Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chopped Asian Salad by Roberto Martin...Yum!

This salad is delicious!  Very fresh!  Couple of recommendations.  Cut up the stuff ahead of time so that at dinner you don't have to do all the work.  Also, you can make the dressing ahead of time if you'd like.  It would cut down the prep time by making it ahead.  I got this recipe out of "Vegan Cooking for Carnivores" by Roberto Martin.  I will make this again..it's one the whole family likes.  You can also eliminate any of the ingredients you don't care for...I liked them all so I used everything listed!  

Chopped Asian Salad

Asian Salad Dressing:  Make first and set aside
1 1/2 cups low sodium soy sauce
one 2 in piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 bunch scallions, white and green parts chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp sesame oil
juice 1 lime
1 tbsp agave nectar
1 tbsp cornstarch, mixed with 1/2 cup water

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a simmer, and cook over low heat for 10 min.  Remove from the heat and set the dressing aside to cool. Strain the dressing and refrigerate until cold.  Use immediately, or transfer to a container with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

1 tbsp high heat oil (I use grapeseed)
10 ounces shitake mushrooms, stems removed, chopped (optional) (I sliced mine)
1 head green cabbage, shredded (I bought already shredded at Trader joes to save time)
2 cups baby spinach, julienned
2 large carrots, peeled and grated
4 firm plum tomatoes, centers removed, julienned (I just chopped all the veggies)
1 cucumber, seeded and julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and julienned
1 cup frozen shelled edamame, soak in hot water 5 min and drain (bought at Trader Joe's)
1 bunch cilantro chopped
1 bunch mint chopped
1 bunch scallions, green parts only, cut on the bias (I used the white parts as well)
20 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup raw sliced almonds

After you make the dressing, heat a pan with the oil.  Saute the mushrooms until wilted.  Set aside and allow the mushrooms to cool.

Mix all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, add the cooled mushrooms, and toss with the dressing don't use all the dressing...you will have left over.

Serves: 6

Monday, May 21, 2012

The best Minestrone....EVER!!!

Minestrone with Spring Vegetables

Contributing chef PAM ANDERSON fuels up after runs with a quick-to-prepare, seasonal, and meatless soup. By Pam Anderson Image by Andrew Purcell From the May 2012 issue of Runner's World

Minestrone with Spring Vegetables
Minestrone with Spring Vegetables

Leafy escarole is rich in vitamin K and folate, while beans are an excellent source of fiber. Use whatever bite-size pasta you have on hand, says Anderson.

2 quarts good-quality vegetable broth (I use organic low sodium)
1 14.5-ounce can petite-diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, cut into small dice
1 celery stalk, cut into small dice
1 peeled carrot, cut into small dice
2 teaspoons Italian seasonings
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or to taste (We like spice so I doubled this)
2 cans (15 to 16 ounces each) small white beans, not drained
8 ounces frozen green peas
8 ounces coarsely chopped escarole (For those of you who don't know..it's a lettuce)
1 cup ditalini (or any bite-size pasta) (could only find this pasta at Frys..love this pasta)
Sprinkle of salt and ground black pepper

Microwave broth and tomatoes together on high until steaming (5 minutes).

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add onions, celery, and carrots; saute till tender (5 minutes). Add Italian seasonings and red pepper; saute until fragrant (one minute).

Add broth mixture and remaining ingredients; cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low; continue to simmer, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and pasta is tender (15 minutes). Serves eight.

**This was the most delicious soup I have ever made!!  I didn't miss the meat at all!  If you eat meat, you can add it in to this soup, but honestly it is good on it's own.  My daughter's loved it as well!  I will make this again!  Don't leave out the escarole...it makes it delicious.  I could only find it at Fry's in the lettuce section.  Also, the ditalini pasta is great.  This was a hard pasta to find as well but Fry's had it. 

FAT: 4 G

Ten-time marathoner PAM ANDERSON was inspired to write her latest title, Cook Without a Book: Meatless Meals, after deciding in 2009 to eat less meat. "I didn't want to support factory farming," says Anderson, who ran the Seaside School Half-Marathon in Santa Rosa, Florida, in March. "Now that I know how to make great vegetarian meals, I cook this way even more frequently." For more, see threemanycooks.com.

Click here to find out more!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Another recipe bites the dust!

