Hearty Russian Borscht Recipe

February 10, 2014 in Soups and Stews, Vegan Recipes

Russian style borscht – an Olympic celebration for your taste buds.

Russian Borscht

This amazing hearty borscht recipe by co-blogger Anne will be served at least every four years in February at my house. That is because every four years in February I become a hermit . I love, love, LOVE watching the Olympics, and there is no dish that fits the Olympics this year more than this flavorful naturally vegan Russian stew. We made this the other night before the Olympics started and I was reminded of how stunningly delicious this soup is. The Hubs ate 3 bowls!

Borscht comes in endless variations – as proof, take a look at the 4 fabulous borschts by Natasha  at Natasha’s Kitchen.

Those of you whose only experience with borscht is as a cold magenta liquid, perhaps served with a single boiled potato, think again!This version of borscht (there are many variations) hails from Russia & the Ukraine (the former is more the Polish/Yiddish variety), and is more like a hearty stew than a sort of beet-based gazpacho. It’s still very much peasant food, though: immensely nutritious, satisfying, and seasonal. Perfect for snowy winter nights!

It’s also effortlessly vegetarian, and even vegan if you skip the dollop of sour cream at the end, or use a non-dairy version of the sour cream.

In a nod to our fabulously frugal roots, I recommend that you resourcefully save the beet greens, saute them in a little olive oil, and serve them with a dash of sherry vinegar alongside the steaming bowls of borscht. A recipe (if you could even call it that, it’s so simple) follows the borscht recipe.

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Kicking Off 2014: A Roundup of Veggie-Centric Dishes

January 2, 2014 in Healthy Fare, Vegan Recipes, Vegetarian Entrees

Veggie-Centric Recipes to Kick Off 2014!

Raw Beet and Butternut Slaw

‘Tis the season to renew commitments to health and self. There are hundreds of possible approaches out there, so far be it from us to suggest which one is right for YOU as an individual, as every person has unique needs, but the one thing ANY health centered plan has in common? VEGGIES. Lots and lots and lots of veggies! Whether low-carb or vegan or paleo or vegetarian or primal or flexatarian or Weight Watchers or Dukan or primal or or what-have-you, increasing the amount of nutrient-dense vegetables is just a given.

So rather than zero in one one particular approach, we thought we’d share a collection of veggie-centered (as in made only or primarily from vegetables, with other ingredients as accompaniment only) recipes that would be great for just about any plan, either as-is or with only minor modifications. You’re bound to find something that works for you. Hope some of these find their way into your menu regardless of your chosen approach – or even independent of any “approach”.

Cheers for a healthful New Year!

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Cinnamon Almond Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

December 16, 2013 in Side Dishes, Vegan Recipes

 Hasselback sweet potatoes for your holiday table. Minimum fuss. Maximum impressiveness.

Sweet Potatoes - Hasselback Style

Sweet Potatoes – Hasselback Style

Hasselback style of cooking potatoes is genius – you get the perfect blend of crispy edges and creamy potato goodness. Kudos to the Swedes for creating this genius recipe!

Hasselback potatoes are really simple to make – just slice, brush with butter and bake in a hot oven.

I decided to attempt a version with yams – just upping this recipe to make it a little more festive for the holidays. And, I am happy to report success! Sweet potatoes work perfectly in this version. And the bonus is that they take only a few minutes of prep and then you shove them in the oven and ignore them while you get the rest of the holiday meal together. I love the almond flavor in this recipe with the almond extract added – and the almond slices help with the “fan” effect.

There is really only one tricky part to this recipe: getting the “accordian”  or fan effect to these potatoes – so I solved this by inserting a sliced almond into each cut – separating the slices and holding them apart while baking. I also used coconut oil spiked with a little cinnamon instead of butter – with very tasty results.

Highly, highly recommend this as a side dish for your holiday table – Minimum fuss. Maximum impressiveness.

– posted by Donna

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Green Goddess Cauliflower Rice: Two Flavor Editions!

November 7, 2013 in Dairy-Free, Healthy Fare, Side Dishes, Vegan Recipes

Green Goddess Cauliflower Rice

The first time I had cauliflower used as a carb substitute, it was in the now-classic form of “South Beach Mashed Potatoes”. As a recovering starch addict, it sometimes did the trick, but I must say, it never exactly became my favorite new comfort food. Fast forward to years later, and the discovery of cauliflower RICE, via both Elana’s Pantry and Kalyn’s Kitchen. This adaptation definitely DID hit the spot for me. I’ve been making variations on this for a while now, and adding it just about anywhere you might use rice (save for, perhaps, sushi).

My recent rainstorm was to apply the cauliflower rice magic to my my intrepid co-blogger’s Green Goddess Rice recipe, which was featured both in our recent cookbook and on her other blog, Everyday Southwest. It worked beautifully with the original flavors, and I liked it so much that I decided to try a variation that would make it harmonious with other cuisines, this one with a touch of Italian influence. Both are creamy, flavor-packed, and the perfect accompaniment to so many dishes.

Or, in my case today, lunch in and of itself, period.  Read the rest of this entry →

Healthy Halloween Jack O’ Lantern Carrot Rice Balls Easy Recipe

October 9, 2013 in Holidays, Vegan Recipes

Rice Ball Jack o Lanterns

C’mon. You know you gotta make these cuties!

Healthy and Halloween. At the same time. Win – win if you need a respite from the onslaught of sugaryness of the Halloween season.

These little vegan cuties are made with carrot juice – and NOT orange food coloring – to make little orange rice balls.

I have been making these for the last few years and they have become a tradition. I always have so much fun making their cute faces – just cut up black olives and make each one with its own personality.

It just wouldn’t be Halloween without them now.

And, if you’re anywhere near Utah this weekend, my sister Sandy and I will be demoing these and other fall recipes at Williams Sonoma at 1:00 this Saturday, October 12 at the Riverwoods Shops in Orem, Utah. Please stop by and join the fun.

– posted by Donna

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Check out our end-of-summer giveaway: a 5-Tray Aroma Dehydrator!

August 29, 2013 in Contests and Carnivals and Roundups, Healthy Fare, Side Dishes, Techniques, Vegan Recipes

Enter to win this fabulous 5-tray dehydrator!

Summer’s drawing to a close, and food enthusiasts everywhere are getting down to business with their late-summer preservation efforts. Canning gets tons of attention of course, as well it should. But dehydrating your fruits, veggies and herbs is another wonderful way to extend the life of your produce.  I used to do any dehydrating in my oven on a low temperature, which is manageable, but having this awesome piece of equipment has been a huge blessing.

Check it out!

The Aroma Dehydrator!

It’s lightweight, it’s easy to use, and gets fantastic results.I use it all the time for ludicrously healthful snack recipes like our Cheesy Kale Chips and Crunchy Broccoli Puffs.

From the manufacturer: “Perfect for everyone from outdoor hobbyists to the health-conscious, this dehydrator is designed for efficient, even drying. It handles everything from fruit slices to beef jerky on five spacious, height adjustable trays. It’s equipped with an electric fan and automatically rotating trays that spin in both directions, and was designed to prevent the overheating that eliminates food’s vital nutrients. The clear vented lid controls moisture and lets you monitor the process without disruption. Includes 5 stackable rotating trays, fruit leather sheet, drying screen and instructional cookbook.”

(I should also mention here that this is in absolutely no way a sponsored post. I’m genuinely, authentically enthused about the product, scout’s honor.)

So! You have six ways – one of which can be done once a day! Like so:

1. Leave a comment here, once per day, with something you’d like to try dehydrating. That’s IT! Every comment you leave counts as one entry (the other ways to enter you can only do once apiece).

2.  Like our page on Facebook (and then leave a comment here telling us that you did, so as to give you your point).

3. Follow us on Twitter, and then comment accordingly.

4.  Share the link for this giveaway and then leave us a comment here about that – Twitter, Stumble Upon, Facebook, or any other way!

5. Pin this giveaway on Pinterest, and then tell us so here.

6. Mention our giveaway on your own blog and leave us the link in a comment.

Winner will be selected via Random.org. We’ll announce the lucky reader after Labor Day weekend, and announce the winner on Thursday  September (yes, we’re already talking about September) fifth. Entries accepted through Wednesday at midnight. Best of luck to you all!

Mmm, bounty. Photos all via Aroma Housewares.

- posted by Anne


Vintage Chocolate Pudding Cake Made Vegan

July 22, 2013 in Desserts, Vegan Recipes

Chocolate Pudding Cake

Ooey, Gooey Chocolate Pudding Cake

Pioneer Day – a state holiday in Utah – is a day that I like to make vintage recipes. And at the top if the list is pudding cake – for good reason. Have you ever made this? It is magical and one of the best incarnations of ooey gooey chocolatey goodness out there. How does pudding at the bottom result from spreading batter in a pan, covering it with a layer of sugar and cocoa power and then pouring water over it all? I have no idea. But it truly and magically works!

This classic “pudding at the bottom” cake is easily made vegan with almond milk in place of regular and coconut oil in place of butter. I was inspired by The Kitchn site and their vintage pudding cake, but tweaked it to make it vegan. And, bonus: this is gluten free as well!

The texture of this cake is magical when it is just out of the oven – warm and gooey at the bottom the top and edges are crispy and the whole cake is rich and warm and chocolatey.

Happy Pioneer Day, All!

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Bhel Puri – a Bowl of Bollywood

July 19, 2013 in Appetizers, Gluten Free, Healthy Fare, Side Dishes, Vegan Recipes, Vegetarian Entrees


Bhel Puri: A tangy, crispy, easy Indian potato dish. Easy side dish, snack, or appetizer!

Anytime Donna comes to visit me – or vice versa – some culinary exploration is on the agenda, no matter how little time we have. Our most recent encounter was only over the course of two busy days, yet we still had to take in a little local flavor. Which, in the case of Portland, could mean just about anything!

Having not gotten my Indian fix in a good long time, we headed to Bollywood Theater, specializing in popular street food fare. I love chicken tandoori and aloo gobi as much as the next person, but I also love meandering off that well-worn path (well-worn for a reason, but still) to try some more esoteric offerings. Our favorite selection by far was the Bhel Puri, a simple potato dish punched up with chutneys, peanuts, cilantro and the texture contrast created by puffed rice.

Naturally I had to try to create a version at home. I used puffed millet rather than rice, substituted cashews for the peanuts, and loved the results. I can pretty much guarantee this will be a hit for any summer potluck you attend with this in hand.  Read the rest of this entry →

Summer Stone Fruit Gazpacho Recipe

July 1, 2013 in Soups and Stews, Vegan Recipes

Summer Fruit Gazpacho

Easy. Cool. Refreshing. Healthy. Perfect way to end a summer meal.

My co-blogger Anne converted me to gazpacho. Maybe it was the way her eyes sparkled when she talked about her childhood memories of what she called “liquid salad.” I don’t know, but I do know I think of her every time I eat gazpacho now.

And so, I had this amazing cantaloupe gazpacho for dessert at a restaurant across the street from where I work and I daydreamed about it for days. So light, cool, refreshing. And I pledged then and there to make my own version.

You can use whatever fruit in whatever combo you like – but I liked more peaches/nectarine flavor than plum flavor. And the addition of cucumber is shockingly perfect with the fruit.

With temperatures breaking records everywhere in the West, this is a perfect way to end a meal on a hot summer day!

– posted by Donna

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One Pot Wonder Thai Style Peanut Pasta Recipe

June 24, 2013 in Vegan Recipes, Vegetarian Entrees

One Pot Wonder Thai Peanut Pasta Recipe

One Pot Wonder Thai Peanut Pasta Recipe – BEFORE

After discovering the One Pot Wonder technique for cooking pasta, I admit I am a bit obsessed with making new versions of this stunningly simple pasta dish with a silky smooth sauce.

And so, food fans, after dozens of pots o’ pasta – yes, I do sacrifice for my art – I present this One Pot Wonder 2.0 Thai Style Peanut version.

I love the flavors of a great Pad Thai, so I decided to throw all those flavors in a pot with linguine pasta instead of rice stick noodles, the classic Pad Thai noodle.

I added veggies that I love in Thai cuisine, and a scoop of peanut butter to melt into the sauce. The sauce that develops is rich and creamy due to the peanut butter. And the whole dish is a symphony of Thai flavors. Do put this on your Must Try List!

Just a few notes: the photo above has parsley, but I would normally use cilantro – just didn’t have any on hand when I made this one – parsley works, but cilantro is better, IMHO. And, chopped cilantro, mung bean sprouts, chopped peanuts and a squeeze of fresh lime on top of each plate full complete this dish and make it more authentic. I added some sliced chunks of ginger and some sliced limes that you need to fish out before serving. ((Also, I did not use fish sauce in this recipe to make it vegan, but if you like using this classic Asian sauce used in traditional Pad Thai, it adds a pungent note.))

UPDATE TO RECIPE: Thanks to so many positive comments and especially from followers who had problems with the sliced limes adding too much bitterness I have updated this recipe. (( Don’t you love the interactive-ness of food blogging?! )) I have edited it to include lime juice squeezed and tossed in to the dish just before serving, and NOT slices of lime added in before cooking. THANK YOU, lovely readers, for following us, and for caring enough to leave comments!

Thai Peanut Pasta Recipe - AFTER

Thai Peanut Pasta Recipe – AFTER

 – posted by Donna

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