September 2- Matt Moore’s Enchiladas from Engine 2

Have you heard about the Engine 2 diet? It was created by Rip Esselstyn, a NY firefighter, professional tri-athlete, with a family tree of renowned physicians including his father, grandfather and great grandfather. Check out his website for his story and recipes.

I was interested in trying their version of enchiladas, especially since it is similar to the way I make my enchiladas. None of that tedious rolling corn tortillas (and having them crack open), I layer corn tortillas with enchilada sauce, beans, potatoes and spinach.

Matt’s version uses hash browns which I found intriguing. However, in the end I used tater tots which we had on hand, baked them and ripped them apart so they would be like hash browns. I believe those tater tots are the only oil in the recipe. No one missed the cheese. I did substitute a can of black beans for the mushrooms since I had just used mushrooms the day before, that added some protein as well.

I thought it turned out pretty good, except the can of sauce I used was a bit thin. If you make it, use as much sauce as they ask. This one was pretty popular with the family, we’ll make it again.

Matt Moore’s Enchilada Recipe

September 1: Mushroom “Makhani” (aka vegan Butter Chicken)

Our whole family loves Indian food. I’ve been working on making more Indian recipes since there are many naturally vegan and vegetarian dishes.

My repertoire for now includes palak paneer (with tofu instead of paneer), aloo gobi and chana masala. I love how the palak used a huge amount of spinach.

I looked up a substitute for butter chicken on one of my favorite vegan Indian websites

I’ve made some really delicous food from her recipes and they are not overly complicated. Although in general, Indian food is a little intensive with all the chopping and amount of spices. Once you get all the spices you are set.

This recipe was not too difficult, and I followed it exactly except I used red pepper instead of green and did not get fenugreek leaves. My cashew paste went a bit awry, turning into more of a chopped cashew since I did not have a good way to grind it. It was still tasty!

It went over pretty well with the family- the kid who doesn’t like mushrooms and onions devoured it. It had just a slightly bitter taste to me, but I think making the cashew into a paste would have helped that. We’ll definitely try more from Holy Cow Vegan.

Holy Cow Vegan’s Mushroom Makhani recipe

Fast food- better get with the times!

While we definitely support completely vegan places (I have written about them here), there are times when we need to go to a specific location and want to also support those who offer good veg options!

It has been so great to see fast food restaurants like Chipotle doing so well, with their healthier menu, and vegetarian/vegan options. They are always full. Something about their cilantro lime rice, and salsa is just SO good. I usually go for a vegan bowl and they give you (A LOT of) free guacamole. The sofritas is a great option for those who like the taste of meat- it is a tasty spiced tofu.

Café Yumm is another example of a great business model. They are expanding like crazy, and even have one drive-thru in Salem. All their locations are in Oregon, except one in Seattle by Pike Place. If you haven’t tried it, they make a pretty delicious tempeh skewer.

Another favorite place to eat is Laughing Planet. I believe they are currently only in Oregon, but am sure they will expand, or have similar places follow their model. They give you a possibility to substitute tofu or tempeh I believe on their special items that have meat. Their vegetarian meals are truly delicious. One of my favorites is the Cuban bowl. Fresh smoothies and juices round out their menu- and vegan cookies.

Those are my top three choices. If we have to do a really fast drive thru, the only option I will consider is Burgerville. They at least have a veggie burger option, although it leaves something to be desired. There are seasonal vegetables, and it is local. They are a step in the right direction.

Hopefully, Amy’s Drive-Thru which just opened in California will be a huge success and open in all the States. With items such as Vegan Mac n Cheese, vegan pizza, veggie bowls and burritos, this is a game changer!

I’m adding in one newcomer, that is all vegan. I am SO excited about Next Level Burger, opening in Portland soon. Their Bend, OR location must be doing really well. I will have a separate post about them once I get to try it out. This can show how plant-based food can be mainstream and delicious. I want to try every thing on their menu!

As for the older Fast Food chains, I don’t give them much hope in this changing market of people wanting healthier options, and more visibility and awareness of their participation in factory farm’s pollution and cruelty.

McDonalds has been steadily losing money, which will surely be the trend for a lot of the fast food chains as awareness grows about factory farming and the ingredients.

I recently went to Jack in the Box for the first time in many years. We were with friends, late at night headed to Seattle, and that was what we went with. I was shocked to find that all of their salads contained meat. When I asked if my daughter could get a taco without meat, I was told that wasn’t possible, it was already in it. Seriously? It can’t be more cost-effective to include an ingredient than leave it out. But, when you are talking about pre-packaged convenience, they go for what they think people want. I will NEVER go there again, just because they offer zero choices. Add to that list- Arby’s and countless others I am sure.

With all these large chain fast food restaurants, people don’t want to know how the nuggets are made. Pink slime, meat glue, no thanks!

Even if it costs a bit more, I hope you’ll try these places and support them in making a difference. That will encourage the others to change their practices if they want to survive.



veg mo fo

Hopefully I made it on to the blogroll. For those who are new, check out the “why?” section and last post. We’re renting a big house for a last gasp summer vacation with good friends, in Walla Walla, Wa. We’ve all known each other for 15 years-25 years! This is a somewhat central place to meet for all us. And bonus for the wine tasting that abounds in this area. I mentioned that I work with wineries and got some excellent industry discounts.

This first post is not the typical type of post. My goal had been to start my veggie graphics in August and work heated up. I’ve made progress with my website and know what is holding me back.

As far as veg content for this post… Walla Walls has a vegan restaurant called Garden Cafe that looked amazing. We had smoothies there but when we returned they were closed for Sunday and Labor Day.

Trying to find places to eat that work for our paleo diet friends as well as us is challenging. This last night we all cooked our own things and people shared. My biggest challenge is making appealing food. Or even cooking at all. Look forward to getting new recipes so I can start off the school year with some new ideas.

Stay tuned…

Where are the drawings?

I actually have kept up with the sketches on and off. I got out of the habit of posting, but have had some people tell me they enjoyed the posts. I do plan to start back up again. I think my birthday would be a good time to start- Wednesday, May 23. This month also marks my 3rd year yogiversary. I’m feeling good about it, but have pretty much plateaued with my practice. I plan to do yoga 4 x/week rather than the current 3. My mom is now an avid yogi. She was telling me today how she could never convince anyone to do it, but she loves it so much. It’s true. I had wanted her to try it for awhile, but she wouldn’t. These things have to come from inside.

Now back to the food. The drawings started to get a little boring because I was always eating the same thing. Green smoothies, apples, etc. Even when we went to Hawaii, it was not that exciting- just more pineapple and coconut juice from the source. And by the way, what’s the big deal about shave ice?

Let me preface this description of Hawaiian food by saying I am not complaining about the trip at all, I would happily go to Hawaii again even if all I had to eat was rice the whole time. However, Hawaii is not especially friendly to vegetarians. Think about a luau. Everything is fish, pork, chicken or beef. I ate fish twice while there simply because there were no vegetarian options. And the weird thing is, I didn’t enjoy the fish. I’m not sure if there was something wrong with it (for $27 there better not have been!) or if my tastes have simply changed. It does make it easier to skip meat when you don’t crave it at all.

So, the newest thing I have been doing, is trying to make delicious vegan food. Not just sticking to rice and bean stuff. I discovered SporkOnline during a Groupon deal or something. It is really informative, and they make cooking great vegan food look pretty easy. You can watch a sample dinner for free on their website. I’m also pretty excited about the recipes on Holy Cow. The spinach mushroom curry was so good.

So many people think they cannot give up cheese, or milk, or whatever. I understand! I lived in France for a year and the cheeses were the best part. But, something changed, and now when I taste vegetables and fruits- they taste so much more amazing. When I do have cheese, it really doesn’t taste that good.

Looking forward to starting the sketches again in a few days, and hope to get some new guest artists to send in their sketches.