My Journey into “At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen”

childhood: eating peaches outside in the summer


As a mom and growing Foodie, it’s hard to not reminisce about my childhood and the food I ate, the way my mom cooked, or the foods that just brought me pure joy when they were placed on the dinner table. Foods that still take me back to childhood when I taste or smell them. I didn’t grow up in a home where whole foods were the focus. I grew up with two working parents, and a mom that tried her hardest to put a quality meal on the table for dinner. But a lot of our food was made from a box, can or a package. And there was always meat on our plate. We would typically have cereal and orange juice for breakfast during the school week. And a sandwich, chips and cookies for lunch at school. That’s just the way it was in our house. The foods I remember growing up, the ones I have the most for fondest memories of, are foods that a vegan food blogger would never right about. My mom would make pulled beef and pickle sandwiches in the crockpot a lot, and served them on an onion bun. It was delicious, and I always put ketchup and Frank’s Red Hot on them. I considered that my mom’s signature meal. I remember when in elementary school, on Mondays my brother, sister and I would stay in the after school program, which means my mom would get Taco Bell on her way to pick us up. It was a luxury for us to eat out, so I made sure my order was perfect for me every time, and of course enough food to satisfy my longing for it. I also remember packing a 6 inch Spicy Italian subway sandwich with mayo, black pepper and jalapeño into a cooler and take it to Water World with me every summer. I can literally taste it as I am writing this. And I also remember getting greasy, crispy French fries and nacho cheese sauce at Water World as well. I couldn’t wait to have those. I also remember eating rice and red hot during my eating issues days, and Quizzno’s tuna subs dipped in their signature Italian dressing as a staple lunch during high school. I remember eating Chipotle for the very first time, my mom would bring 3 burritos home for dinner after work, and she would cut them in half and the four of us would split them. You know, back in the day when no one could ever eat a whole burrito! I remember my dad frying up potatoes in a pan, and grilling steak for dinner on Saturday nights. And I remember when my mom was on a “health” kick, we would eat grilled chicken with wing sauce (Frank’s Red Hot and butter), potatoes and garlic bread. Lastly, I remember my mom’s pancakes on Saturday morning, these thick, borderline undercooked pancakes she would fry in the leftover bacon grease from the bacon she cooked in the pan prior to making the pancakes. There was always a bacon flavored crisp on the outside of the pancakes. 

You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this. All this meat talk on a vegan blog. Well, I have been in love with this cookbook, as in can’t get enough of reading it and dissecting everything about it, love it. The author in the introduction describes her childhood as it relates to food, the memories of how her mom would cook, and her own food journey. Amy Chaplin, in her cookbook “At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen”, paints such a wonderful picture of how she came to know, love and appreciate food. 

Chaplin grew up in Australia with vegetarian parents, who lived off the land they lived on and they would cook everything that they ate. She writes ” My sister and I were involved in everything my parents did: keeping bees, brewing ginger beer, making tofu, molding the mud bricks to build the house, creating biodynamics preparations for the property, and grinding wheat into flour. We were also part of the process of planting, harvesting and cooking the foods that we ate; and inevitability composting our food scraps…Besides growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs on our land, my parents ordered bulk grains, nuts, seeds, dried fruits and olive oil, which sat in jars on a big old dresser in the kitchen. The image of those jars filled with wholesome ingredients has been central to inspiring me to create new recipes over these many years as a chef”. 

Those are such beautiful words! They inspire me so to give a life similar to that to my kids. Will my kids see me cooking their food in their memories as an adult, and how I would involve them in the creation of their food? Will they remember learning how to cook with me, teaching them to measure, chop, stir, fold or follow a recipe, and loving how I let them taste the food as we cooked? I hope so. I hope I can provide a love and appreciation of food to my kids. I truly do. And I hope my kids’ childhood food memories are different than mine. I wouldn’t give my childhood up for anything, but wish I knew about the importance of the food we choose to eat back then. And I wish I would have cooked more with my parents as a child, just to have those memories and knowledge!

