Hello, hello! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I don’t even know how long it’s been… life doesn’t stop. Situations arise and we make the best of them. I was in Florida for a few weeks taking care of my mom again. This time the doctor said she can’t live alone anymore. So we had to sell her condo and get her set up in an assisted living facility. Yikes. It was a very hard move for her, having been so independent her whole life. While I was down there, I also got to spend a bunch of time at the nursing home she was in before we moved her. It’s very sad to see so many of our elderly in need. But on a high note, we found mom a good place to live and sold her condo very quickly! So I guess it was meant to be.
Otherwise, I’ve been busy with my screenwriting, which is another labor of love for me. And Mountain Man and I have been setting up the new garden! It’s always fun to plan and get the soil ready… we’re almost ready to plant. I can’t believe it’s May already!
I’ve also been working on my art. Don’t tell anyone but I’m OBSESSED with mandalas right now. And drawing them is great “therapy.” It’s almost like meditating. There is something very centering about the process. And with all of the dispersing energy I was immersed in while in Florida, I can use all the centering I can get! It is so good to be back home in my mountains, with my man.
Here is one of my latest drawings called “Heart Centered.”
So, enough chatter, let’s get to today’s recipe! Have you ever purchased a nice, big head of broccoli, removed the florets and then just stared at those huge, fibrous stalks, wondering what to do with them and feeling guilty for ultimately throwing them away? Yeah, me too. Although since having a garden, they usually just wind up in the compost. Well, I brought home two such glorious heads and decided to try something new. What about pulsing those stalks in the food processor like I do with cauliflower for cauliflower rice? Hmm…. why not? In they went.
I was skeptical at first, not knowing how they would taste, and especially how they would turn out being so hard and woody. But guess what? They were great! And I did a little research and found out that the stems are just as nutritious as the florets. Score! I’m sure others have done this but I wanted to share with you how easy this is for a yummy side dish.
You can add whatever spices and flavorings you like or have on hand. I just used dried onion, a little red bell pepper and a seasoning that I love called 21 Season Salute (Trader Joe’s). So there you have it. An easy, low calorie, low fat, high nutrient wonder!
A delightfully easy and nutritious side dish!
- broccoli stalks from two heads of broccoli (this will give you about 3 cups of "rice")
- ¼ cup diced red bell pepper
- 1 tsp dried minced onion (or ¼ cup fresh, minced)
- 1 tsp seasoning of your choice (I used 21 Season Salute from Trader Joe's)
- Using a veggie peeler or a knife, remove the tough outer layer of the broccoli stalks.
- Chop the stalks into even-sized chunks, about 1-2 inches long.
- Place in a food processor and pulse until you have pieces the size of rice (doesn't take much!)
- Place all ingredients in a sauté pan and water sauté until slightly tender (don't overcook, you don't want it to get mushy).
You can also skip the cooking part for a raw dish! It's crunchy and delicious!
Am I late to the Jackfruit party or what? Yes, there are many recipes out there for barbecued jackfruit and here I am creeping across the finish line. But… it’s not a race after all, is it? And while the rest of the plant-based world has been experimenting with jackfruit as a meat replacement, I’ve been enjoying creating recipes using MY particular favorite such product: Soy Curls.
So I made these. And I must say, there were good. But next time… I’m using Soy Curls! I just think the texture of the curls is so much more meaty and substantial. Jackfruit, at least the canned variety that I buy, is just too soft for my texture-sensitive palate in this particular dish. I do really enjoy it in other things though. One that comes to mind is my Krabby Patties … oh, sooo good! Anyway, I did create a fabuloso quick barbecue sauce for this recipe that really rocks which I will definitely be using again.
Yes, I have been glaringly absent from your inbox of late. But I have a good excuse. I’ve been working non-stop on my latest screenplay which is finally done and off to contest-land and other outlets which will hopefully prove fruitful in getting my baby up onto the big screen. And, as fate would have it, I also recently optioned a different script and that project is looking mighty hopeful indeed! And, in addition, I’ve been working on a new website which will be more broadly devoted to holistic, spiritual and health issues (not just recipes). I’ll keep you posted and let you know when it’s live!
