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Archive for the ‘Vegan Cuisine’ Category

The Best Vegan and Plant-based Gifts for the Holidays

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Looking to spread the vegan cheer this Christmas season? Enjoy these 8 lovely gift ideas in support of healthy, compassionate living.

The holiday season can be fraught with anxiety; questions like “what should I get my sister?” and “how can I stay healthy this time of year?” are common; luckily, finding meaning and balance is easier than you think. Shower your loved ones with the gift of a healthful 2019, with presents ranging from amazing culinary gadgets, to books and magazines, to the best in organic skincare products! Here’s a round-up of our favorites.

1. Cookbooks with Substance

We’re big fans of cookbooks with substance, the ones that delve into the proven benefits of the plant-based diet. They offer short, concise chapters interspersed with delicious, healthy recipes and meal planning tools. The roster of presenters throughout Holistic Holiday at Sea includes several authors of such books; because they’re easy to digest (literally), these books are powerful tools in converting minds and bellies. We highly recommend Rip Esselstyn’s The Engine 2 Diet, which made the The New York Times Best Seller List and was endorsed by famous brands and people alike, including former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and Whole Foods Markets. You might couple this present with Rip’s follow-up book, The Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Diet.

2. Vegan, Organic Wine from Frey Vineyards

Indulge in the best. Frey Vineyards offers artisan wines from their Northern California vineyards made in the biodynamic tradition. All of Frey Vineyard’s award-winning wines are organic and vegan. They’re easy to order and will certainly impress the wine mavens on your list!

3. Saladmaster Cooking System

If your gift recipient is excited to prepare more veggie-focused dishes to optimize their health, Saladmaster’s exceptional, stainless steel cookware couldn’t be a better gift. This time-proven, innovative cooking system allows for the creation of incredible, plant-based meals without the use of fats, oil, added water, and without the danger of overheating food. The technology maintains optimal amounts of vitamins and nutrients.

4. Essential Oils from EO

Pure essential oils can be blissful, medicinal, and replace traditional perfumes containing harmful, artificial ingredients. EO has a legacy of crafting the highest quality, plant-based body care products featuring essential oils, and their line includes sanitizers, deodorants, moisturizers, facial products, and perfumes. If you’re shopping for a vegan or a loved one with sensitive skin, you really can’t go wrong with EO’s range of divinely smelling products.

5. Vitamix

There’s no better tool for diving head-first into a healthy, plant-based lifestyle than a Vitamix! From smoothies to soups to sauces, the Vitamix is so much more than a blender; revolutionize your friend or loved one’s kitchen with the gift of the iconic Vitamix!

6. Magazine Subscriptions

Your new and long-time vegan loved ones will be delighted to receive a subscription to magazines Thrive, Origin, Vegetarian Journal, or VegNews! Help them stay on top of their plant-based game, discover new recipes, and share their passion for the vegan lifestyle with this gift!

7. Books, Foods, and Tools in Support of the Macrobiotic Lifestyle

For friends and loved ones intrigued by macrobiotic principles and concepts, we recommend HHAS presenter Jessica Porter’s The Hip Chick’s Guide to Macrobiotics, written with humor, and packed with great information and recipes. Couple the book with a sampling of traditional Japanese macrobiotic foods such as miso, umeboshi, maitake mushrooms, and seaweed. Many healing macrobiotic foods can be found in natural foods stores or ordered directly from Great Eastern Sun, Gold Mine Natural Foods, or Eden Foods. These companies are HHAS partners, and offer healing foods in the Zen Buddhist tradition of macrobiotics.

8. Artisan Body Products

Select safe and natural products that support the vegan lifestyle with some of our favorite and most trusted body care brands. Browse the product lines of Goddess Gardens for a variety of natural sunscreens, check out South of France for exceptional soaps and handwashes, and discover rose water and rose oil based face and body serums, creams, and sprays by Rosense.

8 Summer Salad Recipes You’ll Love

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Nothing compares to the taste of fresh, crisp salad on a hot summer day. They’re light, flavorful, and refreshing. But compost that iceberg lettuce that’s been sitting in the fridge, and throw out that fatty store-bought dressing; there are so many amazing salad recipes out there that not only taste good, but are good for your health.

We asked several of the culinary geniuses who are often guests on our vegan cruise each year for some of their favorite salad recipes. Here’s what they shared! We also included a summertime treat from the cruise-inspired Greens & Grains on the Deep Blue Sea Cookbook by Sandy Pukel and Mark Hanna.

Give these simple (but oh-so-good) creations a try in your own kitchen and delight your friends and family. You may love them so much that they become your year-round go-tos!

Quinoa and Chickpea Tabbouleh Salad by Julieanna Hever

Known as the Plant-Based Dietitian, Julieanna Hever, M.S., R.D., C.P.T., has authored four books, including The Vegiterranean Diet, where this recipe can be found. She shares, “I love this salad because it is fresh and simple, yet hearty and satiating.”

Light and herb-infused, this salad is refreshing and extremely nutritious. Traditionally made with bulgur wheat, this gluten-free version boasts similar flavors, but it’s friendly for those eschewing gluten and more substantial because of the added chickpeas.

Serves 4


3 to 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

1 garlic clove, minced (optional)

2 cups cooked quinoa

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 large unpeeled cucumber, seeded and diced

3/4 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes

3/4 cup finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley

3/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup finely chopped scallions


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and zest, pepper, salt, and garlic. Fold in the quinoa, chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes, parsley, mint, and scallions, and combine well.
  2. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate. Serve cold or at room temperature. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.


Magnetic Wild Rice Salad

Rip Esselstyn develops and implements plant-based programs that transform people’s health around the world. He shared with us this recipe from The Engine 2 Cookbook that he co-authored with Jane Esselstyn.

Every year, Jane and her coven of girlfriends and their families gather together for a magical visit at our family farm. There are twenty-two altogether, so they divide up the meal duties among the five families. One of the coven members, Magnetic Pennie, a bright-eyed Dane who draws everyone into her beautiful, colorful world, makes this fresh, colorful wild rice salad for lunch each year. It is a universal hit. Don’t know what to make for your next gathering? This is the ticket.


Serves 6

2 cups cooked wild rice

4 stalks celery, chopped

1/2 bunch parsley, stemmed and chopped

4 green onions, chopped

1 Granny Smith apple, cubed

1 cup mandarin oranges, drained

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup walnuts, in pieces

1 avocado, cubed (optional)

6 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or more to taste


Prepare the wild rice as directed on package; this is usually 3:1 water to wild rice ratio. Let cool.

In a beautiful salad bowl, toss together the wild rice, celery, parsley, green onions, apple, oranges, cranberries, walnuts, avocado if using, and vinegar. Taste to see if you prefer more red wine vinegar. It is up to your preference! Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Southwestern Bean Salad

Kim Campbell, author of The PlantPure Nation Cookbook and The PlantPure Kitchen, has developed more than 250 delicious, whole-food, plant-based recipes using no processed oils. She shares with us two recipes from The PlantPure Nation Cookbook: Southwestern Bean Salad and Creamy Kale Salad.

This recipe is for bean lovers. Seasoned perfectly to give it a Southwestern flavor, the beans, corn, and avocado also make is a satisfying salad that everyone will love.

Serves 4-6

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes


One 15-ounces can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

One 15-ounces can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup fresh or frozen corn, thawed

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1/2 cup medium diced red onion

1 cup halved or quartered cherry tomatoes

1 avocado, pitted and diced

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup lime juice

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

2 teaspoons Sriracha

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Combine beans and vegetables in a large bowl. Don’t hesitate to add different vegetables depending on what is in season.
  2. Blend vinegar, lime juice, maple syrup, sea salt, cumin, chili powder, and Sriracha in a small bowl. Add more chili powder and Sriracha if you like it spicier!
  3. Drizzle over beans and vegetables and toss to coat.
  4. Refrigerate for an hour and then sprinkle with the cilantro before serving.


Creamy Kale Salad

Chopped kale, shredded carrots, and red bell peppers marinated in an almond dressing make this dish not only delicious, but nutrient dense. Kale has never tasted so good!

