Apr 142014

In the mood for a little lemon, olive oil, garlic and white wine? My Vegan Mushroom Piccata Recipe will perfectly fit the bill.

Mushroom Piccata

Mushroom Piccata

 One of the best dishes I ever ate was a piccata at a place down the street from my house called Bistro 101. It is no longer there, but not a day goes by that I don’t miss that delicate lemon sauce dotted with capers, nestled in a bed of spicy arugula.  Since I no longer eat chicken I figured I’d better find a way to create my own at home.

One thing I don’t worry much about is protein. I usually get enough through plants – but there are days when I just feel like I want a boost. For those days I sometimes add a bit of nutritional yeast – high in protein and fortified with B vitamins – it is one of the best supplements to add to a plant based diet.  I added it here for extra flavor and a boost of protein by mixing it in with the flour before sautéing the mushrooms. I love using mushrooms as a sub for meat because of their hearty texture – they will shrink a bit after cooking.

For an added flavor boost I used a tapenade product that I LOVE, it is a mixture of Kalamata olives and capers, but feel free to sub capers if you like.

Vegan Portobellos

Vegan Portobellos

Mushroom Piccata

Vegan, Gluten Free
Serves 4
Printable Recipe


4 Portobello mushrooms
Olive oil mister
1/4 cup gluten free flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/8 to 1/4 tsp salt (to taste)
Fresh ground pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
Juice 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup vegetable broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive/caper tapenade spread (I used Organic Divina, Kalamata Olive Spread)
2 Tbsp Earth Balance butter

1/4 tsp agave (optional)
Garnish with parsley (optional)


1. Remove stem and wipe mushrooms with a damp cloth to clean. Mix flour and nutritional yeast,  salt and pepper in a small bowl; spray mushrooms with olive oil and dredge in flour mixture.

2. Heat olive oil and 1 Tbsp Earth Balance in a pan over medium high heat. Drop mushrooms into heated oil, top down; cook 3 minutes, flip and cook an additional 3 minutes; remove mushrooms and set aside; reduce heat and add lemon, white wine, broth and garlic; simmer until reduced by half, taste and if needed, re-season with salt and pepper and add agave to sweeten. Add mushrooms back to mixture; and simmer 5 minutes or until heated through; plate mushrooms. To pan, add remaining Earth Balance, whisk to incorporate and pour sauce mixture over mushrooms.

3. Top each mushroom with 1 Tbsp olive tapenade and slice of lemon. Garnish with optional parsley.

Estimated Nutrition Info
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 256.1
Total Fat 16.8 g
Saturated Fat 3.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.9 g
Monounsaturated Fat 7.5 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 384.2 mg
Potassium 201.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 18.4 g
Dietary Fiber 6.3 g
Sugars 1.5 g
Protein 7.9 g

Vitamin A 5.3 %
Vitamin B-12 66.5 %
Vitamin B-6 243.9 %
Vitamin C 11.0 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 9.3 %
Calcium 5.2 %
Copper 4.3 %
Folate 30.4 %
Iron 5.2 %
Magnesium 4.1 %
Manganese 14.8 %
Niacin 141.5 %
Pantothenic Acid 6.1 %
Phosphorus 10.1 %
Riboflavin 282.9 %
Selenium 18.7 %
Thiamin 321.4 %
Zinc 11.3 %

*Percent Daily Values for Vegan Mushroom Piccata Recipe are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Jun 082011
For a while I had a debate going with myself as to whether to give complete recap on how I did during the 21 day detox where I cut out meat, dairy, sugar, alcohol, wheat and caffeine.  Recently I was asked by a fellow blogger about the outcome she encouraged me to do a post so here goes.
Now mind you, this technically isn’t about all the details of the detox. It is more about my own personal experience and does not reflect any of the other detoxers.

That being said, when it comes down to it I did feel great and it did help digestion and my sleep was wonderful.

The program gives lots of recipe suggestions, offers motivational MP3 downloads and an online support group that I really enjoyed.

Now that it is over I look back on the real reason I joined. 

This is an excerpt from a post I had in draft before I started. “The first step in my journey to mindful eating was realizing it is OK to be hungry every now and then.  This is a daily struggle for me.  The weekends have proved to be extremely hard when it comes to not eating when I’m not hungry.  I was going to blame my social engagements but I know it’s all me.

I drink wine. I eat. Especially chocolate.     

Step number two is learning even more about my body and what it is trying to tell me. In order to do this I need to eliminate common allergens such as dairy and wheat and then after the detox as I slowly add them back I will know what the effects of each type of food are on my body.”

Ultimately, though, I think even this second step was driven by the intention of losing weight. This would be the WRONG reason to do a detox because if portion size and emotional eating issues are there before the detox, they will still be there during.  And I would be proof. 

I thought, for sure, this would be “it” when it came to losing the last 5 or 10 pounds.  It had to be the magic bullet.  I do realize I don’t have 50 pounds to lose; however, over the years there has been a slow 1 to 2 pound weight gain and I am working very hard to stop the progression before it gets out of hand.  As it is I work out diligently, striving to burn between 400 to 1000 calories per day; I do cardio, weights and power yoga. I stay away from eat fast food (with the exception of the occasional Chipotle Grill), eat my whole grains, TONS of veggies, lean organic protein and low fat dairy. I have tried weight watchers, low carb, low cal and intuitive eating.  I have read self help books and diet books.  In the end I still have my issues with listening to my body and actually gained weight. About three pounds on my 5’3 frame. 

Thinking back I am trying to remember the point I lost the ability to eat intuitively and can’t pinpoint the time. Subconsciously I think I knew I would gain because I love so many of the foods on the detox and I know my portion size issues.  Aside from fresh fruits and veggies I could have nut butters, whole grains, dried fruits, maple syrup, agave.  Some of these things are really caloric and, when I brought up the bit of weight gain the first week, I was advised to listen to my body which is great advice for most people who are doing the detox for the right reasons and don’t have eating issues. 

I realize I have self image issues to work on.  I know I eat when stressed, bored or anxious.  I have the hideously horrible issue of comparing myself to others. 

At this point I’m trying to tackle all this by keeping my focus on the positive things in my life.  My hubby, daughter, family and friends are amazing.   I consciously choose each morning to not judge others and work towards not judging myself.  And I stay busy with my loves of blogging, writing and volunteering with the farm.  I will continue to do my daily workouts and add lots of cardio (that also provide stress relief from work) and have started eating pre-packaged non-GMO Amy’s meals for lunch (they have a new Light and Lean line under 300 cals) as portion control.  Additionally I’m snacking on fresh veggies only between meals and staying away from even healthy desserts at night such as a whipped frozen banana. Lastly, I visited my doctor to have all my levels checked and discuss any options.  

Am I glad I did the detox?  Yes.  Because I learned a lot about myself.
This leads me to my recipe.  As a continuation from prior to and during my detox, I will continue to eat vegetarian meals a lot of the times and, other than my frozen lunch, continue to focus on unprocessed foods.  Like these white Eggplants…..

Three of my favorite foods come together in this light, sweet and spicy side dish; eggplant, dates and sweet potato. 

Moroccan Sweet Potato and Eggplant with Dates

About 10 rounded 1-cup servings


1 large onion, sliced thinly
5 cloves garlic, pressed
2 large sweet potatoes, diced (I used an organic white variety)
1 1/2 lb eggplant, diced (I used white eggplant)
2 bell pepper (I used green but red would be good)
1 tomato
2 1/2 tsp tumeric
2 tsp garam masala
1 cup tomato sauce
3 cups vegetable broth
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup chopped dates
Crushed red pepper flakes, optional garnish
Cilantro, optional garnish


1. Heat 1 Tbsp of the vegetable broth in a large pot.  Sauté onions for about five minutes, until softened; add the garlic, sweet potato, eggplant, bell pepper,  tomato, tumeric, garam masala, tomato sauce, vegetable broth, salt and ground pepper; bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until the sweet potato and eggplant are soft.

2. Stir in dates. Garnish each plate with crushed red pepper and cilantro.

Nutrition Facts

1 rounded 1-cup Serving
Amount Per Serving

Calories 101.7
Total Fat 0.4 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 583.3 mg
Potassium 341.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 24.5 g
Dietary Fiber 3.8 g
Sugars 9.2 g
Protein 2.0 g

Vitamin A 137.8 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 11.9 %
Vitamin C 37.5 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 3.0 %
Calcium 2.4 %
Copper 8.0 %
Folate 5.4 %
Iron 5.2 %
Magnesium 5.1 %
Manganese 14.5 %
Niacin 5.1 %
Pantothenic Acid     4.2 %
Phosphorus     4.0 %
Riboflavin 5.5 %
Selenium 1.4 %
Thiamin 6.1 %
Zinc 2.0 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. 

May 112011
A quick hello before I post my Gone Camping sign as we are off again on another adventure.  I promise to post another tasty recipe as soon as I can next week.
I’ve got to get to packing so here is a re-post of my latest recipe featured on Honest Cooking.  
Please do check out Honest Cooking.  The site rocks! (Not that I’m biased.)
Ah, the tilapia. That little versatile fish that is so mild and flakey it fits well into about any dish. It is high in protein and low in fat.  Perfect for those watching their waistline.
Since we are saving so many fat calories with the fish, let me bring up a touchy subject with dieters.  Sometimes you just have to use butter because in my humble opinion, taste is just as important as health.  And I’m talking real butter.  Don’t go all Paula Deen on me now and use a stick of butter.  We only use a little, but it makes a huge difference.  The fish was really moist and had a nice blackened char on the outside.  For an under 10 minute meal this sure did hit the spot.  Spicy seasoning and cool mayo (or in my case, reduced fat Veganaise) are the perfect pair.
I served mine with a spinach salad but it would be great with some seasoned sweet potato fries.  Baked, of course.
Why am I using real butter and Veganaise? Simply because I love the taste.  The reduced fat it excellent and I actually prefer it to the taste of full fat mayo.
Blackened Tilapia Sandwich from the Grill
Serves 2


2 tsp blackening seasoning*** per fillet or to taste
2 tilapia fillets, room temp
2 Tbsp butter
2 sandwich buns of choice, I used sandwich thins
2 Tbsp reduced fat Veganaise or real mayonnaise
Toppings of choice; tomato, onion, lettuce


1. Place cast iron skillet on grill, close lid and heat to very high heat, between 400 and 500 degrees.  Season fish fillets with 2 tsp blackening seasoning, or to taste. 

2. Add butter to hot pan and use spatula to coat all areas.  Add fish and cook until just beginning to char, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Flip once and cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes or until fish flakes. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Toast sandwich buns, spread 1 Tbsp Veganaise on one side of each bun; top with fish, toppings of choice and top half of bun.

***I like Blackening Seasoning from Southern Food

•1 heaping tablespoon paprika
•2 teaspoons salt
•1 heaping teaspoon garlic powder
•1 heaping teaspoon onion powder
•1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
•2 teaspoons black pepper
•1/2 teaspoon leaf thyme
•1/2 teaspoon leaf oregano


Mix the ingredients well and funnel into a shaker. Seal well and store in a cool dry place.
To clean cast iron skillet
1. Before skillet completely cools rinse well with hot water and brush with firm bristled brush or use a sponge.  Add about 1/8 cup salt and a bit of water to make a paste.  Use the brush to remove any food debris.  Rinse, dry well and coat with a bit of oil.

Nutrition Facts

2 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 361.1
Total Fat 20.4 g
Saturated Fat 8.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat 6.8 g
Cholesterol 76.8 mg
Sodium 723.3 mg
Potassium 3.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 23.0 g
Dietary Fiber 5.0 g
Sugars 2.0 g
Protein 28.0 g

Dec 302009
I was thinking about the definition of “healthy” because I was going to call this Healthy Banana Bread.  It’s such a subjective term.  Some people might think whole wheat is healthy while others with gluten allergies might see it as terribly unhealthy.  Some people think low fat dairy is healthy, others think only soy is healthy.  Your diet can be vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, high protein/low carb, low fat, organic only and on and on.
There is so much conflicting information out there how is a person supposed to know what to eat and what not to eat? 
My thought is to try to eat as many fresh veggies, fruits, whole carbohydrates (unrefined) and lean proteins as you can. What do you consider “healthy”?

Banana Bread

Yield: 1 loaf, 14 servings (serving size: 1 slice)


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup turbindo sugar
1/4 cup light butter, softened (I used Land O’ Lakes light butter with canola oil)
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1/3 cup French vanilla low-fat yogurt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Cooking spray


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Whisk together the first four ingredients until evenly combined.  (Flour through salt).

3. In a mixer beat the sugar and butter at a medium speed for about a minute.  Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

4. Add banana, yogurt, vanilla and cinnamon; beat until blended.

5. Add the flour mixture and beat at low speed just until moist and then fold in the pecans with a spatula.

6. Pour the batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray.

7. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

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