COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY: “Blissful Bites” by vegan chef Christy Morgan

Giveaway time!

I’m so excited to announce a fall giveaway for one of my favorite cookbooks of all time (not joking), Blissful Bites by Christy Morgan.

 Blissful Bites is a full-color, healthy recipe masterpiece. All vegan, many allergy-free, and inspired by a macrobiotic culinary background, this book has you covered no matter how particular your diet is! The pages are spilling with colorful photography, and are crammed to the edges with cooking tips for the beginner or experienced cook. Trust me, you want this one.

Watch the video to learn how to enter:

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In case you missed it, the rules are simple:

1. Go to the Save the Kales! facebook page

2. Leave a comment telling me which is your FAVORITE green vegetable

… that’s it!

Don’t forget to check out The Blissful Chef website

And if you haven’t done so, read this entry/watch this video from the time I got to spend the day cooking with Christy and Allyson Kramer!

Save the Kales! and The Blissful Chef

EPISODE 5: HOME SWEET HOMEGROWN, Grow Indie gardens, The Joyful Elephant, Stir-fry Shepherds Pie and Vegan Breakfast Bowl

We travel to the Grow Indie test gardens to meet DIy gardener and book author Robyn Jasko.

In the kitchen, we make a Stir-fry Shepherds Pie with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes, followed by a breakfast or dessert of a Rice Bowl with Stone Fruits, Ginger and Cinnamon topped with an pretty pistachio garnish.

Finally, we meet Lehigh Valley nutrition coach Michelle of The Joyful Elephant, who helps people transition to a plant-based diet.

STIR-FRY SHEPHERDS PIE with WASABI MASHED POTATOES

  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled
  • 3 portobello mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 block tempeh, crumbled by hand
  • head of broccoli, florets cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/4 green cabbage, chopped

Boil a pot of water on the stove, enough to cover the potatoes, and add salt. Boil until potatoes are soft, about 20-25 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to a large pan, then add the onions and mushrooms. Let the onions get translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir to avoid the veggies sticking to the bottom. Add the crumbled tempeh to the pan, letting it brown and stirring so it doesn’t burn.

If the veggies are sticking to the bottom, add a little soy sauce or Bragg’s to loosen them up.

Add the broccoli and cabbage to the pan. Make the dressing (if you haven’t done so) and add that, stirring it through the veggies. Let veggies cook until broccoli is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.

DRESSING/SAUCE for Stir-Fry

  • 2 Tbsp tamari/soy sauce/Bragg’s
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp agave
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, grated

Whisk everything together in a small bowl.

Vegan Stir-fry Shephards Pie with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

WASABI MASHED POTATOES

  • 4 peeled, boiled potatoes, cooled off
  • 2 Tbsp water, with 1 tsp veggie broth base (or just veggie broth)
  • 1 tsp wasabi paste (more or less to taste)
  • pinch of salt

Use a potato masher to mash potatoes — or if you have a fancy mixer, use that! When potatoes are mashed, add remaining ingredients. You don’t need to add vegan butter or oil, but you can for a richer flavor.

Note: DO NOT EVER “mash” potatoes in a food processor. They get very gummy and are… awful.

ASSEMBLE the Dish

Turn oven to Broil. In a casserole dish, dump the veggie mixture and make an even layer. Add mashed potatoes on top. Add fresh cracked black pepper. Put the dish in the oven til the potatoes start to brown, about 10 minutes (but keep and eye on it, your oven may be different!)

—————-

Vegan Breakfast Rice Bowl with Stone Fruits, Ginger and Cinnamon

STONE FRUIT and GINGER CINNAMON RICE BOWL

  • 1 and 1/2 cups cooked brown rice (or grain of choice)
  • 2 peaches, chopped
  • 2 purple plums, chopped
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

DRESSING

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1-2 inches ginger, grated
  • 1 Tbsp agave
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (use the good stuff!)
  • chopped pistachios to garnish

Add rice and fruits to a large bowl and mix. Add dressing and mix with rice and fruit. Get a handful of shelled pistachios,  wrap in saran wrap, and use a hammer (or heavy object) to gently crush them into pieces, and use them to garnish the bowls.

.     .     .     .     .

The People We Meet

Robyn Jasko of Grow Indie, and Home Sweet Homegrown with Jaime K of Save the Kales!

Meet Robyn Jasko, author of Home Sweet Homegrown  book and gardener extraordinaire! Robyn runs the Grow Indie test gardens in Kutztown PA,  and GrowIndie.com, an AMAZING website and resource for all things DIY/organic gardening.

Meet Michelle of The Joyful Elephant – Plant Based Nutrition Support. Michelle is a food coach and works with her clients to meet their health and dietary needs through education, hands-on work, and support to help people make a smooth transition into plant-based nutrition. Michelle is certified through courses from two of the top plant-based doctors, T. Colin Campbell (as seen in the film Forks over Knives), and Dr. Fuhrman of the Eat to Live program.

Michelle of The Joyful Elephant, and Jaime K of Save the Kales!

LINKS:

The Joyful Elephant facebook page

The Joyful Elephant website

Grow Indie facebook page

Grow Indie website

“Home Sweet Homegrown” by Robyn Jasko, book order site

VIDEO: Garden Gazpacho with Chef Wendy of Balasia/The Honey Underground

What a special treat!

One of my FAVORITE CHEFS OF ALL TIME, Chef Wendy Landiak, joined us at the Grow Indie Gardens while taping Episode 5 of our cooking show (online in a week!), to make a super-fresh gazpacho.

My new favorite memory of Wendy is now the image of her walking through the garden, cutting fresh veggies with her chef’s knife, and then lugging her Vitamix to a hay bale to set up her workspace.

It truly doesn’t get fresher than this, folks!

Garden Gazpacho with Wendy of Balasia + The Honey Underground

RECIPE for Garden Gazpacho

As you can see, nothing was meticulously measured, so here’s an idea of what went into the soup:

  • Fill a blender halfway with various tomatoes (rough chop large tomatoes into large chunks)
  • 1 bunch basil, leaves only
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 medium cucumber, cut into chunks
  • 1 tsp (or more to taste) smoked salt and/or Himalayan pink salt (if you don’t have these, regular salt will do, but it may not be as exotic!)
  • 2-3 hot peppers (lemondrop pepper, jalapeno, or hot pepper of choice! Removing the seeds will cut down on the heat. Add these to taste. Maybe start with one if you’re wary of the heat!)
  • 1 and 1/2 bell peppers (red and/or green), rough chopped in chunks

Start blending on a low-medium speed until gazpacho is blended. Stop while it still maintains chunky texture! That’s all. 

Optional: Drizzled with good olive oil, torn pieces of stale bread as makeshift croutons, garnish with fresh basil, add olive oil and heat on the stove for a pasta sauce

Wendy Landiak of Balasia and The Honey Underground on Save the Kales! making Garden Gazpacho… IN the garden.

Wendy cut up a bell pepper to make some impromptu spoons. And hey – it’s even kid-approved!

You can find Wendy at the Balasia stand at Farmer’s Markets across the Lehigh Valley. And if you EVER have the chance to attend her supper club, The Honey Underground (named after a poetic way of describing carrots), you MUST. GO. You must.

Find out where Wendy’s going, what she’s making, and how you can get her food by following the FACEBOOK page, or checking out her WEBSITE. 

Did I stress how delicious her food is? (Here’s a post I made about The Honey Underground — pictures!) Organic, local, always vegan, fusion-food inspired by cuisines around the world. She also caters events, will do private cooking classes, and is knowledgable about food allergies and even Ayurvedic cooking.

EPISODE 4: Farmer’s Markets, Tofu Plush Toys, Coconut Kale Salad and Veggie Quinoa Patties

Plush tofu dolls!

 Now we have interns and a third camera! Look at us, growing up so fast! Thank you for everyone involved, and for your support! 

Check out our guest at the end of the show to learn how to get these Save the Kales! plush tofu dolls! They are handmade by a local lady, along with some other adorable, smiling veggies!  Enjoy Episode 4. xo

Join me as I stop by the local Farmer’s Market to pick up some beautiful fresh veggies, two bags full for less than $10. Vegetables are so pretty!

In the kitchen, we are celebrating coconut with Vegetable Chickpea Quinoa patties with Coconut Chipotle Dipping Sauce, followed with a bright and healthful Coconut Curry Kale Salad.

Finally, meet our guest Jaime from Crinoline as she shows off her handmade, super-adorable and eco-friendly felt plush veggies and exclusive STK! stuffed toy tofu. They are smiling!

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Veggie Quinoa Chickpea Patties

  • 1 and 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 2 and 1/2 cups chickpeas (or two cans)
  • 1 cup packed spinach (“packed” means packed tightly into the cup while measuring)
  • 2 stalks green onions
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 and 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Use the “shred” blade of your food processor to quickly shred carrot. (Or you can do it by hand.) Set aside.

Put the “S” blade (the regular blade) back into the food processor and add chickpeas, spinach, green onions roughly chopped, and process everything until blended well into a dough-like consistency.

Put dough into the largest mixing bowl you have. Add coconut milk, quinoa, dry spices, bread crumbs and salt,  and mix everything together.

Get a baking sheet and spray with cooking oil to prevent sticking. Use your hands to form patties and place on the sheet. (You may need more than one baking sheet.) Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Coconut Chipotle Dipping Sauce

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 10-12 sundried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 or 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2-1 cup water, until desired thickness is achieved

Blend everything in a blender until smooth.

(This makes a LOT of sauce. You can use leftovers for other dishes as a dip or spread, and play around with adding other spices or herbs to mix it up!)

Vegan Chickpea, Vegetable and Quinoa Patties with Coconut Chipotle Dipping Sauce

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  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 cup chopped purple cabbage, cut into thin ribbons

Remove stems from kale, and tear kale leaves into bite sized pieces and add to a large bowl. Add coconut oil and massage oil into the kale for a few minutes to break the kale down. Set cabbage aside, but add carrots and toss.

*NOTE: Coconut oil is usually in a solid form (mine melted in the hot kitchen), so scoop out the amount you need and it will melt with the warmth of your hands.

Dressing

  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tsp tamari sauce (or soy sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos)
  • 1 tsp agave nectar (or pure maple syrup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Add dressing to bowl with kale and carrots, and massage dressing into veggies.

*NOTE: You can add 1 tsp curry powder and purple cabbage at this point, mix through, and be finished with the salad. But check below for extra topping ideas to make it fancier!

Toppings and Garnishes (Optional)

  • 1 mango, chopped (check the 19-minute mark to see how to cut one easily!)
  • lime wedges
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • chopped cilantro
  • dried coconut flakes (unsweetened)
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • dried red pepper flakes

(You can use all of these, some of these, or none of these! I do recommend the coconut flakes, as they bring out the tropical flavors of the salad.)

If using, mix in cut mango and curry powder, mixing curry powder well.  Add the purple cabbage and toss.  Using remaining ingredients to top and garnish the salad before serving.

Coconut Curry Kale Salad

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Save the Kales! Plush Tofu dolls now available!

This is an exclusive, handmade plush tofu doll made of eco-friendly material from recycled bottes. This comes from Jaime of Crinoline, made with love. Put this little lady in your kitchen to watch you as you cook, bringing a smile to all who see her.

Because everything is better with eyeliner and glasses, yes?

Jaime from Crinoline and Jaime K from Save the Kales!

The plush tofu and the rest of Crinoline’s plush veggies will be available at her booth at Bethlehem Vegfest, or at her online shop HERE. Stop by and say hello!

Plush tofu dolls and veggies from Crinoline!

Special thanks to Christy Morgan, The Blissful Chef, for inspiring me to add extra veggies to everything the day we made some tasty veggie patties together. And to Kim Barnouin of the Skinny Bitch Cookbook for a great chickpea-based patty recipe, the first I ever made!

10 Tips for Going Vegan: Video from Vegetarian Summerfest by Heather Nauta

I had the pleasure to meet Heather of HealthyEatingStartsHere.com, Youtube info video extraordinaire and Holistic Nutritionist.

She made a little video at Summerfest by finding ten people and asking “What tip would you give to someone trying to go vegan?”, and just for fun, “What is your favorite vegetable?” (The answers were almost unanimous for the latter… can you guess?)

The rest of the folks interviewed in this video are some of my favorites, whether because I have been using their cookbooks for years, following their work online, reading their articles, listening to their podcasts, etc.

Go HERE to view Heather’s page where she included links to the websites of everyone featured in the video. 

Then make some coffee and watch everything Heather has done. She is approachable, knowledgeable, and a total sweetheart.

Julieanna Hever, Plant-Based Dietician TED Talk

I tried to get to as many of Julieanna’s presentations as possible last week (I think I saw four, including part of this talk!) because her energy and enthusiasm is remarkable. And, can’t lie, I liked to see what she was wearing. You’ll see a little more of her in the next episode of the TV show as part of my “video diary” from Summerfest!

She had the distinguished honor to be a speaker for TED (watch anything/everything put out by them – all inspiring, wonderful, fantastic stuff on a wide range of topics – and you will feel smarter too).

 

“Think of the possibilities if you are constantly reinventing yourself most of the time!”

There’s some VERY exciting news about her but I don’t think it’s officially announced yet, so I won’t spill the beans… but keep an eye on this lady!

LADIES IN THE KITCHEN: Cooking video with The Blissful Chef, Manifest Vegan and Save the Kales!

By the end of this post, you’ll see a video and the recipe for these tasty goodies: Popeye Cakes with Avocado Dipping Sauce. But I need to tell you about some great girls first…

Popeye Cakes, photo by Allyson Kramer

Popeye Cakes, photo by Allyson Kramer

Last week I went to Philly to meet in person (finally!) Allyson Kramer of Manifest vegan, now a Philly resident, and Christy Morgan, “The Blissful Chef” on her Blissful Bites book tour as she was traveling around from Texas.

