Sunday, June 24, 2012

'Like' Plant Hungry on Facebook!

If you forget to check here for new posts... 'like' the Plant Hungry Facebook page and you'll get notices of the new posts on the blog! 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Recipe: Chickpea Patties & Agave-Mustard

Shelly’s Chickpea Patties and Agave-Mustard Sauce

I adapted this from the original chickpea cutlet recipe in the Veganomicon cookbook. You can google the original if you want. It's all over the internet and quite popular. I've made these numerous times now and I finally got the recipe perfect (in my opinion!)

I removed a couple ingredients until I got it to the flavor I prefer. I removed the wheat gluten simply because in this dish, I like it without the chewiness that gluten gives it. This version keeps the soft, smashed bean texture. I think non-vegans would much prefer this version.

1 cup chickpeas (cooked/canned) drained and rinsed.
2 tbsp olive oil (or whatever oil you prefer)
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp vegetable broth or water (I just dissolve bouillon in warm water)
1 cup dry bread crumbs (you can also use prepared croutons and crush those into crumbs - extra flavor!)
1 tbsp steak sauce (like A1)
2 tsp chopped garlic (I use jarred)
1 tsp adobo paste (or the sauce from chipotles in adobo)

1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper

Mash the chickpeas in a bowl with the olive oil until no intact beans remain. (or use a food processor) Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well until you have a smooth dough.

If you make regular burger sized patties you can get 4 or 5 but I prefer to make nugget sized patties of 1 tbsp (I use a cookie dough baller) because they hold together better and then you can eat just a few if you want. You can also make the 'dough' and then cook as needed over a few days.

In a fry pan, heat olive oil (you want a nice amount so they brown well) and fry patties until lightly brown on both sides. If you make larger patties, they may break apart so be aware of that. I keep leftovers in the fridge and reheat in a pan with a little oil.

Agave-Mustard Sauce

I love this with the chickpea patties. I don’t really measure this because it’s by personal taste. I start with a spoonful of vegan mayo and add in about half the amount of Dijon or grainy mustard and then a squirt of agave and I just taste it and adjust it as necessary. Some people like it sweeter, some heavier on the mustard.

My fave way to eat the patties is with a side of fried brown rice and a veggie. Asparagus is especially delicious with the agave mustard too! I also love to have my brussels sprouts!

The recipe link for the brussel sprouts is:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Recipe: Alicia's Brown Rice Treats

I wanted to share some of my fave recipes .. and since it's summer vacation and many of you have kidlings at home that are driving you insane, I decided to share a kid-friendly recipe from Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet cookbook.

I usually halve the recipe. Shown in the photo is a half recipe put into an 8x8 pan so the bars are thick.. you can also use a 9x13 pan and get a thinner bar that will go further as far as pieces. 

This is not a cheap treat to make because healthy stuff costs more but giving this to your kids and yourself is far better than the crap most people eat and much better than the original of this recipe that uses CORN SYRUP or the recipe that uses marshmallows (not vegan), butter and white rice cereal.


These are delicious and you can cut them small because they are rich but not overly sweet. You can regular chocolate chips or leave them out to make them healthier.

If you make a full recipe it will take an entire 15 oz jar of brown rice syrup so I suggest halving the recipe. I used 7 oz of syrup and 1/2 cup peanut butter, 4.5 cups of the cereal and used 1/4 cup of the chocolate chips. This made them nice and gooey and not dry at all. Yum! This would be good with crunchy peanut butter as well.

Alicia's Brown Rice Treats

1 box brown rice crisps cereal (look in the health aisle and choose one with the least amount of sugar)
1 3/4 cups brown rice syrup (health aisle - this is a whole 15 oz jar)
Fine sea salt
3/4 cup all-peanut, no sugar added natural variety of peanut butter (Smuckers has one for about $2.50)
1/2 cup vegan or grain-sweetened chocolate chips (I like mini)

Pour the rice cereal into a large bowl.  You need room to mix it!

Heat the rice syrup with a pinch of salt in a saucepan over low heat.

When rice syrup liquefies, add the peanut butter and stir until well combined. Pour over the rice cereal. Mix well with wooden spoon.

Once thoroughly mixed and cooled to room temperature, stir in the chocolate chips. Makes sure the mixture is cool, or you will end up with melted chocolate instead of chocolate chips in your treats. (I couldn't wait so mine are a little melty but who cares? LOL)

Turn the mixture into an 8x8 or 9x13 baking dish. Wet your wood spoon lightly and press the mixture evenly into the pan. Let cool for 1 hour before cutting into squares or bars -- if you can! You won't be able to.

Variation: Substitute almond butter for the peanut butter and raisins for the chocolate chips.

Excerpted from The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone (2009, Rodale). All rights reserved.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Guest Blogger - Jillian McKee

Jillian McKee is my guest blogger today and she has great advice on how going veg can help if you and/or someone you love is battling cancer or if you'd like to keep cancer away!

Bringing a wealth of personal and professional experience to the organization, Jillian McKee has worked as the Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance since June of 2009.

Jillian spends most her time on outreach efforts and spreading information about the integration of complementary and alternative medicine when used in conjunction with traditional cancer treatment.

Read more about Jillian and her organization here.

Vegetarianism and Cancer

The benefits of a vegetarian diet are undeniable: from improved appearance to reduced risk of cancer and heart disease, a plant-based diet can have an enormous impact on health and wellness. For individuals who have already been diagnosed with cancer, a vegetarian diet can be the key to better health, whether the person has just been diagnosed, is currently in treatment or in remission

As with any healthy eating plan, vegetarian diets should be well-balanced and full of variety. The following foods will ensure better health, energy and quality of life.

Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are typically the biggest part of a vegetarian diet. These foods are high in nutrients and low in fat, calories, sodium, cholesterol and other harmful substances. They also provide energy and help the body run more effectively and efficiently.

Whole Grains
Whole grains provide the body with lasting energy, and are a healthier option to other types of carbohydrates. Barley, oats, quinoa, brown rice, and other whole grains provide protein and fiber, as well as essential amino acids and other vitamins and minerals.

Protein is an essential part of any diet. It provides energy, strength and the ability to fight infection.  A common misconception concerning plant-based diets is that they don't provide enough protein to sustain good health. This is simply untrue. In fact, vegetarian protein options provide all the great benefits of meat, but without all the fat and cholesterol.

The following foods are all great sources of meat-free protein:

All beans, peas, lentils and legumes are excellent sources of protein. They're also high in fiber, antioxidants and vitamins and minerals, and can be prepared many different ways.

Nuts and seeds
These types of food make excellent snacks, as they boost energy and provide the body with necessary healthy fats.

Soy is a staple of most vegetarian diets. It's full of protein and antioxidants and is a great alternative to both meat and dairy. A few popular soy-based products include tofu, edamame, soy nuts, soy milk, soy yogurt and even soy ice cream.

Green vegetables provide protein and fiber, as well as calcium, potassium and other important vitamins and minerals. Certain greens, such as spinach and kale, have even been called super foods! A fun and creative way to get more greens into a diet is to blend them with fruits and yogurt to make a delicious and nutritious smoothie.

The term "food is medicine" can take on a whole new meaning for people with cancer. By following a vegetarian meal plan, individuals with mesothelioma, breast cancer and other illnesses can help take a proactive approach to healing. A balanced plant-based diet will provide benefits such as increased energy, quicker healing after treatments or surgery, improved body function, better overall health and greatly increased quality of life. 

Recipe Roundup - My Favorite Dips!

I love dips but even vegan ones made with vegan sour cream and vegan mayo are not very healthy so I try and find ways to get that dip fix while remaining true to how I choose to eat! So.. here are a few of my most favorite dips that are perfect for the meat eaters you know too!

Dorito Dip (shown in photo at right)

I found this on a blog and it really does have a Dorito flavor to it! I've fed this to many meat eaters and it's always a hit so this is a great dip to take to a gathering. My husband loves this.

