oooh la la // vegan cheez-its

I've been dying to share this recipe with everybody! It's a fabulous healthier recreation of the cheez-it style cracker that we all know and love. I've busy again this week over at BasilHealth so head over there to find this dairy-free & gluten-free recipe! Yes, these are dairy and gluten free! {note: in case you don't already know -- i have a day job which includes recipe formulating for a consumer health / tech company in the bay area which is going to make its big debut in a few months - sign up so you can stay in the loop, you will NOT want to miss out}! 


These crackers are so cheesy, crunchy and perfect for the little fingers. 

Paired with fruit or ants on a log, these crackers make the perfect snack. As you can see my daughter devoured them. But I think I ate even more than all three of my kids combined. I will for sure make these again! 

For the recipe please check out my write up over at


Fancy Toddler Oat Bars + Mint Chocolate Chip Milkshakes

This week I've created a few really fun kid friendly recipes {note: I always post toddler baby and kid's recipes in the LITTLES section of the blog} including these fancy toddler oat bars. My complete recipe can be found on The Chalkboard Mag... where I was a guest contributor this week.

These oatmeal bars are full of bananas and oats and they are sweetened with a little coconut sugar. My daughter loved them - as you can see! Keep reading...

And I also was a guest contributor this week over on the VUORI Clothing blog. Have you checked out their awesome workout gear? If you haven't already seen my guest post, I'm talking milkshakes - for the kiddos and also the adults. My kids loved these. But I'm also chatting about getting healthy this new year. Not dieting, but really changing your habits. And we are celebrating by offering everybody 30% off their entire order with Pure Mamas special discount code: PUREHEALTH but hurry, this expires Feb 14th. Get something for your Valentine - there is nothing that says Love like giving health!

And coming up next week...don't miss my kid friendly cheez-it recipe. I will guest contributing over at BasilHealth and it's epic. Don't forget to sign up for their newsletters either. You don't want to miss their great health info and all my recipes while you're getting healthy this new year. 

Your Basic Sautéed Greens

Kale, swiss chard, beet greens, spinach, collard greens, mustard greens, you name it, you can use it for this recipe. Dark leafy greens are so delicious and usually I eat them raw - whether it be a pesto dish, a salad, or chopped on top of pasta - but the cooked greens are so comforting, wintery and super dense. 

Note: stick your greens in ice cold water to get the bugs off. Just a little trick I learned that I thought I would share. My organic greens from the farmer's market was full of little bugs. And this did the trick.

Note: stick your greens in ice cold water to get the bugs off. Just a little trick I learned that I thought I would share. My organic greens from the farmer's market was full of little bugs. And this did the trick.

Sautéing is an especially easy and simple way to get your greens. You can pair them with just about anything. I like them with a heavy starch like baked potatoes or rice. Last night I had them on top a creamy lentils and sweet potato slow cooker meal { <---- Check out the photo I posted on my Instagram feed}. Add some toasted hazelnuts or sesame seeds. Throw sautéed greens on top of a stew or soup. The possibilities are endless.  

And let's not forget that these dark leafy greens are what I call super hero fuel. They are the ultimate superfood - full of antioxidants, fiber and all sorts of vitamins and alkalizing minerals

All you need to make this really simple gourmet side dish is:

a pan

olive oil

an onion


veggie stock

That's it! 


yields 2 side dishes or 4-5 garnishes


1 head of dark leafy greens such as swiss chard 

2 Tbls shallots or yellow onion, chopped

1/2 Tbls olive oil or coconut oil

1-2 cloves garlic, pressed

1 tsp bouillon {vegetable stock concentrated}

1/3 cup water + more if it dries up too much

salt + pepper, to taste {optional}


1. In a frying pan, heat olive oil and add onions. Cook until they start to become clear {about 2-3 minutes}.

2. Mix with a wooden spoon or spatula. Then add greens, bouillon and garlic. Keep tossing in the oil and get them nice and coated and wilted {less than a minute}.

3. Add water and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Watch to be sure they don't get too burned or pan is too dry. If it's dry add a little more water or a sprinkle of some oil. And keep tossing until greens are cooked and wilted - no longer crisp.

And voila! You've got some fancy shmancy uber healthy sauteed greens. Good work. 

Simple Vegetable Lasagna {GF + DF}

I have made this a few times in the last two weeks, trying to perfect it. The first time was overly salty, whoops, plus I didn't have enough sauce to cover the edges, which as anybody who makes lasagna often knows, that means crunchy shell edges, ick! So I made a few adjustments and it's finally ready to share with y'all! 

The ricotta "cheese" I use here isn't homemade either. I was thinking about making an almond or tofu ricotta sharing that recipe as well but as most of you know, this blog isn't about being too complex, it's about being simple and quick and delicious. If this was an online culinary school, I'd even be making the noodles myself. But let's face it, we don't always have time for all that and my goal isn't to scare you away, it's to help you ease into a healthier lifestyle. 

So, even since discovering Kite Hill {Tal Ronnen's publisher set me a copy of his amazing book Crossroads and that's where I discovered his brand}. These plant-based cheese and yogurts are better than any I've ever had. I swear the yogurt tastes like regular  yogurt. And in this recipe, the ricotta, tastes like traditional ricotta. Their product really are revolutionary

I love this red sauce. It's my tomato pasta red sauce - that I always rave about and I promise to share soon - it's a bit sweeter and richer, which goes well in a baked lasagna. You can feel free to use it on zucchini noodles or over linquini or as a pizza sauce as well. It's very versatile. 


makes 9 servings


3/4 cup cherry tomatoes {or chopped large tomatoes of choice}

4 dates

2 Tbls olive oil

3/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes 

1 1/2 Tbl whipped garlic spread {sub 3 cloves garlic, chopped}

1/4 cup miso {sweet or white}

handful of raw cashews

1/3 cup water

1/4 tomato paste


In a high speed blender, you'll want to blend up everything until smooth. A few chunks are fine, I like some texture, but be sure the wet stuff if thoroughly blended up. No cooking necessary!


1 box gluten free lasagna noodles

2 medium sized zucchini, chopped into pieces or long julienne style slices

2 cups lightly packed spinach leaves

1 or 1 1/2 containers of Kite Hill ricotta cheese {or regular cottage cheese}

Vegan parmesan cheese

Basil for garnish

sea salt, for sprinkling each pasta layer


1. Preheat oven to 350 or 375 degrees F. 

2. In an 8x12 baking dish, you'll start by pouring enough sauce to barely cover the bottom of the dish. 

3. Layer slices of zucchini or sprinkles chopped pieces if you chose to chop the zucchini

4. Layer the gluten free noodles next until zucchini is covered. 

5. Spread some ricotta "cheese" onto the noodles and sprinkle with sea salt. 

6. Pour tomato sauce to cover the noodles. 

7. Layer or sprinkle more zucchini and then add the spinach leaves. 

8. Cover that with pasta noodles and sprinkle with sea salt. 

9. Cover with sauce. 

....keep repeating this process until everything is gone. Note: remember the first mistake I made when making this: I didn't cover the edges really well with sauce, so they were tough and/or crunchy. Be sure ALL pasta is covered in either cheese or sauce or both. 

10. Sprinkle final layer or tomato sauce with vegan parmesan cheese before baking. Of course this is an optional step if you don't have any on hand or didn't make any.

11. Bake for 40 minutes or until shells are complete cooked and edges are brown.   

cooking notes/edits: feedback for this recipe has helped me update it to include some water or extra liquid in the sauce to be sure the noodles have enough coverage to cook accurately. I have edited to accomodate. 

Don't forget to share your thoughts or question in the comments below. Feel free to share on Instagram if you do in fact make a recipe. Please hashtag #puremamas or tag @julinovotny and follow me for so many recipes and photos that I don't share on my blog - for whatever reason.  

These store well in an airtight container. Keep refrigerated. Reheat the next day for epic leftovers. Check out the Instagram shot of my leftovers.