DDD #45 – Vegan Pulled Pork Jackfruit in a Sriracha and Blackberry Jam BBQ Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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The video for the stovetop version is here.  The slow cooker one is far below.  Click the image below to watch the stovetop recipe.

Vegan Pulled Pork Jackfruit in a Sriracha and Blackberry Jam BBQ Sauce (Stovetop)

Serves 2


Drizzle of olive oil

1 (20 oz) can of young jackfruit – drained & shredded by hand

1-2 garlic cloves – chopped

2 tsp cider vinegar

2 tsp Dijon mustard

A few dashes of soy sauce or tamari

1/3 cup ketchup

1 TBS blackberry (or other dark berry) jam or preserves or chutney

1 TBS Sriracha

1 tsp molasses

A few dashes vegan Worcestershire sauce (optional)

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp chili powder


Heat a little bit of oil in a pan.  Add the shredded jackfruit & the remaining ingredients & combine.  Heat through & serve as you desire.

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That above is jackfruit.  It is a staple in Southeast Asian diets.  It is a giant fruit that grows to 100 pounds.  If you want to read more about it – I went into some detail in my Vegan Jackfruit Spicy Szechuan Dan Dan Noodles post.  Those are the noodles – below.

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I bought this jackfruit in cans for $1.39 at my favorite Thai market – Bangluck – but I hear most Asian markets carry it.  Just be sure to buy UNRIPE or young jackfruit in water or brine.  Ripe jackfruit in syrup – it seems – tastes like Juicy Fruit gum & would be awful in this dish.

I made this in the slow cooker using a combination of jackfruit & Beyond Meat vegan chicken strips.

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Both the jackfruit (above) & chicken will require that you shred it using two forks to achieve the pulled chicken visual.  It is easy once they are warmed & soft.  Just fish them out of the BBQ sauce & shred them on a cutting board.

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I used it in tacos – HERE.

And on pasta – HERE.

And on pizza HERE.

Vegan Pulled Chicken with Jackfruit in a Sriracha and Blackberry Jam BBQ Sauce for the Slow Cooker

Serves 6


2 (20 oz) cans of young jackfruit

9 oz vegan chicken (or two more cans jackfruit)

4 garlic cloves – chopped

2 TBS cider vinegar

2 TBS Dijon mustard

1/3 cup soy sauce or tamari

2/3 cup ketchup

1/4 cup blackberry (or other dark berry) jam or preserves

3 TBS sriracha

1 TBS molasses

2 TBS vegan Worcestershire sauce (optional)

1 (12 oz) bottle of dark (or other) beer (optional)

2 tsp smoked paprika

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 TBS onion powder

1 TBS garlic powder

1 TBS chili powder

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Put everything in the slow cooker & leave on high for 5 hours.

At some point – you need to use two forks & shred the chicken & jackfruit.

Serve as you would serve any pulled chicken.

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Vegan Ash Mash (Persian Mung Bean Soup) with Purple Kohlrabi & French Breakfast Radishes – for the Slow Cooker or Stove Top

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I bought mung beans at my local Asian market with no idea what to make with them.  Having had such success this week with my Vegan Spicy Chicken Enchilada Soup with Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce – for the Slow Cooker or Stove Top (seen just above) – I decided to make another slow cooker soup with them.  This soup has such simple ingredients it is hard to understand why it is so tasty – but it really IS!  I used purple kohlrabi because I could not resist buying these gorgeous things when I saw them at the store.

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They come in green, as well, and have a texture like the stem of broccoli – but also have something in common with radishes.  I saw lots of people suggesting to slice them thin & salt them & eat them raw.  I tried that – and liked it – but I was Hell bent on soup.  Because these reminded me of radishes – I decided to also use the French breakfast radishes you see in the enchilada soup photo.  The nice side benefit of using kohlrabi & radishes is that – once cooked – they seem like potato – but without that heaviness.  If you don’t like the sound of kohlrabi & radishes (which become creamy & mild in this soup) – use turnips – or even potato, instead.

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Lets talk about mung beans.  That bag had two cups of dry beans in it & I got it for $1.49.  That is CHEAP eating!    Here is some info from Dr. Axe on mung beans:

Mung beans — a type of small, green legume in the same plant family as peas and lentils — is a high source of protein, fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Although in most parts of the world they’re less popular than other bean varieties, like chickpeas or black beans, mung beans have some huge health benefits to offer!

While mung beans may be new to most people in the U.S, they’ve been a part of traditional Ayurvedic diets in India for thousands of years. Mung beans are considered  “one of the most cherished foods” in the ancient Indian practice that’s been a traditional form of medicine since roughly 1,500 B.C.

These days, mung beans are beginning to pop up in protein powders, canned soups and in restaurant dishes state-side. So here’s what you need to know about mung beans:

  • Mung beans are a high source of nutrients including: manganese, potassium, magnesium, folate, copper, zinc and various B vitamins.
  • They are also a very filling food, high in protein, resistant starch and dietary fiber.
  • You can find mung beans in dried powder form, as whole uncooked beans, “split-peeled” form (just like you’d find split green peas), as bean noodles, and also assprouted seeds (which are the kind you’d see used on sandwiches or salads).
  • Their dried seeds may be eaten raw, cooked (whole or split), fermented, or milled and ground into flour.
  • Because of their high nutrient density, mung beans are considered useful in defending against several chronic, age-related diseases, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity.

Clinical evidence continues to show that plant-derived foods have various potential health benefits, including lowering inflammation. Health experts recommend that plant-based foods make up a large portion of every person’s diet, and many worldwide health organizations have recommended an increase in the intake of plant-derived foods to improve health status and to prevent chronic diseases. Among plant-based sources of protein and nutrients, mung beans are one of the foods gathering the most attention.

As you’ll come to learn, mung beans are one of the healthiest sources of plant protein there is when you consider how many other nutrients they contain in addition to amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). As the Journal of Chemistry Central puts it, “mung beans have biological activities including antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antihypertensive, lipid metabolism accommodation, antihypertensive and antitumor effects.” (1)

Mung Beans Nutrition Facts

One cup of cooked mung beans contains the following (percentages based on the RDAs for the average adult female): (2)

  •  212 calories
  • 14 grams of protein
  • 15 grams of fiber
  • 1 gram of fat
  • 4 grams of sugar
  • 321 micrograms of folate (100%)
  • 97 milligrams of magnesium (36%)
  • 0.33 milligrams of vitamin b1 thiamine (36%)
  • 0.6 milligrams of manganese (33%)
  • 7 milligrams of zinc (24%)
  • 0.8 milligrams of vitamin B5 pantothenic acid (8%)
  • 0.13 milligrams of vitamin B6 (11%)
  • 55 milligrams of calcium (5%)

If you choose to sprout mung beans and eat them raw, each cup will only have about 31 calories and will provide about three grams of protein and two grams of fiber.



And from GreenMungBeans.com:

Green Mung Bean Nutritional Information
• High in Protein
• High in Fiber
• Low in Fat
• Low in Calories

Nutritional Facts: 1 oz (28 grams) of dried Green Mung Beans:
• 100 Calories
• 0g Fat
• 5g Fiber
• 7g Protein (Protein equivalent to 1 hardboiled egg or 1 oz of chicken, turkey, salmon, etc.)

Green Mung Beans are Nutritional Powerhouses
• Good source of protein
• Good source of dietary fiber (helps to lower cholesterol, prevents constipation and keeps you feeling full)
• Low in sodium
• Low in cholesterol
• Vitamins: A, B Vitamins (Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid) Vitamin E, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin K.
• Minerals: Calcium, Potassium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Zinc, Copper and Manganese.
• Sprouted Green Mung Beans produce live enzymes
• Mung Beans are low on the glycemic index at 25 and have a low glycemic load of 4 making them a smart food choice for diabetics. Diabetics can safely eat Green Mung Beans. The low glycemic index, fiber and protein help to regulate blood sugar.
• They also contain skin anti-aging properties that stimulate the production of hyaluronic acid, collagen, and elastin, all essential to younger healthier skin.

Eating Green Mung Beans is Ideal for those with Digestive Issues and Sensitive Stomachs

Green Mung Beans Are:
•Easily digestible
•Anti-inflammatory (can reduce inflammation)
•Containing oligosaccharides to prevent gas and bloating, unlike other beans
•Containing high amounts of fiber, thereby preventing constipation
•One of the few tridoshic foods in Ayurvedic diets that can be eaten to balance all three dosha’s (energetic forces) in the body

Green Mung Beans Exhibit Powerful Antioxidant Properties that can Help Fight Disease as well as Protect the Body.

