Raw Mango Berry Fruit Tart

I started writing a big long essay about Passover and making food choices that no longer enslave others, and about freedom from our addictive and unhealthful food choices. But I know you all would be likely to skip over it because this tart is just so darn pretty. Those are extremely important issues to me though, so I will be revisiting this post soon. In the meantime, here you go…

Let me just say that, believe it or not, this tart really tastes even better than it looks. Plus, it’s made entirely of whole, unprocessed ingredients–literally just fruit and nuts. It’s raw, gluten-free, oil-free, and has no added sugar. And, of course, it’s kosher for Passover.

     Best.  Dessert.  E V E R!

2 cups walnuts
1 cup pitted dates
1/4 shredded unsweetened coconut, divided
2 mangos
1/2 cup dried mango, soaked in water for at least 10 minutes
1 ripe banana
Fruit of your choice (I used baby kiwi, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries.)

1. Add the walnuts, dates, and half the coconut to a food processor and pulse till somewhat smooth. It doesn’t need to be as pureed as peanut butter, but it shouldn’t be too crumbly either.
2. Spread the rest of the coconut onto the bottom of a pie pan. Press the walnut-date mixture evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie pan to form the crust. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
3. In the meantime, blend the dried and fresh mango and banana until completely smooth. Pour onto the crust and place back in the freezer for about an hour.
4. Cover with fruit and place in the fridge until ready to serve. (Depending on how long that is, there will be some variation in terms of firmness when slicing. Mine was pretty messy but it really didn’t matter because it tasted so good. You can always keep in the freezer longer and then let it de-thaw for 30-60 minutes before serving if you want it firmer.)

eHow Video: “Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake Recipe”

     Every year at Thanksgiving I used to face a dilemma: should I make a pecan pie or should I make a pumpkin pie? While we each enjoy both kinds of pie, my husband was somewhat partial to pumpkin pie while I was somewhat partial to pecan pie. So one year I decided I would make both, but do it in one pie.
     Some said it simply couldn’t be done. Some said I would be ruining two perfectly good desserts by combining them. And that was before I decided to make this pecan-pumpkin pie combo a cheesecake as well.

     Well, good thing I didn’t listen, because this pie is layer upon layer of heaven. Talk about a few of everyone’s favorite things… Crunchy pecan praline. Spiced pumpkin puree. Creamy, decadent cheesecake. And a raw and gluten-free crust, to boot.
     Trust me, with this pie there will be endless reasons to give thanks 🙂
Crust Ingredients:
2 cups walnuts
1 cup pitted dates
1/4 cup shredded coconut
Cheesecake Ingredients:
3 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup agave
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup coconut oil, melted (for a lower fat version, you could try substituting water, though I haven’t tried that yet)
Pumpkin Layer Ingredients:
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie puree)
2 tablespoons arrowroot starch (or cornstarch)
1/2 cup nondairy milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of allspice
Praline Ingredients:
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons brown sugar
dash of cinnamon
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup

eHow Video: “Healthy Recipe for Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Topping”

     I love words. I really do. But sometimes, when something is just so good, words are not enough. They just aren’t. I could try and talk about how this cake is surprisingly low in added sugar, and that most of its sweetness comes from whole fruit. Or I could talk about how it’s very high in fiber, beta-carotene, potassium, B vitamins and omega-3’s, while also being completely free of cholesterol (and any other harmful animal products, as always). But I think you’ll get a better sense of how unbelievably outstanding this carrot cake is if I tell you that everyone who tries it for the first time eats the first few bites silently with their eyes closed.
     Yes. It is *that* good.
Cake Ingredients:
2 cups oat flour
2 1/2 cups carrots, shredded
3 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup applesauce, unsweetened
1 cup pineapple, blended
1 banana, mashed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 dash cayenne
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup raw walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 cup raisins
Frosting Ingredients:
1 cup raw cashews, soaked in warm water for at least 2 hours
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup agave
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons lemon juiceInstructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, mix oat flour and baking soda.
3. In a larger bowl, beat the sugar, pineapple, banana, and applesauce together. Add cinnamon, cayenne, and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
4. Add the flour mixture along with the chopped walnuts and shredded coconut to the larger bowl and mix. Add the shredded carrots and raisins till fully combined.
5. Spread the batter in a nonstick pan. Bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
6. While the cake is baking, add all the frosting ingredients to a blender. Process until completely smooth. Using a spatula, scoop the frosting into a small bowl and place in the fridge to chill.
7. Once the cake has fully cooled, spread the frosting on top. Best served chilled.

My eHow Video Series: Southern Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

The final recipe in this video series is, quite appropriately, a dessert. I made the pumpkin version of this recipe last Thanksgiving and it was such a hit that I decided to make it for my in-laws down South during our visit over Christmas. My husband’s grandfather was a chef in the army during the Korean war and has been baking ever since, so my in-laws are used to only the tastiest of desserts. Plus, he has a particular expertise in pies, so my choosing to bake this for everyone shows just how confident I am in this outstanding recipe.
Everyone who tried it absolutely loved it. Because the pie has no dairy, no butter, no eggs–which we are so used to thinking of as necessary ingredients for delicious baked goods–and it’s gluten-free to boot, I think they were surprised to find it so incredibly delicious.

     But as I’ve said before, one of the most significant things I have learned since going vegan is that we don’t have to choose between honoring our taste buds, promoting our health, or living by our values. I hope that from watching this series, you also see that we CAN eat in a way that upholds and celebrates all these things simultaneously. And if we can, why wouldn’t we?
     Thanks so much for watching. You can also see the full series on eHow HERE. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. That’s why I’m here.
     Please share these videos with others!!

1 cup oat flour
2 cups raw pecans, processed in a food processor for 30 seconds till oils release
3 tbsp ground flax
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
2 tbsp canola oil
2 1/4 cups canned sweet potato
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tbsp arrowroot starch (or cornstarch)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9-inch pie pan.
2. Melt canola oil with brown rice syrup for about 30 seconds in a microwave. Pour into a large bowl with pecans.
3. Add the rest of the crust ingredients and mix together. Using your hands, squeeze the dough over and over to combine very well. If too dry, add more canola oil.
4. Press pecan dough firmly into pie dish to form a crust.
5. Pre-bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove and cool for 10 minutes.
6. In a large bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and cornstarch.
7. Add remaining ingredients and whisk together, adjusting spices to taste.
8. Pour the filing onto crust. Cover with tin foil and bake for 50-55 minutes at 350 degrees. Place on a cooling rack for 1 hour.
9. Transfer to fridge to set for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight (this is a must!). Do not slice until it’s been in the fridge for at least 3 hours. Slice with a very sharp knife and enjoy every bite!

My eHow Video Series: Sweet Potato Puree Smoothie

Who doesn’t love sweet potatoes? They are the candy of the vegetable kingdom. And that means they are a wonderful ingredient to put in smoothies!


Athletes and body builders ought to take note. Sweet potatoes are an incredibly rich source of carotenoids, powerful antioxidants that aid with muscle cell recovery and help promote muscle growth. This sweet potato puree smoothie makes an ideal post-workout recovery drink. I also think it’s great for breakfast, and even dessert! Watch and enjoy 🙂

Sweet Potato Puree Smoothie — powered by ehow

1/3 cup pureed sweet potato (I use canned)
1 banana
3 medjool dates
your favorite plant-based milk
dash of cinnamon
1. Blend!


Chickpea Blondies!

    These kinds of recipes are my favorite because they really challenge conventional thinking. So often people assume “if it tastes good, it’s probably bad for you” and that eating healthfully is a tasteless sacrifice. Sometimes I wonder if this rigid mentality prevents people from even exploring healthful ingredients when making decadent desserts because they just assume the two can’t possibly co-exist. Well, it’s time to wake up! There’s more than one way to make a blondie, people!
     Did you know that a traditional blondie recipe calls for eggs and a whole stick of butter? A whole stick?! Eggs and butter don’t have magical super powers that make them irreplaceable. We use them in our baked goods for no other reason than because that’s what we’ve been taught. But there are many, many other options that are both better for our health and leave the animals alone. This blondie recipe, which uses chickpeas, peanut butter, and ground flaxseeds, is just as delicious and decadent as any non-vegan dessert anywhere. Make this and I guarantee you’ll wonder why in the world you ever thought you needed butter and eggs. You’ll turn to the heavens above and ask how you could have been so blind for so long. And just before you sink into deep despair you’ll remember you have these blondies to nourish your soul and all will be well.
(makes a 9×13 pan)
3 cups chickpeas (or 2 cans drained and rinsed)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2  cup ground flaxseeds
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup vegan chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, blend all ingredients except the chocolate chips.
2. Line the pan with tinfoil or a small amount of canola oil. Spread the batter into the pan. Sprinkle chips on top.
3. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool before eating. Store in the fridge. Enjoy! You are in for a treat!
Source: http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2011/05/18/chocolate-chip-blondies-and-theyre-good-for-you/

Black Bean Brownies!


