Livin' La Vida Vegan!

Chocolate Banana Pecan Bread


I haven’t made Banana Bread for years!  Recently we neglected to eat some bananas before they went brown and I couldn’t resist getting the old recipe out.  This recipe comes from my mother (not sure the original origin) and I added the chocolate chips.

Preheat the oven to 350 and spray a loaf pan with baking spray.

Whisk together 2 cups of whole wheat flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and set aside.  In a large bowl whisk together 1 cup sugar (make sure it’s vegan sugar), 2 egg re-placers (recipe calls for two eggs), 1 cup mashed ripe bananas, 1/2 cup canola oil, 1/3 cup of almond milk, and 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.

Now slowly pour the dry mix into the wet — thoroughly mix and then add more until all blended.  Add 1/2 cup of pecans and 1/2 cup dairy free semi-sweet mini chocolate chips.

Pour mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 60 minutes until a clean knife inserted in the center comes out with just the melted chocolate on it.  Cool for about ten minutes before taking it out of the pan and let cool another ten before slicing.  This is a yummy dessert or perfect for breakfast with vegan butter!

Leave A Comment »

Grilled Asparagus Pasta

grilled asparagus

I found this recipe in Dr. Neal D. Barnard’s book 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart that I bought when I met him at the Tampa Veg Fest last October.  I combined his recipe with the Garlicky Tahini Dressing I posted on May 18 – can be used for more than salad!

Dr. Barnard’s recipe called for Fettuccine but I decided to use the butternut squash ravioli (Rising Moon Organics) I used before in a soup recipe I posted back in November.

Marinade 6-8 stalks of asparagus in 2 minced cloves of garlic, juice of one lemon (about 2 tablespoons), and a pinch of coarse sea salt (I used pink Himalayan).  Grill the asparagus until it develops a few blackened spots — it should still have some crispness to it.  Cut into pieces.

In the meantime boil the pasta per package instructions, toss with asparagus, 1 cup of thawed frozen peas, and 2 tablespoons of minced parsley.  Top with the Garlicky Tahini Dressing and enjoy!

Leave A Comment »

Veggie Enchiladas

My dad found this delicious recipe on page 35 in the December 2012 issue of Paula Deen’s magazine — it is her son Bobbie Dean’s recipe.  Dad made it for us back in December while he was visiting and made it the vegetarian way — I simply replaced the cream cheese with cashew cheese (recipe posted on 7/1/13) and real Mexican cheese for Daiya cheddar cheese style shreds and turned it into a wonderful vegan dish we’ll make over an over!

Preheat oven to 350 — spray a 13×9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Heat a tablespoon of olive in a large skillet over medium heat.  Once warm add 2 cups of finely chopped zucchini, 8 ounce package of sliced baby portobello mushrooms, 1 cup chopped onion, and two teaspoons minced garlic.  Cook, stirring frequently for 8 to 10 minutes until vegetables are tender.  Add a six ounce package of fresh baby spinach and continue cooking until wilted (about 3-4 minutes).  Next add 15 ounce can of black beans (drained and rinsed), 15 ounce can of corn (drained), 10 ounce can of diced tomatoes and green chilies (drained), and 8 ounces of cashew cheese (recipe calls for a package of cream cheese).  Cook until cheese is melted and then add 1 1/2 tablespoons of taco seasoning and one cup of Daiya cheddar cheese style shreds (recipe called for Mexican cheese blend).

Next, fill up one flour tortilla at a time with about 1/3 cup of the vegetable mixture and roll up to enclose filling — place in prepared baking dish with the seam side down until filled (about 8 rolled tortillas).  Once dish is full pour a ten ounce can of green chile enchilada sauce on top and bake for thirty minutes.  Then sprinkle another cup of Daiya cheddar cheese shreds on top and bake for another ten minutes.  Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and enjoy!

Leave A Comment »

Coconut Almond Quinoa

Breakfast Quinoa

This is a wonderful breakfast and my husbands new favorite!  He’s away working in New York right now so making this is a bit of an I miss you — wish you were here — ha ha, I’m eating it and you’re not kind of message! :-)

The full recipe is at the link below — along with the coconut flakes recommended in the recipe, I topped with fresh blueberries and pure maple syrup.

Leave A Comment »

Portobello Steak Fajitas


I got this recipe from my vegan friend Nancy Rogers-Proper — in fact the photo on this blog is hers.  She posted this on Facebook and I made it the next day but scarfed it down so quick I forgot to take a photo!  Thank you Nancy for having the self restraint to capture the image first! :-)

Nancy says this recipe comes from the book, Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  I love my Isa Does It cookbook so this one is next on my list to buy!

Marinade four large portobello mushroom caps (remove stems)  in the following: 2 tablespoons of grape-seed or sesame oil, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon chili powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt with ground pepper to taste.

Stir fry in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat — 1 large orange or red bell pepper (thinly sliced), 1 large green pepper (thinly sliced as well), and 1 chopped medium yellow onion for about five minutes or until the peppers are soft.  While mixture is cooking, grill the marinated portobello mushrooms over high heat for five minutes on each side, spooning the leftover marinade over the top while cooking.  You can also broil in the oven on high for five minutes each side.

On a flour tortilla, scoop the saute mixture on along with the sliced mushrooms, and top with your choice of avocado, cilantro, salsa, spinach or lettuce, and vegan cheese.  Wrap up the yummy goodness in the tortilla and enjoy!



Leave A Comment »

Roasted Buddha Bowl

budda bowl

Buddha bowls have an interesting origin — Chinese farmers would place the first of their harvest in the bowl as alms to Buddha.  There are so many different varieties — the basics for this recipe include roasted broccoli, cauliflower, and chickpeas topped with a delicious cashew, garlic, and tahini dressing.  You can find the full recipe below:

This is so yummy you’ll be tempted to eat the whole batch in one sitting but beware of eating a whole head of cauliflower at once — no one will want to be near you, including yourself!

Leave A Comment »

Moroccan Tempeh with Chickpeas, Prunes, & Apricots


Another recipe from Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker, page 160.  My brother-in-law came for a visit when he was speaking at a conference locally so I decided to make another recipe from the book his wife gave me for Christmas — he enjoyed it as did we.  Love crock pot recipes — so easy and with a little morning preparation it’s ready when you get home from work.

We have the Breville Fast Slow Cooker that also pressure cooks and sautes so this recipe is easier for us — if you don’t have one of these saute crock pots you’ll need to saute a few things before putting them into the crock pot.

First saute two tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat with 1 large minced yellow onion, 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, and 1 tablespoon of almond butter.  Add 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.  Once blended and fragrant add to crock pot (or in our case, turn off the saute feature).  Add in 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth, 3 cups chickpeas (rinsed and drained), 8 ounces of tempeh (cut into 1-inch dice), 1 14.5 ounce can of drained diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup of chopped dried apricots, 1/3 cup halved and pitted prunes, 1 cup thawed frozen green peas, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and cook on low for 6 hours — easy and delicious awaiting you when you get home!  We served it over instant rice.  The flavors are a bit mild — I’ll increase the quantity of spices the next time.

Leave A Comment »

Crockpot Polenta with Mushroom Ragu


I just got home from a trip to Denver to see my beautiful niece Abby graduate from high school — still can’t believe she’s all grown up!  Being surrounded by family of course makes me think of polenta, a family favorite.  Polenta is a traditional Italian corn meal cake that is beat by a bastoon in a copper pot for an hour.  Because of the stamina involved in the beating, normally the men make the polenta and the women make the gravy (tomato sauce).  I know there are instant versions in grocery stores but they don’t come close to the creamy goodness I grew up with.

My sister-in-law bought me the cook book Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker for Christmas and I found a polenta recipe in it and decided to give it a try.  I knew it couldn’t be as good as dads but it would be a good substitute in between visits.  Well, as my dad says “both great-grandpa’s would be rolling over in their grave” if they knew but it was just as good as the traditional method!  All the creaminess without the work!

This recipe can be found on pages 119-120 of the book.  Start by boiling seven cups of vegetable broth.  Then generously oil the slow cooker and set on high.  Carefully pour in boiling broth, add 1 teaspoon of salt, then slowly whisk in 1 1/2 cups of course-ground polenta (corn meal), stirring until blended.  Cover and cook on low, stirring occasionally if possible (I didn’t stir because I was at work), until the polenta has thickened from 4-6 hours (I did a bit over 6).  If the polenta is too thick, remove the lid and cook for 30 minutes longer.

When the polenta is about ready start the mushroom ragu.  Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 3 minced garlic cloves and 1 pound of sliced cremini mushrooms.  Cook until softened.  Add 2 tablespoons of dry red wine and 3 cups of your favorite marinara sauce.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon the polenta into bowls and top with the mushroom ragu — almost as good as the traditional family recipe!


Leave A Comment »

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill


I’m in Colorado for my nieces High School Graduation — so proud of you Abby!  Both of my sisters live in Highlands Ranch, a large planned community south of Denver.  Highlands Ranch is a wonderful place to raise a family — they have a variety of entertainment, shopping, and food options within a few miles drive.  Everything is so clean and new, even the landscaping is exceptional.  Whenever we visit we’re always so jealous of all the food choices — they have everything you can imagine.  We didn’t get the chance to try the all vegan restaurant Native Foods but we were still well fed!  Pei Wei is always a favorite and this time we also tried a new place called Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill — a delicious goldmine for vegans!  Everything vegan on their menu is labeled with a V so it’s easy to decide as you walk down the counter — no need to ask how it’s prepared or what’s inside.  My husband and I settled on a “Plate” that gives you a variety of alternatives including hummus, grilled portobello mushrooms (our favorite), tabouleh, babaganoush, rice, stuffed grape leaves, salad, olives, and a sweet & spicy quinoa — so good with almonds, cranberries, and a jalapeno apricot dressing.  Served with your choice of wholewheat, white, or gluten free pita.

We immediately checked their website and they do have three locations in Florida — they are down in the Miami area so there is hope they will venture north west and end up in Tampa soon!  If you are close to one I highly recommend it — two thumbs up from my husband and I!

Leave A Comment »

Korean BBQ & Kimchi Portobello Burgers

Korean BBQ

My husband spent a summer in Korea shooting a documentary and he fell in love with the people, food, and country.  He’s always looking for good Korean BBQ but whenever we see it advertized, it’s always with meat.

My sister bought me a great cookbook, Isa Does It for Christmas and I found this Korean BBQ & Kimchi Portobello burger recipe on page 93 that we both love!

Marinate four large portobello mushroom caps (stems removed) gill side up for an hour in the following: 1 cup water, 1/4 cup light molasses (not  blackstrap), 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, 1/4 cup tomato paste, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons liquid smoke, 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, 2 teaspoons Sriracha, 1 teaspoon onion powder, and 2 cloves smashed garlic.

Grilled marinated mushrooms over high heat about five minutes on each side, spoon the leftover marinate on top of the mushrooms while they are cooking.  You can also broil in the oven on high for about five minutes on each side as well.

Spread each hamburger bun (we got onion) with vegan mayo.  Place the mushroom burger on bun and top with kimchi (can find prepared in any Asian market).  Cut in half with a steak knife and dig in!

Leave A Comment »