Lemon-Kissed Cocoa Date Bites

So you know those yummy and simple Larabars, that are oh-so-expensive for like...barely three bites of bar? Turns out, super easy to create for cheap in your own home. Now I know this isn't a new concept - homemade larabars and snacks using dates is an old concept. But rightly so! Dates are called "nature's candy" for a reason, and they're good for you, too! So I decided to make my own spin on the concept. I had two requirements - 1) Nut free, since nuts are sometimes hard on my stomach and 2) Lemon! Lemon larabars are one of my favorites.

So I made...

Lemon-Kissed date bites! Which could also be shaped into bars, but I found the little ball shapes to be a nice snacking size.

You'll need...
  • 10 soft, pitted, dried dates
  • 1 tbs cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 a lemon (squeezed for juice)
It's very easy - simply put all ingredients into a food processor and blender, and blend until it reaches a mushy consistency that will hold together. Form into bars or little balls or whatever shape you like! Try cookie cutters for fun shapes (like unicorns or ninjas!) maybe. Then eat, or store in the fridge in an airtight container for an on-the-go snack later.



Vegan Alfredo Pasta Recipe

You'll need...
  • Half a package Mori-Nu firm silken tofu (about 6oz)
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2-3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • Pinch of cumin
  • Pinch of dry basil
  • Salt & pepper to taste (I used herbamare)
  • Pasta of choice (I used spinach & brown rice pasta - gluten free)
  • Veggies add-ins of choice (I used a bag of frozen peas, you can use anything you like here...throw in your leftover veggies of the season, like asparagus, or toss in some spinach, carrots,  green beans... find your perfect combo!)
First, cook your pasta according to package directions. Depending on how saucy (oh la la) you like your noodles, this sauce should cover about 3-4 servings of pasta, so keep that in mind. It reheats well. Once your pasta is almost finished cooking, you can toss in any frozen veggies (if using) to thaw them out and warm them up. If using fresh vegetables, you can either steam them and add them in later or blanch them in the water to warm them if you like.

The second part is the sauce. Pull out your blender and add all ingredients above, excepting salt, pasta, and veggies. Blend until you reach a smooth, creamy consistency. Taste and season again to your liking.

Finally, just portion out your pasta and veggies and pour some sauce on top. Enjoy! It's super simple, quick, and delicious - without all the heavy dairy and plus a good bit of protein.


Lentil "Pulled Pork"

So last week my "running out of groceries cuz I just got back from Atlanta and the best weekend of my life" situation led to a rather excellent discovery food wise. I say "discovery" because I'm not sure what follows qualifies exactly as a recipe...it's just too easy!

But as the story goes, before I'd left for the long weekend, I'd bought a pack of lentils thinking - oh, these are so lovely and protein-packed I simply must find something to do with them! (Inner me is sometimes British) I'd also had the great luck of getting a 1$ bottle of chipotle BBQ sauce from Earthfare (seriously, if you have an EF near you...go! Sign up! The deals are amazing!) And, finally, I had some Ezekiel bread I'd taken with me on my trip for on-the-go almond butter and jelly sandwiches. Yum!

So, what's a girl to do with no time to go shopping and a need to fuel up before rehearsal?

She creates a lentil BBQ sandwich!

...which ends up tasting like pulled pork. I kid you not. It even had the same mouth feel. But it's a lot healthier ;)

Okay, here's what you'll need.

Lentil "Pulled Pork" Sandwich
(makes approx. 2 servings)

  • A cup of cooked lentils
  • Your favorite BBQ sauce (as mentioned, I used EarthFare's chipotle BBQ), to taste
  • Honey or agave (optional)
  • Bread (sliced, a bun, garlic toast, or simply eat it straight!)

The Process:

Place your cooked lentils in a bowl. If they're not warm fresh from being cooked, now might be a good time to give 'em a little zap in the microwave. Take a fork and mash them up well - not all lentils have to be broken up, but you want a mushy, "pulled" texture that will go well between two slices of bread :)

Then, add your BBQ sauce. You can add as much or as little as you like - I kinda eyeballed it myself, but I'll guess I added maybe half a cup.

