Cozy Sweet Potato Peanut Stew with Spinach

A simple, lightly-spiced peanut stew with sweet potatoes, carrots, and spinach. Peanut butter is the magic ingredient which thickens the stew and gives a wonderful savory flavor and rich creamy texture.


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This creamy peanut stew has been featured on my blog before, almost two years ago now, but since then I’ve made it over and over again. Since it has become one of my favorite stew recipes, I decided to dig it out from the dark depths of my oldest blog posts, rephotograph it, and make a recipe video for it.

There's something really comforting about including peanut butter in a savory recipe. It makes this vegetable-packed soup, actually very filling and satisfying. The savory flavor of the peanut butter goes perfectly with the subtly sweet carrots and sweet potatoes, and tender baby spinach leaves add a splash of color.

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I love white sweet potatoes in this recipe, but orange sweet potatoes will also work quite well.

Sometimes, I like to serve this stew over a bowl of cooked whole grains. I've also served this stew on it's own, and it stands well as its own dish too!

For this recipe, I like to have the main ingredients chopped and measured before starting. Once everything is chopped, you're only about 30 minutes away from a finished meal.

Use 1/3 cup peanut butter or less for a lower-fat option, or use 1/2 cup or more for a creamier stew.

This recipe keeps really well in the fridge for up to 5 days, so double the ingredients if you want to enjoy it all week! 

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Check out the video below to see it all come together!


Vegan Pineapple Snack Cake [oil-free, refined sugar-free, low-fat]

This fruity snack cake is made with whole grain spelt flour and canned crushed pineapple. Serve it plain as a snack or top it off with melted coconut butter and sliced pineapple for a decadent, tropical dessert.

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Typically, I’m not that into baked goods and tend to favor fruity desserts over more traditional sweet treats, but make a cake with as much fruit as it can handle and I’m in! I’ve always thought that fruit cakes are the best kind of cakes.

This cake could not get any more tropical and fruity, and the best part- you don’t even need to chop a pineapple to make this! I used canned crushed pineapple to make the cake and thawed frozen pineapple slices on top. Though, if you do want to make this with fresh pineapple, you could definitely do that too by making your own crushed pineapple in the blender.

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I discovered this amazing low-fat cake recipe through the blog Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. I made a few changes to the recipe because I wanted it to be extra fruity and for the pineapple to be even more prominent, so I used a whole can of crushed pineapple which eliminated the need for any additional liquids and made the recipe even more simple. The result was a fruity-sweet, dense snack cake which you can pick up and eat fork-free, or go ahead and use a fork like a civilized human if that’s what you’re into.

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Another thing to love about this recipe- it only requires one mixing bowl! So there’s less mess to clean up and ingredients to sort out, which make for the kind of recipe you’ll actually want make to again and again.

I like making square cakes because I find them easier to slice and store in the rectangular glass containers I have, but if you want to make and then store a round cake here’s the mathematically correct way to do that.

If stored properly, this cake will last for up to a week in the fridge!

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I hope you enjoy this delicious tropical cake recipe!

Check out the recipe video to see how it’s made:


Tofu Scramble Breakfast Sandwich with Melty Vegan Cheddar Cheese

This vegan breakfast sandwich is a classic comfort food which features a savory tofu scramble and a homemade cashew “cheddar” cheese spread. This melty, stretchy cheese spread also makes the perfect vegan grilled cheese!

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Sometimes, you just need a savory breakfast that’s a little extra indulgent and comforting, and this breakfast sandwich will definitely hit the spot. When I went vegan, I thought I’d never get to enjoy anything like a breakfast sandwich ever again, but over time I learned that it’s possible to make a vegan substitute for just about anything, including the classic egg and cheddar filled sandwich.

Many years ago when I was living in NYC, I needed a cheap breakfast which could keep me full all day through my busy schedule. Once I discovered there were bodegas on every corner serving up egg and cheese sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches became my everyday meal.

These days, since becoming vegan and more health-conscious, I tend to stick to oatmeal topped with nuts or seeds and fresh fruit. While this is great most of the time, I still occasionally have days where all I want is something as filling and satisfying as a classic breakfast sandwich. Since it was not specifically the greasy eggs and cheese that I missed, I knew I could make a vegan version which had a similar texture and flavor that would make for an equally delicious sandwich.

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Tofu scramble doesn’t need to be complicated. I’ve tried many scramble recipes which include chopped onions, garlic, peppers, mushrooms, and all sorts of add-ins, and while those scrambles make for great meals on their own, for this sandwich recipe I like to use a simplified version which is more versatile like classic scrambled eggs.

Here’s what you’ll need to make a basic tofu scramble:

  • firm tofu

  • nutritional yeast

  • smoked paprika

  • onion powder

  • garlic powder

  • mustard powder, or yellow mustard

  • turmeric

  • cumin

  • black pepper

  • salt, or use kala namak black salt for more of an eggy flavor

I like to mix all the spices together in a bowl and then add in a splash of water to make a spice paste. Pouring over the spices in the form of a paste allows for the spices to marinate the tofu in the pan rather than just cling to the outside of the tofu. Once you have your spice paste mixed, it takes just 5-7 minutes to brown the crumbled tofu in a pan, then add in the paste and cook for a few more minutes. This scramble recipe is so quick and easy!

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When I’d order my breakfast sandwiches at my local bodega, I’d always specifically ask for cheddar cheese. I loved the sharp tangy flavor on a breakfast sandwich, and to me any vegan version would be incomplete without a realistic cheddar substitute. While I normally avoid nut-heavy vegan cheese replacements, a vegetable-based sauce would just not cut it here for a cheddar cheese replacement. I’ve found that cashews are the way to go for the best spreadable, melty, homemade vegan cheese.

This cheddar cheese spread is perfect for grilled cheese sandwiches too! It can also be thinned out and made into a mac and cheese sauce (it reminded me so much of Velveeta!) but I still prefer my cheesy vegetable-based sauces more for pasta. If you are looking for a spreadable vegan cheddar that you can make at home, this is the perfect recipe!

How to make melty vegan cheddar cheese:

You will need:

  • cashews

  • water

  • tapioca starch

  • nutritional yeast

  • lemon juice

  • salt

  • white miso paste

  • paprika

  • maple syrup

  • onion powder

  • garlic powder

  • turmeric

Soak your cashews first if not using a high-speed blender. Then add all of the cheese ingredients into a blender and blend until completely smooth. Pour this mixture into a pan over medium heat and stir for a few minutes until it thickens. Scoop this mixture into a jar or other sealed container and store in the fridge until ready to use. This will keep for 7-10 days.

You can warm it up before using it or just spread it on the sandwich as is, since the warm scramble and toasted bread will heat it up. No matter the temperature, the texture will stay quite thick and melty, very similar to actual melted cheddar cheese.

If giving up cheese is the one thing holding you back from trying out a plant-based diet, definitely give this vegan cheese recipe a try!

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While you could pile this sandwich high with toppings such as mushroom bacon, sliced avocado, tomato, onions, or spinach, you could also just stick to the classic “egg and cheese on a roll.” Serve it on a biscuit, english muffin, whole grain bread, or even throw it all in a wrap for something different. Both the scramble recipe and the vegan cheddar recipe are so versatile and can be used to make a variety of other meals as well, so make a large batch and have a fun week of cheesy sandwiches!

To see the whole process, check out my recipe video:

For a super-easy version, check out the recipe notes for an alternative recipe which uses slices of marinated tofu instead of tofu scramble. It’s also a bit less messy and easier to take on the go. I make that version more often than the scramble, but both are so good.

I hope you love this vegan breakfast sandwich!



Italian Antipasti Marinated Mushrooms

These marinated mushrooms are perfect for adding to salads or served as part of an Antipasto plate. Small white button mushrooms are boiled in a vinegar mixture along with garlic, herbs, and diced pimentos. Then, the cooked mushrooms are stored in the brine which helps to preserve them. Because this recipe is oil-free, the mushrooms will actually keep for longer, up to 2 weeks in the fridge!

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A couple weeks ago, I found myself at the Antipasto salad bar at the grocery store, checking out all the pickled foods and olives when I came across some seriously delicious looking marinated mushrooms. I picked some up and definitely enjoyed them, but they were covered in oil, and that just didn’t seem necessary. It didn’t really add anything to the flavor and if anything it made them a bit slimy.

So I decided to try and make my own version, completely free of oil, but still just as flavor-packed and tangy. It turns out, the oil really doesn’t serve any purpose at all. In fact, not using any oil means that these will keep for much longer because the acidity of the vinegar works to preserve the mushrooms and garlic.

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You can add these to salads and wraps, or even slice them and add them to sandwiches. For the most part though, we like to snack on them when browsing the fridge.

If you ever find yourself with too many mushrooms and need a fast way to preserve them, this is the perfect recipe for that situation. The ingredients are minimal and simple, and you can change it up by adding in which ever herbs you prefer.

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For storing these mushrooms, you can use any sealed container or jar you like, but storing them in glass is ideal. I think it’s best to just repurpose old leftover jars of sauce or other leftover jars, but if you’re into fancy Italian glassware, I love my Bormioli Rocco Fido jars (affiliate link). They have lasted me years and not only do they look beautiful, they also hold up to the dishwasher and even have survived being dropped.

To watch the whole simple cooking process, check out my recipe video. Note: I don’t have a small deep pot that works with my induction burner which I use to film recipes, so I opted for a sauce pan, but boiling these in a small deep pot would be best and requires much less frequent stirring over the course of the cooking time.

I hope you enjoy this tasty mushroom recipe!



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Golden Turmeric Coconut Butter Granola [vegan, oil-free & gluten-free]

Crispy clusters of golden granola made with turmeric, coconut butter, rolled oats, buckwheat and mineral-rich nuts and seeds. Naturally sweetened with maple syrup, this simple granola recipe is free of refined sugar, processed oils, and gluten.

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Lately, this sunny yellow, lightly-spiced granola has been my new favorite breakfast. Coconut butter and maple syrup make the perfect rich binding mixture, and along with the nuts, seeds and whole grains in there, this granola makes for a healthy, nutrient-dense meal. Top it with fresh berries and plant-based milk, or enjoy it as a snack over some vegan yogurt.

One of the best parts about making golden granola cereal is that you also end up with delicious golden milk! Turmeric is what gives this granola a bright yellow color and it also contains powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. I’m always trying to find ways to include more turmeric in my day, and this is definitely one of my favorite ways to enjoy it!

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I chose to use coconut butter because it’s mild flavor lets the warm spices shine through, where as other nut butters can sometimes be a bit heavy and overpowering. No refined oils are needed in this recipe because the natural oils in the coconut butter allow the granola to crisp up perfectly.

Coconut butter is just blended coconut meat, with nothing added and nothing taken away, so it still contains all of it’s fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making it a much healthier alternative to coconut oil.

For a lower-fat version, you could substitute the coconut butter for date paste (soaked, blended dates) instead.

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This granola is done in under an hour and makes about 6 cups. It’s best to bake it at a low temperature for a longer amount of time to avoid creating harmful compounds which are created when certain foods are cooked at high temperatures. This granola will still get perfectly crispy and lightly golden, it just requires about 35-40 minutes in the oven at 275 ℉.

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Once it’s done baking, allow it to cool completely then store in a jar or sealed container on the countertop or in the fridge. The longest mine has ever lasted is three days, but it should keep well for about a week or so.

To see the whole process, check out my recipe video:

Let me know if you try it out and leave a comment below. I hope you enjoy this granola recipe!


My new favorite craft: needle painting / embroidery

Violet the rabbit, 4”

Violet the rabbit, 4”


I’ve always loved crafts- specifically the kitschy, grandmotherly ones like embroidery.

I first discovered embroidery when I was around seven or eight years old. As a child of the 90s, I was always sewing clothes for my beanie babies and the craft kit section at Joann Fabrics was one of my favorite places. I remember my first embroidery project was stitching an outline of a kitten in a basket, using all pink thread, onto a light green tank top. I proudly wore my kitten embroidery and told anyone who would listen about how I stitched it myself, but embroidery was only one of several craft hobbies I had at the time, and my obsession with making fairy dolls out of yarn and fairy houses out of shoe boxes came next, so many years passed without another embroidery project.

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After this past year of no longer being on Instagram, I found myself with fewer time-wasting distractions. With my only remaining social media being Pinterest, it was only a matter of time before I would start looking at embroidery projects and become inspired to pick it back up again.

The first project I worked on this past year was a little patch which I made for my Mom. I didn’t draw a design for this one, I just freehand stitched some bluebells using a french knot technique. It was a very simple project, but it was my first time using several new stitch techniques and I learned a lot in the process.

After spending more time learning about embroidery, I came across the work of an embroidery artist named Vera Shimunia. Her artwork mainly consists of colorful landscapes which she renders using thread and a technique called needle painting or thread painting. It’s essentially using threads to create the look of brushstrokes, and I had never seen anyone do this before, so I started learning all about it and I was really excited to practice the technique myself.


Inspired by an original design by embroidery artist,  Vera Shimunia . 4”

Inspired by an original design by embroidery artist, Vera Shimunia. 4”

For my first needle painting landscape project, I decided to try to replicate one of Vera’s designs so I could learn more about how it works before attempting to draw and then embroider my own design, so I stitched my own version of one of her beautiful moonscapes, using her artwork as a reference.

After completing this project, I finally felt like I was starting to understand the technique a bit more and realized that needle painting is just a study of light and shadow, just like photography or life drawing.

I was feeling ready to draw my own designs so I decided to try making a portrait of my rabbit, Violet.

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I started by doing a couple of practice sketches on paper, using a photo of her as a reference. Then, after practicing for a bit I drew the outline onto some fabric using a pen. I began by placing stitches around the tips of her ears and worked my way down.

This was my first time using a blending technique called the long and short stitch, where you blend different colors and tones of threads together by laying them down in a series of long and short stitches. An embroidery artist named Trish Burr has written a many books on the technique and also has some very helpful videos available.


A few inspiring embroidery artists:

  • Chloe Giodorno - beautiful densely embroidered teeny tiny woodland creatures

  • Emillie Ferris - masterfully realistic pet portraits with insane amounts of detail

  • Vera Shimunia - amazing landscape thread paintings using rainbow-hues and a brilliant understanding of light

  • Trish Burr - delicate and detailed birds & flowers, many teaching resources for those who want to learn needle painting


The reference Photo of Violet

The reference Photo of Violet

After embroidering three very different subjects in the past year, I had the most fun working on the portrait of my rabbit, Violet, so I plan to continue to practice pet portraits and focus on learning and improving my realistic portraiture rendering. Someday, I’d love to offer custom embroidered pet portraits and other embroidery pieces here on my blog.

If you’re mostly here for the healthy vegan recipes, don’t worry! I will be continuing to make and share my most favorite recipes alongside occasional posts related to my artwork, plant-based nutrition, and updates on our house-building project, which should hopefully start in the spring. ✿

Pasta e Fagioli- Pasta, White Bean & Vegetable Soup [Vegan, Oil-free & Gluten-free]

Warm up this winter with this comforting, veggie-packed. pasta & white bean soup. Based on a traditional Italian peasant dish, Pasta e fagioli is a healthy and budget-friendly recipe. Top with vegan parmesan and fresh herbs such as rosemary and basil.

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Happy 2019! After a long break over the holidays, I’m back with more healthy vegan recipes to share.

This winter, I’ve been making a lot variations on bean soups, but this pasta & bean soup might just be my new favorite. It’s a simple recipe made with some fresh veggies and herbs, fire roasted tomatoes, cannellini beans, and small-shaped pasta.

It’s a versatile recipe that works well with many different herbs, fresh and dried. I prefer using fresh herbs, but don’t always have them on hand so I’ve listed options for both. Rosemary, basil, and marjoram are my preferred herbs in this soup recipe, but other herbs like oregano, sage, and thyme would also work well.

I also added in some extra vegetables to make this soup even healthier, but they aren’t totally necessary so feel free to omit the carrots or spinach if needed.

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Here’s the recipe for this simple 2-ingredient vegan cashew parmesan. It is the perfect savory topping for this soup!

I hope you enjoy this deliciously healthy soup recipe! Check out the video I made below to see the whole process and if you try out this recipe, let me know how it goes!


Almond Butter Chai Yerba Mate Latte [naturally-sweetened & dairy-free]

This cozy, lightly-spiced chai beverage is made by brewing yerba mate tea leaves and then blending the tea with almond butter, dates, and chai spices. It's a naturally sweetened, frothy latte with just the right amount of caffeine. Yerba mate is also packed with B-vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.


Wintertime is the ultimate warm & cozy drink season and there’s no cozier drink than this lightly-spiced chai latte made with creamy almond butter. This chai latte is made using unsmoked yerba mate tea leaves, which I prefer over coffee or black tea. As a particularly caffeine-sensitive person, I find that yerba mate leaves me feeling energized but less jittery and with a feeling of sharpened focus.

Yerba mate contains the same amount of caffeine as a cup of green tea, but it also contains five times as many antioxidants, plus B-vitamins and minerals such as niacin, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Just make sure to choose unsmoked yerba mate, as the smoked kind contains high levels of carcinogenic substances known as PAH's (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons).

The brand that I use is called ECOTEAS (affiliate link), and I get the whole plant version which includes the leaves and the stems of the plant. It’s less expensive and only slightly less potent than the more processed version- and you know we love a good whole plant food!

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This recipe takes just a few minutes to make and only requires steeping the tea and then a quick and easy blend, the result is an indulgent-tasting yet healthy version of a coffee shop style chai tea latte.

I used dates as my sweetener, since they are the healthiest and least-processed option, but you could also use a natural liquid sweetener like maple syrup for an even sweeter dessert-beverage.

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Garnish with cinnamon sticks or star anise for some extra spice and festive decoration then get cozy and enjoy!



Healthy Snack Recipes ✷ Wholesome Sides & Snacks ✷


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I’ve been working on creating this recipe eBook for a while now and I’m so excited to finally be sharing it with you!

Wholesome Sides & Snacks mainly features snack recipes, but it also includes a variety of other recipes from wraps, to sandwiches, dips, side salads, and even burgers.

I’ve always loved snacking, but for a while I struggled to give up junk food and find ways to replace processed snacks with healthier options. Overtime, I gradually learned how to make my own whole food plant-based versions of my favorite snack foods and I’ve realized that snacking can still be enjoyable while also being nutrient-packed and completely plant-based.

