Natural Health

Vegan Cheese Sauce

I have really been craving some good old-fashioned mac and cheese lately, maybe because I haven’t had a lick of dairy in 7 months. I found a great recipe for cauliflower mac and cheese and decided to see what I could do.  I was recently introduced to nutritional yeast as a great alternative to cheese, giving things that nutty cheese sauce.  I found this recipe and did my own version.

Vegan Cheese Sauce

2 TBS whole wheat flour
2 TBS coconut oil
1.5-2 cups coconut milk (you can use almond, rice or soy)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup pine nuts

1. Make a roux with the flour and coconut oil. Melt oil in the pan and sprinkle in the flour, this happens very fast so make sure you are stirring quickly and have the milk on hand. It should make a nice paste.

2. Slowly add milk while whisking to remove lumps. Don’t pour all the milk in at once, our slowly until you have reached the desired consistency, should be liquid but not thick because you still have to add the yeast and pine nuts.

3. Simmer on low and add the nutritional yeast while whisking.

4. While it is simmering, make a paste of the pine nuts in either a blender or mini-food processor. Add a bit of water to the pine nuts. (**if you don’t like pine nuts, I suggest cashews or even macadamia nuts. I’m not a huge fan of pine nuts but they were on hand and they add a great flavor to the sauce).

5. Add the paste into the sauce and add a dash of salt. This is where you can add more milk to gain your desired consistency.

**I roasted some cauliflower and put this sauce on it for the last few minutes. Had I had them on hand, I would have added some bread crumbs to the top.

Here are a few add in’s that I suggest to the sauce:

Smoked Paprika
Cumin or Coriander
Garlic Powder
Dried Basil


What would you do differently? What would you suggest as an add-in?

Categories: food, Natural Health, Vegan | Leave a comment

Healthy (and creative) lunch ideas

I have been rather quiet this last week because I finally finished my last class of my Masters Degree after 4 long years and two kids later! It feels so good to be done. Now I have a 9-month unpaid internship looming and feel the stress of my crazy schedule between two kids, working part time (technically full time since I help out at Hunter’s school when I’m not working in exchange for daycare), working out and leading groups two nights a week. The craziness of our schedule and my near OCD tendencies, I like to keep my kiddos, my husband and myself well nourished with healthy homemade food. I got an email from a friend today asking to write about this pin I saw on Pinterest, so here you are Shannon!

I don’t have to pack a lunch for Hunter but since I work at his school, I have a say in what he eats which is really nice. Parker just started eating solids and is only on the basics of avocados, pears, butternut squash and sweet potatoes but I know it won’t be long before I have to leave complete meals at home for the nanny while I am working.

I also like to make my own food to bring to work since I know that when I am working part time, I will have a quick 10 minutes in between clients to stuff my face and be neat about it. Being dairy free also poses a problem with eating out so I’d rather cook my own food knowing the ingredients. I have brainstormed a few ideas for breakfast and lunches so here you are:

Bento Box Lunch via Pinterest,

For Breakfasts I often make a huge batch of breakfast burritos and freeze them in plastic wrap individually so you can just pop them in the micro for 30 seconds; it takes some time but it’s well worth the effort when you have a pile for those mornings when you just need to grab something quick. This leads me to my next go-to breakfast – LARAbars. I love these but I can’t justify the amount of money I spend on them. She has great recipes here and if you know me well enough, you know that I cannot and will not follow a recipe to the T; I always have to add my own touch. Once you get the hang of this, you can experiment on your own. I love the lemon bars and add my own lemon zest and lemon juice. Yum. You can even add your own protein powder or even green powder such as spirulina, seaweed, kelp, etc., for an even better punch.

For lunch ideas, I do love the bento boxes and I think they are really great for introducing a bunch of foods and balancing out their lunches. My problem = time. SO, as I just reorganized my fridge and incorporated labels and tupperwares to categorize my fridge (another post on this at a later date); I realized how great it would be to have a tupperware strictly dedicated to snacks and go to meals. This will take some time, but what organization doesn’t??? Here are a few ideas for making your bento lunches easier.

You will need a bunch of sandwich bags for this project! Separate different foods into appropriate portions into sandwich bags to just grab and go. Here are a few suggestions for what to include in those bags:

pre-portioned lunchmeat and sliced cheese
cut fruits and veggies
string cheese
lara bars!
dried fruit (always a hit in my house)
grape tomatoes (depending on the age of your kiddo)
bread slices (or english muffin halves, bagels, or tortillas)
mini muffins (homemade of course) – carrot and zuchinni muffins are a great way to sneak veggies in!

A few other ideas to include in these lunch “tupperwares” would be small 2oz containers of dips such as ranch, peanut butter, nutella and even pizza sauce to make their own english muffin or bagel pizzas.

Another hot thing going around the web lately is make your own “pop tarts.” While I despise actual pop tarts, I think it’s a great opportunity to make your own in a healthy way. I can’t bake to save my life (except banana bread), and I like to think it’s because I live at 7,000 feet but I really know it’s because I can’t follow a recipe (see above) and I also can’t sit in the kitchen swapping out trays of baked goods every 7-10 minutes….anyway, to the point, I love the premade pie crusts and use them all the time for various cooking projects. Simply buy (or make) premade pie crusts, cut them to the shape and size of your liking, fill and press around the edges with a fork for decoration if you so desire. Here are some great ideas for fillings:

peanut butter and banana
peanut butter and honey
scrambled eggs and cheese (add meat if you like)
jam or jelly (I plan on doing this one with the multiple jars of homemade apple butter in my garage refrigerator)
cream cheese and jam

So there are a few ideas for you guys to think about.

I would love to hear your go-to ideas for both kiddos and adults for those of us that are too busy for sitting down for a proper breakfast or lunch.
Can you add to my lists?

Categories: Mothering, Natural Health | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Immune Boosting Juice!

Hunter is by far the sickest I have ever seen him; he has a bad virus which is causing bad cold sores in his mouth so he can’t eat or drink. Poor guy.  We all just got over a two week cold so I am really not happy about this but it is the price we pay for going to school.  I decided I needed to make an immune boosting juice that I could freeze into popsicles for him.


Here is what I came up with (**all organic ingredients)

1 beet, including the greens

3 apples (i used 2 granny smith and 1 pink lady)

1 cucumber

2 carrots

a good chunk of ginger

a bunch of wheatgrass

a handful of parsley

**to juice the wheatgrass and parsley, roll in a beet leaf and follow with the cucumber to get the extra juice out.

It is quite yummy but use caution when drinking this. Beets are a powerful cleansing agent and detoxifier so be careful when juicing – it is recommended to start with 1/4 beet and work up to one beet in the juice. I used a whole beet because I juiced so much. Wheatgrass can cause a little tummy upset if you aren’t used to it but it’s a superfood – have you ever tried a wheatgrass shot?! I use the ginger to counteract any tummy upset these two superfoods may cause. When I lived in New York, I worked at this great juice bar Wildgreen Cafe (which is now closed) and remember the time I decided to try their detox juice which consists of beets and wheatgrass, unfortunately, no one told me to take it easy and wow, did it work…at the expense of my intestines!

This is the beautiful result:

Here is some information on the health benefits of all these fruits and veggies I put in this juice. **Some information adapted from the wonder book “New Foods for Healing” by Selene Yeager.


Beets have nutrients that have been found to fight birth defects and even stave off cancer – one of these nutrients is the B vitamin folate which is very beneficial for women. This vitamin is essential for nomal tissue growth and for fighting heart disease and certain cancers. Folate is especially important for pregnant women to protect against birth defects.


We all know that an apple a day keeps the doctor away! Apples can help lower the risk of heart disease, prevent constipation, control diabetes and even prevent cancer. It’s all in the skin baby – the skin contains large amounts of the compound called quercetin which is an anti-oxidant compound that can prevent harmful oxygen molecules from damaging individual cells and who doesn’t need that these days?! Apples also have a plethora of fiber which is beneficial for the gut and keeping us all regular.


Parsley can help relieve urinary tract infections and help ease premestrual discomfort. Parsley’s healing magic can be found in two componds it contains, myristicin and apiol that help increase the flow of urine; this helps remove infection-causing bacteria (Yeager, 1998).  This same action canhelp prevent premenstrual bloating – so nibble on some days before mestruation! Parsley also contains a largeamount of vitamin C, a half cup of parsley contains 40 milligrams of Vitamin C – 66% of the daily value!!


Ginger is my wonder food! It helps soothe an upset stomach, relieve migraine headaches and reduce clotting in blood.  Ginger blocks theaction of prostaglandins, substances that cause pain and inflammation in blood vessls in the brain (Yeager, 1998). I just love this root, it does so many wonders for me.

Do you have a wonder food you like? Do you have a juice recipe you would like to share?

This post is a part of Linkup Wednesday’s on Day2Day Joys and Women Living Well

Categories: Natural Health | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Natural home and health products

I have become very interested in creating my own remedies and cleaning products these days, especially because Hunter seems to come down with something each week because he is in school.  last night he was complaining of not feeling well (a common thing these days, sometimes true, sometimes an attention grabber). sure enough, I checked his temperature and it was 101.5.  Hunter has had two fevers in his whole 2.5 years of life so I know something is very wrong when he has a fever.  I use tylenol on children sparingly and tend to lean towards holistic and homeopathic treatments when things arise.  I did study holistic medicine in college but that was 15 years ago (oh my, did I just say that?!).  I know what oils are good for most ailments but I struggle with the dilution ratios so I found this great site to help me, she has great ideas, recipes and a dilution chart that is easy for even beginners if you are so inclined. this is a great post for preparing the cold and flu season

First, I gave Hunter a bath with lavendar oil and Wyndmere Immune Support essential oil, this can be found here or at your local health food store. It is very powerful and has a very distinct smell. Then, after bath made a massage oil for him that was supposed to help bring downhis fever, sure enough, his fever was gone by the middle of the night. I mixed a carrier oil (avocado) and lavendar and eucalyptus oil and spread it all over him and on the bottoms of his feet. He loves the smell. I also tied a sachet of lavendar with the immune support oil dropped on it so he could inhale the vapors throughout the night. His fever is gone but he is still complaining of mouth pain and won’t eat. Essential oils are not for consumption so I will work on this problem separately.

I bathe Parker in the immune support oil (only 1 drop) daily to support him and also give him infant probiotics to ward off all the funk that Hunter brings home. So far so good. We have an essential oil diffuser in our room that I place next to mine and Parker’s head with lavendar vanilla to relax us during naps and evening time. (I say naps for Parker, not myself – I wish).

Now that we are battling all these nasty germs that seem to infest our house, I have been on the quest for a natural cleaner to make at home. I despise the smell of vinegar which is a great cleaner but no essential oil can mask that smell. I found a great recipe with vinegar and one without so I tweaked it to meet my needs. Tea tree oil is a wonderful antiseptic – water and a couple drops of tea tree oil in a small spray bottle instead of alcohol based sanitizers are a great thing! You can also use it to spray on the toys, just spray and leave on and voila, santized. I just can’t fathom paying $4.99 a bottle for the Seventh Generation Cleaners. This is a great multi-purose cleaner. Some other natural cleaners contain borax which I use in the laundry but don’t feel comfortable leaving it’s residue on things that the kiddos put in their mouths. Thyme oil also has great antimicorbial properties but Isaac hates the smell of it so I avoid it, it’s very potent.

Here is the recipe I came up with:
2 cups water (preferably distilled or just boil the water first)
up to 3 teaspoons liquid castille soap (I use Dr. Bronners lavendar castille soap because I love lavendar and this house can always use a calming smell!)
1 teaspoon tea tree oil
spray bottle

Do you have any of your own experiences with natural remedies? I’d love to hear what you have come up with!

Cheers to a natural and healthy household.

Categories: Mothering, Natural Health | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Blog at