Pups for Pigs (or pig pals)


We’re working on a new project combining love of pets with helping farm animals. I was inspired by our family’s dogs: pug Shayna, and Lola the French bulldog. If your dog would like to be considered a “pig pal”, email photos to me at amy@eat4thefuture.com

I’ve posted this on my personal FB page, and will take one representative from each breed for now.

If I use it, I will send you the digital image for personal use.

The concept is still evolving, but I envision there being an official certificate, and hopefully sponsorship of a real pig. If this takes off, look for “Cats for Chickens (and Cows)” next!


Sept 20: Bahn Mi Lettuce Cups

I made this recipe from my Happy Herbivore Meal Mentor plan. We are starting week two, and I am really excited about the exotic choices this week.

My first meal I made was the bahn mi lettuce cups which were not difficult but had a lot of steps.


Sauté the portobello mushrooms in a delicious broth, pickle carrots and cucumbers in rice vinegar, cook some brown rice, and whip up easy siracha mayo.


By the time I had done all these steps, and washed the romaine lettuce leaves, it was time to go to the NW Veg potluck. It was very well-attended, and there were so many delicious dishes to try there!

I set up all my bowls and created a couple of sample cups, but you can guess what happened. Some people took the sample cups and many didn’t know how to assemble them.


Probably not the best choice for a large potluck, but I definitely will make them again for a small gathering where I take the time to assemble them myself or can explain it! The only changes I will make are to use the smaller cucumbers (found in Vietnamese grocery stores) sliced even thinner, and look for smaller lettuce leaves as cups.

I’m very proud that this time I took some photos!

You’ll have to sign up for meal mentor to get this particular recipe, but I found a great website with 20 different wrap ideas, and you may find a recipe that appeals to you even more from Nori wraps to Southwest tortilla-style!

Goats and Floats!

Today we went out to Out to Pasture Sanctuary for their Goats and Floats work/visiting day.


It was my first visit there, and I didn’t really know what to expect. We arrived on a beautiful, sunny Fall day to find friendly people of all ages working together or just enjoying the animals.

Clio bypassed the apple cider press, heading straight towards the back pasture. Pigs roamed freely around in varying sizes and colors from small miniature pot belly pigs to medium-large pink pigs to an enormous pig! They were seriously cute with their little wagging tails and happy personalities. All the animals had stories, the largest 700 pound pig, Poppy, was a mascot at Sunnyside Elementary School who was mistakenly believed to be a potbelly pig at first. This confusion seems to happen not infrequently with city people adopting pigs.


I would consider myself to be a city person, but I somehow have a country girl. One of my most embarrassing moments was years ago at the State Country Fair when we were looking at the pigs and I was disturbed to see one with massive growths on it. I asked the person next to me “What’s that?” in horror. They replied with obvious incredulity, “You mean, his testicles?”. In my defense, I have not seen a lot of pigs up close and promise you, it did not look natural.

Clio adores all animals, and they seem to sense this. She went right up to the donkeys, who were very timid and ran away from me. They were soon letting her pet them.


We saw goats, llamas (which I cannot tell the difference between them and alpacas), rams, rabbits, a turkey, ducks and many more animals. All happy and safe, and it was uplifting to see them enjoying life in this environment! We met Kit and John the owners. I was astonished that they also have full-time jobs in the city and commute back and forth 4 days/week. It is an hour commute! It takes them 2 hours to take care of their animals in the morning, and almost an hour in the evening.

There seems to be a range of things to do there from painting, spreading bark chips on paths, repairing fences, deworming, cleaning stalls, and more. One of my favorite “jobs”, too fun to seem like work, was to get pears that had fallen on the tops of shelters off of the tarp roofs. As a team of us threw the pears on the ground, pigs and goats came running.

The volunteers are treated very well, with the promised ice cream floats (non-dairy coconut ice cream), fresh-pressed apple cider, and delicious cookies, pies, bread and other snacks. All vegan, and delicious.

I’d encourage you to check out their website, there are multiple ways to donate, and if you are in Oregon they have work parties and a place to donate items for yard sale by the Hollywood Fred Meyer. I am so impressed with the difference these two people make, and how they have a loyal team of volunteers to help them that are dedicated as well.

Thank you for opening up your farm, Kit and John. Thank you for what you are doing. Let me know if there is anything we can do to help spread the word. We plan to come back as often as you’ll have us. And Kit, if you ever want to share your recipe for those chocolate chip cookies with me, I can’t stop thinking about them.

Sept 19: Tofu scramble


This is the ubiquitous vegan breakfast. There are so many variations on this recipe. The one I used from Meal Mentor had me sauté a whole onion to start it, with some garlic, peppers, spinach, sweet potato and of course a lot of spices to make the tofu flavorful.

I even tried to take a picture of it. It is easy, quick and cheap. I’ve chosen a recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz of Post Punk Kitchen as a starting point that gives some flexibility. I think tofu scrambles might be almost impossible to mess up!

Tofu Scramble
Serves 4

Eat it with toast, as a bowl, or in a burrito!

2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt (use kalak namak salt if you have it for an eggy taste)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced (or more, to taste)
1/2 cup onion chopped
1 cup of whatever fresh veggies you like: torn spinach leaves, thinly sliced red pepper, broccoli in small pieces, chopped mushrooms, etc.
1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Fresh black pepper to taste

Optional: avocado, salsa, tortillas

Preheat a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat. Sauté the garlic and onion in olive oil. Add the spices and cook a few minutes.  Break the tofu apart into bite sized pieces and sauté for about 10 minutes, using a spatula to stir often. The tofu should get browned on at least one side.

Add the fresh veggies of your choice, nutritional yeast and fresh black pepper. Cook for about 5 more minutes. Serve warm with salsa and avocado if you like.


When I die

This is a strange post to write. And honestly, I wanted to call it “If I die”, which I guess is way too optimistic.

I don’t like to think about unpleasant things- like impending earthquakes, or animals being tortured in factory farms, the Earth running out of water… but most of all I don’t like thinking about death. Although it is the most natural thing I suppose, it is not something we plan for like a wedding while we are relatively young and healthy.

Lately, I feel so ineffectual at promoting the benefits of eating less meat. I can only hope that I make a difference in some way. I am certainly not anyone famous. Even within our own families, I don’t know that we’ve influenced anyone. My mom has been the most supportive, and I really appreciate her willingness to accommodate, and experiment with plant-based cooking. Her chocolate mousse made with tofu is my new favorite birthday dessert.

Yesterday I heard that Scott Dinsmore from Live Your Life had just unexpectedly died while pursuing his dreams. In his short life, he made such a huge impact on so many people. He made a difference, and will continue to inspire people even now. Watch his Ted talk, I listened to him at the 2014 World Domination Summit. I’m so sad his life ended so soon, but I know that his life had great meaning and purpose. It was also a reminder that we only have limited time.

If When something happens to me… I hope that if my friends and family want to remember me, it is through eating less meat. I would feel like my death made some incremental change in the lives of the animals, and hopefully in turn our kids.

Sept 17: Slow Cooker Burrito Soup

Tonight C and I were lucky enough to go visit a newborn baby AND have homemade Indian food. My sister’s in-laws are visiting Portland from Chennai to meet their newest grandchild. After meeting this sweet baby with a full head of thick black hair, we were treated to three kinds of chutney: mango, onion, and coconut with sanbar, dosas, and gulab jamun for dessert. There was also a special root vegetable dish, and we couldn’t figure out what we call it in English.

Meanwhile, I had made slow cooker burrito soup for J and G since they weren’t able to come. It came together quickly and easily (another Meal Mentor dish). This had diced tomatoes, onions, green pepper, beans, brown rice, corn, kale and spices simmering on the stove into a thick stew. I don’t have a slow cooker anymore, but it worked out fine. It was filling and healthy, but C and I definitely got the better dinner tonight!

Although I like the planned dinners for week nights, I felt even more inspired to keep trying to make more exotic meals on the weekends.


Sept 16: Rigatoni

This post is just to keep up, and be consistent for my VeganMofo daily food blogging. Truthfully, I want to get back to blogging about issues and ideas even more than writing about food.

This recipe was good, but nothing extraordinary. However, that is the point with the meal plans- keeping it simple and easy. What I liked about this recipe is that once again it used no oil (almost everything on this plan uses broth to sauté). I also like that it was not particularly vegan- in fact, it was a very nice Italian sauce. You could make this for people who don’t want unusual substitutions. It was a sauce with onion, garlic, tomato paste, sauce, basil, balsamic vinegar and red wine. I added some olives which made it a bit salty.

Back to work on my Pups for Pigs project. Stay tuned!

Sept 15: Chickpea tacos

I have some important issues to write about, but have been busy with family in town. I’m still cooking really good vegan dinners every month, a feat of which I am very proud.

Tonight we tried the chickpea tacos from Happy Herbivore meal plan. I wasn’t sure if the kids would like this one- it has quinoa, roasted chickpeas, onion, tomato and a “Caesar” dressing. I realized I was short a tomato, but just stirred in some salsa and served it up with some guacamole which was key to the kids liking it.

It was good, and we’d make it again. I’m very interested in how these very simple recipes are so filling, healthy and easy. The only challenge I am having is pleasing the picky one. I made enough quinoa that this stretched enough to make leftovers that we can have for lunch the next day too.


Sept 14: Portobello mushrooms with mac n cheez

I stuck with our meal planning and made the mushroom burgers with mac n cheez as a topping. Sounds strange, but was actually quite good. Everyone liked them except my anti-mushroom girl. No surprise there, if you don’t like small mushrooms in anything, a giant mushroom is not acceptable.

So far I am liking how simple these recipes are. Best of all, I have all the ingredients ready to go. Including a photo so hopefully in the future I can take good photos and see how far I have come.


Sept 13: SO. MUCH. frosting!

I mentioned in the last post that the red velvet cake recipe used a lot of vegan butter/shortening, and I had a lot left over. Well, it turned out I had more than enough to generously frost 2 dozen cupcakes.

First, I made a simple chocolate cupcake since I had depleted my red food coloring. This recipe was super easy, quick, and was not overly sweet. I ended up giving all those away by 1pm to my kid’s friends.

There was still a lot of frosting left, but now I was out of cocoa powder. For this batch, I used a vanilla recipe. I actually preferred this cupcake and it tasted really good with the cream cheese frosting. Those cupcakes were destined for dessert at a friend’s house.

I still had leftover frosting which my husband wisely advised to throw away. Step away from the oven and put down the muffin tin. I may be a bit sleep-deprived from the shrieking that teen girls make past midnight.

In addition to the bake fest, I made two recipes from Meal Mentor: a “lobster” roll and sweet potato salad. For lunch, I made the lobster roll using artichoke hearts that were sautéed with seafood-friendly spices, lemon, kelp (I used nori), and then tossed with celery and vegan mayo.

I have to say, I really liked it! Not sure how the kids felt about it, but I will be keeping that unusual and healthy recipe.

For dinner, I roasted sweet potatoes, then mixed them with black beans, fresh corn, avocado, red pepper and lime juice. It was pretty tasty, and easy to make.

So far, enjoying having my dinners planned out and knowing I have the ingredients. The biggest challenge so far is to make sure the kids will eat them! Not a problem with the cupcakes.