Gentle, Unscented Star Wars Bastille Soaps for Kids

21 Oct

Everything Star Wars here. Why not soap too? Here’s a gentle, unscented recipe for kids of all ages.

IMG_8162005Star Wars Soap Cupcakes


  • 5% castor oil
  • 15% coconut oil
  • 80% olive oil
  • water
  • lye (NaOH)
  • 10% superfat (also for a more moisturizing soap)
  • 35% water
  • room temperature method
  • run it through my fave soap calculator to get the amount you want


At trace, divide up your batch:

  • leave some plain
  • add activated charcoal for Darth Vadar’s helmet
  • add indigo for R2D2 (I still have to find the best way to do this without using synthetic materials)
  • add just a little of activated charcoal for Han Solo in carbonite

Pour into Star Wars molds. You can also add the figures to a fresh batch of bar soaps (photo above and below).

  • cover with a towel and allow to gel for 24 hours
  • remove towel after 24 hours
  • unmold and cut
  • cure for 4 – 6 weeks

IMG_8165006  IMG_8164004   R2D2, Xwing, Carbonite Soap

Now, who’s got tickets to the new Star Wars film coming out this December?

Sensous Sandalwood Soap

7 Oct

I wanted to create a Sandalwood Soap with the look and feel of wood, as well as the sensual fragrance of sandalwood. Here it is!

Sandalwood 2


  • 10% avocado oil (for a more moisturizing soap)
  • 25% coconut oil
  • 65% olive oil
  • water
  • lye (NaOH)
  • 10% superfat (also for a more moisturizing soap)
  • 35% water
  • room temperature method
  • run it through my fave soap calculator to get the amount you want

At trace, add 1 1/3 T Sandalwood fragrance oil/pound and 0.5% of ingredients of grapefruit oil as a preservative. Divide the batch into 3 and to:

  • 1/3, add 1 T activated charcoal/pound
  • 1/3, add 1 tsp red clay/pound
  • 1/3, add nothing.

Sandalwood Soap

I used a cardboard box as my mold and lined the inside with a plastic bag:

  • pour the red clay batch in first
  • top it with the plain and charcoal batches in lines down the mold
  • use a thin tool to make circular patterns on the top of the soap for the design
  • cover with a towel and allow to gel for 24 hours
  • remove towel after 24 hours
  • unmold and cut after 48 hours
  • cure for 4 – 6 weeks

Amber Crystal Soap

21 Sep

I was really excited about the potentiality of this Amber Crystal Soap project because I love amber crystals and their scent. I prefer to stick to natural products and don’t add unnatural colourants to my soap, so I was uncertain how the soaps would look. Here they are!



  • 30% coconut oil
  • 30% vegetable shortening for vegans and vegetarians/ lard or tallow for the omnivores out there
  • 40% olive oil
  • water
  • lye (NaOH)
  • 10% superfat
  • 35% water
  • room temperature method
  • run it through my fave soap calculator to get the amount you want

At trace, add 1 1/2 T Amber fragrance oil/pound and 0.5% of ingredients of grapefruit oil as a preservative.

I used a cleaned soymilk carton as my mold:

  • pour batch into your mold
  • insert old pieces of soap to add texture and colour to the soap
  • cover with a towel and allow to gel for 24 hours
  • remove towel after 24 hours
  • unmold and cut after 48 hours
  • cure for 4 – 6 weeks

With my extra pieces of cut soap, I balled them up and rolled them in some turmeric to make Amber Rock Soaps.


The amber fragrance fills my kitchen as I write and it smells heavenly.

Rose Bastille Soap

17 Sep

I wanted to create Gothic English Rose Soaps, but didn’t think the older ladies in my family would understand it.


So I have some all white bars and some with a layer of activated charcoal.


They look beautiful.


I snuck in some all black Gothic-looking mini rose soaps too.

At trace, add 1 1/2 T English Rose fragrance oil/pound. Add activated charcoal to some, if you wish.

My family presented me with a mold recently and I couldn’t wait to use it:

  • pour batch into your mold
  • top with rose petals
  • cover with a towel and allow to gel for 24 hours
  • remove towel after 24 hours
  • freeze for a couple of hours (very important as the soap may still be soft and may be ruined during this next process)
  • unmold
  • cure for 4 – 6 weeks

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Castile Soap with Olive Leaf Powder

14 Sep

I read that the quality of olive oil one uses in soaps drastically changes the final product of soap. There is a lot to read about Castile Soaps on the internet, but I wanted to experiment on my own to verify what I read.


Extra Virgin Olive Oil Castile Soap with Olive Leaf Powder.

Well, it is true: plain olive oil produces a creamier texture, while extra virgin olive oil produces a more brittle soap. I noticed that plain olive oil also creates a silkier finish and is easier to handle. Now, I have 4 to 6 months of curing left before I can actually use them to assess how they differ as soaps.


Plain Olive Oil Castile Soap (top) and Extra Virgin Olive Oil Castile Soap (bottom)


At trace, add 1 tsp olive leaf powder/pound of oils. Olive leaf is said to be anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory. It is also full of antioxidants and helps heal wounds faster.

I used an old soymilk carton as my mold (my fave as there is no washing up and I can still recycle it):

  • pour batch into your mold
  • spray top with alcohol to prevent formation of soda ash
  • cover with a towel and allow to gel for 24 hours
  • remove towel after 24 hours
  • unmold after 48 hours and slice
  • cure for 4 – 6 months

Lemon and Charcoal Bastille Soap: Oriental and Masculine

14 Sep

I asked my brother what kind of soap he wanted me to make him. He chose Lemon and Charcoal Bastille Soap.


Now, my brother is a very masculine man. He has a strong personality with Oriental preferences and a Zen-like attitude.


I wanted to create Lemon and Charcoal soaps that reminded me of him, that somehow captured his sensibility.

IMG_7829007Well, here they are!


Handmade. Just for my little brother.



At trace, divide the batch into 2:

  1. to 2/3 of the batch – add 1 tsp lemon peel powder and 1 oz lemon essential oil/pound
  2. to 1/3 of the batch – add 1 T charcoal/pound


I used an old soymilk carton as my mold:

  • pour most of the charcoal batch into the mold
  • carefully pour all the lemon batch on top of the charcoal layer
  • use a spoon to slightly mix the two layers together
  • spoon the rest of the charcoal mixture on the top
  • decorate as you wish
  • spray with alcohol to prevent formation of soda ash
  • cover with a towel and allow to gel for 24 hours
  • unmold after 24 hours and slice
  • cure for 4 – 6 months


Cinnamon Toast Soap

6 Sep

Totally inedible, except for the cinnamon.


100% olive oil soap.


Gentle for all skin types.



At trace, add:

  • 6g per pound of oils cinnamon sugar fragrance, optional

Use an old cardboard box lined with a plastic bag as a mold:

  • make sure you only pour a thin layer for the “toast”
  • sprinkle ground cinnamon on top for decoration, but not too much as cinnamon can be a skin irritant
  • sprinkle with pieces of grated white soap or baking soda for the powdered sugar effect
  • unmold after 24 – 48 hours
  • cure for 4 – 6 months

IMG_7794006 Mama, can I have one?


Why, of course, who did I make these for?

Homemade Moisturizing Hand Lotion

5 Sep

Indulge in your own homemade hand lotion. You can make it as light or heavy as you want. You can personalize the scent and the oils that you use. Best of all, you control the ingredients.

I’m not going to lie and tell you this concoction is not greasy. It is, but only for a while. There’s actually a trick so that it moisturizes well, soothes the skin, and the rich creaminess dissipates into your skin quickly.



Melt the following in a double boiler:

  • 3T olive oil, extra virgin (don’t even get me started… I ditched all my high-end facial creams for olive oil and my skin is so much happier)
  • 1 1/2 T shea butter, unrefined (great moisturizer for dry skin and reduces inflamed skin reactions)
  • 1 T avocado oil (relieves dry and itchy skin, naturally boosts collagen production, retains water)
  • 1 T jojoba oil (similar to our skin’s natural oils, it is easily absorbed into our skin)
  • 1 1/2 T your choice of wax (there is soy, Carnauba, or Candelilla wax for vegans and beeswax for vegetarians, this is added to help blend and solidify the oils)

Take off the heat, add and mix well:

  • 1T honey, raw (optional, but I love honey on the skin and hair. Honey fragrance is an extra bonus.)
  • 10 drops Frankincense Essential Oil (or choose your own, but if you believe in EO, Frankincense has anti-aging properties and speeds up healing)
  • 10 drops Sandalwood Essential Oil (or choose your own, added for antiseptic, astringent, and amazing fragrance)

Refrigerate for 10 minutes until it solidifies somewhat. Place in your container of choice.


When you want to use it, simply take a dab or two with a finger. It will feel greasy.

What you want to do is rub it all over your hands with a few drops of water. It will feel like regular lotion. In this way, you are in control of how light or heavy this lotion will feel on your skin, as well as how much you want. By not adding water to our lotion, we are also preventing mold.


Enjoy it on your hands, elbows, and knees.

How To Make Liquid Soap from Homemade Bar Soaps

4 Sep

I want to buy LESS stuff from someone else and make MORE of my own stuff. One of the easiest things I have recently discovered is the DIY room temperature method for creating soap bars. I am definitely hooked.

Soap bars are great, but for washing dishes… I prefer liquid.


I went soap-crazy the other night and decided to bevel my soaps. Don’t they look nicer?


The result was bowls of little pieces of soaps.


What to do with them besides making pouches of travel soaps? Liquid soap!


It’s so simple:

  1. Chop or grate your homemade bar soaps.
  2. Add boiling water on top to cover by an inch or two. It all depends on how creamy or watery you prefer your liquid soap. Less water for a creamier liquid, more water for a more watery one.
  3. Let it sit for a while to cool down a little.
  4. Blend together with an immersion blender. 
  5. Make a week’s batch at a time to prevent mold. Or, make a big batch, freeze in small pieces, and defrost as needed.


This simple chore gave me a feeling of great accomplishment. Silly, but true.


BYOS: Bring Your Own Soap

1 Sep

After years of traveling with eczema on my hands, I think I’ve finally found my solution: BYOS or Bring Your Own Soap. Not only are my homemade soaps biodegradable, but I know the exact ingredients that I used for each bar.

BYOS (3)004

I simply chop little pieces of soap before they get too hard, put them in a small container in my handbag, and I don’t have to worry about washing my hands with unknown chemicals that aggravate my eczema when I am out and about.


These are the little jewels in my purse.

Pure Olive Oil Soap Gentle Enough for Baby

31 Aug

I was sure different types of olive oils would create variations of pale to dark green hues, but who knew that Pure Olive Oil Soap could be so WHITE?


I used the cheapest regular olive oil I could find in our local discount store: Olivari Classic Olive Oil. Mixed only with water and lye, the result is a beautiful milky and creamy bar gentle enough for baby.


I have also read a few bloggers grate this Castile soap, mix it with rose water and coconut milk to make a very silky shampoo. Recipe here.


I can’t wait to give this to my baby niece!


  • 100% olive oil
  • lye (NaOH)
  • 8% superfat
  • 35% water
  • room temperature method
  • run it through my fave soap calculator to get the amount you want
  • unmold after it is hard enough to slice
  • cure for 4 – 6 months

Champagne and Orange: Mimosa Soaps

29 Aug

Are you ready for Brunch? These Mimosa soap treats are a perfect blend of Champagne and Orange.


  • 100% olive oil
  • Champagne, flat (boil off the alcohol first, otherwise your batch may rice or seize) and frozen
  • lye (NaOH)
  • 5-8% superfat
  • room temperature method

At trace, add

Pour into molds. Unmold after 24 – 48 hours. Cure for 4 – 6 months. Wrap them up so they look like mini Champagne bottles.

Ylang Ylang Castille Soap

29 Aug

Ylang Ylang Castile Soap


At trace, add

Pour into molds. Unmold after 24 – 48 hours. Cure for 4 – 6 months.

Artisanal Espresso Soap Cups

24 Aug

I don’t drink coffee, but I love the smell. These little cups are inspired by my Dad, who is the biggest espresso drinker I know.


I was going to name these soaps “Cappuccino Cups”, but my Dad suggested “Artisanal Espresso Soap Cups”. I couldn’t agree more.


Vegan/Vegetarian. All natural ingredients. No added fragrances. Simply coconut and olive oils, lye, water, coffee, cocoa powder, and cinnamon.


Imagine waking up and washing your hands with your own brew of Artisanal Espresso Soap first thing in the morning! How delightful!


Espresso Soap Cups Recipe:

  • 25% coconut oil
  • 75% olive oil
  • water (less 1.5 oz because you will be adding coffee later)
  • lye (NaOH)
  • 5% superfat
  • room temperature method

At trace, add to 3/4 of the batch (if making 1# of soap):

  • 1.5 oz extra strength coffee
  • 1/2T cocoa powder
  • 1/2 T raw honey (optional for Vegans)

Fill molds with coffee mixture, top with the remaining soap mixture.

For decoration:

Cure for 4 – 6 weeks. You can either keep them in the mold or unmold them. Your choice. They look deliciously drinkable in these cups though.


I can’t wait to give these as gifts!

Creamy Coconut Milk Lemongrass Shampoo Bar

23 Aug

Last week, I made a list of the types of SOAP BARS I wanted to create:

  1. Castile Soap (100% olive oil)
  2. Bastille Soap (at least 70% olive oil)
  3. Low-Cost Basic Soap (at least 50% of the butters or oils at only $0.10/oz)
  4. Moisturizing Shampoo Soap (that didn’t dry out my hair)
  5. Grease-Cutting Kitchen Soap (so I wouldn’t have to buy dishwashing detergent again)

A few days ago, I blogged about #1, 2, and 3.


Creamy Coconut Milk Lemongrass Shampoo Bars

Today, I unmolded these luscious soaps: my own Creamy Coconut Milk Lemongrass Shampoo Bars. They smell great and feel velvety too.


My criteria for my soap:

  1. I wanted coconut to be the main ingredient in my bar. Growing up in the Philippines, fresh coconut milk was often applied to my hair as a “hot oil” treatment to moisturize my scalp and hair, and encourage my fine hair to grow thicker. When it was washed off, my hair would shine and smell of the tropics. Naturally, I chose coconut milk and coconut oil for my shampoo soap.
  2. I wanted an extra moisturizing and conditioning bar.
    1. That meant keeping coconut oil to a minimum because saponified coconut oil can be drying over 30%. I limited this to 25%.
    2. I added castor oil, which provides a fluffy lather while conditioning and moisturizing.
    3. I added hemp seed oil for extra conditioning.
    4. I added jojoba oil, an oil similar to our skin sebum, at trace as an extra moisturizer for my scalp.
    5. I added raw honey at trace for extra conditioning.
    6. My other soaps are superfatted at 8%, but this one is at 11%. Superfatting allows some oils LEFTOVER on the soap bar AFTER saponification takes place.
  3. I wanted a softer bar for ease of use on the hair. I don’t mind lathering up a hard soap for my body, but I want a softer soap for a shampoo bar.
    1. Castor oil creates a softer soap.
    2. Hemp seed oil creates a silky bar.
  4. Fragrance and more:
    1. Raw honey not only conditions hair, as stated above, but also smells heavenly.
    2. Optional: add your choice of essential oils or fragrances as the coconut milk smell will disappear.


I ran my soap recipe through the SoapCalc and was happy with the results:

  • hardness 29 (range is 29-54)
  • cleansing 17 (range 12-22)
  • conditioning 68 (range 44-69)
  • bubbly 35 (range 14-46)
  • creamy 30 (range 16-48)


Creamy Coconut Milk Lemongrass Shampoo Bar Recipe

  • 5% hemp seed oil
  • 20% castor oil
  • 25% coconut oil
  • 50% olive oil
  • coconut milk, fresh or canned, frozen before you start
  • lye
  • superfat 11%

Use the Room Temperature Method. At trace, add lemongrass essential oils. Refrigerate in mold overnight. Then, take out and place under towels. Unmold after 24-48 hours. Slice and cure for 4 – 6 weeks.

*Shampoo bar results to come in 2 months!

Too-Good-To-Be-True Soap Treats for Kids (Warning: these look edible!)

21 Aug

I have been obsessed about making my own gentle soaps. I don’t know if I can wait 4 to 6 weeks for them to cure! Take a look at my mouth-watering dessert soaps!


“Hot Chocolate topped with Whipped Cream and a Piece of Chocolate” Castile Soap


“Vanilla and Chocolate Fudge” Castile Soap, “Chocolate Mint Brownie” Basic Soap, “Oatmeal and Honey Cookie” Bastille Soap

 Tricks I have learned about making soap:

  1. It’s SO easy. Don’t bother with the Cold Processed Method where you have to heat several bowls and take the temperature of both the lye and the oils. Room Temperature Method is THE WAY to make soaps for busy Mamas. No temperature issues. Less clean up. And it takes about 1 hour or less to make a whole batch, including prepping the molds to cleaning up. This process works for soaps with lye, oil, and butters only. Check out these links:
    1. The Room Temperature Method by Soap Making Essentials
    2. Room Temperature Soap Making by Skin + Soul
  2. Use a soap calculator to check your recipes. My favorite is SoapCalc because you can simply input the percentages, weight, and oils that you want and it calculates everything for you. Plus, they give you very useful information about your soap’s properties: cleansing, hardness, conditioning, lathering, creaminess, and so on.
  3. Prepare your molds before you start making soap. Grease your molds for ease of removing.
  4. Prepare the ingredients you will be adding at trace.
  5. Castile soaps (100% olive oil) take a LONG time to trace. Bastille soaps (bastard Castile, i.e. at least 70% olive oil) trace much quicker.
  6. If you are using liquids with sugars, freeze them first so that when you add lye to them the solution does not get too hot.
  7. Once the soap traces, work quickly to put them in the molds. Or leave them out a few minutes longer if you want to create decorations with them.  


    Freshly piped whipped cream soap

  8. Fragrances can darken your soaps, so I add these to the darker (chocolate) parts of my soap.
  9. If you are using any milks instead of water in your recipes, refrigerate them overnight. Take a look at my “whipped cream”. After a few hours in the refrigerator, the cream is whiter.

I just placed them in the fridge


After a few hours, the soap is a creamier white.

10. Waiting to remove your soaps from the molds requires patience. You can usually do this in 24 -48 hours. My impatience has cost me pox marks on my soap. Plus, see #3, which I failed to do.


The wait time to remove the soaps from the molds requires patience!

11. But waiting for the soaps to cure requires even more patience. Bastille soaps require 4 – 6 weeks, while Castile soaps require at least 4 – 6 months or even longer (they say 1 – 2 years at least to get a fuller lather).


I made some Castille Oatmeal and Honey Soaps from the leftover “cream” soap batch by adding ground oats and raw honey.

12. Cleaning up is a breeze. Keep aside everything you used during soap production where little hands cannot reach and hurt themselves. 2 days later, wash them up with soap that has dried on and in them. I usually have enough to wash other things in my kitchen sink too. No waste!


My son and I CANNOT wait to try these.

My husband says I have enough soap now for my son’s wedding in a couple of decades.

Don’t tell him but I cannot wait to make MORE!


Recipe Notes:

“Hot Chocolate topped with Whipped Cream and a Piece of Chocolate” Castile Soap: your choice of milk, cocoa powder mixed with olive oil, and vanilla fragrance for 2/3 the batch.

