Sunday, December 30, 2012

Eggless Cornbread

I’m back after a 3 months pregnancy hiatus with a yummy comfort food recipe. It has been cold and stormy in California and whenever it rains I think of my mother making scrumptious soups served with cornbread. Her recipe is delicious but I didn’t have half the ingredients on hand to make it so I decided to come up with my own. One think that really bothers me about other cornbread recipes is that it can easily taste very dry. I’ve  noticed in my years of baking without eggs that the breads and cakes I make come out much more moist than those baked with eggs. So, I decided to substitute eggs with healthy protein packed greek yogurt. The result was amazingly delicious cornbread. Here is the recipe:


1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour (or gluten free flour would work)
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup of milk (you can also use non dairy milks)
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup melted butter (you can also use vegan butter)

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and add milk, yogurt, oil and butter. Mix together till all lumps have been smoothed. Pour into a baking dish and bake for 23-25 minutes. then it is ready to serve.

Yields: 8-10 slices of cornbread

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Vegan Pumpkin French Toast

I see all sorts of pumpkin breakfasts floating around on the web and they always looks delicious but they almost always have eggs. Since I’ve already made vegan pumpkin pancakes I thought I should try pumpkin french toast vegan style and it turned out scrumptious. Pumpkin is a natural binder, I actually use it in quite a few baking dishes to replace eggs. So making this breakfast was kind of a no-brainer. The ingredients are likely found in your pantry and the directions are easy! Happy fall everyone!


1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup coconut milk (or soy milk)
2 tsp ground cinnamon (or more to taste)
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
about 6 slices of your favorite bread (I used whole wheat)
1/4-1/2 cup vegetable oil for your griddle

In a bowl combine canned pumpkin, coconut milk, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Wisk together well. Add more milk if your pumpkin seems too thick. Heat your griddle to medium heat and drizzle over oil. Take a piece of bread and dredge it in your pumpkin mixture and lay on the griddle. Cook on both sides for about 5 minutes on medium heat. Continue this until all your bread is gone. Then it is ready to serve.

Yields about 6 slices

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Easy Vegan Pad Thai

As I have said before I just love Thai food. I have traveled to Thailand twice. I love the flavors and fresh produce the beautiful land has to offer. Pad Thai is a noodle dish typically served with cooked and fresh ingredients. It is very easy to add and take away ingredients to make it to your liking. I used cilantro in this dish but you can swap it for basil as it is served both ways in Thailand. You may want to use a wok for this recipe.


2 tbs vegetable oil
1 tsp sesame oil (optional)
1 cup chopped green onion
1 cup chopped cashew or peanuts divided into 3/4 and 1/4 cups
1/2 tbs tamarind paste
2 1/2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs sugar
1 package of rice noodles cooked as instructed on the box
2 cups beans sprouts
1 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1 tomato chopped
1 lime cut into 4-6 slices

Cook rice noodles according to instructions on the package.

Chop tomato, cucumber and lime and arrange on plates.

Heat your wok to med high. Add vegetable and sesame oil and green onion. Cook green onion for 2-3 minutes and add 3/4 cup cashews or peanuts. Add tamarind paste, soy sauce and sugar. Cook together on medium high for another 2-3 minutes. Now add your cooked noodles. Make sure to toss them around into the sauce, green onion and nuts. Continue to cook on medium high for about 2-3 minutes. Add bean sprouts and cilantro and toss together over the heat for about minute. Then turn off heat. Serve noodles on each plate with chopped tomato, cucumber and lime. Sprinkle over remaining 1/4 cup of cashews/peanuts and squeeze lime juice over noodles before eating. 

Yields 4-6 servings

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Grilled Asparagus and Nectarines with Balsamic Reduction

If you need a super easy and fancy grilled summer salad this is it! I made this salad in about 20 minutes and it was a huge crowd pleaser even my son ate it up. It only takes a few ingredients and would be great cooked on the outdoor or indoor grill.

2 cups balsamic vinegar
about 20 asparagus spears
2 ripe nectarines sliced
olive oil or cooking spray to keep produce from sticking to the grill

In a small sauce pan add balsamic vinegar. Bring vinegar to boil on medium high heat. Once boiling reduce to medium and let the vinegar continue to boil and reduce for about 15 minutes stirring ocacsionally. One there is a little more than 1/2 a cup of vinegar left turn off heat and let sit for about 2 minutes to help thicken.

Heat your grill to medium high heat and brush with olive oil or cooking spray. Place asparagus and sliced nectarines on the grill. Let nectarines cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side and asparagus for 5-7 minutes on each side. Once cooked place the grilled asparagus and nectarines on a plate and drizzle over balsamic reduction. Then it is ready to serve.

