Empowered Noodle Bowl + A Giveaway of The Oh She Glows Cookbook!

DSC08248I was thrilled to have an opportunity to post a recipe from Angela Liddon’s The Oh She Glows Cookbook AND be able to give a copy away to one lucky reader! I’ve been glued to this cookbook since I received it because not only is it full of beautiful photographs (about every recipe has a pic), but the recipes look downright delicious. Like Liddon, I had some unhealthy eating (or should I say, not eating) habits before I went vegan. I can truly say that a vegan diet saved my life. This is a great cookbook to have in your collection because it is full of tasty, healthy recipes that use only whole, minimally-processed ingredients. If you’ve been a fan of the Oh She Glows website, you’re going to love this cookbook with 75 brand-spankin’ new recipes, plus 25 updated reader favorites. So if you want to win this beautiful cookbook, leave a comment; it’s that easy! You have until midnight (PST) on Sunday, April 6. I’ll announce the winner on Monday, April 7th. 

Empowered Noodle2

You’ll love Liddon’s Empowered Noodle Bowl, two ways: Thai Peanut & Orange-Maple Miso on page 153. I decided to make both dressings and honestly, I can’t tell you which one is my favorite; they’re both delicious. The Thai Peanut is thicker with some garlic kick, whereas the Orange-Maple Miso is a tad thinner and milder. They’re both easy enough to make, so why not do both? This is a fantastic lunch or light dinner, that comes together rather quickly. I like how the veggies take precedence over the noodles—it’s not a heavy pasta dish, but rather, a bowl of fresh veggies with some noodles thrown in and coated with a tasty dressing. A winner for sure.

Serves 4


Thai Peanut Sauce

1 large garlic clove
2 Tbs toasted sesame oil
3 Tbs natural smooth peanut butter
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
3 Tbs fresh lime juice
2 Tbs + 1 tsp low-sodium tamari
1-2 tsp granulated sugar

Orange-Maple Miso Dressing

3 Tbs light miso
2 Tbs rice vinegar
1 Tbs toasted sesame oil
1 Tbs tahini
1/4 C fresh orange juice
1 Tbs water
1 tsp maple syrup


4 oz gluten-free soba noodles
Extra virgin olive oil, for the noodles
16 oz bag frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 English cucumber, diced
1 carrot, julienned
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 C cilantro, chopped
Sesame seeds, for serving


To make the Thai Peanut sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until completely smooth. Do the same for the Orange-Maple Miso Dressing.

Empowered NoodleCook the noodles according to instructions on the package (5-9 minutes). Drain, rinse under cold water and transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle with a little of the olive oil, then toss with the veggies and dressing of your choice. Top individual servings with sesame seeds and enjoy! If you like the looks of this recipe, you’re going to want this cookbook, so leave a comment and you just may get it! Good luck!

DSC08246With the Thai Peanut Sauce
DSC08247With the Orange-Maple Miso Dressing

 Reprinted by arrangement with AVERY, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © GLO BAKERY CORPORATION, 2014.

Quinoa & Kale Pitas with Tahini Dressing

QuinoaKalePitasThese are packed with some of my favorite ingredients! Quinoa is loaded with protein and the kale is well . . . it’s kale! We all know kale is high in iron, calcium and several vitamins. Check out these 10 Health Benefits of this super green. I also threw in some pepitas, which are rich in vitamins, beta carotene, and protein. I made a pretty big batch so that I can nosh all week (especially post workouts), but feel free to halve the recipe if you’re fearful of getting quinoa’d out. (Inconceivable! ;-) )



2 C tri-color quinoa
4 C vegetable broth or water
1 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 C red onion, diced
3/4 C green onion, sliced
2 C mushrooms, diced
1 bunch kale, leaves removed and chopped (stems discarded)
3/4 C pepitas


2 large cloves of garlic
1 Tbs tahini
2 Tbs yellow/light miso
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1/2 C unsweetened almond milk
1/2 C cold water
2 Tbs chia seesds
1/4 tsp black pepper

The rest

Pita pockets
Avocado slices


I recommend making the dressing first. It’ll be a little runny, but letting it sit for 20 minutes or so, will allow the chia seeds to do their thing and thicken up the dressing. In a food processor or blender, combine all of the dressing ingredients and blend until smooth. Set aside.

DSC08213In a large soup pot, combine the broth (or water) with the quinoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover, and cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.

DSC08214Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet. Add the red and green onions. Saute until softened and a tiny bit browned. Add the kale and mushrooms and saute until the the kale is bright green, about 5 minutes.
onionskaleFold the veggies and pepitas into the cooked quinoa.
DSC08215I placed a little dressing inside the pita,  along with a slice or two of avocado, then added the filling, and topped with some more dressing. Enjoy!

Tofu & Shiitake Stir-fry with Soba Noodles

sobanoodlestirfryThis is such an easy and tasty dinner to throw together—as long as you remember to give the veggies time to marinate. Even it’s just an hour, that’s quite all right. Feel free to use your own favorite veggies, but keep in mind, that you may have to marinate certain vegetables separate, depending on whether or not they need longer cooking time. The vegetables I chose could be all cooked together at the same time, so it made this dish a breeze.



1/2 C tamari
2 Tbs brown rice vinegar
2 tsp agave
2 tsp sesame seed oil
2 Tbs sherry
1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs ginger root, grated
1/2 C green onion, sliced

The rest: 

8-oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
14-oz pkg. extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and cubed
3/4 C snowpeas, cut in half
6 to 8 oz buckwheat soba noodles ( I like Hakubaku brand. They come in a package of 3 separate rolls of noodles. I used 2 of the 3)
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs arrowroot


Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a resealable bag. Mix it up well, then add the mushrooms, tofu and snowpeas. Coat the vegetables thoroughly and lay flat in the refrigerator for at least an hour, turning over once, half way through.

DSC08184In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Drain and reserve the marinade in a measuring cup; you should have about a 1/3 of a cup; set aside. Saute the vegetables over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, or until they begin brown. Meanwhile, heat the water for the noodles. They’ll only take 4 minutes to cook once adding them to boiling water, so it will all come together pretty quickly.

When the vegetables are about done, whisk the arrowroot into the reserved marinade. Make sure you don’t have any clumps. Pour it into the skillet, coat the vegetables well, and reduce the heat to low.

DSC08187Drain the soba noodles and serve with the vegetable mix on top. Enjoy!


Tempeh-Salad Sandwich


If you want to call this “Egg Salad” or “Tuna Salad,” go right ahead. It certainly has the feel, so to speak. I do put some kelp powder in this salad, so it can have that tuna-ish essence. I made this version somewhat chunky, but I’ve also made it more like a pate. If that’s more your fancy, I suggest using a food processor to mash up the tempeh, then finely cut the onions instead of chopping them. Either way, this is a healthy lunch that will keep in the fridge for a few days. Serve on some toasted bread with lettuce, and if you like, a slice of vegan cheese.


8-oz tempeh, cut into large chunks
1/3 C onion, chopped (I prefer red onion in this, but I was out)
1/3 C vegan mayo
1-1/2 Tbs yellow miso mixed with 1 Tbs water
1/4 C fresh parsley, minced or chopped
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp dried dill
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 tsp kelp powder
1 Tbs water

The rest…optional ingredients

vegan cheese
cucumber slices


Steam the tempeh for 15-20 minutes.


Transfer the tempeh to a bowl (or the food processor) and mash up until your reach the desired consistency.


Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Makes about 2-1/2 cups. Enjoy!


Vegan & Gluten-Free Mini Quiches

quichesI’ve been wanting to figure out how to make vegan mini quiches for a while now, but I wasn’t sure where to start. Do I use tofu? Flour? Wave a magic wand? Well, when I came across this recipe, I knew my search was over. I only made one modification and that was to add the veggies to the batter instead of just topping the batter with them. Doing so, will give you about 4 more quiches (16 instead of 12). That works great as long as you have 2 muffin tins. Otherwise, you could add your veggies just to the tops. I was thoroughly impressed with these. They taste like a cross between an actual egg-y quiche and a biscuit. They’re packed with protein and make a great quick breakfast on the go—just zap in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and you’re good to go. (These are especially ideal for a post-workout snack).


2-1/2 C garbanzo/chickpea flour (I also had some garbanzo & flava flour mix that worked great, too)
3 C cold, filtered water
3 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp salt
Cooking spray

Use your favorites, but I like to use 1-1/2 to 2 cups of chopped . . .
green onion
Other options: veggie bacon or ham, bell pepper, sauteed garlic, broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, arugula, basil, Swiss chard, shredded (and squeezed dry) zucchini, peas, . . . the list is endless.
Note: I used sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil) in a batch and I recommend easing up on the oil in the batter by at least a tablespoon. Also, throw in some chia seeds. Pepitas or sunflower seeds would also be great additions.


Preheat oven to 500 and lightly spray the muffin tins. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, water, oil, and salt. Be sure to whisk until all the lumps are gone and  you have a smooth batter. You can then pour the batter evenly among 12 muffin cups and just add your veggies to the top, OR (as I would recommend) add the veggies to the batter.


Fill the muffin tins . . .

DSC08149Bake for 14 minutes, then crack the oven door slightly, and cook another 11 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes or so, and remove with a knife. Enjoy!


Black Bean and Chick’n Enchiladas

EnchiladasSorry it’s been so long since my last post; been a busy bee, I guess. Sometimes, it just feels like a faux meat night and I was craving these enchiladas. They’re a breeze to prepare, but taste like you slaved away in the kitchen. This would also be a good meal to entice those meat-eating friends of yours to come to the table and give veganism a chance.


1 16-oz pkg. vegan chicken strips, defrosted (Morning Star, Simple Truth, or Gardein brands all make their own version)
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 14-oz can Rotel (tomatoes with diced green chilies), drained
1 16-oz jar 505 Brand green chili sauce
1 C Tofutti sour cream
4-oz Tofutti cream cheese
1/4 C almond milk
Optional: 1/4 to 1/2 C vegan pepper jack shreds
Optional: salsa, guacamole
7 flour tortillas



Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl whisk together the sour cream, cream cheese, vegan pepper jack (if using) and milk. Stir in the Rotel, black beans and chick’n strips.

DSC08093Scoop the chick’n mixture evenly into 6-7 flour tortillas and place into a 9×13 baking dish. Cover with the green chili sauce.

DSC08096Cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes. (Make sure the foil isn’t touching the tortillas too much, because it will stick to them). Enjoy with some guacamole and salsa!


White Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chips

cookiesYep, that’s right. White chocolate-peanut butter cookies. I have to thank A Wonderful Vegan Life for turning me onto this peanut butter:

DSC08085Yeah, thanks a lot, because now I’m hooked! ;-)

Well, this takes peanut butter cookies to a whole new level . . . and the chocolate chips?! Forgetaboutit  . . .


1/2 C Earth Balance margarine
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C White Chocolate Wonderful Peanut Butter
Egg replacer for 2 eggs (I used Ener-G Egg Replacer)
1 Tbs oil
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 to 3/4 C chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350. Using a mixer, combine the Earth Balance, peanut butter, and sugar. Once blended, add the egg-replacer, oil and extracts; mix well. In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda. While the mixer is running, add the dry ingredients a little at time. Incorporate all of the ingredients thoroughly, Next, stir in the chocolate chips using a spoon or spatula.

DSC08086Take small handfuls of dough and roll into a ball—as best you can; it’s not easy with the chocolate chips, then squish them down a little on the baking sheet.

DSC08087Bake for 10-12 minutes and enjoy!

Quinoa & Veggies with a Tahini-Miso Dressing

Quinoa2Quinoa is such a fantastic lunch option. It’s packed with protein and it can be made so many different ways, that it’s pretty hard to get bored with it. I wanted a light dressing for this and came up with this tangy tahini-miso goodness. I also love adding nuts for a bit of crunch to these types of dishes, so I threw in some toasted almond slivers. Delish!



1 C quinoa (I like this Rainbow Quinoa from Alter Eco)
2 C vegetable broth or water
1-1/2 to 2 C mushrooms, sliced
6 green onions, sliced
1 C cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 C slivered almonds, toasted


1 tsp tahini
1 Tbs yellow miso
1/8 C almond milk
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
1/8 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp garlic powder
pinch of salt



Rinse the quinoa in fine mesh strainer with cold water. Combine it with the broth (or water) in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until there is just a little bit of water left, about 12-15 minutes. Add the mushrooms and green onions, but don’t combine—cover and let the veggies steam 3-4 minutes. For the dressing, whisk all of the ingredients together until smooth.

DSC08038Once the mushrooms have softened, stir them into the quinoa. Add the tomatoes, nuts and dressing. I recommend adding a little dressing at a time in case you don’t want it all. I had a little left over.

DSC08041Gently fold and combine everything. Enjoy!


Pumpkin-Spiced Pancakes

What a fabulous fall morning for these pancakes!


The Ninth Grader found this recipe last week and we finally got around to making them. The original recipe is not vegan; easy enough to remedy. . . and we also upped the spices to give these more flavor. With the leftover canned pumpkin, I’ll be making vegan pumpkin-spiced lattes tomorrow, which I’m definitely looking forward to.


1-1/2 C almond milk
1 C pumpkin puree
Egg-replacer for one egg (I used Ener-G Egg replacer)
2 Tbs oil
2 Tbs vinegar
2 C flour
3 Tbs brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp allspice
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt

The Rest:

Earth Balance margarine


In a large bowl, combine the milk, pumpkin puree, egg-replacer, oil, and vinegar. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Slowly whisk in the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture.


Place a flat pan over medium heat and spray with oil. Let it preheat for a minute or two. Scoop 1/3 cupfuls of batter onto the hot pan.


Let cook 3-5 minutes, then flip.


I transferred the cooked ones to a pan, covered with foil and placed in a warm oven until all pancakes were cooked. This recipe makes 12 pancakes.



Ultimate Green Protein Smoothie


A friend gave me this recipe over the weekend and I’ve made 3 of these so far! I added a tablespoon of chia seeds because of their amazing health benefits, but you can leave them out if you’d like. Please note, you don’t have to use peanut butter AND protein powder, but if you omit the protein powder, I suggest using vanilla almond milk or a vanilla flavoring for taste. Bottoms up!

INGREDIENTS: (1-16 oz smoothie)

1-1/2 C unsweetened almond milk
1 handful of fresh spinach
1/2 a ripe avocado
1 Tbs peanut butter
1 scoop vegan vanilla protein powder
1 Tbs chia seeds
2-3 ice cubes


Blend 2-3 minutes in a blender until smooth. Enjoy!

Rosemary Drop Biscuits


The rain is continuing to wreak havoc on our state. It took a break yesterday, but started up again last night and hasn’t let up since. Tomorrow is shaping up to be another day off for the Ninth Grader. We are so lucky where we’re at right now, that we aren’t experiencing flooding in my neighborhood, but other sections aren’t fairing as well. We’re so thankful we’re not in Lyons, Estes Park, Boulder, and other mountain towns where people have lost their homes. Hundreds of people are unaccounted for. Please keep Colorado and those affected by the floods in your thoughts!

We’re grateful to be warm, dry and safe in our home and able to have veggie chili simmering in the crock pot, listening to music, and spending our day together. The Ninth Grader made these the other night for dinner and I wanted to share them all of you—an easy addition to any meal.


1 C whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 C flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 C Earth Balance, melted
2/3 C almond milk
1 Tbs dried rosemary


Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Whisk together the dry ingredients, then stir in the milk and melted Earth Balance. It’ll be sticky, but that’s OK; just incorporate everything the best you can.


We had a very curious visitor stop by . . .


Take 1/4 C-sized pieces of dough and place them on the baking sheet. We got 12 biscuits out of the batch.


Bake 12-15 minutes, or until they begin to brown around the edges.  Enjoy!


Rainy Day Tofu Scramble


So Mother Nature has not been happy with us. A couple of weeks ago, we were having extreme heat that schools actually closed down for a day. Now, Denver and Northern Colorado is having extreme rain and flooding. (And we can’t forget about the snowstorm in May!) Fort Collins is shutting down bridges and closing up shop. Other cities, like Lyons are being completely evacuated. Many of the mountain towns have no water, electricity and gas! We’re fortunately doing fine where we’re at, but other neighborhoods in Fort Collins are gearing up for some serious flooding.


This is between Lyons and Estes Park. Image from Estes Park News.

Yikes! I hope everyone stays safe and that this rain gives us a break!

So while we wait it out, might as well eat, right? Here’s a quick, easy, and versatile breakfast that will be ready in minutes.


1 Tbs olive oil
1 14-oz tub extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and crumbled
6 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 C green onions, sliced
1/2 C black olives
A few dashes of turmeric
A few dashes of cumin
A couple dashes of garlic salt
A couple of dashes of black pepper
1/4 C salsa
1 tomato, diced
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
Daiya cheese shreds
Flour tortillas, optional


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the mushrooms and green onion and saute over medium, heat for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms cook down a little. Add the turmeric, cumin, garlic salt, and pepper. Next, add the tofu and black olives and saute 5 minutes, then stir in the salsa. Cook for a few minutes until everything is hot. Serve either in a bowl, or tortilla along with some Daiya, tomatoes, and avocado. Enjoy!

Summertime Fruit and Greens Salad


I was needing to bring a dish to an outdoor potluck and The Ninth Grader actually had this idea and it sounded pretty good, so I went to work in the kitchen. Not only was it gone by the end of the night, I’ve already emailed the recipe to those who requested it. It has a light, tangy dressing that is perfect for a summertime get together.



1/8 C + 1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs + 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp sugar
1 Tbs poppy seeds


8 C greens, chopped (I used iceberg and green leaf)
2 15-oz cans mandarin oranges, drained
2 6-oz containers raspberries
1 C Craisins
1 C pomegranate seeds
1 C walnuts, chopped


In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. In a large bowl, combine the greens.


Carefully fold in the fruit and walnuts, then drizzle the dressing on top.


Again, gently fold or toss the salad to incorporate the dressing. Enjoy!


Garbanzo-White Bean Truffle Spread


This is a variation on the white bean truffle spread that I decided to whip up for our July 4th party. I’ve made the original version several times, but I wanted to change things up a little and I’m thinking I like this new version even better!


1 15-oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 15-oz can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 large (or two medium) clove of garlic, halved or quartered
1 tsp salt
5-6 large green onions (white and green parts) sliced
4 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs truffle oil


Add the salt and garlic to a food processor and process until the garlic is pretty well chopped up. Add the beans, lemon juice, salt, and green onions; puree until smooth. While the machine is running, add the truffle oil; blend well. If you have time, let it chill for an hour or two before serving. Enjoy on crackers, toasted baguette slices, or veggies.


Polenta Marsala


It’s great to be back with a new recipe! I haven’t worked with polenta much, so I decided to take the easy route and use the pre-cooked version.


It’s great when you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Having always liked Marsala-anything, I wanted to give it a try with polenta, another new favorite around here. The recipe calls for flour, but feel free to make this meal gluten-free by using another type of flour, such as rice flour. The Husband called this “f***ing brilliant.” Need I say more?


1-18oz tube of pre-cooked polenta (I used the basil garlic variety)
1-2 Tbs olive oil
2 C mushrooms, sliced (I recommend cremini or baby portobello)
1/2 C green onion, sliced
3 Tbs Earth Balance
1/4 C flour, any variety
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp black pepper
1  to 1-1/4 C vegetable broth
1/4 C Marsala cooking wine


Slice the polenta into about 18-19 slices.


In a small bowl, combine the flour, marjoram, and pepper; set aside. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and add the polenta slices. You may have to do a couple of batches, like I did. Brown the polenta, about 5-7 minutes on each side.


Once they are all browned, set aside. Wipe out the skillet and add the Earth Balance. After it melts, whisk in the flour mixture. Over medium heat, add the broth and Marsala, little by little, continually whisking until it’s smooth. You may have some extra broth leftover at this point, but hang onto it in case you need to thin the sauce out more later. Add the mushrooms and green onion, and mix together. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mushrooms cook down a little. You may need to add a little more broth to thin the sauce.


Add the polenta slices to the pan and carefully fold them into the sauce. Simmer on low until the slices are heated through again. Enjoy!

Vegan Oven Tacos



Every week, when I’m writing up a grocery list, I always ask for dinner suggestions. It never fails. “Tacos.” It’s become a joke around here. When I saw this recipe on Pinterest for Oven Tacos, I knew my hegans would be very happy with a vegan version. These were definitely a hit. I had to laugh when the original recipe said that after the ground beef is cooked (yack!) “drain the liquid.” Oh, just say what it is! Grease! Melted animal fat! Ahhh . . . I love it; being vegan means never having to say, “drain the liquid/grease/fat.” Speaking of which, the Boca crumbles have zero fat, I use “no fat” refried beans, and there is no fat in the tomato sauce. Obviously, these aren’t totally fat free, but can you imagine the fat content alone in the original ones? Yikes! So, not only are these amazing, they’re actually healthy for you. I’ve discovered these great whole grain taco shells that really are delicious. Psst . . . by the way, this makes A LOT. I made 13 tacos and had some filling left over, so I recommend either serving these to a crowd, or freezing half the filling for the next taco night.




1 bag Boca Crumbles

1/2 large onion, chopped

1 Tbs olive oil

1  15-oz can no fat refried beans

1 small can diced green chilies

1 packet taco seasoning

1  8-oz can tomato sauce

Daiya cheese shreds

13-14 taco shells


green onion, sliced

sliced black olives

fresh cilantro, chopped

diced tomatoes

guacamole or diced avocado



Preheat the oven to 400. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and saute until softened and beginning to brown. Add the Boca Crumbles and cook 4-5 minutes, or until they are heated through. (No need to drain any “liquid”)! In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the seasoning mix with 1/2 to 3/4 C of water;  stir into the Boca mixture. Next, add the tomato sauce, green chilies, and beans. Combine well over medium-low heat.



Fill the taco shells with the mixture. I wanted to leave plenty of room for toppings, so I filled them about a third of the way up, but feel free to use as little or as much as you want. Like I said, I made 13 tacos—enough to fill a 9×13 baking dish, so if you’re making more, you’ll want a larger dish. And be careful, they break easily with the thick filling inside (especially after they’re baked). Sprinkle with some Daiya cheese.



Bake for 10 minutes. The bottom portion of the shell (that has the Boca filling) will have the awesomeness of a soft taco, but the flavor of corn. THEN, the top half is crunchy—best of both worlds!


Load them up with your favorite toppings and enjoy!


Tempeh Lettuce Wraps


Lettuce wraps are a favorite around here, especially since we can be picky and add what toppings we want. Oh, and they’re fresh and easy to make. I suggest having all of your ingredients out, ready to go, and even chopped before anything else; it just makes life easier. I was inspired by a Vegetarian Times recipe, but I made lots of changes by adding ingredients and omitting some. That’s the beauty of these . . . they’re so versatile.



2 8oz pkg. tempeh, broken into chunks
5 large mushrooms, diced
1 can water chestnuts, chopped (I didn’t have any, but I would have used them if I did, so these are certainly optional)
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs fresh garlic, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1-1/4 C vegetable broth
1/4 C fresh mint, chopped
1/8 C lime juice
1 Tbs tamari
1 Tbs toasted brown rice vinegar
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp sriracha
1/4 tsp brown sugar


1/8 C lime juice
1/8 C water
1/8 C sugar
2 Tbs tamari
1 Tbs brown rice vinegar
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 Tbs yellow  miso
salt and pepper, to taste


2 carrots, shredded
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced into strips
Fresh basil, sliced into strips
1 C green onions, sliced
1 avocado, sliced into thin strips
1/2 C chopped peanuts and slivered almonds (also chopped)
12-16 large lettuce leaves


Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. To make the filling, pulse the tempeh in a food processor. Depending on your preference, you can pulse it until you’re left with course pieces, or process it a bit more like I did. It can be difficult to get a consistent texture if you want larger pieces.


Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the ginger and garlic. Cook for 1 minute, then add the tempeh (and water chestnuts, if suing) and broth. Cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Uncover, add the mushrooms, increase heat to medium-high, and cook ten minutes. Stir in the remaining filling ingredients and heat thoroughly.


Since you were so efficient in your prep work . . .  ;-) you’re ready to fill the lettuce wraps! Place a scoop in the center of the lettuce leaf and add your favorite toppings, and drizzle with about a tablespoon of the sauce. Enjoy!


Veggie Bowties with Mushrooms and Walnuts


This always makes for a great, quick lunch—or even a few lunches. I love veggie pastas and this one, from Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers, is made up of spinach, beets, and red bell pepper. Aside from the wonderful flavor, it doesn’t hurt that there are 8 grams of protein per serving (1/4 C), as well as vitamin C and iron.



8-oz vegetable bowtie (farfalle) pasta

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 C mushrooms, sliced

1/2 C walnuts, chopped

2 Tbs Earth Balance

Salt and pepper


Cook pasta according to package instructions. In the meantime, melt the Earth Balance over medium heat in a small skillet. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the walnuts and saute them 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the mushrooms and saute until they begin to brown; season with salt and pepper. Combine the mushroom mixture with the pasta and if needed, season with more salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Vegan “Buttermilk” Cornbread (And more snow on the way)


When I made chili and cornbread last week when it was snowy, I figured it was going to be the last hurrah for cold weather and it’d be a while before I’d be making chili again. Wrongo, Bucko. The forecast is calling for another 3-6 inches! What in the hell is going on with Colorado weather? We had just put away the plastic sheeting and boards we used to cover the veggie boxes, so now we have to drag them out again. Amazingly, my peas have survived the previous onslaughts of snow . . .


As has the spinach and kale . . .


I’m really not happy about this weather, but at least it’s expected to be gone by Friday. It does give me an excuse to whip up some of our new favorite soup for tomorrow night’s dinner. I’m also thrilled it will be gone for the weekend since we are headed to Boulder for a weekend getaway which will include another amazing dinner at The Black Cat. So if you’re experiencing the same discombobulated weather, I think you’ll enjoy this delicious cornbread. The Eighth Grader found this recipe and together, we veganized it, made a few changes, and he threw it all together. Easy to make and delicious!


1/2 C Earth Balance
1/3 C sugar (we cut the original amount in half)
3 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer + 4 Tbs warm water
1 C almond milk + 1-1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar (to make the “buttermilk”)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 C cornmeal
1 C flour
1/2 tsp salt


Preheat oven to 375. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar; combine it well with the butter. Add the egg-replacer, the milk/cider combo, and the baking soda. Combine well, then whisk in the cornmeal, flour, and salt. You’ll have a thick batter.


Pour into a lightly greased, 8″ baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.


Slice and enjoy!


Cashew Alfredo and Roasted Asparagus



The Alfredo recipe is from The Kind Life and is probably the best vegan Alfredo sauce I’ve tried thus far. The taste and consistency is perfect. The only thing I added was some nutritional yeast and some sliced mushrooms. Paired with the asparagus, it was a fantastic meal!



1 C raw cashews

2 Tbs pine nuts

1-1/2 C water

4 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp garlic, minced

1/16 tsp nutmeg

1-1/2 tsp salt (I used 1 tsp)

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 C nutritional yeast

4 C pasta (I used 16 oz of orecchiette, a.k.a “suction cup pasta)

1 to 2 C mushrooms, sliced


1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed

1-2 Tbs olive oil





Preheat the oven to 400. In a large bowl, coat the asparagus with the olive oil and season with salt; set aside. To make the sauce, grind the nuts in a blender until you reach a fine powder. Add the nutritional yeast, water, lemon juice, garlic, nutmeg, and salt. Blend until completely smooth—about 1 minute. Transfer to a medium saucepan and whisk over medium heat until it begins to boil. Reduce heat and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes; stir in the black pepper and mushrooms. It won’t take long to thicken up and stir it often to keep it from burning.



Transfer the asparagus to a baking sheet and as soon as you add your pasta to a pot to boil it, throw the asparagus in the oven. Incidentally, they’re both take about 14 minutes to cook.


Turn the asparagus halfway through—about 7 minutes. Cook another 7 minutes.



Drain the pasta and serve with sauce ladled on top. (The Eighth Grader cut up his asparagus and added it to the pasta and loved it). Enjoy!



Roman Pasta Soup with Potatoes


This is definitely a carb-lover’s soup! You certainly don’t have to use pasta and potatoes, but I think they work really well together in this soup. I used to make this soup a lot about ten or twelve years ago, but sort of forgot about it, especially since it used real bacon, but like most meat dishes, this one is easy to veganize. It’s incredibly easy to make and versatile, too. I think some chopped kale or mushrooms would be great additions.


1 Tbs olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 veggie bacon slices, diced

1 large onion, chopped

1/3 C fresh parsley, chopped

8-9 C vegetable broth

3 medium russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced

2 C pasta shells, uncooked

Black pepper, to taste

Daiya mozzarella


In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the onions and veggie bacon and cook 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley and cook another 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and broth and cook over medium heat about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are slightly tender. Add the pasta and cook 10 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked through. Season with black pepper and serve with Daiya cheese on top. Enjoy!

Field Roast and Avocado Burritos


Yikes, it’s been a while. I have so many new recipes on my list to make, but I’ve been so busy with various different projects, that throwing together a simple favorite has been all I’ve had time for. I’ll get back into the swing of things. I can’t tell you how happy I am to be emerging from the cold and depressing days of winter! We even got our garden started this weekend. (I’ll be bringing you Garden Watch soon). In the meantime, here’s a fast and simple meal that is ready in less than 30 minutes.


1 Tbs chipotle-flavored olive oil (or regular)

1/2 C yellow or white onion, chopped

1/2 C red onion, chopped

4 Field Roast Sausages, Italian Seasoning flavor, crumbled

2 avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced

4 Flour tortillas

Other (optional) burrito fillings: vegan sour cream, salsa, cilantro, diced tomatoes, Daiya cheese




Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the onions. Cook 5-7 minutes, or until they soften. Add the Field Roast and cook over medium heat until heated through, again, for 5-7 minutes.



On a warmed tortilla, layer on some sour cream, Field Roast mixture, avocados, and any other burrito fillings you want. Roll up and enjoy! (See, I told you it was easy)!



Quinoa Pasta with Kale and Mushrooms



This is a very quick and healthy lunch. It’s also a good idea to munch on if you’re feeling under the weather since it has immune-boosting ingredients like kale, mushrooms, garlic, and pepita seeds. Regardless, it’ll hit the spot!


8-oz quinoa pasta, veggie curls (I used Ancient Harvest brand)

2-3 C chopped kale (I used red kale)

2 C diced or quartered mushrooms

1/2 C green onions, sliced

1/2 C pepitas seeds

1 Tbs olive oil or 2 Tbs Earth Balance

2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed

Salt and pepper, to taste


Cook the pasta according to package instructions. You don’t want to overcook quinoa pasta, as it tends to get mushy if you do. Drain and set aside.


Using the same pot, heat the olive oil or Earth Balance and add the garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the kale, mushrooms, and green onions and cook 5-7 minutes, or until they soften.



Once the veggies are cooked down a little, stir in the pasta and pepita seeds. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!

Fruity Snack Balls


These are such a great snack and take minutes to make! I LOVE these (and so will kids). They come from Vegan Cooking for Carnivores and the only thing I added was about 2 tablespoons of chia seeds. I try to throw chia seeds in all kinds of dishes, especially breakfast/fruity/smoothie things. Check out these 10 reasons you should eat them. You can use just about any dried fruit or nuts for these, such as apricots, apples, raisins, even dried blueberries. I also think mixing in a tablespoon of almond butter or peanut butter would be dee-licious! The original recipe says it makes a great crumbled cereal topper as well. The recipe also says it makes 2-1/2 dozen, but I got exactly 2 dozen–just depends on how small you make them.


3/4 C unsweetened shredded coconut

3/4 C dried cherries

1 C dried mango

1/2 C dried cranberries

1 C sliced raw almonds

2 Tbs chia seeds



Toss the first four ingredients into the food processor and blend for a full minute.


Add the almonds and blend again for another full minute.


I then transferred the mixture to a bowl and stirred in the chia seeds.


Take small handfuls and squeeze, then shape into a ball. Repeat. Enjoy!


Quinoa with Dried Apricots and Black Beans


The next time someone asks you, “Where do you get your protein?” you can (politely) point out this dish as one of numerous options. Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 amino acids essential to human health. It offers up roughly 8 grams of protein per cup and also passes along calcium, iron, folate, manganese, and other vitamins. Black beans also carry nearly 15 grams of protein per cup, so add some veggies and you have healthy lunch!


1/2 C red quinoa, rinsed and drained

1/2 C regular quinoa, rinsed and drained

1 tsp Better than Bouillon paste

1-1/2 C water

1 C fresh cilantro, chopped

1 C green onions, sliced

1 C dried apricots, chopped

1/3 C pepitas (toasted pumpkin seeds)

1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp lime juice

2 Tbs red wine vinegar

2 Tbs olive oil


In a medium sauce pan, whisk together the bouillon and water; bring to a boil. Stir in the quinoa, cover and cook on low for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the cilantro, green onion, apricots, pepita seeds, salt, lime juice, red wine vinegar, and olive oil.


Once the quinoa is finished, add it, along with the black beans to the bowl.


Combine well and enjoy! (You can also chill it in a covered dish and serve cold).

Vegan Herbed Cream Cheese


I think non vegans would find it pretty hard to know this is nondairy. (And when is it not fun to fool omnivores)? This is a Tofutti cream cheese-based dip/spread, but you could easily reverse the ratio of cream cheese and sour cream in this recipe and make it a sour cream-based one. It works great as a dip, dolloped on a baked potato, cracker spread, bagel topper, or sandwich condiment. It was ideal for veggie wraps . . .



12-oz container of Tofutti cream cheese
1/4 C Tofutti sour cream
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbs dried minced onion
1 tsp salt
2 large green onion, sliced
1 Tbs lemon juice


Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Store in an airtight container and keep chilled until using. Enjoy!

Curry in a Hurry


I’ve never made a curry sauce before, but I had a general idea of what went in it. I did make a rookie mistake, however, of trying to make it a little thicker by adding a smidgen of arrowroot and water. It made it a little clumpy and a bit too thick . . .it didn’t affect the taste, but I recommend not trying to thicken it up. All in all, it turned out delicious and I’d definitely make this again, especially because it came together in no time. I didn’t make it spicy, but we did top off our servings with some sriracha, which was perfect! I steamed some veggies, but you can saute them, too.


2 C long grain white rice

3 C water

2 tsp Better than Bouillon paste


1 Tbs olive oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed

3 Tbs curry powder

1 can coconut milk

1/2 C water

1/2 tsp Better than Bouillon

1 Tbs sugar

1 tsp dried basil

3/4 tsp dried ginger

Salt and pepper

The rest:

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2″ pieces

1 C edamame

1 C mushrooms, sliced

1/2 C green onion, sliced

1 can sliced water chestnuts

Optional: Sriracha or other hot sauce



Whisk together the 3 cups of water and 2 tsp of bouillon paste; bring to a boil. Stir in the rice and cook on low for 15 minutes. Prepare your veggies how you’d like: steaming or sauteing. (minus the green onions)


Meanwhile, to make the sauce, heat the olive oil and then stir in the curry powder; cook for 2 minutes.


Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Combine the 1/2 C of water and 1/2 tsp bouillon in a cup, then add to the sauce pan. Whisk in the coconut milk and season with the basil, ginger, and salt, and pepper; add in the sugar. Let it simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Ladle over the cooked rice and veggies and add some heat, if desired. Top with green onions. Enjoy!

Zucchini, Tomato & Ricotta Tart


This was so good and so easy to make! Yes, I know, puff pastry—even though it’s vegan—isn’t the healthiest of foods, but once in a while, it’s okay. In fact, it’s downright fun to come up with recipes using it. This is the perfect time to break out the mandolin slicer (if you’re brave enough). I’m still too freaked out to use it after my mishap with it.  Anyway, I used my go-to ricotta cheese recipe which makes more than what you need for this, but the rest will freeze well or keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. It’s great mixed in some cooked pasta with veggies, or small batch of a stuffed shells. You can also just halve the recipe if you’d like. This dish works as a main meal, or cut into small squares, is ideal as an appetizer. Check out these other tart recipes: Savory Vegetable Tart and Savory Asparagus Tart.


1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
1 medium zucchini, sliced thin
2 tomatoes, sliced thin
Olive oil
Salt and pepper


14-oz tub of extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 tsp basil (sometimes I use fresh basil–about a cup)
1 tsp rosemary (Again, you can use 1 Tbs of freshly chopped rosemary)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/3 C nutritional yeast
Optional: 1/4 to 1/3 cup of vegan mozzarella, shredded


Preheat the oven to 350. On a floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to fit an 11″x17″ cookie sheet. It’s ok if the edges go over the side—just tuck them in. Stick with a fork in several places.


Bake for 7-10 minutes (check it to make sure it’s not browning). You want it just toasted:


To make the ricotta, combine all of the ingredients (except the cheese, if using) in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl, then stir in the cheese.


Spread about a cup or so of the ricotta onto the puff pastry. You can use as little or as much as you’d like. Top with the tomato slices. I got about 9 slices, so I spaced them evenly on top.


Next, layer on the zucchinis. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.


Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges of the crust brown the zucchinis are tender.


Transfer to a large cutting board, then cut and enjoy!



Quinoa with Walnuts and Spinach



I hope everyone had a happy and safe holiday! For the first time in many years, we had snow falling on Christmas Eve! You wouldn’t think that’d be such a rarity in Colorado, but a drought will do that to ya. It’s even snowing as I type! So I wasn’t sure what to call this dish because it has more than just walnuts and spinach it—it’s loaded with veggies. I served this warm, but I think it would be tasty cold as well.


1 C regular quinoa

1 C red quinoa

2 tsp Better Than Bouillon

3 C water

1 C spinach, chopped

4 green onions, sliced

4 mushrooms, chopped

1/3 C fresh parsley, chopped

2 Tbs chia seeds

1/2 C walnuts, chopped (and toasted, if you’d like)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 Tbs lemon juice



In a medium or large saucepan, whisk together the bouillon and water and then bring to a boil. Add the two quinoas (you can also use tri-colored quinoa if you’d like), stir, reduce heat, and cover. Cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until just a little bit of liquid remains. Stir in the spinach, green onion, and mushrooms and let cook for a few minutes—just enough for the spinach to wilt and the mushrooms to cook down a little.


Stir in the salt, pepper, chia seeds, and lemon juice. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley and walnuts. Enjoy!


Potato-Leek Chowder



I’m finally back and I bring with me a satisfying, flavorful soup that is perfect for a winter’s night in. It’s quite easy to make, particularly if you have an immersion blender (which I don’t, but I suspect I may find one under the tree come Christmas ;-) )


5 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ dice

2 large leeks (mostly white parts with a little of the green parts), chopped

4 C veggie broth (I really like Better than Bouillon)

3 Tbs Earth Balance

2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced

6 Tbs nutritional yeast

1 C almond milk

2 tsp shallot salt

1 tsp celery salt

2 dashes black pepper

2 dashes white pepper

Optional ingredients: croutons, vegan cheddar shreds, sliced green onion, vegan sour cream


In a large soup pot, heat the Earth Balance and garlic over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute about 10 minutes, or until the leeks begin to soften.



