Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Coffee Cake

Give me ten minutes of your time and I will give you the most delicious and low fat coffee cake you have ever tasted!  Really :)  Apple sauce is a wonderful egg substitute in vegan baking which allows for moist and fluffy results.  The apple flavor is subtle and pairs extremely well with the cinnamon and almond in my amazing ten minute vegan Coffee Cake.  Go ahead and indulge in this tasty treat.  If you don't eat it all today (good luck with that) then it will be even better tomorrow.  This cake is so light and fluffy it will pair fabulously with a cup of coffee or tea.

2 1/2 cups flour (I use organic, unbromated, unbleached white)
2 cups apple sauce (apples are high on the pesticide list so buy organic)
4 tbsp. coconut oil, liquid
2/3 to 1 cup vegan sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup sugar (you can use less if you want to keep sugar content low)
2 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp. vegan butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350℉                 Bake time: 30-40 minutes
1. In a medium bowl, add all the cake ingredients and mix well.  If your coconut oil is solid, place 1/4 cup of solid oil in a small glass jar.  Place the jar on the stove in a pot of water.  Bring to boil and the oil will liquefy. *Handle hot glass jar with care.
2. Use some of the coconut oil to lightly grease cake dish.  Pour cake batter into cake dish.  Use a spoon or spatula to even out the top of the cake so it is symmetrical.
3.  In a small bowl, add cinnamon and sugar.  Mix well.  Add the butter and the vanilla extract.  Using a spoon, blend the ingredients until evenly incorporated.  Add the sliced almonds and use your fingers to coat them with the butter and sugar.  Drop this mixture all over the top of the cake.  This will create a sugary crumb topping.
4.  Place cake in oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.  To test the cake, place a tooth pick or kabob stick into the center of the cake.  If it comes out clean, the cake is done.  Enjoy!


Monday, June 25, 2012

Sweet Potato Kale Timbale

Timbales are nothing more than a dish presented in the shape of a mold.  Bowl shapes are very popular and can be in different sizes from small to large.  Even the most sparsely equipped kitchen has a variety of bowls to choose from to make the perfect timbale.  For a party, make miniatures in an ice cube tray or sauce dishes.  As long as you oil the dish first, you'll get a perfectly formed timbale every time!  The possibilities of size, shape, and filling are truly endless and the presentation will always be stunning.  For another timbale idea, check out my Apricot Quinoa Amaranth Timbale and see just how diverse the timbale can be.
For my Sweet Potato Kale Timbale, I've combined the earthy flavor of sauteéd kale with the rich flavor of sweet potato, sun dried tomato, and thyme.  Since sweet potato and kale are always in the store, this dish is a hit all year round.  However, don't hesitate to make this into a season specific celebration of autumn, winter, summer or spring.  Just use whatever is in season at the time.  Try butternut squash, pumpkin, winter/summer squash, or even artichokes to create seasonal variety in this staple of a recipe.  Also, feel free to swap out the kale for whatever dark green you have on hand.  Try spinach, beet tops, or collard greens.  

Yields 4 servings
2 cups sweet potato, washed, cubed with skin on
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup rice (I used brown basmati but any rice will do)
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 to 3 tbsp. sun dried tomato, finely chopped
1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 tbsp. oil for sauteing (you can also use water)

Ingredients for Basic Sauteéd Kale:
5 cups kale, chopped roughly (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 tbsp. oil (try coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil)
2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
salt and pepper

Directions for Timbale:
1.  Prepare 4 timbale dishes by lightly oiling.  Try ramekins, small bowls, or even mini loaf pans would be cute.
2. Steam the cubed sweet potato for about 10 minutes or until soft.  Place steamed sweet potato in a bowl and set aside.
3.  In a medium stock pot, add the stock/water and rice.  Bring to rapid bowl.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 - 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is soft and tender.
4.  In a large skillet or saute pan, heat the oil/water over medium heat.  Add onion and saute until soft and a little golden, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, sun dried tomato and herbs and cook an additional few minutes.  Stir well.  Add the sweet potato.  Stir.  Remove from heat.

Directions for Basic Sauteéd Kale:
1. In a large skillet, add oil and bring to medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and cook till soft but not yet browned.
2.  Bring to high heat, add stock/water and kale and stir.  Cover and cook for about 5 minutes.
3.  Remove cover and continue the cooking process until all the liquid has been absorbed/evaporated.  Remove from heat.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Assembly:  On a plate, add a small circular bed of sauteéd kale.  In a prepared timbale dish, add a layer of sweet potato mixture and pat down to pack in firmly.  Then add a layer of rice and pat tight.  Center bowl over the bed of sauteéd kale, gently place bowl on plate and lift to relase the timbale.  Add another layer of sauteéd kale and garnish with toasted pine nuts.  If you are preparing all four timbales, prepare the timbale bowls first before bedding plates with kale (otherwise the kale will get cold).
Option: Add my Parmesan Cheese (pictured) for additional amazing flavor!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Lentil "Meat" Loaf

As a kid, meatloaf was never my favorite dish.  Fast forward 20 years and vegan "meatloaf" is one of my all time favorite foods!  As I've said before, meat (especially ground beef) always grossed me out.  There is just so much stuff in meat, including parts that are a bit tough, chewy, and well, questionable.  As a vegan, I owe it to my sister for forging my path to lentil love.  She loves her lentils and one day she came home from Whole Foods with a lentil loaf in hand.  It was made with TVP and was perfect sliced on a cracker with mustard.  With that first bite, I realized how versatile the little lentil seed truly is.  With black, orange, green, and brown to choose from it is impossible to get bored cooking with and eating lentils.  The best part about this Lentil "Meat" Loaf is the ingredient list has wiggle room.  Whatever you've got on hand, throw it into the loaf!! I'm guessing that's how meatloaf first came about.  Throw the left overs into a loaf pan and toss it in the oven!


