Thursday, November 15, 2012

Jamaican Garlic & Greens Soup

I Love this soup! But, the recipe isn't mine. I first had it last fall, when my friend Marlene brought a pot to a potluck. Marlene is an amazing woman, an incredible chef and one of my favorite classmates from Culinary school. She is from Jamaica and this is a vegetarian version of a classic soup she learned to make growing up. I think it is perfect aaany time of year, and is especially great if you haven't been feeling well. The nutrient rich spicy broth is very comforting, healing and freaking delicious.

The reason I remembered the soup is because I recently happened to have 1/2 gallon of gorgeous, roasted garlic, spinach broth and a need to use it up. I've been making lasagna for a local restaurant and this broth is a by-product of the spinach-garlic filling. I cook 4lbs of spinach with 2 yellow onions and lots of garlic. Afterwards I drain this garlicky green goodness & am left with a thick & incredibly delicious broth. I thought... soup is a must! I better ask Marlene for her recipe! This is my version of the recipe she gave me. I only made slight changes to adjust to ingredients I had available to me. Thank you Marlene!!

2.5 quarts vegetable broth
1 T coconut oil
1 small- medium onion
1 t cumin seeds
2 c diced okra
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 T arrowroot powder
2 bay leaves
1 habanero, punctured
1/2 t cinnamon
1-2 t ground coriander
1/2 bunch kale leave, chopped fine
4 c spinach leaves, chopped fine

Heat the coconut oil in a large pot. Add the onion, cumin, okra, thyme and bay leaves. Once the onion and okra are tender stir in the arrowroot powder (you could also use kudzu or cornstarch) then pour in the broth. Add the habanero (punctured w a for twice) and bring to a boil. I kept the lid on, so that the soup didnt reduce down too much. Once the okra is falling apart add the remaining ingredients and simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes. My friend explained to me that the greens should be melting into the soup. You could add the kale earlier in the recipe, when you add the broth, because it will take longer to break down.

She also adds dumplings. Brilliant! I love dumpling, but am gluten free so I am trying the soup with mochi dumplings. Mochi is dried rice paste. sounds yummy, right? Well, when you stick mochi in the oven it puffs up & is a great dumpling substitute. My favorite use for mochi is to make waffles! Here is a link to the last time I made mochi waffles.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tempeh Grapple Salad

1/2 c thick Cashew Cream*
1 t honey
1 clove garlic grated
1 T lemon juice
1.5 T poppy seeds

1 package tempeh
1 apple, very small dice
1 celery stalk, small dice
1 heaping T shallots, minced
handful of grapes, cut in half

for the Tempeh.
3/4 c water or oil
2 T soysauce or tamari
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 T minced onion

I like to season and steam my tempeh before using it. It has a great nutty, mushroomy flavor on its own, and you can enhance these savory flavors by following these simple steps. To save on fat I used water instead of oil in this marinade. You could do either. Whisk the ingredients together & bake the tempeh in this marinade at 350 for 15-20minutes. Turn it a few times while its cookin. Allow to cool before chopping & mixing into the salad.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Then combine the salad ingredients in a medium bowl. Gently stir the dressing into the salad ingredients until they coated. Enjoy this salad on a bed of greens, on bread, crackers, or on its own. This is a serious crowd pleaser! It'd be a great item for a picnic or potluck. Enjoy!

*I use cashew creme as a base quite often. Here it is being used as a thick, smooth & creamy substitute for mayonaise. Use the recipe for cashew milk, but use significantly less water. 1 part water + 1 part cashew in a high speed blender = thick cashew creme.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Turnip Root Soup

 Parsley Garlic Aioli
1/2 c thick cashew cream
splash lemon juice
1 t honey
pinch nutritional yeast
5 cloves roasted garlic
handful parsley

Also garnished with Shiitake Bacon, Carrot Shoestrings & Scallions
         shittakes are sliced thin, tossed in salt, oil then baked to a crisp
         carrot shoestings are julienned, then pan fried

You can also garnish with your favorite teriyaki sauce

Turnip Root Soup
8 small-med turnips
2 parnips
6 gold petite potatoes (or 2 medium Yukon golds)
salt & oil to coat the roots
3 c vegetable broth
1 c milk (I used cashew)
1 small yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
1 t thyme
1 t rosemary
1 bayleaf


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Popscicle Bliss

Chances are if you know me well or have spent much time in my kitchen you know that my ice cube tray never gets used for making ... ice. Normally they're used for freezing soup stocks, broths, pesto, citrus juice, herbs and most recently these beauties.

