What I Ate Wednesday – What I Ate Last Week

It’s Wednesday, folks, and you know what that means – it’s time to take a look at what I’ve been eating! It’s been a weird week, with rain, thunderstorms, and a few really nice days with very little humidity. I’ve been eating my usual salads and grilled sandwiches, with a few other things mixed in. Here’s what I’ve been eating:


Vegan Finger FoodsLast week I had a marathon cooking session with Vegan Finger Foods by Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes. I made Sweet Potato Skins, Corn Fritters and Jalapeño Poppers all in one afternoon and we ate it all for dinner that evening. Every last bite of it was super delicious! Look for a book review on Chic Vegan soon.


Taco SaladIt seems that we have tacos every week, so every week I turn the leftovers into a taco salad. I think I’m starting to enjoy the salad more than the tacos. (Just kidding – that will never happen.)


Buffalo Ranch SaladBackyard Buffalo Caesar Ranch Salad from Terry Hope Romero’s Salad Samurai has been a regular in my date lately too. It’s so good that I just can’t get enough of it.


BBQ SandwichWhen grilling, we usually make veggie burgers, portobello peach sandwiches or kebabs, but we decided to try something new over the weekend. We grilled up tempeh and portobellos slices that had been slathered with homemade barbecue sauce and topped them with grilled onions and a slaw made from Trader Joe’s Cruciferous Crunch mix. This was quite the epic sandwich.


SangriaThere was some sangria to go along with our sandwiches.


CherriesOne of my favorite desserts this summer has been a simple bowl of mixed fruit with cashew cream. The cream is so quick and easy to make in the Vitamix – I just mix together cashews, water, a date, and some vanilla powder or extract. I actually don’t even measure what I’m doing, but pretty much just eye-ball it. Cherries are my favorite fruit, and they pair perfectly with cashew cream.


PeacefoodWe took a quick trip in NYC over the weekend and had dinner at Peacefood Cafe. We split an order of chickpea fries, Dennis had the monster cheeseburger and I had vegan crab cakes. Sadly, we were full after our meal and didn’t have room for dessert!


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



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Strawberry Lemon Sangria


Sangria seems to be a summertime party essential. I serve this drink quite often at warm weather gatherings and it’s always a big hit with my guests. I’ve seen recipes that use sugary sodas and lots of white sugar, which I don’t think are needed since fruit added a natural sweetness. I like to use flavored sparkling water, as it adds a little extra fruitiness to the boozy drink, but you can use plain if you can’t find it. Fresh strawberries can be used in the place of frozen, but I prefer to use frozen fruit as it acts like ice and helps keep the drink cool while I prepare for my guests. 1 cup of rum makes this drink quite strong, so cut it in half if you want your sangria to pack less of a punch.


Strawberry Lemon Sangria


  • 1 bottle white wine (make sure it’s vegan!)
  • 1 cup silver rum
  • 1 quart (33.8 oz.) bottle lemon flavored sparkling water
  • 2 tablespoons agave, or to taste
  • 1 bag (16 oz.) frozen strawberries
  • 6 lemons, thinly sliced
  • Ice


Strawberry Lemon Sangria


  • Mix together the wine, rum, sparkling water, agave, strawberries and lemon. If you aren’t serving the sangria right away, chill it in the fridge until you are.
  • Add the ice when ready to serve.
  • Serve and watch it disappear!








What I Ate Wednesday

I can tell another week has gone by, because it’s time for What I Ate Wednesday once again. It’s been a week full of heat, humidity and rain. On days when the temperature has been bearable, we’ve been outside grilling, but otherwise I’ve been inside in the air conditioning eating salad. I have turned the oven on a few times, but not for very long, because even with central air, the kitchen just gets too hot. Here’s a sampling of what I’ve been eating…


TartAfter making last week’s Asparagus and Tomato Tart, I had leftover fillo dough. I also had some broccoli and cauliflower, so I made a Green and White Pizza, but with fillo instead of pizza crust. This was incredibly delish, and think fillo should be used for pizza crust more often!


SaladThere have been lots of big salads recently. Elaine Benes would be proud! This one combines steamed and raw vegetable and has a tahini dressing.


Grilled VeggiesWhen the temperature isn’t insane, we can be found in the backyard grilling up veggies. This meal consisted of a grilled black bean burger, zucchini, peppers and onions on a hearty roll, asparagus, corn, and a little bit of cole slaw.


KebabsWe also grilled up some tofu and veggie skewers, which were marinaded in a lemon pepper sauce.


Pepperoni Pizza SaladAlso on the menu were Tempeh Pepperoni Pizza Salads from Terry Hope Romero’s Salad Samurai.


TacosWe celebrated Taco Tuesday with black bean tacos from our favorite local taqueria, Tinga in Montclair.


Kale ChipsI also made my first batch of Kale Chips of the summer. I can’t believe it’s July and I haven’t made them yet. In years past I’ve had kale chips in the dehydrator pretty much on a daily basis. I’m not sure why I tend to only make them in the summer, but I do.



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



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Raw Kale Slaw

Raw Vegan Kale Slaw

When I first started this blog, I had just been diagnosed with food sensitivities, and I wanted to document how I was dealing with them, what I was eating, and how I was feeling. (I now don’t believe my so-called sensitivities weren’t very serious, and that most of the symptoms I was suffering from were due to an ovarian cyst attached to my intestines, but that’s the subject of another post.) I didn’t really type out recipes back then, but I had done a sort-of recipe post for kale slaw, a favorite summertime side dish of mine. I made this dish quite often in the summer of 2010, when I did the original post, and I remember taking it to a potluck where it was gone in seconds, and guests were upset that I hadn’t brought more with me.


Looking back my original post now, I’m wondering if I really did use that much mustard, and it seems like it must have been a little on the soggy side with that much water in the dressing. I’ve reworked my original recipe to make the dressing a little thicker and less mustard-filled. If you like your slaws with less dressing, just add a little of it at a time until it’s too your liking and save the rest for another salad or even a sandwich. Shredding the kale and carrots goes faster if you use a food processor.


kale slaw


  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours or more
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 large bunch of kale, shredded or cut chiffonade style
  • 2 carrots, shredded or julienned
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds



  1. In a high-speed blender, mix together the cashews, water, lemon juice, mustard, salt and garlic until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more water, a tablespoon at a time.
  2. Mix together the kale and carrots in a large bowl. Add the cashew dressing and mix until the vegetables are thoroughly coated. Sprinkle the slaw with the sesame seeds
  3. Refrigerate for an hour or two let the flavors mix.
  4. Serve cold or at room temperature.







What I Ate Wednesday

Up until the previous week or so, we’ve been having a pretty mild summer here in New Jersey. I’m not much of a “fun in the sun” person, so I typically spend summers hiding from the heat indoors with the air conditioner on, but June was rather pleasant, so I’ve been outside a lot most of my meals were eaten outside on the patio or cooked out on the grill. Last week saw a change in the weather though. We had scorching heat, unbearable humidity, and a few really awful thunderstorms. Meals were brought back indoors, and I even did a bit of cooking on the stove. Here’s a sample of what I’ve been eating:


Asparagus TartAsparagus and Tomato Tart. This was a rainy fair experiment, and a delicious one at that. The sun came out just in time to take pictures of this summery meal.


Backyard BuffaloBackyard Buffalo Rance Caesar Salad. I’ve made this dish from Terry Hope Romero’s Salad Samurai a few times now. It’s so good that I can’t bring myself to move on to other recipes in the book!


Greek PizzaGreek Pizza with Tofu Feta. This was a redo of a recipe I made a couple of years ago using store-bought feta. I can’t find that brand of cheese anymore, so I created a similar taste using tofu and redid the recipe for Vegan Pizza Day.


TacosTacos! This dish was comprised of a few recipes I tested for my friend Annie, who’s working on an awesome new cookbook.


Taco SaladTaco Salad. Taco leftovers become taco salad.


Potluck PlateVegan Potluck Plate. Once the sun finally did come out, I headed to Pennsylvania for a potluck birthday party for my friends Lydia and Mauro from From A to Vegan. There was so much food that it wouldn’t all fit on one plate, and I certainly couldn’t fit it all into my belly! This photo shows just a small sampling of what was on hand.


