Vampire Killer Soup (Vegan)

vampires hate garlic

I call this Vampire Killer Soup because it contains 40 cloves of garlic.  Garlic soup has many healing properties and is a wonderful substitute for Chicken Soup if you come down with a cold or the flu.  It provides wonderful immune support during the fall and winter months  and tastes delicious.  Many other versions of garlic soup contain milk, butter and cheese. Since dairy is a mucus forming food, this is not the best option for you when trying to recover from a cold.  Even though there are 40 cloves of garlic, the garlic taste is not over bearing.  The soup is a light puree and is very satisfying when you are feeling under the weather.

For more benefits of garlic click here

Vampire Killer Soup Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 25 garlic cloves, unpeeled + 15 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme)
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  •  lemon wedges

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the top(s) off of your head(s) of garlic and separate out 25 cloves, making sure each clove has an end chopped off
  2. Place the 25 cloves in a small glass baking dish, pour the 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the top, and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for about 45 minutes, until cloves are light golden brown and very tender. Remove from oven and cool.
  3. While letting the roasted garlic cool, press the peeled garlic with a garlic press and set aside.
  4. Squeeze the roasted garlic between your fingertips to release the garlic and discard the peel. Set roasted garlic aside.
  5. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and thyme; cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add both the roasted garlic and the 15 peeled/pressed raw garlic cloves and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes.
  6. Add vegetable stock and, continuing over medium heat, bring the soup just to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, or until garlic is very tender. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  7. Using an immersion blender or working in batches with a blender, puree soup until smooth.
  8. Return soup to pan and stir in coconut milk. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  9. Squeeze one lemon wedge over each bowl. Serve.

Vegan Mac n’ Cheese…with a secret ingredient

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Everybody loves mac n’ cheese.  There fortunately are many ways to make vegan mac n’ cheese and today I am going to share with you my favorite way to make it.  This recipe uses butternut squash.  It’s  very easy and provides more nutrients than what you would get from a standard mac n’ cheese recipe or one that is vegan cheese based.  Therefore it’s a great way to get your kids or that picky eater in your life to eat healthier foods.  Butternut squash is high in folate, magnesium, vitamin A, fiber and potassium. It also provides wonderful immune support during these fall months because 1 serving contains 1/3 of the amount of your daily vitamin C requirement.

 

Serves 4

Ingredients: 

1/2 Butternut Squash (medium size)

1 cup Almond Milk

1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast

2 teaspoons of Salt

Pasta of your choice

 

Instructions: 

  1. Peel with a vegetable peeler the skin off of the butternut squash.  Scoop out the seeds.   Cut the squash into cubes.

  2. Place butternut squash into a steamer.  Steam for 20 mins or until tender.

  3. Cook pasta according to package instructions.  Drain and return to pot.

  4. Place steamed butternut squash, almond milk, nutritional yeast and salt into a  high speed blender. Blend until smooth.  Adjust salt and nutritional yeast if more is desired.

  5. Combine “cheese sauce” with pasta in the pot. Mix well

  6. Serve immediately

 

 

 

Meet Penelope: My First Chicken Rescue!

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On friday Oct 3rd, 2014, I made my first farm animal rescue! This is the story about how I saved a chicken.

Since witnessing the horrors of Kaporos for the first time on Wednesday, Oct 1st I continued to be haunted by those images (please see previous blog for info about Kaporos and my experience).  I felt called to do something more.  I continued to do research and couldn’t stop thinking about all of the suffering that was happening so close to where I live.

I told my husband about my experience on Wednesday and he decided to take a walk on his own when I was at work to see if he could rescue some or intervene in some way. He found a different location than the one that I found and this one was busier and there was slaughter happening.  The line wrapped around the building.   Walking through Boro Park he stood out because he wasn’t dressed in the same way that Hasidic men were.  He was asked to leave several times by several different people for just standing there.  He realized quickly that he wasn’t going to be able to get close enough to rescue any or take pictures, so he left.  As he was walking up the street he smelled something horrible.  The further up the street he walked the smell got even worse.  Then he notice hundreds of dead chickens piled on top of each other, stuffed in crates underneath a truck on the street.  They were not slaughtered but appeared to have died due to dehydration.  These chickens are kept without any water or food for days and many of them die in the process.  As he began to video tape what he was seeing he was approached by 4 men.  One man put his hands on his shoulders from behind and told him to leave now.  My husband nicely stated that he was standing on the sidewalk on public property and they couldn’t make him leave.  Then four more men came and circled him.   He  was outnumbered and didn’t know what they were going to do, so he left.

