Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rejuvenation Salad

What a simple and easy treat. Perfect for post-yoga rejuvenation (hence the name!)

1 cucumber, sliced
4 tomatoes, sliced
1/2 an avocado, diced
1 tsp each toasted sesame oil and apple cider vinegar
sea salt and pepper, to taste

Combine the veggies in a bowl and drizzle with oil and vinegar, salt and pepper.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Latkes and Broccoli Spinach Soup

Latkes aren't just for Hannukah! I topped mine with the leftover ginger/carrot slaw from lunch (see previous post) but the traditional way is to serve it with applesauce or sour cream.

Paired with a nice green soup, this dinner is savory and satisfying and packs a whollop of veggies into one meal.


1 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp flour
1/4 pepper
1 tsp salt
1 onion
4 small potatoes
1 zucchini

Combine egg, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in a bowl.

Grate the onion and add to the egg mix.

Grate potatoes and zucchini into a separate bowl. Turn contents out into a dry, clean dishtowel and squeeze the moisture out of the potatoes.

Combine potatoes to egg/onion mix and toss to coat.

Heat about 1/2 cup of oil in a large skillet (make sure it is nice and hot before you add the latkes, or they will stick).  Form each latke by taking a small handful and pressing into pancake shapes about 2 inches in diameter and about 1/4 inch thick. Brown on each side.

Keep warm on a dry cookie sheet in 200 degree oven until ready to eat.

Broccoli Spinach Soup:

1 clove garlic, crushed
1 onion, diced
1 head of broccoli, chopped
2 cups of broth or water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 cup spinach
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
1 tbsp flour

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium saucepan.

Saute the onion and garlic until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add in the broth, broccoli, salt and pepper and bring to a gentle boil.Continue to cook until the broccoli is tender and bright green, about 5 minutes.

Carefully transfer the soup into a blender and mix until smooth with the fresh spinach.

Place back in saucepan and bring back to a simmer.

In another bowl, add 1/4 cup cold water and the flour and whisk until smooth. Add to saucepan. Slowly whisk in the cheese (if using) and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Enjoy warm.

Vegan Detox Salad with Ginger Carrot Slaw

Holidays got you feeling a little sluggish? This salad is vegan and salt free (aside from what's in the miso) but doesn't lack for flavor! So give your digestion a little fiber and nutrient boost, guilt free. Remember, oil is not the enemy as long as it is a high quality oil like olive, coconut, avocado or sesame. Oils help lubricate your digestive system, cleanse the liver and keep the skin healthy.

Toss together a giant salad of your favorite mixin's. I used spinach, green beans and tomatoes, but use what you like!

The dressing is what makes it really special.

Slaw Dressing:

1 carrot, roughly chopped
2 inch section of cucumber, roughly chopped
2 inch peeled section of fresh ginger
1 tsp miso paste
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 green onions, chopped
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
about 2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp water

Finely chop your vegetables in the food processor. Add in the miso and the rest of the liquid ingredients and process until finely-chunky-smooth.  Dollop your slaw ontop of your salad and top with grated carrot and more chopped green onions.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Bean and Barley Soup

Soup is so easy, it's one of those things you kind of toss together, cook a while and then enjoy with leftovers enough to eat throughout the week or to freeze. If you haven't noticed, we eat a lot of soup 'round here. But this one is my go-to soup recipe for when the fridge is looking sparse or when I don't know what the heck else to cook tonight (which happens more than you think!)

I think this soup gets better the longer it sits, so leftovers the next day are twice as good!


1/4 cup each: dried white beans, black beans, pinto beans and kidney beans

1/2 cup barley
1/4 cup each: chopped celery and carrot
1 chopped onion
1 chopped red bell pepper
2 boxes of vegetable broth
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 can or jar of stewed tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste

Quick soak your beans: place the beans in a stock pot and fill with water. Bring to a boil and cover, boil hard for 2 minutes. Turn heat off and leave covered, let sit at least 1 hour. Drain and rinse the beans, set aside.

Saute the vegetables and spices until fragrant and soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the broth, tomatoes and beans and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about an hour, or until the beans are tender.

Garnish as desired: I topped mine with a handful of fresh spinach and a tablespoon of chili sauce. The kids had theirs with shredded cheddar.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pita Salad

I've been branching out of my usual salad repetoire (romaine does get boring after a while) and this one is a nice little side dish, really fresh and light. We had it with a simple minestrone soup.

I cheated by using pita chips, but you could just as easily toast your own.


1 cup pita chips
1 diced English cucumber
4 small tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup fresh green beans, chopped
1/2 cup smoked mozzarella, diced (optional)

Combine in a bowl and toss with sauce (recipe follows). Let set for 5-10 minutes before serving.

