So, you’re single. Big deal. Who cares? So what if all your couple friends talk about you when you’re not around in a concerned tone usually reserved for speaking about someone who just found out they have cancer. There’s no shame in being single. Be proud, you impossible-to-love loner weirdo.

But just because you’re single doesn’t mean you need to fall into bad eating habits in an attempt to fill the all-consuming void inside you. Microwave burritos, frozen pizzas, and potato wedges from the fried chicken shack down the street that’s been shut down four times already this year for health code violations are easy options when you’ve got no one to impress with your culinary prowess. But, come on, you’re better than this. That chicken place is covered in rodent droppings. They found them on the ceiling fan once. How does that even happen?

There are loads of great tasting, simple to prepare meals for one out there that won’t hurt your wallet, either. So, whether you just got dumped or you’ve been perpetually single for years, keep in mind that you’re fundamentally damaged and no one will ever be able to commit to a healthy long-lasting partnership with you because you’re incapable of being happy with who you are.

Wait, sorry, I meant to say keep in mind that a fun, healthy solo dinner is just a few easy steps away. Ignore that last thing. Anyway, here are a few of my favourites for you to try.

This first one is a regular in my meal plan because it’s so quick and requires so few ingredients. Start with one 1.5 litre bottle of wine (red or white, the recipe’s pretty flexible), and drink a third of it. Officially the recipe calls for you to drink from a wine glass, but that’s not required. I usually use a nice ceramic coffee mug, but you can use pretty much any receptacle you have on hand. Or just drink straight from the bottle. The recipe doesn’t call for any judgment. I once completed the entire thing using a cat dish because I ran out of clean cups.

Once the first third of the bottle is finished, the next step is to go outside for five to seven minutes and yell at something alive. It could be a stranger out walking their dog, it could be their dog, it could be a squirrel or a bug, the important thing is that it’s a living being that can comprehend on some level that you’re angry at life and you’re taking that out on it unfairly.

In a pinch, if you can’t find anything else, yell at God. Whether God exists, or is “alive”, is not for this recipe to weigh in on, but if you can’t find even a bird or something hanging around, God can be substituted.

Once you have shouted yourself hoarse, or the neighbours have dialed the police, return to the wine, and drink the next third. As you’re doing this, log into Facebook. It’s time to start messaging exes. Begin by telling them it was a mistake to ever let them out of your life, and things were so much better when you were together, despite all those things you said, you can see that now. You’re seeing things clearly for the first time. They were right this whole time, and you’re sorry for everything, especially that unfortunate toast at their sister’s wedding.

Switch gears very quickly at this point, telling them that they don’t deserve you and they’ll never find someone as good at oral as you are. Then preemptively block them, catch a bus to where they live, and take a shit right outside the drivers’ side door of their Optima.

If you’re already blocked by your exes, you’ll have to find a more creative way to get a message out. I put them into articles I write, because I know you’re reading this, Stephanie. I hope Brad knows he’s not just moving in with you, he’s also moving in with your borderline pathological trust issues.

The final step is finishing the last third of the wine. This will complete the meal with a lot of crying, perhaps a hole punched in the drywall or cupboard doors ripped off, and a good deal of speculation on who would attend your funeral if you died tonight. The meal is capped off when you pass out in the bathtub.

That’s it, I guess. I know I said I had a few recipes to share, but, well, life’s full of all kinds of disappointments, isn’t it? That’s what I was screaming about at that caterpillar after a third of a bottle of wine last night, anyway.


Photo by korafotomorgana via Flickr

This week I bring you another delicious Mexican classic: gorditas! A gordita (literally translated into English as “little fatty”) is a type of flatbread made from cornmeal and then stuffed with pretty much anything you like, such as vegetables, meat, or even a sweet filling.

I always choose the vegan options, and was thrilled that a favorite gordita spot here in Mexico, Doña Tota, offers two fillings devoid of animal products: a refried beans option (without the cheese, which is a typical addition) and a potato filling.

Gordita Dona Tota

These two fillings at Doña Tota don’t have any meat, but how can I be absolutely sure that they don’t contain any animal products? I cannot, unless I make them myself at home.

I must admit, I was a bit intimidated to try this recipe on my own. Making gorditas is an art form, but then again, so are many other culinary creations such as pizza and lasagna! The difference is I did not grow up in a Mexican kitchen, so unlike Italian dishes, this wonderful and inspiring cuisine is all new to me. But, alas, I am a very eager student, and a lover of all things Mexican.

I mustered up some confidence, got myself masa harina, corn flour, and set out for a culinary adventure in my kitchen. I had to determine the flour to water ratio, so I experimented based on my experience with making pizza dough, adding water to the flour slowly and feeling my way through. I created a big loaf of soft dough and then pinched tangerine-sized balls of dough, patting then into flat cakes, about ½ inch thick.

Making Gorditas

I then heated a frying pan on medium to high heat (no oil) and placed the patties in the pan. I flipped them once they had some colour, after about four minutes on each side.

Gordita patties

Once they were done, I removed them from the heat and let them cool slightly. Some people deep fry them at this point, but I don’t think this is necessary since they are already wonderfully flavorful. Once they cooled, I used a serrated knife to slice them about ¾ through to create a pocket. The serrated knife is super important for this step so that the shell doesn’t stick to the knife or crumble.

Now your gordita is ready for you to fill with any filling you like. I made a sweet potato, corn and bean mixture and garnished it with chopped cilantro and onion. If you’d like to try the refried beans filling, like the ones from Doña Tota, I gave you my recipe last week.

Have fun and buen provecho!

Maria's Vegan Gorditas


Gordita Shell

Makes about 5 shells


2 cups corn flour

1 2/3 cup water

Pinch of salt


  1. In a large bowl, add the flour and a pinch of salt. Add the water slowly, about 1/3 cup at a time.
  2. Knead the mixture into a large loaf.
  3. Pinch off tangerine-sized balls and pat into flat patties, about ½ inch thick.
  4. Heat frying pan (dry, no oil) on medium to high heat. Add patties and cook for about 4 minutes on each side, until they start to get a golden color.
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  6. Slice open (using a serrated knife) and fill with any stuffing and garnish you desire.


