Matzo Crack (Vegan and Gluten Free)

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You asked what to do with your leftover matzo besides Matzo Brie… How about Matzo Crack? It’s delicious with homemade toffee and drizzled with chocolate, then sprinkled with pecans and sea salt. Warning! It’s pretty addictive. I followed the recipe except that I veganized and gluten freed it with the following tips. I made it half nuts with Maldon Salt and the other half low salt/no nuts because people have different needs and likes.

I used Miyoko’s butter which is made from oat milk and is divine. It is the only butter I use now. Its great for eating, sauteeing and baking. You can find Miyoko’s butter in Whole Foods and other smaller stores. The website has a store finder so check it out. https://miyokos.com/

It is harder to find a vegan chocolate but I just happen to have a hoard of No Whey Milkless Chocolate Bars which we were giving away as party favors for a wedding that didn’t get to happen because of Covid. You can order online at https://nowheychocolate.com/

The recipe I adapted is from Jenn Segal at Once Upon a Chef. She has easy to follow instructions with photos, much like I do. Try her recipe and check out her site. You won’t be disappointed.

https://www.onceuponachef.com/recipes/chocolate-toffee-matzo-crack.html

Wheatless Wednesday – Oat Nut Bars

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WARNING – HIGHLY ADDICTIVE! I am often looking around the kitchen for something quick to eat with my morning coffee without making a whole production. These whole grain bars are delicious for breakfast but could also be the perfect afternoon or afterschool snack, now that kids are starting to go back to school. Easy, mix, bake, slice… Enjoy!-GMD

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WARNING – HIGHLY ADDICTIVE!  I am often looking around the kitchen for something quick to eat with my morning coffee without making a whole production.  Most  convenience foods are not very good for you, even if the packaging tells you otherwise.  So when I saw this recipe in Bon Appetite (January, 2014) I thought it could be just the thing.  Boy was I right (or wrong)!  These are so delicious that its hard to eat just one.  Luckily, they are loaded with nutrition.  They are made with 100% whole grains, seeds and nuts which means the bran and the germ are left intact which is where most of the nutrients are. I used whole almonds, sesame seeds and added coconut flakes, since I love all things coconut, and really like the result.  I would also recommend having coconut oil in your pantry as one of the ‘good’ oils with many health benefits.  The maple syrup…

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Meatless Monday -Vegan Mini Meatloaf

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Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day! Vegan meatloaf might not spring to mind as a delicious main course but I’m here to tell you it is….It’s reminiscent of my mother’s traditional meatloaf using Quaker Rolled Oats, onions, ketchup and Beyond Meat ground ‘beef’, cooked to a nice perfection and then topped with barbecue sauce for the last bit of cooking. It’s pretty delicious. Vegan and GF!-GMD

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Vegan meatloaf might not spring to mind as a delicious main course but I’m here to tell you it is….It’s reminiscent of my mother’s traditional meatloaf using Quaker Rolled Oats, onions, ketchup and Beyond Meat ground ‘beef’, cooked to a nice perfection and then topped with barbecue sauce for the last bit of cooking.  It’s pretty delicious.

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I was asked to come up with a vegan main course for a St. Patrick’s Day event where the main course was going to be corned beef.  This was a nice (and perhaps selfish)  challenge for me since even though I have gotten used to eating around the main course or making side dishes into dinner, its always nice to have a dinner option available.  Vegetarians and vegans are often in a pickle at parties where a vegetarian/vegan option isn’t being served.  We don’t want to be perceived as difficult or judgey, but…

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Meatless Monday – Sesame Crusted Tofu

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This is my favorite, quick and easy, protein filled, go-to dish. I especially like to make it for my meat eating friends who think they don’t like tofu. I have changed some pretty closed minds with this one. The tofu is savory and crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. I like to serve sesame crusted tofu over pasta or rice to take advantage of the yummy pan drippings. Surprise! Vegan food can have pan drippings. This time I tossed together some sugar snap peas sauteed with ginger and garlic until they glisten, tender but firm.

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I’m sorry for going MIA this summer.  A combination of travel without my computer,(Iceland is another coming post)  made blogging (and cooking) difficult and the recent illness and death of my beloved father left me with a void that I am struggling to fill.  He was a kind man. He chose family and a career in education over wealth and prestige. Dare I say it was not the exciting career he probably thought he was going to have. He and my mom fostered dozens of kids and believed in uplifting others, especially those that really needed help the most.  I suppose, his death, following hers three years ago, only reaffirms my growing belief that we should try our best to  leave a gentle footprint on the earth and make a positive difference in the world, no matter how small.  Kindness matters. Voting with your pocketbook matters.  Our choices matter. Speaking up…

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Meatless Monday – Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

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Here’s a hearty and flavorful main course salad featuring roasted butternut squash, pecans, dried cranberries and feta. To make it dairy free and vegan, try Vio Life Just Like Feta. Enjoy! Share pics!

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Salads in winter must have a hearty element to them or they just don’t work for me, especially in cold, wet weather, like now.  This one has roasted butternut squash, toasted pecans, dried cranberries and salty feta over a bed of dark leafy greens, drizzled with a rich balsamic vinaigrette.  Yum! Best of all it’s simple, just a few delicious ingredients and good for you. Butternut squash is my favorite of the hard winter squashes and still in season.  Butternut squash has a natural sweetness that really shines when brushed with olive oil and roasted, and it is loaded with vitamins and minerals, as evidenced by it’s brilliant orange color.
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This salad is easy to make except for the peeling and cutting of the butternut squash  It is not that really that hard to peel but if you are looking for a shortcut, many supermarkets offer it already pre-cut into…

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Limoncello

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This year has provided a bumper crop of of Meyer Lemons. (Actually, that would be an understatement.) So I decided to bring out my old Limoncello recipe. Local Marin friends, if you would like to try this recipe but need lemons, I have plenty to share. Just send me a message. -J

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“I believe when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade…and try to find someone whose life has given them vodka, and have a party.” (Ron White, Author)

…Or you can combine the two and make Limoncello! I am lucky to have a beautiful, and bountiful, Meyer Lemon tree right outside my kitchen door. Most citrus trees bear two crops a year, a smaller one in the summer and the heaviest crop in winter.  Meyer lemon trees, however, are known for bearing fruit all year long, although their largest crop is now. With such an abundance of fruit, I am always looking for ways to use lots of lemons at once. I don’t mind sharing but I hate when they are wasted. Limoncello is an easy way to use extra lemons, although is not instantly gratifying since there is a considerable wait time until you have a final product. Limoncello…

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Meatless Monday – Creamy Mushroom Soup (Vegan)

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Here’s what’s for dinner tonight. Just a few ingredients, less than 30 minutes, vegan, gluten free, low cal, delish! Boom!

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Calling all mushroom lovers!  My husband declared this the BEST MUSHROOM SOUP HE’S EVER HAD – and I have to agree with him.  I have had some pretty delicious mushroom soups in restaurants but I think this one, stocked with a blend of earthy mushrooms and a rich and creamy base, beats them all.  Best of all it is very easy, ready in less than 30 minutes and requires few ingredients.  It’s vegan too! Many soups are made delicious by adding thick creamy ingredients that add fat and cholesterol and actually mask the natural flavors of the main ingredients.  I substituted the traditional heavy cream with almond milk and veggie broth, thickened with a bit of flour, which really cuts calories without losing flavor.  This soup was wonderful served immediately after cooking, but the small bowl that was leftover that I ate for lunch a couple of days later was even better.  So this is a great soup…

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Meatless Monday-Veggie Zucchini Enchiladas

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Love Mexican food but not the heavy carbs and calories? You might like these vegetarian enchiladas packed with fresh corn, black beans, mushrooms and pasilla peppers, sauteed with garlic, cumin and chili powder, then rolled in thin slices of summer squash, nestled in a bed of zesty red enchilada sauce and topped with pepper jack cheese or one of the yummy new vegan cheeses. Bake in the oven until the cheese is melty and the sauce is bubbling. You won’t miss the tortillas (or the calories).

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Love Mexican food but not the heavy carbs and calories? You might like these vegetarian enchiladas packed with fresh corn, black beans, mushrooms and pasilla peppers, sauteed with garlic, cumin and chili powder, then rolled in thin slices of summer squash, nestled in a bed of zesty red enchilada sauce and topped with pepper jack cheese.  Bake in the oven until the cheese is melty and the sauce is bubbling. Yum!  You won’t miss the tortillas (or the calories).

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These enchiladas are seriously good!  I made them twice.  The first time (above) I used corn, mushrooms and pasillo peppers.  You can see that the zucchini slices were harder to roll. (*See TIPS) The second time I added black beans and black olives.  I loved both versions but preferred the second one but I happen to love beans. I understand that some people don’t like or can’t tolerate beans.  It’s pretty easy to adapt this recipe to…

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Meatless Monday-Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Balsamic Drizzle

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Here’s a recipe from last year that is worth bringing back. Cauliflower is the chameleon of vegetables and can become whatever you want it to be. In this case, it takes center stage as a beautiful plant based steak with a caramelized crust and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Infused with herbs and smoked paprika, it is delicious and surprisingly hearty and done in 30 minutes. I recommend serving over rice or couscous to soak up the delicious juices. Click through for this and eight more cauliflower recipes.

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Move over portobello mushrooms, Cauliflower Steak is the hot new vegan main course, and rightly so.  Cauliflower is the chameleon of vegetables and can become whatever you want it to be.  In this case, it takes center stage as a beautiful plant based steak with a caramelized crust and drizzled with a balsamic reduction.  Infused with herbs and smoked paprika, it is delicious and surprisingly hearty and done in 30 minutes.  I recommend serving over rice or couscous to soak up the delicious juices.

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When buying cauliflower, choose a head that is firm and heavy.  A lighter head will probably fall apart when you try to cut thick slices.  As it is, I plan on two steaks per head.  Sometimes I get lucky and get two more smaller ones but sometimes its mostly florets, which are still delicious but don’t have the same presentation.  If you are lucky enough to…

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Homemade Plum Jam & Canning Tips

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It’s plum time and everyone’s trees are bursting with fruit, maybe more than we know what to do with it all. I mean, one can only make so many crisps and muffins. Plum jam is an easy way to use up extra plums, even the ones that got blemished or split after falling from the tree. I include canning instructions but you can also freeze it in plastic bags or containers or just eat it fresh. Happy jam making!

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It’s plum season!  I have a lovely Santa Rosa Plum tree that grows the most delicious plums that have that perfect balance of sweet and tart.  I would have a hard time selling the house and moving because of this tree. One Arbor Day, almost 20 years ago, my very excited kids brought several sticks bare root fruit trees home from school. Now, I will have to admit that these ‘trees’ looked a lot like dead twigs to me, but as a good mother does, I along with my boys, ceremoniously planted them and thus began our now flourishing fruit orchard, home to plum, orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, nectarine, cherry, kumquat, satsuma, avocado, Asian pear and several apple trees.  The queen of the orchard though, is the Santa Rosa Plum tree, one of the unlikely Arbor Day trees which grew from a 3 foot bare root stick to a glorious…

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Wheatless Wednesday – Santa Rosa Plum Crisp

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Its plum season and it’s a doozy this year! You might call it a bumper crop and they are abundant in markets or in neighborhood back yards. Take advantage of nature’s bounty and make a stone fruit crisp for a simple 4th of July or summer dessert. Other stone fruits are in season right now like peaches, cherries and nectarines. Crisps are very forgiving to make as there is little that can go wrong, no crust to make or fruit to arrange. Just cut up your favorite fruit, sprinkle it with a yummy topping and bake. I’m making this tomorrow but in individual ramekins as a food safety precaution. They are also easier to serve but they are cute too!.

The beauty of this dessert is it’s simplicity. This recipe is easily made vegan and gluten free and for a dessert, it’s pretty nutritious. The oats and almond flour combined with the fruit and dates are loaded with vitamins and minerals ( and fiber, of course). As an added bonus, your kitchen will smell divine! Happy 4th!

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Looking for a simple 4th of July or summer dessert?  How about an easy Stone Fruit Crisp? Plums are in season right now as are other stone fruits like peaches, cherries and nectarines. Crisps are very forgiving to make as there is little that can go wrong, no crust to make or fruit to arrange. Just cut up your favorite fruit, sprinkle it with a yummy topping and bake. The beauty of this dessert is it’s simplicity.  This recipe is easily made vegan and gluten free and for a dessert, it’s pretty nutritious.  The oats and almond flour combined with the fruit and dates are loaded with vitamins and minerals ( and fiber, of course).   As an added bonus, your kitchen will smell divine!

I have a wonderfully prolific Santa Rosa plum tree in my garden in California.  Usually I make plum jam which I put on toast or in my yogurt for the rest of the year.  This spring in California…

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Mango Margaritas & “Homemade” Tortilla Chips with Grilled Pineapple Salsa!

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Hmmm, I’ve got a whole pineapple on the counter and mango in the freezer. I’m ready for tomorrow. Cheers!

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TGIF! Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner and you know what that means – Margaritas! In the interest of having a good time research, my trusty pals and I decided to go in search of the new perfect margarita. Sure the lime margarita is delicious and traditional but why limit yourself? One click of the keyboard and a multitude of exotic possibilities lay before me-strawberry, blackberry, cucumber, pomegranate, cranberry, mango-avocado, papaya, hibiscus, watermelon and mint! Who knew there were so many? Obviously, a lot of research has already been done on this subject. Since we had fresh mango and pineapple in the refrigerator, we decided to start there.  After much testing and tasting we came up with a fabulous Mango Margarita, which is cool and refreshing with just the right amount of sweet-the perfect grownup dessert, like a mini vacation for your tastebuds. Take me away Calgon…

Crunchy, salty tortilla chips, warm from…

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Meatless Monday – Tofu ‘Steaks’ with Chimichurri Sauce

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When I made this the first time, I declared it a place where meat lovers and vegans can co-exist in happiness. I just made it again and I still agree. Here is a ‘steak’ a meat lover will find tasty and satisfying while a vegetarian will be in raptures… It takes less than 30 minutes and will not disapoint. Chimichurri is an uncooked sauce typically made of finely-chopped parsley, minced garlic, oregano and white vinegar with lots of variations. Originating in Argentine, it is used principally on grilled meat but it is so delicious that you will be looking around to see what else you can put it on. It’s particularly good on these tofu steaks that have been in a garlic, cumin marinade. Enjoy!

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When I made this the first time, I declared it a place where meat lovers and vegans can co-exist in happiness.  I just made it again and I still agree. Here is a  ‘steak’ a meat lover will find tasty and satisfying while a vegetarian will be in raptures…  It takes less than 30 minutes and will not disapoint.    Last time, I served the tofu steaks with brown rice and broccoli with a healthy dose of chimichurri over everything which was hearty and satisfying.  This time, I served with a simple salad of lettuces and edible flowers that I had just picked from my garden.  It’s a hot day so it was perfect.

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Each tofu steak is a hefty seven ounces although my husband has a hearty appetite and usually eats his and goes back for seconds, so I need to use two blocks of tofu if I’m serving a…

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Meatless Monday – Eggplant, Kale & Tofu with Black Bean Sauce

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We are just beginning week three of shelter in place. Who knew tofu would be almost as hard to find as toilet paper? Well if you are lucky enough to score some, here is a savory recipe that includes eggplant, greens and a delicious black bean sauce. You’ll forget you’re on lockdown. Be well.-Joyce

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Are you a lover or a hater?  Tofu gets a bad rap and seems to trigger a love/hate reaction. I am totally a lover, I think it’s delicious and guilt free-just sayin’.  Let’s talk about what’s good about tofu besides the obvious – no animals were harmed in the making of my dinner!  Tofu is high in protein, low in fat, and naturally cholesterol-free. along with providing a whole slew of healthful nutrients. It is fairly bland in flavor and easily absorbs flavorful sauces and marinades so it’s easy to manipulate in cooking. So why does tofu get a bad rap?  Well some people just don’t like the taste and texture but there is controversy beyond the likability aspect. Tofu is a processed soy product, and the verdict is still out on it’s health benefits and risks.  For more info click HERE.  It’s quite a complicated topic and no one…

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Meatless Monday – Chicken Fried Cauliflower ‘Steaks’ and Creamy Mash

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In this crazy time of sheltering in space, keeping social distance and quickly emptying grocery store shelves, its hard to plan meals or have even food available to cook. Last night my husband took one for the team and went to a grocery store where bulk supplies were gone but there was plenty of produce. So obviously veggies are not in the same disaster category as toilet paper. He came home with three kinds of cauliflower. Sometimes you just have to go with what you can get. Here is a recipe in which cauliflower is both the main dish and the side dish and the recipes use just a few ingredients that hopefully are still in your pantry…and it’s delicious! Hang in there. We’ll get through this. xo-Joyce

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20170730_124206Here’s a vegetarian or vegan twist on the classic comfort food, Chicken Fried Steak, nestled on a bed of creamy mash.  This version has all the yummy flavor with none of the guilt, perfect for your summer barbecue or picnic. Cauliflower, the chameleon of veggies, makes a great couple of center cut ‘steaks’ while the rest is pureed into a silky, creamy cauliflower mash. This recipe makes use of the whole head of cauliflower and requires very few other ingredients, other than spices that you probably already have in your pantry. Now you can make a healthier, lower fat and meat free version of this popular dish.  Its an easy and surprisingly satisfying meal that can be ready in about 30 minutes. You just might lick the plate clean…

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This recipe serves two adults if prepared as directed but can easily be doubled.  The head of cauliflower is cut in half and two thick planks are cut from…

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