2 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 to 2 tbsp honey
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

Mix well in a small bowl .

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bombay Potatoes

The perfect dish to accompany Chana Masala (see previous post).


about 6 red or white potatoes, scrubbed (I like to leave the skin on, but you can peel them if you like)
1 tsp turmeric or curry powder
1/2 tsp chili paste or chopped red chilis (optional)
2 onions, chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp crushed coriander seeds
(you can also add in 1/2 tsp mustard or fennel seeds, if desired.)
1 cup chopped cilantro

Boil the potatoes until fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, saute the onion, turmeric or curry powder, chili (if using), cumin and coriander seeds until soft and fragrant, being careful not to burn the spices. Drop in the whole potatoes and using a potato masher, roughly mash the potatoes into chunks and fold into the onion/spice mixture. Add in 1/4 cup (or less) of water and stir to roughly combine. Stir in chopped cilantro and season with salt to taste.

Chana Masala

I fell in love with this dish at my local Indian restaurant. Made of garbanzo beans, tomatoes and lots of spices, it is filling and satisfying. While my recipe isn't quite as perfect as the restaurant's  (I'm pretty sure their secret ingredient is "nectar of the Gods" and geez...I'm fresh out...) it does come pretty darn close.

(*Garam Masala, listed below, is a spice blend available at your local grocery store that usually consists of cardamom, coriander, pepper, and cinnamon. But blends vary, and it doesn't really matter what blend you get.)

I like mine very spicy (read: as in spices, not particularly heat level) so I put some options in there to allow for your preference.


2 cups cooked garbanzo beans
1-2 tsp ground cumin (to taste)
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp ginger, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp chili paste or 1 chopped fresh chili (optional)
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp turmeric or curry powder
handful of chopped spinach (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala plus a bit more for final seasoning, if necessary

Heat oil in a large skillet and saute over medium heat: the onion, garlic, cumin powder, coriander, turmeric or curry powder, ginger, garam masala and chili paste (if using) until soft and aromatic, being careful not to burn the spices.

Stir in the chopped tomatoes. Add in a little (1/4 cup or less) water, if necessary to make a thin sauce and simmer the sauce for about 5 minutes to combine the flavors.

Stir in the garbanzo beans, chopped fresh spinach and take a taste. Adjust spices or add a small amount of water as necessary (I usually add a bit more garam masala here) and then cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

This dish does well made in advance, even the night before and can be left to simmer for a bit longer on the stove, if necessary.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Quick-Poached Eggs Over Toast

My idea of a perfect brunch: this is savory, fast and packed with both fiber and protein. Plus, if you add it up, the calories come to about 250. Not too shabby eh?

One of my favorite new things I learned this year was how to quick-poach an egg. It's easier and faster than the traditional method, and yields an egg that is somewhat like a sunny-side up egg without all the frying.

Ingredients (each, per person):

1 egg
1 tbsp butter
1 slice of whole grain bread
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup spinach
cooking spray

To quick-poach:

Toast and butter your bread.

Spray a stainless steel skillet with cooking spray and set on medium heat. Break your egg into the pan, being careful not to break the yolk. Cook until the bottom of the whites are set (so it won't slide around or break up anymore) and then add in a handful of ice cubes. Cover and cook until the white part over the yolk just sets, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Top the toast with spinach, then the egg, then salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Coconut and Pumpkin Chai Cream Pies

Two pies, one variation. How easy could that be? The coconut milk reduces the calorie count, so now you can have your pie and eat it too.

As I have to transport these babies to mutiple households tomorrow, they are still naked on top, but you can top them with whipped cream just before serving.

Coconut Pie Indredients:

1 baked pie crust
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1.5 cups coconut milk
1.5 cups half and half
1/2 cup flour
1 cup toasted or raw coconut
1 tsp vanilla

In a medium saucepan, combine milk, eggs, coconut milk, sugar and flour. Whisk continuously over medium heat until thickened (about 10-20 minutes)

About the time you are ready to give up, sure that it isn't EVER going to thicken, it does. So hang in there.

Remove from heat and stir in coconut and vanilla. Pour into pie crust and chill until set, about 3 hours.

Top with whipped cream just before serving.

                                           **If you are making the pumpkin pie**
You will substitute 1 cup of pumpkin puree for the dried coconut, and add it to the milk base with 1 tsp each garam masala and cinnamon, and cook until thickened. Stir in vanilla after you remove from heat. Continue with directions as stated.

10 minute Polenta with Tomatoes, Spinach and Olives

Super quick, easy and tasty meal! I discovered polenta some years back, and have served it this way ever since. You can find it in the pantry aisle in a litte tube like this:

Slice it 1/4 inch thick and bake on an oiled pan at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, open 1 can stewed tomatoes and simmer until dark red.

Top the polenta slices with fresh spinach, stewed tomatoes, kalamata olives and Parmesan. See how easy that was? Less than 6 ingredients and 10 minutes and you've got dinner.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Broccoli Casserole

I'm not hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, and I'm kind of disappointed to not be happily buzzing away in my kitchen come T-day. But I will be sharing a few inspired dishes. So come back tomorrow and look for coconut cream pies, a polenta recipe and a post-Thanksgiving left-over manifesto.

This broccoli casserole was today's big hit, and I love the idea of bringing to dinner, replacing that tired, old green bean casserole that is so traditional. The sauce came out perfect, without any grainy-ness and is actually less cheese than you think, with a few hidden ingredients that both jazz it up and cut down the calories at the same time.

2 lbs of broccoli florets (about 7-8 cups) steamed until bright green, but still crispy
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp cumin
salt to taste
1/2 tsp prepared yellow mustard
1.5 cups flavor-free nondairy milk
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup low fat shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
pepper to taste
10 or so crushed vegetable crackers

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a saucepan, combine flour, cumin, broth and milk over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until thickened.

Remove from heat and stir in cheeses, salt, pepper and mustard. Add broccoli, coating evenly.

Pour into casserole dish, top with a bit more parmesan and cheddar if desired, as well as the crushed crackers. Bake about 10-15 minutes, or until brown and bubbly. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Spinach and Potato Frittata

It's a rainy Veteran's Day out here on the California coast, and what better for brunch than a savory frittata and a cup of hot coffee? My husband's got music playing and my kids are debating on whether this should be considered a breakfast or a lunch...hence: brunch.


1 onion, chopped
2 large red potatoes, diced and boiled until barely soft
1 6 oz. bag of fresh baby spinach
4 whole eggs
4 egg whites
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/3 cup of vegetable broth
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup of shredded cheese of your choice
sprinkling each of bread crumbs and parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

Saute the onion until soft, then set aside.

Saute the spinach until wilted, doing in two batches if necessary and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, whites, broth, seasoning, salt and pepper, whisk until blended. Then fold in the onion, potato and spinach.

Pour into a greased pie pan and top with cheeses and bread crumbs. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until middle is set and top is browned. Let cool 5 minutes before cutting and serve with sour cream and salsa.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Kale and Red Pepper Tartine

Tartine is a just a fancy way of saying "open faced sandwich." I was so excited about this dish, and it really stood up to my expectations. I'm already thinking of a thousand ways to vary it: with roasted eggplant, or fresh tomato, or maybe artichoke hearts. Goat cheese gives it a tangy bite and the better the bread, the better the taste of this little sandwich.

These little sandwiches are served on toasted bread, best paired with the hearty, seedy type (of bread, not person).


6 slices of toasted whole-grain baguette
herbed goat cheese
roasted red bell pepper, drained and sliced
3 cups kale
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp salt

Saute the kale, garlic and red pepper flakes in 1 Tbsp. of olive oil until wilted.

Top the toasts with a layer of goat cheese, followed by bell pepper and then finally top it all of with the kale mixture.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Asparagus and Pecan Pasta

What an unlikely combo for a pasta: asparagus, peppers and pecans?  But I bought a huge bag of pecans this month and tonight what seemed like a crazy idea turned out to be one delicous dinner hit. You can use any pasta you like and it will be just as amazing.

I did use chicken-less strips in this dinner. As a general rule, we don't eat much in the way of these kinds of things, as they tend to be very processed, but it can be a special treat every now and then.

1 package pasta of your choice
1 tbsp. olive oil for cooking veggies
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 bunches of asparagus, roughly chopped
1 cup veggie broth
3 tbsp. pesto
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp. olive oil for sauce
1 pound of Chicken-less strips (optional)
1 cup of grated parmesan (optional)
1 cup pecans

Boil pasta according to directions.

Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large pan and saute garlic, pepper and asparagus for about 2 minutes. Pour in the broth, bring to a simmer and add the pesto, the rest of the olive oil, salt, pepper, chicken-less strips (if using).

Cook until everything is cooked through.

Serve over the pasta, tossing to coat, and fold in the parmesan and pecans.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

1-2-3 Teriyaki Tofu and Broccoli

Say it with me, it's as easy as 1, 2, 3.

While I do enjoy the complex and complicated meals, every mum needs an easy night of stress free, easy cooking. I also realize that when you're changing over to a vegetarian or vegan diet, the overwhelming amount of recipes out there are complicated, or have a ton of mystery ingredients. So here's a super simple favorite of ours that is ready in 3 easy steps and about 40 minutes.


1 head of broccoli, chopped
1 block of tofu, cubed
1 cup of brown rice
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce

Step 1: Cook rice according to directions. Do NOT stir the rice (this makes it gummy) simply add in the water, cover and simmer for about 40 minutes.

Step 2:  Saute the tofu in a few tablespoons of oil until browned on all sides.

Step 3: Add in a few tablespoons of water, broccoli and teriyaki sauce, cover and simmer for about 3 to 5 minutes, until broccoli is bright green, but still crunchy.

Now, wasn't that easy?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Curried Pumpkin Stew

I love, love, love fall. Pumpkins, squash, orange leaves, halloween there anything better?? Capture the taste of autumn with this savory pumkin stew.


1 onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 tbsp. garam masala
1 tbsp. curry powder
2 whole pods of star anise
1 whole stick of cinnamon
3 cloves of garlic, minced
6 cups of veggie broth
2 russett potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
1 sugar pumpkin, peeled, cleaned and cubed
1 small bag of frozen corn
1 tbsp salt
1 cup of cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Saute the onion, celery, spices and garlic until soft and aromatic, about 3-5 minutes. Add in broth, potatoes and pumpkin and simmer until soft. Puree 1/3 of the soup in a food processor until smooth and stir back in. Add in corn and heat through. Stir in salt. Ladle into bowls and top with cilantro.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Green Goddess Edamame Chili

Treat yourself to a big bowl of green goodness! I was a little worried this recipe would be too spicy for my littles, but it came out quite mild.


1 jar salsa verde (we were lucky to have some homemade in the freezer)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 pasilla peppers, chopped
1 tbsp. of fresh minced ginger
5 stalks of celery, chopped
2 bags of shelled edamame
3 cups of vegetable broth
salt to taste
2 large handfuls of fresh spinach
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
avocado and lime, for garnish

Saute the green onion, garlic, celery, ginger and peppers until soft, about 3 minutes.  Add in broth and salsa verde and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in spinach and cilantro until wilted. Spoon chili over cooked brown rice. Top with avocado and a squeeze of lime.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Veggie Tostadas and Homemade Salsa

I love Mexican food. It's all good, whether wrapped up or laid out. Mmm. We make it all kinds of ways, but this is as straightforward as it gets.

My son recently brought home this recipe for salsa, and it is pretty darn tasty!

Salsa Ingredients:
1 can stewed tomatoes (or 3 fresh, chopped)
1 small white onion
3 green onions
1 clove garlic
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
3-4 sprigs of cilantro
1 roasted green chile (or 1 small can of chiles)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Mix all ingredients in the food processor and enjoy!

Tostada Ingredients:

2 cups cooked refried or whole beans (try black or pinto)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup chopped spinach
1 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup each green onion and cilantro, chopped
shredded cheese (optional)
pre-cooked tostada shells

Spread a thin layer of beans on each tostada shell and top with herbs, spinach, salsa, guacamole. Ole!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Stuffed Marinated Mushrooms

A little ingenuity and some left over brown rice = sublime happiness!


8 baby bella mushrooms, stems removed
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1-2 cups cooked, cold brown rice
a handful of spinach, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup shaved parmesan

Place mushrooms in a bowl and marinate in teriyaki for a few hours (make sure to get some marinade in the gills of the mushroom for maximum flavor).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

When ready, place your drained mushrooms into a baking dish.

In a bowl, mix rice, spinach, garlic, oil, salt and pepper and parmesan. Spoon into mushrooms and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool a few minutes before serving.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Vegan Black Bean Soup

Hearty and delicious, the perfect end of summer soup. I had a bit of taco tofu left over from the night before, and added that in. But I left it out of this recipe. You can add in soy crumbles or tofu, if you like.


3 cups cooked blackbeans, divided, (reserve 1 cup for blender)
1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 pinch black pepper
4 cups vegetable broth
1 ear fresh corn, kernels sliced off (or one cup frozen or canned corn)
4 sprigs of cilantro
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes

1.Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Saute onion, celery, carrots and garlic for until soft. Season with chili powder, cumin, and black pepper; cook for 1 minute. Stir in vegetable broth, 2 cups of beans, and corn. Bring to a boil.

2.Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, process remaining  beans, cilantro and tomatoes until smooth. Stir into boiling soup mixture, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Serve with tortilla chips or rice.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Butternut Squash Pizza

Very subtle and delicious! This pizza makes an excellent appetizer or main course.


1 butternut squash, peeled and sliced thin
1 onion, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary
1 uncooked pizza dough, divided
fresh spinach
olive oil
parmesan, freshly shaved

Heat oven to 400 degrees and bake the squash and onion in a large glass pan, tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary, for about 20 minutes.

