Date: 2016.01.26 | Category: Vegan Travel | Response: 0

    Vegan VacationsHere is the great news, today traveling while vegan is easier than ever. With a little research, some planning and preparation, an open and positive attitude, your journey is guaranteed to be fun and exciting! Whether you are heading for Europe, Asia, Africa or the Americas, here are my top 10 practical tips that have been tested and shared with many vegan travelers over the years and proved to be a valuable help for new vegans.

    1. Plan before you leave

    – A little research at home goes a long way. As an absolute minimum, always check the site Happycow.com to identify vegan friendly restaurants in every city you will be visiting and locate health food stores to get your supplies. THIS IS A MUST!
    – Also find out where and when local farmer’s markets are so that you can buy local fruit and vegetable for breakfast or snacking. This is a must for Europe where eating out can be expensive and depending what your travel budget is.
    – There are so many vegan travelers that now blog about their experience that you can read specifics information on just about any region in the world when it comes to safely experience local food. Research, research, research! It is also a great way to meet cool people once you get there!
    – If you are travelling with a smart phone to a big city, download the Foursquare app and search for “vegan” mentions near where you are and find great tips left by others who have come before you.
    – If you are traveling with a small group of people and plan on staying in one city, you will be a lot better off by renting an Airbnb instead of getting a hotel since it will come with a full kitchen and dining area. You will be totally in control of your food experience. 

    2. What to expect on the planeVegan travel

    No matter what airline you are traveling on, you should always order a vegan meal (vegetarian no lacto-ovo) and bring some snacks on the plane just in case they forget about it. This has happened to me once every 5-6 international trips! So you have been warned!
    Another thing you can count on is that it isn’t going to be a memorable meal!  You will most likely get a small green salad with oil and vinegar dressing, some steamed vegetables with rice but no real sauce to speak of, a fruit salad and usually a ice cold roll of bread. Voilà, bon appétit! For some reason, airplane food without meat or fish resembles more a hospital diet tray where flavor and seasonings have been omitted on-purpose! This being said, in coach class, Asian airlines do a much better job in serving tastier food (many serve some form of marinated pan-fried tofu as protein). 

    3. What to prepare ahead of time

    Here are some of my favorite snacks I always bring with me when I travel. They are easy to pack, do not need refrigeration and last a long time.

    • Seaweed Love All Natural Roasted Seaweed Variety Pack, Original and Olive Oil, 0.18 Ounce (Pack of 24). Buy large packages and empty the content in small ziploc bags. Can be used as is, with salads, rice etc.) 
    • Chick peas, white and red beans make a great protein rich snack.  See my recipe for Homemade roasted bean mix for a fantastic healthy salty fast food treat!
    • Medjool dates stuffed with raw almonds as a sweet snack. Can’t get tired of this combo. 
    • Mix of raw nuts, bananas and goji berries.
    • A handful of prunes works wonders to counter the effects sitting for hours and cabin pressure have on the digestive system, and ensure proper elimination while in the air! All I will say about it is that it is amazing and helps with jetlag because proper elimination can be an issue when going over timezones and getting used to it.
    • A small Ziploc bag with your favorite mix of spices.
    Vegan travel

    Great for travelling and at home!

    4. What to bring with you

    Here is a short list of items I bring pretty much every time I travel:
    – A metal  water bottle to carry both hot and cold liquid. Or PBA-free plastic if you don’t need to carry hot liquid.
    – A good water filter like the Katadyn vario water filter
    – A collapsible bowl to bring back left over foods. One of my favorite kind is the Aladdin 2 Collapsible Mini Bowl Set 4oz, Eggplantbecause it comes with a lid that screws on top so you never have to worry about leaks. It is also microwave and dishwasher safe and bpa-free. What’s not to like?

    – A good probiotic supplement that doesn’t require refrigeration. I use Saccharomyces Boulardii + MOS, Value Size, 180 Count because it is hypo allergenic, non dairy and contains over 5 billions organisms per capsule! 
    – Small glass bottle for spices, sauces etc.
    – Small Ziploc bags to pack salads, snacks in your purse or backpack.