I tried once more to make a meal with "meatless" meat.  I followed the directions exactly for making meatballs...even making my own bread crumbs!  They looked like meatballs but had a weird consistency to them.  I think I will be sticking to eating meals with vegetables and beans for my protein.  It is a bummer because it would be nice to have more variety.  My next adventure will be to try cooking with tofu....stay tuned! :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

HBO Miniseries

Starting tonight, HBO is doing a documentary miniseries called "The weight of the nation".  It will show how obesity from unhealthy eating and lifestyles is ruining our country.  It is something worth watching!  I think the most challenging part of parenting is feeding your children.  Healthy eating requires planning.  I spend time each week planning my menu so that I don't give in to easy processed food.  It is paying off. My kids love all the fresh vegetables and always look forward to the next "interesting" meal I make! :)

Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Chickpeas...Yum!

Yummy Tomato Soup...and EASY!

I actually found this recipe in People magazine and thought I'd try it since it was vegan.  I followed it exactly but doubled it due to the size of my family.  They all loved it!  I served it with toasted baguette...it was a hit!!

Tomato Soup

2 tbsp olive oil (I used a little less)
1/2 onion chopped
1 stalk celery chopped
1 clove garlic chopped (I used 2)
1 fennel bulb chopped
1 14.5 can diced tomatoes
1 cup low sodium vegetable broth  (found it at Trader Joes)
2 tbsp chopped basil
2 tbsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion, celery, garlic, and fennel for 10 minutes.  Add tomato and broth and simmer for 4 minutes.

Put mixture in blender and add basil, parsley, and salt and pepper.  Blend in blender and serve immediately or reheat in pot when ready to serve.  I topped it with fresh basil from my garden.  Yum!

I have a family of 5 so I doubled the recipe.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Favorite Restaurant!

One challenge I always have is going out to dinner.  It can be so hard when you don't eat dairy or meat.  Most vegetarian dishes are loaded with dairy.  My favorite restaurant in Scottsdale is True Foods.  They have several vegetarian/vegan dishes and those that aren't vegetarian can be made so pretty easily.  I had a spicy noodle dish and subbed out the shrimp for tofu...yum!!  For appetizer we had their hummus which is my favorite!  It is so great to have a restaurant that I can order so easily and get a wonderful meal!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Most Fabulous Salad...EVER!!!

Nothing feels as good as following a disastrous dinner with the best recipe ever!!  If you thought going plant strong involved tasteless food then you have to try this recipe!  It is seriously the most delicious salad!  My teenage daughters even loved it.  It makes a ton and lasts several days.  It is the California quinoa salad that I put on my blog yesterday.  Check it out...you won't be sorry! :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Disaster Dinner!

Not every meat free meal turns out good.  Today I made Vegan stroganoff.  It was HORRIBLE!  It looked awful and tasted just as bad!  I will continue to try the meatless meat but so far my favorite recipes involve beans and veggies.  I'm trying to get my son to like some of my meat free dishes...this one set me back with him.  I will not post it since it was not something I will make again.  I'm getting adjusted to using products that I haven't been familiar with in the past....vegan sour cream and cream cheese, vegan cheese (I like veggie shreds...they are great and they melt), and meatless meats.  It's definitely a learning process.

California Quinoa Salad (Whole Foods copycat)

California Quinoa Salad
2 cups mixed quinoa from Trader Joe’s – regular quinoa or red quinoa would work well here too
4 cups water (for cooking quinoa – I cooked mine in my rice cooker on the white rice setting)
1 package frozen mango from Trader Joe’s, thawed OR 2-3 diced fresh mangos
1/2 large red onion, diced
1 medium to large red pepper, diced
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped 
1-2 cups shredded, unsweetened coconut
3/4 – 1 cup unsalted, dry-toasted slivered almonds
1-1 1/2 cups raisins (I use the golden raisins from Trader Joes)
2-3 cups frozen edamame, thawed
Juice of 4-5 limes
3 – 4 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar (I used organic white balsamic vinegar)
1. Rinse quinoa well, cook as directed.
2. Fluff quinoa well when done, spread out and let cool.
3. Add all other ingredients and toss.
4. Enjoy cold!!

**This is the BEST salad!  I will probably make this weekly!  I bought all the ingredients at Trader joes.  It makes a ton so you can eat it all week!  I promise you won't be disappointed!

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Happy Herbivore Teriyaki Chickpea...YUMMY!!!

Hawaiian BBQ: Teriyaki Chickpeas

Picture of Hawaiian BBQ: Teriyaki Chickpeas

Servings: 2


Hawaiian's marinade their meats in teriyaki sauce before barbequeing over a flame with fresh pineapple on top. I've veganized, simplified and healthified that tradition with this recipe. (It's so good!)



