Snow Storm Soup

As a child, we always begged our mom to buy canned soup.  It seemed so appealing, and those cherubic twins (who advertised the soup) were just too darling.  But, our grandmother was always busy making homemade soup, and most of the time, she added pastina, which were little, teeny-weeny pasta stars.  The pasta stars would change the texture of the soup, and also gave it a delicious flavor.

But, pastina isn’t plant-strong, and I totally love the texture it added.  With the impending snow storm that was my reality a few days ago, it was time to clean out the vegetable bin and make a hearty and delicious plant-strong soup. I was hoping that the soup would sustain me during the blizzard, and after shoveling snow.

This is one of those recipes whose ingredients are really “use what you have.”  I find that a dry saute of the vegetables adds a rich flavor to the soup base.  You just need to pay attention, and keep and eye on the veggies as they gently brown.

This is a quick and easy recipe, easy to follow, easy to make, and delicious to eat.

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Snow Storm Soup


1 onion, finely diced

6-8 whole garlic cloves (no need to mince)

2 carrots, halved and sliced

4 ribs of celery, sliced thin

1 zucchini, quartered and sliced

2 cups of sliced mushrooms (fresh or frozen)

2 quarts of liquid (I like to use a container of low-sodium veggie broth and a quart of water)

1 can of low-sodium fire-roasted, diced tomatoes

2 cups of cooked beans (your favorite)

1 tablespoon of freshly grated Turmeric (or a teaspoon of dry)

3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (or more)

1 cup of uncooked steel cut oats

2 tablespoons of hot sauce

2 cups of fresh, chopped kale, chard, or spinach.

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Over a medium heat, saute onions, celery and carrots, stirring frequently.  As they begin to brown, add whole garlic cloves, and continue to stir.  Once the vegetables are translucent, add mushrooms and zucchini, then turn off the heat.

In a soup pot, add liquid (broth and water), canned tomatoes, hot sauce, and steel cut oats.  Bring to a boil, then, simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the oats are cooked.

Once the oats have cooked, add vegetables and turmeric to the cooked oats.  Simmer for about ten minutes.  Add beans and greens.  Add nutritional yeast. Stir well.

The garlic will be thoroughly cooked, and if you want, you can mash the cooked cloves into the soup.

And, BOOM, soup is on!

Serving Note:  Place fresh greens in the bottom of a serving bowl, cover with piping hot soup, then garnish with more greens.  Serve with a delicious salad, and you are golden, and plant-strong.

As long as you have an onion in your house, you can pretty much make any flavorful soup.  Having a mire poix on hand is always great, but, even if you don’t have celery or carrots, finely minced kale ribs can also be the perfect blend with carrots and onions.

This soup is so good that you can even eat it for breakfast!

And, the steel cut oats give me the same feeling as though my Nonna had made this delicious soup for me.

While people were running to the store for “blizzard food,” I was content making a bountiful and delicious soup for me and my family to enjoy!


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Meet Jane Esselstyn, RN

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She is a woman on a mission.  And it includes teaching women about heart disease. Jane Esselstyn’s out to let everyone know that heart disease is the number one killer of women.  According to, “Heart disease is the number one killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year.”

Just today, I was getting ready to go swimming at my local gym when I noticed a lady arriving to the pool with a towel, a water bottle, and a little, amber-colored medicine bottle.  I said to her, “What’s in the pill bottle?”  She told me it was her nitroglycerin, and she used it if she had chest pain.  I am basically very curious, but something told me to “leave this alone,” because health, much like food, is a very personal subject.

I wanted to know all about her medical status, and I wanted to stand on a floating soapbox to tell her about the health benefits of following a plant-based diet.  And, I wanted to have Jane Esselstyn right at my side to reinforce everything I would have said to this very nice lady.  Because, what I have learned, simply, is that “food is medicine.”

Jane, a mother of three, and the busiest person I’ve ever known, can’t be everywhere!  That’s why she’s created the inaugural “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease for Women” in Cleveland, this coming March 12.  The format of the event is to empower women and put them in charge of their health and well-being.  Women are generally the appointment makers of healthcare appointments, and why not give them more information for their “life kit?”

Grab some of your friends, and head to Cleveland.  It might be as close to an Esselstyn family reunion as it will get, as Jane has assembled an amazing roster of speakers, that also includes Robert Ostfeld, MD, cardiologist from Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.

Check out her Eventbrite page to see everyone who’ll be there.  And, yes, Rip will be there to finish off the day with an exciting discussion.

To learn more and to -pre-register, head to this website:

Jane says to bring your dancing shoes and get ready to dance, have fun, and to strip kale.  She’s also excited to report that the food will be provided by The Cleveland Vegan (, who will serve a heart-healthy, plant-based lunch.  Look for some great door prizes, and pure, heart-healthy fun, too!

Now, if I could only get the lady from the pool to come to Cleveland with me.

See you in March!


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On the Road with Rip

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I’ve lived in Philadelphia for a long time.  I can get you anywhere you need to be and that’s because I suffer from what I call the “20 Minute Syndrome.”  I can weave in and out of traffic and avoid the long commuter jams that often occur in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.  And I needed to have my driver game on, because Rip was coming to town!

With his book tour for Plant-Strong in the works,  Philadelphia was anticipating Rip’s arrival on a whirlwind tour. We visited eleven Whole Foods Market stores (in three days) for shopper meet and greets, and Rip also met with team members to talk about the Engine 2 food line.  He also answered many questions that team members had about Rip’s Big Bowl and other delights in the E2 food line.

You’ve got to be on your toes with Rip, because he runs at one speed, and that is FAST.  He can accomplish more work in eight hours than most people can get done in a week.  Whether it was chatting with a mother of two who traveled to tell Rip about how her husband lost 200 pounds by being plant-strong, or the mother of four who drove an hour to meet him, Rip is ever-present, and spent detailed time with every guest, at every store.

It’s pretty amazing to see people who’ve transformed their lives from following the Engine 2 Diet. The word, grateful, comes to mind. While people did come to get a copy of Rip’s new book, many brought their tattered and worn copies of The Engine 2 Diet to get autographed. Many reported that Rip’s book was the number one “give-to” gift for family and friends.  And, everyone gave it high praise for being the “game-changer” in their family and for their improved health and well-being.

I’d describe the visit to Philadelphia as rich. The Whole Foods Market in Cherry Hill had a 5% Day for their local fire company.  The store was packed with fire fighters, medics and the like, and Rip was in his glory.  They speak a certain lingo.  Rip knows how to deliver the plant-based message, he always finds a “port-of-entry” for conversation, so as not to offend or overwhelm anyone with such important, life-saving information.

On Rip’s last day in Philly, we headed to N. 2nd street to meet the crew at Philly’s Engine 2.    Rip took Rip’s Big Bowl, almond milk, and some Mighty Muffins for everyone to enjoy.  The comical point of the day is that one of the firefighters told me how much he and the crew liked E2 products, so much so that they take Rip’s Big Bowl to other stations and say, “We have a brand of food named after us! What do you have?” Rip delivered his plant-strong message, and people listened.

So, if Rip comes to your town, bring a story, tell him how E2 has impacted your life.  Share a recipe with him. He spends dedicated time with every person he meets.

And, if you are really brave, challenge Rip to a ping-pong match.  He is quite the champ, just ask the chief at Philly’s Engine 2.  And, guess who won?

It must have been the Triple Berry Rip’s Big Bowl.

For a detailed schedule of Rip’s Tour, check out our Facebook page for regular updates.


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I am Engine 2

I am Engine 2

I am Engine 2. This is where and how I live. I don’t live in a firehouse and I’m not a fireman. But I’m a firefighter of sorts. I have rescued my health and have regained my fitness. I’ll tell you my story because I am Engine 2.

Like most people, eating good food and food that tasted good was my way of life. My health has never been in jeopardy and my diet was never really poor. My annual physicals were generally filled with good news. I was diagnosed with borderline hypertension—only statistically relevant—and never had the side effects associated with high blood pressure. I’m active; I exercise and enjoy my food and eat a fair amount of it. I am a runner, enjoy the outdoors and consider myself pretty fit and in great shape.

My doctor always said that he’d like to see me a few pounds lighter. He also told me that because my cholesterol was a bit high that I’d be better off with a statin drug to help lower it. He also suggested that statin drugs were likely to be a part of my regimen for the rest of my life. So, an average guy, pretty fit and middle aged. Always ready for the next adventure.

I really never gave a lot of serious thought to the value of food from a nutritional sense. We get older, start a family and start to realize that food should be more than just sustenance. We care about our own health and that of our children, so I began to think a little differently about the foods we eat and feed our families. Most of the time, my wife does the shopping and she’s very conscientious about buying great quality food: organic and natural and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. We read the labels and avoid preservatives and artificial ingredients whenever we can. That’s why we shop at Whole Foods Market—it makes it easier and we can trust that the products and brands we buy are free of the bad stuff and ingredients we can’t understand.

I had heard about the Engine 2 Diet, but diets really never appealed to me. Guys don’t diet. I didn’t need to diet. I didn’t need anything, really. Engine 2 Plant Strong—plant strong. It made me start to think—can food be strong or weak? If so, how do I know I’m eating strong food? How can I go beyond just satisfying my appetite by eating strong food?

So I tried Rip’s Big Bowl and a couple of other Engine 2 products. The packaging made it easy—the big red Engine 2 on the front. Rip Esselstyn, the guy that wrote the Engine 2 Diet, was a firefighter—great story about transforming macho firemen to eating plant strong foods and saving their own health. We always think of firemen as the “staff of life”, but those guys suffer more than their fair share of heart attacks because of their own health and stresses and strains on the job. I never stopped to think about it until I read The Engine 2 Diet that the very people we depend on to save our lives couldn’t save their own! That is until Rip taught them how to eat healthier and regain their fitness by eating plant strong.

Reading about a simpler way to improve my fitness, to lose weight and maybe increase my overall health was appealing and got me thinking. Then I became inspired. Could I go from being an omnivore to just eating plant-based foods? How could I give up my occasional “man food”—my steak or chops—to eating just vegetables, fruits and beans? I was already eating some stuff that was plant-based, like almond milks and whole wheat crackers and trail mix. But giving up those hearty proteins and what I thought was strong food?

Engine 2 products never have any animal products or added oils or fat, they’re made from whole grains and the calories are in line with sodium. This is strong stuff. And the more I learned about plant nutrition, the more engaged I became to the plant based lifestyle. No diet. . . . a lifestyle. . .for me and my family. Yeah, we’ve slowly given up the dairy, cheese, eggs and meats. . . .what turned out to be weak foods—and all the time I thought they were so strong. Man, did Engine 2 open my eyes. Eating strong food has made me Engine 2 Plant Proud!

My physical at the doctor a year later confirmed my beliefs. . . strong food lowered my cholesterol so much that I eliminated my statin prescription, I had lost over 50 pounds and my blood pressure was so low I dropped another prescription. I feel great, love the way I look and feel and my wife and family are excited about their husband and father’s health. My daughter and I are even running our first 10K race together to celebrate!

This is where and how I live now. Strong food helped rescue my health and improve the quality of my life and my family’s life too. Engine 2 Plant Strong helped align my personal, professional and nutritional values and bring me and my loved ones into a healthy strong food focus. It makes me Engine 2 Plant Proud. I am Engine 2.

By Mike Schall

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Mike with T. Colin Campbell at Plant-Stock

Passionate about following a plant-strong diet and spreading the health benefits that he’s experienced, Mike Schall
is now part Engine 2 team and works closely with Rip on several projects.

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How the 28-Day Challenge by Engine 2 Changed My Life

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It almost sounds cliche.  As I write this, the title reads like the front cover of a tabloid magazine.  But, the reality is that my attempt at an Engine 2 Challenge changed my life, forever.

It was September, 2009.  I had noticed Rip’s book and thought to myself, “Well, I could do anything for 28 days, what do I have to lose (except one hundred plus pounds)?”  Keep in mind, this was the pre-historic era of the Engine 2 development.  There were no websites, no social media channels.  It was just me and my now tattered copy of the Engine 2 Diet, and this guy named Rip, who I had seen on the TODAY SHOW.

If you’re like me, I jumped into the deep end of the E2 pool and followed the pages of the book to a tee.  I kept saying to myself, “It’s only 28 days, you’ll lose weight.” Back then, it was only about the weight.  The weight that has followed me around like a dark shadow for most of my adult life.  Food had been my “drug of choice,” and I wasn’t sure how I’d manage this challenge.  But, I forged ahead.

As the days grew, so did a long list of foods that I had planned to eat on day 29.  I won’t list the foods, but if they could be purchased at a drive-thru, they would have been mine.  But, all of a sudden, something really amazing happened (I know, it sounds like a tabloid, again), on the tenth day of this journey, I woke up and didn’t have one twinge of pain from chronic osteo-arthritis. Nor did I have that horrible sense of indigestion that I had lived with for so many years. At that very moment, I said in a loud voice (to myself):  Eating Well = A Healthy You!

I made huge salads, lots of hearty soups, loads of grains and seeds (this is where quinoa and I first met).  I was never hungry, and I felt great.  The kicker is this, I am a Baby Boomer.  So, my message is that it is never too late to change your health pattern.  I was 59 years old when I became plant-strong, and today at 66, I enjoy excellent health, am super-active, have great skin, and I have lost more than 100 pounds, and I am not finished!  Along the way, I have redefined my relationship with food, and realize that eating plant-strong is the best thing I can do for myself.  I’ve also learned that when confronted with a problem, food doesn’t solve the problem, so I have learned to face untoward situations “head-on.”

The difference with starting an Engine 2 Challenge today is that there is super-scaffolding in place.  Whole Foods Market is a partner in the challenge.  The social media support for the challenge is just a finger-tip away.  Engine 2  has a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even Periscope.  You will not be alone in this Challenge.

My family medical history is one riddled with heart and pulmonary disease, as well as cancer.  I feel as though I have made myself bullet proof to the diseases of those before by following a whole foods, plant-based diet.

Six months after I started my challenge, I got to meet Rip at the inaugural Engine 2 Immersion in Austin, Texas.  And what jumped out at me then, and still today, is that he is totally committed to changing the way people eat, one plant-strong bite at a time.

Sign up today.  You’ll get recipes, tips and even coupons delivered to your inbox.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Warm wishes for a plant-strong 2016 and sign up for the 28 Day Challenge here!

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Did Someone Say, Cookies?

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I’ve never been much of a baker. When the holidays roll around and you head to the neighbor’s house, I am the person who gifts our friends with a beautiful batch of Mighty Muffins.  People who’ve never had one, are not quite sure how to respond. But, without fail, everyone embraces this powerful muffin and its tasty, rich flavors.

I decided to think outside of the “muffin tin,” and think about a delicious, oil-free cookie that would serve well during the holidays, and all throughout the year! What to do?

Enter, the “Big Bowl Cookie.”  If you’re like me, Rip’s Big Bowl is indeed a breakfast favorite.  I’ve been eating it since I first opened my copy of The Engine 2 Diet, in 2009.  It’s full of fiber and texture, easy to assemble, and now, you can even get it in the cereal aisle of your local Whole Foods Market. But, a cookie?

Yes, a cookie.  This recipe is a variation of the famous “Three Ingredient Cookie” which has been circling the food globe for quite some time. The “Big Bowl Cookie” can also double as a breakfast-on-the-go, a snack, or a dessert. That’s your call.

Here’s the recipe for “Big Bowl Cookies”


2 cups of Rip’s Big Bowl

2 very ripe, mashed bananas

1/2 cup of sugar-free applesauce

1/4 cup of pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon of cinnamon (also good with pumpkin spice)

1 teaspoon of alcohol-free vanilla


Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F).

Assemble the mashed bananas, applesauce, maple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla in a bowl, and mix well. Add  the Rip’s Big Bowl, and stir well.  Allow to proof for about 10-15 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place a tablespoon-sized dolyp of batter on the paper, placing each cookie about one-inch apart.

Place in oven, and bake 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove from oven, allow to cool.

YIELD: 12-14 cookies.

TIP:  If you are looking for a way to use cookie cutters, try this:

-Line a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet with the entire batch of batter.  Sprinkle with oat flour, and cover with another piece of parchment paper.

-Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out until it is about 1/2 inch thick.

-Place in freezer for 15-20 minutes.

-Remove batter from freezer, and using a metal cookie cutter, create your favorite cookie shapes with your favorite cutters.

-Using a spatula, remove each cut-out cookie, and place it on another parchment lined baking sheet.

-Bake as above.

Cookie Time

I grew up in a family where the “cookie tray” was always a focal point of any party.  A tray of plant-strong cookies is another way to create that same excitement for the holidays.  You don’t need fat and sugar to make a cookie taste delicious.

Good food for good times!  Let the holidays be the season to refine many of your plant-strong recipes and ideas to create a bounty of warmth and goodness.



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Soup.  Who doesn’t love soup?  I could eat it everyday, and in fact, it seems as though I do!  Of late, I have been adding old-fashioned (thick cut) oats to the soup base, and its results are a creamy, thick soup that has unbound flavor.  The oatmeal lends itself to yield a thicker soup that has an almost nutty flavor to it.

One day when I was getting ready to prepare a bowl of soup, I remarked to myself, “Wow, this is so beautifully thick, what else can I do with this?”  And then it hit me, “Make tacos!!”

Here’s the soup recipe, and stay tuned, because this soup will blow your mind with its versatility.

Five Minute Salsa Soup


1 cup of fine diced onions

5 cloves of garlic, mince (slice them with a potato peeler to get thin slices)

2 cups diced carrots

2 cups of diced celery

1 quart of low-sodium vegetable broth

1 quart of water

1 16 ounce jar of GRINGO brand salsa

6 cups of chopped greens (whatever your fancy)

1 cup of uncooked old-fashioned oats (thick cut is a favorite)


On high heat, dry saute the onions, turning frequently.  The dry saute lends a sweeter flavor.  When the onions begin to turn brown (about 5-7 minutes), add the garlic, and quickly stir and rotate for about a minute.  You do not want to burn the garlic.  Add your carrots and celery, and stir well.

Add a quart of broth, and continue to stir vegetables.  Allow to simmer (covered) for about 15 minutes.  Stir as needed.

Add the remaining liquid, and the salsa.  Stir well.  Add the oats.

Simmer for about 45 minutes on low heat.  Stir as needed.

Add greens at the very end, as they will wilt nicely and add color and flavor to your soup.

When the soup is done, divide the yield into two bowls.  Season each to your liking, this way you will have two soups!  I seasoned one with cumin and chili powder, and the other curry, turmeric and cumin.  The curry soup was delicious topped with mango chunks.

That is all you need to do to have two delicious soups!  Flavor profiles with each soup are endless.  And truth be told, make a double batch to freeze and have on hand.

NOTE:  If you think the soup is too thick for a soup, add water, and stir well.

Yes, it takes five minutes to assemble, and just an hour to cook.

Other Uses for the Soup

  •  Tacos!  This soup, on the second day (if you have any left), makes a fabulous filler for tacos.  They are so delicious!
  • Lasagna!  Layer your lasagna with your soup.  You might want to season your original soup base with oregano, basil, etc.  The rich flavors of Engine 2 Pasta Sauce gives you that “molto bene” moment of delicious flavor.
  • Veggie Dip!  That’s right, you heard me right!  Take a cup of the thick soup mix, and puree it.  Garnish with fresh, chopped herbs.  Serve it warm with whole wheat toast points, or fresh veggies.
  • Enchiladas!  Engine 2 Tortillas are the perfect base for this dish.  Fill, wrap, place in a shallow baking dish, slather with salsa, cover and bake!

Wait?  What no Beans?

I love beans, but not soggy, mushy ones.  If you want to add beans to the soup, here’s a quick-tip for you:

Take two cups of beans, rinse them well.

Place them on a kitchen towel (cloth, not paper)

Arrange them flat, and allow them to air dry for 15-20 minutes.

You can add them to your soup, tacos, etc. or even use them as garnish.

Air-drying the beans is a whole, new game to having beans in your soup.

Dinner Time

I’d add a side salad of greens with whatever dish you decide to make.  The ease and deliciousness of plant-strong foods is at your fingertips with this quick, easy, and delicious recipe.

What’s for dinner tonight?


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Five Plant-Strong Squash Recipe Ideas

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This time of the year you can walk through any farmer’s market, and you’ll see the full spectrum of squash from butternut, acorn, crookneck, and more.  The variety is beautiful looking and tasting.   A neighbor recently confided that she was afraid  to cook a “real squash,” because it seemed too complicated a task to peel, cut, de-seed, etc.

Realizing that I really like my fingers, long ago, I started putting a whole squash in the oven, cooking it at 400 degrees, and when it was done, I’d peel it, cut it, de-seed it and use it in a number of dishes.

Here are five easy things to do with squash that will have you trying all types.  Oh, and by the way, my favorite is kabocha, it sort of resembles a green pumpkin, and to me, tastes like chestnuts.

Be it fresh, frozen, canned or boxed, squash is a good staple to have on hand.  It can help add new flavor and texture to any dish.  And, on a whole, squash is loaded with vitamin A and vitamin C.  A serving of squash contains 457% of your daily vitamin A needs!

Ideally, fresh is best, but having canned or frozen on hand is always a good back up.

Pasta Sauce Enhancer

I grew up at my Italian grandmother’s apron strings, and I can make a really good marinara sauce, I think she’d be proud of my plant-strong version of her sauce, too.  I add a cup of pureed squash to my basic sauce recipe.  It lends a smoother and creamier texture, and provides a delicious undertone and earthy flavor.

Follow your favorite recipe, and then add the squash.  You can also use a jar of Engine 2 pasta sauce if you do not have time to create your.  Just add about a cup of the pureed squash to the sauce, stir, heat, and serve.

Squash Pudding

Cook your squash, once you have tended to removing the seeds, and peeling it, add what will be about two (2) cups of squash.  Place squash in a bowl and add ¼ cup of almond milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1 t of cinnamon.  Mix together, then move to a food processor and puree until silky smooth.  If needed, add maple syrup to taste.  When done, place in a dessert cup, and chill.   Garnish with roasted squash seeds and enjoy.  Serves 4-6.

 Chocolate Ice Cream

You’ll think this is sinfully delicious.  The truth?  A bag of frozen squash, ¼ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, ¼ cup of almond milk, ¼ cup of maple syrup, and a teaspoon of alcohol-free vanilla and you have the best ingredients for a rich and creamy chocolate “nice cream.”  Put all ingredients into a high-speed blender, using the tamper to mix ingredients together.  You’ll know that you’ve reached dessert perfection when the mixture’s consistency is like sorbet.

In about a minute, you will have a rich and creamy dessert to please the world.  Use an ice cream scoop to serve the dessert.  It will be dreamy and delicious.  Garnish with roasted squash seeds, or fresh berries.  Serves 4.

Acorn Rings

Acorn is a great squash, it’s fun to look at and comes in a variety of colors from deep green to speckled orange.  Here’s a fun and easy way to prepare this squash for a nice side dish, or a main dish!  Your call.

Take two acorn squash, wash the skin.  Place each whole squash on a baking sheet and put in a 400 degree oven for about twenty-minutes.  Remove from oven and place on cutting board.  NOTE:  Use a pot holder to secure the squash.  Slice into ¾ inch slices, and place on a parchment lined baking sheet (remove seeds).

Brush lightly with pure maple syrup, and sprinkle equal amounts of cinnamon and cayenne pepper on each slice.  Cook for fifteen minutes, then flip, apply another brushing of maple syrup, and sprinkle with spices.  Cook for an additional fifteen minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve as you wish.  Adds color to your plate.

Quick Fall Hummus

If you are short on time, this quick hummus will add a new taste sensation to any fall crudite platter. Grab a container of Engine 2 hummus and add a cup of pureed squash.  Season with ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, and mix well.  The squash adds more color and volume to the hummus.  Sometimes, adding a few splashes of hot sauce to spice things up a bit is a fun idea.

Serve with your favorite vegetables, included some roasted, acorn “half-moons.”

Bring the fall into your kitchen with the bounty of squash and enjoy the warm and nutty flavors that they will bring to your platters.





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Ciao, Cavolfiore (Hello, Cauliflower)

If you’re plant-strong, you know that cauliflower can often be the focal point of many delicious meals.  It has jumped from being a boring side-dish to letting its fractals shine as the main course of any table.

Many people enjoy cauliflower cooked or raw.  It is great as a crudite, and grates beautifully for garnishes, salad add-in’s, etc. Cauliflower is also rich in nutrients and is loaded with vitamin C and fiber. But pizza crust? Cauli-balls? Really? One of the things I know about cauliflower is that it contains a lot of water, and the last thing I wanted was a soggy pizza crust.

