Tag Archives: vegan

Apple Pie Banana Bread {vegan + gf}

Hello, hello!

Today I have what’s quickly becoming a new favorite recipe of mine to share with you guys, so let’s dive right into it!

Banana bread is one of my favorite ways to use ripe bananas, and I’m sure a lot of you would agree with me on that! There’s just something so comforting and yummy about a banana bread fresh out of the oven. I like to eat a slice with a cup of hot tea.

Today’s recipe takes a twist on banana bread – a cinnamon apple twist, because hello October! This is my last recipe creation using the fruit from my apple picking excursion in Julian. There’s been lots of apple eating and baking in my kitchen over the past month!  apple-banana-bread-9 Continue reading

Zoodles with Basil Cherry Tomato Sauce, Pine Nuts & Lemon Zest

Hi there!

Happy 4th of July weekend to all of my fellow Americans! I am certainly looking forward to a 3-day holiday weekend. Whose got fun plans for the 4th? I’ve got a beach yoga class and hanging out at a friend’s house on the agenda, and I’m hoping to catch some fireworks on Saturday night.

Today I’m sharing a new recipe that will probably become a go-to dinner in my kitchen. Packed with veggies and flavor, it’s a healthy meal that revolves around my recent favorite kitchen gadget: my spiralizer!
summer zoodles-4

I’ve seriously been a spiralizing maniac. My hubby and I have eaten zoodles so often in the last few months, he’s started joking around and putting the letter ‘z’ in words where it shouldn’t be.

For instance, we started saying ‘zauce’ instead of tomato sauce.

He told me I created a ‘zess’ after I made quite a mess making this meal. Get it, a zoodle mess?!

We also said I should start calling it a ‘zoodlizer’ instead of spiralizer because I have only been putting zucchini in my new favorite gadget lately. Note to self: Branch out and get more creative with my spiralizing ASAP. 

summer zoodles-1

But for right now, zoodles are my love. Speaking of things I love, a flavorful tomato sauce is on my list of things I’m forever obsessed with. I like to make my tomato sauce zoodle dishes really saucy so that I can dip pieces of fresh bread in, but you can conserve some of the tomato sauce for another occasion if you aren’t quite as obsessed with it as I am (no hard feelings).

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WIAW: My Favorite Eats of the Week

Happy Hump Day!

Harley Christmas bow

Being that it has been quite awhile since I linked up to the What I Ate Wednesday blogger party, I decided to join in on this fun this week. Today’s WIAW post features my favorite eats from the past week – because as any normal food blogger, whenever I eat something tasty, I snap a photo or two!


So what goodies has this vegetarian been munching on?

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Awesome Ways to Eat Apples this Autumn

Happy, happy Friday!


So in case I haven’t told you before, I’m obsessed with fruit. Every type of berry, banana, melon, kiwi, peaches… and the list of fruit that I can’t get enough of goes on and on! Fruit is sweet, it’s a natural whole food, and it can easily be incorporated into a diet in endless ways.

apple slices

Topping the list of my favorite fruits is the illustrious apple. In my household apples disappear quickly. I buy probably a dozen of them every time I make a food store trip, which you think would last for at least a bit with only two people in my house, but they don’t. In fact, I’d love to be eating an apple at this very moment, but we unfortunately ran out yesterday. Each of us eats at least an apple a day. But hey, I’m not complaining, because you know what they say… An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Just why do we say that? Because apples contain lots of goodness, including:

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Dark Chocolate Drizzled Salted Caramel Rice Crispy Treats [Gluten Free & Vegan]

Today is the birthday of the wonderful, amazing man that I’m fortunate enough to spend my life with.


7 years ago, celebrating the first birthdays we were dating by skydiving together… We were just college kids!

Birthdays are celebrations, and celebrations call for dessert, so today I’m sharing with you guys a new sweet tooth creation I’ve come up with. Meet my latest food obsession: chocolate drizzled salted caramel rice crispy treats.

crispy treats-4

Lately, as I stand in my kitchen deciding what to make for a meal, I find myself somehow breaking off a piece of one of these rice crispy treats as a pre-meal snack.

While having a conversation with my hubby the other night, I all of a sudden found myself with one of these babies in my hand. It was like I blacked out and awoke with a sticky, delicious treat in my possession.

Okay, perhaps I’m being dramatic… but I just love these!

crispy treats-3

The recipe all came to fruition after making these salted caramel granola bars via Oh My Veggies. Oh my deliciousness, every time I read her blog I’m practically drooling because every recipe looks so good!

fleur de sel

After I originally bookmarked the granola bar recipe, I nabbed some fleur de sel salt for the first time, which is a sea salt hand-harvested in France. After buying it and having full intentions of making the granola bars ASAP, I got caught up with a little thing called moving to a new city and becoming a homeowner, and I forgot about the bars for awhile – that is until I had my father-in-law in town and was looking for fun treats to whip up.

Green juice with salted caramel granola bars

Green juice with salted caramel granola bars

I found the idea of making “caramel” by throwing mainly almond butter, maple syrup, a few dates into a food processor to be a genius idea. For this recipe, I modified her caramel into my own by using brown rice syrup, almond butter, fleur de del and vanilla extract. The crispies in this recipe are Barbara’s brown rice crisps — the healthier version of Rice Krispies cereal.

crispy treats-1

crispy treats-5

Rice crispy treats remind me of childhood, along with fruit roll ups and those sour straw things I would eat at my school’s rollerskating night. But these rice crispy treats are better than the ones I would uncover from those shiny blue wrappers as a kid. These are sweet and salty, with a hint of almond butter flavor and a drizzle of chocolate on top. They’re made with simple ingredients I can pronounce – minus the fleur de sel, but we’ll just refer to that as fancy schmancy sea salt!

crispy treats-2

This recipe makes a big batch of rice crispy treats. I feel like I just keep eating them, and I still have a few left!  Kid friendly and healthy foodie approved, these treats will make for a great dessert or snack that everyone in the family can enjoy.

cripsy treats-6

Chocolate Drizzled Salted Caramel Rice Crispy Treats [Gluten Free & Vegan]
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
  • 1-1 lb 5 oz jar of brown rice syrup
  • 1-10 oz box of brown rice crisps cereal
  • ½ cup creamy almond butter
  • 1 TSP fluer de sel
  • ¼ cup (vegan) dark chocolate chips
  • 2 TBSP chocolate soy milk (any kind of milk can work)
  • 1 TSP vanilla extract
  1. Melt the brown rice syrup in a small saucepan over low heat until it's liquified.
  2. Add the almond butter, vanilla extract, and fleur de del. Mix well until smooth.
  3. Pour the brown rice crisps into a large bowl. Pour the "caramel" sauce on top. Mix with a wooden spoon until everything is well incorporated.
  4. Pour into a 8x11 pan and press into the dish well.
  5. In another small saucepan, add the chocolate chips and soy milk. Melt over low heat, constantly mixing with a spoon. When chocolate is fully melted and smooth, remove from heat. Evenly drizzle on top of the rice crispy treats.
  6. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 90 minutes before cutting into squares. Cut into 12-18 treats, depending on how large you'd like each to be. Keep in the fridge until ready to eat.

Watermelon Cucumber Mint Juice

Lately I’ve been obsessed with watermelon – and rightly so I think, as it’s such a refreshing summertime fruit. You may have noticed this because of my frequent mention of watermelon smoothies. Can’t.stop.making.them!

watermelon smoothie

Besides blending smoothies, making salads like this one with it, and eating watermelon all on its own, I’ve also thrown it in my juicer a bunch of times lately.

melon mint juice-1

Does anyone else drink fresh juice out of a wine glass?

melon mint juice-2

I realized that I haven’t posted a juice recipe in awhile, but that’s not because I haven’t been juicing. It’s more so because for a few months there, I got a little boring with my juices: always apple, carrots, and ginger, and then I’d often thrown in spinach or cucumber. When I realized that I was in a juicing rut, I decided to get a little more creative, and thus, this green watermelon mint juice came to fruition in my kitchen.

watermelon smoothie-1

Watermelon Cucumber Mint Juice
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
  • 3 cups of watermelon
  • ½ large cucumber
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 6-8 mint leaves
  • ½ lemon
  1. Juice the watermelon, cucumber, celery, and mint leaves into a glass. Squeeze the juice from the lemon into the glass and stir, throw a couple of ice cubes into the mix, and enjoy!


The thing I love about making a juice in the morning is that I nourish my body with a bunch of fruits and veggies in one little glass. I don’t do it every day, but I’ve found a happy balance in making a juice a couple of mornings a week, and I definitely like getting green juice when I’m out and about somewhere that offers it (which takes the work out of enjoying a juice!).

Do you juice? If so, what’s your go-to combo? 

Strawberry, Cashew & Apricot Salad with Strawberry Basil Vinaigrette

Hi friends!

Hope you that you had a great weekend. Mine was pretty low-key: did some schoolwork (got 100% on my second test!) and stuff around/for the house, went hiking, got some beach time in and just enjoyed the summertime weather.

And speaking of summer, today’s recipe is most definitely seasonally appropriate.

strawberry salad-1

I came up with this salad after having recently eaten a strawberry basil Greek yogurt. I loved the flavor combo, and when I picked up strawberries during my next grocery store run, I started thinking about pairing local strawberries with basil from my backyard for a dish.

strawberry salad-3

In general, I like to switch things up in the kitchen, but this just isn’t the case when it comes to salad dressings. My go-to dressing mix is extra virgin olive oil + fresh lemon juice + balsamic vinaigrette + mixed up salt. BOOM. I pretty much make it every time I have salad, but this time, I decided to get a little creative and make a strawberry basil vinaigrette.

