Homestyle vegan pancakes with blueberry syrup!

Homestyle Vegan Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup

Homestyle vegan pancakes with blueberry syrup!

Mm! Nothing quite kick-starts a good Saturday morning like a stack of vegan pancakes and a tall glass of orange juice!

In our house, we cherish our Saturday mornings. I don’t like to commit to engagements that early, because (like most people) all I want to do is lay in my bed as long as possible, even though as I get older, my body doesn’t really allow me to past 9 am. If I was Harry Potter, I would probably magic myself some herbal tea before rolling out of bed.

And pancakes? Well, they are the American staple of breakfast- morning meals in this country revolve around these fluffy sweet edible plates…unless you’re a waffle person. Of course, waffles are just an extension of a pancake, and who doesn’t like a good crispy waffle?

Vegan Pancake recipe!
Vegan pancakes are the best way to celebrate Saturdays.

Back in the early 2000’s, I worked at a breakfast diner, and was up taking orders by 5 am. There’s actually something really comforting about diners, with so many people buzzing around from too much coffee and the sounds of food sizzling and plates clattering together. It’s like a strange little symphony that’s oddly soothing.

Which is why (among many other reasons) I really wish they would hurry up and make a vegan breakfast chain of diners so I can experience diner in full force again.

Related: Scrambled “Teggs” (Tofu Eggs) & Toast!

It was here that I learned about how to make pancakes and when to flip them- after you pour your batter onto the hotplate, you have to wait until you see bubbles form on the top. And that’s how you know that the other side is cooked enough to flip.

What I didn’t learn though, is the ultimate secret to pancake success…that I learned from the Food Network, so I guess the cooks at my old stomping grounds were holdin’ out on me.

Do you want to know the secret to a good pancake?

There's a secret to cooking the BEST, fluffiest pancakes...
There’s a secret to cooking the BEST, fluffiest pancakes…

Lean in close, because I’m only going to tell you this once. Ready? (more…)

make your own calendula oil

Make your Own Calendula Oil

make your own calendula oil

Did you know that you can make your own calendula oil (as well as other herbal oils) to use for a variety of herbal recipes and remedies? And did you also know that it is SUPER easy-peasy???

Well it is!

Earlier this summer, I began interning with a dear friend at her local farm, and one of the plants I’ve grown close to is calendula. This flower loves to be picked, and so each week we are out in the garden with these beauties, carefully collecting the tops for drying and helping out with other farm tasks. There’s something really soothing about being outside early in the morning and working with the plants (as well as lovely ladies), and it has been great for my herbal education as well as my spirit.

Related: DIY Herbal Vinegars (Great Gift Idea!)

calendula plant
Calendula is a beautiful addition to any garden!

Calendula is a not only a beautiful addition to have in your summer garden, but she also provides you with wonderful plant medicine. Great for cuts, wounds, sores, scrapes, and burns, calendula can help with a myriad of skin conditions, including diaper rash and insect bites.

Known as the “pot marigold,” this beautiful flower has been used since the twelfth century in Europe (and even earlier in Egypt). Esoterically, garlands of calendula at your front door was known to stop evil from entering your house, and placing it under your bed would help make your dreams come true.

Calendula harvesting in the early morning.
Calendula harvesting in the early morning.

Of course, you don’t have to use them to ward off the dead lol- instead, use these delightful flowers to aid you during these hot summer months, when the sun is out in full force and you are more likely to get sunburned. In the winter, calendula can help heal and soothe dry chapped skin. (more…)

Delicious Strawberry Fields Overnight Vegan Oatmeal

Strawberry Fields Vegan Overnight Oatmeal (Family Size!)

Delicious Strawberry Fields Overnight Vegan Oatmeal

I hate to admit this but…I don’t really like hot oatmeal.

The only way it tastes good to me is if I drown it in almond milk and too many tablespoons of sugar, which defeats the point of a healthy breakfast. I can never finish a bowl of hot oats without feeling a little nauseous- there’s just something about a hot pile of mush that makes me queasy.

When the “overnight oatmeal” craze swept through, I was skeptical at first. I thought that there was no way I was going to like it, but I decided to give it a shot after hearing some friends talk about the simplicity and deliciousness of oats in the fridge.

Related: Smoothie Bowls! A Healthy Vegan Breakfast

And holy moly guys, I was BLOWN AWAY by the texture and the versatility! Instead of hot sad mush, it’s like delicious creamy rice pudding that melts in your mouth. There’s absolutely no limit to what you can add to your oatmeal either, which is awesome!

Strawberry Fields EASY Vegan Overnight Oatmeal (Family Size!)
Oatmeal went from my least favorite breakfast to one of my besties.

The first overnight oatmeal I ever tried was chocolate almond, and since then I’ve been making a variety of DIY oatmeal, and they’ve always turned out good.

I know I’m a little late to the oatmeal train, but today I thought I’d share with you one of my favorites I make, a.k.a. Strawberry Fields. Since most of the recipes I’ve seen out there are for single servings, I’ve upped this recipe to family size, because honestly, you need to be making a big batch if you’re putting in the effort!

Related: Vegan Smoothie Bliss- Strawberry, Coconut, & Maca

This oatmeal will be good for a couple of days too, so no worries if you don’t have a family of five- just pop it back in the fridge and have your breakfast ready to go for the week!

Enjoy this deliciously EASY vegan overnight oatmeal!
Enjoy this deliciously EASY vegan overnight oatmeal!

Strawberry Fields Vegan Overnight Oatmeal

(more…)

stretch produce and save money

How to Stretch Your Produce and Save Money!

stretch produce and save money

Everyone is trying to save money, especially those who have large families.

I know from having a growing family of five that I need to stretch my money as far as possible each week at the grocery store!

Many blogs out there will tell you to clip coupons to save cash on food, but honestly, when you choose healthier options- there are no coupons! Rarely do I find anything for produce or dried bulk items, as it is typically junk food companies that offer pennies off their products. To me, it makes no sense to buy these items just to save a few bucks. Like it or not, you WILL be paying for it later, in the form of hospital bills or illness.

And so, I have to find other ways to squeeze the most out of my wallet, while still providing the best for my family.

stretching your produce and saving money!

What it basically comes down to knowing your store, and when they generally do sales or get *fresh* shipments in.

It also helps to know what healthy foods your family enjoys eating, so you can focus on core staples each week.

And most importantly, many times it can be about preservation on your part. Buying frozen veg can be a huge time saver, but it’s still costing you.

Below I describe these in further detail so you can start saving immediately!!

How to Stretch your Produce and Save Money!

1. Know the perfect day to shop.

If you don’t know when your local store has the most deals or when fresh shipment comes in, and your trying to save money, you have some work to do!

Stores are NOT going to run their best deals during high traffic times, like the weekends, because they know they have the upper hand on days like Saturday and Sunday (unless they are trying to get you back in the door, like around holidays) when the majority of people do their shopping. Most stores will have better deals during the week, when traffic is low and they want to generate more income. (more…)

diy fire cider home remedy

DIY Fire Cider Herbal Remedy

diy fire cider home remedy

I am so thrilled that I am finally sharing this wonderful recipe! My introduction to Fire Cider was pretty epic, having tasted a sample last year from no other than Rosemary Gladstar, at one of her talks in Black Mountain, NC. 

Hurricane Joaquin had swept in with a vengeance last fall, and in the midst of it’s almost unpredictable weather, I was driving my way through the storm (with a dear friend) to the 11th annual Southeast Wise Woman Conference (2015), where Rosemary was scheduled to speak.

Related: Wise Woman Conference 2014

I had set up expectations beforehand, mainly to camp and have the freedom to walk back and forth between classes and a home base. The reality of the potential flooding and high winds made me and my gal second guess this original plan, and so, at the last minute, we took the safer route and booked a hotel.

Despite having a cushy bed to collapse into at night, the conference itself was covered in a thick blanket of rain and wind. I was able to keep somewhat dry that Friday, but by Saturday mid-morning, my backside was drenched and my feet felt like icicles. To be frank, it sucked out loud.

wise woman and fire cider

I spent a good portion of time trying to keep warm, and (as Bear Grills would say), once you let the cold in, you are insulating that cold. Plus, with all the mismatched layers that I tried to pull over myself to warm up, I felt as though I had a tangled hammock under my jacket, which was very uncomfortable for the rest of the day (and difficult to maneuver around in a porta-potty).

Yes, the weather literally put a damper on things. However…

Through the rain, through the three pairs of socks, the constant walking back and forth between classes, the ground completely saturated, wading through a swamp, my boots slurp-slurping through the mud like a pair of suction cups….I learned some important things about myself.

I learned what I could and could not handle, and the importance of a good umbrella.

I learned that I don’t do so well in large groups.

I learned (once again) that my friend Melissa is an amazing support system and beautiful soul. ♥

And, I also learned (unfortunately), that even in the herbalist community, you’re still going to have a few a-holes that don’t understand you or your lifestyle choices. Go figure.

Related: Chillaxin’ Herb Balls (For Stress, Anxiety, & Depression)

wise woman 2016

Yet I tell you all of this not out of the need to complain, but to really lay out how physically miserable I was prior to seeing Rosemary speak, which can be compared to that of a starving kitten being slowly dipped in water.

Previous to her talk, I waited in line to meet her and get my copy of “Medicinal Herbs” signed. After what felt like an hour, I was only two people away from the front of the line, and I got so giddy I felt like I was going to pass out (or throw up on myself, whichever came first).

That’s when her assistant started urging Rosemary that she needed to stop the signing line, and my nerves started to form a knot in my stomach. Thankfully, my dear, sweet, angel friend swooped in and used her assertiveness to get me to the front of the line (Melissa I love you so freaking much lol). It was a whirlwind, and, feeling like a soaked kitten, I didn’t know much to say except to thank her repeatedly for her work.

She scribbled her name on the inside of the book, closed it, and smiled at me. Then she gave me a hug. It. Was. AWESOME.

It made the muddy, cold morning totally worth the trouble.

rosemary gladstar book signing

Watching Mrs. Gladstar speak was like watching history unfold. Rosemary reminded us that we need to protect our traditions- we must speak for the plants. Just as the Lorax encouraged us to protect the truffula trees, so did Rosemary urge us to stand up for our right to practice herbal remedies. (more…)