The salad is almost too pretty to eat. Every time I make it, I just want to stare at it or take pictures of it.
Not only does it come together quickly, but it is also very hearty and satisfying. The creamy plant-based goat cheese alone is to die for! Trust me. This salad could be a meal in itself. As for the pomegranate, I prefer to clean my own. It’s a task that my youngest daughter has taken over. She finds it deeply satisfying to pull out every last aril!
I like the arugula and pomegranate for color, but you can use various fruits and greens to achieve your Christmas colors. My favorite addition to the salad, and one that I would not skip, is the fresh dill weed. No matter the toppings used, the dill brings it together!
A few weeks ago, I helped teach a cooking class, and one of my responsibilities was to make drinks for everyone. I opted for hot mulled cider and spiced apple tea. The cider was a huge hit! It got me thinking about a nice autumn cocktail. I don’t drink alcohol anymore since it does a number on my tummy. I found, however, an excellent non-alcohol spirit called Aplós.
It is a plant-based, organic, non-alcoholic citrusy spirit infused with 20 mg of broad-spectrum hemp. It is intended to give the same uplifting and calming effects as alcohol, but without the ill effects of alcohol. I don’t know about you, but it sounded like the perfect base for an autumn cocktail recipe!
Who wants Enchiladas Verdes? If you’ve been following my page for a while, you’ll know that Mexican food is my most favorite food. I know, I know, I say that every time. But it’s true, and there is an excellent reason. If you don’t believe me, make these enchiladas. I promise you’ll understand me then! I need to open a fully vegan Mexican restaurant!
Typically Enchiladas Verdes, Verdes meaning green in Spanish, is made with chicken. But I wanted to do something different and grabbed a pack of Hungry Planet beef instead. From there, everything is precisely the same. They were off the chart amazing! If I had them in a restaurant, I would have complimented the chef! You can find Hungry Planet at a market near you!
I have an excellent store-bought Verdes sauce that I like to use. I grated 3/4 of a pack of Miyoko’s mozzarella for the cheese and then crumbled the rest for garnish. These bad boys were on the table in 35 minutes! If you feel like cooking, then double the recipe and freeze a pan for later! If you decide to do that, set them out. I can’t wait to make them again! If you make them tag me and let me know how you liked them!
Who doesn’t love pasta? This recipe has been one of my most requested! It is mouth-watering, literally. Just be careful when you’re making the sauce. I kept “testing” it. To make sure it was good, you know? Anyway, I was so full that I only had a couple of bites when I sat down to eat it. The good news? It makes a lot, and the leftovers the next day didn’t disappoint!
I always boil my tempeh. Mostly because I’m not too fond of the slightly bitter flavor and cooking it for about 10 minutes removes all of that acrid taste. I like the Lightlife brand, but I’m not beholden to it. If you have a brand, you prefer then definitely use it.
The creole spice mix is so good and keeps well if you decide to make it. Otherwise, any store-bought creole/cajun spice mix works. If heat isn’t your thing, then skip the red pepper flakes and add black pepper instead. Be sure to get a good quality rigatoni. I like to buy my pasta in bulk directly from DeLallo, or the Italian Food Online Store.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and it becomes a favorite part of your dinner rotation!
Warm a skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. When the oil is shimmering, add tempeh. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side. When golden brown, remove from heat and set aside.
Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:
In a skillet over medium-high heat, add oil. When oil begins to shimmer, add onions. Sauté until onions become translucent—about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds—season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
In a high speed, blender add the béchamel, stock, roasted red peppers, basil, salt, and red pepper flakes. Blend until smooth.
Add sauce to the onion mixture. Stir well, and add dried parsley and reserved red peppers, and tempeh. Simmer over medium heat until sauce is warmed through entirely—taste for seasoning.
Cook pasta until al dente (about 6-8 minutes)
Serve in a pasta bowl. Top with vegan parmesan and fresh minced basil. Enjoy!
Super easy and you can skip the pig! I like this on a BLT! Be sure to let it get nice and crispy. But be careful, it can burn!
8 oz pack extra firm tofu, drained, and sliced into 1/8” thick slices
1/4 cup avocado or grape seed oil (or another neutral oil)
2 Tbsp tamari
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp liquid smoke*
1 pinch sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
While tofu is draining whisk avocado oil and remaining ingredients to a large shallow baking dish, preferably one that has a lid.
When tofu is ready cut into 1/8” slices and add to marinade.Marinade for at least 20 minutes,or preferably over night.
Preheat skillet over medium heat.Add oil to a pan.When oil is shimmering, add tofu.
Cook tofu on each side about 6 minutes per side, or until golden brown.Flip and cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until tofu is crispy and golden brown. Watch carefully in the last minutes of cooking and be careful not to burn as it can go from brown, to burnt, very quickly.
Some things are just meant to be together-peanut butter & jelly, socks and shoes, Kurt and Goldie, and cucumbers & Dill. An American mainstay, cucumber seeds were brought to North America by European settlers in the late 16th century. The cucumber, however, is native to India, and at around 3,000 years old, it is one of the world’s oldest cultivars.
Cucumbers belong to the Cucurbitaceae family. Other members of this family include watermelon, muskmelon, pumpkin, and squash. Some fun cucumber facts:
Cucumbers contain 96 percent water.
The inside of a cucumber can be up to 20 degrees cooler than its outside.
One-half cup of sliced cucumbers contains only eight calories.
