Why Vegan?

why-vegan-image_edited-1On November 1st, vegetarians and vegans alike celebrated World Vegan Day. The day was established in 1994 by Louise Wallis, then President & Chair of The Vegan Society. Vegans across the world join together to celebrate animal rights and give away animal friendly vegan baking!

Now I know, the majority of us LOVE our bacon and other animal products, but you just can’t deny the increase of vegan and vegetarian restaurant and options on food establishments world wide.

World-Vegan-Month-earthWhile the number of vegetarians is growing every year (an estimated 20 million in 2006 and 7.5 million vegans in 2011), the number of non-vegetarians who often order vegetarian meals at restaurants is also growing dramatically. Consider these facts:

  • 57% of all restaurant-goers “sometimes,” “often,” or “always” order a vegetarian item when dining out (Zogby International).
  • The health and eco-conscious population contributed to the growth of a $1.2 billion market for vegan goods (primarily dairy, egg, cheese and meat substitutes), one that jumped 63.5% between 2000 and 2005 (New York Times, Jan. 11, 2007).
  • 35% of adults aged 45 to 64 regularly consume vegetarian foods and milk alternatives, such as soy or rice milk (Mintel Consumer Intelligence Survey). Total retail sales of non-dairy milks reached $1.33 billion in 2011 (Market Research, Packaged Facts.)

Knowing these facts, have you changed your diet? Or do you offer vegetarian options from your kitchen? Why or why not? I left you with this hilarious SNL clip starring Justin Timberlake in Bring It on Down to Veganville!


Caramel Apple Challenge

By Chefadoo’s Eva Dixon

October is national caramel month- which really isn’t a surprise with all of the caramel treats that appear  as the leaves start to fall!  Personally, I LOVE all of the popular flavors of autumn, especially caramel- and especially caramel apples.   Although I never survive a fall without eating at least one of these delicious treats, this year I decided l I would try to make some.

To start out, let me be very clear- I am not a chef.  Nor am I even what I would call a competent cook.  In fact, I usually stick to pasta and sauce from a jar or a PB and J.   With this in mind, I was extremely wary of the blogs, Pinterest posts, and recipes books that told me caramel apples were fool-proof.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to make “Easy and Simple Desserts!” only to forget to add the flour to a cookie recipe (yes, this actually happened) or to burn chocolate into a fragrant, black, grainy clay.

Anyway, I set out to make my caramel apples and (surprising) didn’t fail entirely.  I followed the simplest recipe I could find, which required granny smith apples, sticks and pre-packaged caramel and a little bit of milk. The entire recipe consisted of unwrapping the caramel, melting it and then dipping my apple-on-a-stick in the caramel.  Easy, right?

Needless to say, I was worried about this “melting” thing- even if it was in the microwave.  Luckily, I quickly learned that caramel is far easier to work with than chocolate and is not nearly as touchy.  Without burning anything, I slowly softened my pre-wrapped caramel cubes into a smooth, creamy sugary paste.  It was awesome.

As the caramel neared ready, I turned my attention to my granny smith apples in preparation to add the sticks…that I apparently forgot to buy.  Without any sticks in the house (surprise, surprise) I decided to improvise and violently stabbed my apples with knives, instead.  Don’t worry!  These apples were intended for a mature audience.

With my apples-on-a-knife in hand, I began dipping them in the unburnt caramel mixture and was pleasantly surprised that it easily covered the surface like it was supposed to!  It was relatively unmessy and went on pretty evenly without much effort on my end.      Thank.      God.


However, as my caramel apples actually began to take shape and I felt like I had built a friendly rapport with this new sugary medium, I made the mistake of trying to get fancy.

I wanted sprinkles.

I happen to have some sprinkles on hand and I gently shook them onto the coated apples.  Not a good idea.  I have no idea how you are supposed to add sprinkles because my adorable, unimposing jimmies bounced off the caramel like birds hitting a window.  There would be no sprinkles for me and now there was pressing need to sweep the floor.

So sad.

I also tried dipping the apples in sprinkles but that just looked sad so I settled for plain caramel apples and was more than happy to!  They were really tasty and definitely a doable recipe, even for the cooking-challenged population.  If you’re interested in the recipe you can find it at allrecipes.com.  Also, note the picture they include of their beautiful, SPRINKLED caramel apples…*sigh*.