Spring with summer around the bend means one thing to me: Coconut time! I think that coconut is so very under appreciated. Coconut, shredded and unsweetened is one of the best additions to cookies and breads, as well as smoothies. Coconut oil is always great to cook with because it does not change its composition under high heat. Coconut milk and coconut meat and coconut water! I know, I may sound crazy. I don't care.

Here is a recipe I created when we had a "healthy eating day" in my diet and nutrition class. Students were encouraged to make a professor approved snack or meal to share with the class. I am far too lazy to participate so naturally I showed up with nothing more than a semi-empty stomach, as I must always eat something with blueberries in it for breakfast. Long story short, there were bags a plenty of homemade granola that no one was taking! As I have no shame, I took three bags full. I also took a muffin, granola bar, and some kind of oatmeal bar with a questionable strawberry glaze- I wanted it all. I stopped myself at the pasta (it was 9am) and the brownies.

My bag was so heavy walking home! I don't usually just eat granola, so I decided to utilize it and make some kind of cookie. These cookies are harder, not chewy, like a Mexican wedding cookie. Of course, I added coconut. They are strangely crunchy and addictive. They are actually very good when put in the freezer. And finally, they are vegan! But this was by accident, I wanted to make a lot of hard boiled eggs and didn't feel like putting any in.

I am still periodically sneaking these little wonders out of the freezer every time I walk by- and I am without guilt.. I mean if I can steal bags of granola in front of all my classmates, I can most certainly eat tons of little crunchy cookies in my home.

No Shame Granola & Coconut Cookie Bites:

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup dried, unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup granola with nuts and dried fruit
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup vegan butter
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, baking soda, 1/2 coconut, salt, and granola. In a separate bowl, combine butter, oil, and sugar. Beat together until creamy. Fold the butter mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined. Add the other half of the coconut and fold until just combined.

Drop cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet with a teaspoon. Because the cookies are hard they do not really expand and can be close to one another on the sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes, checking after 15 minutes. If they are undercooked, they will not be chewy, they will simply fall apart. It is important to make sure they feel firm before taking them out to cool.

Cool on wax paper or put them on a plate and throw them in the freezer. Enjoy!


I have been feeling the tropical fruit itch lately. The new temperature highs make me lust for winter vacation. Yes, I did say winter vacation. This past winter was spent in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica where the surf went off every single day.

We bought all our food from a local market called "Super Ronny" and made due with our cabina having only a small mini fridge.

Mangoes were a staple. We also drank endless amounts of coconut water and warded off starvation with homemade whole wheat bread from a local baker.

I wanted to make something that combines all these things, and thus it came to me: Mango coconut bread. I made this last week in anticipation of driving back home to FL for a couple of days. Naturally, I didn't take any pictures. Tonight I remade the mango bread, so I was able to snap a few shots. They don't really do it justice. The mango's sweetness keeps the loaf moist. I think it's even better when put in the fridge overnight.

Mango Coconut Bread:

3 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking soda
1 cup raw sugar
2 eggs
2 cups diced mangoes (about 2 mangoes)
1 cup dried, unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup coconut oil
2/3 cup almond milk
1 tbsp nutmeg
sprinkle of sea salt

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and greasing 2 small loaf pans. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, flax seeds, nutmeg, salt and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, sugar, almond milk, and oil.

Beat these ingredients together to get a smooth consistency, then add the mangoes. Pour the mango mixture into the bowl with the flour and stir until completely combined. If the mixture seems too dry, add more almond milk.

When it is combined, add coconut and stir again until it's mixed in well. Pour into the two loaf pans and baked for about an hour, checking it after 45 minutes.

Tonight I wanted to make it again, but forgot the coconut and flax seeds, using banana instead. A good variation is to add 2 very ripe bananas, puree one cup mango, and take out the almond milk. That gives it a little banana makeover that's just as moist and delicious.


I decided to make a loaf of whole wheat sesame seed bread and then make a yummy whole wheat crust pizza the next night. I am not going to lie- I love to knead dough. It's relaxing and the results are always impressive.

Whole Wheat Sesame Seed Bread

3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cups water
2 tbsp celtic sea salt
1 package active yeast
1/4 cup sesame seeds

Combine flour, salt, and yeast in bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add water. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined and crumbly, then finish mixing with your hands. The dough should be a little sticky, but holds its ball shape.

Place the dough in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Let sit in a warm, draft-free area for 8-12 hours. The dough will double in size.

After it has risen, flour your hands and knead the dough for 10 minutes. Place the dough ball back in the bowl, cover it, and leave it for another hour.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a dutch oven or large metal pot in the oven while it preheats. When it reaches 450 degrees, take out the pot. Lightly mist the dough with cooking spray and place it in a dutch oven or large metal pot with lid. Take the sesame seeds and pour them onto the top of the dough carefully, pushing them down where necessary. It's okay if some spill over. *** Be very careful as the pot is VERY hot from the oven. I've burned myself twice.

