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Pickle Dip

pickle dip

My husband went to a Phillies game last week and raved about this pickle dip that someone made for the tailgaiting festivities. Apparently it was just pickles and whipped cream cheese. And apparently it was quite delicious — he ate most of it. (He’s fallen off the vegan bandwagon a little — I’m working on him…).

He talked about this pickle dip all weekend and I said I’d try to recreate it using vegan ingredients. I knew my version would be a bit different, taste- and texture-wise, since I haven’t found a vegan cream cheese that I like. I’ve tried several and they’ve all tasted funky to me.

I knew a little bit of culinary experimentation was in order to find the right combo of ingredients to make this dip work and here’s what I came up with.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 (12-oz.) tub vegan sour cream
  • 1/2 cup vegan mayo
  • 8 oz. firm tofu, cubed
  • dill pickles

To prepare:

  1. With a mixer, combine sour cream and mayo in a large bowl.
  2. Squeeze water out of tofu and process in a food processor until a ball forms.
  3. Add tofu to sour cream mixture and stir well.
  4. Place pickles (as many as you like, depending on your taste!) in a food processor and give a few pulses. You don’t want the pieces to be too small — try not to go any smaller than relish size.
  5. Drain pickles and discard liquid. (It’s good drinking, you know!) Add pickles to sour cream mixture and stir well.
  6. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving with tortilla chips or veggies.



This recipe is a super simple one and one that I think would be a hit at parties and get-togethers. Who doesn’t like pickles?! You can add fewer or more pickles, depending on your preference. We’re pickle-lovers in this household, so I added about a cup and a half’s worth — maybe more. I didn’t really measure. If you want to get a little crazy, you can try throwing in some other stuff — jalapenos, red pepper flakes, fresh herbs… The sky’s the limit. This dip is also a great way to sneak some tofu into the bellies of your picky kids or your tofu-hating friends. They’ll never know it’s in there — trust me!

Oh, and hubby’s reaction to my veganized version of his new found food obsession? He gave me some flack at first and said that the texture was way off, but I think his exact words were, “You killed it, babe!,” as he downed just about the entire container. :)

And there you have it! More proof that with a little imagination and experimentation, you can veganize just about anything.


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We’re Having A Baby! Or Two… or Three… or Four…!

No, I’m not preggers, but this girl is!:

mama cat

Up until Sunday evening, Penelope — Penny for short and fka “Mama Cat” — was living in the yard of a friend of ours. Penny was obviously pregnant and our friend’s landlord was not too keen on having stray cats on his property, so he said she had to go. We’d initially said we would like to adopt Mama Cat after she had her babies, (I’d been jonesing for another house cat!) but we soon realized that we couldn’t wait that long. She needed to get off that property ASAP. So, with just minimal begging and pleading on my part (Anthony is really softening up, I must say!), we picked her up, set her up in our spare bedroom (now known as “the birthing suite”) and have been enjoying having her here ever since.

penny belly

penny face

penny rubs

We’re already so in love with her. She is one of the sweetest cats I’ve ever met! She’s extremely friendly and loves being pet, especially under her chin. She’s a tiny little lady and she never stops purring. Never! Even when I took her to the vet for an exam. She purred the whole time! Through temperature checks, blood draws and vaccinations!

We think she’ll be giving birth soon, so we’re keeping her safely secluded from our other pets for the time being so that when the time comes, she’ll be able to have her kittens in peace. We have no experience with cat birth, so we’re not quite sure what to expect! The vet said that, for the most part, Penny will take care of everything. We should only have to intervene if there’s a problem. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for a smooth delivery and can’t wait to see the babies! We’re planning on adopting out the kittens to loving homes (I am already dreading separating her babies from her :( ) but maybe I can schmooze my way into keeping just one… We’ll see!!

Stay tuned for updates and lots of cute baby pics!

Has anyone dealt with cat birth before? What have we gotten ourselves into?!


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Three Things: May

crackly three

Happy May! I hope this post finds you well and enjoying the beauty of spring.

Now that our move is over, I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. I feel like these last few months have just been pure chaos and I find myself really craving normalcy and order again! I need to set some goals for myself other than to finish unpacking (nope, still not done…), so without further ado, here are my “three things” for May:

  • get a bike
  • plant a garden
  • create a new recipe

I’ll post an update on my goals at the beginning of June. Until then… Wishing you all a wonderful month!

What goals are you working on at the moment?


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Introducing…

sarah joseph collage

Last week, we welcomed our first residents to the farm!

While they weren’t exactly what we expected our first residents to be (we were thinking more along the lines of chickens or goats…), we’re happy that we were able to offer them a home. Sarah and Joseph are semi-feral siblings who were rescued as kittens, but who never quite adjusted to life inside. Their foster family of the last two years was running out of options as to what to do with them and ultimately decided that they’d be happier as outside cats. A mutual friend put us in touch and we offered to let them come here. Honestly, it was a no-brainer for us! (Especially when I found out they were grey cats — they are my absolute fave!!!) They will be our barn cats. Every barn needs one or two of those, right?!

Sarah arrived first and her brother arrived five days later, after he put up quite the fight to be wrangled up and vaccinated. They are still very scared, understandably, and will be spending another week or two safely enclosed in our hay room until they get acclimated, then they will have roam of the farm. They seem to be incredibly timid around people (hence the not-so-great photos) and we haven’t seen them too much (they’re eating, drinking and pooping, though, so I guess all is well!), so I’m not sure what our relationship with them will be like, but we know that sometimes, animals need a lot of time and space to blossom– we’ve seen that transformation with our own cat, Raven — and we’ll give them whatever they need to stay happy, healthy and safe.

We are happy that Sarah and Joseph are here and hope they will enjoy their new lives with us on the farm!

Stay tuned for more updates on Sarah and Joseph and more happenings on the farm!


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Interview With Kristin Lajeunesse of ‘Will Travel For Vegan Food’

If you’ve been following me for any time at all, you’ve probably already figured out that I really, really love books. And adventures. Oh, and food, too. Combine those three things and you’ve got [my idea of] a perfect weekend, but more notably, you get “Will Travel for Vegan Food,” the highly-anticipated memoir chronicling the life-changing journey of blogger and food enthusiast, Kristin Lajeunesse, as she attempts to eat her way across the country! Sounds like a dream trip, doesn’t it?!
kl cover shots
I recently had the privilege of asking Kristin a few questions about her trip, the book, her take on veganism and her advice for fellow dream-chasers and am excited to share her responses with you!:

Jenerous Helpings: What three words would you use to best describe your trip?
Kristin Lajeunesse: Intense. Enlightening. Life-changing. 

JH: What’s the best thing you’ve ever eaten?
KL: Vegan Treats‘ Peanut Butter Bomb.  
*Side note: I’ve had VT’s PB Bomb, also, and I’d have to say that it ranks near the top of my list, too! Actually, anything from Vegan Treats is ridiculously delicious! Put this place on your bucket list ASAP!

JH: What have you found to be the biggest misconception about vegan food?
KL: That it’s all the same or difficult to find.

JH: Why should people read your book?
KL: If you enjoy true stories about extreme lifestyle change, inspiration, and going after the things you want most in life (with a mix of drama, sexy times, sad times, and food porn) then I think you’d dig it.
 
JH: What do you think is in store for the future of vegan food?
KL: I believe we’ll continue to see large corporations jumping on board to produce their own versions of popular vegan foods. For example, a dairy company owns the Silk brand, and another large company that invests in meat products purchased a plant-based meat company at the end of last year. Large companies go where the money is and food is very clearly, steadily trending vegan.

JH: What’s one thing you learned about veganism that you didn’t know before your trip?
KL: The vegan community is extremely supportive and (as a whole) amazingly kind.

JH: Can we look forward to a global edition next?!
KL: Absolutely! There will likely not be a living-in-a-vehicle situation next time. However, I’d love to take the trip internationally, and as a TV show version (vs. a blog version). 

JH: What advice would you give someone with big dreams, who is unsure of how to make them reality?
KL: Start where you are. Start before you’re ready.


Whether you’re vegan or not, Kristin is someone you should know about and connect with. She’s smart, funny and incredibly inspirational. I’m especially drawn to her business and lifestyle coaching offerings for entrepreneurs and those seeking to turn their passions into their life’s work. Kristin’s own passion and enthusiasm for helping others shines brightly in everything she does and it’s hard not to be moved by the insight she has to offer.

wtfvf passions

And if all that other stuff is not exactly your cup of tea, you should follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, anyway, for some drool-worthy food pics! Just stay off her social media pages if you’re hungry, though, because her food pics WILL MAKE YOU DROOL ALL OVER YOUR KEYBOARD. Trust me.

wtfvfood collage

I told you so!

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me, Kristin! I can’t wait to bury my nose in a copy of your book and experience your journey for myself!

Who has read “Will Travel for Vegan Food?” I’m anxious to know what you thought of it!


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Steve’s Dark Chocolate Salty Caramel Ice Cream: A Review

I’m usually not much of an ice cream eater — I tend to prefer water ice or sorbet, actually — but during the last few chaotic weeks before our move, I needed some damn ice cream.

Badly.

steves ice cream tub

When I found a pint of Steve’s Dark Chocolate Salty Caramel Ice Cream hiding amongst some other ice creams in the freezer section of our local natural food store, I swooped it up and drooled all the way home over the prospect of digging into it.

It seems I was a bit late to discover this brandVegansarus was all over it way back in 2012, but I hadn’t heard of it until a friend of mine posted on Facebook a few weeks back about finding and devouring a few pints of her own. Since then, I’d been on a mission to find it. When I did, I was a bit shocked at how pricey it was was (even on sale), but I didn’t care. I had to try it.

And oh my gosh, am I glad I did! This stuff is heaven in a tub! It’s creamy and decadent, but I think the thing I love about it most is the caramel. You know how sometimes a label on a food product can be deceiving? You eat the entire container of ice cream or whatever and think to yourself, ‘ Wait, wasn’t this supposed to have caramel/chocolate/peanut butter, etc. swirled in it?’ Well, there’s none of that with this product. Just look at those dreamy pools of delicious, salty caramel!! Look at ’em!

steves caramel 2

Annnnnnd… cue the drooling.

Like I mentioned earlier, this stuff is a bit on the costly side. Even on sale, it cost me nearly $6 for this pint, but it’s so rich that it should last you several servings — it lasted three for me. Oh, and apologies to my husband for not saving any for him. My bad. But if he had gotten his hands on this stuff first, I doubt he would have saved any for me, either!

In addition to this flavor, Steve’s also offers vegan Cinnamon Coffee, Mint Cacao Chip and Scotch Chocolate flavors which are all gluten-free and formulated from a base of coconut cream. Be careful though and be sure to read the labels throughtly, as the company makes non-vegan varieties as well. It’s carried at some national grocery chains, but seems to be a bit elusive in some parts of the country. Use their handy store locator to see if any stores around you carry it, but if nothing shows up for your area, don’t fret, because thankfully, you can order online! (It looks like you have to order at least five pints at a time though. What a pity, huh?!)

steves label

When you get your hands on some Steve’s you can thank me for introducing you to the brand. This stuff is well worth the search and the price tag!

Thank you, Steve’s, for offering us vegans a kick-ass ice cream!

Have you tried Steve’s Ice Cream? What did you think of it?


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Whew!!!

It’s been a whirlwind of a few weeks, and I still can’t fully grasp it, but WE BOUGHT A FARM!!! We still have a ton of unpacking to do and a lot of prep work outside to get ready to welcome some rescue animals, but we’re on our way! My dream is unfolding before my very eyes and I feel so, so blessed.

farm keys

Yes, that’s a skeleton key!

Now that the worst of the move is over (seriously — packing is the Worst. Thing. Ever! Well, to me, at least!), I’ll try to post a little more often and I’ll be sure to include updates on the progress of the farm!

Have a beautiful Sunday, everyone, and remember to always, always chase your dreams!

jena dreams

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