Cauliflower Pizza Bites


Cauliflower Pizza Bites on

I love pizza. I know, I know, who doesn’t? It’s just that I’ve recently realized how much I miss eating this scrumptious treat.

Cauliflower Pizza Bites on Pizza Bites Being allergic to yeast hasn’t been too big of an issue, until suddenly I am struck with a pizza craving. Yeast free bread? No big deal. But yeast free pizza crust? A bit trickier. That’s when I stumbled on cauliflower pizza crust. Whaaaat?! I had no idea that this was a thing!


The cauliflower “dough” after squeezing out the excess water.

Pizza sauce and my chosen toppings. Roasted garlic, arugula, green onions, bell pepper, basil, and sliced tomatoes. YUM!

The crust before cooking.

DSC_0019DSC_0021I searched around and found this lovely recipe for The BEST Dairy Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust by The Lucky Penny. With one minor change to make it vegan, it was perfect! I decided to use the base crust recipe to make mini pizzas. Because let’s be real, they’re adorable!

DSC_0025 DSC_0026Along with being super cute, the smaller crusts also get crispier, making them easier to pick up with your hands. If you are new to the cauliflower-crust-world, the downside of adding another veggie to your pizza is that the crust typically doesn’t firm up enough to pick up. Using the method of squeezing out the excess water, along with making these fellas mini allowed me to battle the crumbly-cauliflower issue.


The cauliflower is such a mild flavor that it tastes truly amazing with the spices mixed in. Add on some delicious and super easy pizza sauce, and you’ll find your pizza craving dancing with happiness! And the absolute best thing about this? It’s stupidly fun! Using your hands to mix the dough and form the crusts, then adding the sauce and toppings to make your perfect pizza… there’s nothing better than that!

DSC_0039 DSC_0040 DSC_0043I’m excited to try this with my oldest niece and nephew. They won’t eat it, because they’re picky they have yet to realize that vegetables taste great, but I’ll enjoy hanging out with them in the kitchen!

Prep time: 20 minutes   Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes

1 flax egg (1 TBSP flax meal + 2.5 TBSP warm water)
1 medium sized head of cauliflower – should yield close to 3 cups once processed
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried basil (crush it even more between your fingers)
1/2 tsp dried oregano (crush it even more between your fingers)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
A few shakes of crushed red pepper
2 TBSP almond meal
1 TBSP nutritional yeast*
1 tablespoon olive oil

Pizza Sauce:
4 oz tomato paste
1/4 cup water
1.5 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 pinch of salt

Use whatever your heart desires! Here are some examples:
Daiya cheese
Bell peppers
Sliced tomatoes
Onions (carmalized onions are unstoppable on pizza!)
Roasted garlic

*The nutritional yeast is optional if you have it. It adds great flavor!

Place a pizza stone or pan in the oven. Preheat oven to 450. Place a piece of parchment paper aside for later use.

In a small bowl, prepare your flax egg by adding 2.5 TBSP of water to 1 TBSP of flax. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Cut the florets off the head of cauliflower. Add the florets to your Vitamix or food processor. Pulse until the mixture is mostly fine grains, yielding about 3 cups. Pour the cauliflower into a cheesecloth or tea towel and squeeze out the excess moisture.

Transfer the cauliflower to a bowl and add in everything else, except the egg. Mix well. Add the flax egg and mix again.

Using your hands, form the cauliflower dough into small crusts on the parchment paper on top of a cutting board or an upside down baking sheet. Make whatever size you wish—the smaller they are, the more crispy they will get, but I’ve also made one large crust out of this recipe and was still able to pick it up. Using the cutting board or baking sheet, transfer the crust on to the pre-heated pizza stone in the oven.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until the edges are just turning golden brown and crispy.

While your crust is baking, mix up your pizza sauce. Combine the tomato paste with the water and mix well. Add in the spices and mix again. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Remove from the oven. Add your toppings and return to the oven. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, depending on your toppings. I went with 10 minutes since I wanted the peppers to soften up a bit.


Carrot Cake Bites

carrot cake bites 2

These make a great gift or road-trip snack!

After making carrot cake pancakes, I found myself on a carrot cake kick! Say that ten times fast… I just tried and failed.

Rainbow carrots--so gorgeous

Rainbow carrots–so gorgeous


That’s when I discovered these gorgeous little bundles of spring. I absolutely love hemp hearts/seeds, and have a big ol’ mason jar full of them in my freezer. I typically add them to my daily green smoothie (or this Peanut Butter and Beet Smoothie), and was stoked to have another use for them. Hemp seeds are a great source of protein and healthy fats, making them a great addition to these carrot cake bites!


