Monday, December 31, 2012

Ciao 2012!

It's almost the end of one year and the beginning of a new one!
Crazy how time goes by so fast.
I thought I would sit down for a few while I'm waiting for a batch of Brutti Ma Buoni(ugly but good) cookies that are baking. I used to love these pre vegan days and I am so excited that I found a way to make them vegan.
A bit of a reflection thinking back at the things good and not so good that have happened this year.
One huge highlight, for me anyways, was eating at The Millennium Restaurant in San Francisco.  It was one of the most delicious meals I've had and spending those few days together away with family were great!
One thing I've worked on this past year was how I deal with stress.  I've realized that stress doesn't do anyone any good so when my husband lost his job I tried to keep as positive as I could and I do believe it helped.  Putting out good thoughts, visions or vibes for good things to happen I believe does work.  This next year I will continue to work on positive thinking and being happy.
I have a good feeling about this coming year. 
Tonight we will be celebrating New Years Eve at home along with another family. 
I hope you all have a very safe and happy New Years!
See you soon! 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas! Homemade gifts

Hi everyone. 
I'd like to wish you all a Merry Christmas.
Remember to enjoy your time with family and friends because that's what this time of year is truly about. 
Our tree this year.  We always buy a Grand Fir because it smells amazing!!!
Tamales for Christmas.  Red Chile Seitan, Sweet Potato Black Bean and a Red Chile Tofu(instead of seitain).  The recipes are taken from Viva Vegan.  These are a bit time consuming to make but who wouldn't want a homemade tamale!
Personally I think there is nothing more sweet than homemade gifts made with love and from the heart.  Vegan baked goods are always great to give out not only because most everyone enjoys a great tasty treat but they can also see and taste how delicious vegan goods taste.  These cookies above are Russian Tea Cakes recipe from Manifest Vegan.  These are gluten free but you couldn't tell.
There were a few changes I made to the recipe.  I used flaxseed instead of xanthum gum and pecans instead of almonds.
Caramels. I make these only one time a year because they are time consuming especially the cutting and wrapping part but everyone loves them!
One of my girlfriends made me this delicious granola and put it in this cool vintage mason jar.  I have a love for jars.  Two of my  favorite things!
This paper wreath is made from old music sheets.  Cute right?  Pretty easy to make just takes a little time or a lot of time like it did me because I was watching one of my all time favorite movies Summertime with Katherine Hepburn and Rossano Brazzi.  I've been waiting for that movie to come back on and what a great early Christmas present.  Oh and then Christmas in Connecticut with Barbara Stanwyck was on too! I'm a classic movie junkie. I grew up watching them and I just love how intense the acting is.  Okay I'm losing track but you all have your favorites too right?  You can make these different sizes.  How cute to add a small one to a package.
I save wine corks and I'm always looking for things to make using them.  I've made cork coasters that I gave out last year.  This year ornaments! 
Give as a set or adorn on a package.
May you all have a safe Christmas Eve and a very Merry Christmas.
Peace and light to you all.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.
Enjoy your time today with your families.
There is a beautiful quote that I would like to share with you.
"To all who act on your compassion: may it rebound on you tenfold. To all whose compassion is yet masked by the husk of tradition: may your heart be unhindered and your eyes be unblocked. To all the anonymous victims of our appetites: may your cries be the alarm that wakes us up. Your liberation lies in our awakening."
-Colleen Patrick Goudreau
There are so many things I have to be thankful for and one of them is ....
Pass it on.....

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Celebrate Thanksgiving with compassion and GF Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

It's that time of year again when our kitchens are smelling of cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin!
So comforting and warm these smells are.

Yesterday I made an attempt to make a Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread that I added some chocolate chips to.  The end result was fabulous!

Keaton came home from school and had a piece. He said he didn't know it was gluten free.
I must admit that the texture is really light and moist without the any grainy texture that you can
find a lot with gluten free baked goods due to some of the flours used.

Before I post a recipe I'll need to make this again to fine tune the measurements.

