Cranberry Brussels Sprouts

This morning my husband accidentally woke the baby up early. And guess who had to get up with him? Anyways, I got to watch my favorite cooking show of all time, Good Eats. And the episode featured my favorite vegetable, Brussels Sprouts. I’ve seen the episode before, but kind of ignored it since I loved my sprout cut in half and pan fried. But today I paid attention and saw him make the most delicious looking dish ever. Shredded Brussels sprouts with dried cranberries and pecans. I had all those ingredients in my fridge and couldn’t decide what to make, this recipe was just what I needed! I made it vegan and added a few ingredients too. This dish would make a fantastic healthy side dish for the Thanksgiving!

Cranberry Brussels Sprouts
1 pound Brussels Sprouts
3 ounce raw pecans, chopped
1 tbs vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
4 ounces dried cranberries
1/2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse the brussel sprouts and remove any brown leafs. Cut off the tip of the steam. Cut the brussel sprouts into shreds (or use a food processor like Alton did).

In a skillet over medium-high heat, lightly toast the chopped pecans. It will only take a minute or two. The color won’t change much but you will be able to smell the aroma. Remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same skillet, add the butter and brussels sprout shreds. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until the sprouts soften.

Next add the cranberries and cook for one minute longer.

Transfer to a serving bowl. Add the olive oil and bread crumbs. Mix well.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Now dig into this delicious dish! Michael and I devoured the bowl. I even hoped Jack wouldn’t eat his  portion (I gave him just the sprouts, never give a baby nuts as they are a choking risk).  But he devoured his too! I will need to make this again soon, it was just so good!


Potato and Leek Hash

I wanted a hot and tasty breakfast when I woke up this morning. Something filling, but not heavy. I had a few potatoes that needed to be eaten so I thought a hash was in order.

I got another organic vegetable box delivered the other day so I decided to add some veggies for more nutrition. The box came with two giant leeks. I think leeks are a seriously underrated food. They have the texture of a very soft celery mixed with a shallot. The flavor is like a mid onion and garlic. They are high in vitamin K and vitamin A. Like their cousin garlic, it also helps support the cardiovascular system. I love leeks because they provide that garlic/onion flavor, but with a bit more crunch.

This recipe makes one large serving (that is surprising low in calories!).

Potato and Leek Hash
1 medium russet potato, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup water
1/2 of a leek stalk (the lower, whiter part—I have a recipe for the leafy part coming up), sliced thin
1 small carrot, diced
1/2 of a broccoli stalk, peeled and diced
Salt and pepper, to taste.

Heat a skillet with a little oil (I used coconut) over medium heat.

Add the potatoes and cook until slightly golden on the outside.

Add water and cover. The steam will cook the inside of the potatoes. Stir occasionally so they do no burn.

Once the water is evaporated, remove the lid. Add all remaining veggies. Cook until the carrots and broccoli are soft, and the leeks are slightly golden.

Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

I served mine over some basic scrambled tofu with some hot sauce on top.

A healthy and easy breakfast, great way to start off my day of cleaning and laundry :-/

Apple Walnut Salad with Tofu

Part of my prenatal care includes a nutritionist, which I think all prenatal programs should have. An expert separate from your OB/GYN that just focuses on how you are eating and proper weight gain. As knowledgeable and beneficial my nutritionist is, I am kind of annoyed with her. I told her I was vegan—no animal products, honey, or eggs. Then we went over my diet. She said it was one of the healthiest she has seen in awhile. Then she went over my blood work. Again, is was amazing. And she had no complaints about my weight gain so far. Then she hits me, “I am sorry, but legally I need to classify you as nutritionally high risk.”

WHAT? High risk nutritionally? Because I chose to break from the standard American diet and not to eat meat loaded with fat and antibiotics? Or dairy loaded with hormones?

Then she reassured me that I am healthy and the baby is healthy, so all that matters. It’s just a legal term. Her only suggestion was I eat one more serving of leafy greens every day. So I have made this giant, veggie-packed salad for lunch most days now.

And yes, this salad has plain tofu. If you do not like the taste of plain tofu (I actually do), you can marinade and cooked it first. But honestly, with all the dressing and veggies, you don’t even notice the tofu.

Apple Walnut Salad with Tofu
3 cups leafy greens (any combination of dark lettuce, spinach, kale, arugula, etc.), washed and dried
1/4 cup carrots, chopped or shredded
1 Fuji apple, chopped
1/4 small red onion, chopped
1/4 cup raw walnuts, chopped
3 oz extra firm tofu,  drained and cubed
2 tbs Annie’s Lite Goddess Dressing
Cracked black pepper, to taste

In a big bowl, mix together all the ingredients. It’s that easy!

You can use any dressing you like, but Lite Goddess is amazing! This is just not for pregnancy, but make a great lunch for everybody. The nutrients of the dark green vegetables, vitamin C from the apples, vitamin A in the carrots, and healthy fat from the walnuts. I even suggest throwing in some avocado chunks too. High risk pregnancy my ass…

Creamy Spinach Pasta

I posted a recipe awhile ago for Cheesy Rice where you cook the rice/pasta in milk to make it creamier. That got me to thinking…if the noodles come out creamier, then you do not need all the (vegan) butter and cheese right? You still get a bowl of creamy goodness but cut out a lot of calories. Thus, I came up with this recipe. I added in spinach for some extra nutrition.  And before you start saying “But the butter gives it more flavor,” just relax. Yes, it is true this dish is not a rich as it could be, but it does not lack any flavor. And I ask you this: Is it that big of a deal to have a slightly less rich bowl of pasta? Will your life come to end because you did not indulge? Do you have to cut out butter and cheese for the rest of your life? No. Nothing will happen if you eat healthy food (that still tastes great) and you can always have the richer stuff on occasion too. I believe this is that magically thing called moderation 🙂

This recipes makes 4 servings.

Creamy Spinach Pasta
4 cups plain soy milk
2 cups water
2 and 1/3 cup of Gemelli pasta
1 tbs cornstrach (optional)
4 cups fresh spinach
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp soy sauce (optional)
Salt and pepper

In a large pot, bring the soy milk and water to a boil.

Add the pasta and cook according to the directions.

When the pasta has about 5 minutes left, add the spinach and garlic. Mix together well.

Once the pasta is cooked to your liking, if there is still liquid in the pot you can add the cornstarch to thicken the sauce and cook for a bit longer. The first time I made it I needed it. The second time I did not. It just depends.

If you want a more “salty/meaty” flavor, you can add the soy sauce.

Season with salt and pepper.

I sprinkled on a little dried parsley as well.

Easy and delicious. This way can you enjoy a bowl of pasta with less guilt!

Roasted Bell Pepper and Spinach Sandwhich

This is the sandwich to go with my gazpacho recipe. Not too complicated but tasty!

This recipe makes 2 sandwiches, but can easily be multiplied.

1 red pepper pepper
Olive oil
1/4 onion, sliced
1 cup fresh spinach (frozen is fine)
2 rolls (I used torta rolls)
2 slices of vegan swiss cheese (I used Daiya)

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Rub the pepper with some olive oil. This does not really help with the roasting process, just adds flavor.

Bake for 15 minutes, until the upside is lightly browned.

While the pepper roasts, sautee the slices onions and spinach in a pan over medium heat, with a touch of olive oil. Once the onions are translucent, set aside.

Remove the peppers from the oven and turn them over.

Bake for another 15 minutes.

The skin should be charred now and the pepper should practically be falling apart.

Place your pepper in a zip-lock bag. Let it sit and cool for 5 minutes.

Now the skin will be soft and cool enough to peel off. I usually peel the pepper in the bag, so there is less mess. Just peel off all the charred skin either with your fingers or a small knife.

Now cut the pepper in half. The steam and attached seeds will come out easily.

Wipe away any remaining seeds.

Set the two pepper halves aside.

Now we can assemble….

Heat a pan (the one you did the spinach in is fine) over medium-high heat.

Take spread of mustard and horseradish on each roll.

Add a slice of cheese on one side of each roll.

On half of the bell pepper on top of the cheese for each roll.

Add the spinach mixture on top of the pepper pepper.

Top with the other piece of the roll.

Squish the sandwich down a bit, this will help it all stay together

Place in the hot pan. Cook a few minutes, until the roll is crisp and golden.

Flip over and repeat on the other side.

Now you have a tasty grilled sandwich to go with your soup!

Spinach Tofu Quiche

I am so sorry I have not posted in awhile. Life got busy all the sudden. But let me update you! I am doing much better after my car accident. My back is sprained and my neck is still stiff, but I am up and about so it’s okay. I also got a new kitty, kind of a long story so I will spare you. Her name is Zoey and she is a stray who is still in the process of being tamed. She and Penny are getting along like sisters now. Love my little ohana 🙂  And, I also have a boyfriend now! Which brings me to my recipe for this post….

Zoey ‘Uala

Michael, my boyfriend, has been really sweet and helping me figure out what is wrong with the power steering on my car so I thought I’d make him something nice. He is a meat eater, but what guy would turned down any home-cooked meal from a girl? I was bored in class so I was searching recipes on VegWeb and came across The Best Spinach Quiche Ever, and thought it sounded amazing. And, like I said, I figured Michael would eat it anyways. I did some variations from the recipe, mainly using red pepper instead of zucchini and added some turmeric. I used silken tofu because I think it has a more egg-like texture, but it didn’t quite set-up right like extra firm tofu would have. It made it harder to take out of the pan while hot, but overall no big deal. It was delicious, had the nice fluffy egg texture, and Michael enjoyed it too.

Spinach Tofu Quiche
Olive oil
1 pie crust (I used a pre-made Pilsbury one)
1 red bell pepper
1/2 of an onion
1 carton of sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup white wine
3 cloves of garlic
2 cups fresh spinach
crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
1 and 1/2 block silken tofu

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees

Roll out the pie crust into the pan,  here is a video if you don’t know how to do so.

Chop the bell pepper, onion, and any really big mushroom slices into bite size pieces.

Heat some olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the veggies and saute until the begin to caramelize.

Pour the wine in to deglaze the pan. Once all the liquid is absorbed, remove from the heat.

In another skillet, heat more olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, spinach, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the spinach is wilted. Remove from the heat.

In a blender, add the tofu and the spinach mixture and blend together until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a large bowl, add the tofu mixture and the red pepper mixture. Mix together well.

Now pour the the filling into the pie crust and smooth out the top.

Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes. The center will be a little jiggly but firms as it cools.

Michael’s only complaint was it needed more salt, which as I’ve mentioned before I am a salt queen so I held back on the salt while making it so he would not be overwhelmed.

But I loved it, so making this again sometime.

I promise I will post blog more regularly again now that my life is back together!

Kale Pesto Pizza

I haven’t done a pizza post in a while, just haven’t had the time. But the one I made last night was amazing. I used the Kale Pesto from my Halloween Taco Rice Bowl post as the sauce, with some caramelized onions.  And I used the always delicious Daiya cheese. I didn’t blind bake this one because I was lazy. I just made sure my oven was as hot as I could get it first. The key to a good crust is high heat and as little time in the oven as possible.

Kale Pesto Pizza
1 pizza crust (try mine)
1/2 cup kale pesto (try mine)
1/2 cup Daiya mozzarella
1/2 an onion, cut into slices and caramelized
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, chopped

Pre-heat the oven as high it will go, mine was set to 500 degrees.

Roll out and shape your pizza into a pizza pan.

Top with the pesto.

Sprinkle on the cheese.

Add the caramelized onions.

Top with the olives. I suggest buying pitted ones, it was a pain to pit these.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Once again, this a non-dairy cheese so it will not get bubble. But Daiya cheese does melt so don’t worry.

It went nicely with a glass pinot noir (thanks for the suggestion mom).

Taste of the South: Collard Greens, Black-eyed Peas, and Fried Tofu.

One of my favorite vendors at the Hilo Farmers Market had a special on greens—kale, Swiss chard and collard greens. I got a bunch of each for only $5 total. Like I said before,  your local farmers market will always have the best deals. I haven’t had collard greens before so I thought I’d make  a whole Southern dinner to have the full experience: collard greens, black-eyed peas, and fried tofu.

Love the deep green color.

Collard greens are amazing. Although kind of bitter raw, they are buttery and rich when cooked. They are also loaded with vitamin C, fiber and can even fight cancer. And it smelled sooooooo good while it was cooking. I looked up a bunch of recipes and decided to stay pretty traditional, just minus the bacon. I based this recipe on the Kickin’ Collard Greens from (although Paula Dean’s recipe looked really good too).

However, I am no stranger to black-eyed peas. They are buttery like collard greens but saltier, which is why they are perfect for a salt queen like me. I’ve tried several recipes before, but I came up with my own recently. It’s still fairly traditional, just minus the bacon and add some Tabasco.

