Sunday, June 14, 2020

Endless Greens: Free Bok Choy from Spring to Fall

Baby Bok Choy 

I love bok choy.  During the beginning of the COVID19 period of isolation there was an amazing amount of organic bok choy available in our local grocery and whole food stores.  

Bok choy comes from the cabbage/crucifer/mustard/brassica family, and is a Chinese Cabbage (grown first in Asia), as you might be able to tell from the name.  I guess we mostly see the Cantonese version here-- the Shanghai Bok Choy is a darker green-- the one I think of has broad light green/white stems and lighter green leaves, as in the picture above.  I particularly like the dwarf versions of bok choy, called Baby Bok Choy.  Light, easy to slice and eat, and mild-tasting with lots of delicious leaves.

On Instagram I ran across an account that showed several small chunks of the bases of a bok choy plant sitting in water. When I inquired if they were rooting it to plant, they told me that that don't really wait for roots to form, but that they grow leaves from the old "wound" and after 6-9 days they just pop them into soil and they grow up edible there.

That was worth a try!  So here is what I did and found out:

I copied the folks on IG and just cut those little suckers 2 inches from the end and stuck them in water until they had developed fairly good leaf growth (I'm mostly interested in the tender leaves for eating).
"rooting" the bok choy in water

When the plant had developed a pretty impressive set of new leaves I planted them in my backyard planter (filled with decayed seaweed and sea debris that my husband harvested from a nearby beach, and then topped with a luxurious 18 inches of our compost (kitchen scraps, organic soil, rotted brown matter like leaves).  The grow-box is a former wood box that we removed from beside our fireplace.  It's perfect.  I hardly have to bend at all to 'garden' there.  So far this wonderfully, spongy humus contains the bok choy, some celery that I have started in the same way, and some collard seedlings.  I have glass jars over the smaller plant-lings because something likes to snack on them.

Now, as you can see, they are not "true" to the bok choy image at the top of the page.  But they are covered with tender leaves, big and small, and even have some edible flowers for the mix!  I cut the plant off near soil level and let the roots stay in there to decay (we will see) to offer further organic matter to feed new plants (or the little wood bugs that are so anxiously awaiting each new delivery).

Not bad for a plant grown from the 2" heel of a store-bought bok choy, eh?   I keep putting the heels in water and expect to have one or two of these every week or so throughout the summer.  This is the company today's bok choy kept:


I am happy to report that they taste tender, succulent and mild, just like the original bok choy, even if they do not look like grandpa exactly.  The cubes are a recipe called General Tso Tofu from Michelle Blackwood's Healthier Choices site (vegan and gluten-free recipes).  I steamed the bok choy.  The flowers are cutely edible.

Have you ever planted bok choy like this?  Do you think you might give it a try?  

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Oregano-Lemon Balm Vegan Pesto

This year I am intent on using more herbs from my small herb garden in our meals.  

Oregano-- also known as wild marjoram-- lives in a couple of spots in our yard.

In my current favorite reference book--Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening by Louise Riotte-- the author states that oregano "is used the world over the world over in Italian, Mexican and Spanish dishes."  Oregano contains thymol, "a powerful antiseptic when internally or externally... The pleasant aromatic scent... is very lasting.
. In the garden [oregano has] a beneficial effect on nearby plants, improving both growth and flavor." (pg. 102)

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Put the following in a small blender and blend until smooth:  

*1 cup fresh oregano leaves
*1/4 cup walnut parm OR nutritional yeast
*1/4 cup walnuts or hemp seeds
*1 tablespoon olive oil OR water
*2 tablespoons fresh lemon balm leaves
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
*1/4 teaspoon sea salt

You can find other related articles I've written here:

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Kale-Chive Vegan Muffin

Beautiful Kale-Chive Vegan Muffin

This delightful muffin is made with wheat flour (organic all-purpose) in this recipe, but I think it could be made with a gluten-free flour, and also would work with half whole wheat or other half oat flour, half whole wheat.  I can also see it done up as a sort of cake (using spelt flour) and used to mop up olive oil and basalmic vinegar-- a kind of focaccia-soda bread.

It's tasty!  Savory is often the way to go.  Especially as this pandemic plays out for those of us who seemingly can't stop baking muffins and banana bread and cakes.  Savory is a nice change-up to something that seems healthier.

And it goes very nicely with a lunch soup.  Or as a breakfast muffin with some melty vegan cheese on top (or avocado or tomato and fako-bako-- you get the drift).

It makes 10-12 muffins, depending on the size of your muffin cups. 



1 1/4 cup (300 ml)         non-dairy milk
1/4 cup    (60 ml)           extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon (22 g)        ground flax

Add the above together in a small to medium bowl and stir until combined well.  Set aside.

2 cups (120 g)                organic unbleached flour
2.5 teaspoons (11.25 g)  baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3 g)           fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon (3 g)           powdered turmeric
1/2 teaspoon (3 g)           powdered mustard
1/2 teaspoon (3 g)           powdered garlic
1/4 teaspoon (1.5 g)        cayenne, ground
1 teaspoon    (5 g)           fennel seed (whole) 

Add the above dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and whisk until combined.

1 cup fresh kale, chopped small
1 cup fresh chives, chopped small

Set the oven for 400-420 degrees Fahrenheit (200 - 220 degrees Celsius).

Get your pans ready.  If you are using metal pans, it is easier to deal with getting the muffins out when you choose to use parchment cups. Otherwise, 'grease up' the cups or use silicone pans.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir to combine until a stiff dough.  Don't stir too long or the resulting muffins will be tough.

Fold in the kale and chives.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups.

Pop into the oven for 20 - 23 minutes.  A toothpick should come out of the muffin, clean.

Let the muffins cool for about 10 minutes before removing from the pan to cooling racks.

Other muffins and banana cake recipes made during the COVID19 lockdown:

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Monday, May 11, 2020

Molasses-Maple-Banana Muffins with Dates and Walnuts, Gluten-free, Vegan

Molasses-Maple-Banana Muffins

This most recent muffin is inspired by the molasses cookie, specifically the molasses cookie my grandma used to bake.  It was fragrant, lightly spicy, soft but chewy, and generally had dates and walnuts in it.

The muffins smelled so great when they came out of the oven, but for a few minutes I thought back to the sort of sugar-gritty and oily features of those delicious molasses cookies.  I am pretty sure my grandma used white sugar (and quite a lot of it, I would imagine) and some kind of oil.  These particular muffins are free of any poured oils, and instead of a sweet white or brown sugar I used a mix of molasses and maple syrup and banana to sweeten it.

Would this muffin be a flop?

Then I tasted it it... and

IT WAS / IS DELICIOUS.  It is uncannily like the molasses cookies of my grandma... or my memory of them... except puffier and muffin-y.  

I also use the oat flour and almond flour base of my last batch of muffins on here (the lemon-fruity muffins) so if you used certified gluten-free oats, these muffins are gluten-free.  

And there are no eggs or dairy in this recipe, so these muffins are also vegan.

But above everything else, they are delicious.... try the recipe and see!

So-- TO MAKE 12 LARGE (not Jumbo) MUFFINS:

1/2 cup  water
4 tablespoons ground flax seed
2 cups  almond flour
2 cups  oat flour (I ground my oat flakes up in my vitamix to make flour-- but can be purchased)
1 cup    rolled oats (certified gluten-free if needed)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup     maple syrup (not maple-flavoured pancake syrup)
2 riped   mashed bananas
4 tablespoons coconut water, or just plain water or non-dairy milk
1- 2 cups total of chopped dates and walnut pieces
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1. Combine flax seed and water in a medium-size bowl and set aside.
2. Combine and mix together: almond flour, oat flour, rolled oats, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a large bowl.  
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/ 177 degrees Celsius
4. Mix maple syrup, mashed bananas, molasses, and coconut water (or plain water / non-dairy milk) in the medium-sized bowl with flax seed and water.
5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
6. Mix until well combined.  
7. Gently add in chopped dates and walnuts.
8. Spoon into the muffin cups.
9. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool for 15 minutes on rack. Enjoy. These muffins freeze well.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Let's Grow More Food!

Let's grow more food-- my new mantra for this spring and summer!  Yes, today is the last day for the inspirational Home Grown Summit.  I have learned a lot from the many presentations I have watched.  I am looking forward to watching those learnings spin out over the summer and over the years to come.  Go here to sign up for the final day of the Home Grown Summit-- or click on the banner above to take you there, where you will register with your email address and name.  Then you will receive the information to access all of today's presentations, free.  If it is not to your liking, just unsubscribe.  

3 Strategies
 to Simplify Preserving and Storing Your Harvest
 So You Can Enjoy The Fresh Food All Year Long
Free. Online 
 at 10amPDT Tuesday, May 11th.
Just before I typed this I had a really interesting invitation arrive in my email to attend a workshop on preserving my garden food-- a workshop by one of the speakers (Stacey Murphy) I enjoyed very much when I listened to her yesterday.  If you are interested in knowing about several safe and healthy methods for preserving your harvested veggies, you can check out the page to sign up for that HERE.  You also get to download a freebie transcript of the workshop, so that note-taking is not necessary (she does speak with enthusiasm, and pretty fast).  
I plan to have more good resources from the Summit on here as the summer plays on.  Leave a message in the comment section below (your email address will not be published with your comment but I will have it to contact you with what you specifically request) and I can put you on the list to contact when I post other information that might be of value to you in your garden.  Let me know what that might be!


Friday, May 8, 2020

Lemon-Berry Vegan, Gluten-Free Muffins

Changing Up the Recipe
These lovely lemon-y gluten-free vegan muffins originate from a perfect blueberry-lemon recipe by my friend, Michelle Blackwood at Healthier Steps.  I had all the ingredients called for in the recipe except for blueberries (but I have a lot of bags of other berries in my freezer).  

This is my second unique muffin recipe in the Covid19 baking season. You can see the recipe for Hemp seed Applesauce muffins here.

The first batch I baked of this recipe were yummy, but because my muffin cups are large, and not the dainty, regular muffin size, instead of a dozen large muffins, I ended up with a dozen muffins that were more like puffy cookies, if you know what I mean.  Muffin tops? It so happens that my hubby and I like a fullsome muffin, one that comes close to popping over the sides, even.  And I know from past recipes, that expanding the recipe x2 usually gives me the muffin we love.

As is often the case, I find a recipe for something that sounds absolutely delicious and what I am looking for, but then discover (1) I don't have all the ingredients, or (2) when I bake up the recipe, I find that I didn't get exactly what I was counting on, or (3) I make an addition or subtraction to the ingredients that changes the recipe's flavour or texture.  When I make enough changes, I publish the recipe and call it my own.  But in this case, Michelle definitely deserves recognition, because her original recipe is gorgeous and perfect.  I am definitely using her recipe as a foundation.

Adds + Subtracts from the original recipe:

The original recipe calls for equal amounts of almond flour, oat flour and rolled oat flakes-- (certified gluten-free if you have celiac disease or are gluten sensitive).  I subbed one-half of the oat flakes with coconut shreds.  I personally love a little coconut in my muffins for the sweetness and subtle coconut flavour.  If you don't like it, just go back to using the rolled oats for the full amount.

I used blackberries instead of the original blueberries.  Blackberries are very flavourful and a wonderful match with the lemony 'batter'.  I suggest you find your fave berry and put it in this recipe.

I love love love lemon flavour and so have begun to bake using Simply Organic Lemon Flavor so I find it unnecessary to use lemon peel (zest) to get the lemon-y flavour I'm looking for.  It is made with two ingredients: organic sunflower oil, and organic lemon flavor.  In this recipe, I use the lemon flavor in lieu of the vanilla called for in the original recipe.  See a recipe for lemony Carrot Soup here.

And, as I said before, I doubled the original recipe, so I also added in about 10-15 minutes on the baking time. This muffin has just the right muffin moistness.

So-- TO MAKE 12 LARGE (not Jumbo) MUFFINS:

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1/2 cup  water
4 tablespoons ground flax seed
2 cups  almond flour
2 cups  oat flour (I ground my oat flakes up in my vitamix to make flour-- but can be purchased)
1 cup    rolled oats (certified gluten-free if needed)
1 cup    coconut shreds
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup     maple syrup (not maple-flavoured pancake syrup)
2 riped   mashed bananas
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Simply Organic lemon flavor
2 cups frozen berries, your choice

1. Combine flax seed and water in a medium-size bowl and set aside.
2. Combine and mix together: almond flour, oat flour, rolled oats, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/ 177 degrees Celsius
4. Mix maple syrup, mashed bananas, lemon juice and lemon flavor in the medium-sized bowl with flax seed and water.
5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
6. Mix until well combined.  
7. Gently add in berries.
8. Spoon into the muffin cups.
9. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool for 15 minutes on rack. Enjoy. These muffins freeze well.

You might also enjoy these carrot cake muffins: (click on the image)
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Sunday, May 3, 2020

Hemp Seed-Applesauce Muffins

Delicious, healthy hemp seed and apple sauce muffins! 

These muffins are absolutely delicious.
  And healthy.  Ingredients used include spelt flour, oat flour, hemp seeds (also known as hemp nuts), maple syrup, apple sauce, cinnamon, and other items you likely have in your kitchen for baking: baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Spelt is an ancient grain, and the flour produces a nice, cake-y product.  I used spelt flour to make the chocolate banana cake/bread recipes (my "COVID19 banana bread"), recipes here.  Spelt flour is a whole food but doesn't have the sort of acidic undertones that one gets when baking with whole wheat flour.

I "made" two of the ingredients in my vitamix high speed blender.  You might want to do the same, both to save money and to provide ingredients with no added stuff in them (such as preservatives).  I ground up some regular oat flakes to make oat flour (just used the same amount of flakes as flour called for) and blended up two or three apples to make apple sauce.  I added a dollop of apple cider vinegar (just my choice) to the apple sauce while blending it.

If you appreciate the high omega (read: brain food) balance of hemp seeds and are geared up to do some other recipes using these fantastic little plant-powered seeds, here are two more recipes to check out: one for some fancy little chocolate energy balls and another for a scrumptuous burger:

Hemp Seed-Apple Sauce Muffins

These muffins are a little cinnamon-spicy-- you could add pumpkin pie spice if you wanted to go up the spice kitchen spectrum.  They are quick to make and I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't love them!

Makes: About 9 - 12 muffins depending on your muffin pans
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Total Time: 42 minutes

Along with the ingredients below, you will need:

*A high speed blender (if you are making your own oat flour and/or apple sauce)
*2 large bowls for mixing
*A large sieve to fit over mixing bowl if possible
*12-cup cupcake/muffin tins (silicone or with parchment paper cup liners)

Assemble all ingredients before starting the process.

1 cup unsweetened organic apple sauce (can make your own with 2-3 apples)
1/2 cup maple syrup (not maple "flavored" pancake syrup)
3/4 cup plain non-dairy milk, unsweetened
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of whole grain organic spelt flour (look in natural foods section of store)
1 cup of organic oat flour (can make in high speed blender with dry oat flakes)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4-2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup hemp seeds- no shells (or order from Amazon here)
1/3 cup of dried cranberries and dairy-free chocolate chips (or other dried fruit pieces)
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Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C)
Put all wet ingredients into one large bowl and whisk until well combined
Put sieve over the large bowl with wet ingredients in it, like the following:

Put the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in the sieve and work all lumps out, and into the wet ingredients.
Use cutting and folding to gently work the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  Don't stir too long but the batter should be fairly smooth like thick cake batter.
Add in hemp nuts, chocolate chips and cranberries, stirring only enough to incorporate them. uniformly.
Spoon the batter into the bake cups (either into the parchment liners or into the silicone cups for the best assurance of not having messy cleanup afterwards.)
Bake for about 22 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when poked into a muffin.
Cool for 2 minutes before removing the muffins and cooling completely on the rack.
Store in freezer in container with tight-fitting lid.

**The original recipe was put together by Dreen Burton of Plant-Powered Families and appears as Apple Hemp Muffins in the recipes section on the 8th day of the Food Revolution Summit 2020.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

3 Delicious Vegan/Vegetarian Chocolate Banana Bread Recipes

Fudgy Vegan Chocolate Banana Bread 

Today when I went online to look at a Facebook page full of yummy vegan recipes for chocolate banana bread, I came across not one, but THREE terrific recipes. I chose the one with the most ingredients in the house to bake, but it is quite likely I will refer back here to try the other two at some point (a good reason to be a food blogger!). Hope you find one of these recipes meets all your criteria for deliciousness and whatever other factors are built in to your baking: budget? ingredients on-hand? allergies? gluten issues?

NEW!!  Just added another version of chocolate banana cake (raspberry-carob or frozen grape-carob) at the bottom of this post!  So-- possibly 4 or 5 recipes to choose from!  Let me know about your variations!

The first chocolate banana bread recipe, the one that I actually baked, is quite likely going to be the easiest one to choose if you have a gluten sensitivity and have oatmeal, almond flour, and cocoa hanging out already in your cupboard.  The list of ingredients also includes: ripe bananas, coconut sugar, baking powder, nondairy milk, coconut oil (or your preferred oil), and either ground flax seed or ground chia seed for the "egg".


The recipe at The Little Kitchen blog also includes a Spanish language translation just under the English recipe.  This cake-y bread takes only 20-30 minutes to bake.  I made it up by using a food processor to mix all the dry stuff together first, and then I added the mashed bananas and other wet ingredients, and processed the whole caboodle for a couple of minutes before putting it into a small silicone breadpan.  I like silicone containers because they are so easy to get the baked item out of-- let it cool and tweek the sides a little, and PRESTO!

