P. F. Chang’s

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Since I love to travel I’m always thinking about vegan friendly chain restaurants with delicious options beyond a salad without the chicken. P. F. Chang’s is one place I can count on. They have been recently expanding their menu to include even more vegan and gluten-free options, which is wonderful. During a recent visit I got vegetarian lettuce wraps and vegetable steamed dumplings. Yum! They also have a vegetarian section to the menu and are happy to add tofu to any vegetable dish. When having trouble finding a place to eat or looking for an easy option with a diverse group of eaters, this is an easy choice.

Their food tends to be on the salty side and different locations can have different options. P.F. Chang’s gets three out of five vegan cupcakes for always having options.


Baked Asparagus

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Spring is wonderful for so many reasons and fresh asparagus is one of them. We got the most beautiful asparagus from our CSA and I had to bake it to melt in our mouths! I’m salivating just writing about it. What you will need:

1 bunch of fresh asparagus

The juice from one half of a lemon

3 TBS olive oil

Pinch of sea salt

Pinch of pepper

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse the asparagus and twist off the bottoms that will be hard to chew. Place asparagus into a large plastic bag that zips shut. Add the other ingredients, seal bag and mix everything well by shaking the bag. Pour everything into a large glass baking dish and place onto the middle shelf of oven. Bake 10 minutes and shake dish to make sure everything is getting evenly baked. Return pan to oven and bake another 10 minutes. Check asparagus that it is browning. If browning, remove pan and serve hot. If not browning yet, bake another 5 minutes and repeat this step until baked. Enjoy!

Daiya Cream Cheese

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Mmmm. I normally enjoy Daiya vegan cheese, so I was thrilled to find this cream cheese locally. It’s yummy. I am very much enjoying it on toast with giant slices of heirloom tomato.

The consistency is thick, but spreadable, and the taste is a little tart like I remember cream cheese to be. Granted, that was a long time ago now. Try some for yourself. I do not think this tastes like feet.

Fruit Parfet

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If looking for an easy, delicious, and visually stunning dessert, this is the one. What you will need:

1 can full-fat coconut milk, only the thick white part

3 TBS powdered sugar

Seasonal fruit, washed and prepared into bit-size pieces


Place the thick white coconut milk in a medium mixing bowl with the sugar. Mix on high for at least 3 minutes, or until very fluffy. Start with a first layer of fruit in the serving dish and coconut cream as the second layer, repeat this pattern until the serving dish is almost full. To the top add a short layer of granola. Enjoy!

Not Chicken Salad

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This is such an easy recipe for busy days or picnics in the park. The salad can be eaten over greens, part of a larger salad, or in a sandwich. What you will need:

1 package of Trader Joe’s Chickenless Crispy Tenders

1/4 cup almond slivers

1/4 cup red seedless grapes sliced in half

1/4 cup Veganaise

Bake the Chickenless Crispy Tenders according to the package directions. I bake them longer to make sure they are crispy. Once done, cut into smaller pieces and place in a small mixing bowl with all the other ingredients. Stir until everything is mixed well. Enjoy!


Caloric Density

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If desiring any additional reason to load up on vegetables, this illustration works. It clearly shows why eating junk food will not help a stomach feel as full. Even eating a large portion of animal protein will not help a stomach feel as full. Not feeling full encourages additional eating and thus weight gain.

I first encountered this illustration in the film “Forks Over Knives” and was happy to see it circle Facebook. If unfamiliar with this film, I highly recommend watching it.

Grits for Dinner

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We are a little chilly right now so I am posting the last crockpot meal from last winter. I have had a super hard time naming this dish. Kept thinking maybe I should call it Southern Meets Southwest, but that felt too long. No matter the name, it’s delicious. As always, I have a huge crockpot, so please half the recipe if your pot is smaller. What you will need:

2 cubes not-chicken bouillon

1 cube no salt added vegetable bouillon

1 and 1/2 cups stone-groung grits

3 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and diced

1 medium onion, diced

2 4-ounce cans chopped green chiles

9 cups water

1 bunch kale, stems removed and coarsely chopped

1 package vegan Italian Sausages, sliced into circles

3/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 cup vegan mozzarella cheese

Place everything but the nutritional yeast and mozzarella cheese in the crock pot. Cook on low for at least 8 hours. Stir and add the nutritional yeast and mozzarella. Stir and serve hot. One piece of advice, place the kale at the bottom of the crock pot for cooking. It will help ensure plenty of moisture is close to the heating element.

Just like all the other crock pot recipes, this freezes and defrosts well for future meals. Enjoy!