Vegan Portobello Fajitas

What you need to feed 5 (and have a few servings left over for lunches, I can personally attest to the fajita veggies being amazing on a salad)

For the Portobello Fajitas:
4 bell peppers, seeds removed and thinly sliced
2 yellow or white onions (I’ve even used a red one before), cut into thin rounds
4-5 portobello mushrooms, stems removed, wiped clean and thinly sliced (you can use chopped regular mushrooms but the portobello are my favorite! I actually think the chopped little shrooms are what’s pictured. Oops.)
2 tsp minced garlic
Dashes of salt
6 or more tortillas (we usually use the smaller organic ones but you can use any size or brand you wish).

Fajita type toppings:
Pico de gallo
Or our personal favorite: “Tapatio creme” you’ll need hot sauce and Veganaise for that one (instructions below)

How to Fajitas:
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat (if I’m making enough for all 5 of us plus some leftovers for lunches I’ll bust out the big pot). Once hot, add a dash of olive oil or if you’re trying to limit your family’s oil you can use veggie broth (but be prepared to add it in small doses frequently). Toss in the onion.

Honestly I start chopping the peppers as the onion is cooking, when one is done I toss it in and stir.
Chop, chop, chop, toss, stir, stir stir. Continuing till peppers are all chopped and added.

Then I start on the mushrooms. Honestly I don’t have a set “time” for the cooking bit. I just keep stirring and let the flavors bounce off each other. Cut the mushrooms, add to the pan/pot. Cut another, add to the pan/pot.
When all of your mushrooms are done your kitchen will be smelling awesome. Your peppers slightly soft and your onion caramelized.
Turn down your burner to a medium temp, add the garlic and salt, stir occasionally.

Now you’re going to take a small flat pan and place it over a medium-low flame to warm the tortillas, 10-15 seconds on each side is plenty. I’ve also been known to put a heat safe dish over top of the fajita pan (or pot) so the tortillas stay warm as the fajita flavors mingle.

Once you’ve done that you’re done! Add whatever you wish (Co always makes his “Cohan guacamole”) and Brayden likes fresh cilantro and Kap likes cheese (regular, not vegan. To each his own) 🙂

George and I like “Tapatio creme”
It’s completely made up and you can replace the Tapitio with any hot sauce (Sriracha etc) and make it as spicy or mild as you wish.

How to: in a small bowl scoop in 4 tablespoons (or more depending on the size of your group) of Veganaise (I didn’t say THIS part was healthy!).
Now shake the Tapatio over top and stir it all up. Add more hot sauce if you want it spicier, less if you’re a wuss like me. Add in dollop size portions to your tortilla before you put your fillings in. Oh my gosh. So good!

This fajita recipe is rad because it’s not rocket science. You can add more or less of anything and if you want more spice just add different peppers.




Vegan beef stew (a St. Patricks day tradition in our home)

I was asked for this recipe about 6 months ago when I posted this picture on Instagram. I’m ashamed to say I never posted the recipe because I just plain forgot. Sssoooo here it is now, better late than never?

This recipe varies each time I make it depending on how much of each ingredient I have on hand. In my opinion soups and stews are better that way.
Also if you’re a “clean” eater this recipe is not for you. It contains flour and fake meat and potatoes. So of you’re looking for a clean, vegan “beef” stew, look elsewhere.

2 packages Gardein beefless tips, thawed slightly (just leave em on the counter while you chop and grab stuff).
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon of flour (it doesn’t matter what kind but with this recipe it’s an “in for a penny in for a pound” situation so might as well use up that organic all purpose flour that’s been sitting in your cupboard since your Christmas baking.)
3 tablespoons earth balance butter substitute
3 chopped onions
3 tsp minced garlic
4 cups veggie broth
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed (to save time if just quartered baby red potatoes in the past)
4 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces (to save time I’ve also halved baby carrots in the past)

I do need to mention that I have gone against my own code not to use frozen or canned veggies once in this recipe and just bought the “stew veggies” you find at the supermarket where everything is chopped and ready for you. Honestly it tastes the same.

