Acorn squash in its Sunday finest

Nicole Erikson, thanks for the inspiration! It may be intended as a side dish for dinner, but because I’m a rule breaker, I’ll be having it for breakfast. What a gorgeous way to welcome fall! 

I baked the squash in the oven at 400° for 30 minutes, then added a teaspoon of coconut oil in each half and topped with salt, pepper, and cinnamon. The rest is a slight variation from your version, based on ingredients that I had handy. 😉

I added roughly chopped dates and walnuts, and topped off with coconut milk… Maybe 2 tablespoons in each, or a little less. More evidence that vegan does not have to be boring or tasteless.


Probiotic Queen

Today I give an enthusiastic shoutout to Pam DuRousseau of California Girl Functional Foods, for her probiotic kraut offerings. In my opinion, her work is a community service, if not a personal service, to those of us who are not skilled enough or motivated enough to make our own probiotic fermentations.  

 Those of you who have been reading my posts know that I am trying recipes from The Plantpower Way and sharing my experiences here. One of the most recommended ingredients in the one bowl recipes is fermented kraut. Getting this at the grocery store is a bonus, but getting it at the farmers market…locally…is a tremendous gift. Thank you, Pam, for making it easy. 

But how do you get protein?

Vegan lunch bowls for the next three days contain spinach with salt and red pepper flakes, roasted millet, kidney beans, and cauliflower white sauce. Rolling in at 16-17 grams protein per lunch…I think I’ll manage. The millet and bean combo provide a complete protein, and the fiber content is about equal to the protein, which is an added bonus. Oh yeah…my lunch is ready for the rest of the week, and that is the BEST! Happy vegan adventures, my friends!

Roasted Tomato Cacao Sauce Over Penne

Or…inspiration for vegan butter chicken. But back to the original for now! This gem from The Plantpower Way shines with the addition of cacao nibs…an admitted first for me. Prep starts with blackened cherry tomatoes. 

And continues with a high speed blender, basil, pine nuts, Brazil nuts, and sun-dried tomatoes…and a few other essentials…see book p. 212. 

Couldn’t be much easier…sauce is piping hot from the blackened tomatoes, and it can be poured over pasta and tossed to combine. 

This dish garnered thumbs up from me and “okay” from my son. It may appeal more to the adult palate. The interesting thing…and maybe more interesting than the original, is that this sauce reminds me of butter chicken tomato cream sauce. I’m not crazy about pasta in general (sad but true), and I can see this with some browned tofu or even mushrooms over rice. A bit of naan bread on the side….yum! If you go that route, fill me in. 

Happiness is…a savory cauliflower white sauce 

 A warm puppy helps too, but for now we’ll focus on food. First, a shout out to Nicole Erikson ( for sparking this idea. Nicole shared a link for vegan lasagne and issued a friendly challenge to try it. The cauliflower white sauce intrigued me more than the lasagne itself for two reasons. First, I’m one of those oddballs who doesn’t love layered foods…unless it’s seven layer dip, then get out of my way. Second, I limit pasta, even gluten free, and shaved zucchini just doesn’t motivate me. That white sauce though…the wheels were turning about the one bowls…posted earlier. 

One bowls need a sauce. If you’re easy to please, lemon juice or tamari may do. My preferred sauce would be cashew cheese, but dang. When a girl wants to drop a few pounds, cashew cheese isn’t ideal either. Enter the cauliflower sauce, which as it turns out, is amazing! Nicole’s post was here.  I skipped over the lasagne and went to the sauce. 

Bowl before:

And after:

Oh yeah! (Yes…packaged for lunch at work. This time with a bit of toasted millet hiding at the bottom.)

The possibilities may be endless for this sauce, but this week it will satisfy me at lunchtime and make me feel like I’m getting away with something. 

Grilled veggies or roasted corn salad? Why choose?

If you have your own copy of The Plant Power Way, you know that the photos are gorgeous. Mine don’t do them justice, but that doesn’t stop me from posting them. This is a blog of the journey, and it’s real. This afternoon I looked at the photo of the “Grilled Veggie Salad” on page 173, and felt inspired to make it. But the “Roasted Corn and Tomato Salad” on the next page looked appetizing as well, and since I’m not too concerned with following rules in the kitchen, I decided to marry the two, although I used the “Grilled Veggie Salad” prep as the base. 

The recipe calls for using a wok or cast iron skillet to blacken the veggies, and my photos show the process for zucchini, yellow squash, and corn. Note that the corn was microwaved in the husk before I put it in the wok (yeah, yeah, forty lashes with a wet noodle for microwaving a vegetable again). Whether you agree with the method or not, I have to say it’s fast and effective! Could you just blacken the vegetables on a grill? Of course! You’re the chef…make a decision and go with it. Another confession…if I were perfect, you’d see a red bell pepper in the finished product instead yellow. Did I let imperfection stop me? No, and neither should you. Life is too short to get hung up on minor details.

While the vegetables are blackening (corn first, because you’ll need to let it cool to handle it), work on the “Classic Dijon Honey Dressing,” p. 112. This one is a winner for any salad or vegetable in my opinion…no oil and a blast of flavor. Spend a few extra pennies and get Grey Poupon or another quality Dijon…you won’t be sorry.

Here’s the interesting part — pour the dressing in the bottom of a large bowl and cut the corn into the bowl. Add the rest of the grilled veggies…cut into chunks. Mix lightly with your hands. If you disregard rules like I do, add in tomato and basil and toss lightly again with your hands. The entire mixture can now be mixed with torn or chopped romaine. Top off with avocado and cracked pepper, and your tastebuds will rejoice. I chose to store the veggies separately from the lettuce and only mix one portion, as I have leftovers.

Verdict — a true summer winner! Have I mentioned that I love leftovers? This will keep me happy for another day or two. If you try it, please share your photos and opinions!