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 30 minutes



2 tablespoons lime juice

2 teaspoons ginger, pureed

1/4 cup almond butter

1/4 cup onion, diced

1/4 cup water

2 garlic cloves

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, raw or toasted


2 bunches curly kale, chopped with stems removed

2 carrots, shredded

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

3 radishes, cleaned and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, raw or toasted (for garnishing)


    1. In a blender, add the dressing ingredients and process until smooth and creamy.
    2. Place the chopped kale in a large mixing bowl and pour the dressing over the kale.
    3. Massage with hands until the kale is tender, about 5-8 minutes.
    4. Add the remaining veggies and toss until well combined. Cover and refrigerate the salad for an hour or two, allowing it to rest and absorb the flavors.
    5. Garnish with sunflower seeds before serving.     


Quinoa Salad with Currants & Pistachios


(Photo by Straight Up Food)

Chef AJ has helped many people achieve the health and body that they want and deserve. She has been devoted to a plant-exclusive diet for more than four decades. In addition to being a television host and chef, she is also an author. Here she shares two recipes. The Quinoa Salad with Currants & Pistachios is from Unprocessed: How to Achieve Vibrant Health and Your Ideal Weight (2011). The OMG Watermelon Salad is from her newest book, The Secrets to Ultimate Weight Loss.


Prep time: 25 mins

Cook time: 20 mins

Total time: 45 mins

Serves: 6 to 8 (makes 8 cups)


2½ cups water

1¼ cups (8 ounces) uncooked quinoa

½ cup lime juice (about 3 large limes)

3 tablespoons lime zest (from the 3 limes above)

4 medium green onions (scallions), chopped

1 cup Italian parsley leaves, packed (1 ounce), finely chopped

1 cup fresh mint leaves, packed (1 ounce), finely chopped

1 cup currants

½ cup raw, unsalted pistachios, whole or coarsely chopped

½ cup pomegranate seeds (when in season)


  1. To cook the quinoa, place it in a medium saucepan along with the water. Bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook covered for 20 minutes. After cooking, set the quinoa aside to cool. (The quinoa may also be cooked ahead of time so that it is completely cooled when you are ready to assemble the salad.)
  2. To zest the limes, use a Microplane or other small-toothed grater, and then juice the limes (it’s much easier to zest any citrus before juicing it).
  3. Once the quinoa has cooled, place it into a large bowl and add all of the other ingredients, including lime juice and zest. Mix thoroughly. Serve immediately or chill to serve later.


If you do not have limes, orange juice and zest work well; raisins or chopped, dried cherries work well in place of currants; and chopped pecans work well in place of pistachios.

Quinoa comes in various colors: white/yellow, red, black, or a mix of all three. Any color works in this recipe; the multi-colored quinoa gives it even more visual appeal.

This is a great party or special occasion dish for 6 to 8 people. Double the recipe if you are serving a larger group.

(Chef AJ’s recipe was reprinted in Straight Up Food.)


OMG Watermelon Salad




Fresh Mint

Lime juice and zest


Cube and seed the watermelon and cucumber. Add fresh mint and lime, to taste.

Chill before serving. 


Spelt Salad

Jessica Porter is the author of The MILF Diet and The Hip Chick’s Guide to Macrobiotics. One of her favorite dishes is this Spelt Salad. When she shared it with us, she included this note: “This is a colorful and satisfying grain salad I got from my friend Sarah Loring of Connecticut. Her food—like her—has a certain gracefulness.”

Serves 4–6


1 1/2 cups spelt, soaked overnight

4 cups water

a pinch of sea salt

1 small red onion, diced

1 small green pepper, diced

1 carrot, diced small

1/4 red cabbage, diced

1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped

2 teaspoons shoyu

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons olive oil

pinch of white pepper


Rinse spelt and soak overnight. Drain and place in pan with 4 cups water and a pinch of sea salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 1 hour. Pour into a colander (in the sink), draining any remaining liquid, and set aside to cool.

Dice vegetables and put in a large bowl. Add remaining seasonings and mix. Toss with cooled spelt. Taste and adjust seasonings.

If you let the salad sit for an hour or more before serving, the flavor deepens and becomes more complex.

This is wonderful and refreshing served on fresh lettuce leaves and goes with just about everything.


Arame-Orange-Watercress Salad

With innovative recipes on familiar themes, Greens and Grains on the Deep Blue Sea Cookbook by Sandy Pukel and Mark Hanna features more than a hundred plant-based dishes. Try this delicious salad for your next cookout!

This deliciously exotic salad is oil free.

Serves: 6 to 8


2 cups arame (half 1.75-ounce package)

2 cups apple juice

3 tablespoon shoyu

3 oranges, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces

5 cups watercress (large stems removed)

1/4 cup lightly toasted slivered almonds


  1. Rinse and drain the arame, then place in a medium saucepan. Add the apple juice and let soak 10 minutes.
  2. Bring the arame-apple juice mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Add the shoyu and simmer 5 minutes more. Drain the arame and let cool.
  3. In a large salad bowl, combine the cooled arame, oranges, and watercress. Toss gently, garnish with almonds, and serve immediately.


  • Substitute hijiki for the arame.
  • Toss in some julienne-cut daikon.
  • Instead of orange pieces, use grapefruit pieces and grapefruit juice, or apple pieces and apple juice. (If using apples, add 1 tablespoon lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown.)

Set Your Intentions This Spring Part II

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Yoga participant on 2017 cruise

Ah, it’s finally Spring! After cold weather in some areas left us feeling cooped up inside, and comfort foods appealed to our appetites, so many of us begin to take stock of where we are and where we want to be in mind, body, and spirit. This is the second part of a two-part series on the Holistic Holiday at Sea blog. Check out the first part here.

In this post, macrobiotic counselor Warren Kramer and registered dietitian Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT give us their tips for awakening the body and feeding what we crave.

Subtle Shifts: The Liver

Warren Kramer is a macrobiotic counselor, lecturer, and cooking teacher. He says, “In traditional Chinese medicine, early Spring (February 4), is when we begin our adjustments for the changing season. Making subtle changes at that time helps the body to adjust to the warmer weather on the way, as well as support the paired organs that relate to the season: the liver and gallbladder. It is what also builds a strong immune system as we align with the environment better that way.”

Warren explains that women’s health is influenced by the liver more than any other organ in the body. Symptoms of an imbalanced liver include: irritability, excess heat in the body, skin rashes, headaches, grinding the teeth at night, difficulty losing weight, fibroids, thyroid issues, trouble digesting fats, eye issues, hip pain, and so many more. “Spring represents an upward rising energy and that is what supports the liver as well.”

kale salad on our 2017 vegan cruise.Warren Kramer’s Suggestions for Liver Health

  • Eat plenty of upward-growing leafy greens, lightly cooked, like kale, collards, bok choy, and Napa cabbage. Both tempeh and mung beans, as well as other high-quality plant proteins are great support for the liver. The cooling effect of sea vegetables are also of great benefit to take heat out of the liver. Wakame in miso soup, kombu in bean dishes, dulse on salads, and nori eaten as a snack or used to make vegan rice rolls with avocado and vegetables.
  • The sour taste in our food also helps to release stagnation in the liver. Lemon, sauerkraut, sour green apple like Granny Smith, brown rice vinegar, and small amounts of umeboshi vinegar also help to open the liver up.
  • Grains like spelt, kamut, barley, hato mugi, oats, rye, and wheat berries in small amounts are wonderful for the light energy they give to the liver.
  • Blanching, steaming, quick sauté, light pickling, raw, and light soups, like a brothy miso soup with a garnish of scallions and greens, make the liver very happy.  
  • The liver and gallbladder are able to cleanse when we eat less. Minimize eating past 7 p.m., sit down to eat, and chew well.
  • One of the best ways to cleanse the liver is to reduce oil in the Spring. This includes the use of nuts, nut butters, and seed butters like tahini.
  • Due to the heavy nature of baked flour products and of course animal proteins, they are best avoided or minimized to support the liver. Eating less volume of food has amazing results when trying to help cleanse the liver.
  • Spending time around green in nature is so helpful as well as expressing our creative self as the liver relates to creativity. We need to find ways to gently release the pressure that can build up in our body and the liver. Certainly laughing, singing, and dancing can help that. Practicing forgiveness and having compassion are both so healing for the liver, not living in the past. Gently massaging your liver which is just under the rib cage on the right side of your body is also be helpful.