Next, taste it. For me it was a little too much spice kick - I was trying to clear out a cold, but I didn't want my tongue on fire! - so I added just a little spoonful of honey to offset it. And it was done!

I slapped a couple large spoonfuls between two pieces of toasted bread and bit in...perfect! And if you just try a forkful or a spoonful with your eyes closed, you could almost swear it was traditional BBQ. Or maybe that's just me. Let me know what you think if you end up trying this!

Have a wonderful week guys! I'm gonna go start my Sunday off right with a homemade chai tea latte and baked oatmeal...mmm...


Garbanzo-Pesto Sandwich

You know that point right before you go grocery shopping, where you're sort of at a loss as to what to eat but you're not quite ready to hit the store? Well, sometimes that place inspires some great creations in the world of noms.

For instance, this afternoon I invented a whole new sandwich! I had a bit of leftover pesto (but I was out of pasta! Oh no!) and two whole-grain wraps...but not much else.

Luckily we have a nicely stocked pantry, and there's almost always some veggies around, so I had a can of garbanzo beans and some lettuce and tomato to create a meal out of.

It may sound strange, thinking garbanzos would make a good sandwich, but I was inspired.

What You Need...

  • One wrap of your choice (I used a multi-grain tortilla like wrap, same kind I use to make personal pizzas)
  • Half a can of garbanzo beans
  • Lettuce of your choice (I recommend a fairly strong lettuce - spring mix will probably wilt under the heat)
  • Tomatoes
  • Pre-made pesto (vegan recipe to come)
  • Earth Balance vegan margarine
  • Any accents you like - for example, I added a few capers for a zing

Drain and rinse your garbanzos, and then take half (or the portion size you would like) and mash them a bit with a fork. Add a tablespoon or two of pesto and mix well. Then, take your tortilla and smooth on a bit more pesto, then your lettuce and tomato. You've created the bed for your garbanzo mix, so add that next and then perhaps your capers or olives, or any extra veggies you might like. Fold over your tortilla to make a sort of taco shape. Then, spread Earth Balance on one side. Just as if you were making a grilled cheese, place the Earth Balance-side down in a hot pan. Then spread Earth Balance on the other side, and once the pan-down side is browned, flip and brown the other side! It doesn't take too long, maybe 15-30 seconds on either side depending on how crisp you like it. Then just cut in half and enjoy!

It's super delicious. Super quick and easy. And with a nice, short ingredient list...perfect for a last-minute meal. You could always use a different sauce that you have on hand as well - maybe some veganaise, marinara even? Or if you're not a vegan, some added cheese would probably be great!


Pizza Fusion

Pizza is amazing. We all know this. Several of my friends appeared very distressed on my behalf when I told them I was going vegan, professing their dismay that, "But...you can't have pizza..."

Oh ho ho my lovely and well-meaning friends. Of course I can have pizza! Not only is pizza without cheese and loaded with veggies a fine option, there are some lovely vegan cheeses out in today's world.

Daiya has what I've found to be the best, most usable and cheese-like brand and I finally found a restaurant that would go through the effort of making a vegan pizza with it on my behalf! (I did not want to try the mozzarella version at about 5-6 dollars a bag without being sure I liked it first)

Pizza Fusion's hybrid delivery vehicles :)

Pizza Fusion is amazing, and for more than just the (absolutely phenomenal multi-grain thin crust) pizza. This hip little restaurant is all about going green as well as providing healthy, mostly organic and all-natural options for vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike!

They had several little signs around the place detailing their environment-saving efforts, which include building their booths out of reclaimed wood and using hybrid vehicles for delivery.

Even their bathrooms were green (in the environmental sense).

The place itself was very attractive and cool, and as I've mentioned the food was incredible and so satisfying. My mom order a vegan pizza as well and loved it! The leftovers were even better, in both our opinions.

