Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Lemony Asian Slaw

Lately when my body is craving vegetables, my favorite remedy is to shred a head of purple cabbage, toss it in a light sauce, and eat tons of it. Tonight's sauce was an adaptation of an orange-lemon sauce from my coworker Gina (of


1 t. toasted sesame oil
1 t. maple syrup or agave (or dissolve 1 t. sugar in the soy sauce)
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. rice vinegar
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/2 head of cabbage, shredded

Combine all sauce ingredients in a medium bowl. Add cabbage and toss with tongs. Serve.

This was enough for one hungry person. For two, use a whole head of cabbage. You might be able to get away with the same amount of sauce on a whole head, since I had some sauce leftover after eating the cabbage.

Pictured above: roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, red onion, and whole garlic cloves; marinated and baked tofu; steamed red curly kale served over a bed of quinoa.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Cherry Chocolate Granola

This granola is a combination of all of my favorite chocolate pairings in one: cherry, almond, and ginger. Lately, I've been obsessed with replacing most of the oil in granola with a fruit puree. I've already made granola with applesauce, blueberry jam, and strawberry jam.

Today's uses cherry jam. I added cocoa powder, because I love the combination of cherry and chocolate. I also added some almond meal and almond extract, because I also love the combination of cherry and almond. And chocolate and almond. And then I added ginger because chocolate and ginger is great too.

Enough rambling about my favorite chocolate pairings, here's the recipe!

Warning: This will make your house smell amazing.

Cherry Chocolate Granola:

2.5 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup hemp seeds
3 tablespoons almond meal (storebought or grind almonds in a food processor to a fine meal)
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
2 cups frozen cherries
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Make cherry jam: Add cherries to a small saucepan over low heat and stir frequently until cherries start to break down and simmer. Let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened.

While jam is simmering: Preheat oven to 300 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine rolled oats, chia seeds, hemp seeds, almond meal, flaxseed meal, cocoa powder, ginger, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

When jam is done: Whisk maple syrup, coconut oil, and extracts into jam. Add wet to dry and combine well. Transfer mixture to baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Cherry Berry Muffins

I made these muffins for a Rosh Hashanah brunch at my mother's house yesterday, although I'm pretty sure I'm the only human there who ate them, as the gigantic box of doughnuts my older sister brought stole the show. My mom's rottweiler, who recently celebrated her sweet sixteen, did steal a muffin off of my nephew's plate and seemed to enjoy it. No one seemed concerned when I pointed out that there are cacao nibs in the muffins. Everyone is convinced she is going to live forever. Heidi, the Bionic Rottweiler!

Cherry Berry Muffins:

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup organic sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup nondairy milk
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup frozen cherries
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup cacao nibs (optional)

Preheat oven to 375. Line a muffin tin with baking cups and spray lightly with oil.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl.

In a small saucepan over low heat, whisk oil, milk, and applesauce until warm (I do this so the cold milk and applesauce doesn't solidify the coconut oil, but you could also whisk in a bowl and heat it in the microwave for 15-30 seconds). Add vanilla extract to wet ingredients.

Add frozen cherries, blueberries, and cacao nibs (if using) to dry ingredients and gently combine. Add wet to dry, stirring gently until just-combined, being careful not to overmix.

Scoop batter evenly into cups, filling almost to the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through.

Yield: 12 muffins

Happy New Year, everyone! Here's to a kinder, gentler year.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

because you're sweet and lovely

Currently listening to: for you blue.

Today's VeganMoFo prompt was "something blue," and, surprisingly, I actually followed the prompt today. I was out of granola and thought blueberry granola sounded like a good plan, especially with some cacao nibs thrown in at the end.

More flaxseed meal and seeds in this one. Yay for omega-3s, fiber, and lignans.

Blueberry Cacao Granola:

2.5 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup flax meal
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons blueberry jam (see recipe below)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 cup cacao nibs (optional, they're kinda pricey)

Preheat oven to 300 and line baking tray with parchment.

Combine oats, seeds, flax meal, ginger, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk jam, maple syrup, and coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat until coconut oil is melted. Add wet to dry and mix well. Transfer to baking tray and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Before the last 15 minutes of baking, add the cacao nibs to the mixture.

Let cool and store in an airtight container.

Blueberry Jam:

2 cups blueberries (frozen is fine)
1 tablespoon water

Combine blueberries and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently until blueberries start to break down, and then lower heat to a simmer and let cook for 30 minutes, until you have a thicker, jammy consistency. Use in above recipe (this makes the right amount for the granola, no need to measure).

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Four Seed Granola

This granola fulfills several requirements of mine:

  • low oil (the applesauce replaces most of it.)
  • no nuts (I eat enough nuts as it is.)
  • low sugar

I keep a batch of this around the house for quick breakfasts before work and quick snacks after work. I'm a minimalist when it comes to granola, but feel free to toss in some dried fruit after baking for an iron boost.

Also, I would be remiss not to mention that flaxseeds (because of their high lignan content) have been linked to a reduced risk in breast cancer. Sesame seeds also have a high lignan content.

Four Seed Granola:

2.5 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup flax seed meal
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Preheat oven to 300 and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Combine rolled oats, seeds, flax meal, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and salt in a large bowl. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine applesauce, maple syrup and coconut oil. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well.

Transfer mixture to baking tray and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Pad Thai Made Easy

This is my comfort food, right after mac & cheese. I don't make it enough, either, out of fear it's too difficult for a quick weeknight meal. Here's my attempt to demystify it and, in doing so, enjoy more pad thai in the future.

Pad Thai:
Adapted from Everyday Pad Thai

14 oz. firm tofu
8 oz. pad thai rice noodles
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
1 cup mung bean sprouts, rinsed with cold water

For sauce:
5 tablespoons soy sauce
5 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons miso
2 tablespoons Sriracha
2 tablespoons tomato paste

For garnish:
Lime wedges
Chopped roasted peanuts

Step 1: Press tofu for 20-30 minutes (wrap in a clean kitchen towel and place a heavy object on top--I usually use cans of beans)

Step 2: While tofu is pressing, boil a pot of water for noodles. When boiling, add noodles, stir, turn off heat and let cook for 8 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside until ready to stir-fry.

Step 3 (pictured below): Preheat oven to 350. When tofu is done pressing, cube tofu, place on parchment-lined baking tray and spray lightly with oil. Bake for 30-45 minutes, flipping halfway, until nicely browned and crisp. 

Step 4 (pictured below): While the tofu is baking and noodles are boiling, prep the veggies and make the sauce by whisking all of the ingredients in a bowl.

Step 5: Here's where it all comes together! Add olive oil to a saucepan over medium heat. Add scallions and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add sauce and heat until it starts to bubble. Then add noodles and gently toss until coated with sauce, then add broccoli, bean sprouts, and tofu and continue to gently toss until everything is nicely coated in sauce. Garnish with lime wedges, cilantro, and chopped peanuts.

Yield: 2 servings

Monday, September 7, 2015

Roasted Potatoes with Creamy Worcestershire Sauce

Happy Vegan Month of Food, everyone! This is my first post of VeganMoFo2015.

Jess Scone was kind enough to provide a list of 30 blog ideas for inspiration. I'm going to handpick from the list through the month of September as I'm inspired. The idea I chose today was #6: Re-create a restaurant meal.

I couldn't choose between two meals, and they both included potatoes, so I decided to mash them together.

#1: taters gonna tate from PuraVegan Cafe & Yoga in St. Louis, MO
roasted potatoes served on a bed of romaine with spicy tahini cheese, sour cream, tempeh bacon, avocado, onion, and red pepper


#2: fingerling fries with creamy worcestershire from Vedge in Philadelphia, PA
fingerling potatoes served with a worcestershire vegan mayo sauce

In order to combine these two dishes, I served roasted potatoes over a bed of romaine--PuraVegan-style--because adding greens to anything is always a good idea,

added Vedge's creamy worcestershire sauce,

and, finally, added PuraVegan's avocado and red onion garnish for some extra flavor and creaminess.

The result is a nutritious, hearty meal that can be served in a single bowl.

Roasted Potatoes with Creamy Worcestershire Sauce:
Serves 2

3 yukon gold potatoes, quartered into wedges (three cuts total: one length-wise down the middle and then lengthwise down each half, leaving you with four wedges per potato)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 head romaine, washed, dried, and chopped
creamy worcestershire sauce (recipe below)
diced red onion
diced avocado

Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Toss potato wedges with olive oil on baking tray, and then arrange wedges skin down on tray. Roast for 30 minutes, rotating pan once during baking. (After 30 minutes, if you'd like your potatoes more roasted, check every 10 minutes until they're how you like 'em.)

While potatoes are roasting, prep romaine, garnishes (red onion and avocado), and creamy worcestershire sauce (recipe below).

Fill a bowl with chopped romaine, layer potatoes on top, then sauce, then garnishes. Enjoy!

Creamy Worcestershire Sauce:
Adapted from the Vedge Cookbook

1/2 cup vegan mayo (homemade or storebought)
2 tablespoons vegan worcestershire sauce (homemade or storebought)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup (or your preferred sweetener)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt (add 1/4 teaspoon first and add more, to taste)
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender, food processor, or by hand with a fork. Easy enough? Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and use within a week.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

My favorite way to prepare tofu

1. press it
2. cut it
3. spray it
4. bake it

Press the (firm) tofu first. Wrap it in a clean kitchen towel and place a heavy object on top and let it sit on the counter while the oven preheats to 350 (about 20-30 minutes).

Cut it into squares.

Transfer the squares to a parchment lined baking tray and lightly spray with cooking oil.

Bake for 30 minutes, flipping tofu halfway through.

VOILA! My favorite way to eat this is tossed in bbq sauce. You can do just about anything you want with it, though. Add it to salads. Add it to a grain bowl. Use it in place of paneer in saag paneer. Toss in a curry. Pad Thai. It tastes pretty darn good with a peanut sauce, too. You can also cut the tofu into triangles for a fancy look, if you want. It's so easy and fast!*

*I also have a method of preparing tofu that involves a marinade. It's a little trickier, but it's well worth the extra effort. I'll post that recipe soon.

Here's my neighbors' puppy, Gertrude. Isn't she cute?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Brown Rice Peanut Bowl with Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Black Beans

This is my idea of comfort food. Creamy sweet potatoes & that salty sweet spicy peanut sauce are a match made in heaven. Plus, if you get the rice going, then get the potatoes roasting, you can prepare the sauce and rinse a can of beans by the time the rice & potatoes are done. Fast & easy!


For rice:
1 cup brown rice, rinsed
2 1/2 cups water
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon coconut oil

For roasted sweet potatoes:
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch chunks
1.5 teaspoons coconut oil, melted
salt and pepper, to taste

For peanut sauce:
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup water
2 tablespoons agave nectar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 thumb-size piece ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon sriracha

For beans:
1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed


Prepare rice:
Cook rice according to package directions (or follow my directions for perfect brown rice).

Roast sweet potatoes:
Preheat oven to 400. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, toss sweet potatoes with coconut oil, salt & pepper. Bake for 20 minutes. Flip and bake 10 minutes more.

For peanut sauce:
Whisk all ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat until smooth and slightly thickened.

Layer brown rice, sweet potatoes, peanut sauce & beans in a bowl. Enjoy!

Yield: 2 servings

P.S. peanut butter is good for you <3

Friday, March 13, 2015

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

For those times when you have half of an avocado leftover from dinner.

Chocolate Avocado Mousse:
1/2 avocado
1/4 coconut milk (or preferred nondairy milk)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon maple syrup
tiny pinch of salt

Blend until smooth in food processor or blender. Chill for at least an hour before serving.

Here's to the arrival (almost) of spring!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Oil-Free Fettuccine Alfredo

I crave fat. Avocado, cashew cream & coconut milk are my gotos for a creamy fix. Since I know I get enough fat in my diet, I try to decrease the amount of oil I consume, so I've started to saute without oil--and I can't tell the difference!

When sauteing onions without oil, I stir a big pinch of salt into the onions to sweat them. I keep the heat on medium & the pot covered (to hold the moisture in the pan) and stir frequently. If the onions start to stick, add a splash of water or vegetable broth.

I also look for methods of achieving creaminess without the use of high-fat ingredients like avocados, cashews & coconut. In this alfredo sauce, silken tofu and pureed cooked onions do the trick.

Oil-Free Fettuccine Alfredo:

1 lb. linguine or fettuccine noodles
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 12-ounce package firm silken tofu
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1.5 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook noodles according to package directions.

Saute onions in a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Stir in a big pinch of salt to sweat onions, cover, and stir frequently. Let cook until translucent, about 10 minutes. If onions start to stick, add a splash of water or vegetable broth. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.

Blend onions, garlic, silken tofu, vegetable broth, lemon juice, salt, nutmeg & black pepper until smooth. Transfer back to pot and cook over medium-low heat until thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring or whisking frequently.

Add sauce to cooked noodles, along with peas, and mix well. Serve hot! If reheating later, you may need to add a splash of vegetable broth if sauce thickens in the fridge.

Yield: 4 servings

Monday, March 2, 2015

Antioxidant Berry Smoothie

I've always known berries to be rich in antioxidants, but what I didn't know is that flaxseeds are too! I've been trying to eat more flaxseeds because of their high omega-3 fatty acid content, but now I have another reason to include this superfood in my daily diet. And what's easier than adding a tablespoon to your morning smoothie?

Antioxidant Berry Smoothie:

2 cups mixed berries
1.5 cups coconut water
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 date, pitted

Blend until smooth.

Friday, February 27, 2015

How to Cook Perfect Brown Rice

I'm ashamed to admit it, but I only recently mastered the art of cooking brown rice. Most of the time it came out too crunchy and sometimes it was too mushy. The culprit was my water to rice ratio. I always used a 2:1 ratio. Recently I actually READ the directions on a bag of brown rice and it advised using a 2.5:1 ratio water to rice. And it worked!

I used this 2.5:1 ratio in my rice cooker for a few months, but I recently tried it on the stovetop and it was so easy I've switched over to this stovetop method exclusively (plus, this method doesn't leave a bunch of rice stuck to the bottom of the pan like my rice cooker does).

So if you've been wanting to eat more brown rice but have had trouble cooking it, try this method. It works flawlessly for me. One cup of brown rice makes enough for me and Pete, but if you have more than two people or you want some leftover, use 5 cups water to 2 cups dry brown rice.

How to Cook Perfect Brown Rice:
  1. In a medium saucepan with a fitted lid, boil 2.5 cups water. Add a big pinch salt and a small spoonful coconut oil. Keep covered.
  2. While you wait for water to boil, rinse your 1 cup rice well in a strainer and drain well.
  3. When water comes to a boil, add your rice, stir and cover immediately. Turn heat down to low (I have a gas stove and turn it to the lowest I can without the flame going out).
  4. Let steam 40 minutes.
  5. After 40 minutes, remove from heat and keep covered for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove cover. Serve warm.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

i need more time in the day for

sitting with my cats
playing with my dogs
folding laundry
doing the dishes
cleaning the litter box
creating recipes
photographing recipes
posting recipes
talking to peter
doing yoga
talking to my family

but especially

Monday, February 23, 2015

Curried Carrot Bisque

There are some recipes I try and really like but don't ever make again. And then there are some recipes I try and make over and over again, like this Curried Carrot Bisque from Vegan with a Vengeance. It was one of the first recipes I made when I was teaching myself to cook in college. During my junior and senior years my roommates and I took turns making dinner every night. This was one of the dishes I would make for dinner. It was always a hit. So I kept making it even when I didn't live with a house full of roommates. It's easy, slightly creamy, slightly spicy, perfect for a cold winter day, and even more perfect with a loaf of crusty bread.

Curried Carrot Bisque:
I've adapted this recipe a bit since I first made the original five years ago. Here's my version.

1 large yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, micro-grated
3 lbs. carrots, sliced into chunks
1 tablespoon curry powder
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
lots of freshly ground black pepper
1 can coconut milk or 2 cups homemade coconut milk (see recipe below)
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Saute onion in coconut oil over medium heat until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Keep covered and stir occasionally. Add fresh ginger root and curry powder and saute 1 minute more. Add carrots, vegetable broth, salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Let cook until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Puree using an immersion blender (blend in batches in a blender, allowing steam to escape from the lid). Add coconut milk and maple syrup.

Yield: 6 servings

Homemade Coconut Milk:

1 cup shredded coconut
2 cups just-boiled water

Blend coconut and water in a high-powered blender until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, cheesecloth, or nut milk bag.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Easiest Two Ingredient Slaw

This is my go-to salad when easy and fast are my number one priority, which has been this week when I was deciding whether to buy a certain car this week and was spending the majority of my meal preparation time researching cars. I ultimately didn't get the car, but I did realize that squeezing some lime juice on shredded purple cabbage makes a great easy salad. The salad is pictured above in a brown rice bowl with roasted sweet potatoes and black beans, but I also eat it all by itself with a fork, usually as a snack after work while preparing dinner. I also add it to a meal that desperately needs a vegetable, like tonight's mac n cheese & bbq tofu.

Also I would be remiss if I didn't mention how amazingly inexpensive purple cabbage is.* My coworker (a raw vegan and vegetable aficianado) says it is the biggest bang for your buck, in terms of nutrition and price. I believe it was around .99 per lb. at the grocery store near my house, and I believe one cabbage for me was about 1.5 lbs. And I get at least four separate uses out of one cabbage. I shred 1/4 of a cabbage for me and Peter to share and that is plenty per meal.

Two Ingredient Slaw:

1/4 purple cabbage, shredded
Freshly squeezed juice from 1/2 lime

Squeeze juice onto shredded cabbage and toss. Eat immediately or let marinate in fridge for an hour up to overnight.

Yield: 2 servings

*I buy non-organic cabbage, because it's one of the Clean Fifteen.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Peary Berry Smoothie

This smoothie is Peter's specialty, but in his version he uses grape juice instead of the coconut water I've used here. I find the grape juice too sweet.*

Peary Berry Smoothie:

1 pear
2 cups frozen mixed berries
1 cup coconut water
1 big handful spinach
1 date, pitted

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Add a little bit more coconut water, if needed.

Yield: 2 servings

*As a side note, we did a blind taste test of Paul Newman's Grape Juice vs. Kedem Grape Juice. Kedem won by far. It's like a smooth wine. But I might be biased from years of drinking Kedem instead of wine at Passover dinner.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Two Sauce Spinach Lasagna

This is tonight's manifestation of my ever evolving, never the same twice lasagna. I love playing around with this recipe based on my mood and what I have stocked in the house. Serve with plenty of bread to soak up the sauce!

Two Sauce Spinach Lasagna:

12 lasagna noodles

For the tomato sauce:
1 tsp. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. salt, plus a pinch

For the bechamel sauce:
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
3 cups water
1 tbsp. miso
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1.5 tsp. Dijon mustard
1.5 tsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. flour

For the spinach:
10 oz. spinach
1 tsp. olive oil

Make the red sauce:
Preheat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 10 minutes. Add spices, garlic, and brown sugar and cook 1 minute more. Add tomatoes and salt and let simmer on low while you make everything else. Blend with an immersion blender or in a blender** before using.

Make the bechamel sauce:
Blend cashews, water, and remaining ingredients EXCEPT olive oil and flour (those will be used to make a roux) until very smooth. Heat olive oil on medium heat in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Whisk in flour to make a roux. Heat for a few minutes until bubbly. Whisk in cashew milk. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a low simmer, while continuing to whisk frequently and making sure the sauce doesn't stick to the pan. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens.

Make spinach:
Preheat oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add spinach and let cook until just wilted, about 3 minutes.

Make noodles:
Boil noodles in a big pot of salted boiling water for 8 minutes. Stir to make sure they don't stick together. Strain and rinse with lots of cold water. (I make my noodles right when everything else is coming together, so they won't have time to sit and stick together. I use them immediately after straining and rinsing with cold water).

Layer lasagna:
Preheat oven to 375. In a 9x13 casserole pan, add 3 tbsp. of red sauce to the bottom of pan. Add 4 noodles. Add 1/3 of bechamel sauce, then 1/4 red sauce, then 1/2 spinach. Add 4 noodles and repeat bechamel, red sauce, then remaining spinach. Add 4 more noodles and remaining bechamel sauce and remaining red sauce. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

**If blending sauce in a blender, let cool first or pulse in blender, letting steam out frequently (so the top doesn't pop off and makes a mess/burns you).

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Decadent Raw Brownies

These raw brownies remind me of a dessert I'd pick up at the local food coop in the college town I lived in for eight years before moving back home to St. Louis. The desserts in this coop were my introduction to raw desserts; they also had raw blonde macaroons made with almond butter and mini raw cheesecakes topped with a seasonal fruit. Every time I picked out a raw dessert over the baked oat flour chocolate chip cookies I loved so much, I felt like I was getting away with something, eating a not-quite-so-naughty dessert. I felt a twinge of nostalgia recreating this beloved dessert while reminiscing about my leisurely walks home from the coop, trying to eat my brownie faster than the sun could melt the icing.

Decadent Raw Brownies:

For the base:
1.5 cup pecans
1.5 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons cacao powder
pinch of sea salt
drop of vanilla extract

For the frosting:
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup cacao powder
pinch of sea salt
drop of vanilla extract

Process nuts to a meal consistency (don't overprocess so much so that the nuts start to release their oils). Add dates, cacao powder, salt, and vanilla extract and process until the mixture starts to hold together and forms a ball. Press into an 8x8 square baking pan lined with parchment paper on the bottom and partway up two of the sides (for easy removal). Cover brownie with parchment paper and use a rolling pin to smooth it out.

Prepare frosting by whipping coconut oil, maple syrup, cacao powder, salt, and vanilla extract in a food processor. Scrape the sides down with a spatula and process until very smooth. Pour onto brownie and smooth out with a spatula. Let chill for a few hours before eating and serve straight from the refrigerator.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Pink Piña Colada Smoothie

Yesterday it was so warm outside that we were able to put up our garden fence. The dogs were getting a little too cozy in what's left of our garden from the fall and we've begun preparing for spring. Sixty degree temperatures like yesterday's really get me dreaming about sunny days, fresh produce, and tropical smoothies like this one.*

Pink Piña Colada Smoothie:

1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup frozen pineapple
1.5 cups coconut water
2 tablespoons shredded coconut
juice from 1 lime
1 date, pitted

Blend until smooth. Enjoy cold.

Yield: 1-2 servings

*I don't drink much, but I think this would make a pretty killer alcoholic piña colada. Just add tequila? Rum? I don't drink much!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Vegetable Fried Rice (Or What To Do With Leftover Rice)

I always have leftover rice from the bowl I made the night before. Here's my favorite (and easiest) way to use it up.

Vegetable Fried Rice:

2 tablespoons coconut oil (Note: read benefits of coconut oil in Lagusta's coconut manifesto).
1 red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 thumb-size piece of ginger, grated
2 carrots, shredded or diced
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1/3 cup cashews
1/3 cup frozen green peas
2 cups cooled brown rice (Note: doesn't have to be exactly 2 cups; I just use whatever I have leftover from the night before, which usually ends up being about 2 cups).
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon agave (or sugar)
Red pepper flakes, to taste

Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Saute onion, carrot, and cauliflower for about 10 minutes, until onions start to brown. Keep pan covered and stir occasionally, making sure onions don't burn.

Add garlic and ginger, cook for about 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon coconut oil, brown rice, peas, and cashews. Stir and cook for about five minutes, until heated through. Add soy sauce, lemon juice, agave and red pepper flakes. Stir through and serve warm.

Yield: 2 servings

Friday, February 6, 2015

Lemon Garlic Cauliflower Pasta

GRAIN: 3/4 lb. cooked small pasta (like casarecce or gemelli)
VEGETABLE: roasted cauliflower (1 head) + 1 tbsp. olive oil + 1/4 tsp. salt + black pepper, to taste
BEAN: 1 cup frozen peas
SAUCE: warm lemon garlic vinaigrette (recipe below)
HEALTHY FAT: 1/3 toasted almonds, chopped

I'm posting this recipe again--a variation--because Peter keeps requesting it. Our food preferences don't always collide (mine being a little too light for him), but they meet perfectly in this dish. The pasta, nuts, and lemon garlic vinaigrette are heavy enough for Peter and the veggies and peas make it healthy and balanced enough for me.

Lemon Garlic Cauliflower Pasta:

Prepare pasta:
Boil pasta according to package directions.

Roast cauliflower:
Preheat oven to 425 and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut cauliflower in half down the middle. You can then remove the florets with your hand. Cut especially big pieces into smaller florets. On prepared baking sheet, toss cauliflower with 1 tablespoon olive oil. 1/4 tsp. salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Toast nuts:
Meanwhile, toast nuts. Place on baking sheet and toast in oven for 10 minutes. When cool, slice into pieces.

Make vinaigrette by whisking the following ingredients:
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (juice from 2 lemons)
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
black pepper (to taste)
1.5 tsp. agave nectar (or sugar/your preferred sweetener)
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil

Put it all together:
When pasta is cooked, add back to the pot and toss with cauliflower, peas, almonds, and lemon garlic vinaigrette.

Yield: 4 servings

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Sweet Potato Enchilada Bowl

This bowl combines some of my favorite things: roasted sweet potato, crunchy purple cabbage, cashew cream, and brown rice. Add to that the black beans, which add a great contrasting texture, you've got a well-balanced, colorful, nutrient-packed bowl.

Sweet Potato Enchilada Bowl:

GRAIN: brown rice
VEGETABLE: roasted sweet potato and thinly sliced purple cabbage
BEAN: black beans (1 can, drained and rinsed)
HEALTHY FAT: cashew cream

Steam brown rice:
Rinse and drain rice. Combine 2 cups water with 4 1/2 cups water and cook in rice cooker or on stovetop according to package directions.

Roast sweet potato:
Preheat oven to 400 and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Peel sweet potato and cut into 1/2-inch chunks. Combine sweet potato with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and bake for 20 minutes. Flip and bake 10 more minutes. (You could also steam 1/2-inch chunks for 7 minutes).

Make cashew cream:
1/2 cup raw cashews + 1/2 cup vegetable broth + 1/8 tsp. salt; blend in high-speed blender until silky smooth. If you don't have a blender, sub cashew cream with guacamole or diced avocado.

Put bowl together:
Layer brown rice, enchilada sauce, sweet potatoes, purple cabbage, and cashew cream in a bowl.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Enchilada Tofu Scramble

For years, I made pancakes or waffles for breakfast on the weekends, but I started to dislike how they made me feel sluggish the rest of the day (especially when I started my first garden last year and needed to spend most of my weekends working in the yard). All that white flour, sugar, and oil didn't lend a good start to my day. I started replacing the sugar with a savory breakfast, usually tofu scramble with roasted potatoes and toast (with coconut oil and a pinch of salt instead of butter).

This time I replaced the toast with brown rice and replaced the roasted potatoes with veggies cooked directly in the tofu scramble in order to save a step and a pan to clean. I served the scramble bowl with my easiest guacamole (recipe below).

I made brown rice instead of toast because we didn't have any bread in the house. I've stopped buying bread recently because I noticed we weren't eating it fast enough before it went bad. Brown rice is more shelf stable, cheaper, and a more whole, less processed grain.

I used cauliflower and carrots in the scramble, but use whatever veggies you have in the house.

Enchilada Tofu Scramble:
Serve with brown rice and guacamole

For the scramble:
2 teaspoons coconut oil, divided
1 lb. firm or extra firm tofu, pressed (wrap it in a clean kitchen towel and place some heavy books on top for 30 minutes; you can this step, but you'll need to cook tofu a little longer).
1/2 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
2 carrots, shredded or diced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon soy sauce

For the enchilada sauce:
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 (28) oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch
1/2 teaspoon agave nectar (or sugar)
juice from 1/2 lime

For the guacamole:
1 avocado
salt & pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Make the enchilada sauce:
Preheat heavy-bottomed saucepan to medium heat. Add cumin seeds and toast for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add olive oil, onions, and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add oregano, tomatoes, salt, and agave. Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat to a simmer, and let cook until scramble is ready, about 20 minutes. Add lime juice.

Make the guacamole:
Mash avocado really well with a fork or potato masher. Add salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

Make the scramble:
Preheat 1 teaspoon coconut oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add cauliflower and carrots. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining teaspoon of oil. Crumble in tofu, add spices and soy sauce. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring tofu occasionally, using a thin metal spatula. Scrape the bottom of the pan when you stir and make sure the tofu doesn't stick to the pan. Add enchilada sauce and cook about 10 more minutes, until you have a "scramble" consistency, instead of a "saucy" consistency. Serve with brown rice and guacamole (or diced avocado).

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Lemon Garlic Pasta (Con Broccoli)

Have you had "Pasta Con Broccoli?" Peter wasn't familiar with it, but I grew up eating it.

