Tuesday, August 23, 2011

9 Year Old Tyler, our guest food blogger, about to experience RAW cuisine.

Tyler's RAW Vegan Experience at Leafy Greens in St. Petersburg

Hi! My name is Tyler and this is my second vegan experience. I went with my mom and Miss Ann to Leafy Greens in St Petersburg. On the way I was nervous because I didn’t know if I was going to like the food. My mom said that Miss Ann had ordered almost everything on the menu for me to try! That made me feel like “Oh man. I am not going to be able to finish all of that! I will be stuffed!”
When we arrived there I didn’t know that it was going to be so small. I thought it was going to be a big place but when I walked in it was small but nice. The tables are in order kind of like dice and the kitchen is pretty cool. You can hear them cooking your food. 
I met the owner Miss Denise. She is very nice and thoughtful. She let me go in the kitchen with the waitress who was real nice and get a tour. The kitchen is VERY clean. There is no stove but they have 3 big dehydrators that they make the food in. The chef is always working hard to make the food. I also saw the nut crusher. It looks like a hammer in a way. It’s pretty cool. 
Miss Denise also sent an order of Kale Chips to the table for me to try. My mom and Miss Ann told me that Kale is like lettuce but when they dehydrate it then its like a chip. They tasted ok. I didn’t like them the best but they were ok.  They kind of had a cheddar cheese taste with a spicy taste too.  The waitress brought us water with lemon and mint leaves in it. The mint didn’t really have a taste. It tasted like water.
 We ate a bunch of different things. Pizza, tacos, salsa, salad, veggie burger, the real deal (a sandwich), spaghetti, and macaroons for dessert (chocolate and vanilla).  And don’t forget none of theses things has a mother or a face.  The food was brought to us one at a time so we could try everything slowly. The look of everything was kind of cool except the salad. It looked like an ordinary salad. Everything else was presented pretty, especially the macaroons. It reminded me of the movie Ratatouille.
The pizza, also my favorite, was REALLY GOOD! It tasted more like an almond pizza. The pizza dough is made of crushed nuts and they put olives and diced vegetables on it. I liked the taste of the “dough” more than anything! 
Next was my second favorite, also my mom and Miss Ann’s favorite, the tacos. It was made with lettuce for the shell and no meat. There were crushed nuts for meat and salsa. I’m not sure what else was in it, but it was GOOD! 
After that they brought us a veggie burger (photo below). It was really good even though it was made out of mushrooms. It looked yummy when it came and it tasted yummy. 
The real deal was next. It’s a sandwich with sprouts, lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, and cashew hummus. It is served on raw onion bread. The bread tastes really good. 
Next was the spaghetti made of zucchini (photo below) served with their version of tomato sauce.   It looked really good and it looked just like spaghetti but it didn’t taste like I thought it was going to. I liked the sauce, it was ok, but I didn’t like the zucchini noodles. It’s probably just too much zucchini for me. Miss Ann said I didn’t have to finish it so I ate another piece of the real deal sandwich instead. That was much better.
Last but not least, for dessert, Miss Ann ordered the macaroons.(photo below) It looked REALLY good when it came to our table. It looked like two golf balls, one chocolate and one vanilla but not smooth like golf balls. It came with a split blackberry and some raspberry chocolate tasting sauce drizzled on it and underneath it. It looked like the best dessert ever! 
First I tried a piece of the vanilla one. It is made of coconut, vanilla almond, and a sweet something else.  It tasted really good and then I took a taste of the chocolate one made with coconut, cacao, and other flavors. The chocolate one was not as good as the vanilla one because it was to chocolaty for my taste. And to me chocolate and coconut do not mix. (Although Miss Ann disagrees!) I ate another piece of the vanilla one and then I ate the rest of it. It was AWESOME!
Overall I would rate the leafy greens cafĂ© a 4 out of 5 stars. It wasn’t perfect because I would like the tables to be bigger so that I am not sitting right on top of someone else. The food though was FANTASTIC! I would definitely go back there again! The experience was kind of cool for me. It made me feel like a totally new type of person.

The Burger!

Now comes The Real Deal!

Lottsa Sprouts.

The Spaghetti!

Ahh, dessert!

A sign of a delicious raw culinary experience.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tyler's Vegan Experience - ps: Ty is 9 years old!

Hi. My name is Tyler. I've never thought of being a vegan because I love meat.

At first when I was asked to be a "vegan for a day" I was moaning and groaning because I couldn't eat my meats and drink my milk. Anything that had a face or a mother wasn't vegan.

Then the day came and I was excited. I got ready and headed to Rolling Oats  in St. Petersburg with my mom to meet Miss Ann. When we got there we shopped around for a little bit. My mom and I picked out nuts, vegetables, and dried fruits. Then I thought vegans only ate fruits and vegetables.

Next we headed to the restaurant part and met Miss Ann. She showed me what was vegan and what was not. I wanted to pick the chicken burrito or the chicken salad but it wasn't vegan because it had a mother and a face.

The thing I chose was called an Avacodo Tomato Melt, with tortilla chips and macaroni salad. The avocado and tomato looked really good. It made my mouth water. When the lady brought our food to us I took a bite and thought "Mmm. This stuff is good." The vegan cheese was good. It was a little different but I thought it was better than regular cheese.

I took a bite of the macaroni salad. Even though it has no real mayo it tasted really good. After a minute I took another bite of the sandwich and thought "Man am I in heaven!" I was surprised it was so good.

I thought lunch was way better than I expected. After lunch we went grocery shopping and we went down all the aisles. My mom let me get some vegan chocolate cake for dessert but I was so full I had to take it home. When I got home I took a bite of it and it tasted a little different than regular chocolate cake but it was pretty good. I couldn't even finish the whole piece it was so filling.

My vegan experience was better than I expected. We bought some vegan cheeses, organic fruits and vegetables, and other vegan foods while we were there. Every now and then I put a pinch of some vegan foods in my meals but I'm not ready to become a full vegan. 

Now I'm dying to try the raw restaurant with Miss Ann. She told me they make pizza dough out of nuts! Next time look for my blog entry about eating at the raw restaurant! Bye for now!... Tyler

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


small print disclosure:  Jack Trudeau is my son, a graduate of LeCordon Bleu's Orlando Culinary Institute, and a confirmed carnivore/omnivore.  He will be starting a new gig at Lyon Hall in VA in July - wishing him lots of luck.  Thanks, Jack!  

Ever since childhood, it was my mother that taught me the value of trying new things and keeping an open mind. Of course these are great life lessons, but I am specifically speaking about food for the time being . Somewhere in my development I picked up a strong dose of skepticism. Reconciling skepticism and open-mindedness has become a complex problem in my life, but I guess I live a life of dualities.

When my mother told me that I was going to a vegan restaurant to write a review, of course my skepticism burst forth in my defense: "Nope! I'm not doing that!" After a brief struggle, and the realization that I had no say in the matter, my skepticism diminished and I left the experience to be determined by the fates.

It was a Tuesday, around lunchtime that I finally dragged myself to the Everlasting Life Cafe in D.C.. I decided to go with my roommate, Ryan, who used to be a vegan but still lives a vegetarian lifestyle because of the siren's song of eggs and cheese. 

We drove into a seedy neighborhood to find a dark orange building with a banner proclaiming the openness and veganness of a restaurant that used to be a co-op in a past life. My skepticism started to kick at this point, because the exterior, well, looked a little run-down. I ignored the urge to turn tail, and went inside.

I'm glad I did.

On entering, we found the place to be clean and organized. There were around 10-12 tables, a bar, and a few couches. It was empty except for two other people, but as we were there, maybe every five minutes, someone came for take-out. 

Our second impression was markedly better than our first, and it only got better from there.  Leonard, the cashier came out from around the counter, introduced himself, and gave us a tour. He took us into the kitchen and showed us a delicious array of prepared foods. Each day they have a special on the hot bar. 

Today's was shepherd's pie with kale greens and macaroni and cheese as side dishes, or eggplant parmesan. They also had a fully stocked cold bar with salads of every kind. They also had a sandwich station, which we regrettably missed.

When we finally ordered, the counter staff was more than helpful in giving us samples and answering any questions. I tried a mock chicken salad, and you know what? it tasted like chicken (cliche, I know, but the flavor was spot on). We decided on three cold items: the macaroni salad, the string bean salad, and the corn and black bean salad. We also had to try the shepherd's pie with macaroni and cheese and kale greens. They put everything into to-go boxes and we went to pay. Ryan then decided to get a cashew nog from the juice bar.

We ended up with a lot of food for around $30 dollars. For DC, the prices are great.

Now for the good stuff. The shepherd's pie was a little pepper heavy, but the TVP had a texture reminiscent of the beefy goodness that I so dearly love. The macaroni and cheese was delicious, but calling it "cheese" was a travesty. They used nutritional yeast to impart a cheesy flavor to mock cheese. Creative ingredient use, but I am not a fan of mock cheese. The kale greens were also delicious. They used a touch of liquid smoke to give them a meaty flavor, and it outsmarted my taste buds.

On the cold bar side, we had one raw and two cooked items. The string bean salad was lightly tossed with oil and plum vinegar. It was super tasty for not being cooked. The black bean and corn salad was more like a salsa to me. It was delicious and a little spicy, but I could have used some tortilla chips. The macaroni salad was my favorite. It reminded me of being back in Florida. Publix, the supermarket, did an awesome macaroni salad, and this tasted just like it. The only difference is that this one had TVP in it, well that and vegan mayonnaise. I never thought I would enjoy vegan mayo, but I was surprised.

Overall, my impressions were great. I have never had better customer service at a restaurant in DC. The quality, creativity, and diversity of the food made this an excellent experience. I will definitely go back if I am ever in the area.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Smoky Avocado and Cumin Dressing from Choosing Raw


Above is the link to this recipe --Gena's Choosing Raw blog has incredible recipes daily; its a great blog to subscribe to and this recipe was a keeper just as it is.  (okay, with one minor exception -- next time I will cut back the water just a little to make it creamier.)

And as she suggested, I mixed it with coleslaw and to make it a Quickie -- I purchased a bag of slaw with both red and green cabbage and carrot mixed it.  Total time - less than 15 minutes from start to table.  No excuses.

I had some left over slaw (after I prepared my delivery to my clients) so I mixed some quinoa in it for a taste test.  No, I didn't shout "Hallelujah" and dance naked in my kitchen, nor was I even tempted, but I do think there is serious potential with this dressing and quinoa and something else??????? I'm open for suggestions.

Soup in the Raw - Fiery Lava Soup

I get my inspiration for my creations by playing with ingredients - reading recipes and then just playing.  But sometimes I will follow a recipe precisely (rare, but true) and with this soup I did and it was such a mouth orgasm that I would not change a thing, except to double the amount.

