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Mark Your Calendars for Our Annual Banquet

I have a lot of events to announce! I hope to see you soon!

  • First, we have a potluck on Thursday, January 23 at 6 pm at our office, 2100 First Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55404. Warm up with great food and company!
  • We’re hosting our 5th Vegan Chili Cook-Off on Saturday, February 22 at the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, 900 Mount Curve Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403. We’ll open up registration to contestants soon!
  • We’re hosting our 10th Annual Banquet on April 3, 2014. I look forward to celebrating another successful year with you! You can register right now.

We have more events including a Valentine’s potluck and bakesale to announce soon.

Do you live outside of the Twin Cities, Minnesota area and want to plan your own festival like the Twin Cities Veg Fest? We’ve created a new website on how to plan a veg fest! We’ve included all details on how to form a committee, find a venue, coordinate advertising, and more!

Betty Goes Vegan Cookbook Review

“[Betty Crocker]…has always been an advocate for the modern kitchen….[W]ith the rise of veganism and vegetarianism, and a wave of new vegan-friendly products on the market, there’s another new wave of modernity sweeping over the cooking landscape – and many of us need a hand adjusting, in the way our mothers and grandmothers did in their day.” – Betty Goes Vegan: 500 Classic Recipes for the Modern Family by Annie and Dan Shannon.

Annie Shannon captures the spirit of Betty Crocker in Betty Goes Vegan with her personal notes on recipes and tips on gadgets and vegan products. More than the recipes, Annie’s story of being in a professional rut and being re-inspired through her Betty Crocker blog project resonates so loudly throughout the cookbook it inspires the reader to dive in with abandon too. From blog project to VegNews’ Best New Cookbook 2013, Betty Goes Vegan is an inspiration for modern day “Bettys”.

The recipes in Betty Goes Vegan harken back to my childhood growing up on Minnesota’s Iron Range. Familiar dishes like stroganoff and meatloaf are remade compassionately with vegan ingredients. If you miss your family’s mayo-based salads, have no fear, Chapter 3 on lunch has you covered. Many of the recipes showcase faux meats and cheeses, and the Shannons offer several overviews of the products for the novice throughout the book.

In addition to the usual chapters on breakfast/brunch, lunch, dinner, baked treats (aka desserts) and appetizers/snacks, there is a section on holiday favorites that offers quick ideas if you find yourself hosting a holiday meal. With 14 pages dedicated to Thanksgiving, you’re bound to find something new to add to your current rotation. Maybe a beer can tofurky (p. 444) or mini pumpkin cheesecakes (p. 454)? The baked treats chapter will also make you wish you had a whoopie pan with 9 recipes ranging from tiramisu (p. 346) to dreamsicle (p. 344).

I tried seven recipes from the cookbook and found them more of a starting ground for inspiration than a follow it to the letter guide. The vegan ranch dressing (p. 110) was flavorful (non-vegans couldn’t tell it was vegan), but its consistency was more like a dip than a dressing. The artichoke dip (p. 408) was a lemony, slightly funky and richly gooey dip that satisfied a need for overindulgence. I doubled the chocolate chips for the chocolate chips cookie recipe (p. 296) and was surprised at the whipped consistency of the dough. The cookies had crisp edges and fluffy centers and were devoured at a party by vegans and non-vegans alike. You can read more about my experiences with the recipes on my blog, Accidentally Meatless.

What I liked most about Betty Goes Vegan is Annie Shannon’s personal touch and vulnerabilities. She shares women’s history lessons, arguments for veganism, and a study of Betty Crocker in an introspective tone that challenges the reader to see beyond stereotypes and be a role model through compassionate, inspired living.

Betty Goes Vegan: 500 Classic Recipes for the Modern Family

by Annie & Dan Shannon
First Edition: February 2013
Grand Central Publishing

Vegan Eats World Cookbook Review

Through 300 bold international recipes, this cookbook answers the question, What if the world were vegan? It encourages the reader to open their plate to food from around the world no matter where their kitchen is.