Meanwhile… here is today’s recipe. Enjoy!
Pulled Jackfruit with a Quick BBQ Sauce
A quick and easy vegan dish to tickle your tangy tastebuds!
- one 20 oz. can jackfruit (see notes)
for the sauce
- one 7 oz. jar tomato paste (I use Boinature brand)
- 1 cup water
- 1 TBS tamari or other low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tsp worcestershire sauce (I ALWAYS have to look up the spelling!)
- ¼ cup coconut sugar or other minimally processed sweetener
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½-1 tsp hot sauce (adjust to taste)
- pinch ground cloves
- Drain and rinse the jackfruit and, using your fingers or a couple of forks, pull it apart so that it is shredded.
- Combine all sauce ingredients in a saucepan. Mix well and add the shredded jackfruit. Simmer for about 20 minutes until hot and bubbly.
- Serve on a whole grain bun with your favorite accompaniments.
I used one can of jackfruit. You can use more if you want, maybe even 2 full cans, which I will do next time OR use less of the BBQ sauce with one can. My sammies were pretty loose (lots of sauce).
Yeah! Here is a salad I concocted today that is ultra yummy. I used tofu for the sauce instead of my usual go-to… cashews. I probably would also have added some tahini. But hey, it didn’t need it! The tofu was light and fluffy and just perfect. It’s got a little zing from some wasabi powder and fresh ginger… perfect!
Have you tried bean pasta yet? Oh my, it’s good. Albeit, the texture takes a little getting used to. 😮 I had been getting the black bean noodles but recently came across EDAMAME NOODLES! Wow! But wow on the price, too. Look around, you may find a better deal. I actually found some in a discount food store for $2.89 a bag! Bought every bag they had. Haha! It’s amazing what is available to us these days. Feeling blessed. 🙂 Of course, you could simply use rice noodles but I thought why not go the extra mile with some extra nutrients?
So, four pounds down today in as many days of my new LOW fat regimen. Not that weight loss was the goal but I’ll take it! Still working towards the ideal weight all these years later … this is working.
Edamame Wasabi Noodle Salad
A delicious and satisfying low-fat Asian treat!
- one 7-oz. package bean noodles (or you can just use rice noodles)
- 1 medium sized red bell pepper, julienned
- 1 cup edamame beans
for the sauce
- ½ block soft tofu (I used Trader Joe's brand, the block is 1 lb. 3 oz.)
- ½ cup water
- handful of fresh cilantro
- 2 tsp wasabi powder
- 2" knob of fresh ginger
- 2 tsp tamari or other low sodium soy sauce
- 1 TBS sweetener of your choice (I used fruit-only apricot preserves)
- juice of ½ lime
- Cook the noodles per the package directions. Rinse in cool water and add back to pot.
- Add the red pepper and the edamame beans to the noodles.
- Blend the sauce ingredients until smooth.
- Gently toss the noodles, beans and red peppers with the sauce until well distributed.
- Serve topped with some extra beans and red peppers and a sprinkle of kelp granules (don't forget the importance of getting enough iodine in your diet if you're vegan).
