Thanksgiving 2015: Sweet Potato Pie Topped with Marshmallows & Homemade Candied Pecans


Look at that gorgeous pie! Sweet potatoes buried under Dandies marshmallows and homemade candied pecans. A great dish for Thanksvegan…I mean Thanksgiving! It was a big hit this year.

I have been making my mother’s recipe for years – it calls for crushed pineapple and orange juice. But this year, I went with something a bit different. I found a recipe by Tyler Florence for Whipped Sweet Potatoes and Bananas. I thought the bananas were a nice touch so I put my own spin on the sweet potato part with my homemade vegan butter and maple syrup and nixed his topping. In my version the topping is perfectly vegan mini marshmallows browned them to perfection and homemade candied pecans. Oh, hello deliciousness!

A few notes: (1) Bake the bananas with the skins on! (2) A 9″ pie plate does the trick for these measurements. (3) Either make the pie part ahead of time or the day of. If made ahead, don’t get upset when it looks like there are brown spots in the mix. The bananas turn a bit but they get covered with the marshmallows so it doesn’t matter. Perhaps a tablespoon of lemon juice next time. Bring to room temperature before placing in the oven. If making right before serving, leave the oven on and after assembling the pie top with the marshmallows, pop it right back in. Either way, bake it until the marshmallows are browned.

Sweet Potato Pie
3 big sweet potatoes or yams
2 bananas, unpeeled
1/4 cup vegan butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons maple syrup
Salt, a big pinch

Dandies, Enough to cover the top of the pie!
Candied pecans (recipe follows), use as much as you want and snack on the rest!

Preheat the oven to 400.

Prick the yams and place them on a baking sheet lined with nonstick foil or parchment paper. (Makes cleanup easier!) Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, depending on your oven and how big the yams are. At the 50 minute mark, check to make sure they are already soft. Then, place the unpeeled bananas on the sheet and bake for 15 minutes more. Everything should be soft!

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut the skins down the middle and squeeze into a large mixing bowl. Cut the top off the banana and peel down one side. Squeeze the banana into the same bowl. Add the butter, maple syrup and salt. Season with a pinch of salt. Use a potato masher to start mashing and then switch to a whisk to whip everything together. Use a spatula to spoon it into the pie dish and smooth out the top.

Top with marshmallows and bake for 20 minutes at 350 or until the marshmallows are browned. Sprinkle with candied pecans. Enjoy!


Candied Pecans
1 cup pecans
1/4 cup coconut sugar

Line a baking sheet. Coarsely chop the pecans and toast for 10 minutes in a 300 oven until fragrant. Let cool.

Place the pecans and sugar together in a small pot and turn the heat to medium. Use a wooden spoon to coat the pecans with the sugar. Be sure to stand there and mix as the sugar is melting. Don’t walk away because sugar burns easily. It should only take a few minutes. (It will kind of look more coated then melted.)

Turn the pecans back out onto the baking sheet, spread them out and let them cool completely. Break up the big clumps and store in an airtight container until ready to use. This can be done up to a week in advance.

How to Make Seasoned Breadcrumbs


My mom used to buy seasoned breadcrumbs that came in a canister. She used them to bread cutlets, in meatballs and meatloaf. I bread tofu and tempeh cutlets, I make meatballs and meatloaf. At first I was just making plain breadcrumbs out of our weekly bread, but now I season them up so they are ready to go whenever I need them!

1 cup bread crumbs *
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (nooch)
1 tablespoons dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons sea salt

To make bread crumbs, use day old bread (at least.) Cut the bread into small cubes and place on a baking sheet. Place in the corner of the kitchen and leave uncovered overnight so the bread dries out. Bake in a 400 oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until browning. When they are cool, pulse them in the food processor until crumbs form, up to 2 minutes.

*You can buy plain bread crumbs if you don’t want to make your own and proceed the same way.

Drop the breadcrumbs into a jar that has a lid. Add the seasonings and shake it up. Store with the lid on and use whenever you need seasoned breadcrumbs.


Ice Cream Shmice Cream #23: Cherry Vanilla


What is there to say about this ice cream? Cherry. Vanilla. Better than Breyer’s fore sure. If you are a Cherry Garcia fan, add 4 oz. of shaved chocolate to the mix when you drop the cherries into the ice cream maker.

2 cans organic coconut milk
3/4 cup vegan sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
8 oz. cherries, chopped *

* I use frozen organic dark sweet cherries. They are already pitted and frozen at the peak of freshness. I measured them on my kitchen scale, but if you don’t have a scale, use about 1 cup.

Whisk together the coconut milk, sugar, and vanilla extract and powder. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Defrost the cherries in a cup with a spout. Place a small strainer over a bowl. Once the cherries are defrosted, pour any juice that is already in the cup into the bowl and then press as much juice out of the cherries as you can. Then turn the cherries out onto a cutting board and run your chef’s knife through them.

Pour the coconut milk mixture into the ice cream maker and churn for 10 minutes. When it is almost done, add the cherry juice and cherries.

Turn out into an ice cream tub or a freezer safe container with a piece of wax paper on top. Freeze, and enjoy!

Book Report: Do Unto Animals

COVER. Do Unto Animals

I can’t tell you what an honor it is to be able to post about Do Unto Animals by Tracey Stewart. The subtitle of the book really says it all – a friendly guide to how to make the lives of animals better.

You might know who Tracey Stewart is. She and her husband Jon Stewart have been all over the news – and not just because Mr. Stewart recently retired from The Daily Show. They just announced that they are turning their farm into the New Jersey branch of Farm Sanctuary! I am so excited – we can hardly wait to visit and see Tracey, her animals, and her garden in real life.

This is book is really special. Tracey starts off by telling us her personal story and how she came to love animals so much. Then she breaks the book down into three sections: Animals at Home, Backyard Wildlife and Falling in Love on the Farm.

In Animals at Home, we learn how to care for cats and dogs, how to massage them, feed them and make them treats. Then in Backyard Wildlife, we learn about the “landscapers” like the bees, butterflies and worms – all of whom we are familiar with because they live in our garden too. There is a sweetness to the way Tracey talks about animals that are not always revered like the bugs, beetles and spiders who make up the “pest control team” in the garden. And of course, the “cleanup crew” – the raccoon, the skunk and the fox who are just as important as everyone else. They have important jobs too and it is just a matter of seeing it from a new perspective.

In the Falling in Love on the Farm section, cows, pigs, goats, sheep, chicken, turkeys, ducks and geese all get special treatment. We learn about how they communicate, what makes them happy and what makes them unhappy (ahem, being eaten.)

We absolutely love the illustrations in this book – they convey love, sweetness and tenderness, especially in the eyes of the animals. Our favorite illustration is “The Real Pig Latin” because we recently adopted and named two piggies (Mama and Mr. Drinky) who were saved from a horrific backyard butcher situation and are now living at the Woodstock Sanctuary. We can’t wait to go visit them with our new found knowledge of their body language!

152-153_The Real Pig Latin

Excerpted from Do Unto Animals by Tracey Stewart (Artisan Books)
Copyright © 2015. Illustrations by Lisel Ashlock

My son and I have spent hours pouring over this book. It takes a super gentle approach and gets the point across at the same time – we do not have dominion over the animals. Our only job is to offer them love and compassion just like everyone and everything else on this planet. I suggest you add this book to your collection ASAP!

How to Make Mustard


Inspired by Miyoko Schinner’s book The Homemade Vegan Pantry, I decided that I needed to make my own condiments. Mayo! Mustard! Ketchup! Oh my!

I know what you are thinking, “There is no way I could make my own condiments.” But I am here to tell you that it is easier than making almost anything else I have ever made.

Mayo – check. Mustard – check. Ketchup? Not so much…but I am not giving up yet.

Anyway, before you say, “that’s not me,” check out how ridiculously easy it is to make mustard. This alcohol-free recipe is kid (and everyone) friendly. It is simply a matter of soaking mustard seeds – did you know they absorb liquid and puff up? I had no idea! I found little packets of organic mustard seeds at Whole Foods – both yellow and brown. Use all yellow (pictured above) or a half and half combo as shown below. It doesn’t taste exactly like the store bought kind – I think it is actually better – so it might take some getting used to. Also, the spiciness of the mustard will decrease over time so don’t worry if at first it burns your nose hairs!

Note: if you are going to make your own stuff like this at home, it might help to order a box of 8 oz. canning jars. They are great for nut butters, jam, and condiments!

Makes about 1 cup

1/4 cup organic mustard seeds
1/4 cup vinegar (white wine or apple cider vinegar are my two favorites!)
1/4 cup filtered water
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Place the ingredients in a jar (that is at least 8oz.) and seal the lid tightly. Shake it up and let it sit for 24 hours. Blend in the Vitamix or blender until it is nice and smooth. Transfer back into the jar, place in the refrigerator and use at will!

IMG_0497 IMG_0502

Note: this is a few hours into soaking. After 24 hours, the mustard seeds will be almost to the top of the liquid line!


Pulled Jackfruit Tacos

IMG_0464 Ok, so jackfruit – the fun and exciting fruit alternative to meat. Candle Cafe makes great jackfruit tacos and nachos, and there are recipes abound all over the internets, so I thought it was time to try jackfruit myself. Here is what a it looks like – that is a whopping 10lb. jackfruit at Whole Foods near my house.


That would be way too much and so I opted for an organic, packed in water, can of jackfruit instead. It is kind of light pink, and the texture is sort of a cross between hearts of palm and artichokes.


Ok, so here is the deal with jackfruit. It’s pinkish and once it is cooked and “pulled” it really looks like a meat that I have NEVER eaten. My husband took one look at it, and was completely turned off. He refused to eat it and I have to admit – I was a little turned off by the look of it too. But my spice mix saved the day because the tacos tasted great.

A note on the spice mix – I didn’t exactly measure I just shook the spices over the mixture until I thought it smelled great. You can use more or less of what you like but I will say that the cinnamon is the best part. I started adding it to my chili recently and it has really upped that game significantly.

This recipe makes enough for 6 tacos.

1 can jackfruit, drained and rinsed
A few big shakes each of paprika, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, oregano
A few smaller shakes each of chipotle pepper, coriander, cinnamon
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 small onion
1/2 cup water
The juice of 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon coconut sugar

Corn tortillas
Shredded lettuce
Kite Hill Soft Ripe Original

Pour out the jackfruit and strain the water. Rinse well and place in a mixing bowl. Add all of the dry spices and press the garlic over the top. Mix together, using hands is easiest, shredding the jackfruit as you go.


Thinly slice the onion and add to a pan with sides and water or oil sauté until softening. Add the jackfruit mixture and stir. Add the water, lime juice and coconut sugar and bring the mixture up to a rapid simmer. Use a potato masher to break up any big pieces of jackfruit. Cover and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring every once in a while, until the water is absorbed.

Assemble your tacos and enjoy!

Miyoko Schinner’s Glorious Butterless Butter


I have been making this recipe since the day I got Miyoko Schinner’s newest book The Homemade Vegan Pantry. There are a few variations in the book and you can see the original recipe (reprinted with permission) here. I am posting the version that I have been making which I don’t plan on changing – because we LOVE it!

I have used this butter to grease the pan for pancakes and crepes and also to butter toast. I have not used it in baking but I’m sure it would work great. The only reason I haven’t is because I don’t usually bake with butter subs because I never liked the way Earth Balance translated in baked goods. This could change all of that.

On Miyoko’s advice, I bought a 12-cavity silicone mold which makes this recipe dealing with the butter super easy. I get 8 cute little butter rectangles, which by the way, transport nicely. I know because I brought some to a friend’s house who lives three hours away (along with some freshly baked bread!) I just wrapped two rectangles in wax paper and transported them in a cold bag.


1 1/2 cups refined coconut oil *
1/2 cup homemade cashew cream **
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
2 teaspoons liquid soy lecithin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

* Use refined coconut oil or the butter will taste like coconut.

** To make the cashew cream, place 1 cup of cashews into the Vitamix and blend with 2 cups of filtered water until super smooth and creamy, at least a minute. If you don’t have a Vitamix, either get one or soak the cashews for 4 hours. Drain the soaking liquid and add new water to make the cream.

Add the ingredients to the Vitamix or blender and let it rip for 2 minutes.

Place the silicone mold on top of a baking sheet and make sure there is room in the freezer to place it flat. This can also be done in the refrigerator but it will take longer to harden up.

Pour the butter into the molds and place in the freezer. When the butter has solidified, pop out the rectangles and place one in a small glass container in the refrigerator and the rest in a freezer safe glass container. Leave them in the freezer until you need them. Enjoy!


Book Report: The Happy Vegan


Russell Simmons has done it again. Just like in Success Through Stillness, in which he distilled the practices of meditation into simple and easy to understand steps that anyone can follow, in The Happy Vegan Russells distills veganism into three easily digestible (pardon the pun) parts: compassion, health and the environment.

I have read a lot of books on the topic of veganism – you can see a list here. Some are about health and some about the animals. Some tie a bunch of topics together but none are as comprehensive at this book. Russell takes the three reasons why it is important to be vegan – for our own health, for the health and welfare of the animals and for the environment – and writes about them in a way that is not judgmental or harsh. He says it like it is and doesn’t mince words.

Russell describes the horrifying conditions in which animals are raised, how terrible it is for them, how terrible it is for the humans who work in those places and for those that eat them. He plaintively asks why anyone would want to eat any of the sh*t that comes out of these so-called farms or CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations). Great question.

The most profound aspect of Russell’s argument is how much slavery and the current situation that is considered animal agriculture have in common. It is a startling and brilliant comparison and needs to be understood – where certain food traditions come from, how the animals are treated and how much what has happened in the past influences how we think today.

We will never truly be free as humans if we continue to enslave and eat animals. Russell has done his part to educate people. This book is being release on Tuesday. Please read it and share with everyone you know. It is truly a game changer.

Goopy Guts Jack O’Lantern Peppers!


So, this is a fun edible Halloween project! I am not a huge fan of the craziness that is Halloween but I was inspired to make these by Forks Over Knives – it is like an art and cooking project at the same time. Fun for all ages!

Orange peppers

Make spaghetti. We let it completely cool mostly because we love cold spaghetti.

Design your Jack O’Lantern pepper faces.


Use a paring knife and carve out the pieces. Stuff with spaghetti – be creative! Eat it right out of the peppers for fun. Enjoy!


Italian Married Soup


I like to make this soup when I have extra tempeh meatballs – it’s easy, it’s soup, and it’s not spaghetti and meatballs. It’s my version of Italian Wedding Soup which apparently is a mistranslation of the Italian phrase “minestra maritata” (“married soup”). It is a reference to the marrying of greens and meatballs – a perfect match!

Makes 2 nice size bowls of soup

1/2 small red onion
1 carrot
1 stalk of celery
3 cups water or veg stock
1 big handful of spinach
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
Meatballs, 3 per bowl
S and P, to taste
Nut parmesan, for garnish

Dice the onions. Drop into a soup pot and start sautéing with either oil or a few tablespoons of water. Cut the carrots into half moons and the celery into similar size pieces. Drop into the pot and season with a pinch of salt and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the water or stock and bring to a boil, cooking until the vegetables are soft. This shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.

Clean the spinach very well and add to the pot. When it has wilted, add the quinoa and meatballs to heat through. Sprinkle with parmesan and enjoy!