Mar 282012
Welcome back to Wine Down Wednesday where I will review a vegan dish paired with two different wines.
To pair wines with a meatless dish we must look at the spices and main flavors of the recipe.
For the spring rolls we look for a wine that would pair well with the following ingredients -
Fresh mint leaves, fresh cilantro, fish sauce, fresh lime juice and garlic.

The wines chosen to pair – LOUIS Dry Riesling 2010, ( Rheinhessen, Germany) and ARESTI Estate Carmenere 2010, ( Curico, Chile)

So far my favorite part about doing these wine pairings is learning more about the wines.  I tend to find a few and stick with them, but this exercise is getting me to branch out and learn more about the wine makers, varietals and background of each winery, which gives each wine more depth in my mind.

Louis Guntrum Winery was originally established in 1648 and was taken over by Louis Konstantin Guntrum – the 11th generation of wine makers.
During World War II, the family winery and mansion was occupied by US General Patton as he was crossing the Rhein river right in front of their estate.
The winery is located in Rheinhessen, Germany where the grapes reside in a cool climate that gets approximately 1800 hours of sunshine a year and has been certified as a sustainable winery by the German Agricultural Society.  The wine itself is actually called Niersteiner Oelberg Riesling Spatlese Trocken but they figured it was an easier sell as LOUIS Dry Riesling.  I would agree with that.

ARESTI Estate Carmenere 2010, ( Curico, Chile)
Aresti wine is a family owned business that was founded in 1951 and is run by three generations of the Aresti family – they grow over 1000 acres of vineyards. The award winning labels feature a panting called “Harvest at the Bellavista Hacienda” that depict part of the Aresti winery history.

 The grapes are grown in Curaco, the second largest wine producing valley in Chile.  It has a Mediterranean climate with a dry season that lasts about five months. Chilean Carmenere grapes were initially thought to be merlot as the leaves are very similar; however, they are actually a later ripening variety of Bordeaux.Fresh Spring Rolls

When my husband and I were first married and built our first house I had lots of wine and cheese parties. Almost one Friday night a month I would turn on the white lights lining the patio, put Michael Bublé on the CD player turned just a hair too loud, pop open a few varieties of interesting wine from the Wine Warehouse and make an appetizer. Fresh spring rolls were one of my first ever “gourmet” appetizers – I was very proud of myself. It was a Cooking Light recipe and I followed every ingredient to the letter. They were delicious, but I’m glad that now I’m much more comfortable producing my own creations, many times even more delicious than the original.
I hadn’t made fresh spring rolls in a while and I was inspired by all the spring rolls on my friend’s blog, Amanda at the Grains of Paradise. I decided create some simple ones with some creamy avocado and add the super fresh factor from cilantro and mint. I did sauces two ways, one with a fish sauce and the other with a simple mixture of sriracha and agave. I tried adding several different ingredients to the sriracha sauce but the simple two ingredient mixture was sweet and spicy perfection. I’ve been putting it on everything – salads, in soups and on sandwiches.
Sauces Two Ways
Rice Wrapper Tip: Wrapping the rolls can be daunting but once you get a few under your belt you’ll be an old pro. If you have never done this before, take a plate with raised edges and add a bit of water. Take the rice paper sheet, soak it for a few moments in warm water until it just becomes pliable and place it on the plate. The water will make it so the paper doesn’t stick and rip. Gently place your fillings, not in the center, but just a bit towards you. Fold the edges over and then roll.

Category #1 – How well my dish turned out.
Category #2 – How well I like the wine.
Category #3 – Pairing notes – How well this wine pairs with the dish.

Rating Scale
Bleck -This wine is pretty bad.
Ho Hum- I could drink it if I was at a football game and there was nothing else in the cooler.
Nice -Good table wine. I would keep this in the wine cooler if it was a good value.
Yum – This is good, I would pay a fair bit more and have it for a special occasion.
Damn that’s Good – Self explanatory.
** We will use the same terminology for how the dish turned out and how well it paired.

Category #1 – The Dish
Rating of Damn That’s Good.  I’m all about the bright flavors of lime, cilantro and mint and the buttery texture of the avocado.  I couldn’t decide which sauce was better. I love the spicy sweetness of the sriracha-agave mixture, but the fish sauce and peanuts with that hint of saltiness gave the rolls a whole new dimension of flavor.  These are perfect for the start of summer.

Category #2 – The Wines

Louis Dry Riesling

Riesling -Rating of Damn that’s Good
On first taste I thought melon.  I liked the smooth, silky texture and, though this is a dry wine, it had that hint of sweetness from a bit of residual sugar. Once it opened up I tasted pineapple and apricot.  

ARESTI Estate Carmenere 2010

Carmenere – Rating of Damn that’s Good
This wine has a slightly woody flavor; I thought of cedar. I enjoyed this a bit cooler out of my wine fridge – very drinkable with light body.

