Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Holiday Gift Ideas

If you are looking for awesome books to give as gifts this year, check out my book/cookbook/video recommendations!
These books have helped me to transform my health and my perspective on life.
Add a package of see-through sticky notes with your cookbook gift, so your recipient can "tag" their favorite recipes and add notes!

Where Are You From?

I recently checked the stats on my food blog and saw the Top 10 places where people who visit my food blog come from. I know there are many of you from other places, too! I REALLY want to meet you and know more about you. So, please write to me from the "Contact Mrs. Plant" form on the RIGHT side of the home page ( or in the comments below. Introduce yourself! Tell me how you came to be interested in whole foods plant-based eating and share your story. Would love to connect with you!

We're all in this together!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Veggie Dumpling Stew

Often, I find recipes on the Internet that sound REALLY tasty. Then, I skim through the ingredients developing questions in my brain. Can I remove the oil and still get the same texture/flavor? If I replace the highly processed white flour with whole wheat, will anyone be able to tell? Can I make this recipe in a pressure cooker instead? Fearing not, I revamp and revise and then...TEST!

This perfect-for-cold-weather dish made it onto my web screen the other day, and here is the result. Whole-family approved and easier and healthier than the original...I present to you...Veggie Dumpling Stew!

1 cup onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups carrots, peeled and diced into 3/4-inch chunks (if organic, wash but do not peel)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium (or 2 small) sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1-inch chunks
2-3 medium organic Yukon Gold or white potatoes, scrubbed and diced (you do not need to peel them) into 1-inch chunks
1 cup frozen organic corn
4 cups water
2 t Better-Than-Bouillon No-Chicken Broth or other veggie stock base concentrate/soup base
1 t each of these dried herbs—rosemary, thyme, basil, sage, and oregano
1 T dried parsley
5 t low-sodium soy sauce
2 T. whole wheat flour or spelt flour
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup frozen peas

1 flax egg (1 T ground flaxseed meal and 2 ½ T warm water)      
1 cup whole wheat or spelt flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 T dried parsley
1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk

Pressure Cooker Instructions:
In your electric pressure cooker, steamfry onions  with a bit of broth or water for about 5 minutes on the BROWN or SAUTÉ setting. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add all of the rest of the stew ingredients (EXCEPT the frozen peas!) and set the pressure manually to 8 minutes with QUICK RELEASE. Open the top of your pressure cooker and stir the mixture. Remove 1 cup of the broth, pour it into a small bowl, and stir in the 2 T. of flour until thickened. Return the blended mixture to the stew, stir in to thicken it. Add the frozen peas and salt and pepper, if needed.

In a small bowl, mix together the flaxseed meal and warm water to make the flax egg.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, and parsley) for the dumplings. Add in the flax egg and non-dairy milk and gently fold ingredients together, just until moistened.
Drop the mixture by tablespoonful into the stew.

Close the top of the pressure cooker and cook on the SLOW COOKER setting (with valve set to RELEASE) for 15-20 minutes, until the dumplings are cooked (firm, but still a little doughy). Serve!

Adapted from

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Plant-Pure Nation Cookbook: Irish Potatoes and Cabbage

When I buy a cookbook, I leaf through and file recipes in the back of my mind that I KNOW I'm going to make first. One of those was the Irish Potatoes with Cabbage in the PlantPure Nation Cookbook. I love the ingredients and just knew the flavors and textures melded together would be superb. I was RIGHT! It's the perfect dish for a chilly evening at home.

The only modifications I made were the following:
1) I added 2 large carrots to the recipe
2) I peeled the potatoes and carrots, and I chopped the potatoes them into approximately 1-inch chunks and the carrots into 1/2-inch chunks. 
3) Then, I placed the carrot and potato chunks in the pressure cooker with about 1 cup of water, set it to 3 minutes on pressure, and did a quick release. 
4) Finally, I used my Breville All-in-One ricer attachment and quickly (maybe 3 or 4 times) blended the potatoes and carrots, leaving some chunks.

I followed the rest of the recipe to the letter. This would work well as a holiday side dish or as a main dish for dinner. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Tastes-Like-Raisinettes Cookies

These are, by far, my husband's favorite cookies. The nutrition profile is pretty healthy for a dessert. I'm still working on reducing the refined sugar. Hope to have a super healthified version coming soon. in the have to make a batch of these. SO delish!

1 cup sifted spelt or whole wheat flour
1⁄3 cup rolled oats
1⁄4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t baking powder
1⁄4 t (rounded) baking soda
1⁄4 cup raisins
1⁄4 cup vegan chocolate chips
3 T raw sugar
1⁄4 t salt
1⁄3 cup + 1 T pure maple syrup
1 t blackstrap molasses
1 1⁄2 t pure vanilla extract
1⁄8 cup warm water (plus a bit more if needed to bring dough together)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.
In a bowl, combine the flour, oats, and cocoa, sifting in the baking powder and baking soda.
Add the raisins, chips, sugar, and salt, and stir well.
In a separate small bowl, combine the maple syrup with the molasses and vanilla, then stir in the warm water until well mixed. Add the wet mixture to the dry, and stir until just incorporated. Place spoonfuls of the batter (about 1 tablespoon each) on the prepared baking sheet and flatten a little (if desired). Bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven, let cool on the pan for just a minute (not much longer, to prevent drying), then transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before eating.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Education Lesson: What is Calorie Density?

It is a known fact that people eat approximately the same WEIGHT of food per day, give or take a few ounces. Your body becomes satiated when it has been filled with a certain amount of food. So, the key to LOSING weight is to eat the same AMOUNT of food (that makes your stomach's stretch and fullness receptors happy) but to choose foods that are lower in calories and fat PER POUND.

This chart shows us the approximate caloric value of a pound of various types of foods. You can see that the whole foods (with the exception of nuts, seeds, and avocado) are particularly low in calories per pound than animal products, refined carbs/sugars/junk food, and oil. That said, to lose weight, you must eat the foods above the red line first and foremost, with limited high-calorie dense whole foods (nuts, seeds, avocados). Some people even forego the high-calorie dense whole foods when in weight loss mode, adding them in slowing when they get to their optimal weight.

A large percentage of recipes on this food blog fall in the category above the red line. You should be able to find delicious, filling foods to eat while working on your weight. Take time to browse the recipes and try a few--even if you're not sure you'd like them. ENJOY!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Cooking Cauliflower for the pressure cooker!

Cauliflower after cooking in pressure cooker
I am making a recipe tonight that called for a bag of frozen cauliflower for a cream sauce. I could not find any at my store, so I decided to buy a head of cauliflower and boil it myself. Being lazy today, I came up with a QUICK way to cook cauliflower florets in the pressure cooker without having to cut each one off the head. SO easy!!!

1 head of cauliflower, washed well
Place in the pressure cooker stem-side down.
Add one cup of water.
Place cover on pressure cooker and cook on pressure for 10 minutes with QUICK release.
With two large spoons, lift the head of cauliflower out of the pressure cooker and place in another pot or bowl, flipping it over (so the stem is up). You should be able to scoop the stem out easily with the spoons, leaving all of the florets in tact.

Beautifully cooked florets!

Minestrone Soup

We had the honor of spending an evening with three lovely plant-based ladies last weekend on our getaway to Austin. Since it was pouring rain and our plans to eat at the only whole foods, oil-free restaurant in Austin were waylaid, one of the ladies (Jill of Simple Daily Recipes) invited us to come over for an impromptu cooking session/dinner. She had all of the ingredients to make minestrone soup, so that's what we made! Along with Patty's fresh dinner salad and fruit salad and Jill's cornbread, a delightful meal was born!

After we returned home, I knew this would be our lunch soup for the next week. I tried to remember what we put into the pressure cooker so I could recreate it. Here's what I came up with and it was FABULOUS once again! This one will be a new staple in our home.

1 large onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped small
2-3 zucchini, roughly chopped
1 can of chickpeas (or 1 1/2 cups of homecooked), rinsed and drained (Jill had previously cooked her own chickpeas in Vindaloo spice which gave the soup an exceptional flavor)
6 cups of veggie broth
1 28-oz can of organic diced tomatoes
1/4 t. black pepper
1-1 1/2 t. salt
1 t. oregano
2 t. Italian seasoning (I used the mix I made from the PlantPure Nation cookbook, p. 147)
Whole grain pasta

Pressure Cooker Instructions:
Place the chopped onions, carrots, and celery in the pressure cooker and cook for 5 minutes on the brown or saute feature (stirring occasionally).
Add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT for the pasta.
Set to pressure for 3 minutes.
While the soup is cooking, boil your pasta, drain, and set it aside.
Allow the pressure cooker to cool down  before releasing the top.
This soup can sit on warm for several hours before serving, so you can make it in the morning and leave it to serve at lunchtime.

Serve the hot soup with desired amount of pasta.

NOTE: This soup could easily be made on the stovetop or in a slow cooker. It is a versatile soup that only gets more delicious as it sits over low heat.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Thanksgiving: Pumpkin Pie

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup pitted dates (packed)
1/3 cup almond butter
2 T nondairy milk
1/8 t sea salt
1/2 t. cinnamon

1 (15-oz) can pumpkin puree
3/4 cup raw walnuts
1/3 cup plain unsweetened non­-dairy milk  
1/2 cup pure maple syrup or date syrup
1 t lemon juice
1 T cornstarch
2 t pumpkin pie spice
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 t salt

Heat oven to 375°F. degrees.
For the crust, use a food processor to process the rolled oats and dates into a fine, crumbly  texture. Add the almond butter and process for about a minute. Add the non­dairy milk and salt.  Pulse until the mixture comes together without crumbling.  If it’s not holding together, add more  non­dairy milk, 1 teaspoon at a time. Transfer to a pie plate. Press mixture into pie plate evenly  around the base and up the sides. Set aside.    Now, let’s make the filling. In a blender, combine pumpkin puree, nuts, ⅓ cup non­dairy, maple  syrup, lemon juice and cornstarch, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, and ¼ teaspoon salt, blend with  medium speed until smooth.  Fill pie crust and distribute filling evenly with rubber spatula.     Bake 20 minutes, until the pie is golden (the center may be soft, but it will set further as it cools).  Transfer pie to a cooling rack. Cool completely and chill in fridge for several hours before slicing and serving.

Adapted from Dreena  Burton’s Great Pumpkin Pie recipe, which was tweaked by Jill Ann McKeever of Simple Daily Recipes, and then retweaked again by Mrs. Plant. :-)

Monday, November 9, 2015

General Tso's Cauliflower HEALTHIFIED

I saw High Carb Hannah's recipe for General Tso's Cauliflower, and I thought I could improve the health aspect some. Here is my revised version. It was AMAZING!

1 1/2 cups of garbanzo bean flour (besan)
1 1/2 cups of water
1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
2-3 cups of whole wheat panko bread crumbs

4 cloves of garlic
2 t. crushed ginger
1 cup hoisin sauce (I used Kroger brand)
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 T. turbinado
2 t. sriracha sauce
1/4 t. red pepper flakes

Blend all of the sauce ingredients in the blender for 30 seconds. Taste to see if you like the flavor. Adjust the sriracha or sweetener if needed. Pour sauce into a bowl and set aside.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
In a small-medium mixing bowl, add the garbanzo flour. Slowly mix water into the garbanzo bean flour until it creates a batter (like that of pancake batter) that will stick to the cauliflower pieces.
Place panko bread crumbs on a plate.
Dip the cauliflower pieces into the batter, tap off excess batter on the side of the bowl, coat with the panko bread crumbs, then place on the parchment-lined baking sheet. When all pieces are coated, bake for 30 minutes.
Lower oven to 400 degrees.
Remove coated cauliflower from oven and dip each piece into the sauce, returning each back to the baking tray afterward.c If there is remaining sauce, save it to warm and drizzle over cauliflower before serving.
Bake the pieces for an additional 15 minutes, making sure the cauliflower pieces don't burn.
Serve over brown rice with greens on the side.