Friday, December 30, 2011

2012 is looming, and I'm doing something HUGE.

I have decided to do the unthinkable! With the new year ready to rip me a new one, I have made the decision to a) do more to give back to a world that has given so much to me and b) do that through food activism, or you can call it eativism, whatever. For the entire month of January 2012 I will pass all traditional desserts.

That's right, people. No cookies, cake, pies, ice cream, whoopie pies, candies, tarts, et al. Some people have a sweet tooth. I have sweetened DNA. If I don't start taking better care of myself you'll see my mug on TV advertising supplies for diabetes.

I initially dismissed this idea because I'm superdooperhooper anti-dieting. Like as in, I. Hate. The. Dieting. Industry. Do not be confused, this is no crazy thing to lose weight. I like my fat ass. You can read all about why I don't diet right here. I thought deeply about this decision and have made the choice to take on this challenge for a few reasons:

1. It's just not a good investment on my health to have cookies for breakfast, candy for a snack, and dessert for dinner and dessert. Laugh at me if you must, but I really do that about 3 days out of the week and the other 4 I'm grazing the land of chocolate. I'm a junk food vegan for sure. I hate even typing that.

2. Although I'm working class and part of the 99% in this country, I recognize that I'm still surrounded by privilege. What's that, you say? What I mean is this: it's easier to get processed refined sugary foods instead of quality whole foods. Most soup kitchens and food pantries in this country have the walls lined with prepared, starchy, and refined foods. I'm lucky enough to have one that focuses on nutrition education, many don't. American culture has turned the joy of eating on its head and bastardized what is supposed to be nourishing our bodies, and I for one am sick of it. I went vegan to get connected to my relationship with food. Now I just want to try to take it to another level. There's no better way to stick it to The Man by not giving The Fast Food Industry your money. Start a revolution with your fork.

3. Since I'm part of a group that doesn't have much money to give to charity, I can still find a creative way to earn it and get the attention of others. "Are you kidding me? Jen gave up cookies for a month? That bitch is cray-cray." The food pantry I utilize saved my life. I don't really think they understand how much they did, but they did. I feel permanently indebted to them.

So here's the scoop:

You visit the blog every day and increase my US impressions. I get $3 for every 1,000.
You can also pledge an amount per day, per week, or per month. Get a pool of people betting how I won't be able to do it. Send that $ via PayPal to $1 buys 7# of food for the food bank. No kidding! I'm giving to my local pantry, Mother Hubbard's Cupboard.

I start at midnight 1/1/12 and end midnight on 2/1/12 EST. There will be giveaways for a couple of books co-written by Celine Steen. So even if you aren't interested in my endeavor, try to win an awesome book for yourself.

So what WILL I DO? I'll post what I eat on a daily basis w/ pics. I might even take some videos. The rules are simple: no traditional desserts. I may have any of the following if I'm craving the cookie jar:

Fruit. Really? Duh.

Raw-style NRG nuggets made with dates, nuts, and no more than 1T of agave and 1T of dark chocolate for an entire recipe. I will not allowed to be able to eat this every day. The challenge is to push myself to eat more whole foods and get people to support me so I can give back to charity. Hell, maybe I'll even inspire YOU to find a cooky way to give money away that you don't have but desperately need.

I'll be traipsing' my way through Isa's Appetite for Reduction for inspiration.

How are you going to know if I'm really being honest? Trust me, you'll be able to tell if I've been eating snack cakes. It'll be written all over my face.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Finally! More Vida Vegan Con Coverage

Got the winter blues? Tell me about it. It ain't even close to being done yet, but I have something that will cheer you right the F up: more Vida Vegan Con coverage! I know I've talked about Joanna Vaught lovin' on mah 2# bag of soy curls. BTW, I only have a few cups left. I am in love with those things. I've made etouffee, chili, fajitas, and so much more with that stuff. That was my genius buy during the conference. I thought I'd re-post this pic because it is uh-dorable. And JV has a new book out, so like BUY IT with all that Xmas loot ya got.
And I know how I prattled on and on about the curried cole slaw during Joni Newman-(ME-YOW) and Kelly Peloza's-(Double ME YOW)cooking demo. Wanna pretend it's Summer? Make some slaw. Makes me wonder if there's a pickled version of it that you could have over some vegan sausages in the winter. Yum.

