Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Colorful holiday foods

Good day everyone! 

My day started off happy and you want to know why?
Dave(my husband) and I drove down the street to our health food store to get a coffee before he went to work.  We step up to the counter and lying there is the longest, most delicous smelling loaf of unsliced sweet bread.  I told the lady how good it looked and she said that it's a vegan pumpkin chocolate chip bread that was still warm from the oven.  My heart just sped up....she had the other gal slice off a piece for me.  YUM!  I'm saving the other half for Keaton.  Then while we were waiting too pay another girl gives us a sample of pumpkin spice cake...Dave asked if it was vegan and she said "yes".  My lucky morning!  It was soooooo moist.  It's not every day that this kind of thing happens for a vegan.

Pumpkin chocolate chip bread

Want to impress your guests with colorful and delicous foods this Christmas and that don't take hours and hours to make?  How about....
Quinoa Pilaf (recipe below)

Marinated Pan Grilled Tofu, Roasted Asparagus and Quinoa Pilaf
This was a huge hit with Dave and Keaton.
Two Bean Tempeh Chili with finely chopped kale.
This is a great way to add more greens into your diet.  Finely chop your greens and mix into the chili. 
Roasted Vegetable Pasta with a kick.
This recipe is adapted from Gluten Free Goddess.  You can
take any vegetable really.  I used asparagus, roma tomatoes, eggplant, onion and bell pepper.  I also eliminated the use of raisins.  You can also add finely chopped greens to this as well and no one would know.
Quinoa Pilaf

2 C. vegetable broth
1 C. quinoa, rinsed
1 med. yellow/white onion, diced
1 small bell pepper, diced
1/3 C. parsley, chopped
1/4 C. pinenuts, toasted*
S & P

In a medium saucepan heat up broth and quinoa until boiling.  Cover with lid and turn down heat to low.  Cook for about 20 min.  Once quinoa is cooked take off heat and let sit for about 10min. then fluff with fork.  Take off lid and cool down to room temperature.

While quinoa is cooking heat up a heavy pan(I use cast iron) and toast pinenuts.  Keep close watch as to not burn.  This only takes about 2 min. or so.

In a large pan heat up 1 T. olive oil or broth/water to saute onion.  Once the onion is softened add the bell pepper and cook for 2 more minutes.  Take off heat and add the quinoa, onion, bell pepper, parsley and pineuts. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Scoop into serving dish.

Marinade for tofu

1/3 C. Olive Oil
1/3 C. lemon juice
1/3 C. Italian parsley
1/3 C. Cilantro
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

In a blender or processer add olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, cilantro, garlic.  Blend together.  Add in red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste.

Slice tofu up and lay in a casserole dish.  Pour marinade over and let sit in refrigerator for a couple of hours.  Heat up grill pan and spary with olive oil.  Grill tofu.  Serve with leftover marinade.

I hope this gives you all some ideas.  If anything whip it up for dinner one night just for your family.What are your plans for Chrismas dinner? 
Until next post.  Have a great day! 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Feeling warm and toasty...

I did it again!  Not posting for a couple of weeks, bad on me. 
I hope you are all staying well and warm.  It's quite cold this morning 28 out and our heater didn't want to kick on right away.  That's a problem being it was 61 inside.

A quick recap of Thanksgiving.  We drove down to my in-laws and spent the night.
I made an amazing pumpkin pie without any soy.  My crust even turned out awesome.
This is a pic of it the next day which got a little smashed on the drive.
This is the recipe from Gluten Free Goddess blog you can get it here.  I only made the filling for my pie and made just a regular flaky pie crust.   One adjustment that I made in the pie filling is that instead of using xanthan gum, because I was out, I used 1 T. spelt flour.  If you don't have arrowroot powder you can use tapioca starch /you can use flour instead.  The reason for the xanthan and tapioca starch is to thicken it without gluten.  Obviously mine isn't gf because of the crust and flour I used in the filling.

Gluten free cornbread without flour?  You heard me right.  This recipe uses only cornmeal.
I was skeptical at first because I thought it would turn into mush.  As you can see it's not mushy at all but fluffy. I've never been a fan of the cakey cornbread.  My grandma always made cornbread, corncakes, cornbread stuffing,etc which consisted of lots of cornmeal and less flour.  So this was perfect.  I found the recipe at
Notes From the Vegan Feast Kitchen by Bryanna.   Check out her site for the recipe.
Not only does this tastes great but I couldn't wait to use it in a gf corn stuffing recipe I had been eyeing for sometime. 
Gluten Free Corn-Stuffing at Silvie+Maryl.  Silvie and Maryl are two sisters that give fabulous info on health, food, etc.  This calls for pecans and raisins.  I eliminated the raisins but used the pecans that tasted great in this.  I'll be making this again next year.

