Vegan Pumpkin Bread Recipe 

I love baking with pumpkin! After several attempts I have finally developed a pumpkin bread recipe that I like. It is very easy to make and does not require many ingredients. I usually prefer to bake without oil, refined sugar and gluten, so this recipe is free of all of those … although I am also including an optional cashew icing that does use sugar. 

This bread tastes even better when it is cold – you can refrigerate it for several days. And it is so versatile – it can be an easy breakfast that you prepare beforehand, or with the icing it can be a perfect desert. 

Pumpkin Bread ~ Vegan, Gluten Free, Oil Free, Refined Sugar Free

Ingredients: 

– 2 cups gluten free oat flour (you can buy it premade or make your own by blending oats) 

– 1 cup pumpkin purée (Farmer’s Market is my favorite brand)

– 14 dates pitted & mashed into paste (soak beforehand if necessary) 

– 3 tbsp applesauce 

– 1 teaspoon vanilla 

– 4 tsp cinnamon

– 2 tsp ginger 

– 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 

– 1/4 teaspoon allspice

– 1/8 teaspoon cloves 

I purchased all of the ingredients for this recipe from Thrive Market. I love Thrive Market because I can buy organic food online at wholesale prices. Get 25% off your first order here: 

http://thrv.me/Zg1oQj

You can either make this recipe with a food processor or without one. It is really helpful  to use a food processor if your dates are not as fresh and soft, since that would make it difficult to mash them on your own. 

So, you can either put all of the ingredients in a food processor and just mix it that way (so quick and easy, but you may have to do two batches depending on the size of the food processor) or you can mix it all up yourself in a bowl (you may need to soak the dates beforehand if they are not soft). You could also just process the dates in the food processor, mix the rest in a bowl, and then combine it. 

Bake the bread for 30 minutes at 350.

An optional addition is this delicious, creamy cashew frosting. 

Cashew Frosting Ingredients:

– 1/4 cup raw cashew butter

– 3 tbsp powdered sugar 

– 2 tsp water

– 1/2 tsp vanilla 

I hope you enjoy this recipe. I love that it is so simple to make – and I just love pumpkin (more pumpkin recipes are definitely coming soon). 
What are your favorite ways to use pumpkin in your baking and cooking? 

Plant Baskets

I think plants look lovely in baskets – inside or outside, there is just something so natural about baskets as an alternative to ordinary planters. Of course, even with a basket you will still need some kind of pot (as you cannot plant directly in a basket).

Here I will be focusing on baskets for indoor plants – baskets that are alternatives to traditional planters or plant stands. There are so many beautiful plant baskets to choose from – here are some different brands, styles, colors and sizes.


1. DUFMOD Woven Seagrass Basket

These baskets are available in three sizes. They are made from sustainably grown seagrass and are handwoven. I love the different color options! The natural color is probably my favorite, but they also have aquamarine blue and white.

2. Deco 79 Seagrass Baskets

This set of 3 baskets is perfect for displaying several different sized plants. I love the beige color, and I think the clean, simple shape would go well with other minimal decor.

3. Jeteven Seagrass Basket

This seagrass basket could be used for a larger plant. I do like the pattern, although it probably would not work in every space.

4. Jeteven Large Basket

This is another large basket. It is the same brand and style as the last one, but this basket has a slightly less pronounced pattern, so I think it would be more versatile.

5. Minimino Basket

This is another large seagrass basket, but it is slightly different because it is solid black – I had never seen a black plant basket until I came across this one.

6. KINGSO Basket

These baskets have a very natural, imperfect look to them … which I really love. I think that this style might actually be my favorite. They are available in two sizes and are actually foldable – so it would be very easy to store one of these.

7. Kouboo Planter Basket

I love the texture of this basket. It is large enough for an indoor tree – I think a fiddle leaf fig would look so beautiful in this basket.

How to Start a Container Herb Garden 

Maybe you don’t have space in your garden, or don’t have a garden. Maybe you would like the convenience of having fresh herbs right outside your door, or right inside your kitchen. Maybe it is too cold outside.

There are so many reasons why you might prefer to grow herbs in containers, either inside or outside. I simply wanted to save space in my garden for more vegetables – so I decided to plant herbs in pots.

You can grow herbs in containers outside, or you can start an indoor herb garden.

The Containers

You can use anything for a container, but it does need to allow for drainage. You can grow several different types of herbs all together in one larger container or pot, or you can use smaller pots. If you are only planting one type of herb in each you can really use any size container.

Herbs don’t need a lot space, since their root systems are not large. I could have used smaller containers for these – and if I had, the soil would not dry out so quickly, so it probably would have been a better choice. I just used what I happened to have at the time.



Seeds & Types of Herbs

You can grow herbs from seed or purchase plants. I prefer to plant seeds. However, if you don’t want to wait a few months for your herbs to grow from seed you might want to buy plants. Seeds are certainly less expensive though.

You can buy a pack with all different varieties from the Sustainable Seed Company. Most types of herbs will do well in containers. My favorites are basil, oregano, rosemary, cilantro, parsley, dill and chives.