1 teaspoon salt. I use the Himalayan pink rock salt. Plus more to taste.
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon pepper and more to taste.
2 tablespoons water

Now: cook!
Place 1/3 cup flour in a sealable container. Add “beef” tips, shake to coat.
In a pot sauté the flour coated tips with 2 tablespoons of the earth balance. Remove and set aside. Or you can leave it in, I don’t care. I’ve done it both ways (chuckle chuckle)

In the same pan, saute onions in remaining “butter” until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
Add veggie broth, stir to mix everything well (this bit reminds me of making gravy). Return tips to the pot. Add potatoes and carrots. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Add seasonings.
Combine remaining flour with water until smooth; stir into stew. Bring to a boil again; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

BOOM. Done and delicious.

Mair go sona ~ Gáirigh go minic ~ Gráigh alán

Live well ~ Laugh often ~ Love much

Rainy morning French toast with whipped cream (vegan)

French Toast for 5:

12 slices of Eureka Bread (honestly it would be better if you used a thicker bread but in the rare case I eat bread I LOVE the Eureka brand)
2 cup of nondairy milk (I used vanilla almond milk)
4 Tablespoons tofu (I had firm on hand)
2 Dashes of vanilla extract
2 pinches of sea salt
2 Large dashes of cinnamon
Oil for frying (I used an organic spray I found at Mothers market )

Now. Directions:

I’m lazy and just rinsed my blender out (I made the whipped cream first since it needs to chill) and tossed in the milk, tofu, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon.
Spray the pan with oil and heat over a medium heat.
Soak both sides of the bread in the milk mixture (depending on how thick of bread you use. Since the bread I’m using here is average width I just coat both sides quickly).
Put the slice of bread in the the pan and cook until light brown (I give it about 30-40 seconds, thank you Netflix for helping me gauge my cooking times).
Flip to cook the other side. And then flip again…and again….basically till you feel it’s cooked through.
Repeat with all the slices of bread.

You can pair with the almond whipped “cream” (recipe below), maple syrup or in my case: almond whipped cream and all natural strawberry preserves (I’m the chubbiest vegan you’ll ever meet).

The almond whipped “cream” got rave reviews from my youngest who is eternally picky about all food items.

Whipped cream:
Serves a bunch depending on how heavy of a hand you have

16oz firm Tofu
1/2 agave syrup
2 tbsp Soy Milk
2 tbsp Vanilla Extract


Place all the ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Put in the refrigerator for an hour.
Then, dollop it on anything!





Bouncing, hiking, bowling and cooking (a quiet life adventureday post)

So this post will be short and sweet. Our quiet life adventuredays are always a challenge for me to write about. While I find beauty, frivolity and joyful chaos in our everyday life it’s hard to tell others “no really, you can do the same! You don’t even have to go far!” we didn’t even venture outside of our county this last weekend.
It started at Sky High . Co had requested we go to “an indoor trampoline park” because he got an award at school. Truth be told. It’s pricey. Sky high is not where I wanted to go bbbuuutttt they had a groupon.



The manager on duty was awesome though and very helpful (cute younger guy with tattoos in his twenties, I provide the description because I didn’t catch his name). Some of our party had arrived late and he was more than accommodating.

The kids had a blast and when the lights went off for the cosmic bounce they were in heaven. There was only one injury and it was one of the adults in our group so (no offense) it was fine. We stayed for about two and a half hours, jumped on the massive trampolines, tried our luck at dunking basketballs and swung into the foam pit. I loved the foam pit. I felt gritty and disgusting after climbing out but I was laughing too hard to care much.
Note for you germaphobes: the requirement is that you have to jump without shoes or socks….I’m super earthy and I had a hard time with that. They do sell socks with grips though. I forked over the $10 for all of us to have some.
Also a note for you fitness buffs. I wore my HRM out of curiosity and I burned 930 calories in 140 minutes. Just keep up with the kids and you’ll get your butt whooped.





