Spring Cooking Class Series

It has been quite a while since the last cooking class… so I am excited to be starting up again! Since I got to spend some time in Bali I thought it would only be appropriate to make some great Balinese cuisine. The most popular dish I saw and consumed in Bali was Nasi Campur (mixed rice). Sounds simple enough, but you would not believe the presentation of this dish at some of the local warungs (small cafes). Basically it involves rice with veggies, tempeh, and sambal, a hot mix of chiles and garlic for those who like it spicy! My favorite restaurant in Bali, Warung Sopa was in Ubud, more of the cultural center of Bali… lots of beautiful rice patties and artwork. I especially loved this restaurant because you got to choose which veggie and/or tempeh or tofu dish you would like in your nasi campur.

So my cooking class for April is going to be Balinese themed… we will be making Nasi Campur, with seasonal greens and tempeh or seasoned soy curls as sides. Of course there will be sambal to light our digestive fire. For dessert is a pudding made out of chia seeds and freshly made coconut milk with bananas on the top! The dessert is actually inspired by Ani Phyo, from her Ani’s Raw Food Asia book. Chia seeds are even more packed with omega-3’s than flax seeds!!! The cooking classes are on Thursday, April 5th and Tuesday April 17th. Go to my website to see the cooking class schedule for more info. As always the Creative Healthy Cooking Classes are vegan and gluten-free!

vegan nasi campur

vegan nasi campur

List of Indonesian Foods that are Traditionally Vegan and Gluten-Free

Gado Gado (steamed veggies and tempeh with peanut sauce) at Sanur Beach, Bali

Gado Gado (steamed veggies and tempeh with peanut sauce) at Sanur Beach, Bali

 Here is a list of some traditionally vegan and gluten-free recipes found in Indonesia. Many dishes are already gluten-free due to much use of rice, mung bean or tapioca flour over wheat flour. But you still have to watch out for soy sauce in dishes for flavor. The main non-vegan item in Indonesian cooking is chicken stock in rice and noodle dishes as well as shrimp paste that is used for flavoring many savory dishes. The dishes listed below don’t traditionally have either of those non-vegan ingredients or contain gluten (unless otherwise noted). The recipes for the dishes I have listed found from  www.indonesianfoodrecipes.com, a very helpful website for recipes on how to make many traditional dishes. I love all the desserts made from glutinous rice (this rice does not contain gluten, it just has that name because it is sticky). Glutinous rice is also called sweet sticky rice or mochi rice, since it is the rice that mochi is made out of… one of my favorite desserts!

 This is not a complete list by any means and of course any restaurant or chef may have a different version of these recipes, I just thought it was a good place to start.

Vegan and Gluten-Free in Sanur Beach, Bali

Nasi Campur

Vegan and Gluten-Free Nasi Campur at Manik Organic in Sanur Beach

I found a restaurant called Manik Organik that used to be completely vegetarian (now they serve fish and chicken) in Sanur Beach. This is the only place I have seen acknowledging gluten-free and vegan on any menu in Sanur… and trust me, I have been looking. Most of our time in Bali so far has been walking around and taking it easy to get plenty of rest for our adventures to come. The only other place I have seen that has the word vegetarian on the menu is at Bonsai Cafe (right on the Sanur Beachfront).  Anyway I was so happy to find this place again via happycow.net.

I tried the nasi campur, which was labeled vegan and gluten-free. It was delicious and seemed very traditional Balinese cuisine, served on a banana leaf. There was a mountain of brown rice and spicy sombal coated tempeh and tofu. With a green bean, water spinach, and sprouted vegetable dish (this was really tasty since it has some toasted coconut mixed in… both savory and sweet) and some tempeh and tofu kabobs. They have a great selection of juices too. I had the carrot, apple and parsley blend. Our next stop is Seminyak, Bali which apparently has lots of vegan and gluten-free options. More to come!!!

Drinking some fresh juice with a bamboo straw

Drinking some fresh juice with a bamboo straw

Great Food in San Francisco

Curry Dish at Herbivore in San Francisco

Curry Dish at Herbivore in San Francisco

Before our 20 hour flight to Bali we had a nice long layover in San Francisco… one of my favorite cities! The problem there is not the lack of vegan restaurants, but the hard choice of which one to eat at. We decided to go to a restaurant called Herbivore. I had a nice curry dish and Dan had a shepherd’s pie with a ton of sauteed kale. I was kind of jealous when I saw his pile of kale, but of course being the sweetheart he is, he shared it with me.

We are now in Bali, but have not yet found a vegan restaurant. There is a ton of fresh fruit and vegetables so we are having no problem with food, but I am excited to go to one of the restaurants I found on happycow.net. We are staying at Sanur Beach, but soon will be venturing forth to find a great vegan / gluten-free restaurant. Once we find one I will be posting some reviews and more about our adventures in Indonesia.

