Vegan For Her Book Review

The publishers at DaCapo sent me a copy of Vegan for Her, written by Virginia Messina with JL Fields, to review.  The subtitle is The Woman’s Guide to Being Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet One thing that jumped right out at me is that the author states that the book does not need to be read cover to cover but rather stick to the sections that are relevant to your needs.  Most chapters are written so that if you read them alone, they have all the information you need on that topic. The book covers topics like, Healthy Eating for All Times Of A Woman’s Life and Fighting Pain with Plants.  The book also emphasizes that eating a plant-based diet should not cause stress and anxiety. The book includes over 50 recipes including Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner AND Dessert!  I really enjoyed reading this book and I know I will refer back to it often.  At the top of my list of recipes to try are the Coconut-Gingered Black Bean Brownies.  Yum!!

Vegan For Her book review

Vegan for Her is a guide to meeting the unique needs of vegan women, with recipes and practical information for optimal health at every stage of a woman’s life.  In Vegan for Her, dietitian Virginia Messina tackles the issues most pertinent to women who follow or who are considering a vegan diet, and JL Fields provides health-supportive recipes and tips for taking your veganism beyond the plate. With specific guidance on meeting women’s unique nutritional needs throughout the lifecycle and information about food choices that relate to many health concerns, Vegan for Her is a practical and realistic guide to making sure your plant-based diet is as healthy as it can be.


Ginny and JL 400 w

Ginny Messina, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in public health from the University of Michigan. Vegan for Her is her second book on vegan nutrition. She co-authored Vegan for Life: Everything You Need to Know to be Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet in 2011. Her blog is

Ginny also produces vegetarian educational materials for health professionals. She has written papers on vegetarian, vegan and soy nutrition in peer-reviewed journals and co-authored a vegetarian textbook for health professionals. She regularly consults for organizations producing vegetarian materials and speaks at scientific events for both health professionals and the public. She serves on the board of directors of Vegfund, and is on the advisory board of the Vegetarian Resource Group.

Ginny taught nutrition to dietetics students at Central Michigan University, was a dietitian for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and was director of nutrition services for the George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, DC.

She lives in Port Townsend, Washington with her husband and an ever-changing population of rescued cats. When she’s not researching and writing about vegan nutrition, she volunteers for her local animal shelter and spay/neuter group, practices piano, gardens, collects vintage kitchen linens, and is learning to knit with vegan fibers.

JL Fields, M.S. is a vegan cook, lifestyle coach and educator.  A devoted culinary student, JL has studied at the Natural Gourmet Institute and completed the Intensive Study Program at The Christina Pirello School of Natural Cooking and Integrative Health Studies.

You can find Vegan for Her online and in stores for a suggested price of $16.99.

A copy of the books was provided to facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own.


Despicable Me Minion Surprise Cupcakes Recipe

Today I’m going to share with you OUR version of the ever-popular Minion cupcakes and goodies that have been floating around online since the previews for Despicable Me 2 have started to show.  I decided to do them as simple as I could- and with a surprise twist that might surprise you.  If you remember, I’ve been doing a series of dessert avocado recipes as part of my partnership with Avocados from Mexico, and I decided we’d make the cupcakes themselves a little bit more nutritious while keeping them delicious!


5.0 from 14 reviews
Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Chocolate cupcakes with avocado replacing the oil This recipe is modified from Mom's Chocolate Cupckaes on Food.Com
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 24
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup mashed avocado (or a little extra!)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 TBSP vinegar
  1. Mix ingredients until well blended (by hand or mixer)
  2. I mix on medium speed in mixer for 3 full minutes.
  3. Oven to 350


 Now, once you have the cupcakes baked and cooled, you can frost them.  Of course, you can use whatever frosting you like.  I had less than no time so I used the spray-ish kind the kids insisted on buying…

minion-cupcake-fondantWhat you need to make the minions:

Some of our cupcakes, I covered with blue fondant from Satin Ice. Others are just frosted.

Grab a box of Twinkies for some Minion fun.

I also bought Wilton candy eyeballs – I’ve seen cupcakes like this all over the internet but everyone seems to be using Smarties candy and black icing.  I made it easy on myself and used the candy eyes.

