Feb 19, 2012

Best Friends Rescue

The charity for the month of February is Best Friends Rescue.

Best Friends Rescue is a no-kill animal shelter that is entirely run by volunteers.  Currently they save cats and dogs from being put down and help to find them forever homes.  Last year (2011) they helped to rehome 300 dogs.

They rely entirely on donations from the public so this month I am holding a raffle, with all money going to help them.  Check it out, tickets are only $1 each and there are a couple of rad prizes.

Show some support for them on their facebook page, send them a donation or sign up to look after an animal while they help find him/her a forever home.

All photos of animals taken from the list of dogs up for adoption on the BFR page.

Feb 15, 2012

Tips for Going Vegan

Congratulations on deciding to either go vegan or try it out!  You’ll be helping the environment, your body and the animals.

First off, you will need to start swapping out things in your fridge and your bathroom once you’re finished using them (if you’re lucky you’ll have found someone to donate them to, but it can be expensive to switch everything over all at once).

I’ve made lists that go from room to room giving you tips.

  • Change dairy milk for soy/almond/hemp/hazelnut/rice milk.
  • Change cheese for fake cheese or learn some recipes that make it from nuts.  Cheese is actually addictive due to a morphine-like chemical that is found in it.
  • Make sure to get enough beans, nuts and legumes.  Having tins of these can be handy and cheap.
  • Change icecream for diary free So Good or sorbets.
  • When scanning ingredients, look for the ‘Contains:’ part.  If it says milk or egg you know it’s a no go.  Scan for bolded things.  This is a handy guide for the more hidden ingredients.  Some people remember them, some use phone apps.  Me, I just try to avoid processed food.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new fruits and vegetables, you may find that your taste changes and you come to appreciate more variety.
  • Don’t forget about B12, it is important.
  • A good resource for recipes is vegweb.com, but really Googling anything with the word vegan tacked on is handy.
  • Avocadoes, tahini, hummus and oreos seem to be very popular.
  • You’ll be suprised at the number of things that are ‘accidentally vegan’, like BBQ Shapes.
  • Chocolate - Sweet William is an Australian brand and a few dark chocolates are also vegan (not to mention healthier).  Hot chocolate - try raw cacao or find a brand without milk solids.
  • Swap your shampoo, soap, hair gel, makeup, etc for cruelty free and vegan products.  ChooseCrueltyFree is a good website to start.
  • Find some cruelty free cleaning products, or you can make your own using some bi-carb and vinegar.
  • Buy vegan condoms such as Glyde for fun in the bedroom with people with penises.
  • Change any toys for fake leather such as those made by VeganErotica.
My best tip to you is, don’t give up just because people are being mean.  Your living a compassionate lifestyle can seem challenging to others.  It can be confronting and make them reassess what it is that they are doing.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to the vegan communities that are near you or on the internet.

Don’t beat yourself up if you get something wrong, everyone does and more than once.  The point is you’re trying and you will learn.  Good luck!

Feb 14, 2012

Potato Chips

  • Two big potatoes
  • One sweet potato
  • Oregano, dill, paprika, pepper, salt 1tsp
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp oil

  1. Chop the normal potatoes into chip size, chop sweet potato half the size.
  2. Mix together herbs and spices with oil in a large container.
  3. Preheat oven to 210C
  4. Put the chips in the container and shake til evenly coated.
  5. Put on tray in oven and cook for 35-40 minutes, turning once.

Feb 13, 2012


A few days ago I got to join the Green Earth Group people and help them hand out 'Eating Up The World' booklets, which you can read online by following the link.

It was a good night, we handed out about 400 or so of them and I only saw a couple get thrown into the recycling bin.  I would have preferred that they be handed back to give to someone who would appreciate the message.  I hope that at least one person went home and had a good think about the environmental consequences of what they eat.

It's been scientifically proven again and again that a vegan diet is the best diet for the environment.  A lot of people just start by having one meatless meal each week.

To find out about more events that are coming up, check out Green Earth Group's website.

Spiced Chocolate Cookies

I had a lot of random ingredients laying around the house so I tried to make some cookies using a recipe that I made up on the spot.  They ended up being a bit bland, but could probably be helped along with nuts/chocolate chips.  My friends suggested that they would make good cookies for dipping in soy milk.  Let me know what you think and how they go!  Any suggestions would be great too of course :).