Soil, Light & Water
A potting mix works best for plants in containers since it is lighter than the soil from your garden outside. Herbs need to be in full sunlight. If you are growing them indoors place the pots right by a south facing window, and if you have them on a patio or deck choose a spot in full sunlight. However, if you live in a very hot area you should probably move them to shade if the temperatures are too high for long periods of time, and check the soil more often because they will need lots of water.

Soil in containers will dry out quickly – especially in the summertime. So, you will of course need to water your herbs daily.

Flowering


You don’t want your herbs to flower – constantly harvesting should prevent this. As you can see my cilantro has flowered – I had not been picking it for a short time, and that combined with the heat caused it to flower rather quickly.

I have learned that it is best to grow cilantro for the leaves in either spring or fall, as it does not do well in the summer heat. But since I love coriander, I am not cutting off the flowers. I am going to let the flowers go to seed so that I will have coriander. Coriander is actually one of my favorite spices. However, if you like the leaves more than the seeds, don’t let the plant flower.

Harvesting


If you continually pick your herbs they will continue to grow. So, if you neglect to harvest then your herbs won’t do as well. And, as you can see, they will flower, which will change the taste of the leaves. If you are constantly picking your herbs then you won’t be as likely to have this problem. It is quite simple: if you pick more often then you will see more growth and have fuller, healthier plants.

How to Care for a String of Pearls Succulent 

The string of pearls is one of my favorite succulents. It is also very easy to care for – in fact, I have found that compared to most plants, it barely requires any care. 
Place your string of pearls in a spot where it will get enough sunlight. It does not need to be right beside a window. However, it does need light – so it should be near a window. 

You can also hang the plant from the wall or ceiling – just be sure it is near a window and getting light rather than in a dark corner. 


Water only when the soil is dry. The pearls can also be a good indicator of when the plant needs water. When you see one start to shrivel, it is time to water. But do not water your plant any more often than this – overwatering will harm your string of pearls. 

I probably only water my string of pearls about once a month. They really do not need as much water as most other indoor plants. 


If you have any questions about caring for a string of pearls succulent just leave a comment below. 

Kale & Apple Salad 

I love the combination of kale, apples, carrots and radishes – the sweetness of the apples along with the other flavors is so delicious. 


I also added several other ingredients – all together they really make this such a wonderful summer salad! I used fresh herbs and some vegetables from my garden. And I made a simple oil free dressing using just a few ingredients. 


The Salad Ingredients 

  • Kale
  • 1 Apple 
  • 1 Carrot
  • Radishes
  • Peas
  • A Small Onion
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Dill



The OilFree Dressing

  • 2 tsp Raw, Unfiltered Red Wine Vinegar 
  • 1/4 tsp Dijon Mustard 
  • Dried Cilantro 
  • Lemon Juice 


Are there any salads that you love making in the summer? Leave a comment to let me know what some of your favorites are – I love to try new salads.


6 Essential Beauty Products for Summer – Vegan & Cruelty Free 

Here are a few products that are my summer essentials. 


Andalou Naturals Lotion

Protect your skin from the summer sun with this lotion – the SPF 18 is so sheer and weightless that it is easy to forget I have anything on my face. On brighter days I use the SPF 30.

Dr Bonner’s Lip Balm

Dr Bonner’s is one of my favorite brands, and this natural peppermint lip balm is just wonderful.

Jack Black Lip Balm

This is my favorite lip balm for protecting my lips from the sun and wind – it is a liquid lip balm that is SPF 25.

Ecco Bella Mascara

This is a natural, vegan, cruelty free mascara that is available in both black and brown. I love this brand – they have so many wonderful vegan products. 

Urban Decay Concealer

This is my favorite concealer – it is vegan and I managed to find a shade that matches my skin perfectly.

Low Maintenance Indoor Plants

My favorite indoor plants are the ones that require less care.

These plants are all good options if you are busy and do not have a lot of time to care for plants, or if your plants always seem to be dying. Of course, these still require care and attention – but they are a bit more forgiving and harder to kill than some other options.

Here are my favorite low maintenance plants:

Spider Plant


Spider plants are very easy to care for – simply water your plant when the soil is dry. Place your spider plant in bright indirect light. Prune your plant occasionally to keep it at your preferred size.

Jade Plant


Jade plants are beautiful and low maintenance. Do not let the soil dry fully – keep it moderately dry, but not completely dry. Water your plant more in the summer and less in the winter. It is important to not let the soil dry out, but you should not overwater.

Ivy


I love English Ivy – it is such a beautiful plant. Ivy needs to be placed in bright, indirect light. You should water your ivy when the soil feels dry. So, you will probably need to water it once every few days – maybe less depending on the plant. Periodically spray or wash the leaves to remove dust, dirt and spider mites. Misting the leaves will also prevent them from drying out.

Succulents


These are some of my favorite types of succulents. I water my succulents about once a week. Water them thoroughly and then let them dry out before you water again. And make sure they are getting enough bright light – place them right by a window.

Tiny Cacti


This is a pincushion cactus – a small cactus is another good choice if you are looking for a low maintenance plant.