When done, increase heat to 450. Roll/pull each pizza dough into 8 inch rounds. Put on a cookie sheet or pizza pan and top with the squash/onion mixture. Bake for about 10 minutes.

Drizzle each pizza with some olive oil, sprinkle with a bit more salt and top with spinach and parmesan. Bellisima!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Coastal Mexi-Cali Bowls

Cilantro-lime rice, black beans and fajita veggies? Yes please! This bowl captures the quintessential flavor of coastal Californian cuisine, where taquerias abound and everyone has an opinion on which one is the best.

Make it vegan by using vegan sour cream, and make it salt-free by using rehydrated black beans instead of canned.

1 cup rice, cooked according to package directions
2 cups black beans, cooked and drained
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 onion, halved and then sliced
1 tsp cumin
juice of one lime
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Chopped fresh greens of your choice, like spinach or lettuce
1/4 cup chopped green onion
Cheese (optional)
Sour cream (optional)

After your rice is cooked, let it cool, covered, while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Simmer your beans with a tsp. of olive oil and 1 tsp cumin, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, saute your onion and bell pepper in a large skillet, over medium heat, until soft and slightly browned around the edges, about 10 minutes.

Stir into the rice the lime juice and cilantro, mixing well.

Next up, the fun part! Begin to layer your bowls: Cover the bottom of your bowl with rice and top with a generous helping of beans, fajita veggies, salsa and green onion, then cheese and/or sour cream if using, and finish it all off with a ginormous handful of chopped salad greens.

Then contemplate heading out to the beach and soaking up the sand and surf!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Soyrizo and Potato Breakfast Burritos

I'm married to a meat eater. It's true. Sometimes people ask me if it is difficult, but truth be told, it's actually pretty easy. We eat vegetarian at home, and he eats meat at work when he wants it. He's not on the road to becoming a vegetarian any time soon, but one thing he has given up is chorizo. Chorizo is a kind of sausage that is made up of so many disgusting animal parts, I can't even attempt to type them here.

Thankfully, there is a nice soy version, called Soyrizo, that is just plain tasty. Here is the Misters breakfast burrito, with vegan options noted.

Ingredients (serves 5)
6 small white potatoes, diced and roasted in olive oil at 400 degrees, for 30 minutes.
1/2 to 1 tube soyrizo
1 onion, diced
4 eggs (optional)
tortillas, one for each person

Saute the onion until soft, then add in the soyrizo and break up any large pieces. If using eggs, add them in and continue to cook until the eggs are done. Mix in your potatoes and serve the soyrizo mixture on warm tortillas with your favorite toppings.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Vegan Kale "Yummy Bowls" with Red Pepper Miso and Garlic Tahini.

Choose your favorite grain, bean and vegetables and make your own yummy bowl!

1.5 cups of grain, such as rice, quinoa, bulgur or couscous
2.5 cups water or broth
1 onion, chopped
1 cup mixed vegetables of your choice ( I used green beans and yellow squash)
1/2 cup beans, such as garbanzo, black bean, or lentil
2 tbsp miso paste

Combine all of the ingredients except the miso in a stockpot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until all of the liquid is absorbed.  Remove from heat and stir in 2 tbsp Red Pepper Miso paste such as:

Tahini Sauce:
Meanwhile, in a food processor combine: 1/2 cup tahini, 3 cloves garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 cup lemon juice and 2 tbsp olive oil. Blend until smooth.

Next assemble your bowl: ladle the grain and bean mixture into your bowl. Top with steamed kale, tahini sauce and a shake or two of hot chili oil. You might try this one:


Monday, July 18, 2011

"You're So Cheesy" Potato Squash Bake

I'll let you in on a little secret: I'm not that great at planning meals. I'm really not. For every post you get here, there are 5 other meals that we had, slung from the hip and none too exciting. But generally, here is how I come up with my recipes: I take whatever vegetable I bought at the store, whatever was on sale or looked particularly appetizing (or here, my friend gave us a gallon bag of fresh yellow squash) and I begin to Google recipes that contain that ingredient. I go through about 10 recipes for inspiration and then get into the kitchen and whip up my own ideas.

I should have called this bake "the great disappearing act" because as soon as it was out of the oven, it was gone!

2 yellow squash, cut into thin circles
1 onion, halved and cut into half moons
about 5 small yellow potatoes, thinly sliced
Italian seasoning
2 big handfuls of shredded cheese of your choice
salt and pepper to taste

Oil a pie pan and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then layer your potatoes around the bottom of the pie pan, overlapping. Then layer on the squash, followed by the onion and sprinkle with seasoning, salt and pepper, and one handful of cheese.