*1 tsp cinnamon
*1 tsp cloves
*1 tsp ginger
*1/3 cup + 1 tbsp Nuttelex
*1/4 cup raw sugar
*1 cup flour
*2 tbsp cocoa
*2tbsp non-dairy milk

1.  Mix all ingredients together.
2.  Roll into balls and squish down.
3.  Bake 180C for 15-20mins

Makes:  About 12.

Want to do a guest spot recipe?  Contact me at kommonerkraft@yahoo.com.au!

Feb 9, 2012

Creator Profile: Epheriell & *bespoke*

Tell us about yourself!

I'm a 30-year-old full-time crafty lady from outside of Brisbane.  A few years back, I went from not even being able to knit in a straight line to being an obsessive crafter.  I went on a bit of a crafty odyssey till I found my craft of choice - silversmithing!

From there, a whole new world opened up for me, and I dove into the craft community.  I'm still here, and now my creations are my full-time business. When I'm not reading a novel on my kindle, that is.

My partner-in-crime is my awesome husband, Nick, who runs the household and helps me run the business, too!

What do you create?

I have two main businesses - my eco-friendly jewellery range, Epheriell, and my crafty zine, *bespoke*!

Epheriell is my first love and main business, and *bespoke* came along a little later. *bespoke* is a print and digital zine that comes out quarterly, and it's filled with interviews, stories, tutorials and more aimed at the creative and crafty community in Australia.

I also have a full-time daily lifestyle blog - Epheriell Designs - where I blog about craft, creativity, life and business.

Are your products vegan friendly?

Well, all of the silver I use for my Epheriell designs is 100% recycled. That is - it's harvested from old photos, industrial processes, etc, then re-refined. No newly mined metal is included. So, not specifically vegan, but certainly earth-conscious!
How long have you been making things?

I think I enjoyed making stuff as a little kid, but that kinda disappeared as I got older. I have a hideous unfinished scarf I tried to knit in my early 20s, but I think the first thing I actually finished was another scarf, once the crafting bug hit me in my late 20s. I wish I could remember which one it was now!
Where do you get your inspiration?

Oh, I never know how to answer this question! I'm so immersed in the creative world these days, inspiration hits me from all angles. For my jewellery designs, sometimes I'll just get a bolt out of the blue... a 'what if I tried this...' sort of idea. Sometimes I'll see a shape that sparks off an idea, or just sit down with my sketchpad and doodle till I come across a design I like.

How can people contact you?

Blog - EpheriellDesigns.com
Shop - Epheriell.com
*bespoke* zine - bespokezine.com
Facebook - facebook.com/epheriell

Feb 4, 2012

Fact Sheet: Honey

Lots of people ask if honey is vegan, and some places even sell products with honey in them as vegan.

Bees are animals; they are insects and insects fall into the animal category in biological sciences.  By definition, vegans do not consume honey as it is an animal product.  The bees will collect nectar in their stomachs and there, it is turned into honey, which is then regurgitated when they get back to the hive.  Therefore, it is most definitely an animal product.

'bee on sunflower' by jlodder

However, not only is it an animal product, but there are some animal rights issues surrounding honey and its uses:
"The queen bee is usually killed every year and a new queen introduced to the colony.5  The queen may have her wings clipped to prevent her from flying; this is to stop the bees carrying out their natural instinct to swarm (the old queen and a large proportion of the bees leaving the nest once the colony has provided a new queen to replace her)."
Source: The Vegan Society
"Bees are often killed, or their wings and legs torn off, by haphazard handling."
Source: Saint Francis Couture
"Often, queen bees are artificially inseminated."
Source: Veganpeace.com
'Bee happy' by Glisglis

Not to mention that the bees are basically factory farmed and their honey stolen (the honey that they accumulate for the winter and hard times naturally) just so we can have something sweet in our drinks or bread.  The honey that is taken from the bees is usually replaced with sugar or syrup
"Some beekeeping schools and beginner’s books advocate feeding sugar syrup to bees in the fall to carry them through the winter."
Source: Hobbyfarms.com
One bee only makes 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its entire lifetime.  There is a good write up available here that is full of more research and in depth information if you would like to learn more.

Even if you don’t care about the animal rights issues involved in honey production, you should think about the environmental impact of what you eat (more info here too).

Alternatives to honey include: agave nectar, maple syrup, raw sugar, rice syrup and more.
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