May 182013

Gingery Pepita Bars – a little spicy, a little salty and a little sweet.

Gingery Pepita Energy Bars

Gingery Pepita Energy Bars

100% delicious.

Gingery Pepita Energy Bars

Gingery Pepita Energy Bars

These are so satisfying and EASY to make – you’ll never spend money on pre-made bars again.  I’ve been making tons of variations of these with whatever is on sale.  I simply add enough dates, raisins or prunes so that the mixture just stays together and then shape into bites or bars.

Bars are perfect to grab on a busy day when you just won’t have a lot of time to eat and make a great breakfast or snack.  The cashews and dates will give you tons of energy, ginger aids in digestion and has anti-inflammatory powers, and pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, are a great source of zinc, protein and iron.

Say no to store bought bars!

Gingery Pepita Energy Bars

Gingery Pepita Energy Bars

 Gingery Pepita Energy Bars

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe
**Ingredients on sale now at Native Sun Natural Food Market, May 7 – June 6


1/2 cup chopped dried dates
1/3 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger (ginger chews)**
1/8 tsp coarse sea salt
2 Tbsp whole pumpkin seeds (pepitas)**


1. Place all ingredients except whole pumpkin seeds in a food processor and pulse until combined.  Mix pepitas in by hand and roll into a ball; press onto parchment paper and form a square; cut into four sections.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 156.4
Total Fat 5.8 g
Saturated Fat 1.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 77.6 mg
Potassium 221.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 26.8 g
Dietary Fiber 2.4 g

Sugars 17.3 g
Protein 2.5 g
Vitamin B-6 4.0 %
Vitamin C 0.2 %
Vitamin E 5.4 %
Calcium 1.5 %
Copper 15.5 %
Folate 4.0 %
Iron 5.1 %
Magnesium 9.7 %
Manganese 9.3 %
Niacin 2.8 %
Pantothenic Acid 4.0 %
Phosphorus 8.7 %
Riboflavin 2.4 %
Selenium 4.9 %
Thiamin 2.3 %
Zinc 5.0 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Enjoy my Gingery Pepita Energy Bars!

Feb 282013

Two Bagel Toppings! Curried Cashew Hummus and Curried Cashew Cream Cheese

Remember some of the diets of the past? Go fat free, they said.  Peanut butter was the devil, nuts were off limits and you couldn’t even LOOK at an avocado. (Be still my heart.)

Curried Cashew Hummus and Cream Cheese

Curried Cashew Hummus and Cream Cheese

(Don’t even get me started on the Atkins craze. That’s a whole post in itself.)

Fat free cheese, fat free cream cheese, fat free yogurt, fat free cookies – Snackwell’s anyone? We were swimming in processed, fat free but sugar filled foods as the obesity epidemic skyrocketed.

Curried Cashew Hummus

Curried Cashew Hummus

Thankfully, times are changing and people are beginning to learn that balance is the way to go and that we do need some fat, some carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and protein in the form of whole foods.

Cashew Cream Cheese

Cashew Cream Cheese

Meet the cashew.  Cashews can be turned into alternatives to almost any dairy you like – milk, sour cream, cheese, cream cheese, but have NO cholesterol and some of that healthy fat we used to miss.  Typically I use raw cashews, but in this case the curry ones were on sale at Native Sun Natural Foods Market, so I decided to give them a try.  I soaked them first so they would blend easier and voila!  Delish!

As for the hummus – this was a little sub I learned from my friend Suzanne.  A co-worker had brought bagels into the office and instead of eating it dry, since she had also cut out dairy, she topped it with some hummus. I tried it and LOVED it, so now it’s my favorite way to enjoy a bagel or baked bread and as the usual dip for crunchy, fresh veggies.

A dash of curry gives these two toppings a little hmm factor without being overpowering.  If you don’t like curry, simply leave out the curry powder, use olive oil instead of the curry coconut oil and use raw cashews instead of curry.

Curried Cashew Hummus

Curried Cashew Hummus

Curried Cashew Hummus

Serves 4 (Hummus serves 4-6)
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


4 GF bagels, such as Udi’s
2 Tbsp chopped curried cashews, soaked for 1 hour or overnight
1 can chickpeas, Tree of Life, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
3 cloves garlic
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp melted curry coconut oil, Ziggy Marley (you can sub olive oil here)**
Dash of curry powder
1 Tbsp tahini
¼ tsp salt


1. Blend cashews through salt in a small food processor or blender, adding 1/2 Tbsp water at a time until creamy consistency is reached. Spread ¼ mixture over each of four toasted bagels.

