Special Vegan Easter

It’s holiday time again, and many of us are thinking about a special Easter dinner.  What do you prepare if it’s not the traditional Easter ham or roast, and you want to eat a healthy, plant-based meal?

There are a growing number of helpful resources available for people who are interested in eating a more spring-flowers3plant-based diet.  One great resource is the Jazzy Vegetarian.

Thanks to the Jazzy Vegetarian, I’m sharing an absolutely delicious vegan feast that is easy to prepare!   The menu is….Crispy Portobello Steaks, Maple Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Asparagus with Garlic and Tomatoes, and Luscious Raspberry Parfaits.

Here are the recipes!

By the way, did you know 1 cup of sliced portobello mushrooms has 5 grams of protein and only 1 gram of fat?  Check here for nutritional qualities of mushrooms!

Crispy Portobello Steaks

Makes 4 servings

In this recipe, a savory, crunchy coating perfectly complements the meaty texture and mouthwatering taste of portobello mushrooms. The method was inspired by my grandma’s trick of using mayonnaise to keep chicken moist when baking. Please see note below for a low-fat version of this tasty recipe!

4 portobello mushrooms, stemmed

3 cups cornflakes

1 teaspoon italian seasoning

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt

1⁄8 to 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1⁄3 cup vegan mayonnaise (see NOTE below)

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

2 teaspoons reduced-sodium tamari

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

Rinse the portobello mushrooms briefly and pat dry with a clean dish towel, taking care not to break them.

Put the cornflakes, italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor and process to form crumbs. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Stir until the crumbs are evenly coated.

Put the vegan mayonnaise and mustard in a small bowl and whisk until thoroughly blended.

Lay a mushroom upside down on a large plate. Sprinkle 1⁄2 teaspoon of the tamari over the gills, then drizzle with 1 teaspoon of the oil. (For a lower-fat version, omit the olive oil from this step).

Turn the mushroom over and spread one-quarter of the mayonnaise mixture evenly over the top. Spread one-quarter of the cornflake mixture evenly over the top, patting it down firmly and not leaving any holes or gaps. Put the mushroom in the lined pan, right-side up. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Tent the baking pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Turn the heat down to 375 degrees F, remove the foil, and bake for 10 to 20 minutes, until the mushrooms are fork-tender and the coating is crispy.

Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes to firm up. Cut the mushrooms into thick diagonal slices and serve immediately.

NOTE: For a lower-fat version, omit the vegan mayo and increase dijon mustard to 1/3 cup. Reduce the olive oil to 2 teaspoons. It is still JAZZYLICIOUS!

Maple Sweet Potatoes

Makes 4 servings

This dish pairs well with many entrées and also makes a great addition to any holiday meal. As a bonus, it can be ready in thirty minutes or less.

3 medium sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cubed

2 tablespoons vegan margarine, plus more as needed

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt

Steam the sweet potatoes until soft, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the margarine, maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Mash with a potato masher until smooth, adding a bit more margarine if the potatoes seem dry. Serve immediately.

Roasted Asparagus with Garlic and Tomatoes

Makes 4 servings

Baking the garlic before adding it to the asparagus gives this dish a mellow, sweet flavor that isn’t overly garlicky. The tomatoes add a pop of texture and also complement the vibrant green color of the delicate asparagus spears.

2 cloves garlic, chopped

3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large bunch slender asparagus spears, trimmed

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

10 to 15 cherry or grape tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put the garlic in the center of a 12-inch square of aluminum foil. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon of the oil. Wrap the garlic in the foil, crimping the edges to make a tight seal. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden and soft.

Meanwhile, put the asparagus in a large bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil and sprinkle with the salt. Toss gently until the asparagus is evenly coated.

Spread the asparagus in a single layer on the lined baking sheet. Unwrap the garlic (carefully, as it will be very hot). Distribute the garlic over the asparagus. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the asparagus. Scatter the tomatoes over the asparagus and bake for 3 to 5 minutes, until the asparagus is crisp-tender but not mushy.

Arrange the asparagus on a serving platter and spoon the garlic and tomatoes over the top. Serve hot, warm, or chilled.

Luscious Raspberry Parfaits

Makes 3 to 4 servings

This delectably smooth and frosty dessert is a beautiful way to end any meal, and it comes together in just five minutes. It is a lighter alternative to traditional puddings, as it uses tofu rather than eggs and cream. For added elegance and indulgence, serve vegan tea cookies with the parfaits.Raspberry Parfaits

2 1/4 cups frozen raspberries

8 ounces soft regular or silken tofu, drained

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put 5 or 6 raspberries in three champagne glasses or glass dessert dishes. Set aside 3 of the remaining raspberries for garnish. Put the tofu, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and remaining rasp- berries in a blender or food processor and process until smooth and creamy.

Spoon the mixture into the glasses or dessert dishes and garnish each with a raspberry. Serve immediately.

The Jazzy Vegetarian has wonderfully delicious vegan recipes.  You can watch her in the kitchen on National Public Television (check local listings) or go to her website www.jazzyvegetarian.com.



Confessions of an Egg Binge


A week or so ago, I had a very powerful craving for eggs.  In the last eight years of my journey from meat eater, to vegetarian, to vegan, I can honestly say I have not had any powerful cravings for those foods I’ve decided to stop eating.  So, I definitely took notice when I started thinking about eating eggs, and couldn’t stop thinking about eating eggs!  The craving was so strong, that I decided I needed to honor it, so I went to the store, bought the “cleanest” eggs I could find…..you know, organically fed, no hormones or antibiotics, small farm free-range, and so on.  I brought the eggs home, and I immediately cooked two of them and ate them for dinner.  The next morning, I had two more for breakfast.  And the third day, I ate two more for breakfast.  And that was it. I no longer wanted any eggs, and nearly two weeks later, I still don’t want any eggs.

I’m sharing this “confession” for a couple of reasons.  One, I think it’s very important that we listen to the wisdom of our bodies.  I think the trick here is discerning what is actually the wisdom of my body, and what is psychological and physical needs based on habits and established patterns, cultural norms, etc.  For example, in Will Tuttle’s, The World Peace Diet, he reports that according to Neal Barnard, M.D., “one of the most surprising discoveries in the science of appetite is that tastes require maintenance.”  He goes on to say that since our taste cells turn over about every three weeks, he points out that ‘two or three weeks is all it takes’ for our taste cells to forget the taste of animal foods, and that this will eliminate most of our craving for them, because the new taste cells will be accustomed only to the tastes of plant-based foods.  The craving we have for animal foods is conditioned and maintained by repetition, and our typical diet – high in animal fat, animal protein, and cholesterol – is fundamentally toxic to our physiology.

Tuttle goes on to write that, “As Neal Barnard discusses in Breaking the Food Seduction, a growing body of research is demonstrating that meat and especially cheese are physically addicting.  When digested, cheese releases opiates called casomorphins as well as an amphetamine-like chemical called phenylethylamine, also found in sausage……. Besides whatever physical addiction there may be, a lot of the craving for animal foods seems to be mental and emotional; the smell of the pot roast cooking conjures up Mom, and security, and self-image.  The highly-successful Got Milk? campaign shows beautiful celebrities sporting milk mustaches, linking fame, fortune, and beauty with drinking milk.

Before we give in to our food cravings – whether they be for animal products, sugar, salt, carbs, or whatever….. let us learn to discern just what voice is speaking to us.  Let’s try and separate our body’s actual need for a particular food from our emotional and psychological needs to consume that food.   This makes for healthy and JOYFUL EATING!

Despite all of the social pressures, media influences, developed habits and patterns, plant-based eating is gaining in popularity and acceptance as the healthiest way to eat.  Grant Butler, a writer for the Oregonian newspaper’s Food Day section, recently published an article entitled Going Vegan:  Betty Crocker gets a plant-based makeover.  He writes, ‘the creators of the popular Meet the Shannons blog unveil a cookbook inspired by the American cooking icon Betty Crocker, featuring recipes inspired by her style of home cooking, but made without any animal products….’   Click the article link for the full story.

Go here to try out many of the recipes in the book, Betty Crocker Goes Vegan!


