Thursday, April 21, 2011

Procrastination and Portabellas

I have pictures. Lots of pictures. I have recipes. Lots of recipes. I have crafts and projects and passions and stories...

And yet, I procrastinate. I keep saying - tomorrow. Early tomorrow morning. Yup, I'm gonna wake up early tomorrow morning and do all the things I just feel too tired to do tonight. I focus better in the mornings. I'm more motivated in the mornings. And so surely - when I say I will do my ever-growing to do list early the next morning - I will.

Then the morning rolls around and all of a sudden I find myself doing
other things. Cooking, reorganizing, lazily getting ready for work...all of a sudden it's nighttime. I'm tired and promising myself yet again, that tomorrow will be the day I do all the things I always say I will do.

Today is tomorrow morning. And I'm determined to knock out this list one craft, blog, photo, meal, walk, a time. So let's get started, with something yummy :)

I came up with this recipe for Payder, who adores the Portabello Fries at a local restaurant here. We had them the other night and they were like the best vegan chicken fingers ever! I wanted to make a guilt-free version that we could make at home. I am pretty sure these would freeze great and you could just pop them into the oven to bake whenever the mood strikes!

Portabello Chik'n Fingers

2 portabello mushroom caps - Remove the gills with a spoon and cut the mushrooms into 1/2" thick slices

Prepare your breading:

bowl 1: 1/3 cup
flour (I used spelt)

bowl 2: 1/2 cup almond milk
3/4 t. sriracha
1 T. egg replacer (or cornstarch, potato starch, or tapioca starch...)

bowl 3: 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup whole rolled oats
1/4 cup rolled oats pulsed into a flour (or you could sub in a whole grain flour)
1/4 t. hot pepper flakes
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. sea salt
1 T. nutritional yeast
2 t. extra virgin olive oil
few cranks fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare your bowls and set them up in order. Spray a baking sheet with oil or cover in parchment paper. Dip each portabello slic
e into each bowl in order, first coating with flour, then liquid mixture, then crumb mixture, and then place on the cookie sheet. This is easiest if you designate one hand to be your wet hand and one hand to be your dry hand to help keep the mess to a minimum! For instance, I always use my left hand to dip and flip the 'shroom in the wet mixture and then place it in the crumb mixture, where I then use my right hand to make sure it is well coated in crumbs. (Too much info? haha)

Now just bake for about 25 minutes, flipping halfway thru
. They are all done once they are golden brown! Serve up with the dipping sauces of your choice! We prefer BBQ sauce and thai sweet chili sauce, and even just plain ol' ketchup!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


One of my favorite, but often forgotten, meals is fresh rolls! My general rule of thumb is crisp veggies, something savoury and something sweet, and I always serve them up with a nutty dipping sauce. The variations are endless!

Fresh Rolls
1 package round rice papers
1 cucumber, julienned
1 carrot, julienned
1 avocado, thinly sliced
Handful strawberries, julienned
Handful fresh basil, chiffonade
greens (I prefer to use baby greens such as romaine and spinach)

For the Sauce...
1/4 cup nut butter (I used my freshly made Almond butter!)

Healthy squirt of Sriracha (or 1 tsp. hot pepper flakes)
1 T. agave nectar (or honey, or sugar, or 1 t. stevia...)
1 T. Tamari (or soy sauce or shoyu)
1 T. lime juice (or brown rice vinegar)
a couple tablespoon warm water to thin, if necessary


Once all of your veggies are prepared you will need a large shallo
w dish filled with very warm water. Place one rice paper in the warm water and in about 1 minute it should be soft and ready to use. Spread it out on a plate or cutting board. In the center, a tad closer to the bottom than the top, begin piling your fillings. Just a little of each, or it will be hard to roll.
Once all your fillings are in, gently fold in the right and left sides. Now fold over the bottom and begin rolling upwards toward the top, using your fingers to make sure all the yummy fillings stay in. If this feels confusing there are lots of
videos that show how to do it!