Consuming Green Mung Beans Have Been Studied to Treat the Following Medical Conditions:
•Heart Disease
•Celiac Disease/Gluten Free Diets

Green Mung Beans Contain Phytoestrogens Contributing to Anti-Aging Benefits
Benefits of Phytoestrogens:
•Produce Collagen, Elastin, and Hyaluronic acid, All Three of which are Essential to Acquiring Younger and Healthier skin
•Can Regulate Hormones after Menopause, Relieve Hot Flashes, and Prevent Osteoporosis


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So – as you can see – there are lots of reasons to track down & chow down some green mung beans!  When you add all the benefits of turmeric & the fact that the rice makes this soup a complete protein – you are hard-pressed to make a more robustly healthy soup.   If you cannot find mung beans locally (in health or Asian food stores) – try here on AMAZON.    Another great thing about this soup is how economical it is.  Some cheap beans, some rice, a few cheap veggies & some stock.   I bet this vast quantity of soup cost me less than $20.  With some crusty bread, you could feed a very large group of folks.

This recipe makes A LOT of soup but this is a very protein rich vegan soup & great for cold weather and we are nowhere near the end of winter.  I have not yet frozen any but I certainly will be.  I imagine it will freeze well – so make the vat of it & freeze a bunch for lazy days.

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Vegan Ash Mash (Persian Mung Bean Soup) with Purple Kohlrabi & French Breakfast Radishes

Serves a boatload of people as it fills a 7 quart slow cooker.


 1 cup dry green mung beans

1 cup long grain Basmati (or other) rice

2 (15 oz) cans white beans – drained

2 jalapenos – seeded & diced (very optional)

1 onion – diced

1 TBS turmeric

1 TBS olive oil

1 tsp pepper

16 cups vegetable stock (try to use a low sodium one)

5 kohlrabi – cubed

10 French breakfast radishes – cubed

GARNISH – vegan sour cream

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for the slow cooker

Heat the olive oil in a pan & saute the onion & jalapenos (if using) until soft.

I boiled the stock before putting it in the slow cooker because I was unfamiliar with the cooking time of the mung beans.  I left the slow cooker on high for 5 hours – and everything was very soft – so – the boiling of the stock might not be necessary but – if you need to serve this at a 5 hour deadline – maybe boil the stock, too.  Otherwise – if time is not an issue – you needn’t.

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Now – just put everything into the slow cooker – on high – for 5 hours.  I imagine low for 8 hours would work, too, but I ain’t tried that.   When it is done – you can choose to garnish with sour cream – but it doesn’t really need it.

for the stove top

Heat the olive oil in a pan that will be large enough to hold the entire recipe & saute the onion & jalapenos (if using) until soft.  Add everything else & bring to a boil.  Simmer until the rice & beans are soft – 30 minutes to an hour.  When it is done – you can choose to garnish with sour cream – but it doesn’t really need it.

And – now your house smells all homey & yummy & you have 30+cups of protein-packed, healing soup!  Invite the villagers in & impress them with your skills & generosity.

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Vegan Spicy Chicken Enchilada Soup with Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce – for the Slow Cooker or Stove Top

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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This is yet another SUPER easy one – even if you make the enchilada sauce yourself – and can be made in a slow cooker or stove top.  The benefit of the slow cooker is that the flavors get to meld better but – if you are in a hurry or don’t own a slow cooker – this can be done on the stove.

I made the red enchilada sauce myself & I recommend it very highly because 1) it was easy 2) less processed food it better for you & 3) self-satisfaction.  So – I really recommend you try to make it – though jarred or canned enchilada sauce will do.

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I included a picture of taco seasoning in that image above but I was so pleased with my homemade enchilada sauce – I could not bring myself to add this MSG chemical powder to my soup – so ignore it.  As I was cooking the soup I added an additional can of black beans – not shown there.

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Also – I thawed & shredded the Beyond Meat chicken.  Look how convincing it looks (above)!

This makes a lot of soup but – it is so hearty & delicious – I ate almost half of it myself, last night – without any garnish of any kind.  Just naked outta the pot.  But – why not?  There is no added fat in this (except a little olive oil in the enchilada sauce) – just proteins & produce & spices – so feel free to eat it like you are competing in a grudge match with Takeru Kobayashi.  I did – and I feel no shame.  Zero fucks were given.

