Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Vegetarian Sushi

I know many people don't like sushi, just because they think it's just raw fish. For you people, you might like vegetarian sushi! I just love it. Now, you can go to a store or Japanese restaurant and pick up a box for $ can go to your local Asian market and get all the ingredients and make it yourself! I try to only use whole grains in my diet, but I admit, most Chinese food tastes better with white rice. I did hear that you can use short grain brown rice for sushi, so I gave it a try. Boy, it is delicious! I think it adds great flavor.
It helps to have a bamboo mat and paddle. I bought a set through my co-op for $3. The paddle helps a lot because the rice won't stick to it as much as your hands.
I bought 40 sheets of toasted nori for 5.99, wasabi for about $2, pickled ginger for 3.49, a bunch of black sesame seeds for maybe around $5, and I already have soy sauce on hand at all times. That's it! You would pay $200+ to buy 40 boxes of sushi and now I can make my own!
You just lay the nori sheet down, spread rice over it and press it down. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, add fillings, roll up, and voila! You are done.
In this picture, I used red bell pepper, avocado, and yellow carrots for my filling. Top some with pickled ginger, mix some wasabi and soy sauce together, and enjoy!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Quick Black Bean Soup

Cold weather is coming, Fall is here and it's soup weather! Here is a super easy and quick recipe from Dr. Dean Ornish. For 1 1/2 cups it only has 164 calories and packs in 8.6 grams of protein.

Quick Black Bean Soup
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 (15oz) cans black beans
  • 1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup diced peeled russet-type baking potato
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce, or to taste
Diced red onion or green onion
Minced cilantro or parsley

Combine onion, garlic, and 1/4 cup vegetable broth in a large pot. Bring to a simmer and simmer until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of broth, black beans with their juice, tomatoes, potatoes, thyme, and cumin. Bring to a simmer, cover, adjust heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes. Add Tabasco.
This is my addition to the recipe:
After soup is finished, use an immersion blender, potato masher, or even put 1/4-1/3 of the soup into the blender. Blend or mash, then return to the pot and stir. This makes the soup creamy and thicker, without adding any calories!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Handy Tips

I hope to be a regular contributor to this blog, and not leave it all up to Karen! I thought that I'd start by throwing out a couple of tips that I use regularly in my kitchen. I thought these were common knowledge, but after discussing them with some friends I realized that not everyone knows about these.

Tip #1: Refrigerate your onions. They will cause a lot less tears if they are nice and cold when you cut them.

Tip #2: Frozen fruits and vegetables are your friends, but not in the way you might think. Besides frozen bags of peas making great sources of coolness for a sprained ankle, they can save you in a pinch.

Many times I put dinner in the crockpot when I won't be home to cook it. And many times it is still too hot to eat, especially if it's a dish that retains a lot of heat like a thick soup or chili. When you don't have time for things to cool before rushing out to Cub Scouts, what do you do? Grab a bag of frozen corn, stir some into each dish of waiting chili, and voila! You now have dinner at a gobbleable (yes, I made that word up) temperature.

You can do this with frozen peas, or blueberries, or any fruit or veggie you don't mind eating thawed and slightly warmed. I don't recommend using blueberries in chili, but they are great for cooling oatmeal or mush down in a flash.

Burn-free mouths make everyone happy!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Adventures in Baking with Natural Sweeteners

I have been wanting to stop using refined sugar and to start using healthier, more natural sweeteners. I ignored my pantry when making shopping lists, then one day it happened.
It was Sunday and Scott felt like having cake. He decided that cheesecake was a good choice, if I was up to it. I gathered my ingredients and went to the pantry for the sugar. I thought I had 2-3 packages left, but realized it was flour, not sugar. So, my creative mind went to work and this is what I came up with. I even used the 1/3 less fat cream cheese (neufchatel). The baking time isn't exact since I need to use a smaller spring form pan next time, so just keep an eye on it. It came out very good after chilling for a while and it was amazing after chilling over night. Try it!

  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 finely chopped pecans
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 - 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened.
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 325. For crust, put graham cracker crumbs and pecans in a small bowl. Melt butter and add to bowl. Mix until coated. Press into bottom of a small to medium sized spring form pan.
In a large bowl, place both packages of cream cheese, agave nectar, and honey. Mix until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, stir until completely combined. Add flour, vanilla, and lemon juice. Mix until smooth. Pour filling into spring form pan. Bake for 30-40 min, until inserted knife comes out clean.
Ideas for toppings: cherries, strawberries, chocolate, raspberries, mango, and my favorite.. crushed pineapple!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sweet Onion, Tomato, & Cuke Salad

Don't have a picture of this yet because it was gone in a flash!
I found this recipe in the Taste of Home magazine. I tried it using the bounty from mom and dad's garden. I used 2 cucumbers, half an onion, and 9 little roma tomatoes. I forgot the vinegar and it was great without it. SO good!



