Sunday, December 22, 2013

Thick n Easy Blueberry Smoothie - Vegan

One of our favorite things to prepare for breakfast on the weekend is a thick blueberry smoothie.  It is filling enough that it has even been dinner on a weeknight when we don't feel like cooking or don't want a large meal.

Since we own a Vitamix, I have not tried this recipe in a regular blender. Due to the density of the ingredients and thickness of the resulting smoothie I suggest a high speed blender such as a Vitamix or Blendtec, otherwise you may want to half it and make it in two batches.

This recipe makes approximately 5 cups - two large meal-sized portions.


2 fresh ripe Bananas
1-1/2 cups frozen Blueberries
2 cups crushed Ice
1/2 block Silken Tofu
1 cup Soy Milk or other dairy free milk
2-3 Tbsp pure Maple Syrup
1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1.  In high speed blender add all ingredients and blend until smooth.  I use the smoothie setting on the Vitamix and let it run its course.  Use the tamper to make sure everything is blending.  Add a little more soy milk if it seems too thick.

Pour and enjoy.  

*  I have also made a smoothie substituting frozen raspberries, but prefer the blueberry flavor. 

**Adding a small cored apple will also increase the nutrient value and add a little sweetness.

- Bon Appetit

"Blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries are true super foods. Naturally sweet and juicy, berries are low in sugar and high in nutrients - they are among the best foods you can eat." - Joel Fuhrman

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies - Gluten Free & Vegan

I have been playing a bit with a recipe.  I don't mind making a few batches of cookies to get something right, and I don't think hubby minds too much either.

This recipe is loosely based on one a friend gave me, which she got from the Dr. Oz website, I believe.  I have adapted it for gluten free and also changed some of the ingredients such as from vegetable oil to coconut oil.

I am pleased with the results.

One of the things that I noticed as the recipe has evolved is that it works best when the pumpkin puree is chilled.  So before you make this recipe put the can in the refrigerator overnight if you have time.  It really does make a better cookie.  The dough is stiffer and you can roll them into balls instead of dropping by gooey tablespoons onto the cookie sheet.  A can of pumpkin puree will make three of these batches.

I also use raw sugar for the recipe.  It gives the cookies some additional texture, as the crystals do not completely dissolve.  Feel free to use regular organic cane sugar in its place if you prefer.  

Makes 18-20 good sized cookies.


3/4 cup Raw Sugar
1/2 cup Pumpkin Puree, chilled
1 tsp pure Vanilla
1/4 cup Coconut Oil, melted
3/4 cup Quick Oats
1 cup all-purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend such as Bob's Red Mill
1/4 tsp Xantham Gum
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon or Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 cup mini semi sweet Chocolate Chips (vegan of course)


1.  Preheat oven to 350˚F (176˚C) and spray two baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray.

2.  In large mixing bowl combine raw sugar, pumpkin puree and vanilla.  Set aside.

3.  In smaller bowl combine oats, flour, xantham gum, baking soda, salt, cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, and chocolate chips.  Use a whisk to combine thoroughly.

4.  Melt coconut oil in the microwave.  I find 30 seconds is sufficient.  Add melted oil to the pumpkin mixture and stir to combine.  It takes a bit of stirring to get the oil worked in. Do the best you can.

5.  Add flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir until incorporated.  If it feels a little dry work it with your hands.

6.  Using a tablespoon break off bits of dough and shape into balls.  I placed them in three rows of three on each baking sheet.  If you get more than 18 cookies, just fit the extras in where you can.  Your hands may get a little sticky.

(Balls of dough pressed with moistened spatula, ready for the oven)
5.  Take a rubber spatula and press down slightly on the dough to flatten.  You may need to moisten the spatula with a little water every few cookies.

6.  Bake in the preheated over for 12-13 minutes until golden brown and set.  Rest on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack using a metal spatula.

(Ready for eating - get in my belly)

- Bon Appetit

Sometimes me thinks 'what is a friend?', and then me say, 'friend is someone to share the last cookie with'. - Cookie Monster.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Perfect Roasted Vegetables

One of my all time favorite meals is to roast assorted veggies in the oven.  I make them for dinner at least once a week.  Over the years I have varied the time of roasting and/or the oven temperature, but I have used the following method the last few years and I am happy with the results.

When making the veggies as a side dish, I do not usually include an extra protein.  Though most often I make it as the main meal and add either tempeh, tofu, or veggies sausages.  I used tempeh in these pictures and I tossed the cubes in sesame ginger salad dressing prior to roasting.

Use whatever veggies you have on hand or are in season.  


INGREDIENTS:  Use any combination of the following or what you have on hand.
12-15 Brussels Sprouts (halved if large)
1 large Potato, cubed  (I like Sweet Potato)
1.5 cups Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed
6-8 Crimini Mushrooms, halved
6-8 cloves of Garlic, peeled
1 small Zucchini, sliced in chunks
12 mini/baby Carrots
1 Bell Pepper - any color, cored and sliced into chunks
1.5 cups Cauliflower florets
1 Onion, cut into wedges
*  Tempeh, Tofu, or Veggie Sausages (such as Tofurky or Field Roast) cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tsp Herbs d'Provence
1 tsp granulated Garlic
pinch of ground Sumac Berries
fresh ground Black Pepper
Sprinkle of Sea Salt


1.  Heat oven to 425˚F (218˚C).  Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with olive oil or other non-stick cooking spray.  If I am wanting to make a really large batch so we have leftovers for lunches the next day, I will also use another small pan that will fit in the oven with the baking sheet and cook extra.

2.  Place all of the desired veggies in one layer on the pans.

3.  Spray lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with seasonings.

(Ready for the oven)
4.  Place in oven for 11-12 minutes.  Take out, stir and flip veggies with a rubber spatula and place in oven for an additional 11-12 minutes. (Note - A metal spatula has a tendency to rip the foil)

5.  Serve while warm.

(Ready for eating)
*  If you have a small amount of leftovers but not enough for a meal, cook some pasta such as farfalle or penne and toss with the warmed leftover veggies and a vinaigrette for a simple pasta salad.

- Bon Appetit

" There is nothing I like more than picking fresh vegetables then putting them in the dinner you make that night." - Patrick Duffy

Friday, November 29, 2013

Garlic and White Bean Soup

One of my favorite food items has to be garlic.  If a recipe calls for a few cloves I usually double it.  I just love the flavor of garlic.

So, when I saw a recipe for a stew that took an entire head of garlic, I had to try it.

The recipe that follows is based on the recipe of Susan Voisin of Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.  A link to her original recipe can be found here ----> LINK.  She modified it from another recipe from years ago and I modified it to suit our tastes.  For my recipe, I omitted the parsley and salt, changed the type of white bean, and also used fresh tomatoes instead of canned.  I also make it more as a soup, not thick like a stew and served over rice as she suggested.  I love the result.

The garlic isn't overpowering and the cooked garlic cloves are really tasty smashed onto a piece of crusty bread while eating the soup.

*  I cheat and buy pre-peeled garlic from Trader Joes.  I make this after work and like the time saver.

**  Use whatever white beans you can find.  I use regular small white beans, as it is all I can find canned in the reduced sodium variety.



20 cloves Garlic, peeled
2 (15 oz) cans of White Beans, drained and rinsed
3-4 Carrots, sliced
2 yellow Onions, peeled and diced
1-1/2 cups of fresh diced Tomatoes, any variety
2 Bay Leaves
1 to 1-1/2 cups Water
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
sprinkle of Black Pepper


1.  In a medium sauce pan saute onions in a few tablespoons of water so they don't stick.  Add carrots and garlic cloves and saute a few minutes more.  

2.  Add white beans, tomatoes, bay leaves and 1 cup water and bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes stirring occasionally to check consistency to see if you need to add more water.  I simmer it until the garlic and carrots are tender.  About 30-40 minutes.  Add lemon juice right before serving and top with fresh ground pepper if desired.

3.  Serve by itself or with a loaf of crusty bread for dipping.

- Bon Appetit

"  Without garlic, I simply would not care to live." - Louis Diat, Chef of the Ritz Hotel (1885-1958)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gluten Free Pumpkin Squares - Vegan

A friend shared a recipe with me last week that he thought I might like.  It was for Pumpkin Crumble by Ilene Godofsky.  Sometimes when I look at a recipe I know I'll want to change it without even trying it the original way and that is what I did with hers.

What follows is loosely based off of her recipe. I have altered it in several ways such as adding more spices, adding nuts and omitting the salt.  I like the way it turned out.  And have now made it twice.  A good excuse for using the rest of the can of pumpkin puree.


1-1/2 cups Quick or Rolled Oats
1/2 cup Almond Flour or Almond Meal (ground almonds)
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 cup chopped Walnuts or Pecans (optional)
1/3 cup Coconut Oil
1/3 cup Pure Maple Syrup
1 tsp Vanilla

3/4 cup organic Pumpkin Puree (about half a can)
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
3 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup

1.  Heat oven to 350˚ F (176˚C) and prepare an 8x8 square glass dish with non-stick cooking spray. Or as I did, use a smaller rectangle stoneware pan.

2.  In medium bowl combine the oats, almond meal, cinnamon, baking soda and nuts.  Set aside.

3.  In small microwaveable bowl measure coconut oil.  Microwave for about 15 seconds to soften.  Add maple syrup and vanilla.  Stir to mix as best you can.

4.  Add coconut oil mixture to oat mixture and stir to combine.  Set aside.

5.  In the bowl you used for the coconut oil, mix pumpkin puree with maple syrup, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.  Set aside.

6.  In prepared baking dish, press one half of the oat mixture.  Make sure to press it evenly on the bottom of the pan.  Spread with the pumpkin mixture.  

7.  Top with remaining oat mixture by dropping by hand and sprinkling evenly.  This will not coat the entire pumpkin layer.  You should see some of the pumpkin.  Press down gently.