Chaplin authored a cookbook chalked full of whole food recipes, including a pantry essential list and recipes from that list. 


Her attention to detail in everything she cooks is beautiful and genius. She is so careful with every ingredient she prepares and I am fascinated by her process. I wish I could pick her brain for an afternoon over tea and home made bread! 

I bought her cookbook about a year or so ago at the store Anthropologie, my home away from home, where I spend all of our money and drive my hubby crazy! Her book and her life just speak to my inner foodie, and I have been longing to cook thru her cookbook. Which is exactly what I intend to do, and I’m planning on sharing it with you. With over 150 recipes, I will cook each one, sharing a little bit of my experience with you, and a little bit of what I learn about Amy Chaplin thru it, whether from her cookbook or her food. I am hoping to cook at least one recipe a week, but life sometimes gets in the way and I may not always be able to do so. I will not, however, share her recipes, because those are hers and if you want them, buy the book! Seriously, buy the book. It’s awesome. She is not a pure vegan, but she’s pretty darn close. She shares a love for goat cheese like I do 🤗

I’ve made her chocolate cake, and learned about agar agar for the first time. I’ve learned so much from her already in the handful of recipes I have made in the year I’ve had the cookbook. I am so excited to FINALLY be doing this! I will be starting off with her pantry recipes😋

Thanks for going on this food journey with me! 

Until next time…

Bon Appetit! 

BBQ Tofu and mushroom Sandwiches

About 9 years ago, before kids were in the picture, Levi and I were in a season of life where I was trying to get healthy. Just getting out of treatment for an eating disorder and getting over c-diff, food had become so foreign and terrifying to me, and the list of foods I could eat without messing up my tummy was, well, short. But, Levi, the wonderful man that he is, searched for places he could take me out to, places with food that was clean and of course, no meat. We lived in downtown Denver at the time, and there is no shortage of places to eat that were organic and had meatless options. For my birthday that year, Levi found a place that had BBQ Tofu sandwiches, a small little place called Wolfe’s BBQ. I remember that place as if it were yesterday. It was in the Capital Hill neighborhood, right on Colfax Ave and Logan Street. It was definition “hole in the wall”, but a diamond in the rough. It was one of those places you’re afraid to try,  yet you walk in and see awards on the wall for voted Denver’s best BBQ 2003. Many Yelp reviewers dubbed Wolfe’s “the best BBQ tofu in Denver”, and “there’s more to this place than meets the eye”. You could smell the fragrance of smoky, sweet, home made BBQ sauce on the street, outside of the restaurant. You walk in to a maybe 500 square foot store, with a rather large menu hanging on the wall right above the open kitchen. And maybe, 10 tables occupied the establishment. We ate there, of course. And it was a place in need of serious redecorating, with red and white checkered picnic table clothes stapled onto the tables, and walls needing to be painted. With that said, it matched the culture of Colfax Avenue perfectly! 😝One man took our order, and brought us our food, while one other person was in the kitchen making orders. I had their BBQ tofu sandwich, and for a hole in the wall place, it was the best BBQ that wasn’t meat that I had ever had. It was smoky, spicy and messy! Everything a BBQ sandwich requires. Wolfe’s shut their doors in 2010, after 25 years. So sad to hear that! But, years later, I still crave a good BBQ sandwich. And that’s where these bad boys come in. Louis Wolfe, former owner of Wolfe’s BBQ, this sandwich is for you. 

All that goes in to these sandwiches is tofu, mushrooms, BBQ sauce, garlic, pepper and fresh sage. That’s it. And they are really easy to make. And if cooked right, with patience and enough sauce, you may not even miss the fact that these aren’t made of pork or beef. 

Start by sautéing your mushrooms first, be patient and let the water cook out of them. Salt and pepper to taste, and add the BBQ sauce at the end and let the mushrooms simmer a couple of minutes in the sauce. It’s important you don’t add the BBQ sauce too soon, as you will most likely need to drain the excess water out of the pan from the mushrooms and you don’t want to lose your sauce. Set the mushrooms aside when done cooking.

NOTE: this sandwich is NOT the time to use a store brand, cheap BBQ sauce. Splurge for the good kind! I like Rib Rack BBQ sauce, and I buy it at Sprouts Farmer’s Market. It’s loaded with flavor and doesn’t have any added “junk” in it. 

Next, open your extra firm tofu and press it as firm as you can between two paper towels. Try and get as much water out of the tofu as you can. I use extra firm tofu because personally, I don’t like a soft, mushy sandwich. Slice the tofu length wise and start browning it in the pan. Let it cook for about 5 minutes on each side.

After you have a good brown going on the tofu, start scrambling it with a spatula, trying to get the look and consistency of scrambled eggs. This would be the point where you may need to drain excess water out of the pan. After you drain your tofu, add your pressed garlic cloves, and let them make their way to the bottom of the pan so their aroma comes alive and your kitchen smells of garlic…and tofu. Wake that garlic up! But just for a few minutes, then add your BBQ sauce and let it simmer until the sauce thickens. 


Lastly, add your freshly chopped sage. Let it cook for a few minutes, and incorporate your mushrooms, then remove tofu from heat. 

Top a bun with a heaping spoon full of tofu  and mushrooms. The only difference between this sandwich and the one I had years ago at Wolfe’s BBQ, is I scrambled my tofu. Wolfe’s served his tofu length wise on the bun. Oh and he made his own BBQ sauce, but that’s neither here or there. Teehee. Enjoy this sandwich any night of the week. Bring it to your next BBQ potluck. You won’t even miss the meat! 

BBQ Tofu and Mushroom Sandwiches 

Serves 6-8

Ingredients: 

  • 2 -8 oz packages of button mushrooms
  • 1-2 jars quality BBQ sauce, depending on how much sauce you prefer 
  • 2 packages of extra firm tofu
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed 
  • 1-2 TBS fresh chopped sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Make it! 

  1. First sauté your mushrooms with a 1/4 cup vegetable broth or water if you don’t have broth. Be patient, let all of the water cook out of the mushrooms. Drain any excess water. Set aside when done. 
  2. Open up your tofu, and press it between two paper towels, pushing firmly to remove as much water from the tofu as possible. Slice length wise and cook over medium heat in large pan to brown, about five minutes on each side. 
  3. With a spatula, scramble your tofu, much like the consistency of scrambled eggs. Let the tofu cook a few minutes more to cook out as much water as possible. Drain any excess water.
  4. Add your pressed garlic cloves, letting garlic cook a few minutes to become aromatic. Then add your BBQ sauce and let the tofu simmer until the sauce becomes thick.
  5. Add your fresh chopped sage and cook only a few minutes more. Add mushrooms and stir to combine. Remove from heat. Serve on whole wheat buns. And with coleslaw…..enjoy! 

Until next time….

Bon Appetit! 

Joyfully Sweet and Savory Pecan “Meatballs”


Chef Thomas Keller, an American Chef who is known at the French Laundry in Napa Valley, says that when making a recipe, follow the instructions to a “t” the first time. The second time, write down the recipe in your own terms, adjusting to your taste, cutting out or adding steps according to what makes sense to you. The third time, Keller says to make the recipe without any recipe at all, just by memory and tastes and hands. And at that point, Keller says, “The recipe is yours”. That is what I have done with a recipe I received from someone at church. Over the summer, our church had these “dinner for 8” groups, where 8 potential strangers in the congregation would get together for dinner three times over the course of the summer. One of those meals, a lovely lady brought what she calls “Pecan Nutballs”. They were phenomenal! Meatball sized nutballs, cooked in an apricot BBQ sauce. They were smoky and a little sweet. So tasty! And they had the exact texture of a meatball. I immediately asked for the recipe. I am not totally sure if this is “her” recipe, though it was typed out for me, and had corrections in her handwriting. I could not wait to make these for my family and make them a weekly staple in the Friedly home. Looking over the recipe, though vegetarian, they weren’t vegan. As Tom Hanks says in “You’ve Got Mail” (which is arguably the best movie of all time), this recipe needed some “tweaking”. 

