Asian Peanut Noodles (vegan and gluten-free)

Asian Peanut NoodlesBy Tiffany Wu–  Makes 4-6 Servings
Growing up, my mom always used to make her delicious peanut butter noodles when the weather got warmer. The creamy peanut sauce combined with crisp veggies always made for a satisfying meal. This dish reminds me of my childhood and is so simple and easy to make.

Bragg’s liquid aminos are a natural alternative to soy sauce and is gluten free with no added preservatives. If you’ve never tried liquid aminos before, I recommend trying them in this recipe. To give the noodles an additional protein boost, I added in some shelled edamame from Friendly City that is non-gmo and grown in the US.


Sauce Ingredients:

3/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
2 tbsp. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1 tsp. salt
1 cup Water

Other Ingredients:

16 oz Brown Rice Spaghetti
1 ½ cups shredded Cucumber
¾ cup shredded Carrots
1 cup Fresh Spinach
¾ cup frozen, shelled Edamame, thawed



  1. Place all sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a spoon until combined. The sauce consistency should be slightly thick. Set aside
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add in your brown rice spaghetti
  3. While the pasta is boiling, shred your cucumber and carrots
  4. When the pasta is done, combine all ingredients and make sure to coat the pasta and veggies evenly with sauce



By Tiffany Wu / Guest Blogger

Tiffany is a student at JMU, majoring in dietetics. Her family owned a Chinese restaurant when she was growing up, so her passion for food and cooking began at an early age. She especially likes creating delicious and healthy plant-based recipes.

Peach and Kale Salad

IMG_4757Peaches are absolutely lovely fruits. As a child, I was always a little weirded out by the fuzzy skin, but the sweet juiciness of ripe peaches always persuaded me to nibble on them. Peaches are ripened by the heat of the sun, and their peak season is now. Friendly City has several crates waiting to meet you in the produce section. Peach cobbler with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or peach preserves over a slice of toast are delicious ways to enjoy peaches. In the hot summertime, nothing is as irresistible as a ripe peach!

For that reason, I am so happy to share this awesome recipe! My mom made a delicious Peach-Kale Salad for our family, and I must give her all the credit for such a brilliant idea. (Moms rock, right?) We all loved it, and I attribute that to the sweetness of the ripe peaches.

2 bunches kale
2 large peaches, sliced
¼ cup nuts, chopped

for vinaigrette
¼ c. olive oil
¼ c. apple cider vinegar
1 clove minced garlic
2 T. honey
1 lemon, juiced
1 T. ground Dijon mustard

First, prepare the vinaigrette by mixing the ingredients in a small bowl. Wisk lightly or mix gently with a spoon. Second, slice peaches thinly for arrangement. It is best to prepare the vinaigrette and peaches before cooking the kale because the greens will cook very quickly. Next, pick the kale leaves from the stems. Heat a large sauté pan with olive oil, enough to cover most of the pan surface. Add kale leaves to the pan on medium heat. Stir and flip the kale as it cooks. After about 2 minutes, the kale will be slightly wilted. This is the perfect for your salad! Place the wilted kale in a large serving bowl, and toss with the chopped nuts. The nuts give the salad a good crunch. I chose sliced almonds, but I believe that other nuts would taste great too. Add as much vinaigrette you like to your salad. I pour a few tablespoons overtop of the kale, and save the rest for other dishes and salads later in the week. The dressing goes great over raw salads, couscous, quinoa, and roasted veggies. Lastly, arrange the peaches over the kale. The final dish will be beautifully bright and so tasty.

Best of luck! I hope that you enjoy this wonderful summer salad!


Madeleine Wirth

Madeleine is a senior at James Madison University, studying to be a registered dietitian. She loves exploring recipes with fresh and nutritious ingredients. As a native to the Shenandoah Valley, she passionately supports the local food economy in Harrisonburg!


IMG_4719Bruschetta is a light diced tomato topping served over cuts of bread grilled with olive oil, salt, and black pepper. This signature Italian appetizer combines a variety of authentic flavors that are absolutely heavenly. With a prep time of less than 20 minutes, preparing your own Bruschetta may be the easiest way to impress family and friends with a delicious and nutritious appetizer.

