Pay It Forward Friday: Catskill Animal Sanctuary

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Today 20% of proceeds from sales of my 21-Day Vegan Blueprint are going to be donated to one of my favorite animal welfare organizations, Catskill Animal Sanctuary (CAS) in Saugerties New York. Yes, Pay It Forward is back for 2015!

Since 2001 CAS has rescued and “provided a safe haven for over 2,000 desperately needy farm animals and has found loving homes for many of those creatures.”

When you visit CAS you’ll find a 110-acre farm home to pigs, horses, cows, goats, chickens, turkey, sheep, and other sweet animals. Though these animals have been rescued from abusive circumstances, their spirits begin to soar when they make it to CAS.

Catskill Animal Sanctuary

In addition to rescuing needy animals from around the state of New York, and sometimes further, CAS makes it their mission to open the farm to visitors and educate the public on the sentience of the animals who often end up on their plates. By recognizing that these animals, like us, are able to feel love, fear, and joy, we are able to expand our circle of compassion to include them. CAS also offers compassionate cuisine cooking classes––I’ve taught a few––so that people can taste how delicious vegan food is, and learn how to make it themselves.

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Vegan Pecan Pie for Dr.King {VIDEO}

Vegan Pecan Pie

Today is MLK Day. For most of my life I let this holiday come and go without much deep reflection on the meaning and the man behind the day. As the years pass, and my understanding of the world matures, MLK Day becomes more and more important to me. Presently, in the wake of the recent tragedies involving police force/brutality, the on-going injustice of systematic racism in the United States [ex. mass incarceration], and the release of “SelmaDr. King’s work, words, and wisdom are on my mind more than ever.

Sometimes I read the news, open a book, or have a conversation and it seems like the world––full of war, death, murder, rage, fear, and hate––is crumbling to pieces.

Then I think of Dr.King.

I think of how, in the face of enormous odds, he and other activists stood up to a system that was built to keep them down. In the face of apparent evil, they showed up with compassion and love. And they refused to give up their fight for equality no matter how many road blocks they may face along the way. I think of how things were in the early-60s in America, and I think of how far we’ve come to today. I gotta say, this gives me hope for our current injustices. No, things are not perfect, but I think Dr.King would be proud. I suspect he would rejoice in our achievements, and then turn to us and encourage us to continue to demand equality and justice for all.

As he said in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

To honor the man who demanded action, championed for equality, and sacrificed so much for all of us I made his favorite dessert, Pecan Pie.

Compassion, courage, and perseverance. I didn’t expect to have to find these 3 qualities within myself while making a pie. But I sure did. Though he’s been gone from this Earth for nearly 40 years, Dr.King lives on, and continues to impart his lessons and his wisdom in even the most mundane circumstances. Watch the video below to hear how my decision to make a vegan pecan pie turned into a life lesson from Dr.King.

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Fashion! My feature on Refinery 29

Jenné Claiborne Vegan Chef Refinery 29 TJMaxx

I’ve always loved fashion! Along with food, dancing like a fool, and animals, clothes were one of my first loves. Nana and my mom would let me ramshackle their closets to play dress up every weekend. I’d drape myself in long dresses, and engulf my head and feet in fancy hats and high heeled shoes. Then I’d get them to sit and watch as I presented my one-model-only fashion show.

Jenné Claiborne Vegan Chef Refinery 29 TJMaxx

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Arugula Pesto + Farro Pilaf

vegan arugula pesto with butternut

The fountain of youth, beauty, fitness, strength, and energy exists my friends! And from it flows greens. Yes, greens. Dark leaves like kale, spinach, and collards. And tender greens like butter lettuce, arugula, and radicchio. Oh what a magical and nutritious fountain it is.

The key to youth, beauty, physical fitness, strength, and energy is locked away in the tiny cells of greens. Look at Popeye! The man knew what was up. You didn’t see him chuggin’ a protein shake, he was poppin’ cans of spinach.

popeye spinach gif

I’m so addicted to greens that when I don’t eat them for 24 hours I start feeling like one of the little boys from the musical Oliver singing “Food Glorious Food”. Only I’m singing “Greens Glorious Greens”! Meals just aren’t complete without them. The more I eat, the more I want, and the better I feel. My skin is its brightest, my thoughts are the clearest, and my digestion is the super bestest when I’m munching on greens.

Even more, I thrive on raw greens. I try to eat a raw salad a day, but when it’s cold outside I also crave hearty cooked food. It was a conundrum in the past. I’d flip a coin to decide whether I should cook or massage my greens. I didn’t realize that I could have it both ways at the same time. Not until I remembered the magic of pesto.

vegan arugula pesto pilaf [Read more…]

Sweet Potato Hash {VIDEO}

sweet potato

When I think of soul food I think of the delicious food my Nana cooks. You know, the last time I was home for the holidays Nana made my stuffing. She didn’t have the actual recipe, but she remembered what ingredients I had used when I made it for her––Field Roast apple sage sausages, rosemary, ciabatta bread, shiitake mushrooms, and the usual stuffing additions like onions, celery, and garlic.

That stuffing was the bomb! She put her own Nana spin on it, and injected it with a level of soul that I can only hope to someday possess. Nana has got skills.

When I was growing up down south, I would look forward to the elaborate weekend breakfasts Nana made. She would wake up early to carefully peel potatoes with a paring knife. Then she’d thinly slice each potato with the utmost precision before frying them in an old cast iron skillet. I’m making myself hungry just thinking about those homefries. I can smell them now!

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