#2 Recipe for Chocolate Banana Bread (called Cake in this recipe) is made with maida flour, or regular all purpose wheat flour.  You can tell from the recipe demo in the video that there is a lot of energetic gluten, making for a springier cake than you generally find with the gluten-free flours, such as the oatmeal and almond flour in #1 recipe, above.  I guess it will depend on whether or not you are sensitive to gluten in whether you try this particular recipe.  Take a look.  All the ingredients and baking instructions are nicely listed as the recipe plays out.  This recipe uses a little vinegar and both baking powder and baking soda for leavening.

This is what it looked like when I baked it (trying the raw banana slices on top-- like it!)

                                         and the RECIPE for #2 Chocolate Banana Bread:
You can find the full recipe at

#3 Recipe is for a Chocolate Banana Bread that touts itself as the BEST!  It looks pretty in this photo, but what does it have that sets it up as a superior recipe?  
Well, this particular recipe is ovo-vegetarian, as the recipe contains 2 eggs.  The other ingredients are pretty much expected in a regular banana bread recipe (it IS a regular banana bread recipe) plus cocoa. For some reason they have used nondairy milk instead of dairy milk.  You can find the recipe at Renana's Kitchen.

Here is the added recipe for the Frozen raspberry or frozen grape chocolate banana cake:
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INGREDIENTS (substitute frozen grapes or blueberries, etc. for what you desire/have on hand)

2 ripe bananas, chopped,

3/4 cup organic cane sugar,

1/4 cup oil,
1 teaspoon vinegar,
1 teaspoon vanilla,
1 1/2 cups spelt flour,
1/4 cup cacao powder,
1/4 cup raw carob powder/flour,
1 teaspoon baking powder,
1/4 teaspoon baking soda,
1/4 teaspoon sea salt,
1/2 cup water (or coconut water)
Chopped walnuts
Frozen raspberries or green grapes (or other berries)
1. Blend bananas and sugar and pour in large bowl.
2. Whisk in oil, vinegar and vanilla until perfect consistency
3. Put sieve on bowl and add flour, cacao, carob, baking powder, baking soda salt, pressing through with no lumps
4. Add in water and quickly stir, cut, fold until smooth like thick cake batter
5. Add walnuts and raspberries (or grapes, etc.)
6. Spoon into loaf pan and bake in 350F oven until inserted toothpick comes out clean-- about 40 minutes
7. Cool completely on rack until totally cool. Cut thick slices to serve

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Carrot-Lemon Soup

Lovely lemon-y Carrot-Lemon Soup
This recipe for Carrot-Lemon soup was inspired by a Greek soup recipe.  When I was a kid, almost every local upscale eatery-- what we labeled "fancy restaurant" --was operated by Greeks who had emigrated to my town or city from the Old Country.  We all learned what was in a 'Greek salad' and were quite fond of the way seemingly all the Greek dishes were enrobed in melted mozzarella.  I realize now that the restaurateurs probably quickly tumbled to the fact that Canadian prairie people were dazzled by melted cheese, and they accommodated us.  And we-- or at least, I-- really loved the lemon rice soup that generally preceded a hearty meal of mozza-covered whatever.  But try as I did, I could never quite achieve that tangy citrus flavour... until now.

The original vegan recipe I was looking at for a similar soup used tofu.  Well, I like tofu well enough but we are in the midst of our 'take' on the COVID-19 "crisis" and tofu, like t.p. and chicken breasts, has apparently been "discovered" as a coveted hoard item. Short story: the stores are out of tofu.

But no worries, vegans that we are, we have lots of dried beans.  I cooked up a mess of chick peas for our daily Best Hummus allowance.  I spun up the chick peas (garbanzo beans) with the garlic, tahini, salt, and lemon juice and scooped about a cup and and a half up for the soup.

And my second major innovation was to cook up some quinoa as a substitute for the orzo or rice in the more Mediterranean cluster of ingredients.  We did this because: (a) no orzo in the house, plus it is made from wheat and I was looking for a gluten-free ingredient and (b) I just thought that quinoa would be a good fit... soupy, nutritious, neutral flavoured quinoa.

The third thing I did involves the lemon flavouring.  I have recently purchased a bottle of Simply Organic brand of lemon flavour.  The ingredients are listed as "organic sunflower oil and organic lemon oil".  The scent of fresh zested lemons floods the senses when you remove the cap.  I had already had wonderful results in using it to make a small batch of vegan lemon curd (usually made with eggs, but in this recipe made with coconut cream and corn starch).  You will still get a nice lemony result by juicing two lemons, but this just gives that extra lemony high note to the soup.  Totally optional. (get it through HERE).

Sooo..... here are the ingredients:

  • 3  /450 grams leeks, chopped
  • 1  /490 grams onion, chopped
  • 5+  /490 grams carrots, sliced or diced
  • 3+   cloves garlic, minced (there is additional garlic in the hummus)
  • 3-4 bouillon cubes (I used mushroom)
  • 1 1/2 cups / 300 grams of Best Hummus (or other hummus)
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Simply Organic lemon flavour (optional)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
  • fine sea salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • finely chopped fresh parsley or lemon balm (melissa officianalis)

  1. I made this soup in an Instant Pot-- you can also use a regular large soup pot (dutch oven).  If using the Instant Pot, you will only need to use the saute mode (no lid) for this recipe.  Start by adding a small layer of water to the pot (about 1-3") and add the chopped leeks, garlic and onions.  Cook until translucent, stirring with a wooden spoon or silicone stirrer.  If using the soup pot, add the leeks, garlic and onions, cover with water, and cook for a few minutes until softened, on medium-high, stirring as above.
  2. To the Instant Pot: add the carrots and cook for about five minutes. Add in some more water and the bouillon cubes, stirring to break them up.  While the veggies cook, you can cook the quinoa in a separate pot on the stove according the directions on the box.  Or you can use pre-cooked quinoa (saves time-- but don't add the quinoa yet!).  Cook until the carrots are tender.
  3. If using the soup pot, blend up the bouillon cubes in a blender, with 4 cups of water.  Stir into the pot, along with the carrots.  Cook stirring, until carrots are tender. You can stir in about a teaspoon of turmeric if you want a lemony color and some extra turmeric goodness.
  4. Stirring the soup in either pot (yeah, this is classic soup-making), stir in the hummus and the lemon juice/flavour and the quinoa, along with the extra water.  When heated through, add salt to taste and remove the soup pot from the heat and turn off/unplug the Instant Pot.  Stirring.
  5. Ladle the soup into bowls.  Crack some pepper over the bowls.  Add in sprinkles of parsley.  Serve with extra lemon wedges or slices if desired.
Harvest Recipes for vegan and gluten-free Mini-Carrot Cakes and Curry Carrot Soup
Got carrots galore?  Here are a couple of other wonderful recipes!  One for a lovely curry carrot soup and another recipe for mini-carrot cakes.  Both recipes are vegan.   Go HERE to get the recipes.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Rice Pasta with Cauliflower Sauce

This delectable garlicky cauliflower sauce over organic rice spaghetti was a most delightful supper one evening at the beginning of the COVID-19 dilemma. It has a lovely creamy mouth appeal but because it has no actual cheese or dairy fat of any kind (only fat would be in the almond milk) it settles lightly on the digestion. Perfect for an evening meal.


Large head of cauliflower, broken into florettes with leaves and stem end removed
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups almond milk (unsweetened)
2 tsp. lemon juice, fresh squeezed
1 tsp. fine sea salt
black pepper, fresh ground, as desired
4 T. chopped parsley as garnish
full box of rice spaghetti (28 oz) or quinoa, rice, etc.

Steam the cauliflower over a pot of boiling water, covered, for about 5 - 10 minutes, or in Instant Pot.
Set aside.

In a skillet, cook onion until translucent. Add garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.

Combine the cauliflower, garlic, onion, lemon juice, almond milk and sea salt in the blender and blend until smooth.

Ladle over hot pasta, rice, or quinoa. Top with parsley and pepper (or you can garnish with delicious walnut parm (recipe below):

Combine in the food processor:
*1 cup/100 g walnut pieces
*2/3 cup/40 g nutritional yeast
*1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Pulse until finely ground. Store in jar with lid in fridge.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Breakfast Oat-Carrot Cake

Breakfast Oat-Carrot Cake with Lemon Curd
I have had enough experiences with baked oatmeal to think that I could put together a really delicious carrot cake version-- and I believe I have nailed that with the following soft, pudding-y, yummy Breakfast oat-carrot cake.  Try it and see if you agree!

Place in large mixing bowl:
• 3 cups organic rolled oats

In blender carafe add:
• 2 apples cored and chopped
• 1 cup shelled walnuts
• 2 medium carrots, chopped
• 6 pitted Medjool dates
• 2-3 tablespoons chia seed gel
• 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
• 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

*Blend well until smooth.
*Pour over oats and mix well. Let sit for 2 hours or over night.
*Preheat oven to 350 F.
*Pour batter into baking pan lined with parchment paper.  Cover with aluminum foil. (Remove foil to brown during last 5+ minutes)
*Bake for 25-40 minutes.
*Let cool and serve in squares topped with fruit like pineapples, berries and banana slices

Do you have extra carrots?  Click here and: Try these delicious vegan recipes for a rich carrot soup and a tasty mini carrot cake

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Colcannon (Irish Mashed Potatoes) and Irish Soda Bread (Spelt)

Colcannon is a lovely Irish traditional mix of boiled cabbage or kale along with a root vegetable, usually mashed potatoes, but sometimes turnip, or carrots. Leaks and/or onions, and garlic, are pretty popular additions. Chopped green onions, chives and/or parsley are often used as a stirred-in garnish.

I am vegan, so this is a vegan colcannon-- no dairy butter or milk involved.

The following are ingredients in the colcannon I made (Missing from the picture are water, garlic, pepper, oil, and fine sea salt):

Lovely Colcannon: potatoes, cabbage, leaks, green onions, and parsley

INGREDIENTS (2-4 servings)

2 T. Olive Oil (or water, or coconut oil)
1/2 Cabbage, shredded
2    Leeks, finely sliced (or shredded)
4 cloves minced Garlic
4 C. peeled, diced Potatoes (I used yellow flesh Yukon Gold)
1/2 C. Water (if using Instant Pot-- enough to cover vegetables if using regular pot on stovetop).
1 tsp. Fine Sea Salt
Black Paper
Finely chopped Green Onions and Parsley


(Using Instant Pot)

  1. Using the saute setting, take about 5-10 minutes to stir the cabbage, leaks and garlic in olive oil until tender
  2. Turn off the Saute setting
  3. Add in potatoes and the water.  Put on the lid and set the pot for Steam and 10 minutes.
  4. Release steam.  Remove the lid.  Add salt and mix.  Mash in the cannister with potato masher if you wish, or remove to a large bowl and mash.  You may add non-dairy milk (rice, soy, oat) and a couple of tablespoons of vegan butter if desired.  If the potatoes are perfectly steamed through, and they often are, you may wish just to mash without adding in non-dairy milk and/or vegan butter.
  5. Stir in green onions and parsley.  Sprinkle pepper.
  6. Serve piping hot.
(Using on-stove pot)

  1. Put the potatoes in the pot and add water to cover the potatoes.  Bring the pot to a boil and let it cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. In another large pot, cover the cabbage with water and boil for about 15 minutes.  
  3. Drain the cabbage and set it aside.
  4. In a third pot, cook the leeks in about 1 cup of water (or 1 cup of soy (rice) non-dairy milk) for about 15 minutes.
  5. When the potatoes are cooked, combine them with the leeks, salt and and non-dairy milk if desired.  Mash well.
  6. Add in the cabbage and stir together.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve garnished with parsley and green onions.
You can eat these delicious "Irish mashed potatoes" on St. Paddy's Day or any day of the year!  Enjoy!  If you are having soup today (or tomorrow) you might want to bake up an easy-peasy loaf of vegan soda bread.  I use spelt flour in the recipe (because I like this ancient grain) but you can just use about half white and half whole wheat instead.

Vegan Soda Bread Recipe (made with spelt flour and NO buttermilk)

Here are the ingredients for the soda bread:

(Look up Metric measurements:)

  • 3 cups spelt flour (or 1 3/4 cup plain white flour, 1 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (NOT baking powder)
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds or currents (optional)
  • 1 1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond milk--oat, rice, soy are all good neutral-tasting choices)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (Look up Metric measurements:)
  2. In medium-large size bowl, mix dry ingredients well.
  3. Stir non-dairy milk and vinegar or lemon juice together and add to the dry ingredients, mixing to combine.  
  4. Make a ball and place on a piece of parchment paper on a pan, or on a pizza peel (paddle) if you plan to use a pizza stone already heated in the oven and waiting for the bread.  
  5. Cut a deep cross -- almost to the base of the ball-- in the dough-- this is what allows the inside of the bread to bake properly.
  6. Bake the dough for 30 minutes.
  7. Enjoy! (and if there are leftovers, enjoy it as toast later!)
The potatoes, cabbage and leeks in colcannon were the staples of Irish immigrants to North America.  Learn more about the potato (along with other recipes) by clicking on the fries below:

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Lazy Perogy Vegan Poutine with Mushroom and Onion Sauce

This perogy poutine is right out of my head, so please feel free to improve upon it, eliminate and add ingredients, do whatever you need to do to make it seem like a lazy perogy version of poutine for you.

That said, my husband raved about this particular vegan perogy-poutine recipe and said it was his fave of the three variations (the other two being: Poutine with Cheesy Smoky White Sauce and Poutine with Fat-Free Cheesy Nacho Sauce, also both vegan, of course).  So maybe the ingredients are just right for you as well.  You will have to try it and see what you think.


650 g/ 1 1/2 pounds  frozen potato fries

The Mushroom and Onion Sauce:

2 T.      cooking oil (I used olive oil)
1          organic mushroom bouillon cube ("Go Bio" brand) (optional)
1/2 lb.  crimini mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped
1          large onion, cut up (diced or in rings, your choice)
3          garlic cloves, minced
small quantity (about 1/2 C.) really cheesy cheese sauce OR 1/2 cup Corn Starch slurry*
2 C.     non-dairy milk (I used unflavored almond milk-- soy, oat or rice milk would be good too)
1 tsp.   fine sea salt
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
Black Pepper
Chopped Parsley
Chopped Green Onions
Tofutti Sour Cream (or this is a good scratch recipe if you have the ingredients)

*Prepare your fries by putting into pre-heated oven or air fryer or ?

I used the saute setting on my Instant Pot, but you can do the sauce in the traditional way in a skillet or wok on the stove.
Add in the oil and on medium heat, when heated, add in the onions, garlic, and mushrooms and stir-cook to brown for a few minutes.
Add in the non-dairy milk and the bouillon cube.  Stir and let it cook for a few (maybe 4) minutes, still on medium heat.
*Add in the real cheesy sauce or the slurry, stirring constantly to achieve smoothness (a slurry is a smooth mix of starch and liquid used to thicken the sauce).
Add in salt and stir for about a minute.  Squeeze on juice of a 1/2 lemon and stir through.
Turn off the sauce and remove it from burner (if using traditional method).  Plate up the fries and ladle the sauce over them.
Add on black pepper, chopped green onions, parsley, and tofutti.

Other ingredients that we can see using:

Sauerkraut or chopped cabbage
Fake baco-bits (you can make your own)
vegan sausage
Rice or quinoa in place of potatoes

What did you try?  Send me a picture to healthiacynthia on Instagram and I will feature your perogy poutine on here.

The Potato Alphabet:
26 Reasons to Respect the Humble Potato

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Vegan Poutine with Really Cheesy Fat-Free Vegan Nacho Cheese

The recipe for 'really cheesy fat-free vegan cheese' is based on a surprising recipe from a video by Jill McKeever, the guru over at Simple Daily Recipes. We love it in our family. The 'surprise ingredient' and the lack of any fats make it a real winner for our digestive systems, and I would imagine you will also find that... although, I am not a physician or a nutritionist, and would suggest you go by what those folks have advised you.

This is how the Really Cheesy Fat-Free Vegan Nacho Cheese recipe goes with my additions to Jill's base:

Makes about 3 cups

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup roasted red bell pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Smoked Sweet Paprika
1/4 teaspoon Chipotle pepper powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups water

Place all ingredients in a blender and process several
minutes until very smooth and well blended. Pour into a saucepan, cook and stir until thickened.  Do not turn your back.  It will often cook up quicker than you might think.  It will also thicken further as it it sets.

At the time that you are starting to cook the sauce, you might want to get your fries into the oven or the air fryer so that they come out just a little after the thickened sauce.

Build as desired.  The nacho poutine in the picture above includes a layer of salsa, some green onions, tuffuti sour cream and a few slices of avocado. Mmmm.

There are things you don't know about the potato...
                             Click above on image for more info and delish potato recipes

2020 Vegan Recipes on Instagram (healthiacynthia)

Here are the vegan mains, sides, soups, smoothies, desserts, pastries, and breakfasts as shown on Instagram. The following recipes appear on Instagram in 2020 (/healthiacynthia)

Just go ahead and click on the link below to go directly to the recipe! They are arranged in their categories from the most current Instagram recipe to the oldest-- to see them as they come out, join me at

Vegan Poutine with Smoky WhiteCheesy Sauce

Barley and Corn Casserole

Moroccan Bowl (random veggies using Berber Spice Combination at the article site)

Organic Granny's RECIPE INDEX

Organic Granny's RECIPE INDEX
Mostly Vegan & Gluten-Free Recipes