Beavers at the Refuge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Access into the Refuge after snow, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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American bullfrog in main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Bald-faced hornet, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Baltimore oriole, photo by Leor Veleanu
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Beavers near their lodge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Buttonbush, photo by Sage Russell
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Canada goose in flight, photo by Richard Rosenberg
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Cicada, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Cinnabar chanterelle fungus, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
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Crayfish, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge is a protected natural habitat comprising 767 acres of pristine pine lands, forest, fields and bogs. It provides a refuge to animals and plants indigenous to southern New Jersey; a place where wildlife can live freely and naturally without fear of being harmed at the hands of human beings. We began as the home of Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci and Cavit Buyukmihci, who dedicated their land to habitat preservation so that native wildlife and habitat could thrive. We are a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) entity, federal ID 23-7025010.
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Beaver Tales from Unexpected Wildlife Refuge, December 2019

Main pond, photo by Leor Veleanu
Main pond
Leor Veleanu

Thank you to everyone who has supported Unexpected Wildlife Refuge during 2019. In a year when we became increasingly aware of the devastating impact human beings are having on the environment – threatening animal and plant species with extinction – protecting natural habitats and education on the issues has become ever more critical. As part of the globally unique ecosystem that is the Pine Barrens, our Refuge plays an important role in protecting pristine forest, fields, bogs and waterways from human encroachment, thereby providing a safe home to many species, including some officially listed as endangered or threatened in New Jersey. Public education about the importance of wildlife and habitat protection and working with individuals and communities to peacefully resolve conflicts with wildlife are also important areas of our work, this year and always.

As part of our efforts to secure the long term future of the Refuge, we embarked this year upon one of our most ambitious and challenging projects to date, to construct a building that will provide a new administrative base for the Refuge and accommodation for our onsite manager. An update on our progress is included in this newsletter. We are extremely grateful for all the generous donations we have so far received towards this project, enabling and encouraging us to begin construction. Your additional and continued support, however, is still urgently needed, so if you have not already made a donation, please consider doing so now.

There are also many other ways in which you can support the Refuge – and further information can be found near the end of this newsletter – whether by volunteering at the Refuge, holding an event to raise funds or by sponsoring a Refuge habitat or supporting one of the species of animals who are able to live freely here without human persecution or interference. We hope that we can rely on your continued support now and during 2020.

Our snapshots of life at the Refuge provide a fascinating insight, but nothing compares to being here. We hope that, during 2020, you will find time to visit and enjoy the Refuge in person!

We wish you and yours a peaceful New Year.


News items
Jen Collins and rescued kestrel
Jen Collins and
rescued kestrel

Refuge has a new manager
We are pleased to welcome Jen Collins as our new manager! Jen holds a masters degree in biology. Shown here with a kestrel in the process of rehabilitation, Jen is a passionate advocate for the respect and protection of all wildlife, natural habitats and the environment. Her experience working with raptor rehabilitation has given her a unique insight into conservation and public education. She is a vegetarian, actively working towards full veganism. You can contact her at manager@unexpectedwildliferefuge.org.



Update on progress of new Headquarters
We are pleased to report that there has been considerable progress on our new headquarters project. The old cabin has been removed, a new foundation laid and the first steps in the framing process have begun. Trustee Dave Sauder has been overseeing the construction and documenting each step through photographs. Most importantly, he has been ensuring that animals in the area are moved away from harm, making sure the workers follow the same protocol when he is not there.

New headquarters construction, photo by Dave Sauder
Wall framing
Dave Sauder
New headquarters construction, photo by Dave Sauder
Floor joists
Dave Sauder
New headquarters construction, photo by Dave Sauder
Foundation preparation
Dave Sauder
New headquarters construction, photo by Dave Sauder
Foundation preparation
Dave Sauder

Boy Scout volunteers at Refuge for his Eagle Scout project
In October, Boy Scout Ryan Cherfane of Troop 252, based in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and fellow Troop members, volunteered at the Refuge in order to complete an Eagle Scout project. As part of the Refuge's long-term plan to no longer use trees to mount signs or other devices, Ryan's project was two-fold. First, he and his colleagues removed old Refuge signs from trees along one of the main trails. Then they installed new signs on T-posts. The project also included clearing trails and marking some trees with non-toxic paint to guide visitors. Dave Sauder, the Refuge Trustee who supervised the work, said, "Although the work was exhausting, everyone appeared to have a good time being in nature and providing the Refuge with this important service." Thank you Ryan and company...and Dave!

