Gingerbread Spiced Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting (Vegan + Gluten-Free)

gingerbread 1

It’s been YEARS since I’ve been able to enjoy the flavor of gingerbread!

Many years ago, I would make gingerbread houses with my little ones for the holidays. After the need to alter my diet, gingerbread houses and cookies could no longer happen.

I must say that coming across this recipe has been an absolute blessing!  I cannot BELIEVE how delicious and moist these cupcakes turned out! 😀

The original recipe is from Amy Lyons fantabulous website, Fragrant Vanilla Cake.  With some slight modifications to her original recipe, below is what I call a sure winner in my book. Not to mention, it’s vegan and gluten-free!

This is definitely one dessert you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging in. 😉

spiced 2



  • 1  3/4 cups Arrowhead Mills Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour *
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup raw coconut oil
  • 1 cup almond milk (room temperature or warm)
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar


  • 3 cups raw cashews, soaked at least 4 hours and drained well
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup coconut water
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup maple syrup (I used grade b for a richer flavor)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup coconut butter, warmed to liquid


  1. Preheat over to 375 degrees and position rack in center of oven. Use cupcake liners for 12 cupcakes in cupcake pan (liner is optional and if used, may not require nonstick spray – check the packaging).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and ginger powder.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together fresh ginger, coconut sugar, coconut oil, almond milk, and vanilla extract.  Combine with flour mixture until well blended.
  4. Whisk in apple cider vinegar and stir quickly (pale swirls will be in batter, which is the baking soda reacting with vinegar to allow cupcakes to rise).
  5. Fill the cupcake pan with batter (should be half or less than half for each cupcake).
  6. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  7. Cool cupcakes completely before frosting.
  8. To make the frosting, combine all ingredients, except the coconut butter, in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  9. Add the coconut butter and process until smooth.
  10. Use a pastry bag to pipe frosting on top of cupcakes.
  11. Store cupcakes in fridge (if you have any left 😉 ).

* I used the the Heritage Blend Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour by Arrowhead Mills which unfortunately, I could not locate online. I did purchase this blend pre-packaged at Whole Foods.


This recipe is a modification of the following,

Posted in Breakfast, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Paleo-Friendly, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

10 Great Lessons I Learned Last Year

deborah-tindle4As a year comes to an end, it’s always wonderful to reflect on the past 365 days and take pleasure in our personal accomplishments.

I take pleasure in reflecting on life’s lessons.

Life is filled with challenges, trials, tribulations and more.

We are tested daily; we are reminded of our weaknesses and guided to overcome them, and we discover in the process that we are indeed filled with courage.

We can face our fears, we can grow stronger, we can overcome many of these challenges and obstacles we encounter.

We are capable, we can do this!

knowledge-n-action-equal-powerKnowledge is great. And knowledge is powerful. Many of us know what we need to do in order to succeed, or to be a successful person.

But the real challenge lies in putting that knowledge to use, putting that knowledge into action. That requires self discipline and commitment.

We know of the things we need to do in our lives, and we know that there are consequences to every action we take. However, the challenge lies in being disciplined, and having the patience, to put that knowledge into practice.

fearLife entails facing your fears. Discomfort is, after all, the first sign to progress. If you’re feeling resistance or feeling afraid of taking a step towards a certain direction, it’s more of a reason you need to take that step. You will discover, as a result, that the thought of fear leaves you feeling more afraid than the actual experience itself. And you never know what gifts may unveil themselves to you in the process unless you face that fear.

These ten lessons I’m about to share is knowledge I’ve learned and carried with me for years. This past year however, I was challenged to put these into practice.

These reminders have helped me overcome several obstacles and continue to direct my life in a positive direction. I hope you will find these lessons as valuable as I have. Meditate on these and see what surprises they may bring for you this New Year!  🙂

savvy-quote-when-one-door-closes-011. Just let go

If people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime, why are we afraid to let go?

If one door closes so that another may open, why do we hold on so long to the door that’s closed preventing the other to open sooner rather than later?

Every person that crosses our path is here to serve a purpose, and when that time is up well… that time is up. It’s time to let go.

Let go when that time has come, when that purpose has been fulfilled.

Let go of those who no longer serve you or your growth.

Do not force a relationship or friendship into existence. After all, what’s meant to be will be – even if it’s for a reason, even if it’s for a season, and even if it’s for a lifetime, nothing is meant to be forever.

Be grateful you’ve crossed paths with those special ones, that you’ve learned the lessons you’ve needed in order to help foster your growth. Then, let go with love when that time has come. It’s okay to close the door, and it’s okay to part ways in a happy and healthy way. Embrace the opportunity for the new experiences that awaits you.

051584bc9fad3f831e6c16e92ceadf60f45-wm2. Always focus on the positive

If we have time to complain, to focus on the negatives, to entertain drama, then we have energy and time to create something wonderful and positive. Use that energy to focus on the positive. Redirect your time to create something wonderful and make a positive difference in our world.

I can easily recall how many hours, days, weeks, months I would spend dwelling on negative situations and things people would say that hurt me. I can recall the amount of energy and time I spent trying to hold on to relationships that no longer served me, only to leave me feeling more hurt, more pain, and more despair.

There comes a timeI remember when I finally came to the realization, “Wait a minute, if I have time to direct all this energy towards negative and toxic situations in my life, imagine the time I can spend making a positive difference in our world?”

