Fruit Crisp Crumble {oil-free, vegan + gluten-free}

Fruit Crisp Crumble {oil-free, vegan + gluten-free}

Rhubarb and Mango Fruit Crisp

Fruit Crisp Crumble {oil-free, vegan + gluten-free}
Seasonal fruit or frozen, this easy crisp is a go-to for a delicious breakfast or dessert after a veggie bean soup or other light meal. If you're using a tart fruit like rhubarb, consider pairing it with a sweeter fruit like mango or even dates or other dried fruit. No need for oil - there is plenty of natural fat in the nut or seed butter.
Author:
breakfast, dessert
Serves:: 4-5
Prep time:: 
Cook time:: 
Total time:: 
Ingredients:
  • BOTTOM FRUIT LAYER:
  • 8 cups chopped juicy fruit or berries (for example: mango, peaches, plums, berries, rhubarb, etc)
  • ¼ cup dates, raisins, or other dried fruit (opt)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamom
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup or dark agave or brown rice syrup
  • ¼ cup water or fruit juice (a bit more for berries or other less juicy fruit)
  • CRUMBLE TOPPING:
  • 1¼ rolled oats (gluten-free tested, if needed)
  • ¼ cup whole-grain flour (find gluten-free flour here)
  • 1 cup sliced almonds or chopped Brazil nuts or pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup liquid or dry whole sweetener (coconut sugar for example)
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup - ½ cup nut or seed-butter (cashew, almond, tahini, etc)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Prepare chopped fruit into a 10"x10" glass pan, or ceramic deep dish (or equivalent).
  3. Sprinkle fruit with cinnamon, drizzle with liquid sweetener and water or juice.
  4. Mix topping ingredients in a bowl incorporating the nut or seed butter into the dry ingredients with clean hands. Crumble the topping over the fruit, distributing evenly.
  5. Bake at 400F for about 30 minutes until fruit is soft and juicy. Serve warm or at room temperature, as is, or with yogurt or kefir topping. Or, of course - ice cream!

 

READ: The Story of How Auntie Rhubarb Got Her Name!

 

 

Meeting Rip Esselstyn in the Midst of Chaos!

Meeting Rip Esselstyn in the Midst of Chaos!

It took many years to write and design Real-Life Vegan: The Big Book of Whole-food Success, and it’s taking years to launch it into the world. They say all good things take time, but my goodness me!

Unimaginable obstacles have been plentiful and overwhelming.

After the success of Health By Chocolate in 2008, and the fantastic feedback to the Real-Life Vegan pre-publication copies in 2012, the next step was to fully release Real-Life Vegan into the world in 2013.

That all came to a halt when my daughter was in a serious car accident. Once we got her back on her feet,  I finally made my long-dreamed-about move to Mexico in 2014, still hopeful the new book’s full release was just around the corner. Wrong again.

It wasn’t until I met Rip Esselstyn in person in February 2015, that I came to the painful realization that once again it wasn’t going to be launched as planned. Ugh!

My friend likes to say it was a “Rip off.” I love her twisted sense of humor!

Will 2016 be the year?

I really hope so and am working hard to make it happen. I’m about to launch a Kickstarter campaign, and I hope you can be a part of making Real-Life Vegan finally become a reality!

I’d first become aware of Rip Esselstyn when I worked for the city of Edmonton Fire Department providing individual nutrition counseling and programing for the fire fighters. The department was going to hold a health & wellness conference, so I was in touch with Rip about the possibility of coming to Edmonton to speak. (The conference was unfortunately cancelled due to budget cuts.)

ESSELSTYN ENDORSED

Rip Esselstyn is the famous fire fighter in the New York Times best-seller and documentary Forks Over Knives, (presently available on Netflix, for those who haven’t yet seen it!)

When I was thinking about who I’d ask to write the foreword to Real-Life Vegan, a friend suggested Rip. Given the working title at the time “Whole-foods to the Rescue!” we thought it would be a great fit. So I dug up his email address and contacted him.

Even though he was super busy writing his second book, and he and his wife were expecting a new baby soon, he generously agreed to write the foreword.

To have someone endorse my work with words of encouragement for my readers is a great gift. It was then that I hoped to one day meet and thank him in person, but he lives in Austin, Texas, so the chances were unlikely.

When an untimely opportunity to be in Austin presented itself, however, I was torn.

Rip Esselstyn, Forks Over Knives, The Engine 2 Diet, and Plant-Strong.

THE CHAOS BEGINS

I’d started out five months earlier in the spirit of adventure, driving 4,600 km from Edmonton to San Miguel de Allende, in the heart of Mexico. My grand plan was to live there indefinitely and become part of an ecoVillage, returning to Canada occasionally for things like book launches, and to visit family and friends. My virtual nutrition-consulting and education business allowed me the privilege of living anywhere.

In those short 5 months, however, so many difficult and life-altering challenges occurred that my head still spins when I think about the intensity of it all.

It all started, to my horror, when I checked in with the Mexican consulate to complete my visa requirements, which resulted in learning that I was in the country illegally and would have to drive back to the US/Mexican border, a 3-day, non-stop trip, to re-enter with a missing stamped document.

Realizing I could be thrown in jail if I was stopped by police prior to obtaining the document was to say a bit stressful!

Living out in an incredibly beautiful canyon meant sacrificing reliable internet and telephone. It resulted in having to drive the dusty road into the city and back, most days, to be able to work and be in communication with family. It wasn’t something I had planned for, and in the scheme of things created another level of stress.

Every business owner’s nightmare happened when my website was hacked, just as I was launching a brand new on-line course. Having recently lost my virtual assistant due to exciting new work he’d taken on, and along with the internet, phone and other daily challenges, getting the site back up took weeks and was extremely exasperating.

THE WORST NEWS

These, and several other challenges, from car problems to a bug infestation, weren’t fun, but they paled in comparison to learning that my adult daughter back in Canada was critically ill and the doctors, including several specialists, couldn’t figure out what was wrong.  So, in January I flew back to be with her while we continued to search for the answer.  When she was finally diagnosed with a life-threatening infection, we were told the delayed diagnosis and treatment would most likely take its toll and cause a serious chronic condition that would take heroic and expensive measures to overcome.

BACK TO CANADA

I knew my dream of living in Mexico was unraveling. My daughter’s future was precarious. I had no choice but to fly back to Mexico, repack my car and drive the long road back to Canada to be with my brave, ailing daughter.

So it wasn’t exactly perfect timing to arrange a visit with Rip, but sometimes, especially in the midst of chaos, we have to grab opportunities even when the conditions aren’t perfect, right? (I know! What was I thinking?!) But it turned out that I had to stay a day in Austin to wait for the next friend who was going to accompany me on the rest of the journey north.  So the day before I left the heart of Mexico, I emailed Rip on the off chance he might be available. I was pleasantly surprised when I heard back that he could spare a few hours for me.

After several long days of more travel, too many sleep-deprived nights, as well as starting to process the emotions of disappointment in having to say good-bye to dear friends and dreams of life in Mexico, I arrived in Austin feeling pretty rough instead of with my usual vigor and zest for life.

Then there was a major mix-up for my friend who had accompanied me from Mexico to San Antonio and was supposed to fly back the next morning to celebrate his wedding anniversary with his dear wife. Due to delayed flights, he finally arrived 2 days later. I felt awful.

It felt like I just couldn’t catch a break, so when all of a sudden I found myself walking up the set of steps to Rip’s office, and realized just how physically drained and mentally harried I was, I wondered about the wisdom of having asked for this, but then again I thought, “perhaps it would be a happy distraction from the chaos?”

I had really wanted the opportunity to to let him know how grateful I was for his endorsement, and connect with him in hopes he could help promote Real-Life Vegan.

MEETING RIP!