We called and reported public health violations, called the police for animal cruelty and the SPCA.  I never received follow ups from any of them so to my knowledge no actions were taken.

At this point, we were both furious! My husband was not causing any harm and was not allowed to even stand on the sidewalk on public property without being asked to leave.  Why wasn’t anybody doing anything? All of these dead animals on the street were clearly a public health violation.  The police didn’t seem phased by this either.  Where do we draw the line between religious freedom and animal cruelty and public health?

The practice happens from Wednesday  until around 8:00 am  Friday morning on the eve of Yom Kippur.  I had to go back out there. I left very early Friday morning to see what I could do.   It was my intention to rescue at least one chicken from this hell on earth called Kaporos.   And I did just that! I will keep the details of how I did it private, but lets just say that I did nothing illegal and I was able to put my acting training to good use.  Unfortunately because of this I was unable to get video footage or any pictures.  This was a different location that I went to than before and it was much worse than what  I had seen previously.  Teens were handing out the birds.  They were standing on crates with chickens stuffed inside of them.  There were chicken body parts all along the side walk  where people were standing.  They were being slaughtered in public view in an alley with a very small, clear tarp that didn’t cover at all what they were doing.  They weren’t only slitting their throats, but they were cutting up the birds and processing the meat right on the table.  I saw everything.  The men and women received different birds and it appeared that the women were given the “defective” ones with injuries and such.  I’m sorry for the graphic detail but it is important that people know what happens at these events.

When I got the bird at first she was very scared.  After all she witnessed her fellow chickens brutally killed right next to her, she had no water or food for days, she had feces on her back from the crates being stack on top of each other and she also appeared to have had some trauma to her head because she had one eye completely closed shut and both eyes appeared to be bruised. But amazingly as soon as I left the area with her she was calm and remained calm ever since.  I believe she knew what was happening.  She needed immediate vet care but there was nothing open for a couple more hours. It was now 7 am.  I brought her in my house, took her into my bathroom and shut the door, safe from my two cats. I immediately got her some water.  When I came back in she did not look well at all.  I thought I was going to lose her right then.  I began to put the water up to her mouth and she would drink little amounts of it.  Here is a video

After taking several sips she began to show signs of life.  Here is a video of her after some water.  

Her eyes did not look good and she still needed immediate care.  I called the Wild Bird Fund and explained the situation.  They said to bring her in right away.   They saw her even though it was not during their normal hours and they were completely full and not accepting any more birds.  She was given tubes of water for her extreme dehydration and they decided to admit her to monitor her and for further testing. Her prognosis is still to be determined.

I have named my chicken friend, Penelope.  I ask that you send her healing thoughts, vibes and prayers to make a full recovery that she may be able to live out her days happily in a sanctuary and free from human harm.

I wished that I could have saved all of the thousands of chickens that lost their lives last week.   But, I felt that if I could save any amount of life it would be worth it.  Penelope and I spent a lot of time that morning looking into each others eyes.  I made sure that she felt love from a human for the first time in her life.  I told her that she mattered and that she was important and beautiful.  I apologized for the way that members of my species treated her and her fellow chickens. I promised that I would tell her story and do everything in my power to end Kaporos and the suffering of chickens.  This blog is the first step in that process.

To honor Penelope and the thousands of chickens that lost their lives last week in Kaporos and on factory farms, I ask that you pledge to abstain from eating chicken.  Feel free to take the pledge for a week, a month or ideally, give it up forever.  There are many wonderful products that you can use as a substitute for chicken.  One of my favorites is called “Beyond Meat”.  The taste and texture are almost perfect matches.  It is made from 100% plant based protein and is non-gmo and gluten free. Here is a link to their website for more info and recipes.

