Oh, My! Tomato Pie!

When I first moved to Austin, Kerbey Lane Cafe was my favorite place to eat. I tried nearly every vegetarian thing on the menu. Then I went vegan, limiting my options a bit. Vegan pancakes and the breakfast platter became my usual picks. I have always been intrigued by their seasonal menus, which unfortunately don’t usually have vegan options. The highlight of the summer menu is their Tomato Pie. I have never tried it but have always been intrigued.

So I decided to make tomato pie at home.

For starters, I used the all-knowing master of knowledge, Google, to see if any copycat recipes had been shared for Kerbey Lane Tomato Pie. Surprise! The KLC blog posted a recipe themselves. How about that?

I have made two versions of this pie since discovering the recipe online. The photos are from the first attempt, which I felt worked the best.

I’m not really good with pie crust… I made a traditional pie crust from the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook with regular flour and vegetable shortening. It was quite flaky and pleasant but it didn’t roll very well at all and barely came to the edge of my pie plate. But it looks pretty darned good, eh?

Of course I was pleased to discover how incredibly tasty tomato pie is. In fact, I loved it. And it didn’t really take that long to make, either. I typically shy away from dishes that require a lot of prep, but this baby was absolutely worth it. We were having seconds by 7:30.

The only challenge I really had was interpreting the instructions provided by the KLC blog. I’m not sure they’re accurate… Maybe it’s more like user error. Who’s to say? The original recipe called for four tomatoes. It didn’t specify which kind. It didn’t indicate what size pie crust or pan to use, either. So, perhaps my pie plate was a bit too small for the original recipe, though I don’t know how you could have fit that many tomatoes in a deep dish sized pie plate, either! Anyway, I used their recipe to inspire mine and I hope my version inspires you!

INGREDIENTS
2 ripe hothouse or beefsteak tomatoes, cut into thick slices
Salt, divided
10 fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 14-ounce package extra firm tofu, pressed for at least 20 minutes and liquid drained off
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1-2 tablespoons plain Vegenaise
Pre-made vegan 9-inch pie crust or your favorite recipe (see note)
Vegan Parmesan, optional
Kalamata olives and fresh basil, for garnish

DIRECTIONS
Note, the second time I made this dish I tried my hand at a whole grain crust. I used 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup cornmeal, 1/8 cup refined coconut oil, and 1/4 cup water. I mixed it in a food processor until crumbly, then added an additional 1/8 cup water until the dough became soft and stretchy. I rolled it out on a well-floured surface and then transferred to the pie plate. I poked the bottom with a fork a few times and then baked it at 400 degrees for 11 minutes, until it started to look golden. It was crisp on top and had an excellent flavor! Anyway, moving on.

Place your sliced tomatoes on a wire rack over the sink. Sprinkle them with salt. Let sit for 10 minutes, then flip and repeat. You’re trying to drain out as much liquid from the tomatoes as possible! Don’t go too crazy with the salt, but sprinkle them evenly.

In a small bowl, combine the fresh basil and onions. Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, thoroughly squish the tofu with your hands until it resembles ricotta cheese. Add the white wine vinegar, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, Vegenaise, and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix well with a fork or a wooden spoon.

When the tomatoes have sat long enough, press them each between two paper towels to remove additional liquid. Press firmly but don’t mutilate them! Then dice the tomatoes into small pieces.

If your pie crust isn’t pre-baked, bake it in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes. It should be light brown.

To assemble the pie, layer half of the onion and basil mixture on the bottom. Then add the diced tomatoes. Top with the remaining onion and basil mixture. Pour the tofu mixture (effectively, the tofu cheese) over it. Push down with your fingers or a fork to ensure the tofu is pressed well into every nook and cranny. If you’re using a smaller pie dish, like I did, you may have a little extra. If able, use a deep dish pan. If not, that’s okay. If you want to use the extra tofu in something else, go ahead. Be creative!

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and top with a nice layer of vegan Parmesan cheese. I used a homemade recipe from the Non-Dairy Formulary. Bake for an additional 15 minutes until the Parmesan is nice and browned! If not using the Parmesan, bake for 45 minutes altogether.

Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before cutting and serving. Garnish with chopped olives and fresh basil. We ate ours with fresh green beans lightly sauteed in grapeseed oil and minced garlic!

Makes 4-6 servings. Depending on how much you love it. 😉

Dont’ forget to Pin It! Just click here to add it to your boards:
http://pinterest.com/pin/214624738467462343/

By the way, did you know that Tuesday is also known as Tofu Tuesday?? I have been sharing tofu recipes with readers via social networks where tofu is the main ingredient. If you’d like to join in on Twitter, click here to tweet about this recipe. Also be sure to check out some of my other tofu-centric dishes, like my Tofu Shawarma and Veganized Paula Deen Collard Greens (with tofu bacon bits).

When I first moved to Austin, Kerbey Lane Cafe was my favorite place to eat. I tried nearly every vegetarian thing on the menu. Then I went vegan, limiting my options a bit. Vegan pancakes and the breakfast platter became my usual picks. I have always been intrigued by their seasonal menus, which unfortunately don’t usually have vegan options. The highlight of the summer menu is their Tomato Pie. I have never tried it but have always been intrigued.

So I decided to make tomato pie at home.

For starters, I used the all-knowing master of knowledge, Google, to see if any copycat recipes had been shared for Kerbey Lane Tomato Pie. Surprise! The KLC blog posted a recipe themselves. How about that?

I have made two versions of this pie since discovering the recipe online. The photos are from the first attempt, which I felt worked the best.

I’m not really good with pie crust… I made a traditional pie crust from the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook with regular flour and vegetable shortening. It was quite flaky and pleasant but it didn’t roll very well at all and barely came to the edge of my pie plate. But it looks pretty darned good, eh?

Of course I was pleased to discover how incredibly tasty tomato pie is. In fact, I loved it. And it didn’t really take that long to make, either. I typically shy away from dishes that require a lot of prep, but this baby was absolutely worth it. We were having seconds by 7:30.

The only challenge I really had was interpreting the instructions provided by the KLC blog. I’m not sure they’re accurate… Maybe it’s more like user error. Who’s to say? The original recipe called for four tomatoes. It didn’t specify which kind. It didn’t indicate what size pie crust or pan to use, either. So, perhaps my pie plate was a bit too small for the original recipe, though I don’t know how you could have fit that many tomatoes in a deep dish sized pie plate, either! Anyway, I used their recipe to inspire mine and I hope my version inspires you!

INGREDIENTS
2 ripe hothouse or beefsteak tomatoes, cut into thick slices
Salt, divided
10 fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 14-ounce package extra firm tofu, pressed for at least 20 minutes and liquid drained off
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1-2 tablespoons plain Vegenaise
Pre-made vegan 9-inch pie crust or your favorite recipe (see note)
Vegan Parmesan, optional
Kalamata olives and fresh basil, for garnish

DIRECTIONS
Note, the second time I made this dish I tried my hand at a whole grain crust. I used 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup cornmeal, 1/8 cup refined coconut oil, and 1/4 cup water. I mixed it in a food processor until crumbly, then added an additional 1/8 cup water until the dough became soft and stretchy. I rolled it out on a well-floured surface and then transferred to the pie plate. I poked the bottom with a fork a few times and then baked it at 400 degrees for 11 minutes, until it started to look golden. It was crisp on top and had an excellent flavor! Anyway, moving on.

Place your sliced tomatoes on a wire rack over the sink. Sprinkle them with salt. Let sit for 10 minutes, then flip and repeat. You’re trying to drain out as much liquid from the tomatoes as possible! Don’t go too crazy with the salt, but sprinkle them evenly.

In a small bowl, combine the fresh basil and onions. Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, thoroughly squish the tofu with your hands until it resembles ricotta cheese. Add the white wine vinegar, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, Vegenaise, and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix well with a fork or a wooden spoon.

When the tomatoes have sat long enough, press them each between two paper towels to remove additional liquid. Press firmly but don’t mutilate them! Then dice the tomatoes into small pieces.

If your pie crust isn’t pre-baked, bake it in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes. It should be light brown.