Jumping Back In

Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT, gives a cooking demo on our 2018 cruise.

A registered dietitian, Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT, is a talk show host, international lecturer, and author of The Vegiterranean Diet, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition, and The Permanente Journal’s A Physician’s Guide to Plant-Based Diets. When asked about her advice for spring cleanses, Julieanna replied, “I don’t recommend cleanses, per se. Instead, I recommend people try to incorporate healthy habits into their daily lives. If things get in the way, such as travel, holidays, or stress, I recommend jumping back on the program as soon as you can.”

While some people attempt to quickly make up for months of poor diet and lack of exercise by undergoing extreme cleanses, Julieanna advises, “Instead of dramatic or even dangerous detox regimens, aim to eat plenty of vegetables (especially leafy green and cruciferous varieties), fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds every day.”

The Six Daily Threes

Julieanna offers an easy way to remember how to follow a balanced diet. “Use the 6 Daily 3s as a guideline: Consume three servings each of leafy green veggies (one serving equals one cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked), other-colored veggies, fruits (a serving is one medium piece of fruit or one cup), nuts and seeds (one serving is 0.5 ounces a day), legumes (one to one and a half cups), and include movement (one serving is 20 minutes).

As you shift your diet this season, we hope it brings you energy, joy, and peace. As Warren Kramer concludes, “Springtime means time to lighten up, get in nature, eat less, and have fun.”

Crown Maple Infusions, Recipes & Spring Giveaway!

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The Crown Maple Estate (Photos courtesy of Crown Maple)

Win free syrup: Details below!

When choosing which ingredient can enhance the flavors of your rich dessert, saucy appetizer, or savory main course, reach for a bottle of maple syrup in lieu of conventional sugar or alternative sweeteners. Your body (and taste buds) will thank you—and the environment will, too! Naturally vegan, kosher, sustainable, paleo, gluten-free, earth-friendly, and nutritious Crown Maple’s maple syrup and maple sugar are the best that nature has to offer.

If you were a guest on a recent Holistic Holiday at Sea vegan cruise, you’ve likely enjoyed the delicious taste of Crown Maple products onboard. Many people agree that breakfast is the most important meal. In this post, we share a couple simple recipes for granola and oats to ensure you start your day off right.

We’re also giving one lucky HHAS fan the chance to win a trio of syrups. Keep reading for how to win!

Pure & Simple

Founded in 2010 by Robb and Lydia Turner, Crown Maple has set a new standard for organic maple syrup in terms of purity and quality, from bark to bottle. The Crown Maple Estate in New York’s Hudson Valley is home to the production and bottling of about 60,000 gallons of syrup each year. The maple syrup and sugar comes from forests comprising the Taconic Hardwood Forest, a unique territory extending from the New York eastern mid-Hudson Valley to central western Vermont.

Not just a sweetener, maple syrup is super versatile in the kitchen:

  • Use as a finishing ingredient
  • Topping, baking, saucing, and basting
  • Elevates & enriches savory flavors
  • Enhances depth of sweetness, and caramelization
  • Key focus on usage in coffee and tea and as topping for (vegan!) yogurt and oatmeal

It’s also a superfood sweetener! This year, Crown Maple is rolling out an Apple Cider Maple Vinegar, which has all the benefits of regular apple cider vinegar with the tantalizing sweet taste of maple. Learn more about Maple Crown’s harvesting techniques and snag a recipe for a vegan maple-roasted brussels, shallots, and farro salad by reading our post about Crown Maple from last August.

Easy Vegan Granola Recipe from Crown Maple

This easy vegan granola is a delicious and versatile base. Add your favorite dried fruits and nuts and you have a healthful and crunchy snack or topping.

Prep: 10 minutes

Total time: 1.5 hours

Servings: 10 cups


2 c Crown Maple Very Dark Color and Strong Taste Syrup

7 c Rolled Oats

1/2 c Flax Meal

1/4 c Chia Seeds

8 oz Coconut Oil

1/2 tsp Salt


  1. Heat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, combine oats, flax meal, and chia seeds.
  4. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the syrup, salt, and coconut oil until combined.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well.
  6. Divide between the two baking sheets and spread out.
  7. Bake 45 minutes, then stir and rotate pans.
  8. Bake another 45 minutes.
  9. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.

Crown Maple Coconut Cream Pie Overnight Oats

A delicious maple coconut combination you will eat right up! This overnight oats recipe combines the tropical flavor of coconut with a hint of maple sweetness. Sneak in some superfoods like chia seeds for some added brain fuel and you won’t even know. You will for sure start your day off on the right foot feeling nourished. We recommend using our Crown Maple Madagascar Vanilla Infused syrup for a soft added flavor.

We thank Lorie from the blog Lemons + Zest (formerly Be Whole Be You) for the delicious maple coconut breakfast combination.


2 c Crown Maple Very Dark Color and Strong Taste Syrup

7 c Rolled Oats

1/2 c Flax Meal

1/4 c Chia Seeds

8 oz Coconut Oil

1/2 tsp Salt


  1. Heat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, combine oats, flax meal, and chia seeds.
  4. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the syrup, salt, and coconut oil until combined.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well.
  6. Divide between the two baking sheets and spread out.
  7. Bake 45 minutes, then stir and rotate pans.
  8. Bake another 45 minutes.
  9. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.

Enter for Your Chance to Win

We’re doing a special spring giveaway of Crown Maple’s Royal Treatment box that includes Amber Color Rich Taste, Bourbon Barrel, and Madagascar Vanilla. That’s right—it’s three prizes in one! Three runners-up will receive one 10 oz bag of Crown Maple Sugar!

When it comes to infusions, the makers are rather simple in their approach. “We split a organic Madagascar Vanilla bean and place it in the bottle and then fill it with very hot Dark Color syrup,” says Mike Cobb, CEO of Maple Crown. “The vanilla is infused in the bottle and the bean can be reused after the syrup is gone. For bourbon, we age the Dark Color syrup in a barrel and the flavors of the bourbon are infused from the oak.”

The sweepstakes starts on Monday, March 19. We will be choosing grand prize and runner-up winners on Tuesday, March 27. Click here to enter through Facebook!

Can’t wait? Didn’t win? Use the code HOLISTIC20 for a 20% discount on your order at crownmaple.com (good through June 2018). Cook and bake using ingredients that are good for the planet, your body, and your senses. With Crown Maple products, the sky’s the limit!

Veggie-Friendly Places at Each Port of Call

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Our next Holistic Holiday at Sea ships off on February 15 for a ten-day Caribbean experience like no other! If you’re anything like us, you’re extra excited about not having to worry about cooking for over a week. Plus, with all the great cooking demos onboard you’ll actually leave feeling inspired to try some new things out when you get back home.

While vegan food is offered on the cruise in both sit-down and buffet styles, depending on your preference, guests are on their own if they decide to disembark the ship and explore the ports of call. (If you signed up for one of the six special tours that included a vegan lunch or snack, then you’ll be all set.) Remember that there is a vegan section on the ship’s buffet line that is available until 3:30 p.m on port days.

To help you make the most of your time in town, we rounded up the names of several places where you can expect to find vegetarian and vegan options for each of our six ports of call. We tried to find spots that were within a short walk or cab drive of where the cruise ship will be docked. We recommend doing some research and taking notes on hours and locations before boarding the ship as there will be limited internet access once you’ve set sail. Got a favorite spot that we haven’t listed here? Reach out to us!

Miami, Florida

The elegant MSC Divina will depart and arrive at the Port of Miami on Thursday, February 15 and Sunday, February 25. Here are some restaurants available within a 30-minute drive of the Port.

Bunnie Cakes

2322 NE 2nd Ave

All-vegan bakery. Each cupcake comes decorated with an edible heart. Gluten-free options.

Choices Organic Cafe

2895 McFarlane Rd

Organic food that nourishes the body. Baked fries, smoothies, burgers, and make-your-own wraps and bowls.

Eden in Eden

1248 SW 22nd St

French style. Rediscover forgotten foods and flavors. Vegan and vegetarian organic salads, soups, quiches, crepes, appetizers, and desserts.