    5. What to avoid on the ground

    We have all heard the saying “When in Rome …” and while it may be true in many cases, there are a few instances where one should probably abstain from following the crowd.  In my experience, there are:
    – If you travel below the Equator or to Asia, India or Africa, it is better to stay away from local street food stalls (unless of course they are vegan!) because tourists do not have the resistance to bacteria and parasites that locals are used and immuned to.
    – Try to only eat fruit that can be peeled (banana, papaya, kiwi etc.)
    – If you are in hot countries, never drink tap water and if you have to,  use a portable water filter (straw or filter in bottle). There are many models, I like the Katadyn vario water filter because it is small, I can connect it to my water bottle and it does the job. 

     6. Know how to communicate your needs

    Even if you don’t feel that you need to explain why you are vegan, I have noticed that depending which country you are visiting, people will respond differently to your reasons for being vegans.

    • If you are in France (fairly vegan hostile country) the simple mention that you have a serious allergy to certain foods will increase the chances that the waiter will tell you the truth about what they are serving you.
    • If you are in Asia, you can say that you follow the principles of non-violence and everyone will be impressed!
    • In the US and South America, ethical reasons are understood. This being said, if you find yourself dining at someone’s home, a fancy restaurant or a food cart, be respectful of others, always keep a positive attitude that you will work something out and you will.  If it doesn’t look like it will, no problem, try somewhere else. This is where keeping something to snack on will go a long way because changing plan when you are starving won’t help finding a solution. By focusing on the food instead of while asking for a few substitute and not.

    7Know specific substitutes to ask for

    Depending where you are traveling or the type of restaurants you are dining at, there are a few things to look out for that you may not be aware of:

    • In Chinese restaurants: watch out for dishes served in oyster sauce.
    • In Thai and Vietnamese restaurants, make sure that there is no fish sauce in the dishes (usually found in most curry dishes). Ask for soy sauce or plum sauce as a substitute for fish counterpart (Nuoc Mam).
    • In French restaurants, always ask if the soup was made with vegetable broth, if the pasta has eggs, ask to cook in olive oil.
    • In Japanese restaurants, order vegetable sushi (avocado, cucumber, asparagus), order miso soup without bonito flakes.
    • Stay away from curry dishes in Indian restaurants (since they are usually cooked with yogurt), ask if they could prepare flat bread without ghee (clarified butter).

     8. Learn a few words in the local language

    Being able to share a few words in the local language while ordering food or getting to know the locals is a great way to connect with people and show interest and respect for their culture. As a minimum you should learn how to say: no meat, no fish, no eggs, no dairy, no honey, no gelatin in the local language. Write it down phonetically, then try to memorize these short sentences so that you can point at an item and ask whether or not they are safe. Don’t feel intimidated, a little goes a long way. The idea is that you are opened to learning new words, new flavors, new customs…
    The easiest way to learn is to get a Vegan card in the language you need. It is the size of a credit card and says it all! In the worse case scenario, you don’t even have to learn how to speak, you can just show it to the waiter and let them tell you what is safe on the menu. 

    Vegan cruises

    Vegan cruises

    9. Planning for cruises

    Cruises are very popular these days and since you are going to be stuck on a boat for a while, you should make sure that they can truly accommodate vegans and by that I don’t mean serving you green salads and pasta with tomato sauce every day! Research well before booking so that you know what to expect. Then inform the cruise line of your special needs way before you depart.
    In general, you can find an array of options with the buffet for lunch. For dinners on board, try to stay at the same table if you have a good waiter that understand your needs.

    Here are the best cruise lines in terms of experience for vegans:
    1. Royal Caribbean has identified
    gluten-free, low-calorie, lactose-free or vegetarian, and have introduced gluten-free foods on their menus.
    Holistic Holiday’s Seven Day Vegan Sea Cruise is a great option!
    3. Vegan Cruise Planners go to the Mexican Riviera
    4. Carnival Cruises can accommodate vegan and gluten-free passengers. They even have special diet hostesses that will take care of your every need!
    5. Holland America has a vegetarian menu that can easily be veganized.
    If you are still not sure, look for recent cruise reviews and comments online.

    10. Look for vegetarian/vegan tours online and support them!

    If you don’t want to hassle with finding vegan friendly food, deal with a foreign language or plan for every detail while traveling, search for packages that offer all-inclusive vegan friendly tours. As the vegan community grows, more and more vegan travel tours are popping up. So patronize them so that more join the movement! Research online, contact the owners or managers, read comments from previous travelers to make sure what they offer is what you are looking for.

    Happy travels!  Bon Voyage!
    Don’t hesitate to share if you have more tips on vegan travelling!