Yields 4 servings

Friday, July 27, 2012

Baked Mozzarella Sticks without Egg

I have several friends that have kids with allergies to eggs. I love finding new ways of making healthy fun foods without eggs and gluten whenever possible. In this recipe I used panko bread crumbs but you can easily use gluten free bread crumbs witch are available at just about any store. These mozzarella sticks are surprisingly light and delicious.
5 sting cheese sticks cut in half to equal 10 sticks total
1/4 cup tahini paste
1/4 cup water
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tbs dried oregano
1 tbs olive oil
1 cup of your favorite marinara sauce for dipping
Pre heat oven to 400 degrees
Start by mixing 1/4 cup tahini paste with 1/4 cup water in a bowl. Use a wire wisk and mix together well then set the bowl aside. In another bowl add bread crumbs and sprinkle in salt, pepper and dried oregano. Use your hand to mix all the dried ingredients together then get ready to assemble. 
To assemble you may want to line up your ingredients from left to right. Start with the string cheese sticks, then the bowl of tahini paste, followed by the bread crumbs mix and lastly a baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
Take one string cheese stick and dip it the tahini paste until it is coated, then dip it in the bread crumbs till coated and place it on your baking sheet. Continue this process till all 10 string cheese sticks are coated. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over each stick to help the bread crumbs brown. Place in the oven at 400 degrees for 4 minutes no longer then 5 minutes. Keep an eye on your sticks to make sure they don’t melt. Once baked then they are ready to serve with your favorite marinara sauce.
Yield: 10 mozzarella sticks

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lemony, Garlicy, Cheesy Grilled Artichoke

As I’ve said before Artichokes are a great source of protein and fiber. We eat artichokes once a week in our house and everyone loves them. They are filling, healthy and tasty. Because we eat them so often I am always trying to cook them in a different way. This recipe is easy and extremely tasty, I will definitely be dong this again!
1 artichoke cut in half
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
3 cloves of garlic minced
the juice of one lemon
a pinch of salt and pepper
Boil the artichoke halves until fully cooked. May take about 45 minutes. Once they are cooked let them cool slightly so you can handle them. Once you can handle them cut out the fuzzy beard in the middle of both halves.
In a bowl combine parmesan cheese, minced garlic, the juice of one lemon and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix together.
Preheat grill to medium heat.
Stuff about half of the mixture in between the leaves of the artichoke. (Do not fill the middle space where you removed the beard until you flip the artichokes over on the grill.) Brush the cut side of the artichoke with olive oil and place them cut side down on your grill. Let them grill for about 5-10 minutes till you have nice grill marks then turn them over.

Fill the middle with the rest of your cheese and leave artichokes to continue grilling until cheese has melted. May take 15-20 minutes. Then they are ready to serve.
Yield 2 servings

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes over Quinoa Pasta

This rustic summertime pasts dish is a great substitute for spaghetti and marinara. Just throw some baby heirloom tomatoes onto a baking sheet and coat with olive oil and salt and pepper and voila! You have a delicious light and healthy pasta meal!
3 cups baby heirloom tomatoes
2 shallots chopped
8 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
3 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp dried oregano
I package of Quinoa Pasta
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Prepare quinoa pasta. Follow package directions
Put heirloom tomatoes, shallots and garlic into your baking sheet. Cover with olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano. Use our hands to make sure everything is evenly coated. Place in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes. When they are finished mix them with your cooked quinoa pasta and it is ready to serve.
Yields 2-4 servings

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Yellow Summer Squash Chips

I have noticed that kale chips are becoming quite popular and I thought I would apply this brilliant idea to yellow squash since it is season right now. I love summer for it’s delicious produce which lends itself to my creativity in the kitchen. This recipe is so simple, so delicious and so addicting. 
2 yellow summer squash cut into 1/8inch thick discs
1-2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. 
Slice the yellow squash evenly to about 1/8 inch thick. Place them on your non-stick baking sheet. Drizzle over 1-2 tbs of olive oil. You don’t need too much olive oil, just enough to coat. Then sprinkle over salt and paprika. Use your hands to make sure the seasonings are evenly distributed. Before baking make sure that each yellow squash disc does not overlap on your baking dish. Place in the oven at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes. You will need to keep an eye on your chips at around 35 minutes to make sure you don’t burn them. Then they are ready to serve.
Yields 2 cups of chips 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Watermelon Salsa

Watermelon season is here! In my house we go through at least one watermelon a week in the summertime. I love eating it plain or with feta cheese in a salad, but this salsa recipe might be my new favorite way to eat watermelon. My husband loved it so much he didn’t want me to share the recipe with all of you. But I love sharing recipes, so here you go!
1 1/2 cups watermelon chopped into small pieces
3/4 cup roma tomatoes chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup white onion chopped into small pieces
1/4 jalapeno chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup cilantro finely chopped
1 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of pepper
the juice if one lime
Chop your watermelon, tomatoes, onion, jalapeno and cilantro and add to a bowl Sprinkle over salt and pepper. Drizzle over lime juice and mix together. (I found that letting the salsa sit for about an hour in the refrigerator before serving made it taste even better.) Then it is ready to serve.
Yields about 2 1/2 cups of salsa

