Unfried Beans

unfried-beans-gluten-free-vegan-meFootball season is here and it’s time for snacks! I love bean dip and refried beans but not the oil and definitely not the lard that sometimes gets added to the mix. Here’s a super easy, quick and healthy way to make beans you can use in burritos, for bean dip, tostadas, tacos…and they taste amazing!

Unfried Beans

  • 3 cups cooked pinto beans, drained
  • 2 medium tomatoes (about 2.5” in diameter)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • ½ cup chopped roasted green chilies
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Small amount of water if needed

Mix all ingredients in high speed blender or food processor with “S” blade until smooth. Add a little water, slowly if needed to make the mixture creamier. Serve as a dip or use inside burritos, tostadas, tacos or layered bean dip.

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Peach Cobbler and Yes, it’s Raw, Vegan and Gluten-free!

Eating a a fresh, juicy, sweet peach is such a treat. In season, they’re pretty amazing all by themselves.  And when you combine juicy, fresh peaches with this raw cobbler topping, you get a little bite of heaven! It’s super easy and fast to make, not to mention it doesn’t come with all the oils, processed sugars and gluten loaded starches you get with standard cobblers.

Raw, Vegan Peach Cobbler

1/2 cup almonds
6 – 8 medjool dates
1 dried fig (or sub a couple more dates or raisins if you don’t have one.)
1 tsp vanilla

4 cups sliced fresh peaches

In food processor with bottom blade, add all topping ingredients and blend until ingredients are mixed well and almonds are finely chopped. Placed desired amount of sliced peaches in a dish and sprinkle on crumbled topping as desired.  Top with vegan whipped cream for an extra treat.


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Curry Carrot Soup


Nothing like reaching into a giant bag of organic baby carrots, recently purchased at the store, only to find there were some slimy ones.  I didn’t want to waste the entire bag because only a few were rotten. I tossed out all the nasties and carefully washed the rest and cooked them to prevent further spoiling.  Cooked carrots are good, but 10 cups of them…can you say boring?  Time to create a new recipe.  It was late at night when they finished cooking and I was hungry and tired, so I whipped this up quickly  It turned out to be just the trick for a late dinner.

Curried Carrot Soup

6 cups cooked carrots
2 cups water or veggie broth
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp fenugreek
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala

Add all ingredients to high speed blender and blend until smooth. Heat to desired temperature and serve. Top with sprig of fresh cilantro or parsley. Makes 4- 2 cup servings

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Cranberry Orange Pecan Bars

cranberry-orange-bars-gluten-free-vegan-meI’ve heard that orange mixed with chocolate is very Italian. And my very Italian co-worker loved these sweet little bars.  I love them too and my mom’s Italian. But they were created in Colorado. And when people taste them, it won’t matter where the people are from or where your kitchen is located; most likely, they will love them. I hope you do!

Cranberry Orange Pecan Bars

Make the bars:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw pecans
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free oats
  • 4 medjool dates
  • 1/2 tsp orange extract

Combine all ingredients in a food processor with an “S” blade.  Puree until everything sticks together if you roll the dough in a ball. Spoon ingredients into a 9″ squared glass baking dish.  Press dough down so it evenly covers the pan. Set aside.

Make the frosting:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp orange extract

Combine all ingredients in a food processor with an “S” blade.  Puree until everything is smoothly mixed into a frosting consistency. Spoon over dough and spread evenly. Serve right away or refrigerate to serve later.

Makes 20 – 25 small squares.

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Curry Stuffed Peppers – Vegan and Gluten-Free

curry-chic-pea-stuffed-peppers-gluten-free-vegan-meI found some beautiful peppers at the store today and wanted to stuff them with something a little different.

I had some chic peas and brown rice already prepared in my fridge, so created this recipe for a little East Indian twist.

Curry Stuffed Peppers

  • 1 large red or green bell pepper
  • 1 cup Curry Avocado Spread (click for recipe)
  • 1 cup  cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup cooked chic peas

Slice pepper in half, remove seeds and steam with a bit of water in a pan until tender.  In another pan, add avocado spread, rice and chic peas. Mix and heat on medium until hot, stirring gently occasionally. Remove peppers from pan, fill with rice mixture and serve.

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Avocado Curry – Sauce – Dip – Spread

avocado_curry_spread_sauceI hear a lot of people say they don’t like curry.  I always tell them to give it another chance. There are so many “curries” out there – red, green, yellow, Indian, Thai…. the list goes on and on and they all taste different.  I haven’t found a curry I didn’t like and was really craving some yellow(ish) curry tonight.  I like the following blend of spices for more of a yellow curry. Give it a try as a sauce or a spread. It even makes a great dip for veggies, crackers and chips!

Avocado Curry Sauce, Dip or Spread

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbs nutritional yeast
  • ½ Tbs Dr. Bragg’s Aminos or gluten-free tamari
  • 1 tsp yellow curry powder
  • 1 tsp fenugreek
  • 1 tsp paprika
  •  1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp salt

Add all ingredients to a high speed blender and mix thoroughly.  Serve as a sauce, salad dressing or dip.

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Mushroom Pesto Quiche



Laura Hemmington has an amazing recipe for Basil Walnut Pesto Quiche on her blog, The Whole Ingredient.  I made it and it was amazing!  I wanted to try a variation without nuts for a lower calorie version. I also needed to use up the cremini mushrooms in my fridge.

So, I made this version. It was really good too!  Anything with basil and garlic is pretty hard to mess up, right?

Mushroom Pesto Quiche

4 cups fresh basil
2 ripe avocados
1 12 oz. package of firm tofu
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 tsp salt
1 cup cremini mushrooms (button and portobello mushrooms would also work great)
1 tbsp Bragg’s Amino Acids
6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
1 tsp olive or avocado oil

Prep the potatoes:

Slice potatoes into thin pieces, add to frying pan with a little water, cover and steam for about 10 minutes on medium heat until soft.

Soak the tomatoes:

Place sundried tomatoes into a bowl and cover with very hot water. Soak while adding other ingredients to food processor.

Prep the mushrooms:

Chop mushrooms into bite sized pieces and place into a small pan.  Add Bragg’s and lightly steam on low heat. Stirring occasionally

Make the quiche base:

Add basil, avocados, tofu, garlic and salt to food processor with “S” blade. Blend until smooth.  Drain water from sundried tomatoes and add soaked tomatoes to the mixture. Blend until finely chopped.

Make the pie:

Lightly oil pie plate. Add potatoes to the bottom and side, forming a crust. Spoon avocado mixture evenly over the potatoes.  Add mushrooms to the top.  Bake at  350 F for 35 minutes.  Allow to cool a bit before serving. Makes 8 servings.



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Vanilla Creme Cappuccino Pie



When accidents in the kitchen go right to create a new recipe, it makes me smile!

I wanted a nut-free, chocolate-free dessert for a group of people coming to visit. I was attempting to make some raw coconut balls and the recipe flopped; they wouldn’t stick together.  I decided to add a few more ingredients and make mixture into a crust.  And I thought topping the crust with a vanilla pudding would be great.  When the batch of pudding didn’t go high enough in the pan, I thought, why not make a coffee flavored layer. This turned out great and my non-vegan guests wanted seconds!

Vanilla Creme Cappuccino Pie

Make the crust

  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil softened or liquified
  • 6 medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup gluten free oats
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt

In a food processor with “S” blade, combine coconut, maple syrup and coconut oil. Mix until creamy, add the remaining ingredients and mix until everything rolls into a ball and clumps. Spoon mixture into a 9 x 9 cake pan. Press and pack so the bottom is covered evenly.  Refrigerate to harden.