Root Vegetable Soup

Using the vegetables I had on hand to make this delicious and easy soup

1 Large yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 med. butternut squash, chopped
2 Lg. carrots, chopped
1 white sweet potato, chopped
2 small yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 fennel, chopped
1/2 tsp. red pepper
6 cups, vegetable broth
2 tsp. thyme, dried if you have fresh add 1T.
1 1/2 C. cannelini beans or great northern, rinsed
kale, chopped(optional)

Saute yellow onion in 1 T. olive oil or water/broth until soft.  Add in the chopped garlic, fennel and red pepper for about 5 or so minutes until soft.  Next add the rest of the vegetables and broth. Cook for about 45 min or so until soft.  Mix in chopped kale and stir just until wilted.  Ladle into bowl with a drizzle of olive oil if you wish.

Now it's on to making our Christmas dinner menu.  I'm thinking tamales again or maybe italian? What are your plans for Christmas?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Another holiday meal idea Roasted Root Vegetable Enchiladas with Chipotle Cashew Cream

Whew!  It's that time of year again when we are all figuring out what to make for Thanksgiving.

The other night I made the Roasted Root Vegetable Enchiladas with the Chipotle Cashew Cream from VegNews 2008.  Talk about AMAZING!  One more Enchilada recipe on my list of favorites.
Don't these look soooo goood?  These are some left overs that I packed for Dave's lunch along with Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice which is a favorite of ours.
I know there are those of you who turn your noses at cilantro but we love it. lol!
The recipes for all 3 are down below. You can make everything in advance too.

In some of the parenthesis there I wrote what I used or added to original Enchilada recipe. 

Roasted Root Vegtable Enchiladas
VegNews Nov/Dec 2008 issue
Makes 10 Enchiladas

2 1/2 pounds yams, parsnips, and beets, peeled and diced(I used 1 Lg. white sweet potato, 1Lg orange sweet potato(yam) 1 lg. parsnip and 2 garlic cloves chopped)
1 large yellow onion(1 1/2 Lg. onions)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 cups Chipotle Cashew Cream (see recipe below)
10 corn tortillas
14 ounces mild green or red enchilada sauce(There is a homemade Enchilada sauce below that someone from Daves work gave him that I finally made, it's definitely less costly to make and quite easy)
(I also added a small can of diced green chilis)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees, and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss vegetables, onion, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper.

Spread veggies evenly on prepared sheet pan. Roast for 50 minutes, or until soft and lightly browned, flipping mixture after 25 minutes.

Remove from oven, let cool for 10 minutes and in a large bowl toss roasted veggies with 1 cup of cashew cream. Turn oven down to 350.

In a shallow plate, pour roughly half the enchilada sauce. Dip a tortilla into sauce to coat each side, spread 1/4 cup of roasted veggies into the tortilla, roll up tightly, and place into a 9x13-inch glass baking dish, seam side down. Continue with remaining tortillas, fitting two rows of five enchiladas each.

Pour remaining enchilada sauce over rolled enchiladas, and drizzle with remaining 1/2 cup cashew cream. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes to heat and lightly brown the cashew cream.
(You could also add a white or black bean to this as well)

Chipotle Cashew Cream
Makes 1 1/2 Cups

1 cup raw cashews
1 cup water
1 canned chipotle pepper(I only used about 2 chipotles because it can be extremely hot by adding a whole can.  Use your own judgement on this ingredient)
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

In a blender puree all ingredients until smooth.

Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice  (I cut this recipe in half because the full amount makes ALOT.  This will serve at least 5)
Makes 5 cups
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 cup cilantro, leaves and stems, rinsed and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Zest and juice of two limes
3 cups water
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups long-grain brown rice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a blender puree onion, cilantro, garlic, salt, pepper, lime zest and juice, and water.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil and rice, and lightly toast for 3-5 minutes. Stir in cilantro mixture. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.  When the rice boils, place saucepan into oven and bake for 50 minutes. Remove and let sit covered for 10 minutes. Remove cover and fluff rice with fork before serving.  (I like to transfer the mixture into a baking dish with a lid before I bake in the oven).

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce
This is  how you make it:

4-5 Lg garlic cloves, minced
1 T. cumin
Grind if you want this smooth or just stir together until well mixed.

Heat a thin layer of oil to cover entire skillet(this doesn't have to be very thick). 
Once heated whisk in a 1 oz. pkg of California Chili Powder(or another mild chili powder).
Then whisk in 2 T. flour.  Continue whisking and add in the garlic cumin mix.  Next add vegetable broth to create the consistency you desire.
Wallah!  A quick and easy enchilada sauce that's alot less expensive than a canned version.

How's your Thankgiving meal ideas coming along?
Next post:  Making New Holiday Traditions and GF cornbread and stuffing.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Delicious-Eggplant Rollups & No-Meat Balls (Eat to Live)

Smell the garlic and onions.  Feel the warmth as you step inside your house from the cold weather. Doesn't that sound so nice? 
I was so happy to finally check out Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman, MD from our library. 
Now I need to buy it because I wasn't able to re-check it out due to other holds on it.  Bummer!
Dr. Fuhrman writes about the science of how food works in the body and how you should consume as many nutrients as you can in each meal.  I was able to make a few recipes which were all very flavorful and packed with veggies.  Dave and Keaton really loved all of these recipes too. 

