Banana Oat Date Cookies


These cookies have no added sugar, but you’d never know it because the dates and bananas provide just the right amount of sweetness. They make for a healthy option for a snack, breakfast on the go, or dessert. I show you how to make them oil-free as well ūüôā

3 large ripe bananas
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup canola oil (for an oil-free option use 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce instead)
2 cups rolled or quick-cooking oats
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (More if you like cinnamon a lot. Sometimes I do 1 tsp.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 or 7 large dates, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a baking pan with canola oil or line with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until smooth.
3. Add the vanilla, canola/apple sauce, oats, coconut, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder and mix with your hands or a fork until fully combined.
4. Fold in the chopped dates.
5. Using a tablespoon spoon (is that what it’s called?) scoop out heaping dollops of the dough onto the baking pan. You could also use your hands but I thought the round shape created by the tablespoon spoon was really cute. (Note: The cookies wont spread very much so they can be placed closely together.)
6. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown on the bottom. Depending on your oven, it could take up to 30 minutes.

Source: This is an oil-free version of a recipe in “Color Me Vegan” by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

Caribbean Plantain + Pinto Stew


I used to think plantains were just old bananas that supermarkets kept in stock in hopes that people would buy them to make banana bread. When I moved to Brooklyn and noticed that even the smallest quickie mart carried these black bananas I just thought people in Brooklyn must really have a thing for banana bread. Silly me! As the rest of the world probably knows already, plantains are a major component of Latin American and Caribbean cuisine, and are used in soups, stews, and desserts. I was completely blown away by the combination of flavors in this stew–both sweet and spicy–and owe many of my thanks to the plantains. This recipe definitely goes on my list of top favorites.

1 large yellow onion, chopped finely
1 yellow pepper, chopped finely
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 plum tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup cooking sherry (any cooking wine will do, or sub vegetable broth)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed OR 2/3 cup dried pintos, soaked overnight
2 ripe plantains, peeled, sliced in half lengthwise, and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. If using the soaked beans: place beans in a pot with fresh water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer, covered for 60 minutes. If using canned beans, continue directly to step 2.
2. In a soup pot over medium heat, saute the onions, peppers, jalapenos, and garlic for 5-7 minutes, until the vegetables are softened.
3. Add the tomatoes, sherry, salt, and cumin. Cover and bring to a boil, then let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are cooked and broken down.
4. Add the pinto beans and plantains. Cover and simmer for another 20-25 minutes.
5. Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with cilantro.

Source: Inspired by a recipe in “Veganomicon”

Golden Rice with Curried Apricot Dressing


This dish is similar to paella but it has more sweetness in flavor. The apricot dressing is loaded with richness and spice, and makes the whole rice mixture really creamy. This recipe could easily satisfy 4 people, but keep in mind that before we started eating we were certain there would be leftovers but it was so good that we didn’t want to stop eating. But hey, that’s another great thing about eating a plant-based, whole foods diet– it’s all good-for-you stuff, so helping yourself to seconds (and thirds and fourths) is fine!

Update: I tried adding a can of chickpeas to this dish and really enjoyed it. It’s delicious either way, but I now prefer it with the chickpeas.

1 tablespoon water or vegetable stock, for sauteing
1 medium sweet yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 cups uncooked brown basmati rice
2 teaspoons turmeric
3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tart apple, diced and tossed with lemon juice
3 scallions, thinly sliced
Curried Apricot Dressing
1/4 cup apricot preserves
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2/3 cup water

1. In a medium saucepan, heat the water or stock over medium heat and saute the onion and garlic until just softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the cumin, fennel seed, pepper, and salt. Saute for 1 minute.
3. Add the rice and stir constantly for 2 minutes or until the rice smells fragrant.
4. Add the turmeric and the 3 1/2 cups vegetable stock. bring to boil and cover.
5. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 40-45 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
6. Meanwhile, to make the dressing combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until emulsified. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
7. After step 5 is done, remove the pan from heat and add the carrots, apple, and scallions. Stir so everything is all mixed in and then transfer to a large serving bowl.
8. Pour most of the dressing onto the rice and mix thoroughly. Taste and add the rest of the dressing, if desired, or reserve for another use. Serve, savor, and enjoy!

Source: This is based on a recipe from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s “Color Me Vegan”. (Her recipe calls for saffron, which I had planned to use but forgot to purchase. I used turmeric instead and we loved how it turned out so I’ll continue to make this dish with turmeric in the future. I also omitted the oil.)¬†

Robert’s Power Breakfast! (And, Why You Don’t Need Cow’s Milk for … Anything!)

Did you know that humans are the only species on that planet that 1) drink the breast milk of another species, and 2) continue to consume milk far past weaning age?      

I certainly didn’t think about it like that until recently, but once I did, I got the heebie jeebies all over.

The practice of consuming the milk of other animals is actually a fairly recent phenomenon in human history, and our bodies aren’t built to handle it very well. After the first few years of life, we stop producing the enzyme lactase and lose our ability to digest lactose. It’s no wonder so many people have trouble digesting milk (let alone the milk of another kind of animal)¬†past weaning age.¬†What is often called “lactose intolerance” (the inability to digest significant amounts of lactose after weaning age) shouldn’t be thought of a disease. It’s the normal “condition” for most human adults–a whopping 75% worldwide–because adults aren’t babies, obviously, and no longer need to be able to digest milk

Like most people, I thought humans consumed cow’s milk to meet our calcium needs, but it’s believed that the amounts of calcium consumed by humans in the late Paleolithic era were more than double the intakes of today–with no cow’s milk at all. Humans evolved in a calcium-rich, salt-poor dietary environment, and our basic metabolism has changed little from that of our Stone Age ancestors.

Where did their calcium come from? Plants! That’s right, calcium-rich plant food! Calcium-rich foods that are widely available today include kale, collard greens, broccoli, mushrooms, green beans, seaweed, romaine lettuce, (the list goes on!) as well as beans, nuts, and seeds. There’s even some calcium in whole grains and fruits, which are already loaded with health benefits in their own right.

There are lots of plant-based milks and yogurts out there (I eat plain soy yogurt every morning for breakfast). Robert has started drinking almond milk, which he uses in his daily breakfast smoothie. Almond milk is delicious and nutritious. It’s free of cholesterol and saturated fat but contains omega fatty acids (that’s the good stuff). It’s rich in vitamins D, E, and A. It has high levels of magnesium, potassium, selenium and 30% of daily calcium needs in each cup. Robert absolutely LOVES this smoothie. He comes home from work every night and says something about how good his breakfast was.

Ingredients (top photo, from left to right):
Almond Milk
Peanut Butter
Ground Flax Seeds
Agave Nectar

Brussels Sprouts + Apples + Pecans


Brussels Sprouts are so cute! They are also really nutritious, boasting high amounts of vitamins C and K, and containing an abundance of disease-fighting phytochemicals, including sulforaphane, which helps rid the body of carcinogenic substances.
This dish was inspired by a recipe in “Color Me Vegan” by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. I absolutely LOVE this cookbook and I think the author is awesome. Her podcast¬†Vegetarian Food for Thought¬†(which you can listen to for free) is so inspiring¬†and informative. Not only is she well-versed in nutrition–which is why I started listening to her in the first place–but she also has helped me see that our food choices can be, and should be, an extension of who we are and what we value in life. It’s such an empowering outlook. Her words have really broadened my perspective.

2 pounds Brussels sprouts, washed and shredded (cut into strips)
2 tablespoons vegetable broth
1 large tart apple, unpeeled and cubed
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon pomegranate syrup (if you can’t find that, use maple syrup)
1/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a large saute pan, heat broth over medium heat. Add the shredded Brussels sprouts and a touch of salt and saute for 7-10 minutes until the sprouts begin to brighten.
2. Add the apple cubes, garlic, and syrup, and cook for 3-5 minutes or until the apples are heated through but not too soft.
3. At the end of the cooking time, add the pecans, and salt and pepper to taste.

Kale Quinoa Salad


We love this meal so much we probably have it twice a week, at least! It’s what I make when I’m short on time or don’t feel like putting too much thought into dinner. A “lazy lady’s dinner,” if you will.
This salad is rugged. Yeah, that’s right. I used “rugged” and “salad” in the same sentence. There is something about raw lacinato kale that is so strong and hearty and, well, rugged! Plus, kale is¬†part of the cruciferous vegetable family, making it a true nutritional powerhouse. In fact,¬†The World’s Healthiest Foods Foundation describes kale as “one of the healthiest vegetables around.” It has risk-lowering benefits for at least five types of cancers (bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate) and has a cholesterol-lowering ability comparable to the prescription drug cholestyramine (a medication that is taken for the purpose of lowering cholesterol). That’s a whole lot of nutrition in a meal that takes only 20 minutes at most!
Tip: I keep a constant supply of Goldhouse Gold Dressing in my fridge. I always double or triple the recipe and store it in a HUGE Manischewitz bottle. (Don’t ask… My husband loves Manischewitz.) ¬†That way it’s ready whenever I need it, which is pretty much all the time because it’s SO good and it tastes delicious on practically everything.

(Serves 2 hearty eaters)

1.5 cups dry quinoa
3 cups water
1 bunch of kale
1/4 cup shelled pistachios or walnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup dried cherries, raisins, or dried currants
Goldhouse Gold Dressing

1. Place quinoa in a dry medium saucepan and toast over medium-high flame for 3 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and cover for 18-20 minutes until each quinoa has a curly little tail. It should be very fluffy like cooked couscous, not wet or porridge-y.
2. Meanwhile, finely chop the kale and place into a large salad bowl. Add the nuts and dried fruit of choice.
3. When the quinoa is done add it to the kale mix. Drizzle with Goldhouse Gold Dressing and fresh pepper to taste. De-lish!


Citrus Tofu + Asparagus

¬†¬† ¬† Tofu is Asian in origin and is a staple of Asian cuisine, so understandably a lot of tofu recipes tend to include other typical Asian ingredients such as soy sauce and ginger. While these kinds of tofu dishes are delicious, the same combination of flavors can start to feel repetitive if you’re eating a lot of tofu.
¬†¬†¬†¬† But tofu need not be so limited! Case in point…
¬†¬†¬†¬† In this recipe tofu is prepared with balsamic vinegar, basil, and orange juice. The result is a tangy dish that feels like it could come from an Italian or Greek cookbook. It’s an easy dish to love, and a great reminder of just how versatile tofu can be.
1 14-ounce package extra-firm water-packed tofu, rinsed
2 tablespoons red miso, divided
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
4 teaspoons vegetable broth, divided
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (from the jar will be fine here too)
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 450¬įF. Coat a large baking pan with oilve oil or cooking spray.
2.  Pat tofu dry and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Whisk 1 tablespoon miso, 1 tablespoon vinegar and 2 teaspoons broth in a large bowl until smooth. Add the tofu; gently toss to coat. Spread the tofu in an even layer on the prepared baking pan. Roast for 15 minutes.
3. Gently toss asparagus with the tofu. Return to the oven and roast until the tofu is golden brown and the asparagus is tender, 8 to 10 minutes more.
4. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 1 tablespoon miso, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 2 teaspoons broth, basil, orange zest, orange juice, and salt in the large bowl until smooth.
5. Toss the roasted tofu and asparagus with the sauce and serve.

Quinoa with Dried Apricots and Baby Spinach + Moroccan-Spiced Dressing


Our new love affair with quinoa began with this very dish. It has has become one of my favorite recipes, not just because it’s one of our very favorite to EAT but also because it’s one of the easiest to make. The Moroccan-spiced dressing’s sweet and lemony flavors harmonize all the different tastes and textures of the quinoa, apricots and spinach. Yum!¬†(Serves 2-4 people)

1 cup quinoa
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 cups baby spinach
Moroccan-Spiced Lemon Dressing:
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons agave
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Toast quinoa in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until it becomes aromatic and begins to crackle, about 3 to 4 minutes.
2. Add garlic with a dash of water and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute.
3. Add the chopped apricots and salt, and then the water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover for 15-20 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is very fluffy.
4. While waiting for the quinoa to “fluffifize”, make the Moroccan-Spiced Lemon Dressing.
5. Divide the spinach among 4 plates (or 2 plates if you are big eaters like us). Mound the quinoa salad on the spinach and drizzle the dressing on top.