Friday, March 29, 2013

Review: Vegan Cuts Snack Box

I was contacted by Vegan Cuts  recently and they offered to send me their Snack Box for review.  I was excited to open the box and see what goodies would arrive.  You see, they showcase brand new vegan products each month, which is so cool.  My box  also included two $1 off coupons for Earth Balance Vegan "Mayo", which I'm excited to try.  

This box included:
  • Beyond Eggs 
  • Earth  Balance Aged White Cheddar Puffs
  • Vbar 
  • Sjaak's Organic Chocolate 
  • Barre 
  • Equal Exchange Chocolate
  • Cocomo Joe Cocomocorn
  • nyl skincare
  • Flamoue Falafel Chips (I've actually had these before at work.. we sampled them with my African Lentil Dip..  they are super yummy!).. 
For $19.95 a month (including shipping) you can get your own box too! 

I look forward to trying the products and will review them as The Boyfriend and I sample them. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Awesome Vegan Tofu Banh Mi

My oh my, this just might be one of my VERY FAVORITE things, yet is is so simple to make.  You see, The Boyfriend turned me on (hahaha, I crack myself up) to Banh Mi sandwiches at an awesome local place.  Now, I can't fault anything at all about the sandwiches they make, not to mention the owner of the place is amazing.  I love to just watch him work.  He obviously LOVES what he does and takes great care and pride.  I was mesmerized watching him stir an iced coffee..  Anyway... I have wanted to create my own version since I tasted that first scrumptious bite!  

Now, you really want to find a good quality baguette.  Crusty on the outside and somewhat soft, but not too bready on the inside.  It makes all the difference.  You want a nice balance between the bread and the filling.  

So.. I used tofu.  My ridiculously simple 5 Spice Tofu.  You can use it cold or hot. 

This is more of a method than a recipe, I used a regular peeler for the carrots and daikon, chopped the raw jalapenos and cilantro and created a spicy Sriracha Aioli out of my awesome homemeade Low-Fat Vegenaise alternative. 

Sriracha Aioli (this makes way more than you'll need for one sandwich, but you'll love it so much I'm sure you'll find other uses for it!)

  • 1 6 inch baguette per sandwich
  • 5 slices 5 Spice Tofu
  • Sriracha Aioli to taste
  • Daikon, Carrot, Raw Jalapeno, Raw Onion sliced in very thin circles (to taste)
  • Avocado if desired 

I hope you make this sandwich!  I am actually going to most likely run it as a special at work.  It is super super yummy. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

All About Soy Kefir

I have been talking a lot about Soy Kefir lately... and it's only fair to post how I make this awesome ingredient.  This most likely can be made 100% vegan, but I have only cultured it in a dairy base. but given how it continues to reproduce, I'm fairly certain that you can culture soymilk with no ill effects.  
The original instructions which is what we followed....  and I have been using the original kefir as a starter for my soymilk keifr! In a sterilized Mason Jar add 3 cups soymmilk and 1/4 cup kefir. Cover with a towel and let the mixture ferment for 12-24 hours.  Make sure to reserve 1/4 cup kefir each time for the next batch and then continue on...  !!

I love to use my soy kefir in smoothies! 

Put the Lime in the Coconut Pie!

This is an EXTREMELY decadent pie, even though it's RAW and VEGAN (if you use agave).  It is also gluten free and soy free, so it makes a lovely dessert for those with allergy concerns.  A while back, I was making Raw Vegan Desserts all of the time for my job and I actually have a bunch of awesome recipes for them...  but they are quite expensive to make and also very high in calories, so I don't make them very often. One of my favorites ever though was a Raw Carrot Cake  with "Cream Cheese" frosting.. omg.. so good.  I used leftover pulp from juicing for the base of that one... but now that I am again working in a restaurant, I can start creating awesome Raw Desserts again if there is a market for them..  which will remain to be seen. 

I digress... I will stop rambling and post the recipe since that is why you are here! 

Coconut Lime Pie

  • 2 cups dry, unsweetened coconut
  • healthy pinch nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • juice of 2 limes zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • 8 dates 

  • 1 cup cashews
  • Juice of 6 limes or around 3/4 cup lime juice
  • zest of 2 limes
  • 2 large Hass avocados
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup honey or agave 
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. For the crust, mix everything together in a food processor, then press into a 9 inch pie pan or sping-form pan and freeze
  2. For the filling, pulse the cashews until totally ground into a butter, then add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until everything is totally combined.  Pour on top of the crust and place in freezer for an hour or so or in the fridge overnight. 

5 Minute Cucumber Onion Salad

I love fresh dill so much.  It really makes this simple side salad shine!  5 ingredients and 5 minutes!

1 large cucumber, sliced 
1/2 onion, cut into half moons
2 tbsp Umeboshi Vinegar
2 tbsp fresh dill 
Lemon Pepper/Salt to taste 

Mix all of the above and enjoy! 

Here's are some other cucumber recipes:

I guess I'm wishing it was summer! 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Crock Pot Baked Beans

I love baked beans, even canned vegetarian baked beans.  It is so easy to make them yourself, especially if you have a crockpot.  I used a pound of dry Navy Beans.  I cooked them on the stove until they were pretty al dente.  You could always use canned beans, but they won't retain their texture as much as cooking them from scratch.  If you use canned, 2 29 oz plus 1 15 oz can will suffice.  You will need to reduce the Tony's Seasoning by half otherwise it will be too salty.  These have a kick from the Tony's and chipotle.  If you are sensitive to heat, then use your favorite seasoning salt and smoked paprika.  

Crock pot Baked Beans 
  • 16 oz dry beans, cooked al dente  (reserve cooking liquid)
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil 
  • 28 oz can tomato sauce 
  • 1 cup bean cooking liquid 
  • 2 large onions, chopped 
  • 8 cloves minced garlic 
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard 
  • 1 cup molasses 
  • 3 bay leaves 
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1-2 canned chipotles (omit if you don't like heat)
  • 1 tbsp Tony's Creole Seasoning 
  • 1/2 tsp allspice 
  • Optional: 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Black Pepper and Soy Sauce to taste 
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Place all of the above in a crock pot and cook on high for 6 hours.  Taste and add sugar, pepper and soy sauce to taste. Stir in chopped cilantro just before serving.

Serve with Cornbread and Greens!


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Gluten Free, Vegan Skillet Cornbread Take Two

I created this super simple cornbread yesterday to go with our baked beans (recipe coming up) and while it is not a traditional cornbread by any means, we both really liked it.  Especially after it cooled completely.  It's even better this morning that it was yesterday, which is nice for a gluten free baked product.  My Gluten Free, Vegan Brownies are the same way. 

I used VERY COARSE cornmeal in these.  That is important for the recipe to turn out correctly.  I can't vouch for this recipe at all if you don't use the coarse cornmeal. I made a "buttermilk" out of white beans, water and soy kefir.  For ease of the recipe, I used soy yogurt instead of the kefir, which will work just fine I'm sure as long as it's not flavored! There is no sugar in this recipe, but if you like a sweeter bread, feel free to add some.  It would also be delicious drizzled with honey.

Coarse Cornmeal

Gluten Free, Vegan Skillet Cornbread

  • 2 cups coarse cornmeal
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup white beans mixed with 3 cups water and 1/4 cup vegan plain yogurt 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 1/2 tsp xantham gum
  • 1 tsp Tony's Creole Seasoning
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp psyllium husk 
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup Onion Crunch or other french fried onions (optional)
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro

  1. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl until totally combined, then heat a 10 inch cast iron skilled with 2 tbsp coconut oil, warm on stove until oil is melted then pour the mixture into the skillet.
  2. Bake at 375 for 50 minutes
  3. Let cool completely before eating and top with extra cilantro and onion crunch if desired 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ethiopian Tofu Scramble with Cabbage and Cremini Mushrooms

Having our two Ethiopian Spice Mixtures on hand allows me to create dishes with amazing depth of flavor in no time flat.   Early this morning, I made my Spicy Blender Juice 1 bunch cilantro, parsley, beets, ginger, jalapenos, psyllium and chia, but i was hungry a couple hours later so I threw together this yummy tofu scramble in 15 minutes. 

Ethiopian Tofu Scramble 
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 4 oz cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 cups chopped cabbage
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 7 oz crumbled extra firm tofu
  • 1 tsp Melody's Spice Mix
  • 1 tsp The Boyfriend's Spice Mix 
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • soy sauce/black pepper to taste
  • fresh thyme (optional)
  1. Heat a large skillet to medium and add the oil and mushrooms.  Cool the mushrooms until they are browned.
  2. Add the cabbage and spices and tofu and a healthy pinch salt/pepper.  Cook until cabbage is done (around 10 minutes)
  3. Stir in nutritional yeast, soy sauce, pepper and add any fresh herb you may have on hand. 
Serves 1 very hungry person or 2 regular people

Sneak Peak at some recipes I'll be posting soon:

Crockpot Baked Beans

Creamy Tomato Soup with Pesto

Guacamole Salad with Onion Crunch

Oh how I LOVE avocados.  They are super good for you too.  Half on a Hass avocado has around 150 calories, 5 grams of fiber and is full of beneficial fat!  This salad is super easy to make (it is still delicious without the Onion Crunch).. the combination of fresh basil and cilantro is a little unexpected and the two flavors compliment each other so well! I've been eating a lot of salad lately avocado is one of my favorite toppings!

Buffalo Chickpea Salad

Guacamole Salad 
serves 2

  • 1 large Has Avocado, medium chop
  • 1/2 small red onion, minced
  • 1 cucumber, medium chop
  • 2 roma tomatoes, medium chop
  • 1 jalapeno (take seeds out for less heat)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • Pinch garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil 
  • 3 tbsp Onion Crunch or french fried onions (optional)
Method: chop veggies and mix everything together in a bowl.  Allow mixture to sit for at least 15 minutes before serving. 

I was given this product to review and I will also be hosting a giveaway.  It's really yummy and I will have a full post about it coming up soon. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pineapple Cilantro Habanero Green Smoothie

I adore habanero peppers so much.  They are so fruity and delicious.  If you are sensitive to heat, you can leave it out and this is still a great smoothie. 
  • 1 cup soy kefir
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 cups frozen pineapple
  • as much habanero as you can stand
  • 1 tbsp psyllium husk
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • cinnamon to taste
  • stevia to taste

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Caraway Dill Coleslaw

I was asked on Facebook yesterday if I had a coleslaw recipe to share.  Now, my favorite slaw is my Asian 5 Spice Slaw.... but not everyone is into that sort of thing, but if you are please make it because it's DELICIOUS! 

I digress...  so, I realized I have never actually written down my normal slaw recipe.. and hadn't planned on making any, but The Boyfriend had some fish for lunch, so I offered to make him some slaw and wrote down my recipe as I made it. Even though I call this caraway dill slaw, the flavors are mild enough that you could serve it as regular slaw. 

 Caraway Dill Coleslaw 
  • 4 cups chopped cabbage
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion
  • 2 tbsp mayo (My Lower Fat Vegenaise recipe is GREAT here!)
  • 1 tbsp dijon
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1.5 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp dry dill, caraway seeds
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, parsley 
  • salt/pepper to taste or Old Baby Seasoning
  1. Massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to break down. Set in a colander to drain water. (there won't be much water released)
  2. In a mixing bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and season to taste with salt/pepper. Let it side for 5 minutes after adding the salt/pepper and taste before you re-season.
  3. You could also replace the salt with Old Bay Seasoning. This is super yummy! 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Super Healthy Blueberry Zucchini Muffins (Vegan and Gluten Free)

This is an adaptation of one of my old recipes.  I originally created these for my kids to grab for breakfast on the go.  I like using beans, veggies, whole grains and as little sugar as possible when I made these "Breakfast Breads and Muffins.  I use my Vita Mix to grind everything as smooth as possible, so it resembles a more traditional muffin.