GLAM Vegan

3301 NE 1st Ave Suite 103-1

Fast-casual dining with international flair. GLAM stands for Green Living Animals Matter. Menu includes chana masala, spaghetti and meatless balls, and jackfruit “al pastor” tacos.

Manna Life Food

80 NE 2nd Ave

Superfood juice bar and plant-based cafe. Innovative items like superfood arepas and matcha cappuccinos.

Plant Miami

105 NE 24th St

Many whole/raw choices; Certified Kosher. Inspired by Miami’s tropical climate and broad cultural influences.

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI (Sunday)

The Fruit Bowl

9400 Wheatley Center

Established in 1975, this shop specializes in fresh fruit and vegetables from around the world.

Love Livin

Pilgrim Terrace on Mafolie Hill

100% vegan restaurant featuring raw cuisine, smoothies, wines, and snacks, including gourmet popcorn. Please note this restaurant is typically closed on Sundays, but the owner said they would open for this day.

Nile Valley Restaurant

9 Norre Gade

Full-service vegan restaurant with homestyle meals and beverages.

Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis (Monday)

Ital Creations in Fari Organic Farm

Click on link above for directions

Vegan food booth at entrance to U-pick Fari Organic Farm, a quick cab drive from port. Specializes in moringa juice, veggie burgers, and fresh salads.

Lion of Judah Authentic Vital Food – Food Cart

Bay Road

Vegan food cart located along Bay Road facing the Robert L. Bradshaw’s Social Security Building.

Fort-de-France, Martinique (Tuesday)

La Saladier Bio

217-244 Zone de Gros la Jambette

About a 15-minute drive from the port, this salad shop offers guests build-your-own salads and a range of desserts.

Bridgetown, Barbados (Wednesday)

Shabba Cookshop

Deacons Rd

Located in an orange house, this restaurant is mostly vegan, but also has pescatarian and vegetarian options.

Roots Reggae Vegetarian Cafe

Cheapside Public Market, Cheapside Rd

Serves authentic Caribbean cuisine. Situated in a row of huts above Cheapside Market.

Vegan Cottage

Black Rock Main Rd

There’s no menu, but the owner brings you out a plate with a little bit of everything. Take Spring Garden Highway to Black Rock Main Road. Restaurant is about 200 yards down on the right.

Jenn Health & Beauty Cafe

BB11129, Lower Broad St

Casual dining featuring soups, stews, black eyed pea rice, fried plantains, and more.

Indian Grill

Highway 7

About 15 minutes in a cab from the port, this restaurant makes over a dozen different kinds of roti (both vegan and meat).

Juice Bar at ArtSplash Centre

Highway 7

A 16-minute drive from the port, this vegetarian friendly cafe offers salads, healthy bowls, smoothies, and juices.

Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe (Thursday)

Délices Nature

Rue Neil Armstrong

All-vegan, French-style cafe.

See you Soon!

Can’t wait until the cruise to enjoy a vegan meal? You shouldn’t have to! Enjoy a Valentine’s Day celebration with hosts Nanci Alexander and Dr. Neal Barnard of Physicians Committee at Sublime Restaurant & Bar in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on February 14, 2018, from 5:30–7:30 pm. More information and ticket sales here.

We’ll see you on February 15!

Learn Culinary Techniques & Recipes in Our 2018 Cooking Classes

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Guests of Holistic Holiday at Sea aren’t just vacationing on an elegant cruise ship in the Caribbean. They’re learning more about holistic approaches to nutrition, mindfulness, and fitness. They’re becoming more compassionate stewards of the earth and advocates for animals. They’re getting more in touch with their own bodies and journeys to wellness. And they’re falling in love with plant-based food—for the first or hundredth time!

In addition to lectures, movement classes, and gourmet meals throughout the day, our onboard programming also includes cooking classes. We want our guests to leave with the confidence to cook plant-based recipes at home and share them with friends and family. This year’s schedule of cooking class presenters includes Julieanna Hever, Kim Campbell, Jessica Porter, Sandy Club, and Dunja Gulin.

Back to Basics

While it’s fun to get fancy with recipes, sometimes a new twist or update on the basics is exactly what you’re looking for. Registered dietitian and co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Gluten-Free Vegan Cooking, Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT, will lead three cooking classes: “Dressings and Sauces to Help You Fall (More) in Love with Vegetables;” “Soup Solution – How to Use Soups as the Key to Successful Healthy Meal Planning;” and “Hummus Should be a Food Group;” plus a boot camp called “Healthy Eating Made Easy”.

Did you know that the minimum recommended number of vegetable servings per day is ten? That may seem like a lot, but it’s easier to get than you may think. Not craving more vegetables? Julieanna says the secret to wanting more vegetables in your diet is all in the sauce. This class will deep-dive into how to make easy, delicious dressings and sauces to use across the culinary spectrum and help inspire you to amp up your love of veggies.

Now in her second year of teaching on the cruise, Kim Campbell is the author of The PlantPure Nation Cookbook and The PlantPure Kitchen. She has developed more than 250 delicious, whole food, plant-based recipes using no processed oils. During our next cruise, Kim will lead two cooking classes. In “Bringing Back Our Favorite Comfort Foods,” Kim demonstrates how to build familiar recipes in a healthy form. She will cook Fishless Fillets and Indian Malai Kofta.

Kim tells us, “Taste preferences are often rooted in our traditions and memories so in order to appeal to these preferences, we should strive to build foods with similar flavors and textures. At the same time, it’s important to use ingredients that are accessible, affordable, and most of all healthy. During this class, I will cover a variety of techniques, ingredients, substitutions, and how they can be used to build very traditional style meals that are family and kid friendly. Included, I will cover gluten-free options and low-fat substitutions. Most importantly, we will share ideas and sample everything we make during the class! The cruise never let’s anyone go hungry.”

Change the Way You Cook

For the 13th consecutive year, the inspiring and funny Jessica Porter will once again combine humor with education as a presenter on Holistic Holiday at Sea. In her cooking class, “Don’t Let Tofu Make You Lose Your Tempeh,” Jessica will go into the benefits of both powerful foods and delicious ways of preparing them.

If you’re a bit confused on soy foods and how to cook with it, this class is for you! “There are two categories of complaints these days,” explains Jessica. “First of all, soy is getting a bad rap, and that topic needs to be thoroughly understood. Not all soy is a problem, and in fact, much of it is incredibly healthy and smart to eat, but we need to understand how quality and quantity affects our health. Is it GMO? Organic? In what form? Fermented? All these things matter.

“The second category of complaint is about cooking; people say that tofu is boring or has no taste. This is simply a matter of understanding the nature of tofu and its versatility and tastelessness need never be a problem. Ditto tempeh and other forms of soy.”

Sandy Clubb, of Cookware Health Clubb Inc., helps people understand the healthy benefits of whole plant nutrition and proper food preparation techniques. In her demonstration, “What’s the Cookware Got to Do with It?” Sandy will use the waterless cooking method (no water, no oil, no oven) to prepare 30-minute lasagna, veggies, and cake. She will review the best tips for cooking methods and cookware we use to prepare our meals.

When recommending cookware to people, Sandy offers this advice:

  • Ask questions and do research. Look behind the label because, after all, your food will touch it, cook in it, and sometimes be stored in it. Should your cookware be the highest quality or the lowest? There is very little regulation on cookware. Find out where it’s made and from what materials and why? After all, it is YOUR dinner.
  • WHAT do you want your cookware to do for you? Save Time? Save Nutrition? Make your food taste better? Save food volume? Be easy to clean and last for decades? To cook without water, without oil? Why, Why, Why? After all, you can cook in a tin can or a hubcap!

Variety is the Spice of Life

Croatian-based cooking teacher and author, Dunja Gulin has been part of the Holistic Holiday at Sea team, working in the kitchen, for the past five years. She describes the experience as “great fun and very rewarding.” Dunja will lead a cooking boot camp called “Falafel Forever,” in which she will go over a number of falafel recipes, including fried, baked, dehydrated, and raw varieties.

When asked about her favorite method of eating falafel, Dunja replied, “I often use a variety of plant-based ingredients to create falafel-like dishes, since we all love falafel, but don’t want to eat the same recipe all the time. In warmer months, I often prepare seed-based raw falafel for my family and my clients. The taste is so rich, there is no frying involved, and they can be prepared days in advance. Fuss-free, nutritionally dense and very practical. All you could ever ask from a recipe!”

