It’s “Mint” To Be

After practicing yoga for almost 17 years, I just made the decision to enroll in the Yoga Teacher Training program at CorePower Yoga, starting this summer. It seems like all planets are finally aligning.

Photo Credit: All About Space magazine

At the start of the RnR Seattle Half Marathon #run #yoga #roga

To celebrate, I am sharing my favorite smoothie recipe. I am calling it “It’s Mint To Be”. This is my go-to recovery drink after an intensive hot yoga class or long distance run.

It’s simple, cool, refreshing, delicious and nutritious. I promise you won’t taste the spinach at all!

It's Mint To Be
Serves 1
Write a review
  1. 1 cup of almond milk *
  2. 2 handfuls of baby spinach
  3. 2 dates
  4. 1 large ripe banana, cut into chunks and frozen overnight
  5. 1 cup of ice cubes
  6. 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract**
  7. 1 teaspoon of Om, Organic Mushroom Nutrition Fit (optional) ***
  8. 1 tablespoon raw cacao nibs ( I like the brand Navitas)
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a high-speed blender, except the cacao nibs. Blend until smooth. Add the chocolate nibs and blend for 10 seconds to break them down.
  2. Pour into one large glass and garnish with mint leaves and chocolate nibs.
  3. Serve immediately.
  1. * For a nut-free version, use hemp milk and vanilla extract.
  2. ** You could use 1 drop of Young Living EO instead of the peppermint extract.
  3. *** OM:
Sunshine & Kale
Hope you enjoy it as much as I do! 

Love and Light!
~ Ciry at SunshineandKale

Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

These Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins are made with Aquafaba. What is Aquafaba? Literally, it means “water bean” in Latin. It’s the liquid that most of us pour down the drain after opening a can of chickpeas. It’s a great egg white substitute for confections such as cookies, cakes, brownies and also savory dishes too like mayonnaise, butter, and cheeses. Aquafaba can act as a binder, leavening agent, emulsifier, and practically anything that an egg white traditionally does.  Needless to say, the discovery of aquafaba has revolutionized the world. Vegans and people with egg allergies can now enjoy meringues, mousses, and macaroons. YES!


My Baked Alaska, prepared with Aquafaba

I recently purchased Zsu Dever’s book, “Aquafaba: Sweet and Savory Vegan Recipes Made Egg-Free” and immediately fell in love with her recipes.


Imagine my surprise when a few days later I learned that she would be speaking at our Rouxbe Vegan Desserts Course lead by Chef Fran Costigan. This is what we call synchronicity!

Zsu Dever has an extensive background in the restaurant business and vegan cooking. She hails from a long line of culinary professionals and restaurateurs too. She proved to be very knowledgeable about cooking with aquafaba and was able to answer ALL our questions (YES, there were many of them!). After this live event, I decided to prepare her Vegan Poppy Seed Muffin. I reached out to Zsu to make sure it was ok to share it with you. Enjoy it! 🙂

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins POPPY SEED MUFFINS
Serves 12
The lemon is subtle if you use only the zest, so if you love it with more of a lemon punch, add the optional extract. (from Aquafaba, copyright © 2016 by Zsu Dever. Used by permission.)
Write a review
  1. 2 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  2. 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  3. 2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  5. 1/3 cup aquafaba (see Note)
  6. 1/3 cup canola or other neutral oil
  7. 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated organic sugar
  8. 1 cup nondairy milk
  9. 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  10. 3/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract, optional
  11. 1 tablespoon lemon zest (from approximately 2 lemons)
  12. 3 tablespoons coarse or raw sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a 12-well regular-size muffin tin with paper cups or spray the wells with oil. Set the tin aside.
  2. Combine the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Place a separate medium bowl on a folded kitchen towel. Add the aquafaba and, using a large whisk, whisk it until it is frothy, about 1 minute. Add the oil slowly while whisking to emulsify. Add the sugar in the same way. Add the milk, vanilla, lemon extract (if using), and zest and whisk well.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the milk mixture and, using a wooden spoon, mix the batter until almost no more flour is visible. Lumps are fine; do not overmix.
  5. Fill the wells about three-quarters full with the batter and sprinkle the coarse sugar on top. Bake the muffins until a toothpick inserted into the muffin in the middle well comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.
  6. Cool the muffins on a cooling rack for 15 minutes before removing them from the tin. Cool the muffins completely before storing in airtight containers, where they will keep for a few days.
  1. Although aquafaba is best if homemade using the recipe provided in the book, you can use aquafaba from canned chickpeas. Use the organic, low-sodium, canned chickpeas and strain off the liquid into a measuring cup using a fine mesh strainer. Note the amount of liquid you acquired, then add it to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid reduces by 1/3. Cool the aquafaba completely before using.
Sunshine & Kale
Before serving, I prepared a simple Lemon Glaze (1 cup of organic powdered sugar + 1 tablespoon of lemon juice) and drizzled it on top. The muffins were light, fluffy, lemony and not overly sweet or tart.

