Monday, 19 September 2011

Caesar Salad for Vegans

Here's a recipe for a caesar salad dressing, but don't limit it to salad.  We also enjoy this dressing with our grilled or baked tofu and with our steamed green vegetables.  Check it out.  Mmmmm!

Caesar Chavez Dressing
(adapted from Appetite for Reduction)

2 tbsps chopped shallot or green onion
2 tbsps cashew pieces, soaked in water for 1 hour or overnight *
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp miso
1/3 cup water
2 tbsps freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp capers with brine
1/8 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper

Throw it all in a blender and blend for 5 minutes, scraping the sides down as necessary.
* soaking the cashews is really important because it softens them up and allows them to be blended into a smooth dressing without any graininess.

(Photo under construction).

Monday, 29 August 2011


When we adopted the Eat to Live diet over a year ago, it meant giving up dairy products - yogurt, cheese, milk, ice cream.  We thought we would really miss the stuff, but we don't!  However, I love Greek salad and I used to make it often with salty, tangy feta cheese, but no more feta cheese allowed on a vegan diet.  Then I discovered faux feta!  Basically it's grated tofu marinated in Greek salad dressing.  And the most amazing thing is once the faux feta is in a Greek salad, it tastes just like feta.  Don't believe me?  Try it yourself:

Faux Feta
(recipe adapted from La Dolce Vegan! by Sarah Kramer)

1/2 block tofu, pressed for an hour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp water
freshly squeezed lemon juice (the juice of an entire lemon)
1 fat clove garlic, minced or pressed
handful of fresh parsley, minced
1/2 handful or more of fresh oregano, minced
1/2 tsp salt
several grinds of black pepper

Crumble the tofu into a bowl.  In a small glass measuring cup or a little milk jug (maybe called a creamer?), mix together the oil, water, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper.  Whisk together.  Pour dressing over the crumbled tofu and toss together.  Marinate for at least an hour or even overnight.
Into a Greek salad (cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, green onions, olives -if you like), stir in the faux feta.  Eat!  Yum!
Sorry I don't have a picture of this Greek salad.  How about this picture instead?

Summer Solstice

Croquettes Anyone?

Motivated by an excess of zucchini (thanks to S & S and their fabulous organic garden plot), I made these croquettes for supper.  They were really yummy, so I thought I'd share the recipe with you.

Quinoa Croquettes
(adapted from Anna Getty's Easy Green Organics)

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 medium carrot, grated
1 small zucchini, grated
1 green onion, finely chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
6 sprigs parsley, minced
l egg *
1/4 cup flour
sesame oil

Cook the quinoa in 2 cups of water in your rice cooker or however you would cook rice.  Transfer to a mixing bowl and let cool.  Stir in grated carrot and zucchini, green onion, garlic powder, salt, parsley, egg and flour.  Mix well.  Form the mixture into patties about 1/2 inch thick and 2 to 4 inches in diameter.  Heat about 2 tsps of sesame oil in a frying pan on medium heat.  Fry the quinoa patties in the oil for about 3 or 4 minutes per side, until both sides are golden.  Keep warm until ready to serve.
* Uh oh!  Not vegan!  Sorry about that!  The original recipe called for an egg and I happened to have one so I used it.  I think you could omit the egg because the quinoa is sticky enough to hold the patty together.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Garden Fresh!

This is a bowl of lettuce just picked from our little backyard garden.  Some of the lettuce is growing in planters and some in the ground.  Just look at those leaves - big, healthy, crisp!

These are pictures of the homegrown backyard lettuce in a salad.  Mmmmm!

I don't have a recipe to share with you today.  I just wanted to brag about our lettuce!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Scrumptious Cubes of Delight!

Over the past few weeks I have developed a recipe for marinated, baked tofu cubes.  I will post the recipe here, however, it is still a work in progress as "Tom" and I continue to tinker with the marinade.  These cubes are so yummy that we - especially "Tom" - like to eat them fresh out of the oven for a snack.  If we can save some, we like to add the tofu cubes to salad.

