around with it a bit.  I also looked at about 10 different white sauce recipes in order to make a vegan one.

*2 cans brown lentils            $3.10
*1 large carrot, grated           $0.24
*2 medium zucchini, grated  $1.26
*1 onion, sliced                     $0.54
*1 can diced tomatoes           $0.69
*1.5 tsp curry powder
*2 cloves garlic
*pepper and salt
*dash of oil

White Sauce

*3.5 cups non-dairy milk   $2.20
*6 tbsp plain flour             $0.06  (use gluten free flour if that's how you roll)
*2 tbsp Nuttelex                $0.43  (this is vegan margarine)
*dash of salt

*1 pack lasagne sheets   $2.19  (gluten free $4.26)

Optional:  Add some celery and if you have nutritional yeast, add about 1/3 cup of that to the white sauce.

1.  Mix together onion, a dash of oil, zucchini and carrot and saute for ~10 minutes.
2.  Mix in the rest of the filling ingredients and cook.
3.  Make white sauce by first melting the butter in a pot then adding the milk and flour - stir as it thickens.
4.  Layer lasagne sheets, then filling, then sauce.  Repeat til you run out.
5.  Spread any left over white sauce on top.
6.  Bake for 30-40 minutes at 180C or until lasagne sheets are soft.

Makes:  6 serves.

Total:  $10.65 or $1.78 per serve.

Creator Profile: Cubies

My latest blog interview is with the lovely vegan behind the adorable Cubies!  I found them on facebook (somehow) and they were so cute that I just had to tell you all about them!  Then it turned out that Megan is also rad!  Read on to find out about this awesome person and their creations.

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Megan, I like to sew. I'm the crafter behind Cubies. I'm vegan and I am dedicated to helping animals any way I can. I am a fully qualified Veterinary Nurse, working in a Vet Clinic by day and crafting by night. I am a bit of a nanna, I like to stay home and craft instead of going out and doing young people things. I have three fur babies; a diabetic Silky Terrier named Sam and two cats Baxter and Bruce.

What do you create?

I make Cubies. Which are cube shaped plush toys! I also make cushions and I am in the process of developing a new line.

Are your products vegan friendly?

Absolutely. Being vegan myself, I make sure to source only vegan materials.

How long have you been making things?  What was the first thing you made?

I have been making things since I could hold a crayon. I initially spent all my time drawing as a kid. Then when I was given a very old sewing machine that belonged to my grandma I began sewing. I made clothes for my dolls, plush toys and all sorts of fabric goodies. Then into my teens I flittered between drawing and sewing. Drawing will always be important to me but lately I am just crafting as I do not have a lot of time to draw. I don't have a photo of the first thing I made but I do have a photo of the plush that Cubies originated from. It was a flying tofu cube with wings. Then after that I made the first ever Cubie who was pink and had a bandaid on her head.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I get my inspiration from a whole host of places. My fur babies, animals at work, horror movies, friends, family, my surroundings and other plush artists. I try to always carry paper and a pen with me because you never know when inspiration will strike. I have a lot of little scraps of paper with sketches on them all around my sewing room.

How can people contact you?

My email:
I also try to frequent the Unwrapped Markets as often as possible. They work tirelessly to help creative people get their businesses off the ground. They run these markets a few times a year.

Nov 21, 2011

Book Review: The Life You Can Save

Australian philosopher Peter Singer writes this brilliant book explaining how it is the responsibility of all people to help all other people.

Singer starts off slowly by giving examples of situations in which a person would immediately jump to save another.   He then explains the plight of billions of people living under the poverty line each of which could be saved by the intervention of one person.  He outlines the stark differences between people struggling to live and those who have millions of dollars they don't know what to do with.  So why don't people help?

Photo Credit: Sarah Lee/Guardian

According to Singer, some don't because they believe they have earned to right to do what they want with their money, regardless of the country, class and situation that they were born into (others do not have these advantages).  Others are disheartened by the corruption that can be found in some countries where welfare money ends up lining the pockets of governing bodies instead of the people in need.  Yet others believe that the Government is already giving enough money (in 2011-12 Australia will give 0.35% of the Gross National Income to foreign aid).  Singer lists many other reasons and explains their flaws.

He then explains the psychology of why people don't give more.  Ever wondered why I am always telling people about my giving to charity?  Well it's because people are more likely to give if they hear about other people giving.  People also give more if they think that others are.  So don't be afraid to toot your horn!  Singer lists other reasons why people are less inclined to give; they feel disconnected by distance, they cannot relate to the problems, they are waiting for other people to help.  He goes into all of these in depth and I really enjoyed learning more about the human mind.

The last half of the book is dedicated to showing how we can change our society to one that cares about giving and sees it as a good thing.  Singer explains that we can give, but that we also must look after ourselves and our families.  I really do suggest reading this book and passing it on to friends.  It is what got me thinking that I could make a difference in the world.  And look, I've already raised over $2,500 since I started Kommoner, I give money monthly to Oxfam and I've made 53 Kiva loans so far!

Nov 19, 2011

Movie Review: Born Into Brothels

I was lucky enough to watch Born Into Brothels in my Culture, Community and Enterprise tutorial.  It is one of those documentaries that is both sad and inspiring.  It is about a group of children in the red light district of Calcutta in India who learn the joy of photography and a woman who attempts to save them from being trapped in the industry.

Briski originally went to Calcutta to do some documentary photography and ended up becoming close with the children of the prostitutes that worked there.  She became rather attached to them and decided to teach them how to take photos, hoping to give them a better future.  The photos that they took were amazing and helped the children to gain confidence and also hope.

Briski helped to organise exhibitions for the children in order to raise money for them.  She worked with their families to try and get them into schools and away from the red light district.  However, a lot of them were refused places due to their past and some ended up returning to their families.

This movie was both saddening and inspiring.  I was sad to find out that this was still going on in the world; that women were born into prostitution and forced to continue on in their mothers footsteps.  I was inspired by the fact that this one person, Briski, was able to see this problem and raise enough money to get a lot of these children an education.  Not only that but this documentary sparked the creation of Kids With Destiny, which is aimed at providing an education and safe housing for children from the red light district.
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