February 2015 - Julie Green and Keen
Being a vegetarian doesn't just mean that I don’t eat meat, I also focus on avoiding products that are tested on animals or have animal byproducts.  I find it difficult to maintain a cruelty free lifestyle because many companies are continually changing their product protocols. I constantly check to make sure that my favorite brands are still PETA approved.

I don’t believe that animals should have to suffer for the vanity of human beings.  Animals should not be locked up in small cages and have different chemicals rubbed into their eyes or put in their throats.  There is no need to harm innocent animals for the sake of “safe cosmetics.”  I think animal testing is horrific and don’t stand for it.

PETA maintains a list of companies that do test on animals and ones that do not.  You can find the list here.  PETA also adds a “V” to companies that are cruelty-free and vegan, if you are concerned about that too.  Here is a brief list of common beauty companies that DO NOT test on animals and ones that DO.

Do Not Test on Animals-

Aveda (Estee Lauder)
Bare Escentuals
CO Bigelow
E.L.F. Cosmetics
FACE Atelier
Paul Mitchell
Physicians Formula
Sonia Kashuk
Tarte Cosmetics
The Body Shop
Too Faced
Victoria Secret
Wet n Wild
Urban Decay
Yes to Carrots

Do Test on Animals-

Almay (Revlon)
Avon Products
Herbal Essence

DISCLAIMER- Like I said before, companies are constantly changing their protocols and ways of production, this is the information may change with time.

I think that knowing which companies are cruelty free is very important in living a life of kindness.  If you are thinking about going cruelty-free, I challenge you to start today.

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Go Cruelty Free!

by on 2/15/2015
Being a vegetarian doesn't just mean that I don’t eat meat, I also focus on avoiding products that are tested on animals or have animal...
There is just something about a good soup that warms your body.  I consider myself somewhat of a soup-a-holic, if I had to survive off of one food it would be soup.  There are so many possibilities when cooking it, it can be savory, spicy, light, cold, warm, and the list goes on.  I decided to make my favorite Chunky Pepper Potato soup for dinner tonight so I am going to share a few of my favorite vegetarian soup recipes.

Chunky Pepper Potato Soup


½ cup chopped onion
4 medium potatoes, cubed
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
1 medium sweet yellow pepper chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
3 cups almond milk
¼ cup cornstarch
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper


In a sauce pan cook onion until it is tender and stir in potatoes, peppers, and broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Stir in milk and cornstarch and stir until smooth.  Bring to boil and stir for 2 minutes until thickened.  Add the salt, pepper, and cayenne.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup


2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 (1 lbs.) package of frozen pepper and onion stir fry mix
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. ground cumin
1 (28oz.) can crushed tomatoes
3 (4 oz.) cans chopped green Chile peppers, drained
4 (14 oz.) cans vegetable broth
1 (11 oz.) can whole kernel corn
12 oz. tortilla chips
1 cup shredded cheese
1 avocado, diced
Salt and pepper to taste


In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil and stir in the pepper and onion stir fry mix, garlic, and cumin.  Cook for 5 minutes until vegetables are tender.  Mix in the tomatoes and Chile peppers then pour in broth and season with salt and pepper
Bring to boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add corn into the soup and continue cooking for about 5 minutes.  Serve with tortilla chips and top with cheese and avocado.

Cool Fresh Tomato and Avocado Soup- so yummy can you can get almost all the ingredients at the farmers market! :)


4 large tomatoes, chopped
2 avocados, diced
¼ cup red onion, chopped
¼ cup cucumber, chopped
¼ cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Handful of sliced romaine lettuce


Combine all the ingredients together, except the avocado, in a large bowl.  Lightly mash with a potato masher and stir in 1 cup of water.
Cover and let chill for at least an hour and then stir in the avocado and romaine lettuce.

I hope these yummy soup recipes ignite the “soup-a-holic” in you!  I know we are going to be eating good at home tonight.

Go Green and Stay Keen,

I was so excited when the phone rang this morning and heard a familiar voice on the other end.  My beloved “cookbook” cook that moved to Chicago called to check in and see how things have been going.  We talk over Facebook every once in a while but it was so great to hear his voice again.  It had been so long since I had a good chat with him.

From the sounds of his voice and all his crazy antics, it seems as though he is doing great in Chicago.  He told me that the restaurant he is working at is doing very well and since he became the head chef their business has continued to grow; no surprise there.  He is one of the most brilliant chef’s I have ever met.  He explained how since starting at the restaurant, he has created a couple new seasonal dishes that have been very successful amongst patrons.

Chicago is treating his family well too.  They are all settled in and transforming to become more “Midwestern”…his exact words. :D  His kids love having so many parks and a zoo (in the summer) in their backyard.  It makes me so happy for him that everything is good and that his family is loving it there.

He said that the only hard adjustment has been the extremely brutal Chicago winter.  Obviously, living in California for years did not prepare him for the snow, cold temperatures, and ice that winter brings.  Seeing all the snowfall and cold temperatures in Chicago on the news, makes me feel a little bad for them.  (To keep him thinking about us in sunny CA, I send him pictures of the sun and blue skies; maybe it will convince him to come back…just kidding I am happy for him)  It was funny listening to how he has to bundle up just to go to the grocery store and get his kids ready for school.
His kids are loving the snow, besides all the layers they have to put on.  He has sent me a few pictures of them playing in the snow and making snowmen in the park.  He says they also have been ice skating in Millennium Park quite a bit…I am jealous of that.  California doesn't really have outdoor ice skating in the snow.  :)

I am so happy I got to talk to him for a while today and that him and his family are doing great.  After chatting with him, I think I need to plan a trip to the Windy City to visit him and the restaurant he works at.  I think I can make that a business trip right?

GO VEGGIES...inside joke between me and Mr. Cookbook. :)

Go Green and Staying Keen,