cashew-clusters-holiday

There are two types of people in this world: people that like nutty chocolate, and people that suck at liking nutty chocolate.

Okay, okay, that was a bit harsh. What I meant to say was that there are people that do not have the necessary palette to enjoy the earthy flavors of the nut variety. The “nutty impaired”, as I like to call them.

Related: Raw Chocolate & Peanut Butter Pretzel Cups (Ready in 15 Minutes!)

Of course, there are also people that are allergic to nuts, which I suppose creates a third category. To this I call in the spirit of the sad emoji.

Deliciusness
Sometimes you feel like a nut…


But for the people like me, who LOVE the combination of chocolate and nuts, I give you the ultimate “cluster fuck” if you will: these stupid-easy vegan cashew clusters.

Seriously, anyone could make these, because they require absolutely no skill. Unless you count shoveling chocolate into your mouth hole a skill, then maybe you WILL need that.

Related: Harry Potter Vegan Chocolate Frogs with Chamomile

However, I have full confidence that even a child could make these- they require only four ingredients and can be prepared in five minutes.

If that’s not simplicity in a nut shell, I don’t know what is.

yummy trays
Get these “cluster fucks” prepped in only 5 minutes!

EASY Holiday Vegan Cashew Clusters

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Healthy Vegan Cookie Butter Dip!

Let’s stop kidding ourselves- we all know that the word “Christmas” is really just a trigger word for *justified* cookie bingeing.

I mean let’s face it- it is REALLY hard to resist being won over by sugar when you’re bombarded with images of treats for the entirety of November and December. It’s like society as a whole agrees to sweep all those January resolutions under the rug…don’t ask, don’t tell.

Related: “Santa’s Helper” Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Yup, even I can’t completely hold myself back from treats during this time of year. However, I do try to watch it and not over-indulge. It isn’t a weight issue that I’m necessarily worried about; my concern is when indulgences morph into habits, and that’s where the real damage occurs.

Because once you start eating cookies everyday, well, it takes strength to break it. Ask the Cookie Monster, he’ll vouch for me.

Reach for a healthier version of cookies this year and leave the flour out of it!
Reach for a healthier version of cookies this year and leave the flour out of it!


And so, I decided to whip up a “healthier” cookie dip this year, to hopefully knock out some of those temptations and not be so bad for you in the long run.

Instead of consuming flour and processed sugar, like you would in regular cookies, you can enjoy this dip that has ZERO flour and uses only a teeny-bit of natural sweetener.

Related: Vegan Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

I used cashews as the basis for this dip, and added in good-for-you things such as oats and chia seeds. Cashews are great for your heart, bones, hair, and skin, plus serve as a great cancer preventative. The oats and chia seeds provide you with high levels of fiber, protein, and other nutrients and antioxidants.

This dip is loaded with good-for-you protein, fiber, and antioxidants!
This dip is loaded with good-for-you protein, fiber, and antioxidants!

The chocolate chips are about the only thing that isn’t “good for you”, but if you use the “Enjoy Life” brand, at least it’s dairy-free and soy-free, which is better than some of the other brands of choco chips.

Of course, you can completely nix the chips if you want to (but God, why would you?) OR stir in some raw cacao bits.

Either way, I hope that you enjoy this holiday treat with no guilt!

Enjoy this alternative treat this holiday!
Enjoy this alternative treat with no guilt!


Healthy Vegan Cookie Butter Dip

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5-herbs-to-help-you-through-the-holidays_1

The holidays are here ALREADY, which means presents and parties and Ho-Ho-HORRIBLE colds!!

I don’t mean to put a damper on things, but that’s the sad truth. One minute you’re taking your kid to the mall to see Santa, and the next, well, you’ve taken your relationship with the toilet to the next level. Because the holidays, on top of being “the most wonderful time of the year”, is also the time for flus, coughs, and snotty children.

As a mama of three, I can tell you first hand that when one gets sick, it’s only a matter of time before they all fall like dominoes. Which is why I like to keep my list of herbal remedies ready to go, just in case we need to buckle up for a wild ride. Below you will find my top 5 herbs to help you through the holidays and into the new year!

5 Herbs to Help You Through the Holidays

1. Elder

elderberry

One of the best herbs for preventing and treating colds is none other than elder. Used to enhance the immune system and for her ant-viral properties, elder is most popularly taken as a syrup, although you can also opt for a tincture or tea.

However, my favorite way to use this awesome herb is as a diaphoretic- elder helps induce sweating and can come in handy when trying to break a fever. I don’t know about you, but I get really nervous about giving my toddler any kind of over-the-counter drug that could accidentally put him into a coma, which is why I always try to break it naturally FIRST.

Related: Homemade Vegan Cough Syrup

Fortunately, elder has been helpful on a few occasions, and my kids love taking it. I haven’t had so much luck finding wild elder where I live, but I HAVE been able to make my own syrup using organic dried elderberries. The first year I ever tried elderberry syrup was out of a box- it was good, but of course, homemade is always best.

2. Cayenne

cayenne

Cayenne pepper doesn’t just have to be used as a flavor enhancer- it can also be a powerful herbal remedy when you’re feeling ill!

Last Christmas, I experienced a sore throat so AWFUL that I actually lost my voice (which was probably great for the kids for one day lol). I was a miserable creature indeed, barely able to take down water without feeling pain, and sitting with my tower of tissues and hot liquids.

Related: Quick and Easy Natural Remedies for Sore Throats (Safe for Kids)!

Nothing really seemed to work, until my husband mixed up a tall glass of water with about a teaspoon of cayenne powder in it….and YOWZA!!!  Within minutes, I was able to speak again– it was seriously a miraculous turnaround that could be considered of biblical proportions. Continue Reading

Mushroom and Rye Vegan Cheddar Melts

I’m one of those mushroom people that just genuinely loves the flavor of mushrooms, whether they are raw, roasted, or injected straight into my veins with a syringe. In fact, when talking about these wonderful kitchen staples, I often turn into Bubba from “Forrest Gump”, scrubby floor brush and all:

You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There’s shroom-kabobs, shroom gumbo, shroom steaks, shroom gravy, shroom pasta, stuffed shrooms, shroom sandwiches, shrooms on potatoes. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. Shroom soup, shroom stew, shroom salad, shroom burgers…”

The list goes on and on.

Related: Healthy Side Dish- Baked Butternut Squash with Smoky Mushrooms (Low-Histamine Friendly)

Especially during this time of year, I believe mushrooms can be the perfect ally for any holiday celebration, as they make a wonderful meat substitute, but that’s just me.

I'm already such a die-hard mushroom fan, but when you throw it in some grilled-cheese-style sandwich combo? Lawdy, you got my heart singing!
I’m already such a die-hard mushroom fan, but when you throw it in some grilled-cheese-style sandwich combo? Lawdy, you got my heart singing!

I know it’s pretty standard for *most* children to not really jump on the shroom train (although my kids love them, even my four-year-old), but I’m always shocked when I meet an adult that doesn’t do shrooms (in food that is, not recreationally).

Like, what do you mean you don’t like MUSHROOMS? WHO DON’T LIKE NO MUSHROOMS? They are FUN-GUYS!! (Yes I went there.)

But then I realize that these people usually have only tried mushrooms of the canned variety, which AGAIN people, is NOT a good representative for anything ever.

Related: Vegan (Smoky) Cheddar Cheese Ball

But onto the sandwiches….these beauties are so savory, juicy, and cheeeeeeezy, that I honestly don’t know how anyone could not like them!

Vegan mushroom and rye sandwiches
I mean really- how could you not LOVE the shrooms???

They are also healthier than your average grilled cheese too. Instead of using butter, or even vegan butter,  I opted for using coconut oil, which worked perfectly. Using dairy-free cheese, such as Daiya shreds, made a delicious sandwich sealer that has only 90 calories per serving and zero cholesterol.

I hope you enjoy these delicious shroom sandwiches, ’cause “that’s all I’ve gotta say ’bout that.”

Mushroom & Rye Cheddar Melts

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