If you feel rejection, remember it’s a blessing in disguise. Rejection is only a redirection to something better for you in your life. M.O.M. was a result of my taking a negative situation and turning it into something positive last year (read that night I quit being a mom).

Always remember there is a valuable lesson in every experience. Redirect that energy and focus on the positive. Focusing on the positive will only create more positive energy and in return, will attract even more positive energy into your life.  It’s a win!

Compliment-Quotes-33. Give someone a compliment

Ever notice how easy it can be to see the negative in any situation, or to criticize someone’s behavior? It’s almost like we’re wired to automatically think negatively and respond negatively because that’s just the reality of life.

Reality is what you create based on your own level of perception (read do you live a realistic life or an imaginary life).

Remember we all have our strengths and we all have our weaknesses. No human being on this earth is perfect. None. Nope, not even you! 😉 We are all imperfect beings but I assure you, we each carry something beautiful and special within us.

Focus on these gifts. Take time to compliment another person. If you like their outfit, tell them. If they make you feel happy, share that with them. If they have a pretty smile, by all means, let them know! You may leave someone feeling extremely happy just by taking the time to share that compliment.

take-risks-if-you-win-you-will-be-happy-if-you-lose-you-will-be-wise-quote-14. Take that risk

Are you a risk taker? Many of us are not. The safe road is always the easiest road to take because the results are usually guaranteed.

But if an opportunity has fallen in your laps, it’s time to set aside that fear. What if? What if taking that risk yields the most amazing and promising experience for you? What do you really have to lose?

Take that chance, you never know where it may lead you.

present-45. Be present

It’s okay to plan for the future. In fact, it’s great to have a plan for the upcoming years of your life. But be sure you’re taking time to live in the present as well. After all, putting too much time and energy into planning for your future takes away from actually LIVING in the moment or BEING in the present.

pastpresentfutureEven dwelling on the past takes away from living in the present. Tomorrow won’t be here until you’re done with today anyway.

Focus on every moment as though it’s your last. Don’t worry too much about what will happen down the road. In fact, you will arrive at your future destination after you’ve lived your present with determination and passion.

What you do today will drive your future; the choices you make, the people you surround yourselves with, the energy you direct – it all creates your future. Enjoy today, enjoy the moment, enjoy the present and remember that today is all you really have.

b02d8eea029d579cac447b161f4fbd176. The path is crooked (and has circles)

How many of you are used to doing things in order? How many of you think the road to success is a straight one? There’s a great book by Scott Peck called The Road Less Travelled. You should read it. 😉

Many of us are used to events taking place in a specific order in life. I know I was, especially during my 20s.

What if it wasn’t meant to be that way? What if you were meant to step away from the straight path in order to grow, to evolve or fulfill your true purpose?

As long as you feel peace from within, take that road less travelled. It’s okay if it’s crooked. Embrace it but more importantly, enjoy it.

tonygaskins7. Set boundaries for yourself

If you let people take advantage of you, guess what? They will.

There are many who will ignore your boundaries, let alone respect them. Be sure to set healthy boundaries and limits for yourself, and let your loved ones or friends know these are important to you. True friends will understand and respect these. Define your boundaries and make that clear through your words or actions.

140127-18. Let go of anger

We all get angry, and have encountered situations or people that have left us feeling angry.

However, anger gets us no where especially when we don’t deal with it in a healthy way. Anger will always find its way back into our lives. It will be a non-stop repetitive cycle, sometimes even directed towards innocent people who become our victims.

every-saint-has-a-past-and-every-sinner-has-a-future-quote-1Sure, you should definitely allow yourself to feel and express anger but by all means, do it in a healthy way and without hurting those around you. Do it in a way that you can put it behind you with peace and move forward in your journey of life. Journal about it, write about it, see a counselor or if you must, unleash your bitter words in a letter and burn it (read how to burn away your painful past literally).

Always remember there are no perfect human beings. We all “sin”in different ways. We have all done things in our lives that we weren’t proud of. We have hurt others, even our own selves.

Anger serves no one, not yourself and definitely not the other person. Learn to forgive yourself, and to forgive others. Life is to precious.

rumi9. God is everywhere

I personally thought God could only be seen, felt or experienced at a church or at a temple because this is what I was taught for many years. Deep down in my heart, I always knew that God’s existence was everywhere. Every thought, every action, every word, God knew it, God felt it, God hears it.

There is a wonderful book by Neal Donald Walsch called Conversations with God.  This book is not based on any one religion, but requires an open mind.

ndwThis book contains answers to every single question you may have thought or asked throughout your life. It’s based on unity, oneness and discusses how to live a better life and create a better world.

There are more than one way to connect with God.

Take the journey that resonates with you the most and find your connection with Him. Whether it’s through religion or through your own heart, there is always a way.

Every path is unique but you will hear God’s voice through silence and within your own heart. And you’ll know when you do because you’ll discover the true meanings of peace, love and unity. You will feel it, believe it and become it.

48c71b8fd8af7b022575e1bf90c389f310. Love everyone!

Yes, love everyone even those who anger you.

The people who choose to hurt you are unknowingly, and unwillingly, testing your strength.

Think of it this way. Without their need to throw daggers in your direction, fireballs your way, criticisms towards your ears, you would not have this opportunity to discover how strong you can truly be!

685a201c5c3ef724a1284c42da407718You would not have this opportunity to learn how to respond accordingly versus react impulsively.

People who criticize, hurt or anger you are a blessing in disguise because they are here to remind you of the lesson.