Bring your appetite as samples will be available following the boot camp. Dunja says, “I think that’s the main purpose of any cooking event—to enjoy what we created and share a meal in a relaxed and inspiring atmosphere. Participants will be more than welcome to join me in every step of the way. Cooking is very much about practice and getting your hands dirty, and that’s exactly what we will do! I’m really looking forward to the 2018 cruise!”

Plant-Based Cooking Today

Often the best culinary techniques and methods are those that are based in tried-and-true traditions, and helped along by modern advancements.

“Plant-based cooking has become so much easier in the last ten years,” says Kim Campbell. “Mainstream grocery stores are beginning to carry a wider variety of ingredients and there are many great vegan chefs out there sharing their gifts and knowledge around food. Digital photography, videos, and social media make it easy and fun to allure, support, and sustain this lifestyle. When our family began this journey 30 years ago, there wasn’t the internet, beautiful vegan cookbooks, and restaurants offering vegan options. It seemed like everywhere we went there were roadblocks. We made it work and learned a lot along the way, but it’s a different world today and I think it’s much easier to transition to a whole food, plant-based lifestyle. My own parents have made this transition at the age of 83 and they did it overnight! They had a little PlantPure help but I can honestly say they didn’t struggle doing it.”

Whether you love rolling your sleeves up in the kitchen, or you’d rather just eat more healthily, these cooking classes will help expand your knowledge of plant-based nutrition and just how healthy and delicious it can be!

Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes Everyone Will Love

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If you’re following a vegan or vegetarian diet, Thanksgiving can be an especially difficult holiday to spend around the table with omnivorous friends and family who cook with dairy, eggs, and meat. Besides hosting your own plant-based Thanksgiving dinner, another option is to offer to bring appetizers, sides, main courses, or desserts wherever you’ve been invited to dine.

We asked a few Holistic Holiday at Sea presenters for some of their favorite recipes to help you prepare foods that are not only tasty, but healthy and kind to animals. Now, isn’t that the perfect way to truly give thanks?

Tasty Plant-Based Side Dishes

Many traditional Thanksgiving ingredients are naturally vegan: green beans, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, carrots, cranberries, squash, and root vegetables. Matt Frazier, founder of No Meat Athlete, tells us, “For a plant-based Thanksgiving, my favorite approach is to make a lot of side dishes, which I’ve always considered the most interesting part of Thanksgiving dinner anyway. With enough good side dishes, you don’t even need to worry about replacing the turkey. This also works well if you’ll be a guest at a non-vegan table: bring along a few sides, and you’ll know that even if there’s nothing else for you to eat, at least you can load up your plate with the dishes you brought, while also being able to contribute something to the meal.”

The No Meat Athlete Cookbook: Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes to Fuel Your Workouts and the Rest of Your Life (2017), written by Matt and longtime health coach, yoga teacher, and nutrition writer Stepfanie Romine, contains 150 whole food, vegan recipes. Here is one of them!

Tahini Green Beens by No Meat Athlete Matt Frazier

Tahini Green Beans by No Meat Athlete

Tahini Green Beans* from Matt Frazier

Serves: 2 to 4

Time: 15 minutes

This recipe quickly entered regular rotation for everyone who tested it; the tahini and sesame seeds make green beans incredibly enticing with very little effort. If you are a dipper, serve the sauce on the side and eat the green beans like fries. This technique also works with steamed or roasted broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, or beets.


1 pound (454 g) green beans, washed and trimmed

2 tablespoons gluten-free tahini

1 garlic clove, minced

Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

Salt and black pepper

1 teaspoon toasted black or white sesame seeds, optional


  1. Steam the beans in a medium saucepan fitted with a steamer insert (or by adding 1⁄4 cup/60 ml water to a covered saucepan) over medium-high heat. Drain, reserving the cooking water.
  2. Mix the tahini, garlic, lemon zest and juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Use the reserved cooking water to thin the sauce as desired.
  3. Toss the green beans with the sauce and serve warm or at room temperature. Garnish with the sesame seeds, if using.

From frozen: Use a pound of frozen French-style haricots verts. Run them under hot water until thawed, and drain well.


*Recipe from The No Meat Athlete Cookbook: Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes to Fuel Your Workouts and the Rest of Your Life © Matt Frazier and Stepfanie Romine, 2017. Photographs copyright © Ken Carlson, Waterbury Publications Inc. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold. theexperimentpublishing.com

Creamy Mushroom Bisque

Warm up on with a bowl of this delicious soup. This recipe by Bryanna Clark Grogan can be found in the book Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes: The Scientifically Proven System for Reversing Diabetes Without Drugs by Neal Barnard, M.D.

A food processor turns this soup into a rich, creamy treat with a delightful mushroom flavor. Take comfort in knowing that this is lower in fat than your conventional dairy-laden bisque.

Serves: 4


1 small onion, finely chopped

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons dry sherry

2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

salt, to taste

12 ounces mushrooms, sliced

2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

5 cups low-sodium mushroom broth

dairy-free (vegan) parmesan cheese substitute (optional)


  1. Steam-fry onion in a heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat until soft but not browned, adding very small amounts of water as needed to prevent sticking and burning. (Or place in a microwavable dish, cover, and microwave on high for 3 minutes.)
  2. Place broth, bay leaf, thyme, and oats in a medium saucepan. Add onion and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until oats are soft.
  3. Meanwhile, steam-fry mushrooms in a large, heavy nonstick skillet over high heat, adding a sprinkle of salt and very small amounts of water as needed to prevent sticking and burning. Cook until mushrooms release and reabsorb their liquid. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. When oats are soft, remove bay leaf and puree the soup until creamy with a hand-held blender or in batches in a blender or food processor. (Remove the middle part of the blender or food processor’s lid so hot air can escape. Cover the hole loosely with a folded clean cloth while blending.)
  5. Return the soup to the pan and add mushrooms, soy sauce, sherry, if using, salt, black pepper, and vegan parmesan substitute, if using. Serve hot.

Game Day Twice Baked Potato Skins from Rip Esselstyn

Game Day Potato Skins (photo courtesy of Rip Esselstyn)

Rip Esselstyn, founder of Engine 2 and author of The Engine 2 Diet (2009) and Plant-Strong: Discover the World’s Healthiest Diet (2015), shared with us this recipe from The Engine 2 Diet.

Serves: 8


¼ cup red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

½ cup yellow onion, chopped

½ cup spinach, chopped

½ cup yellow corn

½ cup nutritional yeast

½ cup low sodium BBQ sauce

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

½ teaspoon black pepper

8 medium to large Russet potatoes



  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash the potatoes and place in the oven on a baking sheet for 60 minutes, or until fork tender.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the bell pepper, onion, spinach and corn.
  4. When the potatoes are done baking, remove from the oven and allow to cool for several minutes for easier slicing.
  5. Slice the potatoes in half length-wise and scoop out the potato flesh, leaving the skin and some potato as your empty skin to load with filling.
  6. Place the scooped-out potato in a large bowl. Add the nutritional yeast, BBQ sauce, black pepper and one teaspoon of the smoked paprika.
  7. Use a potato masher or a large spoon to combine the spices and BBQ sauce with the potatoes to make a mash.
  8. Combine the vegetables in the small bowl with the potato mixture in the large bowl.
  9. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  10. Fill the empty potato skins with the vegetable and potato mixture.
  11. Sprinkle the remaining teaspoon of smoked paprika on the potatoes.
  12. Bake the filled potato skins for 30 minutes. Serve with BBQ sauce for dipping.


Gene Baur with Bubbles, the turkey (photo courtesy of Farm Sanctuary)

Save a Turkey

Commemorating a holiday with friends and family over a dead bird doesn’t really make much sense, does it? Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Turkey program, which began in 1986, has led to the rescue of more than 1,000 turkeys from brutal deaths. This program gives us the chance to sponsor a rescued turkey at one or more of the Farm Sanctuary shelters. We are so excited Farm Sanctuary co-founder Gene Baur will join us once again on the upcoming cruise.

In lieu of meat, amaze guests with the tofu turkey from Jessica Porter, author of The MILF Diet and The Hip Chick’s Guide to Macrobiotics, or Lynn’s Meatloaf brought to us by athlete, firefighter, and author Rip Esselstyn (both below).

Tofu Turkey with Mushroom Gravy from Jessica Porter

Serves: 8-12

This recipe is an adaptation of one I got from Jane Quincannon Stanchich, one of my closest friends and a fantastic chef. She is a gem.


Handheld blender or food processor

A medium-sized colander


A baking sheet

A pastry brush

Aluminum foil

A skillet

A large measuring cup

Knife, wooden spoons, and the other usual stuff



5 lbs extra firm tofu


Toasted sesame oil

Onions (lots)

Mushrooms (lots)

Celery (a few stalks)

Seitan (if you like it)

Unyeasted, whole wheat sourdough bread, in cubes

Poultry seasoning (as much as you want)


Ingredients for Gravy


Mushrooms (optional)



Mirin (optional)

Brown rice vinegar (optional)



Instructions for the “Turkey”

The night before: Whiz the 5 lbs. of tofu in a really big bowl with a handheld blender. If you don’t have one, it’s a great time to go get one. They are cheap ($30?) and soooooooo useful. Or, If you don’t have one and aren’t going to get one, you can puree the tofu in a food processor, in batches, until it’s all smooth and creamy. There may be a few lumps, but nothing big. As you are blending, add about 2 tablespoons of shoyu to the tofu to give it a little extra taste. The more daring may add some herbs…

You now have a 5 lb blob of tofu. Congratulations! Take a colander (medium-sized or smallish are best—the bigger the colander, the flatter the “turkey” will be) and line it with a double layer of cheesecloth, with about six inches extra on each side. Place the colander on a big plate or baking sheet. Spoon your tofu blob into the cheesecloth-lined colander until it molds completely to the colander. A little tofu “milk” will start coming through the colander. That’s good. That’s why you’re doing this, to press all excess liquid out of the tofu, making it a sturdier turkey. Fold the extra cheese cloth over the top of the tofu and place a plate and a weight on top of that. Let sit overnight in the fridge.

The next day: Take the turkey out of the fridge. Pour off any extra tofu liquid that seeped out overnight from the baking sheet or whatever you had the colander sitting on. Remove the weight, the plate, and pull back the extra cheese cloth to reveal the bottom of the “dome” that will be your turkey. Now here’s the tricky part: You must now dig into the upside-down dome, with your hand, creating a space in the middle that you will put the stuffing into. Try to dig so that you leave about 1/2 to 1 inch of tofu between you and the colander—in other words, so the dome maintains a decent thickness all round. If you find that you dig too far, you can repair it with tofu, but do your best to dig a nice ditch in the tofu, leaving the walls of the dome thick enough to protect the stuffing. Does that make sense?

Now you have a pile of tofu and an upside-down dome of tofu. Your parents must be very proud!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and start working on the stuffing:


Instructions for Stuffing:

In a skillet, heat the oil, and saute the onions and a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and another pinch of salt. Add celery, seitan, poultry seasoning and bread. Sprinkle with shoyu to taste. You know what you like in a stuffing. Do whatever you want to achieve that. Make way more than you need because extra stuffing is one of life’s great benefits. When the stuffing makes you all happy and say “ooooo,” then place it in the dome of tofu, packing it down well. Take the rest of your dug-out tofu (leaving aside about 1/2 cup) and place it on top of the stuffing (and on top of the dome edges), making a bottom for the dome. Pack it down well.

Tricky part number two: Now, take a baking sheet and place it over the colander. Make sure it covers it completely. Hold them together tightly. In a graceful and quick maneuver, flip the whole colander upside-down, so that your dome now sits on the baking sheet. Remove the colander. Remove the cheesecloth, and voila! That’s your un-cooked “turkey.” If there are any cracks in the turkey, do your best to repair them with your leftover tofu. If they are really bad, just chalk it up to experience–you’ll do much better next year (or try again at Christmas!) and this will still taste great.

Make a mixture of 2 parts sesame oil to 1 part shoyu and, using a pastry brush, baste the turkey with it. Be generous with the basting. Cover the turkey with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Uncover, baste again and cook for 15 more minutes, uncovered. Baste one more time and cook for 15 minutes more. Let sit for 1 hour before cutting, while you make your gravy!!


Instructions for Gravy

Dice a bunch of onions and mushrooms. Saute onions first, with a pinch of salt, until translucent and yummy, then add mushrooms, another pinch of salt, and saute until softened and wilty.

Apparently, I just made up that word: Wilty. I know that because my computer has put a red line beneath it. Oh well.

Anyway, pour some water in a large measuring cup and add water to this saute, equalling the amount of gravy you want. You have the measuring cup so that you know how much liquid you’re using—you will need to know this for when you add the kuzu later. So make a mental note of it.

Then add shoyu, carefully, to taste (you might want to start with 1 teaspoon per cup of liquid, and add from there if desired). I haven’t given strict measurements here because a) I’m lazy and b) you are the arbiter of your gravy’s strength and saltiness. You can also add mirin (about 1/3 the amount of shoyu you put in) and a dash of brown rice vinegar, if you like. I find that the combo of the shoyu, mirin and just a touch of brown rice vinegar makes for a nice meaty flavor in the gravy.

Let it all come to a boil and then simmer for at least 10 minutes.

Now, measure out the equivalent of 1 level tablespoon of kuzu per cup of gravy liquid. If it’s not perfect, don’t worry–if the gravy ends up being not thick enough, you can add more kuzu, and if it’s too thick, you can add more water and shoyu. I think gravy should be a pleasurable, sort of intuitive dish, so don’t get too hung up on it.

What you need to get hung up on, though, is that kuzu needs to be diluted in cold water and be lump-free before being added to the gravy. If you add chunks of undiluted kuzu, they will become unbreakable lumps in the gravy. So when your kuzu is nice and diluted (you can break it up with your fingers in the cold water—I recommend that), add it slowly to the gravy as you stir it vigorously. The gravy will become glossy and thicken. Let it come to a boil, then reduce flame to a simmer. If the gravy is not thick enough for you, add more kuzu. If it’s too thick, add more liquid. Once you’ve gotten the thickness right, let it simmer for about 10 minutes before serving on slices of tofu turkey.


Cranberry Sauce from Jessica Porter

Serves 12

1 bag cranberries – usually 12 ounces

grated zest and juice of 2 oranges

3/4 cup maple syrup or more if you want it sweeter

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or one cinnamon stick)

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

3/4 cup of water

If cooking in a saucepan: heat your cranberries, orange zest and juice, maple syrup and spices over medium to high heat.  After 7 to 10 minutes add the water and stir for another five. Serve chilled.


Lynn’s Meatloaf from Rip Esselstyn

This is a great “meat” loaf recipe from one of the Engine 2 Pilot Study participants, Lynn Jocelyn. Lynn brought this to the Engine 2 pot-luck awards banquet and it disappeared before everyone could get a bite. She graciously brought two loaves over for Jill and me one week after Kole was born.

Lynn's Meatloaf with Kale Salad (photo courtesy of Rip Esselstyn)

Lynn’s Meatloaf with Kale Salad (photo courtesy of Rip Esselstyn)


2 stalks celery, chopped

½ onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

10 ounces firm tofu, drained

¼ cup walnuts, finely ground

1 ½ cups cooked brown lentils

1 ¼ cups quick-cooking oats

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons dried parsley

½ teaspoon each thyme, sage and rosemary

Ketchup, to taste (for topping)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sauté celery, onion and garlic on high heat in skillet with a little water or low sodium vegetable broth for 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and cool.
  3. Mash tofu in a large bowl.
  4. Stir in cooked mixture and remaining ingredients, combining well.
  5. Spoon mixture into a loaf pan. Top with a layer of ketchup. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Apple Roses (photo by Melissa Karpel)

Remember Dessert!

Melissa Karpel, Philanthropic Specialist with the PETA Foundation, is loving these Vegan Rose desserts by Elephantastic Vegan: “Making delicious meals is easy anytime of the year, including Thanksgiving! Impress any guests, vegan or not, with these easy vegan rose desserts. I just made these the other day and they are really beautiful. I added a mixture of chopped walnuts, Earth Balance margarine, and cinnamon.” So good and so vegan!”

Here’s Melissa’s version of the recipe by Elephantastic Vegan.


1 package vegan puff pastry dough

1 Red Delicious apple

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon Earth Balance (optional)

1 lemon slice

Walnuts (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Take the vegan puff pastry dough out of the fridge to thaw for 30 minutes.
  3. Slice the apple into very thin slices. Boil in a mixture of water with lemon juice (to prevent browning) for a few minutes until soft.
  4. When the puff pastry dough is thawed, roll it out into a thin sheet and cut into horizontal strips no wider than 2 inches.
  5. Lay the apples along the edge of the dough strips from one end to the other, with the rounded side of the apple at the top. Place the apple slices on the pastry dough strips.
  6. Roll each strip from left to right onto itself. It turns into little roses!
  7. Place each one in a greased muffin tin.
  8. (Optional) Combined a mixture of small walnut pieces, melted vegan margarine, and cinnamon into a bowl and sprinkle on top or place inside.
  9. Bake for about 35 minutes. If the apples burn, move to a lower shelf in the oven.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

From our Holistic Holiday at Sea family to yours, we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving. There is so much we are grateful for—including you! Enjoy trying out these recipes and spending time with those you love. See you onboard in February!

More Benefits to Syrup Than Just Amazing Taste: Crown Maple Sets a New Industry Standard

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Enter Our Giveaway for Free Products!

(Photos courtesy of Crown Maple)

Crown Maple Estate

Crown Maple Estate

Naturally vegan, GMO-free, and gluten-free, maple syrup and maple sugar are two of nature’s healthiest sweeteners. Since Robb and Lydia Turner launched Crown Maple in 2010, the business has quickly become one of the most beloved brands of maple syrup on the market. Last year, Crown Maple was the fourth largest maple producer in the USA, with more than 5,000 acres of maple farms in New York and Vermont.

Attendees on our 2017 Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise were very excited to eat dishes made with this wonderful syrup, and take home samples of Crown Maple’s products. A huge thank-you to Crown Maple for being one of our 2017 sponsors! We wanted to dig a little deeper into the story behind the flavor and take a look at why the harvesting methods are sustainable and protect the environment. We also wanted to share a special August giveaway for Crown Maple products so you can taste the difference for yourself!

Sustainable Harvesting

The Crown Maple Estate (also known as Madava Farms) is an 800-acre organic family farm in New York’s Hudson Valley where all production and and bottling takes place. Visitors can take a tour of the Estate and go behind the scenes in the sugarhouse. Mike Cobb, CEO of Maple Crown, says that the farm typically produces .4–.5 gallons of syrup per tap (which translates to 60,000 gallons per year). Wow, that’s a lot!

With more than 120,000 taps in 2017, the process of harvesting maple is very environmentally conscious and workers use state-of-the-art technology. “We tap the trees with care toward sustainability—proper location and proper number of taps based on tree size,” says Mike. “We take less than 10% of a tree’s sap.”

Health Benefits of Maple

Not only are maple syrup and maple sugar flavorful, but they are great for your health. Mike shares that Crown Maple fits naturally into today’s lifestyle:

  • Healthy sweetener with antioxidant benefits & lower glycemic index than most popular sweeteners
  • All natural, sustainable, 100% pure from nature
  • Certified organic, kosher, vegan, paleo
  • Gluten-free, gmo free, has no preservatives, clean
  • Enriches and enhances savory flavors
  • Deepens sweetness and caramelization
  • Versatility of use for topping, baking, saucing, basting, finishing, mixology

In addition to many specialty items, Crown Maple also produces infused maple syrup (such as the Madagascar Vanilla and Cinnamon). The Bourbon Barrel Aged adds flavor to beverages—and fruit, ice cream, and pies!

Recently, the grading system for maple syrup changed (you won’t find Grade B on the shelves anymore). All maple syrup at Crown Maple is Grade A and the four varieties of grades are:

  1. Golden Color Delicate Taste
  2. Amber Color Rich Taste
  3. Dark Color Robust Taste
  4. Very Dark Color Strong Taste.

The Amber Color Rich Taste presents a medium-body feel with aromas and flavors of gingerbread, roasted chestnut, toffee. The Very Dark Color Strong Taste, on the other hand, presents deeply caramelized flavors and aromas of molasses, crème brûlée, espresso, and cocoa beans.

Recipe for Vegan Maple-Roasted Brussels, Shallots, and Farro Salad

Maple-Roasted Brussels, Shallots, and Farro Salad

Maple-Roasted Brussels, Shallots & Farro Salad

We want to share this recipe from Robb Turner’s book The Crown Maple Guide to Maple Syrup.

Prep Time: 5 Minutes | Cook Time: 30 to 35 Minutes

Serves 4

1 cup (200 g) dried farro
Kosher salt to taste
1 tablespoon plus ¼ cup (75 ml) olive oil
2 pounds (910 g) Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
4 to 5 medium shallots, sliced
2 tablespoons Crown Maple syrup (Amber Color, Rich Taste), or more to taste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, or more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup (13 g) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C); line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Put the farro in a small saucepan and cover with 3 cups (720 ml) water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook the farro for 25 minutes, or until the grains are tender but still have a little chew to them. Drain in a colander. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with the 1 tablespoon oil.
  3. While the farro cooks, roast the vegetables: Spread the Brussels sprouts and shallots on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle the maple syrup, the remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) oil, and the vinegar over the top, and season with salt and pepper. Use your hands to toss the vegetables right on the sheet.
  4. Roast the vegetables for 25 to 30 minutes, turning halfway through, until the shallots have softened and the Brussels sprouts are crisped around the edges.
  5. Add the vegetables to the bowl with the farro, and add the parsley. Toss to combine, and add more maple syrup, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Enter Our Sweepstakes & Taste for Yourself!

Royal Treatment Dark Bottle

From August 21–28, we are holding a special giveaway on the HHAS Facebook page, thanks to Crown Maple!

Triple Pack

Two lucky winners will each receive Crown Maple’s Royal Treatment Box (dark color), pictured on left.

One grand prize winner will receive the Deluxe Crown Maple Trio (one Dark Color and Robust Taste; one Very Dark Color and Strong Taste, and one Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple), pictured on right. “Like” the post and tag a friend in the comments for your chance to win!

Vegan Cruise Turns 15: A Look Back Through the Years!

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Holistic Holiday at Sea 15th Anniversary-1February 15–25, 2018, Holistic Holiday at Sea will embark on its 15th vegan cruise! Over the years, more than 15,000 cruise goers have come aboard to learn more about plant-based lifestyles in presentations and classes by world-renowned doctors, holistic practitioners, chefs, athletes, and other influential leaders. The cruise organizers are so excited to celebrate this milestone with you as they have many new and fun things planned for this upcoming voyage.

Since 2004, Holistic Holiday at Sea has grown exponentially, with so many wonderful memories made. The plant-based movement has come so very far in recent years. Such an event wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the support of a vibrant and compassionate community.


The Growth of a Movement

Although it was back in 2004, it feels like just yesterday the ship first set sail from Port Everglades with 410 people, traveling across the beautiful Caribbean Sea. The small, but mighty, group visited Key West, Mexico, Jamaica, and the Grand Cayman Islands.Holistic Holiday at Sea cuisine

Participants learned from amazing presenters, such as the late Michio Kushi, who was a pioneer in the natural foods movement and an earlier proponent of the idea that one’s diet, environment, and health are connected. After the cruise, Michio said it was a great success: “People who worked to care for the participants were very entertaining. Throughout the period at sea, weather was continuously fine celebrating our dream. People could study, enjoy macrobiotic meals, sing together with Italian music and develop friendships. I hope everyone will join in the future.”

Guests on the cruise started off as strangers and quickly developed friendships and connections (many of the romantic variety!) that continued even after everyone returned home. 2004 was certainly an amazing beginning.

During this last cruise, 1,650 people shared the week with one another! This tremendous growth is due to a variety of factors, including the strength of the vegan movement itself. Sandy Pukel, HHAS president and founder, say it’s always been the cruise’s mission to help people choose lifestyles that will make them happier and healthier. Back then, however, he says it was almost like a secret society of people who followed vegan or macrobiotic lifestyles. But times have changed. “Now it’s okay to shout it from the rooftops,” he adds.

Michio Kushi

Michio Kushi

More doctors are also becoming more outspoken about their scientific findings. “In the beginning, we had maybe a hundred doctors (MDs) on the cruise, but only 10 or 20 would say they were doctors because they were going against the accepted culture at the time of being vegan and being an MD and espousing this kind of philosophy and lifestyle. Now we have 150 doctors on there who are proud to say they’re part of it. It has become kind of like a magnet for people to see those doctors who are into alternative health.” Many of these doctors are presenters and participants in the CME program, earning continuing education credits. The CME program itself is a testament to the demand for education around the science of nutrition and wellness.

There are also more families and multi-generational groups on the cruise now than before. Sandy says that many people came in the beginning and “put their toes in the water,” so to speak, to see what it was all about. Those who raised their children with vegan or vegetarian diets are bringing them on the cruise for an educational and cultural experience. Guests of all ages can enjoy delicious food, engaging workshops, and exotic ports of call.

Is it Nutritional or Ethical?

Many people ask if this conference at sea gives a nutritional or an ethical emphasis on veganism. Well, it provides both—and more! Due to an increasing demand, Holistic Holiday at Sea is continuously expanding the focus to include more animal advocacy and environmental presentations and discussion. The mission has always been centered on education and there’s so much under this umbrella.

Neal Barnard at Holistic Holiday at Sea

Dr. Neal Barnard

Last year, new presenters included animal rights activists Jonathan Balcombe, author of What a Fish Knows and Gene Baur, co-founder and president of Farm Sanctuary. Returning again in 2018, they will continue to share their compassion and knowledge, giving voices to so many animals who suffer from factory farming and horrific food industry practices.

Many presenters return again and again. Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study and Whole, and Dr. Neal Barnard, founder of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, have participated nearly every year.

2018 brings many new presenters, including health activist and food writer Rip Esselstyn, registered dietitian and nutritionist Julieanna Hever, and Dr. Ron Weiss, founder of Ethos Health. HHAS is also welcoming Ingrid Newkirk onboard. As president and founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Ingrid has spoken around the world on animals rights issues.

When Learning is Fun

Sandy stands by the idea that “no one minds learning when they’re having a good time.” For the 15th cruise, instead of the usual seven days, the cruise will be extended to ten days, including President’s Day weekend. In addition to participating in onboard adventure (including poolside socials and entertainment), guests will certainly have a good time exploring the ports of call.Holistic Holiday at Sea

While the ship’s route alternates between the Eastern and Western Caribbean every year (guests have been to more than a dozen coastal cities and towns), there are always new spots to see. The 2018 ports of call are primarily brand new to the cruise. The MSC Divina will depart from Miami, Florida, and head to the following ports of call in the southeastern Caribbean: St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda; Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis; Fort-de-France, Martinique; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Freeport, Bahamas.

But Who’s Counting?

HHAS Infographic 15th anniversary

Click to check out our Retrospective Infographic!

Nearly 50% of the 2017 guests signed up to attend the cruise in 2018. This means HHAS is doing something right. They crunched the numbers and figured out that they’ve offered 1,738 classes over the last 14 years. They’ve been wide ranging, from yoga, Pilates, meditation, and fitness classes to cooking demonstrations and lectures on topics including plant-based nutrition, cardiovascular health, and integrative medicine. Each year, cruise goers look forward to the always inspiring Recovery Panel.

One year, the kitchen staff (led by the talented Mark Hanna) dished out nearly 38,000 meals in seven days. Kudos to the talented kitchen team! The gourmet meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner are such an essential part of the experience.

Organizers also learned a lot from our experience running the cruise. During one of the first cruises, the ship left from Ft. Lauderdale only to realize that the majority of the produce order for the week didn’t make it onboard! Fortunately, they were able to contact the supplier who would bring them the greens at Key West (our first stop). There was a dock strike in Key West, so they had to be carried on case by case. Fortunately, it all worked out and the rest of the trip was smooth sailing. A good lesson in remembering the importance of going with the flow.


A Bright Future

Holistic Holiday at Sea sunsetSo many of you have adopted a plant-based diet because you want better health and a more peaceful world. While many guests have returned year after year, HHAS always welcomes aboard new faces! Make memories that will last forever and book today for the best rates and availability.

Here’s Who’s Cookin’ on the 2017 HHAS Cruise!

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Pasta Holistic Holiday at SeaFrom galas and poolside socials to lectures and movement classes, this year’s Holistic Holiday at Sea has all the ingredients for a fun and educational experience. While every aspect is important, food is at the heart of it all. In elegant dining rooms, guests will be able to choose from sit-down menus for all three meals. There are also buffet options for breakfast and lunch.

Whether you’ve been following a plant-based diet for decades or you’ve recently considered switching to one, you’re likely on the lookout for delicious and easy recipes. Cooking classes led by master chefs are here to help! Guests can watch these demonstrations and sample some of the prepared food.

Cooking Classes Cover All the Basics—And Then Some!

Mother and daughter duo Ann and Jane Esselstyn will discuss and demonstrate the practical side of staying heart healthy in their cooking class, “The How and Wow: Discussion and Demo of the Guidelines to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.”

A hypnotherapist, macrobiotic cook, and actress, Jessica Porter is a highly entertaining performer who makes her lectures funny, inspiring, and informative. She will lead the cooking classes “Elegant Plant-Based Party Dishes” and “Optimum Health on a Plant-Based Diet.” She will also offer a Cooking Boot Camp titled “Cook Your Way to a Better Relationship: Kitchen Secrets for Creating Harmony, Laughter, and Sexual Spark.”

Author of seven books and widely acclaimed chef, Mark Reinfeld joins the Holistic Holiday at Sea team this year as a menu and recipe consultant. He contributed more than 25 vegan fusion recipes to this year’s menu.

Mark will celebrate the world’s plant-based cuisine, including raw items, in “Vegan Fusion Healthy Snacks and Salads.” Recipes include golden turmeric milk, hemp energy balls, and a raw walnut taco salad. Mark shares, “I like to empower people with as many of the tools and tips that I can share in a class or workshop. I show people how to view recipes as templates, or ‘Template Recipes.’ By altering any of the components in a dish, you can create a new recipe. So even in a short cooking demo I can share hundreds and even thousands of recipes.”

He views cooking classes as a form of food activism: “Empowering people with the tools they need to create healthy and delicious plant based cuisine is a way of promoting human health, protecting the environment and creating a more peaceful world. To me this is a worldwide movement.”

You’ll likely recognize Christina Pirello from her national public television series, Christina Cooks. In “To Soy or Not to Soy: That is the Question,” Christina will dive into controversy around what she calls this “oh so humble bean.” Most heart disease is preventable and treatable, and Christina believes it all begins in the kitchen. Learn how to make heart-healthy food choices in “The Heart of the Matter.”

During Cooking Boot Camp, “The Joy of Plant-based Cooking,” Christina will turn your passion for cooking “from simmer to boiling over.”

If you have the fantasy of sitting in the Italian countryside, enjoying a meal with your friends and family, Christina dives into the secrets of how to create authentic Italian cuisine in “The Italian Table.” Christina shares, “One of the big misconceptions about Italian food is that it’s all cheese and eggs, and nothing could be further from the truth. That’s the American approach to Italian food. I cook with more traditional techniques using whole grains, beans and veggies to create authentic Italian-style dishes, and I use some of my own tricks to create some of the familiar flavors we love with no compromise to wellness. In all my classes, people can expect to have their questions answered. to see some amazingly simple and delicious recipes prepared, and to leave the class with a deeper understanding of the subject.”

If you’re following popular vegan food blogger Kathy Patalsky, then you’ve likely read about her super popular veggie burger. “This is a very different variety of veggie burger because it is really not trying to imitate meat at all!” says Kathy, “It is just super flavorful and has a unique soft, yet burger-y texture!” In her cooking class, “Super Smoothies and Scrumptious Veggie Burgers,” Kathy will cover plenty of veggie burger variations and techniques, as well as smoothie techniques and flavor combinations, including superfood add-ins.Holistic Holiday at Sea Cuisine-1

Dig Right In!

Don’t miss your chance to learn a new recipe or three at this year’s Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise, embarking March 11! Cooking Boot Camps last two and a half hours and are priced at $150 per person. Click here for a full program schedule.

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