Spicy Caprese Cocktail

Spicy Caprese Cocktail – say cheers to the classic summertime salad, in cocktail form! Mini Heirloom tomatoes, cubes of jalapeno havarti, and fresh basil – cheers!

 

Spicy Caprese Cocktail

Portland is experiencing a heat wave this week. Like, three digit heat. I have been wearing my favorite straw cowboy hat everywhere I go. I just need an old Jeep CJ5 to drive around in, all doors and windows off.

Despite the heat, evenings have been perfect.

In the summer, our family room extends to the back yard. Rosemary loves to sniff around  – and terrorize the frogs in our pond – and we love to hang in the cool evenings, often with our laptops and a cocktail.

This week is far too hot for anything but an ice cold beer or a chilly vodka soda lime. After the heat wave breaks, we shall return to our latest libation of summer – the Spicy Caprese.

Mini Heirloom Tomatoes

My favorite heirloom tomatoes are here! Big and small, I cannot get enough. For the spicy caprese, we use the small – aren’t they something? Another recent arrival to our liquor cabinet – a few bottles …

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French Buttercream

French Buttercream – this vegan version of the classic frosting recipe is rich and fluffy, and perfect for all of your cake decorating needs, or on a spoon…

French Buttercream

I am willing to bet most of spabettie readers have heard of Miyoko Schinner. At this point, even if you are not vegan, you may have heard of her. I am not or exaggerating or being dramatic – everything Miyoko makes is excellent.

Excellent.

I first had the pleasure of meeting Miyoko at a dinner with a large group of friends, several years ago in Portland. Shortly after that, I sampled my first cheese from Miyoko, and immediately exclaimed, “this needs to be everywhere! you know that thing, where people say ‘I’d be vegan except for cheese’? THIS will change that!”

I remember that vividly. It was Miyoko’s brie that did it.

Fast forward a few years later, and luckily for everyone, Miyoko’s cheese is now available – in stores and in her shop online.

Homemade Vegan Pantry

Miyoko’s latest project has just hit stores as well – her newest cookbook, The Homemade Vegan Pantry – The Art of Making Your Own Staples just came out yesterday.

Growing up with a mom who started cooking dinner from scratch around 3 o clock each afternoon, I have been looking forward to this book. My childhood kitchen rarely had packaged food – my mom was doing things like rolling pasta dough on the counter and cutting noodles with a knife, and all of our cookies were from scratch.

I have had an advanced copy for a bit now, and once I …

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Cookie Bites – No Bake, No Stovetop

Cookie Bites – the classic combination of chocolate and peanut butter means these are sure to become a favorite snack! The ‘No Bake, No Stovetop‘ means these tasty treats come together quickly and easily!

Cookie Bites - No Bake, No Stovetop

I have been anxiously awaiting this one – my friend Somer‘s new book, The Abundance Diet. By description, this book is a 28 Day Plan to reinvent your health, lose weight, and discover the power of plant based foods.

In my opinion, this book is all of that and so much more – a tasty tome of flavorful favorites that keep you satisfied and thriving while learning new techniques to feel your best!

The Abundance Diet

As most successful and impressive ventures are, Somer’s book is the product of her own experience.

Somer reversed her severe ulcerative colitis with a plant-based diet, and those who have tried The Abundance Diet plan lost weight quickly and safely while feeling full and eating an abundance of whole plant-based foods.

Without counting calories and while eating often, following The Abundance Diet can dramatically improve …

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Santa Fe Taco Salad with Cool Salsa Ranch

 

Santa Fe Taco Salad with Cool Salsa Ranch – peppery arugula and fresh Southwest flavors combine with crunchy ranch tortilla chips and a Cool Salsa Ranch for a perfectly simple and satisfying salad!

Fresh Santa Fe Salad with Salsa Ranch

No, I am not really sharing a recipe for salad here today. Well, I suppose I am, but really? This is about the Cool Salsa Ranch.

Jason jokes about how much I love my ranch dressing. I make a new batch nearly every week, and pour it over pretty much everything. Dip everything into it. Think about dunking a straw into it. Buy chips flavored like it.

So you could say I am a ranch connoisseur. Not an incredibly lofty goal as titles go, but I’ll take it. I like my ranch cool, I like my ranch thin. I like my ranch new and different each week (as long as it is still cool and thin).

Last week, I got my ranch in my salsa. No, I got my salsa in my ranch? Please tell me someone remembers those old Chocolate In My Peanut Butter Reese’s commercials

So yes, today I am not so much sharing a simple salad recipe, but really a vehicle.

A …

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Crazy Brownies

Crazy Brownies – fudgy, dense, and sweet – these will be your new favorite! These rich chocolate gems have an unbelievably healthy ingredient list – enjoy!

Crazy Brownies

Can I just tell you, I am over the moon excited for my friend Dreena’s latest book, Plant Powered Families: Over 100 Kid-Tested, Whole-Foods Vegan Recipes:

Plant Powered Families

Most know Dreena from her well known Plant Powered Kitchen, and from her other great cookbooks – Plant Powered Families is her fifth!

This book has more than 100 whole food vegan recipes, and is an excellent resource – with tips for prepping a plant based kitchen, hosting and attending kid’s parties, kid’s lunchbox solutions, and even a sample meal plan – packed with great information, this is a great read. You know I love to sit and read my new cookbooks

The book opens with an endearing look into Dreena’s story, and how she found the new world of plant based cooking – easy, playful, and not restricted but expanded!

Throughout, you have Dreena’s spirited and enthusiastic personality, sweet photos of her whole family – cat included – and …

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Cauliflower Cashew Confetti Salad

Cauliflower Cashew Confetti Salad – vibrant cauliflower brings great color and texture to this salad. Layers of flavor and crunch with a bright lemony shallot dressing.

Cauliflower Cashew Confetti Salad

While we are just about right on the edge of warmer days of summer, including all my favorite veggies showing up at the farmers market, I am already craving light and bright.

I am eating salads nearly every day. When I want salad as an entree, it needs to have some oomph or I’ll be back in the kitchen making a sandwich in an hour.

Or less.

This salad brings you quinoa for satisfying protein, as it serves all the senses: crunchy texture, bright colors, vibrant flavors. My dressing is a new one too, with two new spices – a lovely shallot salt and sumac. The first word I always use to describe sumac is lemony – it is bright and tart in a mild way.

Cauliflower Cashew Confetti Salad

 

I am doing an Ironic Eye Roll that I am sharing this super crunchy textured salad with you today, while I have been eating mashed potatoes, smoothies, and all kinds of soft foods this last week. I had some pretty epic dental surgery last week, and only wish I could eat this salad right now. This was from the week before surgery.

Back in college, I played tennis every day. I’d be on the court early before class, then when I got my microbiology lab job in the early mornings, I’d play all afternoon and evening.

During a doubles tournament – one that I can laugh about now – my face collided with my partner’s racquet. Ouch. So, last summer …

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Fudgy Cardamom Squares

Fudgy Cardamom Squares

Fudgy Cardamom Squares – incredibly flavorful with a fudgy consistency, these warmly spiced bars will disappear fast – you should just make a double batch.

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I have been a fan of Vegan Richa for years – drawn in with her stunning photography, I keep coming back for her inventive recipes using complex layers of flavor and bright colors. I love the flavors of Indian foods – Jason and I both do – and have a few favorites that I make often. Richa’s recipes are not only delicious, they are approachable as well.

Also, have you ever seen a Richa burger? They are epic.

Lately, Richa has been very hard at work on a grand project – Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen: Traditional and Creative Recipes for the Home Cook:

 

Vegan Richas Indian Kitchen

Just like her blog, Richa’s book is a welcoming and beautiful journey through the savory flavors of Indian cooking. She demystifies spices and ingredients unfamiliar, transforms traditional recipes in a modern way, and leaves vegans happily able to enjoy a vast variety of fantastic recipes.

Richa breaks down pantry staples, fresh ingredients and kitchen tools. She has …

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Lemon Coconut Spirulina Balls

Lemon Coconut Spirulina Balls

Lemon Coconut Spirulina Balls – brightly flavored and vibrantly colorful, these little gems are packed with protein and are fantastic nutrient rich snacks!

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I am going to get right to the point and say my friend Annie has created something great with her book, Crave, Eat, Heal: Plant Based, Whole Food Recipes to Satisfy Every Appetite.

She related to me immediately in the intro, describing a familiar scene from my own childhood, ‘the kid who curled up on the couch with a book and a stash of Jolly Rancher candies, a pack of bubble gum, and a few chocolate Kisses “just in case.” ‘

Annie also has a dog that is part dachshund, so of course I was drawn to her immediately…

Crave Eat Heal

As someone who definitely acknowledges my cravings on a regular basis – whether that is …

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