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fire and ice noodles mc

With the arrival of hot weather, my meal planning has been undergoing its own seasonal change, as I trade in some of my cold-weather favorites for warm weather options like the Fire and Ice Sesame Noodles from More Quick-Fix Vegan (my favorite of the “quick-fix” trilogy).  The evocative name refers to the heat from the sriracha and the cold since I usually serve this dish chilled. You can serve it at room temperature, if you prefer, but “fire and room temperature” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

The recipe is below, but first, I’d like to announce the winner of the Bonus Recipe Bundle from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen.  The winner is Ali @ Chickpeas & Change whose favorite Indian ingredient is tamarind sauce.  Congratulations, Ali! And thanks to all who entered the giveaway.

Now here’s that recipe….

Fire and Ice Sesame Noodles

This recipe is from More Quick-Fix Vegan (c) 2014 by Robin Robertson, published by Andrews McMeel Publishing.

Serves 4

8 ounces buckwheat soba noodles
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1 medium carrot, coarsely  shredded
3 scallions, chopped
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup tahini sesame paste
1 tablespoon white miso paste
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 to 2 teaspoons sriracha sauce, or to taste
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon natural sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Cook the soba in a pot of boiling water according to package directions.  Drain well and rinse in cold water, then drain again (extremely well). Return the drained noodles to the pot.  Add the sesame oil, carrot, cucumber, and scallions and toss gently to combine. Set aside.
While the noodles are cooking, in a bowl, combine the tahini, miso, soy sauce, sriracha, ginger, vinegar, and sugar.   Blend until smooth.  Stir in the water and continue stirring until smooth and creamy.
Add the sauce to the noodles and vegetables and toss gently to combine.  To serve, transfer the noodles and vegetables to a large serving bowl or individual bowls and top with the sesame seeds.



Vegan Richas Indian Kitchen-Front-cover

When paging through a cookbook actually makes me hungry, I know it’s a winner.  That’s what happened with Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen, the new cookbook by Richa Hingle.  By the time I got to the dessert chapter, I needed an Indian food fix and was soon cooking up a batch of Carrot Halwa, and enjoying the fragrance of cardamom gracing my kitchen. I’m excited to participate in Richa’s blog tour with a sample recipe from the book as well as a Giveaway for her Bonus Recipe Bundle.  More about the giveaway at the end of this post, but first, about the sample recipe…. As a card-carrying cauliflower addict, I naturally gravitated to the many distinctively delicious cauliflower recipes in this book, including this recipe for Spicy Baked Cauliflower Florets (known in Indian restaurants as Gobi 65).

Spicy Caul Florets Gobi 65 1617

As Richa explains, “There are a few fried cauliflower (gobi) appetizers offered in Indian restaurants. One of the most common ones is Gobi 65, a spicy fried cauliflower in a cornstarch and flour batter with curry leaves. This is a baked version of Gobi 65. You can also fry the cauliflower for a restaurant-style version. Serve alone or with a side of mint-cilantro or coconut chutney.”

Many of the ingredients in Richa’s recipes can be found in any supermarket, although there are some items (such as the curry leaves in the following recipe) that need to be purchased at an Indian or Asian market or online.  Richa’s easy-to-follow recipes accompanied by stunning photographs of all my favorites (and many soon-to-be favorites, I’m sure!) are positively transportive. Richa demystifies Indian spices and other ingredients and her welcoming voice comes through in the recipes, making you feel like she’s in your kitchen with you. If you’re a fan of Indian food but think it’s too complicated to make at home, this book can be a game changer.

Spicy Baked Cauliflower Florets

Gobi 65

Prep: 20 minutes | Active: 20 minutes | Inactive: 30 minutes | Serves 4

To make these gluten-free, use 1/2 cup chickpea flour + 1/4 cup rice flour instead of unbleached all-purpose flour. (Recipe from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen, copyright © 2015 by Richa Hingle. Used by permission Vegan Heritage Press, LLC.)


2 tablespoons chopped red onion

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unbleached white flour

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Garam Masala

1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons cayenne

1 teaspoon sriracha sauce, chile garlic sauce, or other hot sauce

1 (1-inch) knob of ginger

4 cloves garlic

12 curry leaves

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 cup water

2 teaspoons safflower or other neutral oil


Safflower oil spray, as needed

4 1/2 cups small cauliflower florets


1 teaspoon safflower or other neutral oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion

1/3 cup thinly sliced green or red bell pepper

10 curry leaves, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Blend all the ingredients for the batter in a blender and blend until smooth and pasty. Transfer to a large bowl. If the batter is too thin, add 1 tablespoon flour, or more, and mix well.

2. Add the cauliflower florets to the batter, toss to coat, and let marinate for at least 15 minutes. Mix to coat again. Place the florets on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and spray with oil.

3. Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the baking sheet. Bake until a toothpick passes through the cauliflower easily, about 15 minutes. The total baking time is 30 to 35 minutes.

4. Make the garnish: Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, peppers, and curry leaves, and cook until the onion is golden, 7 to 9 minutes. Garnish the baked cauliflower with the onion mixture. Serve hot.


Bonus Recipe Bundle Giveaway:  The recipe bundle is a collection of recipes that did not make it into the book, including several that are tester favorites.  Leave a comment at the end of this post and tell me your favorite Indian dish or ingredient for a chance to win Richa’s Bonus Recipe Bundle.  The contest closes at midnight Eastern Time on May 26th. A winner will be announced on Wednesday, May 27th. This giveaway is open internationally, so everyone can enter!  And if you don’t have your own copy of Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen cookbook, what are you waiting for?



A recent trip to the vegan-friendly Nine Mile restaurant in Asheville, NC, reminded me how much I enjoy the flavors of the Caribbean.  When I’m at home, I like to make these jerk-spiced vegetable skewers, especially now that the weather is ideal for grilling outside.  I sometimes add seitan or extra-firm tofu for extra protein.  Otherwise, I serve it over coconut rice and beans. If you don’t like the fussiness of skewers, you can cook the vegetables in a grill basket instead.

Jamaican Jerk Vegetable Skewers

This recipe is from Vegan Without Borders © Robin Robertson, 2014.

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon natural sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 large red onion, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

2 yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

2 small zucchini, cut crosswise into 3/4-inch chunks

8 ounces small cremini or white mushrooms, trimmed

12 ounces cherry tomatoes

Olive oil

If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 1 hour or overnight. (You should need about 8 to 12 skewers, depending on their size.)

In a shallow bowl, combine all of the spices, stirring to mix well. Set aside.

Thread the vegetables onto skewers, either alternating different vegetables or, alternatively, skewer one type of vegetable on separate skewers for even cooking. Brush the vegetables with olive oil, then sprinkle on the spice mixture, turning to coat all over with the spices.  Preheat the grill until hot.

Arrange the skewers on a lightly oiled grill and cook for about 5 minute per side, turning once, or until the vegetables are tender and nicely browned. Serve hot

Serves 4


GIVEAWAY WINNER:  The winner of The Good Karma Diet Giveaway is: Carolyn Strickland, whose favorite ingredients are avocados and butternut squash.  Congratulations Carolyn.  Send me an email with your mailing address so a copy of The Good Karma Diet by Victoria Moran can be sent to you.  Thanks to all who entered this giveaway!


The Good Karma Diet

The Good Karma Diet

I’m excited to participate in the blog tour for The Good Karma Diet by Victoria Moran with an excerpt and recipe from the book.  To add to the “good karma” there’s also a giveaway at the end of this post to win a copy of the book, so be sure to enter.

Now, here’s Victoria Moran with an excerpt from: The Good Karma Diet:

“Good Karma eating is as simple as can be: comprise your meals of plants instead of animals, and most of the time choose unprocessed plant foods, meaning that they got from the garden or orchard or field to your kitchen with minimal corporate interference.
this way of eating gives you good karma in two ways. The first is self-explanatory: by eating foods of high nutrient density and avoiding the animal products and processed foods your body can have trouble dealing with, you’ll reap the rewards of improved health. The second is a bit more mystical: you do good and you get good back.
As is true for life in general, it’s probably better to do this with unselfish motives, but even if your motivation is to become thinner, healthier, or more youthful, you’ll be doing something modestly heroic at the same time. This way of eating and living could lessen the suffering of billions of animals. I know it’s hard to think in terms of billions, but if you imagine counting the individual beings one at a time, you get some of the impact. In addition, ninety-eight percent of the animals raised for food suffer horrifically on factory farms before being slaughtered, often in adolescence. Every time you eat a vegan meal, you’re voting for something different.
This choice also lightens the burden on the planet. Raising animals for food in the numbers we do today calls for an exorbitant amount of water and fossil fuels. It leads to vast “lagoons” of animal waste, and the release into the atmosphere of tons of greenhouse gases, mostly in the form of methane.
What you have here is holistic dining at its finest – body and soul. Eating whole, plant foods is scientifically validated as being both nutritionally adequate and anti-pathological. In other words, it cures stuff. Not everything. But reversal of such scourges as coronary disease and type 2 diabetes among people on this kind of diet has been repeatedly reported in the scientific literature; and the preventive potential of this way of eating is supported by ample research.
If this sounds great but going all the way seems impossible right now, go partway. Americans’ consumption of animal foods has, as I write this, been decreasing annually since 2007, primarily because non-vegans are making vegan choices some – or much – of the time. They fix a veggie-burger or black beans and rice, or they order their latté with soy, or have a green smoothie for breakfast so they’ll look prettier and — what do you know? — the statistics get prettier, too.
Once you’re fully vegan, celebrate! The only thing you need to “do” nutritionally that you weren’t doing before is take a vitamin B12 supplement of about 100 micrograms a day as a tiny, tasty, melt-in-your mouth tablet. B12 is not reliably found in plant foods unless they’ve been fortified with it, and lack of B12 is dangerous. This single missing element in a plant-food diet pains many vegans. If this is the perfect diet, it ought to be, well, perfect. But this is life on earth: extraordinary, magnificent, and absolutely not perfect. Bacteria in our mouths and intestines do make some B12, and maybe at some point in evolutionary history we all made enough, just as our long-ago ancestors made their own vitamin C and now we don’t. I look at taking B12 as a tiny surcharge for the privilege of being vegan.
If you hear yourself saying “I could never give up ice cream” (or something else), realize that you may just be short on vegucation. There are lots of rich, luscious nondairy ice creams on the market, and you can make exquisite homemade ice cream with only a DIYgene and an ice cream maker.
If you have the information and you’re still saying “I could never give up. . .,” listen to yourself. You’re affirming weakness. You’re bigger than that. You can eat plants and save lives. You can give your life exponentially more meaning by living in a way that decreases suffering just because you got up and chose a kind breakfast.
Without this commitment, the Good Karma Diet would be, as much as I hate to say it, just a diet. To me, a diet is: “Eat this and don’t eat that, and feel guilty when you screw up, which of course you will because you’re only human, for heaven’s sake, and nobody can be on a diet forever.” That doesn’t really make you want to say, “I’ll have what she’s having.”
Understand and embrace the compassion piece, the conviction that you’re here to make life easier for others, regardless of species, and then everything else – whatever tweaks you might make because of an allergy, a digestive peculiarity, a personal preference — will come with little effort. This lifts that word “diet” from the deprivational depths and restores its original meaning from the Greek diaita, “a way of life.” And this particular way of life is one replete with meaning and fulfillment and joy.”

Excerpted from THE GOOD KARMA DIET: Eat Gently, Feel Amazing, Age in Slow Motion by Victoria Moran, with the permission of Tarcher/Penguin, a division of Penguin Random House. Copyright © 2015.

Pie in the sky

Pie in the Sky
Crust Ingredients:
1 cup pitted dates (if too dry, soak in warm water 20 minutes and drain)
1 cup raw hazelnuts, pecans, or walnuts, soaked 4-6 hours, rinsed and drained

Replace 1/2 cup nuts with 1/2 cup unsulphured, unsweetened, dry shredded coconut

Filling Ingredients:
2 medium ripe avocados
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup maple syrup or 1/2 cup pitted dates
1 cup raw cashews, soaked 4 hours, rinsed and drained

1 cup berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc.)
2 cups seasonal fruit slices (apples, peaches, pears, plums, cherries, etc.)

Loving Preparation:
1. Combine dates and nuts (and coconut if using) in a food processor until a ball forms. Nuts should be chunky.
2. Cover a 7 or 8-inch pie dish with plastic wrap and press the date-nut mixture evenly into the pan. Refrigerate while preparing the filling.
3. Pure the avocados, vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest, and sweetener in a food processor until creamy. Add the cashews and continue to blend until creamy.
4. Pour or scoop the filling mixture into the prepared crust. Wiggle and whack the dish on the countertop to spread the filling evenly.
5. Freeze for 4 hours or overnight. Remove plastic wrap and place on a serving dish before decorating.
6. Before serving, decorate with toppings, piling the fruit high.
7. This delicacy thaws quickly, so it can be served frozen, half-frozen, or completely thawed as a custard pie.

Makes one 7 or 8-inch pie

Excerpted from THE GOOD KARMA DIET: Eat Gently, Feel Amazing, Age in Slow Motion by Victoria Moran, with the permission of Tarcher/Penguin, a division of Penguin Random House. Copyright © 2015. Photo and recipe by Doris Fin, CCHP, AADP.
Preorder Special: If you order The Good Karma Diet before May 19, you get an exclusive recorded teleclass and the charity of your choice will be in the running for one of three $100 contributions:  http://mainstreetvegan.net/books/ 

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment at the end of this post and be entered to win a copy of The Good Karma Diet. Tell me: What’s your favorite unprocessed vegan ingredient?

This contest closes on May 11 at midnight. The winner will be announced on Tuesday May 12.



Crave Eat Heal Giveaway Winners

crave cover

If I’ve learned one thing from this most recent giveaway, it’s that I’m not alone when it comes to food cravings!

Thanks to all who entered to win a copy of Crave Eat Heal by Annie Oliverio.

The winners (chosen at random) are:

Aimee Douglass  who, like many of us, craves carbs!

The international winner is Susan (of Kittens Gone Lentil) who I suspect may be a fan of carbs!


Congrats to you both! Email me with your contact info so your prizes may be awarded!




Crave Eat Heal Recipe and Giveaway


crave cover

Crave Eat Heal: Plant-Based, Whole Food Recipes To Satisfy Every Appetite, a new cookbook by Annie Oliverio (who blogs at An Unrefined Vegan) is a book that will resonate with everyone.  When you think of it, what we eat is often tied directly to how we feel.  Certain foods trigger emotional responses in us, the most common of which is “comfort” food.
Crave Eat Heal has over 140 vegan, sugar-free, low oil, gluten-free recipes that focus on satisfying our various food cravings in a healthful way.  I love that the chapters are organized by craving:

Carbs   –  Chocolate –  Comfort  –  Cool  –   Creamy  Crunchy  – Green
Junk – Salty –  Spicy – Sweet – Tart – Warm

At some point or another, we’ve all craved foods in these categories (some more than others, right chocolate-lovers?). One of the great things about Annie’s book is that she shares fantastic recipes to help satisfy this cravings – but in a healthful way.  Best of all, the book is filled with Annie’s beautiful photography that positively envelope you with whatever “craving” you happen to be paging through.

I’m very happy to be participating in this blog tour for Crave Eat Heal and to share this recipe for BUCKWHEAT NOODLES WITH SPICY ALMOND SAUCE.

COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY….  Thanks to Annie and her publisher, I am also giving away a copy of the book to one lucky reader in the U.S. or Canada.  (International readers can enter to win a copy of the companion e-book, Crave. Eat. Heal. Outtakes).  At the end of this post, just tell me your most craved-for craving category from those listed above.  A winner will be chosen at random at midnight on 4/27 – Winners will be announced here on Tuesday 4/28.

Note: Crave Eat Heal is available for pre-order, but that hard copies won’t be available until after May 4.  Winners will receive their copies as soon as they are available.   Now here’s that recipe…..


Serves 4
Gluten-free, Oil-free, Easy


4 Tbsp. natural almond butter
1 Tbsp. white miso paste
1/4 cup low-sodium broth
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. garlic chile paste
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. tamari, soy sauce, or liquid aminos
2 tsp. pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated or minced
3 cloves garlic
Pinch of ground black pepper

6-ounces (170g) buckwheat noodles
2 cups asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups snow peas
1 small zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 cup grated carrot
1/2 cucumber, seeded and chopped
Fresh cilantro, for garnish
Fresh mint, for garnish
Chopped roasted peanuts, for garnish

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.  Lightly cook the asparagus, snow peas and zucchini for about 3 minutes. You want the vegetables to retain their crunch and bright color.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables and rinse with cool water – or if desired, place the vegetables in a water/ice bath for a few minutes. Drain thoroughly and set aside.

Now add the buckwheat noodles to the boiling water and cook according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

To make the sauce, place all of the sauce ingredients in a high-speed or regular blender and process until very smooth.  If desired, thin out the sauce with additional vegetable broth or water.

Combine the sauce with the noodles, the cooked vegetables and the red onion, carrot, and cucumber, and top with cilantro, mint, and peanuts.

Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

Recipe reprinted with permission from Ann Oliverio and Front Table Books.


Now, tell me, what foods do you “crave” the most???