If you would like more info about the Wild Bird Fund or to make a donation to support the agency that is taking care of Penelope please go to their website at www.wildbirdfund.org

 

  • Update: Click here for an update about Penelope and her story

Why are They Swinging Chickens Over Their Heads? : Kaporos

Today I witnessed first hand the horrors of Kaporos.  Kaporos is a Yom Kippur, Hasidic Jewish ritual where they grab a chicken by its feet or by its wings and swing the bird over their heads  while chanting verses about transferring their sins and punishment symbolically to the bird. The chant basically says: “This chicken is my atonement, my substitute. This chicken will die for my sins and I will go on to a happy and peaceful life.”    The bird’s throat is then cut by a rabbi, who thrusts the dying bird, head down, into a funnel to struggle and bleed to death over a bucket.  Source  What is most important to note is that the use of chickens is not required by Jewish law. It is not a mitzvah but a custom that originated in the middle ages. There are many rabbis that speak out against this practice. Here is one article written by a rabbi urging people to wave money and not chickens.

The neighborhood that I live in is a short walk from Boro Park, Brooklyn. Boro Park has one of the largest Hasidic Jew populations in the world next to Israel, so I figured that this practice must be happening there.  When I read an article this morning about the ceremony of Kaporos and that it is happening for the next two days, I decided to take a walk and see what I could find.  I didn’t know how I would react if I found a place that this cruel act was occurring in but I had to look and see this for my own eyes.  I prayed for strength and was on my way.  I walked about 10 blocks and I saw a school bus drive by with a poster with a chicken on it with all of the info for Kaporos.

IMG_0769The location was a not really close to where I was, so I kept my eyes open for other locations.  I followed my intuition and turned down a random street and sure enough there was a large sign with chickens on it and a blue tent  filled with yellow crates with hundreds of birds in them.  IMG_0764

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I gained some courage and walked over there and had a look.  The birds were screaming in pain.  The smell was awful.  Many birds appeared to be covered in feces.  The feathers on their bellies were removed.  I don’t know if this was due to stress from their living conditions or if these birds feathers were used to make down coats or if this is somehow a part of the tradition.  Either way they did not look happy as they were being circled over people’s heads.


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What struck me more that just seeing this act of animal cruelty was the reaction of the children.  There were several people that brought their families there to participate in this ritual.  Every single child was crying and screaming in horror while the parents tried to calm them down so that they could receive their “atonement” as well.  I even witnessed two children run down the street hysterically crying trying to escape having to participate in this ritual.  I wanted to comfort them and tell them that I agreed and that they were right, animal cruelty is worth being upset about.   I wondered how many of those parents had the same reactions when they were that age…I bet all of them.  Animal cruelty is not something that we are born endorsing.  We are taught it.   And too many times we tolerate, accept and condone it in the name of “tradition”.

I wanted to grab a crate and run away as fast as I could.  I just saw an article this morning however about someone getting arrested for a similar act and the birds were slaughtered anyway.  So I kept my cool and observed.   Thankfully I didn’t witness any birds being slaughtered during the time that I was there. I don’t think I could’ve handled that.  I kept hoping that one would get loose or that a crate would break and I could grab them and take them away.  That never happened though.  I felt so guilty as I walked away, not being able to save any of them and I didn’t know what I could do or who would listen.   I immediately went on search for what I actions I could take and found out about some wonderful things that are being done to help end this practice.  I urge you to read about and participate in as many of these as you can.

Lawyers file emergency order to shut down Kaporos. You can read the article here

You can sign this petition to help end Kaporos

If you live in the New York City area there is a peaceful protest that will be happening Oct 2nd from 6-8 in Brooklyn.  For details follow this link.

You can also follow the Alliance to End Chickens As Kaporos at www.endchickensaskaporos.com

Contact the media and the ASPCA to intervene.

Thankfully some of the chickens last year had happy endings.  Watch this beautiful video about rescued Kaporos chickens living happy lives at the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary.  Hopefully more will be saved this year and enough people will speak out and make this practice a thing of the past.