Today, I've got lots of kale seeing as it is in season and on sale.  I've used curly kale but any green will do.  I've used swiss chard, spinach, arugula, collards, even beet tops.  Lentil loaf is the all forgiving recipe that holds it all in with a bit of tomato puree!  Seeing as I just whipped up some spicy BBQ sauce (all hail, Sirachia!) I've add it to the recipe.  You could easily use fresh chopped tomato, plain puree, ketchup or my Killer Tomato Sauce.  Have fun, be creative, and always play around with your food.

One of my silly vegan quirks is my inability to separate (in my mind at least) the consumption of meat with Medieval times.  Maybe it was too many trips to Excalibur as a kid or the lingering eeewww factor of seeing those giant turkey legs for sale at Medieval fairs but whatever the cause, it lingers.  So, after attending the local (I swear I'm not a geek!) Medieval festival, I'm somehow hankering for some Vegan "Meat" Loaf and rustic roasted veggies.  After having three servings, I can say that this is one of the best, and therefore post worthy, lentil loafs I have ever made!!  I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I did!
My sister and me at the local Medieval Fair! It was really fun and typical of PNW weather, it went from sunny to rainy and back to sunny making it feel all the more authentic! As usual, we held our outspoken vegan tongues as we passed way to many people decked out in period piece costumes complete with (ack) fur and leather.  Sadly, the medieval times were not good for the animal rights agenda.  However, I envisioned the girl with the fox head hand bag as I got a bulls eye in the bow and arrow arena :)  

Back to lentil "meat" loaf.  This recipe is soy free, gluten free, and cruelty free!!  I'm so glad that I live in the 21st century, I doubt I would have gone far as a 15th century Venturing Vegan!

Serving Yields 8 Servings
Loaf Mix
2 cups cooked green lentils
2 flax eggs (2 tbsp. freshly ground flax seed + 1/4 cup water)
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup mushrooms, diced
2 cups kale leaf, de-stemmed, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped (or your favorite herb such as thyme or oregano)
1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
1/2 cup almond flour (1/2 cups almonds, put in coffee/nut grinder and you have flour)
salt and pepper to taste

3/4 cup tomato puree
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 garlic clove, diced
1/2 tsp. celery seed
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. black strap molasses
1 tsp. mustard seed powder
1 tbsp. Siracha (use two if you want it über spicy)

Preheat oven to 375 ℉
- For the sauce, add all ingredients to blender and blend well.  Set aside.
- For the cooked lentil, an average rule of thumb is that 1 cup dried lentil will equal 2 cups cooked.  1 cup dry lentils into the pot with 2 cups water, bring to boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer.  In about 15 - 20 minutes the water will be absorbed and the lentils will be done.
For the loaf:
1. In a small dish, add 1/4 cup water to 2 tbsp. of flax seed.  Whip with fork then set aside and let thicken.
2. In a skillet, bring to medium heat and add 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil.  Add chopped onions and sauté until tender - about 5-10 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for an additional minute.  Add mushrooms and stir.  Cook for about 2 minutes or until the mushroom is tender.  Add the herbs and kale and 1/2 cup of the sauce.  Stir to mix all the ingredients.  Remove from heat.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper.  
3. In a blender or food processor, process 1 1/2 cups of the cooked lentils and 1/2 cup of the oats.  Blend until the mixture is smoothish.
4. In a medium bowl, add the blended lentils and oat plus the remainder of your unprocessed lentils and oat.  Mix well.  Add the flax egg and the almond flour, mix well.  Add the veggies from the skillet.  Mix well.
5. In a 9"x 5" loaf pan, lightly coat bottom and sides with olive oil.  Then spoon a small amount of sauce onto the bottom of the loaf pan.  Into prepared loaf pan, spoon lentil mixture.  Press it in nice and snug so it all smooshes together. The tighter you pack it, the better it will hold when you remove it.  Add the remaining sauce to the top of the loaf.
6. Bake at 375 ℉ for 30-40 minutes.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Then flip your loaf pan onto a cooling rack and gently remove.  The loaf should slide right out in one glorious piece. Enjoy!
* you can line the loaf pan with parchment paper and then lift finished loaf to remove as an alternative method. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Cheesy Sun Dried Tomato Quinoa Cakes

These Italian inspired Cheesy Sun Dried Tomato Quinoa Cakes are full of delicious flavor that anyone will enjoy.  Those who are a little hesitant to try the ancient quinoa grain (well, really it's a seed) will quickly fall in love with these cheesy delights.  Sun dried tomato has a flavor that everyone will love and paired with the Mozzarella Daiya, these little cakes resemble any cheese based Italian dish.  Corn and basil add a hint of fresh sweetness and for those who like the heat, I've added a pinch of red pepper flakes to wake up the senses!

Yields 8 to 12 cakes
3 flax eggs  (1 tbsp. freshly ground flax seed + 1/4 cup water for each egg)
1 tbsp. corn (I use frozen organoc corn)
2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup sun dried tomatos, soaked 20 minutes, drained and chopped, reserve soaking water
1/4 cup Daiya Mozzarella Shreds
1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp. Himalayan salt or sea salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
pinch dried red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 350℉
1.  In a small bowl, using the soaking water from sun dried tomatoes, mix water with ground flax, whip, set aside.
2.  In a medium bowl, add the quinoa, flax eggs, corn, basil, sun dried tomato, mozzarella, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Mix well.
3. With slightly wet hands, scoop up a small amount of quinoa mixture to create the desired size of cake.  Cupping hands, start by forming mixture into a ball like shape then flatten with the palm of your hands to create cake.   Yield amount will vary depending on size of cake.
4.  Repeat until all the quinoa mixture is gone.
5.  Place a sheet of parchment paper onto a cookie sheet.  Place quinoa cakes on sheet and place in oven for 20 minutes.  Flip cakes and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until quinoa is golden and cheese is melted and gooey.  Allow to cool before enjoying.  I served mine with some Perfect Pesto but you can also serve alongside tomato soup, salad, or simply enjoy the quinoa cakes on their own!
* For a party, make these little cakes into bite sized balls that are easy to grab and pop in your mouth!!


Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie

After lunch and before dinner is the perfect time to feed your afternoon hunger with this satisfying and energy boosting smoothie!  The chocolate pleases your sweet tooth, the banana quenches hunger, the peanut butter gives you energy, and the chlorella adds that extra shoot of nutrient dense goodness.  Combined you get a sinful smoothie that will give you the energy to stay focused and power though the rest of your day.  Since having a sweet start to the day can also help curb late afternoon sweet cravings, it's also a great mid-morning snack. Super easy, super quick, and oh so satisfying, my Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie is heaven in a glass.

Yields 2 servings
2 cups Chocolate Almond Milk  
2 Bananas
1 tsp. Chlorella powder
2 tbsp. Peanut Butter

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.  Use cold almond milk or frozen bananas for an ice cold treat.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Raw Pad Thai

In no way am I a raw foodie, I just like to eat raw about 60% of the time.  For some reason, I've become obsessed with the jicama root.  Diverse and delicious the jicama blends incredibly well with any flavor you give it.  For the Raw Pad Thai,  I've chosen to julienne the jicama but after trying it, I'd really suggest using a spiralizer to create noodles.  Taste testers of this dish said the noodles would make it seem more like pad thai and less like a jicama salad!  I like the crispness of the julienne strips but it's up to you and your kitchen equipment!  Since this dish is raw, it calls for cashews but you can use peanuts if you prefer a more traditional taste.  This dish is full of color, great taste, and packs some heat from the thai chili for a distinctive flavor any Thai foodie wil ♥.

Yields 4 to 6 servings
Pad Thai Sauce Ingredients:
2 tbsp raw sesame seeds
1 cup sesame oil
1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, soaked in filtered water for 2 hours, drained
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
1/2 cup Rice Wine Vinegar (RWV)
1 tsp sea salt or Himalayan salt

Veggie Glaze Ingredients:
1/2 cup raw cashew, soaked 2-4 hours, rinsed, drained and chopped
1 cup Braggs liquid aminos, nama shoyu, or Coconut Aminos
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 to 1 thai chili, de-seeded minced
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp sea salt of Himalayan salt

Pad Thai Ingredients:
1/2 to 1 jicama root, spiralized or julienned
1/4 cup snow peas, julienned or chopped
1/4 red pepper, julienned
1/4 cup mung bean sprouts
Veggie Glaze
Pad Thai Sauce
2 tbsp scallions, chopped
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup cashews, chopped

1.  Blend all ingredients for the pad thai sauce in a blender until smooth.  Pour into bowl and set aside.
2. Blend all ingredients for veggie glaze in a blender until smooth.  Add a little water if you want it thinner.  Place in bowl and set aside.
3. To assemble: Toss snow peas, bell pepper, and bean sprouts in the veggie glaze until well coated; set aside.  On a separate plate, make a landing pad of pad thai sauce.  On top of that add your jicama, then top with veggies in their glaze.  Add a little more pad thai sauce, sprinkle with chopped cashews, scallions, and cilantro.  Enjoy!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Potato Cheese Soup

Who doesn't love Potato Cheese Soup?  Most people are probably thinking us poor vegan folk have to live without but who are we kidding!  Ours is better than theirs!!  We can eat our hearts out and still not get fat and bloated with huge amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol from the dairy.  Plus, everyone can eat my Vegan Potato Cheese Soup even if they are lactose intolerant.  Making soup is one of my favorites because you really don't need a recipe.  Just start with the holy trilogy of soup: onion, celery, and carrot.  You can mix it up and use garlic and ginger for an Asian themed soup. Really, just add your holy trilogy, add liquid (water or veggie broth) and add veggies.  If it is bland, add some spices like salt, pepper, garlic powder, or dried herbs.  Soup making is so fun, homey, down to earth and it is so incredibly user friendly.
When I first bought a blender and started to puree my soups, I realized that any creamed soup is as simple as a minute or two in the blender.  Really, the sky is the limit for soups and this one turned out quite well!  When using root veggies like potato, onion, and carrot it is really important to buy organic.  Foods that grow below the dirt are uber susceptible to contamination from toxic pesticides.  Veer on the safe and buy organic when it comes to roots.  Better yet, grow your own. You can even grow potatoes and onions in a bag in your living room, it really is that easy! If you are growing your own, don't forget to save the cut off eyes (the green growths) on the potatoes for your garden!