    Here are a few more traveling things I always take with me:




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  • Great Vegan Vacations in Belize

    Date: 2015.12.20 | Category: Vegan Travel | Response: 0

    So I turned 50 this year!  Yikes!

    Time really creeps up on you when you are not counting! To mark the event, we decided to try a new destination, but it had to be  a vegan friendly place.  When you get older, you know what matters and what you won’t do without!  Plus, there isn’t much fun being in paradise and being worried about finding safe food in restaurants. Thanks to the internet, we typed Vegan Caribbean vacations in Google and found a number of options. In addition to vegan food, we wanted a variety of activities, lots of nature and animals, beach, sacred sites,  time to rest, interact with locals… We experienced such a magical trip in Sri Lanka more than 10 years ago. We didn’t want to travel that far so we opted for Central America instead.

    We chose a package for Belize and Guatemala. 8 days and 9 nights. Just the right amount of time.  We stayed in an eco lodge in Belize…


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  • France Votes to Reduce Food Waste

    Date: 2015.10.07 | Category: vegan news | Response: 0

    ThumbUpEvery now and then France does something that makes me feel proud to be French ! I almost felt like singing the French national anthem and breaking out my beret!

    France recently voted in favor of a law that makes it illegal for supermarkets to throw away and destroy edible food in order to cut waste. Interestingly enough, I remember reading a few weeks ago an article about a young British couple that had opened a grocery store in a small English town that was reselling fresh produce and packaged food that had past their expiration date and had been donated by local superstores. It is a brilliant idea which is so overdue!

    Honestly, with an ever growing population, dwindling resources, real threats from climate change to our fragile ecosystems, we must all learn to do more with what we have and more importantly NEVER waste. And this is exactly what this new new law was designed to do. From now on, all food chains in France will have to donate discarded food to charity if it is safe to eat or to farmers if not safe to eat (to be turned into animal feed, compost or energy.)

    Food wasteIn the beginning, the law will only apply to large stores over 4,305 square feet. They will have until July 2016 to sign necessary agreements with charities, or face fines of up to €75,000. Can you imagine that until now, anyone found scavenging grocery stores bins could be charged with theft? Garbage? It is madness I tell you! On the one hand, we have so much food on store shelves, trucks keep unloading products day in and day out and on the other, our food banks are suffering from lack of donations, the poor quality of what they get (mostly cans, processed food…). So this could totally be a game changer, if we were to follow suit in the US and around the world.

    Food waste

    Just Eat It documentary

    According to a fascinating new documentary called “Just Eat It, shoppers throw away about one-fifth of every food products they buy at the grocery store. There are several ways to remedy this situation. We could buy less but more frequently as the Europeans do, create a menu plan for the week, shop with a list (and never when hungry!), compost fresh produce gone South if you have a back yard. You get the idea!
    While food waste is often associated with Supermarkets it also happens every day in restaurants… Take French restaurants, they waste 15 percent of the food they serve but that’s nothing compared to consumers wasting up to 67 percent!

    Even with the current leftover food thrown away by consumers, there are options to recycle that waste. Take the Swiss company Kompogas. It collects organic waste from residential and commercial buildings (from separate bins) and turns it into free compost for the city and energy in the form of natural biogas.

    The French law will also introduce a food program to educate schools and businesses on reducing food waste and to remove best- before dates on fresh foods. The goal is to cut by half the food waste by 2025. It is estimated that of the total 7.1 million tons of food waste in France, 67% comes from consumers, 15% from restaurants, 11% by stores.

    In the US, with the increasing number of people applying for food stamps, eating in soup kitchens, such a law would be a boon for food pantries around the country who have seen their supplies dwindle over the past few years. Did you know that if a person is found foraging in supermarkets food bins they can be apprehended by police for theft… That’s when you know that new laws putting an end to this madness need to be written and passed.

    Now that the law has been voted, charities (like food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters etc.) will have time to organize and invest in refrigerators and trucks to be ready for the food donations. But that’s a small price to pay to get abundant free produce and food for the needy!

