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Tag: vegetarian

Pretzels Were Made for Vegans (at Easter)

The History of the Holy Knot

The history of the delicious, soft, pillowy pretzel goes back hundreds of years and demonstrates once again that we have more food traditions that reflect abstaining from animal products than indulging in them. Take a listen to the Medieval origins of this food, how it saved a city, and why it’s associated with Easter.

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Why People Say Almonds and Avocados Are Not Vegan

Avocados and Almonds are [Vegan] Red Herrings

Ever since this ridiculous clip from (one of my favorite shows), QI, the Internet has been abuzz!

The fact that there’s so much buzz around whether or not avocados and almonds are VEGAN and that vegans are hypocrites for eating them reveals four things to me:

  • 1. that non-vegans love to play the gotcha game.
  • 2. that vegans haven’t done a very good job clarifying what “vegan” means.
  • 3. that almonds and avocados have become red herrings to distract and deflect away from violence in animal factories and slaughterhouses.
  • 4. non-vegans who use this argument are belying the fact that they have no other strong defense for justifying eating animals.
  • 5. Vegans take the bait every single time.

Vegans Are Imperfect Because Humans Are Imperfect.

Here’s what I think.

There is no such thing as a certified vegan, and there is no way to attain perfection or purity — as imperfect humans in an imperfect world.

And that’s not what being vegan is about.

So…should I eat foie gras because my organic kale was grown in soil amended with chicken manure? Should I eat pork and chicken’s wings because the apples I buy were pollinated with domesticated honeybees?

That makes absolutely no sense.

The idea that we should do nothing because we can’t do everything is illogical and self-defeatist. Don’t do nothing because you can’t do everything. Do something. Anything.

This is Not a Vegan Problem. It’s a Human Problem.

What’s more, before European colonists brought the honeybee to the United States, native bees alone pollinated all the wild flowering plants and the crops grown by indigenous peoples. That was before we replaced diverse habitat with monoculture (almonds and avocados).

So, the reason farmers RENT bees is because we’re wiping out native bee populations and because these monocrops are intensively farmed.

THIS ISN’T A VEGAN PROBLEM TO SOLVE. This is A HUMAN problem that CAN be solved with some resourcefulness, ingenuity, foresight, and frankly compassion on the part of farmers, scientists, and policy-makers. 

You wanna help bees? Stop wasting time criticizing vegans for doing something. Look in your own back garden to see what you can do to make a difference, and don’t do nothing!

Imperfection is built into begin vegan, because imperfection is built in to being human.

10 Best Countertop Appliances

NOTE: This blog post also corresponds with a podcast episode I did by the same name, but also include LESSONS FROM A KITCHEN REMODEL. Listen and learn more here.

BEST COUNTERTOP APPLIANCES

It’s true that small appliances require some space, but it’s also true that they can make it easy to prepare and eat delicious, nutrient-dense, vegan, plant-based dishes. While of course you can get along without them, I do think a couple are worth the space they take up on your counter, and their price points are really reasonable. 

I also recommend — if you have space — that you keep those you use often out on your countertop. If you have to dig around a closet every time you want to use them, you never will.

If we don’t have time to be sick, we have to make time to be healthy.

In no particular order, here are my favorites and why. (Disclosure: while no one pays me to make these recommendations, if you purchase them through the links provided, I make a small commission, so thank you for using the links. I appreciate it very much.)


1. Air Fryer (Ninja)

Circulating air up, down, and all around, an air fryer is essentially a compact convection oven. I love my air fryer and use it every day, one of the main benefits of which is not having to preheat it before using. While it’s a great way to cook without oil, I still find that a little oil adds moisture and flavor to my veggies that are too dry without it. But you just need so little! Favorite things to cook in my air fryer: 

  • Brassicas: cauliflower, broccoli, broccolini, Brussels sprouts. Just a small amount of oil rubbed on each floret, tossed with a sprinkling of salt is all you need for crispy bites in 10 minutes.
  • Carrot fries: Cut carrots into matchsticks, toss with a little olive oil, salt, and chili powder. 
  • Kale chips: Seriously, in just a few minutes (and on a lower heat), you will have the most glorious, nutrient-dense kale chips. Again, a little oil rubbed onto each leaf, plus salt, AND golden flakes (aka nooch; aka nutritional yeast). 
  • Japanese sweet potatoes: Bake them first and store in fridge. When it’s time for dinner, split them open on the top and smash down the flesh with a fork OR I just slice the potatoes up into discs — and put in the air fryer for about 10 minutes. No oil. Crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. 

Top choice: Ninja Air Fryer (5.5 quart) – If you have the space, go for this “family size” air fryer. You can cook a lot at once, and it comes in lots of fun, pretty colors. I have the 4-quart size and wish it was larger.

NOTE: I made room to add this appliance to my pantry, but if you are choosing between a small convection oven (SEE #6) and an air fryer, you’re better off choosing the convection oven to get more bang for your buck, but I’m grateful to have the luxury for both in my kitchen.


2. Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot)

This was a game-changer in our house in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS. It is not an exaggeration to say that getting a pressure changed everything for me. Beans (without soaking!) are ready in 30 minutes and taste better than any bean in a can or even cooked on the stove for hours. The pressure just seals in the flavor and makes the world taste good. 

Top choice: Instant Pot (8 quarts) I’ve had others. This is the best.


3. Blender (Vitamix)

I’m often asked if a blender is necessary when you have a food processor. My answer: yes. A blender is best for liquefying or blending liquid ingredients. A food processor is good for chopping, mincing, and pureeing. For instance, I use my blender to make smoothies, shakes, and “nice cream” on a regular basis, which the food processor isn’t meant for. I use the food processor for quickly chopping things like onions, carrots, ginger root, which the blender wasn’t meant to do.

Top choice: Vitamix. Nothing beats this blender and its tamper. Period. Full stop. Fantastic warranty (usually 5 years — for free), different colors, and time-tested reliability. There are many different models but I’ve chosen my top pick for its price and power: the Vitamix Explorian Series E310


4. Food Processor (Kitchen Aid)

As I mention below, I love my Kitchen Aid food processor because it has a large bowl with a large blade and a small bowl and blade that fits into it. I LOVE the versatility of that. I use my food processor for quickly chopping onions, carrots, and garlic; for pureeing soups; for making peanut butter; for pulsing chickpeas for Better-Than-Tuna…just name it. The only thing I don’t use it for is blending (like for making smoothies and nice cream). 

Top choice: Kitchen Aid 11-cup. I have had this machine for over 20 years and haven’t had to replace any parts — ever. That’s the first reason I recommend the Kitchen Aid brand; the second is because one machine has two bowls and two blades – large and small – a convenient feature that not all food processors have. 


5. Soy Milk Maker (Joyoung)

While you can make soy milk without a machine, it’s INFINITELY easier to do so with a soy milk maker. 

Top choice: Joyoung Soy Milk Maker. I’ve come around to having the milk made in the stainless steel pitcher and then just straining at the end. It’s super easy to do, and you won’t have to worry about the holes in a strainer cup getting clogged. This one also enables you to make milk with unsoaked beans, but you’ll get more milk with soaked soy beans. 


6. Countertop Convection / Toaster Oven (Oster)

Before we renovated our kitchen, we didn’t have space for a toaster oven, and I really really missed having one. Not a TOASTER, mind you — a toaster OVEN. Basically a small convection oven. I don’t like using my large wall oven unless I have to; it uses a ton of electricity, and the fan is loud. So, I use our countertop convection oven for everything from baking Japanese sweet potatoes and drop biscuits to toasting ciabatta!

Top choice: Oster Toaster Oven. Digital, easy to use, lots of options and settings. No complaints.


7. Popcorn Air Popper (Presto)

I don’t hide the fact that I eat popcorn several times a week, and while I grew up on Jiffy Pop, there comes a time you grow out of your childhood habits. I have had one single air popper for 25 years and while it looks a little worse or wear, it’s perfect in my eyes. 

Top choice: Presto Air Popper. My original air popper is so old that I can’t find it available anymore, but this one has the same features I love about mine!


8. Electric Stand Mixer (Kitchen Aid)

A stand mixer is essentially the same as a hand mixer but with more powerful motors than their hand-held counterparts. I’ve had my machine for at least 20 years — also a KitchenAid — and while I technically could live without it, I use it frequently: for kneading bread dough, for whipping up aquafaba for “egg whites,” and for making quick, large batches of cookie dough. Most stand mixers come with a variety of various additional blades, whisks, and hooks.