Fresh extracts from cucumbers have recently been shown to have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
When I was a kid, a cucumber is what my mom diced up and put on a salad. Since then, I’ve used them as crudités, made pickles out ’em, and I love them as under-eye pads for puffy eyes. But until now, I’ve never had them as the main star of a soup! You can also use them (in no particular order) to:
Got a slug or grub problem? Dice cucumbers and put them on an aluminum pan in the garden. The aluminum reacts with the cucumber and gives off a scent they don’t care for.
For their fiber and water, which helps fight constipation.
Got some funky bugs? They contain erepsin, an enzyme, which is known to kill tapeworms.
As a hangover cure because they have enough B vitamins, electrolytes, and sugar to replenish essential nutrients that alcohol absorbs from your body.
Reducing cellulite. Applying slices directly to the skin allows phytochemicals in cucumbers to tighten collagen for a firm complexion.
Grow long, beautiful hair. Cucumber juice provides silicon, sodium, calcium, sulfur, etc., all of which are nutrients needed for hair growth and hair strengthening.
Got a toddler? They can even remove crayons, markers, and pen marks on walls.
The other main ingredient in the soup is our friend, Dill. Dill, as we all know, is an herb. But did you know that it has health benefits that are almost too many to name? Dill is packed with flavonoids, which have been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. But that’s not the only reason Dill is thought to improve heart health. Research on animals shows that Dill can also reduce LDLcholesterol levels. Thank you, WebMD! Dill also:
Can help regulates Diabetes– The presence of bioactive ingredient Eugenol in dill leaves has potent anti-diabetic properties, which play a crucial role in alleviating the blood sugar levels within the body.
Fortifies Bone Health.
Add in some heart-healthy walnuts and friends. This soup might be a magic elixir, the proverbial unicorn of soups! With roots in eastern Europe, this Mediterranean “çorba” (Turkish for soup) is similar to the Turkish Casik, which uses yogurt as its base. I tried various versions of this, and I settled on this version. I loved the addition of red pepper flakes and tarragon! If you make it, tag me and let me know how you liked it!
I’ll be honest. I am not a fan of cauliflower. To me, it’s the bottom rung on the ladder of cruciferous vegetables. I despise cauliflower rice, and raw cauliflower gags me. But one evening, a chef friend of mine made me a cauliflower steak for dinner. Ever gracious, I took a deep breath and a steak knife and took my first bite. Well, I guess the rest is history, as they say since I’m writing a recipe for cauliflower steaks!
I chose to pan-sear the steaks to get that nice brown crust, and then I finished them off in the oven to speed up the cooking process. I also used safflower oil to cook with since it has a high smoke point of 501°, to be exact. Olive oil has a medium smoke point cannot be heated past 405°. Fat begins to break when heated past its smoking point, releasing free radicals and a substance called acrolein, the chemical that gives burnt foods their acrid flavor and aroma. Think watering eyes, a stinky kitchen, and bitter, scorched food.
The critical thing to note in this recipe is how to stem and cut the cauliflower. I found that removing the outer green leaves and most but not all of the stem is crucial. Trim off the bottom of the cauliflower stem but make sure to keep the core intact. I find that one large head of cauliflower makes about three 1 1/2 ” steaks. To ensure flat sides, I trim the outer edges of the cauliflower on each side-taking off about an inch and a half. Slice carefully.
If you make the steaks be sure to tag me and let me know how you like them! Enjoy!
This cauliflower steak is so flavorful and quite filling! Be sure to buy a large head to ensure decent size steaks. And using Montreal steak seasoning is a perfect way to spice them up! You can top with a variety of roasted vegetables and creamy mild tasting white beans for protein!
1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2″ steaks (see note)
Heat a cast-iron skillet or other oven-safe, heavy bottom frying pan over medium-high heat. When warm add, two tablespoons of safflower oil.
Brush each side of the cauliflower steaks with oil and sprinkle with Montreal seasoning.
Carefully add steaks to a frying pan and sear each side until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes per side.
When steaks are golden brown, remove the pan from the heat put directly in the oven for approximately 8-10 minutes, or until fork tender.
Carefully remove pan from oven. Plate cauliflower steaks and drizzle with chimichurri sauce.
*This oil is high in vitamin E; one tablespoon contains 28% of a person’s daily recommended intake of the nutrient. It has a high smoke point and doesn’t have a strong flavor, which means it won’t overwhelm a dish.
This delicious herb-based sauce comes from the Argentinian/Uruguay areas of South America. Chimichurri is often served as an accompaniment to asados or grilled meats. It also makes a great marinade, and it’s perfect as a drizzle on my Smoky Cauliflower Steaks!
This sauce is one of my go-to’s for a variety of Buddha Bowls. It’s also great to use as an oil-based marinade. The longer it sits, the better it is, so I recommend making it a few days before you want to use it for the best flavor. It keeps well in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.
You can use this delicious Argentinian-based sauce in a variety of ways! You can use it as a marinade for tofu or as a drizzle on your Buddha Bowls or roasted veggies! I do not blend all ingredients in a food processor, or blender like many recipes do. You don’t want a paste-like pesto. You want a loosely packed oil with herbs.
1 1/2cupsflat-leaf Italian parsley, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
Grated zest of one lemon, and the juice
1/8teaspooncayenne pepper, or two small chilies, seeded & minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2cupextra virgin olive oil
Combine shallot, chiles or cayenne, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, and 1 tsp. salt in a medium bowl.
Let sit for 10 minutes.
