Category Archives: Vegan

Low Cal Chocolate Pudding Recipe

Low Calorie Chocolate Pudding Balanced Grettie

This recipe couldn’t get any easier.  I have been eating this for dessert lately and can’t believe how good it is for how few calories there are.  Is it the exact same as regular pudding taste-wise?…No, but it is pretty darn good.


  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2Tbs. cocoa powder (I like THIS one by Valrhona)
  • 1 tsp. xanthan gum
  • Sweetleaf Stevia to taste (THIS one is my favorite)

Possible add-ins:

  • Chia seeds (I use 15g)
  • PB Powder
  • Organic Flavors like mint, almond, butterscotch, cherry

Place the almond milk, cocoa powder, xanthan gum, and stevia in the blender alond with 4 drops of organic flavor (if using).  Blend until nice and creamy.  If adding chia seeds, pour them into the blender with the pudding and pulse very quickly (you want to mix them in, but not blend them).

When I make the pudding with the chia seeds I like to pour the mixture into a container and put it in the fridge to allow the chia seeds time to expand.

Thanks it!

Here are the macros for the pudding:

Low Calorie Chocolate Pudding Balanced Grettie NO CHIA

Here are the macros for the pudding WITH 15g of chia seeds:

Low Calorie Chocolate Pudding Balanced Grettie WITH CHIA


Filed under Dessert, Dip, Gluten Free, Paleo, Pudding / Mousse, Recipes, Vegan

Roasted Japanese Eggplant

Roasted Japanese Eggplant Balanced Grettie Collage

Eggplant used to intimidate me.  I was always told that if you didn’t prepare it right the eggplant would turn out bitter, so I think I avoided making it myself and just stuck to ordering it when I went out to eat.

This year I decided to plant Japanese eggplant in my garden, so I guess that meant I would have to learn how to work with it.  I have one Japanese eggplant plant in my garden and it has just gone nuts.  I pick at least 10 eggplant on a weekly basis!

When I had my first eggplant harvest I did a quick search for recipes and found THIS one on the Real Healthy Recipes blog.

I simplified the recipe by leaving out the lemon since I like to prepare a ton at a time and want to be able to use it throughout the week for different purposes (not every meal lends itself to lemon).  I also use about 1/2 that amount of oil and found that I only need to roast them for about 18-22 minutes (maybe my eggplant are small?).  The first time I made this recipe I roasted the eggplant for the full 40 minutes and found them too be a little too mushy for my taste.

Scoring the eggplant as she suggests really allows the garlic flavor to get in there and they turn out so pretty.

Head on over to the Real Healthy Recipes blog to find out the method for preparing this yummy eggplant dish.  Click HERE for the printable recipe.

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Filed under Appetizers, Gluten Free, Quick, Recipes, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables


tropical popscicle 2 compress

A while back I saw a Pin on Pinterest that looked really good.  That pin served as the inspiration for this wonderful Tropical Popsicle….they are so simple and taste REALLY good!

Warning: If you don’t like coconut, these aren’t for you!

tropical popscicle 1 compress

INGREDIENTS – Makes 6-8 Popsicles

1 can full fat organic coconut milk
1 bag frozen pineapple (10 oz.)
2 Sweetleaf stevia packets

Blend the above ingredients in your high speed blender until fully incorporated.

Pour into Popsicle molds.



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Filed under Dessert, Frozen Treats, Sorbet, Vegan, Vegetarian


So Delicious Cashew Milk COMPRESS

It is always fun to receive packages in the mail, especially the ones that are gifted to you.  So delicious has done it again and upped the ante by sending their newest milk…Cashew Milk!  This shelf-stable milk will be available nationwide in stores beginning this month and the suggested retail is $2.49.

We love cashews around here.  The love runs so deep that I have to restrain myself from eating them by the handful(s) since we all know nuts are not a treat we can eat in unlimited quantities (though I wished they were).

The new cashew milk is creamy and flavorful, which will make it a perfect addition to my morning smoothies (especially the unsweetened vanilla flavor).  Since it is made from cashews, the fat content is high (30 of the 35 calories are from fat), but since I wont be drinking it by the glassful, I am not worried about it.  I can’t wait to make my Mac and Cheez with the unsweetened original flavor.

So Delicious Frozen treats compress

So Delicious has made good use of monkfruit from which the fruit extract is 300 times sweeter than sugar.  Thanks to this wonderful fruit, the “no sugar added” frozen treats they sent us have only 1 gram of sugar per serving.

My daughter is over the moon about the Fudge Bar Minis.  The timing of this treat couldn’t be more perfect since she has been feeling left out this summer as she watches the local kids nosh on Fudgsicles.

I know BOTH of my kiddos are going to go nuts for the “world’s ONLY gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free cookie dough ice cream“…it is going to be a serious spoon war between the two of them.

