No-Bake Vegan Chia Cheesecake. Crumble Crust.

This No Bake Chia Cheesecake vegan dessert is cool and creamy with a thick, rich, "cream cheese" flavor. Each chia-studded slice has a mellow, cozy sweetness from the agave syrup - a hint of tart too. I like to call this a soft serve cheesecake because it has a silky texture that melts in your mouth - yet it still stands up to being sliced like a traditional cheesecake. The nutty oat crust is cheerfully healthy and rustic - with walnuts and oats. Comfort cheesecake.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia. Sorry, I had to. Those healthy chia seeds not only add a boost of healthy omega fatty acids and fiber - but they help create a perfectly creamy-gelled texture that is slice-able yet pudding-like (in a good way.) Learn more about the magical thickening properties of chia here. And FYI, since chia seeds are pretty flavorless and become soft when hydrated - you barely notice them in the cheesecake.

Dreaming of an easy, unique vegan cheesecake recipe? Here is mine..


Gracias Madre Restaurant: San Francisco Vegan Treat!

This past weekend I took a whirlwind jaunt up to San Francisco with my husband for my birthday weekend adventure. I'm no stranger to San Fran - growing up in the Bay Area I have visited many times - but never to blog about it! So the first thing I did when planning what few meals I had for the trip was to ask you guys - via Twitter.

I received a slew of responses all telling me I simply had to go to an organic, vegan restaurant in the Mission District called Gracias Madre. Funny enough, I had never really heard of Gracias Madre - even though Mexican food is my fave - and Gracias Madre did earn the title of 2010 VegNews Editor's Pick for Restaurant of the Year!

I scanned the menu online and decided that I had to try and pop in for a lunchtime bite. And oh my goodness I am so glad I did! Thanks Twitter friends for the advice!!

I am splitting my San Francisco Vegan Eats review into two posts. And this is part one. I'm devoting it to what may be my new favorite Mexican restaurant ever: Gracias Madre..


Citrus Carrot Tofu Scramble. Cafe Eats at Home.

This Rustic Citrus Tofu Scramble is studded with gold and yellow carrots -roughly chopped. Citrus accents throughout. A hint of pepper. Nutritional yeast. A splash of sassy tamari. The sweetness of the cooked carrots (oozing with vitamin A) compliments the savory flavors perfectly. Crispy tater tots on the side. Fresh orange slices. Spicy salsa. Avocado slices. This would be quite a lovely plate of food served up at home.Cafe style.

Sometimes I wish I had my own restaurant. Or a food truck. I'd love my very own tiny beachside cafe. Probably not actually my next career move, but who knows, maybe someday. And it is at least a fun daydream to have. What would your perfect little cafe look like?


Quickie Vegan Cookie Dough Ice Cream at Home.

Creamy vanilla coconut ice cream swirls and twists with tender cubes of vegan cookie dough. Sweet, melty and creamy, just like you remember it.

It is easy to whip up vegan cookie dough ice cream using a few products from the store. Really, this recipe couldn't get any easier. But I had to make it to satisfy a craving. The kind of craving where I saw something and said "I have to have that!" A photo, a smell, a story - all these things can set off a craving. Here's how I easily satisfied mine..

Get my quickie recipe for Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream (and FYI, this is not a 'from scratch' recipe. This is a quickie!)..


Baked Vegan Spinach Dip. Kraut, Onion, Truffle.

Winter is the season for dips. Baked dips, bubbly hot served in oven-hot bowls. Steaming. Just begging to be scooped up with some crisp veggie sticks of nubbins of crusty bread. Maybe it is the chill in the air. Maybe it is the plentiful TV shows to cuddle up and watch. And yes, sports-fest style gatherings. OK, I'm not really a football watcher. But I'm making this anyways...

Make my spinach dip today - it is easy! - from start to finish you will be snacking in about 30 minutes!..


Meatless Monday Inspiration. Recipe Round-Up 1/23

This week's Meatless Monday Recipe Round-up via my posts over at Babble's Family Kitchen include a tropical shake to help you sip the winter blues away, a healthy bowl-fest of recipes, a vanilla cream pie. Get these recipes and more inspiration for your Meatless Monday and the week ahead!..


Chilled Veggie Salad. Rainbow Roast.

I'm reinventing the "chilled roasted veggie platter" via my Rainbow Roast Veggie Salad. My secret ingredient: fresh farmer's market veggies in a rainbow of colors. Lemon. Herbs. Mini red and gold carrots, exotic mushrooms, purple colored scallions and more accent this citrus-garlic roasted dish.

