Living the Farm Sanctuary Life: A Review

Living the Farm Sanctuary Life book cover

When I first started on my plant-based journey, my focus was on my health and wellness. In the back of my mind I knew that by eating a vegan diet I would also be helping the animals and the environment, but it wasn’t the driving force for my lifestyle change. However, after I saw a friend’s post about a goat she met at Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY, I realized that the impact of my changes had a much farther reach than my own dinner plate.

That’s why when the opportunity came to read the Farm Sanctuary founder’s new book, I was ecstatic. The book, Living the Farm Sanctuary Life: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Mindfully, Living Longer, and Feeling Better Every Day, is much more than just a cookbook or memoir – it’s a practical guide to living a more compassionate life.


One of the things that endeared me most to this book was the detailed history and journey of Gene and Farm Sanctuary and the personal stories from various plant-based people scattered through the book. Reading about his journey to creating Farm Sanctuary is a reminder that we all start somewhere and that one step leads to the next.

His story about how Farm Sanctuary began with him and a friend keeping some rescued animals in a backyard is a testament to how small actions can be a catalyst for greater things. I also enjoyed the anecdotes about the animals that some of the employees of Farm Sanctuary provided throughout the book.


Beyond the personal stories, the main premise of this book is what Gene calls the Five Tenets of Farm Sanctuary Living. These tenets include things such as eating plants for the earth, eating plants for your health, and eating mindfully.

The tenets are straightforward and each section is written in such a way that is easily digestible and actionable. Baur lays out simple steps you can take to successfully follow each tenet, and with sections such as how to eat vegan on the cheap and ‘10 Small Steps’ guide, he makes the entire lifestyle incredibly approachable.

Spring Cioppino
Spring Cioppino


The second half of this book is dedicated to a variety of vegan recipes. The recipes were provided by a number of well-known plant-based chef and celebrities including the owners of The Vedge restaurant, Farm Sanctuary employees, and Biz Stone (founder of Twitter).

While some of the recipes are a little too reliant on pre-packaged vegan foods for my taste, they are accessible for someone who is just transitioning to a plant-based diet. Aside from those few recipes, the majority of them are some of the most inventive I’ve seen.

Walnut and Date Cookies
Walnut and Date Cookies

I personally was able to whip up several of the recipes, and I enjoyed each one immensely. From the Spring Cioppino, which is filled to the brim with fresh veggies, to the Walnut and Date Cookies, which have just the right amount of crunch and sweetness, the recipes are easy to follow and delicious.

I would consider this book an essential guide for anyone beginning on their journey toward a more compassionate lifestyle, as well as an asset to any long-time vegan’s library. While changing our diets may be the most challenging part of the journey, it is only one piece of the happy and healthy life puzzle – this book reminds us why living compassionately is so important, and it gives us the tools to do so.

Gene Baur will be signing copies of his book on Wednesday, May 20 at Common Good Books in St. Paul. Visit the event page for more details.

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book free of charge, however, all opinions expressed are my own.

Cookbook Review: Vegan Pizza

Pizza: It’s the staple of every college kid’s diet and of every harried parent’s go-to meal plan. But when you make the decision to eat a plant-based diet, your delivery pizza options are greatly reduced. Julie Hasson looks to fill that void by bringing delicious vegan pizza straight to your kitchen with her cookbook, the aptly named Vegan Pizza: 50 Cheesy, Crispy, Healthy Recipes.

Vegan pizza may seem simple enough: homemade crust, tomato sauce, plus some toppings and maybe a little vegan cheese. But getting just the right combination of those ingredients can be the difference between an okay pizza and one that you’ll remember long after you’ve devoured the last bite. Julie’s book is what will get you there. Her easy-to-follow instructions and carefully-thought-out recipes give you all the tools you need to make crave-worthy vegan pizza right in your own kitchen.

The cookbook contains 50 unique recipes for vegan pizza, all of which look amazing. Muffuletta Pizza or Thai Peanut Pizza? What could be any better than that? The beginning of the book provides a list of common pizza staples to have in the pantry as well as five different crust recipes that will satisfy anyone you may be cooking for, including a gluten-free option. She also provides many tips and tricks for getting your vegan pizza to come out better than what you could get from delivery or a store.

The recipes are broken into eight sections, including several recipes dedicated to individual components: Dough and Crust, House-Made Meats, and Cheesy Sauces and Spreads. Once you have all of the pieces together, Julie dives into the good stuff – the pizzas! She starts off with the classics and gets more exotic as the book goes on, with global flavors and unique combos. And, of course, what would a book about pizza be without a few dessert pizza recipes?

My personal favorite recipe is the Valentine’s Pizza. It’s a straightforward recipe, like most in the book. However, Julie adds her own twist on things, which really takes this pizza to the next level. I love the suggestion of shaping your pizza into a heart, and the unique combination of sun-dried tomato, basil, arugula pesto, and red bell peppers gives it truly bold flavors. The bell pepper adds an interesting texture as well, which keeps things exciting as you make your way through the pie with your sweetheart.

