Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Kale & peach salad...great summer salad!

I got this recipe from a friend and it is delicious and so simple!  I don't know quantities so I just mix it according to how much I want.  You can't screw it up!

4-5 peaches
chopped kale (I buy the bagged from Trader Joe's and then just use the leaves)
quinoa (precooked...use as much as you want)
agave nectar

slice the peaches and then mix the peaches, kale, & cooked quinoa together.  Drizzle with agave nectar and mix.  Keep adding the nectar if needed.  I like this salad the best the next day.

Bean Salad...My absolute FAVORITE!

Bean Salad

1/8 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp salt
1 can shoepeg corn (I find this at Fry's...some stores don't carry it)
1 can great northern beans (rinsed and drained)
1 chopped tomato
2 avocados-diced
1 bunch cilantro-chopped
1 bunch green onions-diced
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. olive oil (I use half this)
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp minced garlic cloves

Mix it all together.  Tastes even better the second day!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Meat free meals...it's whats for dinner!

Tonight I made a complete meal out of my Happy Herbivore cookbook.  I did the chili lime chips for an appetizer and the enchiladas for the entree.  I followed it up with the oatmeal cookies.  Everything was a hit!! With a little planning it was an easy meal to make.  Plus, because it's all home made...no added salt or preservatives!! Yea!

Home made tortilla chips....YUMMY!!

from: Happy Herbivore Cookbook

**According to my son, this was his favorite vegan item I've made so far!!  He loved them and so did my husband!  They are easy to make, much healthier than store bought chips, and no preservatives!  I will make these again for sure!  My son is already asking for me to make them tomorrow night.  I served them with salsa as an appetizer to my enchiladas...YUM!!

Chili-Lime Corn Chips:

1 small lime, washed
1 10 oz package 8 in corn tortillas
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp fine salt
1/4 tsp granulated garlic powder (optional)  (I used)

Preheat oven to 325

Grease a cookie sheet and set aside

zest lime and reserve lime for juice later

Using a pizza cutter, slice each tortilla into 6 triangles

Transfer chips to a bowl, spray with cooking spray, and add lime zest, chili powder, salt, and garlic powder (if using)

Using your hands, toss to coat.

Re-spray and toss a second time, making sure all of the chips are lightly covered with zest and spices.

Place chips on cookie sheet in a single layer and bake for 5 min.  Flip and bake 5-7 more until crisp (I did 7 min on one side and almost 10 on the other to get them really crispy)

Allow chips to cool for 5-10 min.  Squeeze fresh lime juice over the top before serving.

Oatmeal cookies...Happy Herbivore Cookbook



Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl, combine applesauce, maple, sugar, banana and non-dairy milk, and vanilla  together. In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda and cinnamon together and then transfer it into the wet mixture. Stir a few times then add raisins. Continue to mix until combined. It may look too dry initially, but keep stroking, it will incorporate perfectly. Drop spoonfuls on a greased cookie sheet and bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until firm to the touch and spring-like.
**I cooked these about 17 min so watch the cookies as they bake.  My family liked these cookies.  They are not as rich and gooey as traditional oatmeal cookies but were tasty and MUCH healthier!

Enchilada casserole....A family favorite!

From:  Happy Herbivore Cookbook

Enchilada casserole:

serves 4

Enchilada sauce (see blog for recipe)
1 15 oz can black beans rinsed and drained
2 c frozen corn
1 4 ounce can sliced black olives, divided (I omitted these since my kids don't like olives)
1 4 ounce can green chilies, diced (optional) (I used these...we love spice)
12 6-in corn tortillas, cut in half, divided

Prepare enchilada sauce
Preheat oven to 350
In a mixing bowl, combine beans, corn, half of the olives, and green chilies, if using
Line the bottom of a 9 in square casserole dish with 8 tortilla slices, overlapping edges as needed.
Pour a portion of the sauce over tortilla slices, ensuring total distribution and that everything is covered.
Spoon half of the bean mixture over top and pour enchilada sauce over to completely cover.
Add another layer of 8 tortilla slices and cover with sauce
Add the remaining bean mixture and cover with sauce.
Add a third top layer of tortillas and cover with the last of the sauce.
Sprinkle the remaining slice olives over top and bake for 30-35 min

**This was delicious!  I didn't miss the cheese at all!  My son wanted cheese but when I said he didn't need it, he ate the dish and liked it a lot.  I did put some skinless boneless chicken breast (pre cooked) in the portions of my husband and son.  No meat in mine and it was filling and tasty!  Enjoy!

Enchilada sauce...Delicious!

From:  Happy Herbivore Cookbook

*This sauce is delicious without any of the preservatives of store bought enchilada sauce


    2 T whole wheat pastry flour
    1 t cocoa powder
    2 T chili powder
    1 t oregano
    1 t cumin
    1/2 t garlic powder
    2 c veggie broth
    8 oz tomato sauce


Combine flour and all spices in saucepan

Slowly add 1/4 c broth and stir into a paste

Slowly add remaining broth stirring constantly to absorb all spices and add an additional cup of water. Bring to a boil over medium heat,

Stir in tomato sauce and allow to thicken slightly.

Serving Size: about 18 1/4 c servings

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The BEST tacos ever!!!

From: Happy Herbivore Cookbook

Recipe: Crunchy Blue Corn Chickpea Tacos

1 can chickpeas, rinsed & drained
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. taco seasoning (see below for recipe)
crunchy blue corn taco shells (I used butter lettuce leaves instead to be healthier)
tomato, diced

 1.) Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
2.) Spray a cooking pan with olive oil & set aside.
3.) In a large bowl, whisk soy sauce, lime juice, and taco seasoning together.
4.) Add chickpeas to bowl, tossing until well-coated.
5.) Place chickpeas on pan in an even layer, spray lightly with oil, & bake for 20-25mins.
6.) Remove from oven, assemble tacos (lettuce first!), & serve.

Yield: 6-8 tacos

Recipe: Taco Seasoning
(printer-friendly version)

(recipe from allrecipes.com)

2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp cayenne powder
1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1.) In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together. Store in a sealed container.

**My family LOVED this recipe!  I did not miss the meat at all!  Chick peas are becoming my new favorite!!  This is a fast easy meal to make especially if you make the seasoning ahead of time.  

My favorite meal for lunch! Yum!!

Lunch can be a tough one for me.  After a while, I don't want any more salads!  However, keeping it healthy and simple can be a struggle.  This is an easy lunch idea that always fills me up!

Lavosh pizza

Whole wheat lavosh bread (Trader Joe's)
veggie shreds mozzarella cheese (I prefer this brand because it melts and tastes good)
purple onion cut into thin strips
hummus (any kind will do.  I prefer cilantro jalapeno from Costco)
portobello mushrooms (optional...and, any mushrooms will work)
baby spinach (I use organic from Costco)
grape or cherry tomatoes chopped (I buy the grape tomatoes from Costco)
red bell pepper diced

Heat the oven to broil.  Put one lavosh on a cookie sheet.  Put in oven until toasted (not brown just toasted).  Remove from oven.  Spread hummus on lavosh then follow with spinach, tomatoes, purple onion, mushrooms, and red pepper.  Top with a small amount of veggie shreds.  Place in broiler and heat until cheese melts.  Pull out of oven and use pizza cutter to cut into squares.  Enjoy!

One lavosh serves 2-3 people

My struggles with my new life style

I will admit...it is a struggle as I learn to eat plant strong.  I have to prepare more and cannot just throw something together.  However, with a little planning on Sunday night, I find it isn't that complicated.  I make a menu and hit Trader Joe's, Sprouts, and Fry's on Monday.  Then, I try to make one or two salads that can keep in the fridge all week (California Quinoa Salad is a good one).  The key to this cooking is planning ahead!  I try to pre cut the veggies or cook the tofu ahead of time.  That way at dinner, I'm not overwhelmed.  This way of life has a learning curve but don't let that frustrate you...it is worth it!

I still struggle with eating out.  People look at me oddly when I say I don't eat meat or dairy.  However, most places will try to work with you.  I hate feeling like a "pain", so I tend to frequent my plant friendly restaurants.  All in all, I choose to eat in mostly.  It is more economical, better quality food, and portion control is not out of hand.  Plus, I'm showing my kids how good healthy cooking can taste!  How many children have eaten quinoa or bok choy?  I even had my 16 year old daughters do my Trader Joe's shopping for me.  They texted me a million times asking what heirloom tomatoes were and where to find the raw nuts.  But, they learned and are becoming better eaters for it.  My goal is to send them off to college and not have them rely on pizza alone!

I challenge you to at least pick one or two dinners a week where meat is not the focus.  With a little planning, your family will not miss the meat.  It was music to my ears the other day when my teenage daughter asked me if we could have the Teriyaki Chick pea dinner! That was her request! :)

Happy eating!  Cathy

Baby Bok Choy with brown rice- A family favorite!

From: Vegan cooking for Carnivores cook book

Baby Bok Choy with crispy tofu and brown rice

2 cups sprouted brown rice and 4 cups water for cooking (I used organic brown rice from Trader Joe's that is already cooked.  I have to cut some corners to make things easier and this was an easier way to go)

Crispy Tofu:
1/2 block firm organic tofu (8 ounces)
1 tbsp high heat oil (grapeseed or safflower)
*I have a family of 5 so I used a full block.  I cut it in half and then in strips.  I put a paper towel on top and underneath it and placed it on a dishcloth.  I then gently pressed the tofu to drain the water from it.  This was a tip shared in the book.  It is important to drain the water...there is a lot of water in tofu.  
I then cut it into cubes so it was ready to cook.

Baby Bok Choy:
2 tbsp high heat oil
15 heads baby bok choy (I only needed 10 because mine were bigger heads.  The heads should be small.  3 should fit on a salad plate.  At Fry's the heads were bigger so I adjusted down.)
1 red pepper, cored and julienned
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
10 ounces shitake mushrooms, stems removed, chopped...optional (I opted to not do this step.  I have had so many mushrooms lately.  I didn't miss them at all)
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup broth made from Better than Bouillon no chicken Base or Better than Bouillon Vegetable base (I used the vegetable base..I found it at Sprouts).  
1 tsp sesame oil

Make the rice ahead of time unless you are doing the premade rice like I did.  I just microwaved my rice after I was done making the meal.

Prepare the tofu: Heat a large saute pan with the oil.  Carefully add the tofu and toss to coat.  Fry the tofu until brown and crisp on all sides.  Transfer to paper towel to absorb extra oil.  Set aside

Prepare the bok choy:  Heat a large saute pan with oil over high heat.  Using metal tongs, place half the bok choy and all of the red peppers into the pan and toss.  Cook the bok choy flat side down over high heat until it begins to wilt and brown slightly, about 8 minutes.

Transfer the first batch of cooked bok choy and peppers to a bowl.  Add a little more oil and the rest of the bok choy.  Cook for 8 minutes (same as above..flat side down).  When it is done, add the garlic, ginger, scallions and mushrooms, if using, and cook for 2 min.  Return the first batch of cooked bok choy and red peppers to the pan and stir to combine.  Add the soy sauce, broth, and sesame oil and cook for several minutes.  Remove from heat.

Put rice on plate and spoon bok choy mixture on top.  Add crispy tofu on top.

**My family loved this dish but my husband wanted it spicy.  So, next time I will add some chili paste to kick it up a bit.  Also, next time I will double the sauce mixture (soy sauce & broth mixture) because my family likes a lot of sauce.  This meal was filling and so delicious!  The whole family ate it and loved it!

Carrot cake cupcakes...delicious!!!

From: Happy Herbivore cookbook

Recipe:Carrot Cake Cupcakes


These cupcakes make a fun treat for kids and adults alike. You can even easily turn this recipe into an actual carrot cake - all you need to do is increase the baking time until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Whether it's a cupcake or a slice of cake, this recipe is so, so awesome. It's carrot happiness... in ya' mouth!



Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a muffin pan or spray paper liners to prevent sticking and set aside. (I greased paper liners) In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, soda, sugar, salt & cinnamon in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, mix applesauce, vanilla and carrots. Add dry mix to wet mix in 3-4 batches. Stir until just combined. Fill cups to the top bake 15-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (took 25 min in my oven)

For cream cheese icing, use electric beaters to whip and combine 1 container Tofutti cream cheese, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 cup confectioners sugar at a time until the consistency is thick and sweet enough.

For maple icing, use electric beaters to whip and combine 1 cups confectioners sugar, 3 tbsp maple syrup and 1 tsp cinnamon, adding additional sugar as necessary to reach a thick and fluffy consistency.

**I have a weakness for carrot cake...I admit it!  When I found this recipe, I was thinking that there is no way this will be that good...I was wrong!  Not only are they delicious, but they are so easy to make!!  Plus, since they are in muffin tins, it is good portion control.  Even my kids liked them which is saying a lot!!  These will be my go to treat when I need something sweet!

Friday, June 1, 2012

True Foods Recipe...Yum!

This is my favorite dinner at True Foods restaurant!  I just sub out the shrimp for Tofu...yum!  My kids even like this dish which is a plus!

After the indulgence of holiday celebrations, some healthy eating may be in order. Even those who relish every rich, fattening dish, cookie, pie or chocolate will be ready for some healthy detox. Photo: True Food Kitchen
The smoky, spicy taste of the sauce makes this dish irresistible.  The key ingredient is Asian chili paste.
For the Wok
1 pound Mexican white shrimp peeled, deveined, rinsed (I use Tofu since I don't do animal protein...the tofu makes it delicious!)
1 1/2 pounds blanched yaki soba noodles
1 cup broccoli florets sliced 1/8” thick
1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms 1/8” thick
2 cups spinach leaves
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoons expeller pressed canola oil 
For sauce
2 tsp Asian chili paste*
2 tsp fish  sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons water
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.  You should work in 2 batches for the wok shrimp and noodles.  The entire dish takes only a few minutes to cook, so make sure you have everything ready before you start cooking.  Begin by dividing all of the wok ingredients in half.  In a hot wok add half of the Canola Oil and half of the ginger and garlic, Quickly add the shrimp and toss keeping the wok on the flame.  Allow the shrimp to cook about ¾ of the way, then add the vegetables continue to wok for 1 minute to cook the vegetables.  Add the noodles and wok for 30 seconds to heat them through.  Add the sauce and allow it to coat the noodles tossing thoroughly and quickly.   Scoop into a serving bowl, repeat with the remaining ingredients.  
*Can use sambal oelec, sesame chili oil or rayu, a chili-infused vegetable oil
Chef Michael Stebner