The HASS- Hummus, Avocado, Sweet potato Sandwich

Say hello to your new favorite veggie sandwich! A good vegetable sandwich is one of my favorite lunches to have during work and this sweet potato sandwich is perfect for fall when you want something a little warmer and more comfort food-ish. I made the sweet potato and hummus at home and then brought all the ingredients to work to put together fresh in the break room each day. You can also just use store bought hummus if you want to make it easier! This recipe will provide enough for lunch all week.

Ingredients/ shopping list:

  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 loaf of bread (I use Dave’s Killer whole grain and seed)
  • Spinach or spring salad mix
  • 2-3 large avocados
  • 1 pack garlic hummus
  • Optional: 1 pack Chipotle Bitchin Sauce or your favorite vegan sauce for dipping (you can use follow your heart ranch or just eat plain)

Ingredients for The HASS

Cooking Instructions:

Step 1.

Peel your sweet potatoes and chop into thin rectangle or square pieces. Place on baking sheet, brush with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake these at 400 for 10 minutes, flip your sweet potato pieces, and then cook for another 10 minutes.

Step 1 for The HASS

Step 2.

Gather your topping to bring with you on the go! Bread of your choosing, avocado, spinach/ greens, and garlic hummus.

Step 2 for The HASS

Step 3.

Now lets assemble the sandwich! Start by toasting your bread, add hummus to one side, add 2-4 pieces of sweet potato depending on the size of your pieces, add your greens, and finish by add avocado slices to the top layer.

Step 3 for The HASS

Step 4.

Enjoy this delicious and filling sandwich on the go or at work! I paired mine with the Chipotle flavor Bitchin Sauce and it was amazing, however not everywhere sells this, you can substitute your favorite sauce or just enjoy plain!

Final product: The HASS

Wrap Up:

Swap our a “BLT” for this “HASS” and help save the lives of pigs just like the smart and loving babies here at FAR! Share your recipes with me on Instagram if you try them out! @carlye_lavonne_14

Korean BBQ Tacos

Another taco Tuesday recipe for the week! These are made from a tofu base and they are so flavorful and delicious! They only take about 15 minutes or so to make and can feed 4-5 people!

Ingredients/ shopping list:

  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 1 bottle Korean bbq sauce
  • 1 pack flour tortillas
  • Cabbage chopped
  • Carrots shredded
  • Vegan mayo
  • Sriracha

Ingredients for Korean BBQ Tacos

Cooking Instructions:

Step 1.

Let’s start by cooking up the tofu! Drain out the water and either shred tofu with fork or you can just shreds by hand as well. Heat up skillet with olive oil and fry up tofu until it starts to get brown and crispy.

Step 1 for Korean BBQ Tacos

Step 2.

Then add about 1/3 bottle of bbq sauce and 1/8 cup cornstarch, mix, and let simmer until mixture hardens.

Step 2 for Korean BBQ Tacos

Step 3.

Now let’s get the toppings together! Chop up cabbage and shred carrots. For the spicy mayo all you need to do is mix vegan mayo and sriracha.

Step 3 for Korean BBQ Tacos

Step 4.

Put your taco together on a flour tortilla with your tofu “meat”, cabbage, carrots, and spicy mayo.

Step 2 for Korean BBQ Tacos

Wrap Up:

If you try a vegan taco Tuesday every week rather than a meat option you can help to do you part to save animals just like the ones here at FAR! Share your recipes with me on Instagram if you try them out! @carlye_lavonne_14

Final product: Korean BBQ Tacos

Vegan pumpkin ravioli with brown butter sauce

First off, i myself was skeptical to make homemade ravioli because i thought it would be way too hard! But these were so much easier than anticipated and turned out delicious! This would be a perfect date night recipe as it is faster if you have someone to help roll the ravioli dough.

Ingredients/ shopping list:

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 can pumpkin purée
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 tbs non dairy milk (I tried the new country crock plant based option and it was really good!)
  • 2 tbs nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 pack tofurky Italian sausage
  • Spinach
  • 1 stick non diary butter
  • Fresh sage
  • 4 cloves garlic

Ingredients for Vegan pumpkin ravioli

Cooking Instructions:

Step 1.

Starting with the ravioli dough, mix 1 and 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup water, and 2 tbs olive oil in a large bowl. Stir and kneed dough until smooth, then set aside in fridge while we make filling.

Step 1 for Vegan pumpkin ravioli

Step 2.

For the pumpkin filling mix 1 cup pumpkin, 1 cup chickpeas, 2 tbs nutritional yeast, and 4 cloves of garlic sautéed. Mix until smooth.

Step 2 for Vegan pumpkin ravioli

Step 3.

Next we’re going to roll out the dough into circles for raviolis. I took a small ball, rolled it out, and then used the chickpea can to cut to size. Once your doug is all cut, place small spoonful pumpkin filling into each piece of dough and seal sides with fork.

Step 3 for Vegan pumpkin ravioli

Step 1.

Boil water and cook for 5 minutes until the raviolis float. While those are cooking i sautéed the sliced tofurkey sausage and spinach in separate pan. I also sautéed the raviolis quickly in olive oil after boiling to crisp up.

Step 4 for Vegan pumpkin ravioli

Lastly make your brown butter sauce by melting a stick of butter in a small pan. Continue to stir for about 4 minutes until the butter starts to brown. Then turn off burner, add chopped sage, garlic powder and salt and pepper.

Add all ingredients and sauce to one pan and serve!

Final product for Vegan pumpkin ravioli

Wrap Up:

Give these delicious fall ravioli a try this week and help to save animals like the ones here at FAR! Share your recipes with me on Instagram if you try them out! @carlye_lavonne_14

Vegan fish tacos

I’m from San Diego so I see fish tacos on the menu everywhere, that inspired me to make some vegan ones this taco Tuesday!! This recipe will make 12 mini tacos! All the ingredients can be found at Vons/ Safeway so give these a try with family or friends this week!

Ingredients/ shopping list:

Tacos:

  • 1 pack of Gardein fishless filets
  • 1 pack corn tortillas
  • 1 packet of coleslaw mix

Sauce:

  • 1 cup vegan mayo
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp Sriracha

Ingredients for Vegan fish tacos

Cooking Instructions:

Step 1.

Bake your fishless filets in the oven on 425 degrees for 12 minutes.

Step 1 for Vegan fish tacos

Step 2.

While those are baking go ahead and and mix in a smal bowl the vegan mayo, 1 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp sriracha, and 2tbs lemon juice. Set asid for later.

Step 2 for Vegan fish tacos

Step 3.

Once your filets are done in the oven i like to fry them up in a skillet a little more so they get crispy. Drizzle skillet with a little olive oil and fry up filets on each side until browned. Then i cut the filets each in half to fit into the corn tortillas.

Step 3 for Vegan fish tacos

Step 4.

Time to put the tacos together! I like to heat up the tortillas on the open stovetop for a bit first. Then add the half fish filet, a little coleslaw, and top with your sauce!

Step 4 for Vegan fish tacos

Wrap Up:

Try these tacos this week and skip out on the meat to help save animals just like the ones here at Farm Animal Refuge! Give this recipe a try and share your results with me on instagram by tagging me! @carlye_lavonne_14

Vegan Gnocchi With Vodka Sauce

This is a great vegan dinner when you need something quick but want something a little better than just plain marinara pasta! All the ingredients can be bought at Vons/ Safeway so it makes it accessible to almost everyone. This recipe can feed about 4 people.

Ingredients/ shopping list:

  • 1 package DeCecco potato gnocchi (find in the dry pasta isle)
  • 1 jar marinara sauce (I like to get a garlic seasoned sauce normally)
  • 2 spoon fulls vegan cream cheese ( about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Gardein “chicken tenders” (You can substitute with boca patties if they are out of gardein)
  • Salt and pepper to season

Ingredients for Vegan Gnocchi With Vodka Sauce

Cooking Instructions:

Step 1.

