10 Must Try Recipes Before Summer’s Over

10 Must Try Recipes Before Summer’s Over

Summer is almost over, and before it is, I pulled 10 of my must-try before-summer recipes.   I’ve covered everything from soups and appetizers to main dishes and desserts!

One of my favorite things to use is our pizza oven. It is honestly my new favorite toy! It takes a bit of work, but it is worth the effort. This recipe is one of my favorites, and if you don’t want to make it on the grill, you can easily throw a tray in the oven!

 1. Charred Broccoli and Garlic Ricotta Toast

Summer wouldn’t be summer without watermelon! This is one of my favorite soups, and I think you’ll like it too! If you can find a “Black Diamond” watermelon, grab one! They’re worth the price!

2. Watermelon Gazpachco

Who doesn’t love a yummy, beautiful bowl for lunch or dinner? I love pickling and canning fresh vegetables from my garden.   Onions are my new favorite thing to grow! I keep pickled onions on hand nearly year-round. This recipe uses tomatoes, quick pickled onions, and micro-greens!

3. Hummus Bowl with Roasted, Raw, and Pickled Vegetables

I made the following recipe for the Fourth of July a few years ago. These tiny treasures only take a little while to make, but they do need some freezer time, so it’s best to make them the day before you want to eat them! If you like red, white, and blue, skip the matcha in the cheesecake and add key lime juice to your white layer! This recipe is also 100% raw vegan.  For the rose cheesecakes, I added Anima Mundi Herbals Dirty Rose Chai collagen powder, a plant-based collagen that is super bio-available.

4. Raw Key Lime, Blue Spirulina, and Rose Cheesecakes

Summer is usually a pretty busy time for us. We travel a lot, everyone runs in different directions, and sometimes I want a quick meal. My go-to is pasta! Cacio E Pepe in English means cheese and pepper. This simple delight is on the table in under 30 minutes.  This recipe is perfect for you if you have cherry tomatoes growing in your garden!

5. Cacio E Pepe with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Fennel Pollen

If you have been with me for a while, then it’s no secret that I love Mexican food. I could eat it every meal daily and never grow tired of it. Tacos are my mainstay; I eat them for breakfast and dinner. The only thing that is second to tacos in my book is a creamy, delicious dip served with tortilla chips.   Hence, my following recipe. Muy, muy delicioso!

6. Smoky Poblano Corn Dip

An oldie but goodie is my Sweet Potato Coconut Curry with Mango Salsa. Mango season is now! I love them so much; their sweetness perfectly complements the spicy curry and sweet potato. If you don’t have a spiralizer, most grocery stores will have sweet potatoes spiralized or butternut squash, which has a similar color and flavor and makes a fine stand-in.

7. Sweet Potato Coconut Curry with Mango Salsa

Another mainstay of summer is my Poke Bowl with Compressed Watermelon.  In place of Ahi Tuna, the compressed watermelon is an impressive imposter.  If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, don’t worry; you can use a straw and a gallon-size ziplock!  It’s a little bit of effort for a whole lot of flavor.

8. Poke Bowl with Compressed Watermelon 

For this Kansas City native, summer is not summer without BBQ.  Honestly, I don’t miss meat. I miss the smell and flavors of slow-roasted barbeque.  Jackfruit is wonderful because it has the texture of meat and loves to soak up the flavor of any marinade or sauce.  I lived in North Carolina for a while about 25 years ago, and when my work said they were bringing in BBQ, I was stoked.  Then, when I opened my little styrofoam box and found slaw on top of my meat, I almost threw it in the trash.  Not to mention, it was also a vinegar-based BBQ instead of tomato-based.  I still hate vinegar-based BBQ. It’s not natural.  However, I did make nice with the slaw on top of my sandwich, and now I can’t get enough!

9. BBQ Jackfruit Sliders

My friends, let’s end with a dessert, shall we?  This simple sorbet recipe uses one of my favorite summertime ingredients, the lovely, delicious, and often overlooked rhubarb. A vegetable is often used as a fruit in the culinary world.  When choosing rhubarb, look for crisp stalks that are firm and tender. Try to avoid stalks that are too hard or thick. Unlike its friend, the strawberry, color doesn’t have much impact on taste.

10. Strawberry Rhubarb Sorbet

Enjoy, my friends!  It’s been a long, hot summer, for sure.  I don’t know about you, but I am exhilarated by the notion of cool autumn weather!

Much love.  See you in September.




Don’t shoot the messenger

Don’t shoot the messenger

This piece was written by my good friend and neighbor, Kelly Wolz.  It is dedicated to all the girls I’ve loved before, my sisters of the present, and all the women I will meet and share life with in the future.

My sentiments exactly.




I have been seeing a lot of reviews on the Barbie Movie, and to be honest, I haven’t seen it, and I’m not sure if I will.

It’s not that I’m not a supporter of females or blind to all the adversities we feel and deal with daily. Trust me. I could write a book on how dirty I and some women in my industry have been played.

Disclaimer, I know what I’m about to say will come off as wholly arrogant, and that’s okay. I feel a bit entitled and proud of my hard work and where I am, and it didn’t come easy.