Bruschetta is the perfect way to serve up the fresh tomatoes available now at the Co-op, or in your home garden. Tomatoes are in peak season and the colorful varieties of heirloom tomatoes make for a bright and beautiful presentation. I picked up three large heirloom tomatoes that were crimson, yellow, and bright red.

Bruschetta recipes may vary in flavor profiles, however this recipe highlights the tomatoes with fresh basil and parsley. A crisp baguette is the perfect complementary vehicle for the delicious Bruschetta!


1 French Baguette
2 tbsps. Olive oil
2 t. Black Pepper
1 t. Salt
1/4 c. fresh parsley
1/4 c. fresh basil
2 lbs. fresh heirloom tomatoes, diced
4 oz. goat cheese, mozzarella, or your choice

IMG_4722Cut baguette into 3/4″ wide slices. Arrange on a cookie sheet, and baste with olive oil. Top each bread slice with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Broil the bread until slightly toasted or golden, approximately 2-3 minutes.

Finely dice tomatoes, and add to a large bowl. Chop fresh parsley and basil. Combine herbs with tomatoes and toss with olive oil, black pepper, and salt. Stir mixture to combine the flavorings.

To the toasted baguettes, add a layer of cheese. I chose goat cheese and mozzarella as the middle layer between the bread and bruschetta; both were delicious! Top each baguette with a spoonful of your bruschetta. Pop in the oven for about 30 seconds to melt up the cheese.

Serve this Bruschetta as an appetizer, snack, side dish, or a vegetarian entrée. My family and I enjoyed our Bruschetta outdoors, with a bottle of red wine – a relaxing way to enjoy the summer.

Happy cooking!


By Madeleine Wirth / Guest Blogger

Madeleine is a senior at James Madison University, studying to be a registered dietitian. She loves exploring recipes with fresh and nutritious ingredients. As a native to the Shenandoah Valley, she passionately supports the local food economy in Harrisonburg.

Blueberry Coconut Muffins

By Tiffany Wu – Makes 12 muffins

Friendly City Muffins Post-Oven 3These blueberry coconut muffins take full advantage of blueberry season and are bursting with flavor. The shredded coconut complements the blueberries nicely and adds a tropical twist to the muffins. In place of eggs, I used ground flax seed dissolved in hot water. The flax seed and water mixture is commonly used in vegan baking and binds the muffin batter nicely. I also made my own flour by blending oats on high speed for 30 seconds. You could easily make this recipe gluten free by using gluten free oats.



2 tbsp. ground flax seed dissolved in 5 tbsp. hot water

½ cup almond milk

1 ½ tsp. baking soda

1 cup applesauce

2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 ½ cups oat flour

½ cup shredded coconut, plus more for topping

1 ¼ cup blueberries (can use fresh or frozen)

Coconut Oil Spray

Friendly City Muffin Batter









  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place ground flax seed into a small bowl and mix with 5 tbsp. hot water.

Mixture should thicken after 5-10 minutes and have a gel like consistency.

  1. Blend oats in a blender until they turn into flour.
  2. Add melted coconut oil to a large bowl. Next, add in applesauce, brown sugar, and flax seed mixture. Mix thoroughly to combine all ingredients. Next, add oat flour, baking soda, shredded coconut, and almond milk and mix all ingredients together.
  3. Gently fold blueberries into the muffin batter.
  4. Line a muffin tin with 12 muffin liners and spray each liner with a touch of coconut oil. Divide batter between the twelve muffin liners. Top each muffin with a bit more shredded coconut. Bake for 20-24 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.
  5. Once muffins are done baking, let them cool for 15 minutes before enjoying!



By Tiffany Wu / Guest Blogger

Tiffany is a student at JMU, majoring in dietetics. Her family owned a Chinese restaurant when she was growing up, so her passion for food and cooking began at an early age. She especially likes creating delicious and healthy plant-based recipes.

Peach/Plum/Havarti Plate

image1 (3)Summertime is the perfect season to enjoy fresh fruits in their purest form. The weather is much too hot for lengthy baking. Simple and refreshing recipes for the hot afternoon always catch my eye.

Friendly City has fresh plums and peaches this week. When I walked inside the store, the sweet fruits immediately caught my attention. I couldn’t help but smiling because plums and peaches are infinitely sweeter and tastier in-season.

