Saturday, December 28, 2013

Vegan Food Trucks!

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know that in October I headed down south to the the Texas Veggie Fair. (If you don't, c'mon join the fun!)

When I told my friends up here in the big city, that I was heading to Texas for a vegan festival, they were incredulous. Texas is the land of bigger-is-better barbecue! What kind of vegan food are you going to get? You're going to be the only person at the fair!

What veg fest is complete without rescue dogs?

This could not have been further from the truth.

Food, Fun and Music!

If you find yourself in the Dallas area next October, I strongly urge you to join the thousands (yes, thousands!) of vegan, vegetarian, and omnivorous folks who joined in a day of fun, food, music and rescue dogs that is the Texas Veggie Fair.

I'd eat at Spiral Diner every day if I could.

No trip to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area is complete, though, without a trip to the FANTASTIC Spiral Diner! With options for any special diet (loaded salads, GF pasta options, soy-free ice cream options, GF chocolate cupcakes, smoothies and so much more), you will want to eat many meals at this homey restaurant.

Happy Cooking!

My new book Super Seeds is available now! You can also find tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen & Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Here are some holiday treats that will delight all of your guests, while being safe for pretty much everyone. These sweeties are all gluten-free, vegan and free of the top-8 allergens.

Enjoy this fun-filled, end-of-the-year holiday season!

Happy Cooking!

My new book Super Seeds, is available now! You can also find tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen & Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

You can make a nourishing soup out of food pantry staples.

I have so many things that I have wanted  to tell you about. Now that I've turned in my new book, SUPER SEEDS, I have a little more time to get to all the things I've been saving up.  I still have reviews to get to, a giveaway on deck, and a veggie festival to tell you about.

Today, I want to tell you about a pilot project I ran at our local food pantry. 

After I saw the moving film, A Place at the Table, about hunger in America, I really wanted to do something more to help. 

This was our load from the week after Thanksgiving! My car was full!

One thing that I was already doing is that I am part of a volunteer team that picks up produce, deli items, etc., from our local Whole Foods and brings them to our local food pantry. We get loads of food that might not look quite beautiful enough to make it onto the shelves at Whole Foods, but are still perfect for eating. Other volunteer teams get excess from 7-Eleven and other local stores. 

If you want to help your local food pantry, this is a great way. The homeless women and children's program I work for gets donations from Trader Joe's and Panera. Lots of food companies are committed to donating their extra food, they just need volunteers to connect their excess with the food pantries, shelters and soup kitchens who can use it.

I wanted to do something more. 

It occurred to me that the Internet is packed with blogs and posts about how a slow cooker can really stretch a food budget. Not only do slow cookers allow home cooks the opportunity to cook less-expensive bulk items (like dried beans) in a convenient way, but they allow the time-crunched cook a chance to make something wholesome and homemade, even when there is no time after coming home from work and needing to get dinner on the table.

In addition to saving time and money, slow cookers can transform food pantry staples like canned vegetables, fruits and beans into more exciting and nutritious soups, stews and chilis easily.

I set out to connect slow cookers and a little information with food pantry consumers.

Our first class was for 5 people. Each participant came away with a sheet that explained cooking dried beans in a slow cooker, how to make a vegetable stock out of kitchen scraps, how to bake potatoes and sweet potatoes and the basics of making soup in a slow cooker. Each of the participants also received a programmable slow cooker (a really pretty seasonal Crock Pot) to take home with them. Through questions and answers, we discussed making overnight oats, stretching a can of chili into a meal, and how to boost the nutrition of lots of meals by incorporating the beans cooked in the slow cooker and using those canned veggies and fruits. It was a huge success.

We are looking forward to offering the class again in the future.

Slow cookers are also great for serving soup!

Here is the basic soup I provided in the handout.


Empty one can tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, etc., into the crock pot.

Add any other pureed canned vegetables (canned pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet potatoes).

Add any chopped fresh vegetables (except for leafy vegetables, like spinach).

Add any dry rice or grains.

Add cooked beans that have been rinsed and drained.

Add any spices, salt and pepper.

Add water to cover by at least two inches.

Cook on low for 8 hours.

In the last half hour before serving, add any quick-cooking vegetables and rinsed canned vegetables (like corn, carrots, green beans, etc.), and any cooked pasta or rice.

Add more water to thin to desired consistency.

This was shared with Mix It Up Monday and Thrifty Thursday!

Happy Cooking! 

My new book Super Seeds, is available now! You can also find tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen & Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

So .... I have been so busy that I haven't done a good job of keeping up over here at the blog. What have I been doing?

Writing a new book! My new book, SUPER SEEDS, will come out next September! It's all about cooking with power-packed seeds, flax, quinoa, chia, hemp, and amaranth.

With that said, my holiday prep has suffered a bit. I like to make gifts for the holidays; I'm a bit crafty, and I love to overload my loved ones with little surprises. This year, though, I'm getting a late start.

One of the gifts that I will be giving is tins filled with an assortment of chocolates. Homemade chocolates are easy to make and look pretty fancy when you put them in a shiny wrapper.

I have several ideas for homemade chocolates today at The Balanced Platter.

I have some pretty great reviews coming up in the next several days and a giveaway of a fun book to make your holiday baking a little healthier, so please check back soon.

Happy Cooking! 

My new book Super Seeds, is available now! You can also find tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen & Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes.