Easy Vegetable Barley Soup


1 whole sweet onion diced

4 smaller celery stalks diced

2 carrots diced

1 1/4 package of crimini mushrooms sliced

2 cloves garlic pressed

1 Zucchini sliced and cut into quarters

Half of a medium cauliflower cut up into bite size pieces not too small

1qt vegetable broth (if you don’t have the concentrate then just add 2 quarts of broth or another half quart.)
+ 2 cups water
1tsp vegetable broth concentrate

1 package Trader Joe’s Barley in 10 minutes

3 bay leaves

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp sea salt

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

Sauté onion and celery in hot oil until almost translucent then add pressed garlic cloves. Sauté for 2 minutes, then add in sliced mushrooms and continue to cook. I added a teaspoon of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. You might need to add a little water at this point or white wine. Then add diced carrots and sauté. When the onion and mushrooms look cooked add the vegetable broth, then add 2 cups water and tsp of vegetable broth concentrate.

Once this comes to a low boil then add the whole package of Barley and the other remaining Vegetables. (Zucchini & Cauliflower)
Simmer for up to 20 minutes then let set for 10 minutes.

Easy and Delicious!


Roasted Vegetables w/Quinoa Pasta and Lemon Sauce


This is a recipe that my daughter helped to create years ago. Before we were vegetarians, we would make a recipe called Lemon Spaghetti from the cookbook, “Everyday Italian”, by Giada de Laurentiis
It is a great recipe, but our’s differs in the sauce and we added these roasted vegetables and find it so filling and satisfying.

Veggies-cut into bite size pieces

Mix all ingredients in a big bowl
1/2 a large or 1 small Cauliflower
2 large or 3 medium Zucchini
1 medium Red pepper
1 medium Red onion
2 medium 3 small Sweet potatoes (be sure to cut these smaller because they take longer to cook)
Coat the chopped vegetables w/Olive oil (don’ t over coat)
1/2 tablespoon Sea salt
6 turns fresh Ground Pepper

Pour cut up seasoned vegetables on a baking sheet-

Bake at 410 degrees for about 8 minutes then pull out of oven and stir on pan. Return to oven and bake another 6-8 minutes. Poke potatoes with a fork to check if they’re done. If still firm cook 2-5 more minutes. Just watch carefully every oven is different. You want the potatoes to be done and hopefully the vegetables won’t over cook.

2/3 cup lemon juice
zest of one lemon
sea salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup of olive oil
Grated Romano cheese 1/4 cup
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Cook pasta according to package directions!
Return to pot and drizzle with olive oil so they don’t stick.
After vegetables are cooked serve pasta, top with vegetables, then drizzle with lemon sauce and extra cheese if you choose! We also like fresh ground black pepper. We also like to add organic raw pine nuts. We always have a bag of them in the freezer!



Delicious and easy Vegan Mac & Cheese!

Vegan Mac & Cheese with sides of sliced heirloom tomatoes and fresh green & yellow beans!
Vegan Mac & Cheese with sides of sliced heirloom tomatoes and fresh green & yellow beans!

So Mac & Cheese isn’t something that I crave or had missed being vegetarian. My daughter though has always loved this dish. So I decided to look up some recipes to make a healthier version of this southern classic! The recipe I found on-line I did exactly like it called for by www.veganyumminess.com  I doubled the amount of sauce for a larger package of pasta and still had enough sauce left over to cook a half pound of pasta another day and warmed up the sauce and added to the newly cooked pasta! Still delicious! Because the sauce kept so well I will post the doubled recipe as follows:

2 cups diced and peeled yellow potato
1/2 cup of diced carrot
2/3 cup of diced white onion

Boil the above ingredients in a pot of water
I did larger dice on these because once you boil them they go into a high speed blender, so don’t spend to much time cutting them up small.

1 to 1 1/2 cups of vegetable water set aside

Add cooked ingredients to a high speed blender along with the following:
1 cup organic raw cashews
1/2 cup of canned organic coconut milk
4 tablespoons Braggs nutritional yeast flakes
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 tsp paprika

Blend on high speed until it comes out smooth and creamy no chunks of vegetables visible. If you need more liquid add some of the vegetable water.

Once pasta is boiled add the vegan cheese mixture to drained pasta to desired amount of creaminess.

You might be surprised how delicious and satisfying this dish is!

I also used the left over sauce the next day with a quinoa brown rice pasta so it was gluten free!


Healthy Seven Layer Dip!

Here are pictures to show the different healthy layers!

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A couple of months ago my husband asked me to make something for him to bring to a pot luck at work. So after several minutes of looking on-line at different ideas, I found a recipe on Food Babe site for a healthier version of seven layered dip. Some of the things I liked and some I didn’t so I came up with my own version of a seven layered dip and here is the recipe.

1 25 oz can of Organic Whole Pinto Beans mash beans mixed with next 7 ingredients
1 tsp cumin
a dash of cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp chili powder
fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 lime juiced
1 tsp melted coconut oil

Mix in a bowl the following:
1 1/2 cups chopped kale
1 /12 cups chopped romaine
2 cloves of garlic pressed
a light drizzle of olive oil massage the garlic and oil into the chopped romaine and kale.
2 large avocados mash with a fork and add the following 5 ingredients so it comes out like a chunky guacamole
cherry tomatoes quartered
1/4 cup of diced red onion
1/2 to whole jalapeño diced
chopped cilantro
2 limes
1 25 oz can of Organic Whole Black Beans
Fresh or frozen organic corn
1 medium red bell pepper diced
1 to 2 jars of green tomatillo salsa verde (Trader Joe’s) or you can make your own (2 cups worth)
1 1/2  cups of grated Goats Milk Cheddar cheese (Trader Joe’s)
2 small cans of sliced black olives
Diced green onion greens
Chopped cilantro
1/2 cup sour cream mixed with lime juice you can add a stream of sour cream mix down the center (not shown)

Enjoy and be creative!