A great way to serve fresh fruit is to pair it with a sharply flavored cheese. The acidity of the fruit complements the heaviness of the cheese. Friendly City has an amazing variety of locally-sourced cheeses such as feta, sharp white cheddar, muenster, mozzarella, and pepper jack. Just like with fresh fruit, local cheeses have an equally unique taste compared to commercial cheeses. This can be explained due to local weather and soil conditions that affect the cow’s feed quality and thus the taste of the cheese.

I arranged a beautiful plate of soft Havarti cheese, fresh basil, and ripe plums and peaches. Like a Caprese salad that includes mozzarella, fresh basil, and sliced tomatoes, the combination of fruit and cheese includes similar flavors that complement each other perfectly! I served this as an appetizer, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. I will definitely be serving this recipe to friends and families again this summer.


Fresh peaches
Fresh plums
Fresh Basil
Sea Salt
Ground Pepper
Olive Oil

Slice ripe peaches and plums. Arrange with sliced soft Havarti cheese and fresh basil leaves. Drizzle with olive oil, and top with a sprinkle of sea salt and a few turns of ground black pepper.


Good Luck, and Happy Cooking!


By Madeleine Wirth / Guest Blogger

Madeleine is a senior at James Madison University, studying to be a registered dietitian. She loves exploring recipes with fresh and nutritious ingredients. As a native to the Shenandoah Valley, she passionately supports the local food economy in Harrisonburg!


Wheat Bran Cranberry Bread

IMG_4430Whether you eat vegan, gluten-free, or simply want to eat nutritiously, there are many varieties of high-quality flours and grains available at Friendly City Food Co-op. The co-op carries an assortment of “Bob’s Mill” products which are a brand famous for pure, unprocessed flours, cereals, grains, and meals. You can find garbanzo bean, almond, and coconut flours as well as xanthum gum (used as a binder in many baking recipes). All of these highly nutritious ingredients are longing for someone to pick them up and explore new recipes!

I baked a delicious cranberry bread using whole wheat flour and wheat bran. Baking with whole grains is an easy way to add fiber and protein to your recipes. Swapping high-quality grains for processed, refined grains nourishes your body and is always a good idea!

Ingredients (Yield 1 loaf)

1 c. wheat bran
1 c. whole wheat flour
½ c. unbleached white flour
½ tsp. salt
1 c. chopped pecans or walnuts
1 c. dried cranberries
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¾ c. dark brown sugar
1 egg
½ c. milk
1 c. orange juice
Preheat oven to 375°. Mix egg, milk, and orange juice in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients including flours, bran, salt, baking powder, baking soda, pecans, and cranberries. Add the dry ingredients to wet ingredients, and combine thoroughly. Grease a loaf pan, and pour mixture into pan. Bake for approximately 40-45 minutes. Check doneness by wiggling the pan and sticking the loaf with a toothpick.

This recipe yields a dense and grainy bread that is best enjoyed topped with a pad of salted butter and a cold glass of orange juice. The bread is perfectly sweet, with the cranberries contributing just the right amount of sweetness to balance the dense grain texture.

Serve this cranberry-bran bread as a dessert or a sweet treat. With nutritious ingredients that are high in fiber and low in sugar, this is exactly the kind of baking a health-conscious eater should explore.

Good luck, and happy baking!


By Madeleine Wirth / Guest Blogger 

Madeleine is a senior at James Madison University, studying to be a registered dietitian. She loves exploring recipes with fresh and nutritious ingredients. As a native to the Shenandoah Valley, she passionately supports the local food economy in Harrisonburg.


Summertime produce makes for a great Mango Chutney

FullSizeRender (10)Attention: summer is beginning to show itself in the produce section!

I recently picked up some mangoes that were on sale, and they looked absolutely amazing. Mangoes go great as a sweet balance to spicy foods, and they are usually found in mild/sweet salsas or guacamoles. I definitely recommend picking up a mango for your next taco night. The sweet mango sugar balances and can even highlights the hotter flavors.

Although I love spicy food, I decided to make a sweet tropical chutney with the mangoes I bought. Chutneys are common to Indian cuisine and usually include spicy flavors, but I wanted to keep this recipe light and refreshing. I also love tropical flavors, and I think something about citrus just sends me to a beach in paradise. Nothing beats citrus flavors on a hot afternoon.

