Making a Recipe Your Own

I love following recipes when I want to try new dishes; but I also love adding my own tweaks to them if I feel it’s warranted.  Quite often when I make a recipe for the first time I follow it to a ‘T’, then I make adjustments in future renditions.  Tonight was different; I let my creative side come out!  I made a recipe from the Forks Over Knives App-Spaghetti with roasted tomatoes, chickpeas and basil. In stead of cherry tomatoes I used a combination of mini San Marzano and small heirloom tomatoes.  I put a little fresh salted minced garlic on top of each tomato half.  Once the pasta and tomatoes were cooked, I added sundried tomatoes, capers, and some chopped spinach.  Then I added the required chickpeas and basil.  I LOVED the additions!  To be honest, I would not put chickpeas in the next rendition…maybe cannellini beans instead.  The little garlic roasted tomatoes were so very yummy.  My husband gave it a two thumbs up and definitely wants it put on the make again list.

So do be afraid to try different things when you make a new recipe. I find pasta is very forgiving and you really can’t go wrong with whatever you add.

Bon Appetite!


Beyond Meat Plant Based Burgers-A Mixed Review

I saw these at Whole Foods and decided to try them in hopes of getting my husband to really enjoy a plant based burger.  I’ve made MANY versions and he likes them just ok, but I know he would prefer something that tastes closer to ‘meat’.  I cringed when I read the nutritional label and could feel my arteries clogging up as read the ingredient list. I am more of a whole food purist so these are a bit more processed that I prefer…but at least there are a few plant based burger options out there.  I brought a package home to try for the 4th of July.

They cook up like a regular burger-I cooked mine on a grill pan (we don’t have a charcoal grill).  They would probably taste even more authentic on a grill. They are VERY oily as several of the ingredients are some sort of oil; again, this is something I’m not used to cooking with.  They actually do smell kind of like meat when cooking and they are pinkish in color (thanks to beet juice) so they do look pretty authentic.

The verdict:  my husband liked it, but would prefer it smashed down a little thinner and cooked on a charcoal grill.  Me, not so much.  I will not be eating these again in the near future for several reasons:  1) they are filled with oil, which equals FAT.  Each burger has 22 grams of fat and 5 grams of saturated fat!!!! 2) They are full of processed stuff, the only thing resembling a vegetable I could find was pea protein isolate, potato starch, and the beet juice! 3) They contain quite a bit of sodium 4) They are lacking the wonderful spices and flavorings I’m used to in my plant based burgers.

Try them if you want a plant based burger that really looks and cooks like a hamburger (especially if you are vegan and what to surprise your Omni friends!).  Me, I’ll keep working on perfecting my plant based burger recipe. Anyway…I hope you had a wonderful 4th of July!

P.S.  I’m not dissing the Beyond Meat group.  I think it’s great that they are trying to get plant based food more mainstream; I just wish it was filled with more whole plants and less oil!

Beyond Meat burger, plant based rendition of my mom’s potato salad and corn on the cob.

Refreshing Summer Salad-Happy Father’s Day

Today is Father’s Day. It’s a rather uneventful day now that my dad has passed away, but I still like to celebrate my husband’s fatherhood and remember the great memories I have of my father.  We were lucky to enjoy dinner with my husband’s oldest son and wife last night at a quaint Italian restaurant near us.  It was a great time with wonderful conversation and food.  I hope everyone had a great Father’s Day. 

In lieu of the rich food we had the previous night, I decided to make a tasty salad for dinner.  I made the Avocado and Chickpea salad from the Forks Over Knives App.  It’s super easy to make and this time I embellished it with tomatoes…what a difference that made.  This is a very versatile dish that could be placed on a bed of greens, or in an oil free tortilla.  I chose the salad option, and served some homemade lime and sea salt tortilla chips on the side.

I’m excited for the beginning of summer…so many good things are happening!

One of my favorite photos-my dad and me on my first birthday!

Jackfruit-A ‘Jack’ of All Things Plant Based

BBQ and summer holidays go together; unless you are a creative vegan, BBQ is out of the question.  Enter Jackfruit!  Jackfruit is this HUGE fruit grown in the Indian/Asian area and can grow up to super huge sizes.  I imagine you can buy it fresh in an Asian market, but I get mine canned in brine from Amazon.  I made taco’s with it a while ago and they were good, but Jackfruit is made for BBQ.  As it cooks, you shred it up and the consistency becomes that of of shredded pork or chicken.  

I found a good recipe at Minimalist Baker which in clouded  a good creamy coleslaw recipe (  I used the BBQ sauce recipe from Forks Over Knives since it’s all natural and tastes great! The slaw recipe uses avocado as a base and I doctored it up a bit, but it was yummy (says a person who is not a fan of coleslaw).  Corn on the cob was super sweet and a perfect accompaniment to the tangy-sweet BB sauce.

Hubby said this was the best sandwich of the weekend, so I know it’s a great recipe.  I encourage you to try jackfruit at your next barbeque…no one will know the difference-except you!

Jackfruit in nature:

Jackfruit in a can (Amazon):

My Memorial Day BBQ dinner:

Tofu-A Plant Based Wonder

When you tell someone you are vegan (or plant based), quite often they will tell you that they don’t like tofu…I could never go vegan.  As you’ve seen from my posts, vegans don’t just eat tofu or grass!  There are so many wonderful recipes out there that I could go months without eating tofu, or grass for that matter! Every once in a while I like to make a dish with tofu.  Unfortunately, most people experience tofu that hasn’t had anything ‘done’ to it; and yes, it’s quite bland and the texture is not for everyone.  I’ve learned that there are so many things you can do with tofu that you’d never know you were eating it.  From an italian based ricotta for my veggie lasagne to marinated in a stir fry it’s quite versatile.  The beautiful thing about tofu is it picks up flavors from whatever you put it in; I like marinating it in a little low sodium tamari (soy sauce)

Some people stay away from tofu because there has been some ‘hype’ about soy causing cancer.  This is not true and the soy in tofu and edamame can actually help prevent many lifestyle diseases.  But I’m not going in to that now…you can do your own research.

Recently I found a recipe on Fat Free Vegan’s site for Pistacio Crusted Tofu.  I had to try this as I used to make a quite delicious Pistachio Crusted Tuna dish when I was eating animals.  The recipe is pretty easy to follow and turned out quite well.  I made a creamy dill dijon sauce to go with it that went well with the fish dish.  Hubby wasn’t the biggest fan as the tofu was still rather soft after 20 minutes of baking…but I thoroughly enjoyed it.  He has decided to eat it on as a sandwich with a pickle and a little sauce and he is giving that version a thumbs up.

I was happy to try this recipe and I will certainly be making it again.  If you haven’t tried tofu lately, I encourage you to surf the web for some recipes and try it…you might like it!

Here’s the link for the recipe, and a photo of the dish.  I served it with asparagus and crinkle cut butternut squash.

Ps…the sauce is really good on asparagus too!