Top choice: Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer


9. Juicer (Nama)

You might consider this a a “nice-to-have” rather than an essential countertop appliances, but I juice at least once a week — more in the warmer months. My favorite juice combination is carrots, ginger, and apples, and my favorite juicer — by far — is the Nama. It’s super easy to clean, extracts more juice than any juicer I’ve ever had, and is portable enough for me to take on road trips. AND, because I became an affiliate of theirs, YOU save 10% ($40) when you purchase using this link and this coupon code: COLLEEN10.


10. Electric Kettle (Breville)

This is one of those small appliances you don’t think is necessary until you have one, and then you realize you use it all the time! It’s more energy-efficient than boiling water on the stove, and 10 times as fast. If you drink a fair amount of tea, it’s a game-changer. What I love about both of these is that you can change the temperature depending on what type of tea you’re drinking: green, oolong, white or black.

Top choice: Breville Variable-Temperature Kettle


Nice to Have Appliances — But Not Essential

NEXT, I wanted to include countertop “appliances” that may not be essential, but I’m happy I have them, and I definitely use them. I’m walking the line between “appliances” and “tools” here, but I make the rules, so it’s okay if I break them. 

  • Coffee Grinder (for grinding flax seeds): I’ve never had a cup of coffee in my life, but I use this handy-dandy gadget on a regular basis for grinding up the small, nutritious flax seeds that are good for eating and using as “eggs” in baking. (see blog post) 

Top choice: Krups is a good, reliable brand.

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  • Panini Press: Wonderful for making hot panini and even pancakes.

Top Choice: Breville is my recommended brand. 

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  • Electric Handheld Mixer: As the name implies, this is a hand-held device, where two stainless steel beaters are immersed in the food (in a mixing bowl) to do the mixing. 

Top choice: Dash has lots of great reviews and really pretty colors. 

2nd choice: Kitchenaid  – there are also versions that have a detachable whisk. I really like this stick blender — and those like it — where you twist to separate the body so all you have to do is put the blade part in the sink to wash it — and not the whole thing that’s attached to the plug.

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  • Immersion Blender also called Stick Blender: This is great for when you want to puree a pot of soup (or a portion of the soup) and don’t want to take out your entire blender or food processor. The one I link to below also has a whisk attachment, which is convenient, but there are many to choose from.

Top choice: Kitchen Aid Stick Blender

  • Waffle maker: This one was pretty close to making it an essential appliance, but in the end…are waffles really essential? I dunno…maybe they are. You might want to consider this #11 in my essential countertop appliances. 😉 I searched high and low for the right one, and I love the one I landed on. I did a ton of research for this, and it paid off. I love the one I got — it’s super easy, makes perfect waffles every time, and it’s a pancake maker as well! (It comes with pancake plates you can easily replace the waffle plates with!) 

Top choice: Cuisinart Waffle Maker with Pancake Plates

  • Wine fridge: Because we are wine drinkers, and we are members of a few different wineries, it’s nice to have red, rose, and white wines chilled at exactly the right drinking temperature, we did buy a wine fridge for our pantry but definitely a luxury and not a necessity. We were close to getting it built in when we re-did the kitchen, but I’m glad we didn’t. We did a ton of research for this one, as well, and it suits us perfectly — exactly the size we need and sits on top of our counter in the kitchen (and my soy milk maker sits on top). 

Top choice: Ivation 

  • Portable butane burners: So, I’ve had these for DECADES because it made teaching my cooking classes sooo easy in that I didn’t have to rely on the space I was renting to have a stove top, so I bought these little burners, and I’ve used them on picnics and sometimes even in our own back garden. It’s a bit of a hike from our kitchen to one of the outdoor spots we entertain, so I’ve brought the burners up there to make crepes or tortillas — things I wanted to serve hot when we were all outside, so in that way they’re very convenient. Now, there are definitely electric burners you can get, but I just prefer cooking over an open flame, so that’s why I gave these, and it also means you don’t need an outlet to use them! You just get little canisters of butane, and that’s what they run on. Now that I’m teaching the online cooking classes, it’s been super helpful to have my set-up such that I can point the camera down to my counter / cooking space. Otherwise, it would be awkward to constantly tilt the camera toward my stovetop. So, yeah, the little portable burner is great and a nice to have!  

Top choice: Burton Butane Burner – I’ve had 3 for years; you just have to buy the cartridges separately.

2nd choice: Coleman Butane Burner — I haven’t used it, but it looks very similar, it’s a lower price point, and it’s a good brand.


* Remember to listen to my podcast of the same name that also includes lessons from our kitchen remodel. *

For more on living and cooking vegan, I’m here to help. You can check out my books, online cooking classes, or bevy of plant-based recipes and recipe packets in my store. Here are some quick links:

The Joy of Vegan Baking

The 30-Day Vegan Challenge

The Joyful Vegan

Best Online Vegan Cooking Classes — Plant-Based and Zero Waste

The Art of Teaching Cooking

Ever since I started teaching vegan cooking classes in 1999, I’ve loved the art behind choosing the class theme and crafting the menu, whether it’s based on:

First and foremost, of course, is the fact that everything I teach is vegan, but after that, a world of possibilities awaits! I’m inspired by different cuisines and cultures, spices and flavors, textures and techniques, but mostly what I desire is to inspire someone to get into the kitchen to create food that will nurture, nourish, and delight.

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau teaching virtual vegan cooking classes

Engaging the Senses

Cooking is a sensual experience in that all of our senses are engaged, and our experience of eating begins long before we start chewing — what a dish looks like, what the kitchen smells like, what a recipe is called, what a food sounds like during preparation or cooking, and what it feels like to touch it with our hands, our teeth, and our tongue. What memories are evoked.

I consider all of these factors when developing my recipes and crafting my classes, and the greatest gift for me is to know that one — even just one — of my recipes may become part of someone’s repertoire. That they will follow instructions I’ve carefully considered. That they will make culinary tweaks and tickles to adjust it to their liking. That they will enjoy the process as much as the result.

Online cooking classes are fun, interactive, and enjoyed globally

Join a Class in 2023

The first half of 2023 is scheduled out, and I hope you can join me. Click on each to book your spot, and enjoy a discount when you book more than one class.

𝐅𝐄𝐁𝐑𝐔𝐀𝐑𝐘: Cozy Colorful Soups ⁠(Purple Kale and White Bean Soup, Six Shades of Red Soup, Brazilian Black Bean Stew)

𝐌𝐀𝐑𝐂𝐇: Classic Northern Italian Cuisine ⁠(Saffron Risotto (Risotto alla Milanese), Homemade Gnocchi with Pesto Sauce, Polenta alla Spianatora)

𝐀𝐏𝐑𝐈𝐋: Simple Southern Italian Cuisine ⁠(Stuffed Shells with Marinara Sauce, Spaghetti with Lentil Meatballs, Eggplant Caponata)

𝐌𝐀𝐘: Homemade Tofu and Soy Milk (Save money, eliminate packaging, and increase your cooking skills!)⁠

𝐉𝐔𝐍𝐄: Plant-based Food and Wine Pairings (Join me and my partner-in-wine (i.e. my husband) for this special class in which we provide a comprehensive lesson for the best red, white, and rose wines and the plant-based foods they pair with.)⁠

If you can’t decide, remember 𝐆𝐈𝐅𝐓 𝐂𝐀𝐑𝐃𝐒 are also available!⁠

The classes are fun, interactive, and live in real-time! This means, I see you, you see all the other participants, and you see me cooking in my Oakland kitchen and answering your questions. What’s more: you receive all the recipes in advance of the class and a video recording of the class after it’s over. 

Visit JoyfulVegan.com to join a class today

What type of cooking classes or recipes are you looking for? Comment down below.

Food and Feasting: The 12 (Vegan) Days of Christmas

First comes fasting, then comes feasting!

Whereas the period BEFORE Christmas has historically been about fasting, contemplation, and self-reflection, the period starting AT Christmas and going for 12 days thereafter is all about feasting, revelry, merriment!

In today’s episode, I argue that feasting and festivities are a lot more meaningful when they follow a period of deprivation.

12 Days of (Vegan) Christmas Recipe Bundle

WHAT’S MORE: Inspired by the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” I have a brand-new recipe bundle that features recipes that can be served at a single holiday party OR as inspiration for each day of the holiday season. 🎵 On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…🎵

Forbidden Meat: Fasting and Abstinence During Advent

Abstaining from meat, dairy, and eggs during religious holidays has been a tradition for centuries in many religions. In Christianity, for example, during Lent (40 days prior to Easter) and Advent (40 days prior to Christmas), parishioners were forbidden to consume animal flesh as well as as dairy, cheese, and eggs. 