Another bonus? They are sweetened with dates, rather than refined sugar. I absolutely love dates and plan on using them a lot more in my desserts. During my last shopping trip, I noticed the woman ahead of me in line purchasing a bundle of these deliciously sweet treats. The cashier didn’t know what they were—she even said that she had never seen anyone buying them before. I was shocked! I encourage everyone to venture into the world of date-sweetened desserts.

Wanna date, anyone? Too bad, I'm taken.

Wanna date, anyone? Too bad, I’m taken.


These little carrot cake bites are packed with protein from the hemp seeds, beta carotene from the carrots and healthy fat from the almonds and the hemp seeds. They provide antiseptic properties from the cinnamon along with digestive aid from the ginger and nutmeg. Man oh man.


I packed these little beauties for our roadtrip to Portland, and ended up eating an entire mason jar full of them. Oops! Good thing they are such a nutritional powerhouse.


The original recipe from the absolutely gorgeous and genius Blissful Basil calls for walnuts, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand. I seem to always have almonds hiding somewhere. If you don’t have hemp seeds, you can substitute flax seeds.


Prep time: 5 minutes   Cook time: 0 minutes


•           1½ cups pitted Medjool Dates
•           ½ cup finely shredded carrots
•           ½ cup raw almond pieces
•           ⅔ cup GF rolled oats
•           2 TBSP shelled hemp seeds (aka hemp hearts)
•           ½ tsp vanilla extract
•           1 tsp cinnamon
•           ½ tsp ground ginger
•           ⅛ tsp nutmeg

Add all the ingredients to a food processor or Vitamix. I put the 3 carrots in the Vitamix first to shred them super quickly, and then added the rest of the ingredients.

Pulse until the mixture starts to come together. Roll the dough into 20 bite size pieces. Place them in the freezer for 15 minutes to set up. Store them in the freezer or fridge for a great, healthy, protein-packed snack!


Mason jar full o’ carrot cake!

Portland–a vegan paradise!


I totally belong in Portland


This post is a bit more about my life and a bit less about cooking. After living in the Pacific Northwest for almost two years, I decided I should probably explore the area. Especially since I’ll be moving to San Francisco in two months—yikes! *Deep breaths, Courtney, you can do this*

Anywho, the boyfriend and I decided to venture to Portland, OR. Our plans for the weekend: EAT. Oh man, so awesome. Adam found a fabulous place to stay via airbnb (if you haven’t tried out this fantastic website, give it a look!). We stayed in a great vegan-friendly house, complete with nutritional yeast on the counter next to a vitamix, almond butter in the fridge, and an adorable guest house in the back. It was completely perfect! We arrived late on Friday night after a beautiful drive.

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Smooches on the drive over!

We originally planned to attend an early morning yoga class, followed by breakfast and a hike up Mt Tabor. Aaaaaand then we slept until 9:30. Welp, that meant yoga was out. Instead, we went straight to breakfast! A win-win? Possibly.

We headed to Harlow in the Hawthorne District. And that’s where the real fun began! I was almost overwhelmed with all the options. Should I get the special? Because, well, it’s special? Or do I get a big ol’ breakfast bowl of tempeh, guacamole, cilantro, and some sort of savory sauce? Both options would have made my entire day, so I went with my gut and asked for the special—the pistachio pancakes, covered in a pistachio cream sauce and apple compote. Are you kidding me?! Glorious. The pancakes were just the right amount of sweet, perfected with a drizzle of maple syrup.


Pistachio Pancakes

For lunch we headed to Prasad, the sister restaurant of Harlow. The adorably quaint restaurant shares a space with a yoga studio, and serves ridiculously scrumptious food. Once again I found myself torn between multiple choices. Both Adam and I wanted to try the Brahma Bowl (choice of rice or quinoa, steamed greens, Garam Masala stew with potatoes, peas, tomatoes, spinach and coconut milk), but we couldn’t choose between everything else. So what did we do? I ordered the Brahma Bowl and Adam made his decision by simply looking at the names. Which is why he ended up with the Dragon Bowl (choice of rice or quinoa, beans, sea vegetables, avocado, steamed greens, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, scallions & kimchi). Gotta love the way my man thinks! I have to admit, though both were freaking fabulous, we both preferred the melding of the flavors in the Brahma Bowl. It was just so darn good!


