Category Archives: Vegan

Totally nutty bar

Last week I was out shopping and suddenly became ravenous.  In all fairness to me, I actually wasn’t hungry when I went out (I am smart enough to know THAT is a BIG mistake), but I was shopping for yoga gear, which as any yogi knows, takes a lot of time.  Needless to say, I was out a little (ahem) longer than I had expected.

Anyway, my belly was SUPER hungry as I was headed for the checkout.   Thankfully that was where I stumbled upon these awesome bars.  I fell in love immediately and for about 2 bucks a bar, I felt pretty darn good about my last-minute, belly-driven purchase.  In fact, I felt so good about that bar I decided that I would try to recreate something similar at home.

To google I went.  I found so many gluten-free bar options, I thought my head would spin!  I finally settled on this recipe from, mainly because I had all of the ingredients and it sounded fairly easy to make.  I followed the recipe pretty closely, using almond flour for the nut flour, a little less salt and oil, and adding pistachios and extra almond butter to the toasted nut mix.  I whipped it together in a handful of minutes and was getting ready to stick them in the fridge when I decided to sneak a nibble of the batter.  It was so good I had to run a couple of big bites to Andy.  It was pure torture waiting the hour the recipe called for to taste and photograph the final product!!  I am happy to report, it was well worth the wait and so much better and cheaper than my impulse purchase last week (still, no regrets though)!

I hope you enjoy this simple, delicious, and nutritious treat as much as we (speaking for you again, honey) did!

Totally nutty bar

  • 1 cup of whole almonds
  • 1/2 cup of pecans
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 1/2 cup of almond flour
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened dried coconut
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 2 tsp of pure vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (use convection if you have it) and toast the nuts until they begin to brown– stirring occasionally. Watch them carefully, they’ll go from golden to black fast! Once they are toasted, toss them in the food processor or grinder, and give them a few pulses until they are small, coarse pieces (almost to a meal) and stir into the nut flour in a medium bowl. In a microwave safe bowl, warm up the coconut oil and almond butter for about 20 seconds, in the microwave and stir them together well. Add the honey, vanilla, and salt then mix until smooth and creamy. Fold the nut mix into the honey mix then add the dried fruit. Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment and pat them down.  Put in the fridge for 1 hour or more till nice and solid. Cut into squares and try not to grunt when eating. Store in the refrigerator.



Roasted carrot and carmelized onion curry soup

Roasted carrot and carmelized onion curry soup

It has been wickedly cold here since I have been back from my extended trip to Central America.  It is a bit tough to take, but I must say, the bright white of the snow and ice has been a nice change from the Ozark winter brown that has dominated the landscape all winter.  Plus, nothing screams hot warm soup louder than trekking through a couple of inches of fresh powder, and you know how much I love a good soup!

This delicious soup is super easy and absolutely loaded with valuable nutrients that will keep your immune system going at full speed and ready to fight whatever is lurking out there in the cold.  You know, I was just thinking a couple of days ago that I NEVER get sick.  It has been YEARS, close to 10, maybe more, since I have had more than just a sniffle.  You may be thinking !SO WHAT!, but I bet you didn’t know that I am on a medication that keeps my white blood cells (the cells in the body that fight infection) at about 25% of what they normally should run.  Like to the point that I should probably be wearing a mask when I go out in public.  That my dear friends is the !SO WHAT! and what a diet full of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and vegetable proteins will do for you ability to fight disease.  If you have had your fill of the cold and flu then maybe it is time to think about how you are fueling your body and ultimately your immune system.  I can’t promise you won’t get sick, but I will promise that you will change your bodies chemistry and the way it responds to foreign invaders and other stressors!  Sound like a change you want to make?!  The recipes are right here–it is up to you to make it happen!  So, go for that smoothie loaded with antioxidants at breakfast, a big colorful salad at lunch and a simple, warm and satisfying soup like this at dinner and you will be off to a good start.

The beauty of this soup is that it is not only full of antioxidants and beta carotene from the carrots to strengthen your immunity, but it also has onions and garlic which are high in sulfur to help you detox, and turmeric and ginger which are very powerful anti-inflammatory agents.  Hippocrates – the father of medicine – stated, “Let your food be your medicine, and let your medicine be your food.” I say, “Let food prevent you from needing medicine and let preventative medicine be your food”!

Cheers to good health and living WELL, my friends!

Roasted carrot and carmelized onion soup

Servings 6

  • 6-8 large carrots, peeled
  • 2 T EVOO
  • 1 +T Curry powder
  • 1 +T Garam Masala curry powder
  • 4-5 c vegetable stock
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2″ piece of ginger, peeled and grated.  I use my zesting grater to do ginger.  I find it works much better than a regular grater.
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 t dill
  • 1 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t chipotle pepper flakes
  • dash of kosher or sea salt, optional
  • splash of agave nectar, optional
  • green onions, chopped for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a gallon size zip lock bag or lidded bowl put 1 T EVOO, 1/2 T curry powder and 1/2 T of the Garam Masala with the carrots.  Shake to coat the carrots well.  Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the carrots are roasted to a nice, light brown.

While the carrots are roasting, warm 1 T EVOO over medium/low in a medium saute pan.  Add the chopped onion, chipotle pepper flakes, and black pepper and cook until the onions begin to soften.  Add the garlic, dash of kosher or sea salt (optional) and splash of agave nectar (optional) and continue cooking until the onions begin to brown.

In a large stock pot, add the vegetable broth, grated ginger, dill, carmelized onion mix, roasted carrots, and the rest of the curry and garam masala and stir well and cook over medium heat for 20-30 minutes.  Adjust the flavors adding more seasoning according to your palate.  In a food processor or with an immersion blender, puree the soup.  Serve with a generous sprinkle of green onions.


My Ozark BUN

My Ozark BUN

I started this post a little over a year ago and never finished it, so after doing an inventory of the refrigerator last night I decided I would finally get back to this WAY overdue recipe.  Wow, am I glad that I did.  The Vietnamese noodles in my bowl were bombarded by all sorts of delicious vegetables–steamed and fresh.  Mushrooms, onions (white and green), broccoli, carrots, bell pepper, kale and cucumber were perfectly flavored with an acidic and flavorful lime vinaigrette sauce.  You might remember the vinaigrette sauce from my FRESH  spring roll recipe–I sincerely hope that you do, anyway!  It is super simple to whip together, packed with flavor, and absolutely perfect for this dish too…my mouth is watering just thinking about it!  The shrimp in this BUN are totally optional, but they really tasted good to me last night!  I also added an extra big hit of chopped cashews to top off the meal, which gave me extra healthy fat and protein to keep my belly full all night long!  The really great thing about this noodle bowl is how good you feel after you eat it–smarter, faster, stronger!  Ok, maybe that was more about my 90 minute power yoga class, but I did feel extra good last night!  Give My Ozark BUN a try and see if how it makes your body feel!  You will not be sorry that you did!

Here’s to feeding your belly well and loving every minute of it!

Color, texture, and tons of flavor--makes for the perfect BUN!


My Ozark BUN

Servings:  2

  • Rice Vermicelli noodles, enough for 2 servings
  • Uncooked shrimp, optional.  As much as you like in two servings of BUN!
  • Your favorite vegetables!  My choices this time were broccoli, kale, carrots, sweet bell pepper, yellow onion, green onion (for a heavy garnish), mushrooms, cucumber.
  • Lime Vinaigrette Sauce–recipe follows
  • Nuts, chopped–either peanuts or cashews, or both
  • Cilantro and green onions, chopped for a heavy garnish
  • Kosher salt for the shrimp boil
  • Water for the shrimp boil and to cook the pasta

If using shrimp, quick boil them in a salted pot and refrigerate until serving.  Reserve the salted liquid to use for cooking the rice pasta.
Cook the rice pasta, following the instructions on the pasta package.  Use the reserved liquid from the shrimp boil to give the pasta extra flavor.
Steam the vegetables to al dente or as soft as you like.  I grated the cucumber and added it raw to the dish.  Serve them over the cooked pasta and garnish with the green onions, nuts, and cilantro.
Pour the lime vinaigrette sauce over the top of the dish and ENJOY the gorgeous, fresh flavor of My Ozark BUN!

2 Servings

Lime Vinaigrette Sauce

  • 2 1/2 T fish sauce
  • 3 T lime juice
  • 1/2 t + chili sauce (sriracha)–or more depending upon your tolerance for HEAT
  • 1 1/2 T garlic, minced
  • 1/2 t anchovy paste
  • 2 t ginger, minced
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1/8-1/4 c water

Mix all ingredients into a small bowl.  Makes enough for a least 2 servings of BUN.


Apple and orange smoothie snack

How absolutely refreshing...even in the middle of an ice storm!

My snack this afternoon was soooo tasty, filled my belly and recharged my energy stores…BIG TIME!  Give this fruity smoothie a try for a quick afternoon pick-me-up!

Apple and orange smoothie 2 servings

  • 1 apple
  • 2 oranges, peeled
  • 1/4-1/2 c almond, soy, or coconut milk

Put all ingredients into the blender and give it a rip!  Drink.  ENJOY!