(Ready for the oven)
8.  Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until top is golden brown.  My oven takes 23 minutes to be golden brown.

(Out of the oven and cooling)
(Look at the crispy oat goodness)
Cool on wire rack and cut into squares or rectangles and enjoy.

- Bon Appetit

" Instead of doing cinnamon, nutmeg and all those baking spices, I'll have one spice that's for sweets, and that's pumpkin pie spice." - Sandra Lee

Monday, November 4, 2013

Fat Free Vegan Oatmeal Cookies

As with most of my recipes, I have been making this cookie for years.  I like that it does not contain any butter, eggs, or a veggie friendly substitute for either.  I don't remember exactly where I found the original recipe, but I have modified it a bit by cutting back on the sugar and adding a little more applesauce.

**To make a gluten free version use a gluten free all purpose flour substitute such as Bob's Red Mill for the 3/4 cup flour.


1/2 cup Raw or Brown Sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened Applesauce
1 tsp Vanilla
3/4 cup Flour (I used a mixture of white and whole wheat)
1-1/2 cups Quick Oats
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
3/4 cup Raisins OR 1/2 cup vegan Chocolate Chips


1.  Preheat oven to 375˚F (190˚C).  Spray two baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray.

2.  In large mixing bowl combine sugar, applesauce and vanilla.  Set aside.

3.  In medium bowl combine flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon.  Add to applesauce/sugar mixture and stir well.

4.  Add raisins or chocolate chips and stir again.  Dough will be fairly stiff - and tasty.

5.  Drop from teaspoons or tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets.  I used teaspoons and the batch  made 22 cookies.

6.  Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.  Mine require 10 minutes.  Let cool for a minute or two before transferring to wire rack. 

** TIP - I have found that if you do not have a jar of applesauce the little individual servings of applesauce cups (such as Motts or Seneca) are exactly 1/3 cup and perfect to keep on hand for this recipe - no measuring required.

- Bon Appetit

"I think cookies are sort of the unsung sweet, you know?  They're incredibly popular.  But everyone thinks of cakes and pies and fancier desserts before they think cookies.  A plate of cookies is a great way to end dinner and really nice to share at the holidays." - Bobby Flay

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pumpkin Curry Soup - Vegan

Is everyone sick of pumpkin treats yet?  Here is a pumpkin treat for you, but not of the dessert variety.

I have been making this recipe in the fall and winter months for about 10 years.  So long now that I have no idea where it originated.  I just have a beat up card in my recipe box.  This recipe was one I found prior to becoming a vegetarian then vegan.

It has been adapted from the original recipe which contained butter, chicken stock, half and half and sour cream.

It is a simple and low calorie soup that is delightful with a loaf of crusty bread for dipping.  The pictures don't really do it justice but there was only so much I was willing to do while photographing soup and I was too hungry to be patient.  I'll try for better pictures next time I make it.

**  This is also a gluten free recipe provided you use a gluten free bouillon.


2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1 medium Onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves Garlic, peeled and minced
2 tsp Curry Powder (1 used 1 tsp hot curry and 1 tsp regular curry)
1/4 tsp Coriander
1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1/4 tsp Fenugreek
3 cups Hot Water
3 tsp No Chicken Bouillon
1 - 15 oz can organic Pumpkin Puree
3/4 cup Non-Dairy Milk (I used unsweetened soy)
* vegan Sour Cream like Tofutti - optional


1.  In large saucepan melt coconut oil over medium high heat.  Add onion and saute for a few minutes; add garlic and saute for another 1-2 minutes.

2.  While the onions are cooking I like to measure all of my spices (curry powder, coriander, red pepper flakes, turmeric, and fenugreek) into one small prep bowl so it is easier to add to the pan at one time. Add the spices to the onion/garlic mixture and stir until combined.  Saute for another minute.  If the pan is too dry add a tablespoon or two of water.

3.  Add the hot water and bouillon to the onion/spice mixture.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes while flavors develop.

4.  Add the can of pumpkin puree and stir until well combined and heated through.

5.  Add non-dairy milk being mindful that it will look funny if your temperature is too high.  It reacts to the high temperatures the same as cow's milk and appears a little 'curdled', but tastes fine.

6.  Remove from heat and serve topped with a little vegan sour cream and fresh ground black pepper. Enjoy with crusty bread, crackers, or sprinkled with crunchy croutons.

Bon Appetit

" I live on good soup, not on good words." - Moliere

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Calzone Stuffed Peppers

Developing this recipe took the combined creative forces of both Troubadour and I.  A bit of trial and error, but we are happy with the finished product. 

* For a gluten free version substitute a few drops of liquid smoke in place of the Tofurky pepperoni slices.


1-1/2 cups Quinoa,
2-1/4 cups Water
1 cup Tomato Sauce
1 tsp Fennel Seeds
1 Tbsp Herbs d'Provence
1 tsp minced Garlic
1 cup fresh baby Spinach, coarsely chopped
1 cup chopped Mushrooms
1/2 Red Pepper, diced
2-3 Green Onions, sliced
8 slices of Tofurky Pepperoni, quartered (or a few drops of liquid smoke)
4-6 Green Peppers depending on size
Daiya or other vegan cheese shreds for topping


1.  Preheat oven to 350˚F (176.6˚C).

2.  In large saucepan, bring water and quinoa to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes until done.  Set aside and let rest for 5 minutes.

3.  While quinoa is cooking, wash, halve, and clean out the insides of the green peppers.  Place in shallow baking dish and set aside.

4.  When quinoa has rested, mix in tomato sauce, fennel seeds, herbs d'provence, garlic, spinach, mushrooms, red pepper, green onions, and vegan pepperoni.

5.  Stuff green peppers with quinoa mixture making sure to mound the mixture.  Sprinkle with Daiya.  I used mozzarella Daiya.  Cheddar and pepper jack also work well.

(Half of the peppers ready for the oven)
6.  Bake at 350˚ for 25-30 minutes or until peppers are desired doneness.  We don't like them too soft so the time worked well for us.  If they aren't quite soft enough, pop them in the microwave for two minutes to soften them.


** This recipe also makes a good casserole.  Although the presentation lacks something to be desired, the flavor is good.  To make into a casserole - mix the cooked quinoa with the tomato sauce and herbs, garlic, and fennel seeds.  Spread into greased casserole dish and top as you would a pizza.  Spread a few extra tablespoons of tomato sauce and layer the pepperoni, green onions, mushrooms and red pepper.  Top with cheese and bake 25 minutes.

- Bon Appetit

"  So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being." - Frank Kafka

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Warm Roasted Cauliflower Combo - gluten free & vegan

This recipe was inspired/based on Anja's Spicy Roasted Cauliflower Tomato Salad with Raisins posted back in May.  A link to her original recipe can be found here ---> LINK.  I don't like to think of this as a salad as most salad's are served cold and I enjoy this one warm.  I believe that I have made enough changes (at least 9) to her recipe that there is no infringement on her copyright.  If you click on her site take a peek at her recipe list.  She comes up with some yummy ideas - not all are vegan though.

I made the changes to the recipe to suit our tastes.  Not only did I change the quantity of several ingredients such as chickpeas, tomatoes, and raisins, but added some additional flavors such as fenugreek, sumac, and garlic. I also added the chickpeas and raisins earlier for a little roasting instead of adding them at the end when serving.

I realize looking back that my pictures didn't come out well.  Only one of the finished meal managed to be in focus.  Please excuse the photographs.  I'll have to take better pictures next time and edit this post with the fresh ones.



1 large head of Cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 pint Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, halved
1 large Red Onion, sliced in large pieces
1 can of Chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup Raisins
2 Bay Leaves
4 tsp Olive Oil
1/2 Tbsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp granulated Garlic
1/4 tsp ground Fenugreek
1/2 tsp Cumin
pinch of ground Sumac Berries
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/4 tsp Chili powder
sprinkle of salt and black pepper to taste


1.  Preheat oven to 400˚F and line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Spray with non-stick cooking spray.

2.  In a large bowl combine cauliflower florets and red onion slices.

3.  In a small bowl combine olive oil, turmeric, garlic, fenugreek, cumin, sumac, paprika, and chili powder.

4.  Drizzle over cauliflower mixture and stir to coat; add bay leaves and tomatoes and stir again.

5.  Spread cauliflower mixture onto baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake at 400˚ for 20 minutes or until cauliflower is just tender.  This time will be determined by the size of your florets. Larger florets will take longer.

6.  Remove from oven and add chickpeas and raisins to other ingredients and stir while on the baking sheet.  Return to oven for 5 minutes to warm the additions.

7.  Remove from oven and serve.

We use this dish as a stand alone meal and usually eat the entire batch.  Hey - the ingredients are good for you.  This could easily be used as a side dish if you were serving a green salad or  baked/bbq tofu with it.

- Bon Appetit

" Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education." - Mark Twain

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Easy Vegan Waffles

The weekend is coming - time for lazy mornings and waffles for brunch.

I haven't tried these waffles with a gluten free flour, but they work well with whole wheat or unbleached white flour.

It can be hard to find a pancake or waffle recipe that doesn't have any eggs and doesn't have a tough texture, but I think this one works well.  

I chose raw sugar with the large crystals to try and mimic the caramelized sugar in the authentic liege waffles at Off the Waffle in Eugene.  We ate there before going vegan two years ago and their waffles were delicious.

Warning - the pictures in this post are not great as the lighting was all wrong.  I'll just have to make the waffles again to take different pictures.

(Waffle topped with natural peanut butter, blueberries and vegan cool whip)


1-1/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 Tbsp Raw Sugar
2 tsp Baking Powder
1-1/4 c cool Water
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1-2 Tbsp Oil (optional)


1.  Turn on waffle maker and pre-heat.

2.  In medium/small mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon and whisk with a wire whisk a few times.

3.  Pour in water and oil (if using oil) and stir until wet and dry are incorporated. The waffles are a bit more tender when using oil.

