Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pasta Salad

So the days have finally gotten warm in Toronto, so when I ask "what do you want for dinner" I get "I dunno ... something cool and easy". Well, it is always easy if you don't fix it, but that is another story. Anyway, this pasta salad was so easy and so good.

I started with about a pound bag of spiral pasta ... egg free and whole wheat. Cook to the directions.
Once cooked run it under cold water to stop it from cooking more ... don't over cook it!
Next I added some bite sized broccoli pieces, some sweet red bell pepper cut into small pieces, a large jar of artichoke hearts with the seasoned oil they come in, a can of mixed been salad (these are for protein but so yummy), a couple green onions (or scallions) chopped up, some roasted red bell peppers in oil cut into strips, some sun dried tomatoes cut up and some whole sweet grape tomatoes. The topper was to pour over a bottle of Newman's Own Balsamic Dressing ... add salt and pepper and baby you got a meal! You could also add some toasted almonds, cashews or pine nuts for even more protein, but if all the salad isn't eaten they will go soft on you.

We are still eating it. It grows in the bowl.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chocolate Banana and Peanut Butter Shakes!

So one thing I missed immediately was the decadence of rich, smooth milkshake! Not anymore!!! I call this my Elvis shake because of the peanut butter banana element. You can leave the peanut butter out too if you want.

I took a bunch of ripe bananas that were sitting on my kitchen island and sliced them up, dropped them in a freezer proof baggie and popped them in the freezer. When I want a shake, I pull them out, drop a decent amount in the blender, add a scoop or two of peanut butter and then add enough chocolate almond milk to cover it, blend, pour and drink! This is so good and definitely hit that spot that felt kind of empty. You won't lose weight on this one, but it sure tastes good on a warm summer day!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

EASY Golden Chickpea and Artichoke Salad

I love the easy part of this .... so simple.

Heat one tablespoon of olive oil and brown a can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) in the oil for about 8 - 10 minutes until they are nice and golden brown in color. How hard is that ... really? Remove and place in a decent sized bowl.

Next you take a small jar of artichoke hearts and slice them up breaking them up a bit ... add them to a little more oil in the same pan and saute until browned on the edges. Remove from heat and add to the beans.

Take about one third cup of toasted almonds (I used whole raw almonds that I toasted in the pan before the beans without oil) and grind them in a food processor, blender or by hand (not to a flour consistency, but kind of like crushed nuts). Add to the bean and artichoke mixture and stir to combine.

Take a couple of tablespoons of fresh parsley chopped fairly fine and mix it into the mixture. Add more if you want more of that Mediterranean taste.

Squeeze one lemon over the salad mixture and add salt and pepper to taste. Chill and enjoy.

This was so easy and absolutely delicious. You get extra protein from the almonds, so it can be a one dish meal or you can use it as a side dish. I considered adding more olive oil, but it really didn't need it. Some chopped sweet red pepper or even some red pepper flakes might be interesting too.

I need to learn the Japanese equivalent of "eat up and be healthy" LOL!!!!!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Italian Beans and Rice

So ... haven't been on for a while to post as I am busy getting ready to relocate to Japan for a while ... but I tried a recipe the other night that I loved and have to share. It is easy too!

I had to come in a edit this because I forgot the rice! You need to cook one cup of brown rice ... so one cup of rice and two cups of water. After trying this I think next time I might use veggie stock for a little more flavor.

Saute in a couple tablespoons of olive oil 1/4 cups of pine nuts with a mix of Italian fresh herbs ... I used basil, marjoram and rosemary. Add 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes sliced into strips. After the pine nuts start to brown a little add a can of drained and rinsed great northern/cannelli beans plus three tablespoons of good balsamic vinegar and saute those for a few minutes. place a couple of handfuls of fresh baby spinach on top of the bean mixture and then add your brown rice on top of that and let it sit and wilt the spinach for a few minutes. Next zest one lemon over the top, add salt and pepper and serve! I use a micro planer because it gives you a fluffier zest.

This was awesome and even Richard liked it ... with some pork chops as a side dish LOL! I added a little more balsamic and a little extra virgin olive oil tonight and ate it cold as my dinner ... and yes, it rocked! A simple side salad with it made it a nice, healthy and filling meal!

