Chocolate Banana Chia Pudding with Coconut Whip


Everything looks yummy in a mason jar. 

Forgive me for skipping out on my round up for June.  This summer has been going by altogether too fast.  More on that jazz later.  The biggest feature in our kitchen this summer has been the banana.  Because Oliver has developed a serious addiction to this mushy fruit, we have to keep a bunch on hand at all times.  This results in many of our dishes using bananas to keep from spoiling or overcrowding the freezer.

I’ve posted about the many benefits of chia seeds before, on this post, but until last week I had never made my own chia pudding.  I’ve seen recipes for it a dozen times, it always looked quick and easy, so why has this escaped me?  Not only is this recipe nutrient packed, but its sugar free, soy free, gluten free and pretty darn tasty.  The strange tapioca-like texture of the pudding pairs perfectly with the smooth coconut whip cream.  Both are sweetened just enough to not overwhelm your palate.

Chocolate Banana chia pudding with coconut whip


  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or coconut)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 bananas
  • 3 medjool dates, pits removed
  • 3 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Dash of sea salt

  • 1 can coconut milk (refrigerated overnight)
  • 1 tablespoon agave
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract
  • 1 tablespoon shredded coconut

  • Fresh banana slices, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and some chocolate chips for garnish (optional)


  1. Place almond milk, chia seeds, bananas, dates, raw cacao, vanilla and salt in blender and blend till all ingredients are smooth.
  2. Place in covered container in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
  3. Meanwhile make the coconut whipped cream. Open the can of coconut milk carefully. scoop out the top layer of cream, while reserving the leftover coconut water for another recipe (smoothie perhaps). Place in bowl and add agave, vanilla, and shredded coconut. Whisk by hand or with hand mixer till fluffy. (Do not over whisk, or you will have soupy whip)
  4. After becoming super impatient, find some serving glasses or jars.
  5. Stack as a trifle alternating the chia pudding/coconut whip as desired. You can also just dollop some of the whip as you like.
  6. Garnish with fresh banana slices, chocolate chips, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.




Chia is also loaded with fiber, making this pudding also makes a great breakfast.  It is also so creamy that it satisfies any desire for dairy.  Im thinking ground up chia seeds may be the perfect binder for a raw banana cream pie.  Enjoy!



 Oliver gettin down with his banana filled mesh feeder at the Riverwest Co op

Banana Bread


Sheboygan Wisconsin is cold and rainy.  Its June, and I’m wearing socks.  I never wear socks, so it must be cold.  Aside from Zucchini bread, I like to make most of my other loaf breads in the fall.  The colder weather slowly trickles inside, and the warmth of running the oven for over an hour with the smells only seems fit for that time of year.

The fresh zucchini of the season won’t be around for another month, and my over ripe bananas needed to be used somehow.  Thus, Banana Bread.  Just hearing those two words makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.


Bananas have high levels of tryptophan, that stuff then turns into serotonin, which keeps your brain happy and keeps you more alert.  They are the most popular fruit in the US.  Did you know that the bananas we eat today are different from those 20 years ago?  I have heard that the strain of bananas we most commonly use, currently called the cavendish, is going extinct! But no need to stress.  Chances are our grandparents were eating a different type of banana, and we never even noticed the switch.

Banana Bread


  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 cup earth balance, at room temp
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed well, but still a little chunky
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Spray a 8×4 bread pan with non stick cooking spray.
  3. Mix almond milk with apple cider vinegar and set aside to curdle.
  4. In one bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and spices. Set aside
  5. In mixer, cream sugar and earth balance till light and fluffy. Mix in mashed bananas, almond milk, and vanilla.
  6. Gently stir in flour mixture to banana mixture.
  7. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts.
  8. Pour into loaf pan and bake for 1 hour.
  9. Allow to slightly cool before removing from pan.


Around here, when we can’t find friends to help us finish the loaf within the first day, we will warm up a slice with some melted earth balance or coconut oil for breakfast.  Enjoy!


Mindy’s Mint Julep Smoothie

photo (23)

Please ignore the avocado and bagel seeds…. they do not find their way into this smoothie!

Mindy, Mindy.  If you only knew how much I missed your vegan sausage patty breakfast sandwiches, your tofu cutlets, the fresh squeezed grapefruit juice you bring me while I’m still in bed, and alas, your mint julep smoothies.

