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December '11
The VegNewsletter arrives in your inbox once a month and clues you in on vegan news, dining, recipes, product reviews, culture, giveaways, and all the other good things in life.

In This Issue
Holiday Happiness
V in the News
What's Up at VegNews
What's Hot on VegNews.com
Event Showcase
Recipe: Chocolate Cheesecake
Holiday Gift Guide
VN Holiday Store
January Preview

2011 Veggie Awards
Inside the November+December issue, we honor the people, places, and products that rocked our year with our 10th annual Veggie Awards, including readers' picks in 36 categories. Plus, a holiday feast awaits you along with recipes for sugar plum scones, savory waffles, and vegan candy. And don't miss the amazing interviews, news, media reviews, travel getaways, and more!

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 Holiday Happiness

We love this time of year. Mugs of vegan hot cocoa, the twinkle of lights strung up in windows, and piles of holiday cookies in all shapes and sizes turn us into little kids all over again. But often, instead of enjoying the holidays, we stress out about cooking, planning parties, and finding the perfect gift. This season, give your loved ones the best gift of all—memories you can create together (a few vegan cookies won't hurt either). We at the VNHQ wish you and yours the warmest of holidays, sugar plums and all.

 V in the News

Taiwan Bans Shark Finning
Taiwan introduced new fishing laws that will officially ban shark finning starting in 2012. Currently, the island nation off of the southern coast of China is the fourth-largest producer in the shark-finning industry. In addition, luxury hotel chain Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels has announced it will remove shark-fin soup from its menus in 2012. According to Oceana, an ocean conservation group, approximately 73 million sharks are killed annually, primarily for their fins.

Mainstream Vegan Recipes Roundup
A plethora of vegan recipes are popping up all over the internet, and not where you'd expect—The New York Times, The Washington PostShape, and Sunset magazines, all published recipes for holiday nosh. Shape recently posted a recipe for vegan lemon doughnuts, and The New York Times has been running a series of vegan recipes on its Well blog. The Washington Post ran a turkey alternatives taste test with its staff, and vegan chef Chloe Coscarell's chocolate strawberry cupcakes were featured on Sunset magazine's website.

Petition to End Factory Farming Launches
Following the National Conference to End Factory Farming in October, participants created a White House petition to continue the important work. The petition calls for the implementation of sustainable farm practices, nutrition education on the benefits of a plant-based diet, and the end of intensive animal confinement. To date, the petition has more than 1,800 signatures, but needs 25,000 to be considered by the White House.

 What's Up at VegNews

HolidayCookieContest

Holiday Cookie Contest
VegNews is thrilled to announce our first-ever Holiday Cookie Contest! Do you have a perfected vegan cookie recipe that puts the Sugar Plum fairies to shame? Whether it's your great-grandmother's gingerbread or a recipe inspired by whatever ingredients happen to be in your kitchen right this second, we're looking for the best holiday cookies on the planet. Bust out your best apron, biggest tub of vegan margarine, and favorite egg replacer, and show us how your holiday cookie crumbles. Dazzle VN editors with your sweet treats, and you might just win one of our three incredible prizes: a KitchenAid stand mixer, a vegan cupcake kit, or two dozen cookies from Allison's Gourmet! Entries are due this Saturday, December 10 at 5pm PT. Happy baking!

VegNews Holiday Cookbooks
The holidays are stressful enough without having to search for the perfect vegan recipe for your office cookie exchange or that ideal meat-free centerpiece to wow your in-laws. In the spirit of seasons' eatings, we've compiled the VegNews Holiday eCookbook: 35 Festive Recipes to Delight & Dazzle. This volume of editor-approved recipes includes everything from savory starters (think crispy potato latkes) and sides to tempting entrées such as Pumpkin-Seeded Battered "Chicken" with Cranberry Cabernet Sauce and decadent desserts like Dark Forest Trifle with Coconut Custard. Paired with VN's Holiday Cookie eCollection—filled with treats including the perfect gingerbread, Candy Cane Whoopie Pies, and Toasted Almond Toffee Bars—these marvelous holiday meals will not only make menu planning a breeze but will also add new traditions to your holiday tables for years to come.

Holiday Baking Twitter Chat
Don't miss our holiday-inspired VegNews Twitter Chat on December 15. Top vegan bakers will be chatting with us about how to perfect vegan cakes, cookies, and pies just in time for the holidays. Never participated in a Twitter Chat before? Don't worry. We have a handy guide to explain it all. Join us at 6pm PT at the hashtag #VegNewsChat. VegNews editors will be hosting the chat, and you don't need to have a Twitter account to enjoy the discussion.

 What's Hot on VegNews.com

You know what's hip? The internets. Here are our top five picks for hot VegNews.com stories you should check out right this minute.

1. The 10th Annual Veggie Awards Want to know who really wowed VN editors and readers in 2011? From restaurants and bakeries to movies and makeup, find out this year's favorites.

2. Holiday Booziness John Schlimm, author of The Tipsy Vegan, offers up delicious holiday recipes (hello, Merry Mushrooms to All!) using one of the holidays' must-haves: hooch.

