Category Archives: vegan

Stove-Top Island Spice Popcorn with Coconut Oil and Turmeric

Pook's Pantry - Island Spice Popcorn

Popcorn.  It’s a movie theater staple and it is practically mandatory snacking for movie nights at home.  Heck, it’s even dinner sometimes.  While I’m not knocking butter and salt, I like to dress mine up a bit more.  I open the spice cabinet and put together concoctions that would make Harry Potter’s head spin. Popcorn doesn’t have to be Plain Jane,  it can be “Revved Up Rita” and this popcorn definitely turns it up a notch. 

We are old school in this house.  Popcorn is made on the stove.  We get out the big pot, pour the kernels in with a little oil and “shake, shake, shake” while we peer through the glass lid waiting for the magic to happen.  Freshly popped corn tastes so much better than the microwave kind.  It’s really not a hassle and it takes about 5 minutes longer than the bag.  You can use this seasoning on any popcorn, whatever your preferred popping method.  

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Instant Pot Tomatillo-Poblano White Beans

Tomatillo Poblano White Beans

Beans are the perfect introduction to the Instant Pot.  If you are new to the Instant Pot craze, or even if you’ve had yours for a while now, these beans will make their way into your regular rotation.  Tomatillo Poblano White Beans are my new favorite thing.  I made them a few weeks ago when there was some football game.  Everyone was making *quite* the fuss over it. Well, I had promised nachos for this sporting event and I delivered BIG thanks to these beans.  I warmed some tortilla chips in the oven, sprinkled a few things on them and then heaped these beans on top.  It was so dang good!!!

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Winter Market Buddha Bowl - Pook's Pantry

Winter Market Buddha Bowls with Potato, Quinoa and Beets

Winter Market Bowl Idaho Potato - Pook's Pantry
This post is sponsored by Idaho®Potatoes. All opinions are my own.

Potatoes.  Everyone loves them and they are available year round.  However, I’m sure you get stuck in the same potato rut like I do.  You need new ideas!  Well, this one is our new “Go-To”.  It has tons of veggies, it’s healthy, it’s gluten-free and if you leave the egg off, it’s vegan.
We all have a piece of that or a hunk of this in the fridge just waiting to get used up in something , right?  Here is the perfect way to use up a few of those ingredients that are hanging out patiently awaiting their destiny.

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Curried Cauliflower with Golden Raisins

Curried Cauliflower with Golden Raisins and GingerCurried cauliflower with golden raisins and ginger is a great side for chicken or steak, but it can stand on its own as  a meatless meal.

We are eating more vegetables these days.   Also, we are eating healthier.  At least, we are trying to eat healthier (when I’m not eating cookies).  I love vegetables, I honestly prefer them over meat most of the time.  However, they can be boring  if you never jazz them up.  Otherwise, we’d eat them without complaint.  A little spice can go a long way.  For example – curry powder.

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Winter Vegetable Soup

Winter Vegetable Soup l Pook's PantryThis post is sponsored by Idaho® Potatoes. As always, all opinions are my own.

It’s winter.  That means comfort food.  But, we’re also trying to eat a little healthier too, right? We’re making an effort to eat more vegetables because we want to get more bang for our buck in the nutrition department.  I’ve got you covered.  This soup is nearly fat free, it’s low in calories and contains a ton of vitamins, minerals and fiber.  While you are cozied up in the house, it’s the perfect time to put on a pot of this hearty winter vegetable soup.

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Swamp Monster Slow Cooker Jackfruit Gumbo

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Halloween is fast approaching and if you are a fan of this fun holiday, you’re in for a treat (not a trick).    My friend Kathy has written a new cookbook full of fun, vegan Halloween food.   Her blog Healthy Slow Cooking is full of healthy options and is my “go to” source for vegan recipes. Whether you follow a vegan diet or not, there is something that everyone can enjoy.

I wanted to share this recipe with you because jackfruit is probably a fairly unfamiliar ingredient to most people.   I find it at my local Asian market.  Sometimes they sell the whole fruit, but more often it’s cut into pieces.  

A whole fruit can weigh as much as a small child, so getting a piece at the market is a much better option!  The best option when you don’t need 40 pounds of jackfruit: canned for convenience.

I love Kathy’s unique spin on this classic recipe.  If you are trying to eat less animal protein or you are curious about a vegan diet or you just want to try something new,  I would wholeheartedly recommend this and any other recipe by Kathy.   