Embrace them and love them for who they are. After all, they have sent you a valuable gift and that is – to strive to a be a better person by never treating others the same and to always love yourself!

Create yourself and direct your own life.  This is your story. Your chapters. Your book. So start writing. ❤

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fabulous 30Each year we celebrate a birthday, we either look forward to becoming a year older or we dread it.

It seems the latter tends to happen more often nowadays. Why is that?

Celebrating a birthday is an accomplishment! You have survived yet another year in our three-dimensional world! Another year where you’ve encountered trials, tribulations, challenges, celebrations and of course courage, strength and growth from your own personal experiences. That’s worth celebrating, don’t you think?  😀

funny-happy-40th-birthday-quotes-1286195Growing older is a mindset. After all, age is only a number which defines how long you’ve been living in your body in this particular lifetime.

Age doesn’t define maturity, not even intelligence. Ever met a person who is a teenager or in their 20s and they seem to have an “old soul”? Or ever met a person in their 30s or 40s and been mistaken that they were in their 20s? Surely it happens all the time!

Age is a mental limitation we have set upon ourselves. If you think you’re “old”, then you will believe you’re old.

manifest realityAnd if you believe you’re old, then you will feel old. Guess what? Now you’re old (your words, not mine).

In my perspective, there’s no such thing as “old”.

Growing old is just a mindset. It’s a thought we have formed in our minds that justifies our reasons for not taking better care of ourselves, for not taking risks or chances in life, for not doing the things we’ve dreamt of doing ever since we were “young”, for not laughing as much or even entertaining new experiences.

It’s a thought we have formed in our minds that justifies allowing our bodies to take over, allowing our immune systems to grow weaker, allowing ourselves to believe that “we’re going to die someday anyway” and therefore giving in to what we think old age is all about.

Old is relative. Sure our bodies grow older, and weaker, and our metabolism slows down.

But you have the power to define what “old” means to you.

You have the power to take control of your bodies and your lives.

When I was in my 20s, I lived a repetitive (unconscious) lifestyle. I felt tired all of the time. Having fun ended during my teenage years and each year as I became older, I dreaded it. I remember thinking to myself, what’s going to happen to me when I’m in my 30s or even my 40s? I lacked energy, my health and diet was poor, I didn’t sleep well, and I lived the normal (stressful) life which consisted of waking up, going to work, coming home, taking care of my family and starting the day all over again.

I took care of everyone around me but I gave myself very little attention or time.

Live-Laugh-LoveFinally in my early 30s, I took my power back. I tapped into my spiritual sense of self and learned how to love myself and appreciate the beauty of life. I dropped anything or anyone which no longer served me or my growth.

I learned how to eat better, cook healthy meals, dance and of course, how to put myself first.

If you’re in your 20s, 40s, 60s, 100s – even 10! – it’s never too early and it’s never too late!

new 70Take Annette Larkins for example. Annette is 73 years young and she looks 40! Her diet has been a major contribution to her youthful appearance and health.

And then there’s Fauja Singh, the 104 year old ‘oldest marathon runner’ who is STILL running marathons! If these folks can master themselves and live life to their fullest potential, just imagine what you can do with yours!

So let’s redefine “old”, shall we? 😉

Here are 12 reminders on how you can look and feel fabulous once again! Remember, age does not define you or your physical limits. Take control and take chances. After all, this is your life! Live it, love it, but more importantly embrace it and just enjoy it! 😀

Health-benefits-of-Drinking-Water1. Drink plenty of water every day

Start your morning off with a glass of lemon water. If you’re feeling thirsty throughout the day, then you’re not drinking enough water.

Water helps to flush out toxins from your body and regulates your bowel movements.

2. Surround yourself with positive people

Stress will affect your physical health guaranteed. Unfortunately, many people can be extremely negative or toxic and believe it or not, it can take a toll on your own health. Distance yourself or remove these people from your life – even if it’s family. It doesn’t mean you don’t love them, it only means that you’re defining healthy boundaries for yourself and taking care of you first. Peace is crucial to your mental health and well being. Surround yourself with folks who will inspire you, uplift you, support you and help you to evolve in a positive direction.

books3. Learning never ends – Read!

Learning never ends, not even after you graduate from college. Sure there are lots of information shared on TV, but reading is exercise for your brain and learning means expanding your horizons. Reading is gaining knowledge on a variety of topics with different perspectives, for pleasure or for information.

Limit yourself to watching television – especially the news – and get your information from articles or books. The negativity from fear-based news will surely bring additional stress to your life.

4. Meditate daily

20 minutes of meditation a day is all you need. Whether it’s sitting in silence, chanting, taking a walk in the park, listening to an instrumental track. Whichever it may be, take time to be silent and enjoy peace every single day. You will find yourself feeling more calm, more serene, looking and feeling younger AND you’ll be surprised how well you will handle difficult people (they’ll bounce right off of you). 😉  [Learn more about meditation]

let-food-be-thy-medicine5. Eat clean and whole foods

As we grow older, our bodies change. This we cannot avoid. We’re experiencing muscle aches, slower metabolism, health conditions, inflammation, you name it.

The solution is to change your diet. The foods we consumed during our earlier years (teens, 20s) don’t quite leave us feeling as energetic and vibrant as we used to feel. Opt for clean and whole foods. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds… Go local and organic. Eat fermented foods, take probiotics, drink kombucha! Reduce your gluten intake (or avoid it all together if you can) and try to cut as much processed sugars out of your diet as possible. The foods we feed ourselves will either make or break our health. You choose.

