Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo Style Seitan

I lifted this recipe from Aaron Sanchez; he demoed this on Melting Pot some years ago.  My recipe, however, is vegan, cholesterol free, and lower in fat.

You need: 

14 oz of washed and trimmed brussels sprouts
1 package of +UptonsNaturals Chorizo Style Seitan
2.5 oz of +Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Chile powder (optional, for heat)
! tb canola oil
1/2 C water
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a saute pan or wok with canola oil and sprinkle with a dash of salt.  Add your brussels sprouts.  If you washed them right before cooking, make sure you dry them off well; moisture will cause oil splatters.  Cook the sprouts well and try to get black roasty spots on all sides.  Salt well and add the water to steam.  When the sprouts turn bright green, reduce the flame, add seitan, black pepper, chile powder, and stir well.  Bring the heat back up to cook the seitan, then stir in shredded cheese until it melts.  Take off the flame just before the cheese looks gooey.

I serve these with beans and corn tortillas.  This recipe made 5 meals with about 230 Kcal each, including the beans.  These will keep in the refrigerator for about 3 days and freezes well for no longer than a month.  

Monday, December 29, 2014

Enmoladas (Enchiladas with Mole)

It's Christmas time so I got a craving for mole.  The mole you see in the picture is Mole Poblano (from Puebla) and is the familiar (Doña Maria in the jar) sauce with chile, spices, and chocolate.  You could also use red, green (pipian) or black mole to cover your enmoladas.

20 medium to large corn tortillas
1 large jar of mole (2 small jars or about 4-6 cups of prepared mole)
Dried Ancho chile powder to taste
White cheese shreds
Veggies for filling
Canola or corn oil
Salt and pepper

First, cook your veggies.  I used zucchini sticks, bell peppers, and portobello slices that i cooked in a saute pan with salt and pepper.  You could also use just cheese, potato, squash, seitan, tofu, or whatever protein you like.  while the filling is cooling, steam your tortillas.  You can cook them on a burner one or two at a time, but steaming them in the micro is easier.

I fried my filled tortillas before baking to bring out the flavor in the tortillas.  You can just fill, roll, and place in your baking dish if you want to reduce the amount of fat in your finished dish, but you'll need cooking spray for the baking dish.  When you can handle both tortillas and filling with your bare hands, start rolling them into little taquitos.  Use toothpicks to keep them from unrolling and fry them until golden brown in a hot frying pan with sufficient oil to cover half of each taquito.

When they're cool enough to handle, take out the toothpicks and place in a baking dish.  Cover the top with shredded cheese, I used +Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack, and tent with foil.  Bake in a 350º oven for 15-20 minutes, just enough to melt the cheese and allow the mole to soak into the tortillas.  Usually I serve these with rice.

Note for IC Diet:  pipian is IC friendly. Please check the label for irritating ingredients or make it from scratch in a food processor. Fillings can include veggies on he safe list, like red bell pepper, mushrooms, zucchini, potato, etc.  Daiya cheese shreds are a good non-irritating  non-dairy cheese.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Guacamole with Jalapeno

2-4 ripe avocados
1-2 jalapeños for hot, 1/4-1 jalapeño for mild to medium

Read this if you need help shopping for avocados How to pick good avocados. I used a small food processor for this sauce, but a blender works too. Cut each avocado in half, remove pit, and scoop flesh into your processor. Add chiles, stem removed, cut into big chunks, seeds removed if you prefer less heat. Use gloves or coat your hands in oil if the chile bothers your skin. Do not touch anything else until you wash your hands well with hot soapy water. Blend until smooth and taste for heat. You can add more chile after you taste the sauce, so start slow with the heat. 

When you get to the heat level you want, add oil (I like limonolio) and a bit of Vegenaise (about 1 tb per avocado). Keep tasting and blending until you have the taste you like. Add salt and pepper last to avoid overseasoning, you may not even need salt. Serve chilled. Keeps in the fridge for a few days if covered in cling film to keep air off the surface of the sauce. Leave the pits in the sauce to help keep from browning. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Tofu in Green Sauce

! box of firm tofu, drained overnight and cut into cubes
2 boxes of sliced mushrooms
1 can of green sauce, enchilada or made from scratch
1-2 cans of sliced black olives
Daiya cheddar cheese shreds
Salt and pepper

Cook the mushrooms in a dry pan until they dry out a little. Add tofu squares and oil to crisp up to tofu. Stir often to get even cooking and to prevent burning. Add the green sauce, stir, and bring to a boil.  Add olives and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the sauce is thickened, Season, then add cheese shreds. When the cheese is gooey, it's ready to serve. Plate with rice and beans, chips, corn tortillas, or use as tamale filling. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tapenade Pizza

Pizza dough for 1-2 pizzas
Parmela kalamata spread
Black olive or kalamata tapenade
Veggie parm for topping

Roll out your dough and cover first in Parmela, then with tapenade. Bake according to the direction of your pizza dough recipe and serve with veggie parm if you like it.

If Parmela is not available to you or has problem ingredients, use whichever cream cheese substitute is friendly for you (like Daiya). If tapenade is bothersome to you, use black or kalamata olives to make your own in a food processor. Add garlic and limonolio for flavor. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Vegan Tips for Living With the IC Diet

Some of these are ideas that I've found on forums and others are from my own experimentation. Everything on this list has gone in my body and come out safely. BUT!! Every body is different and you know your body best. Don't try anything you think may cause a flare. 

Soy sauce:

Simmer molasses and water and add to stir frys to give them their familiar taste. Cook the sauce with red bell pepper chunks to lend a teriyaki flavor to the sauce. Add sesame oil and fresh ginger if you can tolerate it. Kafir lime leaf and lemongrass make the sauce a bit more savory. 

Soft drinks:

Torani makes fruit flavored syrups (Regular and Sugar Free) for Italian sodas. If you can tolerate them, add a tablespoon to a pint of cold water, sparkling if you can tolerate it, to make a tasty drink. Or you could make kafir lime infused water, add coconut, watermelon/blueberries (chunks, purée, frozen chunks), or chilled chamomile/peppermint tea with agave or honey for sweet tea. 


Bubbies dill pickles and sauerkraut are full sour. They have no vinegar or preservatives, but be wary of the sodium. Also, you can cook cucumber slices in salty sweet syrup with some mustard seeds to fake bread and butter pickles. The same goes for red and yellow peppers. 


Zucchini/red pepper/potato purée thickens soups nicely as does a good roux made with plain unsweetened almond milk. Earth Balance makes a good soy free vegan margarine. Using herbs to flavor your cooking liquid helps too. Also, wine becomes less irritating when the alcohol is cooked off. And if you really miss grilled onions, carmaluze sliced fennel. It's anisey and sweet without being pungent like onions, but has a similar color and texture. See my cooking instructions here


Boyajian makes citrus oils--lemon, lime, and orange that you can use to flavor baked goods and sauces. I've used them in salad dressings and Daiya cream cheese to make cheesecake. Olive oil is often infused with other flavore, citrus being most popular. I use limonolio to flavor foods that call for lemon juice. 


Salsas can be made with savory ingredients without using chiles. Roasted red pepper and sweet corn makes a great base for salsa. I've read that chile oil is not irritating, but it doesn't taste like jalapeño so I skip it. You can add dried parsley and avocado chunks to make a great party dip. 

Make your own hummus. Garbanzo beans, tahini, and limonolio make a good dip. You could add blended roasted red bell pepper or roasted eggplant to cut the calories too. The same goes for baba ghanouj; just add limonolio instead of lemon juice to brighten the flavor. 


Wheat gluten is a great source of protein. Unfortunately, seitan is the easiest product to find and it almost always has soy sauce in it. You can make your own; several brands of gluten flour are available at natural food stores. If packaged veggie meats are bothersome, you can still get concentrated protein from beans, nuts, and seeds. Ask your doctor/nutritionist for I nformation about food combining to help you make complete proteins. 

If you have any tips to add to this list, please share :)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Summer Rolls

1 package of rice paper (banh trang)
Lettuce leaves
Watercress leaves
Thai basil leaves
Mint leaves
Tomato slices
Avocado slices
Carrot shreds
Cabbage shreds
Cucumber slices
Bell pepper slices
Tofu (grilled, fried, baked, dried, etc.)
Other protein like wheat gluten, seitan, or tempeh

When I make these, I usually make a huge cake box Tupperware size amount because everybody wants to eat them, but nobody wants to make them. I really don't know why though, they're easy to make and are very refreshing on a hot day. 

This is my set up: a container to hold finished rolls lined with cling wrap and wet paper towels, a big pie plate or salad bowl filled with water to soften the rice paper, a selection of my favorite veggies and fillings, a cutting board to work on, and a towel to dry my hands and wipe up water.  Making these goes easier if you have your fillings precut and set aside to use as you roll. 

Soak a sheet of paper in water until it begins to soften. When you can move it it hour cracking it, but before it gets soggy, place it on a flat surface to roll. Fill with about a small palmfull of veggies.  If you use sauce inside, drizzle between veggies or between protein and veggies so it doesn't soak through the wrapper too much. Put your filling about a third of the way down, fold the bottom edge up over the filling, fold the sides over about one inch, and roll everything over until you have what looks like a tiny burrito. Soak the next sheet while you make the roll and it should be ready when you're done. It's time to change the water when the sheets take longer to soften than the previous sheet. Place in your lined container, sprinkle with water to keep moist, and cover with more wet towels and cling wrap. Refrigerate to chill, but can be served right away.  

These can be made with anything you like. Cutting your ingredients into sticks and tearing leaves from stems helps keep the filling from poking holes into the wrapper.  They'll keep for a few days as long as they're moist. Use anything you like as a dipping sauce:  soy, sweet chili, sriracha, sambal, teriyaki, peanut sauce, etc.  

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Wonton Ravioli

I saw a recipe from Nasoya posted on Facebook for stuffed wonton ravioli, but Nasoya isn't vegan.  I found some vegan wontons at the +Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market so I threw some other items in my cart and home I went to make some tasty appetizers.

The filling is as follows:

Crumbled tofu
Sun dried tomato slices
Daiya Mozzarella Shreds

I set up a large cutting board on my dining room table and kept a bowl of water and some paper towels handy.  I also used a silicone basting brush to help seal the wontons and used a fork to crimp them shut. I added a small pinch of tofu to each wonton, then topped with the tomatoes, tapenade, and cheese.  

The corn starch on the sontons gets a bit messy, so wash your hands frequently.  I found that keeping the baking sheet with foil prepared with oil spray nearby helped cut down on starch spots on my tile.  

Once the wontons were all ready to put in the oven, I sprayed them with more oil and put them into a pre-heated oven to 350°.  I cooked them until they were crispy around the edges.  Some came out a little chewy, but they reheated well with some water sprinkled over them in the toaster oven or microwave.  They are very tasty dipped in marinara sauce.  

Stuffed Mushrooms

Preheat your oven to 425°. Coat a glass or ceramic baking dish in olive oil. Add 1 portobello cap per person. Top with your favorite protein and veggie combo. Bake until everything is soft and the liquid in the dish begins to evaporate. 

In this photo, my mushrooms are topped with pre-cooked zucchini, peppers, cabbage, carrots, garbanzo beans, garlic, herbs, S&P, and Daiya shreds. 

If heirloom tomatoes are tolerable, add a slice seasoned with garlic and italian herbs and some Daiya to make a low carb entree.  Grilled eggplant slices work well with mushrooms too. Mushrooms are versatile work well with other veggies. Experiment with some flavor profiles, different sauces and seasonings and see how it goes. :D

Fennel Pizza

To make the caramelized fennel:  buy one large fennel bulb per pizza.  Slice into 1cm rounds, I suggest using a mandoline, and cook on high/med high heat in a dry pan until softened.  When the fennel starts to wilt, season with salt and continue to cook until soft and brown, covered when needed.  When the fennel starts to stick, add a few drops of olive oil and continue to cook while stirring until the fennel is completely caramelized.  It will look like grilled onions when it's done.

Top your favorite pizza dough with Daiya Provolone slices, caramelized fennel, and sliced Field Roast maple breakfast sausage, then bake according to the directions.  To add flavor to the dough, season with fennel and salt, or anything else that will complement fennel.

