And then the day arrived, a lot more quickly than I felt ready for, to debut our revolutionary frozen dessert experience. A local auction was happening not far from us and it was time to show the good people of Choteau county what they had been missing out on. I couldn’t tell whether I was nervous or excited, but I definitely felt a rush of some sorts. After awkwardly backing up the trailer in our small, assigned spot we were ready for business.
And we were off to a great start!
We just had our first customer place an order. My business partner-in-crime, who also happens to be my lovely husband, grabbed a block of ice from the freezer, stuck it in the shaved ice machine, and turned on the switch. He didn’t close the little plastic guard because safety is overrated anyway, especially on your very first day selling shaved ice with minimal experience. The ice, not perfectly level, shot out, with explosive force, from underneath the teeth that usually hold said spinning ice block in place as our wonderful audience of a three-year-old boy and his grandmother spectated at our new business venture with wide eyes. Meanwhile, my mother tried to supportively take pictures of our “grand opening” which was starting to look more like an adult lemonade
In goes another ice block.
Maybe put down the plastic safeguard this time.
Well, at least the block didn’t go flying around in our found-on-Craigslist, second-hand, newly remodeled trailer but it is now lodged against the plastic safeguard.
Business buddy tries again while I act like I’m busy and do my best to hide my utter humiliation. Despite our attempts, something was just not working out with the ice. We never did try shaving a lot of ice beforehand… After all, what could possibly go wrong with something as simple as frozen water?
Mortified, I let our first customer and disappointed grandson know we’re going to have to close up shop for a few minutes as we’re experiencing “technical difficulties” with our machine. “It never does this!” I confidently say as if I knew what I was talking about, and apologetically refunded her the money after which I quickly turned over our “open” sign to “closed”. I couldn’t believe we had just given away business to our competition: the fancy, red, decked-out concession stand parked across from us that seemed to have their act together. Those suckers even had built-in air conditioning in their roof.
No, we weren’t ready…
I was so embarrassed and discouraged I wanted to pack up shop and go home already. But my dad, an entrepreneur himself with a lot more experience than I, gave me a pep talk and convinced me to try again. This was just part of the process.
To make a long story short, we sold around $200 worth of shaved ice that day and must have sweat off around 5 pounds in our poorly ventilated, excruciatingly hot trailer. Apparently, someone didn’t do their homework and our generator was not powerful enough to run the window AC. When I think back on that day I remember how exhausted I was after all was said and done, but I also remember feeling a rewarding sense of satisfaction while eating one of our very own “shave ice” creations. We had done it. Even though we failed initially, we succeeded in the end.
If you’re wondering what happened to my shaved ice business, I did end up selling it to another young guy who had the same grand idea as I did for many different reasons I won’t explain here. And who knows, maybe my next million-dollar idea is a book on “How NOT To Start a Shaved Ice Business”.
My lead magnet could be a checklist to essential safeguards you must have in place in your concession trailer so you don’t accidentally knock yourself out with a block of ice.
But somehow that traumatic event did not deter me from pursuing other business ventures. Any entrepreneur reading this will be able to relate to the deep-down itch to want to make something happen for oneself. Entrepreneurship, I believe, is an outlet for one’s creative energy. It’s a means of expressing oneself. Overcoming the challenges one faces in setting up a business is, for the entrepreneur at heart, rewarding because it proves that we can push past the limits society silently places on us. For some, it may be a subconscious protest against coloring within the lines. For others, it may be the only way to stay sane with a mind constantly racing with ideas and inventions.
As I think about the many men that have accomplished impossible feats in business I get inspired. When the world says we can’t, we do. After all, our limits really are just between our ears. My favorite book that my mom read to me as a child is about the little blue train that could. “I-think-I-can, I-think-I-can,” it said as it chugged along. And it did. I saved that little book for my children to read one day because it’s become the motto I live my life by, and I want to carry on that legacy to not shy away from doing things that are difficult and uncomfortable.
But what really causes me to want to continue to pursue entrepreneurship? I would not be honest towards myself if I said the possibilities of escaping the 9 – 5 to travel the world and make Instagram-worthy pictures, be my own boss, and one day have the ability to stay home with the kids as a mother while posting baking recipes on a blog and still earning residual income don’t sound extremely attractive. But as fantastic as those things are, deep, deep down I think there is a desire for me to overcome the daily challenges entrepreneurs face and realize that which starts out as a simple idea called vision.
After our initiation into the business world, slightly less gruelling and more comical than most freshmen would say about their first year experience in college, my partner-in-crime and I went on to successfully flip a house (which should be part of pre-marital counseling, by the way) and, besides the classic pyramid scheme
nightmare venture just about every
Here’s to being a lost cause!
And all the millenials said, “YOLO!”
I’ve been thinking a lot about you lately.
We’re all familiar with the desert season to some extent. We’ve all experienced some form of feeling dry, empty, and lonely. And I’ve noticed we often rebuke the desert season, believing the devil brought it on, and we see it as a curse whereas we feel entitled to walk in blessing. After all, God promised us blessing.
“Surely, this is not from the Lord! Still waters and green pastures! That’s what God leads us into. But not deserts. No, definitely not this
Isn’t this what we often say?!
One night, not too long ago, I was on the phone lamenting to one of my best friends about my particular desert season. And then he said something along these lines, “Danielle, every season – every blessing, struggle, joy, or pain – is an invitation to encounter God’s heart on a deeper level and come closer to Him.”