For the hair and mouth, I used chocolate shots (some of you call them sprinkles, or jimmies. I call them shots).

You can also get some black icing to do the mouth and glasses with.  To be really honest- I didn’t do it- I didn’t have it and I decided that I’d go for “real” and not perfect for this post.  The cupcakes are moist, they are delicious, and everyone who’s SEEN the cupcakes decorated as Minions has loved them.  They are perfect in their imperfection.  But really you can just have some fun and play around.  Do the glasses…or don’t!


We did, if you notice, also use some full sized Twinkies for Minions.  I’ve seen them around with arms and without- we found them hilarious without the arms and decided to leave them be. I also let the kids help.  These are FUN.  Healthier because they have avocado in place of oil or butter.

Cupcakes are fun. Minions are funny.  Cupcakes that are minions are awesome.



Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Pretzels and Avocado Recipe

Chocolate chip cookies are a favorite in our family, and sometimes, no matter how much we love the classics, it’s fun to change things up a bit.  Part of my Ambassadorship with Avocados from Mexico was a promise to create an avocado recipe each month over the summer, and today I’m sharing a new one with you- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Avocado and Pretzel Crisps!


These cookies are fairly easy to make and much healthier for you with avocado in place of butter.  I actually didn’t tell my husband I did anything except add some crushed up pretzels to the recipe, and had no idea I’d done avocado instead.  That’s a win for me.  My son declared them delicious and asked for more!  Score for mom!  I think you could use any kind of pretzel- Pretzel Crisps recently sent my family a box of flavors to try since we are so stuck on the Buffalo flavor and I decided to use the Original Pretzel Crisps in this recipe.





4.8 from 16 reviews
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Avocado and Pretzel Crisps
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies using avocado in place of butter
Recipe type: Cookie
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2 dozen cookies
  • 1 cup avocado, mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla (If using imitation vanilla extract, go up to 2 tsp)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 cups quick cook oats
  • 1¼ c all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ c chocolate chips (semi-sweet)
  • ½ to 1 c crushed pretzels (I use Pretzel Crisps Original)
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In large bowl:
  3. Combine avocado, brown sugar, and sugar
  4. Beat in eggs one at a time
  5. Add vanilla
  6. In separate bowl:combine the flour, baking soda, and salt
  7. Mix avocado mixture into dry ingredients until just blended.
  8. Stir in oats, crushed pretzels and chocolate chips.
  9. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.
  10. Let cookies sit 2 full minutes on baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.

Chocolate Avocado Brownies Recipe

This recipe for chocolate avocado brownies is sponsored as part of my Ambassadorship with Avocados from Mexico. Opinions are my own.  I love brownies. They love me too.  It’s a long, rocky road for us (and another brownie flavor I can’t seem to say no to) and it usually ends with the brownie being devoured and me…well, being me at the end of the day. But as we all know, traditional brownies don’t always have the healthy ingredients.  Thankfully, there are ways to make them just as delicious with better for you ingredient options and  my new favorite ingredient to add to my baked goods is none other than the avocado.

Yes, the avocado.

Avocados can be used to substitute butter or oil in baking.  They often make the baked goods softer and chewier.  (I should be careful using them, because what if people start to think I’m really good at baking? Will they expect that I”ll be baking for them regularly? That’s a lot of pressure.  Better I keep this to myself. So we’ll just keep this between us, ok?)

When using an avocado in place of butter, use a 1:1 ratio.  For those of you who aren’t sure: that means if your recipe calls for 5 Tablespoons of butter, you’ll use 5 Tablespoons of avocado.  If you are using it in place of oil you may need a little bit more liquid because that avocado won’t be quite as thin as a liquid, but not much.

Avocados in baked goods add vitamins, polynutrients and minerals to your goodies. That means they make your baked goods better for you.  (Just a note: This does not mean you can eat an entire pan in a sitting.  That’s not ever a good idea, not ever).

chocolate avocado brownies

So now I’m going to share an EASY recipe for Chocolate Avocado Brownies (and if you don’t want to make them from scratch, which I may not ever fully understand but won’t judge, go ahead and use the box mix with the avocado. It’ll bring them to an entirely new level).