While the photos are a bit sparse, I wouldn’t consider that a problem. After all, you can only shoot pizza from so many angles. Overall, the variety of combinations and user-friendly instructions make this cookbook one you’ll want to to have on hand at all times. With Julie’s help, you’ll be whipping up vegan pizza for your friends and family in no time, even if you’re a novice cook!

Compassionate Times: August, 2014

keynote speakers

Animal Rights National Conference 2014 Wrap-Up

Since 1981, the Animal Rights National Conference has been offering a place for animal rights activists and others interested in the welfare of animals to network and learn more about the movement. The 2014 conference took place in mid-July in Los Angeles and had a number of high-profile speakers and insightful workshops.

Compassionate Action for Animals was fortunate to have several volunteers and staff members attend the conference this year, and we wanted to catch up with them to learn more about their experiences. This year, we had some veterans and some first-timers attend the conference, and we’ll take an inside look at the experiences of both.

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A New Vegan Option at Subway: Hummus!

Subway Offers Hummus

Over the past few years, Subway has worked to offer more options for health-conscious patrons. In 2012, Subway tested a variety of veggie meats in the D.C. areas and received raving reviews from customers, and in 2013 they rolled out falafel in more than three dozen stores in and around the D.C. area.

Now, Subway announced that they will offer roasted red pepper hummus in 1,000 stores across the country. Currently it is offered at an extra cost, but if the demand is high enough, they will consider putting in stores nationwide.

According to the Associated Press, Tony Pace, Subway’s chief marketing officer said: “It’s something we’ve been talking about for the last three or four years,” saying it has “tremendous potential.” As further noted in the article, Pace suggests that since many customers already order vegetarian subs, offering hummus would expand the meatless choices available to them.

If you’d like to see more veg-friendly options at more Subway restaurants across the country, be sure to add your voice to the conversation and let them know what you’d like to see! More than 13,000 consumers have already let them know they’d like to see more compassionate choices on their menus, so be sure to make your voice heard!

We heard about this awesome news from our friends at Compassion Over Killing

CANCELED: Vegan Treats from Salty to Sweet at Whole Foods


Update: this class has been canceled.

Join AmyLeo of Vegan Affairs on Tuesday, May 13th for a vegan treats cooking class at the Lake Calhoun Whole Foods store! The class will run from 6-8pm and the cost is $30 per person. Pre-registration is required for this class and you can either register onlinein the store at the customer service desk, or by calling 612-927-8141. Learn more about the class below!

Whether you have a few sweet teeth or steer more towards the savory, everyone loves a treat from time to time to enjoy and share. In this class, you’ll learn how to satisfy your cravings for treats using entirely plant-based ingredients like nuts, dried fruits and natural sweeteners. AmyLeo will guide you through whipping up some fresh-baked desserts to sweeten up your day and savory nibbles to keep you company when you desire a wholesome treat that blends crunch, nutty flavor and a little spice.

This class is vegan friendly, with hands on opportunities as desired. On the menu:

  • Garlic and Cracked Pepper Cheesy Popcorn
  • Chedda-Cheese Delights
  • Fig Pumpkin Bread with Maple Cream Cheese icing
  • White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Be sure to sign up for the class to learn some new tasty vegan recipes and meet some new friends!

Vegan Shopping Outing at Seward Co-op

Friends of CAA are hosting a fun vegan night at Seward Co-op where those who are vegan already or who are veg-curious and come eat with other vegans and learn about a plant-based lifestyle. See below for the details! Are you a vegan? Are you interested in meeting other vegans who shop at the Seward Co-op? Perhaps you’d like to find out about the advantages of a vegan lifestyle or just enjoy the camaraderie and wit of other vegans. Then feel free to stop by the Seward Co-op every Friday at 6 PM to join a newly formed group of inquisitive shoppers (in the Seward Co-op cafe area) to meet fellow vegans, dine together, and socialize. No cost other than whatever you purchase to eat. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to learn about veganism and befriend a vegan neighbor!

Add Punch to Your Brunch Vegan Cooking Class

Vegan Brunch Cooking Class

Want to spruce up your brunch menu or learn to cook some new, tasty vegan brunch dishes? Join AmyLeo from Vegan Affairs on Saturday, April 26th from 10am – Noon at the Lake Calhoun Whole Foods Market in Minneapolis for the ‘Add Punch to Your Brunch’ cooking class!

The class will be held in the Cooking Classroom at the Whole Foods Market and costs $30 per person. You must pre-register for the event at the Customer Service desk or you can register online.

