Back-To-School Giveaway… Blendtec and Plant-Powered Families!

In my last school post I hinted about a big giveaway. It’s here!

I’ve teamed up with my friends at Blendtec to share my ideas for packing nut-free school lunches. In their post, I share 3 of my favorite blender-friendly, nut-free recipes from Plant-Powered Families, plus a bunch of my lunch ideas from the book.

Double giveaway! Blendtec Designer 625 plus Twister Jar and copy of Plant-Powered Families cookbook! #blendtec #backtoschool #plantbased #vegan #healthy #plantpoweredfamilies

Jump over to Blendtec’s blog for these tips and recipes, including this YUMMY Chunky Monkey Smoothie!

Chunky Monkey Smoothie recipe from Plant-Powered Families #vegan #dairyfree #smoothies #blendtec #wholefoods #plantbased

Then, enter to WIN your own Blendtec Designer 625 with Twister jar, and a copy of Plant-Powered Families! You can enter over on Blendtec’s blog, or right here, below!

Thanks Blendtec for the giveaway, and good luck kids!

x Dreena

Plant-Powered Kitchen & Blendtec Giveaway

Plant-Based Lunchboxes: 5 Tips to Get Organized!

Update: I just found some practical, well-design water bottles – at Winners! I’ve updated the image and linked to the amazon page.

I’ve shared some posts with my top baking recipes for back-to-school, and also my go-to foods and tips for packing plant-powered lunches. Today, I’ve decided to help you with the logistics of packing lunches, from kitchen gear to organization.

Packing lunches seems to strike either anxiety or grief with parents – or a bit of both. It’s understandable, between school allergy issues, eating a vegan diet, and individual weegan food preferences, it can feel like all too much. A little planning goes a very long way.

5 Tips to Get Organized for Packing Healthy School Lunches #plantbased #lunches #backtoschool #healthy #kids #vegan

So, here are my 5 tips to help get you 0rganized to pack plant-powered lunches:

1. Batch Cooking and Baking. I talk about batch cooking in some detail in Plant-Powered Families. It’s not just helpful for planning dinners, but also for packing lunches. The benefits apply to both ingredients/individual foods and specific recipes. Are you…

Baking potatoes? Bake another 5-6 spuds. You can use them in lunches – sliced in sandwiches, cubed to dip in hummus, mixed with veggies or beans as a salad, added to a thermos soup, etc.

Making hummus? Do at least a double batch. Refrigerate and freeze portions so you don’t have to make it every week.

Cooking pasta for dinner? Make extra and use another day in a lunch (many ideas in PPF).

Making snack cookies or muffins? Double batch and freeze some for next week. This will save you time in the long run, and you’ll get into a groove with some regular lunch fixes that your kiddos love.

Red Lentil Hummus #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #dairyfree

Red Lentil Hummus – a reader fave from Plant-Powered Families!

2. Lunchbox Picks. What will work best for you to pack lunches? We’ve had some discussion on this in our PPF FB group. Some of us mamas love the bento style boxes. I recently got a PlanetBox, and while it’s a little pricier than some other lunchboxes, I think it’s worth the price.

PlanetBox Rover #backtoschool #lunch #healthy #lunches #lunchbox

PlanetBox Rover

It’s stainless steel, very durable, and with a smart design. In the past I’ve used boxes with lidded containers, and the girls often lost components. It’s a bit of a nuisance to replace those pieces, so that’s something to consider. For another option, choose the widely available ziploc or glad containers. They are BPA-free now, and come in many different sizes. I’ve found that useful for the past number of years packing for bigger and smaller appetites. I also pack hubby’s lunch, and send him off with 5 or 6 containers. I also re-use containers from vegan yogurt and dips for things like grapes, crackers, segmented oranges, and other small lunch items.


Copco BPA-free water bottles

Copco BPA-free water bottles

Having two or three BPA-free water bottles per kiddo is also very helpful. Many times bottles are left behind in the classroom. I like to fill the girls’ water bottles the night before. It saves just another few minutes in a frantic school morning! *After writing this post I stumbled on the coolest water bottles – at Winners. Actually, Charlotte found them. She’s at that age where some water bottles are just ‘not cool’… anything with patterns or worse, flowers! What I like about these copco bottles is that they are compact, fit in backpack side pouches easily, and yep, they are BPA-free. Also, they unscrew about 1/3 of the way down for easy cleaning, and also to add ice cubes or citrus slices! And the attached cap is brilliant. 

3. Keep It Simple. Kids love their favorite foods, and lunch times at school are not the time I “experiment” with new foods. Unless the girls ask to try something in their lunches, I stick to the foods I know they’ll love and eat. Why? Because they have very little time to eat (about 10-15 minutes), and I want them to actually eat! I prefer to use dinner hour and weekends as times to work in some new food choices or work on those picky food tendencies. So, keep it simple for yourself and your kiddos. You’ll save yourself some money – and a lot of stress.

4. Rotate Key Recipes. On that note of keeping it simple, make a list (either on paper or mental notes) of some key recipes to rotate week to week. As the school year progresses, you may want to freshen up the recipes with some new ones you’ve discovered and the kids really enjoy. But start now with a list of some favorites. For us, it’s Chickpea Nibbles (PPF, recipe also here), Simplest Marinated Tofu (PPF, recipe also here), muffins and snack bars, Super Cheesy Sprinkle (PPF) and plenty of hummus recipes!

Simplest Marinated Tofu #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #kids #lunches

Simplest Marinated Tofu

"Cinnabon" Muffins by Dreena Burton #vegan #nutfree #wholefoods

Also don’t hesitate to rely on some quick fixes for weekly rotation. Some of ours: *Amy’s Baked Beans (stir in another cup or more of cooked beans, stretch that sauce!), whole-grain fig/fruit bars, and nut-free veggie burgers. (*As a side, I often make sandwiches with the Amy’s Baked Beans (+extra beans). Put a layer between whole-grain bread, add a slice of Daiya cheese if you like, voila! Baked bean sandwich.)

Chickpea Nibbles #vegan #wfpb #glutenfree #nutfree

A weegan favorite: Chickpea Nibbles!

5. Kitchen Gadgets and Appliances. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again and again… there are a couple of kitchen appliances that make my food prep a lot easier. First, a large capacity food processor. I have a Breville, it’s 16-cup and BPA-free. I don’t think you need a 16-cup, but at least a 12-cup (and preferably 14). This is how I triple, and even quadruple, batches of hummus. I also make double batches of veggie burgers and protein power balls (also from PPF, nut-free for school!). Second, a very good blender. Preferably high-speed. I use a Blendtec. and I’ve had it for about 8 years now. Yes, it’s more expensive than a standard blender. But, it does a heck of a lot more! I use mine daily (usually 2-3 times a day), for morning smoothies. Then, I use the twister jar for things like sauces, salad dressings, chia puddings, nut butters, and the nut-free super cheesy sprinkle the girls love so much. We lost power recently for a full day, and I felt lost without my Blendtec! I use it in many recipes throughout PPF, as well as here on the blog. If you don’t yet have a Blendtec, stay tuned – giveaway coming up! :)

Blendtec blender - stay tuned for giveaway!

Blendtec blender – stay tuned for giveaway!

I hope these tips help you get a little more organized for the school year. Please share any tips that you think might help others reading – and me too! 


Back with more soon…

x Dreena

A Few Of My Favorite (Vegan!) Things

Hi friends! Something a little different for you today. Well, maybe not altogether different if you’ve been with me a while. I used to blog here, and started in 2005. Yep, waaaay back!

I’ve changed so much of what I blog, focusing mostly on recipes and some parenting posts. But, I used to love sharing “a few of my favorite things” back then. Kind of like if Julie Andrews were vegan – and believe me it’s better I blog this than sing it.

A Few Of My Favorite Things! #vegan

Folks often ask me what products I use – what vinegar, what coconut butter, what miso… and on. So, let’s have a return to this feature and see how it goes!

Here are a few of my favorite things...

One of my favorite brands of tahini - Al Wadi Tahina #vegan #dairyfree #nutfree

A GOOD Tahini
I love a good tahini. Brands really vary in taste and texture. Some of the best tasting brands I haven’t found in stores, but rather online. This alwadi brand is one of those, as well as these brands. I sometimes refer to a “good quality tahini” in my recipes, such as my Crazy Brownies from Plant-Powered Families. They can make all the difference for taste, not just in classic dishes like hummus, but also as a nut-free substitute. Try it, there’s no turning back! p.s. If you have other brands to share, please comment!


Coconut Manna Coconut Butter #vegan #dairyfree #nutfree


Coconut butter
I think I get a question about coconut butter every day from readers. It is not coconut oil. It is the whole foods coconut pureed into a dense, thick, dry butter. For me, it’s a magical ingredients in desserts. I’ve been using it since writing LTEV, and then it wasn’t very available in stores. Now, it’s in just about all grocery stores, as well as online. I’ve used it in many desserts in PPF, and talk about it in more depth in this cookie post. The Nutiva brand is one of I buy all the time. I also sometimes buy Artisana online.


