Quick Cinnamon and Chili Powder Vegan Pumpkin Soup – Great for a Weeknight Meal

This recipe is so good you won’t believe how easy it is, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll start making it once a week and taking the leftovers to work for lunch. The spices blend so well with the pumpkin, that it gives the soup a warm, rich flavor without added cream or oil. If there was ever a recipe that tasted cozy, this is it.

Canned pumpkin can be hard to find when it’s not Thanksgiving so I buy mine on Amazon since I use so much of it for this soup and for these fabulous pumpkin muffins. It comes out to very little money per can so I recommend just going for it and getting the 12 pack.

Cinnamon Chili Powder Warm and Cozy Pumpkin Soup! Takes 15 minutes!

Warm and cozy and healthy vegan pumpkin soup

Spice Mixture – I recommend making this ahead and then having it on hand so you don’t have to get your spice jars and measuring spoons out every week. Trust me, you will use it. This is also great on roasted butternut squash and on sweet potatoes.

  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (or more or less depending on your taste)
  • 1/4 c chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon


  • small splash of macadamia oil (or olive or canola if that’s what you have)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 – 15 oz cans of pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube (I like this kind that you can get at Whole Foods)
  • 1-3 tsp spice mixture (depending on your taste)
  • 1/2 cup of soy creamer or cashew cream (optional)

How to:

  1. Heat the macadamia oil in a large pot on medium-low heat and add the onions. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the canned pumpkin, the water, the bouillon cube and the first tablespoon of the spice mixture. You could mix the water and bouillon on the stovetop before this step, but that would add time and another step and more dishes and my favorite thing about this recipe is that it is FAST.
  3. Keep this on medium-heat for about 10 minutes to let all of the flavors get more delicious together and stir occasionally.
  4. Transfer to a food processor or a blender until you can no longer see the onions and pour back into the pot.
  5. Take a little taste and then add more spice mixture and salt as needed. I personally like a lot of spice, but this is where different people in your household can choose different amounts.
  6. This is also the time when you would stir in some soy creamer or cashew cream if you prefer a creamier soup. I think it’s great without it and it’s still just as filling.
Posted in Recipes | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Potato Chip Alternative – Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasting Brussels sprouts is so easy that I make them once a week. If you think you don’t like them then you’re probably not cooking them right. When you’re in the mood for a great vegetable side, you can prepare these in very little time and the best part is that they caramelize beautifully. An added benefit is that they are a cruciferous vegetable, so they have some of the highest cancer fighting properties of anything you can eat. I think these are particularly good when accompanying tomato soup. They’re also a really fun snack for movie night at home because the individual leaves that fall off are crunchy and salty and pure deliciousness.

Brussels Sprouts

Easy and Delicious Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Serves 4


  • 1 lb of brussels sprouts 
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Cut off the bottom of each brussels sprout and then cut in half and place in a baking dish. I use a lasagna pan. If some leaves come off, make sure to still include them because those loose leaves are the best part.
  3. Splash a little bit of olive oil onto the veggies and put as much salt and pepper as you want. Mix with a spatula or do what I do and just toss them around with your hands. If you can’t see any oil, splash a little bit more and toss again.
  4. Bake in the middle rack of the oven for about 30 minutes. Please keep in mind that ovens vary WILDLY so you’re in luck if you have a window in your oven to see when everything is perfectly caramelized and ready
  5. Enjoy!
Posted in Recipes | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Maple Pecan Vegan Ice Cream

I honestly think that cashew cream vegan ice cream is richer and creamier than regular ice cream. This one in particular was just wonderful but I’ll include some more kinds of cashew ice cream as the weeks go on. Winter is no excuse to skip ice cream but I certainly am in the mood for different flavors in the winter. This one takes advantage of Ohio maple syrup that I got at the Shaker Square farmer’s market that runs all winter. This maple pecan vegan ice cream has a fairly subtle flavor because there is no added refined sugar.

Serves 2 (because really, who eats less than a full bowl?)


  • 1/2 c pecans and enough maple syrup to coat
  • 1 1/2 c cashew cream (recipe below)
  • 1/3 c maple syrup (the darkest you can find)
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Cashew Cream:

This is for a whole bag. Go ahead, make 3 different kinds of ice cream this week! Soak raw cashews in filtered water for 3-4 hours. Drain the cashews and add them to the Vitamix or other blender. Add enough water to cover the top of the cashew line. Blend for about 60 seconds in a Vitamix or longer in any other blender. When it seems the consistency of very thick sour cream, you’re done. This means it should not be gritty AT ALL. Transfer to a large pot and simmer on low heat for only 10 minutes and stir almost the whole time. Put into the fridge to cool down unless you really trust your ice cream maker to cool it down super fast.

Delicious Maple Pecan Ice Cream made from Cashew Cream

Delicious Maple Pecan Ice Cream made from Cashew Cream

How to:

  1. When the cashews are ready, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put the pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer and cover with some maple syrup. Roast for just about 5-7 minutes. I actually put these in an oven safe non-stick pan (meaning non-teflon which is what Calphalon’s non-stick is) to make clean up easier.
  3. Add the cashew cream to the blender and then add the maple pecans after they have stopped bubbling.
  4. Blend on high for about a minute in a Vitamix or longer in a regular blender.
  5. Add the maple syrup and salt to the blender and blend for a few seconds or until it’s just combined.
  6. At this point you can put it straight into an ice cream maker or you may want to let it sit in the fridge for a little bit to cool down first. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can put it in the freezer for a few hours and then spoon it out into your blender to get a soft serve consistency.
  7. Scoop out and serve with pecans on top and collect the compliments from anyone that you may be sharing with!

I updated this on 2/4/2013 because I tried the method of roasting the pecans along with the maple syrup and it was so good and made such a difference that I had to tell everyone. It’s also really important to let the cashew cream simmer for 10 minutes. When I made that change, it drastically changed the flavor. Let me know if you made any modifications, too or if you have tried any other flavors with the cashew cream base!

Posted in Recipes | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Couldn’t be easier sweet potato fries

It seems tempting to think that sweet potato fries are a better option when you get a bad french fry craving. Unfortunately, they’re still just as double-fried as regular white potato french fries. I wanted to try to make them at home without buying a bag of preservative and oil laden fries from the grocery store. As an experiment, I tried cutting some sweet potatoes into strips and baking them and it worked beautifully. This is still an indulgence, but if you’re going to indulge in fries, why not leave out the extra junk and get a nice healthy dose of Vitamins?

No preservatives in these easy sweet potato fries!

No preservatives in these easy sweet potato fries!

Serves 4


  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, not peeled
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to:

  1. Cut the sweet potatoes into fries, which will leave you with flat “chips” on the outside edges. You can either discard these or roast them along with the fries. Keep the skins on, because there are a lot of nutrients there.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Toss fries with as little oil as possible on a cookie sheet. You basically have to use your hands to make sure you get the thinnest coat possible. Then sprinkle with salt and pepper. This is where you would add some chili powder or cayenne pepper or cinnamon if you want.
  4. Bake in the middle rack of the oven for about 40 minutes. Please keep in mind that ovens vary WILDLY so you’re in luck if you have a window in your oven to see when the edges start to brown.
  5. The best part is, that’s all there is to it!
Posted in Recipes | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Tommy’s in Cleveland Heights

Of course no Cleveland vegan blog could start with any restaurant review but Tommy’s. It’s been around longer than any other restaurant offering vegan and vegetarian dishes. Their vegan options may not be the healthiest, but they’re so tasty that it’s a nice treat.


I went last week and got the tofu scramble which is somehow much better than what I can make at home. I don’t know what seasonings they use, but it works beautifully. I’ve also had the Tempeh Salad Sandwich, the Delaney fried tempeh sandwich (modified to be vegan with Daiya cheese).

Tofu scramble from Tommy's

Tofu scramble from Tommy’s

You may have already heard about their milkshakes but what you may not have heard is that the vegan version made with Tofutti ice cream tastes like cake batter and is the best milkshake you have ever had.

Posted in Restaurant Reviews | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Kale Pineapple Smoothie – if you keep one smoothie recipe, this should be it

This smoothie is one of the main reasons that I decided to start a blog. I must have emailed this recipe to 10 people so I figured I should just post it here for everyone. This is the tastiest way I have found to make sure I get my weekly kale quota, and lots of carrots. I probably make this at least 3 times a week among other smoothies.

Eating this is like taking a multivitamin and if you’re anything like me, you will become so addicted to it that you will search out a juice bar while on vacation to get the morning fix of freshness. Some people are addicted to coffee; I’m addicted to kale smoothies.

As long as all of the fruits and vegetables are cleaned beforehand, this is very quick to throw together in the morning as you’re running out the door on your way to work. There is no excuse to skip breakfast! I have this at 7am, a handful of nuts at 10 and that keeps me full until lunchtime. It may look like a liquid, but with all of the ingredients in here, it’s very filling.

I have a Vitamix (my beloved Vitamix!) so this all comes together with a smooth consistency. If you don’t have a Vitamix, you may want to substitute apple sauce for the apple and carrot juice for the carrot. I vary this based on how sweet I want it to be. Lately I’ve been trying to eat more veggies in place of fruit, so I’ve been using less pineapple and more carrots and kale. You can also freeze any of this if you prefer a colder smoothie. 

Serves 1

Vegan Kale Pineapple Smoothie Prep

All of the ingredients ready to mix for 2 servings


  • Handful of grapes
  • Handful of pineapple pieces (fresh or frozen)
  • 1-2 giant leaves of kale (or 2 giant handfuls of spinach)
  • 1/2 of an apple, quartered with skin on
  • 1-2 carrots
  • Apple cider
  • Optional Additions: 1 tbsp ground chia seeds, 1 tbsp flax oil, a drop of liquid Vitamin D

How to:

  1. Place the ingredients into your blender in the order above so the softer items are at the bottom, allowing the blender to do its thing. Use just enough apple cider let the blender work. I have found in my tall, narrow blender that this is at the point that about a third to a half of my fruits and veggies are submerged.
  2. Blend for about 15 seconds on high in the Vitamix or about a minute in a regular blender.
  3. Sit and enjoy or take it in a to go mug on your drive in to work!

    Kale Pineapple Smoothie

    Kale, beautiful kale!

Posted in Recipes | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments