Sweet Potato Salad (awesome and vegan!)

Perfect Roasted Sweet Potatoeshow to roast sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are somewhat of a superfood.  In my house we eat them several times a month.  They are very versatile–I put them in soups, stir fry and muffins.  I think sweet potatoes are fun and healthy alternative to boring white potatoes.  So simple to make heat oven to 400, cook for 30 minutes or until they are the firmness you desire for your recipe, EAT, feel amazing and healthy!

Roasted Walnuts

For quick reference I made a 15 second instagram video roasting walnuts.  You can watch it here.  (and you can follow me on Instagram for my online healthy food journal).  The trick is to keep the nuts moving in the pan–all nuts have a high fat content and will burn in a heartbeat if you aren’t  watching them.


Cooking wheat berries can be a little tricky.  Again, I posted on Instagram how I wash the berries before I cooked them.  My first attempt was on the stove . . . where I burnt them!  My squirrels wouldn’t even eat them!  That is when I know my cooking has it an all time low!  Or maybe my squirrels have just become accustomed to finer dining at the Baude fence.  Either way–it was bad.

My second attempt at stove top wheat berries was better but the consistency just wasn’t what I wanted.  Ok, so I’m probably a little picky about the exact texture of my wheat berries but still . . . FAIL.

The final and third attempt worked.  Seriously, if I didn’t get it right this time–I just wasn’t really interested in moving forward with this recipe.  I love wheat berries–so the thought of ditching the project was sad for me.  The thought of paying deli prices for wheat berries was even SADDER.  

You can imagine how excited I was to open my rice cooker and taste perfectly cooked wheat berries.  

It was short lived.  Do you think I actually wrote down how much water I used and how many cups of wheat berries?  Another fail but I do remember thinking, “I’ll use the same ratio as what is on the bag.” and since that was my last thought . . . I’m going with it.  I used a 2:1 ratio of water to wheat berries!  

Again–I posted a quick photo on Instagram.

Chopped Kale sweetpotatoingredientlist

This past weekend I went to a Engine 2 Retreat.  Kale was at every meal!  I must admit that I haven’t mastered the cooking of kale.  I know that I like the Lacinto Kale best but I never really think about how to cook the kale.  It just seems to cook in the rice or cook in the sweet potato . . . I never cooked JUST kale.  The recipe is easy–boil the kale for 5 minutes.  I thought–BOIL?  I can’t possibly boil it.  But tonight I did.  I boiled my kale for 5 minutes and . . . it was perfect.  I cooked up 3 bunches, enough for tomorrows meals.  

In this recipe I just chopped raw kale.  I’m sure the vinaigrette broke down the cellulose in the kale making it simply wonderful.  When I make it in the future I will use the cooked kale–I think it has a nicer bite when it is cooked.

Walnut Fig Vinaigrette 

I love a great vinaigrette!  You can go to this post to find out how I make it!

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This recipe was a huge hit at the “End of the Season” soccer pot luck parties.  I love sharing plant based, nutritious, super yummy and filling recipes to the parties.  I will admit I was surprised by how many people willingly tried some without my prompting.  I didn’t say it was vegan, they didn’t ask and I’m not sure they even know that I’m a food writer!  Lynn does but for that party I made cake–not vegan but so yummy.

If you try this recipe please leave a note for me in the comments or send me an email.  I’d love to hear your feedback.

Be Blessed. 

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The Best Walnut Fig Vinaigrette (ever!)

Walnut Fig Vinaigrette   

I went to the Engine 2 Retreat the last weekend in June, 2014.  And it was a life changing event for me.  The speakers were amazing and touched my heart, opened my mind while giving my ego a big thump!  The weekend was about eating a plant based diet AND so much more.  If you struggle at all with embracing a healthy lifestyle, I completely/wholeheartedly recommend a weekend like this.  It was suggested that I eliminate oil from my diet.  Oh, that hurt!

Do you remember my love of mojo de ajo?  over pasta!  yeah, I’m eliminating pasta and bread too!  I can totally do this!  My health and vitality are more important than my favorite dinner . . . 

Oh Nuts!

I love walnuts and pistachios.  (don’t tell anyone, but I have been known to eat peanut butter from a spoon right from the jar!)  Those days are over for a while!  I know, right!  Along with oil, I’m giving up nuts . . . big exhale.  I would rather give up nuts for a month or two and lose some weight while approaching a healthier lifestyle.  I can do this.  

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The Problem!

My favorite vinaigrette has both oil and nuts!  Now what?

Well, like I keep telling myself this isn’t forever.  I can do this.  And just because I can’t have my favorite salad dressing doesn’t mean that I don’t want YOU to have it.  I am giving two versions–my original and what I’m currently using.  Enjoy!

My new favorite salad dressing

Well, I still have my awesome fig vinegar and my figs, without my peppery olive oil and walnuts.  It obviously won’t be the same but it can’t be that bad–right?   

Walnut Fig Vinaigrette V. 2 (without nuts or oil)

Ok, so it isn’t really that complicated.  

2 tablespoons of really amazing Fig Vinaigrette, I add chopped figs and let it sit over night.  The vinegar infuses the figs making them a wonderful emulsifier as well as offering an incredible depth of flavor.  I add this dressing over my salad greens, over veggies, quinoa and even fruit!  

Do I miss the nuts?  Well, yes and no.  The very first time I had the dressing on salad–I did miss the nutty flavor.  Walnuts also have an awesome texture as well.  Did I mention that I love roasted walnuts?  You can see my video here on roasted walnuts.  What I did was add a little bit of ground flax seed.  

Flax seed adds a nutty flavor, a nutrition boost, fiber and thickens the dressing just a touch.  I also have added flax seeds to my oatmeal instead of walnuts.  When I go back to eating nuts . . . I will keep the flax and add the nuts!   I’ll be double healthy!  BONUS.IMG_6456

Walnut Fig Vinaigrette V. 1 (original version)

I use a ratio of 2:1.  Olive oil to acidic.  So simple.

1/2 cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup of fig infused vinegar, roasted walnuts and minced figs or leave them chunky if that is what you like.  

It is smokey from the walnuts, sweet with the figs, sour with the vinegar and a great mouth feel with the oil.  

More suggestions and combinations

1/2 cup of oil (olive oil, sesame oil, walnut oil, peanut oil) 

1/4 cup of acidic (lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, orange juice, rice wine vinegar, lime juice)
1 tablespoon of any of the following:  honey, mustard, walnuts, peanuts, almonds ginger, garlic, fresh herbs, soy sauce, figs, onions
My winning combinations:
olive oil, roasted walnuts, fig spread, balsamic vinegar, and feta cheese (now that I’m vegan I drop the feta.  The feta adds great depth and saltiness.)
olive oil, tarragon, lemon, 
honey mustard, rice wine vinegar–how simple is that?
horseradish mustard, champagne vinegar, dill, a touch of oil, salt and pepper
Warm salad dressing:  two tablespoons of butter (or earth balance if you are vegan) melted in a pan, while it is still warm add 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, a touch of brown sugar and toss over spinach and strawberry salad (add bacon if you are a meat eater)
Coleslaw dressing:  1/2 cup of veganise and 1/4 cup of Panera Fuji Apple Salad dressing.  Toss with a bag of broccoli slaw.
Now remember–the 2:1 ratio lets you make a micro batch of dressing.  Play, have fun, get your greens dressed and ready to make you feel healthy and energized.IMG_6457

Go eat some greens!  Live and Love Big!






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Strawberry Pie

What do I do when Jack brings me 6 quarts of strawberries?

Make strawberry pie!

Step 1: take a walk on the beach.20140712-174841-64121206.jpg

Step 2: Fine a “perfect bakeware” pie plate! I mean really! How can it NOT turn out amazing!


Step 3: Wash 6 quarts, cut off the stems, let sit overnight. (I didn’t have pie crust or the glaze–but we were planning a trip into town the next day.)



Step 4: To measure the perfect amount of strawberries for the pie–simply put them in the pie plate until heaping. I like a tall pie!


Step 5: Bake pie crusts. My favorite “cheating crust” is from Immaculate Baking #gmo free. I made a pie for us and a pie for Jack.


Step 6: Add the glaze to the perfect amount of strawberries. I thought the glaze was going to be horribly unhealthy but it actually isn’t that bad! Less food coloring and sugar than Oops All Berries!





Step 7: Enjoy! My family loves fresh whipped cream but I didn’t have sugar, so I used a bit of Frangelico for a nice hazelnut flavoring. (My brother used the leftovers in his coffee–waste not want not!)


I worked in a Ann Arbor deli making several dozen pies a week perfecting my blueberry pie and strawberry pie recipes. Now, I just make pies for the people I love!

Do you make an awesome pie? Leave a comment or better yet your recipe!

Be blessed.

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