Marinades & Dressings Make Food More Interesting

When you become a vegetarian or vegan, you might feel like you’ve given up the flavors that you once enjoyed on your favorite meat dishes.  That is not true, just about everything you may have once used as a marinade can also be used in your new lifestyle. My personal favorites are those asian marinades that involve miso, soy sauce (aka shoyu) and believe it or not there even exists a vegan oyster sauce in some markets.

Here is a simple miso marinade that you can try, that I have taken from one of my many vegetarian/vegan cook books. This one comes from “Gettin” Saucy” by Andrea Bertoli.



1/4 cup miso
1/4 cup mirin (or white wine)
2 Tbsp soy sauce (shoyu – use gluten free is necessary)
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp red chili flakes (optional)

Whisk all of the ingredients together until smooth and well blended. You can use a food processor if you want to. Then store for up to a couple weeks, this recipe will make about 1/3 cup of marinade, so if you need a lot, then multiple the ingredients accordingly to produce what you need for your meal.

This marinade can be used on tempeh (overnight), seitan or a extra firm tofu. If you use it on veggies, marinate for at least an hour. Grill or bake for 10-15 minutes.

Ratatouille White Bean Casserole [Vegan, Gluten-Free] | One Green Planet

If you’re looking for a cozy and hearty yet light dinner to share with your family and friends, look no further than this delicious ratatouille casserole.

Source: Ratatouille White Bean Casserole [Vegan, Gluten-Free] | One Green Planet

Brazilian Sweet Potato Stew

I found the original recipe for this stew in a publication by Vegetarian Times and made some modifications to fit my personal tastes.  It is a sweet stew, which can be easily made to be more savory based on your liking by spicing it up.  The prep time takes the longest, but to cooking time goes fast.  You can have this meal ready in 30 minutes.  I served my stew up with some mixed grain (white & brown) rice and some sauteed shishito peppers on the side.  It was delicious.


  • 1 – 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (1 to 1 1/4 lbs.), peeled and diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 small hot green chili pepper, or more to taste, minced
  • 2 16-oz. cans beans, drained and rinsed – black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, etc.
  • 1 ripe mango, pitted, peeled and diced or 1 cup of diced frozen mango
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. cumin (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro for garnish


In large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook, stirring, until onion is golden, about 3 minutes.

Stir in sweet potatoes, bell pepper, tomatoes (with liquid), chili, 1 1/2 broth and all spices. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender but still firm, 10 to 15 minutes. Be sure to test your potato tenderness during this time to make sure it doesn’t over cook or become mushy.

Stir in beans and simmer gently, uncovered, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in mango and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Garnish with cilantro. Serve hot and with your favorite starch.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and please share your comments with me on how you spiced up your sweet potato stew.

Enjoy …


Vegan Chocolate Pudding

I will admit, I am a chocoholic.  But I have lost the craving for the sugary sweet chocolates that you find in most stores now.  So, when I took a recent vegetarian cooking class I was so excited to see one of the recipes we would be learning was a vegan chocolate pudding and IT IS GOOD!

I posted a photo of this recipe in the making on my Instagram page (@newvegetarian) and now I would like to share the actual recipe with you.    You can vary this recipe to your personal taste, but I have to stress the importance of using only pure cacao powder, anything less will be a disappointment.

So here we go:

  • 1 large banana or 2 small ones
  • 1 ripe & soft avocado
  • 3-4 Tablespoons pure cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup plant milk – coconut, almond, soy or your own personal favorite
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup, agave or honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Fresh fruit for garnishing (bananas, blueberries)

Combine all of these ingredients into a food processor or powerful blender until smooth as pudding.  Chill for an hour and serve with your favorite fruit topping.

Few notes, I have changed up the type of plant milk used and I will say I really like using coconut milk most of all, followed by cashew milk.  So, try different type of plant based milk and find your personal favorite.  Also, changing the type of sweeter changes the flavor as well.  I like using honey, but maple syrup is my second choice.  The agave is a little too thin and makes the pudding a bit more runny.  But you give it a try and see what you like best.  Also, don’t make too much at a time, it will keep up to a week at best.

As you can see this is a very simple recipe and once you can make in 10 minutes or less. I just love it myself and can have pudding anytime I want.

Enjoy …



How To Roast Garlic …

Roasted Garlic

As much as I enjoy cooking and eating garlic, I have never attempted to roast my own at home.  Well, today was that day and I must say I am totally happy with the results.  If you have never tried it yourself, here is a quick and super easy way to make some home made roasted garlic for adding to your favorite spaghetti sauce, rice, or even just to spread on some hot, fresh bread and a little EVOO.  On my yum!

Here it is:

3-5 garlic bulbs – trim off the tops about 1/4 inches to expose the garlic cloves
3 tbsp of vermouth or dry gin
1/4 cup of olive oil
salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

After you trim off the tops, place each bulb of a piece of foil.  Each bulb will be ultimately be individually wrapped and roasted in foil.  Drizzle about 2 teaspoons of vermouth or gin over each bulb, followed by a teaspoon of olive oil, then a bit of salt & pepper on each bulb.  If you want it sweeter, then drizzle 1 to 2 teaspoons of honey.

Tightly wrap each bulb and roast in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the cloves are soft and spreadable. Unwrap each bulb and enjoy.

Kung Hei Fat Choi – Ring in Chinese New Year With These 20 Vegan Recipes

Kung Hei Fat Choi! Chinese New Year is just around the corner and the meal planning is underway.  What are your plans to celebrate this incoming lunar new year?  2017 is the Year of the Rooster so let’s celebrate him and not eat him.

In reading my morning batch of emails I found one from Green Planet that has a number of vegan meal options to celebrate Chinese New Year.  It is a really good variety of recipes from spicy dishes to desserts. I am particularly interested in the Chinese Seaweed Salad, the Sweet and Sour “Chicken”, and the Lou Bak Gou (Turnip Cakes).  So these will be in the making for sure at my house.  You have 20 vegan recipes to choose from and try, so start exploring you pantry to see what ingredients you already have before you hit the grocery store.

Remember, if you are new to this vegetarian/vegan lifestyle, choose recipes that are easy to make and require the least amount of time.  It will make your transition much easier than getting ‘gung ho’ and taking on more of a cooking challenge than your are ready for.  Remember, as a new vegetarian or vegan, cooking should be exciting and most of all enjoyable to do. So, enjoy this process and I wish you all the best in this coming new year.



Ring in The Year of the Rooster the traditional way with this meat-free and fish-free Chinese dishes!

Source: Ring in Chinese New Year With These 20 Vegan Recipes

What is in Poultry Seasoning?

Have you ever wondered what spices are in poultry seasoning and is there a hint of poultry essence in it? Inquiring minds want to know, well at least my inquiring mind.  I am happy to say there is no poultry in it, do ground down chicken by-products added.  Yippee!

Well I threw out my bottle of poultry seasoning before checking what was in it and now I need some for a recipe I want to try.  I am happy to report that I do have a fix for my problem and I can make my own using existing spices I have in my kitchen, so no need for me to run out and buy some.  If you are interested in making your own poultry seasoning here is a recipe that you can pre-make and store in your own personal spice jar.  Imagine it your made this recipe with fresh dried herbs from your organic garden, how wonderful that will be!

Home-made Poultry Seasoning

Ingredients – 1 teaspoons of each:

  • dried rosemary
  • dried sage
  • dried thyme
  • dried marjoram
  • celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Combine all of the ingredients together and crush with a mortar & pestle, spice grinder or mini food processor. Store and use as needed for your future recipes.

2017 Lifestyle Goal … Go Vegan

On January 1, 2017 it will be a year since I switched my lifestyle to a vegetarian one.  I will say it has not always been easy, but it has been a little easier than when I first tried it, over 10 years ago. There are so many more options available to people today than before. With the introduction of the internet and the ability to search and find numerous articles, blogs, and nutritional research online, it makes the leap to a plant-based diet so much easier.

I never would have thought about taking a vegetarian cooking class.  You would think, it’s just vegetables how hard can it be.  Well, let me tell you without cooking tips, tricks and tools for this lifestyle a person will find it challenging to be successful in making the switch.  So, if you are still struggling with the transition, I really recommend looking into a local resource at your organic grocery store, health food store, community college, yoga studio or something similar.  I am sure you can find people teaching vegetarian cooking techniques to help you expand your recipe book without little to no cost to you.  They also help you to find and establish a balanced plant-based diet because no one can live on salad alone.

In 2017, I am going to attempt to make the switch to a vegan lifestyle.  I believe most of my cooking leans heavily vegan, although I do still have an occasional egg or two a month and I enjoy my dairy & cheeses.  So, I will need to learn how to prepare more vegan non-dairy alternatives for sour cream, cheese, yogurt and similar products.  Wish me luck as I venture on yet another exciting lifestyle change.

I also plan to pay closer attention to where my non-food products are made and what it is made with. Are the business practices sustainable, are they eco-friendly, do they employ business processes that are not harmful to the environment, people and animals.

I do know that I want to focus on buying consumer products made in places other than China or where labor conditions are unfair to workers, women and children.  I have always been a strong supporter of Fair Trade products, so now I have to look for vegan fair trade goods, from cosmetics to clothing to daily household supplies.  This might be the most challenge part of becoming a vegan, but I am up for the challenge.

I have learned a lot this past year about myself and my commitment to this lifestyle.  I have not once forced my lifestyle choice on anyone. I have been congratulated and praised for making this switch by many.  People ask me more questions about how the change has worked for me. They too are interested in making some diet changes as well.  I tell each and everyone of them that they need to eat for health and not eat to eat. They need to make one or two simple changes a week and see what that does for their body, the energy, their sleep. If it feels good, then keep doing it and gradually make the switch. Don’t wait for a scare in your life to make you change, it will be much harder to be forced than to do it by choice.

I found this online article put out by Forks Over Knives that was interesting.  If you are still deciding about a plant-based diet, then this will MYTH BUST some preconceived notions.  Until next year, have a wonderful holiday season and all the best in the coming new year.  Go Vegan!

Aloha from Hawaii,

There are still many myths and misunderstandings surrounding a plant-based diet. We’ve dispelled the most popular myths here.

Source: Top 8 Myths About Eating Vegan, Busted

Avocado & Citrus Salad Dressing

Are you tired of eating the same-oh same-oh dressings on your salads?  Looking for something fresh and lite?  This recipe has 3 of my favorite ingredients in it and it is an easy,  fresh and tasty gluten free dressing. It’s perfect on any salad, but also it is great as an alternative to salsa for your tacos or taco salads. By combining all of the ingredients all at once in your blender or food processor it will be ready in a few minutes.  Whenever possible use organic ingredients to keep your recipes clean and free of pesticides & chemicals.

  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup EVOO
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • ½ cup, loosely packed, cilantro leaves (no stems please)
  • 1 ripe, skinned and pitted avocado
  • ½ tsp himalayan salt or your salt of preference
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper

Hope you like this dressing and find it to be A personal favorite as well.

Thanksgiving Dinner – All Set

There are so many recipe ideas out there for a vegetarian or vegan to make for Thanksgiving.  I have merely scratched the surface of what is available, so I hope you will explore more recipes out there or even create some of your own.  I have narrowed down my meal planning and I am sure there will be various side dishes that require very little preparation.

My mom makes a very good homemade pumpkin pie and apple pie, so I won’t worry much about making these items.  I may even be lazy and visit my favorite bakery and pick up a delicious pie.  I still consider myself a vegetarian so stopping by and purchasing a pumpkin/custard combo pie is definitely an option.  Maybe even a cherry pie with some ice cream may be in my future.

My menu is looking pretty good and I only need to buy a few ingredients a day or two ahead of time. This is great, my refrigerator will not be over stuffed with food like years past.  It’s going to be nice to have a creative meal, all plant based, with an easy clean up and no carcasses in my fridge or trash can.

So, to sum it all up, here’s the menu

  • Chunky Sweet Potato Bisque
  • Lentil & Mushroom Shepard’s Pie
  • Mushroom Gravy
  • Cranberry Slaw
  • Balsamic Glazed Brussel Sprouts
  • A few surprise side dishes that will appear on the table (no meat)
  • Desserts made from pumpkin, apples and maybe cherries

Not bad for my first Thanksgiving as a new vegetarian. I’m so excited.