Stir in minced cilantro and parsley. Add oregano.
Using a fork, gradually whisk in oil.
Transfer Chimichurri to a small bowl; season with salt.
When I was a kid, I wouldn’t say I liked beets. As an adult, I was determined to make nice. And I’m so glad I did. They are not only delicious, but they are also super healthy. Rich in folate (Vitamin B9), they help the body make red blood cells. Like Anthocyanins in red grapes and Beta Carotene in carrots, beets contain Betalains which are unique nitrogen-containing pigments and are cancer and heart protective.
This recipe makes a great salad year-round! It makes a lovely addition to a holiday table, and it’s a delicious and easy salad to make in the summer. I PROCESS MY BEETS IN THE PRESSURE COOKER because I’m not particularly eager to turn on the oven in the summer. But you can use an oven just the same. Typically, I don’t boil them because they lose their deep red color. If you choose to boil them, leave about one inch of stem intact to help minimize color loss while cooking,
If you want to really jazz it up you can use half red and half golden beets. It is also yummy with chopped pistachios and vegan feta!
If you make the salad, tag me let me know how you liked it!
Who doesn’t love a good pizza? As a vegan, though, we are often left out in the cold with a pizza with no cheese. In fact, I’m pretty sure cheese is the only reason most people eat pizza! If you’re like me, store-bought cheeses are out of the question. They’re usually off in texture, or there’s something funky about the flavor. Don’t get me wrong, there are some decent options these days, but they’re usually costly and leave me wondering about better options.
Without ado, I present the better option— This creamy garlic cashew sauce. It could not be easier to make, and I promise you will never miss cheese on a pizza again. Promise. I simply made it of cashews, filtered water, garlic and onion powder, oregano, salt, and nutritional yeast. The sheer simplicity of the sauce makes it a favorite of mine. Not to mention the ease with which it comes together. Throw it all in a blender and hit go. I have a high-powered Vitamix, and it takes me a solid minute or so to blend. If you don’t have a high-powered blender, I recommend boiling the cashews for 10-15 minutes and then rinse and blend.
Hungry Planet makes a mean Italian sausage that cooks up quickly and tastes fantastic. However, I have to be careful not to eat it all before adding it to my pizza! You don’t want to overcook it! So I brown it over medium heat for just a few minutes (3-5) until it gets a bit brown. And then I finish cooking it in the oven.
The caramelized onions add a natural sweetness and pair perfectly with the spicy Italian sausage. The key to good caramelization is the “Low and Slow” motto. Also, I never use oil, only water, and salt, when I caramelize. You won’t let the onions, which are very high in water content, release their water, just not too much, too fast. If the onions begin to stick, add a tablespoon or two of water.
The other key to a good pizza is the crust, of course. If you are a purist and like baking, then making your crust is the way to go. I wouldn’t say I enjoy baking and found an excellent store-bought crust that I love.
If you make this, drop me a line and let me know how you liked it!
If you have a Vitamix or other high-powered blender, add all white sauce ingredients and blend well until smooth. Set aside.
Add sliced onion to a large skill and cook over medium-low heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add salt, continue cooking until softened and browned for about 15 minutes. If the onions begin to stick, add water one tablespoon at a time until they release. Remove onions from the pan and set aside.
In the same pan, add Italian sausage and cook over medium heat until slightly browned about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add approximately 1 cup of sauce to each crust, top with onions and Italian sausage. I also added a tablespoon of red pepper flakes to add a little heat.
Bake at 400° for about 12-15 minutes.
Let cool and slice.
**If you do not have a high speed blender, soak your cashews overnight, or boil for 10-15 minutes.
I love summer. I love the long warm days, eating juicy watermelon by the pound, and spending as much time in the water as possible. Summer’s bounty includes tomatoes, cucumbers, cherries, all the berries, but especially strawberries. I have fond memories of those little round shortcakes filled with fresh strawberries and cool-whip my mom used to make! And I still love it.
I have also grown quite fond of fresh rhubarb. Although rhubarb is a vegetable, it is often put to the same culinary use as a fruit. The leaf stalks can be used raw (I love it thinly shaved), and it tastes a lot like celery. But most commonly, it is boiled down with sugar and made into things like pies or this sorbet!
When choosing rhubarb, look for crisp stalks that are firm and tender. Try to avoid stalks that are too woody or thick. And unlike its friend, the strawberry, color doesn’t have much impact on taste.
There is some sugar in this recipe but do not reduce the amount. Sugar lowers the freezing point of water and helps prevent crystallization.
Finally, when choosing strawberries, look for the gariguette strawberry. They are the sweetest and most fragrant strawberries you’ll ever taste. If you can’t find the french variety, try to buy them locally if you can. A fresh strawberry should be firm to the touch, bright red, and free of bruises. And yellowish/green berries do not ripen at home, so remember that when you won’t think you want summer berries in December!
Basically frozen water, fruit, and sugar, a sorbet is a perfect summer dessert! This frozen base would also be great as a margarita, or daiquiri.
3 stalks of fresh rhubarb, washed and thinly sliced
1 lbstemmed and chopped gariguette strawberries
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons orange zest (about 1 orange)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated or minced
1/4 tsp salt
In a medium saucepan, bring all ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the rhubarb is quite soft. Remove from heat and let cool.
Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and carefully mix until smooth. If using a blender, do so in batches so the mixture doesn’t overflow and burns you. Chill the mixture in the fridge for about 3 hours, or until cool. (About one hour in the freezer).
Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you are not using an ice cream maker, you can also pour the mixture into a freezer-safe container and freeze. It will be ready in about 3-4 hours. Best made the day before and frozen overnight.
The other day I got a letter addressed to me from AARP. Yep, the American Association of Retired People. I did a double-take and was immediately incensed that someone thought I was old enough to get a letter from Matt McCoy. I tore it up and haven’t stopped thinking about it since.
The truth is, I’m turning fifty in November. When I was a kid, I thought that a fifty-year-old person was old. I mean, they weren’t old, old, but they were definitely old. Then again, anyone over the age of 30 was old. But what I am is neither young nor old. I am no longer sprightly, yet not weary. I am not foolhardy, but not wary and skittish either. Sandwiched by aging parents and younger children, I am somewhere in the middle of all these things.
If the year were 1921, I would have already lived 83.3% of my life. Yep, exactly one hundred years ago, the average lifespan for a woman was sixty-one and sixty-years-old for a man. Thanks to substantial health improvements (although this is declining in the US), we are all living longer lives. They say fifty is the new forty, and technically it’s true. Globally our lifespan has doubled since 1900. We live longer, but our quality of life is diminishing, and the stigma of getting older still exists.
For me, middle-age hasn’t meant much. According to my doctor, I have the bloodwork of a healthy twenty-five-year-old. I credit my plant-based diet, my yoga practice, and my love for physical activities. I have also recently taken up kayaking and trail running. After years of pounding the pavement, I am now more of a dirt and roots kind of girl. I am seeking things that challenge me physically and mentally push me out of my comfort zone. I am, as Thomas admonishes, “raging against the dying of the light.” I know that it is up to me to keep the flame burning bright. I think, therefore, I am.
But if age really is a state of mind, then I will leave you with the wise words of my Guru.
“Growing old is a long-established habit of losing the authority to remain vital. It’s an approval and disapproval that’s passed through generations of DNA with body language, eye and facial expressions, tones of voice, gestures with the hands, and countless conversations about exhaustion. Staying young and vibrant throughout life — mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually — requires maintenance of an authority to be unique and never give up. This means honoring the cells of your body; the ideas in the mind, and the freedom to relate in a heart-to-heart way with everyone.
When conscious of this, you grow wiser and remain vital, and life’s stresses dissolve in a healthy awareness. Human beings need to capture this immortal authority. . . random traits with no real value, or vitality that do no good. To remain youthful, vital and healthy, you must give yourself permission to be full of yourself, and then validate this freedom. This freedom discovers the true nature of evolution . . . a step by step process of progress. It’s a trial with errors and healthy forgiveness with loving kindness . . . a check and balance that assures the ultimate accuracy of your growth. This allows you to keep up in the midst of “normal” doubt and the “looks” you’ll receive for impacting the Earth so dramatically.
Our prayer is that you choose to remain this vital and free, rather than following the habits of the crowd; that your ideas remain as tolerant of others as you expect others to be of you; that you connect your physical world to your immortal soul, and allow this marriage to guide you through a kind and loving life on Earth that extends the envelope everywhere, and does this well beyond one hundred years.” —Guru Singh Yogi
I’ve wanted to make this recipe for a long time. I also wanted to create a yummy recipe for the 4th of July. Hence, the raw cheesecake! Key Lime Pie screams summer, but I wanted to make something a little more festive for a holiday. At first, I tried making a red, white, and blue cheesecake, but that idea came crashing down when I couldn’t get a pretty red layer. It kept coming up pink. And on one occasion, it even turned brown! The alternative was to use food coloring, but I wanted to keep it clean. In the end, I decided the red should come from fresh raspberries. You could even use pomegranate arils, or pitted cherries as an alternative. It is beautiful, as well as delicious!
Since it does require some freezer time, you’ll want to make this the day before. For the first layer, I would recommend freezing for at least 3-4 hours before adding the second layer. When I made this the first time, I used soft-baked vegan oatmeal cookies pulsed with coconut oil for the crust. It was yummy, but it wasn’t raw. If you decide to use the cookies, you will need at least eight large soft-baked cookies and 1/4 cup coconut oil. I liked the addition of the raisins in my crust, but if you don’t, either pick them out or find oatmeal cookies without raisins (not easy to do, by the way).
If you make this let me know how you like it! Be sure to let the cheesecake thaw for at least 25-30 minutes before serving.
When I was a kid in the early ’80s, my parents used to take my brother and me to a Mexican restaurant in Kansas City called Manny’s. This restaurant helped form my palate as a child, with rich spices, flavorful and savory foods. It’s on my bucket list next time I go home! First, though, I always call ahead and speak with the chef about vegan options. It’s easier for everyone when a restaurant has a heads-up. You’re also guaranteed a much better dish when they’ve had a minute to think.
Fortunately, back then, my dad spoke pretty good Spanish, so we could successfully order! I think now they have English speaking service, but back then…! I’m pretty confident my love for Mexican food comes from these early memories. One of my favorite dishes was the Chili Relleno. I loved them. This recipe isn’t quite that, mainly because Relleno’s are stuffed with gooey cheese, beef, and then deep-fried.
Thankfully, the world of plant-based meats has come a long way, baby. The options are endless these days, and most of them are good. They are also very expensive and can easily be replaced with our good friend, the mushroom! Back in the ’90s, I would have used Texturized Vegetable Protein, or TVP, or in my early vegetarian life. TVP is easy to use, loves to absorb flavor, and is super inexpensive. Today, I would prefer to use the mighty minced fungi.