Sweet Potato, Bean and Corn Gordita Filling


½ white onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

½ cup frozen corn

1 cup cooked pinto beans

½ teaspoon onion powder

Himalayan salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Add onion, garlic, sweet potato, rosemary and oil to a frying pan and sauté until soft, about 5 or 6 minutes.
  2. Add corn, pinto beans, onion powder, salt and pepper and continue sautéing for another 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside until ready to fill your gordita shells.


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See you next week with another irresistible vegan recipe! 

Inspired by my Italian heritage, I really wanted to veganize one of my favorite classic Sunday lunch dishes: meatballs. I grew up with the smell of tomato sauce and “polpette” (meatballs) slowly cooking stovetop every Sunday morning. Those were the first irresistible aromas, sizzling sounds and bright colors that seduced me into the completely mesmerizing world of cooking. I dedicate this recipe to the one who ignited my love affair with the kitchen: my mother, Lina.

This is not one of my quickest, nor easiest recipes. It takes a while to prepare, and the mixture is quite sticky so forming the (no)meat balls can be a bit messy. However, I’m telling you, this recipe is worth the effort. First of all, you will get a nice big batch of (no)meat balls (around 20 to 25), which can be easily heated up for a quick meal or just as delicious served cold in a (no)meat ball sandwich. Yum!

Meatballs are typically cooked in a pot of tomato sauce, slowly simmering on the stove. I tried baking them covered in sauce in a glass casserole dish and they came out wonderfully. The benefit of baking them is that you don’t have to stir the sauce and thereby risk breaking them. You simply turn them over once after 20 minutes. I found this easier and it allowed them to keep their shape perfectly.

I understand it’s quicker to use store-bought bread crumbs and tomato sauce, but we cannot control the ingredients in these products. Also, they have their own flavor which may differ from the flavors we are trying to create. I include my recipes below and encourage you to try them.

Enjoy these scrumptious little vegan masterpieces!

Vegan (No)Meat Balls


1 package firm organic tofu

1 cup chickpeas, kidney or cannellini beans, cooked and marinated (see marinade recipe below)

1 red pepper, finely chopped

1 small potato, peeled and finely chopped

1 beet or 2 small carrots, peeled and finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

1 cup mushrooms, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1 zucchini, finely chopped

1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

4 teaspoons sea salt

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon ground chipotle

1 teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon cumin

2 ½ cups chickpea flour

4 teaspoons egg replacer

½ cup shelled hemp seeds

½ cup nutritional yeast

2 cup bread crumbs (see recipe below)

½ cup water

5 tablespoons ground flax seed

½ cup water



  1. Prepare tomato sauce (see recipe below).
  2. Marinate tofu and beans (see recipe below).
  3. In a small bowl, mix ground flax seed and ½ cup of water. Set aside for 20 minutes.
  4. Heat grapeseed oil in large sauce pan. Add onions, garlic, and all chopped vegetables. Add sea salt, pepper, oregano and fennel seeds. Sauté until vegetables are soft, about 10- 15 minutes.
  5. Add marinated tofu and beans to vegetable mixture and stir. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir in chopped parsley, paprika, chipotle, turmeric and cumin.
  6. Remove from heat and let cool. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in 1 ½ cups chickpea flour, egg replacer, hemp, nutritional yeast and bread crumbs. Place ½ of the mixture into food processor. Add ½ cup of water and blend until soft and clumpy.
  7. Add blended mixture back to bowl with vegetable mixture. Stir in flaxseed mixture. Add remaining chickpea flour. Stir well. Mixture will be very sticky.
  8. Form nomeat balls with your hand and coat with bread crumbs. You can add them to your pot of tomato sauce and allow the nomeat balls to simmer for 30-45 minutes in the sauce, gently stirring occasionally. Alternatively, you may add about 1 cup of tomato sauce to a casserole dish, and more sauce to cover each nomeat ball, and bake the nomeat balls (covered with aluminum foil, punctured with a fork to allow steam to escape) at 350˚F for 40-50 minutes. Gently turn the nomeat balls over after 20 minutes of baking.
  9. Serve warm with pasta or salad, or any way you desire!


Marinade for tofu and beans/chickpeas

In a large glass container, place crumbled tofu and beans or chickpeas, and mix in the ingredients which follow. Marinate for about 2 hours prior to cooking.

2 gloves of garlic, minced

3 tablespoons olive OR grapeseed oil

2 tablespoons unsalted steak spice

3 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons wheat-free tamari

1 bay leaf (remove before cooking)


Homemade Bread Crumbs


4-5 slices of bread of your choice, dried and hardened (takes about 2 days)

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder


  1. Choose bread that you would like to grate. Break it into pieces and place on a cooking sheet. Leave it in the oven for at least 2 days to dry out and harden. Do not turn on the oven.
  2. Once bread is completely dry and hard, put it in a blender or food processor and grate.
  3. Pour into large bowl and add oregano, salt and garlic powder.
  4. Use as desired.


Maria’s Easy Tomato Sauce


4 cups strained tomatoes (comes in a glass jar)

⅓ cup tomato paste (optional if you like really thick sauce)

3 tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil

2 onions, chopped

4 cloves garlic, diced

1 bay leaf

1 red bell pepper, chopped

3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

4-6 leaves fresh basil

Sea salt to taste


1. Heat oil over low heat in large pot. Add chopped onions and sauté over low heat for 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes.

2. Stir in all remaining ingredients and let simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours.  Discard bay leaf and basil before serving.


You know, when you get your first asparagus, or your first acorn squash, or your first really good tomato of the season, those are the moments that define the cook’s year. I get more excited by that than anything else.  

~Chef Mario Batali

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I have a seriously delicious, creamy vegetable casserole recipe to share with you this week. The best part is that you can add and substitute vegetables you like best – no rules, except: make sure you add plenty of greens!

The mushroom sauce I created for this one, combined with the noodles, gives it almost a “mac and cheese” texture – absolutely scrumptious!

This is a convenient dish to make on the weekend and have leftovers for quick reheating during the week when you are more rushed to get lunches and dinner on the table quickly.

With vegetable dishes this delicious, I’m confident that I can make you and your whole family love veggies! Try it and let me know how it goes.

