Cranberry Apple Whip

Wednesday I played with an idea – a take on cranberry sauce that is smooth, tart, thick and creamy. It makes a wonderful spread on sandwiches as well. It was my new recipe this year for our Thanksgiving table…and while I wasn’t going to post today (being a holiday) I had to share it! Yum!

Do make it the day before, it needs time for the flavors to meld. Honestly, right after I had made it I could taste/smell the tofu and just wasn’t sure, so much I made sure we had traditional cranberry sauce on the table. Come 24 hours later, when I tasted it? Yum! It was perfect! It just needed time.

Cranberry Apple Whip


  • 2 cups sliced apples, peeled (3-4 apples), preferably organic
  • 2 cusp fresh or frozen cranberries, preferably organic
  • ½ cup apple juice or cider, preferably organic
  • ½ cup granulated sugar, preferably organic
  • Zest of 1 orange, preferably organic
  • 1 pound silken tofu, preferably organic


Add the apples, cranberries, apple juice, sugar and zest in a large saucepan. Heat over medium, covered, until fruit is tender and thick.

Meanwhile, drain the tofu in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl, discard the drained water, mash the tofu.

Take off the stove, cool a bit. Add to a high-speed blender, such as a Vitamix, process on medium (5 on a Vitamix) till mostly smooth.

Add the tofu in, process on low until smooth, scraping the sides as needed.

Chill overnight before serving.

This can also be prepared in a food processor on high, although it will take longer.

Serves 8.



Fall Chickpea Tart

I saw a version of this tart online and snagged it awhile back, it was originally posted by author Dreena Burton. Although it has many a version of it out on the internet. Even my version is an adaption and I had to research who the recipe “belonged to”. Anyhow, it was a wonderful dish. Or as The Husband put it “so is this vegan Quiche?” Hah……

It is easily prepared in advance, then chilled. Reheating is a snap. I could happily eat this as part of a Thanksgiving dinner – who needs turkey?

Fall Chickpea Tart


  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 large stalks celery, chopped
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained (reserve 1/3 cup)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (1 medium lemon)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp dry sage
  • 4 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ¾ cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed (see below)
  • ¼ cup Traverse Bay Fruit Co. Dried Cranberries

Crust and Topping –

  • 1 9″ whole wheat pastry crust, thawed if frozen
  • 1½ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp walnuts, finely chopped


Heat a large skillet over medium-high, add oil, onion, celery, salt and pepper, sauté for 10 minutes, stirring often. Take off stove and stir in granulated garlic.

Meanwhile add the chickpeas through thyme to a food processor, add in the sautéed vegetables. Process until finely chopped.

Add in the walnuts and oats, pulse until mixed and walnuts are chopped.

Place the thawed spinach in a mesh strainer, drain. Squeeze with hands to press out extra water.

Transfer to a large mixing bowl, add in spinach, cranberries and reserved chickpeas, stir gently to mix.

Preheat oven to 400°. Roll out pie crust to fit pie plate. If any overhang, trim off and save. Place pie plate on a baking sheet, spread filling inside, smooth out.

Mix the oil and soy sauce together in a small bowl, brush all over the top, sprinkle walnuts on.

If there are crust scraps, roll out and cut out decorative pieces, place on a small baking sheet.

Place both in oven, tart in upper third, crust cutouts below. Bakes for 10 minutes, remove crust cutouts and let cool, continue baking tart for 20 to 25 minutes more (for a total of 30 to 35 minutes), until golden.

Let cool for 10 minutes, cut into 8 slices and serve. Decorate top of tart with the baked cutouts as desired.

To make in advance, let cool to room temperature, refrigerate until needed. Reheat one slice at a time in microwave for a minute or so.


To tast the walnuts quickly, as you heat the skillet for the vegetables, add the walnuts in the dry pan and shake to toast for a couple of minutes.


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Vegan Comfort Food: Blue Cornmeal Muffins & Broccoli Soup

Looking outside was dismal enough, wind screeching, rain dumping. Went and looked at Weather Underground’s map…yikes, shouldn’t have. The Cascade Mountains are being pounded with snow, a swath of green/yellow and orange over most of Western Washington (blue in the mountains). OK, soup day it is! It just seemed right. Up first though, I had a recipe from the December 2012 issue of Vegetarian Times, that called to be vegan-ized. Lest you all think I make no mistakes….my first batch came out like hard dense pucks. And I realized I had forgotten to put the flour in. Really, brain? How do you forget the FLOUR? Doh, I felt stupid as I dumped them in the compost bin. The second batch turned out perfectly. In some ways I thought they even tasted better the second day (I made them yesterday while it also dumped rain…..) Anyhow, they are delicious and one doesn’t miss the egg or the all-purpose flour!

Blue Cornmeal Muffins


  • 1 cup Blue Cornmeal
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar, preferably organic
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal + 3 Tbsp water
  • ¼ cup neutral vegetable oil
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup frozen corn


Preheat oven to 425°, spray a 12 count muffin tin with neutral vegetable oil liberally (preferably use a traditional pan, not a non-stick).

Whisk the vinegar into the almond milk, let sit. Add the water to the ground flaxseed, let hydrate for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile stir the cornmeal through salt together in a large bowl.

Whisk the flaxseed and oil together till smooth, add in the soured milk. Stir into the dry ingredients till just mixed, add ¾ of the corn, stir in.

Divide equally between the muffin tins. Sprinkle on the remaining corn on top.

Bake for 20 minutes, until golden on top and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes, run a thin metal spatula around, pop out, place on a cooling rack.

Let leftovers cool fully, cover and store on the counter for up to 2 days.

Makes 12 muffins.

Having received a copy of 300 Sensational Soups to review, I got poking through it. At first I had my eye on a butternut soup. Then I looked in my refrigerator and noticed that gee, maybe I should use all that broccoli I bought on sale over the weekend instead. So Broccoli Buttermilk Soup it was, easily vegan-ized as well!

The cookbook is a dream for fall and winter, and yes, that butternut soup will get made as well. Maybe later in the week. While it dumps even more rain…….soups, chowders, even dessert soups. So many delicious ones…..

Broccoli Soup (As adapted from page 50)


  • 1½ to 2 pounds fresh broccoli
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil or Earth Balance Buttery stick
  • 1 sweet onion, peeled and chopped
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • Ground black pepper and fine sea salt


Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Meanwhile cut the florets off the broccoli crowns, set 1 cup aside, place the rest in another bowl. Trim the stalks and peel, then slice up.

Add the 1 cup of florets to the boiling water, blanch for 2 minutes. Scoop out and immerse in a bowl of ice water, drain and place on paper towels to drain.

Stir the lemon juice into the milk, whisk and let sit.

Drain the water from the pot, place over medium-high and heat the oil, sauté the onion, thyme and salt for 3 minutes, until onion is softened.

Add broccoli stalks, broth and bay leaf, bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 8 minutes.

Add the uncooked florets, return to simmer and cook for 3 minutes.

Remove and discard bay leaf.

Use an immersion blender to make the soup smooth, add in the cayenne, nutmeg and soured milk and let heat through, but do not let simmer or boil. Taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper.

Serve with the reserved cooked florets on top.

Serves 4.


FTC Disclaimer: We received a review copy of the book.

Book Review: The Total Food Allergy Health and Diet Guide (w/ recipe)

I recently was sent a copy of The Total Food Allergy Health and Diet Guide: Includes 150 Recipes for Managing Food Allergies and Intolerances by Eliminating Common Allergens and Gluten – a new book that came out last month.

This is a truly in-depth book for those with any of the 10 major allergies: Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Seafood, Milk, Eggs, Soy, Wheat, Sesame Seeds, Sulfites and Mustard. Heck, I would recommend it to anyone who has friends and family with allergies! Knowledge is power, and the more you know the better. The information is in-depth, discussing how allergies are determined, to how to shop safely.

While reading through the 150 recipes (the first half is extensive information/advice, the second half is recipes), I came across a simple slow cooker recipe for brown rice pudding. The recipe is of course presented for those with food allergies, with only 4 ingredients. I changed it a bit, using So Delicious Coconut milk (instead of rice milk) and Wholesome Sweetener’s Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Coconut Sugar (instead of raw cane sugar).

And a bit of salt a the end, I just felt it needed it! Gluten-free, vegan and Plant-Based but still delicious – and easy. It is comforting and satisfying.

Wholesome Rice Pudding


  • ¾ cup short grain brown rice
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups milk


Lightly oil a 3½ quart or smaller crock pot with neutral vegetable oil. Add the rice, sugar and cinnamon, stirring to mix. Add in the milk, cover and set on high. Let cook for about 4 hours, stirring every hour.

Around 4 hours the pudding will start to thicken. Let cook for up to 30 minutes more for extra thick. Turn off, tilt the lid and let cool, stirring often. Salt to taste, if you want (I used ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt).

Spoon into dessert dishes, chill until cold.

Serve with a little coconut whipped cream (or whatever you prefer), a sprinkle cinnamon and even a little maple syrup drizzled on.

Serves 4.


FTC Disclaimer: We received a review copy for potential review.

Cookbook Review: 250 Best Beans, Lentils & Tofu Recipes

I had received a copy of 250 Best Beans, Lentils and Tofu Recipes: Healthy, Wholesome Foods, then it went missing.

For weeks I looked for it. Then I found it squirreled away, in Walker’s art desk. I am sure that is where it belonged. Well, at least I had it back, although he had doodled all over it. I had time to waste yesterday morning, while I waited at the car dealership for warranty work on our minivan (Hey! The brakes no longer stutter! Always nice when driving down winding mountain roads….), I brought my copy along and made myself cozy in the kid’s playroom. A pleasant way to waste time as the kids all played.

Since I had a big ol’ butternut squash once again camping on top of the microwave, I decided the Southwest Butternut Squash Tortilla Bake on page 251 would be perfect. And easily made plant-based, I simply left off the bit of cheddar cheese called for. I have to say I wondered if it would be good or not, one bite and I was happy. The butternut works, without overpowering. And I even used at least double what was called for (what can I say, my butternut was huge). I think finally I have learned how to cook butternut in ways that are delicious. BTW, in my adaption, I lined the bottom of the casserole with more tortilla strips. The bottom “crust” was the best part. The juices soaked in, leaving a tasty bite.

Southwest Butternut Squash Tortilla Bake (Adapted from page 251)


  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 or 2 jalapeños, seeded and minced (used 2)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes, preferably organic
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped small (1 to 3 pounds before)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 14 to 19 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained, preferably organic
  • 1½ cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 package corn tortillas, 6″ size, 16 to 20
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 400°, lightly oil a 9×13″ oven-safe baking pan.

Heat a large skillet over medium, add oil and onion, sauté until tender and golden. Add garlic and jalapeño, sauté for a minute, then add in butternut and spices, sauté for a few minutes, tossing to enrobe in the spices.

Stir in the tomatoes and broth, bring to a simmer, cover and cook over medium-low for 10 minutes. Add in beans, corn, salt and pepper, heat through.

Meanwhile, slice the tortillas in ¾ inch slices. Spread half over the bottom of the pan. Spread the hot butternut mixture on top, smoothing out, Lay the remaining strips on top. Brush liberally with the remaining oil and if desired, a pinch of fine sea salt over the top.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Serves 6 to 8.


FTC Disclaimer: We received a copy of the cookbook for potential review.

Sunday Mornings: Sweet Potato Scramble

In the saga of my week, Kirk got my iMac fixed today, after it was out of commission for the past week. The hard drive died. I limped along using Ford’s computer and my iPad (first world problem, I know) but it wasn’t the same. It sounds snobbish, but dangit, I have gotten used to having two monitors!! Kirk, being the tech geek he is, could fix it but we had to source the industrial strength suction cups. A few years back he had moved me up to the iMac. The dirty secret? They are not user-fixable without being a major pain the rear. To get into the computer we had to lift the glass off with the suction cups, then remove the LCD monitor and unhook everything. But hey, I got a great solid state hard drive now….and we got it all back together. With a hack or two and back in business.

And here is where I drill something home: BACKUPS. Kirk is a stickler on that. Onsite and offsite. Due to them he was able to move me onto Ford’s computer easily and then to restore my computer once the new drive was in. Nothing lost. I cannot imagine losing 10K of photos of my kids and of past hiking trips! Nor losing book manuscripts, documents and more. A hard drive failure can and does happen at some point.

Had I not had “in-house” tech support I don’t want to think how much it would have cost to restore the computer. I am grateful for having married a talented man 😉

On a positive note…we had sun this week! Walker had so much fun outside, in the leaves, raking them with Ford (who didn’t find it nearly as fun…hah!)


The Backyard Squirrel kept burying his nuts and seed pockets in the leaves. Sigh…..time to rake them up it seemed.



Two happy boys at Costco this week with me. Walker only had eyes for the grapes…..



To get the boys out of Kirk’s hair, we ran to town and did a little grocery shopping. Walker wasn’t very happy about sharing the sweet race car with his brother, who was having a blast “driving”. Tough luck kiddo, your baby brother is a big boy now! And…Alistaire turned 9 months this past week. At his Doctor appointment he was 100% percentile for height, 93% for head size. o_O He is over 30″ tall and nearly 23 pounds.



This mornings breakfast came out of my having/finding 4 sweet potatoes in a box on top of the pantry. To save time, I parboiled them Saturday night. I served the scramble with half a bean burrito each (although Walker ate my half as well…..). It was a great way to use leftovers up!

Sweet Potato Scramble


  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp neutral vegetable oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 14 to 16 ounce extra firm tofu, preferably organic and non-GMO
  • Ground black pepper
  • Fine sea salt
  • Seasonings
  • Salsa


Drain the tofu, place in a fine mesh strainer and let drain overnight, in the refrigerator.

Peel the sweet potatoes, chop into bite size pieces. Add to a pot, cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, cook until just fork tender, drain and shake dry. It will only take a few minutes for them to cook, keep an eye on them. If making the night before, stash in a large bowl in the refrigerator.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high, add in the sweet potatoes, onion and bell pepper, then crumble tofu on top. Cook, stirring often, until crispy and golden. Season to taste while cooking, I added in a dry cajun-style seasoning blend as well (a mix of spices, no salt).

Serve with salsa on top, peach mango is a fantastic choice. On the side I served half a bean burrito, where I heated flour tortillas in a dry skillet, then spread hot beans and vegan queso sauce, rolled up.

Serves 4.


Up this coming week? Cookbook reviews galore! 🙂

Vegan Comfort Food: Peppers & Onions & Tofu with Curry Gravy over Quinoa

I wrote this post up last week – right before my computer’s hard drive crashed. It felt great to see us working on it and knowing I would have it back soon…more to come on that!

OK, that was a long title. A really long one.

This dinner was an odd one, I had seen a recipe that inspired me to go a direction we hadn’t been down before. Being the usual Sarah-thing, by the time it was done, it bore little resemblance to my inspiration recipe and that worked out perfectly in this case. It had been awhile since we had tofu (months, if not longer) and in town I can now get good brands of organic and Non-GMO in stock. Before it wasn’t so easy, which was why we had quit eating it. Will this be a meal that makes everyone happy? Probably not. My taste in food can run to the odd side. I actually served the toddler something else because frankly I didn’t feel like trying to remove yellow curry stains out of his clothing. Bad Mom, I know. But gah, curry stains so easily!

And who wants this cute outfit to get wrecked??

I served it over quinoa, basmati or jasmine rice would also have been nice. There is plenty of gravy for the quinoa or rice to soak up. Add in a cold glass of ice tea and a cozy couch to nosh on…and I am happy on a cold fall evening.

On Sunday Walker and I went shopping at PCC, a local co-op chain of natural foods, and found this lovely yellow/orange head of cauliflower, which was grown in Oregon. Yum. It so didn’t match dinner but yum, it was GOOD. Just steamed a bit and tossed with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt.

Sigh…and here it was Sunday evening. And realizing that with Daylight Saving Time having changed I was facing my least favorite part of blogging. The one where I cannot go outside and take photos in natural light. Stuck inside with awful kitchen lighting. I need to get out the lights and learn how to use them properly this winter. And not shoot photos in blue glass casseroles…lol. I did grab one shot of the casserole before I smothered it in gravy. No finished dinner photos, ah well!

Peppers, Onions and Tofu with Curry Gravy


  • 14 to 16 ounce block extra firm tofu, well-drained, preferably organic/non-GMO
  • 16 ounce bag frozen bell pepper strips, thawed
  • 2 small or 1 large sweet onion
  • 2 Tbsp neutral vegetable oil, divided

Curry Gravy –

  • ½ cup white whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari sauce
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • ½ tsp dried basil


Prepare grain of choice (for quinoa I used 1 cup well rinsed quinoa and 2 cups water, brought boil, cooked covered on medium-low for 20 minutes).

Preheat oven to 350°, lightly spritz a 9×13″ glass baking dish with vegetable oil.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high, add 1 tablespoon oil, peppers and onions. Saute until golden. Stash in a bowl and keep warm. Slice the tofu in half (like splitting a roll), then cut into 24 total pieces. Heat the remaining oil, turn to medium and add the tofu. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on and sauté until golden, then gently flip over until all sides are golden.

Spread the peppers and onions on the bottom of the dish. Nestle the tofu on top. Spread the curry gravy on top, bake uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve over grain of choice.

Curry Gravy –

Add the flour and water to a small mason jar, seal and shake till mixed. Scrape into a small saucepan, whisk in remaining ingredients  whisking smooth. Heat over medium until simmering and thickened. Let simmer gently over low until ready to use in recipe.

Serves 4.


Vegan Comfort Food: Savory Chickpea Burgers

I have lost count on how many veggie burgers I have tried. They went the full range, from really lousy to good, usually the “good ones” were not vegan. Cheese often covers up a multitude of failings…..the worst “burgers” are the soggy/wet black bean ones. But that is me……

My goal was a thick, dense burger, full of protein, fiber and taste that could be vegan-friendly but not be based on rice, quinoa, oats, wheat flour, bread crumbs and so on. We have had so many “burgers” and “loaves” based on these. I wanted something new! As a bonus the patties are gluten-free…..and the green of the spinach is very pretty. It was a success in my eyes.

PS: Do use the dehydrated onion called for, rather than fresh. It simply works better in burgers and loaves. There isn’t the heavy amount of moisture that fresh has and they are already minced as well.

Dried onions are sold at Costco in the spice aisle and at most grocery stores. I keep big jugs that I get online, they are perfect for soups, rice mixes and more. They stay fresh for a long time, they should be in every kitchen (if you like onions that is).

Savory Chickpea Burgers


  • ½ cup dried (dehydrated) onion
  • 1 cup cool water
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup finely shredded carrot (1-2 carrots)
  • 3 cups fresh spinach leaves (about 4-5 ounces)
  • 15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 Tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 Tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp soy or tamari sauce (gluten-free preferably)
  • ½ tsp hot sauce (favorite kind)
  • olive oil for cooking
  • toppings/buns/etc


Soak the dried onion in the water for at least 30 minutes, drain and shake off in a fine mesh strainer.

Heat a large skillet over medium, add oil and onion, sauté until turning golden. Add the carrots, sauté for a few more minutes, toss in the spinach, sauté until wilted and the vegetables are not wet.

Meanwhile mash the chickpeas, add in and stir into the vegetables. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Add in dry ingredients, toss to mix, then stir in the wet. Stir until fully mixed, set aside to cool down.

Makes 6 patties, each one 1/3 cup. Flatten into patties with hands.

Heat a large skillet over medium, drizzle in a bit of oil, add 3 patties and cook until crispy and browned, flip over and cook other side. Repeat with the remaining 3 patties, adding more oil as needed.

Makes 6 burgers (patties)


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