Easy Grain Free Granola [Vegan & Gluten Free]

I’m so excited to share this recipe with you because I seriously can’t stop eating it. As much as I love love love my carbs (pass me the crackers please) I like finding easy & delicious ways to incorporate more fat and protein into my diet. While I love topping my yogurt with something sweet and crunchy, traditional granola doesn’t always keep me full. This granola is loaded with healthy fats and protein so it’ll keep you satisfied. It’s also super easy to make. Bonus.

grain free granola

Easy Grain Free Granola [Vegan & Gluten Free]
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 4
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp brown rice syrup (or agave)
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 300.
  2. In a small bowl, melt the coconut oil in the microwave. (If it’s already melted, you can skip this step!)
  3. Stir in the vanilla.
  4. In a larger mixing bowl, combine the coconut and almonds.
  5. Drizzle with coconut oil mixture, and stir to coat.
  6. Spray a baking pan with non-stick spray.
  7. Spread out the granola in a single layer or leave it a little chunky if you like clumps in your granola.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the coconut begins to brown.
  9. Let it cool and store in an air tight container.

paleo granola recipe

I’m trying to clean up my eats this week since Thanksgiving (well, let’s be honest, the week) involved quite a few cookies & glasses of wine. This granola will be making an appearance on my morning yogurt! Nothing like a delicious recipe to jump back on the healthy bandwagon!

This grain free granola recipe is paleo & vegan. It's packed with protein and healthy fats and it's SO easy to make!

What’s the best thing you ate over the weekend?

Gift Ideas for Foodies!

Is anyone doing Black Friday shopping today? I’m not brave enough to fight the crowds but I might be doing some online shopping from the comfort of my couch. As someone who loves to spend her free time in the kitchen, I thought I’d share some of my favorite kitchen items! Some of these are things I was given and some were… gifts to myself. But all of these things are items I love and use often! So if you need ideas for the foodie in your life, here you go:

foodie gift ideasDisclosure: This post does contain Amazon affiliate links. 

Hamilton Beach Food Processor- I have this food processor and I love it. It has a large cup and a small cup so it’s perfect for everything from chopping vegetables to making pesto. It’s also dishwasher safe so it makes cleaning up super simple.

Mixing bowls- How cute are these bowls? I love bowls that nest and have lids. Seriously, that’s a stellar combo. The bright colors are just an added bonus!

Coffee Pot with Carafe- I love my Keriug for weekday coffee needs, but this coffee pot is our go-to weekend appliance. (Yes, we have two separate coffee makers. Crazy, I know.) I love that the carafe keeps the coffee hot for hours but it’s cool to the touch so you can keep it out on the table. No more trips to the microwave to heat up a cup!

Ramekins- Ok fine, I have an excessive number of ramekins (just ask Alex) but they’re so darn cute! They’re also perfect for little desserts, snacks, and sauces!

Silpat- My sister-in-law got me one of these a couple of years ago and I LOVE it. It’s perfect for things that have a tendency to stick to the pan. It’s sort of like reusable parchment paper!

How to Cook Anything Vegetarian- Ok so I’m biased, but even if you’re not a vegetarian, this is an awesome resource! It covers all sorts of ingredients from artichokes to lentils and gives you simple ideas for how to use them. Our friend Andy sent this as a housewarming gift and I’m obsessed. (Yes, I read it in bed like it’s the latest teen fiction novel. No judgement.)

Those are a few of my favorite things! Other favorites include all the tiny little accessories (fun mugs, placemats, tiny bowls, wine glasses) which I can usually find a World Market, Home Goods, or TJ Maxx. I also love all the specialty food items at places like Southern Season. Those places have great stocking stuffer options!

What are your kitchen favorites?

What I Ate Monday

Is anyone else counting down the hours to Thanksgiving dinner? I may not participate in the turkey-eating but I will definitely be eating all the other dishes and let’s be honest, the side dishes are the best part. Pass me the potatoes! I’m planning on making this wild rice & butternut squash dish! Pictures to come, of course.

But first, I’m sharing all my eats from Monday in honor of the What I Ate Wednesday party! Ready?

yogurt and granolaI made some grain-free granola on Sunday and used it to top my yogurt + strawberries. It was SO GOOD. Stay tuned for the recipe. I can’t wait to share it!

I had a pretty early breakfast so my stomach was growling around 11am. Even though lunch was around the corner, I tore into one of these 100 calorie packs of almonds.


