Spotlight On: Drought Juice

I first met various James sisters at a health expo a few years ago, where I was tabling for my personal chef business, Fresh Chef Detroit and their big logo mirror for Drought struck me from across the way. Relatively new to juicing at the time, I made it a point to head over and have a chat.  We’ve continued to cross paths in the years since and they have done nothing but impress me — as sisters (who clearly work well together), women and entrepreneurs. They’re doing it right.

My family cannot get enough of their juice. We moved dangerously close to Drought’s Royal Oak location right about the time it opened.

They released a video today. Check it out, then check out their juice. (And when you do, post a picture on Instagram, tag them and hashtag it #DROUGHTout for a chance to win a free juice every Friday!)

Here’s the video, produced by Gentlemen.

Spotlight On: Door to Door Organics

IMG_2264A few years back I attended a screening of the movie May I Be Frank and Door to Door Organics had a table there. I had heard of them but never used them — the discount code I was given that night made me give it a try. I’ve used them on and off since (you can suspend your order anytime — one of the many bonuses to using them).  I’ve recently started up the service again and I’m so glad I did — it makes my Mondays so much easier!

If you’ve never heard of Door to Door, you should visit their site to see if they deliver to your area. You pick what size box you want, whether you want fruits, vegetables or a mix and how often you would like to receive a box. I used to get a small mixed box every other week. Now I get a “bitty” mixed box every week.

Here’s how it works. A few days before your delivery day, you get an e-mail with your weekly order. If there are things on there you don’t like or know you won’t use, you can swap them out! You can also add all kinds of things to your order in addition to produce, including items from local bakeries and businesses, meats (if you’re into that kind of thing), fish, dairy, crackers,  Almond milk and so much more.

The website has recipes that are really helpful and they regularly have little coloring contests for kids and other fun things they do. Customer service is amazing. When I was pregnant I went through a mango phase. My box showed up and my mangoes were all brown and funky inside. Not only did they immediately e-mail me back when I contacted them, they threw an extra mango in my next box for good measure.

I know it sounds like they must be paying me, so I must say I have zero affiliation with them other than being a customer. It’s just a solid business that makes my life so, so much easier. My box comes on Monday. I have until noon Sunday to add to or change my order so I just try to brainstorm about what I want to make for dinner before then. I scrape by eating whatever we have at home on Saturday and Sunday (and avoid the dreaded weekend grocery store trip!) knowing I can get any essentials I need on Monday from Door to Door. So, tomorrow I will put out last week’s empty box and wait for it to get swapped out with a full one.

I mention them often in my posts and photos so I thought I would explain for anyone who may not be familiar. As a current customer, I can send you a code for $15 off your first box! Send me a message via my Facebook page (HERE) with your e-mail address and I’ll have a code sent to you ASAP. Have a good week!

Vegan Corn and Black Bean Cakes


Every once in a while, the stars align — I get a recipe in my Inbox I think the whole family might enjoy and I happen to have all the ingredients. That happened recently with my weekly e-mail from Forks Over Knives. If you’ve never seen it, FOK is a documentary examining the belief that eliminating animal-based and processed foods from your diet can control or reverse most, if not all, degenerative diseases. Even if you don’t want to jump in 100 percent to a vegan diet, it’s a great film that might help you make better choices from time to time.

I have no idea if this recipe is in the FOK cookbook, which remains packed up in my garage, where it’s been since I moved to a new home four months ago. Yet another reason I’m glad I took the time to open this e-mail.  I’ve really enjoyed the recipes I’ve made from the book (including this Cheesy Baked Ziti I posted a year and a half ago) and will definitely make this one again.

Next time I think I’ll jazz it up a bit — more spices and maybe even a diced fresh jalapeño. The original recipe has zero spices in it. I try not to mess with other people’s recipes too much until I’ve tried them, but I saw the blandness coming. I put just a dash of a few spices in. Next time, I’ll start with 1/2 teaspoon of each and likely go up from there. I’ll include them in the ingredient list below. Also, I’m sure you could easily substitute gluten-free all-purpose flour in this and it would turn out just fine.