Eggplant Rollups
These were more flavorful than the tofu ricotta spinach ones I usually make.  Next time I'm doubling the recipe because they were eaten way to quickly. 

Towards the end of summer my heirloom tomatoes were abundant so I was able to use them up by making lots of marinara sauce which I used in both of these recipes.  Dave actually had his fill of tomatoes because I was using them on a daily basis.  Personally I don't think you can eat too many tomatoes. 
No-Meat Balls
from Eat to Live
Makes 16-18 balls

1-2 T. water or low or no salt sodium vegetable broth
1/2 C. diced onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 C. diced celery
2 T. parsley, minced
1/4 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp.dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 1/2 C. cooked lentils or 1 15 oz. can lentils
1/4 C. cooked brown rice (I needed to use 1/2C.)
2-3 T. tomato paste
1 T. arrowroot powder or whole wheat flour
2 T. Dr Fuhrman's MatoZest or other no-salt seasoning
2 T. nutritional yeast
ground pepper to taste
optional: vital wheat gluten for a chewier consistency

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a saute pan heat 1-2 T. water or broth.  Add onion and garlic and saute for 5 min or so.  Add celery, parsley, sage, basil and oregano.  Saute for another 5min. adding more water or broth as needed to prevent sticking.

In mixing bowl  combine sauteed vegetables with remaining ingredients.  Mix well.
Mash lightly with tomato masher.  With wet hands for 2 T. of mixture into a smooth ball.  Place on very lightly oiled baking pan and bake for 30-40min.  (I used a spray oil for pan and then lightly sprayed the balls).
Serving suggestions:  serve with marinara, over pasta or as a sandwich filling.

Have you tried any recipes from Eat to Live?  How did you like them?

Have a great weekend and stay warm and dry!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Liebster Award + Quinoa Basil Stir Fry (under $7)

Previous post: 4 ingredient African Stew for under $8.  I hope you all check it out and try it.

I was awarded the Liebster Blog Award by Nuestracena-Vegan Cuisine  who is just too sweet.

"Liebster" in German means 'dearest' or 'beloved'.  In this case I think it means 'favorite'.

The rules of winning this award are as follows:
1. Show your thanks to those who gave you the award by linking back to them.
2. Reveal 5 of your top picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. Enjoy the love and support of some wonderful people on the www!

I get so much from all of your blogs and it's so nice to see the vegan love all around us.  Every blog is special but there are always those that stand out to each of us a bit more.  The following blogs do that for me.

happyveganface - Jessy always seems to bring a smile to my face when I read her blogs and with her comments too.  Along with her wonderful GF recipes.
VegSpinz - she always amazes me with her food art and original recipes
MELOMEALS: $3.33 A DAY - fresh, colorful, nutritious meals for under $3.33.
seitan is my motor - lots of beautiful and original baked goods

Thank you ladies!

Since my last post was a meal under $8 I thought I'd reshare the Quinoa Basil Tofu that cost's under $7 to make.  See vegan food doesn't have to cost much.
Have a great day!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

4 Ingredient African Stew + birthday cake

Good chilly afternoon everyone!  Hope you are all staying toasty and warm.  I think we just may put a fire on tonight.

A couple of  months ago a co-worker of Dave's invited us over for dinner. 
They know Keaton and I are vegan and Dave was told not to worry about the meal that they were making a meal they usually  make but with changes to accomadate us.  To our surprise the whole meal was vegan. 
We had a lovely mixed green salad with fresh berries and a light vinaigrette.  Then the main meal was a very delicious...
African Stew with Portobello Mushrooms

We kept talking about how good this meal was I had to get the recipe.
To my surprise there was only 4 ingredients listed in the recipe. 4 ingredients!  I couldn't believe it!
You serve this over a nice bed of brown rice and wallah!  The key to this recipe is letting it cook over a low heat for a couple of hours to let the tomatoes really melt down and the flavors mingle together.  I think this would be a great to make in a crockpot.  Sometimes simple is better and this dish is wonderful left alone without any fancy spices.  Although it makes a great base for adding other veggies, I still like the simplicity for a change.  It makes 4-5 servings. This would be an easy recipe to double for company.  It cost's less than $8 to make.