So Delicious Salted Caramel Cluster cashew ice cream #vegan #dairyfree

So Delicious Cashew Milk ice creams
I’ve tried this flavor, the creamy cashew, and the chocolate truffle. I haven’t tried the snickerdoodle yet and have heard it’s even better than this salted caramel cluster. Zoinks!! I don’t have an amazon link for you, because, well, ice cream! But, I believe these ice creams are now available in most whole foods and even grocery stores. So, run, don’t walk. Get the scoop. Trust me.


Coconut Secret Teriyaki Sauce #vegan #glutenfree

Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos Teriyaki Sauce
I use this on hot quinoa for a lunch bowl, and on steamed kale and other veggies in lunch bowl. Of course, you could use it as a standard teriyaki sauce. For me, it’s a great alternative to a salad dressing, or combined with a vinegar for a dressing. Full flavor, and Coconut Secret also has a soy-free ‘tamari’. It isn’t quite as deep and intense as the tamari I usually buy, but a great soy-free alternative.

Next, stepping out of the kitchen…


Sanuk Women's Yoga Slingshot Flip-Flops

Sanuk Women’s Slingshot Yoga Flip-Flops
We took a trip to Disneyland last year, our first time. My feet were aching. I found this shop with these Sanuk yoga sandals. I tried on these slingshot flip-flops and fell in love! First: the comfort. They have a slight arch and apparently made from yoga mat material, so they really feel like a pillow under your foot. Second: The design. I love the idea of flip flops, but cannot wear them! Unless they have some sort of sling or support around the back of my foot, I just am not meant to wear them. Having to tense my feet and toes to hold on a pair of shoes while walking does not feel good – or make sense. These give the support you need, and still keep your tootsies super cool! Third: They’re are other yoga sling sandals, but some have a much thicker, heavier sling. These are lighter and easier to wear with just about anything!

Sanuk Slingshot Flip Flops

Fourth: They come in other colors. Fifth: They’re vegan! :) Even though summer is winding down, I’m ordering another pair of these, because Charlotte has claimed mine. Yep, we’re at that stage.



Plant-Powered Bamboo Tank
I introduced my plant-powered gear a few months ago, and ordered a few times myself. I had no idea how much I’d love this bamboo tank. I’ve worn it so much this summer, it’s almost embarrassing. 😉

Plant-Powered Bamboo Tank Here I am at Ottawa VegFest (this past June) with Dee, one of the fabulous organizers. This tank has washed well, and kept it’s shape. It’s a little longer in the torso and I like that. Covers over the waist and on to the hips with shorts, a skirt, or jeans. I’ll be wearing it as long as I can through the fall!

Do you use/love any of these? Do you have any product faves you’d like me to feature? Share up!

VegNews Veggie Awards - please vote for Plant-Powered Families!

Pretty please reminderPlant-Powered Families has been nominated for FAVE VEGAN COOKBOOK in the 2015 VegNews Veggie awards. If you haven’t yet voted, please send your vote my way! <3

The amazon links contain affiliate referrals. When you purchase something through these affiliate links, I receive a small commission that helps me bring great content to this site. Thanks for your support.

How To Make Oil-Free Vegan Cookies: 5 Top Tips + Recipe!


Pre-post request: Plant-Powered Families has been nominated for the VegNews 2015 awards, as “favorite cookbook of the year”. If you’re loving PPF, please vote. I’ve never won, and it would be a career highlight to have this book acknowledged. More at the end of the post. Thank you.

5 TIPS to make #oilfree #vegan cookies - plus recipe!

One of the questions I get from readers often:

How can I make these cookies oil-free?“… “can I replace the oil with applesauce?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: You *can* substitute with applesauce if you don’t mind the texture changing to a softer, more muffin-like baked good. However, if you want a cookie texture – that is, a chewy/crisp texture, applesauce is not the answer. Applesauce, and other fruit purees like pumpkin and banana work beautifully in muffins, quick breads, and snack cookies that are soft. These purees lend moisture and also sweetness, flavor, and body. When you want a classic cookie texture, however, it’s quite difficult to do so without adding some fat.

That fat doesn’t have to be oil. It can be a whole-foods fat, such as peanut butter, nut butters, avocado puree, seed or soy nut butters, or coconut butter. When using nut and seed butters, you will generally have a nutty flavor. Somewhat obvious. When using coconut butter, however, the final product tastes buttery and rich.