So here I was, doing my best to rally, and thankful I was able, if barely.

It was such a pleasure to meet him. We chatted about our families, his wife’s amazing schools project, and his exciting new line of ENGINE 2, PLANT-STRONG food products for Whole Foods Market, (also where his office is located.) He also took me for a delicious plant-strong lunch, and I was blown away by the amazing whole-bowl choices.

Engine 2 Plant Strong Food

Engine 2 Plant Strong Food

In preparing for the rushed trip back, having to make such an abrupt about-face in my life plans, I really hadn’t had time to think about how the book launch was going to be impacted.  But now, telling Rip about why I was having to get back to Canada, my daughter’s diagnosis and uncertain recovery, it was hitting me, “I would have to put the launch of Real-Life Vegan on the back burner – again!”

So many emotions began colliding as we wrapped up our conversation and I was preparing to leave. Something delightful had just happened and now it was ending, and I was going to have to go back to the reality of the chaos I was living. I was starting to feel physically woozy, the room started to spin, and all of a sudden I felt like I was going to burst into tears. I wondered for a minute if I might even collapse.

I’m fairly certain he wasn’t aware of how shaky I’d become, I was doing my utmost to hold it together.

I was trying to take a deep breath and center myself when Rip suggested we take a parting selfie.

OUR PARTING SELFIE

Of course I wanted a picture with Rip!

I struggled for several long seconds before agreeing, knowing the internal struggle I was having just to stay upright and keep the conversation going, never mind smile for a camera. I always wear my emotions on my face and I was sure there was distress written all over it. I tried to relax, but my face felt twisted and stressed; there was no faking it.

Nope, no selfie!

No selfie…but here’s Rip again!

He texted the photos from his phone, but I never received them. That’s okay, I don’t need a photo that would remind me of my conflicted heart that day.

I thanked him sincerely and left too quickly, certain I was becoming incoherent, and that tears of both gratitude for his kindness mixed with those of grief, were going to burst forth at any moment.

Even though it was an awkward good-bye, I’m really happy for having had the opportunity, and that I had the courage to ask for it.

And now that Real-Life Vegan is about to launch (if the Kickstarter campaign is successful), I’m even more grateful that I got the chance to connect with Rip. Of course, should I ever meet him again, I’d love a re-do of that selfie, hopefully under much more relaxed conditions!

I humbly hope Real-Life Vegan will take its place amongst the other great inspirational plant-strong books, so that more people will be influenced to make this world a healthier place by achieving both personal health and improving our environment.

In the meantime, Rip has been working on his third book, which will become a great resource for many of my clients, I’m sure. (I’ll share details about its publication in an upcoming post.)

It was a long trek home, and it’s been a long journey dealing with the devastating effects of my daughter’s health crisis, so I am thrilled that the time has finally come to launch Real-Life Vegan: The Big Book of Whole-food Success!

MESSY JOURNEY TO SUCCESS

One of the concepts I share with clients who are struggling to change their health habits is the idea that progress doesn’t often happen in a neat and tidy straight line. In fact, it can look pretty messy with stops and starts, and side roads.

It seems my success at getting Real-Life Vegan into the world is taking the long windy path and I assure you there’s been a lot of learning in the process. Some of that learning has resulted in exciting improvements to Real-Life Vegan since the five hundred pre-publication copies were available in 2012.  (You’ll learn about those changes and updates in the Kickstarter campaign.)

Life is full of mystery, and I’m sure I’ll never understand why so many obstacles and challenges have come my way these past years. I’ve learned though, that the more difficult life’s tests are, the more grateful I become for the small and mysterious blessings that seem to sprout out of the pain and confusion.

And that includes knowing how grateful I am for you, my devoted and patient readers. 😀

Thank you!!
Victoria

j

REAL-LIFE VEGAN

“This entertaining, educational, inspirational, and how-to guidebook will help everyone, no matter where they are on their plant-based journey to reach their health goals.” – Rip Esselstyn, Forks Over Knives, The Engine 2 Diet

P.S.

