Ancient Grains Bowl Recipe

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Ancient Grains Bowl (True Food Kitchen)

Ancient Grains

½ cup brown rice

½ cup faro

½ cup quinoa

1 tsp. minced ginger (I used powder)

1 clove minced garlic

1 tsp. lemongrass (you will find this in the produce and in a tube)

1 tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. kosher salt

1-tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

3 ½ cups water

Mix all ingredients in a casserole/baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and then with foil. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 1 hour 15 minutes, until all grains are cooked. Be careful when you take the plastic and foil off it will be steamy hot. Mix well.

***Miso Vinaigrette

¾ cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons chili paste

2 tablespoons and 1 tsp. soy sauce or tamari

2 tablespoons coconut brown sugar

½ tsp. salt

2 tablespoons white miso paste

½ tsp. sesame chili oil

1 ½ cups grape seed oil

Using a stick immersion blender add all ingredients except oils, until incorporated. While blender is on, add the sesame oil and grape seed oil slowly until emulsified.

***I cut this recipe in half and it still filled a pint size mason jar.  I also did not have sesame chili oil so I made some by mixing the ½ teaspoon of sesame oil and a pinch of cayenne pepper in a ramekin. It also originally asked for evaporated cane sugar/juice but I used coconut brown sugar. I also substituted chili Garlic paste instead of Sambal Olek, which is sometimes made with fish.

Cilantro Pesto

1 bunch cilantro

**2 handfuls spinach

¼ cup pumpkin seeds (it asks for roasted and salted, but we use raw since its better for the body)

1 garlic clove cut up

½ tsp. ground cumin

1-tablespoon kosher salt

¼ cup orange juice (freshly juiced or carton which is what I used)

¼ cup lime juice,  fresh squeezed

¼ cup grape seed oil

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil


Put all ingredients in blender or food processor, puree until smooth.

**I added spinach since I didn’t have two bunches of cilantro. Didn’t take away at all from the flavor.

Rest of ingredients for the bowl

6 Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

Extra virgin olive oil brushed on each side

Grill on inside grill pan.  Grill on each side until becomes soft. About 15 minutes total.

Charred Onions

Slice 1 onion in thin slices. Add to pan with a little olive oil, start stirring and keep stirring until they caramelize. Set aside

Roasted Yams

2 -3 sweet potatoes or yams peeled and cut in large chunks.

Drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil and salt and pepper. Put in small roasting/baking dish covered with foil. Bake for 30 minutes 375 degrees


Blanched snow peas

Put snow peas in a pot with boiling water for 1 ½ minutes , set a bowl with ice water near.  After 1 ½ minutes quickly add to water bowl. Take snow peas out and set aside.

Slice or quarter avocados.

All these steps except the avocado can be done that morning or night before. Day of meal, add onions, snow peas, and sliced mushrooms to small sheet pan and warm up in oven, just enough to heat through. Add salt to taste to snow peas when they come out. Add roasted yams to small pot with ¾ cup of miso vinaigrette and warm through.

Putting it together

Plate the ancient grains in center of bowl. Add mushrooms to one side, then yams on other, add snow peas to another side, caramelized onions, and cilantro pesto to other side. Filling in gaps with the different ingredients. Add sliced avocado on top.


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Our First Vegan Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays; sitting around a table of gratitude, eating food that everyone participated in making, having a chance to say how grateful we are for the blessings of the year. 








I came from a family that didn’t express our feelings when we were growing up.  We loved each other and there was lots of laughter and love felt but little or no verbal expression of that love. Then one year my husband suggested we go around and express one thing we are thankful for. It is one of the traditions I cherish the most now that both of my parents are gone.

Now our daughters are married and have given us grandchildren, our son is working with Youth With a Mission in Salem Oregon, and the tradition continues.

But the very best of Thanksgiving is the food.  We have lots of dishes, you might be surprised how many. I come from a traditional Mexican background (never mind I found out I am not Mexican, LOL, but that’s for another post) so we serve pinto beans, Spanish rice, potato salad, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, green bean casserole, broccoli casserole, gravy, cranberries, homemade hot salsa and dinner rolls. People are always surprised at how many dishes we bring. But it is our tradition. 

Making it vegan was a little nerve wracking this year. I wanted to make sure everything tasted just as good and that we didn’t “ruin” the tradition. So I researched and researched. I went to some of my favorite vegan blogs and also changed up some of our own family recipes to make them vegan and still delicious. It was a success! One of the comments was “This may be vegan but everything is delicious.” #gratitude.

