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Leave a Legacy for Animals

After you’re gone, what kind of legacy do you want to leave? A powerful way to put your values into action is by creating a will. Making a will enables you to also provide for companion animals and/or plan for the care of your digital assets, such as social media accounts.

By naming Compassionate Action for Animals as a beneficiary of your will or financial assets, you can leave a legacy that will help spare the lives of millions of animals and protect the future of our planet.

You can also add a beneficiary to the financial assets you already have. We have tools to help. All of the options below are free to use. That’s right, you can create a will for free!

Here are the tools we’ll cover:

  • Create your own will and add Compassionate Action for Animals as a beneficiary
  • Add Compassionate Action for Animals as a beneficiary to a financial asset, such as life insurance or an IRA
  • Add Compassionate Action for Animals as a beneficiary in an existing will

Create your own will in roughly 20 minutes

Click here to visit the FreeWill site and then click Get Started. About ⅓ of the way through, or 7 minutes in, you’ll get to the Charity Section. Click “other” and then enter Compassionate Action for Animals, EIN 41-1848192. It’s that easy to leave a legacy, and you’ll have the peace of mind of having planned for your assets and companion animals, if any, as well.

We won’t know you’ve planned a gift unless you tell us! Please email donations@exploreveg.org when you’re done so we can add you to our Legacy League.

Add Compassionate Action for Animals as a beneficiary to a financial asset

Do you have a life insurance policy or IRA? All you need to do is name Compassionate Action for Animals, 2100 1st Avenue South, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55406, EIN 41-1848192 as a beneficiary. You can choose a dollar amount or a percentage amount of the value of the asset to go toward a legacy of care for farmed animals.

Add Compassionate Action for Animals to an existing will

If you already have a will, ask your lawyer to add language such as this:

  • “I bequeath $(amount) or x% of my estate to Compassionate Action for Animals, a non-profit located at 2100 1st Avenue South, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55404, as an unrestricted gift. Tax ID 41-1946192.”

If you use these tools, please email donations@exploreveg.org to let us know you’ve made a bequest. Please tell us if we’re named as a beneficiary of your will or of a specific asset, and what asset. We will add you to our Legacy League, recognized yearly in our annual report beginning with the financial year 2020 (published in 2021). You can inform us and still remain publicly anonymous.

Thank you for your commitment to the well-being of farmed animals and our planet.

Photos and Winners from the 11th Annual Vegan Chili Cook-Off

The contestants of the 11th Annual Vegan Chili Cook-Off brought the heat! Over 240 attendees savored vegan chilis created by community and professional contestants while being introduced to animal protection, environmental, and food waste issues.

Many thanks to all of the contestants, including J. Selby’s, ReverieRoot to Rise, Trio Plant-based, Vegan Affairs, and community cooks for creating amazing vegan chili for this friendly competition, showing how delicious, satisfying, and easy to prepare vegan food can be.

The winners of this year’s cook-off are:

In the Community Category: Marina and Liberty Kirkeide!
In the Professional Category: J. Selby’s!

Couldn’t get enough of J. Selby’s winning chili at the cook-off? Get their recipe here!

  • Reverie—Outstanding Creative Chili
  • Root to Rise—Outstanding Wholesome Chili
  • Trio Plant-based—Outstanding Spicy Chili
  • Vegan Affairs MN—Outstanding Mock Meat Chili

This event would not have been the success it was without the support of our stellar 40+ volunteers and Chili Cook-Off planning team. Thank you for your support with planning, setting up, cleaning up, making extra chili, and more––THANK YOU!

Thank you to Kakookies, who donated cookies for attendees to enjoy. Thanks also to Hope’s Vegan Kitchen, J. Selby’s, Plnt Bsd Smoothie Bowls, Reverie, and The Herbivorous Butcher, who generously donated to the gift basket. We’d like to extend additional appreciation to Fur Free Minneapolis, Spring Farm Sanctuary, and University of Minnesota student groups Nutritious U Food Pantry, Environmental Student Association, University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project, Disabled Student Cultural Center, and oSTEM for their support of the event and information they provided to guests!

Finally, thank you to everyone who came to join in the fun. Whether you are new to vegan food or have been a part of the local vegan community for a long time, we hope you found inspiration and support in moving further down the path of compassionate living.

You can’t remember an event without photos. Big thanks to A.K. Vincent for taking photos at the cook-off! Check out the photos they took at the cook-off below!

11th Annual Vegan Chili Cook-Off - Selects

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We hope you’ll join us at Spreading Our Wings: CAA’s Annual Banquet, at the Clarence W. Wigington Pavilion at Harriet Island Park on Saturday, March 21. With a scrumptious vegan dinner catered by Seed Cafe, a complimentary drink, and cupcakes from Vegan East, you won’t want to miss this celebration of making a difference for farmed animals. Get your tickets today!

Make it at Home: J. Selby’s Winning 2020 Chili Cook-Off Chili

Did you fall in love with J. Selby’s winning Pasilla Pepper Porter Chili at the cook-off? Now you can make it at home! We recommend making the cocoa espresso pecans and cilantro lime sour cream before starting the chili—even up to a day ahead!

This chili has it all—sweet, savory, and spicy flavors with a little bit of tang—and is sure to satisfy.

Pasilla Pepper Porter Chili:

  • 5 dried pasilla chiles
  • 5 dried hatch chiles
  • 5 dried ancho chiles
  • 5 dried guajillo chiles
  • 2 quarts onion, diced
  • Oil (of your choice)
  • Medium bunch thyme, picked
  • Medium bunch oregano, picked
  • 1/2 cup minced garlic
  • 2 quarts assorted bell peppers, diced
  • 12oz Indeed Stir Crazy Porter
  • 2 quarts black beans, cooked (from dry) or canned
  • 4 quarts San Marzano canned tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup vinegar (white or any of your choice)

Instructions:

  1. Seed and stem the dried chiles.
  2. Add half of the onion with the dried chilis in a pot with oil and salt to fully hydrate the dried chiles.
  3. Add herbs and blend to a paste.
  4. Sweat remaining onion in oil with garlic and bell peppers.
  5. Add beer and cook until reduced by half.
  6. Add chile paste and all remaining ingredients, then simmer until flavors are developed and vegetables are tender.
  7. Serve with garnishes and enjoy!!

Pecan Topping:

  • 1 pound of pecans
  • 1 tablespoon Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon Espresso powder
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Water

Instructions:

  1. Make an espresso cocoa simple syrup by combining equal parts sugar and water with cocoa and espresso powders and heating until dissolved. 
  2. Add the pecans and cook until tender, and the simple syrup fully coats the pecans without being too runny.
  3. Bake on a sheet tray with a wire rack for 5 minutes at 350F.

Cilantro Lime Sour Cream:

  • 16oz Follow Your Heart sour cream
  • Juice from one lime
  • One bunch of fresh cilantro

Instructions:

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine all of the lime juice, fresh cilantro, and sour cream and blend.
  2. Save some fresh cilantro to garnish with the pecans and sour cream, just like the J. Selby’s team did at the cook-off!

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Loved the chili cook-off? Learn about other upcoming CAA events at exploreveg.org/events and get involved at exploreveg.org/volunteer.

March Eats | Vegan Recipe Club

Learn how to make whole, unprocessed foods shine as they work for the benefit of your health this March, as we explore recipes from Cathy J. Fisher’s cookbook, Straight Up Food: Delicious and Easy Plant-Based Cooking Without Oil, Salt, or Sugar.

Beginning as a blog, this cookbook is full of delicious, health-promoting recipes that make exploring whole foods, plant-based eating fun!

From the author: “Straight Up Food [is] the cookbook I wish I had back when I started out on this path! This lifestyle can change the health game for you, as it has for me and so many others. Dr. Michael Greger speaks the truth in his book, How Not to Die: ‘Most deaths in the United States … are related to what we eat.'”

You can download this month’s recipes here.

Straight Up Food: Delicious and Easy Plant-Based Cooking Without Oil, Salt, or Sugar, by Cathy J. Fisher, 2016.

  • Oatmeal-Lemon Pancakes, page 42-43
  • Tu-No Salad, page 58-59
  • Khichadi, page 110-111

Optional recipes:

  • Mushroom Risotto, page 108-109
  • Falafel Patties, page 138

Vegan Recipe Club meets Tuesday, March 17 at East Lake Library, 2727 E Lake St, from 6:30-7:30pm. Questions? Email info@exploreveg.org or message us on Facebook.

The 5 Best Vegan Eats in Kansas City

When I first learned I’d be traveling to Kansas City regularly for work, I was… not thrilled. But over the course of several trips, I’ve found a budding vegan food scene that would delight any traveling foodie. Read on to learn about the five most memorable vegan eats from my trips to KC!

1. Pirate’s Bone Burgers

Pirate’s Bone Burgers is perhaps the best restaurant in Kansas City. This all-vegan burger joint started with pop-ups and opened its brick and mortar location in 2019. My non-vegan Uber driver raved about it and reportedly eats there often. The atmosphere is hip, casual, and friendly. Their burgers are served in buns made with activated charcoal. This means all of the buns are black, which is a fun signature twist on all of their sliders. 

I have tried the black bean burger, Beyond burger, and the beet burger, as well as the chili cheese fries and activated charcoal muffins. According to the staff, the beet burger is what really got them their start. My experience is that the beet burger is… true to its name. I love beets, so I enjoyed it, but I would not recommend it for those who do not like beets. My favorite was the black bean burger, perfect in every way. I’ve visited Pirate’s Bone Burgers several times, and I’ve never tried something I didn’t like. It’s a unique dining experience that no one visiting Kansas City should miss.

Beet burger (left) and black bean burger (right) with chili cheese fries at Pirate’s Bone Burgers
Activated charcoal muffin at Pirate’s Bone Burgers

2. Cafe Gratitude

Cafe Gratitude has locations in San Diego, LA, the Bay Area, and Kansas City. They serve exclusively organic plant-based foods and offer many gluten-free and raw options. One of the many things that make this restaurant unique is that meals are listed as statements about the customer. If you want the chef’s rainbow salad, you would order it off the menu under the name “I am luminous.” In turn, when the dish is served to you, the server will say, “You are luminous.” These ordering affirmations at first felt unnatural and awkward, but over time, I’ve come to find them delightful and affirming. I am luminous! 

I’ve been to several locations of this restaurant, and the food is consistently outstanding. In my visits to the Kansas City location, I’ve tried the “I am mucho” Mexican bowl, “I am magical” veggie burger, “I am present” bruschetta, “I am sensational” spaghetti squash alfredo, “I am gentle” banana bread, and more. Can you tell I like the place? 

The “I am magical burger” was among the best veggie burgers I’ve ever had, and the “I am present” bruschetta with house-made mozzarella was unforgettable. (The banana bread and spaghetti squash alfredo were not worth ordering again, however.) 

The service shows room for improvement; it was frequently hard to get my check, and staff often appeared overworked with little patience. But whether you’re in California or Kansas, you can’t miss this place and the abundant list of healthy vegan options.

Blueberry lavender cheezecake at Cafe Gratitude
“I am mucho” Mexican bowl, featuring black beans, pico de gallo, cashew ricotta cheese, and much more
“I am magical” veggie burger topped with cashew cheddar and veggies
“I am present” bruschetta with house-made mozzarella

3. Succotash

Succotash is a welcoming and unassuming little brunch spot. Several items marked vegan appear on their menu. I tried the Vegan Shortstack, which comes with a side of fruit. While it’s not listed on the menu, you can add vegan chocolate chips. (Which I of course did!) The pancakes come with a tasty house-made vegan butter. Breakfast at Succotash is a great way to start the day.

Vegan Shortstack at Succotash

4. Blue Bird Bistro

The Blue Bird Bistro is a charming little restaurant with exposed brick and low lighting. They serve very few vegan options, and they are unmarked on the menu. The only vegan entree is their green curry. However, while attending a wedding, I was able to indulge in a slightly larger list of vegan options available for private events. I enjoyed their butternut squash ravioli and an amazing orange cake covered in chocolate sauce and almonds. I would recommend them for special events. For everyday dining, I appreciate restaurants with more vegan options.