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Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

Makes just over 2 cups


2 TBS olive oil

2 TBS flour

6 oz. tomato paste

4 TBS chili powder (NOT cayenne pepper)

1 TBS dry parsley

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp dry oregano

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground cumin

2 cups vegetable stock

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Heat the oil over high heat & whisk in the flour.  When it thickens, add the stock in increments, letting it thicken each time before adding more.  When the stock is incorporated, add the spices & tomato paste & whisk to combine.  Cook until it has the thickness of tomato sauce.  Add water if it gets too thick.  Set aside.

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Vegan Spicy Chicken Enchilada Soup with Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce – for the Slow Cooker or Stove Top

Serves 4 as a main course – more as an appetizer


2 cups red enchilada sauce (recipe above RECOMMENDED or store bought)

9-12 oz vegan chicken (I always use Beyond Meat – which comes in 9 and 12 ounce packages)

1 (14 oz) can fire-roasted tomatoes

2 (15 oz) cans black beans ( I used 1 can of black beans & 1 can of mixed beans) – not drained

10 oz corn (I used organic frozen)

1 (7 oz) can green chilies (I used mild)

2 cups vegetable stock

2 garlic cloves (minced)

1 red (or other) onion – diced

1 bell pepper – seeded & chopped

1-2 jalapenos – seeds & diced (optional – omit if you do not like spice)

2 TBS chia seeds (1000% optional but they are good for you & I had some so…)

GARNISH OPTIONS: vegan sour cream, avocado, cilantro, chopped tomato, lime wedges, hot sauce, grated vegan cheese or tortilla strips (Recipe: Heat your oven to 350.  Spread the thinly sliced corn tortilla strips in a single layer on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking oil.  Bake the strips 10-15 minutes until they are crispy.  Try not to overcook them (they should not be browned).  Remove from oven & set aside. OR – buy some.)

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Make the enchilada sauce – if you are doing that.

Dump everything in either a slow cooker & leave it on high for about 5 hours OR stick it all in a large stock pot & heat until the veggies soften & the soup thickens a bit (30-60 minutes).  In either case – if it gets too thick – add some water.  If it is too thin – cook it down a bit more.  See?  Crazy fucking easy!

Now – serve it up & garnish as you desire!

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Easy Vegan Butternut Mac & Cheese with Kale for the Stove Top

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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This is a very easy dish & it is really yummy.  I wanted to make a vegan mac & cheese without cashews & without nutritional yeast – because cashews are calorie dense & because nutritional yeast just isn’t for everybody.   The flavor of this dish is dominated by the butternut squash – but it is a really mild flavor.  Squash is kinda sweet, though, so I thought this needed more salt than I would typically use – to balance that sweetness.  I also used boatloads of Crystal hot sauce (my favorite brand).  Because the bulk of the “cheese” is really squash – this is a much lighter dish than a regular mac & cheese would be – so you can really go fucking nuts shoving it into your face – in an effort to, at least temporarily, fill the gaping hole in your heart.   And then you can pat yourself on the back for eating the (mysteriously trendy) kale that the recipe calls for.  Or – you could give the finger to leafy-green-eating hipsters & blow off the kale – or use spinach or peas or fried sage.  After all – emotional eating is different for all of us & your aching soul wants what it wants.  It is the holidays.  Give in.  Use this creamy carb porn to suppress things that would probably go away if you faced them but who needs that shit?  Facing things?  Leave that to the hipsters, too, while you eat this pasta out of the pan with a serving spoon and think hurtful things about man buns, full beards & whimsical mustaches.  Might as well bust out the liquor, too.   Then, do what I do, and nurse a bottle of champagne while watching doc after doc about people who have it worse than I do.  Human rights violations & Jonestown & international women cruelly subjugated.  The Holocaust.  Rare or incurable diseases.  And then think about how good you actually have it & bust open a second bottle of bubbly to celebrate.    Works for me.

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Easy Vegan Butternut Mac & Cheese with Kale for the Stove Top

Serves 4-6 (or one really depressed person)


1 lb macaroni (or other pasta) – cooked according to directions

1 medium butternut squash – peeled, seeded & cubed

2 TBS vegan butter

2 TBS flour

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other vegan milk)

1/2 cup vegan cream cheese

1 vegetable bouillon cube (optional)

2 tsp mustard powder

1 TBS onion powder

1 TBS garlic powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 head kale – ribs removed & chopped (optional)


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Cook your pasta.

Boil some water & cook the squash until it is very soft – maybe 15 minutes.  Drain.

Melt the butter in a stock pot & whisk in the flour.  Add the bouillon cube & then add the milk in small increments, melting the bouillon cube but also not adding more milk until the roux is thick & bubbly.

When you have used the full cup of milk, blend the roux with the squash and cream cheese.  I had to add a little more almond milk to get it to blend – but be careful it doesn’t get too thin.  Add the spices (I added mine later (as the photos show) but that was because I was winging it.  If you add them in the blender – they will blend in better.  Season with S&P.  Blend until very smooth.

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When the pasta is done, drain it & return to the pan.  Stir in SOME of the butternut sauce.  I say some because there might be too much – depending on how wet you like your mac & cheese.  Save a little – to pour on top of the mac & cheese when you serve it.  Stir in the kale until it wilts.  You can heat this on the stove – if things have cooled to much – but be careful not to burn it.  Season again with S&P & serve with a few tablespoons of butternut sauce on top.  Voila!

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Vegan Stove Top Green Chili & Jalapeno Creamy Nacho Mac & Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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OK – this vegan mac & cheese thing is a work in progress.  My first effort was my Fast and Easy Stove Top Vegan Mac and Cheese – seen immediately above – steaming away.  That one there relied heavily on nutritional yeast for the cheesy flavor but nutritional yeast has a very specific flavor & is not a hit with everyone – so – I made up a new recipe using far less of it.  You could even eliminate it altogether.  This one relies more on the green chilies and jalapeno for flavor – the way movie theater nachos kinda do.  Again – this is not going to fool a cheese-eater into believing they are eating real cheese but for vegans & for those of us weaning our way there – this is pretty good stuff!   This is the stove-top version.  I will post a baked version tomorrow.

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Vegan Stove Top Green Chili & Jalapeno Creamy Nacho Mac & Cheese

Serves 4


12-16 oz pasta – cooked & drained

1 cup potato – cubed

1/2 cup carrots – sliced

1 cup raw cashews – soaked 4-6 hours or overnight

1/2 small onion – diced

3 garlic cloves – sliced

1 TBS olive oil

1 TBS nutritional yeast (optional)

3 oz diced green chilies (from a can – spice level is your call) – plus extra as garnish

3 oz jalapenos  (from a can – spice level is your call)

1 1/2 cups vegetable stock

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

2 TBS turmeric


1/4 cup vegan cheese shreds (I used Daiya) – TOTALLY optional

Cilantro as garnish (optional)

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First of all – this recipe makes more “cheese” than you will likely need for your pasta – so be prepared to use some as a nacho dip or something.  I made a lot so I could try baking it, too.  Those results soon.

Cook & drain the pasta.  Set aside.

In the same pot, boil the carrots & potatoes about ten minutes or until very soft.  Drain & set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan.  Saute the onions until soft then add the garlic & saute another minute.

In a blender – puree everything except the pasta.  Puree until VERY smooth.  You might need to add some water to thin it out so it blends well.  Season to taste.

In the pot you used to cook the pasta – toss the pasta with the cheese sauce.  Stir & heat through.

Serve with extra chilies and/or jalapenos & a pinch of chili powder.  Cilantro might be nice, too.

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Fast and Easy Stove Top Vegan Mac and Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I have never had a vegan mac & cheese that I liked.  In fairness, I think the only one I have tried was the mock Kraft at Doomie’s here in Hollywood.  Their vegan Big Mac (above) is a revelation but the mac & cheese is underwhelming to the extreme.

There are lots of ways to make vegan mac & cheese.  Some use raw cashews, soaked overnight & pureed.  Others use sweet potatoes.  This one uses carrots, potatoes & nutritional yeast.  Nutritional yeast has many health benefits and can be purchased in bulk at health food stores & places like Whole Foods.  It is a yellowy, flaky powder & has a nutty cheesy flavor and – it seems – is one of those things you either love or hate.  This mac & cheese tastes primarily of nutritional yeast so, if you are a hater, you won’t like this.  Lots of blogs recommend easing into using nutritional yeast slowly & developing a palate for it.  I liked it right away and so did my friend, Rose, so you might fall into that category, too.  You can dip your finger in some & taste it to see where it falls for you on the flavor appeal scale.

I could not find raw cashews so I used roasted ones & just boiled them along with the vegetables.  It worked fine.

This is a very creamy dish & seems pretty healthy – as mac & cheese goes.  I just need to impress upon vegan newbies that this does not taste like Kraft or cheddar.  It is a very reasonable substitute – like Diet Coke for Coke or Garden burgers for real burgers.  These things do not trick anyone into believing they are the real thing but they are great substitutes.  I will admit – I used a boatload of Crystal hot sauce on mine & it helped a lot.  That isn’t really a cheat because I use hot sauce on all mac & cheese.  So – if there are things you like on your regular mac & cheeses – use those things on this one, too.

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Fast and Easy Stove Top Vegan Mac and Cheese

Serves 2-3 depending on appetite


12 oz dry pasta

1 cup raw potato (I used fingerling but any white potato will do)

2 carrots

1/3 cup cashews (raw or roasted)

1/2 cup vegan butter

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cayenne

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

3 TBS coconut milk

Pepper to taste

Smoked paprika

Parsley – chopped

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Cook the pasta according to directions.

Meanwhile – boil the carrots, potato & cashews until the veggies are very soft.  Puree them in a blender (adding a small amount of water, if necessary) with all the remaining ingredients (except smoked paprika & parsley).   Puree until it is very creamy.

Drain the pasta & toss with the sauce.  It is just that easy!

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8 Ingredient Spicy Chili – Vegetarian or Vegan (Slow Cooker or Crock Pot or Stove Top)



All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.


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vromans back

There are still a few left! PERFECT book for your anti-Valentine’s Day book club meeting!

Buy a signed and LETTERED (hence – limited to 26 copies) copy of my book FROM THE LINK BELOW, and get copy of the short on DVD & 3 signed bookplates so you can give three people signed copies as gifts. The cost will be $25 which will include DOMESTIC shipping.

First come – first serve. When the 26 are gone – that is it. Buy ASAP if you want to be sure to get the templates for your gift giving this season!



I post that inspiration above because it has special resonance for me lately.  2014 (and this will be short – don’t worry) was a transformative year for me & the reasons are thus:

Someone unexpected saw things (good things) in me that I did not see in myself & gave me a life-changing opportunity.  It was a huge challenge for me but one I needed in more ways than one and my gratitude is profound.  The lesson here for me (and, possibly, you) is to trust when others try to elevate you (or support you – in any of the forms support can come in).  Don’t let fear of change or doubt in yourself sabotage you.  Accept opportunity.

Yet another unexpected person saw things (bad things) in me that simply do not exist.  Like a castrating parent, this person cut me down at every opportunity & relentlessly tried to cast me in a role that has nothing to do with who I really am.  Unlike my previous example, where I had to trust I could live up to the lofty expectations of the supportive person, in this case, I had to trust myself and know I could not & would not ever live down to the gutted expectations of the unsupportive person.   The lesson here for me (and, possibly, you) is to trust yourself when others try to drag you down.  Don’t let fear of change or doubt in yourself sabotage you.  Reject negativity.

It might sound trite or over-simplified and maybe – in this case (because I am being deliberately vague) – it is.  But the details of my experiences might just confuse how the inspiration could be applied to your own lives.  Sometimes, people we trust betray us.  Sometimes strangers step in and save our lives.  Stay open.  Absorb the good whenever it comes your way – even if it comes in a way you find awkward or embarrassing or undeserved.   Reject the negative when it inevitably comes your way – even if it comes from someone you trust completely and especially if the negativity becomes familiar and RUN – really fucking run – if the negativity starts feeling comfortable and deserved.

Surround yourself with what you WANT.  If that can’t be the best job or kindest people – then use pets & books & movies & art & nature & fitness & good food.

I will end my rant with this one bit of advice that can be applied to everything from your sock drawer to your social life.  Usefulness & beauty are infinitely interpretable.  So simple.  So easy.  Apply the advice above & below & make 2015 a great year.

Happy new year!


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On Christmas Eve, the badass Miles Miller & I were guests at a friend’s house.  We brought lots of goodies, including my Seven Layer Dip – seen just above.  We called Uber & loaded several bags of food & wine into the trunk & headed to South Pasadena.  When we arrived, we unloaded our groceries, thanked the driver & headed inside but not before both Miles & I noticed him inspecting his trunk.  Seems he wanted to be sure nothing had rolled out of the bags that would require him driving back to give us back our lost bag of chips or something.

