Tag Archive | Isa Does It

Lady Vengeance

I recently bought a new Isa cookbook.  As you all know, “Isa Does It” is my go-to book. My family loves all her recipes and they are easily adaptable to “no oil”. She provides great cooking tips and shares ideas for substitutions in many cases.

The new book is “Vegan with a Vengeance” and I’ve tried out a few recipes so far.

Ginger Pear Waffles were pretty easy to make and were quite tasty. I found the batter had a more powerful taste than the cooked product, so I might use a bit more ginger next time. I made the mistake of doubling the batter since the recipe said it made eight 6-inch round waffles.  I read it as “6 waffles” and thought I better make 12…  The good news is that we had leftovers for breakfast for a few days.

The Tempeh Reuben is a new favorite in my house!! I always say a recipe’s success is based on how much my son eats… He ate FOUR of these sandwiches!!!  Marinated tempeh (a new favorite), vegan mayo-based Thousand Island dressing, and sauerkraut on grilled pumpernickel bread. It was fabulous!  Highly recommend! I made this with some French fries from the air fryer and Ethan dipped his fries in the dressing – a very tasty dinner!

Creamy Red Chard Linguine was an easy pasta dish on a night where you need a quick dish. I used Merlot since that’s what we always have on hand and it gave the dish a great flavor. I did double the recipe and swapped out the Swiss chard for spinach. I have never used Swiss chard, so just went for what I knew everyone would eat (plus I had some extra spinach in the fridge). Next time: Swiss chard it is.

So I’m cooking with a vengeance and loving all these great dishes! Can’t wait to work my way through the rest of the book.

p.s. A quick shout out to Jean for a great “Tofu Demystified” class today!  I learned a lot and it was great to make some new friends!

IMDb: Lady Vengeance (2005)


The Silence of the Lambs

“I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.”
~Dr Hannibal Lecter, “The Silence of the Lambs”

As I started to write this post, this quote came to mind. I remember going to see this great movie with my friend, Susie, and we clung to each other the whole time!

In case you are worried…no… I’m not cooking liver!  I did, however, cook fava beans for the first time ever!  Have you ever even seen a fava bean?? Those suckers are huge! (Or “yuge”, if you are following current politics.)

Yesterday’s dinner included: Isa’s Garlicky Thyme Tempeh (my first foray into tempeh), Lemon-Garlic Fava Beans & Mushrooms, and rice.

The tempeh was easy to do; basically cut according to the instructions, marinate for an hour or more, and grill or broil.  I actually seared on high heat in my cast iron pot which worked just as well. I will admit that, despite actually purchasing fresh thyme, I just ended up using dried. Minus the oil, I followed the fava beans recipe as is and both made for a delicious, hearty meal.

One more new recipe, also from Isa… Good Gravy Bowl with Broccoli & Seitan. The gravy is delicious; I actually doubled the gravy so I had some left over to top a baked potato for lunch. My only challenges with this recipe were related to poor planning. I felt like I used a lot of pots for this recipe for some reason and I didn’t plan the usage correctly. When I realized that I forgot to cook the quinoa, I only had a small pot available and I made a mess on the stove!  So plan ahead!  🙂

“Quid pro quo, Clarice. Quid pro quo.”  What delicious plant-based recipes have you tried lately?

IMDb: The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Tofu the Vegan Zombie in Zombie Dearest

Just to get things started: a reminder.  Given the “lights cancer action” theme of my blog, every blog title is an actual movie term or title.  So, yes, this is actually a movie.  🙂

And, as you can guess, our topic is tofu!

I have indicated several times in the past that I have completely avoided soy since forever, but even more so since my diagnosis. There was so much debate as to whether tofu was healthy for a breast cancer survivor of an estrogen positive tumor, it wasn’t worth the risk. I changed my mind after reading Dr. Greger’s “How Not To Die”. The chapter on breast cancer, and his supporting research, convinced me that soy is actual beneficial.

I read that book months and months ago, but, despite giving myself the green light, I remained intimidated by tofu.  That is until this week!  I finally braved purchasing and cooking with it.

I have my Scranton Beets group to thank for getting me over my hurdle.  I tried this yummy dessert two weekends ago and loved it SO much that I made it for a party I attended this past weekend.

Pina Colada Banana Coupe’

1 pound can of pineapple chunks (drained)
1/3 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
2 T. of a sweetener (I used brown rice syrup; other options: honey, agave, etc.)
1/2 cup silken tofu
1-2 small, ripe bananas

Put all ingredients (except the bananas) in your food processor and blend until very smooth.  Layer the banana slices with the pudding and chill it before serving.  (For a bigger group, double the recipe.)

