I’m having a love affair. I have been on a salad kick lately where I am eating some form of lettuce at almost every meal. I will look at a meal and then throw it on top of a bed of lettuce with some balsamic and call it a day! I am loving the crunch or romaine, the textures of spring mix and the freshness of a peppery arugula. I have even been eating it as my afternoon snack instead of having a piece of fruit or half an avocado – yes, you heard me right. Seems everything I pin on Pinterest is some form of a salad and I continually drool as I am looking at the pictures. This is not the norm for me – although you may think so from reading my blog. Normally I drool over some form of chocolate cake with a creamy, fluffy icing (kind of like this one) or an oozing egg on top of fresh bread with several slices of bacon…but in a classy way…bacon can be classy, right? Totally…could be the baby talking at this point…
Anyways, point is I have been eating a variety of salads. I usually keep it simple for my dressing – using just straight up balsamic vinegar or one like this Dijon lemon dressing. I have wanted to make a creamy dressing but not really feeling the heavy mayo. I could of course make a yogurt based alternative like I have done in the past with this dip but I wanted to try to kick it up a notch in how nutritious this could be with very simple ingredients. Ones that I believe all of you would have in your pantry/fridge. And would it be possible to do plant-based? What?!? AM I blowing your mind right now?!?
Enter pumpkin seeds.
Yup – that’s right. I made a dressing from pumpkin seeds that looks like traditional Caesar salad dressing (I think) and tastes just as good! Are you excited yet?!?! K, that’s alright because I know once you make this dressing you will be like “HOLY HANNAH THIS TASTES FREAKIN’ AWESOME!!!!!”…one of those ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter’ kind of moments – but in this case you can’t believe it’s not eggs.
What makes this healthy? Well, pumpkin seeds are one of the highest plant-based sources of iron – and for women we need all the iron we can get. Pair this dressing with the fresh lemon juice (high in vitamin C) and your body will easily absorb the iron. Enjoy this nut-free, vegan, healthy Caesar salad dressing! I sure did!
½ cup filtered water (or more depending on what consistency you want your dressing)
In a skillet on medium low heat, slowly toast pumpkin seeds, stirring frequently so they don’t burn. About 10mins (feel free to taste test – when they are done they taste richer). Remove from heat and let cool.
In your food processor with the ‘S’ blade, place pumpkin seeds and remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy.
Stir in with romaine lettuce and serve with a slice of fresh lemon!
After creating this recipe I got the idea from Healthful Pursuit to use the dressing as a marinade on some turkey I had in the freezer. I was pleasantly surprised at how good this worked on meat! So even if you are not a big fan of salads, you can try this out on some meat and add even more iron to your diet!
Being a mother is a gift. I recognize that for some women, they never want to receive this gift and for other women it is the only gift they wish they could receive, but physically cannot. After going through 6 rounds of heavy chemotherapy I was told that it would be extremely hard for me to become a mother – to have that gift in my life. And although some days I want to rip my hair out or call it a day – leave my child on the doorstep with a sign that says “Take me – I’ve used my penis like a fire hose all over my mother’s couch and thought it was HI-LARIOUS! …she did not” – most days are full of awesome moments that make my heart smile.
Like the first time Q said “Momma”.
Or watching him figure out how to zip his jacket up without any help.
And when conversations with him went from single word sentences to full on subject, verb, noun, adjective and all the things that make up sentence with some extras thrown in there just for fun
Or watching the wheels turn in his head when we took him to his first symphony. He watched quietly and instinctively clapped at all the silent places in the music – regardless of whether it was the end of the song – because he thought it was awesome to hear something as brilliant as Beethoven.
Or like last night, when I was putting little Q down for bed and he wanted to give me kisses on my cheeks, eyes, lips, my elbow (I knew he was procrastinating at that point) and my belly. Yes, he wanted to give my baby belly a good-night kiss. Another gift, given to me this past winter, which is why I was feeling the way I did – my hormones were all over the place because I’d been blessed with another little one. A baby girl who will join our team in the early fall.
This Mother’s Day I wanted to create a dessert that I absolutely love but have a fresh take on it. There is nothing stopping you from using a crust made from cookie crumbs or a filling made from real cream cheese. I have nothing against that (I could eat half the traditional version of this cake that comes from the bakery it tastes so good). I wanted to try this as a vegan, gluten-free option just for the hell of it. I love the challenge that vegan, gluten-free baking gives me and I am always amazed when the recipes turn out! This tastes luxurious – with a rich chocolate cookie crumble that could be eaten all on its own, a smooth silky filling with a hint of Irish cream and a light topping of whipped cream – these little babies are sure to please any mother on Mother’s Day. To all the moms (or moms-to-be) out there, have a wonderful Mother’s Day!