How to Pack Foods Fit for a Vegan Picnic

June 1st, 2014

This is for our Spreewald paddling trip (and for any random Internet person looking for recipes that could satisfy a mixed group). Trying to find good recipes that keep well in the heat and satisfy all of us — vegans, vegetarians, and meat eaters — isn’t as difficult as one might think.

Since everybody is okay with eating veggies, the vegan recipes are the lowest common denominator. If we all pitch in a vegan dish to share, no one should leave feeling unsatisfied. (Fellow meat-eaters, just pack your preferred dried meats and nibble furtively at the edge of the picnic blanket, okay? ;-))

I gathered up some vegan recipes for us to choose from. Many thanks to all the vegan food bloggers and chefs for providing excellent tips. My choices for us were for for recipes that are (1) easy to make, (2) visually exciting, and (3) likely to be fine when served at Spreewald-in-June picnic temperatures. The vegan bratwurst was a must-bookmark exception though. And although no American would consider PB&J worthy of a recipe, you Germans might welcome some tips.


Spicy Beet Salad with Horseradish

spicy beet salad

In a pinch, use refrigerated pre-cooked beets.

No-Cook Tabbouleh

no-cook vegan tabbouli

The grains “cook” overnight in the acid of tomato and lemon.
One of my personal favorites for summer eating!
Recipe via

Picnic Caviar

spicy corn bean red pepper salad

Rustic with corn, beans, paprika, and the kick of chilies!
Recipe via

Soba Noodle Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing

vegan soba noodle salad

Pasta salad with the flair of East Asian spicing
Recipe via

Tofu Salad Sandwich

tofu salad sandwich

A tahini-based alternative to chicken salad.
Recipe via

Tomato Zucchini Pasta Salad

tomato zucchini pasta salad

A sherry-and-shallot vinaigrette sounds yummy!
Recipe from



Simply cut, raw vegetables don’t need a recipe,
but the pictures will stimulate your appetite.
Serving ideas via

Best Ever Broccoli Slaw

broccoli slaw

This popped up just today in my Facebook feed. Looks great!
Recipe via

Raw Pad Thai

raw vegan pad thai

Even as a meat-eater, I love this woman’s vegan food blog!
See her vegan taco salad video on YouTube.
Recipe via

Curried Quinoa Mango Salad

quinoa mango salad

A sweet treat if you can find ripe mangoes
Recipe via

Asparagus and Avocado Spring Rolls
with Citrus Dipping Sauce

vegan spring rolls with asparagus and avocado

Use green asparagus with the avocado for the visual affect!
Recipe via

Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich (PB&J)

peanut butter and jelly sandwich

The staple item of so many American packed lunches, who really needs a recipe?
See for hacks on the PB&J.

Vegan Bratwurst

vegan bratwurst or mergez

Leave it to you Germans to figure out a way to do this!
Recipe in German via

Kale Slaw with Curried Almond Dressing

kale slaw vegan coleslaw

A cabbage-less twist on coleslaw.
Try it with the Brats!
Recipe via

Tell me what you’re packing!

Consent makes all the difference. All of it.

April 23rd, 2014

The Hunter couldn’t sleep and inadvertently woke me. He fell back to sleep and I fell into the Web.

This quote below and the one in the title above jumped out at me from one of the blogs I subscribe to.

It required adopting a new kind of feminism, I think—a BDSM- and kink-friendly feminism that is rooted in agency and consent, and that understands the difference between play and abuse.

Read the rest at Ask Mr Sexsmith: I struggle with my feminist beliefs and my bedroom preferences

Plantation Blues: Ani DiFranco steps into it … and then out

December 31st, 2013

Ani DiFranco has cancelled her planned Righteous Retreat at the controversial Nottoway Plantation & Resort and issued a statement explaining why she thought the place would be okay in the first place. Because some of the already published summaries of her statement appear to be more interested in merely profiting from the debate’s heat, I would encourage you to read Ani Difranco’s full statement here yourself.

Let me say that while I don’t agree with the why of her position on the plantation site at all, I appreciated reading her decision to cancel and had my “faith” restored.

The Disagreement

As I tweeted to my skin-sister @alphabeta, her and Ani’s assertion is equivalent to this: “this is a graveyard … but isn’t every piece of land, really?” While I agree that, yes, blood has been spilled all over the planet, a graveyard — labeled and commonly understood as one — cannot be so casually redefined without raising confusion, question, and indignation. Buildings and land are, yes, buildings and land, but they are systematically given meaning by the communities that create them, use them, promote them, sell them, destroy them, and restore them.

If folks started laying wreaths in Ani’s backyard and showing up daily for ritual funerals there, she’d get the difference, I think, between “the dead are all around us” and “this is a graveyard” points of view.

Moreover, the plantation people themselves get this (plantation and resort!), so why does Ani feel compelled to dismiss them with this:

i know that pain is stored in places where great social ills have occurred. i believe that people must go to those places with awareness and with compassionate energy and meditate on what has happened and absorb some of the reverberating pain with their attention and their awareness.

That’s not what the “plantation resort fun!” sellers are selling at all (google their website, because I won’t be linking to it here) so consider this Ani diss #1 . Indeed, this isn’t just a former plantation and a new site for introspection. It’s a site that has repackaged the slave past and is selling it now to whites as massa-done-good-by-those-darkies plantation fun.

That’s the present day, not the past. Ani’s hope that discussion about that would simply and gently “emerge organically” was naive at best and dismissive at worst.

From her text, I’m going with dismissive (Ani diss #2). See her “rich white dudes with conservative political leanings” comment specifically. She knows; she just doesn’t believe it’s important to distinguish.

The Agreement

Nevertheless, here’s why I said my faith was restored: In her words, I was reminded that she does see herself as a white ally. She recognizes white-skin/ethnic privileges and also asserts her rights to a voice and a role in the anti-racism fight (one that isn’t one of mere skin-based deference to us people of color) .

i believe that even though i am white, i can and must do this work too. if you disagree, i respectfully understand where you’re coming from and your right to disagree. i am not unaware of the mechanism of white privilege or the fact that i need to listen more than talk when it comes to issues of race. if nottoway is simply not an acceptable place for me to go and try to do my work in the eyes of many, then let me just concede before more divisive words are spilled.

Not only was she willing to pull the plug on this after the controversy (yay!), she had already committed her time and resources in this event beforehand to anti-racist projects and people. That she reminded us of that here isn’t to be dismissed by our anger as self defense (public diss #2,019). We can stop drinking the haterade now, folks, and get back to tending and mending our bonds. We need everyone in this effort and we need more of that kind of forethought and commitment.

This controversy — in its good, bad, and ugly — continues to drive us toward greater consideration and understanding. I, for one, am glad to see Ani still in it, asserting her righteous babe cred and taking the heat as righteously.

We can disagree on the why, Ani. My faith in the opportunity of anti-racist work is nevertheless restored.


UPDATE 3 Jan: Ani has done a bit more “digging” and issued a straight-to-the-point apology via Facebook:


it has taken me a few days but i have been thinking and feeling very intensely and i would like to say i am sincerely sorry. it is obvious to me now that you were right – all those who said we can’t in good conscience go to that place and support it or look past for one moment what it deeply represents. i needed a wake up call and you gave it to me.

it was a great oversight on my part to not request a change of venue immediately from the promoter. you tried to tell me about that oversight and i wasn’t available to you. i’m sorry for that too.

know that i am digging deeper.