Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Asparagus Stir Fry

Guess what? SPRING is here! That means an abundance of asparagus for all of us in the asparagus capital of the world- the California Central Valley! This is a must try recipe- the sweet/spicy flavor of the sauce mixed with the crisp bite of the asparagus- it is a crowd pleaser.

Asparagus Stir Fry

1 lb Asparagus cut in 1 inch pieces
1 large onion chopped
2 jalapenos chopped
1 can bamboo shoots
1 tbs minced ginger
2 tbs minced garlic
1 large red bell pepper chopped
1 small bunch basil
1 tofu or tempah
2 tbs corn/vegetable oil

In a large skillet/wok heat the oil. Add the onion, garlic, ginger cook for 1 minute. Add the jalapeno, asparagus, bamboo, tempeh, ginger, bell pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes. When well incorporated, mix in the remaining ingredients. Turn pan to high and ‘stir fry for about 2 minutes. Serve over rice!

Basic ‘Chinese’ Stir Fry Sauce

This is a quick and simple sauce recipe. This sauce can be mixed/fried with your favorite vegetables, soy curls, and tofu- well- the choice is endless.
I made an asparagus stir fry using this sauce the other night- YUM.
Basic ‘Chinese’ Stir Fry Sauce
2 tbs rice vinegar
2 tbs granulated sugar
2 tbs tamari
2 teaspoons rice wine or dry sherry
1/2 tsp chili sauce (to taste)
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2  tsp chili oil
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tbs water
1 tbs vegetable oil
3 -4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1.      Combine the rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauces, rice wine or sherry, chili sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl, stirring to combine. In a separate small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the water.
2.      Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Add the garlic and cook, stirring until aromatic (about 30 seconds).
3.      Quickly stir the sauce, add it into the saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring. (This will take about a minute).
4.    4 Re-stir the cornstarch/water mixture and mix with sauce- cook 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
This will keep for 5-7 days if refrigerated.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Brown Sugar Maple Scones

YUM! I made these this past Sunday for the ladies- we sat at Peet’s coffee, enjoying the first day of sunshine in weeks, eating scones and drinking coffee! These scones are not very sweet, but they have a good maple flavor. These are also good with almond or walnut pieces in them.

Brown Sugar Maple Scones

2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar, loosely packed + 1 Tablespoon
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Vegetable Shortening (non-hydrogenated)
3/4 Cup Milk Alternative
1/2 Cup Maple Syrup

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (if you don’t, your scones will BURN). In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, 1/4 cup of brown sugar and salt. Add and cut in the shortening with pastry cutter/food processor or a couple of knives to a coarse crumb texture. Add the milk and maple syrup and stir well with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together, finishing up by hand if necessary to form a ball. The mixture will be more watery than you think, but go with it. With a big spoon, scoop out a glob and put it on the parchment paper- you should get about 10 scones (oddly shaped, just how I like ‘em). Sprinkle more brown sugar on top. Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes or until golden.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Potato Soup/Stew

I made this last night because it was COLD, WET, and RAINY and I had a TON of vegetable in my fridge that was getting quite old. I hate to waste food, so I made
Potato Soup! The best part about this recipe, as long as you have the potatoes, spices, vegan butter/milk and corn starch, you can use just about any vegetable you want (even beets if you want a red soup).

4 lbs medium red potatoes quartered
1 head of Celery chopped
6 carrots cut in bite sized pieces
2 medium onions chopped
1 block tofu or 2 packs or Tempeh
1 broccoli head chopped
2 tbs garlic
1tsp ginger minced
¼ cup of corn starch
1 cup milk alternative
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
¼ cup earth balance margarine
32 ounces vegetable broth
32 ounces water
3 tbs vegetable base
1 can corn
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbs salt
Lots of fresh black pepper

**any other vegetables you have laying around

Start by adding oil, onions, celery, carrots to a large stock pot- cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add salt, cook 1 more minute. Add the paprika, cumin, garlic, ginger and cook for 2-3 more minutes. When the mixture is nice and fork tender, add the stock, water, vegetable base- cook on high until it boils. Mix the milk and corn starch then add to soup. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook on medium-low for 20-30 minutes.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Grocery List

Okay, here it is! This is my essential grocery shopping/pantry list. I know there are many items on here you have never cooked with, don’t worry, I will post and link recipes! Make sure you only buy enough food to cook for the week- the worst food tragedy is throwing food in the trash!  

