Chocolate Chili Cereal

I've been playing around with using leftover quinoa in recipes, specifically breakfast recipes. In this one, you'll want to toast the quinoa before throwing it in with the rest of the cereal ingredients because it's still got a bit too much moisture in it to combine properly. It adds one extra step but it's easy to do while you're oven is heating up for the cereal and while you're gathering the rest of the ingredients.



1 C oats
1 C quinoa, cooked and toasted
1 C buckwheat groats
1/4 C coconut sugar
1/4 C chia seeds
1/2 C pumpkin seeds, roughly chopped
1/2 C almonds, roughly chopped

chocolate mix:
1/3 C coconut oil
1/3 C maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C cocoa powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp cinnamon

*to toast the cooked quinoa:
Spread across a baking sheet and toast at 300*F (aka a low broil) for about 15 minutes, stirring a couple times during to make sure it toasts evenly.

1. Preheat your oven to 375*F.  
2. Combine oats, toasted quinoa, buckwheat, coconut sugar, chia, pumpkin seeds, and almonds in a large bowl.
3. In a saucepan, melt the coconut oil and medium-low heat. Whisk in maple syrup, vanilla, salt, cocoa, and spices.  
4. Pour wet mix into your bowl of dry ingredients, coating the granola mix evenly. Transfer to a baking sheet and spread evenly, pressing down with a spatula. Bake for 20 minutes.
5. Remove pan from oven and flip your mixture. Bake another 10 minutes in the oven, stirring every 4 minutes until everything is nicely toasted and and fragrant (it should make your house smell amazing!)

Vegan Gluten-free Queso

This stuff is good. Like, why-would-I-ever-touch-velveeta-again good. The incredibly gooey creamy texture relies on the first step, which is the roux. Do not be intimidated, it's basically just stirring. You won't mess it up. 

I was inspired to make this version after trying a bunch of other nut-heavy dips that were really falling flat. Then I found Minimalist Baker's Green Chili Queso recipe and seriously, that roux. I used the cornstarch version she suggested to make it gluten-free. She's a genius. 

Anyway, you should try this. You won't be sorry.

Makes 2 cups of dip

For the roux:
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or neutral fat of your choice)
1 yellow onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cups unsweetened almond milk

For the rest:
5 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne powder (adjust according to preferred spice level)
1/2 tsp salt
1 4-oz can diced green chiles
3 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 lemon)

1. Add oil to pan and sauté onions on medium heat for 8 minutes. Add jalapeño and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 more minutes, stirring frequently. Keep a close eye—don’t let the garlic burn!
2. Whisk in cornstarch one tablespoon at a time.  Cook for 1 minute.
3. Add almond milk a half-cup at a time, stirring all the while until the mixture becomes smoother.  Cook 2 more minutes. Transfer to a high-speed blender.
4. Add nutritional yeast, spices, salt, green chiles, and lemon juice.  Blend until smooth and creamy.
5. Garnish with red pepper flakes, jalapeño slices, or cilantro. 
6. Serve with corn chips and lime wedges. Keeps well in the fridge for up to a week in a sealed container.


p.s. I'd suggest doubling or ever tripling this recipe if you're bringing it to a party!

Adoptable Dogs in Produce

Just in case you missed the borage of photos on my instagram, last week I made the trip to Napa to do a fun little collaboration with Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch and photographer Emma K. Morris. We did our best to dress up the dogs in produce (some were really not into it, as you can imagine) in an effort to get some fun new photos of them to help them get adopted. 

The dog above, Carmen has terminal cancer and is living with a hospice foster for the rest of her days. Her care is funded completely by private donations to Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch.

Adoptable Bachelor: Red Rooster
He cares a lot about vitamin k, hops like a bunny when he's off leash running around, and is naturally monochromatic. He's good with other dogs and could learn to live with cats. He is just under 2yrs old, 50lbs, and knows basic commands.