These packs make you realize how tiny a serving of almonds really is! ;) But luckily this kept me from being ravenous at lunch. (If I’m too hungry, then I usually go crazy at the salad bar and end up getting way too much food!)

cafeteria lunch

I grabbed a quick lunch with a friend while eating this salad. It was tons of veggies + beans with a heap of pico de gallo. And fried jalapenos because… they’re delicious.

I had some snacks packed for the afternoon but that salad kept me surprisingly full. I did a little shopping on my way home so by the time I walked in the door, I was thankful that dinner was ready in the crockpot.

crockpot lentil soup

I wasn’t in love with this lentil soup so I won’t share the recipe, but it did fill us up. I don’t cook lentils as often as I should. They’re so delicious and they’re packed with protein and fiber. (Plus, they’re cheap!)

After dinner, I played piano and enjoyed some peppermint tea. It’s the perfect winter activity. Later on, Alex and I watched a couple of episodes of 30 Rock. Naturally, I had to have a little something sweet.

breyers ice creamWe had a little ice cream in the freezer leftover from this cookie dough ice cream pie, so I had a little cup. It was the perfect treat to end the day!

What’s your favorite late night sweet treat?

Our House: Before & After (The First Year!)

This past weekend marked our 1 year anniversary in our house! Well, the house itself is quite old but we’ve been in our house for one whole year! Where did the time go!? I thought it would be fun to do a little look back at what we’ve done to the house so far. Our house was built in 1923 and we love the charm of an old house but with great charm comes great… uh, challenges. It needed a bit of a facelift. Some of it was just a coat of paint and some of the less glamorous updates included things like replacing pipes and creating a dryer vent.

There are 3 things I learned:

  1. Every single project takes 3x as long as you think it’s going to take.
  2. If you send your husband 1,497 of things you like on Pinterest, he’ll get overwhelmed.
  3. Marrying an engineer is a good idea. Having a father who is also an engineer and owns lots of tools is an added bonus. (And a husband & father that get a long really well is probably the best overall strategy.)

year one in our house

Ok, so let’s jump to some of the before & after photos! We are by no means finished but I think it’s fun to look at the progress! Most of these before photos were taken during the home inspection, so the quality isn’t great but you get the idea!

living room 2014

Here’s the living room when we first looked at the house. Did someone say potential? ;)

living room 2015

Here’s the living room now! I think painting the fireplace was probably the biggest part of the transformation. I also love the rug we just got. It’s so fluffy and soft! It really makes the whole room feel a little cozier.

dining room 2014

I loved how the dining room opened up to the kitchen, but it looked sort of blah when we first bought the house.

dining room 2015

Luckily, the space was perfect for a big dining room table. We even have a piano in there! We added the wainscoting to the bottom half of the wall and painted the top half “Gray Matter” (Sherwin Williams).

bathroom 2014

This bathroom was “fine”. The fixtures were fairly updated but it needed a little something.


We added the medicine cabinet for more storage and painted the walls “Tranquil Aqua” (Sherwin Williams) which I love. It’s darker than I would normally pick for a small room but with all the white tile, I think I like it! I also used Grout Renew on the floor which takes a loooong time to do but it really makes the floor look fantastic!

 bedroom 2014

All of the upstairs rooms were this buttery yellow color. It was fine, but definitely not what I was looking for.

bedroom 2015

We painted our bedroom “Grey Clouds” (Sherwin Williams). I love how light and airy this room feels. Next on the list: find a headboard and something for the walls!

deck 2014 Earlier this year, we stained the deck. This was right after power washing, which actually made a pretty significant difference.

deck 2015

This was one of the more satisfying projects! We stained it with a solid stain and it made quite the transformation. We snagged some patio furniture on Craig’s List and have enjoyed quite a few meals outside.

There is still so much to do (you should see the basement) but it’s kind of nice to look back on the progress we’ve made so far. This house has been a lot of work but seeing the transformation from a house to a home has been an exciting whirlwind!

Have you done any house projects this year?


I Heart Vegetables Turns 5!

Every single year I look back and think “how did another year go by?!” and I’m amazed at all the things that have happened since starting this blog.

i heart vegetables turns 5

 Even though the pictures from way back when might be pretty embarrassing (Droid camera + flash… *shudder*) I’m so glad I decided to just start. This blog has never been perfect (and it never will be!) but I’m happy that I’ve stuck with it all these years! In honor of this little anniversary, I thought I’d do a quick look back at some of my favorite recipes over this past year.