Chop your veggies, heat large pan, and drizzle with olive oil. When pot heats up, add your veggies and stir.

Step 1 for Vegan Gnocchi With Vodka Sauce

Step 2.

While your veggies star to soften in the olive oil pan, microwave your vegan chicken per instructions on packaging. Once your vegan chicken is heated, chop up and add to your veggies in large pot. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 2 for Vegan Gnocchi With Vodka Sauce

Step 3.

In medium sized pot, boil water, add gnocchi, and let cook. This only takes about 4 minutes to cook. Drain gnocchi and add to large pot with other ingredients.

Step 3 for Vegan Gnocchi With Vodka Sauce

Step 4.

You can use your now empty medium sized pot to now make the vodka sauce. Turn on burner, add two large spoon fulls of vegan cream cheese, and let melt slightly while stirring. Then add about half jar of your marinara sauce and stir until the sauce is a smooth burnt orange color.

Step 4 for Vegan Gnocchi With Vodka Sauce

Step 5.

Add sauce to large pot with gnocchi, veggies, and chicken. Enjoy!

Step 5 for Vegan Gnocchi With Vodka Sauce

Wrap Up:

Try this vegan vodka sauce instead of traditional heavy cream vodka sauce and help to save the lives of dairy cows just like sweet Gracie hear at FAR! Give this recipe a try and share your results with me on instagram by tagging me! @carlye_lavonne_14

Final product: Vegan Gnocchi With Vodka Sauce

Vegan “Cheddar” Broccoli Soup

Now that it is officially fall I wanted to do a good soup recipe because who doesn’t love soup all fall long, right? I didn’t want to do something too simple and not filling enough like tomato soup but I still wanted it to be as easy as possible. I decided to go with my all time favorite soup, broccoli cheddar! Serve with bread, crackers, or just by itself!

This recipe can feed about 4 people, one bowl each. If you have more people to serve you can just double the recipe or cut the recipe in half if its just for you.

Ingredients/ shopping list:

  • small yellow onion or 1/2 large onion
  • cloves garlic or about 3 tbs pre-minced garlic
  • bag of broccoli or 1 head if you are buying fresh
  • carton vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 bag follow your heart vegan cheddar shreds
  • Bread or crackers (optional)

Ingredients for Vegan Cheddar Broccoli Soup

Cooking Instructions:

This is a one pot recipe so make sure you start with a pot large enough to add to and hold all your soup ingredients!

Step 1.

Chop your onion and garlic. Drizzle large pot with olive oil and satuee your chopped onion and garlic until brown.

Step 1 for Vegan Cheddar Broccoli Soup

Step 2.

Add in your copped broccoli and 2 cups of vegetable broth, cover pot and let simmer until your broccoli softens. You should be able to easily stick a fork through the broccoli.

Step 2 for Vegan Cheddar Broccoli Soup

Step 3.

Once your broccoli is softened, add the rest of the carton of broth and 1/2 cup flour and stir well until even and your soup begins to thicken.

Step 3 for Vegan Cheddar Broccoli Soup

Step 4.

Cover again and let simmer for about 2 minutes to thicken. You can buy a second carton of broth and add to the soup if you want it more liquid as well. To finish off your soup, season with salt and pepper and add about half bag of the follow your heart “cheese” shreds. Add in the “cheese” last as you only want it to melt partially and not all the way.

Step 4 for Vegan Cheddar Broccoli Soup

Wrap Up:

Give this vegan version of a classic soup a try and help to save the lives of diary cows just like Farm Animal Refuge’s Gracie!

Give this recipe a try and share your results with me on instagram by tagging me! @carlye_lavonne_14

Final Product: Vegan Cheddar Broccoli Soup

Sweet Potato Brussel Sprout Bowls

This is another one of the first recipes recipes I learned going vegan and ate on repeat! This recipe is so simple and delicious for dinner or lunches. When I first heard sweet potatoes, brussels, and bbq sauce I was a little skeptical but now it is one of my favorite meals ever! Seriously if I go more than a month without making this I get some hardcore cravings.

This recipe can feed a family of for for dinner or makes a good meal prep for lunches all week, hope you enjoy!

Ingredients/ shopping list:

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 bag of brussel sprouts ( or about a 1.5 pounds if your buying fresh
  • Kale (bagged or fresh)
  • BBQ sauce
  • Rice

Optional for a quick vegan ranch:

  • 1 cup vegan mayo
  • 1 tsp dill
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbs soy milk

Ingredients for Sweet Potato Brussel Sprout Bowls

Cooking Instructions:

Step 1.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop your sweet potatoes and brussels and lay on oven sheet. Drain and rinse your chickpeas and add those to your baking sheet as well. Drizzle olive oil over your chickpeas and veggies and season with salt and pepper.

Step 1 for Sweet Potato Brussel Sprout Bowls

Step 2.

While that bakes, chop your kale and sautee with olive oil until softened.

Step 2 for Sweet Potato Brussel Sprout Bowls

Step 3. *Optional*

To make this optional ranch dressing to top off your meal, mix in a medium sized bowl the following ingredients and stir until smooth: 1 cup vegan mayo, 1 tsp dill, 1 tsp parsley, 2 tsp onion powder, 2 tsp garlic powder, salt and pepper, and 2 tbs non diary milk.

Step 3 for Sweet Potato Brussel Sprout Bowls

Step 4.

Your veggies and chickpeas will cook for about 40 minutes, sometimes they need a bit longer depending on how much you make. Normally I cook mine for 40 mins, drixxle with BBQ sauce, and put back in for 5 minutes.

Step 4 for Sweet Potato Brussel Sprout Bowls

Step 5.

Cook your rice separately ad put your bowl together!

Step 5 for Sweet Potato Brussel Sprout Bowls

Wrap Up:

Try this BBQ bowl instead of a traditional “bbq chicken” bowl and hep save animals just like the ones that get the live out their lives here at Farm Animal Refuge.

Give this recipe a try and share your results with me on instagram by tagging me! @carlye_lavonne_14

Final Product for Sweet Potato Brussel Sprout Bowls

Why I’m Vegan?

Author: David Meis

Last summer my sister was diagnosed with cervical cancer and stage 4 cirrhosis of the liver after her 6th or 7th trip to the emergency room over a few year span for alcohol and drug abuse. This diagnosis came within weeks of her 30th birthday way too young for a cancer diagnosis. The liver wasn’t too much of a surprise since she had been diagnosed with fatty liver a year prior, development into full cirrhosis was only a matter of time with the continued use of alcohol. The cancer could have been caught earlier but with her lifestyle she wasn’t going in for regular doctors visits other than the E.R. trips that were alcohol related cervical cancer wasn’t on the radar. The doctors didn’t give us much hope either saying she had a few months left at best so we all started looking into other ways she could be cured or at least live longer than a few months past her 30th birthday.

She quit drinking, moved back in with our mom, started exercising and made it through Christmas which gave us a sense of hope. In January she found out the cancer had spread to her stomach and lungs. This time it was a couple of months to live if she underwent chemotherapy. Then in February I watched “What the Health” (It’s on Netflix if you haven’t seen it) which led to extensive googling and more and more documentaries, articles and research studies. I was completely Vegan within a week of watching that film because there is no logical argument against Veganism. Now that my mind had been opened I found out about real healers like, Dr. Greger (nutritionfacts.org/How not to die), Dr. Sebi (Alkaline Herbal Medicine), Dr. Robert Morse (The Detox Miracle Sourcebook; This book gives you a thorough understanding on the human body and how to heal it), Rene Caisse (Essiac Tea), Johanna Brandt (The Grape Cure; which by the way was published in 1927), Arnold Ehret (Mucusless-diet healing system; this guy figured it out in 1922) and Harry Hoxsey (How healing becomes a crime) etc. all of which use plant based methods to heal.

