30 May 2012

Happy Memorial Day!

Well, better late than never!  Although Memorial Day was two days ago, I still wanted to share some of my culinary creations I made over the holiday weekend.

For Memorial Day Eve, I made these DELICIOUS tempeh lettuce wraps.  I got the recipe from Vegetarian Times and took their suggestion to serve it with julienned carrots and cucumbers as well as fresh herbs--cilantro, mint and basil.  Very Thai-y.

The dish was beyond easy to make and tasted scrumptious.  It was the perfect amount of food for me and my mom, too.  I will definitely make this again but next time I think I will add a pinch more chili sauce.

Oh, and did I mention I lllllooooooooovvvvvvveeeeee tempeh?  I'd never really had it but now that I have, I'm hooked.  The brand I used was LightLife (soy flavor) and I will use it again!  Even steamed, before I seasoned the tempeh, it tasted delicious.

Fast forward:  Memorial Day.  I made a raw key lime pie, sprinkled with coconut.  DEELISH!!!  For dinner I had a gourmet portobello burger with grilled peaches, avocado slices and Dijon mustard on a whole grain bun.  I would have taken a picture but I was just too dang excited to eat it and, thus, the picture never happened.  I did snag one of the pie, though, before it entered my belly.

26 May 2012

RECIPE: Roasted Beet and Grapefruit Salad

I think it is fair to say I am OBSESSED with salads.  And grapefruit.  I love thinking of different toppings and food combinations to plop on top of my bed of greens, and usually grapefruit sneaks its way in.

Tonight I created salad of romaine and leaf lettuce with roasted beets and ruby red grapefruit.  I got the inspiration for this salad from Angela Liddon's WONDERFUL Oh She Glows blog but made some slight modifications.

Roasted Beet and Grapefruit Salad 


Salad (for one serving)
-  3 heaping cups of lettuce, your choice (I used romaine and leaf lettuce)
-  2 beets, roasted*
-  1 ruby red grapefruit, cut into large chunks, skins removed
-  2 T. toasted slivered almonds
-  2 T. Creamy Avocado Dressing (follows)
*Note:  To roast beets, drizzle with 1 T. olive oil, a few shakes of salt, and wrap in foil.  Place on a baking sheet and roast for 1 hour in a 425' oven.  Allow beets to cool for 10-15 minutes before removing skins.  Chop into coarse chunks.)

Creamy Avocado Dressing (makes approximately 1 cup)
-  1 avocado
-  1/4 c. coconut cream (the thick layer at the top of the can--so don't shake first!)
-  1/4 c. lime juice
-  2 T. orange juice
-  1 T. agave nectar
-  1/2 tsp. salt


1.  Process dressing ingredients in a food processor.  Done!
2.  Assemble greens on plate, add dressing (it will be thick so don't be afraid to use your fingers!) and top with prepared grapefruit and beets.  Lastly, sprinkle with almonds.
3.  Eat up!

Raw Veggie-Herb Collard Wrap

Yesterday was BEAUTIFUL and as such, it warranted a refreshing, light lunchtime meal!

I had EVERYTHING already on hand, which was awesome, and the wraps took only about twenty minutes to assemble!

What you see are collard leaves stuffed with julienned carrot and cucumber, red clover sprouts, sun-dried tomatoes, cilantro and mint!  The dipping sauce is a soy-ginger recipe I concocted and it compliments the wraps JUST perfectly.

Other ingredients that would taste great in the wraps are zucchini, sauteed mushrooms, broccoli/alfalfa sprouts and string beans!

24 May 2012

Vegan Waldorf Salad

I get so excited "veganizing" recipes.  My latest transformation was a vegan Waldorf salad.  To make it I used fresh, organic baby spinach, raw cashew/macadamia nut cheese from Punk Rawk Labs, organic dried sweetened cherries, organic walnuts and freshly cracked black pepper, tossed in my maple-dijon vinaigrette.  I'm not so sure how true my dressing is to typical Waldorf dressing form, but it's my favorite and so, on it went.

I was going to add grapes and chopped celery to my salad but decided I would rather just eat the grapes separately and I didn't want any celery...ha!

Here it is!  I love the natural, outdoor light.

Portobello Burger

Oh, Inn Season, how I love you so.  I could eat at your establishment every day, if funds permitted.

Alas and alack, they do not.

I instead treat myself to your wondrous fare once a week.  Funds don't really permit for that, either, but oh well.
Portobello Burger with Daiya cheese, Dijon mustard, ketchup and a side of steamed broccoli :)

22 May 2012



I love when I am able to support local, and Simply Suzanne, a Michigan-based company and makers of some friggin' awesome granola, make supporting local easy.  