This recipe is from Juliano in his awesome and one of my absolute favorite books, RAW, The UNcook Book.

Fiery Lava Soup - serves 2

For Soup:
1 1/2 cups fresh carrot juice (I could have made it in my juicer but I bought it at the store so this was easy peazy.)
1 T mint leaves
1 teaspoon minced jalapeno
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/3 cup avocado (this turned out to be 1/2 avocado)
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 T Nama Shoyu (or 1 1/2 teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt
1 T basil leaves

Blend ingredients for 30 to 45 seconds, until creamy.  Divide soup into serving bowls and garnish with:

avocado, mint, bell peppers and scallions.

Or, just drink it from the blender and then shout "Hallelujah" and dance around your kitchen naked.  Okay, okay, I have allowed myself to get carried away.  But this simple recipe is a keeper!!

Cooking is a Lot Like Sex!

Maybe that's why I like to cook.  But truly, I do find cooking very similar to sex and since inquiring minds what to know how this could be, I will enlighten those minds.

As I begin to create, I search recipes, play with ingredients, imagine tastes and colors blending.  This is like the fantasy part of sex -- the playful mind aspect of getting ready.

Next, once I have committed to the act, so to speak, I gather my ingredients, peel, chop, measure -- all of my ingredients are ready, lined up in bowls and good to go -- this is a delightful foreplay.

The ACT:  the blending of ingredients - slow (as in a kettle) or fast (as in the Vita Mix).

And finally - the conclusion or the taste test.  Hopefully it is orgasmic, yet honestly, sometimes it is disappointing.

I thought of this metaphor this morning as I was getting set up to prepare a Raw Soup and Salad combo (recipe above: Firey Lava Soup and Smoky Avocado/Cumin Slaw) -- the recipe preparations went so quick - both in less than a half hour.  I was almost let down in that I didn't expect a Quickie.  However, the taste was incredible.

I texted  by client (yes, how fun, this vegan chef actually has two clients!) with: "Fiery Lava Soup - an awesome mouth orgasm - coming your way at 4 today!"   She is a trauma surgeon - always busy, always working with drama and trauma - texted back: "I will NEED that at 4 today!"  Hopefully the anticipation for her today will be as good as the taste tonight.

Perhaps to conclude the metaphor - cleaning the kitchen afterward, when I get into the zen and mindfulness of it, is like the proverbial smoking of the cigarette.  Or not.

Shout Out to Those Who Entered the First Free Lunch Contest:

I'm feeling a little like Oprah as the contest deadline nears -- stay tuned to see what I mean!!!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Who Said "There's No Such Thing as a Free Lunch?"

The Garden of Eden Vegan is launching a Free Lunch Challenge and Contest.
To enter, you merely have to be a human who enjoys eating - you can be an omnivore, a carnivore or a herbivore.  Doesn't matter to us.  Enter the Contest and you and a guest can win a free lunch -or dinner - with.....okay, here's the gig, here's the no such thing as a free lunch strings attached.....you must agree to write a short (or long) blog post about your culinary experience, with maybe a photo or two.  Not so hard - heck, we're not the New York Times here.


1.  To be eligible, you must "friend" us on our Facebook, Garden of Eden Vegan Facebook page.  If you already have, you are half way there.  If you haven't, you must find the page first, therein lies the challenge for us non-techie foodies.  Here's a hint: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Garden-Of-Eden-Vegan/223555090994336

2.  Once on this page - write on our wall some note to let us know that you want to be entered in this contest, your dietary label: omnivore/herbivore, and the city in which you would like to dine.

3.  Entries must be in by midnight EST, Thursday, June 30, 2011.  The random drawing (yes, I will write each of your names on a card and toss them into my secret drawing bowl and blindly choose one) will be on Friday, July 1st - and the winner will be announced that day on our Garden of Eden Facebook Page.

4.  I will contact you and we will find a Vegan or Raw restaurant in your chosen city and I will contact the restaurant and arrange to have your lunch/dinner paid up to $50.

5.  You will agree to go as soon as you can but during the month of July.  Take your camera or phone with camera and photograph your meal, and write a blog post for Garden of Eden Vegan about your culinary experience.

That's it -- easy peazy!  Not much of a string attached.  The goal is to have fun and highlight vegan restaurants and the vegan experience - especially among non-vegans.

My hope is that this will be so much fun that we will do it again, and again, and again.

Stay tune for our Carnivorous Reluctant Vegan's post -- I here Jack will be dining this weekend at The Everlasting Life Cafe in D.C. -- I have asked that he note his reaction to some faux food.  Yes, I am still prejudices against it but this is a learning experience for all of us.

Hope to see you at a Vegan restaurant near you soon --- Let's have fun and wave the green bean!!!

Our Carnivorous Reluctant Vegan

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Welcome, Jack Trudeau - Carnivore, Omnivore, Foodie to the Garden of Eden

Can you fathom such a thing - welcoming a carnivore/omnivore to the peaceful, life sustaining, bucolic atmosphere of The Garden of Eden Vegan blog?

Why would I even consider such a thing?  No, not because I am evil.  Banish the thought.  But because I felt too cozy and comfortable, preaching to the choir, vegans loving vegans.  Why not shake it up and hire, okay, force, a carnivore to eat one vegan meal a week and share his experiences with us.

Jack is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu's Orlando Culinary Institute, a pastry chef extraordinaire, and a foodie, with a very dry sense of humor.  His first assignment, should he choose to accept it, and we hope he will, is to venture into The Everlasting Life Restaurant in Washington, D.C.  http://www.everlastinglifecafe.com/

I have asked him to chose some of the following, at a minimum (he is a big eater):
a raw dish
a pure vegan dish
and a faux meat dish

As a purist, I am against the faux movement.  Why faux?  The vegan diet is so yummy.  But I ventured into the faux dairy realm recently with Earth Balance (faux butter) and Daiya cheese -- loved them both, but I am not sure I will carry on with them.  Not just the faux aspect but also the processing aspect of which I am not a fan.

Stay tuned -- you will learn more about Jack as he drags himself from vegan restaurant to vegan restaurant each week.

He is also our new technical manager and administrative assistant so maybe you will see some changes on this blog too.   Welcome, Jack -- it's not a scary world in the Garden.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

* re: garlic

In the previous salsa recipes, I put an * by garlic -- wonder why?

I have this battle with garlic.  I hate to handle it - and I often forget I have heads of garlic around until they spoil.  I purchased a tube of garlic in the garden/produce section of the supermarket (as well as tubes of cilantro, and ginger, and chili paste in the event I ever need it because I don't have fresh around -- they also have a tube of lemongrass which is nice to have on hand.)

But I didn't like the extra ingredients in the tube.  And lo and behold (rabbis and assorted clergy love to say this), Penzey's came out with a dried garlic that is wonderful to work with.  Check it out on their website -- I don't think I will ever buy a head of garlic again.  This is my new garlic source.

Vampires beware.

Dueling Salsas!

It is a hot, hot, hot day -- all the better for a hot and spicy salsa!

I have two favorite salsas in my collection - one easy and one a bit more challenging.  Friends LOVED the easy one....that is until they tasted what I call the Mega Salsa.  Now they are getting picky.

Anyhoo -- here is the easy peasy, limey squeezy quick salsa.

Into a blender container, or food processor bowl, add the following:

1 container of cherry or grape tomatoes
1/3 sweet onion
1 clove of garlic*
1/3 seeded jalapeno pepper (or more depending upon your heat tolerance)
3 teaspoons of fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro - or a small handful

Give it a whirl until blended -- and voila!  What did it take: less than five minutes and probably with ingredients you have or should have on hand.

Now, my friends, here is the secret to the Mega Salsa.

Into the blender (preferably a VitaMix) or a food processor, add the following:

1 container of cherry or grape tomatoes
1/3 cup or less of sun dried tomatoes
3 teaspoons of fresh lime juice
1/4 red bell pepper
1 large handful of cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1 clove garlic*
1/2 jalapeno seeded or more depending upon your heat tolerance
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup - or just a little less of nama shoyu
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin seed
and if you have it: 1/4 teaspoon ground sun dried lime

Give it a whirl and within minutes you will be enjoying this Mega Salsa - and probably drinking Jose Cuervo, kissing the cowboys and shooting out the lights -- well, maybe

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Oriental Summer Edamame Salad

Beautiful Summer Oriental Edamame Salad

This salad is not only beautiful, but the oriental taste makes it a delightful summer salad.

Begin with a package of frozen edamame (shelled).  Follow the cooking directions which will have you pour the edamame into boiling water for about 4 to 5 minutes.  Then drain and cool.  Place the edamame into a large bowl.


1 red pepper, seeded, and diced
1 container, or about 2 cups of bamboo shoots
1 can of drained and rinsed water chestnuts, diced

Mix and marvel at the bright freshness of this salad.

The dressing is the coup de grace.  Into a blender or food processor, add the following:

About an inch of peeled ginger
1 clove of garlic
3 tablespoons of white miso paste
1 tablespoon of honey or agave nectar
2 teaspoons of dry vermouth (you can use mirin if you don't have the vermouth)
1 teaspoon of nama shoyu 

As this is blending, gently pour in the following oil combo:

2/3 extra virgin olive oil with a healthy splash of dark sesame oil

Mix this dressing into the salad and get ready to enjoy!  Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Asparagus and Jicama

Asparagus and Jicama - I felt like I was on a European Vacation!

I don't know why, but I felt a decadent pleasure eating this veggie dish - like I was sitting under an umbrella at a Parisian street cafe.  It was quick and easy to make and counts as a keeper in my book.

I used the following ingredients:

extra virgin olive oil
lemon juice

Why no amounts?  Because it is fun to just wing it with this recipe

I used equal amounts of asparagus spears, and julienned jicama, and with a healthy fistful of each, two diced shallots works.

To save washing dishes, I used my large skillet and added the asparagus and some water to steam, put a lid on it and steamed until they just started to wilt and change color.  Then I removed the asparagus and drained the water.

Next I put about a tablespoon of evoo in this pan, and added the diced shallots and the julienned jicama and sauteed until the jicama started to get transparent and bronze - for my taste buds, I gave the jicama a BAM of cayenne - this is optional.  Then I added the asparagus and mixed everything up and finished off with a healthy squeeze of lemon.

Easy peazy, lemon squeezy -- a real taste treat.  (I had never experienced cooked jicama - but it was like an exotic french fry.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Roasted beet and wild rice salad

You can't beat beets!

When I was a kid, I would gag and hurl my beets.  I hated beets.  Probably because my mom would try to hide thing in between cranberry slices.  I would be happily eating my cranberry and all of a sudden find the taste of a beet amongst them - yuck!  Although now days -- I might even create a cranberry beet recipe -- but that's for another time.