You could use nutritional yeast instead of cheese slices, or maybe cashew cheese.  The sausage could also be any other seasoned gluten, or even baked apple chunks that are seasoned and sweetened with maple.

Israeli Couscous with Pesto

First, make pesto. To veganize this recipe, I increase the amount of pine nuts one tb at a time and used a few pinches of Daiya Mozzarella Shreds instead of Parm.  

Second, make your vegetable mixture.  Here you see grilled red bell peppers, mushrooms, and asparagus.  I also added canned artichoke hearts packed in water.  You could also use zucchini, eggplant, broccolini, or whichever veggies you like.  They do not need much seasoning because the pesto dominates the plate, so just a little S&P.

Finally, make your couscous.  The package gave instructions to cook it like rice, but this pasta is gooey and starchy, so I chose to cook it like pasta for use in salads.  Boil salted water with few drops of olive oil.  Add couscous and stir.  Bring back to a boil and cook until tender.  Rinse the pasta under running water and drain well.  Serve with a tb ot two of pesto per portion.

Surprisingly, this kept well in reusable containers in the refrigerator for almost a week. I think the bacteria is scared of all that garlic.  I prepared 1 cup of uncooked couscous to make 5 large portions.  

Ranch Dressing

1-2 C plain unsweetened almond milk
1 tb agave or honey (or cane sugar)
1-2 tb dried parsley
1-2 tb dried dill
1 tb mustard powder 
4 cloves of garlic, whole
Salt and pepper
1/2 to 1 C Mayo to thicken the dressing

Combine all ingredients except mayo in a soup pot and bring to a boil stirring constantly. If you see swirling foam rise to the surface quickly, turn your flame down to warm. It's about to boil over. After bringing to a boil, reduce heat to less than a summer to let the flavors infuse the milk. 

When the taste of the dressing is to your liking, adjust as needed to get there, remove from heat, and let cool. Add small amounts of mayo until the dressing reaches the consistency you want. Keep in a jar or bottle in the refrigerator. 

A note on the mayo:  you could also use Wayfarer Foods Sour Cream or Daiya Cream Cheese, softened and whipped. You could use a roux to thicken the sauce, but it may turn out starchy. You could also reduce the almond milk before adding the herbs and spices. 

Most ranch recipes use chives, but I don't eat onions, so I omitted them. If you'd like to add them to this recipe, use 1-2 tb dried chives or garlic chives. A good recipe for reference is this one from Califia Farms:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Tahini Salad Dressing

2 tb to 1/4 C agave or honey
2 tb to 1/4 C olive oil
Up to 3 tb dried herbs 
A few drops to 1/4 tsp lemon oil
1 tb garlic (paste, roasted, chopped)
1/4 to 1/2 C tahini
1/4 to 1/2 C plain unsweetened almond milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Warm the herbs, olive oil, lemon oil, garlic, and agave in the microwave until thin and easy to work with.  Whisk well and add tahini paste. Season with salt and pepper, then add almond milk. Whisk well and store in a bottle or jar in the refrigerator. If you find that your dressing is too thick or too thin, you can add more tahini or almond milk to adjust the consistency.

Notes on tahini:  when you get your jar of tahini, use a spoon to mix the oil and paste back together again. Tahini is much like natural peanut butter and separates like the dickens. To keep it blended, store in the refrigerator after mixing. 

Notes on herbs:  you can use whichever herbs you like. I used tarragon, dill, and parsley in this recipe to keep the flavor light and neutral. You could also use italian herbs, herbes de Provence, or dried garlic chives. You could also add ginger and sesame oil to make a more asian inspired dressing.  

Monday, August 4, 2014

Chik'n Soup

1-2 C frozen peas
1-2 C frozen corn
1-2 C frozen cut green beans
1 bunch celery chopped
1-2 C shredded or diced carrots
1-2 boxes sliced mushrooms
1 bunch parsley chopped
1/2 C pasta stars or alphabets
1 package chicken style seitan (White Wave or Upton Naturals work well)
2 tb turmeric
Dried parsley
Dried tarragon
Dried thyme
Chopped garlic
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Sweat the mushrooms until soft, add a few tb of olive oil and add the celery and carrots. When the veggies begin to caramelize, add the seitan and herbs/garlic/spices. Stir and cook until the herbs start to release their aroma, then add the pasta and frozen veggies. When the veggies start to defrost, fill your soup pot with water (no more than two inches over the veggie mixture) and simmer covered until the pasta is tender. Season and serve with saltines or toasted bread. 

If you like your soup thick and hearty, you can add a roux to the broth. It does not keep for more than two days in the refrigerator (the pasta breaks down) but it freezes well enough to make a whole pot. The turmeric may stain your pit and dish mop, but soaking in sudsy water helps. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Ciabatta Pizza

Take one ciabatta loaf sliced down the center. Add water packed or frozen/thawed artichoke hearts, roasted red pepper strips, and Daiya cheese to one side.  Spread basil,pesto on the other side.  Bake at 350° until crispy. Nosh. 

The basil pesto was relatively easy, if not messy. I got the recipe here and substituted a few pinches of Daiya for Parmesan. Be careful not to add too much, Daiya melts well and can make your pesto rubbery. If pine nuts are bothersome, substitute with dry roasted cashews or slivered almonds. You could also try italian parsley and pumpkin seeds. 

Serves 8-12
Happy eating.  

Monday, July 7, 2014

IC Friendly Sunday Breakfast

Sunday breakfast can be daunting for vegan IC folks since soy is such a huge presence in veg comfort food. I have come up with a nice alternative to bran flakes and almond milk :D

Frozen hash brown patties are rad. The microwave thaw in about a minute and fry up well in a little canola oil. For low fat diets, toast them until golden brown. Also, they lack the seasonings and onion bits that are found in tater tots. And FYI, sweet potato tots always turn to mush. If you prefer sweet potatoes, slice and roast them in the oven. 

Greens are good for you. Pick greens you can tolerate, or use a pre-washed blend you know you can enjoy. Place a handful on a plate covered in a slice of Daiya cheddar and nuke for a minute or so. 

