Open-Faced Peanut Butter & Jelly

Open-Faced Peanut Butter & Jelly

There’s nothing like a pb&j, especially when you’re craving something sweet and comforting. This version is sure to please adults and children alike. It’s nutrient-dense, much lower in sugar and fat, oil-free, more filling, and provides an antioxidant boost. Plus, you’ll learn my healthy hack for more than doubling the quantity of peanut butter for half the calories without sacrificing the flavor and texture. Here’s my healthy take on a classic favorite. 


2 slices of bread of your choice, toasted
1 tbsp natural peanut butter
2 tbsp plain peanut butter powder
4 tbsp water
3/4 cup frozen blueberries or strawberries, warmed (or use fresh, if preferred)
1-2 tsp maple syrup


1. Warm the berries in a saucepan or in the microwave. You want them to hold their shape but become slightly juicy, not cooked down heavily like a compote.

2. Toast bread. I used two slices of low sodium Ezekiel bread.

3. In a bowl, mix peanut butter with peanut butter powder and 3 tbsp water, reserving the rest of the water if needed to achieve desired consistency. The mixture should create a spreadable yet still thick peanut butter consistency. 

Note: If you don’t mind the extra calories and fat, you can skip the pb powder and just use more peanut butter, of course.

4. Spread 3/4 of the peanut butter spread over the toast, then top with berries.

5. In the bowl, whisk together remaining peanut butter spread, 1/2-1 tbsp water, and 1-2 tsp of maple syrup to taste. This will create a sweet sauce that also looks beautiful as a garnish to this dish. Drizzle the mixture over the top of your open-faced sandwich.

Yields 1 serving. Enjoy!

No-Bake Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge Cups

No-Bake Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge Cups

If you’re looking for a healthy, peanut buttery treat made with minimal ingredients, look no further. These chocolate peanut butter fudge cups can be frozen and enjoyed like a hard shell peanut butter cup or thawed in the fridge for more of a fudge-like consistency. I prefer the latter. They are so yummy at that partially soft, fudgey consistency. This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and oil-free.


2/3 bar of vegan dark baking chocolate (I used 4 large squares of Dagoba unsweetened dark baking chocolate.)

1/2 – 1 cup unsweetened cashew milk (or plant milk of choice)

2 scoops vegan chocolate Shakeology (or protein powder of your choice) The flavor of Shakeology really makes this treat extra delicious.

2-3 tablespoons maple syrup, to taste

6 tbsps natural peanut butter


1. Melt chocolate with 1/2 a cup of plant milk in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave. Settings will vary, so keep an eye on the chocolate, occassionally pausing the microwave to check and mix the chocolate. You will want the chocolate to be fully melted and creamy once stirred.

2. Next, add in Shakeology and maple syrup and mix well to combine. If the mixture is clumpy add more plant milk to achieve a very thick brownie-like consistency. You don’t want to make the mixture too runny, because since this is an oil-free recipe, it won’t hold together with too much liquid.

3. In a silicone muffin tray, place a heaping tbsp of chocolate mixture into each cup (recipe yields 6). Spread evenly coating the bottom of each cup.

4. Place a dollop of peanut butter on top of each chocolatey base. Lift and tap the muffin container on the countertop to evenly spread out the peanut butter, or use a spoon to spread it around.

5. Evenly top the cups with the remaining chocolate. Use a spoon to evenly spread the chocolate to the edges of each cup.

6. Place in the freezer for 3-4 hours. You can enjoy these treats at more of a semisoft fudgey consistency or fully hardened, more like a peanut butter cup. After they set, you can store them in the freezer or refrigerator.

Servings: 6

For more information about vegan Shakeology, health, fitness, the plant-based lifestyle, or working with me as your health and fitness coach, please reach out to me at or find me on Instagram @sproutnblossom.

Smoky Chickpea Salad

Smoky Chickpea Salad

This is a delicious and healthy alternative to tuna salad. I like to use this on sandwiches, in wraps, on top of salads, or even by itself. This recipe is a winner for kids’ lunches too.


3 cups chickpeas (cooked and drained)
4 tsp dijon mustard
4 tsp vegan mayo*
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp real, cultured dill relish
1/8 tsp liquid smoke**
sea salt and pepper to taste

*You can make your own vegan mayo or use store bought.

**If you don’t have liquid smoke, you can use smoked paprika instead of regular paprika in the recipe. The flavor will be a bit different though.


1. Pulse chickpeas in a food processor until they are all broken up and resemble a crumble. Do not over-process; we are not making hummus, right?

2. In a large bowl, combine the ground chickpeas with all of the other ingredients and mix together with a fork.

3. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. This keeps for one week.


Homemade Vegan Marshmallow Whip

Homemade Vegan Marshmallow Whip

Yes. A vegan marshmallow whip you can make at home to use on top of tasty treats like hot cocoa. This recipe has been circulating the blogosphere made with a variety of ingredients. I used three simple ingredients, but the trick is…you need to be patient and invest some time into this creation. It took me 20 minutes of using the hand mixer to achieve the desired consistency. Nonetheless, this would also be a fun recipe to make with children. I think they will be amazed to watch the process unfold.

Aquafaba (This is the liquid from one standard 15 oz can of chickpeas or white beans.)
1/2 cup of sugar
A few drops of vanilla extract


1. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, put in all of the ingredients and mix on high. I used a hand mixer for this, but if you have a stand mixer, you can set it up and do something else while it whips together. Note, the volume will quadruple by the end.

2. Whip ingredients for 16-20 minutes to achieve the desired consistency.

That’s it!

Initially, I thought, “This is never going to work.” But by 12 minutes in, I was pleasantly surprised at what the chickpea water and sugar turned into. And by minute 18, it was excellent.

In the end, I used mine on top of hot cocoa and dusted it with cinnamon. It was worth the 20 minutes of using the hand mixer.

You can cover any leftovers and store in the fridge, but you will have to remix it again, as it will gradually separate.


Cranberry Almond Quinoa Porridge

Cranberry Almond Quinoa Porridge

Did you know that cranberries are excellent for cleansing kidneys and boosting the immune system? I wanted to try something new for breakfast today, and wow this quinoa porridge I put together is so delicious and warming for the cold winter months. I hope you enjoy it too.

1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut sugar
1 drop almond extract
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
cranberries, almonds, and cacao nibs for garnish (optional)


1. In a medium saucepan, bring the almond milk, cranberries, quinoa, and maple syrup to a boil, mixing often.

2. Reduce heat and let simmer for 5-7 minutes, stirring occassionallly. It will thicken.

3. Once the cranberries have softened a bit and the porridge thickens, turn off the heat.

4. Stir in the coconut sugar, almond extract, and pumkin pie spice.

5. Leave to thicken in the pot for a few minutes.

6. Serve hot or warm in a bowl topped with almonds, cacao nibs, and a few cranberries.

This recipe serves 1, but can easily be doubled or tripled. You can also reduce or add liquid depending on your consistency preferences. Enjoy!

Ethical Gift Giving

Ethical Gift Giving

This week, I rewatched the documentary film Living on One Dollar, which illustrates the lives of people who live in extreme poverty. The film also documents the day-to-day experiences of farmers, day laborers, and artisans in Guatemala. It is the type of film that really puts things into perspective for those of us who have plenty.

As we enter the holiday season, I want to share the importance of considering our purchases in every way, shape, and form – and moreover, spread awareness about ethically made and fair trade gifts. There may be fair trade stores such as 10,000 Villages in your local area that you can look into, but those are unfortunately rare. For me, one of my most favorite ethical companies is a customized, handcrafted jewelry subscription box called Worldly Box. I have talked about them once in the past on my YouTube channel; they offer a beautiful gift option that your loved ones will get so much out of, and the best part is, the items support talented global artisans who are paid a fair wage. These are not items that can be found at any mall or by making impulse purchases at big box retailers.

Below, I have shared photos of what was in my box this month. What is neat about this is, the box is curated based on your style specifications, and the items make beautiful gifts individually, or you can purchase a gift subscription for your friends and family members so they will receive a surprise in the mail! And each piece is really special, because they will have the opportunity to learn about the person who made it.

I spoke with the founder, Veronica, and she shared a 20% off coupon code with me that is good thru Dec 25th, but orders have to be placed by Dec 4th, 2016, if you want your gifts to be received by Christmas. The discount makes it even more affordable than it already is.

Holiday Discount Code:
“SANTASCOMING” 20% off all gifts – You can order your gifts here

How beautiful are these pieces of art? I cannot wait to wear the pink earrings for New Year’s and the gorgeous blue pouch will be a change purse for me. I just adore it. I have very little by way of jewelry, accessories, and clothes, because I like to live simply, so I truly appreciate every piece I have and wear it with joy in my heart, knowing that they are made by hand.

No matter what gifts you decide on making or gifting this holiday season, I hope you choose options that are special and where the people who made them are paid fairly for their talents, so that they can also enjoy time with their families and experience a better quality of life. We all deserve that.

And if you watch the film Living on One Dollar, please comment and let me know your thoughts on the film. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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Thank you for reading and sharing!

Mary Signature


Sweet Potato Toast That Can Be Made in a Toaster

Sweet Potato Toast That Can Be Made in a Toaster

‚ÄčI cannot take credit for the brilliant idea of cooking sliced sweet potato in a regular toaster. I have to wonder if these potentially accidental or perhaps purposeful strokes of genius take place when people are stoned, drunk and hungry. “Dude, what if sweet potatoes could be toasts?”

Nonetheless, I am thankful to whoever came up with the sweet potato toast idea (because it is delicious). Here is my take on the recipe.


1 Japanese sweet potato*, sliced lengthwise
1 small avocado sliced (or guacamole)
1/4 cup chopped tomato
1/4 cup black beans
3 tbsp chopped green onions
3 tbsp roasted corn (not pictured)
sea salt and pepper, to taste

*Japanese sweet potato is incredibly delicious in this recipe, but if you cannot find those, regular orange sweet potatoes are great too.


1. Slice raw sweet potato lengthwise in 1/4-1/2 an inch thick slices, depending on your preference.

2. Place two slices of the sweet potato in a regular toaster, as you would two slices of toast, and toast on high 2-3 times, depending on your toaster. The outside will be lightly toasted and crispy and the inside should be fully cooked. Perfection. You can also make these in a toaster oven instead.

3. Top with your desired toppings. This time, I used avocado, tomato, black beans, green onions, sea salt and pepper. Roasted corn would be outrageous too.

Sweet potatoes are satiating, healthy, and a nutrient-dense replacement to toast, so you really cannot go wrong here.