Saturday, March 29, 2014


When I buy lean ground turkey, I end up buying four packages of lean ground turkey from Costco and each package is frozen for future use.  If you are thinking why I am buying four packages at a time, it is because Costco does not sell individual one pound packages.  I try to use the ground turkey in different ways.  I decided to make turkey taco salad for supper one night.  I don't think I have ever made turkey taco salad before.  There are numerous ways to make a turkey taco salad.  I wanted to make a healthy version of a taco salad and use ingredients based on what was in the fridge.

I didn't have salsa in the fridge or cupboards but I had sour cream.  I also did not have nacho or taco chips.  I decided to add a cup of cooked brown rice to the turkey mixture in the frying pan as I thought it would add volume to the dish and I also wanted to use the leftover rice.  The meal was great.

Ground turkey and vegetables being sautéed.

Ready to serve.


2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 coloured pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground lean turkey
1/2 tsp chill powder (or more to taste)
1 tsp cumin powder
salt and pepper to taste

shredded lettuce
chopped tomatoes
chopped cucumbers
chopped cilantro
sour cream or plain yogurt
shredded cheese


Heat the olive oil on medium high heat in a non stick frying pan, add the onions, pepper and garlic.  Reduce the heat to medium and saute for five minutes.  Add the ground turkey and continue to sauté until the turkey is cooked (10 minutes or so).  Ensure to break up the pieces of turkey so that you don't have big chunks of meat.  Add the chill powder and cumin and salt and pepper.   Combine well and cook for another few minutes.

To create individual salads, use a large soup or salad bowl.  Layer the bowl with chopped lettuce. Amount is based on how big a salad you want to serve.  Add one half to one cup of turkey mixture to each bowl.  Top with cucumber, tomatoes, cilantro, salsa. shredded cheese and sour cream based on your preference.

The turkey mixture will serve 4 to 6 people depending on portion sizes.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


Many people think of mac n' cheese as comfort food.  Mac n' cheese can be made in some many ways, from pre packaged to basic to gourmet.  I grew up eating cottage cheese with bow ties noodles.  This remains one of my comfort food.

This recipe is not first vegan mac n' cheese I have made.  I have made it using nutritional yeast which is used as a substitute for cheese.  The nutritional yeast was combined with other ingredients including garlic, dry mustard, flour and milk.  This recipe is nut based - cashews and almonds.  I prefer this recipe versus the one that used nutritional yeast.

In making this recipe, I first soaked the nuts for two hours in water.   It softens the nuts and they actually expand.  I also halved the ingredients to make the casserole serve two instead of four.  The servings were quite filling and likely the nuts and olive oil make the dish satisfying.   Both the DH and I enjoyed this dish and I will make it again.

Just out of the oven.

Eating my mac n' cheese after a salad.

Vegan Mac n’ Cheese


3 – 3 1/2 cups of dried pasta (about 10 ounces).  Use short pasta such as macaroni, bow ties, short penne

1 ½ cups almond, coconut or soy milk
¾ cup raw cashews
½ cup raw almonds
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic
2 tsp arrowroot powder or corn starch
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp onion powder or dehydrated onion flakes
¼ tsp dry mustard
1 cup water
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (optional but adds richness)

½ to 1 cup dried whole grain bread crumbs
½ to 1 tbsp olive oil


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Lightly oil an 8 X 12 inch baking dish.

Cook the pasta per the directions.    Once the pasta is almost tender, fully drain but don’t rinse the noodles.  Put the noodles back into the pot.

While the pasta is cooking, the sauce can be prepared.  Using a blender, add half a cup of the milk (reserve the rest) and the rest of the ingredients for the sauce.  Blend the ingredients until the mixture is very smooth.  Add the remaining cup of the milk and blend.  Pour the sauce over the noodles in the pot and combine.  The mixture will look very runny but it will thicken up while it is baking.  Pour the noodles into the casserole dish.   

Prepare the topping by mixing the bread crumbs and oil in a small bowl.  Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top of the casserole.   Cover the casserole with a lid or a piece of tin foil.  Bake for 17 to 18 minutes.  Remove the lid or foil and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes.   You don’t want to over bake the casserole as it will get too dry.  Serves 4.

 Adapted from 'Let them eat vegan' by Dreena Burton

Saturday, March 15, 2014


Some of you may be familiar with the blog site "Oh She Glows", written by Angela Liddon.  Her site is a very popular vegan blog site and has wonderful recipes.  Angela has just written a cookbook with over 100 recipes.  Angela's cookbook and website provides some background on her life's journey.  She talks about switching to a vegan diet about five years ago after struggling for many years with an eating disorder and eating low calorie processed foods.  Her transition to a vegan diet didn't happen overnight, it was a gradual process.  Her cookbook goes into more detail on her lifestyle changes and her cooking trails in creating recipes.  The recipe that started this all for her is a granola bar.  In 2009, Angela created a vegan energy bar and started to sell it online.  She was selling over 500 bars a week and she was making these bars by hand.  The recipe is included in her book.

There are a number of reasons why I like this cookbook.  It has ten easy to understand chapters, the recipes include tips and ingredient substitutions.  There are not many imitation vegan foods and generally the recipes are vegetable, fruit, grain, nuts, legumes and seed based.  The cookbook contains a chapter on ingredients and what a pantry could contain.  I did learn some things reading this chapter.  I also like the photographs of each of the recipes.

There are some recipes in the cookbook that I have been making already and it was good to see her suggestions for them.  I made two of her recipes today which I will blog in the near future.   If you are looking to add a new cookbook to your collection I would recommend this book.  It won't gather dust.

Sunday, March 9, 2014


Cooking vegetables with couscous is convenient in only having to use one large frying pan and you can make the vegetables to be the focus of the recipe.  You can also cook enough to have leftovers for at least two meals.  I used fresh cilantro but you could use other herbs including parsley or dill.  If using fresh dill, I would only use about one tablespoon of chopped fresh dill.   You can also substitute quinoa for the couscous if you want to make this dish gluten free.

Instead of making a salad along with baked chicken breasts, I cooked a variety of vegetables and added couscous while the vegetables were cooking.  I served this couscous vegetable medley with the chicken and that was a perfect supper for the DH and I.

Couscous vegetable medley is ready to be served.

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 mushrooms, chopped
1/4 head of cauliflower, chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 handfuls of fresh spinach
half cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup uncooked couscous
1 cup water


In a large non stick frying pan, heat the oil on medium high.   Add the onion and garlic and sauté for three to four minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the mushrooms.  Cook for a few minutes.  Add the remainder of the vegetables and cook for about three to five minutes.  Add the cilantro, couscous and water, reduce the heat to low and cover.  Cook for ten minutes and occasionally stir the mixture.  Serves four.

Saturday, March 1, 2014


There are many ways to make scalloped potatoes.  You can use different kinds of cheeses, sprinkled cooked bacon on top or through the middle of the casserole.  Not all recipes include onion.  I added onion to the first layer of potatoes.  I used extra old cheddar cheese in the cream sauce.  Before putting the casserole in the oven, I added a mixture of shredded Italian cheeses. The DH and I enjoyed this dish.  And there were leftovers!

Potatoes layered then followed with thinly cut onions.

Cheese cream sauce poured over the first layer of potatoes with the added onions.

Shredded cheese sprinkled on top.  Ready for the oven.

Just out of the oven and ready to serve.
Scalloped Potatoes

2 pounds of thinly sliced potatoes
½ medium size onion, thinly sized 
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup grated or thinly sliced sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated cheese, to sprinkle on top


In a small sauce pan, melt butter and blend in flour.  Let sit for a minute.  Add the cold milk and stir with a whisk.  Season with salt
Cook the sauce on low until smooth and boiling, stirring occasionally with a whisk.  Reduce heat and stir in cheese.

Place half of the sliced potatoes in a lightly greased medium size casserole dish.  Add the sliced onions and spread over the potatoes.

Pour half of cheese sauce over potatoes.  Repeat with second layer of potatoes and cheese sauce.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. 

Bake uncovered for about 1 hour at 350°F.

Modified from