Blueberry Zucchini Muffins

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 cups oats, ground (measure before grinding)
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • ¼ cup chickpea or yellow split pea flour
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg, cardamom
  • ¼ tsp  kal stevia
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar or sucanat (or ¾ cup sugar if not using stevia)

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 cup shredded zucchini (1 medium)
  • ¾ cup cooked soy beans
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup evoo
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tst almond extract
  • 1 tst vanilla extract
  • 1 tst lemon extract (optional)

Optional: 1 c walnuts, cinnamon sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together and make a well in the middle.
  3. Shred the zucchini, place in a separate mixing bowl
  4. Process of the rest of the wet ingredients then mix with the zucchini. Fold into dry mixture (adding nuts if desired)
  5. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and scoop ¼ c for each muffin. Top with some cinnamon sugar if desired. Bake for 25 minutes
  6. Yield: 18 muffins

Peach Spice Green Smoothie

Since my surgery, I have been starting my day with a green smoothie of some sort.  My entire digestive system has been very compromised due to illness over the past three months (I will blog about what I went through soon).. and I am slowly but surely rebuilding health from the inside out.  I am making a point to take in at least 1 tablespoon of psyllium husk and two tablespoons of chia seeds daily in a probiotic rich base.  I am using home cultured soy kefir (post coming up)..  and I feel like it is REALLY HELPING!  

Peach Spice Green Smoothie

  • 12 oz soy kefir, yogurt or non-dairy milk of choice
  • 8 oz water
  • 1 tbsp psyllium husk
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 8 oz frozen peaches
  • 1 frozen banana
  • nutmeg, cinnamon and stevia to taste
  • several drops almond extract
  • 4 cups loosely packed spring mix 
This makes a huge blender full.  I drink the whole thing all morning long. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Grocery Shopping Haul and Prices, Blender Juice and Salad

I love love love Market Basket!  We go to the one in Brokton, MA.  It has the BEST selection.  I have even found Teff there!  Amazing, isn't it? 

Here is what I bought and the prices I paid:
  • Strawberries 2.50
  • 16 oz organic spring mix lettuce 4.99
  • 16 oz organic baby spinach 4.99
  • 7 oz organic baby arugula 2.99
  • loose garlic .78
  • 12 oz cremini mushrooms
  • ginger root .97
  • large bunch fresh basil 2.49
  • serrano peppers .95
  • 3 lbs sweet potatoes 1.99
  • 2 lbs red onions 1.99
  • cantaloupe 1.99
  • peeled garlic cloves 1.84
  • big bunch collard greens 1.69
  • 5 kiwis 1.49
  • plum tomatoes 3.53
  • 3 bunches cilantro 3.53
  • 4 cucumbers 2.00
  • 3 lemons 1.00
  • 3 14 oz packages xtra firm tofu 2.98
  • 2 bunches flat leaf parsley 1.98
  • 2 lbs frozen peaches 3.98
  • 2 lbs organic quinoa 4.99
  • sriracha 3.29
  • bunch of beets with greens attached 2.29
  • medium size head green cabbage 1.26
  • 24 oz frozen broccoli florets 1.99
  • 2 lbs brown rice 2.49
  • 1 lb black beans 1.49
  • 2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes 1.38 (yes, they were .69 each!)
  • 2 lbs cabot extra sharp cheddar 7.99
  • 2 packages Barilla pasta 3.00
I made some blender juice (I will be doing a blog post about blender juices) out of parsley, cilantro, beets, beet greens, ginger and jalapeno.  It horrified The Boyfriend hahaha! 

.. and then I made this delicious salad for lunch:

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Very Berry "Green" Smoothie

Very Berry "Green" Smoothie

Even though this smoothie has 2 cups of spinach, it is not green!  I used Costo brand frozen mixed berries.  They are fabulous! I am very pleased with most Costco products.  This makes a huge blender full, so you can either divide it into two servings or have half for breakfast and half for a snack later in the day. This is a great smoothie to win over skeptics.  You really can't see or taste the spinach at all!

  • 1 cup soy kefir, yogurt or milk of choice 
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 cups frozen mixed berries 
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 tbsp psyllium husk
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • stevia, nutmeg and cinnamon to taste
  • several drops vanilla extract

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Amaranth Porridge

I grew up eating Cream of Wheat and it was one of my favorite breakfasts.  I loved making it with milk and using honey to sweeten it.  Not so healthy ..  I might as well have been eating wonder bread!  Since my surgery a week ago, I have been making a point to have at least 1 tablespoon of psyllium husk and 2 tablespoons of chia seeds every day.  Smoothies and pudding are a great way to utilize these ingredients, but I was craving a hot bowl of comforting cream of wheat! 

I surveyed what we had around the house and figured Amaranth was small enough to simulate cream of wheat and psylium husk would bring it all together.  I was right!  Now, this is not something that I would serve to most "normal" people, but for those of us not afraid of a little "slime" in our food, this quite delicious.  

Apple Amaranth Psyllium Porridge
  • 1/4 cup dry amaranth 
  • 2 cups water 
  • 1 apple
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch cardamom, nutmeg, salt
  • 1tbsp psyllium husk
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk of choice 
  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil
  • Stevia or sweetener to taste

  1. Place amaranth and water in a saucepan, bring to a boil, turn heat down to simmer and cook for 20 minutes. 
  2. Add the apple, spices and salt and cook for 10 more minutes
  3. Stir in psyllium, milk, coconut oil and sweetener. Let sit for 10 minutes, then enjoy.  If the texture is too stringy, add more milk. 
Here's another recipe using psyllium...  Orange Scented Barley Pudding.  Super Yummy! 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Easy Gluten Free, Vegan Brownies

I am pretty picky when it comes to brownies.  I like them dense and not cake-like at all.  Several years ago, I created this recipe for a restaurant I worked in and we sold them every day.  I decided to re-visit the recipe since I plan on making them for my new job and wanted to make sure they were as good as I thought they were.  

Enter The Boyfriend.  He loves brownies.  Traditional egg and gluten filled brownies.  I remember telling him about my brownies and he was very skeptical. VERY SKEPTICAL! 

I also know that he is the most brutally honest person when it comes to critiquing food, so I KNEW I'd get the truth from him.  Here is my original recipe.  I am used to cooking these in a commercial convection oven, but have modified this recipe so it works in a regular, home oven too.

Gluten Free Vegan Brownies 
  • 1/2 cup golden flax meal
  • 1 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup oil 
  • 1/2 tsp xantham gum
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee
  • 2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Mix*
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350, spray a metal 9 by 13 baking pan with cooking spray
  2. In a large bow, mix the first 8 ingredients together well, let stand for 15 minutes
  3. Stir in the baking mix, chocolate chips and baking powder, mix VERY WELL. Do not worry about over mixing! 
  4. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes, turn heat down to 325, rotate the pan and bake for 25 more minutes.
  5. Let brownies cool completely (overnight is best) before serving. Trust me on this.. they are not good until they have cooled. 

*This is the only Gluten Free Flour I have used, so I can't guarantee results with any other gluten free flour.

Vanilla Chia Pudding

Vanilla Chia Pudding
  • 1 cup soy kefir (you can use soymilk or any non-dairy milk)
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp psyllium husk
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • tiny pinch cardamom
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp good quality vanilla extract 
  • stevia or your favorite sweetener to taste
Place everything together in a bowl, mix well and let sit for 30 minutes before eating. 

I'm a big fan of Chia seeds.  They can be used in a variety of ways:

2 tablespoons of dry Chia seeds contain 120 calories, 10 grams of fat, 12 grams carbohydrates, 12 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Two Green Smoothie Recipes

Pineapple Crush Green Smoothie 

So, I have been having a lot of health issue the last three months.  I found myself hospitalized 10 days ago and had surgery on Wednesday.  I will write more in depth about the health issues at some point, but wanted to share some really yummy smoothies I've had the last two days.  I am in need of major fiber, so I am using 2 tablespoons of chia seeds and tablespoon of psyllium husk in each smoothie.  I love how it affects the texture ... it's so smooth and airy.  I'm also using soy kefir which is full of probiotics.  I will blog about that as well at a later date.

So....  being on IV narcotics for 5 days and having surgery tends to uhem... slow things down and I'm not really able to eat large amounts of beans/veggies at the moment, so it's green smoothies to the rescue!

  • 12 oz Soy Kefir (you can use soy yogurt or dairy yogurt thinned with water or soymilk to = 12 oz
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 c frozen pineapple
  • 2 c spinach 
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp psyllium husk
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, stevia to taste
  • several drops almond or coconut extract

Blend blend blend.  I obviously used my vitamix, but you can do this in a regular blender , just do it in batches and maybe add a bit more liquid

Yesterday, I had an "Apple Pie Smoothie.

Apple Pie Green Smoothie

  • 12 oz Soy Kefir
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 large gala apple
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp psyllium husk
  • nutmeg, stevia, cinnamon to taste
  • several drops vanilla extract 
Tip: You can store fresh spinach in the freezer!