Now the sauce is super easy! I just toss all of the ingredients into a blender and hit go, but you coul
d also just whisk them by hand. Adjust the seasonings to your tastes. As you can tell I have used lots of different ingredients for the sauce, depending on what I have on hand!


Monday, April 4, 2011

Adventures in Vitamixin'

Everyday when I walk into the kitchen, my giant fancy-pants blender stares at me, willing me to use it. And I do. But a greens smoothie in the morning really isn't using this "hot-rod" machine to its full potential.
So all of a sudden I find myself just throwing things into it. Such as a cup of frozen almonds, a dash of cinnamon, a glug of maple syrup and a scoop of coconut oil. I turn it on and as the sound of an airplane taking off fills my house I watch as the almonds are pureed into perfectly creamy butter.
Satisfied, I pack up a jar to give as a gift and one more to store in the fridge to spread on tortillas, blend into smoothies, simmer into savory sauces, and eat just by the spoonful as the craving hits.

While this batch was deeeelicious, I am excited to tweak it and make it better. Not to mention all the possible new flavor combinations...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Brunch for my Baybee

Payder got back from SXSW last night (late!), so after sleeping in I decided to make a yummy welcome home breakfast.

Excited to use my Vitamix again I tried out Heather's Chocolate Rice Bread
. I topped it off with some nutty spread and sliced bananas and served it up alongside tofu scramble and steamed broccoli. The rice bread is amazing! You just soak some brown rice and then blend it into a simple batter and bake. It is like a chewy delicious chocolate pancake. Subtly sweet, and dare I say, even better the next day reheated in the toaster oven. The scramble is just Isa's ol' trusty recipe from the PPK. Flavorful and easily adaptable, I threw in some mushrooms and spinach for good measure.

How's that for including all the food groups in one meal!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Love Letter

The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.
It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let ecstacy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, or to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your soul. I want to know if you can be faithful and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not a pretty day, and if you can source your life from God's presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of a lake and shout to the silver of the moon, "YES!"
It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and dispair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for the children.
It doesn't interest me who you are, how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself, and if you truly like the company you keep in empty moments.


Yesterday I came home to find that the tree in my front yard had been cut down. All that was left was a stump and sawdust that spilled out over my yard and into the street. This tree had been marked by a big red dot a year ago. I knew it would have to be cut down, but days kept passing and it still stood tall, protecting my house and shading the yard. I understand that the tree was diseased, and that the infection could spread to surrounding trees.

I still feel sad when I look out the window.

Tofu Peanut Satay

Years ago, after moving out of my parents house, I decided to play adult and invite my mom over for dinner. This is long before culinary school, when I knew how to cook all of about 3 different meals - 2 of them from Rachel Ray, and one off of a jar of green curry paste. Basically, I knew the staples that every good vegetarian should - bean chili, and a couple different stirfrys.

I decided to make the Tofu Peanut Satay (courtesy of Rachel Ray, I just veganized it), and to this day, it is still one of her favorites and one of the main players
in our family meal rotation.

Tofu Peanut Satay adapted from Rachel Ray

Orange-Scented Brown Rice
2 cups Brown Basmati Rice, (short or long grain works just fine)
Zest from an orange
4 cups water
pinch sea salt

Directions: Bring water to a boil and add a pinch of sea salt. Add washed rice and orange zest. Cover and let simmer for 45 minutes. Don't lift lid! Turn off heat and keep covered for 10 minutes more. Fluff & serve. (Any grain goes great with this dish, just add orange zest and cook according to package instructions!)

Satay Sauce
1/4 cup Peanut Butter (or nut butter of your choice)
3 T. Tamari (or soy sauce)

3 T. Agave (or honey)
1 Garlic clove, minced
1" Fresh gingerroot, grated and the juice squeezed into the sauce
Juice from 1/2 an orange
1/2 tsp. Red pepper flakes, or to taste

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and warm thru over low heat.

1 Onion, sliced into thin half moons
1 Bunch scallions, sliced on the diagonal
1 cup Broccoli florets

1 cup Carrots, julienned
8 oz. Cremini mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 large handful Snowpeas
1 block Extra-firm Tofu, pressed to remove excess water and cut into bite-size pieces

To garnish: fresh basil leaves, cut i
nto thin strips and cashews, coarsely chopped


Heat a large non-stick skillet or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. I don't use any oil, but if you want to you can drizzle in a little oil of your choice. Arrange the tofu in the pan with enough room around them to flip them. Let them cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side. Don't try to flip them until they have formed a nice crust! Patience is key here! Remove them from the pan and drizzle with them with a little Tamari. Set aside. Stirfry veggies in the order listed above. I begin with the onions and I hold off on adding any other veggies until they are beginning to nicely brown. Again, I don't use any oil. Just a really hot pan and patience. Once all your veggies are in and cooked to the texture you like (I prefer al dente, but you better not ever serve my mom a crunchy vegetable, so I let it go a little longer for her.) Pour in the sauce and give a good toss.

Serve alongside rice, and sprinkle basil and cashews on top!

Sunday, March 20, 2011


I do hair. I think I'm pretty good at it. I can help with yours. In the meantime, here's a shout-out to the lady that made it possible by helping support me in every way possible as I made my way thru cos school.
Thanks Kathy. For everything - including letting me change your hairstyle after 10 years with your old one. Love you Mama!

Yum-Hum Pizza

A quick, satisfying pizza perfect for one, or two if you serve it with a big green salad. Easy to throw together with some basic kitchen staples, and easy to adjust to your preferences! It all starts with some quicky & easy homemade hummus. Then a quick flash saute of veggies (no oil necessary!) and then just pop it in the oven for about 10 minutes on a pizza stone (longer if using a cookie sheet.) To me, homemade is always better, but feel free to use store-bought hummus in place of homemade if you want to. And use any veggies you like!

Sun-dried Tomato & Herb Hummus
1 can Chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
3-4 Sundried tomatoes soaked in a few tablespoons of hot water until soft
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Sea Salt to taste (I just use a couple small pinches)
A few good cranks of fresh cracked black pepper
A few leaves fresh basil (feel free to replace with 1 tsp. dried basil)
Leaves from a couple stems of fresh thyme (feel free to replace with 1/2 tsp. dried thyme)

Directions: Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and let run until smooth (3-5 minutes), adding a little of the tomato soaking water as necessary to get the right consistency. I like my hummus to be thick yet smooth, as I prefer to use it as a spread.

Yum-Hum Pizza
1/3 cup Hummus
2-3 Scallions, cut into 1/2" pieces
1/2 Zucchini, sliced in thin half moons
3 Cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
2 Sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
Pinch hot pepper flakes, optional
1 tsp. Italian spice blend (or 1/2 tsp. dried oregano & 1/2 tsp. dried basil)
A couple dashes Bragg's Liquid Aminos (you can substitute sea salt or shoyu)
1 Whole grain tortilla (or pita)

Directions: Preheat over to 400F. Spread hummus on your tortilla and set aside. Heat a large non-stick skillet or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. I prefer to saute while I chop. I go in the order of the ingredients list, always starting with my onion and ending with the quicker cooking greens. So chop your scallions and throw them, while they start searing, chop your
zucchini, throw them in, chop your ' get the picture. Give the veggies a good toss each time you add the next veggie in so they don't burn. If anything is sticking you can reduce the heat a little (although I find it works best at a higher heat) and/or add a little splash of water (but not too much, you don't want soggy pizza!) Our goal here is to just get a nice sear on the veggies, they will finish cooking in the oven. Once they are all in add the spices, give a good toss.
Turn the heat down to medium and add the Bragg's and toss again. Let cook for a minute more. Pile the veggies onto the tortilla you have prepared and slip it onto your pizza stone. Bake for about 10 minutes until the tortilla is golden and a little crisp underneath.

Slice & serve!!