I'd seen bags of the stuff around--arranged on shelves of local, independent coffee shops, resting in baskets near Whole Foods' registers--but never gave it a second glance.  You see, I'm not a granola fan.  Most granola provides very little nutritional benefits and, let's face it, if I want to indulge in some delicious, high-calorie sweet treat, it's going to be in the form of a frosted chocolate cake and
not granola.

All this changed, however, when I went to the groundbreaking of
Whole Foods Detroit.  There, they were giving away very generous-sized sample bags of Simply Suzanne Original and Chocolate Granola!  Because it was free, and you can't beat that price, I grabbed a bag of the Original, 100% Vegan Granola.  I looked at the ingredients in the Dark Chocolate and Coffee and none seemed to contain animal products but because it was not stated as being vegan, I decided not to take my chances.

I didn't try the granola that same day because, as I said, I'm not a huge granola fan.  
Last night, however, I opened the little bag, took one cluster, ate it, loved it, and proceeded to finish off the bag.  After finishing it, I then looked at the nutritional information and was quite pleasantly surprised!  The very first thing I looked at was its sugar content because most granolas are LADEN with sugar, and this generous-sized bag contained only 10 grams.  In addition to that, the whole bag was only 230 calories, 4 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein!  This isn't your typical granola!!!  

Anyway, the fairytale ending to my story is that I now have an appreciation and
love for granola, all thanks to Simply Suzanne.  Now let the *glowing* review begin!

TASTE:  ****
I think my intro pretty much conveys my thoughts on the taste of Simply Suzanne Granola, but to be explicit, it tastes GREAT.  As the bag advertises, it is a complex combination of sweet and salty and the small amount of pepper provides an interesting, and I think necessary, flavor accentuation.  No one flavor overpowers and the distribution of sugar and spice is perfect.  You're not going to get large, brown sugar clumps or a pellet of black pepper.  Each oat cluster is coated to perfection.

TEXTURE:  ****
I loved the texture perhaps most of all.  Unlike a lot of granola I've seen--and the few I've tasted--Simply Suzanne Granola contains big honkin' chunks, not little crumbs of oats.  These are actually clusters.  Some even have peanuts (so watch out, those of you with nut allergies!).  I can only imagine how many more clusters there are in a large, normal-sized bag.

As far as granola goes, this stuff does look enticing.  It's not bland and tan, as many granolas look, but rather, warm and golden-y looking with visible cinnamon, brown sugar and pepper speckles, giving it an even richer hue.  Just looking at it (which I now do every time I hit up Whole Foods) makes me want to eat it.

PRICE:  ***
Simply Suzanne sells a 12-ounce bag of this stuff for $7.00 online, and 2-ounce bags cost $2.00.  I realize this might seem a little steep because granola is, essentially, oats and some spices, but it's the perfect amount of these oats and spices that makes Simply Suzanne sooooo good.  Additionally, because it's a small company that makes its granola in small batches, I feel better paying the $7.00 price.  A lot of times, though, you can find bags of the yummy stuff on sale at Whole Foods.

OVERALL:  ****

Four stars, hands down.  Five, maybe, but I'm working on a four-star scale.  I love that this granola is local, crafted in small batches, vegan-friendly AND delicious.  Simply Suzanne comes in four flavors:  Original, Dark Chocolate and Coffee, Lotsa Chocolate and So Very Cherry.  Simply Suzanne also offers two types of trail mix: Apple Rosemary Pecan and Cranberry Pepita Dark Chocolate.  If either of those are vegan, you can best bet I'll be trying them!  

17 May 2012

RECIPE: Wilted Kale Salad in Ginger-Soy Dressing with Avocado, Grapefruit and Almonds

When the warm weather finally hits all my body really craves are light, refreshing meals with lots of fruits and veggies!  This meal delivers!  Not only does it leave me feeling content and satisfied but I feel energized and ready to take on the world!  (Or at least not fall asleep as my system works to digest my meal).  It's perfect because it has a crunch and slight saltiness from the almonds, a buttery softness from the avocado, a tart juiciness from the grapefruit, and a zing from the dressing.  The kale, too, is just a wonderful overall complimentary texture.

This salad satisfies my craving for different textures and flavors, and is, quite simply, delicious!

Wilted Kale Salad in Ginger-Soy Dressing with Avocado, Grapefruit and Almonds 


Salad (for one serving)
-  5 or 6 stalks of kale, washed and chopped (stalks removed)
-  1/2 avocado, diced
-  1 red grapefruit, diced, skins removed
-  1 T. toasted slivered almonds
-  1-2 T. Ginger-Soy Dressing*

Dressing (makes enough for 4-5 salads)
-  1/4 c. olive oil
-  1/4 c. tamari
-  3" hunk of ginger, peeled and finely minced
-  2 T. agave nectar
-  Juice of 2 lemons
-  Salt, to taste


1.  Preheat oven to 325.'
2.  Process all dressing ingredients together.
3.  Toast almonds in the oven for 6-7 minutes.
4.  Massage 1-2 T. dressing into kale leaves for a minute or so, sprinkle with a little salt and let sit.
5.  After a few minutes of "marinating" in the dressing, transfer kale leaves to a plate and arrange avocado, grapefruit and toasted almonds on top.
6.  Enjoy!

