Sunday, December 30, 2012

Veggie-stuffed Shells

 Okay.  Not to toot my own horn, but these are the first stuffed shells I've made without a tofu mixture, and they are pretty darn amazing.  The filling is mostly just veggies and beans!  I basically took a bunch of stuff in my fridge, sauteed it all together and stuffed it in the pasta shells.  If you follow this recipe and don't have some of the ingredients, add whatever you have and enjoy!


1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup kale, chopped
2 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes in oil
1/2 cup spaghetti squash (left over from Christmas dinner)
1 cup black beans
1/2 cup Daiya vegan cheese (I used the cheddar flavor because that's all I had)
1/2 cup cheesey sauce (leftover from the mac and cheese I made for Christmas dinner)
1/2 jar traditional marinara sauce from Trader Joe's

1/2 box jumbo pasta shells


Saute the onions, garlic and kale until soft.  Add the rest of the ingredients for the filling, and half the Daiya vegan cheese.

Carefully spoon the filling into the shells.  Cover dish with tomato sauce and sprinkle the other half of the Daiya vegan cheese on top.

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Spinach-Artichoke Dip

As we know, this is one of my favorite things to make.  I've never followed the same recipe, and it's different every time.

This is what I did this time:


 2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 1/4 cups artichoke hearts, canned or jarred
4-5 cups fresh spinach
2 tablespoons Vegenaise
1 tablespoon Tofutti Cream Cheese


Over medium heat, saute the spices, onion, and garlic until soft.  Add the artichokes and stir well.   When the artichoke mixture is nice and hot, add half of the spinach, and mix until the spinach is wilted.

Meantime, put the rest of the spinach in a large bowl with the Vegenaise and Tofutti cream cheese. 

Add the hot artichoke and spinach mixture to the large bowl and mix everything well.

Serve hot or put in fridge and serve cold.  It's amazing and totally dairy-free either way. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


For the past three years, we've skipped the airport crowds and just stayed here in San Diego for the holidays.  Last year, my parents were here, but this year it's just us again.  (My brother and sister-in-law arrive here on Christmas day.)

For Christmas Eve, we like to stay in and watch a Christmas movie while feasting on a smorgasbord of very simple hors d'oeuvre's.  It's easy, and we love it, and it's a tradition.

Our smorgasbord usually includes all or some of the following:

olives, black and green
roasted red peppers
crackers and hummus
chips and salsa

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Black Bean, Kale and Zucchini Soup

What's better than soup on a cool winter's eve in December?  I'm pretty sure nothing.  Well if we want to get specific, then bean soup.  My favorite kind.

This time, I added sauteed onions, zucchini, and threw in some kale right at the end.  I served it over red quinoa, and it was delish! 

Sorry, no detailed recipe.  It was one of those times where I kind of just threw a bunch of things from fridge together and out came a yummy, hearty soup.  Basic ingredients:  Black beans, onions, zucchini, and kale.  Add seasonings and some vegetable broth and there you go.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


 We went camping at Pismo Beach this weekend, which was awesome and so much fun.  We were literally camping right on the beach.  It was pretty cold, but we still managed to make some "gourmet" meals in our little camper-trailer. 

Pictured above, you see our fancy gnocchi dinner.  It was so cold, I couldn't get it to stop steaming for the picture.  All I did to make this was saute some onions, add a jar of traditional marinara sauce, and boil the gnocchi according to the package.  I added some spinach salad and done.  Dinner is served.  Camper style.

Easy Peasy (Cheesey) Pasta

I think I must have mentioned before that after every time I babysit, I always want mac and cheese so bad!  I always make it for the kids, but can't have any and it looks so good that I have to immediately come home and make a vegan version.

Well, this time I didn't exactly make mac and cheese, but instead I followed a Chloe's Kitchen recipe that I've made before.  See original post.  It's almost like mac and cheese, and just as good.  It's supposed to be a pasta salad recipe, but we eat it hot and it's so delicious.  FYI, we ate the entire pot.  I put our first servings in ramekins and browned them a little in the oven.  After that, we pretty much just ate the rest right out of the pot like savages or something.  I mean, seriously.

Easy Peasy Pasta


1 small new potato, red or white, peeled and quartered
1 pound pasta (I used Quinoa pasta this time)
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon drained capers
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 heaping teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup cold water
2/3 cup olive oil


Place potato in a small saucepan and cover with salted water.  Bring to a boil and let cook until tender.  Drain, rinse with cold water, and let potatoes cool completely.

Cook pasta according to package.  Add frozen peas to the boiling pasta right before draining.  Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again.  Transfer pasta and peas to a large serving bowl.

Meanwhile, combine cooled potatoes, garlic, tomato paste, mustard, capers, oregano, basil, salt, and water in a food processor.  Slowly add the oil in a thin stream and process until smooth.  Toss pasta and peas with sauce, and adjust seasoning to taste.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.  (Remember, I served mine warm/hot and it was great.)

Indian-Spiced Bean Soup

I made this bean soup from a recipe in Martha Stewart Living, and as much as I love bean soup, this one was just okay.  I followed the recipe exactly, but it was super spicy and bland at the same time.  Hmm, not sure what went wrong, but oh well.  Here's the recipe if anyone else wants to try.  We still ate it, we just had to add more salt and mix it with a lot of rice and pita bread for the spiciness.


  • 1 tablespoon safflower oil
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons minced garlic (from 4 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger (from a 2-inch piece)
  • 1 or 2 green Thai chiles, jalapeno chiles, or other fresh chiles, finely chopped, plus more, sliced, for serving
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 can (15 ounces) peeled plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped, with juice
  • 4 cups cooked beans, plus 2 cups cooking liquid
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • Yogurt, cilantro sprigs, and pita chips, for serving


  1. Heat oil in a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and golden, about 8 minutes. Add ginger, chopped chiles, and spices; cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in tomatoes and their juice, beans and their liquid, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.
  3. Coarsely mash a third of the beans in pot using a potato masher or an immersion blender; stir to blend into soup.
  4. Top with yogurt, cilantro sprigs, and sliced chiles, and serve with pita chips.

Chocolate-Pumpkin Cake

Sometimes a vegan just needs some cake.  Am I right or am I right?  This is the easiest vegan cake recipe in the world.  And although it's not from scratch at all, it's super quick and simple to make, and when the craving for chocolate cake hits, it's perfect.  If you're against packaged and processed foods please skip this post.


1 box of chocolate cake mix (read the labels to find one that doesn't contain dairy ingredients)
1 can of 100% pumpkin

--Mix the cake mix and pumpkin together well
--Pour into cake tins
--Bake according to cake mix package

That's it.  Seriously

I also added some icing from the container (because, yes, it's technically vegan) and sprinkled crushed almonds and chocolate sprinkles on top.

And it's A-MAZ-ING.

Brussel Sprout Salad

I made this salad for Thanksgiving dinner (yes, I know that was ages ago) and my family raved about it.  It is another no-fail recipe from Whole Living magazine.  And it is now my new favorite salad.  I love brussel sprouts, but who would have thought of using them like this in a salad.  Yum.


  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (1 teaspoon) plus 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed, leaves separated
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 1 avocado, sliced


  1. Whisk lemon zest and juice and mustard in a small bowl. Gradually add oil, whisking to emulsify, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Toss dressing with brussels sprout leaves and pumpkin seeds. Gently stir in avocado and adjust seasoning.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Bean Tacos

These aren't your average tacos.  Martha says so.

Yes, I just subscribed to Martha Stewart Living magazine.  I couldn't help it.  I do love Martha.  She helped plan my wedding two years ago after all! 

So this is the first recipe from her magazine that I've tried, and so far - so good!  It actually is a recipe entitled "Bean-and-Fish Tacos."  No brainer here, I just left out the fish. 

First I boiled and soaked  2 cups of dry pinto beans.  Once I started cooking them, I added a quartered onion, some carrots, celery, and garlic as "aromatics."  The house smelled wonderful, and when it was time to eat, these tacos were amazing!  It was the radishes.  Who would have thought?

