It usually comes as a huge surprise that homemade hummus is much more delicious than that well-preserved, oily, store-bought hummus,. My friend Heather’s husband asked what my hummus was because he thought hummus was supposed to be dark-colored and of a harder consistency. Mine is a beige color like real garbanzo beans and has a fresh, softer consistency.

The most important thing for you to know about making great hummus is that you need to use raw garbanzo beans, not canned or dried like those stored in grocery stores.

I buy a five pound bag of them from a Wisconsin farm for about fifteen dollars that’s found on and now Heather has too. Super bargain! The wonderful thing about buying them raw is that after soaking them overnight in water and cooking them a few hours in a slow cooker, the chickpeas are not mushy, but retain a slight chewiness. They also have the luscious taste they’re supposed to deliver and the bag lasts me for many months.

Another point of interest in making homemade hummus like this is that the cooked juice may be used as another kind of egg replacer. I’ve only recently read about this vegan discovery and haven’t baked with it, called aquafaba, but it doesn’t surprise me because I’ve used it in hummus and other main dishes for years. Aquafaba has a jelly-like consistency that helps bind together dips or sauces.

Other cooked, raw beans, like white beans, are recommended for their juices. Look for a recipe or two that uses them (besides this one).

I make hummus a little differently each time, but have learned to not make it too moist so it won’t spoil so quickly or lose its consistency and become watery. Feel free to use my substitution ideas, according to taste. I make enough to freeze, but it always tastes better fresh.

As for the nutrition of homemade hummus, it’s a very good source of plant protein, which is nothing to scoff at. It has lots of most of the vitamins with many micronutrients and enzymes from being made from a whole food. I don’t admire reductionist science that you get with heavily-processed foods found in the center aisles of supermarkets. Buy instead from the outer areas.


Soak 1 1/2 cups raw garbanzo beans (no canned or dried, not sure about frozen raw) overnight. Rinse and cover with filtered water (a few inches over beans). Cook in slow cooker on high for a little over three hours or experiment with high and low settings if preferred. Save juice.

Get out mini-chopper or mixer.

Add 2 garlic cloves now to cooked beans or while cooking.

Squeeze half a big lemon or lime

Use as much chickpea juice as needed for smooth consistency

Add 5 green olives

Add big handful of torn, fresh baby spinach

Add 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)

Add 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (Bragg’s brand is great)

Add 2 tablespoons brown n’ spicy mustard (or more to taste!)

Add 1 teaspoon hempseed oil

Add 1 teaspoon oregano (fresh would be outstanding)

Add 2 teaspoons crushed red peppers or to taste

Add 1/2 teaspoon seasalt (not table salt)

Blend together until thick and smooth. If you’ve added too much juice and it’s runny, you could add perhaps 3 tablespoons of cooked bulgur wheat, which is non-gluten as well as full of flavor and nutrition. I love it cold in taboulleh salad too. A little goes a long ways.

Instead of spinach you may prefer kale. Instead of green olives I suggest miso for its saltiness and nutrition, but you may enjoy black olives or tamari sauce.

Hempseed oil is my favorite, nongreasy, EFA-rich oil, but olive or grapeseed oil is good.

I often add a little seaweed while beans are cooking, my favorites being kombu and wakame. They give you iodine which is deficient in most American diets and extremely important for thyroid health and women’s reproductive health. Use less seasalt if you add seaweed.

Hope it turns out for you!

Heather has decided to leave comments on my posts, but maybe she’ll instead add to my posts when visiting me. Thanks for reading.





Many of my plant-based, health-conscious recipes have been experimented on and perfected over the last dozen years and my oatmeal raisin cookies are no exception. I have always loved the cookies, but even more now that I make them with my own recipes. Using other peoples’ recipes, no matter their experience, are not an option for me. Half the fun comes with making a better recipe that I as well as others love.

It is so not true that a whole foods, plant-based diet is boring with only rabbit food. Vegans may starve themselves or just eat junk food, processed food, sugary and fatty food, but my eating approach goes way beyond that as you’ve probably realized by now.

My recipes are exciting, bursting with great flavor from quality ingredients, some of which will need to be found in a natural foods store, the organic or gluten-free section of a grocery store, or online. They will not spoil, cause food poisoning, give you chemicals, antibiotics or growth hormones, and last a long time for less financial expenditure than an animal-based diet.

They will always help you lose fat and provide much more fiber, nutrients both macro and micro, and feel and look better. Just ask my co-author about that!

My oatmeal raisin cookies have to begin with Hazelnut flour. It’s my favorite baking flour and I’ve tried nearly all of them over the years. Either other flours are not very good-tasting or too heavy or not nutritious enough so that I need to add a lot more sweetener or spices or something, but my cookies with Hazelnut flour always turn out nutty delicious as well as light and nutritious. The only other main flour I will use is Almond meal.

I also find that including tapioca flour helps make the cookies keep their shape and consistency just right, but only in the amount given in my recipe. A little too much gives it a spongy taste and too little makes the cookies a little too soft.

The following recipe uses vanilla-flavored Cultured Coconut Milk or yogurt for the first time and I really think it’s more delicious than the almond or soy milk I’ve been using. Normally I would use the unsweetened kind and add stevia extract, but I picked it up by mistake. Feel free to use unsweetened, non-dairy yogurt and add stevia extract to taste (probably a scoop or less)..


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I use a cookie sheet with permanent parchment paper, which works very well without greasing a pan and is a fantastic bargain .

In big bowl mix together:

3 1/4 c. Hazelnut flour

3/4 c.. tapioca flour

1/4 c. hemp protein powder (I love Nutiva brand)

2 1/2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant, but steel-cut oats is ok, I suppose)

2 tsp cinnamon or cardamom

2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp seasalt (not table salt)

Mix and add:

2 tablespoons milled flaxseed gelled in 6 tablespoons filtered water (takes at least 5 minutes)

1 c. chopped walnuts or your favorite nuts)

1 c. raisins slightly boiled in filtered water (save water if you change recipe and need moisture)

2 tablespoons brown rice syrup (3 if you have a real sweet tooth) or honey if necessary

1/3 c. Coconut Yogurt (Cultured Coconut Milk)

2 large. ripe mashed bananas (or equivalent unsweetened applesauce or chopped apples)

1 tsp real vanilla

It takes 11 minutes in hot oven, but you may prefer them more brown. I hope you’ll love them as much as Heather, our friends, and I do!

Sweeteners and Fudge recipe


Hi there, It’s Heather. Jan and I have made her fudge twice so far since meeting her and let me tell you the carob powder is so much sweeter and NOT at all bitter like cocoa powder, therefore using it in recipes will require LESS sweetener! Her fudge recipe is smooth and creamy, and just sweet enough to curb that craving for chocolate AND sugar! For my family I have made NO additions to  this recipe and everyone likes it.  Below are pictures of last weeks fudge.  WELL worth the try!  fudge 1

fudge 2

As far as sweeteners go, did you know that 1 TEASPOON of Stevia extract is equal to 1 CUP of regular granulated sugar?  You can purchase it at any Natural food grocery store.  Don’t confuse Stevia Extract with brands like Truvia, they still contain artificial  sweeteners! I am VERY sensitive to artificial sweeteners.  Anytime I have tried anything with artificial sweeteners in it, within an hour I am down with a massive headache.  That includes those pink and blue packets found at restaurants.  BAD BAD BAD for you!

Below is a conversion chart that I have been using.  My husband likes his southern sweet tea and likes it just as well with the Stevia Extract in it.  Kool-Aid?  YUP 1 Teaspoon of Stevia Extract and the kids LOVE it!  I feel better about t because it is better for you!

Sugar amount Equivalent Stevia powdered extract Equivalent Stevia liquid concentrate
1 cup 1 teaspoon 1 teaspoon
1 tablespoon 1/4 teaspoon 6 to 9 drops
1teaspoon A pinch to 1/16 teaspoon 2 to 4 drops

From The Stevia Cookbook, copyright 1999 Ray Sahelian and Donna Gates





Hi, my name is Jan Peregrine. I hope the name of this blog, which I co-author with Heather Piper-Hay, has made you curious about what we’ll write about and share with you. Heather and I, who are of a big, little city in the middle of the United States, only have your best interests at heart.

After recently enjoying the movie Julie & Julia that is inspired by French chef Julia Child and a blogger challenged to learn to cook like Child, my friend and I decided we had a lot to talk about when it comes to our different relationships with food.

She was the impetus I needed. Since adopting a whole foods, plant-based approach to how I eat over a dozen years ago, I’ve wanted to write a health/cook book. I’ve not only read widely about strict vegetarianism and freely chosen to become and remain a proponent, but I’ve enjoyed learning to cook, bake, and blend many deliious recipes that Heather and her family are now rewardingly appreciating.

As my friend has commented, she has pretty much lived to eat since she was thirty, gaining a lot of weight, while I have almost always eaten to live. Good food is still a great comfort to me, but I don’t use it to comfort me. I am most comforted to know that it gives me great health physically, mentally, and spiritually.

I should point out that spiritual benefit does not rest on anything other than our common human spirit. Neither of us claim to be moralistic preachers of a diet or that you need to only eat this way.

We all share a fascination with food and how it makes us feel. Heather and I hope you’ll find our exciting discoveries about eating to be fascinating as well as relatable and helpful. While I have the joyful experience in strict vegetarian cooking, which includes time-tested recipes, she contributes the joy of discovering a new relationship with food that is already making her feel better in all ways, which includes much more money for spending on food for her growing family.

Our meeting through work has been, you see, a wonderful experience and of benefit to us both as well as friends and family. Now we would like to share the experience with you. It is your choice as to whether our blog will be of benefit to you, but we hope it will.

Heather’s story with food is quite different than mine and that seems to me to be one of the beauties of this blog. Stories are most compelling when they are about journeys rather than destin-ations, passionate questions instead of premade answers.

I suggest that you are reading this blog because you are caught up in the journeys and questions that we daily struggle with in regard to how to eat for health, energy, nutrition, and pleasure.

Like our logo implies we are what we eat, grounded and comforted by a natural relationship with food, that which comes from the Earth to be precise. When we enjoy eating to live, rather than iiving to eat, we may enjoy life so much more in more ways.

Thank you for your interest and hopefully you still want to read more of our stories and try the original recipes. Please leave comments if or when we have moved you to do so.



Hello, so good to see your cheerful faces! I’m going to start off talking about sweeteners, followed by my latest fudge recipe that’s been perfected over the years (I still experiment and almost never make the exact same recipe) and Heather’s experience with the fudge.

I grew up not craving much sweetness in my food. I was a country girl who loved garden-fresh produce and was strong, healthy, and slender. I still am healthy and slender, but my strength has been compromised only by the increased muscle tone or spasticity caused by a partial spinal cord injury. I’m sure my whole foods, plant-based diet has helped me to stay healthy and slender and also to use a walker. Sugar, not a whole food, is a toxin that causes inflammation and I don’t miss it.

Instead I prefer using either or both pure stevia extract and brown rice syrup. Both are great options for diabetics and people trying to regulate their blood sugar and lose fat. They don’t cause inflammation, either, or headaches and sugar craving like worthless, nasty sugar substitutes.

There are many forms of stevia, which is a herbal, non-caloric sweetener, but if you use more raw forms you’ll get more of a licorice aftertaste. Using pure stevia extract has almost no aftertaste if you don’t overuse it, which is easy to do because it’s so sweet as Heather will further explain. I also love brown rice syrup, a milder alternative to honey, and dark molasses sometimes in baking.

I’m one for preventing health problems because treating them is so much harder. Losing accumulated fat won’t solely depend on using a healthier sweetener, you need a better diet altogether and exercise you enjoy, but it definitely will help and quickly.

Besides a better sweetener my fudge uses non-caffeinated, naturally sweeter carob powder. I’ve tried using dark cocoa, but it’s much more bitter and needs a lot more syrup or stevia. Please keep that in mind if you make my fudge. Toasted carob powder is my favorite, although there is a raw form that just doesn’t seem to have the great, chocolatey flavor as the toasted.

Good luck with making the fudge or using my sweeteners!


I make this with a double boiler and a 9″ glass pie plate.

1 cup carob powder

1/2 vanilla-flavored coconut yogurt (cultured coconut milk)

2 Tablespoons coconut oil

Stir together until oil melts and mixture forms a ball sort of. Add:

1 Tablespoon dark molasses

3/4 cup slightly boiled raisins

1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 1/2 scoops stevia extract (comes with tiny scoop)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon seasalt (please do not use table salt!)

Make sure it’s stirred well and holds together somewhat like a ball or bread dough maybe. If you think you need more moisture, save some raisin juice in case, or use more yogurt. Dump and smooth into ungreased pan and refrigerate overnight.

If you don’t like raisins, you might prefer prunes, figs, mashed banana, or sweetened cranberries for example. If you hate nutmeg try a teaspoon of cardamom or cinnamon. I’m not sure what would work as well as tapioca flour for firming the fudge. I think arrowroot is good as I’ve used it in the past, but tapioca flour has better flavor probably. Other nuts can be used, but I love walnuts.

Please leave a comment if my blog has been inspiring to you. Thanks for the visit!

Hello there



My name is Heather and married and a mother of three boys, I have always been a foodie at heart and love to create new dishes and feed the masses, so to speak.  In my 20’s I was a health food nut, physically fit and really paid attention to what I put in my body.  When my second son was born I found myself a single parent, a failure of sorts, because there was no father in the house.  This was the point, through much soul searching, when my weight got out of control and I began emotionally eating, what tasted good, instead of what was good for me.  Fast food became my
go-to meals for myself and my children.  In some ways I over compensated by allowing my children to dictate what they wanted to eat, and using drive-through instead of creating meals for them, because it was more convenient..   My mantra has always been “If I can’t fix ya, I’ll at least feed ya”  After all food brings people together, who doesn’t like to eat?
Upon meeting Jan (my co author) and saw the way she prepared her food, and how wonderfully tasty it was, I decided that it was time for me to eat to live, instead of living to eat.  I have been able to take her recipes and alter them slightly to feed my family.  Jan is Vegan and we are not.  My family is not exactly on board with the no meat meals, bit at least are giving it a try.  Meat in our financial budget is about 1/2 of what I spend per month  I would like to eventually get tot the point that we are only eating meat in our meals a few times a week.  It is for sure a work in progress.
Since meeting Jan, I have adapted some of her cooking practices and have eliminated meats from some of my meals and have replaced sugar with Stevia extract in my drinks and sweets.   I am not as bloated as I once was.  I also find myself having more energy, and feeling less dragged down.
In this blog, I hope to be able to go on this adventure of other people who are emotional eaters like I am, and learn different ways to prepare meals for my family.  It is my hope to become a person who eats to live instead of living to eat….