I know these sound a little weird, but trust me, they are THE. BEST. Because black beans have a neutral flavor they essentially function as the flour in this recipe. I’ve started eating them every day with my green breakfast smoothie.
Yes, I eat brownies every day. Don’t judge.
Besides the semi-sweet chocolate chips, these brownies have no processed sugar and are instead sweetened with dates, stevia, and a banana. Black beans are high in protein; an excellent source of folate, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and thiamin; and they are rich in dietary fiber. Unsweetened cocoa powder also provides protein, fiber, phosphorous, magnesium, and manganese as well as riboflavin, zinc, iron, potassium, and copper.
So, YEAH, I eat brownies every day.
Many of the black bean brownies recipes I’ve found use oil; however, I prefer to use water and don’t really notice a difference in texture. These brownies are more fudgey than cakie, which I like, but if you prefer cakie just add less water. I recommend using your own soaked, cooked, and drained black beans rather than canned beans to avoid excess water. (I used canned beans recently while visiting my in-laws down South and it resulted in a soupy batter. This was unfortunate as they were already skeptical enough about trying my crazy vegan brownies with beans so I was disappointed I made a batch that didn’t live up to their usual mouthwatering goodness. Arg! Regrets!!) If you refuse to heed my wise advice, then at least fully drain the liquid from the cans and maybe ease up on the amount of water you add. Also, be sure the cans say “no added salt.”
While I personally don’t want to mess with perfection, these would certainly also be good with some nuts like pecans and walnuts. Enjoy!!

4 cups black beans
1 banana
15 medjool dates
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 cup unsweetened cocoa or carob powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup water
1 cup semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips* (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a glass baking dish with parchment paper.
2. Put all the ingredients except the chocolate chips into a food processor. Pulse until creamy.
3. Spread the batter into pan and sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly on top.
4. Cook for 35-45 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean(-ish) after inserting. Don’t cook more than 50 minutes even if your knife comes out with batter. Just remove pan from stove and allow it to cool completely. Store in the fridge.

* Chocolate IS vegan! After all, cocoa comes from a bean. However, many lower quality chocolate companies add non-vegan ingredients like milk and milk fat. Higher quality dark chocolate chips are often vegan even if they don’t announce it on the package. They’ll be made with pure, simple ingredients: cocoa, cocoa butter, lecithin, sugar, and sometimes vanilla. So just check the back and read the ingredients. Here’s some more info from Food Empowerment Project on vegan chocolate that’s also slavery-free.

Pumpkin Pie with Rustic Pecan Crust

     I am usually a pecan pie person but Robert and his brother Clint (yes, we had a guest this year!) said they preferred pumpkin so I decided to make that. Well, I am SO glad I did because this pie was, hands down, the biggest hit of our 2012 Thanksgiving. The pumpkin filling had lots of great spices, including cloves, which gave it an extra kick (as well as a slightly darker color than your typical pumpkin pie). Robert describes the pie as “exciting” (high praise indeed, as this man does not easily excite) and says he preferred its flavor to any other pumpkin pie he’s ever had (that’s basically the equivalent of a standing ovation).
     My favorite aspect was the crunchy, gluten-free pecan crust. I know I bought all its ingredients from the co-op across the street but it really felt like they were gathered from the forest near my imaginary log cabin. Earthy, crunchy, woodsy, rustic… this crust was was all of the above. We enjoyed it for dessert and breakfast, and it will definitely be on the menu next year.
     P.S. I recommend making it the day before, which actually makes things easier because it’s one less thing to do on the big day.

1 cup rolled oats, processed into a fine flour (or 1 cup oat flour)
2 cups raw pecans
3 tbsp ground flax
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
2 tbsp canola oil
2 1/4 cups canned pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tbsp arrowroot starch (or cornstarch)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9-inch pie pan.
2. In a food processor, process pecans until they begin to clump and oils start to release, approximately 30 seconds. You want them to stay chunky, not turn into butter. Transfer to a large bowl.
3. Mix canola oil and brown rice syrup together . Pour into bowl with pecans dough. Add the rest of the crust ingredients and mix together. Using your hands, squeeze the dough over and over to combine very well. If too dry, add more canola oil.
4. Press pecan dough firmly into pie dish to form a crust. Pre-bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove and cool for 10 minutes.
5. In a large bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and arrowroot powder or cornstarch.
6. Add remaining ingredients and whisk together, adjusting spices to taste.
7. Pour the filing onto crust. Cover with tin foil and bake for 50-55 minutes at 350 degrees. Place on a cooling rack for 1 hour.
8. Transfer to fridge to set for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight (this is a must!). Do not slice until it’s been in the fridge for at least 3 hours. Slice with a very sharp knife and enjoy every bite!

