Tag Archive for vegan

Sunrise Gluten-Free Granola

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All of this delicious homemade almond milk has left a ton of almond meal opportunities around my kitchen these days. There have been banana breads, Black Caraway Bread, Pear Cake, and a magically full mason jar of homemade granola. Ginger loves it, so I end up making this version or a variation a coupla times a week along with the milk. It’s really easy. You can vary the ingredients to your liking, of course. In fact, more often than not, recipes are a guide to help you find the dish you want to make and a place to start that’s kind of close.

It’s funny. Like almond milk, granola is a thing I saw in the store all the time, so expensive, and often with evaporated cane juice (AKA sugar) as the first or second ingredient. I would spend hours pouring over the various flavors and when I’d finally find one that looked great, it’d be like 10 bucks for a little bag. In the end, I’d just forego the whole thing, resigning myself to spend my extra ducats someplace else, like fish oil supplements or really nice olive oil. Yet with all of this time spent, somehow I never saw myself as a person who could just MAKE it, be totally in control of the quality of the ingredients, and accomplish this for like 70% less money. It was like the granola only came from Fairy Land, crafted by a skilled tribe of gnomes gifted by the hippie Goddess while their unicorn neighbors in the next village made that tahini dressing that’s so good.

Well, call me a gnome. My version is not too sweet, gluten free, and sugar-free. Total Gnome Throw Down.

1c almond meal
1/2c rolled oats
1T apple butter
1T maple syrup
1T cocoa nibs
1T goji berries
1T green raisins
1T crushed walnuts
1T apple juice sweetened dried cranberries

Preheat your over to 225. Not so hot.

Take the almond meal from your almond milk, or from the store, and plop it in a bowl. Add your maple syrup, apple butter, and rolled oats. Stir it all up until the oats begin to absorb the liquid. If you want more clumps, you can add in honey, molasses, or more maple syrup. Once everything is all together, add in the dry ingredients and stir.

Spread out the mixture onto a baking sheet covered in foil, and set it inside your heated oven. Set your timer for 15 minutes. Pull out your concoction and stir it around, then flatten. It will still feel damp. Do this three more times so your granola cooks for a total of one hours. It should come out golden, warm, and dry with small clumps ready to go.

You can sprinkle it into yogurt, put a tin of it in your bag for a healthy snack during the day, get adventurous with probiotic-rich goat milk kefir, or just set it swimming in your almond milk.

Quick Pickle with Garlic

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I’ve had a crazy week. Not just busy, but kind of awful to tell you the truth. Not to brag. And I can tell by looking in my refrigerator exactly what kind of week I’ve had. If life has become unmanageable, my leftovers appear as sad clowns to me instead of gorgeous editing opportunities for creativity. I start to lament the lack of crappy junk food I used to stock, wishing I had some frozen bullshit to throw in a microwave I haven’t owned for 12 years. And worst of all, I have forgotten to look in the vegetable drawers and the goods in there give me a sad flaccid and lifeless stare, a kind of produce ennui that fills me with a dark guilt. I get my vegetables because they are gorgeous, and in my terrible week, I have squandered their potential in a dark drawer, a careless oaf floundering in the world. Although I have done some learning: One incredible skill I picked up is that a gal can hack off the bottom of a vegetable, put it in water, and in a couple hours, the thing has its swag back like a total baller. IT’S TRUE!!!! You can return your wilting veggies to their glory!

Anyhow, yesterday I visited my veggie drawer and found a cucumber that was past its prime, but by no means unusable. I quickly rescued it from the drawer before any more damage could be done to the innocent succulent little beast. I love cucumbers. And I love pickles. But I didn’t have a ton of time so I dreamed up a quick pickle on the spot and in about 15 minutes, we had the perfect garnish for veggie tacos.

Unexpected, tart, and fragrant, these pickles really sing. The batch I made last night didn’t make it through dinner so I woke up this morning and made another batch for y’all. They will probably stay good in a mason jar in your fridge for about a week. But they won’t last that long.

1 cucumber
1/4c white wine vinegar
1/3c rice vinegar
3 cloves garlic, diced
3/4t cardamom seeds
1t coriander seeds
1/2t white peppercorns

Peel your cucumber, then cut it up into quarters lengthwise. Dice across into small slices so they look like miniature watermelon slices. Put them in a bowl. Dice your garlic (or use a press) and add it to the bowl. Put your vinegar and your spices in a tiny pot on the stove and bring to a full boil. Take it off the stove and while hot, pour over the cukes and garlic. Let it all sit for a few minutes until room temp. Then put it all in a pint mason jar and chill.


Enjoy. And congratulations on saving your cucumbers gracefully. I assure you they are honored to make such divine little pickles.

Gluten-Free Black Caraway Bread

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In an effort to combat the evil that is perfectionism, I am dedicating today’s post to the effort of a thing rather than its ultimate perfect state. This bread is my first attempt of an altered recipe. Usually I will wait and try and tweak and fuss until I can show you an outcome that sings arias and scales mountaintops. Not today. Gluten-free baking is a whole new venue for me since I discovered by accident that I tend to feel better without the stuff. I’ll tell you about that first and then we’ll get to the kitchen.

So many of my clients come to me with questions about gluten and its side effects. They want to know if it might help them feel better to cleave it from their lives, and how they would know whether it affected them or not. I knew about its inflammatory effects on the system, about the difference between Celiac Disease vs. a gluten sensitivity, intolerance, or a wheat allergy, all of which are actually different, but these were all things I knew from books. Even though books are one of the great loves of my life, I decided to do my own firsthand experiment so I could pass on at least some personal experience. Of course, we are all different and everyone must try their own path. But anyhow, this is how it went for me:

Even though I was fairly sure I did not have any sensitivity, I set out on my experiment. As I learned to do from some doctor’s suggestions in school, I eliminated gluten entirely for one week, and then on the eighth day, I brought it back into my diet. For many years I have had a pretty adorable, if I do say so myself, little belly pooch. After about 3 days of no gluten, my cute pooch began to evaporate and by the seventh day it was gone. While I found the thing to be downright fetching, the idea that it was a result of a food sensitivity made me feel less affectionate toward it.

In addition, have you ever been in a room and found yourself growing increasingly annoyed for no apparent reason and then all of a sudden an air filter clicks off and you realize there has been a constant noise in the room that never registered until it vanished? That’s what happened with my sense of feeling bloated. I had no idea I felt that way until I stopped feeling that way. My assumption was also that I would feel deprived and pissed off about not having gluten for the week it was gone, but it turned out to be no big deal. In fact, the challenge made my choices so streamlined, it was kind of a relief. Even so, I did look forward to the eighth day, on which I had a hunk of my very favorite Acme whole wheat and cranberry bread.

While my mouth rejoiced, my innards stewed and churned and revolted. And there was my answer. My system isn’t that psyched about gluten. I can still choose to eat it, which I do on occasion, sparingly, and knowing full well the consequences. But sometimes, it just seems like I must have pizza. Period.

In the mean time, I like to keep my own kitchen gluten-free now, and as such have been dipping my toe in the pool of attempting baking. It’s hard. Turns out people like to measure by weight rather than volume. In addition, some of the flours are not grain based and therefor act totally differently than grain based flours. Anything can happen. The breads tend to be dense and heavy, which people LOVE to make jokes about. I’ve come to sort of appreciate the richness of their flavors and earthy bottom of the weight. This bread in particular turned out to weigh a full metric ton and not be NEARLY as gorgeous as Heidi Swanson’s version that I based it on. I will say, after all the changes I made, it tastes delicious. It has a kind of sour (teff flour) and bitter (ground espresso) and sweet (carrots and molasses) combination I like. It’s weird at first but each slice tastes better than the last. I am going to keep working on it over time and get it right for you, but here’s to getting it close. A nice pitstop on the way to getting it better.

I also have a wonderful feeling about this bread because the kitchen was so quiet, the light was beautiful, and I got to cook all day yesterday. It’s such a nice feeling for me, and it’s been awhile, so maybe a lot of what I like about this bread is how great I felt while I made it.

