Author Archives: Jennifer


Shop on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Many blogs have featured this newer cookbook on vegan casseroles. Since so many blogs had giveaways, sample recipes, and glowing reviews, I wanted to give the book a try. Which is a little weird since I never really grew up on casseroles. At least “all-American” casseroles. Sure we had mac and cheese, lasagna, and tuna noodle casserole. But that was mostly it. When I started to cook I was always intrigued by casserole recipes. They were so exotic and foreign to me.

So I can’t say if Julie has put all the classics in this book, but many looked familiar. She features both American classics (beans and rice, chili casserole, nacho tots) and more traditional cuisine (stuffed peppers, lasagna, mac & cheese). The overall goal of the book was to make quick dinners that give the comforts of casseroles, but were vegan and not too heavy on fats and calories.


Compared to most cookbooks reviewed on here, there aren’t that many photos. But truthfully, I doubt that you need a photo for each recipe. Casseroles aren’t the most photogenic food out there. But what I really appreciate is their choice of recipes to photograph. If the dish wasn’t as straight forward as a mixing all the food and baking, they took a picture. For example there was a photo of the stuffed cabbage or lasagna. These aren’t traditionally thought of “casseroles” but fit the definition. The photos that are available are beautiful and presents the foods as something delicious and appetizing. It is interesting to see some reviews online and see the not-so glamorous shots of the dishes. Not to say the blogger casseroles look disgusting, but the photos in the book are just a little more inspirational.


The book opens with a very short intro. I think this was a smart choice. If you are picking up a book about specific vegan foods, there is a good chance you already know a good bit about veganism. You are going to know all the different vegan substitutes, which foods aren’t vegan, and the benefits of lifestyle. The book jumps right into the recipes, dividing them up as appetizers, dutch-oven casseroles, old favorites, pasta, vegetable, desserts, and “staples.” The staples section is filled with sauces, and crumbles for recipes. Although it was a pain to flip back and forth for some recipes between the nacho sauce and the casserole, it wasn’t too big of a deal. It was a little easier because by the end I started to memorize the sauce recipes, needing the flip pages less and less.


The writing is brief and to the point. This book had a small opening, and jumps rather quickly to the recipes. She keeps the length down in the recipes. There aren’t any long stories, cultural references, stories about the recipe development, just a short paragraph describing the dish. Sometimes she suggests how to enhance a dish (like in the Rice & Beans being served with lettuce, avocados, and salsa). This makes and easy read that isn’t distracting from the recipes.


The biggest criticism I’ve read about this book is how “unhealthy” the recipes are. I get it, what one considers healthy is subjective. I would say yes, these recipes are vast improvements on the originals. Casseroles are known for using cream, cheap meats, cheese, and canned soups. Some recipes use fake cheese, faux meats, and other processed ingredients. But realistically, you are using mostly whole ingredients that are commonly found in kitchens. Many of the “fakes” can be taken out, or is listed as “optional.” The serving sizes are huge and decently low calorie. I plugged in the ingredients in a calorie counter, and I found that the recipes have lots of nutrition.

 Another arguement for the “it’s unhealthy” debate is that some foods are not made from scratch. This is true, but Julie Hasson points out in the book, if you want you can make your own seitan, soy cheese, or tater tots, but a casserole is suppose to be easy to make. You can do this with ALL of your food. You can make your almond milk, bread, dog food, kombucha, beer, etc. But we as humans can only do so much. That is why bakers, butchers, and restaurants showed up. We can only do so much. It is just your decision.

I think the important thing to put into perspective are the goals of the book. Julie Hasson wanted to make vegan versions of classic casseroles. They are suppose to be affordable, which they were. They were also suppose to be to a certain degree less processed, which most recipes didn’t use processed products. And the final criteria was that the recipes were suppose to be easy. Each recipe varied on the amount of worked required, but overall they were pretty eat to make. I don’t think there wasn’t anything that my husband and I didn’t like. There is definitely some foods that saved better than others, or little tricks to making it turn out better. But overall, I would recommend this book to pretty much any vegan. 

Continue reading


I’ve never been a normal person when it comes to lunches. I don’t just settle for a sandwich. During my youthful meat eating days I remember making oven fried chicken instead of sandwiches. There is nothing depressing to me about having leftovers for lunchtime. Since I have such an open view of lunch, my definition gets muddled. What makes a meal for lunch over dinner?

