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.


Carrot Ginger Rush

Ginger's fresh and hot taste will get your blood pumping in the morning and give you a jolt to wake up those sleepy bones.  Sweetened with carrot and apple, packed with a citrus punch, this juice will soon become a favorite :)

Yields 1 serving
2 large carrots, cut into pieces to fit mouth of juicer
1 orange, peeled and de-seeded
1 medium apple, cut into pieces to fit mouth of juicer
2 thin slices of fresh ginger (you can leave the skin on)

Wash ingredients.  Run ingredients through the juicer.  Enjoy within 15 minutes.

Alkalizing Juice

With busy lives it's easy to down too much coffee, soda, sweets, and alcohol.  All of these foods are very acidic for our bodies and sometimes we just need a good shot of Alkaline to balance things out!  When you are craving fresh, green, phytonutirents, reach for this tasty green juice!

Yields 1 serving
1 cup Spinach
1/2 cucumber*
2 celery stalks (with leaves)
3 carrots
1/2 apple

Wash all ingredients.  Run all ingredients through the juicer.  Consumer within 15 minutes.

*It is important to buy organic cucumber because we want to leave the skin on and grab all those nutrients loaded in the cucumber peel.

Mexican Caesar Salad Dressing

One of my favorite brunches used to be the Sunday brunch at El Torito Mexican Restaurant.  When I was living in San Diego, my family would go all the time.  We loved the mini enchiladas and churros, the sweet corn cake, and most of all we loved the Mexican Caesar Salad!  While I promise to post my versions of all the before mentioned goodies (something to look forward to!), today I am posting my version of the yummy, creamy, somewhat spicy Mexican Caesar Salad Dressing!  It has been a good ten years since I've tasted the real thing but, if my memory serves me well, then this is pretty darn close!  Vegan Caesar dressing uses either lemon or veg Worcestershire sauce for that kick you would normally get from the cheese and anchovies in the real thing.  I happen to not like Worcestershire sauce so for this recipe I have used lemon juice.  It is fresh, tangy, and oh so good!

Yields About 2 cups
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pit removed
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 medium lemon, juiced
11/2 cups filtered cold water
1 cup papita seeds (soaked for 4 hours)
1 tsp Himalayan salt or sea salt
1 tbsp chopped white onion
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp coconut oil (liquid)*
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
* If your coconut oil is solid, put the desired amount in a dish in the sun or place the jar in warm water until the oil is liquid.

Easy as pie.  Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.  Will keep covered in the fridge for 3-5 days.  Enjoy!

This dressing pairs well with most any veggie.  Here I've used carrot, zucchini, tomato, mini red peppers, corn, avocado, adzuki bean sprouts, mung bean sprouts, papita seeds, red onion, and romaine.  For a bit of a crunch, sprinkle tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips on top!

Eggless "Egg Salad"

Egg salad is a perfect dish for the warmer months.  It screams American summers full of picnics and 4th of July celebrations.  For me, egg salad reminds me of my mother who always loved her egg salad sandwiches.  That is, until she became vegan 2 years ago.  She loves the eggless "egg salad" from Whole Foods so much that I decided to make a version of it at home.  I'm not sure what they put in their theirs (I think it is tofu based) but according to mom, my Eggless "Egg Salad" tastes just like the one at Whole Foods.  So, I am sharing this mom approved recipe with everyone who has given up eggs and is still hankering for a good old egg salad sandwich!  This version is made with chickpeas and is soy-free (with my soy intolerant sister in mind) and it has received thumbs up all around!!

Makes about 2 1/2 cups
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or you can use canned but freshly made always work best)
1 cup Creamy Mayo (or you can use veganaize if you have it on hand)
2 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
3 tbsp sweet relish
1tbsp chopped red onion (if you prefer green onions, add 2 tbsp)
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt or sea salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp chopped celery (optional)

To cook chickpeas (garbanzo beans): Soak for 12 hours or overnight.  Rinse.  Put in a pot on high heat with 1:11/2 ratio of chickpea to water.  Bring to boil, reduce, cover and simmer for one hour.  Add salt to taste.

If you have a blender:
Add all ingredients and blend on low to medium for 5 second intervals.  Stop and stir.  Repeat until desired consistency is achieved.

