Not Just Tofu

Posts Tagged ‘vegan’

Incredible Cauliflower Mash Recipe (a perfect festive side dish)

In comfort food, sides on December 15, 2015 at 3:53 pm

Do you want your Christmas menu to taste different from your Thanksgiving menu? Try adding a new side dish that doesn’t stray too far from what you know.  This cauliflower mash is a perfect example! It looks like mashed potatoes but is much more sophisticated. With the use of vegan or goat dairy, your guests will be sure to remember this dish for holidays to come.


food to glow

This is NOT a substitute for mashed potato. It is a fabulous, lux side dish to make, serve and eat on its own merit. Steam, blend, eat. A great everyday recipe to entice the veg-phobes in your life. A perfect Christmas or Thanksgiving accompaniment but quick enough for every day, too. :-)Mashed cauliflower has been around awhile, hasn’t it?

As the vanguard vegetable in the paleo and low-carb movement, cauliflower has transformed, Cinderella-like, from the last thing eaten on the plate (if at all) to being clamoured for – whole, roasted and burnished with spice. The centrepiece of the meal.

I started hearing about cauliflower as a carb sub back in 2011, but kind of ignored it. I just thought “why?” Why ditch mashed potatoes? Just give yourself less…I also thought, how can a whole roasted cauliflower – however herb-bedecked and dripping in tahini sauce – be a main meal, especially if you have growing children? I didn’t get it. I still don’t get it. At least not for these uses.

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And the Church Ate Vegetarian

In Editorial, Event on June 1, 2013 at 11:38 pm


How often do you hear that the whole church meal was vegetarian? At my church, it is not rare but the norm for the church meal to be totally meatless. Why you ask? Seventh-day Adventists believe that the body is a temple and the best way to maintain the temple is through a vegetarian diet.

I would say that at least half of the faith practices some type of vegetarian. Some are pescatarian, they eat all but non scavenger fish in there diet. Others are vegan, exclude all foods that come from animals such as eggs and milk. Then you have flexitarians, people whose diet is mostly plant-based but occasionally meat. The other half live like me and eat non scavenger meats and exclude pork, rabbit, shrimp, lobster, etc…

The church lunch is where the kids are first introduced to the concept of a meatless plate. Instead of meat, we are served meat substitutes such as Loma Linda’s prime steak which is a vegetarian patty serves with a gravy and sauteed onions and peppers. We were also introduced to “loaf” which is a loaf made out of ground up nuts (so good). They were served with familiar sides like macaroni and cheese, West Indian rice and peas, and vegetables. Thank God my church had really great cooks. This is how generation after generation we are able to instill a healthy consciousness about food. It is not rare to look around our congregation and meet a young vegetarian. The general population of young people is not overweight. It just proves that starting young helps to keep them healthy.

We have stuck to our beliefs even when it comes to serving the community. The community I think appreciated the change from the norm. They appreciated the mock turkey; it was served with real stuffing and cranberry sauce. We have hosted 2 vegetarian cooking classes that teach about basic and intermediate vegetarian cooking. I personally taught one myself. It is there that I decided that I wanted to take cooking to the next level. Today at lunch, we served an Asian based meal of fried rice, vegetable lo mein, egg rolls, mock beef and broccoli and mock chicken stir fry. Both parents and kids alike ate the meal without asking for chicken. My point is that it can be done if done well.

I just love the fact that I am a part of a faith that takes their temples so seriously. The fact the youngest to the oldest enjoys a well cooked vegetarian meal, makes me smile. Even though I am not a vegetarian, I enjoy people eating well. Getting in the kitchen is the only way to change the way we see food.

Which Diet Are You On?

In Editorial on December 11, 2012 at 6:23 pm

      Vegetarian                 VeganPaleo       Gluten-Free       Pesceterian       Flexitarian       Raw


Are you confused by these special diets?

I was until I decided to look into them myself.  Some are very new to the public.  Let me see if I can break them down in simple terms.


  • Vegetarian: You don’t eat flesh. No chicken, no steak, no seafood.  Your diet consists of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and beans.  You are allowed to eat dairy including eggs and honey.
  • Vegan: You don’t eat flesh, dairy, eggs and most often omit caffeine. Your diet consists of fruits, vegetables, grains, beans and nuts. Extreme vegans omit honey because it comes from bees. The goal is to eat the healthiest form of a plant based diet.
  • Paleo: You don’t eat grain, beans or dairy. Your diet consists of meat, seafood, vegetables, fruits and nuts.  You don’t eat potatoes, rice or corn because of their high starch content.  Many of your dry goods are homemade or made from alternative flours that come from nuts and coconut.
  • Gluten-Free: You don’t eat anything containing the gluten protein.  So no wheat, barley or rye or allowed.  Your baked goods are made from grains like spelt, almond flour and garbanzo  flour.  Similar to Paleo but you are allowed to eat plant based starches like beans and potatoes and rice.
  • Pescetarian: You don’t eat chicken, steak, lamb or any other land creatures.  You diet consist of seafood, fruits, vegetables, grains, beans and nuts.
  • Flexitarian: You eat everything but the majority of your diet is plant based most of the time.  Your diet also consists but limits dairy.
  • Raw:  Similar to the vegan diet except that it is raw.  All fruits and vegetables, sprouted grains and legumes and nuts are eaten in their natural state, dehydrated, blended or juice as a way of protecting their true nutritional value.

During the holidays, we don’t focus on what we are eating but as soon as January 1st comes we make great strides to start the year off on a healthy note.  For most of America, diet is one of their resolutions and they look to one of these diets to be their blueprint.  I want those of you reading and thinking about it to remember that these are not just not diets but lifestyles.  Choosing to eat this way will affect your family and your social life.  You may have to create 2 different dinners because your kids are not into a soy burgers and lentils.  Don’t be discouraged.  If you are going to change the way you eat remember these 3 steps:

1. Ease into it – any change made abruptly usually won’t last. Try it 1 day a week, then 2 then 3 before you know it all 7 days will be easy.

2. Stick to familiar flavors – if you like spicy food, don’t try a bland bowl of beans.  If you don’t make it seem that you are missing the things you like than you won’t mind eating it.

3. Have go-to foods – a lot of the time these diets need to be planned ahead.  There are certain frozen foods that can be a go to or certain restaurants that are special diet friendly.  Do the research; it will help you to fight the hunger pains.

I face these challenges too as I am trying to become a healthier eater.  I hope this helps you as you try to balance your diet with your life.



Product Review: Tofurky Sausage

In Food on January 22, 2012 at 7:51 am

I don’t know how many of you are like me, skeptical about meat substitutes.  I know nothing will replaced my fry chicken but there are a few products that are keeping me open-minded about meat substitutes.  In my early cooking adventures, I was familiar with Morningstar, Loma Linda and Worthington brands but in the last 5 years a few brands have become popular. 

Tofurky is most popular from their turkey roast that people have used on their thanksgiving table for years.  Sorry Tofurky, I am not a lover of the roast which made me suspect about trying another product from their line.  In an effort to create a quick meal on a budget for Alvin, I came across Tofurkey Kielbsa and Italian Sausage at Whole Foods.  The price was right at $2.99 for 4 sausage links.  With sausage and peppers in mind, I purchased the product. 

The aroma of the sausage were reminiscent of turkey sausage with fennel and garlic.  The texture was sturdy which allowed me to cut the sausage on the bias.  I browned the sliced sausage in olive oil and they didn’t fall apart.  They actually browned nicely which created a bit of crunch which is good because it stood up to the sauce.  After browning the sausage and sauting it with onions, garlic and bell peppers, I added tomato sauce and a 1/2 cup of vegetable broth.  When it was all done, it looked like sausage and peppers. 

The most important test is the taste test.  Alvin tried it right of the pot, as he usually does.  He like it but then he likes most meat substitutes.  It then came time for my meat eating taste buds to try it.  In the past, I have tried veggie sausage and didn’t like it because it left a bitter aftertaste in my mouth.  To my surprise, no bitter aftertaste.  I really enjoyed it becuase the texture was firm and not soggy and it absorbed the sauce like regular sausage.  I have since put this product on my weekly grocery list as a staple for sandwiches or pasta dishes.

So for all you new vegetarians and vegans, this is a tasty product that will enjoy.  I have served dishes with the Tofurky sausage without any complaints from meat-eaters.  This product has not made it to all the chain grocery stores but if you are fortunate enough to live by a Whole Foods, Trader Joes or Fairway you can find it there.  So try it and let me know what you were able to do with it. 

Send me an email with some of the products you would like me to review. 

Restaurant: IMHOTEP’S

In Local Eats, New York, Restaurant Experience on November 28, 2010 at 12:59 am

 You probably are wondering why my restaurant reviews outside of NJ are in Brooklyn?  My in-laws live in Brooklyn, so I have become comfortable in that neck of the woods. 

“IMHOTEP’S” is a vegan restaurant and health food store with West Indian roots.  It is set up like Boston Market with the food already prepared, all you have to do is choose which meal you would like.  After speaking with the owner, I disclosed that “IMHOTEP’S” stands for “He Who Comes With Blessings.”

 So let’s rate IMHOTEP’S.

Appearance: misleading – it does not look like a restaurant.  The front of the establishment is a store which sells vegetarian products.  Prepared foods are served in the back.

Food: There is a variety of dishes.  The most interesting were the mock chicken drumsticks which were made of a soy product formed around a thin wooden rod.  The mock drumstick came fried or bbq’d.  Other dishes included a veggie chunk stew, rice and peas and stewed squash.  They also serve homemade vegan cakes.  The day I visited, they were serving carrot cake.  I love carrot cake, but not vegan carrot cake.  I always find it dry and this version was no different. I tried a few spoonfuls of the meal and gave the rest to Alvin, not to say that is wasn’t good it just wasn’t for me. 

Cost: affordable – I bought a complete meal for $8.00. 

Overall review:  An occassional vegetarian as myself may find this type of vegan fare daunting.  I think that I may have mentioned that I am not a lover of mock meats and they serve more than I like.  I prefer my vegetarian food to be light and fresh.  IMHOTEP’S serves comfort style food that sticks to the bones.  If you are a vegan…this is heaven.  If you are me…it is a new experience worth having.


734 Nostrand Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11216


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