Monthly Archives: November 2013

Daily Dexter Finds A Friend!

Don’t be fooled by the grin.  He is terrified of his adorable cousin.



Recipe Rewind: Sweet Potato-Stuffed Mushrooms

It’s Thanksgiving!  On day 4 of my recipe blitz, I’m cheating a little and re-posting one of my seasonal favorites, Sweet Potato-Stuffed Mushrooms.  Yum!SWEET POTATO STUFFED MUSHROOMS 1I sincerely hope you’re able to enjoy the day with family and friends.  There is lots to be Thankful for!  The boyfriend and I are running our 10K Turkey Trot this morning.  Will we survive?!  Stay tuned for a full report!

Wishing you health & happiness this holiday,

Jess 🙂

Recipe: Garlic Cauliflower Mash

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!  On day 3 of this week’s recipe blitz, I bring you a suitable substitute for mashed potatoes – mashed cauliflower!

Usually, mashed cauliflower lacks a certain creaminess, which is disappointing.  But instead of using dairy to fill the void, I added something else – white beans!  Don’t knock it until you try it.  It makes total sense.  Pureed beans are what?  Hummus.  Hummus is creamy.  So are mashed potatoes.  The circle is complete, and it totally works.  Add a tiny pat of Earth Balance or butter on top of your mashed-up mound, garnish with some green onions, and WHOA.  Flavor explosion.

Garlic Cauliflower Mash

Serves 6



  • 2 heads of cauliflower
  • 1 and 1/2 c. canned white beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1/2 c. plain unsweetened nut milk.  I used almond.
  • 4 small shallots, diced
  • 2 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • sea salt, to taste
  • Cooking spray.  I used coconut oil cooking spray from Trader Joe’s.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Chop cauliflower into florets.  Add to a baking sheet with garlic and shallots.  Coat generously with cooking spray, stir, and roast for about an hour until cauliflower is tender and slightly browned.  The shallots and garlic may look a little burned.  This is okay.  The little crispy bits will at a lot of flavor to the final product.  This is also why the cauliflower mash looks more brown than white.  Brown = flavor!MASH 2
  3. Add roasted cauliflower combo to a food processor with beans and nut milk.  Puree on high until you reach a creamy consistency.  It took me several minutes.  Just be patient.  It’ll get there.
  4. Add sea salt to taste, and serve warm.

Recipe: Chocolate Maple Pecan Pie

Welcome to day 2 of my Thanksgiving Blitz!  I’m posting holiday recipes each day through Thursday.  Today, let’s indulge in some PECAN PIE!


I never really liked pecan pie until one day, someone added chocolate chips.  Total game changer.  But traditional pecan pie, chocolate or not, has a lot of eggs, butter, and refined sugars.  This version is not only plant-based, but 100% whole grain and refined sugar-free!  The secret ingredient – tofu!  Don’t gag.  I promise you can’t even tell it’s there.  All it’s doing is taking the place of the eggs in helping bind and set the rest of the ingredients.  Do not fear the tofu!

Chocolate Maple Pecan Pie

Serves 8



  • 1 pre-made whole grain 9 in. pie shell.  I got mine in the freezer section of Whole Foods.
  • 2 tbsp. 100% whole wheat flour.  Any flour you have should work.
  • 1 c. pecans halves, chopped… plus a few extra to decorate the top
  • 6 oz. extra firm tofu, drained & dried
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened nut milk.  I used vanilla almond.
  • 1/2 c. vegan chocolate chips.  I used Lily’s brand dark chocolate baking chips, which are sweetened with stevia.  Amazing.
  • 1/2 c. 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1 c. unrefined granulated sweetener.  I used stevia to avoid extra calories, but something like coconut sugar would also work.
  • 1/4 c. virgin coconut oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, puree the tofu, nut milk, flour, and vanilla together to make a paste.  Set aside.
  3. In a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, whisk together the maple syrup and granulated sweetener.  Cook until bubbly, then remove from the burner.  Add coconut oil and stir until melted.
  4. Whisk in the tofu puree, then add the chopped pecans and the chocolate chips.  Poor entire mixture into the prepared pie shell.
  5. Decorate the top of the pie with pecan halves, then bake at 350 degrees for about an hour until pie is set and the crust is slightly brown.  Let cool before serving.  Keeps well in the fridge.

OPTIONAL AWESOMENESS:  Coconut whipped cream.  Guys, it’s so easy to make.  Check out the tutorial at one of my favorite sites, Oh She Glows.

Recipe adapted from Post Punk Kitchen


Recipe: Savory Sprouted Stuffing With Cranberries & Pecans

Thanksgiving is a mere 3 days away!  And this week, starting today, I’ll be doing something I’ve never done.  I’ll be posting one recipe each morning through the big day!  Four recipes in four days.  It’s a Thanksgiving blitz!  So make sure you LIKE The Hungry Tortoise on Facebook to keep up.  These are all dishes that are easy, traditional, and delicious.  And seriously, unless you tell them, your family will have no idea they’re totally plant-based.

On to today’s taste treat – STUFFING.  Who doesn’t love stuffing? STUFFING 4

Growing up, it was all Stove Top all the time.  I could still eat an entire box in one sitting without batting an eye.  Not the healthiest idea, but everything changed for me when I realized how easy it would be to make a healthier stuffing from scratch.  With almost any recipe you find, just substitute the broth & the butter for plant-based versions and you’re on your way!  But because I’m not satisfied with just bread and seasoning, I added a few yum yums to this version.  The pecans add some crunch, the cranberries provide a sweet compliment to the savory, and the mushrooms make it meaty.  For the bread, I used Ezekiel 4:9 100% Whole Grain Sprouted Bread.  It’s hearty so it holds up well, and because it’s sprouted, it’s easier for your body to digest.

Savory Sprouted Stuffing with Cranberries & Pecans

Serves 6



  • 12 slices of sprouted whole grain bread, diced into half-inch cubes
  • 8 oz. baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 ribs of celery, diced
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. plant-based buttery spread.  I used Earth Balance.
  • 1.5 c. pecans, chopped
  • 1 c. dried cranberries
  • 1.5 to 2 c. of veggie broth
  • 1 tbsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. sage
  • 1 tbsp. dried savory
  • OPTION: vegetarian sausage.  I used the smoked apple sage variety from Original Field Roast Grain Meat Company.  I got it at Whole Foods, and it couldn’t have been more perfect.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place cubed bread on a large baking sheet and toast until slightly crispy.
  3. In a large skillet, over medium heat, melt the buttery spread and sauté the celery, onions, garlic, mushrooms, and sausage (if using).  Cook until translucent and slightly caramelized.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the toasted bread with the ingredients you just sautéed.  Add the pecans, cranberries, and herbs.
  5. With the ingredients still in the mixing bowl, slowly drizzle in the veggie broth.  I used a full two cups because I like my stuffing a little soggy.  If you like your drier, use a little less.  Totally up to you.
  6. Once everything is well-mixed, transfer to a casserole dish greased with buttery spread or cooking spray.  Cover with foil.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake for an additional 10 for a slightly crispy top layer.

OPTION:  Another nice touch that I definitely recommend – baking the stuffing in an acorn squash.  Not only will it look fancy, but you get that squash-stuffing combo on your fork.  So tasty.  Just make sure you bake the squash halves alone for about 20 minutes to get them started.  Add the stuffing when they’re just slightly tender.


Food Review: Chipotle’s Sofritas

I still remember the first time I had Chipotle.  It was early on during my freshman year of college.  I had a chicken burrito.  Truth be told, I wasn’t a huge fan at first.  It only took one more trip for me to come around.  Now, like most people on planet Earth, I’m drawn to the place.  It’s relatively inexpensive, the ingredients are simple and fresh, it’s veggie friendly, and now… drum roll, please… Chipotle is testing a plant-based protein option.  It’s called SOFRITAS!  Holy frijoles!SOFRITAS 1

The sofritas option consists of organic tofu, seasoned and braised.  Chipotle says it’s shredded.  I’d say the texture more resembles ground turkey or chicken.  But before you get too excited, know this – right now, sofritas are only available on the West Coast, in Chicago, and a limited number of cities on the East Coast. They’re not available everywhere quite yet.  But it didn’t take long for Chipotle’s brown rice to spread like wildfire.  I have a feeling sofritas aren’t far behind.

So I tried them in a bowl today, and here’s the verdict in a word – YES.SOFRITAS 2Sofritas have a lot of flavor, so much so that I didn’t need my favorite smoked chipotle Tabasco sauce.  Some reviewers say there’s too much salt.  I disagree.  But I also put salt on almost everything, so my tongue might be a little pickled.  Who knows.

The texture, as I said, resembles ground turkey or chicken.  The tofu is extra firm, so it holds its shape well.  I’m used to loading my bowl with just veggies, rice and beans, so it was nice to add something a little different.  I finished the entire thing, and when I was done, I was satisfied, but not overly full.  I even managed to run a solid 3 miles as soon as I got home.  Yes, without puking.  Shocking, right?

The best part is that the calorie content is relatively low.  Sofritas have 145 calories in a 4 ounce serving.  That’s compared to 190 in almost every other protein option, including chicken.

Bottom line:  I was really looking forward to trying sofritas.  My beloved Chipotle did not let me down.  I will be ordering them again.

Daily Dexter: Snow Dog!


FACT: Snow happened yesterday.  Not sure how we feel about this.



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