Wednesday, January 22, 2014


A Moroccan soup from the cookbook "Isa Does It."   This soup has eggplant, lentils, chickpeas and pasta.  It is warm and filling and perfect on a cold night, especially with all this polar vortex business... The recipe is online here.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Problem with Dairy

I went to the Rochester Area Vegetarian Society Meeting yesterday and heard Sherry Colb speak.  She wrote the book "Mind if I Order the Cheeseburger? And Other Questions People Ask Vegans."  The talk made me reflect on how I used to think about dairy and how those views changed, causing me to become vegan.

When I was kid, I hated drinking milk.  The taste repulsed me.  However,  I did like eating cheese.   Story books showed happy cows on family farms and it never occurred to me that producing milk was not something cows did naturally all the time.  Heck, I thought the farmers were doing them a favor by milking them so that they could be more comfortable.  Did you ever see those ads on tv that say happy cows come from California?  It shows cute cows frolicking in green pastures and cracking jokes with each other.   Well it took a while but I finally realized that cows only give milk just like human mothers and other mammals, because they have had a baby.  And this is when I started learning about the problems with dairy.

1. Lifecycle of a cow - In order to keep a cow producing milk, she has to endure being forcibly artificially inseminated by being restrained on a device that is sometimes called a "rape rack."  The cow is forced to go through cycles of pregnancy in order to keep her producing milk.  These cycles of pregnancy and lactation take a toll on the cow and it not profitable for the farmer to keep her after 4-7 years.  Keep in mind that the natural lifespan of a cow is 20-25 years. 

2.  Milk for the baby -  Just like a human mother, the cow is producing milk only because she had a baby and needs to feed her baby.  However, the farmer's goal is to sell this milk for profit and to accomplish this, they take the baby away from the mother.  According to Colb, just like human moms " cows produce hormones during labor and delivery that ordinarily cause them to bond intensely with their newborns...If left to her own devices the mother cow would nurse her baby for 9 to 12 months.  Cows bellow, sometimes for days  on end and behave in ways that plainly exhibit desperation and misery, including a lack of interest in eating and a tendency to pace around the area they last saw their calves.  Other cows in the herd, if permitted to do so, will often spend more time with and comfort the mother who has just lost her baby."  This is heartbreaking :(

3.  Disposable Male Babies - Colb uses this term because in both the dairy and egg industry, male babies are not needed.  They are a different breed than the male chicks and calves that are bred for meat and to maintain profitability they are killed.  I never even thought about this when I used to eat dairy and eggs.  Colb states that "male dairy calves, sometimes called 'veal calves', are slaugthered when they are anywhere from a few days old (when many still have an umbilical cord and attempt to suckle on workers' fingers while being readied for slaughter) to a few months old."  It is important to understand that veal is a by product of the dairy industry.   Similarly in the egg industry, I was shocked and saddened to find out that male chicks are thrown live and conscious either into a meat grinder, plastic bag (where they suffocate) or gassed.

These problems are just from the animal suffering point of view.  There is also the fact that all animal products, despite what we've been led to believe, are very unhealthy for us and raise our risk for obesity, heart disease, many types of cancers and diabetes.  The production of these animal products is also very unhealthy for the planet, contributing significantly to green house gases and using much of the grain produced as animal feed. 

Here are some great resources if you are interested in learning more:

Forks Over Knives
Engine 2 Diet
The China Study
The World Peace Diet
Meet Your Meat
Veganism Is Nonviolence

Mail art again

Finally participating in some mail art calls.  This one is a little manic but I like it. This one is going out to Richmond, VA for an exhibit there.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Carrot, cranberry, blueberry

Practice Being Human

Read this zine by superdilettante  Its awesome!  Its speaks to a lot that I have been thinking about lately:
  • days free of social media (facebook, twitter, tumbler, instagram)
  • days of more DOING (cooking, drawing, walking, exercising, meditating, crafting... and less looking at what others are doing
  • days of more down time to do nothing or to think and wonder

I've been unsubscribing myself to a lot of stuff and it feels great to unclog my email box of unnecessary clutter.   I've significantly reduced the number of "friends" I have on facebook and also reduced the number of days and the amount of time I spend on it.  I deactivated my twitter account.  I am reducing the number of people I follow on instagram.  I want to be more fully present when I am with others.  I have gone to visit people where everyone was on their phone or ipad except for me.  People were missing out on interacting with the person sitting with them because they were staring at an electronic device.

My intention for 2014 is to be more fully present in my life and to expend more creative energy by doing, making, thinking, napping, playing...


Friday, January 17, 2014

Carrot Spice Muffins

I started off looking at a bunch of different recipes and ended up creating my own but the "bones" of this recipe come from this one.

1 Tb egg replacer & 3 Tb water
1 & 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup sugar (coconut or brown sugar)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup dried unsweetened coconut
1/3 cup raisins
3/4 cup shredded carrots, about 1 large carrot

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. 
Lightly oil muffin pan. 
Cover raisins with water in a bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes to plump them up.  Drain and set aside.
Mix egg replacer and water in a small bowl and set aside. 
Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl.
Add applesauce, egg replacer and oil and blend til just combined.
Add coconut, raisins and carrot and mix. 
Scoop into muffin pan and bake about 15 minutes or til toothpick inserted in the middle comes clean.
Eat warm if you can :)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Chickpea Salad Wraps

This is a vegan version of tuna salad and only has one "weird" ingredient - Hijiki, which is a form of seaweed.  The seaweed gives it a slight sea/fishy flavor.   The original recipe is from Vegan With a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskovitz but I have altered it to my own tastes.  Btw, I highly recommend this book, everything I've made turns out well :)

1 Tb dried hijiki
Boiling water
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 Tb Veganaise (I personally think this is the best tasting brand of vegan mayo)
2 Tb Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 cup minced onion
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 stalk of celery, diced
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
baby spinach leaves

Put hijiki in a bowl and pour boiling water over it.  Cover it with a plate and let sit for 15 minutes.  Mash the chickpeas in a large bowl.  Add the Veganaise, vinegar, onion, carrot, celery, smoked paprika, salt and pepper.  Mix well.   When hijiki is ready, drain well and add to the chickpeas and mix again.

Line a wrap with spinach leaves and sprouts and add the chickpea filling.  Roll up and enjoy!  Should make about 4 wraps.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Graffiti & Garfield

I love collage!  Here is a postcard I whipped up :)

Herbed Drop Biscuits with Garlic Butter

These biscuits from the Vegan Brunch cookbook are fast, easy and delicious.  We had them warm from the oven with hot soup for dinner.  Of course I couldn't leave well enough alone and topped them with garlic butter.  They are so light and fluffy and super easy to make.

2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold shortening
2 tablespoons cold margarine
1 cup almond milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk)

for garlic butter
1 Tb olive oil
1 Tb margarine
1/4-1/2 tsp smoked paprika
4 cloves garlic, diced

Preheat oven to 450 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, herbs and salt. Cut the shortening and margarine into the flour with your fingers or a pastry blender, until small pebble to marble sized pieces form. Add the milk and use a wooden spoon to mix and form a soft dough.

Use an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop biscuits onto baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile combine garlic butter ingredients in a small saucepan and cook for a few minutes.  Pull out and brush tops with garlic butter.  Return to oven and bake 3 more minutes or until tops are browned.  

Monday, January 13, 2014

Mushrooms, onions & peppers

Hold the cheese please, Godzilla likes his vegan pizza :)

Lentil Loaf

This one is from the book "My Beef With Meat" by Rip Esselstyn.  It makes 2 loaves and gets firmer as it sits.  To have a loaf that holds together, bake it so that it has a few hours to sit and firm up.

There is a lot of chopping involved but this is a very nice loaf and it does make two at a time.  I served it with roasted broccoli and mashed potatoes.

I found the recipe online here. I mixed the bbq sauce and ketchup together 1/2 and 1/2 to make the glaze that goes underneath the loaves and also on top.  I also added some smoked paprika as I tend to add that to almost everything :)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Drawing more

One of my intentions for 2014 is to get back to drawing more.  I've been enjoying making simple doodles and will be posting some of them.  This one is of my dog, Elvis, who is always hoping that something good will fall to the floor. 

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad

Whipped this up for lunch today.  It is fast to make if you bake the sweet potatoes ahead of time.  I did a tray full of them yesterday for us and for Elvis, who loves sweet potatoes :)

3 sweet potatoes
1 large onion, diced
1 15 oz can black beans
2 Tb olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 limes, juiced (about 3 Tb juice)
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

Roast the sweet potatoes in a 350 degree oven until soft...about 1 hour.  Let cool, peel and cut into cubes.  Place in a large bowl and add black beans, onions, garlic and parsley.  In a small bowl, whisk together with a fork: olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin, red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, and lime juice.  Pour over the potatoes and mix well.  Adjust seasonings to taste.

Makes about 4-6 servings.

Roasted Broccoli

 Easy and good.  I started with this recipe.

1 lb broccoli, cut up (stems are good too, just cut them small)
2 Tb olive oil
Juice from half a lemon
kosher salt to taste
4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped
couple grinds fresh black pepper

Heat oven to 425 F.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Place the broccoli in a bowl and toss with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, garlic and black pepper.  Bake for about 15-20 min.  You will smell the broccoli roasting.  Check it to make sure it doesn't get too dark. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Easy veggie side

 This is really a template that you can use for different veggies.  I've used it with zucchini and my mom uses it with green beans.  Other veggies would work also, just use your imagination.

Olive oil
Tons of garlic (for 3 zucchini - 7-10 cloves), diced
1 teaspoon paprika (you can use smoked paprika for part of this)
salt to taste
1 teaspoon cumin seed (optional)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
2 teaspoons unsweetened dried coconut (optional)
veggie of choice

Heat the olive oil and saute the garlic, paprika, salt, cumin seed and coconut until nice and toasty.  Add the veggies and saute until they are cooked.  Depending on the veggie, you may want to cover and cook for a while.  That's it!  Easy and very delicious :)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


A nice South Indian curry that is eaten over rice.  I like to eat it with brown basmati rice.  You can add whatever veggies you like to sambar.  My mom usually does one veggie such as radishes, eggplant or okra.  I like to add a variety.

This is an easy recipe once you gather the ingredients, which means one trip to the Indian store :)

1 cup yellow split peas, moong dal or masoor dal
Assorted veggies (I used: 3 diced potatoes, 3 diced plum tomatoes, 2 chopped carrots, 1 chinese eggplant, 1/2 cup of peas, 2 shallots)
2 heaping tsp coriander powder
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp fenugreek powder
1 tsp asafetida
2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped cilantro, divided into 1/2 cup portions
chili powder to taste for heat (optional)
1 Tb tamarind pulp

tempering oil

1 Tb olive oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp urad dal (also called black gram dal)
1/2 tsp whole fenugreek seeds
10 curry leaves
1 dried chili
1/2 tsp asafetida
1 Tb dry or fresh coconut (optional)

If using yellow split peas, cook in a pressure cooker with 3 cups of water.  When pressure cooker comes up to temp, reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes.  Or you can soak the yellow split peas overnight and then just cook them on the stove the next day.  If using other dals, just cook on stove with the water. 

In a large pot, add 1 and 1/2 cup of water and add all your vegetables.  Cook until tender.  Then add coriander powder, paprika, turmeric, fenugreek powder, asafetida, salt, 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro, chili powder and tamarind pulp.  Add the cooked dal.

Make the tempering oil:  Heat oil in a small saucepan and add black mustard seeds, urad dal, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, chili, asafetida and coconut.  Cook until brown and add to the vegetables.  

Serve over rice and enjoy :)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Roasted Chickpeas

This is an great snack that I like to serve as a nibble with drinks before dinner.   People really go crazy over these and they are easy.  The recipe is from  I like to double this recipe as they go fast. I added smoked paprika to my version and sometimes add onion or garlic powder.  You can also use dried versions of the rosemary and thyme.

Makes about 3 1/2 cups

2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed, drained and dried well
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (or use another tsp of regular paprika)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon onion or garlic powder (optional)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly-grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Pour well-dried chickpeas onto a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and use a spatula to loosen up any chickpeas that are sticking to the bottom of the pan. Roast for another 10 minutes, or until chickpeas begin to crisp up. To test for readiness: don't rely on a change of color. When the chickpeas turn brown they've become burned. Instead, check with the press of a finger: you want them to be slightly crisp on the outside but still soft on the inside. 

While the chickpeas are roasting, combine the olive oil, paprika, cumin, curry powder, salt, lemon zest, rosemary and thyme in a medium mixing bowl. Transfer the roasted chickpeas to the bowl and carefully toss them in the mixture until well coated. Return to the baking sheet and roast another 4-5 minutes. Once out of the oven, allow them to cool for 2-3 minutes; serve warm.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Overnight Oatmeal Chia Pudding

I used to just eat chia pudding for breakfast but I found that it didn't "stick" long enough.  The addition of oats does just that and is really yummy.  I make up a batch that will last 3 or 4 servings.  This makes it easy in the mornings to just put some in a bowl and add fruit, nuts, coconut, and/or some nut butter. 

6 Tb chia seeds
1 cup rolled oats
3 cups almond milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tb maple syrup

Combine these in a container with an airtight lid and leave in the fridge overnight.  In the morning, top with your favorite fruits, nuts, etc.  I topped this one with bananas, toasted almonds and coconut.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Vegan Mac & Cheese

I was really skeptical about the VegNews Mac and Cheese recipe and was preparing myself mentally to be underwhelmed but lo and behold, It was fantastic!  My father, who is an omnivore, inhaled almost half the dish.  This one is a keeper and you will love it.  It is easy to make with no weird ingredients.

VegNews says it serves 6 but for us, it made 4 servings.   Below is my version which lowers the salt and uses smoked paprika instead of regular paprika.  I also changed the method of making the bread crumbs because I didn't want a greasy food processor to clean.

Someone else that made this doubled the sauce.  I am going to try that next time because the sauce is incredibly delicious.

  • 4 quarts water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 8 ounces macaroni
  • 4 slices of bread, torn into large pieces
  • 2 tablespoons + 1/3 cup non-hydrogenated margarine
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, peeled and chopped (I subbed extra onions as I didn't have shallots)
  • 1 cup red or yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  1. In a large pot, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until al dente. In a colander, drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, make breadcrumbs by pulverizing the bread.  Melt 2 tablespoons margarine and mix with the bread crumbs. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, add shallots, potatoes, carrots, onion, and water, and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft.
  4. In a blender, process the cashews, salt, garlic, 1/3 cup margarine, mustard, lemon juice, black pepper, and cayenne. Add vegetables and cooking water to the blender and process until completely smooth.
  5. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta and blended cheese sauce until completely coated. Spread mixture into a 9 x 12 casserole dish, sprinkle with breadcrumbs mix, and dust with smoked paprika. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese sauce is bubbling and the top has turned golden brown.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Raw Nori Wraps

These are easy and yummy and a good way to detox after all that rich holiday food!  The pea guacamole is a lighter version of normal guac.

Pea Guacamole

8 oz of frozen peas, blanched and put in ice water
2 jalapenos
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 plum tomato
2 Tb nutritional yeast
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
Juice of 1 lime
1 avocado

 For the pea guacamole: Char one of the jalapenos over an open flame or under a broiler and then put in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let cool.  Once cool, rub off the charred skin of the jalapeno and seed and chop it.  Seed and chop the other fresh jalapeno too.  Put all the ingredients into a food processor and process til chunky.  Adjust seasonings to taste.

For the raw wraps:

Sheets of nori (found in the international aisle at the supermarket)
mellow white miso
assorted veggies julienned (I used red bell pepper, carrots, cabbage, cucumber, sprouts, scallions, de-stemmed kale)
sriracha sauce (optional)

Place a sheet of nori on a cutting board.  Add a smear of miso along the lower edge.  Add some pea guacamole.  Place the veggies over the pea-guac.  Add some dots of sriracha if desired.  Roll up from the bottom while squeezing to keep the roll tight.  Dab your finger in some water and run it along the top of the nori sheet to help seal it.  Cut the roll in half and enjoy :)

I got inspiration from this post at The Vegan Food Way, which is a great blog!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Lime Rasam

My mom taught me how to make lime rasam today.   Rasam is something that can be poured over rice and eaten or the top layer of the rasam can be put in a glass and used as a drink.  Both are delicious ways to enjoy rasam.  It is really easy to make once you assemble your ingredients.


1/2 to 3/4 cup yellow split peas or moong dal, or masoor dal (washed)
Generous 2 inch knob of ginger, peeled and chopped
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 heaping tsp coriander powder
1 tsp asafetida, divided into 1/2 tsp quantities
1 tsp fenugreek powder
1 cup chopped cilantro, stems included, divided into 1/2 cup portions
2 tsp salt
1 -2 limes, juiced

Tempering oil
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 heaping tsp whole cumin seed
1 stalk of curry leaves (about 8-10 leaves)
1 Tb olive oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 dried red chili

1.     Combine dal, 3 cups of water, ginger, turmeric, coriander powder, 1/2 tsp asafetida, fenugreek and 1/2 cup of the cilantro in a large pot over medium heat and cook until dal is soft.  Optional: you can mash the dal with a potato masher once cooked, while still in the pot.
2.     Once dal is cooked, add 4 cups of water to the pot.  Add salt and the juice of 1-2 limes.  Adjust salt and tartness to your taste.
3.     Make the tempering oil: Using a mortar and pestle, smash together the garlic and the whole cumin seeds.  Set aside.  In a small metal saucepan, combine oil, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, and red chili.  Cook on low heat until the fenugreek seeds turn brown and the mustard seeds start to pop.  Add the garlic/cumin mixture and the curry leaves and remaining 1/2 tsp asafetida.  Cook until garlic is brown.
4.     Add tempering oil mixture to the dal and add the remaining 1/2 cup of cilantro. 

Note:  If you intend to just drink the rasam, 1/2 cup of dal is all you need.  If you are going to eat it over rice, use 3/4 to 1 cup of dal.