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Homemade BBQ Sauce

Summers coming… for those of us in Phoenix it is right on our door step. In addition to the heat, summer brings on cookout season. If this is your first summer living a plant-based lifestyle you may be a little intimidated by all of the upcoming barbecue invitations. Don’t be, I’ve got you covered.

Today I’m going to share one of my secrets. Homemade BBQ Sauce. I’ll share tips another day.

This Homemade BBQ Sauce is sweet and tangy. My husband said it tasted like candy but his palete is really sensitive to sweetness. Actually, at first you taste the sweet then the tangy hits.

You can use this sauce on anything! Baked Potatoes, Lentil BBQ or my Spaghetti Squash BBQ Sandwich, BBQ Chickpeas, BBQ tofu and more. The sauce is really versatile and you can change it up by using less sugar or more vinegar. You can also add Siracha for a little more kick.

Homemade BBQ Sauce that is vegan and gluten-free. It's perfect for all of your barbecue needs.

Homemade BBQ Sauce


  • 1 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 3 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Liquid Smoke
  • 2 Tbsp Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup (more or less) of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water (add it a little at a time to obtain the right consistency)


  1. Add all ingredients except water in a small sauce pan place on low heat.
  2. Stir often as you add each ingredient.
  3. Once everything except water is added taste and make any changes.
  4. Add water a little at a time while stirring until you reach the right consistency. You’ll probably need between 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup.


Use this BBQ Sauce as you would a bottled sauce. If you have leftovers store in the refrigerator in an air tight container.

Next I’ll share my Cauliflower BBQ Bites recipe!

Make sure you read the labels on all of your ingredients. Some versions may not be vegan or may contain gluten. I always check ingredients to make sure it is safe for my family but your family may have other needs.

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Meal Plan Monday: School is (almost) Out

I’ve been cooking up some new recipes lately. I hope to share at least one of them with you this week. We have very little scheduled so I should have plenty of time to cook. We will be completely done with school on Thursday.

This will be my first summer working out side of our home since I had kids. My husband is staying home with them this summer and plans to take over some of the cooking. One of his favorite things to cook is Crock Pot Mexican Rice and Bean Casserole. It’s also heating up so I’ll be bringing out some of our Summer recipes.

Plant Based Meal Plan

Meal Plan Monday

Breakfast is already taken care of. I made our Gluten-Free Steel Cut Oats in my Instant Pot. I use the Veggie Queen’s technique but put my own spin on it. This week we will alternate diced apples and blueberries.

Lunches will be leftovers, baked potatoes, and veggie sandwiches. I’m really looking forward to the veggie sandwiches. I’ve got lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, carrots and peppers that I’ll pair with hummus.

Plant-Based Dinners

BBQ Cauliflower Bites with Dirty Mashed Potatoes and celery (recipe coming soon)

Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms with raw veggies

Bean Burgers with potato wedges

Gluten-Free Spaghetti with lentils and mushrooms and a side salad

Crock Pot Mexican Rice and Bean Casserole (hubby will cook)

Maybe Quinoa-Lentil Salad is I need another meal, it’s great as leftovers

Do you have your meals planned for the week? I’d love to hear about it! If you post a Meal Plan Monday leave a link!

If you are having trouble fitting more veggies into your day check out my post How to Eat More Veggies.

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How to Eat More Veggies

This blog post is adapted from one of the lessons in the 31 Day Plant-Based eCourse. The eCourse is designed to walk beginners through everything they need to know to adopt a plant-based diet. 

Easy tips for everyone wondering how to eat more veggies.

Most of us could stand to eat more veggies. Personally, I have a tendency to fill up on beans and grains. Veggies just don’t “do it” for me but I know that they are important so they have to be prioritized or I’ll just skip them.

If you are new to plant-based eating or just trying to add more veggies to your diet these ideas will offer you a variety of options for adding more veggies.

How to Eat More Veggies

I’m not going to spend a lot of time explaining the various nutrients because I think most of us know we should eat them but struggle to actually do it.  Throughout this conversation keep in mind that many veggies can be eaten both raw and cooked and it’s a good idea to eat both.

Eat More Salads

You can easily get 2-3 servings of veggies in a really well made salad. If you use 2 cups of greens, ½ cup of carrots and ½ cup grape tomatoes you’re doing pretty well. You don’t have to make it that plain though.

Think about some of your favorite salads from restaurants. Most of the salads are beautiful with vibrant colors and have at least 5 ingredients. They consist of greens, two veggies, something crunchy like croutons or nuts/seeds along with dairy and a dressing. Why not use those salads for inspiration, just leave out the unhealthy ingredients. (In the 31 Day Plant-Based eCourse I have lessons about replacing meat and dairy in your favorite dishes.)

Need More Salad Help

When making a salad at home try to incorporate as many colors as possible. Here are some suggestions:

Reds: Tomatoes, Peppers, Radishes

Yellow: Bell and Banana Peppers, Squash, Corn

Greens: Lettuces/Greens, Cucumbers, Peppers, Broccoli

Purple: Red Onions, Beets, Olives, Cabbage

Orange: Carrots, Sweet Peppers

Remember, your salad isn’t limited to veggies, you can also add fruit, beans, grains, and nuts or seeds. Let your imagination run wild.


My favorite way to get lots of veggies is in soups. I can eat bowl after bowl of soup, each packed with fiber-filled veggies. In fact, soup is my favorite way to eat kale. You can find all of my soups on my Soup and Stew Page or visit my Plant-Based Soup Pinterest Board for inspiration from some of my favorite bloggers but be wary of creamy soups that may contain nuts (if you are trying to lose weight).

Side Dishes

I’m not a big “veggie on the side” kind of gal. If you’ve followed any of my meal plan you know I don’t usually have side dishes. I’d rather have everything mixed together but to each their own. Steamed broccoli is a favorite in our house because it goes well with pasta or baked potatoes.

Carrots, peas, green beans and corn are veggies that are typical side dishes at home-style restaurants. More often than not they are probably pushed to the side in favor of Mac and Cheese. Do yourself a favor and reintroduce a veggie side dish, it can even be a veggie-filled salad.

Starchy Vegetables

Don’t forget your starchy vegetable (yes, I’ve mentioned a few already) potatoes, squash, pumpkin, yams, etc. These veggies are filling, fibrous and low in fat. If you aren’t sure about starches read anything from Dr. John McDougall.

Starchy veggies are great as a side dish or as the main course. My family loves to eat giant baked sweet potatoes, some times I’ll add raisins and cinnamon for a slightly sweet meal. Starchy veggies are great roasted.


I eat double or triple the amount of raw veggies when I have a dip. Raw veggies are just more appealing to me when I have something to dip them in. They same is true for my kids. I always recommend using dips for parents trying to win their kids over to veggies but there is no reason that adults can’t enjoy dips too.

Hummus is a favorite dip of mine but many store-bought dips contain tahini and oil; both are very high in fat. You can make hummus at home if you aren’t comfortable with what is offered in your local store. My favorite dips and salad dressings can be found here.

Mix It Up

Some people won’t go for it but you can always try mixing veggies into other things like puree them into pasta sauces or on top of pizza. I’ve made many a lentil loaf filled with random veggies and I’ll often create off-the-wall veggie pasta combinations. It doesn’t have to be about hiding veggies either Veggie Pot Pie and Vegan Shepherds Pie are great options loaded with veggies.


The most important thing is to keep trying new things. As you adapt to this healthier way of eating things your palate will change. Foods you once hated will become delicious (maybe not every food, but a lot of them will). You just have to keep trying.

What are your veggie eating tips and tricks?

31 Day Plant-Based eCourse

Meal Plan Monday: Where I’ve Been and What We Are Eating

Well I’m back. We’ve done a lot of traveling over the last month and I’m hoping we can settle back into our routine. We had two deaths in our extended family so we’ve driven and flew back and forth to Texas three separate times. I’ve stayed in touch with the 31 Day Plant-Based eCourse group but I’ve neglected updating this blog. On a happy note we’ve got to see a lot of family that we haven’t seen in a long time.

Up next on our schedule is the end of school. This is the last week for my youngest son and we have one more week for my kindergartener. We have a few year-end events but I am determined to cook.

I know why you are really here… You are wondering what we are eating. Am I right?

Breakfast and Lunch

I’ve been batch cooking steel-cut oats for breakfast. My favorite is Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal made in my Instant Pot but I recently made Blueberry Oatmeal too and my kids loved it. You can read my 10 Reasons I bought an Instant Pot to learn more about why I love them.

I’ve got two more weeks of packing lunches for my kids and I’ll be using us some of the items I bought for our trip like applesauce pouches, snap pea crisps and granola bars along with sandwiches or leftovers. I’ll be taking leftovers in my lunch and I often pack breakfast when I work out of the office (I work from home most of the time). I also take veggies and hummus to snack on.

My back up lunch is brown rice (I buy these steamed rice bowls at Costco for back up), half a can of black beans and some salsa.

Plant-Based Meal Plan


Easy Plant-Based Dinners

This week I’m keeping it easy in the dinner department. I don’t want to bite all more than I can chew, if you don’t mind the eating pun. I’ve already cooked some rice in my Instant Pot and I’m going to add cilantro and lime to it. I’m going to use canned black beans to keep it easy. I don’t do that often but they will allow us to stay plant-based and not go crazy.

Taco Salads or just bean and rice salads

Broccoli Rice Casserole in my Instant Pot (I’ve been meaning to share this recipe and will try to soon)

Some kind of veggie soup. I have plenty of potatoes, spinach, celery and carrots so I’ll come up with something

Mexican Rice and Bean Casserole in the Instant Pot (see Crock Pot version)

Veggie Fajitas if I need another meal

I’ve got carrots, cucumbers, peppers, celery and greens for snacks or salads and bananas, apples, blueberries and oranges as well.

What’s on your Meal Plan this week? I’d love to know. Follow me on Instagram too to see what we eat each day!

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Next Plant-Based eCourse Starts May 1

Summer’s coming and it will be here before you know it. If you’ve been considering getting started on a plant-based diet now is the time to make the commitment and get ready for summer.

Many people are able to reverse disease and eliminate health problems on a plant-based diet. Others lose weight and clear up conditions like acne, asthma, and seasonal allergies. Whatever your reasons the 31 Day Plant-Based eCourse will lead you through a one-month journey that could ultimately change your life.

If you are new to the Plant-Based Diet or struggling to be successful in this new lifestyle you have come to the right place.

31 day plant-based ecourse 500x750

I created a 31 Day Plant-Based eCourse that will lead you through everything you need to know to start a plant-based diet.

There are two options:

  • Self-paced eCourse that you can start immediately, or
  • The group eCourse that starts May 1st

Susan took the January eCourse and says:

The simplicity yet thoroughness of the eCourse allowed even a novice Plant-Based person to educate themselves about why this lifestyle is better than the Standard American Diet and to implement steps to take to eat and be healthier. The meal plans were great and included a variety of recipes to suit many different sorts of tastes. I found many recipes that I can incorporate into my meal rotations and I would do this eCourse again, just to solidify my knowledge and share with others. The fact that there was a group of us all doing the same thing meant for a great camaraderie.

Jennifer says:

The eCourse helped me stay focused and gave me the encouragement to never bring anything non-Plant-Based into the house. The meal plans were wonderful ways to jump-start my shopping list and give me ideas of where I wanted to take my week in food and nutrition. The workout routines kept me motivated the first couple weeks when I was stuck in a hotel for 10 days. Overall it was a fun month and I really appreciate the hard work the design team put into the 31 Day Challenge eCourse.

Whether you decided to start on May 1st with the group or go at your own pace the 31 Day Plant-Based eCourse provides you with everything you need to be successful with the plant-based lifestyle. You’ll have the additional benefit of a private Facebook community for support.

This 31 day class is less than $1 a day!

You’ll get:

  • The Plant-Based Diet Starter Guide ebook
  • Weekly Meal Plans
  • optional Weekly Exercise Guides
  • Daily lessons that will teach you the basics of plant-based living
  • Group support in a private Facebook group

All of that for only $30!

Find out about the limited-time individual coaching opportunities!

Buy Now

Need Extra Help?

For those participating in the 31 Day eCourse that need a little extra help consider purchasing the 31 Day Coaching add-on!

The 31 Day Coaching add-on is an individualized coaching program that will:

  • Help you set and track goals
  • Assist in Meal Plan development (work together to customize a meal plan to meet your goals)
  • Daily accountability via email/messaging and a daily food log
  • Weekly 20 minute phone call/skype/google hangout (only one) to discuss progress and next steps.

Whether your goal is to lose weight, eliminate processed foods or finally go plant-based this 31 Day Coaching add-on can give you the individualized help that you need.

Space is limited!

Add this one-on-one coaching to your 31 Day eCourse experience for only $95 dollars. Email me at myplantbasedfamily @ gmail.com (remove spaces) to purchase or inquire about the one-on-one coaching.

Buy Now

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