Coconut butter is one of my favorite plant-powered ingredients for desserts for this reason. I receive plenty of questions about coconut butter too. It’s a confusing ingredient, because labelling is not very standardized. Coconut butter is not the same as coconut oil. It’s the whole coconut pureed into a butter – much like peanuts to peanut butter or almonds to almond butter. Yes, it’s high in fat. However, in terms of working with whole foods ingredients, it is one. In fact, you can make it yourself at home with unsweetened shredded coconut and a blender! (I have the DIY in Plant-Powered Families, flip to page 253). It is still quite high in fat, so I’m not suggesting you consume coconut butter liberally in your daily diet. We’re talking cookies and desserts here, not lunch. 😉  So, if you want to bake cookies from whole foods ingredients, this is one of your go-to swaps, along with nut/seed/soy butters, and also avocado.

When using a nut butter or coconut butter, it’s not usually a straight substitution for oil either. That’s because nut butters (and coconut butter in particular) are denser and thicker than oil. You will have difficulty bringing the mixture together without some other fixes. As a rule, I recommend using established oil-free cookie recipes to bake, rather than experimenting with substitutions and finding the process frustrating or time consuming. I’m sharing a recipe for you today to help you!

However, if you do want to embark on that recipe testing, here are my tips…

5 tips for substituting oil with nut/seed/soy/coconut butter in cookie recipes:

1) Look at the amount of oil used in the recipe, and substitute nut/seed/coconut butter for about 3/4 (roughly) of that amount. This is a general rule, every recipe will be different. But, generally, you will want close to the measure, but not quite the full measure.

2) Now, add back some liquid moisture. Because oil is thinner than nut butter, you need to help liquefy the batter again. I wouldn’t advise water, but instead I’d reduce the dry sweetener slightly and then add back a little liquid sweetener. My choice is almost always pure maple syrup.

3) How much liquid you use (point 2) you use will depend on the recipe and also the thickness of your nut/seed/coconut butter. For instance, coconut butter is exceptionally dense and dry. It’s not smooth and liquid like tahini or macadamia nut butter. Macadamia butter is particularly buttery and liquid, more than say almond butter or cashew butter (which is often thicker than almond butter). Each seed and nut butter varies in its thickness, and also varies from when you open it (a fresh jar) to when you are almost finished it. Despite stirring, a jar of nut butter is always thicker and drier at the end of that jar!

4) If the batter is dry, try another touch of sweetener mixed with a touch more nut/seed/coconut butter… or, add a touch of non-dairy milk. Not too much milk though. For most cookie recipes yielding about 20 cookies, I wouldn’t add more than about 1-2 tablespoons for optimal texture.

5) On the other hand, if the batter is too loose/wet (which can happen especially if a nut or seed butter is thinner/oilier – see point 3), add back a little more flour or dry sweetener – other other dry ingredient like rolled oats, unsweetened shredded coconut, flax meal, etc.

Those are the steps I use when working out a recipe. Of course, you can instead just use a recipe that already works! This one from Plant-Powered Families has already received a lot of love, so I’m sharing it for you today. It uses coconut butter as the oil replacer. I do have others in the book and on my blog using nut/seed butters.

Have fun, and as always…

Enjoy! x Dreena

Vanilla Bean Chocolate Chip Cookies #vegan #glutenfree #wholefoods #plantbased #oilfree

Vanilla Bean Chocolate Chip Cookies

Link to share/print recipe

This may be a new fave chocolate chip cookie for you – it is for our family! The flavor of the vanilla bean powder is really beautiful, especially combined with oat flour and rich coconut butter. Makes 17–20 cookies

1/2 cup coconut butter (see note)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup + 2 tablespoons oat flour
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1/2–3/4 teaspoon vanilla bean powder or 1–11/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 rounded teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup nondairy chocolate chips (mini or regular)

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the coconut butter and maple syrup. Mix, slowly to start, then at a higher speed until smoothed out. Add the oat flour, coconut sugar, vanilla bean powder, and sea salt to the coconut butter mixture, and sift in the baking powder and baking soda. Mix at slow speed (so the dry ingredients don’t poof!), and then bring up to medium speed and mix until everything just comes together. Add the chocolate chips and mix to just incorporate. The mixture should be a little sticky, not dry, but not too wet either. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula, then transfer to the fridge to chill for 1/2 hour. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 1–1 1/2-tablespoon scoops of the batter on the prepared baking sheet. Slightly flatten each cookie with a spatula or your hand. Bake for 11 minutes, then remove from oven and let cool for 2–3 minutes on the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Note: It can be tricky to measure coconut butter when it’s very hard. Use a butter knife to work out small chunks/slivers when hard. It’s better to measure in small pieces than in larger chunks, so the actual measure is more accurate. If your coconut butter is very cold, try warming slightly by submerging full jar in a bowl/sink of warm water until it softens.

Idea: Use this batter to make cookie dough ice cream! Save a little batter when making the cookies, maybe 1/3 cup. Roll into tiny balls and mix through a pint of softened vanilla or chocolate nondairy ice cream!

Photo credit: Nicole Axworthy

Other posts you might enjoy:

Raisinet Cookies
Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies
Back-To-School Power Cookies

Friends, Plant-Powered Families is nominated for favorite cookbook of the year in the VegNews 2015 veggie awards. Please vote for me! Thank you for your support. <3 


Peach Crumble Smoothie: The Blender Girl Smoothies book

Just before summer began, I received a review copy of The Blender Girl Smoothies. This is Tess Masters’ second cookbook, releasing just a year after her debut (and hugely successful) The Blender Girl cookbook.

This book is 100% smoothies (all vegan and gluten-free). It’s based on Tess’s recent smoothie app which I posted about last fall. The app is spectacular – super slick, fun, and interactive. I still love an old-school a hard copy book in my hands, though. So I loved getting my plant-powered hands on this one!

And so did our kiddo! I opened the review copy as we were walking in the front door one day after school. As soon as our daughter Charlotte saw it, she gasped and said “mom, can we make one – now?

The Blender Girl Smoothies book

Char LOVES smoothies. She loves fruit in general, I have a hard time keeping fresh fruit in the house for how much we eat as a family… and how much she can eat on her own! So, when she saw this book cover with these gorgeous, refreshing smoothies on a hot day after school – she just could not wait to make one!

She had been experimenting with making smoothies the week before for a class project, so wanted to choose one herself and do the prep and blending. She immediately chose the Peach Crumble Smoothie. I know she would have chosen a berry smoothie if she had been making it just for her. But, since she was sharing with her two sisters, this smoothie could not be of the berry persuasion. :)

Peach Crumble Smoothie from The Blender Girl Smoothies #vegan #dairyfree

We loved the combination of flavors and textures in this recipe. The use of orange juice with non-dairy milk was reminiscent of a creamsicle. The addition of oats and cashews helped make the smoothie thick and creamy. We didn’t use the optional boosters, and the smoothie was fabulous as-is! With peaches seasonal now, this is such a refreshing, delicious smoothie on a hot day – but I think frozen mangoes would substitute very well in the fall and winter as well!

Tess knew this was a family favorite, and was so kind to allow us to reprint it for you to enjoy as well.


link to print/share

The healing power of peaches makes the nasties crumble: vitamin C scavenges free radicals and fights infection, beta-carotene converts to retinol for eye health, fatty acids help maintain healthy mucous membranes and skin elasticity, and potassium helps regulate heart rate and lower blood pressure. Or just enjoy the flavor. Serves 2

1 cup (240ml) freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup (240ml) unsweetened almond milk, rice milk, or hemp milk (strained if homemade)
1⁄2 cup (44g) rolled oats
1⁄2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
1 tablespoon raw unsalted cashews, soaked (see page 6)
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1⁄8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄2 medium frozen sliced banana
2 cups (320g) frozen peaches

optional boosters:
1 tablespoon plain or vanilla-flavored vegan yogurt
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon flaxseed oil

Throw all of the ingredients into your blender and blast on high for 30 to 60 seconds, until smooth and creamy.

Reprinted from THE BLENDER GIRL SMOOTHIES Copyright © 2014, 2015 by Tess Masters. Photographs copyright © 2014 by Erin Kunkel. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House

If you love smoothies, you really need to get your hands on this book! It will inspire you to try new ingredients and flavor combinations in your smoothies to make them exceptionally tasty and nutritious!

I’ll be back soon with another recipe. Don’t forget to enter the Vega giveaway, just a couple of days left.

Enjoy…  x Dreena

Giveaway: VEGA Gift Pack + Plant-Powered Families (over $200!)

Giveaway of VEGA bundle and Plant-Powered Families cookbook Many of you know I love my green smoothies. I’ve been making them daily for about 10 years, and so far haven’t tired of them! I pretty much make the same combination most days. No recipe needed, just a general sense of ingredients and proportions, and modifying as I go.

Initially when I started making green smoothies, I didn’t add any protein powders. Later, I started experimenting with Vega products. Over time, I found a few favorites I really enjoyed – and over time, I noticed that the flavor profiles of Vega really improved. Now, Vega has quite a wide range of products from nutritional shakes to sport drinks to incredibly delicious snack bars.

