Sunday, August 2, 2015

Saying Goodbye to Gwendolyn Strong. October 4, 2007 - July 25, 2015



7 and a half years ago I walked into my first baby group class with my first baby. One of the first people I met was a happy, twinkling blue-eyed mommy/baby duo: Victoria and Gwendolyn Strong. Gwendolyn was the picture of health and Victoria was beaming and clearly made to be a mommy. When Gwendolyn was three months old she starting having trouble feeding and reaching for toys. Three months later came a devastating diagnosis: Spinal Muscular Dystrophy, or SMA. The #1 genetic killer of young children. 

keep reading for the rest of the post 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Tropical Dragon Fruit Popsicles

Pitaya blended with coconut milk and pineapple to create a tropical nutritious popsicle recipe  for breakfast or dessert. 
Pitaya_Popsicles

My girls and I love acai and pitaya smoothie bowls for breakfast on warm summer mornings. If you follow me on Instagram you know what I mean. I blend frozen pitaya packs with other fresh or frozen fruit, a little almond milk or coconut water, and top with chia seeds, granola, and fresh fruit. Pitaya bowls are not only bursting with nutrients, they are beautiful little works of art. This week we decided to have a little fun and make ice pops instead of bowls. If you are unable to find pitaya packs you could use frozen acai packs, 1 fresh dragon fruit, or a handful of berries. Pitaya smoothie packs can be found at most natural grocery stores. There's a store locator here for Pitaya Plus.  PS this post is not sponsored, I just love the product.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Lemony Lentil Soup

This simple recipe makes a big pot of light and summery lemon lentil soup to nourish. 
summer lentil soup
"Mama, can you put that lentil soup in my lunch tomorrow?" What music to any mama's ears! My 5 year old loved this recipe so much she wanted more the next day. Although soup can feel like a winter meal, this one is perfect for summer with it's bright fresh flavors. Full disclosure - my 7 year old was not as enthusiastic - she said is was "good" but not her favorite. I'm with my preschooler though - love is the right word for this one. Lentils have been a staple in our house since I gave up meat several years ago. Even before that really. These cutie legumes are a great source of vegetarian protein, iron, folate, fiber, and many other important nutrients. Lentil soup is on our regular dinner rotation, but I was getting a little tired of the same old way I've always made it. So I was excited to try my friend Kacie's recipe for Lemony Lentil Soup. She often posts on Facebook that she is making a huge batch and is happy to give some away and share with another family. How awesome is that?! Kacie is the amazing photographer of Kacie Jean Photography, and she shot some of my favorite family photos.
lemons
Because I always have dried lentils in the pantry and lemons on the tree, I had all the ingredients I needed already at home. I love that this recipe has turmeric in it, as it is a fabulous anti-inflammatory ingredient with many other health benefits. I talked about that here if you want to know more. lemony lentil soup
I love making a big pot of soup and freezing half or giving it away to friends and this recipe makes plenty.



Lemony Lentil Soup

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 1.5 hours
Yield: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups diced or sliced carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups diced celery (1 full head) 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 2 1/2 (32 oz.) boxes vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons dried turmeric
  • 2 cups green lentils, rinsed and picked over for stones
  • zest of 1/2 lemon 
  • juice of 3 small lemons 
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and salt and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté another minute longer. Add the broth, turmeric, and lentils. 
  2. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest and juice and simmer another 30 minutes. Add more broth if needed. 
Recipe adapted from my friend Kacie's recipe.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Vegan Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecakes {Raw}

Vegan Peanut Butter Cheesecake
Can you believe it's summer? Well not technically, but school is almost out so I think we should celebrate with cake. Cake is always a good idea. At least when it's creamy cold no-bake cheesecakes made with nutritious ingredients. I've made this recipe twice in the past week to make sure I got it just right before sharing with you. And also maybe because we polished off the first batch before I got to photographing them. My husband, who is often not a big fan of healthified treats, absolutely loved these and said, "Wow, these are amazing. They can not be good for you." Success!  In fact, they are good for you. Much better than the "skinny" ice cream sandwiches all over the grocery store shelves. I refuse to put those in my body - they may be lower in calories, but in exchange you get a long list of artificial ingredients and the same amount of sugar. Here's a good explanation of why I would never eat a "skinny" ice cream sandwich. Plus, eating fat doesn't make you fat - sugar and processed foods do.

These raw cheesecakes are my new favorite treat and I will be making them all summer to store in the freezer for those nights (all the nights?) chocolate is needed. I like these best frozen, when the filling tastes like ice cream. My Raw Vegan Raspberry Slice recipe was such a hit with you guys (thanks!) that I wanted to give you another similar nut-date based recipe. I have to say though, that I like this chocolate peanut butter combo so much better than the raspberry one. You're really going to love this one. Promise me you'll make it?

keep reading for the recipe!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Raw Vegan Berry Tarts

raw vegan strawberry pies
Memorial Day is a couple of days away so I had to share this healthy red, white, and blue treat with you. We are loving all the summer berries lately. Our strawberry plants are producing lots of sweet berries and the markets have plenty of perfectly plump blueberries. This has a crust that is guilt free - just nuts, dates, and coconut. The filling is coconut whipped cream and for the beautiful patriotic topping - nothing beats fresh berries. They are nature's candy. I love that this recipe is made with 100% plants and no refined sugar.
keep reading for the recipe!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

How to Make Vegan Whipped Cream with Coconut Cream

an easy recipe for vegan whipped cream using a can of coconut cream
vegan whipped cream
I'm not sure where I first learned to make vegan whipped cream with a can of coconut milk or coconut cream, but I can't believe I haven't shared the recipe here! Even if you're not dairy-free or vegan, this is a great recipe to know for those days when you want some fresh whipped cream with your summer berries, but don't have cream on hand. Keep a few cans of coconut cream in the pantry and you'll be good to go for a last minute dessert. 

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