Dairy-Free Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding

Butterscotch. Is it becoming a thing of the past….?

When I was a little girl, it seemed like I was surrounded by a never-ending supply of butterscotch goodies (which may have had something to do with my mothers sweet tooth and obsession with everything butterscotch) but it’s totally rare to find butterscotch treats these days. Damn you, 2015.

I mean, I can remember butterscotch puddings, butterscotch pies, butterscotchy cookies, and these little pastries that we’d melt butterscotch chips into. My mouth is watering as I reminisce on the “good ole days”…

I can remember the FEW times that I’ve found butterscotch ANYTHING in my adult life. Beans & Barley in Milwaukee has butterscotch pie for sale every now and then (or at least they did years ago), and Work & Class in Denver and Hub 51 in Chicago both have butterscotchy desserts that are to die for. That’s it. That’s all I’ve found in the recent years.

Dairy-Free Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding

For years, I’ve thought about making my own homemade butterscotch pudding but I was too intimidated to go for it until recently. I grew a pair of balls, ya’ll and good thing I did because I crushed it.

Not only is butterscotch pudding ridiculously easy to make (as long as you can make quick moves in the kitch), it’s also:
not tooth-achingly sweet
and it does not lack complex flavor

EVEN THOUGH it’s dairy free and egg-free…. (which is why you might be thinking that this pudding recipe can’t possibly be all I’m hyping it up to be – I dare you to put it to the test)

What this recipe does include is a little bit of Bourbon and some Real Deal Vanilla Extract. Please, please, please do not exclude bourbon and vanilla from this pudding. The first time I tried this recipe, I didn’t have any bourbon on hand, and I was all lazy-like so I made the pudding without it. The result could be named some like “Sugar Pudding” – it was overly sweet and lacked in real deal flavor.

I feel lucky to have gotten some of Oh Lady Cakes Real Deal Vanilla Extract when it went on sale but she is completely sold out now so you won’t be able to get any of it for this recipe (until Dec 2015) HOWEVER you can make this pudding with ANY real vanilla extract. I recommend you stay away from the imitation stuff. As an alternative to the Real Deal, I like Trader Joe’s Bourbon Vanilla Extract.

Dairy-Free Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding

{dairy-free} Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding
  • 6 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1½ cups dark brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4½ cups unsweetened plain almond milk, divided
  • 2 tablespoons dairy-free margarine, softened (I use Earth Balance)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  1. Pudding cooks quickly so it's important that you gather and measure all of your ingredients before you being making it. Do that now - and be sure to grab a small saucepan and a wire whisk or a wooden spoon as well.
  2. BEFORE you put the saucepan over heat, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in it until they are mixed well.
  3. Add ½ cup of the almond milk to the mixture and place the saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently and thoroughly to completely dissolve the cornstarch and sugar.
  4. Add the remainder of the almond milk and the bourbon, stir constantly until the mixture thickens. This will take approximately 5 minutes.
  5. Once thickened, remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the margarine and vanilla.
  6. Transfer the pudding to a heatproof dish and place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding, covering it completely. This will prevent a skin from forming on the top.
  7. Chill for a few hours prior to serving.
I tested this recipe without the bourbon and it was really sweet, almost too sweet. The bourbon helps to balance out the flavor and depth without being overpowering.

If you would like more of the bourbon flavor to be more prominent, add another tablespoon of it to the recipe. Really, you can't go wrong.
If you so desire, top your butterscotch pudding with a dollop of coconut whipped cream and/or some carob nibs (which is how I like it!)

Dairy-Free Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding

This recipe was adapted from a recipe on about food.




Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cream Pie

Around Easter (yeah, I know it was a while ago – whatever), I as overwhelmed with recipes using carrots. That must be a “thing” around Easter. Bunnies eat carrots which prompts the humans to eat carrots in honor of the bunny? I actually collected several carrot recipes, they all looked so good. Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal, Salt Roasted Carrots, Raw Carrot Cake, Spicy Raw Vegan Soup, Carrot, Apple Quinoa Hash, and this Vegan Carrot Cake Cookie recipe. I told you, I found a LOT (and even made a few). These cookies, I made immediately… and more than once. I made them without ginger and orange zest and I made them without (because I didn’t have the ingredients). I definitely recommend you use the ginger and orange zest – WAY tastier with! I ate these with frosting and without frosting. While they are good without, the frosted cookies won. 