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Cold refreshing soup made from blended or roughly chopped vegetables is not only super healthy but it is also one of the cleanest meals out there. There are several variations of this soup made by other chef's and that is because it is so versatile. You can add or substitute almost any kind of vegetable or fruit that suits you. This recipe is my tried and true favorite. I crave it every summer and it always amazing me how delicious it is. Here you go:
1/2 english cucumber peeled and roughly chopped 
1 red or orange bell pepper seeded and roughly chopped
2 tomatoes roughly chopped
1/2 cup red onion roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic chopped in half
1/2 of a jalapeno seeded 
1/2 cup cilantro
1 1/2 cups organic tomato juice
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 tbs red wine vinegar
2 tbs olive oil
Use a blender or food processor to make this soup. Start by blended the cucumber and bell pepper. (Don’t over blend, it is good to have chucks of vegetables). Pour this into a bowl and add tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno and cilantro to the blender. Blend to the same size as the cucumber and pepper. Then pour into the bowl. Add tomato juice, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Mix all ingredients together with a spoon and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours up to 24 hours. The longer it site the better it tastes. Then it is ready to serve.
Yields: 4-6 servings

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Grilled Peaches, Kale and Goat Cheese Toast

I have been patiently scoping out the local farmers market waiting for the peaches to come into season and they are finally here.  I love peaches for their obvious sweetness but they are also a potassium and vitamin rich fruit. This recipe has some amazing flavors working with these peaches. The sourdough bread and goat cheese provide a tang while the kale adds a freshness and finally the honey drizzled on top works wonderfully with the sweet grilled peaches. If you want an even lower calorie recipe you can swap goat cheese for cottage cheese. I have a picture below.
1 large slice of sourdough bread
1 peach peeled and chopped into quarters
1/4 cup of chopped kale (stems removed)
2-3 tbs of goat cheese or cottage cheese
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2-1 tbs honey
Start by heating your grill to about medium heat. Brush both side of the bread with olive oil and lay on the heat for about 2 minutes. Then place the peeled peach quarters on the grill and let cook for about 1 minute on each side. Once peaches are ready remove the heat and chop into smaller pieces. Turn over your bread and lay some kale down, followed by your peaches and top with goat cheese. Reduce the heat to medium low and let the toast grill up for about 5 minute or until cheese starts to melt. Then remove from the heat and plate. Drizzle over desired amount of honey and it is ready to serve.
Yield 1 serving
Lighter Cottage Cheese Version

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Baked Broccoli Cheese Quinoa Cakes (Eggless and Gluten free)

If you have anyone in your family on a special diet this recipe is a great one especially for those allergic to eggs or gluten. It can also be made vegan by using a vegan cheese substitute. These kid friendly little cake patties are so yummy by themselves but would be great with some homemade hummus or as a burger substitute. 
4 cups cooked quinoa (follow instructions on the box)
2 cups of steamed chopped broccoli
1/4 cup tahini sauce
1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated
1/2 cup gruyere cheese grated
1 cup monterey jack cheese grated
3-4 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven at 450 degrees
Combine warm cooked quinoa with steamed broccoli in a bowl. Add the cheeses and tahini sauce. Mix together well and sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste. Cover your baking sheet with olive oil. Take a 1/4 cup of quinoa cake mixture and ball it up in your hand and place it on the baking sheet. Continue this until all the cakes are ready to be baked. Place in the oven at 450 degrees. Cook for 12-14 minutes on each side until golden brown. For a total of about 24-28 minutes. 
Yields about 12 cakes

Friday, May 4, 2012

Grilled Mango and Shallot Salad with Goat Cheese and Honey Vinaigrette

The layers of flavor in this salad are amazing. This is by far the best salad I have ever made. With the sweet mango and honey sitting on peppery arugula topped with the tang of goat cheese and grilled shallots it is so good it could almost be a desert. As a plus it is super easy to make. The dressing is is just equal parts honey, white wine vinegar and olive oil with salt and pepper to taste. This salad would also be great served on toasted bread.
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs white wine vinegar
2 tbs honey
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups arugula cleaned
1 mango peeled and chopped into strips
1 shallot chopped
2-3 tbs of goat cheese broken up into small pieces
Using a wire wisk mix together the olive oil, vinegar and honey. Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and set aside while you prepare your salad.
Heat your grill to medium heat. Brush a small amount of olive oil or cooking spray on the shallots and mango to keep them from sticking to the grill. Place the shallots and mango on the grill to cook on both sides for about 3-5 minutes or until you see brown grill marks. Once they are grilled place them on a cutting board to chop them into smaller pieces. Then place the arugula on a plate and top it with the grilled mango and shallots. Break up the coat cheese into small piece and sprinkle it over the salad. To finish, top the salad with half of the dressing. Set aside the rest of the dressing for those who would like more. Then it is ready to serve.
yields 1-2 servings

Friday, April 27, 2012

Thai Noodle Soup (vegan)

As I have mentioned before, my husband and I love Thailand. We have traveled to “the land of smiles” twice and are planning several more trips. The fresh food of Thailand is just the icing on the cake of beautiful beaches, friendly locals and stunning jungles. One of our favorite things to get for lunch in Thailand is the noodle soup. It is usually sold at the street carts and full of fresh local ingredients. More often than not Thai’s use oyster sauce or fish oil to flavor their soups. After several tries I think I have a recipe for our beloved noodle soup that is animal free. This soup was light, aromatic and very tasty. Our house smelled of Thailand and the flavors were reminiscent as well. Although I loved this particular recipe, I will continue to perfect it and let you know if I come up with new ingredients. 
Broth ingredients:
8 cups vegetable broth
3 shallots peeled and halved
2 leeks cleaned and chopped
8-10 cloves of garlic peeled and left whole
2 inches of ginger peeled and cut into about 6 chunks
4 cups dried Shitake mushrooms
1 cup carrots chopped
3 bay leaves
1 handful of basil, stems included
1 handful of cilantro, stems included
6 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs rice wine vinegar
1 tsp Hoison sauce
1 tbs sweet chili sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbs maple syrup
Topping ingredients:
1 cup basil chopped
1/2 cup cilantro chopped
1 cup beans sprouts
1/4 cup green onion chopped
2 cups cabbage chopped and steamed
3-4 cup of cooked brown rice noodles

In a large pot combine all broth ingredients. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Cover the broth and let it simmer for at least 2 hours.
When broth is done cooking strain all vegetables and return the broth to the pot. In another pot cook the noodles. In a third pot steam cabbage for about 5 minutes and set aside.
Once everything is cooked it is time to assemble. Start by putting noodles in your bowl with desired amount of basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, green onion and cabbage. Ladle over your Thai broth and then it is ready to serve.
Yield 4-6 servings

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Grilled Cheese with Grilled Cabbage, Red Onion and Tomato

Cabbage is in its peak season right now in California. I usually love to add this green veggie to soups and stews but today I choose to break out the stove top grill. I added some red onion and tomato to the grill along with the cabbage and decided I had the prefect makings for a grilled cheese. I used sourdough bread and gruyere cheese for this sandwich and it paired perfectly with the cabbage. 


2-3 large leaves of cabbage
1 slice of red onion cut to about 1/4 inch thick
2 sliced of tomato cut to about 1/4 inch thick
1 tbs olive oil
2 slices of sourdough bread
1/2-3/4 cup shredded gruyere cheese
1 pinch of salt and pepper

 Heat your grill to medium low heat. Lightly brush the cabbage, red onion and tomato with olive oil. Sprinkle over a pinch of salt and pepper. Place the cabbage and red onion on the grill and let cook for 1-2 minutes on each side. Place the tomato on the grill and let cook for about 1 minute on each side. Once veggies have cooked brush olive oil over each side of the sour dough bread. To assemble sprinkle a little cheese then add cabbage, a little more cheese, add tomato, a little more cheese and add onion topped with the rest of the cheese and the the last slice of bread. Place the grilled cheese on the grill and cover with a pot lid. Let cook on medium low for about 3-5 minutes on each side. Then it is ready to serve. Yields 1 grilled cheese

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Baked Falafel

Falafel is such a versatile food. It can be served fried, over salad, in a pita, mixed with veggies, and so on. I tried frying this recipe but I always had a hard time keeping the balls together and not making the falafel taste oily. Baking these delicious protein packed falafel not only helps to keep their shape but makes them healthier and lighter. This recipe is vegan friendly and super easy.


1 16 oz can of chickpeas drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped white onion
1 clove of garlic
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley
2 tsp tahini paste
3 tbs whole wheat flour
1/2-3/4 tsp of salt to taste
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp baking powder
cooking spray

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees

Using a food processor or a blender combine chick peas, onion and garlic and begin to blend lightly. Add flat leaf parsley, flour, salt, pepper, cumin, olive oil and baking powder. Blend all ingredients together. (If you like chunky falafel don’t blend too much.) Once you are finished spray your baking sheet with cooking spray. Use a spoon or an ice cream scoop to make falafel balls and place them on your baking sheet. Put into the oven for 12 minutes on each side for a total of 24 minutes baking. Then they are ready to serve.

Yields 10 falafel

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Macaroni and Cheese "Bar"

Our little family has been run down with just about every flu bug there is lately. Thankfully everyone is feeling better and starting to get their appetites back. So I decided to make the world greatest comfort food, macaroni and cheese! This is always a hit and it definitely put smiles on my boys faces. Whenever we have macaroni and cheese I set i up “bar style”. With dishes of fresh and steamed veggies and hot sauces so everyone can make their macaroni and cheese they way like. I usually like to use gruyere cheese for this recipe but it is so expensive. I found a gruyere cheddar combo at Traders Joe’s for half the price and it worked prefect. Along with that I also used mozzarella and parmesan cheese. I think these cheeses make the best flavor.


1 16 oz box of your favorite pasta
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs butter
1/2 cup white onion very finely chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup gruyere cheese grated
1 cup mozzarella cheese grated
1 cup parmesan cheese grated
*chop and cook your favorite veggies to add for you bar. I like to use fresh basil, tomatoes and steamed asparagus.

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.

Meanwhile heat the olive oil and butter in a large deep pan on medium heat. Add onion, garlic, salt and crushed red pepper. Saute together for about 10 minutes until the onion starts to turn a light golden. Sprinkle over the flour and use a wire wisk to dissolve the flour into the onion and garlic. Add milk and continue to mix with your wisk until the mixture starts to thicken or for about 3-5 minutes. Then slowly sprinkle in all your cheeses. Give them time to dissolve into the milk and thicken. If you feel that your cheese mixture is getting too thick stop adding cheese and maybe add some pasta water. If you feel it is too thin, then add more cheese. Continue to mix the entire time until the cheeses and milk have come together to make a thick and creamy sauce. Then ladle in the pasta, mix well and serve with your favorite sides.

Yields 6-8 servings

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Deviled Potatoes

Whether you don’t eat eggs, don’t like them or want to try something new this Easter, this recipe is a yummy alternative. I used the same ingredients my mother uses for deviled eggs, added a couple extras and voila, delicious deviled potatoes. My husband said he didn’t want to try them because he doesn’t like deviled eggs but after some coercing he tried one and ended up eating ten of them! I think this will be a new Easter favorite!


7 baby yukon gold potatoes cleaned and cut in half
1 1/2 tbs olive oil
2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp brown or dijon mustard
1 tbs mayonnaise or vegonnaise
1 tsp sweet pickle juice
1 tbs sour cream
1 tbs finely chopped chives

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cut and clean your potatoes and cover them in 1 tbs of olive oil and 1 tsp of sea salt leaving the remaining olive oil and sea salt for the potato mixture. Place all of your potatoes cut side down on a baking sheet and cover with foil. Put in the oven for 30 minutes.
Once your potatoes have cooked use a melon baller or tiny spoon to scoop out the inside and put them into the bowl. Leave about 1/8 of inch of potato and peel in your potato cup to hold the potato mixture.
After you have have scooped out all of your potatoes start adding your ingredients to the bowl. Start with the reaming 1/2 tbs of olive oil and mix well till the potatoes start to smooth. (I just used a fork for this.) Then add salt, pepper, paprika, mustard, mayonnaise, pickle juice and sour cream. Mix all the ingredients together well. Finally add the chives leaving a little to the side for garnish.
Once the potatoes have been mixed well together place it into a baggy and squish it down to one corner. Snip the corner and squeeze a little potatoes mixture into each potato cup. Top with remaining chive garnish and it is ready to serve.

Serve at room temp or slightly chilled.

Yield 14 cups

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Springtime Salad with White Wine and Fresh Orange Juice Reduction Dressing

Spring is here and with it comes some of my favorite produce. Fennel, Radishes and Oranges are great to pick up at the local markets right now. They taste perfect together in this light and easy salad. The dressing is made of white wine reduced down with fresh squeezed orange juice and no other ingredients. The combinations is crisp and tasty.


1 cup shredded romaine lettuce
3/4 cups fennel sliced thin
2 radishes chopped in half and sliced thin
1/8 cup red onion sliced thin
1/2 of an orange peeled and sliced
1 handful of parsley chopped

1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

In a saucer combine white wine and fresh squeezed orange juice. Bring to a simmer on medium and let it reduce down on medium low for about 20-30 minutes, You should be left with a a little less than half a cup of dressing once it is finished.

Meanwhile chop and slice all your veggies and arrange them on a plate. Once the dressing is done pour half of it over your salad to absorb into the the veggies. Serve the remaining dressing along side the salad for those who would like more.

Yields: 1-2 servings

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Flat Bread Burritos with Mexican Quinoa and Homemade Refried Beans

Flat Bread Burritos with Mexican Quinoa and Homemade Refried Beans

This recipe includes two previous recipes. In August 2011 I posted a recipe for homemade refried beans that are yummy and lard free. I make these refried beans once a month a freeze the remainder for mexican food nights. In my last post you will find the recipe for mexican quinoa that is vegan and crazy flavorful. These two recipes make the flat bread burritos to die for. It may take some time but remember both the refried beans and quinoa can be made ahead of time and refrigerated. Once you have those made, these burritos can be done in a flash! (For your convenience I reposted the recipes for homemade refried beans and mexican quinoa below)

Ingredients for Flat Bread Burritos:
1 flat bread per person
1/4 avocado per person sliced
1/2 tomato per person chopped
1 tbs green onion per person chopped
1/4 cup mexican quinoa per person (previous post or below)
1/4 cup homemade refried beans per person (see below)

Lay your flat bread out on a plate and pour on your beans. Top that with the quinoa and the avocado slices. Sprinkle over the tomato and onion. Fold over the the top and bottom of the burrito and roll the side in. Then it is ready to serve.
Yields one serving

Mexican Quinoa Ingredients and directions:

2 cups cooked quinoa (follow the instructions on the box I used vegetable broth instead of water)
2 tbs olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1/2 of a jalapeno finely chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1-2 tsp of salt to taste
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/4 cup beer or vegetable stock
1 tomato chopped

Start cooking your quinoa so it can be simmering while you make the mexican mixture.

In a large pan heat olive oil over medium low and add onion, jalapeno and garlic. Saute together and add in your aromatics; salt, chili powder, paprika, dried oregano, onion powder and cumin powder. Saute together on medium low for about 8 minutes or until the onion have softened. Once the onion starts to soften add the beer and saute together. Then add the tomato and let everything cook down until the beer has absorbed into the vegetables. Finally add 2 cups of cooked quinoa and saute together on low for a minute or two until quinoa has absorbed some of the ingredients and have been fully coated. Then it is ready to serve.
yields 3-4 cups

Homemade Refried Beans Ingredients and Directions:
1 lb. bag of dried pinto beans
1 large white or yellow onion pealed and chopped in half
4-5 cloves of garlic pealed and left whole
4 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. cayenne pepper

Beans themselves do not cause gas, it is the dirt on the beans that cause gas. For this reason I recommend boiling the beans in water for roughly 30 minutes, strain and clean the pot and then start the recipe.

In a large stock pot pour in the clean beans. Add halved onion, whole garlic cloves and salt. Fill pot with water so that the water comes to a half an inch above the ingredients. Bring to boil and cover. Let simmer on medium low for two hours.

Once beans are cooked, use a measuring cup to take about a cup of the water from pot and keep aside for blending beans. In batches blend the cooked beans, onion and garlic till entire batch is smooth and creamy. If beans get too thick use the water taken from the pot to loosen the beans. Return all the beans back to the pot add cumin and cayenne pepper or taco seasoning and let all ingredients cook together on low for ten more minutes. Then serve.
Yield about 12 servings

Beans can be frozen for up to three months and refrigerated for up to a week.
Quinoa can be refrigerated for about 5 days

Mexican Quinoa

I love mexican rice but there are two things I don’t always want in it; white rice and chicken stock. So I came up with a vegan mexican style quinoa. This has all the flavor of your usual restaurant style mexican rice but it is guilt free. It tastes great alone, in burritos or you can use it to stuff bell peppers.


2 cups cooked quinoa (follow the instructions on the box I used vegetable broth instead of water)
2 tbs olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1/2 of a jalapeno finely chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1-2 tsp of salt to taste
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/4 cup beer or vegetable stock
1 tomato chopped

Start cooking your quinoa so it can be simmering while you make the mexican mixture.

In a large pan heat olive oil over medium low and add onion, jalapeno and garlic. Saute together and add in your aromatics; salt, chili powder, paprika, dried oregano, onion powder and cumin powder. Saute together on medium low for about 8 minutes or until the onion have softened. Once the onion start to soften add the beer and saute together. Then add the tomato and let everything cook down until the beer has absorbed into the vegetables. Finally add 2 cups of cooked quinoa and saute together on low for a minute or two until quinoa has absorbed some of the ingredients and been fully coated. Then it is ready to serve.

yields 3-4 cups

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Baked Green Bean Fries with Wasabi Dipping Sauce

Recently I have discovered that tahini (sesame) paste is a great binding substitute for eggs. I feel like a whole new world of cooking and baking has opened up to me. I try to avoid eggs as often as I can and I can’t wait to see what else I can make using this substitution. These “fries” are healthy, tasty and kid friendly. To make the wasabi dipping sauce I used white beans pureed with a few other ingredients to make it protein packed but not lacking in flavor. This is also a vegan dish. Enjoy!

Green Bean Fries ingredients and directions:

about 35-40 green beans tips cut off and blanched (see below for instructions)
1 cup flour
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp salt
3/4 cup tahini paste mixed well with 1 cup of water
2 cups of panko bread crumbs

Heat oven to 475 degrees

Rinse green beans and cut the ends off. Put in them in a pot of water and bring to boil for about 2-3 minutes, then drain. Once they are drained immediately put them into a bowl of water and ice (this is called blanching). Leave the beans in the ice bath until you start your breading.

Use 3 separate bowls: In the first bowl mix flour, paprika and salt. In the second bowl mix tahini paste with water. Mix these well so that the tahini paste is thinned out and runny. In the third bowl pour in your panko bread crumbs. (You should set these bowls in order.) Dip the cool wet green beans into the flour and then into the tahini paste and finally into the bread crumbs. Then set them on a greased baking sheet. Repeat this until you have covered all of your green beans. Place them into an oven at 475 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until they have browned.

Wasabi Dipping Sauce ingredients and directions:

1 15 oz can of white beans drained and rinsed
2 tbs water
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs tahini paste
1/2 lemon freshly squeezed
1/3 cup vegonnaise or mayonnaise substitute
3-4 tsp of wasabi powder (to taste)

Combine all ingredients into a blender or food processor except the wasabi powder. Blend together very well. Slowly add in wasabi powder, tasting as you go to see if you like it spicier or not. Then pour into a bowl and plate your green beans and it is ready to serve.

Yields 35-40 green bean fries

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spinach Kale Artichoke Dip

Once in a while you’ve got to splurge on delicious cheesy, creamy artichoke dip. I added kale for extra green and left the mayo and butter out of this recipe but it is not lacking in other cheeses. This is a great and super easy recipe for any party or get together.


3 cups fresh spinach, stems removed and roughly chopped
2 cups fresh kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
2 cups of frozen artichoke hearts thawed and roughly chopped
1 8 oz. box cream cheese, divided into fours
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 tbs freshly squeezed lemon
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp of your favorite hot sauce (I used tapitio)
1 tsp olive oil
cooking spray

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

In a large pot add the artichoke hearts, kale and spinach and cover with water. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Then drain your vegetables and add the cream cheese immediately so it will melt with the hot veggies. Then add sour cream, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, garlic, lemon, salt and hot sauce. Mix together well and taste to see if you need more salt or hot sauce. Spray cooking spray over your baking dish and pour in your mixture. Top liberally with the remaining mozzarella cheese and drizzle over with olive oil. Put into the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Then it is ready to serve.

Yields 6-8 servings

Friday, March 9, 2012

Chili Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Black Beans, Avocados and Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

If you are looking for some extra plant proteins for your diet this salad is a great place to start. Black beans and avocados are full of healthy fats, fibers and proteins. The sweet potatoes are of vitamins making this a very healthy meal. The flavors of the chili powder sweet potatoes and the cilantro lime vinaigrette are a prefect pair that make this filling, vegan salad tasty and fancy.


For the roasted sweet potatoes and salad:
2 sweet potatoes peeled and chopped to 1 inch cubes
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tbs olive oil
1 avocado chopped
2 roma tomatoes chopped
1/8 cup green onion chopped
1 can black beans drained and rinsed

For the cilantro lime dressing:
1 cup cilantro
1 large lime juice freshly squeezed
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp honey
1 tbs white wine vinegar

Cooking/baking instructions for the sweet potatoes and salad:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Place your chopped sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle over 1 tbs of olive oil. Then sprinkle over 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper and 1 tsp chili powder. Mix all the ingredients together well so that each potato chunk is cover. Put into the oven at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Meanwhile chop you tomato, avocado and green onion. Drain and rinse your black beans. When sweet potatoes are done take them out and let them cool on a paper towel for a few minutes while you make your dressing.

Cilantro lime vinaigrette instructions.

Using a blender or a food processor add your cilantro, lime juice, salt, pepper, honey and white white vinegar. Start to blend and slowly add in your olive oil. when the cilantro is minced and dressing and blended well it is finished.

Add you roasted sweet potatoes, tomatoes, green onion, black beans and avocado to a bowl and drizzle half of the dressing on top leaving the rest for people to add individually. then it is ready to serve.

Yields: 4 servings

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash is a winter squash found year round in California but its peek seasons are fall and winter. Right now you can find butternut squash for pretty cheap and it is ripe and ready to eat. Today I really wanted a creamy soup but I wanted to keep it healthy and vegan if I could, so I concocted this easy recipe for a creamy butternut squash soup that only takes a few ingredients. If you would like to add parmesan cheese to this soup it would de delicious.


1 butternut squash peeled, seeded and chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 yellow onion chopped to about 1 inch
2 tbs olive oil
1-2 tsp of salt to taste
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbs brown sugar
1/4-1/2 cup water or vegetable broth
a drizzle of honey or coconut syrup for garnish

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees

Place your chopped butternut squash and yellow onion on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil, salt, cayenne pepper and brown sugar over your vegetables. Mix together well with your hands to make sure everything is evenly coated. Put into the oven at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Once your vegetables have roasted put them into a blender or food processor and blend well. Add your water or vegetable stock slowly until the soup is the texture you desire. Taste to see if you need more salt or pepper. If your soup has cooled down during this process place into a pot and heat up on low for about 5 minutes. Once it is ready drizzle coconut syrup or honey on top, and then it is ready to serve.

Yields 2-4 servings

Friday, March 2, 2012

Eggplant, Tomato and Basil Parmesan Bites

Let me start by saying I made 15 of these little bites and my husband, son and I ate every single one in seconds flat. They were delicious. I love eggplant parmesan but I hate the breading and frying because it is time consuming and not heart healthy. So here is my healthy shortcut. These are great appetizers or you can serve it on top of your favorite pasta and marinara sauce.


1 medium eggplant peeled and cut to 1/8 inch thick slices
basil leaves (you will need one for each eggplant slice
roma tomato (you will need one slice for each eggplant slice)
2 tbs olive oil
2 tsp salt to taste
2 tsp pepper to taste
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Arrange eggplant slices on a baking sheet and drizzle 1 tbs olive oil and 1 tsp each of salt and pepper. Place in the oven for about 15-20 minutes until they turn golden brown. Then take them out and flip each eggplant slice over. Drizzle the other side with the remaining tbs olive oil and tsp of salt and pepper. Sprinkle dried oregano over each slice. Place one tomato on top followed by one basil leaf. Evenly sprinkle over mozzarella cheese and finally parmesan cheese. Put back into the oven for another 15 minutes. Then they are ready to serve.

Yields 12-15 bites

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

White Bean Vegan Aioli and Steamed Artichokes

Did you know that the average artichoke has 4 grams of protein? It is now being recommended that people eat more plant based proteins to prevent the intake of cholesterol and saturated fats. But for some reason when ever I order an artichoke at a restaurant it is loaded with cheese, butter and even mayonnaise! This seems pretty pointless to me. So I set out to make a creamy aioli dip replacement that doesn’t lack in flavor and adds nutrients. This is it! White beans are always in my arsenal for cream or dairy replacements. They do a great job tasting cheese-y and add tons of fiber and protein.


4 artichokes
1 can of white beans drained and rinsed
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on how much kick you like)
1 freshly squeezed lemon about 1 tbs of juice
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs water

Cut the stem and the tip off your artichoke. Spread the leaves a little and rinse it well. Place the artichokes in a large pot and fill with water so the artichokes are cover about halfway. Bring water to boil and let artichokes steam/boil for about about 1 hour. You will need to turn the artichokes a couple times to ensure full even cooking.

You will need a blender or food processor for the dip.
Place white beans in the food processor. Add garlic, salt, pepper and lemon. Begin to blend. Drizzle in olive oil and water while you are blending. Once you have a blended to a cream you are done. You can serve it as is with the artichokes or heat it up in a pan on low for about 3-5 minutes.

Yields 4 servings

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sesame Ginger Noodles

Several years ago I took a cooking class in Thailand and learned a lot about the fresh local flavors. Thai people love to add cilantro and or basil to their dishes to brighten them up and give them a fresh taste. I choose to use cilantro in this dish and it worked perfectly with the freshly grated ginger, another Thai favorite. The sesame oil is a must with these asian noodles. It is what pulls all the flavors together and makes it taste authentic. This dish is vegan; you can add tofu if you'd like or chicken for the meat eaters.


4 cups cooked noodles about half a box (you can use soba noodles or regular angel hair pasta)
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tbs canola oil
2 tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tbs ginger freshly grated
1 cup green onion chopped
1 cup carrot shredded or cut into strips
1 cups celery chopped thin
1 yellow bell pepper chopped thin
1 cup bok choy sliced thin (like the celery)
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup cilantro chopped

In a large pot bring salted water to boil and cook your noodles.

In a large pan heat canola oil and sesame oil on medium low. Add garlic, ginger, brown sugar and crushed red pepper and mix together. Add green onion, carrots, celery and bell pepper. Saute vegetables on low to medium. Drizzle over soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. And continue to saute on low for about 8-10 minutes. Then add most of the cilantro reserving a little for the garnish. Mix together and add cooked pasta to your pan of veggies. Mix everything together and serve with left over cilantro on top.

yields 2-4 servings

Monday, February 20, 2012

Basil, Avocado and Pistachio Pesto with Quinoa

My sister Melissa told me about a dish she made where she mixed avocado into her warm pasta. This got me thinking of all the delicious ways to add protein and vitamin packed avocados into my dinner. I love a creamy pesto and thought this would be the perfect marriage and it was. Not only is avocado full of protein but so are quinoa and pistachios, making this a filling, flavorful, vegan and gluten free meal.

2 cups of dry quinoa cooked into 4 cups of water
4 cups basil cleaned and stems removed
1 cup flat leaf parsley clean and stems removed
1 clove of garlic
1-2 tsp salt to taste
1/2-1 tsp of pepper to taster
2 tbs olive oil
1 lemon (juice squeezed)
1 avocado peeled and pitted
3 tbs of pistachios (2 tbs for the pesto and 1 tbs for garnish)

In a pot bring 4 cups of water to boil and add 2 cups quinoa. Reduce to simmer and cover for about 12-15 minutes until quinoa is fully cooked.

While the quinoa cooks combine basil and parsley into a food processor. Add garlic, salt and pepper and begin to blend. While blending ingredients drizzle in olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice. Then add avocado and 2 tbs of pistachios. Blend all ingredients together until it becomes a smooth creamy texture. Then mix the creamy pesto into the cooked quinoa. Chop the remaining pistachios and sprinkle over your bowl of pesto quinoa. Then it is ready to serve.

yields: 4 servings

*This pesto would also be yummy with pasta