Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Vegan Stromboli

"I was torn between making Calzones and Stromboli, but I wanted to make something that looked impressive and I feel I did a pretty good job.  I found the pizza dough recipe HERE and used the fancy method for folding the dough up from HERE.  Obviously, the recipe can be made Vegan or not by the filling choices, since the dough is Vegan.  I made 1 1/2 times the original dough recipe and it made three large stromboli, which would feed 6 people."


1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
3 1/2 t. active dry yeast
1 1/2  T. sugar
3 t. salt
3 T. olive oil
4 1/2 c. flour


1/2 c. pizza sauce (plus another 1-2 cups for dipping)
12 oz. Vegan mozzarella-style cheese (I used Daiya brand)
your favorite pizza toppings (I used Vegan peperoni, black olives and yellow peppers)
olive oil

In large mixing bowl stir yeast and sugar into water.  Let "proof" for 5-10 minutes or until foamy/creamy.  Stir in salt and olive oil, Add flour one cup at a time, and stir until tacky, but doesn't stick to your hands.  (best to use a stand mixer with a dough hook if you have it).  Next, knead dough for six minutes.  Oil bowl and place dough back in, cover with a towel and place in oven (turned off) with light on for 1-2 hours.  (I used quick-rise yeast so it only took 1 hour).

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Divide dough in thirds and roll out each third into a large rectangle.  Use instructions HERE to cut strips along the long sides of each rectangle.  Place 1/3 of the 1/2 cup of pizza sauce in the center of each rectangle along with 4 oz. (1/3) of the cheese and your favorite pizza toppings.  Fold up according to directions.  Place strombolis on large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Brush tops with olive oil (and I also sprinkled with an Italian spice blend).  Bake for 20 minutes.  Serve in slices with pizza sauce for dipping.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Scrambled Tofu

"This was the first time I tried a tofu substitute for scrambled eggs.  I thought these were fabulous!  I found the recipe on Pinterest, and adapted it from The Edgy Veg. "


olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1 package firm tofu
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 pinch turmeric
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper, and to taste
1/4 -1/2 cup water
Franks hot sauce to taste (optional)
2 T. Tofutti sour cream
1/2 c. vegan cheddar-style shreds


In a large frying pan over medium heat, saute garlic and onion until translucent. Meanwhile whisk together nutritional yeast with garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric, salt pepper, hot sauce and enough water to make sauce.  Add 1/2 of liquid from tofu package and crumble tofu into the pan.  Cook for 3-5 minutes before stirring in sauce.  Stir in the sour cream and cheese.  Cook until most of liquid is cooked out.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Moisturizing Face Scrub

"It takes me forever to use up face wash, so I am just now using up what I bough before I went Vegan.  I knew I wanted to try a home-made recipe, that it needed to moisturize and exfoliate without drying.  I found the following recipe at The Prairie Cottage through Pinterest, but I added a couple things to get the effect I wanted."


1/4. c. organic oats
2 t. liquid baby soap (I used Dr. Bronner's)
2 T. water
2 T. vegetable glycerine
1/2 c. olive oil
10 drops of your favorite scented essential oil (I used orange)


Pulverize oats in food processor until they are chunky, but not quite powder; set aside in small bowl.  Put remaining ingredients into food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.  Add to oats and mix well.  Put in container to store.

makes about 5 ounces

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Creamy Pesto and Marinara Pasta

"I found this recipe on Pinterest.  It originally came from Closet Cooking and I adapted it to be Vegan.  My entire family devoured was so delicious!"


  • 1 lb pasta, cooked according to directions on box
  • Marinara sauce (make sure to cut the recipe in half) or 1 jar of your favorite marinara
  • 1/3 cup soy cream
  • 2 T.  balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup pesto (recipe won't be using all of the pesto)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 8 oz. shredded Vegan mozzarella-style cheese
  • Julienned basil leaves as garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all ingredients together in pot you boiled the noodles in. Place mixture in 9x13 baking dish and bake covered with foil for 45 minutes.  Garnish with basil if desired.

Pesto recipe:

1/2 c. toasted pine nuts (toast in small pan over medium heat until they start to brown)
2 c. basil leaves
1/3 c. olive oil
1/3. c. nutritional yeast
salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth.