1 3/4c warm filtered water
2 1/4t dry yeast
1t maple syrup
2T cocoa powder
2T finely ground espresso (I used decaf)
1/3c blackstrap molasses
3 1/2t caraway seeds
3T earth balance or coconut oil
2t fine sea salt
3 grated carrots
1c brown teff flour
1/4c garbanzo flour
1 1/2c almond meal (fresh from the almond milk you just made!)
3c brown rice flour (1/2c set aside for dusting later)
2T olive oil

Preheat your oven to 450.

First get yourself a nice small bowl and whisk together the yeast in the warm water with the maple syrup. Set this aside while you get busy but check on it to make sure it gets foamy like a little root beer float.

Meanwhile, put your espresso, 3t of your caraway seeds (the rest is for the top later), cocoa, molasses, earth balance (or coconut oil) and salt together in a saucepan and stir it until it’s just melted. It will be the richest color in the world. It makes you not care if the bread is perfect because it smells so good and is so beautiful.

Next pull it off the flame and set it aside while you combine the yeast mixture and the grated carrot in a large bowl. Then add in all your flours. Now add your rich molasses mixture and stir. It won’t come together like a traditional bread dough. It’s looser and seems more like a dense cake mix really. Mine was a little wet and I added some rice flour. I then put it in my mixer for about 3 minutes with the hook attachment. No worry if you don’t have a mixer. The dough doesn’t really need kneading at this point because it’s so loose, but turn it out onto  cutting board and form it into a ball. Take your dough ball and place it in an olive oiled bowl, nothing metal, and cover it with a cloth. I leave mine in the sun to rise for about 2 hours while I putter about. If there is no sun, I leave it on top of the oven and bake something else while it rises, using the heat to keep the bread rising.

Return to your dough and look how puffy it is!!! So cute! Bully it gently and push it down. Then turn it out onto a floured surface and make it into a round. Because the dough is heavy, it will settle wide and kind of flatten. Do not despair. Also do not expect that it will turn into a fluffy little debutante in the oven. This is a hearty country girl bread who can toss hay bales all day and picks her teeth with stray stalks. Now put your dough on an oiled cookie sheet and recover it with a tea towel. Let it rise again for another hour. Cover the ole’ lass with a dusting of brown rice flour and a 1/2 teaspoon of your caraway seeds. Then throw it in an oven at 450 for an hour. Turn the heat down to 350 for another half hour and check on her all as you go. As you know if you read this blog, my oven blows so check on your bread for you own times. Hopefully your oven is more well-endowed than mine is. The bread should be crisp on the top and bottom and dense all the way through. Dense, but done.

Ok. Good luck.
Enjoy the imperfections and let me know what you do with this recipe as you go. We can discover it gluten-free perfect version together.


Almond Milk

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Here’s the secret to really killing it with a smoothie: homemade almond milk. It’s got four ingredients and could have less if you want, takes maybe five to ten minutes to make, and all you need is a regular blender and cheesecloth or a nut milk bag. No fancy expensive equipment or hours of toil and cleanup. It is a beautiful thing in this life to find something so simple that adds such decadence to a healthy breakfast, or really any meal I guess. For the record, a nut milk bag is this thing:

Specialized nylon thing

Basically a nylon mesh bag with a drawstring on the top. While the almond milk that comes in aseptic containers, those lined cardboard boxes, had recently come to be a staple for me in my smoothies, when a friend brought me some homemade stuff while we were on a cleanse, I knew there was no going back. The milk was so delicious, I would just drink a glass of it for fun. At her suggestion, I simply watched a video on YouTube, made a few changes for my liking, and voila, it only takes like 5 minutes, saves a bunch of money, and tastes out this world.

1c raw almonds, soaked overnight (this activates enzymes in the nuts to help digestion)
1 Medjool  date
1 vanilla bean
3c filtered water

Take your almonds out the night before as you putter around the kitchen and soak them in filtered water. In the morning, drain the almonds and toss them in your blender. Cover the almonds with 3 cups filtered water, extract the pit from your date and toss it in, and add your vanilla bean. Alternately, you can use another date for sweeter milk, you can use vanilla extract if you like, or omit vanilla altogether if it’s not your jam.

Turn your blender on for about 2 to 3 minutes. As you can see, I don’t have a fancy Vitamix or anything, just that cute deco number up there we found at an estate sale for 4 dollars. It’s the best. Pour the resulting milk into a mixing bowl. Then take your nut milk bag (you can also use cheesecloth) and turn it inside out which will take the seam out of the way when you clean it, and insert it back into the blender and fasten the drawstring around the top. pour everything from the bowl back into the blender and lift the bag slowly up out of the liquid. Then wring all the liquid out of the almond meal. Voila.

I save the almond meal in the freezer to use for my next gluten-free baking attempt, which by the way, is really some heavy trial and lots of error. It might be awhile before you see an original recipe here, but I am enjoying the learning. You can also sprinkle the meal in yogurt, over oatmeal, on pancakes or use it in your next muffin or bread mix.

The homemade milk is low in saturated fat, has NO cholesterol, very low in sodium and provides you with a great source of magnesium. Magnesium activates enzymes in our bodies, contributing to energy production. It also helps regulate calcium levels, as well zinc, potassium, and Vitamin D.  We also use it to build bones and regulate body temperature. Word.

Pear Cake for Kimberly

I worked as a barista when I was in college at a joint that no longer exists called Cafe Roma. I was an insecure youth whose unfortunate fears manifested in rejecting others. Santa Barbara had a massive Greek system and my days at the cafe were spent lounging with goths and punks, hurling silent scorn at the sorority ladies who came in to order Non-Fat, Decaf Lattes. We called them Why Bother Lattes. They’d walk away with the pints of coffee clutched in sapphire bedazzled fingers and greek letters in arcs over their butts, ponytails and ribbons bopping toward a study date with their boyfriends. I was a bitch.

Eventually, I dialed down from being a bitch to being snarky, where the mean might not be AT you, but more around you. The new Why Bother target of my days had become Vegan baked goods. Desserts with no butter and no eggs. Add to that No Sugar and you could have me in a serious mouth frothing tirade of Why Bother, providing, of course, I didn’t froth too much and get the filter of the cigarette all wet. Nothing less appealing than a soggy filter, even for smokers. Those were the years where I always wanted to be right.

Now I am not so invested in being Right. I really just want to be happy. Which also means being healthy, for me. While I am not vegan, I would say about 80% of my meals these days just turn out that way, and refined sugar is, with any grace at all, a thing only to be found in my rear view mirror. But I love dessert. This one is particularly delicious with No Sugar, No Dairy, Vegan, and No Gluten. And I’m picky about dessert. I altered this recipe from Terry Walters’ Clean Start, a wonderful book with incredibly clean and healthy food, packed with flavor and creativity. I brought it to the first Moving Out of the Sugar Shack workshop where the attendees seemed pretty sold on it. As with most recipes, I first read them a few times. Then I make some initial tweaks just in my mind. After I attempt the recipe, I make notes and keep tweaking it until it suits my own tastes. Hers is pretty dang good right off the bat. Her other book, Clean Food, is one of my favorite books to recommend to clients just beginning to get back into the kitchen and make clean healthy choices.

1c garbanzo flour
1c almond meal
1/2c potato starch
1T baking powder
1t baking soda
3/4t ground cinnamon
1/4t ground cardamom
1/4t fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 c crushed walnuts

3c grated pears (about 5), whatever ones look best
1/2c pear juice
1 banana, ripe
1/4c maple syrup
2t lemon juice
zest of 1/2 lemon
1T vanilla extract

1 pear for topping
Other topping options:
Dried cranberries (sweetened with apple juice)

Turn your oven on to 350 if you have a good oven. If you are me, and you have a crappy oven, use 375.

Put your dry ingredients in a bowl and mix them together thoroughly. I put my wet into a food processor, but any mixer will do. If you don’t have one, just mash your banana by hand and then whisk them all together in a bowl.  Then dump your wet into dry and mix the whole shebang.

Pour the goods into a 9″ square or round pan, greased. I used coconut oil to grease the pan. Top the thing attractively and bake for 45 minutes or until you poke a toothpick into the center and it comes out clean. It should be slightly browned on top.

Now have friends over and play cards. Enjoy each other. That’s the best part.