Orange cake at the Bluebird Bistro

5. West Side Local

The West Side Local is a cozy candlelit venue with an upscale vibe. Their menu features several items marked as vegan. I tried their Creamy Garlic “Alfredo” Penne. The alfredo sauce was remarkably creamy and paired perfectly with their choice of vegetables. However, the meal cost $17, and I left hungry. (I could have added Beyond Meat sausage for a whopping $5.) I enjoyed the atmosphere, and the food tasted great, but I can’t rationalize the price for such a small entree. 

Creamy Garlic “Alfredo” Penne at the West Side Local

The growing vegan food scene in Kansas City makes trips there especially fun. These abundant and delicious plant-based food options in an unexpected place make me feel even more certain that the future is vegan!

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Have you gone on a trip recently? We want to hear about it! Guides like happycow.net are great to start planning a trip, and so are tips on how to make and keep your trip to somewhere vegan from folks who have visited prior.

Let us know if you’d be willing to share your trip and some of its highlights with us at info@exploreveg.org.

My Vegan Valentine

Valentine’s Day is almost here, and whether you celebrate the day with a sweetheart, friends, or make it a day of self-love and care, there’s no better way to celebrate the day by living a life of compassion. Here are some ways to keep the animals in mind on Valentine’s Day:

If you’re planning on going out, look for a Valentine’s event at a local restaurant (there are MANY vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants to visit in the Twin Cities—if you’re looking for ideas, consult Happy Cow, Yelp, or Google!). You could also look for a show or other event to attend, including Mistress Ginger’s Be My Nasty Valentine: Songs of Love and Liberation on February 14 and 15.

Staying in can be just as fun! Cook with your date and find a movie to watch and spend quality time together. Bonus points for a romantic, late-night walk, weather permitting. Here are some recipe ideas to get your brainstorming started.

Looking for something sweet? Come buy some sweet treats for your sweetie at our Valentine’s Vegan Bake Sale on Thursday, February 14, on the ground floor of Coffman Memorial Union, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, 300 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis.

You can also visit a local vegan-friendly bakery or shop to pick a sweet treat or create something of your own! There are so many awesome recipes out there, like Sweet Potato Soul’s Vegan Beet Brownies—the world is your Oyster Mushroom!

One other thing to know if you’re buying chocolate this week—Did you know that some chocolate makers source their chocolate from areas that use child labor and slavery and some makers of vegan-friendly chocolates are involved? You can learn which vegan chocolates to avoid on Food Empowerment’s Chocolate List (they also have an app) and support those that don’t use children!

Is gift-giving a part of your Valentine’s Day? See what local sanctuaries are asking for around this time of year and make a gift in your sweetie’s name to support a resident!

However you do or don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, we hope that you feel the love!

Meet the 2020 Vegan Chili Cook-Off Planning Committee!

Meet part of the team behind the 11th Annual Vegan Chili Cook-Off!

Stefanie Amundsen

Stefanie with Otis, a resident of Farmaste Animal Sanctuary

What’s your role on the Chili Cook-off Committee?
I’ve been helping out with the event’s publications (creating promotional posters, contacting the press, etc.)!

What else have you been up to this winter? 
Over the holidays, I traveled home to Wisconsin and was able to spend plenty of time with friends, family, and my precious twin cats. I’d say the best part of the winter has been braving the cold to travel locally, especially to Milwaukee to experience my first cat café and to Chicago to see my first musical! Otherwise, I’ve been doing lots of painting, journaling, and my mom has been teaching me sewing.

Do you have a favorite kind of chili, topping, or side?
The best chili that my family makes for my birthday every year is made with quinoa, corn, and beans! On top, I always add unsweetened coconut yogurt, nutritional yeast, and saltine crackers.

What helped you go veg?
When I switched to a plant-based lifestyle, what helped most was to share all the veg deliciousness with friends and family. I went on a binge of searching for great vegan recipes before I made the switch, so once I did, I was cooking nearly every day to learn and try new things! My family started loving our dinners more than the non-veg ones and loved the daily variety and vibrancy we could get in our diets. Also, I always offer to host get-togethers for friends, so I can layout a huge dinner spread including the best recipes I’ve come across. Sharing is caring!