(I halved this recipe and it made about four servings)


  • 1 Vidalia onion, thinly sliced into rings
  • 2 limes, 1 juiced and 1 cut into wedges
  • Coarse salt
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped scallions (about 6)
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeno chiles (about 2)
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus sprigs for serving
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups cooked beans, plus 1/4 cup cooking liquid
  • 8 to 12 corn tortillas, toasted briefly over an open flame and wrapped in a cloth, for serving
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced, for serving
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, trimmed and shredded (2 cups), for serving


  1. Preheat broiler with rack 8 inches from heat source. Toss onion with lime juice and a pinch of salt. Let stand at least 10 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, mix scallions, jalapenos, chopped cilantro, a pinch of salt, and 2 tablespoons oil. Transfer 1/2 cup to a small bowl (set remaining mixture aside), and stir in remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Rub all over fish.
  3. Reheat beans and their liquid. When hot, stir in 3 tablespoons reserved scallion-cilantro mixture. Remove from heat; cover.
  4. Broil fish, flipping when scallions and cilantro begin to brown, about 6 minutes. Continue to cook until opaque throughout, about 4 minutes more.
  5. Serve beans and fish with tortillas, remaining scallion-cilantro mixture, lime wedges, onions, cheese, radishes, and lettuce.

Creamy Farro Pilaf with Wild Mushrooms

We had two Thanksgiving dinners to go to last week, and I wanted to bring some new, vegan side dishes.  Whole Living Magazine is seriously my go-to source for the perfect recipes!  I can not express enough how much I love that magazine. 

A couple weeks ago I visited an old friend and she made a farro salad for dinner.  It was delicious and amazing!  I had never had farro before, but I loved it.  When I saw this recipe in Whole Living, I HAD to make it asap. 

I just switched out the chicken broth with vegan chicken broth, and I left out the Parmesan.  I brought it to the Wednesday Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit.  


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 cup farro
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • Coarse salt
  • 12 ounces wild mushrooms, such as shiitake or oyster, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • Red-pepper flakes
  • 1 bunch spinach (10 ounces), stemmed
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Parmesan, plus more for serving


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add farro, stirring until toasted, 1 minute.  Add stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until farro is tender and creamy, 35 to 40 minutes. Season with salt and cover to keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oven to 450 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss mushrooms with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and season with salt and red-pepper flakes. Roast, stirring once, until crisp and golden, 20 to 22 minutes.
  3. Warm farro over medium heat and add spinach, stirring until wilted, about 1 minute. Stir in mushrooms and Parmesan. Top with additional Parmesan.

At the Campground Again

We went camping again at our favorite spot on the beach.  The best thing is that it's only seven miles from our house.  It's a stay-cation!  Once again it was a beautiful sunny weekend, perfect for camping and perfect for trying new camp recipes.  Oh and check out the lights!  We go all out.

This time we made all sorts of veggie-goodness, including chili, fire-baked potatoes, (not pictured) roasted tofu-dogs, yummy open-faced sandwiches and fresh salad.  For breakfast we had pumpkin granola with rice-milk.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Roasted Purple Sweet Potatoes, Brussel Sprouts, and Onions

Cheezy Potatoes and Broccoli

Boiled potatoes and steamed broccoli with a vegan cheesy sauce.

Cheesy Sauce
1 cup rice milk
1 cup Daiya vegan pepperjack cheese

Heat milk and Daiya over medium high heat, stirring constantly, until thickened.

Drizzle over potatoes and broccoli.

Add freshly ground pepper and sea salt to taste.

Enjoy thoroughly. 

Home Sweet Home

As soon as I got home last Monday, Will took me out to lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant -- Casa de Bandini!  Sorry, East Coast, you got nothin on our Mexican food out here. 

Oh, and it was 85 degrees and sunny, and we ate out side, and it was lovely. 

While I Was Gone

Every October and November are extremely busy for me.  I travel a lot for work during these two months, and pretty much don't have time or energy for much cooking.  I just got back from a ten-day trip to New England, and before that I was at college fairs almost every night.  This week I was exhausted from travel and planning for a big event, and next week I'm traveling in Northern California for a week.  And then it's Thanksgiving!  What?!  Where did that come from?

I've mentioned what I normally eat when I'm traveling, but while I'm still local and attending two college fairs a day, it gets a little interesting too.  For example, one week back in October, I made a big potato salad and ate that at my booth each day for lunch, since the fair was during lunch hours.  For dinner I would make some kind of quick soup, or rice and beans, or salad at around 4:00 before going to the next college fair that lasted until about 8:30pm.  Of course I would be hungry by the time I got home, so I usually made a big thing of popcorn before falling asleep.

