Vegan Under Pressure (Perfect Vegan Meals Made Quick and Easy in Your Pressure Cooker)

I am very excited to be part of the Vegan Under Pressure Blog Tour by reviewing Vegan Under Pressure, by Jill Nussinow, MS, RDN.  I created her Tapioca Berry Parfait and it was fabulous! See recipe below.

Jill Nussinow, known as The Veggie Queen,  became a Registered Dietitian because she always cared about her food, what it tasted like and that it was healthy.  She has followed a vegetarian diet, and then a vegan diet, since she was a teenager. About twenty years ago she rediscovered the age-old method of pressure cooking. She found it saved so much time when cooking whole grains and dried beans, as well as so many other foods.  The pressure cooker changed her cooking life and her health.  She could finally cook flavorful beans, vegetables, soups, stews, fillings, sauces and so much more in an hour or less.

I also love using my pressure cooker.  The foods taste amazing and I am always surprised at how quickly they cook and how fresh they taste.  Many foods cooked in a pressure cooker retain the nutrient-rich cooking liquid, so you are not throwing away any nutrients. I am all about preserving and making sure we get the nutrients from our foods. You can saute right in the pressure cooker without adding any oils, which I love!  For those of you concerned about BPA lining canned food, the ability to cook dried beans in just 12 minutes or less in the pressure cooker means avoiding this potential health hazard by not buying the cans. If you don't already have a pressure cooker, I would recommend it as an essential kitchen tool! It  will save you an enormous amount of time in the kitchen preparing healthy, fresh foods.

Vegan Under Pressure is divided up into twelve chapters.

Chapter One:  Introduction to Pressure Cooking.
Chapter Two:  Pressure Cooking Basics
Chapter Three:  Spice Blends and Other Seasonings
Chapter Four:  Grains
Chapter Five:  Beans
Chapter Six:  Vegetables
Chapter Seven:  Soups
Chapter Eight:  Main Courses
Chapter Nine:  Burgers, Patties, and Savory Cakes
Chapter Ten:  Toppers: Sauces, Fillings, and More
Chapter Eleven:  Appetizers
Chapter Twelve:  Desserts
Tapioca Berry Parfait, pg. 302 (Photo © Lauren Volo)
Tapioca Berry Parfait
Serves 4
Making dessert doesn't get much easier than this.  Be sure to use a 6-quart (or larger) cooker as this gets very foamy, which can clog the vent or cause spewing liquid in a smaller pot.  Make a double batch if you have enough room; it's that good.

½ cup small pearl (not instant) tapioca
2 cups almond or any nondairy milk
Pinch of salt, optional
¼ cup organic sugar or blonde coconut palm sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon lemon zest
2 cups fresh berries of your choice, sliced as needed
Fresh mint, for garnish

1. Place the tapioca pearls in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under running water for 30 seconds.

2. Add the milk to a pressure cooker.  Add the tapioca and salt, if using, and stir.  Lock the lid.  Bring to a high pressure; cook for 4 minutes.  Let the pressure come down naturally.  Quick release any remaining pressure after 20 minutes.  Open the lid carefully, tilting it away from you.

3. Stir in the sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest.

4. Spoon 2 tablespoons berries into the bottom of 4 pretty bowls or parfait glasses.  Add about 1/4 cup tapioca, then 3 tablespoons berries. Add another 1/4 cup tapioca and top with berries.  Garnish with mint.

Variation: If stone fruits are in season, substitute chopped stone fruit for the berries.
Love the lemon zest in this recipe!
Text excerpted from Vegan Under Pressure, © 2015 by Jill Nussinow.  Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.  All rights reserved.
Learn more about Jill Nussinow,  get more recipes, and watch videos on her website below:
The Veggie Queen

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Vegan-Ease (An Easy Guide to Enjoying a Plant-Based Diet) Book Review and Giveaway

I am very excited to be part of the Vegan-Ease blog tour by reviewing Vegan-Ease (An Easy Guide to Enjoying a Plant-Based Diet), by Laura Theodore. I will also be giving away an autographed copy of this book & a Pascha Vegan Chocolate Bar - YUMMY!!  (see bottom of page for instructions to win). I created her maple-raisin date truffles and they were excellent! (See pictures and recipe below). 

Laura's book has a beautiful hardcover with color pictures on almost every page. This book is a great resource for anyone wanting to eat healthy and save money.  There is a section (Page 21-24) by Julieanna Hever called, Plant Based Nutrition 101.  You will love this on nutrient know-how.  She explains and answers the most common questions, "Where do you get your nutrients such as protein, vitamin B12, vitamin D or calcium?"  Veggies (especially leafy greens)  and fruits are the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, she explains. 

There is a section on stocking your pantry and an easy eco-clean way to cleaning your kitchen using baking soda. I love all the helpful information on getting organized.

The first page of her book starts out with a quote from Thomas A. Edison " The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease." 

Vegan-Ease has 3 parts-
Part I:  What do I eat and why? Why a plant-based diet? Making vegan  easy, and ease-y essential guides.

Part II: The Recipes - 
Fast appetizers and fun beverages
Good morning eye openers
Muffins, quick breads and baked delights
Simple Soups
Speedy salads, dressings and sandwiches
Pasta and pizzas, pronto!
The main dish made ease-y
Sunny sides
Easiest. Desserts. Ever.
Fancy finishes
Stress-free holiday recipes

Part III: The menu, please!
Menu planning basics
Menus for every occasion

Maples-Raisin Date Truffles (made by the Health Seeker's Kitchen) Super easy to make!!

Maple-Raisin-Date Truffles
Makes 10 to 12 Truffles / Ease Factor 1  
Printable Recipe

These tasty truffles are pretty too, making an excellent healthy dessert or snack to satisfy your sweet tooth. Bonus: Impressive to serve for a dinner party too!

9 large Medjool dates, pitted
1⁄3 cup raisins
¼ cup raw unsweetened shredded dried coconut
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Line a small baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.

Put the dates, raisins, coconut and maple syrup in a high-performance blending appliance and process to the consistency of soft dough. Transfer the date mixture to a medium-sized bowl. Using a cookie scoop, spoon out a heaping tablespoon of the date mixture, and roll it into a ball. Continue in this manner to form 10 to 12 truffle balls.
Put the cocoa powder in a small bowl. Roll the truffles in the cocoa powder until coated and place on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate 1 hour. Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, truffles will keep up to 3 days.

Watch Laura Theodore make this recipe at

Amount per serving, based on 12 servings/truffles:  100 Calories; 3g Fat; 3g Saturated fat; 1g Protein; 3mg Sodium; 20g Total Carbohydrate; 16g Sugars; 3g Fiber

Recipe © 2015 Laura Theodore, published by Jazzy Vegetarian, LLC, reprinted by permission.
Autographed Copy of Vegan-Ease and Chocolate Bar Giveaway

Enter for your chance to win Laura Theodore's Cookbook, Vegan-Ease, by leaving a comment below with the answer to the following question:

“What are you doing to improve your health and well-being over the holidays?”
US residents only.

The drawing will take place on Wednesday, October 21st and the winner will be announced that day.

Best of luck!!  I can't wait to read al
l of your comments. We can all learn and be motivated by each other.  Thank you for sharing:)


Congratulations Lois, you are the winner of Laura Theodore's cookbook, Vegan-Ease. I hope you enjoy the new book and the Pascha Vegan Chocolate Bar. Good luck with all your healthy endeavors. 

Thank you to everyone that added a comment. I loved reading your remarks and I know they not only inspired me, but many who read them. Best of health!!

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Love Fed (Purely Decadent, Simply Raw, Plant-Based Desserts) Book Review & Recipe

I am very excited to be a part of the Love Fed Blog Tour by reviewing, Love Fed (Purely Decadent, Simply Raw, Plant-Based Desserts) by Christina Ross and published by BenBella Books.  Check out the links above for more exciting reviews and recipes during this awesome tour. 

