In my new My Favourite Vegan feature I’ll be seeking out and interviewing interesting vegans from all walks of life. If you would like to be included, please get in-contact with me! n00bs and long-term vegans are all welcome.
My first Favourite Vegan is Sarah from Stuff About Stuff. Sarah has a great new vegan parents feature at her blog. I was her first interview subject, and she’s already up to #7! Sarah has also shared her favourite recipe: Spaghetti with Tofu Balls! Yummy.
And finally the start of my book giveaway! I’m starting with a copy of The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life: Cruelty-Free Crafts, Recipes, Beauty Secrets and More! Check out the details below…
My Favourite Crafty Mum Vegan
How are parents and children important in the vegan movement?
When people see healthy vegan children and even healthy pregnant ladies they will start to question the myths that it’s not safe for these stages of life. The vegan lifestyle is suitable for all stages of life. Plus the added bonus of vegans becoming parents are going to raise more vegans!
The more vegan families the more chance there is for more people to see that normal everyday people can achieve the vegan lifestyle, you don’t have to be a young hipster uni student, or jobless hippies (I see this comment the most in news articles about animal rights). I love the fact that I get to teach my daughter how to be compassionate and thoughtful towards not only animals but the rest of the world.
I read a book called Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times by Zoe Weil, and it had this quote by Mahatma Gandhi that I just loved and I think about everyday.
“If we are to reach real peace in this world and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with children; and if they will grow up in their natural innocence, we won’t have to struggle, we won’t have to pass fruitless idle resolutions, but we shall go from love to love and peace to peace, until at last all the corners of the world are covered with that peace and love for which consciously or unconsciously the whole world is hungering.”
How does balancing eco/vegan/health concerns with the busy life that comes with being a parent compare to “normal” parenting?
I will have to go with saying it’s something different rather than easier or harder, though that said I don’t realise that it’s different until we are around others who are not vegan or even eco-minded. Being vegan would be the most different out of the three, when you are with non-vegans it’s made clear that it’s odd or different.
I don’t take my child to McDonalds or KFC when we are out, she eats avocado sushi, she doesn’t snack on cheese sticks or any snack bar from the grocery stores, she snacks on seeds, dried fruit and homemade baked goods. But really I am completely fine with all of those things.
How is crafting and sewing as a vegan different?
It is not that different at all to be crafty and vegan, just make sure if you knit that the yarn is acrylic, or natural fibres like bamboo. I find bamboo really soft and beautiful, and most materials when sewing are cotton. I enjoy sewing and hope to get better at it and embroidery and stuff and do some cute vegan-related pictures/quotes to hang up, I think that would be pretty cool. So in short there will be vegan versions for you to use!
What inspired you to go vegan? And stay vegan!
My vegan story is this: I have always loved animals, I grew up in country NSW and had bottle fed calves and lambs that we loved like cats and dogs which we had too, but back then never made the connection.
About 3 and a bit years ago I was talking to my husband about it all and thought wait I am saying I love animals but eating chicken!? Maybe I should go vegetarian? Because I feel like a bit of a hypocrite right now, then he said why not go vegan? I had no clue what vegan was, so I got on the internet study up on it and thought – yup, that’s it, I’m going vegan – it’s healthy and feels right to me so I became vegan and shortly after my husband decided on his own to become vegan too. So now we are a completely vegan family going on 4 years. (Ed. note: The logical approach combined with compassion: my favourite!)
What makes me stay vegan is I feel so great about our choice for health reasons and of course the animals. Why wouldn’t I want to live this way? It’s great!
Favourite vegan recipe, please!
I have so many favourite recipes/foods since becoming vegan it has opened up a whole new world of flavours for me which I was always scared to try. But now I always cook and I am always looking for new things to eat, the one stands out that I wish I would make more often, is Spaghetti and Tofu Balls from the book The Ultimate Book of Vegan Cooking by Tony and Yvonne Bishop-Weston. (Ed. note: We got that book as a Christmas present last year! It’s very pretty!)
250g firm tofu
1 onion, coarsely grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 small bunch parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce
½ cup ground almonds (I used almond meal)
2 tbsp olive oil
ground black pepper
FOR THE SAUCE
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large eggplant, diced
2 zucchini, diced
1 red capsicum, seeded, finely chopped
1 tbsp agave syrup
1 400g can chopped tomatoes (I used diced)
1 cup vegetable stock
Place the drained tofu (I crumbled it while putting into the bowl), grated onion, garlic, mustard, cumin, parsley, soy sauce and ground almonds into a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Roll into about 20 walnut sized balls squashing the mix together in your hands.
Heat olive oil in a large frying pan then add balls in batches if needed. Cook gently turning them occasionally until brown all over. Remove from pan and set aside.
Heat the olive oil for the sauce in the same pan add onion and garlic and cook for 5 mins or until softened. Add eggplant, zucchini, capsicum and agave and stir fry for about 10 min or until vegetables have turned slightly brown. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir in tomatoes and stock cover and simmer for 20 mins or until the sauce is rich and thickened just before the end of cooking time place the tofu balls on top of the sauce and heat through for 2-3 mins.
Meanwhile cook pasta.
Serve and enjoy
I usually leave the eggplant out because I don’t really enjoy it. The book has so many great recipes and is one of my favourite books ever!
Anything else you’d like to see/hear more about from the vegan community?
I would love to see more cookbooks that are ingredients the average person would have in the pantry/fridge like Wild Vegan – a few non-vegans go through my cookbooks and always comment that they would never have this ingredient or that one, which makes it seem hard or annoying to cook vegan meals when it’s not! If I was clever enough to think of enough recipes for a book I would do it myself but for now I will just hint to those who are
The 1st of many as I downsize my epic book collection in an attempt to achieve a more minimalist/essentialist lifestyle – recipe books, other non-fiction, and fiction MUST GO!… eeeeep!
The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life: Cruelty-Free Crafts, Recipes, Beauty Secrets and More by Melisser Elliott is a fantastic practical guide for new vegans, and loads of fun for old-school vegans, particularly if you’re into baking. And it’s a GORGEOUS book with lots of photos, illustrations, and a dash of post-punk attitude.
Vegan women everywhere are banding together in their efforts to be healthy, cruelty-free, and environmentally responsible. This is their handbook. Melisser (known to most as “The Urban Housewife”) presents the basics of veganism for the newbies, lots of DIY craft projects, cruelty-free beauty tips, travel advice, recipes, and more.
This book is not just for vegan girls — it’s also for anyone who’s interested in a cruelty-free lifestyle. Discover the best beauty products, fun vacation spots, plus an assortment of recipes including Jackfruit “Carnitas” Tacos, Twice Baked Chipotle Sweet Potatoes, Curried Red Lentil Veggie Burgers, Chipotle Hominy Stew, and Double Chocolate Cookies. Learn how to make recycled cake stands, find a cross-stitch pattern by Stitch’d Ink, and find out about natural beauty and cleaning products. Reading like a Who’s Who of vegan women, contributions of recipes and craft projects will be provided by some of the most respected vegan chefs and bloggers in the world (Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Hannah Kaminsky, Celine Steen, Julie Hasson, Kittee Berns, Kelly Peloza, and more).
If you’d like to have it, tell me your favourite part about living a cruelty-free lifestyle: in the comments! I’ll pick my favourite answer by June 25th – my baby due date – or a random answer, because every answer will probably be my favourite. Have at it.