Author: Ilene

Vegan Mac and Cheese/No-nuts, no-oil

Vegan Mac and Cheese/No-nuts, no-oil

I have a confession to make. I don’t know what mac and cheese tastes like with dairy. I think I ate it once when I was 11. All I know is that it was disgusting and probably nothing like what you remember. I’ve always been 

Healthy Gluten-Free Brownies

Healthy Gluten-Free Brownies

Healthy Brownies? Yep, these brownies are made without oil, nuts or flour. You won’t believe the secret ingredient. Black beans! They are quick to put together and you can make them just a little sweet or super sweet depending on your taste. No nuts, no 

Healthy Vegan Sweet Potato Muffins & a Road Trip

Healthy Vegan Sweet Potato Muffins & a Road Trip

I just took a 1000 mile roadtrip from Oregon to Southern California. In a week I’m going back home. I definitely learned a few things along the way. I thought it would be helpful to tell you all about my trip and include a delicious recipe for vegan sweet potato muffins, a perfect snack for your next road trip I’m still perfecting the gluten-free version. When it’s ready I’ll be sure to add a link to it here.

Portland traffic is terrible so I wanted to leave by 7am. I got on the freeway at 7:15am. That’s pretty good for me. In my cooler I packed burritos, veggie burgers, tofu ranch dip, a sunbutter & jam sandwich, carrots and sweet potato muffins. I also took some apples, pretzels (have I mentioned I’m addicted?), corn chips, fruit bars and some chocolate. I was worried I might get stuck on a pass in the snow so I packed a lot. And I bought a 6-pack of water bottles for the car. Leaving early turned out to be a great idea as I made it out of Portland very quickly.

My first stop was to get some ice to pour over the food in my cooler. Since the burritos, burgers and muffins were frozen it was keeping things pretty cold. I filled up the tank, got some tea and started the very long drive for the day. My plan was to get through all the mountain passes during daylight. Then I could take a break and head to a friend for the night.

I’ve got an SUV so I put the cooler in the back and kept a few snacks up front with me. Most of my stops were to get more caffeine. Starbucks are everywhere. I would go to a rest stop and look up the closest Starbucks and head over there. They don’t mind if you bring in food.

The sweet potato muffins were one of my best choices. They were a filling snack and went well with my tea. I will definitely take them on my next road trip. The veggie burgers were a terrible idea. Somehow I thought it would be easy to find a place to heat them up. That never happened. On my way home I’m planning things you don’t need to heat.

That first day was very long. I made it through the last mountain pass just before sunset. There was about 2 feet (60cm) of snow on the side of the road and it was just starting a light snow/rain mix. I felt pretty lucky.

So let’s get to that recipe. I found it on a website several years ago and it’s one of my favorites. You can find the original recipe at I like to make it oil-free with raisins. I’m thinking about trying it with chocolate chips. It’s an easy recipe with common ingredients. I’ve used different kinds of flour and they all work well. You could try it with a gluten-free flour mix and it would probably be fine.

Vegan Sweet Potato Muffins – makes 12 muffins

Adapted from Savvy Vegetarian’s recipe


  • 1 1/2 cup flour (whole wheat pastry is best)
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened soy milk (oat milk might be good too)
  • 2 tsp. cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Set aside a non-stick muffin pan or muffin liners.
  3. Mix together the vinegar and soy milk and set aside.
  4. Mix together the flour, oat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger in a large bowl.
  5. Whisk in the applesauce and sweet potato into the vinegar/milk mixture.
  6. Slowly mix the wet mixture into the dry mixture in the large bowl. Stir in raisins.
  7. Spoon the mixture into the muffin pan so they are evenly filled.
  8. Bake 20 to 25 minutes. You can check if they’re done by sticking a toothpick in one and see if it comes out clean.
  9. Use a knife to loosen the muffins and remove to a plate to cool.
  10. Enjoy! They are good with a little apple butter or jam too.
Welcome to 2019!

Welcome to 2019!

Happy New Year! It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything. I’m still vegan and still cooking. In July 2017 my life changed drastically when my husband Anthony passed away. All my plans changed in a moment. I’ve been busy figuring out what the 

Why did I become a Pampered Chef consultant?

Why did I become a Pampered Chef consultant?

Recently I was invited to a Pampered Chef party. I wasn’t sure what to expect. The consultant handed out catalogs and I suddenly got much more interested. There were so many great kitchen tools that would make cooking plant-based fun and simple. The catalog includes 

Super Munchies for Super Bowl Sunday

Super Munchies for Super Bowl Sunday

I’m a big football fan. Even when my team isn’t having a good year I will still watch all the games. This year was particularly bad as my team not only lost but moved to a new city. But that doesn’t mean I can’t still enjoy Super Bowl Sunday.

The last few years I’ve had a bit of a tradition. I like to make cauliflower buffalo wings. Every year I try a slightly different recipe. I’m still working on the perfect buffalo wing.

A new tradition I’m starting this year is to add french fries. These are very special fries. They convinced me that I no longer needed to eat greasy fries ever again. My friend Chuck Underwood from Brand New Vegan has the ultimate recipe. Check out his Crispy, Oven Baked, Fat Free French Fries. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Back to the cauliflower buffalo wings. Now if you’re not into spicy stuff you might want to try a different sauce. Personally, I try to make these as spicy as possible.

I’ve tried a few different kinds of flour and found that rice flour works best. If you want to be a little lazy you can use frozen cauliflower. Let it defrost a little before you start working with it.