Category #3 – The Pairing
Rating of DTG for both.  Since I tend to lean towards white wines lately I was surprised how much I liked the Carmenere with this dish.  It really intensified the taste of cilantro.  The Riesling added to the sweetness of the agave in the sriracha sauce and brought down the heat.

Where to buy

All the wines will be for sale locally at the Grotto in San Marco. You can contact Mitch Woodlief, with questions and pricing and anyone outside the Greater Jacksonville area can contact E-MAIL: PHONE: US +1 415-931-1725.

Fresh Avocado Spring Rolls and Dipping Sauces Two Ways

Serves 8
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free
(**Asian Dipping Sauce is not Vegan)

Rice Wrappers
8 Rice wrappers
Handful each, fresh cilantro and mint
3 carrots, cut into matchsticks
2 seedless cucumbers, cut into matchsticks
3 green onions, sliced thinly lengthwise
1 avocado, sliced
2 limes, quartered 

Sweet Sriracha Sauce
3 Tbsp Sriracha (hot chili sauce)
1/2 Tbsp agave 

Asian Dipping Sauce
1/4 chopped peanuts
1 to 11/2 Tbsp fish sauce
Juice 1 lime
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp agave
1 tsp sriracha
1/4 cup water 

1. Pour hot water into a large bowl – large enough to fit a rice wrapper laid flat.  Soak the first rice wrapper in hot water and place on a large dish with a bit of water in the bottom (this will keep the rice wrapper from sticking and ripping).  Spread out the edges of the rice wrapper if they have folded.  Top with a small amount of cilantro, mint, carrots, cucumber, green onion, a slice of avocado and a squeeze of lime.  Fold the edges in and then roll tightly into a tube.  Slice in half.  Repeat 7 more times.
2. Mix the ingredients of each sauce in two different bowls.  Serve each roll with two sauce cups for a taste of each sauce.
Nutrition Facts
8 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 155.2
Total Fat 6.3 g
Saturated Fat 1.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.2 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 304.6 mg
Potassium 429.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 37.4 g
Dietary Fiber 4.7 g
Sugars 5.1 g
Protein 5.9 g

Vitamin A 54.4 %
Vitamin B-12 0.2 %
Vitamin B-6 8.3 %
Vitamin C 25.3 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 3.0 %
Calcium 4.4 %
Copper 11.2 %
Folate 12.1 %
Iron 6.9 %
Magnesium 9.8 %
Manganese 17.3 %
Niacin 7.0 %
Pantothenic Acid 6.7 %
Phosphorus 7.0 %
Riboflavin 4.4 %
Selenium 1.2 %
Thiamin 5.4 %
Zinc 4.4 %

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

Mar 212012

Welcome back to Wine Down Wednesday where I will review a vegan dish paired with two different wines. 

To pair wines with a meatless dish we must look at the spices and main flavors of the recipe.
Bay, garlic, thyme and vinegar are the flavors we will pair with this casual dish today – a mixed bean with veggies, quinoa and sautéed kale. The suggested wines are Broadbent Vinho Verde n/v (Portugal) and Badenhorst ‘Secateurs’Red 2010, (Swartland, South Africa).
Before I looked up some background info on each wine, I tasted it myself and recorded my notes to see how close my perception is to the actual description.

 Broadbent Vinho Verde n/v (Portugal).  Composed of 50% Loureiro, 40% Trajadura, and 10% Pederna and the description I found said Crisp notes of lime and tart apple are complemented by a slight fizz and pleasant acidity. Wine Spectator said notes of “blood orange and peach”.  It is also considered a “fresh, youthful, green wine” – apparently the teenager of the wine world.

 I loved this second description because it gave the wine a bit more character in my mind;  It isn’t just the wine here that is green. The countryside is lush and leafy across much of Minho, and is intensively farmed. Vines are grown in the majority of properties, whose average area is just a few acres. The tell-tale sign of a vinho verde vineyard is not just its diminutive size, but its upwards orientation: the density of viticulture here is such that most farmers train their vines on high pergolas, and even telephone poles.

 Hmm…just like a teenager to do things like climb telephone poles.

Badenhorst ‘Secateurs’ Red 2010, (Swartland, South Africa). This wine is a blend of grapes, Shiraz, Cabernet, Sauvignon, Carignan, Cinsault and Grenache, grown on the un-irrigated slopes of Swartland, South Africa.  The grapes are hand picked, chilled and crushed.  They start their fermentation in concrete tanks, run through a transition to casks and tanks and finish for fourteen months in old French oak casks.  The owners, Hein and Adi Badenorst are described as the “good looking” cousins that restored a neglected farm in South Africa from the 1930s where they make wine in the traditional manner, as naturally as possible.  
This is my second wine from Badenhorst, so I feel like family at this point.  Hopefully Adi will have me over to South Africa to drink wine and frolic in the vineyards.  Plus he is one of the good looking cousins.
Here is the rating info.

