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July 2011

Skinny Sexy Short Order Cook: Vegan Toasted Cheese and Tomato Sandwiches


What to do with all of the wonderful tomatoes that are beginning to come into season? I love fresh vine ripened tomatoes and pretty much refuse to have anything to do with that luscious red fruit (Yes the tomato IS a fruit!) at any other time of the year. I eat them during the hot summer months whenever I can some times three times a day and always for breakfast! I think that this is left over from my childhood, when my mother used to make me open faced grilled cheese with tomatoes and bacon on toast for breakfast everyday before I went to school! 

These days I rarely eat the cheese or the bacon, but that still does not keep me away from my beloved comfort food! Vegannaise is an excellent substitute for mayonnaise and galaxy rice cheese  in any of the flavors will be perfect! If you want to have cheese or bacon , have real cheese OR real bacon but still use the vegannaise~ that will keep you at your 10 percent sin level!  After that it's really simple. Just spread a piece of Ezekiel sprouted whole wheat bread with a bit of vegannaise that you've mixed with some fine herbes and a little bit of garlic. Add a piece of rice cheese and pile the tomatoes and some fresh basil and whatever else you want on top. If you want it toasted just reverse the ingredients- cheese on top! Put the whole thing under the broiler for a few minutes and you've got the oozy, gooey toasted cheese that you remember. If you want the bacon flavor (like I always do!) just layer a slice or two of smoky tempeh or smoked tofu over the tomatoes before you add the cheese! Delicious!

We're doing 103 in the shade here in Northeast Ohio so toasted cheese was not on the menu today! The sandwich shown above was however and it was wonderful. Ezekiel bread, "Cheese", Vegannaise  and those flowers  are peppery edible nasturtiums from my garden, chives and fresh basil too! I dusted the whole thing with a bit of sea salt and ate it with gusto! Quick, Delicious and so very good for you!


Skinny Sexy Short Order Cook: Banh Mi


The other day when I was at the farmers market with my pal John, I watched with unabashed jealousy as he devoured a wonderful looking Banh Mi sandwich from our local food truck Umami Moto. Sadly picking at my Pad Thai which was wonderful  but not the oozy , juicy mayonnaise laden sandwich that my friend was enjoying,  I swore that I would go home a create a vegan version.  Banh Mi is basically Vietnamese fast food, a toasted baguette covered with wonderful toppings; traditionally juicy, fatty roasted pork or some other meat , mayo , cilantro and some equivalent of Kim Chee.  (A delightfully spicy pickled cabbage and carrot mixture!)

Tonight my hunger got the best of me so on the way home I stopped at whole foods and invented it on the spot. The result was better than I expected, in fact, I'm having a hell of a time not wandering back into the kitchen for the leftovers.  What I really miss quite often is all of the taste, drippiness and flavor that comes with fast food. I do not miss the meat or trans fats! This sandwich has it all..."Mayo", sweet and spicy cabbage, texture and a wonderful meaty flavor to boot! Find the freshest baguette possible, it really makes a difference!  From start to finish, it took me about 15 minutes to make!

For one Banh Mi you will need:

About 8" of fresh baguette, sliced and buttered with Earth Balance spread on each side

6 Seitan pieces that you've fried a bit and coated with a sweet and sour soy sauce glaze or I buy them already prepared at Whole Foods, look for the Vegan General Sho's "Chicken".

A drop or two of liquid smoke if you enjoy a smoky flavor!

Fresh cilantro

Fresh Arugula

daikon radish sliced lengthwise, thin and flat

About 2 1/4 cup of Kim Chee which you can find already prepared

Skinny long pieces of sliced green onion

Vegannaise (about 1 and a half tablespoons per sandwich) Add the liquid smoke to the Vegannaise for a smoky flavor. No more than a drop per tablespoon! 


Slicing the veggies is the hardest part! Toast the pieces of baguette on a griddle until lightly golden and lay them flat on a plate. Spread each half (top and bottom) with the Vegannaise. Spread the Kim Chee on the bottom half and then lay the Daikon, onions, cilantro  on top. Place the pieces of sweet and sour glazed Seitan on top and the arugula on top of them. Add the top of the baguette, pick up in your hands and enjoy the whole juicy delicious mess!

Serve with grilled sweet corn that you've dust with more Earth Balance, salt and chili powder!  No wine here...try this meal with a delicious fresh microbrew!


Photograph by Beth Schreibman Gehring/ All rights reserved

Skinny Sexy Tools ~ The Vitamix 5200


My Vitamix IS the one appliance that would be with me if I were ever stranded on an island. There is literally not a day that goes by that I don't use it in someway because it helps me create incredibly fast, healthy meals that are so simple and completely fresh and delicious! I've discovered that consuming a diet rich in whole foods simply lets me live better  and for me is the key to keeping me   healthy and happy moving into my ahem...middle aged life.

You see it all the time now...Even Doctors are finally acknowledging that the key to real and lasting health is to  consume more fruits, vegetables and whole grains every day while also encouraging us to eat way less meat, fish and dairy. From a sustainable foods practice this only makes sense. We are what we eat and if you're consuming factory farmed flesh of any sort (even farmed fish)  for the most part you're consuming fear and adrenalin, pus, blood  and a overload of antibiotics and hormones that are contributing to the rise of antibiotic superbugs,diabetes, obesity and cancers everywhere.

I love my mostly vegan diet and it's easy to stick to when you've got a weapon like the Vitamix in your arsenal!  I make fresh juice that's full of fiber and flavor in under a minute.I can cook fresh soups from scratch and have them hot enough to serve in just a few minutes. Salsa is a snap and so is guacamole (although to be fair I do prefer making it the old fashioned way in a stone bowl)I can make fresh  puddings and ice creams that are full of fruit  (or chocolate) and low in fat in really only 30 seconds.

If I had a baby this would be the only appliance that I'd ever need. Pureeing anything in the Vitamix is a snap and if you put the food in after you've cooked it you'll never need to buy a jar of commercial baby food again! When I make "Cream of anything" soup, before I strain it I give a turn in the Vitamix and then press it through a chinoise. The machine purees so well that it eliminates the need for extra cream (I generally use unsweetened coconut milk) and gives any soup a silken texture. When I want real butter I make my own using the Vitamix is about 2 minutes and in a pinch it whips cream in about 30 seconds.   I even make plant food with it using fish and veggie scraps, coffee beans ,eggshells and water! If you want one of your very own and trust me you really do, check out this link below!

The Men of Skinny Sexy Food!



It's a funny thing. The kitchen is no longer the woman's domain! When I jumped onto Facebook about two years ago, I started finding quite a few of my old guy friends, men that I haven't seen since High School. That was wonderful in and of itself, but I suddenly noticed that me and the boys were talking almost non-stop about food...and cooking...and technique.

I was intrigued and totally inspired. So I've asked them to join me here and I'm calling them the Men of Skinny Sexy Food! I've got their pictures and recipes and I'll be sharing them here soon, starting tomorrow with my darling husband who tonight made me the most delicious vegan mushroom and truffle bruschetta for dinner! They are mostly not all vegan or even fully vegetarian, but they are all interested in eating well, eating sustainably and eating for health. These guys go to farmers markets and plant their own gardens; they really take the time to get to know their food!

Their wives are lucky women and that's one of my definitions of a Skinny Sexy Man....It's got nothing to do with body type and everything to do with passion. They love to cook for their families, and to me that's totally hot. They love to entertain... Who knows...maybe we'll even have a calendar:) And guys don't despair...the Ladies of Skinny Sexy Food will be coming to your laptop very soon:)


Photo of Bruschetta/Beth Schreibman Gehring- All rights reserved

What Happens in Las Vegas!


People ask me all the time right now "What was it that made the difference?" How are you losing so much weight? Well, the truth is that I've always eaten fairly well, but there was the matter of that say....extra 25 pounds that probably worked into the equivalent of 500 pounds given how many times I've gained and lost them! Jim and I have always paid attention to our health, but like everyone else  we'd slip and fall right off of the low fat, low carb ,low whatever we were doing at that point. I looked okay in my clothes I thought, but not great, but I wasn't truly motivated and Jim's the kind of guy that if he doesn't have meat, starch and veggies on the plate feels completely deprived. 

Then we went to Las Vegas with our good friends Steve and Freida. The two of them just happen to be our sons girlfriends parents and this was the first time we'd traveled together so we weren't quite sure what to expect. We stayed at the Wynn and from the very beginning of the trip til the end we had a fabulous time.  Freida is pretty amazing- a stunning blond, about 5'5" with a killer body and a razor sharp whip; a brilliant business woman who I connect with in many ways but mostly I thought through our mutual passion for cooking and family. Little did I know that this particular trip with her would change the structure of my life in such a wonderful way! 

The four of us had a blast together eating, drinking and the guys played (and won!) alot of Blackjack while Freida and I went shopping. Constantly!  That's when it hit me. I had a better time shopping with Freida then I'd  ever had in my whole life. Every girl should have a friend like her.  I was having a wonderful time watching her enjoy herself with abandon...Barneys, Neimans, Diane Von Furstenburg, Oscar de la Renta and Dior and halfway through the first day she looked at me and said "How come you're not trying anything on?".  I realized that I was embarrassed because of my not size 8 body but she was insistent. She wanted me to have as much fun as she was having and she wasn't judging me.  So I started trying on dresses and quickly realized that I had already lost a little bit of weight! But what was so striking was her complete and total emotional generosity. I known alot of women in my life who professed a real sisterhood, but Freida IS the essence of GIRL POWER! She wasn't going to be happy unless I was having fun too!

She MADE me try things on that I would never have tried and she made me buy them. She was so much fun and as I watched her I realized that the only difference between the two of us was that she'd learned to really  discipline herself. She works out practically everyday and she really watches what she eats and then when she wants to she chucks the whole thing. Trust me...we ate really well in Las Vegas! What i realized hanging out with her for a bit was that she'd simply made a choice to be fit, gorgeous and healthy. I realized at that moment that a choice was all I needed to make as well.   

By the time we left Las Vegas I was already committed to a change in our lifestyle. I went home determined to find a way through the maze of diet madness that worked for Jim and me. We joined a JIm...I rediscovered swimming. I find that if I go a day now without doing something...swimming, riding our bike or going for a long walk that I miss it.  I even go without Jim which is a big deal for me! The next part of the plan was really making a commitment to the kind of diet that I know works for me which is primarily plant based. Jim has been eating it with me...having a partner in crime makes it so much more fun. Then I decided on the 10 percent sin part primarily because in this lifetime I will never be able to pass up a plate of wonderful cheese or homemade ice cream made with small batch heavy cream.  It's just not in me. I have become very conscious of the emotional impact of my food choices and meat is just not in the program for the most part anymore, but if I want it (and I know that there's going to come a time this will be the case) I'm going to make sure that I know where it came from and how it was raised. I said in my first post, I'm not willing to not eat something that was made for me with love. The other day I ate a plateful of chicken salad  at a board meeting/luncheon thrown in my honor. I wouldn't have missed it for anything and it was delicious!

So  my diet is for the most part vegan/ vegetarian  with room for a bit of play! I love the food and have so much more energy than when I eat meat, chicken or even fish. Fish was my mainstay but I've discovered that I really don't like the taste anymore. I've learned a lot of tricks to make things taste really good without dairy namely butter which I used to ingest by the pound.I use Earth Balance soy butter and vegannaise which really taste good without the trans fats! I've learned to love coconut milk and almond milk. I learned to finally love pasta with rich yummy tomato sauce, grilled vegetables and shredded vegan rice cheese.  I've joined a CSA and love the thrill that I get every week when I pick up the box of farm fresh vegetables. 

You've got to know that although I  work my plan everyday sometimes I make a mess of it! But what's different now is that I just get right back on and when I fall off, I remember my choice and my commitment! I've lost about 12 pounds and I look really good in my clothes again. I'm getting fit and toned from all of the exercise, which was formally a dirty word! The other thing I've noticed is that because I'm eating a really well balanced diet (believe it or not a vegan diet can be very well balanced!) I'm not snacking and because I'm exercising my hormones are more balanced. I have  barely taken a herbal supplement since I started and before I relied on them all of the time. I feel great and I'm proud of what I'm doing and for the first time in my life it doesn't feel like work!

You can do this too! I'll be your girlfriend and hold your hand through the process. It helps to have someone to share the journey with. Let me know what I can do for you and tell me - What's your 10% sin?