Pumpkin Spice Bars with Maple Frosting Drizzle (vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, oil-free)

Well, as much as I tried to resist it – fall is here. Every year I feel I drag myself into fall, holding on to summer produce and the carefree summer clothes. This year, I noticed as I was clinging to the raw foods of summer, I wasn’t feeling great. Not sick, but my digestion wasn’t feeling the same. So, I started eating more cooked foods and warming soups. I noticed a difference within a day or two. Now, I’m finally enjoying wearing some cozy layers and digging into fall foods!

I’ve been playing with lots of new apple recipes, and also winter squash. These PUMPKIN SPICE BARS are a little deceiving. They taste every bit like other pumpkin treats, yet they are made with pumpkin seeds, not pumpkin flesh! They dried apricots help enhance the pumpkin flavor, along with the spices.

I’ve had this recipe in my pocket for quite a while now. It was actually one I had planned to include in PPF, but as I’ve mentioned a couple of times, I had to cut down the recipe content. Dang it! I hate that! But, I do love sharing the recipe with you now. Pumpkin-Spice Bars with Maple Drizzle Frosting #vegan #nutfree #wfpb #dairyfree #glutenfree www.plantpoweredkitchen.com

The frosting is… well… a must. Just don’t skip it, okay? The bars will be okay without it. But why bother making them without it?  If you’re going to take the time to make these (and they are ridiculously easy), then take the extra 5-10 minutes to whip up the simple frosting! Don’t let me hear any of you making these without the frosting, k? That’s all I have to say about that. :)

Since these bars are nut-free, they can be packed in lunch. I’d classify them as more of a sweet snack than a full-fledged dessert. But, up to you!

Enjoy, guys. Do let me know how you like them! You are very quiet out there. I hear from many of you on social media, but not here on the blog. Please share your thoughts and feedback.

Pumpkin-Spice Bars with Maple Frosting #vegan #nutfree #glutenfree #dairyfree www.plantpoweredkitchen.com

Pumpkin Spice Bars with Maple Frosting Drizzle nut-free, oil-free, gluten-free

Link to print/share

These bars are darn easy to make, but with the ‘icing’, they appear much more elaborate! When I gave one to our daughter for the first time to try she said “yum, mom, you have to make these on Christmas Eve”… good plan, kiddo!

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp hemp seeds
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp (rounded) cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (or more to taste)
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 cup dried apricots (unsulphured)
1 cup pitted dates
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup brown rice crispy cereal (I like Erewhon brand, can also substitute organic, unsweetened corn flakes)

1/3 cup coconut butter (not oil)
1 1/2 tbsp nondairy milk
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
couple pinches sea salt

In a food processor, first process the oats with the pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and salt and spices. Puree until crumbly and fine. Then, add the apricots, dates, and vanilla and process until the mixture becomes uniform and sticky. Depending on how moist your dates (and especially apricots) are, this may take a few minutes. Just as it is getting very sticky, add the brown rice crisp cereal process through. The mixture should still be sticky, and forming some balls or clumps in the processor bowl. Transfer mixture to an 8” x 8” pan lined with parchment paper (not much larger, but could use a smaller, deeper dish). Press mixture into pan evenly. In a small saucepan over very low heat, combine the ingredients for the drizzle, whisking through through until it melts down and becomes a liquid enough to pour. Avoid heating the mixture over too high a heat as it can scorch. Once thinned out, pour over the bars in a drizzle pattern. Refrigerate until completely cool, then cut into squares. Makes about 16-20 bars.

Chocolate option: Add 3-4 tbsp cocoa powder with the oats and seeds, etc. You can also add a couple of tablespoons of chocolate chips at the end when adding the crisp rice cereal.

x Dreena

photo credit: Nicole Axworthy, adashofcompassion.com

Loving PPF? Please share your good review on amazon!

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 www.plantpoweredkitchen.com

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

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 www.plantpoweredkitchen.com #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 www.plantpoweredkitchen.com #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

Smoky Paprika Green Bean Salad – HEALTHY HAPPY VEGAN KITCHEN cookbook by Kathy Patalsky

Today I have the honor of sharing a beautiful recipe from Kathy Patalsky’s NEW Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen cookbook!

Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen cookbook  - recipe feature and giveaway!

Many of you already know Kathy, but if you don’t, here’s a quick intro. Kathy blogs at Healthy. Happy. Life. This is her second published cookbook, she released 365 Vegan Smoothies in 2013.  Kathy is incredibly talented, not only as a recipe developer but also as a food photographer. You can count on Kathy to bring striking, vibrant food photos to every post. She captures the beauty that is vegan food – its vitality and abundance! Reading Kathy’s book, it’s apparent why this is characteristic in her work. She writes:

Why vegan? I believe that there is no diet on earth more uplifting to one’s body, mind, and soul than a vegan one. Plant-based foods are the ultimate path toward total body and spirit enlightenment. A vegan diet consists of foods that are rich in life, rather than death. Vegan foods are energizing, healing, kindness-infused, sunshine-filled, and overflowing with vitality-enhancing nutrients, enzymes, and phytochemicals…. embracing a vegan diet is a worthy starting point for positive changes in your life!

Well said.

Kathy is also quite a visionary. She is the mastermind behind FindingVegan.com, which in my opinion has revolutionized vegan recipes online. Just this year, Kathy launched the Finding Vegan App.

This newest project by Kathy, Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen, is a beautiful compilation of 220 vegan recipes, with all these chapters:

Breakfast; Bakery; Sandwiches; Burgers; Veggie Sides; Cakes, Balls & Fritters; Salads; Bowls; Appetizers, Sides, Snacks, & Party Platters; Entrees; Soups; Desserts; Drinks, Sips, and Smoothies; For the Kids; Holiday Favorites; Happy Life Menus.

That’s some serious recipe content! And the recipes themselves are diverse and enticing. It was hard for me to select a recipe to feature for this post. Naturally, I wanted to choose a dessert, but I thought I’d try being a little less predicable. 😉 Kathy’s recipe for this green bean salad really stood out to me. It’s the perfect combination of flavors and textures. Smoked paprika and tahini mingle in the sauce to coat the tender green beans, and then topped off with crunchy, candied walnuts. Right?!! It’s the ideal spring and summer potluck or picnic salad.

Smoky Paprika Green Bean Salad with Candied Walnuts - from "Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen" by Kathy Patalsky

Smoky Paprika Green Bean Salad with Candied Walnuts


recipage link to print/share

If you do not consider yourself a fan of green beans, keep reading! Even those who snarl at the classic “holiday green bean casserole” will love the spicy, lively, smoky-sweet flavors of this colorful green bean salad. Candied walnuts, soaked with maple flavor, mingle with crisp golden carrots, a smoky paprika-tahini-maple dressing, and perky boiled green beans. The green beans retain a slightly crisp texture from a quick cooking time. Serve as a veggie-filled lunch or at your next holiday gathering, and watch your guests actually get excited to try the green bean dish! Serves 6.

4 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into halves or thirds
2 medium carrots, cut into rounds ¼ cup chopped sweet onion
1 small lemon, juiced 2 heaping tablespoons tahini 2 tablespoons grade B maple syrup 1½ teaspoon smoky Spanish-style
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1⁄8 teaspoon garlic powder
A few dashes freshly ground black pepper
A few dashes cayenne (optional)
1 cup walnuts 2 tablespoons grade B maple syrup Coconut oil spray (optional)

Rinse the green beans in a large colander under cold water. Set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the beans and boil for about 5 minutes; do not overcook the beans or they will become too soft. For crisper (almost raw!) beans, do a very quick boil of just 1 to 3 minutes. Drain the beans and thoroughly rinse under cold water. Let the beans drain completely. Place the green beans, carrots, and onion in a large bowl. Set aside. For the Dressing: In a cup, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour the dressing over the veggies and toss until all the veggies are well coated. Pour the salad into a serving bowl and set aside. For the Candied Walnuts: Heat a small saucepan over high heat. Add the walnuts and maple syrup and cook for about 1 minute, tossing the walnuts with the maple syrup. (For less sticking, add a spritz of coconut oil spray, if desired, before adding the nuts.) Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes.

Text excerpted from HEALTHY HAPPY VEGAN KITCHEN, © 2015 by Kathy Patalsky. Photos © Kathy Patalsky.

Treat yourself to a copy of Kathy’s book, you’ll love it! I must mention that Kathy is hosting one heck of a book launch giveaway, and stellar blog tour. So, hop over for the details.

Also, Kathy has offered a giveaway of her book for YOU! This contest is open to US residents, enter below by telling us which recipe by Kathy you love the most (if you can pick just one), or which recipe from her new book you want to try first? Good luck!

Plant-Powered Kitchen Housekeeping: Reminder that if you’ve ordered PPF, you are eligible for the free ebook. I get emails daily about if the offer is open to other countries, or if the order was back in November… YES! See this post for details.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Grain-Free Apple Berry Crumble – feature recipe from Living Candida-Free

Just over a year ago, I reviewed Ricki Heller’s spectacular cookbook, Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free. Now, Ricki is celebrating the release of yet another book – Living Candida-Free. Actually, Ricki began celebrating back in January, I’m just late to the party. :)

Canadian cover on left; US cover on right

Canadian cover on left; US cover on right

If you own NS&GF, this new book is different. Living Candida-Free is more of a dietary guide than a dedicated cookbook. However, it does include 100 recipes as well as some recipe photos – so it’s a cookbook within a comprehensive lifestyle program.

This book delivers a 3-phase program to eliminate candida and restore health. What is candida?  Candida is a naturally occuring yeast in our bodies that is typically harmless. However, if candida becomes unbalanced, it feeds off of extra sugar in the body and multiplies, with serious health consequences. The symptoms can be so wide-ranging that it often goes undiagnosed by doctors. In this book, Ricki Heller outlines a detailed health plan and diet regimen designed to help people combat candida.

Even if you aren’t dealing with candida overgrowth and don’t need to follow the 3-phase program, Ricki shares knowledge and experiences that will interest you. If you are eating a vegan, plant-based, or gluten-free diet, and seeking optimal health and lifestyle balance, you’ll learn from Ricki’s insights. For instance, Ricki discusses strategies for quashing sugar cravings – which are useful for us all, and those approaches can be applied to other food habits and cravings we’d like to reduce. Also, Ricki thoroughly covers the anti-candida diet pantry list – and how to make cooking and baking substitutions for foods that aren’t permitted on the program. Beyond dietary considerations, Ricki also explains how to combat environmental conditions that can affect candida overgrowth.

Then, of course, there are the recipes! Ricki is a gifted recipe developer, and your tastebuds will not be disappointed with these wholesome, sugar-free recipes! I’ve already tried the cookie dough truffles and the crumble recipe (below). Both were incredible, and I’ve marked many more to try. Ricki focuses on flavour as well as wholesomeness, so you can count on her recipes tasting great.

If you are vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free – or just plain food curious –  pick up a copy of Living Candida-Free. While you wait, indulge in this delicious crumble recipe that Ricki has allowed me to reprint…

Grain-Free Apple Berry Crumble from "Living Candida-Free" by Ricki Heller

Grain-Free Apple Berry Crumble

link to print/share recipe

This fresh, not-too-sweet dessert is a great way to enjoy fruit once you reintroduce it to your diet. Because the topping is grain-free, you won’t need to worry about consuming your coveted grain servings for dessert. Makes 4 or 6 servings

Coconut oil, for pan
2 small or 1 large sweet apple (I used Gala) or pear, cored and diced very small (about 1/2-inch [1.3 cm] cubes—feel free to leave the skin on)
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) mixed fresh or frozen berries (not including cranberries)—I use strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries; if cranberries are included in your mix, use 2 cups (480 ml) total
1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh or frozen cranberries
Zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
30 drops plain or fruit-flavored pure liquid stevia (I use 20 drops lemon and 10 drops cherry-vanilla)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) psyllium husks (optional—it prevents the juices from becoming too watery)
1/3 cup (55 g) raw natural almonds
1/3 cup (55 g) raw sunflower or pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons (30 ml) coconut flour
1/16 teaspoon (0.25 ml) pure stevia powder, or 1/8 teaspoon (0.5 ml) pure liquid stevia, or to taste
1 tablespoon (15 ml) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon (0.5 ml) fine sea salt
1 tablespoon (15 ml) virgin coconut oil, preferably organic*

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 4- to 6-cup (1 to 1.5 L) casserole dish with coconut oil.Prepare the filling: In a large bowl, toss the apples, berries, cranberries, lemon zest, and cinnamon. In a small bowl, mix together the lemon juice, water, stevia, and psyllium, then drizzle over the berry mixture and toss again to coat evenly. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. (Note: You can just toss everything in the casserole dish instead of dirtying a bowl, but I found the mixture very hard to coat evenly when the ingredients were so cramped in the dish!) Make the topping: In the bowl of a food processor, blend the almonds, seeds, coconut flour, stevia, cinnamon, ginger, and salt until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Add the coconut oil and process until it’s incorporated. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling in the casserole dish. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the dish about halfway through baking, until the topping is lightly browned and the filling is bubbly. Allow to cool somewhat before serving. May be frozen. From Living Candida-Free by Ricki Heller. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2015.

*Note: If you prefer not to use oil, try 1 tbsp nut butter – I did, and it worked fabulously!

Ricki’s book has gotten a lot of blogging love in recent months. Here are some additional recipes and reviews to check out:

Single-Serve PancakesChard and Chickpea SoupRaw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough TrufflesCreamy Crimson MousseThe Toronto SandwichHerbed Grain-Free Gnocchi. Also some reviews to check out about Ricki’s book.

Have you tried any recipes from Living Candida-Free? If so, please share your favourites! 

Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus

I know I’m really bending the definition of hummus. Technically, this probably should be called a bean dip. But pretty much any chickpea or bean combination pureed into dippy goodness – is hummus in my book. I just can’t help myself… #hummusisafoodgroup :)

Even if we can’t agree on whether it should be called a dip or hummus – I have a feeling we can agree that this combination tastes delicious!

Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen

This was another recipe intended for my Plant-Powered Families cookbook. I got a little excited with recipe development! When needing to round out the recipes by chapter in PPF, I decided to scale back with a hummus recipe – and share it here. Once again, I thank Nicole Axworthy for bringing her exceptional talent to these food photos.

This hummus is a little unique, combining a mix of kidney beans with chickpeas, along with cooked sweet potato. Yes, sweet spuds! I love sweet potato in bean dips hummus. They lighten up the bean texture, while adding a touch of creaminess and also some sweetness – which is incredibly tasty in contrast to the spices and lime juice. So, whenever I bake sweet spuds, I’ll cook a few extra to have on hand for recipes like this (see recipe note below). I talk about this type of batch-cooking and repurposing ingredients in PPF as well. Just prepping a few extra portions of staples can really come in handy for other meals during the week.

Lime most hummus, this dip is wonderful with veg and snack chips. But, also try ‘repurposing’ this dip. Use it as a spread to hold other fillings in green wraps, or for baked burritos. Or, try a lunch or dinner bowl, gently warming the hummus and topping over cooked quinoa along with some veggies and chopped avocado, with a drizzle of dressing. Think outside the hummus bowl. Do you have any suggestions for turning hummus into a meal? If so, please share!

Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen

Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus link for Recipage to print/share

Cooked sweet potato lends a little creaminess and sweetness to this hummus-like dip. The lime juice lends a fresh tang, and there’s just enough chili powder and cinnamon to give it flavor without too much kiddo-offending spice!