Combine chickpeas, teriyaki, szechuan and sugar in a large frying pan. Allow everything to sit and 'marinate' at least 5 minutes (the longer the better). Turn heat to medium and cook, stirring regulary or until most of the liquid has absorbed, about 10 minutes. Spoon chickpeas over rice and top with fresh pineapple or mango salsa.
Chef's Note: If you want to create your own pineapple and mango salsa, mix equal parts chopped pineapple and mango with minced red onion, fresh cilantro, and lime juice to taste.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Quinoa cakes..Yummy!!

**This is my favorite breakfast after a long ride or run.  Today we rode almost 50 miles and these really filled me up.  I have made quite a few modifications on this to keep it vegan.  I put my modifications in blue.  Enjoy!

By Martha Stewart


1 cup cooked quinoa or brown rice (I use quinoa)
3/4 cup all purpose flour (I use organic whole wheat flour)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 large egg, plus 1 large egg white (1 use 1 1/2 tablespoons of ground flax & 5 tablespoons water)
1 tablespoon butter, melted, plus more for skillet ( I omit this from the recipe-no substitution)
1/4 cup low fat milk (I use almond milk..I use quite a bit more milk than this...keep adding until you get the right consistency)
2 tbsp pure maple syrup, plus more for serving


1.  In a medium bowl, whisk together quinoa, flour, baking powder, and salt.  In another bowl, whisk eggs, egg white, butter, milk, and syrup until smooth.  Add egg mixture to flour mixture and whisk to combine.  (I just put it all in a bowl together since I don't use eggs...no need to dirty another bowl)

2.  Lightly coat pan with butter (I use earth balance vegan butter).  Drop batter into skillet.  Cook approx. 2 min on each side.  Serve with maple syrup.

Friday, May 4, 2012

My Favorite Salad from True Foods Kitchen!

Tuscan Kale Salad Recipe

Tuscan Kale Salad Recipe
Tuscan Kale Salad Ingredients
  • 4-6 cups Kale, loosely packed, sliced leaves
        of Italian black (Lacinato, “dinosaur,” cavolo nero)
        midribs removed
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 3-4 T Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic, mashed
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Hot Red Pepper Flakes, to taste
  • 2/3 cup grated Pecorino Toscano cheese
        (Rosselino variety if you can find it) or other
        flavorful grating cheese such as
        Asiago or Parmesan
  • ½ cup freshly made Bread Crumbs from
        lightly toasted bread
Tuscan Kale Salad Directions
Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper, and a generous pinch (or more to taste) of hot red pepper flakes. Pour over kale in serving bowl and toss well. Add 2/3 of the cheese and toss again. Let kale sit for at least 5 minutes. Add bread crumbs, toss again, and top with remaining cheese.

**I literally make this salad several times a week!  I omit the cheese since I'm avoiding dairy and reduce the oil to 2 tbsp and increase the lemon a bit.  

Delicious Slaw!

Rainbow Slaw with Sweet Tahini Dressing From Healthy Happy Life
makes four generous servings

Rainbow Slaw:
3 cups shredded or grated cabbage (I did half thinly sliced and half grated)
1 cup grated carrots (about 1 large carrot)
3/4 cup grated cucumber (skin on)
1/2 cup sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup grated sweet onion
1 1/4 cups finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (stems too!)
1/2 cup shelled organic hemp seeds
optional: chopped walnuts or pecans and/or raisins or dried cranberries

Sweet Tahini Dressing:

note: be sure you stor your tahini well - you want a thin pourable tahini. If your tahini is overly dried up or chalky you will need to add in some oil to loosen it up.
2 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp grade B maple syrup
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 small lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

1. The slaw is pretty simple. Just grate or chop and add everything to a giant bowl. Toss the veggies and get ready to toss with the dressing.

2. Dressing: Again, easy! You combine all the ingredients and briskly stir until everything combines. Taste and add salt and fine black pepper to taste. I actually only add a few dashes of salt - you really don't need much with all the zesty vinegar and lemon juice flavor.

stir dressing well until creamy...

3. Toss the slaw with the dressing. Use as much or as little dressing as you'd like. I use it all..
Serve right away. If you want to make this slaw ahead of time - you probably want to chop your cabbage instead of shred - the shredding make the slaw very WET. Which is one of the reasons why I like it so much. But your really have to eat it right away or it gets soggy. But if you use thicker cabbage - it will stay nice and crisp chilled in the fridge.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Biggest Challenge

My biggest challenge is still having enough meat free/dairy free food available so that when I'm hungry, I have a good healthy snack.  These days I seem to live on hummus...mostly cilantro jalapeno hummus.  Today I had a big workout...track workout and lake swim this evening.  I am constantly hungry and have to have food washed and cut and ready to eat.  Tonight I made pita pizzas on whole wheat pitas with hummus, black beans, tomatoes, spinach, onions, and vegan cheese.  They were delicious and so easy!!  My big challenge is still my family.  They love their meat!  I no longer serve red meat or pork and only do organic skinless chicken breasts.  They are getting more adventurous by trying my meals but it is hard to change old habits!

Veggie Burgers....Yum!

By: Healthy Happy Life

Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers

makes 7-8 large patties

2 cans cannellini white beans, drained
1 large sweet potato, baked/peeled/mashed (about 2 cups)
2 Tbsp tahini
2 tsp maple or agave syrup
1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning OR Cajun seasoning (or another fave spice!)
1/4 cup wheat flour
optional: additional seasoning (whatever you have on hand - I used a few dashes cayenne, black pepper and a scoop of nutritional yeast)
salt to taste if needed

plentiful Panko crumbs
safflower oil for pan

burgers: avocado, Dijon mustard, grain buns, romaine, onion, olive oil, pepper


1. Bake sweet potato. Peel, place in large mixing bowl.
2. Add drained beans to mixing bowl. Mash beans and potato together.
3. Mash in seasoning, flour and any additional seasoning. Your mixture will be quite soft and moist. But you should be able to form a patty. Add more flour or a scoop of breadcrumbs - or dry rice to thicken the mixture if needed.
4. Heat 1 Tbsp safflower oil in a pan over high heat.
5. Form a patty from mixture and coat in Panko crumbs. Thick coating. Then drop the patty in the pan. Repeat until the pan is filled. Cook until browned on both sides. You could also bake. If baking, use less Panko.
6. Transfer cooked patties to paper towel. Cool for a few minutes.
7. Serve on toasted bun with lotsa toppings.

Note: yes this patty does fall kind of apart as you eat it. But that is OK because it tastes yummy.

**I really enjoyed this meal!  It is way too soft to eat without a fork/knife.  Next time, I will eat it open faced with a bun on the bottom and not the top.  I put pepper and cayenne pepper in mine.  Next time...more cayenne.  My son kept saying it wasn't as good as a "real" burger but that's because the consistency is not equal.  The avocado, onion and lettuce added a lot.  I also used cajun seasoning.  It is very filling and easy to make!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My Great Dinner!

Portobello Mushroom Marinara Sauce from NY1.com

It’s easy to pick up a jar of marinara sauce at the store, but simple homemade versions of marinara sauce can be ready to go in a half-hour or less. In lieu of the usual ground meat or sausage, this vegetarian sauce recipe adds the texture and flavor of chopped portobello mushrooms.
Get started by using a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a splash of olive oil, to saute 1 heaping cup of diced white onion, 3 chopped portobello mushrooms, 2 large cloves of minced garlic, 1 1/2 tsp of dried basil, 1 1/2 tsp of dried oregano and a couple of bay leaves.
After 7-8 minutes, when the mushrooms are nice and soft, add two 28-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes and an optional pinch of red pepper flakes.
Then add 1/2 to 1 cup of water to the empty cans, and add that "tomato water" to the pot so the sauce doesn't thicken up too much. Simmer the sauce for about 20 minutes.
Plan ahead and cook the pasta so that it's done at the same time. Use any pasta you like, but I think cheese tortellini is a good choice for a vegetarian meal.

***My comments on the meal:  I added several things to this recipe.  First, I used a 28 ounce can of organic diced tomatoes instead of crushed tomatoes.  I also added artichoke hearts (canned in water) and red pepper flakes for some spicy flavor.   I do not eat cheese so I put it over whole wheat penne pasta instead of cheese tortellini.  It was a great meal and very satisfying.  

Another Great Recipe!

Chickpea & Quinoa Salad from the Healthy Foodie

(Serves 2)

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
  • 1½ cups cooked chickpea, cooled
  • 1 carrot, diced finely
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 4 radishes, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 cup baby spinach, chopped

  • 2 tbsp old style whole grain Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • the juice and zest of ½ lemon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp blue agave nectar (or liquid honey)

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients listed under “salad”. Give that a good stir and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk ingredients for the dressing and mix until well combined. Do not omit the agave nectar or honey, as this really makes all the difference in the world. It just brings out all the deliciousness of this salad.
  3. Add the dressing to the salad and stir well.
  4. You can serve immediately or keep in the fridge for several hours before serving, even overnight. Letting it rest will only help the flavors develop.

**I made this recipe exactly like it says.  It is delicious!  I don't like mustard and this did not taste like mustard at all.  I doubled the recipe and ate it for lunch several days in a row.  It did not get soggy.  Even my high school girls liked it and took it to school in their lunch.