Creamy Soy-Almond Yogurt

I bought a new instant pot to get the Yogurt button, and made some batches following this blog post on soy yogurt. (I also tried using soaked almonds processed in my ninja blender which was pretty good but a little gritty and more work;  oat and coconut milk did not work -- it's critical that the milk you use has zero additives). Using soy milk is so easy, but was hard to get it to be as thick as I'd like. Cooking longer - I tried up to 15 hours -- helps, but it's super tangy!

Enter my brother Jeff, who perfected it after I sent him home with a jar. He bought an instant pot and did several experiments using combinations of soy milk and thickeners (like soy flour & cornstarch) and syrup for the yeasties to eat. He also dissolved them by boiling them in the milk first. The winning combo: Soy milk, almond flour, and (ginger) syrup, boiled, then add starter and cook in the instant pot with water around the jars to better distribute the heat. This takes almost half the time…

Lentil Curry Soup

One of our favorite restaurants, Cafe Sprout, has a spicy red curry soup that we love -- with chickpeas, tomatoes, carrots, celery, onion, red lentils, and quinoa. Isa also has a Sweet Potato and Red Curry Soup that looks good. So I made up a recipe that pulls from both. Larry said it was fantastic! (Originally posted September 2015; updated February 2020 to be even better :)

1T canola oil
1 small hot pepper (like serrano), diced
1 medium onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
1 medium potato, chopped

1 can diced tomatoes (or 2 C fresh, chopped)
6 cups vegetable broth 1 lb (16 oz) dried red lentils, washed
1/2 C quinoa (dry, uncooked)

2 cups chickpeas, cooked
1/2 to 1 can lite coconut milk
3T fresh lime juice

2 tsp cumin seeds (note: if don't have seeds,  use 2 tsp ground and add w/rest of spices)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T fresh ginger, grated
1 T curry powder
2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper to taste


Almond Citron Biscotti

We bumped into Elsa the other evening on a walk, and asked how she used the Candied Buddha's Hand she made. She makes biscotti! Larry turned to me and said, "Biscotti, please." I found a recipe for vegan orange almond biscotti by Minimalist Baker and with a few small adaptations (like adding orange juice as holycowvegan does).  I tried using all whole wheat flour the first time (plus some corn meal) and it was very good, but the whole wheat was a little overpowering for the delicate flavors. I mentioned this to my friend Judi, and she suggested adding in almond flour, oat flour, and/or tapioca flour to lighten things up (she rarely uses white flour). The recipe below is updated to add in a mix of such flours, and it was fantastic! I'll keep using the mix below, but of course you may want to experiment with other flours (or white).

1/2 cup vegan butter or coconut oil (melted)
3/4 cup sugar
2 flax eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest from 1 orange
Juice from…

Candied Buddha's Hand Citron

Our friends Pat and Allen have a Buddha's Hand Tree, and offered us a chance to harvest a couple of the fruits! Pat also shared her recipe for delicious candied Buddha's citron. It's yummy as candy or in cookies -- and it makes your kitchen smell heavenly as you cook it up. Below is Pat's recipe, and photos as I tried to replicate it (I almost doubled the sugar and water, since we harvested two).

1 Buddha's hand citron, washed well
2 C water
2 C granulated sugar.

Dice the citron, taking care to use only the portions that include the zest and some pith. Discard interior pith portion that has no zest.

Put candy thermometer in a pan, add the diced citron and the water and sugar.

Put it on medium heat and wait for it to boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.

Adjust the heat to a simmer and allow it to bubble slowly for somewhere near three quarters of an hour. (It seems to take longer to get to 230 degrees).

As it reduces, the sugar syrup will become th…

Lightly Candied Sweet Potatoes

Jeff made some delicious sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving in Nebraska. We ate them so fast that a couple days later I asked him to help me make them again, and I took pictures. I made them again for Christmas, slightly tweaked to include vegan butter - a nice addition. Here's the super easy, yummy recipe!


2 lb bag of sweet potatoes
2 T vegan butter
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/3 cup brown sugar (not packed)
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them up in large chunks. Put in large baking pan all on one layer (not stacked). Add vegetable broth and grind fresh salt and pepper over them. Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle on brown sugar. Put back in oven without foil cover for another 15 minutes. Remove and eat!

Yammy Chocolate Pudding

Shelley shared a delicious chocolate pudding with us today, packed with healthy ingredients! It's super easy to make, too. She recommends a dark cocoa like Hershey's Dark or Guittard Dutched Cocoa rather than regular cocoa, as it makes it taste more fudgy. She also used TJs soy creamer because she thinks it tastes more neutral than nut milks or coconut creamers.

Ingredients 1 really big yam (or two medium yams) 2 T almond butter 4 T soy creamer (or nondairy milk) 4 T dark cocoa powder  5 pitted dates
Instructions Wash the yam, but don't peel it. Roast yam at 425 until syrup leaks out, up to 1 hour 20 minutes. Let it cool, and then carefully peel off the skin.
Mix the yam and other ingredients in a food processor. Chill, and serve!

Chocolate Applesauce Walnut Cake

A vegan variation on a cake recipe by my college roommate Elizabeth, with orange promoted to a primary flavor -- increasing the zest in the cake from 1/2 tsp to at least a tablespoon, and adding a very zesty orange glaze. Yum! Larry loved it. And as cakes go, it's fairly healthy, with whole wheat flour, apples, and walnuts as main ingredients and not much oil.

1/2 cup soft vegan butter (or oil is ok)
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
2 flax eggs (2 T flaxmeal, 6 T water)
3/4 cup dairy-free milk + 1 tsp vinegar
2 cups applesauce OR pureed apple
1 tsp vanilla
1 T grated orange or tangerine rind

3 cup whole wheat flour, or a mix of whole grains
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1+ cup chopped walnuts

Glaze (optional)
1 cup powdered/confectioners sugar
1+ tsp orange zest (I like more!)
2+ T orange juice
(additional water, as needed)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour c…

Dried Figs

Figs! We have so many figs. Larry is picking a dozen a day, scrambling onto the roof to get half of them from the top of the tree. During an afternoon get-together, Shuchi tells us that she gets a lot of different fruits off her trees and dries them -- the sugar concentrates, and they taste like candy! She keeps them in jars on her counter and they snack on them for days. So we bought a Cuisinart dehydrator and tried it out with some figs and pears and other fruits. Figs are pretty juicy and took a lot longer to dry than the others, so we decided they were better when cut into smaller sizes, and perhaps dried by themselves - or if you do other fruits, just check the others earlier.

Fresh figs, a dozen or more

Figs are pretty juicy, so slice them into quarters at minimum, and into eighths if you can (i.e., they still have integrity).

Place them on dehydrator shelves, skin side down so they don't stick to the shelf. We put our dehydrator on our outdoor counter…

Buffalo Cauliflower

We've had some really good buffalo cauliflower at Vegenation in Las Vegas, and I finally got around to trying to make it. It was tasty! Here's what a did - which is a combination of a recipe in Vegan Comfort Classics and some recipes I found on the web, like this one that has a nice video. Yum!

1 large (or 2 small) head cauliflower
2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 cup wheat germ (optional)

3/4 cup flour
1 - 1 1/4 cup nondairy milk
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder (optional)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp each salt & pepper

Buffalo sauce:
2 T vegan butter
1/4 cup Sriracha (or more; 1/3 ?)
1/4 cup ketchup
1 T maple syrup

Ranch dressing:
1/2 cup vegan mayo
2 tsp apple cider
1 T chopped fresh dill or 2 tsp dried
1 T chopped chives
1 tsp onion powder (optional)
1/4 cup nondairy milk (optional; if you like it a little thinner; I do)
salt and pepper to taste

chopped chives for topping (optional)

Clean and cut up the cauliflower. Mix together the bat…

Seville Gazpacho

Last month we went for a walk on the beach near Half Moon Bay, where Larry proposed 22 years ago. Along the way, we came across a small tapas place and had some delicious gazpacho. Googling for a good recipe, I came across this Best Gazpacho in the New York Times that looks just like what we had. I tried this with a regular green pepper, sherry vinegar, some scallions and tomatoes from our garden, and cucumber from our neighbor Elsa's garden. We used our Ninja blender, didn't strain it, and only chilled 15 minutes. It was delish!

2 pounds ripe red tomatoes
1 long, light green pepper (e.g., cubanelle) if you can get it - or a regular green bell pepper is ok
1 cucumber, about 8 inches long, partly peeled
1 small mild onion (white or red)
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt (some may want more)
1/2 tsp cumin (optional!)
2 tsp sherry vinegar (or substitute with a sweet white, apple, or rice wine vinegar)
1/3 C extra-virgin olive oil

Cut tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, an…

Blackberry Syrup

We have SO many blackberries we can't keep up. I started putting cups and cups of them in bags in our freezer - which is getting WAY too full. I got an idea: What if I try to use up some of these by making a blackberry syrup? I found this recipe for homemade blackberry syrup from daring gourmet. Oh. My. Flying. Spaghetti. Monster. It's incredible. I'll NEVER complain about too many blackberries again!

The following recipe (slightly adapted with a bit less sugar) makes about 1.5 cups syrup. Try it over pancakes or (vegan) ice cream! Double if you can! Oh, and put on an apron -- or wear clothes you don't mind getting stained!

4-5 cups blackberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup extra fine sugar
1 T lemon juice
1 tsp pectin

Place the blackberries in a medium-sized pot and bring them to a boil over medium-high heat.  Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until very soft and mushy.  Remove from heat and mash with a potato masher to furth…