Monthly Archives: February 2011

Chili News (Who doesn’t love vegan chili, right?)

I think we’ve made you wait long enough…  Here is the winning chili recipe from our First Annual Vegan Chili Cookoff last month!  Enjoy!

Chipotle Sweet Potato Chili
Submitted by Lauren Murray

3 medium sweet potatoes
juice from 1 lime
2 red bell peppers
1 large onion
4-6 cloves of garlic
2-3 15oz cans of organic black beans
15oz can of organic tomato sauce
28oz can of organic diced tomatoes
chipotle peppers en Adobo sauce
vegetable stock
Field Roast Mexican Chipotle sausages (optional)
olive oil
agave nectar
brown sugar
chipotle pepper powder
ancho chili powder
chili powder
habanero pepper (optional)

A note from Lauren: I have a bad habit of not measuring anything when I cook, so these spice measurements are all approximate. Add them in small amounts and adjust to taste as it cooks. I know this looks like a novel, but it’s not hard, trust me!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Wash and peel potatoes, and cut into 1 1/2-2″ inch chunks (they’ll shrink). Toss chunks with the juice from the lime and drizzle with the olive oil and agave until coated. Add about 1/4 cup of brown sugar, and a teaspoon each of chipotle pepper powder, cinnamon and salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne. Toss to coat. Line a rimmed baking tray with foil and dump potatoes on  it. Roast for 30 minutes, flipping them halfway. If they look dry when you flip, drizzle with a little more oil.

While potatoes are roasting roughly chop the onion and garlic. Saute in a large soup pot over medium heat until tender. Add a teaspoon each of chili powder, ancho and chipotle pepper powder, cumin, cinnamon and salt. Add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Dice 2 or 3 chipotle peppers and add about a tablespoon of adobo sauce. Turn the heat up to high. Once it reaches a boil reduce to simmer and cover. Add spices to taste.

Increase oven temp to 425 degrees.

De-stem the bell pepper and cut in half vertically. De-seed and coat with olive oil. By now the potatoes should be done. Take the foil (with potatoes on it) off your baking tray and set aside. Line the baking tray with another sheet of foil and place the peppers cut side down. If you’re using the habanero pepper, lightly oil it and place it on the tray. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until the skin browns and blisters on top. Upon removal immediately place bell peppers in a paper or plastic bag and allow them to steam. The skin of the habanero should be very easy to remove without doing this. Cut it in half, de-seed and dice it very small. Add it to the tomato mixture. (Note from Lauren: I only used about half of one and it was SUPER spicy. This is totally optional. I have made it without, and it is just as good!)

Drain your black beans, and rinse them if you want. Start with two cans, and if desired add the third. Add them to the simmering tomato mixture and adjust your spices if needed. Remove the bell peppers from the bag and peel the skins off. They should come off pretty easily, but if some stick it’s not a big deal. Cut into thin strips or chunks.

Add the red peppers and potatoes to your pot. It should be pretty thick by now. Add vegetable broth until desired consistency is reached. In addition to the chili spices, add more brown sugar and cinnamon to the mixture if needed.

If you’re using the Field Roast sausages cook them according to package directions. Cut them into 1″ rounds or crumble it in.

Simmer for at least an hour. Enjoy!

Vegan Chili! (But not Lauren's recipe...) Photo credit: Jessica Ryle

Thanks, Lauren!

We’ve made a cookbook with some of the recipes from the Chili Cookoff to raise money for the Northeast Animal Liberation Festival and Bold Native Screening.  They will be available in about a week at all of our upcoming events and on our website.  We’ll keep you updated!

Weekly Action Alert: Write a Letter to the Editor about Circus Cruelty

We still have time to share the truth about circus cruelty with people before they buy tickets to Ringling Bros. at the Times Union Center.  An easy way to reach a lot of people is to send a letter to the editor to your local newspaper. The opinion page is the second most read section of a newspaper, so you will have a very large audience!

Circus Training Methods

In Defense of Animals gives these key points for writing LTE’s on their website (check out their circus facts, too):

Be timely – Capitalize on recent news and events, respond within 24 hours of a story if possible.  Be sure to refer to the article or event you are responding to in the first sentence of the letter.

Keep it short and simple – Under 250 words ideally, even less if you can. Research the paper or magazine you are writing to see if they have a specific word limit. Keep your points clear and stick to one subject. Look at the editorial page of the publication you’re writing to and copy the format they normally print.

Think locally – Demonstrate how this issue effects you locally, and – if possible – mention lawmakers or news makers by name to ensure you get their attention.
Sign your letter. Include your name, address and telephone number. Papers may need to contact you if they are considering printing your letter. Don’t worry—they won’t print your phone or street address.

Follow-up. If the newspaper doesn’t call you, call them!  Speak to the person in charge of letters to the editor (You should know who this is before writing your letter). Ask if they plan on printing your letter, and if not, ask if they have any feedback for you.  Thank them for their time and feedback.

Here are some area newspapers with links to their LTE submission page:

The Post Star
The Times Union: Email letters to
The Saratogian: Email letters to
The Adirondack Daily Enterprise
Schenectady Gazette
Troy Record: Email letters to

If your letter gets published, be sure to send us the link so we can post it here!

Volunteers and College Students Needed

We need your help to gather more supporters and effectively share our message in the area.

Any big event such as a concert or sporting event, college campuses and busy areas of town are great opportunities for leafletting.  Handing out literature is really easy, especially if you enjoy interacting with others, and can make a big impact.  It’s true that some people will not even consider the information you’re giving them, however others will take that information home and really think about it and even make changes in their own lives.  The moral of the story is that you never know just how big of an impact you’re making.

If you’re interested in leafletting at local events/areas, email us at  We’ll provide literature if we can.  Contact us with any events and locations you think need our attention as well.

We’d also like to build up a base of volunteers at local college campuses to recruit supporters and publicize our events.  If you’re interested email us with your contact information and the name of the college you attend.

Animal Abusers are Not Welcome in our Area

Ringling Bros. Circus will be returning to Albany this May.

Please continue to leave comments on these Facebook pages:
Email them:
Call them: 518.487.2000

Let them know that circuses are no place for animals.

For more information:

This year we want to focus on educating the public before they even purchase tickets. We’re going to collect literature (contact us for some or download here:

Join us for a leafletting event (to be scheduled) or go out on your own! Any busy location will work!

Thursday, May 5: 7:00PM
Friday, May 6: 10:30AM & 7:00PM
Saturday, May 7: 11:00AM, 3:00PM & 7:00PM
Sunday, May 8: 1:00PM & 5:00PM

NOTE: Protests will be held one hour before each showtime above (two hours before Thursday’s showtime), however Saturday is the Northeast Animal Liberation Festival and Bold Native screening at the Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy. If you were not planning on attending this event, we encourage you to attend the Ringling protests in our absence. Thank you for your understanding and please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.