Yields About 4 servings
4 potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 small onion, minced
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp Sea Salt or Himalayan Salt
2 1/2 cups milk (Almond or Soy are good choices.  Don't use coconut, it will taste funny.  Rice milk will be too thin).
2 tbsp vegan butter, melted (optional)
3 tbsp wheat flour (for gluten free, try quinoa flour or chickpea flour)
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Cheddar Daiya Cheese
1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast

1. In a large saucepan or stock pan, add a small amount of oil and lightly saute the carrots, celery, and onion.  Add the potatoes, veggie broth, and salt and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender enough to easily stab with a fork.  This will take about 15 to 20 minutes. 
2.  With a potato masher, mash the ingredients so it is creamy, mashy, and a little chunky.  This is a hearty soup, after all.
3.  Stir in milk.
4.  In a small bowl, mix the melted butter, flour, parsley, and pepper.  Then stir into the soup.  Raise to medium heat and cover until soup thickens.
5.  Stir in cheese until almost melted.  Remove from heat.  Allow to cool for about 5 minutes.  Taste test and add any needed salt or pepper.   Garnish with fresh herbs such as chives, cilantro, basil, or parsley.  Enjoy!

* If you want a white potato soup, use a white vegan cheese such as Daiya Mozarella Shreds.  


Yum Yum Yum Yum!  I really loved these Brownies and so did everyone else!  Now, I'm all for full sugar when I eat out but when I bake at home, I always tweak the recipe to include less sugar.  That's just how I roll.  So, I've included the original recipe and in parenthesis are the measurements for my less sugar options.  When you add less sugar, you get a more cake like texture that is still moist and chewy but lighter due to the lower sugar content.  The result = no tummy ache from eating too many delicious brownies!!  I think I ate like four or five of these guys and I'm not even going to think about how big I cut the brownies!  It's really up to you how much sugar you want to add, both ways are good.  However, I've used honey to help cut down the sugar content and some vegans don't eat honey so you could use maple syrup or another sweetener variety.  Also, when baking you need to make sure your sugar says Vegan on it somewhere.  Totally gross but bone char is used to bleach the sugar thus making is nonvegan.  If you are really lucky, the sugar will be both vegan and organic ♥.

Yields 10 brownies but in my house, it was 5!

  • 1-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 cups white sugar (I used 1/3 cup white sugar and 4 tbsp honey but this will make the brownies fluffy and less dense like a traditional brownie)
  • 1/3 cup and 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil  (I used 1/2 cup liquid coconut oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350℉        Bake Time: 25 to 30 minutes
1. Preheat oven to 350℉.
2. In a medium bowl, add the flour, sugar (and honey if using it), cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.  Stir together to mix.  Then add the water, vegetable oil and vanilla; mix until well incorporated.
3.  Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan lightly with oil.  (Really, you can use any size pan).  Pour in the batter and pop into the oven for 25 to 30 minutes.  To see if they are done, insert a knife or toothpick into the center of brownies and if it comes out clean, they are done.  You could in theory let them cool before eating them but really, who does that?!  Enjoy!!


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Jalapeno Cheddar Quinoa Cakes

When I was in high school and still only vegetarian, I used to walk to the bagel shop by my high school in San Diego and buy the Jalapeno Cheese bagel almost everyday.  The combination of savory and spicy is just too good to pass up.  Hearkening back to my love of cheesy spice, I give you Jalapeno Cheddar Quinoa Cakes.  These cakes are good!  So good that I made six and ate five (someone snatched one) and I'm still thinking about making another batch.  These are spicy and cheesy and have a hint of sweetness from the little bits of corn.  Naturally, a shout out goes to Daiya for making the best vegan cheese on the market because it stretches, melts, and acts just like real cheese!  I hope you guys love these as much as I do!!

2 cups cooked quinoa
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (use chickpea flour for a gluten-free option)
2 tbsp ground flax seed
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup corn (frozen organic corn works really well)
1/3 cup Cheddar Daiya Cheese
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
salt to taste (about 1/4 tsp)
pepper to taste (about 1/4 tsp)
1/2 tsp paprika (or you can use chili powder)
1 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
1 tbsp chopped, de-seeded jalapeno pepper (if you are crazy, then leave the seeds in but you have been warned)

Preheat oven to 350℉
1. The flax and water will make our vegan egg to bind the cakes together.  Add the water to the flax seed and whip to make a moist paste.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flax egg, quinoa, flour, corn, Daiya, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, paprika, cilantro, and jalapeno pepper.  Mix well.
3.  Using slightly wet hands, scoop up a small amount of dough to make a little patty.  This recipe will yield 6 cakes.  Place each cake on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
4.  Bake for 15 minutes, flip and bake for 10 more minutes or until golden and delicious.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Killer Tomato Sauce

Really, "killer" is absolutely necessary in this title.  I mean, how often can you say that something is so incredibly good, so utterly delicious as to be without a doubt, killer?  Right.  This tomato sauce will make you forever give up pre-made varieties from the store.  Use it as a pasta sauce, pizza sauce, or for ratatouille and you will be so happy you took the extra few minutes it takes to make this mouthwatering and yet incredibly simple sauce.  My Killer Tomato Sauce will make you feel like a pro in the kitchen and will instantly add a powerful punch of flavor to any dish you put it in.  Guaranteed :)

1 1/3 cups sun-dried tomatoes, soaked 15-20 minutes (I use the Trader Joe's variety from the bag)
1 1/3 cup chopped, seeded tomato (Roma work really well)
1/3 cup soaking liquid from sun-dried tomatoes
1/3 tsp Himalayan salt or sea salt
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried basil (if I have fresh basil on hand,  I'll omit the oregano and just use 4 large basil leaves)
1/4 tsp Herbs de Provence
1 tsp honey, agave, or stevia
Black pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients until smooth.  For pizza sauce and wraps, I add a little less water and for pasta sauce I add a little more water.  Really, this recipe is very flexible and you can mix and match different herbs.  For spicy versions, I add paprika and red pepper flakes!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sloppy Joe