Balsamic Berry Banana
I started these by making a jam.
Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries into a pot. Add a pinch of salt, a squeeze of lemon and a splash of balsamic vinegar and let it reduce. Let it cool, mash with banana and spoon into your tray.

Chocolate Banana
Straight up cocoa powder and mashed banana. I added a touch of maple syrup for good measure.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana
I've been buying PB2 lately. Have you heard of it? Basically they smash the oil (fat) out of the peanuts and dry the nuts into a powder. You rehydrate the powder into a paste.. now you've got peanut butter w 85% less fat & calories. I totally dig it.
For these pops I made the above choco-banana recipe plus PB2. so easy.

Seed Crackers


  I love having a stocked pantry!
Its super important to me to keep a good
inventory of nuts, seeds, grains, beans and more.
This recipe is a good example why.
I stopped eating bread about a year ago and now I find myself craving a vehicle for spreads & building sandwiches & such. For the time being, these crackers have conquered my craving.

In a large bowl combine equal parts of seeds. In the above photo I have about 2 handfuls each of pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, flax & chia. Chopped nuts would also work. The flax & chia are the most important, because once they get wet they will act like glue to bind the other ingredients together. You dont have to have both, one or the other would be just fine.

 Get 'em wet and season 'em up. Use garlic, onion, dulse, soysauce, herbs.. what have you. The flax and chia soak up water & become a bit sticky or mucilaginous. Go easy with the water, obviously you don't want to add too much, after a couple minutes it should all be soaked up & you can spread the mix in an even layer onto a baking sheet.

Make sure you spray the foil or parchment paper before you spread the seeds. Bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes, flip or break up into smaller peices, then bake another 10-15 minutes. Let it sit out to cool then it'll break into nice rustic chunks. 

This afternoon I enjoyed the crackers with banana, homemade almond butter & concord grape jam. One of my best friends, Billie, made the jam early this fall. Thanks Billie. It's AWESOME!

Kitchen Sink Salad

I totally almost drove to Chipotle for a salad today. As I sat around and considered this option, I realized there was more than enough good stuff to make lunch right here at home. When you've got greens, plus a reasonably well stocked pantry and fridge you've alwaaays got the goods for a healthy salad. Some items I always have to choose from are dried fruit, nuts, seeds & random produce.

Today's Lunch
Spring Mix
Bell Pepper
frozen Peas
frozen Corn
Sunflower Seeds

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Taco Salad

Buttermylk Ranch
1/2 c thick cashew milk*
1.5 t lemon juice
1 small clove garlic grated
1 T scallions, minced
1 t paprika
salt & pepper

whisk the ingredients together and let em sit for at least 20 minutes.
*here is my recipe for cashew milk. for a thicker milk add much less water. try 1 part cashews 1.5-2 parts water. 

Walnut Taco Meat
1 c walnuts, soaked 2 hours
1 t chili powder
1/2 t cumin
few pinches cayenne
2 t hemp oil

drain & rinse the walnuts. throw em in the food processor with the seasonings & salt. drizzle in the oil as the machine is running. Once you're happy with the texture of ground walnuts (should look a bit like ground beef) it is ready to go!

 For lunch today (and dinner last night!) I loaded lettuce, bell peppers, tomatoes, guacamole, plus a little salsa with the walnut taco meat & my Ranch dressing. It was suuuper good. Just go easy on the guac & salsa or else your salad could get goopy. And who wants goop? enjoy!

Granola with Cinnaroll Sauce

Send help! I can't.. stop... eating.. GrAnOla!! Actually, this happens about once a year... I should be able to get through it. As long as I stay hydrated & eat my greens, then granola 2-3times a day can't do any harm. Hey, its probably more whole grains & fiber than many people get a day. There ya go, I justified it. Easy.

3 c rolled oats
1/2 c raisins
1/2 c coconut
3/4 c chopped walnuts
1/2 c chopped pecans
1.5 T cinnamon
pinch sea salt

Cinnaroll Sauce
Maple Syrup 3/4 c
Dates 10-12 pitted
1/4 c water
1/2 T cinnamon
1 vanilla bean
2T Coconut oil
pinch sea salt
pinch nutmeg

Place all of the Granola ingredients into a large bowl. All of the Sauce ingredients go into a high-speed blender. Once the Sauce is creamy smooth, pour 1/2 of it onto the dry granola ingredients. Save the rest because it is freaking awesome.. and if you don't eat it all w a spoon right away, you'll find many ways to enjoy it over the next few days.

Heat the Oven to 300. Mix the sauce into the oat mixture well. Then spread it out onto a baking sheet in an even layer. Bake the mix for 25minutes, stirring a couple times. If it still seems a little wet, no worries, once it cools down it will crisp up.