I think you could make this with kidney beans or any other medium sized bean that you have in the cupboard, but the cannelli beans are true Italian.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Blow a hole in your shorts Red-Hot White Bean Chili!

I was sitting there getting poked by my acupuncturist trying to decide on what to make for dinner. Richard wanted meat or something hearty, but not the same as the soups I had been making ... so I pulled out my Vegan Fire and Spice cookbook and went hunting for something that would fit the bill. Tonight I made Red-Hot White Bean Chili ... and it is  Fire and Spice all at once ... and pretty yummy too.

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Yellow Onion, chopped
1 Carrot Chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper Chopped
2 Large Garlic Cloves Minced
2 Fresh Jalapenos seeded and minced
3 Tablespoons Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/4 Teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 Teaspoon cayenne
1/8 Teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (I used the ones for chili)
1 cup water (I used vegetable broth)
3 cab Cannelli beans drained and rinsed (I used white Kidney Beans because that is what I could find)
2 Scallions (green onions) minced

Heat the oil in a large stock pot and add the onion, garlic, red bell pepper and carrot and heat covered until soft stirring occasionally (about ten minutes). While that is cooking measure out the spices and toss in once the veggies are soft, stir and cook about two minutes. Add the water or broth and the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and add the beans, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes while flavors blend.  Serve with green onions and a dab of vegan sour cream. We also had some organic tortilla chips with it ... to die for. Wear shorts so you don't destroy your sofa or chairs!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Finally something to post!

I haven't posted lately because a) I was working my tail off at work and didn't have a lot of time and b) I had kind of fallen into a rut with food I had found that I liked. Now Richard has decided he will try what I cook, so tonight a new recipe is born.
Tonight I am making a soup called "almost instant Thai corn soup". The picture looked awesome ... so I figured I would give it a whirl. Recipe follows .... and it is really fast and easy!

Dice up one red bell pepper and put it in a soup pot ... I used my Kitchen Aid porcelain small sized dutch oven.
Add 3 garlic cloves minced and the white parts of 4-5 scallions sliced thin.
The recipe calls to saute this mixture in olive oil, but I have found that olive oil gets a little bitter above some temperatures so I used coconut oil ... kind of fits with the meal anyway.

After the mixture is soft, add 2 cans of lite coconut milk, 1 1/2 cups rice milk, 2 teaspoons of good curry powder and the green tops of the scallions.  Then add 1/4teapsoon of red Thai curry paste mixed with a tiny bit of water.

You are going to want to add salt and pepper to taste ... it needed a bit of salt. I also put in some cayenne pepper and let it simmer a bit ... helped a lot. I think next time I will also chop a few potatoes about half an inch square and add them to make it more of a chowder.

Heat to a slow simmer, cover and let it cook through on low for 5-10 minutes. I served mine with a loaf of rustic bread that was full of garlic gloves. I figured I wasn't getting kissed tonight anyway, so why not go all the way.

Okay ... soup was totally easy and delicious! Top it with a little chopped cilantro and you have it made! Richard even ate it ... life is full of surprises, eh!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My "Puck'n" Soup!

So tonight I was on a meeting until around 7:30 and I knew Richard would be hungry when he got here. Not ordering vegan pizza again ... so I grabbed my Wolfgang Puck food processor and threw in an onion to grate it along with some garlic. Threw that in a stock pot with some olive oil and went back to the "Puckinator" as it is affectionately known. I changed the blades and ran through some carrots to slice them ... then on the same blade I ran through some baby red potatoes I scrubbed.

I put all that in the pot and added two boxes of veggie broth, some frozen corn, a little turmeric and cumin along with some salt and pepper. Looked watery so I through in some left over lentils, a little brown rice and some mixed beans. Now it is nice, thick and hearty ... but it looked bland, so I added in a bag of baby organic spinach! Fantastico!

Dinner is soup with some whole wheat pita bread and a glass of water or whatever ... red wine would go nice. The point is I whipped this up in a matter of minutes and it is totally vegan, healthy as can be and totally and utterly delicious! It seems that Puck and I are gonna be very good friends ...:P

Cheers ... it is dinner time at my house!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Vegan Cajun Mac N Yease ... yum

Back from a short, but long week in Seattle. Ate at Plum there and loved it ... especially the Cajun Mac N Yease ... I tried this recipe and it was good ... not quite as good, but until I can talk the owners out of their recipe, it will definitely do. I thought it was awesome ... Richard ... not so much, but he did eat a good serving. Again in this one part of the creaminess comes from cashew cream, this time mixed with some spices, nutritional yeast that melts and tastes a lot like cheese, and some water from boiling the pasta. If you are going to serve it to kids ... slow down on the cayenne pepper a little, because it has a kick! I might add some cherry tomatoes next time just to be different.

This is the link to this great cooks recipe:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

earth balance spreads

Earth balance makes three different buttery spreads that are all incredible. You can use them in cooking, on crusty bread with a little garlic or to saute some onions for soup. Who knew? So may options. Again ... not too much of this stuff, it is made from oils, but totally and utterly (not udderly) vegan ..:)

Things I keep learning ... over and over again!

No matter what, fried foods might be vegan, but they aren't good for you!

Vegan stuff full of sweeteners and oil is still not good for you ... you get fat!

Yes Kevin ... potato chips are vegan if they don't have milk products. Wanna get fat?

If you skim the foam off the top of the beans when they cook they don't make you so gassy! Nice!

Chefs like to be challenged ... most of the time. Only once have I been told "your not in a freaking vegan restaurant .... so pick something off the menu!" I didn't. 

When making vegan ice cream, use fresh soy milk or it tastes very strong of soy. Or ... try almond milk.

People seem fascinated by the changes in my skin and my body. What am I going to do with the extra skin? Is it vegan friendly if I make a man purse out of it?

You cannot make somebody decide to do this. After four months the other half still wants a slab of beef and when I ask what he wants for dinner ... it is always "veal" ... the cruelest meat of all.

It is not as hard as one thinks. There are tons of healthy, yummy options.

I am not alone ... and I love it no matter what others think.

Wolverine is a vegan ... muscles rock!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Roasted Vegetable Soup

This was so freaking easy. Took a while because the veggies needed to roast for an hour, but made an awesome soup that even the other half, the CARNIVORE at the table, loved!

Take six beefsteak tomatoes and cut then in half and remove the stem core.
Slice up two large peeled carrots into rounds.
Split two leaks in half and cut all of them into little half moons.
Peel six cloves of garlic ... no need to mince because it is going to roast, cook and get blended.
Place all of this lovely mixture into a large roasting pan and toss them with two tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Make sure the tomatoes are face down in the pan with the other veggies around them and roast in the oven at 425 F for one hour.  
After everything is roasted gently peel the skin off of the tomatoes with a pair of tongs ... it comes off easy, so don't be afraid of this step or think it is too much or too hard for anybody to do.
Next just dump the entire contents of the pan into 30 oz of good vegetable stock along with a couple of shakes of liquid smoke for added flavor. Bring to a boil and let it simmer a little while to soften the veggies even more.
Take an immersion blender and blend the soup to a nice consistency (I like mine a little chunky).
Add salt and pepper to taste ... somebody thought it needed more salt than I did, but I love fresh ground pepper in my soups. 
Take a small bunch of basil that has been chopped small and stir it in and serve!

We were talking tonight and though a little pureed roasted red bell pepper and a dollop of vegan sour cream would make this perfect. This really hit the spot on a cold snowy night with a crusty piece of bread.

Lentil Tacos ... one of my favorites!

My wonderful daughter-in-law, Peggy, made these for me for the first time last year when I was in Seattle for vacation and I loved them. They are easy to make, taste incredible and are a really adaptable meal because when you have extra it works fantastic for leftovers or lunch roll ups.

So ......

Take a cup full of chopped onions - I use two small onions or one large, depending on what I have, ya know I very rarely measure anything anymore unless it is liquid, rice or beans.
A couple of stalks of celery chopped and three cloves of garlic that have been minced or pressed.
Saute in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. After the veggies start to soften stir in a tablespoon of chili powder and a teaspoon on cumin. Next add the lentils and stir them a bit to mix. Add two cups of veggie broth, again I love Imagine brand ... let it come to a boil while stirring, then turn the heat lower to simmer and put the lid on so the liquid doesn't evaporate.

After twenty minutes take the lid off and  stir to fluff it up a bit.
Next add one cup good salsa ... the hotter the salsa, the hotter the lentil mix.
Let that simmer a few minutes to blend, then serve it on tortillas with more chopped up tomatoes, lettuce diced onions and a little vegan sour cream (I like the Tofutti brand). 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Birthday Over

So, I survived another birthday. Went to Fresh, my favorite vegan restaurant in Toronto and had a wonderful meal topping it off with a piece of vegan fudge cake ... to die for. This life is not that hard. I don't miss bacon, chicken or even steak. I can do this ... my body is counting one me ...:)

The other night I made a basic chocolate ice cream, then just before it was done freezing I dumped in some vegan chocolate chips and some freshly toasted coconut. Now I really have to stop making this stuff because it is just too good not to eat, but damn was it good! There is a little left in the freezer. Richard has requested a strawberry ice cream with white chocolate chunks in it ... not sure I can find vegan white chocolate, but will look.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Azuki Beans with Kabocha Squash by Alicia Silverstone!

So tonight I tried a recipe out of my new cookbook from my darling daughter for my birthday this week. It was the Azuki Beans with Kabocha Squash ... and I have to tell you I was a little worried after soaking the beans overnight with a huge piece of Kombu (sea vegetable that is like a really thick piece of seaweed). The squash was hard to cut and I decided to peel it ... not sure why, but I thought it would look nicer even though I used an organic squash. It was a pain to peel, but once the dish was done, with a little salt and pepper, it was all so well worth it ... it was totally and so utterly good! I had a bowl full, then seconds. I also shared with the neighbor who is vegetarian and leaning towards veganism ... he loved it too.  Richard was at class tonight, so I felt safe trying something different, but I think he would have liked it too.

It makes a nice thick bean and squash mixture that ... would also be great in burritos or whole wheat wraps. Might even add a little avocado next time and maybe some caramelized onions.

Instead of posting the recipe, I am putting the link to it from which is the website Alicia Silverstone started to share her Vegan goodies. There are lots of good recipes and ideas on the site, so check it out. The website says to use 4 six inch pieces of Kombu, but the book just says a 4-6 inch piece which is what I used ... not sure which is correct, but this worked!

This recipe can be found at:

Have fun and eat healthy!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Status as of Friday!

So, I went to the doctor because I did something to my shoulder. I guess working out is hard on an old man because I messed up my rotator cuff ... but, the good news is he walked in and asked where the rest of me had gone! I guess I hadn't noticed so much, but my love handles are practically gone, my face definately looks thinner and I feel incredible ... other than the shoulder.

I haven't had a hard time adapting to eating like this. I find cooking is a fun challenge, not a problem. I have been collecting cookbooks like a library and pour through them while watching TV or making my shopping list ... which I actually do now so I don't forget to buy the next new thing I have read about and want to try. It is fun. I feel awesome and look pretty hot too.

The other half has not settled into it as easily. I made a vegan Sheppard's Pie and he asked for meat. Okay, it's not for everybody. When we go out for breakfasts on the weekend's I order oatmeal, dry toast and fruit while he has the scrambled eggs and as much bacon as he can legally get on one plate ... and I don't miss it.  Feeling good taste better than any of that stuff, at least for me.

In a couple of weeks I will bet my blood tests done and we will see how well I am doing with the cholesterol and triglycerides. I am optimistic ...:) Today though, I have more vegan ice cream, this time fresh blackberry, in the freezer! 

Tibetan Lental Soup - One of my favorites from Fresh Restaraunt

This is an incredible soup that is soooo good for you and full of good stuff, high in fiber and awesome on a day like today ... it's dang cold in Toronto today!

So ... you need;

5 tbs olive oil
2 onions diced
3 cloves if garlic minced
2 small carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
a pinch of cayenne pepper for a little heat
2 tsp ground coriander
1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp tumeric
2 potatoes peeled and diced
2 cups green lentils (make sure you sort through them for small stones)
11 cups roasted vegetable stock (I have found that the Imagine brand is my favorite and it is thick and rich)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
pinch sea salt

Heat the oil in a stock pot and add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic and cook until the onions are soft ... 5-6 six minutes.
Stir in the cayenne pepper, coriander, cumin and turmeric and cook for a couple of minutes (smells awesome!)
Add the potatoes, lentils and vegetable stock and cook until the lentils are soft ... 15-20 minutes.

At the restaurant they garnish with cilantro and a lemon wedge ... up to you. Some vegan sour cream might go good too.  This makes great leftovers as most soups do and is great to take to work too!

Strawberry Vegan Ice Cream

So ... the strawberry ice cream uses a really basic base, then you add the berries. In this case, I did some blending to make the base better.

The recipe uses:
1 cup soy milk (I used the strawberry soy milk for this one) divided
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
2 cup fresh strawberries sliced (frozen would work too if thawed first)
2 cups soy creamer (I use the silk)
3/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a small bowl mix 1/4 cup of the soy milk with the arrowroot powder and set aside
Combine half of the strawberries, the soy creamer and the remaining 3/4 cup soy milk in a blender and puree. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and cook over low heat. Once the mixture begins to boil, remove from heat and immediately add the arrowroot mixture ... it will get thick! Then add the vanilla extract.

Let it cool completely. I sat mine outside in this chilly weather, but you can let it cool a bit and then sit in in the fridge for a couple of hours.

After it is cooled, freeze using whatever ice cream machine you have, following those instructions. During the last few minutes of freezing add the last half of the frozen berries. Move to a container and place in the freezer ... you can have it soft right out of the machine too. Yummy stuff!

Oatmeal Pancakes

These were so dang easy and absolutely delicious. I had them on Christmas morning while Richard had his scrambled eggs and chorizo!

Mix together:

1 1/2 cups oatmeal (I like Snoqualmie Falls ... hard to get here, so used a local brand)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon

Beat in:

1 1/4 cups low-fat soy milk
1/4 cup raisins

Heat lightly oiled frying pan or griddle on medium-high. When pan is hot, drop on by tablespoons and flatten out (it is thick). Flip one when bubble appear and cook until golden brown.

I loved the nutty taste. Put whole fruit jam or pure maple syrup on them and enjoy!

Not-so-much Cream Cream of Broccoli Soup!

I found this is the latest VegNews magazine and LOVED IT! Even Richard thought it was "surprisingly delicious" and went back for more.

No-Cream of Broccoli Soup
(Vegan Style)

I found this pretty simple and the other half thought it was amazing, so I guess it passes the test!


1 Cup of raw cashews (this makes the cream base)
1 Cup vegetable broth
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1 Onion chopped
1 Tablespoon Marjoram
3 Cups Broccoli Florets (frozen works fine)
2 Cups Cauliflower (Again … Frozen works)
2 Quarts Vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste.

Place the cashews in a blender or food processor and grind fine. Add the one cup of vegetable broth and puree it to a thick cream consistency. This will create the creamy texture of the soup when added later.

In a large stock pot melt the coconut oil and add the onions to saute. After five minutes, add the marjoram, broccoli and cauliflower and saute for another five to ten minutes. Add the remaining two quarts of vegetable broth and the cashew cream and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are soft. Use a immersion hand blender or transfer to a large food processor or blender (in smaller amounts) and blend until fairly smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I served this with some whole wheat French bread with some Earth Balance vegan butter and a little garlic salt under the broiler. It rocked ...:)

Next time I might add a touch of cayenne pepper for a little heat, but it was fantastic the way it is. Again ... from the pages of the latest VegMagazine ... one of my favorites lately.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I'm Back!!!!!

I had so much trouble getting back into the blog! I was using the wrong account LOL! Being Vegan should help that LOL. Anyway ... I will post some new recipes tomorrow starting with my cream of broccoli soup that I LOVED so much. Even Richard liked it!