1 can kidney beans, rinsed (about 1 3/4 cups)
1 can chickpeas, rinsed (about 1 3/4 cups)
1 cup precooked (and peeled) orange sweet potato (see note)
2 tbsp tahini
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 – 1 tsp chili powder (adjust to taste; see note)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 medium or large clove garlic, sliced or quartered
4–4½ tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1–3 tbsp water (as needed to thin)
fresh cilantro or parsley (optional)

In a food processor, combine the kidney beans, chickpeas, sweet potato, tahini, sea salt, ½ tsp of the chili powder, cinnamon, garlic, lime juice, and 1 tablespoon of water. Purée until smooth, gradually adding remaining water as desired to thin dip, and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add fresh cilantro or parsley if desired, and purée briefly to incorporate. Season with additional salt and spices to taste, if desired. Serves 4-5.

Sweet Potato Note: Prebake your spuds! Keep whole and unpeeled, just give a quick wash. Then, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 425/450 for 40-60 minutes (baking time varies based on size of spuds). Bake more than you need at a time, keep extras refrigerated for 4-5 days to use in other dishes – like salads, soups, pasta sauces, and more.

Spice Note: Use a good quality chili powder that isn’t too hot. If you aren’t sure of the heat intensity, start with a lesser amount, and then add more if desired. Our kids like this with 1/2 tsp of chili powder, but you may want to add more. You can also substitute a chipotle powder or chipotle hot sauce, to taste.

Enjoy the hummus, guys! And, quick reminder… if you already ordered Plant-Powered Families, be sure to email us to get that bonus 15 recipe ebook. Those 15 recipes are not included in the printed book, and I know you’ll find some favorites in there! I’m already hearing back from many of you on some of the recipes. So be sure to get your copy. :) For details, see this post

NEW! Plant-Powered Families cookbook by Dreena Burton

x Dreena


Peanut Butter Pudding with Berrylicious Swirl (feature recipe from Plant-Powered Families!)

Our girls are on spring break this week and next, so I’m busy keeping them busy at home! They are spread out in ages (almost 14, 10, and almost 6), so I find they rarely want to do the same things. Sometimes the older two hang out, other times the younger two play together or do projects – today they are painting birdhouses. But, the girls are at a stage where they often don’t enjoy the same activities. Anyone else have this experience with their kiddos? Have any ideas or advice to share?

One thing we did enjoy this week was a walk through Redwood Park. This park is peaceful and beautiful in its own right, with majestic trees and serene paths…


Recently, I heard about a “fairy kingdom” that has developed in the woods of the park. At some point, one or more children had the idea to put a couple of little wooden doors and wooden birdhouses on trees, where the fairies come to visit! Well, the idea caught on and now we have a wee enchanted forest with doors at the base of trees and painted birdhouses with charming personal touches. Here are a few examples, though the pictures don’t do justice to the entire scene:


We strolled through the kingdom, and all three girls were engaged with the fun. I was too! Of course, afterwards the younger girls were keen to paint their own contributions to the fairy forest. So, they started painting and decorating their little houses today. If you live in the South Surrey/White Rock area, go for a stroll in Redwood Park – the fairy fun is just beyond the treehouse.


Now, when activities fail me, there’s one thing our girls always enjoy together… homemade treats! They all love this Peanut Butter Pudding with Berrylicious Swirl. Ok, our middle daughter opts for the pudding without the berry swirl, no surprise there. :)

This is a new recipe from my Plant-Powered Families cookbook. This pudding is very easy to whip together, and tastes like a PB&J sandwich – without the bread! It’s all whole-foods based, from the pudding to the swirl!

NEW! Plant-Powered Families cookbook by Dreena Burton

Oh, and for those of you possibly wondering… “uh-oh, is there a lot of peanut butter in this book? I’ve already preordered!”… No, there isn’t. In fact, I believe this is the only dedicated peanut butter recipe in the book. And, you can substitute a nut butter like cashew or almond if you have peanut allergies in your household.

And, if you missed my last post and don’t know about the preorder offer of a bonus ebook and special giveaway, check out my last post for details!

Peanut Butter Pudding with Berrylicious Swirl! from "Plant-Powered Families" cookbook by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree

Peanut Butter Pudding with Berrylicious Swirl (link to print/share)

This idea came to me one day after school. I wanted to give the girls a treat, but something nutritious—and quick! This pudding came together in a flash, and their eyes sure lit up!
Peanut Butter Pudding:
3/4 cup pitted dates
1/3 cup unsalted peanut butter or other nut butter (see notes)
1 tablespoon white chia seeds
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon nondairy milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2–4 teaspoons pure maple syrup for extra sweetening (optional)

Berrylicious Swirl:
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries or raspberries (see note)
2–3 tablespoons pure maple syrup or agave nectar
Pinch sea salt

In a blender, puree the dates, peanut butter, chia seeds, sea salt, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth (if using a high-speed blender, this will be quick; with a standard blender, you may need to scrape down the sides of the blender a few times). If you’d like additional sweetener, add the maple syrup, a teaspoon or two at a time, to taste. For the swirl: Using a blender or immersion blender, puree the berries, maple syrup, and sea salt until semi-smooth. If using frozen berries, it will take a little longer. Dollop the berry mixture on the peanut-butter pudding, or “swirl” it through!

Peanut Butter Note: Peanut butters often have salt added, even the natural varieties. Check the ingredients—if it does, reduce or omit salt.

Nut Butter Note: If substituting a nut butter like almond, try adding a touch of orange zest. It pairs beautifully with almond

Berries Note: If using seasonal fresh berries, they may be sweeter than frozen. Puree with just 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, and add extra to taste. With frozen berries, I usually use 2 tablespoons syrup.

Pudding photo credit: Nicole Axworthy

Enjoy the pudding, friends!

x Dreena

Warmly Spiced Quinoa Chickpea Stew

Often times, you guys remind me of my own recipes. When I get an email or tweet from you about a recipe you are loving, I’m reminded to share more about those dishes, right here.

And I appreciate those notes, especially right now! Between preparing for my book launch in May, reviewing final book edits, preparing for Christmas, and managing endless momma to-do’s… my mind is scattered. Terribly scattered. (Moms, please reassure me that you are feeling the same out there with holiday prep!)

When I feel scattered like that, there is something grounding about posting a “tried and true” recipe.

Warmly Spiced Quinoa Chickpea Stew #vegan #glutenfree #soyfree by Dreena Burton

Last week I heard from a few of you about this Warmly Spiced Quinoa Chickpea Stew recipe from Let Them Eat Vegan. It’s a great one-pot plant-based dish that is very nourishing. Though the ingredient list is long, it doesn’t mean the recipe is difficult. Once you assemble the spices, the rest of the prep is rather easy.

Warmly Spiced Quinoa Chickpea Stew by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #soyfree

This stew is also the kind of dish that hits the spot when we are eating more processed foods and sweets during the holidays. The warm, earthy spices and nutrient-dense ingredients help us feel more balanced when our diet doesn’t feel so balanced. Healthy comfort food, I guess! Adult comfort food, for sure. (I should mention that this is not one of my kids’ favourite recipes, they aren’t very fond of the notes of fennel and curry. Just a heads up if you have little ones – you might need to top with guac.) :)

This is good straight up, hot out of the pot with a sprinkle of chopped pistachios (shown), or chopped almonds or some pine nuts. It’s also delicious with a little drizzle of Maple-Balsamic Sauce…. just a touch, a little goes a long way.

Enjoy the recipe, guys… and hang in there with the holiday prep. I’ll try to. 😉

x Dreena

Warmly Spiced Quinoa Chickpea Stew by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #soyfree

Warmly Spiced Quinoa Chickpea Stew

(vegan, gluten-free, soy-free) link to print/share

This dish is a cross between a casserole and a stew. It is cooked stove-top, much like a stew, but is much more like a casserole in texture. The quinoa and chickpeas are simmered with warm, earthy spices, and balanced with the sweetness of dried figs and sautéed fennel. Serves 4-5 or more depending on accompaniments.

