Just wanted to share a few photos with you from our camping trip last weekend, up near Woodstock, NY, with six other vegans and a total of three rescued dogs (including our Bella). It was just a quick weekend trip, but we managed to squeeze in vegan s’mores, a beautiful hike, scary stories around a campfire, and even a visit to the Woodstock Animal Sanctuary.
Bella was the happiest pup in the world, having other puppy pals to play with, and being able to run free through the woods. Just look at that smile:
And you know what makes me happy? Vegan S’MORES! We came prepared with some vegan graham crackers (not easy to find, as most graham crackers contain honey), a variety of assorted chocolate bars, and of course a variety package of Sweet & Sara‘s vegan marshmallows, including all four flavors: vanilla, strawberry, cinnamon pecan, and toasted coconut. Holla!
By the way, I was recently asked why regular marshmallows are not vegan. For those of you who don’t know, regular marshmallows (and many other things) contain gelatin. Gelatin is derived from the collagen inside animals’ skin, bones, and connective tissue. So the next time you’re chowing down on some marshmallows, Jell-O, or even taking vitamins or supplements that come in gelatin capsules, just think about the fact that you’re eating a bunch of boiled bones and skin. It’s gross. But fortunately we have a sweetie like Sara to make some delicious vegan marshmallows so we can still enjoy our s’mores around the campfire.
Making Vegan S’mores:
Step 1: Place squares of chocolate on top of a graham cracker. I recommend our technique of placing said graham cracker on top of a rock near the fire, so that the chocolate warms up and becomes just a tad melty.
Step 2: Sharpen some sticks so that they resemble small spears. Place vegan marshmallow on stick and hold over the fire. Note: vegan marshmallows don’t really brown and scorch the way that regular marshmallows do, so just hold them over the fire until they seem like they’re warm and gooey.
Step 3: Smush the marshmallow on top of the warm and gooey chocolate squares, and sandwich with another graham cracker on top. Squish all together so that the chocolate reaches maximum messiness. Eat. Repeat.
Since we were getting all gourmet with the s’mores up in there, I will tell you that the best combos we made were the strawberry marshmallows with a hazelnut chocolate, and also the toasted coconut marshmallows with a currant and raisin dark chocolate. Yep, even in the great outdoors with nothing but a fire pit, I’m usually thinking about what kind of delicious food we can make.
And here’s another pic of our happy pup in the morning:
Also sweet was our visit to the Woodstock Sanctuary. It was my first visit there, and although I already knew I would love it, I’m an adoring fan of what they do now. I was really impressed to see their vegan outreach in action. There was a large group of people there, at least some of whom (probably most) were not vegan, and the tour guide not only introduced them to individual animals (all of whom share a story of survival), but also took the time to educate about the harsh realities of factory farming. When one begins to see each animal as an individual with emotions, who is capable of suffering, and who has a will to live, it becomes more difficult – if not impossible – to imagine eating them. And when one learns of the horrors of the modern day factory farm, it becomes an obvious choice to no longer contribute to or support such a system. I think, I hope, that a lot of people might come to the sanctuary expecting something akin to a petting zoo, but walk away from the sanctuary as newly-converted vegans.
These turkeys recommend my puff pastry entree stuffed with sauteed wild mushrooms, seitan, garlic, and fresh herbs, accompanied by cranberry chutney.