Extraordinary Vegan. Cookbook Giveaway, Chocolate Raspberry Tart Recipe and Review. Vedged Out 12 Days of Christmas

DSC_0016Chocolate Raspberry Tart, pg. 138 (with cherries instead of raspberries)

So, this is one of the cookbooks where I love the back story behind it as much as I do the cookbook. Private Chef, Alan Roettinger had done a previous book for Book Publishing Company. At the time, he wasn’t vegan, or even a vegetarian for that matter. But he wrote this vegetarian cookbook called “Omega 3 Cuisine.” It had good success, so Book Publishing Company asked him to write a second book, a vegan one this time. “Speed Vegan

DSC_0003-001High-Powered Green Juice, pg. 45 and Tarahumara Running Food, pg. 22

Somewhere along the line Alan mentioned in his writing of this book that the recipes were kind of “accidentally vegan” but were still good. [I’m paraphrasing here]. Book Publishing Company, a company that only publishes vegan and vegetarian cookbooks took issue with this and explained to Mr. Roettinger that their readers would too. They wanted him to understand that vegans and vegetarians think food without cruelty is delicious in its own right, and not that it’s some sort of mediocre substitute for an animal product based meal.

DSC_0006-001Three Sisters Soup, pg. 66

Around that period in time Alan went to the Dr. for his yearly physical. He had high blood pressure. His cholesterol was through the roof and he was tired all the time and overweight. His Dr. suggested that Alan should go on statin medications. Alan replied with something to this effect [paraphrasing again] “Naw, I’m going to go vegan.” I’ll check back with you in a few months and we can look at my results.”

DSC_0008-001Ratatouille, pg. 116

As you can probably guess, Alan never did need those statin medications. He dropped his extra weight, as well as his cholesterol and the blood pressure. He’s 100% vegan now and he’s never looked back. Today he’s creating Extraordinary Vegan meals where plants are the star of the show and loving it.

He served this beautiful tart at his birthday dinner the first year he was vegan. His guests were wondering how he could make a delicious birthday cake without eggs, cream or butter. I’m pretty sure this showed them that those things are completely unneccessary.


Chocolate Raspberry Tart

Almond Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground or chopped raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup palm sugar
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin coconut oil

Chocolate Filling:

  • 4 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons framboise eau de vie or raspberry liqueur

Topping and Glaze:

  • 2 pints fresh raspberries (I used cherries)
  • 3/4 cup fruit-juice-sweetened raspberry jam

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. To make the crust, combine the almonds, sugar and oil in a medium bowl and work with your fingers to form a thick, crumbly paste. Press into and 8-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Use a one-cup measuring cup or similar small container to press and form an even inside edge. Refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes.

Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. The crust will be puffy and slightly misshapen. Press the crust gently back into shape with the measuring cup. Return to the oven and bake for 7 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and set on a rack to cool completely before proceeding.

To make the chocolate filling, put the chocolate into a blender. Put the coconut milk into a small sauce pan over medium heat. As soon as it begins to bubble around the edge, remove from the heat. Count 10 seconds and then pour over the chocolate in the blender. Add the liqueur and process until very smooth.

Pour half of the chocolate mixture into the cooled crust. It should come about halfway up the inner side of the shell. Spread it out evenly, taking care not to get any on the rim.

Starting from the rim of the tart, arrange half of the raspberries in tight concentric circles over the filling. pushing the berries down slightly so they touch the bottom. End with one raspberry in the center. Pour the remaining chocolate mixture over them, filling in spaces between the raspberry tops and covering them completely. Take car not to drip any filling on the rim. Layer the remaining raspberries on top of the chocolate. again in concentric circles, but don’t press them down. Refrigerate the tart until the filling is firm, 2-4 hours.

To make the glaze, put the jam in a small saucepan and warm over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it melts. It should be fairly thick, but runny enough to apply with a pastry brush. Pour through a strainer to remove any raspberry seeds, pressing down to extract as much liquid as possible. Using a pastry brush, very gently brush the melted jam over the raspberries, allowing a little of the excess to drip down between them and cover the filling underneath. When the entire surface of the raspberries is coated, set the tart aside for at least 10 minutes to let the glaze congeal.

To serve, hold the tart pan rim with one hand and push up gently on the bottom with the other hand to release the tart. Set the rim portion aside. Slip a knife very carefully between the tart shell and the bottom of the mold. work the knife gently around until the tart comes away from the mold. Set the tart down on a cutting board and cut it with a hot, dry knife. bracing the rim with one finger on either side of the knife to keep the tart shell intact. Slide the knife under the cut portion and gently lift it out. Put the slice on a dessert plate. Repeat as needed. Serve at once.


Buy the paperback copy of the book on Amazon here or get the Kindle edition for just $9.99 here!

Or for a chance to win this amazing Giveaway, Click on the link below to enter the Giveaway! This contest is open to entrants in the USA only! You must also follow this blog by email or RSS feed to qualify. You have until Friday December 20th!  I will notify the winner by email on Monday the 23rd of December. GO!!

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Day 1: Free Vegan Lifestyle MagazineDay 2: Free Case of Butler Soy CurlsDay 3: Alternative Outfitters Vegan Boutique $25 Gift Card and Free Messenger BagDay 4: Sunwarrior Raw Vegan Protein Powder or Product of Choice GiveawayDay 5: Tropical Traditions 1 Gallon Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil Giveaway. Day 6: Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats, Allergy Free & Vegan Recipes. Cookbook Giveaway.


Dal Makhani – Beans in Creamy Buttery Gravy. Guest Post from Richa Hingle at Vegan Richa

     I’m welcoming my incredible friend Richa from Vegan Richa today. Every time Richa posts something, I’m literally salivating and wishing the girl was my neighbor so I could run and grab a bite of whatever it is she’s cooked up. I’m always in awe of her creativity and her crazy good photography.
     If you love Indian Food, you’ll find every possible variety made vegan on her site. It’s like an Indian Vegan Mecca. But Indian food is just the beginning, the girl is a crazy amazing bread maker (with loads of gluten free options). Last year, for Vegan MOFO, She amazed us all with her incredible pizza theme! That’s right, 20 fantastic pizza posts complete with homemade vegan cheeses, sauces and an infinite variety of crusts.
millet pizza 067-001
     What I love about Richa’s blog is that it’s not just about the food all the time. Richa is a passionate animal activist and within her posts you’ll find statistics, facts and infographics for all the reasons in the world to remove animal products from your diet.
     Richa is also a cancer survivor. A surgery to remove a tumor in her brain left her with nerve damage to one of her eyes and a prolonged battle with dizziness, balance and vertigo. Still she creates all this beautiful food, maintains her amazing blog and fosters rescue dogs. She lives in Seattle with her husband and their adorable fluff ball of a dog, Chewie.
     I’m incredibly grateful she agreed to guest post here today. For even more fabulous-ness check the end of this post for some of my favorite recipes from her site. Now, check out this amazing Dal!
Hi you all. Yippie, I get to bring some Dal to Vedged Out readers today! I discovered Somer via Kristy and have been hooked to Vedged Out since. All the positive energy, amazing food, her personality, keep me coming back for more and more. Wish you a consistent and good recovery Somer. Thank you for opening up your space to us.
Beans and lentils, are what we eat pretty much everyday as a part of Indian meals. They end up on the plate usually in a Dal preparation. Some other days in Burgers, pizzas, and more too. Dals are my comfort food, as well as something I would serve as a part of an Indian meal at an event. Amp up the earthy lentils with some specific spices, non dairy milk/butter, different methods of Tadka/Tempering and there you have a delicious hearty bowl of goodness.
Today, I am bringing you my Mom’s Dal Makhani. The lentils used are Whole black gram and Kidney beans. Makhani means creamy and buttery. The non vegan version of this Dal contains a good load of cream, ghee(clarified butter) and butter. Mom is now quite adept at vegan-izing things. So when I asked her what she was going to do about the Makhani part, she said just wait and watch and added some almond milk and cashew milk for a similar taste and it worked perfectly. I served the Dal with a teaspoon of Earth balance on top per bowl. And you should have seen the bliss on my Dad’s face:)  My omni brother also guzzled down bowls and bowls full of the Dal.
If you cant find the lentils used for this Dal, use any similar sized lentil or bean as a substitute from your local store. Substitute brown lentils for black gram, and pinto, black eyed pea, black beans for kidney beans.

Lots more Dals, Bean/Lentil Stews here

Black gram/ Whole Urad

Red Kidney Beans

Whole Urad lentils, Vigna mungo, black gram or black lentil are these pretty lentils which look like black Mung beans. The beans are available as whole or split or split+skinned like most whole lentils in India.
Ground into flour or soaked and fermented, urad is also extensively used in South Indian culinary preparations, such as dosa crepes, idli – steamed lentil cakes, vada – savory doughnuts, and Papad/Papadum.
Black gram is rich in good protein, vitamin A, B1 and B3 and has small amount of thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin C in it.

Red Kidney Beans are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, as are most other beans. In addition to lowering cholesterol, kidney beans’ high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. When combined with whole grains such as rice, kidney beans provide virtually fat-free high quality protein.


Tempering Ingredients.

Heat oil. Add cumin seeds and cook until fragrant.
Add garlic, ginger, chili and cook until golden.

Add onions and cook until translucent.

Add tomatoes, asafoetida, garam masala and cook until tomatoes are tender.

Add tempering to cooked beans. Add milks, mix well.
Cook until the beans are mushy.

Serve hot topped with a dollop of vegan butter or olive oil.

Dal Makhani – Beans in creamy buttery gravy
Allergy Information: Free of dairy, egg, corn, soy, gluten, grain, yeast

Serves 4-5
For the Lentils:
1 cup whole black gram (whole Urad)
1/2 cup kidney beans (Rajma)
3.5 – 4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt or to taste

For the Tempering:
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne or to taste
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2-3 green chilis finely chopped (I use Serrano chili pepper)
1 inch ginger, finely chopped
5-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 medium size onion, chopped
1/8 teaspoon asafoetida(hing)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon garam masala (regular or punjabi)
1 Tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves(Kasoori methi, or Use a 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek/methi seeds)-Optional
2 medium size tomatoes, chopped
2 Tablespoons Almond milk
1/4 cup Cashew milk (I used So delicious Cashew milk. Or Soak cashews and blend to make milky cashew cream.)
Vegan butter as needed

Pressure cook black gram and Kidney beans in 3.5 cups of water with salt and chili powder for 3-4 whistles.
Or use a slow cooker to cook both the beans and keep ready.
In a large pan, add oil and heat on medium-high heat.
Add cumin seeds and cook till they start to change color.
Add ginger, garlic and green chili and saute until golden.
Add onion and cook until translucent.
Add the tomato and cook until tomatoes are mushy. (13-15 minutes till this step).
Add the cooked black gram, kidney beans and the water they were cooked in.
Add garam masala and the milks. Mix, taste and adjust salt.
Add more water if the mixture is too thick.
Simmer on low heat till the dals/beans are totally soft and well blended. 30 minutes.
Or pressure cook for 1 whistle and then cook on low for another 10 minutes.
Top with a small dollop of vegan butter or olive oil and cilantro.
Serve with Roti/Naan flatbread or Rice Pilaf or other cooked grains like Quinoa, millet.

Richa Collage


Clockwise: Roasted Butternut Squash Slider, Avocado Naan, Pasta Sauce Mixes in Jars, Cinnamon Rolls, Lasagna Bolognese, Triple Salted Caramel Brownies, Grilled Nacho Cashew Sandwich, Spiced Apple Cake with Salted Caramel, Home Made Doritos Spice Mix (featured on Oprah!), Whole Roasted Cauliflower in Creamy Makhani Gravy.

Tuscan White Bean and Basil Pizza, Guest Post from Shira at In Pursuit of More

I’ve got the lovely Shira from In Pursuit of More guest posting here today. I’ll be honest, I probably cook more off Shira’s blog then I do out of any of the cookbooks in my house. That may have something to do with the fact that we’re a mere 5 days apart in age, us Virgos must have some very similar taste. Today she’s brought you this incredible Tuscan White Bean and Basil Pizza. Meet me again at the end of this post for more of my favorites from her site.Shira's Pizza

Howdy Vedged out readers! I’m super thrilled to be sharing a post with Somer’s amazing readers today and hope you guys enjoy this yummy recipe! When a friend reaches out and asks for a hand, there is really only one thing you can do: offer both of yours up and see if there is anyone else out there with a few to spare. I’ve been re-inspired of late by the amazing opportunities we have everyday to make other people feel special, and to literally make their day, or their week, or their year.

Of all the good deeds I’ve seen in the past few days, there is one that struck me as particularly potent, especially if we are looking to make a difference in the life of a stranger, and perhaps someone a whole lot less fortunate than we are (on the surface anyway). The other night, me and a girlfriend were ending an evening of wonderful food and drink at a friend’s new restaurant, when, as we walked to my car, we passed a woman about our age pushing a grocery cart.

It was raining, the first rain since the start of July, and she was well bundled in fleece, with a hat, and didn’t look like she had anywhere to go. She saw us walking past as there was no one else on the street, and her eyes caught mine. Used to walking past people asking for money (I regularly hand out 5 dollar bills – it just makes me feel good), I naturally assumed she might need/want some cash. But somehow her look that night was different.

“Hi”, I said, as I interrupted our chirpy girlfriend chatter, “Is there something you need?”. I rifled through my bag, searching for what I didn’t know. Did I have a bar? A snack? A bill I could spare? She didn’t answer but looked down as if embarrassed and waved both of her hands like she was sorry to interrupt us. We stood there for a split second in the dark night before my gorgeous girlfriend (inside and out) broke the silence with, “Do you need a hug?”.

With that, my girlfriend approached her, without giving her the option to decline, and gave her a giant hug. A long hug, the kind you settle into, and the kind that passes energy between two people the way nothing else really can. They both wrapped their arms around each other and shared. It wasn’t a fast hug, or a false hug, or the kind that passes between acquaintances and family as part of obligation, along with all the awkwardness that often goes had in had with those exchanges too. Afterwards, it was my turn, and I nestled into this woman’s fleecy softness and was filled with gratitude for such a sweet, simple exchange of love & kindness. It felt good. Pure. So simple. And so real.

A reminder that we are all human, born not of our choosing, and given the freedom to choose our actions every moment of every day no matter what our lot in life.

Shira's Pizza1

Afterwards, I was on such a high for the gift my friend had given not only the woman we saw on the street, who carried on into the darkness with her cart and hopefully a full heart, but to me too.

To realize that human need is so much more than just material, and that those all around us need love & kindness, and the kind you can’t buy with all the spare change in the world. Feeding the heart and soul is every bit as important as keeping our tummies full, and I was reminded of the power we all hold with just a simple extending of our arms.

I hope you’ll enjoy this beautiful pizza as it wraps its hearty arms around you, as this rustic Tuscan recipe conjures up images of old grandmothers & sunny countrysides. Simple, easy & good. Like a hug from a stranger, well maybe not that good, but you know what I mean 🙂

Shira's Pizza2

 Tuscan White Bean & Basil Pizza:

  • (1.5) cups white kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • (2) cloves garlic, minced
  • (1) tbsp olive oil
  • (1) cup vegetable stock (divided)
  • (1/2) tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • (1/4) cup fresh basil, cut in ribbons or minced
  • (3) roma tomatoes, cut in rounds
  • olive oil for baking the crust
  • (1) recipe pizza dough (my recipe here Basic IPOM Pizza Dough, Somer’s recipe here Vedged Out Pizza Dough)

First, prepare the pizza dough in advance according to directions, or use your favorite pre-made dough (I have a fave Italian deli I buy from and keep ’emergency’ dough in my freezer).

To create this simple rustic pizza, complete the following steps. This is a wonderfully simple yet totally fresh take on pizza that I find simple yet still sophisticated.

Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a skillet on medium low until warm and add the minced garlic. Cook the garlic, stirring often to keep the garlic from burning. Cook the garlic for 2 minutes, or until golden brown and fragrant. Add the drained beans, about (1/3) cup veggie stock to start and the salt & pepper. Cook this mixture for a few minutes until the stock has evaporated, adding more to achieve a creamy consistency. Do this for 10-15 minutes until all the stock has been used and the beans are hot and creamy. Remove from the heat and stir in half the basil.

While the beans are simmering, prepare the pizza crust (enough for one pizza). Oil a round or rectangular baking sheet and stretch the dough over the pan. Lightly brush the crust with olive oil and prick here and there with a fork. Cook in the pre-heated oven for 4 minutes. Remove, prick the crust again all over with a fork, and cook for another 4 minutes.

Tuscan Bean Pizza | In Pursuit Of More

Remove the pre-baked crust, and when the beans are ready, spread them evenly over the entire pizza. Place the tomato slices over the top and drizzle with a little more olive oil and black pepper.

Cook in the oven for 10-12 minutes until the crust is brown on the edges. Top with the remaining fresh basil and the Parmesan cheese or vegan cheese topping of your choice.

Shira's Pizza3

This pizza makes a wonderful first course to a dinner party and offers folks a chance to try something new and delicious over a glass of wine and good conversation. It is beautiful to look at and showcases a good crust and the beautiful flavors of fresh garlic & summer basil.

Leftovers will keep in the fridge and make the perfect on the go lunch. Particularly if you like cold or room temperature pizza as much as I do 🙂

Tuscan Bean Pizza | In Pursuit Of More

Love and hugs to all, particularly to my dear blogging friend Somer, who asked me so kindly to be here today (insert gratitude here). We all need hugs, whether virtual or otherwise, so do reach out and hug someone today. You never know what’s around the corner, so don’t wait, not ever. The time is now, so reach out and grab it, squeeze it hard, and don’t ever let go.

Yours in Less,

Email Handwritten Signature

Somer’s Note: Feeling so much love from this post. Do you have an extra hand to lend to others in need? Visit Shira at her charity site, Not So Fast. Oh, and don’t forget to check out some of my very favorite recipes from Shira. I’ve made each of them more than a handful of times, and each one feels (almost) as good as I imagine a hug from the woman herself would:

Shira Collage

Clockwise: Cashew Rice Loaf with Red Pepper Sauce, Spiced Lentils & Indian Chapatis, Almond Chocolate Rice Crispie Squares, Fiesty Fried Cumin Hummus, 3 Ingredient Soy Balsamic Dressing, Chuffed and Roasted Potatoes, Incredible Cranberry Orange Dressing, Sunny Day Orange Date Shake

The China Study Cookbook: Review and Giveaway plus No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars Recipe!

Peanut Butter Bars Square

I had all ready watched and was blown away by Forks Over Knives before I read The China Study. When I read the book, the evidence and data presented there by T. Colin Campbell, PHD and his son Thomas M. Campbell, was simply irrefutable. I felt my convictions about plant-based eating deepen even more. Certainly, the book confirmed all that I wanted to know and learn about eating for health (indeed nearly every single health issue you can imagine can be improved through a whole foods plant-based diet).

So, I gave the book to my sister-in-law, she read it cover to cover on a flight home to Switzerland. She and my brother and their family went plant-based almost immediately. The book then got passed around amongst her friends and family. Some of those people went plant-based. I’m sure those people shared the book with their loved ones. That’s what we do when we find something phenomenal that can change lives. We share it with those that are precious to us so that they can understand the real data behind the whole foods movement and experience the joy of good health.

French Toast

Dr. Campbell mentions in the intro to this cookbook that people always ask him what he eats, and that undoubtedly he would give people a limited answer that would disappoint those wanting to make real lifestyle changes. Now you can discover for yourself the real “China Study Diet” His daughter, Leanne Campbell is the author of the cookbook. I love that they’ve truly kept it in the family to show how the Campbell family does healthy vegan.

Broccoli Salad

On quick review of the cookbook I was delighted to see that the recipes used simple ingredients, that the meals would be easy and quick to prepare AND that they would indeed be flavorful, despite the fact that none of the recipes contain oil, very little of them use sweeteners (and when they do, they use natural sweeteners) and all of the recipes are low in sodium. Also, Nearly every recipe has a lovely photo (a huge plus in my book, I like to see what the food I’m preparing is supposed to look like).

Chocolate Cake

I especially enjoyed Leanne’s explanation about feeding a whole foods plant-based diet to children. Not only do they thrive, but indeed their diets are likely nutritionally superior to all of their peers. (My own children do very well on a plant-based diet).

Ceviche Beans

Now, lets talk about the food. My husband, who’s not much of a treat guy, thoroughly enjoyed both salads I tested out of the book and asked for seconds of each. My daughter loved the Coconut Curry Rice so much that she begged for the last of it on the second day. As for the desserts, well I was happily surprised that the Vegan Chocolate Cake was moist and tender, even without the addition of oil, oh and the frosting tastes like a delicious chocolate pudding. My pickiest and youngest eater ate 6 slices of the Favorite French Toast in one day. He wanted it for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner (by then I had to make another batch). I couldn’t blame him, it was truly delicious.

Coconut Curry Rice

As for the No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars, well, we’ll just let the photos and the recipe do the talking. Enjoy.

Peanut Butter Bar Portrait

No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars

These bars are rich, creamy, sweet and satisfying–everything a dessert should be! (recipe used with permission, of course).

  • 1 cup low-fat graham crackers, crushed
  • 1/4 cup crushed walnuts
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 cup non-dairy chocolate chips
  • 5 tablespoons rice or almond milk

1- Crush graham crackers in food processor. In a separate bowl, add walnuts, coconut and peanut butter. Stir in the crushed graham crackers.

2- Slowly add milk and mix. If mixture does not hold together, continue adding additional milk until all the ingredients stick together. However, don’t make it too soft, and, if necessary, use your hands.

3- Spread mixture evenly into a 9×9 non-stick baking dish.

4- In a saucepan, melt chocolate chips together with rice or almond milk over medium heat. Stir until smooth.

5- Spread chocolate mixture on top of peanut butter mixture. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until hardened. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Tip: These make a great holiday treat and should be used sparingly.

Peanut Butter Bars Top View

Buy The China Study Cookbook here. Get the Kindle Edition here.

Buy it on the Publisher’s Site, BenBella Books here

China Study Cookbook

For a chance to win a copy of this amazing cookbook, Click on the link below to enter the Giveaway! This contest is open to entrants in the USA and Canada onlyYou must also follow this blog by email or RSS feed to qualify. You have until Friday the 26th of July to enter!  I will notify the winner by email on Monday the 29th of July. GO!!

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Tastes of Summer: Smoky Fiesta Black Bean Tamales

Tamale 1

I’m guest posting over at my friend Jody’s at The Vegan’s Husband today (he’s male, sometimes he has hair that looks like Scott Jurek’s and he’s taken ladies). Did I mention he’s also an amazing cook? Jody was one of my first followers, when he asked me to do a guest post for him while he was away on a service trip for youth in his community, I couldn’t turn him down. I love anything to do with service and I’ve got heaps of admiration for people who take time out of their busy lives to serve others. Plus, Jody’s Catholic, I’m Mormon and sometimes he schools me about higher matters. That’s what friends are for, it’s awesome.


Oh, and making tamales is simpler than you might think (really). Head on over to Jody’s to get the luscious recipe here.

The recipe is also featured on Sunwarrior News and The Linky Virtual Vegan Potluck!

Smoothies, Cinnamon Rolls and That’s a Wrap.

So, my new friend Katie over at Well Vegan is on a Smoothie Train, check out this Super Green Smoothie, her Blackberry Cashew Smoothie and her Peanut Butter Smoothie. Y’all know how I feel about smoothies, so of course I hopped right on board. The Super Green Smoothie is featured in the photo below. Pure love.

Super Green Smoothie

For many of you Vegan Richa needs no introduction. The girl is a baking, Indian food making vegan fool (in such a good way). I’d been drooling over her cinnamon roll recipe from the get go. I just can’t believe it took me so long to make it. It’s one of the “best I’ve ever had” moments… and that’s not one I say too often. Just. Do. It. It’s healthier than it looks.

Cinnamon Rolls

Shira at In Pursuit of More really got to me in her Food Bloggers Against Hunger Post. She knows how to speak from right from her heart and it makes her whole blog glow with love.


I don’t think I’ll ever buy flour tortillas again after making the Indian Chapatis, and the Spiced Lentils are simply gorgeous. Yeah, she never steers me wrong. 

What food bloggers are you loving at the moment? What’s the best recipe you’ve tried off a favorite site recently?

Lentil Quinoa Bolognese Sauce from The Great Vegan Bean Book + Review and Giveaway!

zucchiniTopped with Easy Almond Parm, pg. 27

Kathy Hester is one of my very favorite cookbook authors. She’s saved my vegan bacon on many rushed days with her book: The Vegan Slow Cooker.  Every. Single. Recipe. I’ve tried out of that book has turned out fabulously, so you can imagine I jumped at the chance when she asked me to review her newest cookbook: The Great Vegan Bean Book. I’ll be sharing (with her permission) the recipe for the Lentil Quinoa Bolognese Sauce later in this post, but first feast your eyes on some of the other creations I made from her book.

Artichoke DipLets just say that the dip disappeared before the bag of pita chips was gone. I thought for sure I was going to need to doctor this recipe with some vegan sour cream to fatten it up. Nope. It’s perfectly skinny and delicious just the way it is.

Chickpea SeitanA certain someone in my house likes to occasionally nosh on the Boca Vegan Chik’n patties. Not ever buying those again after making these. I’ve been looking for a “chick’n” patty replacement I could make at home for some time now. I once made another way inferior chickpea patty recipe from a certain plant based author. Those sucked. These ruled.

SandwichThen I combined the above two recipes and made a Crispy Grilled Sandwich Delight on Marbled Rye Bread with the Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip White Bean Dip, the Baked Crispy Chickpea Seitan Patty and Kimchi. SO good I could have cried.

Coconut Pecan BlondiesOf course I had to try a dessert. These babies were absolutely calling my name.

Bite Sized BlissCoconut Pecan Blondies, pg. 181. I heart you.


Now back to the Lentil Quinoa Bolognese Sauce. Did I mention your kids will eat it, and ask for seconds? Here’s the conversation surrounding that dinner:

Silence while everyone is nomming on the sauce over noodles…

Somer: Did you guys know I put a whole head of kale in this?

Kid #1: I can’t even taste the kale

Husband: My head turned into kale today

Kid #1: All I can taste is vegetable deliciousness

Kid #2 who doesn’t like vegetables: Silence whilst gobbling down all his dinner.


Lentil Quinoa Bolognese Sauce

This hearty, protein-rich sauce serves a crowd, or it can be a staple you make every month or so, freezing any leftovers so they will be there for you during those crazy weeks (we ate it all weekend, hence photos of all the ways we used this delicious and nutritious pasta sauce)

  • 1 cup (192 g) lentils (green, brown, or beluga)
  • 3 medium carrots (peeled if not organic), each cut into 4 large pieces
  • 1-2 cups (235 to 475 ml) water
  • 2 tablespoons (28 ml) olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 can (20 ounces, or 560 g) crushed tomatoes, or 3 cups (750 g) homemade puree plus 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 1/2 t. dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon (2 g) dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or crushed dried chilies (optional)
  • 1 small bunch kale, stems removed and torn into small pieces (about 3 cups [201 g]) (optional)
  • 1/2 cup (87 g) quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) red wine or 2 tablespoons (28 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Cooked pasta, for serving, use GF pasta for a GF meal

Add the lentils, carrots, and water to a large soup pot. Turn the heat to high, cook until the mixture is simmering, and then decrease to low and cover. Cook until the lentils are tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

While the lentils cook, heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Then add the bell pepper and garlic and saute for 1 minute more.

Once the carrots and lentils are cooked remove the carrots from the pot of lentils and add them to a food processor or blender along with the tomatoes, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, kale, and sauteed veggies, and puree until smooth.

At the same time, add the quinoa and red wine to the pot of lentils. Turn the heat to medium, cook until it starts to simmer again, and then cover and decrease the heat to low. Cook until the quinoa start to show their white tails.

Add the puree to the lentil-quinoa mixture and cook, covered, over low heat until the sauce melds and heats thoroughly, about 20 minutes.

Eggplant LasagnaKathy’s going to have to forgive me, since her book is so popular, her publisher didn’t have review copies available, so I got the book in a PDF format until a hard copy is available to send out. The PDF copy is stamped with the publisher’s logo on each page and was difficult for me to read cover to cover (the way I always read cookbooks). So, I invented a Grilled Eggplant Lasagna, using the leftovers of Kathy’s amazing Lentil Quinoa Bolognese Sauce, then later read through the PDF to find that Kathy has her own Eggplant Lasagna recipe in the book. Well, the more the merrier I say! I’ll be sharing my version with you later in the week.

hi-res image

Buy “The Great Vegan Bean Book” in paperback book on Amazon here or the Kindle version here

Visit Kathy Hester at her site Healthy Slow Cooking here

Visit “The Great Vegan Bean Book” Blog Tour page here

Visit the photographer’s site for the book, Renee Comet, here

For a chance to win a copy of this amazing cookbook, Click on the link below to enter the Giveaway! This contest is open to entrants in the USA onlyYou must also follow this blog by email or RSS feed to qualify. You have until Monday the 10th of June to enter!  I will notify the winner by email on Wednesday the 12th. GO!!

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Celebrating 100 Posts!

It’s a good day all around, this post marks my 100th post since I started this blog in September 2012. I’m feeling all kinds of love and support! Thanks to all of you. Today I got twitter follows from Forks Over Knives, Dr. McDougall and a Hospital!?! I also got featured on the brand new site, Choose Veg. Feeling happy and blessed. Here’s a look back at 99 posts, in no particular order.

Food Bloggers Against Hunger: Simplest Chickpea Salad

Simplest Chickpea Salad1Simplest Chickpea Salad

I’m joining today with more than 200 other food bloggers to fight against hunger, an issue that millions of Americans and even more millions around the world face on a daily basis.

I was struck more than a month ago when I was asked by a blog follower how she would be able to do my Green Smoothie Challenge on a budget of $50 for her family for the week. I had to reply: “You can’t” Of course my reply was more heartfelt and helpful than that, but it made me realize how lucky I am to be able to afford all the fresh produce and healthy foods that I want. When you do the math, this person, with a family of four had a budget of $7.14 per day, or $1.78 per person for food for her family. Those figures broke my heart.

Many impoverished Americans are forced to eat poorly. When boxes of generic macaroni and cheese can be found for .33 cents and a packet of ramen noodles can be bought for less than a quarter, it’s no wonder that some of the nations poorest families eat the most nutritionally devoid foods. It’s a bit disturbing that An apple costs more than a cheeseburger on the dollar menu at a drive thru because the government subsidizes beef the beef, dairy and corn that go into making that hamburger, but it doesn’t subsidize apples. 

My goal today was to create a healthy meal for less than a dollar. One that would take less time to create then going through the drive thru and one that would trump that fast food cheeseburger and provide more nutrients.

Simplest Chickpea Salad

Simplest Chickpea Salad

  • One can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (I used one that my mom canned for me, so it was free, but you can find a generic can of chickpeas at Walmart for .68 cents or less
  • 1-2 diced tomatoes, (1/4 lb, bought at .99 cents a pound)
  • drizzle of olive oil (pantry item)
  • drizzle of red wine or balsamic vinegar (pantry item)
  • dash of garlic powder (pantry item)
  • 1/2 t. of dried basil (pantry item)
  • salt and pepper to taste (pantry items)

Method: Combine all in a bowl. Serves 2 for less than .50 cents per serving

Nutrition Stats for the Drive thru Cheeseburger

Calories 300 Calories from Fat  110

% Daily Value Total Fat 12 g 18%,  Saturated Fat 6 g 30%,   Trans Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 40 mg 13%, Sodium 750 mg 31%, Total Carbohydrate 33 g 11%,   Dietary Fiber 2 g 8%,   Sugars 6 g, Protein 15 g 30%, Vitamin A (IU) 300 6%, Vitamin C 1.2 mg 2%, Calcium 200 mg 20%, Iron 2.7 mg 15%

Nutrition Stats for the Chickpea Salad

Calories 289.3 Calories from Fat  45

% Daily Value Total Fat 4.88 g 8%,  Saturated Fat 0.6 g 3%,   Trans Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 0 mg 0%, Sodium 636.5 mg 27%, Total Carbohydrate 51.32 g 17%,   Dietary Fiber 10.01 g 40%   , Sugars 10.89 g, Protein 11.05 g 22%, Vitamin A (IU) 566.99 11%, Vitamin C 15.9 mg 26%, Calcium 75.16 mg 8%, Iron 3.07 mg 17%

I’m certainly NOT the expert on affordable healthful eating. So, for healthy eating on a budget, I invite you to look at my friend Nick’s Blog, Frugal Feeding. His whole agenda is how to eat well and eat affordably. For those wanting to eat cheaply on a vegan diet, I recommend a book by Ellen Jaffe JonesEat Vegan on $4 a day.



VISIT: Share Our Strength

WATCH: the A Place at the Table, via Amazon or iTunes

GIVE THANKS: to The Giving Table, for creating this event

DO: Take action! click here and take a minute to send a letter to Congress asking them to support anti-hunger legislation. Doing so will protect nutrition programs that help fight hunger in the US.

Vegan Pudla (Omelet Thingy)

DSC_0003Vegan Pudla (Omelet Thingy)

I’m having a love affair with the Vegan Pudla. I can’t stop making them. I was introduced to these babies by Kittee at Cake Maker to the Stars. Girl knows her stuff, she’s been vegan for more than 2 decades.

I thought it was supposed to be some sort of a vegan omelet replacement, but after more research, the pudla comes from Indian origins and is probably more identifiable as a pancake. Whatever it is, it’s delicious, and you need to make it, NOW. I followed Kittee’s guidelines here and then used them to make this recipe. Then I added lots of spinach, some nooch and some mustard powder… Eggs Schmeggs.

To see all of Kittee’s pudla’s she’s featured on her site, click hereI’ve also made these with artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes and kalamata olives. Believe me, more vegetables = better pudla. Try using about a cup of your favorite diced veg, spices and seasonings in yours. Enjoy!

DSC_0002Just in case you need a closer look….

This post is featured on Allergy Free Wednesdays