Swamp Monster Slow Cooker Jackfruit Gumbo
Serves 4
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For the main gumbo
  1. 4 cups water
  2. 4 cups sliced okra (fresh or frozen)
  3. 3 cups diced tomatoes or 2 (14.5 ounce) cans
  4. 1 cup minced bell pepper (any color)
  5. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1 can (20 ounce) young green jackfruit in brine, rinsed with seeds removed *
  7. 2 large vegan sausages (Italian, Chik’n Apple, or Andouille), cut into quarters lengthwise and sliced
  8. 2 bouillon cubes (vegetable or vegan chicken flavor)
  9. 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning blend (see recipe at bottom)
  10. 3 bay leaves
For finishing
  1. 1 cup chopped spinach, kale or other mild green
  2. just enough water to puree, about 1/4 cup
  3. salt and pepper, to taste
  4. more Cajun seasoning blend, to taste – optional
For serving
  1. steamed rice (white, brown or forbidden)
  2. hot sauce
Make Your Own Cajun Seasoning Blend
  1. If you’re looking for a salt-free version or just can’t find it in your area, this little recipe will keep you in spicy goodness for awhile. The best part is you can make it as spicy or mild as you like!
  2. 2 teaspoons paprika
  3. 2 teaspoon thyme
  4. 2 teaspoons oregano or marjoram
  5. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  6. 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  7. 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  8. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  9. 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  10. 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  11. Combine all the ingredients well and store in a lidded container. You can also use a spice grinder to make it look more like store-bought.
  1. In the morning: Add all the main gumbo ingredients to your 4 quart slow cooker. Cook on low 7 to 9 hours.
  2. 15 minutes before serving: Add the greens to a blender with a little water and purée until smooth. Then add salt, pepper and more Cajun seasoning if needed.
  3. Remove bay leaves and serve gumbo topped with the green “swamp” purée and a scoop of rice.
  4. * shred the jackfruit with your hands – it will happen easily as you remove the large seeds.
  1. This chunky stew is full of okra, tomatoes, vegan sausage and stringy jackfruit. One of my testers, Robin Fetter of The Real Vegan Housewife, says the soup had “an awesome foamy green effect on top” when she served it immediately, but that the green became less bright after twenty minutes. She highly recommends puréeing the greens into the soup.
Pook's Pantry

Below is a link to the Kindle edition of Kathy’s book!

Food Friends

Greetings, All!  I am away in Idaho this week with my friends from Idaho Potato!  In lieu of posting a new recipe, I wanted to share some awesome recipes from my super talented friends.

I do hope you will check out their recipes, as I happen to think they are pretty great!  Besides being amazing in the kitchen, they are good humans and I am lucky to know them.  I can’t wait to tell you all about Idaho and the fun things happening there right now!  I’m updating and sharing pics on social media every day, so if you want to see what we’re up to, check out my Facebook page,  Instagram account or Twitter feed for the latest shenanigans.

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Citrus Sunshine Cooler

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Citrus Sunshine Cooler - Pook's Pantry
I love tea.  Warm temperatures call for pitchers of iced tea or sun tea sitting on the porch letting Mother Nature do the work for you.  Cooler weather brings spicy teas infused with cinnamon and cardamom or my favorite English Breakfast.  Recently, I wrote a post for a new grocery store in town and I discovered they have a bulk tea section.  I zeroed in on this particular tea, full of dried citrus and hibiscus.  I brought it home and opened the bag.  The smell of that tea was absolutely intoxicating.  I knew it would be lovely as is, but that’s not really my style.  So I started poking around in the fridge and freezer to see what I had stashed away.

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Cherry Chutney

Cherry Chutney
I’m on a serious cherry kick lately.    I can’t get enough of them…  We have gone through almost 10 pounds in the last month because they always seem to find their way into my cart.  You know, just in case I need more.  I’ve been putting them in everything from cakes to oatmeal and this week, I decided to go a savory route.    If you are unfamiliar with chutney, let me give you a quick description.  It’s like a relish, it has sweet and sour ingredients, usually coming from sugar or fruits and vinegar.  It is a blend of sweet and savory.  It’s a great condiment to use with grilled meats or vegetables and this chutney went splendidly with a grilled flank steak.Cherry Chutney

This chutney was paired with grilled meat, but it can also be a great addition to a cheese board or a charcuterie platter or even as a tasty spread on a hearty sandwich.cherry chutney

Cherry season is nearly over, so don’t wait too long to grab a couple of pounds.   I’ll be making another big batch before the summer is over to put up on the shelves so I can enjoy them long after they disappear from the stores. 