I'd highly recommend this place. They have a few different locations, so look em up and see if you can try it out.

There's also apparently a pizza joint that offers Daiya cheese pizzas near my university ... I'll have to check that out sometime, but I just don't know if it will compare to the magic of Pizza Fusion ;)

Happy noms!


Insta-Foods Take 5

I have been the absolute worst in updating the blog. I'll admit, I fell off the blogging wagon - and that is all thanks to my last show. Being involved in theatre is time-consuming, hard work, and sometimes so stressful you'd rather not do anything but the work, sleep, and eat. So I ended up just not having time. But the show ended April 1st...

So the rest is just my lazy self. And in part finishing out my junior year of college, but let's be honest. I was lazy.

Let's hop back into it with something easy - another instagram foods report!



  1. One of Chocolate Covered Katie's chocolate frosting shots, made for my mother as a little mother's day treat. This stuff is delicious - a smooth, chocolatey (and healthy!) chocolate mousse.
  2. Oh She Glows's version of vegan mac-and-cheese. This has pumpkin in it! And nutritional yeast instead of expensive non-dairy cheese :) With kale and pea mix-ins. Soooo good.
  3. My first meal from Sweet Pea Cafe, a restaurant I'd been meaning to try for awhile. It's all-vegan and my new addiction. This is a "cheez" quesadilla with sweet potato fries, which are to die for.
  4. Brunch at Sweet Pea! Breakfast tofu scramble quesadilla with roasted potatoes. My mouth waters just thinking of their food (their black bean quinoa burger is THE BEST).
  5. Home-made blue corn tacos - black beans, salsa, avocado...yummy.
  6. Soul Veg's BBQ tofu plate with sweet carrots and hebrew rice...avec a side of cornbread. All vegan...and so.so.so good. It's hearty southern soul - made vegan!
  7. My roommate and I made a pizza together. Using the Peas and Thank You crust recipe and topped with simply sauce, mushrooms, and olives. Yes please.
  8. Mom and I stumbled upon a cute little cafe last weekend while walking in town and I was pleasantly surprised to find this roasted veggie wrap on the menu. I asked to do it without the cheese, and the guy making it was very understanding since he's also lactose intolerant! It was a great find for sure.
You know, looking over this it's odd because...9 times out of 10 I eat at home and make my own food! I guess restaurant food is just much prettier. That and I eat a lot of the same stuff...don't want to bore anybody ;)

Well thank you for reading! Expect more posts soon - product finds, restaurant reviews (what can I say? visiting the parents means I eat well!), maybe even some recipes...


Home Life: Going to the Farm

I am a big supporter of local, organic farming and produce. I know it's not always plausible (believe me, I know - college student here) to buy fresh and organic, but it can be very beneficial to your health and taste buds to stop by a local produce market once in awhile. My mother and father are lucky enough to have a local organic farm in their area, which they subscribe to. My mom goes once a week!

During my break last week, I was lucky enough to make the trip with her, my sister, and my niece. It's a lovely operation with tons and tons of delicious and colorful produce. They also sell homemade goat cheese, goat's milk soap, jam, and fresh farm eggs. Plus, they even had baby chicks this time!


They didn't have any of my favorite (sweet potatoes) left (sad face), but we got plenty of awesome goods. I picked out some lettuce, swiss chard, yellow squash, and beets that were of course taken back to college with me. My sister got some corn to take home with her, and we also picked out some nice tomatoes and broccoli for use in salads that week. Nom nom nom.

Oh, and a cucumber shaped like a crescent moon...really brings me back to my Sailor Moon days.

Seriously. Veggies are so good fresh and straight from the source. It really makes a difference! It's really sad to me that it's so much harder to find and buy organic produce when it's crazy better for us and better tasting. My mother, who has a strong distaste for raw broccoli, loves it from the farm! Also, some produce from the supermarket is so inundated with pesticides and other chemicals that it can make us sick if we consume a lot of it. And you need a lot of veggies.