On June 6th 2019 my sister passed away, three weeks before her 31st birthday. She didn’t believe that a change to a plant based diet would do her any good in her situation and decided to undergo the chemo. Maybe she was right, I don’t know how she was feeling internally. What I do know now is that she didn’t have to die so young from what I now know is a completely preventable and/or reversable disease as are most “Diseases” plaguing anyone eating the Standard American Diet. I was diabetic (Diagnosed 9.1% A1C) before going Vegan and as of July 31st I am no longer diabetic (5.4% A1C).

Now I’m all in for my health, the animals and the planet. This started as a selfish act on my part just trying to save my sisters life and it ended up changing mine so profoundly it can’t be put into words. From here on out the rest of my life will be dedicated to helping save as many of my cohabitants as possible. Just don’t let tragedy be the catalyst for change if you’re not vegan might I suggest taking some time to fully understand it (Just google “Dairy is Scary” that should get you started) because I believe once you do you’ll come on over to the plant side.

Guest Blogger David Meis

Chickpea salad sandwiches

This is a perfect lunch idea for work or school! With the chickpea base you can add or substitute so many ingredients to make your own creation. I just made plain like below but some great ideas are to add are relish and cucumber to make a chickpea salad sandwich, raisins to give a “chicken salad sandwich” vibe, or curry powder for a little extra flavor!

Make two servings of this and it lasts all week for lunch!

Ingredients/ shopping list:

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • Vegan mayo ( I am using follow your heart) 1 cup
  • Dijon mustard 1 tbs
  • Lemon 1 tbs
  • Nutritional yeast 3 tbs
  • Garlic powder 1 tbs
  • Onion powder 1 tsp
  • Dried dill 1 tsp
  • Salt and pepper
  • Bread
  • Avocado
  • Microgreens (optional)

Ingredients for Chickpea salad sandwiches

Cooking Instructions:

This is by far the easiest recipe I will ever type up, just mash your chickpeas with all the above ingredients and then add to your sandwich!

Step 1.

In large bowl use a fork to mash your chickpeas, they don’t have to be perfectly smooth, then add your mayo, mustard, and spices and stir in.

Step 1 for Chickpea salad sandwiches

Step 2.

Assemble your bread with avocado, chickpea mash, and micro greens.

Step 2 for Chickpea salad sandwiches

Wrap Up:

This is such an easier recipe for lunches and you can customize it to make it exactly how you like it! The chickpea center will give you protein to keep you full to get through the day and adding microgreens or veggies of your choosing will add some nutrients. I hope you all give it a try!

Try this chickpea sandwich rather your normal ham or turkey sandwich and save the lives of animals like turkeys and pigs here at Farm Animal Refuge.

Give this recipe a try and share your results with me on instagram by tagging me! @carlye_lavonne_14

Final product: Chickpea salad sandwiches

Tofu Egg Breakfast Sandwiches

Hey everyone! I have done a few dinner recipes so far but I wanted to give you guys a good easy breakfast to try out as well! During the week I like to try and cut out the processed foods as much as possible but weekends are for splurging right? Hope you all give this recipe a try and enjoy it as much as I do!

Ingredients/ shopping list:

  • 1 block tofu, extra firm ( I am using Trader Joe’s organic super firm)
  • 1 pack ” Gimmie Lean Sausage by Light Life”
  • 1 pack “Follow Your Heart American Slices”
  • Bread of your choosing
  • Spinach (optional)
  • Olive oil 1/3 cup
  • Garlic powder 2 tsp
  • Onion powder 1 tsp
  • Turmeric 1 tsp
  • Salt and pepper

Ingredients for Tofu Egg Breakfast Sandwiches

Cooking Instructions:

I like to make these one step at a time and there is really only three steps which makes this recipe so easy! First I cook the vegan sausage, then the tofu egg, then I put the sandwich together.

Step 1.

Open up your “gimmie lean” veggie sausage and rip off a enough pieces for however many sandwiches you are making. Roll these pieces into balls then flatten into patties. Heat up your skillet with a little a little olive oil and fry up the sausage patties! These only take a few minutes on each side.

Step 1 for Tofu Egg Breakfast Sandwiches

Step 2.

Next you are going to mix your olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric, salt, and pepper into a medium sized bowl. Whisk with a fork until mixture is even. There is two ways to cook the tofu depending on your preference, slices or scramble! For the slices: cut your tofu into thin slices as pictured below. dip each side into the oil mixture, then fry on skillet. For the scramble: either use a fork or you hands to shred to tofu, add to the bowl mixture to coat, then fry in the skillet. I am adding a picture of both for reference below!

Step 2 for Tofu Egg Breakfast Sandwiches

Step 3.

Now that your tofu egg and vegan sausage are cooked it is time to prepare the sandwich! Take out your bread slices, add follow your heart cheese slices (1.5 slices fits perfect on a normal break slice), and add layer of spinach. Then go ahead and add your veggie sausage and tofu egg (if you went with tofu slices, I use two per sandwich). Once your sandwich is assembled, I microwaved mine for about 30-45 seconds to melt the cheese a little!

Step 3 for Tofu Egg Breakfast Sandwiches

Wrap Up:

The “tofu” alone provides 10 grams of protein per serving, the veggie sausage has 7 grams per serving, and the spinach will add a source of calcium to the meal! This sandwich keeps you full all day as well! I catch myself not being hungry again until dinner after eating this.

Wrap Up: Tofu Egg Breakfast Sandwiches

Try this vegan breakfast one weekend and help to save the lives of chickens and pigs just like some of the animals here like Firecraker, the biggest pig baby at Farm Animal Refuge!

Give this recipe a try and share your results with me on instagram by tagging me! @carlye_lavonne_14

Final Product: Tofu Egg Breakfast Sandwiches

Vegan Cauliflower Tacos with Zucchini and Garbanzo Beans

Try a vegan Taco-Tuesday this Tuesday with these delicious cauliflower tacos! This was the very first recipe I learned to make myself after going vegan and I used to eat it so many times a week before I finally gained the courage to try our a few more new recipes! For anyone just starting to go vegan or make a conscious effort to eat less meat, I highly recommend you give this recipe a shot. What I love about this recipe is that it can feed a whole family, but if your cooking for just one or two it makes great leftovers for lunch the next day!

Ingredients/ shopping list:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 large or two medium sized zucchini
  • 1 can chickpeas or garbanzo beans
  • 1 packet taco seasoning (McCormick Original Taco)
  • Tortillas
  • Olive oil 1/4 cup
  • Salt and pepper

Optional Slaw topping

  • Vegan mayo (follow your heart)
  • Slaw mixture
  • Canned chipotle peppers

Ingredients for Vegan Cauliflower Tacos with Zucchini and Garbanzo Beans

Cooking Instructions:

Chop your veggies, season your veggies, bake your veggies; that’s the whole recipe!!

Step 1.

Chop up your cauliflower and zucchini, then drain and rinse your chickpeas. Place all your veggies in a large bowl for mixing.

Step 1: Vegan Cauliflower Tacos with Zucchini and Garbanzo Beans

Step 2.

Drizzle you veggies with 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 bag of taco seasoning, season with salt and pepper, and mix until your veggies are evenly covered in the seasoning .

Step 2: Vegan Cauliflower Tacos with Zucchini and Garbanzo Beans

Step 3.

Lay out your coated veggies on a baking sheet and bake on 400 degrees for about 30 – 40 minutes or until your veggies begin to brown.

Step 3: Vegan Cauliflower Tacos with Zucchini and Garbanzo Beans

Step 4. (Optional)

Add 1/2 cup vegan mayo, 1 tbs chipotle juice, and slaw mix to a bowl and stir well. This chipotle slaw is a great topper to these tacos but you can also add lettuce, gaucamole, salsa, or whatever you want to top this off!

Step 4: Vegan Cauliflower Tacos with Zucchini and Garbanzo Beans

Wrap Up:

I actually used to make this recipe without the chickpeas however I like to add them to get some extra protein in the meal!

Swap the carne for cauliflower this Tuesday and help save the lives of cows just like all the grass puppies here at Farm Animal Refuge!