On the menu for the cooking class is:

  • Luscious Vegan Breakfast Scramble
  • Savory Seared Tempeh with Rich Garlic Aioli and Fresh Greens
  • Ancient Grain Griddle Cakes with Caramelized Fruit
  • Molasses Sweetened Multigrain Granola

Each dish will help you enhance your plant-based breakfast routine or help you impress your friends at your next vegan brunch! This compassionate cooking event will have good food, good friends, and good conversation, so be sure to register today!

New Veg Options Available at Target Field!

Vegan Food at Target Field

Though you’ve been able to find a few vegan or vegetarian items at Target Field in Minneapolis in the past, such as popcorn, peanuts, and pretzels, they’ve upped their game this season with lots of delicious veg options that will surely make you want to head out to Target Field – and maybe you can even watch the Twins play, too!

New vegan and vegetarian options this year include Field Roast veggie dogs and burgers, which are both vegan, a baked potato bar, hummus with pretzels, veggie taco, veggie kabobs, and veggie burritos. Now you can stop sneaking in those Larabars and enjoy true ballpark food while taking in a game this summer!

Before you head out to Target Field, make sure you check out their entire list of the veg options available as well as the directory  to where you can find all of the delicious plant-based foods throughout the stadium. They also have a ton of gluten-free options, so you’re sure to find something the whole family can enjoy!


Mercy for Animals Undercover Turkey Torture Investigation

Turkey Torture Mercy for Animals Canada

In a recent undercover investigation, Mercy for Animals went to a turkey factory in Canada called Hybrid Turkeys. From December 2013 to February 2014, an investigator worked at the factory and documented the terrible cruelty turkeys suffer within the facility.

Throughout their investigation, the investigator saw workers punching, throwing, kicking, and beating turkeys. They also saw them crushing their spines and bashing their heads with shovels and other metal objects. Beyond the outright cruelty, the investigator also documented instances of wounded turkeys with infections left without proper care as well as inhumane breeding practices that caused the turkeys to grow so quickly they were crippled under their own weight.

To learn more about the investigation and what you can do to help, visit this website by Mercy for Animals Canada. Additionally, if you’d like to learn more about moving towards a plant-based diet you can visit our resources page. You can find cruelty-free dining options at

Mistress Ginger Cooks: Love Songs to Turn Up the Heat

Mistress Ginger Cooks

Justin Leaf, a longtime CAA volunteer, is pleased to announce his cabaret show, “Mistress Ginger Cooks: Love Songs to Turn up the Heat”, at Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater on Thursday, February 13th at 7pm and on Friday, February 14th at 10pm! In addition to this show, Justin (as Mistress Ginger)  is also releasing a vegan cookbook in Spring 2014 called Mistress Ginger Cooks: Everyday Vegan Food for Everyone.

Junkyard Theater is presenting this special show at Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater, 810 West Lake Street, Minneapolis. Tickets are $15 at the door or $12 in advance or with Fringe button. You can get tickets at or call (612) 825-8949.

More about the show and cookbook

Award-winning performance artist Justin Leaf takes the stage as larger-than-life showgirl Mistress Ginger in this musical revue celebrating Valentine’s Day. With Charlie Smith on piano, Ginger sings songs to inspire love, lust, and laughter. The set list is comprised of a diverse collection of popular tunes, ranging from Cole Porter to Paul Simon to Pink. Whether soulful or comical, swinging or sultry, Ginger’s renditions aim to give the audience a night of full of fun and ripe with romance. This modern-day tribute to the quintessential day of love is designed for everyone, “whether single, coupled, or even tripled.”

Between the songs, Ginger tells a few titillating tales of her expertise in the kitchen, how she whips up meals for her many lovers and satisfies their appetites in more ways than one. With these stories, the show references Leaf’s soon-to-be-released vegan cookbook, written as Mistress Ginger and titled Mistress Ginger Cooks: Everyday Vegan Food for Everyone. The book will be published by Book Publishing Company and available in the spring of 2014.

Mistress Ginger

“Mistress Ginger Cooks” marks the sixth production for Junkyard Theater, established by Justin Leaf in 2009 as a platform for the creation of multi-dimensional performance works that affect an audience through the intimacy of the cabaret experience. Junkyard Theater’s first production, “The Mistress Ginger Junkyard Spectacular” premiered at the Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater in 2009 and was followed by “Bedroom Eyes,” presented at the 2010 Minnesota Fringe Festival. In 2011, Junkyard Theater presented “Spell No. 2” and “Geek in the Pink,” the latter of which VitaMN called “a campy, bawdy, homofabulous romp with moments of real humanity.” In 2013, Justin entered a new realm with “Don’t Rain on My Panda Bear,” featuring Justin performing as both himself and with the character of Mistress Ginger.In March 2014, Junkyard Theater will present “Waters of March,” featuring songs to herald the spring, sung by Justin accompanied by jazz pianist Richard Erickson.

So, bring your sweetheart out for a night of fun and laughter and don’t miss this one-of-a-kind show!

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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

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