Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Family Favorite: Baked Penne Pasta

This recipe has been adapted over time but was originally found at The Protective Diet.  It was originally called "Baked Ziti" but we only make it with Penne!  Even though I would call this a very easy recipe, I still make it in stages:  cook pasta, press tofu, make the tofu "Ricotta" and mix together.

Baked Penne Pasta

1 block of extra firm tofu
1 lemon, juiced
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 t salt
pepper to taste
1/4 - 1/2 c nutritional yeast
1/2 lb of spinach
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
1 lb pasta of choice

Press your tofu and set aside.  Cook your pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.

When your tofu is ready (I press mine anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour), use a fork and crumble it in a big bowl.   Add to the tofu:  lemon juice, garlic cloves, salt, pepper and nutritional yeast.  Stir in the spinach and spaghetti sauce.  Mix all together with the pasta and pour into a large casserole dish.  Cover with foil and ad bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.

Monday, April 13, 2015

"Cheeze" Sauce

Since going plant-based, I have tried numerous cheeze sauces.  I've made it with several different bases:  flour, beans, and even with potatoes & carrots.

A couple of weeks ago I found a new favorite and have made it several times since.  It is called Macaroni Oaty Cheese Sauce from FatFree.com.  I've not made it as macaroni and Cheese but I am sure it is delicious that way.

I have used it mostly as cheese dip, served with baked tortilla chips, but I have also spread it on veggie burgers.  With the pimento bits in the recipe, it reminds me of pimento cheese - and I've eaten it on a sandwich as well.  I suspect if I had a more powerful food processor, the pimentos would have been blended better and completely incorporated into the cheese sauce.

It is an easy sauce to put together and besides the pimentos, I normally have all the ingredients on hand.  I think that is probably another reason why I love this recipe so much!


2 cups water 
1/2 cup quick cooking oatmeal 
1/4 cup nutritional yeast 
2 Tbsp cornstarch 
2 Tbsp lemon juice 
1/2 Tbsp onion powder 
1 1/2 tsp salt 
1 (4 oz) jar diced pimento 

Place all ingredients except macaroni in a blender and process several minutes until very smooth and well blended. Pour into a saucepan, cook and stir until thickened.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What I Ate Wednesday

Quick, simple, easy and delicious:  rice, steamed frozen vegetables and a "gravy" I made with vegetable broth and a little cornstarch. I threw in some spices while it simmered. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Weekly Preparations

Can I just jump right in after my long absence? Thank you!

Like many Americans, I use the first of the new year to motivate me to get completely on track (meaning I wasn't completely off) of eating 100% No oil,  WFPBD (whole foods plant-based diet). 

This time around things are little different. My scales bit the dust months ago and I have not decided if I will replace them. Every morning I do wish I could step on the scales and see how I am doing, but to be honest I know that I am doing well I'm supposed to do and that in time I will see progress. There's just something about seeing those numbers go down though, so we will see.

Today I  felt well enough (not much joint pain or energy loss) to spend some time in the kitchen while my boys were at basketball practice. 

I made baked tortilla chips because they are a favorite with my guys. They like to eat them every day so my hopes are to make them every couple of days, if they last that long. I have written about tortilla chips in the past and will be revisiting this subject in the next few days. After much tweaking, I have found the best method of making these chips crispy the way that my family likes. 

I also started a batch of dough in my breadmaker. I have been toying with the idea of making mini-pizzas and freezing the crust ahead of time so they would be ready on school days (we homeschool).  I divided up the dough and froze some of it and pre-baked the rest, which will also go in the freezer.

I also baked a batch of Happy Herbivore's Surprise Cake (I made them muffins) and started the rice maker for my lunch.  Since I was already freezing most of what I had made, I made extra rice and ended up freezing 6 cups and eating one. I did this by scooping the rice into a one cup measure, turning it out on a paper plate and freezing. When it is all completely frozen, I will pile all of them into a gallon sized baggie and store them for later use. Two minutes in the microwave will give you hot rice, ready to eat. 

Now, I am completely bushed, but I do feel good about my preparations for the week. My kitchen is a horrendous mess because I am not very good at "cleaning as you go".  Thankfully this week as well help me with the cleanup.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Don't Start Over, Continue On!

I choose to follow the McDougall program because I truly believe it is the best way to achieve ultimate health, reverse and/or prevent many chronic diseases, and because the food can be as simple or involved as you like.

Many times in the past while navigating this journey, I have stumbled and made wrong choices.  I don't call it a "splurge" anymore because that would infer that I am treating myself or I deserved it - which is so far from the truth.  I deserve a lot better and good health is the best treat you could have.

After the times I have made these bad choices, I would feel depressed and wonder why I should even try.  It would take me a long time to get "back on the wagon", so to speak.  It's like getting mentally prepared to make good choices after I had wallowed in my guilt and self-pity for awhile.  I am not sure why I did that but regardless of the reasons, a new attitude has found me.

No longer do I follow one bad choice with a string of other bad choices, nor do I wait for the next day to start over - I pick myself up and continue on.  My bad choice wasn't me quitting, it was me making a bad choice.  I still feel the same way about plant-based diets and I plant to keep on keeping on until I get it right - all the way right.

Don't give up, don't give up and don't quit.  You don't have to feel guilty and quit being so hard on  yourself, but keep on going.  You've got this!

Friday, October 17, 2014

YumUniverse Blog Tour Review

Today I get to giveaway another book and this one looks like it is fabulous! Don't you love the feel of a new book?  :)

Congratulations to Michael P Klunker for winning the giveaway!

Here's what you really want to know about Heather Crosby's new book:

What's the full name of the book?  YumUniverse: Infinite Possibilities for a Gluten-Free, Plant-Powerful, Whole-Food Lifestyle

What is the author's name?  YumUniverse was written by Heather Crosby.  Heather is a certified T. Colin Campbell Foundation plant-based wellness coach (Yay!  Plant Proud is a fan of T. Colin Campbell) who has developed a unique and well-loved collection of over 500 gluten-free, plant-based recipes on her popular website YumUniverse.com.

Is it a large book?  YumUniverse is published by BenBella Books.  I have several books from this publisher and they are all (the cookbooks I have anyway) approximately the same size with around 300 pages.  YumUniverse has about 320 pages - it's packed with good stuff and if you purchase it, you will be happy with your decision.

Do the recipes include the use of oil?  Many of my followers both on my blog and the members of my Facebook group McDougall Friends, know that plantproud.com advocates a WFPBD with NO OIL! (Essylstyn followers will get that).  Yes there are some recipes that use oil (including the one I share below).  If you are like me in that respect, you know that there are substitutions you can make for oil and heather has included a section of replacements for butter, eggs, milk and cream.

So, are recipes the only thing we can expect from this book?  NO!  This book has a wealth of information.  I have already read several tips that I have always wanted to know like, how to roast vegetables, information on freezing homemade sauces and making your own seasoning mixes.

You guys want this book!  It is so much more than a cookbook and it would be a great addition to your whole foods, plant-based diet, cookbook shelf!!

Here's  how to connect with Heather and YumUniverse:


Twitter: @YumUniverse

Pinterest.com/Heather Crosby

Instagram: @YumUniverse
Website:  YumUniverse.com

Twitter users: search the hashtag: #YUBlogTour to find more stops and more chances to win this book on the YumUniverse Blog Tour.

In closing: take a look at this recipe for brownies.  Doesn't it sound amazing?  There's more great recipes in her book.

Dark Chocolate, Sweet Potato & Black Bean Brownies

12+ Servings

I do love to sneak unexpected, nutrient-rich ingredients into treats, and this gluten-free recipe is a perfect example. Black beans, sweet potato, and dark chocolate combine into bona fide fudge-like decadence. You can use canned beans for this recipe, but I recommend starting with dry beans (soaked and then cooked by you) to reduce aluminum intake, boost flavor, and optimize digestion and nutritional benefits.


1 ½ cups almond flour
1⁄3 cup Sucanat
½ cup cacao powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt

2⁄3 cup sweet potato, diced and steamed
2 ¼ cups black beans, cooked (1 cup dry)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
One 3 – oz. gluten-free, vegan chocolate bar
1⁄3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil*
¾ cup water

1. Preheat oven to 325°F and grease a 9" x 13" or 9" x 9" baking dish or line it with parchment paper.
2. Sift or whisk together all dry ingredients in a large glass bowl. Set aside.
3. Place all wet ingredients into the food processor and pulse until super-smooth.
4. Fold together wet and dry ingredients and transfer to the parchment-lined baking dish.
5. Bake for 60 – 70 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool in baking pan before serving.

For a triple dark chocolate brownie, top brownies with shaved chocolate after baking.
Fold some toasted almonds, pecans, and/or walnuts into your batter.
Fold ¼ cup cherries and ¼ cup toasted coconut into your batter before baking.

Make ’em Mexican style. Fold 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, and ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg to the batter before baking.
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