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Friday, July 19th, 2013

Tomatillo Cilantro Lime Dressing

cafe rio salad small

This recipe was inspired by that creamy dressing from the restaurant, Cafe Rio. I have tried lots of versions of it trying to get it right without any dairy and little or no fat. This version which is my favorite has no added oil or dairy. It is not creamy at all and relies on the yummy goodness of the perfect match of ingredients. The jalopeno adds a little kick that you might want to adjust if you don’t like the flavor. This is super fast and easy to make if you have a food processor. And this makes quite a lot so you can have it more than once. It keeps well in the refrigerator for at least five days. My kids love this best as a dressing for burritos with black beans and corn chips, but my favorite way is on a salad with greens, brown rice, black beans, red pepper and tomatoes. It is delicious!

Tomatillo Cilantro Lime Dressing

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1 jalopeno, washed, seeded, and cut into a few pieces

4 large tomatillos, peeled, washed, and cut into quarters

1 bunch of cilantro, washed

2 limes, juiced

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 c. sucanat, honey works well too

Place peeled garlic into food processor and pulse a few times until garlic is minced. Add the cut up jalopeno and do the same. Add the cilantro and puree well. Add the tomatillos and puree again. Add the lime juice, sweetener, and salt. Pulse again to combine. Taste and adjust salt and sweetener if needed. Put into an airtight container and use right away, or store in the refrigerator.

tomatillo cilantro lime small

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Stuffed Shells

When I was in college, I had a vegetarian boyfriend for a while and he had the original Moosewood Cookbook. He taught me how to make vegetarian lasagna which I loved! We made it together frequently and I used variations of that recipe for years. However, once I decided on a vegan diet I started to try other ways to create the creamy goodness of ricotta cheese and eggs as a filling with all of the great vegetables in between. Tofu was a natural choice and mixed with garlic and fresh herbs, especially fresh basil, this filling makes for a delicious substitute. It is even better because it is not so heavy. It tastes a little pesto like if you use enough basil. Yum! So I will post about making  vegan lasagna too, but today, Stuffed Shells are on my mind since we made them last night for dinner. This is super easy to make if you have a food processor and if you don’t have one, it is still easy. We ate this with a mix of greens and my family could not eat them fast enough.

Stuffed Shells

1 box of giant pasta shells, cooked al dente.

4 cloves garlic

10-15 big leaves basil, washed and dried

2 pkg. or 2 pds. extra-firm tofu, pressed

juice from 1/2 lemon (about 4-5 tsp.)

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. grapeseed oil

1  c. soy cheese, (I used Daiya mozzarella)

4 cups red sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Start by putting the tofu blocks on top of each other and put a small pan or something kind of heavy on top of it to press the water out. This can sit while you  start the shells and filling. Add the shells to a pot of boiling water. Cook al dente and no longer. Cooking the shells less is better for this recipe because the pasta will turn too soft in the oven. Put the garlic in a food processor and pulse til minced. Add the basil and pulse til it too is chopped. Drain the water from the tofu and add it, lemon juice, salt, and oil to the processor and puree til smooth. This might take a little while. I stopped it a few times to break up some big chunks and also to scrape down the sides to keep the garlic and basil included. Scoop mixture into a bowl and stir in the cheese til well blended.  If you don’t have a food processor, you can mince the garlic and chop the basil and then add them to a bowl with mashed tofu. You can do this with a big fork or with your hands. Put 1/4 c. red sauce in a 9 x 13 glass pan and spread it around to coat the bottom. Once all the ingredients are well blended and smooth, spoon about 2 tbsp. into each shell and put the shell into the pan. Keep going til all the shells are filled. Pour the rest of the red sauce into the pan to surround and cover the shells. If they are not completely submerged in the sauce, don’t worry, they will cook fine, but these are tasty with a little extra sauce on them. Cover the pan with foil and place in the hot oven to cook for about 40 minutes. Take the foil off the top and cook for 10 more minutes. Let the pan cool for about 10 more minutes before eating. This is a big recipe so if you are not feeding a big group, or a few teenagers, cover the leftovers and enjoy them later because they stay great in the refrigerator for a few days.


Tuesday, May 14th, 2013


Yesterday my son was in a play. It was a pretty consuming experience which included me going back and forth to and from the theater to help out and  later pick up my parents to take them to the matinee, and then pick up the rest of my family for the evening show. So in my haste to get out the door yesterday, I hurried through my post about Dr. Greger on, and totally messed up the links. Sorry!! Pleased try again. It will work this time.

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Vertical Diner

We had an occasion to go to SLC recently and decided to splurge and take the whole family to the Vertical Diner. It is located on 2280 South West Temple and is open every day for breakfast 10am and 9am on the weekends and stays open til 9pm, and 10pm on the weekends. The restaurant is vegan and so there are lots of choices from salads and burgers, wraps, to entrees like Chicken Biscuit Pie and Mashed Potatoes and Gravy with Chicken, known as the American Diner. They have a delicious breakfast menu that they serve all day too. Between the six of us that went we had a good selection of food. We started with an order of Spicy Fries that were truly spicy, which we all appreciated and loved. For entrees we ordered a Phily “Cheese” Steak Sandwich, two Philly Pizza “Steak” Sandwiches, one with “Sausage” and one with “Chicken”, one California Burger, one American Diner, and one Jamaican You Dream Plate. The sandwiches all come with either carrot sticks or tortilla chips and for $3 you can add fries, mashed potatoes, or hashbrowns. The Jamaican You Dream Plate comes with a house salad. We also shared a Peanut Butter Brownie Sundae. Every one of us was delighted with our food. The flavors were all delicious and the portions were all big and satisfying. We had to carry a few boxes home because we got full too fast and that is saying a lot for a family that includes one college student and two teenagers. The service was great and the prices were moderate. It was such a treat to eat someplace with so many great choices. It is in a less traveled part of Salt Lake, but the effort is well worth it.

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Creamy Tomato Soup

I grew up on Campbells Tomato Soup. My mom most usually served homemade soup, but she never made homemade tomato soup. Campbells brand was a staple at our house, so I never even thought of making tomato soup from scratch until I came across a recipe by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero in  Veganomicon. Suddenly I had a flood of memories of eating Tomato Soup with toasted cheese sandwiches on Sunday night. And my mom made these things called Pinwheels that we poured Tomato Soup on top, like a gravy sort of thing, and we all loved them! So, yes, I have adapted and made homemade tomato soup many times now and sometimes I make toasted soy cheese sandwiches and I have even created a vegan version of the “Pinwheel”, which I will share in a different post. And my family loves this too! This is a big recipe to feed my family, so you could scale it down if needed.

Creamy Tomato Soup

1 tbsp. grapeseed oil

1 large onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. salt

4-5 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks (I used red potatoes)

3/4 c. sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (I used the ones packed in oil, but drained them first)

4 c. vegetable broth

2-3 c. water

1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 c. cooked rice, or quinoa, or both!

Heat up a large pot over medium  heat and saute the onions until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, herbs, salt and saute for only 1 more minute. Add the potatoes and sun-dried tomatoes and the water and broth. Cover the pot and let it boil. Turn the heat down so the soup will simmer for about 25 minutes, so the potatoes and tomatoes are very soft. Add the can of tomatoes and heat through. I use an immersion blender at this point to puree the soup. You could also use a food processor too. Add the rice/quinoa and lemon juice and after warming through, serve!


Wednesday, March 6th, 2013


This is so good next to Aloo Gobi, or any other Indian Curry dish. Not too hard to make, but you have to plan ahead to let the yeast do its best.


1 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. whole wheat flour

3/4 c. warm water

1 tsp. canola oil

3 tbsp. soy yogurt

1 tsp. sucanat

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. yeast

Dissolve yeast in the water with the sucanat in a large bowl and leave it til it bubbles. In a separate bowl mix flours, salt, baking powder. Add the oil and yogurt to the flour mixture and then add to the yeast. Mix together til a dough forms and then keep kneading it with a little oil on your hands. I add in a little white flour if it is really sticky. Leave it in the bowl, covered with a cloth for 3-4 hours, or until it doubles in size. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces, and roll them out til 1/4 ” thick. Heat up your pan and cook without any oil, turning over once the bubbles start to form. Eat hot!

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Best Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

For years my mom has made her own bread. She has made it to take to friends when they have been sick, or when someone new moved into the neighborhood, or for a gift for Christmas. It is so delicious that I started to make it for a treat and when I had time, I made enough to use for lunches. It has become a standard at our house now. When we are out, it is a near tragedy until I get the time to make a new batch. Beware, this baking bread will fill your house with the best smell ever!

My Mom’s Whole Wheat Bread

3 Tbsp. yeast

7 1/2 c. warm water

1 c. honey

1 c. vegetable oil

1/4 c. liquid lecithin

1 Tbsp. salt

1 1/4 c. high gluten flour

15 c. whole wheat flour

Use a large mixer and add the warm water and yeast to start. Let it bubble and foam and then add the honey, oil, lecithin, salt, gluten flour and 10 c. of the whole wheat flour. I mix it for 1-2 minutes before adding the rest of the whole wheat flour. Then turn on your timer for 8-10 minutes. Put the dough into a really large bowl and cover with a cloth to let it rise for 30 minutes. Punch down the dough and let it rise again for 30 minutes. During this time, prepare 8 bread loaf pans with a pan spray. Punch dough down again and then divide it into eight sections and put it into the pans. Let it rise again for about 30 minutes. Have the oven ready at 350 degrees when this time is up to put the loaves into the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. The bread should be browned on the top and bottom. I take out a loaf after about 30 minutes and dump one out to check the color on the bottom. Put it back in the oven if it isn’t at least light brown. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before taking out and devouring!