“Vanilla and Chocolate Fudge” Castile Soap: cocoa powder mixed with olive oil and vanilla fragrance for 1/2 the batch.

“Chocolate Mint Brownie” Basic Soap: I used mint from my garden, cocoa powder mixed with olive oil, and peppermint essential oil.

“Oatmeal and Honey Cookie” Bastille Soap: ground oats and raw honey.

For every 2# soap, at trace I added:

  • 3T cocoa powder mixed with some olive oil for my chocolate soaps
  • 6T ground oats, 2 T honey
  • 2 tsp essential oils or 1 1/2T fragrance for mild scents. Note: these can darken the soap colours, so I added these in in the chocolate bars only.


  • lots of options here
    • plain water
    • tea
    • your choice of milk. If you use any kind of milk, freeze first.

Recipe for my Castile Soap:

  • 100% olive oil
  • lye (NaOH)
  • your choice of liquid
  • 8% superfat
  • cure at least 4 – 6 months

Recipe for my very gentle Bastille Soap:

  • 15% coconut oil
  • 85% olive oil
  • lye (NaOH)
  • your choice of liquid
  • 8% superfat
  • cure at least 4 – 6 weeks

Recipe for my very gentle Basic Soap:

  • 20% coconut oil
  • 30% olive oil
  • 50% tallow/lard/palm oil (If you use palm oil, look for a sustainable option. Otherwise, look into tallow/lard. Any questions about sustainability? Check out why vegetarian Humblebee & Me uses animal fats in her soaps.)
  • lye (NaOH)
  • your choice of liquid
  • 8% superfat
  • cure 4 – 6 weeks

Finally, special thanks to the amazing Liz over at The Paragon House for teaching me how to make soap! She made it look so easy.

Vegan Mashed Potatoes with Kids

1 Jul

I’ve been waiting for my son to show some serious interest in the kitchen. This past week, he volunteered to make Vegan Mashed Potatoes, not once, but twice. I’m pretty sure he would do it another time too. This Mama is so excited to have a willing helper.

Son's Vegan Mashed Potatoes

Vegan Mashed Potatoes are so easy and so forgiving. My son loves every step of the process and wants to do it all himself. Your kids might want to do the same. Here’s what he did:

1. Scrub the potatoes clean.

2. Quarter them. (We keep the peel for extra nutrients.)

3. Drop them in a pot full of water.

4. Boil, then turn down the heat to simmer until the potatoes are tender. (15 minutes?)

5. Drain.

6. Put the potatoes back into the pot.

7. Mash, while adding sea salt, olive oil, and your choice of milk.

8. Serve. My son loves it with Baked Beans.

Vegan Mashed Potato

Harry Potter’s Vegan Eggnog

20 Jun

Any other Vegan Harry Potter fans out there?

Well, my son is currently attending the Online School of Wizardry over at for Harry Potter fans. So this Mama in the Kitchen immediately borrowed The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook for him.  One of the things he bookmarked was Eggnog for Kids, which requires 6 eggs, whole milk and heavy cream. The recipe is a complete NO-NO for a kid with super high cholesterol. Since today is a Saturday (a dessert day), I thought I would concoct a Vegan version for him. I would love to create a RAW Vegan Eggnog, but my son is allergic to nuts, so I used soy. This Harry Potter’s Vegan Eggnog was a HIT at our house.

Vegan Eggnog

Place all of the following ingredients in a high-speed blender, like a Vitamix:

  • 2 cups unsweetened organic soymilk
  • 2 cups organic soy creamer
  • 1 cup soy ice cream
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoons ginger powder
  • 1/8 teaspoons sea salt
  • pinch of cloves

Vegan Eggnog 2

Pour it straight from the Vitamix. Cast a spell on your Vegan Eggnog and delight in all that foam.

Vegan Eggnog 3

Pretend you are drinking your Vegan Eggnog out of a Butterbeer Mug at The Three Broomsticks and it is Christmas.

Accio Vegan Eggnog!

Oops. Looks like Hermione, Ron, and Harry wanted to try some of your Vegan Eggnog!

“Nicer” Krispie Squares and Vegan CookBook Give-Away

16 Jun


After a few months with limited sweets due to a stricter diet at home, I decided to try a couple of desserts from Dreena Burton’s Plant-Powered Families. My family needed a few healthy treats.

3 recipes

We tried her Fudgesicles, Chocolate Chia Pudding, and Oatmeal Banana Bites.

Nicer Krispie Squares

But the “Nicer” Krispie Squares, with modifications based on ingredients I had on hand, was the biggest hit with my son.

Note: I used sunflower seed butter instead of the macadamia nut butter for a nut-free version. I used maple syrup instead of brown rice syrup, which made the squares a little more brittle but still delicious. I did not use the spices she suggested and I used chocolate brown rice crisp cereal, instead of the plain.

Dreena’s “Nicer” Krispie Squares 

Nicer Krispie Squares_WEB

Makes 16 squares

This recipe first appeared in my cookbook Eat, Drink & Be Vegan, and it is such a well-loved, kid-friendly recipe that I had to share a nut-free version here! These squares taste phenomenal, with the buttery richness of the macadamia nut butter and the sweetness of brown rice syrup. They aren’t sticky or gooey like traditional Rice Krispie squares, but the flavor is remarkably similar!

1/2 cup macadamia nut butter (see note for nut free options)

1–2 tablespoons coconut sugar or other unrefined sugar (see note)

1/4 teaspoon agar powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup brown rice syrup

1–11/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

4 cups natural brown rice crisp cereal (see note)

Line an 8″ × 8″ pan with parchment paper. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the macadamia nut butter, coconut sugar, agar powder, sea salt, brown rice syrup, and vanilla extract. Stir continually as the mixture heats, until the agar powder is fully dissolved (reduce heat if mixture starts bubbling).

Remove from the heat and stir in the cereal, making sure to fully incorporate with the nut butter mixture. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and press in evenly (use a nonstick spatula or a piece of parchment to press the mixture without sticking). Refrigerate to cool completely, then cut into squares.

Nut-Free Options:

  • With coconut butter: This is my suggested nut-free option; it may even rival the macadamia nut version, simply because it has a similar mellow flavor but holds together even better— and agar is not needed! Simply replace the macadamia nut butter with 1/3 packed cup coconut butter (not oil). Omit the agar. The remaining ingredients stay the same.
  • With sunflower seed butter: Sunflower seed butter has a stronger nutty taste, almost peanut-y. With this substitution the squares taste different than a traditional Rice Krispie square, but it’s still a nice option. Use 1/2 cup of sunflower seed butter, 3–4 tablespoons of coconut sugar, and add 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom to balance the seed butter flavor. Use the full 11/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and retain the sea salt and agar. A sprinkle of mini chocolate chips just before transferring to the pan is also good!

Sugar Note: I don’t always add the coconut sugar to these squares. For me, the brown rice syrup adds sufficient sweetness. If you think you’d like them a little sweeter, use the added touch of sugar.

Brown Rice Crisp Cereal Note: These squares use the crisp rice cereal similar to Rice Krispies. There are a few organic and brown rice brands available; one of my favorites is by Erewhon.

Chocolate Version: To make a chocolaty version, add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder while melting the ingredients. Whisk through to get out any small lumps. You may want the additional sweetener if using cocoa powder, since it will introduce some bitterness.


Dreena’s book is full of other healthy choices besides desserts: breakfast, lunch, salad, dinner recipes, as well as solutions for picky eaters, lunchbox options, and plant-powered family support. Interested in getting your own book? Let me know in the comments below WHY you would be interested in winning Dreena’s book and please LIKE my Facebook page. US/Canada residents get a physical copy, while International readers will get an e-book. The winner will be announced on the 30th of June 2015 at 9am EST.


Forget Statins for Kids: Lower LDL with a Vegan Diet

16 Jun

Over the past year, our family has changed how we eat… yet again.

After our 7 year old Vegan decided to become an Omnivore, we discovered he had extremely high LDL. Several doctors we consulted suggested statins if he was unable to lower his cholesterol. Our goal was to decrease his LDL dramatically.

A Largely Vegetarian Diet Did Not Work

My first response was for him to go back to a Vegan diet but he argued that he wanted to try a largely Vegetarian diet with meat a couple times a month. After 6 months, his LDL stayed basically the same around the high 180s mg/dL.

Vegan Diet Is The Answer

I suggested switching back to a strict Vegan diet. He agreed. After another 6 months, his LDL decreased by 80 mg/dL. Although barely in the normal range, we were all ecstatic. More importantly, my son saw for himself the results of the Vegan diet.

Going Forward

So, what is my son doing these days?

Here is his basic daily health plan which I modified from Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s recommendations for adults.

Health Plan

My son and I need to make sure he gets to write a check mark beside at least 7 things on this list a day: daily exercise, fresh air/time outdoors, at least 3 cups of fruit, at least 2 tablespoons of nuts/seeds/avocado, at least 1/4 cup of whole grains, at least 1 cup of steamed vegetables, at least 1 cup of raw veggies, at least 1/2 bowl of beans/tofu, and a minimum of 1 tablespoon of any sugar (this one is a difficult one!). He is allowed desserts only on the weekend. He is allowed any food of his choice when we do not eat at home, which is only a few times a month.

Is it doable? YES! Is he totally on board? YES!

He has another blood test in a couple of months and I will be sure to update you! In the meantime, Vegan is our way at home!

This Vegan Mama Cooked Lamb

31 Oct

Photo Oct 30, 18 57 56003


I chopped a lamb’s leg yesterday morning. I haven’t done that in over 7 years. It was a weird feeling. I had gloves on, washed my hands really well, and even showered, yet the odor of meat still stuck to me for the rest of the day. I roasted the meat for dinner and the smell pervaded the house even more.  I had forgotten how cooked lamb smells. I had forgotten how much cleaning is involved in preparing fresh meat. I had forgotten how the rubbish smells the day after, and worse, the days after that.

Vegans: don’t judge me.

After three years of Vegan food at home, my family has started craving animal products with an intensity I had not seen before.  It was time for me to be sensitive to their wants and needs too. They have asked for meat once a week. They also asked for more Vegetarian meals. It has been a difficult transition for me. I am relearning how to cook with butter, eggs, dairy, and meats. I struggle having to create two separate balanced meals: one for them and one Vegan for me. At certain times, I have broken down and eaten some of their foods because I honestly had no time left in my day to make any for myself.

As I strive to understand my family and how our kitchen is changing, I remember what my friend Ian told me: it is important that I grow together with my family, and not grow apart.

Yes, this is what I choose to do.

Nori Wraps

29 Jul

A meal that takes less than 5 minutes!

Simply mix a huge bowl of salad. Use whatever ingredients you want! Easy minute salad is all I had time for last night.

Place some on a nori sheet.



Happy Healthy  Tummy!

Is Veganism Safe For Babies?

9 Jul

HuffPost Live

First of all, thank you Nancy Redd and HuffPost Live for having me for a much needed discussion. Watch the video here!

My thoughts to:

  • @chubbyveganmom – wish we were closer! I totally see our kids having fun in the kitchen together!
  • @FatGirlPosing – enjoy looking at your photos!  I thought you’d be interested in the new study out by National Health and Nutrition Examination
    Survey (NHANES) that states it is the lack of exercise, not food intake, that causes obesity.

Vegan Mamas out there: Are your Vegan Babies Healthy? Would love to hear from you!!!

NOTE: My Twitter is @MamaInDKtchn! Also, our family members are ranked rowers (NOT national rowers… wish we were though)! :)


Raw Raspberry Pudding

29 Jun

Raw Raspberry Pudding

Easy Minute Salad

29 Jun

Easy Minute Salad

Raw Chocolate Pudding

29 Jun

Raw Chocolate Pudding

bananas, avocados, dates and cacao powder

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Successfully Treat Plantar Warts?

26 Jun


My dear friend’s daughter suffered for over a year with big plantar warts on her feet. She couldn’t walk for months!

Freezing DID NOT help. The warts only grew bigger.

Oregano oil DID NOT help either.

What helped? Soaking with Apple Cider Vinegar!



These are the photos after soaking the foot, from Day 1 onwards.
Photo Jun 25, 18 36 14Photo Jun 25, 18 36 08Photo Jun 25, 18 36 26

After 2 weeks, the warts fell off!Photo Jun 25, 18 36 11Photo Jun 25, 18 36 30Photo Jun 25, 18 36 21

The warts are gone. The pain is gone. The foot is BETTER!

It’s hard to believe ALL the hype about apple cider vinegar, but when a friend shows you photographed proof like this… I went right to Vitacost to order some bottles of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar!


What Now?

Now, my friend’s question is:  what can we do internally for our daughter so that the warts don’t come back?

Here’s some preliminary research:


Boost Your Immune System to Fight HPV Naturally

How to Avoid Recurring Warts

Ayurvedic Nutrition suggests boosting immunity through a Vata diet, with nuts (especially almonds and cashews), seeds (flax and sesame) and whole grains, as well as Wheat Grass, spirulina, collards, garlic, jerusalem artichokes, and mushrooms.

– VISIT a NATURAPATH. My Naturapath, Dr. Jenkins of Nature Works, suggests many methods, including:

– treating HPV (the wart virus) through NAET (and NOT vaccinate with Gardasil)

– blue light therapy which helps kill the virus

tapping the thymus gland boosts the immune system

PLEASE COMMENT below and let us all know what worked for you!

An Omni Hubby Goes RAW Vegan for One Week

17 Jun

My Vegan Homeschool buddy, Bonnie, finally succeeded in getting her Omnivore Hubby, Crosby, to go on a Raw Vegan Diet for a week. Together, they lost almost 10 pounds. Bonnie discovered more energy and Crosby discovered he could actually enjoy Raw Vegan foods.

photo 4

Day 1

photo 3

Day 2

photo 2

Day 3

photo 1 (1)

Day 4

photo 5

Day 5

photo 2 (1)

Day 6

photo 1

Day 7

Q: Why did you and hubby decide to go raw? How did you convince your hubby to do it with you?  

B – I am Vegan. I want to drop a few pounds and thought I would with a raw diet. I also think it is the most healthy way to eat.

C- Just to see if it would make me feel better. I have ulcerative colitis and wondered if a raw diet would improve my condition.


Q: For how long did you eat just raw foods?

B- 100% for 7 days. Now probably 90%

C- 100% for 6 days. Now 10%


Q: How did you feel?  

B – I feel better after having lost a few pounds. I always have more energy when I am on a raw diet. I don’t get that afternoon slump and sleep better at night.

C – I was tired the first 4 days, then I felt the way I normally feel.


Q: What was the best day?

B – I didn’t really have a best day.

C – The best day was when I no longer felt hungry. Probably day 3.


Q: What was the worst day?

B – I didn’t have a worst day.

C – Day 2. I was hungry and tired.


Q: What did you crave that was raw during the whole process?

B – I really enjoyed bananas and dates.

C – Avocados and nuts.


Q: What did you crave that was not raw during the whole process?

B – I didn’t have any cravings.

C – Meat.


Q: What was the best meal? Worst?

B – Collard rolls with sunflower seed pate were great. A beet salad that I made with cumin was not so good.

C – Avocado, tomato and basil plate with Italian dressing. I liked them all.


Q: Any side effects of this raw week?

B – I lost 4 lbs and had more energy.

C – I lost 5 lbs.


Q: Would you do it again?

B – I would like to eat that way all the time. Its is just hard to find time to prepare both kinds of food (cooked and raw) every day.

C – Probably not 100% raw, but maybe more raw dishes during the week.


Q: What was the first thing you ate after the whole week?

B – Some stir fried vegies and rice.

C – A Chick-Fil-A sandwich. A real hot-dog the next day.

photo 3 (1) photo 4 (1)

Q: What was the hardest part of the process?

B – Making a lot of different dished to keep Crosby from getting tired of the food.

C – I did not feel satiated. I never felt satisfied even if I wasn’t hungry.


Q: What was the most surprising part of the process?

B – I was surprised that I had so much energy and that I was not hungry.

C – I wasn’t hungry.


Q: How are you changed?

B – I think it will be easier to add more raw meals into our weeknow that Crosby has tried to eat this way.

C – I am more open to eating raw.


Q: What was the nastiest thing someone had said about your week?

B – Not really nasty, but it annoys me when people try to tell me I’m not getting enough protein.

C – No one was nasty, but I did get some razzing about not eating meat.


Q: How has this experience changed your relationship with food, your family, or everyday diet?

B – It made me realize that I enjoy eating simple salads and fruit more than more complicated dishes.

C – There are some really tasty raw dishes that are fun to eat. My brother encouraged me to change my diet if I thought there were benefits to my health. I appreciated his concern for my health.


Both Bonnie and Crosby’s efforts are inspiring: Bonnie, for preparing amazing Raw Vegan dishes for a whole week, and Crosby, who was open to eating RAW for a week. Kudos to both of them!


Vegan Son’s High Cholesterol After Switching to Omnivore Diet

30 May

The Art of Proper Eating

A few months ago after an allergy test cleared him for some animal proteins, my Vegan 7 year old son wanted to eat beef jerky, cheese and eggs, and drink goat’s milk. Although as a Vegan, I would naturally like my son to reap the benefits of a plant-based diet, I allowed him to decide for himself. Besides, he would still be eating a whole lot of vegetables and fruits in my kitchen.

My son relished the flavors of foods he had not tasted in years. He drank raw goat’s milk everyday, ate eggs once or twice a week, and ate a few strips of beef jerky on the weekend. Still pretty healthy. Not bad, right?

Fruits on the Counter

Well… recently his Pediatric Well Visit showed that his cholesterol was just too high. The blood tests were re-done after a few days on a Vegetarian diet and results were a bit better. The overall cholesterol decreased from 290’s to 250’s, but his LDL cholesterol levels were at 188mg/dL. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics,  “A total cholesterol level greater than 200 mg/dL and LDL-C greater than 130 mg/dL represent values above the 95th percentile for children and are designated as high.” Drug therapy is recommended when LDL cholesterol levels are at 190 mg/dL or higher.

How could this be? My son’s slim, we eat more fruit and vegetables than most, and he is an athlete. Unless, of course, his cholesterol problem is hereditary.


The doctor suggested our son return to a Vegan Diet for 6 months. We can then figure out his base cholesterol levels, and go from there.

Here’s hoping that Vegan Food does its magic. I don’t want my young son on medication!

Thai Sweet Sticky Chia with Mango

2 Apr Coconut Chia with Mango

Ataulfo Mangoes are now in season and Whole Foods is giving one of my readers a $75 Gift Card!*

Coconut Chia with Mango. I prefer it a lot more mangoes.

Do you ever crave for Thai Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango?  Well… I do!  This is so easy and simple to prepare, I wish I had done it sooner.  I love this as a dessert and even as a breakfast pudding.

Mix together in a bowl and set aside overnight:

pinch of sea salt

1/2 cup raw local honey

1 cup chia seeds

3 cups fresh coconut milk (about 2 Thai coconuts: open and place white meat and coconut water in the high speed blender and puree)

The next day, top the pudding with mangoes and sprinkle on some sesame seeds.  If you want, you can drizzle some sauce on top (freshly made coconut milk mixed with more raw local honey).

*To join the Whole Foods Giveaway, just comment below with your fave mango recipe and we will choose the winner noon, 15th April 2014. Whole Foods will email you the $75 Gift Card! Good luck! And enjoy other ways to eat mangoes!


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