Let’s Cook!

Cherry Chutney
Serves 8
A sweet & sour condiment made from fresh cherries, perfect on grilled meat.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
  1. 1 1/4 lb. fresh cherries, pitted and roughly chopped (approximately 3 cups)
  2. 1/2 small red onion, diced
  3. 1/3 cup dried currants
  4. 1 clove garlic, minced
  5. 1 1/2 tsp. grated ginger
  6. 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  7. 1 TB whole grain mustard
  8. 2 TB light brown sugar
  9. 1 tsp kosher salt
  10. 1 TB canola oil
  1. In a medium pot, heat oil over medium low heat then add onions and garlic. Cook until softened, but not browned (5 minutes). Add red wine vinegar and cook a few minutes more.
  2. Add in cherries, currants, ginger, brown sugar, mustard and salt.
  3. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked down and thickened.
  4. Cool completely then pack in an airtight container and refrigerate.
  1. I served this with grilled flank steak, but it would be a great addition to a cheese or charcuterie board!
Pook's Pantry
Cherry Chutney

There’s a New Store in Town


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Safeway. The opinions and text are all mine.

You may have noticed that there is a new store in town.  Safeway has recently opened and I was asked by the company to go check it out!  Safeway is excited to provide the local community an unmatched experience in their new stores including savings programs, grocery delivery and many other new offerings.  Collage 1 

We went in with our list, but we also had the app on my phone, which helped because I was able to see the items I had saved that were on sale.

Upon entering the store, there was a nice young lady at a table with store flyers and materials to sign up for their “Just for U” program.    You can download the Safeway app to your smart phone and start saving.   The offers are based on the app users’ purchase history and organized in a way that works for you, so you can save more on what you actually buy and use.   You don’t need to present a card or clip coupons, once you have the app on your IOS/Android device, the Just for U savings tool provides access to hundreds of offers.  Shoppers have the chance to find over $300 in weekly savings with digital coupons and personalized deals that are available through the just for U savings tool available through the Safeway app and

We hit the produce section first (and we hit it HARD) because we eat a lot of fresh fruit and veggies in this house.  I was quite pleased to see the amount of organics available!produce 



Look at the size of that apple! (We bought two!)  

There were also fresh juices being made when we walked in. They looked fantastic. They were packaged nicely and there were many different options.#2

This morning, I had groceries delivered.  It was rather convenient, considering I was out of eggs and sugar. It’s also pretty easy to sign up and get it done. Click here to create a shopping cart for yourself.   New customers get FREE delivery on their first order and they may also qualify for free or discounted delivery fees on subsequent orders.   The delivery program offers one-hour delivery windows and a  “Shop By History” feature that saves all previously purchased items for easy repeat purchasing.  Their trucks are equipped with both refrigerated and frozen compartments, so frozen items stay frozen and refrigerated items are cool when delivered.  The only downside to this for me was having to allow someone else to choose my produce.  If you are picky about it, like I am, you might consider sticking to other items on your list and visiting the store in person to choose your fruits and vegetables.


My favorite thing about the new Safeway store is the bulk tea section.  They have about a dozen different varieties of loose tea.  I was partial to the Citrus Sunburst tea…  When brewed, it is a beautifully deep shade of pink from the dried hibiscus.  I’m working on a new recipe using this tea, so stay tuned!IMG_0841
I would be remiss if I failed to show you the wine aisle… Hello, Gorgeous!


There is also a beautiful flower section in the store.  I snapped a shot of this orchid as we were leaving.
Now We’re Cookin’ with Gas! 
Safeway has partnered up with Chevron to bring you even more savings!  Earn gas rewards every time you shop at your local Safeway store.  For every dollar spent,  you start earning rewards… you could save up to .20 a gallon on gas.  Enroll today at or download the Safeway app.  Using the rewards could not be easier!   I saved on gas yesterday, paying only $1.95/gal instead of $2.15/gal, thankyouverymuch…  You can either enter your card number, or as I did, phone number because I didn’t have that info with me.  The screen at the pump then asks if you would like to use your rewards & voila!  Easy Peasy.

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Safeway. The opinions and text are all mine.
All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my photos without prior written permission. Thank you!