Happy holidays from the ASPCA!  »

Awwww, so cute. Adorbs, if I may say so. Let’s watch cute videos all day!

I have a soft spot for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals because that’s where I got both my cat and my dog. What I REALLY wanted to post today was a new ASPCA commercial I saw starring Roberta Flack! It’s another one of those super-depressing commercials where they show the shivering puppies behind bars. Sad face. I can’t really handle those commercials, for real. But this time, the commercial is with Roberta Flack! Roberta Flack and cute sad animals—the ASPCA is trying to kill me! Keep an eye out for it.


Christmas at the Rascals’!  »

I got it the recipe for this squash stuffed with apple cornbread dressing from that Philadelphia Inquirer article, and it became the center of the vegan part of our Christmas dinner! Well, we ended up just buying vegan cornbread from Whole Foods. It was supposed to be delicata squash but we couldn’t find that so my mom got this carnival squash instead; it had a sort of pumpkin-y flavor. The cornbread-and-apple stuffing—OH! the cornbread-and-apple stuffing! It’s what stuffing dreams are made of. And one squash is very filling, I could only eat half with all the sides we had. Oh, I should warn you, at one point in the cooking process I got really cranky because cutting the squashes and scooping out the innards was like totally hard and annoying. But in the end, it was worth it! So keep calm and carry on.

Not all my vegan dreams went so well; my vegan popovers didn’t pop! I always get pouty when the omnis eat my mom’s Yorkshire pudding (it’s the food of my people!) so this year we tried to make a vegan version but, alack, it didn’t work. I let my mom make them (I’m so nice to her!) and she’s notorious for adapting recipes, so we can’t be sure what exactly went wrong. Next year, though! Meanwhile, if someone has a killer vegan Yorkshire pudding or popover recipe they want to share with me, COME FORTH AND BE COUNTED!

Here’s my favorite present of the year: Mitsy! Just kidding; I’ve had little Mits for years (and we didn’t really wrap her up)! How many kitties out there went crazy for the wrapping paper and ribbons and boxes? Mitsy was not at all impressed with her kitty-grass seeds from her grandparents but the PAPER they were wrapped in was apparently out of this world.

Another holiday surprise: it snowed! The holiday being Boxing Day of course—it was not a white Christmas. I’ll still roll a snowball in your honor, West-Coasters! Happy holidays to all my pals!


Have you been a naughty or nice vegan this year?

I have one thing I have to say about Ciddy Fonteboa (the creator) and her sweater at the end of the video: damn, baby girl!


From, this is your cry-yourself-to-sleep-on-Christmas video. You might want to have a companion animal nearby to hug so hard you almost accidentally kill them while you watch it.

SO. Some folks dressed as Santa visit pigs on an Austrian factory farm and give them hay to play in and apples to eat. First, Austrians are totally nuts! That’s just an aside but I mean, really. Second, it’s amazing to see the pigs transform from being totally terrified of the people entering the room (because that most likely means abuse or death! Merry Christmas!) to being so happy when they’re playing in the hay and munching on apples. The heartbreaking part is that the video ends, and then they’re all abused and murdered so some jerk human can have a pork chop. You know.

If you’re fully traumatized, go watch the video under this one of the adorable pit bulls saying, “I love you!” I’m pretty convinced it’s the only thing that will stop the sobbing. You might also consider a few episodes of Get a Life and if that doesn’t work, some roofies?

Now, I’m off to donate all my money to Farm Sanctuary (some rich person is matching donations through Dec. 31!), take two valiums with a vicodin chaser, and watch the trailer for Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel on repeat until I pass out. Happy holidays!


Recipe!: Vegan Gingerbread House!  »

This year I forced the fam to make vegan gingerbread houses. Shweet! My family is super into holiday fun-times like these. We made mini houses so that everyone could decorate their own. I don’t like sharing! Mine is the minimalist (by comparison) one on the left, my mom’s is the fancy one in the center gentrifying the neighborhood with its thatched roof (made with shredded wheat!), and my sister’s is the wacky yellow one on the right, bringing down our property values.

We borrowed the recipe from a whole gingerbread house cookbook by Christa Currie—it’s a fanatical gingerbread bible and I’m drinking her Kool-Aid! We made a few minor changes but the gingerbread recipe was already vegan! Yay! We found a vegan gingerbread frosting recipe over at Ok, now the slightly arduous fun begins!

The first thing you do is cut your gingerbread house pattern out of paper. If you have graph paper, it’s pretty easy to design your own pattern! Look at you! Designing your own pattern! If you’d rather not make your own, there are many online. Here’s a simple one and here’s a whole crapload of patterns.

Line some cookie sheets with parchment paper. Tip: If you don’t have parchment paper, you can actually just use brown grocery bag paper. Totes works.
Preheat over to 375 F.
In a large pot on low heat, melt:
•    1 cup vegetable shortening
•    1 cup sugar
•    1 cup dark molasses

Remove from heat and mix in:
•    1 tsp. baking soda
•    1/2 tsp. salt
•    2 tsp. cinnamon
•    2 tsp. ginger

Stir in 4 1/2 to 5 cups flour, one cup at a time.
Mix and knead dough until it’s even and smooth, not crumbly or dry. Divide the dough into three pieces; wrap two in plastic wrap while you’re working with one, so they don’t dry out.

Now it’s time to roll and cut out your gingerbread house! Put your dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it out flat with a rolling pin. place your pattern on the dough and cut around it with a knife.

When you’re done cutting your pieces out, place them on a cookie sheet and bake those bastards. It depends on how thin you rolled the dough but cook for 10 to 14 minutes. If you touch the dough and your finger leaves an imprint, bake a few more minutes.

3 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons of Silk Nog or soy milk
Egg replacer for three eggs

Beat the soy milk, egg replacer and vanilla together, then add powdered sugar and beat until thickened. Add more sugar as needed to thicken the frosting. You might need to make a second batch later, depending on when you decorate and how much frosting you use when decorating—but don’t make it all at once because it’ll just get hard and dry out.

Now it’s time to assemble your house! Fun! If you have a piping bag, put the frosting in a piping bag. If you are normal and don’t have a piping bag, you can make a makeshift one with a plastic bag. A large Ziplock-style bag works best. Put the frosting in there, dumping the majority into one corner. Twist the bag on the end diagonal from that corner. Cut the tip of the corner off, and you have a piping bag! This is my preferred method but if you want, you’ll probably be fine just putting the frosting on with a butter knife.

When adhering the pieces, put a generous amount of frosting on both edges and stick them together. First use the frosting to glue one of the long sides to whatever tray or plate you are using—trust me, it’s much easier to put together if you adhere the whole house to the plate/tray. While setting up the sides, it helps if you use glasses or jars to prop them up while the frosting hardens. Once you have all the sides done, leave them alone for a while so the frosting can harden and fortify that mofo. Do the roof last. If you’re having trouble getting the roof to stay on, it helps if you kind of hold it in place for a little while until the frosting dries for a bit. Let the whole house dry for a while before you start decorating.

•    Lots o’ vegan candy!
•    Pretzels, mini shredded wheat (not frosted—it has gelatin in it), chocolate chips, whatever you want!
•    Using the frosting, decorate your house with your vegan candy! Go wild! Get crazy! It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be AWESOME.

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