Category #1 – How well my dish turned out.
Category #2 – How well I like the wine (and fellow tasters).
Category #3 – Pairing notes – How well this wine pairs with the dish.

Rating Scale
Bleck -This wine is pretty bad.
Ho Hum- I could drink it if I was at a football game and there was nothing else in the cooler.
Nice -Good table wine. I would keep this in the wine cooler if it was a good value.
Yum – This is good, I would pay a fair bit more and have it for a special occasion.
Damn that’s Good – Self explanatory.
** We will use the same terminology for how the dish turned out and how well it paired.

Category #1 The dish.
Rating of ho-hum. I chose to try the Engine 2 Diet’s Kale with Quinoa and Kidney beans. There were elements of the dish that I liked – the beans and quinoa because I cooked it with broth and some additional spices; however, I thought more could have been done with the kale. I liked the aromatics of the thyme and bay with the vinegar-y tang of the beans. The whole dish was super light as Rip Esselstyn, creator of the Engine 2 Diet, uses no oils or butter of any kind. I would add some additional elements when I make it next time. Possibly add some heat with chili and some saltiness with tamari and even a tad bit of oil.  I haven’t reached the point of cutting all fats out yet,
Category #2 The wines
Broadbent Vinho Verde n/v (Portugal)

Rating of NICE; but in the summer drinkability context I give it a YUM.  The weather is getting warmer, it is lighter later.  Let’s take the boat out and have some Vinho Verde.
I loved the fizziness without the “Acid-y” feeling.  (See my post on pH in the body.)  It was light, dry and refreshing. I had trouble deciding what flavors I perceived so I let my daughter smell it. She said apples. On second sniff I agreed. A citrusy apple-y taste. 
Badenhorst ‘Secateurs’ Red 2010, (Swartland, South Africa)
Rating of YUM and my hubby gave it a DTG. It was medium bodied and I smelled what I thought was a tobacco but maybe more smoky fruit. Definitely drinkable, but in the context of the warm weather and summer it would get just under a YUM.
Category #3 How did the wines pair with the dish.
This time I put each wine this time in a small tasting glass and put each element, thyme, garlic, vinegar and bay in a small dish.  First I drank the wine, smelled the spice and then drank again.
The thyme was what brought the most out for me.  I suddenly tasted a brighter citrus in the Vinho Verde and currant flavor in the Secaturs Red.  The cider vinegar for the Vinho didn’t change much but with the Secaturs it brought out a really strong tobacco/smoky flavor.
 Overall, I like the Vinho Verde better with it because of the citrusy and apple flavors and the fact that the dish is so light.
Where to buy
All the wines will be for sale locally at the Grotto in San Marco. You can contact Mitch Woodlief, with questions and pricing and anyone outside the Greater Jacksonville area can contact E-MAIL:
PHONE: US +1 415-931-1725.

Mixed Beans with Kale and Quinoa
Inspired by E2 Diet’s Kale, Quinoa and Kidney bean recipe

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free
Printable Recipe


1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed and cooked to package directions with veggie broth or water
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced thinly
2 leeks
1 bay leaf, minced or crushed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 14.5oz can mixed beans or red kidney beans
¾ cup veggie broth, divided
1 bunch kale, washed, de-stemmed and chopped
Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper


1. Spray a straight sided skillet or pot with cooking spray and heat over medium high heat; add onion, carrot, leek and bay leaf and cook about 5 minute, or until translucent. Reduce heat and add garlic, cook for one minute. Add thyme, vinegar, beans and ½ cup broth, cook about five minutes. Mush the beans down a bit to create a thicker sauce.
Pour bean mixture into a small bowl and set aside.

 2. Heat remaining ¼ cup broth over medium high heat; reduce heat, add kale and simmer until kale is wilted; about three minutes. Season to taste.

 3. Divide quinoa, bean mixture and kale over four plates.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 380.4
Total Fat 4.8 g
Saturated Fat 0.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.9 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 407.7 mg
Potassium 691.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 73.3 g
Dietary Fiber 12.3 g
Sugars 8.2 g
Protein 15 g

Vitamin A 443.7 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 42.1 %
Vitamin C 109.7 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 8.4 %
Calcium 17.7 %
Copper 23.4 %
Folate 31.3 %
Iron 44.3 %
Magnesium 18.5 %
Manganese 76.3 %
Niacin 6.6 %
Pantothenic Acid 5.4 %
Phosphorus 55.4 %
Riboflavin 94.6 %
Selenium 6.7 %
Thiamin 10.3 %
Zinc 10.7 %

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

Mar 142012

Welcome to Wine Down Wednesday where I will feature some lovely wine pairings with a vegan dish – in this post, Garlic Balsamic Mushroom Pasta. This all came about a few weeks ago when my friend Gregg and fellow yogi (who also happens, lucky for me, to be the VP – Director of Sales for Broadbent Selections) approached me with a suggestion to do a wine pairing.

Here he is with Adi, the wine maker of the Chenin Blanc.
Gregg is the one in the white.

I was excited about this prospect as I rarely see wine pairing suggestions with anything other than meats or seafood -what a unique opportunity to offer an alternative!

Going into a wine shop can be overwhelming because of the numerous wine regions and the multitude of grape varietals.  While I’m no expert, I’m thrilled to learn more about wine. It will be nice to take this in small bites of two-at-a-time learning about the background of each wine to give it more depth in my mind. This informal section will post several Wednesdays a month.
Thanks Gregg!
  The selection suggestions for this dish are as follows:
BADENHORST ‘Secateurs’ Chenin Blanc 2011,
(Swartland, South Afria)
The proprietors, Hein and Adi Badenhorst, make the wine as naturally and biologically as possible.  The vines are un-irrigated and are grown from vines planted in the early 60’s.  Chateau Musar Jeune Rouge, (Bekaa Valley, Lebanon).  In Lebanon, this wine is known as Cuvee Rouge and it is a blend of grapes; Cinsaut, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.  It’s all organic and has only a tiny trace of sulphites. 

The Categories
Category #1 – How well my dish turned out.
Category #2 – How well I (and fellow tasters) like the wine.
Category #3 – Pairing notes – How well each wine pairs with the dish.
Official Wine Rating Scale
Bleck -This wine is pretty bad.
Ho Hum- I would drink it if I was at a football game and there was nothing else in the cooler.
Nice -Good table wine. I would keep this in the wine cooler if it was a good value.
Yum – This is good, I would pay a fair bit more and have it for a special occasion.
Damn that’s Good – Self explanatory.
** We will use the same terminology for how the dish turned out and how well it paired.

Category #1 – The dish
Balsamic Garlic Mushrooms over Pasta
Rating of Damn that’s Good.  If I do say so myself.

This dish couldn’t have turned out better and is going under “favorites”. It had a great balance of flavor – tart, salty, sweet and aromatic. I preferred the mixed mushrooms as they had a bit more bite than the portabellas I tried this with first. The key is definitely the little dash of agave or honey. You don’t really know it’s there but it brings out the sweetness of the balsamic.

Category #2 – The wines

BADENHORST ‘Secateurs’ Chenin Blanc 2011, ( Swartland, South Africa)
Rating of YUM.
It was light and refreshing.  It reminded me of peaches and sweetness but without the sweetness, if that makes any sense.  It was nice and dry – just like I like it!
The Chateau Musar Jeune Rouge
Also Rating of YUM; however, two of the others that tried this gave it a Damn that’s Good.
Possibly because it was red I was thinking berries more than peach.  It had a bit more body than the white without being heavy. Interestingly this wine is similar to the chenin as far as being a dry wine with the perception of sweetness.
Category #3 – The pairing notes

The rating for the pairing on both wines gets a Damn that’s Good.  It was interesting how the two wines paired with this dish. I loved the meatiness of the mushrooms with the Jeune Rouge and the sweet/tart balsamic with the Chenin Blanc. Lip smakin’ good.

Since half the group really loved the red I would probably serve this dish with the Jeune Rouge but if it was just me I would go with the Chenin Blanc. I prefer dry to semi dry white wine because it seems to just go with the warmer weather in Florida.

Where to buy

All the wines will be for sale locally at the Grotto in San Marco. You can contact Mitch Woodlief, with questions and pricing and anyone outside the Greater Jacksonville area can contact E-MAIL: PHONE: US +1 415-931-1725.


Garlic Balsamic Mushroom Pasta

Garlic Balsamic Mushroom Pasta

Garlic Balsamic Mushroom Pasta

Inspired by Mushroom Stroganoff, E2 Diet
Serves 2-4
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
10 oz mixed mushrooms, I used Woodstock Farms Organic Frozen (or any mushrooms you like)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tsp agave or honey for non-vegan
Coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
4oz Fettuccini, I used Tinkyada Brown Rice
Chives for garnish, optional
1. Heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onions and cook about 5 minutes, lower heat, add garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes; add mushrooms, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper.  Simmer about 20 minutes or until balsamic vinegar has cooked down to a sauce.
2. Meanwhile cook pasta to package directions.
3. Divide pasta and mushroom mixture over four bowls, garnish with chives.  Serve with BADENHORST ‘Secateurs’ Chenin Blanc 2011, (Swartland, South Africa) or CHATEAU MUSAR Jeune Rouge 2009, (Bekaa Valley, Lebanon).
Nutrition Facts
4 Servings

Amount Per Serving

Calories 263.7
Total Fat 13.8 g
Saturated Fat 2.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 10.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 54.9 mg
Potassium 304.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 29.7 g
Dietary Fiber 2.2 g
Sugars 3.5 g
Protein 4.5 g

Vitamin B-12 0.5 %
Vitamin B-6 5.6 %
Vitamin C 5.1 %
Vitamin D 13.5 %
Vitamin E 8.9 %
Calcium 0.7 %
Copper 12.0 %
Folate 3.7 %
Iron 4.7 %
Magnesium 2.1 %
Manganese 3.6 %
Niacin 21.4 %
Pantothenic Acid 11.0 %
Phosphorus 6.8 %
Riboflavin 17.7 %
Selenium 9.4 %
Thiamin 12.4 %
Zinc 2.8 %

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

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
Mar 022012
Two facts.
1. Waste and I are not friends.

2. Kids have no problem with waste.

For example. I bought Band-Aids with Tinkerbell on them.
Every morning my daughter asks me if she can have a Band-Aid.

“Where is the booboo?”
She inspects her hands, brow wrinkling in thought.
“Right here.” Pointing to her fingertip.
I lean down, “that is the red marker you drew all over my recipe with.”
“You aren’t bleeding and we don’t need to waste a Band-Aid.”
“What’s waste?” She asks.
“Waste is when you don’t use something and just throw it away.”
“So it goes to the trash mountain? That is full of diapers?” she asks.
“Yes, that is correct.”
Again the brow wrinkling and contemplation. 

She looks up. “Can I have a Band-Aid?” she asks.

Sigh.  She’s three, so I’ll cut her some slack.

The next day she wanted some pineapple. She ate the entire can and I stared at the juice, contemplating what to do with it.  Hmmmm, I thought, hmmmm. This would make a great marinade when paired with soy sauce or miso. I don’t use enough miso so I went with that.

So, in the continuation of my War on Waste, this recipe was born.

A little salty from the miso, a little sweet/tart from the pineapple and nice spice from the curry.  This went perfectly with my stir fried rice and cabbage to create a sort of Asian-Indian fusion.

Baked Pineapple Curry Tofu with Fried Basmati Rice and Veggies
Rice recipe inspired by Eating Well
Serves about 4-6
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Tofu Ingredients

1 block firm organic tofu
1 cup pineapple juice
2 Tbsp curry powder
2 heaping Tbsp white miso
2 tsp dark sesame oil

Rice Ingredients
2 cups cooked basmati rice

2 teaspoons canola oil
1 onion, diced

2 carrots cut into matchsticks
4 cups cabbage, shredded
1 cup sliced green onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 to 1 tsp dried ginger
1 1/2 Tbsp Bragg Liquid Aminos
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Hot red pepper sauce, to taste


1. Press tofu 1 hour to overnight to remove water. Cut into 1 inch cubes. Whisk marinade in a small bowl and pour over tofu. Marinate overnight. 

2. Preheat oven to 375. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray; add tofu and bake 30 to 40 minutes or until golden.

3. Heat canola oil in a wok or straight sided skillet over medium-high heat; add onion and carrot and cook about 5 minutes. Add cabbage, green onion, garlic and ginger; cook an additional two minutes or until veggies are softened.

4. Add the cooked rice, soy sauce and vinegar to the pan; cook until the liquid is absorbed, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from the heat; stir in sesame oil and hot sauce.





Tofu Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 122.1
Total Fat 8.8 g
Saturated Fat 1.4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.3 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 33.3 mg
Potassium 324.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 14.3 g
Dietary Fiber 3.1 g
Sugars 8.7 g
Protein 13.5 g
Vitamin A 3.50%
Vitamin B-12 0.10%
Vitamin B-6 9.40%
Vitamin C 12.00%
Vitamin D 0.00%
Vitamin E 0.30%
Calcium 58.40%
Copper 21.20%
Folate 11.10%
Iron 19.20%
Magnesium 16.80%
Manganese 89.20%
Niacin 3.30%
Pantothenic Acid 2.00%
Phosphorus 18.30%
Riboflavin 7.40%
Selenium 21.80%
Thiamin 11.90%
Zinc 11.30%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Rice Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 161.6
Total Fat 3.5 g
Saturated Fat 0.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.8 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 440.8 mg
Potassium 122.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 31.0 g
Dietary Fiber 1.1 g
Sugars 3.7 g
Protein 800.1 g
Vitamin A 60.20%
Vitamin B-12 0.00%
Vitamin B-6 4.30%
Vitamin C 5.50%
Vitamin D 0.00%
Vitamin E 3.30%
Calcium 1.60%
Copper 1.50%
Folate 2.10%
Iron 5.10%
Magnesium 1.50%
Manganese 10.80%
Niacin 6.90%
Pantothenic Acid 1.00%
Phosphorus 1.90%
Riboflavin 1.30%
Selenium 0.90%
Thiamin 10.60%
Zinc 0.90%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Pin It

Feb 252012

What I’ve learned by researching on Foodgawker for the most gawked recipe photos of all time (at least in Foodgawker time) is that that people like carbs.  Comfort food.  I’m with ya.

Potatoes, chocolate chip cookies, mac n cheese – and anything that is golden in color.

I’ve found a way to make our comfort food a little lighter.

Let’s change the foodgawking world with some seasonal veggies! Especially if we make them look and taste like our carby friends….rutabaga is a great stand-in. Just for giggles I compared rutabaga to potato and found that this tasty substitute will give us a carb savings of 20.8 grams, calorie savings of 91.3 and an addition of another 1 gram of  fiber.  What’s not to love? Roasted garlic, crispy onion and sweet rutabaga.  Even if you don’t think you like them, you must try this.  Especially if you get them with your CSA and don’t know what to do with them.

This is the damn tastiest rutabaga I’ve ever had.

Hasselback Rutabaga

Serves 2
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free
2 Rutabagas
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 slices of red onion
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 425F.  Cut root part of rutabaga off so it stands up.  Cut slits in the top and stuff with alternating red onion and garlic slices.
2. Place each on a square of tin foil; pour 1 tsp olive oil over each, sprinkle garlic powder and salt evenly over both.  Wrap and bake for 30 minutes or until inside is soft. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until outside is golden.

Nutrition Facts
2 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 199.9
Total Fat 5.4 g
Saturated Fat 0.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.4 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 224.4 mg
Potassium 1,378.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 36.1 g
Dietary Fiber 10.4 g
Sugars 21.7 g
Protein 5.4 g

Vitamin A 0.2 %
Vitamin B-6 24.3 %
Vitamin C 167.2 %
Vitamin E 8.8 %
Calcium 19.7 %
Copper 9.5 %
Folate 22.1 %
Iron 12.1 %
Magnesium 23.4 %
Manganese 39.2 %
Niacin 13.9 %
Pantothenic Acid 6.8 %
Phosphorus 24.3 %
Riboflavin 9.8 %
Selenium 5.1 %
Thiamin 24.8 %
Zinc 9.6 %

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

Jan 312012
With a severe case of writers block I resorted to asking my three year old what I should write about this Southwest Tortilla Bake and she said,

So there you have it folks.  This dish is as good as Tinkerbell so it must be pretty damn good because Tinkerbell rocks.  I had to cut her some slack since she hasn’t learned adjectives at school yet.  Ask her about air transportation though and you’ll get the entire gamut-plane, helicopter, hot air balloon, even blimp.  And for your information, hot air balloons do not have wheels.  Good thing I have her there to tell me.

I asked hubby what he thought.

“It was really good.”  A man of many words, he is.
(He did have a second helping.)

As for me, layered Tortilla Bake was one of my favorite dishes way back when I used to do Weight Watchers-it was comforting but light at the same time. 

To change it to fit my plant based lifestyle I used my favorite Sunshine Burgers as an even more delicious stand in for the beef.  They are made with only grains, veggies and beans, are packed with fiber, protein and most importantly-taste! Another plus….this shortcut is a great time saver as the burgers are pre-cooked. 

This dish freezes well and makes great leftovers too!
Southwest Layered Tortilla Bake
Inspired from an old WW favorite at DWLZ-Veganized (it’s way better this way, trust me)
Makes 4-6 Servings
Vegan, Gluten Free, Corn Free, Dairy Free
Printable Recipe


2 Southwest Sunshine Burgers (Locals-buy these at Native Sun!)
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 mild pepper of choice, seeded and chopped
7oz (411 grams) cooked dark red kidney beans, (or ½ can) drained & rinsed
14oz (822 grams) diced tomatoes with chilies, I used Muir Glen fire roasted with Chipotle
2 brown rice tortillas, I used Food for Life, cut into strips

Seasoning mix
½ Tbsp chili powder
½ Tbsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp cumin
1/8 tsp chipotle powder
1/8 tsp sea salt

1/4 c vegan cheese, I used Daiya (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the seasoning mix in a small bowl.

2. Spray skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium high heat. Add onions and pepper and sauté until translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes; add garlic and cook an additional minute; add sunshine burgers, break up with wooden spoon and mix thoroughly.

3. Mix in beans, tomatoes with chilies and seasoning mix. Reduce heat; simmer 5 min. Spray 8×8″ baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place half tortillas in bottom of baking dish, overlapping; spoon half of burger mixture evenly over tortillas. Cover with remaining tortillas and then remaining burger mixture. Top with cheese. Cover; bake 25 min.

Nutrition Facts (Nutrition facts include canned beans and Daiya, I used my own cooked beans so the sodium content is lower)

4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 379.1
Total Fat 4.2 g
Saturated Fat 1.4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 1,122.9 mg (lower this by cooking your own beans or buying salt free and using fresh tomato)
Potassium 477.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 60.4 g
Dietary Fiber 15.8 g
Sugars 8.0 g
Protein 12.5 g

Vitamin A 80.3 %
Vitamin C 158.4 %
Calcium 9.0 %
Folate 17.2 %
Iron 18.0 %
Manganese 20.7 %

*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

6 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 252.7
Total Fat 2.8 g
Saturated Fat 0.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 748.6 mg
Potassium 318.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 40.3 g
Dietary Fiber 10.5 g
Sugars 5.3 g
Protein 8.3 g Pin It

Jan 262012
Can I just ask whose idea was it to take a perfectly good foot and decide that the heel of it needed to be four inches taller?  In fact, the toes are too wide. Let’s stuff them into a pointy shape like a gnome hat and call it fashion.

Furthermore, why is it that we continue to subject ourselves to such torture day in and day out at the office and out on the town in the name of fashion?  Well I say no more for me! 

Bring on the slouchy opaque stockings and orthopedic shoes.  I’m now all about comfort. 

Does anyone know of any hot orthopedic shoes?  Cause I like to wear them from day to night.

 And then there is the skinny jean, surely invented by some sadistic Victoria‘s Secret model as derision at all us 5’3 gals.  Nevertheless, we buy them in our current size and bring them home only to find the seamstress misread the size.  She must have mislabeled these pants that should have been a size smaller.

 Screw it we say, these darn things will be worn because the label says they are the right size, ignoring Stacy and Clinton’s admonishment that the fact it is made in our size, doesn’t mean we should wear it.  What the heck do they know anyway?

No, no, no my friends.  We prefer to cut off all circulation to our feet by stuffing ourselves into shape-wear that will enable us to actually be our correct size.  Luckily loosing feeling in our feet has a dual role.  We can’t feel the pain from the gnome-hat shoes.

Why do we put ourselves through this?!  Again I say no more

Enter the cabbage soup diet.  You’ve heard of the cabbage soup diet right?  Where you boil a bunch of cabbage and choke it down?  Well the suffering ends here.  Try my very sexy cabbage soup.

Oh yes, cabbage soup can be veeery sexy.

Sweet little bits of sweet potato, luscious butternut squash, steamy broth…I will make fitting into those skinny jeans comfortable and delicious.  Especially for 40ish calories, almost no fat and a good dose of vitamins A and C.

As for the sexy orthopedic shoes…I haven’t figured a recipe out for that yet, but I’ll let you know when I do.
Sweet Potato, Butternut and Cabbage Soup
14 1-cup servings
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free


1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 sweet potato, chopped
1/2 head cabbage, I used Nappa cabbage
1 quart vegetable broth
6 cups water
2 tsps dried thyme
1/8 to 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp Cajun seasoning (optional, taste for saltiness prior to adding)


1. Spray a Dutch oven with cooking spray and heat over medium high heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add butternut squash, sweet potato and cabbage; stir well.

2. Add remaining ingredients; bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft

Nutrition Facts
14 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 47.3
Total Fat 0.2 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 289.8 mg
Potassium 289.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 10.7 g
Dietary Fiber 2.2 g
Sugars 0.8 g
Protein 1.5 g

Vitamin A 24.8 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 7.5 %
Vitamin C 32.7 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 0.4 %
Calcium 3.9 %
Copper 2.8 %
Folate 7.6 %
Iron 5.9 %
Magnesium 4.8 %
Manganese 9.4 %
Niacin 3.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.1 %
Phosphorus 3.5 %
Riboflavin 2.0 %
Selenium 1.0 %
Thiamin 3.6 %
Zinc 1.5 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Jan 232012
Growing up in the Northeast was tough.  Especially since my dad kept the heat just high enough to keep the pipes from freezing.

At night I slept with five blankets-when I first got in bed it was like diving into an 30 degree mountain stream. Finally by morning the bed was warm from body heat, but I couldn’t feel my feet due to lack of circulation from the heavy blankets.
When the alarm went off the next morning, I would open one eye and stare at the clothes hanging on my door.

They had icicles on them.

I bolted out of bed, grabbed the clothes and ran to the shower.  I turned it on full blast and threw my clothes outside the curtain to warm from the steam, then ran back to the warmth of my bed.  Ten minutes later, when the shower finally had some heat and my clothes were lukewarm, I would run back to the shower to break the Olympic record for speed-showering before the hot water heater spilled all it’s contents.

When that happened I was in big trouble.

Mid lather, I suddenly found myself with the ability to cut glass (if you get my drift).
At this point I was usually running late, so I headed out to the bus stop with wet hair-at which point my hair would freeze straight.
And you wonder why I decided to go to FSU.  I vowed never to leave Florida.
I’m so thankful to live here.  Every day.  Very thankful.  In fact, just this past Friday I rode home with the windows down, the 74 degree breeze blowing in. 
Another plus?  My CSA runs over the winter.  Last Thursday I even got potatoes!
Gorgeous, tender and sweet, new potatoes.
After yoga on Saturday we hit Native Sun to do some food shopping.  At the deli case I sampled several of the pre-made salads, including a lovely potato salad with peppers and green onions.  Great idea! 
I went home and made some up.  I added a citrusy splash with lemon-Meyer lemons are in season and they add the perfect brightness to this satisfying side dish. Enjoy!

Florida Winter Potato Salad

About 10 1/2 cup servings
Inspired by Native Sun’s pre-made potato salad I tasted yesterday
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free


2 lbs of new potatoes (or any potato you have on hand), cut into bite size pieces
Water for boiling, enough to cover
1 tsp salt

1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/4 c reduced fat Vegenaise (or mayo for non-vegan)
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice


1. Boil water and 1 tsp salt; add potatoes and boil 15 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Drain and rinse with cool water. Let cool.

2. Mix remaining ingredients together.

Nutrition Facts

10 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 104.1
Total Fat 2.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.4 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 100.8 mg
Potassium 472.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 20.0 g
Dietary Fiber 2.6 g
Sugars 0.9 g
Protein 2.3 g

Vitamin A 12.8 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 17.3 %
Vitamin C 72.3 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 0.5 %
Calcium 1.5 %
Copper 6.2 %
Folate 5.0 %
Iron 4.9 %
Magnesium 6.5 %
Manganese 9.1 %
Niacin 5.9 %
Pantothenic Acid 3.3 %
Phosphorus 6.3 %
Riboflavin 2.2 %
Selenium 0.6 %
Thiamin 6.3 %
Zinc 2.2 %

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

Jan 032012

Goodbye 2011, you were a good year. 
Let’s see…..I gave up meat and most dairy (that is a work in progress), hosted a farm to table dinner and held a Free Range Yoga workshop at the farm, went on LOTS of campouts, trips to St. Augustine, took an amazing trip to the Keys and finally, am at a point where I’m comfortable with myself.  For one, I don’t step on the scale every day any more, I don’t record every bite, and I’ve lost weight and feel better than ever.  After trying every diet in the book, I have finally settled into the aforementioned meat and dairy free diet.  I’ll admit I thought I was going to be tired, but I have more energy than ever.  In fact, on New Years I didn’t get to bed until 3AM!  I used to have to drink 5 Hour Energy and sugar Free Red Bull just to say awake until 11:00.
One of the biggest challenges was (is) not cutting meat from my diet, but how the people around me reacted and the availability of animal free foods at social events and during travel.  I can’t say how many times I’ve been told it is unhealthy to not eat meat and been asked how I get my protein and calcium. I have learned to still participate in social events but to bring along something delicious that everyone can eat and to not make a big deal about my abstention from meat.
For the New Years Eve party I attended, I decided to make a pesto with the fresh Meyer lemons that my friend Gregg brought me to yoga that morning and I paired it with herbs straight from my garden.  As “dippers” I skewered a small tomato, a bit of fresh beet green and broccoli-both fresh from the farm.  For the folks that weren’t into the “salad on a stick”, a loaf of sliced Cuban bread and a whole grain baguette were on the side as well.  It turned out so well I am going to make another batch for a dressing and sandwich spread.
As for my 2012 New Years Resolutions….. I finally settled on two.
  1. Meditate daily
  2. Stay in the present moment
A BIG, HUGE thanks to everyone that has visited my site, supported me, tried my recipes and even introduced themselves to me when I’m out and about.  It is so fun to meet some of the folks that actually read my posts!  I love, love, LOVE every comment, suggestion and insight.
So THANK YOU and I look forward to the new year!
Now tell me…..what are your resolutions this year?
Fresh Meyer Lemon Pesto with Tomato, Beet Green and Broccoli Skewers
Inspired by Epicurious
Vegan, Dairy and Gluten Free
2 packed cups of fresh herbs, I used basil, oregano, chives and parsley.
3 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp coarse ground mustard
Zest and juice of one fresh Meyer lemon
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
For the skewers
1 pint grape tomatoes
4 fresh beet greens, stems removed and torn into bite size pieces
1 large head broccoli
  1. Add herbs through lemon zest and juice to a food processor or blender and pulse to chop finely; slowly stream in the olive oil until blended. Season with salt and pepper, taste and re-season if necessary.
  2. For skewers, thread one tomato, a rolled bit of beet green and a broccoli floret onto a toothpick.