To me it has to do with portability. Some people that means it can’t be heated up, or needs to be eaten with the hands. This can get tricky with vegan foods. Sure there are vegan sandwich options, but let’s face it, they can get messy since veggies aren’t perfectly square shaped. So what does a vegan do?


Faux sushi wraps does the trick! You will be surprised what will stay wrapped up happily in nori. The structural stability of sushi has less to do with sticky rice and more about tension and properly sealed nori. The end result is a leak-free lunch that is packed with veggies. Oh and gluten-free, if that is your thing. These wraps are fairly fast to make, and the longest step is cutting the carrots. You can swap out the carrots for any other veggie like bell pepper, cucumber, or even beets!

The tofu, avocado, sprouts and sauce are what you want to keep for sure. The tofu offers a nice chewy texture, the avocado a creamy burst, and the sprouts a slight crunchy texture. The tahini-tamarind sauce gives most of the flavor, and helps soften the nori wraps.


This recipe serves one and makes two rolls to cut up. It is pretty low calorie, so you will want to have both rolls for yourself. It is pretty easy to double, triple, or quadruple the recipe. But I would recommend not wrapping until the day of since the nori will get soggy and gross overtime.

Another super tip, quickly press the tofu while you get all the components together. Prep the tofu, then start chopping, maybe get other chores done in the morning like dishes, making breakfast, etc. That way you don’t need to wait too long. You only need about 15-20 minutes of pressing.

Continue reading


Cardigan: Target | Dress: Pink Martini via Modcloth Stylish Surprise | Tighes: Target | Purse: Homemade | Shoes: Dirty Laundry

I really wanted to share this cute new dress that I got from Modcloth. I haven’t been shopping for new clothing in awhile. Mostly because I am trying save most of my paycheck for a home. Scrimping and saving can suck. But every year I let myself buy some clothes from Modcloth’s Stylish Surprise Sale. It is pretty fun since you give your size and they send a random dress. It is a great way for them to get rid of their odd stocks. I’ve gotten some cool dresses this way. I’ve also gotten some busts, like they send two of the same dress once, and a third, all size 2. I’m more of a large-small if that makes any sense. The cool thing about this dress? It is really stiff, so I can do whatever I wanted in it during a windy day. No fears of it flipping up. It makes me wonder if I should start making dresses at home of stiffer materials.


Jon and I went into Philadelphia this Saturday to go see the Kano exhibit. The cool thing about having a membership to the art museum is that it doesn’t give you any sense of needing to spend the WHOLE day at the museum. You can pop in, see one exhibit, and call it a day. The Kano exhibit features Japanese screens, paintings, fans, and more that were made by the Kano school. It was an interesting contrast from what I learned about Japanese art in school since most of the focus of these screens and fans were with gold leaf. 

The pieces are very delicate and rotate every few weeks to help preserve them. We went to see the 2nd rotation, which finished it’s run that weekend. So we plan to go one more time to the 3rd and last rotation before the exhibit ends. Sadly, no photographs were allowed so I couldn’t take a picture of the best piece there. There was a portrait of a Japanese man of high status, I can’t remember if he was an official, shogun, or whatever. But he had a hat that looked like it had a penis on it. I looked at the painting, then the description if there was anything maybe explaining it. Then I catch my husband bending closer to the picture, as if maybe there wasn’t a penis on the hat, and that it was just an oddly shaped flower. Since photography wasn’t allowed they had sketch books, but I didn’t want anyone catching me drawing a penis hat. I mean come on! I joked that photos were allowed because they didn’t want the phallic hat to circulate.

But is there any super smart Japanese history aficionados? Have you seen any black hats that look likes penis is just sitting in the front? I need to solve this mystery.



My cat waits for Jon and I to come back from our day out in Philly.

This week has been gross and drizzly. I’ve been sooo unmotivated. Sure I’ve been running, but it has been slow and not very fun. I didn’t want to cook or clean or even read. Nothing has been touched on the blog for the most part. But this weekend really spun everything around. Just Saturday morning I made a grocery list and I thought “my god, I just decided on 4 new recipes that I can put on the blog….” Funny how weather can effect your mood and creativity.