African Stew
by Eulalia

1)  3 large yellow onions chopped and cooked in olive oil or water for about 45min on low heat until soft and start to sweeten.
2) Add 2 16 oz. cans of stewed tomatoes, drained( I like a bit more tomato so I used 1 28 oz can  + 1 16 oz. can.- if you can't find stewed just add whole plum tomatoes in a can
3)  Add 2 cans of coconut milk(I used lite just because I had it on hand but using regular would give it a bit more thicker consistency and an even richer flavor. The boys loved it with the lite milk just as much)
4) Allow to cook together at least 30 min on low heat.( I found that cooking it for a couple of hours  really helped develop the flavors more and cooked the tomatoes better.)Note- as this cooks you want the tomatoes to break down into it so you can use the back of a spoon or something to help do this. 
5) Once cooked through add salt and pepper to taste.
6) At this point add mushrooms, tofu or anything else. ( I sauteed 8 oz. of portobellos and 8 oz. cubed firm tofu I broil on low until almost golden).  Let cook for about 15 or more minute until ready to serve.

Let me know how you like it!

This was my Halloween Birtthday cake I made for myself.  Chocolate cake, chocolate rice mellow creme filling, thin layer of white frosting and topped with chocolate ganache.  The ghosts are made with rice mellow creme.  I found a recipe at Annie's Eats for a marshmallow filling and adjusted it to a vegan recipe.   My go to chocolate cake recipe is down below.

Moosewood Chocolate Cake
(double the recipe for layer cake)

adapted by dreaminitvegan

- 1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
-  1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 c. oil + 1/4 c. apple sauce/canned pumpkin.(The original recipe calls for 1/2 c. oil but I found it's    more moist using apple sauce or pumpkin. Added perk, less fat)
- 1 cup brewed coffee, cooled down
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and sugar into an big bowl.
In a separate bowl,mix the oil, water or coffee and vanilla.
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix the batter just until incorporated.

When the batter is smooth, add the vinegar and stir only until the vinegar is evenly distributed into the batter.

Transfer the batter into an 8/9 inch round pan... or two if you doubled the recipe.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until cake tester/ toothpick comes out clean or the top springs back when touched. Cool completely.

Rice Mellow Fluff Creme

1 cup Earth Balance

2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

7½ oz. Rice Mellow Creme

2 tsp. vanilla extract

Beat together the Earth Balance and confectioners sugar.  Then add in rice mellow creme and vanilla extract.  Beat until smooth and fluffy.
This is so nice and light in between the layers of cake.

This is my first time using Rice Mellow Creme.  Have you used it before?

Saturday, October 29, 2011


It's that time a year again when all things scary come out!  Boo! 

This is such a fun time a year, I love seeing all of the original costumes people come up with.  I especially love all of the scary movies playing all month long.  The classic black and white monster movies are my favorite, but then again I love all of those classic movies.  Getting back to the old monster movies , I really love to watch them all.  The music and the way they acted were just so cool.  Some of my favorite black and white monster flicks are Nosferatu(1922), White Zombie(1932),  Vincent Price movies, Bela Lugosi's Dracula,and Frankenstein to name a few.  The other day I watched for the first time Curse of the Demon(1957)with Dana Andrews, the demon in it was pretty silly but for back then these were scary movies.  Then there is the Uninvited, A Ghost Story with Ray Milland.  The list goes on and on and I'll watch them all plus so many in between then and now.  Carrie with Sissy Spacek....great one.  Then there is the fabulous movie...The Shining with Jack Nicholson, even Dave will watch this one and he does not like scary movies AT ALL

Oh and how can I forget The Nightmare Before Christmas!  Tim Burton movies rock! I even have The Nightmare Before Christams mug that a friend got me a few years ago and a couple of t-shirts.  Wear them every Halloween, the t-shirts that is. Then there is Casper and Hocus Pocus which bring back memories of the first time my son Keaton and I watched them together,then every year after.
What are your favorite Scary/Horror movies if you are into them?

Yesterday Keaton attended his last Halloween dance in middle school..(tears).
I made these Spooky Fingers. 
These were alot of fun to make and you make them plain or gory like I did.  Although I think some of the kids were leary because they were more on the gory side.  I found the recipe a couple of different place but the one that shows how to roll the dough is here.    These would be fun to make with kids.


by Novel Eats
adapted by dreaminitvegan

•1 cup vegan butter, softened

•1 cup Earth Balance or other vegan butter (I believe Earth Balance makes for better baking)
•1 cup vegan confectioners’ sugar

•1.5 tsp Ener-G egg replacer with 2T. water, whisked together

•1.5 teaspoon vanilla extract

•1 T. soymilk or other non-dariy  milk

•2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

•1 teaspoon baking powder

•1 teaspoon salt

•3/4 cup whole, blanched almonds or pumpkin seeds.

Combine the vegan butter, sugar, egg replacer,  and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat together with an electric mixer.

OnceAs it is mixing gradually add the flour, baking powder, and salt
Once your dough is well mixed, refrigerate it for 30 minutes. This will make the dough easier to handle when you are shaping the witches fingers.

Just before you take the dough out of the refrigerator, preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove the dough from your refrigerator, and using a teaspoon or tablespoon scoop a heaping spoonful onto a piece of wax paper. Use the wax paper to roll the dough into a thin finger-shaped cookie
Press one almond into one end of each cookie to give the appearance of a long fingernail.

Squeeze cookie near the tip and again near the center of each to give the impression of knuckles. You can also cut into the dough with a sharp knife at the same points to help give a more finger-like appearance
Arrange the shaped cookies on the baking sheets, being sure to give each cookie a little space so that they do not bake into each other.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 18-20 min. or until the cookies are slightly golden in color.

Tips: Rolling the dough on the thinner side will give you more cookies and since they do puff up quite a bit while baking.

Optional Gore: After you have allowed your cookies to cool, remove the almond from the end of each cookie. Squeeze a small amount of red decorating gel (not all decorating gels are vegan, so be sure to check the ingredients).  I melted chocolate and spread it on the back side of the cookie to give a nice contrast in taste.  Then I dabbed some chocolate under the almond(it helps the almond stay on better) added some red gel then pressed the almond back on.  I stuck the fingers in crushed chocolate sandwich cookies, so having the chocolate under the almond kind of looks like they are dirty.  Yuck!  You can also add some green tint to the dough to make them look like Witches fingers.  So many ideas!

Let me know if you have  made these before or if you do.
Have a fun weekend everyone!  Stay safe and don't drink and dirve if you are going to a party.

Next Post will be my Halloween B-day cake that I  make for myself each year.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pet Food

Wow I've just been slacking in my posts these last few months.
  Hello all I hope you are having a good autumn day.  It's been quite cold and foggy these past couple of mornings.  We are pretty lucky it clears up mid morning to a beautiful sunny day.

Just when I think I'm starting to deal with controlling my emotions regarding the loss of our dog Cleo we receive a cremation certificate from Oak Hills Memorial Pet Care.  It brought up all of my emotions again but at least I know she was treated with care.  I'd like to share with you a bit of what the card said. 
"You may be assured that your beloved pet Cleo was treated with dignity and consideration during our special process.  We have placed your pet's cremains beneath a stand of great trees in a serene country setting."  I feel now I can truly move on knowing she is at peace and was taken care of.

Regarding pet food, I've always tried to feed my animals the best food while not breaking the bank.  When Cleo got cancer I took another look at her food.   Researching all of the sites on canine cancer I found when it came to feeding dogs with cancer they all mention getting off store bought pet food and making your own. 
Hmmmm....it sounds like with  humans, fresh whole foods are just healthier.  It totally makes sense!

The first dried biscuit for dogs was processed in 1860, right after World War II bagged and canned pet food became popular in the U.S. because it was more economical.  Before that time dogs ate table scraps, vegetables etc.  You can read about the history of commercial dog food all over the internet or at   History of Dog Food  Like with people, the more processed food you eat the unhealthier you become.  Also the more organic ingredients the better as well.

If you can't feed your pet a completely fresh diet try to feed a higher quality kibble then add fresh veggies to it like I've been doing.  You can mix all kinds of veggies, omega oils, etc.  Wheat, corn and soy are the biggest allergens for dogs.  Wheat especially is not good for dogs.  Sweet potatoes are alot better than white potatoes which are real starchy.

  This is a mix of kale, swiss chard, carrots, peas, quinoa and a bit of barley.  Ace loves this stuff!

Some of the research I've done has been on finding companies that also use organic ingredients. I've e-mailed quite a few regarding their ingredients. I'm surprised to find that Halo the one Ellen Degeneres recommends, doesn't use hormone free chicken or eggs from small farms.  There are a couple of companies that carry dehydrated food which is made using very low heat but enough to kill pathogens.  Here are a couple of those-  Dr. Harvey's  you would add a protein to it.  Alicia Silverstone has been feeding her dogs for years using this food and for a protein she adds lentils, beans or tofu to it and her dogs are healthy as can be.  You need to add an omega oil to this food as well as l-creatine and taurine if no meat is used.  Then there is The Honest Kitchen , one of their food items is all veg.  This food is alot pricer especially if you have a bigger dog like our 80lb Ace dog.  Carna4 is a  newer line of baked kibble from Canada.  They had a great response when I emailed them regarding where their chicken came from.  They say they choose the freshest like they do for themselves. You can truly see that the owners care about their pets.  Now while I'm vegan I don't believe in factory farming but most of the meat in dog foods come from factory farms. So when even buying a kibble that has some meat in it I prefer organic ingredients.   Petguard Organic Pet Food  is good and they have a vegetarian option as well.  

Amongst my research I found that Natura Pet food brand which includes EVO, Innova, California Natural and Karma( 90% organic)was bought out to Proctor and Gamble.  Here is a company that was supposedly a high quality pet food yet they sell out to a company like Proctor and Gamble.  It's also interesting that there was a class action lawsuit against them filed regarding their claims regarding the description of their dog food.  It's always good to research a pet food before you purchase.  I also don't get the addition of cottage cheese in some of these dog foods because just like people alot of dogs can have an allergy or be lactose intolerant.  Milk is for babies is what I say.  If you feel you want to give your pet yogurt because it contains probiotics then add a capsule or two of probiotics.

All in all when it comes to your pets, fresher is better.  If you have a question regarding a product e-mail the company they always reply rather quickly.  
What do you feed your dogs?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Saying goodbye to a furry loved one

Hi Everyone!  I'm back. Dave and Keaton keep asking if I've been blogging and I said I haven't been.  The reason?  I Just haven't wanted to post about our dog Cleo and I knew that would be the first thing I'd have to do.

Our dog Cleo was put down to sleep last month.  She was only 8 yrs old.  She was diagnosed with osteosarcoma(bone cancer) only a month before and it was very aggressive.  It was so hard to see her go and I don't ever want to make the decision to put a dog down again.   She picked us, our son, when she was a puppy and that made her even more special to us.  She was such a joy and brought so much happiness to our home and to those who came over to visit.  Cleo was so vocal, looking out of Keaton's bedroom window barking at passer by's or animals, greeting Dave when he would get home from work or whining because she wanted us to pet her.   All of those things we now miss.  Even until the end she still had a wag in her tail.   We will miss her each and every day.  We are lucky to have Ace dog during this time of change in our family, but his personality is just so different than Cleo's.

                                                       She'll always be our (Queen) Cleopatra.

                                             R.I.P.  Cleopatra Teabag Blues  5/1/03-8/31/11

When I first found out about her cancer the first thing I thought of was...What did I do wrong?  Then I started doing research on canine cancer. I was also finally able to track down the couple who own Cleo's dad, they also kept one of her siblings.  They told me that Cleo's mother died from cancer 3 years ago which would put her at about 8/9years old.  The pup they kept and another sibling has tumors starting to grow but they are not cancerous.  Another sibling has hind leg issues.  The rest so far are healthy like the father who is still alive at age 13.  So it seems that the  mother passed on some unhealthy genes but like humans I do believe in diet and disease.

I then started researching more about dog food.  I already try to feed them the best kibble but even at that I'm always on the lookout for something better. .  What I have found out is that the more fresh a dog's food is the healthier it is for them.  Like us humans, eating cereal and processed foods only....we are not going to be the healthiest.  When we eat fresh foods that's when our health is optimal.  Dogs are the same.  The first dry dog treat was invented in the 1800's than after WWII dry kibble became popular because it was less expensive.   Feeding our animals human grade food or fresh food rather than a kibble just makes more sense but it does come with a price tag.  My goal is to slowly add more fresh food into the diet of Ace than hopefully completely change over.  I'll let you know of a couple of good pet food companies I've found in my research next post.

Until then...which I promise will be sooner than later.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Perfect Summer Grilled Dinner & Cleo dog

I hope you are all having a great summer.  We've pretty  much just been hanging out.  We got some bad news regarding our lab Cleo a few weeks ago.  She has osteosarcoma(bone disease) and it's progressing pretty fast.  Her xray showed her shoulder bone is mothlike all the way through..she only has a very thin solid strip of bone on her front right leg.  Sooooooooo....only option is to keep her comfortable and keep her pain under control as much as possible.  We are taking it day by day.  Lot's of emotions flowing...Keaton has taken to sleeping on the floor so Cleo can sleep with him.  It's hard to watch your kid go through something like this while Dave and I are so sad as well.  Sorry, this is really hard for me to write right about right now so I'll let you know more soon.

Keaton playing video game with Cleo
                                          Cleo, Ace and Merlin on a sleeping bag one evening.

I'd like to share with you a really good Tofu Lasagna that is from the Martha Stewart mag. that I made last night on the grill.  I was wanting to make this for months now and I finally got to.  I was so excited at how the finished product turned out and tasted....like so excited!!! 

It has grilled zucchini, crookneck squash, tofu, basil, pesto and tomatoes..  Yum, yum, yum!
We ate this with some Rustic Wheat Bread and Grilled Artichokes.
It isn't heavy which is really nice.  Just perfect!
I made Dave a sandwich with the leftovers for lunch today.

I highly recommend  making this...It's just so pretty too.  Get thie recipe by clicking here.  The marinade it says to make...well I actually used that on the vegetables before grilling.  They have a slight lemony taste which is so refreshing.

More good food to come.  I've been so slacking with my blog lately but I have been cooking and have pics to share.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Furry Birthdays, GF-pasta and salads...lot's of pic's!

July we have a couple of our furry family birthdays we celebrate.  1st up is Merlin, he is 16 this month!  He
is still a pretty active cat for his age, like last night, he was very noisy running around and wanting in then out.  Errrrr!  He has thinned out quite a bit and is more verbal now.  If you come over for a visit and the dogs try to get all of your attention, well you will hear Merlin loud and clear, while he jumps onto the couch to say "I'm here too"!

Next up is Ace who just turned 2 on the 2nd.  He just wants all of the love, is quiet and loves to try to crawl onto your lap. 
We took a drive the other day and ended up in Cambria.  We had to pick up some of our favorite Italilian pretzels, Taralli, from Allocco's Italian bakery.  The owners are so friendly.  On the way home it started getting cold, especially sitting in the back of a Jeep, so Keaton shared a blanket with Ace.

Dave and I walk back to the Jeep from picking up some burritos and we see Ace with this sweatshirt on and Keaton giggling. Quite funny.

For lunch the other day I had leftover whole wheat pasta noodles and added broccoli, red bell pepper, garlic, drizzled with olive oil and lemon.
 For Keaton I made  Vegan Yum Yum's "Hurry Up Alfredo" sauce and added Gf pasta noodles and a side of broccoli.

Yesterday I went with a friend to our Farmers Market.  It is so busy now with wonderful colors of vegetables, flowers and the smell of all of the fruit!  I know all of you out there love the Farmers Market too.
I was so happy to see Santa Barbara Picstachio Company there.  These are my favorite pistachio's and the flavored ones have a nice and light flavor, slightly salted and they are organic. You won't find a crusty coated pistacio that's loaded with salt here.  These are just perfect and you can order online too!  If you purchase some let me know what you think!

I picked up some lovely golden beets at the Market too.  I roasted some with olive oil and sea salt.
Once they were done I sliced them up and added them to a salad with red lettuce, kale,spinach and pecans. A good way to sneak in dark leafy greens is to chop them up in small pieces and then add them.  I then drizzled a mixture of Blood Orange Balsmic vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, agave syrup(you can use maple syrup or honey) salt and pepper to tastse.  I saw a salad like this in The Flying Apron's Gluten Free and Vegan Baking Cookbook.  The dressing called for regular balsamic.
I'm looking forward to trying the bread recipe's from theis cookbook.  Alot of the recipes call for garbanzo flour which I don't like to use in sweets so I'll be subbing in different flours for those.
For lunch I had lightly sauteed swiss chard, with garlic, yellow bell peppers drizzled with a tahini sauce.
Last but not least you can never have too many gf chocolate chip cookie recipes.  I found this recipe from from Eat, drink & Be Vegan
These are soft and yummy!  I of course cut down on the sugar from the recipe and only added 2 T. of sugar and for the flours I used 1/2 C. Sorghum flour, 1/4 millet and 1 T. buckwheat flour. 

Do you have a favorite GF chocolate chip recipe?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer grub if you dare turn on your oven...

Howdy all!  Summer has hit California in full swing.  Basically it's been...HOT!   We don't have air conditioning in our home but at least we have ceiling fans in every room.  Luckily it cools down at night so we can sleep comfortably.
How are all of you dealing with the heat in your area?

Since it's been quite hot I haven't been using our oven but if you are, here are couple of recipes that are summer worthy.

Stacked Sweet Corn, Bean and Tempeh Casserole

The original recipe for this casserole was found in Better Homes and Garden magazine.  I was eyeing this recipe for quite a while before I made it.  Now that corn is in season it's perfect...you can always use frozen though.  Dave and Keaton loved this meal and it's so easy to make.  Click here for the original recipe.  Listed below are the items I used in replacement of animal products.

I used:
Soyrizo instead of chorizo
8 oz. tempeh (you could use veggie crumbles as well) vs. beef 
chili verde sauce vs chunky green salsa (I couldn't find chunky green salsa)
Daiya cheddar vs. dairy cheese

I then topped it off with fresh cilantro and tomatoes.  Isn't it pretty?
Next time I'm going to try using some Daiya pepperjack cheese.  If you haven't tried that flavor yet it is better than the cheddar...that's what we think anyways.

 Blackberry Galette
(Pre baked pic)

For the crust you can use your favorite pie crust.  Then in a mixing bowl add the berries,
sugar, a couple of Tbsp. organic cornstarch or flour to thicken while it bakes.  Bake in oven at 375 degrees until berries are cooked and crust just starts to turn a light brown.  This will take about 40 min.

Stay cool and enjoy!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Spring rolls...so easy!

Our laptop is back and working wonderfully! 

How's everyone's summer going?  We are really having a nice one.
My son, Keaton, left last week to spend time with his grandparents.  He comes back home on Thursday. 
Oh how we miss him!  In the mean time with him being gone Dave and I have been able to hang out together which is really nice.  We spent one day at Avila Beach.  Saturday I spent the day with a friend at the Santa Barbara Summer Solstice...everyone was so nice and check this out...One of the food vendors there was Strictly Vegan Jamaican Cuisine.  They were very busy which was great to see.  I had the wrap with Jerk Gardein strips.  The wraps are loaded with vegetables and not too much gardein which I really liked. They top it off with a mango type salsa and serve with chunks of plantain. Yum!  It was fun people watching too.  Sat. night Dave and I went out to the brewery in town, listened to good music and ate the best sweet potato fries..ever!  They were crispy and crunchy, due to just enough sea salt.  Oh and of course we had us some beer!  Good times.