This recipe is so simple, and I love that I was able to include fresh strawberries as well. Strawberries are still in season, so be sure to make the most of the fresh fruits while you can.

Ingredients (makes about 3.5 cups)
2 large mangoes, diced
Approx. ¼ of purple onion, diced
1 large red pepper, diced
½ lemon
1 tsp. lemon zest (approx. ½ lemon)
½ cup strawberries diced
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
½ tsp. salt


Dice produce and combine in medium-sized bowl. Squeeze lemon juice of half fresh lemon into the bowl. Add chopped parsley, lemon zest, and salt. Taste, and adjust seasonings until desirable.

The sweet mango and strawberries paired perfectly with the fresh parsley. I served my family this chutney over some grilled salmon, and I imagine other fish like tilapia, mahi-mahi, or trout would also taste delicious topped with this perfectly light relish. Another option I recommend is mixing this mango chutney with couscous or quinoa for a refreshing salad!

The ingredients do all the work to make this chutney incredible. You can even serve this as a dip with pita chips.


Good luck, and happy cooking!

Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie

IMG_3953May is my favorite month, not only because it marks the beginning of summer, but also because I have many fond memories of strawberry picking in mid-May. Buying local Virginia-grown strawberries here at the Food Co-op is a great alternative to picking your own fruit, especially if you do not have the time to visit a strawberry farm. The strawberries I bought at the Food Co-op were delicious and perfectly ripe.
Strawberries are my favorite fruit. Finding a perfectly sweet, juicy and bite-sized strawberry will just warm your heart in contentment! These fruits are great in smoothies, yogurt, and salads. It is important to eat plenty of raw fruits to allow your body to absorb the maximum nutrients. High in antioxidants like Vitamin C and manganese as well as potassium and vitamin K, strawberries are sweet sources of necessary vitamins that are best available to your body when eaten raw. Pack a cup of strawberries with your lunch, or nibble on them as a sweet snack or dessert!
The season for strawberries peaks in late May, so now is the perfect time to plan out all your favorite fresh strawberry recipes. This pie is oh-so-yummy as a dessert on summer evenings and certainly easy enough to prepare for the next cook-out or dinner with friends. The recipe takes no time at all; in total, I prepared this strawberry pie within 30 minutes. Aside from baking the crust a bit, this pie does not require baking in the oven. I love that this recipe is “no-bake” because this makes it even easier to prepare! The ingredient list calls for a lot of strawberries (about 2 pints of strawberries from the Co-op), packing the pie with lots of the awesome and natural fruit sugars. Check out the recipe below.

Ingredients (Makes 1 pie)
2 pints strawberries, sliced (approximately 4 c.)
2 cups sugar
16 oz. or 1 block of cream cheese (best used at room temperature)
1 pie crust, purchased or homemade


Bake the pie crust at 375 degrees for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and place cream cheese in the crust. As the cream cheese melts, it will become easily spreadable. Spread the cream cheese to create a base a layer on the crust. Layer the cream cheese with half the sliced strawberries (approximately 2 cups). Create the strawberry sauce by combining the remaining sliced strawberries and 2 cups of sugar in a nonstick pot. Simmer the mixture on the stove to release the natural fruit sugars, and a syrup-like liquid will form. Boil the strawberry syrup sauce for about 15 minutes until the syrup thickens to a sauce. Stir frequently to avoid burning the sugar. Next, pour the hot strawberry sauce over the sliced strawberry layer. Allow the pie to cool for several hours before serving. Store in the refrigerator.
The cream cheese base layer contributes a great contrasting texture and creaminess to the pie. If your diet does not include dairy ingredients, vegan cream cheese can be made within 48 hours using raw cashews, apple cider vinegar, water, and lemon juice. You can also purchase vegan cream cheese (Tofutti) at the Food Co-Op, which will supply an equally creamy texture.
I bought my own pie crust, but if you are more adventurous than I was feeling, try making your own crust! Recipes for pie crust are not complicated; simply mix several ingredients and bake. However, this process will tack on quite a bit of time to baking. I found my strawberry pie was delicious inside a store-bought crust!
I hope fresh strawberries make it home with you after your next trip to the Co-Op. You will be delighted with the natural sweetness of the little fruits especially in this simple Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie!
Happy cooking!