Well Thanksgiving is just next week and some of us are still trying to figure out what we are making.
We are going to my in-laws house so it won't be an all vegan meal.  Maybe one day.
Here is a wonderful video by Colleen Patrick-Gourdreau that talks about celebrating a compassionate Thanksgiving.  She has such a way with words. This is a great video to share with family and friends.

Let's make new traditions...ones that do no harm. With this in mind how about serving up some amazing vegan food to share with our family and friends who aren't vegan. What will you be serving?  I think I may be serving up a mushroom stuffed puff pastry along with Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Arugula or roasted root veggies with a rich sauce.  I might make Pumpkin Cheesecake too.   Some other suggestions are Black Bean Sweet Potato Enchiladas or Roasted Root Enchiladas w/Cashew Cream Sauce(this is my favorite).  The list goes on with Butternut Squash Risotto to
Butternut Squash Lasagna(used non dairy milk instead)which I may save this for Christmas.

Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

GF Spice Donuts and update

Happy Saturday!  Good news for us.....Dave starts his new job on Monday!!!!  What a relief.  We are pretty lucky he was only out of work for less than 3 weeks.  Being that I'm not working we are very happy! 
I was on the lookout for a baked gf vegan donut recipe and found a very tasty one.
Look at the cake like texture.
The recipe is found on Epicurious and is a Plain Cake Donut from Babycakes cookbook by Erin McKenna.
Just click on the Plain Cake Donut link above and it will take you to the recipe.  I did make a couple of adjustments.  I don't like using garbanzo flour in my baking so I subbed it out for sorghum flour and added a dash of nutmeg and about 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon to bring more of a fall flavor to the donut.  These taste the best eaten the same day but will keep for at least 2 days in a plastic container or bag. 
Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

And the winners are?!!!!

It's finally feeling like Autumn!  Yes!
This has been a bit of a delayed post being that the giveaway for The Raw Food Diet e-book giveaway, written by Hilary Greenleaf,  ended a couple of weeks ago but there has been a bit of an upset in our lives.   My husband lost his job.  He wasn't the most happy where he was but it's always easier when your the one to say goodbye and have another job ready to go to.  Anyways, we are trying to keep a positive outlook on things.  The love and support we are getting and the people who are looking out for Dave has been wonderful!  He's already had a couple of interviews and we know he will be back to work in no time.  As we are dealing with this and seeing all of the people who have called and are concerned for us I realize something.  With so many people, friends included, that have lost their jobs and are struggling,  these things have brought all of us closer together. Friends and family are what help us pull through these hard times.  That along with the necessity of staying as positive as possible.  I'll keep you posted on the job!
Now let's get to the winners of the giveaway.  Congrats to these ladies!!!!
Mandee @ Cupcake Kitteh
LittleMonsttersx14 @ Simple. Easy. Vegetarian.
Next up....Vegan Eating in San Francisco!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Gluten Free Lemon Bars/GF Homemade Bread and a Raw Food Diet e-booklet GIVEAWAY!

I just realized how long it's been since my last blog.  Yikes! 
I missed signing up for Vegan MOFO which I really wanted to do to get my butt into blogging more consistently.  My dog Ace is having health issues and I wasn't focused last week because of it. That's when I noticed I just missed the cutoff to sign up. Regarding my Ace dog?  It seems he may have been bitten by a tick from who knows when that has now caused an auto-immune disorder.   His blood platelets were so low when I rushed him into the vet, his mouth and penis were bleeding along with a bunch of bruising that just happened so quickly. He even started bleeding a bit in his eyes. Talk about being FREAKED OUT!!!  He probably will have to be on prednisone for the rest of his life and no more vaccinations for this doggy.  He started having some issues last spring which we treated and then symptoms started coming back so we treated him again in the summer.  Then boom it came back full force this time.  I'll be taking him in for blood work check ups to make sure he continues to make new blood platelets and that the meds are working for him.  This leads me to a question.  Do you know or are you using any type of product to help build your dogs immune system?  I'm thinking if I can help build his immune system up the lower dosage of prednisone he would need.

