Vegan buttercream frosting 

Now that the holidays are over and I’m on a sugar detox, of course I’m dreaming of all the yummy things I ate the past month. These delicious (toddler decorated) Christmas Cookies and this birthday cake come to mind…. as I snack on these baby carrots. I made a vegan buttercream frosting on both that was just divine. 

One of my best friends, a self proclaimed meat eating vegan, has given up dairy and eggs this year to continue breastfeeding her son who has severe food allergies.  We celebrated her baby’s first birthday and had a Toddler Christmas Cookie decorating party in December. And since that sweet little boy is one of my favorite kids on earth, I made sure the toddler cookie party was completely vegan friendly. I wouldn’t have had it any other way, but my friend called me after the party and said she was so incredibly thankful that everything was vegan friendly because there was no other cookie party on earth she could have gone to and not had to worry about what crumbs her 1 year old was finding on the floor.  

For the sugar cookies I used the Minimalist Baker’s sugar cookies recipe and they honestly turned out AMAZING. The binder in them is puréed pumpkin and I was so impressed with how they turned out. 

For both the sugar cookies and the birthday cake, this is the butter cream recipe I used. Earth balance vegan buttery baking sticks worked like a charm and everything tasted delicious. Like so delicious that people didn’t know it was all vegan until we told them. And no one missed the dairy or eggs! Try it out and and let me know what you think. 

Vegan Buttercream Frosting
Easy vegan buttercream frosting that can be used to decorate cakes or cookies.
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup softened Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks (leave them out on the counter overnight)
  2. 3 cups powdered sugar
  3. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  4. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 3 tablespoons rice milk (or any other milk alternative you prefer - almond, coconut, hemp, flax, etc)
Instructions
  1. Beat softened "butter" in your stand mixer at medium speed for 3 or 4 minutes until creamed.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and start the mixer on low speed and then gradually move up to medium speed as it incorporates in.
  3. Once all the sugar is incorporated, turn the mixer off. Add the vanilla, salt and milk in the bowl. Then then the mixer back to medium and beat for 3 minutes.
  4. These measurements have always worked for me, but if your frosting seems too thick, add a little more milk. If it seems too thin, add a little more powdered sugar.
Love Via Food http://loveviafood.com/

Vegan buttercream frosting
Ingredients:

1 cup softened Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks (leave them out on the counter overnight) 

3 cups powdered sugar 

1/4 teaspoon sea salt 

2 tsp vanilla extract 

3 tablespoons rice milk (or any other milk alternative you prefer – almond, coconut, hemp, flax, etc) 
Method:
1. Beat softened “butter” in your stand mixer at medium speed for 3 or 4 minutes until creamed. 

2. Add the powdered sugar and start the mixer on low speed and then gradually move up to medium speed as it incorporates in. 

3. Once all the sugar is incorporated, turn the mixer off. Add the vanilla, salt and milk in the bowl. Then then the mixer back to medium and beat for 3 minutes. 

4. These measurements have always worked for me, but if your frosting seems too thick, add a little more milk. If it seems too thin, add a little more powdered sugar. 

Soft Boiled Eggs

My best friend Natalie and her sister Melissa introduced me to prepping soft boiled eggs for the week. For the last several months, the three of us always send snaps of our SBE’s (soft boiled eggs) to each other on snapchat. Yes, we are tools. But they are soooooo good!!! My husband and 3 year old love them too. I make a big batch of them on Sunday night and then we have them ready to go in the mornings for breakfast. 

I go through phases with eggs. I think because I avoided runny eggs when I was pregnant, now I am making up for lost time. Sometimes I love them, sometimes not so much. I’ve been in love with these SBE’s lately and I love that it’s a super convenient source of protein for my family. Also my 3 year old loves peeling them. Actually it’s a big problem if I try to peel it for her. Three year olds are very calm and rational people. 

Side note – did you know that super healthy chickens that eat organic and frolic around in the sun have SUPER yellow yolks? I’ve gotten some from local farms where the yolks are so yellow it’s almost orange. I LOVE IT. Honestly since I started eating almost all organic, conventional eggs taste and look gross to me. If you haven’t tried them yet, do yourself a favor!! I really think it makes a difference. 