Why do I use Vega? I just love it! It’s not that I feel we “need” the protein. I do appreciate its nutritional profile, especially when days are busy for us and the kids. But I also just love the flavors. Is that peculiar? When I make my green smoothies and add the vanilla, coconut almond, or tropical powders, the flavor is elevated… tastier! Plus, because of its nutritional profile, adding vega to our smoothies does make them more satisfying when “on-the-go”.

After experimenting with my favorite vanilla and tropical flavors, I turned to chocolate. (What took me so long?) 😉 I tried the chocolate powder and created this Chunky Monkey Smoothie recipe, now in Plant-Powered Families.

Chunky Monkey Smoothie

…and then used it in these Protein-Power Balls (also in PPF)…

Protein Power Balls

I use the vanilla and tropical Vega powders in a couple of other PPF recipes as well. Given my love for Vega, and use in PPF, it seemed a natural fit to bundle a giveaway of my Plant-Powered Families cookbook with some of my favorite Vega products.

The cool cool folks at Vega agreed, and we have put together a fine prize pack for you!

The winner of this giveaway will receive:

1 Large Tub of Vega One Vanilla
1 Tub of Protein & Greens Tropical (my fave!)
1 Tub Vega Sport Mocha Protein
1 Box Dark Chocolate Mixed Nuts & Sea Salt Snack Bars – (these are dangerously good!)
2 BPA-free Shaker Cups (we have these and love ’em)
1 copy of Plant-Powered Families

Giveaway of VEGA bundle and Plant-Powered Families cookbook

This Vega bundle is valued at over $200! 

Lucky for us, the folks at Vega are super cool and offering not just this giveaway, but also giving us plant-powered families 20% off plus FREE shipping on any orders until August 2nd in their online store (you won’t get a better discount than this).

To get the 20% off and free shipping, enter this code at checkout: PPFamilies 

Here’s the link again to their online store: Vega e-store. I’m stoked, I’ll be ordering myself – and have my eye on this tee. :)

Take advantage of this sweet deal. and then enter to win this enter prize pack below. Tell us which Vega product you love the most – or which you’re most keen to try!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I have not received monetary compensation to post this discount and giveaway with Vega. I simply love Vega products, and Vega is supporting my work with this offer and gift bundle. Thank you, Vega!

Mango-Hemp Dressing (vegan, gluten-free, oil-free)

I’m loving big lunch salads now. It’s been especially hot through June and July in BC, excepting the last couple of days. Far more heat and sun than usual this time of year. So, I’m digging lots of fresh salads, along with more fresh fruit (in and out of salads)!

I’m guessing many of you are in the same dietary mode, as I get a lot of feedback on my salad dressings. Especially my oil-free sauces and dressings. I’ve learned a few tricks over the last few years for making tasty, healthy salad dressings – and with many flavor variations.

I still plan to bring you that salad dressings ebook. For sure! Things have been busy with book promotion that I’m not quite organized enough to pull together the ebook – just yet. So, I wanted to share a recipe that some of you already have. It was one of the 15 recipes that was a gift for preorders of PPF. I do plan to honor that “gift” and not blog all of the recipes – but this one is particularly special and seasonal. Hopefully those of you that did preorder won’t be upset that I share some salad luv right now.

Couple of notes: Do not overdo the shallots or green onions. Just a hint of flavor is best. Also, I use frozen mango, which can be tricky to measure. Don’t sweat an *exact* measure. You can always adjust to taste after. Finally… enjoy!

x Dreena

Mango-Hemp Dressing by Dreena Burton #vegan #wholefoods #plantbased #glutenfree #oilfree #dairyfree

Mango-Hemp Dressing

link to print/share

I keep frozen mango on hand for morning smoothies. One day I wanted a fruity, fresh dressing so pulled out the frozen mango. This dressing came to life and will bring new life to your daily salads! Makes about 1 cup.

3/4 cup mango chunks (ok to measure roughly, I use frozen)
2 tbsp hemp seeds
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice or red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water (+ 2–3 tsp or more if desired to thin out)
1/2 tbsp chopped shallots or 1 tbsp of the whitish portion of green onions
1–2 tbsp pure maple syrup or agave nectar (or more to taste, as needed)
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a blender, puree all ingredients (starting with 1/4 cup water and 1 tbsp maple syrup) until very smooth. Taste, and add additional water to thin as desired, and extra maple syrup to sweeten if needed.

Note: I like the flavor of this dressing just as it is. But, if you’d like to pair this with some spicy foods or add a punch of flavor, try adding in 1–2 tbsp chopped cilantro or basil while pureeing.