...or I do, at least ^_^

And farms are just great places to be sometimes. Ahh, nature.

And my niece loves it, too!


Crazy for Coconuts


So for awhile now it's been a deep wish of mine to drink a coconut. Yes, drink a coconut. I also want to try coconut butter and buy myself a jar of coconut oil and just eat coconut (but I mean, I'm not obsessed or anything...) but mostly I have been trying forever to get a straw and a coconut and go to town.

Here's the story: in my home town there's a little outdoor market on Saturdays where the "coconut man" sets up his booth and dishes out coconuts in which he's cut holes. It's like a little tropical drink, no cleaning up cups required! But we always go to the chiropractor first and we always miss him.

But yesterday, luck was on my side:

And I ended up with my heart's desire:

Mmm. A dream come true. It actually seems pretty easy to do yourself, so I guess if I stumble across any coconuts in my local supermarket I can try it. I'll let you know what happens. With that and with the leftover coconut ;)

Oh, and Saturdays at home also often mean a Whole Foods stop. I piled so many different things in there, I honestly couldn't tell you what some of it is. I know there's cranberry cous-cous, hummus & cucumbers, a mango and hearts of palm salad, balsamic tofu, basmati rice, asparagus, black-eyed peas, and kale hidden somewhere...
Gosh I love Whole Foods.

What are some of the foods you can't wait to try?


PB Crave Review

So, via the twittermonster, I was given a rather exciting opportunity. I'll admit that when I first got a twitter I was dubious - and peer pressured into it - but I'll give a hearty thumbs up to anything that gets me closer to peanut butter. That's right, ladies and gentleman, twitter helped me receive free peanut butter. And we all know how I feel about nut butters.

PB Crave, previously known as PB Loco, has come back with four new flavors and an exciting charity project. They asked via their twitter if any bloggers would be willing to review their product in exchange for free samples - and who was I to turn away this PBlicious opportunity?

Anyway my samples arrived in the mail only a few days ago and I was so excited I immediately tore into them to discover not any mere sample - but four. beautiful. jars.

And I had a spoonful of each on the spot. So let's get started.

#1: Coco Bananas

This is the PB I was most excited for, because there is very little I love more than a PB/Banana/Chocolate combo. I have PB and Banana together almost every morning, and certainly every day.

The Verdict: It's good, but it surprisingly ended up being my least-favorite flavor. Like all four flavors, it had an excellent creamy quality (possibly due to the melo honey) and I adored the little chocolate chips inside. The chips, as opposed to cocoa flavoring, added a nice texture and pop of chocolate. However the banana flavor was not all how I hoped it would be. It is an all-natural flavoring, but it still leaves sort of an artificial aftertaste. Still delicious, but a bit disappointing.

#2: Choco Choco

The double-chocolate peanut butter. I am all for more chocolate. Those little lumps are the chocolate chips! :)

The Verdict: Yum. Yum yum yum. I had this one (and coco bananas, as pictured above) on some toast after the initial taste test and I adored how easily it went onto the bread, and how some of the chocolate chips melted into the spread and added an extra kick of chocolate to it all.

#3: Razzle Dazzle

This one had white & dark chocolate along with raspberry flavor. I apologize for not getting a better picture of the texture of it, I realized last minute I'd not taken one when I taste-tested! Shameful. And then I had to leave my apartment for the day...so I snapped a quick pic in order to get this post out ASAP.

The Verdict: I really liked it - it had a nice light fruity pop. The flavoring did still left a bit of an aftertaste like the banana one but it wasn't overwhelming. And I'd never seen a berry-infused PB before! I was very impressed by the creativity in this PB recipe.

#4: Cookie Nookie 

A cookie dough flavored PB...uh, count me in. Admit it, doesn't this idea intrigue you?

The Verdict: My favorite. I love it. It's got a nice decadent flavor, which you'd expect from the name. It doesn't lose its PB-quality while still having a great chocolate chip cookie punch. I want a spoonful...like now. Excuse me, I have to run into the kitchen.

The Health Stats

A disclaimer, guys: these PBs are not vegan. I know my blog is very vegan, but I don't consider myself a stringent vegan I was not going to turn down free PB. Anyways, I consider my diet more plant-based than vegan, meaning I stick to plant-based and whole foods whenever possible, but I don't restrict myself. And I have honey every day. So. Non-vegan PBs. Onwards.

All four peanut butters are all-natural, made with Mel-o honey and Belgian chocolate. They are free of gluten, added sugar, trans fat, and high fructose corn syrup.

They are all 180 calories per serving (2 Tablespoons). Naturally most of those calories come from fat - it is peanut butter after all. But I firmly believe a bit of peanut butter is a good, filling snack or addition to a meal. Fat is not necessarily bad for you guys. Unless it's all you eat. And treat yourself with the added chocolate!

The Charity

PB Crave gives a minimum 2% of their profits to Project Peanut Butter, a charity whose goal is to treat and save malnourished children. This, I think, is the best part of their company and the strongest reason why they are worth trying.  So many children go without what we mostly take for granted, and we can help with these small gestures. And give our taste buds a little treat as well ;)

You can also vote here in Walmart's Get on the Shelf competition to help them further this goal: www.getontheshelf.com/product/4878/PB-Crave 

So there you have it. Expect a cookie recipe using one of these PBs soon! I'm thinking maybe Razzle Dazzle...

*disclaimer: I was not paid for this review of PB Crave's products, and my opinions are entirely my own.


Insta-Foods Take Four

yes I only do these when I am running out of time for anything else




  1. Blended PB & Banana Oatmeal - a very typical breakfast of mine, especially on chilly mornings.
  2. Endangered Species Chocolate Bars: Turtle (dark w/ blueberries) and Lemur (dark w/ raw cacao nibs) - been craving them for awhiiiile. Noms.
  3. Vegan strawberry cupcake, made & consumed for V-Day.
  4. Vegan strawberry pancakes! Had to use up those strawberries somehow ;)
  5. A salad of mixed greens, olives, tomatoes, snap peas and hummus/apple cider vinegar dressing, topped with black beans.
  6. My rainy day treat to myself: a grilled banana-almond butter-apricot jam sandwich.
  7. Cucumbers, carrots, green beans, & homemade brown rice chips - all for an excuse to eat a ton of hummus, of course!
  8. Seasoned black beans on a bed of spinach and quinoa. With a side glass of carrot juice that I'd already consumed most of...along with a slice of Ezekial bread toast (I am loving Ezekial bread right now) coated in apricot jam.


The Alien Spawn

Seriously. If I handed one of these to you with no explanation, you would totally think I'd discovered an extraterrestrial life form, wouldn't you? Or perhaps an alien's noms.

But no, this is a real vegetable. My mom brought it to me straight from the organic farm she subscribes to back home. It's called romanesco broccoli, and is also known as Roman cauliflower. Which is a very apt name, since that's pretty much what it tastes like. A broccoli-cauliflower fusion. My roommate ended up dubbing it "cauliccoli" 'cuz the name's been a bit hard to remember, and I like it.

Since it was my first time trying "cauliccoli", I didn't go too crazy and simply roasted it at 400 for about 10 minutes. All that adorned these crazy cauliflower kids was a drizzle of olive oil and some of my prized himalayan pink salt.

Honestly, I'm not OCD about my food touching, this was just for photographic purposes.

I had the maybe-alien veggie alongside a vegan mushroom-rice veggie burger (topped with another product new to me, nutritional yeast, which I approve of - and some ketchup and pickles for the burger). I ended up utilizing the ketchup for the cauliccoli as well, which hey...everything's good with ketchup.

Pretty much, anyway.

So have you made any new food/product discoveries lately?


A Weekend With Mommabear

A review ... in noms. ;)

Homemade banana bread :)

My lovely mother was in town for a visit this weekend, which of course meant a weekend full of great company, and great food!

She rolled into town Friday around 3, which gave us plenty of time to grab dinner before my night rehearsal. We decided to go to Soul Veg - a completely vegan cafe downtown. I'd only had the pleasure of going once, and my mom had never been. Now, while she's not a vegan/vegetarian like I am, she loves her veggies and rarely eats meat anyway. So she was totally open for it!

We both chose their "live salad platter" option - I chose the toppings of seaweed, cous cous, and spinach. She's not such a spinach fan and chose bean curd instead. It all was served atop of salad of greens, tomatoes, and onions. (She also had a ginger-citrus punch that was.so.good.likeomg.)

As you can see, we loved them so much we plowed through them before I remembered to take a picture! Oops.

But I did take a picture of the amazing vegan apple pie we snacked on for dessert...

To quote my mom, "This is not missing a thing!" More proof that a vegan diet is not a boring diet!

On Saturday we tried out a new coffee place in town, where I decided to spoil myself by ordering a (definitely not vegan) nutella sandwich on cinnamon-raisin bread along with my traditional morning tea. Hey, you only live once, and there wasn't any Justin's Chocolate-Hazelnut butter around!

One of these days I'll remember: picture first, eat later.

My mom loved her Peru Coffee. Not so jazzed about her sandwich. Perhaps it was the extreme excess of onions...?

Seriously, the onions owned this sandwich. They probably planted a flag somewhere in there.

For lunch...it was Earthfare salad bar all the way (cuz I just had to get tons of healthy, yummy groceries while my momma was in town!). I won't even go into my three (!) bags of groceries, but om nom salad bar + juice bar.

Honestly there was a lot piled on here that I don't remember exactly. The highlight was the cranberry quinoa and kale. Sounds weird, was delicious. And I loved my juice (a carrot-beet-cucumber-ginger combo) as well. Oh oh, and the brussel sprouts. No, I'm not kidding.

For dinner Mom and I elected to cook a recipe from Peas and Thank You, Mama Pea's falafel with tzatki sauce.

Honestly...I wasn't super impressed. The sauce was too garlicky and the falafel not very flavorful, although I did enjoy it leftover dunked into ketchup. The biggest letdown was Food For Life's Brown Rice Tortillas...very chewy and stiff. But I saved the day by cutting the rest up and making them into delicious chips!

And for Sunday breakfast we had some good old oatmeal from the coffee place. I can always count on oatmeal. It is my bestest breakfast friend ;)

...and then she had to go back home. Boo! I love it when my parents are in town, and it's always sad to see them go. But hey, I'm an adult and that's how it is, right? Right. Totally an adult over here.

What are your favorite types of places to eat out or take your parents/friends/significant others for a treat?



Coconut Oil Cookies

Thank you, Michele, for introducing me to coconut oil. Michele is an old roommate of mine and my best friend up here at college. Plus she's a talented and lovely blogger than everyone should check out! Michi and I spent last Saturday together working on a project of hers and exploring pet stores and World Market. At the end of our day, we decided to make one of Chocolate Covered Katie's recipes (of course).

We didn't have all the ingredients for the one we chose, so we ended up modifying just a bit. From chocolate cookies stuffed with pumpkin, came coconut oil cookies stuffed with pumpkin-chocolate-peanut butter. Yeah.

I'm falling in love all over again just looking at these pictures.

Here's Katie's original recipe.

The substitutions made were leaving out the cocoa powder we didn't have and using chocolate peanut butter in place of regular peanut butter. But the most important addition was the use of coconut oil (new obsession alert). Katie doesn't specify in her recipe what oil she used, but I wouldn't recommend any other. Especially without the cocoa powder. Because it gave these cookies such flavor and also a really nice softness. Ugh. Delicious. Seriously. Myself, Michele, and her boyfriend Stephen all enjoyed them. I even shared some with my roommate and her parents, and they loved them too! 

Make these cookies. Either Katie's way or ours, I'm sure it will be amazing.