Monday, November 24, 2008


hi guys-

i will be short and sweet this week, as i am headed to the cape for the holiday and computer access there is sketchy at best...which is something to be grateful for now and again...hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha...

so, i wanted to tell you all that i am grateful for your posts and emails and interest in all that i have to say. i am grateful for all my blessings, challenges, friends, family and adversaries; for all thing sweet and bitter; for success and failure; for good times and bad...

i am grateful for each day and the privilege of creating another adventure.

enjoy your many blessings this thanksgiving. answer to some questions order the new book, this crazy vegan life, until it is posted on the site, call the office at 800-939-3909...

meg, there are cultures within countries that raise their children as vegans, but i do not know of entire countries that do...

and to 'c' i am thrilled you enjoy the recipes...

oh, one last is my thanksgiving case you are interested.

Golden Sweet Potato Biscuits
1 ¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour
½ (one half) cup semolina or quinoa flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
generous pinch sea salt
generous pinch ground cinnamon
3-4 tablespoons avocado oil
1/3 cup unsweetened apple juice
1 cup, smoothly mashed, cooked sweet potato*
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup or honey
1/3 cup coarsely chopped pecan pieces

Preheat oven to 375o and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a mixing bowl and whisk briskly. Cut in oil with a fork or pastry cutter to form the texture of wet sand. Add the apple juice, sweet potato and rice syrup, mixing to form a soft dough. Fold in pecans, working to incorporate them into the dough.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead in just enough flour so the dough loses its stickiness. With floured hands, press the dough into a 2/3-inch thick rectangle. Using a glass or cookie cutter, cut the dough into 16 biscuits, re-forming dough as needed to use it all. (Note: when cutting the biscuits, do not turn the cutter, simply press straight down into the dough. Turning will remove air from the biscuits, leaving them heavy). Arrange cut biscuits on lined sheet about an inch apart. Bake 15-18 minutes or until the biscuits puff slightly and they spring back to the touch (or a toothpick inserted comes out clean).
Transfer to a serving plate and serve hot. Makes about 16 biscuits.
*You can also use canned pumpkin for these to save time.

Creamy Mushroom Soup
Extra virgin olive oil
1-2 cloves fresh garlic, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
sea salt
2-3 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, diced
6-8 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup until tender, thinly sliced (soaking water reserved
10-12 ounces button mushrooms, brushed free of dirt, thinly sliced
¼ cup mirin
4 cups unsweetened almond milk
3 teaspoons sweet white miso
2-3 sprigs fresh parsley, finely minced

Place a small amount of oil, garlic and onion in a soup pot and turn heat to medium. When the onions begin to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Stir in potatoes, a pinch of salt and sauté for 2 minutes more. Stir in shiitake and button mushrooms, a pinch of salt and sauté for 1 minute more. Add shiitake soaking water, mirin and almond milk, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook until mushrooms are quite tender, about 25 minutes. Remove a small amount of hot broth and dissolve miso. Stir back into soup and cook over very low heat, uncovered, for 3-4 minutes to activate the enzymes in the miso. Serve garnished with fresh parsley. Makes 4-5 servings.

Stuffed Winter Squash
1 large winter squash-buttercup, hokkaido, hubbard work best
spring or filtered water
avocado oil

To begin, remove the top of the squash, jack-o-lantern style, so that you can scoop out the seeds and pulp. Replace the top and lightly oil the outer skin. Place in a baking dish with about 1/2-inch water. Bake at 325o, uncovered for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool while preparing the stuffing.

Sourdough Stuffing
1 large sourdough loaf, crusts removed and cubed
1 teaspoon avocado or olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cups diced celery
1 cup button mushrooms, brushed clean and diced
1 cup tempeh, or seitan, cubed and pan-fried until golden
1/2 cups pine nuts, lightly pan-toasted (optional)
soy sauce
fresh grated ginger juice (optional)
small handful flat leaf parsley-minced
spring or filtered water

Preheat oven to 300o and arrange bread cubes on a baking sheet. Bake until bread dries slightly.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet and saute garlic and onion for 2-3 minutes. Add celery and mushrooms and saute until tender, about 7 minutes. Combine bread cubes, sauteed vegetables, fried tempeh, pine nuts, soy sauce and ginger juice to taste and parsley. Slowly add water, while mixing until a soft stuffing forms. Allow to cool completely.
To stuff squash, pack filling firmly into the opening, until firmly stuffed. Replace the squash top and place in a baking dish with a small amount of water to tenderize the squash. Raise oven temperature to 350o, cover and bake until squash pierces easily with a fork.
The exact baking time will vary, depending on the size of the squash, anywhere from 1-3 hours. (Note that any filling that doesn't fit in the squash can be baked separately in a casserole for about 35 minutes.)

Rice Pilaf
1 teaspoon avocado or olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 cup button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh corn kernels
1 carrot, diced
small handful slivered almonds
small handful dried cranberries, unsweetened
1 cup long grain or basmati brown rice
1/4 cup wild rice
sea salt
3 cups spring or filtered water

In a deep, heavy pot, heat the oil. Saute the onion with a pinch of salt until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add the almonds and cranberries and saute until well-coated with oil. Stir in the balance of veggies and saute with a pinch of salt for 1-2 minutes more. Spread the vegetables evenly over the bottom of the pot and top with the rices. Gently add the water and a pinch of sea salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is fluffy. Remove from heat and allow to stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir well and remove to a serving bowl. Garnish with fresh parsley sprigs.

Artichoke Salad with Greens and Figs
Extra virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves fresh garlic, thinly sliced
1 red onion, thin half moon slices
sea salt
8-10 marinated artichoke hearts, split in half lengthwise
1 red pepper, roasted over an open flame, peeled, seeded, sliced into thin ribbons

juice of 2 limes
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons umeboshi or red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons brown rice syrup or honey
generous pinch black pepper

2 bunches watercress, stem tips trimmed, left whole
8-10 fresh figs, split lengthwise
2-3 fresh scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal

Place a small amount of oil, garlic and onion in a skillet and turn heat to medium. When the onions begin to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in artichoke hearts and red pepper ribbons and sauté just until heated through, about 2 minutes more.
Prepare the dressing by whisking together lime juice, oil, ume vinegar and rice syrup, adjusting seasonings to taste.
To plate the dressing, arrange watercress on a platter, with figs around the rim. Spoon sautéed artichoke heart mixture over the top and drizzle lightly with dressing, serving the balance of the dressing on the side for those who want to use more. Sprinkle with scallions and serve immediately after dressing. Makes 5-6 servings.
Note: If fresh figs are not available, use dried figs, but soak them.

Maple Glazed Brussels Sprouts
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, tips trimmed, crosses cut into the bottoms of each
2 red onions, thick wedges
2-3 sweet potatoes, split lengthwise, ½-inch thick half moons
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
grated zest of 2 lemons
½ (one half) cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons brown rice syrup or honey
juice of one half lemon
2-3 sprigs fresh parsley, finely minced

Preheat oven to 350o.
Place all the vegetables in a mixing bowl and add oil, a generous sprinkling of salt, lemon zest, wine and rice syrup. Mix well to coat. Arrange vegetables in a large baking dish, avoiding overlap. Cover with foil and bake until vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes. Remove cover and continue baking until vegetables are browned and liquid has turned to a syrup, 10-15 minutes more. Remove from heat and squeeze lemon juice over top. Sprinkle with parsley and toss gently to coat. Serve hot. Makes 6-8 servings.

Creole-Style Hummus with Pita Chips
2 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed well
½ (one half) cup avocado oil
½ (one half) cup sesame tahini
juice of 1 fresh lemon
1 teaspoon brown rice syrup or honey
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ (one half) teaspoon chili powder
½ (one half) teaspoon black pepper
½ (one half) teaspoon ground ginger
sea salt

Pita chips
4 whole wheat pita breads
Avocado oil

Place all ingredients, except salt in a food processor and puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt; adjust seasoning to taste and puree, slowly adding water to achieve a creamy consistency.
To make the pita chips, preheat oven to 375o and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice pita bread into 8 triangular wedges and arrange on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with paprika. Bake until crisp, 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a basket.
Transfer to a serving bowl, with pita chips on the side. Makes 3-4 cups of hummus.

Mincemeat-less Pie
1 cup raisins
1 cup dried apricots
3 cups apple juice
pinch sea salt
4 cups tart apples, cored and cut into small chunks
2 tablespoons red miso
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2 tablespoons kuzu or arrowroot, dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water or juice
2 tablespoons fresh grated orange peel
1 tablespoon fresh grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 cup walnuts-pan toasted and broken into small pieces
1 recipe pie dough (see below)

Soak the raisins and apricots together in the apple juice for 6-8 hours. In an uncovered pot, place the soaked fruit, the soaking water, salt and apple pieces. Cook over medium heat for 1 hour. Remove a bit of hot juice and dissolve the miso. Stir into the pot and simmer for 15 minutes more. Mix the spices in very well and then stir in dissolved kuzu until the mixture thickens. Finally, stir in the orange and lemon peel, the orange juice and the walnuts. Set aside to cool as you prepare the pie crust. Makes 1 pie, about 10 servings.
When making this pie, I like to prepare it as a single crust pie, but you may also prepare double the recipe and make a lattice top. One other thing, this recipe makes really beautiful miniature tartlets, as well as a full-sized pie.

Streusel Topped Pumpkin Pie
2 ½ cups pureed pumpkin (cooked fresh or unsweetened canned pumpkin)
pinch sea salt
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ (one half) cup brown rice syrup or honey
generous pinch ground cinnamon
scant pinch allspice
3 tablespoons agar flakes
3 tablespoons arrowroot, dissolved in small amount cold water

pie crust
1 ½ (one half) cups whole wheat pastry flour
pinch sea salt
¼ cup avocado oil
spring or filtered water

streusel topping
½ (one half) cup whole wheat pastry flour
pinch sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ (one half) cup finely chopped pecans
2 tablespoons avocado oil
3-4 tablespoons brown rice syrup or honey

Preheat oven to 350o and lightly oil a deep-dish glass pie plate.
Place all filling ingredients, except kuzu, in a saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, whisking frequently, until agar is dissolved, about 20 minutes. When the agar is dissolved, whisk in arrowroot mixture and cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Set aside.
Make the crust by combining flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut in oil with a fork or pastry cutter to create the texture of wet sand. Slowly add water, mixing until dough gathers into a cohesive ball. Roll out between 2 sheets of parchment, creating a thin round that is about an inch larger than the pie plate. Transfer piecrust to pie plate and fit into crevices without stretching, allowing excess to hang over the edges. Fold excess crust up over the rim and using your fingers, crimp into a decorative edge. Pierce in several places with a fork and bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
Spoon filling evenly into crust and set aside.
Make the streusel by combining flour, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a mixing bowl. Fold in pecans, oil and rice syrup and mix until a crumbly mixture forms. Sprinkle generously over the pumpkin filling, covering completely.
Place the pie on a baking sheet and cover loosely with foil. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove cover and bake for another 30-35 minutes, until the edges of the filling are set and the topping is browned and crunchy. Transfer pie to a cooling rack and allow to stand for 15-30 minutes before slicing. Makes 8-10 servings.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


okay, real i am with your answer about eggs...2 posts in a day is unusual for me, but you need an answer.

i hear you...i used to feel really good when i ate eggs, too, but i found other ways to get that same feeling because i do not want to eat animal foods of any kind.

that said, eggs are the least offensive to your health, when eaten in moderation, which means about once a week. from a health standpoint, eggs offer the most concentrated protein you can imagine, but it is in the form of an unborn chicken, so the body can handle it better than meat. that said, that level of protein can create a lot of trouble for you.

remember that the body wants mostly carbohydrates for fuel, followed by fat using protein for fuel only when it is desperate, which for most of us, isn't that often. the body uses a lot of resources to digest animal protein and over time that can exhaust the kidneys and liver.

so, from a standpoint of the body, eggs are the least offensive, but not at all the health food they are touted to be.

does that help?

it's here

hi guys-

so imagine my delight the other day. it's a gorgeous autumn afternoon and i am working away on a new chocolate cookie recipe, which i will share when it is perfected. the doorbell rings and it's my very cool ups man with a package from the penguin group, my publisher. i think to myself 'what are they sending me now?' thinking it will be yet another cookbook to add to my collection, i tear open the package to find the very first copy of my new book, 'this crazy vegan life.' i wasn't expecting it for another 2 weeks and here it was, in my hands.

as usual, when i get the first copy of a new book i have written, i teared up for a minute to see that all the work and recipe testing has come to fruition yet again. and no matter how many books i write (there are 6 in all, counting co-authoring...), it is so emotional for me to see it as a see it on bookstore shelves...on to see people buy and enjoy them.

this book is very special to me and very personal. i have been a vegan for 25 years now, but i really was not so vocal about my choices. even on the show, i usually just don't cook with any animal products, but i never chose to label it. but with this book, my crazy vegan life is front and center and i share it to get started, stay inspired and cook amazing food.

exercise has always played a big role in my life, but an injury caused me to stop working out and i learned the hard lesson that if you go from active to not, you will gain weight. so after i healed, i needed to get in shape...i began to work with my amazing trainer, anthony molino and together, we whipped this body back into shape and then some.

i share all my ups and downs and experiences in this book, along with the exercise program that got me into shape, losing 10 pounds and a dress size in 3 weeks...and now you can, too.

look, i know that we are in hard economic times...this mess has affected everyone in every way. but now, more than ever, it's important that we invest in our health and do our best to prevent illness and disease. 'this crazy vegan life' can help you do just that.

but you can do more than invest in your own future. you can invest in our kids, too. simply go to my website and click your way to the new book. you will see 2 options. you can just order the book for $18.95 and enjoy it...or you can purchase an autographed copy for $25 and $10 will go toward the work of my non-profit, the christina pirello health education initiative, dedicated to changing the health of our kids.

so you decide...either way, you will have invested in health...

be well and i will speak with you soon.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Did

hi guys!

it was a long campaign, but one of the most inspiring times of my life. i have been politically active for most of my life, it seems. i was raised by a conservative father and a radically liberal mother, so you can just imagine the lively dinner conversations. the result? i developed an acute political awareness a long time ago.

however, i became jaded as i watched our government work for fewer and fewer citizens and grow more and more corrupt and broken. i watched us wage war unprovoked and ignore the pleadings of citizens in need.

i was...and am...a supporter of the spirit of the barack obama campaign (and now presidency) and the heart and promise it has brought to america. i love the idea of an america where liberals and conservatives, republicans and democrats, fundamentalists and athiests, pro-life and pro-choice can set aside their differences and agree to disagree while we all work together as americans to recreate the country we know can exist, the country we love. president-elect obama gives us the promise...and opportunity of just that.

i like john mc cain. his service to this country is incredibly honorable and i think his heart belongs to serving others. in the 2000 campaign, i admired his integrity and hated how his fellow republicans sullied his reputation with lies and innuendo.

but this campaign gave me hope and inspiration. barack obama, our president-elect, presented himself to his fellow citizens with humility and authority, with grace and serenity, with an impression of sure-handed leadership...and has told us that he needs our help to return our country to greatness.

so let's join in the celebration of this new president and work together as americans.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Coming Together!!!

Hi guys!
Sorry to have been away from blogging so long, but I have been working on this historic election. And today is the go vote!!!! No matter your view, this has been the most exciting election in years. What a ride!

My husband is constantly telling me that people don’t want to hear my political views; they want to hear what I think about food and living a healthy life. Well, as much as I love my husband (and I do adore him), I think that part of living a healthy life is working to make a difference…and not just in our personal health.

Whether the outcome of this historic moment leaves you feeling like damage has been done, undone or just begun, by this time tonite, it will be done. I have been politically active for most of my adult life and never thought I would see the day, in this fine country, when people of opposing views treated each other like mortal enemies instead of simply people of differing ideas and direction for our country. I never thought I would see the day when people feared for their safety…and that of their family…if they spoke out on an issue, regardless of their position.

It seems to me, as I move through my days, that the ‘threat of terrorism’ and 'patriotism,' have made bad behavior permissible once again, racism, cruelty, ignorance and violence. It seems that our basic civilities are eroding, along with our civil rights.

Our comfortable, secure lifestyle has been forever changed and whatever the outcome of this economic crisis, it does not give us the right to threaten each other or those running for public office. It does not give us the right to deride people of differing opinions, either liberal or conservative. It does not give us the right to divide our great country out of fear.

We live in a wonderful melting pot of a country; we all want the same things, good lives, simple abundance and a safe existence. We can never have that if we continue to abuse each other over our differences. We can never have that if we continue to pull apart, instead of together. We can never have that if we don’t embrace our neighbors, speak up and take action when we see injustice. We, as citizens, must work together. Debate is one thing…I love a good discussion with someone of differing ideologies. I always learn something. But derision is quite another matter.

It’s time to step up and create the communities we want to live in. Ours is a country built on revolution and action. Any change for the better has begun with the people of this land speaking out and saying ‘enough!’ Help to create the change you want to see.

Remember these great words as you go through your days…they are words that are at the core of who we are as Americans: ‘I may disagree with your views, but I will fight to the death for your right to have them.’

There is no time to lose. We have a lot of work to do…to get our country back on track…and regardless of who will carry the burden of the Presidency, we must work together as one people and we must be healthy and fit to meet the challenges we face.