Strong Arms for Kids

This granola has lots of little secrets that help make it some of the best granola I have ever eaten.  I like my granola on the "not so sweet" side, so feel free to add more agave nectar if you like your granola on the sweeter side of life :-)


3 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup flax seeds, ground
1/4 oat bran
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup dried mango, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together first 8 ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Spread out onto a baking sheet and place in oven, once the oven is hot.  Bake in oven for about 25 minutes, until the oats are nicely toasted brown.  Make sure to mix the granola mixture every five minutes while baking.  Once granola is baked to perfection, take out of oven, let cool and add the last three ingredients.  Enjoy!
These muffins are super healthy for you to make your body happy ...delicious to make your tongue happy...and vegan to make the animals happy...what more could you ask for in a muffin.

start the night before by putting 1 cup oatmeal and 1/2 cup of almond milk in a container and leave it in the refrigerator.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
oatmeal from the refrigerator

1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 mashed banana
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup maple syrup

2 cups sliced strawberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix dry ingredients in one bowl.  Mix wet ingredients in separate bowl.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.  When its completely blended, add the strawberries.  Mix just until the strawberries are incorporated into the mix.  Put in muffin pan (should make 12 muffins).  Bake for 20-25 minutes.
This recipe is for anyone who doesn't believe that vegetarian food can be as delicious and satisfying as non-vegetarian food.  Of course, all you vegetarians can make it and enjoy too!  I got the recipe for the tempeh and the onions from the Delicious TV Podcast that I love, and decided to make it into a spinach salad.  Its delicious, spicy and filling.

Spicy Caramelized Onions

Slice 2 medium onions. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a sauce pan.  After a minute add the onions and lower the heat to medium-low.  You want the onions to cook slowly.  Sprinkle some salt over the onions.  Toss the onions frequently.  Once the onions start to brown (it should take at least 10-15 minutes), add 1/2 tsp tomato paste and 1/2 tsp hot sauce (you can add more if you like).  Heat for 1-2 minutes more and your onions are done.

Dijon Tempeh

Cut the block of tempeh into quarters.  Take each quarter and slice it down the middle to make each quarter thinner.  To make the sauce:  in a bowl add 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 cup of white wine, 2 heaping spoonfuls of Dijon mustard and 2 cloves of mashed garlic (I used a mortar and pestle but you can also use garlic paste).  Whisk all the ingredients together.  Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a sauce pan.  Once the oil is super hot, add the tempeh.  When the tempeh is golden brown on one side, flip them over and let them brown on the other side.  When the tempeh is cooked on both sides, add the sauce to the pan.  Let the tempeh cook in the sauce, on medium heat, for 12-15 minutes. 

You can either eat this on top of spinach greens, or Toni (from Delicious TV) also suggests making a sandwich with the tempeh and onions which also sounds really good.  Enjoy!
I am always excited to find a new way to cook with my new favorite food item (tempeh) and when its a lot different from a new marinade and it actually comes out as well as it sounds, it makes me even happier.  I adapted this tempeh pie from the website 500 Vegan Recipes.  The pie is packed with flavor and holds together perfectly. 

Tempeh Pie

For the filling:
2 teaspoons orange zest, about 2 oranges
1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh orange juice, about 2 oranges
1 tablespoon (15 ml) toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons (30 ml) soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional, to taste
2 teaspoons ground ginger
8 ounces (227 g) tempeh, crumbled
1 tablespoon (15 ml) peanut oil
2 cups (380 g) frozen chopped spinach

1/2 package frozen peas

For the crust:
1/2 cup rolled oats
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
1 tablespoon unflavored soy milk or water
1/3 cup light sesame oil or pure olive oil
1 tablespoon (75 ml) fresh orange juice

To make the filling:
In a medium bowl, whisk zest, juice, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, optional red pepper flakes, and ginger.
Stir in tempeh. Marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
Heat oil in a large saucepan. Cook marinated tempeh, along with marinade, on medium heat until it browns up, for about 8 minutes. Add spinach and peas and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5).

To make the crust:
To make the crust, spread the oats and sesame seeds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8 minutes. 3. Transfer the toasted oats and sesame seeds to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper, and process until the oats are finely ground.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy milk, orange juice and oil. Using a wooden spoon, mix in the dry ingredients to form a dough.

5. Lightly brush a 9-inch or 10-inch tart pan with oil. Put the dough in the tart pan. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the dough and press down evenly, making sure to fill in the fluted sides of the pan. Trim the tart of any excess dough and refrigerate while you make the filling.

Yield: 4 servings
I adapted this recipe from  I remember making this quiche a long time ago in Japan.  I followed the directions word for word (well as best as I could) and I don't remember it coming out that well.  I am sure it wasn't the recipes fault.  I am sure I did something wrong, and that is exactly why I wanted to try it again.  It just sounded so delicious and healthy for you, that I had to give it another try.  And I am glad I did.  I didn't follow the recipe exactly, but only due to the fact that I just wanted to use up what I had in the refrigerator.  It came out soooooo good, that I must say I was quite impressed with myself.  The crust still wasn't perfect (it may have been the flour I used, or my lack of experience) but it didn't seem to effect the quiche at all.  The photo is from heating it up in the oven the second night, hence the big piece missing.  And I can't wait to have it again tonight!

Broccoli Asparagus Tofu Quiche

For the crust:
1/2 cup rolled oats
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or whole spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
1/3 cup unflavored soy milk or water
1/3 cup light sesame oil or pure olive oil plus more for brushing the pan

For the filling:
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely diced onion
10 ounces white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons dry white wine or water
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
3 garlic cloves, slice crosswise into 1/8-inch rounds
10 to 12 fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 pound firm tofu, rinsed and patted dry
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 cups broccoli, lightly steamed and chopped
1 cup asparagus, lightly steamed and chopped
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
Paprika for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 350.

2. To make the crust, spread the oats and sesame seeds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8 minutes.

3. Transfer the toasted oats and sesame seeds to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper, and process until the oats are finely ground.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy milk and oil. Using a wooden spoon, mix in the dry ingredients to form a dough.

5. Lightly brush a 9-inch or 10-inch tart pan with oil. Put the dough in the tart pan. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the dough and press down evenly, making sure to fill in the fluted sides of the pan. Trim the tart of any excess dough and refrigerate while you make the filling.

6. To make the filling, in a wide saute pan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the onion and mushroom, raise the heat to high, and saute for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring and shaking the pan until the vegetables are caramelized. Add the wine and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and continue to cook until dry. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the vegetables into a mixing bowl and set aside.

7. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the remaining 5 tablespoons of oil. Add the garlic, oregano, and thyme. Simmer gently for 3 to 4 minutes or until the garlic is golden. Do not let the garlic brown or it will become bitter. With a rubber spatula, scrape the garlic oil into the bowl of a food processor.

8. Crumble the tofu into the bowl of the food processor. Add the lemon juice, vinegar, and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and puree until smooth. With a rubber spatula, scrape the puree into the mushroom-onion mixture.

9. Quickly steam the broccoli and asparagus.  Once its done, rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.   Chop into small pieces.  Add to mushroom-onion mixture, along with the fresh dill. Mix everything together, and adjust the seasoning.

10. Fill the tart shell with the tofu and vegetable mixture and smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Dust with Paprika. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes,until firm.

11.Let the tart cool for 8 to 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
You know when you are just winging a recipe but you know that its going to turn out so delicious that you don't even taste until you are finished cooking because you are that confident about what you are making.  Well that is how I felt about last nights dinner.  I was day dreaming about what I was going to make on the way home from the city ( I was on the train, not driving).  I knew I wanted to make some sort of orangey couscous thing, so I searched on the internet for an orange couscous recipe just to start me off, and then ended up with this.  It was so enjoyable hot for dinner, and just as enjoyable the next day, cold, for lunch.  


1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water
1 cup couscous

1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup pepitas
pinch of salt
chopped mint

To make the couscous, boil 1 cup of orange juice and the water. Once its boiling, add the couscous, turn off the heat and put the cover on the pot.  Let sit for, at least, 5 minutes.

Heat the rest of the orange juice in a frying pan.  Add the red onions and the cranberries.  Cook for about 3-5 minutes, until the onions are soft.  Add the almonds and pepitas and cook for another 2 minutes.  Turn off the heat and add the salt and mint.  Add this to the couscous, mix well, and enjoy. 
Squash Sweet Potato Soup

I have made this soup countless times, and have never once seen a disappointed look on anyone's face.  I have gotten a number of astonishing compliments including "This is the best soup I have EVER eaten" and a "delicious" from my mother, which means a lot (she is a very tough critic).  As much as I don't want people to know how easy and simple it is to make this soup (I like having people think that I am an amazing cook, who slaves away in the kitchen all day just to please them), I also want my friends and family to know how easy it is to cook delicious healthy food.  For this reason, I am giving up my secret and posting this recipe.  I am even entering the recipe in the food blogging contest "No Croutons Required" for this month hosted by Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes.  The challenge of this month is the store cupboard.  Squash and sweet potatoes and ginger can be stored for a long time, and easily forgotten about.  This way, whenever you have them just sitting around, here is an easy satisfying way to use them.

   Adapted from a recipe on

1 butternut squash, cut into 1 inch cubes or kabocha, steamed (both work well)
2 sweet potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
4 cups water (or vegetable broth)
3/4 cup soy milk
2 tbsp soy sauce
salt and pepper, to taste

If you are using kabocha, you have to steam it first, in order to remove the skin.  To make the soup faster, you can steam the sweet potato with the kabocha, and then the actual soup making process will go much faster.

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a big pot.  When the oil is hot, add the onions.  Saute until the onions are translucent, about 5-8 minutes.  Add the garlic and the ginger.  Saute for another couple of minutes, until the garlic and ginger just begin to brown. Add the squash and sweet potatoes and saute for another couple of minutes.  Now add just enough water to cover all the squash and potato (about 4 cups).  Bring to a boil, then lower the flame and let it simmer, until the squash and potatoes are really soft, almost mushy, about 20-30 minutes.  The time depends on whether you are using the steamed kabocha or the butternut squash.  Once the squash and potatoes are completely soft, turn of the heat and add the soy milk, and the soy sauce.  Using a hand blender, blend the soup until its completely smooth.  Finally, add salt and pepper, to taste. 

This soup could definitely be made a day or two ahead of time.  It actually tastes better the next day. 
Okay, again, I didn't bring out my camera for this recipe, mostly because I didn't think I was going to post this recipe.  But this was a recipe that I totally just came up with on the fly, and it came out really good.  I was so proud of myself, that I had to post the recipe, even if I didn't have a photo.  How well does kale photograph anyway.

Kale w/ red onions and walnuts

1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 lb chopped kale
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in frying pan.  When hot, add the garlic and saute until golden brown.  Add the onions and salt, and saute until onions are soft.  Once they are soft add the vinegar and cook until vinegar has mostly evaporated.  Add the kale and water.  Cook until the kale is cooked to your liking, then add the walnuts.  Turn off the heat, add salt and pepper to taste.
I just went apple picking for the first time in my life the other day, near New Paltz, New York.  It was so much fun using the stick with the cup on the end of it, but I got a stomachache afterward from eating so many apples.  And for some strange reason, there were still raspberries around for the picking, so this gave me the opportunity to make my absolute most favorite applesauce recipe in the WORLD, and of course, I had to share it. 

Raspberry Applesauce

apples ( I used Cortlands), peeled, cored and cut into 1 inch cubes
4 strips of lemon rind
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon organic cane sugar
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup water

Put all the ingredients, except the raspberries, into a big pot on a medium flame.  Once the apples are halfway done (about 10-15 minutes), add the raspberries and continue cooking until the apples are completely cooked.  Then you have the choice whether you want to blend the applesauce to have it smooth, or keep it chunky.  I used a hand blender and blended just slightly and kept it a little chunky.  You absolutely have to make this recipe if you are lucky enough for life to give you apples.

I used to make this recipe in Japan, when I was desperate for a taste from home, but with apples costing, at least, a dollar a piece and frozen raspberries about four dollars a bag, one batch would cost about $10.  So I only made it on rare occasions. 
Well turned out to be mission impossible because my family made it a Vegetarian Rosh Hashanah dinner with a brisket and a chicken.  But I did get to introduce them to some new ingredients and dishes they have never tried before, and everyone seemed to enjoy everything.  So all in all, even though it wasn't a fully vegetarian meal, it was still a success.

This time I really did mean to bring my camera and take photos, but, of course, I forgot.  Also, I would not have had time anyway, there were some very hungry people, and some hyperactive kids, so I don't think I would have had the opportunity anyway.  Soon though, back to the photographs, really, but for now, you will just have to use your imaginations.  

The Menu

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Eggplant Caviar

Roasted Butternut Squash, Corn, Cashew Soup

Bulgur Pomegranate Celery Salad

Pasta with Swiss Chard

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

And the winner of the night was the Eggplant Caviar.  I got this recipe from the Food and Wine website.  Everyone loved it, and I am sure to make it again soon.

Eggplant Caviar

·      1 large eggplant, halved lengthwise

·      1 tablespoon olive oil

·      1 small French baguette (about 6 ounces), sliced 1/4 inch thick

·      Vegetable cooking spray

·      1 medium red bell pepper, cut into1/8 -inch dice

·      1 small onion, minced

·      2 garlic cloves, minced

·      1 large tomato--peeled, seeded and cut into1/8 -inch dice

·      3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

·      Salt and freshly ground pepper

·      2 tablespoons minced chives

·      1 tablespoon minced fresh basil


Directions ·      Preheat the oven to 350°. Brush the cut sides of the eggplant with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Set the eggplant, cut sides down, on a baking sheet and roast for about 1 hour, or until tender and collapsed. Let cool.

·      Arrange the bread slices on another baking sheet and spray lightly with cooking spray. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until golden and crisp. 

·      Heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Add the red pepper, onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened but not browned, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. 

·      Using a spoon, scrape the eggplant flesh from the skin; discard the skin. Finely chop the flesh and add the eggplant to the sautéed vegetables. Stir in the tomato, lemon juice and the remaining 1 teaspoon oil. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until slightly chilled. Stir the chives and basil into the eggplant caviar and serve with the croutons.

I also really love the Pasta with Swiss Chard.  I adapted this recipe from a recipe I found while watching Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie.  They made this recipe with beet greens, but I couldn't find any quality beet greens, so I substituted them for swiss chard and it came out delicious.  The bitterness of the chard, the sweetness of the golden raisins and the saltiness of the olives all compliment each other so well.

Pasta w/ Swiss Chard

  1/4 cup olive oil

·      1/3 cup pine nuts

·      3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

·      2 medium red onions (1 lb), halved and thinly sliced lengthwise

·      3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

·      1 1/2 lb swiss chard, leaves cut crosswise into 3-inch-wide pieces, divided

·      1 cup water, divided

·      3/4 lb penne

·      1/3 cup golden raisins

·      1/2 cup pitted brine-cured black olives, coarsely chopped

·       Accompaniment: ·      Toasted bread-crumb topping for pasta

·      Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Add pine nuts and toast, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.

·      Add garlic to oil remaining in skillet and cook, stirring, until golden. Add onions and 1/4 tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add vinegar and cook, stirring, until most is evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add beet stems, 3/4 cup water, and 1/2 tsp salt and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until stems begin to soften, about 12 minutes.

·      Cook penne in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 Tbsp salt for 6 qt water) until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain pasta.

·      Meanwhile, add raisins, then beet leaves to onion mixture in handfuls, turning each handful with tongs until beet leaves are wilted before adding next batch. Add remaining 1/4 cup water and 1/4 tsp salt and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add olives, then add pasta and cook, tossing and moistening with some of the cooking water as necessary, just until liquid has thickened slightly. Serve sprinkled with pine nuts.

And I love to shock non-foodies with the Vegan Chocolate Mousse.  People can never ever guess what goes into this mousse but they all absolutely love it.  And I love telling them that it is actually really good for you.  I found this recipe on the Vegetarian Times website.

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

      * 1 large mango, diced (1 1/2 cups)

    * 1 medium avocado, diced (3/4 cup)

    * 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

    * 1 Tbs. brewed espresso or strong black coffee

    * 1 Tbs. rum, optional

    * 1 tsp. vanilla extract

    * 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted

  1. To make Chocolate Mousse: Blend mango, avocado, cocoa powder, coffee, rum, if using, and vanilla in food processor until smooth. Add melted chocolate, and blend until smooth. Chill 2 to 3 hours.


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