I have never been into Christmas. Mum will say that when younger I loved all the presents my sister and I received, and there were a lot of presents. Why were they never from my parents though? Just some mystical guy with a beard who decided if we were good enough, or not. If the presents were known to be from my parents earlier would I have appreciated them more when I was younger? Why does everything in our society seem to perpetuate the black vs white, bad vs good, Devil vs God mentality? I can just imagine how wonderful children whose parents have no money to buy presents for them feel...
(photo of the Koch & Charles family Christmas dinner 2010 above)
Christmas is that time of year when some people remember that:
they haven't paid their credit cards from last Christmas, but that doesn't mattter because they also remember...
that everyone will be at the local shopping centre, so they must be too
they can't stand their family/friends/the world's population
for some reason this time of year is an excuse for gluttony in all it's forms
they love animals, somewhere after they've gorged on just about every creature they can
even though they're religious, love animals and such "thou shall not kill" just does not apply to anything they like to eat
I try not to be despondent at this time of year. But years of previously working in music retail, seeing people who can't afford to pay their credit off from last year, filling trolleys with more stuff that they do not need really gets to me. It gets to me that people force themselves to see people they can't stand, buy rubbish they don't need, eat food they don't need etc etc just because they're told they're meant to either from some deity or shopping/marketing deity. I realise that people celebrate Christmas, often begrudgingly, especially us vegans who know that even more of our animal friends are killed to fill already-indulged bellies at this time of year.
So, here's a collection of some Cruelty Free & Vegan Christmas ideas, recipes (raw and gluten free options) and tips to get through the silly season. I wish us all the luck in the world!
To celebrate my birthday this year on Sunday 4 December, I decided I was going to host an Ice Cream & Pool Party to celebrate with my family and some of my closest friends. I've had a lot of people ask me for recipes, ideas and other information on my party, so here it is!
The photo above is of Janenne's wonderful brownies with coconut cream that I had requested her make for my birthday.
There's a new vegan restaurant in town, out in the suburbs, very close to Loving Hut. It's called Green Vegetarian Restaurant and Bar and is located at 1299 Logan Road, Mt Gravatt. I went here for dinner last night with friends Ange and Steve on the anniversary of the restaurant's first week open.
Australia has a new vegan magazine, Living Vegan that is out now - available to order on Uproar - the official launch will take place this Sunday in Melbourne at World Vegan Day. Living Vegan aims to be the Voice of Vegan Australia by providing entertaining, informative and innovative articles that appeal to both vegans and to those looking for more information. Living Vegan aims to advance veganism as the compassionate, rational and healthy lifestyle that it is. Here's the cover of the first edition:
Nicole (who I met in Portland, OR - blog coming soon!) asked me to write a lil' blurb about a vegan product I like for Vegan MOFO (Month of Food) where Nicole was profiling vegan people she likes with the products they like on her blog Vegan Things I Like. I chose Pure Gaisha's mineral liquid eyeliner.
I have only recently discovered a really wonderful artist, Sarah Kiser, who lives in Florida, USA. Sarah is a FaceBook friend of mine and is going to be illustrating an upcoming recipe book for me! On her website and FaceBook page, Sarah has many beautiful pieces of artwork including, Ella Mermaid below:
It's a great time of year! Summer is almost here and it's under two months until my birthday!
The other amazing thing about this time of year is Vegan Festival time. Next weekend is the start of my East coast Vegan Festival tour and I hope to see many of you when I'm in your home town or when you've come to whatever town the vegan festival is in.
The biggest news on the festival calendar, is Canberra's first all-vegan festival,the new Living Green Festival taking place on Sunday 16 October.
In the afternoon, Peter dropped me off at Brittyn's place in Hillsboro, Oregon to end our mid west road trip. He headed back to Chicago, via Seattle, to return the rental car for me (one way rental was an extra US$1000!) which I really appreciated. Brittyn and I walked to the park and the library to get my bearings. I then had a shower and dinner consisting of pasta salad Brittyn said she'd made (I found out later her mother, Sydney had in fact made the meal!) and some roasted vegetables I'd bought at WholeFoods previously that day. Then I caught up on a bit of computer work and it was bed time.
Due to no one checking in luggage because no one was working until 4am, I was in for a lot of waiting around for my flight at LaGuardia airport in New York. However luckily I spoke to Holly for over an hour on the phone, my sister for a bit and a lady at the airport for awhile. She was a bit fragile but fine to talk to someone different for awhile, until she started pushing the word of the lord etc onto me. The phone saved me, thanks Louie! By the time 4 am came around I hadn't slept or done any work I had hoped I would catch up on. Then I caught a shuttle bus with another lady (who has a vegan daughter in Europe) to the actual area where we would board our flight to Chicago. The 6am flight couldn't come soon enough and I slept the whole flight to Chicago.
I arrived at O'Hare airport about 7:30am, got my bag and waited for the shuttle bus to take me to my rental car place, that was closer to Midway airport than to where I'd flown into. I had already booked my ticket to Chicago by the time Peter and I realised that it was better timing for him to fly from Seattle to Milwaulkee (instead of to Chicago) and the car rental from Milwaulkee was more expensive than from Chicago. So, I had to use all of my adventurous spirit and drive by myself in another country on the wrong side of the road from Chicago, Illinois to pick up Peter in Milwaukee in the next state North, Wisconsin. I drive interstate all the time when back in Brisbane, so I was sure I'd be fine. I made up a Jimmy Eat World MP3 mix CD, I knew the car was an automatic and I would just take my time as I wasn't in a rush.
So I picked up the Aveo, Chevrolet on South Archer Avenue and left around 10:30am. I merged onto the I55 then the I90 and I94 to Wisconsin. I had a few beeps from a few cars, normally something I would ignore, but as I had the windows down with the wind caressing my hair, I was able to ask one of the truck drivers why he was beeping me. He said it was because I was going to the right a bit over the line. Noted. Did my best to fix this. Finally picked up Peter (I made it!) at around 12:30pm at the General Mitchell airport and he took over the driving.
We drove to Madison where there's a WholeFoods, Peter knows where every WholeFoods is supposedly. We ate our lunch in a park nearby before we drove to the beautiful Indian Lake park. Here's the view:
I arrived in New York from Los Angeles at 6pm. I caught the air train from JFK airport to the subway where my good friend Ethan met me. Ethan lives in Brooklyn so we trained it there, dropped off my luggage and then caught the train to have dinner at Blossom with Ethan's girlfriend, Daphne. Our waiter for the night was friend Joshua's (from The Discerning Brute) partner James who is a dancer and a lovely guy. I had the raw Autumn Sweet Potato Rolls US$11 coconut noodles, jicama, carrot, red and yellow pepper, scallion, avocado, almond ginger dipping sauce:
After my AR Conference adventures, Peter (from Voice of the Voiceless) and I left the hotel, and went to Native Foods for lunch. Peter had the Chili Cheese Fries: seasoned potato fries smothered in homemade Native Chili, topped with Native Cheese and diced red onions. US$ 5.95. Here's a photo of Peter with the fries as he wanted to "be in my blog" Cutest.