But did I ever post that dang video blog? Nope. Well here it is! Enjoy. Not a lot of food to see, but you get lots of self-absorbed nasally Midwest accent coated commentary from yours truly. You have to understand that going there meant the world to me. I entered not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 contests to try to get in to this coveted convention! I nailed it by baking a big assed cookie. It was a Vegan Cinderella dream come true! Well, minus the step mother and step sisters. I guess I never had to clean house for them. And no talkin' mice and birds. No pumpkin coach or silly Prince Charming either.

I guess it wasn't like Cinderella at all! You get the idea though, right?

The video blog ends abruptly when my phone rings at the airport. It ended up being my dad. It was kind of sad.

Please stay tuned as I have more exciting stuff to talk about and an upcoming giveaway for TWO cookbooks co-written by Celine Steen! Her food photography is just gorgeous, just gorgeous.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Holy Chickpeas, does it hurt me or what when I don't post! I take a week off and my Google stats are horrible, just horrible. That's why I blog, after all--knee deep in chicks-(the cute fuzzy kind I rescue from hatcheries) and the wagons of money that pour in because PITA vegan is the best blog ever on teh interwebs.

Another thing that will surely take its toll on me is the wonder that is known as sweet n' spicy Doritos. Seriously, this is my snack! Accidentally vegan and I'm just now trying them. I'm such a late bloomer. I guess that means I'll have to stop wearing acid wash jeans.

I don't want to waste time hollerin' about the tantalizing flavor because they're just chips. I dare the Food Network to have a vegan episode of Chopped and include this in the basket. I paired mine with this chickpea salad thing I threw together. Psst--breading for the baddy mcbadass buffalo seitan sammich you've ever had! Don't try nachos. They will catch on fire from the chemicals.

I'll be posting pics or videos for the next few days because my son dropped a 5# weight on my hand and my r. ring finger is injured. I never realized how important having all 10 fingers while typing is--((insert Poison's Don't Know What You Got Till It's Gone)). It took me 25 minutes to type this and only a half a second for you to roll your eyes at the screen.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dinner in a Hottie Second

Feeling the stress of last minute shopping and 12 days of eating sweets for breakfast? Not me, I'll never get sick of that. Contrary to popular belief, I do eat other things. Other things that are awesome for my heart and colon!

Here's a little bit of red and green for the holidays: Appetite for Reduction's Hottie Black Eyed Peas n' Greens is a cinch to throw together, and ready for you in less than 30 minutes. Seriously, put down the shopping bags and skip the take out. You deserve something tasty and healthy. The peas and greens provide a stocking full of nutrition and goes well over a nice bed of rice and side of biscuits. If you're a starchophobe, I'm sure you could pair it with another salad or the mashed sweet potatoes and apples from the same cookbook.

Monday, December 19, 2011

I Just Couldn't Do It!

As much as I thought I could, I just couldn't blog about cookies for 20 consecutive days. I'm just too busy eating other things. Like seitan reubens from The Owlery. They make their french fries from real live potatoes.
Mr. J. digs the tofu chicken fingers. They are dee-lish, although the name sounds funny. Chickens don't have fingers made of tofu! And I've never seen a block of tofu with fingers, let alone fingers shaped like chickens. Tee-hee.
Look at that one, sliding off the plate and into your mouth!

For those of you who haven't heard me sing high praises for this place, The Owlery is an amazing vegetarian restaurant where all dishes are vegan by default, and if you want something with dairy you have to request it. If you're a gluten free gobbler, they can accommodate you. My favorite sandwich is the BALT (Bacon Avocado Lettuce and Tomato). They double fry the tofu making it the best vegan bacon I've ever had in my life.

They've been doing such awesome business they are relocating downtown! So if you're in town during the holidays wanting to nosh on a Philly Cheeseseitan, you'll have to wait until 2012. It's so worth it!

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Hey there kid, GET AWAY FROM THE TABLE! Yep that's my boy. Standing behind a table of sweets completely pantsless. Kind of priceless, don't you think?
Here it is pre-sale. Even if I had the best camera in the world, I'm pretty sure my food photography would suck because I cannot get my hands to stand still. Perhaps it is because I engaged in lots of sampling prior to party time! Seriously, I ate a lot of sugar. It doesn't matter if it's organic. Sweets are sweets.

I had this in-home bake sale to try to raise a little money for my family and for a local animal care facility. I was really banking on getting a holiday bonus from my regular job, but it turns out that I shouldn't have assumed that. So, instead of feeling sorry for myself I thought I'd hold a bake sale and expose peeps to vegan goods. Here's the menu:

Mocha Cappuccino Cookies from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, made gluten free with 1c teff flour, 1 c soy flour, and 1.5 t of xanthan gum. I have found this to be a great combination for cookies. You might need to add more liquids (a T at a time) though because those flours are grainy and absorb quite a bit of water.

Lower Fat Chocolate Bundt Cake from Veganomicon, made gluten free. This time I think I got the flour combo better: 1/3 potato starch, 2/3 teff flour, and 1 c garbanzo flour. I liked the way the cookie crumb held together with the 1.5 t of xanthan, so I added that much again. This produced a delightful moist cake. I made them into cupcakes that I topped with Ricki Heller's amazing whoopie pie filling-(go here to try it!) and a smaller cake that I topped with the peanut butter caramel recipe from Veganomicon. I threw some chocolate chips into the caramel for the hell of it. Good choice.

Chocolate Crinkles from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

Gingerbread Biscotti from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar- I topped them with a saffron/lemon buttercream frosting. This was nice.

Smolve Pie from Veganomicon. Now I know what everyone is talkin' about. HOLY SHIT that's good pie.

Chocolate Mint Wafer Cookies-(aka thick mints) from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur

Seven Layer Bars from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur

Oatmeal Scotchies from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur

I ran out of time to make Celine's Black Bean Brownies and CCKatie's Fudge Babies. Have no fear, there's still time before Christmas! I think it's laughable that I worried that I didn't make enough food.

I made impromptu serving trays with old records, paper towel tubes, gift wrap, and a little glue. After the party I used them as a holder for washcloths in the bathroom.

Lower Fat Chocolate Bundt Cake made GF and topped with chocolate peanut butter caramel with baby cupcakes and a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Gives you the diabeetus.

Butterscotch No Bakes from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur- I made these gluten free by omitting the flour and adding 1/3 c. butterscotch chips to the soft boil mixture. The dough is a little testy, but the cookies do hold up just fine without the flour.

I spent about $35 on the ingredients. I made $33 yesterday and have 9 people who couldn't make it to the event wanting $4 goodie bags. Not a bad haul. $69 total, and when factoring in the 25% to charity, that's $17.25 that Wildcare didn't have before the sale! So I made back what I spent and spread the good news of vegan goods to my buddies. Yay! Thanks to everyone who helped make this happen. Never doubt the power of baked goods whether making them, eating them, selling them, or all of the above. Vegan baking is easy and good for the soul.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Remember This Cookie?

Check out this swag package from my Xmas Vegan Santa from the PPK. Look at all that stuff! Yep, I'll be reviewing all of those products throughout the winter, but we need to get back to the issue at hand: COOKIES!
Petunia sent me not one, not two, but THREE bags of butterscotch chips. Wowza! Price Chopper reformulated their recipe to include milk fat-(BOOOOOOOO) so all of the old style chips were on clearance. Apparently Petunia dressed up like a pirate and went to each store in the state of CT and bought out their supply. I really have no idea if she dressed up like a pirate, but I thought that would make the story funnier.
So I made the Oatmeal Scotchies from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur. NOTE: this is really one of the most gorgeous cookbooks on the planet. The book is just beautiful, makes a great holiday gift, and you might even be tempted to give it an ol' hermetic seal to protect it from silly humans, but don't do it--bake, bake, and bake! Yay! These took me back to the days where I lived in front of the TV watching Saturday morning cartoons. You don't think I actually ate cereal back then, do you?

I'll be back tomorrow evening posting about my Holiday Bake Easy, my own in-home bake sale I'm holding to raise money for the holidays! 25% will go to Wildcare Inc. If you are interested in making a donation, shoot me an e-mail at

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Happy Humpday! Praises for Alternative Baking Company

Ever had a care package swap? No? You don't know what you're missing. This is just one of about a dozen shots of my tricked out vegan care package from Petunia of the Post Punk Kitchen Forum. Among the oodles of chocolate goodies was this giant Double Chocolate Chip Decadence cookie from the Alternative Baking Company.

I never buy their cookies because I'm a cheapskate, too busy making my own, and I honestly wasn't sure if their cookies were good. I'm generally leery of prepackaged vegan cookies because I suffer from that "But What If It Isn't As Good As It Looks?" syndrome.

Well, I was wrong. Wrong, wrong, and wrong. And so, so happy to be wrong.

That cookie was spectacular. Alternative Baking Company, please hire me as your company taster. I will happily nom-nom-nom all day long and preach the gospel of your products. And you new vegans, vegans-to-be, or curious folk should do a care package swap once just to see what an awesome experience it is. So much love goes into it and it is super fun to shop for someone and test yourself on buying products that are vegan. You might make a BFF and BCFF (Best Cookie Friend Forever)!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I'm Such a Scientist

I don't know what I did wrong to get the chocolate chunks to look like they were unearthed from an 1883 time capsule. Such a disgrace. Fortunately, it didn't affect the taste and that cookie is sitting in my intestines as I type this.

I figured Isa has had plenty of love and attention for the past several days, so I'd talk up Ms. Kelly Peloza's Vegan Cookie Connoisseur. Believe it or not, these are the Mocha Cappuccino Cookies. Why don't they look like the picture in the book? Why aren't they all spread out and packed with little speckles of coffee? Well, I'm ever the scientist and decided to try to make them gluten free. I'm having an in-home bake sale this Saturday and have some GF peeps to satisfy.

I used 1/2 c. teff flour, 1/2 c. soy flour, and 1 1/2 t of xanthan gum. The dough didn't spread at all, it was very thick and I had to add some extra liquids to keep the dough from being sandy. I rolled each cookie into a little golf ball and smashed it with the back of a spoon. Then I plugged the chocolate chunks into the dough. 350 for about 8-9 minutes should do it. Don't bake any longer than that or you will have a rock.

The taste? Well, it was a little gritty because of the flours, but good--notably good for dunking in milk, if that happens to be your thang. Guess what? NO CRUMBLES. Yep, that's right, the cookie didn't crumble like my past GF experiments. This tells me for now, that the teff/soy combo works. Most people think to make a cookie GF all they have to do is add whatever non gluten flour and ((((blamo!)))) you have a GF cookie. Sorry, it doesn't work that way. You have to play around and see what happens. Other blogs will tell you the xanthan or guar isn't needed, but if you don't your going to have a cookie that turns to a fistful of crumbs.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sweet n' Salty Monday

If I were Grand Ruler of the World, I'd make sure the following happened: Carrot Top would be forced into retirement, there would be no such thing as investment banking, all jobs would have a "pants free" option, and every Monday would be Sweet & Salty Day. If you're one of those weirdos who doesn't like that combination, I double dog dare you to try the Salted Caramel Pecan Bars from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.

This is a great bar to make when you just don't have it in you to make pecan pie. If you're a pie person, then you might want to ask Santa for Vegan Pie in the Sky and make this Maple Pecan Pie instead.

Don't knock pants free until you've tried it.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hot Cocoa Mexican Style

I'm sicker than a dog right about now. That won't stop me from eating cookies, though. Especially these Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. Packed with a chocolate punch, followed by very subtle sinus clearing chile powder--these cookies will separate your plate from all the fruitcake at the company Xmas party. Are you convinced that you need to get this book for the holidays? I hope so. You're welcome Isa, you know how much I love you.