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



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Asparagus and Tomato Tart with Cashew Ricotta

Asparagus Tart with Cashew Ricotta Sometimes finding new recipe inspiration can be difficult. Most people draw on meals of their childhood and veganize family favorites. I grew up eating a lot of boxed macaroni and cheese, rice-a-roni, and frozen TV dinners, which I have no desire to recreate. I do sometimes get inspired to veganize dishes when looking through non-vegan magazines, as is the case with this Asparagus and Tomato Tart. I recently came across a recipe that looked quite tasty while flipping through Self magazine, but it used frozen puff pastry, two kinds of cheese, and eggs. It wasn’t too difficult to veganize, and the resulting dish was fresh and light and perfect for warm summer days.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Ingredients:

  • 2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for two hours or more
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 10 sheets of 13”x18” fillo dough, thawed according to the package
  • ¼ cup + 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 bunch asparagus (about ¾ lb)
  • 1 large tomato, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Zest from one lemon
  • 5 or 6 fresh basil leaves, chopped

Asparagus Tart with Cashew Ricotta Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. To make the cashew ricotta, process the raw cashews, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, sea salt, and water in a food processor until fluffy and ricotta-like. This could 5 to 10 minutes. You may need to stop the food processer and scrape down the sides with a spatula a few times. Set aside
  3. To make the crust, Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Lay down one sheet of fillo dough on top of it. Keep the rest of the fillo sheets covered with a clean, wet kitchen towel to avoid drying out. Quickly brush the sheet with a thin layer of olive oil using a pastry brush. Layer another sheet on top of it, and brush that one with a thin layer of olive oil. Continue this step until all of the sheets are layers and brushed with oil.
  4. Gently roll the edges of the dough in towards the center to form the crust’s rim. Brush with a small amount of olive oil to help keep it in place.
  5. Carefully spread the cashew ricotta over the crust. You may need to use your hands to avoid tearing the fillo dough.
  6. Layer the tomato slices to top of the ricotta.
  7. Trim the tough ends off the asparagus. Gently toss with the remaining teaspoon of olive oil. Layer them on top of the tomatoes. Press down lightly to ensure the veggies are firmly in place in the ricotta. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  8. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.
  9. Sprinkle the cooked tart with lemon zest and chopped fresh basil leaves.
  10. Using the parchment paper, carefully slide the tart from the baking sheet to a cutting board to slice it.
  11. Serve and enjoy!

Makes 6 servings   VVLPButton1-300px

10 Recipes for a Vegan 4th of July

Tomorrow is July 4th! I’m sure many of you will be attending barbecues, picnics and potlucks this weekend. I’ve pulled together some of my favorite recipes for grilled dishes, salads and crowd-pleasing dips for you to share with your friends and family this weekend. Enjoy!


Portobello Peach SandwichGrilled Portobello Peach Sandwiches – This is my favorite summertime sandwich, and even my omnivore friends love it. It may sound like a strange flavor combination, but it’s amazing. Don’t even think about it, just make it!


Grilled Eggplant SandwichesGrilled Eggplant Sandwiches – I will acknowledge that not everyone likes mushrooms. If that’s the case with you, give this tasty sandwich a try instead of the Portobello Peach. (But seriously, you don’t know what you’re missing!)


KebabsGrilled Tofu & Pineapple Kebabs – We moved into our house 2 years ago, and we were happy to find an old grill in new condition hiding in out the garage. We had come from a rental townhouse that didn’t have backyard, so grilling was a new and wonderful thing for us. I skewered just about everything I could get my hands on and played around with various marinades. These kebabs were a favorite.


Chickpea Salad SandwichesChickpea Salad Sandwiches – If you’re going to a picnic rather than a barbecue, these sandwiches are a good option, and they travel well. If your attending a potluck, you can keep the salad and bread separately and let guests serve themselves.


Potluck-Worthy Rice SaladPotluck-Worthy Rice Salad – This recipe was one of those happy accidents that come from throwing some ingredients together. I took this to a potluck last summer and everyone wanted the recipe. Fortunately, I remembered what I did, so I was able to type out the recipe to share.


Broccoli SlawBroccoli Slaw – I know that coleslaw isn’t always everyone’s favorite, but I’ve always loved it. I’m always looking for new ways to make “slaw” and this broccoli version is one of my favorites.


Kale Slaw – In doing this recipe roundup, I realized that my kale slaw post doesn’t have an actual recipe, which means that I need to work on that for a future post. When I started my blog years ago, it had to do with newly diagnosed food sensitivities, so I mainly wrote about what I was eating rather than posting recipes. You can get the gist of the recipe from this old post though. I made this dish for a potluck once and it was gone within seconds, so if you’re making it to share with others, I would suggest a double batch.


5 Layer DipFive Layer Dip – This dip is one of the easiest things in the world to make, and my friends always expect me to serve it a parties. I didn’t make it once, not realizing it would be missed so much, and everyone seemed disappointed.



Fresh Tomato Salsa and No-Bean Hummus – These two dips are really easy to make and come together in a flash. They’re both big crowd pleasers too!


Whatever you serve this 4th, I hope your holiday is happy and healthy!



What I Ate Wednesday: Summer Salads

Happy What I Ate Wednesday! I haven’t done a What I Ate Wednesday post in a while because I haven’t been too creative lately. Since it’s warm out, we’ve doing a lot of backyard veggie grilling and I’ve been making a lot of salads. I’ve decided to show off those salads today, though, because they’ve been really tasty. Remember when Lisa Simpson went vegetarian and Homer and Bart paraded around signing, “You don’t win friends with salad!”? Well, I DO win friends with salad. Salad is much more than lettuce, tomato and a vinaigrette, and I like to load mine up with all sorts of yummy stuff. Here are some of the dishes I’ve made recently:


Chickn CaesarBeyond Meat tweeted a coupon for a free package of their product a few weeks ago. There was no limit to how many coupons could be used by one person, so I spent most of June picking up packages of Beyond Meat at Whole Foods. Subsequently, I’ve become addicted to vegan grilled chick’n Caesar salads. This one is made with a cashew dressing that I made while recipe testing for friends, a vegan noochy parm, croutons, avocado, cabbage, carrots and lettuce. Perfection!


Backyard Buffalo RanchIn a similar vein, I made the Backyard Buffalo Ranch Caesar Salad from Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero after Cadry from Cadry’s Kitchen raved about it on Instagram. This was one incredible salad.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlso from Salad Samurai was this Asparagus Pad Thai Salad. I couldn’t get enough of the delicious baked Lemon Grass Tofu it’s made with.


NicoiseOne of my favorite summertime salads last year was Roasted Niçoise Salad from Nut Butter Universe by Robin Robertson. It’s easy to forget about recipes when new cookbooks arrive, but this dish is so good it’s worth keeping in regular rotation.


Taco SaladAfter Taco Tuesday, I was left with taco leftovers, and the best way to utilize taco leftovers is in giant taco salad. I bought crunchy quinoa tortilla chips at Trader Joe’s and made a creamy cashew cheese to use as dressing.


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



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Chipotle Tempeh Pizza with Herbed Cashew Cheese Sauce


Many people have told me that they couldn’t go vegan because they couldn’t give up pizza. I usually respond by telling them that I eat pizza all the time. “Yeah, but it’s not the same”, is usually their response. The truth is it’s not.


When I was an omnivore, I used to eat pizza that was made with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni. When I went vegetarian I switched from pepperoni to mushrooms. Sometimes I would get creative and use broccoli and cheddar cheese instead.


When I went vegan 13 years ago, I really didn’t much pizza, and when I did, it was usually covered in sauce and dried vegetables that had been in the oven too long. When meltable vegan cheeses started to be readily available, I began mimicking my favorite omnivore pies, and while they were very tasty, there wasn’t much thought put into them. In the past few years, vegan pizza has turned into an art form, with just about every type of pie you can imagine being created in kitchens across the U.S. Some of my favorites include taco pizza (made with leftover taco filling, of course!), potato and zucchini pizza, sweet potato and kale pizza, and my own Green and White Pizza recipe. So no, vegan pizza isn’t the same. It’s much, much better.


I originally made this spicy Chipotle Tempeh Pizza after I was sent some vegan bleu cheese to try. Unfortunately I can’t find the cheese locally, but that doesn’t mean I have to give up this tasty pie. I’ve updated the recipe and added a cashew cheese sauce to cool down the spicy tempeh. June 28th, is Vegan Pizza Day, and I’m hoping to celebrate with a slice or two of this spicy pie.




For the Tempeh

  • 8 ounce block of tempeh, cut into cubes
  • 1 chipotle pepper from chipotles in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sauce from chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil


For the Tomato Sauce

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • A few fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional


For the Cashew Cheese Sauce

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for two hours, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 water
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped fresh herbs, such as dill, cilantro or parsley


For the Pizza

  • 12” or 15” prepared pizza crust
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped


Chipotle Tempeh Pizza with Herbed Cashew Cheese Sauce


For the Tempeh and Veggies

  1. To make the marinade, mix together the chipotle sauce, garlic, onion powder, tomato paste, red pepper flakes and broth. Place tempeh in a shallow dish along with the marinade and let sit for 2 hours, or overnight in the fridge.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to a pan over medium heat, and cook the tempeh, turning frequently so that most of the sides brown. Add leftover marinade a spoonful at a time to the pan for the tempeh to absorb. Reserve a little marinade to cook the vegetables with.
  3. After the tempeh cubes have absorbed most of the marinade, remove them from the pan and set aside.


For the Tomato Sauce

  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook for about 15 minutes, until heated throughout.
  2. Set aside until ready to assemble the pizza.


For the Cashew Cheese Sauce

  1. Blend all ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add water a tablespoon at a time.
  2. Set aside until the pizza is ready.


Assemble the Pizza

  1. In the same pan the tempeh was cooked in, cook the garlic, onion, and bell peppers and cook for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables become fragrant and start to brown. Add a little of the tempeh marinade if the pan dries out.
  2. To assemble the pizzas, spread the tomato sauce on the crust and then layer on the vegetables. Top with the tempeh.
  3. Cook for 10-12 minutes until the crust turns golden brown and all of the toppings are hot.
  4. Drizzle on the cashew cheese sauce, slice and enjoy!













I submitted this recipe to the Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck

Rethink Food Book Review

ReThink-Food-Front-Cover-243x300As a health coach, I’ve read a lot of books on vegan health and nutrition. After a reading a few, the info gets repetitive and all of the titles tend to blend together in my brain. I have to admit that I’ve sort of skimmed through the ones I’ve received recently to see if there’s any new info. Sometimes I’ve just read certain chapters relevant to what might be going on with a client or myself.


The newest vegan health book to be sent my way is Rethink Food 100+ Doctors Can’t be Wrong, which was compiled by Shushana Castle and Amy-Lee Goodman. It features over 100 essays and articles about health and nutrition, and it’s actually perfect for people who want to skim and skip around, as each piece is just a few pages long. Of course, if you want to read it cover to cover, you have that option too.


The experts featured in Rethink Food include people you may have already heard of, such as Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Michael Greger. In addition to doctors, Rethink Food also features articles by registered dieticians, such as Jill Nussinow, and athletes, such as former NBA champion John Salley.


Rethink Food begins with the authors’ owns stories to give us an idea of how they became interested in using food to heal. Amy-Lee’s sister developed debilitating juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 9, and was cured years later after removing dairy from her diet. Her entire family later converted to a plant-based diet. Shushana’s mother was in need of eye surgery to improve her deteriorating vision, but she ended up fixing her sight herself by adopting a vegan diet.


What I love about Rethink Food is that is that the essays are organized by topics. The first chapter is called Diseases: The New Normal, and it contains articles the problems with the current medical system and the modern day Standard American Diet. From there, the book goes into What’s Missing in Med School (hint: nutrition education) and a Walk Through the Body. Other chapters include specific topic of interest such as nutrition for athletes, women’s issues, men’s issues, digestive disorders, building strong bones and joints, and dealing with cancer. The book ends with hope for the future and how to take the next steps in dietary change.


Whether you’re already vegan and have certain ailments you’re dealing with, or you’re thinking of adopting a plant-based diet and need a little swaying, Rethink Food is the book for you. With the info found within its pages, you’ll learn how reverse your symptoms and regain your health. You’ll also learn how to prevent disease, and you’ll gain knowledge that so much of today’s medical establishment is lacking.


Dr. Fuhrman