Category Archives: Raw

Umeboshi; Japanese Pickled Plums

This is one of a long list of things I’ve been waiting to try as a vegan delicacy.  I figured it might be a good start for my re-entry to the land of blogging – a little weird and a little wonderful. They’re reputed to be good for digestion and hangovers. Who knows if I’ll ever get to try the latter out, but until then I’ll give it a shot for my digestion.

This was the first box I’ve seen of this particular product. I was pretty excited to finally see it, scooped it up and brought it home. Of course I paid for it, but that’s another story.

I opened the box and put a whole plum in my mouth and discovered that it really is a pickled plum – salty and sour like a pickle, but with a surprising floral aftertaste. My next stop with these will be to use them for hot pot which is a regular fun thing in our house. I think they’ll make a great addition to our regular szechuan style seasoning. Have you ever tried pickled ume plums?

This is Christie, signing off!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Sounds funny, tastes delicious… This is a simple cold summer soup that is loaded with good nutrients and packed with flavor. It should be a staple in your diet whether you’re vegan or not. Ours is made from the following ingredients:
2 bell peppers, stems and seeds removed (I like 2 different colors, in this case yellow and red)
1/2 cup of cilantro stems
2 cucumbers
juice from 1 lemon
5 tomatoes, stems removed
1 jalapeño (optional for the brave)
6-8 scallion onions, chopped just as the bulb turns green, stems diced
4-5 strawberries (optional)
hot sauce and salt to taste

Brent cut up the vegetables into sizes that fit easily in our food processor. The skins can be left on the cucumber for a richer flavor if they’re organic, otherwise I remove most of it if not all.

The tomato, cucumber, peppers, strawberries, lemon juice, scallion bulbs and cilantro stems all went into the processor and was blended until smooth. Afterward I added salt and hot sauce to taste, garnished with scallion onion (you can use cilantro too, if you like). and served with grilled cashew cheese sammiches. It hit the spot after a day in the muggy Florida heat. Let me know what you think!

This is Christie, signing off!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hail Merry Grawnola

I’m not often vocal about my decision to turn veganese for a few reasons. One, I’m not often in the mood to get into a discussion about why/how I made my choice. Two, once people know I’m vegan, my food choices get scrutinized (“PIZZA ISN’T VEGAN, YOU KNOW” or “That’s all you’re eating? How sad.”). A lot of the time, though, opening up about being vegan (or trying to be) can be a beautiful thing. I learn a lot, I get asked a lot of smart questions, and I get introduced to foods and products and other vegany things.

One of the people I enjoy discussing food with is someone I’ve mentioned before, my friend Joelen (read her blog already, it’s not vegan, but it’s great). She introduced me to my new favorite vegan snack, which I will now introduce to you:

photo (8)

Hail Merry Grawnola!

I posted about Hail Merry’s Miracle Tart before. It was good, but I wasn’t really left wanting more. They have definitely hit it out of the ballpark with their Grawnola product, though.

Joelen brought me a couple bags of their orange cranberry blend. As you can see on the package, it’s raw, gluten-free, and vegan.
3.5_orangegraw_nutr_1The mix contains almonds, buckwheat groats, pecans, dried apples and cranberries, sunflower seeds, walnuts, flax seeds… and it’s flavored with maple syrup, orange juice, vanilla, cinnamon, and sea salt. It occurs to me that one would easily make this mix on their own, but I’m going to leave the mixing and dehydrating to the experts.

The Grawnola is much more exciting than plain nuts, satisfies my sweet cravings that usually have me reaching for chocolate, and is just plain fun to eat. I’ve only tried it straight out of the bag, but I imagine that it would be awesome with mixed in with vegan yogurt or ice cream.

Yum… ice cream… ahem.

It’s great when I’m having a snack attack or as a quick pick-me-up after an intense work out (read: leisurely walk on the treadmill).

Look for Hail Merry Grawnola in stores or buy directly from them on their web site. Hail Merry also has a great presence on Facebook, so go Like them.

Have you tried Hail Merry Grawnola? What do you think? –Melissa

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

When you’re vegan, gifts come from above.

The first mango of the season was stolen off the tree in our back yard. After that, there were bowls of salsa and gazpacho as well as margaritas and daiquiris!

This is Christie, signing off!

Tagged ,

Sesame Citrus Salad Starring KALE!

This was an afternoon salad for me and Brent when we were both home and wanted a snack that was more significant than a pickle. Brent peeled 3 mandarin oranges and prepared some soy curls.


I tore up some red and green kale and washed it.


I tossed it together with sesame seeds and a tangy citrus dressing and threw in the orange slices and soy curls for an easy tasty treat.


It was much more filling than either of us had anticipated. I think just about any citrus dressing would do but we used a local specialty: tangerine vinaigrette.


The orange, green and purple were also visually stunning and I love when food nourishes your mind AND your body so I’m a fan. Let me know what your variation on this theme is.

This is Christie, signing off!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Adventures in Fruit: FUYU!

This sounds like an insult but it’s actually a delicious fruit. Sometimes called ‘persimmon’ this particular variety should be available in most specialty markets when in season.

Fuyu (when still yellow) has the texture of a not-quite-ripe nectarine with the flavor of honeyed pear with a dash of vanilla; I prefer it at this stage because it’s sweet but not overwhelming. When completely ripe it tastes like a mouthful of clover honey. If you see it, don’t hesitate… try it!

This is Christie, signing off!

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Brown Bag Vegan Lunch: Tofu & Tomato Salad

I’m really proud of myself, you guys, because I brought coffee, breakfast, and lunch to work everyday this past week. It’s a huge deal for me because I had grown accustomed to buying coffee and lunch everyday (I would buy coffee or soy lattes twice a day most days) and either skipping breakfast or eating junk from the cafeteria. So, here’s what I know about myself: while I don’t mind leftovers, I don’t want to eat the same thing for lunch and dinner for a week, which is pretty much what happened when I made the pasta bake, and I still had some left after that. In order to keep this up, my challenge will be to prepare and plan ahead so that lunch can be easy and not boring.

photo 1 (6)

One of the lunches I brought this week was a tofu and tomato salad. It took minimal effort, but did require some planning ahead. Here are the ingredients I used:

1 block extra firm tofu, cut into cubes
1 roma tomato, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
dill (fresh is great but I keep a bottle of Litehouse Freeze-Dried dill which is the next best thing)
salt and pepper to taste

I’d like to note that if I was eating this at home, I would have added some onion, but I didn’t want to offend anyone with my onion breath. Also, hot peppers or red pepper flakes would be a nice addition to this.

First, I had to make sure to press a block of tofu. I put my tofu in the TofuXpress before going to bed one night. Then, the next night, I drained it, cut it into cubes, and put it in a bowl with the chopped tomatoes. Then I mixed in the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dill, and salt and pepper. I then placed all of it in my lunch container and put it in the fridge. In the morning, I grabbed the container, put it in my reusable lunch bag, and took it to work. All I had to do when it was lunchtime was grab a fork and chow down!

Not only was this really easy and about as effortless as lunch can be, it was totally vegan, raw, healthy, and a perfectly substantial lunch. It was also a lot cheaper than anything I would have bought for lunch. Yay! –Melissa

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Raw Tofu & Avocado Salad

It’s 2013 and time for me to get excited about food again — in a healthy, vegan way. This easy-to-make raw salad is a good start!


My food preparation philosophy is pretty solid. As much as I aspire to be a more creative and fancy cook, I want things to be simple, to use as few ingredients as possible, and find several ways to prepare meals using items that I always have in my kitchen and pantry. I also don’t want to spend a lot of time preparing food. Thus, this recipe is a classic “Melissa” recipe. I didn’t even come up with it myself. It’s based on this recipe.

Raw Tofu & Avocado Salad

1 block extra firm tofu, pressed and drained and then cubed
juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp Bragg Liquid Aminos — my first time using this in my own cooking!
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1 avocado, peeled and cubed
fresh cilantro
sesame seeds

I placed the cubed tofu in a bowl. I added the lemon, Bragg Liquid Aminos, and sesame oil, and then mixed it very gently to coat all the cubes. I set the bowl aside and then prepared the avocado. I added the avocado to the bowl with the tofu but I didn’t mix it in. I topped everything with scallions, cilantro, and sesame seeds. I also sprinkled some freshly ground black pepper onto everything.

I was a little skeptical, but everything melded together really well! There was the tartness of the lemony tofu mixed with the creamy avocado, and then final fresh kick from the scallions and cilantro. I experimented a bit by eating it in a whole wheat pita:


The pita unfortunately muted the flavors too much for my taste, but the rest of the giant pita was great to munch on in between bites of the salad.



Easy, quick, versatile, and no cooking necessary: a classic Melissa recipe, indeed! –Melissa



Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Adventures in Fruit: Rose Apples!

Winter feels like fall in Florida… well, kind of like fall. We’re getting some lovely apples from the North and I’m about to share a special one with you: mountain rose apples. These apples don’t seem like much special until you cut them open: PINK!


These apples are crisp and sweet in flavor like a Fuji apple but with the skin texture of a golden delicious apple. Personally I’m a fan of royal gala apples but these are great for making pink apple cobbler or applesauce. They’re really spectacular. I hope you find some at your market!

This is Christie, signing off!

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Adventures in Fruit: Pomegranate!

This seasonal fruit is a personal favorite. As a kid I always imagined I was eating little rubies. I’ve heard a lot of ways to open these up, including submerging the fruit in water and picking the floaty peel off the top but personally I find a paper towel and a bowl are all I need. It’s a meditative act. That’s how I roll.

The Pom Wonderful juice you’ll see at the supermarket doesn’t do this fruit justice. That stuff tastes more like cranberry and pomegranate and part of that is because it doesn’t include the seeds. The seeds make these little gems a great source of fiber and minerals and soften the tartness of the fruit.

They are a great addition to salads, raw cheesecakes, visual interest in a glass of sparking water or wine, or whatever you can dream up; I prefer them all by themselves. I hope you get to try them.

This is Christie, signing off!

Tagged , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: