Tuesday, July 27

Cherry Almond Cobbler

I bought 2 lbs of local sweet dark cherries from the farmers market today and could not wait to do something fun with them. Cherries have amazing anti-inflammatory and pain relieving qualities and are flat out yummy. After carefully weighing the options, and a highly democratic voting process, my husband and I decided that cobbler was the winner this time. I did not want to go cherry only, but I wanted to stick to a mainly cherry theme. Then I found it, nothing quite pairs with cherry quite like almond, which served as an amazing undertone for this cobbler. Both kids jumped in on the creation with Cali helping stir the cherry filling, and Bubba helping mix the crumble, both had a blast! The entire 25 min in the oven the entire kitchen was filled with a wonderful cherry almond aroma that made it hard to make it through dinner. I think it was only out 10 min before we broke into its golden crusted top and began to devour its warm sweet gooey goodness. Every bite was like taking one step closer to heaven... AMAZING!


1 1/4 sugar- we used organic raw sugar, next time I am going to try agave nectar
1 cup self-rising flour
3 tbls cornstarch
1 tbls sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
4 cups fresh organic cherries
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk - we used Living Harvest Organic Hempmilk
3 tbls shortening


Preheat overn to 400 degrees. Mix 1 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, almond extract and cherries over medium high heat stirring constantly until boiling. Boil for one minute and put in an ungreased 2-quart casserole dish, keep hot in oven while preparing the topping.

Cut shortening into mixture of flour, 1 tbls sugar, salt, flour. Stir in milk. Drop by spoonfulls onto hot cherry mixture. Bake until golden brown 25-30 minutes.

Monday, July 26

Cali's Cool and Refreshing Coleslaw . . . perfect for any hot summer night

I will be honest . . . I have NEVER liked coleslaw! But as of last night I have officially changed my mind. As a way to get away from heating up the kitchen, I was desperately searching for something to make that was cold. I found some left over cabbage in the fridge . . . and because I hate when I forget about produce in the fridge and it goes bad, I chose to make coleslaw. Actually, Cali made it! It was beyond easy and so delicious. It was the perfect sweet and tangy flavor. Even our son, the pickiest eater, loved it!


1/3 cup mayonnaise - we used Vegenaise, it tastes exactly the same and is dairy & egg FREE
3 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp agave nectar
2 tbsp rice milk
1/2 - 1 whole head of green cabbage - whatever you have on hand, next time we are going to use red cabbage as well
1 cup shredded carrots - we cheated and used Bunny Luv Organic shredded carrots
salt and pepper to taste


Mix everything together in a bowl! Voila!

Saturday, July 24

Herb Crusted Tofu . . . aka The Faux Chicken Nugget

If you have a young child who LOVES chicken nuggets, try this recipe. Our son is a chicken nugget fanatic and since he was 3, if you asked him, he would tell you without hesitation that his favorite food is chicken nuggets. As a healthier alternative, we have started making these and even my super-skeptical husband has admitted this is the closest chicken flavor and texture we have made. This simple recipe has become our favorite way to make tofu.

I was first introduced to herb crusted tofu at The Farm Restaurant in Portland a few years ago. Since we don't have the luxury of living close to them anymore, we have come up with another version. We paired it with steamed broccoli and garlic mashed potatoes. Normally I would have made the mashed potatoes from scratch but today was like 100 degrees and I had no desire to make the kitchen hotter than it already was, so I cheated and used Alexia Foods Garlic Mashed Red Potatoes. They were so easy and delicious!


1 block extra firm tofu
1/2 cup cooking sherry
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup water

1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

vegetable oil for pan-frying


1. First rinse, drain, and press the tofu. Slice tofu into ideal shapes, I cut mine into 12 triangles.

2. Put tofu in medium bowl and pour in cooking sherry, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and water. Put in fridge and allow to marinate for 30 minutes. Tofu acts like a sponge, the longer you marinate it, the more flavor you will get. You can adjust the marinating time and ratio of ingredients to suit your palate. While the tofu is marinating, prepare herb crusting and set up a skillet with vegetable oil.