20140123-213307.jpg20140123-213332.jpg20140123-213349.jpg20140123-213341.jpg20140123-213320.jpgNext morning we went hiking at our favorite spot. Santiago Oaks Regional Park. Our friend Eboni met up with us and we went with my mom and dad and got about 4 miles in before the sun started killing us (“it was so chilly when we left the house!”). We come to this park often and the many different trails will offer you different views, sights and challenges. Expect to see horses, snakes, mountain bikers and fellow hikers. It’s not always busy but I recommend getting there early. More and more people have discovered my “fossil hunting” location from my grade school years but I try to forgive them.
You do have to pay for parking but it’s only a few dollars and it goes right back to the park. In other words a good cause.


Later that night. Bowling.
We go to Linbrook Bowling in Anaheim. My friend Melinda is in town from Maryland, my friend Misty came by and we discovered that Cohan is much better than any of us at bowling. We played three games and had an amazing time 🙂


The rest of the weekend we spent meal prepping. In other words pre making side dishes for our dinner meal times so I don’t spend a million years cooking after work during the week. On the menu was heirloom roasted tomatoes, asparagus, cauliflower rice, agave roasted Brussels sprouts and Italian kale. Kap helped me get everything chopped, prepped and into Tupperware while we watched the Rifftrax of wizard of oz.

It was such an amazing, simple, fun and memorable weekend.

                                                                                                           I adore the quiet life.


All hail the mighty kale!

It’s not a secret that I love kale. Seriously I could consume truckloads of this stuff.
My children have not shared my love of kale (my daughter notoriously eats the completely lacking of anything substantial iceberg variety of greens, not that there’s anything wrong with that).
So my goal, find a recipe that makes them like kale half as much as I do. I got pretty darn close with this one.

You will need
•one half a yellow onion chopped
•2 tablespoons minced garlic
•a splash of olive oil (enough so that the onions have a place to simmer around in, not too much)!
•2 bunches of Lacinto Kale (also known as dinosaur kale, it’s the best)
•1 package of Beyond Meat lightly seasoned chicken strips (or meat replacement of your choice)
•2 packages of Rising Moon vegan spinach florentine raviolis
•black salt and black pepper to taste
•Go Veg vegan Parmesan to taste

In pot #1 sauté onions with olive oil over medium heat till translucent, add minced garlic, stirring occasionally

In pot #2 set water to boil

In pot #1 tear the kale away from the spine into bite sized pieces and throw spines away (sounds barbaric doesn’t it)? Tear and tear and tear and tear until both bunches are in the pot, stir to coat the kale in the onion, garlic and oil.

•Dump in your Beyond Meat chicken strips, Go Veg parmesan, black salt and black pepper. Stir to mix and coat everything together.
Let cook over medium high stirring occasionally.

Check on pot #2, is it boiling yet? If it is (or when it does) put your Rising Moon raviolis in and set timer for 8 minutes.

Continue occasionally stirring both pots (I get paranoid about things sticking so hence all the stirring. I’ve never tried it NOT stirring so…*shrugs*)

Turn off heat under pot #1
When ravioli is tender (8 minutes) turn off heat under pot #2, drain and add to pot one.

Now mix mix mix and serve!

The verdict?
My mom (a carnivore who joined us for dinner last night) liked it
George (vegan) loved it
Brayden (15 year old carnivore) liked it.
Kaplan (sometimes vegetarian) 10 year old liked everything but the raviolis (too peppery)
Cohan (crazy picky eater, 8 year old carnivore) liked it a lot except the raviolis (due to peppery taste).

In the raviolis defense, Rising Moon makes epic vegan pasta and when we do eat pasta (which is rarely) I reach for their products first. It was completely my fault that I forgot the Spinach Florentine flavor was “peppery”.

Also for those of you “concerned” about the protein intake of a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle (that’s the first question I get asked “where do you get your protein from?!”):
Children ages 4-8 need 19 grams
Ages 9-13 need 34 grams
And 14 and up need 46-52, upward of 65-99 if you’re an athlete.