Those tasty sausages on my plate are Field Roast Apple Maple Breakfast Sausages.  They are made of gluten and have significantly less bothersome ingredients. If you need to double check the ingredients, they are listed here.  If you find that these are unsuitable for your diet, substitute with plain seitan or season gluten with apple, maple, and sage. 

Add fresh fruit, Teeccino, and a probiotic shot (I like Good Belly Straight Shot) to round out your morning. 

Happy eating :)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Pasta alla Funghi--IC Friendly

1 lb of your favorite pasta
2-3 boxes of sliced mushrooms
1 large bunch of parsley, chopped
2-4 large cloves of garlic
Daiya Mozzarella shreds
Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles (about half a bag)
Olive oil

in one pot, boil the pasta until al dente.  In a large saute pan, sweat the mushrooms until they're dry-ish, then, add olive oil to fry them.  Add the garlic until you start to smell the aroma, then add the pasta.  When everything is cooked, add the parsley, Beyond Meat, and cheese.  Go easy on the cheese because it tends to make the pasta ball up in huge clumps.  

Serves 8-16, depending on your starch allowance.

A note for IC people, the garlic and parsley are very soothing when feeling irritated.  And even though they are soy free, check the Daiya/Beyond Meat labels for bothersome ingredients.  

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Frozen Kale

At the beginning of my week, I have a nice selection of fresh fruits and vegetable to use in my meal planning and preparation.  I'm learning which ingredients last longer, which freeze well, and which ones to buy the morning before I make a specific dish.  One thing that has helped me to make healthier food in a convenient way is to use prepared food items.  These prepared foods are not necessarily processed, they may be pre-cooked or pre-washed and cut.  Buying ready to eat quinoa and shredded carrots/cabbage at +Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market has brought so much joy to my life.  I love my mandolin, but I'm also scared to use it more than I have to.  Frozen food is another great way to save time.  I wanted some greens for the end of my week so I bought frozen kale, spinach and butternut squash cubes.  I mixed those with some other ingredients I had in my kitchen and came up with a pot of soup and a pan of stir fry.  I portioned them into reusable containers and now I have meals for the week and meals in the freezer saved for later.

A note for IC people, always check labels for problem ingredients like the soy sauce in Upton's Naturals or my use of ginger.  Substitute with other ingredients like chopped garlic or unseasoned seitan/wheat meat.

Kale Quinoa Stir Fry

2 boxes of pre-cooked quinoa (3-4 C)
3/4 bag of frozen kale (2-3 C)
1/2 bag of frozen spinach (2-3 C)
1-2 C shredded carrots (and/ or red cabbage, green cabbage, bell peppers. anything you enjoy)
1 box of +Upton's Naturals Traditional Seitan
Sesame oil to taste
1 Tb olive oil
2 Tb molasses
2-4 Tb crushed ginger
Salt and pepper

Cook the seitan in the olive oil until browned and crispy.  You may need to cut the pieces into smaller bites.  Add your carrots (and other fresh veggies) and cook until they begin to caramelize.  Add the ginger, molasses, and sesame oil and stir, immediately adding the kale and spinach to keep the sauce from burning.  The water from the frozen veggies will help to deglaze your pan.  When everything is cooked through, add the quinoa and mix well.  Season to taste.

Serves 6-8, keeps well in the fridge for the week.

Cream of Butternut Squash Soup

1 bag of frozen cubed butternut squash
1 C frozen kale
1 C frozen spinach
2-4 C water
2-3 C plain unsweetened almond milk
1/4-1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour
2 Tb Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread
2 Tb olive oil
Herbs and spices (I used sage and marjoram)
Salt and pepper

Cook the butternut squash and olive oil in a soup pot.  When the squash becomes soft, add the butter.
When the butter melts, add the flour and stir to make a roux.  Add the herbs and spices, and almond milk.  When the milk begins to boil, reduce heat and hit it with a stick blender to make it creamy.  Bring back to a boil and add the water.  When the soup boils again, add the frozen greens.  Simmer until it reaches the consistency you want, season before serving. You can also thicken it with bread crumbs or Daiya Mozzarella Shreds.  This sounds like a lot of work, but it only took 15 minutes from start to finish.

Serves 6-8 (or 4 if you have giant chowder bowls :D), freezes well. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

IC Friendly Noodle Salad

1 large head of Napa, sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
2 C shredded carrots

2 Tb molasses
2 Tb sesame oil
1/4-1/2 C water

3 bundles of soba, cooked, rinsed, salted, and chilled

First, cook the noodles according to the package, season and set them aside.  Next, add the sauce ingredients together in a bowl and microwave for about 5-15 seconds to make the molasses easier to whisk into a dressing.  Put all the chopped veggies into a huge mixing bowl and toss in the sauce.  Add the noodles being careful to separate then as you toss, they will want to clump together.  Chill and serve.  

Some other ingredients that work well in this:  sesame seeds, sliced almonds, cashews, peanuts, celery, broccoli and water chestnuts.  You could also add tangerine zest to the sauce if you know you can tolerate it.  If you don't like the napa ribs, cut them out and save them for stir fry or veggie broth.  

Serves 8, keeps crisp for about 2 days. 

IC Friendly Enchiladas

1 package of corn tortillas
2-4 zucchini, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 box of sliced mushrooms
1 bag of shredded green cabbage (about 3 C)
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1-2 cans sliced black olives
1 bag of Daiya Mozzarella Shreds
Dried parsley
1 pint plain unsweetened almond milk
whole wheat pastry flour
Olive oil

First the filling!!  Sweat the mushrooms, then add the zucchini.  When they're almost dry, add a Tb or 2 of olive oil.  Add the bell pepper and garlic.  Add cabbage, beans, olives, parsley, salt and pepper, and remove from heat.  

Preheat your oven to 350°.  Coat a large casserole dish with olive oil.  

Now the roux!!  In a sauce pot, warm 1-2 Tb olive oil  and add 1/4-1/2 C pastry flour to make a roux.  When it's ready, add the pint of almond milk.  Carefully bring to a boil, reduce to medium heat, and add half the cheese shreds to make cheese sauce, then remove from heat.

