What I Ate Wednesday: The Lusty Vegan Pop-Up Dinner

The Lusty Vegan Table SettingLast week I had the pleasure of attending The Lusty Vegan Culinary Art Installation at Suite ThreeOhSix in Manhattan. “What is The Lusty Vegan Culinary Art Installation?” you ask. Well, it’s a food and art exhibit from The Lusty Vegan authors Ayindé Howell and Zoë Eisenberg that feature photography, recipes from the book cooked by Chef Ayindé himself, and talks from the authors about food and dating.


Zoe and AyindeI do consulting work for Vegan Heritage Press, The Lusty Vegan‘s publisher. I worked on the book, and I’ve had many email conversations with Ayindé and Zoë, so it was really nice to finally meet them in person. They spoke between the meal’s courses, telling stories about the food and the trials and tribulations of dating non-vegans. I have to admit that I felt really lucky to have my vegan guy in tow.


mac and yeaseThe first course was Ayindé’s famous Mac and Yease, which was a surprise, because it wasn’t on the menu. (Although I did see a friend post a photo of it on Instagram the night before, so I kind of had a feeling we’d be treated to a taste of it.) This is by far the best vegan mac and cheese on the planet. I’ve only had it once before – about 4 years ago at the first NYC Vegetarian Food Festival – and I’m kind of sad that I don’t know when I’ll have it again. The recipe is a closely guarded secret.


Fennel SaladNext up was a simple Pickled Fennel Salad. It was nice and light after the heaviness of Mac and Yease.


Crab CakeAfter the salad came a Hearts of Baltimore Crab Cake. I’ve never eaten crab or a crab cake, so I didn’t know what to expect from this dish. I was told that there was an omnivore at the previous evening’s pop-up who said it tasted just like “the real thing”. Even as a meat eater, I was never a fan of seafood and the fishy flavor that came with it, so I was slightly skeptical, but this little appetizer was AMAZING. If I had just been presented with a plate of Mac & Yease and Hearts of Baltimore Crab Cakes, I would have been totally happy all evening.


Fillet De SoyThe main course was Fillet de Soy. That little piece of tofu did indeed look a little meaty, but the “meat” look to it came from the delicious Red Wine & Citrus Butter Sauce. I know that if I try to make this tasty dish at home it will pale in comparison to the way it tasted at the pop-up dinner.


Strawberry Shortcake BiscuitDessert was a Strawberry Shortcake Biscuit, which had just enough sweet to finish out the meal.


The lusty vegan sofaCome back tomorrow when The Lusty Vegan blog tour stops by. I’ll share a recipe from the book and give you a chance to win a copy!




Vegan Without Borders by Robin Robertson – Recipe and Giveaway

Vegan Without BordersI don’t know how she does it, but Robin Robertson has managed to write yet another amazing vegan cookbook! Vegan Without Borders is her newest opus, and it’s a gorgeous hardcover book full of delicious recipes and mouthwatering recipes.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn Vegan Without Borders, Robin has used her culinary know-how to veganize traditional meals from the around the globe.   Like her other cookbooks, she uses easy-to-find ingredients and the dishes are not difficult to make, so it’s easy to cook up world cuisine at home. I’ve cooked with other books that have forced me to either drive around all of northern New Jersey looking for ingredients or place an online order for way more of a spice than I actually need, and I’ve also spent hours in the kitchen cooking up meals that took less than half an hour to eat, so I appreciate the ease of  Robin’s recipes.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAVegan Without Borders is organized by continent, starting in Europe with Italy, France, Spain and Portugal, Greens, Eastern Europe, and the British Isles. From there we visit The Americas, with recipes from the U.S., Mexico, the Carribbean, and South America. The next stop is Africa, with recipes for such tasty dishes as Falafel Pie, Spicy Couscous with Carrots and Chickpeas, and Vegetable Tagine. Next up is The Middle East with recipes for traditional dishes like Za’atar Roasted Cauliflower and Stuffed Dates. Next up is India with recipes for dals, curries, and chutneys. The final stop is Asia, with recipes from China, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Southeast Asia Islands.


SproutsI wish I could tell you that through Vegan Without Borders I’ve taken a culinary tour of the the globe, but the truth is that I haven’t been able to get past the Europe chapter yet! I cook Asian and Indian-inspired dishes quite often, and I rarely cook European cuisine, but the dishes in the book’s first chapter have been calling to me. So far I’ve enjoyed Roasted Ratatouille with Basil Pisou, Farinata with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Olives, Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Walnuts, and – my favorite dish from the book to date – Seitan Jagerschnitzel.


I have a copy of Vegan Without Borders for one lucky reader. Follow the instructions at the end of the post to enter.


Seitan Jagerschnitzle

Seitan Jagerschnitzel

Serves 4


Thinly sliced seitan absorbs the flavor of the rich mushroom sauce in these German “hunter’s cutlets.” You can use any kind of mushrooms you like, but I prefer using a variety of different kinds to add interest and flavor dimension to the dish.



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 seitan cutlets or 8 ounces seitan, thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small yellow onion or 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms (single variety or assorted), thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, crushed or whole
  • 1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme (optional)
  • 1½ cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon browning sauce (optional) (Kitchen Bouquet or Gravy Master are vegan)
  • ½ cup vegan sour cream


Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the seitan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove the seitan from the skillet and set aside on a plate. (Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.)


Return the skillet to the heat and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, mushrooms, wine, soy sauce, caraway seeds, paprika, and thyme, if using. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes.


Stir in the broth and bring to a boil, stir in the cornstarch mixture, decrease the heat to a low simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce has thickened and the mushrooms are tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the browning sauce, if using, and then stir in the sour cream. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Return the seitan to the skillet and continue to cook until the seitan is heated through.


From Vegan Without Borders by Robin Robertson/Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC.


I have a copy of Vegan Without Borders for one lucky winner. Follow the instructions below to enter. US residents only, please. Contest ends at midnight on Sunday, October 26th. Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway


Review: The So Delicious Holiday Line

Pumpkin Spice Ice CreamLast month I received three boxes packed with new holiday treats from So Delicious Dairy Free and I finally have time to sit down and tell you about them.


Candy Corn Ice CreamThe first box to arrive contained So Delicious Coconut Milk Frozen Novelty Bars (or ice cream bars, as I would call them.) The fall flavors that arrived were Candy Corn and everyone’s fall favorite flavor – Pumpkin Spice. (When did pumpkin spice become such a “thing”?) Upon it’s arrival, I immediately opened the box of Candy Corn bars and jammed one into my mouth. Rather than being candy corn flavored, the bar is mostly vanilla, with a chocolate shell tip and an orange base. I will admit that I didn’t realize that the chocolate tip was a shell, and I was kind of surprised when it came off in my mouth, but since I’m a chocoholic, I didn’t mind a mouth full of chocolate too much. The Candy Corn bars are only 110 calories, and make for an excellent afternoon snack, if you can keep them in your house for longer than a day. The Pumpkin Spice bar did indeed taste like pumpkin spice. It was creamy and decadent, and strangely only 100 calories a bar. Both bars are made with milk made from organic coconuts and are made with non-gmo ingredients, as well as being vegan certified and gluten-free. Neither box lasted very long in my house. In fact, the bars went so quickly that I wasn’t able to take a photo for this post. Instead, I’ve grabbed photos from VegNews Magazine’s Facebook page. I’m told that the fall themed bars will be available through the end of October, and will then be replaced on the market with Peppermint Star and Snowman bars for winter.


CocoWhipYears ago there was a vegan Cool-Whip like product on the market called Hip Whip, which was made by Now and Zen (Myioko Schinner’s former company). It was a mainstay in my holiday celebrations, and I can still remember how upset I was when I went to the grocery store expecting to buy it for Thanksgiving one year, and found that it was no longer available. I got really excited when I heard that So Delicious was creating a similar product, and their CocoWhip was all I hoped it would be and more. It’s fluffy and sweet, and a perfect for topping for desserts. It’s made with organic coconut oil, dried cane syrup, organic tapioca syrup, and pea protein. It contains no trans fats or hydrogenated oils, and is soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and gmo-free. It’s available in regular and light. According to So Delicious, CocoWhip is now available at Whole Foods and will be available at more stores in Spring 2015.


Coconut MilksThe holidays just don’t seem like the holidays without dairy-free nog. I usually start scanning the dairy-free milk section of Whole Foods for nog at the first sign of leaves changing color. This year’s So Delcious holiday milk collection consists of not only nog, but also pumpkin spice and mint chocolate coconut milk. I like that they’re available in shelf stable packaging this year, which means I can stock up (because the store only seems to have them for about a week and a half) and have them on hand for the holidays. Like the frozen bars and CocoWhip, the Coconut Milk Holiday Beverages are made with organic coconut, and are soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and gmo-free. In addition to drinking the milks plain, you can also use them in place of milk when baking or cooking to give your holiday creations a flavor boost. I like to use nog when making holiday snickerdoodles, and for those of you who are pumpkin spice latte fans, the pumpkin spice milk made an excellent coffee creamer.


I’ve seen some criticism online over the recent purchase of So Delicious by White Wave. While I am disappointed that all of the small vegan businesses are getting snapped up by larger companies, and that there only seem to be about 5 corporations left in the world, I will not stop buying So Delicious products. White Wave is primarily known for their dairy products, and their purchase of So Delicious shows that they realize more and more people are shifting to non-dairy products. White Wave has larger distribution than So Delicious did on its own, which means more people will have access to their products, which in turn means more vegan products will be sold. I always prefer to see vegan products being sold rather than dairy.

What I Ate Wednesday – What I Ate Over the Weekend

What I ate wedHappy Wednesday! I’ve been swamped with products and books to review, and I’m finally catching up on everything. I just have a few cookbooks left to write about, and I was able to do some cooking from a couple of them this weekend. For today’s What I Ate Wednesday I’m going to show off most of what I ate over the weekend.


Tofu ScrambleThe weekend started out with a tasty tofu scramble. This isn’t from a cookbook, and I have no recipe for it. I just threw some things together and scrambled them all up!


Hearts of Palm Lobster RollsI’ve been intrigued by the Hearst of Palm Lobster Rolls in The Lusty Vegan by Ayinde Howell and Zoe Eisenberg. I’ve never eaten actual lobster, but I wanted to give it a try. I’m not sure if it was supposed to be an appetizer or a meal, but Dennis and I ate them for lunch.


SeitanThis photo might not look like much, but this Seitan Jagerschnitzel was amazing! It’s from Robin Robertson’s new cookbook Vegan Without Borders, and I will have to the recipe to share with you (along with a chance to win the book) next week.


SproutsI made Roasted Brussels Sprouts, also from Vegan Without Borders, and served them alongside the Jagerschnitzel.


Wine and CheeseOver the past week or so, social media has been alight with talk of Miyoko’s Kitchen new vegan cheese.  I had placed an order a while ago and the package came late last week. We dipped into it over the weekend and then kept dipping. This stuff is amazing! I had ordered the Fairfax Favorite, and, while all of the cheese in it is incredible, the Double Cream Chive was my favorite and the first to go. I’ll be placing another order soon!


Fried Tofu SandwichAlso from The Lusty Vegan was the Fried Tofu Sandwich. This was pretty tasty and made for a nice weekend lunch.


TacosI actually worked most of the day on Sunday, as I’m a student coach for the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I was tired by the end of the day, so Dennis picked up take out. Even though I didn’t cook anything from Vegan Tacos this weekend, my love affair with tacos continues.



That’s what I’ve been eating lately. What have you been cooking up?


Amore Di Mona Chocolate Review and Giveaway

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Hi, my name is Dianne and I’m a chocoholic.


I’ve been up to my eyeballs in products and books that I need to review, and the review requests never seem to stop. I told myself that I was going to have to say no to any new requests that came my way, and the very next email I received was from Chef Meagan Jeanette, asking if I would like some samples of Amore di Mona vegan chocolate to try. I tried to resist. I really did. But how on earth could I say no to chocolate?


Amore di Mona Couverture Chocolat Speciale makes chocolates that are vegan, low glycemic, allergy-friendly, diabetic-friendly, gluten-free, and kosher. They’re also made with non-gmo ingredients and are free of soy, tree nuts, peanuts and artificial ingredients. The main ingredients in these luxury chocolates are Belgian cocoa solids, fair trade organic cocoa butter and raw, organic fair trade agave nectar. The chocolatiers behind Amore di Mona began making their own chocolate for their special diet dessert cakes, cookies, and muffins, because at the time there were no chocolates free of nuts, soy, gluten, and milk available on the market for purchase. Customers soon began asking to buy just the chocolate. Because of those requests, they developed a line of European-style chocolates to sell to the public.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI will admit that because of the list of items that Amore di Mona chocolates are free of, I wasn’t expecting much. I thought they might be a little chalky and brittle, and probably taste a bit bitter. When my chocolates arrived, the first one I tried was Caramela with Crunchy Coffee Beans. I love chocolate and coffee beans together, and I also love caramel, though it’s difficult to find vegan versions on the market. I took my first bite and it was heavenly. Rich dark chocolate, crunchy coffee beans, and smooth creamy caramel all packaged together in one little bite. I actually went back to the package to read the ingredients, because I thought a mistake had been made – this surely wasn’t the vegan chocolate mentioned in that email. Had they sent me the wrong package? The chocolate was indeed vegan, as it says in red letters on the front of the box. I really found it difficult to believe that this decadent confection was made with just agave nectar, cocoa butter, cocoa solids, coffee beans, and vanilla beans. Surely the chocolatiers at Amore di Mona’s must be magicians!


Amore di Mona’s Caramela is available in four different varieties: plan Caramela, Caramela with Cranberries, Caramela with Cherries, and Caramela with Crunchy Coffee Beans. All four are rich and decadent, and none of them lasted very long in my house. I always have a difficult time picking a favorite of anything, but if I had to, I would say I enjoyed the Crunchy Coffee Bean and the Cherry Caramela the best.


In addition to Caramela, Amore di Mona also has chocolate bars. It took me a little while to dip into the chocolate, as I was in the throws of my love affair with Caramela. The chocolate bars are made with the same rich and decadent chocolate, and are available plain, with currants, or with crunchy coffee beans. This chocolate is smooth and creamy, and just a few squares of this luscious treat satisfied my chocolate cravings.


Fellow chocoholics are in luck, because Amore di Mona has a mixed case of chocolates for one lucky Veggiegirl reader! The winner will receive 2 boxes of each flavor, a $56 retail value. Follow the instructions below to enter. US residents only, please. Contest ends at midnight eastern time on Sunday, October 19th. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Vega Review

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAProtein. It’s the one word vegans probably hear more than any other, with “Where do you get your protein?” being the top question most of us are asked. It’s almost become a joke in the vegan community, and I actually did laugh the last time someone posed the question to me. It turns out he wasn’t joking.


I think omnivores worry about where vegans are getting their protein more than vegans do. The truth is that protein is so ubiquitous in plant food that we get it from almost everything we eat. Sometimes we do need a little protein boost though, whether it’s before a tough workout, first thing in the morning on a busy day, or for a little afternoon pick-me-up. Vega recently sent me two of their shake and smoothie mixes to try, and both are perfect for giving you a protein boost, and they both contain many other essential nutrients as well.


Vega Protein Smoothie is perfect for those mornings when you don’t have much time to measure and add various ingredients. To make a smoothie, all you have to do is add a scoop to one cup of water, juice, or dairy-free milk, and shake it all up! It’s perfect for the office, travel, and anytime you’re on the go. Vega Protein Smoothie can also be used as the base in smoothie recipes for a little extra flavor, One serving contains 15 grams of complete protein and 50% of USDA recommended daily vitamins and minerals. It also contains fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, greens, antioxidants, and probiotics. It’s available in Bodacious Berry, Choc-a-lot, Oh Natural, Tropical Tango and Viva Vanilla flavors.


Vega One All-In-One Nutritional Shake is loaded with so many nutrients, it’s hard to believe there’s so much in just one scoop. One serving of Vega One contains 15 grams of complete protein, 6 grams of fiber, 1.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, the equivalent of 3 servings of greens, 1 billion probiotics, and the same amount of antioxidants that you would find in 2.7 cups of blueberries. It also has 50% of the USDA recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals, as well as digestive enzymes to help the body absorb the shake’s nutrients, and maca root for balance and energy. Vega One was formulated by professional triathlete Brendan Brazier to provide sustainable energy for an active life, promote health intestinal flora, support a healthy immune system, and help metabolize fats, proteins and carbs. Because it’s so nutrient dense, I like to have Vega One in a smoothie in the morning, so I know my nutrition bases are almost all covered for the day. It can be used as a smoothie base with added ingredients or made into a shake on its own. I used Vega powder several years ago, and gave it up when I realized that it was causing digestive problems throughout the day, but Vega One is a new formula, and it doesn’t trouble my tummy.




Cherry Vanilla Smoothie

Cherries are my hands down my favorite fruit, and they make up my favorite smoothies. I usually prefer a cherry-chocolate flavor combo, but cherries mixed with French Vanilla Vega One borders on the sublime.



  • 2 cups frozen cherries (10oz bag)
  • 1 banana, frozen or fresh
  • 2 scoops French Vanilla Vega One
  • 2 – 3 cups coconut water or non-diary milk
  • 1 big handful of spinach, optional



Mix all of the ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Enjoy!


Serves 2

What I Ate Wednesday

What I Ate WednesdayI’ve been quite the bad food blogger over the past week because I didn’t take very many photos of my food. Maybe it’s because breakfast and lunch tend to be pretty similar from day to day. I did manage to snap pictures of most of my dinners from the past week though, so here’s a sampling of what I’ve eaten:


Grilled Tofu BurgersWe grilled tofu burgers, veggies, and corn a couple of times over the past week or so, knowing that our dinners outside are coming to an end. The weather is cooling down and it’s getting dark earlier and earlier. I’m going to miss these burgers!


Fattoush SaladI cook (or prepare, in the case of salads) just about every meal I eat every day, and every once in a while I want someone else to do it for me. So one day last week Dennis picked up fattoush salads and hummus from a local falafel place. This salad was so large after eating it for a while it barely looked like I had put a dent in it!


Hot and Spicy Thai TofuI recently received a copy of Robin Robertson’s Hot Vegan, which is a revamp of her book Vegan Fire and Spice. I have a bunch of recipes bookmarked, and I started my hot vegan cooking off with the Hot and Spicy Thai Tofu.


Sonoran TacosIf you’ve been reading my What I Ate Wednesday posts on a regular basis, you’ll know that I’ve been having a love affair with Jason Wyrick’s Vegan Tacos. I’m slowly (or not so slowly) working my way through the book. A few nights ago I made Sonoran Tacos. The recipe calls for either portobellos or seitan, but I couldn’t decide which one I wanted so I mixed them together, and it was taco perfection! I also made my own tortillas.


BBQ Sweet Potato TacosAnd then I made BBQ Sweet Potato with Chile Peanut Tacos. I loved the spicy bbq sauce combined with the cool, crisp coleslaw, and the crunchy peanuts. Yum!


Hot Dog TacosAnd last night I made “Hot Dog” Tacos, which are actually made with Tofurky sausages. I loved these tacos, but I may need to tell Vegan Tacos that we need to take a break so I can start seeing other cookbooks. My review copies are starting to pile up!


That’s what I’ve been eating lately. What have you been cooking up?


What I Ate Wednesday

Fall What I AteHappy October! September seemed to zoom by me – I’m not sure where it went. I made it through Vegan MoFo, but I didn’t get as many posts written as I had planned, and I only posted for 18 days, not the requisite 20. I’m hoping to be able to catch up on all of the reviews I need to write and recipes I want to try this month, but I’m not promising anything! What I am promising though, are some photos of yummy food that I’ve eaten over the past week and a half. Today I thought I’d focus on some eating out that I’ve done recently.


BoozeTwo weekends ago Dennis and I attended the Better Booze Festival in New York City. It was the first time (that I know of) that NYC has had a festival dedicated to vegan-friendly beer and wine. There were other spirits to sip as well, such as quinoa vodka and Downeast cider.


Better BoozeThere was quite a bit of food at the Better Booze Festival, which was good a good thing because all of that imbibing on an empty stomach could be a problem. Dennis and I sampled a little bit of everything: mac and cheese from Chef Oscar Maccow, empanadas from V Spot, and totally loaded hot dogs from Yeah Dawg. I was a little full by the time we left.