    So what would it take to make this happen in the US? Should it be done at the Federal level or should it be at the state or even county level? America is a big country! Talk to your representatives, to your local charities… we need to get the ball rolling here because we produce more than any other country in the world! What are some of the challenges?  Primarily a concern over liability and logistics. Turns out, there is no liability for store owners thanks to the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, passed by Congress in 1996 protecting them from civil and criminal liability. The bill protects, individuals, farmers, store owners, wholesalers, caterers, restaurant owners when donating food in good faith. What about logistics? Superstores don’t typically have extra space to store food “past its peakeness” and cannot always wait for agencies to pick them up at their convenience. Many don’t even know they can donate or who to contact to make this happen. There is obviously a lot we can do to improve the situation.

    There are a few interesting articles and organizations that have tried tackling this issue:
    Feeding America and Food Finders are the most active and act as middle men between donors and charities. They have established partnerships with Wal-Mart, Target, Kroger, and Trader Joe’s. That’s a great start but the US is a big country and the solution must be modular, scalable and repeatable.

    Below are some useful links if you want to find out more about this issue in the US, that will clarify what we can do.

    Watch John Oliver‘s special on Food waste
    Find out more ways to reduce food waste
    Why grocery stores don’t donate food

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  • Vegan in Las Vegas!

    Date: 2014.02.27 | Category: Vegan Travel | Response: 0

    It is nice to see that the vegan movement has reached Las Vegas and is starting to take roots. I remember standing at mile long buffets, with only a few options to pick from, even as a vegetarian.  Meals were a lot cheaper back then but there were a lot less choices too… Today, the reality is,  a meal on the strip will cost you anywhere between $30-$60 per person and more if you order wine or cocktails. If you are not picky and a carnivore, you can always grab a quick bite in fast food concessions at the various food courts located in the shopping mall level connecting each major hotel. But for vegetarians or vegans, there is major space for improvement. So, when we went this year, we knew we had to research this and try some new places. We didn’t want to spend all our money on food this time, so we decided not to go to restaurants at the Wynn’s casino (they have amazing vegan haute cuisine restaurants with high price menus) and stay around our hotel area.

    Bistro Mon Ami Gabi at Paris Paris


    We stayed at Paris Paris because it is centrally located and right across from Belaggio’s fountain. Being French, I didn’t have great expectations when it comes to vegan options in the various restaurants they offer. What? No butter? No cream? No egg? Quel scandale !  So we were pleasantly surprised to discover that their French bistro, Mon Ami Gabi could not only accommodate our picky vegan taste buds but even satisfy them.

    It is one of the few restaurants on the strip where you can dine outside on the terrasse and experience the heart of the town. The weather was mild, we wanted to have an early dinner, watch the sunset and catch the fountains from the bistro.  We ended up ordering an appetizer made of different olives with herbs and several side dishes: steamed spinach perfectly seasoned, pan fried garlic wild mushrooms, roasted root vegetables. It was very well served for sides and had plenty enough for two people. They also gave us the most amazing warm baguettes. OMG! We asked for olive oil and balsamic vinegar instead of the usual butter.  It was perfect. Dinner with a show! We were off to a good start!

    The Fountains at Bellaggio

    Cañonita at the Venetian




    The next day, we ventured over the Venitian for a walk.  By the time we got there, it was around lunch time and we were a little hungry. We found a Mexican restaurant right on the canal called: Cañonita  that had one vegan option, so we had to try it.





    View from Cañonita

    The view from the balcony was so lovely, we watched gondolas pass by, listened to gondolier sing famous Italian songs. The great thing about the Venetian, is that you get the same experience 365 days a year, for lunch or dinner since it is indoor and the lighting remains the same.

    We ordered guacamole to go with the chips and salsa they served (because you have to have your healthy fats).  For the main dish, we ordered their “Tolucca Portobello mushroom”.  Imagine slices of perfectly roasted Portobello mushroom with roasted tomato fennel sauce, on a bed of seared green, black beans with an amazing cilantro pesto.  It was exquisite and plenty again for two people. The only thing I would have done different and suggested the waiter was to remove the rib on the large Swiss chard and kale leaves. Ribs on leafy greens are the kind of things that turn people off to them and rob them of their wondrous nutritional benefit they give us. Otherwise it was perfect.