This day meant an awful lot to me. Both of these brilliant women have played a rather large role in my own cooking knowledge and inspiration on a very basic level, but I have always admired them for being awesome vegan role models in their own right. (Yeah, I said role models, ladies!)

Allyson and Dot

Two summers ago when this blog went under a bit of an attack (to be fair, it needed to happen and that   instance taught me a lot), Allyson found my email address and wrote the most beautiful, supportive email. It      meant so much to me at the time that someone reached out to share her own story of a similar issue, how to deal with it, to remember not everyone thinks about things the same way, and NOT to be deterred from moving forward. I had just read about her and her work in VegNews magazine and she was somewhat of a celebrity in my eyes, and she was writing to little ol’ me?

It’s been nearly two years since that first email, and Allyson has been around since then to be my sounding board and a point of graceful insight when things in “the vegan community” can get confusing or disillusioning. Many times I’ve hastily written to her, a knot in my stomach, and an email 18 paragraphs long of rambling and spelling errors, and she always comes back with incredible insight, even if it’s just to say she’s felt the same way.

None of that even begins to touch on her work. I have an older interview with her HERE, though some information is different now, she’s had much more recognition for her work, and her book Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats is coming out in June. You’ll be buying it, riiighhht?

Christy Morgan cooking demo

Christy Morgan is a powerhouse. I was surprised when I met her to see how tiny she is (I’m taller than someone, what?!) because she operates on this go-go-go level. She is a trained macrobiotic chef and has participated in countless cooking demonstrations on TV, at Vegfests, and most recently at the super-big-deal IACP NYC event.  She teaches cooking classes and can do nutrition consultations over the phone, so if you’re looking to work with a true professional, give her a call.

Blissful Bites is a gorgeous full-color book that teaches basics like knife skills, to the simple “what’s the difference between vegetarian and vegan?”, and each recipe has notes to let you know if it’s low oil, gluten free (most are), can be made in less than 45 minutes, etc… It’s broken down by season, THEN by type of dish within the season. So… it’s Spring, and you’re hungry for lunch– Boom. A ton of recipe ideas. How cool is that?

Brunette Vegan Cooks with Glasses club, first meeting.

Christy offered so much insight on book deals, touring, working with clients and people of all backgrounds and skill levels, and “a typical day in the business”. I don’t know if this girl ever stops working! She’s a great example of how hard work pays off.

OKAY, I’M DONE GUSHING FOR NOW! On to the recipe!

When I got to Allyson’s house I had just got done hugging everyone and we had a few rounds of “Oh my gosh, we’re all hanging out together!”, we immediately got to work on making some lunch. Allyson had a well-stocked fridge with every vegetable you could think of, so we started throwing things together and came up with what Christy has dubbed: Popeye Cakes!  (They are green and kind of tasted like spinach, despite not using any spinach!)

Here’s a video and the recipe (taken from The Blissful Chef Blog):

Popeye Cakes with Curry Avocado Sauce
(makes about 14 cakes with 2 cups sauce)

Popeye Cakes

Toasted sesame oil
1 bunch chard, chopped
1 carrot, grated
1 zucchini, grated
4 baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon coriander
1 29oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoon flax meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown rice flour

Preparation

Heat up a medium skillet with sesame oil then saute veggies with spices for a few minutes. Cover with lid and stir occasionally. In the food processor, blend chickpeas with mustard, vinegar, flax, and salt until no big chunks remain. Add sauteed veggies and pulse those into the chickpeas until well combined. Place mixture in a large bowl then mix in flour until well combined.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with SIlpat or parchment paper. Wet your hands and form cakes about 2 inches in diameter. Place on cookie sheet and continue until all mixture is made into cakes. Bake for 30 minutes, then flip and bake for 20 more minutes. Meanwhile make your sauce!

Curry Avocado Sauce

1 small bunch kale, steamed
2 avocado, pitted
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 lime, juiced
1 lemon, juiced
1/3 cup fresh dill
1 teaspoon white miso
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)

Preparation

Place all ingredients in a food processor, and blend until smooth and creamy, about a minute. Scrap the edges of the bowl a few times to incorporate all the ingredients. Serve on top of Popeye Cakes or as a dip with corn chips!

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Thank you so much, Allyson and Christy, for being friends and inspirations. I’m on a path that has no clear direction but forward, and there aren’t a lot of people I can turn to for personal experience and advice, but you have filled that void and I’m thankful and proud of you both.

Thanks to Kate for taping the video and taking photos so we can always remember this day!

The only still photo of the three of us, haha.

Allyson’s blog Manifest Vegan, and Christy Morgan’s website The Blissful Chef.