Give this recipe a try and share your results with me on instagram by tagging me! @carlye_lavonne_14

Final product: Vegan Cauliflower Tacos with Zucchini and Garbanzo Beans

Lasagna Roll Ups with Vegan Ricotta

Hello again! This recipe is so quick and simple! It is perfect for a mid- week meal, weekend comfort food, or a dinner party as it yields a good amount of food. Italian is my absolute favorite type of food as I come from an Italian household who basically raised me on pasta.. no complaints here! The ricotta recipe I am going to teach you to make here is so much easier than most I have found from other recipes and just as amazing! Once you get the ricotta down you can use it in lasagna roll ups which I am doing here, regular lasagna, or in stuffed shells!

Ingredients/ shopping list:

  • 1 block tofu, firm
  • 1 lemon
  • Nutritional yeast (3 tbs)
  • Salt pepper and garlic powder for taste
  • Spinach (2 hand fulls)
  • Lasagna noodles (I used “Barilla” whole grain noodles)
  • Marinara sauce of your choosing (You will need at least 1 jar but I like to use 1.5 to make it a little extra saucy. My favorite is the Trader Joe’s Italian Marinara with Barolo Wine)

Ingredients for Lasagna Roll Ups with Vegan Ricotta

Cooking Instructions:

For the vegan ricotta I used a food processor but you can just use a blender if you do not have one. You will also need a large casserole dish to cook the roll ups in.

Step 1.

Bring large pot of water to boil on the stove top and pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Step 1 for Lasagna Roll Ups with Vegan Ricotta

Step 2.

Chop up your tofu into pieces to fit into your food processor or blender. Next, add juice of half a lemon, 3 tbs nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and about 2 tsp garlic powder to the mixer. Blend this tofu mixture until it starts to take ricotta form (mostly a smooth mix but not completely liquefied). Then add in one handle full spinach and blend again only for a few seconds to mix the tofu in but not so long your whole mixture starts to turn green.

Step 2 for Lasagna Roll Ups with Vegan Ricotta

Step 3.

Once your water is boiling add your noddles and cook for 8 minutes. Once you noddles are cooked you are going to spread a thin layer of the ricotta across the entire length of the noodle (not just a slab on one end, i tired this first and failed miserably). Add a little fresh spinach on top of the ricotta layer and then roll up into squares.

Step 3 for Lasagna Roll Ups with Vegan Ricotta

Step 4.

In your casserole dish add half the jar of marinara to the bottom of the dish, add your lasagna squares on top, and then finish off with another layer of marinara on top. Cover in tin foil and bake on 350 for 35 minutes. After 35 minutes if the noodles still feel a little cold you can remove tin foil and cook for another 10 minutes.

Step 4 for Lasagna Roll Ups with Vegan Ricotta

Wrap Up:

The “tofu” alone provides 42 grams of protein with only 390 calories. The whole grain noodles also have 7 grams of protein for every two sheets of noodles and the spinach will add a source of calcium to the meal!

By substituting this vegan ricotta as opposed to the normal dairy/cheese version you will be choosing to stop support of the dairy industry and their cruel practices. In turn this will help save the lives of precious dairy cows just like Farm Animal Refuge’s own Gracie!

Give this recipe a try and share your results with me on instagram by tagging me! @carlye_lavonne_14

Final Product: Lasagna Roll Ups with Vegan Ricotta

Stuff Shell Version of Lasagna Roll Ups with Vegan Ricotta

Orange Tofu and Broccoli

Hi again everyone! This is my healthy take on panda express orange chicken. I could have used a mock meat substitute like “gardein” or “beyond meat” but sometimes I like to just have tofu in order to cut out a little of the processed food. Plus if I am being honest, you could put this sauce on cardboard and I would probably still eat it, it’s that good! In my original recipe I only used tofu, broccoli, and rice; however I wish I would have added cashews for a little extra crunch so I am going to include that in this recipe although they wont be in the pictures. Hope you enjoy as much as I did 🙂

Ingredients/ shopping list:

  • 1 block extra firm tofu ( I swear by the Trader Joe’s organic “super firm” tofu. It comes bagged and almost dry rather than soaked in water which makes it hold way better than any other tofu when using it as a meat substitute)
  • 1 bottle of the “panda express orange sauce”
  • Corn starch (1/2 cup)
  • Panko bread crumbs ( 1/3 cup)
  • Olive oil (1/4 cup and a little extra to drizzle in the pan)
  • One bag of broccoli or about two heads
  • Cashews (1/2 cup)
  • Rice of your choosing

Ingredients for Vegan Teriyaki Skewers

Cooking Instructions:

Make sure you have two pans and burners ready for this dish as well as anything you need for the rice you are cooking. The tofu will be in one pan, the broccoli and cashews in another and then you can mix them all before serving.

Step 1.

Chop up your tofu into squares as pictured below. Then either in a large bowl or tupperware add the olive oil, cornstarch, and panko bread crumbs. I love using tupperware as you can just put the lid on and shake up all the ingredients. The goal here is to coat the tofu in the cornstarch. If your panko crumbs are not sticking very well thats ok! They will still fry up with the tofu in the pan and add a nice crunch.

Step 1 for Vegan Teriyaki Skewers

Step 2.

Once your tofu mixture is ready go ahead and heat up your first pan and drizzle with a little oil. Add the tofu mixture and occasionally flip or stir tofu until it begins to turn yellowish brown and crispy. While you are waiting for the tofu to crisp up, heat up your other pan and drizzle with oil to get ready for the broccoli and cashews. Add the cashews at the bottom of the pan with the olive oil as to get nice and crispy, then add your broccoli on top. Stir this occasionally until the broccoli is soft enough to piece easily with a fork. ( If you are new to cooking I would recommend doing to the tofu first then the broccoli and cashews so you don’t become overwhelmed and either over or under cook something. There is no shame in dinner taking a bit longer if the final result turns out better.)

Step 2 for Vegan Teriyaki Skewers

Step 3.

Once everything is cooked, add the broccoli and cashews to your tofu pan and add in the orange sauce (there is no measurment for this because everyone has a different preference in sauce amounts). Leave the burner on while you add your sauce and for about 5-8 minutes after so the sauce can thicken a bit.

Step 3 for Vegan Teriyaki Skewers

Step 4.

Serve with a scoop or two of rice and enjoy!

Step 4 for Vegan Teriyaki Skewers

Wrap Up:

The “tofu” alone provides 42 grams of protein with only 390 calories not to mention the fact that one bag of broccoli has 12 grams of protein and only 100 calories.

Again, wrapping up, not only will this dinner provide you with a healthy and quick mid week meal (which also re-heats just as delicious for leftovers), but by swapping tofu for regular chicken you are saving innocent lives like those of Gerald and all the other lucky chickens that get to live out their lives here at Farm Animal Refuge. Give this recipe a try and share your results with me on instagram by tagging me! @carlye_lavonne_14

Step 1 for Vegan Teriyaki Skewers

Vegan Teriyaki Skewers

These vegan skewers are perfect for an everyday dinner or a barbecue with friends! You will not believe how easy and delicious these babies are!! The first time I made this I wound up snacking on the leftovers all night.. whoops. Feel free to substitute any of the veggies in this recipe for your favorites. The part of this recipe that really takes it to the next level is the grill pan I used which left the skewers with a perfect charred and caramelized taste! However, you can use a regular grill, or if neither of the other options are available to you, I would recommend using a large skillet and make sure it gets as hot as possible before dropping the skewers on to cook 🙂

Ingredients/ shopping list:

  • 1 pack of “gardein” chicken strips ( If you traditional like you skewers with beef, “gardein” has an option for that as well!)
  • 1 bag of green giant brussel sprouts ( I like using the bagged brussels as you can cook them in the microwave which saves time)
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 can water chestnuts
  • 1 can pineapple
  • 1 pack of “the little potato company” potatoes ( these are found in the produce section normally below the potato stand, again i like these because they cook in the microwave)
  • 1 bottle of teriyaki sauce ( my favorite is “very very teriyaki marinade” but any will work)
  • Olive oil to drizzle before cooking, you only need a few tablespoons

Ingredients for Vegan Teriyaki Skewers

Cooking Instructions:

This recipe is so simple! It is basically 4 steps: prepare the chicken, then the veggies, add to skewers, cook!

Step 1.

For best results I recommend marinating the “chicken” in teriyaki the night or morning prior. However, if you do not have time to do this they will still turn out delicious so not to worry! All you need to do for this step is microwave the chicken strips for the time listed on the back of packaging and place into a bowl or tupperware with the teriyaki sauce.

Step 1 for Vegan Teriyaki Skewers

Step 2.

Next you are going to pre-cook you brussels and potatoes to soften them because the skewers will only be on the grill for a few minutes and you don’t want to be eating hard potatoes or brussels am I right? Both of the brands I listed above all you have to do is microwave them; 3 minutes for the brussels and 5 for the potatoes. While those are microwaving, go ahead and chop up your onion and zucchini and open up your pineapples and water chestnuts.

Step 2 for Vegan Teriyaki Skewers

Step 3.

Put them all together on your skewers!

Step 3 for Vegan Teriyaki Skewers

Step 4.

Heat up your grill pan, traditional grill, or skillet and add some olive oil drizzle so they do not stick (if you are using a regular grill i would brush a little oil on with your fingers before grilling). Then go ahead and drop your skewers on! I let them grill for about 2 minutes on each side but you will know they are ready when you start to get little burnt marks on your veggies. ( If you didn’t have time to marinate the chicken first I recommend adding a little bit of the teriyaki sauce onto the grill pan to add more flavor)

Step 4 for Vegan Teriyaki Skewers

Wrap Up:

The “gardein” chicken will give you 36 grams of protein with only 360 calories not to mention all the nutrients you will get from your added veggies.

Finally the absolute best part about the recipe? By using this vegan chicken option as opposed to regular chicken or beef you will help save the lives of chickens and cows born into slaughter who were not fortunate enough to land here at Farm Animal Refuge such as India and Mary. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do and if you want to share your results with me (please do!) tag me on instagram @carlye_lavonne_14.

Final Result: Vegan Teriyaki Skewers

Caryle’s BIO

Hello! My name is Carlye and I have been vegan for about 4 years now, but vegetarian almost my whole life! If you are interested in trying to start the transition to a vegan lifestyle I am here to help with some simple vegan recipes that are not only healthy and delicious, but practical and will fit into your everyday life! I know for myself, the hardest part about going vegan was trying to follow complex recipes from google or pinterest and feeling discouraged when they didn’t turn out well.

On this blog I hope to give you all some of my favorite vegan recipes that will fit into your busy lifestyle and leave you with a whole new idea of what a vegan meal looks and tastes like! Each will include step by step recipe guides with pictures along the way! Even if you start with one Meatless Monday per week you could make a huge impact on the life of so many animals. I hope you all enjoy and give some of these recipes a try, I promise they will not disappoint!

Joshua

Joshua AKA Joshy Poshy was raised by our amazing rescue friend Hannah Shaw. You can check out the great work she does by visiting the Orphan Kitten Club website.

He was abandoned in a park and was the only survivor of his litter. Hannah raised him into a happy healthy boy. Josh is sweet, out going, and has a big personality to match how big he will grow!

Joshua is a Kune Kune mix and will be about over 200lbs when he grows up!

There is no such thing as a “mini pig” but we will love him just the same when he is a big boy!

Harley

This photo was taken right before we picked Harley up to bring him to the refuge! In the photo is Harley’s human, Gina.

Hes such a good boy already. We often rescue animals from neglect and abuse. It’s not often we get a call from someone like Gina.

Harley’s human has serious health issues and can no longer care for Harley, but we are so happy to give him a home!

Brian and Liam

Brian and Liam were surrendered by a local goat dairy farmer.

Did you know that a goat has to have a baby to produce goat milk? The boys are actually a byproduct of the industry because they will never make milk. These young boys are usually sold for slaughter.

But the farmer showed compassion and gave these twins to us instead.

Abigail and Rashida

Abigail and Rashida were confiscated by animal control and were our first adoption through Farm Sanctuary.

Before Farm Sanctuary stepped in, they were at a sheep dairy. Feta and Ricotta are just two examples of mainstream sheep dairy products?

These two were bred and milked their whole lives, even when they were starved. They lost wool, lived amongst 50-60 fallen friends, and had a body score of 1 which is extremely malnourished and neglected?

Their situation is COMMON. Dairy is a brutal industry that not only separates families. But also exploits women. Did you know that sheep only produce milk to feed their babies? Babies are taken from the mothers so humans can use the breast milk for themselves.

Dairy is scary and we are so thankful to give these girls the forever they deserve.

We are also thankful for Farm Sanctuary for allowing us to adopt them. They literally wrote the book on animal care, and are such a strong resource and example for new rescues like us.

Charolette

This little angel was all the way in Mississippi and needed a home and a herd that would fit her needs. She was being raised at a goat meat farm and lost her leg due to an accident with a horse. When no rescues locally were found, it was so obvious that would should take her in!

Tucker is still a little weak in the back legs and needed a friend that was the same speed.

The day after we saw she was still not placed, we flew Matt to Mississippi and sent a mobile vet to check on her. She was cleared for transport, and Matt picked her up around 3am the next day!

Charolette and Tucker are our little special needs herd, and they co-parent incoming babies.

Darla

This little lady was such a great addition to our family! We love her!

She was confiscated due to neglect and landed in a high kill shelter with her babies. The babies all passed away at the shelter and Mama Darla was in danger of euthanasia.

She doesn’t deserve that. We aren’t sure what happened to her in her old life, what happened to her ears, or her babies. But what we do know is…. FROM NOW ON, she will know nothing but the love and respect she deserves.

The pig who changed my life

Author: Shelby Madere @Piggypoo_and_crew

This July 2019, marks the 7th year anniversary of adopting my piggy. My Chowder, a 230lb “minipig”.

I would be so delighted to go into all the revelation of love this pig has given me but I guess that would make this a long story rather than a blog!

When I sought out to adopt a pig I had heard of micropigs, teacup pigs. I never thought that a pig could be small. I read anything and everything I could get my hands on about them in order to prepare myself for piggy motherhood!

I found that so called micro pigs where actually pigs who’s bodies were bred continually to stay small, yet their internal organs continue to grow in which at approximately 5 years old they die an agonizing death. I read that “tea-cup” pigs are actually baby pigs and about how many of these pigs are purchased, continue to grow (pigs grow until they’re 4 years old) and once they’ve outgrown their persons expectations are abandoned.

I’d made the decision that even if the pig I was planning to adopt turned out to be as large as what are referred to as a “farm pig” I’d find a way to accommodate him or her and do everything in my power to give them a fulfilled life.

When I found Chowder, then, named Porkchop and thought to be a minipig, he was about 4 months old and was already being rehomed. I was ready to give him every good thing!

I was ready to teach him, to love him, to show him patience and understanding, and to strive for more so that I could give him more.

I’ve often said on my instagram posts, I am forever in this little pigs debt for all the amazing things he has taught me and for the revelation of love, and depths of it! The compassion, the selflessness, and true hope and devotion that he has taught me. He was the one who taught me what kind of human I wanted to be.

He also made me conscience of what I was eating. He stood in the kitchen with me one day…staring up at me in a sitting position with his beautiful Dr Pepper colored eyes and his toothy grin as he asked for a treat. He was just over one year old. I decided that I would never consume meat again.

Pigs understand love, dislike, and even forgiveness. That’s tremendous! Seeing Chowder enjoy his days was amazing…he wanted to be challenged, to learn, to be busy, to bask in the sun and to be fed on time.

Sure, he was selfish, he was demanding, and he was moody at times… but I loved everything about him!

I decided in a moment that I’d never have anything to do with taking that right from any living thing like Chowder. The outpouring of love and devotion I have towards him and all of my animals makes life worth living, and I am so thankful that I have been blessed to be taught true love through the love of animals.

Blogger Bio: Shelby Madere

Meet Shelby Madere! Shelby is Mom to one of our favorite pigs of all time Chowder! Check out her story about one pig who changed her life and a whole lot of others! After adopting her pig, Shelby became a huge voice for potbellied pigs, veganism, and has helped to network animals into Sanctuaries all over California! She has now even bought a large plot and brought in two donkeys and a second pig. Her space with hopefully home many more over the years! Shelby is responsible for networking quite a few animals to our sanctuary including our first piggy, Rudy.

Instagram link: @Piggypoo_and_crew

Vegan Blog – PlantLiving Strong

Author: Suzanne Sisomphone

Hi, my name is Suzanne and I’m going to share a story with you about how and why I went vegan. First, let me start off by saying that I was raised to believe that meat had to be part of almost every meal and/or dish. So,majority of my life I was eating meat. I remember the first time seeing a cow being slaughtered in front of me when I was a kid. I had originally thought my family was taking me and my siblings to enjoy a nice day at the farm.Unfortunately, it was a backyard slaughter house. It was a very cruel image, but at that time I didn’t understand what I was witnessing because I didn’t see any kind of sad emotions on the faces of my family members; it was a normal practice for them. Once I entered my early 30’s, I started to experience health problems such as depression, I was overweight, I started noticing skin issues, I was diagnosed as prediabetic and in all reality I was just living a poor unhealthy lifestyle. The doctor insisted I make a change or else things would continue to worsen. So, I decided to make a change and although it took some time,I knew I was headed in the right direction. I joined the gym, dedicated my time to health & fitness, quit smoking cigarettes, prepped & cooked all my vegan meals remaining focused on my plant based/vegan journey that eventually just became a lifestyle. Truth! I first started because of my health and in time, I learned more and more by reading, researching and watching Youtube videos.

During my diet I was already feeling disgusted with how meat and poultry tasted. Majority of the time I ate fruits and vegetables. Beef, chicken, and pork just didn’t taste the same or right to me anymore. Each bite I took, left me feeling unhappy and miserable. After switching to a plant-based lifestyle I noticed I was dropping tons of weight, but I was experiencing nutrient deficiency. I would feel tired, weak, hungry, and moody so I decided to educate myself by learning more about natural proteins, and what to eat so I can properly transition safely into a vegan lifestyle. I started to dig deeper into my research, watched food documentaries such as “Cowspiracy” & “Sustainable”. I read into a variety of different stories about the benefits of going vegan and started following the vegan community so that I could be more involved and educated. That’s when I learned about Farm Animal Refuge, but I’ll get into that later. From there, I decided to make a difference, not only for my health, but for the environment and animals. I don’t advocate, but I do share information and try to inspire others with compassion.

2016 is when I decided to go full vegan. Becoming vegan was now part of my fitness journey. Tell you the truth I didn’t struggle too much transitioning because it was something I wanted to do. It was the right thing to do! 2 years later and I am still vegan. Before I was vegan, I weighed a little over 200lbs. After my transition, I lost about 70 lbs. and I feel great with so much energy! I feel alive! I feel healthy! I feel woke! I feel strong! I also feel like I didn’t make this change for myself, but it was that feeling of saving animals and helping to protect the planet. I’m an animal lover and a nature girl. I spend a lot of my time outdoors being grounded with nature so It’s important to me that I help voice the issues of the environmental impact on animal agriculture, and teach others about the truth behind farm factories. As I mentioned before, with compassion.

Overall, being vegan has been amazing. In the beginning, I wanted to be more involved, so after observing Farm Animal Refuge on social media and their website for a few months I realized they were just an hour away from San Diego, and I needed to visit. I never knew about sanctuaries, but after learning more about them and what they do I had to experience it for myself. Being at the farm is a blessing! The interaction with the animals was very therapeutic for me, and I’m sure for the animals too. Spending time with them teaches you about understanding, being calm, how to be gentle, patience, and love.

Thank you to Farm Animal Refuge for continuing to educate the community and also giving me the opportunity to experience the farm life and for allowing me to share my story with the vegan community. I’ll continue to share my journey down the line.

You can also checkout my vegan cooking page @ohveganway for creative vegan cooking ideas.

Thanks for reading!

Sincerely,

Suzanne Sisomphone

Sherman’s Rescue

The morning of Shermans rescue started with our normal weekday routine. Jordan was off to work early and I had just finished doing breakfast for the animals and morning chores.

I had just down with Chance on the couch to get a couple more hours of sleep. I was just falling back asleep for a nap before work, when our roommate (home sick at the time) woke me up with a phone call from Jordan.

Immediately, I knew something was up as she knows my routine and would never wake me up unless she had too. She was calling me because a she had just gotten off the phone with the very same farm Chance came from.

This is a small backyard goat farm. And they had a newborn baby rejected by its mother that morning. They offered to let us come take him.

Immediately saying yes to an animal is something that is very rare for us. We always try to rescue responsibly and that usually involves a lengthly conversation with me, Jordan, and a bottle of wine… but this call was different and we both knew why.

Twice already that very same farm had called us about 2 other newborns in the last 6 weeks that had been rejected. Both times we had scrambled to get ready to make the 2 1/2 hour drive to the top of a mountain to get the babies and both times the calls came too late. The babies passed before we could even drive off our property.

We were not able to save those first two babies, but this baby was just born and we were gonna do everything we could to get there in time. The first babies were girls, farmers are usually less likely to give them up early. They are more profitable.

Having made this drive before to get Chance, I had some idea of what i might need to bring. So, I hopped up, hurried to the kitchen to sanitize bottles, prep formula, boil water, grab the first aid kit, blankets, towels, and everything I might need.

I think of nothing for myself, and I leave in the same clothes I had worn to work the night before ( shorts and a tshirt). The night before, San Diego had a huge storm throughout the entire county.

I knew the weather might delay me a little bit, but man was I really wrong. I drove down the mountain Farm Animal Refuge sits on and headed to Sherman… at the top of another mountain across town. This drive would normally be around 2 1/2 hours. So I assumed I would make it home in plenty of time to finish the afternnon chores and get ready for work.

My first sign that might not happen came when I was turned around going up the first mountain because the roads had been closed to all cars without chains. No problem… growing up in San Diego, I knew there was a similar route at a lower elevation, so I turned around and headed down the mountain to get to that road. I make it to the first little town on that road and find out it is the same story. My Honda Civic and I weren’t permitted on the road.

OK option 3, the scenic route, I start heading that way. I get a call from Jordan again. My heart immedately sank. When I answer, she says that the farmer called again and wondered how far I was. I had know idea… it could be another two hours. And now I’m nervous.

I hurried to the base of the mountain and started my way up the windy road. I could see as I was coming up that most of the mountain didnt have snow except for the top so I figured I was in the clear. Ascending, I was watching my GPS go in and out of signal. It said only a few miles up this road, so I knew it couldn’t be much further.

I drive up this road with a few cars in front of me. I start to see patches of white on the ground. Those patches become larger and larger until all i can see is snow covering everything.

The roads were still clear and GPS still said only a few miles. So I just let myself start enjoying the perfectly white snow covering these ancient pine trees. Then I realize, the road is taking me up elevation quickly. Now, not only is the snow on the ground getting thicker, but it starts to lighlty snow again.

I still have over a mile to the house and the road is getting worse and worse. It’s worried. Then I see the turnoff to the road that leads to the farm.

Boom. Right in the middle of the street is a big sign that says “Road Closed Resident Only”. I sit at the bottom of the road looking at the map on my screen. I am so close! There is no way I am leaving without this baby, so i slowly start making my way up the road.

The closer I got the the house the icier the road was getting. I was far from anywhere with a signal to call the farmer. After repeated attempts of trying to call, I decided the only way to get to the farm was to walk up the road and bring the baby down to my car.

I didn’t think it was a very good plan, but i was not leaving without him. Off into the snow I headed. I can’t imagine what the farmer must have thought seeing me walk up in shorts, a thin hoodie, and tennis shoes but that didn’t occur to me until later.

I was greeted outside and taken to their laundry room where they had put him. I heard his cries from far and it was the best noise…. he was still alive!

I quickly scooped him up, got some basic info, said thank you for calling, put him inside my jacket and started my way back to the car and that bottle of formula I had been keeping warm in my defrosters the whole drive.

Sherman was born very early that morning and was found when the farmer fed the animals breakfast. We knew he was around 8 hours old, but we didnt know if he had eaten anything before he was found.

Getting something into his stomach was the number one priority we got in the car and headed down the mountain. Once the snow started to lighten up, I found a safe place to pull over and gave sherman his first meal.

You may have seen adorable videos of goats drinking bottles. But when you are shoving this plastic contraption in a newborns face for the first time, it doesnt not always go smoothly.

Especially on the side of a mountain in your car. After being covered in formula that has now mixed with what you can expect to be on a newborn that was never cleaned, Sherman ate. Pulling over every few minutes to try get feed him more while also trying to contain a very active baby goat in a moving car, proved messy and adorable.

I thought I was very well prepared since I had previously done the same trip getting Chance. But Sherman sure liked to bounce around and cause trouble, even on day one.

I was eventually able to get him to eat more, calm down, and almost fall asleep.

Then I finally looked at myself. I would never make it back home to shower before work. The goat milk and placenta mixture that was covering me and my clothes would probably not be appropriate when working in a restaurant. So Jordan came to my rescue meeting me at her parents house in town with a brand new pair of clothes and to take our new baby home to give him his first big meal and tuck him in for the night.

I will never forget this day and think about it often as one of my favorite days i have i lived so far.

Hope

Meet Hope. Hope was rescued from a situation here in San Diego. 24 pigs in total were removed from a local feed store. They were housed in kennels, fed dog food, and not given access to mud, sunshine, pig friends, and all the things piggies love most. This rescue wasn’t easy. Our friends at Saving Animals and Healing Hearts and our friend and website Guru, Ray Gross, worked for months behind the scenes to ensure there was no piggy left behind and eventually the family agreed to surrender all of the pigs. Hope being one of them.

Mocha

Mocha came from the same farm as Sherman and Chance! Almost two years ago, we received a call and I can remember it like yesterday. A farmers daughter in law asked if we could take in a baby goat, Chance. We happily did and loved him so much. We gave them our phone number and let the farmer know to call us if they ever had a sick baby or unwanted goat that they would surrender to us. And a year later Matt left with little baby Sherman in his arms. Here’s the exciting story about Mocha! Mocha was raised by the daughter in law, she is an animal lover and helped Mocha when he was just a baby. Mocha lived at the farm and he was the buck they used for breeding. Annnnd he is Sherman’s Dad! The farmer is getting out of goat farming and the daughter in law, Makayla, let us know Mocha was looking for a home and obviously we couldn’t resist another Sherman on the farm!

Dina’s Story

Author: Dina Lara

I was pretty much a vegetarian until I found processed meats as a kid, the texture in my mind was always weird, seeing all the slabs of meat that my Tata would bring home from work always grossed me out, and having had one too many tacos in Mexicali was the nail in the coffin for me to not want meat.

I still don’t know how I got this deep. One day I’m sitting with Matt on the porch trying to understand how if eventually Firecracker will be too big to live a happy life, it’s not ok for me (a cook/chef that has chosen to not know anything about “commodity meat”) to show my appreciation for the life he lived and make food with him. After a few hours of trying to get me to understand that Firecracker would be tough so it would be pointless, we agreed to disagree, Matt I’m sure knowing eventually I will see what he was trying to explain to me.

How I got in the hole I did. Between stressful jobs, alcohol, and very poor knowledge of a well balanced diet, it was a hole that was already dug for me as a kid I just kept finding ways to make it a deeper hole. At some point I had become so overwhelmed there was no hopes of getting out. I started to watch “What the Health” and the opening scared the shit out of me. I was clearly in his shoes, my risk of cancer and diabetes is so high I refused to watch past his family history. Finally, I had spent a night up until 5 a.m. with such bad anxiety my brothers friend, a nurse in the navy, had to come check me because I was sure I was having a heart attack and my brother was sure I wasn’t. Tired and not really knowing what was going on with me I tried to call in sick. Instead I ended up at work putting in about 34+ hours in 3 days before having one day off. With no hope to recover I caved. I went in and offered a two month notice September being my last work month. I immediately started a diet at a surprising 267 pounds, alcohol was the first thing I dropped. After being sober for two months I dropped 15 lbs. I still had anxiety and wasn’t sure what was really causing it. January had come and I was down to 247 to start the new year, and I started it sick with food poisoning. I had eaten chicken that had made me so sick it grossed me out of eating meat again. So I started 2018 sure that vegetarian was the way to go. It was the best thing I had done for myself, I felt not as foggy and very clear of my goals and what I wanted.

In May we took a trip to Switzerland, my first time overseas and since I had gotten anxiety, my first time having to sit in a tight spot for 9 hours. At the Colorado airport mentally preparing myself for the nightmare I was about to endure we stepped into a bookstore. Not having read a book in years, I was just there to keep my girlfriend company and read titles to see what was out there. One title stood out to me and the cover was so catchy, it was a silhouette of an upside down cow, it was called “Meat is for Pussies” I was sold. I got the book and read the shit out of it I completely forgot I was sitting for 9 hours. Constantly stopping and telling Natalie this is seriously what I’ve been thinking. We landed, I was halfway done with the book and ready to change my eating habits when I got home. As I talked to my buddy about the book he started talking to me about the food in Switzerland, everything was expensive but none of it had GMOs, everything was a lot better. Half of the processed shit available to us is not available there. With the understanding that most of my meals were going to be vegetarian, I am a cook and I want to try everything (how can you not have pizza on your mind knowing you were going to be in Italy?) We wandered down to the market and I was in heaven. The vegetarian/vegan isle was so well stocked I knew I was going to eat good. The two weeks were coming to an end and I was not ready to leave but I was ready to finish the book and start the vegan lifestyle.

And we’re back so I went vegan and was trying to stick to whole plant based foods. Back I went to the farm to try and help more often. With time watching all the animals react to Matt and Jordan, and my new belief the book had brought to me. It was right I could never look and animal in its eyes and kill it, I would never be able to “break an animal down” and looking at Firecracker if he and I were in a cage fighting to death so I can eat him, he’s going to win. With all that in mind why would I even consider eating meat. Then I sub merged I watched documentary after documentary. Listening to anything Matt and Jordan recommended and making a point to watch it. I felt good I was empowered and I was dropping weight, I was down another 47 pounds from May to October.

I still have some way to go but I’ve been exploring my new found veganism. Currently proving that although I’m not eating meat I can make anything people look for without meat. Constantly challenging my friends and family. Tricking them into eating food that I have made. I was in their shoes, I was blinded by meat, and had people constantly pushing me to see that my diet was wrong and the facts behind what I ate. That’s why I feel obligated to help them see it’s not for me, it’s not for the animals, it’s for themselves and their kids that they have to change. Diseases really aren’t as hereditary as diets.

Blogger Bio: Dina Lara

Dina had spent her entire adult life working around food. From prisons to colleges to restaurants she had dedicated her life to providing food and comfort for other people. First switching to plant based for health reasons she quickly learned the horrors of animals agriculture and has never looked back. She now spends her time making cruelty free versions of your favorite foods.

Melanie Langston-Bazzell’s Story

Author: Melanie Langston-Bazzell

Hi everyone! My name is Melanie Langston-Bazzell, and I am a regular volunteer at Farm Animal Refuge . My days volunteering at the farm are invaluable moments of magic!

Some days I like cuddling with Willie the potbellied pig. Other days I cuddle with baby turkeys, who come from less fortunate circumstances, but have learned to love and forgive.

In fact, I feel a connection to each rescued animal, in ways others might not understand.

I myself was rescued. I too once had no voice, and even though it is difficult for me to imagine the terrible torture that many of these animals have endured, I can relate to what it feels like to be voiceless, helpless, and afraid.

You see, animals share the same emotions as human beings. Please allow me to share my journey with you.

Due to my own suffering, the veil over my eyes was lifted and I saw the most gentle, loving, creatures on this planet being terrorized.

When I was 12 , a PETA volunteer reached out and offered me literature. It shaped the rest of my life. I was a pre-teen mall rat, and my eyes were opened to atrocious that shocked and saddened my soul. I knew I had to reconsider my choices.

Wielding my own literature, with homemade, hand sewn farm animals (used for visual demonstrations) , I begin approaching anyone who would listen. I feel this is important to mention, as one conversation can change the direction of someone’s life, as it changed mine.

Fast forward roughly two decades….In 2011, I sustained a life-threatening traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury.

I was suffering and others were making poor choices for me. I could not advocate for myself, as my ability to communicate was diminished.

I re-learned how to walk, talk, write, read….become a human being. With a blank brain, I knew I had to re-build my mind carefully, and use my new chance at life to help others.

I began using my newly found art skills to create animal portraits for sanctuaries to auction off for donation.
It was my way of giving back. This brought me great joy as I was living as a hermit due to my serious sensory processing injuries.

I also began rescuing and rehabilitating chickens. I was unable to interact with humans, however I found a profound connection with chickens Our backyard became my new home. I was a feral person connecting with nature in ways others can’t imagine.

I literally became a member of the flock and felt a kin to Jane Goodall in the forest observing apes. Without any mind clutter or speech I was able to connect with my flock, on a different plane.

Chickens became my reason for living. I lived outdoors. They are the reason I survived years of surgeries and anguish. Chickens are just like us, they have nervous systems. They feel pain, joy, happiness, fear and love. They each have individual personalities. I fell in love with these beautiful, sentiment beings, and they fell in love with me too.

I was unable to listen to any audio or open my eyes to view the world. Both caused extreme pain, confusion, loss of cognition, diminishes speech and motor skills. The sensory pain was agonizing. My brain would physically shut down, in order to protect my healing brain. I required a person with me at all times, for 6 years, because this happened frequently.

I began volunteering at protests, long before I was aware of my own surroundings. I wore a chicken mask to an animal advocacy protest, out of sheer necessity. My husband held my hand and guided me through the crowds.

No one ever guessed that there was a scrambled/damaged human being inside who could barely communicate or visually/auditory process information. The mask, sunglasses and and hidden headphones helped me integrate back into society without endangering my senses.

I was unable to speak properly and my motor skills were highly impaired but I could sure hold a sign and get my point across.

Did I mention I spent many of these years without mobility, in a wheelchair? Thankfully, I risked a dangerous spinal cord surgery, and regained the ability to use my legs.

I still have many deficits and disabilities. Through years of hard work and discipline, I have learned to manage them in ways that allow me to advocate, educate, in new and creative ways.

I don’t remember/recognize the person I was prior to my accident. That Melanie disappeared. I took the opportunity to build myself into an individual of higher character, more education, less judgment, more love.

The new Melanie will always speak out on behalf of those who are oppressed, marginalized, victimized. My life is not of neutrality, but a life of action, compassion and awareness.

I have found ways to disguise my deficits and work with my abilities. I volunteer as a full-time animal activist.

I now volunteer as co-organizer for our San Diego Anonymous for the Voiceless chapter. I also co-organizer (co-founder) for San Diego Animal Save.

I am also a volunteer journalist/reporter for Jane Velez Mitchell, JaneUnChained.

I am the cofounder of an up-and-coming animal rights organization, Kind Heart Coalition. We are at grassroots organization teaching our community about animal education, health, food and so much more!! KindHeartCoalition.org

When I’m not volunteering, I rescue and rehabilitate chickens in my own backyard micro sanctuary, Om Tweet Om. I am extremely knowledgeable regarding chicken care , and I use every opportunity to teach others. Chickens are gentle, loving, curious, and depend on us for care and advocacy.

Eight years later, many surgeries and years of rehabilitation, I am now able to attend conferences, coordinate community activities and live my dream of advocating/speaking up for all animals.

Animals saved my life. I owe it to them to return the favor.

Blogger Bio: Melanie Langston-Bazzell

Melanie is a co-organizer for the save movement and anonymous for the voiceless in San Diego. She is also a volunteer at Farm Animal Refuge and a reporter for Jane Mitchell. She participates in various other activism including protests, Direct Action Everywhere, and helped organize the Animal Rights March here in San Diego.

Instagram links: @veganchickenartist @veganartistmelanie
Website: Kind Heart Coalition

Step two of vegan by Melanie Arce

Like most Americans, I was raised on the Standard American Diet consisting of meat, dairy, refined grains and lots of sugar. My family enjoyed whatever was cheap and convenient. This meant a lot of fast food. One day when I was in middle school I decided to stop eating meat. I’m not even sure how I got the idea. My childhood best friend was up for the challenge with me though. I went home and told my parents I wasn’t eating meat anymore. My friend wasn’t able to stick with vegetarianism, but for some reason I did. Eventually, I went off to college where I remained a vegetarian. About a year later I stumbled upon a PDF version of a book entitled Skinny Bitch. This book awakened me to the dairy industry. I learned that it didn’t make sense health wise to consume dairy since breast milk by design allows for the biggest growth spurt of a mother’s young. This is the case not only for us humans but for dairy cows as well. So when we as adult humans continue to consume the milk from cows, we don’t get taller just a lot fatter.

From this book I also learned about what happens in factory farms and slaughterhouses and decided that it didn’t make much sense morally to consume dairy or eggs anymore either. I learned that farmed animals aren’t outside roaming in big grass field but instead are kept in extremely small spaces inside warehouses where they often cannot even turn their bodies around. Chickens are mutilated in order to stop themselves from hurting one another. Meanwhile the confinement they are in mutilates their bodies. I learned that all the chickens and cows that were producing the dairy and eggs I was consuming were eventually slaughtered. The book also helped me to realize that there is no way to humanely slaughter a sentient being that doesn’t want to die. After finishing the book I knew I could never consume another animal product again, and just like that, I went vegan.

Next, I watched a film called Forks Over Knives which promotes not only a vegan diet but also a diet that focuses on whole plant based foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes. I learned that my food choices could go beyond protecting animals’ lives by also protecting my own life. I could prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and many forms of cancer; conditions I once thought would be normal to suffer from. Later on I watched another film called Cowspiracy. This film helped me realize just how impactful a vegan diet is on the health of our planet. It was at this point that I finally felt I had made the full connection – I was choosing to be vegan not only for my own health but the health of our planet and all that inhabit it.

Now, I have been vegan for 6 years and an animal rights activist for the past 9 months. Being an animal rights activist to me means that I use both my words and actions to work towards non-human animal liberation. I do this in a variety of ways with a variety of organizations as often as I can. This can vary from a Cube of Truth with Anonymous for the Voiceless, pay per view with Compassion Over Killing, disruptions with Direct Action Everywhere, bearing witness with The Save Movement or less organized actions such as commenting on a social media post or speaking to a stranger in the grocery store. I have found that much like veganism, activism is for everyone. I think at some point we have all seen or heard about violence happening in this world and hoped that someone would do something to stop it. If the violence to farmed animals is something you didn’t know about before, you know about it now. I believe that once we learn about the suffering of the non-human animals we share our home with it is not only our duty to stop contributing to their suffering but to aid in the pursuit of their freedom. Veganism is merely the first step. The next is to get active.