    Tolucca Portobello mushroom

    We were told that the executive chef is Donna Willey. I really hope that she gets more creative and ads a few new vegan dishes to her menu. If you are in the area, request it too. If we don’t ask, they won’t see the need to do it. That’s why I go out of my way to patronize vegan restaurants but I also feel that it is important to encourage restaurant owners to incorporate vegan options in their menu. And every single one I have spoken to in the past, has done it in a small or a big way. In any case, we all win! So you may want to do the same whenever you have a chance. What I tell them, is that when we go out in a group, if the restaurant has no vegan options, we all walk out and find one that does. They don’t lose one customer but the whole group of people. It isn’t an isolated case anymore as it was in the past. With all the various dietary restrictions out there (gluten-free, dairy-free etc.), restaurants owners have to be aware of this growing segment of the population and it isn’t a trend that is going away any time soon either. So the more flexible and thoughtful they are to these various needs, the better their business will do.

    We had bought tickets to see Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson One at Mandalay Bay the next day. I have to say that this was one of the most amazing Cirque du Soleil performance.  Michael left us way too early but his legacy will live forever as the one. What an evening!  We found out earlier  that 2 restaurants at Mandalay Bay had not only vegan options but an entire vegan menu. That’s when you know they are serious about catering to vegans.  So we had to check it out. One of the restaurant was called Hussong’s.  I thought it was Chinese (or maybe I was looking forwards to some Chinese because we had Mexican the day before!) but it turns out it was a Mexican cantina. Think sport tavern in Mexico with great food and you get an idea. The place is very clean, open, with lots of Mexican art pieces on the wall, bringing warmth and sunshine to the place. We asked for their vegan menu and were surprised to see 9 dishes, all well known and loved. They used Daiya cheese, Gardein chick’n or beef  tips, just like we do at home!

    Enchildada at Hussong’s



    We ordered an enchilada and a Tostada salad. Both were delicious and well served. The vinaigrette in both dishes were exquisite. Since it was after the show, the place was more quiet than usual. The manager came to say hi and wanted to know how things were.




    Hussong’s Vegan Menu

    He told us that the bartender of the original Hussong’s in Encindada, Mexico, invented the Margarita back in 1941! A great meal with a little historical trivia, can it get better? Apparently the beautiful daughter of a German ambassador to Mexico stopped in his restaurant asking the bartender for a unique drink and he put together the perfect blend of tequila, Damiana and lime over ice. Her name was Margaret, or as they say in Mexico, Margarita. The rest is history.

    By the way, if you look on Groupon you can usually get $20 off $50 for Hussong’s. One caveat though, only buy one coupon, because you can only use one coupon per table!

    Slice of Vegas Vegan Menu



    We also found out that right next to Hussong’s there is a pizza place called Slice of Vegas that has a vegan menu. It turns out that they are both owned by the same company and have the same chef! His name is Noe Alcala and he is pretty amazing! We didn’t have time or space for trying it that night but looking at their menu, it is a great lunch or dinner destination with fun appetizers (chick’n wings, bruschetta, roasted cauliflower), 2 salads, 3 sandwiches (meatball, veggie sub, Portobello sub), 4 pizzas (BBQ, Meatless meatball, vegan faux pie, Back east buffalo) and if don’t like any of these, you can make your own too! They also have bowls and 2 desserts (chocolate cake and zeppoli, a healthier version of churros using pizza dough balls!) We are definitely going there on our next trip.

    Tour Eiffel restaurant


    We also ate at the Eiffel Tower on our last night for our wedding anniversary. The view and service were very fancy,  but the food wasn’t that great or worth the price. Not many vegan choices. Frankly, we ate better at the Cafe Mon Ami Gabi downstairs for half the price!



    So next time you go to Las Vegas, make sure to check these places out and do a little research because more and more restaurants are joining the movement and by the time you go, you will have even more options to chose from. Happy and safe travelling!

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  • Summer Gazpacho

    Date: 2013.09.24 | Category: Vegan Soups | Response: 0

    Perfectly ripened tomatoes

    One of the great thing about growing your own fruit and vegetables is that you get to shop in your garden.  This year was really good for tomatoes, cucumbers, chili etc. The challenge is that they tend to ripen all at the same time.   So what can you do when you have lots of tomatoes in your garden? What dishes can you quickly prepare to take advantage of your bumper crop?

    You could can tomatoes or roast them but that’s a lot of work (cleaning the jars, blanching the tomatoes, peeling them, sealing the jars etc.) You may not be up to that! You could make a big tomato salad but how many tomatoes can you eat? A summer favorite in our house is “bruschetta”.  Seasoned diced tomatoes with fresh basil on toasted french bread! Yum! But again, what to do after you run out of baguette?

    Another great summer dish is gazpacho, a cold and refreshing soup! It originates from the South of Spain, in the Andalucia region and is usually served with stale bread, olives and olive oil. There is nothing easier to make and you can prepare it the day before so that the flavors blend overnight. It can be really colorful if you have yellow, orange and red tomatoes. Take advantage of abundant fresh basil. In Spain, they often filter the soup after blending it so that it is pretty liquid. I personally prefer a thicker soup. So I blend half of it and keep the rest in small chunks.

    So here is the recipe (serves 4-5 people)

    6-8 ripe tomatoes quartered
    2 medium cucumbers (peeled, seeded and roughly chopped) 
    4 stalks of celery chopped coarsely
    1 small onion chopped
    1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
    1-2 cloves of garlic minced
    4 Tbl red wine vinegar
    4 Tbl virgin olive oil
    2 Tbl soy sauce
    1-2 tsp chili powder
    Sea salt
    French baguette


    1. Slice the baguette in thin slices and lightly toast until done. Set aside.
    2. Mix the chopped tomatoes, celery, cucumber, basil, vinegar, oil, chili powder, garlic, soy sauce in a large bowl.
    3. Pour half into a blender (I use my handy dandy Vitamix).

      (A Vitamix is a little pricey but totally worth the investment. I have had mine for more than 15 years and it is still going strong! But if you are on a tighter budget, there are other good options).
      Ninja Professional Blender (BL660)

    4. Pulse a few times only to obtain a chunky texture. You can do the same with the other half if you prefer a more liquid soup. For a thicker soup, just pour the blended half into the other half. Add the oil, salt and pepper and gently mix with a spoon.
    5. You can eat right away but it is better to refrigerate for a few hours or a day ahead.
    6. Laddle the gazpacho in nice small bowls (chilled on a very hot summer day). Garnish with a few slices of bread, fresh chopped basil and drizzle a little olive oil.
      This has to be the fastest soup in the West! Under 10 minutes from refrigerator to bowl!Bon appetit !
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  • Fresh French Peas

    Date: 2012.11.08 | Category: French cuisine, RECIPES | Response: 0

    Fresh Sugar Peas Recipe


    One of the best way to prepare sugar peas when they are in season and abundant is to add as little as possible to retain their delicate flavor. First you have to shell the peas which requires a little manual labor.  This is a great opportunity to gather everyone in the house to led a hand around the kitchen table. This recipe calls for both the pods and the peas but you must remove the thin skin from the pod very carefully, peeling it from one end to the other. Otherwise, it will be too tough to eat.  It takes a little extra  time but it is well worth the work. Plus you get to do it with loved ones.





    INGREDIENTS (for 2 people):

    4-5 cups of sugar peas (with pods)
    3-4 shallots or 1-2 medium white or yellow onion
    2 or more large garlic cloves
    1 Tbl of sunflower or olive oil
    1 Tbl raw sugar
    1/2 tsp thyme
    Some rosemary
    1 Bay leaf
    Sea salt and pepper to taste

    Peas close-up



    First you shell the peas, then you remove the thin skin from the pods.
    Mince the shallots or onion and set aside.
    Remove the skin from the garlic cloves but do not crush or mince.
    Heat up a shallow pan with a little olive or sunflower oil.
    Add the onions and stir for a few minutes on medium heat.
    Pour the pods and peas, the whole cloves and mix with the onions.
    Add the herbs (thyme, rosemary, bay leaf) the sugar, salt and pepper and stir over medium heat for a few minutes.
    Add a little water to make sure everything cooks evenly, cover and lower the heat for 10 or 15 minutes. Remove from the stove, taste to make sure everything is tender and seasoned to your liking. You can also drizzle a little olive oil if you want.

    You can serve it on its own with some wholesome bread or with a side of herbed quinoa or rice. Place the intact garlic clove on top. It will melt in your mouth!

    Gourmet French Peas


    Bon appétit everyone!

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  • Potato Broccoli salad with chipotle dressing

    Date: 2012.07.10 | Category: RECIPES, Salads, Uncategorized | Response: 0

    Potato Broccoli Salad with Chipotle dressing

    Hi everyone, it is good to be back. Ok so it has been a while since I have posted a recipe. I took a short sabbatical, I had to focus on something else!  Did you miss me?  Hopefully the saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder” is true!

    So summer has finally arrived. Honestly, I feel quite blessed to live in the Northwest considering the surreal heat wave that has blasted the rest of the country (only California, Oregon and Washington have been spared!) We may have less sun but regular moisture is a nice thing to have with global warming wrecking havoc all over the world. But I digress… summer means salads and what is a party without a vegan potato salad? Well, this one is guaranteed to make people talk and come back for seconds! Don’t say anything, just bring it and watch what happens!

    Organic Vegetables from the garden

    I must say that I have been enjoying fresh salads from our garden with all kinds of lettuce, some kale, fresh peas… what a blessing to be able to walk anytime to a patch of fresh fruit and vegetables and harvest our treasures as they make themselves available to us. I have also been craving lately for salads with more sustenance. So I decided to add fresh broccoli, some carrots, some peas even. I also happened to have some oven roasted potatoes I had made for a dinner the day before.  So I thought, why not combine them together. Now, since I love chipotle sauce, I decided to try it on it. I can put it on just about everything. Wow! The result was a wonderful rich flavor with crunchy bites… I think that you will love the combination of raw and roasted vegies with a fun chipotle sauce.

    INGREDIENTS (for 2-4 people):

    1 cup of Broccoli cut in small pieces (top mostly)
    1/2 shredded carrots
    4 medium potatoes roasted (with rosemary, salt, olive oil)
    Fresh peas cut in small pieces

    Optional but great complement for color and flavor:
    1/2 cup of fresh corn 6-7 sticks of jicama
    1 Tbl dried cranberries (for a splash of red and some sweet bites!)
    1/4 cup of pine nuts or pumpkin seeds  

    Chipotle sauce:
    1 cup of Vegenaise* (vegan mayonnaise)
    3 Tbl non-dairy milk
    2 Tbl chipotle liquid
    dash of salt 

    Vegenaise is the best tasting vegan mayonnaise on the market. The good news is that if you make a potato salad or coleslaw for a pic-nic, you never have to worry about food poisoning from the mayonnaise because there are no eggs. 

    If you want to make a chipotle dip, use less non-dairy milk. If you want to make salad dressing add more.


    Potato salad with Chipotle dressing

    You can use more chipotle if you like it more spicy. Taste and add accordingly. Chipotle usually comes in small cans and can be found in the Mexican section of most grocery stores. I pour the chipotle in a small ziploc bag and freeze it since I only need a small amount. A little goes a long way. Make sure to double the recipe because it will go very quickly!

    Bon appétit everyone !


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  • Herb Vegan Goat Cheese

    Date: 2012.05.07 | Category: French cuisine, RECIPES, vegan cheese | Response: 0

    Vegan Goat Cheese

    Sorry for not having posted for a while. I am taking advantage of being in the South of France visiting my parents to try out some new French inspired dishes. While I do not miss any of the cow cheese I used to enjoy when I was a carnivore, goat cheese, on the other hand, was more delicate, naturally low fat and milder in flavor. So I attempted to recreate a dairy-free version from scratch. It turns out that organic firm tofu lends itself really well to the recipe. Truth be told, I wasn’t able to get the exact consistency of goat cheese, but obtained something in between what could be used as ricotta (if kept more moist) and soft goat cheese. Not bad at all! The taste is quite nice and the result is great addition to a vegan caesar salad or on top of spring mix. I can’t wait to harvest the tomatoes in my garden and make this stunning vegan goat cheese with homemade rosemary crackers!

    Homemade Vegan goat cheese


    2 cup of organic firm tofu
     2 tsp nutritional yeast
    2 Tbl light miso paste
    2 tsp onion powder
    2 medium roasted garlic cloves
     4 Tbl lemon juice
    2 Tbl virgin olive oil
    Salt & pepper to taste 
    1 cup fresh basil leaves




    1. Cube the tofu and place in medium pan. Cover with some water with a little salt and bring to boil. Let it simmer for 4-5 minutes without a lid. Drain and let it cool of. This step will make the tofu more firm.

    2. Process the remaining ingredients minus the fresh basil until pureed.

    3. Pour into a bowl and add the fine strips of fresh basil, mix again.
    Taste, add salt and pepper if needed.

    4. Line a ramequin or a small glass container with some ceranwrap.

    Vegan goat cheese

    5. Spoon the tofu mixture making sure that it is pushed evenly all the way to the top. Refrigerate for a few hours.

    6. When it is time to serve, flip the dish and remove the plastic film preserving the shape and place on a salad or serve with crackers.

    NOTE: If you don’t eat soy products, no worry, you can use pine nuts, see recipe at  the Vegenista.

    Bon appétit everyone

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  • Yakisoba Noodles with tofu

    Date: 2012.04.11 | Category: Chinese, Dairy free | Response: 0

    Yakisoba Noodles with Tofu

    Every now and then I like to make Yakisoba noodles. You can find them in most grocery stores in the refrigerated section, usually near the tofu and other vegetarian products. How convenient, since this recipe calls for tofu!  Stay away from the packaged sauce that often comes with dry yakisoba noodles! It is full of sodium and  additives and don’t taste good! The best kind (quality, price & quantity) are the fresh noodles (usually 2-3 per pack). They are ideal for a quick meal, all you have to do is to briefly soak them in some warm or hot water for them to soften. You can also substitute soba noodles if you want wider noodles.
    Hime Dried Buckwheat Soba Noodles, 25.40-Ounce

    I had some beautiful Swiss chard so it was a perfect combination with the noodles. The whole thing took less than 15mn. Ok, so it took a little multi-tasking but it isn’t difficult. 


    1 package of yakisoba noodles per person
    1 sliced onion
    1 cup of broccoli flowerets
    1/2 cup sliced celery
    1/2 cup shredded carrots 
    1/2 package of extra firm organic tofu

    1/3 cup of soy sauce
    1 Tbl sesame oil
    2 Tbl rice vinegar 
    1 tsp sugar
    2 cloves of garlic
    2 tsp chili paste


    Stir-fried tofu on yakisoba noodles

    1. Pour hot water in a large pot and place the noodles in it. Cover and leave for a few minutes. Stir the noodles and drain them. Discard the sauce package that comes with it. Way too much salt and sugar in it! 

    2. Rinse the tofu and pat dry in a clean towel. Cut in cubes.

    3. Chop the onion, shred the carrots, separate the broccoli in small pieces and thinly slice the celery. Set aside.

    4. Heat up some vegetable oil in a frying pan. 

    5. Pan fry the tofu, sprinkle with a little salt or soy sauce until golden. Set aside.

    6. Pour a little of the sauce in the frying pan, add the onion until lightly tender. Add the celery, carrots and broccoli and a little more of the marinade if necessary.

    7. Pour the noodles and the remaining marinade and quickly mix all the veggies. Taste, add more sea salt or soy sauce if needed.  Remove from heat and cover.

    8. Wash and rinse the Swiss chard. Roll the leaves and make thin slices.

    9. Heat up 1 tsp of vegetable oil or a little water with some sea salt and quickly heat the chard until lightly tenderized. The goal is not to turn it into welted leaves but to just soften them.

    10. Place some of the chard on one side of the plate and the the noodles on the other. 

    Bon appétit


    Quick yakisoba noodles with tofu







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  • Vegan Coconut Macaroons

    Date: 2012.03.19 | Category: Dairy free, RECIPES, Vegan Deserts | Response: 0

    Eggless Coconut macaroons

    If you are ever tired of chocolate chip cookies and want something a little less sweet and more exotic, go for an eggless coconut macaroon. Crispy on the outside, moist and a little chewy on the inside, these little white rocks are incredible. They are easy to make too. When I was still eating dairy products, I used to make them with sweetened condensed milk and they were really rich. After that, I forgot about them but with a little experimentation, they turned out just as good and a lot less decadent! So why not indulge and make a big batch? You can also make variations adding some chocolate or some orange peel or anything else you enjoy in your sweets.


    2 cups of coconut milk
    3/4 cup of dry sweetener (organic sugar)
    1 tsp vanilla
    2 cups dried unsweetened coconut*
    1/4 cup of arrowroot or cornstarch
    4 Tbs water

    *if you have shredded sweetened coconut, use less dry sweetener or it will be too sweet.


    1. Preheat the oven to 350F
    2. Line a baking sheet with some parchment paper.
    3. Mix the coconut milk with the vanilla and sugar.
    4. Mix the arrowroot or cornstarch with the water and pour into the coconut milk.
    5. Add the dried coconut and mix well.
    6. If the mixture is too wet, ad a little more coconut.
    7. With the help of a soup spoon, make little bundles and shape them with your hands until they resemble a little pyramid.
    8. Bake for 20-25 mn until lightly browned on top and bottom.


    vegan macaroons


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