Saturday, August 14, 2010

Homemade Caesar Dressing

We love Caesar Salad around here, but two of my kids don't do well with cow dairy. I came across this recipe and tried it out today. It turned out perfect, and only took about 5 minutes to make! A definite winner if you are looking for a vegan alternative!


(makes approx 1 1/12 cups and lasts one week in the fridge)

  • 4 oz of silken tofu
  • 6 Tb of lemon juice
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 3/4 Tb of Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsps of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of Kelp powder or Dulse flakes
  • 3/4 cups of extra virgin olive oil
In a blender, blend all the ingredients EXCEPT the oil until smooth. While running the blender on low, slowly add the oil. Chill and mix with your salad!

**The kelp flakes are what really make this dressing have that anchovy-caesar taste. You can get these flakes at any health food store.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

We are always looking for dairy-free desserts. We made a big batch of these cookies this week for a friend. I was really impressed with how they turned out. Savanna is the baker in the family, but since she was out most of the week I made these by myself. They were REALLY good!


(makes 48 small cookies)

  • 2 1/2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour (get at any health food store)
  • 1/2 Tb baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of turbinado sugar
  • 1 cup of refined coconut oil or melted coconut butter
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of ice water
  • 1 Tb of black strap molasses
  • 1/2 Tb vanilla extract
  • 1 10 oz bag of vegan chocolate chips or carob chips
  • 1 cup of chopped walnuts (optional)
Sift flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl with a mixer mix sugar and oil about 3 minutes until smooth. Add water, molasses, and vanilla mixing until well combined. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture until almost blended. Add the chocolate chips and nuts mixing until just combined.

Roll into small balls of dough and place 2 " apart on a baking sheet. Flatten out a bit and cook 13-15 minutes at 375 degrees until edges are slightly brown. Cool and Eat!

Cashew "Mock" Chicken Salad

These next few recipes are dedicated to my good pal, Lara. It's fun to have someone so excited to read my food blog and actually try my recipes! Plus, I'm very excited that she is making so many positive changes in her health- love you girl!

Savanna and I made this recipe this morning. It's one of my favorite raw recipes. It tastes very similar to chicken salad. I usually serve it stuffed in a raw red bell pepper or over lettuce. You can put it on bread like an actual sandwich or with crackers like we did today.


1/4 cup of sunflower seeds
1 cup pecans
1 cup cashews
1 cucumber, cut in chunks
1 stalk of celery
2 diced green onions (optional)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp dill
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder

Throw all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse chop until medium fine. Chill and serve!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Homemade Italian French Bread

Savanna and I learned to bake our own bread from our friends at church. It is SO much better than store bought, and it's way cheaper too. Takes a little bit of time, but not much effort. And for the record this is not my healthiest recipe, but I did modify it a bit to make it more so. I do like that there is only 6 ingredients, all of which I can pronounce and know what they are! I am going to post the original recipe and I'll put my changes in parenthesis.


(makes two large french loaves)

  • 2 1/2 cups of water
  • 2 Tb of yeast
  • 5 Tb melted Crisco (I substitute olive oil)
  • 3 Tb sugar
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 6 cups of flour (we did 3 cups of whole wheat & 3 cups of white flour- any more whole wheat than that and it becomes very heavy)

Mix 3 cups of flour, the Crisco, 2 cups of the water, sugar and salt.

Dissolve the yeast in the remaining 1/2 cup of water and add to the flour mixture.

Beat in the 3 remaining cups of flour very gradually. The dough should be sticky to the touch, but should not remain on the skin and should pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl.

Let rest (covered with a damp rag) for 10 mins. Punch Down. Let rise 15 mins (still covered with a damp rag). Punch down. Repeat 4 times.

Divide dough into 2 parts. Roll the dough flat into a rectangular shape. Roll up into a long loaf, pinching the edges as tight as you can.

Place both loaves on a greased cookie sheet and let rise 40 mins (cover again with the rag). We decided to put one long loaf and one smaller loaf on a cookie sheet, and one loaf in a regular loaf pan. It's the same amount of bread- just different shapes.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

The results were great!

