Gather Around the Table with PlateJoy

I love this company, and wanted to share a special February deal which they are running…

Some of the fondest memories you can have are usually made around the dinner table. It’s a time to disconnect from the world and connect as a family. There’s just something about good conversation, good food, and laughter and PlateJoy will help you create these moments.

What is PlateJoy? Well, it’s only the best thing to come from the meal plan craze! Unlike the usual meal kit subscriptions, offers more flexibility with personalized plans that include recipes and grocery lists to make cooking easy. They even offer optional ingredient delivery when you want it, with no packaging waste, and at a more affordable price too.

Simply take the lifestyle quiz on their site to help them understand what suits you and your family best. Once completed, you’ll receive a custom plan that’s right for you! This can include quick and easy dinners, slow cooker recipes to really take the work out of it, and even kid-friendly options. The choices are truly amazing, and you will love bringing the family together for a nice home-cooked meal.

Also, with Valentine’s Day basically here, PlateJoy makes the perfect last-minute gift. They say that a couple that cooks together, stays together, so grab your meal plan subscription today! You’ll even save $20 off your PlateJoy membership with code COOKWYOU through 2/20/18.

So, whether it’s a family affair or just dinner for two, let PlateJoy take the stress out of cooking for you! Find out more at

Get Started Today!

Vegan Date Oat Bars

My version of Vegan Date Oat Bars before cutting down into bar sized pieces.

One evening in October, when I was post-photo shoot, starving and tired, I walked into Vintage Grocer in Malibu. I was definitely in the mood to forage for food, so I hit the hot foods section and chose a chicken curry dish. However, my sweet tooth was asserting itself, so I wandered over to the vegan baked goods section. My reasoning was that I would probably be able to find something decently edible in that area which wasn’t too decadent. My gaze landed on a vegan dat oat bar, and it sounded kind of tasty to me, so I selected it.

By some miracle, I waited until I got home to sample the date oat bar. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting much. I thought it would be good but not mind-blowing.

I took the first bite. WOW.

It was absolutely delicious!

Since then, I have purchased the bar two more times. I have been determined to figure out the exact ratios which make their bars so delectable, but I’ve only experimented twice with my own guess on a recipe which might replicate theirs closely.

The bars I have made have been quite tasty, and I swear I will figure out how to make them as incredible as the ones from Vintage Grocer. I still can’t figure out how Vintage Grocer keeps their bars from crumbling, and I still have to place mine in the refrigerator to set before I cut them into bars.

Here’s my interpretation of these incredible bars:


1. Date Layer:
• 3 cups water
• 3 cups chopped pitted dates
• 8-10 frozen dark cherries, chopped
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2. Bottom Layer:
• 3/4 cup gluten free flour/almond meal blend
• 2/3 cup shredded coconut
• ¼ cup sunflower lecithin
• 1 cup (packed) organic dark brown sugar
• 1-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
• 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
• ¼ teaspoon baking soda
• ¼ teaspoon sea salt
• ¼ cup sunflower lecithin
• ¼ cup vegan butter
• ¼ cup olive oil
3. Top Layer:
• ¾ cup gluten free flour/almond meal blend
• 2/3 cup shredded coconut
• ¼ cup sunflower lecithin
• 1-1/4 cup (packed) organic dark brown sugar
• 1-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
• 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
• ¼ teaspoon baking soda
• ¼ teaspoon sea salt
• ¼ cup sunflower lecithin
• ¼ cup vegan butter
• ¼ cup olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 8×8-inch metal baking pan. Bring water to simmer in medium saucepan. Add dates and cherries; simmer until very soft and thick, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Stir in vanilla.

2. Bottom and top layers:
Combine flour, coconut, sugar, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in two large bowls; stir to blend. Add lecithin and oil. Using fingertips, rub in until moist clumps form. Bottom layer mixture evenly over bottom of pan which has been sprayed with non-stick spray.

Spread date mixture evenly over bottom layer.

Add top layer, and press gently to adhere. Bake until brown at edges and golden brown and set in center, about 50-55 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack, then place in refrigerator for two hours to set.

Remove from refrigerator, cut into bars and serve.

Cake Heaven!

If you click on the link below and scroll through it, you will definitely crave dessert! These 17 tasty sweet treats are incredibly decadent! I have added images of a few of the desserts featured on this link. Somebody had better hurry up and have a birthday, and not when anyone is in the middle of show prep!

S’mores Cake (YUM):

S'mores Cake

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate-Chip Buttercream and Chocolate Ganache:

Chocolate cake with buttercream and chocolate ganache

I am including the donut cake because it is so ridiculous. Thankfully, I don’t like donuts, so this one isn’t torture for me at all:

Donut Cake

Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes

Originally published on on Thursday, 03 October 2013

Food prep continues to be a tedious process for me, despite the fact that it is a regular occurrence. I am sure many of you can relate to such woes and are searching for ways to cut prep time down so you can take care of more important things in life. Usually I roast sweet potatoes in the oven, but I was particularly unmotivated the other evening and decided to adopt a lazy approach while still using the delicious marinade I typically mix up. I use a heavy hand with the spices because I want that holiday flavor, so you might want to cut down the portion of spices if you want a more basic flavor.

I usually avoid using the slow cooker because food items tend to get mushy, but as long as the potatoes are cut into large sections, that should not occur. Another bonus is that your place will smell incredible when these are cooking!

olive oilIngredients:

5 pounds sweet potatoes or yams, washed and cut into large cubes

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice

1 tablespoon cinnamon


Place sweet potato crock potsweet potato sections into a clean plastic bag. Mix remaining ingredients together, then pour into bag. Twist bag so that it is securely closed, then shake it so that the potatoes are evenly coated with the marinade mixture.

Open bag and pour contents into slow cooker. Add 1 cup water and set cooker on low.
sweet potato crock pot

Vegan Brownies

I want to thank Denet Lewis for sharing his amazing Paleo Coconut Brownie recipe to his TV viewers and to me. They are absolutely delicious! However, they are very calorie dense, so I decided to make these brownies with applesauce instead of whole eggs and was delighted at what I ended up with. These brownies are not too sweet, very chocolatey and have a great brownie texture while still remaining pretty moist. This is, however, a drier brownie, so don’t expect an extremely moist version. If you are not concerned about the caloric content and you like the flavor of coconut, I have added the option of flaked coconut to my version of Denet’s recipe.

This recipe is ideal for vegans, but it also slashes some of the calories that whole eggs would provide. Part of me struggles with the fact that the protein content drops significantly due to the replacement of whole eggs with applesauce, and of course there is the issue of an additional 56 grams of carbohydrates in the entire dish, but this is a nice option for those more concerned about calorie content. Enjoy!


IFBB Pro Stacey Naito’s Version Of Denet Lewis’ Paleo Coconut Brownies

1-2/3 cups unsweetened applesauce
1 cup coconut sugar
½ cup coconut flour, sifted1/3 cup coconut oil
½ cup cocoa powder
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup 63% cocoa chips

½ cup flaked coconut


Mix applesauce and sugar together, then slowly add in flour. Melt coconut oil and add cocoa powder slowly until mixed in, stirring constantly. Add oil mixture to applesauce mixture and stir, then add vanilla extract. Add chocolate chips to mixture. If desired, add coconut to mixture.

Pour mixture into greased baking pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.