Add the potatoes and broth and simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. I prefer to not cook them too much, as I don’t want real mushy potatoes. I then transferred the soup to a food processor, working in batches. Each time, I added 2-3 Tbs of the nutritional yeast and some of the almond milk until I was out of each. I try not to blend it too much, as I like a few potato chunks left in there. If you use an immersion blender (any suggestions on brands, anyone?) slowly add the milk and nutritional yeast as you blend the soup. Season with the salts and the peppers and serve with your favorite soup toppings! Enjoy!

Red Quinoa Pilaf with Kale and Corn

This is another excellent recipe from Vegan Holiday Kitchen. Kale and quinoa together?! Talk about a super, nutrient-packed salad. This was easy to make and served warm, it made an excellent side dish on Thanksgiving.


1-1/2 C red quinoa

3 C vegetable broth

1 bunch (8-oz) kale

2 Tbs olive oil

4-6 cloves garlic, minced

4 green onions (white and green parts) sliced thin

2 C fresh or frozen corn kernels

2 jarred roasted red peppers, chopped

2 Tbs lemon juice

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp rosemary

Salt and pepper


Combine the quinoa and broth in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. If the liquid isn’t fully absorbed by 20 minutes, but the quinoa is done, drain it using a fine mesh strainer. The recipe says to strip the kale leaves from the stem and slice the leaves into narrow strips. I found that to be difficult and time consuming, so I just chopped it. In the end, it doesn’t really matter anyway. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and saute the garlic until it begins to brown. Add the kale . . .

 . . . and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

My mom’s always been in charge of making the pies for holidays and there’s a good reason why. She’s damn good at it. Since I’ve gone vegan, she’s tried to make them vegan whenever she can (thanks, Mom!) She made a vegan pumpkin pie from Vegetarian Times a couple of years ago, but this year, there was an even easier one to try. This one is from Vegan Holiday Kitchen cookbook. Instead of using the recipe’s suggestion of a pastry or graham cracker crust, she made her own pie crust using vegetable shortening. The recipe also makes two pies, so she halved it to make just one.


2 C pureed pumpkin

1/2 pkg firm silken tofu

1/2 C + 2 Tbs granulated sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix


Preheat to 350. Combine pumpkin in a food processor with next 4 ingredients; process until smooth. Pour into crusts. Bake 40-45 mins, or until set and crust is golden.

Vegan Caesar Salad


I’m thrilled to have Caesar salad again! (I’m still waiting for the perfect vegan Parmesan cheese to hit the shelves . . . but this salad is still delicious without it). This recipe makes about 2-1/2 cups, so feel free to halve it. I just didn’t want to have 1/2 a box of silk tofu leftover and forgotten in the fridge. I even used 6 hearts of romaine and still had a lot of dressing left!


2 cloves garlic, cut into pieces

12-oz box firm silken tofu

3 Tbs lemon juice

1/8 C olive oil

2 Tbs capers

4 tsp caper juice/brine

1/2 tsp mustard powder

Dash of sugar

Salt and pepper

6 romaine hearts, chopped



Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a food processor, and process until smooth. Use enough dressing to just coat the romaine and serve with croutons. It’s that easy! Enjoy!


Lasagna Soup


Well this was unexpected. So earlier this afternoon, I was reading though the 131 blog entries from my Google blog reader (after being out of town for a while) and came across this recipe from That Was Vegan? I immediately bookmarked it. Then I realized I had hungry he-gans to feed and not much to work with. I wasn’t planning on going to the store until tomorrow. Anyhow, it was love at first read . . . even though I didn’t have all the ingredients for the original recipe, I figured I could make it work with what I had. I even borrowed a can of diced tomatoes from my good friend (and neighbor). (Thanks, Jessie)! You don’t have to use lasagna noodles, but if you’re like me, chances are, you’ll have an opened box of lasagna noodles leftover from a bygone (yet fabulous) lasagna. This is the perfect soup to use those rogue noodles! I added a couple of Field Roast sausages and made some other alterations and it came out fantastic. Try this with some diced zucchini or mushrooms for some variety.


1 C onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 Field Roast sausages, Italian variety

1 Tbs olive oil

2-1/2 tsp dried oregano

3/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp dried rosemary

28-oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes

9-10 lasagna noodles

7 C water

1 vegetable bouillon cube

1/2 C spaghetti sauce

2 bay leaves

1-1/2 Tbs dried basil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Daiya cheese


In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil, garlic, Field Roast, and onion.

Cook for 5 minutes, or until the onions are tender.


Add the oregano, red pepper flakes, and rosemary; stir to combine. Add the diced tomatoes (juice and all), spaghetti sauce, 6 cups of water (you may want to add more later), the two bay leaves, and the bouillon (I chopped it up first); bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Break up the lasagna noodles and add to the pot. Let simmer 10-12 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked (you may need to add more water). Remove the bay leaves and serve with a sprinkle of Daiya cheese. Enjoy!

French Bread Pizzas

Now this is pizza you have eat with a fork and a knife. These really are a no-brainer to make, but I’ll post them because sometimes the easiest and quickest meals can be the hardest to come up with. I didn’t feel like taking the time to make dough, let it rise, knead it . . . so using French bread is a way around that. Just add your favorite toppings . . .

 . . . and bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes. Enjoy!

White Bean and Arborio Rice Soup


This soup, from Vegetarian Times is amazing! It’s a simple fall soup that comes together in no time. I think it came out pretty thick and I would have preferred it to be soupier. If you’re like me, I recommending using about 10 cups of water instead of 6. The bread that it’s served with really soaks up the liquid. Otherwise, for a thick chunky version stick with the recipe as is. Either way, it’s delicious!


3 Tbs olive oil, divided

2/3 C Arborio (risotto) rice

3 cloves garlic, minced

3-1/4 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped

6 C veggie broth (I like to use Better Than Bouillon veggie base)

2 C sliced cabbage

1 bay leaf

2 slices Italian bread, torn into pieces (1 cup)

1/4 C pine nuts

1 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed


Heat 2 Tbs of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the rice and toasted for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the garlic and rosemary and cook 2 more minutes.



Add the broth, cabbage and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, pulse the bread and pine  nuts in a food processor until you get small crumbs. Heat the remaining Tbs of olive oil in a skillet and add the bread/nut mixture. Toast over medium heat, stirring often, about 5 minutes.


Add the beans to the soup and cook 5 minutes. Check to make sure the rice is tender. Remove the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.


The recipe says to stir in the bread crumbs, but I opted to just sprinkle them on top of individual servings. Otherwise, I think the bread would soak up too much of the broth. Serve with salad and bread and enjoy!

Grilled & Stuffed Avocados

There’s a Mexican restaurant here that makes a stuffed and grilled avocado, but they use shrimp and cheese. I wanted to make our own version. We’re lucky around here to find large avocados for a dollar a piece, so when they were on sale, I grabbed several. Our grill hadn’t seen us for a while—in fact, this is the first time we’ve used it this summer. And August is almost over! Anyway, we made the most of it by grilling veggies, too.

I used this great seasoning from Urban Accents: Teriyaki Grill Kabob Kit, soy, pineapple & sesame.

It was really delicious and an easy way to season vegetables for the grill. Just add some oil and mix it with the veggies. We didn’t use the provided skewers, however, and opted for the grill basket. I separated the mushrooms from the rest of the veggies since they cook fast. I recommend marinating the vegetables for a couple of hours. Over medium heat, grill the veggies for about 30 minutes; stirring often. Add the mushrooms to the grill basket with about 5 minutes of cooking time left.

Now…for the Amazing Avocados . . .


3 large avocados, pitted and peeled
3 small tomatoes, diced small
1/2 C red onion, diced small
1/2 C fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp lime juice
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Optional: Daiya cheese


To make the filling, combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside. I suggest making the stuffing ahead of time and let it get to room temperature.

Brush olive oil on both sides of the avocados. Season with salt and pepper on the rounded side.

Set the grill heat to low. Using a spatula or tongs, place the avocados on the grill rounded-side down. Season the flat side with salt and pepper. You may have to tilt each side of the avocado to get the rounded edges cooked a bit.

Cook four minutes on each side.

Now . . . you could mix in some Daiya cheese into the filling, heat the broiler in your oven up, fill up the avocados, and broil for a minute. (or top with Daiya and broil) Otherwise, just fill each avocado with tomato filling and enjoy!

Carrot-Ginger Soup

I have been wanting to make this soup for some time, ever since we first had some at The Black Cat in Boulder. My friend Jessie, gave me this recipe. I tweaked it a little, and in fact, I may tweak it a bit more next time I make it by using canned coconut milk instead of coconut meat or shreds. Either way, this is a fantastic soup for any carrot lover. It can be served warm or cold—both ways are delicious. We enjoyed this with the tasty tomato tarts.


3 C carrot juice (I juiced 12 large carrots)

1 avocado, peeled and pitted

3 Tbs freshly grated gingerroot

1/2 C unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut

2 dashes of nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 C almond milk

Optional: cayenne pepper, to taste


Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth (you may have tiny specks of coconut). If you’d like it warm, transfer to a large sauce or soup pot and heat. Enjoy!

Yields: 32-oz

Cherry Tomato Tarts

Don’t you love summer tomatoes? This is the first year we’ve had a garden. For Mother’s Day this year, The Hubby built me three large raised beds and they are overflowing with a bounty of tomatoes, lettuce, and peas. Several days a week, we’re needing to pick more ripened tomatoes.

So, what to do with all of them? (Besides snack on them, of course)? Make some fresh tarts! I had some leftover puff pastry in the freezer, so I used that. Otherwise, you can make a quick dough yourself. Check out this easy recipe. And thank goodness for fresh herbs…the piece de resistance!


1 puff pastry dough sheet

Approximately 2 C cherry tomatoes, halved

2-3 Tbs fresh rosemary, chopped

1 C fresh basil leaves, cut into strips

Olive oil (I used Butter-flavored—non-dairy)

Optional: Daiya Cheese shreds


Thaw the puff pastry dough per package instructions. Preheat the oven to 400. On a flowered surface, roll the dough out to about 11×7. I used the bottom of a tart pan to cut out 4″ circles. I had some dough left, so I made some very ghetto-looking ones with the rest.

This would also work if you wanted to make a full-pan tart, like this asparagus oneUsing a fork, aerate the dough and bake for 3-5 minutes. If using, sprinkle a little Daiya cheese on the tarts, then layer on some basil and tomatoes. Sprinkle with rosemary.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, then drizzle some olive oil on the tarts. Bake another 5 minutes, or until they begin to brown around the edges.


Portobello Wraps

After the delicious portobello wrap I had at Ouray Brewery last weekend, I decided to make my own. I had purchased some Vegenaise Chipotle Spread a couple of weeks back and figured it was high time to try it out.

This certainly has a zip to it, so go easy if you’re not keen on really spicy food. However, I did use chipotle olive oil and cumin in this meal, so that could have added some heat as well. Overall, an excellent spread or dipping sauce, plus dinner was ready in about 15 minutes.


3 large portobellos, washed, stems removed, and cut into slices

1/4 of a medium head of red/purple cabbage, sliced into strips

1/2 of a large red onion, cut into strips

Olive oil

1/4 to 1/2 tsp cumin

Salt and pepper, to taste

4 spinach tortilla wraps

Romaine leaves

Tomato slices

Vegenaise Chipotle Spread

Optional: Black olives, sliced


In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the red onion and cabbage and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, or until they begin to soften.

Add the portobello mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes, or until they begin to soften. Add the cumin, salt, and pepper.

Layer some Vegenaise onto the tortilla, then one large romaine leaf. Scoop some mushroom filling on next, then top with a few tomato slices (and black olives, if using). Roll up tightly and cut diagonally in the middle. Enjoy!

Cashew Stir-fry with Noodles

Sorry for the absence…I haven’t been making new dishes over the last couple of weeks, but instead, have been relying on some old favorites like enchiladas, creamy cashew pasta, and tofu sandwiches. We are leaving Wednesday for Santa Fe and Taos, so it was a good time to use up the veggies in the fridge. I’m excited to bring you lots of wonderful vegan food and news from New Mexico. It’s been ten years since we’ve there and we’re  looking forward to going back. Of course, any road trip is not complete in my household without an accident/injury a day or two before leaving. (Last year, the Eighth Grader got his two front teeth knocked out during a trampoline incident. We were supposed to drive to Southern CO for a wedding. It didn’t happen. Spring Break this year was altered after the kid’s appendectomy). It was my turn, I guess. I got a little too excited trying out my new mandolin slicer Sunday night…

I should have seen it coming. I’ve heard the horror stories associated with the mandolin, but I bought one the other day anyway. First time I use it, I slice a pretty large chunk off my right pinkie finger. I’m lucky though, it could have been worse. I was millimeters short of taking off bone and nail! Yikes. Good thing I married an Eagle Scout. He kept me calm and got it wrapped up. I ended up going to urgent care yesterday morning and they cleaned it up good, wrapped it, and I have to go back today to have it looked at. The doc said it will take several months to heal. :-(  The mandolin is in timeout.

Had I not been an idiot and lost part of an appendage, I probably would have used it to make this stir-fry, but I decided to stick with a good old-fashioned knife. It was slow-going, but I had some help. I picked up some East-West Stir-fry Sauce and these awesome ramen noodles from Hakubaku. Both were outstanding. The sauce had a mild flavor with just a tiny bit of zip. I used about 1/2 the jar, but feel free to use as much or as little as you’d like.



2 medium zucchinis, cut into sticks

6 mushrooms, quartered

6 celery stalks, sliced

1 bell pepper, cut into chunks

1 can bamboo shoots, drained

6 green onions, sliced thin

1-2 handfuls of cashews

3 Tbs freshly grated gingerroot

1 jar East-West Stir-fry Sauce

9.5 oz Hakubaku noodles

Olive oil


Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the zucchini, celery, and bell pepper. Cook until they begin to get tender, about 7-9 minutes.

Add the bamboo shoots and ginger. Cook another 5 -7 minutes.

The noodles will take four minutes to cook in boiling water, so when you toss them in to cook, add the mushrooms, green onion, and cashews to the skillet. Cook 2 minutes…then add the sauce. Stir well to combine and saute to heat the sauce.

Drain the noodles and serve them topped with some stir-fry. Enjoy!


Guac & Bean Tacos

If you need a fast and fresh dinner (or lunch) these are ideal. I really like La Tortilla Factory’s homemade style tortillas for these. They’re a cross between a corn and flour tortilla and are the perfect size.


4 avocados

1/2 C diced white or red onion

1/2 to 1 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp lime juice

1 can black beans, undrained

1/2 C fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tomato diced


Lettuce, diced (optional)


Mash the avocados and add the onion, lime juice, and garlic salt.

In a small sauce pan, heat the beans, stirring often, until heated through. Get ready to assemble . . .

Layer on some avocado mixture, cilantro, beans, and tomatoes. Enjoy!

Artichoke and Lemon Linguine

While at the farmer’s market last weekend, I picked up some Artichoke Lemon pasta. You can order it at Pappardelle’s Pasta.

I threw together a dish with a light, creamy roux and some vegetables and it came out delicious—and fast too. Dinner was ready in less than 30 minutes. Keep in mind, you’ll have three different pots/pans going at the same time, but don’t be alarmed, it’s easy to make, especially if you have all of your ingredients chopped, sliced, and ready to go before hand.


8-oz Artichoke Lemon linguine

1-1/2 C fresh basil, chopped

4-5 large mushrooms, sliced

14-oz can artichoke hearts, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 Tbs olive oil (preferably buttered-flavored)

2 Tbs Earth Balance

2 Tbs flour

1/2 C almond milk

Dash of salt, pepper, and nutmeg

1 Tbs lemon juice


In a small skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the artichokes and cook for 8 minutes, stirring often. Meanwhile, cook the pasta for 5-7 minutes. I have found that this pasta tends to cook faster than commercial brands, so keep an eye on it. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook another 5 minutes.

While this is happening, get your roux going. Melt the Earth Balance in a small saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute. Slowly pour in the almond milk and whisk it until smooth. It will thicken up pretty quickly.

Add the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and blend well. For the veggie mixture, once the mushrooms are tender, reduce the heat to low and stir in the basil.

Combine the sauce and the veggies with the pasta and blend everything together.


Vegan New England Chik’n Corn Chowder

This may not be something you’d consider making in the summer, but on a rainy evening (which we could desperately use) this chowder would hit the spot. Even without the rainy weather, this soup is absolutely delicious! The Seventh Grader picked it out, so we worked side-by-side in the kitchen on this one. It comes together rather quickly—certainly under 25 minutes. The original recipe is from LightLife. We made some changes though and actually had to guess on some directions because they weren’t real clear on how some of the ingredients needed to be prepared. I also used Morning Star Chik’n Strips. The recipe makes only 3 servings, which is great for us, but you may want to double the recipe to feed more. (Note: You probably wouldn’t need to double the Chik’n Strips, because I think there’d be plenty for a double batch).


1 pkg Morning Start Meal Starter Chik’n Strips

4 slices LightLife Smart Bacon

3 Tbs Earth Balance

1/2 C onion, chopped

2 large celery stalks, chopped

1/2 to 1 jalapeno pepper, diced

2 Tbs flour

3 C almond milk

1-1/2 C corn kernels

1 tsp fresh thyme

Salt, pepper and cayenne, to taste


If the Chik’n Strips are frozen, defrost a little, then chop up into bite-sized pieces.

In a soup pot, heat the Earth Balance until melted. Over medium/high heat, add the onion, celery, and pepper. (Remember, wear your rubbers when handling hot peppers ;-) )

Cook for about five minutes, stirring often, until the veggies are tender. While this is going on, you may want to get the bacon frying. Cook according to package instructions. Add the flour to the pot and cook about a minute, stirring constantly. Slowly add the almond milk and incorporate it well. Add the corn, Chik’n, thyme, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Bring to a boil and stir constantly until it thickens up, about 5 minutes.

Serve with some crumbled veg bacon on top. Enjoy!

Vegan Pigs in a Blanket

I can’t say I recall having pigs in a blanket much when I was a kid, although I’m sure many of you grew up on snacking on these. Even vegan, they’re  probably not the healthiest, but that’s ok–there’s nothing wrong with some Pillbury Crescent Rolls once in a great while. The Seventh-Grader really wanted to try these, so after a tiny bit of prep, we had a quick snack. I added a little Daiya cheese to one, just to see how it tasted and it was pretty darn good!


1 pkg Pillbury Crescent Rolls (8)

4 Smart Dogs (or other veggie dog of your choice), cut in half

Daiya cheese, optional

Preheat oven to 350. Unroll the dough and separate each piece. Roll up one of the dogs, starting at the wide end.

Mine with cheese…

Bake for 11-12 minutes, or until golden brown.

These are great served with ketchup, horseradish, mustard…you name it. Enjoy!

Pasta & Kale with Lemony Cashew Cream

This makes a great summer dish! If you don’t have any kale on hand (why wouldn’t you?!) you could use any leafy green such as chard or spinach. I also think sliced mushrooms, sauteed asparagus, or zucchini would also work well in this. The sauce isn’t overly rich and has just a hint of lemon, plus it’s a breeze to make.


4 C pasta

2-3 C kale, chopped

Cashew Cream:

2 C raw cashews


The rest:

2 tsp yellow miso

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 Tbs lemon juice

Salt, to taste


Soak the cashews in water for a few hours, preferably overnight. Drain and rinse the cashews, then place them in the blender. Add 2-1/2 cups of water and blend until smooth. The results will resemble heavy cream. This makes about 4 cups. You’ll only need 1-1/2 cups for this recipe, so I store the rest in a mason jar in the fridge. It will also keep in the freezer for a couple of months.

While the pasta is cooking, whisk together 1-1/2 cups of the cream sauce, miso, lemon juice, and black pepper in a small sauce pan. The sauce will already be thick, so it’s just a matter of heating it through.

Just when you’re about to drain the pasta, add the chopped kale to the pot and let it cook 1 minute, then drain.

Serve the pasta with the cashew cream drizzled on top. If you’d like, season with a bit of salt. Enjoy!

Lime and Veggie Fajitas

These colorful fajitas are so quick and easy to make. If you’re like me and tired of the same old fajita seasoning packets, I think you’ll love this change up.


1 Tbs olive oil (I used chipotle-flavored)
1 large yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 large red bell pepper, sliced
2 C mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1 C fresh cilantro, chopped
Flour tortillas


1/2 C lime juice
1 tsp black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp cumin


Combine the seasoning ingredients and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and cook 5-7 minutes, or until slightly tender.

Add the bell peppers and cook another 12-15 minutes, or until they are softened.

Stir in the mushrooms. These will cook fast, about 3-4 minutes.

Stir in the cilantro and lime juice mixture and combine thoroughly. Cook until the sauce is heated through.

Scoop onto the tortillas and if you’d like, add some Daiya cheese and/or Tofutti sour cream. Enjoy!

Orzo Pilaf with Roasted Red Peppers and Peas

This is from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Vegan Table. Orzo is actually a rice-shaped pasta and has a risotto-like texture. It’s perfect for soups or even for Asian dishes such as stir-fry. I loved the flavor of this dish and the fact that it’s super versatile. Next time, I’ll add mushrooms, herbs, and maybe even asparagus.


2 Tbs olive oil

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I just used my garlic press)

12 oz orzo

3 C veggie stock (I used Better Than Bouillon brand)

1-1/2 C frozen peas, partially thawed

7.5 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped (I used 2 large peppers)

Salt and pepper, to taste


Heat the olive oil in a large, deep-sided skillet. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the orzo and stir for 2 more minutes.

Add the stock, peas, roasted red peppers, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring every so often for 12-15 minutes, or until the orzo is tender. The liquid will also be absorbed.

I served this with the Baked Truffle Polenta Fries and a green salad.


Baked Truffle Polenta Fries

This is a first for me. I’ve never eaten polenta at home, but I’ve ordered it in restaurants. I decided to try making polenta fries, but the easy way . . .

Ancient Harvest

This is certainly an ideal way to make fries: crack open a polenta log, slice, season, and bake!


 1 tube of polenta

1/8 C olive oil

2 Tbs truffle oil

Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 450. Combine the two oils in a small dish. Line a baking sheet with foil and brush the foil with some of the oil mixture. Slice the polenta into 1/2″ slices.

Then cut each slice into thirds.

Place the slices on the prepared baking sheet and brush with the oil mixture; season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, turning once halfway through. Enjoy!

Papaya Trail Mix

The Seventh Grader is on a school hiking trip this week, so it gave me an opportunity to make some homemade trail mix that has everything he likes; nothing gets picked over. I also used butter-flavored olive oil that a friend gave me (it’s dairy-free) and works perfectly for trail mix. The subtle buttery taste is amazing. (It works great on pasta, too). Mine is from Rocky Mountain Olive Oil Company in Fort Collins. After the family had some of the mix, I got, “This is all you made?” I’ll be making another batch today.


3/4 C almonds, raw and unsalted

3/4 C walnuts, raw and unsalted

1/2 C pumpkin seeds (with the shell), unsalted

1/2 C dried papaya, cut into chunks

1/4 C chocolate chips

Butter-flavored olive oil

1/2 to 1 tsp salt


Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with a little cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine the nuts. Drizzle with the olive oil—just enough to lightly coat the nuts. Do the same with the salt. Mix well. Layer onto the baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes, turning once halfway through. Since most ovens tend to run different, check often—don’t let the nuts burn.

Let cool for just a minute or two and combine the nuts and papaya in a bowl.

Once the mix has cooled completely, stir in the chocolate chips. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy!