A Helpful Site for Vegetarians to Share Recipes, Information, and Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurant Reviews
I am a Christian wife and mother of four adult children. 16 years ago I prayed for guidance after noticing typical middle age changes in my health, and felt led to pursue a vegetarian lifestyle. It is so exciting to see the positive effects of following a healthy natural diet, not the least of which is a permanent 40 lb. weight loss. God really does know best! I now teach vegetarian cooking classes and try to share what I have learned to help others improve their health and vitality. I believe that once you know "why" the "how" is easy. I try to keep all the recipes I share simple with common ingredients and easy preparation. Eating healthy doesn't have to be difficult.
This book has lived in my heart for a long, long time, but now it is finally published! I am not going to review the book here because I have lived it for so many years (I might be a bit partial), but I hope you will take a look. I pray that readers will be blessed and changed by SMASHING IDOLS. You can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B09G2KJ1M6.
If you have ever thought about making your own sourdough bread, but were intimidated by the online instructions and videos detailing the complicated method involved in creating and keeping a living starter, then this is the book for you. I admit the whole process seemed daunting and mysterious to me. I really didn’t want my life to revolve around feeding a sourdough starter morning and evening for a whole month before even trying to bake bread. If you do some research you will discover that there are dozens of ways to create, and kill, a sourdough starter, and I wasn’t willing to take any chances after that investment of time and effort. This book is perfect for people like me — like you?
Alaska Sourdough, the Real Stuff by a Real Alaskan was first printed in 1976, but has recently been revised for the modern reader. I love the wisdom and charm of Ruth Allman’s notes and advice. She makes everything seem simple, and her common sense style of writing will convince you that yes, even you can bake your own sourdough bread. Throughout this book she intersperses the history of early Alaskan pioneers who depended on their sourdough starter to keep them alive through bone-chilling winters on the frozen tundra. These early pioneers were not expert chefs or bakers. They were in Alaska to homestead, find adventure, and hopefully strike it rich. They did not have the luxury of allowing their sourdough efforts to fail. Their very lives depended on the success of their sourdough, and the author is generous in sharing their many no-nonsense tips and tricks for success.
So, encouraged by their efforts, I dove in and made the starter using her potato water recipe. I expected to wait and feed the starter daily for at least one week before baking. Well, by the second day my starter had nearly doubled in size, and by the third day I had to bake, or it would have overflowed the quart jar where it was bubbling and brewing like a witch’s cauldron. The two loaves of bread I made on the third day came out great! I continued to feed the starter following the author’s simple instructions, and two days later used some to make delicious sourdough hotcakes for three hungry adults. All this in less than one week! I have plans for more bread and sourdough pretzels in the near future. If I can do this, you can, too. I highly recommend Alaska Sourdough, the Real Stuff by a Real Alaskan, by Ruth Allman, and wish you much success on your bread baking adventure!
If you garden, you are probably up to your eyeballs in summer produce by now. We currently don’t have room for a garden where we live, and I do miss growing my own veggies. There is just something so primal about digging in the warm earth and nurturing your own nutrition to life. I guess you can take the girl out of the garden, but you can’t take the garden out of the girl! Fortunately, we have generous friends that are willing to share their bounty with us. Thanks Mary and Rohn! And, that’s how this simple and economical recipe was born.
2 – 3 zucchini, thinly sliced
2 – 3 peppers (red or green), diced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 – 3 large tomatoes, diced (include the juice)
1 – 15 ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup shredded veggie cheese of your choice
Herbamare for seasoning
Vegan parmesan and Italian herbs (garlic, basil, oregano) for topping
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Use a 13 x 9 inch glass casserole dish. Spread about 1 Tbsp olive oil in the bottom of the dish.
Layer one half of the zucchini, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and all the chickpeas.
Season with Italian herbs and Herbamare
Spread shredded veggie cheese over all.
Then layer the remaining half of the zucchini, peppers, onions, tomatoes and a final layer of zucchini.
Drizzle some olive oil over top, just a tablespoon or two (or you can spray some over the top)
Season with Italian herbs, Herbamare, and veggie parmesan. (You can make your own with this recipe: Vegan “Parmesan Cheese”)
Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 1-1/4 hours.
We visited The Greenhouse Cafe in Wyomissing, PA last weekend. What an enjoyable experience! It isn’t often you find a restaurant where all the food is plant-based, so we were in breakfast heaven when we saw their menu. The friendly staff will greet you with a warm welcome and offer to answer any questions you may have. Have any special dietary requirements? Eating gluten-free? They will try to accommodate your request.
We both chose the Tofu Scramble, which came with a side of breakfast potatoes, because we were so hungry. (I apologize for digging in before taking the photo, a very bad habit of mine). This hearty Tofu Scramble will fill you up with no cholesterol to sabotage your diet.
