Overnight Oats

overnight oats berries

Overnight oats, who’d of thunk it?!  Well, I must say I am glad someone did!  I had been reluctant to try overnight oats because eating cold oatmeal just didn’t sound appealing to me. As part of my daily goal to experience new things (big or small) and go out of the box/my comfort zone, I gave this a whirl. I must say, I enjoyed them, as did the hubs. He even made is own!

One of the reasons I like best about these clever breakfast meals is that they are SUPER easy and it all goes into a mason jar! I suggest using a wide mouth jar.  This does make a generous amount and you can always use a half-pint sized jar as well and reduce the ingredients to half.  These work fantastic for on-the-go, in a hurry and crazy mornings. The other wonderful thing, is you can make up your own with just about anything tasty to put in them, all you need are some oats, fresh or frozen fruit and add a little cinnamon, vanilla and honey,  you are ready to roll.  Although these have not yet been tested with the kids (but will be tomorrow, I will do a follow up) I can only hope for the best.

As I mentioned before, you can mix and match with all kinds of great whole foods, the goal is to get a balanced plant based nutrient dense breakfast without added sugars.
Berries, nuts, spices, greens, favorite fruits, seeds, nut butters, granola, maca powder, matcha and so much more, have fun with your creations and try something new!

Let me know if you try it and share your favorite.




Small mason Jar
1/2 cup of organic rolled oats (I use Bob’s, but it is packaged in a facility that packages nuts, if you have a nut sensitivity, try GF Harvest)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
1 tablespoon maple syrup or your desired sweetener
1 tablespoon cacao powder
1 cup unsweetened almond milk or non-dairy liquid of choice
1 ripe banana (slice and kinda mash up)

Matcha Mix Up
Small mason Jar
3/4 cup of organic rolled oats (I use Bob’s, but it is packaged in a facility that packages nuts, if you have a nut sensitivity, try GF Harvest)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
1 tablespoon honey, maple syrup or your desired sweetener
1 teaspoon Matcha powder
1 cup unsweetened almond milk or non-dairy liquid of choice
optional-1 ripe banana (slice and kinda mash up)


Add all ingredients into a small mason jar, I suggest doing it in order of ingredients. When making your own add the liquid last. Seal it with the lid, do a couple shakes and shimmies and place in the fridge overnight. You can also add the banana in the morning instead of the night before.

Go big with a little sprinkle of dark chocolate chips (Enjoy Life dairy free dark chocolate morsels), optional of course.

Wake up and breakfast is ready!


Some great overnight oat recipes from my favorite recipe developers:

Maple Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats from The Glowing Fridge

Berry Peachy Overnight Oats from The Glowing Fridge

Berry Cobbler Overnight Oats from Veggies Don’t Bite

Easy Overnight Buckwheat Parfait from Oh She Glows

Here are some more from Oh She Glows

Here are some more from Veggies Don’t Bite




Satisfying PB Smoothie

It is taking me FO-eva to get a post done that shares what I do for fitness and some of my fitness heroes.   So in the meantime, make this smoothie from one of my favorite fitness experts Angie Stewart Fitness

If you like peanut butter than you will be all over this, if your allergic not sure it would taste good with another option and if you don’t like peanut butter well your missing out ;) This smoothie fills me up, I am not joking!  I am good until lunch time and it is kinda like drinking a frosty, like those ones back in the day when you were a kid.  Now you really want to try it don’t you?



Recipe inspired by Angie Stewart Fitness


1 cup almond milk
1 handful spinach
1 very generous tablespoon peanut butter
1 generous tablespoon cacao or cocoa powder
1 large frozen banana, frozen works best
1 Tablespoon hemp seeds
1 Tablespoon ground flax seeds
handful ice


Blend in high speed blender and enjoy!

Getting Comfortable Being Uncomfortable



Life lessons…

Always a work in progress and it can be a struggle for many of us. Some of us do not have challenges with this, but there are many of us who do.  I am one of them and it has been an ongoing learning experience not only for me, but for my kids.  Teaching our kids to work through those feelings isn’t easy, but a necessity in life.  Some people may not even realize they get uncomfortable and will react with distance, lies or put the attention elsewhere. It’s an observation I see often not only with adults but with kids too.

We are all unique and rightly so, some of us see others differently, may have a different lifestyle or are raised differently, remember everyone has a story and in the end, we all have kindness & love to share. There may be some uncomfortable situations we don’t always have the facts, situation or understanding and that’s part of learning how to handle ourselves towards others. Whether it is having to talk to other people, a new job, making a choice/decision we may not want, doing something that challenges us, meeting new people, there is so much in life that makes us uncomfortable but we need to not let it be that way. Learning how to work/deal with being uncomfortable isn’t always easy, but it’s possible. Accomplishing that uncomfortableness (yeah, I know it isn’t a “real” word) and trust in ourselves. A life lesson we are learning as a family with our kids. How to set boundaries with friends, speaking up for ourselves, talking to teachers/mentors/coaches, boys, how other adults interact with them, many topics bring uncomfortableness but the more we can get through them, the easier the tougher ones will be to handle.  Growth is uncomfortable.

We recently have new neighbors across the street.  There are two girls who are in 4th grade and 7th grade.  The younger one is quite spirited.  She is very comfortable around people, very talkative, energetic and can be a bit overwhelming for some of us.  The older sister is a little more calmer, mature, active and reminds her sister to calm down from time to time. These girls are extremely sweet and friendly, it is nice to have some other kids who want to play outside for our girls to play with in our neighborhood.  What we are learning with these new friends is how to be comfortable being uncomfortable. They are not disrespectful or ungrateful towards anyone, you can just get a little exhausted.  Small doses until there is a mutual understanding and boundary of what we are willing to handle.  For example, when the younger one is just so friendly, clings on to you and asks to use your phone to take a selfie or pulls a bin out off your shelf and looks through it or just spazzes out and runs around all within 5 minutes!  These are really not that big of a deal, but these are behaviors and characters that our kids are not used to.  It is healthy and a good experience for our family to learn how to manage the feelings we have and our reactions.  The 4th grader is hilarious, but she is so comfortable it makes others uncomfortable. That is a huge part of getting through the uncomfortable part and to the comfortable part. Like yourself, trust yourself, get rid of the fear and negativity.  We all know doing this will make it easier, yet we fight it. It’s just like, nothing will work unless you do. How are you going to get through A to get to B.  It comes down to choices, you can choose to always take the easy way and not grow or challenge yourself to new experiences to grow your garden of life.

A life lesson we are learning as a family with our kids. How to set boundaries with friends, speaking up for ourselves, talking to teachers/mentors/coaches, boys, how other adults interact with them, many topics bring uncomfortableness but the more we can get through them, the easier the tougher ones will be to handle.  Growth is uncomfortable.
Challenge yourself each day to get through being uncomfortable

Here is a great article https://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/get-comfortable-uncomfortable/


No Eggs or Butter! How Do You Bake?

This question arises quite frequently when people discover we are plant based, “if you don’t eat eggs or butter, how can you possibly bake anything?”

For as much as I like to make treats, I was determined to find solutions.  It did take some trial and error but my treat eaters have been very happy with the results :)  As crazy as it sounds to most people, you can make A LOT of delicious recipes beyond treats, without using any of animal based ingredients. Whether you are plant based, vegan, allergic or just ran out of eggs, there are some staples that you can use for replacing eggs and butter when baking.  In fact, the recipe will be free of hormones, antibiotics, cholesterol, heart disease, autoimmune issues, excessive unhealthy fat, and the list goes on.  Replacing eggs or butter with whole food ingredients provide an abundance of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and other nutrients that benefit the body for activity, recovery and overall health.  I feel it is a good trade.  I have found that I use some of the listed options below more frequently than others as that just seems to work the best for that specific recipe or it just happens to be what I have on hand.



My Go-To EGG Substitutions when baking:

Chia Seeds and Flaxseeds
Best for: cakes, muffins, quick breads, yeast breads, cookies, brownies
1 egg1 tablespoon ground chia seeds or flaxseed mixed 3 tablespoons water let sit at least 10 minutes.You also get binding properties with both of these seeds.

Banana (or Fruit Purees, even sweet potato and pumpkin)
Best for: cakes, muffins, quick breads
1 egg: 1/4 cup mashed banana or other pureed fruit
Remember that the riper the banana the more your recipe will taste like banana and add sweetness, so just be sure how ripe you want your banana to be.

Unsweetened Applesauce
Best for: cakes, muffins, quick breads
1 egg: 1/4 cup applesauce
check consistency before adding more and do not exceed 1 cup.  Applesauce binds with flours very well adding moisture to your recipe.