Great Article on Reducing Allergies with a Vegan/Vegetarian Diet

This article is a repost from the Southern Vegan Blog, this is a fun vegan blog that I have been following. It is inspirational and lots of great recipes. This is not a gluten-free blog, but so far it looks like many of the recipes can be easily converted. I love this article and basically any book that Neal Barnard, MD writes. He is the president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and author of Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes and 21 Day Weight Loss Kickstart: Boost Metabolism, Lower Cholesterol, and Dramatically Improve Your Health.

“Diet Changes Help Allergies That Flare Up in the Spring and Fall

Source: Dr. Neal Barnard; The Vegetarian Times

Nutrition plays a major role in asthma, and there’s increasing evidence that foods can affect seasonal allergies too. When you have asthma, your bronchial tubes constrict, which causes wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing. If you have it, you’ve no doubt found that attacks can be triggered by allergens such as pollen, as well as by infections, stress, cigarette smoke and other factors.

For many years, people with asthma suspected that dietary changes might help. Many noticed that they had fewer episodes and needed less medication when they switched to vegetarian (especially vegan) diets. In the mid-1980s, anecdotal reports led researchers to put these observations to the test. In a one-year study, they found significant improvements in lung function and a major reduction in medication use when patients switched to a vegan diet. Then in 1994, investigators at Loma Linda University tracked how often medical treatments for ailments, including asthma, were needed in a group of nearly 28,000 people. Vegetarians were less likely to need treatment for asthma—females were even less likely than males.

Why do vegetarian and vegan diets help? Researchers first attributed these benefits to the absence of common food triggers, such as meat, dairy and eggs. After all, if you’re not eating troublesome foods, you can’t have an allergic reaction to them. But there’s probably more to it. Repeated studies have shown that people who eat more fruits and vegetables have reduced risk of asthma, presumably because these foods improve immune system functions.

Vegetarians are also thinner, which is surprisingly important in asthma. Harvard’s long-term Nurses’ Health Study (an ongoing project studying thousands of nurses for multiple health concerns) found that thin people have only one-third the risk of asthma compared to overweight participants. When heavy people begin a low-fat, vegetarian diet, they typically lose a significant amount of weight, which is likely to improve asthma.

One note of caution: A vegetarian diet does improve nutrition and help alleviate asthma, but it’s also possible to be allergic to some vegetarian foods, such as peanuts, soy or wheat.

If seasonal allergies trigger asthma for you, or if they leave you with itchy eyes and a runny nose, here are two nutritional additions to consider:

Vitamin E

Whether it comes from foods or supplements, vitamin E seems to help ward off seasonal allergy symptoms. You’ll find it in green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, etc.), beans, apples, carrots, celery, wheat germ and nuts. Researchers suspect that vitamin E stops your immune system from overreacting to pollens or other allergens.


(Petasites hybridus, also called butterdock) is an herbal remedy that has been used for centuries to soothe respiratory complaints. For symptoms of seasonal allergies, it works surprisingly well. Butterbur proved as effective as the antihistamine cetirizine (Zyrtec) against seasonal allergy symptoms, reported a Swiss study published in 2002 in the British Medical Journal. And although antihistamines are sedating, the herbal treatment isn’t.

Nutritional factors may even help prevent allergies. In a three-year Italian study in the 1990s, new mothers breast-fed their infants and didn’t introduce commonly allergenic foods such as whole cows’ milk, eggs, fish and nuts during the child’s first year. They also limited dairy products and avoided eggs in their own diets. These simple steps in the first years of their babies’ lives dramatically reduced the likelihood that the children would develop allergic symptoms later.

Although we may not be able to eliminate asthma and allergies entirely, diet changes can clearly help. And if started early enough, they can help children avoid a great deal of misery.

Vanilla Almond Milk

Vanilla Almond Milk

Vanilla Almond Milk

When I am craving something sweet, or just to make in the morning to pour over some oats, buckwheat, nuts and chopped up fruit… I make Vanilla Almond Milk. The sweetness comes from the dates and almonds which have a naturally sweet taste. There is no added sugar, but let me tell you it sure tastes like it!

Vanilla Almond Milk (yield: 2 cups)

  • 3 TBS raw almonds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 dates (medjool or california dates)
  • 2 cups water

If you have a high speed blender (like a Vitamix) then just blend all ingredients on high speed until nice and creamy like milk (1-2 minutes). Otherwise grind up almonds in a coffee/herb grinder until fine and powdery. Then add water, almond meal, vanilla and dates to blender and keep blending until frothy. Enjoy!!!

Cream of Mushroom Soup (Raw, Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Cream of Mushroom Soup

When I first was vegan what I really missed was the creamy soups, gravy, sauces that I had learned how to make from my mom. Now when I want something creamy and rich I go for something even better… cream made from nuts. So many nuts make really delicious cream, but my favorites are: hemp, cashews, walnuts, and sunflower seeds. Here is a recipe that I whipped up the other night made from sunflower seeds, but I am sure you could interchange those for any of the mentioned nuts. Make sure they are raw and if you don’t have a high-speed blender it helps to soak them for at least 4-6 hours before hand.

