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Twin Cities Veggie Awards 2016 — Winners Announced!

CAA certificate color 2

Compassionate Action for Animals is pleased to announce the winners of our first annual Twin Cities Veggie Awards!

We’ve created this program to recognize Twin Cities businesses that support the compassionate community by offering outstanding vegan products. We want to acknowledge and thank them for their service, and we want to be sure that you know about them. We encourage you to give your support to these exceptional veg-friendly establishments so that they continue to thrive.

Here are the winners of the 2016 Twin Cities Veggie Awards along with a testimonial from each of our five panelists. Drum roll please…

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The Big News: Dates and Location for Twin Cities Veg Fest 2016

The Exhibitor Hall at Twin Cities Veg Fest 2015

Save the dates for Twin Cities Veg Fest 2016!

Saturday, October 29 and Sunday, October 30, from 11am to 4pm each day

Coffman Memorial Union at the University of Minnesota 

You might notice that we’re expanding the festival to two days this year, which is very exciting for us. We’ll also be at Coffman Memorial Union again, which is not what we expected, but we’re looking forward to making it work better than ever. Here’s how all this came to be:

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Easy Egg-Free Baking

EggFreeDesign_01 copy

A shorter version of this article was included in the most recent edition of Twin Cities Veg Living, the CAA magazine. Here is the complete version, with even more tips on egg-free baking.

Did you know that often you can simply leave eggs out of a recipe and have great results? Not ready to try that just yet? We’ve got you covered. Consider this a primer on egg replacement for vegan baking. You can search online for endless resources giving you greater detail. It’s easy to veganize a recipe once you understand why the eggs are used.

  1.     They add moisture and richness.
  2.     They work as a leavening agent.
  3.     They work as a binder.

Each of these plant-based foods replaces one egg:

  •     1 tablespoon to ¼ cup applesauce
  •     1 ripe banana, mashed
  •     1 tablespoon ground chia seeds with 3 tablespoons boiling water
  •     1 tablespoon EnerG Egg Replacer mixed with ¼ cup boiling water
  •     1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds with 2 to 4 tablespoons of boiling water
  •     ¼ cup mashed potatoes
  •     ¼ cup blended prunes
  •     ¼ cup cooked blended pumpkin
  •     ¼ cup mashed silken tofu
  •     1 tablespoon vinegar or 2 tablespoons lemon juice with 1 teaspoon baking soda

Now let’s test-drive your new skills. Try this recipe as it is and then try it again using another egg replacement option. Let the tasty fun begin!

Chedda Jalapeño MuffinsChedda-Jalapeno Muffins

Yields 12 muffins

These delicious muffins offer up a great combo of nondairy cheese and heat. You will find “chedda cheeze” and jalapeños through and through with every bite. Either eaten alone, with a robust salad, or with a hearty vegan chili, these muffins land just right on the palate.

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon baking powder ¾ teaspoon baking soda ¾ teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon EnerG Egg Replacer ¼ cup boiling water ¼ cup vegetable oil 1/3 cup unrefined sugar 1 cup nondairy milk, plus more as needed 1 ½ cup shredded nondairy cheddar cheese shreds ½ cup minced canned or fresh jalapeño chile

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a 12-cup muffin tin.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and into a medium bowl and set aside.

Put 2 tablespoons of the boiling water and the egg replacer in a small bowl and whisk until the mixture is thick and gelatinous. Add additional water as necessary. Set aside.

Mix the oil and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg replacer and continue to mix until well combined.

Alternating in small amounts, add the dry mixture and the nondairy milk to the wet mixture, stirring continuously until all of the dry mixture and nondairy milk have been added and a batter has been formed. If the mixture is too dry or thick, add up to 1/3 cup additional nondairy milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is achieved. The batter will be thick. Add the nondairy cheese and chile and mix until incorporated.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown. Let the muffins rest in the muffin tin for about 15 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Sit back and enjoy alone or with friends. These muffins will stay fresh up to 1 week when stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.

Variation For even more flavor, replace the unbleached all-purpose flour with 1 cup spelt flour, 1 cup oat flour, and 1 cup rice flour.

AmyLeo Barankovich, a passionate vegan chef, began cooking for a family of ten at the age of 13 and has since been delighting family, friends, and colleagues with creative, delicious wholesome food. She founded The Vegan Pantry: Where Taste Meets Grace, offering private and public cooking classes, personal chef services, vegan coaching, and restaurant consulting. Learn more at

Vegan Recipes from the 2016 Annual Banquet

Vegan Stuffed Shells

Our 2016 Annual Banquet was popular for many reasons, but perhaps the most drool-worthy aspect of this yearly fundraiser was the gourmet meal.

The menu had an Italian theme and was created by volunteer Jared Rolsky. Many additional volunteers helped with food preparation, and by the end of the night lots of people were talking about how good and filling the food was.

You are certainly welcome to try your hand at making these plant-based dishes at home. Here are the recipes:

Thanks again to all of our volunteers who helped to prepare the food and to The Herbivorous Butcher who sponsored the event by donating their vegan Italian sausage and nondairy mozzarella.


10 Veg-Friendly Spots to Dine Out for Life

Pizza Nea vegan pizza

Thursday, April 28 is the 22nd annual Dining Out for Life event in Minnesota. When you dine at one of the 200 participating restaurants on that day, a portion of the proceeds benefits The Aliveness Project, an organization that serves HIV-positive Minnesotans with a comprehensive array of programs.

Here’s a list of some of our favorite participating restaurants that offer good vegan options. We’ve included what percentage of proceeds will be donated to the Aliveness Project, which mealtimes apply, and what the restaurants have to offer.

  • Pizza Nea
    • 50%
    • Lunch, Dinner
    • Authentic Italian cuisine featuring pizza made with vegan meats and cheeses from The Herbivorous Butcher
  • Birchwood Cafe
    • 35%
    • Dinner
    • Fresh food with down-home appeal
  • Moto-I
    • 35%
    • Dinner
    • Ramen and sake house offering Japanese cuisine with many vegan options
  • Pizza Luce (all locations; dine in only)
    •  35%
    • Lunch, Dinner
    • Vegan pizza, sandwiches, pasta, and more
  • The Wedge Table
    • 35%
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    • Cooperative cafe and market with lots of vegan options
  • May Day Cafe
    • 25%
    • Breakfast, Lunch
    • Cozy cafe with awesome vegan scones, cookies, burritos, and more
  • Vo’s Vietnamese Restaurant
    • 25%
    • Lunch, Dinner
    • Vietnamese cuisine with very vegan-friendly menu
  • Ginger Hop Restaurant
    • 20%
    • Lunch, Dinner
    • Asian cuisine in swanky setting
  • Galactic Pizza
    • 20%
    • Lunch, Dinner
    • Vegan pizza and nondairy cheesecake
  • Hard Times Cafe
    • 20%
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    • Collectively owned diner with lots of vegan comfort food

Dining Out for Life offers a fantastic opportunity to support people in Minnesota living with HIV and to make compassionate meal choices at the same time. With 200 restaurants participating in Minnesota, you’re sure to find excellent vegan options on many of the menus. Use your dollars to make a difference!

Compassionate Times: Twin Cities Veg Living, Issue 2

Twin Cities Veg Living 2016 - cover

We’ve just published the second issue of Twin Cities Veg Living, and we’re very excited to share it with the world.

This annual 12-page magazine is a way for us to share who we are and what we do. You’ll find that our campaigns, programs, values, and mission are represented in its contents. Along with that, the magazine is a useful resource for those moving toward a plant-based diet. It features information that’s especially relevant to those who live in the Twin Cities area, and it shows how veg-friendly our community is becoming.

If you haven’t seen the magazine yet, you can find it at our tabling events throughout the year or read it online.

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The 2016 Annual Banquet in Pictures

Thanks to all who joined us for the 2016 Annual Banquet on Saturday, April 9 at the Wellstone Center in St. Paul. We had a great time celebrating 18 years of advocating for animals in the Twin Cities and hope you did, too.

This fundraising event featured a gourmet meal, a silent auction, live music, a presentation by one of our volunteers, and lots of schmoozing with others in the compassionate community.

Special thanks to the following individuals and businesses who helped to make this event a major success:

Also, thanks to the many individual volunteers who offered their time and talents in both helping to organize the event and doing the behind-the-scenes work that helping the event run so smoothly. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Enjoy the slideshow above with photos taken by volunteer Abbi Dempsey. Maybe you’ll see yourself in there!

