Tag Archives: vegan

Weekly Recipes and Meal Plan

This Week’s Basket from Milk and Honey Organics Included: Red Potatoes, Yellow Onions, Jonagold Apples, Bosc Pears, Pomegranates, Roma Tomatoes, Shallots, Parisi Farms’ Broccoli Crowns, Mustard Greens and Butternut Squash. My butternut squash so was so adorable – yes, I honestly think produce can be cute. ;) Some baskets had kiwi and lettuce, but I have plenty of lettuce because I had coupons to use from Organic Girl by the end of 2011.

This Week’s Meal Plan: I’m eating a Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet, with only 5% of my calories from animal protein, but I did add optional meat, egg, and cheese options for my husband.
Recipes in the Meal Plan:

Restaurant Review: Everyday Organic in Greenville, SC

Everyday Organic is a restaurant that has been open for about 5 months near the Cherrydale Cinema, here in Greenville, SC. Almost all of their menu items can be customized for vegetarians and vegans too, which I love!

Bryan and I tried it out on Friday for a late lunch date and found it so quaint and enjoyable! The prices are reasonable, especially for organic cuisine! We got out for about $10 per person. Bryan had the Turkey Pesto Wrap with the Pesto Pasta Salad. He loved the sandwich, and though the pasta salad would’ve been better warm, but it was still very good. I had the Mediterranean Roasted Vegetable Dip. It came with pita triangles. The waitress talked me into the large portion, but I definitely only needed the small portion. We ended up taking over half of the dip home. I think it will taste better as a spread on a wrap than just a dip for pita chips, but it was good. I think it had sweet potato in it, which I wasn’t used to.

I told my friend Amanda about the restaurant, and she took her family on Saturday for lunch. Even the kids liked it! They had the pimento spread, chicken salad, and hummus sandwich with the quinoa salad, and said they were all very good! None of us had room to try their desserts, but they certainly did look and smell tempting. AND they had a cute little organic produce section by the front door. We will definitely be going back!

Another coworker, Chad, and his wife went on Saturday as well. He recommended the Cherrydale Turkey wrap with green apples and goat cheese, as well as the blueberry pie and coconut cream cheese cupcake.

They’re open from 11AM-2:30PM for lunch, and then they reopen from 5-9PM for dinner. Closed on Sundays. Lunch is a full menu of soups, salads, sandwiches, etc. Lunch menu here. For dinner, they feature two menu items each night, so check the menu before you go. Dinner menu here.

Check it out! We’ve been eating out less and less for two different reasons: 1. Budget concerns, and 2. The more research I do about processed foods and chemical additives, the less I want to eat out. But with Everyday Organic, we know that the prices are reasonable and that we can enjoy it guilt-free because it’s all good for us! Definitely a new favorite! I just wish there were more restaurants like this one!

Venison and Brown Rice Bar (aka “Unfried Rice”)

Our friends, Greg and Catherine, joined us for dinner on Friday night. Catherine focuses on a raw vegan diet as much as possible, so we wanted to have a fun spread. They did, however, provide some venison that had been given to them. Everything was delicious and very simple. Greg and Catherine arrived around 2:30 in the afternoon. We prepped the Raw Pumpkin Pie and began the meat marinade while we caught up and enjoyed each others’ company. We ate around 5 and finished with a great board game. It was so much fun to cook as couples and try new things.

Nothing says southern hospitality like a glass of iced tea! (Of course it's sweet!) All photography in this post courtesy of Bryan McKinnon, http://www.shadowlight.smugmug.com.

The Spread: Brown Rice Bar with Fresh Mix-Ins, Pan-fried Venison, Tossed Salad with Mushrooms and Tomatoes, Carrot Salad with Cinnamon, and Sweet Tea.

Meat for the Man Folk: venison marinated in apple cider vinegar, garlic salt, onion salt, pepper and olive oil for 1 hour prior to battering in Italian panko (bread crumbs) and pan frying in canola oil. Yum!

Fresh Raw Ingredients for the Rice Bar: tomatoes, zucchini, apples, carrots, green onions, radishes, green and red peppers, white onions, pumpkin, garlic.

More Rice Bar Add-Ins: Pomegranate, Goat Cheese, Parsley, Paprika, Curry, and Mint Leaves. I highly recommend the combination of garlic and curry. This was a great feature and I will definitely serve it again. So tasty, and everyone gets to pick their own add-ins! You can please vegetarians, and it doesn't matter if the rice gets cold because it still tastes great!

We concluded the evening with a rousing game of Settlers of Catan, Organic French Press Coffee for the ladies and Earl Grey Tea for the men. (Okay, I took this pic, obviously.)

Recipe: Raw Pumpkin Pie

Raw Pumpkin Pie: all photography in this post courtesy of Bryan McKinnon, http://www.shadowlight.smugmug.com.

My friend Catherine and her husband Greg were coming over for dinner Saturday night. She eats a mainly raw vegan diet, so I wanted to make a special treat that neither of us had tried before: Raw Pumpkin Pie. We followed the recipe by Veronica Bosgraaf in the Gluten-Free e-Cookbook I posted a link to a while back, and it turned out surprisingly well! I couldn’t believe how much the filling looked like a traditional pumpkin pie. I brought an extra slice to my friend Lonnette at work, and she raved about it on Facebook, asking for the recipe. So, here you go…

Ingredients for Crust: 2 c. almonds, 1 c. dates, 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon.

Pulse crust ingredients in food processor, then press into glass pie plate.

Next, take half of a small pie pumpkin (about 6" diameter), peel, pit, and cube. That's right folks, no cooking involved. Make sure you have a sturdy peeler or use a sharp knife.