3. In a shallow dish mix panko bread crumbs, flour, thyme, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Carefully dredge tofu cutlets into mixture and place in skillet with hot oil. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes on each side, or until a dark golden brown.

*A fantastic benefit to cooking with tofu is that it does not carry any nasty bacteria like salmonella in chicken, you can cook it to your liking and visual expectation. Essentially you can eat in its most raw form, so don't panic if you are worried about cooking it long enough.

Thursday, July 22

Don't have ricotta? . . . use this instead

This ricotta stand in was perfect for our lasagna last night, and as you can see this was so much fun for my sous chef to make. No utensils required, just hands for squishing!

Stick all of the ingredients in a bowl and squish with hands, that's it!

1 pound firm tofu, pressed and drained
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
handful fresh basil leaves, chopped fine
dash fresh black pepper

You can use this in any Italian recipe that calls for ricotta; lasagna, stuffed shells, etc. We put it right into the lasagna (sorry there is no pic, the camera ran out of batteries last night), or you can pop it in the fridge and use it up to a couple days later.

Tuesday, July 20

If you haven't tried YUMM! sauce, I suggest you try it . . . like yesterday!

Everyone at some point has come to find themselves wandering around the kitchen, hungry and tired. We had one of these nights tonight. Trevor and I both looked at each other and couldn't agree on anything to make for dinner. We were hot, irritable and feeling lazy. YUMM! Sauce to the rescue! This versatile sauce, can be used as a dressing, topping on just about anything, potatoes, soups, sandwich spread and dip for veggies and chips . . . basically . . . it rocks! We followed the guidelines for making a YUMM! bowl at home with the recipe on the inside of the package. It took like 20 minutes, and hardly any effort on our parts, this is the perfect go-to dish on any hot, summer night.

Here is how we loaded our bowls . . .

jasmine rice - it's hidden under the beans
kidney and black beans
YUMM! sauce
sour cream - we used Tofutti 'Better than sour cream'
salsa - we like Mrs. Renfro's
fresh diced tomatoes
slice of lime

1. Cook rice-we used our rice cooker

2. Heat beans and frozen corn together on stove for roughly 10 minutes

3. Start loading your bowl . . . first the rice, then YUMM! sauce (we put ours on the top for aesthetics), next is beans and corn, then guacamole or fresh sliced avocado, salsa and sour cream if you like.

This delicious and filling concoction was an awesome way to get our dose of complete protein. As my mom always said, "there is nothing better than beans and rice." And it is a great way to use up leftovers and random ingredients in your fridge. My friend Shana was the first person that showed me this amazing sauce. I will never forget the numerous times we would be sitting in the library studying kinetics and nuclear chemistry and she would dive into this big plastic container of rice and beans and 'stuff' as she called it. She would say, "it's made of, oh you know, whatever I have in my fridge."

Thank you Shana, we are finally enlightened!

Also known as Reindeer Poop

These decadent cookies have taken on a new name thanks to my children and mother's creativity. This is a staple Christmas cookie that has a lovely dark brown, soft chocolate exterior and mouth watering sweet peanut butter filling. This recipe is from one of my favorite baking books, The Damn Tasty Guide to Vegan Baking by Kris Holechek of Portland, OR. We picked this book up at Veg-Fest a couple years ago and I was sold by the samples of this cookie. Mine always seem to be much larger but still just as delicious. One is all you need!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Shells

1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1/2 teas. baking soda

1/2 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup rice milk
1 teas. vanilla

Peanut Butter Filling:
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter- chunky is great!
1/3 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. In a large bowl beat together margarine, sugar, brown sugar. Add milk. Beat well. Gently mix in the flour mixture about 1/3 at a time until incorporated.

For the filling, combine powdered sugar and peanut butter in a mixing bowl and beat until sugar is absorbed and peanut butter feels stiffer. Add chocolate chips. It should be a pretty solid mixture because you want to form it into little balls. If it’s still oily or thin, add a little more powdered sugar.

Using a piece of dough just a bit smaller than the size of a golf ball, flatten the dough into a disc on a piece of parchment paper. Place a heaping teaspoon of the peanut butter mixture on the center of the dough. Carefully fold chocolate dough over the peanut butter ball and seal the edges. Roll dough into a ball. If the dough gets dry, add a splash of milk to moisten it.

Place balls on baking sheet, seam down, about 1 inch apart. Bake for about 8 minutes, until the surface begins to slightly crack. Let cool for 1 minute on the sheet then transfer to cooling rack.

Makes about 2 dozen.

*The dough should be similar in texture and malleability to Play-doh.

Monday, July 19

A new Sunday morning favorite

This is a recipe I had tucked away in a cookbook for the last year or so, and I found it!!! These are the moistest, most delicious pumpkin scones you will ever sink your teeth into. They did not last long in our house. Move over Starbucks, there's a new scone in town!

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp of a combination of spices to your liking: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter - We use Earth Balance
  • I can of pumkin pie mix


In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and ginger). Cut in butter adding a bit at a time until mixed. Add pumpkin and combine well.

On a lightly floured surface, knead dough a few times. We made them into triangles but flattening the dough into a circle and slicing like a pizza. You can make your scones whatever shapes you want. Also, dipping a glass cup into flour and then using it like a cookie cutter will give you even circle shaped scone which is nice too.

Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until done.

This makes 12 really good size scones, way bigger than the one's at Starbucks (no offense, they have the only other pumpkin scone I know and can compare with). The only other thing is a maple drizzle that I topped them off with, which my husband said, "made the scones!" I would highly recommend it and it takes about 30 seconds to make.

Maple Icing Drizzle

Mix together:
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 capfull maple flavoring-use the real stuff if you have it
a few drops of water, however much you feel necessary to make a nice drizzle

And just mix it with a whisk until it is smooth and you can drizzle it all over the scones, and the best part is that is dries nicely, like the maple icing on a maple bar. Sooooo. . . GOOD!

And it begins . . .

This is the first post of what I hope will become a tool to share our love for food and attempts to appease a family with dairy and soy intolerance, Gout, Hypothyroidism, and particularly picky palates. We choose to approach our diverse needs with a plant based cuisine that is fun and family friendly, and gets the kids involved!

Last night we made black bean and sour cream enchiladas! Here is the recipe

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 or 4 chicken cutlets - We used Gardein brand "chicken" cutlets
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
dash of black pepper
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 small can diced green chiles
3 tablespoons fresh, chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 can green enchilada sauce
1 package large flour tortillas - We used locally made Carmen's corn tortillas
Up to 12 ounces sour cream - We used Tofutti "better than sour cream"
Up to 16 ounces of your favorite shredded cheese -We used Daiya shreds

This recipe takes hardly any prep, and it is SO good!

1. Put the olive oil in a large skillet. Saute "chicken", onions, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, chili powder, and black pepper at medium heat for about 6-7 minutes or until onions look pretty soft. Remove from heat, and add beans, green chiles, cilantro, and sea salt.

2. Grease a large baking dish with olive oil or Earth Balance, and pour half the can of enchilada sauce on the bottom of it. Lay out a tortilla, and spread about a tablespoon or so of sour cream, then add some beans and chicken mixture, and fold up, enchilada or burrito style. Place in prepared dish, and repeat with tortillas until there is no mixture left.

3. Once dish is filled, pour the rest of the can of enchilada sauce and 3/4 of the cheese on top. Cover and bake 30 minutes at 375 degrees. Uncover, add the rest of the cheese and bake an additional 5-7 minutes, until lightly browned on top. Serve with more cilantro and sour cream on top, if desired.

It filled my large casserole dish and we had enough leftovers for lunch. They were delish!