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We’ve moved!

Hi folks, 

We’ve moved, so you may have to reset you RSS readers to: http://www.secondcityvegan.org/?page_id=1309 if you want to keep getting our blog updates via your feed reader. 

It’s not the prettiest right now since it’s still under construction, but we do have 2 new posts up on the blog, so go check it out and shoot us a message at secondcityvegan[at]gmail.com if you have any comments or suggestions. 

Thanks and happy reading!



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Normally I don’t hate on PETA; despite some very flawed campaigns, publicity stunts, and statements by Ingrid Newkirk, I still look back on PETA’s involvement in my early days of vegetarianism/veganism with a certain fondness. Before we had Mercy for Animals, Compassion Over Killing, and countless other animal advocacy groups producing literature promoting animal rights, there was PETA. They were my earliest exposure to animal rights activism. I read their pamphlets, shared them with friends, and carried their wallet sized Caring Consumer guide with me when I shopped for hygiene products. They were invaluable in my formative years, fueling my urge to read books like Diet for a New America by John Robbins and to write scathing attacks on animal exploitation in my own punk fanzine, as well as, in my band’s lyrics. That being said, after all of the progress the movement has made, the following PETA article was particularly disappointing. Below the link is the comment that I left in response (it has not appeared as of yet.)

PETA Article: “A Note About Small Amounts of Animal Products in Foods

I think the logic in this article is dramatically flawed. Though most vegetarians start off their journey with a lack of understanding of animal ingredients and derivatives, through time and experience they get to know them and can systematically eliminate them. Its not about dogma, it’s about learning the basics and as time goes by removing other sources of cruelty in their lives.

When I went vegan in 1992, vegans couldn’t walk into a grocery store and buy something off the shelf that was clearly marked “Vegan,” unless it was made by some small independent health food company and sold in an equally fringe health food store. Now vegans and vegetarians can walk into just about any grocery store and buy anything from specialty foods to generic store brand products off the shelves that are clearly marked “Vegan” on the packaging. Now I can also walk into a chain restaurant like Flat Top Grill and select the vegan/allergen free cooking surface, as well as, a dozen vegan sauces that are clearly marked and they’re not alone, several other omnivore restaurants both big and small have also started offering cruelty-free entrees.

We live in this new world filled with readily accessible vegan and vegetarian options, because people have spent the past two decades tirelessly asking questions at restaurants, on consumer hotlines and via e-mail trying to get the necessary information to make an informed decision about what they were putting into their bodies and subsequently supporting.

Nothing ever changes without voicing your opinion. When vegans and vegetarians cease asking questions and pushing the boundaries for a more compassionate world, the movement loses ground. Corporations will not waste their time taking measures to accommodate animals and their vegan advocates if their advocates are silent and complacent. We are a long way from living in a compassionate world. We shouldn’t passively accept the status quo.

Never stop asking questions – ever.

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Potato Onion Soup

When you’re feeling under the weather it’s a common inclination to make soup. It just so happened that I a) called in sick today and b) had a bag of onions and potatoes at my disposal. I did a quick flip through my cookbooks and found an easy recipe in Eva Batt’s Vegan Cooking but for all of it’s ease, it was quite clear it was going to be bland because it had no seasonings at all. I like spice in my life and in my soup so that wasn’t going to settle. I made some quick decisions, did some taste tests on the fly, and then served it to Lisa, who then also made some last minute additions. Here’s our take on Potato Onion Soup:

1 large onion chopped small
4 celery stalks chopped small
2 tbs olive oil
3 1/2 cups water
2 large potatoes cut small
3 cloves garlic chopped
8 sprigs cilantro chopped
1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1tsp coriander

1) Throw your onion, celery, and olive oil into the pot and sautee for 10-15 min with the lid on.

2) Add potatoes, water, garlic, cilantro, and seasonings.

3) Simmer for 30 minutes.

We served ours with grilled cheese made with simple bread, Daiya Cheddar, and Earth Balance. It was delicious.

Makes 4 servings.

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I made another customized cookie tin for my  friend Lisa R. Once again using a Container Store tin, this time I decorated it instead of Nick, though. I used a stencil of a snowflake I pulled from the internet, a sheet of white cardstock, a sheet of cardboard, a pen/utility knife, some sandpaper, a little tape and white and blue spray paint and here’s what I got:

Customized Cookie Tin #2

Step 1:

Rub the lid of the tin in a circular motion with the sandpaper until the whole surface is scratched up. Wipe off dust with a damp cloth and set aside. This will help the paint stick.

Step 2:

Find a stencil of what you’d like to put on your tin. I used a snowflake stencil from here. Print the stencil out and copy it onto your cardstock. Once you’ve copied it, place the cardstock on the cardboard so you don’t damage your work surface while cutting. Use the pen/utility knife to cut out the inside of the design. Center the design on your lid and use tape to adhere the stencil to the lid. Make sure to leave a little bit of paper hanging off around the edges of your lid so you don’t accidentally paint the sides of the lid.

Step 2

Step 3:

Shake the spray paint colors of your choice according to the directions on the bottle. I spray painted these outside in 20 F  weather. If you don’t want to spray paint inside of your house it is possible to do so when it’s cold out. You just need to be quick. I took the lids off of the cans and shook them while I was still inside. When they were ready to go I took the lid outside and put on one coat of each color. I used white first and then blue, though Nick pointed out that if you use the darker color first you it will create more contrast between the lid and the design. As soon as I was done applying the paint I brought everything back inside and placed the lid in a sunny spot to dry. I let it dry for about twenty minutes before I went outside and applied a second coat of both colors. If you’re not sure if it’s dry touch the paper stencil with your finger. If it’s still sticky then wait a little while longer before applying another coat.

Step 3

Once your tin is dry you can wash it using a cloth and soapy water before you put your cookies in and give it away.

Did any of you make any cool cookie tins this holiday season?

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A blog is born

After nearly 5 years of being a vegetarian and hemming and hawing over whether or not to take the next step and become vegan I’ve finally decided to take the plunge.

I live in Chicago,  home of great vegan companies like Chicago Soy Dairy and Upton’s Naturals , as well as restaurants like Soul Vegetarian East. I’m always looking for new vegan friendly restaurants or recipes to try out, as well as for local vegan/vegetarian events. I always feel like I have to go to 10 different places to find these things though, so I’ve decided to simplify things and compile as much of this stuff here as I can. If you’re from the Chicago area and would like to contribute local restaurant reviews, book reviews, recipes, etc. please contact me at secondcityvegan[at]gmail.com. Otherwise, enjoy!

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