Thirty minutes later, our hosts kept handing one of us a Food 4 Less bag & saying, “Here are your groceries.”   Since it did not belong to me or Miles, I finally inspected the bag’s contents.  There was a small bottle of shampoo, three small bottles of Arrowhead water & two cans of corn.  “This is your corn & shit, Rose,” I said.  Rose informed me that, in fact, the bag was not hers, either.

So, yeah.  Seems we stole our Uber driver’s little sack of bits & ends right out of his trunk.  He hadn’t been looking in his trunk to be sure we left nothing behind.  He was looking for his Goddamn corn & shampoo!  I texted Uber to explain but nothing ever came of it.   I just hope that driver didn’t have the worst Xmas eve ever when he returned home to an irate & thirsty wife with dirty hair and craving canned corn kernels — or needing them for a Christmas dinner favorite.  Oh, well.

Life gave me corn.  I made chili.  Chili, clean hair and motherfuck if I am not hydrated by those Arrowhead babies.  See how I accept the positive now – no matter the form in which it comes?

So – anyway – to this recipe.  Yeah.  I cheated & used this chili fixin’ thing.

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In fairness, I am not 100% certain it is vegan.  Ingredients are:

Gluten Free Ingredients

Cooking Sauce: Water, Diced Tomatoes (Water, Distilled Vinegar, Chipotle, Tomato Paste, Salt, Red Chile Flakes, Spices, Onion, Garlic), Natural Flavors, Chili Pepper, Salt, Garlic, Distilled Vinegar, Apple Cider Vinegar, non-GMO Corn Starch, Less than 0.5% of: Pepper Paste (Distilled Vinegar, Red Pepper Salt), Onion

Spice Pack: Chili Pepper, Salt, Brown Sugar, Spices, Jalapeno

“Natural flavors” could be anything so if you are staunchly vegan/vegetarian, maybe use a packet of taco or other seasoning that you are comfortable with.  If you do this, maybe add a 14 oz can or Rotel or other chopped tomatoes as well and be prepared to maybe add salt & cumin and/or oregano & chili powder – to taste.  Maybe even a half cup or so of your favrite BBQ sauce.  I used this bagged stuff in an odd moment of laziness – even though I know what spices to use & I know these things have WAY too much sodium etc.  Sorry – but I am not above just going for the cheat once in a while.

I left this in my slow cooker for ten hours.  That proved to be too long & sorta turned this soupy nothingness below – into a dried out & nearly scorched mess.  I saved it by adding the 30 oz can of beans I list in the ingredients but do not let this shit sit for 10 hours.

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8 Ingredient Spicy Chili – Vegetarian or Vegan (Slow Cooker or Crock Pot or Stove Top)

Feeds 4 very heartily


12 oz Stubb’s Chili Fixins (or other brand that you like & whose ingredients suit your diet) OR use a TBS or two of taco or other seasoning that you are comfortable with and add a 14 oz can or Rotel or other chopped tomatoes and be prepared to maybe add salt & cumin and/or oregano & chili powder – to taste – and a 1/2 cup of some BBQ sauce you like.

12 oz beer (or veggie stock)

1/2 onion – diced

1/2 cup tomato sauce (I used some homemade I had around but your favorite brand is fine) – optional

9 oz vegan chicken or beef (I used chicken) – I always opt for Beyond Meat brand as it is THE BEST

2 cups cooked or canned chick peas (or other beans you might prefer in chili)

2 (15 oz) cans of corn – preferably stolen from an Uber or Lyft driver

1 (30 0z) can of chili beans or other kind of beans you think might suit chili – but not baked beans or anything is a sweet sauce

Olive oil (skillet stove top only)

Garnish ideas – cooked rice, grated cheese, diced onion, cilantro, hot sauce, avocado, chopped tomato, jalapenos – whatever!

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I put everything into my slow cooker & set it on low for ten hours (which was about 5 hours too long).  I did not drain the corn or beans.

If you use a slow cooker – set it on high for about 3-4 hours & check for moisture levels – adjusting the heat & length of cooking time to suit your taste.  If it gets too dry – add water.  If it is too wet, raise the heat and/or take the lid off the cooker while cooking.

Stove top – I would saute the onion in a TBS olive oil or butter (or vegan alternative) in the skillet until soft & then just add the rest of the stuff & simmer until the moisture level suits your taste – likely 30-45 minutes.  To get there faster – drain any canned items first before adding them.

Eat it like a chili or over rice & garnish at will.  Mmmmm!

Happy new year!

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