Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Carmelized Onion Gravy

Caramelized Onion Gravy

- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 1 Tb. minced garlic
- Optional: 1 cup diced mushrooms
3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 tsp. oregano
- 1/2 tsp. thyme
- 1/8 tsp. salt

- fresh cracked pepper
- 2 Tbsp. flour + 3 Tbsp. water

- 2 Tbsp. vegan margarine

1. Finely dice the onion, garlic (and mushrooms if using) 
2. In a skillet over medium heat melt margarine 
3. Add veggies, herbs, salt and pepper until onions are caramelized (about 10 min.)
4. Add stock and bring to a boil, simmer for about 12 min.
5. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and water. Add to skillet and stir.
5. Return to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened.

I got my idea from this Mushroom Gravy on The Garden Grazer

Apple Butternut Squash Casserole

Apple Butternut Squash Casserole

- 6 cups mashed cooked butternut squash (or sweet potato)
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3 Tb. melted margarine
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup (or honey)\
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 Tb. ground flax seed (stirred into 3 Tb. water until egg white consistency)
- 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

- 2 Tb. Turbinado sugar (or packed dark brown sugar)
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1 Tb. whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 Tb. melted vegan margarine (or olive oil)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Mix all casserole ingredients together in a bowl, then spread in lightly oiled 13X9 casserole dish.
3. Mix all topping ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle on top of casserole.
4. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for 25 min. or just until golden.

Maple Apple Crisp

Maple Apple Crisp


- 8 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin
- 1/3 c. lemon juice
- 1 Tb. honey or brown sugar
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 c. quick rolled oats
- 1.5 c. finely chopped walnuts
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 tsp. stevia (1 Tb. brown sugar)
- 1/2 c. pure maple syrup (or honey)
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Combine topping ingredients in a bowl, then combine filling ingredients in a separate bowl.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, Lightly spray a 13x9 casserole dish and spread out apples evenly.
3. Then spread topping evenly to cover the apples, and Bake at 350 degrees for 45 min. 

Savory Veggie Stuffing

Pic from

Savory Veggie Stuffing

Modified from THIS recipe


  • 10 cups 1/2 inch bread cubes from 1 lb firm whole wheat or other sandwich bread
  • 2 Tbsp vegan margarine
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh garlic 
  • 10 oz. (about 3 1/2 cups) diced portabella mushrooms
  • 1 large finely chopped onion
  • 1 large finely chopped carrot
  • 2 cups finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley or 3 Tb. dry parsley
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dill
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • Optional: 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 - 3 cups vegetable stock 


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Oil a large shallow casserole dish
  2. Toast bread cubes in a large baking sheet in the oven until golden brown. Set aside in a large bowl
  3. Turn oven down to 350 degrees F
  4. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Sauté onions, garlic, and celery until soft
  5. Using a rubber spatula, transfer the veggie mixture to the bowl of bread crumbs
  6. Add parsley, rosemary, oregano, dill, thyme, optional salt, and pepper
  7. Optional: Drizzle 1 Tbsp olive oil into the mixture
  8. Stir until until everything is well mixed
  9. Add 2 cups vegetable stock, and stir until it is absorbed. Add more stock as needed so that the mixture is moist and clumping together, but not soggy
  10. Bake at 350 degrees F in a covered shallow casserole or baking dish for 25 minutes
  11. Optional: Uncover and bake another 15 minutes to form a crusty top

Saturday, November 23, 2013

John's Favorite Green Smoothie

Most people are surprised when I tell them what John eats/drinks. They tell me that in a few years all he'll eat is macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets and french fries. I absolutely (and respectfully) disagree. I feel we have a wonderful opportunity to train John's taste buds now so that he can taste the natural goodness and flavors of real food and learn to love them. And he does! This is one of his favorite smoothies. He often drinks 8-10 ounces in one sitting. (And John had just woken up in these pictures from a nap cut short by teething pain. Those darn molars! When are they just going to get here and stop hurting my little boy and keeping us all from sleeping!? Well, at lease John has his green smoothie to console him)

John's Green Smoothie
Serves 2-3

- 1 apple, cored and quartered
- 2 large carrots, chopped into 2 inch pieces (or 8-10 baby carrots)
- 2 stalks celery, chopped into 2 inch pieces
- 1/2 (or a whole) lemon, rind cut off or peeled
- 1/2 a banana
- 1 cup pineapple (fresh or frozen) 
- 1/2 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
- 3 large handfuls organic spinach (3-4 packed cups)
- 1 Tb honey
- 2 Tb ground flax seed
- 1 1/2 cups water

1. Thoroughly wash all veggies and fruits.
2. Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender (Vitamix, Blendtec, Ninja, etc.)

- Drink this in a glass jar with a bendy straw. it's just the best way. Really. It is.
- In the summer, I like to use all frozen fruit (except apple and lemon). Sometimes we freeze our own, sometimes we buy it frozen.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

So tell me...What DO you eat?

The other day, when we were at a social event (I had eaten beforehand), someone noticed I wasn't eating the fried chicken finger, wings, pizza covered in cheese and meat, iceberg salad with pink tomatoes and cheese, and cookies made with sugar, butter, white flour and eggs. She asked me if she could make me a plate, and I politely declined which led into a discussion of my food choices. "So tell me...What do you eat?" was her question. I wanted to reply, "Well, sit down. How much time do you have?" It's a tough question, one that isn't easy to come a with a succinct comprehensible response. It's a little easier to explain what I don't eat than what I do eat.

Dairy - never
Fast Foods - not if I can help it
Processed Foods - not usually
Meat and Eggs - Very seldom and with certain criteria

Whenever I say the word vegan, I know many equate this to mean "hippie." Although I do some similar things to all out 'vegans,' I believe that God put animals here for our use, and that we should treat them kindly and well and use them when we need to and with prudence and thanksgiving. This is the health code I am trying to live by according to how I feel the Lord is leading me to understand it for my own life and circumstance: The Word of Wisdom 

I like to call myself a "NUTRITARIAN." I try to eat food for it's nutritional content instead of  "just because it tastes good." I eat a lot of the things most people I know eat, I just try to make them from scratch using different ingredients like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds. I make pizza, burgers, soups, chili and a whole lot of salads. I eat cereal, fruit/veggie juice. I snack on energy bites and air popped popcorn. Very occasionally, maybe twice a month I'll eat a free range, organic, well fed, well treated piece of meat or an egg of similar background that we can find at our local farmers market. I drink smoothies and shakes. Sometimes, when the situation makes it necessary, I will deviate from my normal diet, but I try to get back into the swing of it as soon as I can.

And then there are a couple things that I do that most people don't, and that many people might even think is a bit crazy. I sprout, plant and grow wheatgrass and then I juice it and drink it. It isn't easy, but yes I drink it. (and Seth and John drink it too! :)  "Wheatgrass juice is an effective healer because it contains chlorophyll, all minerals known to man, and vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, and K. Wheatgrass is extremely rich in protein, and contains 17 amino acids, the building blocks of protein."

And if you'd like to know more about what I eat, just keep reading! :)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Coconut Cauliflower Curry Soup

Today, I set out to create a delicious masterpiece, using whatever we had in our fridge and pantry that would be hearty enough for my husband, and soft enough for Baby John to chew. I love that he can eat what we eat now!! We are believers in supporting local farming, and love to buy produce from our farmer's market. This past weekend, Seth bought an enormous cauliflower for $2! I feel bad that the farmer didn't get his fare shake...but that is the price he offered Seth because a 2 inch part of it got a little frozen.  We're not worried about that; at least it didn't get picked when it wasn't ripe and get shipped over thousands of bumpy miles losing flavor and using up too much fossil fuel. It is such a beautiful cauliflower, it's orange! Did you know there are like a whole bunch of different varieties of cauliflower. Seriously, go to your local farmer's market and check them out. After you taste it, you will never want to pay $5 for a tasteless/bitter white knobbly thing from the grocery store again! And when you look at the ingredients, you may be a bit overwhelmed, but don't be, it only means more nutrients and extra deliciousness. I believe in symphonies of flavor, and I think tonight we are going to enjoy one.
Coconut Cauliflower Curry Soup
Serves 10-12
- 2 diced onions, (optional to saute or not)
- 6 cups veggie stock (or water)
- 1 can coconut milk (use light for lower fat)
- 2 cups soy milk (I like to use organic)
- 8 cups chopped cauliflower
- 3 diced sweet potatoes
- 2.5 cups diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
- 3 cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- 2/3 cups red lentils
- 1 Tb natural peanut butter
- 1 tsp. minced ginger
- 2 Tb. minced garlic
- 3 tsp. cumin
- 2 Tb. curry
- 1/4 tsp. garam masala
- 2 tsp. coriander
- 3 tsp. oregano
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne
- 2 Tb. nutritional yeast
- 1.5 cups frozen peas (or 1 can) - optional
- salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- fresh basil or spinach for garnish

Optional: Saute onion in your large pot ( I used my stock pot because this make a ton of soup! Hooray for freezer meals!)
1. Combine all ingredients in a large pot and simmer until sweet potatoes are soft.
2. Garnish with basil or spinach (chiffonade) and serve with hot crusty whole grain bread or whole wheat naan.

- You could bake or roast your sweet potatoes beforehand to really speed up the process! Then you would just be waiting for your cauliflower to cook until it's soft.
- You could also do this in a crockpot. I think Low heat for 6-8 hours would cook the potatoes. Let me know if you try it. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pear Pecan Salad with Creamy Balsamic Dressing

We got a crate of pears from Costco, trying to add more variety of fruits to our normal ones we always eat. They were getting a bit mushy, as you can tell from my photos... try making this salad before your pears are this soft. But, mushy or not, I needed to find a way to use these pears, and here it is! Unfortunately, I forgot to add the red onion to the salad before we ate it!! It was buried in the overstuffed cave that is my fridge. That was what was missing, so don't skip it! This salad is gourmet.

The night we ate this salad, I had also made a huge pot of soup and worked an 8 hour shift for my job while trying to care for a clingy baby who isn't happy that I'm weaning him. I know it may have been a bit crazy and overdoing it, but I had all this food in my kitchen that needed to be used! And I wanted to create a delicious and nutritious meal for my family. Then, right before Seth came home, I talked with someone who was quite angry. I let their anger rub off on me. Then I was telling Seth how this person took their anger out on me, and during dinner I took my anger out on him. I was exhausted and over stretched, and I behaved inexcusably. I am ashamed of it.

You know that phrase, "What your kids really want for dinner is you." That works with husbands too I think. And "When Mama is happy, everybody is happy." It works the other way around as well, "When Mama is unhappy, everybody is unhappy."  I am sure that Seth would have preferred a happy, loving wife who's glad to see him, who speaks a comforting word, and eat peanut butter sandwiches, apples and popcorn for dinner than a grumpy, overextended, resentful wife who's worked too hard preparing a gourmet meal that we eat in a stony silence. Even John, though 15 months old can tell when Mama ain't happy.

Let that be a lesson to me. I am going to try to be more balanced in my expectations for myself, and therefore help myself be less overwhelmed. Even though I want to prepare excellent meals for my family, help with our income, talk with people that I love on the phone, I need to keep my priorities straight and slow down. So, on a day that you aren't overbooked, try this gourmet pear salad and serve it up with heaping spoonfuls of love.