Repeat the layering one more time: Potatoes, squash, onion, seasoning, cheese.

Cook, covered for 30 minutes. Then remove cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Top with sliced green onion and serve with a nice big salad!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Creamy Zucchini Soup

This soup has wow-zappeal! Very green and fresh, perfect for a summer evening.


2 cups zucchini, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped
2.5 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup freshly shaved parmesan cheese
1 cup soy milk
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

sour cream and parsleyfor garnish


Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large stock pot. Add in celery and onion, and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add zucchini and Italian seasoning, and saute another five minutes. Next add broth and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes.

Remove 1/2 of the soup and puree in a blender until smooth, then combine it back into the stockpot, mixing well. Add the soymilk and parmesan, stirring constantly, until the cheese is melted. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and fresh parsley, and a nice baguette.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Flatbread Pizza

Perfect little individual pizzas with a very fresh taste.

flat bread, 1 for each person
mozzarella, sliced
1 jar of roasted red peppers in brine
1 tomato, seeded and sliced thinly
Fresh spinach leaves
fresh parmesan cheese
pepper and dried parsley to garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Layer on to each flat bread: sliced, drained red pepper, spinach, then tomato and finally the mozzarella. Bake directly on the rack, with a cookie sheet on the rack below to catch drippings, until the mozzarella is bubbly. Top with parmesan, parsley and pepper.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Grownup Grilled Cheese

One of the challenges of being a vegetarian, and a mom, is that half of my cooking is done for little ones with picky palates. Most of my culinary accomplishments happen around dinner time and lunch tends to be a fend-for-yourself ordeal.  But today, while making grilled cheese for the kiddos, I realized I could
grown-up-atize this a little bit, and very easily.

I don't use butter in my grilled cheese sandwiches, if you have a cast iron skillet, it will provide enough non-stickiness that you can cut out all the unneeded fat and calories from the traditional, butter-slathered sammie.


Cheese of your choice: pepperjack is a favorite of mine!
tomato, sliced
fresh spinach
Italian dressing

Put 2 slices of cheese between 2 slices of bread and toast, covered,  in a cast iron skillet.  Turn when the bottom is browned and repeat on the other side.

When done, remove from heat, peel apart the sandwich and add in 2 slices of tomato, a layer of fresh spinach and a tsp of Italian dressing. Put sandwich back together and cut in half. Serve immediately.

Friday, July 8, 2011

East Meets West Fusion Burrito

Sweet and savory at the same time, my husband was extremely skeptical that this recipe would come together. But oh boy, did it ever. Veggie-full and delicious!

3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar (or to taste)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper to taste

Get the above ingredients into a large skillet and simmering. Then add:

1 each: carrot, zucchini, green onion and red bell pepper, cut into thin sticks
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 small head of broccoli, cut into small florets
2 cups pinto beans

Simmer for twenty minutes. Then strain out the liquid and discard. Serve in warm tortillas, with a fresh tomato salsa and maybe some fat-free sour cream.

Eggs Benedict

Good for breakfast or dinner, we love eggs benedict! The trickiest part is to learn how to poach eggs. Here is an easy tutorial for this. There are many different ways to poach eggs, some use vinegar (I do not), some use fancy poaching pans. But the easiest way is to use a pot and plain water. It takes about 3 minutes for the eggs to cook. Then scoop them out with a slotted spoon and drain. Serve immediately.

eggs, 1 for each person
English muffins, toasted
hollandaise sauce (I usually buy it premade, it saves time)

Poach the eggs, one at a time.

Top your English muffin with spinach, tomato, egg and hollandaise sauce. Then sprinkle on chili powder and dried parsley. Bon appetit!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Low Fat Veggie Lasagna

I love making homemade pasta sauce. If you don't have the time, you can use your own premade sauce of choice, and add in the extra ingredients from my sauce (such as artichoke hearts and kalamata olives) directly to the lasagna.

Mama Garrett's Favorite Pasta Sauce

2 cans stewed tomatoes
olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 cup of artichoke hearts
1/4 cup of chopped kalamata olives, or other olive of choice

Saute the onion and bell pepper until soft, about five minutes. Add the garlic and seasoning, and continue to cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Then add the stewed tomatoes, artichoke hearts and olives. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.


1 box "no boil" lasagna noodles
1 16. oz container of non-fat ricotta cheese
2 large balls of low-fat mozzarella cheese in water
1 cup of zucchini, thinly sliced into rounds
2 small tomatoes, thinly sliced
parmesan and parsley, to garnish

Coat the bottom of a large casserole dish with sauce and top this with your first layer of noodles. From here  the layering goes like this:

ricotta, smooshed in with fork
zucchini slices
sparingly top with mozzarella slices

I got about 3 layers or so. When you've filled your dish, top with noodles, sauce and sliced fresh tomato. Lastly, top with mozzarella and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes, or until bubbly. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Italian Arugula and Potato Soup

Perhaps it's because summertime in our part of the world is synonymous with endless fog, that I've been feeling so soupy lately. This one is a simple peasant soup, which reminded my husband of the potato soup his mom used to make when he was a kid. It must have been good, the kids ate it up, with seconds and thirds all around!


2 pounds white potatoes, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
2 medium carrots, diced
4 ounces (or about 3 cups) arugula, spinach or other green leafy vegetable
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 loaf stale ciabatta bread, diced into 1 inch cubes (I happened to have this on hand already, but if not, you can toast the chunks in the oven prior to making the soup)
4 garlic cloves, minced
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
hot sauce, for serving

Saute, in a large pot, the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add in the potatoes, stock and seasoning and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Then add in the carrots and cook another 15 minutes. Then remove from heat.

Add in the bread and arugula and cover, let sit for another 5 minutes. Serve with hot sauce on the side, for the grownups who like it spicy!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Artichoke Bruschetta

The perfect snack for our potluck this week to celebrate the official start of summer (even though here in Monterey it's perpetually foggy...hello? Sun? We miss you). It's best served at room temperature.


1  jar (6 oz.) of marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
1 tomato, chopped and seeded
1/3 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup shredded romano cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped greens (I used a spinach/spring mix)
1 garlic clove, minced
4-5 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 large baguette, sliced diagonally into about 20 or 30 slices

shredded romano cheese

In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients (except the bread). Top the slices with the artichoke mixture and broil for about 3 minutes, or until the edges of the bread are browned. Cool for about 5 minutes. Then top with a large shaving of romano cheese and a fresh piece of arugula.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Red Lentil Soup

I've been on a soup kick lately, inspired by a cookbook my mother gave me years ago, that I've only just begun to appreciate, called The Soup Bible. This variation can be found there, although I've tweaked it a bit, because you know, I just can't ever leave a recipe alone!

 My kids love, love, love lentil soup and it is so easy to make.

1.5 cups red lentils
2 onions, minced
1 carrot, chopped
2 minced cloves of garlic
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 bay leaves
a 1/4 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp. turmeric
4 cups vegetable stock, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion, carrot, celery, garlic until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, lentils, bay leaves, spices and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook for about an hour to an hour and a half. Add more stock, as needed, if it gets too thick, and stir occasionally to keep the lentils from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Remove the bay leaves and add the vinegar, salt and pepper. Garnish with lemons, sour cream or parsley.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Asparagus and Potato Chowder

Let me preface this post with a caution: There is no photo on earth that could do this recipe justice. It was "the best soup I've had in a long time" according to the Mister.

I use two methods to make vegetarian and vegan soups thick (not liking to use cream, myself).
1. Make a roux
2. Blend 1/4 of the soup in the blender before serving

It really does make a difference, and I usually use both methods in the same soup, although the blender is the most successful, the roux adds a bit of flavor.

Let's Dive In!


2 cups diced red potatoes
1 pound fresh asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 or 6 cups of vegetable broth
1.5 cups of plain soymilk
1 to 1.5 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup of butter or substitute
4 tbsp. flour
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/4 tsp sage (or two leaves fresh)
1 cup finely shredded cheese of your choice (optional)
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke  (optional)

Saute the onion, celery and garlic in a large pot, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add in the broth, soymilk, salt, pepper, asparagus, potatoes, and herbs and bring to a simmer.

Roux: In a skillet, melt the butter and then add in your flour, mixing with a spoon or whisk until the flour is incorporated and no chunks are left. Be careful to do this  over low heat and not to burn. (You cannot just add the raw/cold flour to the soup, it will only result in lumpy clumps of flour.) Add the roux to the soup, and the liquid smoke, if using.

Continue to simmer the soup until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Then transfer, carefully, about 1/4 of the soup into a blender and puree until smooth. Add this back into the soup, mixing well.

If you want to add cheese, do so now, and cook another two minutes, stirring constantly.

Viola! Asparagus Chowder!

We served ours with a fresh garlic baguette from the local bakery. Heaven.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Asparagus Quiche with Potato Crust and Grilled Romaine

Savory and filling without being heavy, this quiche uses no pastry crust, no butter, no added milk (aside from what's in the cheese). I love this crust so much I may never make another quiche with pastry again!

about 6 red potatoes, thinly sliced
7 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup veggie broth
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
a handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
a handful of shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
about 6 or 7 asparagus spears, whole
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Using a brush, coat the bottom of a pie pan with olive oil and cover the bottom and sides of the pan with the sliced potato.

Meanwhile, saute your onion until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add to the eggs: the cheeses, tomatoes, salt, pepper, onion, broth and spices, mix well.

Pour the egg mix on top of the potatoes and arrange the asparagus in a swirl on top of the egg mix. Sprinkle with a bit more cheese.

 Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, and the top feels springy (bounces back when pushed on), about 45 minutes or so.

Now. Grilled Romaine. Yup, that's right, I said it, cooked lettuce. The husband was skeptical of course, but it ended up tasting like a very healthy version of a Caesar salad. 

I waited until the quiche was about 10 minutes from being done, halved the romaine, brushed it with olive oil and baked it, directly on the rack, at 350 for about 5 minutes each side. Then simply drizzle with a bit more olive oil, a tsp of apple cider vinegar, sprinkle salt and pepper and top with parmesan.

We decided it was better eaten when cooled, rather than hot. There was so much left over, I can't wait to see how the romaine will taste tomorrow, straight out of the fridge! Will it still be good? We'll find out!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Vegan Flour Tortillas-Lard Free

Sundays for me usually entail cleaning and cooking adventures. Today: Tortillas. I never knew homemade tortillas were so easy to make! Just set aside about 45 minutes and you've got homemade goodness.

A little thicker than the store bought variety, but so much more substance! I imagine myself trying out all kind of ideas in the future, like adding spices to make flavored tortillas!

2 cups flour
3/4 cup warm veggie broth
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp. vegetable oil

Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and oil. Add in the broth and stir until it forms a ball. Remove and knead the ball on a lightly floured surface for about 2 minutes.

Then place the ball in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Let rest for 20 minutes.

After the time is up, divide dough into 6 or so balls and place them on a plate (not touching each other). Again, cover with a damp cloth. Let rest another 10 minutes.

One at a time, place a ball on the floured surface and flatten with your hand into a circle. Roll with a rolling pin until very thin, about 8 inches wide.  Place the tortilla-to-be on a hot, un-oiled cast iron skillet and cook for about 30 seconds per side.

The tortillas get bubbly as they cook, this is a good indicator it's time to turn them!

Keep warm by placing them on a cloth covered plate and covering with a dry towel, until ready to eat.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Apple Fauxsages, Roasted Veggies and Herbed Kale with Grilled Onion and Shrooms

As usually happens, I go through several ideas before settling on what to make for dinner every night. If I'm lucky I have an idea to start with. Today I was going  to make enchiladas, but lo and behold: no tortillas! But in the process of looking for a recipe for those doomed enchiladas, I stumbled across a recipe for apple faux-sausage and just so happened to have everything on hand! I've made wheat-meat before, but never sausages. It turns out this was fairly simple, quite yummy and cheaper than the store bought versions!

The recipe itself is pretty simple but do give yourself an hour or so, as they take some time to cook!

Apple Fauxsages

1/2 cup pinto beans
1 cup cold broth
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 small apple, diced finely
1.5 cups wheat gluten
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp steak seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 tbsp soy sauce

Mash the beans in a large bowl and add all of the other ingredients. Mix well. Then divide the dough into 6 parts and place on a square of foil, molding into little sausage shapes. Wrap the log up in foil, twisting at the ends. Steam for 45 minutes, or until firm. Then unwrap and grill or brown the sausages in a pan.

The sides: Roasted Beets and Acorn Squash

My husband has never had cooked beets before, so I decided to roast up a few and see how the natives liked it. The results: 3 out of 5 thought it was "YUM!" The other 2 are decidedly not fans of this deep red root vegetable. Me? I'm definately a die hard beet lover!

3 beets
1 acorn squash
olive oil
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim the tops of of your beets and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for 20 minutes. Meanwhile:

 Slice the acorn squash in half and brush with olive oil. Salt and pepper the inside of the acorn squash. After the beets have cooked for 20 minutes, place the acorn squash face down on the cookie sheet and cook them all (beets and acorn squash) for about 35 minutes. (So about an hour for the beets total, while the acorn squash only cook for 1/2 that.)

Next: The Kale

My husand is slowly becoming a kale-aholic. Neither of us were raised eating cooked greens and maybe this has helped in some way, since we never developed an aversion to them as children.

1/2 onion, diced
about 6 mushrooms
1 clove of garlic, chopped
3 cups kale
1 handful of fresh herbs

Saute the onion and mushrooms until browned, then toss in the kale, garlic and herbs and continue to cook until desired done-ness (We like our greens slightly less-cooked than traditional, but preference is key here!)

And the plate: