Collected from blog posts

In alphabetical order. Enjoy!

Want more recipes? My new fiction title Dune Girl includes a handful. It is now available as an e- book for Kindles, smart phones and tablets at 🙂

Al-faux-do Sauce (vegan cheese)

1 1/2 cups unsalted cashews, water, 1-2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast*

Put the cashews in a blender. Just barely cover with water and let soak for at least one hour. Just before serving, add the nutritional yeast and blend at high speed until thick and creamy.

Use it anywhere you need heavy cream or a cheesy sauce. Throw in a whole bunch of basil before blending and you’ve got yourself a tasty pesto.

  • Nutritional yeast can be found in most grocery stores’ health food section. It is a cheesy-tasting supplement vegans use to get certain vitamins into their diet. In spite of looking exactly like fish food, it’s also great on popcorn or anywhere you would normally use parmesan.

Bake Sale Brownies (low cost, high return)

Prepare one box inexpensive brownie mix according to package directions. Add one extra egg and 3 Tablespoons instant coffee granules and mix until moistened throughout. Pour mix into prepared pan. Sprinkle the top generously with 1/2 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips. Bake as directed on the box. Cool completely. Cut into 12-18 pieces for single servings or into one-inch squares for a party tray.

(Some added twists. If someone is dairy free, use a dark chocolate chip. If you like nuts, layer walnut halves on the bottom of the pan before carefully pouring in mix. If you are fund-raising, cut the brownies into 12 rectangles, wrap each with waxed paper and tie with a yarn bow. Put a label on the tray that says “Double-Chocolate Mocha Brownies,” and you’ve probably doubled your selling price. Seriously. People like chocolate that much.)

Binge-worthy Cauliflower

Stir fry 1 12-ounce package frozen cauliflower florets in 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. When florets are fork tender, add between 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of hot pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon ground cumin and 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds. Stir to coat.

Serve warm over brown basmati rice or toss with whole-wheat spaghetti. Unsalted cashews make a nice topping. This recipe doubles well, but you might want to taste before doubling the spices and adjust according to your own preferences.

Circle-the-Wagons Bread

In large bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups white flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and 2 packages dry yeast.

On the stove, heat 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup milk slowly, stirring constantly, until smooth and creamy. Add the liquids and 4 eggs to the flour mixture and stir well.

Gradually add another 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups white flour and stir until dough becomes too stiff to stir anymore. In the bowl or on a floured board, knead the dough, adding flour as needed to prevent stickiness, for 8-10 minutes. Dough will be golden and springy when it is sufficiently kneaded.

Oil the dough, place in clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel and let rise one hour in a warm place. When dough is doubled, punch it down and split into two pieces. Shape each piece into a rectangle and brush the top with melted butter, dust with cinnamon and sugar, and sprinkle with raisins. Roll the rectangle into a tube and place in a buttered loaf pan. Cover and let rise for another hour, until nearly double in size.

Bake the loaves in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 40 minutes until golden brown on top. Cool on racks. Slices well while warm. Or, wait for loaves to cool and enjoy as toast.

Confetti Comfort Bread
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Butter a loaf pan. In large bowl, combine 1 carrot (peeled and grated), 1 cup raisins, 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce, 1/2 cup water and one banana (mashed). Add three eggs and mix well.
Add two cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon baking soda and blend well. Put the batter in the prepared pan and bake one hour or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Cool on rack. When ready to pack lunches, either wrap up a single, thick slice or slice thinly and make sandwiches with a cream cheese filling. Mmmm.
This recipe doubles well. Bake one for now and freeze one, double bagged, for later.

Fool-proof Pie Crust

Thoroughly mix 1 cup flour (rice or wheat both work just fine) and 1/4 teaspoon salt. (For sweet fillings, add a Tablespoon of sugar.)

Add 6 Tablespoons olive oil, 2 Tablespoons water and 1 egg yolk. Mix with spoon or fork until barely combined. Then, gently knead until well combined.

Use the heel of your hand to press into deep-dish pie pan (there’s enough dough for an 8-by-8 glass dish if you prefer). Make sure the dough is even so you don’t get goo in the middle.

Fill and bake as directed. (Use only recipes intended for open-topped or struessel-topped pies or there won’t be enough moisture.) If you need an empty shell, prick the crust all over with a fork and bake 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

Frozen Asset Soup

This technique works for either stock or a hearty vegetable soup.

For stock, freeze clean veggie trimmings such as the stem ends of zucchini, carrot peels, potato peels and so on in a gallon freezer bag. When it is full, throw the lot in a stock pot, cover it with water and simmer for about an hour. Strain out the solids, add some salt and pepper and, voila, free veggie stock that can be refrozen in measured amounts.

For a full-on soup, freeze those odd little bits of sauce, cooked veggies or legumes that are left over after a meal. When the bag is full, simply add some veggie stock, some jarred pasta sauce and season to taste. “Free” soup.

One caution for either the stock or the soup: Avoid fruit and any vegetables that aren’t normally cooked; cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels spouts; and anything that contains pasta or grain. Such items will either do weird things to the end result’s texture or flavor.

Fruity Cabbage Slaw

Coarsely chop 2 cups each of green/white cabbage and colorfully-skinned apples such as Gala or Fuji (leaving peels on). Add one cup loosely packed black raisins and toss until well combined.

In a small bowl, combine 1 cup mayonnaise (vegan or otherwise), 2 Tablespoons apple-cider vinegar and 1 Tablespoon white sugar. Mix until smooth.

Add dressing to the cabbage and fruit mixture and toss until lightly coated. Serve immediately or refrigerate no more than a few hours. Top with a few handfuls of walnut pieces just before serving.

Mixed-Bag Sun Tea

Fill a large glass pitcher (like a half gallon or so) with room-temperature water. Filtered tastes better. Add seven bags of tea — four real tea (black or green) and three herbal tea (chai, berry, citrus, peppermint, etc. or throw in some herbs from the garden if you like.)

Rubber band a dish cloth over the top to keep the bugs out and set the whole thing in the sun. Whenever the tea looks the right color to you — brewing speed depends on how sunny and warm the day is — taste a sip. If it’s strong enough for your liking, remove the bags and refrigerate the pitcher. As this tea is more mellow than the kind brewed on the stove top and contains a flavorful mix, you probably will not need sugar.

Serve in tall glasses, with lots of ice, on a porch near you.

Money-in-the-bank Potatoes

Gather about 10 tennis-ball sized potatoes (or the volume equivalent of another size) that have thin, relatively unblemished skins. (I prefer red-skinned.) Leaving the peels on (for better nutrition), cut potatoes into large chunks, removing any damaged areas. Boil in lightly salted water until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork.

Here is where my technique diverges. To keep things vegan or dairy-free, add about one cup of a mayonnaise-like product, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and thoroughly mash. You want enough mayo-like stuff to eliminate a dry look, but not so much that you have goo.

This is your base. What can you do with it? Eat it as is as a side dish. Fill a pie plate with the potatoes, top it like a pizza and bake. Add all the ingredients of potato salad (I like dill, celery, corn, mustard and vinegar) and serve alongside picnic foods. Mix in breading (check out my recipe for Thrifty Gluten-Free Breading under the main menu bar), chopped onions and an egg or two (or the vegan equivalent) and fry in patties for instant latkes. Serve this with apple sauce for a quick, tasty meal.

I recently discovered a new twist when I had a leftover bonanza. Put the potato base in a kettle. Add my recipes for Speedy Summer Corn, Al-faux-do Sauce and a container of veggie broth and you have a ridiculously fast chowder. This soup plus a salad and a crusty loaf of bread makes it look like you really tried.

The potato base can be stored about 48 hours in the refrigerator, meaning you can easily use it as a side one day and as a very different meal the next. It can also be frozen and thawed quickly in the microwave, although we rarely can keep it around long enough to require such efforts.

On-Vacation Pasta Salad

Cook one 12-ounce box of pasta in generously salted water according to directions. Drain and set aside.

Halve one pint of grape tomatoes. Place in skillet with small amount of water or olive oil and cook until tomatoes are soft and a thick juice has developed. (Add more fluids during the cooking process if you are losing your sauce.) Season with salt and pepper.

Combine the pasta, the tomatoes and a tub of prepared hummus. Serve immediately with a simple salad. Done!

Simple Nada Sangria

Using a juicer or blender, puree small chunks of seedless watermelon and frozen orange juice concentrate in batches. We used about 1/4 can of OJ for half a watermelon. If you’re using a blender, you may need to start at “chop” or turn the blender off a few times to readjust the contents for easier blending.

That’s it! Sit on the porch and enjoy. And, if there’s anything left, freeze it in molds or ice cube trays for later.

Speedy Summer Corn

Stir fry one bag of frozen sweet corn kernels in olive oil until just tender. Remove from heat and toss with 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin and salt and pepper to taste. For extra zip, add a squirt of freshly-squeezed lemon or lime juice.

This works as a side dish, mixed into a salmon/pasta salad or as a taco topping. It’s also great on top of quinoa as part of a power bowl. Round out the latter with some roasted peppers and tomatoes and some sort of a legume and you have an entire summer meal.

Summer-Sun Vinaigrette

Combine 4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 Tablespoon honey, the juice of one small lemon, 1 finely minced garlic clove, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon dijon mustard. Let the mix sit at room temp while you’re prepping whatever it is you’re serving. When you’re ready, whisk the sauce mix with a fork until well combined and immediately apply.

This vinaigrette is yummy over quinoa, which can be kind of bland and gritty if not dressed in something oily. It is also wonderful over vegetables and salad. Other possibilities are as a marinade for grilling or as a pasta sauce. It’s not a great dipping sauce for bread as the ingredients rapidly separate out if they’re not coating something.

Now that I think about it, this is technically not a “vinaigrette” as I removed the vinegar from the original recipe and punched up the lemon juice. If you’re a name purist and like lots of tang, add a splash of cider vinegar. 🙂

Thrifty Gluten-Free Breading

Take one box of rice-square cereal. Snip off a corner of the bag to release trapped air. Fold the corner over and hold it firmly shut, then use a non-sharp kitchen tool or the heel of your hand to crush the cereal into course grains. (Don’t get too zealous. You don’t want powder.) Store the breading like any other cereal product in a zip-locking plastic bag. Done.

Use the breading in any kind of pattie or ball — everything from salmon cakes to latkes to veggie balls. Mix it with Parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast or spices on top of a baked pasta dish for a crunchy topping. Mix it with wet ingredients like oil, egg or mustard and use it to coat things like zucchini fries or eggplant cutlets. It even makes a passable “graham cracker” crust.

World’s Best Smoothie

Combine in blender 2 tablespoons nut butter (I prefer natural peanut butter), 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 medium banana and enough dairy or nut milk for the fluid to reach the 1 1/2 cup mark. Blend thoroughly. Serves one.