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

Sheboygan’s Culinary Car


JMKAC’s Culinary Car.

It’s almost finished! Well so I’m told. The John Michael Kohler arts center has teamed up with Nourish to create this amazing mobile car/truck/bus!  The creative minds behind this adventure are connecting the community through food and arts.  They will be using the truck to preform demonstrations on healthy eating, and help educate the public.  The big premiere will be at this weekends Mid Summer Festival of the Arts, this Saturday & Sunday, July 19th and 20th.  This festival features tons of local artists, workshops and live music throughout the day.

Vegpod has the honor of giving a food demo on board this magical bus at 3pm on Saturday.  Come hang out after the farmers market.  I will be walking through steps of those Raw stuffed tomatoes everyone loves, and giving out samples and the recipe.  Yahoo for community!

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!


DIY Bug Spray

I don’t know where you live, but since the start of June, the mesquitos of Wisconsin have been out to get me!  Where did I wrong them?

Most of the common bug sprays are not safe for children and pets, and are in no way at all composed of natural ingredients.  I decided it was just another product I could easily make at home.  Check my post here for my DIY Laundry soap….life changing!


So quick and simple, here it is:

For a 12 oz. spray bottle, pour in 6oz. distilled water.

Add 5 oz. with witch hazel.  (I like to use Thayers Aloe Vera blend)

Add in 10 drops tea tree oil, 10 drops lavender oil, 10 drops eucalyptus oil, and 10 drops clove oil.

Give it a shake, spray and you’re set for the outdoors!


I did run out of clove oil, so I steeped a ‘tea’ of 1 cup distilled water with 2 Tablespoons of whole cloves, and 1 Tablespoon of dried peppermint. This solution would replace the water and clove oil. It smells great too!

Roundup : May 2014


Fish Creek, WI.

What a busy month!  Ever feel like vacation takes more out of you, and you need a vacation after vacation?  I’ll skip the sob story of how much non-stop fun we’ve been having and tell you in a more neatly compiled list.

Wisconsin-  So we’re back.  After a long baby-crying/mommy-crying car ride, we’ve arrived back in Sheboygan.  I did not pack as many sweaters or jeans as I should have, but the weather seems to be warming up, and it looks like I get another month of spring.  The farmers markets start June 7th, and I can’t wait to see familiar faces, and get back to cooking all day!  I am also excited to give Oliver some much needed Grandparent time!

Foraging-  Foraging is the concept of searching and harvesting wild food.  Of course what you find will always vary on where you live, and what season it is.  For a lovely Wisconsin spring day we hope to find fiddlehead ferns, asparagus, ramps, and morel mushrooms.  We scored a ton of ramps, which we are going to try to pickle the bulbs, and dehydrate the leaves.  Maybe we can launch a raw ramp ranch dressing at the farmers market!  Erik scored a couple stalks of asparagus which Oliver used as a new teething toy. If you’ve never tried to forage, I highly recommend it.  It is so much fun searching around, and you will discover things you never thought to pay attention to before.   Nature is so wonderful!  I have also been seeing a ton of beautiful recipes for tempura dandelions, as well as dandelion french toast.  So pretty.


Ramp crazed.

The end of my ‘no-poo’-  I was under the impression that everyone had heard of this by now.  To my surprise, almost no one I talked with about this understood what it meant!  A few months back, my hair started thinning after Oliver was born.  I knew it was coming, but I had no idea how much I would be losing.  For me, it was quite traumatic.  If you had just passed me on the street, I’m sure you wouldn’t notice.  I am not one to oversaturate any part of my body with too much product (even the organics) so I thought this was the perfect time to try out the no-poo method.

The no-poo theory consists of washing your hair with a baking soda solution, and rinsing with an apple cider vinegar solution.  Sounds so easy right?  I gave it a solid 3 months before I came crawling back to my Jason hair products.  I missed the lather, I missed the smell, and I felt as though it wasn’t aiding any of my hair thinning.  I was still wearing my hair back everyday.  So I quit.  I am still thinking about making my own shampoo.

Angel Olson-  If you have never listened to the sound of her voice, stop everything and watch the video below.  She reminds me a bit of Karen Dalton: unique voice, and very old-timey sounding.  I don’t know bout y’all but I am so so SO over the girly girl voice these days.  She has a new album out, and is touring at this very moment.  Major girl crush…. nuff said.