Tortilla time!!  Lay about 6 tortillas on the bottom of the casserole dish.  Top with about half of the cheese sauce, then add 3/4 of the filling.  Stack 6 more tortillas on top for the top, add the rest of the cheese sauce and filling.  Add the remaining cheese shreds over the casserole, and moisten the exposed tortilla edges with water.

Bake for 30 minutes, serves 6-10, slice when hot, serve when cooled for 5-15 minutes.  

You can make the filling and roll each tortilla up to bake, but making them casserole style increases the proportion of veggies to starch.  Also, add any filling you like:  corn, squash, more beans, no beans, puree red bell peppers to make sauce, used cheddar, whatever makes you hungry.

Broccoli Chowder

1 head or bag of broccoli, chopped into small pieces
1-2 C of shredded carrots
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 bunch of chopped parsley
Olive oil
1-2 Tb Margarine
1 pint plain unsweetened almond milk
1/4-1 C whole wheat pastry flour
1-2 pints water
Herbs of choice

In a sauce pot, make a roux with the margarine and flour.  When the roux is ready, add 1 C of the almond milk to make a bechamel like sauce.  bring to a boil, then reduce to warm.  In your soup pot, cook the veggies olive oil to taste, maybe 1 to 2 Tb.  Add the garlic after the veggies are cooked then add the remaining almond milk and water.  When everything comes to a boil, add the bechamel.  Watch your pot, it may boil over.  Season before serving.

Your soup will be only as thick as the amount of flour you used to make the roux.  1/4 C will make it thin and 1 C will make it chunky.  If you make it too thick, you can always add more water.  If it's not thick enough, you could add leftover mashed potatoes or make more roux. 

Serve with saltine, oyster cracker, wheat toast, and top with non-dairy cheese.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

IC Friendly Pasta Salad

1 lb of elbow macaroni
1-2 cans of sliced black olives
1 can of quartered artichoke hearts (or freshly steamed if sodium is bothersome)
2 diced roasted red bell peppers
olive oil

Cook the pasta, rinse, salt, and cool while you prep the dressing and veggies.  If you cooked your own peppers and artichoke hearts make sure they're chilled before you add them to the pasta.  

For the dressing, I used olive oil, FYH Soy Free Vegenaise, and Wayfare Foods Sour Cream.  If these creamy ingredients are bothersome, use softened Daiya cream cheese or blend cannellini/garbanzo beans with olive oil until creamy.  It may separate.  You could also try adding coconut cream (the fatty part) and whipping it with beaters, but coconut may be too sweet for this dish.  

Add the veggies to the pasta, add dressing, drizzle with olive oil, and season to taste.  Chill and enjoy.  

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Heaven, heaven in a cook pot.  

1 bag of gold potatoes
2 large cloves of garlic
4 tb of Soy Free Earth Balance butter
Plain unsweetened Almond Milk
2-4 tb Daiya Cream Cheese
1 tb olive oil

While the potatoes are boiling, add chopped garlic to the butter and olive oil in a small pot and set on a very low flame.  When the potatoes are done and the butter has absorbed the flavor of the garlic, chop a little bit of parsley for a garnish.  Mash the potatoes until chunky, then add some almond milk and use a stick blender to break up the peels and add some creamy potatoes to the chunky mix.
Pour in the butter and garlic mixture and stir.  Add Daiya and stir. Add more almond milk if you need to.  Season and serve with the parsley garnish.

Serves 6 million.  Potatoes are starchy. :)

IC Friendly Coleslaw

I got everything I needed for this from +Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market and +Whole Foods Market .  I used 1 bag of sliced green cabbage, 1 bag of shredded carrots, and 1 very large fennel bulb shredded on the mandolin for the salad.  

For the dressing, I used Follow Your Heart Soy Free Vegenaise, olive oil, agave syrup (or honey, maple, or simple syrup), salt, and pepper. A note for people with IC:  the Vegenaise has a small amount of lemon juice and vinegar.  If this is bothersome, substitute with softened Daiya cream cheese or Wayfare Foods sour cream.  If these are also bothersome, blend drained/rinsed cannellini or garbanzo beans with olive oil until creamy.  It may separate.  

Microwave 2 TB syrup with 2-4 TB olive oil for 10-20 seconds to make it workable. Whisk together with 1/4 C of Vgenaise or substitute).  Add salt and pepper to taste if tolerable.  Dried parsley also has a nice savory flavor if pepper is bothersome.

Pour over the slaw and toss well.  It will last a few days in the cooler, but it's best served once chilled.  Serves 4-6 as a side dish, more if served in Dixie cups.

Turkey Dinner--IC Friendly

Since bouillon is bothersome, this poses an issue when making gravy.  This dish though, is savory and has a glaze on it so it's very comforting food.  Served with the right side dishes, this may be perfect for the Holidays. 

1 whole bunch of celery with leaves, chopped
3-4 boxes of sliced mushrooms
shredded carrots to taste
seitan/wheat meat (I used Upton Naturals Traditional Seitan)
1 small bunch parsley, chopped, no stems
1 tb marjoram
1 tsp tarragon
1 C plain unsweetened almond milk
1-2 tb cornstarch
olive oil

Sweat the mushrooms until they're dry-ish, then add oil to fry with the celery.   Make a slurry with the cornstarch and almond milk and chill while cooking.  When the veggies are nice and stir fried, add the seitan, carrots, and herbs. Just before the mixture starts to stick, add the slurry.  Make sure you stir it again before pouring.  Take off the flame and season to taste.

To make this more festive for the holidays, your stuffing ingredients to the mix. I use sage, chopped Fuji apples, sliced black olives, and chopped pecans. You could also add cranberries, chestnuts, squash, fennel, sausage,hazelnuts, whatever tastes homey to you. 

A note to IC people:  If the herbs or spices are bothersome, substitute or omit.  Also, when selecting a seitan, make sure there are no bothersome ingredients.  Aim for plain if you can find it.  

Serves 6-8

Harmony Valley Sausage Patties

The other day I made enough breakfast to feed an army.  I had been to +Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market and saw a new product:  Harmony Valley Sausage mix.  It was less than $3 so I figured I'd give it a shot.  I used to eat Nature's Burger and was expecting something similar, but wow was I surprised.  The patties were relatively easy to work with (keep a bowl of clean water for your hands close) and they had a great texture.  They were not grainy at all and had the same lightness of other vegan sausage patties as well as the familiar flavor.  

The other half of that platter is scrambled tofu.  When I make this dish, I let the tofu drain overnight.  I crumble it with my hands into a hot pan with a tablespoon of oil, and stir until it's crumbly and most of the water that is left cooks off.  Season with salt, pepper, Red Rooster, and ketchup.  Serve these dishes with whole grain toast and plan for an afternoon walk because this is a traditional heavy Sunday breakfast. Serves 4-6

Cherry Cheesecakes

Dessert time!!

You need a graham cracker crust, store bought or homemade, pie size or minis; 1-2 tubs of Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese; pantry items; and cherry pie filling, canned or homemade.

Let the cream cheese warm up while you preheat your oven to 350 degrees and gather your other ingredients.  Whisk the cream cheese with 1-2 tb of vanilla extract, 1 tsp lemon oil, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1/4-1/2 C sugar, 1 tb pastry flour, 1-2 tb soy/rice/almond milk, and 1-2 tsp oil until smooth.  Taste and add more sugar/vanilla/lemon as needed.  Spoon into your pie crust, top with cherry pie filling (or whatever fruit you like, blueberry works well too) and bake for 25-30 minutes.  Since you're topping with the fruit filling, you don't need a water bath, unless it's really dry where you live.  Chill for a few hours and serve.

Gardein Boeuf Bourguigon

I've been trying red wine these days. I knew I liked some Shiraz and Merlot, but I have recently discovered lightly sweet red table wine and Claret. Of course this Claret seems perfect for Boeuf Bourguignon with mushrooms. I've seen this made with stew vegetables, and always with onions, but I don't get on well with onions, so just mushrooms for me.

If you are comfortable making a roux in the pan with your ingredients, sweat the mushrooms, add the Beefless Tips, make the roux, and add the liquid last. If not, try it this way. 

Sweat sliced Baby Bella and button mushrooms in a soup pot or deep sautée pan while you defrost the Beefless Tips in the micro.  Add the beef and cook until the mixture absorbs most of the mushroom liquid. Set aside the mushroom mixture in your serving dish and make a roux with Earth Balance, olive oil, and whole wheat pastry flour in your pot/pan. When your roux is ready, add the wine, veggie broth, and some dried herbs--your favorites. I like to make my broth by adding boiling water to bouillon cubes and dried herbs. When the liquid comes together, add your mushroom/beef mixture and cook through. Season to taste. Serve with some white starch and a glass of the wine you used to make this. 

1bag of Gardein Beefless Tips
2 boxes of sliced mushrooms
1 C of stock (or more as needed)
1C of red wine
2-4 pats of margarine
2-4 tb olive oil
1-2 tb flour
2 tb herbs (parsley, tarragon, marjoram, whichever are your favorites)
Salt and pepper to taste

In case you were wondering, +Barnivor lists many wines and spirits that are veg*n and which to avoid. +BevMo!  +Whole Foods Market , and +Cost Plus World Market  have a nice selection of these wines at affordable prices. 

Miso Ramen

I do not at all claim to be knowledgeable about the subtle art of Japanese cuisine.  This soup is my Asian inspired version of American comfort food.  Miso Ramen at a proper Japanese restaurant will be made with dashi, miso, and good noodles.  I don't eat seafood so I made my own broth:  bouillon cubes, ginger, soy sauce, sesame, white pepper, sometimes I use lemongrass too.  Usually I prefer white miso for this because it's sweet and mellow.  Your toppings can be anything you like, here I used LightLife Smart Bacon, greens, and peas.

If you use dry noodles, soak them in cool water to rehydrate them and remove some of the sodium and starch.  Make sure to separate the noodles so that they can absorb as much as possible and change the water if it gets cloudy.  If you use fresh noodles, they should probably be blanched before adding to the soup, but follow whatever instructions come on the package.

Make your broth and bring to a boil.  Add miso and stir to dissolve.  Add the noodles and warm them through.  Serve the noodles in a bowl and pour broth on top.  Add warmed toppings and slurp away the cold weather.

What I Did With a Package of Corn Tortillas

There are so many things you can do with corn tortillas:  tortilla soup, nachos, chilaquiles, enchiladas, but my favorite of course is tacos.  Being a veg, I don't get to hit the taco truck very often (unless you want to help me chase the Kogi truck) so I make mine at home.  The rad thing about tacos is that you can make them however you want.  I usually stick to the basics when I make tacos and just put whatever I'm eating into a warm corn tortilla.

This week, I wanted tacos dorados, or golden delicious fried crunchy tacos.  To reduce the calories, you can bake your tacos on a cookie sheet lined with foil or silpat and a little cooking spray.  Your filling can be anything you want.  I use mushrooms, potatoes, refried beans, greens, Daiya, Soyrizo, tofu, +gardein Tofurkey, Yves, +Lightlife or whatever you have around the house. These guys are mushroom tacos. If you choose to fry your tacos, make sure your filling is relatively dry so the oil won't splatter out of the pan.

I sweated 2 boxes of sliced button and baby bella mushrooms until they dried out a little and seasoned them with salt, pepper, dried parsley, dried cilantro, powdered chile de arbol, and powdered chile new mexico.  If you don't like heat, pick something mild like paprika or pasilla.  I let the mushrooms cool a bit while I steamed my tortillas in the micro.  This is how you can tell my mom is not Mexican.  Yes, I wrapped the tortillas in cling film and zapped them until they were soft and fluffy, about 30 seconds per pair of tortillas. Be careful taking them out of the microwave if you do this--steam burns suck.  2 boxes of mushrooms makes about 18 tacos.

Lay out your tortillas and top sparingly with the filling, fold, and fry in a good amount of oil that is already hot and has a sprinkle of salt in it to help with splatter.  The first side takes a while to cook (like grilled cheese) so check before you flip.  The tortilla may start to curl and shrink when the tacos are close to golden, but they will continue to cook after you take them out of the oil.  Be careful with the hot oil and use a fork/spatula combo if you don't have tongs.  I burn myself making tacos all the time.

Okay now these guys!!  Taquitos!!  These are great for appetizers and pretty easy to make.  Again with the micro steamed tortillas.  I laid them out and added a single slice of Tofurkey for the filling.  You can use a strip of tofu, or zucchini, or anything that will let the tortilla roll around it in crunchy goodness.  If you use sliced veggie meat, pull the slice a little bit outside the edge of the tortilla and keep some tension on it  If the slice hangs out past the tortilla, it may burn.  Fold if you need to.  Pin each roll by inserting a toothpick diagonally through the length of each taquito.  That will keep them from unrolling in the pan.

I topped mine with avocado sauce.  Some people like fresh or store bought salsa, taco sauce, sour cream, or regular guacamole.  I make my avocado sauce with ripe avocados.  Slice in half, retain the pits, dice in the skin and scoop out into a bowl.  Add a lot of lime juice, salt and pepper, then mash the chunks with a fork and whip the sauce until it's smooth.  I also like to add olive oil and or Vegenaise.  Sometimes I add garlic or chopped serranos, add whatever tastes good.  Keep the pits in the sauce and cover with cling film so that the sauce stays green

Okay, go eat now.

WARM CORN TORTILLA I suggest you get the really thick ones made by hand using yellow corn. They're fragrant and have a lovely texture, but if you can't, the tortillas at your local grocery store will work fine.  If you don't normally eat corn tortillas, FYI the ones at the ends usually fall apart.

RIPE AVOCADOS are hard to find.  Just because they're soft or have a sticker that says ripe, does not mean they are ready or suitable for your purposes.  Often the soft avocados will have dents in them from the weight of being stacked.  These are likely to be black inside.  If the avocados are soft, but seem to have air between the flesh and skin, those are bad too.  Rock hard avocados are hit and miss sometimes.  They may go bad by the time they soften and the ripening could take days.  A good avocado will have a tiny bit of give with just the slightest pressure and will be mostly firm with a continuous curve-no dents or creases.

Pigs in a Blanket

Roll up the veggie dogs in crescent dough and bake according to the package. I suggest warming the dogs before baking so that the dough on the inside cooks through and baking on the middle-top rack. 

Asian Dinner

Hosted a dinner party, made some tasty food, had a great time.  Some of these dishes were bought pre-made, like the gluten with peanuts, snap peas, chile peas, sea cucumbers, preserved tofu, and chile bamboo shoots.  The vegetable bao were also pre-made, but I deep fried them.

The napa salad had shredded napa, watercress leaves, and a sesame soy vinaigrette I made with chopped chiles, sesame oil, crushed ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, salt, wite pepper, and raw sugar.  The tofu in brown sauce required a little planning.

Brown sauce:

Vegetarian oyster sauce, soy sauce, veggie broth, raw sugar, white pepper, and cornstarch slurry in rice vinegar.  Add everything but the cornstarch slurry and bring to a boil, stirring.  When it does start to boil, add the slurry and stir until thickened.  I made this ahead of time and warmed it back up when the tofu was fired.

Fried Tofu:

Drain the tofu overnight, then soak in soy sauce to season.  Make your favorite cornstarch beer batter Mine didn't come out well :(  Deep fry in oil at 350 until golden brown and drain on paper towels.

Cover in brown sauce, top with cilantro and pecans.  Nom Nom!! :D

<a href="" title="Asian Inspired Vegan Dinner by chiquibuttons, on Flickr"><img src="" width="500" height="375" alt="Asian Inspired Vegan Dinner"></a>

You can see the rest of the photos here.


I haven't had stroganoff in many many years.  During a discussion about casseroles, I was inspired to make some.  I had only eaten the Hamburger Helper style stroganoff as a child so I went to the internet to find out more about the dish.  So it's actually Russian, and originally a meat only dish made with mustard; the starchy side and sour cream came later.  Knowing what I know about cooking, I decided to keep the mustard, omt the Campbell's Soup sauce and hit the spice aisle for ingredients.  It's delicious by the way, but do not use more than 1/4 tsp. of dried mustard or it will be bitter.  Also, keep the meat/sauce away from the pasta when storing it or the pasta will soak up all the salt.  I stored some in the freezer so I'll let you know how that works out when I defrost it.

For 8 servings:

2 bags of +gardein Beefless Tips
1 bag or box of farfalle (or your favorite shape of pasta)
1/2 stick Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
1/4 C +Bob's Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour
1/12 C broth
1/2 C to 1 C red wine (I used sweet vermouth)
Tofutti sour cream
Salt, white pepper, olive oil, herbs of choice (I used parsley and marjoram)

Set the pasta water to boil, this cooks fast.  Defrost the Beefless Tips, in a microwave works great. Add boiling water to a bouillon cube and the herbs and pepper.  Make a roux in a saute pan by melting the margarine with a splash of olive oil then sprinkling in the flour.  Stir Stir Stir until it smells cooked through, then add the broth.  When it starts to bubble, add the mustard powder and stir.  Add the Beefless Tips and wine then taste.  Season if necessary.  When it thickens, turn off the heat and add the Tofutti.  Hopefully the pasta will be cooked by now, so drain it, season and serve together.  

Pumkin Pie

I love pie and at this time of year, pumpkin pie starts calling my name.  Spork Foods shared a great recipe for a pumpkin cheesecake in the LA Times a while back so I've been using it ever since.  They also have a great cookbook; I bought one from Amazon.  So pie and coffee made with Torani SF syrup to save on calories made a great breakfast that day.  I tweaked this recipe by using a graham cracker pie shell and I added some maple syrup to the top while it cooled. Next time I'll use maple sugar, the pie is very soft when it's hot so the syrup made little holes on the top.

**Note:  Allspice, nutmeg, and Ceylon cinnamon have been reported as tolerable to some IC people. Also, Daiya cream cheese is soy-free and allergy friendly.

Udon--My Favorite Comfort Food When I Have a Cold

When you're sick you want something hot, nourishing, soothing, and nutritious.  Udon is easy to make if you have access to an Asian market or your local grocery store has a good selection of Asian goods.  A large pot of this soup makes 4-6 servings.