Boy Scout Troop 252 volunteers, photo by Dave Sauder
Boy Scout Troop 252 volunteers
(Ryan 3rd from right)
Dave Sauder
Boy Scout Troop 252 along trail, photo by Dave Sauder
Boy Scout Troop 252 along trail
Dave Sauder
Ryan preparing signs at home
Ryan preparing signs
at home


Wood ducks; Unexpected Wildlife Refuge trail camera photo
Wood ducks
main pond
Canada geese, main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Canada geese
main pond

Refuge visitor declares it to be "very unique"
In November, Richard Moody came to the Refuge so that he could hike along the trails and view the wildlife inhabitants. After several hours on the trails, he returned to relax on the shore of the main pond. He was 'rewarded' with a view of Canada geese and wood ducks. Although Richard was unable to get photos of the birds, we have made up for this with a couple of our file photos. He stated that his time here was a "very pleasant adventure" and that the Refuge was "very unique". Come visit us – we think you will agree.


Beavers in the news
Beavers in main pond at the Refuge, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Beavers
Main pond at Refuge

Here are some recent news media articles concerning beavers. You can see our entire and growing list, a tribute to this wonderful keystone species, in our Beavers in the News page. If you come across a news item on beavers, please send us the link so that we can consider it for inclusion.


Beaver and Ted Howell, 1937, Oregon Historical Society
Beaver
Oregon Historical Society

A Valuable Commodity: How the beaver contributed to Oregon becoming a state
Jim Anderson discusses how beavers were an important part of Oregon in its early years – and into today, too.
Beaver, photo by The Mountain-Ear
Beaver
The Mountain-Ear

A look at nature: Leave it to beaver
Dave Hallock points out how beavers are vital to a thriving ecosystem.
Beavers, photo by National Park Service
Beavers
National Park Service

Getting A-Log: More In Mass. Seek Coexistence With Beavers
Miriam Wasser discusses the efforts of people like Mike Callahan (Beaver Solutions), a Refuge supporter, to resolve conflicts between beavers and people in ways that allow coexistence.
Flow device, photo by Malcolm Macleod
Flow device
Malcolm Macleod

Abating beavers' impacts. Flooding near Aberdeen results in use of 'deceiver' device
Kate Gienapp reports on the use of flow control devices to provide non-lethal resolution of conflicts between beavers and people. ...rather than eliminate beavers from the area altogether as has been tradition elsewhere in the valley, the Historical Society searched for an alternative solution.

Campaigns for wildlife in New Jersey
American black bear cub and mom, photo Anton Sorokin/Alamy Stock Photo
American black bears
Anton Sorokin/Alamy Stock Photo

Two years on and NJ bears continue to be betrayed by Gov Murphy
It is now two years since Phil Murphy was elected as Governor of NJ. During that time, hundreds of black bears have been slaughtered; a shocking 265 were killed during just one week in October! These wonderful and important animals, including mothers and their cubs, are not only being shot using 'modern' firearms; archaic weapons such as bow and arrows and muzzle-loading rifles are being used, often causing painful wounding rather than outright death. Despite his campaign promise to end bear hunting, Governor Murphy continues to betray these iconic and majestic animals, by failing to ban hunting on all NJ lands.

Governor Murphy has the power to stop this cruel and senseless slaughter. It is vital that we continue to contact Governor Murphy – even if you have already done so or you are not a NJ resident – politely urging him to honor his campaign promise and end bear hunting on all NJ lands:

E-mail: https://nj.gov/governor/contact/
Telephone: 609.292.6000
Tweet:
   @GovMurphy please stop bear hunting on all lands in New Jersey #savenjbears
   @GovMurphy promised to cancel the #bearhunt



White-tailed deer browsing in main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
White-tailed deer

Speak out for wildlife in New Jersey
During 2019, there were several reports of conflicts with wildlife in local communities in New Jersey. The reported incidents primarily involved deer in locations such as River Vale, Saddle River and Essex County Parks. Most recently, wild turkeys were accused of harassing residents in Toms River.

Wildlife conflicts occur almost always because of people encroaching on their habitat, resulting in reduced natural opportunities for food and shelter. Sadly, the routine response to such conflicts is to hunt and kill the animals, at the encouragement and behest of the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife (DFW). Rather than being advocates for wildlife, New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife is a hunter-backed state agency and is not pro-actively encouraging or promoting non-lethal efforts of resolving conflict issues.

If you become aware of a wildlife conflict issue, please speak out and urge the implementation of non-lethal methods to provide a resolution. Depending on the specific circumstances, these may include modification of human behavior and practices (such as 'befriending' or feeding wildlife), sterilization and relocation, or simply learning to live with our wildlife neighbors. Not only are such methods humane, they are also more effective in the long run. You can play an important role by contacting your local governmental representative, attending council meetings, writing letters to your local newspapers and encouraging other members of your community to join you. The Refuge provides further information on non-lethal and humane methods that you will find useful:

Together, let us stand up for wildlife!


Snapshots of life at the Refuge
Green frog on main pond dike, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Green frog, main pond
Green frog on main pond dike, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Green frog, main pond

Unimaginatively named frog
You might wonder why we referred to this frog who was seen near the main pond, as a "green frog". You might argue that anyone who is not colorblind would surely not need to be reminded of the color of this wonderful individual. What you might not know, however, is that this is the 'official' name of this species (Lithobates clamitans, for those of you interested in Latin). One of many species of frogs who live permanently at the Refuge, green frogs add to the multitude of frog voices we hear in the spring.



Canada geese explore main pond
The Canada geese who live at or visit the Refuge are most often seen in the main pond, which is the most accessible and largely open body of water. We sometimes see many dozens at a time. The geese seen in these photos, swimming along the stream that feeds and flows through the main pond, seemed a bit confused. Perhaps this was their first visit.

Canada geese in stream running through main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Canada geese, main pond
Canada geese in stream running through main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Canada geese, main pond
Canada geese in stream running through main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Canada geese, main pond


Young Fowler's toad, photo by Janet Romano
Young Fowler's toad
Janet Romano

Young Fowler's toad 'hiding in plain sight'
We are privileged to have many hundreds of Fowler's toads living at the Refuge. In the spring, thousands of their eggs can be seen near the shore of various waterways. Soon after, we see tadpoles emerge from the eggs, exploring their new venue. Then it is the march of the metamorphosed ones out of the water and onto another new venue, land. By the end of summer, the survivors, like the one shown here in the photo by Trustee Janet Romano, have grown substantially. This one demonstrates how well their bodies are camouflaged amongst the leaves.



Buttercup oil beetles, photo by Dave Sauder
Buttercup oil beetles
Dave Sauder

Buttercup oil beetles preparing to add to their numbers
Trustee Dave Sauder came across these two buttercup oil beetles mating. He took a photo and then moved quickly away to give them privacy. Oil beetles are generally classified as blister beetles because they secrete cantharidin, a substance that can cause considerable skin irritation. Just one more reason to observe and protect, but otherwise leave wildlife alone.



Juvenile black vulture, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Juvenile black vulture
Black vultures, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Black vultures

Cabin barn home to family of black vultures
This summer we saw more black vultures than usual in the area near headquarters and the main pond. Our old barn located nearby has an upper floor which we rarely enter. This may have been a good thing this summer as it appeared that a family of black vultures took up residence just inside the ventilation window. In August, we started seeing juveniles showing themselves, like this one perched on the peak of the barn. In the first photo, you can just make out a second one standing in the frame of the window (not sure if adult or juvenile). Although Refuge policy is to not provide artificial housing, we are not going to 'argue' with these wonderful birds if they decide to raise a family in the barn again next year.



Bumblebee on coastal sweetpepperbush near main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Bumblebee
coastal sweetpepperbush

Bumblebee working her magic on coastal sweetpepperbush flowers
Even though seeing bumblebees is an 'everyday occurrence', it is important that we recognize the critical role these large bees play in the ecosystem. We enjoyed watching this individual as she went about her quiet business of collecting food, knowing that her efforts are responsible for the pollination and health of many other species of plants and, by extension, animals, too. Sadly, these insects are diminishing in number worldwide, partly due to continued use of toxic chemicals (so called pesticides) by people. We do not allow any toxic chemicals at the Refuge, so this bee is safe while she is here.