Sadly, I’m not the norm regarding confidence, and I’m incredibly comfortable in my skin.

Here is the truth. Unfortunately, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows regarding being a confident female. Unfortunately, that confidence comes with extreme guilt, sadness, hate, and wonder.

Regarding the hate, I take action from Jay Z’s playbook “Gone brush your shoulders off.”

It’s the wonder of women that always gets me messed up. Women always wonder what other women have or how they walk around with such confidence—constantly questioning the validity of their own persona and doubting that someone with a certain face, size, kind of car, hair, makeup, kids, husband, no husband, etc could be so happy. Instead of being happy and proud, most women are in disbelief and wonder why someone could be so delighted with who they are and what they have.  Just know, What’s good for me or someone else, may not suit you. Good thing, I am me, and you are you.

And for me one of the hardest things for me as a female is to watch another female (especially if it’s someone I respect) bring another female down. What’s even worse than that??? Witnessing such beautiful women struggle with what they see in the mirror and then letting that image affect them mentally.

So you know, some of the most physically beautiful friends and family I have, maybe some of the most insecure people I know. Society has led people to believe we should be concerned and worried about women who don’t charm the world and the insecurities they may have as a result. (Don’t worry about us; our milkshakes can still bring the boys out to the yard). 😉

I am more concerned about our children and the women who hold the power to charm the world and feel that pressure always. They spend their time counting calories, feeling the need for the best of everything: the perfect body, hair, clothes, and makeup. It’s almost as if the world treats them like performers. Their sole purpose is to be easy on the eyes of society. And the moment they take a break from trying to impress the world, they feel that negative energy from everyone because people hold so much value in their beauty that they don’t take the time to see their inner beauty.

Ladies, can we make a pack? To be more supportive of each other and more open about our confidences and insecurities. Can we build each other up instead of ripping each other down when we think someone has surpassed where we want to be?

Let’s use our women super powers and determination to ensure our children have fewer adversities than we do. We are all in this together ❤️

Built Soul Tough

Built Soul Tough

The other day I was mindlessly scrolling and came across a video of a baby bear and its momma climbing up a dangerously steep snowy mountainside. Momma made it up, no problem. The baby, however, kept falling. No matter how often it tried, it would lose its footing and fall back. And just when you get excited thinking the baby is going to crest that hill and run off with momma, it falls nearly to its death.

I was shocked, heartbroken, and began to cry. And just as you think there is no hope, the baby instantly reaches out and grabs onto a bare rock. Then it starts to climb and climb and climb. Momma is standing at the edge, watching, pacing back and forth. Suddenly, you began to see the rise of grit and determination in this tiny being. The desire to live is a powerful one, particularly after you meet death face to face. Without hesitation this time, the baby climbed to the top and followed momma off into the woods. It never quit trying.  

The feeling and the meaning behind that video will never leave me. The general definition of grit is “courage and resolve, the desire to persevere.” Grit is our spiritual toughness, and it doesn’t live close to the surface of our skin. Instead, it resides deep in our solar plexus, near the heart, and it drives us forward when we all but give up. We all have it, every one of us. And when the soul calls out, we can either listen to it or not.

When I trail run up a hilly, rocky, and often rooted pathway, it is not my strong legs or cardiovascular fitness that gets me to the finish line. It is my soul that gets me there. Runners understand this. Ask Navy Seal and ultra runner David Goggins. We are, to say the least, a strange bunch. No matter how difficult, my need to finish does not come from thoughts in my head. It is a feeling that lies deep within my chest. It’s a feeling, not an opinion. While my brain is usually saying, “Wtf? Stop. Why are you doing this?”  My soul says, “I gotta do this.” 

When faced with stark or difficult circumstances, the urge to give up or quit easily comes to us. Our thinking mind is saying, “You’ll never make it. It’s too hard, why bother? What’s the point,” and it is easy enough to listen to. It takes no effort to quit. It’s easy. But if we do, what are we left with, disappointment, discouragement, and an unmet desire to achieve that which our heart wants? We cannot listen to our minds. We must listen to our soul.

The road of perseverance is paved with a deep urge to push through even when we’re tired or wallowing in self-doubt. It pushes us past endless challenges that drain our energy, past the suffering, fear, and hardships that threaten to derail us. But once we get across the finish line, or get our diploma, or take the leap and start our own business, whatever it is we want to achieve, we realize it’s not the result that matters anyway; its that we know we can count on the strength of our soul to get us where we want to go.

And, like everything else, it takes practice. And the way we practice is by doing hard things and realizing that fear is not an option. No matter how small your challenge may seem to others, for you it can be monumental. We each have our paths. One person’s path is not better or worse, just different.

How do we know if we are listening to our soul or mind? Simple. You think with the mind. You feel with the soul. The brain is rational. The soul is not. The mind is usually what is leading our lives. The soul is not. The mind keeps us safe. The soul feeds our faith in ourselves. The soul is something “extra” we can call on when our rational mind fails us. The mind sometimes needs help figuring out what to do. The soul always knows what to do.