Casserole serves 8

Jen's Vegan Creamed Spinach

"I have always loved spinach.  This is my second attempt at making a creamed spinach (the last time it lacked flavor).  This time I took a chance and experimented with spices, and it was delicious.  You could probably throw in some artichoke hearts and make it a dip too!"


2 T. olive oil
2 - 10 oz. bags fresh spinach
1/2 c. onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. earth balance butter
1/2 c. coconut milk (thick, full-fat kind)
1/2 c. Soy cream
6 oz. shredded Vegan mozzarella-style cheese
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. lemon juice (fresh squeezed is best)
1/4 c. white wine
1/2 c. Vegan creamed cheese
1 t. ground fenugreek
1 T. za'atar
salt and pepper to taste


In large pot drizzle olive oil over medium heat and add spinach.  Cover with lid and cook until wilted, stirring occasionally. Remove lid, pour spinach into colander and press out liquid.  Return empty pot to heat and add butter, onions and garlic.  Saute until onions are translucent.  Add spinach back in and stir in remaining ingredients. Cook, stirring occasionally until cheeses are melted and thoroughly incorporated.

Serves 4-6 (as small side dish)

Monday, September 23, 2013

My First Experience with Leafleting

I have never leafleted before, and I though it would help me approach strangers easier if I had an
opportunity to do it.  I saw a message sent out to local volunteers to join a Mercy for Animals volunteer on one her stops at colleges in Ohio.  I offered to help her at BGSU on September 9th.  For the first half of the day it was raining, and it was impossible to hold an umbrella, an armful of leaflets and have a hand free to give them to the students.  I was feeling really tongue tied and had a hard time spitting out "Info to help animals" or something similar.  Most of the time I ended up saying "Here you go!" or "Have you received one of these yet?"  I was honesty very uncomfortable.  It was worse when people would give you funny/dirty looks, roll their eyes, snicker or pretend like you were handing them "the plague".  After a few hours I was getting pretty depressed.  I ended up taking an opportunity to leave early when my son needed to be picked up from the sitter.
I ended up realizing that just because I wasn't into this type of activism didn't mean that I wasn't cut out for activism.  We did end up handing out 2000 leaflets, which is a record for the number handed out at that particular college.  It was the most rewarding seeing students immediately looking through the information we just handed them.  I really hope that we made an impact.  Even if just one person decided to become Vegan because of our encouragement, that is still approximately 90 animals lives saved in one year.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Chocolate Hazelnut Granola

"I have made this recipe a couple times.  I found it over at "The Gouda Life" and adapted it to be Vegan.  I regularly eat Fiber One cereal, and love to add some granola to it for added flavor.  Having chocolate for breakfast is also a plus."


1 c. *toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 c. flaked coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
3 c. rolled oats
3 T. cocoa powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 c. coconut oil, melted
1/3 c. agave syrup
1/2 c. dried cranberries


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  In large bowl toss toasted hazelnuts, coconut, oats and cranberries with cocoa and salt until coated.  In small microwavable bowl melt coconut oil (about 40 seconds) and then stir in agave syrup.  Pour oil and syrup over oat mixture and stir to combine.  Spread out on large baking sheet covered with parchment paper.  Bake 20 minutes, stirring half way through.  Cool completely before storing in container.

*to toast hazelnuts (which are often called filberts before they are toasted) bake on baking sheet on 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.  After nuts are cooled, roll each nut between your palms to remove skin. (skin will not come off of every nut, this does not matter). P.S. They also do not taste like hazelnuts until they are toasted.

Devil's Food Cupcakes

"My youngest had his 2nd birthday party the other night and I made these yummy little cupcakes for his party.  I found the cake recipe over at "Gazing In" and paired it with an old frosting favorite modified with Vegan ingredients.  They turned out moist and delicious!"


2 c. boiling water
1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2¾ c. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking soda
½ t. baking powder
½ t. kosher salt
1 c. earth balance
2¼ c. granulated sugar
¾ c. unsweetened applesauce
1½ t. pure vanilla extract

1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
3 c. confectioners' sugar
1/2 c. earth balance
8 oz. tofutti  sour cream
3 T. almond milk

Preheat the oven to 350° and line muffin tins with paper liners.
In a medium mixing bowl whisk the boiling water and cocoa powder together, set aside to cool down.
In another medium mixing bowl sift the flour, soda, baking powder and salt together.
In a stand mixer bowl add the butter and sugar, beat until light. Add in the applesauce and vanilla, beat on low until combined.
Add the flour mixture and the cocoa alternately, beating until mixed.
Fill each liner with about ¼ cup batter (about 2/3 full).
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Take cupcakes out of tins and cook on wire rack before frosting.


In large glass bowl, microwave chocolate chips on medium power for 30 seconds; stir. Microwave another 30 seconds until completely smooth. Let cool slightly. With mixer, blend 1-1/2 cups of the sugar with butter. Beat in sour cream, milk and then half of the chocolate until smooth. On low speed, beat in remaining sugar until blended; then beat in remaining chocolate. Continue to beat until smooth. Cut small hole in corner of gallon-sized storage bag.  Fill bag 2/3 full of frosting and squeeze to swirl frosting onto cupcakes.


Make 2 1/2 dozen

To make into layer cake, divide batter into two cake pans and bake 35-40 minutes instead.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mixed Berry Buckle

"I found this recipe originally on when I was looking for a dessert to make with the over-abundance of berries I acquired from a sale at the market.  The first time I used blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, and this time I used blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.  I have changed the ingredients to be Vegan."


1/2 c. vegan butter
1 cup white sugar
2 egg-replacer eggs
2/3 c. almond or any other non-dairy milk
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
 4 c. fresh berries, diced
 1 c. white sugar
2/3 c.  all-purpose flour
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 c. vegan butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In large bowl, cream 1/2 c. butter with 1 c. sugar.  Mix in egg-replacer eggs.  In medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder and salt.  Mix flour mixture into the large bowl alternating with milk.  Pour batter into greased 9x13 pan.  Top with fresh berries.  In same medium bowl from flour mixture mix together topping ingredients, and sprinkle over berries.  Bake uncovered for 45 minutes.

Serves 8-10

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Spinach Artichoke Dip

"This was my second attempt at Spinach artichoke dip since we went Vegan.  The first time I used a recipe, but it wasn't very flavorful.  This time I decided to just make it up, and it tasted much better."


2 garlic bulbs
1 large sweet onion sliced
3 T. olive oil
2 bags frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 cans artichoke hearts, drained
1 can coconut milk (the unsweetened thick kind)
1 tub Tofutti or Go Veg Creamed Cheese
1 recipe for Cashew Sour Cream (see below)
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 bag Vegan shredded mozzarella style cheese (I used Daiya)

Tortilla Chips for dipping

Cashew Sour Cream

1 cup raw cashews (must not be roasted or salted)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 -2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 small lemon, juice of
1/4 c. water
1/2 t. sugar


Cover cashews with water and soak for a few hours, or overnight.
Pour off all water, and place nuts in food processor, blend well.
Add 1/4 cup cold water, salt, vinegar and lemon juice and sugar.
Puree for 3-4 minutes or until completely smooth and creamy in consistency.
Use in any recipe that calls for sour cream.
Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a week. -----------------------------------------------


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Slice tops off garlic bulbs (like this), place them in dish and drizzle one tablespoon olive oil over each bulb.  Bake in oven for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile heat remaining one tablespoon olive oil in medium frying pan over medium-high heat and saute onion slices until brown and gooey (caramelized).  In food processor  blend spinach and artichokes with coconut milk.  Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl.  Make recipe for sour cream in food processor, and then add creamed cheese, salt, pepper and onions....then when garlic bulbs are done and cooled enough to touch, remove garlic cloves from peel and add them to processor as well.  Blend everything together.  Add this second mixture to the mixing bowl with the spinach mixture and stir with spoon until combined.  In 9x13 baking dish (sprayed with baking spray) pour dip evenly.  Add cheese to top and bake uncovered for 30 minutes on 400 degrees...then turn on broiler setting and broil until cheese starts to brown on top (about 5-7 minutes more).

Enjoy with tortilla chips

Serves 12

Friday, September 6, 2013

Cookie Dough Cookies

"I found this recipe on pinterest.  I Veganized it from APPLE A DAY who adapted them from Food Network Canada.  I did change the name because I have discovered if you refrigerate them right after they cool they taste just like cold cookie dough.  I normally love warm gooey cookies, and these are just that right out of the oven, but if you love cookie dough like I do refrigerate won't be disappointed.  DISCLAIMER:  if you do not use Vegan ingredients I can't guarantee the awesomeness."

3/4 c. Earth Balance butter
3/4 c. brown sugar 
1/4 c. granulated sugar 
2 tsp. vanilla extract 
2 c. all purpose flour 
2 tsp. cornstarch 
1 tsp. baking soda 
1/2 tsp. salt 
1 c. vegan chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy and light in color. Add egg and vanilla and blend in.
3.  Mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Get your hands in the bowl and mix in chocolate chips.
4.  Using your hands, roll cookies into 2 inch balls, pressing in the loose chocolate chips so they don't fall out.  Bake on large cookie sheet on 350 degrees for 10 minutes... NO LONGER (the tops will not brown).
5. Eat warm and gooey or refrigerate for cookie dough goodness.

Makes about 20 cookies

Monday, September 2, 2013

Vegan Chip / Veg Dip

"I totally made this recipe up one day when were going to have company over.  It was devoured in no time."


Vegan Sour Cream (recipe below)
1 c. Vegenaise (I like the reduced fat)
1 T. Za'atar spice mix (I got mine at a local Middle Eastern market)
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. onion powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper


Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to use

Vegan Sour Cream


1 cup raw cashews (must not be roasted or salted)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 -2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 small lemon, juice of
1/4 c. water
1/2 t. sugar


Cover cashews with water and soak for a few hours, or overnight.
Pour off all water, and place nuts in food processor, blend well.
Add 1/4 cup cold water, salt, vinegar and lemon juice and sugar.
Puree for 3-4 minutes or until completely smooth and creamy in consistency.
Use in any recipe that calls for sour cream.
Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a week.

Vegan Beef Stroganoff

"I Veganized this from my old standard Beef Stroganoff recipe.  It turned out so yummy, and it was the first time I'd ever had the beefless tips."


2 pkgs. Gardein brand Home style Beefless Tips
1 T. olive oil
1/3 c. white wine
1 T. browning sauce

1/2 c. Earth Balance butter
1 medium onion chopped
12 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 T. minced garlic
10 oz. vegetable stock (reserve 2 oz to stir into cornstarch and flour)
1 T. Vegan Worcestershire sauce (Annie's or The Wizard's brand)
1 t. yellow mustard
2 T. all-purpose flour
2 T. corn starch
1/3 cup Tofutti sour cream
1/3 cup Tofutti cream cheese
1/3 cup white wine
salt and pepper to taste

1 lb. box vegan fettuccine noodles, cooked according to package directions


In large cook beefless tips in olive oil on medium heat until thawed. Add wine and browning sauce and simmer until liquid is reduced by half. Remove meat leaving liquid in pan.

Sauce Directions:

Melt butter along with liquid from meat over medium heat. Add onions, mushrooms and minced garlic and saute until onions are soft and clear. Stir in 8 oz. vegetable stock, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. In measuring cup, dissolve flour and cornstarch in 2 oz. vegetable stock. Slowly stir mixture into skillet. Add cream cheese and sour cream and stir in until melted and mixed thoroughly. Stir in wine and season with salt and pepper. Add meat and mix. Stir meat and sauce into prepared noodles or serve over noodles.

Serves 8

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mercy for Animals

After I starting doing more research, once making the decision to go Vegan, I kept seeing the name Mercy for Animals" everywhere.  I knew I wanted to get into some type of animal activism, but I didn't know how to get started if there wasn't a branch of an organization in my city.  I wanted to get involved with a lesser-known organization that didn't have as much of a stigma attached, so I knew PETA was out.  I ended up going to two different "Veg Fests", one in Novi Michigan and one in Cleveland Ohio, and both of them had booths for Mercy for Animals, which I grabbed literature from.  I decided to go onto their website and fill out a volunteer form.  I also "liked" them on facebook.  A friend of mine then got me in contact with someone from the Chicago branch, and one day in July he was looking for volunteers for a demonstration in Lima, Ohio.   It was for the "Walmart Cruelty"

campaign, (trying to get Walmart to buy pork from suppliers that don't use gestation crates for their pigs).  My daughter and I drove down and met up with a couple of women who had been doing a tour all over the US, to bring awareness to the subject.  Jeni and Crystal were such a pleasure to spend the day with, and it was great to meet like-minded people.  We also had a woman, Samantha (also from Ohio) join us as well.  The five of us stood out front of the Lima Walmart with signs that read "Walmart Tortures Pigs" and "Walmart Pork = Animal Abuse", we also had a large inflatable pig in a crate standing next to us.  We got some honks and waves (and some middle fingers), but I felt so good standing up for something I believed in.  We ended up getting interviewed for the Lima News paper (article here) and was also on the local Fox News.  The photo on the top was taken by me, so I'm not in it, but my daughter is on the far left.

