Archives for November 2016

Caramel Pumpkin Butter Cups

These delicious little creations take a little bit of skill, but I know you can do it! They are a healthy alternative to buying candy, which would be loaded with refined white sugar and gross additives. The ingredients are simple and taste AMAZING. I gave one to my dad, a sweet connoisseur and he simply said, “Wow. That’s incredible.” Win! The holidays are right around the corner, so why not create and eat something you know will be BETTER for you in the long run. No refined sugar in these babies.


This was after freezing overnight. Highly recommended.

Homemade Vegan Chocolate (or you can melt down 24 oz. of your favorite chocolate bars or chips)
1 c. maple syrup
1 c. culinary coconut milk
1/2 c. coconut oil
1 c. raw cacao powder

Almond Butter Filling
3/4-1 c. almond butter

Pumpkin Spiced Caramel Filling
1 1/2 c. pitted dates, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes and drained
1-2 TBSP culinary coconut milk
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. maca powder (optional)

Yields 24 caramel pumpkin butter cups. No baking required, just freezing!

You will also need:
3 – quart-sized zipper, plastic baggies; 2 – muffin trays; 24 paper muffin liners; scissors; blender


  1. Combine the first three ingredients for the vegan chocolate in your blender, and blend on low to combine. With the lid off, add the cocoa powder slowly. Continue to blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Pour the chocolate into a quart-sized plastic baggie, zip shut and set inside a bowl to help keep it upright. Set aside.
  3. Scoop almond butter into a quart-sized plastic baggie, zip shut and set aside.
  4. For the pumpkin spiced caramel filling: place soaked dates and milk in your blender, and blend on low to start incorporating. Add spices and maca powder (if using). Puree the dates until they are a smooth, creamy paste free of any lumps or skins.
  5. Scoop date/caramel filling in the last remaining quart-sized plastic baggie, zip shut and set aside.


  1. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. Carefully cut a small corner off the baggie containing the chocolate (about a 1/4″), on the non-zipper end. You want to create an easy pour spout to fill each of the 24 cups, ~1/4″ full of chocolate. The chocolate will be very runny, so be sure to move quick and tilt the baggie up in the air after each cup is filled, to not waste any.
  3. Next, cut a small corner off the baggie containing the almond butter (see below). Put about 1-2 tsp. of almond butter in the center of each muffin tin.
  4. Place trays in freezer to set up a bit, about 10-20 minutes…


5. Now, cut a hole in the corner of the baggie filled with the date/caramel filling. Pipe the filling around the almond butter, and fill up the center too.


6. Use a spoon or your finger (I used my finger, cause it was easier) to flatten the caramel filling, gently into the chocolate and almond base.


7. Top with remaining chocolate to cover the filling. Use less than you used on the bottom layer. You can tap the trays on the counter to help smooth out the chocolate and release any bubbles.

8. Sprinkle the top with a tiny bit of Real salt. You can also top with chopped almonds or add a goji berry for some added color. Have fun with it!

9. Place in freezer for a minimum of 3 hours to harden before serving; but overnight is best. Serve immediately after removing from freezer, especially if you made your own chocolate! 🙂 These will not work in the Summer months! haha

I cut my paper cups down so they looked a little nicer for the photo. Which I would do if I were bringing these to a party or potluck. But just to eat at home, we will eat them straight from the freezer!


This was after only 3 hours in the freezer.

I think these would be delicious without the pumpkin pie spice too! For a Christmas version you could add peppermint extract and omit the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and maca. I bet that would be amazing!

What do you think you would try; pumpkin pie spice or peppermint? Any other ideas?

Also, in case you missed it on Instagram or Facebook, let me know if you are interested in the below focus group I’m throwing together. Should be fun!

focus_groupI JUST GOT A “CRAZY” IDEA 💡Would anyone be willing to be part of a food comparison focus group? I’m thinking it would be something like: eat a meal out and then eat a version of that same meal at home, that you prepare yourself; then answer questions about each experience. What do you think?! I would use this “super official data” in a blog post. You all know I’m super big on home cooked meals, and I thought this could be a fun way to see what others notice, in addition to what I already know and notice myself. If you want more info, please comment below! 😊👍🏼 Thanks!!

Adult Mac and Cheeze

Yep, you read that title correct! If you are like me, you loooooooved mac n’ cheese as a kid. I couldn’t get enough of that stuff. I also looooooved eating that bright yellow goodness with a hot dog. YEP. I haven’t been plant-based my whole life folks.


So when we stumbled on a vegan mac n’ cheeze recipe for kids about a year ago, we modified it (a lot) to make it more substantial, and adult-like. We added onion, green peas, broccoli and yes, even vegan sausage. This recipe isn’t as quick as throwing a box of noodles in boiling water and then plopping in butter, milk and a neon cheese packet — but it is SO much better for you and it’s still a filling comfort food. Who doesn’t need a little of that from time to time, right?

1 c. cooked butternut squash
1/2 c. raw macadamia nuts*
2 TBSP. nutritional yeast
1 c. water
squeeze of lemon juice
few dashes of Real salt, maybe some ground black pepper too
6 c. dry macaroni noodles (or other similar noodle on hand)
10 oz. package of frozen, organic broccoli
1 c. frozen, organic peas
1 small to medium brown onion, chopped
1 Field Roast vegan Italian sausage, chopped
9″x12″ baking dish

Preheat oven to 375°F

  1. Peel, cut in half, scrape out the seeds and chop the butternut squash; or if you are lucky you can find it this way in the grocery store. Place the chopped pieces on a baking sheet, with a little water and bake at 375°F for 20 minutes, or until fork tender.
  2. In a blender, add the mac nuts, nutritional yeast, water, lemon juice and salt. Set aside while you wait for the butternut squash to cook.
  3. In a large stock pot, add water and 6 c. of noodles. (Follow package instructions for exact preparation.) We use gluten-free noodles typically; this time around I used garbanzo bean fusilli!
  4. In a steamer basket, place broccoli, peas and chopped onion. Place steamer basket over your pot of water and place lid on and steam until the onions start to become transparent and the greens are BRIGHT green.
  5. Cut up the vegan sausage link and set aside.
  6. By now the butternut squash is probably done, so you can add it to the blender, which contains the other cheeze sauce ingredients. Blend on low for about 10 seconds, then crank it up to high and process until you get a thick and creamy, cheezy sauce. Be sure to taste test it at this point and see if you want to add any more salt or other seasonings. Make it yours!
  7. Once the noodles are done, drain and place in the 9″x12″ baking dish.
  8. Add the steamed veggies, cheeze sauce and noodles as well.
  9. Stir well in the baking dish to combine.
  10. Cover with foil and bake for 10-15 minutes at 350°F. Serve immediately.

This dish will serve 6-8 as a side dish, or you can just do what we do and save it for leftovers for a couple days.

Below is a slideshow with more preparation instructions.

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(* is a GREAT place to get mac nuts FRESH and avoid the rancid grocery store variety. Fresh mac nuts are life changing. You can also use cashews if you like those too.)

Did you enjoy mac and cheese as a kid, or am I alone in this?