Step one - pressing the tofu:
- take a block of medium-firm tofu, unwrap it, drain off the water
- place the block on a clean dry folded tea towel on a plate, then put another clean dry folded tea towel on top of the tofu.  Place a hefty book on top.
- press the tofu for at least 1 hour

Step two cutting the tofu:
- put the pressed tofu on a cutting board
- cut the tofu into one inch cubes (a block of tofu will give you about 32 cubes)

Step three - marinading the tofu:
- mix together the following:
  • 3 tbsp tamari sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
- put the tofu cubes in the marinade, toss them gently, and let sit for minimum 1 hour
- gently toss the tofu in the marinade two or three times over the hour

Step four - baking the tofu:
- drain off the excess marinade from the tofu cubes
- place the baking pan with the tofu cubes into a 350 degree oven and bake for about 1 hour, gently tossing around every 20 minutes or so, until they look like this:

Step five - eating the tofu:
- eat the cubes straight up or toss them into a salad like so:

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Check Out This Salad

I love to read cookbooks.  I usually read them cover to cover including the introduction, the information about the author and, of course, the recipes.  I particularly like cookbooks that have more than just recipes - tidbits of information, local lore, quick cooking tips, history of a recipe, pictures and photos.  I have a fairly large cookbook and recipe collection, but it can get expensive buying books so I indulge my love of cookbook reading by taking cookbooks out of the library.  Not long after I started eating a vegan diet, I went onto the website of my local library and put holds on all the cookbooks with "vegan" in the title.  I've had a steady stream of cookbooks come through my home, and the weeks that I have them on loan allows me to really get into the book, try out a few recipes and, ultimately, decide if I want to buy the cookbook and add it to my permanent collection.  Recently, a friend recommended the cookbook, Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, so, naturally, I took it out of the library.  It is a really great book!  I love reading it and I want to try out ALL the recipes!  This is definitely a cookbook I must own.  Here is one of the recipes from this book:

Everyday Chickpea-Quinoa Salad
(adapted from Appetite for Reduction)

2 cups cooked, cooled quinoa
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
4 cups (or more) chopped Romaine lettuce
1 to 3 cups of assorted vegetables *
1/2 to 3/4 cup of Balsamic Vinaigrette (see below)

Mix all the salad ingredients together in a large salad bowl.  Add the dressing and toss to coat.  Eat!
* I used lots of shredded carrots, some chopped green onion, chopped artichokes, chopped red and yellow peppers.  You could also use sprouts, baked tofu, fresh leafy herbs ...

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/4 cup raw cashew pieces, soaked in water for at least an hour)
2 tbsps chopped green onions
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsps Dijon mustard
1 tsp brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt

Blend the cashews and green onions together in a blender, then add the rest of the ingredients.  Blend for at least 5 minutes until completely smooth - blend for the full time to make sure the dressing isn't grainy.  The dressing may seem thin at first, but it thickens when chilled.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Dinner Party Extrodinaire!

Last weekend, "Tom" and I hosted a dinner party.  This gastronomic soiree was one in a series of rotating social gatherings.  The institution of revolving dinner parties came about a few months ago when I was searching for a way to spend more time with my close friends and, at the same time, take the stess out of organizing and planning activities.  I suggested we take turns hosting a dinner party every few weeks or so.  At the current party, we decide on the date for the next party.  There was instant agreement and support for this idea.  All of us being food lovers and all of us dabbling in, if not downright immersed in, vegan eating, we have been really enjoying sharing our culinary discoveries and experiments.  Here is what was on our menu:

Fresh Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Baked Portobello Mushrooms With Almond Sauce
Quinoa Stuffed Red Peppers
Sesame-Garlic Steamed Greens
Almond Banana Hot Chocolate

Fresh Spring Rolls With Spicy Peanut Sauce
(our own creation with some help from Vegan with a Vengeance)

rice paper wrappers
shredded savoy cabbage
lettuce leaves
carrots, cut into long matchsticks
green onions, cut into long matchsticks
mint leaves
cilantro leaves

Soften the wrappers by soaking in warm water for a few minutes until pliable.  Soften one wrapper at a time.  On the softened wrapper, lay down a lettuce leaf.  Add some shredded cabbage, a couple of carrot sticks, a couple of green onion sticks, 3 or 4 mint leaves, 5 or 6 cilantro leaves.  Roll up by rolling from the bottom first, tucking the sides in as you go.  As you can see from the picture, the rice paper wrappers can rip easily.  The first spring roll you roll may not look too pretty, but you'll get better as you go along.  The last one I made is the one on the left in the picture - very nicely rolled if I do say so myself!

1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tsp Asian chili-garlic paste
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsps peanut butter
1 1/2 tsps sugar
3 tbsps peanuts, chopped

Whisk all the ingredients together making sure the peanut butter is well blended.  Serve in little bowls for dipping the spring rolls into.

