Wednesday, April 29, 2009


New year’s day I went to a great brunch at a friend’s house. I made some great pancakes and there was also grilled cheese, fruit and lots of other stuff I can’t remember since it was so long ago. My favorite was not very brunch like, but oh, so good. My friend Liz brought Stroganoff which was so rich and creamy and savory and I could not get enough of it. I demanded to know how she made the dish and wrote it down to try to recreate it at a later date.

When I visited my parents house, my mom asked me if I was going to make dinner. I decided it would be a good opportunity to make the stroganoff. When my nephew was informed that I would be making dinner, he was happy. He is a really picky eater and I know if he likes it, anyone will. He also seems to be a big fan of my vegan cooking which pleasantly surprises me. My niece helped me with dinner by making the salad to go with the main meal.

My nephew ate up all the food on his plate and even went for seconds. Everyone really enjoyed the dish and even I was really happy with the recreation. I am so glad I wrote down everything I did so now we can all recreate it. Thanks so much to Liz for this recipe and sharing the savory secret- fresh thyme!


12 oz Pasta of choice
1 Tb Olive Oil
1 medium Red Onion, chopped
4 cloves Garlic, minced
12 oz Veggie Protein Crumbles (such as Light Life Smart Ground)
10 Mushrooms, sliced
2 Tb Fresh Thyme
3 Tb Lemon Juice
1 Tb Tamari
1 container Tofutti Sour Cream
½ tsp Black Pepper
½ cup Water

Cook the pasta according to directions, drain and set aside.

Sauté the chopped onion and garlic in the oil. Cook until the onion is tender. Add the veggie protein crumbles, mushrooms and fresh thyme and continue to cook an additional 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice, tamari, tofutti sour cream, black pepper and water. Cook for a few minutes to incorporate the flavors.

Add the cooked pasta and stir to combine. Serve warm with a nice refreshing salad. My salad had romaine lettuce, chopped jicama (a favorite!) and sliced red pepper with goddess dressing.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Burritos and MORE Burritos

I have been craving burritos A LOT lately.  I try to mix it up once in awhile with different fillings and last night I had the greatest burrito, so I had to share.

The night before I suggested to a friend to make burritos instead of going out to eat.  The sun was shining and we could sit in my front yard while eating.  Then my cat Roy could beg for food since sometimes he thinks he's a dog.  He'll actually grab for food out of your hand, especially if it has anything to do with corn.

My friend mentioned she's never actually made burritos, unless you include heating up a frozen one.  I do not.  That evening, I had a crazing for tempeh so we enjoyed burritos with tempeh, great northern beans, pinto beans, green chilies, red onion, bell peppers (green and orange), spices and nutritional yeast.  This was spread on top of a warmed tortilla with the options of toffuti sour cream, pineapple salsa (which we discovered is both of our favorite) and guacamole made from the perfect avocado.  It was delightful.

Last night I had a couple tortillas left and was making rice.  I was thinking of making something Thai, but also was thinking of burritos, once again.  What won me over is the discovery of Mexican Chipolte Field Roast sausages.  I had to have them!  Normally I am not a black bean fan, but I decided they would pair best with this flavoring.  I also got a bell pepper, green onion, a tomato and I always have fresh garlic at home.  

The black beans I bought are Truitt Brother brand, which is Food Alliance certified.  Although this is not as good as organic, it is a certification honoring a farm's work towards sustainable agriculture and fair working conditions.  This is also a local company so it is nice to know the beans weren't grown far away.

These burritos were so good!  The sausages had the BEST flavor!  I was thoroughly impressed. Here are more details of what I did in case you want to try and duplicate.  This made the perfect amount for two medium-sized tortillas.

Mexican Chipolte Burritos

1 Tb Oil
1 Field Roast Mexican Field Roast Sausage, sliced
1/2 Green Bell Pepper, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 small Tomato, diced
2 Green Onions, chopped
3/4 cup Black Beans
1/2 cup Brown Rice, cooked
1/2 tsp Garlic Granules
1/4 tsp Onion Granules
1/4 tsp Chili Powder
2 Tb Nutritional Yeast
Tofutti Sour Cream
2 Flour Tortillas

In a medium pan saute the sausage, bell pepper and garlic in the oil.  When the sausage starts to brown, add the tomato, green onions, black beans, rice and spices and heat until warm; about 5 minutes.  

Warm a tortilla either in a large pan that the tortilla fits in or fold into quarters and carefully warm it in your toaster.  This method you will want to make sure not to let it be in the toaster too long since if it starts to brown, it is harder to fold the tortilla.  

Place the desired amount of sour cream on the tortilla and place half the cooked insides on top.  Fold the burrito and enjoy!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Recipes from the Gluten Free Class

Last Thursday was my first time to teach gluten free baking and luckily it went well with 14 people in attendance.  A very special thank you to NW Veg for their support getting the word out about the class!

Gluten free flours include amaranth, millet, quinoa, rice, tapioca, almond, hazelnut, corn, oat,  coconut, garbanzo, fava and white bean.  Not all flours are made in a dedicated gluten free facility, so you may want to double check that with the company which produces it.  It is best to use a combination of flours for best results.  A starch such as Potato, Corn or Arrowroot should also be added to help hold together the baked goods.  Xanthan Gum or Guar Gum is also added to help with the texture and rise of the baked good.

The first recipe I made was my Vanilla Almond Sugar Cookies.  These cookies used the newer to the gluten free world Organic Coconut Flour which is a unique flour not like any other.  It has about 6g of Fiber in just 2 Tb of flour.  That is a lot!  It also means it absorbs water more than most flours so it can't just be substituted for other flours.  

Here are the other two recipes I demonstrated-

Gluten Free Biscuits

1/2 cup White Rice Flour
1 cup Millet Flour
1 cup Tapioca Flour
2 Tb Sugar 
1 tsp Xanthan Gum
1 Tb Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 cup Soy Margarine
1 cup Soy Milk
2 tsp Lemon Juice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Measure out the soy milk and add the lemon juice; set aside.  Combine the dry ingredients.  Cut the margarine into the flour mixture until it resembles small peas.  Stir in soy milk mixture to form a soft dough.  Place dough on top of wax paper and press to 1/2 to 1 inch (depending on how high you want them).  Cut with a 2-inch biscuit cutter and place on a greased baking sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Makes 12 biscuits.

Sunlight Yellow Cake

1 1/2 cups Organic Unrefined Sugar
1/2 cup Soy Margarine
1/2 cup Silken Tofu, blended
1 1/3 cups Soy Milk
1 1/3 cups Sorghum Flour
3/4 cup Sweet White Rice Flour
1/4 cup Potato Starch
2 tsp Guar Gum
1 Tb Baking Powder
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp Salt

Cream together the sugar and margarine.  Add the tofu, soy milk and vanilla and blend to combine.  In a separate bowl, mix together the flouts, salt and baking powder.  Using a whisk to blend ingredients works well.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet blend until just combined.  Pout into 2 greased 9-inch round baking pans.  Bakes at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until middle of top springs back when lightly touched.

* For both recipes, a different milk alternative such as rice or almond milk can substitute for the soy milk.  You could use Spectrum Shortening instead of the margarine which is non-hydrogenated and made from palm oil.  The sugar in the recipe is for taste and can be omitted to cut down on sugar.

If you were at the class and I promised you some information, please remind me.  If anyone had any questions about gluten free, don't hesitate to ask!

Thanks to Chris for the photos from the class.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Upcoming Gluten Free Baking Class

This week I am teaching a gluten free baking class which I am excited about.  I have taught other classes but this will be the first gluten free one.  I feel I have gained a lot of knowledge about this type of baking and wanted to share the information with others.  Here are the details if you want to join!

Gluten Free Baking Class

Thursday, April 16th at 7pm

Sunnyside United Methodist Church
3250 SE Yamhill Street
Portland, OR 97214

* Learn the basics of gluten free baking
* Explore the different flour options
* Recipes for cakes, pancakes and biscuits
* Samples will be provided!

$10 supply fee.  Pay online or bring cash or check to the class.  For more information and to pay online, go to

This weekend I visited my family in Cathlamet, WA.  One of my favorite things to do when I go there is to drive through a wildlife refuge just a short distance away.  This weekend I saw an immature bald eagle (pictured), red tail hawks, always great blue herons, a raccoon, northern pintails, shovelers, wood ducks, wigeons, lesser scaups, killdeer, white-tailed deer, common merganser and a shore bird I think is a surfbird.  I was especially excited to see all the common mergansers, about a group of eight of them, since I never see them and I think they are such fascinating birds.  I also got to see osprey and bald eagles from my parents back yard which faces the Columbia River.  So beautiful!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sometimes being vegan isn't enough

For me, I am vegan because I love animals and it hurts me to see them suffer. I haven’t been very active lately, besides living vegan and encouraging good food. Recently I started to get very upset over so many things happening in this world which affects animals. It can be so overwhelming and depressing sometimes! I knew I had to make a choice; be depressed about it, or do something more. I decided to do something more.

My parents live along the Columbia River. I have seen sea lions swimming along the river and was mesmerized by them. When I would visit Astoria, my favorite place to visit was the pier next to Safeway which you could easily find listening to the barks of the sea lions. They were lined up along the different docks, sleeping and arguing and swimming and sun bathing. They were great!

Then I heard they are being killed at the Bonneville dam, and potentially anywhere else they were deemed a threat to salmon. The truth is, sea lions eat less than 4% of the salmon while fishermen catch an upwards of 12%, which was recently raised. I guess the state feels fisherman catching fish are more important than the lives of sea lions! This issue is so misunderstood by the public, due to lies from government agencies. The news reports that animals are being killed since they are sick and have cancer. The truth is about 40% of sea lions have a virus which can predispose the animal to a form of cancer, but 82% of these animals never contract cancer. The virus does not affect them living normal lives. Other sea lions were killed because they were considered overweight. The sea lions traveling up the Columbia are primarily male, trying to fatten up for mating season. Once again, the state is punishing the sea lions for doing something that is normal and natural for them.

The government is suppose to work from a lethal removal list, which are sea lions identified as “repeat offenders” (i.e., eating). Recently, the government was caught capturing and potentially killing a sea lion not on the list. This should be something that could be stopped, since by law, it is not suppose to be okay. Unfortunately a judge recently ruled that In Defense of Animals could not even bring the issue to court since the sea lion himself did not have standing and IDA could not represent the sea lion since it did not affect them. So crazy!

I am not the most educated about this issue, although I am trying to learn all I can. I encourage you to do the same! Please visit for more information.

What you can do!

* Write letters to the editor
* Educate your neighbors and co-workers
* Volunteer with Sea Lion Defense Brigade
* Donate money and other needs from their wish list
* Get on the “cool bus” April 16 for a field trip to Salem
* Contact the following agencies and people and let them know you want the sea lions left alone.

Oregon Dept of Fish & Wildlife Rick Hargrave 503-947-6020and cell 503-559-1592

Washington Dept of Fish & Wildlife Craig Bartlett 360-902-2259

US Amry Corps of Engineers Diana Fredlund 503-808-4514

NOAA Fisheries Garth Griffin 503-231-2005

Contact your legislators! To find out who they are and their contact information, go here

There is something everyone can do. Allow your voice to be heard!

Sunday, April 5, 2009


When I am asked to teach a baking class, if I have time, I like to create new recipes for the event.  It is a great excuse to add more recipes to my file and learn more about baking.  Brownies can be difficult to make vegan from an original recipes since for some reason the results sometimes don't work with commercial egg replacers.  So I decided this would be a great recipe to veganize.  I looked at a recipe with eggs and decided to try using blended silken tofu as the egg replacer.  I decided on this egg replacer since it is flavorless and has a good texture.  I hoped it would allow the brownie to have the correct consistency and possibly make it more moist, in a good way.  The original recipe called for 2 eggs, so I used 1/4 cup blended silken tofu for each egg.  It is important to make sure you use silken tofu, which has a very different consistency than a regular tofu you might use for a stir fry.  The results were just like I was hoping for!


1/2 cup Soy Margarine, melted
1/2 cup Unsweetened Cocoa
1 cup Organic Cane Sugar
1/2 cup Silken Tofu, blended
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 cup Unbleached White Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9-inch square pan; set aside.  Combine the melted margarine and cocoa.  Add the sugar, silken tofu and vanilla and beat until smooth.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix to combine.  Spread into the pan and bake for 30 minutes.  Makes 16 brownies.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Blueberry Muffins

Flaxseed Meal is one of the most versatile egg replacers of them all.  I can't think of anything it doesn't work for, plus you get the added nutrition.  For every one egg, combine 1 Tb Flaxseed Meal + 3 Tb Water.  If a recipe contains 3 or less eggs, it usually works to use an egg replacer.  

I recently taught a baking class and developed this muffin recipe using flax instead of eggs.  the results were very tasty.  Blueberries are my favorite muffin fruit, but strawberry is close behind.  A co-worker recently told me she had never heard of a strawberry muffin before and that just boggled me mind!  So next time I make these it will be with strawberries, which is now in season.

Blueberry Muffins

2/3 cup Unrefined Cane Sugar
2/3 cup Soy Milk
2 Tb Flaxseed Meal + 6 Tb Water
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Vanilla
2 cups Unbleached White Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup Fresh Blueberries

Combine the flax and water and let sit a couple minutes.  Mix together the sugar, soy milk, oil, vanilla and flax blend.  Add the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  Fold in the blueberries, careful not to over mix.  Fill greased muffin cups 3/4 full.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Makes 12 muffins.

*This recipe contains an egg replacer for 2 eggs.  Instead of the flaxseed meal, you could also use 1/2 cup of applesauce, non-dairy yogurt, tofu sour cream, mashed banana or blended silken tofu.  Egg replacers usually make up about 1/4 cup quantity to equal 1 egg.