My friend Malinda, aka Mindy, is one of my favorite people in the world.  I could list all the amazing things about her, but we all have best friends we feel this way about.  She is such a caring person, and has all those motherly dispositions that I love in all my girl friends.  We have been sharing recipes for years, and no matter how many times I try to replicate some of hers, they never, and I mean never, turn out as well.  Suffice to say, had she made this recipe, it would be ten times better than mine.

I’m not entirely sure why she calls it a mint julep smoothie, as there is no rum, or sugar.  I have also altered this a tad, adding some chia seeds for a morning boost.  We all know how food fads come and go (kale, flax, quinoa, kombucha), and how each year a different ‘super-food’ so to speak plays a larger role.  This year I think it would have to be Chia seeds.  Chia seeds, much like flax seeds are high in omega 3’s and 6’s, something we all need more of.  They are also high in fiber.  When using them in recipes, chia seeds get gelatinous like ground flax, only you don’t need to take that extra step and ground chia seeds.

Image-1  Tiny, tiny Chia seeds

My two favorite things about this smoothie are the fresh, cooling flavors the mint brings, and creaminess you get from the tahini.  Tahini being another one of my favorite versatile ingredients, loaded with protein and dietary fiber.

Mint Julep Smoothie


  • 1.5 cups frozen Peaches
  • 1/2 cup Mangos
  • 2 Tbl. Chia seeds
  • 2 Tbl. Tahini
  • 1.5 Tbl. Agave
  • 1 cup Almond milk
  • Handful of fresh Mint Leaves


  1. Place all ingredients in blender.
  2. Run on high till smooth.
  3. If its too thick to your liking add a tad more almond milk to thin it out.


This summer I fell addict to Health Warrior’s Chia coconut bars.  They are so dreamy, and the perfect pick me up snack!  Health Warrior also has an amazing list of athletes that consider themselves in the chia tribe.  Each serving (approx. 2 Tbl.) of chia seed contains five times the omega-3 content of a 1/4-cup serving of walnuts, twice the iron and magnesium of a cup of spinach and more than twice the fiber of a cup of oatmeal.  Now that is a superfood!  Chia seeds are also great sprinkled over oatmeal, cereals, in granola bars, and I love em in raw crackers.  Enjoy!

Birdie Granola aka ‘Nola’

photo (23) Its been almost 2 months ago since we left Wisconsin.  And as much as I do miss it, I am whole heartedly enjoying Annapolis, Maryland.  What a great city.  A charming brick laid downtown, overly dog friendly, bike friendly, and I love living in a city that thrives off of the water.  And have I mentioned yet how nice it is to be able to smell the salt water!  Its lovely. Back in Sheboygan, we were making a plethora of granola bi-weekly.  Vegpod sold two flavors at the farmers market, and two flavors to Goodside Grocery for resale.  It always had a tendency to sell like crazy, and we never ran out at the house.  Win-win.  Annapolis is proving to be similar.  Though we are not wholesaling anywhere, and though we don’t run a booth here, we do live with the cutest two-and-three-quarter-year old, who loves to eat granola, or ‘nola’ as she calls it.  Lailah like to eat her nola just as is with a spoon, or out of her hand.  How kid friendly is that? photo (22) The other great things about this granola is that its super easy to make.  And homemade always tastes better anyway, so why out source?  Thats no reason to stop buying Vegpod’s granola, but I encourage everyone to try it out!  I promise you will feel amazing and your kitchen will smell fabulous for hours!  Did I mention its gluten free as well?

Birdie Granola


  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup quinoa flour (scoop and shake to level)
  • 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, walnuts, or any kind of nut
  • 2/3 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 tea. pinch sea salt
  • 2 tea. cinnamon
  • 1 tea. nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup safflower oil
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup (the good stuff) or agave nectar
  • 1.5 tea. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup raisins, cranberries or any other chopped dried fruit


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix first set of ingredients together in large bowl.
  2. Then mix second set of ingredients in separate bowl.
  3. Pour wet into dry ingredients, combine until well coated. spread evenly on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, stir. bake for another 10 minutes, keeping a close eye on the stuff, both agave & maple syrup can brown quick!
  5. Remove from oven, stirring again.
  6. Once its cool, stir in the dried fruit.