Okay, dear ones, here it is. The dessert you’ve been dreaming about! That is, if you like chocolatey, heavenly donutty things. Mm-hm. That’s me! Well, I’ll be slowing down CONSIDERABLY on these types of treats for a long while starting… tomorrow. No, actually I already started omitting these kinds of foods, but I enjoyed the heck out of these babies prior to my new and (sigh) a bit restrictive way of eating. I know what you’re thinking. “Don’t you already have a restrictive diet?” Well, no, not actually because I’ve still been using nuts (cashews, cashews, cashews!!!), nut butters, nut flours, coconut products… see where I’m going? Yep. FAT. Let me explain…
I recently had some blood tests done as a matter of regular diagnostics at my new doctor’s office (who is a fabulous holistic M.D. by the way). So I get the results back and I am literally HORRIFIED by the numbers!!! What the heck??? My cholesterol is UP, my triglycerides are UP, my Vitamin D is DOWN. Huh? I’ve been plant-based for nearly FIVE YEARS. I take Vitamin D supplements… What’s going on? Well, I did a whole huge bunch of research and I suspect that it is… wait for it… genetics! Whoa! Really? Yes, really. There are a small number of us poor souls who have a specific genotype called Apolipoprotein E (commonly shortened to APOE) which makes the body hyper-respond to fat. Any kind of fat. So, even though my fat intake has been from plants, and even though I haven’t been gorging on coconut oil, it’s apparently still been way too much for this body of mine. For you scholarly types, here is an extensive article about this genotype: APOE Perhaps the lowered Vitamin D is somehow also connected with this madness. I’ll keep you posted.
It’s really enlightening though that immediately after I completed Dr. Fuhrman’s 6-week plan, all of those numbers were in a good place. On that plan, there is very little fat intake. Somehow I fell off the low fat path. I thought I was good to go by simply being plant-based and really didn’t think much about cholesterol since then.
So starting yesterday, I am restricting ALL added fat in the form of nuts, avocado, coconut products and seeds—for the next month or two. Then I will re-test. This will be an experiment to see how I fare. I will let you know the results! In the meantime, I will enjoy MANY of my low-fat and fat-free dishes and will post some new ones for you as I go along on this journey. And it is a journey, that’s for sure!
On to these heavenly donuts. They’re amazingly light, not too sweet, SUPER chocolatey and, of course, vegan and oil-free. Enjoy!
Chocolate Donuts with Chocolate Glaze
Baked, oil-free, gluten-free yumminess!
~ for the donuts
- 1 cup blanched almond flour
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup minimally processed sugar (I used coconut sugar)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup unsweetened, plant-based milk
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ¼ cup raw almond butter
- 2 TBS ground flax seeds + 4 TBS water
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp lemon juice
~ for the glaze
- 8 oz vegan dark chocolate
- 8 oz full fat coconut milk
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Prepare a donut pan (or two--many of them hold only 6 donuts). I use a non-stick so no need to add oil.
- Mix the flax with the water and set aside.
- Combine all dry ingredients.
- Mix all wet ingredients together until smooth.
- Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well.
- Portion batter into donut tins. I used a small ice cream scoop (2 TBS) to do this. It made the job a lot easier, each donut held three scoops.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Let cool, then glaze.
- For the glaze, chop the chocolate (or use chocolate chips) and combine with the coconut milk in a saucepan. Heat on low, stirring constantly until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Dip the cooled donuts into the chocolate mixture. If you like, sprinkle some cacao nibs on top for a fun crunch.
- Let the donuts sit out for a few hours so the chocolate glaze dries.
- Store refrigerated.
When you mix the wet ingredients into the dry, the batter will puff up. Depending on the acid level of your cocoa powder it may puff up a lot! This is just the baking soda reacting with the cocoa and the lemon juice. It's okay. Don't freak out. This is what will make your donuts light and fluffy! If the batter seems too puffy to easily spread in the donut molds, just add a couple of extra tablespoons of milk and mix it a little bit more to tame it. Happy baking!
Greetings, lovlies. So… soup. Yes, in the northern hemisphere it is soup weather! Although I could live on soup all year long, I especially enjoy it during the cold winter months. Borscht has been a staple in many eastern European countries for hundred of years. There are MANY variations in the recipe, according to a dear friend who spent some time in Russia and other slavic countries. The recipe derives from an ancient soup originally cooked from pickled leaves and the flowering stems of common hogweed, an herbaceous plant growing in damp meadows, which lent the dish its Slavic name. With time, it evolved into a diverse array of tart soups, among which the beet-based red borscht has become the most popular.