To assemble the pie, layer half of the onion and basil mixture on the bottom. Then add the diced tomatoes. Top with the remaining onion and basil mixture. Pour the tofu mixture (effectively, the tofu cheese) over it. Push down with your fingers or a fork to ensure the tofu is pressed well into every nook and cranny. If you’re using a smaller pie dish, like I did, you may have a little extra. If able, use a deep dish pan. If not, that’s okay. If you want to use the extra tofu in something else, go ahead. Be creative!

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and top with a nice layer of vegan Parmesan cheese. I used a homemade recipe from the Non-Dairy Formulary. Bake for an additional 15 minutes until the Parmesan is nice and browned! If not using the Parmesan, bake for 45 minutes altogether.

Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before cutting and serving. Garnish with chopped olives and fresh basil. We ate ours with fresh green beans lightly sauteed in grapeseed oil and minced garlic!

Makes 4-6 servings. Depending on how much you love it. 😉

Dont’ forget to Pin It! Just click here to add it to your boards:
http://pinterest.com/pin/214624738467462343/

By the way, did you know that Tuesday is also known as Tofu Tuesday?? I have been sharing tofu recipes with readers via social networks where tofu is the main ingredient. If you’d like to join in on Twitter, click here to tweet about this recipe. Also be sure to check out some of my other tofu-centric dishes, like my Tofu Shawarma and Veganized Paula Deen Collard Greens (with tofu bacon bits).

Three Months Left…

Well, we passed the three month countdown until our wedding day. It really does not feel like October 12th will be here in about 2.5 months. Chris and I have been so busy with things here that it has been very difficult devoting time to wedding planning. She has been especially distracted by work. Life in Texas has gotten rather complicated for us recently. In fact, the two of us have spent a lot of trying to figure out if we could afford to purchase a foreclosure house in rural northern New Hampshire on our current budget. One of the reasons we moved to Texas instead of New Hampshire after leaving West Virginia was because the cost of living here was so much lower than it was up there. Now it seems to be the same, even the reverse in some cases. It may not end up being better for us and/or our finances, but we’ll take more comfort in knowing we have family very close by if we need help. The price on the home we were looking at went down by 16% recently. I am having my mother (a real estate agent!) take a look at it for us sometime this week.

My bridal ring set.

In the meantime, the crunch is really on now (for the wedding) and I’ve been trying to focus on all of the things we need to do. We’ve got most of the basics covered; the venue, officiant, hotel, my attire, and rings. We’re trying to accomplish a few things while we’re planning. While we want our wedding to be special we don’t want it to cost a fortune nor do we want it to be terrible for the environment. We’ve ordered custom printed napkins and paper plates and straws. We’ll be buying compostable plastic cups and bamboo cutlery to use while we’re there. We bought non-diamond rings from a southwestern artist/designer. And we’ll be having vegan food. The majority of it will be purchased from Whole Foods, mains, sides, salads, and potentially the cake. I’ll also be making sweet treats like cookies and puffed rice treats for a candy/dessert buffet. That is the thing I am most excited about! I am ready and rearin’ to order the candy from an online natural candy website but due to it being July I figured I should hold off for fear or the chocolate melting in the mail…

Because the two of us are quirky, Chris and I are coming up with some unique activities to make the day more memorable. She’s learning how to DJ and we’ll be having a dance contest for our guests. One of them will win a trophy. Also, I’ve printed “Wed Libs” to entertain everyone for at least a few minutes. And because we can’t afford a photographer I have made a photo scavenger hunt game, too. This will also help us make sure we have photos of everything, in case we’re too busy and forget to photograph something ourselves. And if that isn’t enough things for me to craft, I am going to erect a DIY photo booth with forest themed backdrop and masks for everyone to play with!

Yesterday we went over the venue layout and determined where everything would be positioned. We also planned out the order of the day and determined how the ceremony will go. Like many same-sex couples we have decided not to include anyone else in the actual ceremony. While I asked my brother to be my Best Man, Chris’s sister, her Best Man equivalent, is no longer coming and we were at a loss to come up with an alternative. So it’ll just be the two of us and the officiant for now.

Our wardrobes still need completion. We ordered a suit for Chris from an online retailer based in India. No word on the progress! Hopefully it won’t take too long. We both need shoes and accessories, though. But it seems like right now most of what needs to be done is to purchase things. Hooray! Oh, except for one very important thing.

I CANNOT DANCE TO SAVE MY LIFE.

In fact, I dance like a grandpa.

Any recommendations on good instructional videos would be appreciated!

Over the next two months I will be sharing with you all photos of my many various craft projects currently underway. Right now I am assembling a three tier dessert tray. I bought it at Hobby Lobby many months ago and am redecorating it to match our forest theme. That involves covering it in wood grain scrapbook paper and adorning it with artificial moss, flowers, critters, etc. This will be used for desserts. And I’ll have to create owl or fox or little deer cake toppers if Whole Foods can, in fact, provide us with a vegan cake.

At some point throughout this process I’ll try to remember to give you some recipes. Can’t make any promises, though 🙂

Thanks for reading! Y’all are the best!

Well, we passed the three month countdown until our wedding day. It really does not feel like October 12th will be here in about 2.5 months. Chris and I have been so busy with things here that it has been very difficult devoting time to wedding planning. She has been especially distracted by work. Life in Texas has gotten rather complicated for us recently. In fact, the two of us have spent a lot of trying to figure out if we could afford to purchase a foreclosure house in rural northern New Hampshire on our current budget. One of the reasons we moved to Texas instead of New Hampshire after leaving West Virginia was because the cost of living here was so much lower than it was up there. Now it seems to be the same, even the reverse in some cases. It may not end up being better for us and/or our finances, but we’ll take more comfort in knowing we have family very close by if we need help. The price on the home we were looking at went down by 16% recently. I am having my mother (a real estate agent!) take a look at it for us sometime this week.

My bridal ring set.

In the meantime, the crunch is really on now (for the wedding) and I’ve been trying to focus on all of the things we need to do. We’ve got most of the basics covered; the venue, officiant, hotel, my attire, and rings. We’re trying to accomplish a few things while we’re planning. While we want our wedding to be special we don’t want it to cost a fortune nor do we want it to be terrible for the environment. We’ve ordered custom printed napkins and paper plates and straws. We’ll be buying compostable plastic cups and bamboo cutlery to use while we’re there. We bought non-diamond rings from a southwestern artist/designer. And we’ll be having vegan food. The majority of it will be purchased from Whole Foods, mains, sides, salads, and potentially the cake. I’ll also be making sweet treats like cookies and puffed rice treats for a candy/dessert buffet. That is the thing I am most excited about! I am ready and rearin’ to order the candy from an online natural candy website but due to it being July I figured I should hold off for fear or the chocolate melting in the mail…

Because the two of us are quirky, Chris and I are coming up with some unique activities to make the day more memorable. She’s learning how to DJ and we’ll be having a dance contest for our guests. One of them will win a trophy. Also, I’ve printed “Wed Libs” to entertain everyone for at least a few minutes. And because we can’t afford a photographer I have made a photo scavenger hunt game, too. This will also help us make sure we have photos of everything, in case we’re too busy and forget to photograph something ourselves. And if that isn’t enough things for me to craft, I am going to erect a DIY photo booth with forest themed backdrop and masks for everyone to play with!

Yesterday we went over the venue layout and determined where everything would be positioned. We also planned out the order of the day and determined how the ceremony will go. Like many same-sex couples we have decided not to include anyone else in the actual ceremony. While I asked my brother to be my Best Man, Chris’s sister, her Best Man equivalent, is no longer coming and we were at a loss to come up with an alternative. So it’ll just be the two of us and the officiant for now.

Our wardrobes still need completion. We ordered a suit for Chris from an online retailer based in India. No word on the progress! Hopefully it won’t take too long. We both need shoes and accessories, though. But it seems like right now most of what needs to be done is to purchase things. Hooray! Oh, except for one very important thing.

I CANNOT DANCE TO SAVE MY LIFE.

In fact, I dance like a grandpa.

Any recommendations on good instructional videos would be appreciated!

Over the next two months I will be sharing with you all photos of my many various craft projects currently underway. Right now I am assembling a three tier dessert tray. I bought it at Hobby Lobby many months ago and am redecorating it to match our forest theme. That involves covering it in wood grain scrapbook paper and adorning it with artificial moss, flowers, critters, etc. This will be used for desserts. And I’ll have to create owl or fox or little deer cake toppers if Whole Foods can, in fact, provide us with a vegan cake.

At some point throughout this process I’ll try to remember to give you some recipes. Can’t make any promises, though 🙂

Thanks for reading! Y’all are the best!

Taking A Break (At Enchanted Rock)

Never before have I understood why there are such things as wedding planners.

The past couple of months have been absolutely full of wedding planning, shopping, and scheming. And we’re still not done with everything. It’s less than one month now, people, and we’re definitely feeling the pressure.

Which is why we packed up our bags Saturday morning and hit the road toward Fredericksburg.

Chris decided that all she wanted for her birthday was a tent. She’s a big astronomy nerd and she has about reached the maximum of what she can see in the city with her telescope. The light pollution is just so terrible in Austin. Our hope was to spend some time stargazing at Enchanted Rock this weekend, but as the clouds rolled in and the chance of rain increased we realized that would not be part of our trip.

We did, however, go anyway.

The two of us started our day by puttering her Volkswagen up to the dealership. Even though the car had been there a few days before, it had started making a rattling noise inside the engine and definitely needed to be looked at. Chris has been struggling with cars for the past couple of years. Her baby, a 1998 Mustang, finally reached a point beyond repair last year. We traded her in for the VW. The price was right. But apparently that was because there were a bunch of things wrong with it. We’ve got $1700 left to pay on it, but depending on how the car does at the dealership we may be about to part ways. Yes, it is that bad. We won’t know until Tuesday (hopefully). Until then we’ll be getting practise as a one car family.

We hit up HEB afterward in order to procure camping supplies and groceries for the rest of the week. Home was next. We loaded the car, grabbed the poodle, and headed to REI for a lantern. And then, we were off!

Just as the rain started coming down!

Like in most instances, the weatherman was off in his estimate of when the rain would cease. The two of us scrambled to assemble the tent between showers once we arrived. Rather difficult without any practise, you know! When finally in a tent-like shape, the three of us huddled inside waiting for the drops to subside. They finally did, around dinnertime.

The two of us grilled a couple of zucchini and a bunch of vegan hot dogs. We happily ate them while we grilled a pineapple for dessert. It was at this point that Rusty made it quite clear that he did not enjoy camping. He either sat or stood and watched us quizzically as if asking us what on Earth we were doing, eating outside, sitting outside, doing nothing outside?? Who were all these people he could hear and not see?? Why was it so cold? And so forth. Eventually, he wound up in Chris’s lap and fell asleep. Then, the two of us humans read until the sun began to set and then played an easier version of 20 questions in the dark.

Sleeping was troublesome. A large church group with many, many teenagers remained loud into the night. We also had neighbors close to us chopping wood very late and shouting swear words for no apparent reason. Oh, and the cement under the tent? Extremely uncomfortable. I awoke every few hours out of pain and had to turn over. Tent pad in our future? I think, yes.

We took turns eating granola and drinking cold brew coffee for breakfast. We loaded the car and drove to the Enchanted Rock trail.

I very much enjoyed photographing the local flora and fauna. Most visitors seemed to as well. There were, in fact, many, many visitors today. Enchanted Rock is so popular they sometimes have to close for a couple of hours to prevent there being too many people on the site itself.

It took us awhile to reach the top. Chris is still suffering from a foot injury she obtained while training for her 5k. She did a great, job, though, and so did our adventure poodle. Mr. Rusty enjoyed hiking a lot more than he enjoyed camping, that’s for sure.

Now that looks fun to climb, no?
Considering the time of year, the rain really was a good thing. Otherwise the heat would have been oppressive and neither of us would have wanted to climb the Rock at all. Even with it being cooler the humidity made for a challenge.

It’s almost like being on the top of Texas. Hahaha.

And at this hour in one month we will be wife and wife. Now that’s one adventure I’m really looking forward to!

Until next time!

Never before have I understood why there are such things as wedding planners.

The past couple of months have been absolutely full of wedding planning, shopping, and scheming. And we’re still not done with everything. It’s less than one month now, people, and we’re definitely feeling the pressure.

Which is why we packed up our bags Saturday morning and hit the road toward Fredericksburg.

Chris decided that all she wanted for her birthday was a tent. She’s a big astronomy nerd and she has about reached the maximum of what she can see in the city with her telescope. The light pollution is just so terrible in Austin. Our hope was to spend some time stargazing at Enchanted Rock this weekend, but as the clouds rolled in and the chance of rain increased we realized that would not be part of our trip.

We did, however, go anyway.

The two of us started our day by puttering her Volkswagen up to the dealership. Even though the car had been there a few days before, it had started making a rattling noise inside the engine and definitely needed to be looked at. Chris has been struggling with cars for the past couple of years. Her baby, a 1998 Mustang, finally reached a point beyond repair last year. We traded her in for the VW. The price was right. But apparently that was because there were a bunch of things wrong with it. We’ve got $1700 left to pay on it, but depending on how the car does at the dealership we may be about to part ways. Yes, it is that bad. We won’t know until Tuesday (hopefully). Until then we’ll be getting practise as a one car family.

We hit up HEB afterward in order to procure camping supplies and groceries for the rest of the week. Home was next. We loaded the car, grabbed the poodle, and headed to REI for a lantern. And then, we were off!

Just as the rain started coming down!

Like in most instances, the weatherman was off in his estimate of when the rain would cease. The two of us scrambled to assemble the tent between showers once we arrived. Rather difficult without any practise, you know! When finally in a tent-like shape, the three of us huddled inside waiting for the drops to subside. They finally did, around dinnertime.

The two of us grilled a couple of zucchini and a bunch of vegan hot dogs. We happily ate them while we grilled a pineapple for dessert. It was at this point that Rusty made it quite clear that he did not enjoy camping. He either sat or stood and watched us quizzically as if asking us what on Earth we were doing, eating outside, sitting outside, doing nothing outside?? Who were all these people he could hear and not see?? Why was it so cold? And so forth. Eventually, he wound up in Chris’s lap and fell asleep. Then, the two of us humans read until the sun began to set and then played an easier version of 20 questions in the dark.

Sleeping was troublesome. A large church group with many, many teenagers remained loud into the night. We also had neighbors close to us chopping wood very late and shouting swear words for no apparent reason. Oh, and the cement under the tent? Extremely uncomfortable. I awoke every few hours out of pain and had to turn over. Tent pad in our future? I think, yes.

We took turns eating granola and drinking cold brew coffee for breakfast. We loaded the car and drove to the Enchanted Rock trail.

I very much enjoyed photographing the local flora and fauna. Most visitors seemed to as well. There were, in fact, many, many visitors today. Enchanted Rock is so popular they sometimes have to close for a couple of hours to prevent there being too many people on the site itself.

It took us awhile to reach the top. Chris is still suffering from a foot injury she obtained while training for her 5k. She did a great, job, though, and so did our adventure poodle. Mr. Rusty enjoyed hiking a lot more than he enjoyed camping, that’s for sure.

Now that looks fun to climb, no?
Considering the time of year, the rain really was a good thing. Otherwise the heat would have been oppressive and neither of us would have wanted to climb the Rock at all. Even with it being cooler the humidity made for a challenge.

It’s almost like being on the top of Texas. Hahaha.

And at this hour in one month we will be wife and wife. Now that’s one adventure I’m really looking forward to!

Until next time!

Herbie of the Week: Lisa G (She no longer has eczema or acne and she finally got off the weight-loss rollercoaster!)

Herbie of the Week: Lisa G!

She suffered from acne and eczema for years, never making the connection to diet. After years of eating a vegetarian diet, she finally decided to go plant-based and got over her cheese addiction and fear of protein deficiency.

With the help of the Meal Mentor she has discovered amazing health benefits she never expected including clear skin, easy weight loss, and a more youthful appearance!

Here’s Lisa’s story in her own words…

I first decided to give up meat in 2005, but it wasn’t until 2015 that I committed to being vegan. It has been a journey and evolution for me!

Now that I live a totally plant-based lifestyle, I can’t believe I didn’t choose this earlier. I love the way I look and feel, and it has become one of my biggest passions. I also love the food and feel totally satisfied!

When I moved to San Francisco after graduate school in 2005, I finally decided it was time to try a vegetarian lifestyle. SF is such a “veggie-friendly” city and I had wanted to try it for years. I was always afraid that it would be too hard or I “wouldn’t get enough protein,” which is such a common fear when people start a plant-based diet.

Technically, back then I was an ovolactopescatarian, meaning that I ate fish, dairy and eggs, but no other meat. I quickly discovered that there were so many delicious plant-based protein sources that replaced the chicken I used to cook often. I didn’t miss beef at all, because I had always thought about the cow when eating a burger, even as a little girl. It was pretty easy for me to give up red meat.

Without meat in my diet I felt better, and I felt like I was honoring the animals. I still had to really work at it to maintain my figure, however, and inevitably over the winter months I’d gain 20 pounds or so just from eating more “comfort foods.” I was a big fan of cheese and anything including cheese: pizza, mac & cheese, parmesan on pasta, etc.

I struggled with some skin problems, including mild acne and eczema. I didn’t make the connection to my diet, and figured I was just cursed with bad skin genes! I wish I had known then how much my skin would clear up by giving up dairy – acne is not even an issue at all ever anymore!

I just accepted it that I had to work hard every spring to get myself back into shape for the summer. I figured it was that way for everyone!

Now, all these years later, going vegan has been a miracle. I flirted with it for many years, because my best friend was a vegan and an outstanding cook! We even ate an entirely raw vegan diet two years in a row for Lent!

But I would always tell myself that I “couldn’t be vegan” because of cheese. I was addicted to it, as many people are! Because it is addictive – although most people don’t realize that. I would always go back to eating dairy and eggs and sometimes fish.

For some reason in 2015 I finally decided that it was time. Once again I adopted a plant-based diet for Lent, but I was loving it so much and feeling so good that I decided just to keep eating a vegan diet!

I was lucky enough a few years ago to stumble onto the Happy Herbivore website, and Lindsay was a featured guest on a life coaching program that I conducted in 2012 called the 100-Day Extraordinary Woman Challenge. She was amazing! I loved her energy and inspirational story.

And of course I love the recipes! I am now a Meal Mentor member and am so thankful that Lindsay makes being vegan so easy. I still believed it was going to be incredibly hard, and that I might not get enough protein. The myth of “not enough protein” is so indoctrinated into us by society!

But the vegan meals I eat have plenty of protein, and I feel healthy, happy and energized. I’ve dropped the extra weight I had gained last winter just through eating vegan! I wouldn’t have thought just giving up dairy and eggs would make such a huge difference, but it really has.

I feel good every single day knowing that my diet is the best possible choice I can make for Mother Earth. I also know that it is of course the best thing I can do for the animals. AND I feel happier, healthier and sexier as a result!

I still get carded even though I am 44 years young, and I get asked out by men in their 20s. I swear that eating a plant-based diet has a lot to do with my youthful looks! I no longer suffer from acne at all. It’s totally a thing of the past! Instead my skin is clear. And it glows! Vegan people really do glow. 😉

Thank you so much Lisa for sharing your plant-based journey with us!

Don’t miss our next Herbie of the Week story. To get notified when we post it join our email list.

Herbie of the Week: Lisa G!

She suffered from acne and eczema for years, never making the connection to diet. After years of eating a vegetarian diet, she finally decided to go plant-based and got over her cheese addiction and fear of protein deficiency.

With the help of the Meal Mentor she has discovered amazing health benefits she never expected including clear skin, easy weight loss, and a more youthful appearance!

Here’s Lisa’s story in her own words…

I first decided to give up meat in 2005, but it wasn’t until 2015 that I committed to being vegan. It has been a journey and evolution for me!

Now that I live a totally plant-based lifestyle, I can’t believe I didn’t choose this earlier. I love the way I look and feel, and it has become one of my biggest passions. I also love the food and feel totally satisfied!

When I moved to San Francisco after graduate school in 2005, I finally decided it was time to try a vegetarian lifestyle. SF is such a “veggie-friendly” city and I had wanted to try it for years. I was always afraid that it would be too hard or I “wouldn’t get enough protein,” which is such a common fear when people start a plant-based diet.

Technically, back then I was an ovolactopescatarian, meaning that I ate fish, dairy and eggs, but no other meat. I quickly discovered that there were so many delicious plant-based protein sources that replaced the chicken I used to cook often. I didn’t miss beef at all, because I had always thought about the cow when eating a burger, even as a little girl. It was pretty easy for me to give up red meat.

Without meat in my diet I felt better, and I felt like I was honoring the animals. I still had to really work at it to maintain my figure, however, and inevitably over the winter months I’d gain 20 pounds or so just from eating more “comfort foods.” I was a big fan of cheese and anything including cheese: pizza, mac & cheese, parmesan on pasta, etc.

I struggled with some skin problems, including mild acne and eczema. I didn’t make the connection to my diet, and figured I was just cursed with bad skin genes! I wish I had known then how much my skin would clear up by giving up dairy – acne is not even an issue at all ever anymore!

I just accepted it that I had to work hard every spring to get myself back into shape for the summer. I figured it was that way for everyone!

Now, all these years later, going vegan has been a miracle. I flirted with it for many years, because my best friend was a vegan and an outstanding cook! We even ate an entirely raw vegan diet two years in a row for Lent!

But I would always tell myself that I “couldn’t be vegan” because of cheese. I was addicted to it, as many people are! Because it is addictive – although most people don’t realize that. I would always go back to eating dairy and eggs and sometimes fish.

For some reason in 2015 I finally decided that it was time. Once again I adopted a plant-based diet for Lent, but I was loving it so much and feeling so good that I decided just to keep eating a vegan diet!

I was lucky enough a few years ago to stumble onto the Happy Herbivore website, and Lindsay was a featured guest on a life coaching program that I conducted in 2012 called the 100-Day Extraordinary Woman Challenge. She was amazing! I loved her energy and inspirational story.

And of course I love the recipes! I am now a Meal Mentor member and am so thankful that Lindsay makes being vegan so easy. I still believed it was going to be incredibly hard, and that I might not get enough protein. The myth of “not enough protein” is so indoctrinated into us by society!

But the vegan meals I eat have plenty of protein, and I feel healthy, happy and energized. I’ve dropped the extra weight I had gained last winter just through eating vegan! I wouldn’t have thought just giving up dairy and eggs would make such a huge difference, but it really has.

I feel good every single day knowing that my diet is the best possible choice I can make for Mother Earth. I also know that it is of course the best thing I can do for the animals. AND I feel happier, healthier and sexier as a result!

I still get carded even though I am 44 years young, and I get asked out by men in their 20s. I swear that eating a plant-based diet has a lot to do with my youthful looks! I no longer suffer from acne at all. It’s totally a thing of the past! Instead my skin is clear. And it glows! Vegan people really do glow. 😉

Thank you so much Lisa for sharing your plant-based journey with us!

Don’t miss our next Herbie of the Week story. To get notified when we post it join our email list.

Oh, My, Wedding

Have I ever learned the value of hiring a wedding planner!

As our pending nuptials draw near, I am more and more grateful that I have found the love of my life and that we are only going to get married once. There are so many things still left to be done, even though my last two weekends have been spent almost entirely devoted to “the wedding.”

A couple of weeks ago, some coworkers and I celebrated my impending nuptials by going to Painting With A Twist. We fittingly painted sugar skulls wearing bridal ecoutremant. Take a looksie.

This is my finished painting. I smudged it at the top of the skull by accident. Oops! One of my coworkers was generous enough to paint hers to match and she gave it to me as her wedding gift. It’s not identical, but we did both paint the Star Trek symbol in the center of the skull. Not our idea, lol, the instructor threw it out there during the tutorial. We both gasped and got all over that.
Here’s hers.
The two of them are gazing fondly at one another above my entertainment center now. 
Everything for the wedding has officially been taken care of. Phew! Oh, except I’m being a major bridezilla regarding my apparel. I just can’t seem to get it the way I want it. Today I’m heading to the craft store after work to get some glass pearls for jewelry and will hopefully be making something heftier than the oak leaf and vintage brass jewelry I ordered from Etsy. I just don’t feel like it matches anymore.
I abandoned the handmade photo booth after failing at my attempts to create woodland creature masks. I ordered supplies from Oriental Trading again, which is where I ordered our plates and custom napkins.

Loading

Soon!

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I think it looks pretty stellar. 
We’ve ordered three dishes from Whole Foods; wraps, pasta salad, and quinoa salad. We’ll also be getting green salad ingredients, chips and salsa, and maybe bread and hummus. We also ordered a lemon raspberry cake from Treehouse Pastry Shop in Santa Fe. I am most excited about that, lol.
I placed my order for candy through Natural Candy Shop online and was pleased with everything that came. It will be the perfect amount of candy for our 23 guests. I’ll also be making peanut butter rice crispy treats which will be served on a 3-tier dessert tray I crafted from rough cut wood and glass candlesticks.
Our Honeyfund is still not 100% funded, but we’ve garnered enough support to have a perfectly wonderful honeymoon.
I’m excited to share photos from the “big day” and from the honeymoon! Next week! Bye!

Have I ever learned the value of hiring a wedding planner!

As our pending nuptials draw near, I am more and more grateful that I have found the love of my life and that we are only going to get married once. There are so many things still left to be done, even though my last two weekends have been spent almost entirely devoted to “the wedding.”

A couple of weeks ago, some coworkers and I celebrated my impending nuptials by going to Painting With A Twist. We fittingly painted sugar skulls wearing bridal ecoutremant. Take a looksie.

This is my finished painting. I smudged it at the top of the skull by accident. Oops! One of my coworkers was generous enough to paint hers to match and she gave it to me as her wedding gift. It’s not identical, but we did both paint the Star Trek symbol in the center of the skull. Not our idea, lol, the instructor threw it out there during the tutorial. We both gasped and got all over that.
Here’s hers.
The two of them are gazing fondly at one another above my entertainment center now. 
Everything for the wedding has officially been taken care of. Phew! Oh, except I’m being a major bridezilla regarding my apparel. I just can’t seem to get it the way I want it. Today I’m heading to the craft store after work to get some glass pearls for jewelry and will hopefully be making something heftier than the oak leaf and vintage brass jewelry I ordered from Etsy. I just don’t feel like it matches anymore.
I abandoned the handmade photo booth after failing at my attempts to create woodland creature masks. I ordered supplies from Oriental Trading again, which is where I ordered our plates and custom napkins.

Loading

Soon!

@-webkit-keyframes”dkaXkpbBxI”{ 0%{opacity:0.5;} 50%{opacity:1;} 100%{opacity:0.5;} } @keyframes”dkaXkpbBxI”{ 0%{opacity:0.5;} 50%{opacity:1;} 100%{opacity:0.5;} }

I think it looks pretty stellar. 
We’ve ordered three dishes from Whole Foods; wraps, pasta salad, and quinoa salad. We’ll also be getting green salad ingredients, chips and salsa, and maybe bread and hummus. We also ordered a lemon raspberry cake from Treehouse Pastry Shop in Santa Fe. I am most excited about that, lol.
I placed my order for candy through Natural Candy Shop online and was pleased with everything that came. It will be the perfect amount of candy for our 23 guests. I’ll also be making peanut butter rice crispy treats which will be served on a 3-tier dessert tray I crafted from rough cut wood and glass candlesticks.
Our Honeyfund is still not 100% funded, but we’ve garnered enough support to have a perfectly wonderful honeymoon.
I’m excited to share photos from the “big day” and from the honeymoon! Next week! Bye!

Thai Hummus Pizzas , Springtime Pasta Primavera, French Toast Nachos, Sloppy Srirachies & more!

Are you looking for LESS work in the kitchen…but don’t want to sacrifice nutrition?

This week’s meal plan is ULTRA Fast with MINIMAL prep work.

Thai Hummus Pizza (NEW!), Sloppy Srirachies (NEW!), French Toast Nachos (NEW!), Casablanca Fajitas (NEW!) and 4 more recipes come together in 15 minute or LESS!

Thai Hummus Pizza

Individual Highlights

  • Sloppy Srirachies (NEW!)
  • Red Pesto Pasta
  • Thai Hummus (NEW!)
  • Mexicali Green Bowls (NEW!)
  • Ultimate Strawberry Salad
  • Casablanca Fajitas (NEW!)
  • Bistro Beet Burgers
  • Brazilian (Mango & Lime) Rice
  • French Toast Nachos (NEW!)

Make it easy on yourself this summer and join Meal Mentor!

Sloppy Srirachies

Family Highlights

  • Caponata Polenta Stacks (NEW!)
  • Sloppy Srirachies (NEW!)
  • Big Banana Parfaits (NEW!)
  • Red Pesto Pasta
  • Thai Hummus Pizza (NEW!)
  • Bistro Beet Burgers
  • Mexicali Green Bowls (NEW!)
  • Springtime Pasta Primavera (NEW!)
  • Casablanca Fajitas (NEW!)

Enjoy more play and less cooking with the meal plans!

Caponata Polenta Stacks

Testimonials

I love the meal plans! Has really changed our spending, no extraneous grocery expenses, lots of savings, not wasting food the way we did previously. Well worth it! More time with my family.“- Ashley B

“The meal plans make cooking so easy so you have more time to enjoy life, plus knowing in the back of your mind you are being good to your body so life is more enjoyable!!”- Angela E

Get these recipes delivered to your inbox NOW!

Are you looking for LESS work in the kitchen…but don’t want to sacrifice nutrition?

This week’s meal plan is ULTRA Fast with MINIMAL prep work.

Thai Hummus Pizza (NEW!), Sloppy Srirachies (NEW!), French Toast Nachos (NEW!), Casablanca Fajitas (NEW!) and 4 more recipes come together in 15 minute or LESS!

Thai Hummus Pizza

Individual Highlights

  • Sloppy Srirachies (NEW!)
  • Red Pesto Pasta
  • Thai Hummus (NEW!)
  • Mexicali Green Bowls (NEW!)
  • Ultimate Strawberry Salad
  • Casablanca Fajitas (NEW!)
  • Bistro Beet Burgers
  • Brazilian (Mango & Lime) Rice
  • French Toast Nachos (NEW!)

Make it easy on yourself this summer and join Meal Mentor!

Sloppy Srirachies

Family Highlights

  • Caponata Polenta Stacks (NEW!)
  • Sloppy Srirachies (NEW!)
  • Big Banana Parfaits (NEW!)
  • Red Pesto Pasta
  • Thai Hummus Pizza (NEW!)
  • Bistro Beet Burgers
  • Mexicali Green Bowls (NEW!)
  • Springtime Pasta Primavera (NEW!)
  • Casablanca Fajitas (NEW!)

Enjoy more play and less cooking with the meal plans!

Caponata Polenta Stacks

Testimonials

I love the meal plans! Has really changed our spending, no extraneous grocery expenses, lots of savings, not wasting food the way we did previously. Well worth it! More time with my family.“- Ashley B

“The meal plans make cooking so easy so you have more time to enjoy life, plus knowing in the back of your mind you are being good to your body so life is more enjoyable!!”- Angela E

Get these recipes delivered to your inbox NOW!

Small Wedding, Big Post

My brother snapped this shot. Live long and prosper, my friends.

It’s closing in on one month since I married my partner of 6 years, Christine.

I had been working on a post to share with readers for weeks and ultimately decided to trash the whole thing. Why? Because there doesn’t seem to be a way for me to describe what it felt like to marry the love of my life, surrounded by friends and family, and during one of the most emotional weeks of my life. A blog post just could not do that justice.

So, the long and short of it is that Chris and I were married, legally, in the state of New Mexico and in the eyes of the federal government, on October 12, 2014, at Hyde Memorial State Park in Santa Fe, NM. The setting was beautiful. The weather, not so much. After putting out decorations, food, etc., the skies opened up and rain came down, wetting our chairs and arbor and forcing us to relocate to inside of the lodge that we rented.

No biggie. It worked out just fine.

Family portraits suffered a tad. We weren’t able to get a good one with Chris’s mom. It was too cold to stay outside for any period of time. So cold it hailed! Look at me, trying not to look like I’m grimacing!