Banana Berry Freeze

Not the best picture, but this was really good. We actually made it for breakfast (you'll see why when I post the ingredients). I modified this recipe from a book I recently finished by Dr. Joel Furhrman, "Disease-Proof Your Child." He is another whole foods, mostly plant-based diet advocate, but he is also an MD so he gives some great medical background as to why diet can alleviate or prevent many illnesses (for my friends with kids with ADD or ADHD or severe allergies- he gives specific dietary guidelines to help). He is a bit extreme in his views, but that doesn't mean that I think he is wrong...just means you might have some BIG changes to make after reading his book! He has a ton of recipes in the back. We've tried some and really like them, others...not so much. This one was a winner!


(per serving/person)

1 1/2 frozen bananas
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
1/4 tsp of vanilla
handful of frozen blueberries, strawberries or raspberries
tsp of ground flax seed
chopped nuts of your choice

Blend the frozen bananas, milk (we used almond milk), and vanilla - it will be thick like ice cream, especially if you have a Vitamix or other good blender. Top with frozen berries of your choice (we used blueberries and raspberries), the ground flax, and some nuts (we used slivered almonds). Enjoy!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Killer Vegetable Soup

It is an aspiration of mine to open up my own restaurant some day. It will be a whole foods, healthy, family-fare type place. Maybe even just a big salad and soup bar with homemade breads and smoothies. Well, when I do make it happen this will be a soup-of-the-day for sure!

  • 4-6 Tb of olive oil
  • 3-4 small red onions, diced
  • 1 head of celery, chopped or sliced
  • 5-6 carrots, sliced
  • 1 bag of red potatoes, diced
  • 1 bag of frozen corn
  • 2 cans of crushed tomatoes (I use fresh tomatoes and process them in my fp)
  • 1-2 cans of white beans
  • Seasonings- I use a LOT of seasonings. Garlic powder, onion powder, Spike, dried parsley, sea salt, pepper, a dash of cayenne, etc. Use whatever you like, to taste.
In a large pot, coat the bottom with oil. Add onions and celery; cover and saute for about 5 mins. Add the carrots; cover and saute for 5-8 minutes. Add the potatoes; cover and saute for about 5- 10 minutes. These steps are crucial and really help the flavors of the soup blend.
Then add the rest of the ingredients and cover with water or vegetable broth. Season, cover and bring to a boil. Then remove lid and simmer for 30 - 60 minutes or until potatoes are soft.

Serves 8-12

Maple Syrup Cornbread

Savanna makes the best corn bread muffins! She made a batch this morning, and so I thought I'd share the recipe.


(Makes 12 muffins)
  • 2/3 cup of real maple syrup (grade b)
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 1 cup rice milk (or soy milk)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup fine organic cornmeal
  • 1 Tb baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
Stir wet ingredients together.
In another bowl, whisk dry ingredients together.
Mix wet and dry together.
Pour into greased muffin pans.
Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees, until tester comes out clean.

Sweet & Sour Veggie Stir Fry

This is one of my favorite dishes to make. It is really simple, and really delicious. Whenever I eat chinese food I always order something with the Sweet & Sour Sauce. This recipe really duplicates that taste very well, and is much healthier! You can add meat to this dish if you like. We used tofu in this one.

  • 1 Tb cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 3 Tb of rice vinegar
  • 3 Tb of turbinado sugar
  • 1 Tb ketchup
  • 2 Tbs soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 4-5 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 diced onion
  • 2 sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 diced green or red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1 14oz package of extra firm tofu, drained and cut into 1 inch cubes

In a large bowl, mix together the cornstarch and veg broth, then add vinegar, sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, ginger, and cayenne until mixed well.

In a large skillet or work, stir-fry the garlic, onion, and carrots in the olive oil about 5 minutes until carrots begin to soften. Add the tomatoes, pepper, mushrooms, and pineapple and stir-fry another 2-3 minutes.

Add the veg broth mixture to the veggies and cook until mixture thickens, about 5-7 minutes. Add tofu and allow to cook at least 5 minutes more. Serve over brown rice and enjoy!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Vegetarian Chili in the Crock Pot

I took this picture when it had only been cooking a few hours. All the liquid was absorbed and the end result is a very thick, hearty, and tasty chili. The lentils kind of break a part and resemble the "meat" of the dish. My kids loved it, and even my finicky pregnant taste buds enjoyed it!

(Again, this is from

Serves 16- I'm not sure what size crock pot this girl has, but we halved the recipe and it filled up my pot- it makes a LOT!


2 Cans Organic Chopped Tomatoes
2 32 oz Boxes Vegetable Broth
6 Cups Mixed Beans (Lentils, Yellow Split Peas, White Beans) (If using large beans, soak the night before)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Onion, minced
5 Cloves Garlic, minced
6 Celery Stalks, chopped
6 Carrots, chopped
1 Bell Pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp Chili Powder
1 1/2 Tbsp Cumin
2 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Sweet Paprika
1 Large Bunch Dinosaur Kale, chopped

1. Turn slow cooker (crock pot) on high. Set it for 12 hours. Pour all liquid into the pot.
2. Heat olive oil over medium flame and saute onions for 5 minutes. Lower heat if they start to brown. Add garlic and continue to saute another 2 minutes. Pour the onion mixture into the crock pot with the remaining ingredients. Stir.
3. Cook in the pot for 12 hours.

*For baby food: Cool, puree, and serve or freeze in baby cubes.

**Freezing Instructions: Allow to cool, place in appropriate container or Ziploc bag, label and freeze up to 4 months. When ready, defrost in fridge for 24 hours or place in pot and heat through under low-medium heat.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Veggie Burgers

These also came from They turned out SO good, but I have to say they took quite a long time to cook. I doubled the batch and it took me over an hour to fry them all up. However, it made 25 of them- 20 of them which I put in the freezer for future meals- so when you look at it that way, an hour isn't that long.


1/2 Cup Bulgar Wheat
1 Cup Water
1 15 Oz Can Pinto Beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 Cup Cheese, grated (we used goat cheese- this can be optional)
1/2 Cup Carrot, grated
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 Tsp Onion Powder
1 Tbsp Oil

Accompaniments: Bread, Lettuce, Tomato, Ketchup, Mustard, Mayonnaise, Pickles

1. Place the Bulgar wheat and water in a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover for 13 minutes.
2. After the Bulgar has cooked, place in a bowl and let cool.
3. Place 1 can of rinsed and drained pinto beans in a food processor and puree.
4. Add the pureed beans, cheese, carrot, salt, garlic and onion powder to cooked Bulgar and mix thoroughly.
5. Form into patties.
6. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat and cook the burgers for 3 minutes on each side.
7. Serve with accompaniments.

* Patties can be frozen on a baking sheet for one hour and placed in a large zipper bag or individually wrapped and frozen. Defrost, then cook.

Turkey Pesto Meatballs

**We used organic, ground turkey from New Frontiers. You could easily make this vegetarian or vegan using some faux-meat**

Savanna actually made these. She made homemade pesto too- we've yet to find any pre-made pesto that didn't have some sort of cheese in it. Her homemade pesto is awesome! I'll list both recipes below (The meatball recipe itself comes from a great whole foods site



2 cups packed fresh basil
3-4 tbs of walnuts
Sea salt to taste
2-3 cloves of garlic
Olive oil (enough to coat the other ingredients- you can add more as you process the ingredients depending on how chunky or smooth you like your pesto)

Blend well in a food processor.


(Serves 4-6)


1 1/2 lbs of ground turkey or vegan meat substitute
1/4 cup pesto (we added a bit more- made them a little greasy and they crisped up nicely in the oven)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp of sea salt


2 cups of Marinara Sauce

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place all the ingredients (except for the marinara sauce) in a bowl and using your hands, combine until everything is incorporated.
3. Using about 1 tablespoon of the mixture per meatball, roll into balls and place on a plate.
4. Pour the marinara sauce into a 9 x 9 inch baking pan and top with the meatballs.
5. Cover the baking pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
6. Serve.

*Roll into balls and place on a cookie sheet and freeze. After 30 minutes place the par-frozen balls in a ziploc bag, label and freeze. When ready, defrost in fridge for 24 hours or put them straight in the oven with sauce increasing cooking time by 5 minutes.

Spinach Dip

Another great summer recipe. I love it when I don't have to turn my oven on. This can be made a variety of ways and garnished and eaten with whatever you like. Here is what I put in this one:

  • 4 cups of fresh spinach
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1/2 Tb of lemon juice
  • Sea salt to taste
Blend in a food processor until smooth. Chill and eat! This is simple, but really good. Another great way to sneak in some greens!! (Again, from Alissa Cohen's "Living on Live Food")

Banana, Orange, Flax Crackers

  • 2 cups of whole golden fax seeds (soaked in 2 cups of water for 4 hours or overnight is fine)
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 large oranges, juiced
Place ingredients in a food processor and blend well. Smooth onto Teflex sheets on top of a mesh dehydrator screen. Spread batter into thin sheets about 1/8 inches thick. Dehydrate at 105 degrees for 10-16 hours (Flip them after about 7-8 hours).

My kids love to eat these crackers plain or smothered in almond butter. We had some leftover crushed strawberries from our jam making and we added them to the crackers this time. They aren't ready yet, but my house smells SO good!

(Also from Alissa Cohen's "Living on Live Food" book)

Trail Mix

Okay, so trail mix is kind of a no brainer. But, this batch turned out SO good that I had to share it.

  • Raw Pecans
  • Raw Walnuts
  • Raw Almonds
  • Raw Sunflower Seeds
  • Raw Cashews
  • Golden Raisins
  • Coconut Shavings
  • Vegan Carob Chips
  • Dried Cranberries
Toss and eat ! The boys had a bowl of it for breakfast with their yogurt. It may not last very long!!

* I did sprout most of the nuts (for more on sprouting, see my previous post- "More on our Snacking Table (& Why We Sprout)"). Pretty sure the carob chips aren't raw, but everything else is!

Avocado Chutney

This is a great summer recipe. It's fresh and filling, and super healthy.

(This recipe is from Alissa's Cohen's "Living on Live Food"- slightly modified by me)

  • 2 large avocados, diced
  • 3 ears of sweet corn (corn cut off the cob- don't use frozen or canned)
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 teas of cumin
  • 1-2 teas of oregano
  • sea salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, chill, and serve over lettuce or with crackers or just eat it by itself! This amount fed my family of five and we had 3-4 servings left the next day. It saved surprisingly well overnight in the fridge, but I wouldn't recommend waiting too long to eat the probably won't have much any way!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Quick Lunches that Will Impress

This is one of my boys' favorite quick meals (and mine too- I've been on a hummus kick lately). Simply slice cucumber into thick rounds (or you can use zucchini, squash, etc.), top with a generous scoop of hummus and an olive. It was the day before our weekly shopping, so I just threw some leftover grated carrots in the middle for decor, but they ate them up too!

More from our snacking table, but this turned into more of a snacking lunch. Bradley cut up the cucumbers and added the hummus to our jicama, snap peas, and melon ensemble. It was very quick, very filling, and very tasty!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

More on our Snacking Table (& Why We Sprout)

Our snacking table is still a success! We are getting more foods from the farmers market, and eating all of it by the end of the week. The nagging for snacks between meals has stopped almost completely too! Here we have cucumber, carrots, sliced apples, almond butter, raw corn on the cob (yes raw- it's straight from the farm and super sweet- no cooking or butter needed!), and steamed broccoli.

Here: Snap peas are a great snack since you eat the entire pod and they are sweet and crunchy, plus more watermelon, some lightly steamed broccoli with sea salt, and sprouted sunflower seeds.

A quick word about sprouting nuts: What are sprouted nuts, and why would someone want to sprout them? I learned about sprouting from Alissa Cohen's "Living on Live Food" book. Her explanation is great, so I'll just post it here:

"There are some very good reasons to soak and sprout. Soaking nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes removes their natural enzyme inhibitors: phytates and oxalates.

Sprouting greatly increases the nutritional value of these foods and makes them far more digestible because their protein is broken down into amino acids, their starches are changed into simple sugars, and their fats are converted into soluble fatty acids.

Sprouting increases the enzyme content of these foods. Even though they are initially raw, their enzymes are lying dormant. Sprouting activates them. If you do not sprout them, your body has to use its own enzymes to break up these foods.

Soaked and sprouted nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes are highly nutritious and produce an amazing amount of nourishment than otherwise would not be available."

Also, I've noticed with Brad's allergies that food he normal reacts negatively to doesn't bother him if sprouted. For instance wheat breads and tortillas bother him, but he does fine with sprouted wheat breads and tortillas. The same goes for some nuts he eats.

How do you sprout? Well, that is another post entirely. Certain foods can simply be soaked, others actually need to be sprouted. For most of the nuts and seeds we have been using at our snacking table, I simply put them in a large bowl and cover them with enough filtered water so they expand, then let them soak overnight on the kitchen counter. The next morning, rinse them well and they are officially "sprouted." The soaking obviously makes them soft, so I throw them in my dehydrator and season them (sea salt mainly, but you can use oil or other seasonings to spice them up- lime and Chile powder are good on pistachios and cashews!), and they crunch back up. This way we can receive the benefit of raw, sprouted nuts but enjoy the taste of roasted, crunchy, salted ones!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Food for Thought

I just had to share this little tidbit I learned this week. I just finished reading Michael Pollan's"Food Rules" book, and am about halfway through a book by Dr. Furhman called "Disease Proof Your Child." Both are great reads on feeding your children and family a whole foods diet- basically just feeding them real, unprocessed foods. Dr. Furhman said that at the beginning of each day they cut up some fresh fruits and veggies and put them in bowls on the kitchen table along with some selections of raw nuts. They leave this food out the whole day for the family to snack on. It's really a simple thing, but I tried it out this week and it had amazing results.

Especially since we home school, my kids seem like they are eating 24-7. And, not always the best of choices. But, I cut up several different types of raw and steamed veggies, one big bowl of fruit, and put out several different types of nuts throughout the week. The result: They stopped asking me for food between meals. They would just go over and eat what was out. They were eating raw fruits, veggies, and nuts all day long too! I found that my husband and I were going over and snacking on the produce too. And since the whole family was eating good stuff throughout the day, I didn't find myself worrying or nagging them to eat up veggies at mealtimes. I still served them, but it wasn't like that was all they were going to eat for the day, so it made me feel really relaxed.

When I got home from the market, I took about 30-40 minutes and washed all the produce and cut it up and put it in containers in the fridge. Each morning it took me all of about 5 minutes to set stuff out. I made sure to put out different stuff every day and put out stuff I know my kids like, plus some foods that they've never tried. I learned this week that Benjamin loves red bell pepper. Over the course of a couple days he ate 2 raw bell peppers himself! Bradley ate an entire jicama this week, plus an array of other great foods. Savanna really like the broccoli and kale salad. I found that I really like raw celery and carrot sticks. I've never eaten too many veggies without some sort of dip or dressing, but since they were all just out solo, I found I was munching on them throughout the day.

This week our snacking table consisted of: carrots, celery, jicama, bell pepper, kale, artichokes, peanuts, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, strawberries, oranges, cucumber, tomatoes, apples, cantaloupe, and peas...isn't that cool?!? Just thought I'd pass on this little tip!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Grandma's Pasta Gravy!

I have slowly been adding more meat and dairy into our diets. I am not a big meat eater- never have been. I just don't care for it, so I tend to not cook a lot of it. My kids don't do well with dairy from cows either, and Brad has his whole allergy issues. Plus, I have done too much reading about what happens to our food before it hits our tables, especially in the animal products realm, that it has been a slow adjustment for me to bring these into the home. So needless to say, our menus have been strictly limited. However, I have started to transition from the extremist view of complete abstinence from certain foods to one of an informed consumer. I have found some great local farms that sell organic, free-range, grass-fed meats that I feel good about supporting. I also buy my kids goat products which tend to be healthier not only because they are easier to digest, but because they don't contain the hormones, antibiotics, etc. that a lot of dairy products from cows contain. So, we still eat mostly a plant-based diet, but have our animal products in moderation throughout the week. The meat or dairy tend to be the side dish of most meals we make...we follow Dr. T. Colin Campbell's rule from his great nutritional study, "The China Study," which says that 90% of our diet should come from plants, 10% from animals. Anyway, the kids are doing great with the changes, and we've made some very yummy recipes lately! It feels liberating. :)

Here is my grandma's recipe for pasta gravy. You can make this without the meat or with some kind of meat substitute, but we made it with the organic ground beef from New Frontiers health food store.

3 lbs ground beef
2-4 chopped garlic cloves
1 large red onion
2 large cans of tomato puree
1 large can of Italian seasoned chopped tomatoes
2 small cans of tomato sauce
Seasonings to taste: LOTS of garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasonings, oregano, and parsley

Saute onions and garlic in olive oil in a small pan.
Cook meat or meat substitute, if using, and drain.
Combine the onions and garlic with the meat and all the rest of the ingredients.
Cook over low heat for several hours or put in a slow cooker for the day.

Pour over noodles, grilled or fried eggplant, use in lasagna, etc.

We poured it over fried eggplant and served it with garlic bread and salad- so good!

This recipe made enough for 2 meals (for the whole family), and we had three jars on top of that left over! We store our pasta sauce in mason jars in the freezer for up to 6 months.