3. 5 Must-Eat Healthy Foods Counteract heavy holiday meals with these five health-promoting, waist-slimming foods. 

4. Vegan Food Tour of Toronto Join a vegan food crawl through Toronto with VegNews TV correspondent Jasmin Singer as she visits a veggie café, vegan diner and juice bar, and an upscale restaurant.

5. Upstate NY Vegan Adventure Animal sanctuaries? Check. Vegan food? Tons. Tranquil beauty? Everywhere. A quick escape to upstate New York is the perfect way to unwind after holiday office parties and visits from the in-laws.

 Event Showcase

Discussion of Early Animal Activists
On December 10, join a public conversation with Kathryn Shevelow, author of For The Love of Animals: The Rise of The Animal Protection Movement, as she discusses the lives of six early animal protectionists. Hosted at San Diego’s Rancho Penasquitos Branch Library, the free event will also feature holiday-inspired crafts to keep kids entertained.

Vegan Holiday Party
Bring your spirit and cheer to the VeganEarth Holiday Party in Cincinnati on December 11. Guests will be serenaded by live music while enjoying a vegan potluck feast made of everyone’s favorite holiday-inspired recipes. 

Holiday Festival
Head to Manhattan’s Green Holiday Festival on December 11 to pick up great gifts for loved ones. Sponsored by US Veg Corp—the organization behind the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival—this first-ever celebration will feature cruelty-free and eco-friendly gift options and delicious vegan food. They have also lined up inspiring speakers, entertainment, and fun activities. Tickets cost $20, and a portion of the proceeds go to For the Animals sanctuary.

 Get Cookin'

Chocolate Cheesecake Squares

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Want the ultimate knock-your-socks-off vegan dessert for this year's holiday party? Meet our Chocolate Cheesecake Squares. With a cookie crumb crust and layers of cream cheese, what more could anyone want? Top the chocolate squares with broken pretzel pieces and a balsamic glaze if you're the overachieving Martha Stewart-type (and, if so, we love you). Vegan cookbook author Robin Robertson shares this easy yet decadent dessert from her latest cookbook, Quick-Fix Vegan: Healthy, Homestyle Meals in 30 Minutes or Less.

Makes 9 squares

What You Need:
1-1/2 cups vegan chocolate cookie crumbs
1 to 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 cup vegan margarine, melted
2 8-ounce containers vegan cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
Chocolate curls, chopped toasted nuts, or fresh berries, for garnish

What You Do:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease an 8-inch square baking pan. In a medium bowl, combine cookie crumbs, brown sugar, and margarine, and mix to moisten crumbs. Into prepared baking pan, press crumb mixture and bake for 5 minutes. Set aside.

2. In a food processor, combine cream cheese, sugar, melted chocolate, and vanilla, and process until smooth. Spread mixture evenly onto crust. Bake until firm, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled completely.

3. To serve, cut into squares, wiping knife clean between each cut. Garnish as desired.


Photo by Jon Robertson

Looking for more holiday treats? Try out a few of our favorites:
Sugar Cookies
Perfect Vegan Gingerbread Cookies
VegNews Holiday Cookie Collection

 VegNews Mini Gift Guide

Vegan Holiday Shopping

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VegNews editors want to share our favorite cruelty-free gifts to give friends and family this season. Who can resist the tantalizing combo of salted caramel and rich dark chocolate? Allison’s Gourmet Salted Confections Gift Set is a box of salty-sweet heaven, with salted chocolate brittle and vanilla and chocolate caramels. Crazy for coconut? Hail Merry’s Rhythm ‘N Blues Macaroon Tin is guaranteed to bring smiles, but might get gobbled up in seconds. Friends and family will adore Alternative Outfitters’ Faux Wool Pocket Scarf, which comes in classic black or adorable eggplant. And for Scrabble lovers in your life, there’s always the perennial favorite word game at the VNHQ—Bananagrams. Want to peruse the official 2011 Holiday Gift Guide from VegNews magazine? Check it out here!

 VegNews Holiday Store

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How did it get to be December already? We're pretty sure it was just September last week. This month can induce the dreaded "what should I get so-and-so?" panic that inevitably happens while you're standing in the middle of a mall. Have no fear, we've got you covered. A sure-fire people pleaser is a decadent box of vegan chocolates from Rose City Chocolatier. Filled with Irish Cream, Marzipan Pistachio, Coconut Cream, Cordial Cherry, Santiago Hazelnut Crunch, Peanut Butter Truffle, and more, we promise you'll make someone very happy with this gift. We've pulled together all of our favorite gifts into a special online holiday store for easy, one-stop shopping. Think soy candles, peppermint lip balm, holiday cards, vegan chocolate, gift certificates, and more. Your shopping is done!

 January Newsletter Preview

Satisfy your between-issues cravings with this complimentary supplement, featuring exclusive product reviews, musician, artist and event spotlights, slammin’ recipes, giveaways, plus the lowdown on how veganism is bettering the world—one delicious bite at a time.

 

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