When I prepare meals, I try to focus on the health benefits of each meal.  I never compromise taste.  I  include as many therapeutic delicious tasting dishes as I can.  For me, a meal tastes especially good when I feel energetic after the meal!  This is one of the best compliments my guests will often give me - when they tell me how good they feel after the meal, as well as how much they enjoyed it.

Fermented foods are so valuable for their enzymes for digestion.   I try to include them whenever it would be complimentary with the rest of the meal.  For instance, Miso is a fermented food and I will include Miso in a salad dressing or put it into a soup wherever I can. (never boil Miso or it will destroy its valuable healthy properties of replenishing the intestinal flora. (friendly bacteria in the intestines)

For instance, sometimes I will make a Tempeh Reuben Sandwich with generous amounts of sauerkraut.  I prepare my own simple Kim Chee by putting vegetables in the food processor.  Carrots, celery, beets, green/red cabbage sea vegetables  (arame or hizike), etc.  I will either use a fermentation starter and/or add celtic salt, cayenne and sometimes a tiny squeeze of lemon juice.  I put this in a large Mason jar with a tight lid and set it out without refrigeration for about a week before putting in the refrigerator.  The recipe never comes out the same because I am not using a recipe.  I am merely using the vegetables I have on hand in the refrigerator.

Below is a couple of samplings of dishes I recently made for our simple lunch. Simple for me, means the recipes take only a few minutes to prepare!  The description of dishes is also below.

The top picture wooden plate is made up of Kim Chee, Spicy Beet Borscht & Cashew Sour Cream, Coleslaw, Potato Salad and Tempeh Bacon with Vegetables (Lettuce/Carrots) Wrap and garnished with olives.

The bottom wooden plate is made up of Coleslaw, olives/Avocado, Jerusalem Artichokes with Sun-dried Tomatoes, basil and capers. and Spicy Beet Borsch/Cashew Sour Cream.  Many of the recipes can be found in my book, Vegan Bite By Bite.

When I prepare menu meals for my husband and myself  I'm keeping in mind the calcium foods and foods high in iron, etc.  I am not concerned with getting enough protein because I know that as long as we are eating whole grains, legumes (beans & lentils, etc.) seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables we are getting plenty of protein, as long as we eat enough calories for our body.

This photo includes baked french fries, pickle, ketchup and a lettuce-tomato-cucumber-radish salad.

BBQ Tempeh Burgers

Seeds or nuts can be dry toasted on a stovetop to give a nuttier flavor to a dish.  Place the seeds in a sauté pan over low heat, wait a few minutes and stir constantly.  When the seeds or nuts begin to brown and give off a toasty aroma they are done. Be careful because nuts and seeds can go from perfect to burned in seconds.  Take them off of the heat just a little before you think they are done.

1 Quinoa recipe
2 packages (12 ounces) ‘smokey Tempeh strips’ crumbled  (Lightlife brand product)
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 cups onion, (2 medium) diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Nama Shoyu soy sauce
1/3 cup sunflower seeds, dry toasted
2 teaspoons mesquite seasoning blend
2/3 cup barbeque sauce
olive oil spray

1. Toast seeds in medium pan on top of stove and place them in a large bowl.
2. Prepare Quinoa recipe and put it in the  mixing bowl with the seeds.
3. In a food processor add the Tempeh and pulse until a crumbled paste.  Then add Tempeh to the mixing bowl of Quinoa and sunflower seeds.
4. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
5. In a saute pan place the onions and garlic in olive oil, cook, mixing and stirring until a transparent golden color.
6. Add the onion mixture to the bowl and mix in soy sauce, barbeque sauce and  spices, mixing until fully incorporated.
7. Spray a 10’ x 14’ pan or cookie sheet with olive oil.
8. Divide the mixture into 6 equal sized balls and then shape each ball into a tight patty. Place the patties on the cookie sheet or pan and then bake them for about 45 minutes on one side, gently turning them, and then 30 minutes on the other side, until browned.

Allow the Quinoa to cool before working it into patties or it will burn your hands.  These burgers are easy to freeze and have on hand when short on time. This is where the expression “hand to mouth” comes from (just kidding).
Yield: 6 patties
Today my husband Wendel asked for a Scrambled Tofu breakfast.  After realizing that I usually put diced potatoes in the breakfast scramble, he exclaimed "We have no potatoes".  I surprised him by verifying that we had french fries (baked) in the freezer.  I pre-baked them and cut them tidbit size and used those instead.  My style of cooking is to create recipes with whatever ingredients I have in the house.  In this case I added Cilantro to the recipe.

Below is what the skillet of Scrambled Tofu and Potatoes looked like:

Where there is a will, there is often a way to "think outside the box".
It is my preference to eat a high percentage of raw foods, especially in the warmer weather with the abundance of summer seasonal fruits.  Summer is a great time for cleansing the body by eating lots of organic, raw fruits and vegetables.

For lunch and dinner I will always serve a salad with whatever else I am making.  I enjoy fixing different types of salads besides the variety of lettuces, such as watercress, endive, escarole, cabbages, and dandelion greens.

Here's what I made for dinner for myself and my husband the other day: Purple Slaw with Asian Dressing, Chard, Polenta and Butternut Squash. One word: YUM.

I don't have a recipe written down for the chard or the Polenta-Butternut Squash portions. In a nutshell for the latter, I've plated cooked polenta under a mixture of tender butternut squash chunks, red pepper and onions in a coconut sauce. Season to taste.

Here is the recipe for the Coleslaw (it can be found in my book):

Coleslaw & Dressing

I like making up this salad and putting it in a Ziploc bag and storing it in the refrigerator. Hold off on dressing the coleslaw until serving. This dressing also compliments green steamed vegetables.

3 cups cabbage, green (1 small head) shredded
1/2 cup green pepper, diced small
3/4 cup green scallions (2-3) sliced thin
1-1/2 cups carrots, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup curly parsley, minced

Place the four ingredients into a bowl and toss together.
Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing.
If serving 4 toss the cabbage with all of the dressing or save the rest.

Yield: serves 4

Coleslaw Dressing

1/2 cup Vegenaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Yield: about 3/4 cup

Add lemon juice according to your taste, lemon tartness varies.

“Cabbage, both red and green, is one of the least expensive of the vitamin protective foods, and is one of the most healthful vegetables.  It is an excellent source of vitamin C.  Cabbage contains many minerals: it is rich in calcium and potassium, and contains chlorine, iodine, phosphorous, sodium and sulfur.  Red cabbage has more calcium, but less of the other minerals than white or green cabbage.” (Foods That Heal by dr. Bernard Jensen)