Monday, March 30, 2015

Trader Joe's

DID YOU KNOW ... that Trader Joe's has lists of dietary restrictions such as vegan, gluten free and Kosher items? Awesome! They also place a "V" on their products that are strictly vegan. 

Some of our favorites include:

Pizza crusts
Black Bean and Corn Enchiladas
Sweet Potato Fries
Soyaki Sauce
Tomato Basil Marinara
TJ's original Hummus 
Coconut Milk Non-Dairy Ice Cream (Chocolate)
...the list could go on forever! :)

Here's the Vegan list. Hope that it's helpful as you do your shopping!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Vegan Carrot Cake and Cream Cheese Icing

Carrot cake is a favorite in our house. So I knew it would need to be something we figured out how to make vegan. It's surprisingly simple, is very moist and tastes delicious!


1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 cup crushed pineapple
1/4-1/2 cup pineapple juice (depending on how dry your mixture is)
2 cups grated carrots


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2.  Mix dry ingredients together in a mixer. Add applesauce, white vinegar pineapple and pineapple juice. Mix until combined. Add grated carrots.
3. Place mixture into two - 8 in round greased pans. Shake to distribute in pans evenly.
4. Bake 50 minutes - 1 hour. Let cool for 30 minutes.


1/4 cup vegan butter/margarine substitue of your choice (I used Earth Balance)
1/3 cup vegan cream cheese (I used Tofutti)
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
vanilla soy milk (for desired thickness)


1. Put all ingredients into a mixer and cream together (you may need to help the vegan butter and/or cream cheese get integrated into the confectioners' sugar at first). 
2. Look to see desired consistency. If too think, add a very little amount of soy milk at a time.
3. Once everything is combined and desired thickness is reached, put mixer on high and whisk for 5 minutes.
4. Taste... YUM!

Place cake on a plate and top with icing. ENJOY!!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Meal Planning

Anyone that has tried knows that, meal planning and food budgeting is a challenge. How can I feed my growing family for "x" amount of money? When we first decided to go vegan, I felt like that challenge would be impossible. But over the last year, I've tested out different ways of purchasing our groceries, and this is what I've learned.

  • I plan meals and shop for two weeks at a time -- Both at a grocery store and Costco.
  • I plan all dinners and we eat left overs or something easy like peanut butter and jelly for lunches.
  • Breakfasts consist of bagels, fruit, cereal (hot and cold), fruit smoothy or a special treat like pancakes or waffles.

Here's an example of our meal plan for the next two weeks (this was focused around some of our favorite dishes and trying some new ones from the Forks Over Knives cookbook) ...


Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo Linguine
(From: The Natural Kitchen Blog)

Minestrone Soup

Easy Vegan Pad Thai Noodles
 (From: The Natural Kitchen Blog)
Baked Potato with green onion, vegan sour cream, salsa
Special Treat Day - eat out somewhere fun

Spaghetti (Pasta and sauce, nothing fancy)

Curried Chickpeas and Rice
(From: Forks Over Knives pg. 214)
I add a little more curry powder and some vanilla soy milk - yum! 

Lentil Soup with homemade bread
(Will be on The Natural Kitchen Blog soon!)

 Vegan 'Mac and Cheese' with Broccoli
 (From: The Natural Kitchen Blog)

Cuban Style Cilantro Black Beans and Rice 
 (From: Forks Over Knives pg. 204)
We liked this dish even more the day after! 

A Big BBQ Chopped Salad
(Will be on The Natural Kitchen Blog soon too!)

Special Treat Day - eat out somewhere fun 


Couscous Salad
 (grilled corn, black beans, curry powder, green onion, cucumber and avocado)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Easy Vegan Pad Thai Noodles

So, I've tried Pad Thai several times and, I have to say, I've never really found anything that made me crave it or that I absolutely loved. Some of you are probably saying, "You didn't go to the right place!" ... and that may be so. But, I wanted to try to make some pad thai that my family and I loved so that it could be put on our repertoire of recipes.

And ... HERE IT IS! It is wonderful the first night and even better the next day. This will be made at least every other week, if not every week in our home for the foreseeable future.


  • 1 package Asian rice noodle
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3/8 cup lime juice
  • 4 Tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/4 + 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 block tofu, cut into blocks
  •  1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 10-15 chopped almonds (or nut of choice)
  • 5 green onions, sliced


  1. Start by putting the tofu in a very hot frying pan. If you have a non-stick pan, that works great. I only have stainless steel pans, so I use cooking spray to make it not stick as much. Leave it sit on each side until it browns. The tofu may break apart a bit, but some of those crunchy bits are my favorite! 
  2. As the tofu is browning, place the sesame oil in. And about three quarters of the way through,  put the onions, peas and garlic in the pan to cook with the tofu.  
  3. As the tofu and veggies are cooking, bring water to a boil and cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions. Drain.
  4. Place the soy sauce, lime juice, peanut butter and sugar into a bowl and whisk well.
  5. Once everything is cooked, place the noodles, tofu mixture and sauce into the same pan and mix well. 
  6. Serve warm with green onions and nuts on top! 
There you go! EASY and so delicious! 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo Linguine (VEGAN)

In the last year of eating vegan, I've gotten into a rut with the food I make and decided to break that this week. Last night... Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo Linguine. 

This was delicious and really filling. I originally got my recipe from: and adapted it to make it my own. :)

Preparation/Cooking time: 25-30 minutes
Yields: 4 servings

Here's what you'll need: 
  • 1 medium cauliflower head - cut into florets
  • 1/2 cup of soy milk (or non-dairy choice of milk)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of non-dairy butter (I use smart balance light) 
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 -3 cloves)
  •  1 small onion chopped 
  • Small package of white mushrooms (chopped)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Linguine pasta of choice
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish
Here's what you do: 
  1. Add cauliflower to pot and cover it with water. Bring to a boil and cook until florets are tender to the fork. Drain water. 
  2. At the same time put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. 
  3. Place the onions in a pot with 1 tablespoon of the smart balance. Saute for 1-2 minutes. Place the mushrooms and garlic in the pan and saute for another 5-7 minutes. Turn off and set aside. 
  4. In a blender, add the other tablespoon of smart balance, soy milk, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, cooked and drained cauliflower, salt and pepper. Blend for several minutes until very smooth.
  5. Once pasta is cooked, drain and in the same dish place the onion and mushroom mixture, pasta and sauce. (My sauce made enough that I have some to use for another dish later in the week). 
  6. (Depending on how much salt and pepper you like, you may want to add more once the dish is put together). Place parsley on top for a delicious garnish and enjoy! 
My entire family enjoyed this dish (including our 2 and 3 year olds!). You could also use it on other veggies or as a base for a vegan mac and cheese!

Hope your family will enjoy gathering around the table for this 
delicious and nutritious meal!

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Easiest Berry Cobbler EVER!

4 cups (or one bag) frozen mixed berries
Organic sugar (I use Trader Joe's brand)
Bisquick (make batter for biscuits)

Place frozen berries in a bowl, mix with sugar until berries are coated. Put berry and sugar mixture into pie dish and dollop biscuit batter on top. Sprinkle cinnamon on top.  Place in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


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