White-tailed deer at Miller Pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
White-tailed deer
Miller Pond
White-tailed deer at Miller Pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
White-tailed deer
Miller Pond

White-tailed deer browsing at Miller Pond
It is, to our delight, not unusual to see white-tailed deer in and around the main pond. They even come up to the headquarters area and around our iconic Refuge sign, making it easy to view and photograph them. During one of our hikes out to Miller Pond, we were equally delighted to see this doe browsing along the shore of the stream that feeds the pond. Even though we were at a distance and had to use the telephoto feature of the camera, she quickly became aware of our presence and moved out of sight. Although she was not to know that we would never harm her, such alertness will serve her well if she goes off Refuge land and is prey to people who think killing these animals is 'fine sport'.



Great blue heron departing from top of tall pine tree
This great blue heron was perched on top of a tall pine tree on the other side of the main pond. As we watched, he slowly opened his wings, giving us a glimpse of their considerable breadth. He was soon in the air and circling the main pond. His tree venue was at the very limits of our camera's telephoto capability.

Great blue heron departing pine tree, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Great blue heron
Great blue heron departing pine tree, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Great blue heron
Great blue heron departing pine tree, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Great blue heron


Wild sarsaparilla, photo by Sage Russell
Wild sarsaparilla
Sage Russell
Fungus on dead tree, photo by Dave Sauder
Fungus
Dave Sauder
Yellow water lily flowering in main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Yellow water lily
American wintergreen, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
American wintergreen

A potpourri of plant life at the Refuge
Our diverse habitat provides for a great variety of plants. They range from those that live on the ground, thrive in swamps or in open water to those that make other plants their home. The photos here represent just a few examples of the diversity of species. You can see the full list of the hundreds of species seen at the Refuge in our Plants at the Refuge page on our Web site.

Chickweed, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Chickweed
Common bluebell, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Common bluebell
American white waterlily flowering in main pond, photo by Leor Veleanu
American white waterlily
Leor Veleanu
Virginia meadow-beauty, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Virginia meadow-beauty

A glimpse at our past
Maureen Koplow, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Maureen
Koplow

Maureen Koplow reflects on her early involvement at the Refuge
A long-time supporter of the Refuge and friend of Hope and Cavit, Maureen Koplow tells us of her early involvement and contributions. "Back in the day, I used to go to the Refuge's patrols on the first day of December. I'm not the most physical person, and trekking around the Refuge wasn't easy, so I usually made food for the other patrollers. I'd show up with some food that I'd prepared at home and other dishes that I assembled and cooked in the Refuge kitchen." Maureen is being humble, but we know that everyone appreciated her food, especially after spending hours in the cold out on the trails. You can click here for a few of the recipes of the vegan food she provided for Refuge volunteers.


Take action to help wildlife at the Refuge

As part of the vital and globally unique ecosystem that is the Pine Barrens, the Refuge is home to many endangered and threatened species. Please make a pledge to sponsor a Refuge habitat or choose to support one of the species of animals who call this protected land 'home'. You can easily do this through an automatic monthly PayPal donation (you do not need a PayPal account, just a credit card). Go to our Donate page to make your choice and subscribe. Your recurrent donations will be used, as with all our income, to continue protecting the Refuge from harm and allowing the inhabitants to live freely.

Here are your choices:

  • Wetland habitat: $30.00
  • Pine forest habitat: $25.00
  • Bald eagle: $20.00
  • Beaver kit: $15.00
Muddy Bog, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Muddy Bog
Bald eagle on stump in main pond, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Bald eagle
Beaver and lily pad, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Beaver
  • River otter: $15.00
  • Eastern box turtle: $15.00
  • Red fox: $10.00
  • Your personal favorite: $20.00
  • All habitats and animals: $60.00
North American river otter, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge trail camera photo
River otter
Eastern box turtle, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge photo
Eastern box turtle
Red fox, Unexpected Wildlife Refuge trail camera photo
Red fox

Beaver with stick, sketch by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, Refuge co-founder and artist
Beaver by HSB

Simple ways to help the Refuge
Do you have a birthday coming up? Instead of buying presents for you, you could ask your friends to make a donation to the Refuge. Or, what about that stuff in your garage you have been meaning to get rid of through a yard sale? Why not pledge to give the proceeds to the Refuge, letting the public know that their purchase price will go to help wildlife and the environment.



Bird flying to plant, sketch by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, Refuge co-founder and artist
Bird by HSB

Your unwanted vehicle, another way to help the Refuge
Do not forget that your used or unwanted vehicle can provide funds to us through the CARS vehicle donation program. CARS will accept any vehicle, operational or not, and they offer free towing throughout the United States. Once they have processed and sold the vehicle, CARS will donate a majority of the proceeds directly to the Refuge.

Call toll-free 855-500-RIDE (855.500.7433) or visit the Refuge CARS page at https://careasy.org/nonprofit/unexpected-wildlife-refuge to participate. Not only does this provide an easy way to be rid of an unwanted vehicle, you will also be helping wildlife at the same time.



Raccoon youngster in tree trunk, sketch by Hope Sawyer Buyukmihci, Refuge co-founder and artist
Raccoon by HSB

Helping wildlife and the Refuge in the future
We remind you to please remember Unexpected Wildlife Refuge when planning your will and estate. It is an easy, effective and lasting way to help the Refuge... and wildlife. When talking with your estate planner, just provide them with our name, address and tax identification number (23-7025010). This is one of the most important gifts the Refuge can receive. If you have already included us in your future plans, please let us know...and thank you!


Take action to help wildlife everywhere

Here are a few of the current issues where wildlife, whether living freely or imprisoned in circuses, zoos or other venues, can benefit from your help. We urge you to take action and share with others.


Bengal tiger, photo by Jean Beaufort
Bengal tiger
Jean Beaufort

Captive tigers in the US outnumber those in the wild: A recent article in National Geographic Magazine about the practice of keeping tigers in the US makes for disturbing reading (you will be shocked at the stupidity of the people involved). Many of these animals can be found in barren cages in private homes or in poor conditions at roadside zoos, often involving direct contact with the public. Aside from the extreme privation to which these wild animals are subjected, there have been several incidents where people have been seriously injured or died because the animals 'turned' on them, often resulting in the killing of the animals. Some states do not ban or regulate the private keeping of big cats, or other dangerous wild animals, including North Carolina, Alabama, Delaware, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

What you can do regardless of your residence: A bill, H.R.1380/S. 2561 - Big Cat Public Safety Act, introduced by Rep. Quigley, Mike [D-IL-5] on 26th February 2019, would address requirements governing the trade of big cats (cheetahs, cougars, jaguars, leopards, lions and tigers or any hybrid of these species). Specifically, it would revise restrictions on the 'possession' and exhibition of big cats, including to restrict direct contact by the public. Although we would rather the bill call for a complete ban on keeping these animals in captivity, it may be the best for what we can hope currently. Please contact your two US Senators and your US Representative, urging them to support the Big Cat Public Safety Act (H.R.1380/S. 2561). Click here for contact information for your legislators.



Long-tailed macaques, photo by Pinterest
Long-tailed macaques
Pinterest

Threat to wild long-tailed macaques in Indonesia: Unexpected Wildlife Refuge is supporting Asia for Animals Coalition's appeal to Indonesian authorities urging them to deny any permit that would allow the capture and killing of wild macaques, and to adopt humane methods in its approach towards managing conflicts between people and wild macaques.

What you can do to help: Please send a polite message to Ambassador Mahendra Siregar, Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in the US, urging him to use his influence to secure humane methods of dealing with wild macaques. You can use his E-mail address at the consulate in San Francisco: consulate@indonesia-sanfrancisco.net.

We know that there are many non-lethal methods that are humane and highly effective in reducing conflicts with wild macaques. Refuge president Dr Nedim C Buyukmihci has already written to numerous Indonesian officials, presenting them with a detailed list of these including documentation of their effectiveness.

Further information about the situation in Indonesia can be found here: https://www.asiaforanimals.com/news/post/afa-opposes-capture-and-export-wild-macaques-indonesia.


Contact us

Unexpected Wildlife Refuge
Mailing address: P.O. Box 765, Newfield, New Jersey 08344-0765
Web site: http://unexpectedwildliferefuge.org/
E-mail: info@unexpectedwildliferefuge.org
Telephone: 856.697.3541

        


Here are a few of Maureen Koplow's vegan recipes she provided for other Refuge volunteers.

Vegetable Oven Stew 2 medium onions, cut in bite size chunks
1/4 cup olive oil
6 small and/or yellow zucchini squash
1/2 pound green beans cut in half
4 medium carrots sliced into rounds
4 large cloves minced garlic
2 medium potatoes, cut in bite size chunks
2 medium sweet potatoes, cut in bite size chunks
4 stalks celery, cut in 1" pieces
Small bunch fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce (low sodium)
salt and pepper to taste

Using a heavy flameproof casserole, sauté onion in oil until limp. Add remaining ingredients and mix lightly. Cover and bake in 325 oven for 1 hour or until tender.

Swedish Meatballs 2 large onions
1 package Nathan's (or other vegan brand) veggie meatballs
1 large can tomato puree & 1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup uncooked brown rice

Slice onions and layer on bottom of large casserole
Pour veggie meatballs onto onions
Pour raw brown rice over meatballs

Mix tomato puree, tomato sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar and water in bowl
Pour mixture over meatballs and rice
Cover and put in 350°F oven for at least 2 hours or until rice is fully cooked - may take up to 3 hours.

Ratatouille 1 Tbsp olive oil (for no-fat, use Pam or other cooking spray)
1 medium or large onion - cut into small chunks
1 green bell pepper - cut into medium size pieces
1 yellow bell pepper - cut into medium size pieces
1 red bell pepper - cut into medium size pieces (the 3 pepper colors make it very pretty and provide a slight flavor variation)
1 medium or large eggplant - cut into medium chunks (no need to peel)
1 medium zucchini - cut into medium chunks (no need to peel)
1 medium yellow squash - cut into medium chunks (no need to peel)
2 medium or large tomatoes - cut into medium chunks
4 to 5 cloves garlic - chopped or crushed
1 large can whole, peeled tomatoes
1 Tbsp dried parsley - if using fresh, use 2 Tbsp chopped
1 Tbsp dried marjoram - if using fresh, use 2 Tbsp chopped
1 Tbsp dried basil - if using fresh, use 2 Tbsp chopped
Salt and pepper to taste - about 1/2 tsp each

Preparation:
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, then add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add dried herbs and garlic and heat another minute or until aromatic. Add canned tomatoes and simmer about 3 more minutes. Add cut peppers and yellow and green squash and simmer another 5 minutes. Add eggplant and fresh tomatoes and simmer about 8 more minutes. Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed.

Chocolate Peanut Butter "Cheese" Cake Crust:
2 Cups Newman's Chocolate Crème O's Cookies
1/2 Cup chopped walnuts
1/2 Cup (1 stick) vegan margarine (Willow Run), melted
or nut free -
2 cups Spiced Wafer cookie crumbs (16oz package of cookies)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons unsalted vegan margarine, melted

Filling:
8 oz Tofutti plain "cream cheese"
14 oz silken tofu
2/3 Cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 Cup peanut butter
8 oz dark chocolate chips
1/3 Cup flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Prepare crust. Put cookies in food processor and crumble coarsely. Remove to large bowl, and add walnuts and margarine. Mix with a spoon. Pour into 8"x8" pan or 9" pie pan and spread evenly over bottom and sides. Refrigerate while making filling.

Prepare filling. Combine "cream cheese," tofu, sugar, cornstarch and peanut butter in food processor. Blend until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips and coconut. Pour into crust. Bake at 350°F for 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Chill in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.

Pumpkin "Cheese" Cake Crust:
2 Cups Newman's Ginger O's & Chocolate Crème O's Cookies
Or 2 cups Spiced Wafer cookies
1/2 Cup chopped pecans
1/2 Cup (1 stick) vegan margarine melted
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
Pinch of salt

Filling:
8 oz Tofutti plain "cream cheese"
12 oz silken tofu
1/2 Cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1/3 Cup flaked coconut (optional)
8 oz chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Prepare crust. Put cookies in food processor and crumble coarsely. Remove to large bowl, and add pecans and margarine. Mix with a spoon. Pour into 8"x8" pan or 9" pie pan and spread evenly over bottom and sides. Refrigerate while making filling.

Prepare filling. Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into crust. Bake at 350°F for 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Chill in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.