New Summer Faves

We’ve added a few new summer favorites to our repertoire that I hope you enjoy as much as we have.

The first I developed as muffins but as soon as you add icing, they turn into cupcakes- and geez does the icing really make these fantastic.  I wanted to call them muffcakes or cupfins but the hubby thought that was too much.  So they’re filed under Banana Cupcakes and as a bonus, they’re gluten free.  The oat flour does make them more dense than whole wheat pastry flour would, but I think it’s worth it (and honestly don’t have the patience in developing or using GF flour mixes that require multiple ingredients).  Recipes are pasted further below.

Another recipe that we’ve been wanting to veganize and enjoy corn-free for ages is “Dorito” Salad.  The kids and hubby feel like they’re getting away with something eating chips for dinner but it’s one of the few ways I can get away with everyone enjoying salad for dinner.  (I swear, we are the least salad-eating vegans ever.)

In trying to develop new recipes that are filling but don’t heat up the kitchen, I turned a traditional summer appetizer into an entree, Bruschetta Salad.  This has been my favorite way to enjoy home grown and farmers market tomatoes this summer.

The summer has brought lots of outdoor fun, from a triathlon to lots of pool time and playing outside.  Especially because of the extreme heat this year and the kids’ preference to play instead of hydrating, the hubby tried a few different coconut water drinks until we landed on one that everyone loves.  It’s filed under Snacks as Coconut Water Hydration Drink and is pasted further below.

Another success of the summer was Strawberry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.  Very easy to make, which is great since it disappears so quickly!!

Banana Cupcakes

Makes 12


1/4 c unsweetened non-dairy milk + 1 t apple cider vinegar

1/3 c coconut oil

1/2 c sucanat (natural cane sugar)

3 ripe bananas

1 t vanilla extract

1.5 c oat flour (blend 1.75 c oats into flour)

1 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1/4 t nutmeg

1/4 t salt


6 oz non-dairy chocolate chips, like Ghirardelli semi sweet

Preheat oven to 350’F and insert parchment liners into muffin pan.  Once the apple cider vinegar has curdled the milk, combine all ingredients in a blender or mixer and process until combined. Pour mix into cupcake cups and bake for 18 to 20 minutes.  Once the cupcakes are done, pour the chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl (or double boiler) and heat in 30 second increments then stir until melted.  Drizzle icing over cupcakes.  Refrigerate leftovers.

“Dorito” Salad

Our new favorite brand of chips is Beanitos, so we’ve been able to bring back a favorite summer recipe from many years ago that we’ve been unable to enjoy since going vegan and corn-free (due to an allergy).  Use organic tortilla chips if you don’t need to avoid corn.

Serves 4

2 heads Romaine lettuce, sliced into thin strips

2 c kidney beans

2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced

2 avocados, pitted and diced


Optional: salsa, Hampton Creek Just Ranch dressing, Beyond Meat beef crumbles, diced onion, Daiya cheese

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss to mix.  Add the chips into the salad (if you’re not planning to have leftovers) or plate the chips and serve the salad on top- either way it’s delicious!!


Bruschetta Salad

8-10 roma or 4 large tomatoes, seeded and diced

1.5 c or 1 can white beans, rinsed

~15 leaves or 1/4 c fresh basil, chopped

3 cloves garlic minced or 1 T minced garlic

2 T aged (high quality) balsamic vinegar

1/4 t sea salt

1/8 t pepper

Optional: 1 small Vidalia onion, finely diced

Mix all ingredients in a covered bowl and let marinate in the refrigerator at least 2h before serving.  To avoid discoloration of the beans, add the beans just before serving.  Serve over shredded lettuce or with toasted slices of whole wheat French bread.


Coconut Water Hydration Drink

1 L coconut water, like Zico

6 dates

2 clementines, peeled

1/4 c crushed pineapple

1 T fresh lemon juice

1 T fresh lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a high powered blender and process until smooth.  Refrigerate.  Serve over ice.


Strawberry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

For the ice cream base:

2 cans full fat coconut milk

4 T maple syrup

3/4 c sliced strawberries

Add ins:

1 c diced strawberries

1/2 c chopped non-dairy chocolate chips (like Ghirardelli semi sweet)

If using an ice cream maker, place it in the freezer the night before.  Add all ice cream base ingredients to a blender and mix quickly – you don’t want to puree the berries.  Turn the ice cream maker on, and add the ice cream.  Allow the machine to make the ice cream (mine takes 15 to 20 min).  Once the ice cream has reached the desired consistency, turn the machine off and transfer the ice cream to a freezer storage container.  Stir in the remaining strawberries and chocolate chips.  Freeze for 1h or more.  If the ice cream is in the freezer for more than a couple of hours, remove it from the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes before you try to scoop it.  The lower fat and sugar content make it freeze harder.

If not using an ice cream maker, add all ice cream base ingredients to a blender and mix quickly – you don’t want to puree the berries.  Mix in the additional berries and chocolate chips and transfer to a freezer storage container.  Freeze for at least 3 hours and remove the ice cream from the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes before you try to scoop it.  The lower fat and sugar content make it freeze harder.

Notes:  The ice cream has a strong coconut flavor right out of the ice cream maker, however my family barely noticed the coconut flavor after the ice cream had been frozen.  Also, the strawberries and chocolate stirred in at the end make the ice cream quite chunky.  You may want to blend all the strawberries at the beginning and omit the chocolate chips for a more traditional ice cream.


Go Vegan for Earth Day

Earth day is coming soon (April 22nd) and what better way to appreciate the Earth than to go Earth-Day-2016-Quiz-3-465x465vegan for the day?!?  By changing your diet, you have the power to reduce global warming, deforestation, poverty and hunger, and the use of natural resources.  Check out this post for more info on how veganism makes such a big impact on the Earth.

Check out these meal and snack options and pick a few to try.  It won’t be as hard as you think.  Enjoy the day knowing that YOU are making a difference!!

Breakfast:  savory oatmealovernight oatmeal, or banana nut butter wrap

Savory oatmeal can be made in the microwave if you don’t want to dirty a pot- just nuke it for 1 minute.  Overnight oatmeal is eaten in the same container it is made and takes about 2 minutes to make.  The banana nut butter wrap is even faster, depending on your ability to peel a banana and spread peanut butter.

Lunch: three bean salad, black bean mango salsa, or black eyed pea salad

Each of these needs to be made the night before to allow the flavor to develop, which is perfect to ensure you have a healthy lunch to take to work without being rushed in the morning.  Add a piece of fruit and serve over lettuce or rice.  If you’re knocking it out of the park, make oven baked tortilla chips.

Snacks:  apple and nut butter, veggies and hummus, or roasted chickpeas

Dinner:  rice bowls or lentil chard sweet potato curry

Rice bowls are easy, however the curry is a one pot dish, a great intro to curry (not spicy at all), and makes plenty for leftovers.

Dessert:  strawberries and store bought or homemade coconut whipped cream

Load up on organic strawberries while they’re in season and enjoy this deliciously simple treat!!  Strawberries are listed as #1 on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list this year, so buy organic strawberries whenever you can.


Photo credit:

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