Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Served My Husband A Tofu Sandwich!

Many years ago, when I was a brand-new vegetarian, I decided to make breaded tofu for my carnivorous husband. I took a block of firm tofu, pressed it between two plates to remove the excess water, and cut it into thin slices. Then I did what any good Italian would do.  I dipped the slices into a bowl of lightly beaten egg and then covered them with seasoned bread crumbs. I tossed my breaded tofu slices into pan with a bit of olive oil and fried them up until they were golden brown.

I thought this was ingenious. It tasted pretty good, too. At least I thought so. It resembled fried mozzarella- crunchy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside. I was so proud of how it all turned out that I piled the tofu on a hero roll, added a few slices of cheese, mayo, lettuce and tomato, and sent my husband off to work with a healthy lunch.  By the way, he's my ex-husband now--this COULD be the reason why! :)

Later on that day, he opened the lunch lovingly packed by his adoring wife. I can see it ex-husband sitting with his co-workers, looking forward to eating what looked like chicken cutlets on a hero roll. YUMMY!!! Smacking his lips, he takes the first bite of his delicious sandwich and......


He called me later on that afternoon and it wasn't to thank me for a healthy, delicious lunch. Nope. He was not happy. Not at all.  Instead, he screamed into the phone: "Don't ever give me a tofu sandwich again! What is the matter with you?"

I made it up to him later by serving pot roast and gravy for dinner that night.

This was long before tasty meat alternatives ever existed. Everything I made, I made from scratch. There were no packaged veggie burgers, Tofurky slices, or frozen patties that looked and tasted like chicken but weren't actually chicken. Honestly, I am not a big fan of that sort of stuff. If you really want something that looks and tastes like meat, perhaps you should just have meat. I do have veggie burgers in my freezer, however. They are a quick convenience food for the nights I just don't feel like cooking and they're perfect for a BBQ when everyone else is eating grilled hamburgers. I just don't make a habit out of them. Not mention they're not very economical. It's much cheaper to make them myself.

Never again did I give my ex-husband a tofu sandwich but I did keep experimenting with all sorts of healthy, vegetarian recipes. And I must admit, for remaining years we were married,  he was a pretty good sport and willingly sampled just about everything I cooked: tofu chili, "chocolate cream" pie made with carob powder and tofu, baked lentil burgers, Fettuccine Alfredo-No Alfredo (this was homemade spinach noodles tossed with a sauce made from tofu, soy milk and soy cheese) and a whole variety of other strange concoctions. Some dishes were a hit (he really liked the fettuccine) and others were complete failures. It was all trial and error. This is how I learned what worked and what didn't........

In order to inspire others to eat healthier and incorporate more "meat-less meals" into their diet, I have to give them something that actually tastes good. I happen to love tofu and I can eat it straight from the container. I can't expect everyone else (especially meat-eaters) to do the same. This is why I work so hard to bring you delicious recipes every day.  Delicious, healthy, wholesome food you will enjoy and want serve to your family or even to guests.

Here is one recipe that was always a "hit": Baked Lentil Burgers.  They're tasty, easy to make, and healthy.  You can put them on rolls and add cheese or serve them up with mashed potatoes and vegan mushroom gravy. Bake it in a lightly oiled loaf pan, or roll them into tiny lentil balls. You can get crazy and add other things to the mixture as well: chopped, sauted onions, some dried sage--the possibilites are endless. I love them topped with a bit of pepper jelly or mango chutney. These freeze really well, too. You might enjoy these so much, you'll never buy another veggie burger.

Lentil Burgers (makes 4 burgers or 6 small ones)

1/2 cup lentils
1 egg yolk or Ener-g Egg Replacer
dash of dried thyme
1 tablespoon bread crumbs

Cook lentils until soft so they mash easily with a fork, about one hour. Drain any excess. When the lentils are cool, add the egg or egg replacer, bread crumbs, and thyme. Shape into patties and bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Serve warm.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Terrific Tabbouleh

I have a confession. I am totally in love with Tabbouleh. Tabbouleh is a delicious combination of bulghur wheat with lots of fresh mint, parsley, scallions and freshly squeezed lemon juice. It's a staple in most Middle Eastern cultures. I love it because it's nutritious, rich in protein and so refreshing. It goes with just about anything. I mix in salads, pile it on veggie burgers, or eat it plain.  My favorite way to serve tabbouleh is on a big platter with fresh hummus, tahini, stuffed grape leaves, olives, and warm pita bread. It's so good, I actually have to stop myself from eating too much.

Sometimes I buy it already made but when I have the time, nothing compares with making it myself. I use this recipe from Ina Garten- The Barefoot Contessa.


  • 1 cup bulghur wheat
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (1 bunch)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (1 bunch)
  • 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (1 bunch)
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Place the bulghur in a large bowl, pour in the boiling water, and add the lemon juice, olive oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir, then allow to stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Add the scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper; mix well. Season, to taste, and serve or cover and refrigerate.

The flavor will improve if the tabbouleh sits for a few hours.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Amazing Avocado-Hummus Spread!

This morning I had a craving for a bagel for breakfast.  Most mornings, I eat usually eat very light: fresh fruit or a cup of soy yogurt mixed with chopped almonds and a scoop of wheat germ. On the days I have much on the agenda, I cook hot cereal or scramble up some tofu with spinach and salsa. But today, I wanted a bagel.

The traditional way to eat bagels is with cream cheese.  Make it at home, and you have some control over the amount you smear upon your bagel. Order it from a deli or bagel shop and it's piled high with enough cream cheese to generously cover two or three bagels. Or, you can have it with butter. Now, I don't eat butter (it's from a cow) but I do remember the deliciousness of a toasted bagel dripping with melted butter. So good. But there's no real nutritional value in the butter. You're basically eating a bagel covered with liquidized fat.

I don't eat cream cheese, either. Again- it's made from milk and milk comes from--well, you know! The non-dairy versions of cream cheese leave much to be desired. If you want to have cream cheese with your bagel, go right ahead but consider it a real splurge. Cream cheese is really nothing more than a big glob of fat and calories and the low fat or fat free versions are never as good.  In fact, I don't use or condone any kind of low-fat or fat free foods- EVER!

I could have toasted my whole wheat bagel and covered it with my Earth Balance (VEGAN) spread. This is what I use when a recipe calls for butter. This would have been mighty tasty but again, there's really no nutritional benefit. Yes, I want my bagel but I want it to count. This morning I am going to sit with my dad while he gets his chemotherapy treatment. It's going to take at least five hours which means it will be a long time until my next meal!

So what can I put on my bagel to make it filling, nutritious, healthy, and vegan?

Here's what I did:

I took one half of a very ripe avocado and mashed it well. Then I added  one tablespoon of hummus, a squirt of fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper. I mixed it all together and spread it on my toasted bagel.


Of course I can't call this a  low calorie, low fat spread HOWEVER, it is nutrient rich, loaded with vitamins, minerals and good fat that will keep me going for hours. Cream cheese or melted butter can never compare to healthy goodness of my home made Avocado-Hummus spread.

The key to eating well, staying healthy and losing weight is making wise choices when it comes to food!

It's okay to have a bagel. It's what you choose to smear upon it that makes all the difference.

The Best Healing Spice: Terrific Turmeric!'s a spice. It adds a subtle flavor and a natural yellow color to food.  I use turmeric in scrambled tofu to make it look more like "eggs".

Turmeric is most commonly used in Indian cuisine. It also has all kinds of wonderful health benefits. If you don't have turmeric in your spice rack, you definitely should go and get it.  And start cooking with it. I will be posting delicious recipes laced with turmeric over the next few days; so you can experience this amazing, healing spice.

20 Health Benefits of TURMERÄ°C:

1. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.

2. When combined with cauliflower, it has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer.

3. Prevented breast cancer from spreading to the lungs in mice.

4. May prevent melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to commit suicide.

5. Reduces the risk of childhood leukemia.

6. Is a natural liver detoxifier.

7. May prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.

8. May prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.

9. It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects.

10. Has shown promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice.

11. Is a natural painkiller and cox-2 inhibitor.

12. May aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management.

13. Has long been used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression.

14. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

15. Boosts the effects of chemo drug Paclitaxel and reduces its side effects.

16. Promising studies are underway on the effects of turmeric on pancreatic cancer.

17. Studies are ongoing in the positive effects of turmeric on multiple myeloma.

18. Has been shown to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.

19. Speeds up wound healing and assists in remodeling of damaged skin.

20. May help in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.

If you try turmeric and don't like the flavor, it can be taken pill form. It is available in most health food stores; usually in 250-500mg capsules. I would definitely try using it as a spice first before resorting to taking it orally. Turmeric in its most natural and purest form is always best. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The BEST Tomato Soup Ever!

photo from
I stumble upon a lot of different recipes but very rarely do I ever say: "Oh.My.God. I must make this today!"

This recipe literally stopped me in my tracks. I am casting aside everything on my morning 'TO DO' list to make this soup!The photo alone of this glorious soup is making me hungry! 

This is Roasted Tomato Soup from If you love tomatoes and you love cheese, I think it's worth your time and effort to make this soup. Not mention, it's a great way to get your daily dose of lycopene.

Of course, as a Vegan, I would make a few changes. This recipe calls for chicken or vegetable broth. I would use the vegetable broth. As for the cheddar cheese, it can replaced with a non-dairy subsitute and it will come out just as tasty. Even if you do eat animal products like cheese and milk, I would skip the real cheddar. It turns a healthy, nutrient- rich soup into something that is much too high in fat and calories. Galaxy Brand Cheddar "cheese" is really delicious and melts perfectly.

Here's the recipe:
Roasted Tomato Soup with Broiled Cheddar

I am off to the store to pick up plum tomatoes!

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Best Vegan Arroz con Gandules!

Who doesn't love a Pot Luck Supper? At the church I used to attend, one Sunday a month we all brought our favorite foods and specialty dishes to share right after service.  Elsie, an elderly Latin woman, was always there. She kept busy behind the scenes; cooking, serving, and making sure everyone was well fed.

Pot Luck Sunday always meant slim pickin's for me. There really wasn't much I could eat, other than the meat-less dish I contributed and perhaps a couple of iceberg lettuce leaves.  I was surrounded by trays and trays of baked ziti and lasagna (all prepared with meat), BBQ chicken wings, Chicken Parmesan, and sausage and peppers all prepared by good Christian women. One Sunday, Elsie happened to notice I had very little food on my plate.

"Why are you not eating?" she asked.

I explained I was a vegetarian. She mumbled in Spanish how I was going to "waste away without meat". Then she lovingly took me by the hand and led me to a big tray of rice and pigeon peas.

"Eat this," she said, proudly. "I made it. No meat."

It was really good: perfectly cooked yellow rice, sliced olives, lots of onions, tomatoes- and NO meat!  From then on, Elsie's contribution on Pot Luck Sunday was a huge tray of her special rice and pigeon peas.  She would stand guard while everyone helped themselves to her rice, warning them to "only take a little, because Cynthia needs to eat!"  She would then pack up the left-overs for me to take home.

One day, Elsie gave me her prized recipe. She had written it out on an index card and told me not to share it with another living soul.  I was honored and promised to guard it with my life. I took a quick peek at the recipe before safely tucking it away in my purse. First ingredient: a box of Goya Arroz con Gandules!

 I happened to know that particular brand of rice has chicken fat, chicken broth and other assorted chicken products. I also finally realized why I suffered with certain digestive disturbances the day after every Pot Luck Sunday. Of course, I didn't have the heart to tell Elsie I could no longer eat her famous dish, so I went right on eating it.  An upset stomach was a small price to pay. It brought Elsie such pleasure to watch me enjoying her arroz con gandules.

 The last time I saw Elsie before she died, she smiled weakly and whispered, "I can no longer make the rice for you, but you have my recipe. Make it, and remember me."

I've adapted Elsie's recipe slightly. Of course, I eliminated the Goya rice but for extra flavor, I use Soy Chorizo. It boosts the protein in the dish and adds a slightly spicy kick to the rice. You won't need to prepare meat with this dish. Serve it with sliced avocado on the side and big green tossed salad.  And don't forget the Sangria!

Elsie, this is for you!

Vegan Arroz con Gandules:

Spanish Saffron Rice : See Recipe
1 package Trader Joe's Soy Chorizo, casing removed.
2 Tablespoons Spanish olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 medium spanish onion, finely chopped
1-15 oz can pigeon peas, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup pitted green olives with pimentos (sliced into rounds)

Prepare rice according to recipe. It needs to cook about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat.

Add the garlic and the onion, saute until soft.

Add the soyrizo, crumbling it up with a spatula until it resembles ground beef. Cook and stir often for about 5-7 minutes. It won't brown like beef, but it will change color slightly.

Add the pigeon peas, the tomato sauce, and the olives. Allow to cook approximately 5 more minutes. Stir frequently. .

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add the soyrizo/pigeon pea mixture to the rice. Mix it gently but make sure it is well blended. Pour into a baking pan and place in the oven. Your rice shouldn't be too moist, it should be dry but not dried out! Check it after ten minutes. If it still looks too moist, return to oven for about five minutes more. I wouldn't leave it in any longer than 15 minutes total.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Best Peanut Butter Banana Hot Cereal!

Today, I had a hankering for something a bit different for breakfast. It needed to be a meal that would provide plenty of energy to carry me through my busy morning. It also had to be something I could whip up in a snap.  Hot, whole-grain cereal was the quickest, easiest thing that came to mind. When I am really in a rush, I cheat and nuke it. Then I toss in chopped almonds, blueberries or sliced apples, a dash of cinnamon. Unfortunately, I ran out of almonds and blueberries, and tossed the last apple into my son's lunch box this morning. Grocery shopping was definitely on the agenda for today.'s what I came up with: 

Peanut Butter and Banana Hot Cereal.

 Don't knock it until you try it. It tastes like fresh, warm banana bread; spread with a layer of peanut butter! That sounds good, doesn't it?  The best part: no flour, no eggs, very little sugar and GOOD fat! I only added a tiny amount of peanut butter- fresh, NATURAL peanut butter. It's made right there at the little market where I shop and it has one ingredient: PEANUTS!!  If you can't get fresh peanut butter, buy the most natural, unsalted type you can find. Don't even think about Jif, Skippy or Peter Pan brands. Those are nothing more than jars of artery-clogging hydrogenated oils, a handful of peanuts, and way too much sugar and salt.  

Here's what you do:

Cook one serving of your favorite whole grain hot cereal according to package directions. You can use oatmeal, too, if desired.

Stir in about 1 teaspoon of peanut butter and mix well.

Slice a banana and arrange on top or gently fold the slices into the cereal.

Drizzle with organic maple syrup. (when I say "drizzle" I mean a very, very small amount. You are going to pour it lightly in a zig-zag fashion.) If you MUST measure, I would guess about 1/8 of a teaspoon.

This might not sound sweet enough, but trust me, it is. The bananas lend a natural sweetness and the peanut butter adds such a delicious, creamy flavor, you won't need additional sugar.

Serve immediately!

Enjoy your Cynfully Good Breakfast

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Soyrizo and Potato Breakfast Burritos

My son is a carnivore and I am always on the hunt for delicious, meatless recipes I can serve prepare for breakfast lunch and dinner.  I really don't want to cook two different meals.  Who has time for that? I admit, there are times I do cook him meat, but if I can get away with serving a dish he thinks is meat, I do it!  And so far, no complaints............

My son's favorite meal is breakfast and I stumbled upon this wonderful recipe from the Yogic Kitchen: Soyrizo and Potato Breakfast Burritos. YUMMY!!! Soyrizo is vegan sausage. NOT MEAT. This dish does contain eggs; so what I do is reserve a small portion of the cooked Soyrizo for myself before I add the eggs to the pan.

If you're trying to get get your family to eat more meatless meals, this is the perfect recipe. It's delicious for breakfast, lunch or even as a simple supper.

Here's the recipe:
Soyrizo and Potato Breakfast Burritos

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Curry with Chick Peas

It's Pumpkin Season! Time for pumpkin picking, pumpkin carving, roasting pumpkin seeds and Mmmm.... Pumpkin Pie!

Start thinking beyond all the traditional ways of using and cooking pumpkin! It's so delicious and really good for you: packed with vitamins and nutrients. That beautiful orange pumpkin flesh is loaded with beta-carotene and more!

Here's a Cynfully Good recipe for pumpkin. This is exotic, healing, fat-burning, energy-packed cuisine at its best- a hearty, vegan stew laced with yellow Thai curry, the subtle sweetness of coconut milk, gorgeous cubes of fresh pumpkin, and protein-packed chick peas. Serve it over rice or with warm Naan bread.

Here's the recipe:
Pumpkin Curry With Chick Peas

Monday, October 10, 2011

Shredded Brussel Sprouts and Apples

Photo from
I love finding a recipe I really want to make that doesn't involve a trip out to the store. I have brussel sprouts. I have apples. And of course, I have tofu!  Here's my Cynfully Good dinner  for TONIGHT!!!

Shredded Brussel Sprouts and Apples

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cynfully Good Homemade Apple Sauce

Looking for something fun to do today? How about making your own apple sauce? Here is the easiest recipe in the world. In about thirty minutes, it's ready to enjoy. You probably have everything in your house already so get to it! What's great about this recipe is it doesn't call for sugar. *

You don't need sugar because....uhhhh.....apples are naturally sweet!!
  • 4 organic apples of your choice ( I like Rome or Granny Smith apples. Delicious or McIntosh don't really work well-too mushy and too sweet)
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Peel and core the apples. Cut the applies into bite size pieces. Heat a medium pot on medium heat. Add the orange juice and cinnamon. Add the diced apples and give the mixture a stir. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. All the apples to simmer in the liquid for 30 minutes. Remove the cooked apples from the heat. Allow the apples to cool and mash with a potato masher or in a food processor.

That's it! All finished...............

YUMMY!!! :)

*If you are using Granny Smith apples and they are very tart, stir in a dash of organic maple syrup- about 1/2 a teaspoon should do it. Taste it first, though.  The fresh orange juice might add just enough sweetness to the mix.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cynfully Good Roasted Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash. For years, I avoided it. I thought it was a decoration. You know, to put in a basket of gourds on the table when Autumn rolls around.

When I became a Vegetarian, I discovered how wonderful and yummy Butternut Squash really is! It's so versatile. I can steam it, boil it, bake it, stuff it, fry it, mash it, tranform it into healthy fries, even use it as a stuffing for home made ravioli......the possibilities are endless.

Butternut squash---the perfect food!

If all the amazing ways you can prepare Butternut Squash doesn't convince you give it a try, take a look at how healthy it is for you.........

Butternut squash is low in fat and loaded with fiber, making it an exceptionally heart-friendly choice. It provides significant amounts of potassium, important for bone health, and vitamin B6, essential for the proper functioning of both the nervous and immune systems. The folate content adds yet another boost to its heart-healthy reputation and helps guard against brain and spinal-cord-related birth defects such as spina bifida.

And the color of Butternut Squash? Once you cut one of these beauties open- you will see for yourself. . The gorgeous color means it's packed with carotenoids, shown to protect against heart disease. Butternut Squash has very high levels of beta-carotene (which your body automatically converts to vitamin A) identified as a deterrent against breast cancer and age-related macular degeneration, as well as a supporter of healthy lung development in fetuses and newborns. A 1-cup serving of Butternut Squash provides nearly half the recommended daily dose of antioxidant-rich vitamin C. 

Wait! There's more! Butternut Squash may have anti-inflammatory effects because of its high antioxidant content.  This means it could help reduce risk of inflammation-related disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.

Convinced yet? YOU SHOULD BE!!!

Here's is a very simple, delicious way to make Butternut Squash. Cut it up and roast it in pan, like potatoes. Only better......and so gorgeous.

Here's how:

Peel one Butternut Squash and chop into cubes. Coat in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss in some fresh, chopped herbs if you have them. I add sprigs of fresh rosemary to my roasted squash. Thyme is delicious, too. Sage......Mmmmm. This is starting to sound a little like a song, isn't it?  :)

Roast them in a pan at 400 degress for about 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking.

If you want, omit the fresh herbs and season with cinnamon and a dash of organic maple syrup. Freshly ground nutmeg is amazing with roasted squash, too. This is so much better and healthier than sweet potatoes loaded with butter or those candied yams everyone eats at Thanksgiving!