That really stuck with me and it made me think that maybe – just maybe – desert seasons are actually blessings in disguise. Maybe they are invitations to face-to-face encounters with God. Maybe, in the middle of the desert, we see a facet of God’s nature that we would have otherwise never seen. And this led me to think about the Israelites’ journey as they were led out of Egypt and into the Promised Land…
We all get excited about the part of the story where God delivers them out of Egypt and we all love to hear about how they took the Promised Land. We especially like to rave about how they defeated the giants that inhabited the land. But what about the 40-year long journey in between those two exciting moments in history?
- Could it be that the things they learned about God’s nature – His miraculous provision, His constant presence, His continual faithfulness – instilled in them the correct belief system that enabled them to slay those giants?
- Could it be that, without the process of wandering through the desert and experiencing God in what were often uncomfortable ways, they would have never been able to take the Promised Land because they would not have been equipped and empowered to?
- What if they gained experiential knowledge of who their God was that solidified their faith in the promise He had given them?
If you’d like to dive into these questions, please read on…
Let’s start at the beginning of the story where God gives the Israelites a promise — d
“Therefore tell the Israelites: I am Yahweh, and I will deliver you from the forced labor of the Egyptians and free you from slavery to them. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and great acts of judgment. I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. You will know that I am Yahweh your God, who delivered you from the forced labor of the Egyptians. I will bring you to the land that I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you as a possession. I am Yahweh.” – Exodus 6:6-8 (HCSB)
Sign. Me. Up.
And yet, even with that promise, the Israelites didn’t believe their God “because of their broken spirit and hard labor”. (v. 9) They were discouraged. Hope deferred makes the heart sick. (Prov 13:12) But after God reminds them of who He is by protecting them through the 10 plagues, they were onboard again. So the Exodus begins. And I love this next part:
“They set out from Succoth and camped at Etham on the edge of the wilderness. The Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to lead them on their way during the day and in a pillar of fire to give them light at night, so that they could travel day or night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night never left its place in front of the people.” — Exodus 13:20-22 (HSCB)
With the tangible, physical presence of God in the form of a pillar of cloud & a pillar of fire they set out on their journey. We then read in the next few chapters that God not only parts the Red Sea for them which they then safely cross with Pharaoh pursuing them, but, as icing on the cake, the Red Sea closes up just in time, drowning Pharaoh and his bad boys.
We see in chapter 15 that Miriam decides to sing a song of praise. Good thinking, Miriam. After an event like that, I would, too.
So the Israelites continue their journey, but it takes them only about 3 days before they start grumbling (and we see later that “grumbling” should definitely be on the Israelites’ strengths list).
Yet God, in His kindness, comes through again and turns the bitter water at Marah into drinkable water again. Israelites happy. And God leads them to an oasis with 12 springs of water named “Elim” (which means “grove of oaks” and in all
But, get this. In chapter 16, they’re grumbling again!
“The entire Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by pots of meat and ate all the bread we wanted. Instead, you brought us into this wilderness to make this whole assembly die of hunger!” – Exodus 16:2-3 (HCSB)
Hmmm… Pots of meat and all the bread you wanted? Let’s backtrack real quick and see if that’s what slavery in Egypt really looked like.
“Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and powerful than we are. Let us deal shrewdly with them; otherwise they will multiply further, and if war breaks out, they may join our enemies fight against us, and leave the country.” So the Egyptians assigned taskmasters over the Israelites to oppress them with forced labor. They built Pithom and Rameses as supply cities for Pharaoh. But the more they oppressed them, the more they multiplied and spread so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. They worked the Israelites ruthlessly and made their lives bitter with difficult labor in brick and mortar and in all kinds of fieldwork. They ruthlessly imposed all this work on them.” — Exodus 1:9-14 (HSCB)
That doesn’t sound like an all-you-can-eat Indian buffet with
But then again, how often do we look back and reflect on the “glory days” of the past – remembering seasons that may not have been all that glamorous for being the “time of our lives”? This attitude feeds our growing discontentment for the season we are currently in, blinding us to the miracles God is doing and the goodness He is showering us with.
God, rich in mercy and slow to anger, provides for the Israelites. They never go hungry again because of “manna” – this miracle bread that rained down from Heaven. But the Israelites quickly grew tired of this wonder, too, and wanted meat. (I’m guessing my food blog would not have done very well with them, cause these guys were definitely not pro-vegan). Be careful what you ask for cause God gave them quail and they ate it until it came out of their nostrils (Num 11:20).
And in the chapters to come we see that God protects and provides for
Some of the highlights include God making water flow from a rock after they complain about thirst (Exodus 17), healing and protecting them from deadly snake bites when they look at the bronze snake on the cross (Num 21:9), and their clothes not wearing out even after decades (Deut 29:5). I love the reason God gives for this.
“I led you 40 years in the wilderness; your clothes and the sandals on your feet did not wear out; you did not eat bread or dink wine or beer – so that you might know that I am Yahweh your God.” – Deutoronomy 29:5-6 (HCSB)
“As all the people saw the pillar of cloud remaining at the entrance to the tent, they would stand up, then bow in worship, each one at the door of his tent. The Lord spoke with Moses face to face, just as a man speaks with his friend. The Moses would return to the camp, but his assistant, the young man Joshua son of Nun, would not leave the inside of the tent.” – Exodus 33:10-11 (HCSB)
Yup. There’s that pillar of cloud again.
But besides that, look at Joshua. He was a man captivated with the presence of God. He longed for it so much so that he didn’t want to leave. And I wonder if there’s a direct correlation to that fact and the fact that he was the new leader that led Israel into the Promised Land.
He was the leader of the giant slayers because He knew who his God was. He had seen God provide and protect
And might I just add, that in Luke 4:1 we see that even Jesus – full of the Holy Spirit – was led into the desert. And in verse 14, after being spent, hungry, and having withstood temptation, He came out of the desert in the POWER of the Holy Spirit. Jesus had been equipped in the desert.
