pspan style=”font-size:12px;”emBy Nicole Rivard/em/span/ppstrongCheers to a href=”,d.cWc” target=”_blank”The Stand Juice Company/a/strong, a vegan eatery in Norwalk and Fairfield, Conn. Not only are owners Mike and Carissa Hvizdo providing a vegan culinary experience to customers through their juices, smoothies, soups, salads, sandwiches and baked goods, they help each and every one incorporate The Standrsquo;s lifestyle into their own through cooking classes and workshops./ppDuring a Nov. 7 cooking class, Carissa showed guests how to make a number of plant-based Thanksgiving dishes.nbsp;img alt=”” src=”/sites/default/files/516CAP.jpg” style=”width: 250px; height: 314px; border-width: 0px; border-style: solid; margin: 8px; float: right;” //ppldquo;I make all the cooking classes I do gluten free,rdquo; Carissa Hvizdo said. ldquo;When I became a vegetarian (at age 10), I stopped eating meat but I started eating junk. Everything was potatoes and pasta and chips and French fries and pizza. For me, The Stand has always been about, lsquo;how do we send all of these great foods to the public in a way you are getting a complete balanced diet without even thinking about it?rsquo; So we take the effort out of it for you. Everything is made from wholesome ingredients.rdquo;/ppCarissa began the cooking demo with a butternut squash and fennel soup.nbsp;/ppldquo;Fennel is in season right now,rdquo; she said as she held up the hardy green herb that she purchased locally.nbsp;/ppldquo;There are a lot of great local farms here,rdquo; she said. ldquo;Beyond being an organic non-GMO vegan place, we also aim to do everything we can to buy domestic. The only thing we buy internationally is our citrus, avocados and bananas. Everything else comes from the good lsquo;ol USA. If we support our local farmers, which my husband and I are now local farmers too (the Hvizdorsquo;s purchased a farm in East Haddam, Conn., two months ago so they can grow some of their own produce) the less expensive it will be to buy local.rdquo;/ppPurchasing their own farm is the next step in the evolution of The Stand Juice Company, which was started in 2005 by Carissa and Mike, who studied at the Hippocrates Health Institute, after they moved back to Connecticut from South Florida. They discovered a complete lack of juice and raw food but what seemed like a lot of people who were interested in itmdash;and they wanted to do something about it./ppThat coincided with them making juices and meals for Mikersquo;s mom Maria who was undergoing chemotherapy, and Mikersquo;s grandmother, Catherine, who had a lifelong love affair with sweets./ppThe women responded so well to the juices and vegan meals that Mike and Carissa developed a detox cleanse program based on their experiences and Mikersquo;s education. They put some flyers around town advertising their program and it was such a hit they became overwhelmed within six months with cleanses, home delivery, personally chef-ing, health coaching and still working day jobs. nbsp;Their search for a commercial kitchen led them to open their first eatery in Norwalk./ppimg alt=”” src=”/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/521CAP.jpg” style=”width: 250px; height: 191px; margin: 8px; float: left;” //ppDuring the cooking class, Carissa said the question she gets the most from first-time customers, or people who have a 10-year-old who has decided to be a vegetarian, is lsquo;What about the protein?rsquo;nbsp;/ppldquo;I decided to become a vegetarian as a child (which led her to find veganism) and Irsquo;ve never had a protein deficiency,rdquo; she said. ldquo;You have to take the time to be your own scientist. You have to think about what yoursquo;re eating and evaluate each day, lsquo;Did I have enough greens? Did I eat the rainbow today?rsquo; Now itrsquo;s just second nature for me. Protein becomes an issue when you only eat carbs and starch. Even if you eat chicken itrsquo;s going to be an issue if most of your diet is starch and carbs./ppCarissa recommends tempeh, a fermented soy, as a vegan protein for people who are transitioning.nbsp;/ppldquo;It has 15 grams of protein per serving. However it should be eaten in moderation. There is a soy controversy,rdquo; she said. ldquo;My feeling is to always be in the middle, donrsquo;t indulge, donrsquo;t avoid. If we are getting organic soy that is non GMO certified, then that is the more safe soy to be eating. You have to be conscious that soy is pseudo estrogen. So anything that estrogen does in any of our bodies, soy goes there and magnifies it.rdquo;nbsp;/ppIn addition to the Detox Cleanse Program, The Stand also sells some of its vegan dishes by the pound at both locations. The Hivizdos are currently taking orders for their Thanksgiving menu items. If you live in or near Connecticut you can actually sample their Thanksgiving menu Nov. 9 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at their Fairfield location at 87 Mill Plain Road.nbsp;/pdivnbsp;/divdivpnbsp;/ppOr if yoursquo;d like to try making some of the dishes yourself, below is the Thanksgiving menu Carissa shared with Friends of Animals./ppAll recipes serve 2 to 4 people.:/ppnbsp;/p/divdivpstrongButternut Squash and Fennel Soupcopy;/strong/pimg alt=”” src=”/sites/default/files/514CAP.jpg” style=”width: 250px; height: 303px; float: right; margin: 8px;” //divdivbr /p2 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes/pp2 heads of fresh fennel, sliced thin/ppfrac12; tsp turmeric/ppfrac12; tsp celery seed/pp2/3 tbsp sea salt/ppOlive oil/ppHemp oil/p/divdivbr /pIn a large sauce pan or soup pot, saut√© fennel in hemp or olive oil. Once fennel is tender, add butternut squash and water to cover the squash. Bring to a boil and then let simmer until squash is soft. Add in all spices and allow another 10 minutes before serving (add in rice or beans for a complete meal.)/ppnbsp;/ppstrongBlackened Brussel Sproutscopy;/strong/pp8 cups of brussel sprouts/pp2 tbsp maple syrup/pp2 tbsp balsamic vinegar/pp1tbsp olive oil/ppSea salt/ppBlack pepper/ppPreheat oven to 420deg;F. Put sprouts in a large mixing bowl. Pour in maple syrup, balsamic and olive oil. Coat all sprouts well and then place them on a cookie sheet, spreading them out well so they are not stacked or crowded. Add black pepper and sea salt. Bake for 25-30 minutes on top rack. The outside of the sprouts should be crispy while the inside should be tender./ppnbsp;/pimg alt=”” src=”/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/528CAP.jpg” style=”width: 300px; height: 226px; margin: 7px; float: right;” /divhr /pnbsp;/p/divpstrongHerb Roasted Tempeh/strong/pp3 ldquo;blocksrdquo; of tempeh (Carissa likes the three rice kind) cut into ldquo;steaksrdquo;/ppfrac12; cup chopped mixed herbs (oregano, thyme, parsley)/ppOlive oil/ppTsp Braggs liquid aminos/ppTbsp finely minced garlic/ppPreheat oven to 350deg;F. In a mixing bowl coat the tempeh with olive oil and Braggs. Then add herbs and toss. Each ldquo;steakrdquo; should be coated in herbs. Add to oiled Pyrex pan. Add a pinch of garlic to the tops of each ldquo;steakrdquo; and bake for 20 minutes. Serve hot. This pairs nicely with cinnamon gravy (see recipe below)./ppnbsp;/pdivhr /pnbsp;/p/divpstrongCinnamon Gravycopy;/strong/pp2 veggie bouillon (mock chicken style) cubes or paste (if unsalted add desired salt)/pp1 tbsp ground cinnamon (a dark cinnamon works best with this recipe)/pp1 tbsp potato or corn starch/ppfrac14; tsp white pepper/ppfrac14; tsp onion powder/ppIn a small sauce pan, add 4 cups of water. Whisk in starch. As gravy comes to a boil add in all spices and bouillon. Let simmer and continue to whisk slowly until gravy is at desired consistency (add water if you are going to be reheating.)/ppnbsp;/pdivhr /pnbsp;/p/divpstrongCauliflower Quinoa stuffing/strong/pp1 head of cauliflower chopped finely and steamed/pp3 cups cooked quinoa/ppfrac14; cup chopped oregano/ppfrac14; cup chopped thyme/ppfrac14; cup lemon juice/pp1 tsp salt/ppfrac12; tsp black pepper/pp1 cup coarsely chopped celery/ppfrac12; cup vegetable broth/ppPreheat oven to 400deg;F. On a cookie sheet, add quinoa. Put in oven and toast for about 15 minutes or until quinoa is crispy. In a large mixing bowl, add cauliflower, lemon juice, herbs and celery. Toss together, then add in half the quinoa and mix that too. In a Pyrex baking pan, add mixture. Add in vegetable broth. Then top with the remaining tossed quinoa. Bake for 20-25 minutes.nbsp;/ppnbsp;/p/divpnbsp;/ppnbsp;/p