While I was Back East, I ended up buying all my typical travel food at Trader Joe's when I first got there, but then my college fair tour was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy so I ended up being "stranded" at my parents house, which was not a bad thing at all!  It was wonderful to be fed homemade meals by Mom for five days!  After the storm passed I ended up doing some work travels that I had arranged on my own since I was out there anyway.  I got to see lots of friends and family and eat lots of good veggie food. 

Here are just a few pictures from my New England travels:

Pumpkin and Fig flatbread at some place in Boston with Kendra.

Burlington, Vermont:  Best veggie burger EVER.  Topped with Fresh kimchee.

Montpelier:  Tofu, tomato, and avocado bagel breakfast sandwich.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Curried Red Lentil and Butternut Squash Stew

There are so many things to do with butternut squash, I couldn't decide how I wanted to make it!  Finally I decided on this recipe from Chloe's Kitchen.  She makes it with apples, which I replaced with brussel sprouts.  I also didn't used the spinach and added navy beans instead.

Here is the recipe, and it is wonderful for this time of year!  (By the way, "this time of year" should normally mean cool and chilly and stuff like that, but it's still about 90 degrees for us, so I like to pretend.)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 cup dried lentils (I used red lentils from Trader Joes)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups peeled butternut squash, 1/2 inch cubes
1 large unpeeled apple, diced (I used about 6 fresh brussul sprouts, halved and roasted)
5 ounces baby spinach (1/2 can of navy beans in my case)

In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat, and saute onions and carrots until almost soft.  Add garlic, ginger, curry, and salt, and cook a few more minutes until fragrant.  Stir in lentils, broth, and tomato paste.  Bring to boil, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.  Add squash [and apples,] cover, and simmer for another 25 minutes, or until vegetables and lentils are tender.  [Uncover and stir in spinach until wilted.]  Add salt to taste and serve. 

*copied straight from Chloe's Kitchen Cookbook

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Kale-Stuffed Mushrooms

I almost hate to say that I found my old South Beach Diet book from 2003, and actually marked some of the recipes to try.  Believe me, the recipe section of that book is the only thing I read, and some of them are actually pretty good.  Like this one for instance.  The recipe calls for spinach, but I updated it with Kale.  Spinach is sooo last decade. 

To be honest, I didn't really follow the recipe at all.  I used it more as an inspiration.

This is what I did:

Sauteed the kale with crushed garlic and olive oil.
Stuffed the kale into six baby bellas.
Placed the stuffed mushrooms on a layer of stewed tomatoes on the bottom of a baking dish.
Sprinkled Daiya vegan cheese and smoked paprika on top of mushrooms.
Baked for 30 minutes.

Vegans and Paleo's alike can delight in this meal, served with fresh cabbage salad. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Stuffed Shells Again

We haven't had "Pasta Sundays" in a long time, so when a special request was made by The Husband for my one-of-a-kind stuffed shells, I was more than happy to oblige.  Click here for my original recipe, modified every time, but still always better than before and always delicious. 

This time, I used frozen kale instead of spinach.  I also halved the recipe, which was the perfect amount for just the two of us.  That's pretty much it!  Everything else stayed true to my recipe. 

This is a classic, and one of our household favorites.

Kale, Cabbage, and Mushroom Soup

It was kind of a coolish fall day and I wanted soup.  It actually doesn't have to be a cold day for me to want soup though.  I love soup any time of the year.  Anyway, I had mushrooms, cabbage, and frozen kale so that's what kind of soup I decided to make.  Mmmm, it was yummy and hot and delicious.

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
8 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 1/5 cup green cabbage, chopped
1/2 cup frozen kale
2 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons McKay's Vegan Chicken Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Heat the coconut oil in a large pan on medium-high heat.  Add the onions and cook for about 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and stir, cooking for another minute.  Add the mushrooms, lower heat to medium and cook until mushrooms are soft.  Add cabbage and cook until softened.  Add kale, water, chicken seasoning and spices.  Bring to a simmer, lower heat and cook for about 7-10 minutes.

Ladle into bowls, add some sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. 

Enjoy on a cold fall's eve.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Anniversary Dinner

 This past Wednesday was our second wedding anniversary!  10-10-10! 

Since the restaurant where we went on our first date is no longer there, we decided to go to our other favorite little Italian place -- Trattoria i Trulli.  This place never fails.  It is classic, romantic and cozy.  Perfect! 

i Trulli has amazing, authentic Italian food.  We love their fresh tomato-garlic sauce that they serve with fresh bread as an appetizer.  They have good vegetarian options for pasta too.  Everything is made fresh and to-order. 

Tonight I kept coming back to the beet gnocchi on their daily specials menu.  Beet gnocchi?  What in the world is that?  I love beets, and I love gnocchi, so I had to order it.  I requested the goat cheese sauce to be replaced with arrabiata sauce and it was delicious! 

This picture doesn't do it justice.  I know it just looks like a big blob of red.  But there is the red beet gnocchi under that sauce, along with toasted walnuts and kale.  I swear the chef must have known I would be coming in that night, because this meal was created specifically for me!  So good! 

We love you i Trulli! 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Camping Weekend

 Fall is here, which means camping season in Southern California!  We hit South Carlsbad State Beach this weekend and enjoyed our camper, the beautiful weather and the beach.  And of course some yummy camping food!

Here is just some of the veggie-goodness we made over the weekend:

Low country boil -- which includes corn on the cob, potatoes, and carrots; all seasoned with Old Bay

Pumpkin breakfast bars

Chilli mixed with leftover grits
Spinach and tomato salad

Tofurky Kielbasa

Red cabbage

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Potatoes

 This meal is filling, satisfying, delicious and comprised of only vegetables!  What?!  Yes.  A lot of the meals I write about consist of only veggies.  This is all about veggie goodness after all.

2 cups brussel sprouts, halved
1 onion, halved and quartered
4 red potatoes, halved and quartered
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400.  Line a baking pan with tin foil.  In a large bowl, mix the brussel sprouts, potatoes, and onions together with olive oil, balsamic, and herbs.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spread the veggies onto the tray so that none are overlapping. 

Roast in oven for about 35 minutes or until potatoes are soft and onions and brussel sprouts are browned.

We served ours with freshly made polenta. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Veggie Stir-Fry and Hot and Sour Soup

For an easy weeknight meal, take some vegetables or your choice, saute them in peanut oil and a little bit of soy sauce and serve over sticky rice!  Yum!

I used the following vegetables:
Baby bok choy
Red bell pepper
Snow peas
Shitake mushrooms

This is one of my all-time favorite meals.  So good and so easy to make!

For tonight, I also made a hot and sour soup from the Vegan Yum Yum blog.  I've made this recipe before and it is super delicious.  I always loved Hot and Sour Soup at Chinese restaurants, but this one is just as good and totally vegan!  (I halved the following recipe, didn't use tofu, added oyster mushrooms, and used fresh tomatoes instead of canned.)

Hot and Sour Cabbage Soup
Serves six?

1 Tbs Oil
1 Small Onion, minced
1 Small Cabbage, about the size of a grapefruit
2 Large Carrots, chopped
1 15oz Can Tomatoes, blended smooth
6 Cups Water
1 Cup Cubed Pressed, Baked Tofu (like wildwood baked)
1/4 Cup Tamari, low sodium
1/3 Cup Seasoned Rice Vinegar (see note on substituting above)
1 tsp Hot Red Chili Flakes
1/2 tsp Salt
Black Pepper, to taste (a lot!)

Heat a large 5 qt soup pot that has a heavy lid over medium heat. Add oil and onion, and saute until golden. Meanwhile, quarter your cabbage, remove the core, and shred the cabbage with a large chef’s knife. Add carrots, tomatoes, cabbage and water to the pot and stir well. Add the tofu, tamari, vinegar, chili flakes and salt. Bring to a boil, cover, then turn heat down to medium low. Simmer for 20 minutes or until cabbage and carrots are the desired tenderness.
Grind a lot of fresh black pepper over the top and serve.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Mmm, enchiladas...  I've been craving these for a couple weeks since a friend sent me a recipe for enchiladas.  Well, I took that recipe, looked up some others, and then kinda just made up my own.  It was AH-MAY-ZING!  (But I always say that, right?)  Oh, and Will loved them.  (But I always say that too, don't I?)  This blog could practically write itself.

Ingredients for six enchiladas:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Earth Balance buttery spread
1/4 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cup cabbage, shredded or chopped
1/4 cup canned fire-roasted tomatoes
1/2 cup frozen kale
1/2 cup cooked beets
1 can pinto beans
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili pepper
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
small corn tortillas
Daiya vegan mozzarella

1/2 can tomato paste mixed with a little bit of water
1/2 teaspoon chili pepper
pinch salt and pepper
1 package Frontera Red Chile Enchilada Sauce

Pre-heat oven to 375.

Heat the olive oil and butter on medium high heat.  Add onions, saute for about 3 minutes.  Add garlic and cabbage.  Stir and saute for two more minutes.  Add spices and the rest of the ingredients.  Stir well, lower heat and let simmer.

Meanwhile, mix the tomato paste and water with the chili pepper, salt and pepper.  Pour mixture onto the bottom of a small baking dish. 

Microwave the tortillas for about 45 seconds so they are warm and soft.  Add two spoonfuls of bean mixture onto each tortilla and carefully roll the tortilla, keeping the ends open.  Place each rolled tortilla into the baking dish.  To finish, pour the Frontera sauce generously over the entire dish of enchiladas.  Sprinkle Daiya vegan mozzarella on top.

Bake for 20 minutes and enjoy with a side of rice and fresh spinach!  Delish. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Mashed Yams

I've never really considered myself a yam person before.  I actually do like yams and sweet potatoes, but when it comes to making something for dinner, it never occurs to me to incorporate them.  However,  since The Husband has been on his Paleo diet for the past several weeks, we have found yams to be a bit more prevalent in our diet.  They're actually pretty good, and not just for Thanksgiving anymore!

For tonight's dinner I made the mashed yams following a recipe from Chloe's Kitchen cookbook.  For sides, I made a cabbage salad and heated up a package of frozen Quinoa from Trader Joe's. 

Everything went together so well!  It was the perfect dinner for the start of fall!  By the way, aside from the mashed yams, I have never seen Will scarf down cabbage as fast as he did with this meal.  So I'll start with that.  It's something I just made up.

Cabbage Salad
1/4 head of green cabbage, chopped
2 tablespoons roasted red pepper, chopped
1-2 tablespoons pepperoncini's, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 lime, freshly squeezed
salt and pepper to taste

Mix the above all together. 

Coconut Mashed Yams with Currants (recipe from Chloe's Kitchen)
3 large garnet or other yams, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup canned coconut milk, mixed well before measuring
1/3 cup maple syrup or packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup currants, soaked in warm water for 10-15 minutes and drained (I used cranberries instead)

Place yams in a large pot and cover with cold water.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Cook until fork tender, 15-20 minutes.  Drain and return to pot.

Add coconut milk, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, cloves and ginger, and mash with a potato masher until smooth.  Adjust seasoning to taste.  Add more coconut milk for a creamier texture and more maple syrup for a sweeter flavor.  Mix in currants and serve.

Where have I been?

Well, last week I was on a work trip, so I didn't cook anything then.  This is what I ate while traveling for four days:

--Grape tomatoes
--McDougal's Soup Cups
--Trader Joe's "A Fig Walked into a Bar" breakfast bars
--One lunch at Chipotle
--One dinner at Goji Kitchen in Santa Rosa
--One tofu-mint bruschetta at Sunflower Cafe in Sonoma

This week, I simply made some classic recipes that don't really require much more commentary!  For example,  two of our favorite meals our tostadas and artichokes so you can read about previous tostada dinners here.  As for the artichokes, it's pretty basic.  Boil two large artichokes until the meaty part of the leaves is soft and then peel, dip into a favorite sauce, and eat.  I always make a sauce of vegenaise, dijon mustard, and lemon juice.  Will prefers melted Earth Balance buttery spread with crushed garlic.  He calls artichokes the "vegan lobster."  I'll go for that!

And that is where I've been for two weeks. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Ratatouille on top of Cauliflower Mash

Wikipedia describes this as "a traditional French Provencal stewed vegetable dish, originating in Nice... Ratatouille is usually served as a side dish, but also may be served as a meal on its own (accompanied by pasta, rice or bread).  Tomatoes are a key ingredient, with garlic, onions, courgette, aubergine, bell peppers, marjoram, and basil, or bay leaf and thyme, or a mix of green herbs like herbes de Provence."