Happy Summer to all of you! Nos vemos pronto. Cuídate!
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease, or line, a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange halved poblano peppers in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When ready, add oil and when oil is shimmering, add the sausage or mushrooms, onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Sauté until sausage is cooked through, use a spoon or spatula to break up sausage as it cooks.
Add the spices and grain of choice to the pan, and stir well. Next, add red peppers and green chilies, mix well. Finally, add the black beans and corn, stir. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until sauce has reduced a bit. Remove from heat and let cool.
Spoon mixture into the peppers, drizzle with queso, and return to oven for another 10-15 minutes or until peppers are tender and cheese is melted. Allow peppers to cool slightly before serving. Serve with minced cilantro and salsa.
My father died last year. He had just turned 70 years old. The official diagnosis was Agent Orange Related Parkinson’s Disease. The official cause of death was asphyxiation. He died choking on his own blood. And though he may have died on January 29, 2020, the truth is, Agent Orange exposure killed him 50 years before.
For the first two years of their marriage, my mom was the recipient of many a late-night trip to the floor as my father would grab her and toss her, yelling “incoming.” The only story I had ever heard about his time in Vietnam was one in which he was riding shotgun, holding a gun, as their convoy passed through a small village. As was often the case, the villagers in town would gather on each side of the road as the soldiers would throw provisions and food to them.
The young Vietnamese children would run up yelling, “chop, chop,” which meant candy. My Dad said he often knew when they were among the Viet Cong because no one gathered. But this particular day, as the crowd parted, a young Vietnamese girl about four years old walked from the crowd and stopped about 20 feet ahead of them. My father saw the grenade. As the truck stopped, he got out and slowly made his way over to her. He spoke to her in Vietnamese and asked her to drop it. He asked again, and he asked again. But the child reached for the pin. In one fail swoop, my father made a decision that changed his view of life forever.
The only other story I have heard about my Dad, and Vietnam, came last week at his service. This letter was written by one of my Dad’s platoon buddies. Jay had reached out to my Dad via email before he died, but my Dad could not respond. So after letting him know about the email, Reverend Apple decided to reach out to Jay. This is the letter that Reverend Apple read…
Hello Reverend Apple,
Thanks so much for letting me know about Glenn’s passing. I am sorry to hear that he is gone and wish we might have had the opportunity to reconnect. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.
Glenn saved my life on Easter Sunday 1969 (April 6) in a clearing in the jungle near Black Virgin Mountain Nui Be Den) in Vietnam. Our company’s lead platoon was ambushed earlier in the afternoon. Two men either killed or badly injured lying in the clearing, exposed to fire from North Vietnamese Army soldiers concealed in well-camouflaged bunkers. Our platoon was called forward to try to reach the casualties, and the platoon leader instructed me to send a fire team (3-4 guys) forward toward the nearest body to pull it back.
Leading the team, I crawled across the clearing but was suddenly hit by a burst of fire from an AK-47, which tore my rifle from my hands and also punctured my left lung, just missed my heart, and wedged within an inch of my spine. About the same time, a rocket-propelled grenade went off in a tree at the edge of the clearing, and I was also spattered with shrapnel. I did some serious praying, and God sent Glenn Dale and the platoon leader across that bullet-swept field to pull me back. Unfortunately, the enemy was still very much present, as I was shot again in the leg after being pulled back to our side of the clearing.
I suspect Glenn did not receive an award for bravery for his actions that day (enlisted men seldom did). Still, he certainly deserved to do so, as he openly exposed himself to the enemy fire to carry me to safety. Without his action, I would certainly have died there and then.
Later in the afternoon, I almost missed the medevac helicopter, as they thought I was a goner. When I finally lay on an operating table at a MASH hospital in Tay Ninh, a priest gave me the last rites. You cannot imagine my surprise when I awoke the following day. I spent the rest of 1969 in military hospitals until discharged – from the hospital and the army – on December 31, 1969.
Please express my condolences and my eternal thanks to Glenn’s family for sending him to me on that Easter over a half-century ago.
Everyone loves hummus! At least, everyone I know loves hummus. But I’ll be you’ve never had hummus made with ingredients forged from your backyard! And I don’t mean your garden! Here in Missouri, we have an overabundance (literally) of wild garlic mustard. A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to take a walk in the woods with a Conservation Agent. She showed our group how to identify wild edible mushrooms, wild ginger, and wild garlic mustard. In addition, we found wild onions and learned about edible flowers. Hence, my recipe for Wild Garlic Mustard Hummus with Roasted Radish and Wildflowers!
I have wanted to make this recipe for a while but just haven’t had the time. Until now! I was a little nervous about posting this hummus, as I thought many people might refrain from making it because of the “wild” nature of the recipe! But, I decided to make it anyway because finding wild garlic mustard is very easy for those who want to head to the woods. For those who are not feeling quite that adventurous, feel free to use dandelion greens, arugula, or another spicy green!
Know Before You Go
Garlic Mustard is one of the more popular wild edibles, and it is also one of the healthiest. However, it would be best to learn how to identify it correctly before you can forage this wild edible. Thankfully Garlic Mustard is a straightforward plant to identify, plus it does not have any toxic look likes to my knowledge. It is also considered to be an invasive plant, so it is not recommended that you plant it after you pull it.
I do not particularly care for raw radishes! They are just a little too spicy for my palate. However, roasting them brings out their natural sweetness and transforms them into something I can’t get enough of! They add a lovely addition and the farmer’s markets are brimming with them! If you opt for the wildflowers be sure they are far enough in the woods that they don’t get sprayed with pesticides. The tops of clover are a perfect choice. Wild blue phlox (the perennial kind in the woods), marigolds, dandelions, nasturtiums, roses, or the tops off of any flowering herb work well as a topper! I have tons of phlox in my backyard so it was an obvious choice for me!
1 lb. fresh radishes, stems removed, ends trimmed, and halved
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil, or avocado oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 tspdried chives
1/4 tsp dried dill
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 cupwild garlic mustard, rinsed, and chopped
1can organicchickpeas, drained, and rinsed
3 Tbsp organic tahini
1 Tbsp(15ml)lemon juice, about 1/2 a large lemon
2 Tbsp (30ml)water
2 Tbsp(30ml)olive oil (if oil free, you can sub oil for chickpea brine)
Preheat oven to 425℉. In a bowl, combine the radishes, coconut oil, herbs, salt, and pepper. Toss until the radishes are evenly coated. (Note: don’t add the minced garlic until step 3).
Spread radishes out in a single layer in a large parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes. After the first 10 minutes of baking add the minced garlic and toss. Return to oven to bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until radishes are golden brown and easily pierced with a fork.
Garnish with fresh parsley, dill, or chives
Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth.
If the hummus is too dry, add 1 tbsp of water, or aquafaba (chickpea brine) until desired consistency is achieved.
Taste for seasoning. Garnish with radishes and flowers.
Hummus will last up to a week refrigerated and stored in an air tight jar.
Serve with pita bread, raw or roasted vegetables, and thinned out with water it makes a great salad dressing!
It’s Cinco de Mayo, and I don’t have a lot of time to waste! I was in the middle of a lesson plan with my kiddos when I remembered this culinary holiest of holidays! Anytime I get a chance to eat Mexican food, I do! I also do it with extreme vigor, hence, these nachos! Served with my Queso Blanco, these babies will have you dancing in your kitchen! Why do you ask, are they so good?
Because the “jackfruit carnitas” is the star of the show. Not going to lie. I can be found eating it fresh out of the oven while it’s still on the baking sheet! I love this recipe and find that finishing it in the oven is why it goes from good…to out of this world! Even your hardcore meat-eating friends will LOVE these nachos!
Don’t be scared of the number of ingredients. They are primarily spices. If you don’t want to make the spice mix, you can always grab a premed Mexican spice mix at the grocery store. You can also make the carnitas in advance, then slow-warmed in a 350° F oven. Just sprinkle the jackfruit with 2 tbsp of water, and stir well. Add to a prepared baking sheet and warm in the oven for 20 minutes! ¡Ahí lo tienes!
Preheat oven to 425° F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Drain jackfruit in a colander and use your fingers, and shred jackfruit into pieces. (I generally pick out the seed pods and toss them). Set aside.
Heat a medium skillet (I use cast-iron) over medium heat. When the pan is warmed, add oil. Add onion and cook until softened, translucent, and lightly caramelized, about 7-8 minutes. Add sliced garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
Add spices. Mix well and sauté for 30 seconds to a minute.
Add tomato paste and stir well.
Add prepared jackfruit and soy sauce, maple syrup, liquid smoke, citrus juices, and cider vinegar. Stir well—season with salt and pepper. Simmer the mixture gently for another 10-15 minutes. Carefully remove from pan and add to prepared baking sheet. Add to the oven, and slow roast jackfruit for 20 minutes, or until edges begin to crisp and brown. While the jackfruit is in the oven, prep your toppings.
Chop avocados, green onions, and tomatoes. Shred the lettuce.
Remove jackfruit from the oven and immediately season jackfruit with fresh lime juice, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. (Mix spices together in a small bowl and sprinkle over the top).
Assemble nachos, add your favorite ingredients, and enjoy!
It’s been a while since I’ve written. I’ve been thinking a lot about writing, I just haven’t actually written anything down. Much like writing recipes, I have gotten to the point where I only want to write something that’s meaningful to me. I put a lot of pressure on myself to create and make something consistently. And then I end up not wanting to do anything at all. Run the other way, if you will.
According to my doc, it’s making my blood pressure go up. That scared me. I will 50 years old in 6 months, and I refuse to take medications. So, I’m going to try the opposite approach and give myself some space. It is there where I imagine I will find my creativity again and hopefully regain my peace.
Speaking of medications, I get my second Covid shot in a few weeks. I’m excited. I’m also a bit flabbergasted by those who still think the vaccine is going to make them sterile, or it’s deep state government trying to change their DNA, or it’s the mark of the beast. These are most likely the same folks who are taking 2-3 different pharmaceuticals already.
I say this confidently since nearly 70% of American’s take at least one prescription drug, and more than half take two, according to the Mayo Clinic. Things like statins, anti-depressants, and immunosuppressants, are the most common. These are also the same drug manufacturers who are making the Covid vaccine. Am I the only one who sees the irony in this?
Why then are American’s so suddenly concerned about what they put in their bodies? Between the food they eat and their lifestyle medications, it’s the Covid vaccine that’s got everyone all up in arms? On one hand, it’s strange to me, but on the other hand, it’s not surprising. I remind myself that I live in a country that spends more money on healthcare than anyone else in the world. Yet, we are also the sickest of all of the industrialized nations.
I get it, a significant concern for many is the limited amount of testing and safety trials. While this is understandable, did you know that for a major pharmaceutical company to get drug approval, they only need to have two trials that show the drug is effective and safe? So, a drug company could have run 100 trials against the placebo, and even if 98 trials indicated they were not effective but at least two of them showed they were effective, they could move on to the next phase of getting them out to the public. Two is all they need.
My good friend Dan is a biochemist and QA Manager at Pfizer. He is also one of the scientists who worked tirelessly to help create the vaccine against Covid-19. In the human trials at Pfizer, the vaccine was compared to the placebo in 43,448 people. During the study, 170 participants developed Covid. When the blind study was revealed, 162 of the patients were in the placebo group. In other words, they did not get the vaccine. Of the ten most severe cases, 9 out of 10 were also the placebo group. Moderna’s results were very similar. There were 185 cases, and all but 11 were in the placebo group. But of Moderna’s most severe cases, 30 out of 30 were in the placebo. They both show 90% effectiveness.
Aside from the vaccine, the best cure for covid might just be education. My daughter and I took a walk behind our house the other day. We live in the woods, and there is an old cemetery about ¼ mile out of our backdoor. When I say old, it’s between 150-220 years old. She was fascinated by how young people were when they died back then. We counted only a handful of people who were over the age of 70. We talked about the kinds of things people died from, including smallpox, tuberculosis, typhoid, mumps, measles, rubella.
You get my point. Vaccines have helped us more than they’ve hurt us. Science matters, and it’s essential to our survival. Social media can help speak the truth, but it’s also the new National Enquirer in many ways. And it should not and cannot be one’s only source of information.
When 11 percent or about 39.6 million American’s believe the government is mandating a switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs because the light bulbs make people obedient and easy to control, we have a problem on our hands. Disinformation and conspiracy theories have become a cultural pandemic. And experts see this spread of disinformation as a public health emergency that’s threatening democracy, increasing the risk of further violence, and straining family relationships.
This misinformation includes those who believe that the vaccine has a tracking device, or a chip, implanted in it. Some of these people are Christian right devotees for whom politics has become their new religion. The idea that the chips will allow the government and corporations to surveil people who get the vaccine is complete unproven nonsense. Also, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and cell towers using 5G technology are also allegedly involved. Apparently, there’s a video on the internet that Gates made about COVID-19 vaccines and it has convinced some they can change DNA, the molecule that contains a person’s genetic code.
How far are we willing to allow these people to take us? Certain estimates are that only 47% of people in the US are willing to get vaccinated. That is not enough for us to obtain herd immunity and finally move past this. When ignorance and fear take the place of logic and science, I fear we are doomed.
So how do we untangle the truth? It turns out the best way to fight a conspiracy theory isn’t with facts. If you’re trying to debunk them on Facebook, you’re likely wasting your time, said Geoff Dancy, associate professor of political science at Tulane University School of Liberal Arts. “Debunking means saying, ‘Hey, look, there’s this fact that your theory can’t explain. So you shouldn’t believe it anymore, right?’ Why doesn’t that work?
Well, conspiracy theorists are remarkably resilient to that kind of a thing,” Dancy said. “To change a conspiracy theorist’s ideas or susceptibility to the actual truth, you have to change the way that you interact with them.” Seeking the truth together, developing trust, and encouraging people to read information from various credible sources can be helpful.
Many people with lower levels of education tend to be drawn to conspiracy theories. And we don’t argue that’s because people are not intelligent. It’s simply that they haven’t been allowed to have or haven’t been given access to the tools to enable them to differentiate between sound sources and wrong sources or credible sources and non-credible sources. So, they’re looking for that knowledge and certainty but not necessarily looking in the right places. The truth is, we don’t need to look anywhere else but in the past.
Before vaccines, the average lifespan at the time was around 35 years. Over the last 200 years, U.S. life expectancy has more than doubled to almost 80 years (78.8 in 2015), with vast improvements in health and quality of life. Yes, some people will have side effects, and in comparison to the enormous number of lives that are saved because of them, it is worth it.
Unfortunately, measles is now resurgent in the United States and in many other countries. We cannot let historical amnesia or misinformation be why we end up with a resurgence of diseases like polio, diphtheria, and measles. And we cannot let Covid-19 be what kills us.
I am a big pasta girl! But like most people, I would imagine, I tend stick to traditional recipes like spaghetti, fettuccini, and lasagna. Mostly because buying a stuffed pasta like tortellini isn’t easy when you’re a vegan. So what is a girl to do? Make a fantastic version of goat cheese, add some dried herbs, stuff wonton wrappers with fantastic cheese, and BOOM! Homemade tortellini!
I love this recipe…and admittedly, a lot is going on! But no worries, you can make much of the recipe in advance, aka the vegan goat cheese and the tortellini. In French, beurre means butter, and blanc means white. So, this is a classic “white” sauce made with butter!
Beurre blanc can sometimes be viewed as tricky to make. Because without the addition of egg yolk to stabilize the sauce, it is prone to split. The acid in the citrus sauce can ‘break’ if heated too hot, or too many times, or not whisked while heating. The key is to ensure that the butter is chilled and added slowly. And also, be sure to turn DOWN heat to med/low when adding the butter so that you don’t end up with Beurre Marron! Good things come to those who wait.
As a matter of practice, I like to make my sauces an hour before use. I’m not too fond of surprises, and if for some reason the sauce doesn’t turn out, I still have time to make a new one. Yes, after almost 25 years, it does still happen. If needed, it can easily be reheated over low heat.
Freezing the tortellini: If not cooking the tortellini immediately, freeze them on a sheet pan and transfer them to a freezer-safe container once solid. Tortellini will keep for about three months. Cook directly from the freezer, but increase the cooking time by a minute or two.
Add almond cheese to a medium-size bowl. Add Herbs de Provence, parmesan cheese, fennel pollen, if using, and salt and pepper. Mix well.
Dust a clean surface with cornmeal. Lay wonton wrapper flat and add 1 rounded teaspoon to the center of the wrapper.
Lightly brush the edges of the wonton wrapper with water (I keep a small bowl of water nearby). Fold wonton into a triangle. Turn triangle, so the long edge is facing you. Gently press the filling flat and fold wonton 3/4 of the way upward, toward its tip. Flatten slightly. Brush each side of the flap with water. Placing your finger in the center of the fold, carefully fold each side over your finger. Lightly pinch closed. Continue until all cheese has been used.
Add tortellini to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
In a dutch oven, bring salted (about 1 tsp) water to a boil.
Drop tortellini into boiling water. Remove from water when tortellini begin to float.
Citrus Beurre Blanc:
Heat one tablespoon of butter in a saucepan and add the shallots. Cook briefly, stirring, and add the citrus and wine. Cook until the liquid is almost totally reduced.
Add the heavy cream and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and slowly add the pieces of butter, a few at a time, stirring rapidly with a wire whisk.
When sauce is done, add tortellini and stir until warmed through.
Serve in a shallow bowl, and top with fennel fronds and orange peel.
Squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over pasta, and serve warm.
This is THE best recipe for creating a rich vegan-style goat cheese! It’s tangy like goat cheese, creamy, and a bit crumbly like a Boursin, and You can slice it, diced, crumbled, even baked! It is also the rock star of my vegan cheese board! Made with coconut milk and almonds, this cheese can be ready to eat in as little as an hour. Quick note, be sure to buy “refined” coconut oil. If you use extra virgin or unrefined coconut oil, your cheese will taste like coconut.
Since it’s a cultured cheese, the longer it sits at room temperature, the tangier it will be. The sweet spot seems to be about 48 hours! I added one probiotic capsule to culture it. But if you like it tangier, you can add the contents of an additional probiotic capsule!
I found many recipes that use macadamia nuts or cashews, both of which are very expensive. For this recipe, I opted for blanched, slivered almonds. They’re inexpensive, and yet they have the mild flavor and similar fat content of the other two nuts. Fat is important for making cheese!
This cheese makes a great filling for ravioli or tortellini! It also makes a mean bruschetta! If you make this, please tag me and let me know how you like it!
This bowl is a family favorite! I love the tofu cutlets, and the BBQ makes it sooooo good! Feel free to use whatever veggies you have on hand. The great thing about a bowl is that there is no wrong way to make it! I love the Southwest flair this dish has, and it makes a perfect weeknight dish!
You can make the cilantro lime rice ahead of time, and it helps when you have several things cooking at once. I used a smoky-sweet Kansas City-style BBQ sauce, but again, it’s your preference! This dish would also be great with coleslaw instead of rice! You could also go Korean style with some Gochujang, black rice, and baked cauliflower! The possibilities are endless!
1 (15 oz) can Pinto beans, drained and rinsed well
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
1 head of organic broccoli
3 Tbsp water
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Pinch of sea salt
Place the soy sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and Montreal Seasoning in a blender.
Blend at high speed for 30 seconds until thoroughly mixed.
Preheat oven to 350° F.
When tofu is pressed, pat dry and lay flat. Cut tofu in half widthwise. Cut each piece in half again, and repeat once more until you have eight rectangles.
Place tofu in a non-reactive, preferably glass pan or bowl with a lid. Add marinade and coat well.
Allow tofu to marinate for at least 30 minutes, (up to 4 hours).
While tofu is marinating, make your Rice. * (See note)
When rice is done, warm a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is warm, add 2 tsp of olive oil.
When oil is shimming, add tofu and any marinade that is left over. Pan sear tofu until browned on each side. About 2-3 minutes per side.
When browned, remove the tofu and add to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush one side of the tofu with BBQ sauce and bake for 3-4 minutes. Remove from oven, flip tofu, brush the other side. Return to oven for 3-4 more minutes.
While tofu is in the oven, in a medium-size saucepan, add drained and rinsed pinto beans, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper each, 1/2 cup vegetable stock, and 1 tsp of cumin. Cook over medium heat until warmed through.
While beans are simmering, add broccoli to the same skillet you used to cook the tofu. Do not clean the pan first. You want the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook broccoli with 3 Tbsp of water, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and sea salt, over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes until bright and lightly browned.
Remove tofu from the oven and lightly brush each side with more BBQ Sauce.
Assemble bowl, Rice first, Broccoli, Beans, and add Tofu to Rice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
I love this rice dish! It’s super simple to make and goes with just about everything! My daughter loves the cilantro rice at Qdoba, so I decided to make a homemade version just for her! I prefer brown basmati for general use, but for this dish, I opted for white basmati. With a high protein content and very low GI ranking, brown basmati rice can be a healthy option if you use grains. I have not tried this with cauliflower rice, but I would imagine it would be an easy swap!
I like to toast my rice before boiling it. Toasting grains before cooking can enhance the nutty depth of the grains, lending an extra layer of flavor to a final dish! This dish pairs well with my BBQ Tofu Bowl!