I found the perfect nondairy yogurt the other day, made from cashew milk. I bought a tub of this Forager plain yogurt, made from cashew nuts, and easily blended up things like yogurt sauces, salad dressings, and this mango lassi. It is so versatile and easy to sub in anything that calls for plain yogurt.

This mango lassi is refreshing on a warm day, with spicy Indian food, or as a snack. Don’t forget the cardamom – it adds character to this lassi!

*I was not compensated by the Forager project for this review*

Mango lassi
Servings Prep Time
1 servings 3 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 servings 3 minutes
Mango lassi
Servings Prep Time
1 servings 3 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 servings 3 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth in consistency and serve.
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I used to live in Hawaii. My husband was stationed there in the military, and that’s where I moved to after we got married. Yeah, I wasn’t complaining about that!

It was a wonderful two years. I learned how to surf and got a pink surfboard (let’s not get ahead of ourselves – I wasn’t that good and just liked the rolling baby waves), went foraging for banana lilikoi and strawberry guava fruits on our hikes, and hubby and I drove around the island and stopped wherever the water was clear to go for a snorkel. We biked down Mount Haleakala, swam with the manta rays, and thought seeing sea turtles in our open ocean swims was normal.

It was a young, carefree time. I still can’t believe we had that time for ourselves. We bought a super beat-up Camry to take to the beach and withstand the abuse from throwing our surfboards on it, and it totally died the month before we left the island (still, to this day, I don’t know how it passed a smog check). We lived in our bathing suits and flip-flops. The bartender down the street, Jan, knew us by name (and oh my goodness, her mai tais). When we got woken up by a tsunami warning from helicopters, I made breakfast before we decided to drive up to the highest point closest to us.

Living in Hawaii was the first move of a few, and I made dear friends with the people I worked with. When you’re in the military life, you find yourself isolated and alone a lot. We learned quick that building relationships, wherever you go, is essential to do life. I always look back on our Hawaii time with fond memories, and know that when we are able to go back for a visit (which is seriously overdue), I can call up some old friends to see us. They’d love to see our two littles, the oldest of which canNOT believe that mom and dad dared to live somewhere cool without her!

So when we moved up here to the Bay Area and met our neighbors, Shawn and Brandon, I immediately picked out their pidgin and asked if they were from Hawaii. Yes, they were! I felt the aloha from them pretty much immediately! So, at pau hana time on Aloha Friday (coincidence? I think not), Brandon and I were talking about tofu poke (pronounced: po-KAY). Poke is a raw fish salad. It’s usually tossed in some marinade and eaten with taro chips, rice, or eaten alone. It’s really good, but even though I still have it from time to time (seafood is my once-a-week thing on this super plant-based lifestyle), I go vegan when I can. Tofu poke seemed like a good way to still get the flavor without the fish.

We’ve both had the tofu poke a couple of times and were brainstorming what would go in it, so a day later, I just made it. It was so easy! I gave some to the guys, and I have to say that I have the Hawaiian seal of approval! Shawn thought there was fish in it, but that was just the seaweed! I got a knock on the door not even half an hour later with an empty bowl. Not only that, my hubby polished off his portion in a SNACK. I’ll make enough for me next time. Ha!

 

Tofu poke
I love this with taro chips, but you can certainly serve them with pita chips or steamed rice to make it a meal, with a side of veggies, of course!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Tofu poke
I love this with taro chips, but you can certainly serve them with pita chips or steamed rice to make it a meal, with a side of veggies, of course!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the vegan mayo, tamari, sesame oil, sriracha, and agave nectar until smooth. Add the cubes of tofu, and fold to coat.
  2. Add the green onions and seaweed shreds and continue to fold into the tofu until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Can serve immediately, but I like it better the next day (store in fridge when done with prep).
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The other week, I was at the San Mateo farmer’s market, and there was a vendor selling all sorts of sprouted beans and lentils. I’ve never sprouted lentils before, but I do love me some red lentils – in chili, soups, and stews, and I wanted to make a salad out of some.

You can’t eat lentils raw, but you can eat them raw if they have been sprouted. They become more readily digestible, phytic acid content is reduced (phytic acid binds to nutrients and inhibits their absorption). and certain vitamins (such as vitamins B and C) become more bioavailable. These sprouted lentils are great sources of protein, and if eaten raw as in a salad, are great for those following a raw diet (these are cooked, however). Whenever people ask me about weight management, I also stress the fiber content of foods. Not only does fiber help get things going (ahem), fiber also contributes to the feeling of satiety (fullness), which is great for weight control!