Love Fed  is a beautifully illustrated book that can help you achieve better health. Christina has eliminated harmful sugars and refined ingredients to all her recipes.  I love that  they are also raw and full of flavor. Raw food is more "alive" and retains its enzymes, hormones, vitamins and minerals, that otherwise might be lost. Many dessert books claim to be healthy,  but what you are really getting is high fat, sugar loaded dessert bombs.  Not so with Love Fed! Christina's book has 80 delicious, easy recipes, without a touch of gluten, dairy, or refined sweeteners. Very little sweetener is added to her recipes. At first you may even think they need more sugar, but they don't.  It is just your taste buds that are use to very sweet treats. Sugar is an addiction that contributes to a huge collection of health problems. These health conditions are easily eliminated by just reducing or eliminating most of your sugar intake. A great goal to add to your New Years resolutions (2015)  is to eliminate these harmful sugars. Clean out your pantry and start today!!  A book like Love Fed can help all of us still enjoy treats, but achieve this goal.  

The recipe I decided to share with all of you is on page 117, Red Velvet Chia Parfait.  Doesn't that just sound scrumptious?  It was very light, delicious, satisfying and turned out beautiful (See my photo below)

Red Velvet Chia Parfait
Yield: 4 parfaits
Prep time: 15 minutes

Parfaits provide a lot of payoff for very little effort—in 15 minutes you can have a beautiful, deliciously creamy dessert. This parfait is notable for the raw vegan cream cheese frosting on top. It’s wonderful spread on cakes and cupcakes, too. If you like a sweeter frosting, feel free to add 2 tbsp. of your favorite sweetener.

¼ c. chia seeds (black or white or a mix of the two)
1 tbsp. cacao powder
2 c. almond milk
2 tsp. beet juice or natural red food coloring
1 ½ tsp. coconut nectar
¼ tsp. vanilla bean powder or vanilla extract

4 tbsp. melted coconut oil (see page 28)
2 c. chilled coconut cream
1 tbsp. Meyer lemon juice (regular lemon juice works, too)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Chocolate curls or cacao powder, for garnish

To make the parfait base: Combine the chia seeds, cacao powder, almond milk, beet juice, coconut nectar, and vanilla bean powder in a medium bowl and whisk until well incorporated. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes to thicken. Make the frosting.

To make the frosting: Place the melted coconut oil, coconut cream, lemon juice, and vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric mixer or a large bowl. Beat on medium speed or whisk by hand until the mixture is whipped and well incorporated. Don’t overmix or the frosting will be runny.

To assemble: Divide the chia mixture among 4 parfait glasses or bowls.

Place a frosting bag (or plastic bag) inside a glass, allowing the top of the bag to fold over the outside of the glass. This will allow you to scoop frosting into the bag without the risk of it leaking. Fill the bag with the frosting, then squeeze a dollop into each parfait glass on top of the chia mixture. Add the garnish and serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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The China Study All-Star Collection Cookbook Review & Sweet Potato Chili with Kale

Following her bestselling The China Study Cookbook, Leanne Campbell brings together top names in the Plant-based community to share their favorite and most delicious recipes in this awesome THE CHINA STUDY All-Star Collection. LeAnne Campbell, PhD, lives in Durham, North Carolina and has been preparing meals based on a whole foods, plant-based diet for almost twenty years and for her two sons - Steven and Nelson, who are now twenty and nineteen.  As a working mother, she found ways to prepare quick and easy meals without using animal products or adding fat.

More and more doctors are recommending a plant-based diet as the foundation of your healthy eating plan. When you have a strong foundation, your body can resist disease and illness.  A good diet is the most powerful weapon we have in the fight for real health.  Pioneering chefs (like myself), and those contributing to this book continue to demonstrate the ease and pleasure of using a plant-based diet. Their are so many possibilities and a lot of recipes are just simple with a few ingredients.

The cookbook author contributors include: Chef AJ, Ani Phyo, Christina Ross, Christy Morgan, Del Sroufe, Dreena Burton, Heather Crosby, John and Mary McDougall, Laura Theodore, Lindsay S. Nixon and Tracy Russell.  You should definitely add this beautiful book to your collection.  You won't be disappointed!!

The recipe I choose to share with you is Chef AJ's Sweet Potato Chili with Kale. Since cold weather is right around the corner, I am starting to think about what kind of healthy, warm soups I will make and this chili caught my attention.  I love this recipe for many reasons.  First,  it is bursting with so much flavor having not one grain of salt or any fat added.  AMAZING!!! Second, I love that it is bursting with nutrition, and far beyond. Third, it is a gorgeous, hearty and satisfying soup. I hope you will give this recipe a try and let me know how you liked it.

There is no dish that can’t be improved by the addition of kale!

1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeded and finely diced
3 cups orange juice, divided
2 pounds sweet potatoes, diced (no need to peel if organic)
2 15-ounce cans sodium-free kidney beans
2 14.5-ounce cans sodium-free fire-roasted tomatoes (I prefer Muir Glen)
1 tablespoon sodium-free chili powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder or more to taste
8 ounces Lacinato kale, finely shredded

1.      In large pot, sauté onion and bell pepper in half of the orange juice for 8–10 minutes until onion is soft and translucent.
2.      Add all remaining ingredients except for the kale. Bring to a boil and then decrease heat to let simmer for 25–30 minutes until the sweet potatoes are soft but not mushy.
3.      Turn off heat and stir in kale so it wilts, then serve.
4.      To make in an electric pressure cooker, place all ingredients except for the kale in the cooker and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Stir kale in before serving.

This dish is great with a piece of corn bread on top!
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Adorable Bubble 'n' Bee Skirts & Kids Can Cook (Vegetarian Recipes) Cookbook Review

Isn't this skirt by Bubble 'n' Bee Boutique absolutely adorable with the hippos, zebras, frogs, birds & elephants. Lola, my granddaughter, was so excited to model for me in my backyard. The skirt is a Michael Miller designer fabric, which is why you can see and feel the quality. And, your little girl will be so comfortable in it. Bubble 'n' Bee Boutique has been in business since 2010, so you will find a huge selection of skirts that include holiday designs and all are created with lots of love♥. You can also check out her website Bubble 'n' Bee.
Dorothy Bates is the author of this fun 'Kids Can Cook' recipe book.  It has delicious vegetarian foods that kids like to eat and cook themselves.  A growing number of today's young people are interested in becoming vegetarians or having a diet that consists of mostly plant-based foods. This book has easy recipes for beginners and are kid-tested, kid-approved.  Dorothy has written or collaborated on eleven vegetarian cookbooks and has spent many years teaching young people how to cook their favorite vegetarian dishes in her home in Summertown, Tenn. 

Vegetarian and plant-based diets that contain adequate calories and a variety of foods can meet all of the nutritional needs of kids and teens and are associated with health advantages.  Even so, when it comes to designing a vegetarian diet, a few key nutrients deserve special attention. On page 4-5 Dorothy explains what these key nutrients are and how to easily get them.  Page 10- 11 shows useful tools for the young cook and secrets of successful cooks.  Kids Can Cook is perfect for kids who want to try their hand at creating their own tasty meatless dishes and for parents who want recipes that are nutritious and easy to prepare. Below is a recipe from the book.  It was a hit with my hubby and other family members.  Notice the yummy homemade salsa on the side.

Makes 8 Servings

 1. Have ready:
 8 gluten-free brown rice tortillas
 1 pound fresh organic baby spinach
 1 cup grated pepper jack rice cheese

2.  Steam baby spinach until slightly soft.

3.  Heat a skillet or griddle, and cook the tortillas one at a time. 30 seconds on a side.  
Spread a little spinach and about 2 tablespoons of grated cheese on half the tortilla,and fold the other half over.  Continue until all the tortillas are filled.

4.  Cook about 1 minute on each side, until the cheese melts.

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