Sep 6, 2018

"vegan reset" + giveaway

Bet you didn't think I'd post again this soon, did ya? I didn't think so, either, but I wanted to let you know about a cookbook coming out this week that is pretty amazing, as a matter of fact. Vegan Reset (Amazon) was written by Kim-Julie Hansen of Brussels Vegan (though now the site is

Kim-Julie explains that "reset" is just like it sounds; think of restarting a machine that's been malfunctioning or not working the way it should and pressing the magic button to send it back to the reset stage. 

She explains that the book is about giving your body the love and attention it needs to survive and thrive. 

There are a few things I love about the book. 

She does a reset section, which is roughly half of the book, that covers 28 days (4 weeks) of menus, breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack, and she gives you the menus, the shopping lists and the bulk cooking strategies (along with all the recipes for everything!) of each week. Now reread this paragraph because it is packed.

Did you get that? She is basically holding your hand and walking you through each day of each week, for a month. The menus are there, the shopping lists are provided and the methods and process of bulk cooking twice a week is spelled out. All the recipes are with the weeks and everything has a photo. Each meal and each menu item.

Great, you say, but I don't want a reset. I just want to cook and eat. In addition to all the recipes and menu ideas for the weeks, for each meal, she also provides regular menu items that help you along, either after the reset, or just as a regular dinner or lunch or breakfast dish.

Let me be clear. Although this book can be used as a "reset," complete with 84 meal dishes and their recipes, it can also be used just as a regular cookbook of great meals, including drinks and desserts. Or you can choose a few days in a row that sound good to you and cook those meals. The reset part of the book is a bonus; the entire book is a gem.

Here is a sampling:

This is a Beet Salad with Miso-Ginger Tempeh and Red Quinoa.  This salad bowl is a composition of other parts of the meal of the week, on Day 22. The other meals this day are: Oatmeal with Papaya & Brazil Nuts for breakfast and Creamy Butternut Noodles for dinner.  

This Spinach Pasta with Zucchini-Nut Sauce is a recipe out of the fourth part of the book, named "Beyond Reset: Additional Recipes." This was a perfect summer dinner.

This Zucchini Bake was an ideal addition to our lunchbox. Because the potatoes were creamy, there was no harm done to the texture as it sat in the fridge the night before, and in the lunch box all day. Cashews are the base to this cream sauce. The other meals on this day, Day 26, are, for breakfast, Sunflower Seed & Berry Toast and for lunch, Heart of Palm & Kale Salad.

I doubled these recipes because, while the book is great for 1 person resetting, the recipes are made for 2 servings (or so) and we are a family of 5.

Now, you know the drill: test the recipe below and enter the contest to win a copy of the book Vegan Reset, US residents only, please. The contest ends on September 17, 2018. Good luck!

Excerpted from VEGAN RESET © 2018 by Best of Vegan LLC. Photography © 2018 by Best of Vegan LLC. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.


¼ cup regular or gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of sea salt
¾ cup soy milk
3 tablespoons maple syrup,  plus more for serving
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut, for serving
Fresh cherries or other fruit,  for serving

1. Mix the flour, cornstarch, flaxseed, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.

2. In a separate bowl, mix the soy milk, maple syrup, coconut oil, vinegar, and vanilla.

3. Combine the wet and dry mixtures and whisk together thoroughly.

4. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, then scoop 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter per pancake into the skillet. Cook on each side until brown.

5. Serve with the coconut, cherries, and additional maple syrup.

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Sep 1, 2018

"the china study cookbook" + giveaway

I am so excited to share with you the revised and expanded edition of Leanne Campbell's The China Study Cookbook [Amazon].  This whole foods, plant-based cookbook is just fantastic! The photos are brand-new, the recipes have been revised, the format is simple and clean, the food tastes great and the recipes are easy and fast!

Basically, the perfect WFPB cookbook (Whole Foods, Plant-Based eating is eating whole foods exclusively, that are only plant-based. This means no oil or any processed ingredients)! I love it and I know that it would be a great asset to a lot of people.