The two of us as newlyweds.

A number of other challenges presented themselves to us that weekend. In no particular order, there was:

  • The rain, obviously.
  • Running out of setup time. We didn’t hang our lanterns or put our favors out on tables. We had to walk our seedlings around out of the box.
  • Chris’s uncle, aunt, and grandmother were unable to attend due to illness. Grandma actually had to be admitted to the hospital for an infection and after a very long week ended up passing away the following Saturday.
  • And Whole Foods, despite saying our catering order would be prepared by 10am, did not have our food prepared when we went to retrieve it at 11:30. In fact, the woman who informed us just said, “no one made it,” like this sort of thing happens all the time. I was so mad that I couldn’t talk, but my mother took care of it and ended up getting everything for free. Even though when she went to get it the order WAS STILL INCORRECT. Stay classy, WF.

However, the pros outweighed these few cons. Here are some of my favorite photos.

Marshmallow-free crispy treats I whipped up before we left.
Our lemon-raspberry cake created by Tree House Pastry Shop.

My brother and his girlfriend posing at our photo booth.

Richard, my stepfather, instructing everyone on how to do the electric slide.
Me and my dad, shortly after the ceremony.

I couldn’t resist being adorable. It’s inevitable.

Mom insisted we get a group photo. I thought it was silly, but in the end it looks great.

Ultimately, I found myself very pleased with everything. I am definitely glad we did things the way we did. Some of my favorite moments included:

  • My brother’s heartfelt speech. He told a story about the first time he spent time with Chris and I. He visited for Christmas and was prepared to give her some sort of talk about not hurting me, but after witnessing the two of us together he realized we were perfect for one another.
  • My mother creating Chris and I a romantic table for two, complete with extravagant flower arrangement; and photos of our fur-babies! Such a pleasant and heartwarming surprise.
  • After a heated dance-off between younger guests we awarded my grandmother with our wedding dance-off trophy.
  • And then grandma apparently felt so full of confidence upon securing her new title that she dragged my reluctant father out for a little dance.

The honeymoon began the very next day. I’ll share photos and stories from select portions of that later. Of course, we had grandma in our thoughts 100% of the time. We were fortunate enough to be able to go to her funeral the week after we arrived home. Chris adored her grandmother and once we arrived all of her relatives and her uncle’s friends shared stories with us about how disappointed she was to have missed it.

Being in California that weekend felt pretty surreal. We spent so much time with her family during our last visit. It didn’t seem right that grandma wasn’t there…

Until next time,
With love,
Mrs. and Mrs. Clements

My brother snapped this shot. Live long and prosper, my friends.

It’s closing in on one month since I married my partner of 6 years, Christine.

I had been working on a post to share with readers for weeks and ultimately decided to trash the whole thing. Why? Because there doesn’t seem to be a way for me to describe what it felt like to marry the love of my life, surrounded by friends and family, and during one of the most emotional weeks of my life. A blog post just could not do that justice.

So, the long and short of it is that Chris and I were married, legally, in the state of New Mexico and in the eyes of the federal government, on October 12, 2014, at Hyde Memorial State Park in Santa Fe, NM. The setting was beautiful. The weather, not so much. After putting out decorations, food, etc., the skies opened up and rain came down, wetting our chairs and arbor and forcing us to relocate to inside of the lodge that we rented.

No biggie. It worked out just fine.

Family portraits suffered a tad. We weren’t able to get a good one with Chris’s mom. It was too cold to stay outside for any period of time. So cold it hailed! Look at me, trying not to look like I’m grimacing!

The two of us as newlyweds.

A number of other challenges presented themselves to us that weekend. In no particular order, there was:

  • The rain, obviously.
  • Running out of setup time. We didn’t hang our lanterns or put our favors out on tables. We had to walk our seedlings around out of the box.
  • Chris’s uncle, aunt, and grandmother were unable to attend due to illness. Grandma actually had to be admitted to the hospital for an infection and after a very long week ended up passing away the following Saturday.
  • And Whole Foods, despite saying our catering order would be prepared by 10am, did not have our food prepared when we went to retrieve it at 11:30. In fact, the woman who informed us just said, “no one made it,” like this sort of thing happens all the time. I was so mad that I couldn’t talk, but my mother took care of it and ended up getting everything for free. Even though when she went to get it the order WAS STILL INCORRECT. Stay classy, WF.

However, the pros outweighed these few cons. Here are some of my favorite photos.

Marshmallow-free crispy treats I whipped up before we left.
Our lemon-raspberry cake created by Tree House Pastry Shop.

My brother and his girlfriend posing at our photo booth.

Richard, my stepfather, instructing everyone on how to do the electric slide.
Me and my dad, shortly after the ceremony.

I couldn’t resist being adorable. It’s inevitable.

Mom insisted we get a group photo. I thought it was silly, but in the end it looks great.

Ultimately, I found myself very pleased with everything. I am definitely glad we did things the way we did. Some of my favorite moments included:

  • My brother’s heartfelt speech. He told a story about the first time he spent time with Chris and I. He visited for Christmas and was prepared to give her some sort of talk about not hurting me, but after witnessing the two of us together he realized we were perfect for one another.
  • My mother creating Chris and I a romantic table for two, complete with extravagant flower arrangement; and photos of our fur-babies! Such a pleasant and heartwarming surprise.
  • After a heated dance-off between younger guests we awarded my grandmother with our wedding dance-off trophy.
  • And then grandma apparently felt so full of confidence upon securing her new title that she dragged my reluctant father out for a little dance.

The honeymoon began the very next day. I’ll share photos and stories from select portions of that later. Of course, we had grandma in our thoughts 100% of the time. We were fortunate enough to be able to go to her funeral the week after we arrived home. Chris adored her grandmother and once we arrived all of her relatives and her uncle’s friends shared stories with us about how disappointed she was to have missed it.

Being in California that weekend felt pretty surreal. We spent so much time with her family during our last visit. It didn’t seem right that grandma wasn’t there…

Until next time,
With love,
Mrs. and Mrs. Clements

Quarterly Bites: Winter 2014

As 2014 draws to a close more and more of our time is spent indoors, reflecting on the past 12 months and preparing for a new year full of new opportunities.

Lizz Delicious is officially 3 years old! I began my food blog in December of 2011 after receiving nearly 100% food-related gifts for Christmas. It has been a wonderful and fulfilling journey though not without its challenges.

For 2015, you’ll notice a few changes. To start, let me introduce to you my “Quarterly Bites.” On the 1st day of February, May, August, and November I will be publishing what most people will refer to as blog posts. Mine, however, will be constructed like newsletters. They will include relevant information concerning the goings-on at the Lizz Delicious homestead as well as seasonal inspirations and recipes, product recommendations, promotions, and the like. You’ll be receiving the same great information that you would via weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly blog posts but more concentrated and useful. To sign up via email, click here. Otherwise, be sure that you’re following Lizz Delicious on Facebook or Google+ as the newsletter links will be shared on those pages automatically.

The rest of the site will become more developed with helpful resources and guides and will be geared more toward helping you on your vegan or plant-based journey. I’m really looking forward to it!

What’s New With Lizz
Married life has been great so far! It has been over 2 months and the only thing that’s changed is how much my love for my wife has grown. The two of us have set a goal for ourselves for the coming year; we’re going to go backpacking. It’s going to require some training on our part but it will be well worth the hard work. In fact, if you’d like to follow us on our progress you can do so by subscribing to a blog I created to share our adventures called Expedition Me & You.

In regards to recipe and book development, I am collecting most of my plant-based recipes in a manuscript that I intend to publish some time next year. This will be a print cookbook targeted toward those vegans who want to eat healthier but may not be 100% oil free or gluten free, for instance, though most of the recipes so far are oil-free. I’m having great fun with this one! It will consist primarily of quick, healthy meals for every skill level but will also contain healthier desserts and weekend baking for those who may be interested. Also, I am developing another e-book for vegan pizza fiends. This one will also be geared toward those of us who want to eat healthier but who also want our food to taste good and not necessarily like cardboard! You’ll find recipes in it for whole grain crusts, homemade sauces, faux meats, and nut based cheeses. More details will come after the beginning of the year. To help me with developing recipes, though, I would love to hear about what your favorite pizza is. Making pizza is a personal thing, so if you have recommendations for the best. Pizza. Ever. I really would love to hear about it. Comment on this post or reach out to me via Facebook.

