Category Archives: Food & Recipes

Vegan Pumpkin and Peanut Butter Mousse Recipe

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Sounds weird, right? This recipe tastes like a Butterfinger mousse to me. I love the silky consistency and the fact that the ingredients are wholesome and easy. I’ve eaten a low-sugar diet for a while, so this dessert isn’t super saccharine. I usually enjoy my pumpkin peanut butter mousse in the morning for a quick start to the day, or as an afternoon snack. It would be great with some cream (whipped, coconut, etc.) and a chocolate drizzle. The coconut oil is what makes the mousse turn from a thick smoothie texture when it’s initially blended, into the silky, spoonable consistency I love.

Vegan Pumpkin and Peanut Butter Mousse

1. Put into a blender:

  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup maple syrup

2. Blend on low, and ramp up the speed until everything is smooth. If your blender doesn’t have speeds, I recommend heating up the coconut oil into its liquid state before blending. Note: all my ingredients except maple syrup are at room temp to start.

3. Pour the smooth mixture into another container and refrigerate. I like to put it in serving-size containers that I can grab and go. But scooping from one big container isn’t that big of a deal.

Notes on ingredients:

  • Pumpkin: I use the organic Trader Joe’s brand that comes out this time of year.
  • Coconut milk: I use the full fat kind – good fats are good! That’s what my naturopath and the internet tell me. I get them from Costco.
  • Peanut butter: I use creamy, organic, Costco brand that has no sugar.
  • Coconut oil: I use the giant size I can get at Costco
  • Maple syrup: I use the Costco or Trader Joe’s brand, grade A, though I would love to find grade B in a bulk size.

I also love to do a raspberry version of this same recipe, but in the fall and winter, pumpkin is my fave.

Chocolate Pumpkin Smoothie Recipe

I guess maybe we should call it a shake, but let’s not get into a lexicon debate about the chocolate pumpkin smoothie. I’ve been playing around with the fall pumpkin smoothie (original recipe here), and this is my new favorite version. Amounts are not precise, but the ingredients are right, so have at it and get back to me.

Chocolate Pumpkin Smoothie


Blend up in your favorite blending device…

  • 1 13-ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 15-ounce can pureed pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup hazelnut milk (or almond milk or milk milk or water)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 4–5 dates
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 3–4 tablespoons chocolate protein powder (This is the first time I’ve ever used protein powder. It’s a hail-Mary to get my breakfasts rebooted. My naturopath suggested PurePaleo Protein Chocolate by Designs for Health, so I’m going with that.)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

I put my smoothie in a big glass jar and pour servings out for a few days. After I have it in the fridge for a day, I like to add some more hazelnut milk to thin it out. I find this especially delicious if the kids are down and it’s time to veg out on the couch with my husband and I need a treat. It feels kind of like a chocolate malt, with a Mexican chocolate-style kick.


Fall Pumpkin Smoothie Recipe

Pumpkins! Smoothie! MomsicleBlog

I’m done with green smoothies. It’s fall. Leaves, crisp air, scarves, you know the drill. Morning routines are going well as a fam, except for my breakfast. I have a weird diet designed to keep me from getting recurring bronchitis (no dairy except butter, no gluten, no eggs, low sugar, no alcohol). Breakfast is hard. I need something incredibly easy and delicious (I make my smoothies ahead of time and put them in mason jars in the fridge) and I’m tired of kale and mango and bananas (if you’re not tired of that stuff, you can find a recipe here).

I was complaining to my naturopath, and she recommended making a pumpkin smoothie. We brainstormed. She says that there are three things your body needs to feel full: protein, fat, and fiber. Given that I like to eat whole foods and don’t want a bunch of powders and sugars, plus I need it to be sweet enough to make me crave more, here’s what I came up with. (To see the chocolate-pumpkin version, click here.)

Fall Pumpkin Smoothie

Fall Pumpkin Smoothie Recipe. MomsicleBlog

Blend up in yo blendah…

  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin (I use Trader Joe’s organic)
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk (I use canned because the only ingredients are coconut and water)
  • 1 cup hazelnut milk (I use Pacific Natural Foods brand, and I prefer their hazelnut milk to almond milk because it’s more like whole milk than skim milk in texture)
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (I use creamy, unsalted, all-natural)
  • 3–5 dates
  • 2 teaspoons honey (change to agave to make this vegan)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ice cubes and/or water to taste, for consistency

Add-ons I want to try:

  • Oats or flax meal for fiber
  • A high-quality protein powder
  • Maple syrup instead of honey for more fall zing
  • Cayenne pepper for kick and anti-inflammation
  • More cinnamon

My smoothie tasted lovely alone or over granola and flax meal.

More ideas: My friend Cyndi, a friend, mentor, and beta-tester said this: “I’ve been using your original pumpkin smoothie recipe with almond butter instead of peanut, maple syrup…and no dates (not on my approved list). Then I blended and froze in an ice cube tray. That way in the morning, I put a banana, a cup of lactose-free milk, a scoop of vanilla protein powder and 2-3 smoothie ice cubes in the blender and it’s DELISH!”

I’ll be trying other smoothie ingredient combos to play around with spice, protein, and fiber levels. So leave your ideas and trial-and-error stories for me! (I went to chocolate-pumpkin next, it’s kinda my new favorite thing. It’s here.)

Also, did you notice those squash in the picture on the weathered wooden table? We grew the squash in our permaculture garden. And now that I think about it, I actually made that table. I think I’m going to dress Momsicle up as a homeschool-Christian-prairie blog for Halloween. (Laughing hysterically.)

Let me know how the smoothie goes.

Craigslist Missed Connections: To the Woman at the Taco Tuesday Bar in New Seasons Last Night

Remember when our eyes glowed with excitement last night? I had just gotten my hair cut, and I was feeling like the universe had my back. Then I saw the Taco  Tuesday sign: “Three soft tacos for $5.99.” Yes! I was in the middle of ordering my chicken-adobo-with-mango-salsa-and-guacamole tacos when you came out of nowhere like an angle with silver hair.

“Is this a burrito bar?!” you asked. “Yes!” I said. “And it’s Taco Tuesday! Three soft tacos for $5.99!” Your eyes sparkled when I pointed to the sign.

“I’m doing it!” you said.

“Isn’t it great?!” I said.

“Yes! Let’s do it together!” you said.

I could tell you had the soul of an excited four-year-old. It spoke to mine. We wanted to hold hands and dance to the universe’s benevolence.

How were your tacos? 

I slept in the bathroom, switching between throwing up in the toilet and the bathtub–whichever I could reach first.

I thought of you all night.

I prayed that you chose barbacoa tempeh, tomatoes, and fire-roasted salsa. Something that would spare you from the food poisoning that struck me down. If only it were the mango salsa and you chose something else!

I hope your soul hasn’t lost its glow, and that your eyes can lock with mine again.

Maybe at Whole Foods, sushi Wednesdays?

Children Revolt Over Organic Dinner, Seek Out New Caregivers

January 6, 2016

Portland, Oregon— After extensive crying and whining over a dinner of roast beast, broccoli with garlic-tahini sauce, sautéed leeks and mushrooms, and mashed potatoes, two young boys set out to find a loving “chicken-fingers-only” family. The boys, six and four, say they will settle for “cheeseburgers-only.”

Organic Meal in the Making. MomsicleBlog“Could I be more cliché?” upper-middle-class mom Evelyn Shoop said. “I’m a white mom with a Master’s and I have an organic food delivery service. But you know what? I don’t care! I’m not stopping. I love Organics to You.”

Relatives confirm that this exhausted parent cooks mostly organic vegetables and meats. “She also eats gluten-free, which is just a bunch of baloney. No one ever had a problem with gluten when I was growing up. Barak Obama is the worst president in our history,” said an honored citizen who asked not to be named for this article.

“She thinks sugar makes us sick,” said Shoop’s six-year-old son. “We’re not even supposed to ask about treats. We do anyway and she gives in. But not enough. When we want treats we want them now.”

“Eeeeeeeeeehhwheeeeeeeeigh,” said Shoop’s four-year-old. His whine was unintelligible, but his emotion was clear.

Initially the boys attempted to rent a tiny-house nearby, but with no income, it proved difficult. “We didn’t want it anyway,” the older boy said. “We want someone else to cook.”

They are confident a “chicken-fingers-and-fries” family exists and will take them in. “It’s just time for us to go,” the six-year-old said. “She’s making us do more chores and she keeps saying ‘it’s hard work to be in a family’ and ‘you get what you get and you don’t have a fit.’”

Two Fall Kale Salads with Roasted Sweet Potato

Kale. MomsicleBlog

One of these statements is true:

  1. My children eat kale salads while wearing organic cotton track suits.
  2. My children eat grilled cheese sandwiches while watching television.

Yet I just bought four heads (bunches? leaf packs?) of kale at the farmers market Saturday. They’re just for me. I will single-handedly eat them by the end of the week. I know foodies have moved on to other nutrient-packed greens like collards and nasturtiums, but I’m still figuring out kale. (Here‘s my smoothie recipe.)

Keys to kale salad success:

  1. Remove the biggest, most sinewy parts of the stems and shove everything else through the food processor’s slicer attachment (you can thinly hand chop if you don’t have a food processor).
  2. Add tons of fall veggies and fruit, then finish with bacon or sausage.
  3. Drench in creamy dressing (coconut creaminess for me, because I currently don’t do dairy or eggs).

Texture in a salad, for me, is paramount. It’s amazing how thinly chopping those leathery leaves changes the gustatory experience. I was looking for an excuse to use “gustatory.”

For the kale and roasted veggies, I prepare giant batches and then pull from them all week.

Kale Salad with Fennel, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Pear, and Bacon

Kale Salad Sweet Potato Pear Bacon. MomsicleBlog

  1. Using the slicer attachment on the food processor, thinly slice sweet potatoes (I don’t peel them because that’s extra work). Toss sliced sweet potatoes in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes.*
  2. Place bacon on a baking tray and cook while the sweet potatoes are roasting–about 12–18 minutes.*
  3. Throw kale and fennel into the food processor using the slicer attachment (remove only the largest, most sinewy stems), and then put some of each into your bowl. My friend Sara brought over some fennel she didn’t want, and I was surprised how great it was in the salad. I didn’t use much of the hairy heads, but those are pretty fun to add in if you want.
  4. Thinly slice a pear and add that to the salad.
  5. Chop bacon and add it, along with sweet potatoes.
  6. Drench in creamy dressing (recipe below).

*Times are all approximate because I have a 1964 oven that’s a furnace. Also I like things crispy. Also I often cook by smell instead of time. Never trust me.

Kale Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Sausage, and Croutons

Kale Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Sausage, Apples, Croutons. MomsicleBlog

  1. Using the slicer attachment on your food processor, thinly slice kale.
  2. Cube sweet potatoes, toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes. (Remember that note on times.)
  3. Place sausage on a baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes, until cooked through. I use Lonely Lane Farm’s original pork sausage. Lonely Lane sells through the Beaverton Farmers Market, and I order their sausage by the case. Any sausage you like will work.
  4. Cube an apple and add it to the salad.
  5. Add roasted sweet potatoes and sliced sausage to the salad.
  6. Drench in creamy dressing (recipe below).
  7. Toss croutons on top. (I’m gluten free, so I go to New Cascadia Gluten Free Bakery and grab day-old bread, then chop it up, drizzle with olive oil, bake at 300 degrees for about 40 minutes, and then store in a Tupperware on top of my fridge.)

Creamy Herb Salad Dressing (Vegan)

My process is to steal parsley from my backyard neighbor, cut rosemary from another neighbor, and then pillage my own yard for oregano. But I hear herbs can be bought at the store. Which is what I used to do before I became the Herb Burglar, a trashier and marginally less pretentious version of the Barefoot Contessa.  The Herb Burglar calls this dressing Three Yards Vinaigrette.

  1. Procure herbs and throw them into a blender or food processor. Rosemary, marjoram, parsley, oregano, chives, thyme–they all work. About a cup total, though I like to get up to two cups.
  2. Add a can of coconut milk (I get mine at Trader Joe’s), 1/4 cup vinegar, salt, pepper, and 2 or 3 cloves garlic.*
  3. Blend until smooth and then add a steady stream of olive oil while the blender is running (about a half cup or more, to taste).
  4. Store in a jar in the fridge after you pour over your salad.

*The liquid measurements are very flexible. I mix based on how I’m feeling that day. You can use mayo I imagine instead of coconut milk, but it won’t be an apples-to-apples substitute. Basically you’re going for a consistency that pours nicely and coats the kale really well.

Recipe: Cashew Cream (Vegan)

Look! A new recipe! I’m cooking food things, again! Our little friend Fairy Pig has let up on the nausea! High five! Okay, cashew cream… Cashew Cream. MomsicleBlog There’s this magical paleo parfait at Dick’s Kitchen in Northwest Portland. It has a cashew, maple cream that scoops like ice cream, a deep purple berry compote, and a nut “cookie” crumble. Over the past year, I’ve been cutting down my sugar intake. I don’t crave super-saccharine treats that often these days because they make me feel yucky. In my search to find satisfying replacements, I’ve only come across a few things that make me want to leave my family and live out of a box asking for money to sate my habits: the paleo parfait at Dick’s, the raw fudge made by Honey Mama’s, paleo almond cookies, and possibly a Coconut Bliss “milkshake.” Dick’s wouldn’t divulge to my friend Jamie and me the recipe, so I’ve resorted to creating my own. It’s been such a hardship carrying out the experiments. Most cashew cream recipes call for blending soaked cashews with water. I prefer coconut milk. To get the consistency of a heavy cream, which goes well with berries and granola, I use a whole can of coconut milk. To get something scoop-able, I use a blend of coconut milk and melted coconut oil, which hardens at room temperature, but I haven’t perfected that yet, so this recipe is for the heavy cream kind.

Cashew Cream (vegan: definitely; paleo: I think)

  • 1 lb raw or roasted cashews, covered in water to soak overnight*
  • 1 can coconut milk (I like canned because the ingredient is just coconut milk, whereas the refrigerated stuff has a lot of additives)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 maple syrup (to taste)
  • generous pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract (optional, but adds a marzipan taste–who wouldn’t want that?!?)

*You can also try using hot water and soaking the cashews just for an hour or two. 

Now blend all that stuff up in a blender. You might need to shake the blender around a bit, or use its stick thingy to keep things moving, or adjust the speeds. This makes me think the Cuisinart may be a better choice… Let me know what you decide.