Veggie Lover’s Casserole

Makes approximately 6 servings

4 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
4 cups Swiss chard, kale, spinach or rapini, stems removed and chopped
1 ½ cups of peas
2 cups of broccoli, chopped
4 cups of noodles of your choice, you may use gluten-free options
6 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon dry chives
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Sea salt
Jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced, for garnish, if desired

Ingredients for Mushroom Sauce:

3 cups of mushrooms, chopped
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours, drained
½ teaspoon oregano
1 ¼ cups water
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup nutritional yeast
¼ cup hemp seeds
½ teaspoon black pepper


1. To prepare the mushroom sauce, heat 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil in a large frying pan. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic, and after 1 minute, add chopped mushrooms. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon sea salt and chipotle powder. Sauté until mushrooms are soft, about 3 to 5 minutes.
2. Place ⅔ of the mushrooms in a blender with the soaked cashews, oregano, tahini, olive oil, nutritional yeast, hemp seeds, black pepper and water. Blend until creamy.
3. Add remaining mushrooms to the sauce and set aside.
4. Place the chopped potatoes and sweet potato in a large pot and cover with water. Add one teaspoon of sea salt and 2 cloves of garlic. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer until potatoes are soft, about 15-20 minutes.
5. Once potatoes are cooked, drain water. Add 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, chives, onion powder and 2 tablespoons of the mushroom sauce. Mash. Set aside.
6. Place peas in a small pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and after 2 minutes, remove from heat and drain. Set aside.
7. In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil. Add 4 cloves of minced garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add chopped broccoli, sprinkle ½ teaspoon sea salt and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add chopped Swiss chard, spinach, kale or rapini. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon sea salt and sauté until wilted. Spinach will cook the fastest, and rapini or kale will take longer. Once cooked, remove from heat and set aside.
8. Cook your choice of pasta according to the instructions on the package. Drain.
9. In a large bowl, combine pasta and peas. Pour mushroom sauce over them and stir.
10. In a large glass casserole, place pasta and pea mixture as your bottom layer. Top it with the cooked broccoli and leafy greens. Spread the mashed potato mixture as the top and final layer. Sprinkle paprika for garnish and add thin slices of jalapeno pepper if desired. Serve warm.


“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” ~William James

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I created these cute, triple chocolate coconut cupcakes for a friend’s birthday celebration not too long ago and they were a huge hit! Again and again, people are wowed at how delicious vegan recipes can be. I’m always so pleased to explain that vegans can do anything in the kitchen, just like non-vegans, without the use of any animal-derived ingredients. If we can reduce the suffering of other beings by not consuming them, then why not?

For this recipe I chose to combine two of my favorite things: cacao and coconut. I adore the combination, but if for some reason you would rather no coconut at all, this recipe works just fine without the flakes and by substituting the coconut water with just plain water. You can also sprinkle your favorite chopped nuts on the cupcakes, like pecans or walnuts for example, instead of the coconut.

Join me in pure taste decadence and marvel at how superb and easy vegan recipes can be.

Maria’s Triple Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes


Makes approximately 12 cupcakes 


Chocolate Cupcakes:

1 ½ cups unbleached white flour

1 cup raw cane sugar

⅓ cup cacao powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ cup grapeseed oil

1 cup coconut water

2 teaspoons unsweetened coconut flakes

2 teaspoons non-dairy chocolate chips

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar


Chocolate Frosting:

1 ¾ cups confectioners’ (icing) sugar

¼ cup cacao powder

1 cup vegan butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-2 teaspoons water


Topping over frosting:

Unsweetened shredded coconut

Non-dairy chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pan with parchment cups.

2. Sift flour, cacao, baking soda, salt, coconut and sugar. In another bowl, combine oil, coconut water and vanilla. Pour liquid ingredients into dry, and mix until smooth.

3. Add vinegar and stir briefly. Quickly spoon batter into cupcake pan.

4. Bake for 20 minutes, or until toothpick test comes out dry. Allow muffins to cool completely before adding frosting. It’s best to refrigerate them for a couple of hours once they are cool and then add frosting later. Sprinkle chocolate chips and coconut flakes overtop. Serve.

Chocolate Frosting:

5. Combine all frosting ingredients in a large bowl, starting with only one teaspoon of water. With a handheld cake mixer, whip until smooth and creamy, but firm. If mixture is too powdery, add extra teaspoon of water.

6. Add frosting to cupcakes once they have fully cooled using cake decorating kit. Top frosting with coconut flakes and chocolate chips.

Right now three things remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13, The Bible, International Standard Version

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I put this lovely salad together today and totally loved the combination of flavors.

Are you familiar with fennel? This slightly sweet and highly crunchy vegetable is quite common in Italian cuisine. It looks a little like celery, but chubbier. Fennel is packed with Vitamin C and full of phytonutrients. Its most  fascinating phytonutrient being Anethole, which has powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects.

In The Odyssey, the Greek poet Homer calls pears (and some other fruits) “gifts of the gods”. Indeed, with such a sweet, heavenly flavor, I have to agree! Bosc pears are typically firm, mildly spicy, with just a hint of sweetness. They are a perfect addition to any salad – they really suit dressings made with olive oil and lemon, or even a lovely balsamic vinegar reduction.

I love the flavor of walnuts with pears and fennel. Nuts are a delicious way to add more protein to your salads. Walnuts in particular are especially rich in Omega 3 essential fatty acids, which make them ideal brain food.

I added the lovely cranberries for their rich color and tangy tartness.

For this salad, I enjoy a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.

Make sure you get some of these ingredients next time you’re at the grocery store, and if you can, get the organic variety and reap the health benefits to the max.

To your health!

Fennel Cranberry Walnut Salad


Makes approximately 2 servings

1 fennel bulb, core removed and thinly sliced

1 Bosc pear, ripe but firm, core removed and sliced

Handful of dried cranberries

Handful of raw walnuts

2 tablespoons olive oil

Juice from one lime or one lemon

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Toss all ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Serve.

“Therein grow trees, tall and luxuriant, pears and pomegranates and apple-trees with their bright fruit, and sweet figs, and luxuriant olives. Of these the fruit perishes not nor fails in winter or in summer, but lasts throughout the year; and ever does the west wind, as it blows, quicken to life some fruits, and ripen others; pear upon pear waxes ripe, apple upon apple, cluster upon cluster, and fig upon fig. There, too, is his fruitful vineyard planted, one part of which, a warm spot on level ground, is being dried in the sun, while other grapes men are gathering, and others, too, they are treading; but in front are unripe grapes that are shedding the blossom, and others that are turning purple. There again, by the last row of the vines, grow trim garden beds of every sort, blooming the year through, and therein are two springs, one of which sends its water throughout all the garden, while the other, over against it, flows beneath the threshold of the court toward the high house; from this the townsfolk drew their water. Such were the glorious gifts of the gods in the palace of Alcinous.” ~Homer, The Odyssey

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Creating this vegan version of a meatloaf was definitely the highlight of my week.

I work on my cookbook a little every day and the Lentil Nomeat Loaf section was still on my  to do list. I had this vision of a meatless meatloaf in mind for a while – I knew I wanted to use the vegan meatiness of lentils. For added texture and thickness, I decided to combine them with kidney beans. I also added some chickpea flour to add to the consistency.

I added vegetables, like carrots and red bell pepper, both for flavor and colour. I thought celery and onion would go well in this mix so I threw them in there. Garlic of course – I hardly ever make a dish without my love, garlic.

I knew I needed something other than eggs to bind the mixture together, so instead of using my regular, trusty egg replacer, I experimented with soaked ground flaxseed. I had heard that this little concoction has great binding potential so I gave it a shot and was very happy with the outcome.

I am a big fan of pumpkin and sunflower seeds, which I use in my veggie pate. I like them for their taste, but also their crunch. I added some to the loaf and also sprinkled them on top of it for an eccentric look.

When I took it out of the oven, I gave it some time to cool before slicing. When I did try my first bite, I was so thrilled with the taste! I found it just perfect. I served it with a good old-fashioned creamy coleslaw, vegan-style of course. The combination of flavors was exquisite. I share both recipes below. Seriously, you gotta try this out for yourself!

Maria’s Lentil Nomeat Loaf

Makes approximately 6 servings

1 cup kidney beans, soaked overnight and cooked
1 cup French lentils, cooked
5 tablespoons ground flaxseed
½ cup water
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
Small chunk of ginger
½ cup chickpea flour
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon red chili flakes
½ teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon Dijon
2 teaspoons tamari< Method: 1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. 2. In a small bowl, combine flaxseed and water. Stir and set aside for 20 minutes. 3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and add garlic, onion and a pinch of sea salt. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes on low to medium heat. 4. Add 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil to frying pan and add shredded carrots, pepper, and celery, with another pinch of sea salt. Sauté for 5 minutes. 5. Turn off heat. Add chopped parsley and spices. Stir in one cup of cooked lentils and one cup of cooked kidney beans. 6. Stir in seeds, chickpea flour and flaxseed. Add Dijon, tamari, black pepper and 2 teaspoons of sea salt. 7. Place mixture into food processor and blend briefly. Mixture should be chunky. 8. Taste test to see if you prefer more sea salt or spices. 9. Place parchment paper into rectangular casserole dish and pat down mixture. 10. Sprinkle grated ginger, carrots and a few sunflower and pumpkin seeds overtop. 11. Bake for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and allow a few minutes to cool before slicing.

Maria’s Classic Creamy Coleslaw, vegan-style

Makes approximately 4 – 6 servings

1 small green cabbage, shredded
4 small carrots, peeled and shredded
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
Classic-style creamy coleslaw dressing
¾ cup vegan mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper


1. Combine shredded cabbage, carrots and onions in a large bowl.
2. In a small bowl, combine your choose of dressing ingredients. Whisk.
3. Pour vinaigrette over cabbage and serve.

“Only that in you which is me can hear what I’m saying.”
~Ram Dass

I’m into my second week of a juice cleanse – nothing but fresh juice and smoothies all day, without coffee! Yes, I actually successfully let go of my daily coffee as well, my final vice, goodbye!

Juice cleanses are not easy. I feel very raw, as a lot of emotions come to the surface for healing. I also feel hungry. So let me indulge you, and myself, by sharing with you my scrumptious vegan chocolate raspberry cake recipe. This cake is just heavenly, especially with a cup of freshly brewed coffee!

Make it and have a bite for me.

Maria’s Chocolate Raspberry Cake


Chocolate Cake
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cacao powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1 cup chilled brewed coffee
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Chocolate Raspberry Frosting
2 ounces (57 grams) unsweetened dark chocolate
1/4 cup fresh raspberries, mashed
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners’ (icing) sugar

Topping over frosting

1 cup fresh raspberries
½ cup non-dairy chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread coconut oil on baking dish to prevent sticking.
2. Sift flour, cacao, baking soda, salt and sugar. In another bowl, combine oil, coffee and vanilla. Pour liquid into dry, and mix until smooth.
3. Add vinegar and stir briefly; baking soda will begin to react with vinegar. Quickly pour batter into prepared pan.
4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow cake to cool slightly before adding frosting.
Chocolate Raspberry Frosting:
5. In heavy saucepan, melt chocolate over low to medium heat. Once fully melted, remove from heat and stir in mashed raspberries, water and vanilla. Stir in confectioners’ sugar. Spread frosting on cooled cake.
6. Top frosting with whole raspberries and sprinkle non-dairy chocolate chips over cake.


Cookery, the most selfless of arts because it’s the least enduring. A bite or two, a little gulp, and a beautiful work of thought and love is no more. ~Sybil Ryall

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Smoothies are fun and delicious. They’re a great way to boost your nutrition, whether it be by adding more greens to your diet (without even necessarily tasting them), experimenting with superfoods or adding protein after a work-out.

Is there a “right” way to make a smoothie or do you just throw a few things into a blender? I highly encourage free-styling and adding ingredients that suit your personal needs and goals, however, keeping a few basic steps and tips in mind is useful. Here is how I recommend building a smoothie. Get your blender ready!

1. Choose Fruits

There are really no rules about which fruits you can add to your smoothie, but aside from taste, you may want to consider factors like glycemic index if you have a particular health condition like diabetes or if you want to lose weight. Berries are lowest on the glycemic scale and suitable even for people trying to lose weight.

Organic is always best, if possible, when juicing and making smoothies. Fresh organic fruits are wonderful when they are in season, but frozen fruits are great any time of year. Their nutrition has been locked in by the freezing process. Frozen fruits will also add the “ice”, without actually adding ice, which may dilute the taste.

2. Choose greens

The next consideration is which greens to add to your smoothie. Adding more greens to your diet will alkalinize your body and promote good health.

Be mindful that some greens have a bold taste (like kale), whereas others are more mild (like bok choy or spinach). You can safely add more of the mild-tasting greens without noticing them.

You have the choice to add fresh greens or a scoopful of powdered greens. There are many wonderful green powders on the market.

If you are new to smoothies and juicing, the most important rule to keep in mind is: GO SLOW! Greens have lots of fiber which you may not be used to ingesting all at once. It is excellent for your health, but you have to slowly introduce changes in your diet. Add just half a scoopful of powdered greens to start with, or a handful of fresh greens, and then work your way up to more.

3. Choose liquid base

For a creamy, thick smoothie, usually 1 to 2 cups of liquid for every 3 cups of fruits/veggies is the recommended proportion, however this may vary depending on which fruits you are using. For example, bananas and mangoes will add thickness, whereas berries will be more fluid.

You can choose between these categories of liquids: nut milks, fresh juices, water or iced teas and coffees.

4. Thicken the texture

If you like your smoothies really full-bodied, you can thicken them by adding ice, nuts or nut butters (if you want to add healthy fats), non-dairy yogurts, coconut meat, or soaked chia seeds. You can experiment with any of these depending on what your dietary needs and goals are.

5. Increase flavour

Do you want a sweet tasting smoothie? The fruits you add may be enough sweetness for you, but if not there are easy cures. Healthy sweeteners, such as a few drops of stevia can do the trick. I like to add coconut water sometimes, rather than plain water, to sweeten things up slightly.

Are you craving a salty flavour for smoothies with greens, tomatoes, celery, cucumber, for example? Add a pinch of sea salt and boost up your trace minerals intake.

Spices or herbs are also useful for flavour, but also for nutritional purposes e.g. cinnamon will help regulate blood sugar, cilantro will help purify the blood.

6. Superfoods

Finally, depending on what your needs and goals are, you may want to add nutritional supplements to your smoothies. Added vegan protein after a work-out or for a meal replacement is beneficial for building and repairing muscle. Other ingredients you may want to consider to boost your nutrition are omega-3s, probiotics, or multivitamins.

There are also countless natural superfoods you can experiment with such as maca root, ashwagandha, moringa leaf, spirulina, chlorella, to name just a few. Do your research and case study your body to see how these make you feel. Again, just remember to introduce new things into your diet slowly.

There you have it: my six easy steps to building a tasty and nutritious smoothie to replace a meal or give you a boost in your day. Drink up! To your health and that of all Beings! Namaste!

I teach a Juicing and Smoothies workshop for Sociale. Join us at the next one!

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A healthy body is a guest-chamber for the soul; a sick body is a prison. ~Francis Bacon

This recipe appeared in my mind like a flash. At the time I was looking at my mother so, naturally, I named the dish after her. I don’t really understand how this happened, but without trying to comprehend my spontaneous inspiration, I gathered the ingredients that were floating around in my mind and got to work.

I first put together the olive sauce. I removed the pits from 2 cups of kalamata olives, then blended all the ingredients in a food processor and taste-tested. Although I had rinsed the olives, they were still quite salty, so when I cooked the pasta, I didn’t add any salt to the water.

I heated some grapeseed oil, which is my preferred oil when cooking, and let the garlic turn golden, then added the kale for just a few minutes. I added the sun-dried tomatoes after that and turned off the heat. (I purchased sun-dried tomatoes without added salt or sulfites.)

The pasta I chose was a kamut and buckwheat noodle – absolutely delicious. Kamut and buckwheat are considered “gluten-free” by many since they have a more digestible form of gluten than whole wheat.

Once the pasta was cooked, I added it to the kale and sun-dried tomatoes. I topped each serving with some olive pesto.


This is a seriously impressive dish to serve to your loved ones. I can see this pesto working as an appetizer on crackers or as a dip. I can also see it as a very thin layer of olive sauce on a vegan pizza with kale and sun-dried tomatoes.

Ahhh imagination is really boundless!

Kalamata Olive Pesto with Kale and Sundried Tomatoes

Makes approximately 4-5 servings

Kalamata Pesto:
2 cups kalamata olives, rinsed and pitted
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chili flakes
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup nutritional yeast

Pasta with kale and sundried tomatoes:
230 grams (8 oz) pasta of your choice
4 cups kale, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
½ cup unsalted, sulfite-free, sundried tomatoes, chopped
½ teaspoon sea salt

1. To make the kalamata olive pesto, blend the olives, 1 garlic, olive oil, chili flakes, parsley and nutritional yeast in a food processor or blender until smooth and creamy. Set aside
2. In a large pot, heat grapeseed oil and minced garlic for 2 minutes on medium heat.
3. Add chopped kale and sea salt and sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Mix in sundried tomatoes and turn off heat.
5. Cook pasta according to instructions on the box and drain.
6. Add pasta to the pot with kale and sundried tomatoes. Stir. Place into serving plates or bowls. Scoop up desired amount of olive pesto and place on top of the pasta. Serve immediately.

Food is the form of the soul, the Atman, for life consists of food. ~Maitri Upanishad

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If we can make delicious dishes without eggs, why are we still using tons of them? Do people really have no clue as to the horrors that chickens go through in this industry? I choose to believe that people just don’t know, and that when they find out, they will care enough to change, despite how scary and inconvenient change can be.

I gave you a delicious eggless omelette recipe a while ago. Not only is it through-the-roof delicious, but everyone that has tried it told me that it is better than its egg counterpart. This week, I want to give you my tofu scramble recipe.


Tofu Scramble


1 package firm tofu

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil

5 green onions, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (optional)

Handful of baby spinach, chopped

½ teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon turmeric

½ cup black beans, cooked and drained

¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

2 teaspoons sea salt, or more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Cut the tofu slab into thick slices and place on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess liquid. Cover tofu with more paper towels. Use a plate as a compress.  Let the tofu sit for about 20 minutes.
  2. Using your fingers or a fork, crumble tofu.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, peppers, a dash of sea salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Stir in tofu, more sea salt and cumin. Cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Add beans, spinach and turmeric. Cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat. Stir in chopped cilantro. Add black pepper to taste, and more sea salt if desired.
  7. Serve with cherry tomatoes, avocado, salsa, tortillas or toast if desired.

See … we can make everything without eggs! All the cake and other dessert recipes that I have shared with you so far have also been completely egg-free! So, seriously, I ask you: why do we still participate in this cruel industry when we can so easily do without?

I invite you, as Dr. Will Tuttle does in his brilliant book, The World Peace Diet, to consider the life of a factory farmed chicken:

The tens of thousands of chickens crammed into one egg production shed have nowhere to move and no way to nest, establish social order, or in any way express their natural intelligence or purpose. The artificial lighting schedule that keeps them in almost continuous darkness, and the feed and drugs are all designed with only one goal: to cut costs and to maximize the number of eggs that drop from the hens’ uteruses and roll down the slanted wire cage bottoms to be whisked away on the conveyor belt. On modern chicken operations, this is over 250 eggs per year, more than two and a half times the number hens would normally lay under natural conditions.

In nature, a hen is particular about her nest and often chooses the right place to lay her precious egg in partnership with a rooster. When she actually lays the egg in her carefully prepared nest, it is obviously for the hen a moment full of pride and satisfaction. Contrast this with the following description of egg laying for a caged chicken:

 The frightened battery hen starts to panic as she vainly searches for privacy and a suitable nesting place in the crowded but bare wire cage; then she appears to become oblivious to her surroundings, struggling against the cage as though she is trying to escape…

Take a moment to imagine yourself as a layer chicken; your home is a crowded cage with a wire floor that causes your feet to hurt and become deformed; there’s no room to stretch your legs or flap your wings and they become weak from lack of exercise; but at the same time you can never be still because there is always one of your miserable cell mates who needs to move about; one of the other chickens is always picking on you and you cannot get away – except by letting others sit on top of you; the air is filled with dust and flying feathers that stick to the side of the cage splattered with chicken shit from the inmates in the cage upstairs; it is hard to breathe – there is the choking stench of ammonia in the air from the piles of manure under the cages and you don’t feel well at all; the flies are unbearable despite the insecticide sprayed in the air and laced in your food – to kill the fly larvae before they mature; the food – never green and fresh – never varies and tastes always of the chemical additives and drugs needed to keep you alive; eventually, despite your wretchedness and anguish, and the tormented din of thousands of birds shrieking their pain together, you lay an egg and you watch it roll out of sight; but the joy of making a nest, of giving birth, of clucking to your chicks is absent – laying the egg is an empty, frustrating, and exhausting ritual.

~Dr. Will Tuttle, The World Peace Diet, pp. 127-8.

Surely, this is not right, on any level. Let’s make a change, shall we? I show you how, one recipe at a time, every week.

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I cooked for an SPCA and Mercy for Animals fundraiser this past weekend. I made lots of vegan food to entice people to choose more compassionate meals by leaving out all animal ingredients. I made many delicious recipes that I’ve already shared with you: lasagna rolls, cilantro salad, and quinoa salad. In addition, I made a few recipes I have yet to share, like a scrumptious chocolate raspberry cake, classic Italian potato salad and today’s recipe: strawberry vanilla cupcakes. I learned this recipe from Ann Gentry and modified it slightly from her recipe book, Vegan Family Meals.

These strawberry vanilla cupcakes were a huge hit at the fundraiser! They are very sweet: a perfect occasional treat.

I tried to make a gluten-free version by using brown rice flour, but it was a colossal fail. I have not been experiencing much success with the rice flour lately. My creations come out too dry and hard. Unfortunately, that batch was not even edible, and ended up in the trash. I decided to give in and use the white flour, even though it is not the healthiest option. For occasional indulgence, it does the trick!

Try this recipe and let me know what you think.

Vanilla Strawberry Cupcakes


2 ½ cups unbleached white flour
1 ½ cups cane sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup grapeseed oil
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
5 strawberries


1 cup vegan butter
2 cups icing sugar
2 strawberries, mashed well with a fork
1 tablespoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line 12 muffin cups or 24 minimuffin cups with parchment paper liners.
2. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
3. Mix the almond milk and cider vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. The milk will thicken slightly.
4. Mix in the oil, vanilla and almond extract.
5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until blended.
6. Spoon into muffin cups.
7. Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
8. Let muffins cool before applying frosting.
9. For the frosting, combine all frosting ingredients in a bowl and use a handheld mixer to beat mixture until smooth and creamy.
10. Use a pastry bag fitted with a star tip to apply frosting on the cupcakes.
11. Refrigerate cupcakes for one hour. Apply a piece of strawberry on each cupcake if desired.

As we become purer channels for God’s light, we develop an appetite for the sweetness that is possible in this world. A miracle worker is not geared toward fighting the world that is, but toward creating the world that could be. ~Marianne Williamson

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“Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon or not at all” ~Harriet van Horne

Before I decided to write a cookbook, I never worked with recipes. I just let inspiration and intuition guide me in the kitchen. It was a real challenge to start writing recipes down as I created. Measuring the amounts of ingredients, explaining things step by step in a comprehensive and easy way, distinguishing between subtle differences, like sea salt versus table for example – it’s a lot of work. It’s been about a year and half that I have been putting my cookbook together and I’m getting really excited to share it with all of you very soon!

Cookbook, or no cookbook, this week, I want to talk to you about free-styling it in the kitchen. Don’t get overly dependent on recipes. If you do, you will become paranoid and possibly paralyzed when you don’t have one. Recipes, in my opinion, are meant as guidelines and sources of inspiration, not indelible laws set in stone. Cookbooks should be just that: inspirational. And they are! With those beautiful, colorful photos and a large variety of meal ideas, you can’t help but get excited about cooking. Is there anything that is more fun?

Also, cookbooks are very helpful when you are learning new ways of cooking: such as vegan. Most of us were not born vegan, and since we all live in a culture of carnism, vegan cooking is something completely new for most of us. This is where a good vegan cookbook comes in handy and I hope mine will be of service to all of you. My goal is to invite you into the bliss of vegan cooking. Stay tuned!

This week, I had a couple of things in my fridge that I had to do something with quickly or they would go bad. I avoid wasting food as much as possible so I am really aware of what needs to be consumed quickly and what can wait. Fresh vegetables have a deadline. I had used some of my mushrooms and kale for other dishes, but had more. Oh what to do?! I decided on a quick quinoa dish. I love quinoa so much, as you all know!