Adoptable Bachelor: Gunner
A head nuzzler with the body of a greek statue, Gunner is a healthy, 65 pound, 5-year-old pittie mix. He loves people and would do best as the only dog in a home. Most importantly, Gunner knows how to sit at a table like a human and watch you drink wine (a trick he learned from managing the tasting room at his foster parent's winery).

Adoptable Bachelorette: Sally
Sally is a mature 9 yr old very chill lady. She would have worn this hula skirt forever as long as we kept those treats a'comin. he's very adaptable and can hula her way through almost any situation (i.e. she gets along well wit both cats and dogs).

Adoptable Bachelorette: Merry Ann
This 60lb, house and crate trained 9yr old is looking fab with her bridle coat and radish necklace. She is incredibly sweet and immediately gave us her belly to rub when we met her. She would do best as the only dog in the home or with a well-matched large dog!

Adoptable Dynamic Duo: Rose & Sally
This one is gonna getcha. These two sweet dogs are joined at the hip after suffering years of abuse together. Their ideal home is a "fospice" situation where Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch would provide all food, medicine, and vet care. Sally and Rose just need a calm and quiet home with not a lot of activity or other animals to enjoy the rest of their time together.

Adoptable Bachelor: Malachi
First off, THOSE EARS! This 10-month-old German Shepherd/Doberman puppy needs someone who is willing to give him the exercise and attention he needs. Malachi is housebroken, gets along with other dogs, sleeps all night in his crate, and loves a good car ride.

For info on adopting any of these dogs, or donating to support their hospice care, please visit Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch

photos by Emma K Morris
styling/dog wrangling by Alex Healy and Katie Miller
veg costumes by me




illustration by Goldfeather

illustration by Goldfeather

I met Donna while we were both deep in the small biz hustle in San Francisco. She was running a kitchen shop called Pot & Pantry where you could buy and sell high-end vintage kitchen equipment and cookware (a genius idea); I was hawking my raw vegan desserts for Sidesaddle Kitchen.  We commiserated over the struggle to pay our bills and our lack of social lives.

Since then she's continued to do a bunch of cool stuff. She now works as a buyer for Heath Ceramics, basically finding and developing new products and creative collaborations (amazing, right?) and is also an illustrator (you can see some of her work here).

She is incredibly smart and talented, smart as a whip, and secretly a really, really good dancer. She also has bangin style and glowing skin that just looks more and more like a baby's butt every time I see her. It's annoying. Anyway, here are her natural beauty faves!


1. Josie Maran Daily Moisturizer SPF 47I was so happy when I finally found a moisturizer/SPF that made my combo skin feel balanced. It's super light and absorbs fast—my skin just drinks it up. After it soaks in, my face has a delicious elasticity and tackiness not unlike risen dough (in the best way possible)

2. Squalane OilEven though I have combination skin and I'm prone to oiliness, I like to moisturize since thirsty skin produces even more oil to overcompensate. A few years ago, I got really into a certain Japanese brand of squalane oil—until I learned it may or may not be made of shark liver (which would technically make it squalene oil—with an 'e'—but that's another story). What the what! I couldn't find a definitive answer anywhere, so that freaked me out. Obviously, I stopped using that brand immediately, erring on the side of caution. I loved what it did for my skin though, so I've been trying this random brand I found online that's derived from olives instead. It's been a lifesaver in this record breaking California cold weather! I want to try argan oil next. 

3. Activated Charcoal SpongeI use this little sponge in the shower after my skin's had a chance to soften up. While the sponge is still dry I like to use it to gently exfoliate, and once it's moist I rub it all over my t-zone. The charcoal is extra purifying which helps prevent breakouts and clears up my pores.

4. Klorane Dry ShampooThe best solution when you're too lazy to wash your hair. Lifesaver!

5. RMS Makeup Remover WipesI'm SO bad at washing my face at night (especially when traveling!) so these make me a little less gross.

6. Dr Bronner's Peppermint SoapWe buy a big bulk jug of it and use it for everything, all the time. The peppermint is my favorite for morning showers, since it really helps wake me up and feel refreshed. (They're not lying when they say it "tingles"!). Smells great, works great, and the hippie propaganda packaging is tops.




After she drops off her two girls at school, Mechele Cobo drives to a park down the street to meet a group of other moms for a workout in the park. She started by just going alone, but once some of her friends got wind of her routine, they asked they could tag along.  

Word got around and these days, up to twelve moms are showing up for her donation-based classes. It's a mix of circuit training and group therapy, as they exchange stories of kid drama in between burpees and bond over extreme sleep deprivation while doing squats.

Mechele is also my big sister, so I'm especially excited that she has this supportive group of women around her. And, after going to her class this week, I'm also just so impressed with her teaching (and still so sore I can't move!) I just wish I lived closer so I could take her classes all the time! I'm so proud of her and so inspired by the community she's created.

Below, Mechele answers some questions about how this all got started and why she does it.

Who are you?
I'm Laura's older sister ;) I’m a wife, and a mother of two happy, energetic girls.

What's your relationship with your exercise/your body/movement?
I used to be a devoted gym-goer.  I've always loved classes and the group fitness environment, so I took a lot of step aerobics, Tae bo, weights name it, I tried it. More recently I've fallen in love with exercising outdoors, knowing my workout will be different every time, and most of all with the amazing group of women I get to see three mornings a week during our class.  

I’m also very interested in nutrition.  I feel proud when my kids are asking for kale chips with their dinner or reminding me that they need to take their probiotics in the morning.  I want to teach them that eating well and exercising is not about how you look, but about feeling great, both mentally and physically.

How did you get into teaching?
Last spring, a couple of my close friends and fellow moms at my kids’ school asked if I could meet them at the park and work out with them, knowing I was very interested in fitness and I was loving my workouts outside. I agreed, and we started meeting twice a week. Word started to spread, and before long we had a group of about 12 ladies. We'd all bring our kids and they'd get to have a playdate while we got an awesome workout done near to the play structure! 

I think there are a lot of moms who feel like they don't have time to workout, or are intimidated by the gym atmosphere, so this made it easy for them to get their exercise and get in shape. We've continued to meet and I'm now teaching four classes a week and working on my group fitness certification.

Why are the classes fun for you? 
I love sharing my love of fitness with other women.  It's so rewarding to see them getting stronger.  There are some ladies who couldn't do one push-up when they started, and now they are doing 20 of them in a row (or more).  It makes them feel empowered and confident.

I also love the conversations we have during our hour together.  Sometimes we're talking about a struggle we're having in our lives, sometimes we're sharing funny stories about our kids, and other times we're swapping healthy recipes. Between the rounds of burpees and squat jumps, we are a support group for each other.  It's the best kind of therapy!

What energizes you?
I think what energizes me is my kids. They give me a reason to get up and take good care of myself every day. I want them to be comfortable in their own skin and to develop a love for movement like I have. So, I have to set a good example. That keeps me going. 

Why is it important for you to work with other moms?
I love working with other moms because I understand their struggles. I understand why they’re exhausted because they were up with a sick kid all night or why they have to skip a workout because it's more important that they spend the time volunteering in their son's classroom. But I also understand how important it is for each of them to take care of themselves (not just everyone else) and I hope to help them do that by providing a fun, positive way to stay healthy.

Has exercise changed how you feel about your body? 
It has made me feel more confident. Not because I look better, but because I am more capable. I love that I can keep up with my kids running through the park, or that I can carry a 50 bag of chicken feed to the backyard without help from the hubby. :)

What do you look forward to?
I look forward to that rush of endorphins you get after a great workout. It's a natural high.

What advice about your body would you give yourself 10 years ago?
Don't spend too much time thinking about how you're going to get toned or stay in shape. Focus more on finding something active that you really enjoy. If you find something physical you love doing, you will be consistent, and a fit, healthy body will come naturally.