I am still in beet mode - roasting them in tin foil to preserve that earthy yet sweet taste.  Here is another awesome recipe for roasted beets using wild rice.

Into a bowl I tossed:

3 med sized roasted beets, diced
2 cups wild rice 
handful of dried cranberries
I had 2 tangerines so I peeled and separated them; Mandarin oranges would work; so would a navel orange - peeled and sliced
1 cup of shredded leaf lettuce
sesame seeds would be good (but on this cleanse, I left them out

Now - the dressing really kicks up the flavors and sends this salad into awesome category (just a notch down from orgasmic!)

Into a smaller bowl, I squeezed 2 oranges (using a mesh cup to catch the seeds)
2 T vinegar - I used my pomegranate balsamic, but red wine would work too - improvise!
1 T of toasted sesame oil (it must be the toasted kind, can't improvise here)
1 teaspoon hot sause
1 teaspoon finely minced ginger - in the produce section of my regular supermarket, I buy ginger in tubes (same for cilantro) just for these kinds of recipes.

Mix together and dress the salad.  I garnished mine with a lime slice and gave it a squeeze just as I was about to eat it.  With or without -- it's great!

Greek Lentil Salad

Greek Lentil Salad - a showcase for that little powerhouse of nutrition

This is a refreshing and yet filling summer salad.  I used the following ingredients:

1 cup lentils - green ones are nice, but red or brown will do
handful sweet onion in large chunks because you are removing it later
2 bay leaves
a large shallot bulb chopped
juice from one juicy lemon, about 2 to 3 T
1 diced cuke, if non-organic, please peel
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes halved
large handful of fresh mint
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Cook lentils, onion, bay leaves in 6 cups of water, bringing to a boil and then simmering for about 30 minutes or until lentils are tender.  I cover my pan.  Drain and remove onion and bay leaves.

Mix all of the above ingredients in a mixing bowl, add sea salt (and pepper if you like) and mix.  It gets better as it sits. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lentil tacos, jerk veggies, and red quinoa beet and sweet salad

Jerk is not always a bad word -- try this recipe for jerk beans and asparagus

I use these green stalks (beans and asparagus) not only as a side dish but as a snack between meals.  You can use either veggie, or both - maybe julienne of zucchini would be good too. 

In a large skillet, add:
1 teaspoon of olive oil
a thumb size of fresh minced ginger
1 or 2 minced cloves of garlic

and saute for about 30 seconds, then add

1/4 teaspoon or slightly more of red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
and a splash of water

Sizzle for a minute and add:

sea salt
1/4 teaspoon allspice
grate nutmeg - less than 1/4 teaspoon
and less than 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
the veggies

Continue tossing to coat, add tiny splashes of water when mixture is too dry - saute for about 10 minutes or until veggies are tender.

I kicked mine up with a splash of lime when I served them and since I ate them as finger food, the lime was nice to rinse my fingers off when I was finished.  So Jerk away and enjoy.

Left over beets? A wonderful salad awaits.

The recipe below, with the baked beets and onions provided a cup of left overs so I created this salad.  If you did not make the baked beet/onion recipe and want to make this salad, first, bake the beets by wrapping them in foil and placing them in an oven for an hour at 350 degrees.  Let them cool about 30 minutes, then peel and slice.

To make this salad, I made a batch of quinoa - a wonderful grain, high in fiber, B vitamins, folate and magnesim.
Quinoa instructions:
Wash thoroughly in cold water, rinse, add a cup of quinoa to 1 1/4 cups of boiling water.  cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes, and fluff.

To make this sweet and savory salad:

To the quiona, I added
the sliced baked beets 
a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
the zest of a lemon
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 finely chopped scallions,
vinegar to mix -- I used a champagne pomegranate vinigar
and a sweet add in: I used dried cranberries - maybe diced apple would work, maybe mandarin orange?

Blend it up - it improves as it sits.  I brought some to work to share and it was so good, I am sorry to admit that I kept it for myself.  I'll make a larger batch next time.  ps.  If you like radishes, try adding that too -- I have yet to develop a taste for radishes so obviously, I left them out.

Eat healthy - savor the flavors that Mother Earth places before us, and never get bored.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Beets! Can't Beat 'Em!

Here is a delicious and healthy beet recipe which I used on Day 3 of my Cleanse.

I had 3 medium beets and 1 Vidalia (sweet) onion.  I wrapped the beets in foil (individually) and left the onion with its skin on, making a small X on the root side with a knife. I roasted them for an hour at 350 degrees and then let them sit for about a half hour to cool. 

Then I unfoiled the beets and peeled them, slicing them, and placed them in a bowl; peeled the onion and sliced it into 1/2 thin rings and tossed it into the same bowl.

Salt and pepper and then a generous splash of vinegar.  Red wine would be good.  I used a champagne and citrus blend and then another splash of white balsamic.

As they sit, for an hour or so, the flavors marry and your side dish is an earthy and yet fresh treat.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Vegan Lentil Shepherd's Pie

Incredible Edible Lentil Shepherd's Pie

This meal is for my dinner at the hospital on Day 2 of the Cleanse.  I made it today because I am working the day shift tomorrow on Mother's Day and wanted to eat something healthy.  The food at the hospital cafeteria could literally kill ya.

To make this incredible edible lentil shepherd's pie,  I used the following ingredients:

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 diced onion
2 cups organic fresh shitake mushrooms
1 heaping cup of diced zucchini
1 to 2 cloves of garlic (to taste) minced
Fresh Market sea salt and herb seasoning (thyme, rosemary and basil)

I sprayed a large stir fry skillet with olive oil and then added the teaspoon of evoo and as I was heating it, I added the onions and began to sautee them.  If they got a little dry, I added a splash of water.
Then, after about 5 minutes, I added the mushrooms, zucchini, garlic, and seasoning and sauteed until things started looking tender - I sprayed on another coat of olive oil.

Two carrots, diced
1 cup French lentils (the green ones)
3 cups vegetable broth

I tossed this into the skillet and brought it to a near boil, then covered it and simmered for about a half hour.

While this was simmering, I took:

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets and placed it in a large sauce pan covering it with water and season salt.

I brought this to a boil, and cooked it until it was tender to the stab of a fork.  Then drained it and placed it in my Vita Mix (or food processor).

I took a few ounces of the broth from the veggies and as I processed the cauliflower, I drizzled this into the mixture and processed until it looked like mashed potatoes.

By now the veggies were done.  To tell, eat a lentil and if is to your liking, its done.  I added a mere splash, a whisper, a hint of vegan Worcestershire sauce (optional) and:

1 cup frozen peas

If I were plating it and serving it at this time, I would do as I did in the small bowl (photo above), ie, fill the bowl with the veggie mixture, and then drop a dollop of the mashed cauliflower on top.

I also make a larger serving that I can dig into for future lunches/dinners this week, again, veggies first, cauliflower on top.

I lighted sprinkled the cauliflower with a southwest seasoning just to kick it up a little.  If I weren't on this cleanse, I would probably top it with Panko whole wheat crumbs, spray with olive oil and heat until the top got golden brown.

As I was eating the first batch (from the small bowl), by stirring in the mashed cauliflower, it got deliciously creamy.  This would be a great winter comfort food dish.   It's a keeper. 


Vegalicious Lentil Tacos

Vegalicious Tacos!

Here is a recipe that is vegan, great for the 21 day cleanse and O SO DELICIOUS, not to mention, pretty easy to make.

You will need the following ingredients:

4 c water
1 c lentils
2 T diced onion
salt, seasoning of your choice
2 T tomato paste
1 T evoo (extra virin olive oil)

3/4 c cherry or grape tomatoes
2 T diced onion
1 clove garlic
1/4 diced fresh jalapeno
1 T lime juice
hint of fresh ginger (optional)

as much cilantro as you like
something to put the taco in - you could use a tortilla; I used leaves of Boston Lettuce; Romaine would work well too.

First I got the lentils cooking by bringing 4 cups of water to boil, then added the lentils and onion and salt (I am not a pepper lover, but you could add it now if you liked it) and I used a shake of cumin and some southwest seasoning that had cayenne and chipotle.

While the lentils were cooking, about 30 minutes, I made the salsa by adding the following to my Vita Mix, or a food processor would be great too:
the tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno, lime and cilantro.  (if you have it, toss in a hint of ginger to kick it up, if not, no worries) - give it a brief whirl and voila - an awesome fresh salsa!

After the lentils are cooked (al dente, not mush), drain.  Put 1/2 the mixture into your food process or Vita Mix and add the tomato paste, while processing, drizzle the oil into the mixture, and if you are a cilantro junkie like I am, toss a handful in at the last moment. 

Then blend this mixture with the drained other half of the lentils.  This is your taco filling.

To plate, I used Boston Lettuce, added the lentil mixture, topped with salsa, and then of course, for my taste, more cilantro and a hit of fresh lime.

It was heaven!

Let the 21 Day Cleanse Begin!

Monday, April 4, 2011


For those Saturday Night Life fans who still remember Alec Baldwin's Schweaty Balls, there is no Schweaty in these balls -- but they pack a kick of flavor.  These are Ginger Balls - easy to make, great with coffee for a snack or for a taste of sweet for a dessert.  Caution:  they are addictive!

Just toss the following ingredients into your food processor:

1/2 cup almonds ground--(if not previously ground, grind them first in the food processor and THEN add the remaining ingredients)
1/2 tablespoon veg. oil
Dates:  2 large or 4 small - mine were really small so I used 5.
1 tsp Vietnamese cinnamon, or the cinnamon of your choice
1/2 tsp ginger
just a tad less than 1 tsp ground cloves
a hint of salt
and 1 tablespoon honey*

Whirl until it has a dough or paste texture and then pinch off a tablespoonful at a time to roll into balls about an inch in diameter.  These are so deliciously rich that you wouldn't want them to be much larger.We sampled as soon as I finished, and yes, even my beloved, who turns his nose and closes his palate to my style of eating, loved them.

Better yet, place in the refrigerator -- I like them better chilled, if you can wait that long.

*Honey is not used by most vegans since the theory is not to harm or exploit anything with a face.  To date, I have not encountered an exploited honey bee.  My presumption is that bees make honey as part of what they do in nature, and that they are not harmed by our use thereof.  If and when I find exploited honey bees, I will refrain from honey and use agave.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


A common complaint I hear from folks is, "Oh, I'd love to eat raw, but I just don't have the time to prepare all the food."  I thought about this today when I was have a Raw Afternoon, thinking that maybe it was indeed time consuming.  I made 5 raw dishes, and when I finished, I checked the clock, and it took me less than two hours, which included, walking in the door from the market with my produce, assembling my equipment, cleaning and preparing my produce, preparing the dishes. and pausing between dishes to enjoy a cool pale ale.  Not bad if you ask me.