After making it to a “t” the first time, and tasting how they were meant to taste, I started “tweaking” the ingredients and proportions. By the third time of making these tasty bites, this recipe had become mine. 🤗

Don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients, these pecan balls are actually quite simple to make! First, combine all of your ball ingredients into a food processor and pulse until a “dough” has formed.

NOTE: The original recipe called for cheddar cheese and egg in the recipe. I used brown rice (instead of cheese) and flax egg for the eggs. If you would rather use egg and cheese, use the same measurements I did for their substitutions! 

Roll dough, a little larger than a tablespoon (I just guesstimated), into balls and place in a 9×13 Pyrex pan. 

Now, make your BBQ sauce. Add all of your sauce ingredients into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Let the sauce simmer until it thickens . This step is important because it won’t thicken in the oven and you’ll end up with a thin sauce that doesn’t stick to your pecan balls.

NOTE: the original recipe called for 1/4 cup of oil in the sauce. I don’t mind using oil so much when I cook, but I kinda draw the line when the measurements add up to “cup” measures. You can use water if you like (if so, use 1/8 cup) or just add 2 TBS of oil, which is what I did. 

Once your sauce has thickened, pour over your pecan balls.

Cook in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. 

Top with Sriracha sauce (this step is not optional!) Serve over brown rice or egg noodles or eat them by themselves! Either way, you won’t be able to eat just one 😜. My hubby snacked on these while cleaning up after dinner! He just kept popping these in his mouth. 

Pecan “Meatballs”

Makes approximately 24 balls

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup whole pecans
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh chopped sage
  • 3/4 cup cooked brown rice 
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 TBS fresh chopped parsley
  • 3 flax eggs

Apricot BBQ Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 TBS oil of choice
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 apricot preserves
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 TBS brown sugar or maple syrup
  • 2TBS grated onion
  • 1/2 oregano 

Sriracha for topping

Make it! 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine all pecan ball ingredients in a food processor and pulse til a dough forms.
  3. Roll TBS size (or slightly larger) portions into balls. Place in a 9×13 Pyrex pan. 
  4. Combine sauce ingredients in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil and simmer until sauce thickens. 
  5. Pour sauce over pecan balls, cover and cook for 30 minutes. 
  6. Serve over rice or egg noodles. Or enjoy them by themselves! 

Until next time…

Bon Appetit! 

Red Lentil Pasta Salad 


Oh this last weekend was busy! Company, work, more company and a going away party for our former pastor and his family, as they are moving on to the next chapter in their lives: to be missionaries in Marseille, France. The party was held at our old church in Brighton, CO, and it made venturing back up there bittersweet. The church building looked amazing, and being there brought back a lot of memories. But seeing all of the people we used to go to church with, was worth the drive for sure. The dinner was a potluck, and I signed up to bring a salad. I was going to bring my go to kale salad, but as I got my kale out to make the salad 20 minutes before we had to leave, I noticed it was bad. And I had no other greens to make a full salad. Soooooo now what??? I looked in my pantry and found the perfect solution: I could make a pasta salad. But the only noodles I had that weren’t spaghetti noodles, were either red lentil noodles or black bean noodles from Trader Joe’s. I went with the red lentil noodles, and with a little creativity (and what some may call their kitchen sink) I through this bad boy together. I was very happy with the noodles, as they already had a slight peppery taste, perfect for a pasta salad. Yum!! 


Cook the red lentil pasta according to the instructions on the package and rinse with cold water to cool. Do not over cook. Then, add chopped cucumbers, radishes, carrot peels, one can sliced black olives, and chopped fresh cilantro and parsley. 

