Friday, October 30, 2015

VegUp!! Part Two!!

Last night we had another fantastic gathering of the Hartford chapter of VegUp, an organization founded by Jane Velez-Mitchell to promote a sense of community among vegans.

After our first meeting just a little over a month ago, I already feel like I've known everyone forever, as we've fast become good friends.  I'd even go so far as to say my second family!

Sixteen of us gathered together at Fire & Spice, a vegan Jamaican restaurant in Hartford.  We started out in the front room, thinking that there would be around 8-10 of us.  That rapidly grew to the point where we were crowding the entire tiny space, so we moved our group to the back room.  There we were able to spread out and have a lively conversation about the topic of being vegan for the holidays.

Everyone had a chance to introduce themselves and share a little about their vegan journey.  We were thrilled to have four new members, one of whom was celebrating his first day being vegan with us!  It was an honor to be able to answer any questions he had and share our personal experiences to help him prepare for the journey.  This felt like true community support, and exactly what every vegan who has ever felt lonely and confused needs.

Al celebrating Day #1 as a Vegan!!

Here's what one participant had to say about her experience:
"I had *SO* much fun tonight. You are such an inspiration and excel at repeatedly organizing a bunch of strangers to come together and have some heartfelt, meaningful discussion. Every time I walk away feeling so happy to know I'm not the 'only one' around... there is a whole community of fabulous humans who were just waiting for a little (vegan!) glue to pull us together smile emoticon I'm excited to meet new friends who share my passion... thank you!"
Our next get together will be a holiday potluck in December.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who is already looking forward to it and scouring cookbooks and food blogs for the perfect impress-your-guests dish to bring.

Thank you all who attended!!

Monday, October 26, 2015

A return to Boston Veg Fest

I was thrilled to return to Boston for the 20th Anniversary of the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival this weekend.  Highlights were seeing one of my vegan heroes, Jane Velez-Mitchell, give a rousing talk imploring vegans to get active for the animals.  She gave examples of many recent demonstrations and disruptions which are having a powerful impact in galvanizing support for animals among the general public.  I'm excited to be part of this growing movement!

Jane Velez-Mitchell inspires the crowd to tip the tipping point

Evelyn Kimber, organizer of Boston VegFest

Dr. Kim Allan Williams speaking about the connection between diet and disease

Vegan Treats from Bethlehem, PA, always a crowd favorite

Sabertooth Bakery, Taco Party and FoMu

Friday, October 23, 2015

Recipe: Gingered Butternut Squash Bisque

When the chill is in the air, there's nothing better than a warm bowl of soup.  This recipe satisfies in so many ways.  Its bright orange hue is perfect for the season with leaves turning and pumpkins decorating our doorsteps, making it a lovely soup for the autumn harvest table. It’s loaded with sweet and savory flavors as well as antioxidants from bright orange root vegetables and winter squash. The hint of ginger gives a little zing to each bite as well as a boost to the immune system to fight off those seasonal colds and flus.

I like decorating this soup with toasted spiced pepitas and cashew crema. You can learn how to make that fun spider web design by watching this quick clip of my appearance on WWLP-TV's "Mass Appeal" show.