But really, do I eat cake and cookies because I like cake and cookies or do I eat them because I like the frosting? There is a bakery in Chicago that sells little pots of frosting, ask me how I know.

So anyway, every time I ate one of these cookies, I told myself they are healthy. Carrots, orange zest, ginger, “fruits and veggies” – they’re PERFECT for breakfast (for obvious reasons).

Please do not wait until next Easter to make these cookies, do what the cool kids aren’t doing – eat carrots on the “off season”.

In this post you’ll find the recipe for the cookies and a link to the Coconut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting.

ACarrot Cake Oatmeal Cream Pies
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 rounded tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • zest of ½ orange
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup real maple syrup
  • ½ cup virgin coconut oil, (melted)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • a batch of Coconut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting (find a link to the recipe below)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: the flour, baking powder, salt, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom.
  3. Add the fresh ginger, orange zest, and grated carrots, and mix until evenly combined.
  4. Add the maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla extract, and stir just until combined.
  5. Using a spoon or a fork, drop the dough on prepared baking sheets in about 2 tablespoon sized amounts, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Gently push on the dough, encouraging it to flatten out slightly.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are golden.
  7. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before adding the frosting.
  8. Once the cookies have cooled, use the Coconut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting to make the cookie sandwiches.

In a prior blog post, you can find the recipe for Coconut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting.

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cream Pie

This cookie recipe was adapted from Always Order Dessert (what a fabulous blog!)




Coconut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting 

When my friend Amanda posted a recipe for Coconut Butter Stuffed Dates on her blog, I was floored – 2 ingredients of pure awesomeness. You see, I’d had a jar of coconut butter hanging around for a while, but I wasn’t really sure what to do with it. This simple recipe changed my world – opened my mind up to new opportunities.

My boyfriend is always thinking outside the box when it comes to food & recipes. For instance, he thought we should add chocolate chips to that stuffed-date recipe, he thinks chocolate chips should be added to EVERYTHING (including butter toffee cookies). He’s the one who recommend I use pear with lovage, and this morning he told me to dip my banana in my orange juice. Sometimes he hits the nail on the head, and sometimes he just makes me laugh.

Him and I started brainstorming different ways to use coconut butter (new obsession!) and we came up with this awesome recipe that perfectly complimented some carrot cake oatmeal cookies that I made (recipe coming soon!)

Coconut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

I made a larger batch of this frosting than necessary (don’t judge me) because it’s good for SO MANY THINGS! 

Cinnamon rolls
homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies
atop Cookies
atop Cupcakes
Atop a Carrot Cake
or, as a finger lick
(you know, dip your finger in, lick the frosting off)

Coconut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting {a vegan recipe}
  • 6 oz. vegan cream cheese (I like Trader Joe's brand)
  • 2 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon coconut butter, softened
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cup powdered sugar
  1. With a hand mixer, blend the cream cheese, coconut butter, and vanilla extract together.
  2. Slowly add the powdered sugar, about ⅓ cup at a time.
  3. Whip together until the frosting has reached the desired consistency.
  4. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.

 Coconut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting




Popcorn Puppy Chow

We are completely snowed in today, for the second day in a row. Well, yesterday we braved the snow and went to a coral reef convention. Coming home from the convention should have taken us less than 30 minutes last night, but because of the snow, it took us 2.5 hours. After last nights debacle, we decided to drive nowhere today. We’ve enjoyed ourselves, for sure, and we’ve taken advantage of the time to get “things” done.. like, sync our calendars, book travel, google campsites, and all the stuff we’ve been meaning to but haven’t made time to do. I’m feeling accomplished.

During last nights car ride (that 2.5 hour car ride), I must have promised Patrick that I would make him some popcorn puppy chow. Just for fun. Who knows where I came up with the idea? Maybe on Pinterest? That’s what I was doing while we were in the car going nowhere, I was pinning on Pinterest. Anyway, I was nauseous yesterday, and barfing. I shouldn’t talk about barfing on the blog here, but I am because being nauseous is what prompted me to buy 2 bags of popcorn. Popcorn was the only thing I could eat yesterday, although I certainly didn’t eat 2 bags full. So I had all this popcorn leftover today and after hours of sitting on the couch, staring at my laptop, I decided to get up and fulfill my promise – that Popcorn Puppy Chow. 