Brahma Bowl

adam lunch

I forgot to take a picture of Adam’s lunch of the Dragon Bowl, so this happened… yuuuuup. Such a goofball.

We planned on grabbing a donut or two (or 12) at Voodoo Donuts, but the line was wrapped around the corner. And people, please believe that I love a good donut just as much as the next guy, but there’s no way I’m waiting in a Disneyland-style line just for a baked good. Not when I’ve been able to make some pretty darn good desserts on my own. Nope, no way. So instead we saved our appetites for dinner. Amazingly unstoppable dinner.

If you are in Portland, GO TO PORTOBELLO! Portobello Vegan Trattoria has such an awesome ambience that adds to the amazing food that is offered. The distressed wood walls and the intimate setting immediately filled me with all those warm fuzzy feelings of happiness and romance. Well, the romance might have been due to dining with my handsome boyfriend, but whatevs.

We ordered some drinks: I requested the “I Found the Rum, It was Hiding in the Coconut Milk,” and Adam ordered an Old Fashioned. Both were as equally strong as they were delicious. Awesome-sauce! Out came the Pommes Frites with a delicious curry catsup on the side—which is on my to-make list for this weekend!


Mushroom Risotto

And then the entrees. I chose the mushroom risotto. The creamy, dreamy, steamy (what?) mushroom risotto. Adam ordered the gorgeously fluffy gnocchi. I tried it and it melted right in my mouth. So awesome! We ordered the tiramisu, but had to get it to-go, as there simply wasn’t any room left for dessert! It was devoured the next day and did not disappoint, even after sitting for 24 hours. That’s how good it was.

adam dinner


Needless to say, Portland is the place to go if you are looking for a food-venture. I wish we had stayed for a whole week just for the food!

Peanut Butter + Beet Smoothie


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Spoiler alert: mad beet puns ahead.

This morning I decided that it was time to use that beet in the freezer or else it was just going to keep staring at me. Whenever I reached around it to grab frozen apples, I would have to avoid eye contact with that deep purple, frozen rock. Welp, today was the day.


Got canned beet in my heels tonight, baby! Oh Jamiroquai… anyone else feeling a desire to watch Center Stage?

Sweet beet oblivion. The beet escape. Cream of beet. I think you get it.

I’m not a stranger to using beets in my “green” smoothies; however, I had previously used only half of a beet at a time. Due to extreme laziness, I had bypassed cutting this sucka in half, leaving me with a solid beet-rock (rock those beets!). I was afraid that the beet flavor would be too intense and I would end up using 2 smoothie’s worth of fruit just to mask it. Enter lightbulb moment! PEANUT BUTTER.


Mmmm… peanut butter.

Have you ever had a smoothie that required you to pinch your nose just to gulp down those greens? Been there. Done that. Never again. Hopefully you’ve discovered a secret to fixing this dilemma—I’ve read that a squeeze or two of lemon can work wonders. Have you tried that? I haven’t experimented with this trick, myself, as I am currently on a peanut butter (or almond butter if I haven’t eaten all of it almost immediately after making it) kick. I’m telling you, pals, pb will be your new BFF, if it’s not already.DSC_0019

Beets provide a stupidly awesome amount of nutrients.. They are chock full of vitamins and minerals, and all kinds of amazing compounds that can do such things as boost sex-drive, elevate mood, lower blood pressure, etc. Seriously, go get some beets right now!

Prep time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1-2, depending on how much you want–I drank the whole thing myself!


  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk (or your preferred non-dairy milk)
  • 2 cups of greens* (spinach, kale, etc.)
  • 1 TBSP hemp hearts
  • 2 TBSP peanut butter
  • 1 roasted beet**
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup of frozen berry blend

*I personally freeze my greens—that was another lighbulb moment when I realized I would never have to throw away rotten greens again!

**To roast my beets, I follow these instructions. Yum!

If you have a Vitamix, then you already know what to do! Just add the ingredients in the order listed and blend blend blend!

If you don’t have a fancy-pants machine and are using a less-powerful blender, then blend the almond milk with your greens first. Then add in the beet and blend that up. Lastly, add the remaining ingredients and away you go!

Feel free to adjust the fruit:greens ratio. I have been drinking green smoothies for quite a while now, so I tend to use more greens than fruit. Check out and their fabulous Green Smoothies 101 info. I’ve learned so much from these amazing girls!

Irish Soda Bread



The two things I have missed in my gluten-free and yeast-free world are grilled cheese sandwiches and toast. Not necessarily the healthiest things, but some of my favorite indulgences! Sunday dinners with my parents were often grilled cheese and tomato soup (Mmmm…comfort food), and a quick dessert favorite of mine has always been toast with butter and cinnamon. Add in the Earth Balance coconut spread—holy cow. This led me to my recent determination: to make my own bread that I could use for both of these tasty treats!

20140423 Irish Soda Bread IngredientsDSC_0024

The solution: IRISH SODA BREAD. Genius. The trick was to make it vegan and gluten-free. There are tons of recipes out there for exactly that, so I just needed to find one and tweak it to perfection. Thank you, Gluten Free Goddess, for her Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread Recipe. With only a few minor changes, I ended up with delicious bread that has already fit so many purposes!


I have used it to make both of my weaknesses. And each treat was a huge success. The bread has enough flavor to be delicious on its own, but not enough to overpower a sandwich or toast. Perfect!

grilled cheese sammy 20140423 cinammon toast 4

Prep time: 10 minutes   Cook time: 30 minutes


  • 1 cup GF oat flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF Oats ground into flour)
  • 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup potato starch flour
  • 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp xanthum gum OR 2 tsp chia seeds + 4 tsp water
  • 5 TBSP coconut oil* or vegan butter (I used Earth Balance butter since I had it on hand)
  • 3/4 cup plain non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • Juice from 1/2 of a lemon
  • 2 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 5 Tbsp water
  • 1 TBSP agave nectar or maple syrup

*Note—if you use coconut oil, measure the 5 TBSP in a separate bowl and then place the bowl in the freezer for about 10 minutes. It will make the coconut oil more solid, and therefore closer in consistency to butter. This helps keep the bread a bit fluffier. It is helpful to place your large mixing bowl and pastry cutter in the freezer before beginning the recipe, as well.

Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare an 8- or 9-inch round baking pan by greasing it with coconut oil or vegan butter. Sprinkle the pan with GF oat flour.

In a large mixing bowl, prepare your flaxseed eggs by combining the flaxseed and water in a small bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes. If using chia seeds instead of xanthum gum, add the chia seeds and the additional water to this same bowl. While these set up, prepare the rest of your ingredients.

Add the dry ingredients to the large mixing bowl and whisk together. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut in the butter or coconut oil.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Slowly fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. The final consistency of the bread should be a sticky dough. Mine had a bit more liquid in the dough, which made for a denser, yet moister (literally was stumped when trying to replace that with a less-gross word), bread. If your dough appears too dry, add more almond milk, 1 TBSP at a time.

Transfer the dough to your prepared cake pan. Give the pan a few shimmies and shakes (technical terms) to make sure the dough is even. If this doesn’t work, wet your hands and flatten the dough out. Using a sharp knife, cut a cross through the top of the dough. Because my dough was less dry, the cross didn’t quite survive the baking process. I hope yours does, as it definitely adds to the aesthetic appeal of the bread!

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top is a crispety-crunchety texture, and a toothpick comes out clean when stuck in the middle of the bread. Let the bread cool in the pan for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. Enjoy!


Roasted Parsnip and Garlic Mushroom Soup



Before September, my cooking experience consisted of mac and cheese (and not the good kind) and microwave lunches. Oh man. Vegetables? Nah, bro. Who likes those, anyway? As it turns out, I’m a pretty big fan of those nutrient-packed fellas!


While living with some incredible friends (shout to the Felvernackis!), we were faced with a conundrum: what the heck do we do with all of these parsnips?!? I did some searching on one of my top 5 fave blogs, Fat Free Vegan, and found this beauty: Roasted Parsnip and Garlic Soup with Mushrooms. My roommates and I loved this creamy, garlicky goodness, with chunks of meaty mushrooms throughout. This soup marks the beginning of my utter obsession with all things involving mushrooms. And that roasted garlic! Are you kidding me? Delicious!


The most recent time that I made this soup, I didn’t have any navy beans or white pepper on hand, so I improvised with some garbanzo beans and red pepper flakes. The result was great. The boyfriend and I ate this over some rice to turn it into a full meal. It was super filling and the leftovers are just as awesome.