So instead of complaining about my circumstances and everything I’m not seeing going my way, I’ve challenged myself to get before the presence of the Lord and ask Him to open my eyes to the things He is doing. I’ve decided to worship Him for who He is – good – and not what He does, even though that, too, is good. I just don’t always recognize it when I’m wandering around in the valley.
Now I don’t do this well 100% of the time. I am most definitely still a work in progress. And in the posts to
And I know the Lord is extending that invitation to you, too.
“Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” – Hebrews 10:23 (HCSB)
How did I live life void of peanut-butter-chocolate-coconut-y goodness before these cookies?! These cookies are a winner that relentlessly beg to be made. and eaten. and then made again. followed by being eaten… again… My mouth is watering as I think about it…
No sugar! No flour! No eggs! No dairy! No bake! But so dang good! And very simple… Can life get any better?
Let me give you a tip here… If you can’t wait for them to firm up in the fridge, the cookie dough is just as good — if not better! Yeah, you’re welcome. 😉
Oh! I got so carried away raving about the sheer deliciousness of this that I almost forgot to mention the nutritional value of these cookies. Coconut has a myriad of health benefits. It supports the immune system and keeps the skin looking healthy and youthful. Cocoa is loaded with antioxidants, and thus supports the heart. It also contains anti-depressant, mood-lifting properties. Need I say more?
Go ahead, indulge…
Today I share with you my low-fat, sugar-free banana ice cream with a delicious, crunchy oat crumble topping! Did you know bananas are a very low-fat food? Less than 4% of their calories come from fat! They also have low glycemic index, meaning that the body absorbs the natural sugars found in the bananas slowly, preventing a sugar rush, yet providing long-lasting energy. Oats, like bananas, are a good source of fiber and help removes cholesterol from the bloodstream. 1/4 cup of oats contains the daily value of manganese, an essential nutrient in bone & skin health. Have I mentioned that this recipe is very simple to make? And it tastes even better when you share it with a loved one!
In this sandwich, eggplant couples beautifully with hummus, lettuce, tomato, and onion to create a scrumptious, satisfying lunch. Eggplant is a good source of dietary fiber and it contains phytonutrients that protect brain cells from damage.
The simplicity of life is beautiful. It’s truly awesome. This quick sorbet recipe contains only 2 ingredients and is whipped up in under 2 minutes. The pure taste of unrefined frozen fruit is delightfully tasteful!
- 1 frozen banana, chopped into bite-sized chunks
- ¼ cup frozen berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries)
- unsweetened shredded dried coconut (optional)
- Place the ingredients in a food processor.
- Process until it forms a smooth, soft serve-like consistency.
- Top with coconut.
- Serve immediately & enjoy thoroughly!
This recipe is so simple yet delightfully delicious! You can make it in under 15 minutes. It’s great as a side or mixed into a salad.
Sweet potatoes contain anti-inflammatory nutrients, lots of fiber, and loads of antioxidants. They contain magnesium, which is important for the body to regenerate itself, especially after vigorous workouts. Did you know that one sweet potato contains about half of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C? Another reason why I like sweet potatoes is that they have a low glycemic index. This means the body slowly absorbs the natural sugars, preventing blood-sugar spikes, resulting in a steady amount of energy.
How will you use this recipe? Please share your ideas in the comment section below!
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, chopped in chunks
- ¼ c. sweet white onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1½ tablespoon coconut oil
- ¼ cup gluten-free flour*
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- coconut oil for cooking
- In a food processor, chop up the sweet potatoes.
- Add the remaining ingredients and process until well mixed.
- Heat up some coconut oil in a skillet
- Place the sweet potato scramble in the skillet and let it cook for 3 - 5 minutes.
- Stir so that the uncooked side now faces the bottom of the skillet. And cook for another 3 - 5 minutes.
- Taste to see whether the sweet potato is cooked.
- Serve & enjoy!
This healthy recipe of sweet potato fried rice is quick, simple, and delicious! It’s perfect as a hearty lunch, side, or filling for a wrap.
Oh, the many benefits of sweet potatoes!
This overnight oats recipe tastes like pumpkin pie. It’s topped with a homemade pumpkin butter that takes less than 2 minutes to make! Pumpkins are very low in calories, and they support the immune system. Pecans are rich in magnesium – a mineral known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. They also contain healthy fats and lots of fiber.
- 1 cup oats
- ¾ cup water
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree
- 1 large, ripe banana
- ½ tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin spice (1/4 t cinnamon, ⅛ t ginger, ⅛ t nutmeg/allspice)
- small dash of salt
- chopped pecans, for topping
- 1 tablespoon chunky, salted almond butter (optional)
- At night, soak the oats in water.
- In the morning, blend the pumpkin puree, banana, maple syrup, pumpkin spice, and salt in a food processor until smooth. This is your pumpkin butter.
- Top the oats with pumpkin butter, almond butter, and chopped pecans.
- Mix well before eating and enjoy every little bite!
Spring is coming up, but on some days winter is still very prominent. This is a perfect salad to savor the winter time, while simultaneously wishing summer would hurry up and get here. Due to the pan-fried apple and grape, it’s the perfect lukewarm temperature. Walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which support the cardiovascular system, and grapes contain an extraordinary amount of antioxidants, which prevent aging. Top it all of with metabolism-boosting cinnamon, and you’ve got yourself a winner!
This simple & quick recipe of mouth-watering overnight oats contains raspberries, which are very high in vitamin C, and tahini — a paste of sesame seeds — which is high in copper, to keep your blood & bones healthy. Tahini has a higher protein content than most nuts, keeping you satisfied for longer. The bitter tahini & tangy raspberries provide an amazing contrast of flavors which goes splendidly well with the sweet banana. I start craving this breakfast just thinking about it!
This low-cal smoothie is an excellent way to use your leftover pumpkin spices for! Pumpkin contains vitamins A for bone and reproduction health, C for immunity, and E for healthy skin & eyes. It’s great as a quick breakfast option or mid-day snack, and it tastes like a dessert!
This is a delicious, healthy snack that will satisfy any sugar cravings with the natural sweetness of fruit!
Bananas, though very sweet, have a low glycemic index, meaning that your body absorbs the sugar gradually, eliminating spikes in your blood sugar. Strawberries are very high in vitamin C which is extremely important for a good immune system. Cinnamon boosts the metabolism by slowing the rate at which the stomach empties after meals. All in all, these ingredients make an excellent combo to give you long-lasting energy and satisfaction.
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 1 whole wheat tortilla (use corn for GF)
- 2 tablespoons crunchy, salted almond butter
- ½ banana, chopped
- 2 - 3 strawberries, chopped
- dash of cinnamon
- Melt 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat.
- Place tortilla in skillet and rotate so that it gets coated in the oil.
- Spread out almond butter over one half of the tortilla.
- Top the almond butter with the banana and strawberries.
- Sprinkle fruit with cinnamon.
- Fold the plain side of the tortilla over the covered side.
- Remove from pan when golden brown and slightly crunchy.
- Cut up in 4 pieces & enjoy!
Today I’m sharing with you my go-to breakfast: overnight oats! I eat this type of breakfast EVERY DAY. It’s so good and super simple. This breakfast contains a lot of fiber due to the oats, which is great to get your digestion system up and running. The banana provides a perfect mix of protein and healthy carbs, to keep you full until lunch time and give you the necessary energy to get going! This breakfast is sweet, but low on the glycemic index scale. Go ahead and try it, and let me know what you think!
Fall is here! This is a perfect dinner for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other festivity. It is absolutely AMAZING. It’s my favorite dish. The texture of the eggplant and chickpeas go so well together, and the sweetness of the dates and apricots blend perfectly with the cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and turmeric. Just thinking about it makes me smile. Eggplants protect the brain by fighting free radicals, and chickpeas help lower risk of colon problems. (According to Norman Walker, it’s all about the colon!)
- For the sauce:
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil*
- 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped (again, if using organic garlic you may want to reduce the amount)
- 2 cm ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon honey or agave syrup
- 400 ml coconut milk
- 750 ml water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 100 g ground almonds
- zest and juice of 1 lime/lemon
- salt to taste
- For the spice mix:
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- For the stew:
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil*
- 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 3 medium eggplants, chopped in square inch pieces
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped (when using organic garlic, reduce to 2 or 3)
- 1 green pepper, diced finely
- 60 ml orange juice
- 100 g cooked chickpeas
- 150 g roasted cashews
- 100 g dried apricots
- 100 g dates, chopped
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 1½ cup tomato ketchup
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- If roasting the cashews, preheat the oven to 350º F. Stir. Place in oven for 3 minutes. Check if done.
- For the coconut-almond sauce: Gently fry the onion in the coconut oil until soft.
- Add the garlic and ginger and fry very gently. (Make sure the onion and garlic don't brown as this will ruin the color of the sauce)
- Add the spices and stir into the onion mixture.
- If roasting the cashews, place in oven for 5 minutes.
- Add the coconut milk, water, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
- Take cashews out of the oven and stir. Place back into oven for 3 minutes.
- Take sauce off heat and remove cinnamon stick.
- Add ground almonds, lime/lemon zest and juice, and a pinch of salt.
- Let cool. (You will be blending this sauce later, but first you must allow the sauce to cool otherwise it will explode the top of the blender off and you will have a coconut-almond sauce painted kitchen.)
- Meanwhile, prepare the stew. Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil (olive oil may be substituted).
- Fry onion until translucent. Add the garlic and spice mix and stir-fry until fragrant. (DO NOT BURN THE GARLIC!) Add the green pepper and orange juice, stir well. Fry until the pepper is soft.
- Transfer the mixture to a large pot and add cooked chickpeas, chopped apricots, chopped dates, diced tomatoes. tomato ketchup, chopped eggplant, lemon juice, coriander (reserve some coriander for the garnish), salt and lots of black pepper. Mix well.
- Cover with lid and, stirring occasionally, simmer for 20 minutes or until eggplant is soft.
- Blend the sauce that you let cool until smooth.
- Serve stew with couscous or rice and the coconut-almond sauce. Top the stew with roasted/toasted cashews and leftover coriander.
* The coconut oil may be substituted by olive oil, but coconut oil is preferred.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and I will be sharing the perfect recipe for it next week that uses this delicious ketchup. Store-bought ketchup contains a ton of sugar, but this ketchup contains absolutely no refined sugar, yet it tastes amazing! It’s perfect on veggie burgers, with sweet potato fries, or for making pasta sauce! Tomatoes are full of vitamin C and antioxidants — great for cardiovascular and bone health. It’s super simple to make. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
- 6 ounces (1½ cup) tomato paste
- ½ cup honey
- ¼ cup ACV
- ¼ water
- 1 t salt
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- dash of clove
- Combine over medium heat.
- Whisk until smooth.
- When boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring often.
- Let cool.
I am thrilled to announce to you that I have been nominated for the Liebster Award by A Journey With Tiffany!
The Liebster Award is an award given to new bloggers to learn about and connect with others. I count it an honor to be recognized as a notable blogger.