I made up the recipe as I went along so I don’t even have a formal recipe… Everyone is asking for it, and everyone is asking for it NOW. Ha. So anyway, this post. 

Cokie Butter, Dark Chocolate, Popcorn Puppy Chow

The informal RECIPE goes a little something like this: 

1. Buy a bag of Earth Balance Buttery Popcorn
2. In a double boiler, melt 2 bars of dark chocolate, a few scoops of peanut butter, and a scoop or two of Cookie Butter (from Trader Joe’s). If you don’t have a double boiler, learn how to fake one.
3. In a large bowl, pour the melted chocolate mixture over the popcorn and stir gently until all of the popcorn is evenly saturated. You may have to do this in small batches. 
4. Put the chocolatey popcorn and some powdered sugar, AND some cinnamon (if you’d like) in a large, sealable baggie and shake it until the popcorn is coated evenly.
5. Allow the popcorn to cool for a few minutes before serving – or dig in right away, you get to choose.


1 bag of Earth Balance Popcorn
2 bars dark chocolate 
about 3-4 cups powdered sugar
a few large scoops of peanut butter
a few scoops of Cookie Butter (from Trader Joe’s) (if you don’t have cookie butter, I pity you, you can just use peanut butter or any type of nut butter – you choose)
a few teaspoons of cinnamon (not completely necessary, but I recommend!)

I apologize for the imperfect recipe, I had to get it out there with a quickness! I’ve got people clawing at my throat for this recipe after seeing photos on social media. Maybe one day I’ll formalize this recipe, but maybe not. This is one that you throw together on a rainy day with ingredients that you’ve already got on hand. If you’ve got questions about the recipe, holler at me and hopefully I can help! xo




Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and I haven’t even eaten any chocolate yet this week! Psh. I went out and purchased some (chocolate) candies and I plan to make something chocolatey this evening…. I’m just not sure what yet. 

I searched through the blogs archives and I found some pretty good stuff (pats self on back – just kidding) – chocolate + cherry, chocolate + peanut butter, chocolate + cinnamon whipped cream… I mean, seriously, YUM.

If you’re in the same boat as me (NEED chocolate, using Valentine’s Day as the justification), check out the vegan recipes below. 

Chocolate Cherry Sundae
Chocolate Cherry Sundae
Really, this is a smoothie, but it’s delectable enough to be called a sundae.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake
Chocolate Cupcake with Peanut Butter Frosting
Chocolate + peanut butter will please anyone. And if someone tells you they don’t like chocolate and peanut butter together, know that they are crazy.

Drk Chocolate Avocado Truffles
Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles
These truffles are easy to make and happy to be one of my all-time favorite treats. They are rich, creamy, chocolatey, and secretly made with avocado!

vegan Chocolate Pudding with Cinnamon Whipped Cream
Chocolate Pudding with Cinnamon Whipped Cream
This recipe was inspired by an ice cream combination that was served to me at a farmers market, it was my favorite ice cream combination ever.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Pie
Again, the undeniable perfect combination of chocolate + peanut butter, with the addition of bananas and an oreo crust. DO it, because it’s goooood… (and has avocado hidden in the recipe as well)

Happy Valentines Day, my friends!!




Valentines Day is one of my favorite Holidays because I love celebrating love. And this year, I’m in love. Like, LOVE, love. Like, it’s all I can think about love. Like, my heart flutters 24/7 love. 

I also love chocolate, and hearts, and cute DIY valentines, and baking, and the mini love-themed surprises that come with Valentines Day. I wish I could tell you what I’m doing for Valentines Day but my love reads my blog and I don’t want to spoil it.

I also love my blog, and food, and Pinterest, and all of the Valentines Day inspiration that keeps me excited for weeks, eager celebrate love. And I love you all. 

My enthusiasm for the holiday this year and my love for PLQ readers has sparked the desire to 


3 Vegan Dessert-Themed Books
to one lucky reader,
on Valentines Day.

The 3 books I’m giving away:

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World by Isa Chandra:
This book includes my all-time favorite cupcake recipes. Actually, all of Isa’s recipes are my favorites… she’s good.

Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats by Debbie Adler:
Debbie Adler has a popular vegan/gluten-free bakery in LA that draws in A-list celebrities. I’m dying to visit. Until that day, I’ll have to live vicariously through her recipes, and you can too! (if you’re the lucky winner!!)

