Michelle Obama’s Healthy Lunchtime Challenge cookbook is here! Featuring Alexea Wagner’s Vegan Sloppy Joes!  »

US First Lady Michelle Obama hugs her introducer, 12-year-old Marshall Reid from North Carolina and author of “Portion Size Me: A Kid-Driven Plan to a Healthier Family,” during a Kids’ “State Dinner” in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on Aug. 20. This first time event includes 54 children, ages 8-12, from all US states, three territories and Washington, DC, to a luncheon in support of the Let’s Move campaign, featuring healthy recipes and a performance by Nickelodeon’s Big Time Rush.

Remember last month, when we talked about Michelle Obama and Epicurious’ Healthy Lunchtime Challenge? Remember, kids from across the country submitted healthy recipes, and one from each state (plus three “territories” and poor old D.C.) won inclusion in the recipe book and a trip to attend a Kids’ State Dinner at the White House? And we got really excited because one of the recipes, by Nevadan Alexea Wagner, was explicitly vegan? Time to get excited again, Kinder Krunchies, because the free e-cookbook is available! 

The winning recipe-writers and their parents were feted on Monday at the White House, by the First Lady (and the President), where they served a few of the kids’ recipes, including Arizonan Haile Thomas’ vegan-by-default quinoa, black bean, and corn salad. Haile, by the way, is ridiculously precocious, particularly in the kitchen. Basically she’s a ringer, and we hope our hero Alexea got enough to eat at that omnivorous luncheon.

You can download the cookbook here [pdf], if you’re interested. As for the proud vegan: “I saw sloppy joes at school, but I wanted to make sure they were cruelty-free,” says Alexea, who serves this with kale salad that has shredded carrot, spicy pecans, and sliced strawberries, and a big glass of soy milk.

Still rules!

For your convenience, the following recipes are secretly vegan:
Arizonan Haile Thomas’ quinoa, black bean, and corn salad;
Coloradan Aiden Gould’s rainbow salad with black beans, mint, and lemon;
Delawarean Jourdann Latney’s stuffed tomatoes;
Marylander Samuel Hightower’s sizzling tofu with green onions and sugar snap peas;
Michigander Avery McNew’s apple oat balls!;
Utahan Lahav Ardi’s lentil veggie soup;
and West Virginian Alexis Nelson’s golden Moroccan butternut stew (less the honey I KNOW).

There are also a good number of vegan-except-for-cheese recipes, or easy veg-protein-for-meat substitutions. I realize I sound like I’m trying to sell you on this book, which is predicated on the idea that there is a CHILDHOOD OBESITY EPIDEMIC OH NO THE CHILDREN ARE FATTENING, which we at Vegansaurus find generally gross. But getting kids cooking is great! Especially if it’s vegan food! If nothing else, you don’t have to worry about them accidentally contracting a terrifying food-borne illness if you don’t bring illness-bearing foods into your kitchen.

You can see more utterly charming photos from the Kids’ State Dinner at NBC News, and  download the cookbook [pdf] at Epicurious. Invite some Happy Veggie Kids into your kitchen!

[Photo by Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images via NBC News]


Kids win Michelle Obama’s Healthy Recipe Contest with vegan food!  »

Back in May, Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move organization (initiative?) announced a “Kids’ State Dinner” competition, in which kids from across the country would submit original recipes for consideration by a group of chefs, nutrition writers, the Epicurious editor in chief, and representative of the USDA and the Department of Education. 

The contest received over 1,200 entries. Recipes were based on “nutritional value,” “perceived taste,” “creativity and originality,” and “affordability,” as well as undergoing a a preparation and taste-test. Then the judges chose one winner from every state, plus five territories and poor old D.C. The most important thing to us: Nevada’s winner, by nine-year-old Alexea Wagner, was “vegan sloppy joes and kale salad.” Alexea! Congratulations, you wonderful person!

Check out the full list of winners (a number of which are clearly veg, though only one is explicitly vegan), and look for a free, downloadable cookbook with all the recipes after the winners attend a Kids’ State Dinner at the White House on Aug. 20. Happy Veggie Kids are now recipe champions!

[Photo by the U.S. Department of Agriculture via Flickr]


USDA and Let’s Move! want veg recipes for school lunches! BEEF magazine fears for children’s health  »

Who knew there were multiple BEEF magazines? The one in question today is a trade magazine, specifically "America’s leading cattle publication," which means they don’t write articles for consumers, but they are heavily invested in the consumption of beef. No surprise, then, that they’ve pitched a big old fit about the USDA’s new Let’s Move! Recipes for Kids Challenge that requires vegetables and whole grains, but not beef. NOT BEEF.

A disaster! Kristina Butts is terrified that this will deprive schoolchildren of—beef? Her argument isn’t what you’d call convincing, though considering she is the director of Legislative Affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association—and the only source quoted in this article—perhaps she has different priorities than our beloved FLOTUS. Kristina Butts finds this emphasis on eating more fruits and vegetables ridiculous: “[P]lants already make up 70 percent of our diets,” she says. Isn’t that enough? Not to mention that “[o]n average, Americans are consuming about 2.3 oz. of red meat/day, well within [the] 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. By excluding meat from its healthy kids recipe contest [sic], [the] USDA continues to add to the misconception that meat is over-consumed in the U.S.”

Don’t you see the problem? If we don’t “encourage [our] elected lawmakers to ask [the] USDA to use science and facts when finalizing the dietary guidelines,” they might do something totally insane, like recommend people eat a plant-based diet, and cut back on their consumption of ALL animal products—not just BEEF, but PORK and CHICKEN and EGGS and GOD KNOWS WHAT ELSE, don’t they know soy gives you gay cancer? Jesus didn’t eat tofu!

The point, says Kristina Butts, is fuck this Recipe Challenge, unless you can get a bunch of eligible contestants together, in which case make it as beefy as possible. Show those USDA morons what real Americans eat.

*If you would like to enter this contest, it is unfortunately more complicated than being good at making vegetable-based dishes that children love. You have to form a team with “a chef, a a school nutrition professional, at least one student currently enrolled in grades 4-12 [sic], and at least one parent or community member.” Then there’s a bunch of business about recipe sizes and requirements, nutritional information, student taste-testing—Let’s Move! is not messing around with this. The deadline for submission is 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 30, so you still have plenty of time to get yourself together. Still, it is a noble cause, and now that BEEF has declared war on the Challenge, the veg community is honor-bound to win. Go on, school lunch champions. Do it for the animals. Or FLOTUS! Or Elizabeth, she’ll be so proud of you.

[cover image from, yes, BEEF magazine]


American crazies, awesome people in other countries, vegan marshmallows, illegal meats, travels with produce, expensive shoes on sale and more in this week’s link-o-rama!  »

We didn’t have a link-o-rama for a couple of weeks, whoops. Good thing we saved up all those links, so you have tons of good reading for this weekend.

Let’s get some shoes! Vegan shoes, on sale through the end of the month. Ohhhh man, I wear a 7.5 U.S./37.5 EU if anyone wants to buy me a special present for being so great.

Can I kiss, like, everyone in Ghent? Last year, the city decided that Thursday would be Vegetarian Day, meaning city-run cafeterias &c. (they FEED THEIR CIVIC EMPLOYEES? WHAT?) and schools (ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS) would have to serve exclusively vegetarian food every Thursday. According to this week’s episode of the best radio show ever, Inside Europe, this is going really well. The kids love it, the citizens love it, and what the hell Ghent has 91 vegetarian restaurants?!! (note: download the podcast, skip to 49:20 to go directly to the pertinent story.)

Awesome Sharon of Veg Table is moving to Australia! Before she goes, she leaves us a final post on delicious local eating. Not included: her visit to Gussie’s Chicken and Waffles, which she wrote about just for us.

Speaking of linking to our own stuff, have you checked out the posts on John Mackey’s latest jerk-ass anti-fat-people bullshit, and on the travesty that is the new Weird Fish menu? The comments, they are many! We love it when you express your opinions, as long as you are civil/pertinent.

Super-smart Vegansaurus writer Steve contributed to the SF Appeal today, on the subject of non-meat-eaters keeping meat-eating cats. We are pretending not to be jealous that we didn’t ask him to write about this here first. Proud! We are proud, good job, Steve!

Vegetable tourism: in which British people travel the country in search of the birthplaces of famous varieties of produce. It’s quirky! Much like British people! But this seems more worthwhile (and tastier!) than, say, doing Jane Austen novel reenactments at Bath. That is like 10 lorries’ past “quirky” and well into “insanator” territory (READ OTHER BOOKS, GUYS).

Some grumplestiltskin at 7x7 magazine just can’t get over the fact that they don’t serve real actual from-an-animal cheese at Gracias Madre. Just, why call it “cheese” when it’s totally an amalgam of weird stuff, ugh.

Meat-smuggling: not just a single-entendre! Apparently some people do this because in Europe—mostly Italy—they do especially fascinating things with animal parts that are so much more interesting and authentic than the weird and fucked up things people do with animal parts here. GOD, you are SO GROSS, SHUT UP.

But gosh, maybe if the U.S. had laxer meat-import laws, people wouldn’t spend so much time murdering horses and selling their bodies for food. Right? Because meat-eating is like the hardestcore thrill-seeking, LIFE ON THE EDGE!! BEEF!

