Category Archives: recipes

I’m trying a new recipe tonight…

I’m trying a new recipe out tonight. It’s a healthy, vegan, potato starch, refined sugar, and fat-free banana blueberry bread. I know, it sounds awful. But look at it!

I used our handmade applesauce from last fall and yummy organic blueberries. My agave nectar measurement got pretty loosey-goosey because I finished off one bottle and started a new one. Speaking of which, does anyone know the difference between the color grades of agave nectar? All the sugar substitution is fairly new to me.

I’ll let you know tomorrow how it tastes. Till then…


Must Make Monday – Dairy Free Foods

These are the yummy looking foods I want to make tomorrow. I haven’t done a lot of cooking lately, so a couple of small projects is just what I need.

This Cranberry-Avocado Salad with Candied Spiced Almonds and Sweet White Balsamic Vinaigrette looks like a very good lunch. Can’t wait! I think I even have all the supplies!

We aren’t eating potato chips anymore and while I love the INKA plantain chips, these apple chips look like a good way to use those pink lady apples I bought yesterday. The girls will love having these in their lunch boxes for Wednesday.

This almond milk steamer looks amazingly yummy for the girls’ at tea time. No more sneaking sips from my afternoon Chai!

This spinach tomato orzo soup and roasted butternut squash salad with soy balsamic dressing look like a lovely dinner and a great way to end the day.

It’s Wednesday. What’s For Dinner?

Hubs is in LA today. I decided since it’d be just me and the girls for dinner I could try a meat-free meal. I saw this last night and it looked mighty good! Does anyone else troll Pinterest at night for tomorrow’s dinner ideas? I didn’t think it was just me.

I followed Jules’ recipe, but added two peeled and chopped carrots. I think noodles and or cabbage would be really good in this, too. I can see why she says it is addictive. So simple to make (15-20 minutes max) and really easy to combine new flavors into a soup that is totally your own.

Knowing my girls would be resistant to a new dish I also baked this up. See the “Going Bananas” sign? That was me trying to frost this banana cake while also holding a crying/cranky Q and coaxing PZ to practice piano when all she wanted to do was watch TV.

The cake was also super easy to make. If you’ve been looking to add a vegan banana chocolate chip cake to your recipe file, this is a good one!


  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp aluminum free baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 medium sized ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips (I use Ghiradelli)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch round baking pan.In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the sugar and oil, then add the mashed bananas. Add water and vanilla, stirring to combine.Add the flour mixture, stirring just until wet. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the chocolate chips.

Bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 30 minutes before removing from pan.


  • ½ cup Earth Balance butter
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp almond milk

Whip Earth Balance until creamy. Add sugar and cinnamon and beat for a couple of minutes. Add vanilla and almond milk. Beat until light and fluffy on high speed, about 5 more minutes. Frost cooled cake. Add more chocolate chips and/or banana slices as decoration if you want. Enjoy!

So that’s what’s for dinner at my house. What’s for dinner at yours?

Dairy Free Baking – Cookies!

As of the New Year, I am now completely dairy free. Whether it’s forever or just for the 6 weeks my doctor recommended we’ll just have to see. I’m choosing to see this as a culinary adventure instead of a sentence of deprivation and am actually pretty excited about the experiment. Anyone else out there trying out a new diet for the new year?

My first official vegan recipe is, of course, a cookie. Unhappy with the taste of vegan chocolate chip cookies that I’ve purchased or had at parties, I decided to try something a little different. I’m calling it my Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Banana Snickerdoodle Vegan Cookie Yum! It took a couple of tries, but I’m really happy with this final product. Tell me what you think!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Banana Snickerdoodle Vegan Cookie Yum

1 1/3 cup of all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of salt

1 stick of Earth Balance vegan butter

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup organic peanut butter (I used creamy)

1 large organic banana

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup semi sweet Ghiradelli chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees

In a medium size bowl, stir together your flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Melt your vegan butter. In a large bowl beat your melted vegan butter and the granulated sugar until frothy. Add the brown sugar and peanut butter until well blended. Peel and mush your banana. Stir the mushed banana and the vanilla into the sugar and vegan butter. Add the flour mixture just until incorporated. By hand, stir in the rolled oats and chocolate chips.

On an ungreased cookie sheet, scoop out 2 inch balls of dough evenly spaced about 3 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges are turning brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before removing cookies from the sheet. Enjoy!

Strawberry Freezer Jam w/o the Pectin

We picked a bunch of strawberries at Krugers’ on Thursday and I finally got around to making some jam yesterday. (I also finally got around to picking some of the roses that are growing rampant in our yard. See below.) After misreading the pectin directions and ruining about 5 jars of jam (total bummer!), I found a recipe for pectin free jam. Here’s my version with just a little tweaking. Enjoy!

3 cups smooshed strawberries (that’s 3 cups AFTER smooshing)

5 cups sugar

1 fl oz lemon juice

Hull and smoosh your strawberries. Pour the puree into a large pot. Add sugar and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir pretty much constantly for 10 min. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice. Stir for a few more minutes to thicken. Let the pot cool to room temperature, then store in refrigerator overnight to thicken even more. Put the jam into jam jars (makes 7 jam jars full) and freeze.

Good for 3 weeks in fridge after opening.

I’m a little bit country…

Yesterday, the girls and I were at our local library. While they hurled the gargantuan pile of books down the Book Return slot I took a step into the cooking, baking, and craft books isle. Just a peek. My eyes landed on the title southern plate, by Christy Jordan. On a whim I picked the book up and went back to check on the girls. I figured I’d end up returning it without ever trying any of the recipes. That’s usually the case with the how to books I borrow.

Pure dumb luck. This book is great! She has a website, too. We went to the first farm picnic of the summer tonight and I made FIVE recipes from this book. They were, each and every one, delicious. I made the Baked Ham, Biscuits, Sweet and Sour Green Beans, Aunt Loony’s Macaroni Salad, and the Lemon Meringue Pie. I didn’t get any photos, unfortunately, but I promise it didn’t look nearly as good as it tasted.

Christy breaks the recipes up seasonally and intersperses interesting stories about being Southern and her own family experiences. I really liked her writing. I’m from Kentucky originally and my Mom and Dad’s families are all Southern. I found Christy’s stories really relatable and entertaining.

I’m so glad I got the cooking bug today! Now I want to try a few more recipes out before I have to, sigh, send it through the Book Return slot. Maybe I’ll renew.

Boredom Buster – Popsicle Adventure #1

As you know, I’ve been trying to come up with some fun ways for the girls and I to enjoy our summer together without going crazy. This is the last week of school for Quinby and I am starting to feel the pressure of providing creative edutainment for my kiddos. Today, we got to try out my latest boredom buster idea – Popsicle Adventures!

What you’ll need

  • wooden popsicle sticks (you can get them at craft stores or grocery stores. I got ours at Fred Meyers)
  • ingredients for making your favorite kind of popsicle (I’ve got recipes for the ones we made below)
  • sharpie marker
  • imagination
I started off by thinking up a bunch of action words like run, jump, dance, and a bunch of object words like ball, rope, dolls. I then took my Sharpie marker and wrote the words onto my popsicle sticks near the end of each stick. This will be the part of the stick that goes inside of the popsicle. 
Then the girls and I had a blast on Friday making up three batches of popsicles. We made Blue Annas, Strawberry Limeys, and Triple Berry Blast Offs. I used molds that were made for plastic sticks, but just put tin foil on the tops and carefully pierced the foil with the popsicle sticks, adventure word down. 

This morning, I took the popsicles out of the freezer, popped each one out of its mold, and wrapped them singly in wax paper before storing them in labeled freezer bags back in the freezer. Once my molds were clean again I made Cherry Lemonade Pops, Choco Pops, and Creamy Dreamy Lemon Pops.

Between all the cooking, (we also made rosemary pizza dough and chocolate chip pumpkin bread), and the trampoline jumping, Pannonica decided she was bored and thus the adventure began!

Each girl got her own popsicle. Both chose Blue Annas. Upon completion of the yummy pops, each girl found she had a word. PZ had hula hoop and Quinby had walk.

Now we had to figure out a way to put the two words together. First the girls tried hula hooping while they walked. This didn’t work since neither girl can really hula hoop even standing still.

Then it was decided that the hula hoops themselves should walk and so they needed legs. The girls got right to it, folding up paper to make accordion legs, coloring shoes on the ends, and taping them to the hula hoops.

PZ took hers for a walk, while Quinby enjoyed watching her sort of dance in the breeze.

The whole adventure took a little over an hour and everyone had lots of fun. When we were done, both girls wanted to go on another “adventure”, but I had to set the limit of one per day. I have a feeling we’ll be doing this a lot this summer.

Here are the recipes I used to make our popsicles. Let me know if you come up with any good recipes or adventure words. I could use some help brainstorming over here!

Triple Berry Blast Off Pops (we made these in rocket molds)

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 cup strawberries (with the greens cut off)
  • juice of one big lemon
  • 2/3 cup sugar

Blue Annas

  • 3 big ripe bananas (cut up)
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 1/2 cup yogurt (Nancy’s low fat plain)
  • 3 T sugar

Strawberry Limeys

  • 2 cups strawberries (greens cut off)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 3 T sugar