I also knew that Mercy for Animals organizes booths at events to expose people to the truth behind modern farming by paying them $1 to watch a 4 minute video.  It is a shortened version of the farm to fridge video (you can view the full version HERE).

Some friends of mine in Indianapolis had put together a booth like this at the Indy Pride Fest in June, and they inspired me to try to get one planned for my city.  My hubby and I did the booth last weekend.  I feel like we did a great thing, exposing people to the truth, even if we didn't have as many participants as anticipated.  We ended up with 45 people watching this video and had great conversations with people about how they could chose a more compassionate lifestyle.  Here are some photos from the event, including people reacting to the video. (and the girl who is with us was a local who volunteered to help out)....she did an awesome job interacting with people, something that I was a little shy doing.

If you are interested in volunteering for Mercy for Animals, please visit the "EVENTS" section of their website, or fill out a volunteer form.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Jen's Stuffed Pepper Soup

I love stuffed peppers, or meatballs with tomato sauce and green peppers, so I decided to use some of my home grown tomatoes and peppers to create a new recipe for Stuffed Pepper Soup.  It was so delicious I had to share.


2 - 32 oz. cans tomato sauce
4 c. tomato juice
2 - large green peppers, chopped
32 oz. diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
1 c. diced onions
1/2 c. red wine
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. dried parsley
1 t. dried majoram
1 c. textured vegetable protein (I used Bob's Red Mill brand)
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 c. quick-cooking brown rice


Put all ingredients except for rice in large stock pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour or until green pepper and onion is soft.  Cook rice according to package directions, stir into soup and serve.
Other Method:  Cook sauce ingredients in large slow-cooker on high for 4 hours, transfer to pot, and add cooked rice.  Is great served with crackers or croutons on top.

Serves 12

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Review: EMANI Liquid Foundation

Since make-up lasts FOREVER for me I still have some non-Vegan make-up left.  The first thing I ran out of was liquid foundation.  I was nervous that I would not be able to find all-natural and cruelty-free foundation at the store and would have to blindly buy something off the internet that would end up not matching my skin tone.  Recently I purchased EMANI brand foundation from a local Health Food / Vitamin store.  I was very excited to find it.  While it matches my skin tone, it is very thick and does not go on very easily and does not feel silky or smooth on your skin.  I have resulted in mixing it with moisturizer before applying, but it is still too thick.  I also do not like the way it smells.  If it smelled like nothing it would be fine, but it has a kind of sour, musty smell, and you can smell it on your face.  I am not planning on buying this brand again when it runs out.  I was very happy to discover that I can also buy foundation at "The Body Shop" so I plan on trying their brand when this tube runs out.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Jen's Marinara Sauce

I have been making this recipe for a while now, but only occasionally until I went Vegan and decided this recipe was much healthier than sauce with preservatives and other unwanted ingredients from a jar.  My whole family loves it.


2 lbs fresh tomatoes
12 oz. tomato paste
1/4 c. sun-dried tomatoes
1/3 c. chopped onions
1 t. dried parsley
2 cloves garlic
1/4 c. fresh oregano leaves
1/2 c. fresh basil leaves
3 T. olive oil
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. dry white wine

Run all ingredients (except for wine) through a food processor.  Put in large pot and add white wine.  Cook over medium heat until sauce begins to simmer and then cook on medium-low for at least 1 hour.

Make approx. 2 jars worth of sauce

Monday, August 12, 2013

Sasha Farm Sanctuary

Yesterday we had the pleasure of going to Sasha Farm Sanctuary in Manchester, Michigan.  They are only open to the public a few times a year for fundraising events.  Ever since I went Vegan I have had a very strong desire to love on some farm animals that have been rescued (most likely because I feel the need to "make up" for my meat eating in the past).  It was so lovely there and the volunteers were so nice.  You were able to actual get in the pens and interact with them.  I would have to say that I was very excited to touch a turkey for the first time.  He kept coming over to me and fluffing his feathers.  I used photos from the day to create my new logo blog title, but I will share them with you here.

By the way, my new title, "Four and a half Vegans" can be taken two ways.  Noah is only almost 2 years old, so he is the 1/2, or the fact that Parker (8 year old) is only a Vegan at home and part of the time take it however you will.