Saturday, March 1, 2014

Joy of Cooking Vegan Style....Take 1

First Few Days Diving into Joy of Cooking

Spiced Tea

I enjoy drinking a nice cup of hot herbal tea on a cold rainy or snowy morning, or evening, or really just about anytime it is cold actually!  I don't drink any tea's that contain tannins, caffeine etc... and so as I opened up the Joy of Cooking book to the tea section I decided to use one of my all purpose teas instead of regular tea leaves and it turned out beautifully!

8 oz. water {bring to a boil}

Pour the water into a cup with:

1 1/2 tsp. Rooibos   {You could certainly use white tea, oolong or other tea if you prefer}

Steep for 10 to 15 minutes.


1 Tb. orange juice
2 Tb. lemon juice
1/8 tsp. powdered clove
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
5 drops vanilla stevia
5 drops lemon stevia
1 pkt. stevia

You can add more stevia to sweeten until you enjoy the taste.

I kept trying to figure out how to go through a 700+ page book of recipes and not lose track of which ones I had done and which ones I still needed to make.........Hmmmm.  Okay, I know this really exposes my severe lack of organization skills, but I finally figured out a system so I don't have to just start with beverages and make my way through that way.  I wanted to make drinks, breads, & meals together not just cook straight through.....problem solved.  

Next up on the list was a Dinner was a very cold and very rainy day yesterday so I was in the mood for a nice warm bowl of soup!  I browsed through the soups and found several that looked yummy but I wasn't in the mood for something that would take a lot of prep time.....enter....Minestrone!  Perfect!

Minestrone Soup

This is a very THICK minestrone full of tons of veggies!  That is really how I like my soups...
The macaroni in this soup was actually Brown Rice pasta so this recipe is actually gluten free for those who must avoid gluten, or I guess for those who think gluten is the spawn of satan...either way it will work for you.

Serves 6

1 carrot sliced
3 green onions chopped {green part too}
1 clove garlic
1/2 small onion diced
1/2 c. green peas thawed
1/2 c. broth or water

Sautee the veggies in the water or broth until onion is translucent.  Add:

1 1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic

Sautee these until water or broth is absorbed then add:

1 15 oz. can Italian diced tomatoes
1 15 oz. can kidney beans
1 c. hydrated soy curls {completely optional}
2 c. vegetable broth {I used water and vegetable bullion which I think gives a better flavor}
2/3 c. whole wheat or gluten free macaroni
1 c. shredded green cabbage

Simmer until macaroni is soft.

**If you like a more brothy soup you can decrease the amount of veggies or increase the broth...if you increase the broth also increase the Italian seasoning and garlic powder as well.

My family absolutely LOVED this was even a hit with my 14 year old daughter, which is saying a lot because she is a picky one.  It is a very simple soup to make, it may seem like a lot of steps but really it cooks up in 30 minutes and prep time is minimal...just chopping a few veggies and opening a few cans.  It is also a one pot meal, you can't go wrong with that.

Fluffy Rolled Biscuits

These are really the holy grail of low fat biscuits!  They are so light and fluffy and as you can tell by the picture....they rise HUGE!  The flavor of these biscuits is delicious even without any earth balance or jam on them!  You will love these simple yet, fluffy biscuits!

Makes about 8-10 biscuits

1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 c. unbleached unbromated white flour {you can use all whole wheat if you like but they will not be as fluffy}
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tb. baking powder
1/4 c. applesauce
1 Tb. Earth Balance {Omit to make them oil free}
3/4 c. Soy or Almond milk

Preheat oven to 450. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk together, add wet ingredients and fold together until it forms into a ball of dough.  ***The dough will be sticky...that is okay.

Flour a flat surface and place the ball of dough in the flour, flour the top of the dough and roll out to about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut into biscuits and place them on a non-stick baking sheet.  Continue to roll and cut into biscuits until all dough has been used. 

Bake for 12-15 minutes.  

Cinnamon & Sugar Biscuit Option

Joy of Cooking mentioned several options that you could use to give these biscuits a little pizzaz.....I decided the cinnamon and sugar option looked delicious!  So for this round of biscuits...there will be more biscuit recipes so don't you worry :-)

I decided to do half of our biscuits with this option and oh boy were these delicious!!!  Just like a dessert.

Spray the above biscuits with either olive oil spray or spray with soymilk for an oil free option. 

I used Xylitol as a sweetener but you could use coconut palm sugar, lakanto or your favorite sweetener.

**This mixture will only do about 3-4 biscuits so increase accordingly.

3 Tb. lakanto or xylitol
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Sprinkle on top of the sprayed biscuits generously.  

I hope you enjoy this first round of the Joy of Cooking recipes.  I chose some fairly simply ones to start out with but don't be fooled by their simplicity, these recipes are delicious!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fun New Vegan Challenge

Joy of Cooking Vegan Style Challenge

I have had this desire to purchase a good old fashioned cookbook and cook through the entire book 'healthifying' {Is that even a word?} and veganizing the recipes as I went.  I chose the book "Joy of Cooking."   This particular book was published in 1964, absolutely perfect for recreating all those recipes from the Good Ole Days....just making them healthy and cruelty free :-)

I am really excited to embark on this adventure but I want to let you know there will be a few recipes that I will not even attempt to recreate and those will include:

Coffees - I have never tasted coffee and never intend to do so, if you like coffee I'm sure you can find plenty of resources for making coffee.

Alcoholic Drinks - Never drank and don't intend to start so again I will not be making the cocktails although I might make a few "Mocktails"  :-D

Animal organs or Body Parts- Recipes that include liver, pancreas {sweet breads}, Ox tails, or any other animal organ or body part.  I have absolutely NO interest in recreating any of this.  If a recipe is a soup and includes Ox tail I will likely add some beans and call the soup something else but I will not try to replicate any animal organ or body part in this case.

I am really excited to do this and as I go through the book I will also share the lessons about cooking that she teaches throughout the book.  I think it will be really fun and I hope you will enjoy this journey.

**Please Understand: As I go through this book I will be changing, substituting and adding vegetables and other ingredients to increase nutritional value, I will also be omitting ingredients I personally believe to be unhealthy such as olive oil etc.... 

I am excited to take you on this amazing journey of learning and discovery of new recipes!

On to the next order of business.....

Book Review:  Discovering The Word of Wisdom

I know my readers come from all walks of life and a wide variety of religious backgrounds but I would like to introduce those who may be interested to a book recently published on the LDS Word of Wisdom.  It is an excellent compilation of information, insights, success stories and a background on religious ideas about Dietary habits and their relation to spiritual as well as physical health.  If you feel this may interest you, you can click the link below to purchase your own copy.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Snickerdoodle Cookie Dough Dip Recipe & Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

Snickerdoodle Cookie Dough Dip

Delicious cookie dough dip that tastes like a yummy Snickerdoodle cookie!  My mom was making my favorite snickerdoodle cookies for the Superbowl party and since I am sugar free I decided to make something yummy I could have for dessert.  

This Snickerdoodle cookie dough dip is sugar free & gluten free for those who have an intolerance or Celiac.  This was a HIT at the party, everyone enjoyed it.  

I have been sugar free for 9 days now, I am surprised I made it this far.  I must admit last night I did make a little indulgent treat out of maltitol sweetened chocolate, almond butter, vegetable glycerin and oats that was delicious but I only had a couple spoonfuls and it was sugar free :-)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

I am a HUGE fan of I decided to make a chocolate chip cookie dough dip as well to get in that chocolate fix at the Superbowl party too.  This was yummy too!  However,  I have decided to save the recipe for this one for an upcoming ebook instead of putting it on the blog :-)  You can just look at the deliciousness and drool until the ebook comes out :-P

I honestly thought I would lose a lot more weight than I have in the last 9 days.  I have been eating oatmeal in the mornings, TONS of veggies and beans for lunches and dinners and snacking on green apples and berries.  I must say I have only lost a measly 1 pound in the last 9 days :-(  

I cannot tell you how demotivating that is!  I have also been working out 6 days a week for 45 minutes a day.  Today I did 100 Burpees as only PART of a workout!!
Yeah, I have been working my butt off trying to lose weight...I haven't been sitting on my can at all.....but the weight still isn't coming off!  I am hopeful that it will soon......I hope!

Unfortunately with my metabolic issues losing weight is nearly impossible!  I know people don't believe me but it is SO true!

Here is the must awaited Snickerdoodle dip recipe:

Snickerdoodle dip
1 can garbanzo beans
1/3 c. almond butter
1 c. dates {I soaked mine in hot water 15 minutes to soften}
1 Tb. vanilla
dash salt
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 c. oats
1 pkt. stevia
1 Tb. cinnamon
*You can add a small amount of soymilk if needed to process but make sure it stays THICK!
Blend until completely creamy.  You will absolutely NEED a high powered blender for blendtec didn't like this too much but it did a beautiful job!

**Serving ideas;
on toast
As a fruit dip

In tortillas with bananas

Monday, February 3, 2014

Vegan SuperBowl.....Vegan Mozzarella Sticks and more!!!

7 Days Sugar Free and Counting......

A week and a half ago if you had told me that I would go a full week with absolutely NO sugar.....I would never have believed you!  I declared a week ago that I was going sugar free and amazingly it hasn't been as hard as I thought it would be....don't get me wrong I've had cravings for chocolate bread, cookies and other desserts but I have not caved in!

Yesterday was the real test....Superbowl Sunday at my parents house and there were some delicious snickerdoodle cookies sitting there calling to me.  I haven't had snickerdoodles in ages....not because I had some super human amount of will power against unhealthy food but because my hubby does NOT think it is dessert unless chocolate is involved and so snickerdoodles just never made the cut :-(  I used to love them as a kid, my mom made them all the time.  I am happy to report that no snickerdoodles were eaten yesterday, but that doesn't mean I didn't get a little snickerdoodle fix sugar free style!

Benefits of 1 week sugar free

  1. 1.2 pounds lost since Monday of last week.
I wish I could report more but I still have cravings, I still have a tendency to want to overeat but for now I'll take the weight loss :-)

Now on to the Superbowl Recipes...................

Vegan Buffalo Wings

My family loved these little gems, they are DELICIOUS!!  My kiddos were fighting over who got to have the leftovers for lunch today.  I won't lie, they are labor intensive to make...not hard they just take a lot of time but wow were they worth it.

I must family HATES, hates, hates anything spicy!!!!  Seriously my daughter will throw a full on fit if I put garlic powder in something because she says it is TOO SPICY!  I have a family of baby, I cannot use the traditional buffalo wing sauce or my family would literally die from the spice.  So I use a really yummy smoky BBQ sauce instead.  I'm not posting the recipe for these today...I won't be posting recipes for everything just a few things here and there that seem to be quite popular on my facebook page.

Mozzarella Cheese Sticks

Sorry about the phone picture but you can still see how YUMMY these were!!

1 1/2 c. unsweetened soymilk or almond milk {Do NOT buy sweetened or vanilla or this will be yucky!}
1/4 c. cashews
1/4 c. tapioca flour
1 Tb. lemon juice
1 Tb. nutritional yeast
1 Tb. cornstarch
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 Tb. coconut oil {you can try to leave this out if you want oil free}
1 Tb. minced dried onion
1 Tb. + 1 1/2 tsp. Kappa Carrageenan

Blend all ingredients in a blender until completely smooth and creamy.  Pour in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat stirring constantly.  Mixture will begin to curdle....keep stirring and stirring.....eventually it will thicken and become nice and creamy.  Remove from heat and QUICKLY pour into your mold.  Let sit on the counter for about 20 minutes to cool then cover with saran it onto the cheese don't just wrap the container and then chill in the fridge for an hour or more until firm.  

**Make sure you have a square mold ready so your cheese doesn't harden in the happens FAST!

This cheese can be sliced, grated and even melts

For the Mozzarella cheese sticks:

1 c. whole wheat bread crumbs
1/2 Tb. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
3 Tb. nutritional yeast

Mix well and put on a plate

On a separate plate put a good amount of unbleached flour 

In a medium bowl use 1-2 c. unsweetened soy or almond milk.

Dip cheese in unsweetened soymilk, then cornstarch, then back into the milk then roll in breadcrumbs and coat well. 

Place breaded cheese on a non-stick baking sheet.

Bake 450 for 5 minutes or until breadcrumbs are crisp and browned.

Serve with Marinara sauce for dipping.

Everyone at the party absolutely LOVED these cheesesticks....they were RAVING all night about them!  They are AMAZING!!!

Final Note about Kappa Carrageenan:

I know there has been a slew of information coming out about Carrageenan and it cause intestinal inflammation etc.... and people are now terrified of anything with the word carraggenan!!

I don't have time in this post to explain it all but kappa carrageenan is NOT what was used in this research...not only that, in these studies rats were fed TONS of carrageenan, in order for you to consume the equivalent of what caused intestinal inflammation in rats you'd have to eat 5 lbs. a day!!!!!

The carrageenan used in the studies is also not structurally the same as what is used in common food products...these studies have caused mass hysteria over pretty much nothing.  If you want more evidence and information please comment below and I will do a special post on Carrageenan complete with the studies but for now all I am going to say is it's fine.

Kappa Carrageenan can be purchased Here:  
Willpowder Kappa Carrageenan, 1-Pound

Please be aware that this will last you a LONG, LONG time as you only use about 1 Tb. at a time and this is a full pound!!!

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Peaceful Kitchen Returns......

The Peaceful Kitchen Returns....
after 6 months

Sweet Poison!

I am not going to go into all the reasons why I took a 6 month sabatical from blogging, it was due to some hurtful things that happened but I won't name any names, however, I have decided to move in a new direction with my blog.  I posted awhile ago about my 26 year battle with PCOS and I have finally come to the realization that as much as I LOVE, LOVE sugar.....Sugar does NOT love me back!

I have battled the idea of going completely sugar free for years.....but I have only made it 30 days without sugar and then it was followed but a gluttonous binge of everything sweet I could think of...with a subsequent 5 lb. weight gain to go along with it.

I've known for a long time what I needed to do to finally beat PCOS but I have hesitated, whined, complained, thrown poor me pity parties, you name it....I pretty much threw a grown up version of a two-year old tantrum about having to give up my precious desserts and sweets!  Well, the other day as I was sitting there contemplating about my struggles with PCOS it dawned on me.  I have sought to help so many people in my life and have 'judged' them when they would rather suffer with their {insert ailment here}, anything from diabetes to daily debilitating migraines etc...  than change their diet.


Wait a minute....isn't that what I am doing?  Refusing to let go of my food addictions in order to heal my body....YIKES!  I am doing exactly what I hate when other people do.  If I had a dime for every person who asked me for help and subsequently had absolutely no intention of changing I would be a rich woman....I really would.

I finally decided that I had to stop posting all the delectable desserts and trying to cater to our sugar obsessed society and finally give up sugar and move toward a whole food plant based diet.....sans sugar!

I am Publicly Making the Commitment......NO SUGAR!

This means absolutely NO:

  • Agave nectar
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Turbinado
  • Succanut
  • Coconut sugar
  • Palm sugar
  • Barley malt
  • white sugar
  • Brown rice syrup

Any sugar that has been concentrated in any way or isolated from its original food!

Confession time:

I really did follow a healthy plant based diet.....however, that diet contained WAY Too much sugar.  Do you really want to know how much?

Dessert everyday!  Does that sound like a lot?  Well, unfortunately that is not all, I was eating dessert everyday for Lunch AND Dinner!

Yep you read that right!  I know, I know that is not healthy and no amount of vegetables or whole grains was going to override the amount of sugar I was eating.  I finally came to the realization that sugar made up way too much of my diet and then when I realized I needed to stop eating the dessert after lunch I would proceed to chew pieces of gum for more of a sugar rush to my sugar addicted taste buds.  

Today Marks Day 1 of Sugar Free!!!

I will post pictures and descriptions of my meals, along with a few recipes scattered in there to document my progress.  I am going in for blood tests today or tomorrow so I will post my beginning blood tests and then I will post blood tests again in 90 days.  No, I will not be stopping my diet in 90 days but I want to show my progress.


I had a banana protein porridge made with my favorite Lifetime Life's Basics Plant Protein, Vanilla, 18.52-Ounces Tub
 I topped it with raspberries and blueberries


I made a homemade Sweet & Sour Orange Sesame Dressing
This lovely dressing topped a spring mix salad with mushrooms, garbanzo beans, celery, apples, onion.......

Dessert after Lunch:  5 raspberries and 1 slice of a golden delicious apple

Snack:  1 quinoa thin wafer with 1 tsp. almond butter 4 raspberries and 4 banana slices

Dinner:  French Lentil Curry

A successful Day 1:  I am feeling great, sugar cravings aren't too bad and I am feeling very satiated from my lunch.  I am determined to cure my PCOS and finally I am ready to COMMIT!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Vegan Roast and Potatoes Recipe

Vegan Sunday Roast and Potatoes Recipe

My family LOVED this fact it is even better the second day.  We made sandwiches out of it on Monday and they were FANTASTIC!  You will love this Vegan Roast......I served this at a family party, the veggie people enjoyed it as well as the non-veggies!

1/2 c. onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced

Water sautee until onion is translucent.  Set aside.

1 can black beans
1/4 c. nutritional yeast
2 tsp. vegan worcestershire sauce
1 Tb. garlic powder
1 tsp. liquid smoke
1 Tb. tamari or soy sauce
1 1/2 c. water
1 vegan bullion cube
1/2 tsp. sage
1 Tb. parsley

Blend until completely creamy.  Add:

1 c. soaked soycurls and pulse until they are ground  {These are optional}

1 1/2 c. vital wheat gluten

Pour the wheat gluten into a large bowl, then pour the bean mixture over the gluten and mix well.  Massage to help develop the gluten, about 3 minutes. Shape into a rounded loaf, wrap in cheese cloth and tie closed with cord. Set aside:

Simmering Broth:

5 c. water
1/2 c. tamari or soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp. dark miso
1/2 tsp. vegan worcestershire sauce
1/3 c. tomato sauce
1 vegan bullion cube
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. sage
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 1/2 tsp. parsley
1/4 c. nutritional yeast
1 tsp. thyme
2 bay leaves
20 peppercorns
1 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil.


4 potatoes sliced
2 ribs celery chopped
4 carrots sliced lengthwise quartered

When broth is boiling add the veggies and the wrapped roast.  Immerse roast in the broth and cover with lid, reduce heat to medium/low and simmer for 1 hour.  Remove roast from pot, preheat oven to 350 and bake roast in oven for 30 minutes or until top is crisp but inside is still moist. 

Strain the broth out of the veggies and make a gravy with it.  Serve the roast and veggies with the gravy.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Conquering Food Addictions

Update on Conquering my Sugar Addiction

I am happy to report 1.5 pound weight loss this week!

I am very excited about my journey to overcome sugar addition.  I have found that as I avoid sweets I do not have the desire to binge on food seeking that 'sugar high' constantly.  I have noticed that with sugar or any other addictive substance it starts out fairly innocuous....but as time goes on your body wants more and more and more to get the same 'high'. 

It leads to horrible cravings, binge eating and other destructive behaviors.  Conquering an addiction is NOT easy.  As I watched my weight continue to climb due to binge eating on sweets you'd think it would have made me want to stop.....but alas it did not.  You have to come to a place in your life where you are so broken, so desperate that you are willing to do something very difficult and painful in order to overcome.  I wish we were not that way....but that is just how people operate.  We continue in self destructive patterns even though we know it is hurting us....and we do it for that 5 seconds of pleasure, at least in the case of food addictions.


Hubby and I had a date night on Saturday night and we went to one of my favorite very vegan friendly restaurants:  Ginger's Cafe.   They have an amazing menu including raw foods, vegetarian, vegan....we love this place and they also have yummy vegan cookies.  Try as I might I couldn't resist having a couple of bites of hubby's cookies. 

These cookies are NOT your traditional overly oily/sugary cookie.  They are lightly sweet, yes they have turbinado sugar so something I should avoid but I enjoyed a couple of bites.  I had a little guilt over it but I have continued to do extremely well in conquering my addiction.

Cooking Day with My Mom

Yesterday my mom came over to make her favorite granola and some cookies.  We made some delicious sugar free chocolate chunk cookies that were amazing!  My mom loved them!  It was a great day and I was able to handle the temptation of snacking continuously on the food we were making.....

It was interesting that after eating the sugar free cookies I did not have the desire to binge on them, in fact I only ate half a cookie and then I was fine.  I wanted to take a picture of the cookies but unfortunately, I did not get mom, me, my sister, my two kids and their friends ate them all FAST!

Don't worry though, I will be making them for my hubby when he gets back from his business trip...I will get pictures of them then.

Ramblings on overcoming addiction

There are some people who can just decide to change or do something, put their mind to it and never look back.  However, this is not the norm.  Most of us cannot just use our 'will power' to overcome addiction.  You have to have a plan that will work for you!  If the thought of giving up on desserts completely causes you to feel anxiety and stress it can lead to a short period of abstinence followed by a binge.  You have to create a plan that you can be happy with, and that plan doesn't have to look like anyone else' is individual for YOU!

The internet is chock full of expert says do X, the next one says do Y, the next one says do Z.....and on and on the internet advise goes.  So what do you do?  

The reality is, not all plans for overcoming addictions will work for everyone...take the good advice that feels doable to you and leave the rest.
  • Create a plan that feels very doable to you
  • Choose ahead of time what you are going to do instead of turning to food [take a walk, read, shopping, drink some tea, knitting etc...]
  • Find healthy substitutions for foods you just are not willing to give up
  • Make a plan for dining out, parties and other situations that may lead to eating issues

I decided that completely giving up dessert was NOT going to work for me at this point in my life...I have tried it and the results were disastrous.  Some people do recommend doing this and it worked for them, but it did not work for me.  So instead of feeling guilty or continue to try and force myself to follow someone else's path, I forged my own.

I found MANY substitutions for sweeteners that have little to no impact on blood sugar levels and do not feed candida.  Realize that we NEED blood sugar and therefore healthy whole foods are great...but as far as concentrated sweeteners go it is just too much sugar all at once.

I am the type of person that if I want something and no one else is doing it....I'll figure out my own way!  I've done it many times and I'm still doing it.  I want dessert but I also want to be I am finding a way to do it!  That is the attitude you need to get through and achieve the results you want!