Annette Johnson

What’s your role on the Chili Cook-off Committee?
I am the Volunteer Team Lead. I’m also interning with CAA right now and initially got involved as a volunteer.

What else have you been up to this winter? 
This winter I have just been working, getting my school work done, and staying warm! I recently took up snowboarding and have been enjoying that.

What’s your favorite outreach event outside of the chili cook-off?
My favorite outreach events outside of the chili cook-off are food giveaways! I love trying the food we give to people who are not aware of vegan food.

Do you have a favorite kind of chili, topping, or side?
My favorite kind of chili topping is vegan shredded cheese!

What helped you go veg?
What helped me go veg is knowing how eating plant-based/vegan diets benefit our environment. One tip I would give others is to find resources! You can make a vegan diet very easy, fun, and yummy if you put some time into it at first!

Abby Medberry

What’s your role on the Chili Cook-off Committee?
I am the Volunteer Coordinator for the chili cook-off. I got involved after hearing about meeting Laura at the UMN CAA student group and she emailed asking if I was interested.

What else have you been up to this winter? 
Mostly working. I went home to Rochester for winter break where I work at Panera. 

What’s your favorite outreach event outside of the chili cook-off?
I really enjoyed our ThanksLiving event and also volunteered for that event. 

Do you have a favorite kind of chili, topping, or side?
I always eat bread with soup or chili. My favorites are sourdough and focaccia.

What helped you go veg?
I went vegan in middle school and the one tip I have is to encourage yourself at every step and celebrate your progress. Also, find some good vegan restaurants in your area!

Kerri Newcomer

What’s your role on the Chili Cook-off Committee?
My role in planning the cook-off involved coordinating with the Student Unions and Activities office to make sure our event space is set up correctly, all permits were filled out, and the reservation was good to go. 

What else have you been up to this winter? 
Over winter break, I hung out with family and friends from home and went rock climbing, hiking, and played video games. I also spent a lot of time with my pet rabbit, Karter, and a rat named Oscar that I was taking care of for a friend.

What’s your favorite outreach event outside of the chili cook-off?
I’m a big fan of the Halloween and Valentine’s Day student group bake sales.

Do you have a favorite kind of chili, topping, or side?
My favorite chili topping is crackers.

What helped you go veg?
Something that helped me go vegan was watching a lot of (easy) vegan recipe videos. I had never really cooked before and the food looked so good. A tip I have for anyone looking to go vegan is if you do try a whole bunch of new recipes, keep in mind that for most things, not everything has to be perfect. If you’re missing an ingredient or two, it’s usually not a huge deal. Also, if something turns out bad, it’s not a big deal. It happens. Don’t let that discourage you.

Volunteers make the Chili Cook-Off happen (and they get in free)! Sign up here to get involved as a volunteer or get your ticket here to this year’s cook-off. See you on Saturday, February 8 at 6:00 pm!

February Eats | Vegan Recipe Club

Welcome to February! This month, we’re exploring recipes from Candice Hutchings (aka The Edgy Veg)’s self-titled cookbook, The Edgy Veg: Carnivore-approved Vegan Recipes and working on creating exciting and satisfying seitan-based recipes as well as some creamy desserts.

You can download this month’s recipes here.

The Edgy Veg: Carnivore-approved Vegan Recipes, by Candice Hutchings and James Aita, 2017.

  • New York Cheesecake with Raspberry Coulis, page 254-256
  • In Search of General Tso’s Chicken, page 162-163
  • Italian Bakery Veal Parmigiana, page 172-173
  • Become a Master of Seitan: Chicken, page 38-39
  • All You Need Is Broth, page 34

Optional recipes:

  • Death by Chocolate Mousse, page 257-259
  • Naked Burrito, page 102-103

Vegan Recipe Club meets Tuesday, February 18 at East Lake Library, 2727 E Lake St, from 6:30-7:30pm. Questions? Email info@exploreveg.org or message us on Facebook.

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