Saturday, August 23, 2014

Vegan Greek Pasta with a Side of Broccoli

Vegan Greek Pasta
a side of Broccoli

How can you go wrong with a plate full of noodles mixed with all sorts of yummy things related somehow to the concept of "Greek"?  Onions, garlic, olive oil, fresh Roma tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes in oil, black Kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, pine nuts, fresh basil, white beans and spinach - maybe we should call this dish "Mediterranean Pasta" or "This is the bomb pasta" or "Really really yummy noodles mixed with deliciousness"?  Whatever, you get my drift.

I started off with a warm sauté pan, some salt and a generous couple dollops of olive oil and  then added chopped onion and garlic.  Since olive oil is not a high heat oil I cooked these things slowly over low heat.  While they cooked I prepared all the other ingredients and got a big pot of water, salt, and a bit of olive oil started towards a boil.  The list is long but it was really pretty easy to do. Ok, I admit it... I listened to one of my teen favorites, Fleetwood Mac , while I cooked.  Cooking to music is fun, especially music you can sing all the lyrics to and freak your daughter out while doing it! And your equally "old" husband can sing along too!

I chopped up a bunch of Roma tomatoes from our garden.

Here's the rest of what I used - lemon juice, quartered artichoke hearts, pine nuts, Kalamata olives, sun dried tomatoes, fresh basil, thyme, oregano, and handfuls of fresh spinach.

I think chopping garlic is a hassle.  I think pressing garlic is a hassle.  I love garlic.  I do garlic even though I think it's a hassle.  Just get over it, sing to Fleetwood Mac, and be with the garlic.  Here's my garlic, chef knife, and this amazing bottle of olive oil I recently bought.

After I had the onions and garlic in salt and oil for a bit I added the chopped Roma toms and let that cook until the tomatoes began to break up.  Then I added the other yumminess and let it cook while the spaghetti noodles boiled.

Another photo of yumminess. So many treats in this pasta "sauce".

I added handfuls of baby spinach I bought from the Farmer's Market this week.  The spinach pretty much disappears in this dish so you can use a lot of it.  I tend to just put it on top of the "sauce" and then cover so it begins to wilt.  It doesn't have to cook long.  You can add another bunch of handfuls after the first bunch wilts into the sauce.  I think this could be any type of "green" like chard, beet greens, or kale.  Kale is a bit more coarse and may take a bit longer to cook than spinach.

Hip Hip hooray for a daughter who is home from College and can snap a photo while I unload the pasta into the pan of sauce.

Ready to eat.....

Vegan "Greek" Pasta

1/2 small onion, chopped
4 - 8 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
2 - 3 generous tablespoons olive oil
bit of salt
2 - 4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup sliced or chopped pitted Kalamata olives
1 cup quartered artichoke hearts
1/2 cup or more fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup chopped oil packed sun dried tomatoes
1 cup white beans
1/4 - 1/2 cup pine nuts
1 tsp oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
4 - 8 cups washed spinach leaves
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Put a large sauté pan on the stove top and begin to heat it.  Add 2 - 3 generous tablespoons olive oil and a pinch or two of salt.  Add the chopped onion and garlic.  Be as generous as you like with the garlic.  You can use a red onion or a yellow or even fresh spring onion.  Cook over low heat until the onion begins to turn translucent.

You should probably put on the noodle cooking water, as well.

2.  Add the chopped tomatoes.  Stir and cook for another 5 minutes or so while the tomatoes break down a bit.  Don't worry if the pan seems to be full of tomato juice - the pasta will soak it right up.

3.  Stir in the olives, artichoke hearts, fresh basil, sun dried tomatoes, white beans, oregano and thyme.  Cook another 5 minutes or so.

4.  Add the pine nuts, juice from one lemon, and as much of the spinach as fits.  Cover lightly with a lid and allow to cook until spinach begins to wilt.  Stir and add the rest of the spinach. Cover again.  The spinach will cook fast.  

5.  Add the noodles directly into the "sauce" and stir.  Turn the heat off.  Cover and leave on the stove top.  Add salt and pepper to taste.


Quick Broccoli Saute'

A bunch of washed and trimmed broccoli florets 
 1 - 2 tablespoons canola or coconut oil (must be high heat oil)
2 tablespoons water

1.  Wash and cut the broccoli.

2.  Heat a sauté pan over medium high heat and add the high heat oil.  Watch for sputtering. Tilt the pan and get the oil to cover the bottom of the pan lightly.  Add the broccoli florets and cover.  Cook for 2 minutes over fairly high heat.

3.  Remove lid, add the 2 tablespoons of water mixed with the salt.  I use a 1/4 cup measuring cup.  I add the water to the cup and then a couple pinches of salt.  Cover the pan immediately and cook for 2 more minutes.  This will steam the quick fried broccoli and make it just right salty.

4.  Turn the heat off immediately after the second 2 minutes and eat promptly while it's still hot. 

This is my family's favorite way to eat broccoli.  This broccoli not only makes a great side dish but it is an amazing baked potato topper!

Remember that you can cut the use of oil dramatically in either of these recipes if you are looking to reduce calories.  Oil has a calorie content of about 120 calories per tablespoon.  We need fat in our diets but cutting the use of oils can really help with calorie reduction and remember that oil is a processed food.  In terms of nutrition, it is best to get our fats from whole food sources like nuts, avocado, etc.

Be creative with your pasta dish.  You could add your chopped broccoli into the sauce you are making. If fresh tomatoes aren't available you could easily add a can of chopped tomatoes.  You could use many types of greens including chard, beet greens, dandelion greens, sorrel, or kale.  Green olives could replace black olives.  Chopped almonds could replace pine nuts.  Garbanzo beans could replace white beans.  

This is an easy quick delicious meal... enjoy!

Remember to eat your greens.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Refrigerator Pickles


Forgive me, foodies, for I have sinned. It's been 5 months since my last blog post. 

How did it happen?  One day after another I chose to do the many other things in my life that make up a busy working woman with a multitude of interests kind of gal.  Some of the more important things were spending time with my daughter who was home from College this summer, applying to graduate school, gardening, sewing, and spending time with family. (I do admit to spending much too much wasted time checking in with Facebook and this simply needs to change!)

I am an avid reader of the Smitten Kitchen blog  I love the delightful fresh blogs and occasionally I can actually make the recipes when they are 100% plant based.  Recently Smitten Kitchen posted a refrigerator pickle recipe that is both ridiculously easy and delicious! 

It is still the season of cucumbers so I highly recommend you run out to the nearest Farmer's Market in your area and pick up 8 - 10 cucumbers and get busy making these yummy pickles.

Refrigerator Pickles
8 - 10 pickling cucumbers
3 tsp coarse kosher salt
1 - 2 Tbsp fresh chopped dill 

1 - 2 Tbsp pickling spice

a combo of both and 1 or more crushed garlic cloves

1/2 cup white vinegar

1.  Wash the cucumbers and leave the skin on if you have organic cucs.

2.  Slice the cucumbers about 1/8 inch thin.  I do not use a mandolin slicer because I have purchased and given away at least two so obviously I don't like them and am deathly afraid of them!  I just used my knife carefully and if every single little cucumber slice isn't perfect, oh well.

3.  Put the cucumbers in a large jar.

 4.  Add the chopped dill or other pickling spices, the salt, and the vinegar.

5.  Close the jar and shake vigorously!  It will look like there is not nearly enough liquid for how many cucumbers are in the jar.  Trust.

6.  Put the jar in the fridge.  I try to shake the jar at least two more times before diving in.  I also try to leave the pickles in the fridge overnight but the original recipe says they are done in about 2 hours.

Here's a bit of a disorienting view from the top.  You can see the dill and pickling spices on top of the cucumbers.

Pre-refrigeration view.  Everything is nicely shaken and ready to marinate and pickle in the fridge.

In the last two days I have had the refrigerator cucumbers alone in a bowl, on a big green salad, and piled on my veggie burger lunch.

This was yesterday's lunch.  A vegan griller patty on a "one" bun which is a very thin whole wheat bun.  I piled romaine, garden toms, Annie's spread, avocado, and refrigerator pickles on the burger.  It was a mess.  I had an amazing sliced peach on the side.  Delicious!

Nice to be back blogging.  Remember to eat your greens!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Norah's Lemon Lemon Cookies

Norah's Lemon Lemon Cookies
A delightful burst of lemon sunshine 

I received Isa Chandra Moskowitz's new cookbook, Isa Does It, for Christmas this year.  Everything I have made from this vegan cookbook has been pretty spectacular.  I have now made the "Norah's lemon lemon" cookies about a half dozen times.

For the past two years during Valentine's week I have made cookies for all my yoga classes. My students raved about these lemony dream cookies. They are made with coconut oil and lots of lemon rind.  The coconut oil, sugar, and flour combine to make a dense shortbread like cookie.  Top them with the ultra lemony frosting drizzle and I bet you can't eat just one!

Here's the recipe.  

Norah's Lemon Lemon Cookies
from "Isa Does It"
page 283
(buy this cookbook now!)

For the cookies:
1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil, melted
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons almond milk
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
(I used the zest from 3 lemons)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon organic cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the glaze:
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon refined coconut oil, melted

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare two baking sheets.

2.  In a large bowl, use a fork to beat together the coconut oil and sugar - about a minute.  Add the almond milk, lemon zest, and vanilla, and beat another minute or so until it resembles applesauce.

3.  Add about half the flour, as well as the cornstarch, baking powder, and salt.  Mix well.  Add the remaining flour and mix until a soft dough forms.

4.  Scoop the dough onto the baking sheets in rounded spoonfuls.  Flatten the tops gently with your fingers. I also pressed a fork into the cookies so there were grooves to catch the yummy lemon glaze.

5.  Bake for 10 - 12 minutes, until the bottoms are golden brown. In my first couple batches I cooked too long because the tops remain fairly white. I let the tops brown a bit and the cookie was really too dense for my liking. You really need to check the bottoms of the cookie - light brown is good while the top remains pretty white.

6. Let cool on the sheets for a few minutes or so, then transfer to cookie racks to let cool all the way.

7.  For the glaze, place the confectioner's sugar in a bowl.  Sift it if it is really clumpy.  Add the lemon juice, vanilla, and coconut oil and stir vigorously until a thick and smooth but pourable icing forms. 
Note:  I think 2 cups is too much for one batch.  I used less this last time and had none left over. Play with it for consistency and taste.

8.  While the cookies are on the racks, spoon the glaze over each one, letting it drip down the sides. This will make your counters very sticky unless you put down parchment paper first.  You can also sprinkle with lemon zest. Let the glaze set for 10 - 20 minutes (yeah, right.)

This is the coconut oil and sugar beaten together.

Added the almond milk, vanilla, and a bunch of lemon zest.
Listen, if you don't own a "zester", go to the store and buy one. It's a must have in the kitchen!

All beaten together and ready for the flour and baking powder, etc.

Nothing to do with the cookies, except maybe you'll serve these cookies while playing this game at your next Games Night Party.  This game is super raunchy and absolutely hilarious.  We just played it for the first time the other night and laughed our heads off. Your cheeks and jaw will hurt the next day from laughing and grimacing!(and maybe from chewing too many cookies)

 You can see the lemon glaze in this photo.
These are super duper yummy treats!

Be well, everyone!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Monday Evening Supper

Monday Evening Supper

Baked Yam, Red and White Quinoa, Adzuki Beans, Garlic Cashew Sauce, Stir Fried Vegetables,
and Kimchi

Eating a plant based diet doesn't have to be really difficult.  I sometimes cook very complex and involved meals but usually we eat large quantities of simple foods.  Much of the food we eat is prepared ahead of time, on the weekend when I have more time, and then re-heated with additions made for a meal.

On Monday we ate the adzuki beans and quinoa I had cooked on Sunday.  We drizzled those beans and quinoa  (please be aware that quinoa is a complete protein - one of the best in the vegetarian/vegan world) with a garlic cashew dressing/sauce.  I had lots of red peppers, carrots, broccoli and kale (from our garden!) in the fridge so I sauteed those up with garlic, ginger, and shallots.  We added a baked yam and some prepared kimchi that I buy from the Farmer's Market. (Kimchi is great for your digestive health because it is fermented and full of probiotics) Huge plant based meal full of protein, carbohydrate, some good fat, tons of vitamins and minerals and full of phytonutrients (just look at the color on that plate and think HEALTH!)

Many people won't cook vegetables because they have to actually chop them up.  It cracks me up how many washed and cut up vegetables you can buy packaged in the grocery store.  I always wonder about how long they've been there, who cut them, how clean the surfaces were... can't help myself. Really easy to wash and chop your own vegetables.  A benefit of chopping vegetables is that it can be a mindful practice of concentration and breath.

These are the greens from my garden - about three kinds of kale and some collards.

So here's what I did for the vegetable saute':

1 hunk of ginger, peeled and minced into little tiny pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced up small
2 shallots, sliced and chopped up small
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
3 or 4 carrots, cut into matchsticks
4 - 6 cups kale and some other greens from the garden, rinsed and chopped into small pieces
2 or 3 handfuls of broccoli, rinsed and trimmed

1.  Take out big cast iron skillet and pre-heat it, then add one heaping tablespoon coconut oil
2.  Add the shallot, ginger, and garlic and stir until translucent - maybe 3 or 4 minutes
3.  Add the matchstick carrots and cook another minute or so
4.  Add the red bell pepper and cook another minute or so
5.  Add the kale and stir in to the mix and cook another couple minutes
6.  Add broccoli last and cook until tender, stirring often

You can, of course, substitute any vegetable.  Do try to add some cruciferous stuff if possible, though.  Kale, cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli, etc.

(oh, wait, that isn't cashew garlic dream sauce, that's Harry who is the same color!)

The cashew garlic dressing/sauce is called "Garlic Dream Sauce" and is, once again, from one of my new favorite cookbooks  ---- The Ayurvedic Vegan Kitchen by Talya Lutzker (our local Santa Cruz Ayurveda cooking specialist)

Garlic Dream Sauce

1 cup raw cashews
1 1/2 cups very cold water
1 tablespoon miso
2 tablespoons hot water
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic

Put the cashews and the cold water in the blender.  Process on high speed for 3 minutes or until smooth and consistency of heavy cream, stopping occasionally to scrape down the blender jar.  Set aside.

Combine the miso with the hot water in a medium bowl until the miso has dissolved.  Stir in the lemon juice, salt, coriander, pepper, and dill.  Add the cashew cream and garlic and mix well.

(I put the dissolved miso and other ingredients right into the blender with the cashew cream and gave it a 20 or 30 second blend.)

The garlic dream sauce will thicken a bit if you refrigerate it.

It is a light delicious dressing or sauce for grain and beans.

Look at the color of the sunset we saw the other evening after the storm while out walking the cliffs.  It must be related to yams!  Nature is great.

And, finally, the baked yam.  Easy peasy.  Wash and scrub the yam.  Poke it with a fork a few times.  Put it in the oven and bake it at 350 or 400 degrees for 30 - 40 minutes.  Check it every now and then so it doesn't get too mushy.

May I sing the praises of the health benefits of sweet potato/yam? These wonderful little packets of color and flavor are full of fiber, low in fat, a good source of protein, high in potassium and manganese, full of vitamin C and a great way to get tons of beta-carotene/Vitamin A.  

Recent research has shown that sweet potatoes/yams should be eaten with some amount of fat in order to increase the beta carotene benefits.  In other words, if you add fat like the cashew cream, some olive oil, or even avocado, it will significantly increase the uptake of Vitamin A into your system.

Despite the fact that yams are very high in carbohydrate content, they are low on the glycemic index and some studies have shown that sweet potatoes can help stabilize blood sugar levels and increase insulin resistance.

Perhaps we should be eating more yams and sweet potatoes?

Be well!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Chopped Salad


I woke up last week, made my coffee, and opened the computer. I read somewhere online, perhaps on a blog I follow, that someone had made a chopped salad that week. Memories of a trip to Maui came up for me.  We had eaten in a pizza place that had the best chopped salad.  Romaine and vegetables chopped into 1/2 inch bits or so.  I think this particular salad had chopped hunks of cheddar cheese in it - I was still eating dairy at the time.  I decided to attempt a vegan chopped salad. Could I make something as delicious without dairy?  Yep.  I could.

I assembled a bunch of different things on my counter in preparation for chopping -  walnuts, cucumber, olives, apple, watermelon radish, carrots, orange and red bell pepper.

Garbanzo beans are the perfect size for a chopped salad and I just happened to have some that I had sprouted that week.  Sprouting beans is easy.  Soak them for 6 hours or so, rinse, and then put into a sprouting pan or even a colander with a plate underneath it and a towel to cover.  Rinse the beans a couple times a day and in about 2 days you have sprouted beans.  Sprouting creates a "live" food and supposedly "ups" the nutritional quality of the food.  The beans are a bit crunchy and great to add to salads or stir fry.  I think they are easier to digest when sprouted.

These sprouted garbanzo beans were a fabulous addition to the chopped salad and upped the ante for protein and fiber!

I had sprouted broccoli seed too.  I buy my sprouting seeds online at Mumm's Sprouting.  The link is:
You can visit their web site for lots of information on the how's and why's of sprouting.  If you are local to Santa Cruz you can also buy an amazing array of sprouts at the local Farmer's Market.  Sprouts are super nutritious and can be added to salads, sandwiches, wraps, topping a stir fry or soup, and you can juice them or add them to smoothies.

The broccoli sprouts added a slightly spicy taste to the chopped salad I made.

Talk about beautiful... have you ever cut into a watermelon radish?  They are stunning!  I sliced and chopped these into the salad for a bit of peppery flavor. Radishes are part of the Brassicaceae family, think cruciferous.  These are really important vegetables for us to eat.  Radishes contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals and have both anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. They are have a high water content and are full of fiber, potassium, Vitamin C, folate, and a host of other minerals. And these happen to be so pretty!

Here are the chopped vegetables/fruit in our salad before I added the 2 heads of chopped lettuce.  

The salad before it was dressed.  This was a huge salad.  We  dressed half of it and put half in an air tight container in the fridge for the next day.  

I added chopped avocado after I separated the salad into what we were eating and what we were saving.  Avocado will turn brown if it is cut and refrigerated.  I found, though, that everything else, even the chopped apple, saved very nicely for the next day.  

I dressed the salad very simply.  I poured flax oil ( 2 - 3 tablespoons ) and red wine vinegar (3 - 4 tablespoons) onto the salad and added salt and pepper.  Tossed that baby up and that was all it needed.  There were so many amazing tastes in this salad - some bitter, sweet, salty, savory.  Each bite was a bit different because there was so much in this salad.  You can be creative and add whatever you love.  Some ideas:
chopped pressed tofu
snap peas
fresh peas
chopped cabbage (purple or green or Napa)
chopped kale
cherry toms
sunflower seeds
hemp seeds
cooked quinoa

We ate the salad for lunch with Potage St. Germaine (green pea soup) on Saturday and then for lunch on Sunday with Avocado/Tempeh bacon sandwiches on Ezekiel bread with local sauerkraut and pea sprouts.

This is a salad full of goodness and wonder.  You have to chew and chew which is good for your digestion and slows you down.  Patience when eating is a good thing.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Exciting World of Phytonutrients 
What we ate for
Sunday Evening Dinner

Roasted Kabocha Squash
Sauteed Broccoli
Baked Potatoes with Toppings

My plate full of baked potato with topping, broccoli, and roasted kabocha squash.

I've been taking an online course on health, nutrition, and lifestyle.  This last week's topic was "Super Foods" and the lectures which caught my attention were on phytonutrients.  

Phytonutrients are constituents found in whole plant foods  which have antioxidant properties and play a role in reduction of disease.  Scientists have found and named over 2,000 phytonutrients to date and more are being discovered all the time.  

Some examples of Super Foods are:

Blueberries (and other berries)
Kale and broccoli and all cruciferous vegetables
Walnuts (seeds like chia and other nuts)
Oranges and Citrus Fruit
Pumpkin (and other winter squash and yams)

This is not a complete list and different sources list different foods as "super".  The thing about the plant based foods on these lists is that they have amazing phytonutrients in them.  For instance, orange foods like carrots, yams, winter squash and pumpkin, tomatoes and watermelon all have carotenoids and/or lycopene.  The potential benefits of these particular phytonutrients are cancer prevention, boosting immunity, and antioxidant coverage.  

These Super Foods have a function above and beyond nutrition because they have disease fighting aspects.  I think this is super cool!

Some of us are already eating a diet high in these types of food and reaping the benefits of many many phytonutrients in the food we choose and eat. I like to think of these thousands of phytonutrients as a little army of beneficial naturally occurring chemicals happily invading my body and making me a stronger vehicle for health and well being! If you don't eat a lot of these foods on a regular basis then you might consider just adding one "super food" per meal or snack so that you can begin to reap the benefits of all they contain.

Tonight's dinner was colorful and full of plant foods with lots of phytonutrients!  We had baked potatoes, sautéed broccoli, and roasted kabocha squash.

Here's the kabocha squash cut into moon shapes and coated with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. They are in a big mixing bowl I bought this week at a yard sale - reminds me of the bowls my Grandma used in her kitchen.

 The kabocha laid out on a cookie tray lined with parchment paper.

Roasted and ready to eat.  Yum!

Roasted Kabocha Squash

1 kabocha squash sliced into moon shape slices
Olive oil
Sea salt
Ground Pepper

1.  Carefully slice the kabocha squash in half and then carve slices off, about 1/2 inch thick. This is a squash whose skin you can eat and it is delicious! Toss in a bowl with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, some sea salt, and ground pepper to taste.

2.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (this will make clean up so easy!).  Lay the moon shaped slices on the sheet and roast in the oven at 400 degrees.  Check after 15 minutes and see how the squash is doing.  It will get soft and the edges may begin to brown a bit.  It will take 20 or more minutes to roast completely.

Here are the potatoes baking!  Wash the potatoes, poke with a fork or blade of a knife.  If you are watching your fat intake and salt content then just put these bad boys into the oven at 400 degrees for about an hour.  If you are less worried about fat or salt in your diet at this point then rub the potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Yep, this is the way to go if you can afford the extra calories and a bit of salt.

Potatoes get a bad rap in the carbohydrate world.  Yes, it's true, a yam may have more overall benefits, but a potato is a good food.  It really is.  It's a healthy choice depending on how you cook it and what you put on it. Did you know that the average American eats 29 pounds of french fries?  Let's keep it all in perspective, folks!

This is the "cashew cheddar cheese" spread we used on our bakers.  We also had some Tofutti sour cream, chopped olives, and soy baco bits.

The "cashew cheddar cheese" recipe is from a new cookbook called "The Ayurvedic Vegan Kitchen" by Talya Lutzker.  I am going to post the recipe but I really want you to go buy this book and support my friend Talya!  Talya is a yoga and foodie friend who lives here in Santa Cruz.  You can order her book at Amazon.  Here's the link:

Cashew Cheddar Cheese
Recipe by Talya Lutzker
Yield: 1 1/2 cups

1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup water
1 cup raw cashews
1 tablespoon raw tahini
2 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast Flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 - 4 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1 lemon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne or ground pepper

1.  Put all ingredients in a food processor or blender.  Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the work bowl or blender jar.  

2.  Serve as a dip, spread, or topping.

Note:  If you are sensitive to bell pepper or vegetables in the nightshade family, substitute 1/2 small jicama for the red bell pepper.

I reduced the amount of cumin in our "cheese", as well.  1/2 teaspoon seems to suit us better.  This is the kind of recipe you can play with to better suit your tastes and needs.

We cut the baked potato open and dump a bunch of dollops of this cashew yumminess on top.  We've also used this cashew cheddar cheese as topping on enchiladas, vegetables, and plain quinoa.  It's really amazing.  I am so happy Talya made this delicious spread and shared it with the world in her cookbook.

Our friends, Deb and Bryce, served us broccoli we could not stop eating!  We have learned their secret and have been cooking our broccoli like this all fall and winter.  

Sauteed and Steamed Broccoli

A big bunch of broccoli, washed, heads cut off stems
1 - 2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons water
small amount of sea salt
small amount of ground pepper

1.  Wash the broccoli and then cut the heads off the stems.  (you can save the stems to juice or add to smoothies)

2.  Heat a pan with 2 tablespoons of high heat oil.

3.  Add the broccoli and cover.  Cook for 2 minutes on medium high heat.

4.  Lift the cover and add the 2 tablespoons of water with the salt and pepper mixed in.  Pour over the broccoli and cover tightly.  Cook for 2 minutes.  This will stem the seared broccoli.

5.  Eat it all up.  Yum.  Yum.

Here's our dinner plate.  A big baked potato covered with the cashew cheddar cheese (it's under the olives and soy baco bits), a big pile of broccoli, and a big pile of roasted kabocha squash.  Where are the phytonutrients?  The orange squash, the green cruciferous broccoli, the potato and skin, the red bell pepper in the sauce, and the cashews in the sauce.