Jude Salad: The Easiest Italian Salad

Jude Salad: The Easiest Italian Salad

When Jude was little, he was so in love with this Italian salad, that he learned how to make it himself, and would even serve it to the babysitter when she came over.  We started calling it “Jude Salad” hoping the flattery would keep him interested cooking. So far, it’s worked!

Need I mention it’s a vegan salad!? (I’m hoping that is obvious, but just in case, haha!)
easy Italian recipes for kids


1 medium cucumber

1 pint of cherry tomatoes

1 avocado

1 lemon

2 tablespoons of EVOO (I like a nutty EVOO and used Zucchi. Incredible flavor!)

Fresh Basil

recipes for elegant toast


Slice cucumber. Halve tomatoes.  Try your hardest to make pretty squares out of the avocado. If you can’t, no problem. It never looks perfect. Drizzle the lemon juice of 2 slices of lemon, along with the 2 tablespoons of EVOO over everything in a bowl.

I personally don’t even salt it, just pepper, but I think most people prefer salt, so you can try both and tell me what you like best.

We use the remainder of the lemon to flavor our Pellegrino. (Jude’s also obsessed with Pellegrino.)

This salad is ALSO a yummy Italian twist on avocado toast! 

(I know this is a major trend right now, but we’ve always eaten avocado toast, and even when the trend dies out, or should I die first, it will be served at my funeral.)

cucumbers tomatoes basil extra virgin olive oil

Authentic olive oil is a staple in our house, and can we use just any old olive oil? Nope! Because I’m addicted to the flavors of the oils of Europe. There is so much variety, so you neeeeeddd to find one you love!

Spanish oils are typically golden with a nutty flavor. Italian is often dark green with a more earthy flavor. French oils are typically pale with more mild flavor.

If you still need more help choosing an oil, visit Flavor Your Life – it’s extremely educational! Their mission is to educate North Americans about the benefits of Authentic EVOO, and more specifically European oils!

I’ve followed these general rules for the last 10 years and they haven’t failed me yet:

It must be in a dark glass bottle, and then stored in a dark, cool place.

I only buy small quantities, since I like it to be as fresh as possible since we eat it mostly uncooked and I am a taste snobbbbbbb.

COLD-PRESSED, Extra Virgin. Always.

And European (aka “real”) oils are my most favorite of all! After all, olive oil originated from the European olive trees. The centuries old practices in Europe have clearly perfected the oil process!

how to choose the perfect olive oil

I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affliate links.

Lait D’Amande: New Barn Almond Milk

Lait D’Amande: New Barn Almond Milk

When Zara was born, my dairy castle crumbled. I had an entire menu built on butter, milk, and cheese – with no experience cooking for a dairy-free baby. You learn quick when you’re hungry, but you go without some of luxuries because it’s just too hard to think about when you are in survival mode! Coffee, creamy coffee, was one of those luxuries. Nothing did it for me like milk… or so I thought!

(I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.) New Barn offered to send me a bottle of their illustrious, Unsweetened Almond milk, which I barely got any of as it turned out to be the hit of the century in our household. I’m ecstatic that it’s free of carrageenan, soy-free, and organic! Having made my own almond milk in the past, and trying a plethora of other almond milk labels, this is the most homemade equivalent product (in both taste and quality) that I’ve ever tried.New Barn offers the best selection of flavors to date. My kids loved the Unsweetened just as much as the Vanilla. I’m currently partial to the Barista. And true to its claims, it is luscious in my coffee and easy on my stomach.

Thank you for the products, New Barn!

Fancy Food Thoughts: Vegan Glazed Donuts

Fancy Food Thoughts: Vegan Glazed Donuts


You will want to BECOME a vegan once you eat these donuts.


We have always had a special place in our hearts for donuts. Sunday mornings meant Lindsay and I would walk to our favorite little donut shoppe to buy and eat way too much sugar for one sitting. Gone are those days, not just because of the distance between our homes, but also because we have so many food restrictions now! Thankfully, Linds saved the day with this creative recipe. These donuts kill any others anyway, so there’s no loss.

xxoo – Ashley

It’s not possible to tell you how much I love donuts. There are no words. These donuts incapsulate all the melt-in-your-mouth goodness you get from a Krispy Kreme donut, but are completely vegan. I’m not joking when I tell you that you will want to eat them all. But don’t.


