Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad with Walnuts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I was never a big fan of brussels sprouts.  That is, until my Aunt Gail brought them to a family dinner at my parent’s house several years ago.  I remember thinking, ‘ugh, brussels sprouts’ (sorry Aunt Gail) and was hesitant to even taste them.  Well, thank goodness I did!  They were the most mouth-watering brussels sprouts I had ever tasted.  They had been roasted, I believe, in balsamic and olive oil.  Amazing!  Ever since, I have been in love with these little guys and really enjoy experimenting with different ways of cooking and serving them.  This Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad with Walnuts is so delicious.  I love the sweetness of the shallots and the extra crunch of those little walnuts.  Best of all, this dish is toddler approved!

The Ingredients:

1 lb brussels sprouts
3 tbsp coconut oil, warmed
1 shallot, sliced
1/2 c raw walnuts, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash and cut the brussels sprouts in half.  Place into a baking dish.  Add the shallots, oil, salt and pepper.  Mix well, coating each brussels sprout evenly.  Bake in oven for about 45 minutes.  Until sprouts are lightly roasted and fork tender.  Once done, stir in the walnuts.

Serve either hot or cold.



Polenta Parmesan Over Penne


Chicken Parmesan is not something I miss now that I am vegan. However, I do sometimes miss the crispiness of the breadcrumbs combined with red sauce, cheese and pasta.  The other night, I came up with this Polenta Parmesan over Penne to try to satisfy my taste buds.  My husband, a non-vegan, absolutely loved it.  I was actually pretty shocked by the amount of compliments he gave.  To top it off, my little sous chef really enjoyed it as well.  Although this is a very high-carb meal and not a dish we eat regularly, it certainly fulfilled that craving I was having.  Sometimes we all need a little comfort food in our lives.

The Polenta:

2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 c polenta
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped

The Other Ingredients:

1 lb brown rice penne pasta
24 oz tomato sauce
1/4 c mozzarella cheese

In a medium sauce pan bring 2 cups of water to a boil then whisk in the polenta.  You will need to stir constantly for about five minutes until polenta starts to thicken.  Once the polenta is thick add the garlic and parsley.  Keep whisking so the polenta does not stick and the garlic is cooked though (about 10 minutes).  Transfer the polenta into a glass baking dish and place in the refrigerator for about 2-3 hours.  You want the polenta to cool and solidify.


Once the polenta is ready, cut the it into desired shapes and set aside.  I did strips this time so it would be easy for my little guy to handle.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the pasta according to the package.  I typically start tasting the pasta about 2 minutes before it is done to avoid over-cooking.

In a small sauce pan, over medium-low heat warm the sauce.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Once the pan is hot, add the polenta strips.  Cook until golden brown on each side (about 5-7 minutes).  Place strips back into baking dish, pour some sauce on each strip and sprinkle the mozzarella on top.  Bake the Polenta Parmesan for about 5 minutes, until the cheese has melted.

Serve over penne or any pasta of your choice.



Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus


Ah hummus!  I cannot get enough of this stuff.  As I have mentioned in previous posts, what I love most about hummus is it is so versatile.  There are so many different varieties out there you can find something for everyone.  I enjoy making my own large batches of hummus.  For one, you know what exactly is going into the recipe.  Second, especially with this recipe, you can truly experiment.  I love finding a new tasty hummus and coming home to try to recreate it.  This Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus is one of my latest experiment.  I hope you enjoy it!

The Ingredients:

4 cups garbanzo beans (3 cans)
1/2 cup tahini
1/3 cup warm water
1/3 cup olive oil
Juice of 3 lemons
2 garlic cloves or MORE!
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp pepper

Other Variations:

1 cup or MORE artichoke hearts
1 cup or MORE roasted red peppers
1 cup or MORE kalamata olives

In a food processor, combine beans, tahini, water, olive oil and lemon juice.  Blend until smooth.  I mean really smooth and creamy. Pausing to scrape the sides 1-2 times.

Add the garlic, salt, cumin and pepper. Blend until smooth.

Add sun-dried tomatoes or any other variation you would like and blend again.

Refrigerate in air-tight container.  This hummus can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 1/2 – 2 weeks.



Chocolate Ice Cream


This Chocolate Ice cream is amazing!  As a kid, my all-time favorite was vanilla with peanut butter swirl.  I would purposely let the ice cream get soft and melt so the peanut butter and vanilla would blend together and become a creamy, peanut buttery soup.  Ah, memories.  I remember, when I was much younger, sneaking into the kitchen when my parents weren’t looking to eat as much ice cream as I could fit into my mouth before I heard them coming.  I did not do this because my parents deprived me of ice cream, I ate my dessert with the family after dinner like a normal kid.  The thing was, the serving size just was not enough.  I wanted ALL the ice cream.  Later in life, I came to learn that sometimes the foods that we are most addicted to are the very foods our systems are intolerant to.  More on that later.  Giving up ice cream was much harder for me than giving up gluten.  Though it was the best thing I could have done for my body.

Lately, my husband and I have been obsessed with this vegan, raw Chocolate Ice Cream (inspired by Lipstick and Berries).  This is a quick and easy treat to make whenever you are in the mood for something sweet.  Best of all, it is ready to eat in 2 hours.  I typically start freezing the mixture as we are just about to sit down for dinner so by the time we are looking for dessert it is ready.

The Ingredients:

2 c almond milk
1/2 c raw cashews
6 dates, pitted
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla

Place all ingredients into a high-speed blender.  Blend until smooth and transfer to a medium glass dish.  Place it in the freezer, uncovered for 1 hour.  Stir and return to freezer for another hour.  If you like the consistency at this point, by all means enjoy!  Otherwise, stick the ice cream back in the freezer for an additional 30 minutes.  Scoop out into bowls or mugs and serve.

*It is important you stir the mixture otherwise it becomes icy.



Easter Egg Hunt


My Easter traditions as a child were very similar to most, I think.  My siblings and I loved dying eggs.  We would always try to top the others artistic ability.  On Easter Eve, the “Easter Bunny” would hide the dyed eggs all around our house.  Only on the main level, upstairs was off-limits and yes these were hard-boiled eggs inside the house.  Easter morning, we would wake up to Easter baskets filled with a small gift, homemade chocolates, peanut butter cups, jellybeans and whatever favorite candies we liked that year.  After we went through our baskets we started our Easter Egg Hunt.  We would usually find all the eggs.  There was one summer where that one egg we couldn’t find would make its smelly appearance.  I know, gross, but hey it is a funny family memory and my mom made sure that never happened again.  After the eggs were all found, we had to eat breakfast (an egg or two) and then we can have something from our basket.

Well my traditions have changed a bit.  Now that I am plant-based and our little guy has a slight intolerance to eggs we had to get creative.  My husband suggested hiding eggs in the yard (his childhood tradition) and maybe putting little toys in the eggs.  The problem we ran into there was all toys that would fit in those little eggs are choking hazards for toddlers.  Plus, Max has enough toys.  Candy just wasn’t an option.  Then I saw this idea on the Internet the other day and thought, “What a brilliant idea!”  It is so easy and best of all Healthy!

The Ingredients:

Whatever your little ones like!

Plastic eggs

You get the point.

Happy Easter and Enjoy!


Wholesome Bowl


Last week I went to my good friends house for lunch, some adult conversation and of course, a play date.  While our babes played together we enjoyed a beautiful salad she had made.  It was so colorful, delicious and filling I just had to try to recreate it.  This Wholesome Bowl is perfect all on its own.  No dressing needed.

To create this dish, you’ll have to plan ahead.  I am a planner and when it comes to eating healthy, I find it is the only way to be successful.  If there is nothing healthy and accessible in the kitchen at all times, poor choices are made.  I know this about me and I have learned what works and what doesn’t.  Every week, after food shopping, I know I have to dedicate a few hours to prepping and cooking foods.  I know what you are thinking, who has the time to prep like this, especially when you have kids.  Well, when I am ready to start prepping my son is doing one of the following; napping, playing with dad, playing at me feet in the kitchen or most often sitting in his high chair being my little sous chef.  He loves being in the kitchen with me, especially when he gets to taste everything I make.

This past weekend, I was focused on making this salad.  On Sunday, I spent about 2-3 hours in the kitchen preparing.  This time Max was playing with Dad.  I roasted butternut squash, soaked and cooked both black beans and garbanzo beans, made quinoa and boiled beets.  I stored everything in separate containers in the refrigerator.  Now when it is time for lunch or a snack, all I have to do is grab a bowl, add some mix greens and whatever combination of prepped bowls I am in the mood for.  Any mom knows, running around after a toddler all day can lead to skipping meals or overeating when we finally have a moment.  Prepping, for me is a necessity and a lifesaver.  Try a planning ahead, it may work for you too.

The Ingredients:

1 c mixed greens
1/2 c beets
1/2 c butternut squash
1/2 c black beans
1/2 c quinoa
1/2 c cherry tomatoes
1/4 avocado
6 olives

First place greens in a medium bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients and serve.

If you would like to add some dressing use olive oil and apple cider vinegar or simply some lemon juice. Yum!



Roasted Potato Salad

Roasted Potato Salad

Roasted potatoes, when done right, can be the perfect little bit of slightly crispy on the outside and creamy in the middle.  Now that spring is here and barbecue season is just around the corner, my taste buds are craving potato salad.  I wanted to give a fresh spin on this classic dish.  This Roasted Potato Salad is a light and refreshing dish that will be a great addition to any summer party.

I love roasted potatoes.  In fact, I love all potatoes.  As long as they are dairy-free and vegan, I will eat them (with the exception of chips, not a big fan). Both my brother and sister share my love for roasted potatoes, especially my moms.  My mom always makes roasted potatoes for family events and between my siblings and I there will inevitably be about half of the potatoes missing by the time the dish makes it onto the table.  The funny thing is every time my mom notices this; she is equally shocked and disappointed that half of her potatoes are gone, as if she didn’t see this coming.  She is well aware she raised 3 potato thieves; I mean it’s been almost 40 years.  One would think, at some point, she would start making more.  Personally I think, although she may seem a little pissed at the time, she finds great joy in seeing that after all these years, we still love her food.  And we thought we were the sneaky ones.

The Ingredients:

5-6 medium Yukon potatoes, cubed
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

The Dressing:

Juice and zest of 1 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 c fresh parsley, chopped (1 tbsp dried)
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped (1/2 tsp dried)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Place first 6 ingredients in a large baking dish, mix well, coating every potato.  Bake in oven for 1 hour stirring half way through.  Remove from oven and with a slotted spoon transfer potatoes into a serving bowl.  You want to leave the excess oil from baking.  Set bowl aside.

In a small mixing bowl, add all of the dressing ingredients and whisk together.  Drizzle over the potatoes while they are still warm.  You can either serve while warm or place in the refrigerator to chill and serve cold.

This recipe will serve about 4 guests.



Not-a-Tuna Melt

Not a tuna melt

This Not-A-Tuna Melt brings me back to the very moment I fell in love with tuna salad.  I have tried making vegan tuna with so many alternatives from seeds to nuts to you name it.  Nothing ever seemed to come close to that tuna consistency.  Until I used garbanzo beans.  The minute I took a bite of this delicious wrap I was catapulted back to the summer of my freshman year in high school.  My family and I were vacationing in the Outer Banks, NC.  I had just come back from the beach looking for some lunch and found my sister was standing at the kitchen counter eating Tostitos and homemade tuna salad.  I originally thought, “what a weirdo, chips and tuna? gross!”  That is, until I tried it.  She had made the most delicious tuna salad I had ever tasted and she was using it as a dip for the chips.  The creamy salad and the crunch of the chips was a perfect combination. After that day I began making tuna salad a lot.  So, you can just imagine how happy I was to finally make the perfect vegan tuna salad.   As much as I love this Not-A-Tuna Melt, I truly love the memories that are triggered by it.  The smell of salty air, Banana Boat on my skin, campfires on the beach, watching lightning storms over the ocean with my dad but most of all it was the one time a year where my family and I truly relaxed and enjoyed each others company.  I look forward to the day where our growing families will enjoy those same memories.