IMG_9135Speaking of food and booze, this past weekend Dennis and I made our annual pilgrimage to Warwick, New York to go apple picking and to stock up on wine. We’ve been doing this for years, but our favorite orchard/winery has become so popular recently that we had a miserable time due to the crowds last year. This year we decided to take a Friday off so we could enjoy the day without dealing with throngs of drunk people and their misbehaving children, and it turned out to be a great day. We enjoyed sangrias and then spent some time picking apples.


Concious ForkWhile in Warwick, we ate at Conscious Fork. We ate there last year and were pleased to find that they had moved to a bigger location at some point in the last 12 months. We started our meal with hummus and chips, and we each had a caesar salad and a sandwich. I had the Wick, which was kale, tempeh, and pesto, and Dennis had the Reuben, which was pretty much just hummus and sauerkraut. He was on hummus overload by the time we finished lunch.


Mundo VeganWe ended the weekend with a trip to Mundo Vegan in Montclair, NJ. I had their amazing Masitas and cornbread, and Dennis had a seitan dish (the name escapes me now, but it was super tasty). Dennis wanted to try the mac and cheese, so he ordered a side dish, and he ended his meal with lemon quesadilla cake. I had a single raw chocolate truffle, because chocolate is the best way to end any meal.



That’s what I’ve been eating lately. What have you been cooking up?



The Forks Over Knives Plan

The Forks Over Knives PlantIf you’ve seen the film Forks Over Knives, then you’re already familiar with the concept behind The Forks Over Knives Plan, which is, in a nutshell, eating a plant-based, whole foods diet for optimal health. This is not a fad diet, nor is it a deprivation diet – it’s a scientifically proven way of living that can both prevent and reverse disease.


The Forks Over Knives Plan was put together by two doctors – Alona Pulde, MD and Matthew Lederman, MD – who realized that prescribing medication to their patients was just masking symptoms rather than curing diseases. After years of working with people who were ill with chronic diseases, they came to the realization that food is truly the best medicine. I’ve done enough studying and reading to know that the American health care system is in dire need of an overhaul, but some of the statistics in The Forks Over Knives Plan really shocked me. Did you know that every fifty three seconds someone in the US dies of heart disease? Or that cancer takes the lives about 1,500 Americans day? 10% of the population now has diabetes, and obesity has doubled in children in the past thirty years. Nearly 70% of people in the US are on prescription medications, but instead of getting healthier, Americans are just getting sicker.


Quinao and Millet with KaleThe Forks Over Knives Plan is based on the works of T. Colin Campbell, PhD; Caldwell Esselstyn, MD; Dean Ornish, MD; John McDougall, MD; and Neal Barnard, MD. Thanks to the research of these pioneers, there is scientific evidence that a whole foods, plant-based diet can prevent and reverse a whole host of chronic diseases that includes heart disease and diabetes. It also improves mental clarity, helps people reach their ideal weight, improves mood, and aids in better sleep, among other positive “side effects”.


The actual plan behind The Forks Over Knives Plan is a four-week diet and lifestyle overhaul that will help you transition to a whole foods, plant-based diet. The first week focuses on breakfast, and starting the day out with a healthy meal that will be sustainable throughout the morning. There’s also advice on how to read food nutrition labels, how to keep a well stocked plant-based kitchen, and how to shop without breaking the bank.


South of the Border PizzaWeek two focuses on lunch, meal planning, and the food mood connection. Week three deals with dinner, bulk cooking, and cravings. The fourth and final week is all about bringing it all together and fine-tuning this new plant-based lifestyle. The book concludes with 100 delicious recipes by Darshana Thacker and Chef Del Sroufe. As I’ve said before, this is not about deprivation. Recipes include Tuscan White Bean Burgers, Sweet Potato Lasagna, Quinoa and Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie, and Chocolate Raspberry Parfaits.


I found that some of advice in The Forks Over Knives Plan is practically and greatly needed. I’ve seen books about dietary changes that don’t address the psychological and lifestyle issues that people face, such as handling cravings or dealing with friends and family members who might not be on the same journey. The authors also offer tips on how to make the mental switch from “diet” to “lifestyle”, how to answer annoying questions like “where do you get your protein”, and what to do when eating out.


SpaghettiThe Forks Over Knives Plan is an excellent resource for those who are looking for help transitioning to a plant-based diet, and it’s also great for those who may already be vegan but would like to eat a little more healthfully.


You’re in luck because I have a copy of The Forks Over Knives Plan for one lucky reader. Follow the instructions below to enter. US residents only, please. Contest ends at midnight eastern time on Sunday, October 5th. Good luck!


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OATrageous Oatmeals Recipe and Giveaway


I’m super excited to be hosting Kathy Hester’s OATrageous Oatmeals blog tour today! Not only was I a recipe tester for OATrageous Oatmeals, Kathy also included one of my recipes in the book! Kathy’s here with a recipe for Veggie Oat Taco Mince, and she also has a chance for you to win a copy of the book at the end of the post.


I will admit that I used to really dislike oatmeal. I found it to be mushy and paste-like, and I couldn’t understand why anyone would purposely consume it. I’m not sure when or why I started forcing myself to eat it. It may have been because I was away from home and the only vegan breakfast food I could find was the oatmeal cup at Starbucks, or maybe it was when I first received my slow cooker and I was trying out different breakfast dishes. I found that adding fruit and nuts in with oats in the morning made it much more palatable. From there I began experimenting, and since then I have become a fan of oatmeal.


Kathy’s book OATrageous Oatmeals will make an oatmeal fan out of  any just about anyone. If only I had had this book years ago! As you would expect, it does contain quite a lot of breakfast dishes, such as Lemon Raspberry “Cheesecake” Oatmeal, Caramel Delight Oatmeal, and  Peanut Butter Pie Oatmeal, but there are also recipes for smoothies, soups, stews, dinner dishes, and desserts. Oats aren’t usually thought of as a savory food, but Kathy has gotten really creative her recipes, including dishes such as Cauliflower Oat Pizza Crust, Cajun Stuffed Bell Peppers, and Steel-Cut Oat Bean Chili. Leaving no oat unturned, Kathy  has included a few recipes for oatmeal pet treats, and there are also a couple of recipes for skin care products.


Without further ado, here’s Kathy with a recipe from the book!



Veggie Oat Taco Mince

by Kathy Hester from OATrageous Oatmeals


gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free option*


Steel-cut oats mimic the mouthfeel of vegan crumbles while being completely free of processed ingredients. They also add heartiness to the veggie and bean mixture. This is the perfect way to sneak in some veggies for the picky eaters in your house. My picky eater, Cheryl, loves this!


Makes enough for 8 tacos


  • 1 cup (237 ml) water
  • 1/4 cup (20 g) steel-cut oats
  • 1/4 cup (27.5 g) minced carrots
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil (*or use water to make no oil added)
  • 1/2 small onion, minced (about 1/4 cup [50 g])
  • 1/4 cup (37 g) minced green pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 (14 oz [500 ml]) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) chopped green chilies
  • 1 cup (67 g) minced kale (or other green)
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 2 tablespoons (2g) to 1/4 cup (4 g)
  • cilantro, to taste
  • salt, to taste



  1. In a saucepan, bring the water, oats and carrots to a boil, then turn the heat to low. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the steel-cut oats are cooked through but still chewy. While the oats are cooking, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, then add the green pepper, garlic and spices and cook for another 2 minutes.
  2. Once the oat mixture is cooked, add it to the saute pan and mix the oats in with the veggies. You want to keep cooking until the oats dry out some and begin to separate. Keep cooking until it starts to look like crumbles.
  3. Mix in the kidney beans, green chilies and kale. Cook until the kidney beans are thoroughly heated. Right before serving, add the lime juice, cilantro and salt. Serve in hard or soft taco shells, or in burritos. They are also amazing on top of nachos.


Per 1/8 recipe: Calories 87.8, protein 4.0 g, total fat 2.2 g, carbohydrates 14.6 g, sodium 108.8 mg, fiber 4.3 g


Feel free to leave out the beans and replace the chili powder and cumin with basil and thyme. You can also leave out the green chilies and green pepper and replace with either sliced mushrooms or sun-dried tomatoes.


by Kathy Hester From OATrageous Oatmeals by Kathy Hester printed with permission of Page Street Publishing (I encourage you to use your affiliate link)


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