Baked Portobello Mushrooms with Almond Sauce
(adapted from The Garden of Vegan)

1/2 cup almonds
1/8 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Braggs
1/2 + cup water
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced finely
1 tsp fresh oregano, minced
4 large Portobello mushrooms, stems removed

In blender, blend almonds until powdered.  Add oil, Braggs, water, vinegar, garlic, rosemary, oregano and blend well.  In large baking dish, place mushrooms tops down and pour the sauce over top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.  Pour off the sauce.  Cut the mushrooms into strips.  Pour some of the sauce back onto the mushrooms and put the rest into a bowl on the side.  Makes 2 to 4 servings.

Quinoa Stuffed Red Peppers
(our own creation)

3 red peppers
3/4 cup quinoa, cooked in broth
1 cup white navy beans
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped mushrooms
2 to 4 tbsps chopped fresh herbs (I think we used thyme and rosemary)
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

Cut the peppers in half and cut out the seeds and membrane.  Mix all other ingredients together and stuff into the pepper halves.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle on some minced parsley before serving.

Sesame-Garlic Steamed Greens
(our own creation)

broccoli, chopped into bite sized florets, stalks peeled and chopped
kale, main stalk cut out, cut into about 4 pieces per leaf
baby bok choy, ends cut off and leaves separated
1 tsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp tamari sauce

Steam the greens until almost fork tender.  Heat the oil, garlic and tamari in a non-stick pan and cook for a minute.  Add the greens and toss with the oil/garlic/tamari mixture for about a minute or two.  Serve.

Almond Banana Hot Chocolate
(adapted from Vegan Eats)

1/2 banana
35 grams organic, freely traded 70% dark chocolate
2 1/4 cups almond milk
2 tbsps almond butter
4 medjool dates
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine all ingredients and stir gently until the chocolate and almond butter are melted.  Blend with an immersion blender until smooth.  Makes 2 or 3 servings.

Bon appetit, mes amies!

Monday, 25 April 2011


"Tom" and I just got back from a little holiday to the Sunshine Coast, a place we go frequently and a place where we use the barbeque for at least one meal.  Not being meat eaters these days, the barbeque is not the cooking implement that comes to mind when we're preparing meals.  Well, this weekend, we barbequed Portobello Mushrooms and ate them like a burger.  Deeelicious!  Try it out.

Pull off the stems from the mushrooms, then marinade in tamari sauce, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic and a bit of olive oil.  Marinate for at least 30 minutes.  Grill on the barbeque for about 5 minutes a side.  Serve on a whole wheat hamburger bun with tomato, lettuce, mayo, mustard and ketchup.  For our meal we had roasted vegetables and carrot sticks with hummous.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The Wonderful World of Hummous

Every vegetarian worth their salt should know how to make a good basic hummous.  Actually, anybody and everybody should make and eat this delicious and nutritious dip/spread.  In fact, if everyone made and ate and shared hummous, the world would be a better place, imho!  Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) plus tahini (sesame paste) equals good plant-based protein.  So when folks are pestering you about where you get your protein from, just say, "hummous"!  Here is my recipe for my version of hummous:

1 1/2 cups organic chickpeas *
1/4 cup organic tahini *
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsps cumin
about 4 tbsp water
1/2 tsp salt (optional)

Throw everything in a blender and blend away until smooth.  Start with a little bit of water and add more to get the dip nice and smooth.  Eat with warm Naan bread or crackers or carrot sticks or spread on Romaine lettuce leaves or rolled up in leaf lettuce leaves or spread on toast ...
* 1 can of chickpeas is 1 1/2 cups, but I like to buy my chickpeas in dried form and cook them up in my slow cooker on high for about 5 hours then measure out 1 1/2 cups into freezer bags and freeze them.
* the amount of tahini I put in probably varies because I don't measure it!  I just dollop it in until it looks like the right amount, but I think 1/4 should do it.  Add more or less as you see fit.  That's the beauty of hummous - you can adjust to fit your tastebuds.

Speaking of adjusting ... here is a variation of hummous that I made recently.

Herb Hummous

To the basic recipe above, add about 1/2 cup of fresh, finely chopped herbs - for this one I used 1/4 cup parsley, 1/4 cup cilantro, 1 tbsp rosemary.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"Sandwiches are beautiful, sandwiches are fine, I like sandwiches, I eat them all the time!"

Here's a vegan sandwich I made the other day.  Who needs a recipe for a sandwich?  Maybe no one, but I thought I'd include it here anyway because it was so yummy!

My sandwich had soy mayonnaise, but if I'd had any hummous made and available at that time, I would have used that.  I put slices of avacado and tomato and a couple of pieces of fresh, crunchy Romaine lettuce.  I sprinkled on some salt and pepper and put it all between a couple of pieces of toasted multi-grain bread (100% whole grain).  The sandwich is garnished with green olives (the same kind I used for that Olive, Sundried Tomato Hummous I posted on the blog earlier), and pickled beets (pickled by me last summer).  I actually stuck the beets inside the sandwich and it was deelicious!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Long Awaited Recipe

Many of you have been asking me for this recipe and I keep saying I'll post it on my blog.  Well, here it is!  We had it for supper tonight, with salad of course.

Black Bean Soup and Avacado Tomato Salsa
(adapted from La Dolce Vegan by Sarah Kramer)

2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, minced
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt

Heat the oil on medium heat, add the onion and saute until translucent.  Add celery, carrots, garlic and saute 2 to 3 minutes.  Add stock, beans, chili powder, oregano and salt.  Bring to boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Blend with a hand blender.

1 medium tomato, chopped
1 avacado, cubed
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
1 green onion, chopped
2 tsp lime juice

Combine the salsa ingredients in a bowl.

Serve the soup by adding a dollop of the salsa to the soup, like so ...

1.  Make the soup.                                  2.  Make the salsa.

Friday, 8 April 2011

What's For Breakfast?

A long time ago, almost in another life, I went through a time of great stress and I stopped eating.  I had no appetite and I didn't want to eat.  I used to do crazy things like go for long, intense runs in the morning without eating anything, go home, shower and dress and around 2 pm would experience this strange feeling.  The feeling was hunger.  Sometimes I'd be off walking the dog or running errands or something at this time and wouldn't do anything about it until even later in the day.  Not good.  I finally settled on drinking a fruit and yogurt smoothie in the morning.  I didn't want anything to eat, but I could drink.  A smoothie has been the food to break my fast ever since.  These days I put a lot of interesting and tasty things in my smoothie.  Here's a recipe for you to try:

2 bananas
2 pieces other fruit (mango, kiwi, orange* ...)
2 tbsps ground flax seed*
2 large handfuls spinach*
soy milk*

Slice the banana and other fruit into a blender.  Add the flax seed and spinach.  Push the spinach down a bit.  Pour soy milk in until the contents are covered.  Blend until smooth.  Makes 2 servings - 1 for you and 1 to share.
* Buy organic flax seed and keep it in the freezer.  Grind up small batches, about 1/3 cup, as needed and store the ground seed in the fridge.
* Eating spinach this way is an excellent way to get your greens.
* Use unsweetened, organic soy milk.
* If you use oranges, the smoothie will be pulpy.  If you don't mind pulp, drink it down.  I strain my smoothie through a potato masher to get the big pieces of pulp out.

Here's one more recipe for you to try - Black Bean, Corn, Quinoa Salad

1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
1 can unsalted, unsweetened corn, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups black beans
1 red pepper, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced (or more)
1 tsp vegetable oil *
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp chipotle pepper puree *
salt to taste *
organic spring greens

Combine the quinoa, corn, black beans, red pepper, green onions together and mix.  Stir in the cilantro.  Whisk together the garlic, oil, lime juice, vinegar and chipotle puree.  Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.  Let stand for a couple of hours to allow flavours to develop.  Serve on a bed of salad greens with sliced avacado and chopped tomatoes.

* I used to make this with no oil, but I find that just this little bit really helps to carry the other dressing ingredients and coat the salad better.
* Buy a can of chipotle peppers in adobe sauce and puree the contents in a blender.  Store the paste in a container in the fridge.
* You can add no salt if you wish.  I like salt, but am trying to not eat so much (remember that I l-o-v-e potato chips) so I usually put a little bit in my food and then not add any when I'm eating.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Eat To Live

It occurred to me that I should give a background to my veganism and to why I started a blog about healthy eating and living.  Almost a year ago, I read a book by Dr Joel Fuhrman called Eat to Live:  The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss.  I was very impressed with Dr Fuhrman's presentation of scientific and medical facts, with his logical and systematic debunking of popular diets such as the Atkin's Diet, and with his simple approach to food preparation and consumption.  I'd already spent a couple of decades exploring food and diet and health and nutrition as a lay person, a gardener, a mother, a woman, an environmentalist, an athlete.  Originally inspired and guided by Francis Moore Lappe, Diet for a Small Planet, I have usually eaten a meat-free diet although I've been very fond of fish and seafood and kept dairy in my life until recently.  I found that Dr Fuhrman's words were the culmination of everything food and nutrition related that I'd been thinking about and wondering about and trying to make sense of for 20 years.  It all just made sense.