Learned helplessness is a term we use in Psychology to describe a condition in which a person has a sense of powerlessness arising from trauma or a consistent failure to succeed. The inability to find a resolution in difficult situations can lead to increased feelings of stress and depression. If people think they cannot control a problem, they frequently do not even try. It’s easier to give up even when opportunities to change become available.

A few years ago, the doctor told my brother that he would never walk again after his horrific motorcycle accident. He could’ve agreed with the man and lived out his days in a wheelchair. But there was something inside him that he felt, and it kept saying, “Get up. Get up.” That was his soul speaking to him, and he listened. He now walks with a minor limp, and the doctors are amazed. He did not hear the words, “You’ll never walk again. Your paralyzed. People don’t walk after things like this.”

But so many of us don’t do the hard things because we are afraid. We don’t do what we want to do. We don’t take risks or challenge ourselves because what if we fail? What would others think? Would we ever recover? Instead, we learn to live in complacency and call it satisfaction. There is a huge difference between living and existing. Existing means we follow the thinking path. And when shit gets hard, we usually quit. Living means we follow our desires, and when shit gets hard, we reach deep and call on the extra to help us. 

The hard road is the road less traveled. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t always feel great. It can be winding, slick, riddled with potholes, and there can be many detours. That’s okay. It’s how it should be. It’s the road we pave for ourselves and others who follow. It is on that road that we call on our grit to become stronger and wiser through the challenges we face. It reminds me of Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken.”

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.


Lion’s Mane Steak with Truffle Peppercorn Tagliatelle

Lion’s Mane Steak with Truffle Peppercorn Tagliatelle

This recipe was destined to be written! The sun, the moon, and the stars truly aligned! I was fortunate to receive Seeductive Foods plant-based cheese samples, and I knew when I saw the Truffle Peppercorn cheese it was meant for a pasta dish! I found an artisan porcini tagliatelle pasta at our local farmer’s market a few days later. Once I had the pasta, I made my way over to my friend JT, grabbed some lion’s mane mushrooms, and the rest, they say it’s history!

The first thing to note about this recipe is how simple it is. The other is the importance of pressing the mushrooms! I tried making a marinade for the mushrooms, but it made them soggy because Lion’s Mane has a very high water content. So I decided to try a dry rub using my Montreal steak seasoning, which was perfection! Pressing the mushrooms helps remove the water and gives them a nice dense “steak-like” texture. 

Lion’s Mane

If you’re unfamiliar, a lion’s mane is a large, white mushroom that, as it grows, has a shaggy appearance resembling a lion’s mane. Aside from being super steamy delicious, studies have demonstrated that lion’s mane helps increase Nerve Growth Factor (NGF)levels, protecting us against degenerative brain diseases contributing to memory loss.

Lions mane also has immune-boosting benefits. When harmful pathogens enter the body through the mouth or nose as we breathe in, Lion’s mane can bolster our defenses by helping to stimulate gut bacteria to trigger the immune system!

I discovered the wondrous Lion’s Mane from vegan chef Derek Sarno, and this is a take on his recipe.  You can use any pasta or plant-based cream-style cheese, but this recipe is about the mighty lion!  

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Lion’s Mane Steak with Truffle Peppercorn Tagliatelle

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30
  • Yield: 3 steaks 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


  • 8 oz flat pasta (tagliatelle, fettucine, pappardelle)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  •  ¾ cup plant-based heavy cream
  • 1 oz. package of cream-style cheese 
  •  kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • 34 medium Lion’s Mane mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Montreal Steak Seasoning 


Truffle Peppercorn Tagliatelle:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Keep about a cup of pasta water in case you need to thin out the sauce later.
  3. Warm a large saucepan over medium heat. When the pan is warm, add olive oil.  When the oil is shimmering, add the garlic and cook for a minute or two until fragrant, but not brown.
  4. Add heavy cream and bring the sauce to a simmer, about 5-7 minutes, until nice and thick. The spoon should leave a line/trail as you run it through the sauce.
  5. Turn the heat to low and add cheese, stirring until melted and fully incorporated.
  6. Taste the sauce and add salt or fresh black pepper as needed.
  7. Add drained pasta and toss to combine.
  8. Top with fresh parsley.


Lion’s Mane Steaks:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF/200ºC
  2. Mix all dry rub ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Lightly wipe mushrooms with a wet paper towel to remove dirt or residue.  *Do not wash or submerge.
  4. Heat cast iron pan on medium-high heat.  When the pan is heated, add oil.  When the oil begins to shimmer, place the mushrooms stem side down in the pan for 90 seconds to let them soften. 
  5. Place a steak weight or smaller cast iron pan on the mushrooms. 
  6. Using a potholder or folded kitchen towel, gently press the weight down on the mushrooms.  As the mushrooms release water, press harder on the pan or weight.  Cook for approximately 5 minutes. 
  7. Carefully remove the pan or weight and wipe the water from the bottom. Flip Lion’s Mane using tongs, add more oil and cook the other side for 5 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle dry rub over Lion’s Mane, searing each side.
  9. Place the cast iron pan in the oven for 12 minutes when the Lion’s Mane is browned. Remove, let it rest for a few minutes.
  10. Slice and place over pasta.
  11. Enjoy!



Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas

Happy Cinco de Mayo! I wanted to share one of my favorite recipes and the one I’ll be making tonight, along with some cilantro rice and refried pinto beans!

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas

There are hundreds of recipes for enchiladas, and over the years, I have taken bits from every recipe I’ve ever made and combined them in a straightforward recipe. 

I subbed vegan Violife feta for the queso fresco, which worked perfectly.  Both kinds of cheese are mild, crumbly, and soft.  Though feta is a little saltier, you won’t notice it in this recipe. 

The cashew crema is optional but highly recommended!  It takes the place of sour cream, and I like to drizzle it on top of the enchiladas when they come straight out of the oven! 

Fry, Dip, and Roll time!

The most important tip for avoiding soggy enchiladas is to briefly fry your tortillas in hot oil before you fill and roll. I used to wrap the tortillas in a wet paper towel and microwave, but they still broke apart, just not as severely. The pan-frying method is foolproof! 

The other thing to note is the amount of sauce you need. Sometimes as Americans, we tend to like our food swimming in sauce. But an authentic enchilada has just enough, but not too much sauce. 


Before frying your tortillas, spread about a cup of sauce lengthwise down the center of your baking sheet. You will also want to warm your enchilada sauce slightly in a large saucepan or a small skillet.  Each tortilla needs only about 10 seconds per side. 


After frying the tortillas, dip each side in warm enchilada sauce to coat the whole surface. This method will ensure even distribution. 


Then roll. Roll the seam side down. Be sure not to fill them too much, or the filling will fall out of the sides. 


The other consideration is “to cover, or not to cover?” The short answer is both. You will want to cover them for most of the cooking time to prevent them from drying out. But, about 5 minutes before they’re done, remove the foil and bake uncovered. 

When done, top with whatever your heart desires, fresh tomatoes, sliced radishes, crunchy pickled red onions or jalapenos, lime wedges, and fresh cilantro!



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Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas with Cashew Crema

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 1x
  • Diet: Vegan



Cashew Crema: (optional, but recommended)

  • 3/4 cups raw cashews (soaked overnight or boiled for 10 minutes)
  • 2/3 cup water, plus more for desired consistency
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • Ground black pepper, to taste


  • 1012 yellow corn tortillas (white corn tortillas are too delicate)
  • 2 (15 oz) cans organic enchilada sauce (I like Hatch brand), or homemade (see simple recipe in notes below)
  • 1 (15 oz) can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn, frozen or fresh
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 medium sweet potato, small diced (bite-size)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock, or water 
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano (preferably)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 package of vegan feta, crumbled
  • 1 block Daiya Jalapeno Havarti Cheese, finely grated


  • Diced tomatoes, garnish
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • Vegan sour cream
  • Cilantro, minced


Cashew Crema:

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until completely smooth.   *May need to add more water, 1 TBSP at a time to smooth it. (Note): In my Vitamix, it took another ¼ water and about 1 minute of blending on high. It may take longer, depending on your blender. Scrape down the sides as needed.


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C)
  2. Prepare Cashew Crema and refrigerate.  
  3. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the garlic, onions, and jalapeño and cook until the onions become translucent and the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and add 1/4 cup vegetable stock or water and all remaining ingredients except feta, shredded cheese, and cashew crema. Cook for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. (You may need to add more stock or water a tablespoon at a time if necessary to prevent sticking)
  5. Pour enchilada sauce into a medium skillet and warm slightly over medium heat. 
  6. Warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in another medium-sized skillet. Add each tortilla to the oil and lightly pan-fry each side for about 10 seconds per side. Drain tortillas on a plate lined with a  paper towel.  Immediately dip in enchilada sauce.
  7. Build enchiladas by dredging each side of the tortilla evenly in the enchilada sauce. (May need to add more sauce). Fill each tortilla with a few spoonfuls of vegan feta and top with sweet potato filling.  
  8. Next, roll the tortilla and place the seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat until all tortillas are used.
  9. Cover the rolled tortillas with the remainder of your enchilada sauce. Then top with the remaining finely grated cheese.   
  10. Cover with tinfoil and bake for 20 minutes until the sauce is nice and bubbly. Remove foil and bake uncovered for 5 more minutes or until the cheese melts.
  11. Top with vegan crema, cilantro, green onion, and diced tomatoes.
  12. Enjoy!

Red Enchilada Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Mexican Oregano
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Add the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and saute the garlic until it is fragrant about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the tomato sauce, vegetable broth, chile powder, cumin, chipotle chiles, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, for 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Set aside until ready to use.


The Language of Animacy

The Language of Animacy

Language of Animacy

In her book “Braiding Sweetgrass” Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer talks about the use of pronouns in our culture.
To quote, “In the English language, we reserve the pronouns of personhood for human—he,” “she,” “they, “and not for animals, plants, and landscapes.” Animacy is the characteristic of a noun, dependent on its living or sentient nature, which affects grammatical features (it can modify verbs used with the noun, affect the noun’s declension, etc.). Simply put, animacy or animate translates into “the state of being alive.”

In most indigenous languages, such barriers between human animals and everything else do not exist. They believe we are all from the same creator and there is no hierarchy, only equality. Most lifeforms exist harmoniously, even intentionally, to sustain the whole. Trees send nutrients to other ailing trees via an underground network called a “mycorrhizal network.” The wetlands created by beaver dams hold an astounding amount of carbon dioxide. The existing beaver ponds in America store an estimated 470,000 tons of carbon a year. Butterflies and other creatures help pollinate 80% of the world’s plants.

And to those who say that other animals are not intellectual, IQ tests have shown that a pig has the same intelligence as a three-year-old human child and often scores higher than dogs. We have given cats and dogs a special place only because they have been appropriated as our companions. Don’t even get me started on dolphins or whales.

And sadly, in a meat-based culture, when we talk about a baby pig, cow, or chicken, we use the inanimate word “it” and not “he or she” to describe the animal. Imagine calling another human being an “it.” It reminds me of a book I read years ago, Dan Pelzer’s “A Called It.” Calling a living being an “it” is dehumanizing and demoralizing, making it easier to destroy.

There is a reason most of our meat comes from hidden places. The CAFOs, or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, operate in the middle of nowhere. Companies like Tyson refuse to let the public see what goes on inside. Hidden cameras captured thousands of chickens suffering from untreated injuries, illnesses, and crippling leg deformities at this Tyson contract farm. The video shows countless birds crammed into filthy, windowless sheds and forced to live for weeks in their waste and toxic ammonia fumes.

And don’t even get me started on the environmental issues of eating meat. Tyson has been found guilty of criminal pollution on multiple occasions. For example, in Missouri in 2003, Tyson pled guilty to 20 felonies and paid $7.5 million for Clean Water Act violations.  And this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Animal testing is also animal cruelty.  You can make a difference when you buy products to ensure they are cruelty-free.  Money is power. And where we choose to spend our money is our power.  Just ask the rapidly declining dairy industry.  According to the Good Food Institute (GFI), a nonprofit working to accelerate vegan alternatives to animal-based products, plant-based milk sales reached $1.9 billion in 2019. Dean Foods, the nation’s largest dairy producer, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last November after a yearslong decline in consumption.

We can make a difference, but first, we must recognize that there is no difference between humans and other animals. This is a flawed and selfish viewpoint that may well lead our planet to its sixth extinction.

What’s causing the sixth mass extinction?

Unlike previous extinction events caused by natural phenomena, the sixth mass extinction is driven by human activity, primarily (but not limited to) the unsustainable use of land, water, energy, and climate change. Currently, 40% of all land has been converted for food production. Agriculture is also responsible for 90% of global deforestation and accounts for 70% of the planet’s freshwater use, devastating the species that inhabit those places by significantly altering their habitats. It’s evident that where and how food is produced is one of the biggest human-caused threats to species extinction and our ecosystems. (1)

We must shift our way of thinking.  We must do it soon.  It’s only the first week of March here in Missouri, and the temperature will be 75°F today. My magnolia will bloom almost a full month early this year.  It’s been warm all winter, and we’ve broken several weather records while other parts of the nation have experienced relentless and drastic episodes of snow or rain.

Sometimes I fear it’s too late, and we are lost like sheep heading off a cliff.  We consume but give back very little.  We take it because we think there is more.  I am grateful to Robin for her beautiful book. To me, every day is Earth Day. And to Dr. Kimmerer,  I will never look at a tree the same way.  I will also promise to never take more than my share, never take more than half, and never the first or the last of anything in nature.  I will continue to plant trees and flowers to attract pollinators. I will pick up trash and stop using plastic. I will continue to share the gift of veganism with the world. And finally, I will plant sweetgrass and braid it like it is the hair of mother earth.



Pasta Con Broccoli

Pasta Con Broccoli

The other day, the sports page reported that Chip Caray, grandson of the famed baseball announcer Harry Caray, will join Jim Edmonds in the broadcast booth for the St. Louis Cardinals. Ben Hochman is a sports writer for The St. Louis Post Dispatch and my favorite newspaper writer because he is more than just a journalist covering sports. He’s a storyteller. And he did a great job introducing St. Louis to its newest television announcer.

Harry Christopher “Chip” Caray III is more than just a chip off the old block (sorry, I had to) he’s also a homegrown Cardinals fan. Chip was born in St. Louis and knew the Cardinals starting line-up before he knew his ABCs. Super excited to have him here and ready for the boys of summer to return! And, as it turns out, he also worked at one of my favorite St. Louis institutions, the legendary Rich & Charlie’s Italian Restaurant.

Started by Richard Ronzio and Charlie Mugavero, the pair opened the original Rich & Charlie’s in St. Louis in 1967. It is a local legend, and ask anyone who lives here, and they’ll tell you it’s not just their delicious food; the close-knit family-style atmosphere keeps them coming back!

The flavors of their fresh Rich & Charlie’s Famous House Salad with its rich and creamy Italian style dressing are forever imprinted in my brain. The salad is that good, too. But what sticks out most in my memory is their Pasta Con Broccoli.

The recipe is super simple, too!  The flavors combine to create a savory and deeply satisfying weeknight meal!  And nobody will believe that it took less than 30 minutes to make!  A couple of quick notes, you will blanch the broccoli with the pasta water.  This saves an extra step, water, and another dirty pan.

Finally, most recipes for this dish do not use wine to deglaze, but I think it adds a depth of flavor you don’t get otherwise.  That said, you can skip this step if you choose.  If you’d like to get this flavor but don’t want to use wine, feel free to use 1/8 cup water mixed with 1/8 cup white wine vinegar (no alcohol), and you will achieve nearly the same thing.

I dedicate this to my cousin Lauren Roller whose beauty is only matched by her kindness!  This is for you, sweet girl!  Love you.




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Pasta Con Broccoli

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 20
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan


  • 1 package pasta shells — cooked al dente and drained
  • 3 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 2 cups plant-based whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 head of fresh broccoli cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 8 oz of button or crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup vegan Parmesan cheese — grated
  • Salt and pepper — to taste
  • Garlic powder — to taste


  1. In a medium saucepan, cook pasta al dente (i.e., pull about 3 minutes before package directions)
  2. While pasta is cooking, warm a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter. When the butter is almost done foaming* add shallot. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and saute until fragrant—about 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium.
  3. Add mushrooms. Saute mushrooms until golden brown. About 7-8 minutes. 
  4. Add seasonings to taste.
  5. Add 1/2 white wine and deglaze pan. (Optional)
  6. When the wine has evaporated, add heavy whipping cream.
  7. Add tomato paste. Stir and mix well.
  8. Add parmesan cheese. Remove from heat. The mixture will thicken as it sits. 
  9. Taste for salt and pepper.
  10. When pasta is 4 minutes from being done, add broccoli and blanch for 1 minute. Remove 1/2 cup of pasta water and set aside. Drain pasta and broccoli. (I use a spider to remove mine from the water).  
  11. Add pasta and broccoli to the sauce, return to medium heat, and cook for 3 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add 1/2 pasta water. If it’s okay, you do not need to use this water. 
  12. Add pasta to the bowl and garnish with additional parmesan cheese.
  13. Enjoy! 


*This indicates that all the water in the butter has evaporated, and the temperature can rise above the water’s boiling point of 212 degrees.  Shallots and mushrooms both contain a lot of water.  Removing water from the butter will help the shallots and mushrooms release their flavor and brown.


  • Serving Size: 4-6

  1. In a medium saucepan, cook pasta al dente (i.e., pull about 3 minutes before package directions)
  2. Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter. Melt butter, and when the butter is almost done foaming* add shallot. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and saute until garlic is fragrant—about 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium.
  3. Add mushrooms. Saute mushrooms until golden brown.
  4. Add 1/2 white wine and deglaze pan.
  5. Saute ingredients over medium-low heat. Add seasonings to taste.
  6. When the wine has evaporated, add heavy whipping cream.
  7. Add tomato paste. Stir and mix well.
  8. Add parmesan cheese. Remove from heat. The mixture will thicken as it sits. 
  9. Taste for salt and pepper.
  10. When pasta is 4 minutes from being done, add broccoli and blanch for 1 minute. Remove 1/2 cup of pasta water and set aside. Drain pasta and broccoli. (I use a spider to remove mine from the water).  
  11. Add pasta and broccoli to the sauce, return to medium heat, and cook for 3 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add 1/2 pasta water. If it’s okay, you do not need to use this water. 
  12. Add pasta to the bowl and garnish with additional parmesan cheese.
  13. Enjoy! 

Frijoles Charros

Frijoles Charros

If you’ve been with me for a while, you know that Mexican food is my most favorite food on earth.  I love the vibrant colors, authentic flavors, and bold spices of nearly every dish I’ve ever had.  In the Mexican culture, food is an important part of their identity, symbolizing the significance of family and tradition.

As a vegan, beans are a staple in my diet.  As a fan of Mexican cuisine, bean recipes are varied and plentiful!  Black beans, pinto beans, fried or refried, served in soups, stews, tostadas, burritos, enchiladas, tacos, dips, molletes (think bruschetta), tetelas (stuffed masa cakes), tamales, nachos the list honestly goes on and on.  There is no shortage of delicious, flavorful recipes.

So, when my friend Kathy asked me if I had a recipe for Charros (Mexican Cowboy beans), I jumped to it! The traditional dish comprises pinto beans stewed with onion, garlic, and bacon.  We will use vegan chorizo, and our bacon is smoky breadcrumbs. I love this recipe so much!

The key to making good beans is often a slow and gentle process.  Cooking beans too fast can mean they are not cooked evenly and can be a bit chewy instead of creamy.  Herbs and spices can be added at any cooking stage, and I like to give my beans a good salting while they are soaking.

Here are a few more tips:

  1. Buy fresh beans. I cannot stress this enough.  Old beans in the pantry or from a dusty old store shelf should be avoided at all costs.  Old, dried beans are less flavorful and become tougher.  It’s hard to get that soft creaminess you want.  Trust me on this. Beans that have been around for too long will be cracked, chipped, and can even be split open.
  2. Add herbs and spices at any time but be sure to add some at the end of cooking. Herbs/spices added too early can lose flavor during their long cook time.
  3. Adding acids (lemon/lime juice, vinegar) to your beans is fantastic! It brightens the flavors of your dish, but just be sure to add it at the end, as acids can prevent beans from becoming tender.
  4. Simmer your beans. With about 2-3” covering them, bring beans to a boil.  Reduce heat and over.  You want a slow, steady simmer and then cover them.   The gentler the cooking, the better the beans will cook evenly and hold their shape.  Cook them too fast, and they can burst out of their skins!  Patience is key.
  5. Add fat. I cannot stress this point enough.    Fat adds depth, compliments other dishes’ flavors, and makes your beans super creamy!

I always finish my beans with a drizzle of olive oil in the bowl before serving!  As always, let me know how you like them, and tag me!


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Frijoles Charros

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Total Time: Soak for 12 hours plus cooking time
  • Yield: Serves 6-8 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


  • 1 pound dried fresh pinto beans (@ 2 cups)
  • 8 cups cold water
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 poblano chili pepper, diced
  • 1 large Roma tomato, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 chipotle chili pepper in adobo, minced
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 8oz package of vegan chorizo
  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 tablespoons bacon flavored oil (vegan), or olive oil and 1/8 teaspoon liquid smoke


  1. Clean and soak beans overnight (add 1 teaspoon of salt to water)*
  2. The next day, remove any additional debris from the beans.
  3. Add beans to a large dutch oven with 8 cups water and salt. Bring beans to a boil and reduce heat.  You do not want a rapid boil.***
  4. Skim any foam from the top of the beans. **
  5. Cook beans for approximately 2.5 hours on low.  Taste for tenderness around the 2-hour mark.
  6. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat in the last 15 minutes of bean cook time.
  7. When the oil shimmers, add onions and peppers.  Saute until onion begins to soften and turn opaque about 7-8 minutes.
  8. Add garlic and saute until it becomes fragrant about 30 seconds.  Add spices (except cilantro) and stir well.
  9. Add diced tomatoes and chipotle pepper.  Add chorizo and cook until browned. Cook for about 5-7 minutes.   If the ingredients begin to stick, add 2 tablespoons of stock or water and deglaze.   Taste for seasoning.
  10. Taste beans for doneness.  Add tomato/pepper mixture to the beans if they are almost ready.  Stir well to incorporate.  Top beans with 1/3 cup of olive oil or other rendered fat.
  11. Add cilantro and cover, and cook for 20-30 minutes.
  12. While the beans are in the final cooking stage, pulse breadcrumbs in a blender or food processor.  Do not over-process.   You want medium size bread crumbs.
  13. Add 2 tablespoons of bacon-flavored oil (or olive oil and liquid smoke) in a small skillet, and when oil is shimmering, add breadcrumbs.  Cook over medium heat until bread crumbs have browned.  About 4 minutes.  Do not let them burn.
  14. When beans are done, taste for seasoning.  They may need more salt.  Remove the strings of cilantro.
  15. Add beans to a bowl and top with bread crumbs and minced cilantro to serve.   I drizzled with a little bit more olive oil to finish.
  16. Enjoy!


*Add to a colander to rinse, then add to a pot and fill with water.  Pick out any rocks or beans that are broken.  Much of the debris should float.

**This is referred to as “scum.” The scum has some amino acids and impurities, which could include toxins.

***Slowly cooked beans equal tender, creamy, and evenly cooked beans.

Keywords: Mexican beans, charros, bean dish

Pasta alla Vodka

Pasta alla Vodka

It is said that Pasta Alla Vodka originated at Orsini Restaurant in New York, where it is believed that Chef Luigi Franzese invented the dish in the 1970s. Although there are often conflicting claims to the invention and history of the dish, one author claims that it was invented at Dante, a restaurant in Bologna, Italy.

Most recipes that call for alcohol—wine, beer, or a spirit—do so because of the respective flavor that gets added. Not so for vodka. Vodka sauce is a pink sauce with a splash of booze that exists somewhere between a tomato sauce and an Alfredo sauce. Denser milk products (such as cream) can separate, especially when an acid (like tomatoes) is introduced.

Vodka acts as an emulsifier, bonding water and fat together until they exist in smooth harmony preventing the cream from separating. This is the same principle at work when you add dijon mustard to a vinaigrette to keep your oil from separating from your vinegar. And because vodka is an excellent solvent (alcohol is the catalyst in bitters, tinctures, elixirs, and many herbal cure-alls), it extracts flavors and aromas from herbs and spices where water alone can’t.

“Vodka adds depth to a sauce both by pulling out the additional flavor and concentrating others without adding a flavor of its own,” says Bart Saracino, co-owner of Bartolino’s Restaurants in St. Louis.

So should you use a cheap or expensive vodka? Don’t skimp because you’ll likely be the one to drink the rest of the bottle.  I drove to Defiance, Missouri, to grab a bottle of Judgment Tree Vodka from my sweet friend Chris Lorch.  Chris is the co-founder of the Distillery of Defiance and the head winemaker for Sugar Creek Winery.  I have known Chris since college and am lucky to run into him every once in a while!  His place in Defiance is warm and inviting.  And his vodka, made from grapes, has a refined smoothness and distinct but subtle nuances and complexities.

Judgment Tree is a historical reference in these parts and is an homage to the great explorer and pioneer Daniel Boone.  When Boone moved to Missouri, he settled in the township of Defiance near the Missouri River and the Femme Osage District. In June of 1800, Daniel was appointed to the position of Spanish Commandant of the Femme Osage District. At that time, his district was a region running indefinitely west and north along the north side of the Missouri River.

In this role, Boone acted as the district’s civil administrator and military commander, as well as having the dual role of Spanish Syndic (Judge) of civil disputes. In his role, he held court under the large elm “Boone Judgment Tree.” (1)

As always, tag me if you make it, and let me know what you think!  And if you’re from St. Louis or ever in town visiting, be sure to head out to Defiance, stop by the Judgment Tree memorial, and stop in and see Chris. Tell him Stephanie sent you!



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Pasta alla Vodka

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch


  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 4.5-oz. tube or ½ cup double-concentrated or regular tomato paste
  • Healthy pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup quality vodka
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • 1 can whole crushed tomatoes (28 ounces)
  • Coarse kosher salt (Morton’s or Diamond) and pepper
  • 16 ounces pasta, such as penne rigate or rigatoni
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (I use Silk brand plant-based whipping cream)
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves (torn or shredded)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving (I used Violife)


  1. Fill a stock pot or other large pot three-quarters full with water and heat over high. Toss in a handful of salt and bring the water to a boil. Add pasta. Cook pasta al dente. This usually is about 2 minutes before full cooking time.  When the pasta is done, do NOT drain the pasta water.
  2. Firmly smash 4 garlic cloves with the flat side of a chef’s knife and remove the peel. Carefully slice into thin slices.
  3. Peel and dice onion.
  4. Grate 4 oz of vegan parmesan (I used Violife Parmesan)
  5. Heat butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until onion starts to brown around the edges, for 5–7 minutes.
  6. Add the entire 4.5-oz. tube of tomato paste and red pepper flakes. Stir until paste evenly coats onion. Continue to cook.  Stirring often until the paste is deep red and starting to brown on the bottom of the pot, 5–7 minutes.
  7.  Add vodka and balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan, scrape the bottom well, and stir.  Add tomatoes and cook for about 10 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat and add 1 cup of the pasta water. Stir well.
  9. Transfer tomato mixture to a food processor or blender, and add basil and purée until smooth. Return the sauce to the pan.
  10. Add 1/4 cup of warm pasta water to your cream to keep it from breaking apart.  Add warmed cream to the vodka sauce.
  11. Cook until warmed through, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in parmesan cheese and then use a spider or a slotted spoon to remove pasta from the water and add to the sauce.
  12. Toss to combine.
  13. Serve immediately with an additional sprinkle of cheese and basil, if desired.
  14. Enjoy!

Charred Broccoli and Garlic Ricotta Toasts

Charred Broccoli and Garlic Ricotta Toasts

Have you ever had ricotta toast? It’s a simple recipe with lots of variations. It all starts with a slice of quality fresh bread, a delicious dollop of ricotta cheese, and a range of topping options. You can make sweet and savory ricotta toast, from burst tomatoes with basil to fig jam with pistachios and rosemary.

This recipe is one of my favorites, topped with charred broccoli and red pepper flakes! Simple, but delicous. I made mine in our pizza oven to give it a slightly smoky and sweet taste! If using the pizza oven, be sure to have the fire scorching and a stone warming in the oven. I slid my toasts off onto the hot stone using a pizza peel. I used oven-proof gloves and bbq tongs to remove each slice vs. trying to use the peel to remove them. Trust me; this is the easiest way!

The cheese was perfectly melted, the broccoli was lightly caramelized, and the toasts were crisp on the outside but still soft and chewy on the inside! I had to wrap them up so I wouldn’t eat them all!

If you make them tag me and let me know how you like them! You can also drizzle with some agave nectar to finish them off!


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Charred Broccoli on Tofu Ricotta Toast

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10-12 minutes
  • Total Time: 20-22 minutes
  • Yield: 12 toasts 1x


Ricotta toast makes a deliciously easy breakfast or lunch! Slather on ricotta, then top with sweet or savory toppings.


  • 1 baguette, sliced 1/2″ thick on a diagonal (about 12 slices)*
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 head of broccoli, stem peeled, stem and florets chopped into 1/2” pieces
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves separated
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups tofu ricotta
  • 1/3 cup grated vegan parmesan
  • Kosher salt


  1. Place racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 400°F. Or, heat a pizza oven to a temperature.
  2. Arrange bread slices in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet or pizza peel and brush one side of each piece with oil.
  3. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of ricotta on each slide. Toss broccoli and garlic in a bowl and drizzle with the remaining oil. Season generously with salt and toss to combine.
  4. Place seasoned broccoli on the ricotta toast. Top with vegan parmesan.
  5. Add to oven or pizza oven and bake until crisp, 10–12 minutes. If using a pizza oven, you will need to rotate the toasts at least once to prevent burning.
  6. Remove from oven. Let cool slightly.
  7. Top with red pepper flakes (optional)
  8. Enjoy!


*I used sourdough