The result: flavor-infused tender veggies, black-charred edges, caramelized to perfection. Serve the roasted veggies on a bed of crisp lettuce - lovely paired with crusty bread and a tall glass of lemon iced tea. Chilled roasted veggies are back on my menu...


Salute to Winter Citrus!

I was sidetracked by winter citrus this afternoon. It ravished me with its zingy aroma, shiny tart rind and juicy alluring flavor.

See my Salute to Winter Citrus, with more photos (just call me the citrus paparazzi) and a few of my favorite citrus-infused recipes!...

Totally into my work, but feeling those 4pm blues of fatigue, I needed some zing. Energy. Hydration. Winter citrus to the rescue!..

..I took a citrus break to peel open one bright orange farmer's market satsuma - perfectly chilled from the fridge. Sweet, succulent, velvety in texture. These perfectly sweet, not too acidic gems could even be described as creamy. Like biting into a tall glass of orchard-fresh juice.

My one-satsuma snack quickly turned into a citrus bonanza. I crafted a piled high plate filled with vibrant, vitamin-C infused sunshine: white grapefruit and satsumas.

Dear winter citrus season, please don't ever leave me. It's always sunny with a bright orange satsuma in the palm of your hand.

I loooove white grapefruit..

21 Vegan Citrus Recipe Favorites

1. Frosted Citrus Margarita/Daquiri
2. Zesty Citrus Butternut Squash Dip with arugula
3. Chocolate Clementine Muffins
4. Winter Harvest Pasta Bowl - squash and citrus
5. Vibrant Orange Juice Frosty - LOVE this smoothie.
6. Fizzy Blood Orangeade - get thirsty with these yummy photos
7. Trio of Aqua Frescas - including my Citrus Peach "lazy fresca" recipe
8. Crispy Mandarin Chick'n Orange Salad - with Gardein
9. Mandarin Tofu Cashew Rice Bowl - meal in a bowl - use fresh mini mandarins or satsumas
10. Blueberry Citrus Waffles
11. Cinnamon Citrus French Toast
12. Grapefruit-Cado Smoothie
13. Totally Tropical OJ Smoothie - island daydream approved
14. Orange Glow Muffins - spicy citrus breakfast muffin!
15. Fennel Arugula Citrus Salad - I love fennel/citrus together and the avocado is a perfect touch
16. Triple Citrus Lemonade
17. Spicy Carrot Mimosa
18. Strawberry Lemonade - use fresh winter lemons for lemonade
19. Smoky Tempeh Wrap with Citrus Carrot Slaw
20. Sugar Snap Pea Grapefruit Maple Nut Salad - snap pea salad with citrus!
21. Sugar Roasted Grapefruit - elegant for brunch


Truffled Tofu Scramble with Umeboshi, Peas, Onion.

It's no secret that I love a good tofu scramble - for breakfast, lunch or dinner. There are so many ways to serve up a this classic vegan tofu dish: Tofu Pie Pockets, Breakfast Burrito, Classic Scramble with veggies and vegan cheese.

Tofu gets a bad reputation for being "bland" - but I am always quick to defend this iconic vegetarian ingredient. I adore tofu! I love that you can infuse this fluffy, silky, creamy white edible "sponge" with whatever herbs, spices and flavors you crave. Spicy, sweet, sassy or savory.

And for me, it doesn't get much more exciting that a sizzling hot, fresh from the skillet plate of tofu scramble. Side of hash browns, fruit, toast and hot tea or latte. Lovely. Team tofu.

More "tofu" recipes I absolutely love: Tofu Salad, Tofu Celery Crunch Salad, Chipotle Tofu Sandwich and many more - my 15 ways to cook with tofu here.

And recently I discovered a few new secret ingredients to make my scrambles even better. Check out my 6 Secret Scramble Ingredients here - then click ahead to get my Truffled Tofu Scramble recipe..


Trio of Agua Frescas

Water. Sweetener. Fruit. Or Veg. That's really all you need to made your own light, refreshing, sweet and sassy Agua Frescas.

So cool, refreshing and easy to drink, these lightly sweetened sips are ideal for all you wildly thirsty "..but I hate to drink plain water" people - I can relate! Plus tall chilled fresca glasses sparkling in a sunbeam, dotted with colorful fresh cut fruit, offer some serious table-side eye candy. So pretty. And I've simplified the traditional fresca recipe procedure -- meet my "Lazy Frescas" - easy!..


Meatless (Tuesday) Recipe Round-Up 1/17

This week's Meatless Monday Recipe Round-up via my posts over at Babble's Family Kitchen (is actually a Meatless Tuesday.)

Today's recipe round-up features: a cheesy-delicious kale rice bowl, a hearty stacked kale sandwich with hash potatoes and tempeh, sweet maple butter spelt biscuits, tofu scramble secrets and my tips on how to make a Lazy Fresca! Get these recipes and more inspiration for your meatless Monday, er Tuesday and the week ahead!..


Spicy Peanut Ginger Kale Salad. Cravable Greens.

I plowed through three bunches of organic curly green kale this morning in my kale-salad test kitchen. I was putting the final tweaks on my Spicy Peanut Ginger Kale Salad recipe. Crafting a super yummy peanut kale salad has been my obsession for the past week. Blame it on M Cafe. One bite of their Spicy Sesame Peanut Chilled Kale Salad and I was hooked. And obsessed with creating my own crunchy peanut, rich sesame-kissed, spicy sweet ginger infused kale salad.

And have you noticed how trendy kale has continued to be this year? It has been my go-to green for the past year or so. Kale is loaded with nutrients. Vitamins, minerals, fiber. Super food I crave. My Fully Loaded Kale Salad and Cheezy Kale Chips also feed my kale cravings. And now this make-it-ahead or eat-it-now peanut kale salad is a new fave. Make it tonight. Feed your kale addiction..


Meatless Monday Recipe Round-Up: 1/9

This week's Meatless Monday Recipe Round-up via my posts over at's Family Kitchen: apple pancakes, cocoa-infused cookies, easy leek chow mein, a blue twist on corn bread, a spicy citrus juice, detox and healthy new year foods (from green juice to chia seeds) - and more inspiration for your meatless Monday and the week ahead!..


Don't Call Me a Food Blogger.

Today I strolled the Beverly Hills Farmer's Market on a mission to gather inspiring ingredients for my recipe/photography projects for the week ahead.

I filled my canvas bags with blooming, bright, beautiful produce. Caramel colored raw walnuts, crisp apples, grassy green sprouts, curly kale, fragrant cilantro, micro rainbow swiss chard, sweet citrus, plump shiitake mushrooms, freshly ground almond butter, three-for-a-dollar lovely lemons, some jarred salsa, a pint of foamy fresh squeezed OJ and much more .. like those expensive strawberries that just looked too plump and perfect to pass up.

Yup, some shoppers may grimace at a $5.50 pint of royal red strawberries. But happily, I have no guilt purchasing them - photographic foods always make it into my shopping bag. Some girls buy shoes, I buy berries. It's my job. I always feel like I'm shopping for more than just myself. I'm shopping for my readers (you!) - I want the ingredients that inspire me to inspire you. So I want the best!

Still strolling the market I whip out my camera and snap away at the golden satsumas glistening in the morning sunshine. No, I'm not a photography hobbyist or a tourist gawking at the produce and to-die-for weather. Living, breathing and sharing healthy vegan food is what I do for a living. I love my job. But..


15 Sandwich Truths! And my BBQ Tempeh Kraut 'Wich.

Easing myself into 2012 after a very busy holiday food season, I keep coming back to simple, fresh, healthy, delightful sandwiches.

Post-holiday is the perfect time for me to cool my oven a tad and settle into some easy, totally-appealing meals featuring three components: light healthy salads, hearty homemade soups and delicious cravable sandwiches. Yup, my early January fare: a rotation of soups, salads & sandwiches .. (and maybe a few smoothies too.) Wanna join in??

So in the spirit of my feast of sandwiches, I've come up with 15 Sandwich Truths. And a super yummy recipe to pair with my list: my BBQ Tempeh Kraut Stack Sandwich. With overflowing heaping handfuls of fresh baby arugula. Happy 2012, vegan-sandwich-style..


Green Goddess Bowl. Healthy New Year.

The January health-fest has begun. It seems everyone is energized to make 2012 the year to get (and hopefully stay) healthy. Whole Foods lines are long, gyms are packed, and you'd better show up early to your favorite yoga class in Santa Monica because everyone wants a spot on the floor.

Juice cleanses are hot and Vitamix's are the "must have" gear for your kitchen counter. Yes, the time has come to toss your holiday heels to the back of the closet and replace them with some fitness-friendly footwear. The "in" accessory for your workout gear? A neon green juice of course. Slurp away. It's cool to be fit (and vegan) and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Green Goddess Bowl. So today I have a detox-worthy recipe for you, paired with a side of inspiration to get out there and move, explore and embrace wellness in 2012..