Dr Fuhrman believes that a person needs to be at their ideal healthy weight before any significant, long-term health benefits can kick in.  Eating a meat-free, dairy-free, no fat, no sugar, no salt diet will allow you to lose weight quickly and painlessly and will improve your overall health dramatically.  When I started the diet in May 2010, I lost 10 pounds in 6 weeks and have stayed at the same weight ever since.  So, now I'm living as a vegan and my partner, "Tom" is doing it too.  We don't eat meat or dairy.  We try for no fat, but usually do low fat.  We've cut out salt, and sugar is around only when those darn mini-eggs show up in the stores!

Sometimes meal planning, no matter what diet you're on, can be a chore and a vegan diet is rather labour intensive, what with all that salad making and vegetable chopping, so we're always looking for new and delicious recipes.  On this blog, I want to share some of our tried and true.  Whether you're a meat and cheese eater or not, I know you'll enjoy these recipes.

By the way, I l-o-v-e potato chips!  What would Dr Fuhrman say?

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

New Recipe

Tonight, for supper, we had salad, steamed greens on quinoa and this delicious hummous with crackers and naan bread.  It would also go well with raw vegetable sticks.  I'm not an olive lover, but I thought I'd try it out because even if I didn't like it, "Tom" (identity changed to protect the internet wary), who loves olives, would eat it.
Olive and Sun-dried Tomato Hummous
(adapted from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan)

1 1/2 cups chickpeas
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp tahini
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sea salt
3-5 tbsp water
8 pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
8 pitted green olives, chopped
4 sundried tomatoes, soaked in hot water until soft

Puree everything together in a blender, starting with the smaller amount of water and adding more as necessary to make a smooth dip.
Chop up another 2 black olives and another 2 green olives and another 1 or 2 soaked sundried tomatoes and sprinkle on top of the hummous.

Note:  The original recipe called for 2 tbsp olive oil, but I omitted it as I don't think extra oil is necessary in hummous.  You can add it in if you like - it will make a smoother dip.
           The olives I used were Mediterranean Organic Olives found on the shelf in the Natural Foods aisle of the local grocery store.  Apparently the olives, "are grown on ancient olive trees planted by Roman Soldiers 2,000 years ago."  "Tom" said they were the best olives he's ever eaten!

Saturday, 2 April 2011


Why the title?  Why call a blog "Food, Farts and Fun"?  Well, I wanted to write a blog about my views and experiences with healthy eating and living, about all the fun and challenges I've encountered following the Eat to Live Diet.  I realized that it wasn't just about cooking and eating, but also about lifestyle.  So that's where the "food" and "fun" parts come in.  As for the "farts", well, you can't embrace veganism without also embracing flatulence!  We all fart.  It's a natural bodily function.  So, join with me in letting the gas out of the closet!

Here's a recipe I'd like to share with you.  Marvelous Minestrone.  It's fat-free and completely vegan.  We love it!

1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 - 798 ml can plum tomatoes
1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans (398 ml can)
2 cups veg stock
1 1/2 cups water
4 cups kale
1/2 cup whole wheat rotini
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Saute the onion in a bit of water in a large soup pot for about 5 minutes, then add carrots and garlic and saute for 3 more minutes.  (Add a bit of water to prevent sticking and burning).  Add tomatoes, beans and vegetable stock and bring to a boil.  Chop the kale* and add to the boiling pot with rotini, pepper, red pepper flakes.  Bring back to boil, then lower heat and simmer 10 to 12 minutes.

* Kale is a wonderful, wholesome nutritious super food.  When you eat this stuff you can definitely feel good about yourself!  To prepare it, wash carefully, unfurling all the ends to wash out grit and stuff, especially if you pick it out of your own garden (watch out for little bugs and slugs too).  Cut out the main stalk and discard (into your compost or Green Box).  Chop the leaves.

Here's another recipe you might like to try:

Edamame Bean Hummous
(from La Dolce Vegan! by Sarah Kramer)

3/4 cup edamame beans (shelled and steamed)
2 cups spinach
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup tahini
juice of one whole lemon
1 tbsp tamari sauce
1-2 tsp Asian chili garlic sauce (or other hot sauce)
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth.  Serve with rice chips or crackers or with vegetable sticks.  Makes about 1 1/2 cups.