Got GlutenFree Vegan Sourdough? Vegan Mario’s Has You Covered.



Our household is gluten-free and vegan. Jen was diagnosed with celiac over a decade ago, my dad has celiac, and one of our babies has celiac. I am predisposed to have it, too. For obvious reasons, we keep wheat gluten out of our kitchen and create meals that are just as delicious by finding amazing replacements.

Finding amazing replacements for gluten-free, vegan bread is almost impossible.

However, every so often we discover a new product that is both gluten-free and vegan and we immediately have to try it. This was the case with Vegan Mario’s sourdough bread from Vegan Mario’s Gluten Free Shop in Oak View, California. While Vegan Mario’s is no longer open to walk-in customers they have shifted focus to their wholesale orders and online storefront (LOCALS are welcome to come in and pick up anything they see on their site and can use promotional code “CALOCAL” to remove any shipping charges) and I highly recommend placing an order today!

An innovative organic, gluten-free, vegan bakery like Vegan Mario’s is just one more reason to move to California.


The loaf arrived simply slid into a white paper bag, adding to the authenticity of the bread itself. No plastic liner. Not frozen solid. A loaf of bread the way nature intended. In a white paper bag. It was as if Mario’s was right here in Upstate New York dropping it off to us.

The loaf we tried was their quinoa, brown rice and it was delicious. I can now say was, because we finished it within a couple of days. The hand-written note from the bakery said we could “refresh the bread” by putting it in the oven at 350° for 12 minutes.

Instead, we sliced it and started eating it right away.


Jen spent many years living in California and is no stranger to the nuanced properties of a great sourdough and this bread from Mario’s did not disappoint. We toasted, grilled, sliced, buttered, baked, sandwiched, and grill cheesed it … just to make sure it could hold up to any culinary challenge.

It did.

A real delicious loaf of organic, gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan sourdough available at any time online? Yes. We’ll be back to Mario’s for more! Visit them at the Ojai Certified Farmers Market, on their website to see their other amazing options, and get to know them better on Facebook today!

Go vegan.

Watch for the release of The Reluctant Vegan from Skyhorse Publishing in fall 2017!

Who Wants: Gluten-free Vegan Steamy Stretchy Homemade Bready Goodness?


On Jen’s request this weekend I made a loaf of my gluten-free, vegan bread. This also gave me the opportunity to portion out the ingredients for testing since this is the bread that I am taking to market and last night’s loaf is a testament to it’s steamy, stretchy, yeasty goodness that I know those living wheat-free will love.

IMG_5812I put aside all the dry ingredients, and one yeast package, with hand-written instructions for a newly-diagnosed Celiac I know who works at Cornell University. She is going to test my recipe for ease of preparation and to see if this satisfies the one major craving most wheat-free individuals are seeking: really good bread.

IMG_5818This loaf turned out particularly good and we couldn’t wait for it to cool before slicing into it. I always (after learning the hard way) check the center temperature of a loaf of bread (205°) for doneness. Tapping on the bottom is for the real experts, sticking a thermometer into the middle … well, that guarantees success every time.

IMG_5820This is the kind of real bread that makes people who are gluten-free ask a few times, “are you sure this is gluten-free?”

IMG_5827When these initial test results come back, I will price out all the ingredients, create some stunning packaging, and offer it to the masses. All you will need on your end is a mixer (standing preferred), 4 X 8 loaf pan, 1 1/2 cups of warm water, and 3 T of olive oil. Oh, and an oven.

IMG_5833With last night’s loaf I made another VioLife grilled cheese sandwich (this time with their Olive Oil flavor). I know I am prone to be hyperbolic, but this was the best grilled cheese I ever had. I later followed it up with a piece of toast topped with Manna Organics’ Coconut Cashew Butter. Delicious!

Think you’d like to purchase this gluten-free, vegan bread for yourself? Fill out this form and I will put you on my list to let you know when it’s ready to go!

Go vegan.

How Not to Starve to Death as a Vegan (and Get More Protein in the Process)



If you scroll back through all my blog posts since launching, you’ll find a pattern evolving. I have gone from the Reluctant Vegan (of which I still own a very handsome t-shirt Jen bought me with that blazoned across the front) to full-fledged compassionate, ethical, out-of-the-cupboard vegan. A man who constantly complained about there being nothing to eat, is now eating more than ever before. I can still recall the early days of veganism and going on and on about there being no selection of foods for vegans … at gas stations (while on the road) and vending machines (trying to get a quick snack). I now fully realize how ridiculous that was.

Imagine that. I can no longer enjoy a greasy breakfast sandwich that has been in a warmer for eight hours nor can I consume an 800-calorie chocolate bar.

Back then, I didn’t see the ignorance in this.

Today, I am not only thriving with amazing food every day, I am cooking up a storm all week long (and mostly on the weekends), trying out new recipes and creating foods that rival any omnivores best day. Not only are these meals tasty and filling, they are packed with vitamins, minerals, and protein … yes, protein. In fact, most of the meals I make are loaded with more protein than any person would need for a year.

Since making this life-changing, lane-changing, game-changing shift in thinking, some of my more popular dishes include:

  • Pizza. Gluten-free and vegan and every bit as good as a meat and dairy cheese pizza (the one here is pictured with soy chorizo).
  • Soy chorizo. I originally discovered the one at Trader Joe’s but have since made my own homemade version (using TVP) and it’s pretty amazing. Spicy and delicious!
  • Macaroni and cheese. Some soy milk and dairy-free cheese. A little nutritional yeast. Melted and poured over gluten-free elbows. You can broil it at the end to get that crispy top.
  • Chocolate chunk cookies. Jen’s recipe. These are so bad to have around the house because they are so good. Recipe on my recipe link.
  • Burritos and tacos. Pretty much all variations of Mexican cuisine translates beautifully to vegan.
  • Kimchi. I make a spicy vegan version of this Korean side dish that is so good for you that you can eat an entire jar in one sitting (it’s known to happen).
  • Lasagna. Red or white, this layered pasta dish is the perfect addition to any potluck and it’ll go fast.
  • Gluten free vegan bread. Took me 9 tries to get my recipe right but I got it right. Straight from the oven, this is one tasty, steamy loaf!
  • Broccoli quiche. Perfect for any brunch. Completely egg and dairy free.
  • Fettuccine Alfredo. There is so much you can do with cashews and this Alfredo sauce rivals any out there. Cashews also make wonderful cream/s.
  • Sweet Potato Fries. Toss in sesame oil, garlic powder, and paprika. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes (flip once midway) and serve with chipotle Veganaisse dipping sauce. Shut the front door.
  • PĂŁo de Queijo. Simple and gluten-free Brazilian cheese bread, or PĂŁo de Queijo, made with tapioca flour and dairy-free cheese. Seriously, kids will kill each other for this. Brings new meaning to “Hunger Games.”
  • Bacon. That’s right. Bacon is no longer a cut of meat, it’s now designated a flavor. So, with that, making bacon out of shiitake mushrooms is allowed and are great on baked potatoes with sour cream.
  • Chicken wings. With a product like Beyond Meat available, this dish is a no-brainer. Serve with your favorite wing sauce and celery and you can enjoy this while your pet chicken watches.
  • Salads. Yes I eat salads, too. Probably not as many as I should but I also cut myself some slack here … since eating all these other foods is so much fun!

So, for those of you who wonder what vegans eat or think that we only eat salads? Think again. And think about going vegan … and …

Go vegan.

Grain free revolution


Grain free revolution

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a baking demo at Le Garden Bakery, outside of Ithaca, NY. This 100% gluten free (and getting VERY close to 100% vegan) commercial bakery has developed some of the most innovative mixes available anywhere. And what makes Le Garden most unique is the fact that their flat bread, yeast bread, pizza dough, frozen pizza crusts and all their other wonderful products are GRAIN free.

Grain free.

In 1997, after the birth of her son, Laurie Geis discovered she had to strictly avoid gluten containing foods which, at the time, left very few healthy options available that looked appealing and tasted good. That inspired her to formulate over 50 gourmet, gluten free products and in 2005, she started Le Garden Bakery, creators of gourmet gluten free foods (content from the company website).

Then just last year after Laurie studied at the American College of Healthcare Sciences to learn more about health and wellness and food allergens, Le Garden Bakery, became one of the very first all natural, non-gmo, completely grain free, gluten free bakeries in the U.S. They have figured out a formula that works every time. That’s not an easy thing to do.

I should know. It took me eight attempts to get one good loaf of gluten free, vegan bread to work (recipe here) and MY recipe contains eight different flours and takes all afternoon to make.

During the demo, we made a loaf of bread that would feed a family (we actually used two bags of the mix) and baked in just about a half hour. Steamy, delicious bread with actual air holes and a crispy crust. To make it, simply mix the Le Garden Bread Mix with water and agave and let rise for 10 minutes and bake. Perfect every time. Tonight we made a flatbread (shown) topped with garlic and basil that had soft sections and crispy sections. Cut into strips, we dipped it into marinara sauce and ate it with our gluten free penne. Delizioso!

If you’re gluten free you know how impossible it is to find good bread. If you’re gluten free and vegan, it’s even more impossible. And if you’re gluten free, vegan and grain free … you’ve probably given up. Now, thanks to Le Garden Bakery, you can enjoy all those incredible home made breads you thought you would never eat again. For more information, visit their website.