Kid note: Our girls enjoy this dressing. You can opt to omit the green onions/shallots, but it’s such a small amount that kiddos usually are okay with it.

photo credit: Nicole Axworthy

Why We Shouldn’t Eat Meat and Dairy: From 10 Year-Old

Why We Shouldn't Eat Meat Or Dairy - from a 10 year old

With school coming to a close this week, I want to share something pretty remarkable that took place this year.

In the spring, our 10 year old, Bridget, came to me after school about speeches taking place in her class. The conversation went something like this:

B: Mom, we are doing speeches in our class and get to pick our own topic.

Me: Ok, well, what do you think you’d like to talk about?

B: I already know. I want to talk about why people shouldn’t eat meat and dairy.

I paused for a minute. Then I replied “Are you sure?? We can think of other ideas?

In other words, I wasn’t sure. While we talk about many aspects of food at home, I don’t expect our girls to be activists in school or with their friends. I don’t ask them to preach the values of a plant-based diet. But this came up entirely organically for her. Despite my questioning her readiness, she was certain. She was passionate to share why she felt, in her heart, why people shouldn’t eat meat and dairy.

She presented her speech to her class, and was then chosen to present her speech to the school and parents.

I’m posting her speech for you to read and share:

Good morning / afternoon teachers and fellow students!

Raise your hand if you eat meat or dairy. Raise your hand if you think you have to eat meat and dairy to be healthy.

My name is Bridget, and today I’m going to share 3 important reasons not to eat meat and dairy: our health, the environment, and animals.

Meat and dairy are not good for us like people think. Studies have shown that our biggest health problems are linked to eating meat and dairy – including heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. We don’t need to eat meat or dairy, we can get all the nutrition we need in other foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, and grains. Not only can you be healthier without eating meat and dairy, it is also better for our environment, and kinder to animals that share our world.

In order for us to eat meat and dairy, animals have to be raised in factory farms. These are not farms with grass and sunshine. Instead, animals are kept in buildings that are factories, and people are cruel to the animals. Animals suffer and are tortured every day of their lives on these farms. On milk farms, baby cows are even torn away from their moms so the mommy cows can produce milk. If they don’t produce enough milk they kill the cows. The baby cows never see their mothers again.

Eating meat and milk products is also bad for our environment. We all want to do things like recycle, and use less water to help our environment. But, the one thing that makes the MOST difference? How much meat and dairy we eat. Consider this: skipping just one burger saves enough water to drink for 3 months!

Chickens, pigs, and cows feel and love just the same as animals like cats and dogs. They bond with other animals, and with people too. They value their lives just as much as we do, and they feel pain just as we do. If people treated our cats and dogs the way cows and chickens are treated on factory farms, they would be arrested! Yet, we eat these animals every day, but we would never imagine eating our dog or cat.

I have been raised without meat and dairy. I’m healthy, happy, and just like other kids. I eat pizza, hot dogs, burgers, ice cream, and so many other delicious foods, without any meat or milk! Every time we make a choice not to eat animals, it helps our health, our planet, and the animals. Please think about this. Thank you.

She asked if she could wear the “Plant-Powered” t-shirt for her speech. I didn’t encourage that one, either! Here she is on her way out the door that morning…


…and here she is delivering her speech to the school (see the raised hands?)



As a parent, we wonder whether our children are receiving the lessons and messages we are communicating. When days are tough, we feel our efforts are wasted, or that we are doing a terrible job as a mother or father. Then, we have moments where we see our children blossoming, developing into their own person. We see their heart, their courage, their care, their beautiful spirit.

This was one of those moments for me. Bridget feels more compassion about animals than any of our daughters. It’s just “in” her. She wants to free every bug or fly that enters our home, and she wants to start an animal rescue this summer… at our house! (We’ll talk about that one, lol.) But, this child has a heart for animals. More than I ever impressed upon her or ever expected. She was proud to present this speech, and I was beyond proud to listen to her.

Who knows, next year we may revolutionize hot lunch. Baby steps. :)

Feel free to share this speech! 

x Dreena

Top 5 Vegan Father’s Day Recipes


With end-0f-year field trips and recitals, Father’s Day has snuck up on me this year! I have one day to pull things together, so going to start with planning a favorite plant-powered dish for Dad’s day. I will definitely be choosing one or more of these…

Top 5 Father’s Day recipes:

1) Creamy Artichoke Spinach Dip

A creamy vegan artichoke dip made withOUT vegan cheese substitutes, all whole foods! Artichoke Spinach Dip - by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #glutenfree
This may be a “top 5” recipe for just about any occasion. Definitely loved by the dad in this house!

2) Jerk Chickpeas

Jerk Chickpeas #vegan
If the dad in your life loves spicy dishes, serve up these chickpeas. Over a grain, or in a wrap – with avocado, please!

3) Nutty Veggie Burgers

Nutty Veggie Burgers #vegan
I know it’s cliche to offer up burgers as a Father’s Day meal, but in my house, they really are a hit – and this recipe hits all the marks for flavor and texture. Our “he-gan” also loves these Mushroom Pecan.

3) Thai Chick-Un Pizza

Thai Chick-Un Pizza #vegan
It’s fun, it’s flavorful! If you love the vegan cheese, add a sprinkle of that too.

5) Creamy Fettucine

Creamy Fettucine #vegan
This is one of my new recipes, from Plant-Powered Families. But, you can nab the recipe here.

Wait. No dessert?!

You know me better than that. :)

My top 5 Father’s Day desserts:

1) 5-minute, 5-ingredient Chocolate Gelato: Dessert doesn’t get much easier than this!

5-minute, 5-ingredient Chocolate Gelato by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #dairyfree

2) Chocolate Sweet Potato Cake with Chocolate Sweets Frosting

Chocolate Sweet Potato Cake + Chocolate Sweets Frosting #vegan #wfpb
So, if you haven’t made this dessert from PPF yet, you really need to! It’s the perfect chocolate cake for dad.

3. Raw Strawberry Pie

Raw Strawberry Pie from Let Them Eat Vegan
If your dad would like a non-chocolate dessert, this one is positively gorgeous and delicious!

4) Chai Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Chai Peanut Butter Ice Cream #vegan
If you have an ice cream maker, and your guy love PB, this one is a winner! (Try serving with the milk chocolate sauce from Plant-Powered Families!)

5) Cookies

Vanilla Bean Chocolate Chip Cookies #vegan #oilfree
We’ve gotta’ have a few cookies for dad! These Vanilla Bean Chocolate Chip Cookies from PPF are oil-free and dynamite! Couple of other ideas: Nummy Brownie Bites, Snifferdoodles and my classic Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Happy Dad’s Day!

What are you making for the special dad in your life?

x Dreena


Bananascotch Pudding


It feels like I haven’t posted in weeks! I thought things would settle down after my signing, but it continues to be very busy. End-of-year is always busy at school (right mamas?) and I’m still pretty active with the book release.

"Bananascotch" Pudding by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #wholefoods #plantbased

Plus, last weekend I was away for Ottawa VegFest! It was incredible, I’ll share some pics and details in my next post. For now, I want to share a new vegan recipe with you.

This one is very easy. It was another recipe I had intended for PPF, but the puddings section was amply filled. My testers loved this plant-based pudding. The ingredients are ones we usually have right on hand, and with a quick blender blitz: a pudding that is a cross between… banana pudding and butterscotch pudding!

"Bananascotch" Pudding by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #wholefoods #plantbased

Bananascotch Pudding 

link to print/share recipe

This pudding tastes like a cross between butterscotch and banana! It’s incredibly quick and easy to make, and kids love it for dipping fruit, slathering on waffles or pancakes, or eating straight up as pudding.

2/3 cup soaked and drained cashews (soak for 3-4 hours, drain fully)
1/2 cup overripe banana, sliced
3-4 tbsp coconut sugar (adjust to taste)
1/8 scant tsp sea salt
3/4 cup plain non-dairy yogurt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract or seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean

Blend cashews, banana, 3 tbsp of coconut sugar, sea salt, yogurt, and vanilla in a blender. If using a high-speed blender, this will take just a minute or two. With a standard blender, you will need to scrape down the blender a few times and work the mixture. Taste, and add more coconut sugar if desired. Serve immediately. Serves 2-3

Serving Suggestions: Serve with fresh fruit, or top portions with shredded coconut or chopped nuts. Also, try layering with plain or vanilla non-dairy yogurt and granola in parfait cups!

Enjoy, guys! Before I sign off, below are some recent reviews, giveaways, and features of Plant-Powered Families. If you are loving the book, would you take a minute to add a review on amazon? Thanks!

x Dreena

Bits and Bites
The Blender Girl review and recipe for Creamy Fettucine
Ricki Heller review and recipe for Baconut
Kathy Patalsky of Healthy, Happy Life review, giveaway, and recipe for Cinnamon French Toast
Love Fed review, giveaway, and recipe for Savory Chickpea Omelets
Kiwi Magazine recipe for Baconut
Veg Kitchen recipe for Polenta Pizza Crust
Pure Thyme review, giveaway, and recipe for Artichoke Sunflower Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce and No-Bake Granola Bars
Taste Space review and recipe for Chickpea Nibbles
Vegan Mainstream review and Q&A
Heartwise Ministries Radio Interview