You’ll learn soon how you can support the Kickstarter campaign to help publish REAL-LIFE VEGAN: The Big Book of Whole-food Success. vl_logo_fork1

Hungarian Goulash

Hungarian Goulash

I love cabbage and mushrooms and linguine, so goulash is one of my delicious, easy go-to meals!

The great thing about goulash is that you make a lot and leftovers will keep for several days refrigerated, or even frozen for a few months. (If leftover stew is too thick, simply add a few splashes of water while reheating. Add freshly cooked pasta, and voila!)

GOULASH CAN BE FROZEN.

Hungarian Goulash
Author:
Serves:: 4-5 servings
Prep time:: 
Cook time:: 
Total time:: 
Ingredients:
  • 1- 16 oz pkg dry wholegrain linguine pasta (454 g) (buckwheat, brown rice, spelt, kamut or other)
  • 4 Tbsp water
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 cups shitake (or other favorite mushrooms), sliced
  • ½ medium green cabbage, shredded (approximately 3-4 cups)
  • 1⁄2 cup tomato sauce
  • 2- 14 oz can navy, Great Northern or black beans (2-398mL) (3 cups cooked)
  • 3 cups veggie stock (or 2 tsp herbed salt with 3 cups water)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp paprika, Hungarian variety of course...or a nice smoked paprika, your choice!)
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
Directions:
  1. Boil a large pot of water and add a pinch of salt for pasta.
  2. In a large, heavy pan sauté onions over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cabbage until tender crisp. Add remaining ingredients and mix well, simmering for 5-10 minutes until sauce thickens slightly. (Remove the bay leaf or leave it in for the “finder” to make a wish!)
  3. Add pasta to boiling water cooking according to package directions.
  4. Drain cooked pasta in a colander and serve individual pasta topped with goulash and a dollop of LEMON AVOCADO CRÈME. Optional: Serve with Raw Veggie Dippers and use LEMON AVOCADO CRÈME as the veggie dip.

 

Mexican Minestrone {slow-cooker option}

Mexican Minestrone {slow-cooker option}

This easy soup can be made in either on the stove top in a soup pot or in a slow cooker.

Slow Cooker: Throw the first 4 pantry ingredients into your slow cooker in the morning. When you get home from work, add the veggies.

Stove Top: If you start from scratch simmering on the stove this soup will be ready in about 30 minutes. Squash can be replaced with grated potato if preferred, added to the end of cooking for the last 5-10 minutes.

For an even heartier meal add your favorite tempeh, grated or cubed. I use chipotle style salsa because I love its smokey flavor.

LEFTOVERS CAN BE FROZEN.

Mexican Minestrone {slow-cooker option}
Author:
Serves:: 6-8 servings
Prep time:: 
Cook time:: 
Total time:: 
Ingredients:
  • 2-14oz cans Mexican style beans (black, turtle, pinto, anasazi, appaloosa, aztec, etc) (2-398mL)
  • 1-28 oz can diced tomatoes (796mL)
  • 2 cups veggie broth (16oz)
  • 1 cup salsa (your choice of heat) (8 oz)
  • 1 1⁄2 cups frozen or fresh whole kernel corn
  • 2 cups frozen diced butternut squash (400g bag)
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh green beans, (8 oz) sliced (or shredded cabbage)
Directions:
  1. SLOW COOKER OPTION - Mix the beans, tomatoes, broth and salsa together in slow cooker/crock pot. Cover and simmer on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Turn heat to high and add corn, squash and beans or cabbage. Allow to simmer for another 15-20 minutes until veggies are cooked. Serve warm.
  2. STOVE TOP VERSION - Mix the beans, tomatoes, broth and salsa together in large pot and simmer over medium-high heat for 15-20 minutes until thickened and flavors have blended. Add corn, squash and beans or cabbage. Allow to simmer for another 5 minutes until veggies are softened. Serve warm.
Zesty BBQ Black Bean Dip

Zesty BBQ Black Bean Dip

Zesty, zippy, zingy!

BBQ Black Bean Dip is a favorite crowd pleaser I’ve served for many occasions: New Years parties, summer gatherings and every day fare. It can be used not only for a corn chip, cracker and veggie dip, but also for a delicious wrap filling.

It can be made in advance (in fact is even better the second day) and will keep refrigerated for up to a week.

Zesty BBQ Black Bean Dip
Author:
Serves:: 8 servings
Prep time:: 
Total time:: 
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup diced sweet onion
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp dry mustard
  • -or-
  • 2 Tbsp wet mustard
  • 5 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 8 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 tsp dark agave nectar (or raw honey)
  • 2 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 2 Tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce
  • 2-19 oz can cooked black beans, drained
Directions:
  1. In food processor using “S” blade, process onion.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients except the beans to the processor bowl and process until smooth. Open canned beans and drain. Add the beans and pulse a few times until you get a desired (chunky or puréed) texture.
  3. Can be served at room temperature, chilled, or warmed in a saucepan or fondue dish.

 

Freedom Fajitas

Freedom Fajitas

Mixed-eating family? Tempeh, tofu, chicken, beef or pork? … Avocado or cheese?… Creamy Garlic Dip or sour cream? This Freedom Fajita can be served with the rainbow of colored bell peppers and onions, and whatever other fillings you need to please your crowd. GLUTEN-FREE: Use gluten-free tortillas wraps and tempeh. Avoid seiten (made from wheat).

Freedom Fajitas
Author:
Serves:: 8 Servings
Prep time:: 
Cook time:: 
Total time:: 
Ingredients:
  • 8 whole grain tortilla wraps/shells (GF: purchase or make gluten-free wraps)
  • 2 Tbsp water or veggie broth
  • 2 large onions (preferably sweet)
  • 3 large red, yellow and orange bell peppers (1 of each color), can substitute frozen
  • 1 Tbsp coconut or olive oil (or spray oil)
  • 8oz (225g) pkg pre-marinated tempeh, (I like smoked)
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 small avocados, sliced
  • 6-8 Tbsp salsa (your heat choice)*
Directions:

  1. WARMING PREPARED TORTILLA SHELLS:
    Some store-bought shells are fresh enough to fold without breaking. Some need to be warmed slightly to fold without breaking. There are (at least) three ways to warm shells: 1/ Place the required amount of shells in a foil package, making sure not to expose any of the wrap. 2/ In a warmed heavy dry fry pan, place individual shells for about 30 seconds, flipping for another several seconds until warm. Fill and wrap immediately, while the next shell warms. 3/ Microwave individually for 5-10 seconds.

  2. PREP FILLING:
  3. Slice tempeh or tofu into strips about the thickness of a chopstick, leaving them the length of the slab.
  4. Peel onions and slice in half, then cut lengthwise into approximately ½” strips.
  5. Cut bell peppers in half, clean seeds and membrane away, and slice each half into ½” strips.
  6. If using avocado, cut into slices.
  7. Assemble salsa and other topping options.
  8. Add water or broth to a heavy deep pan. Over medium-high heat, quick-fry onions for about 1 minute, adding peppers. Stir constantly until veggies are tender crisp, not too soft. Transfer from pan to a large bowl.
  9. Lightly spray or brush oil to coat pan. Add the tofu or tempeh strips. Stir fry until browned and crispy. Add the lime juice and place a lid on pan. Turn off the heat.

  10. ASSEMBLE:
  11. Assemble individual fajitas by placing warmed shells on table or counter top. Evenly distribute the crispy tofu or tempeh, the onion and bell pepper mixture, salsa, avocado, and optional sauce on each shell. *If you like more spice, add a splash of hot sauce.
  12. Wrap tightly by folding sides into the center. Then fold the bottom and top, securing the filling. Serve immediately.