Serves 4-6
Pear Pecan Salad
- 2 heads Romaine, washed and chopped
- 3 large handfuls organic spinach, washed and torn
- 1 cup cauliflower, washed and chopped (or shredded carrots)
- 1/3 cup craisins (or raisins)
- 2 Tb. raw pumpkin seeds (or sunflower seeds)
- 1/2 cup raw pecans, chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced or sliced
- 1 cup whole wheat croutons (this is a good recipe, I just don't use the cheese)
- 1 avocado, diced
- 2 slightly firm pears, diced or sliced
- 2 Tb. lemon juice
1. Combine all ingredients except pear, avocado, and lemon juice in a large salad bowl.
2. Drizzle lemon juice over pear and avocado and then add them to the salad.

Tip: If you want to have left overs (this is a pretty large salad), then keep pear, avocado, croutons and onion separate to be added to individual salads.

Creamy Balsamic Dressing
- 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette (You can make your own or use store bought)
- 2 Tb. Veganaise or light mayonnaise
- 2 Tb. lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. dry stevia or 1 Tb. sugar
1. Combine all ingredients in a dressing cruise (or other container), and pour over salad unless you plan on leftovers. If you want leftovers, dress individual salads.

 Tip: Serve with a warm grain dish (rice, quinoa, couscous, etc.) to make it a meal

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Quinoa Vegetable Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing

You've got to try this Quinoa Vegetable Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing from! It is really fabulous. I like it warm and cold, so it is not only an excellent addition to dinner, but a great left over option for lunch! has a lot of amazing vegetarian recipes, and I'm excited to try more out from her site!

Monday, November 11, 2013


I'm excited to try a lot of these 10 delicious quinoa recipes! Quinoa is like a million time better for you than rice. In my book, it's a super food. Try it out!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Bodacious Broccoli Salad

Excellent, Admirable, Attractive. Yes, that is the definition of bodacious, and I thought these were the most appropriate words for my newest creation.

Broccoli. Do you also have difficulty spelling this word? I always struggle to remember whether there are two c's or two l's... Sometimes I also struggle finding a way to like raw broccoli... but never fear! Bodacious Broccoli Salad is here! You will love it, and for many more reasons than the fact that it is absolutely delicious.

"Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamins K, C, and A, as well as folic acid and fiber." What a combo! "And It is also a very good source of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and the vitamins B6 and E. It also contains glucosinolates, phytochemicals with tremendous anticancereffects and the carotenoid lutein" that also shows "anticancer effects" and "may also be helpful in preventing the development of age related macular degeneration..."

Broccoli has also been identified in helping prevent/decrease breast cancer, prostate cancer, cervical cancer gastric cancer, gastritis, esophagitis, and acid indigestion. It also helps with liver detoxification. My source is one of my favorite food reference books: The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. Seth and I like to get this out sometimes when we're eating and learn about what we're eating. It's so informative!

Are you convinced yet? Did you know that Costco sells pre-washed and chopped 5 pound bags of broccoli for $5? Can't get any easier than that. We have eaten all 5 lbs. of it in 5 days, and John has eaten at least a pound of that! He loves broccoli! Seriously, I'm not kidding. My 15 month old may consider brocolli his favorite food. He gets upset if we don't feed it to him fast enough. Obviously, he can't chew well enough for Bodacious Broccoli salad, but he is head over heels for cooked broccoli, and soon he'll have the pleasure of enjoying this delicious salad with us. Happy broccoli eating!
Bodacious Broccoli Salad
Serves 4


- 6 c. raw broccoli, washed and chopped into 1 inch. pieces
- 1/2 c. craisins
- 1 small apple, diced
- 1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 c. veganaise or light mayonnaise
- 1/4 c. lemon juice
- 2 Tb. apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp. dry stevia (or 3 Tb. sugar)

1/4 c. red onion, dice, for garnish
- 1/2 c. raw pecans, chopped (or your favorite nut: cashews, walnuts, etc.)

- 1.5 c. rice (white or brown)

1. Cook rice in a rice cooker with sufficient water.
2.Combine all ingredients (except garnishes)in a bowl
3. Serve over warm rice and top with garnishes

1. If you have leftovers, keep the onions and nuts separate from each other and from the salad or the nuts will get soggy, and the onion will overpower everything.