Vegan Cashew Cheese Sauce

My children often refer to it as “nacho cheese,” but this vegan cashew cheese sauce can be so much more!  We have used it to top baked potatoes, chili, and tacos.  It is great as a sandwich spread, and we try to have it on hand when grilling burgers and hot dogs.  We enjoy using it as a dip for fresh vegetables.

Oh, I forgot to mention.  If you mix this cashew cheese sauce into warm pasta (make sure to choose a small, sturdy pasta), it makes a perfect vegan mac and cheese!Vegan Cashew Cheese Sauce

Vegan Cashew Cheese Sauce
Recipe type: sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 12 ounce can of cashews
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 medium lemon (juice from)
  • 1 roasted red pepper (jarred)
  • ½ cup water
  1. Reserving the water, place all other items in a food processor or high speed blender.
  2. Pulse or run on low setting to break down cashews and combine ingredients.
  3. If using a Vitamix with a hot soup setting you may add in water and use your preset.
  4. If using a food processor or high speed blender without a heat setting, you will want to heat your water before adding it in. (This will help activate the cornstarch.) Blend on high until sauce is a creamy consistency.


Vegan Potato Chip Cookies

Vegan Potato Chip CookiesWhen I moved into my first apartment, my mom gave me a recipe box filled with blank cards.  At that point in my life, “winging it” and “semi-homemade” were my mottos in cooking.  I asked her to write down her recipe for potato chip cookies in case I wanted to venture into the world of baking from scratch.  I have been a vegetarian for almost nine years now and a vegan for over six of those years, so almost all of my baking is now done from scratch.  When I heard that my mom was making these cookies for Christmas, I decided to make vegan potato chip cookies.  A quick peek at the recipe for a refresher, I realized that it would be easy to make a vegan version as it didn’t require eggs. Continue reading →

Vegan Stuffed Shells

There have been a lot of things that I have learned from my grandmother (referred to from here on out as “Granny”).  Some tidbits of knowledge aren’t really applicable in my current life; like a plastic bag can work in a pinch if you are stuck in a storm and need to protect your perm.  The lessons and values that carry the most weight are those related to family.  Sunday dinners are mandatory, and you must always cook enough food to feed a small army.  Same goes for any holiday gathering or any event where friends and family come together.  And Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter aren’t complete without a stuffed pasta dish.

Vegan Stuffed Shells

That is why it was a no-brainer for me to make stuffed shells for Granny’s wake back in June.  Pasta dishes were already well represented (hello, eight billion pounds of baked ziti), but we needed something for the lactose intolerant and vegan members of the family.  The stuffed shells were a hit, and without the deterring label of “vegan” they were the first dish to disappear.

Review: Jamberry Nail Wraps

jamberry supplies

Recently I was contacted by my friend, Martha, asking if I would like to review Jamberry nail wraps.  I have known her over half my life and with our shared ideals on green living, I knew she wouldn’t steer me wrong.  I received free product in exchange for my review, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Jamberry Nails was formed by three sisters that wanted to offer a quicker way to have salon quality nails at home, for a fraction of the cost.  Jamberry nail wraps are gluten free, vegan, latex free, non-toxic and made in the USA.  They are made of vinyl and stick to your nails through heat and pressure.

I watched a couple video tutorials on youtube before I started the application process.  I decided to go with the rice pack method since my nails are curved and I heard it was easier.  I prepped my nails by pushing back my cuticles, buffing my nails, and wiping them with an alcohol wipe.  I held the wraps over my nails to try and figure out what size would work best for each finger.

jamberry nail wraps

As you can see, I overshot the size of my nails and covered up my cuticles.  I had a brief moment of panic before I settled in to start problem solving.  The spots where there was a lot of overhang, I trimmed.  I then pushed back my cuticles (which was a little difficult since I had already pushed them back when prepping my nails).  I sealed the fresh edges with my hair dryer, which confirmed that I preferred the rice bag method.

Two weeks went by, and I had countless moments where I thought they wouldn’t last.  Somedays I feel like I wash my hands more than doctors do.  Raising three children and taking care of ducks and chickens will do that to a person, I guess.  Yet the incessant hand washing didn’t effect the Jamberry wraps at all.  I even made pizza one of the nights and they stuck around after I hand-rolled pizza dough that had been coated in oil.  I like to live dangerously.

jamberry nail wraps after two weeks

I’m going to be honest.  It was hard waiting two weeks to change them because there was another sheet of wraps calling my name.  They definitely have an addicting quality to them.  Maeby and I went through the catalog and picked out our favorites, I dreamt of accent nails, and I wondered if my second application would go better than my first.

I soaked my nails in a bit of coconut oil, and massaged the Jamberry nail wraps off my fingers.  I decided to give my nails a break for a few hours because I wanted to see what they felt like after having Jamberry nail wraps on them for all that time.

My nails felt and looked awesome.  This was probably my favorite part of the experience.  My nails seemed healthier than when I wear polish.  I find that my nails chip easily and feel very brittle after having polish on them.  So not only are Jamberry nail wraps non toxic, I actually saw an improvement in my nails after wearing them.  That is a definite win in my book!

On my second application, I set out to remedy the overhang issue.  I had seen someone use transparent tape to mark the size and shape of their nail.  I tried it and made better matches for my nails.  I once again used the rice bag method and it took about half the time as my first application did.  I was very pleased with the results.

jamberry nail wraps second application

Jamberry offers a line of wraps for tiny fingers, too.  They come with two styles that can be used for up to six applications!  I have been looking through these to figure out which ones Maeby might like to find under the Christmas tree this year. (She is really found of the “snow & ice” which she has deemed as “Frozen”)

There are many great deals going on including a monthly style box  and buy 3 get 1 free on wraps (customs, collegiates, and sorority are excluded).  You could also sign up to host a party and get free perks.

You can visit Martha here to check out everything Jamberry Nails has to offer.


our visit to juju salon & organics

maeby at juju salon & organics


Disclosure: We received free services from Juju Salon & Organics, but all opinions are my own.

Recently we were invited to a media event at Juju Salon & Organics in Philadelphia.  Between the inspirational chalkboard and the cute window displays, we were smitten by the ambiance before we even stepped foot into the salon.  When we walked in we were greeted by a cozy waiting area to the left and a display of products that looked more like an Anthropologie display, not the usual industrial displays at salons I have been to in the past.

products at juju salon and organics

There was something lacking when we walked in the door, and I was very appreciative.  I noticed immediately that I wasn’t gasping for a breath of fresh air.  In fact, I found my breathing relaxed and tranquil.  I had been long turned off by the abrasive chemicals used in salons, and I was amazed by the fact that they only used products with low or no VOCs at Juju Salon & Organics.  Ammonia free hair coloring and no synthetic fragrances?  Sounds like a place I feel comfortable at.  Add to that the scents of lavender, sage, verbena, and peppermint and it sounds like a place you are going to have to drag me out of.

I spoke with Julie Ebner, the salon owner, while she used a soy based wax to clean up my eyebrows.  She is a vegan and mother to two girls, so she wanted to create a salon that was better for the environment and better for her clients.  Juju Salon & Organics is a very friendly place for young girls, too.  Maeby received her first official manicure while we were there.  They had a vast array of Zoya polishes to choose from, and Maeby chose a purple shade: “Hudson.”

maeby at juju salon and organics

Located in the back of the salon, the manicure stations look like a living room.  The dimmed lighting really helped relax Maeby.  I have never seen my little wiggle worm stay this still.  If she had her way, she would go back every day to get her nails painted.

maeby at juju salon and organics


We had a lovely time and would love to return again.

You can find the products Juju Salon & Organics sells online here.

And you can find the location and services here.

And you can read We’re Parents!? review here.