Bridges of Respect: 40,000 Strong

Como High

Can you believe that as of 2015 Bridges of Respect has reached more than 40,000 students? That’s right! Since it was launched in 1999, CAA’s humane education program has reached 40,000 young minds, about 30 at a time.

Our presenters have been sharing the truth about what’s happening to animals in the food industry and elsewhere. When students feel comfortable, they contribute to the conversation and open up about their personal experiences. It requires a nonjudgmental atmosphere and patience. That’s how we get invited back semester after semester. Based on thousands of student surveys, we must be doing something right. When the students appreciate our efforts, the teachers do too. Presentations have to be tailored to fit the requirements of different classroom settings, from public to private schools, in magnets and charters, and from the inner city to the ‘burbs.

Bridges has been forging relationships with educators across the Twin Cities and surrounding areas. We’ve shaped curriculum, written assignments, and provided teaching materials for educators. We’ve had our lessons incorporated into classroom tests and have helped fulfill the learning targets of a variety of lesson plans. Here are a few examples:

  • Registered vegan dietitians visit health classes.
  • Students try vegan pancakes in their Family & Consumer Science classes.
  • College ethics students compare and contrast the leading perspectives on animal protection, and we demonstrate how we apply those perspectives to our daily lives.
  • We display steel jaw leg-hold traps, an elephant hook used by circus trainers, battery cages used in the egg industry, and then talk about alternatives to these harmful practices.

When I first started presenting for the program, I was nervous. Educating students is an important responsibility, and I knew I had to do my best. Share information and lifestyle examples, but don’t indoctrinate; make an impact, but don’t traumatize; leave them with a sense of urgency, but don’t come off as pushy or militant. It’s simple really: “This is what I do to help animals, and here’s why. And here’s how you can do it too if you want.”

One day, I wasn’t sure how the presentation went. I didn’t get a strong reaction from the students, except for a few bored faces (it is a high school after all). In between bells while everyone was heading out of class, a student approached me. She thanked me for coming in and told me that I was her hero. It’s a moment I reflect on when I need a little inspiration. Moreover, it was one of the moments when I realized how important it is to teach in underserved communities, and with regards to teaching about animal protection, that can feel like almost everywhere sometimes.

When I was in high school in the (gulp) ‘90s, I never had a lesson on the potential health and environmental benefits of veganism. It never came up in any way, in any class, in any year. We never had a guest speaker to provide the perspective that animals matter and to tell us what we can do about it. I’ve spent the last 15 years helping Bridges grow for this reason. Not only does humane education have the ability to transform our world into a more humane place, it allows students to develop into more critical thinking individuals.

I’m happy we have reached this milestone and look forward to seeing the program expand. There is still so much work to do in the schools, and there are still so many animals who need a voice.

A 14 year old inspired by our presentation 17 years ago is 31 now, perhaps with children. If what students from all walks of life have told us is any indication, our lessons about compassion will be passed on.

Meet the Newest Member of the Fundraising Team!

Hannah Patzer

Hannah Marie Patzer just recently joined Compassionate Action for Animals’ Fundraising Team. We’re happy to have her on board. Let’s get to know this superstar volunteer!

Hannah grew up in a small town in southwestern Minnesota and then majored in music at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Guess what! Hannah sings opera. Her rich mezzo-soprano voice can be heard amongst the voices in the local choir Exultate. She also has a tattoo sleeve on her left arm featuring an array of fruits and veggies. And this tattoo-slinging opera singer is a volunteer for CAA. Now how did that happen?

A couple years ago, Hannah was dating a vegetarian guy who never talked with her about why he was vegetarian, but she wondered, “What’s that all about?” Then one day, she watched just a small portion of the documentary Food, Inc. Just seeing the image of live baby chicks moving down a conveyor belt, all squished and scared, Hannah resolved to go vegetarian. In the few days that followed, she read the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and went vegan. Soon after, she moved to the Twin Cities, where she found lots of vegan options. Hannah says, “It’s been smooth sailing ever since.”

Not long after moving to the area, she began volunteering for CAA. One of her favorite volunteer positions has been server for the Annual Banquet because it gave her the opportunity to interact with a wide variety of people. (By the way, you can sign up to volunteer at our Annual Banquet on April 9.)

Hannah looks forward to developing her skills for leafleting and pay-per-view, though she finds conversations in outreach situations a little more intimidating.