Written by Genevieve Gamlin, author of and Compassionate Action for Animals volunteer

Vegan Eats World starts with asking what if the world were vegan?, followed by a quick "How to Use This Book" section which includes a key for icons used to label recipes. The book is divided into three parts. Part One, Kitchen Cartography, includes six sections: Before Cooking; During Cooking; After Cooking, Chill Out; Ingredients; Shopping Lists; and Kitchen Equipment. These thirty-four pages can be a life saver for the novice home cook as they are filled with countless how-to's and cooking terms defined. Part Two, The Recipes, is broken down into twelve chapters: Spice Blends; The Three Protein Amigos: Tofu, Seitan, & Tempeh; Pickles, Chutneys & Saucier Sauces; Salads, Spreads & Sandwiches; Soups; Curries, Hearty Stews & Beans; Dumplings, Breads & Pancakes; Asian Noodles to Mediterranean Pasta; Hearty Entrees; Robust Vegetable Entrees & Sides; Rice & Whole Grains: One-Pot Meals & Supporting Roles; and Sweet Beginnings. Part Three ends the book with menu ideas, online resources, recipe by icon index, thanks & acknowledgments, metric conversions, index, and an about the author section. As you can imagine, this is a large book reminiscent of a college textbook.

Diving into such a large book can be overwhelming. I thought about picking a recipe from each chapter, but I ended up going to the "Recipe by Icon" index and picking a few from the "On a Budget Section". While making my shopping list I was greeted by unfamiliar ingredients. They are referenced in Part One, but I still had to figure out where I could get these ingredients in my neck of the woods. I started with my usual grocers, Trader Joe's and Kowalski's, but wasn't able to find many of the spices. The next day my sidekick dropped by Indian Spice House in Eden Prairie and was able to find many ingredients on the list. This cookbook will most likely make you venture to specialty grocers. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of spending a small fortune on spices at Kowalski's before realizing how cheap the spices are at places like Indian Spice House. I think the "On a Budget" icon only applies if you already have most of the spices or can find a good online source.

It was finally time to cook the first recipe on my menu, jerk-roasted seitan strips, which calls for the seitan coriander cutlets. I did not read through the cutlet recipe since it had the "under 45 minutes from start to finish" icon. Big mistake. The forty-five minutes does not include preparing other recipes needed for the final recipe or pre-soaking of beans or nuts. So even though the seitan has the "45" icon the recipe calls for three minutes of kneading, ten minutes resting, thirty-four minutes baking, and at least forty-five minutes cooling before use for a total of ninety-two minutes. The jerk-roasted seitan called for blending up all of the ingredients then cooking for thirty minutes. That is a grand total of one-hundred-twenty-two minutes, not including miscellaneous time for prepping ingredients for a recipe I thought would take fewer than forty-five minutes.

Aside from the misleading icons, the recipes were delicious as well as fairly straight-forward and easy. I did run into one snag during a recipe that called for spices to be ground in a coffee grinder. Not having a coffee grinder, I figured I could use my one-cup food processor, but it didn't work so I ended up just putting in the spices whole.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves going out to any international restaurant and is interested in recreating dishes at home. The author states that she took some liberties with regard to what is authentic, but I did not notice anything that was too far off. One improvement would be if this book had an index that sorted the recipes by region. The author states that vegan cuisine does not live on a map, but it sure would be nice to pick recipes based on a dinner guest's favorite region.


Jerk-Roasted Seitan Strips: Despite the length of this recipe, it was fairly easy. The seitan had a meat like texture and was delicious. The hardest part was trying not to cry uncontrollably after food processing the onion mixture. The finished product was very flavorful with a mild kick. The book suggests serving this dish with Island Brown Rice and Peas. I already had some cooked brown rice I wanted to use up so I just threw in some frozen veggies, coconut milk, and spices.