As a nominee, one must:
1. Answer the questions given by the nominator and then come up with 10 new questions to ask the bloggers one wants to nominate.
2. Nominate 8 other blogs, let them know one has nominated them, and put a link to their blog in one’s blog post.
3. Refer to the nominator by linking back to their blog in one’s blog post.
No tag backs are allowed and nominees must have under 200 followers on any platform.
Questions I have been asked: (I was asked only 9!)
- What is your all-time favorite meal that you could eat every day without fail?
That’s a tough question because I’m so fond of variety. Hummus, though not exactly a meal, is something I could eat every day without fail. Preferably in outrageously absurd amounts. While traveling through Israel I probably ate about half a pound of hummus per day! (not kidding)
- What is your favorite holiday?
Easter! I get so happy remembering what Jesus did for me. 😀
- Since going vegan, is there a dish that you would love to make vegan?
Greek mousaka. And I have yet to find or come up with the perfect vegan pancakes! My experience with vegan pancakes is that they don’t get fluffy enough :(.
- Why did you decide to become vegan?
I was struggling with teenage acne, and would give veganism a shot to see if it would relieve my skin reactions. Apparently it did! 🙂
- Do you like coffee or tea?
- What do you like to do for fun?
Sing, travel, laugh with friends, read, swim, spend time in nature, prepare food (!!!), rollerblade, play guitar, write (songs and stories), photograph things, hang out with my nephew…
- If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you travel and why?
Morocco is on the top of my list. The culture seems mysterious and intriguing. I am curious to find out what the people and cuisine are like. I think their architecture is gorgeous.
- What do you like to do on rainy days?
Curl up with a book! Rainy days are perfect for studying and reading.
- Do you have a specialty dish? If so, what is it?
My Pumpkin Soup!
This blog contains a plethora of sugar-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free recipes that are definitely worth trying out!
On this blog I have found some real hearty recipes that are especially appreciated during the cold winter time. Check it out!
TONS of delicious recipes with good explanations and cooking method instructions.
I have to admit that I was a bit biased while choosing this blog, considering my love for India, but she sure deserves it!
This lovely Czech lady gives us some unique recipes (Almond Cardamom Waffles?!?) to try.
I am especially impressed with this blog’s layout and recipe index, and her recipes are equally as good.
Should it surprise you that this blog has ties to India as well? This Midwestern chick is married to a desi (Indian) boy and combines her love for vegan cooking with the occasional Bollywood movie review.
Beautiful food photography and a surplus of vegan recipes, you sure won’t get bored quickly here!
10 Questions for the Nominees:
1. Where do you live and what vegan place would you recommend in that area?
2. What food could I wake you up in the middle of the night for?
3. Why did you become vegan?
4. Why did you start blogging?
5. What’s the best vegan meal you’ve ever made? (link, please!)
6. What’s your favorite vegan dessert?
7. What do you eat when having a savory snack attack?
8. What do you eat when having a sweet tooth craving?
9. What do you serve non-vegans when they come over for dinner?
10. Could you please briefly explain how eating vegan has impacted your life?
Oh, and if you have a foolproof vegan pancake recipe, please do share that with me!
You may have noticed a chat box on the right side of your screen when you come to my blog. This is a chat service called Typepath which is being beta tested on several vegan blogs. Typepath lets blog readers from across the globe chat in realtime on my blog with readers from dozens or even hundreds of other vegan blogs. Through Typepath you can get connected with other blog readers that share common interests. Whether you have a question about veganism, are looking for a specific recipe, or need help with the preparation of a vegan meal, you can use Typepath to converse with others online on vegan blogs that are using Typepath.
Leave a comment to let me know what you think about the blogs I nominated and Typepath!
Trust me, by the end of today you’re going to experience a post-candy binge workout craze. In order to help you cope with this, I’d like to share my recipe for protein bars with you that will keep you pumping through those reps!
These protein bars are packed with almonds and walnuts, high in fiber and healthy fats. The dates, coconut, and chia seeds are a great source of energy. Hemp powder/seeds gives this bar an extra protein boost. Protein will not only get you through those intense workouts, but it keeps you full longer and therefore reduces sweet cravings.
- ¼ cup walnuts
- ¼ cup almond meal*
- ¼ cup unsweetened shredded dried coconut
- 2 (Medjool) dates, pitted
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- ½ tablespoon hemp powder/seeds
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon water
- dash of cinnamon
- dash of salt
- Combine all ingredients in food processor.
- Process until it's a sticky consistency when pressed together.
- Form into a bar.
In the midst of being surrounded by candy during this time of the year, I present to you a sugar-free alternative: Cinnamon-Spiced Date Truffles.
These are sweet, yet guilt-free, and absolutely delicious.
- Medjool dates, pitted
- Chunky almond butter (I prefer the roasted and salted kind)
- Shredded coconut (optional)
- In a bowl, mix almond butter with a dash of cinnamon.
- Slice open the date.
- Fill the inside of the date with the cinnamon-spiced almond butter.
- Sprinkle with shredded coconut.
Pumpkin. Spicy. Warm. This comforting soup is exactly what you need for chilly, fall weather. I make big batches to store in the fridge/freezer so I can warm up some soup after I come home from a cold, rainy day. Light some candles. Turn on Christmas lights. Enter jazz music. I’ve got myself a date! Mmm… Perfect. The nice thing about an inanimate date is that it doesn’t talk back to you. And after some days, that’s exactly what you need. Can I get an “amen”?
Besides being the perfect accompaniment for an evening home alone, this pumpkin soup is packed with nutrition. It is very low in calories (hurray!), and contains vitamins A (bone health), E (skin & eyes), C (immune system), and B (energy).