In today’s episode, we explore this history and demonstrate that not eating animal products was more common than not, especially during the period of contemplation and contrition leading up to the holy days of Easter and Christmas. I share my own experience growing up Catholic, my memories of Fish Fridays, and the meaning of a common English word whose origins are steeped in religious abstinence.

   

12 (Vegan) Days of Christmas Recipes

Plant-based recipes inspired by the popular holiday song

Search for “12 Days of Christmas recipes” on the internet, and you’ll find countless blog posts featuring loads of animal products: actual cooked hens for Day 3, egg-based dishes for Day 6, milky desserts for Day 8, and so on.

There’s absolutely no evidence that the song pays homage to the consumption of different birds on different days during the 12 Days of Christmas; rather, it was most likely a memory game played on Twelfth Night, the 12th and final night of the 12 Days of Christmas, which begins on December 25th and ends on January 6th, otherwise known as Epiphany.

Still, you will find no animals harmed in the crafting of these dishes. It was so much fun crafting this menu — making literal interpretations as well as taking creative license. You’ll see all the whys and wherefores and details about why I chose the dishes I did once you purchase!

Obviously, you can cook from this menu anytime of the year, but I was very mindful about making sure you have what you need for a single holiday dinner (appetizers, starters, mains, and desserts) or for featuring one recipe per day during the 12 days of Christmas. Enjoy!

Our inspired musical menu!

Poached Pears — A Partridge in a Pear Tree (December 25)
Chocolate Pecan Turtles — Two Turtle Doves (December 26)
Fabulous French Toast — Three French Hens (December 27)
Better-than-Chicken Vegetable Pot Pie — Four Calling Birds (December 28)
Monkey Bread — Five Golden Rings (December 29)
Eggless Egg Salad Crostini — Six Geese a Laying (December 30)
Swan Cut-out Sugar Cookies — Seven Swans a Swimming (December 31)
Potato Leek Soup — Eight Maids a Milking (January 1)
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pink Lady Apples and Onions — Nine Ladies Dancing (January 2)
Wassail — Ten Lords-a-Leaping (January 3)
Polenta Fries + Eggless Meringue Cookies — Eleven Pipers Piping (January 4)
Butternut Squash Timbales — Twelve Drummers Drumming (January 5)

(If you’d like to understand more about why — historically — The 12 Days of Christmas started on December 25th and ended on January 6th (otherwise known as the epiphany), check out the Food for Thought podcast episodes Forbidden Meat as well Food and Feasting.)

Traveling in Tuscany: A Conversation

In this special episode, my travel business partner Brighde Reed (of World Vegan Travel) and I chat with some of the travelers from our Tour of Tuscany trip. First airing on the World Vegan Travel Podcast, in this special conversation, we talk about food, culture, language, highlights, surprises, and recommendations. If you have been curious about our vegan tours or just want to bask in the wonders of Italy — especially from a traveler’s perspective, this is the episode for you.

Join me on an all-inclusive luxury vegan trip: JoyfulVeganTrips.com

AFFILIATE PARTNERS

Nama Juicer — Use this link and coupon code COLLEEN10 and get 10% off my favorite juicer.

Plaine Products — Use this link and coupon code “compassion” for 15% off my favorite zero waste bath and body products.

Complement — Use this link and coupon code “joyfulvegan” and get 10% off my favorite supplements.

Animal Cruelty at the Supreme Court

Maybe 100 years ago it would have been a joke, but not today. Today, the issue of animal cruelty is being heard at the highest court in the nation, and it’s no laughing matter. Join me in conversation with Josh Balk, vice president of farm animal protection at the Humane Society of the United States as we discuss why animals need to be top of mind all the time.

AFFILIATE PARTNERS

Nama Juicer — Use this link and coupon code COLLEEN10 and get 10% off my favorite juicer.

Plaine Products — Use this link and coupon code “compassion” for 15% off my favorite zero waste bath and body products.

Complement — Use this link and coupon code “joyfulvegan” and get 10% off my favorite supplements.