Vanilla Sugar

Yes, you read the title of this post correctly!  I know, I know, I do not use much sugar here at 488, but using artificial sweeteners is NOT an option, and the natural sweeteners that I turn to (honey, molasses, agave nectar, stevia, maple syrup and rice syrup) instead sometimes just do not work.   So when I do bake and need to use sugar, I make sure it is fully loaded with vanilla oils to provide my baked sweets with the absolute BEST flavor!  This is so stinking simple, you will be kicking yourself for not discovering this sooner!  Remember that big bunch of vanilla beans that I convinced you to buy a couple of years ago.  I hope you still have some on hand because all you need to do is chop up a vanilla bean or two and stick them into your sugar jar.  Put the lid on and give the oils time to release into your sugar.   When I get low on sugar or when my beans seem to be losing their oil, I just chop up more! I have had my jar going now for probably 6 years (maybe more), so my jar is packed with beans.

Vanilla sugar!

I usually keep baking sugar in the jar, which has a little finer texture than regular sugar.  Mainly because I like baking with it better, but use what you like!  I am sure you could do the same with brown sugar as well!  I don’t know how powdered sugar would work, but give it a try and let me know what you find!  Anyway, experiment with it and HAVE FUN!


Mushroom madness

I AM BACK!  I have just returned from five weeks in Costa Rica where gorgeous tropical fruit, fresh fish, and spicy greens abound!  Yes, I took full advantage of that fact and ate, and ate, and ate!  I have so many new recipes and food combinations that I can’t wait try here at 488 and share with YOU!  Last night though, my body was really craving some warm comfort food.  I guess that probably has something to do with returning from the tropics to the very cool (yes, we had a dusting of snow on my first night home!) Ozark air!  So, I decided to try something new and create a saucy mushroom dish.  I found a fairly simple beef and mushroom burgundy recipe online, made some of my usual adjustments for more heat and flavor, got rid of the beef, and wound up with this fantastic dish!  I love this earthy, herbal, rich, classic turned vegetarian and gluten free meal!  It perfectly fed my appetite for a hearty, but healthy comforting dinner, and the meat was not missed one little bit!  I can’t tell you how good it feels to be back home with my family and in my kitchen!  I missed them so!

Mushroom burgundy

  • Mushroom Burgundy
  • Serves 4
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 pounds portobello mushrooms, in 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/2 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 medicum yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup full-bodied red wine
  • 2 cups beef or mushroom broth (beef broth is traditional, but mushroom will make it vegetarian)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 cup pearl onions, peeled (optional)
  • 1/2-1 chipotle pepper flakes
  • Quinoa with peas, for serving
  • Sour cream and chopped chives or parsley, for garnish (optional)

Heat the  olive oil and butter in a medium Dutch oven or heavy sauce pan over high heat. Add the pepper flakes.  Sear the mushrooms until they begin to darken, but not yet release any liquid — about three or four minutes. Remove them from pan.

Lower the flame to medium and toss the carrots, onions, thyme, a few good pinches of salt and a several grinds of black pepper into the pan and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for just one more minute.

Add the wine to the pot, scraping any stuck bits off the bottom, then turn the heat up and reduce it by half. Stir in the tomato paste and the broth. Add back the mushrooms with any juices that have collected and once the liquid has boiled, reduce the temperature so it simmers for 20 minutes, or until mushrooms are very tender. Add the pearl onions and simmer for five minutes more.

Lower the heat and simmer for 10 more minutes. If the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to the right consistency. Season to taste.  Serve over quinoa, garnish and ENJOY!!


Crantastic Coleslaw

This year I planted 3 rows of cabbage in my garden, which is 25’x30′, so you can imagine that things are pretty green around here!  2 of the rows are flat leaf, which I am drying and freezing for soups and stews this fall.  The other row is head cabbage–just like you find in the grocery store, only much tastier!!  The cabbage is very crispy, bright green, a little sweet, and just bitter enough!  My only problem is that I have about 30 heads of cabbage ready to eat…NOW!  What that means is that we will be doing the cabbage thing here until we rid the garden of the very last head!  It also means I need to run to Sams to load up on beano!!

Good thing we love cabbage here at 488!  It really is a very versatile vegetable — roasted, dehydrated, fresh in salads and slaws, or cooked in soups and stews.  Use it in mexican, american, indian, german, because it works in just about any type of dish you are craving!  I started simple here last night.  I made a crantastic coleslaw as a side dish.  I served it with roasted salmon and steamed broccoli.  It had a perfect trifecta of flavors–sweet, tangy, and salty–and paired beautifully with a spicy salmon and simple, earthy steamed broccoli.  I bet it would pair perfectly with what you have planned for dinner tonight too!

Now I am going to talk about the leftovers!  I had a nice sized bowl leftover so I decided to have it as my lunch.  I mixed in a generous amount of sodium-free, roasted sunflower seeds and gave it a try.  WOWZA!  It was really, really WOWZA!  I love that it had a little bit of crunch from the veggies, and a huge amount of crunch from the seeds!  Talk about energized…I feel so good, I might just go mow the yard!

Make sure you add the seeds if you want to make a meal out of your slaw!  I promise, you won’t be sorry you did!

Let me know what you think and stay tuned for more cabbage recipes!

Bon Appetit!

Dinner last night: Spicy Salmon, crantastic coleslaw, and steamed broccoli

Crantastic Coleslaw

Servings:  4-5

  • 1 head of cabbage, chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped or grated–I use my mandolin
  • 1/2  (or more, to taste) large red onion, diced
  • 1 c (or more, to taste) sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/2 t celery salt or celery seed
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • chipotle pepper flakes
  • 1/3 c sugar OR 1/4 c honey.  You could probably try agave nectar too!
  • 1/3 c vegetable oil–I used grapeseed oil
  • 1/3 c red wine vingear
  • 1/2-1 c roasted, sodium-free sunflower seeds (optional)
  • 1/2-1 c roasted, shelled pistachios (optional, but delicious!)
  • 1/2 head of broccoli, torn into small pieces (optional)

Put the veggies and cranberries in a large mixing bowl.  In a seperate bowl, add all of the other ingredients and mix the dressing well.  Pour the dressing over the veggies and stir (or put the lid on the bowl and shake) well to distribute the dressing evenly.  You can serve it immediately for a crispier slaw or let it sit for an hour or so for a more tender slaw.  ENjoy!

TACA salad

TACA salad

No, that is NOT a typo!  My TACA salad is a healthy mix of Tomato, Arugula, Cucumber, and Avocado.  The cumin, lime, and cilantro do give it a bit of a mexican flare, but it is definitely not a taco salad (whatever that really is!?!).

My hubby and I visited our local farmers market early Saturday morning.  We lucked out and and scored a big bag of super spicy arugula and some gorgeous (on the tongue and the eye!) cherry tomatoes.  It is pretty sad, but on our drive home we were munching away on the spicy green leaves and sweet little tomatoes…yep, we love to eat like bunnies!  So today I picked a couple of big cucumbers from the garden and made this FANTASTIC salad for lunch!  It was super easy to make and filled me up all afternoon.  Plus, this one will nourish your body like crazy with loads of antioxidants (to help you get rid of cancer causing free radicals), vegetable protein (which is low in acid and easily utilized by the body to make new tissue), healthy omega 3 fats (the backbone of mitochondria, which fuels your cells–esp your brain cells), SULFER (which helps rid the body of toxins), folic acid (which is necessary for DNA and RNA replication–i.e. building new, healthy cells), manganese (supports bone and tissue health), magnesium (transmission of nerve impulses, detoxification of toxins, heart and bone health), and calcium (do I really need to write about this one?!).

Do me a favor:  Hit your local farmer’s market this weekend and try this salad!  You will be very glad that you did!

Bon Appetit!

Stop drooling and get busy chopping!

TACA salad

Servings:  As many as you like!

  • Big bunch of arugula
  • Big bunch of green onions, chopped
  • juice of one lime
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of chipotle pepper flakes
  • 2 cucumbers, cut into bite size cubes
  • 2 avocados, cut into bite size cubes
  • 1 c (or more) cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/2 c cilantro, chopped
  • splash of agave nectar

Mix together the fruit juices, cumin, salt, pepper, agave nectar, and chipotle pepper flakes in a large bowl.  Add in all of the other ingredients, except for the avocado and arugula, and stir until well coated with the dressing.  Add the avocado and very gently stir, until well distributed, being careful not to mash the avocado.  For serving, place a healthy amount of arugula in individual serving bowls.  Divide the vegetable mix evenly, and serve on top of your bed of arugula.  Eat and enjoy!


Chia fruit pudding

Chia seeds are such the rage right now!  I had been silently resisting the temptation to jump on the chia seed party train until I was fully convinced that they were really worth the hype…I didn’t need another trendy food item taking up space in my pantry, afterall!  Well, a few days ago after doing more research on their health benefits (omega 3 fatty acids for mitochondrial renewal, antioxidants to get rid of cancerous free radicals, seed protein with low acidity and high calcium to help build strong, long, and lean muscles and keep my large bones strong, and fiber to keep me GOING!), I finally broke down and bought a big bag from the bulk foods section of my regular grocery store.

Coincidentally, right after I purchased my seeds, I saw a recipe on Pinterest for coconut mango chia seed pudding.  You probably already know how much I love coconut and mango, so I figured this was a pretty safe place to start.  Boy, oh boy, was I right!  I whipped a modified version of this pudding together in about 3 minutes that same afternoon and in the fridge in went.  A short time later, I had to give it a try.  I must say, I liked it.  No, I did not love it–it seemed a bit boring and thin.  Feeling a little miffed and dissatisfied, I went back and read the recipe again.  I had completely forgotten that it suggested waiting overnight (or at least 5 hours) before eating.  Sooooo I stuck it back in the fridge and waited.  WOW, what a difference a few hours made!  My creation had taken on a whole new consistency and honestly, it had a lot more flavor!  I was sooo elated, I ate nearly the whole bowl!!  Since then (which was only about a week ago) I have made it a few more times, trying different fruits and adding some vanilla beans–testing it out to see how versatile it is.  I am happy to report that so far, I have loved everything I made!  Even my hubby–who isn’t crazy about these sorts of dishes– digs on this one!  He had a small bowl with blueberries at lunch today and told me “It is sooo good, it tastes a lot like tapioca”!  When I eat the seeds, I am actually reminded more of poppy seeds because of their size and texture.  Next time I make it, I might try adding some chopped pecans or walnuts to the pudding to make it a great option for breakfast.  Oh, and how about lemon or lime zest?!?  If you want to doll it up a bit more for dessert, try adding some small dark chocolate chips and/or some coconut (toasted coconut?)–I bet it would be fantastic!!  Anyway, I am pretty sure you will almost always find a bowl of this yummy pudding sitting in my fridge just waiting for a hungry tummy to call home!  Bon Appetit!

Chia Pudding

Servings:  4-5

1 c vanilla almond milk (I like Silk’s)

1 c vanilla coconut milk (ditto)

4 T chia seeds

1 c cubed fresh champagne mango (or blueberries, raspberries, peaches, strawberries, blackberries)

dash of sweetener (optional–I don’t do this, but if you like it sweeter add some agave, honey or stevia)

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate for a minimum of 5 hours.  It will thicken up nicely if left overnight!

African peanut soup with an indian jig!

Big chunks of cauliflower in the soup make it soooo pretty!

Take a journey with me to a far away place where exotic spices abound!  This soup, with influences from both Africa and India, will make you feel like you are a long, long way from this crazy place we live in where fast food and processed foods are king!  This soup has soooo much great flavor going on, I am just counting the minutes until I get to have leftovers!  Enjoy it with a side of Moroccan veggies or a nice big salad and you will have a SUPER healthful and VEGAN meal that is kind to your heart, your mind, and your overall well being!  It has been almost 3 weeks since I completely gave up processed foods, gluten, and dairy and have started eating LOADS AND LOADS of veggies and fruits instead–and I feel like a million bucks!  Remember YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!  So start making better choices and I know you will quickly feel like the person you have only dreamed of being.

Bon Appetit!  XOXO

African peanut soup with an indian jig!

Servings:  6-8

  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 6 c water
  • 1-2″ ginger, chopped
  • 2 # butternut squash, cubed
  • 2 yellow pepper , chopped
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 4 yellow onions, chopped
  • 6 green onions,chopped
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 c peanut butter, or more to taste
  • 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (14 oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 T hot smoked paprika
  • 1 T sweet paprika
  • 1 T curry powder
  • 2 T garam masala
  • 1 c dry roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 t chipotle pepper flakes1-2 T ground cumin, to taste
  • 2 c steamed cauliflower
  • cilantro, for garnish

In a large stock pot, warm the coconut oil with the chipotle pepper flakes over low heat.  Add the onions and saute for 5-7 minutes, until they start to soften.  Mix in the garlic and ginger and cook for another 4-5 minutes.  Stir in the canned tomatoes, bell pepper, carrot, cumin, cumin, garam masala, and paprikas and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Turn up the heat to medium/high and add the squash, peanuts, water and season with the salt and pepper.  Bring the pot to boil, reduce heat to low, add peanut butter, cover and cook for 20 minutes.  Turn off or remove the pot from the heat.  Use an immersion blender or food processor to puree the soup to your desired consistency.  Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning as needed.  If you want it to thicken more, cook uncovered until you achieve the desired thickness.  Stir in the green onions and steamed cauliflower.  Serve with a sprinkle of cilantro on top!