6. Do a cleanse every 6 to 12 months

A nutritional cleanse will help to remove toxins from your body, restore your body’s natural ability to heal itself, foster your spiritual and emotional being, re-energize you and leave you feeling younger and vibrant (and help you lose weight if you so desire).

There’s a 21-day program I’m quite fond of called The Clean Program by Dr. Alejandro Junger. It’s packed with plenty of information and recipes for meals.

spiritual27. Foster your spirituality

Having hope and faith, and believing that the Universe holds magic and wonderful things for us encourages us, fills our souls with joy, and gives life meaning and purpose. Whether it’s through a religion or not, find a way to connect with the Higher source.

The energy of love is everywhere and once you discover it, you will desire to foster it. In that case, life will never be the same. You’ll be love and that alone will add years to your life.

8. Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep

As you grow older, you require less sleep so this may not pertain to everyone. If you’re waking up with the use of an alarm clock and feel tired in the morning, you’re not getting enough sleep. If you can wake up without an alarm clock and feel rested, then you’re on the right track. Sleep is crucial. Our bodies are doing it’s stuff (digesting, healing, detoxing, growing) while we rest and catch those zzzz’s. Whatever you do, do not skimp on sleep. Lack of sleep affects productivity, memory and even your immune system.

smile9. Smile every day and laugh often

Did you know it takes more muscles to frown than to smile? A smile makes you approachable, helps you to connect with others and creates positive energy within yourself and with those around you. Be sure to smile, even if you telecommute or there’s no one around you.  😉

Don’t ever let a day go by without laughing. Even if it’s sharing something funny with family, friends or coworkers. Laughing is therapeutic (and addictive) and that’s a good thing!

10. Get exercise – Dance!

Exercise is extremely important as we grow older. In fact, it’s one way to boost your metabolism and leave you feeling energized. It also helps blood flow throughout your body and removes stagnant energy. Get some physical activity in your daily routine. Go to the gym, go running with your friends, take yoga or if you dislike exercising  – go dancing! Dancing is fun, a great social activity and it’s wonderful for the mind, body and soul!

c4f9b9e37a49b0d5ccbc6db5bb584dc111. Practice what you preach

Be the example. Don’t just preach, but practice what you preach. Often times we have expectations. We see weaknesses or faults in others and we want them to change for the better. But have we taken the time to work on ourselves? To change for the better? To be a better person? 😉

In my case, if I desire my children to live a healthier lifestyle, then I need to do so as well. We learn by example.

If you want your family to communicate better with you, then communication needs to starts with you first. If you don’t like what’s happening throughout our world, then you need to take that first step to make a difference. Do something about it! Set your ego aside and remember, it is not our place nor our right to change anyone. You can only change yourself. Like attracts like and you may be able to encourage others to follow in your footsteps through your actions alone. Just be the change you wish to see in your world.

deepak12. Just be yourself

Regardless of the pictures society has painted, the expectations of what defines a “normal” life, the expectations of cultural norms, the expectations from family or friends – who you are to be or how you should act – remember this. You are the one who has to live with yourself.

It’s your body and it’s your life. You’ve been granted this gift for a reason and it’s yours to use as you may, and enjoy as you’d like. You deserve happiness! So set aside any doubts, any limitations you hold in your mind, and any opinions from others. What people think of you is not your business.

Just be yourself, be you! And remember that God loves you just the way you are! ❤

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Turmeric Coconut Milk Smoothie

Turmeric Smoothie 3I’m currently addicted to this Turmeric Coconut Milk Smoothie!  It’s creamy, thick, delicious and it makes for a wonderfully satisfying breakfast!

A friend and I were recently discussing how popular turmeric is in India. We grew up with this spice, whether it was in the east, or here in the west. Our great-grandparents, grandparents and parents used this in their dishes and so, we did too!

Dating back to thousands of years ago to the Vedic culture in India, turmeric is a popular spice that’s always been used in an abundance of Indian dishes.

Turmeric has a remarkable number of health benefits and studies are revealing how effective turmeric can be for an individual’s health. posted a great article with 10 proven health benefits of turmeric.

turmeric drugsTo list a few of these benefits, turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. In fact, turmeric is so powerful that it matches the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs.

Turmeric increases the antioxidant capacity of the body, can improve brain function and can lower the risk of brain diseases.

rawforbeautyTurmeric may also help prevent and even treat cancer in addition to Alzheimer’s disease.

And, it has incredible benefits against depression!

Turmeric can be purchased at many grocery stores in a powdered form or in it’s natural form (turmeric roots resembles ginger but with an orange color).

Turmeric has a pungent bitter flavor but when paired with the ingredients in this smoothie, it yields a delicious and nutritious meal!

So are you ready?  This recipe only takes minutes to prepare!  😉

Turmeric Smoothie 1Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup of mango chunks
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds


  1. Put all ingredients into a blender and blend well.
  2. You may need a spoon for this one! 😛  Enjoy!


This recipe is a slight modification of the following,

Posted in Breakfast, Gluten-Free, Recipes, Smoothies/Shakes, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The BEST Garlicky Kale Salad Ever!

Kale Salad 1Have you ever tried the garlicky kale from Whole Food’s self-serve food bar?  I’ve been addicted to their kale salad ever since I first tried it, but every time I purchased it since then, the recipe always differs (with the exception of that first time I fell in love with it of course).

At times, it seems it doesn’t have enough nutritional yeast, or they may have forgotten to add the nutritional yeast (which gives it that cheesy flavor), or they’ve added too much liquid aminos.

Since I desired that recipe often, and to absolute perfection, I decided to do a little searching for a copy cat recipe.  I came across this particular one which is an absolute HIT in my book!  It comes out perfect every time! Even my daughter who’s not huge on kale LOVES this salad!  😀

garlic-infographicNow, I know many of you are not fond of garlic (I sure wasn’t until I did the Clean Program cleanse) but once I learned about the health benefits, I realized it was important for me to continue including raw garlic in my diet from time to time.

Garlic is a natural antibiotic. It fights colds, helps with allergies and even helps prevent respiratory infections. These are only a few benefits!

This is a great recipe not to mention, it only takes minutes to make!  And, it’s delicious!!!!!

Kale Salad 2Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of organic raw kale (I used the curly/green), cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tablespoon tahini
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice (use fresh juice from a lemon)
  • 2 tablespoon Bragg’s liquid aminos
  • 4 tablespoon of nutritional yeast
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves (I use one large clove or two small cloves)


  1. Put all ingredients into a blender and puree/blend.
  2. Pour dressing over kale and mix well.
  3. Grab yourself a big bowl and enjoy!  😛


This recipe is from the following website,

Posted in Clean Program, Gluten-Free, Raw, Recipes, Salads, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Raw Chocolate Macaroons

Raw Choc MacaroonsI was craving me some macaroons. 😛

But not just any macaroons. Chocolate macaroons.

Similar to the ones that are sold at Whole Foods in the refrigerated section (I love that stuff)!

These take about 10 minutes to make and they require zero baking.

AND I kid you not when I share, the nutritional value is pretty decent! 😉 Keep in mind though that moderation is always the key here. But if you choose to disagree with me – hey, zero guilt!  😉


  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut
  • 3/4 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (grade B yields a richer flavor, grade A is lighter and tastes great as well)
  • 1 teaspoon almond butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a bowl, mix all ingredients together.
  2. Using a small spoon or scoop, drop them into bite-size pieces on a pan covered with wax paper.
  3. Refrigerate for 10 minutes (not required).
  4. Enjoy!

Note:  If doing the Clean Program cleanse, replace maple syrup with agave nectar and consume in moderation.  Also, it’s recommended to refrigerate the remaining macaroons (if you have any left that is 😉 ).


This recipe is a modification of the following,

Posted in Clean Program, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Paleo-Friendly, Raw, Recipes, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

That Night I Quit Being A Mom

Super MomIt was 6 am on Christmas morning of 2014. I sat down on my bedroom floor and broke down crying.

It was one of those “I’m a strong woman, but I really need to cry for once” moments.

I was awake since the morning of Christmas Eve prepping last minute homemade Christmas gifts, cleaning the kitchen, finishing up chores, doing the laundry, and then of course wrapping Christmas presents for my two girls. Phew!

To sum it up, I was on autopilot with very little sleep. I’m sure many of you can relate.

Kids DancingI wanted Christmas morning to be PERFECT!

You know, the kids waking up early that morning (while I’m still sound asleep), running downstairs with loud giggles and big smiles on their faces eager to see their presents from Santa Claus, their stockings filled with healthy snacks and organic gums and candies, toothbrushes and such, hanging from the fireplace. 😀

Us mothers.You know how it goes. We always want to create those perfect memories that our kids will always remember!

M.O.M for Jan 2015 - Eva Algermissen

M.O.M for Jan 2015 – Eva Algermissen

The reason for my crying that night – correction, that morning – was not because I was unhappy. I was very much happy, and I was thrilled with myself for getting everything accomplished as I was hoping to.

In fact, that morning I was feeling immensely blessed as I took pleasure and joy in creating, and sharing, in yet another Christmas Day with two special girls. 🙂

What more could a mother ask for, right?

The reason for my crying was because I am a strong woman.

I am a strong woman who happens to be a single mother. And even strong women will sometimes feel the need to release their emotions and just cry it out.

M.O.M for Feb 2015 - Shraddhānjali Dasi

M.O.M for Feb 2015 – Shraddhānjali Dasi

During that moment, I openly allowed myself to experience and release those emotions. They were there for a reason. And they were meant to be accepted, loved and understood.

Not judged.

Not humiliated.

And definitely not tucked away as though they’ve never even existed.

They were real tears.

And they needed to be released, openly and freely with love and understanding.

That morning, I decided I was going to quit being that mom. I had to quit being a mom who is always

– trying to be perfect

– trying to withhold her emotions AND

– trying to do it all!

M.O.M for Mar 2015 - Diana Sookram

M.O.M for Mar 2015 – Diana Sookram

Being a mom is about strength, sacrifices, understanding, patience, loyalty and of course, Love.

But being a mom is also about being Real.

Our children look up to us as their life example. Therefore, what do you want them to see?

A mother who pretends she has no feelings or emotions? A mother who doesn’t take the time to take care of herself? A mother who doesn’t put her needs first and foremost?

Or a mother who is as human as they are, and has discovered healthy ways to express herself while taking better care of herself and her kids.

M.O.M for April 2015 - Usha Naran

M.O.M for April 2015 – Usha Naran

That morning, not only did I QUIT being that mom, but I decided it was time to START being that M.O.M. who would reach out to other mothers experiencing the like!