1 package yeast

1/4 cup very warm water (110 degrees)

3/4 cup full fat canned coconut milk warmed

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons vegan butter

4 teaspoons ener-g egg replacer whisked with 4 Tablespoons water until frothy

3 cups flour

Canola oil for frying

Whisk together the water, yeast, milk, sugar, butter, salt, and 1 1/2 cups of the flour until combined.

Add the egg replacer and beat until incorporated. Add the other 1 1/2 cup of flour, and using the dough hook, beat for 3-5 minutes until dough completely pulls away from the insides of the bowl.

The dough should be smooth and soft. If the dough looks too sticky, add more flour one tablespoon at a time until the dough is the right consistency. Once the dough is done, cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about one hour.

After the dough has risen, roll it out onto a floured surface at a thickness of about 3/4 inch thick and cut out using a donut cutter or glass. In my opinion, the large round donuts taste the best, but you can also make twists or bars or any other shape you desire. After cutting out the shapes, place them on a greased pan, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for one more hour.

Put about 2 inches of canola oil in a heavy pan and heat on medium/high for a few minutes. Oil will need to be very hot before you start. (Hint: Test it with a scrap or donut hole to see if it’s ready.)

When the donuts have risen to double their size, fry in hot oil for about 30 seconds per side. Check the bottom of the donuts and see if they are a nice golden color before flipping. Place donuts on paper towels to drain excess oil and then dip them in glaze (see below) and put them on a cooling rack with wax paper under it to set.

Fancy Secret: You can make donuts a day in advance! After they are cut and through the second rise put them in the fridge for the next day. Just make sure they are covered with plastic wrap & air tight. 


Blend the following: 2 Cups powdered sugar (sifted if lumpy) 3-6 Tablespoons of water or non-dairy milk. Should be on the runny side.

Vegan And Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Vegan And Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

All my closest friends would tell you I’m a food addict. They might also use the word “snob” in place of addict, but what do they know?! I just like good food.

So that leads us to today. I’m so excited to start sharing recipes with you here on the blog and even more that my sister will be taking part in this fun venture!  I hadn’t had much experience with sharing recipes until I shared one of my own with Popsugar last year. I couldn’t believe the response I got from it – or that it got a five star rating! Lindsay and I started brainstorming and decided we would need to have the perfect balance of our favorite recipes, clear directions and pretty pictures if we were even going to attempt this. (We have seven kids between us, so setting such a high standard wasn’t the most logical thing to do.)  Then, this past weekend, Lindsay’s entire downstairs of her house flooded. She was homeless, so she called and said, “Guess what?! I’m coming to your house!” and we cooked the whole weekend. You’ll get to see all the recipes over time, but for now, here are the most delicious Vegan, Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies you will EVER eat. (Actually, these are better than any peanut butter cookie I’ve ever had – so even if you don’t have food restrictions, you must try these!) xxoo -Ashley


I absolutely love peanut butter cookies. More than I should. These are vegan, gluten free and very simple.  They have a slightly crunchy exterior, but on the inside the texture is ever so chewy, exactly how it should be! Part of the trick to this recipe is blending the mixture in a food processor. This is the model I have and I can’t say enough good things about it!

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour (Almond flour is more finely ground than almond meal. If you do use almond meal, the cookies will not have as nice of a texture.)

1 tablespoon Bob’s Red Meal Oat Flour (Can be omitted if you are completely grain free)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar (plus extra for rolling the cookies in)

1/2 cup natural peanut butter

4 1/2 teaspoons egg replacer prepared (Add 6 tablespoons of water and blend in blender until frothy. This is important!)

1 teaspoon vanilla

In the bowl of a food processor combine: almond flour, oat flour, baking soda, brown sugar and sugar pulsing a few times to blend.

Add peanut butter and process until completely combined.

Next add prepared egg replacer (see above) and vanilla. Let the food processor run for a about 20 seconds until dough has formed.

Roll dough into golf ball sized balls, roll in sugar, place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Bake for 8-9 minutes at 350 F (oven should be preheated).