Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cranberry Tea Bread

One of my favorite holiday recipes to share with friends and family, baked up and wrapped in paper, is Cranberry Tea Bread. Snuggled in a basket with homemade jam, it makes for a lovely holiday tradition. Not too sweet, it pairs lovingly with tea or coffee.

I can't take credit for this recipe, it came to me a few years ago from Whole Living Magazine.

Cranberry Tea Bread

1/4 cup oil, plus more for pan
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup flour, plus more for pan
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cardamom (or cinnamon)
3/4 cup vanilla yogurt (or two smashed bananas or applesauce)
2 large eggs (or egg replacer)
1 cup frozen whole cranberries
1/4 cup crystallized ginger
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour loaf pan. Toast oats on cookie sheet until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to blender and grind until fine. Place oats in a bowl, and mix with flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, salt and cardamom.
In a seperate bowl, mix yogurt, oil, eggs, whisk until combined. Make a well in the dry ingredients and combine wet with dry. Fold in cranberries.
Pour into loaf pan and smooth top with spatula. Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Check after 30 minutes and tent with aluminum foil if browning too quickly. Cool 10 minutes in pan, separate from pain with spatula, cool on rack.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Vegan Pumpkin Paella

Are you tired of pumpkin recipes yet? I'm not!

I took a bit of leftover pumpkin sauce from my enchilada recipe and made a lovely vegan paella. (Actually, Mr. Garrett is credited with this little gem of an idea.) I suppose you could add in vegan chicken strips or seitan, but as we didn't have any on hand, we did without.

Vegan Pumpkin Paella

  • 1 cup pumpkin enchilada sauce
  • 1.5 to 2 cups veggie broth (I know this sounds like a lot of liquid, but the pumpkin thickens as it cooks, use more as needed)
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1 each, onion and tomoto, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large pan, saute 2 tbsp olive oil, onion, celery, garlic and rice, until the rice starts to get toasted and the onion is soft. Add in the rest of the ingredients and cook until liquid is absorbed, and rice is soft, about 20-30 minutes.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Vegan Pumpkin Enchiladas

Born of the wonderful bounty of pumpkin puree I had in my freezer, these pumpkin enchiladas had all my meat-loving friends and family *almost* in tears. Hands-down the best enchiladas I've made, ever. Don't be put-off by the strange ingredients, they're completely, freakin' awesome.

Pumpkin Enchiladas


2 cups unseasoned pumpkin puree, fresh or canned
1 cup water
1 cup veggie broth
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp pepper
1 seeded jalepeno
3 cloves of garlic
handful of fresh cilantro

Puree all ingredients in the blender until smooth.

For the filling

4 red potatoes, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 cup green beans, ends cut off and chopped
5 button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 each, orange and red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup corn kernels (frozen works nicely)

Saute the potatoes 5 minutes in olive oil, stirring occasionally. Add in onion and mushrooms, cook another 3 minutes. Add in bell pepper and corn, continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Cover the bottom of a 9 X 13 pan with pumpkin sauce. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat corn tortillas (the recipe makes about a dozen or so) to prevent cracking while handling ( I do this over my gas burner for a few seconds).

Fill each torilla with a small amount of filling and roll. Place seam-side-down in the pan and continue to roll tortillas until the pan is filled. Cover with a bit more sauce (not too much or it will all be soggy) and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

Top with salsa, vegan sour cream and fresh sliced green onions.

I served ours with my "Santa Monica Pilaf" that used a mix of couscous, lentils, rice and quinoa
that was cooked with a bit of garlic and olive oil and topped with cilantro. I'll post that recipe at a later date!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Roasted Bell Pepper and Tomato Pasta Sauce

Today I made a quick pasta sauce, using ingredients I had on hand. I can't tell you how delightful it smells. At first I couldn't figure out what taste it was missing, and then I hit on it: bell pepper. So friends, here is my pasta recipe! We had it with veggie meatballs and whole wheat spaghetti.

2 cans stewed tomatoes with basil and oregano

2 cloves garlic

2 leaves fresh sage

2 tbsp. fresh rosemary

2 tbsp. fresh thyme

1/8 cup olive oil

1/4 cup roasted red and yellow bell pepper (I had some in a jar, but you can easily make your own)

Combine all ingredients, except olive oil, in a blender and blend until smooth.

Heat olive oil in a sauce pan and add in your blended ingredients. Simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve warm with your favorite pasta!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Marinated Tofu - Great Sandwich Filling!

This post is for my friend, who has been encouraged to limit the animal protein in his diet, due to a medical condition. It can be difficult, at first, to know what to do with tofu. But this recipe makes great sandwich filling. Just layer slices with your favorite toppings like lettuce, tomato, sprouts and avocado, and enjoy!

Marinated Tofu

1 block extra firm tofu, drained and sliced

Your favorite teriyaki sauce

Green onion

Layer slices in a shallow pan with sides and top generously with teriyaki sauce and sliced green onion. Let marinate for 30 minutes then turn each slice over. Marinate for another 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees until the slices are browned (20-30 minutes) turning once halfway through. Cool thoroughly and then store in the refrigerator, in a covered dish, until ready to use.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tofu Tacos

I've never met a meat lover that didn't love my tofu tacos! You can spice it up or down, depending on your heat tolerance. It also makes a good burrito filling. So the question really is: soft or crunchy shells?

Tofu Tacos
1 block of extra firm tofu, drained and cubed
2 tbsp. chili powder
2 tbsp. cumin powder
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 chopped and seeded jalepeno, optional
Heat up some olive oil in a large frying pan and add in your tofu. With a wooden spoon, smash each cube until they become crumbly. Cook for about 3 minutes, then add in onion, garlic, jalepeno and spices. Continue to cook until the tofu is browned.
Fill your taco shells or tortillas with refried beans and tofu and pile on the toppings! Top with lettuce, tomato, cheese, salsa and guacamole!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Olive, Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapenade

Thanksgiving is nearly upon us!

I was recently asked by my editor over at Elephant Journal to post a vegan Thanksgiving menu. Check it out!

Here is a recipe that will make a great starter, for Thanksgiving or anytime!

Olive, Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapenade
1/4 cup pitted calamata olives
1/4 cup stewed tomatoes
1/4 cup roasted red and yellow peppers
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup artichoke hearts
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp. brine from the olives or the artichokes
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
salt to taste
Process the olives, tomatoes, peppers, garlic and artichoke hearts, in a food processor, until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and, using a wooden spoon, mix in the remaining ingredients. Garnish with parsley and serve with crackers or french bread.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Savory Pumpkin Stew

So many pumpkins are thought to be "only for decoration." But did you know you can actually eat all those gorgeous varieties?
Two medium sized white pumpkins survived the Halloween carving carnage this year and were roasted up to make stew, cupcakes and pie filling. We certainly have more pumpkin than we could use all in one day, so some of it went into the freezer for future usage.
This savory pumpkin stew challenges the idea that pumpkins are only for sweet recipes.
To roast your pumpkins, simply gut them, slice in half and roast open side down at 375 until soft enough to puncture the skin with a fork. Use an ice cream scoop to get the "meat" out and discard the skin.
You will also need raw pumpkin chunks for the soup. Simply chop and cube a raw pumkin, discarding the skin.
Savory Pumpkin Stew
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 cup pureed pumpkin (you can use canned, as long as there are no added ingredients in it)
1 cup cubed raw pumpkin
1/2 cup mashed potatoes (optional-it makes the soup creamier in texture but is not necessary)
1 large carrot, sliced into disks
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup of chopped anise stalks (you can use an alternate herb, if desired)
Seasoning Blend, such as Trader Joe's "21 Seasoning Salute" or Mrs. Dash.
Salt and pepper, to taste.
Saute the onion, celery and bell pepper until soft. Add the broth, water and whisk in the mashed potatoes and the pumpkin puree. Add the rest of the ingredients. Cook for 30 minutes, or until the pumpkin chunks are soft.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A New Take on Twice Baked Potatoes

Call me un-American, but I've never liked twice baked potatoes. Plus they're not very healthy and I was looking for something a little easier on the waistline...

I finally came across an idea that, after tinkered with, came out simply delightful.

There are two variations, one for grownups (savory salsa filling) and one for the littles (cottage cheese and fruit).

To bake your potatoes, puncture them with a fork a few times, rub in oil and salt and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for an hour.

Let them cool a bit, then slice them in half, scoop out the insides (reserving for mashed potatoes?) and turn the halves skin-side-up. Cook another 10 minutes or until crispy. Let cool.

Savory Salsa Filling

For the first variation, combine 1/2 cup mashed mixed beans, 2 green onions, chopped, 1 chopped tomato, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. lemon juice, salt, pepper and 1 clove crushed garlic with 3 tbsp. salsa. Line the potato halves with fresh spinach leaves and fill with topping.

Cottage Cheese and Fruit Filling

Sweet and savory at the same time! Add 1 chopped apple to 1/2 cup cottage cheese and toss in 2 chopped stalks of celery. Mix well and fill the potato cups.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Veggie Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

I LOVE spring rolls. They're like tasty little hand-held salads that you dip into peanut sauce.

But access to them are seriously lacking in my remote mountain locale. So when I finally learned to make them I was pleased to find out how easy, and cheap, they really are to make at home.

Start with a package of spring roll wrappers. These things, by any account, look like anything BUT food. But trust me, you've got it right. They look like this:

Soak one sheet in a plate full of water, submerged, until soft, about 1 minute or so. Then, being careful not to overlap the slippery, delicate rice paper, lay it on a clean, dry plate. Fill as you would a burrito, with your choice of toppings. I used spinach, carrot sticks, celery sticks, bell pepper slices, grated zucchin and micro-green sprouts.

Then fold in the ends and roll carefully. Continue this process until you have enough spring rolls to feed your hungry hoard. Serve with peanut dipping sauce, if you like.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pesto Pasta with Tofu Cutlets

This recipe is so easy it almost doesn't even need a recipe. But here's how I did it:

Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
You can find the recipe for my walnut pesto here or use your favorite pre-made pesto. Mix 1/3 cup of pesto to your pasta and top with parmesan cheese (optional).

Tofu Cutlets
Vegan Version: press slices of extra firm tofu into bread crumbs and fry on each side until browned.

Vegetarian version: dip each slice into a bowl of beaten eggs, then dip into bread crumbs. Fry until browned on each side or bake at 375 until browned, turning once.

Serve with your favorite vegetables!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Leftover Night = Lentil Hodgepodge

Sometimes you find yourself with a bunch of leftovers and end up with....a really tasty meal! I used some leftover brown rice, sauteed it up with fresh mixed greens, a bit of oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper and topped it with.....

Yup, leftover lentils, tomatoes and avocado. It was so simple, fast and so so yummy! Some of my best meals have come from leftovers. This one will definitely be a future make-on-purpose meal!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Veggie Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

I'm not a huge fan of veggie sausages but I recently found that Trader Joe's makes a mean italian version that is pretty darn tasty. If you don't prefer to use veggie sausages, you can always substitute zucchini instead.

You will need:

2 acorn squash, halved
1 onion, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
2 sausages, sliced into half moons
1 large apple, chopped
butter or alternative
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the ingredients (except the acorn squash) in a bit of olive oil, until the onion is soft. Brush the tops and insides of the acorn squash with olive oil and then fill them with the apple/veggie mix. Top each with a small pat of butter.

Bake at 375 for an 75 minutes, or until the squash is soft.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan

1 large eggplant, sliced thinly
1 cup bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten **
pasta noodles of your choice
mozzarella cheese (optional)
pasta sauce of your choice
**I've made this dish vegan before as well, the only difference is you will skip the egg wash and replace it with non-flavored soymilk, continue as directed and opt out any cheese topping.

Coat each slice of eggplant in egg wash and then coat with bread crumbs. Place on oiled cookie sheet and bake at 350, turning once. Place mozzarella on top of eggplant and heat until the underside of the eggplant is crispy and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Cook noodles according to package directions. Top noodles with sauce, layering the eggplant on top, and dolloping with a bit more sauce.

Serve next to your favorite veggies: here we used steamed asparagus, topped with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chili Rellenos with Garlicky Beans and Chili-Scented Greens

This was the first time I've attempted Chili Rellenos and I have to say they came out quite perfect! They taste like a tortilla-free enchilada. Even the smallest natives ate to their hearts' content. The best approval there is!

Chili Rellenos

1 onion, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
5 mushrooms, chopped
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. cumin
salt and pepper to taste
10 poblano peppers, roasted and peeled (these come canned and pre-peeled as well)
15 slices jack or cheddar cheese (or about 1-2 cups shredded)
1 egg, beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
1 large jar of green sauce
1/2 cup of sliced olives

Saute the onion, zucchini, mushrooms and spices until soft. Then spread the mixture on the bottom of a glass-bottom baking dish.