Now, do not freak out at the sound of fried tofu. It is amazing. For those people who say they don’t like tofu, I question how they had it prepared. Is plain, unseasoned, undercooked chicken good? No. So why would plain, unseasoned, uncooked tofu be? Tofu will take on the flavor of whatever you cook or marinade it in, so don’t be afraid to experiment and slather it in anything. There are also several preparation techniques that can alter the texture to be more meat-like too.  For fried chicken, I recommend freezing it, which I explain later in this post. There are many fried tofu recipes on VegWeb, but I had trouble with most of them. I came up with this recipe after many trial and errors. The tofu needs to freeze overnight. The other two dishes come together quickly, but you need to plan ahead for the tofu.

My kitchen smelled so good!

Collard Greens
1 large bunch collard greens (sorry I don’t have a precise measurement)
1/2 tbs olive oil
1/2 large white onion
2 cloves of garlic
3 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Chop into smaller pieces so it cooks faster and is easier to eat.

Wash and dry the collard greens. Chop off the ends, the stem is edible so only take off the browned parts.  Chop the greens into 2 inch pieces.

Chop the onion and garlic.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.

Don’t burn the garlic, it gets bitter and nasty.

Add the onions to the pot, cook until tender and slightly translucent. Add the garlic and cook for about another 2 minute. Be careful not the burn the garlic, it will ruin the flavor.

Add the collard greens and mix together well. Cooked for another few minutes, just until the leafs start to wilt.

Pour in the vegetable broth then season with the red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until tender, about 45 minutes. Try not to open the lid unless absolutely necessary.

Spicy Black-Eyed Peas
1 can black-eyed peas, drained
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup white onion
1/2 tbs chili powder
1/2 cup water
5-10 shake of Tabasco sauce, depending on taste

Put everything into a small pot, mix together well, and cook over medium-low heat until majority of the liquid is gone, about 10 minutes. So easy!


Fried Tofu
1 block extra firm tofu
1tbs soy sauce
1tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp Ener-G Egg replacer
1/2 cup plain, unsweetened soy milk
2 shakes Tabasco sauce
pinch of salt and pepper
1/4 cup all purpose flour
Pinch of salt and pepper
Olive oil

Drain the tofu.

This part may sound crazy, but it is very necessary. Place several sheets of paper towels on a flat, clean surface. Put the tofu on the paper towels, then place some more paper towels on top. Now get something heavy (I use my science textbooks, my mom uses stone bookends) and place it on top. This will squeeze out all the liquid so it will get a denser texture when cooked. Leave this for at least an hour, but the longer the better.

Next, place the tofu in a freezable container and freeze over night.

It will have a slightly leathery appearance.

The next morning, place it on the counter to thaw.

Once fairly thawed, combine all the marinade ingredients and marinade the tofu for at least 2 hours. I know it’s weird to put more liquid in when you just spent all that time getting it out, but now you are putting in flavor.

Marinated and dried again.

Pour off the excess liquid and pat the tofu dry.

Slice the tofu into 1/2 inch strips. You can cut it lengthwise so it’s more steak-like, but I find it doesn’t fry as evenly.

Batter tastes pretty good on its own too.

Now, in a small bowl mix together all the ingredients for the batter, except the 1/4 cup flour and second pinches of salt and pepper.  It should make a fairly thick mixture.

In another small bowl, mix together the remaining flour,  and salt and pepper.

1 tbs of olive oil, only 120 calories and gets the job done just fine.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Get the pan good and hot. The pan is ready when a sprinkle of water sizzles and bounces straight off. You really don’t need tons on oil if you have the pan heated properly and are patient.

Now it’s finally time to bread and cook the tofu. It’s best to set-up an assembly line: dry flour bowl, batter bowl, then the your heated skillet.

First, lightly coat the tofu strip on both sides in the flour.

Next dip the the strip in the batter, making sure it is coated in a thick layer on both sides.

Then drop it straight into the hot pan.

Repeat with the remaining strips.

Cook on each side till golden, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side.

Plate up your fried tofu with generous scoops of the collard greens and black-eyed peas. It went lovely with a glass of ice cold lemonade.

The tofu is crunchy on the outside and has the perfect “meaty” texture” on the inside. Some mushroom gravy would be good with the tofu….too bad I didn’t think of that beforehand. However, just like chicken, it also goes wonderfully with ketchup (and a bit more Tabasco).

Tastes like chicken, but even better!

The black-eyed peas are a bit spicy and the buttery collard greens are heavenly. This meal is not only a good balance of flavors, but so good for you too. I am normally not a big leftover fan, but I am more than happy to have this again tomorrow.

Happy Easter! Would You Like Some Green "Eggs" from Sam?