Rawsome Vegan Baking by Emily von Euw: 
I haven’t had the opportunity to make any of the recipes out of this book, and it’s killing me. I want to keep the book but I’m giving it away to a lucky reader, because you deserve it! (don’t worry, I’ll be ordering another copy for myself!)

Vegan Book Giveaway

Enter To Win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to all of you, and thank you for supporting peace. love. quinoa! 
ps. There ARE affiliate links in this post, however this post is sponsored by me, PLQ.




Peach Rhubarb Crisp

I have mentioned my love (obsession) for Colorado peaches. At any given time over the last month r two, I’ve had at LEAST 5-6 Palisade peaches on hand. I’ve found several different ways to enjoy them: with vanilla yogurt, as a bedtime dessert, served with ice cream, and some days I’m in the mood to bite in to the juicy fruit and let it rip down my chin all messy-like – feels like summer time.

So, I had some rhubarb in the garden that I wasn’t quite sure how to use. Discussing with a friend, we both decided that we NEEDED to know what that rhubarb would be like when paired with Colorado peaches. Everyone is getting ready for “autumn” around here (is it football that everyone is so darn excited about??) so a “crisp” seemed appropriate. After my second batch of Peach Rhubarb Crisp (the first didn’t even last a full day), I’ll say that peach and rhubarb ARE a perfect pair. 

This “crisp” recipe is very similar to the crisp recipe I used in my Apple Pear Crisp. This recipe gets a lot of compliments, so you may want to bookmark it- using the same recipe, you can swap the fruit… guaranteed goodness.

Peach Rhubarb Crisp {vegan & gluten-free}
  • 5 peaches, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup rhubarb, chopped
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • ¼ cup raw turbinado sugar
  • heaping ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup gluten-free (or all-purpose) flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup Earth Balance Butter, softened
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Put the peach slices and rhubarb in a large plastic bag or a large bowl, and sprinkle with lemon juice. Toss to coat with sugar, cinnamon, agave nectar, salt, and cornstarch.
  3. In a greased baking dish (approx 9×9) layer the peach slices and rhubarb. Set aside.
  4. To make the topping, mix brown sugar, oats, flour, and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl. Add softened butter and stir until the mixture resembles a crumble.
  5. Distribute the oat mixture over the top of the fruit and bake until the fruit is soft and the topping is golden brown (approx 40-45 minutes)
  6. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.





vegan Chocolate Pudding with Cinnamon  Whipped Cream

Last weekend, I stopped at the Boulder Farmers Market after rock climbing in Boulder Canyon. It was by far one of the best farmers markets I’ve been to (probably because they had a really good “food court” AND soooo many starter plants for me to choose from for the garden) So anyway, after we ate lunch (some yummy vegan food, obv.) we paired a scoop Chocolate Pudding Ice Cream and a scoop of Cinnamon Ice Cream from Boulder Ice Cream and it was sooooo good. The two paired perfectly together. 

So. I got the idea to pair Chocolate Pudding with Cinnamon Whipped Cream and mock that perfectly paired duo that has anchored in to my thoughts since I sat in the park that Saturday afternoon….

This combo here…. is ever better than I remember it being in the park.
(oh, and and it’s vegan AND somewhat healthy-ish)

vegan Chocolate Pudding with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

chocolate pudding + cinnamon whipped cream {vegan}
  • Chocolate Pudding:
  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 ripe banana, peeled
  • 1¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup agave nectar
  • ⅔ cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • Cinnamon Whipped Cream:
  • 1 13.5ounce can Coconut Cream or full fat Coconut Milk, chilled overnight
  • 3-5 tablespoons powdered sugar, according to taste
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4-5 tablespoons cinnamon, according to taste
  1. For the Chocolate Pudding, mash all ingredients together in a large bowl and blend until smooth using a hand mixer.
  2. Divide in to individual serving cups and refrigerate while preparing the whipped cream.
  3. For the Cinnamon Whipped Cream, make sure the can of coconut cream/milk has been chilled overnight to harden, otherwise it won't whip.
  4. Without shaking or tipping the can, scoop out all of the thick, solid portion of the coconut milk/cream. (If there is any liquid in the can, you can use it for a different recipe, but not for this one.)
  5. With a hand mixer, beat the cream to incorporate it. At this point it should thicken up.
  6. Add the desired amount of cinnamon, powdered sugar, and vanilla.
  7. Serve atop the chocolate pudding. Cover and refrigerate if not serving immediately.

