The old standby that mom made waaaaaaay too many times when we were kids has caused us to scoff at the idea of EVER eating this again, much less cook it…

That’s how I felt up until several months ago when I took on the challenge of veganizing “Tet”.  I gave it another whirl last night using a new and locally produced product, Beyond Meat. 

If you have not yet tried Beyond Meat, by all means, please do!  Of course the taste is spot on, but also too, is the texture.  I won’t go on and on about about how perfectly shreds, how the density of the fibers hold together just right - no, however, please know that it fooled even best-selling author and New York Times columnist, Mark Bittman and impressed chef, best-selling author and host on the Food Network Alton Brown.

So, check here to find a store nearest you to pick up a package, shoot, they’ll even give you $1 off!  Then, cook it up, take a pic and enter Beyond Meat’s Fan Photo Contest to win a year of FREE Beyond Meat. 

You can submit your dish by email, Twitter or Instagram.

Beyond Meat “Chicken” Tetrazzini

1 C Earth Balance Buttery spread

¼ C whole wheat flour

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

1 ½ TB dried rosemary

1 ¼ C vegetable broth

1 C dairy free plain creamer

7 oz spaghetti noodles

8 oz Beyond Meat Chicken Strips

1 pint of sliced baby bellas, lightly sauteed

½ C vegan parmesan (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350 °.  Melt the Earth Balance in a large sauce pan over low heat.  Blend in the flour salt, pepper and  rosemary.  Stir until well mixed.  Mix in broth and creamer and continue to stir.  Add noodles, Beyond Meat and mushrooms.  Once well integrated, pour mixture into an 8 X 8 casserole dish, top with vegan parmesan and bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until bubbly.  Broil for 1 minute for a browned crispy top.

Vegan Parmesan

1 C nutritional yeast

¼ C walnuts

1 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients in a mini food processor and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

A HUGE thank you for all the people that helped pull this off! St. Louis’ first Spanish vegan dinner event would not have been made possible without the hard work and incredible dedication of Brendan Marsden and his hard working staff at Modesto Tapas Bar & Restaurant and Clink!; super smarty pants wine-guy and great story teller Bill Kniep of Wine Events by Pinnacle Imports; most talented Chef Carlos Hernandez of Modesto; a ball of energy and great business woman, Erin Peters-Keplinger of Clink!; and (good) crazy creative idea sprouting PR guru Melissa Stromblad of The Creative Word PR.

I feel privileged to have worked with you all and humbled that you put so much of yourselves in to my little plant-eating business. And, finally, thanks for making it a great birthday! My love to you all!

Nope - not finished yet—-> A big thank you also to KSDK, Channel 5’s Show Me St. Louis, Fox 2 in the Morning, The Riverfront Times and Town and Style Magazine for our Media Coverage.  We all think you are pretty cool.  

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Review for End of the Rainbow Fruit Salad

By: Eluka Moore, Larry Puzniak and Marianne Welsh

A few weeks ago I received an inquiry from a children’s book author who asked me if I’d like to review a book that focuses on” healthy” eating for kiddos. 

Ah, yes, please.

The End of the Rainbow Fruit Salad (next to The Giving Tree) is the hands down first book I’d buy any parent who has small children (ok, truth be told, probably any parent with adult children too, as we could all use a refresher…).   Upon cracking open the hardbound cover, I’m struck by the old school kitchen wallpaper-ish patterns that immediately took me back to the kitchen I grew up in; it’s kind of nostalgic.  Page after page is splashed with colors of the rainbow and cheerfully animated by a baby boy (who wears a bib with only the word, “YUM” on it) and his older sister who takes care of most of the preparing of the fruit salad.  Following a brief introduction of who the kids are and what they’ll be doing, each page spread takes one fruit, introduces it, briefly describes the flavor, and shows how to prepare it for eating.

When they reach number ten, they have prepared a beautifully tasty bowl of rainbow colored cuisine that a kid of any age would enjoy. I’m on a plant-based (vegan) diet and there are about 100 reasons I love this book, here are a few:

  •       I have learned that eating the rainbow on a daily basis enables our bodies to obtain an array of vitamins and nutrients that support a strong immune system (decoded: a sniffle stopper).
  •       The authors approach “eating healthy” in the most simplest of ways, by using cartoon kids, lots of color and ONE INGREDIENT AT  A TIME. 
  •       I hate numbers, if you know me at all, you know this. Which is why I hate writing recipes – I’m a dump and taste girl.  I’m a lost cause, but for kids just starting out , by the time you get to the end of the book, gosh darnnit, you’ve read and can easily follow a real recipe – and you got a counting lesson.  Genius, pure genius. 
  •       What does a papaya look like – now you know. 
  •       And, what’s up with that Where’s Waldo-esque pickle on each page?  I love that guy – must be an inside joke with the authors.
  •       It’s whole-food, plant-based; educational; approachable; and so very simple to incorporate into your life…at any age. 

5 out of 5, 10 out of 10, whatever your scale, I’ll bet you’ll agree, it will be tipped in your loved ones favor.

I want this book NOW

DISCLAIMER:

Although I was furnished with a copy of the book, I did not receive any compensation for this book review.

Here we are, here ya have it.  23 days and 23 recipes later, I hope you were were captivated by a few and are able to integrate them not only to your holiday table or party, but perhaps also other meals as well.  But here’s what I really hope happens, first, you must know that I’m not a fan of writing recipes only because I HATE measuring anything (you know that if you’ve been to one of my classes), that said, I hope you’ve found a recipe that you tried and liked.  Do this - print it out and with a marker, scratch out all the numbers and add it one more ingredient that you think it might need (vegan, of course!).  Now make that version.  Do that about three more times, testing and trying.  And now, guess what… now it’s YOUR recipe sweetheart!  You’ve just created your own vegan recipe, not so hard, eh?

Spinach Stuffed ‘Shrooms

  • 18-24 large crimini mushrooms
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 package of frozen spinach, well drained
  • red bell pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 3/4 C vegan cream cheese
  • 2 TBS Italian seasoning blend
  • scant of sea salt
  • 1 C bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375. Over medium-high heat, lightly saute the garlic and onion in just a little bit of olive oil for about 3-4 minutes. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and in a food processor add the stems, the onion/garlic mixture, spinach, bell pepper, cream cheese, salt and seasoning.  Continue to process until a thick paste forms. Transfer the mixture into a large mixing bowl and fold in the bread crumbs.  With a spoon, delicately smoosh (a high-brow culinary term) the mixture into each mushroom cap. 

On a parchment paper lined baking pan, bake for about 20-25 minutes, checking halfway through.  Serve warm.

Tempeh “Chicken” Salad in Mini Pocket Pitas

  • 16oz tempeh
  • ¼ C sweet pickle relish
  • ¼ C celery, chopped fine
  • ¼ C red onion, chopped fine
  • ¼ C red bell pepper, chopped fine
  • ¼ C green bell pepper, chopped fine
  • ¼ C raw sunflower seeds
  • ¼ C scallions, sliced fine
  • 2-3TBS Braggs Liquid Amino (or soy sauce)
  • 3 TBS Italian Parsley, chopped fine
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 C vegan mayo
  • 1 package of mini pocket pitas

Break tempeh into chunks and steam for 10 minutes.  Set aside and cool.  Mix all other ingredients in a bowl.  Crumble cooled tempeh into mixture and refrigerate for about an hour.  Scoop about 1-2 TBS of the mixture into mini pocket pitas and serve.

Mini Rye Bread Pizzas

In a large non-stick pan, over medium high heat, begin to cook the meat.  You’ll need to break it apart with a wooden spoon as it cooks.  Once the edges begin to crisp up, transfer to a plate.  Bring the heat down to medium and add in the butter then whisk in the flour to create a roux.   Next, continue to whisk and add in the coconut milk.  Once it in smooth, add back in your meat, garlic powder and ground pepper.  As your meat is now incorporated into the roux, add in your cheese shreds.  Once melted, scoop a tablespoon of the mixture on to each toasted mini rye. 

If you are taking this to a party, transfer the mixture to a glass bowl and cover.  Toast your mini ryes at home.  Re-heat on stove top or briefly in a microwave and then assemble and serve.

Watch us make it on Fox 2 this morning!

In April I held a (sold out!) vegan dinner event at Sunset 44 restaurant. Owner and executive chef, Bob Menendez was kind enough to put up with me and our collaborated efforts produced a five-course, wine paired fabulous culinary vegan feat to the tune of 100 people.  This bruschetta is his brain child and was the amuse bouche. 

Watch Sunset 44 for more to come, like perhaps a STLVegGirl Grab ‘n’ Go food line….

Bruschetta Duxelle & Caramelized Onions

  • 1 yellow onion, julienned
  • 2 TBS olive oil, divided
  • Salt/pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp shallot, minced
  • 4 TBS wild mushrooms, minced
  • Nutmeg, scant
  • 1 tsp Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2 oz white wine

In a small skillet, heat up 1TBS olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook until caramelized.  Add a pinch of salt/pepper and the garlic paste.  Cook for another 2-3 minutes and set aside in a bowl.

In that same skillet, heat up the remaining TBS of oil, over medium heat and add the shallot, wild mushrooms, nutmeg, salt/pepper, wine and parsley.  Cook down until you reach a pasty consistency. 

On crostinis, scoop on a layer of the mushroom mixture, top with the caramelized onions.

A super easy neighbor, mail person, teacher, hostess gift!  Get yourself to the nearest craft store, stock up on those little holiday tins, line ‘em with wax paper and dump your almonds inside.  DONE!

Herbed Holiday Almonds

  • 2 C raw almonds
  • 2 TBS vegan butter
  • 1 TBS fresh rosemary
  • 1 TBS fresh thyme
  • 1 TBS fresh sage
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 350, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place almonds on sheet. In a sauce pan over low heat, melt the butter.  Remove from heat allow to cool just a bit and add in the spices and salt.  Pour the herb and butter mix over the almonds and bake for about 15 minutes.  Toss and continue to cook for another 15 or until they begin to turn a darker shade of brown.

Cool and serve.

Mixed Bean Quinoa

For the last couple of years I have been involved in Food Outreach’s big annual fundraiser called A Tasteful Affair.  I have had the privilege of tabling up next to some pretty awesome local chefs/restaurants and handing out in excess of 1000 samples to the hungry (and generous!) public.  Last year I scooped up 1200 samples of my Mixed Bean Quinoa.  Though this would make a really great little app, too   Here’s #18:

Mixed Bean Quinoa

1tsp extra virgin olive oil                      1TBS ground cumin
1 chopped red bell pepper                    1 TBS smoked paprika
¼ tsp cayenne pepper powder             s/p to taste
1 chopped yellow onion                         1C frozen corn
3 minced garlic cloves                           1 ½ C  cooked black beans
¾ C uncooked & rinsed quinoa               ½ C chopped fresh cilantro    
1 ½ C vegetable broth                          1 C edamame

 n a large sauce pan, lightly sauté the bell pepper, onion and garlic.  Add the vegetable broth and the quinoa, season with cumin, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper.  Stir, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add frozen corn and simmer for another 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and gently fold in black beans, edamame and cilantro.  Allow to cool a little and then scoop into 2 oz. serving cups.

Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip (Guest Post)

Today’s post is compliments of my genius chef friend, Chef Marianne Moore, here in St. Louis.  She’s sort of a big deal…

  • 8 oz vegan cream cheese, softened
  • 8 oz vegan sour cream
  • 2 cans (13 to 14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
  • 1 package (10 oz) frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 4 oz soy Parmesan, or more to taste*
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed, or more to taste
  • dash dried oregano
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sour cream. Fold in all remaining ingredients.  Spread in greased 9 X 13 baking pan.  Bake at 350 oven for about 20-25 minutes or until dip is hot and bubbly.  Serve with pita chips.

Serves 8

*To make vegan Parmesan, take 1 cup of nutritional yeast, 1/8 cup of walnuts and a pinch of sea salt, mix well in a food processor.  Sore extra in a sealed glass container in the refrigerator.  Will keep for a month (if you don’t devour it before then.)