Madeleine Tuttle Original Watercolor

When love is born in our hearts, we want only the best for others, for we directly see them as ourselves. The imprisoning illusion of a fundamentally separate self, struggling against other selves for its own rewards, is transcended, and our life becomes dedicated to bringing peace, joy, and fulfillment to others. This brings us our greatest joy, and is the flowering of the highest form of love, which is compassion.

We must, if this process is actually happening in us, be drawn toward veganism, and it is in no way a limitation on us, but the harmonious fulfillment of our own inner seeing.

If you’re serious about improving your health, and making a big impact on the health of the planet, lean in to plant-based eating with curiosity and an open mind.  Have courage to question those thoughts and habits that would have you believe that you must eat animal products to be healthy.  Quite the opposite may just be true for you as well as humankind in general.

Let us dare to imagine a world where there is enough food for everyone, and where diet-related illness is a thing of the past.  Let us be daring enough to imagine a world where human beings live in harmony with the earth and all of her inhabitants!

Blessings and JOYFUL EATING!


A Life of Enough

HAPPY 2013!

Busyness has kept me away from this site for about six weeks!   The holidays, plus a new kitten, plus the desire to clear out a great deal of clutter from my space – internal, as well as external – have me focused on other things.  In early December, we decided to go to the cat adoption shelter and get a new kitty.  Welcome Oliver!



We thought getting a kitten would be best for our six-year-old cat, Mister, so that Mister could establish who’s boss.  Not to be….  Ollie is one of the most fearless, and most loving kitties I have ever known!   I have been spending quite a bit of time simply protecting Mister from Ollie’s zealous approach to life!  I’m sure a lot of it is kitten energy, and he’ll calm down a bit with age (she says hopefully.)

At this time, all the lights and decorations are down, the tree is being composted, and I’ve gone through the entire furnace room full of boxes of memorabilia, old files, and miscellaneous stuff with the mantra…..if I’m not using it, and/or I don’t absolutely love it, it’s time to circulate it to those who will use it and/or love it!

I’m also reading the book, A Life of Being, Having, and Doing Enough, by Wayne Muller.  Muller says in the first paragraph of his book, “We have forgotten what enough feels like.  We live in a world seduced by its own unlimited potential.  We are driven by a presumptive grandiosity that any economic, social, or political limitations can seemingly be overcome with more speed or technology.  But for us, as human beings, our limitations remain constant, eternal, fully intact.  Rather than feeling large and omnipotent, our own very limited, human days are likely to feel more cramped, overgrown, and choked by impossible responsibilities.  At worst, we feel powerless; no matter how strong our hearts, or how good or kind our intentions.  Each day the finish line seems farther away, the bar keeps rising, nothing is ever finished, nothing ever good enough.  So we work and add and never stop, never back away, never feel complete, and we despair of ever finding comfort, relief, or sanctuary.”

Sound familiar?  It certainly struck a chord in me.  I am recognizing a deep calling within to simplify and slow down the pace of my life.  I realize that I can’t be the Joyful Eater or the Joyful Anything if I’m rushing through my days, trying to accomplish more than there are hours in the day to get it done.

I’m recognizing that I am losing track of things.  I simply can’t remember where I put my keys, my glasses, my cup of tea,  because my mind is chock full of thoughts about what I should have done an hour ago, and what I need to do an hour from now, tomorrow, next week.  I am just not fully here, not fully present to the precious moments of my day.  How can I experience joy if I’m not fully present to my life?

You may be asking…..what does this have to do with plant-based eating?  One of the things I’m aware of is that there are many people who have an interest in eating a more plant-based diet, but they don’t see how to make it happen because they barely have enough time and energy to get a decent, familiar, and relatively easy meal on the table.  How can they possibly do the research about nutrition, find all the necessary ingredients, and spend more time in the kitchen?

One of my new year’s intentions is to simplify my vegan lifestyle, and to help others if they wish to do the same.   I’d like to share recipes that save time and energy, and yet are delicious and nutritious.  While this yummy “nut loaf” takes a bit of effort, initially, it makes enough to have several delicious meals for the busy week!

For our Christmas dinner, we enjoyed this Cashew and Quinoa Loaf smothered in mushroom gravy.  It compliments traditional holiday side dishes such as dressing, sweet potatoes, and roasted vegetables.  With the leftovers, you can boil some small potatoes, or cook some rice, couscous, or quinoa, add some steamed broccoli or a green salad, and you have a delicious, super nutritious, plant-based meal with very little effort!  For the next meal, put a slice of it on some bread, cover with hot mushroom gravy, add a salad, and you’ve got another meal!   Depending on the number of diners, you can have anywhere from 3-5 additional meals on hand and ready to go!  And…there’s no soy.  It’s all nut and grain protein.

Another great thing about this dish… it slices best if you cook it the day before, refrigerate overnight, and then slice it when it’s cold.  Then, simply warm the slices (I did this in a pan on the stove, but it can also be done in the oven, or simply slice it and then allow the slices to come to room temperature, and pour hot gravy over the top.)   This makes for a very easy cooking day for your holiday celebration!  And…you have a very delicious, and elegant entree!

Here is the recipe for Cashew and Quinoa Loaf, followed by Mushroom Gravy.

Cashew and Quinoa Loaf (8-10 slices)

I doubled this recipe for Christmas.  It served 11 of us, with some leftovers.Cashew Quinoa Loaf


  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews
  • 1 cup whole grain breadcrumbs (I used quinoa for a gluten-free loaf)
  • 4 tablespoons wheat germ, plus more as needed (I used quinoa flakes)
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable broth, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon tamari
  • 1/2 cup almond or cashew milk, plus more as needed
  • zest of one large lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Fresh pepper


  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced sweet red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons water or vegetable broth, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese (optional; I did not include this)
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a 9×5 inch loaf pan with unbleached parchment paper, allowing 2-3 inch overhang on each side of the pan.

Place the cashews in a blender or food processor and process until they become coarse crumbs.

To make the loaf, stir together the cashews, breadcrumbs, quinoa and wheat germ in a medium mixing bowl until combined.

Place the onion, olive oil, tamari and vegetable broth into a medium saute pan and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes or until the onion is translucent.  Add the garlic and saute one minute more.  Add the onion mixture to the cashew mixture and stir until combined.

Place the almond milk, lemon zest, marjoram, salt and pepper into a medium bowl and stir until combined.  Stir the almond milk mixture into the cashew mixture.  If the cashew mixture seems dry, add more almond milk one tablespoon at a time until the mixture is slightly wet, but holds together easily.  Or, if the cashew mixture seems too wet, add more wheat germ one tablespoon at a time until the mixture holds together.  Set the cashew mixture aside.

For the filling, place the onion, sweet pepper, olive oil and broth into a medium saute pan and cook for 3 minutes, or until onion is translucent.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove from the heat and place in a medium mixing bowl.  Cool for 10 minutes, then stir in the optional vegan cheese, if using.

Firmly press half of the cashew mixture into the prepared loaf pan.  Top with the filling.  Using a rubber spatula or back of a spoon, spread the filling over the cashew mixture in an even layer.  Top with the remaining cashew mixture, spreading it into an even layer with a spoon or spatula.

Fold the excess parchment paper over the top of the loaf and press down.  This will keep the loaf moist while baking.  Press down again to make the loaf more compact.  This will help the loaf hold together.

Bake the loaf for 20 minutes.  Remove the loaf from the oven and peel back the parchment paper that is covering the top of the loaf.  Place the loaf back in the oven for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the loaf is slightly golden in color, firm to the touch, and heated through.  Remove the loaf from the oven and cool for 20-30 minutes.

If you’re not concerned about nice uniform slices that hold together, turn the loaf onto a serving platter and carefully peel off the parchment paper.  Cut the loaf into very thick slices, using a serrated bread knife.  (I have found that the loaf does not hold together well unless chilled well and sliced.  That is why I recommend you make the loaf the day before, refrigerate overnight, slice, and then reheat or serve at room temp with hot mushroom gravy).

Note:  To cook quinoa:  Thoroughly rinse 1/2 cup quinoa under cold running water.  Place in saucepan with 1 cup of vegetable broth or water.  Cover and bring to a simmer.  Simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid absorbed.

Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy  (double or triple this if you like lots of gravy!)