Now we just need So Delicious to come-up with a gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan ice cream sandwich!  I am officially putting in my request :-)


Filed under Product Reviews, Vegan, Vegetarian


Elana's Pantry Egg-Free Paleo Macaroonsphoto provided courtesy of


Summer is here for my kids…yay!!!  School just got out and I couldn’t be happier.  I just made these Egg-Free Paleo Macaroons and they are in the oven as I type.  The macaroons came together insanely fast and I already had all of the ingredients in my pantry.  If the batter is any indication, these are going to be amazing.


Egg-Free Paleo Macaroons

Recipe provided courtesy of Elana’s Pantry

  1. In a food processor, combine shredded coconut and coconut flour
  2. Pulse in salt, coconut oil, honey, and vanilla
  3. Dough will form a ball
  4. Scoop batter 1 level tablespoon at a time onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet
  5. Bake at 350° for 7 minutes
  6. Cool and serve

Makes 12 macaroons


For a printable version of this recipe click HERE.


Filed under Cookies / Bars, Dessert, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Quick, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian


Fudsicle carobsicle collage

Or “carobsicles” if you make them like I did.  I have been using a lot more carob lately because I really enjoy the flavor.

These popsicles were inspired by a “Cocoa-Bean Ice Cream” recipe I saw on Dr. Fuhrman’s website.  The “bean” in the title is just that…beans.

You know I like packing as much nutrition into a recipe as I can and adding beans to the mix actually adds creaminess to the frozen treat in addition to fiber.  I promise you will not even taste a hint of the beans…the carob OR cocoa takes care of that.

I chose to make popsicles vs. ice cream which resulted in 7 popsicles vs. the 4 servings the recipe originally made.

This recipe is made with WHOLE FOODS and is a wonderful way to end your day.


2 ripe bananas, frozen
1/2 cup raw cashews
3/4 cup cooked aduki beans, rinsed and drained (the original recipe called for black beans)
1/4 cup toasted carob powder (the original recipe called for 3 Tbs. cocoa powder)
4 dates, pitted
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (alcohol free)
1 cup soy, hemp, or almond milk

Blend all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender until very smooth.  Pour into popsicle molds, freeze, and enjoy.


For a printable version of this recipe click HERE.


Filed under Beans/Legumes, Dessert, Frozen Treats, Ice Cream, Recipes, Sorbet, Vegan, Vegetarian


San J Dressing Collage

San-J is a favorite brand in this gluten-free Asian household.  Their Thai Peanut Sauce has been a staple in our fridge for years as has their Szechuan Sauce & Terriyaki Sauce.

That being said, I was excited to try their new salad dressings (which they sent to me free of charge).  The flavors are good basic Asian flavors:

While admittedly HIGH in sodium, I am a fan of these dressings.  I used them on seaweed salad and to lightly marinade some cucumbers (they tasted best after only marinading 30 minutes…when left overnight they became too salty).  I did however cut the dressing with a bit of rice wine vinegar because I like a more “vinegar-y” dressing and I also added some red pepper flakes to the cucumbers.

Using the dressings on a regular salad produced a great result.  My favorite 2 dressings were the Tamari Peanut and Tamari Ginger since they had more flavor than the Tamari Sesame.

Some more good news…San-J has Reduced Sodium Tamari now…yay!!!  HOPEFULLY they will come out with Reduced Sodium Travel Packs soon (I keep the travel packs in my car for when I go out to Asian restaurants).

San-J graciously shared a recipe for one of their favorite ways to use the Tamari Peanut Dressing…


Created by: Amie Valpone


12 oz. whole grain spaghetti
1 Tbsp. olive oil (eliminate if water sauteing)
1 large zucchini, diced
1 (15 oz.) can white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
3 Tbsp. San-J Tamari Peanut Salad Dressing Sub out for either ginger or sesame dressing and add 1Tbs. peanut butter
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds


Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Then, drain and return to the pot.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat (eliminate if water sauteing). Add the zucchini; cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Add white beans, garlic, sea salt, pepper and crushed red pepper; cook for another 4 minutes. Remove from heat; add bean mixture to the spaghetti along with San-J Tamari Peanut Salad Dressing and mix well to combine.

Serve warm and top with sesame seeds.


Recipe courtesy of San-J.


Filed under Beans/Legumes, Gluten Free, Main Dish, Product Reviews, Recipes, Salad, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Mini Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes

pineapple upside down cakes (12)

It has been YEARS since I last had pineapple upside-down cake.  Out of the blue a craving hit and I decided to challenge myself to come-up with a healthier version.

Along the way I discovered that this recipe makes a wonderful pancake batter as well (you have to love the dual purpose nature of this batter!).

I have been invited to enter the Ethical Ocean recipe contest and this will be my entry…more information to come.

INGREDIENTS – Makes 12-16 muffins

Wet Ingredients
12 pineapple slices, drained (reserve 2 Tbs. juice from the can)
12 Morello cherries
1 1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple
1 cup applesauce
Dry Ingredients
2 Tbs SweetLeaf SugarLeaf
1-2 Tbsp pineapple juice
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup King Arthur’s Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup GFree pancake mix
1/2 cup blanched almond flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
honey or maple syrup


pineapple upside down cake collage 1

  1. Preheat oven to 350° (I used convection bake).
  2. Trim the pineapple slices to the size of the bottom of your muffin tin (I used a biscuit cutter).
  3. In a large mixing bowl add 1 cup applesauce, crushed pineapple, pineapple juice, and vanilla. Mix.
  4. Add baking soda, salt, xanthan gum, pancake mix, and flours to a separate bowl and whisk to evenly distribute.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well to incorporate.
  6. Lightly grease the muffin tins (I used coconut oil).
  7. Line the bottom of each tin with one slice of pineapple and a cherry in the middle.
  8. Cover each pineapple and cherry slice with batter until the muffin tins are 3/4 full.
  9. Bake for approx. 15 minutes until a tooth pick comes out clean.
  10. Allow the pan to cool for 5 minutes.
  11. Turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack and top with maple syrup or honey while still warm.

pineapple upside down cake collage 2

Don’t forget that this batter also makes AMAZING pancakes!!!  Feel free to add a smidgen more pineapple juice to thin the batter if you plan on using it for pancakes.

pineapple upside down cakes (6)

For a printable version of this recipe CLICK HERE.

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Filed under Breakfast, Cake, Cooked Fruit, Dessert, Fruit, Gluten Free, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian


grapefruit (4)

I have learned so much marrying into a Chinese family.  One of the first observations my husband and I made relating to our cultural differences was that (in general) Chinese people do not eat raw vegetables (salad is not a very Chinese dish) and they don’t cook their fruit (he tried apple pie for the first time with me).

Chinese people are also very big on peeling fruit.  Whereas I LOVE apple peels, etc. my husband had to acquire the taste since his father always peeled his apples (and the rest of the fruit he ate).

My father-in-law will painstakingly remove the membranes from my children’s tangerines.  Tangerine membranes are quite thin which makes this a very time-consuming job.

Fortunately it is SO EASY to remove the membranes from grapefruit and pomelos.  I had never eaten a pomelo before meeting my husband.  I always liked grapefruit, but I hated the time it took to prepare them buy cutting around the membranes, etc.  All of this changed when my hubby showed me the Chinese way.  The membranes on grapefruits and pomelos are very thick and loose which makes removing them a cinch.

grapefruit chinese style collage

The white grapefruits at my local farmer’s market are so sweet and juicy right now which means that I have been eating a lot of them…always the Chinese way.  I remove the peel from the grapefruit and keep them in the fridge (whole) so they are ready for a quick snack.  Remove the membranes as you eat them (this will keep them fresh).

Have any of you tried eating grapefruit or pomelos this way?

grapefruit segment collage


Filed under Quick, Raw, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian



Dates have been satisfying my sweet tooth a lot lately.  I usually buy date rolls in the bulk section of Mother’s market.  I tend to buy 8 or so and keep them in my car so I can snack on one when I have my “taxi driver” hat on in the afternoons chauffeuring my kiddos to and from their activities.

While the bulk date rolls are not too expensive, it is always cheaper to make these types of goodies at home when possible.  I always have a big container of Medjool dates (from Costco) in my pantry, so this morning I pitted 14 of them and set to work making my own coconut covered date rolls/truffles.


Medjool dates, pitted (I used 14 large dates)
Reduced fat finely shredded unsweetened coconut 
Water – if soaking is needed

Date Truffle Process

Depending upon how moist your dates are, you may need to soak them in water.  My dates were pretty moist and I soaked them for 30 minutes which resulted in a date mixture that was too wet for my liking (As you can see in the image at the top right).  If my dates are moist the next time I make these, I will not soak them at all since I prefer firm date rolls.

Place the soaked (or not soaked) dates in the food processor and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides 3-4 times.  Do not add extra water…I promise it will eventually begin blending.

If you do not have a food processor you can achieve similar results by using your knife and finely chopping the dates until they form a paste.

Place some shredded coconut in a shallow bowl and scoop some of the date mixture onto the shredded coconut (I used my 1 Tbs. scooper).  Roll / cover the date mixture with the coconut.  Continue until all of the date mixture has been used.

Place in the freezer to set. These taste amazing straight out of the freezer.

Using 14 large Medjool dates I was able to make 24 truffles.

These would be a great addition to your Easter brunch.



Filed under Appetizers, Candy / Fudge, Dessert, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian