Cornish Pasty here in Phoenix is one of my favorite restaurants.  They have great vegan options, but unfortunately, their amazing soups are not on that list.  So I decided to veganize their Spinach, Mushroom, and Walnut soup (the original has cream in it).  The results turned out delicious!


This is the first vegan brownie I’ve made that I feel can stand up to the original.  A crispy crust and fudgy middle, all achieved without any added fats!

The recipe can be found here.  My substitutions/selections/changes:

  • maple syrup (1 1/4 cup, but I bet you could use just 1 cup) instead of date syrup
  • whole wheat pastry flour instead of barley flour
  • omitted the chocolate chips
  • I also highly recommend pressing down on the cake after it cools to make it denser, as it does fluff up a bit when it’s cooked.
  • I also recommend serving this right away, because the crispy exterior gets soft after it’s stored… (this has always happened with oil-free baked goods I’ve made in the past).

Last week, a friend treated me to a meal at one of my favorite places!  She had seen a coupon for Sweet Tomatoes and knowing that I don’t eat meat, she thought this place would be right down my alley.  And she was right!

Sweet Tomatoes has a ridiculously large salad bar and a bunch of warm options (soups, pizza, pasta, and muffins).  As a vegan, I can usually have one of their soups (check out their options online here) and they always have baked sweet potatoes and russet potatoes.

The bill was $30 for two adults and four kids… so if you have kids, this place really is a steal. I’ve been through the drive through with this family and the bill generally adds up to $20-25 for the five of them.  So for $5-10 more you can get a much healthier, more filling meal.  And you may even be as surprised as I was at how much salad the kids eat!

my 5-year old photographer

I am not a person who likes to plan.  I like to look at what I have in my kitchen, do some research, see what others have done, and create something original.  Unfortunately, that just isn’t practical for everyday, so I decided to give the Happy Herbivore meal plan a try this week (and managed to get my mom to do this with me!).  The meal plans can be purchased here, they are $5 for a week’s worth of meal planning, and they have everything you need to get started: a shopping list, a calendar, the recipes, and lists of ingredient substitutions if there is something you don’t like.  Here’s what we thought:


  • VARIETY: We loved the variety of foods we ate.  This was number one for me.  As you can see in the pictures below, we ate the rainbow all week!
  • EASY: so easy to make, no complicated/fancy skills required
  • FAST:  these recipes are not time-consuming.  Because we washed and chopped most of our veggies right after purchasing them, the recipes never involved more than 15 minutes of prep. time!
  • FILLING: they left us full and satisfied, never thinking about the next meal!
  • LOW CAL: my mom and I both feel so much lighter after this week.


  • One day all three meals had quinoa in it… however, in the intro. to the meal plan, she did say that you can swap meals, as all the lunches and dinners are 400 calories and the breakfasts are 300 calories.  So there is freedom to swap things around, which we did!

Here are all the meals we had this past week!  We did not take pictures of any our snacks, but those are part of the meal plan as well.

Day 1:

Apple Jack Smoothie w/ grapefruit… also, 1/2 an orange not pictured. The smoothie really tastes like Apple Jacks!

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

Mexican Stuffed Potato: I made this at my boyfriend’s place and forgot to bring guacamole and salsa, so I just used “food for lovers” vegan queso instead.

Day 2:

Banana Bread Oatmeal

Tropical Taco Salad

Teriyaki Noodles: this was a warm pasta dish made with teriyaki sauce and cantaloupe. Unusual, but somehow we thought it worked!

Day 3:

PB Cup Quinoa w/ Plum… yum!!!

Sweet Potato Quinoa Pilaf: with raisins and greens, this was yummy.

Caribbean Bean Bowl: sans beans and quinoa b/c we served it with the mushroom dish in my last post

Day 4:

Oatmeal Cookie smoothie: another smoothie totally delivers on its name

Island Quinoa Bowl

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas

Day 5:

Cherry Vanilla Oatmeal: we both LOVED this!

Tropical Teriyaki Salad

Smashed White Bean & Avo Club

Day 6:

1-minute French Toast and cantaloupe

Black Bean & Corn Tacos: on some of our recipes we had so much filling we had to add another tortilla to hold it all!

Pasta Fagioli without the beans

Day 7:

Breakfast Potato Tacos

Veggie Club with Carrots and Cucumbers

Thai Peanut Bowl

Now on to week two!

So I have not posted any recipes this week because I am following a Happy Herbivore meal plan ( that I will post about this weekend.  Seriously check it out… If you are having a busy week and you want to eat healthy and delicious food without putting in crazy hours of prep, then these meal plans are for you.

Tonight I met up with some family at my parent’s place and so we made my dad’s yummy mushrooms and brown rice…

This is one those “I can’t believe it’s that simple!” recipes.  When I first tried it, I could not believe the mushrooms were only cooked with two ingredients.  Crazy good… just try it.

Cook rice according to package directions.

Add mushrooms to a large saucepan over high heat.  Stir mushrooms till they release some of their moisture and start to cook down (you do not need to add water or oil to the pan).

Add soy sauce and garlic.  Bring to a boil and turn down heat to medium till mushrooms are cooked, about 5 minutes.

Serve mushrooms over bowls of brown rice, and be sure to ladle in some of the sauce from the pan.

Serves 6.

If there is ever one place where I throw out all the rules of “oil-free” and “unrefined” and just worry about being vegan… it would be at Cornish Pasty. This place is amazing and always a treat.  And everyday they serve two vegan pasty options (just ask your server). Now I just need them to veganize their mushroom, spinach, and walnut soup.

What is a cornish pasty?  It’s basically just a british version of a hand-pie/calzone/empanada.  And I’ve been informed that the pronunciation is important, it’s like saying the word “past” with an “ee” sound at the end… If you pronounce it like the word “paste” you are talking about something else entirely.

When you order a pasty off the menu it has an egg wash… this vegan pasty is made without that!

This is the vegan vindaloo with potatoes and broccoli. If you love Indian food, you will want to eat this everyday! It’s served with a tahini sauce.

Cornish pasty has two locations, one in Tempe and one in Mesa, and I have found both to be great!

Phoenix has a vegetarian food truck!  I hear about these from LA blogs and get jealous, but now I don’t have to be anymore!

We went to “the uprooted kitchen” the last two Saturdays and have loved everything they’ve served… I just wish I remembered to take more pictures of the food!  Currently they only show up at the Gilbert Farmers’ Market on Saturdays from 7-11 AM, so go out and show your support so they can expand!

Their main breakfasts, all of which are very filling and nutritious, are $8 each.  They also serve baked goods for $3 and cookies for $2… and most, if not all, of the options are vegan.

>In the picture above, my salad is almost gone and my quesadillas are half finished… so you really do get a lot of food for $8.  I ordered this without the cheese, because I don’t like vegan cheese.

Here’s what we ordered:
breakfast cheese crisp (pictured above, half-eaten!) – whole wheat vegan tortilla filled with tempeh, butternut squash, baby kale, corn, and caramelized onions – served with a spring mix, sunflower shoot, and cantaloupe salad

chia summer oats – chilled baked oatmeal filled with dates, apples, and walnuts topped with almond milk and served with fresh organic fruit and a blackberry cashew scone.

My mom’s chilled baked oatmeal was amazing too!  It sort of made me think of muesli with this baked bar of oatmeal made cool and creamy from the almond milk.