As usual, don't take my word for it - let's look at some pictures and then I'll share a recipe with you to try for yourself - one that is a favorite of Leanne's kids (who are now adults, but they were kids once, too). I know that if you make that dish, it will show you just how terrific the recipes in the book are.

I'm not kidding when I tell you that I really love this book;  I had to try something in almost every category!

Let's start with this salad: Ensalada Azteca. It reminded me of Native Food's salad by the same name, but this one uses no oil and I love that! The flavors are perfect and the salad was very filling. This is a main dish salad that won't leave you feeling hungry.  I roasted the corn for the salad (I had a few extra minutes, and it's worth it), but otherwise, the recipe is pictured as written.

I then moved on to salad's complement: soup. This is the Peanut Kale Soup, and while the flavors were great and the recipe was quick and easy (and I used PB2 instead of peanut butter), my version doesn't look like the photo in the book. Regardless, we loved it and ate it all.

The next logical place to go is to a sandwich! To not disappoint,  I prepared this Roasted Veggie Sub. The sub features any of a number of Savory Sandwich Spreads (Golden Garden Mayonnaise, Aioli Sauce, Chipotle Sauce), here I have chosen the Aioli Sauce.

Since school has started again for the kids and me (we are all in college), this Asian Ginger Cabbage Salad was the perfect lunchbox meal. It was great at room temperature and it is full of good carbs, vegetables and protein. I loved this one for multiple reasons.

Baking WFPB means that the flour is whole grain and there is no added processed fat, like vegan butter or oil. These Potato Rolls, made with whole wheat pastry flour, were fabulous. They were fluffy, tender and delicious. I served them with the pasta that I made next...

For the family pasta meal, I opted for the Spaghetti with Tomato Coconut Sauce, and I am so glad I did. We've been a little burned out on regular tomato sauce here, so the spin with the coconut-cilantro was just what we needed.

Finally, I couldn't not make a sweet dish! I chose something that my daughter likes: Lemon Poppy Muffins. These had just the right amount of sweetness - not too much, not too little - and they were beautifully tart from the lemons. We enjoyed these with a cup of tea. So good!

As you can see, the recipes are varied and, even if you don't believe me when I say they tasted terrific, you can at least see that they look terrific! How about you try the following recipe from The China Study Cookbook - Revised and Expanded Edition?

I chose the Dominican Rice and Beans (p 207) to share with you? Why? Because Leanne says that this was one of her kids' favorite meals! Whatever kids say they love, has to be good all around, especially when one of those favorites is healthy, to boot! The recipe is from The China Study Cookbook - Revised and Expanded Edition by Leanne Campbell, and the recipe is shared with permission. Photo is by Nicole Axworthy.

After you peruse the recipe, make sure to enter the contest to win a copy of the book! US residents only, please. Contest ends Monday at midnight, September 10, 2018. Good luck!



My sons, now 24 and 23, were raised on a plant-based diet, and if you ask them what their favorite meal is, they both immediately respond Dominican Rice and Beans, topped with fresh salad. The secret to this meal is to top the rice and beans with fresh salad and avocados, then drizzle with lemon juice and/or rice vinegar.

Rice and Beans
¼ cup diced onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup chopped green bell peppers
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons vegetable broth
2 cups water
2 (15-ounce) cans beans of your choice (pinto, black, red, etc.), rinsed and drained
½ cup grated butternut squash
1½ tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups cooked brown rice, for serving

2 cups sliced lettuce
2 cups sliced cabbage
¾ cup sliced cucumber
¾ cup sliced beets
1 tomato, sliced
1 large avocado, pitted and sliced
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons water
¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

1. In a large saucepan, sauté onions, garlic, bell peppers, and cilantro in vegetable broth over medium-high heat until onions brown.
2. Add water, beans, and squash. Bring to a low simmer and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
3. While the beans are cooking, prepare the salad. In a large salad bowl, toss together all ingredients. Set aside.
4. Once the beans cook, add tomato paste and salt. Taste and add more salt if needed. Cook for 2–3 more minutes. Remove from heat.
5. Serve beans over rice and top with salad.

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Jun 4, 2018

easy baked vegan mac and cheese

Cat - age 4

The other day my oldest daughter and I were remembering back a few decades, when we first went vegan, when the most important thing to her was to re-create her beloved mac and cheese dish.

She and I began experimenting with what was available to us (nutritional yeast, red peppers, vegan cheese slices (you know, the waxy substance parading as cheese between two thin strips of plastic) and came up with a really simple recipe that has been lost these past decades.

Well, I dug it up from the recesses of the web and she and I fixed it up by

  • removing the oil and processed stuff, 
  • adding more flavor and 
  • making it easier to prepare - no roux or slurry. 

This is what we came up with. It is creamy and cheesy and really easy to make.

As an aside, she loves dill with mac and cheese, so it is an option in the recipe below.


Apr 29, 2018

"Jazzy Vegetarian's Deliciously Vegan" + giveaway

Hello web-land!

I have exciting news for all of you!

I am one of the final folks reviewing Laura's newest cookbook, Jazzy Vegetarian's Deliciously Vegan [AMAZON] and am hosting a giveaway for a copy of the book to one lucky US resident!

For those not able to take part in the giveaway, I am sharing an exclusive recipe - one that hasn't been posted yet (that Google and I can find, anyway - please don't tell me if you do find it elsewhere; let me live in my bubble).

This will be the third time I am reviewing Laura's books. HERE is the first one and HERE is the second one. They both come with their own special recipes, so are definitely worth a look.

More in the great news department: The Jazzy Vegetarian Season Six will start on May 28th! Catch it on Create TV or on Laura's station: HERE.

The newest book in Laura's collection of offerings is Jazzy Vegetarian's Deliciously Vegan.

This is Laura's fourth cookbook and I could hardly wait to see what she came up with this time! I find something new in Laura's book with regular frequency, so for me, this was really exciting!

This book comes with a collection of Laura's Top Ten lists for things such as egg substitutions, two-ingredient recipes, cheese substitutes, etc...

And of course, my favorite thing in all of her books: the menus!

I am such a sucker for menus! I love to serve 'complete' meals and a menu is a great way to make sure of that -- all headache-free.

So that's where I started, the Menus. And this is what I found:

Yeah, I am  a brunch-aholic. I love reviewing brunch items because, frankly, brunch is hard to make vegan, with all the cheese and eggs that are usually involved. Laura seems to have made it with perfection.

And then I looked at the ingredients in the recipes and the ingredients in my fridge. We get CSA so we don't always have just exactly what is called for, so a bit of editing of the menu brought me to this...

So, "Wow! Weekend Brunch 2" was born.

And then I realized I didn't get blueberries this week, but I did get strawberries, so the cake turned into Strawberry Tea Cakes. Since dessert usually has to be made well beforehand, the cake came out of the oven first -- smelling amazing, by the way.

Next on the game plan was the Fabulous French Toast Bake. I bake all our bread (except pita and other large flatbreads) so this mal-formed 50%-whole wheat loaf was destined to become toast.

(Why bake bread at home: store bought has its own legacy of troubles, but for me the biggest is the plastic bag they come in. I can buy great, organic, wholesome, delicious bread, but they come in plastic bags. To save the plastic, I bake our bread.)

Unfortunately, I don't have a photo for the French Toast Bake due to cook's error.

Simply put, I messed up the directions (my fault, 100%) and the bake didn't look like it should have and I didn't want to taint Laura's recipe. In any case, it came out tasting great and disappeared as soon as I put it on the table.

The other main dish on the menu is a quiche cup. Zucchini season is already on us here, in San Diego, so these miniature quiches, Zucchini Quiche Cups with Rustic Bread Crusts, were destined to be. 

This is a really simple recipe but supremely tasty. My eldest daughter couldn't keep her hands off them! Nicely done, Laura. She is extremely discerning!

How about, instead of a fruit salad, confetti fries? See how my brain works? Not very logically, I'm afraid. 

The recipe, Colorful Confetti Fries, calls for sweet potatoes and russets, and ... (you can probably see where I'm going with this) ... my CSA brought me kholrabi and sweet potatoes, not russets. 

Nevertheless, Laura's recipes are pretty flexible and this one was no exception. Any root vegetable would be great here so don't be shy.   

In addition to the root vegetables being air-fried and the zucchini in the quiche, I wanted to serve another vegetable.

I saw this recipe in the book: Green Beans and Tomatoes. I happen to have both in spades right now, and the recipe was so easy, and looked so good, that onto the "Wow! Weekend Brunch 2" it went!

Isn't it a pretty color combination? Pretty food also happens to taste good!

To round off the menu, a drink is always appropriate. 

In fact, when I told my daughter that we were having the brunch, her first question was what kind of drink will we be having with it. Her usual go-to is a big batch of some kind of iced tea, but she was very happy with Laura's Green Julius Smoothie

To make up for the lack of a photo of the French Toast Bake, I offer you a photo of the complete Strawberry Tea Cakes. They are both spectacular dishes. 

As always, first I want to share a recipe with you from the book. This time I wanted to pick something that was not shared already and something that shows you that this isn't just a brunch book, it's also a lunch, dinner, snack, dessert book! 

It is full of healthy and delicious recipes that are easy and pretty fast to make. And each one has Laura's unique Jazzy spin. 

Take the recipe below for a spin, or have a look at some of the other recipes being shared on this tour:

Tex-Mex Salad Bowl  shared by Veggies Save the Day
Miso Parsley Humus  shared by Veggies Inspired 
Root Vegetable Lentil Trio Stew  by V Nutrition and Wellness
Lemon Maple-Cranberry Muffins shared by Veganification
Banana Pecan Coffee Cake shared by Vegan Nook
Potato Spinach Fritatta shared by Heal, Grow, Blossom
Sensational Stuffed Manicotti shared Finding Happy in Healthy

I am sharing this amazing-sounding Gingered Portobellos dish. After you get the recipe, make sure to enter the giveaway for a copy of Jazzy Vegetarian's Deliciously Vegan [AMAZON]  :


WinJazzy Vegetarian's Deliciously Vegan [AMAZON]
When: April 29 - May 7, 2018
What: Giveaway on Zsu's Vegan Pantry. [LINK TO HERE]
Who: US Residents only
How: Enter in the Rafflecopter below

Gingered Portobello Steaks

These delicious mushroom steaks taste and look much like a conventional steak, making a great substitute for a meat entrée. I like to serve this snazzy dish for dinner parties, but it is easy enough to make for a weeknight meal, too!

3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more as needed
6 large (or 8 medium) portobello mushrooms, washed and stems removed
2 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/16 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Line a rimmed baking sheet, large enough to accommodate a single layer of the mushrooms, with unbleached parchment paper. Brush about 1/2 teaspoon olive oil (in a thin layer) on each mushroom cap, then flip the mushrooms over and arrange them gill-side up on the prepared baking sheet.

To make the marinade, put 21/2 tablespoons of olive oil and the tamari into a small bowl and briskly whisk to combine. Add the ginger, garlic, maple syrup and cayenne pepper and whisk to combine. Spoon an equal amount (about 2 teaspoons or so) of the marinade evenly over the gills of each mushroom. Cover with foil and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour to let the flavors marry.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake the mushrooms for 35 to 50 minutes (see note) or until they are almost soft. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, or until the mushrooms are golden and becoming caramelized.

Let the mushrooms rest at room temperature for 5 minutes. Transfer each mushroom onto a cutting board and cut into thick slices, on the bias. Serve 1 to 2 mushrooms per person, with rice, quinoa, or potatoes and a green veggie on the side.

CHEF’S NOTE: Baking time will vary depending upon the thickness of your mushrooms. Thinner mushrooms will require a shorter baking time, while thicker mushrooms will need to bake longer.

Recipe by Laura Theodore, from JazzyVegetarian's Deliciously Vegan. Published by Scribe Publishing, ©2018, reprinted by permission. 

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