Jul 102014

Fresh summer produce gave me the idea for this Easy Vegan Three Bean Salad. There is nothing better than vine ripened tomatoes, hearty edamame and garbanzo beans, and crisp-tender green beans dressed simply with olive oil and sea salt.

Perfect Pot Luck Salad!

Perfect Pot Luck Salad!

For cookouts, beach days, and everyday life, this is the PERFECT summer base salad. What is a base salad? Something you can add to; sautéed tofu, cashew cheese, or any protein or cheese you like.

July 4th was a whirlwind.

There was lots of time for fun and a few points of reflection.

The holiday kicked off with a cookout, followed by a beach day complete with paddle boarding and body surfing, and later that evening we watched our daughter see fire works for the first time on the boat….now THAT was cool.  There was even an unexpected limo ride the next day!

We were at our second cookout of the weekend, when suddenly there was a limo at the front door. Our friend’s landscaper/part owner of a new restaurant had sent a limo by to fetch us to enjoy food and drinks at his new place.

Then the unthinkable happened.  I got a call from my mom who had been rushed to the emergency room with chest pain.

With thoughts of my Dad‘s sudden passing in my head, I drove to the hospital. After many tests and a weekend of hospital food, she was diagnosed with severe gastrointestinal issues (not from the hospital food, but that’s a whole other story). Since she never complains about aches and pains, the pain must have been really bad at the time.

On the way home I reflected how fragile life is. After losing Dad so suddenly, I could clearly see the possibility of losing both my parents, and what was left was devastating. It made me so grateful that she is ok and back home and that I have been able to make the changes I had yearned for – leaving Corporate America, becoming self-employed, loving every minute with my small daughter and relishing the ability to be creative. Every. Day.

Has it been easy? Not always. But worth it? Yes.

I further reflected on what kept me where I was for so long.


Fear that I might fall flat on my face, fear that I might be embarrassed, fear that I would have to work so hard and hate it, fear of failure.

There’s an old saying, if you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life. 

It is SO true. Yes I work hard, but I enjoy every day now.

And guess what else I found out. Failure is part of success.

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. ~ Wayne Gretzky

This is my wish for you. Live every day as if it is your last. If you don’t like where you are in life now, begin to take steps to change it. Don’t stay where you are out of fear. Turn off the TV. Read books that will help you in life, like How to Win Friends and Influence People. Study people like Marie Forleo and Tony Robbins. Get up early, start dreaming, planning and taking action. Take a chance, let yourself fail, get back up and keep on going.

Don’t wait.

And while you’re dreaming, I have the perfect salad to fuel you.

Are you where you want to be? Do you have changes you need to make in life? What is holding you back?

Easy Vegan Three Bean Salad

Easy Vegan Three Bean Salad

Three Bean Salad

Serves about 10 rounded 1/2 cup servings
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
12 oz fresh green beans
12 oz shelled edamame
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup red onion (optional)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp coarse ground sea salt
1/8 to 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 to 3 Tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice


1. Steam green beans until crisp-tender; about 10 minutes; remove from steamer and run under cold water and let drain. Cut into bite sized pieces.

2. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss well.

Nutrition Facts
10 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 151.6
Total Fat 5.8 g
Saturated Fat 0.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 234.8 mg
Potassium 233.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 18.7 g
Dietary Fiber 4.1 g
Sugars 0.8 g
Protein 7.3 g

Vitamin A 13.0 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 14.1 %
Vitamin C 18.2 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 3.9 %
Calcium 6.2 %
Copper 6.7 %
Folate 12.6 %
Iron 9.7 %
Magnesium 6.6 %
Manganese 20.1 %
Niacin 2.7 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.6 %
Phosphorus 6.5 %
Riboflavin 4.0 %
Selenium 2.4 %
Thiamin 4.2 %
Zinc 4.2 %

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

Three Bean Salad 

Jan 012014

This Eggless Breakfast Taco is a simple and flavorful twist on a traditional breakfast burrito.

Get your new year started off on the right foot – with an easy, healthy, delicious and light breakfast. If you are tired of the same old oatmeal, this recipe will knock your socks off!

Plus I’ll share my food trend predictions for 2014!

Eggless Breakfast Taco ~ Made with Chickpea Flour

Eggless Breakfast Taco ~ Made with Chickpea Flour

I’m officially declaring this year to be the year of the chickpea ~ more specifically, chickpea/garbanzo flour. In the past few weeks alone I came across several delicious recipe ideas using this versatile ingredient. The first was when my friend Vivian mentioned making tortillas from chickpea flour and then, when challenged with creating an eggless vegan breakfast taco without tofu, I came across a recipe using the chickpea flour as a replacement for eggs. Of course I had to take it a step further and add a bit of delicious nutritional yeast and smoky coconut bacon.

Eggless Breakfast Taco ~ Made with Chickpea Flour

Eggless Breakfast Taco ~ Made with Chickpea Flour

While we’re at it, I’ll call the second hot ingredient for this year…..nutritional yeast!  Ok, so maybe this won’t be one that the experts predict, but I’ll go ahead and say it should be on the hot trends for this year.  If you haven’t tried it yet you simply must go out and grab some from the bulk bin. It is high in protein and b-vitamins and has a wonderfully cheese-like flavor.  What I love about mixing the bean flour with nutritional yeast (aside from the fabulous taste and texture) is that this mixture is both high in protein and high in fiber.  This combination is something you cannot get from animal foods since they do not contain fiber.  What you won’t see in this recipe is cholesterol, so for anyone battling heart disease this is a great alternative to eggs.

Eggless Breakfast Taco ~ Coconut Bacon

Eggless Breakfast Taco ~ Coconut Bacon

Miss the bacon you say?   I have a product you will fall head over heels for.  Coconut bacon!  Top your taco with this and say bye to pig forever.  You can even make a BLT with this product! Yes it is a bit on the pricier side, but a little goes a long way.  So while you are at Native Sun grabbing the nutritional yeast and chickpea flour, add coconut bacon to your list.  Plant based “bacon” is my third prediction as a hot item for 2014.

Eggless Breakfast Taco ~ Perfect with Fresh Coffee

Eggless Breakfast Taco ~ Perfect with Fresh Coffee

My hope for this year is that awareness for locally sourced foods will finally take hold with the mainstream population ~ that people learn what a CSA is and become wary of genetically modified foods.  As gas prices increase and access to fossil fuels decreases, prices for food that must travel long distances will go up.  This one factor may help people start to question why this is happening. My second hope we begin to realize that we need to consume a greater variety of vegetables than the standard lettuce, onion and tomato.  Cauliflower is supposedly this year’s “it” vegetable, so how about kicking it up a notch and looking out for Romanesco cauliflower? Time to diversify our intake of produce, just like we should diversify our portfolio!

What are your food trend predictions for 2014?

[If you like the sound of this recipe – please share it with your friends! Many thanks and may your 2014 be your best year yet!]

Eggless Breakfast Taco ~Made with Chickpea Flour

Eggless Breakfast Taco ~Made with Chickpea Flour

Eggless Breakfast Taco

Inspired by Oatmeal with a Fork
Serves 4 small tacos. For larger meal, double taco mixture.
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe



2 tsp coconut oil
3/4 cup chickpea/garbanzo bean flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
1-2 green onion(s), chopped
1/4 cup coconut bacon (optional, omit if soy-free is desired)
4 small gluten free (or regular) tortillas

Optional Mustard Sauce (makes extra)

6 Tbsp mustard (coarse ground, prepared)
6 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 cup reduced fat or regular Vegenaise
1/4 cup unsweet original non-dairy milk
1 Tbsp agave (or local honey)


1. Mix chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, water, salt and onion powder in a medium bowl; stir in the green onions. Mix mustard sauce in small bowl (if using.)

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; add 2 teaspoons of coconut oil and coat bottom of skillet evenly; pour the chickpea mixture into skillet and let sit 3-5 minutes, or until the edges begin to set and center bubbles; gently turn with a large, flat spatula and break apart mixture to create bite sized pieces with an egg-like consistency and the mixture is fully cooked; about 1-2 minutes.

3. Divide mixture evenly between 4 tortilla shells; top each with 1 Tbsp coconut bacon and 1 Tbsp mustard sauce (if using).

**Note: Non-dairy cheddar style cheese would be delicious as a substitute for the mustard sauce in this recipe.

Estimated Nutrition Info
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 192.8
Total Fat 8.0 g
Saturated Fat 3.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 628.1 mg
Potassium 188.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 22.0 g
Dietary Fiber 8.3 g
Sugars 2.4 g
Protein 13.4 g

Vitamin A 0.2 %
Vitamin B-12 66.5 %
Vitamin B-6 240.4 %
Vitamin C 0.7 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 0.1 %
Calcium 9.4 %
Copper 3.2 %
Folate 30.3 %
Iron 10.8 %
Magnesium 2.7 %
Manganese 3.0 %
Niacin 140.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 5.1 %
Phosphorus 8.7 %
Riboflavin 282.6 %
Selenium 16.1 %
Thiamin 320.2 %
Zinc 10.6 %

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

Mustard Sauce: Per Tbsp
Nutrition Facts
21 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 24.8
Total Fat 1.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 122.9 mg
Potassium 48.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 2.0 g
Dietary Fiber 0.6 g
Sugars 0.0 g
Protein 1.2 g

Vitamin A 0.1 %
Vitamin B-12 19.0 %
Vitamin B-6 68.6 %
Vitamin C 0.0 %
Vitamin D 0.3 %
Vitamin E 0.6 %
Calcium 0.4 %
Copper 0.9 %
Folate 8.6 %
Iron 0.6 %
Magnesium 0.8 %
Manganese 0.7 %
Niacin 40.0 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.4 %
Phosphorus 2.5 %
Riboflavin 80.7 %
Selenium 4.6 %
Thiamin 91.4 %
Zinc 3.0 %

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

Dec 012013

Greens Salad with Avocado, Chickpeas, Quinoa and Hummus Dressing is a hearty, yet easy to make salad that is sure to satisfy even the biggest appetite! 

Greens Salad with Avocado, Chickpeas, Quinoa and Hummus Dressing

Greens Salad with Avocado, Chickpeas, Quinoa and Hummus Dressing

“Call me, I need to share some recipes that I have been doing ….”

Last week I got a text from Vivian at KyV Farm that she came up with a few easy and delicious recipes to utilize the staples we have on hand – such as greens and beans.  Of course I called her right away so I could hear all about them because I’m always looking for new ideas aside from my go-to staple of “if in doubt, make soup”. They sounded so tasty that I had to go home and whip this one up immediately with some of the beans, quinoa and hummus I already had on hand.

Greens Salad with Avocado, Chickpeas, Quinoa and Hummus Dressing

Greens Salad with Avocado, Chickpeas, Quinoa and Hummus Dressing

Here were some of her suggestions:

  • Utilize any greens you have – a whole mixture of bok choy, lettuce, collards, kale – whatever! Wash and dry them and use them as a base for your salads. Top with cooked beans, cooked quinoa and avocado. Now here is the kicker. Instead of using salad dressing try hummus!
  • Chickpea tacos – mix equal parts chickpea flour and water, salt and pepper. Cook them in a lightly oiled pan like a crepe. Stuff with beans and vegggies.
  • Mix greens into fresh salsa right along with any herbs.  Use this in a base for pasta sauce and no one will even notice the extra veggies.
  • Soak some beans overnight and throw them in the pressure cooker with salt-free broth, onions, garlic and sofrito. Bring the pressure up to a simmer and cook 30 minutes then remove from heat.
  • Mix some poblano peppers in with the cooked chickpeas to make a spicy hummus. (I like to throw some greens in there too.)

Upon one taste of this salad I knew Vivian had hit the jackpot! What a way to get your greens in! I love the hummus as a creamy dressing and with 12 grams of fiber and almost 12 grams of protein this is a sure-to-fill-you-up meal.

Do you have any easy and favorite ways to use what you usually have on hand?

Greens Salad with Avocado and Hummus Dressing

Greens Salad with Avocado and Hummus Dressing

Greens Salad with Avocado, Chickpeas, Quinoa and Hummus Dressing

Vegan, Gluten Free
Serves 1
Printable Recipe
**Ingredient from KyV Farm


2 cups mixed greens, chopped**
1/4 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup raw broccoli florets, chopped**
1/4 Florida avocado, chopped
2 Tbsp hummus
Salt and pepper


1. Top greens with quinoa, chickpeas, broccoli, avocado and hummus; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition Facts
1 Serving
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 313.6
Total Fat 12.3 g
Saturated Fat 2.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.5 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 304.0 mg
Potassium 505.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 41.7 g
Dietary Fiber 12.1 g
Sugars 2.5 g
Protein 11.7 g

Vitamin A 69.4 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 21.7 %
Vitamin C 73.3 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 1.8 %
Calcium 7.1 %
Copper 24.9 %
Folate 26.4 %
Iron 17.8 %
Magnesium 15.3 %
Manganese 35.1 %
Niacin 4.5 %
Pantothenic Acid 10.4 %
Phosphorus 14.8 %
Riboflavin 6.1 %
Selenium 4.4 %
Thiamin 6.5 %
Zinc 10.3 %

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

Aug 082013

I confess.

Dilled Chickpea Salad

Dilled Chickpea Salad

I miss tuna fish sandwiches and chicken salad – but substituting chickpeas with the same flavors is just as satisfying on a plant based diet! I love that clean and fresh taste of dill – so distinctive – paired with nuts or seeds.

Dilled Chickpea Salad

Dilled Chickpea Salad

As soon as I saw this recipe from my friend Alissa I knew exactly how I was going to use the Nasoya vegan whipped spread called Nayonaise I was asked to review. A little goes a long way in this recipe. I enjoyed the tangy flavor with just a hint of lemon and the mild seasonings of turmeric, paprika and garlic. Thanks Nasoya!

This versatile salad is perfect as an appetizer, quick lunch or over greens for a complete and satisfying meal.

If you are on a plant based diet are there any recipes you miss?  Have you been able to recreate them in a satisfying way?

Dilled Chickpea Salad

Dilled Chickpea Salad

Dilled Chickpea Salad

Inspired by Connoisseurus Veg 
Serves 2 dinner portion or 4 appetizer portion
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


2 cups cooked garbanzo beans/chickpeas** (or 1 14.5 oz can will work too)
2 Tbsp chopped onion
1 Tbsp black and/or white sesame seeds
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
2 Tbsp whipped Nayonaise
1 Tbsp sunflower seeds**
1/8 tsp coarse grind sea salt


1. Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl; crush chickpeas a bit with a fork.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 195.4
Total Fat 7.6 g
Saturated Fat 0.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.9 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 404.2 mg
Potassium 254.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 26.3 g
Dietary Fiber 5.6 g
Sugars 0.2 g
Protein 7.4 g

Vitamin A 0.9 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 28.3 %
Vitamin C 7.4 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 18.0 %
Calcium 6.1 %
Copper 20.1 %
Folate 22.2 %
Iron 11.2 %
Magnesium 11.8 %
Manganese 41.7 %
Niacin 3.8 %
Pantothenic Acid 8.1 %
Phosphorus 19.0 %
Riboflavin 3.4 %
Selenium 12.4 %
Thiamin 3.8 %
Zinc 11.0 %

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

Feb 282013

Two Bagel Toppings! Curried Cashew Hummus and Curried Cashew Cream Cheese

Remember some of the diets of the past? Go fat free, they said.  Peanut butter was the devil, nuts were off limits and you couldn’t even LOOK at an avocado. (Be still my heart.)

Curried Cashew Hummus and Cream Cheese

Curried Cashew Hummus and Cream Cheese

(Don’t even get me started on the Atkins craze. That’s a whole post in itself.)

Fat free cheese, fat free cream cheese, fat free yogurt, fat free cookies – Snackwell’s anyone? We were swimming in processed, fat free but sugar filled foods as the obesity epidemic skyrocketed.

Curried Cashew Hummus

Curried Cashew Hummus

Thankfully, times are changing and people are beginning to learn that balance is the way to go and that we do need some fat, some carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and protein in the form of whole foods.

Cashew Cream Cheese

Cashew Cream Cheese

Meet the cashew.  Cashews can be turned into alternatives to almost any dairy you like – milk, sour cream, cheese, cream cheese, but have NO cholesterol and some of that healthy fat we used to miss.  Typically I use raw cashews, but in this case the curry ones were on sale at Native Sun Natural Foods Market, so I decided to give them a try.  I soaked them first so they would blend easier and voila!  Delish!

As for the hummus – this was a little sub I learned from my friend Suzanne.  A co-worker had brought bagels into the office and instead of eating it dry, since she had also cut out dairy, she topped it with some hummus. I tried it and LOVED it, so now it’s my favorite way to enjoy a bagel or baked bread and as the usual dip for crunchy, fresh veggies.

A dash of curry gives these two toppings a little hmm factor without being overpowering.  If you don’t like curry, simply leave out the curry powder, use olive oil instead of the curry coconut oil and use raw cashews instead of curry.

Curried Cashew Hummus

Curried Cashew Hummus

Curried Cashew Hummus

Serves 4 (Hummus serves 4-6)
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


4 GF bagels, such as Udi’s
2 Tbsp chopped curried cashews, soaked for 1 hour or overnight
1 can chickpeas, Tree of Life, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
3 cloves garlic
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp melted curry coconut oil, Ziggy Marley (you can sub olive oil here)**
Dash of curry powder
1 Tbsp tahini
¼ tsp salt


1. Blend cashews through salt in a small food processor or blender, adding 1/2 Tbsp water at a time until creamy consistency is reached. Spread ¼ mixture over each of four toasted bagels.

Curried Cashew Cream Cheese

Curried Cashew Cream Cheese

Curried Cashew Cream Cheese

Inspired by this recipe
Serves 4 (Cream Cheese serves 4-6)
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


4 GF bagels, Udi’s
1/2 cup chopped curried cashews, soaked for 1 hour or overnight
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp apple cider vinegar, Bragg
Dash of curry powder
¼ tsp salt


1. Blend cashews through salt in a small food processor or blender, adding 1/2 Tbsp water at a time until creamy consistency is reached.


Nutrition Facts Hummus (without bagel)
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 231.5
Total Fat 8.9 g
Saturated Fat 3.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.9 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.5 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 510.3 mg
Potassium 302.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 31.4 g
Dietary Fiber 6.4 g
Sugars 0.3 g
Protein 8.5 g

Vitamin A 0.7 %
Vitamin B-12 16.6 %
Vitamin B-6 90.8 %
Vitamin C 11.1 %
Vitamin E 0.6 %
Calcium 6.3 %
Copper 19.5 %
Folate 29.5 %
Iron 13.4 %
Magnesium 13.4 %
Manganese 43.8 %
Niacin 37.3 %
Pantothenic Acid 5.8 %
Phosphorus 18.2 %
Riboflavin 74.7 %
Selenium 10.1 %
Thiamin 86.3 %
Zinc 14.1 %

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

Nutrition Facts Cream Cheese
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 99.6
Total Fat 7.9 g
Saturated Fat 1.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 255.0 mg
Potassium 104.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 6.1 g
Dietary Fiber 0.5 g
Sugars 1.1 g
Protein 2.6 g

Vitamin B-6 2.3 %
Vitamin C 2.3 %
Vitamin E 0.5 %
Calcium 0.8 %
Copper 19.1 %
Folate 3.0 %
Iron 5.8 %
Magnesium 11.4 %
Manganese 7.6 %
Niacin 1.2 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.1 %
hosphorus 8.4 %
Riboflavin 2.0 %
Selenium 2.9 %
Thiamin 2.3 %
Zinc 6.4 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Enjoy These A Fresh Takes on Old Favorites – Two Bagel Toppings! Curried Cashew Hummus and Curried Cashew Cream Cheese!

Aug 022012

Just think…warm and sweet butternut squash, bright, sunny lemon, nutty tahini, purple onion and wilted spinach….doesn’t that sound great for summer?  It’s wonderful even cold!
This butternut squash dish was one of the recipes that Cara and I chose to make while she was in town visiting.  In addition to the tahini and olive oil, we stirred in some honey, cumin and fresh baby spinach. 
Once you try that one out….here is a wonderful round two recipe for you with avocado and sprouts that enhance the taste of fresh lemon.

Juicy summer cherries are the perfect compliment!

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Quesadilla with Avocado and Fresh Sprouts
Serves 4
4 whole wheat wraps
1/2 cup Daiya cheddar cheese
1 avocado, seeded and sliced
1/4 red onion, sliced
1 cup sprouts
1. Preheat broiler to high.  Stuff 1/4 cup butternut squash salad into wheat wraps, top with 2 Tbsp Daiya.  Spray with cooking spray; broil, on high, 3 minutes per side or until browned.
2. Top with 1/4 sliced avocado, 1/4 of the sliced red onion and 1/4 cup sprouts.
**No nutrition info available for this one.
Jul 102012
Seven Layer Bean Dip with Mila
Greetings!  I just got back from our camping trip to St Augustine.  Yes I am crazy and yes, it was definitely hot and yes, there was mosquitoes the size of Texas. But you know what?  I’m a camper and I love it. Ok so I do have AC in my trailer but I still consider it camping.  Hey I know what it’s like….I tented for many years and I’ve ventured three times into the deserts of Arizona with a tent for two weeks at a time.  No running water and scorpions.
This time we spent the days staying as cool as we could.  First thing in the morning we hit our favorite zoological park, the  Alligator Farm, then right afterwards we hit a nice splash park, we ate lunches out and visited the farmers market. In the evenings we enjoyed a few glasses of wine and my daughter roasted up some marshmallows.  This was an all girls trip – no boys allowed!

Here are just a few pics from our adventure. This is where my daughter takes over for the photography.

I was ordered to BE SILLY.
Lunch! Present Moment Cafe offers raw and vegan options.

Here is my daughter trying to roast marshmallows over our smoke signal fire.  It wasn’t me. The wood must have been wet.

And finally we get to the recipe.  I bought this to a 4th of July celebration and it got rave reviews.  Especially the cashew sour cream.  No one could believe it wasn’t regular sour cream!  To me it tastes like a cross between cream cheese and sour cream.  Spread this on your bagels and you won’t miss the other white stuff one bit.

What is Mila?
Mila is an organically grown, non-genetically modified blend of chia seed that is cold pressed and sliced to make it more bio-available. 
It is RAW, GLUTEN FREE, AND VEGAN, perfect for cooking and baking.
It is super high in OMEGA 3s – equal to 6 to 10 fish oil pills per serving.  
A single serving also has FIVE GRAMS OF FIBER, more antioxidants than blueberries, more iron than spinach and many more benefits.
This little seed has anti-inflammatory properties, is excellent for brain function, energy, elimination, sleep and the best part?  It’s a FOOD!

Sound good?  Try some for yourself and see!

***To prepare this dish be sure to soak the raw cashews ahead of time!

Vegan Layered Bean Dip with Cashew Sour Cream and Mila
Vegan, Gluten Free
Layer 1
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup chopped red and green onion
1/4 tsp Adobo seasoning
Layer 2
1 14.5 oz can black beans
1 scoop Mila
1/4 tsp Adobo seasoning
Layer 3
1 can light, low sodium refried beans (I used Eden Organic)
Juice 1/4 lime
Layer 4
1 to 2 cups fresh salsa (or salsa of choice)
Layer 5
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
Layer 6
1/2 cup vegan mozzarella cheese (I used Daiya)
1 cup cashew sour cream: (1 cup raw cashews, soaked a few hours or overnight), 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice, 2 Tbsp Cider Vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt – blend until smooth, adding water if needed.
Layer 7
3 to 4 cups chopped lettuce


1. Mix the ingredients of each layer, one at a time, in a medium bowl.

2. Press each layer gently into a trifle bowl.  Serve with hearty organic corn chips.

Mar 062012

Last season I created this unexpected recipe to utilize the gorgeous tops of my fresh carrots from the farm.  I just couldn’t bear to throw them away!  Since I got a few bunches with my last pick up I had to create it once again, this time using some chickpeas to create a light meal.

I love the mild parsley-ish taste of the carrot tops and the crunch the carrots add to the texture.  The mint makes this super fresh and the lemon adds a tang factor.
Tip: You can save a ton of money buy cooking dried beans in salt free veggie broth and freezing them in 2 cup packages to pull out for later use.
The carrots, scallions and tomatoes came from KYV farm and the mint, parsley and lemon from my garden and my dad’s tree. Now that’s local and seasonal produce!
Tip: Use your food processor for this one to make quick work of the chopping or if you don’t have one, bribe a friend to help chop.
Carrot Top Tabbouleh with Chickpeas
Serves a LOT – bring this to a pot luck or eat it all week and share with friends
Vegan, Dairy Free, (Gluten Free Option)
**Tip: For gluten free option, replace the bulgur wheat with white quinoa (cook to package directions using appropriate amount of veggie broth.)


1/2 cup bulgur wheat**(see above for gluten free)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 bunch carrots with tops (say about 6 small 51/2 inch long)
Handful fresh mint
Handful fresh parsley
1 bunch scallions, chopped
5 small organic tomatoes, chopped
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 can, drained, will work too)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice 1 lemon
Salt and Pepper
3 cloves crushed garlic


1. Heat the bulgur and broth to a boil, stirrings constantly, reduce heat, cover and simmer about 10 to 12 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Set aside to cool while you process the veggies.

2. Place the carrots, tops removed, into a large food processor (or in front of bribed friend), pulse several times to rough chop; add the carrot tops, mint, parsley and scallions, pulse until desired texture is reached, I like mine finely chopped.  Pour into a large bowl and add the tomatoes and chickpeas.

3. Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and crushed garlic in a small bowl.  Pour over carrot top mixture and toss well.  Reseason with salt and pepper, to taste.


Nutritional Information
Total Recipe
Amount Per Recipe
Calories  1255.4
Total Fat 46.9g
Sat Fat 6.2g
Polyun Sat Fat 6.3g
Monoun Sat Fat 31.2g
Cholesterol 0.0mg
Sodium 2357.8mg
Potassium 2156.1mg
Total Carb 151.7g
Dietary Fiber 32.5g
Sugars 17.2g
Protein 29.1g
Feb 222012
There is a group of girls that are my lunch friends.  The same group gets together about every other week and we typically choose sushi or, our favorite Mediterranean restaurant, Mandaloun.
This is one of those hidden gems that is tucked away in a non-descript strip mall.  No one would ever know it was there other by word of mouth. 
Lucky for them I have a pretty big mouth.
The owner’s name is Pierre and he is originally from Lebanon.  His family has a history of catering and hospitality that dates back to the 30s when their first restaurant was opened in the mountains of South Lebanon.

It’s no wonder that anyone I bring there is delighted. My two favorite items to order are an authentic, insanely and deliciously tangy, fresh fattoush salad and a salad bar-complete with naturally vegan options-lentil soup, steaming soft pita, creamy hummus, babaghanouj and beans, salads and a hot bar.
This was another plus to this restaurant. When I cut out meat and dairy, I could still come and get exactly the same thing I would normally get.
Such as this balila. They only make it a few days a week and it was so amazing I asked him what was in it. This is my (much quicker) interpretation.
Lebanese Chickpea Balila
Inspired by Mandaloun Mediterranean and this recipe
Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 cup organic, sodium free vegetable broth

4 tablespoons lemon juice (about one lemon)
¼ cup parsley, chopped

¼ cup toasted pine nuts (optional)


1. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic and cumin about two minutes, stirring constantly. 

2. Add chickpeas and salt, cook 3 to 4 minutes.  Smoosh about 1/3 of the chickpeas with a fork.

3. Add broth and lemon, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 7 to 10 minutes or until thickened.  Top with parsley and pine nuts

Nov 152011

Recently I flew up to Jersey, well doped for flying with a glass of wine or two at the airport Chili’s, with high hopes of a Snooki sighting upon arrival.

I know, I should be dealing with my fear of flying rather than drinking wine but that just isn’t as much fun.  And luckily I was flying up at night because technically this was a work trip.

The group that went up with me was an easy going and fun. We worked hard during the day and then after work we all gathered to have a drink or two.
After a few drinks our lively group checked out the menu for dinner.

The topic of what to eat came up and, of course, that led to a discussion about proteins after it was obvious I was looking for a plant based dish.

I was promptly advised that I can NOT get all the essential amino acids from plant based sources.

I asked which ones I’m missing out on then.

No one really knew.

Not one to shy away from a good challenge, especially one dealing with food, I got right to researching.  I knew you could get them all from plant based sources but I didn’t know exactly which ones.

Keep reading to see what I found….

These 9 essential amino acids are the only proteins our bodies can’t formulate on their own so we must obtain them from food sources.

(Here comes the technical info that I researched and compiled for the very noble purpose of winning the argument. Skip to the bottom if you are just here for the cake.)

Plant Based Sources of Essential Amino Acids.

Isoleucine (Ile)  muscle production and recovery, formation of blood clots
Some plant based sources. (Source)(Source)
Soy products such as Tofu
Low fat sesame seed flour

Leucine (Leu) tissue production and repair, produces growth hormones
Some plant based sources.(Source)(Source)
Raw peanuts
Sesame seeds

Lysine ( Lys) needed for calcium absorption and bone development, production of antibodies
Some plant based sources. (Source)
Soybeans (particularly tofu, isolated soy protein, and defatted soybean flour)
Spirulina, and fenugreek seed
Brewer’s yeast
Beans and other legumes

Methionine (Met) fat digestion and prevention of plaque in arteries
Some plant based sources (Source)
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin seeds
Sesame seeds
(To a lesser extent grains and beans.)

Phenylalanine (Phe) brain function and mood
Some plant based sources (Source)(Source)
Soy products
Sesame Seeds

Threonine (Thr) protein regulation and recycling in the body
Some plant based sources (Source)(Source)
Wheat germ
Many nuts
Sesame Seeds

Tryptophan (Trp) – produces serotonin, regulates sleep and mood, pain management
Some plant based sources (Source)(Source)
Evening Primrose
Brown rice
Sesame seeds

Valine (Val) muscle growth, repair and endurance, treats brain damage from alcohol, regulates nitrogen
Some plant based sources (Source)(Source)
Sesame seeds

Histidine (His) –“ the ‘growth amino’ essential for young children. Lack of histidine is associated with impaired speech and growth.” (Source)
Some plant based sources (Source)

Now everyone is very concerned about getting all the essential amino acids in one sitting. Though it has been proven that we don’t need to do this, it’s always a good idea to eat great variety of natural foods in various combinations such as veggie, legume and grain.

How about pumpkin, chickpeas and oats to start?

Pumpkin Spice Cake

Serves 10
Vegan, Gluten Free
1 cup gluten free rolled oats, such as Bob’s Red Mill
1 ½ cups sucanat or brown sugar
½ tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or more if you like a lot of spice)
½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 cans (or 500g cooked) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
¼ cup canned pureed pumpkin
3 Tbsp coconut oil (melted) or oil of choice
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped dried fruit such as cranberries, dates, cherries and apricots
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Pour 1 cup gluten free rolled oats into a food processor or Vitamix.  Process until well ground.
3. Add 1 ½ cups sucanat and process to fine powder; add salt through baking powder and mix well; pour into a medium bowl.
4. Add 500 g chickpeas, ¼ cup pumpkin, oil and vanilla to processor or Vitamix; process until smooth.  Stir in dry ingredients; blend until well mixed. Stir in dried fruit and press into a 10 inch spring form pan sprayed with cooking spray.
5. Bake at 350F for 35 minutes; let cool 10 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

10 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 267.2
Total Fat 5.4 g
Saturated Fat 3.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.6 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 267.5 mg
Potassium 239.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 54.3 g
Dietary Fiber 4.2 g
Sugars 36.2 g
Protein 4.0 g

Vitamin A 24.6 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 12.8 %
Vitamin C 3.6 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 1.0 %
Calcium 2.7 %
Copper 6.7 %
Folate 8.7 %
Iron 8.1 %
Magnesium 4.8 %
Manganese 19.3 %
Niacin 2.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.2 %
Phosphorus 5.5 %
Riboflavin 1.6 %
Selenium 2.5 %
Thiamin 1.1 %
Zinc 3.9 %

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