Coconut Black-Eyed Pea Curry: This recipe also calls for an onion to be food processed, convincing me that this book should come with a pair of goggles. For a recipe with coconut in the name, there was not a strong coconut flavor. This recipe was fairly bland, but makes a good side dish.


Lemon Garlic Potatoes: I had some extra potatoes to use up and I love garlic so I decided to make this dish as a side. They were really good mainly because you cannot go wrong with potatoes, but they weren't as lemony or garlicky as I expected.


Sri Lankan Red Lentil Curry: This dish was hot! The strong flavors from the various spices were new to me. I loved the texture, perfect for scooping up with naan.


Yogurt Naan Griddle Bread: This was by far the best naan recipe I have ever tried. This naan was made with garlic and cilantro, but the book offers many different variations.


Japanese Soul Food Menu: Tonkatsu Sauce, Sesame Panko Tempeh Cutlets, Shredded Green Cabbage, Lemon Wedges, and Steamed Rice: This is my new favorite tempeh recipe. Normally I am not a huge tempeh fan because of the texture, but the way it's prepared in this recipe creates a perfectly crunchy outside and meaty inside. The tangy, salty sauce was easy to make and really made the whole meal, who doesn't love dipping?

Last Chance to Donate in 2013!

Please make your donation before the end of the year!

CAA is the new wave of animal activism, blending a winning combination of ingredients including youth, intelligence, professionalism, media savvy, and contemporary technology to advocate passionately and successfully for its chosen constituency.

Joe Connelly, editor, Veg News

Twin Cities Veg Fest is growing. In 2012, 1,200 people attended. In 2013, 2,000 attended. We expect 2,500 to 3,000 in 2014. But we can only accomplish this with your help. We’re engaging thousands about the horrors of factory farms by handing out leaflets and showing videos. At our potlucks, dineouts, cooking classes, at our presentations at middle schools and junior highs, we’re giving resources to people so they can change their diets. But we can continue this only with your financial contribution.

As far as donations, there is no better return on your investment … than through CAA, who effectively reach out to young minds questioning the ways of our culture. Both their efforts and impact are highly focused and result-driven. A truly amazing group.


Thank you for your support!

For the animals,

Unny Nambudiripad
Executive Director

Leave a legacy for animals

Please consider leaving a gift for Compassionate Action for Animals.

You can give farmed animals a very special gift by providing for Compassionate Action for Animals (CAA) through a bequest, trust, annuity, or insurance policy. Planned giving is a powerful way to ensure your longtime legacy of protecting animals while continuing CAA’s important mission into the future.

Sample bequest language is easy for your advisor to include: “I give, devise, and bequeath to Compassionate Action for Animals, federal tax identification number 41-1846192, 2100 1st Ave S, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55404 ____% of my estate [or describe sum $____ or the real or personal property ____] to be used for its general purpose.”

Time for Giving

Please consider making a donation to Compassionate Action for Animals. Giving is a great way to express your compassion to animals. Another way you can give is through your estate.

While we were planning Twin Cities Veg Fest, Annette made these easy burritos and wild rice with eggplant and mushroom dishes for our volunteers. They were a big hit! Try out the recipes yourself.

There are many ways to contact CAA and follow our work. I'd like to hear from you! Last week I started writing these short emails, and I wonder if you prefer these or the longer ones we used to do?

For the animals,

Unny Nambudiripad

Executive Director

COK Uncovers Animal Abuse in Colorado and Minnesota

In several recent undercover investigations, Compassion Over Killing exposed animal abuse in Colorado and Minnesota. In the Colorado case, the investigator has been indicted on charges of witnessing animal abuse.

In 2013, a Compassion Over Killing investigator went undercover at Quanah Cattle Co. in Kersey, CO. This particular company purchases newborn male calves from dairy factories and then confines them before sending them off to be raised for their meat. The undercover investigator uncovered severe animal abuse that included dragging, pulling, kicking, throwing, and flipping the calves out of the trucks that they had been shipped in.

