Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mashed Cauliflower and Broccoli with Mushroom Gravy

This is a yummy, healthy vegan twist for the common mashed potatoes with gravy. I didn’t use any butter or butter substitute yet the whole combo tastes buttery and rich and satisfying. You might want to keep this in mind the next time you have mashed potatoes and gravy.


Mashed Cauliflower and Broccoli

4 cups cauliflower
2 cups broccoli
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbs olive oil
1 garlic clove

In a large pot boil or steam cauliflower and broccoli until vegetable are softened but still have a little snap. Strain and pour into a food processor. Combine all other ingredients and blend until the vegetables are pureed together.

Mushroom Gravy
1-2 tbs olive oil
2 cups mushrooms
1/2 cup green onion chopped
1/2 yellow onion chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 cup vegetable broth

In a large saute pan heat olive oil over medium and add mushroom and onions. Add salt and pepper and red pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes before adding garlic. Continue to saute for about 10 minutes on medium. Once vegetables start to stick to the pan slowly add in vegetable broth and scrape the pan stirring everything together. Let simmer on medium low for about 5 more minutes until the broth thickens a little. Serve over mashed cauliflower and broccoli.

Yields about 2-4 servings

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Warm Kale Salad with Roasted Yam and Chick Peas

This is such a hearty fall salad you won’t miss the meat, dairy or flour from your dinner. It is super healthy and full of seasonal veggies from the local farm stand. I added chick peas for protein which complement the vegetables quite well.


1 yam chopped to 1-2 inch cubes
1 onion chopped
1 bunch of kale leaves chopped and rinsed (remove the stem and discard)
1 can chick peas drained and rinsed
3-4 tbs olive oil
3 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp paprika
3 cloves of garlic minced

On a baking sheet arrange chopped yam with 2 tbs olive oil, 2 tsp salt and 2 tsp paprika. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 30-40 minutes.

In a large skillet heat up 1-2 tbs olive oil over medium heat. Add in chopped onion, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper. Saute for about 5 minute then add minced garlic and chopped kale. Saute everything together for another 10 minutes. Add chick peas and saute for 3-5 more minutes. Arrange on a plate and top with roasted yam. Then it is ready to serve.

yield 4 servings

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Every couple months a bunch of my dearest girlfriends and I get together for girls night. We all bring appetizers and we sit around noshing and chatting. Last night was our girls night and we had such a great time. I made Bruschetta with fresh tomatoes and basil and brought some sourdough bread from the local bakery. I think it was a hit!

8 roma tomatoes diced to 1/4 inch chunks
1 cup basil chopped
3 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 shallot chopped very fine
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbs olive oil

Chop all ingredients and combine into a bowl. Mix together and refrigerate for at least one hour to allow all ingredients to come together. Then it is ready to serve.

Yield about 4 cups

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Butternut Squash Sauce with Quinoa Pasta

Butternut Squash Sauce with Quinoa Pasta

Tomorrow is the first day of Fall and I thought I would celebrate the changing of the seasons with one my favorite dinners. I went to my local farm stand and picked out a locally grown butternut squash and some sage. Buying locally grown food helps support your local growers and also guarantees fresher produce. With this recipe having a fresh ripe squash makes all the difference in the world. Another fun fact: butternut squash is full of antioxidants which may help you ward off those cold weather sicknesses. So eat up!


1 butternut squash peeled, seeded and chopped in 1 inch cubes
2 tbs olive oil
1 onion chopped to about the same size as the squash
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
6 fresh sage leaves finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
3-4 cups of vegetable broth
2 tbs of butter or vegan butter (earth balance butter)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese or vegan parmesan
1 box of quinoa pasta

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add quinoa pasta. Let boil for roughly ten minutes then drain. This can be done while you are making your sauce.

In a large dutch oven pot, heat olive oil and add onion, butternut squash, salt and pepper. Saute on medium and add nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, sage and garlic. Saute all of this for 10 to 15 minutes, or until butternut squash is softened on the outside and onion is translucent. Add white wine and stir together letting it simmer for another minute. Then add enough vegetable broth to just cover the vegetables. Depending on the size of your butternut squash this can be between 3 and 4 cups. Add the butter and cover and let simmer on medium low for about 10 minutes until butternut squash is easy to cut through. Then blend everything in a blender or use an immersion blender until smooth and creamy. Return the sauce back to the pot and add parmesan cheese and pasta. Stir and let sauce and pasta come together.

Yields about 8 servings

Monday, September 19, 2011

Creamy Broccoli and White Bean Soup (without cream)

In California, we are used to having broccoli and white beans available year round but did you know that the season for this yummy combo is Fall? That’s right September and October are peak season for broccoli and dried beans. This soup is a perfect way to showcase this high fiber delicious duo. It is a vegan soup but because it is pureed, the white beans make the soup “creamy” and decadent. Vegetarians may enjoy parmesan cheese on top and meat eaters chicken (as my husband did).


2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 onion chopped
1 leek rinsed well and chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
5 cups vegetable broth
4 cups chopped broccoli
3 15.5 oz cans of cannelini beans

In a large pot saute onion and leeks in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and add minced garlic. Once vegetables are softened and translucent, add vegetable broth, broccoli, and cannelini beans. Cover and let simmer for around 15 minutes. After, turn off heat and puree soup in batches using a blender. (If you have an immersion blender just blend the soup in the pot.) Once soup is smooth, return to the pot and let simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve and enjoy.

Yields 6-8 servings

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pumpkin Risotto with Asparagus and Mushroom Caps

Last night my sister and I made dinner together. She made stuffed mushroom caps and I made pumpkin risotto with asparagus. We were inspired by the feeling of fall coming around the corner. We love the vegetables that September has to offer as well as the warm spices and fresh herbs. The mushroom caps are vegetarian and the pumpkin risotto can be made vegan by leaving out the parmesan cheese and adding a pinch more of salt for the flavor the parmesan may have given.

Pumpkin Risotto

1 pound box of arborio rice/risotto
1 onion chopped small
1 tbs olive oil
6 sage leaves fresh
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups heated vegetable broth
1 15 oz. can of organic pumpkin
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 small bunch of asparagus

In a large pot saute onion in olive oil, add salt and pepper and allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon spices. Saute until golden. Add risotto and sage leaves and stir until risotto is coated. Add white wine and stir until wine has dissolved. Add one cup at a time of vegetable broth allowing plenty of time for each cup to me completely absorbed, This may take around 30 minutes. Once Risotto has absorbed all the liquid stir in pumpkin and parmesan cheese. Then it is ready to serve.

Steam asparagus in a small pot for about 5 -7 minutes and serve on the side of finished risotto.

Yield 6 servings

Mushroom Caps by Melissa

12-14 button mushrooms rinsed and stems removed
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/8 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/8 cup shredded Dubliner sharp cheddar cheese
7 Basil leaves chopped finely
1 tsp pepper

In a mixing bowl add panko bread crumbs, cheeses, basil and pepper. Mix together well and fill each mushroom cap with a small spoonful. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.

Yield 12-14 mushroom caps

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cheesy Pesto and Tomato Quinoa

My husband loves when I make pesto. We eat pesto with all kinds of dishes especially pasta. Tonight I wanted something a little lighter than pasta so I swapped it for quinoa and it was a hit. This is a vegetarian dish but if you are feeding meat eaters you can add chicken.


1 cup Quinoa
2 cup vegetable broth or water
1 cup of monterey jack cheese diced to half inch squares
1 1/2 cup tomato diced to half inch squares
1 cup Pesto

Pesto Ingredients

4 cups of basil leaves
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbs parmesan cheese
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs honey or agave syrup

Bring vegetable broth or water to boil and add quinoa. Cover and let simmer on medium for about 12 minutes. Once finished let sit for about 5 minutes covered.

In a food processor add all Pesto ingredients and blend together until all ingredients have come together well.

After quinoa has sat covered for 5 minutes pour into a bowl and add monterey jack cheese. Stir in well so that cheese begins to melt. Add tomatoes and Pesto stir together and serve.

Yield 4 servings

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes

This week was crazy to say the least. With the San Diego black out and my son’s first birthday I didn’t have a lot of time to cook. But I thought I would share the recipe for the cupcakes I made for my son’s birthday party. The cakes themselves are vegan but the frosting is not. You can take these recipes and do what you want. I do have to say that I’ve found that cakes without eggs are much more moist.

Cupcakes Ingredients

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tbs vanilla

Mix all ingredient together with a mixer until batter is smooth. Pour into cupcake tins and bake at 350 degrees for 22 minutes.

Frosting ingredients

2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup milk
1 tbs vanilla
1 tbs cornstarch

Mix all ingredients together in a mixer until smooth. Add more milk if you would like it thinner and add more cornstarch if you would like the frosting to be thicker.

Yield 12 cupcakes

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Homemade Hummus

Everyone loves a good creamy hummus to dip some warm pita in, or to eat with a cold greek salad. There are thousands of ways this versatile side can be prepared and eaten. Because it is made with protein rich garbanzo beans, it is also a great choice for anyone needing a little extra protein in their diet. This particular recipe calls for hot sauce and paprika but those ingredients can be substituted for almost anything such as basil or roasted peppers, or you can just enjoy it plain.

Hummus Ingredients:
1 can garbanzo beans
1/4 cup tahini paste
1 clove of garlic
1/2 a lemon squeezed
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
15-20 dashes of your favorite hot sauce such as Tapatio
1/4 cup water

To top the hummus:
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp paprika

Combined all hummus ingredients into a food processor or blender and mix until it is creamy texture. Pour into a bowl. Top the hummus with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika.

About 2 1/2 cups

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Edible Finger Paint

Besides cooking I love planning parties with my son and his little friends. The other day my sister and I were throwing around ideas for the next play-date and she suggested edible finger paint, genius! She googled several recipes for me. Being the cook that I am, I decided to take those recipes and make my own version that couldn’t be any simpler. Here it is:

2 cups cornstarch
6 cups hot water
food coloring

Bring water to almost a simmer. It needs to be pretty warm to dissolve well into the cornstarch but not boiling. Pour cornstarch into a bowl. Once water is hot pour over corn starch in about three separate batches, stirring well before adding more water. Once the water and cornstarch have come together divide into bowls and mix in your favorite colors. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before the little ones put their hands in it.(You may want to check the temperature of the paint yourself.)

Clean up: Food paint cleans up pretty well off the cement because it peels. Food coloring does stain but combined with cornstarch the staining is minimal. The sooner you rinse off after your project the better your chances are of staying stain-free. Be careful with the blue, it is a little harder to rinse out. We found that the blue came off eventually but it took a couple washes. Have fun!