Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Pintos and Red Wine Soup

Pinto Beans

Frugal comfort food that doesn’t just taste good, but keeps well too.

When choosing a dish to cook, Mums will always need to ask themselves three things:
1) “Is this good?”,
2) “Is this nutritious?”, and
3) “Is this practical?”
After all, you can’t have one without the other!

A great big serving of Mac and Cheese is easy to prepare and a sure-hit with the kids, but it’s hardly healthy. Conversely, a simple dish made with cheap vegetables will make for a healthy, practical meal, but may not be too popular at the dinner table? Striking a balance between the three is essential to serving up a great meal.

Not to worry though, as today’s recipe for pinto beans and red wine soup ticks all three boxes. Making use of nothing but the best quality ingredients, it’s sure to pack a punch in terms of flavor and nutrients! And it’s insanely easy to make too, and which Mum does not love easy.

Pinto beans don’t carry too much flavor on their own, but this is what makes them a perfect complement to the red wine soup. After all, when trying to pair wine with anything, M&S wine guru Chris Murphy recommends trying to match textures and flavors before anything else. “Anything with a lighter texture than these pintos would be overpowered by the richness of a red wine soup, and anything too flavorful would clash with the delicate hints of garlic in the soup.”

Worried about cooking with wine for children; the alcohol will evaporate, with the flavor remaining in a concentrated form. Thus, leaving the food safe for a child to consume. Do not fret!

Is this nutritious?
The main ingredients of this meal are pinto beans, red wine, and garlic — three things that have been touted for their health benefits in the past. Pinto beans are virtually fat-free and are a great source of protein for vegans and vegetarians. Red wine is known for its anti-aging properties and for being full of antioxidants, and garlic is said to be good for your blood and maybe even help lessen the amount of fat formed in our bodies.

Garlic; used throughout history as a food medicine

Is this practical?
The soup mellows out as it stays in the fridge, and it freezes extremely well, so you can make a big batch and keep it in your fridge. The ingredients are also quite cheap, as you can use just about any leftover red wine from your pantry.

What You Need for the Beans

  • 2 cups of dried, organic pinto beans
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 diced celery stalk
  • 1 diced large carrot
  • 1 diced medium onion
  • 6 crushed garlic cloves, and 6 whole garlic cloves
  • 10 fresh sage leaves
  • ½ tsp of salt

Read More Willy B Mum

Home Baked Miso Glazed Tofu Cubes

One of Miles Storm’s favorite snacks is our Home Baked Miso Glazed Tofu Cubes. They are very easy and fast to make. We like to make this for him as a snack once a week, as our pediatrician told us that it is not good to give little boys too much tofu. Her reasoning was that it has high level of estrogen and is only recommended in moderation.

You will need – Olive Oil, Miso paste and a package of organic firm tofu. I always use South River Chickpea Miso paste, as it is organic and tastes great. It is a little pricey though but worth it as one jar goes a very long way – you can buy it online here.

The ingredients

What To Do

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Line the baking tin with olive oil – a good amount which covers the bottom of the tray.

2. Drain tofu, place on cutting board and roughly chop into 1 inch cubes.

3. Mix a few teaspoons of miso paste in a few tablespoons of olive oil and blend together.

4. Either paint tofu paste on with a brush, or spoon mixture on to tofu pieces.

5. Put tofu in oven and cook until golden brown. Turn pieces of tofu every 15 minutes. It should take between 45 minutes to an hour to cook.

Just out of the oven

6. Perfect for Little hands. Feed your munchkin!

Great for little hands

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum!

Natural Beauty Products; make your own

Aloe Vera and Chamomile; both plants were grown in my garden which can be used for home-made products

The holidays are fast approaching, too fast if you ask me, it seems like yesterday it was the beginning of Spring and I was pottering around in the soil getting my garden ready.

I am not sure about you, but for me, the holidays bring a lot of angst, as I just never seem to organize my loved and appreciated ones gifts in time. It is always a last-minute rush to get everything in order by Christmas Eve; when Father Christmas comes down the Chimney!

One way around this is to make your own presents; I feel like something homemade is more sincere than buying something, as so much love and appreciation has gone into the final product. I really enjoy making my own products, even if I am quite the novice.

So how do I know what to do? Well I am glad you asked.

A year or so ago, I participated in one of Back Porch Soap Company founder, Marla Bosworth, workshops here in New York City titled Balms, Salves, Butters and Scrubs  which are held at Little Shop of Crafts throughout the year on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I found her class to be extremely helpful. Marla is a wonderful teacher who knows her stuff. She is patient, knowledgable and has a really cool vibe to her (bonus). I highly recommend taking a class of hers if you can, you will definitely walk away with a spring in your step.

I also read a lot of books; in particular A Green Guide to Natural Beauty by UK-based Karen Gilbert. The book has the most gorgeous photos and offers natural alternatives of like-commercial-products which have too much packaging, too much perfume and are too expensive for what they are. Can we just take it back to basics now already please!

Another book in my library is Organic Body Care Recipes by Stephanie Tourles. She offers 175 recipes on how to make your own organic shampoos, moisturizer, balms, cellulite soaks, scrubs and toners. Yes, I just said cellulite soaks!

2 Books for inspiration – A Green Guide to Natural Beauty and Organic Body Care Recipes

Have you ever stopped to wonder how many chemicals are contained in the products you put on your body?

There has been a huge focus on the downside of eating many foods of late, and I believe people are becoming more conscious of what we put into our bodies. But, what about the products we put on our body, which soak through our skin and into our cells. If you think about it, our body is still consuming it, just in a different way. This equals = just as dangerous. By making your own products you can control what goes into your cauldron ie no pesticide-sprayed or GMO ingredients.

Dried Chamomile Flowers (from my garden) has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal herb

With a little research and patience, creating your own beauty products can be an easy-peasy way to fulfill your creative needs, save some money or make some money, and put a BIG SMILE on a friend’s face.

Upcoming on the BLOG will be a tutorial on how to make a Whipped Body Butter recipe, just as soon as I get it right.
What about you; do you make your own beauty products. If so, do you feel like sharing your experiences?

Peace Love and Plants RULE the WORLD. Thanks for reading my blog.

KidFresh, because sometimes I am not a perfect Mother

Every now and again, on a rare occasion, I serve Miles Storm prepackaged frozen foods. My husband and I do try our very best to always serve him home cooked foods, but you heard it here first: we are not perfect!

My husband is away at the moment on business, and driving between 2 homes with 2 dogs and a very excitable little boy really hasn’t left me much time to do anything, let alone cook and clean dishes!

Last week when I was in such a spot, I received a package of the 3 vegetarian options that the New York City based food company Kidfresh had sent for Miles Storm to try. It was kind of like the perfect scenario, I had no time and here was a delivery of KidFresh sitting in my kitchen.

So, I lined them all up and asked Miles Storm which flavor he wanted to try; Wagon Wheels Mac + Cheese, Muy Cheesy Quesadillas or Easy Cheesy Ravioli? He chose the Mac + Cheese.

Wagon Wheels Mac + Cheese is tonight’s winner!

Some of you may recall, that my Son suffered with bad eczema when he was a lot younger, and we were told, by his pediatrician, to cut out all gluten and dairy. If you are interested you can read about that HERE. However, most recently, he has grown out of that allergy, so very occasionally and as a special treat he can have dairy and gluten foods. I am quite proud to write that, we cook the majority of Miles Storm’s food. As a result of this, in his eyes giving him prepackaged food is indeed a Special Treat.

And, I have to tell you, Miles Storm ate the whole bowl. He really liked it!

Miles Storm loved his special treat of Kidfresh Mac + Cheese

Kidfresh products are available in over 5000 stores across the USA, including my favorite Whole Foods, and range in price between $3 to $4 per serving.

Proof is in the Pudding on this One

As a plus, the packaging is BPA free, and there are no artificial colors or preservatives in the meals. Each variety also has hidden vegetables mixed in like Butternut Squash, Tomatoes and Carrots. Yep, the people over at Kidfresh are pretty tricky!

Another thing that makes me feel good about Kidfresh is that they have helped to feed others not so fortunate since 2011 through NYC based non-profit organization – City Harvest!

For me, Kidfresh was a great way to feed my Little Guy at speed. I admit, I do feel somewhat guilty that I was not able to find the time to cook for him. But, on the other hand, I am happy he liked the food and ate the whole bowl. If that is not proof in the pudding I do not know what is?

What about you, if you are in a bind, what quick prepared foods do you serve to your children?

Thanks for reading my BLOG!

Buddha Bowls are Back In Vogue

My version of the Buddha Bowl

One of my favorite things to make at the moment is a Roasted Vegetable Bowl also known as a “Scrap Bowl” or a “Buddha Bowl”. There are so many varieties of Buddha Bowls but generally speaking, one consists of 3 parts being a grain, vegetables and a sauce or seasoning on top. And, this is as far as it goes with rules!

So happy eating my Buddha Bowl

Everybody is going to have their own twist on a Buddha Bowl, as mostly the inspiration comes from opening your fridge to see what you have available. With this in mind, the possibilities are ENDLESS! Maybe you want to add avocado (which I love), or a boiled egg, some tofu or some spicy black beans. Hmm, I am just getting hungry writing all this down! This dish is also ideal to tailor to food allergies and restrictions such as being gluten-free, not eating animals or not being a fan of dairy products.

I know I write this with a lot with my recipes, but this is beyond easy to make, and one of the most adaptable and fun recipes ever.

Need a close, well today is your lucky day

To get you started on a creation of your very own, here is the recipe of the one that I made for lunch today.

Part 1  – Grain

  • Cook a cup of Quinoa and place to the side

Part 2  – Vegetables

  • Pre Heat over to 350F
  • Roughly chop 1 broccoli, 1 cauliflower, 1 whole onion, half a cup of peas, 2 cups of mini carrots and 3 cups of shiitake mushrooms
  • Place in a baking tray lined with olive oil and a small amount of sea salt to season
  • Roast for approximately 45 minutes or until desired consistency

Read More Willy B Mum

An Australian Favorite, introducing the healthier Chocolate Crackle

Mini Chocolate Crackles, an Australian Icon

Growing up in Australia one thing that was always served at Children’s Birthday Parties was the Australian Icon, the Chocolate Crackle. The Chocolate Crackle is as well-known as Vegemite, The Sydney Harbour Bridge or Crocodile Dundee. It just wasn’t a proper Birthday Party if there were not Chocolate Crackles.

This week, as it was a dreary day outside, I decided to introduce my 3-year-old Son to the Chocolate Crackle. As there is no cooking involved and is quick and easy it really is the perfect project for a Little One. And, boy did Miles Storm have fun as you can see from the video below.

However, any search on the Internet will bring up hundreds of recipes that I am sorry to say are not the healthiest of choices for a Little One, so I started thinking about making a healthier Chocolate Crackle as an experiment? Hmmm — could it be done!

Chocolate Crackles traditionally have Copha, (which is an Australian-made vegetable shortening made from hydrogenated coconut oi) sugar, cocoa and Rice Bubbles (Rice Krispies if you are in the USA). Well, I am happy to say that our “healthier version” turned out great. How did I make it healthier? I just added in varying ingredients (like agave instead of sugar and Cacao instead of Cocoa) of higher quality. I also made them Mini’s so the serving size is smaller, usually Chocolate Crackles are served in a larger typical cupcake size. And, as my Son has a pending low Iron count at the moment, I ground up some iron-packed Pumpkin Seeds to help with that issue.

This recipe is nut-free, gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free and egg-free.

What You Need (to make 24 Mini Chocolate Crackles)

  • 2 Cups of Gluten-Free Brown Puffed Rice or equivalent (which I found at my local supermarket)
  • 1 Cup of Organic Shredded Coconut (which I blended in my food processor to make finer)
  • 1/3 Cup of Organic Agave Sweetener
  • 3 tablespoons of Organic Raw Cacao Powder
  • 150 grams or approximately 12.5 tablespoons of Organic Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 Cup of Pumpkin Seeds (which I blended in my food processor to make finer) –OPTIONAL and not usually in a traditional Chocolate Crackle recipe
  • Hundreds and Thousands to decorate, which are like sprinkles but another native Australian product

Read More Willy B Mum

Gruž Market – Dubrovnik Croatia

Local fruit stand at the Gruž Market

Being on holidays in a foreign country can be, at times challenging to eat in the way that you are accustomed to in your own environment. Whether you have health conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, or dietary restrictions like not eating meat or being gluten-free, you can never be 100% sure of what really is in the foods from supermarkets, cafes or restaurants.

This is why buying fresh produce from local Markets and making your own meals is a great option! This way, you know exactly what is going into your fares as you are making them yourself. And, it also gives you a local understanding of the food, and where it comes from.

My family is currently renting a house in Dubrovnik, Croatia; which means we are able to cook at home a lot! I think, that we are an extremely healthy family eating mainly fish, vegetables, grains and fruits. A lot of the time we eat vegetarian, cutting fish out all together, so a local Farmer’s Market is indeed a godsend.

So where can one get produce if spending time in Dubrovnik, Croatia?

Our Market of choice is the famous Open-Air Fish and Produce Market in Gruž, where it has stood for many decades on a section of the ruined garden of an old Summer Villa known as Gundulić. These Ruins were previously owned by the last known Royal’s of Dubrovnik – the Bona Family. The Villa was first attacked in the World War 1, and completely ruined in World War 2.

The Gruž Market is the largest and cheapest in the City. It is a lively, colorful and very busy exchange where local farmers (& farmers from further out) sell everything from flowers, cheese, eggs, sweets, oils, liquors, fresh fruits and vegetables. Generally speaking the smaller stalls are run by immediate farmers, while the bigger stalls are hosted by farmers who travel from Konavle (suburb of Dubrovnik) or the neighboring country of Herzegovina.

There is also is an indoor fish market with daily freshly caught seafood coming straight off the boats governed by local fisherman who dock and drop-off at the Harbour directly across the Street – you can’t get any fresher than that!

Have you EVER seen tomatoes this good before. They tasted AMAZING!

The Gruž Market is the real-deal. Here you will find food that is grown on farms the old-fashioned way with no pesticides, additives or harmful chemicals. This area is one of the oldest settlements in the world, and they have thankfully kept themselves removed from modern-day food culture, which unfortunately is not the way with the same industry in the United States where I live with my family. Literally, what you see here is exactly how the local climate was able to produce the foods and I LOVE that!

Perhaps this is why people who eat a Mediterranean Diet are so healthy compared to other cultures, not to mention the natural beauty they have all around them keeping people calm and stress-free — just a thought!

Buying some local produce

Gruž Market is open every day from early morning 6AM to 6PM in the evening. I have heard though that all the good stuff is sold very quickly at the start of the day, especially in summer when locals/restaurateurs travel first thing to shop before it gets too hot. Friday and Saturday mornings are known to be the busiest, while Sundays are the quietest as a lot of the farmers take the day off.

Please Note; the adjoining Fish Market is a little different with timing. They open at 6AM but close when the fish runs out and on some days this is 10AM. However, the official closing time is 12 Noon.

How To Get There

If you do not feel like walking to and from the market (dependent on where you are staying) it is located close to public transport options of boats and buses. Privately, you can catch a taxi, with a pick-up hub conveniently located right across the Street.

**Environmental NOTE

Just say NO to plastic bags and take your own to the Market. I see so many abandoned bags littering the Adriatic Sea, and while I try to pick up as many as I can, if we just stop using them – PROBLEM SOLVED!

The Gruž Market is on the Street Obala Stjepana Radića on Gruž Harbour.

Other Markets Read More Willy B Mum

Baked Egg in an Avocado

Baked Eggs and Avocado with a tomato, oregano, onion topping

I have always been partial to eggs, some years I can eat them and other years not. At the moment I can eat eggs, but only if I get them close-by our weekend house from Sepascot Home Farm upstate NY in Rhinebeck. The eggs from the Farm are true-to-life produced by the happiest chickens, who are not caged and are free to roam the property during the day eating naturally. They are very happy little chickens! Personally, I can only eat eggs if they are baked or hard-boiled. Weird I know. I cannot do fried eggs and the smell of a cooking omelette can near make me sick.

Free-Range chickens produce eggs that have half the cholesterol of Battery-Caged eggs (from chickens who are kept in hideous conditions and live in a life of hell).

Free-Range chickens also produce eggs that are 6 times higher in beta carotene and 4 times higher in omega-3′s fatty acids.

Beta Carotene is needed by the body for good eye-sight and vision, to maintain a healthy immune system and healthy skin. Omega 3 Fatty Acids are needed by the body to control blood clotting and to build cell membranes in the brain, as the body does not produce Omega 3′s we must get them from food.

The taste is way better of Free-Range eggs, with Battery-Caged eggs having no taste in comparison. Sure, they are usually more expensive but for me I just cannot do conventionally farmed eggs at all.

I also love avocados, which are high in close to 20 nutrients including potassium, vitamin K, folate, B vitamins and vitamin C. Not to mention high in fiber. So, I started thinking, how would a baked avocado go with a baked egg – can I combine the 2?

Feeling motivated, after an insane workout at the gym, I tried it out this morning and the combination turned out amazing. It is definitely something that my family is going to be eating in the future…. often.


  • Avocados
  • Eggs
  • Half a tomato finely diced
  • Quarter of a small onion finely diced
  • Oregano chopped in small pieces
  • Half a teaspoon of sea-salt
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

Organic Avocados and Free-Range Cage-Free produced eggs are the main ingredients


  • Pre-Heat oven to 350 F
  • Cut avocado in half and pit
  • Scoop out approximately half of the avocado flesh of each half of avocado
  • Crack one egg into each half of avocado

Read More Willy B Mum

Super Awesome Vegan/Vegetarian Lunch Options for Little Ones!

The most popular posts that I put up on the Willy B Mum Facebook Page are the pictures of Miles Storm’s lunches that I make for him. So today, I am dedicating my writing to highlighting a group of those plate creations.

I do often get compliments on how healthy the lunches are that I put together for my Son. Some people are even in disbelief as to how I came up with such combinations. To me, it is quite normal and all that I know to do for him. However, I guess to others trying or starting out with a vegetarian/vegan diet, it can be confusing and frustrating to navigate through, especially if having eaten meat most of one’s life. And, I understand that, as once upon a time I ate meat and I did not have a Son.

Since my husband and I became parents almost 3 years ago now, we have really stepped up our game in the food department. The majority of the food we consume is organic and Non-GMO. We also try to buy local and seasonal food. During the summer months we grow our own produce including tomatoes, kale, beans, watermelon and eggplants. Not to mention, we cook nearly everything ourselves so we can control and know exactly what is going into our family meals.

In my opinion, the divided plates (that you see in the photos) are a genius concept as it gives children a variety of options as to what they want to eat and really leaves the eating experience up to them. You may also notice that all the foods can be eaten with the hands. My toddler is very much into eating this way, so all the food choices, for this stage of his life, reflect that.

Please enjoy the photos below, I hope that they are inspirational in helping to create some lovely healthy vegetarian/vegan options for your Little One’s lunches.

Maybe you can send some suggestions my way too, as I am always looking to add to Miles Storm’s menu!

Thanks for reading my BLOG!

INNOBABY – Din Din Divided Bus Plate
BPA, Phthalate, PVC & Lead Free
Costs from $17.99
We bought ours at Mini Jake in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn NY

Feta Cheese with Raw Almonds, Roasted Broccoli, Home Made Tomato Sauce, Blueberries with Strawberries and Gluten-Free Pasta

Cage Free Hard Boiled Egg, Kiwi Fruit, Grilled Corn Niblets, Carrots with Guacamole and Gluten-Free Pasta with home-made tomato sauce

Edamame, Feta Cheese, Raw Almond Butter for dipping, Vegemite with Olive Oil on Gluten-Free toast and Sliced Pears

Hard Boiled Cage-Free egg, Sliced Purple Grapes, Baked Miso Tofu (RECIPE HERE), Carrots with hummus and Baked Cauliflower with Broccoli

Kinderville – Bigger Bites Divided Plate Read More Willy B Mum

Chilled Avocado Soup with Dill, Coconut and Nuts

Ingredients – Water, Dill, Red Wine Vinegar, Red Onion, Walnuts, Avocado and Coconut Milk

Many years ago, during a summer in New York, I was introduced to cold soups. Yes, with the popular tomato-based Gazpacho Soup. I will admit, it look me awhile to get used too – cold soup – but now I actually look forward to it in the warmer months when Summer comes around.

Today, wanting to try something that my (almost 3-year-old) could help me with I came up with a Chilled Avocado Soup. You can tell from his face in the photo below how much he LOVED being involved. I mean, when I turned that blender on it was priceless. Of course, he wasn’t interested in helping with the dishes…. But that is a whole other story!

This soup takes minimal down time as there is no cooking involved. It is more like a smoothie kind of vibe – you put everything in the blender and press blend. Genius right? And, not just that, this soup just doesn’t have to be soup. What I actually found after making it (and you can see from the photos it was a lot of soup) is that it is also perfect as a dip, and as a topping to foods like Veggie Burgers.

Miles Storm LOVES helping out in the kitchen


  • 2 ripe Avocados
  • 2 cups of Coconut Milk (I used So Delicious)
  • 1/2 cup of nuts (I used walnuts as it was all I had BUT I think Macadamia or Pine Nuts will be tasty too)
  • 1/3 cup of the herb dill and a little extra for the garnish
  • 1/2 cup of diced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
  • 1 cup of water
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Read More Willy B Mum