Vegan Walnut and Mushroom Pate

Vegan Walnut and Mushroom Pate

Have you been on a spring cleaning kick lately? I have.

Me and my trusty DIY All Purpose Cleaner and DIY Citrus Vinegar Cleaner have been scrubbing every surface in my apartment and I’ve been decluttering like mad. At this point it’s getting crazy. If something isn’t somehow attached to the apartment itself I’ve found myself trying to figure out how to get rid of it.

I knew I was going overboard the other day when I found myself debating about donating my food processor. I mean, I love that thing, but somehow I haven’t used it since I was recipe testing for my cookbook last summer. That’s when I knew it was time to put it to use again.

So, what to make in my lovely food processor? Enter vegan walnut and mushroom pate. If you’ve been needing a reason to keep your food processor around, I think this just might be it.


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Yam Fries with Garlic Aioli

Yam Fries with Garlic Cashew Aioli  If you live alone, there are a few things that you should never do:

1. Assume that you can be trusted not to eat the entire batch of cupcakes of (grain-free) almond cupcakes that you baked. (I knew these should have left my apartment immediately…)

2. Watch World War Z. Alone. On laundry night. Why not on “laundry night,” you ask?

Because “laundry night” involves walking down two flights of stairs into the dark and immensely creepy apartment basement laundry room. And the last thing that you want to think about on your way down those stairs is if there is a zombie waiting to greet you at the bottom. Truth.

3. Spend an entire evening making up voices for your cat. With accents.

But, if you do live alone, there are some things that you should always do:

Make amazing yam fries just for you? Definitely.


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Creamy Herbed Almond Cheese

Creamy Herbed Almond Cheese

I think this summer is all about snacking. For reals.

It’s so easy to snack when there are such amazing veggies in-season… veggies which really can only be eaten raw. Because, well, cooked cucumber just sounds weird.

For summer snacking, you need something to dip, something to spread. And we all know that homemade coconut butter is the thing if you want something sweet-ish, but what if you’re in the mood for something savory? Then it’s all about this creamy herbed almond cheese.

I love making “cheese” from nuts and you might remember my creamy cashew cheese awhile back. Cashew cheese is great as a “melted cheese” substitute, but for something to spread on crackers or sprinkle over zucchini pasta? It’s gotta be herbed almond cheese.

This recipe requires a little work in advance because I recommend soaking the almonds in water overnight (to help them soften) and then removing the skins. The great thing is that once they’ve soaked, it is much easier to ‘pop’ the skins off. I don’t usually engage in kitchen tasks that I find tedious, but this step is crucial to yielding the most creamy, decadent almond cheese. So let’s get to it!


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How to Make Coconut Butter (for cheap!)

How to Make Coconut Butter (for cheap!)

Have you ever seen the show Extreme Couponing?  (Okay, I know that’s a strange question to ask, but I’m going somewhere with this… promise.)

Extreme Couponing is my new guilty pleasure.  Every time I watch it part of me is in awe that folks can save thousands of dollars in one shopping trip, while another part of me is completely revolted and concerned about consumerism and of course, the hundreds of sugary items they throw into their cart as they exclaim “it’s free!”  Until the local paper has weekly coupons for the farmers market, I don’t think you’ll find me extreme couponing anytime soon.

Of course, I’m a frugal gal and totally cost-conscious myself so instead of using coupons I have another trick up my sleeve for saving money: the homemade/DIY angle.  I frequently make my own homemade kimchi, mung bean sproutscook my own beans, and make almond milk, as well as personal care items like my own deodorant. That may not seem like a big savings, but these are some of the items that I use the most and over the course of the year these savings do add up.

So now let’s talk about my other guilty pleasure: coconut butter. Have you tried this yet? It’s amazing.

To be clear, coconut butter is different than coconut oil. Coconut butter is made from the entire flesh of the coconut while the oil is simply the oil extracted from the flesh.

I love using coconut butter as a dip, spread, or just eating a spoonful of it as an afternoon snack (total guilty pleasure!). The only issue is that coconut butter can be really expensive!  Tropical Traditions frequently has great deals that I keep an eye on, but jars at the grocery store can easily run around $15 here in Seattle. I love coconut butter, but that’s a bit much.

