Monthly Archives: October 2011


Happy Halloween!

On a day like today when candy is king, here is a great recipe to use in order to get some salad into your little ones before they go out trick-or-treating.

I was contacted this morning by Amanda from the  Secret Recipe Club because the blog, A Cooks Quest, was orphaned in this mornings reveal.  I checked-out her blog and instantly found the recipe I wanted to make.  My son has been begging me lately to make a vegan ranch dressing that ACTUALLY tastes like ranch and thanks to A Cooks Quest I just made a vegan version that will fool the most discerning ranch aficionado!  My little guy is going to be soooooo  thrilled with me (major mom points!).

I did need to alter the recipe a little since I could not find dried minced onions (my grocery store had 4 different brands of onion powder, but no minced onions) and I think that the next time I make the mix I will reduce the salt a little. ¬†It did not taste overly salty, but I am trying to reduce my family’s salt consumption.

Click here for the original recipe from A Cooks Quest.

INGREDIENTS for Ranch Dressing Mix

3 1/2 teaspoons organic onion powder
8 teaspoon parsley flakes
4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika

**Cook’s note-this recipe is easily modified!¬† I love to add salsa to it for taco salads and roasted garlic for a delicious dip**

Mix together in a bowl and then pour the contents into a coffee grinder to reduce the size of the parsley flakes. ¬†That’s it! ¬†Store the mix in an air tight container (I used a small mason jar).

Now you have a great mix that you can use to make Ranch Dressing and Ranch Dip.  Since I did not use the minced onions and the powder had a smaller volume, I had to adjust the amount of mix you use to make the dressing and dip.  Thank you Google for helping me figure out that 1/3 cup total mix Р16 teaspoons.  I knew that the mix would yield 4 full size dressing or dip recipes, so I was able to figure out that 4 teaspoons of mix is needed for each recipe.

To veganize the recipes I used Vegenaise and Sour Supreme by Tofutti sour cream.  I also reduced the amount of mayonnaise (originally was 1 cup) to reduce the amount of fat in the total recipe.  I replaced 1/3 cup of the mayonnaise with So Delicious Original Creamer.

 Mix 4 teaspoons dry mix with
2/3 cup Vegenaise
1/3 cup So Delicious Original Creamer and
1 cup vegan sour cream


Mix 4 teaspoons dry mix with 2 cups vegan sour cream

*Mix up a few hours before serving, so the flavors all blend nicely.



Filed under Dip, Gluten Free, Quick, Recipes, Salad Dressing, Sauce / Spread / Jam / Yogurt, Secret Recipe Club, Vegan, Vegetarian


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Filed under Holidays, Vegan, Vegetarian


There is something about spiced cider that just makes me feel like the holidays have arrived. ¬†As I type this post I have a pot of cider brewing on my stove and my house smells amazing…

When I was little it was always a tradition in my house to have a pot of spiced cider on the stove on Halloween. ¬†Now when I think of Halloween I can’t imagine not having the wonderful smell of apple cider wafting through my home.

As kids we used to love to help my mom push the cloves into the oranges.  The design possibilities were endless, jack-o-lantern faces, fun spirals, words, etc.

Spiced apple cider is sinfully easy to make; apple juice, oranges, cloves, and cinnamon sticks. ¬†Bring all of the ingredients to a boil and then lower the heat to a very low simmer. ¬†Test the “spiciness” of the cider as it simmers and when it reaches the flavor profile you prefer, remove the cloved oranges (otherwise it will get REALLY strong). ¬†Throughout the day some liquid will evaporate, so simply pour some filtered water into the pot to bring the volume back up. ¬†The cider will be very hot, so have some ice on hand for when you serve it to little ones.

What Halloween traditions did you have in your home growing-up?


Filed under Drinks, Gluten Free, Holidays, Kid Friendly, Quick, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian


Congratulations to the winners of the So Delicious Giveaway –

Lauren at EverydayRevelry

Evan at TheWannabeChef

Both have won a coupon entitling them to Any one So Delicious Dairy Free item!!!

Lauren and Evan…please email your mailing address to me at gretchen (at)


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Filed under Giveaways, Vegan, Vegetarian


I have a confession to make. ¬†Lately I am having a REALLY hard time getting my daughter to eat her veggies. ¬†There. ¬†I said it. ¬†I can exhale now. ¬†How did we get from her being a baby who gorged on veggies (I couldn’t stop her), to a six year old who throws a tantrum every night about eating said vegetables???

This new found phase she is exhibiting has been making me feel like a phony; If I am having such a hard time convincing my daughter to eat her greens, who am I to be telling you how to make your children eat their greens?

Bottom line, I have a stubborn daughter (It takes one to know one). ¬†I often hear a story from my dad about how he had a battle of wills over veggies with one of his daughters (wonder who that was?). ¬†Apparently I was told that I couldn’t leave the table until I finished my veggies and I didn’t cave in and eat them until almost 2am (trust me, I take the word “stubborn” to new highs). ¬†Fortunately I also have an older son, so I know from experience that she is going through a phase. ¬†We will get through this and she will come out the other side a vegetable lover just as my son did and just as I did.

In the meantime we have a new rule in our household when it comes to little miss veggie hater; ¬†she must eat her serving of vegetables before she is served the rest of her dinner. ¬†It may seem harsh, but I am tired of ending our meals with veggie tantrums…better to have them at the beginning of the meal and leave the table happy. ¬†We are on day three of this new system and while there has definitely been resistance (that’s a polite way of saying kicking and screaming), the fight is a little less every day.

Unlucky for her the Gods gave her a mama that just so happens to be even more stubborn than her.

We will get through this.  Eating veggies is just that important.

UPDATE РThe tantrums are over!  She has been eating her veggies and even likes to eat romaine salad right now.  I am not saying the war is won or that she is thrilled to be eating her greens, but the trick of eating her veggies before the rest of the meal seems to be working!!!


Filed under Children, Education, Vegan, Vegetarian


It is time again for Secret Recipe Club. ¬†Once a month I participate in a fun and inspiring blog swap of sorts. ¬†This month I was assigned Erin’s blog, A Tale of One Foodie’s Culinary Adventures.

Erin’s¬†favorite part of cooking and baking is doing it for other people…a girl after my own heart! ¬†She started the blog as a¬†pseudo¬†journal so she could keep track of all the cooking, baking and wine tasting she does. ¬†While cruising through her blog I saw many mouthwatering dishes that I was interested in making …many of which were vegan and the others which me great recipe ideas that I could take back to the kitchen and veganize. ¬†Ultimately I decided to make her Oat Roasted Pears which she adapted from a recipe by Anna Olson. ¬†My family is slightly obsessed with pears right now since they are at the peak of amazing this time of year.

Since coming back from the Healthy Lifestyle Expo a few weekends ago I am primed to make as many healthy changes as I can in my cooking and baking, so I eliminated all of the butter and refined sugar from this dish and substituted date sugar and honey (I also used pecans vs. almonds since that is what I had on hand).  In addition, I halved the recipe since there are only four of us.

The end result was delicious and we all loved it!

For Erin’s original recipe, click here.

Honey Oat Roasted Pears
Recipe from¬†Anna Olson’s cookbook Fresh, p 120


Preheat the oven to 375F. Toss the oats, date sugar, honey, pecans and cinnamon to combine.

Cut the pears in half (don’t peel them) and scoop out their cores (I used a melon baller).

Lay the pear halves in a baking dish.

Press 1/4 of the oat filling into the center of each pear.

Bake, uncovered for 25 minutes, until pears are tender and the oat filling is lightly browned.  NOTE РWatch closely.  If the oat mixture begins to cook too rapidly, cover with foil.

Serve warm, drizzled with maple syrup or honey and vanilla yogurt.

For a printable version of this recipe click here. 



Filed under Cooked Fruit, Dessert, Fruit, Gluten Free, Pie / Crumble / Cobbler, Recipes, Secret Recipe Club, Vegan, Vegetarian

HEALTHY TASTE OF LA – Sunday Nov. 6th

Chef AJ has organized and amazing event that will take place next Sunday, November 6th from 9 – 5 at the South Bay Redondo Seventh Day Adventist Church. ¬†I highly recommend this event…Just look at the list of celebrity chefs and experts that will be there…AMAZING!!!

Interested in sampling delicious plant-based recipes from some of the best chefs in the world of Plant-based nutrition like Chefs Ramses Bravo, Eric Tucker, Ann Gentry, Eric Lechasseur, Lindsay Nixon and Chef AJ?  How about listening to lectures from experts in the field like T. Colin Campbell and Julieanna Hever?  Healthy Taste of LA II is Sunday, November 6th from 9 Р5 at the South Bay Redondo Seventh Day Adventist Church.

South Bay Redondo Seventh Day Adventist Church 
401 S. Prospect Avenue
Redondo Beach, CA 90277

For more information and to register for this one of a kind event visit:

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Filed under Cooking Demonstration, Education, Events, General Vegan, Vegan, Vegetarian


Thanks to Facebook, my high school friend Sirica and I reconnected over our mutual passion for plant-based living. ¬†For three years Sirica was my buddy in High School German. ¬†She is THE reason I survived that class…so much so that when she graduated (she was one year ahead of me) I didn’t take German my Senior year. ¬†Our teacher had his¬†quirks for sure; using a book from 1960 (a German exchange student in the class informed us that, “No one speaks like this in Germany anymore”) and leaving the doors open EVERY day of the year (It actually gets pretty darn cold in Northern California), not to mention the fact that he was excruciatingly¬†strict (despite my nerdy tendencies and every effort I could NEVER get above a B+ in that class!!!…apparently that still bothers me). ¬†I actually look back at those memories and laugh. ¬†Funny enough I know Herr Stride liked me…I think a large reason was the fact that we shared the same heritage in that we were both Norwegian and German.

I love having Sirica back in my life!

Sirica is a stay at home mom with two sweet boys, is a lover of food and wine, and has dreams of having a gourmet kitchen someday on an organic farm with a really cute farmer by her side…her hubby John.  She loves listening to music, reading her Bible, playing with their chocolate lab and being outside with her family.  She is passionately committed to sharing her joy of cooking with others and hopes to inspire them to enjoy the benefits of a plant based whole food lifestyle.  On the rare occasion that she gets time alone, you can find her curled up on the couch with a couple of cookbooks.

I am hopeful that this is the first of many Guest Blogs from Sirica on Veggie Grettie…I have already dreamed-up her regular Guest Blog title…get ready for “Cooking With Sirica.”


The first time I saw this recipe in Vegetarian Times magazine, I passed on making it because we normally don’t eat soy-based fake meat, but after a second look I decided to give it a try and boy am I glad I did! It is one of the tastiest dishes we have ever made and a real treat to enjoy on special occasions. With all soy products, I recommend using organic and non-GMO. Don’t miss the garlic aioli, it is a fantastic compliment to the crispy texture of the baked topping.

Fideuà is a Spanish dish typically made with thin noodles instead of rice which is found in another popular Spanish dish, Paella. And since I love paella, I knew this would be a hit with my family. Below you will find the original recipe from Vegetarian Times along with my changes.

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 8 oz. angel hair pasta, broken into 2-inch lengths (2 cups)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups sliced wild mushroom mix (such as cremini, button or oyster mushrooms)
  • 1/2 8-oz. pkg. soy chorizo chopped (1/2 sausage)
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika (optional)
  • 1 8-oz. can sodium-free tomato sauce (I used TJ‚Äôs Tomato Basil Marinara)
  • 2 cups mushroom broth or low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 8 oz. fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces


Heat 1 Tbs. oil in wok, paella pan, or large skillet over medium heat. Add pasta, and cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned and opaque, stirring constantly. Transfer pasta to paper-towel-lined plate to drain.

Add remaining 1 Tbs. oil to pan, and heat over medium heat. Add onion, and cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until soft.

Stir in mushrooms, soy chorizo, bell pepper, 2 Tbs. parsley, garlic, and smoked paprika (if using), and cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Stir in tomato sauce.

Add pasta, broth, and 1/2 cup water (I used rice milk instead to add a little creaminess), and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add asparagus, and cover; simmer 3 minutes (I added the asparagus after simmering for 20 minutes to really thicken up the sauce and because I used gluten free pasta which takes a little longer to cook).

Preheat oven to broil. If using wok or skillet, transfer pasta mixture to 10-inch or larger round cake pan. Place paella pan or cake pan under broiler, and broil 3 to 4 minutes, or just until pasta is crisp on top. Watch carefully‚ÄĒit burns quickly.

To serve, top with garlic aioli (recipe below) and sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbs. parsley.

Garlic Aioli

  • 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise (I like veganaise)
  • 3 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Enjoy with a nice glass of wine!

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

First Fideua picture courtesy of Vegetarian Times Magazine

Remaining pictures courtesy of Sirica


Filed under Cooking With Sirica, Guest Blog, Main Dish, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

SO DELICIOUS COCONUT MILK – Holiday Flavors and Giveaway

The holidays came early to my house. ¬†I received my first present of the season when FedEx dropped off So Delicious’s Seasonal Coconut Milk Beverages to my doorstep this morning. ¬†So Delicious contacted me to tell me that the milks would arrive this morning and I seriously think the FedEx man must have thought I was coo coo because I was literally waiting at the door when he arrived.

OH MY GOSH they are good! ¬†Then Nog is so flavorful and pours thick like a “real” nog does, but without the guilt and oodles of fat that accompany the dairy version. ¬†When I was about 5 years old I consumed a half gallon of egg nog on my own and as you can imagine, I have avoided the dairy version like the plague since (I am shocked I did not have a heart attack right then and there!). ¬†So Delicious has come to the rescue and provided me with an option that I like and does not conjure-up bad memories for me. ¬†Yay!

As you can imagine, the Mint Chocolate is out of this world.  I think I will need to pour some into an opaque container so I can save some for myself since I know the kids are going to absolutely decimate it when they get home from school.  I so want to cook and bake with these milks!  I am thinking the kids will love the recipe for the Vegan Nog French Toast (breakfast tomorrow!).  I love that they included recipes on the carton.

The beverages will retail for around $2.99, which I consider to be very reasonable.  I know my fridge will be stocked with them.  Click here for nutrition information.  Click here for a store locator.


So Delicious has generously provided the readers of Veggie Grettie with a nice giveaway… TWO coupons for a “FREE So Delicious Dairy Free item.”¬†

To Enter:

1.  LIKE the So Delicious Dairy Free Facebook Fan page (


2.  FOLLOW them on Twitter (

3.  Come back to this post and leave me a comment letting me know you have LIKED their page and let me know which flavor you are most excited to try.

Nice and simple.

I will announce the two winners (each will receive 1 coupon) on Thursday of next week 10/27/11.


Filed under Breads / Crackers / Muffins, Breakfast, Contests, Dessert, Giveaways, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Product Reviews, Pudding / Mousse, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian


I just spent the most amazing weekend with my friend Sirica at the Healthy Lifestyle Expo in Woodland Hills, CA. ¬†The event was put on by VegSource and absolutely blew me away. ¬†My mind is racing and so excited about all of the information I absorbed and I can’t wait to share it with all of you.

As a little teaser I want to list the presenters from this weekend (click on their names for more information):

Neal Barnard, MD
Joel Fuhrman, MD
Michael Klaper, MD
Jeffrey Mason, PhD
Don Forrester, MD (our lunch buddy on Saturday)
Jeff Novick, MS RD
John McDougall, MD
Rip Esselstyn
Pam Popper, PhD ND
John Robbins


How amazing is that list????? ¬†I still can’t believe I learned from and met so many of my health heroes this weekend.

I took so much away from this event and am so energized to apply the information and lead the healthiest life possible.

More to come…

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Filed under Education, Events, Vegan, Vegetarian