Here is what I made:

1.  My world famous onion bread - or at least it is infamous in the White-Powers Household.
I prepared this recipe first using:
3 large sweet onions - I used a slicer and thinly sliced each down about 1/2 way or until my fingers got nervous of being sliced.  I tossed the slices in a large mixing bowl and marinated them in 1/4 cup Nama Shoyu, and I tossed the remainder of the onion in the food processor with the S blade.

Then I ground (in my coffee grinder)
1 1/2 cups of raw sunflower seeds and
1 1/2 cups of flax seeds
and tossed them into the food processor with
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Gave it a whirl until it made a paste or dough and then dumped it into the mixing bowl and with my super clean hands (lol) I massaged the dough into the onion rings and the onion rings into the dough.
Then I took this mixture and spread it on two dehydrator sheets with the teflon liner, flattened each down with love, and put them in the dehydrator at 110 degrees until my next addition of the Kale Chips or 1 hour, which ever comes first.

2.  Then I made my Cheezy Kale chips - you have heard this recipe too many times to stay sane, but recall that I use 1 cup of soaked and drained cashews, 1 yellow pepper, a hardy shake of nutritional yeast, cayenne and Himalayan sea salt.

I lined 3 trays (no teflon liner) with these tasty chips and when I put them in the dehydrator, I reduced the temperature to 100 degrees.

I will visit these treats at midnight tonight to flip the bread.  They chips should be done in the morning, the bread in the afternoon, but aside from the grand flip (and removal of the teflon sheets) my work is done here.

3.  Next, some Raw Cashew Hummus using
2 + cups of raw cashews, soaked and rinsed
1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 minced clove of garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp nama shoyu

Give it a hardy whirl, salt if necessary - probably won't be, and voila - a great spread for the onion bread!

4. How about some Walnut Pate -- a meaty tasting treat?!
I used 1 cup of soaked walnuts, 
1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon nama shoyu
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
and a tablespoon of minced green onion

Give it a whirl and smush it into a container.  Not only can this be a spread for crackers or the onion bread, but you can use it like a meatloaf with sauce over it, or crumbled on a salad - it is quite versatile.

5. A salsa that was so good I almost fainted with orgasmic delight when I tasted it.  Wowie Zowie!
Into the food processor with the ever ready S-blade, I tossed:

2 cups diced tomatoes
1 yellow pepper, seeded
a big handful of cilantro - maybe a loosely packed cup
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
a hardy teaspoon of diced ginger (I get the tube of ginger in the produce section of Publix just to make sure I have some on hand -- I have tossed away too many rotted ginger roots in my day)
2 teaspoons diced fresh jalapeno pepper
1/4 cup nama shoyu
1/2 teaspoon ground sun dried lime (first time I have used this - wow! - got them in a middle eastern grocery, put a dried lime in a baggie and whacked it with a hammer, then poured the pieces into my coffee grinder and ground it into a powder.  I put the rest in a jar for another time)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin.

And as we say: give it a whirl, let it be just a little chunky;  I stored mine in a mason jar after my near delirium post-pleasurable taste.  I think it would be poor form to just drink it or eat it like a soup, but it sure was goooooood.

And that's it.  This gives me fixings to use all week.  Add to these dishes, (during the week) a veggie salad, or a wrap, or top spiraled or shoestring  zucchini with the salsa -- many different uses and ideas, just taking two hours of prep time on the weekend.

May you be blessed with two hours of time when you can go to your kitchen, turn up the music (if you like), drink beer (or whatever floats your boat), chop, get your hands full of healthy food, dance around the kitchen like no one is looking and just have one heck of a time, so you can be blessed with a head start on the weeks worth of healthy meals.   It's all good.  Eat it raw!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The oft neglected but yet delectable brussel sprout!

In my previous post, I said I was aiming for 90% raw -- well let me tell you a bit about the other 10% - the oft neglected but yet delectable brussel sprout!  These little powerhouses of health and energy also pack a flavorful punch.

To prepare them, I heated my large toaster oven to 400 degrees.  I washed the sprouts, performed a minor circumcision on each, and halved them.  I placed them on the baking sheet, insides up, gave them a spray of olive oil, and set them in the oven to bake. 

After 4 to 5 minutes, I took out the pan and doused them with a generous bath of freshly squeezed lemon juice, the last of my home grown big juicy lemons (I hate to buy them at the store for the exorbitant price they charge, when my tree produces such grand ones, but alas, growing season awaits.)  I put the pan back in for another 4 to 5 minutes.

I take the pan out one more time and drizzle a hint of dark toasted sesame oil on each little sprout - back in the oven for the finale -- take them out when they start turning golden.  Sprinkle with your favorite sea salt - my current is Himalayan.  And yum.

I ate a generous portion right off the pan (sorry Ms Manners) - and took some cold for dinner last night.  A taste treat due to its mix and marriage of flavors.

Back to raw:

This morning's juice was a blend of a head of Romaine, a leaf of kale, a handful of spring greens, three carrots, an apple and a pear.  What a way to begin a beautiful day!

I am meeting a girlfriend for lunch after Pilates and we are going to Rolling Oats - a health food grocery store and cafe - I usually get vegan soup, but today I will get their Green Drink with a pear - another juiced delight.

And tonight, my supper is the remainder of yesterday's cauliflower, apple, yellow pepper and cabbage mix.  I eat between traumas (since I am a trauma chaplain) and it relieves stress for me to crunch my dinner.  Well meditation and breathing techniques work well too, but there is nothing like a flavorful crunch to ground me too, especially of earth grown produce - truly, talk about grounding.

Wishing you all sunshine and rainbows and perfect health.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Raw and pure sunshine and health

Going Raw

21 Days to my wedding and I am counting down by going raw - at least 90% raw, the remainder, of course, will still be vegan.  I read a great and inspiring book by a great and inspiring author:  Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr.  Google her; get her books.  She is great and her writings are motivating.  Sort of how Skinny Bitch flipped the switch in my brain to become vegan even before I finished the book.

I began my day by drinking 8 oz of filtered water - I wanted to drink 16 oz. but did not have the patience to finish my water.  However, this is an aspirational goal: 16 oz of water each morning upon waking.

Then I had a cup of life! Actually, I juiced it yesterday in an attempt to clean out the refrigerator for today's Raw Challenge.  I juiced carrots, celery, pears, apple, spinach, bok choy, zucchini - and it was really good.  I like to drink my juice in a wine glass just to add that touch of celebration of life.

Lunch:  I combined (photo above):
1/2 head of cauliflower florets
1/4 head red cabbage diced
1 yellow pepper diced
1 red apple diced
some herbs from my meager herb garden - we have had a hot spell in SW FL, and also, some hungry squirrels, but there was a little cilantro, basil, and parsley left for the snipping.
Seasoned with Himalayan Sea Salt and White Balsamic Vinegar

The colors are inviting, and the flavors tease each other and the tastebuds.  With each crunch - just imagine pure sunshine and health.

I also made a Raw Goddess Soup from Kris' recipe -- it tastes great, but it was NOT photogenic, so it remains private.   One would never go raw if I shared a photo of this healthy soup.

Wishing you  a day of sunshine and health.  Support your local farmers - and stay out of the center aisles of your supermarket -- there is nothing good for you there, honest.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Time to kick butt and get it in gear -- even eating a vegan diet, I have allowed my weight to creep up a bit.  So I am buckling down and launching a personal challenge.

I weighed in at 165 this morning -- way too high for a vegan.  My challenge is to lose 15 pounds by March 1st and if I do, I can reward myself with an Ipad.  If I do not, I must weight until I lose 30 pounds before I can get the coveted Ipad.   I do not know what my ideal weight is, but with my height, I think my goal weight is about 125, so there are pounds to go....

Most of you have probably never just, spur of the moment, Googled: Lentils.  But if you did, or if you do, you will see that they are a powerhouse of all sorts of healthy goodies.

Lentils will be a major part of my diet during these next months.  

My breakfast this morning was a sauteed mixture of baby leaf spinach, some previous prepared lentils, some salsa and a sprinkling of sea salt and sesame seed.  Powerhouse!  Breakfast of champions - or at least, this champion.

Wishing you all a year of good health and vibrancy so we can truly live our best lives ever.

The Story Behind the Garden of Eden Vegan Blog

For those of you who knew me prior to December 30, 2009, I was a veteran of the fast food culinary institute. My son, when he lived with me would ask if I had ordered the "Shabbat pizza" yet as the sun was setting Friday nights.

My idea of a good meal was a McFish sandwich, fries with extra salt, and a medium diet coke.

Everything was better covered in a rich creamy sauce and the idea of a naked baked potato was as foreign to me as walking naked in Manhattan.

In June of 2009 I decided to formally become a vegetarian. Although I had dabbled with this, it was not until I read Skinny Bitch that the gauntlet was thrown.

Now being a vegetarian does not sign you up for good health. I was proof of that. Chubby when I started, I indulged in pizza, french fries, cheese, cheese, butter, cheese, pizza......and became very over weight, tipping the Toledos at 200 pounds at 5'4". And taking an assortment of meds for cholesterol and GERD and who knows what else.

As the decade was waning, and with my 60th birthday approaching in the year 2010, there was a perfect storm that snapped my beak and got me in gear. The same friend who gave me Skinny Bitch, turned me on to the John McDougall website. At the same time, there was a Grand Round lecture at the hospital where I work on the book Eat to Live, and at the same time, I was tired of how I looked and felt and needed to make a change.

I regret that I did not start this blog when I changed my lifestyle, but it is better late than never.

My weight is down about 35 pounds, my size has gone from a tight 16 to a loose 12. And I am on no meds, although my vegetarian doctor and I will review my blood work within this month to see if I need anything (like b12) boosted.

I began as a Vegan Minus. Or what I call a Garden of Eden Vegan.

As you know, a Vegan eats no animals nor animal products - none. But then I subtracted oil, sugar, and processed foods.

That is a big subtraction -- but it is this subtraction that helped with weight loss, lack of cravings, increased energy, health, and vibrancy.

Now I am dabbling in raw foods and have signed up to learn with Russell James (google him).

I like the taste and health aspect of raw foods, but worry about the increased calories. So I will (hopefully) use the raw creations as a supplement to my Gan (Hebrew for Garden -- I am in a Hebrew mood today) Eden Vegan lifestyle.

My doctor said that I should write a book about this since most of her patients need it. I said, "Who, or how many, would want to do this?" We shall see. It has been easy (no cravings) and exciting as life and energy unfold before me, just as it was meant to be. (It didn't unfold over a fried fish sandwich, extra tarter sauce.)

Join me or not. Walk with me the whole journey, day trips, part of it, or not. This is my 60th year -- buckle up life, here I come.