Seasonal Inspiration

For those of you looking to add some more holiday flavor into your menu this week, take a gander at these recipes I’ve previously published on Lizz Delicious. They may just be what you’re looking for!

When it comes to gifts, shopping for vegans can be a bit tricky. Take a look at my list of 15 Great Vegan Stocking Stuffer Ideas for starters. Then, if you’re on the crafty side, don’t forget to check out my e-book of vegan “gifts in a jar.” Vegan Glass Jar Goodies shows you how to make 10 different recipes for layered mixes in jars that can be made for absolutely any occasion. Click here for 3 free recipes from the book!

Frothy Hot Cocoa
This issue’s recipe is for a thick, sweet, chocolatey vegan hot cocoa. It’s warming, filling, and very easy to make.

Ingredients
2 cups plain, unsweetened soymilk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup evaporated cane juice or sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Directions
In a medium saucepan combine all ingredients. Set to medium heat. Whisk frequently until the mixture starts to bubble. At the first sign of bubbles, whisk constantly for 5 minutes until all ingredients are fully incorporated and heated through. If desired, top with homemade coconut whipped cream or serve with vegan marshmallows, a cinnamon stick, or a candy cane.

Makes 2 servings.

Product Recommendations
The lovely folks at Lilly’s Sweets sent me a couple of bags of their vegan dark chocolate baking chips in November. They are not only dairy-free but are also sugar-free, sweetened with stevia. I actually really like stevia as a sweetener, but my wife does not. When I used the baking chips in a batch of blondies, she was absolutely amazed at how similar they tasted to regular baking chips. Yum! They made an excellent addition to my black bean brownies, too, as well as to an oatmeal breakfast cookie (scone) I whipped up, too. If you’re a health-conscious individual looking to cut out a few calories, you should give them a try.

In Closing
Don’t forget to take a break this holiday season. So many of us rush around trying to do everything when we all know that it just isn’t possible. The less happy you are the less happy you’ll be able to make anyone else! Disconnect from the internet for a few minutes each night. Read a relaxing book. Take up a new hobby. Just remember, if you don’t feel like you can get everything done, you probably can’t. Ask for help or just save your ideas for next year instead.

Happy holidays! See you next year!

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

As 2014 draws to a close more and more of our time is spent indoors, reflecting on the past 12 months and preparing for a new year full of new opportunities.

Lizz Delicious is officially 3 years old! I began my food blog in December of 2011 after receiving nearly 100% food-related gifts for Christmas. It has been a wonderful and fulfilling journey though not without its challenges.

For 2015, you’ll notice a few changes. To start, let me introduce to you my “Quarterly Bites.” On the 1st day of February, May, August, and November I will be publishing what most people will refer to as blog posts. Mine, however, will be constructed like newsletters. They will include relevant information concerning the goings-on at the Lizz Delicious homestead as well as seasonal inspirations and recipes, product recommendations, promotions, and the like. You’ll be receiving the same great information that you would via weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly blog posts but more concentrated and useful. To sign up via email, click here. Otherwise, be sure that you’re following Lizz Delicious on Facebook or Google+ as the newsletter links will be shared on those pages automatically.

The rest of the site will become more developed with helpful resources and guides and will be geared more toward helping you on your vegan or plant-based journey. I’m really looking forward to it!

What’s New With Lizz
Married life has been great so far! It has been over 2 months and the only thing that’s changed is how much my love for my wife has grown. The two of us have set a goal for ourselves for the coming year; we’re going to go backpacking. It’s going to require some training on our part but it will be well worth the hard work. In fact, if you’d like to follow us on our progress you can do so by subscribing to a blog I created to share our adventures called Expedition Me & You.

In regards to recipe and book development, I am collecting most of my plant-based recipes in a manuscript that I intend to publish some time next year. This will be a print cookbook targeted toward those vegans who want to eat healthier but may not be 100% oil free or gluten free, for instance, though most of the recipes so far are oil-free. I’m having great fun with this one! It will consist primarily of quick, healthy meals for every skill level but will also contain healthier desserts and weekend baking for those who may be interested. Also, I am developing another e-book for vegan pizza fiends. This one will also be geared toward those of us who want to eat healthier but who also want our food to taste good and not necessarily like cardboard! You’ll find recipes in it for whole grain crusts, homemade sauces, faux meats, and nut based cheeses. More details will come after the beginning of the year. To help me with developing recipes, though, I would love to hear about what your favorite pizza is. Making pizza is a personal thing, so if you have recommendations for the best. Pizza. Ever. I really would love to hear about it. Comment on this post or reach out to me via Facebook.

Seasonal Inspiration

For those of you looking to add some more holiday flavor into your menu this week, take a gander at these recipes I’ve previously published on Lizz Delicious. They may just be what you’re looking for!

When it comes to gifts, shopping for vegans can be a bit tricky. Take a look at my list of 15 Great Vegan Stocking Stuffer Ideas for starters. Then, if you’re on the crafty side, don’t forget to check out my e-book of vegan “gifts in a jar.” Vegan Glass Jar Goodies shows you how to make 10 different recipes for layered mixes in jars that can be made for absolutely any occasion. Click here for 3 free recipes from the book!

Frothy Hot Cocoa
This issue’s recipe is for a thick, sweet, chocolatey vegan hot cocoa. It’s warming, filling, and very easy to make.

Ingredients
2 cups plain, unsweetened soymilk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup evaporated cane juice or sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Directions
In a medium saucepan combine all ingredients. Set to medium heat. Whisk frequently until the mixture starts to bubble. At the first sign of bubbles, whisk constantly for 5 minutes until all ingredients are fully incorporated and heated through. If desired, top with homemade coconut whipped cream or serve with vegan marshmallows, a cinnamon stick, or a candy cane.

Makes 2 servings.

Product Recommendations
The lovely folks at Lilly’s Sweets sent me a couple of bags of their vegan dark chocolate baking chips in November. They are not only dairy-free but are also sugar-free, sweetened with stevia. I actually really like stevia as a sweetener, but my wife does not. When I used the baking chips in a batch of blondies, she was absolutely amazed at how similar they tasted to regular baking chips. Yum! They made an excellent addition to my black bean brownies, too, as well as to an oatmeal breakfast cookie (scone) I whipped up, too. If you’re a health-conscious individual looking to cut out a few calories, you should give them a try.

In Closing
Don’t forget to take a break this holiday season. So many of us rush around trying to do everything when we all know that it just isn’t possible. The less happy you are the less happy you’ll be able to make anyone else! Disconnect from the internet for a few minutes each night. Read a relaxing book. Take up a new hobby. Just remember, if you don’t feel like you can get everything done, you probably can’t. Ask for help or just save your ideas for next year instead.

Happy holidays! See you next year!

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Sesame Za’atar Pepper Soup and Other News

I’ve taken such a liking to gardening since we moved in that I have a hard time tearing myself away from the tiny backyard at all anymore. If it wasn’t for the paper wasps, I’d probably set up a tent there.
My parents visited us for a couple of months (we even got to spend the holidays together for the first time in well over a decade, yay!) and introduced me to the joy of growing my own stuff. I can’t stop planting vegetables, citrus trees (because California), berries, and more. Not to mention scrubbing dirt out from under my fingernails. So far, my thumbs are greener than I feared. Flashbacks to those dreadful moments when all my succulents moved on to a hopefully better life.

Here are a few updates in the form of a bullet-pointy list because you know those are the best kinds of lists.

• My pal Joni and I have a new cookbook coming out in the summer, Vegans Go Nuts. It’s already available for preorder with a publication date of June 2016. I’ve been turning to it repeatedly for quick, healthy, super tasty meals and am quite excited for this title to be hitting the shelves soon. I’ll keep you posted with upcoming developments and events surrounding its release.
In the meantime, please enjoy the sneak peek recipe below with crunchy tortilla chips or pita chips on the side. Considering it’s only Chaz and me versus the world, we generally tend to appreciate smaller yields. If you have more mouths to feed than we do, thumbs up to doubling the recipe. Plus if you like milder foods, either halve the amount of jalapeño or nix it completely.

