Livin' La Vida Vegan!

Rosemary & Curry Lentil Sniffle Soup

sniffle soup

Even living in Florida the winter always seems to bring the sniffles!  I found this recipe and was intrigued with the title — would it make me feel better?

I personally thought it was a bit bland so I doubled the spices and added potatoes and loved it!  I actually made it in my pressure cooker so it was ready in ten minutes, perfect when you just want to hurry up and eat so you can go take a blissful nap.  I’ve made it twice now, once sick and once well — yummy either way.

Follow this link for the recipe:

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Kite Hill Cheese


As I’ve admitted a few times on this blog, I still have a bit of a cheese addiction.  I find myself cheating with cheese on occasion but I’ve finally found a vegan cheese I’m in love with!

About a year ago I read in VegNews Magazine about an artisan almond milk cheese company out of California called Kite Hill.  The article mentioned that Whole Foods would be carrying their line of cheeses.  Every time I went into Tampa I’d check at the Whole Foods and was continually disappointed that it wasn’t there yet.  We recently got a Whole Foods close to home in Clearwater and I checked in with them during the grand opening sales.  They did confirm that it was on order and to check back.  I was so pleased to find they finally got it in!

Kite Hill has four varieties and we decided to try the Soft Fresh Truffle, Dill, & Chive — wow is it good!  The flavor is divine even though the texture is a bit off when you’re used to the real thing.  My need for cheese is now satisfied with Kite Hill and I highly recommend you give it a try!

Here is their website for more info:

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Vegan Meatballs

a meatball

Another great recipe from Chef Chloe Cosarelli’s new vegan Italian cookbook, “Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen: 150 Pizzas, Pastas, Pestos, Risottos, & Lots of Creamy Italian Classics.”

This recipe is for meatball sliders but I decided to make the meatballs and add them to spaghetti along with mushrooms, zucchini, and onions — another Chloe winner!

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Thanksgiving Stuffing Poppers with Cranberry Jalapeno Dipping Sauce


We actually celebrated Thanksgiving on Saturday when the family could all be together so this post is a bit late but would still be a fun treat for Christmas gatherings!

My husband and I made this appetizer together — we’ve never deep friend anything before and I was surprised how easy it was!  These stuffing poppers were delicious — much like falafel with stuffing spices and the cranberry jalapeno dip was sweet with just a tiny bite.

For the recipe follow this link and enjoy!

This is our second anniversary as vegan and we’ll never go back — we cheat at times so I’d say we’re mostly vegan but during this season of gratitude I must say that I am very thankful for a plant based diet — it has changed my life!

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I posted a recipe for tacos a few months ago that included spicy pepitas.  We started eating them alone as a snack and are on the hunt for more flavor combos.

Here is the link for the original recipe again  When eating them as a snack you need to cut the cayenne pepper and salt in half but the rest of the instructions to toast them in a skillet work perfect.

My cousin Liana, an amazing pastry chef shared this recipe with me and we enjoy them even more — savory and sweet!

Her method includes baking them and you have to stay vigilant on the oven temperature but well worth it!

Here is the recipe from the fabulous Liana Sinclair:  Toss together in a bowl two cups of raw hulled pepitas (pumpkin seeds), 1/2 cup of maple syrup, 2 tablespoons of canola oil, 1/2 tsp madras curry, and 1/4 tsp of salt.

Spread coated pepitas over parchment, bake at 375 for ten minutes then stir.  Bake at 350 for another ten minutes.  Reduce heat again to 300 and bake for an additional ten minutes.  You need to keep an eye on them for the last ten minutes — it might be more or less time depending on how dark they are getting.

Once done let them cool before breaking them apart — they will be stuck together from the sticky syrup when warm.

Note that if you’re using a different oil make sure you understand the burn point, I mistakenly used Sesame oil that has a higher burn point and burnt the pepitas after 15 minutes so Liana suggested I try it again for just ten and it worked beautifully!

Thanks Liana — our new favorite snack!


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Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

acorn squash 2

Have you ever tried a recipe and it just didn’t work?  I found this recipe on page 61 of the October 2014 issue of VegNews Magazine.  I tried it three times, changing temp, time, and squash size but I still couldn’t get the squash to fully cook.  The fourth time was the charm — once I figured out the temp and time, simply wrapping each half in tin foil and placing them directly on the rack instead of in a casserole dish made the difference.  This recipe was tried three times before I got it right — don’t know how the test kitchen at VegNews Magazine got it to come out correctly with the magazine instructions!

Preheat oven to 400.  Halve two acorn squash and scoop out the seeds.  Core three apples and chop them into small pieces (I used Honeycrisps).  Place half of them in a blender with 1/4 cup of maple syrup, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and a half a teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg (recipe didn’t call for nutmeg).  Add a bit of water for consistency and blend thoroughly.

Pour blended mixture into hollowed out squash then place the rest of the apple pieces into the squash and sprinkle a bit more cinnamon on top of each.  Wrap each squash half tightly with tin foil then place directly onto the rack and bake for an hour.

Let cool a bit before serving — will make a great addition to your Thanksgiving table!

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Sweet & Spicy Butternut Squash


This is a great dish I’ll add to our Thanksgiving table — it was inspired by a Rachel Ray recipe but I made it vegan and added dried cranberry’s – yum!

I found the original recipe while waiting for my husband to get his hair cut, always a nice selection of magazines at the salon!  This comes from Rachel Ray’s November 2014 issue on page 115.

Preheat oven to 375 and prepare a baking sheet with foil or parchment and coat generously with olive oil cooking spray.  In a large bowl combine 1/4 cup of light brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg.  Peel and cut a large butternut squash into 3/4 inch cubes.  Toss squash cubes in the dry mixture until fully coated.  Place the squash on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, take out and flip the squash over, and then roast for another 20 minutes.

Move roasted squash into a casserole dish and top with 2 tablespoons of crushed walnuts.  The recipe also called for topping with goat cheese but I used Kite Hill vegan ricotta cheese instead along with a handful of dried cranberry’s.

It’s nice and sweet with a bite from the cayenne pepper plus creamy vegan cheese on top — great new side dish for Thanksgiving!

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Curry & Coconut Split Pea Soup

curry pea soup

My sister Danielle introduced me to and I just love her blog.  I find this particular post so interesting.  She says that the way to eat less is to have all six tastes in one meal.  According to Ayurvedic Medicine, having all six tastes — sweet, bitter, salty, pungent, sour, and astringent in one meal helps us feel fully satisfied and to ensure that all nutrients are represented.

With that and a delicious fall soup — I’m in!

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Bowties in Garlic Cream Sauce

a pasta

I love it when my husband is home — he was away for two months so it’s great to have him around again.  It’s more fun to cook for two so I’ve been experimenting with more new recipes than I have been while he’s gone.  I’ve also been making all his favorite vegan dishes!

Chloe Coscarelli, vegan chef and winner of Cupcake Wars has a new Vegan Italian cookbook out and she’s been sharing a few of the recipes online.  “Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen: 150 Pizzas, Pastas, Pestos, Risottos, & Lots of Creamy Italian Classics.”  I’m eager to get the book but was excited to try this recipe in the meantime.  She says it’s one of her favorite pastas in the world — creamy farfalle pasta with sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms.  She makes it over and over for dinner parties and no one knows it’s vegan — it’s that creamy!

My husband and I sure enjoyed it along with my carnivore cousin!

This dish is also quick and easy — follow this link for the recipe, there is also one for White Lasagna with roasted butternut squash and spinach that I’m eager to try as well.

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Black & Red Lentil Chili

a chili

We love chili!  I’ve posted several vegan chili recipes already but I think this is our favorite and it only takes ten minutes in a pressure cooker!

I had never heard of black lentils before and found them in bulk at Whole Foods.  Combining the black and red lentils is the key — the black cook quickly and keep their shape for a hearty texture and the fast cooking red break down for a thicker consistency.  Cooked lentils have a meaty character and with the spices you can’t tell it’s vegan!  Our carnivore friend Adam questioned why we started eating meat when he tried it — my husband loves this chili.

Five minutes of prep with chopping the onions, garlic, and pepper — combine all the ingredients in a pressure cooker, cook for ten minutes, and allow the pressure to come down naturally for another ten and you’re ready!  If you don’t have a pressure cooker, they will also cook perfectly on the stove in thirty minutes.  The recipe only calls for one can of fire roasted tomatoes but I thought it needed a second so I added them in after cooking — the warmth of the chili heated them up and having bigger tomato chunks was nice.  The second time I made the chili I increased the spices a bit by heaping them up on the spoon then added in a can of kidney beans and a cup of frozen corn — even better!

Follow this link for our new favorite chili recipe:  There is a bonus video at this link that shows a neat trick to quickly peel garlic.  I chopped the garlic up into large chunks the way I like it instead of mincing as the recipe suggests.


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