No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites

No bake chocolate chip "cookies" for snack, yum! These energy bites are so easy to make. Just mix quick oats with your mixins' of choice and bind with nut/seed butter. We used chocolate chips, dried cherries, coconut flakes, ground flaxseed, chia seeds and peanut butter. But you can change it up however you like. If you want them to be completely added-sugar free, swap the chocolate chips with cacao nibs and use naturally sweet fruit, like raisins or diced up dates. We usually make the dough together and eat it straight from the bowl.
It's that good!

Ingredients straight from the pantry - doesn't get much easier than that :)
'Come on and stir it up...little darling, stir it up...' Do you like Bob Marley? Silly question. 
So good! Sometimes we flatten them so they are more cookie-like.

No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites

1/2 cup quick oats
1/4 cup coconut chips
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/8 cup vegan chocolate chips
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon flaxseed
1/3 cup natural peanut butter*

1.  In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients except the peanut butter.

2.  Add in the peanut butter. It may take several minutes of stirring to bind the ingredients together. If it is too wet, add more oats. If it is too dry, add more peanut butter.

3. Take a heaping tablespoon of dough at a time, pressing and rolling them into balls with your hands. You can keep them in this shape or press them down so they are flat, if preferred.

*you can swap the peanut butter with any nut or seed butter you prefer but may have to slightly increase or decrease the amount depending on the thickness of the butter you use.

Tofu Noodle Stir Fry

This is a pantry staple dish for us. Why, because it's fast, healthy, kid approved and EASY. Did you know that soba noodles are packed with protein? Yep you heard. This is really one of those awesome dishes that hit the spot on a weeknight. We're talking 15-20 minutes in the kitchen. It's also got plenty of room for flexibility. Your kids like mushrooms? Add mushrooms, your kids like peas, add peas! Your kids like... you get the idea. Anyway, since this is one of those real fast meals, we like to hand out veggies while cooking. Carrot sticks are a great choice while making fun conversation with the little guys.

(Serves about four people)

1 pound package extra firm tofu (previously marinated in soy sauce and refrigerated)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 pound soba noodles (or whole wheat spaghetti)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil (or to taste)

1. Cube tofu and put in a zip top bag or sealed container with soy sauce. Marinate for at least 15 minutes or overnight.

2. Put a large covered pot of water on high heat. Follow steps below and add the noodles to the water once the water comes to a full boil. Cook the noodles for the amount of time indicated on the box instructions.

3. Bring the olive oil to medium heat in a large sauté pan, and then add the tofu (reserving the marinade).

4. Sauté the tofu until brown on all sides then add the reserved marinade. Add in the onion and garlic powder.

5. After soba noodles have boiled, drain and add to the pan with the tofu. Add sesame oil as a finishing touch.

Cinnamon Tortilla Dippers

This is a fun, quick, easy recipe when you need a healthy, sweet snack. Again, dipping is not only super fun for kids but keeps them busy for a while ;) Healthy and sweet, it's a perfect sub for a processed treat.

(Serves 1 kiddo)

1 whole wheat tortilla
1 teaspoon agave or maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (or to taste)
Applesauce for dipping (recipe below)

For the applesauce:

4 apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 cup water
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Put all of the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat.

2. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes - 15 minutes, until the apples are very tender.

3. Remove from heat and smash the apples with a fork until the desired consistency is achieved.

For the dippers:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (or foil sprayed with cooking spray).

3. Lay the tortilla on the sheet and spray both sides with cooking spray.

4. Drizzle agave over the tortilla and spread evenly with a spoon. Sprinkle with the cinnamon.

5. Bake for 5-10 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.

6. Let cool for five minutes then cut or break the tortilla into chips.

Cinnamon and Peanut Butter Sandwich

Sick of old pb and j? This is what we threw together today. Always working on new lunchbox ideas, simple and familiar is often best. Slightly different but still hits the spot.

(Makes about one serving)

2 slices whole wheat bread
2 tablespoons organic peanut butter
1 teaspoon agave (or maple syrup)
Dash of cinnamon 

1. Spread the peanut butter on one side of the bread.

2. Drizzle the agave over the peanut butter and sprinkle with cinnamon. Top with second slice of bread.

30 Minute Citrus Tea Cakes

When life brings you grapefruit...make tea cakes! After picking what had to be thousands of grapefruit, it's nice to sit down and have such a delicate treat. I don't know what it is about having "tea" that makes Americans feel so tickled but it hasn't lost its charm. This recipe is a great kids in the kitchen activity and can be made with any citrus you have on hand. The cakes are super moist and made with vegan ingredients. 

If you are in the same situation with a citrus harvest overload, this recipe won't exactly relieve your surplus, but that's okay! Check out your local hunger relief agencies to see if they will accept a donation. Some organizations, like FoodForward in LA, will even come pick the fruit for you. If you don't have fruit trees but want to pick fruit (why not!?) organizations like FoodForward also accept volunteers. So don't let that produce go to waste! 

Citrus Tea Cakes

1 cup almond milk
1 tbsp citrus juice
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tbsp citrus zest
6 tbsp aquafaba* (or two flax eggs)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. In a liquid measuring cup, add almond milk, citrus juice, and vanilla, set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, blend the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and zest. Add in the milk mixture, aquafaba, syrup and olive oil. Blend until everything is just combined. 

4. Pour mixture into cupcake liners or a greased muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool then dust with powdered sugar or citrus zest, if desired. 

*For the aquafaba, we use liquid drained from a can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas). It makes a perfect replacement for eggs in baking. The remaining liquid and beans can be kept in the refrigerator for other uses. 

Vegan Shepherd's Pie

Photo courtesy of Crafty Lumberjacks

This past Christmas, Jen was fixing a holiday meal for a mixed vegan and non-vegan crowd. She didn’t want to disappoint them with a dish that didn’t leave everyone feeling satisfied - holiday meal-level satisfied. Working with her brother Andrew and his partner Dennis of the Crafty Lumberjacks – Vegan Shepherd’s Pie was born. Even the non-vegans of the crowd said that they would be able to eat vegan food all the time if it tasted like this. A carnivore converter - it was a Christmas miracle!

Shepherd’s Pie, traditionally made with lamb, is definitely one of the meatier comfort foods that comes to mind. We bet most people would be skeptical of a vegan version, thinking you wouldn’t be able to get that same rich flavor. But this recipe will not disappoint! So tell your friends and relatives to wear their stretchy pants when you make them this dish, because they are going to be stuffed after this meal, holiday meal-level stuffed!

If you haven't already, check out Andrew and Dennis of Crafty Lumberjacks' site - they have tons of holiday and craft inspiration that looks amazing!

Vegan Shepherd's Pie

For the filling:

1 recipe for tofu crumbles, recipe below which can be made ahead (or substitute with store-bought crumbles, such as Beyond Meat)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups vegetable stock
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, stems removed and minced
Salt and pepper to taste
16 ounces (1 package) of frozen vegetable medley

For the topping:

6 small russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons vegan margarine (such as Earth Balance)
1 tablespoon vegetable bouillon (such as Better than Bouillon)
1/2 cup unsweetened plant milk of choice
Salt and pepper to taste

1.      Preheat the oven to 350F. Assemble the tofu crumbles per the recipe below. While the crumbles are in the oven, prepare the mashed potato topping. Add potatoes to a large pot of water, bring to a boil and let cook for about 20 minutes, or until soft. 

2.     While the potatoes cook, prepare the filling. In a large saucepan on low heat, add the olive oil and onion. Sauté the onion for about 5 minutes, until softened.

3.     Add flour and stir until it is golden brown and has a soft paste consistency (about 3 minutes). If it gets too dry, add more oil.

4.     Slowly whisk in the vegetable stock and continue whisking until it is smooth, and the flour has incorporated. 

5.     Add the rosemary and stirring occasionally, let simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

6.     While the gravy is simmering, drain the pot of potatoes then add the potatoes back into the pot. Add the plant milk, margarine, salt, pepper and bouillon. Mash until well combined, set aside. 

7.      Add the tofu crumbles and frozen vegetable mix to the gravy then pour the mixture into a greased casserole dish.

8.     Spread the mashed potatoes evenly on top of the filling. Place the casserole dish on a sheet pan and bake at 350F for 25 minutes, until the topping is just starting to turn golden. Let cool for a few minutes, and serve!

Tofu Meat Crumbles:
(This recipe is from

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon soy sauce (gluten-free if preferred) 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 block extra-firm tofu, drained (no need to press it)

1.      Preheat the oven to 350F.  Lightly grease a large baking sheet or line with parchment paper.

2.     Mix the nutritional yeast, soy sauce, olive oil chili powder, garlic powder, and liquid smoke together in a large bowl. It will make a brown paste-like texture.

3.     Crumble the block of tofu with your fingers into the bowl along with the seasoning. Mix the tofu crumbles with the seasoning making sure all of the tofu is evenly coated. 

4.     Spread the tofu crumbles evenly over the pan. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, stopping to stir the tofu every now and then. Keep a close eye on it towards the end so that it doesn't burn. You want the tofu to be nice and browned. The smaller crumbles will be darker than the larger crumbles, and that's ok because it will provide a variety of texture.