We topped ours with salsa and a little avocado. Next time I think I’ll definitely pick up some vegan sour cream. I served it with spiced roasted sweet and russet potatoes.

• 1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
• 1/2 c. cornmeal (I used a finely ground cornmeal)
• 1 Tbsp. aluminum-free baking powder
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1/2 c. unsweetened, unflavored plant milk (I used almond)
• 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce (next time I might add a little more to try to moisten it up a little)
• 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
• 1 10 oz. package frozen corn kernels, thawed
• 1 c. cooked or canned black beans, rinsed and drained
• 6 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced (I only had two…)
• 1/2 tsp. each cumin, coriander, chili powder, garlic powder
• sour cream, salsa, guacamole or avocado for serving
• chopped cilantro for serving, optional

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. I was roasting the potatoes, so I didn’t do this. Since you can only fit 2-3 cakes on the griddle at once (they are large) it might have been nice to keep them warm in the oven until we all sat down to eat. Really, wasn’t a deal-breaker though.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and spices until well combined.

3. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the milk, applesauce, pepper, corn, beans and onions. Gently fold the ingredients together until just incorporated. Don’t over mix.

4. Heat a griddle or large nonstick pan over medium heat until a few droplets of water jump in the pan and sizzle. You can always use oil, etc., but it’s really unnecessary if you have a nonstick pan. The key is to not touch them once added for a few minutes and you’ll be fine!

5. Spoon 1/2 c. of batter for each cake onto the pan, making sure they don’t touch each other. Cook until the undersides are crisp and they can be flipped easily without falling apart — about 4 minutes.

6. Using a spatula, turn the cakes over and cook until the other side is lightly browned and crisp — about 4 more minutes. The cakes are quite thick — I patted mine down a little, though I don’t know if it was necessary.

7. Transfer to an oven-proof platter or pan and keep warm in the oven until you’re ready to serve. Top with whatever you like and enjoy!

Vegan Hollandaise


Hollandaise sauce has been a bit of a vegan kryptonite for me. I love it. I grew up eating it on asparagus and I’ve been known to eat just that for dinner in the summer when asparagus is at its best. My veg honeymoon (You can read Part 1 HERE. Sadly, Part 2 is yet to be written. Soon!) included a stay at Stanford Inn vegan resort in Mendocino, CA, where I had two amazing vegan meals each day. More than once this included vegan Hollandaise and I decided it was time I find a version I like.

Well, it took two and a half years, but here you go. I’ve been making this version, from Vegetarian Times, for a few weeks now. I’ve made various versions of tofu benedicts and paired it with tofu and capers as part of an entrée. The original recipe calls for 1/2 c. silken tofu, but I triple it, which uses one whole package of it, then use it throughout the week. I’ve got a new addiction and I love that instead of eating butter and egg yolks, it’s tofu and other healthier deliciousness.

• 1 16 oz. package silken tofu
• 6 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
• 3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
• 1 1/2 tsp. salt
• 3/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (the sauce gets a little spicier as the week goes on!)
• 3/8 tsp. turmeric
• 6 Tbsp. oil (original recipe calls for corn oil, I’ve used olive and grapeseed)

I make it a little differently than the original recipe called for. Puree the tofu until smooth in the food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients except oil and puree, drizzling in the oil as it’s running.

Transfer to a small saucepan and heat over low/simmer until it’s just warmed through and serve. Enjoy!

TLAT — My New Favorite Sandwich

I LOVE the TLT at Om Cafe in Ferndale (and now Traverse City too!). I developed a bread/sandwich thing while pregnant and certain aspects of it have not yet left me. I still crave that sandwich regularly, but haven’t had it in several weeks.

Today I got the babe down for a nap and found myself starving — I only had juice I made this morning. What I really wanted was that TLT. Then I realized, I had the ingredients to make a pretty good rip-off myself.

I started with organic tempeh. If you’re not familiar, it’s basically a bunch of fermented soybeans smashed together into a brick. It’s really high in both fiber and protein and also has good amounts of iron and calcium.

I started by cutting the brick in half, then cutting each half into three thin slices. I browned the slices in a sauté pan in a little bit of oil and seasoned them with Miracle Blend from Michigan’s own Alden Mill House.

sandwichI popped a couple of slices of bread into the toaster and sliced a small tomato and an avocado. My favorite method for that is to cut the avocado into two halves, use your knife to make slices while still in the shell, then use a large spoon to scoop them all out at once.

I grabbed my Organic Girl 50/50 blend and a jar of Follow Your Heart Pesto Vegenaise I picked up a couple of weeks ago but hadn’t tried yet.

In about 5 minutes, I built this sandwich and I have to say — DELICIOUS. This will definitely be a go-to when I’m having a TLT craving. Don’t worry, OM. I’m still your biggest fan.

Vegan Tuscan Lemon Cake

Several weeks before I had my baby, my sister decided she would host Easter so family could gather and meet her. Around that time I came across this recipe for Betty Crocker’s lemon cake, veganized by a couple who went through Betty’s whole book and veganized it, posting recipes to their blog Meet the Shannons. They also published them in their debut cookbook Betty Goes Vegan. As much as I’m trying not to buy cookbooks, I really think I need this one.

Everyone told me just to bring the baby and nothing else but, well, I don’t really know how to do that. And the more I get submerged in the all-consuming schedule of a new mom the more I wanted to make it happen — bake a cake! Like I used to! Or maybe would have!

It has basic ingredients, all of which I had on hand, so I went for it. Besides, I really wanted to use that bundt pan I just HAD to register for when we got married almost two years ago and still haven’t used. So, I did it. “Wait, WHY are you making a cake?” I got on Easter morning when my husband woke up, thinking I already would be en route to my sister’s for those who had asked for extra baby time before the masses arrived. Oops. If the last five weeks are any indication, I may not be “on time” (yes, in quotes as it’s relative) for the next several years if you invite me somewhere.

As I was running late, there are no pictures. Well, that, and it was ugly. Though I generously sprayed my pan, I couldn’t wait for it to cool completely and the nice golden brown outer layer stuck to the pan upon removing it. I also REALLY wanted to put it on the lovely vintage cake stand my mother-in-law got me at my baby shower, but it was the exact size as the stand. That doesn’t really work — especially when there’s glaze involved. I made a mess, had to transport it to a bigger pan and it started to fall apart. It wasn’t pretty.

And the lemon glaze? Well, you have to keep it warm to pour it on when the cake is cooled a bit and I made it before I showered. So, but the time I poured it, it wasn’t the nice lemon yellow color displayed on the Shannons’ blog, but more of a golden brown. That’s OK though. I thought it turned out delicious and, as much as I hate to say it, it’s super moist without being too dense. It got rave reviews from the small group that passed up my mom’s (non-vegan) coconut cream and cherry pies (I don’t blame anyone for choosing those however. All of her pies really are the best). This was really fast and easy to make though — I’ll be revisiting this recipe for sure.

My window of sleeping baby is closing. Better get to it!

Cake Ingredients
• 1 1/2 c. sugar
• 1/2 c. Earth Balance (non-dairy margarine)
• 1 Tbsp. applesauce
• 1 Tbsp. Ener-G Egg Replacer  powder
• 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1 14.5 oz can coconut milk (I went with full fat)
• 2 Tbsp. lemon zest
• 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
• baking spray for the bundt pan

Glaze Ingredients
• 2 c. powdered sugar
• 1/4 c. Earth Balance
• 2 Tbsp. lemon zest
• 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice

From Meet the Shannons:

Heat oven to 325.

In a large bowl, blend your Sugar and Margarine with a hand held electric mixer on a high setting until it is smooth and fluffy. Then blend in Applesauce and Ener-G Egg Replacer.

In another bowl, mix Flour, Baking Soda and Salt with a whisk until completely blended. Then add the Flour mix to the Margarine mix a little at a time – alternating with Coconut Milk. Each time you add some Flour or Coconut Milk, use your mixer to blend it in completely. Once your Flour and Coconut Milk are completely blended in add your Lemon Zest and Lemon Juice and blend on a medium setting for 2-3 minutes. You want your batter to be fluffy and smooth.

Spray a fluted tube cake pan with Baking Spray. Then pour your Batter into the pan evenly. Use a spatula to spread it out to make a nice even layer. It’s important to make sure the Batter is even because the cake will be sitting with the rimmed ring on top. So if you see any ridges or clumps be sure and smooth them out now.

Put in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes. Now not every fluted cake pan is the same and some are deeper than others. So start checking on your cake at around 30 minutes. Use a bamboo skewer to test if your cake is done. If you can poke the bamboo skewer in a few times and remove it cleanly. You’re done. (Note: Mine took 60 minutes. It didn’t look done even then, but I poked it with the skewer and sure enough it was done!)

While your cake is baking, make your glaze. In a saucepan, melt your Margarine on a low heat. Once your Margarine is melted, use a whisk to blend in your Powdered Sugar. Then blend in Lemon Zezt and Lemon Juice. The glaze is pretty sweet. If you taste it and are like this is too sweet for you – just add a little more melted Margarine and Lemon Zest until you get the flavor you like. You’re going to want to keep your glaze warm till you drizzle it over the top.

Pull the cake out once it is fully baked and immediately poke your cake several more times – like 15 times with the bamboo skewer. You only want to go in about as deep as a fork would go. You’re releasing moisture from the cake to help it cool and also release from the pan. Let your cake cool for 20 minutes and then turn your cake pan upside down on a large serving dish. (It had been at least 30 by the time I did this, but the cake still stuck to my non-stick, heavily-sprayed pan. I think it would have come out perfectly if I had let it cool completely).

Now drizzle the warm glaze over the top and let your cake cool. In the springtime – it’s nice to decorate lemon cakes with edible flowers. I couldn’t find any this time. Pity.

Quick Chickpea Tikka Masala


In a continued effort to utilize the many magazines I get, I decided to make this version of chickpea masala out of the latest issue of Vegetarian Times. From first cut to eating it was about 45 minutes — I’ll definitely make this again! It’s really close to another version I’ve been making for years (which you can find HERE in this 2010 post). The main difference is the lack of cauliflower here, which makes this even more of a pantry recipe. The only fresh ingredients you need are an onion, ginger (which you could keep jarred in the fridge for when you’re in a pinch) and a serrano pepper (which technically you could do without — it just wouldn’t be spicy).

I only changed up a couple of things — I threw in a whole onion because I knew the other half would go to waste and I used two serrano peppers to spice it up a bit (I like things spicy these days and hey — at 38 weeks pregnant if it helps move things along…). I don’t have Greek yogurt around — and would rather keep it vegan anyway — so I didn’t use that. In the other version, I use coconut milk so I would gladly add that or coconut creamer in the future, but went without tonight.

I started my brown rice, made the rest of the recipe and by the time it came to the  “simmer for 15 minutes” part, there was about that long left on the rice — perfect! I cleaned up and before I knew it — dinner was served.

Here it is!

• 1 Tbsp. oil
• 1/2 medium onion, diced
• 1 Tbsp. garam masala (I might add a bit more next time…. or my extra peppers might be overpowering the spices in the recipe…)
• 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
• 2 tsp. grated ginger
• 1 serrano chile, minced
• salt
• 2 15-0z. cans chickpeas, drained and rinse
• 1 28-0z. can crushed tomatoes
• 1/2 c. Greek yogurt (or I’d say 1/4 c. coconut creamer or milk, or more to taste)
• 1/4 c. chopped cilantro

1. Heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté 5 minutes or until softened.

2. Add garam masala, tomato paste, ginger and serrano, and season with a bit of salt to taste. Sauté one minute more.

3. Stir in chickpeas and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and stir in yogurt and cilantro.