"This is the kind of medicine I practice with my patients, and I am excited to share your blog and culinary journey with people who are trying a plant based diet for the first time. You two do a great job showing how delightful this way of living can be. Cheers, Deneb Bates, ND"

Monday, August 5, 2013

Spinach Dal Burritos

We just got back from a road trip up the coast of California, into Canada, and back to AZ via Boise, Salt Lake City, and Bryce Canyon. Along the way we had some awesome food. But every meal we had was measured against our very first meal on the trip in Monterey. While visiting our good friend Angela, she was kind enough to make us a delicious dinner of spinach dal (or dahl) burritos that we fell in LOVE with!

Here's a good approximation of her recipe:
Healthy tortillas (100% whole wheat or brown rice tortillas)
Spinach dal (we followed this recipe on Vegan Eats blog and just left out the oil)
Mashed black beans or vegetarian refried beans
1 potato
1 sweet potato or yam
Any other veggies you want (last night we used zucchini, brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower)

First, cut the potoates into small 1/2 inch cubes and bake in the oven at 400 for 45 minutes. Put the rest of the veggies in a pan and saute them at medium heat. Once they're cooked a little, add the potatoes and continue cooking on high heat for 5 minutes.

Layer on your tortilla beans, veggies, and dal. Wrap up as a burrito and enjoy! One burrito is plenty filling and you will have lots of leftovers using the above ingredients.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Bean Dip, revisited

Amir and I were at a party two weeks ago and there was this amazing bean dip. We literally were responsible for eating at least 50% of it, and there were about 20 other people there! When Amir asked the host if he could get the recipe, she said "It was from your blog!" We had totally forgotten about this recipe, so here's another look at our delicious bean dip...

It's actually really simple to make. All you need is a can of refried black beans with jalapeno (they sell these at Trader Joe's--if you can't get there just make sure there is no oil in the beans you choose), some corn kernels, can of black or other beans, salsa (Amir made his own this time), and pieces of avocado. Mix everything together and there you go!

I like it room temperature and we ate it on corn tortillas that we toasted. Yum.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Letter from Recent Plant Strong Converts

Our good friends, Marc and Traci, recently made the switch to eating plant strong, and we are so happy for them! They feel so good that they decided to share how they feel with with their friends and family. With their permission, I reprinted their letter below. It's pretty amazing!

"I'm planning to send out a bigger more comprehensive e-mail later, but I wanted to get something out to a few people now.  Traci and I have changed our lives for the better in a huge way.

We didn't really get much new information from what we already knew, but we seriously and honestly considered that information for the first time.  

Because I believe it could be as important as life and death, I feel obligated to share the information with you.  

I downloaded and carefully listened to this audio book.

In short, Joel Fuhrman, M.D. uses well documented and controlled scientific studies to make the case that a vegetarian or near vegetarian diet is critical for overall health. As a red meat lover, I didn't want to believe it.  

However, after only one week, Traci and I are amazed. We can tell already he is correct by how our bodies and overall health have been affected.  

Things that have bothered me forever are almost completely gone.  We both feel better.  In fact, I have found I really don't miss my old diet because I prefer the way I feel now much more than I miss my old diet.  
Some of our friends are saying, "I told you so."  I wish I had listened to them earlier, but I am glad I finally did.  Also, I actually enjoy the new diet much more than I ever thought I would.  

I am not interested in being a zealot on THIS issue. :-)   Also, I realize people have to be ready to make changes in their own lives.  Feel free to simply delete this e-mail.  I probably won't harass you.  (no guarantees)

However, I would feel guilty if I didn't at least tell you about something that may drastically improve or even save your life (and those of your kids too).   

If you are interested, at least check out the book I listened to with one of the links I provided above.  Make your own decision.

Dr. Fuhrman's website: http://www.drfuhrman.com/default.aspx

Movie recommended to me by our friends Kristin and Amir who inspired us to take the leap: http://www.forksoverknives.com

If one of you improves your life, as Traci and I did, we would love to hear about it!

Marc J. Victor, Esq. 
Marc J. Victor, P.C.
3920 South Alma School Road, Suite 5
Chandler, Arizona 85248

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Banana Coffee Cake

This was a delicious way to spend a Saturday morning! One of my favorite blogs to read for inspiration is Fat Free Vegan, and they posted an old recipe of this banana coffee cake this morning on Facebook. Well, that was all the motivation I needed to jump out of bed and make this yummy dish.

I used the applesauce substitute because we don't usually have soy yogurt on hand. And I used maple syrup instead of agave and brown sugar instead of turbinado sugar, but otherwise stuck to the recipe exactly. Here's a link to the ingredients and instructions: http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2008/05/banana-coffee-cake.html

Oh, and this website helped me a lot to soften my brown sugar: http://tipnut.com/10-ways-to-soften-hard-brown-sugar/

Monday, April 8, 2013

Asian Fusion Quinoa

We took this dish to a party this weekend. There is no picture because the entire thing got eaten so quickly! The dish was truly delicious, and did not take very long to prepare.

3 medium sized onions, diced
1 pound approx. Brussel sprouts, cut in half
1 package of mushrooms, sliced
1 small head of broccoli, cut into small bites
4 large carrots, sliced
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into small bites
4 medium sized zucchini, diced
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup soy sauce
2 1/2 cups quinoa
1 cup Israeli (pearl) couscous
3 cloves garlic

Dice and saute the onions with water and a splash of soy sauce in the largest pan you own. Add the Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and mushrooms. If you have a lid for the pan, cover and let the veggies soften up for about 10 minutes on medium heat.

Add the couscous and quinoa with enough water to cover everything in the pan. Continue cooking at medium heat for approx 20 minutes. During this time, check on the water level. If it is low, add more until the food is covered again.

While that is cooking, put garlic, soy sauce, and peanut butter in a blender along with a cup of water. Blend until completely smooth. 

Add the sauce to the pan and continually stir to mix the veggies, grains, and sauce. Stop adding additional water at this point in the process and just let everything cook and thicken up. When the water has evaporated and the quinoa and couscous is completely cooked, add all of the other veggies and turn off the heat. Continue stirring everything together for a few minutes.

You're ready to serve! The veggies you add toward the end should have a nice crunch to them while the other veggies are softer. My favorite part are the Brussel sprouts--if we make this again I'll ask Amir to go even heavier on the sprouts! If you like your food salty you may need to add some more soy sauce. By the way, this serves like 12 people so halve the recipe if you don't want that much. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Plant Strong Creamy Potato Casserole

This recipe takes a while--it's one of those dishes that you want to start in the afternoon and it will be done by dinner. Not a 10-minute meal, that's for sure! That being said, it's definitely worth it and you'll have leftovers for days!

4 medium potatoes, sliced thinly
4 leek stalks, diced
1 head of kale, chopped
1 head of cauliflower, chopped
8-10 mushrooms, chopped
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen green peas
3 cups cashews
1 package tofu
1 garlic clove
1 t smoked paprika
2 T Italian seasoning

1. Chop and dice all the veggies.
2. Put the potatoes, leeks, kale, cauliflower in the oven (just dump them into a baking dish) at 400 for an hour. Make sure the baking dish isn't too full--you might need to use a few of them. Keep an eye on your leeks to make sure they don't burn.
3. Using a high powered blender, put the cashews, tofu, garlic, 3 cups of water, and spices in and blend until creamy and smooth. Don't be shy with the salt. :) You can use a regular blender but it will just take longer and you'll probably have to do it in two separate blender portions.
4. Put the baked veggies, frozen veggies, mushrooms, and the sauce in a large casserole pan and mix it all together.
5. Bake at 400 for at least an hour. The top should become pretty dark. If the mushrooms still taste a little "raw", that means it needs more time.

Then just enjoy! We made this last night for some friends on New Years Eve and everybody liked it, even the non-vegans.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday Bagels

When I was a kid, we used to have bagels every Sunday for brunch. I no longer eat the lox and the whitefish salad that I used to, but my love for Sunday bagels has never left. We've just made it more plant strong!

This is a bagel sandwich that Amir made this afternoon. I like mine served open-faced, but you can put them together in a more traditional sandwich style.

Whole wheat bagel, toasted
Vegan cream cheese
Tomato, sliced thick
Avocado, sliced
Red onion, chopped

Spread the cream cheese on the bagel and pile everything else on top! Have a lovely Sunday brunch!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Garbanozo-Cashew-Plum Salad Dressing

Oh, this dressing is really good. I like salads, but this dressing makes me LOVE them. Amir came up with this variation when we had some extra plums laying around that we needed to use up. It's super easy to make and this recipe should give you enough for at least 5 or 6 good hearty salads.

1 cup raw cashews
1 cup garbanzo beans
2 plums (remove pits)
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 cups water
salt to taste

Put all the ingredients in a VitaMix or blender and blend until it's smooth and creamy. If it's too thick, add some more water.

P.S. Hello to our new friend from Sprouts Farmers Market who asked for this recipe! We were standing in line talking about the dressing and she told us she had just started doing Eat to Live. Good luck and please let us know if you would like any other recipes! :)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Strawberry Banana Bread

I know, I was unsure about putting strawberries into a bread, but let me tell you, this turned out AMAZING. And not just "amazing for vegan"--this bread was really gosh-darned good in general. My omnivore sister and brother-in-law even loved it!

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t cinnamon
little less than 1 t baking powder (maybe 3/4?)
1/2 - 3/4 t salt
1/3 cup almond milk
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
overflowing 1/2 cup of maple syrup
1 1/2 T lemon juice
4 very ripe medium-size bananas, mashed
5 strawberries, diced small

Combine all the dry ingredients in one bowl, all the wet ingredients in another bowl. Then pour the wet into the dry and mix together. Don't mix too much, just enough so that there aren't any flour pockets.

Then throw the whole thing into a loaf pan (I spray the pan with Pam and use a paper towel to make sure the whole pan is covered and there isn't excess oil.) and bake at 350 for about 35 minutes uncovered, then approx. 10-15 minutes more with the pan covered in aluminium foil.

Let it cool down (if you can wait long enough!), slice, and enjoy!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Tofu Steaks with Spinach and Peach Crisp

So...this is what happens when Amir leaves me to fend for myself for dinner! I get CREATIVE!

For dinner, I made tofu steaks with spinach. I am a huge tofu fan--I can literally eat it raw, just by itself. So if you're like me, you'll like this simple recipe. Then for dessert, we had some peaches that we needed to use up. I decided to try and improve upon my first peach crisp, and I totally did! This one was delicious.

Tofu steaks with spinach
Package of firm tofu
Seasoned salt
Garlic, fresh or dried

Cut the tofu lengthwise into two "steaks". Wrap it in paper towels and press to remove water from the tofu.

Season each steak with salt and pepper, then put onto a lightly sprayed pan. Heat it on high, pressing it down with your spatula to try and remove all water from the tofu.

When it's nicely browned on both sides, you are done.

Remove from tofu, then saute the spinach in the same pan and add some garlic. When it's wilted it's done!

Peach crisp
Approx. 8 peaches, sliced
2 T ground flaxseed
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1 T maple syrup or agave for the filling, 4 T maple syrup for the topping
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup walnuts

Toss together the sliced peaches, flax seed, cinnamon, and the 1 T maple syrup or agave (I used agave) in a large bowl.

In a food processor or VitaMix, blend together the oats, walnuts, and remaining maple syrup or agave until it is crumbly and damp, but not liquid-y. I added a little tiny bit of water since mine was kind of dry. This is your topping.

Put the peach mix in a casserole dish and top with the topping. Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes until the top is browned.

The nice thing about this peach crisp is that the peaches don't have to be perfect. Ours were not really so good for eating, but wound up being perfect in the dish.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Two Year Plant Strong Anniversary

Amir and I are so excited to celebrate our two year plant strong anniversary today. We had no idea that our 30-day challenge would last for this long, that we would feel this healthy, and that we would have helped so many others to feel healthier, too.

In honor of our anniversary, we thought we would give you our top five things that we've learned in the last two years:

1. It's very easy to be a junk food vegan. It takes much more commitment to truly eat plant strong. We strive to be better every day.

2. Making a big change like this is so much easier if you have your partner's support. If that's not an option, make sure you get support through a friend, mentor, or online community.

3. Our smell and taste has changed so dramatically! We can't stand eggs and cheese now, and we used to love them.

4. We get challenged sometimes by our friends and family who like to give us crap about the way we eat. We have had to learn to ignore it and just not engage in a conflict. (very difficult sometimes)

5. We started eating this way completely for health reasons, but after two years we can now appreciate more than ever that animals are not having to die for our food.

What advice do you have for our third year?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pink Oatmeal

I absolutely go through phases when it comes to breakfast. This was my breakfast for almost three years, then I got into a smoothie phase for about a year and a half, and lately I've found another breakfast love: pink oatmeal!

It's actually much more simple to make than my previous breakfasts, but it's still very tasty. It's funny, now that I am working from home doing My Match Coach I have more time...but it sure doesn't seem like it! I feel busier than ever. So even though I technically have all the time in the world to make a fancy breakfast, this oatmeal is much more appealing to me.

Rolled oats, approx. 1/2 cup
Generous handful of frozen berries (we use the berry mix from Costco that has blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries)

Put the oats in a bowl and add water, enough that the oats are fully saturated and there is some excess water at the top. (If you put too much water you can always microwave for longer.)

Add the frozen berries and microwave for one minute.

Stir and microwave for a second minute. Everything will turn pink at this point from the berries, hence the name. Once your second minute is done, let it cool for a few seconds and enjoy!

I think the berries make it sweet enough but you can always add sweetener if need be. Play around with the amount of oats and water for a few mornings until you find a consistency and quantity you like best.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Quinoa Salad

We made this delicious quinoa salad over the weekend while enjoying a nice day at the pool. Our friend and amazing photographer, Matt Anzur (www.anzurphotography.com), took this beautiful photo with his iPhone--it's still immensely better than any photo I've ever taken!

3-4 cups of cooked quinoa
2 cucumbers (small or 1 large)
2 medium tomatoes or 1 large
1 clove garlic
1/2 small onion
1/2 bunch cilantro, stem included
approx. 6 T lemon juice (you may need to adjust this to taste)
1 jalapeno pepper

Everything except the quinoa is going into the food processor so chop it into larger pieces, then throw it in.

Note: if the jalapeno is really spicy remove the seeds.

Chop it fine in the food processor and mix it in a large bowl with the quinoa. This tasted delicious after being chilled for a few hours.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Yum! These came out really good and so perfect for summer parties! We saw a recipe online for vegan ribs and Amir took it and expanded on it for our lunch today. It was really good--I ate this with some veggies on the side.

Vegetables (enough to fill a blender; we used mushrooms, onion, garlic, carrots, and celery)
1.5 cups of vital wheat gluten
2 t smoked paprika
2 T soy sauce
1 t liquid smoke
2 T nutritional yeast
2 T tahini
BBQ sauce (we use the Organicville brand)
1/2 cup of water

Blend everything except the BBQ sauce and vital wheat gluten.

Mix the vital wheat gluten flour with your blended mix and knead for a few minutes. Then spread it thin in a baking dish and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. (We didn't have a good dish so we actually used a muffin pan!!)

Put it on the grill for 10 minutes until it's a little bit charred, not burned. Put the BBQ sauce on top of the ribs and you're done! These are great by themselves but would also be good in a salad or in a sandwich.

Click here for the original recipe from Fat Free Vegan's blog. I can't wait to make these again!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Souffle

I was in a mood last night where I needed something sweet. It didn't matter what, and we didn't have a lot of ingredients on hand, but I made do and came up with this! It turned out good, but was even better this morning for breakfast after it had a few hours to sit in the fridge and harden. You will notice there is no crust, which is intentional.  

1 can pumpkin pie mix
3/4 cup milk substitute (we used almond)
2 T of flaxseed mixed with 6 T of water (for the egg substitute)
1/2 cup cashews

In your blender, mix the milk, flaxseed mix, and cashews until you get a smooth consistency. Put it in a large mixing bowl and mix in the pumpkin pie mix. 

Pour everything into a pie pan and bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes, then lower the oven to 350 and bake for another approx. 30 minutes. 

As I mentioned above, the pie was best when we let it sit overnight in the fridge, but if you are anything like me and can't wait that long, just throw it in the fridge and let it cool for about 15 minutes to have a slice. 

By the way, as I write this, Amir is getting his third slice of the morning. He says it's the best thing he's ever had, although he might be just trying to encourage me to bake more. :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Vegan Tzatkiki or Greek Yogurt

Tzatkiki is great to eat as a dip for healthy potato chips, on top of a rice and veggie dish (makes it creamy!), or as a spread for sandwiches as a mayo substitute.

If you leave out the garlic and cucumber, the tofu and lemon juice mix makes a Greek yogurt!

1 package firm tofu
Lemon juice to taste (start with 3 T and go from there)
2 cloves garlic
2 mini cucumbers or 1 regular cucumber
salt to taste

Blend the tofu, lemon juice, garlic, and salt until smooth.

Chop the cucumbers slightly, add them to the blender and blend for just a quick second. You don't want to overblend the cucumbers--you want to have chunks.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

New Mixed Beans Recipe

We have improved upon our mixed beans recipe! Amir has made it crazy healthy with the addition of tons of veggies. Our favorite way to eat these beans is to put them on top of a salad for lunch, or just heat up a small cup for a snack! We usually make these on a Sunday and then we have them for the whole week. This recipe makes a TON of beans--you will not be disappointed. 

A note on the types of beans: feel free to experiment with the various types of dried beans out there! At Whole Foods they have "heirloom beans" that have all sorts of crazy names (Eyes of Goat, Tongues of Fire, Mortgage Lifters) and it's fun to try them in this mixture and find out which ones you like best. Amir's favorite are Lima beans. I'm still deciding. 

4 cups total of dried beans (must haves: split peas or lentils or both, pinto) 
1 onion
1 bunch celery
2 cloves garlic
4 cups spinach
2 medium sized carrots
2 large tomatoes
1 T cumin
1 t coriander
1 t pepper
1 T smoked paprika
salt to taste 

Put the beans in a large pot, crock pot, or a pressure cooker (don't put the top on the pressure cooker yet). Add water that covers the beans by three inches and turn on high heat. 

In a high powered blender, mix up celery, garlic, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, spices, and some water (1 cup approx) until it's smooth. If you have a Vitamix, you will need to use the tool that pushes the food down. If you are using a regular blender, you will need to cut all the vegetables before blending. You may need to blend it several times until it's smooth since there are so many veggies. 

When that is done, add the veggie blend to the beans.

Pressure cooker instructions: Put the top on the pressure cooker and cook on high until it pressurizes. After that, turn it to medium low and keep cooking for another hour and a half. 

Crock pot: Put everything in early afternoon and it will be ready the next morning!

Regular pot instructions: When it boils, turn it low until it lightly boils. Keep at this light boil and it will be done the next day (takes about 10 hours total). 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Subway Goes Vegan!!

I so wish we were in Maryland, D.C., or Virginia right now! Subway is doing a limited test of three vegan sandwiches at chains in those states.

Malibu Greek, Sweet Riblet, and Italian Black Bean will be the options. Sweet Riblet? Awesome.

This is such great news. I also just learned that one of my favorite brands, Quorn, also came out with vegan options! Quorn makes vegetarian meat substitutes, but the ingredients usually contain egg. I'll let you know when I learn more.

Sounds like plant strong is taking over the world!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cantaloupe Dessert Drink

This drink is so refreshing for summer and a very healthy dessert. We make ours in our Vitamix--not sure if a regular blender would take care of the dates properly. I'm not sure how this drink would come out with other melons. We've only tried it so far with cantaloupe so if you make it with another melon, let us know how it turns out!

1 cantaloupe, seeds and skin removed
10 small dates or 5 large dates, pitted (make sure to pit them--we've made this mistake before!)
1 cup full of ice

Refrigerate the cantaloupe at least a few hours before so it's nice and cold.

Toss all ingredients in a blender, and blend it up! This makes 4 glasses.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lunch Bragging

I just wanted to brag about my delicious lunch salads that I've been having. After reading Eat to Live again we've been trying to add in more raw veggies to our diet, and we've been eating salad as the main dish every day for lunch. We are going through the CostCo organic spring mix packages like mad--about two to three a week!

So my everyday lunch salad is very simple--spring mix, a handful of cherry tomatoes, and one Persian cucumber sliced. For dressing, I use this 'caesar' type dressing that Amir makes and I'm addicted to. But any oil-free dressing would do--we have several on our blog: http://www.livingplantstrong.com/search?q=dressing.

Then, along with the salad I have a small container of leftovers from the night before or mixed beans that Amir makes every weekend. He's actually improved on his mixed beans recipe--I can't wait to share it! I like to end my lunch with something sweet so I usually have a piece of fruit too, either an apple or a mango or some berries.