I didn't have all the traditional ingredients, but I had enough, so I created my own version of ratatouille.

1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 zucchini, cubed
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 large roma tomato, diced
olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste

I cooked the onion and garlic together in about 2 tablespoons of olive olive in a large soup pot, while I sauteed the zucchini in a large pan.  Once the zucchini was lightly browned, I added it to the onion and garlic.

I then sauteed the red bell pepper with a little bit more olive oil, and once it was slightly softened, I added it to the rest of the vegetables. 

After stewing on medium low heat for about 15 minutes, I added the tomatoes and cooked for another 5-10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, I made cauliflower mash by steaming a whole head of cauliflower and blending it in a blender with a little bit of rice milk and earth balance "butter."  Also, I added one clove of garlic, but it was too much.  Next time, I probably wouldn't add that much garlic. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Red Peppers stuffed with Black Bean and Zucchini Chili

I took yesterday's chili , with some Daiya mixed in, and stuffed it into a red bell pepper.

Then I cut up some cabbage and mixed it with fresh lime juice, olive oil, sea salt and pepper.

Dinner.  The end. 

(Inspired by this recipe from Real Simple magazine.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Slow-Cooker Black Bean and Zucchini Chili

Here's the story of the 48-hour chili:

Sunday night:  Prepare the ingredients for the chili and place them in easy to find places.  Chopped onions, zucchini and soy beef on an eye-level shelf in the fridge; cans of tomato paste and fire roasted tomatoes on the counter next to the crock-pot of soaking black beans.  Measure the spices and put them in a baggie. 

Monday, 6:30 a.m. -- Double-check everything and write instructions on sticky notes next to magazine recipe on counter next to ingredients. 

Monday, 12:15 p.m. --  Text Will a reminder to compile all ingredients and turn on crock-pot.

Monday, 6:16 p.m.  -- Enter wonderful-smelling house after work.  Test chili; beans are still crunchy.  We decide to let cook for another hour or so and eat at 7:30 when the beans should be done.

Monday, 6:51 p.m. -- Beans are still crunchy and we are getting hungry and impatient. 

Monday, 7:01 p.m.  -- Decide that chili will be for dinner tomorrow night.  Make Mushroom and Chickpea Ragu instead (see yesterday's post). 

Monday, 8:30 p.m.  -- Put crock-pot in fridge.

Tuesday, 6:30 a.m.  -- Turn crock-pot on again.  Let simmer all day.

Tuesday, 6:15 p.m.  -- Come home from work and test chili.  Beans are done!  Hurrah, let's chow down! 

Recipe is once again from Real Simple, September 2012. 

Replace ground beef with soy beef.  Add jalepeno peppers and any other secret ingredients you so desire.  Will did and he still won't tell me what they are.  To serve, top with fresh avocado, diced tomatoes, cilantro and Daiya vegan cheddar.   (We halved the recipe.)



  1. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the beef, tomatoes, beans, zucchini, onions, tomato paste, garlic, chili powder, oregano, 1½ teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper.
  2. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender and the meat is cooked through, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours (this will shorten total recipe time).
  3. Reserve half the chili for tomorrow’s dinner. Serve the remaining chili with the sour cream, avocado, and cilantro.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mushroom and Chickpea Ragu with Polenta

This recipe is inspired from Real Simple Magazine.  Instead of using lamb (obviously), I used some hearty portabello mushrooms, and it was delicious!  Okay, so pretty much anything I write about is of course going to be delicious, but I can't help saying it each time anyway.  By the way, can we also please note that I used to absolutely hate mushrooms and now I use them in almost everything?  My father and grandmother of Czech descent are ecstatic. 

Anyway,  here's the recipe and if you want to make it veggie-licious like I did, just replace the poor little lamb with some straight-from-the-earth fungus. (Copied and pasted from Real Simple)


  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, tossing occasionally, until the carrots are tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the lamb and cook, tossing occasionally, until brown, 3 to 4 minutes more.
  2. Add the chickpeas, chard, paprika, garlic, and ½ cup water and cook, tossing frequently, until the chard is just wilted and the lamb is medium-rare, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the vinegar.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the polenta according to the package directions; stir in the butter. Serve with the lamb.

By Sarah Copeland , September, 2012