Filling Ingredients: 2 c. pumpkin puree (this means you will need to pulse the pumpkin cubes before measuring this ingredient), 1 to 1 1/2 c. dates, 1/4 c. raisins, 1/2 c. cashews, 2 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. each nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom, and a dash (1/8 tsp.) salt. We also added about 1/3 c. water to get the right consistency (add this slowly, 1 Tbsp. at a time, as each pumpkin may have a varying amount of moisture).

Pulse on low in food processor for several minutes. Ours took about 10-12 minutes and about 1/3 c. water to look right. Scrape into pie crust.

Spread evenly into crust and refrigerate for 2 hours, or till set.

The Finished Product: Raw Pumpkin Pie

I served mine with a dollop of whipped cream; Catherine had hers all natural.

Mel & Catherine (no, we did not plan to match)

Celebrating 10,000 Hits with Guest Author Catherine Hosack and Her Zucchini-Tomato Pesto Rolls Recipe

I met today’s guest author several years ago at a local Barnes & Noble while we waited for the midnight release of the final Harry Potter book. Catherine Hosack is a dear friend who is also in a journey towards better health. She writes a blog called “Going Raw: Adventures in Uncooking.” Check it out here. I wanted a guest author to help me celebrate 10,000 hits on my blog, so I asked her to share her story with my readers, and here it is:

“I love Melissa’s “journey to lean” blog for a lot of reasons; for one, it shows that everyone has their own spiritual and physical health journey to experience. The process of learning what is best for our individual bodies, minds, and spirits is, I think, an essential part of our lives. As Melissa’s blog testifies, this process can be hard, but it’s worth it. My personal journey along these lines has led me to eating a mostly raw, Vegan diet. Briefly, a Vegan raw food diet is a pure vegetarian diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. In order to qualify as raw, no food can be heated above 118º F, which is the temperature at which the whole live enzymes and nutrients in the food start to be destroyed.

“I started eating this way because in 2002 I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, which basically means that my immune system and my colon were not happy. After seven years of dealing with really strong medications and a very bleak outlook for my long-term health, I decided to increase my health through nutrition. I decided to try a raw food diet because it maximizes one’s intake of live enzymes, antioxidants, and alkaline-forming foods – all of which actively improve your body’s immune system and increase your natural health. The idea, in short, is to eat foods that make you stronger, instead of eating foods that make you weak and therefore more susceptible to disease.

“Transitioning to this new way of life was difficult at first, but now I am happy to say that after a year and a half of eating a diet heavy in raw foods, I have experienced NONE of the ulcerative colitis symptoms that used to disrupt my life every couple months. Additionally, I have more energy, I hardly ever get sick (not even a cold), and I’ve experienced other unexpected health benefits as well.

“I LOVE raw food. If I go a couple meals without a big raw dish, I crave it. I still eat cooked foods sometimes, of course, and it’s still fun to eat my old favorite foods like Pad Thai and pumpkin pie and things like that… but as time goes on, I feel less and less drawn to my old comfort foods, and more and more attracted to my new favorite dishes, like avocado-carob pudding, fresh sprouts, garden-fresh okra, and marinated eggplant.

“This is one of my favorite raw food recipes.”



    • 1 cup of pine nuts or walnuts, soaked in water for 8 hours or more
    • 1 cup of fresh basil
    • 3 cloves of garlic
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • dash of sea salt to taste
    • Appliance needed: blender or chopper
    • A couple medium tomatoes or 3-4 small ones
    • 1 zucchini


“Blend all the pesto ingredients in some sort of small blender or chopper. Next, you need to make thin zucchini-strips. You can either do this by getting a big knife and cutting your zucchini carefully, lengthwise; but it’s far easier to use a cheese slicer if you have one. Just hold the zucchini and pull the slicer down from one end to the other, keeping the thickness of the slice as even as possible.

“Dice the tomatoes into pieces about the size of large grapes. Then take a slice of zucchini, spread pesto on the slice, and stick a tomato on one end of the zucchini slice. Carefully roll the zucchini around the tomato. I like to grind peppercorns over the finished rolls. These are so tasty…and cute too!”

Bon Appetit! I hope you enjoy this raw Vegan treat! Don’t forget to check out Catherine’s blog! ~Melissa

“Could More Meat Mean Weaker Bones? Why to Up Your Veggie Intake”

I’ve been reading through The pH Miracle Diet book recently (slowly, as I have time), so this article was interesting to me. Fortunately, Gene says this doesn’t mean you have to go raw vegan on your friends and family. It’s simply choosing to eat healthfully, which probably means a little less meat for most of us Americans. Don’t forget, a serving of meat is 3 oz. (the size of a deck of playing cards or a BlackBerry) NOT a 12 oz. steak! When you eat meat, choose lean options. And try to go vegetarian at least one day a week as possible.

Check out this article by Gene Hamshaw of ChoosingRaw.com at the Whole Living Blog for more information. Here’s an excerpt:

“Our bodies are designed to maintain homeostasis (sameness), so our systems search for ways to neutralize acid buildup. One way is to “buffer” acid with minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. And one very good place to get these minerals is our skeletal system. However, when our bodies assimilate too much animal protein, they turn to our bones for aid in neutralizing the digestive by products. Which may be why countries with the highest protein consumption so often happen to be plagued by osteoperosis.”

Ultimately, bone protection is a multi-part process. Calcium (and Vitamin D) are important, but so is eating a nourishing diet that’s rich in alkaline foods (like dark, leafy greens) and mindful of acid-forming foods (like meats, dairy, and alcohol). Exercise and strength training play a huge role in osteoporosis prevention, too, so don’t forget to hit the gym or pull out the home dumbbells three times weekly if you can!”