Eating Animals-  Another great book by Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals has been said to convert  long time vegetarians to vegan activists.  Not that yours truly needed any convincing, but every now and then it’s good to reassure your beliefs, and remember why you hold them so dear.  His perspective on how our culture regards certain animals with greater importance than others is unique and thought provoking; the same people who wouldn’t flinch at eating a burger would cringe at the thought of devouring their dog and vice versa.  I highly recommend this book to everyone, not just my fellow veg-heads.

51flAsKFoAL                     First-Teacher-NewCover-thumb-200x301-6

You Are Your Childs First Teacher-  I wish this book was longer.  Or rather I wished Rahima Dancy wrote a follow up into the teen years.  Its so great that every time I try to reference anything out of it, I end reading so much more than planned.  I grow closer to trying to raise Oliver in a modified Waldorf fashion, and this book goes over so many great natural techniques to develop with our children.  When I put the book down, I feel a little more assured of my parenting.

Indiana Jones-  To be more specific, we watched the first of the series, Raiders of the Lost Ark.  How in the world has my husband existed 30 years on this planet without seeing any Indie Jones movies!  I can’t say I know what it was that attracted me so much to them as a child.  Perhaps the tom-boy inside wanting to take down the bad guys while discovering historic relics.  Or maybe it was Harrison Ford.  George Lucas no doubt was ahead of his time.  It was great to see the action, the romance, and of course, laugh at the gory death scenes.  The classics never get old.


That was my month!  How was yours?

Dal Makhani


This post will be short, as I am feeling more ‘hands-on’ with my free time, and less like typing on a computer.  Maybe it’s the weather.  Can you blame me?

I knew if I didn’t post this recipe soon, that it would get lost in my draft folder….. it’s not pretty in there.

Dal Makhani has always been one of my favorite Indian dishes.  Loaded with lentils & kidney beans this slightly creamy, and the perfect amount of spice, Dal Makhani was always my ‘go to’ after giving up Paneer years back.

With the little one around, I have been growing fonder of the crock pot.  Filling an array of ingredients into this magical slow cooker, forgetting about it for the day, and then when you arrive back, your home smells as if you been slaving away in the kitchen for hours…. maybe it really is magic!

Dal Makhani


  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 1/2 cup kidney beans
  • 1 medium red onion, minced
  • 2 tsp serrano chillies, sliced thinly
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cardamom pods
  • 3 cloves
  • 2" cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 Tbsp earth balance vegan butter
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • Salt to taste
  • cilantro to garnish


  1. There is no need to soak the beans overnight when using a slow cooker. If you are in a bit of a hurry and feel you can't allow the full 6 hours, then by all means, soak away!
  2. Place both the lentils, and kidney beans in crock pot and cover with 4 cups water.
  3. Prep the onion, chili, ginger and garlic and add to beans.
  4. The cumin, fenugreek, coriander, and turmeric can then be stirred in with a spoon.
  5. Assemble cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and bay leaf in cheesecloth and tie off. Add to beans.
  6. Set slow cooker at 6 hours.
  7. Once beans have cooked through, gently stir in butter, tomato paste, and coconut milk.
  8. Salt to taste, and add more water if desired.
  9. To achieve a fuller flavor, allow the Dal to stew for at least another 1-2 hours (the longer the better!)
  10. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro.


Any sort of basmati rice would be the perfect accompaniment to this dish.  I made a turmeric seasoned rice, with a hint of saffron and some green peas.  The cucumber salad was a nice crunch to the meal.

Enjoy and let me know how it turns out!

Lentil Wheat berry Cakes


I have to say, anything in the form of a patty, cake, croquette, or once was a ball- then got squished, I am a fan of.  Maybe its the versatility.  Maybe its the fun of forming the shape.

These cakes were incredibly easy to make, but did require a lot of pots and pans.  I started with three pans.  One to cook the lentils, one for the wheat berries, and one for the couscous, which was going to be my ‘binder’ for the cakes.  Needless to say, I made a HUGE amount!  We now have a freezer full of these yummies, which Im told, will be great for those first weeks of our babies arrival.