First start off with marinating mushrooms: (see the following pics and instructions)

Cream of Mushroom Soup (serves 2)


  • 4-6 mushrooms chopped up finely (crimini or shiitake)
  • 1-2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 TBS liquid aminos (they can be soy or coconut aminos)
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)

Put the chopped mushrooms into the marinade and mix up… they will start releasing their juice and shrink as if they have been cooked in 5-10 minutes

Soup Base

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 small green onion (save the green top for garnish)
  • 2 TBS wine (can be red or white, but just not sweet)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 celery stalk OR sprinkle of celery seed
  • black pepper to taste

Blend all these ingredients until uniform and smooth in consistency. Can blend for a few minutes in a high speed blender to heat it up to just over body temperature, or heat on the stove slightly. Remember if it is above 104 F than it is not considered raw anymore, but if you like hot soup than you can heat it up even more. Keeping it at a lower temperature will preserve the naturally occurring enzymes to make it easier to digest.

After you have blended up the soup base just mix in the mushrooms + marinade and then add some chopped green onion for garnish = delicious!!!

mushrooms before marinating

mushrooms before marinating

mushrooms after marinating

mushrooms after marinating

Vegan Caramel Apples

Vegan Caramel Apples

Vegan Caramel Apples

Okay so I definitely have a sweet tooth… It doesn’t help that my mom and grandma are the best bakers ever and will accommodate my vegan diet. When I am in the mood for something healthy and sweet I go for my vegan caramel recipe… it is ridiculously simple and oh so delicious! At room temperature it stands up to dipping apples in, and when you refrigerate it for a bit it can be rolled up and dipped in melted chocolate for vegan chocolate caramels or even better vegan turtles! Anyway here it is…

Caramel Apples (serves 4)

  • 2-3 apples of your choice
  • ½ cup raw almond butter
  • ½ cup brown rice syrup

Cut up apples into slices to dip into caramel. To make caramel simply mix the almond butter and brown rice syrup. If you want the consistency to be stickier and more caramel like then add more brown rice syrup. You can also use this caramel to make vegan candies and it is delicious!!!

Favorite Vegan Friendly Restaurants in Cannon Beach

Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, OR

Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, OR

I have to admit when I first moved to the coast I was a bit sad that there weren’t more vegan and gluten-free options out here… especially when I moved from Portland, since that seems to be the vegan and gluten-free mecca. After being in Cannon Beach for 2 years I have come to love a few restaurants that accommodate my dietary needs.

First is Sweet Basils Cafe and Wine Bar… they not only have live music in the evenings, but an amazing gluten-free and vegan pizza that is out of this world! Especially if you ask for the pesto sauce on the pizza. They have the best selection of vegan and gluten-free in town.

Seasonal Maki at Fishes

Seasonal Maki at Fishes (squash, tofu, green onion)

Second is a new place in town: Fishes… I know it doesn’t sound too vegan friendly, but they do have some vegetarian rolls and veggie sushi. You just have to specify you are vegan so they don’t use the miso aioli. They have a spicy tempura vegetable roll that is amazing! (The tempura batter is made with rice flour)… and they even have tamari soy sauce, which doesn’t contain gluten!

Third is Bill’s Tavern: it is a little tricky if you want vegan and gluten-free, but you can order the hummus plate sans dairy and no pita (you still get lots of veggies and homemade hummus that is pretty good). Or if you are wanting just vegan than get the black bean burrito minus dairy + avocado + spinach and a really great meal.

Thai Coconut Soup

thai soup

Thai Coconut Soup Garnished with fresh Basil

Here is a soup that even my cat likes, not that I was trying to feed it to him… but when I got up to get some nutritional yeast there he was licking up the soup and trying to snag an onion out for himself.

Thai Coconut Soup (serves 4)

  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1-2 TBS chopped ginger
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 2 carrots
  • ¼- ½  head of cabbage
  • ½ – 1 package extra tofu
  • ½ head of broccoli
  • ½-1 bunch cilantro (chopped)
  • ½-1 can of pineapple (or fresh is preferred)
  • 1 can coconut milk (regular, not light)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • liquid aminoes to taste (soy or coconut)
  • 1 teas. sesame oil for added flavor

Use 1-2 TBS coconut oil to sauté chopped (jalapeno, ginger, garlic, and onion) on medium heat. This will infuse the oil with the spiciness of the first ingredients and calm down the heat of the jalapeno pepper. Add 3-4 cups water to pan. Turn heat to high and add all the chopped veggies (can use whatever you have on hand, I like to use: broccoli, cabbage, carrots, tomato or pepper). Once soup starts to boil turn off heat and add remaining ingredients (cilantro, pineapple, coconut milk, lime juice, liquid aminoes, and sesame oil).

***suggestions*** if too spicy add the pineapple juice from the can, can also add more coconut milk for a richer and sweeter soup (I like to make it light so I use only 1 can).

Tip: use a fan to avoid irritation of the mucus membranes while sauteing jalapeno, ginger, garlic, and onion