When the investigator turned over their video footage to local authorities, three employees who participated in the violence were brought up on charges of animal abuse. However, the investigator was also brought up on charges of witnessing animal abuse and reporting it. The county's charges show that the ties to agribusiness go much deeper than just the industry itself, and that the problem of animal cruelty is incredibly complex.

In a separate investigation by COK, investigators went undercover at Hargin, Inc, a Minnesota turkey breeding farm. The investigators uncovered incredibly cruel and filthy living conditions, as well as forcible artificial insemination. The video footage shows birds getting caught in the poorly maintained equipment and suffering life-threatening injuries.

While the good news is that turkey production is projected to drop 5% in 2013, it still means that more than 45 million turkeys will be killed for their meat during the holiday season alone. You can help bring an end to animal cruelty such as this by moving towards a plant-based diet.

Undercover Investigations

I’m trying out a new format for this Weekly Update. Let me know what you think!

I hope to see you at our free Holiday Cooking Class this Saturday at 4 pm. It’s a great opportunity to prepare for the holidays by learning recipes you can make for your friends.

Here’s two recent undercover investigations from our friends at Compassion Over Killing. As a result of one of the investigations, they charged farm workers with a crime — and then they charged the investigator as well! The other investigation was right here in Minnesota.

For the animals,

Unny Nambudiripad
Executive Director

Help Animals During the Holiday Season

Can you make a donation to Compassionate Action to Animals?

As the holidays get closer and we draw our family and friends near we are reminded that most animals are not as fortunate. On today's factory farms animals often spend their lives alone in bare cages after being separated from their families. At Compassionate Action for Animals (CAA) we recognize their hardships and want to help make the world a more compassionate place by encouraging people to embrace their empathy. Could you please help us help animals by donating $10, $25, or $50 today?

We recently hosted our biggest event to date, the 2013 Twin Cities Veg Fest. This free festival showcased nearly 50 exhibitors and food vendors for over 2,000 attendees. Vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike were able to indulge in free vegan food samples, enjoy a concert, get body art, and learn about the motivations and virtues of veganism from nationally renowned speakers like Nathan Runkle, founder of Mercy for Animals. Twin Cities Veg Fest also featured local speakers from Minnesota Voters for Animal Protection, Move2Veg Nutrition Counseling, and Compassionate Action for Animals. At CAA's Paid Per View we paid people $1 to watch video footage depicting the suffering that animals endure on the modern farm. We're looking forward to next year already and so are the attendees. Here are a few survey responses:

"We never realized that vegan food could be so delicious."

"Awesome event! Very nice people!"

"I thought that it was SUPER inspiring and exciting to see so many people at a veg event in MN!"

"Being away from the veg-scene while continuing to eat vegetarian, you stop thinking about why you're doing what you're doing as much, so it was re-invigorating being 'in the culture' again. It's motivated me to transition to a vegan diet, too."

Exhibitors have also told us how happy they were with the event. Our exhibitors offered samples of delicacies such as vegan honey, gourmet nut milk cheeses, and marshmallows made without the gelatin. Other exhibitors came to share information about animals, sell products, and show off their arts and crafts.

The food vendors were nearly sold out by the end of the day and after trying some of the dishes it was easy to see why. With more than 20 options, attendees had a lot of choices. Asase Yaa served Tofu Khebab Masala and power smoothies. Seward Cafe offered a wide variety of vegan baked goods. Flamingo Restaurant provided delicious Ethiopian lentil and vegetable dishes in generous portions. For a unique dessert Kitty Corner Caf

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Upcoming Events

Friday, March 1, 2024 - Friday, March 8, 2024

Celebrate National Pig Day: Act for MN Pigs

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Live Support Session: Call In for Pigs

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Twin Cities West Suburbs Vegan Potluck