Roasted Parsnip and Garlic Soup with Mushrooms
Prep time: 10 minutes            Cooking time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 rib celery (including leaves), chopped
  • 4 to 5 cups veggie broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans
  • 10-12 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F. Place the parsnip cubes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat . Cut the top off of the head of garlic, just enough to expose the tops of the cloves. Spritz it with olive oil (or don’t, if you are avoiding oil) and wrap the entire thing up in foil. Place it on the baking sheet with the parsnips. Bake for 15 minutes, turn over the parsnips, and cook for 15 more minutes until parsnips are tender and just touched with brown. Remove from oven and allow the garlic to cool in its wrapper.

Heat a non-stick saucepan and cook the onion until it’s translucent. Add the celery and cook for 2 more minutes. Add 3 cups of the broth, the parsnips, and the red pepper flakes. Squeeze the garlic out of the cloves into the pan. Cook for a few minutes, until parsnips have softened. Add the beans.

Carefully pour the soup into your blender. Split into 2 batches if necessary. Add more veggie broth if you prefer a thinner soup. Return the pureed soup to the pan and warm over low heat. If the soup is too thick, add more broth until it reaches your desired consistency, keeping it covered to prevent any spattering.

Cook the sliced mushrooms in a small skillet until they soften and release their juices. Season them with salt and stir them into the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I definitely like the added texture from the mushrooms, but if you want a creamier soup, add the mushrooms with the celery and cook until softened. Blend with the other vegetables as directed.

If you enjoy parsnips, then chances are you also like carrots. Try these delicious carrot cake pancakes!

Carrot Cake Pancakes


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Pancakes for dinner? OKAY! I had recently stumbled upon some beautiful rainbow carrots, and after scouring the internet for recipes, the colorful bunch was destined for soup and pancakes—not to eat at the same time… yuck. The boyfriend and I decided that we would celebrate a Monday with breakfast for dinner. Why? Because it was Monday. Duh. In my opinion, pancakes are so much better as a fun dinner than boring ol’ breakfast!

20140423 carrot cake pancakes

And to be honest, folks, as much as I am looking forward to the carrot and coconut soup (and it’s still cold and rainy here in WA so it’s completely acceptable), these carrot cake pancakes had me giddy with excitement!



When I was a small squib of a thing, my family and I drove from Arizona to Canada for a family reunion. One of the most memorable parts of that trip (other than the crazy-long drive in a minivan with my parents, my grandmother, and my 3 older sisters–yikes, amiright?) was THE carrot cake. Stay with me for a second; I’ll explain.

At one of the many family gatherings, sitting amongst the food on the banquet table was this stupidly delicious-looking cake adorned with a carrot made out of frosting. I ate 3 pieces. And I wanted nothing to do with any of the other food (I’m sure my parents loved that). From then on, carrot cake has been one of my all-time favorite desserts.


I stumbled upon a great recipe by Cara at Fork and Beans for carrot cake pancakes. Mmmm, yes please! I changed the recipe up a bit to make the pancakes a bit more naturally-sweetened. My intention was to use only dates to sweeten these puppies, but after mixing the batter up, they were definitely not sweet enough for my liking! Hence the addition of the agave. When I remake these (as I know that I will… heck, maybe this week!), I think I’ll double the dates and see where that gets me. Give it a shot!


The pancakes are a perfect blend of carrots, spices, and sweetness to make a similar flavor to carrot cake. Covered in maple syrup, they are unstoppable!


Carrot Cake Pancakes
Prep time: 15 minutes         Cook time: 10 minutes
Makes a dozen pancakes


  • 3 pitted dates, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes and blended into small pieces
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp flax meal
  • 2.5 Tbsp warm water
  • 1 cup un-sweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil or vegan butter (I used Earth Balance Coconut Butter)
  • 2 Tbsp agave or maple syrup (add more or less, depending on the desired sweetness of your pancakes—I found that 2 was perfect for a touch of sweetness but not overpoweringly so)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten-free flour blend
  • 3 large carrots—grated

Soak the dates in warm water for 10 minutes. In either a blender or food processor, pulse the dates into small pieces.

In a large mixing bowl, prepare your flax egg by combining the flax meal and warm water. Let it set up for 5 minutes. Add all ingredients except for the flour and grated carrots. Mix in the flour, ½ a cup at a time. Stir in the grated carrots.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Scoop about ¼ cup of batter into the pan. Once bubbles begin to form in the batter, flip that sucker over!

This recipe made about a dozen delicious, carrot-y, cinnamon-y pancakes. You’re going to love these!



Proof that the boyfriend loved these pancakes!