This is how you freestyle: decide on what flavors you want to create and start assembling. For mushrooms, I usually opt for garlic and sea salt, and sometimes when I want a real “meaty” experience, I add steak spice and fennel seeds. This time, I kept things really basic. I heated a little grapeseed oil (perfect for stovetop cooking since it doesn’t denature at high temperatures), added the garlic and then threw in the mushrooms. I sprinkled a little sea salt to make them sweat, and swirled that around for a couple of minutes. Then I threw in my chopped kale. In another pot, I had toasted a cup of quinoa (that means just adding quinoa to a pot and letting it get slightly golden before adding water). I then added a cup and a half of water and let it simmer, covered for about 10-15 minutes, until all the water was absorbed. Easy peasy! Once the veggies were tender, I mixed them into the quinoa, which was completely naked at that point: no sea salt or any seasoning just yet. I taste tested to see what I needed. In fact, a little more salt was required. Lastly, I chopped fresh parsley and green onion for garnish. I also topped it up with some red chili flakes for a little kick.

Oh my yum! No recipe required, just a hungry imagination!

Enjoy the experience of creating in your kitchen. Put some tunes on, turn off your phone and put all your attention and focus into what you are doing. Cooking with presence and all your senses is truly cooking with love! You will notice a significant impact on the meals you create, since energetically, they will absorb your full attention and dedication.

“Some people like to paint pictures, or do gardening, or build a boat in the basement. Other people get a tremendous pleasure out of the kitchen because cooking is just as creative and imaginative an activity as drawing, or wood carving, or music.” ~ Julia Child

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It’s been so dreadfully cold lately, warm soup is really the only thing I want to eat. I can warm myself with a hearty soup, but I cannot help but think about those who cannot keep warm. Those souls living on the street, those souls in dark, damp factory farms, those souls on frozen trucks to slaughter: can’t seem to get them out of my mind lately.

I think there is something really off with us if we can sit back and deny what is really going on. I made this beyond delicious split pea soup this week, and was horrified to find out non-vegans typically use ham as an ingredient. This soup was so delicious without ham, and so full of protein, iron and vitamins vegan-style, why would anyone want to add ham? When we could simulate the same flavours and textures we all know and love, without the horrific suffering that including animal products necessitates, why don’t we do it?

How many of us have contemplated the face behind the ham? Ham is a euphemism, just like the word veal or venison, for example. A ham is a pig. A pig is a highly intelligent, friendly, playful, social being. A pig loves hugs and playing with her friends, just like you and I. How can we make it OK in our mind to confine these beautiful creatures and make them endure a horrible short existence of suffering before they are shipped off in the freezing cold (or unbearable heat) to a slaughterhouse that knows no mercy?

How have we strayed so far away from the most basic form of decency towards other beings? How has our compassion been so completely numbed?

Did you know that animals arrive to the slaughterhouse with frostbite and hypothermia? Sometimes their tongues are frozen to the truck because they were so thirsty they tried to lick the moisture from condensation inside of the truck and remained stuck. Some animals are transported long distances for days, with no food or water, no temperature regulation, only to be treated with further extreme inhumanity once they arrive to their dungeon of death. Their lives of suffering are so horrible, so far worse than your worst nightmare, that perhaps the slaughterhouse is their only relief.

This is not right my friends. We must wake up, reconnect and become fully human. Reconnecting to complete compassion for all beings is spiritual maturity, spiritual evolution.

Enjoy my vegan Split Pea Soup and let the pigs live free.


Makes 8 – 10 servings

4 cups dry yellow split-peas

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 onions, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 cups of kale, chopped

8-10 cups of water

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil

½ teaspoon chili flakes

½ teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon dried oregano

¼ teaspoon cayenne

3 teaspoons sea salt (or more to taste)

2 teaspoons liquid smoke (optional)

Black pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil on medium heat. Add onion, garlic and 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Sauté for 5 minutes while stirring.
  2. Stir in carrots, celery, kale and chili flakes and sauté another 5 minutes.
  3. Add split-peas. Sauté 2 minutes.
  4. Add water and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 50 minutes to one hour. Once the soup looks thick and puree-like, it is cooked.
  5. Add all remaining spices and liquid smoke (optional).
  6. Turn heat off and discard bay leaf. Add more sea salt if desired. Serve warm.

“Eating meat destroys the attitude of great compassion.” ~The Buddha, The Mahaparinirvana-sutra

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This week, let’s talk about milk. Have you ever stopped to think about the logic behind the consumption of dairy? Maybe not. Most of us grew up on it. We are taught that milk is good for us – we need the calcium in milk for strong bones and teeth. We are inundated with ads about how “milk does a body good”.

In reality, this is far from the truth. Milk is just another product, with a multi-million dollar yearly advertising campaign.

Many different professionals in the alternative medicine domain can readily point out the research indicating how dairy increases mucus in the body, how it contributes to acidity and actually leeches calcium from our bones, how it is linked to cancers such as breast and prostate cancer. Neither does milk help us avoid illnesses such as osteoporosis. The incidence of osteoporosis and cancer is highest in parts of the world where dairy is a daily staple.

We can get all the calcium we need from plant sources. Greens such as collard, broccoli and spinach, sesame seeds, cauliflower, nuts, sea vegetables, and even in fruits like honeydew melon – are all full of calcium, minus the pus and blood in all dairy!

Alicia Silverstone, in her informative book, The Kind Diet, presents us with this helpful chart:

Calcium chart Kind Diet

The cruelty involved in the production of dairy milk is shocking. Many of us haven’t made the connection simply because the facts, as opposed to the mesmerizing advertising, are kept from us.

Did you know that in order for a cow to produce milk, like us humans, she must be pregnant. In order words, a dairy cow must be kept pregnant all the time so that she produces milk, not for her baby, but for us, because her milk is stolen from her and never given to her calf.

When she gives birth to her baby, her calf is ripped away from her within the first few hours of birth, never allowed to suckle from his mother because his mother’s milk is being harvested by machine for us. The mother cow goes through unbearable grief, sometimes crying out for days after her baby is taken away.

The baby is thrown into a small wagon, because he cannot yet stand, and confined to a tiny, damp, dark crate, alone, where he is fed an artificial, mineral deficient, milk substitute so that he can grow quickly. The purposeful mineral deficiency creates the pale colored meat that is so fancied. He is chained by the neck and never allowed to move, thereby not developing any muscle mass, so that you can enjoy tender veal. To make sure he doesn’t move, he is even stomped upon. Can you imagine!? The horror!! He is a defenseless baby! This is the fate of most male calves, others being sold at auctions within hours of birth so they can be grounded up as beef. The female calves are similarly raised in isolation, and later used to replace their dairy cow mothers, which are slaughtered at 4 or 5 years of age, because they are completely exhausted and diseased; a cow’s natural lifespan would have been 25 years. Sadly, some calves are never even born at all, their mothers murdered while pregnant, and their calves simply thrown into bins and left to die slowly or skinned for “the softest leather in the world”.

This is the truth about dairy milk, and the helpless by-product of the dairy industry: veal. Let’s make the connection: veal is a calf and a calf is just a baby! Veal exists as a by-product of the dairy industry!

Is this cruelty worth it when we have so many other options?

There are various delicious nut milks on the market today. Let’s look at a few options:

Soy milk or soy creamers – a good option for people who like milk in their coffee because it has a rich texture and blends uniformly without clumping. However, due to the fact that soy milk is highly processed and most often soybeans are genetically modified, I believe consumption of this milk should be limited.

Almond milk – a less processed milk, with a subtle nutty taste, lovely for cereals and granola. Full of protein and vitamin E, almond milk is a highly nutritious and satisfying choice. This milk is also easily made at home – as we will do today!

Hemp milk – has more of a pronounced nutty flavour so you will have to try it to see how your taste buds react. Hemp milk is an excellent source of perfectly balanced omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Coconut milk – my personal favorite due to the amazing health benefits of the delicious coconut and its lovely taste in many dishes. However, again, you have to like the taste of coconut, so experiment and see how you feel!

Rice milk – this option has less protein than other non-dairy milks, but works well in desserts due to its sweet taste.

Making your own nut milk, as we will do today, is easy, fun and delicious! Today I am sharing with you my recipe for delicious almond milk. This is a versatile recipe which you can adapt to any nut you like. You can serve it plain, sweetened with a few dates or as a vanilla-flavoured milk. Try it! If you are not sure you can master this recipe all on your own, I invite you to look for the many short videos on YouTube, where you will be shown step by step how to put this recipe together.


Almond Milk

2 cups almonds, soaked overnight and drained
5 cups purified water
4 dates, pitted (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)


1. Combine almonds and water in a high powered blender and blend until liquefied.
2. Add pitted dates and/or vanilla extract if desired. Blend.
3. Pour liquid through cheese cloth or nut milk bag and squeeze into a large bowl.
4. The almond pulp remaining in the cloth or bag can be used for other recipes.

Enjoy, in joy and in health! Salud!

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“Female animals raised for food are pushed into unnaturally early pregnancies by administration of hormones, especially in egg, dairy, and pig operations, because it is cheaper than having to feed them until they naturally reach sexual maturity. They are only youngsters when they are forcibly impregnated on factory farms. This practice supplies an unnatural dose of estrogen and other hormones in the cheese, milk, and other dairy products eaten by our children-pushing them especially girls, into unnaturally early sexual development and pregnancy.” ~Dr. Will Tuttle, World Peace Diet

I’ve been thinking of recipes that keep us warm and satisfied, because we so need them at this time of year. This week, I thought I’d share with you my vegan chili recipe.

As I have stated in the past, when you can get organic ingredients, do so. This recipe calls for 2 organic “must haves”: corn and tofu. Soy and corn are heavily genetically modified crops so whenever using them in a recipe, it’s a good idea to use organic.

I like to use kidney beans for this recipe, but some people have a preference for another variety, or a combination of beans is also delicious in a chili. For optimal nutrition, I recommend buying the dried beans and soaking them overnight before cooking them. Do you remember the trick I taught you for eliminating the gas-producing effects of beans and chickpeas? Soak and cook them with a bay leaf and a piece of Kombu. If you only have the bay leaf, that will work too. Also, remember to skim the foam and discard it when you are cooking them.

I kept this recipe very mild in terms of spiciness level, but if you do enjoy it spicy, add more chili flakes, or cayenne pepper, whatever you prefer. You can even purchase a hot pepper of your choice and chop it in there with the bell pepper. I love to do that because I love it hot hot hot! So have fun with this spicy, hearty dish!

Enjoy, in joy and in health and please keep warm!


Amore’s Chili Sin Carne


1 cup kidney beans, cooked, or any beans of your choice

1 cup organic firm tofu

1 cup organic frozen corn, cooked

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 large white onion, chopped

1 sweet potato, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 tomato, chopped

½ cup tomato paste or strained tomatoes

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon red chili flakes

¼ teaspoon cayenne

½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Juice from ½ a lime



  1. After rinsing it, slice your slab of tofu into thick pieces and pat dry with paper towels. You can leave the pieces of tofu on paper towels for 15-30 minutes to absorb excess moisture.
  2. Crumble tofu with your hands into a large bowl. Add olive oil, garlic, paprika, bay leaf, cumin, chili, oregano and cayenne. Mix well. Set aside and allow to marinate for 20-30 minutes minimum. If you have time to marinate for longer, you can place it in the fridge to marinate.
  3. Heat grapeseed oil and add onion and tomato. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add sweet potato and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove bay leaf from marinated tofu and discard. Add tofu and tomato paste to the pan with the vegetables and sauté for 10 minutes. Stir in cooked beans and corn. Continue to cook for 1 more minute. Add spinach and stir. If all the vegetables are soft, turn off heat.
  5. Taste test to see if you desire more sea salt or spices. Garnish with fresh cilantro and a splash of lime juice if desired. Serve warm.


Growing plants and gardening is more feminine work; plants are tended and nurtured, and as we work with the cycles of nature, we are part of a process that enhances and amplifies life. It is life-affirming and humble (from humus, earth) work that supports our place in the web of life. On the other hand, large animal agriculture or husbandry was always men’s work and required violent force from the beginning, to contain powerful animals, control them, guard them, castrate them, and in the end, kill them. ~Dr. Will Tuttle, The World Peace Diet


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