Tag Archives: family meals

Guest Bloggers: In Vegetables We Trust – Slow Cooker Chili, Roasted Butternut Squash and Fennel Flatbreads

8 Nov

I absolutely love when I see young people embracing veganism and making it a central part of their lives. One such amazing man is Alexander Harvey. He is our newest blogger to join the VBU! family. Alexander is the author of the blog In Vegetables We Trust. He has been vegan for three years and has worked for Hillside Animal Sanctuary in the shop and vegan cafe. He was raised by a baker and since becoming vegan has started his own culinary adventure. Please join In Vegetables We Trust through the blog and Facebook account. Welcome Alexander!

Fennel Flat Breads.

Roasted mini butternut squash

Slow cooker chilli


1 tbsp chipotle oil
1 onion, sliced into thin half moons
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 sliced birds eye chilli
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 cup of vegetable stock
1/2 tin of kidney beans
1 tsp garlic poweder
red and black pepper to taste

1 tsp cocoa powder


set your slow cooker and heat a saute pan with the oil to a medium heat, saute the onion, bell pepper, celery, chillis and carrots untill the onion is translucent and the bell peppers softened, add the paprika, cumin, pepper and salt followed by the tomato paste and stir through. Add this to the crock with the tinned tomatoes, veg stock, kindney beans, garlic and red and black pepper. cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours, stir through cocoa powder shortly before serving, serve over roasted squash or sweet potato mash or however you want!

Guest Blogger: Healthy Cancer Chick – Vegan Lasagna Roll-ups

4 Oct

The new guest bloggers keep coming. Today we have Kristen Barry, author of Healthy Cancer Chick. Here she is in her own words, “Hi! I’m Kristen Barry, aka Healthy Cancer Chick. I was diagnosed, at the beginning of 2011, with the most aggressive form of breast cancer at the age of 43. At the time my daughters were 9 and 12 and I didn’t want to die. I started looking into diet and alternative ways to help my body heal and recover from the cancer and the treatments I went through intitially. Being vegan has change the way I look at food, at health, and at life. I want to now share with others health and wellness tips and ways to help make the transition from eating meat and dairy to being vegan easier.” Be sure to visit Kristen’s blog, and Twitter account. Please welcome Kristen!

Ahhh Sundays! When I lived up north in New York we had cold weather, rain and snow for most of the year (ok maybe not most of the year but it sure seemed like it). Sunday’s were always great days to make big lasagna’s, roasts, pots full of chili, nice hearty and heavy meals. Well, living in sunny Florida is great for eating a healthier diet. I eat so many fruits and vegetables that my kids think my skin is turning green 🙂 but with the rain we have been getting down here the past few days, I was in the mood for a nice hearty meal. This vegan lasagna is so good I ate it for three straight days and was sad when it was all gone. I adapted and tweaked different recipes and put them together to make one great tasting Sunday dinner meal….so enjoy!

Don’t be put off by all the steps to this lasagna. It’s not that difficult to make and it’s soooo worth it.

Walnut “Meat”


1 cup walnuts

10 sun-dried tomatoes (soaked for 1 hour if you are using dried variety not in jar)

1-2 Tablespoons olive oil

1/4-1/2 Tablespoon chili powder

1/8-1/4 cayenne powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Simply blend all together until you get a chunky, meaty texture like the picture above

Lemon Basil Cheeze Spread


1 cup raw cashews, soaked at least 30 minutes

2 garlic cloves

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup vegetable broth

1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

sea salt and pepper (just a little of each)

Blend it all together until you get a creamy smooth spreadable cheese consistency like the picture above



10 whole wheat lasagna noodles

1 jar organic pasta sauce or homemade marinara

1-2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 large zucchini chopped

2 large handfuls of fresh spinach

1 sweet onion chopped

1 red pepper chopped

3 garlic cloves

sea salt and pepper


1. Boil noodles and rinse

2. In large skillet saute zucchini, onion, garlic, pepper, and salt and pepper in olive oil for about 5 to 10 minutes. Add spinach and just saute another minute or two to wilt.

3. Preheat oven to 375

4. Pour 1 cup of sauce on bottom of large baking pan

5. Taking one noodle at a time, spread some of the cheeze mixture, layer with some crumbled “meat”, spoon on some of the sautéed veggies.

6. Roll it up and place in the pan with sauce. Repeat with all of the noodles.

7. Top with remaining sauce and bake, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes.

This is great with some fresh sprouts or a nice green salad.

Choosing healthy living over dying 🙂

Guest Blogger: Fried Dandelions – Hot Tamales

1 Oct

Happy Vegan MoFo! Hope your second day is just as exciting as the first. Please welcome back Sarah De la Cruz, author of Fried Dandelions with another amazing recipe – Hot Tamales. You can read Sarah’s previous post recipe – Spiced Chocolate Pudding here and follow her on her blog and comment on her Facebook page. Please welcome back Sarah!

These tamales will be a hit at your next dinner party…or family dinner!

I’ve always thought that tamales were very time consuming and I’ve been intimidated by them. I used to tutor at risk kids at my church and one of the moms sold her own homemade tamales to us. They were amazing! But she would show us blisters she got from mixing the dough, and tell stories of how long she spent in the kitchen. Maybe she was just telling us this to keep her business booming and scare us from trying it ourselves? Because if I had known how easy it was to put these together I would have done so a long time ago!

Now, easy and quick are two different things. These are not fast. But they are simple, and there is a lot of hands off time. They are great to make once you are home for the afternoon. One way I saved time is by mixing my “filling” right into the dough. This is a technique I saw this summer at my local farmers’ market. Rather than a traditional filling surrounded by corn masa, the filling is mixed right in. It saves time, and you don’t have to worry about filling oozing out of the sides.

Not sure of how I would like these, I didn’t invest in any new equipment. I just rigged a roasting rack on top of a large sautee pan that is oven proof. When it came time to steam, I covered well with foil. Ideally you will have a rectangular roasting pan with rack to fit, but if you don’t, don’t worry about it. This worked just fine, and I’m debating about whether or not I need to bother with something fancy for next time!

I topped these with some quick homemade salsa. Your favorite salsa will be great, but its so easy to make a fresh one at home, so give it a try if you have a few extra minutes (and I really mean a few!). The best part…tamales freeze well…you could make a huge batch and freeze half for a cold, rainy day when you don’t have the time or energy to cook! Hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

Hot Tamales

by Sarah De la Cruz

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6-8, makes 20 tamales


  • 2 c black beans
  • 1 c corn (fresh or frozen)
  • ½ c bell pepper (I used orange for color and variety!)
  • ½ c green onions
  • ¼ c packed cilantro

Tamale Dough:

  • 4 cups masa ?(I used Bob’s Red Mill which avoids GMO corn)
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted
  • juice of 3 limes + water to equal 3 c (my limes yielded ¾ c juice + 2 ¼ c water)
  • dried corn husks
Preheat over to 400.

Soak 20 corn husks (plus a few extra in case of rips) in a large bowl of water for 10 minutes. Drain and quickly rinse. Set aside.

Mix all filling ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

a rainbow of colors means a rainbow of vitamins!

Mix masa, baking powder, salt and cumin in large bowl.

Masa Harina is different than cornmeal, so make sure you get the right one. I got mine at Whole Foods. They also have this at regular grocery stores and Latin markets.

Gently warm coconut oil in microwave until it is melted (don’t heat for too long though, you just want it to be melted). Pour coconut oil over masa mixture and stir well. Once well combined, add water and lime juice mixture. It will seem like there is no way that the masa mixture can absorb all of the water, but it will surprise you! Once combined, add all of the filling and stir again until well combined.

Make sure it is well mixed…every bite will be full of flavor!

Set up an assembly line now. You want to have your corn husks, your masa mixture, a work surface, and a rack to steam on. Carefully unfold one corn husk (they will be more pliable once soaked, but still fragile). It will be sort of triangular in shape. I started with the point towards me. I scooped 1/3 c masa mixture and placed it in the center of my husk, and shaped it slightly with my hands to form more of a rectangular log. Then fold up the bottom, take one side and pull it over the top, then take the other side and pull it over to overlap. Place seam side down on your rack. Done! How easy was that? You could tie them with a strip of leftover husk but I didn’t have any trouble with mine staying together. They do look pretty with the tie though. You can tie in the middle, or if your husk isn’t long enough, tie at the open top. Now, repeat 19 more times!

not too tricky!

I had to steam mine in two batches because I couldn’t fit them all on my rack. I did end up stacking a couple at the end to prevent a third steaming and it seemed fine. I wouldn’t stack all 20 in at once unless you had a really big roasting rack, but you can be the judge of how it fits!

on my makeshift rack

Cover tightly with foil to trap steam in.