Some of the recipes feature healthy alternatives to some of my favorite classic snack foods like cheese crackers and salt and vinegar potato chips, while other recipes embrace whole fresh produce paired with a variety of homemade dips & spreads.

Almost all of the recipes are brand new and have never been featured before on my blog. As always, none of these recipes contain refined oils, refined sugars, or heavily processed foods and many contain colorful, fresh ingredients.


Take a peek at the contents:

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If you’ve been looking for healthy vegan snack ideas, this eBook has a variety of options to choose from. Many of the recipes are kid-friendly as well as fast and easy to make. Certain recipes will require a blender or food processor while others are more flexible.

All of the recipes contain nutritious whole food ingredients such as fresh fruit, raw veggies, nuts & seeds, beans, and whole grains, with most recipes being gluten-free or having gluten-free options.


Wholesome Sides & Snacks
2.99

Learn how to make whole food snacking more enjoyable with these simple vegan side and snack recipes. Wholesome Sides & Snacks is an eBook packed full of healthy yet delicious recipes made using mostly whole food ingredients. Completely vegan, oil-free, refined sugar-free, and with many gluten-free options as well!

Your purchase includes: A PDF download which contains 21 recipes, a grocery list with every ingredient used in the book, the basics of what a whole food plant based diet consists of, and a quick guide to choosing the healthiest nuts and seeds.

Add To Cart

If you decide to purchase a copy- thank you so much for supporting my work in continuing to create and share wholesome plant-based recipes. I hope that you love these snack recipes! ❤

Potato, White Bean & Sauerkraut Soup

This hearty Russian winter soup, also called sour shchi, is deliciously tangy and filling. Made with potatoes, carrots, leeks, white beans and herbs, this recipe is perfect for those times when you need to use up the rest of the fresh produce. High quality fermented sauerkraut makes this soup extra healthy and full of both probiotics and probiotics.

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I first heard about this soup when researching Russian recipes a little over a year ago, and ever since coming up with my own version I’ve been making it almost on a weekly basis. It has become my favorite way to enjoy sauerkraut and since this recipe is so veggie-packed it’s the perfect way to use up lots of leftover fresh produce.

Shchi is a traditional soup of Russia where it has been known as far back as the 9th century. While meat was sometimes added, this recipe was often made with beans instead as they were more accessible for the majority of people. When sauerkraut is added to the soup, it is known as sour shchi.

It is also flavored with herbs like thyme and dill as well as caraway seeds, which are commonly used in Russian cooking as well as in making rye bread. The caraway seeds are important in this recipe and can’t be subbed because they are what give this soup an authentic pickled flavor.

Since the sauerkraut is the main focus of the recipe, it's important that you chose a super delicious one. Typically, the best sauerkrauts are the fermented ones that come in a glass jar in the refrigerated section. My favorite lately has been the traditional fermented sauerkraut by the brand Bubbies.

This soup is so wonderfully tangy and satisfying. It's great on it's own or with a side of whole grain rye bread and a dollop of vegan sour cream. It's a fantastic recipe to cook any time of the year, and if you make a big batch it keeps really well in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

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You may remember this recipe from when I posted it a little over a year ago, but I decided to post this updated version since refining the ingredients a bit more. I’ve also gone back and made a recipe video for this one since it’s one of my favorite recipes ever- I hope you enjoy it too!



Creamy Double Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce (nut-free, dairy-free & oil-free)

Enjoy all of the pumpkin with this creamy, vegan-cheesy, double pumpkin cream sauce. Pumpkin seed cream and pureed pumpkin are blended together with savory onions, garlic, nutritional yeast, and sage to make a deliciously creamy, autumnal pasta sauce.

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Pumpkin seed cream + pumpkin puree = pure creamy double pumpkin bliss.

When fall began this year, I set out to create a uniquely creamy pumpkin sauce recipe using all different parts of the pumpkin. I’ve seen other vegan pumpkin alfredo sauce recipes which use pumpkin puree along with cashews or coconut milk to make it creamy, but I had never come across a recipe using pumpkin seeds to make the cream before, so I started experimenting.

To make this super easy to throw together, I used canned pumpkin puree and raw shelled pumpkin seeds. If you wanted, you could roast a whole pumpkin to make your own pumpkin puree and then individually remove the shells off each pumpkin seed until you completely lose your mind, but I don’t recommend going that route if at all possible. This time of the year, grocery stores tend to make the canned pumpkin puree easier to find, so take advantage of that and save yourself from a potential pumpkin-induced breakdown.

The pumpkin taste in this sauce is very subtle and the flavor that comes through the most is a rich cheesy flavor from the nutritional yeast and the miso paste. If you want to taste more of the pumpkin, you can reduce the amount nutritional yeast, but I prefer the cheesier version.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds or pepitas

  • 1 1/2 cups water

  • 1/2 cup yellow onion or shallot, diced

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 tsp fresh sage, minced, or 1/4 tsp dried

  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin, canned will work well

  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast, or less if desired

  • 3/4 - 1 tsp salt, or to taste

  • 1/2 tsp white pepper

  • 1 tsp white miso, optional

First, make the pumpkin seed cream by blending the pumpkin seeds with water until completely smooth. If you have a high speed blender there’s no need to soak the seeds, but if you have a regular blender, soak the pumpkin seeds overnight first to soften them. Once blended, set the blender with the pumpkin seed cream aside for a moment.

Next, sauté the chopped onions and garlic for about 7 minutes until browned. Stir in the sage, pumpkin puree, nutritional yeast, pumpkin seed cream, salt, and pepper. Simmer over medium low heat for another 5 minutes while slowly stirring everything together. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a moment before pouring the contents of the pan back into the same blender. Add in a teaspoon of white miso paste (optional) and blend the sauce together until it is totally creamy and smooth, then pour over prepared pasta of choice. This makes about 27 oz of pasta sauce, or enough for 4-6 bowls of pasta. I keep mine in a jar in the fridge and use it all week.

I used whole wheat linguine, but you can use gluten-free noodles or any kind or shape pasta you’d like. It makes a great fall version of vegan mac and cheese as well!

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This pumpkin alfredo sauce is a crowd-pleasing recipe that’s easy to make and perfect for pumpkin season. The pumpkin seed cream is a pale green color which makes the color of this sauce a bright almost lime-tinted yellow that is so vibrant and unique. I hope you enjoy this fall recipe as much as I do.

If you love creamy vegan-cheesy sauces, check out some of my other recipes-

Leave a comment below if you try this out, I’d love to hear what you think of it!



New Update Video: House Design Plans, Clearing Brush, & Mushroom Foraging


This past weekend we went out to our property to work on clearing some brush around our house building site and film a quick update video. I’ve been posting new recipe videos on our youtube channel, but I realized that I hadn’t given any update on our living situation in the form of a video.

While we were there we checked our wildlife camera and foraged for mushrooms to take photos of and practice our mushroom identification. We found quite a variety of mushrooms and even an edible golden chanterelle! (light orange mushroom in upper right corner)

We’re still trying to identify all of them, but I believe the reddish ones are  Russula Atropurpurea , the little black one is a type of ink cap, and I’m almost positive the light orange one in the upper right corner is a golden chanterelle.

We’re still trying to identify all of them, but I believe the reddish ones are Russula Atropurpurea, the little black one is a type of ink cap, and I’m almost positive the light orange one in the upper right corner is a golden chanterelle.

Our wetland is covered with moss and mushrooms right now.

Our wetland is covered with moss and mushrooms right now.

These are either  Gymnopus  or  Armillaria  aka   honey mushrooms. We didn’t take a spore print of these so we can’t be sure.

These are either Gymnopus or Armillaria aka honey mushrooms. We didn’t take a spore print of these so we can’t be sure.

Here’s a close-up of What I Believe is a chanterelle.

Here’s a close-up of What I Believe is a chanterelle.

Teeny Tiny Pacific Tree Frog

Teeny Tiny Pacific Tree Frog

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Zeller’s Boletes

Zeller’s Boletes

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We just submitted our design plan for building permits, so hopefully in a few months we can begin the building process. Until then we’re enjoying the last few sunny days here before the rainy season sets in for a while.

I hope everyone else had a great weekend and got to spend some peaceful time outdoors. I’ll be back with a brand new recipe very soon!


3-Ingredient Date Caramel Sauce

This creamy date caramel sauce is made with just dates, plant-based milk, and a tiny pinch of salt. A pourable sauce to drizzle all over apples, oatmeal, cinnamon rolls, or add to any autumnal dessert.

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Apple season is upon us and there’s no better way to enjoy apples than sprinkled with cinnamon and dipped in date caramel sauce.

This caramel sauce is silky smooth, not sticky or chewy like traditional caramel, so it’s much easier on your teeth, and with no added sugar, it’s a healthier alternative too.

The best part is that you can make this with only three ingredients:

Dates, vanilla plant-based milk, and a tiny pinch of salt (optional). That’s it!

For a pourable sauce, use 1 cup of plant milk, or for a thicker caramel use 1/2 cup. I prefer the thinner sauce because it’s easier to drizzle it all over everything, and that’s mainly how I like to use it.

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Here are few of the ways I’ve been using this date caramel sauce:

  • as a dip for sliced apples and pears

  • on top of oatmeal, baked oatmeal bars, or in overnight oats

  • drizzled all over homemade cinnamon rolls or apple pie

  • blended with apples to make a caramel apple smoothie

  • add some to granola

  • swirl into the batter of your next cinnamon loaf or cake

  • stir into your morning coffee or tea for a refined sugar-free sweetener

  • blend with frozen bananas and apples to make caramel apple nice cream

This recipe makes about 12 oz of sauce. This will keep fresh for up to 10 days in a sealed jar in the fridge.

If you try this out, let me know what you use it on and leave a comment below!


Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas with Avocado Tomatillo Sauce

Flavorful spiced potatoes and black beans are rolled up in whole grain tortillas and topped with a zesty roasted tomatillo and avocado sauce, then baked until heated through. Top with fresh chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

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When tomatillos started showing up in our weekly CSA produce box, I began experimenting with making my own enchilada sauce from scratch. Tomatillos are quite tangy so I roasted them and blended them up with some avocado which adds the perfect creamy balance, as well as flavorful additions like roasted garlic and onions, jalapeños, fresh cilantro, and of course lots of lime juice.

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For the filling, I boiled some diced yellow potatoes until just fork tender, then I sautéd them with onions, garlic, savory-smoky spices and black beans.

The whole grain tortillas I had on hand were a bit large, so I was only able to fit four into my baking dish and that worked just fine- though I did have to use two utensils to serve it! Smaller tortillas will be easier to serve, but either size will work. Gluten-free tortillas will work well too.

This is best served fresh but it will keep pretty well covered in the fridge for a couple of days, though leftovers never seem to stick around very long!

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To watch the whole process, check out my latest recipe video.

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think of it in the comments!


Calming Cherry Hibiscus Moon Milk

A soft pink & frothy night-time beverage with homemade pumpkin seed milk, tart cherry juice, hibiscus tea, and lavender syrup. Each ingredient aids in sleep and relaxation.

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Hibiscus tea is incredibly healthy and I’ve known for a while that I need to be having it more often, but for a long time I couldn’t get into the strong, tangy flavor on it’s own. By blending it with a creamy, rich, pumpkin seed milk and adding a touch of lavender syrup to sweeten it up, it has become my new favorite nightly drink.

Autumn can be a very busy time of year, so it’s extra important to take care of ourselves through eating nourishing plant foods as well as making sure to get a good night’s sleep. This cozy, frothy drink is full of nutritious, antioxidant-rich ingredients which each have unique properties that support sleep quality through reducing stress and promoting relaxation.


Pumpkin Seed Milk

Pumpkin seeds have relatively high amounts of the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is the amino acid the body uses to make the neurotransmitter serotonin. Pumpkin seeds also contain high amounts of zinc, which can help the brain convert tryptophan into serotonin. Adequate serotonin levels are related to the ability to stay asleep and not wake throughout the night. 

Hibiscus Tea

Hibiscus tea, made from the dried petals of hibiscus flowers, is one of the most healthful drinks around due to its high antioxidant & manganese content. It also has a very strong effect on lowering blood pressure. One six-week study found that three cups of hibiscus tea daily lowered systolic blood pressure significantly, without unpleasant side effects (Journal of Nutrition, February 2010).

Tart Cherry Juice

Tart cherries contain a lot of melatonin which aids in sleep. In a study published in Natural Medicine Journal participants drank 30 ml of tart cherry juice 30 minutes after waking and 30 minutes before their evening meal, thereby boosting their exogenous melatonin intake by 85 mcg a day. The results showed significant increase in time in total sleep time and sleep efficiency with cherry juice supplementation.

Lavender Syrup

Much of the research on the relaxing effects of lavender has been done on the inhalation of lavender oils, and not on ingesting lavender in the form of tea, syrup, or other tinctures, but I’d expect ingesting lavender would still have similar effects and the floral flavor and scent is a perfect complement to the hibiscus flowers.

The recipe for the lavender syrup can be found here, or feel free to use maple syrup or other unrefined liquid sweetener of choice.

Optional Relaxing Add-ins

  • Ashwagandha root powder

  • Amla powder

  • Fresh ginger (grated and steeped along with the hibiscus), or powdered ginger

  • Green tea, for a day-time version

  • Turmeric, expect a color change

  • Reishi mushroom powder



Hibiscus tea and tart cherry juice are both acidic, which means when combined with milk it will curdle immediately. Knowing this, I was hesitant to try making a milky hibiscus tea drink. Then I found this recipe and realized that if I blended it, it will go from curdled to deliciously frothy and smooth.

I experimented with this recipe and blending it definitely took care of the curdling issue, however you should still expect some separation to occur. The pink fluffy latte-like foam will sit on top of the hibiscus tea if it sits out for a while, so this drink is best made right before consuming it, or stirred/shaken well if it sits for a while. If enjoying the drink slowly, it can helpful to keep a tea spoon near by to stir in the frothy layer if the separation becomes a little much.

I hope you enjoy this relaxing night-time beverage!


Vanilla Peach Coconut Butter Scones [Vegan & Oil-free!]

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These delicious peach scones are made with whole grain spelt flour, coconut butter, and vanilla. They're just the right amount of lightly sweet, crumbly, and buttery, with no oil or refined sugar needed!

Coconut butter is simply coconut meat that has been blended. None of the fiber has been removed and nothing about it is refined, unlike coconut oil, which is much more heavily processed. Coconut butter still contains all of the fiber, minerals, and vitamins found in coconuts. 

These scones are sweetened with unprocessed raw coconut sugar as well as being naturally sweet from the addition of ripe juicy peaches.

It's rare that I use peaches in baking because around here they usually get eaten raw as soon as they're ripe, but some of the peaches we've been getting just aren't quite as good as the others when eaten fresh, so I chose to save them and use them for baking instead as the baking process makes them even sweeter.  

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These scones are so easy to make, with a very simple ingredient list and such a quick baking time that you can start making these now and be enjoying the most delicious scones in under 30 minutes! 

First, preheat your oven to 425F, then mix together the dry ingredients. Slice in the soft coconut butter using a pastry dough mixer or a fork until the coconut butter is broken into smaller than pea sized pieces. Mix the wet ingredients together in a bowl, then add the wet mixture and the peaches to the dry ingredients and mix using a utensil at first and then your fingertips to mix the dough for up to 2 minutes. 

Sculpt the dough ball into a circle that's 8 inches wide and 1 inch thick. Slice it into 8 wedges using a serrated bread knife or floss. Transfer the wedges to a parchment lined baking pan and bake for 10-15 minutes.  Check on them after 10 minutes and watch carefully so you can remove from the oven as soon as the edges turn lightly golden brown (I left mine in maybe 1 or 2 minutes too long so my edges are a little darker than what you're looking for). 

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack for a few minutes. Then serve plain or with more coconut butter, nut butter, jam, or other toppings of your choosing. I always like keeping these scones plain because I find it makes them easier to take on the go, and I think these taste so good already without any toppings needed!

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I have started posting my recipe videos on our YouTube channel again!

We started our YouTube channel when we were traveling to Hawaii in 2016 and wanted to make some home videos to preserve some memories of our trip, then quickly it turned into an Airstream channel when we moved into our travel trailer and documented our travels across the US from NYC all the way to Seattle. Now that we're here, I'm finally all settled in and ready to film all of the recipe videos I've been wanting to make but didn't quite have the space to film when we were living in the Airstream. 

I plan on filming many more videos for my recipes and posting them on our channel and on my blog from here on out. Making a video for each and every new recipe, as well as going back and filming videos for some of my old favorite recipes here on my blog is no simple task, but I know how much it helps me to have a video to reference for other recipes that I follow, so hopefully you find them helpful too! 

If peaches are already going out of season where you are, feel free to use defrosted frozen peaches, canned peaches, or even another kind of fruit if you want. 

Let me know what you think of these scones if you try them out!


Walking around our hazy forest & a big bunny yawn

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This past Sunday, we drove out to our property in the forest to walk around and see how it looks in the hazy, smoky wildfire weather that we've been experiencing this past week here just outside of Seattle, Washington. 

NASA IMages of the wildfires and smoke

NASA IMages of the wildfires and smoke

The smoke was so thick that the sun could only break through occasionally, but when it did the quality of the light became almost cinematic and orange-tinged. I didn't bring my camera out but I had my cell phone, so I took a few photos anyway. 

Our house building site

Our house building site

We're just about ready to submit our building permits and hopefully start building our house within the next year, but we're in no big rush and we're making sure to spend a lot of time on the house design before finalizing everything. 

The land we purchased is seven acres in an old logging forest with some evidence of old growth tree stumps. One particular stump and downed tree that we have is 600 years old! The majority of the trees currently standing are new growth evergreen trees, around 50-60 years old.

The climate in the Pacific Northwest makes our forest a temperate rainforest, full of lush ferns, evergreen trees, and moss blanketing everything.

sword ferns and mossy logs

sword ferns and mossy logs

scraggly moss-covered maple near the wetland

scraggly moss-covered maple near the wetland

View on the Noth side, looking towards thousands of acres of logging forest owned by of Department of Natural Resources 

View on the Noth side, looking towards thousands of acres of logging forest owned by of Department of Natural Resources 

orange smoke-diffused light on the trees

orange smoke-diffused light on the trees

It can be a little difficult to traverse the land sometimes with the occasionally unstable, perpetually decaying forest floor.

It can be a little difficult to traverse the land sometimes with the occasionally unstable, perpetually decaying forest floor.

The meadow full of sword ferns and alder trees in front of our house building site

The meadow full of sword ferns and alder trees in front of our house building site

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It's not quite mushroom season here yet- we usually see the most mushrooms/fungi here in October once the rains begin, but we did find a few on this particular walk. I'm not sure exactly what this one is, but it looks like a kind of shelf fungi. 

Black Bear, wildlife camera

Black Bear, wildlife camera

We have a wildlife camera tied around a tree facing a path that we, as well as many of the forest animals, frequently walk. We've seen black bears and deer so far, but we also have cougars, which we have yet to see, fortunately. 

Deer, wildlife camera

Deer, wildlife camera

When we got home in the evening, our bunny Violet, who is not used to spending much time alone, was very happy to see us and made sure she was the center of attention and cuddled with for the rest of the night. 

Anthony found himself with our video camera in a slow-motion setting at just the right moment to capture this very relaxed stretch and slightly terrifying yawn. 

We're staying inside now that the smoke has become much more thick over the past few days and trying to minimize the negative health implications of breathing in all of those particles, but it was interesting to see how it changed the light in the forest and spend a little time out in nature.

I hope everyone else has had a relaxing weekend and that you're safe and far away from all of the wildfires and heavy smoke. 

I'll be back with more recipes (and recipe videos) very soon!

Lemon Potato Orzo Soup [full recipe + video]

Warming turmeric and zesty lemon make this potato orzo soup extra healthy and immune-boosting. It's the perfect cozy soup to have any time of the year. 

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Yes, it is still summer and it's definitely still hot where I am, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying a delicious bowl of soup! Lately, I've been craving a hearty potato soup full of orzo pasta and fresh tangy lemon juice, so despite the heat I decided to go for it and spend a just few minutes by the stove top to make that happen. 

This is a variation on a tofu no-chicken noodle soup recipe I made a few months ago, but instead of tofu I used cubed yellow potatoes, and instead of noodles I used orzo pasta. I also added some ground ginger and a teaspoon of turmeric which tastes wonderful with potatoes and makes this soup extra healthy. It's a simple but flavorful recipe made with some of my favorite herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice. 

I'm finally getting back to making recipe videos again! Let me know what you think of the video in the comments- do you like seeing the recipe in the form of a video, or do you just prefer a written recipe with photos?

For now, I intend to keep the videos short and simple, but eventually I want to make longer videos for our YouTube channel as well.

My plan is to start making recipe videos for each recipe from now on, as well as going back and making videos for some of my favorite older recipes, which I'm super excited about because making videos and the process of putting them together is actually so much fun.

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This soup is absolutely worth turning on your stove top for, even in the summer!

If you make this lemony potato & orzo soup, let me know what you think of it.


How to Make Oil-free Vegan Mushroom "Bacon"

Crispy, savory, vegan mushroom bacon. Made on the stove top with a simple, oil-free marinade of tamari, maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar. 


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Okay, so I guess everyone can stop eating bacon from pigs now... right?

I mean seriously, look at those mushrooms, it doesn't get any meatier than that. The marinade is just the right amount of smoky and salty with a hint of maple syrup to caramelize the mushrooms. The chewy texture of these large king oyster mushrooms makes them an even more realistic vegan bacon-replacement. 


Choosing your 'shrooms

The best "bacon" mushrooms are going to be the larger ones like king oyster mushrooms, also called king trumpet mushrooms (shown below), as well as portobello mushrooms. Both kinds will work well for this recipe, but I prefer king oyster mushrooms when I can find them.

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How to perfectly slice king oyster mushrooms using a mandoline

King oyster mushrooms are best sliced on a mandoline using a serrated slicing blade. This will give them the perfect looking texture for this recipe as well as ensure that the mushrooms are an even thickness which will help them to cook evenly. Aim for anywhere from 1/16th--1/8th of an inch in thickness. 

The mandoline I use and love is the Oxo Good Grips Mandoline (affiliate link), just make sure to always use the food holder or a cut proof glove when working with the mandoline.

King Oyster mushrooms sliced on a serrated mandoline blade

King Oyster mushrooms sliced on a serrated mandoline blade

How to slice portobello mushrooms with a knife

For portobello mushrooms, while you could slice them on a mandolin, I prefer to thinly slice them using a knife. Make sure your knife is freshly sharpened- it's especially important when slicing softer produce. 

Remove the portobello mushroom stem, then place your mushroom gills side up and carefully slice into long slices which are roughly 1/16th-1/8th in thickness, as evenly as possible. 

Portobello mushrooms thinly sliced with a sharp knife

Portobello mushrooms thinly sliced with a sharp knife


How to pan fry mushrooms without oil

  1. First, mix together all of the marinade ingredients (2 tbsp tamari, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp maple syrup, and 1/2 tsp liquid smoke) in a small bowl. Place your sliced mushrooms (8 oz.) in a large bowl, then pour over the marinade. Toss a few times to fully coat each mushroom, then let them sit in the marinade for 10-15 minutes.

  2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat, then once warm add a portion of the marinated mushrooms to the dry pan, placing as many as you can flat in the pan without layering or crowding them. You may need to do this in batches. Leave the marinade in the bowl for later use in the recipe.

  3. Let the mushrooms cook, undisturbed, for about a minute or until the bottom of the mushrooms turns golden brown. You may need to turn the heat down to medium/low or low if your pan starts smoking, but keep the pan pretty warm. Using tongs, flip the mushrooms back and forth every minute or two until each side is lightly charred and crispy. This could take anywhere from 5-8 minutes. Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside.

  4. Add your next batch of mushrooms to the pan in a single layer and again let them sit for the first minute until the bottoms turn golden, then flip them every couple of minutes until each side is light brown and slightly charred. This will take less time than the previous batch because the pan will be hotter, about 3-5 minutes.

  5. Once all batches have finished cooking, add the mushrooms you cooked in the previous batch(es) back to the pan and pour over the marinade. Turn the heat to low and cook for another 3 minutes or until the marinade has boiled away and the mushrooms are crispy on the edges but still have a nice sheen, then remove from pan and serve over rice or in any recipe where a bacon alternative is called for such as- sandwiches, wraps, or pasta.


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If you can't find king oyster mushrooms at your grocery store, try your local Asian market. I think the king oysters look a little more meaty, but whichever mushrooms you choose, both make for a fantastic, healthy, plant-based version of bacon.

Portobello mushrooms are much easier to find and will also work well. You may actually find that they cook slightly faster than the time listed for the king oyster mushrooms, depending on how thinly you slice them. 

portobello mushroom bacon

portobello mushroom bacon

My favorite way to enjoy mushroom bacon is on top of some vegan mac and cheese. It's the ultimate comfort food, made extra healthy with mostly unprocessed, 100% plant-based ingredients. 

Nut-free  Vegan sweet potato Mac & Cheese  topped with mushroom bacon

Nut-free Vegan sweet potato Mac & Cheese topped with mushroom bacon

If you try this mushroom bacon recipe, let me know how it goes and what you serve it with!

Notice: This blog post contains affiliate links, which simply means that I earn a commission if you purchase through those links, but your price remains the same. Thank you for your continued support! 


Iced Lavender Earl Grey London Fog Latte

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If you love summery floral flavors and creamy lightly-sweetened beverages, you're going to want to try this recipe! This Earl Grey latte, also called a "London Fog" is made with black Earl Grey tea, lavender syrup made from unrefined coconut sugar, and creamy almond milk. It can be served over ice for a refreshing summer drink, or served hot for a more cozy floral experience. 

Now that we're living in a small city again, we've gotten back into the costly habit of going out for coffee and tea on the weekends. I unintentionally stopped drinking coffee a while ago- oddly, I lost my taste for both coffee and alcohol at the same time about four years ago and haven't had either since, but my love for tea endures all.

Our local coffee shop makes the best sweetened tea lattes; matcha, chai, and one that I hadn't tried until very recently- a London fog latte, which is a vanilla sweetened milky earl grey tea. As soon as I tried one it became an instant new favorite morning drink. The floral flavors of the bergamot Earl Grey tea make it the perfect summer beverage. 

While I love the version my coffee shop makes, it's definitely borderline too sweet to have regularly, not to mention quite expensive for something I could learn to make at home, so that's exactly what I did!

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My favorite part of making any milky tea recipe is watching as the milk and tea blend and swirl together in a glass. Does anyone else find this as mesmerizing as I do? The swirls only last for a split second before it all turns a uniform rosy beige color, so if you blink you might miss it. 

There are only two main steps to this recipe, with an optional third step-

  1. Make the Earl Grey tea concentrate

  2. Make the lavender syrup

  3. Make your own almond milk, or you can just use any store-bought plant based milk you prefer

If you are looking for quality glass milk jars to store homemade milks and teas, check out these liter sized glass jars on Amazon (affiliate link).


How to make Earl Grey tea concentrate 

To make the Earl Grey tea concentrate, bring 2 cups of water to boil in a kettle. Pour the boiling water over two Earl Grey tea bags and steep for 10-12 minutes. This will make for a strong tea concentrate that isn't too bitter. Once it has steeped, remove the tea bags and allow to cool, then pour it into a liter-sized jar and cool it in the fridge. 

*Note: This recipe is for an Iced London Fog Latte. If you just want a single cup of hot tea, you can make a mug of Earl Grey tea and steep it to desired strength, keeping in mind that the almond milk and lavender syrup will dilute it a bit. Then add almond milk and lavender syrup to taste. 

Here are the Earl Grey teas bags that I use (Amazon affiliate link).


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How to make lavender syrup

Ingredients: 1 cup coconut sugar, 1 cup water, 1 tbsp dried culinary lavender flowers, 1 tsp vanilla extract 

Instructions:

  1. Pour the water and coconut sugar in a small pot or saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir and cook until the sugar is completely dissolved into the syrup, about 3 minutes.

  2. Take the pot off the heat and stir in the lavender. Steep for 7 minutes, not too much longer than that or it will start to get bitter.

  3. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove the lavender buds, then stir in the vanilla extract. Store in a sealed container in the fridge, it will keep fresh for about 2 to 3 weeks. Use 1 tsp-1 tbsp of syrup to add sweet lavender flavor into coffee and tea, or use it in your oatmeal or anywhere else you'd enjoy the flavor of lavender.

I buy my dried lavender flowers on Amazon, here are the lavender flowers I use (affiliate link).

This lavender syrup recipe is inspired by Kathy Hester.


How to make your own creamy almond milk (optional)

Store bought almond milk just doesn't compare to the creamy goodness that is homemade almond milk. All you need is 1 cup of raw almonds, a blender, and a nut milk bag or fine mesh sieve.

If you don't want to make the almond milk yourself, this latte will still be delicious, but it won't be quite as rich and decadent as it would with the homemade milk. 

Soak your raw almonds overnight, then drain out the soaking water and give them a good rinse. Place them in a blender with 4 cups of water and blend for a few minutes until very smooth. Pour this mixture through a sieve or nut milk bag, straining out the almond pulp. Save the almond pulp to use in other recipes throughout the week. It functions similarly to almond flour in some recipes. 

Pour the strained almond milk into a glass jar using a funnel if needed and store in the fridge for up to a week. 

NOTe: The flowers on the left are not lavender, just lavender-colored flowers I found growing in my garden. The dried flowers on the right are actually dried lavender flowers.

NOTe: The flowers on the left are not lavender, just lavender-colored flowers I found growing in my garden. The dried flowers on the right are actually dried lavender flowers.


To Assemble

In the 1-liter jar that your 2 cups of Earl Grey concentrate is in, pour in 2 cups of homemade almond milk (check out those groovy swirls!) Taste and add more almond milk if desired. Add in your lavender syrup to taste, I used 3 tablespoons for this one liter serving size, but start with a little and taste until you have your own preferred level of lavender flavor and sweetness. Put a cap on the jar and shake to distribute the syrup, or you can give it a good stir. 

Serve in individual glasses over ice and enjoy!

Notice: This blog post contains affiliate links, which simply means that I earn a commission if you purchase through those links, but your price remains the same. Thank you for your continued support!