Hot or iced, a non-dairy Matcha Tea Latte is my favorite breakfast drink, because it’s a delicious way to start the day with healthy greens. This matcha latte did not disappoint, and the guilt-free caffeine kick was just what I needed to face the long drive home that morning.
The Greenhouse Cafe offers a casual, relaxed atmosphere. You may choose to dine inside in airconditioned comfort, or outside on the sunny patio (pet friendly). They are open for breakfast and lunch 8 AM – 3 PM most days, close at 6 PM on Wednesday and Friday (closed Monday). You will notice and appreciate the effort that has been put into making sure this cafe truly is green in every way. Food is healthy and prices are reasonable.
Did you know that according to a study following over 1 million children over the first 10 years of their life, children living with dogs, or on a farm, have a 54 percent lower chance of developing asthma over children without animal exposure? These amazing results were published in JAMA Pediatrics in 2015. The theory is that exposure to a varied population of animal microbes in the home may somehow influence the gut microbiome, and change human immune response in the airways.
If you have never tried quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”), here are some things to consider:
Quinoa is one of the least allergenic grains. It contains 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber, and it is a plant protein source of all 9 essential amino acids. Technically a seed, quinoa is nutritionally dense and gluten free. It is an excellent grain substitute for anyone suffering with celiac disease. In addition, the fiber in quinoa acts as a prebiotic by providing food for your beneficial gut flora. If you have a sensitive tummy or live with an inflammatory digestive condition like colitis, you know how important all these factors are to your diet and comfort.
This Veggie Quinoa Casserole is an easy protein-packed main dish that will satisfy even a meat-eater. The recipeserves 2, but I tripled it because I knew people would want seconds.
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
2 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup diced firm tofu (press to drain)
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
Place uncooked quinoa in a sieve and rinse thoroughly under cold running water. Drain.
Press tofu between two paper towel-lined plates with a heavy can of something on top to drain for about 1/2 hour.
In a medium sauce pan, bring 1 cup vegetable broth to a boil. Stir in drained quinoa and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
While quinoa is cooking, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, broccoli florets, and tofu cubes. Stir for one minute, then cover and steam over low heat for two minutes.
Stir in 1/4 cup vegetable broth, mushrooms, and spinach. Cover and cook over medium heat until the mushrooms are soft and the spinach is wilted (about 3 minutes).
Stir the vegetable/tofu mixture into the cooked quinoa. Cover, and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
It seems like rainbows are everywhere today — TV ads, social media, posters, t-shirts and billboards. Did you know that God made the first rainbow? Not as a marketing ploy or a social/political statement; God made so many colors because he knew we would enjoy them!
I love that God thought of color as a primary way to entice humans to find nutritious food. In the beginning God made the different fruits brightly colored and easy to find peeking out from the green leaves in the garden. Fruit is designed to appeal to all of our senses, so we are instinctively drawn to it… IF we aren’t distracted by modern fake food. For a healthy, natural, sweet treat, fruit should be your first choice. Fruit is not only colorful, but fragrant, sweet and juicy, plus it comes in its own edible or biodegradable wrapper. Win! Win! Win! Win!
Isolation, social distancing, schedule changes, constant adaptations to your normal way of living have taken a toll on everyone. Listening to the “news” for a glimmer of hope may only depress you even more, so is it even necessary? The tension and stress of daily life are cumulative if you don’t regularly take some time to let off steam. The good news is the weather is improving, so you can enjoy some outdoor activities again!
While you can’t control everything in this crazy world, you can do something to shift your attitude toward a more optimistic focus. Running, or even fast walking, for just 15 – 30 minutes each day has great mental as well as physical benefits. It not only tones and strengthens your muscles, it also improves blood flow to your entire body including your brain. This releases feel-good endorphins for natural stress relief. The “Runner’s High” we hear so much about is real. That’s what calls many habitual runners to don sneakers and squeeze in a run in any type of weather.
Go at a comfortable yet challenging pace. This level is different for each individual. This is not a race. You are not in competition with anyone. It has been said that if you aren’t sweating, then it isn’t exercise, but you should still be able to converse with another person while exercising. If you haven’t been physically active for a long time, then start slowly and work your way up. If you can only walk half a block, then start there. You are moving more today than yesterday, so celebrate each accomplishment as a WIN! Soon you will be walking one block, two blocks, a mile, then more. You might even turn that walk into a run!
The important thing is to get moving. Now that the weather is warmer and masking is optional, you can go outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine as you walk or run. Fifteen minutes of direct sunlight on your bare arms, face and legs will give your vitamin D levels a real boost, which will in turn improve your natural immune system.
Start now and make daily exercise a priority. You devote so much time and effort to other people and things, you should not feel guilty about taking time for your own physical and mental well-being. You are worth it! If you schedule this time as a meeting on your calendar it will be much harder to ignore. Put your sneakers on first thing in the morning as a reminder to get moving. Now is better than later!
In our house the month of March is kind of a big deal. With a husband who is proud of his British Isles heritage, we try to use every excuse available to celebrate it, especially as we await warmer weather. We start the month of March on the 1st, celebrating St. David’s Day with Welsh potato leek soup. (You can find the recipe here: https://www.wordpress.com/post/vegtutor.com/57). St. David was a 6th century bishop, a vegetarian and he is the patron saint of Wales. On March 17, we move on to St. Patrick’s Day and celebrate the patron saint of Ireland, famous for bringing Christianity to that country. It’s a great opportunity for vegetarians to feast on multiple potato dishes and Irish soda bread. Recently we learned of another dish popular in Scotland. Using modest ingredients it is easy to see how Scottish Rumbledethumps would be a simple comfort food sure to keep you warm when cold winds howl across the moors. Plus, Rumbledethumps is just plain fun to say — that alone may keep the kids asking for it for it for dinner!
This Scottish one-dish meal is made from easy to find ingredients. There are several recipes online that I looked at before coming up with this version. We love Rumbledethumps. I hope you like it, too.
2 1/2 lbs. potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
2 turnips peeled and cubed
1 head green cabbage, chopped
2 large onions, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup organic butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup veggie cheddar cheese (I used Daiya brand)
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large pot boil potatoes and turnips until fork tender, then drain. Mash and set aside.
Place organic butter and olive oil in another large pot and heat over low heat until butter melts. Then add the chopped cabbage and onions and cook covered on medium heat until wilted, but not brown (stir often). Remove from heat.
Add: 1/2 cup veggie cheese (reserve the other half for topping), nutritional yeast, and the mashed potato/turnip mixture. Stir all together with with a large spoon, and add salt and pepper to your taste.
Place entire mixture in a large sprayed glass casserole dish and spread reserved half cup cheese on top. Cover with a lid or foil.
Cook in preheated oven for 30 – 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 5 minutes until cheese topping is slightly brown.
Valentines Day was the perfect opportunity to visit Firestone Culinary Tavern, one of our favorite restaurants in Frederick. Once a 1920-era department store complete with original tin ceilings, Firestone has become a flagship establishment in Frederick’s increasingly dynamic and diverse restaurant scene. Known for its steak and seafood specialties, the menu is farm-to-table fresh and at Firestone they are always willing to accommodate any special dietary requirements… which keeps us coming back again and again. We were so excited to learn that Firestone was open for indoor dining on Valentines Day (50% capacity, masks required unless seated at your table).
There are so many things to love about this restaurant. We like to sit in the mezzanine. With its wall of windows you can enjoy a view of both the active street scene on one side and the bar/lounge area below on the other. We also love that the knowledgeable servers and talented chef are always up for a challenge and never seem satisfied with anything ordinary. Each dish is a delightful surprise of presentation and flavor. On this most recent visit the Brunch Menu offered nothing specifically for vegetarians, and we try to eat vegan, but after a short conversation with our server we were off and running with an array of suggestions to order salad, main course and dessert to make any wholefood plant-based diet lover swoon.
For my salad I requested one of the salads on the menu (arugala, radish, apple) with an exchange of avocado for the goat cheese. No problem! The lemony dressing was a delicious accent to the other flavors, and the salad (served on a dinner plate) was huge.
And notice the size of that teapot! One two-cup teapot full of really hot water per person, offered with a selection of black, green and herbal teas was greatly appreciated on that cold winter day, and they even refilled one of our pots and gave us fresh teabags! It was a restaurant tea miracle! (If you are a tea drinker, you know what I mean). Even the mugs were hot when served. Bless you, Firestone!
Despite the Brunch Menu, the chef whipped up a tasty vegan entree for us with a melange of stir-fried fresh vegetables in a tasty garlic sauce over barley (our choice of grain — the other option was black rice). Complimentary homemade bread was an unexpected treat. It is refreshing to find a chef that doesn’t shrink from a challenge. At Firestone the menu is not carved in stone. Just ask and they will do their best to grant your request. The entire staff takes pride in providing an excellent dining experience whether for a full course meal or just a sandwich.
There were several desserts offered the day we were there, but the most appealing to me was the Pineapple Bread Pudding with coconut cream. We were not expecting it to be so large or we would have shared just one, but I’m not complaining. The second half was just as delicious the next day at home!
If you are trying to eat healthfully, but want to enjoy an unforgettable meal with excellent service, then I would highly recommend Giving Firestone Culinary Tavern a try. It is the perfect place for a special occasion dinner or a quick lunch break when shopping the many quaint stores in the City of Frederick.