4.  Spray hot waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray and place a large spoon or two of batter onto the hot waffle iron and cook.

**I use a Waring Pro Waffle Maker purchased from Costco a few years ago.  I find I need to turn the heat up a little and cook just a little longer for a crisp waffle.  Without the eggs they are naturally not as crisp as non-vegan waffles and the extra heat helps to crisp them.

This batch makes 4 small or 3 large waffles - perfect for two people.

- Bon Appetit

" A waffle is like a pancake with a syrup trap." - Mitch Hedberg

Monday, September 16, 2013

Three Bean Salad With Curry Vinaigrette

I must admit, I love bean salad; the traditional with an Italian dressing and also more exotic versions. I've been making this version since about 2008 when I found a basic recipe to try and then modified it to suit my tastes.  I find it is quite good as a side dish or as a stand alone meal over a bed of greens or shredded cabbage.


1 Can Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
1 Can Pinto Beans, drained and rinsed
1 Can Chick Peas, drained and rinsed
1 Cup Frozen Corn, thawed
1 Cup chopped Celery
4 Green Onions, chopped including greens
1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
3 Tbsp Olive Oil or Flax Seed Oil
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tsp ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Herbs d'Provence
1.5 - 2 tsp Curry (I use half hot curry)
*  1/8 tsp ground Fenugreek
*  1/8 tsp ground Sumac


1.  Combine beans, corn, celery, and green onions.

2.  In separate bowl whisk together vinegar, oil, garlic, black pepper, cumin, Herbs d'Provence, curry, fenugreek, and sumac.

3.  Pour over bean mixture and stir to coat.  Refrigerate at least 2-4 hours.  I prefer to make this up a day ahead or in the morning so the flavors really have time to meld before it is served.

This makes a nice light dish and is great to take to a potluck or picnic.

     *  The fenugreek and sumac are optional, but they do add to the exotic flavor of the dish.  A lot of my spices I purchase at Penzys in Portland.  I love going in and smelling all the wonderful smells.  Here is a link to their online store which will also let you to find a store near you if interested ----> LINK

- Bon Appetit

" My favorite meal is I'll make a three bean soup and freeze half of it.  But I'm also a big fan of meat alternatives, so I can still have my chicken and mashed potatoes and green beans, but I just have the chicken from a plant-based thing." - Kathy Freston

Monday, September 2, 2013

Chia Seed Jam

While I enjoy jam, I do not like the quantities of sugar they contain and refuse to consume the artificial sweeteners the low sugar varieties seem to use.  

I've seen some recipes on the internet and through trial and error I have come up with a jam that seems to work well without traditional sugar and doesn't contain any pectin for thickening.

It makes a small batch and seems to keep well in the fridge in a glass container with airtight lid.  Hubby likes peanut butter and jam sandwiches and peanut butter and jam toast for breakfast and so we seem to go through at least a tablespoon of it every day.

I have only ever used berries for this recipe since we always have locally grown organic blueberries and raspberries in the freezer.  I think other seasonal fruits would work as well; perhaps peach or plum.



1/4 cup Pure Maple Syrup
3 cups fresh or frozen Fruit (1 used 2 cups Blueberries and 1 cup Raspberries)
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp Chia Seeds
1 tsp pure Vanilla Extract


1.  In a medium pot combine fruit and maple syrup.  Bring to a simmer.  I used frozen berries and smooshed the blueberries with a rubber spatula as they heated and thawed.

2.  After simmering for 5 minutes, add the chia seeds and stir to combine.  Continue cooking for 15 minutes stirring every 5 minutes to make sure things aren't clumping and that it isn't simmering too high. On my glass top stove I turned the burner down to the 'melt' setting and it was still bubbling quite well.

3.  After 15 minutes remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Pour into a 2-cup heat proof glass dish and cool.  Cover and place in the refrigerator.  It will thicken even more as it chills.

This jam tastes just like fresh berries and a dollop may even be good on vanilla soy ice cream.  I won't tell you how I know though.

Bon Appetit

" Happiness is like jam, you can't spread even a little without getting some on yourself." - Author Unknown

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Raw Pad Thai

Back in July I found a Rainbow Raw Pad Thai recipe on Oh She Glows, one of my favorite vegan blogs. Angela Liddon has some fabulous recipes.  After making it once we found we really enjoyed it especially in hot weather.  Here is a link to her original recipe - her photos are always so much better than mine.----> LINK

The recipe below is adapted from her original recipe.  I have changed a few things.  I switched out the almond butter for peanut butter, as I find the flavor and texture more suited to our tastes.  I've also omitted the hemp seeds, added some heat to the sauce and increased the sauce quantities as I find this makes three large servings and not two.

I usually save one serving and give it to hubby in his lunch the next day keeping the veggies and sauce separate.  He then pours the sauce on top at lunch.

This recipe is perfect for those warm summer days.  