Split Pea, Lentil and Leek Stew

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I have the deeply good fortune to work not only as a coach while I am in school but also to act as a worker/owner at Rainbow Grocery, one of the country’s largest worker owned Co-ops. I am surrounded by whole, organic, local choices every day, (Not to mention a bunch of not so hot choices masquerading as healthy) until I complete my studies and move to coaching full time. Occasionally, one of our store mistakes will turn out to be a small creative opportunity for workers. On this occasion, a sleepy worker accidentally mixed a bunch of split peas with lentils and rather than sort them each out like a dark tweeky memory, the workers were given a page over the speaker system to bring hom the mixed bags and see what could be done in our kitchens.

Turns out, this stew is nutritious, packed with plant based protein and whole grains. In addition, legumes are also a great way to regulate blood sugar and contain a good dose of soluble fiber which lowers the body’s level of LDL (the nasty one) cholesterol. So, let’s get to the kitchen and see what happened.



1/2 c split peas
1/2 c lentils
1 lg carrot
1 T fresh ginger, grated
3 lg cloves garlic, diced
1 lg leek, sliced into rings
1/2 onion, diced
4 c vegetable broth
1/4 c wild rice
3 T olive oil, separated
1 t coriander, ground
1 t cumin, ground
salt to taste

Heat 2 of the olive oil in a large sauce pan. Add your onion, garlic, leek, and spices. Let everything soften and coat over medium heat. About 7 minutes. Add carrot. Soften for another few minutes. Now add in your split peas and lentils. Stir and coat everything. Now add in your broth and your rice. Bring everything to a boil, then turn flame back down and cover for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding salt to taste as you go. Serve with Olive oil drizzled on top.

Roasted Purple Cauliflower with Artichoke Hearts on Seasoned Brown Rice

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It’s day three of my cleanse so I only have one chewing meal a day. This means that lunch is possibly the greatest thing ever. I am stunned at how heightened my taste has become in such a short period of time. I thought I would be so ravenous that I’d wolf down the food, terrorized by the idea of waiting to eat again.

Miraculously, the cleanse has me eating slowly and mindfully, enjoying the sheer delight of each bite; of chewing itself. I love the way I spend the time thinking about the food: Who grew it? Where do they live? Do they also have a deep abiding love for Muhammad Ali, who turned 70 yesterday? I think about how the flavors catapult off the fork into me, and I’m shocked by how strong everything is. I’ve weeded out gluten (wheat, barley, spelt, kamut, rye, and couscous), oats, most sugars including maple syrup and honey leaving fruits to act as my sole dessert model. Also gone: corn, creamed vegetables, tomatoes, any and all things soy, citrus (and at the glorious height of the season!), strawberries, bananas, all dairy, eggs, meat (you can eat some but I am opting not to), peanuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, processed oils, store bought dressings, mayo, coffee, alcohol, caffeine, and chocolate.

Five years ago I would have found this idea not only verging on ascetic, but also kind of dumb. Two years ago I would have moved to thinking that it seemed healthy to clean out the body, but this way was way too crazy for me. Today, it’s challenging, but I’m super into it. I can’t believe the amount of delicious stuff still available, how creative the limitations nudge me to be, and by day three, how I can already see so many changes.

This is how lunch went today (after my breakfast smoothie of frozen peaches and pineapple, Amazing Meal protein powder, chia seeds, almond milk, coconut water, and a dash of cinnamon.) Plus, it’s pretty.


Roasted Purple Cauliflower with Artichoke Hearts on Seasoned Brown Rice

1 head cauliflower separated into little tree trunks

1/2 marinated artichoke hearts

2T extra virgin olive oil

1/4c arame and hijiki mixed

1t sesame seeds

seasoned brown rice ready to go 3/4 for a bowl. (seasoned brown rice in my house is brown rice cooked in vegetable broth and then tossed with 1T of rice vinegar. I make a bunch at a time and eat it throughout the week.)

First separate your cauliflower into little florets that look like tiny purple bonsai trees. Then toss your forest in a bowl with olive oil and salt and pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet and cook for 25 minutes on 350 or until gold brown on edges.

Meanwhile, in a skillet sautee your seaweed and sesame seeds on low in sesame or walnut oil for about 8-10 minutes.

Get your bowl ready with your warmed up rice and then lay your purple cauliflower in. On top of that go your artichoke hearts and then top with your seaweed sautee. Eat slow. Chew. It’s so good.

Reason #1 that cleanses do not have to suck.