Category Archives: Vegan

Quinoa and Cucumber Salad

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Today we are celebrating father’s day a little early since my dad has to work next weekend. I was asked to bring a salad or the vegetarian dish. As my mom would put it “something you will eat” lol. This recipe is vegan so you can be safe to make the dish for your vegan guests as well.

There are a lot of benefits to a using quinoa in dishes. I like the fact that it is a whole grain and packed with protein. I prefer using the tricolor quinoa more or less for ascetics. I know the tricolor tends to be more expensive. If you like the tricolor as well,  I will share a trick to making the pantry staple last longer. Try purchasing a large bag of the white quinoa (like the Costco size) and mixing it with a small bag of tricolor. You will be surprised how the two can extend the tricolor effect.

This recipe yields: 6 (1 cup) servings

Ingredients

1 1cup(s )canned low sodium black beans, drained (this is one 15 oz can)
cup canned artichoke hearts, drained and diced
cup cooked tricolor quinoa, cooled
1cup English cucumber, diced (this about 1/2 a medium)
1cup fresh lemon juice (this took about 1 and a half fresh medium lemons)
1 cup raw red bell pepper, diced (this is about one medium)
1 cup raw yellow bell pepper, diced (this is about one medium)
medium raw scallion(s)
clove(s), smallgarlic clove(s)
2Tbs Pasta Sprinkle aka Italian seasoning
1tsp kosher salt
1tsp ground  pepper
1cup Lime jalapeno balsamic vinegar
Instructions
1. Place all the ingredients in a resealable container and give it a good toss.  Place the lid on the container. Store in the refrigerator to marry overnight or for a solid 1-2 hours.
2. Enjoy at your next potluck!

Roasted Yellow Pepper & Garlic Hummus

Hummus is very versatile and can be made with just about any type of bean or legume. Most traditionally though it is made with chickpeas AKA garbanzo beans. 

I like to make all kinds of variations of hummus. Generally, I like to have both garlic and roasted peppers in my hummus. 

 Yields 5 cups (20 servings; 1/4 cup)

Ingredients:

2 cans (15 oz) of reduced sodium chickpeas, drained and reserve one 1/4 cup of liquid

7 ounces of roasted yellow peppers  (packed in water NOT oil); drained
6 cloves of garlic (I love love garlic)
3 tablespoons of tahini ( essentially Sesame seed butter)

1 tablespoon of olive oil

6 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice

1 teaspoon of curry powder

1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon of Penzeys Arizona seasoning
1/2 teaspoon of whole coriander seeds

Directions:

Place all the ingredients in the vitamix and place the device on liquid setting. Once mode complete, place contents into sealable container. Allow the contents to marry overnight for optimal flavor

Keep stored in refrigerator. 

My favorite combinations with this hummus recipe is tacos tacos, and fresh turnips.

Zesty Tajin Hummus

Yields 14 servings (1/4 cup)

Tools needed for the job:

Vitamix

Ingredients:

2 cans (15 oz) of chickpeas,  drained and reserve one 1/4 cup of liquid

7 ounces of roasted red peppers and yellow or combination (packed in water NOT oil) drained

7 cloves of garlic (I love love garlic)

3 tablespoons of tahini ( essentially Sesame seed butter)

1 tablespoon of olive oil

6 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice

1 teaspoon reduced sodium tajin 

1 teaspoon of curry powder

1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin

1 teaspoon of kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon of whole coriander seeds

Directions:

Place all the ingredients in the vitamix and place the device on liquid setting. Once mode complete, place contents into sealable container.  Allow the contents to marry overnight.

Keep stored in refrigerator. 

My favorite combinations with hummus are #1 Pizza! Other favorites are snap peas, carrots, wasa crackers, whole grain corn and quinoa cakes,  & added to kale salad! 

Elvis Overnight Oats


My all time favorite combo is Peanut Butter and Banana. Honestly I could eat this combo for every meal and snack. I usually enjoy a peanut butter and banana sandwich for lunch but ran across this concoction since I had an overripe banana lingering in the kitchen. 

Ingredients: 

1 small banana ripe

1TB PB2, chocolate 

1 1/2 teaspoon chia seeds

1 truvia packet

3/8 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 1/2 cup Water (I like mine watery, if you prefer yours thick omit)

Directions:

1. Place the peeled banana in an 18 oz mason jar. Mash the banana with a fork. 

2. Add the next 4 ingredients into the jar, mix well. 

3. Finally add the liquid ingredients (almond milk and water) into the banana purée. Place the lid and seal on the jar and give it a good shake. Place the jar in the refrigerator overnight to allow the ingredients to marry.

4. When ready for breakfast, give the jar another good shake and remove seal and lid to enjoy. If you are in a hurry, you can drink it through a straw in the way to work. 

