The Vegan Gutbuster

creative cooking crew, vegan sausage recipe, hearty vegan sandwich, gutbuster

The Vegan Gutbuster Sandwich
In Honor of My Alma Mater, The University of Illinois

Homemade Vegan Italian Sausage on a Toasted French Baguette
Green Bell Pepper, Onion, Mushroom, Tomato
Spicy Tomato Sauce, Vegan Mozzarella, Basil Chiffonade

Last summer my Alpha Phi sorority sisters met in Champaign, Illinois for a PHI-abulous reunion. Over 80 members who graduated between 1976 and 1982 took a trip down memory lane for the weekend, we visited some of our old haunts, and had a blast reconnecting and rekindling old friendships. We slept and ate in the sorority house, so fun ~ and our contributions for staying there helped to raise funds for the chapter. Thank you for the hospitality, ladies!

alpha phi university of illinois

One of the fond memories from our college years was pizza. Garcia’s Pizza. And the Gutbuster was their famous 3/4-pound slice with sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers and onions. Something we all remembered with affection…It had been many years since I even thought about the Gutbuster, but since our reunion weekend, I have been pondering a makeover of our beloved pie.

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What makes this the perfect garden party salad?

garden party shrimp salad, lemon basil shrimp salad
garden party shrimp salad

shrimp, navy bean, arugula, cucumber, olive, tomato, red onion
chunky lemon basil dressing

What makes this the perfect garden party salad? Breezy summery colors ~ pink, green, yellow, red. Contrasting textures from creamy beans to crunchy cucumber. It’s light enough to enjoy on a hot summer day, yet substantial enough to be a satisfying entrée. Ease of preparation, everything is made ahead and refrigerated in separate containers. The salad is composed just before serving ~ it’s casual and informal. The dressing is bright and pizazzy, whole lemon adds a bold note… As for the flavor, please be my guest and Taste With The Eyes!

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What are you wearing today?

Heart Healthy Spinach Salad
Tahitian Lime  Vanilla Vinaigrette
Honey Mandarin, Avocado, Roasted Almond

What are you wearing on Feb. 4?
We, the Ladies of Alpha Phi, suggest something red!
Feb. 4 is National Wear Red Day

Please join us along with the Alpha Phi Foundation, the American Heart Association, and other fine organizations in supporting women’s heart health.

Beginning on National Wear Red Day—Friday, February 4, 2011—millions will help spread the critical message that “Heart Disease Doesn’t Care What You Wear—It’s the #1 Killer of Women.” The Red Dress, the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness, was created by The Heart Truth in 2002 to deliver an urgent wakeup call to American women. Everyone can participate in the national movement by wearing their favorite red dress, shirt, tie, Red Dress Pin, or another red accessory.

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Newport Beach Wedding

Congratulations David & Molly!

Molly and I met during her freshman year in college when she joined Alpha Phi Sorority, where I was the Chapter Advisor. After her graduation she lived in Ireland for a year, when she returned to Long Beach, she joined our Advisory Board. Together we advised, and guided, and  brain-stormed…we had such fun bouncing ideas off each other! And although I am almost a quarter-century older than her, we became friends, in addition to being “sisters.” This past Saturday, it was my absolute pleasure, honor and delight to attend Molly & Dave’s wedding!

Here I share photos from Molly and Dave’s Newport Beach wedding. Molly’s flair, her attention to detail, and her clean-crisp style, with accents of daffodils and sand dollars made for an original, breathtaking, and personalized reception at the lovely home of Dave’s parents.

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Stuffed Chicken Breast, Mushroom Cognac Cream

Stuffed Chicken Breast
With Spinach, Mushroom, Leek, and Goat Cheese
Mushroom Cognac Cream Sauce

The Stuffing

  • Spinach
  • Mushroom
  • Leek
  • Goat Cheese
Chopped spinach, sautéed with butter, seasoned with fresh ground nutmeg, salt and pepper. Chopped crimini mushrooms sautéed until the water is evaporated, with salt, pepper and thyme. Chopped leeks are sautéed until soft. The stuffing is a mixture of two parts spinach, two parts mushroom, one part leek and one part fresh goat cheese. The vegetables are cooked separately, cooled to room temperature, then combined with the goat cheese. The chicken breast is stuffed, secured with a skewer, and baked at 350 for about one hour.


Mushroom Cognac Cream

Add butter and minced shallots to the chicken pan juices and sauté until the shallots are soft. Add about 1/4 c. cognac, flambé to burn off the alcohol. Add about 1/2 c. rich chicken stock, sautéed sliced mushrooms and fresh thyme. Finish by whisking in crème fraîche , adjust seasoning.


Le Menu

  • Mixed Lettuces with a Warm Goat Cheese Crouton, Toasted Walnuts, Thin Sliced Red Onion, Tarragon/Walnut Oil Vinaigrette
  • Stuffed Chicken Breast, Mushroom Cognac Cream
  • Rice Pilaf with Fresh Herbs
  • Chocolate Soufflé

    A sincere thanks to some special Alpha Phis for helping make this a fabulous evening.