Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Yondu Recipe #1 Sesame Soba Noodles

OK let's turn this #WFPB

Here is the original recipe on the Yondu site:

Sesame Soba Noodles

Now create a #WFPB equivalent - in my experience about the same prep time, some 25-30 mins - I have adjusted it for a dinner for one:

  • 1 bunch soba noodles, cooked (typically 6-7 mins)


  • 2 medium onions cut-up fine, or shredded on a mandoline
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 good sized crown of broccoli, cut into florets and stems sliced.
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 TBSP Yondo
  • 1- 1.5 cups of water


  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Dijion mustard
  • 1 Tsp Yondu
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbsp grated ginger
  • 1-1.5 Tsp of date sugar

Prepping, Serving

  • cut up the onions and dry roast 5 mins at 425F (medium high)
  • mince the garlic, and add after 5 mins
  • stir fry for 5 mins at 425F while adding a few table spoons of the water with Yondu as needed to liquify
  • on this bed of onions and garlic pour a cup of water with 1 Tbsp Yondu and add the broccoli and scallion chunks.
  • simmer at low temp until the broccoli is done, some 20-30 mins.
  • add in the cooked soba noodles at the end.
  • Mix the dressing in a blender and poor it over the pasta
  • sprinkle on the sesame seeds, and any other garnish you might like, e.g. sliced peppers, hot or mild as you prefer, or hot pepper flakes, etc.
 Just enjoy it. This dish and a good size salad could make a meal. Easy.


Monday, June 10, 2019

I discovered Yondu at the Plant-based World Expo & Conference

Here is the Yondu website explaining what Yondu is.

Clearly, it is of Korean extraction, and it's a fermented brew from soybeans and veggie broth, but it is fermented in its own juices, with very little salt, which is the problem with some fermented projects like kimchi or Tianjin preserved vegetables. It seems expensive, but it's actually economical for you can use it just one teaspoon at a time.

It is amazing, you can cook without salt, and this chef does not yet know how to cook without oil, but you can absolutely make any veggie dish without oil.

Here was my first delicious recipe with some Organic Swiss Chard from ShopRite on the Bruckner:

A side of Swiss Chard with Yondu 


  • One bunch of Swiss chard
  • some fresh turmeric, minced, or turmeric powder
  • three small or two medium onions, cut up fine.
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tsp of Yondu


  • Caramelized some onions, 5 mins dry roasting at 425F(Medium/high)
  • followed by gradually adding some minced garlic and fresh turmeric (always available at Al Aqsa on my street) and stir-frying for another 5 mins at 425F with some splashes of veggie broth.
  • Cut up the stems of the chard in 1/4" pieces, and added on top of the caramelized onions, while adding 1 cup of water with one tsp of Yondu.
  • Cooked for 10 mins at 275 F (Medium). 
  • Cut up the leaves in 1"strips, and put them on top of the onions and stems, and cooked for another 10 mins at 275F.
The result: a quick and easy side of veggies.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

An Ayurvedic Okra Dal

Here is one more Okra recipe - by now I've made 4 different Okra dishes in the last few days, all because I bought a half a bushed of Okra for $3.99, and I ate some of what I made, but I froze a lot. That all goes into the idea of cooking cycles, now I have a ton of these Okra dishes, and it will make my cooking easier for months. You could just have some brown rice with a portion of this Okra Dal, some other vegetable, like spinach or zucchini or broccoli, or whatever, and a salad, and you have a meal fit for a prince.

Okra Dal (Ayurveda)

Get rid of the oil - all Ayurvedic recipes use oil, so that is the first thing to get rid of, and I tend to make up for the taste with some more onions and garlic.


2-3 onions, sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced.
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon of caraway (optional)
2 cinnamon sticks, broken up, or you can use some flat cinnamon and crush it with a mortar and pestle.
12-16  ounces red lentils
1 teaspoon ground coriander and/or
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro chopped fine
1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder (or more, to taste)
1⁄4 teaspoon ground turmeric
4 1⁄2 cups water
1 large tomato, halved
24 okra (ca. 1 lb), topped and tailed, and cut in 1/2" sections
liquid aminos to taste


  • Caramelize the onions in a large saucepan and cook with the cumin seeds and cinnamon over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until the onion is beginning to brown.
  • Add the lentils, coriander, chili powder and turmeric. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the water and then add the tomato and okra.
  • Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 25 minutes, until the okra and lentils are tender, stirring occasionally.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Okra Tomato Stew

OK, so the other day I scored a 1/2 bushel of Okra for $3.99 and this has me cooking ahead.

There are tons of recipes and youtube videos around, and converting them to a #WFPB alternative is easy.

Basic Okra Recipe

Here is one nice video, which you can easily convert to #WFPBNO (No Oil - EVER!)

How to cook Okra and make an UNhealthy vegan dish

This recipe would be easy to make, and substitute the oil as follows:
  • Cut up the onion. Don't drag your knife sideways across the cutting board as the video shows - you will be destroying the edge of your knife very quickly.
  • Dry roast it for 5 minutes at 425F (medium/high) without stirring.
  • Stir fry it for another 5 minutes at 425F, while adding 2-3 icecubes of veggie broth
  • Follow the rest of the recipe.
 Ok, I have so much Okra, I am making this dish as well.

Her ingredients, with comments:

Okra/Lediesfinger- 500gm Onion- 1 medium or large - double up - see below.
add some chilis
Garlic- 3 or 4 cloves Turmeric powder- 1 tsp Cumin powder- 1tsp Salt- 1/2 tsp - use some liquid aminos instead Oil- 30ml - double up on the onions instead

I remove the oil and double up on the onions. That's all. 

So here's the main dish - the promised Okra Tomato Stew:

Okra Tomato Stew

Okra Tomato Stew #WFPB variant


  • 1 Bag of frozen okra (14 ounces) or the fresh okras
  •  1 red onion, chopped or a small bag of pearl onions (6 ounces)
  •  Tomato sauce (14 ounces) or fresh tomatoes, peeled and cut (diced)
  • some cilantro - I use about 10+ sprigs of cilantro and cut them up good
  • 1 teaspoon of allspice or seven-spice mix, or panchpuran
  • 1 Tablespoon of mashed garlic (mash with a teaspoon of salt till pasty), alternatively some garlic/ginger paste
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced


  • Chop the onion and dry roast it in a sauce pan, for 5 mins at 425F, while mincing the garlic.
  • Add the minced garlic and stir fry for 5 more mins at 425F, while adding 2-3 icecubes of veggie broth
  • Add the okra (still frozen) to the onions and stir-fry for 5 minutes or so.
  • Add the garlic paste to the okra, then the tomatoes (or tomato sauce) and lemon juice and allspice or panchpuran.
  • Cover the saucepan and let the mixture simmer for 45 minutes, making sure it does not burn at the bottom.
  • Add the cilantro if you're using it
  • Uncover the last five minutes of cooking to let more liquid evaporate and turn off the heat.
  • Serve at room temperature with some pita bread.
NOTE: To save time I use the frozen okra that is available at the Middle-Eastern store imported from Egypt; it is already prepped and requires no additional chopping. If you are using fresh okra, cut off the tip of the pod, dry with paper towels and stir-fry in olive oil; then proceed with the recipe.
The original recipe omits the cilantro, but I think it is delicious and really makes this stew a winner!!!

In an earlier post I discussed Okra in Lentil Sauce:

Have at it folks.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Baby Potatoes with Purslane Salad

[Contributed by Megan Saynisch, from the Real Food Right Now series
This is a delicious simple recipe. You can routinely get Purslane (Verdolaga) at the Mexican store Frutas Y Vegetales La Reyna at 1300-1302 Beach Avenue/corner Westchester Ave (opposite The South of France Restaurant.

Look at this nutrition information:


Nutritional Value

Verdolagas is rich in potassium and magnesium and contains as much beta carotene as spinach. It also contains the omega three fatty acid known as alpha linolenic acid, which studies have shown can be helpful in lowering blood pressure and regulating cholesterol levels. Recent studies have also shown that Verdolagas contains a significant amount of melatonin as well.



1 lb fingerling potatoes, or young potatoes.
1 cup purslane leaves

3/2/1 dressing with one lemon or lime (3tbsp balsamic, 2 tbsp dijon mustard, 1 tbsp maple syrup)

red onion cut up fine

either 1/2 teaspoon of piment d'espelette (alternatively, 1 heaping teaspoon of paprika powder and  1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper)

1-2 tsp of dill

salt and pepper to taste


  • boil the potatoes cut in small chunks
  • pluck the leaves off the purslane and reserve the stems for another use ( like making your own veggie broth or soup)
  • make the salad dressing
  • mix

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Collard Greens Galore

This is the report from the April 13th St. Helena's Communal #WFPB/Suppers Meal Prep event. We had five people.

We had a small group, and the program was a bit too much given the limited number of hands, but we had fun.

I had decided the theme for this time was collard greens, just to explore some different ideas. The salad was just an ordinary salad, but we split some ingredients with the stuffed collard greens later-on.


Red leaf lettuce, baby spinach, beets and the works.

  • 3 beets boiled, peeled, grated (with the mandolin)
  • 1 head of red leaf lettuce
  • 1 box of baby spinach
  • a chopped white onion
  • 1/2 buch of enoki mushrooms
  • 2-3 cloves of minced garlic
  • a yellow, orange, and red pepper cut-up in small chunks
  • 5 tomatoes cut up fine
  • 1/2 bunch of parsley - leaves cut up fine.
  • several serving spoons of boiled quinoa
  • chia seeds
1/2/3 dressing with lemon: 1 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp dijon mustard, 3 tbsp balsamic, plus the juice of one lemon and two limes. (It all depends on how much juice you get).

That was one mean salad!


Based on the recipe for Loaded Miso Noodle Soup from NutritionStudies, but with some additions - for 5 people, but we cooked way too much and people took quite a bit home, even after having seconds - we could have served 8-10 people:

5 servings of soba or brown rice noodles, uncooked
3 cups vegetable broth
10 cups water
1 sheet roasted nori seaweed, broken into pieces, or in our case we soaked about a table spoon of wakame to start the broth.

1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms  

5 leaves of collard greens, cut out the stems, roll them up and slice them thin so you end up with thin collard greens strips, similar to the julienned veggies.

1 cup julienned carrot
1 cup julienned zucchini

1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup of daikon, cut katsuramuki style, first in sheets and then rolled up and sliced into thin strips, again, like the spiralized veggies. Alternatively, you could simply julienne them on the mandolin.

8 Tbsp miso paste
1 (14-ounce) package firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup chopped green onions


  • Start the water, and add in the soaked wakame, or the nori, or both. (I have gone away from using hijiki because of its reputation for containing arsenic) this forms the foundation broth
  • Noodles: you can cook them separately, as the original recipe suggests, but I like to cook them with the soup for the last 5-7 minutes, for if they sit around too long cooked, they will stick together.
  • Prepare all your veggies, making sure you add-in the collard greens first, since they are the toughest. Keep the scallions (green onions) for last.
  • Add in the veggies, except for the scallions and let boil on a slow rolling boil for 5 mins, 
  • add in the 3 cup of veggie broth
  • Scoop out some broth and use to dissolve the miso
  • Add the miso, scallions, and tofu and let simmer for another 1 minute. Serve.
If you cooked the pasta separately, you add it in at the last moment, but I see nothing wrong with cooking the pasta in the soup for the last 5-7 minutes.

Oil-free hummus

1 15-Oz can of chickpeas, drained
1/4 cup of the aquafaba from the beans
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
zest of one lemon (thoroughly washed)
juice of one lemon
1 tsp of liquid aminos
if more liquid is needed, add some veggie stock or water.
optional 1 tsp paprika powder
optional some fresh parsley, or scallions

In the blender...

Stuffed Collard Greens and Collard Green Burritos

My idea here was that this is great food for picnics in the summer. You can make a stuffed collard green pocket or a burrito, and wrap it in a sheet of paper towel and wrap it in saran wrap and then use a sandwich bag. You can take that anywhere. I take it even to restaurants when I don't trust the food. "I'm on a diet." Eventually the restaurants will catch on. ;-)

I prepared the Collard green leaves two ways:
Steamed and then flatten the stems with a rolling pin - for the burritos
Fresh, but with the stems cut out and interleaving the two half-leaves, for the wraps.

For stuffings we had:
  • a pilaf of brown and black rice
  • quinoa with parsley and a splash of liquid aminos
  • hummus was pre-made at home with garlic and paprika powder and some parsley
  • steamed green beans
  • scallions, sliced thin
  • enoki mushrooms
  • Upton's Jackfruit Chili Lime Carnitas
  • Kimchi
  • sauteed onions, green peppers and white mushrooms
OK, you can see now we had too much for just five people. Some other time, I'd like to do this again with a bigger group, and have people assemble the burritos and stuffed leaves at the table, so everyone can pick their own favorites.


You lay out the leaves, add a smear of hummus in the center, lay on some quinoa or rice stuffing and then pile on your favorite mix of stuffings and roll it up.

It is easiest with the steamed leaves - burrito style. For the fresh leaves, you might need a toothpick to keep them together, or just hold them and eat them right away.

OK, all in all this was an orgy of fresh leafy greens, but with lots of color as well.

Besides the general lesson, one of our members, Sylvia, taught us all a lesson by taking the parsley stems home for her own veggie broth. If you have the time, it is worth cooking your own veggie broth. I do it once every few months, when I feel brave, and I fill some ice cube trays with my own veggie broth.

Starting #WFPB in April. Episode 11

Another easy day


The usual, some fruit, some steel cut oats with more fruit and some kale and sweet potato. Lately I've been making it a bit spicier with some garlic.


Cucumber salad, Pea soup, some multi grain toast, kale with sweet potato.


Neighbor came over.

Large salad of red leaf lettuce, with red onion, peppers, tomato, some salad olives, 1/2/3 dressing with the juice of one lemon and one lime and some scoops of quinoa. Some chia seeds and flaxseed.

Dinner was the last of the roast cauliflower from earlier in the week served over a bed of black and short grain brown rice pilaf, reheated in the oven on steam reheat. My neighbor loved it.

Presently, I am switching gears. I will have an irregular schedule for the next two weeks, so I'll be doing a bit more improv. This Saturday is my cooking class at St. Helena's - see my separate report - the good news for me is that I have a freezer full of nice soups to fall back on, and when in a hurry, a soup and salad will do just fine.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Starting #WFPB in April. Episode 10


Some fruit to wake up to, the usual steel cut oats, and a portion of kale with sweet potato.


A salad and a bowl of my Umpteen Bean Soup from the weekend


I was at a reception, where I found a few things to nibble on, and when I came back I had a good size salad with some broccoli and quinoa, red leaf lettuce, beets, and the works.

Easy does it.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Starting #WFPB in April. Episode 9


Steel cut oats, Kale and sweet potato

Put some beets into the Instant Pot for lunch.


Salad with quinoa and beets.
Heat up a frozen pea soup.


OK, today I was time constrained, as I was back late from an appointment, and that's when you're happy for cooking ahead... a leftover day is a great help... and it proves why it pays to establish cooking cycles.

I had a beet for an appetizer, and my dinner was a plate of roast cauliflower.

Snacks in between of fruits and kale salad with sweet potato - always the go-to snack.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Starting #WFPB in April. Episode 8


2 mandarins
the usual steel cut oats, with Strawberries, and some almond milk for a change.
Kale and sweet potato salad.


Huge salad with red leaf lettuce, beets, peppers, red onion, capers, olives, quinoa and 1/2/3 dressing

A bowl of umpteen bean soup.


Cucumber Salad: Left over from the other day. Added in some Moringa powder jst for fun, because I happened to have it and want to use it up.

Roast Cauliflower

In this case, I am using essentially the original recipe as I found it online:
The oven dish, cauliflower quartered


The Gravy 

3 cups vegetable stock
1 tbsp maple syrup optional, for sweetness
3 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce*, or apple cider vinegar
2-4 minced garlic cloves or 2 tsp garlic powder
2-3 cut-up onions or 2 tsp onion powder
3-5 sprigs of parsley, cut up the leaves fine, or 1 tsp dried parsley
3/4 tsp thyme or fresh
3/4 tsp sage
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp pepper
5 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup water

The Roast 

1 whole cauliflower leaves and outer stalk trimmed off
4 large carrots chopped
4 medium potatoes peeled and cubed
1/2 cup vegetable stock

Preparation Instructions

My plate, over black/brown rice pilaf

The Gravy

In a medium-sized pot, whisk together all of the gravy ingredients EXCEPT for the cornstarch & water.
Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer on medium-low heat for 5 minutes. (This will allow all the flavors to marry.) Remove from the heat.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water to make a cornstarch slurry.

Once the pot is no longer simmering, slowly whisk the cornstarch slurry into the gravy a little at a time. Going slow will ensure that no clumps form.
The gravy will begin to thicken as soon as the cornstarch is whisked in. Put the pot back on the stove and return to a simmer for an additional 3 minutes.

The Roast

Pre-heat oven to 450F degrees.
Arrange the potatoes and carrots in a roasting dish with the cauliflower in the center. Be careful not to overcrowd the dish.

Place the cauliflower upside-down and pour 1/3 cup of the gravy into it. Give it a good shake to distribute the gravy.
Place cauliflower right-side up and brush more gravy on the top to cover it (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup)

Add 1/2 cup of vegetable stock to the bottom of the dish (this will help steam the veggies.)

Pour about a 1/3 cup of gravy over top of the potatoes and carrots.
Cover the dish tightly with a lid or aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes, brushing the cauliflower with more gravy halfway through.

Uncover the cauliflower roast and brush more gravy on. Bake for another 30 minutes (uncovered), brushing with more gravy halfway again (that's the final 1/3rd of the gravy.
Remove from the oven and serve while hot.

I served it over a bed of my pilar of black and short grain brown rice. 

*Many brands of Worcestershire sauce contain anchovies. Vegan Worcestershire sauce does exist (Annie's brand and Kroger brand are vegan for sure), but if you can't find it, you can omit it and substitute apple cider vinegar for a little zing.
If you dig onions, you can slice up an onion and add it right in with the carrots and potatoes. Mushrooms would be great, too! Making sure your pan is not too crowded will help everything cook through properly. If you find the potatoes are drying out, add a little more veggie stock to the pan.

Apart from taking a longish time, this dish is actually not a lot of work.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Starting #WFPB in April, Episode 7


The usual steelcut oats, with strawberries today

Kale and sweet potato salad


Cucumber salad and a huge bowl of my Umpteen Bean Soup, with some parsley garnish.


I was out today, and ended up just taking some kale salad, followed by a big salad with red leaf lettuce, beets, tomato, red onion, peppers, quinoa, flax seed and 1/2/3 dressing with lemon, lime, some minced garlic, and parsley.

Some fruit here and there in between.


Saturday, April 6, 2019

Starting #WFPB in April, Episode 6

Ok, we started on Monday with an empty freezer (apart from staples) at the beginning of the month, and sofar I've still got some frozen pea soup and a few left overs (in the fridge). During the week I also shared some meals with a neighbor, for with a single person household, I tend to always cook too much, and I don't want to eat leftovers all the time. For the rest, from what it looks like, I'll make roast cauliflower over rice for tonight and cook ahead some soup for the week.

Part of creating a cooking system for me is to use certain containers always for the same purpose. In this case, I use one container for oatmeal, so washing it and putting it aside, is my reminder that evening to cook oatmeal overnight. My oatmeal is always for 2 days. The same goes for another staple, my kale salad, when that container is half way, I know to bring another bunch of kale, and steam it (I prefer steaming, but that's personal, you could cook it in water). I have a method that involves my induction cooktop, 12 minutes to bring the water to a boil, and then I steam the kale for 15 minutes and I let it drain for a while over the sink, so I do not put it away too soggy. Then I cut it up in about 1-1/2" squares on the cutting board, and mix it with the other ingredients.


At breakfast, I ended up milling some flax seed for the week (again, do not buy it milled, mill it yourself), which I keep in a jar in the fridge, and I use it about twice a day, in my steel cut oats at breakfast and in salads. The other additions I use a lot is chia seeds and hemp hearts.

The oatmeal was ready in the rice cooker at 6:30 and all I needed to do was add a grated apple, a half pint of blueberries, cocoa nibs, 2 tbsp of raisins, 1 tbsp of goji berries, and cinnamon, and let it go for another 5-10 mins on "keep warm." After that just add in a sliced banana, and some blackberries. I never cook my oatmeal with anything other than water, but if people prefer some plant milk, you can add that at serving time - just mix it in and the oatmeal will simply be a bit more liquid, but some folks like that taste better, and using plant-based milk, you are fine.


It was time to steam a bunch of kale, and prepare my usual kale and sweet potato salad, and this time I decided to mince some fresh garlic, which is incredibly healthy. I minced it really fine. Other than that, I cut up a sweet potato in cubes, with skin (high ORAC value), added some mustard seeds, and a drizzle of balsamic and mixed it up really good.


This is saturday, right? Cucumber salad, some left overs, and a piece of toast with home made hummus.

Hummus with endless variations

1 can of chickpeas, drained, preserving some 1/4 cup of aqua fava
whatever spices you prefer. Today, I am making it with chopped parsley and a table spoon of paprika powder, plus I'll add in some minced sundried tomatoes after it's made.
Put the chickpeas with 1/4 cup aqua fava, and the spices in your Magic Bullet, or whatever herb grinder you use, and go to it. 

A note about knifery

You will note that I 'cut up' things, or I 'mince' them, I do not 'chop.' It all depends what your knife habits are. Chopping is a crude method, and it will make your knives dull fast. I keep my knives nice and sharp and I cut, or mince things, as needed. I also do not scrape the cutting board with my knife, which people do who have dull knives in their kitchen. That is anathema to me, though you can scoop up stuff off the board without endangering the edge of the knife.


The last of the leftovers from the week, while cooking a kitchen sink soup for the week. See here the recipe:

Umpteen Bean Soup

My own variation on the various bags with 13-16 beans, or so-called soup mix beans. The Link is just one example, there are a kazillion recipes available.


1 lb Soup Bean Mix (or whatever the name is, like 13 or 15 or 16 bean mix), soaked with a little kombu (kelp)
8 cups vegetable stock (or 4 cup water, 4 cup stock or all water!)
2-4 onions, chopped yellow or vidalia onions are great here
1 tsp savory
3-6 cloves garlic, minced
3 chilis minced
1 jalapeno minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2-3 stalks celery with tops, chopped
2-4 carrots, peeled and cut-up
1/4 tsp himalayan salt and fresh black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp of ground red pepper
1 dried bay leaf
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup of barley
juice of 1 lemon
Braggs Liquid Aminos to taste and some nutritional yeast to round out the flavor.

OPTIONALLY: other veggies as available, root vegetables such as parsnips, or taro (aka edo, or coco), turnips, ginger, fennel, celeriac, turmeric, potato, rutabaga


  • You can cook them directly (dry) in the Instant Pot, for 45 mins or so. I usually soak them and then cook them in the Instant Pot for just 5 mins or so, while I am prepping the other stuff. You can add in the savory during this phase.
  • Then, to cook the soup, I start with the onions, chilis and jalapenos, 5 mins at medium/high, no stirring. By the end of five minutes the lower layer of onions should be starting to turn brown.
  • Add in the garlic and gradually add 2-3 ice cubes of veggie broth, while doing another 5 mins on medium/high, with constant stirring.
  • add in the turmeric and spices while simmering on medium low
  • add in the beans from the Instant Pot, and add in the savory, if you had not done so before.
  • Now you can simply cut up the veggies and add them in and keep adding some veggie broth, or water. I used tow packs of veggie broth this time.
End result: I have a HUGE bowl of soup for lunch today, and I have a container of soup in the fridge for during the week, plus I froze about 6 quart size freezer bags of soup for another time. In short, since the start of the month, I have now built up 10 portions of frozen soup, and whenever I am in a hurry, I can just heat up a frozen soup and combine with a generous salad with quinoa, and I have a nice lunch. It's all part of making your cooking into a system. After all, there are always times when you have no time to cook. I don't have a microwave, so my reheating of frozen soup means melting it in a bowl of hot water and then pouring it into a double boiler. In that time I can be making my salad, so I have about 30 min prep time for a great lunch.

Note 1: Today I added some edo, a parsnip, some broccoli, turmeric, ginger.

Note 2: The kombu and savory add flavor and nutrients but specifically also are thought to help making beans easier to digest. In fairness, over time, you get used to digesting beans, it is really not a problem, except to people who for a long time already have not been getting enough fiber.

Here is the low down on the health value of Kombu which is a form of kelp - note you can overdo it: This is an interesting site to consult. Notice that some of the iodide cooks off.

Overall, you might want to pay some attention to get some sea veggies into your food... here's a great info source:

Here is another piece: there is just one disease, which is bad diet.
A recent report from The Lancet confirms the same thing - Diet is the #1 leading cause of premature death world-wide.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Starting #WFPB in April, Episode 5

Two oranges,
The usual oatmeal, with blackberries still.

Kale and sweet potato for a snack.


Cucumber salad,
Some toast with home made hummus.

And the soon-to-be famous Brown Rice and Millet Ramen - using up the last of my bunch of collard greens.

Dinner, Easy Peasy:

Salad with red leaf lettuce, watercress, red onion, tomato, quinoa, some salad olives, and 1/2/3 dressing with lemon and lime. Flax seed and chia seeds on top.

Fresh made black & short grain brown rice with left over Thai vegetables from the other day.

End the day by putting on steel cut oats in the rice cooker for 6:30 AM tomorrow.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Starting #WFPB in April, Episode 4

Simple things...


Trusty steelcuts, today blackberries instead of strawberries, otherwise the same recipe. The backberries were 99 cents a box at Keyfood Unionport this week.

Snacks of fruit and/or steamed kale with sweetpotato


Steamed Kale,

Cucumber salad with chia seeds, garlic and 1/2/3 dressing.

Brown rice/millet Ramen with collards and carrots, and tempeh instead of tofu.


Off the hook - an experiment - this is for a weekend or a holiday, and preferably when you have help. It was Beet Salad, Pesto Pasta, Cooked Spinach, and the pièce de résistance, a banana blossom sauce on the side. This was dinner for three, so I shared with a neighbor and still have a leftover for another day. Cleaning the banana blossom is something that takes too much time, unless you have elves around to do it while you are cooking. The dinner could have worked without it, but it was a great side dish, and definitely something I might do with company. Preparing food together is one of the joys of life. - The rest of the meal is pretty quick to prepare.

Beet salad, as per day #3

Pesto Pasta


16 oz of your favorite pasta I like whole wheat pasta, but you can do quinoa, lentil or chickpea pasta

3 cups fresh basil
3 cups fresh baby spinach
3/4 cup raw cashews ( I did 1/2 cup cashews and 1/4 cup pine nuts)
1-2 lemons juiced 1 large lemon or two smaller lemons or even 1 lemon and 1 lime
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
5-6 garlic cloves or 2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pink salt add more to taste (or less if you want to avoid salt altogether).

Additionally, a wad of cooked spinach and some cooking water (with onions, garlic, chilis and jalapeno), blended in to arrive at a smooth consistency.

optional: highly recommended: add in some sundried tomatoes cut in strips.


Boil your pasta.
While pasta is boiling, blend all ingredients in food processor until completely combined, scraping down the sides as necessary.

Strain pasta (rinse if gluten-free), then mix pesto into pasta.

Serve and enjoy!

Boiled Spinach

Two bunches of spinach, keep some fresh leaves aside for the pesto sauce.
caramelize some onions with some chopped chilis and jalapeno, use about half for a side of spinach, and blend about half into the pesto sauce.

Banana Blossom Sauce

Note: This one was too much work. Fun to do, but too much for one person - you need more than one person to clean the banana blossom, as per this video:

Here is the adapted recipe:


1 Banana blossom - cleaned, chopped
2 onions, chopped fine
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 sheets of nori
1 tsp dill
1-2 pieces of turmeric or 1 tsp of turmeric powder
1 cup of water
1-2 tsp caper brine, or pickle brine
1/4 tsp black himalayan salt
2 tsp gram flour
1 lemon (juice)


  • Caramelize the onions, with some cubes of veggie broth
  • Once the onions are soft and brownish, cook at medium low, adding in garlic, turmeric, shredded nori, dill, stir constantly to dissolve the flour and make a smooth sauce.
  • Add in the chopped banana flowers and cook on medium/low for 10 minutes till its soft but still has some spring to it (al dente).

Starting #WFPB in April, Episode 3

Breakfast easy, peasy

Today, I started with an orange and a pear, while heating up the oatmeal from the other day (I always cook oatmeal for two days), so all I had to do was slice up a banana, add some fresh milled flax seeds (I mill it for a week at a time in my Magic Bullet - see my plant-based kitchen gear collection - and I keep it in a jar in the fridge. milled flax seed just loses its nutritional quality if it lays around for two long, that is why I mill it myself). No strawberries today - I should visit the Keyfoods on Union port, they usually have some of the best selections of berries. Add some hemp hearts (1 tbps) and a drizzle of balsamic et voilà.

Then a cup of steamed kale with sweet potato, mustard seeds, garlic and balsamic.

Zit. That's all folks.

Quick lunch, Cucumber salad and Ramen soup

Cucumber salad

Budget #WFPB No. 1: Ramen

Check out my post on Budget #WFPB No. 1: Ramen for details. Today, I will add some daikon, which I had run out of yesterday.
Meanwhile notice that the Ramen I use is made from Organic Brown Rice and Millet (Lotus foods).

For the rest, I want to make a beet salad tonight, so I am putting 2 beets in the Instant Pot, and they will be ready when I need them. These gadgets are better than having your own cook ;-)

Dinner, regular salad with beets, 

Beet salad

cooked beets, finely cut-up onion, lemon juice - plus some minced garlic if you wish...

Rachel Ray has the best way to cut up an onion...

My preferred method is slightly different, I take off the top with a paring knife, so that its flat, then I put down the onion upside down, and cut it in two with my prep knife or a chef knife. Then I make the incisions not vertically as on this video but on the diagonal towards the center line. After that, you can cut it as thin or as wide as you want for the give purpose. Most of the time I like them very thin, especially for salad.

By the way, beets count as a leafy green, keep that in mind for you want 4-6 portions of leafy greens per day.

Main dish

Oh well, I ran late and I just reheated some of the black/brown rice mixture with Thai veggies. Excellent combo, for the black rice has a bit of a sweet, earthy flavor which balances well with the hot and spicy Thai veggies.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Starting #WFPB in April, Episode 2

Overnight, I cooked oats again.

Steelcut oats the proper way

The bottom line is there is an endless number of ways to make breakfast, with oats or otherwise, but oats have a lot going for them, and in terms of nutritional quality have it over rolled oats (less processing), though arguably whole oats groats would be even better and, if you cook them with a programmable rice cooker like I do, the fact they take longer to cook is unimportant. Be that as it may, Cutting the oats is minimal as far as processing goes, so whole oats groats and steel cut oats are pretty close in terms of nutrition. Steel cut holds a slight edge, so if it's for breakfast cereal, I would prefer them.

One of the biggest things with steel cut oats is that the glycemic index is lower, so it's better for diabetics. And whole oats groats would be even lower.

Anyway, I cook them overnight, using my trusted Zojirushi Induction Heat 3-cup rice cooker. Before I go to bed I put them on for 6:30 AM, on a brown rice cycle. That seems to give me a satisfactory result.

When they are ready, I keep them on keep warm for a while meanwhile I prepare the additions:
  • a grated apple (preferably Granny Smith)
  • a half a pint of blueberries
  • 1 tbsp goji berries
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • cinnamon
I leave that on "keep warm" for a minimum of 5 minutes.  Once it's finished, the toppings are added, typically:

  • a sliced banana
  • some strawberries or other kinds of berries, or fruit
  • one tbsp of milled flaxseed
  • one tbsp of chia seeds or hemp heart
  • a generous drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • more cinnamon
 mangia, mangia!

Here's an alternative pic with Jack fruit:
Steelcut Oats with strawberries, blackberries and Jackfruit

Lunch kale, and Ramen

My standard steamed kale with sweet potato, mustard seeds and balsamic, plus I added some fresh garlic.
Budget Ramen with Collard Greens (Sorry, no daikon today)

Dinner a Salad and Thai Veggies over Rice

A Salad of redleaf lettuce, with finely cut red onion, red and green peppers, quinoa, flax seed, tomato, some capers and salad olives, and 1/2/3 dressing.

I already had a mixture of black rice and short grain brown rice ready.

Thai veggies:

  • Caramelize two/three finely cut-up onions
  • add in some garlic
  • Mushrooms
  • a can of Thai curry paste (watch the labels, avoid the ones with oil or too much sugar, but there are plenty of good ones).
  • peppers in all the colors you can find, green, red, yellow - equivalent to a whole pepper.
  • simmer the above for a while and then add:
  • Napa cabbage sliced in 1/4"strips
  • Sprouts
  • bind it with some arrow root or corn starch at the end.
Various fruit for snacks in betwean and some more kale. I usually steam a batch that gives me 4-5 portions, and it stays great in the fridge.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Getting Started with #WFPB in April

Here's the beginning:

Cook soup ahead. I usually have 2-3 different soups in the freezer, so that I am never caught short.
Also some form of dal, or curry, or beans can be cooked ahead. Rice can be cooked ahead.

Since my freezer was empty, I made some Split Pea soup this weekend, to get my month started right. I will cook more soups during the month eventually building up to having 2-3 soups to choose from, until I build it down again and start the cycle anew. I do not believe in fossilized soup in the fridge.
For the rest, I have some frozen mixed vegetables, and some frozen spinach in the fridge, for an emergency, and some whole wheat flour and gram flour that just keeps better in the freezer.

I also always have icecube trays with frozen veggie stock for when I caramelize onions.

Split Pea Soup

Great basic recipe for vegan split pea soup, adapted for #WFPB, by leaving out the oil.
It might be of interest to compare to the basic recipe I started with online... I removed the oil, but used more onions and garlic, among other things.


2-4 onions, cut fine
4-6 chilis, cut fine
1 seeded, jalapeno, cut fine
3 bay leaves
3-6 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups (2 lbs) dried split peas
1/2 cup barley
1-1/2 tbsp liquid aminos
8-10 cups of vegetable or mushroom bouillon (2 pints)
(Alternatively, half vegetable bouillon and half water with a whole king mushroom, cut up)
3 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 potatoes, diced
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
optionally other vegetables, such as parsnips, or turnips etc.


In a large pot over medium high heat, saute the onion, dry for for a total of 10 mins, 5 mins no stir, and 5 mins stirred while adding some 2-3 veggie stock ice cubes, then bay leaf and garlic, cook for 5 minutes on medium.
Add the peas, barley, liquid aminos and water.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.
Simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, cut up the veggies.
Add more water as needed for the right thickness.
Add the carrots, celery, potatoes, parsley, basil, thyme and ground black pepper.
Simmer for another hour, or until the peas and vegetables are tender.

Breakfast: Steelcut Oats Plus

Breakfast today... as is typical for this time of year...

What is that?  I always make the oats for 2 days, and today was the 2nd day, so I'll have the oats with apple, blueberry, cinnamon, raisins and goji berries in the fridge, so I just have to heat it up.
  • steelcut oats
  • grated apple
  • cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of goji berries
  • 1 tsp of raisins
  • fresh banana
  • fresh strawberry, or whatever other berries or other fruit I might have
  • a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • more cinnamon
  • milled flax seed and hemp hearts

Snack: Steamed kale with Sweet Potato

  • One bunch steamed kale
  • One boiled potato (Japanese is my preference)
  • Mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar.
The balsamic is probiotic and a preservative, this mixture stays good in the fridge, so I can snack from if for a day or more. One bunch makes 4-6 portions. The Mustard seeds are courtesy to Dr. Michael Greger, and his research that cooking kale actually destroys certain beneficial enzymes, but some mustard seeds added in after cooking restores that again.


Some of that kale with sweet potato salad,
A Cucumber salad with a 1/2/3 with dill and garlic dressing, with chia seeds.
and some of that soon-to-be-famous Split Pea Soup

Step One for Dinner

Rice Cooker #101

For dinner tonight (and a few more days this week) I am having GABA Brown Rice, this time half and half:
  • Lundberg Short Grain Brown Rice,
  • Black Rice.
I put it on after breakfast, on the timer for 6:30 at night. The GABA brown rice process is the healthiest way to eat rice, but it takes 3.5 hours - but a good rice cooker handles all that automatically. The cycle is a 2.5 hour soak, allowing the rice to germinate, and then an approx 1 hour cooking cycle, in my trusted rice cooker.

For details on my preferences about kitchen gear, see my main site, in particular this article about My Tools for the Plant-Based Kitchen.


Salad with Red Leaf Lettuce

Red leaf lettuce
chopped red onion
peppers in 2-3 colors chopped up
tomato cut up in small pieces
quinoa, milles flax seed, and some chia seeds
1/2/3 dressing with lemon, lime, garlic and parsley
some capers, and some salad olives.

Main course: Curry of Broad Valor Beans and Japanese Eggplant

That main dish was a leftover from the weekend, but I'll make this recipe again as I am trying to perfect it.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Collard Greens: Cooking Class at St. Helena's

Parkchester March, 16th, 2019 - St. Helena School Cafeteria

This time we focus on Collard Greens. By all means follow the link for an excellent piece on The World's Healthiest Foods about the nutritional powerhouse of Collard Greens.

Collard greens are also very versatile because the leaves are sturdy, so you can sort of make vegetable roti's or tacos or whatever you want to call them...

For our dinner today, we are making a salad, soup and collard green burritos, and we'll have some fruit for desert...

Due to a miscommunication, the whole event did not happen. So we had a


1 red leaf lettuce
1/2 red pepper
1/2 yellow pepper
1/2 green pepper
1 red onion
2 cooked beets (medium/small, or one large one)
as available, some table spoons of chia seeds (and/or milled flax seeds, or hemp hearts)
5 scoops of cooked quinoa (cold or warm, see below)
some parsley
some salad olives

1/2/3 dressing with lemon and lime (1 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp dijon mustard, 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar)

Option, you could serve it with the quinoa warm and caramelized onions. That might be nicer on a cold day.


Miso Soup with Daikon and Collard Greens

Here is the simplest recipe:

We'll go slightly fancier today (for about 4 people):

4x3=12 cups of water
4x3=12 dried shiitake musrhooms
4x1=4 tbsp hijiki
4/1=4 tbsp wakame

1 daikon
4x3=12 leaves of collard greens (more if small)

1 firm style tofu (jury is out on that one, some swear by silky tofu. Suit yourself.)
6-12 scallions
4x2 tbsp red miso

4 rolls of soba noodles or whole grain ramen.

Collard Green Burritos

Note: Many ways to go here, and you can start with steamed collard green leaves or raw. In either case, you want to flatten the stem with a roller pin, or, you might shave off some of the stems with a knife, so the leaves are easier to roll.

rice or quinoa, or chunks of boiled sweet potato
low sodium black beans

some ripe avocado
some thinly sliced peppers
chopped onions (I prefer red)
some finely chopped garlic
cooked green beans
fresh spinach

some mushrooms, depending on variety can be raw or cooked.
some nutritional yeast
some kimchi for seasoning.

just out of interest, here is another interesting recipe:

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Our February #WFPB/Suppers Communal Meal Prep at St Helena's

Today started for me with the #WFPB Cooking Demo at ShopRite on Bruckner...

Angela Vita demonstrated how to caramelize onions, and made a delicious salad with kale and butternut squash

Attendance was large and it is clear that the interest is growing.

I did most of my shopping for my class at St Helena's in the store

We made two salads, one a beet salad and one a green salad.
We cooked spinach and had Channa Masala over brown rice.

Today was a very simple menu - we had just six people, but it all worked out well and amazingly we were very much on time.

Green Salad

1 lb Spring Mix from Shoprite
1 red bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
1 onion
2 tbsp chia seeds
3 tomatoes

1/2/3 dressing with the juice of one lemon and one lime: 1 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp Dijon mustard, and 3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar, again plus the juice.

The salad was a hit.

Spinach (large leaf)

1 onion, cut-up fine
4-5 cloves of garlic, cut up fine
1 lb large leaf spinach.

Note that spinach has a lot of moisture, but the stems cook slower than the leaves, so we cut up the stems first.

Browned the onions dry first, until they start to stick and then add in a few tablespoons of water (or broth). After about 5 minutes add in the garlic and the spinach stems and let it go for another five minutes till the stems start to soften. Then add in the leaves, cut in 1" strips. Cook till the leaves are wilted.

As usual, all the people who had never had spinach without oil or butter before were amazed that it tastes so much better this way.

Beet Salad

For good measure we made a beet salad from
3 medium beets
1 medium onion
1 lemon (juice)
1 lime (juice)

Ideally this salad can marinade in the fridge... it is always better the next day. And you can eat it stand-alone or you can mix it in with your green salad.

Chana Masala

Note: For some reason Nutrition Studies spells it channa, with double "n," but I see it mostly spelled with single "n," so I will stick to that.


1 15 oz can of chick peas, rinsed and drained
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1½ tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
½ Tbsp turmeric powder
1-2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp salt ,alt. liquid aminos
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp cilantro, chopped for garnish


1) Heat water in a non-stick pan (medium heat) and add: whole cumin seeds, onions and garlic. Sauté until golden brown.

2) Add tomatoes to mixture and sauté until it starts to form a gravy.

3) Add chick peas along with all remaining ingredients: cumin powder, coriander, turmeric, chili powder, salt, and tomato paste.

4) Mix well, over low-medium heat, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.

5)  Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro

6) We served it with Brown Rice

We had grapes and cherries for desert, and even some food left over.
In all, our budget was $90 and we spent about $52.19, so we donated $37.81 to St. Helena's.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Swiss Chard with Carrots

Swiss Chard with Carrots


This recipe brings out the flavor and the color of the chard like nobody's business.
For the garlic, use organic if you can get it.



  • 1lb Swiss chard stems sliced small 1/2" leaves sliced in 1¨ strips
  • 2 onions cut-up fine
  • 3 chilis, sliced fine
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced fine, seeded
  • 1-large or three small carrots sliced thin
  • 5 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
  • 5 pieces of turmeric, or 1 tsp of turmeric powder


  1. 1 - onions, chili's, jalapeno cut up fine (jalapeno seeded), 5 mins at 425F (med/high)
  2. 2 - add the garlic and turmeric, 5 mins at 425F adding a small amount of water (2-3 tablespoons) to keep it liquid
  3. 3 - add in the sliced carrot, and the cut-up Chard stems, a little more water 
  4. 5 mins at 275F (medium/low)
  5. 4 - add in the leaves on top, 10 more mins at 275F


Sunday, January 20, 2019

Budget #WFPB on Starling Avenue

Recently, Premium Halal had Okra at $1.49. Their selection of veggies is always great. In general Okra goes anywhere from $0.99/lb to $2,49 lb, depending on the shipment. It pays to watch... Okra is extremely healthy! Low on the glycemic index and high in nutrition.

Rice, one of our staples

White rice is a nutritional disaster.

White Rice is very high on the glycemic index, and basically it is stripped of the nutrition and fiber of brown rice. Yes! Magazine had a beautiful story recently about The Story of White Rice. Notice this passage:
After farmers harvest their rice, it typically goes to a mill. There, it is cleaned and the husks are taken off the grains of rice. At this point, it is referred to as “brown rice” or “unpolished” rice. Once the husk has been taken off the rice, there remain several very thin layers of wholesome bran. At this stage, the rice is full of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and protein—and very healthy to eat.
But polishing rice from so-called “dirty rice” into the sparkling white form that most people prefer has caused—yes, caused—a number of major, adverse impacts on health.
First, polishing removes most of the vitamins and minerals vital to one’s health. One example: the rice bran contains vitamin B and thiamine, both key to preventing beriberi. Indeed, in the largest World War II prison camp in the Philippines (where John’s grandfather was interned), American prisoners suffered from beriberi until they convinced the Japanese prison guards to let them cook the bran shavings that came off the polished rice; then the beriberi went away.
White rice also increases the risk of diabetes, rates of which are rising quickly in the Philippines, the United States and many other countries. The rice layers removed during polishing contain nutrients that guard against diabetes. Polished rice further contributes to diabetes risk because it causes blood-sugar levels to rise more rapidly than brown rice does. According to the New York Times, a 2010 Harvard study showed that people who consume white rice at least five times a week “are almost 20 percent more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those who eat it less than once a month.” In our travels in the Philippines and the United States, we meet people who are shifting to brown rice on their doctors’ orders precisely because of concerns about diabetes.
And polishing rice also reduces the protein content of the rice, which can mean the difference between being well-nourished or malnourished. The bottom line on all of these health fronts is the same: the more polished the rice, the less healthy.

from: The Story of White Rice

Brown rice is healthy, black and red rice even better...

Here's for the selection of Basmati Brown Rice at Al Aqsa:

Basmati Brown Rice in 4lb, 8 lb and 10lb packs.  The Shimla Road Brown Basmati is $6.99 for 4 lbs and $14.99 for 10 lbs, Deer Organic Brown Basmati is $14.99 for an 8 lbs bag. Neerob Bazaar, by the Bx22 bus stop carries Swad Brown Basmati for $12 per 10 lbs. Take your pick. Brown Rice from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan is the healthiest you can get because of lower arsenic levels. In the US, I would trust Lundberg rice the best.

Brown versus white

The bottom line? Brown rice versus white reduces the diabetes risk by 16%, and a significant reduction in the risk of colorectal cancer and, for that matter, red, purrple and black rice may be even better, so you might explore some variety:

Different varieties at Chang Li Supermarket:

Rice blend

Black Rice


Onions, another daily staple

Canadian Onions on the left, US Onions on the right.

The US onions go for $2.99 for a 10 Lb bag, and the Canadian onions, such as Onio and Vegco, go for $4.99 for 10 lb. It all varies a bit with the seasons. I've seen the Canadians for as little as $3.99 and sometimes more than $4.99 too. The US onions I've seen as low as $ 1.99 at times.

In short, with $15 to $20, you can have 10 lbs of high quality rice and 10 lbs of quality onions, then you can add various lentils, chick peas and beans, and that is most of what you need for staples for the month and you only need to add fresh fruit and vegetables.