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Meatless Monday Recipe: Chili

Photo: Brad Klopman

I won't lie. This is another one of my mom's recipes. She makes the BEST vegan chili. And it's so simple. Here's her recipe. 

Vegan Chili

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 med. onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

16 oz. vegan "meat"(like the "hamburger"-type crumbles.)

In a big soup pot, saute garlic, onion, pepper, and vegan meat in 2 T oil until the onion is transparent. About 5 minutes or so.


24 oz. can chopped tomatoes and basil

2 c. shredded zucchini (white or green)

2 vegetable bouillon cubes or 32 oz box vegetarian broth

2 cans chili beans, not drained

2 cans pinto beans, drained

2 cans kidney beans, drained

You can use any canned beans to total 6 cans, but for best results always use 2 chili cans. 

Add enough water to cover. Then add salt and pepper and chili powder to taste. Season to your liking. Simmer 30 minutes on low.


Self-Esteem (Excerpt)

I thought I would post an excerpt from my upcoming book,

You're Already Hypnotized: A Guide to Waking Up.

I'm hiring a company to turn the manuscript into an e-book, so my best guess is that it will be available for download in a couple of months. The following excerpt is from the chapter on self-esteem.

Our self-esteem is the internal picture we hold about ourselves. Whether high or low, right or wrong, it is our honest assessment of who we are. We present that idea to the world, and the world responds accordingly, which then contributes to our internal picture. How we were raised by our authority figures, what we have experienced along the way, and how we have interpreted those experiences contribute to our self-esteem.

High self-esteem generally results in an accepting, peaceful, confident, communicative, decisive, and productive human being. Low self-esteem manifests into such negative qualities as anxiety, depression, insecurity, aggression, passivity, blame, a need to control, aloofness, indecision, defensiveness, phobias, comparing oneself to others, and seeing only the negative aspects of life, themselves, and others.....

I use a hypnotherapy process in which clients uncover their core negative thought and then we reverse it, reprogramming the opposite idea in its place. I look at the process as going in and plucking out the weeds and then planting some new seeds. Most everyone has a core negative belief stemming from unconscious guilt. Mine was “I am unlovable.” Other popular core negative thoughts are “I am bad,” “I am not good enough,” “I am unworthy,” and “I am alone.” The latter is popular among smokers; thus, they join the “tribe” of smokers so as not to be alone, they huddle together for a smoke, they feel free to approach other smokers and bum a cigarette, and that’s also why they often refer to cigarettes as their “best friend.” There are two things we do with our core negative thought:

  1. Prove that it’s true, so we won’t have to change: “See, my relationships don’t work because I am unlovable.”
  2. Overcompensate for it and pretend we’re not it: “Look at how much I do for everyone because I am lovable.”

I used to be everyone’s best friend—the shoulder to cry on in the middle of the night—often helping my friends to feel better at my expense. People would introduce me as “Cynthia, my best friend.” And I would think, “Wow, really?” Then someone else would introduce me as “Cynthia, my closest friend.” And I would think, “I am? I feel like I barely know you.” It was a lovely sentiment, to be thought of that way, but I realized I was the best friend of ten people, and I didn’t feel the way they did.

After one particularly long night consoling a friend about her absentee boyfriend, I woke up the next morning exhausted and thought, “I have so many needy people in my life.” The next thought was “No, Cynthia, they’re not the needy ones— you are the needy one. You need needy people to prove you’re lovable.” Ouch.

Unconsciously, I was using those relationships to make myself feel better under the guise of being loving. I was expending copious amounts of energy overcompensating for a negative self-thought about myself that wasn’t even true. On the conscious level, I was just trying to be a good friend, lending an ear, giving advice, but the truth is, I wasn’t really helping anyone, because I was fulfilling my own ego's desperate needs. I was not coming from my superconscious mind. And I was feeling exhausted and trapped because nothing was really changing—they were still unhappy and so was I. When we come from ego, we can never truly know what we or anyone else needs in any situation.

I healed the thought that I was unlovable through hypnotherapy, and something interesting happened—those best friends disappeared. There were no heated confrontations. The relationships just fell away.

When we de-hypnotize ourselves of the core negative ideas we’ve been carrying around, we begin to live in accordance with a higher purpose, and those who are meant to join us on that journey will be there. We no longer look outside of ourselves for validation. We look within, where our true source of acceptance and strength lies. High self-esteem comes from a mind aligned with a higher source. Low self-esteem comes from a very low source—fear.

The book goes on to guide you on how to uncover your core negative self thought and heal it. I've also included tips, 30 daily reprogramming statements, and self-hypnosis exercises to build your self-esteem. I hope you'll check it out when it's available. 

Meatless Monday Recipe: Stuffed Pasta Shells

Photo: Brad Klopman

One of the best vegan chefs I know is my mom, and she's not even vegan, or vegetarian. When I go home she has tons of vegan dishes and baked goods prepared. How lucky am I? I just saw her last week and she had made these stuffed shells that were delicious. She wrote the recipe down for us.

Stuffed Pasta Shells

2 Tbl. olive oil

1 med. onion

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 cups mushrooms, chopped

2 cups vegan hamburger or crumbled "meat"

1 10 oz package frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry

1 16 oz extra firm tofu, drained (crumbled or diced)

1 2lb 13 oz jar pasta (spaghetti) sauce (Ragu, Prego, or anything you like)

1 package Daiya "cheese" mozzarella

1/4 c. red cooking wine

1 box jumbo pasta shells

parsley, oregano, italian seasoning, salt, pepper to taste

Saute onions, garlic, mushrooms, and vegan meat in 2 T olive oil in skillet over medium heat until onions are soft. Mix in the spinach and cook for a bit. Then mix in the diced tofu and the seasonings. (My mom doesn't measure, so just use your best guess.)

Cook the shells according to the box and then stuff them with saute mixture. It's easiest to stuff by hand. My mom says she had 10 shells leftover from a 12 oz jumbo box.

Pour 1/4 c. wine into the spaghetti sauce and heat. When heated, pour 2 cups of the sauce into a 11 X 15 baking dish.

Place shells on top with open side up. Pour remaining sauce over shells. Cover and bake at 350* for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes sprinkle with the cheese and bake 5 minutes longer, covered.

Remove from oven and serve.

Thanks, Mom!

Meatless Monday Recipe: Soy Rizo Tofu Scramble

Photo and Meal: Brad Klopman

When I wake up to the smell of fried Soy Rizo wafting through the house, I know it's Sunday morning and I'm in for a delicious breakfast. This week I am posting a breakfast meal. My boyfriend Brad has created a Soy Rizo Tofu Scramble that is seriously better than any I've had in a restaurant. Also, you can skip the Soy Rizo if you'd like it less spicy.

Soy Rizo Tofu Scramble

(serves 4)

3 T. olive oil

1 package hash browns that serves 4, frozen or refrigerated

2 T. Earth Balance "butter"

1 tomato, chopped

1 1/2  c. mushrooms, chopped

1/4 c. onion, chopped

12 oz. extra firm tofu

6 oz. Soyrizo (1/2 of package shown above)

1 avocado

1 cup Daiya mozzarella or cheddar "cheese"

Start off by making the hash browns, they will be frying while you will make the scramble because they take twice as long as everything else. Put the hash browns in a skillet with 2 T. olive oil and pat down and fry over medium heat until golden brown. Do not stir. Flip half way through, just like making a pancake.

While the hash browns are frying begin the scramble.

Melt butter in a medium to large skillet at medium heat. Add tomatoes, mushrooms, and onion, and saute for approximately 5 minutes until the onions are soft. (You can add any vegetables you like.)

Drain the tofu and wrap it in a paper towel to release excess water. Crumble it in a bowl to the consistency of scrambled eggs. You'll want some larger and some smaller crumbles. Mix into the skillet of vegetables and cover for 10 minutes.

Add 1 T. olive oil to smaller skillet over medium heat. Add Soy Rizo and flatten into a pancake. Fry until very slightly burned on one side and then flip it like a pancake to fry the other side.  Approximately 5 minutes on each side.

Add fried Soy Rizo to skillet of scramble or combine them in a bowl. Mix well so the tofu turns a yellow/orange color.