A yet-to-be-converted omnivore surveying the options.

We stayed with a traditional turkey that my daughter brought and we made the Gardein roast. I researched that and found this was the most popular for flavor.


I found the following recipes for cheeses from the YouTube channel, The Mushroom Den.

Sweet Potato Cheddar Cheese Wedge

Creamy Herb Cheese Spread with Crackers

Side Dishes:


The first dish I veganized (Is that a word?) was our stuffing. It used to be flavored with broth from the meat of the neck I cooked in a small pot and chopped meat from the neck. I eliminated that and tweaked it.

I know this alone is not traditional stuffing, most grow up with savory stuffing, but I grew up with a sweet stuffing and we can’t imagine eating stuffing any other way. My mom who died suddenly didn’t leave me with the best recipe. I remember asking her on the phone how do I make it and it was a little of this and a little of that.  This year I wanted to get it right. Our son said I finally did. He told me “Mom, it took 7 years but you did it”.   Here is the result.   Click on the link for the recipe.

Grandma’s Sweet Stuffing

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

This recipe is from the website My California Roots and you can find the recipe here.  I modified it to make it more creamy by adding about 1/2-3/4 cup of  non-dairy half and half.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

This was a simple dish prepared by Bruce.  You can find his recipe here.

Roasted Mediterranean Cauliflower

This side dish is a copycat recipe from True Food Kitchen, one of our favorite restaurants with vegan options.

Homemade Bread Rolls

These delicious bread rolls were courtesy of a recipe from an essential website for vegans,

Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Casserole

This was a winner with the Thanksgiving Day crowd! If you are trying to back off of dairy on your holiday eating, this is a great dish to make for vegans or non vegan eaters! I used a classic sweet potato casserole recipe that I’ve used for many Thanksgivings and modified it.

Main Dish

Gardein Stuffed Vegan Turkey Roast

This was the only item we served that was not homemade.  We knew that making a plant-based turkey substitute would be very difficult for our first time so I did some research and found this Holiday Roast made by Gardein to have rave reviews.  Everyone loved it.

Homemade Mushroom Gravy

We found a recipe for vegan gravy from Forks over Knives.  We used the gravy recipe but made the mashed potatoes from the recipe above.


Homemade Pumpkin Pies

We featured two types of pumpkin pie, one, from Food Network, utilized tofu and we also offered an alternative from Minimalist Baker that used almond milk instead.  Both were delicious but if avoiding tofu, go with the almond milk option.

Also pictured are some beautiful non-vegan cookies made by our daughter at Better with Love Bakery.

We loved our first Thanksgiving as vegans and look forward to trying new Christmas recipes.  Watch for our vegan tamale recipes coming soon.



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Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallow Streusel

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This was a winner with the Thanksgiving Day crowd! If you are trying to back off of dairy on your holiday eating, this is a great dish to make for vegans or non vegan eaters! I used a classic sweet potato casserole recipe and modified it.

Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole with Streusel and Marshmallows

2 pounds sweet potatoes

3 tablespoons vegan butter

¼ cup non dairy half and half or almond milk

1/2  teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

2 tablespoons organic brown sugar

pinch of salt


4 tablespoons vegan butter soft

¼ cup organic brown sugar

¼ cup all purpose flour

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ tsp. salt

½ cup chopped pecans

bag of mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Use a 2 quart casserole dish.

Place the peeled, large chopped chunks of sweet potatoes in pot of water and bring to a boil until soft. About 15 minutes. Drain water and put potatoes back in pot.

Add the milk, spice, brown sugar and salt. Mash with a potato masher until somewhat smooth. Transfer to casserole dish.

Bake in oven for 10 minutes. While they bake, make the streusel. In small bowl add, butter, sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, pecans. Mix with a fork and then use your hands to bring it together until combined. Add half marshmallows’ to dish and drop half the streusel on top of baked mashed potatoes. Then rest of bag of marshmallows and drop rest of streusel on top. Bake in oven about 15 minutes, or until marshmallows melted and bubbly.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts Recipe

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1 Lb Brussels Sprouts

2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tsp Kosher Salt

1/2 tsp Ground Pepper

1 Clove – Minced Garlic

1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar


Preheat Oven to 450 degrees. Cut the Brussels Sprouts in half, top to bottom and place in a roasting pan.  Drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil until lightly coated.  Season with salt, pepper and minced garlic, mix together by hand until coated.  Place in top rack of oven and let cook until lightly charred.  Remove from oven and drizzle with Balsamic Vinegar.