Mix up your salad dressing (olive oil, apple cider vinegar, agave nectar, lemon juice from one lemon and two garlic cloves, pressed). Add dressing to salad and toss to combine, making sure all of the noodles are covered with the dressing. Nothing worse than a dry noodle! 


After you toss your salad with the dressing, add your last ingredient. Your secret ingredient….baby arugula. Bam!!! Arugula just adds another dimension to this salad. With the noodles having a slight peppery taste, the arugula compliments this salad well, and really adds to the flavor of the fresh herbs hiding in the background of this salad. And the pucker tartness from the vinegar and lemon juice in the dressing, mixed with the noodles and crunch from the cucumber, really made this salad refreshing and flavorful. 


Red Lentil Pasta Salad- Gluten Free! 
Serves 6:

Ingredients: 

  • 1 bag red lentil pasta from Trader Joe’s 
  • 1-4 ounce can sliced black olives
  • 1 cucumber chopped
  • 4 radishes sliced 
  • 2 large carrots peeled
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro 
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley 
  • 2 handfuls of baby arugula 

Dressing: 

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 TBS agave nectar
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed 

Make it!! 

  1. Cook the red lentil noodles according to the package. Do not over cook. Drain and rinse with cold water to chill noodles. Put noodles in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add olives, cucumber, radishes, carrots, chopped cilantro and parsley. 
  3. Mix dressing ingredients in a mason jar, then toss with salad well to combine.
  4. Add arugula to salad and toss . 
  5. Enjoy!!! 

Until next time…

Have a fabulous day! 

BBQ Chickpea Quinoa 

Our church has been hosting some international business students the past couple of weeks, and some of the congregation have been helping in providing meals for them. I signed up to provide them with lunch after church on Sunday. And of course, given my passion to please everyone’s tummy, I couldn’t just bring them sandwiches. Nope. And I also wanted to show them that American food doesn’t have to be fried, salty and processed. So I put my thinking cap on and thru this bad boy salad together. And in the process, I created another recipe for my recipe vault….that can be viewed by anyone on the World Wide Web. Huh, I may need to think about changing the name….

SIDE NOTE: I also made this group my homemade no bake cookie balls check em out!

Any who, everyone knows that BBQ pairs well with all types of meat, but what about beans? And quinoa? You bet it does!! Paired with cilantro, avocado and scallions, you have a wonderful, fiber and protein packed salad that’s sure to keep you full, and of course make your tummy happy! Mmmhmmmm! I love this recipe: it’s simple, clean (especially if you want make your own BBQ sauce!) This salad works great as a potluck addition, or as a nice Sunday afternoon lunch. I hope you enjoy it! 

First, toss quinoa, corn, black beans, chickpeas, chopped cilantro, and scallions in a large bowl and toss well to combine. If you’re making this salad ahead of time (day before), and if you’re like me and you worry about ingredients spoiling too soon, hold off on adding your scallions until you serve the salad.





When ready to serve the salad, mix BBQ sauce into the entire salad or per serving, it’s up to you. I add it per serving if I’m eating it at home, but obviously at a potluck it may be a good idea to toss the salad with the BBQ sauce, unless you want to stand there while everyone goes thru the line and give instructions. That may be fun 😉. Top the salad with scallions (if made ahead of time), avocado and dairy free white cheddar cheese. 


BBQ Chickpea Quinoa Salad

Serves 4-6

Ingredients: 

  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 avocados 
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • 1 cup fresh corn 
  • 4 scallions
  • 1-2 cups cooked chickpeas (amount to taste)
  • Your Fave BBQ sauce
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • Optional: dairy free shredded white cheddar cheese for topping 

Make it! 

  1. In a large bowl, toss together all of the ingredients except BBQ sauce and avocado 
  2. When ready to serve salad, toss with BBQ or add sauce per serving. Top with avocado and dairy free cheese, if using. Eat up! 

Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart.

Until Next time….

Bon Appetit! 

Plant Based Kitchen-The Secret of the Kitchenista!