I've been eating this granola with fresh banana & cashew milk. In the above photo its served with almond yogurt, cinnaroll sauce and a baked banana. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Homemade Pumpkin Butter -low sugar

I am so excited about this! I'm excited about Autumn in Missouri, leaves on the ground, the drop in temperature aaaand local fall produce. The garden has been turned down, the house decorated, pantry stocked, we're ready for winter. My mind has been racing with the flavor possibilities this season has to offer.

I first tried pumpkin butter a few years ago while working at the Root Cellar in Columbia, MO. It drove me wild. I needed another jar almost immediately. At the time I was eating dairy, and spread it on cream cheese. It was near perfection. Now, as a lactose-intolerant vegan food enthusiast I am looking forward to more creative ways to delight in my beloved pumpkin spread.

Makes 5 cups

2 pie pumpkins (also called sugar pumpkins)
2T pumpkin pie spice (blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice & ginger)
1/2 c apple juice or water
1/2 c coconut sugar (or what have you)
1 t stevia
2T maple syrup

Start by roasting 2 pie pumpkins. You can follow my simple instructions by clicking here.
Take all the flesh from the pumpkin and puree it. For this step you can use a high-speed blender, food processor, immersion blender or food mill. Any of these will work fine.

Transfer the pureed pumpkin to a pot and stir in the remaining ingredients. Simmer on low, with a lid tilted so that steam can escape, for 2 hours.Stir the pot about every 10 minutes or so.

Look forward to upcoming posts about different ways to use the pumpkin butter! I'm thinking I'll use this in a smoothie with almond milk, spread on toast or a tortilla with banana, stirred into my morning oatmeal, and as a dip for pears. You could also spread it onto baked goods like a bagel or muffin, it'd be delicious on pancakes or waffles.. use your imagination! I'm sure once its in your fridge you'll find all kinds of excuses to eat it. Enjoy

These are the sweeteners I used: Coconut Sugar, Maple syrup and Stevia.

This is my first time using Stevia. I am very interested in cutting back on sugar in my diet, especially since I eat so much fruit & have no interest in cutting back on that! I decided not to use Stevia as my ONLY sweetener in this recipe because I am new to it and I understand that it can result in a bitter flavor.

Coconut Palm Sugar is a minimally processed, highly nutritious and sustainabily harvested sweetener. What more could you want?? Maybe some maple syrup...? yeah. me too.

How To: Roasting Pumpkins

The pumpkins I'm using are called pie pumkins or sugar pumpkins. They're really the best for any recipe, rather than using big pumpkins. These guys have a much more bold pumpkin flavor. These are'nt the tiny guys that sit in the palm of your hand.. or the big honkers that you carve into jack-o-lanterns.. sugar pumpkins are somewhere in the middle. Quite simply, they're adorable.

 Yes! This is sooo much funnn. I neglected to take before pictures. So imagine this... two perfectly firm, ripe, bright orange pumpkins sitting on the kitchen counter just WAITING to be roasted.

 Turn the oven on to 400degrees. Stab the pumpkins a couple times with a very sharp knife. Be careful! And you reaaally got to stab it. Theres no messing around with these guys, they're tough. So stand back, take aim and swing. Then place them on a baking sheet and into the oven for an hour. By that time they'll become very soft & start to deflate. Now they're roasted.

 Cool them off! I roasted my pumpkins this morning while I was getting ready for work. Then I transfered them to another tray, covered with foil and stuck em in the fridge. By the time I got home they were so cool and soft I could easily poke my finger right through the skin.

 This is the best part. They peel so easily! The skin literally separates from the flesh and peels right off.

Chop em in half. Scoop out them seeds.
I pureed the flesh in my high-speed Vita-Mix blender. You could also puree it in a food processor, a food mill or with an immersion blender. NOW.. you can make pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin butter, bread, muffins, pasta, rissotto, oatmeal, soup, pie, bars, smoothies, ice cream...... YES!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Keep Juicing, Keep Loving

 Daikon Radish, Mint, Cucumber, Lime, Parsley, Celery. Apple, Cilantro,Spinach, Wheatgrass

 Apple, Yellow Beet, Orange, Ginger, Carrot

This post is to give an example of juices you'll make when you have the primary ingredients stocked in your fridge. Other produce that you happen to have on hand keeps things exciting and adds depth & nutrition to your drinks.

Here is a list of items I always keep on hand

Saturday, August 18, 2012

More Green Smoothies make you feel so good

Mango, Blueberry, Goji, Kale, Peach, Spinach, Orange, Coconut water

Spinach, Honeydew, Blueberry, Goji, Kiwi, Kale, Coconut water

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Let's Drink!

I've been off & on a juice fast for the last 2 weeks. I love juice fasting, it aint easy, but when it works it feels sooo gooood. So.. "off & on" a fast obviously means I'm struggling. I'm blaming my busy life and workouts. Hey.. I'm training for a triathlon! The date is set for Dec 1st in Key West, Fl. So this is no traditional juice fast. Ive been supplementing with Vega my protein powder of choice, and one of the loves of my life. I love you Vega. But the juice plus the powder wasn't cutting it. So, I have added in green smoothies and for today... I'm happy.

Amazingly Delicious Green Smoothie
9oz coconut water
1/2 a lime, juiced
pinch sea salt
1 mango
and a handful of each of the following:
fresh blueberries
frozen goji berries

Green Juice du Jour
1 apple
1 lime
3/4 c honeydew
sprig mint
3stalks celery
1 cucumber
2 handfuls spinach
stems from 1 bunch kale

Hiking the Ozark Trail VEGAN STYLE

It's my 26th Birthday and Amanda, Layla & I are hitting the trail! Specifically, we are heading to Tom Sauk on the Ozark Trail in southern Mo. We hiked 18 miles and camped out 1 night. Tom Sauk is the highest point in our great state and it's a gorgeous place to hike any time of year. Usually you can look forward to lots of water at Mina Sauk falls, less than a mile from our campsite, but this year we found only a small stream and a few large puddles. Thankfully it was enough to refill our canteens!

Our Vegan/mostly Raw hiking foods included celery, cucumbers, bananas, trail mix, sesame nut honey bars, chunks of energy (kind of like trail mix pulverized & smashed into little cubes. love em.) carrot cake cookies, Vega protein powder (I never travel without it.. or live without it for that matter) and Raw Revolution spirulina dream bars.
Yum. We ate well. It was actually the Perfect amount of food. When your body is working that hard hiking.. you actually don't get that hungry. Its hard for the body to focus on digestion, carrying a heavy pack and hiking up & down hills all day.

Cooking locally-made Tempeh for breakfast before the hike. We planned a big breakfast for the long trail ahead of us. These gorgeous locally-made tempeh steaks marinated overnight in
2parts olive oil
1 part shoyu/tamari
1 part balsamic vinegar
blend of favorite dry herbs

We made some simple "reuben style" breakfast sandwiches on Udi's whole grain Gluten Free bread with saurkraut and hummus. yessssss

Back to MO, Blogging Hiatus & a Business Venture!

HOWDY! As many of you already know, I have completed my vegan culinary courses and internships with the Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts. I am no longer living in Austin,TX.. though it was nearly perfect in every way.. and I have returned home to Columbia, Missouri.

I love Columbia. This is my community. I love the size, the progressive atmosphere, the diversity, being surrounded by colleges &  universities, great music, local farms & food, film festivals, museums, nature & hiking trails.. right smack dab in the middle of the country and an 1.5 hour drive from my family. Gotta love it.

When I started this blog I was leaving Missouri and heading to TX. My food preparation style, diversity of ingredients and overall outlook on food & health has come a long long way since the start of this blogging journey.

Now, I've gone gluten free and eat mainly vegan foods, and my diet includes loads of nutritionally dense "super foods." I've discovered that I'm lactose intolerant and eating more than one egg makes me nauseous. Every once in a while an egg may sneak in but I've discovered more than one way to substitute them from cooking & baking. Same with gluten.. for a very special occasion I may indulge, but for the most part I live without it, and feel great.

The Natural Epicurean, and specifically the group of 11 incredible women I went to school with, had a major impact on my life. I anticipated that it would.. I just wasn't sure how. I think we all took away different lessons and skills, we all advanced our techniques and deepened our knowledge and understanding of our relationship with food. And we formed a community which I will I am eternally grateful for and will cherish always.

So here I am. In Columbia. Some days it feels like I never left. And that's okay. Because I'm home. I may not stay forever, but this is a very good place for me now.