TIME: Prep/Total Time: 15 min.


  • 3 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 large cucumbers, peeled, halved, seeded and sliced
  • 1 large sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese


In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumbers and onion. In a small bowl, combine the oil, mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour over tomato mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle with cheese.
10 servings.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Red White and Blueberry Trifle

This is the best trifle in the entire world! I will not enjoy any other.
I heard of this recipe from my friend, Sam, who had gotten it from Martha Stewart.
It calls for store bought pound cake, which makes it super easy, but I've always made my own.
I usually put almost double the pound cake in this trifle. I have also had success with the combination of fresh mango chunks and sliced strawberries.

Red, White, and Blueberry Trifle

Serves 6; prep time: 30 minutes; total time: 1 hour 30 minutes
This dessert would be right at home at a Fourth of July barbecue. You can substitute sliced fresh strawberries for the raspberries, if you prefer.

  • 1/4 cup sugar plus 1/3 cup
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 store-bought pound cake (12 ounces), cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 bar reduced-fat cream cheese (8 ounces), room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups fresh blueberries (three 1/2-pint containers), rinsed and dried
  • 3 cups (two 6-ounce containers) fresh raspberries or sliced strawberries
  1. Make lemon syrup: In a small saucepan, bring 1/4 cup sugar, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup water to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Let cool completely, then brush over both sides of cake slices. Quarter each slice.
  2. With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese with sugar on high speed until lightened. With mixer on medium speed, gradually add heavy cream in a steady stream; continue beating until mixture is light and airy (mixture will be like a very soft whipped cream).
  3. Arrange half the cake pieces in the bottom of a 2-quart serving dish. Spoon half the cream-cheese mixture over cake in dollops; spread to sides of dish. Scatter half the blueberries and raspberries on top. Repeat layering with remaining cake, cream-cheese mixture, and berries, piling berries in the center.

Cover, and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

Light and Fluffy Oatmeal Sourdough Rolls

These rolls have a wonderful light and fluffy texture. I change the original recipe to be a bit healthier.

Oatmeal Sourdough Rolls

Adapted from, original recipe here.

  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 4 tablespoons honey (or agave)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
Mix dough in a bread machine or with a stand mixer. I just put the ingredients in a bowl and used the dough hooks attachment on my hand mixer.
Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Dough will be very soft, you might want to flour your hands and the top of the dough while you press it out. Use a biscuit cutter to cut rolls, place on oiled baking sheet. Cover and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gluten (Seitan) Roast

We have many different varities of gluten roasts in my family. We use this as a main dish for Thanksgiving. This is my favorite recipe!

Gluten Roast

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

3 cups vital wheat gluten
3 cups warm vegetarian chicken broth (can use water)

Mix together in large bowl until just combined. Add seasoning.

1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika

Mix seasoning and stretch gluten to get seasoning into every part of the gluten. Use your hands and rub seasoning on gluten. Place in a lightly greased baking dish. Pop in oven for about 50 minutes to an hour, until middle is cooked and not rubbery raw. You may want to take roast out half way, cut it in quarters, and flip it for the rest of the baking time. I use a stoneware baking dish, so it's not needed with that.
After gluten roast is done and has cooled for a few minutes, you may want to slice on a diagonal to serve. Serve with mashed potatoes, gravy, and vegetables.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Chocolate Cake Formally Known as Beatty's

This recipe used to be Beatty's Chocolate Cake from Ina Garten (aka The Barefoot Contessa). Click here for the original recipe!

I made this cake for Mom's (Barbara) Birthday on May 30th.
Now, since we don't use coffee and I don't keep milk in the house, I changed that. I'm posting my version! I also cut the icing recipe in half, I just knew it was going to be WAY too much.
This is a very light and moist cake. I usually like dense cakes, but this one was really good!


  • Butter, for greasing the pans
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup almond milk, plus 1 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot Teechino (or any roasted herbal drink)


Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the almond milk with lemon, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the Teechino and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

Chocolate Frosting:

3 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut)

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 small egg yolk, at room temperature (you can omit this or use half a large egg yolk)

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 C + 2 tablespoons cups sifted confectioners' sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons instant roasted herbal drink (or 2 teaspoons of hot Teechino)

Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.


We love pizza in our house. I think Scott could eat it every day. In this picture, I used veggie italian sausage, green peppers, pineapple, and fresh baby portabella mushrooms.
There are so many options for pizza! I also make an alfredo mushroom, fresh spinach pizza often.
Next I'll try my hand at a Greek pizza with feta...Scott won't be as thrilled for that one!
This is my favorite pizza crust recipe. It always turns out beautifully. I can get it really thin too and it tastes amazing. I use bread flour, it seems to easier to work with. I also don't bother making a crust, I like my toppings to go all the way to the edges. Use a pizza stone for the BEST results! You can pile as many toppings as you want and your crust won't get soggy this way.
Make more dough than you need and freeze them for a quick pizza!

Jay's Signature Pizza Crust

2 1/4 tsp dry yeast
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 1/2 C warm water (110 F)
1 tsp salt
2 T olive oil
3 1/3 C bread flour (you might need more if using all purpose)

Pour water into a large bowl, sprinkle in brown sugar and yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes. Stir in salt and oil. Mix in 2 1/2 C of the flour. Knead until not sticky (if using bread flour, it can be a little sticky). Place in oiled bowl, cover. Rise 1 hour (or longer if you want!), til doubled. Punch down and form two tight balls. Yields two large thin crust pizzas.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. When pizza is assembled, pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and starting to get brown and crust is the right crispness for you.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Vegetarian 'Tuna' Casserole

I also found the base for this recipe on I changed it a little and vegetarianized it! Pixie mmmmm'd with gusto throughout the whole meal.

  • 1 (12 ounce) package egg noodles
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 cup of reconstituted chicken style textured vegetable protein (tvp) or equivalent
  • 2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 4 oz of canned sliced mushrooms (I used shitake) or sauteed fresh mushrooms
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup crushed bread crumbs, potato chips, or corn flakes
  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  3. Saute onions in a small amount of olive oil, just until translucent
  4. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix noodles, onion, 1 cup cheese, peas, tvp, soup, mushrooms, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. Transfer to a 9x13 inch baking dish, and top with bread crumbs and remaining 1 cup cheese.
  5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheese is bubbly.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Connie's Zucchini 'Crab' Cakes

I found this recipe on, it's amazing! So amazing that I didn't change a thing.

Connie's Zucchini 'Crab' Cakes

  • 2 1/2 cups grated zucchini -about two small/med
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning TM
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil for frying

  1. In a large bowl, combine zucchini, egg, and butter or margarine. Stir in bread crumbs, minced onion, and seasoning. Mix well.
  2. Shape mixture into patties. Dredge in flour.
  3. In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium high heat until hot. Fry patties in oil until golden brown on both sides.
You could also fry these in a deep fryer or next time I'm going to try and bake them for less fat content. Delicious!

Sweet Russian Cabbage Soup

I found a recipe for this on I altered it and vegetarianized it too!

Sweet Russian
Cabbage Soup

  • 12 oz of ground beef (tvp or crumbles)
  • 2 (14.5oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
  • 4 cubes of veggie or beef bouillon or use vegetarian beef broth
  • 2 med carrots, shredded
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 T white vinegar
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • 2 quarts water, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium head cabbage, cored and cut into wedges or coarsely shredded

Add everything up to the water in a stock pot. Add one quart of the water. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes over low heat.
Pour in other quart of water, return to a slow boil. Add garlic and cabbage. Simmer 25 minutes, until cabbage is tender.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Copycat Cheesecake Factory's Avocado Egg Rolls

I'm not sure who to give credit to for this awesome recipe. I found it in an email of copycat restaurant recipes.

Dipping Sauce

Makes more than you need for this recipe. Make some to save or half the recipe.

3-4 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon tamarind pulp
1/2 cup honey (for a vegan version, try agave nectar!)
1 pinch powdered saffron
1/2 cup chopped cashew
2/3 cup fresh cilantro
2 garlic clove
2 green onion
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup olive oil

Egg Rolls

large avocado, peeled, pitted, & diced

2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato packed in oil, chopped

1 tablespoon minced red onion

1/2 teaspoon fresh cilantro, chopped

1 pinch salt

3 egg roll wraps

1 egg, beaten (you can use water instead)


1. Stir together vinegars, tamarind, honey, and saffron in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave for 1 minute.
2. Stir until tamarind is dissolved.
3. In a blender, puree tamarind mixture, cashews, 2/3 cup cilantro, garlic, onions, sugar, pepper, and cumin.
4. Pour mixture into a bowl and stir in oil.
5. Refrigerate until ready to use.
6. Gently stir together avocado, tomatoes, onion, 1/2 teaspoon cilantro, and salt.
7. Distribute filling evenly onto center of each egg roll wrapper.
8. Position a wrapper so that a corner is pointing toward you; fold the bottom corner up, 1/4 of the way over the filling.
9. Brush remaining corners and edges of the wrapper with egg, roll up from side to side, fold top corner over all and press to seal.
10. Repeat with remaining wrappers.
11. Continue by deep-frying the egg rolls in 375 degree oil for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown.
12. Drain on brown paper bags.
13. Slice egg rolls diagonally across middle and serve with prepared dipping sauce!