4.9 from 15 reviews
Chocolate Avocado Brownies Recipe #ILoveAvocados #AFMPitCrew
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Healthier fats in this recipe for brownies- using avocado
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12
  • ½ cup avocado, mashed
  • 1cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½c all purpose flour
  • ⅓ c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  1. Oven to 350
  2. Beat together avocado and sugar in mixing bowl.
  3. Add in remaining ingredients and mix well.
  4. Spread into greased and floured 8x8 baking dish
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes
  6. Do NOT cut until all the way cool!
  7. Brownies will be much chewier if you wait until they cool.

Girl Scout Cookie Ice Cream Pie Recipe

I heard the absolute strangest thing the other day.  “We have too many Girl Scout cookies left.”

Um, say what now?  There’s 2 things I can’t wrap my head around there, my friends.  First: that whole “too many” in relation to Girl Scout cookies. Secondly: “left” as in leftover?  As in, not all consumed?

After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I asked around.  To my amazement, there were others who had “too many” cookies and weren’t sure what to do with them all.

So I decided maybe I could help with that.  I mean, aside from eating the cookies FOR you.

I am on a “pie” kick lately, for meals and sweets, so of course…I made a pie.

I call it Girl Scout Cookie Ice Cream Pie.

What you need:

1 sleeve of Girl Scout cookies (if you have one of the varieties that doesn’t come in 2 neat sleeves, use 1/2 the box) CRUSHED up.  (I know, I know, it seems totally tragic to just crush perfectly good cookies.  But bear with me).

2 TBSP melted butter (unsalted)

2 cups ice cream (have fun with this, friends.  it’s your tastebuds about to embark on a cookie journey)

1 tub Cool Whip frosting  (you can use really ANY kind of frosting, but I find that my buttercream doesn’t want to stick to the ice cream and regular store bought frostings don’t seem to either. The Cool Whip frosting seems to be a happy medium that likes to be on top of ice cream)

Spare cookies, to sprinkle up top for decoration.  And more cookie goodness.

What you do:

Crush the cookies.  You are only using half the package so if you need to console yourself, well, nibble a few of the surviving cookies.  Just save a few for the end)

Place crushed cookies into a pie dish.  Add in the 2 TBSP melted butter. Mix to kind of coat those cookie crumbles and press with the back of a spoon or fork into the pie dish.  At this point, I like to pop the crust into the freezer for half an hour.  Just for fun. (And it helps set the cookies for a crust).

Next, pull out the prepared crust and your chosen flavor ice cream. You’ll want it to be a little soft so you can work it onto the crust.  Spread it kind of evenly.

Now cover the ice cream with the frosting.

Sprinkle some crushed cookies on top for decoration and ….

Stick in in the freezer.  I know, I’m sorry. I bet you were thinking I’d say ENJOY!! But you should let it set up a bit so that it holds that pie-licious shape when you cut into it in about an hour or so.

girl scout cookie ice cream pie recipe


I want to know, what kind of cookies you’ll use for the crust when you make this pie?  I did Thin Mints this time.  The family wants Samoas next time!!

Granola Bars with Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Honey Crunch #HoneyBunchesGreek

Today’s featured recipe for Granola Bars made with Honey Bunches of Oats with Greek Yogurt is brought to you by our friends at Honey Bunches of Oats.  We’ve been doing a lot of granola bars lately and I decided to take a recipe a friend shared with me and change it up to include this cereal.  The result?  An empty plate and a lot of “mom can you make these tomorrow please?” from the kids.  I call that a win!  Of course, we do like to just enjoy this cereal in the traditional sense, with a bowl, milk and spoon, but it’s fun to create new recipes and I thought I’d share this one.

easy granola bar recipe



4T butter

1/4 c honey (we use local honey- good for allergies, and far better for you than most of what you can get at the grocery!)

1/4 c packed brown sugar

2 c quick oats

1 c Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Honey Crunch (you can also use a rice cereal as well- just do a crispy cereal!)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 c mini chocolate chips (I use the regular chips- because that’s what I usually have in the house)


I use a small jelly roll pan- around 9×13 or 9×11 works.  The original instructions I found were to spray the pan with cooking spray- I just used parchment paper.