I adapted this recipe from the "Lemon Garlic Pasta" in Dreena Burton's Eat, Drink & Be Vegan. This dish has been my go-to recipe for nights when I don't have much time or energy to make dinner and I'm already really hungry and want food fast.

Lemon Garlic Pasta (Con Broccoli) Bowl:
Serves 2-4

GRAIN: 3/4 lb. cooked pasta (brown rice, whole wheat, any will do)
STEAMED VEGETABLE: 1 head broccoli, cut into florets and steamed for five minutes
BEAN: 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
SAUCE: 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (juice from 2 lemons), 2 garlic cloves (minced), 1/2 tsp. sea salt, black pepper (to taste), 1.5 tsp. agave nectar (or sugar/your preferred sweetener), 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup olive oil. Whisk it up!
HEALTHY FAT: 1/3 cup toasted walnuts (toast at 350 for 10 minutes), chopped

When pasta is cooked, add back to the pot with remaining ingredients. If you'd like more moisture, add some vegetable broth.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


I've recently discovered an easy, foolproof way to make dinner in under an hour. There's very little planning involved and it's mostly hands-off cooking time. I was so excited when I discovered it that I blabbed about it at work all day. I even decided to design a class to teach at my work on it (we hold cooking classes on the days we're closed). It might be totally old news to you and maybe you've been making dinners like this forever, but JUST IN CASE you haven't been, I want to share my secret.


These bowls consist of:

2. a steamed vegetable
3. a bean (or tofu/tempeh).
4 a flavor/sauce

My grain is almost always brown rice. I cook it in Peter's really old rice cooker and it cooks just fine in under an hour (but it does take about an hour). My sister told me she buys rice at Trader Joe's that she microwaves and eats in a few minutes, but I just put the rice in the rice cooker the moment I get home and it's ready by the time I'm ready to eat. (And I'm pretty sure it's a lot cheaper to buy a big bag of brown rice than to buy "minute" rice, but I haven't explored the price difference myself).

I do 2 cups rice with 5 cups water (1:1.5 ratio rice:water), always with a sprinkle of salt and sometimes a splash of olive oil. I don't think my rice cooker does so well with less than 2 cups rice, so I always make 2 cups. Peter and I always have some leftover, which I place in the refrigerator and use the next day (I will have posts on "what to do with leftover rice?" -- look out for 'em!). So 2 cups rice is enough for about 2-4 people.

(You obviously don't need a rice cooker to cook rice; it's just what I find the easiest. Follow the instructions on your bag of rice).


My steamed vegetable is usually something green, most often broccoli. I sometimes switch it up with another cruciferous vegetable, like cauliflower, brussels sprouts, or purple cabbage. I use my inexpensive steamer basket that fits into a pot. Once the water starts to boil, I cover the pot and let it steam for about five minutes. I prefer lightly steamed veggies with a little crunch.


My bean is most often canned, either black, kidney or garbanzo. I just rinse well and drain. It's as simple as that. I sometimes cook green lentils (simmer for 30-45 minutes) if I have more time. You could also use tofu or tempeh. I prefer mine marinated and baked. You could also simply spray plain (firm or extra-firm) tofu cubes with oil, bake at 375 for 30 minutes, flipped halfway through and sprayed with oil again (bake a little extra for chewier tofu).


The flavor part can be as simple as a drizzle of soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, agave (or your preferred sweetener), and a squeeze of lemon. But use any sauce you like.

Another way to boost flavor is to use onions and garlic! They add a ton of flavor and the allium family is good for your health! In the bowl pictured above, I caramelized onions using this method (replacing the butter with olive oil). You could also use roasted garlic or minced raw garlic (or raw onions, too!).

You can also boost flavor with healthy fats! Diced avocado (or guacamole) or a simple nut butter sauce.


And don't forget about dessert! How about a seasonal fruit to complete the PCRM Power Plate?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Secret Ingredient Guacamole

This recipe is adapted from Isa Does It. I've been enjoying it so much lately that I thought it was time to post on the blog. The orange juice adds a sweetness to the dip I really like. Don't leave the onions out; they help to balance the sweetness of the orange juice.

Secret Ingredient Guacamole:

Adapted (slightly) from Pepe's Secret Guacamole in Isa Does It

2 ripe avocados
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (I use the juice of 1 orange)

Mash the avocado with a fork and mix in remaining ingredients.

Yield: 2 servings