Some days it's hard to find time to get in the kitchen and prepare a meal from scratch, that's why I love Sloppy Joe's!  This recipe should be credited to my mom who first prepared one for me years ago with TVP.  This is one of my go-to semi-homemade recipes that is so incredibly easy and as long as there are hamburger buns in the house, I usually have all the ingredients lying around.  It's a good to the bone All American food and it's incredibly filling and satisfying.  I just ate two!  Since I'm usually only making food for me when I throw them together, this recipe is to serve one.  However, since the whole idea behind the Sloppy Joe is to just throw it together, making a larger batch is super simple and the measurements don't need to be exact.  It's very difficult, if not impossible, to mess up this recipe!  For a complete meal serve along a salad or french fries!!  Also, using mini buns to make this dish is great for a party!

Yields 1
1/3 cup store bought vegetarian chorizo
1 tbsp + 1 tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp Killer Tomato Sauce or 1 tbsp ketchup
salt to taste
pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
1 hamburger bun

In a frying pan, add the chorizo and bring to medium-high heat (no need to add oil since the corizo will have oil in it).  Lower to medium-low heat and add remaining ingredients.  Mix well and allow to sit for 5 mins for the flavors to develop.  In the meantime, heat your bun in the oven or toaster oven.  Spread either vbutter, ketchup, or Killer Tomato Sauce on the bun.  Fill bun with Sloppy Joe mixture and dig in!!  Make sure to have a napkin handy!


Monday, May 28, 2012


Tzatziki is an amazing food and is not something that has to be given up as vegan!  Thanks to so many vegan yogurt options, tzatziki is easy for a venturing vegan.  I looked everywhere on my little island for almond yogurt but only found it in single serving containers in different flavors.  So, I bought soy yogurt that was organic and gmo-free.  It really is up to you but I think almond works best but you could also use coconut if you don't mind the flavor.  Soy worked really well in this recipe and the leftover yogurt was great the next morning with my granola and strawberries!  Tzatziki is really easy to make but two points: 1. If you like pieces of garlic and cucumber, do not blend just mix it all together. 2. If you blend, then it will need to sit for a few hours to solidify again before regaining it's yogurt consistency.  I chose to blend mine, let it sit and ate it a few hours later and it was divine!

Tzatziki is a cool cucumber garlic yogurt dip and it goes perfectly with my Baked Falafel.

Yields 8 servings
16 oz plain vegan yogurt
2 persian cucumbers, washed and diced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill 
3 gloves garlic, peeled, smashed, and minced

1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until well-combined.  Place in a dish, cover, and refrigerator for at least one hour for the flavors to develop.

Baked Falafel

Falafel is one of my all time favorite foods!  When my sister returned home from her travels in Greece and Turkey, she would spend hours at the stove making traditional deep fried falafel that was incredibly delicious!  Nowadays, I don't want to spend hours in the kitchen, I don't want fat laden fried foods, and I do want my falafel to be delicious and memorable!  Baked Falafel is the answer!  This dish is every bit as tasty as the fried version but it is lighter, won't slow you down with burdensome energy zapping digestion, and it's a breeze to whip up!  Enjoy Baked Falafel with my Sprouted Hummus, Tzatziki, and Tabouli Salad for a complete falafel platter!

Why fry falafel when you know it can be so much better!  Loaded with fresh flavor like liver detoxifying parsley, immune boosting garlic, anti-inflammatory cumin spice and digestion aiding black pepper make this dish as healthy as it is satisfying!

2 cups Basic Cooked Chickpeas or 1 19oz can of chickpeas rinsed and drained
2 tbsp whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp parsley
1 tsp cilantro
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup onion, chopped

1.  Preheat oven to 400° F
2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until processed to a medium-fine coarseness.  You want it blended but a few bits of pieces are ok.  If you don't have a blender, put chickpeas into a plastic bags and mash with a wooden spoon.
3.  Place mixture into a medium bowl and scoop out small balls of dough and roll into a ball.  My dough made 12 balls.  You can form patties if you prefer.
4.  Place on oiled (coconut oil works best) cookie sheet or pan.  Bake for 20 minutes for balls or 15 minutes each side for patties or until golden brown.   Enjoy!!

Coconut Crunch Crust

My Coconut Crunch Crust is incredibly easy to make and has the texture of a baked crust thanks to the shredded coconut.  If you don't have walnuts on hand, you can omit them and use almond meal instead.  I use this crust for my Raw Cheesecake and for my Raw Pecan Pie.  It would also be great as a crust for a coconut cream pie or if you use hazelnuts instead of walnuts you could make a raw chocolate hazelnut tart.  The options are really endless and any way you fill it, this is a great and easy to make basic raw crust that you will love!

1 cup raw almond butter
1 cup organic unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups walnuts (soaked, 4 hours) 
1 tbsp raw honey or stevia (optional)

Grind walnuts in seed/nut/coffee grinder until finely ground (will form a dough like substance).  In a medium bowl, add the walnut meal, raw almond butter, shredded coconut and honey.  Mix well until all ingredients are incorporated.  Press dough into a pie pan.


Raw Pecan Pie

Who doesn't love pecan pie?  I know that it is more of a holiday pie but I've been craving it big time and I just cannot bring myself to bake a sugar loaded version (although it would taste amazing).  There are tons of recipes for raw pecan pie so I filtered through them all and put my own version together.  Since dates are really expensive, I'm not too keen on using 20+ dates to make this filling and so I've chosen to use raisins in the filling and almond butter in the crust.  The result for my Raw Pecan Pie was fantastic!  The hardest part about making this pie is waiting for it to solidify in the refrigerator!

1 Coconut Crunch Crust
1 cup raw almond butter
1 cup organic unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups walnuts (soaked, 4 hours)
1 tbsp honey or stevia (optional)

Grind walnuts in seed/nut/coffee grinder until finely ground (will form a dough like substance).  In a medium bowl, add the walnut meal, raw almond butter, shredded coconut and honey.  Mix well until all ingredients are incorporated.  Press dough into a pie pan.

Pecan Pie Filling
1 1/3 cups raw pecans, soaked 15 minutes or longer
2/3 cup organic raisins
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup maple syrup
2/3 cup filtered water
1 tsp. sea salt

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.  Pour blended pie filling into prepared crust.  Garnish with additional pecans if desired.  Chill the pie for at least 5 hours and up to overnight in the freezer.  Slice and enjoy guilt free!


Saturday, May 26, 2012


One of my first food memories of Australia was the day I hiked through the rainforest close to my student housing in Brisbane, Queensland.  Since my housemates were all busy, I went on a tour and had an amazing time!  When we took a break from hiking, the tour guide prepared afternoon tea with classic Aussie honey tea and lamingtons.  I have been in love with these delicious bites of cake ever since but haven't had any since I left Oz.  Since I'm currently living on an island that requires me to walk through rainforests and take ferry rides (just like in Brisbane), I find myself missing the flavors of Australia.  Vegan Lamingtons are my remedy!  Baked goods are one of the easiest things to veganize and these are no exception.  With moist sponge cake, a coat of chocolate, and an outer of shredded coconut, these little delights bring back all the memories of my day trip through the Australian rainforest.

Since I like to cut back on sugar, I've put in parenthesis the option to swap out the processed sugar in the recipe for honey, stevia, or agave.  I used honey, as it is my sweetener of choice, and it was marvelous!

Vanilla Cake:
3 1/2 cups twice sifted flour
2 cups sugar (or try using just 4 tbsp of honey)
1 shallow tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups filtered water
1/2 cup coconut oil (if you don't have coconut oil, try using 3/4 cup vegetable oil)
2 tbsp vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
4 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F                     Bake Time: 40 minutes
1. In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, combine and mix all wet ingredients.
2. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well until the batter is smooth and lump free.
3.  Let batter sit for 5 minutes.  Do not try to bang out the bubbles.
4.  Pour batter into a square or rectangle cake tin/glass (doesn't matter which size since we will cut the cake into bite-sized squares.)  Again, don't bang out those bubbles.
5.  Into the oven at 350°F and bake for 40 minutes.  If your oven heats unevenly, your cake will be uneven.  If this is the case, turn the cake at the 20 minute mark for more even baking.
6.  Let cake cool before making lamingtons.

Chocolate Sauce
2 tbsp. coconut oil (vegan butter works as well).  To melt place oil in a bowl and place the bowl in a larger bowl of hot water.
1 1/2 cups icing sugar (I hate to add powdered sugar even though it makes beautiful frosting.  Today, I've used only the cocoa powder since it already has sugar in it).
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups hot water

In a medium heat proof bowl, add the oil, sugar (optional), cocoa powder and hot water.  Mix until it is smooth.

1 vanilla cake
Chocolate sauce
1 cup shredded coconut

1. Cut cooled cake into bite-sized squares.
2.  Place shredded coconut in a bowl or on a plate for coating.
3.  Dip each cake square first in chocolate then coat with shredded coconut.  Set aside on a plate or parchment paper to set.  Repeat until you are done and you'll have lamingtons!!  Enjoy with tea or coffee!


Friday, May 25, 2012

Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan Cheese is something I really missed when I first became vegan.  Actually, I missed all cheese.  Then slowly I began to explore cheese alternatives like soy cheese and almond cheese.  Sadly, many cheese alternatives contain whey which is a milk protein and a vegan no no.  Also, many cheeses are soy based and I do try to keep my soy intake low.  Then I found Daiya which is made from tapioca flour and I daiya so I use it a lot.  However, they don't make Parmesan and I didn't like any of the vegan Parmesan cheeses on the market.  So I made my own! And it is amazing!  I hope you guys love it too!  Put it on top of dishes like "Beefy" Pasta or serve it up with my Perfect Pesto in a wrap or on top of spaghetti and pizza.  This seed cheese is made with papita seeds but if you want to splurge then you can use pine nuts instead.

Yields: About 11/2 cups
1 cup papita seeds, soaked two hours and rinsed well
1/2 cup cold filtered water
1/2 tsp. Himalayan salt or sea salt
1 Tbsp. chopped onion (white or red)
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (about two medium lemons)
1 tsp. coconut oil
4 drops honey or liquid stevia
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 small garlic clove

Add all ingredients in a blender and blend on crumble until it looks like Parmesan.  Slightly crumbled and slighty smooth.  Store in sealed container in the refrigerator.


