Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cruelty-Free Caramel Apples & "Ask Amy"

Caramel Apples
From VegNews Magazine, Nov/Dec 2011
Makes 5 apples
1 1/2 cups dry roasted peanuts, crushed
5 caramel apple sticks (or popsicle sticks)
5 tart green apples
1 recipe Soft-Set Caramel (See recipe below), set at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours
1. On a baking sheet, lay a sheet of greased wax paper and set aside.
2. Onto a large plate, place peanuts. Insert a caramel apple stick 3/4 of the way into each apple.
3. Dip each apple into the caramel mixture, using a butter knife or spatula to thoroughly coat. Remove from caramel and dip into peanuts.
4. Let chill on prepared baking sheet in refrigerator for 1 hour. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Soft-Set Caramel
Makes 2 cups
1 cup non-dairy milk (soymilk or other)
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup brown rice syrup (available at health-food grocery stores)
4 tbsp Earth Balance
1 vanilla bean, split in half, seeds scraped to be used for recipe
1. Grease a 9x9 baking dish and set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring non-dairy milk to a boil.
3. Add sugar and brown rice syrup and, mixing occasionally, boil until mixture reaches 240 degrees or until the caramel becomes a deep golden color and has boiled for approximately 12 minutes. *
4. Remove from heat and add Earth Balance and vanilla seeds. Mix and immediately pour into the prepared baking dish.
Sugar Safety
Hot sugar creates the worst burn you'll ever have. Make sure to use deep saucepans when cooking to prevent splattering. Always have a spoon or spatula handy so you don't feel compelled to use your hands during cooking.
"Ask Amy"
Q: I've heard the argument that humans are designed to eat meat. Is that true?
A: What a great question! I've also heard this argument,
but here's what many may not know about our anatomy:
From cookbook and nutrition author Jo Stepaniak:
  • We do not have a hinged jaw for ripping apart flesh but one that is able to grind sideways.
  • We have a longer digestive system so we are better able to get the nutrients from our foods as opposed to the shorter tract that carnivores have to enable them to pass the meat through their bodies before it becomes rancid.
  • We do not have claws or talons for tearing flesh.
  • The enzymes in our saliva that start breaking down the food in our mouths and the early part of our digestive tract are of a low acidity level and in alignment with a plant-based diet.
I have also read that we are the only species that needs to cook (and often season) animal flesh before we can consume it and have a better shot at digesting it.

The argument is also made that humans have been eating meat throughout history and that it makes sense to continue this practice.
First, for a more accurate perspective on our ancestors' dietary habits, you might enjoy Dr. John McDougall's free video at:

Second, even if many of our ancestors consumed animals, we have far more food items readily available today that we do not need to eat animal products to survive. Plus, nutrition and disease researchers are consistently finding that a plant-based diet contributes to better health and longevity.

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