There you have it!  I told you it was easy.  You don’t have to be precise with any of the nuts or fruits, really anything to your liking will work.  Sometimes I like to stir in toasted coconut, then sometimes cherries are great for a little tartness.  You can be like Lailah and eat it as is, or have it over your favorite yogurt or milk with some berries.  I have been obsessed with the Trader Joe’s brand soy yogurt, but they have been out of stock for months!  Such a bummer.  Since then I’ve opted for the so-delicious coconut milk based yogurt.  Its not bad, but nothing compared to Trader Joe’s.  Once the weather cools, I will pull out the dehydrator and start making my own again.  Oh fall, how I am ready for you!

photo (21)

In the voice of Lou Reed….’Sunday Morning’ Pancakes

photo (15)

I do love Sunday mornings.  And countless times upon rising, the first thoughts that run through my head are:

1.  Finally a day without the alarm clock, including snuggles with the fam & pups.

2.  I am so incredibly thankful that I am not a brunch chef anymore.  I love cooking brunch.  I just like to leisurely sit and eat it too.

3.  Pancakes!!

As I lay in bed still sleepy eyed, The Velvet Undergrounds ‘Sunday morning’ lyrics pop into my head quite regularly.  Thus its time to flip on the tunes, and make some pancakes!  Not a bad way to start the day.

Since I became pregnant I haven’t had many odd cravings at all.  No pickles, non of the non vegan things people mentioned I would crave.  Except for one thing.  Pancakes.  I have always been more of a savory breakfast person, but the little one inside screams for fruit topped pancakes weekly.  And who am I to deny that.

So here is a pancake recipe I adapted from Candle Cafes recipe, and changed a bit to be a little more whole foodie.  We skipped out on the blueberry ‘butter’, and opted for just some fresh peaches, and maple syrup.

Sunday Morning Pancakes

  • 1 Cup Sprouted Spelt Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Quinoa Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Unbleached Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Flax Seed
  • 2 Cups Unsweetened Coconut Milk or Alternative of Choice
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut oil, melted
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Fresh Fruit, for accompaniment, we had peaches that needed to be used.
  • Maple Syrup, for accompaniment
  1. Put the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and ground flax seed in a large bowl and stir to combine.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, coconut oil, and vanilla and add to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined.
  3. Spray a large nonstick sauté pan with canola oil cooking spray and heat the pan over medium heat.
  4. Drop large spoonfuls of batter into the pan, leaving room for the pancakes to expand.
  5. Cook until the bottoms are golden and bubbles are popping to the surface, 1 or 2 minutes.
  6. Flip the pancakes and cook the second side until golden.
  7. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  8. Serve with fresh fruit, and maple syrup.

Here’s a close up of the finished cake stack topped with fresh peaches and syrup!

photo (18)

They turned out wonderful, and I was glad I didn’t use all unbleached flour.  The sprouted spelt flour we used was from a new-to-me company called  One Degree Organic Foods. Every grower/farmer who helps make One Degree food products uses veganic growing methods only.  How cool is that?!  If you haven’t tried any of their products I urge you to.  It’s amazing being able to support a company that prides themselves on transparency.

Next weekend Erik wants banana walnut, and I’ll opt for blueberries, as Im sure any filling will be wonderful.  Maybe even chocolate or carob chips if you feel up to it!

Happy Autumn!

Watch out, the world’s behind you. There’s always someone around you who will call. It’s nothing at all.  Sunday morning….



It has occurred to me that I don’t need to write a whole essay on just anything.  I mean, blogging is blogging right?

So back to breakfast…  Sweet?  Savory?  I’ll take both please.  Five grain pancakes, topped with granola, a dollop of homemade vegan yogurt, and some peach compote.  And for my savory, some green pea infiltrated tofu scramble, topped with Muir Glen kethup, and house grown-pickled jalapenos.  Yum.

More Love for M Cafe


I’ve said it before, and will I say it a million times more, I LOVE M CAFE!
LA can be the most draining city on all levels. But with the help of good company, especially those who desire amazing vegan eats as much as I, LA can be sooo incredibly yummy!
In case you haven’t yet heard the scoop on this place, M Cafe “quoted” is Contemporary Macrobiotic Cuisine — featuring balanced, nutritious, creative cooking which can be enjoyed daily by everyone, not just vegetarians or people with dietary restrictions.
Instead of going for the amazing Tempeh Florentine, which is my favorite brunch option, (see my old post on M cafe!), I decided to go for the Japanese Bento Breakfast Special, pictured above. It’s starter was a Kyoto style miso soup. Thinly sliced shitake mushrooms, wakame, scallions, cubed tofu, and yellow miso broth.


When the Bento Platter arrived, I hadn’t even gotten thru 2 sips off my fresh celery lemon juice. And boy was the platter huge! Simple scoop of brown rice, salad with ginger dressing and homemade pickled radishes, grilled tofu drizzled with a katzu glaze. And lets not forget about the gingered-arame-cucumber salad to help the digestion of all the food I was about to pile into my belly!
My friends had the blueberry pancakes, served with fresh strawberries and sweet maple syrup.
You’ll have to admit that Brunch like this on a Thursday is quite impressive!


The following morning was a run around. But of course, I needed a little treat to help fuel my energy for the day. So where else to stop for a quick grab-n-go? M Cafe take out! In under 5 minutes, perfect for LAers, I grabbed a Chocolate Hazelnut Croissant, and a Raspberry Chocolate Muffin from the take-out counter. On a side note, I haven’t had a croissant in about 7 years, and more importantly, I’ve NEVER had a vegan croissant! Let alone chocolate drizzled.


Evan more exciting, I get to actually “work” in LA soon on the weekends. I’ll be demo-ing, and promoting the Nature’s Express Wraps at 20 different Whole Foods in LA county! So stop by and see me, and let me know what you think of the wraps! We are switching to bio-ware soon! Whole Foods is also making a movement to stop using plastic bags in all locations. It starts April 22nd. EARTH DAY! Pretty cool. Genevieve (in picture below) is so excited about the wraps being in Whole Foods LA, that she is forced to do a dance!


Quiche with spring veggies, capers, & a pignolia crust


I won’t lie. I am probably one of few vegans that will admit to being an amazing omelette maker. Its been almost 4 years since I’ve tried, but there was point in which my first days spent as a crazy lady chef took place at a hip veggie spot in Brooklyn, called Goga. Though not a totally vegan place, my early brunches were spent with flipping lots of chocolate chip pancakes, roasting breakfast potatoes, frying tempeh bacon strips, scrambled tofu galore, and unfortunately mixing eggs for omelettes. There is a definite talent behind those egg masters. Luckily, I’ve always been more of a crust fan myself!
Unfortunately, Goga had to close due to the awesome owners getting pregnant, and wanting to escape the craziness before the baby. Whew! Those brunches definitely whipped my butt at times! I found this pic on the Brooklyn Vegan blog…. apparently, he loved Goga too:(


If there is one thing I learned from all those early mornings, its that people love to eat brunch! And when a vegan goes out for brunch, he/she does not want to be told that their are no options. So in case you don’t feel like venturing out into the egg-filled brunch spots, or you want to have breakfast in bed (!), here is a deliciously simple vegan quiche recipe!

I didn’t post the crust recipe, but the RFD cookbook has a great one, or if your lazy Whole Foods has a vegan pie crust in their frozen section.

For the Filling:

1 1/5 Tab. safflower oil
1 Tab. garlic
1/2 yellow onion, diced
10 oz. swiss chard, strips
1/2 red bell pepper, julienned
2 Tab. capers
2 tea. oregano
1 tea. thyme

1 1/2 lbs. tofu, drained well
3 Tab. white miso
1/2 tea. sea salt
1/2 tea. tumeric
pepper to taste
1/4 cup follow your heart vegan “mozzerella”

***Preheat Oven to 375 degrees.

Start by heating a medium saute pan. Add your oil and onion. Follow with your bell peppers, garlic, chard. Only lightly cook till tender. Add capers.

In food processor, add tofu, and blend till smooth. Add in miso, sea salt, tumeric, and pepper, puree till incorporated. Place in large bowl, and stir in vegan cheese & veggies.

Using a spatula, gently spoon into crust, and smooth out evenly. Bake for 40 minutes or until browning starts, and filling is set. Allow to cool for a couple minutes, then slice and serve! Quiche is great for lunch too! Try making roasted garlic rosemary potatoes to go along side!

Here’s a close up pic!