The texture was great, credit to the wheat berry, and lentil combination.  All in all there are two types of wheat berries, the hard, and soft.  The hard wheat berries tend to keep there nice chewy texture, great for whole grain salads.  The soft I tend to favorite more for stuffed squash, and a wheat berry breakfast oatmeal.  I bet some cooked soft wheat berries would be insanely good in a spin off of an oatmeal cookie (note to self!)  There are red and white varieties, as well as spring and winter.  I’ve heard that the red wheat berries can be a tad more bitter, due to the extra proteins, but I can barely tell the difference.  I think depending on what you choose to use them for, the color can play an important role.

Other ingredients in these cakes included porcini mushrooms, onion, shredded carrot, lemon zest and juice, dijon, and some herbs and spices.  I served them above with some sauteed arugula, basil, cherry tomatoes, and kalamata olives.  We then had them as a quick lunch the next day with some ketchup.  Both we great.  I am thinking a nice tart cranberry sauce would be lovely served along side.  And I have a freezer full to experiment!

Heres a close up:

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Champs Family Bakery, Brooklyn

Champs-3Photo credit to

I could sit here and type a long list of reasons why it feels good to be on the east coast again, but I’ll start with one.   Food.  And by that I mean the vegan options.  And taking it one step further, I mean establishments that are ENTIRELY vegan!  Living so close to home, aka NY, feels so great.  I forget how easy it is to find every little vegan item you want. Taco truck?  “We got that.”  Ice cream in a cone?  “got it.”  Raw samosas?  “Yup.”  How bout a huge vegan breakfast menu, fresh juice, then pie for dessert, or maybe a slice of turtle cheesecake?  “You know it!”  Ah yes, New York is wonderful.  Especially if you are a 7 month pregnant vegan.

Another reason living so close to home is great is my friends.  I haven’t lived back here since 2004, when I swore that California would be it for me.  While there is something so special to me about Cali, it feels so nice to be around people I’ve known for over a decade of your life.

So mushiness aside, lets talk food!  It was Sunday, and I wanted breakfast (what else is new).  Thanks to my Happy Cow app, and va voom – we find Champs family bakery. Champs is everything you think it should be.  Retro diner atmosphere, and a nice variety of menu options for the naughty and healthy vegan.   We waited about 30 minutes for a table, as the place is small.  Fine by me.  After all, it was Sunday.

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Mac and Cheese Pancake

The special was mac and cheese pancakes- say what?! We ordered one for the table.  It was pretty darn good. As for the rest of brunch, we all tried to keep a variety.  I opted for the classic, tempeh bacon, ‘sausage’, tofu scramble, and a piece of french toast.  Oh yes, a side of whip cream please.  My breakfast, the French Toast Slam, wasn’t bad.   As I am a scramble snob, and I think my scramble is above all.  Erik had warned me of this… I should’ve listened.  The blueberry pancakes were to die for!  As was the whip cream (not sure if this was made in house).  The Monte crisco was, eh.  I think the french toast needed to be a bit more fried.  I just said that didn’t I?  Never ever had I imagined to recommend more frying of anything, (please never let those words leave my mouth/keyboard again!)

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The French Toast Slam

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The Drunken Cowgirl

Erik’s breakfast was the Drunken Cowgirl.  Chili, potatoes, scramble, daiya cheddar, avocado, and toast.  It was great, especially with some hot sauce.  Steve had the Awesome Bowl, a healthier option, which sounded delish.  Quinoa, scramble, greens, peppers, and potatoes.

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The dessert case

As I got up to go to the ladies, I couldn’t help but notice a lovely filled with vegan goodness dessert case!  And again, all vegan.  It was entirely too hard to make a decision.  Places like that should be fined.  I knew we had a 3 hour drive home, and I was the only one opting to not let dessert slip on by, so I went with the Turtle cheesecake.  When I got back to the table, the waitress had packed us up some ginger cream cookies as well.  Thank You Ma’am!

All in all I will definitely be back at Champs.  The Tofu Rancheros, Enchiladas, and more of the dessert case will be calling my name next month perhaps when we return.   Oh and the Turtle cheesecake… simply devine.

IMG_2203Happy 40th Steve, Happy 32nd Meg, and Happy back to school weekend everyone!