Now that we are having warm weather I've been cooking alot lighter. 
I finally made spring rolls.  I don't know why it took me so long because they are so easy to make.
Softened rice paper wraps are filled with marinated and grilled tofu, a mixture of julienned vegetables...red bell pepper, carrots, scallions, daikon, cucumber, cilantro and pea shoots.  These vegetables were first julienned, put in a bowl,  then mixed with a lime marinade.The marinade consists of lime juice, liquid aminos(coconut aminos, soy sauce or tamari), ginger, agave, sesame oil. 
These are served with a side of peanut sauce.  In a blender add organic peanut butter, ginger, garlic, braggs liquid aminos,  cilantro, red onion, lime juice, sesame oil, a dash of sriracha hot sauce and water to thin out.   With the leftover sauce you can use on noodles and such.

Have you made spring rolls before?  If so what do you like to put in them?\

Enjoy your sunny day!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Cuckoo for Coconuts!

This is going to be a short post due to laptop issues.  We are going to be sending it in for repairs.  Errrhhh!

I've been whipping up some tasty coconut treats lately.

                                 Coconut Macademia Cookies dipped in Semi-Sweet Chocolate


Preheat oven to 350.

Step 1) Beat together until fluffy-
1/2 C. Earth Balance
3/4 C. Powdered Sugar
Step.2) Next beat in-
1 Egg replacer(I use Ener-G and follow directions on box for equivalent for 1 egg)
11/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract  (coconut extract would be a nice addition to these if you have it)
2 T. coconut milk or non-dairy milk(don't use a low-fat milk)
Step 3) Mix in sifted
1 3/4 Spelt flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
Step 4) Stir in
1 C. Shredded Coconut
1/4 C. choped Macademia Nuts

For dipping cookies into chocolate melt about 1/2 C. semi sweet chips

Use a small scooper or a tablespoon drop onto cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-11min.
To make sure the cookies are done, the bottoms should be slightly brown but not the tops.
Cool on cooling rack before dipping in chocolate.

These would be great with white chocolate mixed into the batter .

Coconut Lime Cupcakes from VCTOTW.
  Coconut milk just makes everything so much more moist.  These were so delicious!

What are some of your coconut treats?

My computer almost froze up on me.  I'll be back next week, hopefully.

Monday, May 30, 2011

GF-Strawberry Muffins and GF-Spinach Pasta w/grilled Artichokes

It's a beautiful day today and also one to thank all those vets who have served our country  and those men and women that are still doing so today.  Most of us know someone who has put their lives on the line.  My husband's second cousin who is 23yrs old who just finished up Army boot camp is on his way to Afghanistan.  We are thinking of him today and hoping he stays out of harms way.   While I have my own feelings on war I will not get into that.

Now I'll move on to the food!  How does GF-Strawberry Muffins sound?
This is pre-baked, obviously. I like to use the Vanilla Gluten Freedom Cupcakes from VCTOW...
but with some changes.

I originally was going to frost these but they turned out more like a muffin...or so I thought.  These would make a great breakfast muffin.  These came out really light and airy.
The changes I made were...
eliminating the almond extract/decreased the sugar to 1/2 c.
1/3 C. millet flour instead of corn flour
1/2 C. sorghum flour instead of quinoa flour
1 C. chopped fresh strawberries added at the end....fold in gently until well combined.

Next up...dinner.
Spinach Pasta with Cilantro Pesto and Grilled Artichokes

This recipe was taken from Veganomicon but I used GF-spinach pasta and I used fresh artichokes. Since artichokes are now in season I used them and then grilling them really made the dish more fresh tasting.  The cilantro pesto that has basil in it is really nice too.  This also tastes good cold the next day.

Are there any other ways you all use fresh artichokes?  Anyone have a vegan stuffed artichoke recipe?  I'm trying to come up with one.

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Farmers Market Goodies

Farmers market is starting to have an abundance of spring veggies and fruits.  Also beautiful flowers!  I can't help myself, I just can't pass up the gerbera daisies, so many colors to choose from!  What are some of the things you can't pass up at the Farmers Market
and more....
Fava beans anyone?  My goal is to try things I've never tried before and the fava bean is one of them.
With all of the recipes I've seen using fava beans I decided to grill them. First I washed, dried and put them in a bowl.  I drizzled some olive oil, coarse salt, pepper, cilantro and a squeeze of lemon.  It doesn't take long to grill them about 6 or 7 minutes, flipping them once as they grill..  What was the verdict on tasting the finished product?  Not bad, not my favorite, but not bad.  They remind me of lima beans, which I don't like and never have, but better.  I don't know if I'll buy them again but I would eat them if someone had them.
Butter Romaine lettuce that looks like a flower when I opened it to drain the water out.  This has such a nice flavor.
Pea shoots and dried garbanzo beans are also finds at the market.
Chopped up romaine, tomatoes, green onion, bok choy, garbanzos, pea shoots with ginger miso dressing drizzled on top! 

More goodness to come!