Oh, Michael Pollan. He doesn’t think it’s possible to make your own Twinkies! I can make you an organic, vegan Twinkie that tastes like French kisses from angels.

PCRM (employer of one of your Vegansaurus editors) made a list of the five best cookbooks of the decade, and guess what, they’re all VEGAN. The actual cookbooks I cannot endorse—one by certain pseudo-nutritionist insanators, another having been published roughly two seconds ago—but the point is that a vegan diet will save your life. Tell your everyone.

Michelle we love you: who wants to veganize the First Lady’s shortbread cookies? Come on, you want to.

Monsanto, the most evil of all agricultural corporations (that we know of), is facing an antitrust hearing from the Justice Department. Considering that “about 93 percent of soybean plantings last year” are connected to Monsanto, I’d say this is pertinent to us vegans. Although considering the DoJ is following up claims made by motherfucking DuPont, this may just end in (more of) our rage tears.

Someone is considering opening an exclusively vegan store in the Bay Area? WHAT YES PLEASE. Be nice and helpful and take this survey and let’s make this happen like yesterday.

Bitches hate Ingrid Newkirk: she is the Anti-Feminist Antichrist and PETA wages endless war on Sensible People’s Precious Sensibilities. Hey ladies!

Kelis “would demand [the chinchillas and minks whose pelts make up her luxurious coats] be put to death" if they weren’t already being raised on farms for the express purpose of being anally fucking electrocuted and made into those "luxurious" coats she loves so damn much. She also demands that the anti-fur brigade turn their attention other causes, like the poor people who pick vegetables, and sufferers of female genital mutilation. Because you know you can’t try to change more than one shitty situation at a time and VEGANS HATE HUMANS, I WOULD MURDER THE REINCARNATION OF EINSTEIN TO SAVE A RABID CAT, DID YOU KNOW?

Big ol’ vegan Erykah Badu released a bonus track from her (maybe) new album today, which is glorious.

Physically bigger vegan Georges Laraque (we’re everywhere!) is the best hockey player in the entire world ever, and raised a ton of money for Haiti recently. You guys I think we should start following the Canadiens.

Thanks, meat-eaters, for wrecking everything for the polar bears. Fucking THANKS A LOT.

Russia, on the cutting edge of being the total embodiment of a heartless fucking bastard, wants to get back on the cutting edge of space travel by sending a monkey to Mars. Don’t worry though, a robot will feed it! I wish this were from The Onion.

Here is an interview with the super-hardcore and super-amazing Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. She tolerates no bullshit and makes delicious food, we adore her.

Some employees of HarperCanada, inspired by friend-of-Oprah Tal Ronnen, took a two-weeklong vegan challenge. Apparently in Toronto it is hard to find vegan bread? I don’t know. Regardless: nice effort!

Forbes isn’t exclusively the domain of classist, poors-hating white dudes you want to punch in the face! It’s also the home of a guy who, following Mark Bittman’s advice, eats mostly vegan. He calls the diet “[his] health care plan,” awesome! If only my vegan diet would scrape my teeth and cure my astigmatism, we’d be peas in a healthy fucking pod!

A significantly less offensive magazine: Potluck Mania!, by super-vegan/author Joanna Vaught, which absolutely deserves its exclamation point.

Vegansaurus favorite Sweet & Sara were featured on the Food Network’s Unwrapped series. Hooray!! Also, thanks, now I am dying for a peanut butter s’more. Relatedly, make your own (terrifying) vegan marshmallows!


Fucking Obama and his compromise bipartisanship bullshit.  »

Remember when everybody made a big stink about Michelle Obama’s organic vegetable garden? Remember how tons of progressive yuppies thought it was, like, the coolest thing ever? Well, evidently, just because the Obamas don’t want their arugula drenched with hormone-altering chemicals and toxic sludge doesn’t mean that they give a shit about what farmers are allowed to spray on yours.

As Mother Jones (ugh, I know, they’re crazy) reports, Obama has nominated a former high-level lobbyist for the pesticide industry for a key agricultural post. In fact, the nominee hails from the very same organization that launched a series of ridiculous and kind of vicious attacks on Michelle’s little garden. (And the same organization that, under his watch, engaged in secret talks with the EPA to test pesticides on children. I will repeat that: test pesticides on children.

Not like Barack Obama has a stellar record on nominating progressives to key positions dealing with either the environment or food production, but this recent bit of news is especially WTF?!

The lobbyist (oh hey, remember Obama’s campaign promise not to fill key posts with lobbyists?) is expected to be confirmed without any problems. But with a name like “Islam ‘Isi’ Siddiqui,” there’s always a chance that the birthers and Lou Dobbs could unite to run this guy out of Washington. Fingers crossed.

From Ben, who stole it from this girl he has a crush on.

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