Stuff, carefully, each pepper with 1/2 slice of cheese (again, you can use shredded, but slices are easier to handle here). Then coat each pepper in the egg wash, followed by a coating of bread crumbs and lie carefully on top of the onion mixture. Continue until all peppers are stuffed and coated.

Bake at 425 for 12 minutes. Then remove the pan of chilis from the oven and top with enough green sauce to cover the spaces in between (not too much on top of the chilis, but around them). Top each chili with 1/2 slice of cheese and sprinkle olives on top. Bake another 12 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

After you plate each chili, top with red salsa, cilantro and green onion, and sour cream!

Garlicky Beans

I didn't want to use too much of the same spices here, so these beans were really simple. I used canned pinto beans and cooked them in a bit of olive oil, splash of veggie broth, and sprinkled with garlic salt and pepper. Cook until hot.

Chili-Scented Greens

3 cups (or more!) of greens of your choice. I used mixed greens like mustard, collard and spinach.
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp water
salt and pepper

Combine greens, water and oil in a large pot and cook, over medium heat, covered, until the greens are wilted. Sprinkle with the remaining spices and mix well. Serve hot.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sundried Tomato and Spinach Pizza with a Cornmeal Crust

Pizza-making is a family affair at my house. Sometimes we dish up individual crusts so that each member of the family can make their own interpretation. But this version is family-sized, vegetarian and oh so good!

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal or dry polenta
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup water

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, mixing in wet ingredients and kneading for about 8 minutes or until the dough is elastic. Roll the dough into a round shape (or press into a rectangular baking dish).

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees.

1 cup spaghetti sauce (you can also use olive oil and garlic or pesto instead)
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes in oil, chopped
small handful of fresh spinach
8 (or so) mozzarella slices
1/4-1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
basil leaves, chopped

Combine the sundried tomatoes and basil, tossing to coat. This will prevent the basil from burning while cooking.

Spread enough spaghetti sauce to coat the top of the cornmeal crust. Next lay individual leaves of fresh spinach over the top of the sauce. Top the spinach with the sundried tomato/basil mixture. Next sprinkle the feta over the top and, lastly, laying the mozzarella on top of the pizza.

Bake at 425 for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Vegetarian Chili over Baked Yellow Potatoes

Fall is my favorite time of year, it's filled with memories and nostalgia about halloween costumes, holiday dinners and family. Although I'm not sure it is officially autumn yet, I recently cooked up one of my family's favorite fall-ish meals. Baked potatoes and chili usually have a pretty bad rap in the world of calories and saturated fat, but this vegetarian version is the exception. It is a comfort food you can indulge in freely!

This recipe makes enough to feed five, with plenty left over to either freeze for another time or serve the next day (maybe over tortilla chips).

I have a favorite way of cooking baked potatoes that I learned from my friend Jake, who is a wonderful chef. Instead of microwaving them (ew!) or wrapping in foil, simply puncture the potatoes a few times with a fork, rub in olive oil and salt and cook at 400 degrees for an hour, turning once half way through. They come out crispy on the outside and soft on the inside! Perfect!

1 large red onion, chopped
1 large anaheim chili pepper, seeds removed and chopped
1 pound of dried beans (your choice, I used 1/2 red beans, 1/2 pink beans)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
fresh corn, removed from cob (optional)
1 can diced tomatoes
4 cups veggie broth (or water)
chili powder
garlic salt

your choice of:
sour cream

When making chili I always use dried beans. They are cheaper than canned (about $2.20 for a pound) and don't contain all the salt of canned beans. If you use red, pink or pinto beans they don't need overnight soaking but be sure to start them about 2.5-3 hours before you want dinner to be ready.

Rinse them and put them in a pot with lots of water (about 3x the amount of beans) bring to a boil and then remove from heat, cover and let sit for an hour. After an hour, rinse them, put in your veggie broth and can of diced tomatoes and bring to a boil. Let them simmer for about 20 minutes while we work on the other steps.

Chop your veggies, saute onion, garlic and pepper until soft, about 5 minutes. Then add in a generous palmful each of chili, cumin and garlic salt. I always use more spice than I think I need, and it always comes out perfect. Adding the spices at this step will help release the flavor better than if you add it to the water.

Saute the spices/veggies for another 2 minutes or so, then add this to your simmering pot of beans. Cover and cook for about an hour, then check your beans. If they feel about 1/2 way cooked, remove the cover and let the pot simmer (to allow some of the water to cook off.)

Some people like their chili runny, others thick, the difference here will be on keeping the pot covered or uncovered. If the chili gets thick and your beans aren't quite done, you can cover them or add more water. If you are deciding to add corn to your chili (I love this, it adds color! But I didn't do it this time) you will want to add it only about 20 minutes (if raw) before the chili is done. Corn doesn't need much time to cook.

When your chili is done, top your baked potato with a generous helping of chili and add on your favorite toppings!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hot Sesame Baked Tofu with Peanut Dipping Sauce and Savory Mango Vegetables

The idea for this recipe came from Vegan Soul Kitchen. Their recipe is for rosemary baked tofu cubes. Since I was cooking up an asian style dish, I modified it and added peanut dipping sauce.

Hot Sesame Baked Tofu

1 package extra firm tofu, cut into triangles
hot sesame oil
olive oil

Brush a cookie sheet with olive oil and place triangles on sheet. Then brush the tops of the tofu with the hot sesame oil, salt and pepper to taste and cook at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, turn over and cook until brown and crispy, but not until the point where the middle is hard (the soft center is sooo delish!)

Peanut Dipping Sauce

I forgot to get a picture of this! This sauce was made on the fly with stuff I had on hand. As long as you have PB you can alter this to your needs.

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/8 cup soy sauce

1/8 cup vegetable broth

4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons hot red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust PB and wet ingredients as needed, for taste or thickness.

Savory Mango Vegetables

1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) mango chunks
2 cups fresh snap peas
4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
2 tbsp minced ginger
5 shitake mushrooms, sliced
1/2 of a red onion, chopped
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
pepper to taste
1 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/8 cup of veggie broth
BIG handful of cilantro

Saute the onion until soft, add in the rest of the vegetables, garlic and ginger, continue to cook about 3 minutes (the key here is to NOT overcook your veggies, leave a little bite in them!)

Add in the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sugar and pepper, simmering for a few moments so that some of the liquid cooks off. Then add the cornstarch and mango, cook just until the mango is hot. Remove from heat. Stir in a big handful of fresh chopped cilantro. Serve immediately with a side of brown rice.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Chik'n and Rice Soup

This is a very simple and savory soup that is easy to make and so nourishing. My husband, the resident meat eater, whipped this up tonight and it was a big hit for vegetarians and meaties alike.
Chik'n and Rice Soup
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 32 oz. box vegetable broth
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 carrots, chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
1 package extra firm tofu, drained and chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Saute onion, celery, garlic and carrot in a few tbsp olive oil until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, thyme, bay, salt and pepper and simmer for about 20 minutes. Just before serving, add in cubed tofu and cooked rice. To serve: place 1/4 cup of roughly chopped fresh spinach into each bowl and top with soup.

Veggie Burger Lettuce Wraps

Here at the good ol' Garrett house, we're trying to minimize our useless carbohydrate intake (in order to maybe lose a pound or two in the process). Living without tortilla chips and home-popped popcorn? It's been quite the challenge!

Veggie Lettuce Wraps

1 veggie burger
Sliced Tomato
2 big leaves of Red Leaf or Romaine lettuce
condiments of your choosing (we used relish and spicy mustard)
Cook veggie patty according to package instructions. Cut in half and top with tomato and condiments.

Then lay your burger and condiments on a piece of lettuce, wrapping the sides up and over the contents. Lay another piece of lettuce over top, tucking sides around the bottom. Stabilize the wrap with a toothpick. Eat, messily, with plenty of napkins! It's so good!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Artichoke Ravioli with Walnut Pesto

Not everything I make is 100% from scratch (I am a mom to three, afterall). So yesterday I pulled some artichoke ravioli out of the freezer and mixed up some pesto for a super quick family dinner.