Red. Yes, this soup is NEON red. I think it’s because I used purple carrots, purple cabbage, red beets and purple onion. Heck yes, can I get a HELLLOOO for a heapin’ helpin’ of ANTHOCYANINS! Anyway, beautiful looks and health benefits aside, it is DEElicious! I hope you’ll try some for yourself.
A beautiful and healthful soup to enjoy on a winter day ... or any day!
- 2 pounds red beets
- 2 cups chopped carrots
- 4 cups chopped red cabbage
- 1 large purple onion, chopped
- ~ 8 cups water
- 2 TBS Spike salt-free seasoning
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- handful fresh dill, chopped
- 1-2 TBS tamari or other lower sodium soy sauce (or salt to taste)
- 3 TBS balsamic vinegar
- Peel and chop all your veggies into bite sized pieces.
- Place all ingredients into a large soup pot and cover with water (about 8 cups or so).
- Simmer, covered, on low until all veggies are tender. Alternately, you can use a slow cooker.
- Top with some vegan sour cream and a little fresh dill.
Borscht can be served hot or cold! So don't forget about this yummy treat in the warmer months, too!
What’s better than golden milk? GOJI golden milk! My goodness, there are SO many recipes available now for golden milk. And is it any wonder? This stuff is pretty magical. Turmeric, that is! It’s got such a bounty of health benefits, not the least of which is its amazing anti-inflammatory properties. It is also proven to help with rheumatoid arthritis. Check out my friend, Dr. Greger’s, video on this topic. Turmeric also helps with sleep, and guess what? So do goji berries, so this is really a kicked up golden milk!
For a fantastic article that covers, in-depth, the health benefits of goji berries, check out Goji Berry Benefits 101 – Everything You Need to Know.
You can use any plant-based milk you prefer for this golden milk. I used a full fat coconut milk for an extra creamy, dreamy delight. But for a lighter version, simply use rice milk, soy milk or almond milk. Besides all of its health benefits, this drink just TASTES GOOD! And it’s perfect for enjoying during these cold, snowy months, too.
A beautiful, soothing drink! Enjoy before bedtime, or any time.
- 2 cups unsweetened plant-based milk of your choice
- ½ cup goji berries
- 1" finger of fresh turmeric root, or 1 tsp ground turmeric (FRESH IS BEST!)
- 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp maca powder (optional)
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1-2 TBS maple syrup or sweetener of your choice (optional)
- Blend all ingredients until smooth.
- Serve warm (my favorite) or cold.
Have fun experimenting with golden milk. Add some of your favorite spices to personalize it!
Yes, yes, yes! I finally nailed it. Do you know how long I’ve been working on a recipe for corn muffins that don’t: fall apart, taste like chalk, are too crumbly, are dry, are too hard…. ? And on, and on. Well, a really long time actually. I lost count of the years!!! Baking without using oil and wheat is a definite challenge and I’ve mastered it pretty well. But corn muffins/corn bread is another story. Until now. These guys are still a little dense, but most corn muffins are (unless of course they are made with tons of white flour and oil). But they’re tasty and have a great “crumb.” That’s a baking term that means the texture is nice. 🙂 I brought these to a New Year’s Day party and they were a hit! They paired perfectly with the collards and black eyed peas.
Speaking of the New Year, what are your plans? I have many. Mostly it will be about nurturing higher states of consciousness. I will also be focusing more on my writing. Screenwriting in particular. I’m excited!
Happy New Year!
Gluten-free, Oil-free Corn Muffins
A great addition to the dinner table! Great with a hot bowl of chili!
- 2/3 cup corn meal
- 2/3 cup corn flour (masa)
- 2/3 cup buckwheat flour (I use light buckwheat flour... see sidebar on the right for Buffalo Valley Grains and the link for 10% off your purchase there... a great resource!)