This one meal contains 29.2 grams of protein per serving. So a little more than half of what an adult needs in a day. Just saying *hops off soapbox* this guy has some great thoughts on it

All in all I would call this many veggies in one spot (2 bunches of kale equates to about 8 cups) and prepared and ready in 30 minutes! a massive success.







How to make disgusting vegetables not suck


Brussel sprouts.

They have got a BBBBAAADDDD reputation.
However I have discovered a recipe that my kids actually like. Well. 2/3 REALLY like them. The youngest tolerates them as long as they’re “medium well”, that light color pictured below.

My own personal demon.
It smells like black licorice. It’s disgusting. However, I got it in my farm fresh delivery this week so gosh darn it, I was going to be adventurous!

The result? A one pan meal that was done in 15 minute prep time and 30 minute cook time AND it tasted amazing!

Here’s how to do it. Roast the heck out of everything.


What you’ll need

•A bulb of fennel sliced in half and then cut vertically into one inch slices.
•1/2 pound of Brussel sprouts cut in half. I leave the outer leaves on because they get yummily crispy
•1/4 cup olive oil
•2 tbls balsamic vinegar
•grey sea salt and pepper to taste
•package gardein beefless tips (if you want, completely optional)

Put the cut fennel and sliced sprouts on a foil lined baking sheet. I recommend putting the sprouts cut side down. Add oil, vinegar, grey salt and pepper to taste and toss together, add the gardein beefless tips on top if using them.

Now pop that sucker in a preheated 400 degree oven. Cook for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes shake the pan up to slightly jostle and then cook for another 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and serve.

The sprouts are fantastic. The gardein tips pleasantly hardy. The fennel? Eh….I liked it. Didn’t love it. Brussel sprouts when roasted properly almost taste like popcorn. Seriously. Fennel tastes exactly like it smells but “relaxed”, almost nutty with a licorice undertone.
I hate black licorice and the well done bits I wouldn’t mind trying again. A victory as far as I’m concerned.

Regardless, Brussel sprouts aren’t just a meal time punishment anymore. They’re officially one of our favorite side dishes.





A lazy vegan take on Colcannon and Irish Spiced “steak”

I love hearty food. We eat a lot of “good for us” food ’round these parts but every now and then you want something warm, rich and (semi) traditional. That calls for crap I wouldn’t normally keep in my home.

Tonight I wanted Colcannon. BAD. Here’s my lazy vegan version. This isn’t fancy, clean or gourmet. But darn it it hit the spot!

For the Colcannon
Boil together: 2 2/3 cups of vegetable broth
1 tsp grey salt
Pepper to taste (I didn’t use any)
1 tsp minced garlic
4 tbl vegan “butter” they do exist I promise.

While that’s coming to a boil chop either kale or purple lettuce (you can also use cabbage but I prefer kale) I chopped enough for 3 cups.

When the vegetable broth concoction reaches a boil toss in kale and let boil for three minutes. Remove from heat an add 2 2/3 cups *gasp* instant mashed potatoes (be careful purchasing these, you’d be amazed at the processed food that contains milk) and 1 2/3 cup almond milk. Mix well.

For the spiced Irish “steak” (please note this is not a traditional recipe, more or less the gist of it made lazily and quickly)

Spray a pan with olive oil
Sauté fake “beefless” tips (enough for three servings)

1 tsp garlic
2 tbl raw sugar
2 tbl maple syrup (the traditional uses molasses)
1 tsp grey salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp nutmeg
8 oz of stout

Mix well and bring to a boil. Then…just let it keep boiling. I lost track of time because I started multitasking and washing dishes but just keep that burner on high until the “steak” becomes slightly carmelized and the liquid appears to just barely cover the bottom of the pan.

Serve on top of the Colcannon and you’re all set! I’m stupidly full now and feel slightly guilty but it was worth it!