Make the topping

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbs cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 4 cups plant milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbs instant coffee

Add all ingredients except coffee in a high speed blender and mix until smooth. Pour mixture into a large pan and heat on medium high, stirring until it thickens to a pudding consistency.  Remove from heat. Pour 1/2 the mixture on top of the crust and refrigerate for 20 – 30 minutes until set.  Add coffee to the remaining mixture and stir, keeping mixture warm on low heat to mix thoroughly. Pour the remaining mixture on top of the cooled dessert and refrigerate.  Pudding will set in about an hour. The second layer may slide off, so place each piece gently on the plate.

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Mega Omega 3 Spread

gluten-free-vegan-me-omega-3-spreadI recently learned vegans and vegetarians can convert Omega 3 fats into DHA easier with a bit of turmeric added.  According to the National Institutes of Health funded study titled, “Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: Implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders,” researchers found that curcumin enhances the biosynthesis of the essential fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).  Sayer Ji offers an informative article about it on Green Med Info here.

I’ll let the experts share more on the science.  But I got to thinking, “How can I get all these nutrients to come together for a tasty treat?”  And I came up with this spread – a little like a mustard,  a little like a nut butter and a lot of tasty goodness that appears to be good for your brain and your body too!

Mega Omega 3 Spread

  • 1 cup raw walnut halves (I don’t soak mine, but if you do, make sure they are dried thoroughly prior to making this recipe)
  • 1 Tbs ground flax seed
  • 1 Tbs chia seed
  • 1 1/2 tsps turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients into a food processor with an “S” blade or a high speed blender. I use my Blendtec mini twister jar. It’s designed to make nut butter. Whip until blended smooth to the texture of a nut butter.

Spread on crackers, celery, or if you like it as much as I do, just eat it with a spoon!


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Wilted Sesame Spinach

wilted-sesame-spinach-gluten-free-vegan-meThis is one of my favorite ways to eat spinach. Super easy and amazingly tasty!

Wilted Sesame Spinach

  • 4 cups raw, washed spinach
  • 4 tsps sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Add sesame oil to warm frying pan on medium high heat.  Add spinach and stir to mix with oil until bright green and just barely soft as pictured.  Turn off heat, sprinkle with sea salt and toss quickly to mix.  Serve immediately. Serves 2 – 3.

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Herbed Portobello Mushroom Steaks

herb_mushroom_gluten-free-vegan-mePortobello Mushrooms are packed with nutrients and very low in calories. They are a good source of protein, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, zinc and manganese, and a very good source of dietary fiber, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, potassium, copper and selenium.
I love to add them as the “meat” portion on my plate. This version is so easy to prepare and the juice can be spooned on the top or saved for later to use in soups or on potatoes or rice.

Herbed Portobello Mushroom Steaks

  • 2 Large Portobello Mushrooms
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (you can use other oils, but sesame oil is my oil of choice for this one because of the intense, nutty flavor)
  • 2 pinches dried rosemary
  • 2 pinches dried thyme
  • 2 pinches dried marjoram
  • 2 pinches sea salt
  • 2 pinches pepper

Wash mushrooms, remove stems and  shake out most of the water. Place on glass baking dish with top side up and stem side down.Make sure there is a bit of water on the bottom; if not add a few tablespoons to prevent burning.  Rub sesame oil gently on the tops of each mushroom, covering the entire top.  Sprinkle a pinch of each seasoning on top of each mushroom.  Bake in middle rack at 375 F for 15 minutes.  Serve warm with side dishes and provide steak knives to cut.


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Guilt-Free Alfredo Sauce

alfredo_gluten-free_vegan_meRich, creamy Alfredo sauce dresses up pasta but the high-fat, dairy version can make it hard to fit into your desired dress size, clog your arteries and of course harm animals and the planet. This version is made with potatoes and plant based milks.  It has no fat, no dairy but all the taste and makes a perfect topper for your favorite gluten-free pasta!

Guilt-Free Alfredo Sauce

  • 4 cups unsweetened plant based milk (make sure it’s unsweetened)
  • 1 cup white miso paste
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup cooked, smashed plain white potato (skins on or off)
  • 4 Tbs potato starch
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Put all ingredients into high speed blender and mix until smooth. Transfer to large sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Mixture will thicken.  Reduce heat and simmer until ready to serve on your favorite pasta or refrigerate to enjoy later. This recipe makes 10 – 1/2 cup servings.



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Fiesta Polenta

fiesta-polenta-2-gluten-free-vegan-meTonight I needed something quick, easy, filling and of course, tasty.  So many of my recipes start out with items in my pantry I need to use.  I found an extra bag of polenta this weekend, so that was top of mind.  Polenta whips up quickly. Now what to add to it? Beans already cooked in the fridge, a can of chilies, some fresh cilantro, tomatoes, onions and spices – voila! In less than 30 minutes, dinner is served!

Fiesta Polenta

  • 2 cups dry polenta
  • 6 cup  water
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup cooked or canned black, pinto or kidney beans
  • 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup chopped green chilies
  • ½ cup chopped green onions
  • 1 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 Tbs Dr. Bragg’s amino acids
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

First boil the water and slowly add in the polenta, stirring constantly. As soon as it boils, turn down to low heat and cover for about 5 minutes.  Add in the spices and aminos a few at a time, stirring well to ensure it all mixes together.  Then add the cilantro, chilies, beans and tomatoes stirring gently until everything is warm.  Spoon into bowls and top with a little more cilantro or some vegan cheddar cheese.



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Greek Lentil Loaf with Lemony Dill Sauce

lemony-lentil-loaf-gluten-free-vegan-meWe headed over to hubby’s family for Greek Easter. I had a request to bring my Red Lentil Loaf.  I love this recipe and it’s a hit with non-vegans too. It calls for sage, rosemary, thyme and lots of flavors I love in the fall and winter. But this weekend, with trees blossoming and the temperature on the rise, I was feeling more like spring, so I modified the recipe to bring in a little Greek flavor and a little springtime freshness.

I also realized I post amazing recipes I find to my Facebook page to share with others, but rarely follow a recipe because I like to create my own.  Everything I tried turned out terrific.

The picture sold me on this Vegan Carrot Cake from My Whole Food Life.  I didn’t have applesauce so I subbed out some pureed, canned mango.  I also discovered my maple syrup had molded, so I used agave for the frosting. It turned out beautifully.

Basil Walnut Pesto Quiche from The Whole Ingredient tasted as good as it sounded.  I modified mine a bit, subbing sun-dried tomatoes for the black olives and omitting the asparagus and tomatoes on top, just using potatoes in a pretty pattern to keep it simple. It was less like a quiche than I hoped, but the flavor more than made up for the texture. Not sure if maybe another chia egg would make it thicker, but it gave me inspiration to play around with this concept for sure.

The 3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cocoa Fudge from The Frosted Vegan kept ending up in my mouth while I was cutting it.  Oops! I do recommend keeping this one frozen like the author also recommends.  I added the coconut oil, knowing we were bringing it to share at a party and it would not stay frozen.  The fudge stayed solid, but was kind of like weird jelly chocolate when it got to room temperature.  It was still delicious though!

Here’s the recipe for my Greek  Lentil Loaf with Lemony Dill Sauce.

Greek  Lentil Loaf with Lemony Dill Sauce

IMG_3409Greek Lentil Loaf

  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils
  • 3 cups veggie broth
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbs ground oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 4 cups chopped kale or other hearty greens
  • 2 cups gluten-free oats
  • small amount of olive oil to grease pan

In large pan, add lentils and veggie broth, bring to a boil, cover, turn down heat and simmer until soft (about 8 minutes.) In another pan, add celery, onions garlic, kale and spices with a bit of water and cook until tender.  Smash lentils until smooth and combine all previously listed ingredients into one pan, add oats and stir.  Allow ingredients to cool a bit and add them to food processor with “S” blade.  Puree briefly. Lightly oil 9″ x 5″ loaf pan and spoon mixture into pan. Bake for about 30 minutes at 325 F or until loaf starts to brown slightly on top and sides lift away from edges.  Cooking time may vary. Don’t overcook or loaf will be dry.  Cool and refrigerate. Once cool, the loaf can be sliced and eaten cold or reheated.

