Vegan MoFo Red Week – Red Bell Peppers


Today I am going to show some love to red bell peppers, one of the most wonderful foods on the planet.


Growing up I really had no affection for peppers.  I thought they were too bitter and I didn’t really enjoy their watery crunch.  Now, however, I find them to be a really delicious and refreshing snack option, especially paired with a creamy dip like hummus or even pesto.  I still don’t like the green ones, actually, but red (as well as orange and yellow) I’m down with.

And we all know how incredible roasted red peppers are.  I love to use them in a variety of recipes or put them on a sandwich for a sweet, tangy addition with a mouthwatering texture.  I tend to like to roast my own rather than buying them in a jar or can from the store.  If you’ve never tried roasting your own peppers, I highly recommend it.

Roasted Red Peppers
All you need is a bell pepper or two and some olive oil for brushing.

To Make: Preheat oven to 425. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise, removing the seeds and membranes.  Lightly brush peppers on all sides with olive oil (or you can use a spray can).  Place them cut-side down on a lightly sprayed baking sheet.


Roast for about 20 minutes, until they are soft and the skins are lightly browned/blackened in some places.  When they are done, you can enjoy as is, or if you like them without the skin like I do, place them into a brown paper bag and allow to cool.  When you take them out, the skins will peel right off!

Some people (not me) are lucky enough to have gas stoves, in which case you can actually roast your red pepper directly on the flame!  Doing it in the oven always does the trick for me, though.

Now, have some fun with your roasted red peppers!  They’re delicious as a pizza, pasta, or salad topping, or you can make them into soup…

Soup 001

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper & Basil Bisque
Serves 4, maybe more!
Inactive time: 6-8 hours for soaking cashews and 20 minutes for roasting red peppers
Active time: 20 minutes
(This recipe has been given the omnivore seal of approval by H.)

You Need:
2 red bell peppers, roasted and skins removed
1 cup of cashews, soaked 6-8 hours or overnight
1 tsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 – 3 cloves of garlic, lightly minced
1.5 cups of vegetable broth (use up to 2 cups if you’d like it a little thinner)
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil (you can omit this if you don’t like or don’t have fresh basil)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

To Make:
Drain soaking water from cashews and rinse well.  Warm the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, then add onion and garlic and saute until the onions start to become translucent (usually takes about 3-4 minutes).  Turn off heat and add onion garlic mixture to a blender. Add roasted red peppers, cashews, and vegetable broth and blend until smooth and creamy (this might take a couple of minutes, depending on your blender).  Return blended mixture to saucepan and heat until just warmed through.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Enjoy with crusty bread or your favorite croutons!

I have recently become intrigued by the idea of using roasted red peppers to make sauce as well.  It’s so standard to make pasta or pizza with tomato sauce but red peppers actually stand in surprisingly well and add a depth of flavor to the sauce that is really unique.  I did this last week with a dish from Happy Herbivore, Creole Black Eyed Peas (click for recipe).  The red sauce is made from pureeing sauteed onions with roasted red pepper.  It is absolutely delicious, not to mention fat-free and healthy!

Creole BEP 1Here it is in the blender…

Creole BEPThe scrumptious result

Creole BEP 3A dinner plate the USDA would be proud of!

In what other fun ways do you use bell peppers (red or otherwise)?

Vegan MoFo Red Week – Strawberries


Today I’m having some fun with my favorite berry!

Few things are as beautiful in their simplicity as fresh strawberries. IMG_0801

I eat an exorbitant amount of strawberries during summer months, usually in their raw form. They make a perfect portable breakfast. For example:

Strawberries and pineapple

Strawberries with coconut yogurt and hempseeds

Strawberries and kiwi
Strawberry kiwi

They also make a gorgeous addition to grander breakfasts, such as pancakes with Warm Strawberry Sauce.


A.Cook’s Warm Strawberry Sauce
(This recipe has been given the omnivore seal of approval by H.)
Total time: 15 minutes, including chopping and zesting

You need:
1 1/3 cups of chopped strawberries (medium to small dice depending on how chunky you want it)
1/3 cup orange juice (or you can use water in a pinch)
1/4 cup of strawberry jam
1/2 tsp. citrus zest (optional but highly recommended! I used lemon but orange or lime would be awesome too.)
optional: 1/2-1 tsp. liquid sweetener (such as agave nectar or maple syrup) or to taste

To make: Add all ingredients (except sweetener) to small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until it looks a little bubbly, then lower the heat and cook until the strawberries cook down and the mixture has thickened, stirring frequently. Taste and add sweetener as needed (sometimes your berries will be sweet enough on their own but sometimes they might need a little help! The sweetness of your jam and whether you use orange juice or water will also be a factor.). Use on top of your favorite vegan pancakes (mine are Perfect Pancakes from Vegan Brunch/Vegan With a Vengeance…the recipe is posted here) or as a topping for ice cream or Yonanas!


This recipe makes enough sauce for one hearty pancake breakfast for two with some leftover, or for one moderate pancake breakfast for four. Try stirring any leftover sauce into yogurt or oatmeal, or incorporating it into a smoothie!


Strawberries are wonderful for dessert (obviously!)
Cupcake Platter 1

Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting by Made Just Right (click for recipe). This recipe makes buttercream frosting by whipping Earth Balance together with fresh strawberries and confectioner’s sugar. The flavor is incredible!

In recent months I have actually become extremely fond of pairing strawberries with savory flavors and fresh herbs.

I make Strawberry Salsa by tossing chopped fresh berries with red onion, diced jicama and/or mango, chopped cilantro, and a splash of lime juice.

Strawberry and mint is another favorite combination. I love to have a simple salad with these ingredients (click for recipe):
Happy Meals 010

Or throw a bunch of each in to soak in filtered water. It’s such a simple thing but it feels so luxurious.
Strawberry Mint Water

I also think strawberry and basil is a beautiful pairing. Try my Basilberry Smoothie to use up some of the last of summer’s fruit and herbs!

MoMo 007

Yeah, it’s more purple than red, but the main ingredient is strawberries so I’m sticking with it! 🙂

You Need:
1 cup chia gel (this is made by combining 1 tbsp. chia seeds with 1 cup water and allowing to soak at least 10 minutes, but preferably overnight)
1 cup of frozen strawberries (a little more is okay…I find these are actually pretty hard to measure!)
3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (I used fresh)
4 basil leaves
(optional) 1/2 – 1 tsp. liquid sweetener such as stevia or agave

To Make:
Place all ingredients in blender in the order shown and blend until smooth. Taste and add liquid sweetener if necessary (end-of-summer basil tends to be a little more bitter and the berries less sweet, so sweeten as needed).

What is your favorite way to enjoy strawberries?

Spilling the Greens

Get it?? It’s like beans but…green.  Except not green beans.

I’m tired.

And I’ve been spilling stuff non-stop for the past two days.  This morning I knocked over my bag of chia seeds and they went all over the floor.  Just a minute ago I knocked over my coffee mug at work and it spilled onto a case I had been reading (thankfully just a print out and not an actual court file!).

But yesterday’s spill was the king.  I had hoped to get in to work a little early, so I set up my coffee and prepped my smoothie ingredients the night before.  I was totally jamming and making great time.

I made my pretty purple smoothie:Spill the Greens

1 cup frozen organic strawberries, 1 cup chia gel (1 tbsp. chia seeds + 1 cup water soaked overnight or longer), 1 cup fresh blueberries, 1/2 fresh banana, 1 large collard green leaf, 2 leaves of kale.  [Pause: If I made this again, I might add a touch of liquid sweetener, because my berries weren’t all that sweet.  Resume.]

As I was filling my smoothie cup, I knocked the blender bowl into it and I spilled half (okay maybe like a third) of the smoothie onto the floor.Spill the Greens 012

It was disgusting and surprisingly hard to clean up.  I was not early for work.

Anyway!  I’m getting pretty pumped about Vegan MoFo (that’s the Vegan Month of Food) this year.   I’ve never participated in anything like it before.  And, as is probably crystal clear from scrolling down a few inches on this blog, I don’t publish anything close to 20 posts in a month, ever.  But I have a fun theme in mind, and I’m really excited to challenge myself to be creative and to post very frequently.  It’s starting September 1st this year, and the deadline to sign up is August 28, in case anyone else is interested.

I don’t want to reveal my MoFo theme just yet, but I will say that it does NOT focus on green foods.  I, along with many other herbivores, eat so many greens each and every day that it wouldn’t be all that daring or interesting to do a whole month on green food.  They’ll be there, of course, but not *featured* is all.

To that end, I’m doing a photo dump (or “spill” if you will…see how good I am with themes??) of some yummy green stuff I’ve eaten lately, to get ready to fill my camera up with MoFo pics.

Green Smoothies: nothing new in the blogosphere, but somehow they never get old.  I made this one at home (fresh pineapple, frozen banana, hemp seeds, kale):
Spill the Greens 005

And bought this beautiful thing at Whole Foods:
Spill the Greens 006

My wallet may never forgive me for discovering that Whole Foods has a smoothie and juice bar.  This one is called the Mighty Green and it has unsweetened non-dairy milk (you can choose from coconut, soy, almond, or rice), banana, kale, spinach, avocado, and your choice of fruit (pineapple, mango, strawberries, or blueberries).  The one pictured above was coconut milk and pineapple.  The one below was almond milk and blueberries.

Spill the Greens 002SO GOOD.

Despite all of the Halloween decorations you are seeing in stores, it’s still summer, dammit, and basil is calling my name.
Spill the Greens 003

Half the time I go into a store (well, really, a farm stand) with no plan to buy basil, but then its aroma wafts over to me and it’s game over.  I mean, it’s never going to go bad as long as pesto is a thing.  My favorite recipe (and everyone else’s I’m sure) is the Classic Pesto from Vegan With a Vengeance.

Spill the Greens 004

I could eat this every day for the rest of my life and die happy.

I had a buttload of corn and black bean salad leftover from a barbecue H and I hosted at our house.  The original, ultra-simple salad recipe (by Maria Guadagno) can be found here.  I ate some of the leftovers on tortilla chips, and cooked up the rest with some onion, red bell pepper, garlic, and tomato, and added a little lime juice, fresh cilantro, and some additional cumin (because I can never have enough cumin).

Spill the Greens 008

For 3 days I ate it over steamed collard greens, topped with chipotle hot sauce.  Talk about cheap and cheerful!

Spill the Greens 007

I also have discovered this:

Spill the Greens 3 001

If you like hummus (or “hommos,” I guess?), and you like spinach artichoke dip, you have to try this.  Trust me.  It is creamy and tangy and best of all, dairy free. My favorite way to eat it is spread on crostini (also leftover in droves from this storied barbecue), but regular bread or toast would do just fine.

I want to write a little more about the barbecue H and I had, because I served up a whole lotta vegan food to a bunch of omnivores and it went over pretty swimmingly.  I also found a restaurant in the Boston suburbs that has actually heard the word “vegan” before and I want to give them a write-up too.  I’ll try to get a post on both of these topics up before Vegan MoFo begins.

Make sure you get out and enjoy the last few weeks of summer!!


My family has a little garden patch in our backyard which in the past has yielded mixed results. We’ve had pretty decent tomato harvests in the past though! Anyway this year everything is looking uncharacteristically good (no offense, Daddy!), and so yesterday I took some pics to share…

Here is my dad posing (though he doesn’t look like he is…he’s a natural) with a hoe!

Here is the front view of the garden patch (though it’s looking a little busted right now…don’t know what happened to those two slats on the gate but we’d better fix it fast or the rabbits shall be much happier than we…)

And here are our crops!!!

Basil (we have two plants, can you tell which is the older one?): one of my top 5 favorite herbs, and one which I am SO excited to use in recipes very soon

Tomatoes (we have a few varieties, but these beefsteaks are the first to bear fruit this year)

Lovely Lavender


Swiss Chard


We are also in the market for some squash seeds and plan to plant them for a fall harvest… 🙂

I think it’s so amazing what can come out of the earth, and watching it happen in front of my eyes only increases my amazement!