PS: I highly recommend the 101 Cookbooks za’atar blend, made from scratch with fresh herbs. I often use thyme and oregano in combination.

And just because it’s a question I frequently get asked, I’m adding a tiny list of personal favorite recipes from each book mentioned in this post. Sounds terribly self-absorbed, I know.

Current Top Five Go-To Recipes from Vegan Go Nuts:
1. Vietnamese Peanut Tacos
2. Creamy Cashew Miso Oats
3. Moroccan Pilaf with Pomegranate Walnuts
4. Pad Tahini
5. Thai Fried Wild Rice with Sriracha Lime Cashews

• We’ve also been in a frantic sandwich mood lately over here, so my poor copy of Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day! looks like it needs to retire somewhere peaceful, and take comfort in the fact that its Amazon Kindle ebook alter ego is on sale throughout the month of March for $2.99.

Current Top Five Go-To Recipes from Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day:
1. Carnitas Sandwiches
2. Chazwich
3. Pav Bhaji
4. Chickpea Shawarma
5. Razz-elnut Spinach Sandwiches

• Speaking of books that I constantly turn to for recipes: I had the pleasure (and anxiety, because me + interviews = yikes) of chatting with Brian Patton about The Great Vegan Grains Book on his Sexy Vegan Radidio show. Note that I’ve used my pressure cooker again after recording this interview, and I live to tell the tale. Thanks for the impetus to get over my pressure cooking qualms, Mister Patton.

Current Top Five Go-To Recipes from Great Vegan Grains:
1. Split Pea and Artichoke Rice Mujaddara
2. Einkorn Paella
3. Creamy Amaranth Polenta with Marinara
4. Ras el Hanout Millet
5. Cracked Wheat Koftas

Sesame Za’atar Pepper Soup with Roasted Pepitas
From the upcoming Vegans Go Nuts, published by Fair Winds Press
Gluten-Free Potential
Soy-Free Potential

1 large red bell pepper
1 poblano pepper
1 small jalapeño pepper
1 generous cup (157 g) frozen corn
3 tablespoons (48 g) tahini paste
3 tablespoons (45 ml) water
2 3/4 cups (650 ml) vegetable broth
1 1/2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
Scant 3/4 cup (110 g) diced red onion
1 tablespoon (10 g) za’atar blend
1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons (11 g) tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup (110 g) drained fire-roasted diced tomatoes or any diced tomato
Garnishes: Dry roasted pepitas, fresh cilantro leaves, tortilla chips or pita chips.

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C, or gas mark 7). Place the whole peppers on a medium rimmed baking sheet. Roast until soft and slightly charred, about 25 minutes. Check every 10 minutes to make sure the peppers don’t burn, and flip to char both sides.

At the same time, place the frozen corn in an 8-inch (20 cm) square baking pan, and roast until lightly browned for about 25 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
When done, place the peppers in a glass bowl fitted with a lid to steam for about 10 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, peel the peppers and discard their seeds and core. Mince the jalapeño, and chop the other peppers into bite-size pieces.
While the peppers and corn are roasting, whisk the tahini with the water in a small bowl. Whisk into the broth.

Place the oil and onions in a large pot. Sauté on medium-high heat until quite fragrant and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Lower the heat to medium, and add the za’atar, tomato paste, and garlic, toasting for 30 seconds. Deglaze with the lemon juice. Add the peppers and corn, broth, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered 15 minutes until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Serve topped with garnishes of choice.

Yield: 4 servings

I’ve taken such a liking to gardening since we moved in that I have a hard time tearing myself away from the tiny backyard at all anymore. If it wasn’t for the paper wasps, I’d probably set up a tent there.
My parents visited us for a couple of months (we even got to spend the holidays together for the first time in well over a decade, yay!) and introduced me to the joy of growing my own stuff. I can’t stop planting vegetables, citrus trees (because California), berries, and more. Not to mention scrubbing dirt out from under my fingernails. So far, my thumbs are greener than I feared. Flashbacks to those dreadful moments when all my succulents moved on to a hopefully better life.

Here are a few updates in the form of a bullet-pointy list because you know those are the best kinds of lists.

• My pal Joni and I have a new cookbook coming out in the summer, Vegans Go Nuts. It’s already available for preorder with a publication date of June 2016. I’ve been turning to it repeatedly for quick, healthy, super tasty meals and am quite excited for this title to be hitting the shelves soon. I’ll keep you posted with upcoming developments and events surrounding its release.
In the meantime, please enjoy the sneak peek recipe below with crunchy tortilla chips or pita chips on the side. Considering it’s only Chaz and me versus the world, we generally tend to appreciate smaller yields. If you have more mouths to feed than we do, thumbs up to doubling the recipe. Plus if you like milder foods, either halve the amount of jalapeño or nix it completely.

PS: I highly recommend the 101 Cookbooks za’atar blend, made from scratch with fresh herbs. I often use thyme and oregano in combination.

And just because it’s a question I frequently get asked, I’m adding a tiny list of personal favorite recipes from each book mentioned in this post. Sounds terribly self-absorbed, I know.

Current Top Five Go-To Recipes from Vegan Go Nuts:
1. Vietnamese Peanut Tacos
2. Creamy Cashew Miso Oats
3. Moroccan Pilaf with Pomegranate Walnuts
4. Pad Tahini
5. Thai Fried Wild Rice with Sriracha Lime Cashews

• We’ve also been in a frantic sandwich mood lately over here, so my poor copy of Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day! looks like it needs to retire somewhere peaceful, and take comfort in the fact that its Amazon Kindle ebook alter ego is on sale throughout the month of March for $2.99.

Current Top Five Go-To Recipes from Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day:
1. Carnitas Sandwiches
2. Chazwich
3. Pav Bhaji
4. Chickpea Shawarma
5. Razz-elnut Spinach Sandwiches

• Speaking of books that I constantly turn to for recipes: I had the pleasure (and anxiety, because me + interviews = yikes) of chatting with Brian Patton about The Great Vegan Grains Book on his Sexy Vegan Radidio show. Note that I’ve used my pressure cooker again after recording this interview, and I live to tell the tale. Thanks for the impetus to get over my pressure cooking qualms, Mister Patton.

Current Top Five Go-To Recipes from Great Vegan Grains:
1. Split Pea and Artichoke Rice Mujaddara
2. Einkorn Paella
3. Creamy Amaranth Polenta with Marinara
4. Ras el Hanout Millet
5. Cracked Wheat Koftas

Sesame Za’atar Pepper Soup with Roasted Pepitas
From the upcoming Vegans Go Nuts, published by Fair Winds Press
Gluten-Free Potential
Soy-Free Potential

1 large red bell pepper
1 poblano pepper
1 small jalapeño pepper
1 generous cup (157 g) frozen corn
3 tablespoons (48 g) tahini paste
3 tablespoons (45 ml) water
2 3/4 cups (650 ml) vegetable broth
1 1/2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
Scant 3/4 cup (110 g) diced red onion
1 tablespoon (10 g) za’atar blend
1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons (11 g) tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup (110 g) drained fire-roasted diced tomatoes or any diced tomato
Garnishes: Dry roasted pepitas, fresh cilantro leaves, tortilla chips or pita chips.

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C, or gas mark 7). Place the whole peppers on a medium rimmed baking sheet. Roast until soft and slightly charred, about 25 minutes. Check every 10 minutes to make sure the peppers don’t burn, and flip to char both sides.

At the same time, place the frozen corn in an 8-inch (20 cm) square baking pan, and roast until lightly browned for about 25 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
When done, place the peppers in a glass bowl fitted with a lid to steam for about 10 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, peel the peppers and discard their seeds and core. Mince the jalapeño, and chop the other peppers into bite-size pieces.
While the peppers and corn are roasting, whisk the tahini with the water in a small bowl. Whisk into the broth.

Place the oil and onions in a large pot. Sauté on medium-high heat until quite fragrant and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Lower the heat to medium, and add the za’atar, tomato paste, and garlic, toasting for 30 seconds. Deglaze with the lemon juice. Add the peppers and corn, broth, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered 15 minutes until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Serve topped with garnishes of choice.

Yield: 4 servings