Fiesta Black Bean Salad


We had a Fiesta theme Birthday Bash for my Mother-in-law’s 60 th Surprise Birthday Party. I know this type of salad is one of her favorites. 

The salad is also vegan which I find enjoyable to always take a vegetarian entree wherever I go for meals. This way I can always count on at least one meal to eat at a potluck.  I prepare variations of this bean salad all the time; however, this go around I did make a few twists by incorporating an avocado, and green chilis to add some flare. 

Ingredients

1 large can black beans ( 822 g); rinsed and drained well

4 oz can of green chilis; drained 

1 large green pepper, diced 

1 large orange pepper, diced 

1 cup frozen corn kernels 

1 pint of grape tomatoes, cut in half

I small lime, juiced

2 Tablespoons jalapeño lime vinegar 

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder 

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 

2 tablespoon of fresh cilantro, minced

1/4 cup red onion, diced

1 small ripe avocado, diced

Directions
:

1. Place all the ingredients in a large sealable bowl with the exception of the avocado. Use a rubber spatula to fold ingredients together. Let the salad rest overnight. 

2. Prior to serving fold in diced avocado. 

Maple Cinnamon Toasted Granola


March is National Nutrition Month & tomorrow is Registered Dietitian Day! I like to celebrate with a bold nutritious dense cinnamon delicious treat. I made this blend to honor my Clinical Team. RD day is a way to celebrate the wonderful profession of nutrition and dietetics and to honor hard working dietetic professionals. 

Granola is very versatile!  You can put just about anything in it. You can make it sweet or savory. You can eat granola dry, or add a splash of milk, or top off your yogurt with it. I like to incorporate it into Ina Garten’s Banana Muffins. They are my most requested muffin recipe. 

Yields: 4 cups 

Servings: 8 (1/4 cups)

Ingredients:

2 cups 100% rolled oats (not quick or instant)

1 cup puffed brown rice 

1/2 teaspoon Vietnamese ground cinnamon 

3 Tablespoons brown sugar (not packed)

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup 100 % pure maple syrup 

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup dried cranberries, low sugar

1/4 cup lightly salted roasted sunflower seeds

1/8 cup pepita seeds

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a 1/2 sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl mix together the first 4 ingredients. Set aside. 

3. In a small bowl mix together canola oil, maple syrup,& vanilla. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry oat mix. Give the mixture a good stir. Make sure all the dry ingredients are coated with liquid goodness.

4. Pour the oat mixture on the prepared baking sheet. Place the pan in the preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes. 

5. After 15 minutes elapsed use spatula to toss the granola on the pan. Allow to bake for another 5 minutes and continue to repeat until you reach desired golden brown hue. It took about 20 additional minutes. Add the seeds and craisins. All to cool on pan entirely. Enjoy! 

Vegan Buckwheat Chai Seed Waffles

After 9 1/2 years our trusty Cuisinart Waffle Iron bit the dust. Last night we made sandwiches in our new waffle iron we received as a gift from my parents for Christmas. This morning before putting it away, I thought we should also use the iron to make breakfast. 

This was my first time using chai seeds as an egg substitute for a leavening agent. The concept is a clever way to omit eggs if you have an egg allergy or follow a vegan diet. 

Chai seeds add antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, and fiber to your diet as well!  Which everyone can benefit from that. 

Yields: 4 Servings using a 1/3 cup 
Ingredients

1 cup Buckwheat flour 

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground Vietnamese Cinnamon 

2 Tablespoons raw sugar 

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

2 tablespoon chia seeds, ground 

6 tablespoon water

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Take the first 5 ingredients and whisk together in a medium to large bowl. Set aside. 

2. Preheat the waffle iron according to the manufacturer directions. Spray the waffle iron grill generously with cooking spray. 

3. Take the chai seeds and grind them in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Add the water to the ground chai seed meal and allow to sit for 10 minutes to thicken. 

4. Add the liquid ingredients (chai paste, milk, & vanilla) to the dry ingredients.  Fold the wet ingredients into the dry. Mix until no dry residue remains. 

5. Take an 1/3 measuring cup and spray with cooking spray and fill with batter. Place the batter in the preheated waffle iron and set the iron according to manufacturer recommendations. 

Enjoy with some peanut butter or a light dust of powdered sugar. 

Freekeh 

Are you looking to branch out and try a hearty ancient grain?  Freekeh, might be the way to go. The first time I had freekeh was when we had a HelloFresh order.  I thoroughly enjoyed the nutty texture, the mouthfeel is similar to barley or farro. This versatile grain can be used in place of quinoa, rice, pasta, & couscous. 

Freekeh (pronounced “free-ka”), is a world grain which is produced from the young green wheat during the harvest. Since freekeh is harvested so early on in the process, it is filled with many rich nutrients &, fiber. Freekeh is also roasted which attributes to the nutty taste. 

Keep in mind, unlike rice, and quinoa, this grain is not gluten free, since it does stem from the wheat grass. 

I was every excited when I was grocery shopping the other day, and came across a discounted package of Freekeh in the bargin bin at Harris Tetter 🤗. 

I’ll take that! Please advise; Never be afraid to rummage through the clearance section at the grocery store! While I purchased this gem, I also came across a full pound of already cut butternut squash for $1.00! 

Yields: 3 cups

Ingredients

1 cup dry freekeh

3 cups vegetable broth, low sodium

1 tablespoon pasta sprinkle 

Directions:

1. Place vegetable broth, freekeh, and pasta sprinkle in a 2 quart sauce pan. On high-medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil. 

2. Once the freekeh starts to boil,reduce the heat, stir, then cover with a lid for 20 minutes to allow the freekeh to simmer. 

3. After the 20 minutes have elapsed, turn the heat off, and allow the freekeh to rest for 5 additional minutes in the sauce pan.  If there is any additional liquid remaining after the 5 minute window, strain the freekeh in a pasta strainer. 

Enjoy with some roasted vegetables, as pictured below. Or try the grain in a stuffed pepper, soup, salad, or stir fry. 



Oven Roasted Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts & Onions


During the winter months, I love roasting vegetables in the oven to perfection. I enjoy when the vegetables have a slight char to them but are still firm for good texture and are not overly done. 

This recipe is an easy side dish which pairs well with almost any entree. I suggest trying the dish with roasted chicken or sautéed tofu steaks with a hearty grain like quinoa or freekeh for the starch companion.

Ingredients :

Canola oil cooking spray

Two smallfresh heads of Broccoli or one large, roughly chopped (stems and all)

One medium yellow onion, quartered

1 cup of fresh Brussel sprouts, halved  

1 Teaspoon of every day seasoning from Trader Joe’s (a blend of sea salt, mustard seeds, peppercorns, coriander,onions, garlic, paprika, and chili pepper)

Directions :

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

2. Thoroughly rinse all the vegetables with water & prepare according to indication above.

3. Coat with cooking spray a half sheet baking pan. Set aside. 

4. Evenly distribute the vegetables on the prepared baking sheet. Generously spray the vegetables with cooking spray and sprinkle with the seasoning. With a spatula toss the vegetables to coat the seasoning uniformly. 

5. Place the pan in a preheated oven with temperature set to 350 degrees. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Make sure to toss the vegetables halfway using silicone spatula. 

6. Afterwards remove from oven and place the mixed vegetables in sealable bowl.  Properly store the leftovers in the refrigerator (if there are any leftovers).

Homemade Vanilla Extract


My husband and I love making homemade gifts for every occasion. We really enjoy tasty treats for presents for our friends and family. 

This year we couldn’t wait to try making homemade vanilla extract after visiting the Hawaii. 

We heard from locals that Hawaii has it’s own vanilla company? What?? I was so excited!  I told our national volcano tour guide! I have a food blog and I practically put high quality vanilla in everything! I mean everything! 

When we looked up the Hawaiian Vanilla Company, we saw that they offer tours! So luckily there were a few spots left on a tour the day before we were heading home. We signed up for the general tour but not the lunch tour. The general tour does come with delicious vanilla tea, coffee and ice cream! 


Warning if you love vanilla like me or even just like using higher quality ingredients for cooking and baking this tour is a must! Don’t pass this family run business and tour up. 
I love d the gift shop; it was filled with everything vanilla from beans to salt to body spray! So many good gift ideas for souvenirs or for yourself. 

The owner is very easy going and extremely knowledgable of the vanilla harvesting process. He loves sharing his passion for vanilla which really engages the audience. Also the whole family is invested in the business; 5 kids. 
One of my favorite parts of the tour was seeing the vanilla orchids and learning how delicate they are and all the work behind them. I have a better understanding why I pay so much for high quality vanilla. 


My favorite part was I brought some vanilla beans home to make my own vanilla extract for gifts. 

Ingredients

3 vanilla beans split

12 ounces of vodka 

12 ounce glass sealable container 

patience (9-12 months worth)

Directions:

1. Split the vanilla beans lengthwise with a sharp knife down the center of the bean. 

2. Place the split beans in the glass jar, fill the jars with vodka. 

3. Close the jar, & date the jar with a sharpy on the bottom so you know when to open it for use. 

4. Keep the vanilla extract while it rests in a cool, dry, dark area for 9-12 months before using in your cookies or cakes. 

Enjoy !