You can either add the fried hash browns to the scramble or you can serve them separately as pictured above. I prefer the hash browns mixed into the scramble. Brad prefers them on the side so that they stay crispy.

You can also add the avocado chopped to the scramble, which I like. Or on the side, as Brad prefers.

What we do agree on is how much of this we can consume on a Sunday morning.

Garnish with Daiya and serve.

Thanks, Brad!


Meatless Monday Recipe: Thanksgiving Sides

I've always been a big believer that knowledge is meant to be shared. And I extend that to recipes too!

So I asked Tamar from

The Curveball

to guest blog a couple of her favorite plant-based Thanksgiving sides for us, and boy did she come through!

Two Thanksgivings ago Tamar went vegan, cold turkey style. I was so interested in her journey that I asked her to write an essay for my blog. That essay became my inspiration for

The Vegan Decision

, a website comprised of essays from people who decided to stop eating animals and how that choice has affected their lives.

Here is her essay


Veganism has more than affected Tamar's life, it's changed it. She has done a 180 in her career and is currently getting her certification in health coaching/nutrition. You can find her website


Here are the recipes Tamar shared with us. Enjoy!

Photo: A 


Mark Bittman’s Quinoa w/ Caramelized Onions

(serves 4)

4 medium yellow or red onions (about 1 lb), halved and thinly sliced

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 T brown sugar or molasses (I like molasses with this recipe)

¾ cup quinoa (I like to use red quinoa as it has a slightly chewier texture)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1-1/2 c veggie stock, beer or water

2 or three sprigs fresh thyme

Put the onions in a large skillet with a lid over medium heat. Cover and cook, stirring infrequently until the onions are dry and almost sticking to the pan, about 20 minutes. Add the oil and brown sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions brown, another 10-15 minutes.

Turn the heat up to medium-high, add the quinoa, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir as the grains start popping and toasting, a couple of minutes, then add the stock and bring to a boil. Stir one last time, add the thyme, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook, undisturbed, for 15 minutes.

Uncover and test the quinoa for doneness. If the kernels are still sort of hard, make sure there’s enough liquid to keep the bottom of the pan moist and cover them to cook for another 5 minutes or so. When ready, taste, adjust the seasoning, and remove the thyme, adding a few extra grinds of pepper.

Variation: Saute about 1 lb of cremini, white button or oyster mushrooms in about ½ Tbsp coconut oil. Saute for a few minutes, until mushrooms release water. Season with salt, pepper, and ½ tsp liquid smoke. Add mushrooms to quinoa mixture.


Killer Bunnies, Inc

Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Tempeh Bacon and Toasted Pinenuts

(serves 4-6)

1 Tbsp coconut oil, divided

1 package tempeh bacon (I like the Lightlife brand: Organic Smoky Tempeh Strips)

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound thinly sliced brussels sprouts

¼ cup pine nuts (or slivered almonds if you don’t like pine nuts)

First, prepare the brussel sprouts by rinsing and draining, then cutting off the tip on the bottom and slicing the sprout in half lengthwise. Slice each half into thin, lengthwise strips. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ½ tablespoon of the coconut oil to pan. Add the tempeh strips to pan and cook over medium high heat for about 5 minutes on each side until brown and crispier. Remove from pan, chop up into small pieces, and set aside.

Add the remaining coconut oil to the pan and the garlic and cook for about a minute. Then add the Brussels sprouts to pan and sauté for about 5-10 minutes, until the leaves look browner and crispier.

While the brussels sprouts are cooking, in a separate small skillet, toast the pine nuts or almonds at medium heat, until you smell them! Take care not to burn the nuts, they can burn easily. It should only take a few minutes over medium heat. You can do this separately if you want. When both nuts and brussels are toasted/browned and crispy, take off heat and toss the nuts, brussels, and tempeh bacon together. Enjoy immediately.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving side? I hope you'll share a recipe with us!

Oh, and here's a link to more

Vegan Thanksgiving sides recipes.

Happy Compassionate Thanksgiving!

Meatless Monday Recipe: Thanksgiving Loaf with Gravy

Photo: Brad Klopman

Let this be the year you take yourself off the cruelty-grid and celebrate the beautiful spirits of all life with a meat-free Thanksgiving! Let peace begin on your plate. I promise it will spread to every area of your life.

Turkeys and chickens are not protected by law like our beloved pets. But they are no less sentient creatures that show tremendous love, form strong family bonds, and they've been known to mourn. Turkeys and chickens have the same desires as our dogs and cats--for love and safety and a peaceful existence.

Because they are not protected, the cruel conditions in which these birds live and die is unimaginable. And to think we are eating that energy! (Here is a NY Times article about what is unfortunately common practice in turkey processing plants.

Click here.


I simply want to suggest that there is kinder, gentler, healthier way for all of us to live. And this Thanksgiving, let peace begin on your plate with a vegan loaf.

When I ate meat, turkey was my favorite. So I would not lead you astray when I say the Tofurky loaf is delicious.

Tofurky also has a whole to-go Thanksgiving meal prepared. You can bring it over to your friend's or family's house so they don't have worry about how to feed the vegans! It feeds six.

The Feast includes the following: 

  •     One Tofurky Roast (made with organic non-genetically engineered soybeans)
  •     Savory Giblet Gravy
  •     Wild Rice, Whole Wheat Bread Crumb Stuffing
  •     Tofurky Jurky Wishstix
  •     Amy’s Organic Vegan Chocolate Cake
  •     Happy Tofurky Day card & coupons
  •     Each feast is 100% vegan, cooks in about an hour, serves six and tastes fabulous!

Yesterday I tried the Field Roast Celebration Loaf. (Available only at Whole Foods, I think.) And it was just okay. God bless them for trying, but to me it's not as good as other brands. (It's in the top photo.)

Word on the street is that the BEST veggie turkey comes from Gardein, pictured below. I'm excited to try it this Thanksgiving Day. I hope I can find some in San Antonio, where I'll be.

So the rest of the meal is just sauteed spinach with mashed potatoes and gravy. The most time consuming part of the meal is the gravy, but the recipe makes a lot and it lasts a long time.

Sauteed Spinach:

Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil with about 1 teaspoon of garlic in a large pot over medium heat. (Don't let the garlic brown.) Throw in a bunch of washed fresh spinach with a pinch of salt. Saute for a minute. Put the lid on and let it cook for 2 minutes, then remove the lid and turn up the heat to high for about 30 seconds or so.  I usually dribble a bit of lemon juice over it too.

Mashed Potatoes:

5-6 large potatoes, peeled, cut and quartered, and boiled for about 20 minutes, or until a fork can pass through easily. 

When done, drain the water and add: 

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 c. Unsweetened Soy Milk

3 Tablespoons Earth Balance "Butter"

Golden Gravy:

(Taken from

The Real Food Daily Cookbook


Click here 

for the recipe. It's so freaking good. 

There you have it. Happy Cruelty-free Thanksgiving, friends!

Next Monday we have a guest blogger, Tamar from

The Curveball,

who is going to give us some easy vegan Thanksgiving sides recipes. Stay tuned....

"Let peace and love begin with me."

To learn more about the turkey industry,

click here.

Meatless Monday Recipe: Pizza!

My boyfriend, Brad, and I LOVE pizza. I seriously make it about once a week. Most of the time I make the dough and sauce from scratch, but when I'm feeling lazy, I make it with a ready made crust and a jar of pizza sauce. Finding a vegan ready made pizza crust was not easy. But I did, and it's really good. Here ya go:

Last time I checked the label, it was vegan.  As far as sauce, I use this tasty, cheap stuff:

Now for the toppings. The one thing Brad and I don't agree on is pizza toppings. He likes olives. I don't. I like onions, He doesn't. He also likes his crust verrrry well done (hence the burnt pizza photo) and I don't. So we indent the pizza at the half way mark and top our respective halves. (When the pizza is done, we cut it in half and his half goes back in the oven.)

We both, however, agree on two ingredients always. The first is Daiya cheese. (Pronounced Day-ah.) Daiya is a god send. There has been a dearth of tasty, melty, stretchy vegan cheese until Daiya came along. It's so good. I promise. No one will know it's not regular cheese. The upside? Health. And not supporting animal suffering. And contributing to the destruction of the environment. (Here's a previous post I wrote on Gandhi's regret of drinking cow's milk.

Click here


The other topping we love is vegan pepperoni. Honestly, you can't tell much difference, and again so much healthier. Either brand is very good.

From there, you can add whatever toppings your heart desires.

If you're up for making your own pizza sauce, I've experimented with lots of homemade pizza sauces and I've narrowed it down to this simple, no cook recipe.

Homemade Pizza Sauce

Just throw all of this in a blender:

6 ounces can tomato paste

1 cup warm water

2 cloves garlic, peeled

5 leaves fresh basil

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram

pinch of sugar

As far as dough goes, here's one that's simple, quick, and contains ingredients most likely already in your cupboard.

Click here.

As you can see, I'm not going to be blogging many fancy shmancy recipes. But the upside is they're super easy. And not only are they meatless, they are totally animal product free. Doesn't that feel and taste good?

PS. If you are interested in eating less animal products, here's a list of my favorite dairy replacements.

Click here.

Meatless Monday Recipes Coming

I was at

Real Food Daily

(great vegan restaurant in LA) the other night having dinner with a friend who is not a vegetarian, and the topic of veganism naturally came up. She told me she wanted to start making more meatless meals but since she had two small children she needed the recipes to be fast and easy. One of her children, Sophie, who just turned 4 the other day, decided

on her own

at age 2 that she did not want to eat animals. (!) My friend was scrambling to make quick healthy meatless meals for her vegetarian daughter. 

Synchronously, that morning I had the idea to blog Meatless Monday recipes (if you can call them that, they're more like mash-ups) of simple things I throw together and call a meal. The inspiration came from another friend's 5 year old son, John, who wanted to stop eating so many animals and drinking milk. (I hear he's now enjoying almond milk and other dairy substitutes!) 

I like experimenting in the kitchen and trying new elaborate vegan recipes on occasion for myself and my boyfriend, but mostly I'm a lazy vegan. Not totally lazy, I eat more than a PBJ. But I'm no gourmet chef. I do, however, have easy vegan meals down to a science. 

So on behalf Sophie and John and their awesome moms who heed their wisdom, I'd like to share my Meatless Monday recipes with you starting this Monday. Get ready for yummy, easy recipes that even the most die-hard carnivore will enjoy. 

Me and the wise soul that is Sophie.

Photo: Brad Klopman

Dear John Letter to Negativity


One technique I use with clients who want to change an unwanted behavior or release a negative emotion is to write a break-up letter to it. Just as if you were writing a break up letter to a person, it should include the usual, "it's not you, it's me" sort of ideas, such as why you needed it, what purpose it served in your life, and why you can no longer continue the relationship. Be gentle--I'm sure the relationship had its pluses. Here is an example from one of my clients.

Dear Lethargy,

Thank you for the time we shared together. You attracted me with the shrug of your shoulders, your slow pace, and your “who cares” attitude. When I think of us, I will remember all the time spent in bed or cuddled up on the couch watching T.V. Our bond grew stronger the worse I looked or the less I did. In fact, you continually assured me that you would be right by my side no matter how bad things got. Your low expectations were what I needed then but my heart tells me that it’s time for us to go our separate ways.

I very recently ran into Life and Purpose. We hadn’t seen each other for a while and, as we started talking, a familiar sense of hope and excitement returned. They have a light and a joy that is infectious and it made me recall why I first fell in love with them. They speak with such enthusiasm about Spirit, and art, and talent, and dreams. They encourage me to grow, and laugh, and participate. Sometimes they scare the heck out of me but I know that I can’t thrive without them.

Please don’t think that I lack appreciation for you getting me through one of the most difficult times in my life but, now, I desire more than the idleness we shared. I choose to believe that I deserve more and, amazingly enough, I feel as though I have something to offer. I wish you well and, if I ever see you with someone new, I will be kind and understanding because I know that your listlessness and empty gaze are wrapping and tending to an unseen wound. May grace and peace always follow.