- 1½ cups of cooked pumpkin (canned or fresh)
- 3 cups of vegetable broth
- 1 medium-large carrot, diced
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional; omit if you can't tolerate spicy food)
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Coconut oil*
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large stock pot, sauté onion and garlic in a little oil about 3-4 minutes.
- Add in the carrots and sauté for another 5 minutes or so. Add pumpkin puree, spices, and vegetable broth; stir to mix.
- Cover and simmer on medium heat for about 20-30 minutes, until carrots are completely cooked through.
- Use an immersion blender (or transfer to a regular one AFTER SOUP HAS COOLED DOWN COMPLETELY) and puree the soup. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
If you’re like me, you are savoring every bit of summer you can. Summer is my favorite season. The vivid colors, the warm sunshine, and the delicious produce readily available all adds to the joie de vivre. This Avocado-Raspberry Wrap contains walnuts, mint, and spinach. It’s vivid in color, flavor, and joy! Avocados are great for your skin, hair, and nails, and its soft, creamy texture pairs very well with the crunchy walnuts. Spinach is known to contain protein, as well as iron, which is highly important for women. The tangy raspberries, which promote healthy skin and are high in vitamin C, perfectly compliment the sweet chocolate vinaigrette. This anti-aging, mood-boosting wrap is the perfect lunch to enjoy the last bits of summer with!
Dear friends, Vegan Month of Food is about to end. What a journey it’s been! I want to thank you all for joining me on this adventure. I am so encouraged when you leave a comment, and I am filled with joy when you post a picture that you made one of my recipes.
Because I knew you were reading, it motivated me to come up with new, original, delicious recipes. It opened a door to a flow of creativity, and that is very precious to me. This month, I lived out one of my passions: to bless others through good food. It gave me a true sense of fulfillment and purpose. I woke up each morning excited to experiment in the kitchen, photograph edible pieces of art, and pour out my heart and knowledge into these posts through writing.
Yes, I take blogging most seriously, because I know that you are real and I want to provide you with helpful information that is reliable and unique. You were so worth the hard work and long hours. Please note that starting from next month, I will be posting only once a week so that I can focus on my studies. This post is my 20th recipe, and the Biblical name for this smoothie is “O Taste And See That the Lord is Good” :). It’s time to celebrate (while still keeping it healthy)!
- 1 tablespoon cacao powder
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- ½ cup coconut milk (creamy)
- ½ banana (you can use a frozen banana if you want the consistency to be as thick as a milkshake)
- ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
- ¼ tablespoon maple syrup (optional)
- Blend all ingredients.
- Raise your smoothie glasses, say "cheers", and celebrate!
In China, peaches are a symbol of good luck, protection, and longevity. It is rightfully so because of the many health benefits related to peaches. They are low in fat, but high in antioxidants. Full of vitamin A and C, they are great at promoting healthy skin, and they act as a natural stress-reliever. Combined with spinach, which is high in protein, and the antibacterial properties of cayenne pepper and cinnamon, this Cinnamon-Spiced Peach Salad is the perfect transition of summer to fall.
- 2.5 oz baby spinach
- 1 peach, thinly sliced
- ½ t cinnamon
- dash of cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon red onion, minced
- 1 peach, pureed
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup (optional)
- In a medium bowl, tear the spinach leaves into bite-sized pieces.
- Cut a peach in half, then slice thinly.
- Sprinkle sliced peach with cinnamon and cayenne pepper and mix. Let sit while preparing the rest of the salad.
- Minced red onion and add to spinach.
- Cut up other peach and blend. This is your dressing. If you feel like it lacks sweetness, add some maple syrup.
- Add sliced peach to salad.
- Pour over blended peach.
- Mix well.
- Serve and enjoy!
This recipe is amazing. If you are going to make only 1 smoothie, make this one! I have a new favorite recipe. It’s sweet, it’s different, and it contains carrots.
Yes, carrots. High in antioxidants (beta-carotene), carrots prevents cardiovascular disease. Most interestingly, carrot juice closely resembles the molecules of red blood cells. And as we all know, blood = life.
I call this a “smoothie juice” because the consistency is between the thickness of a smoothie and the fluidity of a juice. If you want to make this smoothie thicker and be budget-friendly, you can use frozen mango instead of fresh.
Note: you will need both a juicer and a blender for this recipe.
- 4 small to medium carrots
- 2 small apples
- 1 medium mango
- 1 - 2 square inches of ginger, or to taste
- Juice the carrots.
- Juice the apples.
- Juice the ginger.*
- Cut up mango and put in blender, then transfer carrot-apple-ginger juice to blender.
I am ecstatic to share this recipe with you today! The flavors flow together like a perfect harmony. Avocados are great for the skin, hair, and nails. They also support the heart, and promote blood sugar regulation. Plums are low in calories but high in nutrition. They aid the digestive system and improve brain memory. The dressing in this recipe uses coconut oil, which is the best oil you can use.
I am from the Netherlands, and in our pea-sized country we have a saying that goes, “Small but nice!” and it’s one of my motto’s when it comes to preparing food. Cut up everything into teeny tiny pieces, and prepare the food with TLC. Such seemingly small actions will make a BIG difference!
- 2 plums (+- 1 cup), chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 2.5 oz baby spring mix
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ½ tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 avocado, chopped into bite-sized pieces and sprinkled with salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons red onion, minced*
- Start by chopping up the avocado into bite-sized pieces and sprinkling it with some salt and pepper to taste. Let it sit while you prepare the rest of the salad so the salt and pepper can really "sink in".
- Tear the leaves of the spring mix into small pieces.
- Make the dressing: Mix together the coconut oil, maple syrup, and lemon juice.
- Gently massage the dressing into the salad leaves. (Remember: TLC!)
- Add the avocado, plums, and red onion to the salad and mix carefully but well.
- Take small bites, savor the flavors, and enjoy to the fullest!
It’s the last week of Vegan Month of Food! I hope you have been enjoying it as much as I have. This smoothie can be made two ways — green or not green. I, however, definitely recommend you make it green! Strawberries are loaded with vitamin C, banana is a good source of fiber, and hazelnuts contain vitamins E (for healthy skin, hair and nails) and B (for metabolism). Almonds contain iron, especially important to women who have not undergone menopause, and spinach is a very good source of plant-based protein. All in all, I think we have a winner!
- 1 banana
- 1 large handful spinach
- 1 T hazelnut-almond butter
- 1 c frozen strawberries
- ½ c water for blending
- Blend all ingredients until smooth.
Instead of frozen strawberries and a normal banana, you can use fresh strawberries and a frozen banana.
Have you ever had a Strawberry Salad with Orange Dressing before? Honestly, I had never even heard of Orange Vinaigrette when I thought of it, but it sounded like a pretty good idea in my head, and boy, it sure didn’t disappoint when I made it.
Strawberries and oranges are powerhouses of vitamin C. Moms, I feel ya! You are always looking for ways to incorporate vitamin C into your kids’ diets. Don’t shy away from feeding them salads! You can add a small container of salad to their lunch box. Start small, and work your way up. Plus, if you often eat salads, your kids will most likely want to follow in your footsteps, too!
This Banana-Orange-Pineapple-Pear Green Smoothie is simply refreshing and loaded with goodness! The bananas are full of fiber and potassium, an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. Oranges also lower high blood pressure, and are a great source of vitamin C. The manganese in pineapples will boost your energy and kick your antioxidant defences into high gear. Pears are not only a good source of vitamin C and K, but also of copper, which is essential for the brains. The skin of pears contains at least three to four times as many nutrients than the flesh, and the skin contains half of the pear’s total dietary fiber, so buy organic and leave the skin on!
Take note: This recipe makes a lot! (about 6 glasses, or enough breakfast for 2 to 3 people) Share it with your loved ones!
This salad is so simple yet SO delicious. The secret to this salad is this: organic ingredients. Because you’ve got nothing fancy going on in this salad, you have to rely wholeheartedly on the quality of the ingredients. That’s where organic produce comes in. Especially if you are a gastronome, you will appreciate the combination taste of the sweet, juicy peaches and slightly bitter spring mix. The softness of the peach compliments the delicateness of the salad leaves, and the orange compliments the green in color. A hint of sweet onion gives this salad a bit of a kick, and the simple olive oil-lemon juice-maple syrup dressing is an excellent accompaniment to this gorgeous salad. Serve it as an appetizer to a gourmet dinner, or whip it up as a quick and light salad for lunch.
I call this a “Banana Confetti Smoothie” because that’s what it reminded me of after I’ve made it. It contains bananas, which support digestive health. The chia seed is full of protein and fiber, which keeps you full (reducing your cravings) and further supports your digestive tract. It also contains goji berries, which are an energy and immunity booster. This simple smoothie doesn’t disappoint!
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 normal banana
- 1 tablespoon chia seed
- 1 tablespoon goji berries
- Blend all ingredients until smooth.
By now you’re probably as hooked on Norman Walker salads as I am. That’s why I’m giving you another one of his delicious, healthy, low-fat recipes! This one is the #22. It contains celery, which is great for the heart, does an outstanding job in providing anti-inflammatory support, and is full of antioxidants. It also contains prunes, which protect the brain from free radical damage. They also are high in soluble fiber which slows down the absorption of sugar into the blood stream, keeping blood sugar levels stable. Let me tell you a quick, funny story about prunes! I particularly like the taste of prune juice. I was once attending a conference and had refilled me bottle of prune juice with water. I got so many joking comments about the “prune juice” and I didn’t know what was so funny! I soon found out that prunes are famous for their laxative properties in relieving constipation. I had no clue! Anyway, my fondness for prune juice has not subsided since, but I did get a different container for my water! 😉 Norman Walker calls for raw, sweet whipped cream, but I use full-fat coconut milk. It tastes delicious and contains no lactose like dairy does. Check back here again tomorrow for a “Confetti Smoothie”. Enjoy!
- ½ small crisp head lettuce, finely chopped
- 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
- ½ C fresh or dried prunes, cut from seeds into small pieces*
- 1 large ripe, juicy apple, finely grated
- ½ cupful full-fat coconut milk, sweetened with maple syrup or honey to taste
- Mix together the celery, lettuce, prunes, and apples.
- Add enough coconut milk (sweetened) to make the right consistency (salad should be moist but not runny).
- Serve on crisp beds of lettuce topped with the balance of the coconut milk and finely cut walnut meats.
This refreshing Watermelon-Pineapple Green Smoothie is perfect for savoring summer -OR- pretending it’s summer!
Watermelon is extremely hydrating (92% of watermelon is water!), very little calories (meaning you can eat as much of it as you want/can!), and contains dietary fiber, which is good for the digestive system. Pineapple contains vitamin C and manganese, an essential cofactor in a number of enzymes important in energy production and antioxidant defenses. Like watermelon, it carries digestion-related benefits and is anti-inflammatory.
Enjoy life, be a blessing, and take small sips while drinking this smoothie. 🙂
- 1 cup watermelon (include the seeds; they are good for you)
- 1 cup pineapple
- pulp & juice of 1 orange
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 normal banana
- large handful spinach
- Put all ingredients in blender.
Another Norman Walker salad! This contains some of the same ingredients as Tuesday’s #1 Salad, but the taste is entirely different, though just as good! Because I covered the health benefits of celery, carrot, and tomato in the salad #1 post, today I will cover the health benefits of red cabbage, avocado, and radishes.
This Coconut Almond Cherry Chocolate Smoothie is NOT green, for a change! Its consistency is thick, creamy, and milkshake-y. I think it’s amazing that sweet treats like these can be so healthy.
Coconut milk promotes healthy skin and may help repair wrinkles and sagging in aging skin. Almonds contain iron, which is especially important for women who have not undergone menopause. Women need more iron at this time because they lose blood each month during their period. Iron is of vital importance to the body, as it is responsible for cell growth, especially the formation of red blood cells, which transport oxygen throughout your body. An iron deficiency may result in a lack of energy.
Another dressing-less salad! Before I get into the recipe, I want to give you some background information. This recipe is from the book “The Vegetarian Guide to Diet and Salad” by Dr. Norman Walker. He has been researching man’s ability to live a longer, healthier life since 1910 for over 70 years. He is globally recognized as one of the most authoritative students of life, health, and nutrition. In his book, “The Vegetarian Guide to Diet and Salad” he includes over 70 healthy recipes. Though they are not all vegan, there are some really good recipes in there, and it includes an informative mini-encyclopedia on the most common fruits and vegetables. Definitely a recommendation.
This salad is his “number 1” salad. Now, that doesn’t mean this is his self-proclaimed best salad in the world. Instead of giving his salads creative names, it seems that Dr. Walker was a very linear-thinking man as his recipes are numbered “No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, etc…” and contain no titles. His writing, however, is quite often sarcastically funny. I was a little doubtful of making this salad because there was neither a dressing to go with it nor a picture to convince me I should make it. After eating this good-for-the-heart salad, however, I must truthfully say that I am hooked!
One of my friends recently told me she was looking forward to a recipe that was kind of “out of the ordinary”. In my post on the Dressing-less Mango-Avocado Salad I promised to give you a recipe that would surprise you. Therefore, today I present to you the Superfood Detox Green Smoothie. This thing is LOADED with superfoods! It tastes like cinnamon-spiced applesauce, and is perfect for a chilly, fall morning.
Jennifer Cornbleet’s Mango-Avocado Salad from her book “Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People” has become one of my mom’s specialties. One day I made this classic and forgot to add the dressing. When I tasted it, however, I realized this salad was amazing without any dressing at all! I became ecstatic. I discovered a low-cal salad that tasted delicious! No oil. No added sweetener. The juiciness of the mango and creaminess of the avocado add the moisture and silkiness to make up for a lack of dressing. Not to mention the wonderful heath benefits of mangoes and avocados. They are both good sources of vitamin E, which promotes beautiful skin, healthy hair, and strong nails. It may surprise you that a food high in fat would be helpful for weight loss, but avocado does just that. Mangoes and avocados alkalize the entire body, giving cancer no chance at all. Take my word for it. Try it. It’s so good! Continued
This Piña Colada Green Smoothie will send your taste buds to the tropics! Pineapple is both high in vitamin C and manganese, essential for energy production and antioxidant defenses. Coconut milk works wonders for the hair and skin as the fatty acids act as a moisturizer and prevent infections like acne. Start off your day great with this tropical green smoothie!
I am very excited about this post, because today I share one of my favorite recipes with you! Did you know that strawberries, not oranges, are the best fruit source for vitamin C? They are literally loaded with it. Also, strawberries are amazing for the cardiovascular system. Spinach is an excellent source of iron, essential for blood health. It also is a great source of plant-based protein, which makes this salad satisfying, simple, and refreshing. It will also be a hit on any summer party or potluck. Be sure to make enough of this because most likely everyone will love it.
Vegan Month of Food 2014 Day #2. Today I present to you: the Banana Orange Pineapple Green Smoothie! Loaded with vitamin C from the orange and pineapple, and protein from the banana and spinach, this spinach is easy to digest yet satisfying. The other day, when one of my friends saw the list of ingredients of this smoothie, he was a little thrown off by the spinach. Spinach in a smoothie?!
In case you’re not already acquainted, let me introduce you to my breakfast buddy The Green Smoothie. It’s basically a smoothie with any added leafy, green vegetable, such as spinach or kale. So why go green? I’m glad you asked.
Happy Labor Day! This festive occasion deserves to be celebrated with this delicious Arugula-Pear Salad with Dark Chocolate Vinaigrette. Salads are a great choice, especially during the summer. Did you know pears are a good source of vitamin C, a crucial element for keeping your immune system strong? They also contain copper, which is essential for brain and blood health. In case you were a little hesitant about the arugula, please don’t let it scare you off! Only 30% of the greens used in this recipe are arugula. It’s pungent flavor is balanced out by lollo rosso and Swiss chard (have I mentioned that Swiss chard is loaded with vitamin K, vital for strong and healthy bones?). Besides their health benefits, they provide a nice pop of red as an added bonus.
Sigh… red. The color of love! I’ll be very honest with you, I had my own little love affair with this delicious salad the other day. It is very romantic, indeed. Who says we have to wait until Valentine’s Day before we start smothering practically everything under the sun — including salads — in chocolate? I sure don’t.
So what are you waiting for? Combined with the mood-boosting, antioxidant properties of raw cacao and amazing health benefits of coconut oil, this low-cal salad will help you get your daily greens in easily. AND it lets you indulge in chocolate-y goodness absolutely guilt-free. Mmm… That sounds like music in my ears, and yummy in my tummy!