I'm having a Holiday Bake Easy to raise some extra $ for our household and give some to charity. Tomorrow will begin a week long marathon in me making cookie dough to refrigerate for the big day. I also plan on attacking the infamous Smolve Pie from Veganomicon.

I haven't picked out a charity yet, but 25% of the funds from the bake sale will go to a local organization. I know y'all are awesome, after all--with all your help we raised $10 for the local animal shelter and $10 for my local food bank. That doesn't sound like much, but every penny helps! If you would like to contribute to the Holiday Bake Easy, send an e-mail to

Friday, December 9, 2011

Portion Control, I Haz It.

Well, not really. I've been known to get up in the middle of the night and sleep eat. Hell, it's not even sleep eating--I'm awake and can't stand for the cookie jar to be full. For some strange reason, making cookies or brownies in a muffin/cupcake pan does the trick for me every now and then. It's a must for office parties or pitch ins. Otherwise, I'm making one giant cookie for me and cookie pellets for everyone else. True story.

So, are brownies cookies? No, so I guess I suck at that 20 days of cookie thing I've been aiming for. These are the Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Brownies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. They are just as rad as they sound. Don't be fooled by the shadows in the photo, there's some heavy fudge on the bottom. (((((snickering))))) I typed "fudge on the bottom."This is for those vegan cheesecake doubters. Yes, you can has cheezcake.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I Can See Your Peanut Butter Pillows

Now, wouldn't the epic thriller Carrie have been more of a heart touching tale of overcoming adversity if her mother had simply made a plate of Peanut Butter Pillows from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar instead of letting her go to the prom? Think about it, she would have taken a couple of bites, said to her momma,

"You know what? Screw those bullies. In 20 years they'll be washed out and still living here in Anytown. I'm gonna use my telekinesis to bank big in Vegas. You can stay here and read the bible. Keep making awesome cookies, ma."

You wouldn't have to see the buckets of blood or fire. Instead you'd just see Sissy Spacek rolling around in hundreds on her bed from Circus Circus. Her mom would decide to start going to Buddhist retreats, and everything would be dandy.

That's how awesome these cookies are.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

See You at the Bar

When is a cookie not a cookie? When it's a bar. But does it really matter what shape the damn thing is? Nope. Nopey, nopey, give me hopey--it don't mean a thing. Especially this here Blueberry Spice Crumb Bar from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. This gorgeous, fragrant, sweet, and blissful bar will have you cuing Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on Netflix so you can wave the cookie in Violet Beauregarde's gum chewin' face. Of course she can't see you.

NOTE: My 20 days of cookies theme isn't some weird homage to Morgan Spurlock or to Newman's Own. It's a digging of That PITA Vegan archives combined with some new entries to heighten the awareness of cookie deprivation. Don't worry, I'm eating plenty of other things like a seitanic stew, hottie black eyed peas n' greens, and black bean nachos. So there.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Little Crinkle for St. Nickle

Chocolate Crinkles from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. They taste like a brownie and a cookie did it and had children. Slightly crispy on the outside, but fudgey and gooey on the inside. I bet if you put a bit of mint extract in this you would have a nice after dinner cookie after you have a cookie dinner.

Monday, December 5, 2011

20 days of cookies begins TODAY

Instead of an advent calendar, I thought I'd talk about cookies until X-Mas. Sure, I blog about cookies every other day, and sure I'm a little late on that whole advent calendar thingy, but hopefully these posts will inspire you to make a totally tricked out plate for Santy Claus, Channukah Harry, Kwanzaa Keenan, or Solstice Sandy. All of the supernatural holiday heroes like to have a gigantic plate of cookies while engaging in their respective duties. They also like to get presents from people. For instance, I was telling ol' St. Nick that my son has been pushing his agenda for a Play Doh Fun Factory, and he told me how bad he wanted Kelly Peloza's The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur.