This spaghetti squash lasagna is probably the most popular recipe I posted in all of 2015! Turns out, I’m not the only one who loves a healthy but super cheesy dinner!

peach-smoothie-682x1024 (1)

I ate this peach cobbler smoothie on repeat during peach season. Now I tap into frozen peaches to make this delicious breakfast. I love love love it.

avocado orange saladThis avocado orange salad was a summer staple. Alex doesn’t get excited about very many salads, but even he likes seeing this one on the table.

white bean chiliI probably make this white bean chili recipe every week or two this past year. It’s SO easy, it’s delicious, and it’s the perfect way to use up some fresh avocado. I’ve made this for the two of us and I’ve made it for a group. Either way, it’s perfect.

vegan deep dish cookieNo recipe list is complete without a little dessert. This single serving deep dish chocolate chip cookie is the perfect solution to the “I-want-a-cookie-but-don’t-want-to-be-tempted-with-a-dozen-cookies” problem. We’ve all been there.

I can’t let this day go by without getting a little sappy about all this. Starting this blog has taught me so much, from social media to photography, writing to SEO. I’ve also met so many amazing people both online and in the “real world” just from blogging. I’m thankful for this little corner of the internet and for all the comments, posts, shares, and feedback that you all give me. Whether you’re a fellow blogger, a regular reader, or just someone stopping by, thanks for being a part of the blogging community!

What’s your favorite hobby, activity, or passion project?

What I Ate: Monday

I thought I’d do a little day-in-the-life style post to capture what I ate on Monday. Ready?

6:30- Alex’s alarm goes off. We hit snooze for a few more minutes.

6:45- My alarm goes off. We hit snooze again. (It’s cold and neither of us want to get up.)

6:55- I peel my eyes open and grab my phone. I watch the Tastemade Snapchat story & check Timehop.

7:00- I head downstairs and turn on the Keriug, popping in a coconut mocha k-cup. (FYI- those are the best.)

7:15- I read the daily She Reads Truth devotional and flip through a few of my favorite blogs while eating breakfast.

yogurt berries and granola
Today it’s 2% Fage Greek yogurt + wild blueberries + homemade peanut butter cup granola. I don’t know if I can really tell that much of a difference between the 0% Greek yogurt and the 2% but I think the 2% keeps me a little fuller in the morning.

7:45- I chop veggies & tempeh and get them marinating in the fridge to make dinner prep easier. I know I’ll be home late so it helps to have something that can just be popped in the oven!

sprouts and tempeh

8:00- I head to work, check emails, and spend more of the morning dodging pieces of falling ceiling. They started construction a little earlier than planned on our office space so the morning is a bit chaotic as they remove TVs from the wall next to me.

11:00- My coworkers and I pack up and work from the cafeteria in a different building, since the construction has gotten a little crazy. My stomach is rumbling by 11:30.

11:45- We all grab lunch from the cafeteria and eat during a meeting. I went with a pretty simple salad of veggies + chickpeas + black beans with a few pieces of flatbread crackers. This kept me surprisingly full.

2:00- I head over to a different building and walk on the treadmill desk while answering emails. Gotta get my steps in! Once I’m back at my desk, I snack on an apple and a cup of coffee. I try not to drink coffee too late in the day but this one was needed.

5:15- I leave work and head to the mall to return some pants to Gap. (Don’t you hate when they change the fit of your favorite pants?! Why do they do that??)

6:00- I meet up with a couple of friends at Gym Quest to work out. My back is sore from gymnastics the day before but it feels good to stretch it out! We spend most of the evening vaulting and working on the tumble track.

7:30- I call Alex and ask him to preheat the oven and I head home from the gym. We have roasted onion and brussles sprouts with tempeh. It was good but it needs some tweaking before I share it. It was a good way to use up the tempeh and get lots of protein in for dinner though!

8:00- I watch an episode of 30 Rock with Alex while I enjoy a scoop of the leftover ice cream from making this ice cream pie.

9:00- I check on some blog stuff, browse pinterest, and clean up the house. Alex has been organizing the basement so I sort through the boxes for a bit.

10:15- We head up to bed and it’s lights out!

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I’m linking up with Peas & Crayons for What I Ate Wednesday!

Easy Cookie Dough Ice Cream Pie

I feel kind of silly sharing this recipe because it is so easy. Some friends and I have a (sort of) monthly cooking club and yesterday, was a Thanksgiving theme. I thought about making pie but I really wanted to get an ice cream cake for my friend Emily’s birthday so I started thinking… why not make an ice cream pie?. As it turns out, this was way easier than I expected. If you are looking for a super easy dessert recipe (or you’re just lazy, or busy, or you have better things to do than slave away in the kitchen all day) then this dessert is for you.

ice-cream-pie-swirl-1024x624 for facebook

5.0 from 2 reviews

Easy Cookie Dough Ice Cream Pie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 10
  • 1 package of cookie dough (or 1 batch of homemade cookie dough ~2 dozen cookies worth)
  • 1 qt of cookie dough ice cream
  • ¼ cup hot fudge
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Press the cookie dough into a non-stick pie pan so there is a thin, even layer across the bottom and up the sides.
  3. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the sides begin to brown. It’s ok if it’s still a tiny bit soft in the middle.
  4. Let cool for 1 hour. You can pop it in the freezer for a bit if you’re short on time.
  5. Let the ice cream sit out for a few minutes to soften, then press it into the pie pan. You can use your hands or a rubber spatula to get it smooth.
  6. Drizzle with hot fudge and swirl across the top. (You might need to microwave the fudge for a bit to get it to melt, but you don’t want it too hot or it’ll melt the ice cream.)
  7. Put it back in the freezer for 2 hours to let the ice cream refreeze.
  8. Slice and serve when ready!

I would definitely recommend using a nonstick pan since I cooked mine in glass and it turned out to be a little bit difficult to get the crust out of the pan! You could also go crazy with toppings here. Feel free to add some caramel or cherries. You could use cookies & cream ice cream or dark chocolate if you’re chocolate crazy like I am. ;)

This 3 ingredient ice cream pie is the perfect easy dessert recipe for a party or potluck!

Luckily, all of this cookie dough pie got eaten… because I don’t think the leftovers would have lasted long in my freezer. (Hellooooo late night snacking.)

If you love easy recipes, here are a few other simple desserts you might want to try:

What’s your favorite easy dessert?

Kale Salad with Apples and Walnuts

I know it’s kind of cliche to talk about how much I love kale but to be totally honest, kale and I kind of took a break for awhile. I’m not really sure why but I found myself filing my salad bowl with romaine and spinach recently.

But kale is back.

kale shirt

This delicious superfood is so perfect with crisp apples, salty Parmesan, and crunchy walnuts. Even the dressing is healthy!

apple walnut kale salad with parmesan

And when I fall back in love with a food, it gets stuck on repeat. (Just like this Ariana Grande song on my workout playlist.) So Alex, brace yourself for a lot of kale on the menu. ;) Really though, kale is perfect for fall & winter salads because it can stand up to heartier ingredients like apples. I love the sweet and salty combo of the apples + parmesan in this recipe. I think this would also be great with feta but I haven’t tried that just yet. For now, I’m all about salty parmesan. This salad is super easy to throw together and you could even make it an hour or two ahead of time without worrying about the kale wilting too much. (Meanwhile, let’s give spinach the side eye, because it wilts after 20 seconds in dressing.)

So get out your bowls and whip up this kale salad!

5.0 from 1 reviews

Kale Salad with Apples and Walnuts
Prep time
Total time
This made enough for two as a pretty hearty side. You could double this to make 2 main dish salads.
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 2
  • 1½ tsp lemon juice
  • 1½ tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ bunch of kale (4-5 large leaves)
  • ½ apple
  • 2 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  1. Wash and de-stem the kale by pulling the leaves off the stem and tearing into smaller pieces.
  2. In a small dish, combine the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil, and drizzle it over the kale.
  3. Using your hands, massage the kale leaves with the dressing.
  4. Chop and apple into small chunks and add into your salad.
  5. Grate or shred fresh parmesan cheese on top.
  6. Toss in the walnuts (if they’re whole, break them up a bit).
  7. Serve or pop it in the fridge for a few hours.
apple kale salad with walnuts

I love how easy this salad is to toss together, but it’s hearty enough to feel like a meal! This made enough for the two of us to have it as a side dish but next time I think I’ll double it. #gimmeallthekale

This kale salad is sweet & tangy with a delicious crunch from the apples and walnuts! It's vegetarian and gluten free!

What’s your favorite salad green?

What I Ate: The Leftover Edition

Happy Wednesday! I thought I’d show you what I ate on Monday, since it was kind of a strange day in terms of meals. We were low on groceries but luckily, we had lots of leftovers in the fridge so I managed to find some good things to eat! It was colder than I expected when I woke up so the first thing I did was make a cup of coffee. Normally I’d have some yogurt or a smoothie but we were out of yogurt and fruit so I settled on toast. Luckily we have bread in the freezer at all times!

breakfast toast

I had two pieces of nine grain toast with a little Kerrygold butter on top. I also had a mini pumpkin muffin right before I headed out the door for work! This breakfast hit the spot.

I was pretty busy finishing up a few projects at work, so luckily the morning flew by pretty fast. I couldn’t wait to eat lunch because I had leftovers from Lemon, my favorite local Indian restaurant. Am I the only one who counts down the minutes until it’s an appropriate time to eat lunch? Some people live for the weekends, I live for lunchtime. ;)

indian food from lemon

This was aloo gobi and rice. SO good. I can’t believe how good these leftovers were. It kept me pretty full. I worked a little later than normal, so around 5:30, I snacked on half a quest bar  at my desk that I had saved from the Natural Products Expo. Thank goodness I had it! Normally we eat dinner pretty early but I went to Gym Quest for a workout.

I didn’t get home until after 8, so I was thankful for the Kuba Kuba leftovers that were in our fridge. (Yes, it’s the Kuba Kuba from my mug of coffee. Can you tell I’m obsessed?) We have dinner with a group of 3rd-6th graders at church every other week and we got to take home the leftover rice & beans. We had these with a few tortilla chips and salsa. It was so nice not having to make dinner when I got home!

rice and beans

I’m actually a huge fan of leftovers. It definitely makes life easier. If you don’t love them as much as I do, check out this post for ideas of how to reuse leftovers

Do you eat a lot of leftovers?

I’m linking up with What I Ate Wednesday!

3 Ingredient Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins [Vegan & Gluten Free]

I know, I know. The world doesn’t need another pumpkin muffin recipe. BUT if the rest of the world is as lazy as I am then it needs this recipe. Truthfully, I’m not much of a baker. All that measuring and sifting… dry ingredients, wet ingredients… two bowls?! Are you crazy!? Complicated recipes are not my style and baking usually feels complicated.

But not this recipe.

This is a stir-it-up-in-one-bowl-and-eyeball-it kind of recipe. It also just so happens to be gluten free and vegan. Not because I am gluten free OR vegan but because I like it when everyone can enjoy a recipe. Except for paleo. Sorry paleo-people. But I don’t think cavemen ate muffins anyway.

I was just craving a chocolate chip pumpkin muffin. I couldn’t get it out of my head. I was drooling over recipes on Pinterest while thinking about how I did not want to go to the store just to buy some eggs. It’s a tough life, I know. Luckily, this little muffin experiment worked out.

gluten free vegan pumpkin muffins


The trick is to use a mix. I know, it’s sort of like cheating, but you’re not going to follow the directions on the box.

pumpkin muffin ingredients

The box might say oil or eggs or butter or something like that but NO. We’re just using straight up pumpkin. That’s IT. My mix was gluten free but I think this would work just as well with a regular mix. As long as you find something that makes a dozen regular sized muffins, you’ll be good to go. Mine made about 24 mini muffins.

5.0 from 1 reviews

3 Ingredient Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins [Vegan & Gluten Free]
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 24
  • 1 box of gluten free muffin mix (I love Enjoy Life!)
  • 1 15oz can of pureed pumpkin
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)
  • Optional: Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, and/or pumpkin pie spice.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. If you’re adding any spices, go ahead and stir those into the mix. I used 1 tsp of cinnamon and ½ tsp of ginger. But this is optional depending on how much you like pumpkin pie flavors!
  3. Stir in the pumpkin until it’s not super clumpy. Again, this doesn’t have to be exact.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Spray a mini muffin tin with non-stick spray and scoop rounded tablespoons into each cup. It should make about 24 mini muffins.
  6. Bake for 12-13 minutes. They just just start to pull away from the sides but you don’t want them to brown.

mini pumpkin chocolate chip muffins

These little guys didn’t last long. I actually intended to take some with me to work but I forgot them at home… which meant that all of these little guys were devoured by me. oops.

Don’t forget to pin these so you can make them later!

3 ingredient pumpkin chocolate chip muffins (vegan & gluten free!)

I’ll definitely be whipping up a batch of these again! Enjoy Life sent me a few of their mixes a while back but this isn’t a sponsored post or anything. I just really do love their products! If you or someone in your family has allergies, (or if you just love food) I’d highly recommend them!

Do you have a favorite pumpkin recipe?