Friday, April 29, 2011

Italian Veggie Soup (Stew?)

It seems my mom is getting a little more interested in the food I make. Although she draws the line at certain raw foods and rather foreign cooked concoctions (such as anything Indian), she's beginning to have me make meals for her, and even will have juice as meals, too!
And I enjoy it. I'm strange, and packing lunches gives me a sense of pleasure. (I swear, being able to pack lunches is the one reason why I would want kids)

Although this was a few weeks ago, she asked me to make her soup with lots of veggies. Which was fine with me! I've since made this recipe twice, and it's just so good! And it was a great way to use up some of the vegetables that had been in our fridge for some time, too.
Now, I'm not really sure whether it should be called soup, as it was more veggie than broth, but whatever works, I guess...

Italian Vegetable Soup
~Swirl Extra Virgin Olive Oil
~4 cloves garlic, minced
~1 large onion, diced
~1 C carrots, diced
~2 medium potatoes, diced
~3 celery stalks, chopped
~1 medium yellow squash, diced
~1 medium zucchini, diced
~2 C vegetable broth
~2 C water
~1 24 or 26 oz can of tomato sauce
~2 bay leaves
~2 Tbsp dried parsley
~1 Tbsp dried oregano
~1/2 Tbsp dried dill
~1 Tbsp dried basil
~1/4 nutrional yeast
~ 1 can kidney beans
~ 1 can corn
~ Salt and Pepper to taste

1.) In a large pot, heat the oil on medium-low. Add the onions and garlic, and let cook until the onions are translucent.
2.) Add all of the vegetables (carrots, potatoes, celery, squashes), herbs, water, broth, tomato sauce, and nutrional yeast and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and let simmer for 40 minutes.
3.) Add the beans and corn and allow to simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste (it may be salty enough depending on the tomato sauce and broth used)
4.) You can add some more water or broth if you want it more liquidy.

I love adding some kale to mine once it's ready to be served. The heat of the soup just in a bowl makes the kale crispy and warm! :)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Why wool isn't ethical...

There are many people who will wonder "Why vegan? Why not just vegetarian? What harm does milk, eggs, honey, and wool do?". Well, there are numerous reasons why not to eat animal products that don't kill the animal, but as far as wool goes, a sheep must be sheared. Cows and goats need to give birth to produce milk, I'm sure eggs aren't pleasant for a hen to lay (and I'm sure she'd prefer it if a rooster fertilized it for her), and bees go to great lengths to make honey (not to mention honey is basically bee regurgitation).
I always get questioned why I don't eat honey, but not usually for wool. I have, however, received the slightest bit of teasing from a vegetarian uncle of mine. Details are fuzzy, but I remember him saying "Poor, naked sheepies" over some article of clothing made from wool. I'm not surprised most people don't know the conditions of sheep for wool, but wool just isn't ethical.

Much like their made-for-meat counterparts raised in factory farms, sheep live in poor living conditions and are fed unnatural, inorganic diets.
Similar to how how factory farm animals go through tail-docking, castration (male sheep suffer from this too), teeth-clipping, beak-trimming, and dehorning, sheep go through something called "Mulesing". (See Right)

Mulesing is a practice where lambs are forced onto their backs so chunks of skin and flesh can be "hacked from their rumps with gardening type shears". A sheep's skin will naturally form wrinkles- which, when living in close confinement in their own feces, are a breeding ground for flies. Mulesing is done, usually without the benefit of anesthetics, to prevent the flies from laying eggs in the sheep.
This practice, however, often leaves open wounds on the sheep, which become infested with maggots.

A sheep's production of wool is based on breed and genetics. If a sheep does not produce a profitable amount of wool, s/he will be sold for the meat industry.
Since the sheep was not bred specifically for meat, the meat will be considered "low-grade", and sold at a very low price.
Every year, millions of sheep are shipped from Australia (the biggest wool producer in the world), tightly packed onto open-decked boats "for a journey many will die from" to be slaughtered for the cheap, low-grade meat.

Sheep who are ill, weak, or injured often will collapse and be trampled to death.

Below; Sheep wait to be packed onto a cargo chip
Inside a live-export ship

Others will die from exposure to the harsh conditions of the sea, disease, heat, cold, or starvation.

Every year, tens of thousands of sheep will die from these live-exports.

Those who survive this three-week voyage are instantly taken off to the slaughterhouse. The sheeps are slaughtered by a slit in the throat. Pre-stunning is not done, and the sheep are left to bleed to death.

And if the ethical reasons were not enough to give up on conventional wool, environmental reasons should be.
About 4,000 tons of manure and 2 to 6 million liters of urine are washed into the sea each voyage, along with the bodies of the sheep who didn't survive the trip.

Above; a truck bringing sheep from ship to slaughterhouse overturns.
Below; Sheep Slaughter

Another thing to note: in March, 1980, a live export ship, the Farid Fares, caught fire and sank, bringing 40,605 sheep with it.

Although, I wouldn't say wool is all bad. I will never wear fur, leather, pearls, or silk. I won't ever eat meat, dairy, eggs, or honey. But I can see myself raising sheep and shearing them every spring, throwing their wool, dying it with natural dyes, and knitting it into eco-friendly clothing and toys.
It's much more environmentally-friendly than acrylic, polyester, or inorganic cotton (more pesticides are used on cottan than any other crop). And, unlike other animal products, the sheep really don't have to give anything up if they are treated with love, dignity, and respect like they deserve.

But no matter what, wool will always be itchy, and organic cotton will always be better!