SanSe 2014!!

A HUGE thank you to the Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales for letting me march with them in the opening parade for SanSe 2014!! It was an honor to help them speak for endangered anyimals to hundreds of people in the streets! Check out more of what they are doing to help our environment on their Facebook page!


Vegan Thanks 2013

Welcome to the vegan feast time of year!! I know it is coming up soon, but I just haven't had time to plan anything! I love cooking, and blogging, but with this being the first year of Walkstar, and just coming off of the Life Is Beautiful festival,  I haven't had time for much else. I know the Thanksgiving feast is the pièce de résistance of the year, and since I managed to miss ALL of Vegan MOFO, I decided to give "Vegan Thanks 2013" a shot!

Searching through hundreds of recipes (thank you Pinterest's Vegan Thanksgiving board for leading the way) I realized, like so many other vegan recipes, home chefs from all over the world have upped their game for the holidays! Scones, towers, and the craziest of desserts caught my eye. I remember when vegan Thanksgiving was just a bunch of sides, with maybe some type of vegan "loaf" that everyone tended to ignore. These main dishes, drinks, soups, salads, sides, and creative plates look AMAZING! And the desserts-pumpkin pie BROWNIES?? YES PLEASE!! Fat-free, gluten-free, vegan, raw, it's all here & ready to celebrate! Planning the menu will be a lot harder than I imagined!!

Obviously I picked recipes that contained local items, or ones I could substitute locally-grown. And yes,  I can admit it... I picked a few recipes I have been menaing to try, or that looked amazing, like the garlic knots and chocolate avocado cupcakes!

The Official Menu::

Carmelized Onion & Carrot Soup by Tomato Tart
Vegan Garlic Knots recipe by Vegalicious.com

Individual Veggie-Lentil Loaves with Avocado-Tahini Sauce by Ricki Heller
Garlic Mashed Potatoes by OhSheGlows.com
Deconstructed Green Bean Casserole by VeganYumYum.com
Tamarind and Ginger Glazed Carrots by Tomato Tart

Vegan Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes by Edible Garden

Thanksgiving is in just a few days, so I have to get cracking!

Earth Balance

After years of trying to ignore the debate, much like  ChallengeOppression.com wrote wayy back in 2009, I've been doing pretty well all year weening out palm oil from my diet, and yes, that includes Earth Balance. People have been amazing on Facebook supporting me, letting me know (again) that this is a luxury item, and by all means we don't need this to live, but the orangatangs DO need their habitat. Yes, you're right. May I point out tht luxury item is a world of difference when it is one of the very few that can be found on a Caribbean island, but luxury item nonetheless.

By preparing my menu for Vegan Thanks 2013, I stumbled upon hundreds of recipes that all looked brilliant, and most had EB. I decided to check once again, just to make sure I was still supporting the no palm debate- maybe overnight everyone had changed their ingredients?

What I found was that Earth Balance is being very proactive to take their palm products from forests that do not support orangatangs, and have started a number of initives to promote responsible palm oil production.

Is it enough?



Bats & Black Cats

Somehow Halloween went from celebrating so much going on in this time of year to... logos. Certain images just signify Halloween now... pumpkins, witches, bats, spiders & black cats. Not that any of these are in particular scary (Ok we have some big hairy Caribbean spiders that would make your skin crawl, but I digress), but some have a very long tradition and association with Halloween and some just... do not.
Here in Puerto Rico we take our witches (brujas) extremely seriously, being that most of the island believes strongly in Afro-Cuban Santeria (Orisha), and the existance of Brujeria (witchcraft). Although the Caribbean is not known as some of the countries still killing wtiches in 2013 (7 Countries That Still Kill Witches) still the Caribbean bat and our homeless street cats that happened to be born with black hair desperately pay the price.

Puerto Rico was home to 16 types of bats, but 2 species have already gone extinct, like so many Caribbean animals that have left the face of the Earth recently. According to the book Bats of Puerto Rico: An Island Focus and a Caribbean Perspective by Michael R. Gannon, the Caribbean holds some of the most fascinating species of bats, and these creatures are the only naturally occuring mammals on Puerto Rico that were not introduced by the Taino, Spanish, or Africans. Other than those who eat only nectar or fish, most species of Puerto Rican bats are happy to live off of our very bountiful array of insects, or rotting fruits. You would think we would follow the example of Austin, TX and love our bats unconditionally! We are trying, through the Puerto Rico Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales, to identify where the majority of these little guys live so we can declare conservaional habitats for them, and there are many programs trying to educate and open the local communities to how awesome these little guys really are!

Black cats are not so lucky, and still do not have public opinion on their side. Every year around Halloween, and every unlucky Friday the 13th, there are reports of black cats getting killed on the island. Local T/N/R professionals Save A Gato always have their eyes and ears to the ground, helping the street cats of Viejo San Juan, Puerto Rico, and they always find fosters or temporary homes for their pure black friends on the street. No animal shelters will, or should, have any black cats available for adoption, for fear of them being abused, tortured or killed. Even if not satanic or witch-like, black cats still have a negative aura to them on the island, and should be protected at all costs during these times of the year.
Hopefully throughout the year we will promote bats & cats enough that by next Halloween they will be a little less scary (or scared) and shown a bit more love!