Now you can’t have spicy wings without a good ranch sauce. My favorite recipe is super easy and quick to make especially if you have an immersion blender. Morgan’s recipe for Plant Strong Vegan Ranch will change your mind about ranch sauce. Don’t forget to top it with chives. They make this recipe special.

A few more munchies that go well with the wings and great with the ranch sauce are mini-cucumbers, baby carrots, celery, and jicama. Nice and crunchy fresh vegetables contrast perfectly with those spicy wings.

Super Bowl Sunday is always a little bit sad for me. It means the end of the season. Now I have to find something else to do every Sunday until the next season starts. Maybe I can work on perfecting my wings.

Before you start you’ll want to get everything ready. This is called mise en place. It makes cooking so much easier.

  • Pre-heat the oven to 450°.
  • Gather all ingredients.
  • Set out two medium bowls.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Super Munchies for Super Bowl Sunday
Recipe Type: Snacks
Cuisine: American
Author: Ilene
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1 – 2 servings
Ready for the big game? Enjoy wings and fries with ranch sauce that healthy, vegan and gluten-free.
  • 1 head Cauliflower broken into pieces (or 1-2 bags of frozen cauliflower defrosted slightly)
  • ½ cup Brown rice flower
  • ½ tsp. Garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. Onion powder
  • Plant-based milk (I use unsweetened soy milk)
  • 1 Tbsp. Corn meal (optional)
  • ½ cup Frank’s original red hot sauce
  1. In the first bowl do the following: Mix garlic powder, onion powder, rice flour and plant-based milk together until somewhat thickened. Add cornmeal if using. Add more flour or milk as needed to get to the consistency you like. You may need to add a little more seasoning if you add a lot more flour or milk.
  2. Add a few pieces of cauliflower at a time to the bowl.
  3. Stir so the cauliflower is completely coated with the flour mixture.
  4. Place the cauliflower on the baking sheet.
  5. Once all the cauliflower is coated, place in oven for about 15 minutes. Test with a fork to make sure it’s tender. Cook another 5-10 minutes if not tender.
  6. In the second bowl add some Frank’s hot sauce.
  7. Take cauliflower out of oven. Carefully put a few pieces in the bowl with the hot sauce, stir to cover each piece.
  8. Put cauliflower back on baking sheet.
  9. Bake another 5 minutes.
  10. Let cool for at least 10 minutes! This is important.
  11. Dip in ranch sauce and enjoy.


Eating healthy when life is crazy

Eating healthy when life is crazy

My life is a little crazy right now. Maybe a whole lot of crazy. I hope you’ll excuse me for not including any recipes in today’s post. I promise a bunch of recipes are coming your way very soon. I’m getting ready to make a 

Sun Bites

Sun Bites

Do you ever feel like you just want something sweet but you only want a bite? I’m always trying to eat healthy, whole food avoiding candy and sweets. Despite that I love baking and making sweets to give away. Planning to give them away ensures 

Eating My Greens Soup

Eating My Greens Soup

Lately I’ve been tracking what I eat using Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen app on my phone. (Check it out on iTunes or Google Play.) It appears I’m missing out on cruciferous vegetables and greens. So I came up with a strategy, make a bag of frozen vegetables (cruciferous, of course) and have them with lunch and dinner. So now I’ve tackled one problem but not the other. It’s not that I don’t like greens, well maybe that is it. Anyway I have to trick myself into eating the kale staring at me every time I open the fridge. So I thought why not throw all the leftover vegetables into my Instant Pot and see what happens?


It turned out I had a few items clamoring to be used. A bunch of semi-wilted kale, half an onion, zucchini, yellow squash and mushrooms. I added some garlic and tamari and about 1 cup of my favorite broth mix from My Plant-Based Family.

First I had to clean and chop everything. I sliced the onion and left them in pretty large pieces. The mushrooms were already sliced saving some time. I diced the zucchini and squash small so they would cook quickly. Also, after cleaning the kale I chopped it into a mix of ribbons and smaller pieces.

Then I began by setting the Instant Pot to sauté and adding the onions.


After they cooked for about 3 minutes it was time to add the mushrooms and garlic.


It took about 3 minutes of cooking and stirring for the mushrooms to cook.




Then it was time to add the zucchini and squash.20160721_130800





After stirring everything really well I added the kale, tamari and broth over the top. Closed and set the Instant Pot to 3 minutes. I did a quick release when it was finished.

Time to test the results! It’s delicious. Maybe next time I should add my cruciferous vegetables and get two checks with one recipe.



Eating My Greens Soup
Recipe Type: Soup
Cuisine: Vegan
Author: Ilene
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6 servings
Gluten-free, vegan, nut-free vegetable soup
  • 1/2 Medium Onion sliced
  • 1-2 Cloves Garlic
  • 8 oz. Mushrooms sliced
  • 2 Zucchini chopped small
  • 1 Yellow Squash chopped small
  • 1 Bunch of Kale chopped
  • 1 tsp Tamari
  • 1 cup Broth
  1. Slice onions and mushrooms.
  2. Chop remaining vegetables small.
  3. Turn Instant Pot (IP) on saute.
  4. Add onions and saute for about 3 minutes or until translucent.
  5. Add mushrooms and garlic. Saute about 2-3 minutes.
  6. Turn off Instant Pot.
  7. Add zucchini and squash, mix well.
  8. Add kale, tamari and broth on top and close lid.
  9. Set IP on manual for 3 minutes. Quick release.
  10. Enjoy!


Making Ratatouille with Lentils

Making Ratatouille with Lentils

I love eating eggplant. It’s gotten me in trouble before. But that’s a whole other story. Whenever I go to the grocery store I check to see if any of the eggplant look edible. Lately it’s been very sad. The eggplant looks like it was