5 Tips to Save Thanksgiving and Your Sanity

Are you stressed out about Thanksgiving? I’m not. Don’t hate me but it’s Monday, there is plenty of time left to prepare and ROCK Thanksgiving!

It’s all about preparation. I’m a planning guru, especially when it comes to events. Thanksgiving is an event.

That means I won’t be cooking a lot of dinners this week so I can reserve plenty of room in the fridge for Thanksgiving food.

5 Tips to Save Thanksgiving and your sanity

I’m skipping the meal plan, instead giving you some Thanksgiving tips so you can stop stressing too. [Read more…]

Healthy 4th of July Meal Ideas

Healthy 4th of july meal ideas

The 4th of July is getting so close. If you have plans for potlucks or get together’s people are probably already asking what you will be bringing. If you are eating with an omni group there will be some pressure to bring food they will like too.

Don’t worry I’ve got a ton of ideas that will make everyone happy!

Healthy 4th of July Meal Ideas

Portobello Burger and Potato Salad

Chances are there will be a grill nearby. Why not grill up some Portobello Burgers or Avocado Grillers?

Vegan BBQ Sandwich...You'll never guess the secret ingredient!

 

If you need to make your meal ahead of time Vegan BBQ Sandwiches made from spaghetti squash keeps warm in a Crock Pot for a low maintenance meal.

Healthy side dishes are an easy substitute and less likely to be noticed as “different” by your friends.

Sweet and Tangy Gluten-Free Pasta Salad is picnic perfect

Try this oil-free pasta salad, you can make it gluten-free as well. They most typical side dish might be Potato Salad so make sure you bring this healthy version. You can also substitute healthier ingredients to make baked beans and corn on the cob healthier.

gluten free vegan brownies

 

Don’t forget dessert! I usually make Brownies because I can make them a day ahead but sometimes I’ll make an Apple or Strawberry Rhubarb Pie on the fly with Wholly Wholesome Pie Crust (they have a gluten-free version) or Sunbutter Cookies because they are safe for peanut allergies.

Strawberry Lemonade

Don’t forget the drinks! There will probably be lots of soda but skip it for fresh Strawberry Lemonade instead.

Do you have plans for the weekend? What will you be eating? You can scroll through the Recipe Page for more healthy 4th of July Meal Ideas!

 

Christmas Gift Ideas

Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? I have not. In fact, I’ve barely begun.

Thankfully I do a lot of my shopping on Amazon. It’s much easier to shop when my kids are in bed and I love the 2 day free shipping (I’m a Prime Member you can also Give the Gift of Amazon Prime or just sign up for a Start Free Trial).

Christmas gift ideas

The Christmas Gift Ideas

This year’s gift guide will focus on my favorite things for the kitchen so you may want to email this to your spouse or post it on your Facebook to sufficiently drop the hint. Let’s face it, most of us need a few hints.

Instant Pot

Instant Pot

Of course the newest and most used thing in my kitchen is our Instant Pot. I’ve been hearing from readers who love theirs too. The best deal is usually on Amazon. It the Instant Pot is out of your budget a Crock Pot may be for you depending on your schedule and cooking preferences.

Blendtec

We love our Blendtec Total Blender. We got ours at Costco but you can find them on Amazon. The best deal is at the Blendtec site where you can find a refurbished blender with a great warranty.

If you cannot afford a high-powered blender but need something for chopping or making dips you could go with a Magic Bullet or a Food Processor. I used those for years before investing in a good blender and they did a great job but I’ve replaced them both with my Blendtec.

Budget-Friendly Ideas

There are many low-cost kitchen items that wear out and should be replaced every few years like Cutting Boards, Silicone Spatula’s (mine are always lost because my kids use them as ninja swords) and Pyrex Containers. My Measuring Cups and Spoons are always disappearing too. I don’t know a single friend who has a good set of pot holders, while they may not be romantic they are probably much needed.

Experiences

Cooking classes, tasting events and other experiences are also fun gifts. They can be made even more special if you buy two for a couples, girls night or mother-daughter experience.

You could also look into my 31 Day Plant-Based eCourse and Challenge. It starts January 1st and would be a great gift. We have great prizes lined up (hello Pampered Chef) and some great contributors!

Most importantly remember the reason for the season. Christmas is not about receiving gifts, it is about Jesus.

So instead of spending too much money on gifts that will soon be forgotten I hope you will find ways to love others. Remember those who have less than you or those who may be alone for the holidays.

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!

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Plant-Based Holiday Meal Plan and Cookbook

It’s almost Thanksgiving and Christmas will quickly follow. Do you have a plan for the holidays?

Favorite Foods made Healthier

Food may be at the center of most holiday traditions but that doesn’t mean you have to eat poorly. In fact, many of your traditional favorites can be adapted and made healthier (and allergy-friendly).

You may need to substitute eggs, butter or oil but it can be done. I highly recommend you test each dish before the big day or follow a trusted recipe.

The Holidays can be a Slippery Slope

The problem with straying away from healthy eating habits during the holidays is that most of us don’t stop with one meal. We polish off a turkey dinner and dairy-filled sides with a couple of pieces of pie, then start all over the next day with leftovers. Then we have a “hankering” for rich and fatty foods that can only be quenched with Christmas cookies, cakes and cheese.

Does that sound familiar?

Plant-Based Holiday Meal Plan
Add to Cart

Plan for Health

I’ve collected all of my favorite traditional Holiday foods in one place. The Plant-Based Holiday Meal Plan & Cookbook is a PDF download that contains 20 recipes. This collection is perfect for anyone who eats vegan, gluten-free, or allergy-friendly.

Plant-Based Holiday Meal Plan and Cookbook

Recipes

Let’s take a closer look at the recipes!

  • Thanksgiving Sage Dressing
  • Gluten-Free Cornbread for Dressing
  • Perfectly Whipped Mashed Potatoes
  • Sweet Potato Casserole with optional Pecan Glaze
  • Thanksgiving Mushroom Gravy
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Creamy Crustless Pumpkin Pie
  • Dry Veggie Broth Mix
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Holiday Lentil Loaf
  • Cheezy Potatoes (Vegan Scalloped Potatoes)
  • Faux Cheese Sauce
  • Butternut Squash & Quinoa Salad with Oil-Free Cranberry Dressing
  • Oil-Free Cranberry Salad Dressing
  • Lentil Shepherd’s Pie
  • Veggie Pot Pie (this recipe contains gluten but can be made GF using the GF Pie Crust Recipe)
  • Recipe for Easy All Purpose Sauce for Veggie Pot Pie
  • Roasted Asparagus
  • Maple Glazed Carrots
  • Gluten-Free Pie Crust (contains vegan shortening)
  • Apple Pie
  • Creamy Apple Pie Bars

Most of the recipes are also oil-free, the only exception is the pie crust. (I’ve yet to create a truly great pie crust that is gluten-free and oil-free hence the vegan shortening used in the crust).

Plant-Based Holiday Meal Plan and Cookbook

Last year I offered a Thanksgiving Meal Plan but this year I’ve taken that old Meal Plan, updated it with new recipes and made it more user-friendly. If you bought the old Thanksgiving Meal Plan I’m happy to send you this one for free. Just send me an email and I’ll verify your purchase and send you a new download link.

If you haven’t purchased it yet what are you waiting for? The Plant-Based Holiday Meal Plan is only $4.99! Add to Cart

 

It’s also available on Amazon but I HIGHLY recommend this PDF version. The Amazon version is e-reader friendly but the charts get difficult to read do to formatting changes. The larger you screen the easier it is so it will likely work fine on ipads but not as well on iphones.

 

I guarantee it will make your holiday meals healthy and delicious! It’s full of helpful information, a cooking guide and plenty of tips.

Fire Up the Grill

I’ve already been proclaiming that Summer is here. It may be Spring for you but it is Summer in Arizona. Since Memorial Day is only days away I wanted to leave you will some grilling ideas.

Vegan grilling ideas

If you get invited to a barbecue you will be prepared. Just don’t go empty-handed!

portobello's on the grill

Portobello Mushrooms

You can’t go wrong with grilling Portobello Mushrooms. Consider grilling Portobello Steaks, Portobello Fajita’s, or Portobello Burgers. Mushrooms are incredibly versatile and work great on the grill. Since they are large they “fit” better and don’t fall in the fire.

Veggies

Many veggies can be grilled as well. Summer Squash, Onions, Bell Peppers, Tomatoes, and Asparagus. I even grill Avocados, yes you read that right.

You can arrange veggies on skewers or just toss them on the grill. There are also really neat products available like this Emeril Grilling Veggie Basket that you can flip over to allow both sides to cook. Or, this Weber Style Professional-Grade Vegetable Basket that is open on top for easy stirring. I always loved eating kabobs but when grilling for company (and kids) these grill baskets make much easier options in my opinion. They are even Father’s Day gift worthy!

dips for a cookout

Side Dishes

Baked Potato Wedges, Potato Salad, Dirty Mashed Potatoes, Baked Beans, Chip & Salsa or Pico De Gallo are great side dishes if you are planning to grill.

If you are getting together with friends or family I always enjoy bringing stuff like chips and salsa, guacamole, Pico de Gallo, Green Chili White Bean Dip, Unfried Pinto Beans, Faux Cheese Dip for dipping. I’ll often bring a quinoa-black bean salad too. I like to bring chips and dips because these look “normal” to everyone else. I feel like dips are always safe to bring to a party. I sometimes feel weird bringing a whole separate entrée (unless I was asked ) to someone else’s party.

Drinks

Don’t forget to BYOB! I don’t drink alcohol and I’m rarely invited anywhere with it as an option (actually I’m rarely invited anywhere at all, I think everyone is too intimidated by my son’s allergies. That is the reason I’m going with. I’m fabulous, who wouldn’t want to hang out with me? I digress.) I prefer to bring my own drinks. Usually it is just water. I’m a water snob. We have a filter so I have a hard time drinking tap water.

Basically, don’t assume there will be something you can drink. I regularly attend events where lemon water is the only option. I prefer my water straight up. If you love lemon you must check out Sarah’s Stevia Lemonade at Gazing In!

gluten free vegan brownies

Dessert

Probably the most important part of any cookout. I don’t typically grill dessert but we occasionally grill peaches. Just cut them in half, remove the pit and put them on the grill. Serve them with vegan ice cream! It will taste kind of like peach cobbler without all the work.

If I’m taking dessert somewhere it is almost always my Gluten-Free Vegan Brownies. They travel well, don’t need to be refrigerated and everyone loves them.


4 Tips to Stay Safe in the Sun

If you plan to spend some time outside make sure to check out my recent post with 4 Tips to Keep You Safe in the Sun! I also share about learning a had a pre-cancerous mole years ago. If you don’t know what sunscreen to buy read the post!

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