Happy Easter and happy spring! I thought I would make myself a little brunch today. I had some left over pierogi filling from last night, so I thought something egg-like with potatoes would be nice. Of course vegans do not eat eggs, but we make awesome things with tofu. Tofu scrambles are a great breakfast staple, but I wanted something a little fancier for Easter.

I found a recipe for Tofu Quiche with Spinach and Broccoli on VegWeb, and thought it would be tasty.  Instead of making a crust, I used my pierogi filling as a base and made little mini quiches. You can use just plain mashed potatoes or even instant too.

So creamy!

I used hemp milk in this recipe because it is my favorite non-dairy milk. It’s creamier and a little sweeter than soy milk. I haven’t been able to find it in Hilo, but to my delight I saw some in the health food store yesterday. You can use whatever milk you prefer.

I also decided to puree my tofu filling to make it all green in honor of my favorite childhood book, Green Eggs and Ham. Purees are a good way to get more vegetables into your meals, especially for picky little kids.

Green Mini Quiches
1 cup prepared pierogi filling or mashed potatoes
1 tub of extra firm tofu, drained
1/2 cub hemp milk
1/4 cup spinach, frozen or fresh
1 cup broccoli
1 clove garlic
1/4 of an onion
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tbs turmeric
pinch of salt

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F. 

I saved my stems for a stir-fry later this week.

Chop the broccoli into smaller pieces. They are going into a blender so don’t worry about size too much. Make sure to save the stem, it’s really the best part. Just peel off the outer tough layer. The inside is sweet and tender.

If you use fresh spinach, just tear it up a little first. If you use frozen, thaw it first.

Chop the onion and garlic a little too.

So easy, no hard chopping or mixing.

Drain your tofu and place into a blender or food processor. Add the broccoli, spinach, onion, and garlic. Pour in the hemp milk. Blend until smooth.

Lovely green color

 Next add the nutritional yeast, turmeric, and salt. Turmeric turns whatever you cook bright yellow so it’s normally used in tofu scrambles to make it look like eggs. But the pureed spinach and broccoli overpower the color, so the turmeric is more for flavor and it’s amazing health benefits.

Make sure the bases are even so the filling doesn’t leak.

Now spray a muffin or cupcake tin well with cooking spray. Evenly line the bottom of each cup with your potato mixture.

Fill to the top.

Pour the tofu filling on top of each potato base. Tofu does not rise like eggs, so don’t be shy about filling to the top.

They smell so good.

Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until the quiches no longer jiggle in the middle.

Let them rest for 5 minutes before serving. I have to confess they can be hard to remove so just be careful.

I topped mine with fresh tomatoes and a little vegan sour cream. It went nicely with a cup a green tea.

All the taste of eggs, and no cholesterol and loads of fiber.

Even as a vegan, I am Sam, Sam I am!

Spinach and Mushroom Pizza

I wanted something different for my Friday night pizza this week, and thought sauce-less might be nice. I saw an amazing spinach pizza recipe when I was looking at other vegan blogs last night…but I can’t remember which one I saw it on. There are great vegan sites out there and one of them has a fantastic spinach pizza recipe that I based this on.

Thrawed on the counter for 5 hours

My pizza dough recipe makes 2 to 3 pizzas easily, so I freeze some for the next few weeks. It should freeze nicely, and I heard on some cooking show before that it can last for up to 3 months (though I usually eat mine within a month so I don’t know). Again, I suggest pre-baking the crust since the veggies do not take long to cook.


Spinach and Mushroom Pizza

1 pre-baked pizza crust (try mine)
1 tbs olive oil
1 clove of garlic, fine chopped
1 cup spinach, chopped (frozen or fresh)
1/8 cup red onion, sliced
1/2 mushroom, sliced
1/8 cup kalamata olives, chopped.  
Pinch of salt and pepper

Evenly spread the olive oil and chopped garlic on the pre-baked pizza crust.

If you use frozen spinach like I did, thaw and thoroughly drain it, or else your pizza will be soggy.  If you are using fresh, wash it well and coarsely chop.

Evenly spread the spinach over the crust, then spread on the onions on top.

If you use fresh mushrooms like I did, wash and dry them well before slicing. If you use canned, drain them thoroughly like the spinach to keep your pizza from getting soggy. Evenly spread on top of the spinach and onions.

Top with the olives, then sprinkle on a pinch or two of salt and pepper. If you like a kick, add some red pepper flakes too.

Bake for 7-10 minutes, until spinach and mushrooms are wilted.

It’s a nice change from the same old tomato sauce pizza, plus it will make you strong like Popeye 😛