- 3 TBS minimally processed, granulated sweetener of your choice (I used coconut sugar)
- 3 TBS tapioca starch
- 1 TBS baking powder
- pinch sea salt (optional)
- 1½ cups unsweetened, plant-based milk (I used soy)
- ¼ cup + 2 TBS raw cashew butter
- 1 TBS ground flax + 3 TBS water
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Lightly oil a 12-count muffin tin (or use cupcake papers)
- Combine the ground flax with the water and set aside.
- Mix all dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
- Combine the milk with the cashew butter and mix well (I used a mini blender for this but you can do it by hand. Just make sure it is well mixed). Add the flax mixture and stir.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well.
- Scoop batter into the muffin tin. Using an ice cream scoop makes the job easier. Fill almost to the top.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Let cool and enjoy!
Hey y’all! I just had to pop on here this morning and share this recipe with you because it is… SO. GOOD. And with Christmas around the corner, I thought you may want to try these out! They would be great for a holiday brunch. With a couple of tweaks to my basic, gluten-free pancake recipe, these gems were born. Yay!
I made a yummy cashew-based sauce to top them off but you can use whatever pancake toppings your heart desires. I hope you enjoy these as much as Mountain Man and I did!
Healthy trails and Happy Holidays from my kitchen to yours!
A delicious, vegan holiday breakfast... or dessert!
- To make the cream sauce simply blend all of the ingredients together in a high powered blender. If your blender isn't high powered, soak the cashews for about 4 hours first.
- Mix all dry ingredients together.
- In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients together until well incorporated.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk well to combine.
- Drop by scant ¼ cupfuls onto a hot non-stick or lightly oiled skillet over medium heat.
- Flip when bubbles start to appear and edges are dry and cook until golden on the bottom.
Hold onto your tastebuds because these babies are the real deal when it comes to sausagy flavor AND texture. Yep. Soy Curls once again steal front and center stage. Do try them! They’re amazing. Easily available on Amazon or via my kitchen store here.
I don’t know about you, but I was raised on the Standard American Diet (SAD), laden with cholesterol-rich animal products. It’s been five years since I began my plant-based journey, so that’s… 55 years of eating SAD food! And, yes, I admit it. Sometimes I miss (just a little bit) the flavor and texture of those old
habits enemies favorites. So sometimes I try to recreate my old favorites using healthy ingredients. Like this one. Ta-da!
I made these for my dear friends who are part of our vegan supper club… for brunch. They were a big hit and now I happily share the recipe with you. Yay! This yields 20 patties; yes for a crowd. Feel free to cut it in half. These patties would make a perfect addition to any vegan brunch table, holiday or not. Don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you. It’s mostly spices. Yeah, it’s all about the spices. Enjoy!
Vegan Breakfast Sausage Patties
A traditional yummy breakfast treat. Vegan and oil-free!
- 8 oz. Butler Soy Curls (1 bag), soaked for about one hour, drained and rinsed
- one 15 oz. can adzuki beans, or any small red beans--1½ cups (I used Eden brand)
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- ½ cup raw pine nuts
- ¼ cup ground flax seeds + 6 TBS water
- ¼ cup + 2 TBS tapioca flour
- 2 TBS tamari or other lower sodium soy sauce
- 2 TBS pure maple syrup
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp ground fennel seeds
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp natural maple flavoring
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp Spike salt-free seasoning
- ½ tsp chili flakes
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- Combine the flax meal with the water and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone sheet.
- After you've soaked, rinsed and drained the soy curls, squeeze as much water from them as possible and place them in a food processor. Pulse until they are broken up into small pieces.
- Add the walnuts and pine nuts and pulse again until the nuts are pretty finely broken but not mushy.
- Add all remaining ingredients, including the flax mixture, and pulse until well combined, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Shape into patties about 3" wide and ½" high. Each will be ¼ cup in volume. (I used an ice cream scooper to ensure they were all the same size.)
- Bake for 30 minutes, flipping at 15 minutes.
- Serve and watch the smiles!
