Memorial Day Green Summer Wedge Salad, Tempeh Bits

Memorial Day Weekend means the start of summer is near! And lately I've been obsessed with summertime foods...

Watermelon, lime popsicles, corn on the cob, baked beans, picnic sandwiches, lemonade, sun tea, frosty fruit smoothies, veggie burgers, grilled artichokes, beefy marinated grilled mushrooms, veggie dogs, french fries, strawberry shortcake and of course beautiful summer salads. Especially a crisp wedge salad with homemade creamy dressing. A side of grilled bread. I gobbled up this salad and simply can't wait for you to try it as well!

Get my recipe for my Memorial Day Wedge Salad with my Green Summer Dressing and smoky tempeh bacon bits...

Ever since I saw those crunchy, crisp heads of iceberg lettuce get cut from the Dole fields and stuffed quickly into a bag for shipment - I've been craving a cool wedge salad - creamy dressing on top.

Craving: satisfied!

Green Summer Dressing. This stuff is intense. Intensely flavorful. Zesty, creamy and packed with good stuff. I infused it with fresh herbs, hemp oil, avocado and plenty of lemon juice and pepper. This is a must try blend - and you can use it all summer long on a variety of salad and wrap recipes. It would even be yummy tossed with fresh pasta of veggies.

Wedge Salad with Green Summer Dressing
and Tempeh Bacon Bits

serves 2-3

1 large head of iceberg lettuce

Green Summer Dressing
1/2 large avocado
3-4 Tbsp hemp oil (you can sub with olive oil if you'd like)
1 lemon, juice (about 1/3 cup juice)
1/2 cup fresh parsley (about a handful)
1/2 cup fresh dill (about a handful
1 Tbsp vegan mayo
1/4 tsp garlic powder (or 2 cloves)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
optional: a few dashes cayenne for extra spice

Tempeh Bacon Bits
1 1/2 cups chopped tempeh bits
2 tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp liquid smoke
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
pinch of salt
a few dashes of pepper


1. First, blend up your dressing in a high speed blender or food processor. You can adjust the texture and thickness by adding in more or less of certain ingredients. For a thicker dressing, add in more herbs. For a lighter, zestier dressing, add in another 1/2 lemon. You can also lighten the dressing up by reducing the oil (if you'd like). Place dressing in fridge to chill.

2. Wash and chop your lettuce into nice big wedges. One large head should get you 2-3 servings. Plate.

3. Prep your tempeh by chopping into bits - about the size of a dime or smaller. Heat your oil and maple syrup in a skillet until sizzling. Add tempeh - do a quick saute. Add in liquid smoke and vinegar towards the end of cooking. Toss in salt/pepper as well.

4. Assemble your salad with dressing and tempeh. Add grilled bread on side if you'd like

Happy Memorial Day!!!


Easy Herbed Potato Soup.

This Easy Herbed Potato Soup is just that: easy. In fact I whipped it up about an hour ago, did a quickie photo shoot and I'm posting the recipe for you now, knowing I have a tall pitcher of soup awaiting me at dinnertime. I think I'll pair it with some hearty crusty bread sticky-maple tempeh sandwiches (like this) and a crisp wedge salad. Soup-er Supper.

These flavors are robust and smooth at the same time. Fresh herbs: dill, parsley, - spicy and salty Dijon, creamy white potato, extra virgin olive oil, pepper and a hint of smokiness. Give this creamy, rich potato soup a try for tonight's supper..

..and a tall glass of my Triple Citrus Lemonade or Spa Water would match perfectly with this..

And it's recipes like these why I indeed love my Vitamix.

Easy Herbed Potato Soup
vegan, makes 5 cups

3-4 cups mini white potatoes, boiled in salted water and diced (skin on)
3/4 cup loosely chopped herbs: dill, parsley, basil (your choice)
1 tsp pepper
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
2 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or seasoned rice vinegar (adds a sweeter edge)
2-3 tbsp vegan mayo, Vegenaise (optional)
a few dashes of cayenne (optional)
garnish: EVOO, fresh herbs, dash of cayenne

* add water to thin as desired

* you can also toss in any other veggies you have on hand: celery, bell pepper, spinach and more!

serving option: tempeh bacon bits as seen in this potato soup post


1. Boil potatoes in salted water, until tender.

2. Add all ingredients to your high speed blender or food processor.

3. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add water as desired.


Bananas 'n Peaches 'n Cream Shake. Vegan Treat.

Craving: a tall creamy shake, soy whip swirled on top. Fluffy frosty texture - sweetness in each sip. (Packed with healthy good stuff too.) And peaches always make me swoon. The result: my Peaches 'n Banana 'n Cream Shake. Healthy, frosty, creamy, peachy sip..

Get the recipe over at Babble's Family Kitchen: Peach/Banana/Cream Vegan Shake recipe

Also don't miss more of my vegan recipe posts: Babble's Family Kitchen:

* Peaches/Banana/Cream Shake (shown above)

* Buttery Crunch Oatmeal Cookies

* Ten Healthy (vegan) Potato Recipes for Memorial Day

* Veg-tastic Recipes for Memorial Day (dogs & burgers)

* Grapefruit "Pink Power" Smoothie

And more of the Peachy Keen shake..

Wide mouth glass..


Maple Peanut Banana Bread Waffles. Vegan Breakfast.

These vegan Maple Peanut Banana Bread Waffles were an delicious addition to my weekend. I was craving banana bread and waffles. Hmm, decisions, decisions. So when life hands you two cravings: combine them! Well OK, this only works with certain foods. Chocolate Cake and say, salty pickles probably do not "combine" well. But you already knew that.

Get my recipe and check out a few more yummy vegan eats from my weekend..

Do not forget the maple syrup. For that would be a waffle tragedy..

Nelly loves the smell of waffles in the morning...

Side of 'deconstructed fruit salad' - kiwiws, blackberries and banana..

Yes, it was a swell weekend in food. There were plenty of smoothies. Which is why I felt compelled to post my Smoothie Guide yesterday. This weekend I made a pink-power grapefruit smoothie and a creamy cool Peaches and Banana and Cream Soy Shake...

Then there were these little Buttery Crunch Oatmeal Cookies - I was inspired to make them as the rounds for coconut milk ice cream sandwiches. Yum...

Then there was an amazing lunch at Pizza Paradiso in Georgetown, Wash DC. Vegan pizza with loads of veggies, vegan cheese and a nutty whole wheat crust. Plus a fabulous salad with white beans and soft sun dried tomatoes. Iced tea and warm bread on the side.

Then there were these "banana bread" waffles. They remind me of a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Or perhaps a slice of warm banana bread slathered in crunchy peanut butter. Super cozy. And easy. If you don't have a waffle maker - get one! I literally make all my waffles on a $15 machine. Works like a dream and it's quite compact so I can just stash it away under the counter when not in use. counter space is pretty cramped with my juicer, Vitamix and Panini press - all of which have a permanent spot secured for them. Lucky appliances.

Banana Bread. Waffles.
I hesitated on making these waffles when I realized I was out of chopped walnuts - classic banana bread usually calls for walnuts - but the peanuts added a fun and tasty level of flavor. I will certainly be making these again.

Pair these waffles with a zesty deconstructed fruit salad and some hot chai or coffee and a happy healthy breakfast awaits you. Fluffy waffles for breakfast anyone?..

And yes, you could easily make these waffles even on a hectic weekday morning. Just mix up the batter, pour on your waffle iron and in 5 minutes you'll be enjoying a warm breakfast bite. Sure does beat a Pop-Tart.

Maple Peanut Banana Bread Waffles
vegan, makes 6 medium waffles

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup wheat germ
3/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 rips bananas, smashed
1/3 cup vegan buttery spread, melted
3/4 cup soy milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup roasted peanuts
a few dashes of cinnamon
optional: splash of vanilla extract

Sides: fruit salad and maple syrup for pouring.


1. Warm up your waffle iron.

2. Combine all your ingredients in a large mixing bowl. I fold by hand.

3. Pour a few heaping spoonfuls of the batter onto your hot waffle iron. Cook until edges crisp and brown - usually only about 4-5 minutes.

4. Prep your fruit salad - by slicing and arranging fruit on plate. Add a side of maple syrup.



It's Smoothie Season!

Just another manic May Monday? No way! We're just a week away from Memorial Day weekend. Pools are opening, sunshine is sticking around and there is a whizzing-sound buzzing from my kitchen - my Vitamix of course. I've been blending up a storm lately because it is indeed Smoothie Season.

So to get YOU in the mood for my fave time of year, here's my yummy guide to smoothies, smoothies, smoothies. Healthy, happy sippin' to all..

Smoothie Season
means more to me than just frosty, fruity, colorful tall glasses of smoothie bliss. To me, it means happiness, sunshine and health. Smoothies are such an easy, delicious way to fuel and energize your day. And there are so many flavor combos and ingredient inspirations to try. I hope you will get excited about smoothie season and blend with me all spring and summer long! ..OK, all year long, really!

Smoothie Season Guide and Inspirations - 2011!