Ok, I’ve got to spill the beans about a company here in Denver, CO: Plant Based KitchenFounded by Chef Kelley Williamson, back in 2013, this gem has been offering cooking demonstrations all over the Denver Metro area. I have attended a few of them, at Whole Foods, Natural Grocers and local companies in my town of Parker. I have tasted her yummy nummy foods, made from recipes that she’s created, and I usually can’t wait to get home and make them myself (note to reader: her tofu ricotta is outta this world good!). She also offers cooking classes, open to the public for a very low cost. Offered in a very intimate setting, in the kitchen of a local church, only 12 people can participate in a class at a time. These classes offer the chance to cook with Chef Kelley, and make her recipes, while eating, conversing and just enjoying the company of other food enthusiasts. Did I mention you get to eat yummy food while in these classes?? Teehee 😝 Chef Kelley specializes in plant based recipes, and partners with Jerry Casados, a plant based nutritionist that offers advice and education at her demos and classes.

This past weekend, I attended my first cooking class of Chef Kelley’s. The theme: Freezer Friendly Meals. Having never been to one of her classes, I didn’t know what to expect. I walked into the kitchen of the church, and I immediately had butterflies; the kitchen and set up were a dream!


12 of us were all gathered around the kitchen’s center chop block, met with our own knives and recipes.


And in the middle of the table, was a large bowl of berries and Chef Kelley’s coffee cake. It was gorgeous! And yes, we did get to eat it. Devour it, I mean 😋


With 5 recipes to make and only 2 1/2 hours to make them, the 12 of us divided into 5 groups of 2-3 people and each group made one recipe. My group made Good Morning Muffins, which were loaded with fresh cut apples and carrots, dates and chopped nuts…oh yum! 

our very large bowl of muffin batter!


We had to make enough food for everyone to taste it in the class, as well as enough to take home with us. So we quadrupled the recipes. Every recipe was vegan, plant based, salt and oil free. We all had a lot of fun navigating a kitchen we’ve never been in before, and making recipes that we had never made. We joked, asked a lot of questions about food, health and wellness with Jerry, and got to know one another a little bit. It was a really good time! 

With a 1/2 an hour left, we all sat down and enjoyed the food we created. We discussed our experiences making them, as well as complimenting one another on a job well done. We all had our faves of what was made of course (mine was the cowboy lasagne: layers of  beans, fresh veggies and cashew cream with a fresh garlic bite….drooolllll), but all in all every recipe was a hit. We all got to take leftovers home to share, or save for a midnight snack. 😝 I gave my muffins to my kiddos for an afternoon snack. They didn’t last long. 

cowboy lasagne, basil tetrazzini, apricot oatmeal bars, and oatmeal pancakes

I had never been to something like this before and was really glad that I went! If you’re ever in the mood to eat some good food, learn a few new recipes or try your cooking skills out with Chef Kelley, look up Plant Based Kitchen and attend a class. Chef Kelley does not disappoint!

Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart.

Until next time…

Bon Appetit! 

Creamy Vegan Nacho Cheese

 I adapted this recipe from one I found online by Gluten Free Vegan Pantry. It’s amaaazzziing. Though it doesn’t have that true carnival, heavily processed nacho cheese flavor, it gets the job done. We dip anything and everything in it, and cover almost everything you can think to cover cheese with, with it. And the best thing? It’s simple to make. And it’s actually healthy for you! Packed with veggies, nuts and nutritional yeast, this is your next go to recipe for a potluck, or party. Or a Tuesday. 😝

First start with boiling your carrots, onions, shallots and potatoes until soft.

While your veggies are cooking, add the rest of your ingredients to your blender. 


When your veggies are cooked and soft, add them WITH the remaining broth to the blender. Blend until smooth. 

The sauce will be hot, so serve right away! You can also make this sauce ahead of time, just give it a quick blend in your blender and reheat on the stove. Top potatoes, broccoli, rice, nachos, burritos and bowls with the sauce. Or dip your veggies or chips in it. Eat it with a spoon! The options are endless! I hope you enjoy this recipe! 

Potatoes… topped with potatoes 🙂

Creamy Vegan Nacho Cheese

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup onion of choice, chopped
  • 2 cups potato, chopped (Yukon gold or creamers work best, but any will be fine)
  • 1/4 cup shallot
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, pressed 
  • 8 TBS nutritional yeast
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth 
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2-4 TBS whole grain Dijon mustard 
  • 1/3 cup vegan margarine 
  • 1/2 cashews
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Optional Spices/Variations: add pickled jalapeños (1/4-1/2 cup), chipotle seasoning, chipotle peppers in adobo (1-2 peppers is usually enough) or smoked paprika to taste for a little spice. All is measured to taste based on desired spice level. Of course add more if you like your sauce spicy! 

Make it! 

  1. Add your carrots, onion, shallot, potatoes and broth to a pot and bring to a boil. 
  2. While your veggies are cooking, add remaining ingredients to your blender. 
  3. When veggies are cooked all the way through, add them with remaining broth to the bel dear and blend until smooth. 
  4. Add any desired add ins for spice. Enjoy! 

NOTE: if you aren’t using a high powered blender like a Vitamix, soak your cashews for at least 30 mins to 1 hour before blending to soften. Also, you will most likely need to blend ingredients for up to 5 minutes for the sauce to come out smooth like nacho cheese. 
Until next time….

Bon Appetit! 

Plant Based Pie Crust

Do you have any sugar free, gluten free or paleo dieters that you have to plan for in your life? Are dessert ideas sometimes hard to come by? Now, some people would argue that dessert is an unnecessary meal; that it just adds an unearthly amount of calories to the end of our meal and should be omitted for the sake of our own health and figures. Ya, I would not trust those people..😝 My mom had a magnet on our fridge growing up that said, “skinny cooks can’t be trusted”. Ya she may have been on to something there…

Now, I love all kinds of dessert, I normally won’t turn any down. But, doing dessert a plant based way, can be tricky. Usually, the go-to plant based dessert is a bowl of berries with a dollop of delicious sweet cashew cream on top of it or just by itself. Nothing wrong with that! As I drool typing this post…but what about….pie? Yes, pie. Can pie be created plant based? Well, the crust can! I’ve been making this crust for a couple of years now, and it is the simplest recipe I have in my recipe vault. It only has 2 ingredients! That’s it! Unless you want to add stuff to it, then, that’s your call. 

So come on…Let’s do this! 

Start with 1 cup of nuts and 12-15 dates. It’s best to soak your dates for up to 10 minutes to help soften them up. It helps them blend easier! 

Next, blend the nuts and dates until a ball begins to form. 


Place ball in to a 9 inch pie tin, and spread evenly. Fill it with you favorite pie! 

Variations: this pie crust is very versatile, and can be transformed in many ways to make your pie better! I like to add orange peel to it when making chocolate pie, because orange and chocolate go together beautifully! 

Add vanilla or almond extract to your fruit pies, or cinnamon and nutmeg to your pumpkin pie. Sky’s the limit. I hope you enjoy this recipe! 

Plant Based Pie Crust-Vegan, Gluten and Sugar Free 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup nut of choice (pecans or walnuts work best for this recipe)
  • 12-15 dates, soaked for up to 10 minutes (mandatory if you don’t have a a decent, high power food processor

Make it! 

  • Add dates and nut of choice to your food processor. Blend until a ball of “dough” forms. 
  • Place ball in a 9 in pie tin, spread evenly. 
  • Place in fridge for about 30 minutes or so to set.
  • Add your filling and enjoy! 

Until Next Time…

Bon Appetit! 

Culinary Adventure: Bircher Muesli

The hubby and I had the pleasure of staying at the Four Seasons in Vail, CO this past month for his annual Director’s Retreat. I gotta tell you, I’ve never felt more fancy! This trip, I chose to lock myself in our hotel room, order room service and just relax. It definitely saved us some money compared to last time!

view from our hotel room


I had an amazing salad for dinner the first night, and as the room service server was picking up my dirty dishes, I inquired about the best thing on the menu to have for breakfast. Her face lit up as she was telling me about their Bircher Muesli. She said it was absolutely phenomenal and that I had to try it. So of course, I did!! And her recommendation was spot on, in fact, I think her enthusiasm was dialed back a bit for it! It was a fantastic, unbelievably good breakfast. 

Coupled with my French press coffee, I couldn’t have asked for a better meal. The best way I can describe it is that it was a bowl of cold oatmeal, more like an oatmeal soup, with almond milk, fresh fruit, yogurt and nuts. And the flavor was just out of this world good. It wasn’t too sweet, and it was so creamy.  Until that morning, I had never heard of Muesli before. 


Muesli is a breakfast and brunch dish based on raw rolled oats and other ingredients like grains, fresh or dried fruits, seeds and nuts, that may be mixed with cow’s milk, soy milk, almond milk, other plant milks or yogurt. 

There are so many different ways to eat Muesli. Bircher Muesli, aka Swiss oatmeal, is named after its creator, Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Brenner. He created it in the 20th century for his patients as a health supplement. The history behind how and why Bircher-Brenner created this food is fascinating. He believed that apples cured him of jaundice as a young man, and therefore was very vocal for trying to get more fruits and vegetables into his patient’s diets. 

I enjoyed the Bircher Muesli I had in Vail so much, that I immediately sought out in search for the perfect recipe to make at home. I found two that were very close to what I was looking for. The first recipe uses chocolate chips and mashed bananas and raspberries to their oats and almond milk. The second recipe, uses raw almonds, raisins, chopped apple and yogurt. I took elements of these two recipes to create my own….that’s not cheating is it?? 😝👩🏻‍🍳

Well, heeeeerrrrreeee we go! 


I like the method the first recipe uses, to begin by smashing your bananas and raspberries together in a bowl. 


Next, add your plant based milk and stir. 

Then, add your oats, sweetener and seeds. Stir to combine all of the ingredients well. Make sure your seeds are salt free! Cuz that wouldn’t taste good in the AM 😝

Cover and let it sit in your fridge over night. 

When I took the muesli out of the fridge the next morning, it looked amazing! The oats absorbed most of the milk, so I added a little bit more to give it a soup like consistency. Then I topped it with more raspberries, some blueberries, sliced apple, and a drizzle of honey. It was pretty close to what I had in Vail. It was creamy and not too sweet, although I did feel like it was too good to be oatmeal! I mean it’s hard to eat oatmeal that isn’t jam packed with brown sugar , am I right??!! I could taste the smashed bananas, they added just the right amount of sweetness to the muesli. The crunch from the apples, blueberries and seeds just completed my bite! Next time, I think I’ll add peanut butter and let it sit in the muesli overnight. I’m sure that would add just another dimension of flavor! 

Bircher Muesli 
Serves 4

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups Organic quick oats
  • 3 cups almond milk (I used unsweetened vanilla)
  • 1/2 cup raspberries 
  • 2 over ripe bananas
  • 4 TBS maple syrup, honey or your fave liquid sweetener
  • 2 TBS chia seeds
  • Handful pumpkin seeds 
  • Handful sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries
  • 1/2 chopped apples (Granny Smith work the best!)
  • Optional: 2-3 TBS peanut butter or any nut butter 
  • Optional: 1 cup dairy free vanilla yogurt

Make it! 

  • Start by adding the bananas and raspberries into a medium sized bowl and smash them together til all clumps are gone. 
  • Add your milk and stir. 
  • Then add your oats, sweetener, seeds, chia, yogurt and nut butter if your using it. Cover and allow to sit overnight in your fridge. 
  • Divide into bowls, mix in more milk if needed and top with blueberries and apple. Enjoy!! 

Until next time….

Bon Appetit!