Cashew-Banana Bread French Toast with Whip

It is 5pm in the afternoon and a day-old loaf of super yummy whole grain crusty loaf is calling my name. French Toast! I don't know why, but I had been dreaming of this creation all day and of course, 5pm seemed like the perfect time to whip it up, photoshoot it and get it ready for posting before the weekend so you guys can try it for brunch!

This Banana Bread French Toast with Coconut Whip and Cashews is super dreamy. It takes very simple (easy!) banana french toast and turns it into something that looks restaurant-ready. If I ever open my own little cafe, this dish is definitely going on the menu!
Get the recipe ahead, and happy brunching! (Or breakfast-for-dinner-ing...)...


Purple-Citrus Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Since this week's Meal Plan is all about smoothies and salads, I wanted to share a favorite smoothie that I have been making lately. This Purple-Citrus Strawberry Banana Smoothie is an upgraded version of a classic banana-strawberry smoothie. I add in some blueberries for bonus antioxidants and a pretty purple color. And the real secret ingredient is the orange citrus zest! It adds such a bright accent of flavor. This blend is sweet, vibrant and summery. I have been making this as a late afternoon post-workout smoothie. Give it a spin, also I share a documentary I recently loved..


Quinoa Corn Black Bean Fiesta Bowl

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Duda Farm Fresh.

Summer is my favorite season for big, beautiful salads and veggie-filled bowls. I find that I crave salads more when it is hot outside, probably because salads are hydrating and offer up a wide array of nutrients. One challenge people often have when trying to make a "salad" into a meal is that they do not just want veggies in their bowl. Well, plant-based recipes can easily solve that problem using ingredients like legumes, nuts, seeds and grains. As well as using hearty, nutrient-rich veggies like one of my faves: fresh summer corn.

Today I am boosting my salad bowl with a base layer of protein-rich quinoa, some hearty black beans and plenty of sweet and colorful corn. This Quinoa Corn Black Bean Fiesta Bowl has spicy-sweet-zesty flavors from lime and chipotle dressing, and is topped with avocado and hot sauce to taste. You can serve with a fork, or layer the mixture into corn tortillas for tacos!

Easy dinner or lunch recipe coming your way, plus I am chatting all about summer corn today..


Vegan Walnut Brownies

These were our Saturday night in. Vegan Walnut Brownies are always a good idea. They bake up swiftly and pack a big chocolate punch. They also pair perfectly with a scoop of vanilla vegan ice cream or even some sliced strawberries and coconut whip. Or drizzle some warmed peanut butter on top. Or just spoon dive right into the dish!

These brownies are rich and chewy and fluffy and just what you need when a chocolate craving hits. I also love that they keep very well in the fridge for a few days. You can even wrap the brownies and store in the freezer. I plan on chopping up my leftovers and folding them into some chocolate ice cream for some DIY Brownie Fudge ice cream! Get today's brownie recipe!...


D23 in Review. (And the best salad recipe!)

disclosure: This post is sponsored by DOLE but all opinions are my own.

Last Saturday I did something really exciting. Scary. Exhausting. But mostly really exciting! I was given the opportunity to present three cooking demos with DOLE at Disney's D23 Expo in Anaheim. The D23 Expo is Disney's annual convention, also known as the ultimate Disney fan event. And since you guys might know by now that I am a big Disney fan, this was a pretty cool opportunity.

In today's post, I get to share that day with you! Along with the salad recipe I made during the demo. And seriously guys, this salad recipe from DOLE is soooooooo good. Seriously, I devoured the big bowl in the photos right after shooting. I couldn't stop eating it! YES, salad. Let's go!..


Vegan Meal Plan Sundays: Week 3, Smoothie + Salad Challenge

Hey guys, it is late Sunday and I am about to pop on Game of Thrones, but I am feeling awful because I haven't posted this week's plan yet! This weekend just seemed to zoom by in a mix of sunshine, tennis, cat naps and cooking projects and playing. But it hasn't all been rainbows and sunshine, I can assure you! But I like to focus on all the good stuff. And there was a whole lot of good stuff this weekend just like any week, if I look closely. I mean, looking to my right there is the fuzziest kitten muffin ever curled up on my leg and off to my left, my awesome husband finishing dinner. Good stuff.

The Plan: Smoothie + Salad Challenge. This week I am doing something a bit different, as I will from time to time. Instead of a straight up plan I am challenging you! For each day, I have one of my favorite salads and a fave smoothie. For each day, I challenge you to try at least one of those items! And no, I don't expect most of you to nail down all 7 days, but if you can do even one or two new recipes this week, you get a big fat gold star from me! Check out this week's recipes...


Coconut Milk Matcha Ice Cream

*disclosure: this post is part of my Encha Organic Matcha brand ambassadorship

Vegan ice cream is right up there with carrot cake and chocolate chip cookies and maple donuts when it comes to my favorite desserts. And even though there are SO many awesome dairy-free ice cream brands on the market these days, I just love making my own because I can get creative with flavors and customize the texture and sweetness.

Up until now, I have been pretty loyal to using cashews for my dairy free ice cream recipes, but I was challenged to try a coconut milk base for this recipe. And oh-my-goodness I love it! Super creamy, luscious and sweet with the perfect blend of rich coconut milk and lovely Encha organic matcha. Coconut Milk Matcha Ice Cream is ready for you..

Oh! And I bring you another matcha chat video and giveaway. This month's Kathy's Matcha Chat video is getting back to basics, chatting about some options for sweeteners for your matcha latte. Check it out and enter the monthly giveaway ahead!..


Easy Energy Shake! Almond Butter + Frozen Banana.

This summer I have been having some fun updating the photos on some of my older popular posts. And this Easy Energy Almond Butter Banana Shake was a favorite early on! It is so simple to make and blends up rich and creamy, tasting like almond-banana ice cream. It is packed with good stuff like fiber, potassium and healthy fats. Those healthy fats help to provide you with sustainable energy for your busy day. I like to think of it as the smoothie version of almond butter banana toast!

So today, a few updated photos to this recipe, a new video and I share some summer smoothie tips..


Vegan Meal Plan Sundays: Week 2

Well it has clearly been a busy week for me guys, because I only got one new post in since last Sunday's mealplan! But let's start fresh this week with some plant-based inspiration..

I am so glad many of you loved last week's week one of Meal Plan Sundays! I received some great feedback and so I am happy to say I will continue the series. I don't know if I will keep to the exact same format each week, one week I might jump around and do a smoothie lovers' week with seven featured blends. Or maybe a salad challenge to challenge you guys to try at least one new salad every day. Sounds kinda fun, right? I love a good challenge!

But for this week, I wanted to infuse a whole bunch of recipes ideas once again - same style as last week.

A few people said that they really wanted to have a shopping list along with the menus. Well, my best response to that is that I totally understand that some people want to follow an exact diet, a 100% committed plan for the week, but the truth is, that is not really the message I want to send through my menus. I want you guys to just get a bunch of seasonal vegan recipe ideas and be able to choose maybe one or two recipes a day. Or jump around days. Skip one day and do the next day as it shows. Eat leftovers. Just eat a bunch of fresh fruit for breakfast one day, eat out with friends, whatever your life's schedule allows -- and really above all....

Eat when you are hungry. Stop when you are full. Listen to your body. Stock up your fridge with as many plants and healthy goodies as possible and use these recipes as a guide for your week of meals. I just love the idea that we are all getting inspired by the same recipes, and can make this collection together, in a casual sense.

So let's get to it. In today's post I will show you the week two menu as well as sample menu for how I typically eat on a workday.

Thank you for joining our HHL Meal Plan community!


Prime Day Deals for Kitchen + Home

Shopping or browsing for Prime Day? Support a blogger while doing it! I cannot thank you enough for shopping via my Amazon affiliate links. Thank you..

Amazon Prime Day is 3pmEST July 16th through July 17th.

If you are a Prime member, don't miss out on some great deals on home and kitchen goodies this year. Not a member? Join today.

What do I love about Prime? I love the exclusive discounts at Whole Foods, free streaming of TV shows and movies on Prime Video, Prime Music, and of course the everyday shipping deals on Amazon for Prime members. I also talk to my Amazon Alexa devices all day long. I get the weather, play music, set kitchen times, convert measurements and my fave request, "Alexa, tell me something good!" (Check out all the Prime benefits.)

Browse a few Prime Days Deals, including one on a brand new Vitamix..


Refreshing Creamsicle Smoothie!

This post is sponsored by Summer Fruit from South Africa.

Today's recipe is for a super refreshing, dairy-free Creamsicle Smoothie. This smoothie uses fresh citrus, creamy cashews and a few accents like citrus zest and cinnamon. It blends up light and frothy with a creamy popsicle texture.

And for this smoothie, I use one of my favorite citrus-smoothie-blending tricks that I discovered while writing my cookbook, 365 Vegan Smoothies.

Get the recipe, plus enter a summer fun giveaway! Five winners will be chosen..


Watermelon Frosty, Summer Smoothie!

I had been planning on making this Watermelon Frosty recipe for a while. But it seemed every time we had fresh watermelon in the house it was gobbled up in just a few hours. Fresh, juicy watermelon has that instant gratification effect on people. Kinda like freshly baked bread, warm-from-the-oven cookies, hot pizza or freshly flipped pancakes. These foods beg to be consumed, without hesitation. But finally, I did it. I froze the freshly chopped watermelon. And this frosty bliss followed..

Get the recipe, plus some updated pics and an added video! Enjoy one of my most popular and beloved recipes. I make these frosties many times every summer..


Vegan Meal Plan Sundays: Week 1

I have been getting a few requests for vegan meal plans over the past year, so I am trying something new this week. And if you guys like it, this series will be a weekly thing here on the blog.

Vegan Meal Plan Sundays! If you guys love this idea, each week I will share a fresh new line-up of recipes that you can try, chosen from my very favorite blog recipes. You can use the collection as general inspiration, or follow along day-by-day, meal-by-meal. If you have leftovers from one meal, you can certainly keep eating them and sub them into the menu where you see fit.

The meal plans are going to be seasonal. Along with breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas, every week I will feature a few favorite desserts and snacks too. I am personally going to try to follow along here and there, so we can all feel like we are enjoying these meals together. But keep in mind, these menus are made for YOU to make them your own. Sub ingredients, change days around, only make one recipe from each day. No rules, just inspiration.

I will post the new meal plan each Sunday so that you can look it over, prep a bit and grocery shop for any ingredients you may need for the coming week. Day one of the menu starts Monday, so you can start the week off feeling healthy, and prepared! Take that take-out menus. We are coming for you! Er, NOT coming for you, actually...

Let's do this!..


Fresh Raspberry Blueberry Crumble Bars

Crowd-pleaser of a recipe today! Summery fresh berry bars that taste like pie, but are totally portable. No fork needed.

Flag Bars. One thing I have never been good at as a blogger: preparing properly for holidays! (I'm the monkey-covering his eyes emoji right now.) I made these bars last week, super excited to have them up for the 4th of July. Red, White and Blueberry Bars, right? "Yay, I'm totally prepared this time!" But life got in the way and I sidetracked a bit with other posts, and missed out. But thinking positively here, I am super ahead of schedule for 4th of July 2018. Win!

These bars are a delicious, summery, picnic-approved dessert/snack recipe. These Raspberry Blueberry Crumble Bars contain fresh blueberries, a zingy-sweet fresh raspberry puree and buttery, cinnamon-y oat crumble on top. Oh, and if you want to add the white frosting ripple (optional) you can do that too for the white-stripes flag effect. But the bars are super tasty even without the ripple.

Presenting these pretty bars to a crowd you will feel like a vegan, sassy Martha Stewart. (Actually, nevermind, Martha is pretty sassy herself, so a sassier, vegan Martha.)

Summertime berry bars are perfect for some summer weekend baking, happy Friday and enjoy!..


BBQ Tempeh Avocado Sandwich

This morning, our building's fire alarm (falsely) went off at 3:30AM. Hi. Normally, I would glide back to sleep, but not today. I tossed and turned until sunrise. I basically laid in bed for those early morning hours, pillow stuffed over my face, pink light slowly crawling through the window drapes, my husband blissfully snoozing by my side - my brain busy thinking and fighting sleep. I was thinking about everything that has happened the past few days since I wrote this post. The adrenalin rush of comments still warms my face. I feel very changed by the experience of sharing something so private, and taking a leap of faith that the universe is indeed a compassionate place where people share and support and love and think.

Hearing stories so similar to mine - from people who are not just strangers - but my readers - people who have been following me for years - makes me feel so warm and comforted.

The thing I love most about blogs are the natural exchange of life stories. And once again, having my own space to share is becoming an extremely healing tool in my life. So thank you.

And I know that as time passes, I will feel a bit less raw and vulnerable and just simply, strong.

Ocean metaphor, because that's how my brain works.. Sometimes just running straight into the crisp, cold ocean is the way to go. No tip-toeing around it! It is a shock to your system, but after a while you get used to it, and it feels good, and you turn around and stare back at the shore, and wonder why in the world you didn't dive in sooner?

But back to square one, this is still my food blog.. And the healing power of food is my jam.

And so what did I do as soon as I climbed out of bed around 7am?? Cook! This Sandwich. BBQ Tempeh at sunrise. Life of a food blogger.

Today I am sharing one of my favorite go-to tempeh recipes. The cool thing about these BBQ Tempeh Avocado Sandwiches is that they take just around ten minutes to prep. And they are SO flavorful and hearty! Summer sandwiches here we come...