Note - I usually make this with purple cabbage as Angela suggests, but this time around I just had green cabbage so the pictures aren't as colorful. Also a julienne peeler is essential for this recipe unless you have a veggie spiralizer.  I bought this one at her suggestion.  LINK.  It was just delivered Monday but I haven't had the chance to use it yet.



1 medium Zucchini, julienned
2 large Carrots, julienned
1 Red Pepper, sliced thin
1.5 cups Red or Green Cabbage, shredded
1 cup frozen shelled Edamame, thawed
4 Green Onions, sliced
1 tsp Sesame Seeds
1 clove Garlic, minced
6 Tbsp Peanut Butter, all natural
4 Tbsp Lime Juice
4 Tbsp low sodium Soy Sauce
3 Tbsp Water
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
1 Tsp Ginger, minced
1/2 to 1 tsp Sriracha or hot sauce to taste


1.  In large bowl combine zucchini, carrots, red pepper, and cabbage.  Toss to combine.

2.  In small bowl whisk together garlic, peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, water, maple syrup, sesame oil, ginger and sriracha.

3.  In large bowls or plates place mounds of mixed raw veggies.  Top with edamame and  green onions. Drizzle with the peanut sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

- Bon Appetit

"  Shipping is a terrible thing to do to vegetables.  They probably get jet-lagged, just like people." - Elizabeth Berry

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Raw Blueberry Pie - Gluten Free

I have been trying to eat more raw foods lately and have been really enjoying them.  I'll post some of the main course recipes at a later date, but with the blueberries we picked a month or so ago I was on the hunt for a sweet dessert to make without having to bake anything since temperatures have been unseasonably warm in Oregon.

I've made this recipe a few times now.  If you google 'raw blueberry pie' you will find quite a variety of recipes.  I tried one that looked good and have of course changed and omitted some of the ingredients to make my own version.

It was so good I made it for my carnivore brother and sister-in-law when they stopped by last month and they really enjoyed it too.

You can use fresh or frozen blueberries.  If you use frozen, please thaw them first.  

On a side note, I just bought 5 pounds of fresh peaches directly from the orchard yesterday so I am trying to figure out if I can modify this recipe to use peaches or maybe a mixture of blueberries and peaches.



1 C Pitted Dates, halved
1.5 C Shredded Coconut, unsweetened
1/2 C Almond Meal
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Lemon Zest (I used a dried variety)

1/4 C Almond Butter
1.5 C Blueberries
1/2 C Coconut Oil
2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 tsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Vanilla Extract


1.  Spray a 6-8 inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. I used an olive oil spray.  Set aside.

2.  In food processor or high speed blender combine dates, coconut, almond meal, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest.  Process until combined and it sticks together like a dough.

3.  Press into the springform pan.  My mix was a little sticky so I dusted my hands and the dough with almond meal to assist with pressing.  Make sure to press up the sides a little bit.  The smaller the pan diameter the higher up the sides you will want to go.  Place in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to pour in filling.

4.  In food processor or high speed blender combine almond butter, blueberries, coconut oil, maple syrup, lemon juice, and vanilla. Blend until smooth.

5.  Pour/spoon filling onto crust and spread into an even layer.  

6.  Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes to let everything set.  

7.  Slice and enjoy.  Top with fresh blueberries or whipped soy/coconut cream if desired.  Store leftovers (if there are any) covered in the refrigerator for a day or two.

**  I also think you could make up a batch of filling and refrigerate it and just eat it with a spoon as a thick pudding.

- Bon Appetit

"  Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb, real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum in the cavernous pail of the first one to come." - Robert Frost

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Mediterranean Inspired Rice Salad

I have always been a fan of Greek Salads.  I used those flavors as an inspiration to create a simple summer dish that can be used as a main entree, not just an appetizer or side.

What has evolved over the years is almost a Mediterranean fusion dish.  You can use any kind of rice or even quinoa or couscous.  When making this batch after work I was pressed for time so I used a pre-cooked frozen short grain white rice that was on the sticky side. I usually keep this rice on hand for vegan sushi rolls or rice bowls.  It worked well but turned pink from the tomatoes.  Typically I will use a jasmine rice or quinoa.  I historically add cut cucumber, but didn't have any on hand when I made the batch in the pictures. 

It is a versatile recipe - use what flavors inspire you.


4 Cups Rice, Quinoa, or Couscous chilled
3 large Tomatoes, chopped
1/2 Cup Red Onion, sliced thin
1 - 6 oz jar of Black Olives, halved
5-6 large Green Olives, sliced
1 - 6 oz jar of Marinated Artichoke Hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup chopped Cucumber
1/4 Cup thin sliced fresh Basil
3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp minced Garlic
1 tsp fresh Ground Black Pepper


1.  In a large bowl combine rice, tomatoes, red onion, black olives, green olives, artichoke hearts, cucumber, and basil. Stir to combine.

2. In small bowl whisk lemon juice with garlic and black pepper.

3. Drizzle over rice mixture and stir to coat.  Season with salt and additional black pepper and/or red pepper flakes if desired.