Finally, Im excited to announce that I'm starting a small business. Its called Sorella Natural Foods. Sorella means "sister" in Italian. I've created 20 in-home plant based culinary classes, offer personal chef work, cater small events and will be launching a line of ready-to-eat snacks & meals at local grocery stores. I'll try to post a flyer on here.. but I'm not sure how that works yet haha. If you'd like more information send me an email at

All Good Things,

Monday, April 30, 2012

raw Italian Neatballs

Italian Neatballs
3/4 c sun dried toms
1 c orange juice
1/4 c nutritional yeast
2T Italian seasoning
1/4 red onion
3 garlic cloves
1/4 red bell pepper
1 T Irish Moss
1 C hazelnut meal
1 c sunflower seeds, soaked
1 c walnuts, soaked

Marinara Sauce
2 med tomatoes
handful sundried toms
1/8 c red onion
2-3 garlic cloves
5 basil leaves
1 t oregano, dry
sea salt

Blend the ingredients for the Neatballs in a food processor until well combined. It should be pretty smooth, but still chunky. find a happy medium. Shape em into little balls & dehydrate at 109 for about a day, dehydration time depends on the humidity in your area.

Throw all the ingredients for the sauce into a blender, add a little water if you need to thin it out.

Halfway through the dehydration roll the Neatballs in the marinara sauce, then continue to dehydrate.

To serve these cute little guys I got out my Spiralizer & made some zucchini noodles. I tossed them in the rest of the sauce, and garnished with some diced kalamata olives. These pasta bowls were a hit with my omnivorous friends!

4 Bean Spring Salad

1 can garbanzos
1 can salad beans, mix of kidney, black and cannelini
2 scallions, diced
2 handfuls dragon tongue beans, or other fresh bean
handful dry cranberries
handful chopped pecans
minced fresh herbs: basil, cilantro, mint, parsley, tarragon, chives
3 T red wine or sherry vinegar
2 T olive oil
salt & pepper

I usually don't buy canned beans unless I'm in a rush.. in this case, I needed to create a quick meal for protein and couldn't pass up the convenience.
This entire dish was inspired by the dragon tongue beans pictured below! I had to have them :) So I created this bean salad. Its extremely fresh tasting and the cranberries & pecans are the perfect touch.
The instructions are pretty simple.. drain the cans & throw it all together. The only other step is to blanch the fresh long beans & chop them, then toss em in with everything else.

Breaded & Baked Morels!!

MOREL Mushrooms.. they come & go so quickly every spring. And they're everybody's favorite! There guys are super rare, very seasonal and deliciously savory.
I manage to get my hands on some every year.. usually they get breaded & fried right away. These year I decided to take a healthier, vegan and gluten free route.

1 lb Morels, soaked in water
1 bag Whole Grain Corn Chips, crushed in food processor
3 T ground flax seeds
3/4 c water
1/2 c buckwheat flour

Soak the morels to remove debris.
Whisk together the group flax & water. This with replace the egg in a typical breading.
Set up a station with 1 plate flour, 1 bowl flax/water, 1 plate crushed breadcrumbs
Gently shake the water off of the morels. Then roll them in flour, dip in flaxwater, then roll in chips.
Set them on a greased sheet tray and bake for 25min at 400deg. Flip halfway through.

I enjoyed these with a good friend, creamy nutbased ranch & some BBQ sauce. YUM!

Creamy Zuchinni Soup

6 small to med zucchini
2 small yellow onion
4-5 cloves garlic
2 T Tamari or soy sauce
1 1/2 T Balsamic Vinegar
salt & pepper
4-5 cups vegetable broth, or more/less for desired thickness
fresh/dry Italian herbs

Dice the squash. Heat a couple T oil in a large pan, then toss in the zucchini & onion. Cook until tender. Turn heat to low and add the garlic, tamari & balsamic.  Cook for an additional minute then transfer the zucchini to a blender .. slowly add the broth until you reach your desired thickness.
Serve with diced tomatoes, chopped olives, bread crumbs, truffle oil...

I don't eat a whole lot of eggs.. but when I happen to have some in the fridge for a special occasion I poach them in my soups! It takes about 8-10 minutes, on low, with a lid. In the photo below I served the soup w a poached egg, daiya vegan cheese and sriracha hot sauce.

Nacho Kale Chips

These went too quickly to get a finished photo!! aahh!! Ill have to be more careful next time.

1 c sunflower seeds
1/4 c pine nuts
water, about 1/2-3/4 cups
1/4 c nutritional yeast
carrot, 2in chunk
red bell pepper, a 1/3
1 t mustard
tumeric, a pinch
onion, 1/8 c
garlic, 2 cloves
1 T miso
1 T applecider vinegar

Throw all of the above ingredients into a high powered blender.
Strip 2 bunches of Kale from their stems, keeping the leaves in large pieces.
Rub the leaves liberally with the Nacho dressing, then place in the dehydrator at 109 for at least 1 day.
Flip half way through.
Youll need to keep them in a sealed container once theyre dry or else theyll rehydrate & get soft.