Shall we move on to some good stuff!

Gluten Free Lemon Bars

I was inspired to make these bars because my son loves lemon bars and the ones he brought back
home from his visit with his grand parents weren't gluten free although they were vegan and amazing!  The lemon filling is taken from Veganomicon and the crust I made up and you can't even tell it was gluten free.  I have to make them one more time and write down the measurements before I can post.
This is my fifth attempt at making a home made gluten free vegan bread.  The first two times I used a gf bread mix and the other 2 from other recipes online.  They were heavy, rock hard and/or raw inside. This one has turned out all 3 times so it's a keeper and it's really good!  My son was very proud of me for having a success with this.  The recipe is from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen. 
As you can see it's makes great toast too!  I left it in a little too long...ooops!
It freezes really well too if you want to make a couple of loaves and freeze one or half of one if you aren't going to eat some everyday. 
The New Raw Food Diet: Going Raw The Fun and Easy Way 
The weather is changing and it's starting to get cooler(finally)so you may be wanting to consume warmer foods but it's still good to keep eating those raw foods.  I was contacted by Hilary Greenleaf who is an author, educator and nutritionist to give away 2 Raw Food Diet e-booklets!  This a great introductory booklet to get you started into eating raw foods from kitchen tools, stocking your pantry to easy recipes.  It's easy to read and understand.  To win this fabulous e-book leave a comment below on your favorite raw food/meal by 10/10.
Happy winning!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

How gluten/wheat affected my son and some of our favorite gf foods

Hello everyone!  Hope you all have been having a good summer so far.  The heat has been kicking in out here in California.  How is it in your area of the world?

I've been packing for our move in 2 weeks which isn't something I would like to be doing. The house we are in was put up for sale, which is a bummer because we're pretty comfortable here.  Luckily we found a new house rather quickly and it's actually closer in town.

On another note a while back my son Keaton was having ear problems for about 1 1/2 years, constant ear pain and ear pressure along with bouts of fluid in his ears.  His ear problems actually started around age 5 then as he got older they were becoming more frequent along with ear infections and then about 1 1/2 years ago it got really bad with the issues I mentioned above.  He had allergy tests which came up with nothing, although she didn't do a food allergy test.  His pediatrician and the E.N.T. Dr. said the only option left would be to put tubes in his ears.  Ear tubes at the age of 14, I don't think so.  I decided to try another doctor and I found a osteopathic doctor who said he didn't need tubes and a Naturopath which helped us start to build up his immune system and hat we should get him off gluten because he has had stomach issues for quite a few years as well.   Keaton and I had a suspicion  he was sensitive to wheat because of his stomach pain but he wasn't consistent with eliminating it all together.  As I was doing research on wheat/gluten intolerance I found that it does cause damage to the immune system and can cause ear pressure/infections.  I discussed this info. with Keaton and he agreed to do anything to stop the pain.  It's been almost 2 months now and how is he doing?  He is ear and stomach pain free!!!!  He just got a physical and the doctor said his ears look great! 

This is where I have to stock up on gluten free foods for the kid.  The first thing to buy would be a great tasting gf vegan bread that I can locally, yet there are only the heavy rice bread options.  Blah! The best tasting gf vegan bread I've found so far is Sami's Bakery(I've mentioned in an older post) located in Florida!  Seriously it's the best tasting bread and now they have burger buns and bagels.  Oh yah and also wraps!  The bummer about ordering from here is that if you want 2 day delivery it's very expensive so I get the standard delivery which from the time of order to arrival can take a good week so I order extra and freeze it.  Check out the bun below which has a Dr. Praeger's Veg. Patty in between. Keaton raves about these buns and says they are better than any non gf bun he's ever eaten. I have to agree with him these buns taste amazing!

Sami's Bakery Burger Buns
I did recently find another bakery which is actually located out here in California that is now making gf vegan breads and I am hoping they taste just as good.  My son will be trying it out for the first time while he is visiting his grandparents.  We'll let you know more about it when he gets back.
As far as finding other gf foods, there are so many more options out there nowadays, some are good some not so good.   Pastas: our favorite is Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta it holds it's shape and also does well reheated up. As far as a rice pasta we like Jovial Brown Rice Pasta which has a great texture but is a bit pricier but worth it.  Gf vegan burgers: Sunshine Burgers, Dr. Praeger's and there is a new one we tried from Health is Wealth Sprouted Grain Burgers that tastes really good although it might not look it would.  They do contain soy but there was only 2 boxes left on the shelf so I figured it had to taste good.  Oh and check out this find...

Helen's Kitchen Organic Veggie Ground
I noticed this new product next to the other veggie ground products so I picked it up and noticed it was gf and vegan so I snagged a package to try.   I decided to use it as a taco filling so upon opening it up that it was very moist but this did cook out the longer I cooked it.  It has a really nice flavor without adding any seasoning but I used it to make taco's so I added taco seasoning to it.  I was pleasantly surprised with this product and highly recommend it to anyone who has been wanting to use crumbles but can't do to being gluten free.
So this is just some of our favorite products that I buy the rest I make.

Speaking of things I make.   I recently made the best gf pie crust that turned out fabulous as well as the pizza crust from Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats by Allyson Kramer which I won over at Happy Vegan Face...thanks Jessy I'm loving the new cookbook!  The pizza crust also has a great taste as well.

Gf Vegan Peach Scone from our local health food store

What are some of your favorite gf products/foods?
Next post will be a raw e-book giveaway!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Simple Marinated Farm Fresh Tomatoes & My Two Furry Love Bugs Birthdays.

Just when I have it in my mind to blog more it doesn't happen.  My son did something to our laptop and I just figured out where my pictures were downloading too.  Now I can share!
I hope your summer has been great so far.

It's that time of year again to celebrate the birthdays of our Merlin kitty(17) and Ace dog(3).

Now for some simple marinated tomatoes that might not even make it onto your pasta because it is so delicious.

Last year I made this recipe and the key is too use heirloom, home grown or farm fresh tomatoes which are sweeter than grocery store tomatoes.  If you only have access to grocery store tomatoes you can still make this it just won't be as flavorful as farm or homegrown.  I didn't have capers on hand and it still came really good but I do love the addition of capers.

Martha Stewart Living Magazine
adapted by  dreaminitvegan


  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds heirloom tomatoes or homegrown/farm fresh, sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 3/4 cup torn fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons salt-packed capers, preferably Sicilian, rinsed (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Heat garlic in oil in a saucepan over low heat until pale gold, about 10 minutes. Reserve oil and garlic. Let cool room temp.
  2. Combine tomatoes, 1/4 cup basil, the capers, lemon zest, red-pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Pour garlic oil and chips over tomato mixture. Marinate, covered, tossing occasionally, for 30 minutes or more.(I let it marinate a couple of hours)
  3. If using on pasta you would add warm pasta to bowl, and toss gently. Top with remaining 1/2 cup basil. Season with pepper. Sprinkle with lemon zest.
Note* you can make this ahead if you are having company that day.  You can also spoon this on a nice baguette as an appetizer.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Grilling plant foods and Farmers Market

It's the second day of Summer.  Happy Summer everyone!
Yesterday was so beautiful and the Farmers Market was over flowing with beautiful colors and smells.  Happily sampling fruits and pistachios as my friend and I walked amongst the tents of organic goods.  Before we left we hung out and watched my friend's band play.  Good times.
These are local beans from a couple of towns over.  The middle bag are yellow beans which are recommended for Chili.  Since these are local they are fresher which means the cooking time is less.  They turned out to have a nice mellow flavor.  I used them below...
Grilled Vegetable Nachos
Father's Day grilling.  The above is grilled seitan marinated in a chimichurri sauce. The seitan recipe I use for grilling is taken from Veganomicon.  This is one of my husband's favorite meals.  I haven't made it since last year so he was happily surprised with dinner.
 Local artichokes that were steamed then drizzled with olive oil, garlic, lemon and sea salt then put on the grill.  Local corn too.

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms that I grill as well.  Our local health food store had these HUGE  organic Portobello Mushrooms. One of them fed the 3 of us.  We noticed that these Portobello's were really light and airy compared to all of the other ones we have eaten. 

After visiting the Farmers Market I always realize just how lucky we are too have all of this fresh food available to us.  I definitely am so thankful for this!

Getting back to grilling.  This is a great meal to serve to someone who is trying to switch to a plant based diet.  The texture of the seitan and the flavor of the Portobello satisfies everyone's tastes. 
On another note it is my husband's first day of juicing.  Yep he had his first green juice this morning.   He is going to try to follow the Crazy Sexy Diet plan with my help, well with my preparation. ha! 
I'll share my new juicer I bought a couple of months ago next time.

Be thankful for what you have and smile!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Raw Ranch Dressing

Hi everyone!!!  Summer vacation has started for everyone.  How are you enjoying yours?
  My son graduated from the 8th grade last week which was bittersweet.  He has matured and grown so much over the last 3 years of middle school.  Crazy how time flies.  Those of you with kids know and you with little ones enjoy every moment because the next thing you know that are grown.  Okay enough of that.
Let's get onto some yummy stuff.

I've noticed that some of you stumble upon great finds at Costco well the last time I was there I found a bag of

 Raw Hemp Hearts from Manitoba 1.8lbs for $14.99!   These taste really good too. Some of my other buys are organic rice milk, organic coffee, organic spinach, pesticide free blueberries, garlic and organic corn chips and gluten free chips. What are some things you buy at Costco?
We've been eating a lot more salads lately and it's nice to change the dressings up according to the type of salad.  I usually make us an easy vinegar/olive oil or lemon/olive oil with salt and pepper but a creamy dressing once in a while is nice.  There is a nice Raw Caesar Dressing I make but I was looking for a Raw Ranch and found one. The first time I made this recipe I followed the recipe exactly and it was a little too vinegary for my taste but some may like that.  The changes I made on my second try were to only use maybe 2 T. of cider vinegar and more lemon juice.  I also only used 1 T. raw agave.  You can play with this recipe by adding more herbs too. 
Ranch Dressing/Dip
Posted by Snowdrop on Raw Freedom Community

  Number of Servings: 24 (or 3 cups)
1 1/2 cups nuts (cashew or mac or combo) soak them for a creamier dressing (1-2 hrs is fine, then drain)
3/4 - 1 cup filtered water for blending
3 tablespoons lemon juice (translates into approx 1/2 lemon)
1/3 cup cider vinegar
 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons agave (or 3 soaked dates)
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon garlic pwd
3 teaspoons onion pwd
1 teaspoon dill
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon basil
And to add after it's done:
1/4 cup finely minced parsley
another 1/2 t dill, minced

 In blender or food processor blend all ingredients till creamy and smooth except the last 2, then once blended, stir in the last 2 ingredients.

Thickens in fridge.
Thin to desired consistency if using as a dressing- or toss into wet lettuce leaves as is

Carmella's Notes:
~ This yields quite a bit of dressing, so you might want to consider halving the recipe.
~ Last time I made this, I completely forgot to put the dates in and it was still outstanding.

The raw ranch dressing was used on a green salad with crumbled mushroom pecan burgers I made.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend! 
I'll be back on here sooner than later!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Hello Sunshine! Hello GF Pasta Alfredo!

It's a beautful day out I hope everyone is enjoying it!

Here is a new photo of our California Poppys and Sweet Peas in our backyard. The poppys just recede and grow wild while the sweet peas I have planted years ago and keep coming up year after year.  I love sweetpeas, they smell so good!  What is your favorite spring flower?
Before I head back outside a quick post about a yummy GF pasta dish I made recently.
This recipe is taken from Chloe's Kitchen by Chloe Chloe Coscarelli, Fettucine Alfredo w/Shitake Mushrooms, Kale and Sun-dried Tomatoes.  The sauce is a base of homemade almond milk that is so easy to make.  You suppose you could try to use use storebought almond milk.  If you do let me know how it worked.  The recipe is below and the only I subbed is using the gf pasta, and I had baby bella mushrooms because I had them in the fridge.

Fettuccine Alfredo with Shiitake Mushrooms, Kale, and Sun-dried Tomatoes

From Chloe's Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli
•1 pound fettuccine noodles
•2 tablespoons olive oil
•Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
•1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
•6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
•6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped

•Almond Alfredo Sauce, recipe follows

•1/4 bunch freshly parsley, leaves picked and roughly chopped

•1 cup raw almonds
•4 cups water, plus 2 cups water
•1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
•2 tablespoons olive oil
•Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
•3 cloves garlic, minced
•1 teaspoon mellow white miso paste

Cook the fettuccine according to the package directions.

In a large skillet, saute mushrooms in olive oil over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper and cook until they are soft and lightly browned.

Blanch and shock the kale so that it stays bright green. To do this, add the chopped kale into a pot of boiling salted water and stir for 15 seconds. Immediately drain and plunge the kale into ice water. Let it chill, then drain again.

Toss the fettuccine with the mushrooms, kale, sun-dried tomatoes, and Almond Alfredo Sauce. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve hot.

For Almond Alfredo Sauce:
Heat about 4 cups water in a medium saucepot until boiling. Add the almonds to the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the almonds, and with your fingers, peel the almonds and discard the skins.

In a large skillet, saute the onions with oil, salt, and pepper until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and let cook a few more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Blend the skinless boiled almonds with 2 cups water until smooth, then strain through a colander lined with cheesecloth (a paper towel also works) set over a bowl or use a fine mesh sieve. Discard the solids. Return the almond milk to the blender and process with the onion mixture and miso. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Before use, heat the sauce over a very low flame until hot.

Until next time take time to stop and smell the flowers!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Celebrate it's Earth Day! Strawberry Chocolate Scones & Beetballs

Happy Earth Day! 
 Remember to celebrate our earth every day because we only have one.

Beetballs!  Can you get more earthy than this?
These incredible beetballs were found at Fat Free Vegan where you can find the recipe.
You don't have to be a beet lover to like these.  I was hesitant to try this recipe but once I added all of the   spices....I was shocked at how good these were.  I served them up with pasta and marinara. The next day they were added to a wrap.

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Scones.
These are as delicious as they look.
I wish I could take credit for the scone recipe because it is so good but I can't.  I found it last year on line on a blog called Vegan Bicyclinguist.  The scones are moist, unlike most scones, which make these so much better.  It's a great basic scone recipe to use and then you can change up what you would like to add to it.  I used spelt and then I left out the lemon zest for this recipe.

Enjoy the rest of this beautiful day!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Potato Leek Spinach Soup and a new GF Snack!

We've had so many issues with this laptop.  We need to send it in again for repair.  While it is somewhat working here we go!
            Happy Friday the 13th!
We woke up early this morning with very loud thunder and lots of lightening.  Our Ace dog came running in and jumped on our bed.  He's a big baby.  It's not even going to reach 60degrees out and it's April!  Oh well we need all the rain we can get.
There was a new GF snack on sale at our health food store so I thought we would give it a try.
Have any of you seen or tried Bhuja snack mixes before?  They are gluten free. These are quite good and have a multi grain noodles, crunchy chickpeas, green peas and peanuts in them.  I just wish the sodium was a bit lower but I can see these sprinkled on a salad or even mixed in with other gf crackers and pretzels.  These would be great to have out at a party.  Looking forward to trying some of the other mixes.
During a break in the rain on Wednesday I hit up the Farmers Market with a friend and bought some beautiful leeks and spinach to make this yummy Potato Leek Spinach Soup.  I don't usually make pureed soups but I've had pototo leek soup on my mind and I thought it would be nice to make it a bit healthier with some spinach.  Talk about an easy soup to make!  It can also be left chunky and just add the spinach at the end.

Potato Leek Spinach Soup
serves 4

1 T. extra virgin olive oil or water/vegetable broth
3 leeks, white and light green parts washed and sliced
1 large yellow onion(1 1/2 C.), chopped
4 cloves garlic,finely chopped or minced
3 large Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and cubed
5 cups vegetable stock
2 C. fresh spinach
1-2 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced
sea salt to taste

1. Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the oil or water/vegetable broth.

2. Add the leeks and onion.  I like to cover the pot with a lid for about 5-10min. which helps the onions soften quicker and also helps so the onions don't stick if only using water/broth.  Just check every couple of minutes and stir.

3. Add the garlic and stir well. Cook for 1 minute more.

4. Add the potatoes and vegetable stock, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

5.  Add in the rosemary and spinach for about a minute.

5. Remove the soup from the heat and use an immersion blender or if using a blender add a cup or so at a time. Blend until smooth.  Pour smooth soup back into the pot until just heated through.

The rosemary adds such a nice flavor to this soup.

Serve with grilled vegan cheese sandwich or baguette.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Weekend wrap up!

Happy Monday!

It was a cozy weekend inside due to the cold weather, rain and hail.  Oh and there is snow on our mountains!  It's about time.

Keaton had a friend sleepover and instead of making pancakes for breakfast as usual I made them some coffee cake, fresh cut pineapple and cocoa.

The coffee cake is from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick Goudreau.  I used a small 6 inch springform pan.
St. Patricks Day Dinner this year was
Irish Stew.

Irish Stew
- 1T. Olive Oil
- 1 1/2 C. yellow or white onion,chopped
-  4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
-  1 8oz. pkg West Soy Seitan*
- 1 T. cornstarch
- 1 12 oz. lager
- 1/2 C. red wine
- 4 lg carrots, chopped
- 5 yukon gold potatoes, chopped
- 1 T.thyme
- 1tsp fresh sage finely chopped or 1tsp dried.
- 2 bay leaves
-1 tsp. steak seasoning(this was in our pantry and I think added a nice flavor)
-2 tsp. vegan worcestershire sauce
-1 cube of low sodium vegetable bouillon or 2 C. veg broth

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onions once soft add garlic for 1 more min. Add seitan and fry until it starts to brown.  Next sprinkle 1T. cornstarch and incorporate in.

2. Add lager and wine to the pot and cook uncovered, until liquid reduces a bit.

3. Add carrots, potatoes, spices, worcestershire sauce, 1 cube veggie bouillon(vegetable broth) and enough water to almost cover everything. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to bubbling, cover, and simmer for at least 45mins, until veggies are soft. 

*Great Northern or cannelini beans would be a great replacement for the seitan as well as tempeh.  I didn't care much for the West Soy Seitan and would rather of used my own.

Irish Soda Bread which is so easy and quick to make.  It actually turned out great!  My son even said to me "you  made this?"  I guess he thought I had bought it.
*Just a quick note about the recipe.  I actually cut the recipe in half and only used spelt flour. 

Irish Soda Bread
Recipe by Vegan Dad (check out his blog)


 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
 1 tsp salt
 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
 2 tsp cream of tartar
 1 tsp sugar
 2 tbsp margarine
 1 1/2 cups soy milk
 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

1. Whisk flours, salt, baking soda, cream of tartar, and sugar together. Rub margarine into the flour until it resembles coarse bread crumbs. In a separate bowl, whisk soy milk and lemon juice together. Add to dry ingredients and mix together into a soft dough.

2. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead until smooth. Shape into a circle about 2 inches thick. Dust with extra flour and transfer to the baking sheet. Mark a cross in the top with the handle of a wooden spoon.

3. Bake for 40 mins, or until risen and firm.

Blog to you soon!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Creme Brulee #1

Howdy everyone! I've been slacking on my blogging...but no more of that!  As long as my computer doesn't act up like it has the last couple times I've tried to blog.  errrr!

My first organic chard grown in a big terra cotta pot!

 I'm on a quest to find the perfect vegan creme brulee recipe with the help/input of my husband Dave. He loves creme brulee where as I've never  I was given the ramekins and torch as a Christmas gift from my son.  I guess he was trying to tell me something because I've been saying I was going to be  doing this for quite sometime.

So recipe #1 was found at Vegan Good Eats

Sugar is sprinkled on top of the custard.
Then the chef's torch comes out!  We all had turns using the torch.  It was fun.

The verdict according to Dave.  While this tasted good it didn't taste like creme brulee.  From what he is saying it sounds like Creme Brulee is more custard(egg)like, a bit thicker and with vanilla bean.  We kind of thought it tasted like flan but way better.   
Onto the next recipe!

Enjoy your night!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Breaking news.....

My friend Bob is on the road to recovery, thankfully.   I've passed along some info. for him regarding eating a plant based diet and heart disease.  I do hope he looks into it for him and his family.

I wanted to share with you my first attempt at making Creme Brulee but something came up this morning that I felt I needed to share.

This morning opening up facebook I see a post from an old friend saying he had a heart attack.  Tomorrow he is having open heart surgery, he's 43yrs old.  He has a wife and a young son.  In the first post he says
" People, take my example and try to be healthy early on. It'll come back to bite you if you don't."  I think that says it all.

This is a tragic story that just shouldn't be happening to anyone.  It breaks my heart because heart disease is affecting more and more younger people.   I can't imagine how Bob's wife feels. My reaction when I read this post...I cried.  It made me think about the close family members and friends that I see who aren't taking care of themselves.  Some have heard or read or have seen movies on how choosing the right foods to eat has a huge impact on our health yet they go about eating as usual. It's stories such as Bob's that I want to pass along to others so they can take a look at what they are doing to themselves and the effect that has on their family. 

Take your health into your own hands right now!  Here are some movies and books to check out:
Forks Over Knives, Food Matters, Dr. Joel Fuhrman "Eat to Live", Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease,
Dr. T. Colin Campbell.  These websites will  link you to many other books, movies and info. about how to make better food choices to be healthy. 

"Let food be thy medicine and let thy medicine be food" - Hippocrates

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Flax Milk?

This post has a bit of this and that. 
 I'll start off with the other day when I was visiting another blog, Vegan Crunk, she did a review on Good Karma Flax Milk.  I couldn't wait to try it.  That afternoon I went down to our local health food store and low and behold....
Good Karma Flax Milk was sitting right there along with the other non-dairy milks. 
Does this taste like flax?  At first sip it doesn't have much flavor but then you get a very suble taste of flax, very subtle.  It has more flavor than rice milk, just thought I'd mention that.  There is 1200mg of Omega-3 per serving.  Thats huge!
Another great non-dairy milk to add to our rotation.

For lunch yesterday I had a chopped romaine salad, with tomatoes, brocolli, carrots, radish, green onion, sesame seeds and a  homemade ginger dressing.  This is a great dressing and tastes like the one they use at a Japenese restaurant.  I filled 1/2 C. with 1/3 of canola oil and the rest water.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Hazelnuts and Arugula

My mother in law had a recipe that I made for Thanksgiving(I know it's January).  I'm not sure where she got the recipe from but it turned out great!  I love the addition of the hazelnuts.  I can't wait to have company over to make it again and it looks so pretty. 

Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Hazelnuts and Arugula

3 or 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges(I used white and orange sweet potatoes)
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1/2tsp salt or to taste
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 C. hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
2 C. arugula
balsamic syrup(thick balsamic) -the recipe called for 2-3 T. apple cider vinegar

Heat oven to 400F.  Peel and cut potato wedges then put onto baking sheet and toss with olive oil and salt.
Roast for about 20 min., then turn over and roast for 20 more minutes or so until golden brown.  Open  oven and mix in the chopped garlic and hazelnuts.  Roast for another 5min.

Take out of oven, plate in on a serving plate and top with arugula and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.