This is by far the best lemon poppy seed muffin I’ve ever tasted in my life! Thanks Zsu!


My Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins with Lemon Glaze Recipe: Zsu Dever Photo Credit: SunshineandKale

To learn more about the history of Aquafaba, click here

To learn more about Zsu Dever, check out her page Zsu’s Vegan Pantry

{Raw | Gluten-Free} Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake

I am currently attending the Rouxbe Essential Vegan Dessert Course.
My first assignment is to prepare a vegan pastry or sweet baked recipe that I am familiar with and that is part of my regular repertoire.  
My go-to dessert is cashew cheesecake. In the spring season, I like to prepare cashew cheesecake with lemon and lavender or pineapple and rose petal syrup. In the fall, I like to mix it up a little bit, adding seasonal ingredients and spices like pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg. 
For this first task, I prepared my {Raw | Gluten-Free} Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake, a Thanksgiving must-have! Enjoy it!

Pumpkin Cheesecake – Mise En Place


Pumpkin Cheesecake – In Process

{Raw | Gluten-Free} Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
Write a review
  1. 1 cup pitted Medjool dates (approximately 8)
  2. ½ cup almonds
  3. ½ cup pecans
  4. 1-2 tsp vanilla extract
Pumpkin Cheesecake Layer
  1. 1 1/2 cup of raw cashews (soaked in water for 4 hours)
  2. 1/3 cup agave
  3. 1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree
  4. 1 tbsp cinnamon
To prepare the crust:
  1. Place the almonds and pecans in the food processor and pulse for about 10 times. Add the dates and keep processing until a ball is formed. Press this mixture into the bottom of a mini springform cake. Place in the refrigerator.
To prepare the pumpkin cheesecake:
  1. Blend the rest of the ingredients until smooth. If it’s too thick, add more water or agave. If it's too watery, add more dates. You should have a creamy consistency.
  2. Pour mixture onto your crust.
  3. Let it set overnight or for at least 12 hours.
  1. I like to top my pumpkin cheesecake with maple syrup, whipped coconut cream and nuts.
  2. This recipe makes 2 mini cheesecakes.
Adapted from The Nutty Scoop
Adapted from The Nutty Scoop
Sunshine & Kale
Follow me on this SWEET journey by subscribing to my blog ( upper-right hand side). I’ll be posting pictures on Facebook and Instagram as well @sunshineandkale.

Zucchini Noodles with Cashew Truffle Cream Sauce

These zucchini “noodles” are rich, creamy, decadent and dangerously divine. It’s a healthy alternative to traditional pasta and Alfredo sauce.

For this recipe, I used a mixture of gourmet mushrooms including Alba and Brown Clamshell, Trumpet Royale, Forest Nameko and Velvet Pioppini but you could easily prepare it with a blend of cremini, shiitake and white mushrooms.

Zoodle with Cashew Mise

I used Sabatino Tartufi White Truffle Oil, which is basically an Italian olive oil infused with white truffles. It has a luscious and earthy taste. It’s also very well priced for the quality. If you have never cooked with white truffle oil, I recommend you start with one teaspoon and gradually add the rest to suit your taste.


I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Zucchini Noodles with Cashew Truffle Mushroom Cream Sauce
Serves 2
Write a review
  1. 1 cup of raw cashews, soaked for 4 hours or overnight, rinsed & drained
  2. 1 cup of water
  3. 1 teaspoon of nutritional yeast
  4. 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  5. 1 teaspoon of horseradish
  6. 1 tablespoon of white truffle oil
  7. 8 oz. of mixed mushrooms ~ approx. 3 cups **
  8. 3 medium-size zucchinis, spiralized
  9. 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  10. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  11. Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine the cashews, 1 cup of water, nutritional yeast, dried thyme, horseradish and white truffle oil in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Set the sauce aside.
  2. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the minced garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes or until translucent and fragrant.
  3. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes until the mushrooms have released their liquid.
  4. Add the zucchini noodles and cook for few minutes until they are tender.
  5. Pour the cashew truffle sauce on top of the zucchini noodles and stir to coat. Cook for 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Garnish with fresh basil and a drizzle of white truffle oil (optional)
  1. ** I like mixing cremini, shiitake and white mushrooms.
Sunshine & Kale

Buon appetito!

Tofu Scrambled “Eggs” with Lacinato Kale

A couple of years ago, I was introduced to a new ingredient called Kala Namak or Himalayan Black Salt. It’s rich in sulfur and iron. According to Ayurvedic medicine, it helps with digestion too. But perhaps what I find most interesting about this ingredient is how much it resembles the taste of fried eggs ( of course, we are talking about a rich sulfury taste). Eating eggs is something that I truly missed when I first started eating 100% plant-based. After I discovered Kala Namak, I was able to enjoy my favorite breakfast once again: Scrambled “eggs”

Kala Namak

This recipe is a staple in our home. I usually prepare it with seasonal veggies from our local farmers’ market. Right now, we have a large crop of lacinato kale in San Diego, as well as shishito peppers. These peppers are generally mild but like their  Spanish cousin Pimento De Padrón, or Padron Peppers, they can be hot too. They are like life, “full of surprises”. Sometimes they are hot sometimes they are not.  If you don’t find them in your area, you could add a little bit of cayenne pepper to your scramble.

I really recommend experimenting with this new ingredient. You can find it at SaltWorksAmazon and/or  your favorite natural health store.  

Tofu Scrambled

Tofu Scramble "Eggs"
Write a review
  1. 12 oz. organic sprouted tofu, firm
  2. 1 tablespoon of turmeric
  3. 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  4. 1 small yellow onion, diced
  5. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  6. ½ small bell pepper (any color), diced
  7. 2-3 shishito peppers, small diced
  8. 1 small red pepper, small diced
  9. 2 cups of lacinato kale, loosely packed, stems removed and cut chiffonade
  10. a pinch of Kala Namak or Himalayan Black Salt
  11. a pinch of pepper ( optional)
  1. Drain the tofu and place in a bowl. With a fork, crumble the tofu into bite-size pieces and add turmeric powder. Set aside.
  2. Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once is hot, add the extra virgin olive oil and onions. Reduce heat to medium. Sauté the onions until they are translucent. Then add the garlic, bell peppers, shishito peppers, lacinato kale and crumbled tofu. Cook for 8-10 minutes until the tofu is slightly browned.
  3. Season with Kala Namak and pepper.
Sunshine & Kale
Enjoy it!

Vanilla Chia Pudding with Banana and Coconut

I often get asked what I eat for breakfast. I have three go-to breakfast meals: Green smoothies (with either kale or spinach), gluten-free steel-cut oats and chia pudding. They are all easy to prepare and full of fiber and protein. Today, I am sharing my Vanilla Chia Pudding with Banana and Coconut.

Vanilla Chia Pudding with Banana and Coconut

I make this quite often with homemade non-dairy milk but you can also use store-bought almond or coconut milk, if you are pressured for time.

Vanilla Chia Pudding with Banana and Coconut
Serves 1
Write a review
Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
  1. 2 tablespoon of raw chia seeds
  2. 1 cup of non-dairy milk (coconut milk or almond milk, preferable) **
  3. 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  4. 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla
  5. 1 teaspoon of Organic Mushroom Matrix (optional)
  6. 1 medium banana
  7. 1 tablespoon of coconut flakes
  1. Place all the ingredients ( except for the banana and coconut) in a glass container. I like using Mason jars.
  2. Put in the fridge and allow to chill for 3-4 hours or overnight.
  3. Top with some sliced bananas and coconut flakes
** For homemade almond or hazelnut milk (optional)
  1. In a blender, combine 1 cup of raw organic almonds or hazelnuts (already soaked overnight) with 4 cups of filtered water, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 2 dates and a pinch of salt.
  2. Blend all the ingredients for about 90 seconds, until creamy and smooth.
  3. Strain using a nut milk bag or cheesecloth.
  4. Transfer the milk to a glass container with a tight fitting lid, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Sunshine & Kale
Chia seeds are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. They are loaded with fiber, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and various micronutrients.