Mix oats and cereal together in a large mixing bowl, set aside.  In small sauce pan, bring the butter, honey and brown sugar to a good simmer (little bubbles) and cook for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Pour over cereal mix and stir to coat (my 7 year old loved to help with this part).  Once all of the cereal is coated, place the mixture atop the parchment in the pan.

Here’s the important part: press the mixture very very firmly into place.  I have a smaller-sized Pampered Chef roller I am going to use next time (mine still weren’t “tight” enough to stay together superbly) to really get the mixture packed down.  Once you have the mixture in place, sprinkle chocolate chips on top, and set aside to cool for about 2 hours.

Be warned that your house will smell really, really good and you’ll be wanting to break into the granola bars before they are ready.  Plan ahead.  Use a wooden spoon to stir with and you can just lick the spoon while waiting on the bars to cool!  YUMMY!

These bars are so simple, and take about 20 minutes of time.  How’s that for an easy granola bar recipe? Store for a few days in an airtight container.  If you do have a batch that’s super crumbly, I’d suggest using it as an ice cream topping or just a snack mix.  It’s just delicious! (If you want to find the original recipe that inspired this one please visit Mel’s Kitchen Cafe for her Chewy Granola Bar recipe.  Hers also look much prettier!)

honey bunches of oats greek


New Honey Bunches of Oats Greek is made with two granolas, Greek yogurt, crispy whole grain flakes and a touch of honey. One bowl of this cereal provides over two-thirds of your day’s Whole Grains with 33 grams of whole grains!  Nutritionists recommend at least 48 grams of whole grains per day.

Nutritional Information:

33g of Whole Grain per serving – over 2/3 your day’s whole grain
Serving Size: 1 Cup
230 Calories
Provides 12 essential vitamins and minerals
5g protein per serving
This cereal was enjoyed by all 5 of us.  My family is big on “crunch” so we were all very happy with that.  The kids love having a new cereal to try for breakfast, although they’ve all been very clear that the granola bars I made are a lot more fun than plain old cereal.

Stay up to date with Honey Bunches of Oats on Facebook and @HBOats!

What do you do to make breakfast fun and different?  


Disclaimer: I am part of the Mom It Forward blogger network. Mom It Forward and Honey Bunches of Oats partnered in support of this campaign. Honey Bunches of Oats compensated me for participation in this campaign. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sausage Quiche with Hash Brown Crust

Sometimes, breakfast for dinner can be a lot of fun.  We usually do eggs or an omelet, but last week,  I tried something different.  I had a bag of hash browns in the fridge and decided I’d poke around and see what I could come up with.  The result was a Sausage Quiche with Hash Brown Crust!  I’ve only ever made quiche with pie crust before, so this was a new endeavor.  It was a hit…and definitely an easy recipe- I think I’ll be bringing this for brunch potlucks in the future too!

sausage quiche with hash brown crust

Sausage Quiche with Hash Brown Crust


1 Bag hash browns (or shred 8 large potatoes)
3-4 tbsp butter (melted)

1 roll sausage (we like Jimmy Dean), browned (You could also go more savory and do an italian sausage
1 red pepper, 1 small onion (chopped and sauteed)

3 eggs
1/2 c milk (we use 1%)
1/4 c shredded cheese- have fun with this one. i like cheddar


Preheat Oven 425

Mix melted butter and hash browns together
Press into greased pie plate to shape crust. Bake 25 min

While crust is baking, brown sausage and saute pepper and onion.  I like to use my cast iron skillet so that we can get a little extra iron into our diets.

Turn oven to 350, remove dish, add sausage,and veggies to pie crust.  Whisk egg and milk together and pour atop sausage mix

Bake 25 minutes


Serve with fresh fruit.  Easy, peasy.

What are your favorite breakfast for dinner and brunch ideas? 

Quick & Easy Taco Pizza with Velveeta Cheese (aka Liquid Gold) Recipe

Spring is FINALLY here in full swing and with it, softball, tball, yoga classes and soccer.  That, and we’ve got some major projects going on outside in our yard. (In case you were wondering, 24 large tree stumps make a LOT of wood chips).  With so much work outside, and so many hectic weeknights, I’m finding that I’m looking for more and more quick and easy dishes that will fill hungry bellies and put smiles on everyone’s faces.   Velveeta asked me if I could come up with a fun entree, soup or other recipe using their Liquid Gold (also known as their loaf) and I had the inspiration to make a taco pizza.  I decided since this was a time saving, busy weeknight meal that I would use store-bought pizza crust, but when we make pizza normally I do make the dough from scratch (the kids love to help and I adore the smell of dough in the house).

quick easy taco pizza with velveeta cheese recipe


Quick & Easy Taco Pizza with Velveeta Cheese Recipe:


1lb ground meat (I use ground turkey)

taco seasoning to taste

1 orange pepper, sliced

1 small red onion, sliced

1 can pizza crust

1 small Velveeta loaf (I used 1/3 loaf for 1 pizza)


Preheat oven to 400

Prepare pizza crust as directed (or use your own) — mine had to bake for 5 minutes at 400 before toppings went on.

While oven is preheating, brown the meat and add taco seasoning as directed.  Slice onion and pepper thinly (you can saute them while the meat browns if you want)

Top pizza crust with the cooked meat and veggies.  Thinly slice the Velveeta loaf and place on top of pizza.  Bake 8-10 minutes.

Serve with salad.


It’s that easy.  20-25 minutes and dinner is on the table.

To my delight, my family ALL loved this pizza.  MOM! Why haven’t you made this before?  MOM!!  Can I bring some for lunch tomorrow?  My husband wanted to bring some too! (If that’s not a bonus, I don’t know what is.  Lunches are ALREADY made!!) Next time I make this, I’m making 2 pizzas.  Leftovers, anyone?  Liquid gold, indeed!

Velveeta Logo

Velveeta asked me if I knew any Liquid Gold Diggers. I’ll know more soon once they taste these dishes! Why? Because Liquid Gold Diggers love the Liquid Gold of Velveeta.


Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Velveeta via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Velveeta.

Glazed Carrots Recipe Just 4 Ingredients

Here’s a super simple and yummy glazed carrots recipe using just 4 ingredients!

4 ingredient glazed carrots

Glazed Carrots Ingredients:

1 pound carrots peeled and sliced julienne

One can ginger ale or sprite

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Pinch of  red pepper flakes


Place carrots and butter into skillet- we prefer to use our cast iron skillet

Pour soda over carrots – bring to boil-lower heat to medium -cook carrots until soda evaporates to glaze about 20 to 25 minutes.

That’s it. I HATE cooked carrots, I love these.  They are so easy and kids love them. To be fair, my kids love carrots anyway. 


Eggo S’mores Recipe

This one’s a treat, and you’ll love me or hate me for using the Eggo Mini Waffles.  Given the rate that these disappeared from the plate, I’m thankful I went with minis for this s’mores recipe.  Portion control, friends.

eating eggo s'mores

We have lots and lots of leftover Peeps from Easter, so instead of using regular marshmallows for these, I went with Peeps.  A little more fun for the kids, but just as yummy.

eggo mini waffles s'mores

What you need to make my Eggo S’mores Recipe:

Eggo Mini Waffles

Hershey Chocolate Bar(s) – we use one small rectangle per s’more

Marshmallows or Peeps (festive!)

Layer as follows:

(toasted) Eggo, chocolate, marshmallow, (toasted) Eggo

If you are able to toast your marshmallows over a fire, that’s how I prefer them…but if not, layer the ingredients as described and pop them into your microwave for about 15 seconds.  It’s that simple.


Even me with zero willpower can enjoy just one of these little mini s’mores and get that sweet fix without overindulging.

Eggo S'mores Recipe
  • Eggo Mini Waffles
  • Hershey Chocolate Bar(s) - we use one small rectangle per s'more
  • Marshmallows or Peeps (festive!)
  1. Layer as follows:
  2. (toasted) Eggo, chocolate, marshmallow, (toasted) Eggo
  3. If you are able to toast your marshmallows over a fire, that's how I prefer them...but if not, layer the ingredients as described and pop them into your microwave for about 15 seconds. It's that simple.
  4. Enjoy.


Be sure to head over to “like” Eggo on Facebook- while you are there, check out the Great Eggo Waffle Off!  where you can enter to win prizes up to $5000!! (I’m not eligible so I will cheer you on)

This post is sponsored by our friends at Eggo.  Opinions are my own.