Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino

Today I experimented. Lately I’ve been a little bit into coffee (don’t worry, I’m sure it’s just a phase and I will grow out of it). Anyway, The coffee shops are kind of spendy and don’t always have ingredients I’m thrilled about and did I mention spendy? Plus it’s getting cooler outside and we are all craving pumpkin spice everything. I hope it’s not just me anyway. Unfortunately, the pumpkin spice syrup at everyone’s favorite coffee shop is not vegan, nevermind whole food. So now what?

The other day I ran across this recipe for a basic frapp. I tried it with cacao brew and soy milk. It was pretty decent and I could see the potential. Today I decided to try to come up with a semi-whole foods, Kind Veggie approved Pumpkin Spice version. Here is my recipe below. Recipes are just starting points. Feel free to experiment and get it to your own personal liking.

Kind Veggie's Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino


Kind Veggie’s Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino with Soy, No Whip

1 C room temp coffee
3/4 C nondairy milk (I used soy)
2 C ice cups (or 8 standard cubes)
2 Medjool Dates
pinch of xantham gum (optional)
1/4 C pumpkin puree
1/4-1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
1 tsp vanilla extract

Put in high speed blender and whir away until creamy. Serve in your favorite frapp cup or pretty glass with straw.

This makes somewhere between a Grande and a Venti, depending on how much ice you may or may not add. If you don’t feel great about xantham gum, you don’t need to add it. It just makes it a bit thicker and creamier and keeps it from separating. My experiment today cost about $1.00 to make and made almost 32 oz which is almost a Grande (16oz) for you and a friend! I did go a bit heavy on the ice though, if you follow the recipe, it will make closer to 20-24oz.

After today’s success, I have so many ideas to experiment with… hot drinks for one. It’s cold outside! Stay tuned…

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Plant Powered Families Giveaway Winner

You parents totally amaze me. As I read your comments for the giveaway, I realized I have no real appreciation for what it’s like to get a picky kid to eat. Some of you are making the plant based switch after the kids have developed a taste for certain foods and decided they don’t like anything green. Please accept my humblest admiration in your efforts. I wish all of you could win this book to help support your efforts to get good food into your families’ tummies.

This has been such fun few weeks sharing pictures of some of the recipes with you. Many of you didn’t even enter the giveaway because I shared so many pictures in my Facebook group, you couldn’t stand it anymore and just ordered the book. I sincerely hope all of you are enjoying the book as much as I am. I’ve already found several recipes that I am confident will show up in my kitchen again. (I’ve already made the Red Lentil Hummus 3 times and have the lentils cooked again for a 4th!)

So without further ado, our giveaway winner this time around is Sandi! I will email her shortly to get her mailing address to pass along to the publisher. Thank you to all who entered. If you didn’t win a copy, I do encourage you to buy the book as it’s a great one. You can buy it on Amazon here. *Note: this is an affiliate link. The price is the same for you, but I get a small commission.

Congratulations, Sandi!


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Red Lentil Hummus (Book Review & Giveaway!)

*Giveaway now closed*

May has been such a fun month so far, trying new recipes from Dreena Burton’s new book “Plant Powered Families”. I don’t have kids, but I still think this book is awesome and I wish it was around when I was a teen, desperately trying to figure out what I could eat and still feel “normal”.


This awesome book features all sorts of family friendly meals sans the onion and hold the garlic. I also appreciated Dreena’s down to earth advice on how to help kids (“weegans” as she calls them… how cute is that??) through social situations where the family’s dietary choices may come into question and also the reality that they might at some point, accidentally have a bite of cheese at a party. Introducing new foods can be a challenge too, but Dreena also addresses that along with picky eaters. This book is just so full of helpful information, the recipes might just be a really really awesome bonus. Another thing I love about this book is that there is a photo to go with almost every recipe. How many cookbooks have we gotton and wished it had more pictures? I love this feature, no doubt kids who enjoy helping plan meals will love this feature too.

Here are a few of my own pictures of recipes I’ve enjoyed already from Plant Powered Families:


I love breakfast, any time of day. The breakfast recipes generally have variations and as you can see… I like chocolate.




Made the polenta croutons for this salad too. Man oh man are they good!

Sometimes you just crave a burger… and this one was so yummy!


This was so delicious and I finally got the tofu to turn out like at the restaurant.


There’s sweet potato in both the cake and the frosting! Score! So amazing.SweetPotatoCakeandFrosting

And now the recipe I get to share with all of you. It was really hard to choose a recipe because I really loved everything I’ve made, but this one hit a special spot with me. I love hummus, but I’ve never been able to get it to be the right texture and smooth and creamy as in the store. Homemade tastes really yummy, but it’s always way thicker than I would prefer and I can never seem to get it thin enough. This hummus… perfect. Because Lentils thicken up the next day, this was just thin enough the first day to be used as a very thick salad dressing. This is so good, you could eat it with a spoon, but it’s still really delicious with veggies. I’m all for anything that gets me to eat more broccoli… I did try some of Dreena’s suggestions, such as adding cumin and I did use smoked paprika instead of regular (and a bit more than she called for). I’m a bit obsessed with smoked paprika these days… Anyway, this hummus, super amazing and I love that because lentils cook fast, and don’t require the same kind of forethought as chickpeas (soaking and such), you can go from wanting hummus to having completely freshly made hummus with freshly made lentils in about an hour. I haven’t tried all the recipes in the book and I’m sure I will love them all, but I am confident that this recipe will continue to be one of my favorites. Enjoy!


Red Lentil Hummus

Makes about 3 cups

I’ve been known to use kidney beans, white beans, and black beans in hummus, and this recipe gets even more experimental with the incorporation of red lentils. They have a very mellow flavor, and this dip, while unassuming at first, becomes quite irresistible after a bite or two!

1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed (see note)
2 cups water
1–2 medium-large cloves garlic (see note)
3½ –4 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2–1 teaspoon lemon zest (see note)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Place lentils and water in a large saucepan. Bring toa boil, then reduce heat to very low. Cover and let cook until all the water is absorbed and the lentils are fully softened, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 1/2 hour or longer. In a food processor, add the cooked lentils, garlic, tahini, sea salt, coriander, lemon zest, paprika, vinegar, and lemon juice. Puree until smooth. Add more garlic or salt to taste. This mixture is much looser than a traditional hummus. When refrigerated, it thickens considerably. So, you can enjoy it a little thinner, or wait until it is chilled. Serve with whole grain pitas or tortillas.
Lentils Note
You can make the lentils a day or two in advance, and then refrigerate until ready to use. They will already be chilled for this dip, and therefore the puree will be thicker.
Garlic Note
Adjust garlic to taste. I use one clove when serving for the family, but you can use more for adults.
Lemon Zest Note
While zest may seem like an unusual addition here, it truly adds some lovely flavor.
Try adding 1/2 teaspoon of cumin to this puree for extra spice. You can bump up the garlic quotient for adults, and also try adding a punch of heat with hot sauce. If you want to add fresh herbs like cilantro, basil, or parsley, wait until the dip is cooled and then puree through.

Kitchen Tip
You can always make a double batch if you think you’d like to store portions of this dip in the freezer!

I hope you have enjoyed my review and I’m so excited to announce that Dreena’s Publisher has allowed me to host a giveaway for Plant Powered Families! To enter just comment on this post and share your favorite recipe by Dreena (she has several books out already and a fantastic blog at plantpoweredkitchen.com) Winner will be chosen at random Monday, May 25th. Please note this giveaway is only available to residents in the US and Canada.

Dreena Burton

Dreena Burton

Posted in Book Review, Recipes | 46 Comments

Kind Veggie’s Friendly Fitness

Kind Veggie's Friendly Fitness BannerYou know how sometimes you may go to the gym and look at all the equipment and feel totally lost? It seems like everyone knows what they are doing and has a plan, except for you. At least that’s who I feel. The other day I went to the little gym at my apartment complex and saw someone confidently running on the treadmill. Even with just that, I felt overwhelmed and not qualified to be there. I hadn’t actually planned to stay, but wanted to see what was in there, and maybe work up the courage to go back… someday. It is my belief that moving our bodies and having a level of fitness is just as important as what we put in our bodies. For me though, and perhaps some of you, that has proved to be a bit harder. Eating yummy plant based food is easy. Exercise? Maybe tomorrow…

This is one of the reasons I’ve decided to start a fitness group on Facebook. Even fitness groups on Facebook give me the same feeling that going to the gym does… “everyone knows what they are doing, and has a plan, except me”. Don’t get me wrong… there are actually some great groups on Facebook. I’ve been part of one for awhile now. They are so encouraging no matter what I do. I’m doing small workouts and they are doing HIIT workouts and more. They are still wonderful cheerleaders even for my small accomplishments, and there’s no judgement if I disappear for awhile. Still, it feels like there is a lack of direction for the fitness newbies in all of the groups I’ve tried on for size.

May 1, 2015 marks opening day for Kind Veggie’s Friendly Fitness. We will feature simple weekly goals, for those who feel like they need and or want it, as well as websites resources, links to online videos, suggestions for workouts that can be done at home and much more. No pressure and no judgement. You can do as much or as little as you choose. We welcome all fitness levels. Because Kind Veggie is a plant based resource,  we do ask that any workout food discussions be kept to plant based foods.

We won’t be taking a one size fits all approach to fitness. Some people truly enjoy going to a gym, while others prefer to work out at home. Some prefer to garden, or park further away from the grocery store. We are all at different places. It should be noted that we are not professionals (most of us anyway), just a group of people trying to find our way. Please do not use the group for medical advice, but consult your doctor instead.

Come as you are and start where you are at. We can all make progress together.


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Recipes of the Week – March

March was quite a humbling month in my cooking universe. I learned that I have a lot to learn about cooking still and that Richa Hingle of veganricha.com really knows her stuff. If you want a crazy good plant cheese recipe, extra special potatoes for Sunday breakfast or a really flavorful meal for any day of the week, check out veganricha.com. I loved the flavor of all the recipes that we featured in the month of March, though I learned I may need to work on my technique. Richa hung out with us and kindly gave us a few pointers when needed. I was enjoying her recipes so much, I even made a couple extra such as her Pepita Parmesan. It’s the best plant parm I’ve made yet. As a note, I used all pepitas instead of bread crumbs. And speaking of bread, Richa has several recipes featuring gluten free bread recipes for those needing the gluten free option. If you like flavorful food, this site could likely keep you overflowing in yummy recipes for a good long time.


The first recipe we featured was Cauliflower Chedder Slices. It’s been awhile since I’ve had chedder, but I thought the flavor was spot on. I didn’t have the agar powder the recipe called for so I used agar flakes and found the slices took about 24 hours to firm up enough to be slices. In the future, I will leave out the agar entirely for a really delicious cheese sauce for veggies like broccoli, or invest in the agar powder to make the slices. I would definitely recommend this recipe to anyone trying to find dairy cheese alternatives. I was not able to get a decent picture of this, but Richa has great ones at her site if you follow the link provided.

Next we made Chickpea Chorizo Quinoa Shells. This was so easy and good, I made it twice. The first time I used chickpeas as the recipe called for and the second time I used cannelinni (white kidney) beans. This was spicy but felt like a real comfort food. The second time around, I topped it with the Pepita Parmesan mentioned above.


For the 3rd recipe, we made Crunchy Spicy Potatoes. Word of caution: these were truly spicy. I cut the cayenne down quite a bit and still found them really spicy. If you can’t handle a lot of heat, use the cayanne sparingly. They were otherwise very delicious and one I would like to make again. They were definitely not your plain old potatoes and were really yummy with scrambled tofu. They would be awesome in a breakfast burrito or wrap too!

Next we made Potato Quinoa Patties. Mine didn’t crisp up as much as I would have liked, but the flavor was yummy with the recommended Chana Masala (chickpea curry). I thought these patties would have been great as a breakfast side too, but to me, potatoes mean breakfast. But then again, I love breakfast any time of day, so you can interpret that however you like.
For week 5, we had “Choose Your Own Adventure Week” featuring Indian Desserts. I’m not overly familiar with Indian food, but a couple of the recipes in this category really intrigued me. It was a hard decision, but I went with Amaranth Coconut Fudge. Mine turned out a bit more candy like and less fudge like, but it was really good. There was an option to coat the fudge/candy in chocolate which sounded excellent, but I left mine without. Really easy and yummy. I had some amaranth grain in the fridge, so I just tossed it in the Vitamix to make flour. Ideally, one would use a dry container for this, but all I have is a wet container and because the amaranth grain is small and not particularly hard, it worked well.
In addition to the featured recipes, I also made Richa’s Carrot Cake Pancakes for a delicious Sunday breakfast treat as well as Cauliflower Crust Pizza with Cucumber and Yogurt Raita. The Raita made this recipe amazing. I found that So Delicious now makes an Unsweetened Plain Coconut Yogurt that worked really well in both of these recipes.

All in all, I was very impressed with the selection of recipes from veganricha.com. I will be going back again and again for the cheese recipes, of which I have now tried and loved several, as well as the other delicious treats to be found there. The recipes were a bit different in terms of flavors and cooking techniques from what I am accustomed, but I really loved them and highly recommend this website to anyone who is interested in flavorful plant based fare.

If you love Richa’s recipes as much as so many of us do, check out her new cookbook set to be released May 19, 2015 called Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen – Traditional and Creative Recipes for the Home Cook. It is available in paperback as well as for Kindle.

For April, we are featuring recipes from ohsheglows.com. If you haven’t joined us already, please do so! We would love to have you.

Join us at: Kind Veggie’s Whole Food Plant Based Cooking Tips

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No Poo – How to wash your hair without shampoo

It’s been just over 2 years that I haven’t used shampoo and conditioner to wash my hair. Crazy right? I had read about it a couple of times and thought it was really weird and my hair couldn’t possibly get clean and it would never in a million years help with the frizz. Wrong. It worked great, and I was stunned. What am I talking about?


Baking soda and vinegar. It’s a miracle worker. Not only does it great job of cleaning my home, now it does a great job of cleaning my hair. I’ve been using it for just over a couple years now. It all started because I was broke. We ran out of money, then I ran out of shampoo and payday was 4 days away. I’m a girl who needs to wash her hair every day and I didn’t know what to do. We literally didn’t have a dollar to our name. I remembered reading about baking soda and vinegar and went to google to find out the details. I was very skeptical, but also in desperate desire for clean hair. It worked well. When we got paid, and I could get shampoo, I was hooked on the baking soda and vinegar routine. My hair was shiny, the frizz was gone and the natural wave in my hair turned to more of a curl. For the first time in my life, I was happy with my hair.

How does it work? It’s pretty simple. To start with, take one tablespoon of aluminum free baking soda (Bob’s Red Mill Baking Soda is aluminum free) and mix it with about a cup of warm/hot water. I have a small glass bottle about 10oz that works well for this. I put the baking soda in, almost fill completely with hot water and shake it up until the baking soda dissolves.

In a similar bottle or container, mix one tablespoon vinegar (most people use apple cider vinegar, but you can experiment to see what works best for you) with about 8oz warm/hot water.

To wash your hair, poor the baking soda water over your head, focusing on your scalp. Scrub your scalp well with this mixture. It may take some practice and getting used to, but you don’t need to focus so much on your hair for this step. This step is about cleaning the scalp. I do try to scrub my hair a bit too, but really focus on the scalp. After you are done scrubbing, rinse well. Then poor the vinegar water over your head, this time focusing on your hair. I use my fingers to help work the vinegar water though my hair. Don’t worry about your scalp for this step. I actually try to keep the vinegar water focused on my hair and not on my scalp. At this point you just leave the vinegar water on your hair for a bit. If you are doing this in the shower, I finish my shower, and then rinse the vinegar water out before getting out of the shower. Easy Peasy.