Nut Butters
Best for cookies, brownies. Just about any nut butter will work, but almond and cashew have been the most successful for me.  If you need a nut free, use sunflower seed butter.
Use equal parts called for in the recipe

Sometimes if a recipe calls for an egg and the ingredients include a leavening agent like baking powder or baking soda, I will just add a little extra fluid like almond milk or water and go off the consistency of the mixture.

These are less used in my kitchen:

Apple Cider Vinegar & Baking Soda
Best when combined with baking soda, it causes dough to rise, making it a perfect egg leavening replacement.
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 1 teaspoon baking soda.




My Go-To BUTTER Substitutions for baking:

Unsweetened Applesauce
1/3 of a cup of applesauce to replace every 1/2 cup of oil or margarine

Nut Butters
Best for cookies, muffins, pancakes
Use an equal amount of nut butter to replace the butter or oil in a recipe.  Just about any nut butter will work, but almond and cashew have been the most successful for me.  If you need a nut free, use sunflower seed butter.  Be sure the nut butters are smooth, not made with added sugar and oils and are room temperature

Mashed Avocado
Works best in chocolate based recipes, ice creams, smoothies
1 egg: 1/4 cup mashed avocado




Here are a few other suggestions for substituting animal by products.  Sometimes the vegetables in the veggie burgers can add too much moisture so adding in a little rolled oats, arrowroot, potatoes/sweet potatoes, bread crumbs or flour can provide binding.  Be sure to add a little at a time until you get the consistency you want.  Nut Milks work very well, especially almond milk for replacing cow’s milk.  Cashew milk adds a little more creaminess to it, and coconut milk works great for when you want a creamier texture (like in ice creams).  Adding apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice to your milks will give it a buttermilk flavor and is great when making mashed potatoes, biscuits, pancakes or scones. When needing to use cream, coconut milk and cashews blended with water (equal parts) are great substitutions.  For refined sugars, I use dates for most of my recipes.  Sometimes honey and pure maple syrup.  Whatever you choose to do, know there are many options if you want to improve your health or if you ran out of an ingredient.


For more ideas, check the links below:
Guide to Plant Based Baking

Plant Based Baking Substitutions


Lunch and Snack Ideas for Kids

Lunch packed, Pesto Wraps, cucumbers and fruit salad

During the school year and the summer break,  I rely on some of the favorites picked by the kids to keep well stocked, which means batch baking, dicing and slicing. I also like to try new recipes to change things up a bit. The list is ever evolving and changing, so be sure to check the Kids tab for new ideas!  Everything I have on my blog are recipes that are consumed and liked by my family, kid approved! What is wonderful about these choices is they work for lunches and/or snacks, and are not filled with corn starch, corn syrup, oil, refined sugar, white flour, bleached flour and the many non food ingredients found in most packaged items. I will say we do have our occasional packaged pretzels and Late July crackers in the pantry, there are far worse options than those. Sports are a large component of our family, so I keep these, along with lots of fresh fruits and veggies on hand for those grab-n-go moments. I have included a variety of options for those who do and don’t have food sensitivities.

kid snack summer

And remember, these aren’t just for kids :)


One of the top requested from my girls are Zucchini Muffins. Love that these have some veggies in them and can be made without nuts and are dairy free, soy free and a gluten free option. And double up the recipe and store in the freezer for lasting snacking.

Kinda Like Muffins are another huge hit around here and with friends. Another snack that can be changed up to your liking, with or without chocolate, with or without nuts. Perfect size for grab-n-go time and store in the freezer for long lasting. My kids will eat them straight from the freezer, I have yet to try them like that but they say they are tasty that way.  The Blender Pancakes have been a great snack lately, I double the batch and then store the remaining pancakes in the fridge.  They hold well for quick grab and go, and the kids pack them as snacks for school too.

Pesto Roll Ups are another quick lunch fix. I make pesto once in while and we will use it for the wraps. These are filling, flavorful and easy to make. The PBJB Burrito is another “wrap” the kids make, even though we may have bread, they prefer a tortilla most of the time. They will also just do PBB, which is peanut butter and banana rolled up.  Sierra’s Potato Salad is another addition to the lunches.  As well as Quinoa Salad.  My kids will pack these nuggets in their lunch with ketchup, yes cold packed.  Made with chickpeas which are a great source of fiber, carbs, calcium, iron, protein and vitamin A, which make for a great snack or some fuel for a workout., Chick’,LESS Nuggets.


Granola and granola bars are very convenient and come in many varieties in the store. What is not convenient is the ingredients. Avoid the unnecessary sugars and find something that is less processed.  Best to find other options, but if you are going to buy bars, I suggest, Lara Bars (read ingredients), Go Raw, Picky Bars and That’s It Bars.  Keep in mind when buying bars the less ingredients the better and where on the list the ingredient falls. They are intended to provide your body with fuel. Regardless of what you call them, it is wise to look at the ingredients to determine whether they are a nutritious choice or merely empty calories. Look for words (AND STAY AWAY FROM THEM) like brown rice syrup, agave, evaporated cane juice, cane sugar, corn syrup, soy oil, coconut sugar, raw sugar. These are glorified names for added sugars that are totally not necessary, buy organic if possible, as with anything, if you don’t recognize an ingredient don’t buy it.  Here are a couple I have made: Oatmeal Cookies , Dark Chocolate Granola Bars , Fallnola, Hangry Bars.

Whether you need something for school or sports, these Energy Bites and Raw Cookies and Hangry Bars are the bomb! They are a powerful package in a small bite and are such a better option than a sports bar. My husband packs these on his long bike rides and we keep them handy for our backpacking excursions as well.

The girls are always putting fresh fruit and vegetables in their lunch which are the largest portion of their lunch, whether it be a mini salad (fruit too), sliced apples, stone fruits, grapes, cuties, sugar snap peas, carrots, cucumbers and many other varieties.  Always have fruits and veggies packed in lunches.  Keep some of the favorites stocked, but also give them varieties to try because limiting to only their favorite will limit their body of vitamins and minerals.

An example of a hummus veggie wrap lunch


Cucumbers are a favorite around here, especially since we started growing our own. Kyla’s Cucumbers Snack and Mikes Mango Madness are popular with my kids and their friends. Even just sprinkling salt and pepper with the lemon is refreshing.

Hummus, it goes with so much, veggies, crackers, wraps or as a salad dressing with some balsamic stirred with it. There are many store bought brands and flavors. Downside, there is “stuff” in there that doesn’t need to be, like oil (soybean, canola, safflower). Hummus is fairly easy to make and you can find many recipes on the internet that do not use oil, citric acid, potassium sorbate, phosphoric, cultured dextrose or “natural flavors”. Here are some great hummus recipes to try.


Some of my favorite recipe makers have put together some suggestions:

Veggies Don’t Bite – Easy School Lunches

Dreena Burton – Tips For Lunches

Fully Raw – Lunchbox Ideas

Making sure you provide plenty of FRESH options will not only provide balanced nutrition for you and your children, but it will introduce making better choices.  The more that is accessible, the easier it will be. And sometimes the most simplest of items are all that is needed.



Use It Year Round

As in many areas of the world, the sun is out many months of the year. Here in California, the sun comes out to play even when we should be getting rain. We are in the midst of the longer sunny days and being prepared for the heat that is to come is helpful.  Even if you are an active family outside year round, in the pool, on the trails, on bikes and playing more than during the winter, it is extremely important to keep your largest organism protected.  And to keep in mind, anything you put on your skin is absorbed, therefore what you choose to put on your skin is even more important. Either way, sun protection is important for all seasons and all areas we live in to help prevent the sun’s UV rays from soaking into the skin for too long of time. We also want to be sure we get adequate Vitamin D and the sun is how our bodies produce it.  But how do we choose a sunscreen with all the debate over certain ingredients and chemicals in sunscreens that may be more harmful than good?  Bottom line we need to protect ourselves from too much over exposure and learning how to protect ourselves is the first step.

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Tacos with Sweet Potato Wedges

sweet potato taco thumb

Our family tends to eat our fair share of beans and legumes, rice, millet or quinoa and veggies all mixed together in some form.  I love that they offer versatility, are filling yet satisfying and full of yummy goodness our active bodies thrive on. These ingredients haven’t failed me and adding different mixes of spices to them gives them a variety in taste.  Sometimes potatoes are added as well. Whether we packed them in a tortilla, fill a taco or toss in a bowl, some of our favorite meals are created with these staples.

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Specialty Sandwich

specialty sandwich

The girls do not eat sandwiches often but they came up with their own creation to take to school for lunch. One day they asked Jon and I if we wanted a specialty sandwich for lunch, Jon said “sure”, I was a little hesitant because I like to know what is in my food :)  but I went with the flow and was surprisingly served with a very tasty sandwich.   I was quite impressed they used the resources they had and have now made this their specialty sandwich when they feel like eating one. I just need to make sure we have certain ingredients stocked so they can work their creations in the kitchen.

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