Double Chocolate Birthday Cupcakes

Today's recipe is a new fave, Vegan Double Chocolate Birthday Cupcakes. Rainbow sprinkles on top.

I am convinced that sprinkles are a good metaphor for life. Representing all the things in your life that bring you joy. Things outside of food and air and sleep and shelter. Things like love and sunsets and cozy blankets and starry skies and movie nights, and snowflakes on your eyelashes, and hope and dreams and friends who make you laugh even when you are crying, and family and pets and silliness and art and music and drama, and favorite TV shows and beach vacations, freshly washed sheets and raindrops on roses. (And whiskers on kittens..) All those sorts of things. Those things are totally sprinkles in this little metaphor of mine.

And life is just better with "sprinkles." And even though these cupcakes don't "need" the sprinkles on top, they also kinda do.

My India Tree rainbow sprinkles for this recipe almost didn't make it on the cupcakes (Amazon shipment delay!) and I was so incredibly bummed about that. I was surprised how much this recipe needed sprinkles to be complete. So that felt a lot like life. Sprinkles on top please! Never forget how much the little (and big) happy things pepper your life and truly make you who you are and who you want to be.

Haha, ok, anywaysssssss. About these cupcakes!...


No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bars

Sorry I have been MIA with new recipes this week guys. I have been immersed in a fun brand project, developing a bunch of recipes. My kitchen has gone from polished and clean to complete culinary-warzone-style chaos, dirty spoons and dishes stacked across messy counters and ingredients everywhere. But part of the fun of cooking is playing and making a big mess. Clean up is the tricky part. But whenever I am cleaning up in a hurry I think of the end scene in Adventures in Babysitting, you know the one where she is rushing to clean up the kitchen before the parents get home. #80sMovies = life

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bars. Today, a recipe that is easy, sweet and actually pretty healthy for you! Just five basic ingredients! I was attempting to make peanut butter eggs for Easter, but ended up loving the texture of this peanut filling so much that I just made it into bars and used a bit of the leftover as a tasty crumble. So if you love all things peanut butter, chocolate, cookie dough and bake-free, give these a whirl!..

And you will be happy to see that these are pretty darn good for you too! Healthy treat..


Carrot Cake + Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

This vegan California Carrot Cake with Fluffy Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting is beyond dreamy. It is studded with walnuts, hearty carrot shreds and accented with cinnamon, vanilla and citrus. It bakes up with the perfect fork-diving texture. And it is delicious a few days later as leftovers. Midnight snack approved!

Carrot cake has always been one of my favorite desserts and today's recipe impressed my very high standards.

And every dreamy cake-eating-sesh deserves a good moody scene. Midnight cake craving, the light of the fridge and a fork in your hand. Or maybe a Sunday brunch with girlfriends, carrot cake muffins all around. Or a boring old Monday, made better by baking a cake, eaten after dinner while watching Netflix in your PJs. For me today, it is fog and movie music (soundtracks are my fave to work to), cats napping, the gently whoosh of my IQAir and the hum of my Roomba spinning in the other room. Romantic, eh? I'll take it.


Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Five years ago I posted a recipe for cookie dough ice cream. The funny part was that it wasn't really a recipe. (I mean, I didn't make the ice cream or the cookie dough, hehe. Hi.) I remember this post well because someone either emailed me or commented on social media (can't remember) saying that it was not even a recipe. I felt so stupid. Whoops. Blogger fail? Oh well, no biggie.

I always look back on stuff like that and laugh. They aren't all winners and that's ok. It's a learning process - cooking, blogging - life. Another example, when I posted these chocolate covered bunnies a few years ago and a few readers started calling them Donnie Darko bunnies. OK yes, they were pretty darn ugly. LOL.

But back to the ice cream. I have been dying to redeem myself. Today's the day!

And ps, I did redeem those poor bunnies.

This Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream is beyond dreamy. The fluffy vanilla cashew base swirls with thick chunks of homemade vegan cookie dough, finely chopped chocolate bits in every bite.

We served big, melty bowls of this stuff and loved it so much! Hope you can try it and love it too.

(And FYI, if you use store bought cookie dough I promise I won't judge. There are so many rad vegan brands out there these days!)..


On Healing... Patience. Uncertainty. Optimism. And Everything In Between.

*photo by Sabrina Hill

Last Friday I was in yoga class and the teacher said something that resonated with me. All us students were sprawled out in some relaxing pose, and she said to imagine our bodies healing. To really visualize it. Not just surface level healing. But deep, long term healing.

In today's world we want everything to happen FAST. But when it comes to nurturing our bodies and souls, sometimes we really have to embrace the mindset of patience. Slowness. Space. Stillness. And the power of our own positive energy.

We should acknowledge that deep healing takes time. And that healing often feels like a very uncertain process...


Bread & Butter Pickle Tempeh-Bacon Toast

People often ask me where I get the ideas and inspiration for my recipes. For me, it is almost always on my shopping trips to either the grocery store or the farmer's market.

So on this trip, I was roaming the aisles of Whole Foods, cart in hand, when I remembered my raw sauerkraut craving. I picked out some sauerkraut, and right next to them: bread and butter pickles. My fave pickle variety. Buttery, crispy, slightly spicy, sweet and sassy. So I added them to my cart too.

I made my way to the checkout line. The girl in front of me was placing her items on the conveyer belt and I had serious cart envy. She had a giant bag of apples, loads of greens and also Wyoming sourdough bread and tempeh bacon from Lightlife. Suddenly I wanted those things too - well the bread and tempeh, at least. (Btw, this is exactly why I need to stick to my list when I grocery shop.) I hopped out of line, grabbed that same loaf of bread and slung some tempeh into my overflowing hand cart. I also picked out some garlic hummus. My toast idea was in motion.

When I got home, I made my first variation of this Bread & Butter Pickle Tempeh-Bacon Toast and let me say I was hooked! Salty sweet with loads of texture and enough protein to be filling. Plus, you know pickles are technically vegetables, right?? So this is clearly a complete meal.

I made this recipe two more times the next day. I had to go back to the store for more pickles and hummus. Hi.

I really didn't know if this simple toast was a blog-worthy recipe, but I think it has proven its worth from the number of (many) times I have made it the past few weeks. Hm, maybe lunch today...

So pickle toast it is!..


Fluffy Blueberry Buckwheat Morning Muffins (..That Taste Like Pancakes)

I will lead with this. These muffins, they taste like pancakes. And scene.

I would gladly eat pancakes for breakfast every single day of the week. Fluffy goodness, studs of fresh fruit, a melting pat of vegan butter and loads of amber-golden maple syrup swirling over top. Fork dive into the warm, skillet-fluffed stack and you feel instant coziness. But pancakes (and waffles for that matter) are special 'weekend' food on most weeks. Brunch hour goods. Which doesn't do me any good on a Monday morning when I am trying to figure out what to eat for breakfast, in between reading endless emails and getting a fresh start on a handful of projects for the week.

(Ya, I wrote this post on Monday .. and finally posting it .. it has been one of those weeks. There was a nap yesterday and I watched Hope Floats on Netflix. Hi.)

But back to pancakes. So what are we to do? I have the solution, friends. Muffins! Blueberry Buckwheat Morning Muffins that taste just like the real pancake-y thing, but are easily made ahead of time and warmed up for instant satisfaction. Pancakes every day of the week? Maybe not. But pancake-y muffins, oh yes..


Kathy's Matcha Chat Series

I am excited to launch a new video series today! Kathy's Matcha Chat Series, sponsored by Encha Organic Matcha. Today is episode one!

I haven't been in front of that camera in over a year, so I am excited to challenge myself and get back to chatting with you guys face to face! (And not just via Instagram stories...)

The Matcha Chat Series will post the first Friday of every month for the next year! And every episode will have a giveaway, courtesy of Encha. Entry details ahead.

In each video I will be chatting about random wellness, food, fitness, travel and other lifestyle topics. Basically anything that is on my mind. In future episodes, I would love to answer your questions about matcha, wellness or anything really, so leave questions in the comments or email me at kathy at lunchboxbunch dot com.

But mostly, this series is about having some fun, being silly and taking my matcha breaks chatting with YOU guys.

Episode One. This first video was a bit of a doozy. LOL. I guess you could say I winged it and let the cats hop around in the background and had a kinda choppy setup. But at least I pushed it out and here it is! Thank you for cringing and smiling along with me for this first episode. I promise to be a bit more rehearsed in videos to come. Getting in front of the camera is something I have to remember how to do, ha!

Check it out!..


BBQ Chickpea Salad Wraps w/ Avocado + DOLE Organic Salad Mix

*This post is sponsored by DOLE, but all opinions are my own.

Raise your hand if you prefer to buy organic produce when possible. *Raises hand.* And that is why I am excited to announce a new line of organic products from DOLE, a company that I have been grateful to work with, here on my blog, for many years now. I mean, any company that paints giant fruits and veggies on its ceiling (see this post) is definitely a brand that is on the same dietary page as me.

The new products.. DOLE Organic Salad Mixes!

Recipe. Today I am sharing a super easy weeknight meal, my BBQ Chickpea Salad Wraps with avocado. This hearty, yet healthy wrap serves up loads of DOLE's fluffy organic greens, as well as spicy-sweet skillet chickpeas, buttery avocado and some warm brown rice too. This wrap is a great way to load up on super good-for-you leafy greens. Get the complete recipe and check out these greens!..