Enjoy it!

Creamy Celery and Onion Soup

This soup is healthy, tasty and ridiculously easy to prepare. All you need is a large yellow onion, a couple of stalks of celery,  extra virgin olive oil (optional), water and seasoning. That’s it! 

This is a family recipe and a favorite of mine. It’s perfect for detoxing, fighting colds and transitioning between seasons. During cold months, I like adding a small-size (peeled) potato to the soup ( boiling it together with the celery and onion before blending it). When I feel under the weather, I like adding a couple of garlic cloves to the mix. You can also use a handful of cashews to achieve a thicker consistency. 

This recipe is very simple but versatile. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Celery and Onion Soup


Creamy Celery and Onion Soup
Write a review
  1. 4 stalks of celery, large dice
  2. 1 large onion, large dice
  3. 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  4. 4 cups of water
  5. salt and pepper ( seasoning to taste)
  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the celery and onion and sauté for 10 minutes, until the celery is bright green and the onions caramelized.
  3. Add 4 cups of water and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  5. Transfer to a blender or use a hand-held immersion blender to puree the soup directly in the pot.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve warm or chilled.
  1. You can omit the oil all together and sauté the onion and celery in a little bit of water.
Sunshine & Kale

Some interesting facts about celery:

Relax – In traditional Oriental medicine celery was used to treat hypertension. This is because phthalide compounds in celery can act as a sedative as well as lower blood pressure.

Sweet dreams – Celery is thought to promote a good night’s sleep because of the vitamins, mineral salts and nutrients it contains. It is also thought to have a calming effect on the central nervous system.

Food of love – Celery has a formidable reputation as an aphrodisiac, going back to Roman times (they dedicated the plant to Pluto, god of sex and hell!). While Madame de Pompadour, official chief mistress of French King Louis XV, swore by celery and truffle soup washed down with hot chocolate.

Hangover cure – Another use of celery by the Roman’s was to use it as an antidote against the intoxicating effects of wine and the ensuing headache by wearing wreaths of celery leaves.

Bottoms up! – The Bloody Mary cocktail was invented in the 1920’s at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. However it wasn’t until the 1960’s that celery was associated with the drink, when a guest at a Chicago hotel was given a Bloody Mary but nothing to stir it with. He improvised with a stick of celery from the buffet!

Greek’s Gold – Winners of athletic events in Ancient Greece were presented with bunches of celery, much as flowers are given today.

Food for thought – Celery was first used as a food in Italy during the 16th century, later spreading across Europe as a flavoring for soups, meats and stews.

Some interesting facts about onions:

– The country that eats the most onions per capita is Libya, where each person eats about 66.8 pounds of onion every year.

-According to Guinness Book of World Records, the largest onion ever grown, weighted 10 pounds 14 ounces.

-The official state vegetable of Georgia is the Vidalia onion.

-The official state vegetable of Texas is the Texas Sweet Onion.

For more fun facts, check out LOVE CELERY

Vegan Fabada Asturiana with Soyrizo and Tempeh Bacon

Fabada is a rich bean dish originally from Asturias in Northern Spain. It is traditionally made with large white beans also known as “judiones”, Spanish chorizo and morcilla or blood sausage. My version of fabada is 100% plant-based. It contains soyrizo and tempeh bacon.

Vegan Fabada Asturiana with Kale - Mise en Place

In Spain, we love to cook with extra virgin olive oil, using plenty of vegetables and legumes in our dishes. For my recipe, I used butter beans, onions, carrots, celery, garlic and kale.

Vegan Fabada Asturiana with Kale

Vegan Fabada Asturiana with Soyrizo and Tempeh Bacon
Write a review
  1. 3 cups ( 2 - 15.5 OZ cans) of cooked butter beans ( I like Goya brand)
  2. 1 bunch of kale, chopped
  3. 1 medium onion, small diced
  4. 1 small carrot, small diced
  5. 1/2 stalk celery, small diced
  6. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  7. 12 oz Soyrizo ( I like Trader Joe's brand)
  8. 3 cups of vegetable stock
  9. 1/2 cup of white wine
  10. 2 tablespoons of Pimenton de La Vera ( Smoked Sweet Spanish Paprika)
  11. 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  12. 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  13. 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  14. 2 teaspoons of dried mushroom powder - optional
  15. 1 cup of tempeh bacon, small diced - optional **
  16. 3 bay leaves
  17. 1 pinch of salt
  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat-high. Add the onion, carrots and celery, Cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are caramelized. Then, add the minced garlic, the smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and dried mushroom powder.
  2. Cook for a couple of minutes before adding the soyrizo, butter beans, kale, vegetable stock, wine, tomato paste and bay leaves. Bring everything to a gentle simmer to prevent the beans from breaking apart . Cook for approximately 30-35 minutes until the liquid reached a thicker and almost creamy consistency.
  3. Taste for seasoning and add salt as necessary. The traditional version doesn’t usually need salt due to the high content of sodium in the meats.
  4. Transfer the fabada to a “cazuela de barro” or traditional clay pot and topped it with the tempeh bacon before serving.
  1. ** Recipe for tempeh bacon can be found here:
Sunshine & Kale
¡Buen provecho!

{ Vegan} Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”

I recently came across PETA’s SpicyBuffalo Cauliflower “Wings” while searching for the best Super Bowl vegan snacks. I took PETA’s recipe and started experimenting with it (using only water, using different types of non-dairy milk, using different types of flour). My Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings” are made with a combination of water, soy milk, garbanzo flour and spices. In my opinion, this is the best combination. I hope you enjoy it!

Cauliflower Buffalo Wings

Superbowl. jpg

This is me in 2007, watching Super Bowl XLI, LIVE!. The American Football Conference Champion Indianapolis Colts played the National Football Conference Champion Chicago Bears under pouring rain. The Indianapolis Colts defeated the Bears 29–17.

I was invited to attending this game by one of my closest friends, an experience I will cherish FOREVER!

{ Vegan} Buffalo Cauliflower "Wings"
Write a review
  1. 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets ( approx. 4-5 cups)
  2. 1/2 cup of water
  3. 1/2 cup of unsweetened non-dairy milk ( I use soy but almond will work too)
  4. 1 cup of garbanzo flour ( You can use gluten-free rice flour instead)
  5. 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  6. 1 teaspoon of paprika
  7. 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  8. 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  9. 1 cup of Tabasco Buffalo Style Sauce
  10. 1 tablespoon of Earth Balance Buttery Spread, melted
Vegan Ranch Dressing
  1. 1 cup of vegan mayonnaise
  2. 1/2 cup of unsweetened soy milk
  3. 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
  5. 2 teaspoons parsley, chopped
  6. 1 teaspoon of dill
  7. Whisk all ingredients together and chill before serving.
  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the water, non-dairy milk, flour, garlic, paprika, cumin, salt. Whisk until well combined.
  3. Dip the cauliflower florets in the batter until coated evenly and place in a shallow baking dish. Bake for 18 minutes.
  4. While the cauliflower is baking, melt the buttery spread and mix with the buffalo sauce.
  5. Pour the hot sauce mixture over the baked cauliflower and continue baking for 8 minutes
  6. Serve with vegan ranch dressing and celery sticks.
Sunshine & Kale

{ Raw } No Bean Hummus

Hummus is an Arabic word (حمّص ḥummuṣ) meaning “chickpeas,” and the complete name of the prepared spread in Arabic is حمّص بطحينة ḥummuṣ bi ṭaḥīna, which means “chickpeas with tahini”.

This recipe uses zucchini instead of chickpeas. so in theory it can’t be called hummus. However, the flavor and texture is very close to the original dish. 


This recipe was slightly adapted from the book “RAWvolution” by Matt Amsden, chef and owner of the restaurant with the same name. One of my favorite places to eat while in Santa Monica. 

Rawmazing Restaurant   


Visiting RAWvolution in Santa Monica

Rawvolution II

{ Raw } No Bean Hummus
Write a review
  1. 3 zucchinis, peeled and chopped
  2. 3/4 cup of tahini
  3. 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice
  4. 1/8 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  5. 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  6. 2 teaspoons sea salt
  7. 1/2 tablespoon of ground cumin
  1. In a high speed processor, combine all the ingredients until thick and smooth. Garnish with a pinch of paprika and parsley
  1. Enjoy it with homemade pita chips or fresh vegetable crudités. It can be used as a spread on sandwiches, as a salad dressing ( blending it with a little bit of apple cider) or as a condiment. It tastes delicious with falafel and veggie burgers.
Sunshine & Kale