Those moms skip baths, have little to zero time for exercising or proper diets, home school their kids, have health conditions which may prevent them from performing physically (yet it doesn’t stop them), takes care of their partner while caring for their kids, has toddlers/twins, supports their kids dreams, is going to college themselves while being a single mother, breaks down and cry from time to time, wonders if anyone else notices, understands what they’re feeling let alone experiences the same…  😉

M.O.M for May 2015 - Our Beloved Maa

M.O.M for May 2015 – Our Beloved Maa

Somehow, they manage to hold it all together even when they, themselves, feel like falling apart.

Those are the moms who really inspire me and reminds me often, through their own actions, that I am never alone and that all will be just fine!  😀

As a result of that emotional breakdown – correction, emotional breakthrough (there’s always a divine reasoning behind it 😉 ) – that Christmas morning, I decided one of my goals for 2015 would be to start a random act of kindness which I recently starting calling M.O.M.

M.O.M. is truly a Mom On Mission! The moms that keep moving forward, tries their best to hold it down, ensures those kids are taken care of, multitask like crazy their careers, spouses, kids, schools, etc., and all without realizing how their own actions are inspiring others such as myself.

M.O.M for June 2015 - Tara Kunkel

M.O.M for June 2015 – Tara Kunkel

Every month, I surprise a mother with flowers who has inspired me throughout my own personal journey as a mom. Believe me, I am the fortunate one here. I have zero to complain about when it comes to the way these women hold it down and manage their lives and families.

But you know what the best part about all of this is?

It brings me absolute JOY when yet another strong woman is reminded that she is recognized, appreciated and Loved.  ❤


M.O.M. for July 2015 - Ruth Zeman

M.O.M. for July 2015 – Ruth Zeman

M.O.M for Aug. - Mrs. Sukhraj

M.O.M. for Aug 2015 – Mrs. Sukhraj

M.O.M. for Sept. 2015 - Anita Sukhraj

M.O.M. for Sept 2015 – Anita Sukhraj

N Mejias

M.O.M. for Oct 2015 – Naomi Mejias

M.O.M for Nov 2015 - Rachana Mann

M.O.M. for Nov 2015 – Rachana Mann

M.O.M for Dec 2015 - Anna Scroggins

M.O.M. for Dec 2015 – Anna Scroggins

Posted in Articles, Inspirational, Love & Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Tribute to Our Single Mother of Ten

Mother's DayIf you’re a mother, you’ll certainly understand the time and patience required to raise a child. It takes a village they say. And “they” are not kidding.

And if you’re a single mother of one, or two, maybe more? That’s another set of challenges awaiting you.

When I became a single mom ten years ago, it was one of the most trying times of my life. Trying to make time for myself was impossible. There was no such thing.

My goal during the first couple of years was to just be there as a parent, to fulfill their needs and give my two girls the required attention they deserved. They were both young little ones (ages one and four) dealing with many different emotions and surely life’s changes. There was definitely challenging times.

Yet, thanks to my parents and sisters who provided much assistance and babysitting help, I consider myself quite fortunate. Not every single parent has family nearby who can help (so thanks mom and dad 🙂 ).

My Little Ones (2005)

My Little Ones (2005)

However, the day was approaching when I’d need to branch away from my parents and start a whole new journey with my two girls.

Of course the fears would set in – how would I do it? What if we moved and I lost my job given the economy? Would we be okay? Is it even worth the risk?

When these questions would surface in my mind, I would think of my role model. A single mother of ten children. Yup, ten of them. 😮

That single mother also took care of me and my two sisters when her kids were all grown up while my parents worked throughout the week. 😉

That single widowed mother spent many years living in a poor country in South America trying to raise her own family of ten, and with no help from willing family mind you.

Queens, New York

New York City (1980)

That single mother never had an opportunity to go to school because she had to help raise even her own siblings (there were many of them). Married at the age of fifteen, she never learned how to read or write even though she really wanted to learn.

Her husband provided for their family and was responsible for their financial income. She was a stay at home mother who cooked, cleaned and took care of their children.

But then her husband passed away in his forties due to cancer. And she was devastated. What would she do?

I think back to the many stories both my mother and grandmother shared with me regarding those years in South America. It sounds like an imaginary story, you know… make believe. Just like fiction.

But the truth is – it really happened.

People endure difficult and trying times in their lives and you know what? They push themselves through it. They get through it. They muster up the courage and strength to move on doing what they have to do because they don’t really have a choice.


My sister, Maa and me

That single mother of ten children happens to be my beloved grandmother whom we all called Maa (a name commonly used in the Indian culture which means “mother”).


When my grandfather passed away, Maa was left to take care of her children. Their source of income was earned by selling crops from their garden or fish they’d catch from the sea every morning before my mom and her siblings would go to school.

They couldn’t afford much.  Life in that country was difficult.  But a better life was in store for their family years later.

Opportunities to move to Canada and the United States became possible for some of the children. My grandmother took a chance and sent my mother, who was seventeen years old, to stay with her older sister so she could have a better life.

Years later, after both of my parents met and got married, my grandmother was able to come to the United States. Upon her arrival, she stayed with us for years and helped raise me and my sisters.

There’s so much I can share about my grandmother, so many memories. The ice cream she would buy for us from the ice cream truck after school almost every hot summer day. Those orange creamsicles, banana creamsicles (she loved those) or the red white and blue bomb pops which were popular during those times.

The crackers (or as she would call them, biscuits) dipped in hot tea that she would prepare and enjoy with us every evening.

The music she would play using a pot with her hands (because we didn’t own a drum at the time) so we could all just laugh, dance and have a good time.

Her constant hugs and belly laughs, and her fun broken english when she’d speak and share stories with us about her childhood years, or her times as a mother in South America.

My (not so) little ones with Maa (2008)

My (not so) little ones with Maa (2008)

Maa developed a mild case of Alzheimer’s during the last months of her life. She had a tough time remembering where she was, who her children were, etc. and constantly had to be reminded.

On December 18, 2009, she left her body in the three-dimensional world and joined God in the spiritual world.

Her memories remain alive in my life but more so, ever since I became a single mother ten years ago. Since then, I’ve grown to have even more respect for her. I often wondered about her history, her story, her past life. Fortunately I had the opportunity to briefly interview her on video about a year before she passed away.

A person can’t understand how difficult it can be to raise children, let alone raise children as a single mother – and how about ten? –  unless they are able to empathize or envision walking a mile in that person’s shoes.

We come from a culture of poor judgments unfortunately. Many hold on to resentment, anger, pride, even make assumptions as we focus heavily on what we lack or didn’t receive from our parents or loved ones.

But we often forget that our parents – in this case our mother – have done the best they could, based on their own abilities and personal circumstances, and based on what they’ve learned from their own parents.

We learn by example. Naturally.

In a culture such as that in South America, think of the examples our own parents grew up with. What opportunities were they granted in order to improve their communication skills? What choices were they left with to make during those trying times?

What would you do if you were in a position similar to theirs?

Love puts us in a position to make some tough decisions in life.  It’s all about Love.

And Love helps us to understand, if and when we are willing to open our hearts, that our mothers did the best they truly could from the bottom of their hearts.

Maa made some difficult decisions in her life. I cannot even fathom being in her shoes, let alone sending my young daughter to another country in hopes that she’ll be in a better place. I can only respect the woman she was, birthing ten kids naturally with no epidural (how does one even do that ten times – oh my goodness)?

We love you!

We love you!

Today, I am honoring my beloved grandmother Maa. A strong woman. A woman of respect, loyalty and love.

A mother who played a role in my life.

A mother who had to deal with my hyperactive personality, always getting into mischief (as she would call it), climbing on top of the roof of our second story house (yup), or challenging her with thought-provoking questions (you can’t possibly be surprised – rebel? free spirit you say?).

A mother who is the mother of my mother, and the mother of my aunts and uncles. A mother who is also a grandmother and great-grandmother of many who love her and have fond memories of her.

Thank you for teaching us through your own life’s experiences Maa. We are all imperfect human beings doing our best, and you certainly did your best.

Your courage, dedication to your family, actions as a single mother, faith in God, and sacrifices to meet the needs of all of yours…


I smile because your soul is very much alive today.

You survived those challenges in that poor country. You got through them even though it wasn’t easy. And you managed to have your kids sent to a better place.

We know your spirit is thriving with peace, love and joy…

And we know you’re playing that dholak (Indian drum) sending wonderful beats to many ears.  😉

Happy Mother’s Day! We love you Maa!


Posted in Articles, Inspirational, Love & Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Broccoli and “Cheddar” Soup

Broccoli and Cheddar SoupSay cheddar!

Well, vegan cheddar!

Okay, okay… say nutritional yeast!

Yes, I said nutritional yeast!


My kids are the inspiration for this soup, which we definitely enjoyed for dinner tonight!

They love broccoli and cheddar soup, so we decided to find a recipe online and give it a try.

We came across this easy Clean Program recipe.

You can never go wrong with a Clean Program recipe.  Healthy and delicious ingredients with spices combined to make your favorite dishes all while doing your cleanse.

It can’t get any easier than that!  😉

And yes, this soup was definitely delicious which is why I’m sharing it with you!  😛

(Feel free to substitute the nutritional yeast with raw organic cheddar cheese although I believe you’d be extremely happy with the cheesy flavor of nutritional yeast!)


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 leek, green top discarded, white section sliced in ½ inch rounds
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 head of broccoli, discard stem and cut into florets (should equal 4 cups)
  • 3 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • sea salt, to taste
  • optional fresh ground black pepper


  1. In a soup pot, melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Once hot, saute the leeks until they begin to soften, roughly 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
  4. Add the broccoli and stir to mix everything together. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  5. Reduce heat to low, add the vegetable stock, bay leaf and turmeric.
  6. Cover and let everything simmer for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat, uncover and stir in the additional nutritional yeast.
  8. Season additionally to your tastes with nutritional yeast, salt and pepper if desired.
  9. Serve warm and enjoy!



This recipe is a slight modification of the following,

Posted in Clean Program, Gluten-Free, Paleo-Friendly, Recipes, Soups, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Grateful for Gluten-Free Buckwheat Pancakes!

6About two months ago during my visit to Los Angeles in California, I had the privilege of dining at one of the most fantastic restaurants in the area.

This particular restaurant I just couldn’t get enough of (and I wonder why)…

Cafe Gratitude is “the best” in my opinion, offering everything 100% organic, vegan and made-from-scratch.

Cafe Gratitude LA

Cafe Gratitude LA

With an abundance of delicious gourmet menu options including meals, drinks and nonetheless desserts, I found myself in what I certainly call (with extreme confidence if I must say) an absolute food heaven!

We’re talking pancakes, muffins, bagels, scones, soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps, quesadillas, lasagna, burgers, pastas, raw dishes including raw pizza, even an Indian curry bowl!

These are just a few items I’m listing by the way (I urge you to check out their full menu!).

AND there were certainly many options available for drinks such as herbal teas, smoothies, juices, elixirs, even wines. And of course they had Kombucha!  😉

Desserts at Cafe Gratitude

Desserts at Cafe Gratitude

But it didn’t end there.

The desserts… oh you have NO IDEA what their desserts are all about unless you’ve been there yourself in person staring through that glass case filled with what seems like unlimited options of raw cakes and pies, baked yummies of goodness, cookies, quinoa bars dipped in chocolate, truffles made with cacao… yes, yes and yes!

Every day there was something different in that glass case. And yes, there is such a thing as healthy desserts and this restaurant was one amongst many that certainly had them all!

Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie and Tiramisu

Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie and Tiramisu

There are many restaurants throughout LA, Hollywood and the Long Beach areas (places I had the privilege of visiting) that contains pure vegan options with everything organic and made-from-scratch, no preservatives or artificial anything. When it comes to the way foods are prepared, they really seem to be ahead of the game.

To add to that, I dined at several restaurants and the prices for meals were reasonable, even at my favorite Cafe Gratitude (one more reason I kept going back for more).

Not only was I hooked on Cafe Gratitude because of the positive vibe and lovely words of encouragement posted everywhere such as on their bottles of water, menu items (the names of their menu items are positive words such as Inspired, Abundant and Peace), walls throughout the restaurant and even in their restrooms…

… I couldn’t stop dining at this place because I really wanted to try as many dishes as I possibly could. Such clean and fresh dishes with lots of fruits and veggies, I made sure to dine there every single day .  Lucky for me, I learned they had two additional restaurant locations throughout the areas which made it that much easier to visit.  😉

Trusting Tempeh Scramble and Open-Hearted Gluten-Free Pancakes

Trusting Tempeh Scramble and
Open-Hearted Gluten-Free Pancakes

But I digress.

The reason I am sharing my gratitude for Cafe Gratitude is because the first day I dined there, I decided to try their Open-Hearted menu item which is the gluten-free pancakes made with buckwheat and flax seeds.

Totally new to me, I’ve never heard of such pancakes before.

They even offered toppings of fruits and whipped coconut cream.

Give me both please!

Did I mention this place was a food heaven (just in case I didn’t, I thought I’d mention it again).  🙂

Now for those of you who have tried buckwheat before, you would know that it can be an accustomed taste as can anything else that is new to the palate.  For those of you who have never tried buckwheat, I say give it a try!  It’s pretty good stuff!  😛

I love and I mean I really love pancakes, but I’ve had to somewhat give them up due to a gluten food intolerance.

The Open-Hearted Gluten-Free Pancakes were so fantastic that I started anticipating what I was going to do when I returned back to Orlando.

Sunita Sukhraj

Bonita Breakfast Taco Plate and Rooibos Tea

I mean, I wish I could’ve taken this restaurant back with me.  I would be grateful if they delivered from California to Florida (hint hint), lol!  😉

However, I am extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to experience such a wonderful place to dine and I’m even more grateful that Cafe Gratitude has introduced me to gluten-free vegan pancakes which tasted remarkable and has given me hope for reintroducing pancakes back into my diet.

So the time has obviously come for me to start searching for gluten-free vegan pancake recipes made with buckwheat and flax seeds.

After going through several on the Internet, I found something that peaked my interests due to the clean ingredients.

After making these today, I must admit that I really enjoyed them!  Six pancakes later, I decided it’s worth sharing the recipe with everyone! 😀

Below is a fantastic recipe I came across from YumUniverse.  It is very easy to make. Just put all of the ingredients into a blender and blend.  Be sure to try this one and let me know what you think!  😛



  • 1 cup organic buckwheat flour (I used sprouted organic buckwheat flour)
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1/4 tsp aluminum-free baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
  • 6 pitted dates (or 3 Medjool dates pitted)
  • 1 1/2 cups pure water
  • 1/4 cup raw organic cashews
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of fine ground sea salt
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Coconut oil for pan


  1. Blend all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender.
  2. Heat up a frying pan on medium-high heat and brush with some coconut oil making sure the entire pan is covered in coconut oil.
  3. Pour batter into the frying pan.  I chose to do four small pancakes at a time but you can make larger pancakes if you’d like.


4. When air bubbles start to form and the edges of the pancakes are dry, flip the pancakes over.


5. When the pancakes are finished, remove from the heat.

6. Serve with fruits, maple syrup, agave nectar, coconut nectar, whipped coconut cream, etc.


If you are on the Clean Program cleanse, guess what? This is totally cleanse-friendly!  You can choose to enjoy these as is, or top with a drizzle of coconut nectar and/or fruits!

ANDDDDDD for those of you who will be making a trip to the Los Angeles area in California, don’t forget to check out Cafe Gratitude, my number one spot! I promise, you will enjoy fulfilling healthy food that your body and soul will absolutely love!  Oh YES, and your mind, for you will leave there with lots of positive encouraging thoughts!  😉


This recipe is a slightly modified version of the following:

Posted in Articles, Breakfast, Clean Program, Gluten-Free, Recipes, Travel, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments