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Vegan MoFo 2016-Fantastic Falafel from Jerusalem Garden

4 Nov

Another one of our favorite vegan sandwiches in Ann Arbor is the Falafel from Jerusalem Garden.  We get it a few times a month as a midweek carryout dinner on those days that I’m too busy to cook.  My daughter, Olivia,  always orders it for us (the folks working there know us as Olivia’s dad and Olivia’s mom).  She specifies the falafel with pickled turnips and thom sauce, which is a garlic paste and vegan as opposed to the garlic yogurt sauce.  Oh goodness, it’s so delicious!

I was so hungry and excited to eat my sandwich that I neglected to take a picture of it. Imagine a hand made wrap stuffed with falafel, tomato, lettuce, hummus, pickled turnips (which are pink) and oozy garlic sauce 6 inches long and 3-4 inches wide that feels like it weighs a ton.  Well, maybe a half a pound.  I’m not sure but it’s weighty and so satisfying.

Jerusalem Garden is on Liberty in the old Seva location.  They will be adding on a new deck for outdoor dining for this summer season in the spring.  Inside it is open and airy and spacious.  It’s not all vegan however so don’t expect many options.

I sure wish Ann Arbor would increase it’s vegan dining options!!


Vegan MoFo 2016!!! Pineapple Not-So-Fried Rice!

3 Nov

Hi all!  Welcome to the Vegan Month of Food (MoFo) 2016!  This is the event when vegan food bloggers from all over the world post on their blogs as many days as possible for the whole month.  Check out all the other bloggers posting an amazing variety of plant-based deliciousness!

As you  can see,  I’m a few days late in my first post but that’s okay.  I plan to be quite kind to myself as I participate in this years blogfest.  In the past, I’ve made myself a little nuts thinking I had to post every single day or I just wasn’t doing it “right”.  This year, I plan to share some great vegan food and recipes as much as it works for me throughout November and have fun doing it.  No pressure.  Ahhh…  I hope you enjoy and get some good ideas!

Two nights ago, I made a delicious recipe from Chef Chloe Coscarelli’s  first cookbook, Choe’s Kitchen.  It’s called Pineapple Not-So-Fried Rice and it was so delicious!  The pineapple is such a nice sweet counterpart to the curry spiced rice and crunchy cashews.


I made a few changes to the recipe….She called for tossing the tofu cubes with soy sauce and baking.  I decided I wanted a more interesting marinade for the tofu and found one in Terry Hope Romero’s cookbook Salad Samurai.


This Red-Hot Saucy Tofu was fantastic and added a spicy complexity to the final dish.  I will definitely use this marinade for other things…I can imagine cauliflower roasted in this red hot goodness.

Lastly, Chef Chloe’s recipe did not call for roasting the cashews before adding them to the dish but I would highly recommend it.  This keeps them crunchy in the stir fry process.

This recipe makes a large amount.  Good for 8-10 servings.


Powie! Pesto Pasta

4 Sep


I have my garden in pots on my deck this year which is wonderful because I take better care of them when I see them all the time!  I have dino kale and curly kale, fennel, collards, swiss chard, parsley, basil, dill, oregano, three kinds of cherry tomatoes and jalapenos.  My basil plants were calling out to me “eat me, eat me, can’t you see I’m ready?”  Which only means one thing to me…..PESTO!  In previous years, I have always run out of basil before the growing season is over.  This year I made sure to plant plenty, which as it turns out is 8 plants.  I haven’t run out yet!  I’m leaving on a three week trip mid-month so I think I may need to make more pesto to freeze before I leave.  Can’t let delicious fresh basil go to waste!

I’ve been using this kind of brown-rice pasta lately and I’m loving it!  I added some lightly steamed broccoli on top and I had a gorgeous green meal.

Note to self:  Although you like to use the whole recipe on a pound of spaghetti, your sweet husband likes less pesto on his pasta  (more for me!).

This recipe is based on an oil-free vegan pesto you can find here.  I tweaked it ever so gently.

2 cups tightly packed fresh basil (go ahead and pack it in!)

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1/4 cup walnuts

1/4 cup pine nuts

juice of 1/2 medium lemon

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1/3 cup water

sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Place all the ingredients except salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse to combine.  Process until smooth and season with sea salt and pepper as desired.

Vegan Travel-Lake George and Saratoga Springs, NY

1 Sep


I’m on the road as I write my first post for Vegan MoFo 2013. We are heading back to Michigan after a week in Bolton Landing on the western shores of Lake George, NY. Wow, Lake George is stunning! Forty-four miles long and surrounded by the Adirondack Hills, oh my!
It was challenging in this area to find vegan options eating out at restaurants. Some places had the standard portobello mushroom or black bean burger or you could get the typical pasta with marinara sauce but after one meal, how boring! We ended up making several of our own meals and always had breakfast at home.
As someone who loves to travel I have become quite adept at making things work wherever I am….so if I’m going to a restaurant I call ahead and talk with them about options and let them know to expect me. If I don’t do that, I just kindly make requests for changes or adjustments of the menu. I have found most restaurants to be gracious and accommodating and I hear frequently from them that they get requests for vegan options more and more. YIPPEE! That means we’re making headway!

Nevertheless, here are some highlights:

1. Our 4 hour boat tour of Lake George on the Mohican! The captain provides great historical information and the bartender makes amazing Bloody Mary’s. No vegan food available, we brought our own fruit and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It’s so soothing to be on the most gorgeous of lakes! Highly recommend this tour!
2. Sitting outside on the deck at The Sagamore Resort. There is no view better than this in Lake George! I could have sat there forever soaking up the view. There is nothing vegan on the menu but we ordered the veggie flatbread without the cheese. It was delicious! Drinks and snacks and the most incredible view! Highly recommended!
3. Vegan options at Skidmore College-Saratoga Springs-we moved our daughter in on Wednesday and in the last few days already the chefs have introduced themselves, know she’s vegan and have told her they can make anything she wants. The food selection in the cafeteria already includes a vegan/vegetarian section called Emily’s Garden.
4. Four Seasons Natural Foods Store-place for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Small cafe attached to a small grocery store. Everything at the cafe is vegan and delicious!

Nikki’s Healthy (and oh so delicious) Cookie Recipe

29 Oct

Well, I guess I just wasn’t meant to post 20 times this month for Vegan MoFo.  I had the flu and then a week later, benign positional vertigo.  Both of these forced me to lay still, cancel my days and breathe through it with hopes it wouldn’t last long.  Neither malady lasted longer than a week, but that’s a long time and lot’s of posting days missed!

Heidi Swanson writes at  and she is one of the blogs I follow on a regular basis. She’s also written cookbooks, is a fabulous photographer and world traveler.  She’s not vegan but primarily vegetarian and posts many plant based recipes.   These cookies looked so delicious I had to make them.  Unfortunately, my camera failed me so I have no picture.  Check out Heidi’s picture here.  You know how sometimes things look way better than they taste?  Not these.  They are so yummy.  My husband and I have been rationing them over the last week to make them last.  I think I may be making another batch very soon.  These are definitely a winner!

Nikki’s Healthy Cookie Recipe

3 large, ripe bananas, well mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)

1  teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup coconut oil, barely warm-so it’s liquid

2 cups rolled oats

2/3 cup almond meal

1/3 cup coconut, finely shredded and unsweetened

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

6-7 ounces chocolate chips or dark chocolate bar chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees, racks in the top third.

In a large bowl, combine the bananas, vanilla extract, and coconut oil.  Set aside.  In another bowl whisk together the oats, almond meal, shredded coconut, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  The dough is a bit looser than standard cookie dough.  Drop dollops of the dough, each about 2 teaspoons in size onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for 12-14 minutes.  Bake as long as possible without burning the bottoms.

Makes about 3 dozen bite-sized cookies.


Broccoli and Gardein Beefless Tips Stir Fry

16 Oct

Vegan MoFo Post number 8!  I had just a little bit of time to throw a meal together and wanted to clean my refrigerator by using up everything in there.  I looked in my fridge and found fresh broccoli from the Farmer’s Market and fresh button mushrooms.  I found Gardein Beefless Tips in my freezer.  Perfect.  I got out my wok and made a delicious stir fry.  I also made some whole wheat couscous as I didn’t have time to cook brown rice and didn’t feel like quinoa, which is also relatively quick cooking.

I don’t know if you’ve tried any of the Gardein products but they are fantastic.  Their meatless burger is the best vegan burger I’ve had, except when I’m in the mood for a homemade bean burger!  These Beefless tips just needed a bit of browning before throwing together with the stir fry.  I used very little oil, some no chicken broth, some soy sauce, some hoisin sauce, garlic and crushed red pepper.  Deelicious!

Give Gardein a try!

Zingerman’s Roadhouse hosts The Ann Arbor Meetup Group

7 Oct

Vegan MoFo #4!  This is my second year doing Vegan MoFo, which stands for the Vegan Month of Food.  Isa Chandra Moskowitz, the author of many wonderful vegan cookbooks, including Veganomicon, started Vegan MoFo several years ago.  Last year, over 700 bloggers signed up to participate and they are expecting even more this year!  When you sign up, you agree to post at least 20 entries in 30 days about something related to vegan food.  Last year was my first attempt and it was definitely challenging for me to cook, photograph and post that many entries, but it was a fun challenge!  More fun, though, was reading everyone else’s posts. I was so inspired by the size of this international vegan community and the incredible variety of vegan recipes shared.  You can sign up for the rss feed of the entire blogroll or look at the entire list of bloggers signed up this year here.

Before I sign off, I wanted to share with you the fantastic vegan event we had here in Ann Arbor recently.  On September 25, 2012, Zingerman’s Roadhouse, which is one of the offshoots of Zingerman’s Delicatessen and known for its meat and dairy heavy menu, hosted an Ann Arbor Vegan Meet Up Dinner that was delightful.  There were 62 people there, all interested in eating heavenly vegan food.  Here’s the menu that Chef Alex created: (click on the image to be able to read the menu clearly)

Roasted Squash-Eggplant Crispy Lasagna

Quinoa Pilau with Curried Squash Slaw

Sea Island Red Peas and Dirty Mushroom Rice

At our table of four, we decided to order some of everything and share so we could taste it all.  Everything was yummy but our favorite was the smoked potato and avocado soup, oh my, which unfortunately we gobbled up before we remembered to take a picture!

By the way, there are a few vegan/vegetarian options on the regular menu at the Roadhouse, like sweet potato fries and salads you can ask for without cheese, grits without cheese and a bean burger with a different bun, but I’ve also been told by the Zingerman’s folks that you can ask the chef to prepare something vegan anytime you visit.  I have yet to try this.  If you do, let me know your results!