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Grandma’s Sweet Stuffing Recipe

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3 Bags of seasoned stuffing mix (or you can make your own bread croutons)
1/2 stick vegan butter
2 stalks celery finely diced
1 yellow onion finely diced
2 red apples skin on cored and diced
2 cups red wine
1 cup raisins
4 cups Veggie broth
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp thyme
1 1/2 cup organic sugar
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Put butter in skillet. Add onions and celery and garlic. Sauté for a couple of minutes. Till soft. Add apples and sauté for a few minutes. Add the red wine and let it bubble together. Pour in bowl and set aside. In the same skillet add the veggie broth, turmeric and thyme. Bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes then remove from heat.

In large bowl add seasoned stuffing croutons, apple mixture, raisins, salt and pepper and mix well. Add the broth a cup at a time to make it moist but not drenched. You may not need all the broth. Just use enough to moisten it. Add it to the skillet and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 350.

We had a lot going on in the oven, so I did put it on the top rack and it went in an oven that was 375-400 degrees. I kept an eye on it and that might have been why it came out crispy. I encourage you to work with what you have going on in your oven. No need to stress!

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Our Story

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Clara’s Story

Hi, I’m Clara Welch, a recently converted plant-based cook. I am a wife, mom of three incredible kids and Nonny of two amazing grandchildren. I started really cooking 15 years ago, before that I cooked from boxes. I started watching Food Network and realized I could cook like that too. So I got my kitchen ready with some essentials needed to make cooking easier and dove in. I fell in love with cooking. About 7 years ago I realized I needed to start cooking healthier and getting in better shape. Which ultimately led to plant based cooking. Since I began this healthier cooking I have lost about 60 pounds. I am self-taught; I am not a nutritionist or a chef. But anyone can learn how to eat better and cook delicious meals for yourself and your loved ones.

I am grateful for the people God has put around me. Including my loving family and friends that make me a better person. Grateful for a more sustainable and kinder way to eat. From this gratefulness Table of Gratitude was born. Everyone’s welcome at the table.

Bruce’s Story

I’ll never forget the night of July 2, 2017.  My wife Clara and I were in bed and I had just dozed off when Clara said to me, “I think we’re going to have to become vegans.”  When I opened my eyes, I saw that she was watching a food documentary, What the Health? on her iPad.  I told her “Please don’t tell me something that major as I’m about to go to sleep!”  I never thought I would hear those words come out of her mouth and I never thought that I would be a person who would transform from being a proud carnivore into a vegan.

The next night after work I sat down with her and watched What the Health? and a couple of other food documentaries and I told her “I’m in.”

There were many parts of the films that were convincing but what helped me make the switch was the concept of the quote originally by Socrates, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine by thy food”.

I have struggled with my weight all of my adult life and have found the most success in losing weight through the Atkins Diet.  The first time I went on it I lost 40 pounds!  This diet seemed perfect to me, I loved eating meat, it was my favorite food other than ice cream.  Whenever I wanted to lose weight I would go back on it.  I would guess that over the years I’ve probably lost more than 200 lbs. through eating a high protein diet, but I always gained it back.

My “Before” Picture

The day after watching the documentaries was the 4th of July.  We went over to my daughter’s house for the day and my wife and sister-in-law prepared some vegan dishes that were incredible.  My wife made black bean hamburger patties and my sister-in-law made a vegan southwest potato salad.  I was delighted at how tasty and filling the food was.  I knew that I could do it.

It was hot outside and I stayed inside the air-conditioned house most of the day.  The TV was set to ESPN and they were showing The Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Championship.  If you are not familiar with it, the contestants are given 10 minutes to eat as many hot dogs as they can.  The winner, Joey Chestnut, ate 72 hot dogs in 10 minutes!  I was totally disgusted. To make things worse, as ESPN ran Sports Center the rest of the day they showed a recap about every 15 minutes.  I wanted nothing to do with eating a hot dog, or meat for that matter, ever again.

As of this writing (November, 2017) it has been five months.  I haven’t craved meat, cheese or eggs and I am loving eating plant-based. I must say that my wife has made the change much easier for me.  She has always been an incredible cook and she relentlessly looks for quality plant-based food ideas that provide the taste we crave with the health we need. We welcome you to follow us on this journey, we will provide periodic updates to our progress and changes we are experiencing.  We welcome you to the Table of Gratitude. ­­­­

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