July 4th Vegan Breakfast-for-Dinner!

     Robert’s brother, Clint, came to visit us at our new place in Boston over July 4th and had the excellent idea to celebrate the holiday with breakfast for dinner. I loved this idea because it allowed us to serve up lots of American classics with our own stamp of independence (read: everything was vegan). Another huge plus was that all our banging around in the kitchen and chatter drowned out most of the fireworks so Gubie had his very first non-suicidal July 4th. A revolutionary evening indeed!
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 cup fresh corn kernels
1 1/4 cups cornmeal
1/3 cup spelt flour
1 tablespoon oat flour
1 tablespoon brown rice flour
1 1/4 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon unrefined sugar
1 cup soy milk
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon flax eggs (a fantastic egg substitute: place 2 parts warm water and 1 part ground flax seeds in a blender and blend at high speed for about a minute or until the mixture becomes gelatinous. Will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.)
1. To make the quinoa, first toast quinoa on a dry pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 18-20 minutes until quinoa is fluffy.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and get out a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the corn, cornmeal, flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. In a separate bowl, mix together the soy milk, maple syrup, applesauce, and flax eggs. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir well to combine. Stir in the cooked quinoa. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
1 1/4 cups sifted unbleached white or spelt flour (for gluten-free, use oat flour)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons unrefined sugar
3/4 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons flax eggs (see corn bread recipe for instructions) dissolved in 1 tablespoon soy milk
1 3/4 cups soy milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for cooking the pancakes
maple syrup (optional)
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the dissolved flax eggs, soy milk, vanilla extract, and oil. Mix ingredients from both bowls together, stirring well to combine.
2. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat some oil. Drop large spoonfuls of batter onto the skillet, leaving room for the pancakes to expand. Cook until the bottoms are golden and bubbles are popping on the surface, about 2-3 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until golden. Repeat, using up all the batter.

I used Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s tempeh bacon recipe and used the remaining marinade to saute the greens. We served our homemade ketchup with the hash browns. Here’s the recipe for the hash browns:
3 lbs. yukon gold potatoes, grated
3 tablespoons canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
2. Add the grated potatoes in loose patties or piles, no more than a half inch think. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on top. After a few minutes, check the underside for doneness. Once they are golden brown, use a large spatula to flip the patty and fry till golden brown on the other side. Repeat with all patties.
For this recipe I added blueberry frosting and fresh strawberries to my raw vegan cheesecake. Here’s the recipe for the frosting:
1 cup raw cashew pieces, soaked overnight
1 cup water
4 tablespoons agave syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup blueberries
1. Pulse the cashews in a food processor until crumbly. Add the water, agave, and vanilla and blend until smooth. With the food processor running, stream the coconut oil in through the top until combined. Add blueberries and puree till smooth.
2. Spread on top of the cheesecake with a spatula before putting in the freezer as instructed.

Oat Coconut Cupcakes + Coconut Frosting


Growing up, Robert always had coconut cake on his birthday. Last week was his birthday (and mine!) so I decided to make something similar but with my own special twists. Instead of a cake I made mini cupcakes because they are just so cute and I don’t think I’ve ever made cupcakes before. I also made them wheat-free by using oat flour instead of the typical white flour. And, as always, they are vegan, so no animals were harmed in the making of these adorable coconutty indulgences. While sleeping in a sugar coma, I woke Robert up to ask him his thoughts on the cupcakes (this is my little trick to get him to tell me what he really thinks about things). He said, “Oh wow, they were really different.” Um, excuse me? What does that mean? “They were like no cupcakes I’ve ever had but they were perfect.” Considering that he practically inhaled these cupcakes and has already requested them for his birthday next year, I’ll take that as a compliment.

1 3/4 cup oat flour (you can make this yourself by whizzing up oats in the blender)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cup toasted coconut
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut milk (from a can or a carton is fine)
1/2 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Coconut frosting:
1/4 cup vegan shortening (such as Earth Balance)
1/4 cup vegan margarine (such as Earth Balance)
4-5 tablespoons coconut milk
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup toasted coconut

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, toasted coconut, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
3. Blend coconut milk, oil, vanilla extract, and vinegar in a separate bowl. Then mix the ingredients in both bowls, whisking till just combined.
4. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until you can stick a toothpick inside the center of a cupcake and have it come out clean.
5. For the frosting, blend the margarine and shortening together till smooth. Add the powdered sugar, a little bit at a time, and then the coconut milk. Then add in the flavorings and the toasted coconut. Mix well, decorate, and enjoy!