  • 3/4 cup white or button mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small yellow or white onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup vegan margarine
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning (or 1/2 tsp each of sage, thyme, marjoram)
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, melt the margarine and add onion and mushrooms.  Saute for just a minute or two over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium and add vegetable broth and soy sauce.  Slowly add flour, stirring well to combine and prevent lumps from forming.  Bring to a simmer or a low boil, then reduce heat.  Add poultry seasoning, salt and pepper, stirring consistently.  Allow to cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring regularly, until gravy thickens.

Experiment with this dish, and let me know how it goes!  I’m always interested in what people like, don’t like, want more or less of!



Tamale Pie for Thanksgiving?!

This is definitely my kind of turkey!

One of the huge joys of being The Joyful Eater is having success at “veganizing” an old family favorite!   When I was young, my mother made a tamale pie and took it to a big Thanksgiving gathering.  It was such a huge success, it became part of the family Thanksgiving dinner tradition…..as expected as the turkey, dressing, gravy and pumpkin pie!

The traditional tamale pie is made with chicken, and though I substitute tofu for chicken often in traditional recipes, I didn’t really think a tofu tamale pie would do the trick.  My daughter suggested I try, so today I made a tamale pie, basically with the same ingredients as the traditional dish with a little more seasoning added.  And…..drumroll please….. it’s delicious!  I’m so excited to be able to enjoy this great family favorite!  I can hardly wait to take it along to this year’s festivities!

Here’s the vegan version of Tamale Pie!

  • 1 block of extra-firm tofu
  • 1  28-oz can of pureed tomato
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3-4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • cornmeal
  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • cayenne pepper
  • tabasco sauce
  • black olives, pitted
  • 1 small can mushrooms, drained (optional)

Well ahead of time, freeze the block of tofu, and then thaw it.  When thawed, you can squeeze the moisture out of it like a sponge.  Then, cube the tofu in to bite-size pieces, and saute in a little oil and minced garlic until browned.  Set aside.   Combine the vegetable broth, and the pureed tomatoes, and bring to a boil.  While that’s heating, saute the chopped onion and more minced garlic until softened and browned.  Turn off the heat.

While the broth is heating add about 1 teaspoon each of chili powder, cumin, and salt.  Toss in a little cayenne and/or tabasco if you like it on the spicy side.  Taste the sauce as you go until you are happy with the flavor of the sauce.  When the broth is boiling well, sprinkle in a little cornmeal at a time, whisking or stirring well to avoid lumps.  Add cornmeal slowly until the mixture is somewhat thickened, about the consistency of moist cream of wheat – not a dripping liquid, but not thick.  Stir in the onions and cook slowly for a few more minutes.

In a casserole dish, layer in the mush, then half of the tofu “chicken”, and then add about half the olives.  Add another layer of the mush.  Mix the last layer of tofu, olives, and mush together (and the mushrooms if using), pour on top and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.  Let cool 10-15 minutes before serving.

JOYFUL EATING and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Holiday Recipes!

Here it is mid-November already, and I’m thinking about some dishes that can make our up-coming family holiday dinners delicious and memorable.

I used to think that it just wouldn’t seem like Thanksgiving or Christmas if we didn’t have the turkey, and the gravy, and the pumpkin pie, and so on.   It turns out that the holiday meals we have had since I became vegan have been the most delicious and memorable ones ever!  And, we can still have many of the favorites…..stuffing, gravy, pumpkin pie!

So, between now and Christmas, I’ll be sharing some of the delicious foods I’ve been preparing over the holiday seasons.   Last Thanksgiving, we had the most delicious mushroom gravy over a vegetarian nut loaf!  I think it’s even more delicious than turkey gravy!  Skeptical?  Try it!

Here’s a Thanksgiving Menu for a wonderfully-delicious holiday meal.  I don’t think anyone will miss the turkey!

First course?  How about Pumpkin Soup?   Make it several days in advance, and simply heat it up on the big day!  How easy is that!?


  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 medium-sized leek, white parts only, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped apple or pear
  • 3 T. sugar
  • 3/4 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. ground ginger
  • 1/4 t. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 t. salt, plus more to taste
  • 1  15-oz can low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2  15-oz cans pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup almond or soy milk
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • A little cayenne and fresh dill or parsley, for garnish

In a medium-large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and garlic, and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.  Add the leek, apple, sugar, spices and salt, and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the leek is softened.  Add the vegetable broth and water.  Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn down to a simmer for about 15-20 min, or until the apple pieces are very tender.

Stir in the pumpkin puree. Working in batches, puree the mixture in a blender until smooth, adding a bit of the coconut milk and almond milk to each batch until all has been added.  Return the soup to the pot and heat over low heat, stirring constantly, to desired temperature.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper and fresh herbs of your choice.

For the main course…..Go to the My Favorite Recipe page for some delicious recipes for Vegetarian Nut Loaf, Mushroom Gravy, Vegan Stuffing, and Maple-Glazed Brussel Sprouts.

Finish with a wonderful Vegan Pumpkin Pie!

Pumpkin pie with crust detail.

Pumpkin pie with crust detail. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • 3/4 pound silken (soft) tofu
  • 1  16 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 pre-made pie crust (vegan margarine works just fine for pie crust!)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients, except for pie crust, in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Pour into pie crust.  Bake for one hour.  Chill before serving and top with non-dairy whipped cream.  Try the Tofu Whipped Topping below.  It keeps well so you can make it a day in advance!

Tofu Whipped Topping (Yields 1 cup)

  • 12 oz silken tofu (firm or extra-firm)
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon non-dairy milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt

Blend all the ingredients together in a food processor or blender until VERY smooth.  Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Note:  The perfect tofu for this recipe is the silken tofu that’s packaged in an aseptic, vacuum-packed box.  You’ll find it on the shelf, not the refrigerated section.)



Why Vegans Live Longer

Another year has sailed by, and I just celebrated birthday number 62!   I am so grateful to be feeling vibrantly healthy at this time in my life, and I absolutely know that my passion for plant-based eating is the main reason I am so healthy!

I recently read an article entitled, Why Do Vegetarians Live Longer, by Kathy Freston. In the article, Kathy is saying that, based on recent studies, you can expect to live about 10 more years if you move from a meat-eating diet to a plant-based diet.  She states that, according to the largest study of vegetarians and vegans to date, vegetarians live on average almost eight years longer than the general population, which is similar to the gap between smokers and non-smokers.

For about six years of eating a vegetarian diet, I thought I was doing my body a big favor by not eating meat.   I knew I was doing the cows, chickens, pigs, and fish a big favor!   I continued to eat dairy and eggs during this time.  Then, I read Will Tuttle’s, The World Peace Diet, and realized the harm I was still doing to my body by consuming dairy and eggs.   It felt like the final pieces of a  picture puzzle clunking in to place, and The Joyful Eater was born, although I didn’t begin writing about being The Joyful Eater for another two years.

If you’re not convinced that eating a completely plant-based diet offers a clear path to wellness, take some time and watch this video.  In “Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, Michael Greger, M.D., explores the role of a healthy diet in preventing, treating, and even reversing the top 15 killers in the United States.  He shares information about the disease preventing properties of a vegan diet, over even the vegetarian diet, and the meat-eating diet.  He also shares information about the impact of diet alone, versus diet and exercise.  It’s very enlightening!

It’s about an hour long, but he’s pretty hilarious and I believe it will be well worth your time.  Turn off the TV and consider this a healthy dose of educational programming.  If you just watch the first 15-20 minutes, you’ll receive a powerful message….. promise!

Here is a recipe for one of the most delightful taste treats I’ve had….ever!  My daughter, Lindsay, made it for me for my birthday lunch.  It’s so delicious, and since it includes tempeh, it can be a nutritious meal by itself.

Kate’s Birthday Salad

  • Buy some regular (not marinated) tempeh and marinate it, overnight, in some tamari, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, and freshly-grated ginger.  (Cut in to six squares to marinate it, then cut in to bite-size pieces to cook it.)
  • The next day, pan fry it.  Put it in dry and drizzle marinade over it a little at a time.  You want it to brown up nicely, so don’t put in too much liquid at a time.
  • After the tempeh is nicely browned, remove it from the pan.  Add to the pan some dried cranberries and some whole cashews.  Heat those up and then toss in some chopped kale (removed from stems), and about 10 pods of crushed cardamom.
  • Add some sliced Japanese turnips and a little marinade.  Saute a bit more.
  • Add some garlic and ginger powder.

Put this kale mixture on a plate.  Top with the tempeh and then sprinkle some cilantro on top.  You could also toss in some apple chunks or some diced, roasted squash.  Have fun experimenting, and JOYFUL EATING!

Stay tuned….coming soon:  Delicious Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes!


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A Higher-Level Alternative

Original watercolor by Madeleine Tuttle

From The World Peace Diet, VegInspiration……. Buckminster Fuller often emphasized that the way of cultural transformation is not so much in fighting against destructive attitudes and practices, but in recognizing them as being obsolete and offering positive, higher-level alternatives.

The competitive, violent, commodifying mentality of the ancient herding cultures is, in our age of nuclear weapons and global interconnectedness, profoundly obsolete, as is eating the animal foods of these old cultures, which are unhealthy in the extreme both to our body-minds and to our precious planetary ecology.

These paragraphs speak to my core.  I have felt the futility of my anger and frustration, fighting against something that I believe is creating unnecessary suffering for people, animals, and the planet.  How do I speak my Truth without demonstrating and creating more of the same kind of mentality that is at the root of many of our societal and world challenges?  That mentality of “me against him”, “us against them”, is causing so much suffering in the world.

As we tune in to the reality that this is a world of interdependence, we realize that this old separatist way of thinking is truly obsolete!    If I participate on any level with harming others, I am creating harm in my own life, because there is NO way that I can honor Life for myself, if I am not honoring Life for others.  This is the higher-level awareness that we humans need to attain for the benefit of our own evolution and survival.

There is a story I heard recently where a western group of people went in to a tribal village in Africa.  They were playing games with the children, and, given their western way of thinking, they set up a game of competition, telling the children that the person who ran the fastest and got to a distant tree first would win a prize of a basket of fruit.  When the run started, all the children joined hands and ran to the tree together.  When asked why they did not play the game the way it was set up and compete to win the fruit, the children responded, “how can any one of us be happy and enjoy the fruit when the others have none?”

In my mind, this is a fundamental question for each one of us.  I may think that I am fine with getting my own, and letting everyone else fend for themselves, but in reality, there is great harm to my own spirit in this, and, our planet cannot sustain this way of thinking for much longer.

So, where in my life do I wish to make transformational changes?  Where am I going about it by fighting against old destructive habits and patterns?  Where can I simply recognize that these habits and patterns are obsolete and offer a more positive, higher-level alternative?

That is what we are doing when we look squarely in the face of our old ways of eating, and get clear about the damage we are doing to our own health and the health of the planet.  We can offer ourselves and our loved ones a higher-level alternative – one that supports life on all levels, individual through global.  

All beings tremble before violence. All fear death. All love life. See yourself in others. Then whom can you hurt? What harm can you do?”

~ Buddha

Thanks for reading, and, as promised, here’s a recipe for Rooibos Butternut Pizzettas!   They’re a fun and delicious way to use the butternut squash so prevalent now in the Pacific NW fall months, and you’ll feel good eating something that’s good for your health, doesn’t harm animals, and is sustainable for the planet!


Rooibos Butternut Pizzettas (makes 15-20)

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted vegan butter (I like Earth Balance)
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons rooibos tea leaves
  • 2 medium-large butternut squashes
  • Drizzle of olive oil for baking sheets
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Heat a small frying pan over medium heat and add butter and 1 tablespoon tea.  When butter foams, remove from heat, cover, and let infuse 10 minutes.  Strain butter through a fine sieve; discard tea.

Cut off stems and seedless “necks” of squashes (save seeded parts for another use.)  Peel “necks”.  Cut into 1/2 inch slices.  Lightly oil 2 baking sheets and place squash, slightly separated, on sheets.

Pulverize remaining 1 1/2 teaspoon tea leaves (if already fine, skip this step.)  Mix with salt.

Brush infused butter onto tops of squash slices, then season with pepper and rooibos salt.  Bake until very soft, about 25 minutes.  Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with chives.