lemon-dill-sauce-gluten-free-vegan-meLemony Dill Sauce

1 large white potato, cooked
4 cups unsweetened plant milk
4 tbs potato starch
2 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs dried oregano
1 tbs dried dill (double if using fresh dill)
2 tsps salt
½ tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients in high speed blender and blend until smooth.  Transfer to pan and bring to boil on the stove until mixture gets a bit thick.  Add more potato starch for a thicker sauce. Serve like a gravy on top of the loaf as desired.

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Spring Roll Fever

spring-rolls-gluten-free-vegan-meSpring is here. What a great time for spring rolls! Actually, pretty much anytime is a great time for spring rolls if you ask me.  If you’ve never made them, they are tons of fun – but there are a few important things to know first.


We use a cookie sheet with a ½ inch edge filled with water as our rice paper soaker. The rice paper gets very soft, very quick.  Don’t get it too wet or soak it too long.  Package says to only wet on one side.  I think this is a good idea if you’re making them to share later. If you’re making them to eat now, wet both sides quickly, let the water drip off, transfer to your plate and start filling them up.

Another thing – don’t fill too full. They are quite strong, but do rip if they are over-filled. Also, cut your fillings into bite sized pieces to make them easier to eat.


Tonight we made ours with chopped greens, shredded carrots, marvelous mushrooms, fried tofu and homemade peanut sauce.

I’m still perfecting the peanut sauce.  Recipes for the tofu and mushrooms can be found by clicking on the links above.

What makes spring rolls fun is deciding what you want in yours.  Have fun, get creative and share your ideas below!

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Soy-Lent Green

soy-lent-green_gluten-free_vegan_meNo, it’s not people. No animals either.  I was playing with food and wanted to see if I could make something similar to an artichoke spinach dip or fritter, but I wanted to keep it low-fat and use just a few ingredients.

I tried frying the mixture in a little coconut oil. Tasted good, but wasn’t pretty.  It turned out to be a green plop on our plates. The name came from hubby who called it Soylent Green in honor of the creepy movie.  We both laughed and then said, “It does have soy (white miso) and it is acceptable for Lent.  We laughed and Soy-Lent Green is now on the blog.a recipe.


While the mixture didn’t work well fried, It was nice baked as a dip or spread.  You could also eat it straight from the food processor without baking, but the heat tames the kale a bit and I liked it better baked. Even better top yours off with a bit of your favorite vegan cheese!

Soy-Lent Green

2 cups raw baby kale
8 artichoke hearts (packed in water)
¼ cup white miso paste
2 cups cooked chic peas
1 tbs Spirulina Sprinkle (or your favorite savory spice)
Salt to taste (I didn’t add any, but I try to keep my sodium low)
Vegan cheese (optional)

Place all ingredients into a food processor with “S” blade and mix until smooth.  Pour into a shallow glass dish or individual ramekins and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Top with vegan cheese and broil to melt the cheese. Serve with crackers or spread on toast or potato.

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Spirulina Sprinkle

spirulina_sprinkle_gluten-free_vegan_meUpdate!!  After watching Dr. Michael Gregor on NutritionFacts.org, it may be wise to consume spirulina sparingly if at all. It may hurt your liver and it’s linked to ALS, Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases.  I’m leaving the recipe up, but feel a responsibility to share this news, as I’ve just learned it.  Here are a couple links from his website explaining the possible risks.




Spirulina is a brilliant green powerhouse food!  This natural algae is loaded with protein, essential amino acids, iron, calcium, vitamins A, C, D. B-1(thiamine), B-2 (riboflavin), B-3(nicotinamide), B-6 (pyridoxine), B-9 (folic acid) and B-12. It may also help with allergies, detoxing from heavy metals and weightloss.  People have been eating it for thousands of years for its nutrients and health benefits, so I decided to try it too.


I have the granules and when I tried to eat them straight out of the bag, they stuck to my teeth and turned my mouth and tongue a lovely shade of deep, dark green.  I could imagine adding spirulina to soups and mixing into a sprinkle.  You can also buy spirulina powder, which might be easier to mix with food.  Here’s what I made with my granules and I love it!

Spirulina Sprinkle

½ cup dried mixed veggies
(soup veggies – carrots, peas, red and green bell pepper, onion – nothing else added)
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 tbs spirulina (optional)
2 tsp garlic powder or dried garlic

Place all ingredients in a high speed blender (I used the small Blentec container for nut butters) or a clean coffee grinder. Blend to a powder.  Sprinkle on popcorn, veggies, toast and anything savory.


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Polenta Pizza Pie

polenta_pizza_pie_gluten-free_vegan_meWhat an awesome treat to find a bag of polenta on my desk, gifted to me by my thoughtful co-worker who had an overabundance in his pantry!  I had a small bag at my house too, but really had never prepared polenta so this was a sign from the universe to get cooking.

Polenta (corn grits) is a super quick, easy to prepare, gluten-free treat. It’s very versatile and makes a great side dish.  It also makes a great soft crust. I especially like polenta with some flavors and spices added.  So deciding what to make with this batch hinged on my current stock in the fridge. I had some portabella mushrooms and a half full jar of marinara sauce.  Italian was the way to go. This little pie turned out delicious and I’ll be creating more polenta recipes in the future!

Polenta Pizza Pie

2 cups uncooked polenta
6 cups water
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup vegan marinara sauce (I like Muir Glen or Classico Organic)
1 cup chopped portabella mushrooms
1 cup chopped artichoke hearts (I like Kirkland prepared in water)
½ cup chopped sundried tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped Kalamata olives
Bring the water to a boil, add polenta and spices, stir until well mixed. Turn down heat to medium-low, simmer covered for 5 minutes.

Lightly grease 9 x 13” glass baking dish.  Add cooked polenta, patting it evenly across the bottom and up the sides to form a thick, soft crust.  Pour in sauce and spread evenly; top with veggies and bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes.  Makes 12 servings

Substitute your favorite pizza toppings or add a little vegan cheese if you like.  Have fun with your polenta crust and share your ideas in the comment section below.

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But It’s Expensive to Be Vegan!

moneyWhen I think about expensive food, usually steak or caviar come to mind; neither is vegan.  Rice and beans, a couple staples of the plant-based diet, are some of the most inexpensive foods on the planet.  So why do people believe eating vegan will cost them an arm and a leg?

I Don’t Have Martha Stewart Time. You Probably Don’t Either.  I get it. We’re all busy. I work more than 40 hours a week and commute about an hour or more total each day, so I understand about limited time.   Sure I’m pooped when I get home. But I make time for what’s important to me – my health, my planet’s health and the health and prevention of suffering for the animals. And that means finding creative ways to eat healthy, tasty, plant-based AND gluten-free.

Time is money. It’s not that easy to stop by a fast food joint on your way home and grab some hearty vegan grub. But what is that fast food meal REALLY costing you? It might add a couple minutes to your day, but cheap food comes at a high price for the animals that suffer in factory farms, the environment, the workers barely making enough to survive and your health costs from eating excess fat, salt and cholesterol.  Eating a plant-based diet dramatically decreases your chances of getting the big three – heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Don’t believe me? Watch Forks Over Knives. How much does open heart surgery cost? Monthly diabetes medicine?  Chemo?  How much time will you spend at the doctor, in the hospital, at the pharmacy?  What’s your quality of life worth? Don’t forget to figure these costs into the equation.  Suddenly the time spent to prepare a healthy meal or head out to restaurant with vegan options and pay a little extra becomes worthwhile.

Convenience costs money.  Make friends with the produce and bulk sections of your grocery store. Sure there are awesome new vegan options, prepared meals, snacks and desserts that might cost more than their non-vegan counterparts. But if cost is truly what’s stopping you from eating plant-based, fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and grains can be purchased in their bulk, unprocessed states at very reasonable prices.  And those ready to eat fruits and veggies are still less than expensive meats and dairy products.  It’s very do-able to eat a healthy plant-based diet on a budget.

Ellen Jaffe Jones even wrote a book about eating vegan on the cheap, called “Eat Vegan On $4 A Day.”  Here’s a short video of Ellen sharing her thoughts on the true cost of eating vegan.

I heard Ellen speak at VegFest Colorado a few years ago and she has some great ideas. She talked about shopping for your fruits and veggies in season and buying in bulk.  I watch the sales flyers and get weekly emails and coupons from groceries where I live. I love to look at what’s on sale to start planning my menus for the week.

What about gluten-free vegan you ask?  Well, again, processed items always cost more than making them yourself. And gluten-free processed items are much more expensive and especially hard to find vegan.  Breads, cakes and cookies can add up when someone else makes them for you.  I splurge and buy gluten-free vegan bread because I haven’t had much luck baking it; but cakes and cookies are pretty easy to make if you like to have them around the house for snacks. You don’t even have to bake them. Check out my Raw Cocoa Vegan Bon Bon Balls and Raw Vegan Cookie Dough Balls! I’ve found some great brands like Enjoy Life and Lucy’s and sometimes splurge on those as well, since I don’t eat them often and having just a few now and then makes them affordable for me.

Batch and Bulk Cook. To save money, I buy my beans dry, soak them and cook them in a pressure cooker in large batches. I keep 1/3 in the fridge and freeze the other 2/3’s in two containers so I have beans ready when I need them and don’t have to worry about them spoiling. I batch cook potatoes, rice and soups on the weekends or some evenings when I have a little more time. One of my very first blog posts, Staples I Have in My Fridge, shares basic recipes to make quinoa and rice from scratch.

Make extra everything, especially at dinner so I can pack a lunch for work.  It takes me about 30 minutes to create most of my dinners with the veggies, sauces, grains and beans I already have in the fridge. If I were to go out to eat, it would still take time to drive there, eat and then drive home, so this extra time to prep something healthy and vegan isn’t really much time at all.  Plus I know what goes into my food and how it was prepared.

I rarely get sick. My numbers are awesome (they didn’t used to be) and I take no medication. Hubby’s numbers are awesome too and he’s off cholesterol meds and in amazing shape.  I’d much rather spend my money on tasty, healthy gluten-free, vegan food than doctors and pharmaceuticals!

If cost is what’s holding you back from adopting a plant-based diet – don’t wait. Start saving (your money, the planet, the animals and maybe even your own life!) TODAY!!

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Check Out The World’s Heaviest Vegan Banana Split!

Banana_Split_ServingNormally ice cream wouldn’t be on anyone’s mind today.  Denver is a whopping 17 degrees Fahrenheit and we’re experiencing record snows.  Soup? Sure! Vegan hot chocolate? Absolutely. But vegan ice cream?

Well, today wasn’t just any other day.  This was a recording breaking day for more than snow! Today, students at Johnson & Wales created and served up the World’s Heaviest Vegan Banana Split

The banana split weighed in at a hefty 1,219 pounds and included flavors like Turkish Coffee, Blueberry Balsamic, Chocolate Mole and Strawberry Basil among many others.


Chef Adam Sacks tells us, “We want to show the world that we can take any menu item typically laden with animal-based saturated fats and cholesterol, like the beloved banana split, and change it up, making it heart healthier and resulting in a finished product that is unbelievably tasty.” And yes, Chef Adam – it was unbelievably tasty!


My portion had bananas, peanuts, chocolate and some kind of pumpkin-y ginger-y vegan ice cream. I couldn’t really feel my fingers from hanging out in the frigid winter cold waiting for my chance to eat a little of this masterpiece, but my tongue was working just fine and this stuff was terrific and totally worth the wait.

Congratulations and big thanks to Johnson & Wales University in Denver for showing the world that vegan food can be awesome!!

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