These are the Peanut Ginger Sesame Cookies from Veganomicon. This is the perfect cookie at the end of an Asian inspired meal. I won't lie to you, there are no fortunes inside these babies; however, you'll feel magical enough to make your own dreams come true. Really, has anyone ever benefited from a fortune from one of those cookies? I didn't think so.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Wiping The Egg From Your Face

There are many people who are comfortable giving up or eliminating meat from their diet, but they still cling to eggs for a few reasons: a) they enjoy the taste, b) they don't know of a way to veganize it, and 3) they are completely unaware of what happens in the poultry industry.

I'm not here to preach to you about what happens. You can google that stuff yourself. It's pretty awful. I'm not the kind of person who needs to read and see the snuff footage.

I AM the kind of person that is committed to taking something I once cherished and finding a way to make it animal product free. See that pic up there? It's eggless salad. Super easy to make. It's not 100% reminiscent of eggs, but it does have a similar texture and flavor. I put this stuff on some toasted multi-grain bread and paired it with the In-a-Pinch Corn and Broccoli chowder from the other day. It was the perfect lunch for a rainy day.

Eggless Salad

  • 1pkg extra firm tofu, pressed NOTE: this is the kind in the plastic tub with water, not the aseptic package.
  • 1T dijon mustard-(make sure it's vegan. some brands put egg in it!)
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast also known in the vegan lexicon as "nooch"
  • 1t garlic powder
  • 2t onion powder
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 1T bragg's liquid aminos
  • 2T chopped pickle (dill! dill! dill!)
  • 1T fresh dill (or 1t of dried)
  • a shredded carrot (optional)
  • chives (optional)
  • pinch of salt*

*IF you can score it, get black salt. A little goes a long way and it has an eggy smell and flavor. You can find it at an Indian grocery or restaurant. Regular salt will work.

This recipe is best if made the night before. If you lack the time, it will still be okay, just not as good.

How in the hell do you press tofu? Easy--take that block of tofu and put it between two dinner plates. Sit a big ol' can of tomatoes or a hand weight-(because I know you haven't worked out in ages) and let gravity do it's thing. Drain after 10 minutes three times, and almost all of the water should be out of the block. Now this brick o' soy is a blank canvas to absorb anything and everything it is mixed with!

With clean hands, mush the tofu up to a ricotta consistency. Add all of your ingredients and stir thoroughly--you don't want to chomp into a complete bite of mustard or plain tofu-(blech!).
Sit in a tupperware container and allow the flavors to meld overnight. Serve on your favorite bread with your favorite toppings. I am partial to sun dried tomatoes.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Chowder Fit for a Giant

Foodbuzz Tastemaker's Program does it again, and this time it is with Green Giant Vegetables. I made this In-a-Pinch Corn n' Broccoli Chowder. I added a little too much corn starch so it was really thick, but you don't have to do that. In fact, you shouldn't have to add it at all unless you were making a veggie pot pie--in that case, this soup would do the trick.

The beauty of this simple soup is that you'll have it done in less than 30 minutes--for real! Now you'll have plenty of time doing other things like working on that novel you've been neglecting or developing your campaign to run for city council.Whichever project you choose, just remember to make broccoli part of the action!

Thanks to Green Giant Steamers Veggies and Foodbuzz Tastemaker's Program for making this post happen!

You'll need:
  • 1 can of regular corn
  • 1 can of creamed corn-(check the label to verify veganness)
  • 6 c. of Veggie broth-(I used an un-chicken broth)
  • 1 pkg. Green Giant Veggie Steamers Broccoli
  • 1/3 c. chopped leeks
  • 1 giant golden beet, chopped OR 1 shredded carrot
  • 2 cloves of garlic via garlic press
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 1/2 T of corn starch (optional)
  • few drops of liquid smoke

Saute your garlic and leeks in a little earth balance or olive oil for a few minutes. Toss in your beet and cook for a few more moments, then add the broth, corn, creamed corn, broccoli, pepper, and onion powder. Cook on stove top setting 4 until bubbling, then set to low. Serve with a nice crusty bread. I paired this with a tofu egg less salad sandwich and it was divine.