Granola Bars

I personally love granola bars. They make for easy grab-and-go breakfasts and snacks. I recently decided to make my own homemade recipe with a few simple ingredients. These fresh bars are sweet, salty, and both perfectly crunchy and chewy. These little creations are affordable to make. The ingredients do the work in this recipe. All you need to do is mix, chill, and enjoy your tasty bars!

Fresh Medjool dates are the base of these bars and deserve all the yummy credit. Dates have numerous health benefits including a rich vitamin content including Vitamin A, Vitamin K, thiamin, and riboflavin. Dates are also high in fiber, making them a great fruit to be consumed for digestive relief. Spreading fresh date paste on bread or swirled into yogurt are great ways to make a sweet snack from the yummy fruit.

Dates blend down to a moist sticky base which binds the granola bars together well. I’m a big peanut butter lover, so I added extra peanut butter. I was also sure to use crunchy peanut butter for added chunkiness!


½ c. Rolled oats
½ c. Peanut Butter, salted
1 ½ c. Medjool dates, pitted
1 tbsp. Chia seeds
1tsp. Vanilla extract
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
Optional: Chocolate chips

Soak dates in warm water for 10 minutes. Once softened, add the fruit to a food processor and grind down to a paste. The mix will form a moist ball when done. Transfer dates to a large bowl, and mix with peanut butter, vanilla, and chia seeds using a spoon. Next, add oats to the mixture, and stir until ingredients are well incorporated.

Transfer your granola mixture to parchment paper on a baking sheet. Cut into desired bar sizes or small balls. Chill in the refrigerator until the bars have set or approximately 30 minutes. And of course, last but not least – enjoy your tasty creation!
Good luck, and happy cooking!

Avocado Cream Sauce

FullSizeRender-7-237x300Avocados are a top emerging superfood. The green fruit has become a “hot” food known for being high in healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamins, and minerals. You may be surprised to know that one avocado has more potassium than a banana, as well as four grams of protein! Avocados are also an excellent source of folate and vitamin E.
In the world of cooking and baking, avocados may be easily substituted for butter or oil. Avocados are also highly versatile and easily take on surrounding ingredient flavors. This recipe blends ripe avocados and fresh basil for a light and flavorful pasta dish. Without pine nuts, this avocado pesto is cheaper than homemade pesto, and with avocado instead of butter and whole milk, this recipe supplies nourishing fats your body needs. Avocado cream sauce tastes delicious over rotini or angel hair pasta. It equally compliments blackened chicken breast, salmon filets, or quinoa and roasted vegetables!

Ingredients (Serves 2-3)
1 large ripe avocado, pitted
3 cloves of garlic
1/3 c. fresh chopped basil
1/3 c. fresh chopped parsley
1/4 c. milk or dairy-free milk
2 tbsps. lime juice
½ tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
Desired amount of spaghetti or about 2-3 servings
Optional: grated parmesan and diced grape tomatoes

Combine garlic, avocado, lime juice, olive oil, and milk in a food processor. Blend until thickly mashed. Then add basil, parsley, red pepper, black pepper, and salt. Blend until combined. Cook pasta for approximately 4 minutes. Mix avocado sauce from food processor with drained pasta. Serve warm with sharp grated parmesan and fresh grape tomatoes!
I have made this avocado pasta recipe many times, and it is truly one of my favorite meals. I am always impressed with how elegant this nutritious dinner feels while taking half the time and cost of a homemade alfredo or pesto sauce!
Try this recipe soon!
Happy cooking!


MadeleineMadeleine Wirth
Madeleine is a junior Dietetics student at James Madison University. Her interests include community nutrition and sustainable food systems. She enjoys experimenting with whole foods and preservation techniques, as well as exploring ways to educate people on adequate nutrition. Madeleine also enjoys the outdoors, running, and swim coaching children in the summertime. She is actively involved with the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank and the JMU Student Government. After graduation from JMU, Madeleine hopes to pursue a dietetic internship, obtain the Registered Dietitian credential, and educate children and families on the affordability, accessibility and importance of fresh, whole foods.