 Enter homemade coconut butter.  Today I’m going to show you how to make coconut butter at home (for cheap)!  Get ready…


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Non-Dairy Creamy Cashew Cheese

How to Make Cashew Cheese

Many years ago I used to be completely addicted to dairy. I loved cheese, ice cream, milk chocolate, yogurt, cream cheese, a cold glass of milk, and did I mention cheese?

However, when I gave up dairy many years back I noticed a variety of health benefits: less stomach aches, less bloating, clearer skin, and less headaches. As a child growing up with the USDA food pyramid, I always thought that dairy was a necessity. I mean, where else would we get our calcium?  (Note: there are plenty of amazing ways to get calcium without dairy, such as from dark leafy greens and sea vegetables.)

I think there are a lot of health concerns surrounding dairy, although I’ve seen a lot of evidence that raw milk might be a whole other story. I’m definitely not here to convince you one way or another, but if you struggle with digestive issues (such as bloating, constipation or IBS), acne, blocked sinuses, headaches, or ear infections and you consume dairy, this might be something to try removing from your diet and see how it impacts your body.

The struggle with this, of course, is that pretty much everyone loves cheese. And here’s why:

1. Our taste buds naturally like the taste of the fat and salt.

2. Dairy can be really addictive so once we eat it, we crave more. (Although this definitely lessens over time if you don’t eat it for awhile.)

I don’t typically crave dairy products on a regular basis, but there are definitely times when I miss the comfort of cheese. And that’s where this amazing cheese made from nuts comes in handy. It’s so easy to make and it only takes a few minutes to prepare! Let me show you how!


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Tofu Quinoa Fresh Rolls With Easy Peanut Sauce

Tofu Quinoa Fresh Rolls with Easy Peanut Sauce

I love the end of spring and beginning of summer. The beginning of summer is always filled with the anticipation of all the good things to come… Sunshine. Farmers market bounty. Picnics. Beach trips. The best action movies of the year. And all of the amazing summer food.

As the weather starts warming up, I naturally start craving lighter foods and wanting to spend less time in the kitchen and more time outside. Can you relate?

And that’s where these fresh rolls come in. Fresh rolls are a popular Vietnamese dish and I love them in summertime when fresh basil and cucumber are are season. These fresh rolls involve thin strips of crispy tofu combined with quinoa for a hearty, protein-rich snack or side dish. I love enjoying these with a simple green salad while lounging in the sun. Hooray for (almost) summer.


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Roasted Baby Turnips with Spicy Mustard Dressing

Roasted Baby Turnips

No one should ever have to weedwack their entire lawn. Ever.

Unless, perhaps, you have teenagers and want to punish them… Unfortunately, I don’t, so I got to experience the punishment for myself.

Earlier this year, my partner and I began renting a house from family members who are currently living overseas. I was excited at the thought of renting an entire house, however, it never occurred to me that with the amazing deal they were giving us, it also meant we had to do a lot of work.

It didn’t even cross my mind that I would need to mow the lawn. That is, until I noticed that our grass was about a foot and half taller than the yards on both sides of us. Oops.

The grass was so tall, in fact, that the lawnmower repeatedly stalled when I tried to mow it. And that is when I came up with the brillant idea to weedwack the entire lawn and then mow it.  Two and a half hours of the most intense work ever, I felt like the biggest idoit on the planet. Well, at least I did until I woke up the next morning and saw how amazing my arms looked.

So, in summary, don’t ever let your lawn get long enough that you need to weedwack it, but if you do, just know that you’ll look great afterwards.

And, if any of you have suggestions about a smarter way I could have handled the lawn situation, I’ll take ‘em. Maybe I can even trade you a recipe for some landscaping advice… Roasted baby turnips, anyone?


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Quinoa Lettuce Wraps with Easy Peanut Sauce

Quinoa Lettuce Wraps
Need some motivation to help you eat your veggies?
Or perhaps you’re a bit bored in the quinoa department and are looking for a little recipe inspiration?
I’ve got you covered. Today’s recipe is fresh quinoa lettuce wraps and an easy peanut sauce that comes together in a snap! You’re gonna love these!
For the recipe, be sure to head on over to my guest post at Cooking Quinoa. I love Wendy’s blog because she is so creative when it comes to making new recipes with quinoa and creating dishes that the whole family will enjoy. (And who knew there were so many amazing ways to use a single ingredient?!)