If you do not have a blender:
Put chickpeas in a large plastic bag and beat them with a spoon or wooden mixer until they are well mashed.  In a medium bowl, add mashed chickpea, mayo, mustard, ACV, relish, onion, pepper, salt, paprika, and turmeric.  Mix well.

Just spread bread with Creamy Mayo, add lettuce, tomato, Eggless "Egg Salad" and you're done!


Monday, May 21, 2012

Creamy Mayo

When I thought about going vegan, it was hard to grasp just how many animal ingredients are put into everything we eat.  I was unknowingly giving up many of my favorite foods (ice cream, pizza, yogurt) when I became vegan.  One of these, was creamy mayonnaise.  When I actually think about it, I know that mayo is made with eggs but it never occurred to me that being vegan meant no mayo!  After all, the American salad rarely includes a non-mayo based dressing.  Just think about ambrosia salad, potato salad, cole slaw, thousand island dressing... all with mayo!  Not to mention egg salad sandwiches with the tart vinegar mayonnaise and the slight hint of dill.  Well, I was not going to take "hold the mayo" laying down!  Therefore, my dreamy Creamy Mayo is my gift to all you mayo lovin' vegan venturers!  I promise this mayo will not be dry, will not be oily, will not be runny!  It will be dreamy, it will be creamy, and yes, it will taste like mayo.  Remember that all the foods we love can be vegan and can be better!! Enjoy :)

Yields: About 1/2 cup
2 tbsp sunflower meal (raw sunflower seeds into the seed grinder and you get sunflower meal)
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp acv (apple cider vinegar.  I use Bragg's Raw ACV)
1 tsp mustard powder
1/2-2/3 tsp sea salt or Himalayan salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup olive oil (cold pressed/expeller pressed)
pinch cayenne

Put everything into the blender and blend well.  You can add more or less oil to create your dream consistency but I've had great results with the 1/4 cup.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lemon Zing Balls

These tart little treats lasted less than 1 hour in my kitchen!  They are so easy to grab and pop into your mouth that they will disappear faster than you can make them!  The scent of fresh lemon zest and the flavors of lemon and honey will entice all ages to grab a little sweet treat.  Plus, knowing how I roll, they are good for you!  Lemon Zing Balls are a good source of vitamins B, C, and E, calcium, potassium, and iron.  These protein full, fiber full delights are a guilt free indulgence!  Enjoy!

Makes 22 balls
4 tsp lemon zest (about 2 lemons worth)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup raw walnut meal (grind raw walnuts in a seed/coffee grinder to make the meal)
1/2 cup raw sesame seed meal (as with the walnuts, just grind raw sesame seeds to make the meal)
2 tbsp raw honey
1/3 cup shredded coconut (organic, unsweetened works best)
1 pinch of sea salt or Himalayan salt

1.  Zest the lemons before juicing.  (When using the skin of a fruit, make sure to buy organic unwaxed fruit and wash really well before zesting).
2.  In a medium bowl, add the lemon zest, walnut meal, sesame meal, raw honey, salt, and juice of 1 lemon.  To juice lemon, roll first on the counter to release the juice.  Slice in half, remove seeds, and squeeze over bowl.
3.  Mix to form a well incorporated dough.  Prepare a separate plate or bowl of the shredded coconut for coating.  Place an additional plate by your mix bowl to place the balls before coating. *
4.  Pinch off a small piece of dough about 1 1/2 inch worth (1 tablespoon worth) and roll into a ball.  Place the ball on your empty plate.  Repeat until the dough is gone.
5.  Wash and dry hands well.  Take each ball and roll in shredded coconut.  Place finished balls on a plate or tray and place covered in the fridge for 24 hours.  Will keep in a sealed container for 1 week in fridge or up to 2 months in freezer.
* Each ball should be pre-rolled before coating in coconut shreds.  This will help immensely in preventing your hands from becoming a sticky mess.  Coating in coconut with clean hands and balls ready will make this process clean and simple.

Perfect Pesto

I will always remember my first taste of pesto.  It was in my preteen years at a fun little cafe in San Diego called The Livingroom.  They had this amazing cheese filled tortellini with pesto that was just delish!  My first step in recreating this dish is to make a perfect vegan pesto.  Here, I think I've pretty made the perfect vegan pesto that will make your mouth water and eyes close with an "mmmmmm" for every bite!!  Easy to make, full of healthful antioxidants, chlorophyll, and omega-3 fatty acids, this Perfect Pesto is a must for any venturing vegan!

Makes About 1 1/2 cups
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed, dry (wet pesto will quickly spoil in the fridge)
1 cup raw walnuts (or pine nuts)
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (organic and expeller pressed/cold pressed works best)
1 garlic clove, peeled, pressed, and crushed (pressing releases the vital garlic oils)
1 1/2 tsp sea salt or Himalayan salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1.  Wash the basil well.  To make sure it is really dry, pat dry then let rest on a paper towel for about an hour.  Remove stems.
2.  Add to the blender in this order: basil, nuts, oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Blend on medium until creamy pesto is achieved (about 20 to 30 seconds).  If you like your pesto a little more grainy, then blend until preferred consistency is achieved.
3. Pour pesto into a bowl.  In a sealed container, it will keep for 1 1/2 weeks in the fridge.


Spicy Mexican Fudge

Being from San Diego originally, I love Mexican food.  Good Mexican food.  Trips down South always bring to mind the flavors of chili mixed with tropical fruits like coconut and mango.  This Spicy Mexican Fudge delivers the pungent pairing of spicy and sweet, smooth and chewy, and every bite comes with a little kick of heat!  This fudge is power packed full of antioxidants, protein, fiber, and calcium.  Bite into a mouthful of heavenly rich and creamy fudge and deliver energy and vitality to your body at the same time!  Does it get any  better?!

Makes 24 pieces
1/2 cup coconut oil (raw, unrefined, organic works best)
1 cup dried fruit (mango, blueberries or papaya work well just make sure it is unsweetened and chopped into small pieces if using strips of dried fruit)
1/2 cup raw almond butter
1 cup raw cocoa powder or carob powder (I've taken carob chips and powdered using a coffee grinder)
2 tbsp raw honey
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp shredded coconut
1/4 tsp sea salt (optional)

1. Place your coconut oil in a bowl and then place in a sunny spot to liquefy.  If the day is cloudy, set the jar of coconut oil in a pan of very hot water to liquefy.
2. In a medium bowl, add the coconut oil, dried fruit (I'm using mango), raw almond butter, cocoa powder, raw honey, chili powder, cayenne, cinnamon and salt.  Mix well until all the ingredients are incorporated.
3.  Coat the bottom of an 8-inch square pan with coconut oil or if you have parchment paper, line the pan.  I like to use the parchment paper because it makes for easy removal and very easy cutting of even pieces.  However, coconut oil works as well.
4.  Spread your fudge into the pan, creating an even 1-inch deep layer.  Sprinkle the shredded coconut over the top in an even layer.  Cover and place in the freezer for an hour or until very firm.
5.  Remove from the freezer and place on the counter for the fudge to soften enough to cut easily.  This will take about 20 minutes.
6.  If using parchment paper, lift the fudge out of the pan and cut on a flat surface.  If you've used oil, cut the fudge into 24 evenly sized pieces (about 1 1/2 inch squares).  Fudge will keep in a covered container for up to 2 months in the fridge or up to 6 months in the freezer.  This fudge lasted about 1/2 day in my kitchen!!  We ate it so quickly!
*if left out, this fudge will melt so make sure to keep it cool :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Coconut Lime Quinoa Salad

This salad is fresh and so delicious!  Right now, I'm playing around with raw foods and sprouting so I've used raw sprouted quinoa but you could also use cooked quinoa.  The coconut, lime, and fresh veggies make for a breezy taste of the tropics and are loaded with healthy fats and enzymes.  Coconut is a rich beauty food and will help give you clear radiant skin, shiny hair, and strong nails.  If you are buying your coconut milk in a can, try True Native Organic Coconut milk which is my favorite.  You can also buy coconut milk frozen so that you can keep it fresh in the freezer and grab it whenever you need it.  Once you try this Coconut Lime Quinoa Salad, you will be addicted for life and will want to make it again and again :)

1/4 cup full fat coconut milk (if you use low fat, it won't be creamy, it will be watery)
1 tsp lime zest
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp Siracha (or any kind of chili paste you have around.  I happen to put Siracha in pretty much everything)
1/2 tsp sugar (or if trying to avoid sugar, you can use honey or stevia)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (if you don't like cilantro (*gasp*) you can use basil)
11/2 cups Quinoa (click here for cooking and sprouting directions)
2 tbsp shredded coconut (organic unsweeted)
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped cucumber (if organic, leave skin on)
1/4 cup chopped carrot
1 cup Spinach, remove stems and chiffonade
1/4 cup chopped raw cashews (if you do not like cashews you can use raw peanuts or raw macadamia)

In a small bowl, whisk coconut milk, lime zest, lime juice, sugar, salt and Siracha.  Once well whisked, add the chopped cilanto and gently mix and set aside.  In a large bowl, add the quinoa, 1 tbsp shredded coconut, bell pepper, cucumber, carrot, spinach, and cashews.  Mix well.  Add the dressing and toss well.  Add the remaing tbsp of shredded coconut to the top layer of the salad.  Refrigerate for 3 minutes to allow flavors to develop. Then enjoy!


Basic Cooked Quinoa

QUINOA (pronounced keen-wah)

Truly a health food, this super grain is a complete protein serving up all essential amino acids necessary for our bodies.  Many non-vegans believe that there are no plant based sources of complete protein.  Well, they are mistaken.  Not only is this super grain full of fiber, high-quality protein, and no cholesterol, it is absolutely delish.  It is light and fluffy, nutty in flavor and incredibly versatile.  Plus, it is easy to make and can be enjoyed sprouted, cooked, and eaten cold, room temperature or warm!  Oh Quinoa, how I love thee!

Basic Cooked Quinoa
Serves 4
1 cup quinoa
Scant 2 cups filtered water

First rinse the quinoa to be sure it is rid of debris.  In a medium-sized pan, add quinoa and water. Bring to boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.  Once the all the water is absorbed, you know for sure the quinoa is cooked.  Fluff with a fork and at this point you might want to add a pinch of salt and pepper.  Enjoy!

Additional cooking method:
For extra fluffy quinoa, try this method:
Add the quinoa (1 cup) to a medium sized sauce pan.  Lightly toast quinoa over medium-low heat for about 30 to 60 seconds, stir often to prevent burning.  This eliminates the need to rinse the quinoa since it will burn off the outer saponin.  Add 2 cups boiling water.  Once the water is added, bring to simmer and cover.  Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed.  Fluff with a fork and enjoy!

*Quinoa is so good for you that NASA has chosen it as a food to be included on long-duration space flights to Mars and beyond! Hey, if the peeps at the space station eat their quinoa, maybe everyone should!
*Quinoa is gluten-free

Sproted Quinoa
2 cups quinoa    soak time: 6 hours   sprout time: 1 day
Soak quinoa for six hours.  Drain liquid and place in a cool place out of direct sunlight.  Rinse twice a day. Once sprouted, the quinoa will keep in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

Carob Ginger Balls

The idea for these balls was created from my love of ginger salad dressing topped with sesame seeds.  Ginger and sesame go so well together and I am an avid lover of dark chocolate covered ginger.  I wanted to make something healthy that would satisfy hunger, sweet cravings, and need for energy.  Then, Carob Ginger Balls were born!

Makes 24 Balls
1/2 raw almonds
1/4 cup raw sesame seeds
1/4 cup raw sesame seeds for rolling the balls in
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw carob powder (if you can't find this, grind up carob chips into a powder)
2 tbsp green powder
1 tsp chlorella powder
1 tsp spirulina
1/2 cup honey
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp chopped candied or dried ginger

1. Grind the almonds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds in a spice/nut/coffee grinder into a fine meal.
2. In a medium bowl add your seed and nut meal, carob powder, green powder, chlorella powder, spirulina powder, honey, and cinnamon.  Mix well with a large spoon.
3.  Add chopped ginger and mix well.
4.  On a separate plate, sprinkle 1/4 cup raw sesame seeds.
5.  With clean, dry hands take a pinch of the dough roughly the size of one heaping tablespoon and roll into a ball.  Roll the ball onto the sesame seeds to make a "candy" coating.  This will give the balls a nice crunch like candy. Repeat until all the dough is gone.
6.  Place the balls on a large plate or tray.  Cover with plastic wrap (I like to cover with parchment paper first then plastic wrap) or place in a sealed container.  Let the balls sit for 12 to 24 hours in the refrigerator before enjoying.  Balls will keep for 2 weeks in sealed container in the refrigerator.
*These balls hold their shape extremely well and can travel without getting mushy!
*pictured here with High Energy Almond Balls

High Energy Almond Balls

These High Energy Almond Balls get their name from the loads of fiber, manganese, iron, protein, and healthy fat packed into these little powerhouse balls.  The kick of cayenne will get your blood moving in the late afternoon and the high level of chlorophyll will bring vitality to anyone in need of a pick me up.  Super simple to make and just as tasty as a batch of cookies straight from the oven, these little gems will disappear quicker than you can make them!

Makes 24 balls
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup dried cranberries (if you don't have cranberries on hand, you can use cherries or even blueberries)
1 cup raw almond butter
3 tbsp honey (raw local honey is best)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp chlorella powder (you can also use green mix powder or spirulina powder)
pinch of sea salt

1. Using a spice grinder (a.k.a. a coffee grinder) grind your raw almonds to a medium/soft texture.
2. In a large bowl, add your freshly made almond meal, cranberries, almond butter, honey, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and chlorella powder.  Using a large spoon, mix you ingredients very well.  These will mix into a dough once all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
3. With clean, dry hands take a small pinch of dough about a tablespoon worth and roll it in your hands to form a ball and place on a large plate or tray.  Repeat the process for each ball.
4.  Cover the balls with plastic wrap (I like to cover first with parchment paper and then plastic wrap) and refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.  The balls will keep in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks.

*If packing your balls to go, they will warm to room temperature and mush easily!  Pack them individually in plastic wrap or parchment paper or you will end up with a sticky mess.  If they need to travel and hold up for more than 4 hours outside of a refrigerator, roll the balls in chopped raw almond slivers.  This will help them keep their shape.


*pictured here with Carob Ginger Balls

Monday, May 14, 2012

Rainbow Heaven Salad

Being a vegan, it goes without saying that I love a good salad!  There is nothing better than a heaping salad full of my favorite veggies and covered in a tasty dressing.  If I don't eat salad regularly, I begin to crave it more than sweets or caffeine!  I need my fresh food fix!  It has been warming up lately here on the island and it is the perfect weather to eat fresh salads and enjoy the sunshine.  This one is my favorite because it looks so pretty and you can put anything you like into it.  Just make sure to use as many colors as possible to ensure a wide variety of different vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients!  Here is my Rainbow Heaven Salad:

To make Rainbow Heaven Salad:

4 cups Romaine (organic, rinsed, and torn by hand into bite size pieces)
2 large leaves kale of any kind (if using curly green kale, give it a few squeezes to crinkle and soften - this help to decrease bitterness and allow for absorption of salad dressing.) Tear into bite size pieces.
2 red beets (if using raw then shred, if cooking, chop)
2 carrots shredded
1/4 cup corn (always, always, always buy certified organic corn to ensure it is not GMO)
1/4 alfalfa sprouts
2 tbsp raw sunflower seeds
2 tbsp raw papita seeds
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes halved
1 avocado diced
1 cucumber diced (organic so that we can leave the skin on - that's where the nutrients are jam packed)
1 heart of palm (from a jar) sliced
1/2 cup broccoli florets (more or less depending on the size of your dish since these will garnish the edge)
1 tbsp chiffonade basil  (simply roll the leaves into a little taco and then slice thinly to chiffonade)
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
basil and cilantro to garnish

1. First create the bed of lettuce with the romaine and the dino kale.  You can use a bowl, I've used a glass loaf pan simply because it makes the rainbow effect much simpler.  Pack the leafy greens into the dish and create a flat even surface on top.
2. Add each veggie according to color.  Here I've done: beets, tomato, carrot, corn, alfalfa sprouts, avocado, mung bean sprouts, sunflower seeds, cucumber, heart of palm, and papitas. 
3.  Reserve the chopped herbs for after the salad has been plated.  Garnish with the sprigs of basil and cilantro.
4. Break off individual broccoli florets and tuck into the ege of the dish to create a pretty and edible border for the salad.  
5.  Dress with Goddess Glow Dressing and enjoy!