Strawberry Salad

Simple enough to throw together in a jiffy, the dressing is the fresh and fruity star of this vibrant, vegan, healthy summer salad.

strawberry salad-4

5.0 from 1 reviews
Strawberry, Cashew & Apricot Salad with Strawberry Basil Vinaigrette
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
  • 6 cups of mixed greens
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 4 fresh apricots
  • ½ cup raw cashew pieces
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 2 TSP white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 TSP cane sugar
  • 2 TBSP fresh basil
  • 1½ TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ TSP sea salt
  1. Place greens in a large salad bowl.
  2. Slice strawberries and quarter apricots. Place 1 cup of the strawberries and the apricot pieces into the salad bowl. Sprinkle cashew pieces in, and toss to combine.
  3. In a food processor, combine remaining strawberries and all other dressing ingredients. Pulse until the mixture forms a smooth dressing. Drizzle on top of salad. Top to combine. Divide evenly into 2 bowls.


Questions: Do you like the combination of strawberry and basil? What’s your go-to salad dressing?

PS – If you haven’t already, don’t forget to enter my KIND healthy snack bar giveaway before it ends Wednesday!

Mint Chocolate Chip Date Balls

Hey friends, how’s it going?

Greetings from the east coast — my parents’ house in Jersey to be exact. Things around here are pretty up and down. As I talked about in my last post, I flew here because my sweet little grandma is really sick. When I’m not at the hospital or working, I’ve been trying to do things that soothe my soul a bit and help me keep it together. This includes fitting in an at-home workout this morning, going for a long walk with my brother’s girlfriend and their newborn baby yesterday, and having brunch with a close girlfriend today.

Yesterday after being at the hospital, I wanted to try to take my mind off of my grandma for a bit, so I decided to spend time in the kitchen whipping up some snacks and dinner for my family. My mom got a food processor last year that she had yet to open, so I unwrapped the packaging and broke it in.

food processor

My mom’s new kitchen gadget

Baking and cooking is such a stress soother for me. And as you probably know by now, I love to make food for people, and though my hubby is a happy eater of my creations, being at my parents’ gives me many more than willing tasters in my family members.

kitchen creations

My creations from top left clockwise: a roasted red pepper hummus platter, mint chocolate chip date balls, rosti potatoes with goat cheese and arugula (recipe here), cinnamon raisin flaxseed granola (recipe here), and a mixed green salad with blueberries, goat cheese, & honeyed walnut -n- hemp seed clusters (recipe here).

In preparation for making this food, I made a stop at the food store, and while I was there I  spotted mint chocolate chips. I love chocolate and I love mint, so I had to give these babies a try. Immediately what popped into my mind was to make date balls.

date balls-1

date balls-4

Date balls make such fun healthy dessert-like snacks. Next time I may put a few drops of peppermint extract into the date ball dough to make it have even more of a peppermint flavor, and I would have if I had some on-hand. However, they turned out tasty as is. Everyone enjoyed them and my sister said that these babies taste like Girl Scout cookies!

date balls-2

date balls-5

Mint Chocolate Chip Date Balls
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
  • 12 Medjool dates, pitted
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • 2 TBSP brown rice syrup (honey or agave syrup would also work)
  • 2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup mint chocolate chips
  • Pinch of salt
  1. In a food processor, combine the dates, almonds, brown rice syrup, cocoa powder and salt. Pulse until it forms into a sticky ball. You may need to scrape down the sides once or twice to get everything mixed together well.
  2. Mix in the chocolate chips, and stir with a spoon to mix them in there evenly.
  3. With moistened hands, roll the dough into 8 even balls.
  4. You can stick them in the fridge to harden a bit, or enjoy them a little softer as is.
*You can also add in a few drops of peppermint extract for an extra minty flavor.*


Date balls – love em, hate em, never had em?

Meatless Monday Recipe Idea: Black Bean Veggie Tacos with Cashew Cream [Gluten Free]

Hi friends!

Another weekend has flown by, and it was a good one for me. I kicked off my weekend with a much needed massage at the student massage school near me, San Jose National Holistic Institute. The students perform whatever massage they’ve been working on in school, and this time it was a Swedish massage. The masseuse did a good job of working on all of my achy muscles for an hour — for $20. Needless to say, it was awesome!

Afterwards I headed over to the mall to spoil myself a little, and I picked up a new Athleta workout top and some beauty loot from LUSH and Benefit Cosmetics. I’m kind of in love with LUSH. I spent some time in there playing around with things and wound up nabbing a facial cleanser and seaweed mask that I tested out and loved this weekend. I don’t go shopping often, so it was a treat!

shopping loot

Other highlights of my weekend included a mountain biking trip with gorgeous, peaceful scenery of rolling green hills…

biking trip-2


biking trip-1

…long walks with happy puppies…

Harley in car

…and bright & beautiful meals like this one:

fennel salad

Fennel & arugula salad with dried cherries, honey roasted almonds and an EVOO + honey + white balsamic + sea salt dressing

It always seems like the weekends always zip by and Mondays are here before we know it right? And speaking of Mondays, today I’ve got a Meatless Monday recipe to share with you.


One concern I hear often with people who want to make more meatless meals or go vegetarian is that they just aren’t sure what to make. For me, some dinners are planned out ahead of time when I go grocery shopping, others are decided the morning of, and some are figured out as I’m staring at my fridge, hungry and ready for dinner about 15 minutes prior. 


Sometimes I like to just get creative with whatever’s in my cabinets and fridge. These kinds of meals can be the best kind of surprises. Last week, this recipe came together in 20 minutes flat.


These tacos are easy to substitute different ingredients to suit your liking. It can be made vegan if you leave out the cheese, and you can skip the cashew cream and use regular sour cream or plain yogurt if you prefer.


I ate one taco vegan-style, and one with shredded cheese. Both were yummy!


Black Bean Veggie Tacos with Cashew Cream [Gluten Free]
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 TBSP green onion
  • ¼ white onion
  • 2 TBSP cilantro
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 vine ripe tomato
  • 8 small gluten free corn tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese, optional
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • Juice from ½ small lemon
  • 6 TBSP water
  • 1 TSP salt
  • ½ TSP chili pepper
  • ¼ TSP black pepper
  1. Mince white onion. Warm olive oil in a large skillet, and sauté onion until lightly browned.
  2. Dice red pepper, zucchini, cilantro and green onion. Add to the skillet, and cook for 7 minutes or until veggies are tender.
  3. Dice tomato and avocado.
  4. Add black beans into the pan. Season with ½ TSP salt, chili pepper and black pepper. Stir until everything's well combined and the beans are warm. Remove from heat and add tomato and avocado into the veggie mixture.
  5. To make the cashew cream: Combine the raw cashews, remaining ½ TSP salt, lemon juice and water into a food processor and pulse until mostly smooth. You may want to add in more water to achieve desired consistency.
  6. Spoon veggies onto corn tortillas. Top with cashew cream and cheese, if using. Enjoy while they're warm!


Question: What was the last meatless dinner you made? 

Meatout: Eat Vegan For a Day

Hi friends!

I first heard about Meatout last night via Twitter when I was in a state of exhaustion, so I’m way late on posting info about this… but better late than never to help spread the word right?

So just what is Meatout? 

Meatout is a day of international observance with a purpose of exposing the public to the joys and benefits of a plant-based diet, while promoting the availability and selection alternatives to meat and dairy in mainstream grocery stores, restaurants and catering operations. Meatout has been observed every year since 1985 and has become the world’s largest annual grassroots diet education campaign.

Meatout is a movement led by Farm Animals Rights Movement (FARM), with a goal of getting 25,000 people to participate in the pledge. Partipants pledge to eat vegan on March 20, the first day of spring (today!), to explore a wholesome, compassionate diet of fruits, veggies and whole grains.


You can find out more about Meatout here.

I try never to get all preachy on here, and at the end of the day, diet is a personal preference. I realize that I’m in the minority as a vegetarian, as I believe somewhere around 95% of Americans eat meat. But going vegan or vegetarian for a day, week, or month, can really open up your food horizons and help you to adopt a healthier lifestyle.


I think the only foods we should be relying on at every meal are veggies and fruits. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve gone to someone’s house and they have nothing meat-free to eat. I find it to be so crazy and indicative of how reliant on meat our society is. Eating meat is a personal choice (though I could certainly argue its negative effects on the body), but eating it at every meal is just not healthy (ahem, the Paleo craze!). America is eating pieces of large animals at every meal, then we wonder why we have digestion issues, weight issues and prevalence of disease. We’re eating too much meat, too much processed crap, and too much in general.

I’ve pledged to cut out dairy today to go vegan for Meatout, and I invite you to try to eat vegan for just one day, meatless for one week, or even just to decrease the amount of meat products you’re eating and to increase the amount of whole foods you’re putting into your body. It’s better for our health and the planet, and there are so many more options out there than meat-eaters tend to think. My favorite go-to recipe source is Vegetarian Times, or check out my recipe page for inspiration!

Had you ever heard of Meatout before?  

Share your thoughts on the movement!