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Kale Salad with Summer Sweet Corn and Sweet Miso Tahini Dressing

5 Sep


I teach an all vegan Veg101 Cooking Demo once a month at Whole Foods in Ann Arbor as a volunteer for VegMichigan.  Our theme for next week is Summer Bounty.  I was searching for recipes with sweet corn to experiment with and to possibly prepare for my class.  I came across this delicious recipe at Happy. Healthy. Life.  The Sweet Miso Tahini dressing is delectable.  The only change I made to the recipe was to add three ears of sweet corn (so, so good!) instead of two.  This is definitely a keeper and one that I will add to my growing list of kale salads I love.


3 ears of summer sweet corn

4-6 cups of kale, washed, thick stems removed and finely chopped (I used purple, curly)

1 small red bell pepper, diced

1 large carrot, shredded

1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup red cabbage, chopped

1/3 cup toasted hemp seeds (optional)

Sweet Miso Tahini Dressing

2 tablespoons white miso paste

1 1/2 tablespoons tahini

1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons tamari

2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar

pinch of black pepper

pinch of cayenne

1/4 teaspoon coriander


Add a few inches of water to a large pot and bring to a boil.  Add corn on the cob and steam for 3-5 minutes.  Take corn from pot and set aside to cool.

In a large salad bowl, add dressing ingredients, including spices.  Whisk well to combine.

Wash kale, remove large stems and finely chop.  Dry kale in spinner and with paper towels.  Add to bowl with dressing.  Add other veggies to bowl and toss all with dressing very well.

Hold corn on the cob over the salad bowl and cut off kernels (a serrated bread knife works very well here).  Toss corn with rest of salad.  Add hemp seeds if using and toss again.



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.

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!

Beautiful Emerald Green Juice

5 Oct

I feel my diet is pretty healthy. After all, I don’t eat any animals or animal products!  Yet, there is always room for improvement.   I’ve decided to kick my health up another notch by changing a few things.  Best of all, I’ve been starting my days with beautiful and tasty, emerald-green juice!  Yum!  My daily mix is made from 5-6 leaves of Dino kale, 5-6 leaves of romaine, 1 cucumber, 4 celery stalks, a 2-3 inch piece of ginger and 1-2 pears or apples.  I might add a broccoli stalk if I have it.  Trust me, it’s so good.

I waited a long time before I splurged for a juicer.  I wanted to be sure that I was committed to using it on a regular basis and not have it be an expensive counter decoration.  This is the one I bought on a recommendation from Kris Carr.  I love it!  I haven’t yet convinced my husband to try more than a tiny sip although I still have hope.  What is it about green juice that makes people cringe?  I guess that used to be me also, before I actually tasted it.  I thought it was going to taste bitter, like liquid greens.  Perhaps if I didn’t add the ginger and the apples it might be bitter and I might be holding my nose, too!  This stuff is so good, though, that my 19 and 22 year old daughters will drink it, and trust me, their diet is not always very healthy!

So, why am I doing this?  Check out these posts for a thorough discussion.

This is what Kris Carr says: “Chlorophyll contains a powerful blood builder that’s said to increase red blood cells, improve circulation, ease inflammation, oxygenate the body, and counteract harmful free radicals. By eating (and drinking) a diet high in chlorophyll (raw fruits and veggies, especially leafy greens), we dine on liquid oxygen, the very substance we need to stay alive and thrive”.

It’s true and I’m feeling it.  I’m more energetic, vibrant and clear headed.  I never would have thought 5 years ago that today I would be vegan and drinking green juice every day.  Just confirms the idea that we just don’t know the future even though we may be absolutely convinced we do.

Try the juice.  Trust me. You won’t have to hold your nose, I promise!

Vegan Crab Cakes at Jazzy Veggie in Ann Arbor

13 Oct

My daughter and I went to Jazzy Veggie on Main Street to check out Ann Arbor’s first truly all vegan fare restaurant.  These Crab Cakes were our favorites.  They tasted just like crab and were crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.  I used to eat real crab cakes before I went vegan in November 2009 and these little vegan gems were genuinely satisfying.  I will definitely be back to try them another time.

I’ve never made vegan crab cakes at home, have you?  I found this recipe for Chesapeake Tempeh Cakes at the Post Punk Kitchen.  In the short time I’ve been cooking vegan, I haven’t gone wrong with any food I’ve made that comes from Isa Chandra Moskowitz‘s cookbooks, including the fabulous Veganomicon and Appetite for Reduction.  This particular recipe is from Vegan Brunch.  Apparently, you make everything the day before and then cook it up to serve.  I think it’s time for a party!

Here’s the full menu from Jazzy Veggie to entice you.  As an added plus, it looks like they also deliver!

Hope you are enjoying the Vegan Month of Food!

Tuscan Roasted Tomato Soup

5 Oct

We’ve had a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes this summer and we’re continuing to gather as many as we can before the first frost.  The ones we grew last year were “Little Baby Girl” and were so sweet that they barely made it out of the garden into the kitchen!  This year, we thought we had planted the same variety, but this was definitely not the case.  This year our cherry tomatoes were a bit bigger, rounder and less sweet, so I was looking for recipes to enhance their flavor.  A big favorite was the Tomato, Basil and Arugula Bruschetta from the wonderful Colleen Patrick Goudreau‘s delectable Vegan Table.  I used spinach instead of arugula since my husband doesn’t care for the bitterness.  I brought a tray to the neighborhood party and it vanished immediately.

So, it was cold outside this weekend and I happened upon this Tuscan Roasted Tomato Soup recipe from Ann Gentry’s new cookbook Vegan Family Meals.  Oh my goodness, it was so delicious!  I loved it with the herbed croutons, my husband preferred it without.  In any case, the soup was gone in one evening!

Tuscan Roasted Tomato Soup

4 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered (you can use any kind or a mix)

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

12 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped

3 teaspoons fine sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 small red onions, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup lightly packed chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1-1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage (I used 1 teaspoon dried since that’s what I had)

5 cups cold water

For the optional herbed croutons

1/2 loaf crusty French bread, (about 8 ounces) crust removed, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried dill

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (232 degrees Centigrade)

2. In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with 1/4 cup of the olive oil, the vinegar, garlic, 2 teaspoons of the salt, and the black pepper.  Transfer the tomato mixture (including all of its liquid) to a large heavy rimmed baking sheet.  Arrange the tomatoes in a single layer, skin side down.  Roast until the tomatoes are charred on the edges, about 40 minutes.  Let cool slightly.  Slip the skin off the tomatoes ( I left the skin on).

3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy pot over medium heat.  Add the onions and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until the onions are quite soft, about 10 minutes.  Add the basil, parsley, and sage and saute for about 1 minute. (I only used 1 teaspoon of sage as I found this spice to be overwhelming).

4. Stir in the roasted tomatoes and garlic along with all the accumulated juices from the baking sheet and bring to a simmer.  Add the water and simmer gently just until the flavors meld, about 8 minutes.  If you want a smoother consistency, you can blend some of the soup with an immersion blender or a standing one.

Make the Croutons

5. While the soup simmers reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees.  Toss the bread cubes, basil, dill, rosemary, black pepper, and salt in a medium bowl.  Drizzle the oil over the herbed bread cubes and toss to coat.  Arrange the bread cubes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake until the croutons are golden brown, tossing and stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.  Let cool.

6.  To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with croutons if you wish.  (This soup is best eaten the day it is made, but can be refrigerated for up to 1 day).

Welcome to Vegan MoFo 2011!

1 Oct

October 1st is special because it’s my husband’s birthday and it’s also the first day of the Vegan Month of Food.  This is my first year of participating in VeganMoFo!  This delectable and informative event is being created and celebrated by over 700 bloggers who have agreed to devote at least 20 blog entries through the month of October to anything and everything vegan. Last year was the first year I discovered VeganMoFo and was blown away by the variety of themes, recipes and knowledge shared.  I definitely recommend subscribing to the RSS Feed bundle of participating bloggers!  If however, 700 bloggers writing is too much information, pick and choose from the 2011 blogroll!

Here in Ann Arbor, Michigan, it is a well-educated college town with several vegetarian and vegan restaurants.  I still feel a bit isolated and surrounded by omnivores although more folks are definitely being more mindful and trying to support local food growers. I hope that the benefits and pleasures of being vegan continue to come to light and inspire more to try it on.  My intention is to share what I’ve learned with anyone who is interested in leaning in that direction… and resources for better health, with compassion toward the animals and care for our planet.  Being vegan feeds me on so many different levels…..the food is so incredibly delicious (!) and cooking has become so very fun for me again. I love knowing that no animals have been harmed with what I eat and that I am walking on this earth with a smaller footprint.  My spirit is fed through all these paths of living more mindfully and in harmony with my peaceful nature.

Now, I’m off to dinner to celebrate with my husband and our friends.  We’re going to a place that I will have to make a special request for vegan fare, which I am getting very good at doing.  Happy Birthday, Jimbo, my mostly vegan, sometimes vegetarian, rarely omnivorous best friend and darling husband!

Let me know your thoughts about leaning into vegan, being vegan in Ann Arbor, Vegan MoFo or anything else!