Truth be told, it is a bit more work than shampoo and conditioner, but I’m so happy with the results, I keep it up. When traveling, I have tried to use shampoo and conditioner because well… it’s easier and more convenient. I am disappointed with the results every time and can’t wait to get back home and get back into my bs/acv routine. A word of caution: When you first start this routine, you may have a couple weeks where your hair needs some adjustment time to the new routine and may feel a bit greasy. I personally didn’t have this adjustment time, though I did notice that the bs/acv didn’t strip my hair of it’s natural oils like shampoo did. My the lady who cuts my hair is always shocked at how healthy my hair is. I also find that I don’t need to wash my hair as often. I tend to wash it every other day, though some people only wash their hair a couple times a week with this method.Sometimes I will wash my hair with just plain water while I’m in the shower to bring the curl back. You will just have to experiment to see what works for you and your hair. I now use about 3 tablespoons of vinegar in my water now that my hair is much longer. I also find that by washing my hair this way, I can keep an eye on my diet. If my diet isn’t ideal, it will show up in my hair with it being more oily and it’s just a reminder to get back on track.

Have you tried this method to clean your hair? Leave a comment and share your experience!

Posted in Budget Friendly, DIY, Eco Friendly Cleaning | Leave a comment

How To Travel Plant-Based

What a crazy March. Mom had a heart attack, husband went to the ER, father-in-law went to the same ER the next week and several other people I know needed medical attention, including me. It brought new meaning to “March Madness”. Thankfully not everyone I know was afflicted. The month ended with me driving out to spend a week at my Mom’s while she prepared for and had a triple bypass surgery.

Thankfully everyone is doing well now, including my mom. The medical staff at Providence Hospital in Portland, OR was quite fantastic. They did a great job and my 74 year old mother is already home and recuperating quickly.

The week was rather stressful though while bouncing around accommodations… Mom’s house and 3 different hotels over the course of 8 days. Traveling while plant-based can make even the most seasoned plant-based eaters cringe. Part of the fun of going out of town is being able to eat out, but not everyone can afford to do that every day, and even if you can, restaurant food is often heavy on the salt, sugar and oil. I stepped on the scale this morning and realized this was not a good way for me to go. It made me realize I need to develop a much more solid plan for traveling.

Normally, out of town trips are only for the weekend. I find them easy. As long as I can put a few minutes of thought into it ahead of time, I make sure and cook enough steel cut oats or other grain to take for breakfasts and portion them out for the number of days we will be gone. I do the same with a stew/soup or other dish. I make sure whatever hotel we stay at will have a fridge in our room and I’m good to go. Sometimes I will bring all my food for the weekend, but most times I plan to order something simple for dinner at a restaurant, but still bring breakfasts and lunches. If I don’t get to plan ahead, I might grab some fruit from the continental breakfast and for lunch, I get a small tub of greens about 5oz, can of black beans and salsa. I make sure and take a small strainer I got at Walmart for $1 to rinse the beans, a cheap can opener (it was also $1) and a set of reusable bamboo utensils.

This past week, I actually put together a nice travel bag of cooking supplies. It included an electric pressure cooker, small cutting board, a knife for slicing and dicing, a couple bowls with lids, strainer, can opener and my bamboo utensils. I was prepared. The bad news is that I wasn’t brave enough to use it more than once, but the one time went well. I hope next time I go out of town for an extended time, I will feel more confident to use it every day in the hotel. It worked well and it was nice to wake up to a piping hot breakfast that I had set to cook the night before. I just set the delay timer so it didn’t start cooking until about an hour before I wanted to get up and it was perfect.


Over time, this cooking travel bag may change, but for now, I feel like it would leave me fairly well prepared for whatever I may want to cook away from home so I could stay healthy and happy even while traveling. Now to have a few food and recipe ideas at the ready so planning food can become routine rather than a giant thought process every time.

What do you like to eat or take with you while traveling?

Posted in Plant Based Eating Tips, Travel Tips | 4 Comments

Middle Eastern Red Lentil Soup

It’s cooking demo time! It’s so exciting to see so many people coming to pressure cooking. There are so many of you who are still on the fence about if, or what kind, to get. It’s interesting to me that not everyone loves pressure cooking, so if you are one of those, you are not alone. For me, I really love it, but it’s so easy that sometimes it just doesn’t feel like cooking and I miss the longer more laborious ways of making food. Weird, right? Today I made Carrot Cake Pancakes though, so I’m good now and feel like I’ve done my cooking for the day. Pressure cooking is still awesome and it’s almost like having someone else cook for me so I don’t see me giving it up anytime soon.

At this time, I’m very excited to announce that I will be making video demos for fatfreevegan.com. It can really help to see pressure cookers in action to help those fearful to get brave and start cooking. If there is anything in particular you would like to see a demo of, please let me know.

Middle Eastern Lentil Soup - fatfreevegan.com


Today, we are starting with Middle Eastern Red Lentil Soup. It’s a super easy and inexpensive recipe to make and it tastes really good! So without further ado, let’s get to the video . Enjoy!

Posted in Pressure Cooking, Video | 5 Comments

Recipes of the week – February 2015

For the whole month of February, in my Facebook group Kind Veggie’s Whole Food Plant Based Cooking Tips, we featured Kathy Hester and her recipes from healthyslowcooking.com. Kathy was originally known, as her web address suggests, for her slow cooking or crock pot recipes. She has already published 2 cookbooks on the topic! She has since branched out to focus an entire cookbook on beans, one on oats and her newest one, to be released in 2015, is focusing on easy vegan recipes. Sign me up! She also happens to be super nice. She’s always happy to help out with her recipes and make suggestions for ingredient replacements if you have a dietary need to consider (or just don’t have an ingredient on hand). As always, I am made all the recipes gluten free with the suggestions Kathy provided.

This month, we started off with a slow cooker chili. I ate part of it over nachos and part of it just as chili in a bowl topped with cashew sour cream. Here is the link for Lots of Beans and Grains Slow Cooker Chili. It was super thick and looked very much like a traditional meat chili so it may work well to serve to omni eaters and since it’s a slow cooker chili… it can be warm all the time whenever someone wants a 2nd or 3rd bowl.


Next, we made a Lentil Quinoa Bolognese Sauce. This time around, I served it over gluten free spiral noodles and it was de-li-cious. YUM! I used a variety of lentils since I didn’t have enough of one kind. I used french, green/brown and some type of black lentil. I’ve also made it before and used it as the tomato sauce layer in lasagna. It’s a very hearty and lovely sauce, totally yummy an filling and beautiful next to a colorful salad..


Next up was Mushroom Sundried Tomato Risotto made with steel cut oats instead of arborio rice! I must admit… I didn’t go the whole risotto route and stir stir stir. I did actually make the recipe in the pressure cooker. I used 1 cup steel cut oats and 3 cups water and cooked the whole thing for 3 minutes after first sauteeing the onion and mushroom. It was awesome and pretty too! If you like the idea of eating oats for breakfast, but get tired of adding fruit and nuts or other sweet things… this might be a nice change. I sure enjoyed it.


For the last week, we did a Choose Your Own Adventure. Kathy has a section on her website of recipes that are so easy, she has put them in a category called “Beyond Easy”. Out of this category, I chose to make the Not Refried Beans. I didn’t have pintos, so I used mayocoba beans instead. They didn’t seem to need as much water as the recipe called for but boy were they delicious and the beans were so yummy and made the apartment smell amazing. (And I got to use my adorable 2 quart crock pot!) Before I mashed the beans, I did pour off some of the liquid and used that in my cheese sauce for the meal that night. It all worked out well. I didn’t really get a picture of the beans as I was super hungry and ready to chow down by the time dinner was all ready (and we had dinner guests and I honestly just forgot). I did manage to get a picture earlier that day of “appliance corner” and the cute little crock pot the Not Refried Beans were made in. It’s really a handy little size for a variety of things if you are a crock pot type person.


So there you have it. Another month of delicious recipes featuring Kathy Hester. If you like cookbooks, please check out hers. I have all but one on kindle (slow cooking for 2), and I have already pre-ordered her newest one. I’m so excited!

Recipes for March will be from veganricha.com! I’ve only made a couple recipes from Richa’s site to date, but they were awesome. I’m looking forward to this month so I can try more of them. Since March has 5 Mondays, we will be featuring 5 recipes instead of 4. Come join us! This week, we are making plant-based cheese slices. It’s much easier than it sounds!

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So You Want To Go Plant-Based

Congratulations on your wonderful decision Continue reading

Posted in Plant Based Eating Tips | 2 Comments