Inquiring minds might want to know: It’s called a coupe’ because the original recipe instructions suggested that this dessert be served in stemmed wineglasses or some other individual serving cup.  I had to Google coupe’, which means “a shallow glass or glass dish, typically with a stem, in which desserts or champagne are served.”

The dessert was a hit at the party for vegans and non-vegans alike!

After this, I was feeling quite brave and moved on to a dish with firm tofu. Purchasing the tofu wasn’t as overwhelming as I thought it would be. It was in a refrigerator in the health food section and was clearly labeled “silken” and “firm”.  🙂

Tonight’s recipe was, again, from my go-to book “Isa Does It”: Shroomy Hot & Sour Soup. It was pretty easy to make and was absolutely delicious!  The fact that my 15-year-old ate FOUR bowls will give you some indication of just how good it was.  The tofu was tasty and the texture didn’t freak me out.

I plan to continue experimenting with more tofu recipes and, in fact, will be attending a “tofu 101” class offered by our Scranton Beets leader, Jean Hayes.  If any local peeps are interested in attending, you can check out the Scranton Beets Facebook page and sign up for Tofu Demystified on Sunday, February 26th, 2-4:00 pm.

Hope to see you there!

IMDb: Tofu the Vegan Zombie in Zombie Dearest (2007)

Love Old and New

We’ve been enjoying a lot of new recipes this past week, along with some oldies but goodies:

New: “From Oh She Glows Every Day”, Fusilli Lentil Mushroom Bolognese. This was a tasty dish, and I would make it again, although I found it to be similar to Isa’s Lentil-Roni, which is a little easier to make, with fewer ingredients.

Old: From “Isa Does It”, Dilly Stew with Dumplings. Ethan really loves this one, especially the dumplings. I make 1 1/2 batches of those which gives us enough for dinner plus leftovers, and yet they still fit in the pot for steaming. I’m not a fan of rosemary, so I do use dill or thyme instead of the rosemary in the dumplings. Honestly, you probably don’t need anything additional in them.

New: From “OneGreenPlanet.org”, Vegan Crab Cakes and French Fries. I’ve done the crab cakes just baked, and they are fine that way, just a bit drier. They are, obviously, better fried, but then you get all the fat. My edits: I don’t cook my own garbanzo beans; I use 2 cans. Rather than grinding up my crackers, I use panko or bread crumbs. And I’ve never had luck finding dulse flakes, so I substitute Old Bay.

For the fries… I have been using my new air fryer (a Christmas gift from my hubby). I’m getting better as it as I use it more, but the fries were quite delicious and Ethan asked for them more often. The instructions say to toss the potatoes in oil, which I do NOT do, and it’s actually not necessary at all.  I think the intent is to keep them from sticking (the potato starch can make them stick together). I have found the trick is to dry the potatoes off well before starting, and to mix the potatoes periodically during baking.

Old: From “Isa Does It”, Wild Rice Soup with Seitan Strips. I think this soup is delicious, as does the family. It’s tough finding Isa’s recipes online, so this link is a modification of the original. What’s missing is the Seitan strips. While you could make the soup without the seitan, and really not miss it, I do find it adds a little something. I simply cut the strips and fry in a non-stick pan until browned – then just throw in the soup.

New: I have to say that “Isa Does It” probably IS my favorite cookbook. Tonight we tried her Chipotle Oyster Mushroom Tacos and they were fabulous. Definitely one of my new favorites. Ethan and David both really enjoyed them also. I loved the texture of the oyster mushrooms. If you don’t like mushrooms because of mushy texture, these might be the ones to try, as they stayed pretty firm after cooking. This one definitely goes into the rotation!

Two more Isa recipes on tap for the rest of the week: New: Lentil Quinoa Stew and Old: White Wine Risotto! Yum!  I highly recommend this particular book for purchase. It’s become well-worn from much use.

IMDb: Love Old and New (1961)


One Week Later

Every now and then I write a post that generates a lot of dialogue and interest. This comes in the form of replies to the post, comments on Facebook, and people stopping me in the halls at work. Surprisingly, my husband’s agreement to go fully plant based for two weeks was one of those topics that had people talking. Not a day went by this past week that someone didn’t text, message or stop me in the hall to ask how David was making out.

“Is he hungry?”
“Do you think he’s cheating?”
“Is he cranky?” (Anyone who knows David knows this one is hard to judge from normal!)

I’m happy to report that he survived the week and, while not perfect, he made a lot of really good choices that surprised me.

The week’s observations and results:

  • He was down 3 1/2 pounds after just 5 days.
  • He didn’t feel deprived, eating a lot more food than he thought he would.
  • He felt good and his energy level was good.
  • The oatmeal really filled him up so he wasn’t hungry until lunch.
  • He was not a fan of eating oatmeal 5 days in a row.  🙂
  • He missed his cheese.
  • We went out to dinner Friday night (because I got home from work late and wasn’t cooking at 8:30 pm) and Saturday night (for his son’s birthday), so that was challenging for him. He felt like he was cheating on his promise to eat whole food plant based with no oil.  In general, I was proud that he didn’t use ANY parmesan cheese or partake of the giant cinnamon bun that comes with dinner at the one local restaurant.
  • Bread and butter continues to be a challenge.  Butter is a violation of the “no oil” rule.  🙂
  • People at his work were intrigued but only one was brave enough to sample the hummus (which they thought was good). One co-worker commented “Does Michele eat this every day???”. Yes. Yes, she does!

One more week to go and we’ll see if he continues. I’m encouraged and hopeful he sees enough good results on the weight and inflammation that he will want to maintain this way of eating.

Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels!  🙂

In case you are wondering what our menu plan looks like for the upcoming week….

  • Breakfast: Taking a break from the oatmeal, I made pumpkin apple muffins and blueberry zucchini muffins, and there’s cereal if those should run out.
  • Lunch: Leftover Field Roast Sausage and peppers, or Save the Tuna Fish on rye from Crazy Sexy Kitchen (made from almonds, sunflower seeds and some other yummy ingredients)
  • Snacks: spicy roasted chick peas, carrots with hummus, fruit
  • Dinner: An “Isa Does It” sweep:  Cheddary Broccoli Soup (hold the cheddar!), Lentil-a-Roni, Mushroom Barley Soup, Lentil Quinoa Stew, and Dilly Stew with Dumplings

Have a great week!  Stay tuned for final results next weekend!

IMDb: One Week Later (2009)

Act Naturally

Today was my quarterly visit with my naturalist.  I was happy to see that all but one of my bio-markers were in range.  Not surprisingly, the ovaries showed out of range and that’s, of course, related to my continuing hormone issues.  To get my hormones better balanced, I will be taking Xenostat (to rid the body of bad estrogens), NF-X (a blend of herbals for hormone balance; a key ingredient is goldenseal root), Flash-Ease (a blend of Dong quai root and black cohosh) and Wild Yam.

Interestingly, some different heavy metals showed up on my scan this time (names I can’t remember).  The first one is likely from radiation, and the other one is from contact with large magnets… hello, MRI.   I was surprised to see those show up considering my radiation stopped in March of last year, and my last MRI was in August.  It just goes to show how long that crap stays in your body.  I will continue to take Heavy Metal Detox to clean that up.

I’ll also continue to take a B-complex (needed since I am a vegetarian), Vitamin D3, and Vitamin E with Selenium (but reducing to only 3x week).  I’ll be stopping E-Tea, Zinc, and Curcumin.  And I’ll be adding High Potency Protease (to help with protein digestion), Psyllium Hulls (intestinal support), and Pau D’Arco and Una De Gato Cord (both for immune support).  I will also be taking 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) to help with sleep.  I’ve tried Melatonin in the past, but that just doesn’t seem to work for me.  Hopefully this one will help.

She also recommended Slippery Elm for my mom to help with that unrelenting cough.  She felt that the membranes were damaged from the tubes they put down Mom’s throat during the surgery. The Slippery Elm will help repair the membranes.  Since Mom isn’t great about taking pills, she can open the capsule and add it to her tea.  I really hope this one works!  That cough really has to go!

Mom had a rough day today, so I appreciate your continued prayers.


I tried some new recipes this week.  Both are from the “Isa Does It” cookbook.  The first was Lentil-Quinoa Stew, and David & I loved this one.  Very different and tasty.  I don’t think I ever made anything with tarragon before, but the dish was awesome.  The recipe called for kale, but the store was all out, so I substituted spinach with no impact to the recipe.  I definitely would make this one again.

The second recipe was Chickpea-Rice Soup.  It sounded really good, but I actually wasn’t that crazy about it.  It does say that “it gets better the longer you let it sit” so maybe I’ll like it better tomorrow.  Since there’s a decent amount left, guess what we’re having for lunch!


Happy Snow Day, everyone!  Be safe and warm tomorrow.


Act Naturally (2011) – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1430070/