To sprout these lentils, I soaked them in water overnight. In the morning, I drained them, rinsed them, and put them in a couple large mason jars, drained. I put cheesecloth over the jars, and placed the jars upside-down over a cooling rack placed on top of a rimmed baking sheet. I’d rinse out the lentils twice a day, and did the same draining process each time for the next day and a half. By the second day, I saw that there were lots of little tails in my lentils, which is what you want! It’s easier to sprout more hearty legumes and green lentils, because the tails aren’t so delicate and fall off. Every time I’d rinse these, I’d find little tails in the water I washed away. I decided not to make a salad out of this and instead made a red lentil dal. At least the nutrition content and bioavailability of nutrients was improved with a day and a half of sprouting!

*Note: Soaking and sprouting 1 cup of lentils yielded 2 1/2 cups of sprouted red lentils, which is what I call for in this recipe.*

This dish took only 20 minutes to cook. Sprouting lentils makes their cook time decrease a lot, which was great. This dal was perfect over brown rice, but next time I’ll change it up and serve them with naan bread. Delicious!

Red lentil dal
Servings Prep Time
3 cups 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 minutes 2 days (sprouting)
Servings Prep Time
3 cups 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 minutes 2 days (sprouting)
Red lentil dal
Servings Prep Time
3 cups 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 minutes 2 days (sprouting)
Servings Prep Time
3 cups 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 minutes 2 days (sprouting)
Ingredients
Servings: cups
Instructions
  1. In a French oven over medium-low heat, add the coconut oil. When oil is melted and hot, add onions, tomato, garlic, cumin seed, turmeric, ground coriander, kosher salt, red pepper flakes, and garam masala. Cook, stirring every couple of minutes, for about 5-7 minutes, until onions are soft.
  2. Add the sprouted red lentils, coconut milk, and water. Increase the heat to medium, and when the dal starts bubbling, lower the heat to low, cover, and let cook for about 10 minutes. Uncover, season to taste, and turn off the heat. Garnish with cilantro and green onion. Serve with rice, quinoa, or naan bread.
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I woke up at 4:47am this morning. My sleep has been really erratic with a 9-month-old, so it was no big surprise that I couldn’t go back to sleep. Then my stomach started growling, and as any mom knows, when you have a chance to eat, you eat, because you don’t know when else you’ll have a free minute!

I started thinking that it would be a great treat for my 6-year-old to wake up to some baked vegan doughnuts. I made these awhile back (great recipe – I made a flax egg for the egg replacer, and don’t omit the nutmeg) and they were super quick and easy to make. So as I popped these into the oven, and none of the kiddos were awake yet, I grabbed a bag of roasted coconut chips, to try to make coconut bacon. I stirred in a few things, put the coconut chips in the oven, and fifteen minutes later, had these beautiful bad boys! I whipped up a quick maple glaze, and assembled these doughnuts. By the time I was done, it was NOT EVEN 6AM.

And then I went on Instagram and found out it was #nationaldonutday. What are the odds? I’m winning today!

You can use this coconut bacon however you like. On top of tofu scramble, these donuts, on avocado toast, even on a bowl of rice. Be creative and kind! Hugs!

Coconut bacon
Servings Prep Time
2 oz 2 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 oz 2 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Coconut bacon
Servings Prep Time
2 oz 2 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 oz 2 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, stir all ingredients together.
  2. In a parchment-lined baking sheet, add the coconut bacon in a single layer. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until coconut bacon is toasted. Serve.
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Somehow, I always cook more chickpeas than I need. I try to find different ways to use them in my food, and this time, while I was looking in my fridge, I knew that the leftover brown rice I had would be a perfect binder and lighten up the density of the chickpeas in some veg burgers.

I love these veggie burgers, and wish I made more, because my husband snacked on the last couple of patties before bed. Thanks a lot, P! Hmmph. In any case, the patties are addicting, and perfect with bread and the kale slaw I made. Next time, I’ll double the amount and freeze some for later!

BBQ Chickpea Burger Patties
Servings Prep Time
4 patties 15 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 patties 15 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
BBQ Chickpea Burger Patties
Servings Prep Time
4 patties 15 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 patties 15 minutes
Cook Time
8 minutes
Ingredients
To fry:
Servings: patties
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, add the chickpeas and brown rice. Pulse a few times until coarsely ground. Add the rest of the ingredients, reserving 1/4 cup green onion. Process until the texture is similar to ground meat and mixture starts to form a ball.
  2. Pour mixture into a medium bowl, and stir in the remaining 1/4 cup green onion. Take 1/2 cup portions of the chickpea burger and form into four patties.
  3. In a medium pan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil. When oil is shimmering and hot, add the patties. Cook, undisturbed, on each side for about 4 minutes, until lightly browned. Serve on sliced baguette or hamburger buns with desired accompaniments.
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I love the tapioca-like texture that chia seeds impart to a food. Here, the chia seeds gel overnight in the coconut and almond milks. This makes it reminiscent to my childhood, when my mom would make Vietnamese c (dessert soup) out of tapioca pearls and mung beans in a syrupy coconut milk “soup.” I add matcha powder and maple syrup to this, because lately, I’ve been making lots of matcha lattes out of non-dairy milks, and I love it.

I probably don’t need to tell you all the health benefits from chia seeds, because you’ve probably read up on it somewhere else. But, in short, they’re awesome, because not only are they a source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, they also boast of some fiber and protein, both nutritional components that contribute to satiety (the feeling of fullness). Not only that, chia seeds have other vitamins, minerals, and also contain antioxidants. So there’s that!

In addition to the chia seeds, you’ve got a little energy boost from matcha green tea powder. Matcha also has its own set of antioxidants (catechins), and can help boost memory and concentration.

Given the pretty impressive benefits of this chia seed pudding, I’d say that if you had this for breakfast with some fruit and nuts, you’re pretty much all set! I used to eat overnight oats a lot and would get tired of them. If I introduced something like these chia seed puddings awhile back, my taste buds probably wouldn’t have been so bored. The key to the morning rush is preparation. Make these the night before, and your morning will be a tiny bit less crazy!

Matcha coconut chia seed pudding
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Passive Time
6-8 hours
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Passive Time
6-8 hours
Matcha coconut chia seed pudding
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Passive Time
6-8 hours
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 5 minutes
Passive Time
6-8 hours
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a mason jar. Screw the lid on tightly, and shake vigorously. Place in the fridge overnight. Shake before ready to serve, with fruit, nuts, and/or granola.
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This sauce was served as an accompaniment to my Buddha bowl party. It’s great to just have a bowl of this hanging out in your fridge to dress up any bowl of rice, use as a dipping sauce for summer rolls, toss with pasta and some greens for a quick meal, or have it as an accompanying sauce for fried tofu. It’s super easy to make, and has a lot of my favorite ingredients (peanut butter, coconut milk, and Thai red curry paste).

Make some today, and store it in a mason jar in the fridge. You’ll thank me later!

Red Thai coconut curry sauce
Servings Prep Time
3/4 cup 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3/4 cup 10 minutes
Red Thai coconut curry sauce
Servings Prep Time
3/4 cup 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3/4 cup 10 minutes
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan over med-low heat, add the olive oil. When it is hot, add the shallots, and saute for a couple minutes until soft. Add the coconut milk, red curry paste, and peanut butter, whisking until ingredients are incorporated. Add a pinch of sea salt and season to taste. Bring the ingredients to a simmer and turn off the heat.
  2. Transfer mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Serve.
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For those who know me, I love having people over to share a meal and entertain. When my husband was the Officer Rep for a student club over at the Naval Academy, it was pretty common for us to host a meal for up to 30 midshipmen at a time. I’m no stranger when it comes to cooking for a crowd, but our place was big back in Annapolis. It’s much smaller here in the Bay Area, but we still love having people over!

I had a fun idea last week for a dinner theme, so hubby and I invited a few friends over for a Buddha bowl party! For those who don’t know what a Buddha bowl is, it’s basically a bowl full of food, so much so that it’s rounded top is reminiscent of a jolly Buddha belly. P and I eat these all the time, because they can be made with whatever you want. I made things a little fancier this time, but you want to try out different textures, lots of color, and complimentary flavors. I made a couple sauces to complement the meal, and everything was GONE by the end of the night. I’d say it was a success!

(sorry for the bad picture and lighting – it was time to hurry up, assemble and eat!)

Our friends get to experience a super plant-based meal that is not just carrot sticks and rabbit food (this may surprise you that’s what many think of as a vegan meal…hehe). No, they got to go home with full bellies and happy changed outlooks on what vegan food can be. Our goal with every hosted meal is that people start to realize the awesome flavors that can be achieved with these plant-based goodies.

Your Buddha bowl can be constructed any way you like, but this is what I did for our dinner party:

Base: Brown rice mixed with tricolor quinoa

***you can also serve a cold soba noodle salad, barley, farro, or any other grain***

Protein: Thai curry tofu nuggets from Hodosoy (I tried these once at the Ferry Building farmer’s market and was hooked. All you need to do is saute them up in a frying pan to heat through; you can eat these cold too)

***you can also serve chickpeas, black beans, lentils, tempeh, tofu, seitan, or any other vegan protein you like!***

Veggies: I had a few different selections here.

1) 3 bunches of sauteed Swiss chard in garlic and vegetarian mushroom seasoning sauce (kind of like a vegan oyster sauce).

2) Sugar snap pea salad in a miso vinaigrette I whipped up (picture below: the dish in the middle)

3) King mushroom slices. I simply sliced the king mushrooms in 1/2-inch disks, fried them up in Earth Balance vegan butter/olive oil mix, and seasoned with salt and pepper. I topped these off with my miso-tamari drizzle (first picture at the beginning of the post)

4) Avocado (because, avocado goes on everything. Duh)

5) Sliced cucumber and diced red bell pepper, for crunch

***other veggies we’ve done have been as simple as a side of corn to roasted sweet potato in spices***

Garnish:

1) Thai red curry coconut sauce

2) Miso-tamari drizzle (the drizzle on the king mushroom slices in the picture at the beginning of the post – recipe follows)

3) Black sesame seeds

***you can easily garnish with soy sauce or nothing at all!***

Herb garnish:

1) Sliced green onion, chopped cilantro, Thai basil leaves

 

So there you have it! The possibilities are endless with these Buddha bowls – what are your fave flavor combinations?

 

*I was not compensated by Hodosoy for this post. I just love the tofu!*

Miso-tahini drizzle
Servings Prep Time
1 cup 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 cup 10 minutes
Miso-tahini drizzle
Servings Prep Time
1 cup 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 cup 10 minutes
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth, and add more water as desired (must be able to go through a squeeze bottle).
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I’d be the first person to tell you that I LOVE donuts. Something about the fried, crispy exterior and cakey inside is my foodie weakness. Maple cake donuts, to be exact. There are no vegan donuts around where we are in the Bay Area, but if I go to Whole Foods earlier in the day, they have just what I need if I’m craving it – vegan maple cake donuts!

Obviously, I can’t be eating donuts often. Even though foods are vegan doesn’t mean they’re healthy. For example, Oreos are vegan. Should I be stuffing my face with them? Um, NO. Foods high in refined sugar, carbs, and fat will sap that energy out of you after those blood sugars spike and drop.

I found on Pinterest that people make raw donut “holes,” achieved by adding maple syrup to the mix. So, similar to those energy surge bites that I used to make when hubby was training for the Ironman last year, I added maple syrup to these bad boys. Lo and behold, that made these taste like maple donuts! I also added almond meal instead of oats to up the protein. I just didn’t make the glaze as most people did. The glazes I saw were made with coconut oil, more maple syrup, and vanilla, but I found the glazing process time-consuming (I DO have a seven-month babe and 6-year-old who’s always on the go!) and unnecessary.

These ended up hitting the spot. You just store these in the freezer and can grab one directly to enjoy with some hot coffee or a mid-afternoon snack with tea. They have that maple flavor, just the right amount of sweetness with the dates (you can always add less dates per your taste), and are the perfect bite whether you’re rushing out the door or lingering over your morning coffee.

Maple donut energy bites
Servings Prep Time
10 bites 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
2 minutes 20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
10 bites 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
2 minutes 20 minutes
Maple donut energy bites
Servings Prep Time
10 bites 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
2 minutes 20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
10 bites 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
2 minutes 20 minutes
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, combine all ingredients and process until a ball is formed. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Once a little firm, scoop out a tablespoon of mixture at a time, and roll into balls. Store in freezer. Serve directly from freezer as desired.
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You know those bright pink-colored, artificially strawberry-flavored milk drinks you had when you were a kid? This is NOT that. This is subtle strawberry, slightly sweet, extra rich cashew milk. I LOVE making cashew milk, because it requires no brains, effort, or straining as in other nut milks. Anything that requires minimal prep, quick, and is homemade gets bonus points in my book.

Enjoy!

Strawberry cashew milk
Servings Prep Time
4 cups 2 minutes
Passive Time
6 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 cups 2 minutes
Passive Time
6 hours
Strawberry cashew milk
Servings Prep Time
4 cups 2 minutes
Passive Time
6 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 cups 2 minutes
Passive Time
6 hours
Ingredients
Servings: cups
Instructions
  1. Drain the soaked cashews. Add the cashews, strawberries, maple syrup, coconut oil, and 1 cup water to a high-speed blender. Blend on low for 10 seconds, medium speed for 10 seconds, and high speed for 20 seconds.
  2. Add the last 2 cups of water, and blend on high for another 30 seconds until smooth. Drink up!
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