Greetings from the mountains and the woodlands. I must convey my deepest sympathies to those who were affected by the fires in Tennessee last week. So close to home, it was scary. I can’t even imagine what my dear neighbors went though. Thankfully, we’ve had a lot of rain … it just wasn’t in time.
Well, Thanksgiving came and went and now most of us are gearing up for the next holiday deluge of rich and sumptuous foods that perhaps we don’t normally eat. I did pretty well at Thanksgiving in that regard, but it was just TOO MUCH overall consumption, as is usually the case during the holidays. Top that off with some recent dental work… anesthesia and I really don’t get along. I mean, I never even take an aspirin so any drug will just knock me out. So I faithfully took handfuls of activated charcoal… if you’ve never heard of this, getcha some! It’s good for food poisoning and will take out any other impurities in your system. Still though, I was weary. THIS SOUP to the rescue. And rescue it did.
This dish is healing, nourishing, grounding, balancing and downright delicious. My body LOVED it. I wanted to go back and finish the pot but, well, that’s not the idea here is it? Less is more always when it comes to food. So I behaved myself. 😉
Okay, maybe you don’t have all these ingredients to hand. Some of them are pretty obscure—things you won’t find in an “ordinary” cupboard. But I always have them around. Maybe you’ll want to as well!
About those ingredients… chaga mushroom. Yes. Medicinal and healing on many levels. In case you missed it, check out my post and video here which tells you all about chaga and how to brew your own mushroom “tea.” By the way I found a GREAT source for ground chaga online here.
Hatcho Miso. Another wonder to keep on hand. What’s so special about this particular miso? Lots. Hatcho (or Hacho) is a very concentrated source of nutrition. It contains eighty percent more protein and twenty to twenty-five percent less salt than other misos. I love the less sodium aspect of it. The flavor is also very unique. You have to taste it to see what I mean. It lasts forever in the fridge, too, so I’m never without it.
You may think daikon radish is uncommon, but I find it in my regular grocery store all the time. And for sure it’s easy to come by in any health food store that carries fresh produce.
I also added some dried sea vegetable that I always have on hand for my regular miso soup, called wakame. Easy to find in any Asian grocery store or online here.
So besides the chaga mushroom base and the Hatcho miso, the rest of the ingredients are pretty straightforward and readily available. Oh, oops. I did also add some tekka, which is a concentrated form of flavoring common in Japanese/macrobiotic cooking. But you could certainly leave this out without altering the result of this fabulous blend of flavors.
I hope you will try this magical, healing soup. It’s wonderful for these cooler winter months and for when you’ve eaten too much, or the wrong foods, or when you just feel “off.” It will balance the body’s pH and bring things back to stasis. Enjoy!
Winter Woodland Wellness Soup
A healthful, grounding bowl of bliss!
- 1 pound sliced mushrooms (I used crimini-aka baby portabella)
- 3 tightly-packed cups chopped kale
- 1 cup sliced daikon radish
- 1 medium shallot, chopped
- 1 TBS Hatcho miso
- 1 TBS mellow white (also called sweet) miso
- 1 tsp dried wakame sea vegetable
- 1 tsp Spike salt-free seasoning
- 1 tsp Bragg Organic Sprinkle (or other dried spices of your choice)
- 1 tsp tekka (optional)
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup chaga mushroom "tea"
- sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
- Combine the mushrooms, kale, daikon, shallot, spices and wakame in a pot with 1 cup of chaga tea and three cups of water.
- Simmer on low until the kale is tender (about 10-15 minutes).
- Make a slurry out of the two misos. I used a small blender to do this. Just add enough water to be able to blend and get rid of any lumps. Set aside.
- When the kale is soft, remove the soup from heat. Add one cup of COLD water to the soup. Stir and add the miso slurry. (see notes)
- Serve topped with sesame seeds if desired.
Make sure you never "cook" your miso. It contains very healthful, LIVE probiotics that will die if cooked to over 118° F.