Trust me on the avocado in this recipe, you won’t even know it’s there. I’ve used avocado with chocolate in the past and taste-tested it on several non-suspecting friends. They couldn’t stop talking about how good it was. (duh) 

A little side note on the coconut cream: I like to use the Coconut Cream from Trader Joe’s, it doesn’t typically have liquid at the bottom so the entire can is full of rich, thick cream. If you are using a different brand of coconut milk, chances are you’ll find the liquid – don’t dump it, you can save that ‘coconut water’ and use it in smoothies and/or other recipes. 

vegan Chocolate Pudding with Cinnamon  Whipped Cream




cheesecake, vegan

I met my buddy Jack at a food truck festival in Nashville last Sept. We both got to the festival just moments before it was scheduled to close. Jack was next to me in line for the Wrappers Delight food truck. I had been chasing the Wrappers Delight for quite some time, they had a vegan wrap I so badly wanted to try. By the time Jack & I reached the window, the vegan wrap was the only wrap available. I had to encourage Jack to get that wrap even though it didn’t contain any meat. (those southern meat-eating boys…) I think he liked it….

While we stood in line that evening, Jack told me about these cheesecakes that he makes on his smoker. A “smoked cheesecake” I couldn’t believe it – I had never heard of anything like that! I probably told him to quit his day job and make smoked cheesecakes for a living. Haha! 

I never did get to try the smoked cheesecake on that trip but Jack rocked my world by preparing a Vegan Smoked Cheesecake for me this past weekend – he even delivered it to me! 

Jack wasn’t all that impressed with his first vegan smoked cheesecake, in fact he wouldn’t even take a picture of it because it wasn’t “perfect”. Although it didn’t look perfect, it is delicious. Unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before. 

Jack used tofutti and made a flax egg for the cheesecake, but he’s still looking for different (dairy) alternatives that will craft the “perfect” vegan smoked cheesecake. I’ll be on the lookout for alternatives as well. 

If you are near Nashville and are interested in a smoked cheesecake, Jack can probably hook you up. His company name is Si’s Scrumptious Delights (named after his Siamese cat, Si) – you can find him on Facebook.  

cheesecake, vegan




dark chocolate avocado truffles

I feel like I got cheated out of the ultimate Valentines Day experience this year (may have something to do with being newly single??) although I DID get to dress up in pink and go out to dinner with two good friends while in Seattle the day after V-Day… but that almost doesn’t count because it was the DAY AFTER.

A few weeks ago, I checked out a few recipes for vegan truffles and committed to making them for Valentines Day BUT I never did. Life/work/travel all got in the way. 

So anyway, I finally made my truffles today. And I’m pretty satisfied with them. They were way easier to make than I predicted. AND. Ridiculously decadent. 

Healthy? I’d say so. AVOCADO is good for you. SO is coconut. 
But don’t worry, these truffles don’t taste anything like avocado. Avocado is practically flavorless, it simply adds a creaminess to the truffle without having to use dairy.

I adapted this recipe from The Detoxinista who adapted this recipe from Apple of My Eye – they both rolled their truffles in cocoa powder which I did as well but to spice things up I added some cayenne pepper to the cocoa powder before rolling. I also rolled a few truffles in shredded coconut and ground almond meal. Variety pack!!!

I made extra truffles so I can give some as gifts, you think I’ll score some cool points? I’m in need….
I’ll def make these again for holidays, gatherings, friend parties, etc…. 

dark chocolate avocado truffles  

Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles
  • 6 oz dark chocolate
  • 1 small ripe avocado, pitted & mashed with no lumps
  • the seeds of 1 vanilla pod OR ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, almond meal, or shredded coconut flakes (all optional)
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  1. Combine the chocolate, vanilla, and sea salt over a double boiler and melt until completely smooth. (In place of a double boiler, you can use an oven safe bowl over a small saucepan)
  2. Stir the avocado in to the melted chocolate mixture until smooth and thick.
  3. Refrigerate the mixture for 20-30 minutes until the mixture cools and partially sets.
  4. Using a melon baller or a tablespoon to scoop out the truffles and form balls with your hands.
  5. Combine the cocoa powder and cayenne pepper in a bowl and then roll a few of the truffles in the mixture.
  6. Roll the remaining truffles in either almond meal or coconut flakes.

dark chocolate truffles