1) Smoothie Tips!
Get my ten smoothie tips - my revamped list for 2011.

2) Grapefruit Smoothies: recipe 1 (photo above), recipe 2
I've been inspired by grapefruit juice smoothies lately, so try these frosty pink, antioxidant-infused sips in your own blender!

3) Frosty smoothies go great with a vegan BBQ!
Check out my veg-tastic guide to your veg-friendly BBQ. Includes five of my fave vegan burger/hot dog recipe ideas. And revisit my Vegan Grilling Guide from last year!

4) Smoothie Apps!
Try my Smoothies iPhone App or my Smoothies Android App. And yes, I will be updating these Apps with my latest smoothie recipes soon!!

5) Watch me blend!
Check out my Acai Smoothie Video.

6) Get your own Vitamix!
Smoothie Season is so much better with a Vitamix. I am a Vitamix super fan. Get your own and see why I love mine!

7) Creamy Shakes.
My fave type of dessert blend: creamy shakes like this Peaches/Banana/Cream Soy Shake.

8) Smoothie Recipes Galore <-- the list. The long, lovely list!
If you haven't already, peruse my many smoothie and juice recipes to inspire you all season long! This is my complete index of smoothie-lovin' frosty fun. So many recipes, so little time.

What's your FAVORITE smoothie recipe??? Mine? I usually reach for something citrus-infused or dark and acai/blueberry-infused. I also adore something lemonade-inspired and frosty.

*and I'd like to apologize the plethora of exclamation marks in this post. I get a little too excited about smoothie sometimes. You understand I'm sure :) !!!*


Saucy Mama Summer Party Rolls. And a Giveaway!

I'm so excited about my recipe for super fun, super easy Saucy Mama Pacific Rim Ginger Summer Party Rolls. Perfect for your sunny spring or summer party. The recipe: rice wraps are filled with a flavor-infused crunchy slaw, Pacific Rim marinated sticky-sweet tofu and succulent mandarin oranges. Get my "Fab With Five" (5-ingredient) recipe!

And enter my Saucy Mama Giveaway! One reader will win a selection of Saucy Mama products! Details..

Enter the Giveaway by adding a comment to this post. You can earn an additional entry by tweeting the link and using #SaucyMamaHHL. Enter by Monday 5/23 11pmEST! I'll randomly choose one winner to receive a selection of Saucy Mama products! Shown here..

I love a good recipe challenge - so I decided to apply to enter the Saucy Mama "Fab With Five" Recipe Contest. In five ingredients or less, create a recipe using one of the Saucy Mama products. Now I had never tried Saucy Mama before this contest - but I fell in love with a few of her mustard's and a marinades - and yes many of them are vegan!

Saucy Mama sent me a few products to try out. And I fell in love with the Pacific Rim Ginger Dressing (or marinade). It has the perfect flavor to create a "Chinese Salad" style slaw - you know the kind that is usually topped with crispy fried wontons, mandarin oranges and more. Thus my Summer Rolls were born..

I served these little rolls as appetizers one night for guests and they all loved them! ..and these were all non-vegan guests.

Thanks to Saucy Mama for sending me the samples to enter the contest. If you'd like to try their Pacific Rim Ginger Dressing featured in my recipe below you can buy it online. It is currently on sale for $4.50! Deal.

A few of the other vegan Saucy Mama products include a robust Dijon mustard, a Sweet Heat Marinade and more. They were delicious. Very gourmet tasting, restaurant-style quality. Perfect for a busy night when you simply need to infuse some serious flavor into your dinnertime ingredients. Perfect for vegan ingredients like tempeh, tofu, seitan, roasted veggies, salads, veggie burgers, beans and more.

Saucy Mama Pacific Rim Ginger Summer Party Rolls
vegan, makes 8 summer rolls

8 spring roll wrappers
16 ounces extra firm tofu
1 cup canned mandarin oranges, drained
1 1/2 cups mixed cabbage slaw
3/4 cup Saucy Mama Pacific Rim Ginger Dressing

1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 olive oil for sauteing

optional extras:
wasabi, Pacific Rim Ginger Dressing dipping sauce, fortune cookies


1. Drain and squeeze dry your tofu - with a paper towel or tofu press. Slice into long cubed strips. Add to large bowl. Add in your Saucy Mama Pacific Rim Ginger Dressing and allow to marinate for a few hours or overnight.

2. Start the rolls! Add olive oil to your saute pan. When oil is hot, add in your marinated tofu and about about 3 Tbsp of the leftover dressing that the tofu was soaking in. Saute until the edges brown and the tofu edges become sightly toasted - and all the liquid has been absorbed or cooked down. Remove from heat, set aside.

Sauteed Marinated Tofu..

3. Grab your slaw - you can use a pre-shredded mix like I did or thinly slice some cabbage yourself. Toss your slaw into the same large bowl that you were marinating your tofu in - there should be about 2+ Tbsp of the Pacific Rim Ginger Dressing left in the bowl. Toss the slaw in the dressing until well coated. If you need to add another splash of the dressing, go for it.

4. Open your mandarin oranges, drain, set aside.

5. Time to prep your rice wrappers and assemble your rolls. Soak the rice wrappers one at a time in a shallow saute pan of boiling water - over medium heat. They will become soft in about 10-15 seconds - follow directions on package if they differ. Transfer the wrapper to a plate and add your filling: slaw, tofu and mandarins - add a few dashes of pepper as well. Wrap as you would a burrito and set aside. Continue until all your wrappers and filing are used up. Tip! I like to splash my softened wrappers in ice water - I find it helps keeps them less sticky and easier to work with. It may take a few tries to get used to working with the wrappers - but once you get it, it's easy breezy.

6. Serve! Serve with a side of wasabi, some extra Pacific Rim Ginger Dressing as a dipping sauce and maybe some fortune cookies as well. Happy Summer Roll eating!

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Love the Saucy Mama. Fun.


"The Elvis" Peanut Butter Banana Cake.

My peanut butter banana bliss dessert: The Elvis - Peanut Butter Frosted Banana Cake - with chocolate caramel drizzle.

This girl is baking her vegan cake and eating it too. Get the recipes..

Elvis Cake with chocolate drizzle..

Today, a cake that I'm pretty sure "the king" himself would approve of. It's a vegan "Elvis" cake. Peanut butter, banana and chocolate all in a fun sandwich-style plating effect.

NOTE: Easy or From Scratch. To make this really simple, I’ve included instructions based on using a box of vanilla frosting mix and vanilla cake mix. I used a vegan Dr. Oetker brand. (If you have your own from scratch recipe for vanilla frosting or cake – go for it!)

Elvis Cake
makes one cake (two “sandwich” style halves, optional)

Easy Banana Cake:
1 box vanilla cake mix (or see note above)
1 large ripe banana, smashed
2/3 cup vanilla frosting (my egg replacer, subbed for 3 eggs)
2/3 cup soy milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Peanut Butter Frosting:
1 stick of softened vegan buttery spread (my butter replacer)
1 box vanilla frosting mix (or from scratch mixture)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup peanut butter

Chocolate Caramel Sauce (recipe below)
1 ripe banana, thinly sliced – for garnish and layering


1. Preheat your oven to 350.

2. Combine your cake batter as directed – fold in the smashed banana last. Pour into greased cake pans – and bake as directed – until the center is fluffy and baked through. I used two small rectangle baking dishes.

3. Cool your cakes. And whip up your frosting with a hand mixer. Place in fridge to chill.

4. Prepare your chocolate caramel according to recipe instructions. Cool in fridge until ready for drizzling.

6. Assemble your cake! (If you want the ‘cut sandwich’ look you will need to slice each cake and pair it with its half – as I did in photos). Place the first layer on your serving platter. Frost. Add a few slices of banana to the center of the cake. Then add top cake layer over top. Finish frosting the entire cake and top with the remaining sliced bananas. Store in fridge until ready to serve.

7. Serve by drizzling chocolate caramel over top.

Salted Chocolate Caramel Sauce
vegan, makes about 2 cups

3/4 cup soy milk (milk)
1 stick of vegan buttery spread (butter)
1 cup sugar
pinch of sea salt
2 Tbsp corn starch (you could also use arrowroot powder)
1/4 cup dairy-free fudge sauce (I used Santa Cruz brand)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
dash of cinnamon


1. Add cold milk to a small sauce pot. Add in corn starch and stir until dissolved.

2. Turn on the heat and add in the butter and sugar. Continue stirring over medium heat until the butter and sugar has dissolves/melted into the mixture. Keep stirring.

3. Bring the mixture to a boil – and keep stirring until it starts to thicken. Fold in the cinnamon, salt and vanilla – lastly, add in the chocolate fudge sauce. Stir for another minute and remove from heat.

4. Pour into a bowl and place in the fridge. The sauce should harden to a nice ‘caramel’ consistency in about 20-30 minutes. Pour into smaller bowls and place in freezer for even faster cooling. You’ll notice that in about an hour the sauce will get very thick. If you need to ‘loosen’ the consistency before serving – simply place in microwave for a few seconds to soften the texture.