2 packages of individually portioned Udon noodles.

If you don't use the included seasoning packets, 2 cubes of Vegetarian bouillon and water to cover noodles and fill a soup pot a little more that half way, or broth in the same quantity if you don't like bouillon.

Soy Sauce to taste, maybe a splash.

Rice Wine Vinegar to taste, also a splash or two.

Ginger, your choice of fresh sliced or chopped.  You can also use dried or candied slices.  I like to use Christopher Farms jarred ginger.

Something sweet, like agave or raw sugar, just a touch.  If you used candied sliced ginger there is no need to sweeten any further.  If you're not a vegan used honey.

Black and white pepper to taste.

After bringing the stock and noodles to a boil, turn down the heat to warm and add:

1 C baked tofu slices or cubes.
3 fresh red chiles, sliced.  Seed if you don't like searing heat.
1/2 small head of napa cabbage, sliced.
2-4 C small baby bok choy, well rinsed and halved.
1 box of sliced mushrooms, cooked separately or fresh.
Bean sprouts, for topping when you serve the soup.

This soup does not keep well overnight.  The noodles get soggy and the vegetables wilt.  If you are making this only for yourself, make the stock ahead of time and freeze the extra.  Buy and prepare less of the other ingredients and only add what you are going to eat at that time to the stock and save the rest for later.  I know it's hard to buy fresh veggies in small quantities, but napa keeps well if you peel the outer layers and save the heart.  Baby bok choy will keep longer if you don't wash it until you're ready to use it.  The noodles will keep well; some brands are shelf stable.  Chiles keep well in the fruit bowl and baked tofu can always be washed and scrubbed by hand if it gets a little slimy.  

Chia Pudding--From Bust Magazine

This month's issue of Bust Magazine featured quite a few recipes, one of which was a recipe for Chia Pudding.  I've been wanting to try Chia seeds, and I had a single serving from June's +Vegan Cuts box, so I went to +Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, bought a bag of +Bob's Red Mill Chia Seeds and a half gallon of +Silk Vanilla Almond Milk and to the kitchen I went.  I used the recipes proportion of ingredients and had a sauce pot going before I realized this was a no cook recipe.  I let the mixture chill in the refrigerator overnight and I had a tapioca like pudding that tasted sweet without being over-sweetened like real tapioca pudding.

The second time (this week) that I made the Chia Pudding, I did cook it.  I also doubled the recipe, substituted 1/2 C of the almond milk with Creole coffee made in the cafetera, added 1/4 C each Torani SF French Vanilla and SF Brown Sugar Cinnamon syrups, and a few tb of powdered cinnamon.  After bringing to a boil while stirring constantly, the pudding was well on its way to thickening.  It cooled on the stove for about 20 minutes and I packed it in two reusable  containers, because I'm sharing with my comadre, and they are cooling now in the fridge.

I think if this was made with plain unsweetened and low-fat almond milk, or soy/coconut/rice milk, it would be very suitable for a diabetic diet.  I sat down with a notebook and calculator and did some math; please fix any errors I made, I'm notoriously bad at counting.  Also, I rounded numbers a bit since 4.6666667 would be really hard to measure at home, at least for me.

The original recipe calls for 1 1/2 C milk substitute and 1/4 C chia seeds.  Since I used Vanilla Almond Milk, this is based on the nutritional content for that milk.  Most of the fat comes from the chia seeds, but it's good fat.  Most of the carbs come from the soy milk, but in a reasonable portion it's still only one starch exchange.

Totals for 14 oz of cooked pudding

21.75 g Fat
44 g Carbs (24 g Sugar and 20 g Fiber)
13.5 g Protein

Totals for a 4.5 oz serving (between 1/2 and 2/3 C cooked pudding)

7.25 g Fat
14.5 g Carbs (8 g Sugar and 6.5 g Fiber)
4.5 g Protein

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Broccoli Salad

Chop one head of broccoli into small pieces.
Chop tomatoes to make 1 cup.
Chop and seed one red (or yellow or orange) bell pepper.
Add one or two cans of sliced black olives.
Add one can of drained and rinsed Garbanzo beans.
Add your favorite vinaigrette, or toss in olive oil and vinegar.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves six.

This salad is very rich in vitamin C and has iron and calcium.  Also, it makes a great side dish to a pasta entree. I like to use this for women's health issues and to prepare or recover from strenuous exercise.  

I suggest taking a heavy dose of Beano with this as well as letting it marinate for a while.  Broccoli takes a lot of chewing. :)

Friday, January 31, 2014

Baking With a Bread Machine

I love my bread machine and use it to make my pizza dough, high fiber multi-grain bread, and basic wheat bread.  This week I had a craving for cardamom, so I tossed together apricot chunks, pecans, wheat flour, and cardamom et voila:  le pain.

Using white/basic with a light crust setting, add these and bake according to the instructions:


1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups Silk Vanilla Soy Milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tb Earth Balance, cut into pieces
1 tb olive or canola oil


3 cups of AP or bread flour
1 cup of whole grain wheat flour
2 tsp salt
4 tsp sugar
1 envelope dry active yeast
1 to 2 capfuls of cardamom

2/3 to 1 cup dried apricot chunks
1/2 to 2/3 cups pecans whole or pieces

Add liquid ingredients first, make sure they are warm to activate the yeast.  Add dry ingredients and start the mixing process.  My bread machine's settings are not adjustable, and I found that substituting that 1 cup of AP flour for whole wheat made the dough ball a little dry.  I added extra milk and it came together, but i had to restart the process so that it would mix the dough again.  This was not a problem for me, but check your machine's settings.

Make sure you scrape down the sides of your bread pan during the initial mixing, this may reveal dry dough and allow you to add that extra 1/4 cup of milk if you need to before the dough comes together.  A good dough ball is spherical and evenly moist, not runny, flaky, or lumpy.  Add the fruit and nuts according to your machine's settings.

This recipe is not sweet like raisin cinnamon bread, but can be made sweet by toasting it and serving it with jam.  I prefer it steamed (in the micro) with a pat of Earth Balance to bring out the savory side of cardamom.  Substitute the fruit, nuts, and spices for your favorites and add more sugar if you like it sweeter.