Walnut Pesto Sauce

2 cups fresh basil,packed
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup walnuts
3 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste

Mix up everthing in your food processor. Cook pasta according to directions and drain. Mix in several tbsp. of pesto and top with kalamata olives and parmesan cheese (optional). Serve with a BIG green salad!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Vegetarian Chinese: Mongolian Eggplant and Lemon-Cashew Fried Rice

For years after I became a vegetarian, due to lack of access to meat-free restaurants, I chalked Chinese food up to "what I used to eat." My poor, meat-loving husband went right along with it, to his chagrin. Imagine his joy when I began dabbling in Chinese cooking. Since then, we've enjoyed many dishes and this is one of the favorites.

Mongolian Eggplant

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp chili sesame oil (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp minced ginger
3/4 cup sweetener of your choice (I used raw sugar)
1 large eggplant or several smaller Chinese eggplants
3 stalks of green onion, sliced in 1 inch sections
5 mushrooms, sliced
red pepper flakes
corn starch

In a few tablespoons of vegetable oil, saute garlic and ginger for about 30 seconds. Add in soy sauce, water, sugar, chili oil and bring to a boil, dissolving the sugar. Remove from heat and set aside for later.

Meanwhile, cut eggplant into bite sized pieces and coat in a thin layer of cornstarch. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Heat a few tbsp of oil in a clean pan and saute eggplant and mushrooms until golden brown. Add in the sauce, green onion and a dash or two of red pepper flakes, simmer for about 2 minutes. Serve.

Lemon-Cashew Fried Rice

2 stalks celery, chopped
1 zucchini chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 green onion, chopped
1 cup sliced carrots and/or frozen peas
1 egg (optional)
1 cup uncooked brown rice
1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews

Cook rice according to directions, at least two hours before you begin dinner. When done, place in fridge to cool.

When it's time to cook the fried rice, remove the rice from the fridge and set aside. Saute the vegetables and garlic for a few minutes. When the veggies begin to soften, add in the rice, soy sauce, lemon juice and egg. Stir until the egg is cooked. Serve with the mongolian eggplant.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Almond Butter Cookies

The weather is unusually foggy and gloomy out for this time of year. Cloudy days are my favorite, they make me want to stay in all day, whipping up breads, soups and treats. Today we had a fresh and green miso soup (that I forgot to photograph) and, on a whim, decided to follow it up with a batch of lovely almond cookies. They taste a bit like those almond-flavored sugar cookies, the ones that come in a pink box and have an almond pressed on top, but are much healthier. For fun we pressed a few raw cashews into about half the batch. The result was a not-too-sweet treat for a rainy day. The kids put on pajamas after lunch and everyone got down to the business of crafting, knitting and reading.

This version of the classic peanut butter cookie recipe uses almond butter instead, which lowers the overall sugar and fat content.

1 cup almond butter
1 cup raw sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour (or more, if needed)
1 egg (or egg substitute)
1 tsp. baking soda

Combine ingredients and mix well. Almond butter is runnier than peanut butter, so add extra flour as needed.

Form dough into balls and roll them in a bit of sugar. Then place them on the pan, criss-cross them with a fork and bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. The cookies will be VERY soft, so using a rubber spatula, remove them immediately and place on a cooler surface. They will firm up nicely, not too crispy, not too soft, just right.

** Alternative sweeteners like maple syrup or honey would be fabulous here. If you decide to use them you will probably need to add a bit more flour to hold it all together!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Artichoke and Olive Pasta Sauce

My family loves pasta but the kids really dislike pre-canned sauces. Over the years I've been able to whip up a quick, tasty sauce from a few things I always have on hand.

1 can olives

1 can artichoke hearts

handful of chopped basil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 can stewed tomatoes, blended in food processor until smooth

Saute garlic, olives and artichokes in olive oil for a few minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Then add basil and cook for another minute.

Add the pureed tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes or so. Mix into cooked pasta of your choice and enjoy with a big salad!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Plank Pose Panzanella

Every Sunday I make a few loaves of bread for the week. We love it for the first few days but by the end of the week, I always seem to have half a loaf of homemade bread that's in need of using.

This week I'm chopping up my lovely herb loaf leftovers and making panzanella, which is an italian bread salad. It is vegetarian and if you opt out of the mozzarella, it is vegan.

Plank Pose Panzanella

4-6 cups cubed bread
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic
1/2 chopped red onion
4 tomatoes, wedged
1/2 cup kalamata (or any other) olives, halved
handful of fresh basil
1 cup chopped mozarella (optional)

1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Combine bread cubes with 1/3 cup olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Toss to coat and spread onto cookie sheet. Toast bread in preheated 400 degree oven until brown (about 8 minutes).

Let cool. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl, add the bread and top with dressing, tossing to coat. It's best if you let it sit for about half an hour before serving.

Plank Pose

Plank Pose is also called the "top of a pushup." From hands and knees, place the palms of your hands on the mat, spreading the fingers wide. Step the legs back, one at a time, until you come into plank pose. Keep both legs straight, lifting the backs of the knees toward the ceiling. Tuck your tailbone in and engage your buttocks. Draw the navel in and look slightly forward. When ready to come out, drop the knees to the mat and return to a neutral position.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Greenie Beannie Machinie

Texture makes the difference between a "good" sandwich and a "great" sandwich. No one likes to eat moosh. While you wouldn't think to find green beans in a wrap, to me this seems like a natural addition. You get protein and good fats from the hummus (we used "white bean pesto" hummus) and lots of vitamins, fiber and texture from the veggies.

Greenie Beanie Machinie

Lavash bread (or tortillas)
black olives
fresh, uncooked green beans

Spread hummus on lavash bread in a thin layer. Top with generous amount of spinach and follow with sliced tomato, sliced black olives and a handful of green beans. Roll carefully to form a wrap.

Friday, July 23, 2010

An "Organic" Poptart is Still a Poptart.

If you haven't already noticed, this blog is an all-vegetarian (and mostly vegan) cooking blog. But what does this have to do with yoga?

Yoga is much broader and more complex than just an exercise class, and is comprised of an ancient Eastern philosophy, that in itself is broken up into smaller ideas. It is those ideas, and that philosophy, that tells us who we are, why we are here and how to live in this world. (Wait, what? The title said Poptarts. Get to the poptarts lady....I will, I will, wait for it!)

One of those ideas is the concept of ahimsa or non-violence. Ahimsa is a rich and subtle practice that not only tells us not to, for instance, physically harm someone else, but also not to physically harm any living thing, including our neighbors, ourselves and animals. From the most obvious (not hitting someone) to the most subtle (not harming ourselves, not thinking harmful things) ahimsa is a deep practice. Most vegetarian yoga teachers are so for that very same reason. To eat meat, you are eating another living thing that must suffer to get onto your dinner plate.

The other reason you might go vegetarian, aside from ahimsa, is that it is, in general, healthier than eating meat. I say that, knowing full well that a diet of grilled cheese sandwiches is vegetarian, but not healthy.

So here are my tips on being a healthy vegan and vegetarian:

1. An organic poptart is still a poptart.
It may be vegetarian, it may be organic, but it ain't good for you. Beware of labels that are misleading, like "Organic," "trans-fat free" and "Natural." Pay attention to ingredients and nutrition labels.

2. Broccoli = Broccoli
When reading ingredient labels, if you can't pronounce it, or if you don't know what it is, don't eat it. Again, Doritos may be vegetarian, but why eat them when they are chock full of mystery ingredients?

3. Better yet, ditch the box
There are so many "vegetarian convenience" food items available, it is easy to get sucked into some pretty bad habits. While I do have tofu and a box of veggie burgers in my house, the rest are single ingredients meant to make a meal: fresh vegetables and fruits, flour, sugar, rice, pasta, etc.

4. And while you're at it, ditch the can
Soda is a chemical soup that is not good for you in any way. It's full of sugar and calories and even diet soda, being calorie free, manipulates the body's hormones and thyroid, resulting in weight gain. Your best option: plain, filtered water. And not bottled water either. Get yourself a filter and a reusable bottle and befriend your tap.

5. No one is Going to the Hospital with Protein Deficiency
Almost everything you eat has protein in it: vegetables, fruits, beans.....Add to that tofu and quinoa and there is no way you are going to get too little. Our country has an unhealthy obsession with protein that results in serving sizes that are just not accurate. The best way to go is to eat a balanced diet: two servings of vegetables on your plate each night, one serving of carbs (rice, pasta, etc) and a serving of protein (beans, nuts, tofu, etc).

6.Snack Right
It's common to reach for a bag of chips when hungry, but I encourage you to reach for some fruit instead. Fruits and vegetables are a "free ticket" item in my house and apples are the kids' favorite. It's full of fiber, filling and even helps to keep teeth clean. Your waistline will notice the difference, trust me. Eat your weight in plants, be careful about the quickie carbohydrates.

I'm sure I'm going to come up with a hundred more tips after I post this, so add your own into the comments section, if you have any!

Go, eat, be healthy!

Curried Tofu Salad

Curried Tofu Salad

1 (12 oz) package of extra firm tofu, drained and cubed
1 large carrot, grated
1 chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped peanuts (or other nut)
1/4 cup chopped dates (or other dried fruit. Raisins work well too)
1 glove garlic, minced
1 green onion, chopped

1 tsp curry powder
1 Tbsp mayonnaise (or vegannaise)
1Tbsp white vinegar
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1Tbsp soy sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place tofu on lightly greased cookie sheet. Cook tofu, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes. Then remove and cool.

In the meantime, mix the sauce ingredients with a fork until smooth. Set aside.

Combine salad ingredients: carrot, tofu, green onion, fruit and nuts. Top with sauce and stir thoroughly. Chill in the fridge for an hour before serving.

You can use this as a sandwhich or wrap filling, or simply enjoy with crackers!
This recipe was added, by me, to and you can find it there too!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Warrior Breakfast (Part II): Vegan Banana French Toast

Warrior Pose comes in three variations. So here is breakfast part two, with warrior 2 on the side.

Vegan Banana French Toast

1-2 bananas
1/2 cup soymilk

Smash a ripe banana into 1/2 cup soymilk. Mix with fork, smashing the banana as you go, until the mix looks thick and lumpy. Add a few dashes of cinnamon. Dip your bread into the mix, making sure it covers both sides.

Meanwhile, heat up a skillet and add a small amount of vegetable oil. Put your bread on the pan, fry on medium heat for about 3 minutes on each side. It will tend to stick, so when you go to flip the bread over, use a stiff spatula to scrape as you go.

Repeat on the other side.

Top with banana and apples slices (or any fruit) and maple syrup.

Warrior II

Once again start from standing, with a wide stance on your mat, with feet wider apart than shoulder distance. Turn your right foot out to the right and hug the left toes into your midline. With an inhalation, lift the arms shoulder height, with the exhalation bend into the right knee to bring the thigh bone parallel to the floor. Keep your knee moving toward the pinky-toe side of the foot. Soften the shoulders and breathe for a few rounds. Just like your french toast, be sure to flip your pose over and cook the other side.

Warrior Breakfast

Ok, I'll admit I'm not the biggest fan of breakfast. Usually I dish up a quick piece of toast. But I hear breakfast is pretty important, so here is my go-to meal.

Cook up Oats as according to package instruction. Top with a small pat of butter, honey, soymilk and fruit/nut mix.

Follow up with warrior 1 and you're on your way to a beautiful day!

Warrior 1:

From standing, take a wide stance on your mat. Turn the right foot all the way out to the right and hug the left toes deeply in toward your midline. Pivot and face the right foot, raising the arms overhead. On your exhalation, bend deeply into the front leg, keeping the back leg straight.

Stay a for a few breaths and then repeat on the other side.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Karmaflower Risotto

*Karma is a complicated idea from the East that basically says we reap what we sow, good and bad. This dish is one you can definitely feel good about, because it uses no butter or cream and replaces the rice with cauliflower. Waistline friendly and if you decide not to use the parmesan cheese, it is also vegan.

1 head of cauliflower
3 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 cups vegetable broth
1/2 to 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Roughly chop cauliflower and process in food processor until it looks like grain or rice. Add cauliflower and garlic to large pot, combine the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for about an hour or until liquid is mostly absorbed.

In my version we also added a little bit of chopped portabello mushroom and a few sprigs of fresh parsley from the garden.

Serve hot and enjoy!

Welcome to the Yogic Kitchen!

I am a lover of food and yoga and the way I eat reflects the way in which I live in this world. After much posting on facebook of all my various recipes, I finally decided to pop on over here and create a one-stop shop where you can find veggie-friendly meals, with a big helping of nutrition, and a little yoga on the side. I might even garnish with a bit of sass.
Thanks for wandering over my way and Happy Cooking!