Curried Cashew Cream Cheese

Curried Cashew Cream Cheese

Curried Cashew Cream Cheese

Inspired by this recipe
Serves 4 (Cream Cheese serves 4-6)
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


4 GF bagels, Udi’s
1/2 cup chopped curried cashews, soaked for 1 hour or overnight
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp apple cider vinegar, Bragg
Dash of curry powder
¼ tsp salt


1. Blend cashews through salt in a small food processor or blender, adding 1/2 Tbsp water at a time until creamy consistency is reached.


Nutrition Facts Hummus (without bagel)
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 231.5
Total Fat 8.9 g
Saturated Fat 3.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.9 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.5 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 510.3 mg
Potassium 302.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 31.4 g
Dietary Fiber 6.4 g
Sugars 0.3 g
Protein 8.5 g

Vitamin A 0.7 %
Vitamin B-12 16.6 %
Vitamin B-6 90.8 %
Vitamin C 11.1 %
Vitamin E 0.6 %
Calcium 6.3 %
Copper 19.5 %
Folate 29.5 %
Iron 13.4 %
Magnesium 13.4 %
Manganese 43.8 %
Niacin 37.3 %
Pantothenic Acid 5.8 %
Phosphorus 18.2 %
Riboflavin 74.7 %
Selenium 10.1 %
Thiamin 86.3 %
Zinc 14.1 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Nutrition Facts Cream Cheese
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 99.6
Total Fat 7.9 g
Saturated Fat 1.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 255.0 mg
Potassium 104.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 6.1 g
Dietary Fiber 0.5 g
Sugars 1.1 g
Protein 2.6 g

Vitamin B-6 2.3 %
Vitamin C 2.3 %
Vitamin E 0.5 %
Calcium 0.8 %
Copper 19.1 %
Folate 3.0 %
Iron 5.8 %
Magnesium 11.4 %
Manganese 7.6 %
Niacin 1.2 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.1 %
hosphorus 8.4 %
Riboflavin 2.0 %
Selenium 2.9 %
Thiamin 2.3 %
Zinc 6.4 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Enjoy These A Fresh Takes on Old Favorites – Two Bagel Toppings! Curried Cashew Hummus and Curried Cashew Cream Cheese!

Jul 102012
Seven Layer Bean Dip with Mila
Greetings!  I just got back from our camping trip to St Augustine.  Yes I am crazy and yes, it was definitely hot and yes, there was mosquitoes the size of Texas. But you know what?  I’m a camper and I love it. Ok so I do have AC in my trailer but I still consider it camping.  Hey I know what it’s like….I tented for many years and I’ve ventured three times into the deserts of Arizona with a tent for two weeks at a time.  No running water and scorpions.
This time we spent the days staying as cool as we could.  First thing in the morning we hit our favorite zoological park, the  Alligator Farm, then right afterwards we hit a nice splash park, we ate lunches out and visited the farmers market. In the evenings we enjoyed a few glasses of wine and my daughter roasted up some marshmallows.  This was an all girls trip – no boys allowed!

Here are just a few pics from our adventure. This is where my daughter takes over for the photography.

I was ordered to BE SILLY.
Lunch! Present Moment Cafe offers raw and vegan options.

Here is my daughter trying to roast marshmallows over our smoke signal fire.  It wasn’t me. The wood must have been wet.

And finally we get to the recipe.  I bought this to a 4th of July celebration and it got rave reviews.  Especially the cashew sour cream.  No one could believe it wasn’t regular sour cream!  To me it tastes like a cross between cream cheese and sour cream.  Spread this on your bagels and you won’t miss the other white stuff one bit.

What is Mila?
Mila is an organically grown, non-genetically modified blend of chia seed that is cold pressed and sliced to make it more bio-available. 
It is RAW, GLUTEN FREE, AND VEGAN, perfect for cooking and baking.
It is super high in OMEGA 3s – equal to 6 to 10 fish oil pills per serving.  
A single serving also has FIVE GRAMS OF FIBER, more antioxidants than blueberries, more iron than spinach and many more benefits.
This little seed has anti-inflammatory properties, is excellent for brain function, energy, elimination, sleep and the best part?  It’s a FOOD!

Sound good?  Try some for yourself and see!

***To prepare this dish be sure to soak the raw cashews ahead of time!

Vegan Layered Bean Dip with Cashew Sour Cream and Mila
Vegan, Gluten Free
Layer 1
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup chopped red and green onion
1/4 tsp Adobo seasoning
Layer 2
1 14.5 oz can black beans
1 scoop Mila
1/4 tsp Adobo seasoning
Layer 3
1 can light, low sodium refried beans (I used Eden Organic)
Juice 1/4 lime
Layer 4
1 to 2 cups fresh salsa (or salsa of choice)
Layer 5
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
Layer 6
1/2 cup vegan mozzarella cheese (I used Daiya)
1 cup cashew sour cream: (1 cup raw cashews, soaked a few hours or overnight), 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice, 2 Tbsp Cider Vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt – blend until smooth, adding water if needed.
Layer 7
3 to 4 cups chopped lettuce


1. Mix the ingredients of each layer, one at a time, in a medium bowl.

2. Press each layer gently into a trifle bowl.  Serve with hearty organic corn chips.

Mar 272012
These breakfast bars were a unplanned weekend creation. Originally they were intended to be a dessert; however, with over 5 grams fiber, 6 grams protein and 0mg cholesterol, they are perfect for a filling and satisfying breakfast as well. I sprinkled a bit of coarse finishing sea salt over top and that brought out more of the sweetness of the agave. When they are just a bit chilled, the creamy filling with the tang of lemon is perfection – a healthy version of the Little Debbie oatmeal cream pies I loved as a child. They should still be enjoyed in moderation due to the calorie, carb and fat content, but that also means that these will stick with you longer than the empty calories of processed foods.

Complex carbohydrates are slower burning and the fat content also helps regulate the blood sugar to keep it from spiking and then dropping causing you to be even hungrier.


Also over the weekend I attended a family dinner.  My mom was a March baby so to celebrate her birthday we went over to TPC Sawgrass for dinner.

For anyone that is local, Nineteen at TPC has a wonderful buffet on Sundays – brunch in the morning and a dinner buffet after 5pm for $15.  They have lots of vegetarian/vegan options; two salads, a pasta bar with lots of veggies and a red sauce, gorgeous fresh fruit and green beans.
Me and Mom
Dad and Mom


Vegan Oatmeal Cheesecake Bars

Vegan Oatmeal Cheesecake Bars

Oatmeal “Cheesecake” Bars

Breakfast Oatmeal “Cheesecake” Bars
Oat mixture inspired by oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, Clean Food, Terry Walters
Serves 16
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Oat mixture

2 cups rolled oats, I used Bobs Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats
1 cup brown rice or all purpose flour, I used Bobs Red Mill Gluten Free Brown Rice Flour
¾ cups unsweet shredded coconut, I used Bobs Red Mill Unsweet Shredded Coconut
1 Tbsp cinnamon
¼ tsp sea salt
½ cup oil
¾ cup agave (or honey if not vegan)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

“Cheesecake” Mixture

2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight in water
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup agave (or honey if not vegan)
¼ tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla


1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Mix the oats, flour, coconut, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Add the oil, agave, lemon and vanilla extract; stir until well combined.

2. Blend the cashews, lemon juice, agave, salt and vanilla in a high speed blender or food processor until smooth and well combined.

3. Spray a 9×9 baking pan with cooking spray and press half the oat mixture in. Spread the cashew mixture evenly over. Pour the remainder of the oat mixture over the entire surface evenly and press gently.

4. Bake 40 minutes or until top is browned. Refrigerate and enjoy.

Nutrition Facts
16 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 395.6
Total Fat 23.0 g
Saturated Fat 7.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.3 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 179.2 mg
Potassium 84.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 43.4 g
Dietary Fiber 5.3 g
Sugars 23.1 g
Protein 6.1 g

Vitamin A 10.7 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 17.2 %
Vitamin C 3.3 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 7.8 %
Calcium 7.6 %
Copper 3.4 %
Folate 9.3 %
Iron 23.0 %
Magnesium 6.8 %
Manganese 42.8 %
Niacin 13.0 %
Pantothenic Acid 3.0 %
Phosphorus 8.2 %
Riboflavin 7.0 %
Selenium 7.6 %
Thiamin 15.5 %
Zinc 4.1 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Aug 312011
Did I mention that I made my own birthday cake for my birthday last weekend?
I figured eh…why not?  I wanted to try out a new recipe and I could make exactly what I was craving.
Coconut, banana and chocolate.

I can’t think of a better mix of flavors. 
It was so good I wrote my cake a little love letter. 
Oh Coconut-Banana Ice Cake with Chocolate Pecan Crust, how do I love the?
Let me count the ways.
1) You are sweet and creamy and luscious.
2) You are so easy to prepare even a 3-year-old can help.
3) You don’t involve any baking and opening of the oven door so you don’t crack (or other cheesecake techniques that always seem to elude me.)
5) Your crust is so nutty and chocolately delicious.
6) You contain no belly busting sugar or animal products but are still so rich and divine.
7) You have 0 grams cholesterol and so many less calories than regular cheesecake but are just as delicious.
8) You have fiber, protein and tons of vitamins and minerals from the healthy and minimally processed ingredients.
Ok, ok so I am not the best at love letters.
Tell me. What is your idea of the perfect birthday cake?  

Coconut-Banana Ice Cake with Chocolate Pecan Crust

Inspiration from Taste Space and My New Roots
Vegan, Gluten Free
Serves 10


1/2 cup raw pecans, toasted for a few minutes in a skillet over medium heat.
2/3 cup soft Medjool dates, pits removed
1/4 cup cocoa nibs (or dark chocolate chips for non-vegan)
1/4 cup finely shredded coconut, Lets Do Organic
1/4 tsp fine sea salt

1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 5 hours, overnight is best
Juice of 2 lemons
2 tsp alcohol-free vanilla extract, divided
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup agave (or honey for non-vegans)  
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 3 super ripe)
1/3 cup shredded coconut, Let’s Do Organic 


1. Place pecans, dates, coconut and chips in a food processor with sea salt and pulse to chop until they are just combined and stick together nicely.  Press into a small spring form pan (7 or 8 inch) or anything similar sized that can be frozen, (such as the microwave steamer I found and covered in plastic wrap.)

2. Heat agave or honey and coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat until coconut oil melts, stirring frequently.  

3. In a Vitamix or food processor mix the soaked cashews, lemon juice, 1 tsp vanilla and melted coconut oil-agave mixture; process on high for several minutes until VERY smooth.

4. Pour about 3/4 of the mixture (does not have to be exact) out onto the crust and spread with a spoon or spatula.  Place into the freezer while you work on the next step.  

5.  Add the bananas, second 1 tsp vanilla and coconut to the remaining 1/4 mixture in the Vitamix or food processor; process or blend again on high until very smooth.  Remove cake from freezer and pour banana layer over the first cashew layer.  Place back into freezer until well frozen. Cover well with plastic wrap until ready to serve to prevent freezer burn.

6. Remove from freezer and place in refrigerator for 1 hour or at room temperature for just over 30 minutes prior to serving.  Cut slices with a knife run under hot water.  Rewrap any leftovers and place back in freezer.  

Estimated Nutrition Facts

10 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 379.8
Total Fat 26.8 g
Saturated Fat 12.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.6 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 61.9 mg
Potassium 218.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 34.6 g
Dietary Fiber 5.8 g
Sugars 22.9 g
Protein 4.7 g

Vitamin A 0.6 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 10.4 %
Vitamin C 12.1 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 1.7 %
Calcium 1.1 %
Copper 6.1 %
Folate 2.5 %
Iron 2.4 %
Magnesium 5.0 %
Manganese 16.2 %
Niacin 1.8 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.9 %
Phosphorus 2.7 %
Riboflavin 2.9 %
Selenium 1.3 %
Thiamin 3.8 %
Zinc 2.3 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

May 062011
Do you ever have leftover grilled veggies you don’t know what to do with?  You know, all the peak season fresh stuff like corn, eggplant, zucchini, squash and onion you don’t want to waste? How about extra rice or grains?  Any hummus (or in the case of us detoxers cashew cheese)?
Well I have the perfect solution because I happened to have all three and got creative after getting home with a hunger the size of Texas.  I needed something in three minutes or less. 
So here is how this works.
After grilling, just cut the cooled veggies up and throw them in the refrigerator and pull them out when you are ready (which would be now).  Add some cooked quinoa (which is actually a grain-like seed packed with protein), or a whole grain such as brown rice or millet, whatever you have on hand; microwave, then add a bit of cashew cheese or hummus and you’ve got a light meal.
What is your favorite go to meal when you are really hungry and don’t have time to cook?  
Quinoa, Grilled Veggies and Cashew Cheese
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup chopped grilled veggies such as eggplant, zucchini, squash, corn and onion
1oz cashew cheese (click for recipe), or hummus
1. Place quinoa and veggies in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for 1 minute on high.  Top with cashew cheese or hummus.


Estimated Nutrition Facts
1 Serving
Calories 255.8
Total Fat 9.9 g
Saturated Fat 1.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.8 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 173.3 mg
Potassium 537.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 32.1 g
Dietary Fiber 5.1 g
Sugars 5.3 g
Protein 5.7 g
Vitamin C 23.5 %
Phosphorus 28.2 %
Riboflavin 48.8 %