Tamale space craft ready for take off

Place in oven for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack without opening the foil. Let them continue cooking in the residual steam for 15-20 more minutes. Carefully remove foil, watching out for steam. You can plate these wrapped in the husks, or remove the husks. Once open, smother with salsa and devour!

they look like little presents just waiting to be unwrapped

unwrapped and ready to enjoy

Guest Blogger: The Unintentional Vegan – Roasted Tomato Artichoke Spaghetti

10 Aug

We love to welcome first time contributors. Meet Ashley, she is the author of blog The Unintentional Vegan, here she is in her own words,”My name is Ashley and I’ve been completely vegan for a little over a year now after being vegetarian for a year. I love creating new recipes that are (mostly) made from scratch, but are still easy enough for any skill level to make them. Making vegan food fun and accessible is my main goal and I love to share my vegan dishes at work potlucks and family gatherings. I have a cat and while I love him dearly, at heart I’m a dog person.” You can keep in touch with Ashley through her Facebook page, Twitter and of course her blog. Please welcome Ashley!

Annnnnnd we’re back to the work week! I hope you all had a fun and/or restful weekend. The fam and I went for a long hike yesterday and discovered some new trails, which was a blast. We were planning on going camping, but the weather has been sort of gross here – raining off and on with ridiculous heat and humidity – so we opted for a long day-hike instead.

Today’s recipe was born out of the husband’s desire for a new pasta dish. He loves pasta, but since I’ve been experimenting so much in the kitchen we rarely have it anymore. So, I thought I’d indulge him while still doing an experiment or two.

If you have a lot of tomatoes around from the farmer’s market or your own garden, then feel free to substitute the canned tomatoes for fresh ones – though I suggest boiling and peeling them before you roast them. One can is equivalent to about 4 medium-sized fresh tomatoes.

Balsamic Roasted Tomato and Artichoke Spaghetti

The balsamic gives the dish a nice tang and the overall dish seems a bit more refined than the normal spaghetti with marinara sauce. Serve with French bread and sprinkle a bit of Italian seasoning over the top for a yummy pasta dish!

Guest Blogger: Keepin’ It Kind – Spring Onion & Celery Soup

5 Jun
Please welcome our newest blogger, Kristy, author of Keepin’ It Kind. She is a year old vegan with a lengthy vegetarian history behind her. Here she is in her own words, “My name is Kristy, and I am the author of Keepin’ It kind, a blog I do with my husband, Chris, who does the majority of the photography (sometimes I get a hold of the camera!).  I am a former personal trainer, turned world-traveler, turned fromagier, turned production assistant and blogger.  After being vegetarian for at least 8 years, Chris and I became vegan almost a year ago and I have never been happier in my life.  Aside from marrying my husband, it was the greatest decision I’ve ever made!” Please visit Kristy on her Facebook page and bookmark/follow her blog. Please welcome Kristy!

Because we live on the coast, it is always quite a bit cooler here than in the rest of LA. While the rest of LA is welcoming warm early summer nights, we are still throwing our sweatshirts on in the evening. I don’t miss it at all (I lived in West Hollywood for a while and I had more than my share of hot, balmy nights) and it also means that it’s still soup-for-dinner weather.

My most recent soup creation was inspired by some gorgeous spring onions our CSA sent us. Adorable, curvacious white bulbs at the base of lovely kelly green stalks- absolutely stunning! While I used a couple here and there in other recipes, this one really showed off their fresh, sweetly bitter (I know- it sounds like an oxy moron, but it’s the only way I can describe them) taste. Paired with the crispness of the celery, you have yourself a light refreshing spring soup, perfect for those nights that are still cool enough to heat up the kitchen.



  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 large head of celery, or 2 small heads, chopped (should fill about 5 cups)
  • ½ a head of cauliflower, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 2-3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 ½ tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp liquid smoke (optional)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 T nutritional yeast (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add garlic and sauté until “golden.” Add the celery, cauliflower, spring onions, spices, and liquid smoke (if using). Mix to combine. Saute for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the vegetable broth and the water, and stir to combine. Put a lid on the pot and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, reduce to a simmer and tilt the lid on the pot so that there is a little crack for steam to get out. Let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes, then remove from heat.
  • If you have an immersion blender, use it to pureé the soup to your desired consistency. If you only have a standing blender, add the soup to the blender in batches and blend until all of the soup is pureéd. At this point, you can add in the Nutritional Yeast, which will give it a thicker, slightly cheesy taste. You can also add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into bowls, serve with some crusty bread and enjoy!

Is it still cool at night where you live?

All Photos taken by Chris Miller

© Kristy Turner and Keepin’ It Kind, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material (content and images) without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kristy Turner and Keepin’ It Kind with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.