Vegan Waffle Carrot Cake

Scrumptious vegan waffle carrot cake right here!

A totally simple, super yummy ode to National Carrot Cake Day. Always #attainableveganism. 

We couldn’t love it more!

Vegan Carrot Cake Waffle


1 heaping cup // It’s Really Vegan Original Mix 
1/2 c + 2 tblspns // Water
1 tspn // Vanilla
1 tspn // Cinnamon
1/2 c // Grated Carrots
1⁄4 c // Chopped Walnuts
1/4 c // Chopped Dates
2 tblspns // Shredded Coconut
1/2 tspn // Grated Ginger


Combine all ingredients  in a bowl and stir.

Pour mixture onto a heated waffle iron and cook according to waffle iron instructions, usually 3-5 minutes.

Top your delicious warm waffle cake with vegan ice cream, sweetened vegan yogurt, icing, or whatever you like! 


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Object Lessons: Resting in Grace

When I see the above photo, I’m encouraged by the thought that grace awaits me.

Yes, grace.

Divine grace, as delivered through advantageous opportunities, day-to-day strength, unmerited blessings, the kindness and sacrifice of friends and strangers.

The day this photo was taken, we were doing a product photo shoot. A friend, Natalie, who happens to be a raw vegan chef, came to help (that’s her hand in the photo 🙂 ). She ended up adding so much creative direction to the shots, and pitched right in without a murmur or mis-step. At certain points, I stepped back and let her do her thing, confident in her eye and abilities. It felt good to do that. It felt good to release an important task to someone who was fully competent and willing. It felt good to rest.

The experience behind this photo is one repeated in our family life, vegan eats lifestyle and even business life to a degree, over and over. Resting in Divine grace is our chosen mode of being. It means we work hard, but never pridefully reject blessings that we have not worked for. It means we expect that our limits are for our benefit. It means that we are never overcome with anxiety, or paralyzed by comparison.


We choose to understand that “His grace is sufficient,” and “His strength is made perfect in weakness.”

God is love and the Giver of good and perfect gifts. 

Because the good and perfect we seek is Divine, and we are the created, we will continue to rest in the grace that flows to us from God.


Are you anxious and striving in your vegan journey? Down on yourself because you slipped up or haven’t been consistent?

What are your barriers to rest? And how can you choose to surrender them today?

Delicious Go-To Breakfast Plate

Agave-Miso Lacinato Kale, Curry Scrambled Tofu, Roasted Potatoes & It's Really Vegan pancakes. *A Perfect Vegan Breakfast*

Gosh! This is our kind of breakfast. It’s simple (even though it feels decadent), tastes AMAZING and is totally toddler-approved. A satisfying representation of #attainableveganism.  

Agave-Miso Lacinato Kale


1 pack/bushel // Lacinato Kale (or greens of choice)
2 tblspns // Coconut Oil
1 tblspn // Agave
1 tblspn // Garlic Powder
1 tblspn // Onion Powder
1⁄2 tspn // Cayenne Pepper Powder
a pinch // Pink Himalayan Salt
1 tblspn // Miso Paste (traditional red is best)
1/4 c // Water


Combine all ingredients (lacinato kale, coconut oil, honey, miso, seasonings and 1⁄4 cup water) in a pot or pan of choice.

Cook kale on medium-low heat, covered for last 10 minutes, until completely wilted and relatively soft, about 25 minutes.

You may need to add additional water in tablespoons from time-to-time so that the kale doesn’t burn on the bottom.

Curry Scrambled Tofu


1 16oz block // Organic Extra Firm Tofu
3 tblspns // Olive Oil
1/4 c // Finely Chopped Red and Green Bell Pepper
1 tspn // Garlic Powder
1 tspn // Onion Powder
1/2 tspn // Cayenne Pepper Powder
1/4 tspn // Turmeric
1 tspn // Pink Himalayan Salt
1 tspn // Oregano Flakes
2 tblspns // Nutritional Yeast



Heat oil on medium heat in a non-stick pan and add bell pepper. Let sauté for 2-3 minutes.

Place block of tofu in a pan and mash with a fork or potato masher until it arrives at a consistency of small crumbles (reminiscent of scrambled eggs).

Add remaining ingredients to the  pan and stir for even distribution.

Allow the tofu to cook until the color has darkened and there are some crispy fried bits throughout (10-15 minutes). Make sure to stir for even cooking.  

Roasted Potatoes


3 lbs // Yukon Gold Potatoes, Diced
1/4 c // Olive or Coconut Oil
2 tspn // Salt
2 tblspn // Garlic Powder
1 tblspn // Onion Powder
1 tspn // Cayenne Pepper Powder
1 tspn// Paprika
2 tblspn // Oregano 
1 tblspn // Parsley
1/2 tspn // Turmeric



Combine all ingredients (potatoes, oil, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, oregano, parsley, turmeric) in a bowl and toss until potatoes are evenly coated.

Transfer potatoes to a sheet pan. Make sure to get them into one layer on the pan.

Preheat the oven to 390º and cook the potatoes until they’ve softened and browned. Make sure to turn them a couple times while they’re cooking, for evenness. 

Vegan Pancakes (Easy and Delicious)


1 c // It’s Really Vegan Complete Pancake/Waffle Mix
1/2 c // Water


Whisk mix and water together in a bowl and cook on nonstick griddle.

(For a super easy step-by-step pictorial, click here). 

Let us know how you liked these simple recipes! We’d love it if you tagged us #itsreallyvegan with pics of what you come up with using these recipes.

Happy Vegan Eats!!!

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A Busy Momma’s Thoughts on Simplicity

Some days, I feel in my bones that I must be all things to all people. Going, going, going. But the needs keep coming and I can’t come off edge. When, at the end of the day, I come up short (because, my humanity)–shorthanded, shortchanged, short-tempered–I feel the inadequacy pour over me. 

This is a real thing. Some of the thoughts I entertain during times of overwhelm can go something like this: 

I’m not doing enough for our children (after all, they deserve the best opportunities). 

I’m not doing enough for my husband (after all, he’s hardworking, self-sacrificing, doesn’t ask for much). 

I’m not doing enough for It’s Really Vegan (after all, we’re a new company with potential that demands the response of hard work).

Can you relate?

So, how do I approach these negative thought patterns and how am I growing out of them?

♥ By consciously and consistently reorienting my thoughts to some truths. (And asking for help to carry the load.) ♥

These are the truths. My Notes on Simplicity:


The simple life and people-pleasing aren’t compatible. If I choose to make decisions about anything (absolutely anything) based primarily on getting other human beings to think well of me, validate me, compliment me–approve of me–I’m forfeiting the opportunity to experience the abiding peace that comes from Divine alignment. People aren’t God. I won’t make them.


Simplicity means I lay down the false preface that I should be capable of doing everything, and that I cannot make mistakes. My limitations, when I embrace them, help reveal my true calling and make the path to true happiness that much clearer.


Simplicity means I choose not to compare anything about myself to anything about anyone else. I am special. Through Divine wisdom, the makings of me are enough for my calling, including my calling to love and be loved.


Simplicity and beauty are two sides of the same coin. Choosing the simple life means I make room for beauty to shine forth. 


How We Keep Our Vegan Kids Nourished (5 Easy, Practical Tips)

Intentionality wins the day when it comes to nourishing your vegan little ones.

So far as it’s possible, our kids were born and raised vegan (except for honey, which we love raw and use often). 

Yes–we conquered three vegan pregnancies on a single-income, blue collar budget (a story for another time–and if we did it, you can, too), and then I breastfed the children on this same diet and transitioned them to solids sans animal products. At one point, we even made our own vegan baby formula (using this recipe as a base) for our oldest daughter to compensate for my waning milk supply when we turned up pregnant around the time she turned six months.


What I know for sure now is that there has been far too much worry and insecurity projected on our family about the supposed inadequacies of our children’s diet of just plant-derived foods. 

But where do they get their protein? – Pediatrician

Don’t experiment on the girl, Joy. – My Dad (♥), speaking in regards to our choice to forego store-bought baby formulas and make our own vegan, soy-free one instead.

Oh, they’re vegan? Okay. Well, how do you make sure they get all their nutrients? – Random people at different times.

Truly, relying on plants for food cannot be done haphazardly. It does require extra care, understanding (sometimes research), planning and tracking–as the best outcomes in life do.

So here are five specific, practical ways we’re doing it. For your convenience, there are links included that will take you to where you can buy most of these things on Amazon. And know that we’re not affiliated with any of the brands mentioned and aren’t being compensated by them or anyone else for mentioning them. These are just the brands we use at home :).


Hemp Seeds, Flax Seeds, Chia Seeds

Nutritional Punch 

Listen, these seeds, right here? Fantastic. They’re chalk full of iron, good fats and trace minerals, and they’re one of the reasons we are 100% secure in having our babies be vegan eaters.

Hemp Seeds are one of the most nutritionally dense foods out there that we’ve come across. Just three tablespoons are full of Vitamin B1 (important for energy, metabolism, vision and a healthy heart), iron, magnesium (a huge deficiency among people world-wide) and manganese. They’ve also got notable amounts of folate, phosphorous and potassium. They’re mild-tasting and have a nutty kind of flavor that pairs well across the board. Remember to keep them in the refrigerator. We love these ones by Manitoba Harvest

 Flax Seed is such a versatile, time-tested nutritional staple. If you’re vegan and bake, then you’re familiar with the ubiquitous flax egg. And if you’re one who loves DIY vegan beauty, maybe you’ve watched tutorials on how to make flax seed hair gel (YES, indeed)! For our family, this add-in is irreplaceable. Not only does flaxseed contain two grams of fiber in just one tablespoon, and offer notable amounts of Vitamin B1 and Magnesium, but it is one of the best plant sources of highly anti-inflammatory Omega-3 Fatty Acids, in the form Alpha-Linoleic Acid (ALA)*. Our second daughter has sickle cell disease (a post for another time), and flax is an important way we address the inflammation inherent to the disease and keep her pain-free. It’s also the very best source of lignans out there (wow!), which are fiber-associated compounds found mostly in plants that have a smorgasbord of benefits, like hormonal balance, lowering bad cholesterol and THE HIGHEST ANTIOXIDANT VALUE of any other fruit or vegetable rated by the USDA! You can buy ’em  pre-ground or whole. The ground ones digest better and are a lot easier to incorporate. Some people buy the whole seeds and grind them on their own–but we don’t have time for that! So we buy these

 Chia Seeds can do so much for you, once you understand how they work (much like husbands, lol). They’re tiny little things that swell to twice their size or more when you give them a drink, and have a HUGE nutritional impact. One ounce (about two tablespoons) has loads of Magnesium, Manganese and Phosphorous. They also provide good, quality protein (good to know in case someone well-meaning wants to badger you about how your poor, starved little ones will ever get enough protein) and are high in fiber (which is why they sop up liquid so efficiently). Like flax seed, they’re also known for having a high concentration of ALA. We keep these ones around.

*Note: There are three most important omega-3 fatty acids–ALA, docosahexaenoic aside (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). DHA and EPA are thought to be the most beneficial to the body, but are generally not found in plants. The body does convert ALA to both EPA and DHA, but in minuscule amounts. Seaweed does contain some EPA, but it’s often recommended that non-seafood-eating peeps supplement (there are vegan supplements out there, like this one). 

How to Incorporate

What we love so, so much about these seeds is how easy it is to incorporate them into almost anything. 

Here are four simple ways to use them:

1. Add a few tablespoons to a pot of organic oatmeal. Use maple syrup, a nut butter and your favorite non-dairy milk as well, and your kids probably won’t even notice that they’re eating seeds!

2. Throw some into a fruit smoothie. Smoothies always work–they just do! Kids love them, and any selection of seeds in tablespoon amounts will just blend right in to your yummy, creamy creation. Remember that flax and chia seeds, in particular, will thicken anything you add them to. So account for that by adding extra liquid, so the texture you’re aiming for isn’t lost.

3. Add a tablespoon to your kids’ favorite non-dairy yogurt. Hemp seeds work really well here, but flax and chia can to. If you use the latter, just know that if they sit for too long in the yogurt before it’s eaten, you’ll have more of a pudding (that your kids may or may not like) in the end. 

4. Add a couple tablespoons to your pancake/waffle/cake batter. Of course, we love our very own It’s Really Vegan mix, and can vouch that it’s just as delicious with a hemp-flax-chia seed trio added. 



Nutritional Yeast Flakes

Nutritional Punch 

Nutritional yeast is an absolute must-have in the Cesar household. We sprinkle it on everything some days, and it’s one of the secrets to delicious vegan cheese sauces and parmesan. Although it’s produced from the same Saccharomyces cerevisiae as baker’s and brewer’s yeast, nutritional yeast is unique and especially suited to nourish vegan kids. The fortified kind is what you want–for the B12 content in particular–and you’ll need to make sure that the brand you use is vegan (the medium on which the yeast is grown may be animal-related). Check these out

Although vitamin/mineral content may vary by brand, generally, just a couple tablespoons of fortified nutritional yeast contain all you need for the day (and then some) in B vitamins, plus a significant amount of immune-boosting zinc and varying amounts of other trace minerals like iron, magnesium, selenium, manganese and copper. And, it’s a complete protein, folks!  

How to Incorporate

It’s so easy to make nutritional yeast work for kids.  

Here are four simple ways to use them:

1. Add a couple tablespoons to a pot of oatmeal or multigrain hot cereal. In fact, we add yeast flakes to our kids’ oatmeal right along with the aforementioned seeds. They love it. 

2. Sprinkle (or scoop) it into pasta sauces and soups. Whether it’s marinara, vegan alfredo or homemade cashew cheese sauce, nutritional yeast is an absolute fit. Savory soup?–add a couple tablespoons. Blends right in and only makes these dishes more delightful. 

3. Add a few tablespoons to your popcorn. Popping your own popcorn is cool, but around here, we eat our popcorn pre-popped and bagged! No matter what, a little vegan butter and yeast flakes are literally perfect with popcorn, and if your kids are like ours, they’ll keep wanting more.  

4. Offer them straight-up. This may not work for everyone, but it works for us! If we spread a half-cup of flakes on a plate and leave it for our children, they’ll have the flakes on their little fingers and licked up in no time. And what kid doesn’t want an excuse to lick their fingers? Try it! 




Nutritional Punch 

Seaweed is just plain good. At least, I think so now. I hadn’t eaten it much or realized how delicious it was until I spent nearly a year in South Korea teaching English. “Kim”–the Korean word for roasted sheets of salted seaweed perhaps more commonly known by their Japanese name, “Nori” (which is only sometimes roasted and usually not seasoned)–was a fixture of how I ate there. And boy, was it delicious. So flavorful, great on it’s own as a snack, or even better in combo with rice, veggies and tofu! And it seemed to satisfy something my body was craving.

That “something” could’ve very well been iodine. Just a few sheets of nori contain your entire recommended daily intake of this key trace mineral. (Other types of seaweed, like Wakame and Kombu, contain much more iodine per gram). Our thyroid needs iodine to make its hormones, which impact the body’s metabolism, importantly. And while iodine deficiency isn’t common, it happens to be the biggest cause of hypothyroidism in the world. 

Nori is also a source of vitamin A, B2, B9, C, manganese and iron. In fact, the iron it contains is more easily absorbable than other plant forms of iron and doesn’t seem to be impacted by the heat during roasting. B12 can be another benefit, although much of it may be destroyed by roasting or even seasoning of the nori.  

Finally, while seaweed does offer some Omega-3 benefit in the form of EPA, it doesn’t quite make the cut when it comes to DHA (just as flaxseed doesn’t). Interestingly and awesomely, micro algae oil seems to offer the (vegan) answer here, and is increasingly being considered as a more sustainable alternative to fish oil. 

Our kids love this brand

How to Incorporate

Here are some fun ways to incorporate seaweed for your kids:

1. Give it to them as a snack, plain. It really is tasty and may be just the right thing for your children. Not to worry though, seaweed has to be an acquired taste for some, so if the kiddos don’t take to it at first, know that they may grow to appreciate it in time. (And if not, sneak it in :)).  

2. Sprinkle it onto pasta dishes. Spaghetti and marinara, fettuccine alfredo, mac and cheese, pesto…it just works! Seaweed can be crushed up (or even bought this way), and is right at home with any of the above. 

3. Add it to soups, salads or sandwiches. Your kids are bound to already like a kind of soup (organic miso ramen, maybe?), salad or vege sandwich. Make it a habit to add some crushed seaweed to the mix. 

4. Popcorn. You know what to do: Popcorn + crushed nori and yeast flakes + melted vegan butter = THE BEST MOVIE NIGHT!


Coconut Oil

Nutritional Punch 

Some oils are garbage. Think genetically modified, inorganic corn oil as an example. But then, some oils…they’re just awesome. Enter organic, cold pressed coconut oil. Our toddlers consume it daily, and because of that, we have greater peace of mind that their little bodies are getting what they need. 

Coconut oil is a fundamental of life in these parts. We use it for cooking, for our skin, for our hair…even for the baby dolls’ skin and hair (baby dolls in our home receive the utmost care). There are tons of benefits here, but I’ll briefly describe the ones that have us sold related to nourishment. They really all come down to coconut oil’s saturated (yes, saturated) fat content. Over 90% of the fats in coconut oil are medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), which are metabolized much more quickly than other fats. Specifically, about half the MCFA content of coconut oil is lauric acid. Lauric acid fights candida, fights other pathogenic fungi, bacteria and viruses, can help clear up UTIs, helps prevent and heal stomach ulcers, and offers quick energy. It even makes omega-3 fatty acids more bioavailable when taken together with them. 

We’ve got this one in our refrigerator.

How to Incorporate

Here are a few ways we use this great stuff:

1. Add it to oatmeal. A couple tablespoons in a warm pot of yummy oatmeal are the perfect addition. Our kids love the taste.  

2. Plop some in a smoothie. And if it’s a cold smoothie, let it blend really well so that the hardened coconut oil (the oil stiffens up when it’s chilled) doesn’t disrupt the smooth texture. Delicious!

3. Twirl it into a homemade salad dressing–or add it to a store-bought one. Miso paste, agave, Bragg’s liquid aminos, tahini, a little vegan mayo and coconut oil are a STELLAR combo! Even the kids can’t get enough baby greens when they’re coated in it!

4. Add some to warmed non-dairy milk. Throw in a touch of pure vanilla extract and cinnamon, while you’re at it. And pair the beverage with banana bread. Your little ones will love it.




Nutritional Punch 

Fruit is man’s most compatible, simplest and very best food! I couldn’t imagine a happy life without it. Colorful, full of vitality, sweet, juicy, satisfying…fruit! And some of the best fruit of all are BERRIES. And some of the best berries according to our kids? BLUEberries! Rounding out the last of our five practical assurances of nutrition for our kids, welcome blueberries.

Blueberries are called a superfood (as in, more than your average food) with reason! Just a cup gives you a quarter of the daily recommendation for vitamin C and manganese, and over a third of it for vitamin K. Perhaps the furthest-reaching effects of blueberries are tied to their heightened antioxidant content in the form of flavonoids. Because of flavonoids like anthocyanins, blueberries vacuum up free radicals. This means less inflammation, prevention of some of the inevitable oxidative DNA damage we experience daily, and safeguards against cognitive impairments. Brain food for our babies? We’ll take that! 

Another thing we love about these little guys is their versatility. Find them freeze-dried, frozen, powdered or fresh, and your kids will reap benefits in every case.  


How to Incorporate

Here are a few ideas about how to give them to your children:

1. Add them to your favorite waffle batter. It’s fun to crush them up, whisk them into our very own It’s Really Vegan mixes, and make crispy-on-the-outside, moist-on-the-inside blueberry waffles!   

2. Blueberry-Banana SmoothieFrozen fruit, oat milk and agave–you know what to do!

3. Toss them into some yogurt (or vegan ice cream). A little granola, plus fresh blueberries to top off the kids’ yummy coconut yogurt? (If your kids are like ours, they won’t tolerate the obvious berries in their yogurt, but they’ve never said no to berries and ice cream!)

4. Juice them. Why not find some time to go blueberry picking with your little ones and let them help you juice a couple pounds later on? Drink up your fresh blueberry juice with straws (in fun cups, maybe) and freeze any leftovers for ice-pops another day. (If your precious kids are like ours, this proposed endeavor is a full day’s work, honey.)

Comment below to tell us all about how it’s been raising vegan babies! Or, if you’re transitioning your kids, or even just thinking about having them go vegan, we wanna know what your process has been like. 

Let’s make this investment for our children. They are worth it!



Simple and Delicious Vegan Pancakes Step-by-Step

Our family loves pancakes (and waffles, too, depending on the occasion). And it’s such a blessing to have an option that accommodates our intense, not-a-minute-to-breathe, three-kids-laden lifestyle. Our It’s Really Vegan mix checks off in some major food areas by our standards.

♥ Simple, plant-based, organic ingredients

♥ Yum!

♥ Time-effective

♥ Easy for the kids to help with

[insert relaxing sigh]

Here are the steps you’ll follow with our mix. They’re as easy as you might imagine (or even simpler).


Step One

♥ Measure out 1 cup of It’s Really Vegan mix and add it to your mixing bowl. 

Step two

♥ Measure out 1/2 cup of water and add it to your bowl, too.

Step three

♥ Whisk mixture until lumps are gone. Takes 30 seconds to a minute. 

Step four

♥ Pour batter into a measuring cup or container with a beak.

Step fIVE

♥ Heat griddle medium high (~330°) and pour batter to your liking.

Step sIX

♥ Watch for a few bubbles, and flip your cakes after 1½ minutes or so.

Step sEVEN

♥ Give ’em another minute-and-a-half or so.

Step eight

♥ Stack ’em how you like ’em.

If you haven’t tried our pancakes, yet, we think you should! Let us know how you like ’em when you do.

To you folks who’ve tried our mixes, please comment here to say what your favorite add-ins are! We’re curious!