Tons of Vegan Goodness

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hippie Love Garden

Oh I am in heaven, not only is it summer, but we have been spending all of our free time outside in our garden. This is my first year trying to grow anything but basil, and I didn't come into it without lots of doubt. Our yard used to be covered in rocks, and I had no idea what I was doing... Yet, I have been happily proved wrong! We are growing raspberries, chard, lots of kale, tomatoes, peppers, brocolli, parley, basil, cauliflower, zuccini, cucumbers, peas, beans, and and and can you tell I'm excited?! We also have a little pumpkin patch for our daughter, and about a million watermelons. We had our first harvest last night of some kale, chard, basil and parsley, and it was pretty much the best feeling ever to watch my toddler eat the kale raw....shes hardcore....

Well just like a proud momma I had to take some pictures, I think Taj and I are a little too excited about this garden, seeing as it consumes most of our conversations...I mean the idea of growing food isn't exactly a new thing. But, something must be said for growing it yourself, its a magical experience! For those of you without a yard, try a window box, or container gardening. You could probably still start one for this season, putting basil, kale or chard in it...those have grown fast for me!

Now what to do with all these vegetables.......

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Creamy Cashew, Mushroom, Kale Pasta

Yum, theres something about pasta that always leaves me feeling good and satisfied! This pasta includes a sauce that is a little on the creamy side and a little on the pesto-ey side, altogether decadent, while still keeping its health in mind.

Cashew, Mushroom, Kale pasta ingredients

1 package/ or equal amount of pasta noodles
3/4 a cup cashews, (raw would be best)
1 bunch kale, in pieces, without the inner stem
1 cup fresh basil
1/2 to 1 cup non-dairy milk, (rice, soy, oat, or veggie broth or water)
3/4 cup oil (olive for me)
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
onion powder
salt and pepper to taste

Bring water to boil in medium pot, add pasta noodles, cook, strain, and set aside.
Saute galic in 1/4 cup oil, over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 mintues, add chopped kale and cook for several more minutes, (until kale turns bright green)
Remove from heat, set mushrooms aside. Remove cooked kale. Add cashews to blender with nondairy milk/liquid and remaining oil, blend until its as smooth as you can get it. Add cooked kale to blender along with the remaining ingredients, (except mushrooms and pasta!.) Blend sauce, and add it and mushrooms to the pasta pot, heat throughly...and be satisfied!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hula Pie

Yum Hula Pie! One of my past favorite desserts while waitressing in Hawaii! Different restaurants had different versions, however the base of this amazing pie is ice cream, a cookie crust, and macadamia nuts.....Its shape resembles a mountain, and while it takes a teeny bit of patience to construct such a top, making this delicious pie is very laid back.....just like the islands.

Feel free to alter the vegan ice cream/frozen banana ratio, the frozen bananas make everything just a little bit healthier, but are not necessary. I either make my own vegan ice cream in my ice cream maker, (thanks Dad!,) or buy the Trader Joe's organic soy ice cream, (less than $4, and yummy.)

Ingredients:(for everything below)
1 quart nondairy ice cream
4 cups chopped, frozen bananas
3 cups chopped macadamia nuts
10 or so cookies (your choice, for crust base)
1.5 cups chocolate chips (semi sweet)
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup agave or maple syrup
1/2 teas vanilla/or almond/or coconut extract

To assemble....Place prepared crust ingredients and pack into a pie tin. Next, take softened ice cream ingredients and put in crust, smoothing everything over with a rubber spatula. Attempt to make a "mountain" shape by adding the most ice cream to the center, while continuously smoothing. The pie may have to harden up a little if ice cream gets too melty, place pie in freezer for 15 minutes, (covered in plastic wrap to prevent drips.) Continue to add ice cream to middle of the pie to build a big, rounded mound. Place pie wrapped in plastic wrap in freezer to harden for at least 30 minutes before serving. Immediately before serving add the coconut-chocolate sauce and the toasted coconut, chocolate covered mac nuts. Extra toasted coconut and chopped mac nuts can be added as well.

This pie looks just as good as it tastes. You're so welcome!

Ice cream part...

*1 quart non-dairy ice cream,( softened enough to spread around smoothly but not melting all over the place.)

*4 cups chopped frozen bananas

*1 cup chopped macadamia nuts

Mix everything in food processor or blender.

Cookie Crust....

*about 10 cookies, (your choice, oreo-type are good, I used a homemade chocolate-chocolate chip.)

*1/2 cup agave/or maple syrup

Mix everything in a food processor, or mash up cookies in a bowl and hand mix.

Toasted Coconut/Chocolate covered Mac Nuts.....

*2 cups macadamia nuts

*1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

*1 cup shredded coconut

Toast coconut in a pan on medium heat, stirring constantly, until the coconut becomes a light brown color, (this only takes a couple minutes)

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, (coat your bowl with a little oil first to help with clean up time.)

Spread out parchment paper. Dip mac nuts in melted chocolate, then roll in the toasted coconut. Place nuts on parchment to firm up put in fridge for 15 minutes.

Coconut Chocolate Sauce...

*1/2 cup chocolate chips

*1 cup coconut milk

* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, coconut, or almond extract

Melt all ingredients in microwave for 2 minutes. Stir well. Put in fridge to harden up for 15 minutes.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Creamy-Dreamy Split Pea and Rice soup!

Yummy, this soup creams up on its own from the addition of red lentils and potatoes...all of the ingredients in it are able to be found in bulk, (the veggies can be bought at the farmers market, or if you're freezing in the Midwest like me buy the organic, loose veggies from your local co-op, you can even bring your own reusable bag to put them in! Then take the time to bask in your own glory)

These ingredients definitely do not have to be exact measurements, double the recipe and freeze half for a quick and healthy weeknight dinner.

1 cup yellow split peas
1 cup red lentils
1 cup rice
1/2 cup quinoa
10 cups broth/water( or a combination of the two, if only using water add more spices)
3 cloves garlic/ OR 1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 onion chopped/ OR 1 tablespoon onion powder
5 medium potatoes, chopped into small cubes
2 cups chopped carrots
(play around with the spices with what you've got, and your personal taste!)
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
cayenne pepper, salt, pepper-all to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
*optional 1-2 tablespoons tamari, soy sauce, or Bragg's liquid amino's.

saute garlic and onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large stock/soup pot. Add 3 cups of the liquid along with split peas and rice turn heat to med-high. Cook, covered for 15 minutes, add remaining liquid and ingredients, continue to cook covered for additional 25 minutes, or until ingredients tender and thick.

Leftover soup will continue to thicken in fridge, stir in a small amount of water when reheating.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bulk it up Baby!!!!!!!

$64.75....No cause for alarm, the pictured substances are not illicit,but they are a steal :) The bulk bins at your local co-op and in some cases grocery store hold the best deals you will ever find. We buy everything we possibly can in bulk and save tons of money doing so! All of the pictured items, ranging from nuts, pasta, dried beans, olive oil, spices, agave, flour, sugar, cornmeal, rice....etc... came to a total price of $64.75....Those foods are enough to feed us and our closest 50 friends for a good 3 weeks, with a couple exceptions they are all organic as well. For example, a can of pre-cooked lentils holds about 2 servings, and costs between $1.50-2.00, $2.00 worth of dried/bulk lentils would be equal to 7-10 servings of lentils!!!! Plus, cooking your own lentils from scratch tastes infinitely better than canned. Buying in bulk not only saves YOU tons of green, it makes you green as well! It decreases the need for all the excess packaging many foods come in. Bulk foods like dried beans and flour push you to cook more things from scratch and rely less on convenience foods. So lessons learned, save money, save the environment and be healthy all by buying in bulk. These are all good reasons to buy bulk foods, but the best reason is you get to feel like the world's biggest hippie when you do so! Put on a little Patchouli oil, put on your patchwork, and hula hoop into your nearest co-op like the flower-child you are! Then check back here as I challenge myself and you to making as many eco-healthy and inexpensive meals as we can!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Green Smoothie

Another New Years goal for 2010 is to start many of my days off right, with fruit and raw foods for breakfast. Not to say that on days when I have the time some tofu scramble and breakfast potatoes are not allowed, but most mornings when I'm in a rush I tend to do the unthinkable and SKIP BREAKFAST!!! Any person that has been around with even minimum nutrition knowledge can tell you that's a big no-no! So, fruit and whole foods for breakfast , no more skipping out!

As for my toddler, smoothies and soups are a parents best friend when it comes to getting in those fruits and veggies. The smoothies little K eats are loaded with frozen blueberries, strawberries, bananas, and best of all usually at least 1 cup of raw kale. That's right KALE! If I put a cup of raw kale on her tray she would laugh in my face, before throwing it on the ground with a high pitched, "I don't like that leaves." She does however ask for mainly two kinds of foods, smoothies and soup, both which are loaded with more organic, healthful foods than the typical adult, (myself included,) consumes.

Smoothies are very forgiving and it would take quite a bit hard work to make one that didn't turn out good. This particular smoothie is a blend of frozen bananas, mangoes,blueberries, strawberries, coconut-milk yogurt, (So Delicious brand,) and ricemilk. With shelled hempseeds on the side for K to sprinkle in it, (her favorite part!) These ingredients just happen to be what we have today, some days its just frozen bananas, blueberries, and kale with some rice milk. For kiddos that may not be as into the greenish-brown color of this smoothie, go ahead and add more blueberries, their color masks the green kale.

Organic bananas are $0.29/ lb at Trader Joes, pick up a few bunches each time you run, freeze them cut in baggies so you will always have some for a quick smoothie fix(if you don't have a TJ's I'm sorry for you, Super Target is inexpensive as well, shop around and look for sale where you can stock up and freeze them.)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


In honor of referring to myself as a "grilled-cheese" vegetarian in the past I thought I would prove that being vegan doesn't mean giving up the foods you love!
This sandwich, like the majority of my recipes, can be adapted in many different ways, so don't be afraid to play around with it!

the "cheese" sauce
I would highly recommend picking up a copy of Jo Stepanaik's The Uncheese Cookbook" if you've lost that cheesy feeling in your life. She includes everything from feta, sauces, and soups, to desserts and cheese molds. She inspired me to do something I had been thinking about but not sure how to execute. Using veggies as bases to creamy "cheese-like" sauces. Specifically her "Unprocessed Cheese Sauce" inspired this one. Hers is delish too! I love the taste of nut cheese, as the nuts give a fuller, fat type taste, which is why I used nuts in this one. There are many different kinds of cheese sauces out there however, if the fat content from the nuts is a concern for anyone.


2 cups soaked cashews, (soak in water overnight, or at least 4-5 hours)
1-1.5 cups nutritional yeast (I like a lot so you may want to decrease it)
2 cups raw chopped/peeled potatoes
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped onion (or 1 tbls onion powder)
3 cloves garlic (or 1 tbls garlic powder)
1 tbls fresh lemon juice OR apple cider vinegar
3 tbls earth balance margarine (melted, OR oil)
1.5 teas salt
pepper to taste
1.5 teaspoon paprika
1 teas cayenne pepper (can omit or decrease for young kiddos or wimps :)
enough water to blend to desired consistency, more for a sauce, less for a paste (paste ideal for grilled cheese)

*optional 1 tbls Braggs for taste

Saute onions and garlic for several min in 1 tbls oil, add potatoes and carrots with enough water to cover. Bring water to a boil, cover and reduce heat until everything soft and tender. Blend together soaked cashews with everything, using enough water to make the desired consistency. (Start with less, (.5 cup lets say) and add as you go. If you're new to nutritional yeast and haven't acquired a full appreciation for it you can use less, but it is the cornerstone of the cheese.

You can return this to the burner to reheat, or serve as is.

Grilled -"cheese" assembly

*2 pieces bread, (i use Ezekial sesame bread) (since its already frozen I usually toast it in the toaster before applying the EB or cooking)-Is that cheating?
*Earth balance (EB) or oil the outside of the bread
*place in pan, cook over med heat until bread toasty enough

*I mashed 1/2 an avocado and 1 tbls of Veganaise in with the "cheese" sauce, but again, it can be enjoyed many ways. The "cheese" itself is just fine!

* Be sure to dip in plenty of ketchup and hot sauce!


In the beginning, there was a vegan...

Aloha folks, I'm Jessica. A 27-year old vegan, mother, student, professional, and the list goes on! My 2-year old daughter has been the biggest blessing of my life and believe it or not she chose veganism for me! After many years of being a vegetarian, (not a super healthy one at that, more like a grilled-cheese, pizza, veggie nugget vegetarian,) my sweet daughter was born with food allergies. We found out about them when she was just a couple months old, and breast-feeding exclusively. Although in the beginning we didn't know exactly what she was allergic to, so I had to roll up my sleeves and embark on a four-week elimination diet, (luckily I had quite a few post-pregnancy pounds hanging around, (literally!) and was able to handle four weeks of lentil soup, beans and rice, and apples!) Her allergies seemed to be milk protein, eggs and unfortunately soy. My cheese loving days were over, and anyone who really knew me could tell you how much I loved cheese. Well, thankfully I was stronger than the ever-alluring cheese pizza, and here I am two years later, as vegan as they come!

The truth is I had always ethically wanted to be vegan but never tried, somehow thinking I would definitely fail. Becoming vegan for me was like changing any behavior, hard at first, with a couple weeks of wandering the grocery store, just to get a look at the bakery section cakes. But, with time it has become so much more than denying myself anything; veganism became a way of life. I began cooking and baking from scratch, (whereas my pre-vegan days cooking meant pre-heating the oven, or opening jars and boxes.) At first I stuck rigidly to the recipes and very soon began to adapt things to my own personal tastes and dietary restrictions. I had to avoid soy, which isn't the easiest thing to do as a vegan. But going the first year without soy to fall back on pushed me to try new protein sources, like my BFFs: quinoa, amaranth, and seitan. Happily my daughter, K, is outgrowing her soy allergy slowly, and has started to tolerate certain soy foods. Even without soy, vegan cooking and baking is not only possible, but fun and delicious.

My mission statement with this blog is to give back to that which helped me. The Internet has made a transition to veganism as smooth as possible. There are so many websites, and blogs that one would never run out of new, tasty recipes. I hope to contribute some of my personal recipes to vegans contemplating, new, and old. I also have been learning first hand just how to feed a vegan baby, now toddler and have many ideas on just how to get those fruits and veggies in their tummies,(without a knock-down, dragout, tantrum....usually.) I also have to give a shout -out to vegans avoiding soy products, the true vegan soldiers! I have many recipes and links for you my friends, who needs soy anyways!

I hope everyone will chime in with comments, recipes, links that can help us all! Note: non-vegans are not only welcome but encouraged. We are all at different steps in our personal journeys and I am so thankful to the other vegans who gave me support during my transitioning days. For some reason I used to find veganism a bit intimidating and despite years of vegetarianism I didn't exactly know what was vegan and what wasn't, (aside from the obvious.) Its not that hard! Any questions will be respectively answered, no "more-vegan-than-thou-ness" to be worried about!