"Beefy" Pasta

This dish is a great TF (transition food) for anyone who is looking for a hearty and meat-like meal.  Full of flavor, spice, and meaty texture my "Beefy" Pasta is a great dish for "Meat-less Monday's" or for entertaining omnivores who won't be too keen on kale salad as a main dish!  This meal is also one of my SH (semi-homemade) dishes store bought pasta sauce and soy chorizo*.  This quick meal was great for me today since the sun is out and I spent most of my day outside soaking up some much needed Vitamin D inducing sunshine (yes, Washington is a cloudy place).  Reluctantly, I left the sunshine for a mere 30 minutes and whipped up this filling and delish "Beefy" Pasta.  Now all I need is an ice cold vegan beer :)
*If you want a soy free chorizo, try my Raw Nut Chorizo.

Yields: 2 servings
2 cups brown rice penne pasta (or whatever you have on hand)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. garlic oil
5 cups filtered water (for cooking pasta)
1/4 cup carrot, diced (about one large carrot)
1 medium zucchini, diced
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1 medium sweet yellow pepper, seeded and diced
21/2 cups tomato pasta sauce
1/4 cup vegan soy chorizo
chopped cilantro and basil to taste (for garnish)
* Feel free to use your favorite veggies or whatever you have on hand.  This dish works well with mushroom, squash, asparagus, broccolini, eggplant, brussel sprouts, peas, corn, etc.

1. In a medium skillet, add 1 tsp coconut oil and bring to medium-high heat.  Add carrot, zucchini, and broccoli and sweet yellow pepper.  Lightly saute. This will take about 2-4 minutes.   Lower to medium-low heat.
2.  Add vegan soy chorizo and tomato based pasta sauce.  If you want it really beefy, add more chorizo.  Stir well and keep on medium-low heat for serving temperature.  Vegetables will continue to soften while you cook the pasta.
3.  In a large saucepan, bring 5 cups water to boil - salt your water with Himalayan salt or sea salt as it will aid in the water boiling and will flavor the pasta.  When water is at a rapid boil, add the pasta and cook uncovered.  Rice pasta tends to stick so give it a stir every couple minutes (especially when first added to water) to prevent clumping.  Rice pasta cooks very quickly and will be done in about 7 - 10 minutes.  Drain pasta, rinse with cool water and return to sauce pan.  Add garlic oil, salt and pepper and stir.  The oil will continue to prevent sticking and will help the pasta maintain its shape.  Add pasta to"Beefy" pasta sauce and mix well.
To serve: Plate the pasta and top with freshly chopped basil and cilantro and Parmesan Cheese.  Enjoy!

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Halvah is a delicious Middle Eastern treat which is usually made with sesame seeds.  Using sesame seeds it is quite delicious but I've mixed it up and made this sweet treat using almond meal and tahini.  They turned out really well and pair perfectly with Baked Falafel and Sprouted Hummus for a complete feast.  Omitting the carob powder is absolutely possible if you don't like it or don't have it on hand.  It is also possible to use cocoa powder instead of carob powder.
Yields: 20 balls
11/2 cup almond meal 
1/2 cup raw tahini
3 tbsp honey 
1 tsp vanilla (alcohol free variety)
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp carob powder

1. To create the almond meal, put 11/2 cups almonds into a food processor or nut/coffee grinder and process until finely ground.  
2.  To create carob powder, place carob chips into a coffee grinder and process until the carob chips are powder.  
3. In a medium bowl, add the almond meal, tahini, honey and vanilla.  Mix well.  Take half of this mixture and press onto a plate or pan until it is about 1/4" thick.  Don't worry about filling the pan or plate, just press to achieve an even thickness.
4.  Add carob powder into remaining dough.  Mix well.  Add carob mixture on top of vanilla mixture and press until the carob mixture is about 1/4" thick.  The best way to do this is to take the carob mixture in your hands and press until it is the right thickness and then lay on top of the vanilla mixture.
5.  Chill this lovely two layer mix for about an hour.  Then pull it from the refrigerator, cut bite-size pieces and roll them into balls.  Continue until all the dough is gone and you are done!  Enjoy!


Sprouted Chickpea/Garbanzo Beans

Chickpeas are really very easy to sprout and they are perfect for my making my Sprouted Hummus,  Baked Falafel, or just tossing into salads!  Sprouting the chickpeas will breakdown the enzyme inhibitors and make their enzymes bioavailable to our bodies.  Also, soaking the chickpeas allows for the removal of some of the sugars which typically result in bloating and gas.  Soaking beans is always a great way to help breakdown those hard to digest carbohydrates which otherwise can pass undigested into the intestinal tract where bacteria will begin to ferment them and cause the release of gas and a feeling of bloating.  So go ahead and sprout away!
To Sprout Chickpeas:
1. Take desired amount of chickpeaks (about 11/2 cups), place in a bowl or sprouting jar and cover with 2-3 times as much cool filtered water.  (If using filtered tap water, allow the water to sit for about an hour to be sure the chlorine has evaporated).
2. Soak overnight or for about 12 hours.  Drain water and rinse the beans by giving them a gentle swish.
3.  If using a bowl, rinse your beans in a strainer and then return to bowl.  If using a sprouting jar, just rinse.  You will need to rinse the beans 2 to 3 times a day and keep in a cool place away from direct sunlight.  Make sure to drain your beans really well so they are not sitting in water if you are using a bowl.  A sprouting jar will be angled so that excess water will drain out.
4.  In 2 to 3 days your sprouts will have little white tails and will be ready to use.  Keep covered in the refrigerator and they will last about 3 to 4 days.
* if you plan to bake the chickpeas, you can soak only and it will still help to remove the gas casuing sugars.


Los Angeles is full of amazing Greek restaurants.  During my junior year at USC, I was working as a producer on a graduate thesis film.  The director was from the UAE and raved about his love of tabbouleh.  He swore I would instantly fall in love with this little hole in the wall Greek place in downtown LA where they served up the best falafel and tabouli in town.  Well, he was right.  The one thing I remember most was that their tabouli was out of this world.  Bold as it may be to say, my tabouli is even better!  Why, you might ask?  Well, mine is made with quinoa and is lighter and fresher than the traditional tabouli made with cracked wheat (not to mention gluten free).  This salad goes extremely well with my Baked Falafel and Quinoa Cakes.  I guarantee, you will fall in love with this recipe and when you do, you will get all the beautiful health benefits and detoxification properties of the parsley leaves in this tangy Mediterranean dish.  I would say that this recipe serves 8 but at my house (even with my sister who "hates parsley") it only served three!

Tabouli is a joy to make, when you start chopping herbs, even on the cloudiest of days, you feel fresh, healthy and alive.  With fresh mint, parsley and lemon juice this kitchen session is sure to enliven the senses and wake your culinary spirit ;)


Yields About 8 servings
2 cups minced parsley (you can use flat leaf but curly really works best)
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/4 cup cooked and cooled quinoa
1 tbsp finely chopped yellow onion (optional)
2 tomatoes, diced
2 cucumber, diced (sweet, organic Persian cucumber works best.  If using another kind, peel and seed the cucumber)
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
1 tsp Himalayan salt or sea salt

In a medium bowl add the parsley, mint, quinoa, onion, tomato and cumber and toss.  In a separate small bowl add the oil, lemon juice and pepper.  Whisk to emulsify all the ingredients then pour over salad.  Mix well and allow to chill for about 20 to 30 minutes before eating.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sprouted Hummus

Whenever I make hummus, I think of my amazing friend Nir who loves food and has shared with me the superb hummus that his mother makes.  While I have yet to get my hands on their secret family recipe sculpted from generations of hummus making, this version is just as delish and more figure friendly than traditional hummus.  My Sprouted Hummus delights the palate without zapping energy or bogging down the digestive enzymes thanks to the use of raw and sprouted chickpeas.  Rich in enzymes and life force, these sprouted chickpeas make for a nutty, fresh hummus that even the greatest of hummus snobs (a.k.a. my sister who reminisced about the amazing food she had in Turkey while she downed the bowl of hummus I made) will .
Yields About 2 cups
2 cups sprouted chickpeas (if you want to make hummus but don't have sprouts on hand, use a 15-oz    
                                           can of chickpeas)
1 tbsp raw tahini
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice*
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt or sea salt
1 - 2 cloves garlic 
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil  (or garlic oil if you don't have fresh garlic on hand)

*if your lemon feels dry, roll it on the counter to release juices or, if really dry, place your lemon in a small bowl of very hot water for about a minute.

1.  If you have a food processor, lucky you.  Use it.  If not, like me, use a blender.  Adding about 1/2 cup at a time, blend all the ingredients in a blender.  Once blended, remove, put in a bowl and then blend the next 1/2 cup until it's all blended.  
2.  If you have difficulty blending, stop the blender, churn the ingredients with a spoon, then blend again.
3.  Add all blended ingredients back into the blender for a quick mix at the end.
4.  Serve with pita, pita chips, with falafel, use as a dip for cut veggies, or spread on a sandwich or wrap! Enjoy!


Carob Decadence

These little drops of devilish delight disappeared from my kitchen in lightning speed after the first batch.  I had to whip up the second batch in secret in order to grab a photo for the blog.  I guarantee a love affair with these little yummies.  Super easy to make, it's worth it to make 2 batches to keep extras on hand in the refrigerator.

Yields About 15 balls
1 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened and organic works best
3/4 cup dried cranberries (if you don't like cranberries, try cherries or blueberries)
2 tbsp raw honey 
1/2 cup raw almond butter
1 tbsp carob powder  (you can also you raw cacao powder)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of Himalayan salt or sea salt
1 tbsp ginseng root powder (optional)
1/4 cup carob powder (reserve for rolling the balls in)

1. Into a medium sized bowl, add the shredded coconut, cranberries, honey, almond butter, carob powder, cinnamon, salt, and ginseng powder.  Using a spoon, or if you want a little dirty fun then use your hands, and mix all ingredients until well incorporated into a dough.
2.  Take a piece of dough about the size of a tablespoon and roll into a ball.  Place the ball onto a plate.  Repeat until all the dough is gone.
3.  Add 1/4 cup carob powder into a small bowl. 
4.  With clean, dry hands take each ball and roll it in the carob powder to coat.  Set on a plate or tray.  Place balls in the refrigerator for at least an hour before eating.  Best after left in refrigerator for 24 hours.  Will keep in a sealed container for 2 to 3 weeks.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Daily Green Juice

This juice will give you the energy to make it through the toughest of days.  Drink this Daily Green Juice and not only will you feel the cleansing and energizing effects of this beauty tonic but you will start to see your skin glow!  Feel free to mix and match, throw in whatever you have.  A good rule of thumb is one apple or pear for sweetness, lemon juice for the iron absorption enhancement of Vitamin C, and whatever dark greens you have.  Greens like dino kale, curly kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, swiss chard, arugula, dandelion greens, and red leaf lettuce all work well.  You can throw in come zucchini or daikon radish for a little variety.  Add a bunch of parsley, cilantro, microgreens or wheat grass for an added boost!
Yields 1 serving
1 bunch organic kale
3-4 stalks of celery
1 organic apple small or 1/2 large organic apple
1/2 organic lemon

Wash all ingredients well.  Run all ingredients through the juicer and enjoy juice within 15 minutes.