calling a noodle a noodle…maybe

With gluten free this, avoid that, and whatever else we are adding to the “avoid list” lately, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of calling something what it actually isn’t. For example, a “cauliflower” is commonly being called a “steak,” and no one seems to mind at all. Are we finally losing it as a society? Well, I guess, keeping it all in perspective, it’s cool to get creative with naming some healthy substitutes. It’s just a word anyway, right? I just want whatever I am eating to satiate and hit the spot on whatever my mind and my appetite have conspired to enjoy together. Whenever that happens to be cold tomato basil noodles, this recipe does the trick. For the sake of avoiding the faux food naming pattern, we’re going to call these babies “zoodles”. Whatever you do call it, get ready for “yummy” sounding words and noises when you serve it. Oh, and it’s raw too!

tuscan cold zoodles with tomato, basil & garlic

Makes 2 small servings
1 medium-large zucchini
1 large roma tomato
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp. cider vinegar
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup loose pack basil, divided in half, one half whole-leaf, the other half julienned
1 tbsp. lemon
1/4 cup crushed hazelnuts Read More


tex-mex & the multifaceted mushroom

Mushrooms, whatever kind, are loaded with essential nutrients. I keep an abundant supply in my kitchen at all times. But I have to confess, the real reason I keep them around is for their delicious all-around versatility and their ability to step in as the “main” staple when avoiding meat. Let’s take the portobello for example. I have served the portobellos as a whole steak, skewered as a satay, stuffed, as vegan taco meat, I have made mushroom burgers, and i am sure I will discover many more ways to enjoy this and other mushrooms. Here is a quick and easy fajita process using the portobello. It is important to cut your mushrooms thick, and let them crisp a little when cooking, to get the full, substantial meaty effect. Enjoy!

rolled portobello mushroom fajitas

Makes 2 entree or 4 appetizer servings
2 large portobello mushrooms, de-stemmed and cut into thick slices
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large red, green, or yellow pepper, sliced
 (can mix colors as well)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/2 cup loose chopped fresh cilantro
, plus extra whole cilantro for garnish
1/2 cup black bean puree (freshly prepared or canned) Read More


tex-mex & the multifaceted mushroom

Mushrooms, whatever kind, are loaded with essential nutrients. I keep an abundant supply in my kitchen at all times. But I have to confess, the real reason I keep them around is for their delicious all-around versatility and their ability to step in as the “main” staple when avoiding meat. Let’s take the portobello for example. I have served the portobellos as a whole steak, skewered as a satay, stuffed, as vegan taco meat, I have made mushroom burgers, and i am sure I will discover many more ways to enjoy this and other mushrooms. Here is a quick and easy fajita process using the portobello. It is important to cut your mushrooms thick, and let them crisp a little when cooking, to get the full, substantial meaty effect. Enjoy!

rolled portobello mushroom fajitas

Makes 2 entree or 4 appetizer servings
2 large portobello mushrooms, de-stemmed and cut into thick slices
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large red, green, or yellow pepper, sliced
 (can mix colors as well)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/2 cup loose chopped fresh cilantro
, plus extra whole cilantro for garnish
1/2 cup black bean puree (freshly prepared or canned) Read More


hemp’s hidden talents

I am kind of on a hemp kick right now. Hemp seeds have almost earned “BFF” status in my kitchen life. Unlike their chia and flax counterparts, hemp seeds have a buttery nut-like texture making them an ideal go-to for those times you need to fill that “dairy” component in a recipe or a dish. And, three tablespoons of hemp seeds have ten grams of plant based protein! If you can live with their fat content then I say keep them around and discover all their hidden talents. I put them to a pesto test and I was delighted and a bit surprised that it came out better than the traditional pesto with parmesan. By the time it got to the plate it had become the star of a refreshing spring pasta dish.

basil-hemp pesto spaghetti with veggies

Makes 2 servings of pasta with extra pesto to save
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup packed fresh baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup raw cashew pieces
1/3 cup hulled hemp seeds
2-3 cloves garlic (depending on how much garlic you like)
! tbsp. nutritional yeast
2 tbsp. water Read More


hemp's hidden talents

I am kind of on a hemp kick right now. Hemp seeds have almost earned “BFF” status in my kitchen life. Unlike their chia and flax counterparts, hemp seeds have a buttery nut-like texture making them an ideal go-to for those times you need to fill that “dairy” component in a recipe or a dish. And, three tablespoons of hemp seeds have ten grams of plant based protein! If you can live with their fat content then I say keep them around and discover all their hidden talents. I put them to a pesto test and I was delighted and a bit surprised that it came out better than the traditional pesto with parmesan. By the time it got to the plate it had become the star of a refreshing spring pasta dish.

basil-hemp pesto spaghetti with veggies

Makes 2 servings of pasta with extra pesto to save
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup packed fresh baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup raw cashew pieces
1/3 cup hulled hemp seeds
2-3 cloves garlic (depending on how much garlic you like)
! tbsp. nutritional yeast
2 tbsp. water Read More


comfort me with some cannelloni

Cannelloni, ravioli, manicotti, tortellini…what do these foods have in common besides ending with the letter “i”? Well, it is probably safe to say that they are all loved by many for their cheese-stuffed, pasta goodness. One of my favorite reasons for blogging on here is to discover healthier, less toxic versions of this kind of stuff. With that said, I am loving this cannelloni creation that has been evolving in my kitchen. It delivers a rich, comfort food experience without any of the bad stuff. And, it is great the next day, even cold! I know this because I left it sitting on the stove one cold winter night, and the next morning it was devoured before I could wrap it and put it into the refrigerator! The sunflower seeds give this dish enough clean protein to replace any meat or dairy version, and the mushrooms don’t need any nutrition hype to make their healthy introduction. In other words, this would make a great entree whenever you have that urge for a comfort food whatever…ending in “i”!

eggplant cannelloni with mushrooms & leeks

Makes 4 servings
½ cup sunflower seeds, ground into a powdery meal
1 small red onion, roughly chopped
1 small leek, roughly chopped
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. coconut aminos or tamari
3 halved sun dried tomatoes Read More