The Ingredients:

3 c garbanzo beans (or 2 cans)
1 c walnuts, crushed
3/4 c vegan, soy-free mayonnaise
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1-2 carrots, shredded
1 tbsp parsley
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp celery seed
Salt and Pepper to taste

1 brown rice wrap
1/4 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 c mixed greens

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a food processor blend garbanzo beans until slightly flakey texture.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl.  Add all ingredients except wrap and cheese and mix well.  Set aside.

Next place the cheese on the wrap and warm in the oven for about 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Remove wrap from oven and place on a dish.  Scoop a generous helping of salad onto the center of the wrap. Top with mixed greens and roll.  Slice in half and serve.



Raw Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Raw Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Last weekend my husband and I threw our dear friends a going away party.  To honor them and their little man I decided to make these delicious Raw Carrot Cake Cupcakes.  I was inspired by FullyRawKristina’s raw cupcake recipe and just made a few changes.  These little cakes are a fun and fresh dessert everyone can enjoy and the perfect guilt-free way to end a party.  The best part, all those little babes who enjoyed this dessert had no idea they were eating a mini-cake of fruit and veggies.  Pretty sneaky!

The Cake Ingredients:

3 c finely shredded carrots (about 10 carrots)
3 c dates, pitted
1/2 c walnuts
1 tsp cinnamon

The Icing Ingredients:

Juice of 2 oranges
3 c soaked cashews
1 c dates
1 tsp vanilla

Other Essentials:

cupcake holders
cupcake trays

Soak cashews over night or at least for 2-3 hours.

In a food processor, shred carrots.  Remove them from the bowl, switch to the “S” blade, place carrots back in processor and blend again until finely shredded.  Add the dated, walnuts and cinnamon and blend until smooth.  Use a spatula to scoop our the carrot mixture and fill the baking cups about halfway.

Next, in a high-speed blender, add orange juice, cashews, dates and vanilla.  Blend until thick and smooth.  You want the consistency to be the same as traditional icing.  Scoop icing into a pastry bag (or bottom corner of a ziplock bag).  If using a ziplock, snip the corner of the bag and begin icing the cupcakes.

Raw Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Place cupcake trays in the freezer for at least 2 hours before serving.  If you freeze them overnight, take them out about 1/2 hour before serving. Otherwise they will lose their form.

*Note – These cupcakes can be stored up to a month in the freezer.  That is if there are any leftovers.



Dairy-Free, Vegan Waldorf Salad

Waldorf Salad

Did you know The Waldorf Salad dates back all the way to the late 1800’s?  It was actually created at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.  Pretty cool.  It is one of my all-time favorite salads.  There was a restaurant my husband and I would frequent (pre-baby) who made one of the best Waldorf Salads I had ever had.  One of the last times we went there, they had changed the quality of their ingredients.  The dish had gone from all fresh delicious ingredients to (bleh) canned.  This is a classic dish and fresh ingredients are always better.  Needless to say we stopped going to that restaurant.  Since then I have longed for this delicious salad and now that I am vegan, I had to change a few things.  Here is my version of a tasty Dairy-Free, Vegan Waldorf Salad.  I hope you love it as much as I do.

The Ingredients:

3-5 Romaine lettuce leaves
1/2 Pink Lady apple
3/4 c walnuts, crushed
1/4 c red onion, sliced thin (optional)

The Dressing:

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 tbsp vegan, soy free Mayonnaise
1/2 tsp curry powder

In a large salad bowl toss together the first 4 ingredients.

In a separate small mixing bowl add all of the dressing ingredients and whisk well.

Drizzle about 2 tbsp of dressing over salad and toss.  Store remaining dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.