16 May 2012

Lunch Inspiration from Yoga Journal Magazine

The post title is pretty self-explanatory:

Mushroom caps, brushed with balsamic-based marinade, topped with wilted spinach, toasted almonds and sunflower sprouts and garnished with thyme.  Served over a bed of chunky mashed sweet potatoes.

Susan G. Komen Yoga Fundraiser Event

This past Saturday one of my yoga teachers taught a class to more than 80 students at a nearby health club to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day.  Local businesses and entrepreneurs donated goods and services and I brought mini cupcakes!

They're strawberry-flavored (with strawberries in it!), frosted with light lemon buttercream frosting and sprinkled with pink colored sugar!  I thought strawberry would be perfect because it's the color synonymous with breast cancer awareness.

We raised a ton of money and it felt really good being able to donate my treats for this important event!

15 May 2012

Mother's Day

I have the best mom in the world, and so, for Mother's Day, I made her dinner and dessert.  Dinner consisted of collard wraps stuffed with mushrooms, black-eyed peas, chopped collard leaves and garlic in a chunky, sweet and savory tomato sauce.  Dessert was a simple, elegant-looking layered lemon chiffon cake with lemon buttercream frosting (everything, of course, was vegan).

It all turned out perfectly and, MOST importantly--my mom loved it!!!

Inn Season...Again

Okay, this is just getting ridiculous.  I do not have the money to keep going to Inn Season, and yet, there I found myself...AGAIN...not three days ago.  To be more specific, the third time in one week.

I ordered a mushroom-leek-carrot-garlic-asparagus ragout, and it came with gluten-free cornbread muffins...SO good (ate 'em all)...and a lentil salad, of which I was not overly fond.  I gave it to my aunt, who happily took them as leftovers though.

I also ordered a chai.  Inn Season makes the best.  It's super spicy (in a "lots of spices" kind of way, not a hot "burn your eyes" kind of way), comes with its own little teapot AND is served in an adorable little cup and saucer.

12 May 2012

Inn Season

The second time in ONE WEEK I had Inn Season.  Yummmmmm.  This is their "Rowlands Salad."

10 May 2012

My Perfect, Warm-Weather Lunch

The title of this post says it all.  Below are pictures of my oh-so-perfect warm-weather :))

Grapefruit juice infused with mint leaves.  I used an immersion blender to blend the grapefruit and then ran the juice through a strainer.
This is the end result.  Beautiful, coral-y, foamy, refreshing.
My wrap!  Avocado, red clover sprouts, romaine and cucumber, tossed in a bit of maple-dijon dressing.  On the side is a little ramekin of creamy tomato-y tofu sauce, seasoned with oregano and garlic--a perfect accompaniment to my wrap.  
My wrap's "better" side.
Aren't those sprouts just lovely???

09 May 2012

RECIPE: Gluten-Free Fruit and Nut Cookies

As promised!  Here is the recipe for my first successful gluten-free cookie attempt!  If it's a testament to their taste at all, they sold out at my place of work after only a day!

Gluten-Free Fruit and Nut Cookies

Yields 20 cookies

-  1 c. Earth Balance, softened
-  2 c. brown rice flour
-  ¼ c. corn starch
-  2 T. tapioca flour
-  1 tsp. xanthan gum
-  2 tsp. sea salt
-  1 tsp. baking soda
-  ½ c. coconut palm sugar
-  1 c. light brown sugar
-  4 T. flaxseed + 12 T. hot water*
-  2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
-  1 tsp. pure almond extract
-  2 c. assorted dried fruits and nuts (I used ¼ c. dried cranberries, ¼ c. dried apricots,
   ¼ c. hazelnuts and ¼ c. walnuts)

1.  Preheat oven to 375°.
2.  Melt butter in mixing bowl and set aside.  In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients and set aside.
3.  Cream melted butter and sugars for 3 minutes.  Gradually add flax mixture and extracts.
     baking sheet (6 cookies/sheet).4.  Gradually pour in dry ingredients.  When incorporated, fold in
     dried fruits and nuts.
5. Allow mixture to chill, covered, in refrigerator for at least an hour.
6.  Scoop out dough using large cookie dropper, roll into balls, and place on parchment-lined
7.  Bake cookies for 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through (after 7 minutes).
8.  Immediately transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.