Yogurt Berry Melange


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YogurtMelange2Hosting is one of my favorite things to do, so it was no question that when my sister and her beau came to visit from the East Coast, we made them at home in our little apartment. I was so excited to plan our breakfast menu, breakfast has always been my favorite meal of the day and now I had the chance to prepare THREE breakfasts for our guests.

My sister is vegan, which I find exciting, because I usually try to spare Casey from cooking vegan all the time. But, now was my chance to revel in a vegan partner-in-crime! This yogurt melange hits all the notes, sweet, creamy, and crunchy. It was a hit! And as a bonus, this was a super quick and easy meal to prepare so that we could get on with our day packed with sight seeing.


Yogurt Berry Melange
Serves: 2
Total Time: 10 mins


  • 2 cups coconut yogurt (or yogurt of choice)
  • 1/2 cup berries, divided
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint


  1. Toast the sunflower seeds in a small pan over medium heat. Stir often and take them off as soon as they get fragrant, about 4-5 minutes.
  2. In a dish, place most of the berries and smash with the back of a fork until the juices flow. Reserve a few whole berries for topping.
  3. Layer it all into serving dishes. Begin by smearing the yogurt into the dishes. Scoop the berry-mash over the yogurt and divide the remaining berries over top. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and chopped mint. Drizzle with honey (warm it if you are using a thick, raw honey).

*note: most vegans do not eat honey as it is a animal product. You can substitute maple syrup, agave or omit it all together. The berries are sweet enough on their own!


Classic Creamy Hummus


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I love, love, love hummus. I began making my own hummus a few years ago out of sheer necessity. Buying $4 tubs was just not fitting in my budget any longer. And, well, I’ll spare you the details but I found something less than savory once, buried under the perfectly smoothed surface. That was the final nudge of motivation! It really does make a difference to use fresh chickpeas vs. canned. It’s actually very simple to do, it just requires a little bit more planning. When you have the chance, I urge you to give it a try. For more details and how to cook dried beans, check out my post Canned vs. Fresh, the BPA Factor.

Besides hummus being delicious, it’s packed with nutrition. If you look over the list of ingredients, almost everything is a 100% whole food item – exactly as it comes picked from the tree or ground, etc. The closest we are getting to a processed item is the tahini, which is just ground sesame seeds, no additives or preservatives. Sure, I could go the extra mile and grind my own paste, and yes that would provide more freshness but that’s just where I’ve drawn the line for myself at this point in my life. Perhaps I will take on that venture in the future, but for now this meets my standards. **In the same way, I encourage you to create your own standards for what is reasonable considering your given constraints, pushing yourself towards a goal without being overambitious. I’ve found when I get overambitious I get overwhelmed and the pendulum swings over into the land of ice-cream sundaes washed down with cookies and 4am heartburn. Let’s all take baby steps and be happy about it!**


Another nutritious element is the protein power of the chickpea (aka garbanzo bean). It is a legume, the category of plant foods that pack a lot of protein punch. They were a go-to for me while I ate vegan and will continue to remain an important part of my plant-based diet. One of the bonuses of eating protein from a plant source is that they are also really high in fiber. Two birds with one adorable little pea!

Classic Creamy Hummus
Serves: 8-10
Total Time: 15 minutes


  • 3 cups chickpeas (see cooking instructions here)
  • 1 cup cooking liquid, divided
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for finishing
  • paprika, for finishing
  • chopped parsley, for finishing


  • In the bowl of a food processor add chickpeas, 3/4 cup cooking liquid, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt and olive oil. Blend for a full minute.
  • Stop and test. Recipes like this are all about your preference. What you are looking for at this step is flavor. Add more lemon, cumin, salt as you wish.
  • Blend for another full minute. This might seem long, but just keep it going.
  • Stop and test again. What you are looking for here is texture. If the hummus is fluffy or pasty, add more cooking liquid. The end result should have the consistency almost as smooth as yogurt.
  • Blend for another full minute. Again, it seems like a lot, but it will just keep getting smoother.
  • When you’ve satisfied your taste and texture testing, scoop the hummus out into a dish. Give it a generous drizzle of olive oil and a dusting of paprika (smoked paprika is a delicious variation) and chopped parsley. Serve with warm pita or chopped veggies.

The recipe makes about 4 1/2 cups of hummus. It keeps for several days stored in the refrigerator in a covered dish, and it makes a really easy packed lunch!