This recipe is very simple, changeable, and keeps well if refrigerated for a day or too.  Perfect for a summer picnic or potluck.

- Bon Appetit

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." - Leonardo DaVinci

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Dilled Potato Salad with Cashew Mayo

There are a lot of different ways to make potato salad.  Recipes with a mayonnaise base, ranch dressing, or even oil and vinegar.  For me, potato salad always has to contain a lot of fresh dill.

I'd been craving potato salad lately and hadn't made any since last year.  I tried to come up with a new way to make a creamy vegan potato salad, that still had the flavors of a regular potato salad.  What follows is that result.  I have made it several times now and I am pleased.  

It is good the first day and even left over.  The black salt (kala namak) is optional, but it adds greatly to the dish giving that eggy aroma due to its sulphur content.  I found it in bulk at our local Market of Choice.  Indian and Asian stores are also rumored to have it.


1 lb Fingerling or new Potatoes - red or white
3/4 cup chopped Celery
1/2 cup Red Onion, minced
1/4 to 1/2 cup minced Dill Pickles
1/2 cup fresh Dill Weed, chopped small
1/2 cup raw Cashews
2 Tbsp Dijon or Spicy Mustard
4 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2-3 Tbsp Water
1 tsp minced Garlic
1/4 tsp Chili Powder
pinch or two of Black Salt
Fresh ground Black Pepper


1.  Boil potatoes until al dente and let cool.  I like to boil them in the morning then chop them and make the potato salad in the afternoon.

2.  When potatoes are cool cut to desired sized pieces depending if you like a chunky potato salad and place in a medium-large mixing bowl.  Stir in the celery, red onion, dill pickles and fresh dill.  Set aside.

3.  To make the cashew mayo, in a food processor combine the raw cashews, mustard, lemon juice, water, garlic, and chili powder.  Blend until smooth.  If it seems a little thick add another tablespoon of water and blend again.

4.  Pour cashew mayo over potato mixture and stir to combine.  Sprinkle with the black salt and a little ground pepper.  Stir again.  Do a taste test to see if you want a little more black salt.

Serve immediately or refrigerate.

- Bon Appetit

" What I say is that, if a man really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow." - A. A. Milne

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Guilt-Free Vegan Broccoli Salad

I used to love traditional broccoli salad.  After going vegan almost two years ago, I was reluctant to use vegan mayo because of all the oil, so I just didn't make it.

For the last several weeks Troubadour was asking if I could put broccoli salad on our weekly menu.  It was starting to sound really good so I had to get creative and think of a way to make it a little healthier and still be vegan.  What I came up with is also gluten free and completely delicious.  If you are using bacon bits and are on a gluten free diet make sure to check the labels.

My inspiration came in the form of a three pack of Wholly Guacamole I purchased from Costco.  The one from our local Costco is accidentally vegan.  Between the smooth creamy texture of the guacamole and seeing different articles on how good avocados are for you, my mind wandered and I started thinking......what if made a salad loosely based on traditional broccoli salad, but with a twist.



1 Large ripe Avocado (make sure the avocado is really ripe)
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp pure Maple Syrup
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp Garlic, minced
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Soy Milk
3 large Broccoli crowns, chopped into florettes
1/2 Cup Red Onion, chopped fine (or green onion for a milder flavor)
1/2 Cup Carrots, sliced thin or shredded
1/4 to 1/2 Cup raw Sunflower Seeds
1/4 to 1/2 Cup Raisins or dried Cranberries
Vegan Bacon Bits
Salt and Pepper to taste


1.  For the dressing - In a food processor or Vitamix blend the avocado, lemon juice, maple syrup, vinegar, garlic and soy milk until smooth.  For an extra creamy texture feel free to add a spoon of vegan sour cream.  This will add fat and calories though.  Set aside dressing.

2.  In large bowl combine the broccoli florets, onion, carrots, sunflower seeds, raisins or cranberries, and carrots and stir.

3.  Add avocado dressing and stir to coat all the veggies.  Sprinkle with bacon bits and fresh ground black pepper and stir again. Sprinkle with salt if desired.

4.  Serve when ready.  If you are storing it please use an air tight container so the dressing does not brown.  This made two large bowls for us for dinner as well as a large lunch serving for the next day.  I put the leftovers in an airtight glass dish with plastic lid and the dressing did not brown overnight.  If it does brown, it will still taste fine.

**  Note the dressing is tangy.  If you are not a big fan of vinegar use one tablespoon and taste the dressing to see if you should add the other.  It does mellow overnight.  You can also use rice wine vinegar which is a little milder.

***  if you want something a little closer to traditional broccoli salad you can also put some vegan cheddar cheese shreds in the salad - Daiya would be good.  I did not because of the fat and calories but it would be nice with maybe a few sprinkled on top as a treat.

- Bon Appetit

" The greatest delight the fields and woods minister is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable.  I am not alone and unacknowledged.  They nod to me and I to them." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Double Berry Muffins

I like to make a treat for breakfast on the weekends.  Some weekends it is scones, waffles or even muffins.  This muffin recipe is a simple and favorite one.  I've taken an older plain muffin recipe and just adapted it for vegan and added the berries.  While I used frozen blueberries and raspberries this time it is also good with strawberries and chopped banana.

GLUTEN FREE OPTION:  For gluten free substitute a GF flour mix such as Bob's Red Mill and add 1 tsp of xanthan gum.


1-1/2 cups Flour
1/2 cup Sugar (I use raw sugar)
2 tsp non-aluminium Baking Powder
dash Salt
dash Cinnamon
3/4 cup unsweetened Soy Milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1/4 cup Oil
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 cup Frozen Blueberries
1/2 cup Frozen Raspberries
Powdered Sugar for dusting


1.  Preheat oven to 400˚F (205˚C) and grease a large muffin tin.  I use a six-muffin Texas size muffin tin and this makes five that size.

2.  Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and a dash of cinnamon in large mixing bowl.

3.  In separate small bowl or glass measuring cup combine oil, soy milk, and vanilla.

4.  Add the berries to the dry flour mixture and stir to coat.

5.  Stir the milk mixture into the dry just to combine.

6.  Fill muffin tins and bake in 400˚ oven for 25-30 minutes.

I didn't fill the muffin tins too full, but you can top them up a bit and make 4 taller muffins instead.

7.  Remove from tins and cool on wire rack.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

- Bon Appetit

"  A book reads the better which is our own, and has been so long known to us, that we know the topography of its blots, and dog's ears, and can trace the dirt in it to having read it at tea with buttered muffins." - Charles Lamb, Essays of Elia

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Peanut Sesame Pasta Salad

I made this recipe for dinner a few weeks ago intending to post it sooner, but life has a habit of getting in the way. I either didn't have time to post, or when I did, I didn't feel like writing one.  

This recipe is a favorite summertime recipe and I have mentioned it on my motorcycle blog before after taking it to a moto-potluck picnic.  I only make it about every 3-4 months since we try to limit our pasta and salt consumption.  

The original recipe was found on and can be found by clicking this ----> LINK.  As usual, I made it according to the recipe the first time.  While we liked the sauce, I figured it needed a lot more veggies and a little tweaking.  What follows loosely resembles the original inspiration.  

I only use all natural fresh ground unsalted peanut butter.  Most of the stores in town have the machines that have roasted peanuts on top and when you turn it on fresh ground peanut butter is dispensed in your container.  It is the healthiest kind of peanut butter with no additional fats and/or sugars.  1 cup of peanut butter may seem like a lot of fat, but it is a natural fat and there is no additional fat in the salad.

GLUTEN FREE OPTION:  To make this gluten free use a gluten free pasta such as quinoa, corn, or rice pasta and a gluten free tamari or Braggs Liquid Aminos in place of the soy sauce.


    For Sauce:
1 cup Peanut Butter
1/2 cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce (or tamari or Braggs)
1/3 cup Warm Water
2 Tbsp peeled, chopped Ginger (or jarred pureed ginger)
2 Tbsp peeled, minced Garlic
4 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
3 Tbsp Sweet Chili Sauce
1 Tbsp Honey (optional for vegan)
    For salad:
1 - 16oz pkg of Pasta, farfalle (bowties), mini farfalle or other interesting shapes to hold the sauce
1 Red Pepper, chopped
1 cup Snow or Snap Peas, cut in 1" sections
1 medium Carrot, sliced
4 Green Onions, sliced including whites and greens
1- 15.5 oz can of Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 - 15.5 oz can of Baby Corn, cut into sections
2 sm Broccoli crowns, chopped into small florets
sesame seeds for sprinkling


1.  In a food processor, blender, or with a whisk mix all sauce ingredients together and process until smooth.  I like to add a little hot sauce as well.  Pour into large mixing bowl.  I use the largest stainless steel one I have.  Mixture might look slightly runny but will firm up when chilling.  Put sauce in the refrigerator to chill while cooking pasta and preparing the rest of the ingredients.

2.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  You want al dente, not over done. Rinse with cold water.

3.  Chop all veggies and drain and rinse the chickpeas and baby corn.  I place all of the veggie ingredients in one large bowl as I prepare them.

4.  Remove sauce from the refrigerator.  Add pasta. Toss to coat making sure you bring up all the sauce from the bottom of the bowl.

5.  Add veggies to pasta/sauce mixture and toss again. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and toss again repeating this a few times to incorporate the sesame seeds and make sure all of the veggies are coated.

6.  This can be served right away or stored in the refrigerator overnight.  It is best the first day.  By the second day the pasta will absorb some sauce and after plating you may want to heat it in the microwave for 20-30 second after plating it.  This will soften the sauce.

This is a very versatile recipe.  I have been known to add other veggies if I have them such as mushrooms or cucumbers.  Whatever veggies you fancy or have on hand, go ahead and add them. Water chestnuts are also a good addition.

- Bon Appetit

"Preserve and treat food as you would your body, remembering that in time food will be your body." - B.W. Richardson