Ingredients:

Organic eggs – from a local farm if you can! You can use any amount that you need. It just depends how many will fit in your pot. 

Method:

1. Boil a pot of water. 

2. When it is already boiling, with a large spoon, carefully cradle the eggs into the pot with the spoon. 

3. Set a timer for 8-9 minutes. 8 minutes is about the perfect SBE. I usually do 9 minutes if sharing with my toddler. 

4. While the eggs are boiling, prepare an ice bath. Put about 10 ice cubes into a large bowl and fill with cold water. 

5. When your timer is up, carefully spoon the eggs into the ice bath. Let them sit for at least 5 minutes or until cool. 

6. Dry the eggs off with paper towels. They will stay fresh in your fridge for about a week. I like to pack 2 in sandwich bags to grab easily for breakfast during the week. 

Molasses Cookies

Molasses cookies are my absolute favorite Christmas cookie. They are slightly spicy from the ground ginger, warm from the cinnamon and cloves and they are SOFT. They are super easy to make and they are very fast. You could easily make these in about 20 or 30 minutes start to finish. 

These molasses cookies are also great for kids since they are so soft. I actually brought these in for my daughter’s birthday treat at her preschool because the teacher told me that they all just lick the icing off of cupcakes anyway – ha! The kids LOVED them! 

I also like to use blackstrap molasses which has lots of vitamins and nutrients from the sugar cane plant that are lost in the process of making sugar. Actually when my daughter was anemic, I used to give her a teaspoon of blackstrap molasses every morning to boost her iron. 

Ingredients:

3/4 cup melted butter 

1/4 cup blackstrap molasses

1 egg

1 cup brown sugar 

2 1/4 cup flour

2 tsp baking soda 

1/2 tsp kosher salt 

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger 

1 tsp cloves 

3-5 tablespoons granulated sugar 

(Use all organic ingredients if possible!)

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. 

2. In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, egg, and blackstrap molasses. 


3. Add in flour, baking soda, and spices. Mix well. You’ll end up with a really smooth brown dough. 



4. Put your granulated sugar in a separate bowl so you can roll the cookies in it before baking. 


5. Form small (about 1 or 1.5 inch) balls and roll them in the sugar before putting them on the cookie sheet. 


6. Bake for 8 minutes at 375 degrees. Cool completely before moving the cookies. They come out looking like this. 

These are what Santa will be getting this year!! Hope he likes them! 

Hummus

Hummus is one of my favorite snacks. It’s so healthy, everyone in my family loves it, and it’s a great way to get everyone to eat some veggies as a dipping device! It also doesn’t take a lot of forethought because I also also have chickpeas in my pantry and tahini in my refrigerator.   I have been making this hummus recipe for years. My friend from high school, who is Lebanese, wrote out her rough recipe for me and I’ve perfected it over the years. 

You’ll need some kind of food processor. A mini food processor or a ninja would work perfectly. Also, I really love Target’s simply balanced organic chickpeas. With all the news about BPA in cans being cancer causing and endocrine disrupters, I like to buy my beans in paper boxes whenever possible. Also, if you don’t already have tahini, you can find it in most grocery stores. It’s a sesame paste and it will last in your fridge for a while. If you have a fresh lemon or lime, that is always best, but you can use bottled juice in this hummus recipe and barely notice. 



Ingredients:

1 can or box of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

1 tablespoon tahini 

1 tablespoon lemon (or lime) juice 

1-2 garlic cloves, smashed 

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 

Cracked black pepper
Method:

1. Drain chickpeas into a cup or bowl. You’ll use the drained liquid. 


2. In your food processor, mix chickpeas, garlic, salt and pepper, and 3 tablespoons of the reserved chickpea liquid. Blend until you reach your desired smooth texture. If it still looks like there’s too many chunks, add more of the reserved liquid. Today, I ended up adding 2 more tablespoons. So I used a total of 5 tablespoons in my hummus. 


3. Check the flavor and add salt and pepper if needed and your lemon juice. Pulse a couple more times to combine. This is also the time that you can play and add whatever other spices you want. Cumin or chili powder and cayenne are fun. Or you can do jarred red peppers or sundries tomatoes. Blend again. Have fun! 


Serve with whatever you want. We love baby carrots, cucumbers and pretzels. 
 

Thanksgiving donations 

Recently at church, we were able to take  brown grocery bags with a grocery shopping list on it to collect thanksgiving donations for a local shelter. Basically, it is the ultimate way of showing LOVE via FOOD. So many times in my life it’s been easier to just write a check or toss a $20 towards a charity or fundraiser, but this ministry was one I wanted to be personally involved in. I went to my favorite grocery store with my list in hand and set out only for the items on it. I already did my grocery shop for my family for the week, so this trip was truly dedicated only to my Thanksgiving donation bag. It was such a good feeling picking out food for those in my community who can’t afford it this holiday season. I bought stuffing mix, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, corn, green beans, a pie crust, pumpkin pie filling, evaporated milk, macaroni and cheese, cranberry sauce, and cornbread mix for my Thanksgiving donation bag. I know how much it means to me to sit around the table and enjoy these things with my family, so I love being able to pay it forward and allows some others in my community to do the same with their loved ones. 
I’m not the best Christian in the world. We only make it to church once or twice a month. But honestly this opportunity to help others and show them love and compassion by providing them with food really spoke to me and made my heart feel full. The Operation Turkey coordinator at my church told me that we donated over 900 lbs of food and $745 towards buying turkeys for people in our community. That, my friends, is love. Via food. 

Do any of you have charities that you support that really speak to your heart over the holiday season?  Pleas Share them with me! It’s so important to give back and teach our kids to do the same. Xoxo

Sausage Asparagus Parmesan Pasta 

This sausage asparagus parmesan pasta was a “throw together” dinner. I had thawed out some ground sausage to make over the weekend and never got around to it. I also had some asparagus in the fridge that needed to be used. This was super easy and ready in 20 minutes which made it perfect for midweek dinner. 

We really don’t eat a lot of sausage, but when we do, it’s from my favorite farm in Southwest VA called Polyface. I love the way that the farmer, Joel Salitin, treats animals and environment. I feel better knowing that the pigs got to roam freely in the pastures, enjoy the sunshine and live how pigs are supposed to live. If you don’t already have a local farmer that you love and know, I urge you to check out your local farmers market and find one that you want to support. I feel good supporting farms who grow food the way it’s supposed to be, feeding my family healthier and organic meat without nitrites, preservatives and additives, and taking less of a toll on the environment as Polyface’s farming practices are sustainable. 
Sausage asparagus parmesan pasta 

Ingredients:

1 bunch of asparagus, cleaned and trimmed

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided 

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

1 lb box pasta of your choice (I picked an organic whole wheat penne) 

1 lb ground sausage (mild, hot or breakfast sausage are all fine)

Salt and pepper 
Method:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet, add your trimmed asparagus, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 tsp of each). Roast for 20 minutes. 

2. While the asparagus is roasting, boil your water and cook pasta according to the instructions on the box. Add 1/2 tsp of salt to the pot to season the pasta from the inside. 

3. Also while the asparagus is roasting and your pasta is boiling, brown the sausage in a frying pan over medium high heat. Once it is browned, transfer it to a plate or bowl that is lined with paper towels to absorb some of the grease. 

4. Check the pasta for doneness. When you reach al dente, drain it and return it to the pot. DO NOT RINSE IT!! You want some of the starch to bind with the cheese. 

5. When the asparagus is done, cut it into bite size pieces. Add asparagus, sausage, and parmesan to the pot. Add 1 tablespoons olive oil and stir. I don’t recommend adding salt and pepper until testing your season at this point. You may already have enough salt from the asparagus, sausage and cheese and enough pepper from the sausage. If not, add salt and pepper to your liking at this point. 

Vegan brownies

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

My best friend Maggi has been dairy and egg free for 7 months because she is breastfeeding her son who has severe allergies to both. So while we are not religious vegans, I have been creating a lot of vegan treats for her. These vegan brownies are delicious and so easy and fast to make. They are perfect if you have a last minute invitation and you want to bring something yummy. You basically just need to preheat the oven, spend a couple minutes mixing the ingredients and 20 minutes to bake. Voila – you’re done and have delicious vegan brownies! I also have chosen to make them a little bit healthier with extra virgin olive oil instead of canola or GMO laden vegetable oil. Don’t worry, no one will ever know! 

Give these vegan brownies a try for your vegan and non vegan friends alike and I promise that no one will complain! Let me know how they turn out for you. 
Dry ingredients:


1 1/3 cup organic flour 

1 cup organic sugar 

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp baking powder 
Wet ingredients:

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 

1/2 cup water 

1 tsp vanilla extract 
Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9 x 9 pan with cooking spray. 

2. Put all your dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk it to combine. 

3. Add your wet ingredients and whisk everything together. 


4. Press your batter down with a spatula to flatten. 


5.Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting. 

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Have you heard about all the benefits of coconut oil but you just stare at the jar and wonder how the heck you’re supposed to cook with it?  These roasted sweet potatoes are a great “gateway recipe” for you to get your feet wet with coconut oil.  I recommend trying it out now for a weeknight dinner, and if you like it, it is a perfect side dish to add to your Thanksgiving Dinner menu. 

This roasted sweet potatoes recipe is super simple and loaded with superfoods.  I love roasting sweet potatoes in the oven with coconut oil for a little bit of natural sweetness, rosemary for a fragrant woodsy heartiness, and salt and pepper to balance it out and make it savory.  It’s so fun to make something so healthy that tastes delicious and feels decadent.

Ingredients:

5-6 medium or 2-3 large sweet potatoes

1.5 tablespoons organic virgin coconut oil (cold pressed)

1 tablespoon fresh or dried rosemary, chopped

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

 

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Scoop out 1.5 tablespoons of coconut oil onto your baking sheet.  (I like to cover mine with aluminum foil for easy clean up).  If you’re new to cooking with coconut oil, the weird part about it is that it changes form with the temperature.  In the summer, your coconut oil might be completely liquefied.  In the winter, it might be rock hard!  The good news is that it’s very malleable and you can soften hardened coconut oil in your hands easily.
  3. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into pieces somewhere between 1/2-1 inch.  You are going for 2 things here: size uniformity so that they cook evenly and a size that looks pleasant to bite into.
  4. Add your cubed sweet potatoes to the baking sheet.  Sprinkle salt, pepper, and rosemary over them.  I love using rosemary from my garden, but dried rosemary works great too.  Thyme works perfectly here too.  This is where you will get your hands dirty.  If the coconut oil is solidified, work it in your hands for a minute first to soften it.  Toss with your hands to coat all the sweet potatoes completely. Try and get them all in an even layer. 
  5. Roast at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes.  Halfway through, take them out and turn them with a spatula so that they caramelize evenly.  They are done when you see them start to brown on the outside and the inside is tender.

Do you have any healthy recipes that feel like a cheat? Share them with me in the comments! 

Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice Soup 

Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice Soup is one of those quintessential meals for the fall and winter months. It’s a delicious comfort food that is healthy and very easy to whip up! It give the same satisfaction as chicken noodle soup, but it’s gluten free and honestly it’s just easier.  


I’m not going to lie. I am one of those strange people who gets so much satisfaction from roasting a whole chicken, and then using the carcass to make chicken stock and then using the stock for a soup. There is something so gratifying about getting all you can out of that chicken with as little waste as possible. I also get whole chickens from my favorite local farm (polyfaceyum.com) and I know the chickens live a happy life pecking around in the sunshine, the way it’s supposed to be. But I digress… even though I enjoy cooking that way, I also work full time and have a baby and a toddler. So a lot of days, aint nobody got time for dat.

This Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice Soup recipe is a perfect throw together FAST dinner with minimal prep work. Also, you can totally use frozen chicken breasts for it. How often have you thought oh CRAP, I forgot to defrost the chicken. What am I going to make dinner?? By the way, you can definitely use frozen chicken breasts in the slow cooker. I used to wonder about that. Age old mystery solved. 

If you’re not already buying organic frozen chicken breasts, you need to start. I usually pick them up at Trader Joe’s and keep them in my freezer to have on hand. This is a cost effective way to feed your family organic food. This bag was less than $15 for 2.5 lbs of chicken breasts (or about 6 breasts). With the USDA organic label, I feel good knowing the chickens weren’t fed GMOs and there are no antibiotics or growth hormones used. 


 While I’m on the subject of Trader Joe’s, I also love the frozen organic brown rice. The box has 3 individually packaged 10 oz portions and it comes in handy all the time. Several retailers sell these, so look in the freezer section at your favorite store. 

This slow cooker chicken and rice soup recipe is great for those families on a budget who want to eat organic. Try it out and let me know what you think! 


Ingredients:

3-4 frozen chicken breasts 

1 small onion, roughly chopped 

4 celery stalks, chopped

20-30 baby carrots, halved 

4 cups or 1 quart organic chicken broth

2 cups water

1 10 oz frozen organic rice packet 

1 tsp kosher salt

2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp cracked black pepper 
Method:

1. Chop your veggies. Throw them in the slow cooker with your frozen chicken breasts and spices. 

2. Pour your chicken broth and water over your chicken and veggies. 


3. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 8-9 hours. 

4. Shred chicken with 2 forks. 


5. Add frozen rice packet (still frozen) and turn the crockpot to the warm setting. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. 

Side note: I tried to strain the chicken and vegetables for my 3 year old to try and keep my kitchen semi-clean. She forced me to give her the broth anyway. Ha, nice try mom! 

Oatmeal Apple Cinnamon Muffins 

Oatmeal apple cinnamon muffins are an easy grab-and-go breakfast that are perfect for the fall. I love them because they are made with all organic whole ingredients. There’s no added sugar or flour. And my toddler loves them because they are delicious and they have the perfect amount of  natural sweetness and spices. Plus she calls them cupcakes, so whatever. Perception is reality, girl. Ha!

I originally created this recipe for my friend Maggi who is breastfeeding her son  Daniel. He has a severe dairy and egg allergy and she’s always looking for easy meals that are Daniel-friendly. But the more I started talking to my mom friends, the more and more I realize people are really in need of dairy, egg and gluten free recipes. Whether it’s for a kid or a breastfeeding mom who is avoiding eggs, dairy and/or gluten, these Oatmeal Apple Cinnamon Muffins are a perfect treat that won’t leave you feeling elimination diet deprivation. 

These also freeze well and travel well. I made a few batches this summer and brought them to Michigan with us for an easy grab-and-go breakfast. I like to make them on Sunday night so we have them for the week. 

Try them out and let me know what you think! This recipe will make 12 Muffins. 
Ingredients:

1 tbsp flax meal, 2 tbsp water 

2 cups organic gluten free oats 

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon 

1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)

1/4 tsp kosher salt 

1 cup organic rice milk (or any milk or your choice) 

1/2 cup applesauce (or if you’re a toddler mom, 1.5 Kirkland applesauce pouches)

2 tbsp honey

1 apple of your choice – peeled and diced 

(Use all organic ingredients if possible)
Method:

1. Preheat oven to 375. 

2. Combine flax meal and water in a small bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to set. Flax eggs are so amazing for baking. I use them for pumpkin bread even though we don’t have egg allergies in my house! You can also just use one egg here if it’s easier for you. 


3. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. (By the time you add everything to the bowl, the flax meal and water mixture should be ready) 


4. Line muffin tin with muffin liners and spray cups with cooking spray. Scoop evenly into 12 cups. (I like using an ice cream scoop)


5. Bake 22 minutes. Cool completely and enjoy!