I find that when it’s time to prepare a recipe and I don’t know where to start - I just start!  I often start with the basics of onions, mushrooms and garlic.
By the time that the basics are done, my intuition will “kick in” and guide me to what can be added next. Of course I have to have some ingredients on hand to work with, so I will scan my pantry for sauces perhaps for flavorings, or the refrigerator to see what vegetables I may have on hand and choose from there.  But I let “working with what I have” guide me to a delicious recipe.
Many of my best recipes have come from this type of process, where I leave my mind aside and trust my intuition, often creating recipes outside of the box!  Don’t be afraid to take an ingredient that you like the taste of, and add it to other ingredients.

This is a version of an intuitive breakfast I make for my husband and I.   I have toasted Hemp bread (French Meadow Bakery) and I have blended chard, added white miso, earth balance butter, bragg’s aminos and a tiny amount of garlic and blended the steamed greens with the steamed water.  On the toast, (buttered or un-buttered) I have placed sliced avocado, and tempeh bacon strips. Pour the blender mixture over the open faced covered toasts.  Sometimes I will serve this at a time besides breakfast.

Chard and Tempeh over Hemp Toasts

Tempeh Balls are made up of Tempeh, Tempeh bacon, hemp bread, onions, garlic and spices.
Mushroom Marinara Sauce                                                      
This sauce is great for pasta, lasagna or Neatballs. You can also substitute *meatless ground for mushrooms, or prepare the sauce without either.  If you are adding meatless ground, add 2 cups right after step 2, for 10 minutes. 

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups onions, (1 large) peeled, diced, small
3 cups button mushrooms, (12 medium/large) chopped small in food processor
3 tablespoons garlic, minced fine
1 can ‘fire roasted’ crushed tomatoes (28 ounces)
1 can ‘fire roasted’ diced tomatoes (28 ounces)
1 can chunky tomato sauce (28 ounces)
4 medium bay leaves 
2/3 cup fresh basil, rough chop
1 teaspoon oregano, dried
1 teaspoon thyme, dried
2-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1-1/2 teaspoons black pepper, ground
tiny pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

1.    In a 5 quart soup pot medium-low heat the olive oil and sauté the onions until they are translucent.
2.    Add mushrooms to the pot and stir until browned and tender.
3.    Add in the garlic and stir for about a minute.
4.    Add the tomato ingredients, bay leaves and dried herbs. Quickly bring the mixture to a low boil.  Simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally.
5.    Add fresh basil and remaining ingredients, let them simmer for another 10 minutes. 
6.    Remove bay leaves before serving hot.
7.    Ladle one cup of sauce servings over pasta or spaghetti squash.
8.    For the freezer, name and date container label with a marking pen.

Yield 8-1/2 cups

Rice pasta is recommended instead of whole wheat or semolina. (follow directions on the package). This sauce is heartier adding either filling. A tiny pinch of cayenne brings out deeper flavors. *Meatless ground may be Yves or Lightlife brand. For stage 2 prepare spaghetti squash as your pasta with Mushroom Marinara Sauce. Recipe can be frozen.

 Excerpted from the book by Vegan Bite By Bite by Marilyn Peterson