Fridge:Beverages:Fruit and Nuts:
Vegan Mayonnaise Coconut WaterDried Hibiscus Flowers 
Vegan Cream CheeseMilk Alternative Raw Brazil Nuts
Dijon MustardSparkling Mineral WaterRaw Cashew Nuts
TahiniElectrolyte WaterRaw Walnuts
Vegan Buttery Spread Kombucha DrinkPumpkin Seeds
Liquid Smoke Vegan BeerSunflower Seeds
Soy SauceDried Berries
Apple Cider VinegarFreezer:Shredded Coconut
Red Wine VinegarFrozen PineapplePine Nuts
Almond ButterFrozen Organic Blueberries
Hot Sauce (Sriracha)Frozen Organic StrawberriesGrains/Flour/Baking:
Coconut Milk Yogurt Frozen PapayaSprouted Grain Bread
Frozen Organic PeasBrown Rice
Protein-Rich:Frozen Organic Rice/Veggie BlendThick Cut Oats
TempehFrozen Veggie BurgersQuinoa
Extra Firm TofuWhole Wheat Couscous
Silkened TofuSweeteners:Pasta (spelt/wheat/brown rice)
Frozen Shelled Edamame BeansMaple Syrup - grade BCorn Meal-thick
SeitanAgave SyrupGarbanzo Bean Flour
QuinoaVegan Organic Sugar-dryFlaxseed Meal
BeansBrown Rice SyrupBaking Soda/Powder
LentilsSugar in the Raw
Dry Snacks/Sides:Vegan Sugar
Oils/Fats-Pantry:Savory Rice CrackersVegan Powder Sugar
Olive Oil High QualitySalt n Pepper Rice Crackers
Oliver Oil Cheaper Soy CrispsSpices/Seasonings:
Coconut MilkPea CrispsBlack Pepper Grinder
EV Coconut OilFine Pre-Ground Black Pepper
Canola OilCanned Goods/soups:Cayenne
Sesame OilLarge Pitted OlivesPaprika
Chili OilOrganic Garbanzo BeansGround Cumin
Mandarin OrangesCinnamon
Canned Goods/soups:San Marzano TomatoesRed Pepper Flakes
Large Pitted OlivesVegetable brothsea salt-fine
Organic Garbanzo BeansVegan Marinara SauceKosher salt
Mandarin OrangesRoasted Red PeppersVanilla Extract
San Marzano TomatoesArtichoke HeartsBay Leaves
Vegetable brothCan Vegatables (Corn, Beans, Etc)Thyme
Vegan Marinara SauceRosemary
Roasted Red PeppersFresh Garlic
Artichoke HeartsIndian Spices
Can Vegatables (Corn, Beans, Etc)
 Fruits and Veggies: 
Italian ParsleyTomatoesGrapefruit
Sweet PotatoesMandarins/Winter CitrusBananas
PlantainsArugulaShredded Cabbage
LemonsMixed GreensCarrots
AvocadosWatercressRomaine Hearts

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Vegan Fresh Tomato Creamy Pasta

I made this last night with a bunch of left over tomatoes from brunch on Sunday. It came out quite well! It was creamy and rich and the perfect pasta dinner to accompany the pouring rain outside. Mix this food with some trash TV (I like Hawaii 5-0) and it’s a great night in! Enjoy!

Vegan Fresh Tomato Creamy Pasta

1 pound cherry tomatoes
1 small can of tomato sauce
½ tsp salt
¾ tsp Italian seasoning
3 tbs vegan sour cream or cream cheese (your choice, I like sour cream)
1 tbs vegan margarine
1 tbs nutritional yeast
1 ½ tbs minced garlic
¼ cup red wine
2 tbs white sugar
1 box lundberg brown rice pasta (your choice)

Bring a pot of salted water to boil for your pasta. While the water is heating, put the cherry tomatoes in the blender with the tomato sauce and pulse for about 2 minutes. When the tomatoes are well incorporated, add the remaining ingredients (except wine and sugar) and blend on high for two minutes. In a large pan, add the mixture and bring to a boil. You need to constantly stir. Once its bubbly, add the wine and sugar. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add your cooked pasta and simmer for 2-3 more minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the pasta to sit for about 5 minutes.

DONE!- that is right, a rich, creamy, healthy vegan pasta dish in 15 minutes!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Vegan Sausage Gravy

Vegan Sausage Gravy

1 package vegan sausage
1 onion finely chopped
3 tbs vegetable oil
3 tbs garlic minced
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 can vegetable broth
1 ½ cup milk alternative (soy, coconut, almond)
4 tbs corn starch
½ tsp sage
½ tsb thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet over medium heat add the sausage and begin breaking  it up to small pieces. Cook until crisp. Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside. In the same pan add the oil and sauté the onion and garlic for 3 minutes. Add the broth and milk alternative. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Next, add the nutritional yeast and spices, cook for another 2-3 minutes. Slowly mix in the corn starch until you get a thickness you’re happy with. Salt and pepper to taste!

This is best served over biscuits (recipe to follow). There is no better way to spend a Sunday morning than eating biscuits and gravy and drinking a bloody mary

Monday, March 21, 2011

Trail of the Week

Trail of the Week

This week I am leaving my comfort zone of Downtown/Midtown Sacramento and taking you to the beautiful Lake Tahoe area! I did this run in November 2011 after running the Four Bridges Half Marathon and in preparation for the Napa Valley Marathon. This run was 15 brutal miles- and I mean brutal. I started at the Timberlodge by Marriott (since I was staying there). This run requires a GPS watch, for your safety! Start running down highway 50 east bound until you hit the first gas station on the right. Make a quick right and run up that hill. This hill is a 6 percent grade- the hardest grade the Federal Government allows for vehicles. This is a busy street and has very little pedestrian space on the sides. DO NOT wear an Ipod- This road is very dangerous—run up that road for 4 miles. Use your GPS watch to determine distance. Be very aware of your surroundings- the traffic is intense on this road! When you hit the top turn back, 4 miles downhill. When running down the hill, right before the intersection you turned in on there will be a sign telling you to turn to hit the park- make that turn. This is a great runners park, it is all dirt and very long. Hot the trail and begin running. Run for about 4 miles, there are dozens of trails all interlinked. When you get close to your 4 miles, make your way to the bottom of the trail, there will be a school. Cross the road there and follow the road to the Lake. There is a public water fountain here, park ranger and emergency services if needed. Run through the camp ground, and back to Highway 50. Head back to the hotel. This will be 15 miles.

Did you make it? I did, barely! I spent the rest of the day drinking champagne, sitting in the hot tub and catching shows in the evening!

I am sorry I do not have a link for this run. It is too challenging, because this is a very self directed run…

FYI- Do you enjoy all the state, city, and county parks? Do you? PAY FOR PARKING and DONATE!!

Rosemary Garlic Potatoes

This is one of the fastest and easiest breakfast recipes you will ever make. Serve this with a hearty piece of toast covered in fresh jam and you’ll be loving life and the way your tummy feels!

Rosemary Garlic Potatoes

2 pounds medium red potatoes, quartered
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 tbs minced garlic
2 tbs kosher salt or sea salt
1 tbs cracked black pepper
¼ cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 425

Quarter the potatoes and place in a large bowl. Pour the rest of the ingredients over and mix well. Allow to sit for 5 minutes and mix again. Pour onto a cookie sheet and arrange skin side down. Place in oven and bake for 30-45 minutes. I bake mine for 45 because I love crunchy well baked potatoes.

Vegan Frittata

This was my first attempt of making the Vegan Frittata in individual servings! This turned out amazing! They kept their form quite well! These mixed with the rest of the brunch items turned into an amazing Sunday morning.

Vegan Frittata

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 small red onion, diced (3/4 cup)
2 small carrots, diced (1 cup)
5 green onions, chopped (3/4 cup)
1 small zucchini, diced (3/4 cup)
1 12-oz. pkg. extra-firm tofu, drained
3 Tbs. grated vegan mozzarella
3 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
6 plum tomatoes, sliced

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat  a 24-cup mini-muffin tin with cooking spray (or two 12-count)
2. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Sauté red onion 3 to 4 minutes, or until soft. Add carrots, green onions, and zucchini, and sauté 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and cook 3 minutes more, or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Remove from heat.
3. Purée tofu, mozzarella, and soy sauce 2 minutes in food processor, or until smooth and thick. Stir tofu mixture into vegetable mixture, and spoon into prepared casserole dish or muffin tin. Arrange tomato slices on top of frittata. Bake 40 to 45 minutes for large frittata, 25 to 30 minutes for mini frittatas, or until top is firm to the touch. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


Spring Brunch 2011

Another spring is upon us (but you can’t tell) and that means my quarterly brunch! This spring time annual tradition was one of the most successful to date! The best part for my friends, I was not trying to solicit them for money to support a charity or run! The weather was mostly agreeable- since it didn’t pour the entire day! Here is the menu

3.       Vegan Sausage Gravy
4.       Vegan Buttermilk Biscuits
5.       Tempeh Bacon
6.       Carob Muffins with Vanilla Frosting
7.       Bloody Mariam (Spicer Indian Bloody Mary- From Aarti @Food Network )
8.       Mimosas
9.       Mixed drinks galore

This was the first brunch I did that was 100% vegan! I will link each of the items as a recipe throughout the week. All of the food received good reviews considering that I was the only vegan/vegetarian there!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Trail of the Week

Ancil Hoffman Park

Ancil Hoffman Park is a major 396-acre park located in Carmichael, California, accessible by taking the Watt Avenue exit off Highway 50. Named after a Sacramento County Supervisor and manager to the famous boxer Max Baer, the park has many ancient oaks and is bordered on two sides by the American River. Major attractions include reconstructed Maidu Native American homes, the Ancil Hoffman Golf Course and the Effie Yeaw Nature Center. Many varieties of animals can be seen in Ancil Hoffman Park including wild turkey, deer, and hawks.  This park is a runner’s paradise. It has a great dirt trail the borders the park, runs along the river, around the golf course! This multi-terrain park is good for runners of any fitness level! One full lap around the park (you can see the trail) is just over 5.4 miles, loop it a couple of times for a nice scenic run!

Watch out for rattle snakes in the summer...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Jalapeno Hummus

Please- Click and read- you’ll die laughing. In fact, read the entire list (about half of it applies to me)…Anyway, this is one of MANY hummus recipes that Ill post. In fact, I think I might add a tag just for hummus; I have about 20 regular recipes. Enjoy- your friends, white or not will LOVE this dip. 

2 cans low sodium garbanzo beans
½  cup canned jalapeno pepper slices (no juice)
1 Serrano Pepper chopped
6 tbs tahini
3 tbs garlic
3 tbs lemon juice
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp curry powder
crushed red pepper to taste

Put all the ingredients in a 10 cup food processor- blend for about 1 minute. Add more salt/pepper/cumin to taste. This is best served the day after it is made.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Trail of the Week

Trail of the Week

This route starts at my home, but you can also start at South Side Park. This run is very flat with only one slight hill at the very beginning. You will run down T street until you hit the end and head north to the foot bridge. Once there you will cross the foot bridge and continue north to Old Sacramento. When you near the embassy Suites, there is a public water fountain. Cross tower bridge/Capitol Ave (make sure you look, cars pulling out of the garage never look and will run you down) to Old Sacramento. I tend to stay on the wooden side walk along the river because the rocks are too hard to run on. From Old Sac get on H Street and take that to McKinley Park- (planty of water and restrooms at McKinley Park)-one loop around the park and back! On the way back, head south on 15th Street when it crosses H street. If you want to add more miles to your run, do multiple loops around the park. I am not a big fan of loops, but if I have to do them, McKinley park is one of the better parks (keep an eye out for a post in the near future about great loop areas in Sacramento).

You will have lower traffic, lots of stuff to look at, plenty of public water fountains and bathrooms!  


Vegan Pistachio Pesto

This is the simplest pesto you’ll ever make. There are so many vegan recipes out there that call for miso, more yeast and a list of other ingredients. After trying many, this is my favorite- and it take about 5 minutes to make. I like this with pasta, mixed with root vegetables, served on bread or dip sweet potato fries In (the uses are endless)…I hope you try this one soon. FYI- to keep costs low, you can make enough pesto to feed four VERY hungry people for about $7.00 if you get the ingredients at Trader Joes…oh, and by hungry- I mean HUNGRY- and trust me, my friends and I can eat. This recipe below is good for about two very hungry people with enough left over for lunch the next day.

Vegan Pistachio Pesto

1 cup pistachio bits (Trader Joes has the cheapest)
¼ to ½ cup olive oil
1 small bunch basil (about 20 leaves)
3 tbs garlic
1 tbs nutritional yeast (you may omit- I do)
Salt and pepper to taste

Add all the ingredients except the oil to a food processor, blend on high. Slowly add the oil until you get a texture that you like. Once you do, add salt and pepper. That’s it. Super Simple.

While you were prepping, you could have started a pot of water to cook some pasta! If so, try paring this pasta dish with a glass of Revolution Wines Pinot Grigio or a crisp pint of Czech Lager.  

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Blueberry-Lemon Scones

These are my “go-to” breakfast treat when I have friends over. Trust me; you cannot go wrong with these. Your dairy loving friends will gobble them up and ask for more.
Blueberry-Lemon Scones
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    2 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup sugar in the raw sugar
    1/2 cup margarine
    zest of 1 lemon
    1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (or a berry of your choice)
    1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I use almond, coconut is also good)
    extra sugar and vegan milk for top of scones


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray cookie sheet lightly with oil or vegan cooking spray. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix well to distribute ingredients evenly.  Add sugar, margarine, zest, blueberries and milk and stir until everything is mixed. Divide dough into six round pieces and place onto cookie sheet, flattening them a bit. Brush milk on tops of scones and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake for about 13-15 min. or until scones are a little brown on top.  Enjoy!
If you use blackberries or raspberries- fresh are best. You can choose to use frozen, but they tend to break up and turn the scone red/purple.

If you prefer your scones to be more “uniformed”  follow these simple steps: Flour a large surface (I prefer wood/bamboo cutting board) and flatten out the dough. Work the dough into ½ inch thick circle. Once the circle is made, cut in half, then cut each half into thirds! Presto- bistro style scones!

I like mine to look crazy, uneven, and oddly shaped (the Gary Busey of scones)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sweet Asparagus with Cashew “Mayonnaise”

Sweet Asparagus with Cashew “Mayonnaise”
Spring and Summer are right around the corner. Living in Northern California, the asparagus capital of the WORLD, I eat tons of asparagus. This is a great cool, crisp summer salad that will compliment any “BBQ” this summer. This dish is so light, that you can enjoy it with a very heavy IPA! Yum!

Sweet Asparagus with Cashew “Mayonnaise”
2 lbs. asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
2 cups kale leaves
1 cup watercress
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. Lundberg Family Farms® Brown Rice Syrup
In a large bowl, toss asparagus with onion, kale, watercress, crushed red pepper and Lundberg® Brown Rice Syrup. Gently toss with cashew mayonnaise (recipe below).

Cashew “Mayonnaise”
1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. Lundberg Family Farms® Brown Rice Syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup cashews
1 Tbsp. fresh dill
1/8 tsp. sea salt
In a blender, combine vinegar and Lundberg® Brown Rice Syrup on high until well combined. Slowly add olive oil and cashews. Add sea salt; blend until soft and creamy. Blend in dill at the very end, wiz for 5 seconds.

This dish is amazing! The original recipe is from Lundberg Family Farms® website. I had adjusted it to my taste.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Avocado Coconut Smoothie

Avocado Coconut Smoothie
This smoothie is what I call the miracle smoothie. It has a few basic ingredients and is a complete meal! The best part, if you have kids or ANY age- they’ll love it. The ingredients in this smoothie have the properties known to kill viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, and other illnesses. It’s also know to kill bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, and other diseases.
WOW! All that from a simple smoothie? Sure, if you always lead a healthy lifestyle, make wise choices and exercise!!
Here we go
1 bag frozen pineapple (or ¾ of a fresh pineapple)
1 whole avocado (minus the skin and seed of course)
1 can lower fat coconut milk (I use the Trader Joes organic)
3 kiwi skinned

Wiz this all in your blender until creamy! Serves 2
Want to add a bit of spice? I add “chili lime spice”
Want to REALLY jazz it up? Add some coconut rum and lime juice!

Vegan Protein

Plant based foods are great sources of protein, or amino acids, that help our bodies build and repair tissue. These foods help us synthesize the 8 or 9 essential amino acids that we can’t produce.
This list is not complete and is conservative in the percentage of calories from protein.
31% Spinach
27% Hemp Seeds
20% Broccoli
23% Peas
20% Cauliflower
14% Cabbage
16% Kale
17% Romaine
18% Chickpeas
15% Wild Rice
14% Flax Seeds
14% Sunflower Seeds
12% Celery
11% Blackberries
08% Peaches
07% Oranges

Some of the strongest animals on the earth including elephants and gorillas eat raw plant based diets, building massive muscle and strength on just fruits and vegetables.
The best sources of protein are the amino acids in fresh living plant foods. Bypassing the steps of breaking down the protein into usable amino acids, your body creates the protein more efficiently since the body spends a great deal of energy taking protein (found in animal and cooked foods) and breaking it down to usable form by the body as amino acids. Other good sources are nuts (higher fat), seeds (higher fat), sea vegetables, and bee pollen.
Source: The China Study