Monday, April 18, 2016

Panchiladas with Red Chile Sauce

Now that my sauce book is completed, I'm having fun coming up with new ways to use the sauces. Sometimes I get weird food ideas in my sleep. Sometimes they work. Quesadillas are delicious enough already, but this slightly fancier version is amazing. It's kind of like an enchilada you cook in a frying pan. Panchiladas! We had them two nights in a row, and then made them for friends over the weekend. Rave reviews. Do try this at home.

Start with a batch of Red Chile, which you already have the recipe for in your copy of Change Your Sauce, Change Your Life. If not, get it here! Or, sigh... buy a can of enchilada sauce. It won't be as good as what you make from scratch, but you'll still be well fed.

Then either make some Basic Nut Cheese, or Spicy Cashew Cheese Spread, or use your favorite vegan melty cheese. A good alternate to cheese of any kind is refried beans. If you go that way, leave out the pinto beans listed below - unless, of course, you like things super beany.

Saute some chopped veggies, such as zucchini, yellow squash, onion, and red bell pepper, stirring in a little of your Red Chile at the end of cooking - just enough to coat and season.

Open and drain a can of sliced black olives and a can of pinto beans.
Have some washed baby spinach ready to grab for the filling.
Pour some Red Chile sauce into a dish large enough to dip a tortilla in.

Heat a non-stick skillet to medium-low. Add a little bit of oil to the pan.
Now dip a tortilla (I used whole wheat) in the Red Chile, coating both sides. Let some of the excess drip back into the dish.

Lay the dipped tortilla into the hot pan and let it cook for about 3 minutes, or until it starts to brown a little bit, and is firm enough to handle.

Using a large spatula, flip the tortilla.
Quickly spread or sprinkle some cheese (or refried beans) onto the entire surface.
Place some cooked veggies, beans, olives, and spinach on half of the tortilla only.
Cover the pan with a lid and cook for about 2-3 minutes, until the outside is nicely browned and the sauce is dry.
Use your spatula to fold the empty side of the tortilla over the full side, and carefully slide your finished Panchilada onto a plate.
Garnish with a squiggle of vegan crema or sour cream and some avocado.
Repeat the process until everyone's been fed.

Red Chile, Crema, and Sour Cream recipes are all in my book! Get one and make some notes of your own!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Riding the Divide - for the Animals

While a lot of people go vegan for the sake of the animals, and lots of those folks are influential animal rights activists, few take "active" to the extreme that my friend Carrie Thompson is about to. Beginning in July, Carrie will set out on a 2-3 month long bike trek, following the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, which runs from Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico.

Carrie is a tough woman with a soft heart. She's riding to raise funds and awareness, in support of those she considers to be even more heroic than herself - the undercover factory farm investigators who put themselves at huge personal risk to expose animal abuse in the agricultural industry.

Carrie is a hero too, for her non-stop, upbeat approach in helping animals everywhere, and for gently educating every human in her path. While not all of us are cut out to be activists ourselves, we sometimes have the opportunity to support the work of those who are willing to do it. Here's where you can help a lot!

Carrie is in the process of planning, packing, and fundraising for her journey. She's paying for all of her own expenses herself, so all the money she raises will go directly to the organizations she's supporting. Please help her meet her goals by donating anything you can through any of the following links.

Thank you for helping one big-hearted animal lover make the world a better place for all of us!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Happy Veganversary to ME!

Today marks six years since I went from vegetarian to vegan. There's no going back! I was 52 when I made the leap, and I really truly do feel healthier, better, glowier, lighter than ever in my life.

Don't believe me? Have a look at the My Story page. I'm eternally embarrassed by the before picture. But I also like it as a good illustration of how it's never too late to change things, and of how far I've come.

That's my point today. It's not too late. If you want to test drive vegan life, make a plan and do it. Your plan should leave lots of room for adaptation as you go, but start with something that seems workable for you.

Rick was "vegan between parties" for a year or so, until he really knew in his heart, gut, and bones why he was doing it. If you need to start off that way, I'm still going to cheer you on!

To celebrate this day, which feels really big to me for some reason, I'm going to bake some Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes.

I don't particularly like to bake, but I do particularly like to eat a special treat on a special day. And besides, I want to make something nice for Rick, who is now, all the time, vegan, even at parties.

PS - yes, "glowier" is a word. I just had my computer learn it. Use it! It's yours! You'll need it soon.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Maple-Mustard Baked Tofu

If you like my Smoky Baked Tofu, you'll love this one! It's as simple as it gets. Press, marinate, bake, eat! And the flavor is a wonderful combination of sweet and tangy, just like old school honey-mustard dipping sauce!

Pressing the tofu before marinating removes much of the water, leaving your tofu more spongelike and better able to soak up the marinade. Baking it condenses the flavors and gives it a nice firm texture that's great in sandwiches.

After a couple of years of wrapping my tofu in towels and stacking pans on top of it to press it, I finally bought a Tofu Xpress.

I love this thing! It's sturdy and compact, simple to use, and does the job quickly. I tip it on its side and let the water just drain off into the sink. (And yes, if you buy it through the link, I get a little kickback. But I only talk up products I truly own and love.)

Once the pressing is done (10-15 minutes), you can leave the tofu right where it is, slice it up, and pour in the marinade. It comes with a lid so you can seal it up and stick it in the fridge for an hour or two, or overnight if you happen to think that far ahead.

And now for the recipe. You're gonna squeal at how easy this is.

Maple-Mustard Baked Tofu

1 block extra firm organic tofu (get the refrigerated kind that weighs about one pound)
1/4 cup maple syrup (or agave syrup, rice syrup, or coconut syrup)
1/4 cup regular or Dijon mustard

Use what you like, use what you have!

Press the tofu for 10-15 minutes.
Slice the pressed tofu into 12 even slices.
Mix the maple syrup and mustard together and pour them over the sliced tofu, making sure it goes between the slices too.
Marinate for at least one hour, and up to overnight.
Place the tofu slices and marinade in a lightly oiled 10x10 dish. They should not overlap.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Flip the tofu slices over and bake for another 30 minutes.

That's it. Lunch!

But what about dinner? Find something fast and fabulous in my new book, Change Your Sauce, Change Your Life !!! It's just $3.99 on Kindle too, so you can have it right now!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Petunia's at Case Study Coffee

This week's newsletter, being sent out early Tuesday morning, includes a free recipe from my new Sauce Book! If you're not on the list yet, now might be a good time to sign up!

We like to go to the Case Study Coffee on 10th, near the "designer" Good Will store, the grand old public library, and the less chic, but sometimes handy City Target. Case Study a coffee roasting company, so you know the coffee is good. It's also one of the nicer places to grab a little table and hang out for bit while you sip your espresso and people-watch through the big windows.

They offer several plant-based milks for our lattes, but until recently, all the baked treats were non-vegan. The last time we were there, we had smuggled in our own cookies, which of course is frowned upon, but we wanted something sweet with our afternoon caffeine. Better buzz that way, right? More festive too, and we're all about festivity.

I happened to glance at the bakery case as we ordered, and practically squealed with delight when I saw a pretty little square of - what else? - coffee cake from one of our favorite bakeries, Petunia's, which happens to be all vegan and all gluten free. Stuffing our baggie of cookies back in my purse, I ordered up the second to last piece of cake, two forks please, and was assured that they normally have a better selection. Hey, no problem! It's great news to me that the demand for vegan baked goods is growing!

Thanks Case Study! You've done a very good thing here!


My new book, Change Your Sauce, Change Your Life, is getting great reviews!
It's just $5.99! Order one for yourself, and a few for your friends too! xoxo

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

How To Find Your Best Body on a Vegan Diet - A New Freebie For You!

Are you on my mailing list? Well, maybe you should be! Each week - and only once a week - I send out a cheery little newsletter with news from my world, links to other fun vegan happenings from all over, recipes, and anything else that catches my eye. There's a lot to sift through out there. I like to zero in on just a little bit of it for you each week, in case you don't have time to do all the digging yourself.

I've added a nice incentive to sway you towards allowing me the privilege of dropping you a note each week. I've written a simple guide called, "How To Find Your Best Body on a Vegan Diet." I wrote it because I get a lot of questions about weight loss and weight gain from new vegans. It's tricky! We think that eating a plant-based diet will solve all our problems, but the truth is, not all vegan food is healthy food. Dang!

I've been vegan for almost 5 years now, and I have a few tricks and some insights to share. Get the guide! I bet you'll learn something! And if you're already on my mailing list, I'll be sending you the link to the guide in my next newsletter. Open your email and enjoy! And thanks for being here. It's fun being on this ride with you all!!!

Subscribe to our mailing list


Do you have my new book yet? If so, please leave a review on Amazon (preferably a good one!)
If not, get it on CreateSpace and Amazon for just $5.99, and on Kindle for $3.99!

Thank you!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Lunch at Los Gorditos

I love Mexican food, but I get tired of asking if the beans are made with lard, or if the rice is cooked in chicken broth, or if anything at all can be made without cheese... It's exhausting, and I'm often not sure I'm getting accurate answers, especially when there's something of a language barrier, which there sometimes is in a place that serves good, real Mexican food.

Imagine my delight in discovering that Los Gorditos, with four locations in Portland, has not one, but three separate menus, clearly labeled meat, vegetarian, and (yay!!!) vegan! We recently had lunch at the Perla (Pearl District) location, and as one well-known food guy is known to say, I'm hungry for more. 

There's nothing fancy about the place. You order at the counter, take your number to a table (several communal, plus a few small ones), and they deliver your food to you. Get your own forks and drinks, and forget about having a beer or margarita with your meal. They don't have a liquor license. We didn't care. We were there for the food!

Rick ordered a Soycurl Fajita Burrito from the extensive menu, and I had the Tostada, also with soycurls. Everything was wonderful. The burrito was fat and messy and stuffed with good things, and the tostada was perfectly topped with goopy-good refried beans, veggies, and vegan sour cream. It all tasted like real Mexican food, which is no small feat.

But here's the important part - It's all about the Sauce Bar. Once you have your food, wander over to the little station in the corner and sauce up to your heart's content. I asked two people, and was assured that all of the sauces are vegan. Pay attention to the heat warnings. Yep, that habanero sauce had some serious kick to it. No matter which one(s) you choose, your meal will leap into a whole new dimension of tastiness. Do not skip the Sauce Bar, my friends!

We'll be adding Los Gorditos to our regular route. Maybe next time I'll try the Chile Relleno Burrito, or the Chilaquiles, or the Nachos... There's so much to choose from. I think I could eat there, oh, just about every day.

Rather make some great and easy food for yourself at home? Check out my new book, Change Your Sauce, Change Your Life! It's available now for just $5.99 on Amazon (paperback and Kindle) and CreateSpace. I really appreciate your support! Thanks!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Change Your Sauce!!!

I'm excited to announce that my new book, Change Your Sauce, Change Your Life, is now available on Amazon and CreateSpace!!!

This is so much fun! After much editing and tweaking I finally came to the "finished is better than perfect" point that happens in any creative project, and hit the Publish button.

This is a cute little book that gets right to the point. It's about sauce. Delicious vegan sauces that will blow you away, whether you're vegan or not. Eating a plant-based diet does not mean being deprived of things like Cheese Sauce, Creamy Alfredo Sauce, Hollandaise, and even Mushroom-Cashew Gravy. We can have it all, and it's all really, really good.

Many of the recipes call for raw cashews. That's where the creaminess comes from, and vegans love their cashews! However, in many cases, cashews can be substituted with cauliflower, tofu, or even beans. Feel free to experiment!

To round the book out, I've also included a few basic recipes for things to put under your sauce. A bowl of say, cheese sauce all by itself might not be such a bad thing, but I think it's nicer to give it something to wrap itself around.

This is a great book for people who are either new to plant-based cooking, or who don't really like to cook! Everything in it is simple to make, and all of it can be varied according to your own tastes and what you happen to have on hand.

I'd call this more of a cooking book than a cook book. There's a subtle difference. These recipes are adaptable, and exact ingredients are not important. I've left lots of room for your own Cook's Notes because I want you to write in this book! Make it your own, and keep track of what you do. It's so much easier to go back and do it again if you write it down.

What's inside? Here's the back cover. In a nut shell (stock up on raw cashews right now!) - there are 21 sauce recipes, 6 salad dressings, 6 easy meal un-recipes, equipment and ingredient lists, and blank pages for notes.

I need to do a bit of format adjusting before it's ready for Kindle, but I really think a cookbook is best on paper, in your hands, with good food spilled all over it. For $5.99 you can replace it if you mess it up too much!

I hope you'll buy a bunch of them and give them to your friends. And while you're all busy making and eating good new sauces, I'll be busy working on my next project. It's a secret for now. For the moment, let's eat SAUCE!!!

Get your copy of Change Your Sauce, Change Your Life for just $5.99 on Amazon or CreateSpace
(If you're curious, I get a better royalty when you buy from CreateSpace, but I know Amazon is easier. Please shop where you're most comfortable, and help spread the word to your friends!)
Thank you so much for your support!!!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

We Have a Book Cover!

I'm excited to share this with you! The cover is done, the book is written, and it's all been submitted to CreateSpace for approval. I should have a proof copy in a few days, and once I correct anything that needs fixing and give it the final thumbs-up, it will be ready to publish!

Sales outlets will be print-on-demand on Amazon and CreateSpace, and I think I can also make it available on Kindle. The technology is so amazing! It's even better than it was just a few months ago when I did the coloring book coloring book.

So stay tuned, or put your name on my mailing list so you'll be the first to know when Change Your Sauce, Change Your Life is ready to order!