Of all of our CAA events, Hannah loves potlucks the most because they offer that vital sense of community. She says, “It can feel like there aren’t as many vegans around unless you purposely put yourself in a community of vegans.”

So why did she recently join the fundraising committee? “I just want to do more. All this is happening to animals, and what can I do? I understand that without fundraising you can’t have a nonprofit. It’s an integral part of CAA, and it’s fun to see the inner workings. I like being around people who are bouncing ideas off each other. Leadership and creativity are areas that I want to build on and being on the fundraising committee will open up opportunities for that.”

When she’s not advocating for animals, Hannah works as a receptionist at a private equity firm in downtown Minneapolis. In her free time, she loves reading, alternating between books about animal agriculture and novels. She also enjoys lifting weights, seeing friends, and going out to eat.

Speaking of food, what are Hannah’s favorites? Preparing food at home, she loves a standard stir-fry with whatever she has in her fridge. “Everything tastes good together. Throw in some Braggs Liquid Aminos and nutritional yeast and you’ve got a deliciously cheesy mess of vegetables.”

Her favorite restaurants include French Meadow (She recommends the Zen Salad, the Tempeh Reuben with fries, and the vegan special — always amazing!), Pizza Luce (Her favorite is The Rustler!), and the Thai restaurant Sen Yai Sen Lek (She loves any of their vegan options!).

When asked about her stunning tattoo sleeve showcasing fruits and veggies, Hannah says, “People look at my arm and say, ‘Oh, that makes me want to go and eat a raspberry.’” To them, she retorts, “Good, you should never eat an egg again.’”

Ha ha! We like her compassionate style and good sense of humor, and we’re so happy to have her join us on the Fundraising Team.

You’re welcome to join us, too! Our next Fundraising Team meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 16 at the CAA Community Space from 7 to 8:30pm. You’re welcome to check out the meeting even if you’re not officially on the committee. If you’d like to attend, email Unny Nambudiripad at

Is it ok if I eat meat in front of you?

Illustration by Sydney Terwey

You’ve probably heard it before. You sit down to a meal with a friend, co-worker, parent, or classmate, and they ask, “Is it ok if I eat meat in front of you?” And you find yourself with mixed feelings about how to respond. Let’s talk about it.

When this happens, the first thing we can recognize is that the person who asked the question is being conscientious about you, your beliefs, and eating habits. This is great! But it gets harder from here. Their question was not “What happened to the animal before they died?” or “Should I start eating more plant-based foods?” The concern is about you and not necessarily about the animal. We can respond in a way that inspires the other person to consider the effects of their food choices and shift toward eating foods that cause less harm to animals.

First, acknowledge their concern about you. A simple “thanks for asking” will suffice. Second, you may also want to express how you feel. If you’re uncomfortable, you could say, “Yes, it’s difficult for me to be around this because I care about what happens to animals.” Third, reaffirm their choice. While we know very well the dire effects of individual choices on the lives of animals, in this context, showing your respect for the other person’s autonomy gives them space to make their own choices. When they don’t sense a demand (whether in the moment or in the ongoing relationship), it’s easier for them to consider changing the way they eat. Saying “I respect your choices” or “I want you to make your own choice about what to eat” will more likely inspire them to be open-minded.

Fourth, you may want to offer to be available for more conversation or assistance in the future. You could say, “I’d be happy to make food for you some time” or “If you’re open to it, let’s talk about animals and ethics” or “I’ve got this great recipe that I think you’d love.”  

Altogether, your response might sound something like, “Thanks for asking. It’s difficult for me to watch you eat animals because I care about them, but I respect your choices. How about I make you some vegan tacos next week?”

Of course, what you choose to say and how you choose to say it will depend on your relationship with this person and on how you’re feeling at the moment. Remember that your tone of voice and body language are also powerful communication tools.

Be forgiving of yourself if you can’t muster patience in every conversation or find the right words to say. When you consider the treatment of animals regularly and reflect upon your behavior, you’ll find it easier to respond positively and constructively. And you’ll make a huge difference for animals.


Get Involved

Upcoming Events

Saturday, June 25, 2016 - Sunday, June 26, 2016

Pay-Per-View at Pride 2016

Thursday, June 30, 2016

June Dine Out: Reverie Cafe & Bar

Saturday, October 29, 2016 - Sunday, October 30, 2016

Twin Cities Veg Fest 2016