#1 Vegan Smoothie and a secret that I’m keeping from my dentist

Do you love chocolate? powdered pb

I can take it or leave it.  In the summer time, I do love frozen chocolate (Dr. Collins doesn’t read my blog so I’m safe in sharing this secret–I promised him that I wouldn’t eat frozen chocolate anymore.  He did an awesome job at fixing my tooth).  When I was a little girl my mom would put snickers bars in the freezer so they wouldn’t melt in the cabin–no AC (just hot knotty pine).  After a long day on the boat/beach/fishing–I loved coming into the cabin and eating a frozen snickers.  Frozen chocolate was the end to a perfect summer day.  Now, I love frozen peppermint patties!  

Powdered Peanut Butter? 

What the haywire?  Have you ever heard of such a thing?  I didn’t.  So . . . when I was at Target shopping (because I’m always at Target!) I found this product.  I had to try it!

I instagramed it right away I was so excited.

I use instagram as primarily my vegan/plant based food diary so if you are interested in eating a plant based diet–you may want to follow me here.

Great minds think alike.

The Kitchn is a website that I go to for inspiration.  I was amazed when they posted the powdered protein post on the same day that I bought it.  They show pictures of how it looks when it is reconstituted with water.  The Kitchn has a great review, check out that post is you are interested in learning about using the powder as peanut butter.

My Big Idea!elvis love

If you keep up with the blog you know that I have these BIG ideas.  Everything from making quilts for all the kids to knitting myself a skirt.  (I’m leaving out the idea about having a farm animal sanctuary.) I admit that my excitement begins lots of projects that never get finished.  A character flaw but I’m growing into my own as I get older.  I am multi-passionate . . .   

My big idea is to create a Vegan smoothie that tastes amazing and everyone will eat–so delicious that the “vegan” part won’t even matter.  This time I think I’ve done it!  The only change I would make to this simple recipe would be to add chocolate chips.  Or a bit of leftover coffee.  or hemp seeds if I’m making it for Dana :-)

The Recipe

How simple is this?  You could add ice chips or frozen bananas if you wanted a thicker/frothy drink.  I will say that this was surprisingly filling.  The idea of being a vegan hack is very fun for me, making plant based food fun, easy and delicious is my goal.  My intention was to the powdered peanut butter in smoothies.  I never planned to use it for sandwiches (unless I really needed too).  


Since everyone always worries about my kids and I getting enough protein, I want everyone to rest easy!  This recipe has 6 grams of protein!  


Go out right now and make up some awesome PB and B/dark chocolate almond milk smoothie.  Ok, we need a shorter name!

Leave a note in the comments for a name!

I’ll post the winner on Twitter and Facebook!

Be Blessed.  Nourish your family with L.O.V.E.,




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mason jar

#1 Fun Summer Secret to Stay Hydrated


This my be my shortest post ever!

I found these awesome lids that fit on my mason jars.  I’ve been looking for something like this and toyed around with the idea of making my own but . . . since I have trouble just keeping delicious, healthy food on the table–I opted to just buy lids when I saw them.

If you follow me on Instagram you already know that I found them at Target yesterday!  I was so excited I just had to share my “big find”.  

Why do I love them?

1.)  I love drinking out of glass.  After 10 years of having plastic bowls, plates and cups–I ditched it all to use my “non-kid” dishes.  I was sad to see the Bob the Builder cups go (the Dora plates I gladly put in the Goodwill box!  I was never a Dora fan but the kids loved her.) and the plates that had different sections.  I loved those.  Those plastic plates never seemed to dry in the dishwasher leaving me with a counter cluttered with cartoon characters.  

2.)  When I’m not canning–the jars can be used year around vs. just collecting dust in the basement.

3.)  Mason jars are really durable.  I’ve never had a kid break one.  (watch today will be the day right after I publish this post.)

4.)  They make a table look rustic and homey. masonjar2 

5.)  Hot and cold beverages can be put in them–what I have discovered is that if you can’t hold the jar–then it is too hot to drink.

6.)  Lemon, mint, limes, sprigs of thyme look beautiful in a glass jar.


Could you do me a favor?  If you like what you read on Renee’s Kitchen could you share it with your friends?  My personal goal is offering creative, fun solutions to Moms.  Today’s post is a great example–finding a fun, inexpensive way to stay hydrated this summer.  Will this post change the world?  Probably not.  Will it give you some practical tips?  YES!  My work is done if you say “oh, that’s a cool idea.”  You can share with the buttons on the sidebar to the left!



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watermark cow

Please Define: organic, grass fed, free range . . .

Are you as confused as I am?

One of the top questions I get as a vegan who buys meat for her family is . . . is grass fed better?  What is organic meat?  Seriously, what the heck is free range?

My goal is to feed my meat eaters the most sustainably raised meat I can find.   niman ranch

We just don’t eat a lot of meat

At one time I cooked meat each night.  I would plan my meals carefully to make sure that I was able to have and afford meat.  Comparing meat to veggies . . . meat has limited options.  I mean really–beef, pork and chicken.  Which for most women really means ground beef, boneless, skinless chicken breasts and pork chops.  After cooking for 37 years both in my home and in a variety of restaurants and deli’s–I’m sort of tired of cooking meat.  

Just because I’m bored with meat isn’t the reason I don’t eat it.  But that could be #32 in my book 47 Reasons I Don’t Eat Meat.

You make the best chicken salad I’ve ever tasted


My mom and another close friend both loved my chicken salad–simple recipe–boiled chicken cut up, mayonnaise, diced celery and onion (cut the onion first then rinse it–takes the bite out of the onion leaving a great crunch and flavor), Clancy’s Fancy–a hot sauce made in Ann Arbor Michigan, salt and pepper.  Mix it up and let it sit for a day to let the flavors meld.  I don’t think that I made the best chicken salad ever–I think it was all the love I poured into those I was making it for!  

My family doesn’t like chicken salad but they do love my homemade chicken nuggets.  The only chicken that I feel good about feeding my family is a brand called Smart Chicken.  We used to have chicken once a month but now we have it less frequently.  No one seems to mind.  

Side note:  last month I had a locally raised chicken in my CSA meat share.  I haven’t cooked it yet, but when I do I’ll write about it.

Where the heck do you find out about all these labels?


This is a great website, A Well Fed World,  that tells what the words mean AND what the hidden abuses are!  One of the services I offer is a 15 minute free call to discuss one topic related to food–chicken almost always comes up–chicken!  I had no idea that so many people loved chicken.  I refer them to this website so they can read, reread and make their own choices about what is important to them.  

If you are becoming aware that the idea of eating chicken (or meat) might not be your “thing” anymore.  Than I suggest you honor what your body is telling you.  I’ll be writing about the idea of listening to your body.  What your body needs and what it doesn’t need.  How does the food you eat make you feel physically and emotionally.  

WARNING:  CHILDHOOD STORY COMING!  When I was a little girl it was my job to collect eggs from the chickens every morning.  I had to collect them, wash them, boxed and ready to go for my mom to take to work.  She left at 6:30 am.  I would get up, walk to the barn area–it was more shack like than a barn, climb the fence, collect the eggs, the smell was gross, the chicken weren’t nice to me, they pecked my feet and my legs–keep in mind I’m 5 years old.  So, I get the eggs, climb back over the fence without breaking any eggs,  and clean the eggs!  This expereince could be reason #22 in my upcoming book, 47 Reasons I Don’t Eat Meat.

Where’s the beef? 

I feel like I can support Niman Ranch Farms.  They have animal protocols in place for the animals.  They have sustainable practices.  Yes, the meat is more expensive–but I feel eating less meat that supports this kind of compassionate farm is totally worth it for me.  I do not eat meat but I am respectful of my family that loves it–so we compromise.  I will cook meat that I feel meets my standards or . . . we have one of the other 200 amazing plant-based meals I love cooking.  In my home the meat is a side dish to veggies.

A Short List (and I’m leaving out the disturbing details)

Free range:  the animals may have access to grass and open air.  Having access doesn’t mean that the door is actually ever opened.  

Vegetarian fed:  when a cow is “vegetarian fed” it often means that he is fed GMO corn–which he can’t digest, so the cow is slaughtered before his stomach explodes inside of him.  The idea of eating an animal that is close to death . . . just doesn’t seem like a good idea.  

Cage free:  the chickens (or other poultry) are not kept in cages but do not have access to the outside.  Often times they are kept in darkness.

Natural:  In a Fun Food Fact Friday I included a video that I found on what the word natural just might include.  Check it out here.

Grass Fed:  a huge loop hole exists with the term grass fed.  Often cows are fed a gmo laden corn diet and at the very end of their life they are let out to eat grass OR they are still living in the knee deep cow manure muck and given “grass”.  As I was going to publish this post–this article on Grass Fed Beef came into my inbox!  Perfect timing.

Know your Farmer!watermark cow

Does any of this concern you?  The fix is really easy.  

  • determine what meat you want to eat
  • determine how often you want to eat it
  • Google sustainable farming or CSA meat shares in your area
  • do what is best for you!  If your family wants to eat meat (like mine) than let them.  You can make the best choice for them and the best choice for yourself.  

Follow me

If you are just starting your journey without knowing where to turn or how to figure things out–follow me.  I won’t have all the answers but we can get it figured out.  I have 100’s of mentors helping me each day be the best I can be–seeking guidance and help is a huge first step.  I often put my meals on Instagram and share with my Renee’s Kitchen Facebook page.  Come on over and check it out.  (or share with someone who might need a nudge.)



*****a special thanks to Christa Sterken who takes amazing photos and let me use a few in this post.  I am blessed by such talented women in my life.


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