Make sure the lid is secure and place back in the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, CAREFULLY take off the lid and let it bake for another 15-16 minutes. Let cool on wire rack when finished.
Easter has come and gone! Thank goodness because I was counting down the days to a much anticipated Easter brunch with my best girls. This day was to include fancy hats, long dresses, and lots of mimosas. Oh, and making an outstanding brunch of course. We decided that Sarah would make a vegetable mini quiches, Jocelyn would make banana bread, and I would make blueberry cheesecake. These were all vegan too! It was a challenge. I did not get any pictures of the blueberry cheesecake, as it went very quickly. We liked it so much we had some before the quiche and after as dessert.

The day went by faster than I would have liked. It started out at Sarah's with mimosas. We put frozen strawberries on the bottom of our flutes and used a mango-orange juice to kick it up a notch. It was a very striking cocktail. When we ran out (which didn't take long) we switched it up to Absolut Peach with the mango-orange juice plus a bit of soda water. We packed it all in my lovely picnic basket and took the cocktails to Colonial Lake to people watch and hopefully not get in trouble with the cops for drinking in public. In our hats and flowing dresses, we brought the party to the lake. Each person that approached us made a comment on our hats. My favorite was from a homeless man who told us we looked like flowers. We all agreed and tried to pick flower names. Somehow, I ended up being "coon-tail" which is not a flower, nor does that nick name even apply to that day (long story).

More pictures to come.... but until then.. here is the recipe for the blueberry cheesecake.

Blueberry Cheesecake for a Vegan Brunch


16 oz Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese
1 c raw sugar
1/4 c vegan butter, such as Earth Balance
3/4 bag frozen blueberries or about 3 cups fresh
4 tbsp Kuzu Root*


1 package of vanilla snaps
1/2 cup vegan butter
1/2 cup barley or other crunchy cereal/granola (I use Grapenuts)

Blueberry Compote (spoon over cheesecake when serving)

The rest of the frozen blueberries or about a cup of fresh
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp kuzu root*
1/4 c raw sugar

* Kuzu root is a vegan replacement for gelatin that works as a thickener. You should be able to buy it at a health food store or Whole Foods. Try not to use gelatin anyway, it's made from animal bones and horse hooves. Gross.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Begin by combining the butter and sugar in a bowl. Whipping with a hand-held mixer gives the creamiest results. Gradually beat in the cream cheese, one package at a time. In a separate bowl, add 2 tablespoons water for each tablespoon of Kuzu root. Mix in the kuzu, then water, and so on in a separate bowl until it is a white, liquidy mixture. It should be fairly runny. Add the kuzu mixture and beat until smooth. Fold in the blueberries until just combined. Set aside. This can be made in advance and stored in the fridge all day if necessary.

To make the crust, crush the vanilla snaps in a food processor until some pieces are very small and there are a few bigger chunks. I feel this makes for a crunchier crust, but if you like it smaller, feel free to grind away. Melt the butter and combine with the cookies in a bowl. Add the Grapenuts, or whatever you decide to use. You may need a bit more butter, so feel free to ad-lib.

Press crust into a greased springform pan or if you don't have one, a glass brownie pan works great too. Pour in cheesecake mixture and place in center rack in oven for 30-45 minutes, checking it at 30 minutes.

Now in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the extra blueberries and sugar. When the sugar and blueberries melt together a bit, add the coconut milk. You want to just use the thick coconut cream on the top of the can, using only a little liquid from the bottom. It will make for a creamier mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk together kuzu root with water. Gradually stir in the kuzu root with a whisk. The mixture should start to thicken after a few minutes. The heat activates the kuzu root, so if you want a thicker mixture, use higher heat- but don't burn it!!!!

Let cheesecake cool overnight for best results. Reheat the blueberry compote and spoon it over the cheesecake before serving. So ridiculously good... I promise. ;)


So I have been quite busy lately... but with the warm weather, my friend Sarah and I decided to make a Mexican (vegan) feast. Although I'm not vegan, just merely a vegetarian who will never give up fish, cooking vegan has opened my eyes to so many delicious recipes with fresher ingredients. Okay, so we may have used some black beans in cans... but really fresh otherwise. Especially because Sarah grows her own vegetables... I envy her.. although I don't have yard. We also, at my request, made a huge bowl of sangria! I knew it was going down that night. I knew I'd be riding my bike places one shouldn't ride their bike completely content and full of sangria.

I think Sangria is one of the best things to drink in the spring. I just went to the grocery store and went wild thinking about things to put in it. Here is my recipe:

Fiesta Sangria Especial

1 big bottle of red wine (rioja is preferred)
2 cups valencia orange juice
2 red delicious apples
2 oranges
2 boxes of strawberries

That is a scaled down, weekday version. If you want to get extra wild, consider adding a cup of white rum, peach flavored vodka, triple sec, or a limon vodka. We made our enchiladas really spicy so the sangria always goes quick!

We used fake meat crumbles, jalapenos, corn, black beans, red onion, cilantro, tomatoes, and olives as the filling. We covered it in vegan "cheese". It's easily some of the best enchiladas I've ever had! So when people if we (vegan and veggie) ever get tired of eating salad all day, rather than hit them in the mouth, maybe I'll send them a link to this blog. That could keep me out of trouble... for awhile.