Stuffed Zucchini

Stuffed Zucchini


The other day I stumbled upon a couple of large-sized zucchini and thought what should I do with these?  Bread? Hmm not my favorite anymore. So after a few days of them waiting to see what I would transform them into I decided to make them for dinner and stuff them with a Mexican inspired stuffing. I had everything I needed on hand. Here is what I did.

Washed and cut the zucchini long ways in half and scooped out the middle leaving enough of an edge to hold the stuffing.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

Rubbed the cut side with some melted coconut oil and placed them face down on my lined cookie sheet and roasted them for 15 to 20 minutes depending on the size of your zucchini.

Next I heated up a can of organic refried black beans (yes I use canned items)  While the beans were warming up on low heat I prepared the following ingredients.

1 medium size sweet yellow onion diced

1 medium red bell pepper diced

1/2 green jalapeño diced

sliced some cherry tomatoes in half

2 cups frozen organic white corn defrosted and drained

used about half of the scooped out zucchini and chopped that

2 cloves pressed garlic

1 to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil

1/2 cup of grated organic raw cheddar cheese

After the empty zucchini were done cooking I set them out to cool enough for handling.

Meanwhile I heated up a sauté pan with coconut oil once hot I added the onion and sautéed adding red bell pepper then garlic and diced jalapeño once that started cooking I added the chopped up raw zucchini and sautéed for about 5 minutes more. Adding some salt pepper and chili powder to the pan. Next I turned the heat way down and added the thawed corn and cut up tomatoes.

Everything now is ready to go back into the zucchini boats. First I spread the can of refried black beans evenly in all four boats, then I spooned in the sautéed ingredients and once that was done I sprinkled each one with a little raw cheddar cheese.

Back into the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Last I sprinkled them with some pumpkin seeds. Let them set for about 5 minutes and then they are ready to eat. At the time I didn’t have any fresh cilantro but that would also be nice and pretty to add-on top after they come out of the oven. Maybe a dash of your favorite hot sauce.

Some people add bread crumbs but I didn’t think it was necessary and the pumpkin seeds gave it just the right amount of crunch. The sautéed ingredients were so flavorful and with the creamy refried black beans this was very satisfying and filling.

Once again with all my recipes feel free to make it your own and to your liking.


Vegetable Chow Mein


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This is a dish I made up the other day when we were so starving! I was craving an asian type dish so this is what I came up with and we chowed down the whole pot! Please feel free to substitute any ingredients.

Half of a red onion thinly sliced. I used a mandolin. (You could also use 3-4 green onions as substitute)
Half of a red bell pepper thinly sliced
Half of a medium jalapeño diced
2 small zucchini thinly sliced
Half a head of white cabbage thinly sliced
Broccoli cut up into small florets
2 small carrots, shredded
1 inch piece of grated ginger root
Chopped cilantro
1 large garlic clove thinly sliced
1-2 teaspoons of grated lime zest and 2 juiced limes
Optional: Baked Tofu
Peanut sauce and baked tofu recipes are from:  The Minimalist Baker


Cook the above noodles (or your choice of noodles) according to package directions. Drain, rinse, and set aside.

Rinse the pot that you cooked the noodles in and return to heat. Heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, add onion, red bell pepper and sauté for 2 minutes. Next add jalapeño and garlic, continue cooking then add zucchini and a little sea salt. Continue stirring and add the cut up broccoli florets. To keep vegetables from sticking I added the juice of one lime and continued to stir. Put the lid on the pot for about 3 minutes to help steam the broccoli. Next I added the lime zest and the grated ginger. Then the baked tofu, cabbage and carrots.

Lastly I added the cooled noodles, removed pot from heat and added the peanut sauce to the pot! At this point I added a few shakes of sesame seeds but next time I make this I will add some chopped peanuts. Add most of the cilantro and save a little to sprinkle on top of each dish!


Wheat Berry Salad

Have you ever eaten wheat berries? They are the entire wheat kernel (except for the hull), composed of the bran, germ, and endosperm. The ones I purchased were in the bulk department of a healthier chain grocery store. Measure 2 cups of dry berries, then rinse. Cook them in a pressure cooker for 45 minutes (including the time it takes for the cooker to get up to pressure). Once the cooker is cooled and ready to open, let them sit for another 20 minutes before pouring them out into a mesh strainer, rinsing with cold water and left in a bowl to cool down. Then pour 1-2 tablespoons of good quality olive oil and mix. Place in the refrigerator, and while they are chilling chop the remaining ingredients to add to the salad.
Chopped green onion
Diced red bell pepper
Chopped sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil)
Sliced zucchini
Fresh chopped Italian parsley
Fresh chopped basil
more olive oil
Cubed sheep milk feta
Raw pine nuts


Now, make a red wine vinegar dressing to pour over the salad.


2 cloves pressed garlic

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil

salt & pepper


Put all ingredients in a pint size mason jar, then shake vigorously.

Pour over wheat berry salad and enjoy! The left over salad is great tasting and stays fresh for 3 days!

This salad would be great to take on a picnic or to a party!