If you don't have a Vita Mix or you use a food processor (I prefer to make this in my food processor instead of my VM just because it's easier to get out of the food processor!) you'll need to add water in small amounts until it gets to the consistancy you want.

The photo I took of mine is rather thick because I intend on dipping carrots in it and slathering it on Triscuits. If you want a chip dip. add more water until it's dip-able!

I usually double this so I can use a whole pepper.

1/3 C Sunflower seeds (I use salted/roasted)
1/2 C Raw unsalted cashews
1/4 C Nutritional yeast
1/2 of a Red pepper, chopped
3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1/2 Tsp Salt (or to taste)
1/2 Tsp Chili Powder (add more or less to taste if desired)
1/8 Tsp Cayenne (add more or less to taste if desired)

Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth

Vegan Queso

You know that fattening, cholesterol-laden cheese dip made with Velveeta and Rotel tomatoes? Well, this is a healthy version and it's just as good. This is my fave cheesy sauce because it's made with water instead of almond milk so I can always make this. It's great to dip chips in, use on tacos or even as an cheesy burrito topping. Yum.

I don't use the full amount of the salsa called for tho.. I use maybe ½ cup so do it to your own taste.

1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup flour ( I use whole wheat)
1 teaspoon paprika (smoked paprika is really good in this)
1 teaspoon salt
dash of garlic powder
1 cup water
2 tablespoons margarine (I used Earth Balance sticks)
1 1/2 cups salsa OR 1 can diced tomatoes and peppers (RoTel or other brand)


Combine dry ingredients in a saucepan. Add water. Whisk constantly (really important!) over medium heat until mixture is thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and add margarine. Stir until margarine is melted. Stir in can of tomatoes or salsa.

Return to low heat and cook just long enough for tomatoes to heat. Pour over chips and eat like nachos or use as a dip.

Sara's Notorious Mexican Tofu Dip

This recipe intrigued me because, honestly... it sounded gross and the photo in the cookbook looked even worse and yet the story with the recipe made me want to try it! The author tells of her young daughter who created this dip and her friends and family loved it. They used it as a dip for chips and veggies, as a sandwich or celery filling or to eat as a salad in a hollowed out tomato or to top greens.

This little girl played the violin and wanted to attend a workshop that her single mother couldn’t afford to send her to. Someone came up with the idea of her selling this ‘salad’ at the local market… she did and she earned enough money in 5 months to cover her expenses to the workshop, including the lodging and the meals! She continued on with her tofu salad business and the product was very popular locally. She sold the business when she was 12 and the new owners eventually changed up the recipe but this one is the original.

You may wanna make a half batch with some leftover tofu you have sometime to see if you like it. I think it's important to try new foods, I took the chance and tried this and I’m glad because I really like it and it will be nice thing for me to take places to introduce people to tofu. I eat it with whole corn chips. It’s just oddly addicting. The only thing you need to decide is texture... you can make this the intended way so it's more crumbly like a wet egg salad with the celery texture or toss it in the food processor for a dip resembling a smooth sour cream type dip. I recommend the smooth version if you are taking it to a meat eaters gathering as many people have texture issues.

1 lb firm or extra firm tofu, drained, blotted and crumbled
1 TBSP ketchup (choose one without corn syrup)
1 TBSP nutritional yeast
1 TBSP tamari or shoyu (soy sauce)
2 ribs of celery, finely diced
½ to ¾ cup salsa (medium or hot, not mild)
1 or 2 TBSP tofu mayo (start wit one TBSP and add more to your personal taste)

Crumble the tofu in a bowl and get it as smooth as possible without using a blender or food processor. (if you want it smooth.. toss everything into the food processor)

Add remaining ingredients and mix until well blended.
Do a taste test and add more salsa and tofu mayo if you desire.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Recipe: PB Banana Walnut Oatmeal

I am an early riser.. 5:30 am is sleeping in for me so because I'm up so early, I always eat two breakfasts and my first is always a few pieces of fresh fruit and then a couple hours later I have a second breakfast that can be anything .. and I mean anything.

This morning I had my fruit and an hour later I was ravenous... my belly was actually growling and grumbling That rarely happens.

so.. I got serious and made this.... here is a nice hearty breakfast that should tame any belly beasts!

Don't add any sweeteners.. the banana makes it plenty sweet!

Peanut Butter Banana & Walnut Oatmeal

1/2 cup old fashioned oats
2/3 cup water
1/2 to 1 banana, diced
1 to 2 tbsp peanut butter (or any nut butter)
few walnuts

Place 2/3 cup water and 1/2 cup oats in a microwave container and cook for 1 min 30 seconds (go 2 minutes if your microwave isn't as powerful). Cut banana in half and in half again lengthwise and then cut the halves in half and dice into small pieces. The goal is that the pieces are small enough to get banana in every bite! Mix into cooked oats. Melt the nut butter for about 30 seconds until it is smooth and able to be poured. Drizzle over oatmeal and top with walnuts. Feel free to sprinkle a little cinnamon on top if desired.

Note: you can also cook your oats and melt your nut butter on the stove if you avoid microwaves.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

We KNOW it's wrong....

We call them by another name because in our hearts, we know it's wrong to eat them and because we are grossed out by what they actually are. Bon Appetit!

beef = cows
pork = pigs
gelatin = bones, tendons, ligaments, and tissues of mammals
haggis = heart, liver and lung pudding
sweetbreads = pancrease or thymus gland
poultry = chickens and other birds
veal = baby cows
venison = deer
milk = mammary secretions of a mammal
seafood = fish & crustaceans
balut = duck fetus
offal = internal organs and entrails
chevon = goat
squab = pigeon
caviar = fish eggs
carabeef = buffalo
mutton = sheep
escargot = snails
calamari = squid
basashi = horse
foie gras = intentionally fattened livers of duck/geese

Recipe - Silken Yogurt

One thing I often hear people complain about is how pricey some of the vegan convenience foods can be.

Of course, you shouldn't eat them on a regular basis anyway but I am surprised when people don't even consider making certain items from scratch.

One item is soy yogurt. Sure, you can drop $50 to $100 on a yogurt maker that uses soy milk and culture and actually cooks up a batch of honest to goodness yogurt or you can try this cheater method instead which is faster, less expensive, easier and tastes great!

All you need is a food processor or blender.


1 pkg Silken tofu (firm or extra firm)
lemon juice
Jam of your choice

I can't give you a specific recipe because this is all about personal taste! When I made mine I used about 1/3 to 1/2 of the package of tofu mixed with about a tsp of lemon juice and 1/3 to 1/2 cup strawberry freezer jam that I had made previously. You can use fresh fruit but jam already has the sugar in it so it's easier. If you use fresh fruit, you may need to add in some maple syrup for sweetness. I've also made this with just tofu, fresh squeezed lemon juice and maple syrup and it was yummy.

Just combine everything in your processor and blend until smooth. Test it and adjust it for taste. I used mine to make a granola parfait with granola I made from scratch but feel free to pick up a package of granola at the store. Garnish with fresh fruit or stir in chopped fresh fruit if you like a chunky yogurt!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Change is NOT Hard.

So, we all know the saying 'change is hard' but I'd like you to consider that change is only hard if you don't want the change to happen. We all know that we can do whatever we want to do if we have the necessary skills, the situation is in our control and we put our mind to it. 

Also... I don't use the word 'hard' lightly. Learning to walk and talk again after a stroke is hard. Choosing not to eat animals products? Not hard. Being a single parent is hard. Choosing not to eat cheese? Not hard.

My husband says I don't handle change well and he's right.. IF the change is a change I don't want. For example, technology. Every time we get a new remote or new electronic thing.. I get irritated because I have to learn how to use it. My hesitation and resistance usually comes from the fact that it isn't a change I initiated. Perhaps something wore out and broke or I am forced to upgrade.

A few years ago there was an update of a software program I was using. I was reasonably good at it, or at least good at the parts of the program I used. The company upgraded the program and completely changed the layout and how the program looked. I was lost and I'm still lost. I literally cannot find anything I'm looking for within the program. I absolutely hate using the program now because every time I try and use it, I have to go onto the internet to find out where to find what I'm looking for within the program. I liked the old program. It was fine. It didn't need to be changed. 

My husband suggested I take an online class to learn the new software and that is a great idea except I don't want to and we all know that if we don't want to do something then it makes it that much harder to do it. We are all stubborn to some extent ... sometimes, we just don't want to do something.

This is especially true when it comes to changing something like our nutrition. There are certain things that most of us grew up believing. We were told and taught that we needed to eat dead animals for protein. We were told and taught that milk and dairy food is how we get calcium. We were told and taught that our plates should hold the four basic food groups at every meal. It's difficult to come to the realization that everything you thought you knew isn't actually the truth. It's difficult to abandon what your parents told you is fact or necessity but part of growing up is learning to question authority and never to assume anything as fact until you research it on your own. Most people never question anything and they pass along the wrong information generation after generation simply because they either never thought to find out the truth or they didn't want to. You must adapt and grow and change.

We all make time to do the things we want to do. It is absolutely as simple as that. It's much easier if you make the decision to change rather than have the decision made for you but ultimately it all comes down to wanting to make the change even if it's forced upon you. 

Of course, we all want to win the lottery but that isn't in our control. Buying a lottery ticket is as much control as we have in that situation.

Think about two changes you've made in your life ... it's probably easy to come up with a change that was difficult for you .. now think about why it was difficult. Was it difficult because you didn't want to stop? Was it difficult because you enjoyed it? Was it difficult because it wasn't your idea?

Think about a change you made that was easy. Same thing ... Was it easy because you  didn't have sort of attachment to it?  was it easy because you didn't care whether it was in your life or not? Was it easy because you decided it was time to make the change?

Of course, you can say you want to change but you have to really, really want to change in order to make it happen and your resistance may not even be something you are aware of, which makes it tricky. You can actually self sabotage yourself without even fully realizing it. You can even talk yourself into believing you can't do something.

"I work 10 hours a day"
"I have children"
"I can't afford it"
"I don't have time"
"I can't live without cheese"
"My spouse isn't supportive"
"I'm too tired"
"I don't like vegetables"

Now, I can give you advice on all of these things. I can tell you how to move past all of these excuses BUT you will probably only find more excuses for my solutions and advice .... I'll say it again - change is easy if it's a change you want to make. Change is hard if it's a change you don't want to make. You will always, always, always struggle with something if you don't want to do it. Always.

Excuses are not the same as limitations. Let's be clear about that. Excuses are reasons you give yourself to make you feel not guilty about not doing something. Limitations are real reasons why something cannot be done or makes something more difficult to do.

Excuse - "I can't follow a plant based diet because I don't like tofu"

Limitation - "I can't follow a plant based diet because I'm allergic to soy"

Being allergic is a limitation, not an excuse.... but you have to be careful to not turn your limitation into an excuse. Just because you are allergic to soy doesn't mean you can't follow a plant based diet. You just make the choice to not eat soy foods. There are plenty of fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, seeds and other foods that you CAN eat which is why the excuse part doesn't work either. If you don't like tofu, don't eat it. 

When you decide to follow a plant based diet you can absolutely do it overnight. YOU make the choice. You are an adult and you make your own personal choices. It isn't difficult to make the choice to stop putting animal flesh in your mouth. You are in control. There is no outside force trying to put animal products in your mouth. You choose what goes in your grocery cart. You choose what you buy. You choose what you bring into your home and you choose what goes into your mouth. 

Yes, there are challenges .... perhaps you have a roommate or spouse that refuses to go plant based or you have children that resist the idea. Maybe you live in a city that isn't vegan friendly and it's difficult to eat out or find certain vegan ingredients. 

The challenges don't matter because it's only as hard as you make it.  So... when you have challenges and you make excuses to fail ... just stop and instead make decisions and find ways to make it happen.

Let me give you an example of how to overcome challenges and obstacles. Let's say you want to end your addiction to those fattening, sugary Starbucks drinks you've been consuming everyday for a year. My first advice is 'stop going to Starbucks' but let's assume you have a challenge - you are responsible for picking up the sugary coffee drink your boss wants every morning from Starbucks. So, you can't just stop going to Starbucks. 

You could do a few things .. 

- You could ask your boss to purchase a Starbucks card that you will use for his/her purchases and leave your wallet in the car to prevent any purchases for yourself. 
- You could leave your wallet in the car and only take in the amount of cash you need for the boss's coffee so you remove any temptation of getting one for yourself. 
- You could delegate the coffee buying duty to someone else.

In almost every case, you have choices that can be made to shoot down an excuse, limitation, or challenge.

Now, I want to say this because there are always people who have to step up and say that there are some situations where it doesn't matter how much you want something.. there are things standing in your way and I know that is true BUT I feel like those situations are not that common. People love to make excuses even when they have other options and honestly, there are instances where people have absolutely overcome huge obstacles to succeed and survive ... if you need examples, I'd be happy to give them to you.

One comes to mind - Touching the Void

"Joe Simpson and his climbing partner, Simon Yates, had just reached the top of a 21,000-foot peak in the Andes when disaster struck. Simpson plunged off the vertical face of an ice ledge, breaking his leg. In the hours that followed, darkness fell and a blizzard raged as Yates tried to lower his friend to safety. Finally, Yates was forced to cut the rope, moments before he would have been pulled to his own death.

The next three days were an impossibly grueling ordeal for both men.

Yates, certain that Simpson was dead, returned to base camp consumed with grief and guilt over abandoning him. Miraculously, Simpson had survived the fall, but crippled, starving, and severely frostbitten was trapped in a deep crevasse. Summoning vast reserves of physical and spiritual strength, Simpson crawled over the cliffs and canyons of the Andes, reaching base camp hours before Yates had planned to leave."

If Joe Simpson can get himself out of a deep crevasse, spend three days crawling 5 miles through the cliffs and canyons of the Andes with no food, hardly any water and with a broken leg, exhaustion, delirium and frostbite, then you can stop eating cheese.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Original Recipe - TBLT Salad

I love temeph bacon and tomato sandwiches but I don't always like to eat a lot of bread so sometimes I like to make this salad to get all the yummy flavor of a TBLT, plus this travels well if you want to take your sandwich on the go!

If you want to make this with no processed oils, just use one half of an avocado. Chop half of the half and add it to your salad and take the other half of the half and mash it with a little lemon juice to make an avocado mayo and use that in place of the Vegenaise.

Feel free to share my recipe but please link back to this blog to do so.

Shelly's TBLT Salad

This makes one side salad.

1.5 oz (about 4 slices) of tempeh bacon (click for my recipe)
1 campari tomato (or one small to medium tomato), wedged
1 cup greens (your choice), finely chopped
1/4 cup croutons (homemade is best!)
1 tbsp Vegenaise (or whatever vegan mayo you like)
Spices of your choice (optional)

Warm up the tempeh bacon. I like to crisp mine up a little. Rough chop it and toss it in a bowl. You want the pieces to be a medium chop. Wedge your tomato and add that to the bowl. Add in the greens. Toss.

In a side bowl, combine the Vegenaise with whatever spices you want to make a flavored mayo. I like to use the Trader Joe's  South African Smoke Seasoning but you can do anything you like or nothing at all.

Toss the seasoned Vegenaise with the tempeh, tomato and greens mixture. Right before you eat the salad, toss in the croutons. if you are taking this to eat at a later time, just package the croutons separately and add those right before eating. Try and make an effort to get a little of everything on your fork for each bite then it really is like a TBLT on your fork!