Here is one recipe that will either create four (four) personal pan pizzas, or 16-18 cauli-balls.  Same recipe.  Same technique, and totally delicious.  Add some new twists to your Italian recipe collection, I think you will really like this recipe.   Play with the dough and enjoy the process.

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Ingredients for the “Cauliflower Pizza Dough”

1 head of fresh cauliflower, grated (you’ll get about 4 cups of grated cauliflower)

5 cloves of finely minced garlic

2 T of fresh, minced basil

2 T of fresh, minced flat (Italian) parsley

1/4 cup of nutritional yeast

4T of flax meal

6T of water

2 T coarse corn meal


Grate the cauliflower until it resembles “rice.”  Add all ingredients, except the flax meal and water.

Mix well with your hands.

In a microwave-proof bowl, add the cauliflower mix.  Cover.  Microwave for two minutes.

Allow to cool.  Take a handful of the mixture and over an empty bowl, squeeze any liquid out of the cauliflower. Repeat until all the cauliflower has been drained.  This may yield a full cup of liquid.

Get the flax meal and add the water to it.  Stir, and allow to sit for a few minutes.  Once it has thickened, add to the cauliflower, and mix well with your hands.  It should be firm and pliable.  At this point, you may want to taste and add any extra seasonings (garlic, nutritional yeast, etc.)

For the Pizza

Divide the cauliflower “dough” into four pieces.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle corn meal on the paper.

With a ball of the “dough,” pat it into a round, four-five inch pizza shell, and it should be about one inch thick.  Make the others, and place them on baking sheet.

Place in a 400 degree oven for thirty minutes.  Remove from oven, and with a wide mouth spatula, turn the  pizza crust over, and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes.  Remove from oven, and let cool.

When it is time to dress your pizza, set up a “veggie bar” with favorites and let everyone create their own pizza.

Pop in an oven for 8-10 minutes until the sauce bubbles.  Or, if you are like me, the pizzas are great COLD!

For the Meatballs

Take the mixture, and scoop with a two-ounce scoop, and roll into a ball.  Place on parchment paper (no need for corn meal), and bake for 25-30 minutes.  Once the meat balls are done, you can put them into a pot of sauce and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Great with pasta, zucchini pasta, a wrap, etc.  You will love these “cauli-balls.”

When people say to me, “Don’t you miss (name a food)?”  And honestly, how can you miss anything when vegetables become the palette for your palate?

Enjoy the cauliflower, and show us what plant-strong creations you make!

Buon Appetito!



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Pronto Oats Florentine

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Looking for a delicious and quick dinner?  I think I may have found it in a recipe I am calling, “Pronto Oats Florentine.”  I love anything Italian, and it is a cuisine that holds up masterfully as a plant-strong dish.

In modern times, Florentine has become synonymous with “adding spinach to almost any dish.”  Generally, when you hear Florentine, you can think, “iron-rich spinach.”  This dish is a creamy blend of tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms.

This dish came out of necessity and the ever-famous words, “what if?”  It took minutes to prepare, and cooks well on the stove, or in a slow-cooker.

Ready for a great, quick dinner?


1 jar of Engine 2 Pasta Sauce

1 quart of low-sodium vegetable broth

1 cup of uncooked steel cut oats

2 cups of  fresih or frozen spinach

2 cups of fresh, sliced mushrooms

5 cloves of whole, peeled garlic

Red pepper flakes, for garnish

Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Add all contents to a soup pot, stir well.

Place on stove over a medium flame. Stir occasionally.

After 40 minutes, check to see if the oats are cooked.  If done, remove the cloves of garlic and mash them up, then replace to the oats mixture.

Garnish as you wish, and serve immediately.  Make a plant-strong salad to complete your meal!

This will heartily serve 4-6, with room for leftovers.

Slow-Cooker Directions

Place all ingredients in a slow-cooker, stir well.  Turn on the low setting and cook for 4-5 hours.  Stir occasionally.

You will enjoy the warmth and creaminess of such a delicious and nourishing dish. Its flavor profile is delivered from the jar of Engine 2 pasta sauce.

Buon appetito!


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