1-2 tbsp water
1 cup onion, chopped
¾ – 1 cup red pepper, chopped (see note)
1- 1 ½ cups fennel bulb, chopped (first remove core and stalks from bulb) (see note)
3 large cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp fennel seed
1 ½ tsp paprika
1 ½ tsp dried basil
3/4 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1/2 cup white wine
3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed (see note)
2 cups chickpeas (rinsed and drained if using canned)
2 – 2 ¼ cups water (+ another 2-4 tbsp if needed, see directions)
1 dried or fresh bay leaf
1/3 cup dried black mission figs, chopped (or dried apricots, chopped or can use raisins, whole)
½ cup pine nuts or pistachios (optional)

In a large pot over medium heat, add the water, onion, red pepper, fennel, garlic, salt, pepper, curry powder, fennel seed, paprika, dried basil, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Stir through, cover, and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add wine, bring to a boil and let boil for a couple of minutes. Then add quinoa, chickpeas, water (start with 2 cups) and bay leaf and stir through. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium/medium-low, cover and let cook for 18-22 minutes. Once quinoa is cooked, and most of the liquid is absorbed, stir in dried figs, remove from heat and let sit for 3-4 minutes. If the liquid is absorbed but quinoa isn’t tender, add the extra ¼ cup of water and cook another few minutes. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired. Serve, with a sprinkling of nuts if desired.

Red Pepper Note: If you don’t have red pepper, you can substitute chopped carrot or winter squash like butternut, though the red pepper adds a nice color contrast with the other ingredients.

Quinoa/Water Note: If the liquid is absorbed but quinoa isn’t tender, add the extra ¼ cup of water and cook another few minutes.

Cooking Tip: After this dish is cooked, keep it covered before and after serving portions. It will get a little dry if left uncovered. Also, as it stands, the heat from the pot will continue to cook the quinoa and so it will absorb more water and get drier. If needed, have some water boiled in your kettle, so you can stir a couple of tablespoons before getting a second helping!

Photo credit: Gratitude to my buddy Emma for these beautiful food photos.

Gingerbread Granola (vegan, gluten-free, oil-free)

This weekend I began the very first of my holiday baking! I’m packing up boxes of Christmas gifts for our parents in Newfoundland and my best friend in Ottawa, and decided to sneak in some homemade granola!

I’ve had this Gingerbread Granola recipe in my pocket for a couple of years. My recipe testers have already tried it, as I was going to include the recipe in my newest cookbook. i opted to include a different recipe, and instead post this granola in time for you to enjoy for the holidays.

This vegan granola was a hit with my testers. It’s crunchy, flavorful, and yields some good clusters. It’s also made without added oil, and sweetened only with maple syrup and brown rice syrup. It’s perfect for Christmas and the holidays, and especially wonderful for gifting! Normally I use mason jars to gift granola, but for shipping back to family I packed in small ziploc bags and then into festive gift boxes. How do you package granola for gifts? Have any ideas to share?

I’m keeping this short and sweet today as I have a “Jingle Bell walk” to join at school and have to get these boxes in the mail! So, let’s wrap it up! (I’m fully of the puns today.)

I hope you enjoy the granola, and for more gingerbread love, check out my Chocolate Gem Gingerbread, Gingerbread Folks, and Gingery Cookies!

x Dreena

Gingerbread Granola - #vegan #glutenfree #oilfree by Dreena Burton

Gingerbread Granola

link to print/share recipe

Bring the beauty and aroma of freshly baked gingerbread into a granola that is perfect for breakfast, snacking – or for gifting during the holidays! Makes about 4 1/2 cups, depending on how ‘clustery’ you keep it!

3 cups rolled oats (use certified gluten-free for that option)
1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped pecans OR 1/4 cup hemp seeds (see note)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1⁄4 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp cashew butter or almond butter
3 – 4 tbsp pure maple syrup (adjust to desired sweetness)
1/2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup dried cranberries or other dried fruit (optional, can omit, see note)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the oats, pecans or hemp seeds, spices and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, first combine the nut butter with the maple syrup and molasses, stirring to fully blend. Then, add the brown rice syrup, and vanilla to the maple/molasses mixture and stir through. Add wet mixture to dry mixture, and stir through until well combined. Transfer mixture to your lined baking sheet and spread out to evenly distribute. Bake for 27 – 30 minutes, stirring a couple of times throughout baking to ensure the mixture browns evenly. Remove from oven, stir in dried fruit if using, and bake for just another 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven again. At this point the granola may not look completely dry. Do not overbake it, as it will dry more as it cools. Let cool completely, and then break up into clusters. Once cool, store in an airtight container. Eat straight, or with non-dairy milk or to top fresh fruit or non-dairy yogurt.

Nuts Note: Feel free to substitute 3-4 tbsp of pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds in place of the nuts or hemp seeds.

Spice Note: For a more ‘everyday’ version of this granola, simply reduce/cut some of the spices. Omit the ginger, allspice, and cloves. Reduce the cinnamon to about 1 tsp, and you can also add a few pinches of freshly grated nutmeg if you like. Also reduce the blackstrap molasses to about 1-2 teaspoons.

Dried fruit Note: I don’t always add dried fruit to granola, as I sometimes like the sweetness as is. So, you can choose to add some or not – and you can also try adding a few tablespoons of finely chopped crystallized ginger instead of cranberries or raisins! It will add a definite flavor kick!

photo credit: thanks to Nicole Axworthy

Green Chickpea Hummus

A couple of months ago, Paul returned from Costco with a big bag of frozen green chickpeas. I had heard about them, but never tried them, so I was pretty excited about his food find.

Green chickpeas are the raw, fresh form of chickpeas we know and love. They aren’t a fresh legume you find often in markets, but it is becoming easier to find them frozen. The taste, to me, is somewhat a cross between edamame and green peas. So, I think they would substitute well in many dishes where you might use either green peas or edamame. I first tried them in a cooked dish (briefly cooking through), and really enjoyed them. Then, I turned my thoughts to…

Green Chickpea Hummus by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree

Hummus. Glorious hummus! I’ve only ever made hummus with cooked legumes, so I wasn’t sure the fam would dig this more ‘raw’ version. Plus it was green. That’s usually tricky with kids. Well, to my surprise and delight, it was a hit! With Paul and the older girls, anyhow. Our 5-year old is in the stage where everything green (other than green smoothies) is “ewwww”, so her vote doesn’t count right now. 😉

Personally, I would choose this over classic hummus… at least most days! The combination of flavors is a little addictive, and it is just so fresh and vibrant. We noshed on it straight up, but you could also use it in sandwiches and wraps, or for topping sweet spuds (that combination would be tasty)!

If you can get your hands on some frozen green chickpeas, they are worth experimenting with. If you can’t find them, try substituting frozen edamame here, or a half-and-half combo of frozen edamame and frozen green peas.

Green Chickpea Hummus by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree

Green Chickpea Hummus

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3 cups (frozen) green chickpeas, blanched and drained (see note)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 medium clove garlic (can use larger if you love garlic)
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (don’t omit!)
1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves
2 1/2 – 3 tbsp tahini
3/4 – 1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2-3 tbsp water (or more if desired to thin)
1 tsp lemon zest (optional)

In a food processor (see note), combine all ingredients, starting with 3/4 tsp of salt and 2 tbsp of water. Puree until smoothed out, scraping down the processor bowl as needed. Taste, and add additional salt to taste, and extra water to thin out as desired. Serve!

Chickpeas Note: Add chickpeas to a pot of boiling water, and let cook about 3 minutes. Remove, and run under cold water. I cook them very briefly just to bring out their vibrant green color. Be sure to run them through cold water to stop the cooking process. If you cannot find green chickpeas, use a combination of green peas and edamame (half of each preferably), or the full amount of edamame.

Food processor Note: If you have a high-speed blender, you can puree it in the blender for a smoother consistency. I quite liked the more textured consistency with the food processor.

Green Chickpea Hummus by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree

Please share your ideas for using green chickpeas, and of course your feedback on this recipe!