So this weekend has been beautiful. Saturday I went for a 3 mile run that usually takes me 30 minutes. When I got home my husband looked shocked and asked if I took a short run that morning. I just had a great run and really enjoyed myself, I guess it reflected in how fast I ran! We went into Philly for the day to see the new Kano exhibit. We then proceeded to walk to the art museum (2.75 mi), then walk to Blackbird Pizzeria (3 mi) and ate a whole pie together. Then decided to walk to the train stop furthest from the pizzeria (1.15 mi). We walked a whopping 6.9 miles, not including walking around the museum. So my little feet traveled 10 miles overall! I think I deserved all 4 slices of the best vegan pizza ever. (in case you wondering our pizza had arugala, cherry tomatoes, seitan sausage, pumpkin seed pesto, pepper flake, and tofu ricotta.)


I just bought a bunch of mangos (14 champagne mangos to be exact!) and I think these beer-battered tofu tacos with mango salsa need to be made!

Speaking of mangos, there is an AWESOME Mango Carrot Cake that I should of made for Easter dinner. Bummer.

Health News:

I remember so many conversations about feeling “fat” when I worked at a restaurant and after a certain point I choice not to participate in those conversations (not even saying ‘but you look so good!’). There is a good reason why I wouldn’t participate, fat talk is bad for our mental state.

Although I don’t think all of America’s obesity problem isn’t really a problem (some people simply eat too many unhealthy foods) but this article reminds us that skinny doesn’t mean healthy, and fat-shaming isn’t healthy either.

This is an interesting article about how studies found that people were happier with spending their money on experiences and not things.

This article wasn’t what I was expecting, it was better. I think making children diet is horrible. If your child needs more exercise or a healthier diet, to me, that means the FAMILY needs to exercise and change their diet.

Fun Stuff:

Kaylah linked this cool urban geode street art project. I looked at it and thought “I think I saw something like this!” Turns out they have some in Philadelphia and I think Jon and I passed by it. I tried finding some pieces and I have a feeling some might of been taken down already. Bummer. But I’ll try again soon.

I got my mystery dress from Modcloth and I got this awesome dress for $15!

Anyone remember livejournal? I wasn’t huge on it, but this article reminded me of my techie teenage years.

I love this photo shoot on Specs and the City. I love the liberation of self made fashion shoots, but I am not a huge fan of being in front of the camera, I rather be behind it. Maybe I should do a shoot with Alexa…?

I’m super in love with these new nail wraps. I’ve been wearing the same wrap for the ENTIRE WEEK! Which is a big deal considering my nail polish chips on the same day. I’m going to have to stock up.


This new documentary about queer farming (farmers that are queer, not queers harvesting more queers, duh) looks bitchin.

This video is a little long, but well worth the watch. Maysoon Zayid is a funny woman and has some great point about disabilities in the US.

I watched Major Lazer’s video for Get Free for the first time. It was awesome. The filming is very cinéma vérité and makes me think of documentaries like Harlan County, USA and Always for Pleasure.

Mind blown by this fish:

Day 94 : Went for a walk since it was pretty warm. Slowly everything is budding.


Day 95: For Easter dinner I brought my very belated Christmas gift. My husband thought he would make a creeper cat puppet.


Day 96: Showing off my handmade purse. I am already thinking of how I can make the purse better and create a small camera pack. If it works, maybe I will start selling camera purses on etsy?


Day 97: Made some tamarind sprout wraps for lunch. Recipe coming up for the blog soon!


Day 98: It has been gross and misty all week. For some reason this photo seemed to capture how I’ve been feeling all week.


Day 99: Tried out the new restaurant Honeygrow, I can’t wait to go back again to feature on the blog.


Day 100: I just really wanted to show off my purse.


lilyloloLily Lolo Mascara – $20

Jennifer: I am not a huge make-up person. I have a simple BBCream that I put on my face on days I don’t wear glasses. Then I usually put on some mascara as I like my eyelashes to look longer. That’s pretty much it. Sometimes lipstick, and sometimes eyeliner, but most of the time not. I have been using Mineral Fusion lengthening mascara and I wasn’t a fan of it. It was really clumpy, and quickly went from almost perfect coating to drag queen.

I am usually a use-it-up-first-then-buy-a-new-one type of person. So I was really happy to get mascara in the box. This mascara is much more what I like. My eyelashes look longer but much more natural that the Mineral Fusion mascara. There were some occasional clumps, but there were much smaller (and easier to get out). I am planning on buying this brand when my current bottle runs out.


Harvey Prince Fragrances

Damask Rose- $26 | Imperial Gardenia $26

Alexa: Firstly, I’ve just gotta say that I was super excited when Jenny mentioned she was signing up for the Petit Vour boxes as I’m always interested to see what cruelty-free beauty products are available to me (and THE WORLD). She brought the 2 perfume samples over and I will definitely mention my liking of one over the other. The winner for me has to be “Imperial Gardenia”. It’s a much more subtle and earthy smell, while “Damask Rose” doesn’t even really smell like rose. I usually love rose scented and flavored things but this one came on very strongly and just didn’t have much appeal to it. “Imperial Gardenia” was a much more versatile scent and much easier on my nose. I like it so much that I will definitely be using up the rest of the sample and would even debate purchasing it in the future. I like to mix and match my perfumes every once in a while and this one was simple and sweet. Thanks Jen!


Ellovi Butter – $26

Jennifer: I am in love with this body butter. I was given the scent, Mint Chocolate, and that smells spot on. It smells like I have just a small amount of mint chocolate chip ice cream on my fingers that can never be licked off. What makes this butter so nice is that a little goes a long way. I kind-of wish I had this earlier this winter because my hands are always incredibly dry during the winter season.


Balanced Guru Scrub Me – $23

Jennifer: I think dry scrubs are the new hip thing. How hip? My 65 year old male boss is trying to get me to try out his hand salt scrub. So I was a little excited to get a sugar scrub in the package. The smell is amazing, there are so many things going on with it. But when it came to shower time, I felt pretty indifferent. I didn’t care about the experience or the feeling afterwards. I’ve have used body scrubs in the past when they were set in a creme, and personally I prefer that style scrub a little better. It just felt like I was missing a step or something when using it. 

Alexa: I had a similar feeling about this body scrub as Jenny did. I have another scrub from Bridge Street Soap Company in New Hope, PA that I love, and this one was ok but I just didn’t get the same feeling from it. Jen gave me a bit to sample myself, so maybe I just wasn’t using enough to try and savor it? The Jury is still out. I will say though, it does have a delightful smell, I may try it on my face in the future as opposed to my arms like I did the first time. 

Happy Easter everyone! I decided to take a week off of blogging to catch up and start writing some blog drafts that I started so long ago. I haven’t done that. I just managed to not work on anything this week. I ended up being so much more busy than I expected. I ended up visiting my Mother who badly hurt her hip, my sister from New York came down and we got drinks (at V Street and The Franklin Mortgage & Investing Co. if you were curious) Now I am finding myself using this weekend making Carrot Cake Truffles (after my carrot cake broke into pieces) and catching up on blog posts. 


I am always hesitant to make raw desserts since they use lots of cacao butter and coconut flesh. But these peanut butter bars look super easy!

Olives For Dinner is making me swoon for her Red Curry and Coconut Ginger Sauce and Crispy Tofu and Fire Noodles.

Vegan News:

I love Angela’s post about if she will raise her daughter vegan, and I am sad to hear that she got some negative feedback. I have to agree with her point of view, and that you can only do so much to raise a child vegan. Think about if you are a catholic, you can bring your child to church, make them practice lent, etc etc. But ultimately you don’t have control over if they continue to practice. What about if a jewish child follows a kosher diet, I am sure they have eaten non-kosher foods when eating at a friends house. When people ask “will you raise your child vegan” I find it a little annoying. If veganism is what you think is morally best for the world, then you will teach that to you children and hope they follow.

Disney World has a vegan bakery!

Other News:

There are calling for a boycott on Indiana.

Coyote spotted on a bar roof on Long Island.

A great photo essay about Swedish fathers using their maternity leave.


I am loving these photos from Kanaho’s blog.

Just bought this print and saw this awesome pin from the same etsy shop.

Kaylah wrote a cool post about different goals for her biking. I am loving this post and it makes me wonder what goals I want to set for myself.


I found this video SUPER awesome. So some vegans don’t consider bivalves to be off limits. And I get that since there is evidence that plants might have some form of pain, and at very least have electrical currents to move. So it is interesting to watch this video talking about whether or not a Portuguese man o’ war is multicellular organism or a colony.

There are so many great facts about pigs in this video, many I would say are arguments to not eat pigs. Which is funny since the video is suppose to raise money for staff porkchop party fund.

Day 87: We went to Long Island to visit my Grandmother and family. My nieces ended up going on an Easter egg hunt inside since it was actually snowing.


Day 88: Leftovers for Saturday night.


Day 89: I got a mild stomach bug (hello slightly rotten jackfruit) and spent most of the day napping

Day 90: Went to Delaware to visit my Mom and we worked on making a purse together.


Day 91: Framed my new wombat print by Kirbee Lawler


Day 92: Took a quick photo of Toulouse before heading out for drinks with my sisters.


Day 93: Went out for dinner with the hubz and there was a really cool fog when driving home. I tried really hard to run and get my camera and took the world’s worst photos. Womp, womp. Learned my lesson, ALWAYS bring your camera, that way you get every ounce of light, and you don’t miss the fog.



I went to my Grandmother’s on Saturday for the family Easter get together. I talked about the trip last year, which is a grueling trip to Amityville Long Island. Things worth noting? My outfit was pretty much the same- same shoes, same skirt, different shirt and tights. ha. Yes, it is Amityville as in the Amityville Horror, I really need to pick up that book. And Alec Baldwin and De La Soul are from Amityville, I wonder if they know my Grandma? Oh and most importantly Alien Ant Farm will be performing in a bar there in April. Betcha you didn’t know they still kept making music after Smooth Criminal. Neither did I.

Sidenote, I finally bought two bags of Vega protein powder. The more frequently I run, the more I want a quick shake. So I finally got the vanilla and berry smoothie powders and they have already been a huge lifesaver. I made a shake with the berry powder, a banana, and strawberries. Perfect. Today I had a mango blended up with kale, water, and the vanilla powder. Perfection!


This is giving me inspiration for the beets I get from my CSA…. months from now.

Gotta make these mole roasted chickpeas. She uses Kevita cinnamon tonic, so maybe I will make a special cinnamon kombucha for this.

Emily is making me drool with this strawberry cashew cream cake… hey I just got really cheap strawberries. Maybe I should be making this.

I am not the type of person who likes cutesy holiday themed sweets, but I am stealing this idea for my second Easter get together (uggg… married life)

Food/Vegan News:

New York Times talks about the myth of a high-protein diet. People are misinformed about when protein is important.

I loved this article since I have this debate often with my Mother in Law. We never get very far because we don’t actually know which would be more harmful for the environment- animal products or fake leathers.

Farmers are going on strike.

This article gave me hope that working conditions can improve in restaurants. Working in the food industry sucks, and it is hard to point the blame on a person. Most of the time it is just being misinformed.

Fun Stuff:

Coloring clubs for grown ass adults? I need to start my own chapter!

And OMG OMG OMG OMG I need this shoe! Too bad they don’t have my size T_T

What is going to happen in the frozen sequal? Experts give their predictions! Probably gonna be everyone’s birthday.

Alexa needs to come and visit me soon so we can walk around the gaybourhood and cross the street like we are fucking unicorns.

National Geographic talks about bioluminous life. Note: there are cool photos and a video on the left side when you are done reading the article.

Every year SXSW keeps getting cooler and cooler acts. Last year it was Glen Check, this year it is PERFUME! Apparently they released a stellar live video (meaning a video you create/edit in real time) that has been described as being from the future.

Day 80: Jon asked if I wanted to go for a walk, then started to refill the window wash in the cars. I photograph him to kill the time.


Day 81: Jon suggests another walk and proceeds to waste time by checking out the cars before heading out.


Day 82: This was not a very tasty shake, but it sure looked cool with the marbling effect.


Day 83: My work got some special “congrats on your new location flowers”


Day 84: My back was hurting so I left work early and I got some Sweet Freedom snacks to cheer me up.


Day 85: Took some photos of the abandoned bowling alley before heading to work.


Day 86: Made a huge pan of lasagna- so much that I needed 4 lbs of tofu.