No-Bake Lactation Snack

These yummy snacks are perfect for the busy day when a sit-down meal seems impossible.  Bonus! The ingredients (oats, chia seed, and flaxseed) are known to boost milk production for lactating mamas.  These are not meant for Littles, but the older kids will enjoy.

This easy recipe can be made in 5 minutes, the hard part is waiting for them to freeze.  When I make them I often find myself eating a spoonful or two before they make it to the freezer.  It’s also delicious as a topping on vegan yogurt.

Ingredients:Enjoy Life, Semi Sweet Chocolate Chip, 10 oz

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup ground flaxseed meal

1/4 cup chia seeds

1/2 cup agave or maple syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

10 oz peanut butter (can substitute for other nut butters)

1/2 cup mini semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips
Click this affiliate link to purchase Enjoy Life Semi-sweet Chocolate Mini Chips Pck of 2

Directions:

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  The goal is for the mixture to be sticky enough to shape into balls.  Sometimes I need more agave or peanut butter to hold the dry ingredients together.  Roll mixture into small balls (1″) and place on cookie sheet.  Freeze for 1 hour. Enjoy!  Store them in the freezer.  These were a life saver for me with our newborn.    

round logo Raising Vegan tip- Chia seeds are a superfood, which provide protein, omega-3, and fiber.  They also provide nutrients used by baby for healthy brain development.  


Cruelty-free “Egg” Decorating

Our family LOVES to get creative for Easter and make “Egg People”.  A tradition that started in 2009 and continues to be a creative outlet for both adults and kids!  By using a variety of egg substitutes, Egg People are cruelty-free.

 

There are plenty of cruelty-free options for egg substitutes: plastic, paper mache, ceramic, wooden, or even river rocks.  The ceramic eggs (eggnots) dye nicely and will give the same texture/feel as a real egg.  These egg alternatives are also perfect if the Little has an egg allergy.  Several egg alternative products can be re-used several times.

round logo Raising Vegan Tip- Most glues are made with animal products, such as gelatin.  The good news is that Hot Glue Sticks are VEGAN because they are made from thermoplastics.  

Start by finding anything and everything that can be hot-glued to your cruelty-free egg.  Dye or paint your egg substitute and let the creativity begin!  There are an array of natural egg dying kits on the market, which work really well.  Another option is to make your own dyes from veggies. Use turmeric for yellow eggs, red cabbage for blue, beets for pink, and so on.   The timing and amount of dying will determine the intensity of color, so the possibilities are endless!

Here are some products to kick-start the fun!  Each picture is an affiliate link.






Hearty Chili

This is our go-to chili recipe.  We’ve modified it over the years and it just keeps getting better!  It is truly easy to cook, especially when using a crock-pot.  Just combine all the ingredients in either a pan on stove, stirring occasionally or in a slow cooker and let it simmer all day.  This spicy recipe is perfect for a cold rainy day, but it may be a bit too zippy for some.  I’d only recommend this chili for the older kids, since the intact beans are a choking hazard.  To include the Littles in this meal, simply offer the beans, lentils, and steamed bell pepper.  Mash the legumes for the younger Littles to prevent choking.  Also, be cautious about the shells that encase the garbanzo beans, as these can cause choking.  This chili freezes well, so it can be made in advance and stored for the perfect day!

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Raising Vegan tip- Check food labels for sodium levels and always try to buy the item with the lowest amount.

Ingredients:

1/2 chopped yellow onion

2 celery stalks chopped

2 chopped green bell peppers

1 1/2 tsp minced garlic (3 cloves)

4 oz can of chopped jalapeños Image result for chile vegetable

1 (4 oz) can of chopped green chiles (drained)

1 (15 oz) can of kidney beans, drained

1 (15 oz) can of black beans, drained

1 (15 oz) can of garbanzo beans, drained

1 (15 oz) can of whole kernel corn, drained

3 (28 oz) cans of crushed tomatoes

2 cups of cooked green lentils ***

1/4 cup chili powder

1 tbsp ground turmeric

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tbsp dried oregano

1 tbsp ground black pepper

2 crumbled bay leaves (no stems)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and let simmer for 4 to 6 hours.  If using a pot on stove-top, I recommend allowing it to simmer for ~ 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Serve immediately.  Tastes great served with vegan sourdough toast.

***Optional lentil substitutes are browned vegan meat crumbles or jackfruit.  Since this is a SPICY chili, if you’d like to turn down the heat my suggestion is to use mild jalapeños or remove them entirely.

Click this affiliate link to purchase Crock-Pot SCCPVL605-S 6-Quart Programmable Cook & Carry Oval Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel


Skincare and Pregnancy

Thanks to a close friend’s suggestion, one of the first purchases I made after the news of being pregnant was the book Expecting 411This fantastic quick reference book, written by two women physicians, a pediatrician and a OB/GYN, covers it all!  After skimming most of the chapters, but carefully avoiding the “Labor Day” section (after all I had 9 months) I came across the do’s and don’ts of skincare products.  One main ingredient to avoid is Vitamin A, which has many names, i.e. retinol, retinol acetate, and 3-dehydroretinol.  So, after reading the tiny labels on my skincare products, I needed to go shopping!

Things to consider when purchasing skincare products- the ingredients (No Vitamin A) and the manufacturer.  For me, it’s important to ensure the product is both vegan and cruelty-free.  Sadly, these two things do not always go hand in hand, so a little investigating is required.  If the product is sold in mainland China, it MUST be tested on animals, and therefore not an option for me.  The symbols to look for are

PETA’s Beauty without Bunnies offers an excellent database and remains my go-to for screening skincare products.

NCF_2_final_2048xWarning- Not all companies have made it on the PETA database.  My favorite facial moisturizer by French Girl, is both vegan and cruelty-free, but was not found in the database.

What is your favorite vegan & cruelty-free skincare product?

Click this affiliate link to purchase French Girl Organics – Organic / Vegan Neroli Creme Fraiche Facial Moisturizer (1 oz)