Eco-friendly Halloween Costumes

October 9, 2015
DIY, family

Eco-friendly Halloween Costumes - Joy of Mom


The costumes. The trick-or-treating. The classroom parties. They all speak ahhhh autumn! And this beautiful, festive, magical time of year!

The only thing I’ve never been a fan of are the pricey costumes and harmful materials associated with many of them – which can quickly turn a mom’s excitement into stress. What I have always been a fan of is homemade, DIY costumes! Especially when they’re eco-friendly. Costumes for your little ones can be just as cute (or cuter!) when they’re eco-friendly, safe for our little ones, and made with love!

Here are a few faves:

One: We love how the parent utilized a push car in this Back to the Future costume from Inhabitots! Including your child’s push car into the costume makes for an easier evening of trick-or-treating while keeping the look adorable. The rest of the costume is made out of recycled cardboard boxes. Love!

Two: This superhero costume, also from Inhabitots, is equal parts adorable and eco-friendly. The cape is made from leftover felt and embroidery thread, the skirt uses leftover tulle and ribbon, and the arm cuffs come from Starbucks coffee sleeves (brilliant!). Underneath her costume, she’s wearing a t-shirt, sweatpants, and winter boots. We love this look!

Three: Okay, there’s “cute,” and then there’s “really, really cute.” This DIY Fireman costume from POPSUGAR falls under the “really, really cute” category. This firetruck is made from a cardboard box, and the wheels are painted paper plates. We are in love with this idea!

Four: This precious sailor costume from The Honest Company is made from materials found inside the family’s home! The dress, tights and shoes were already in her wardrobe. The neck tie is made from a white flour sack dishtowel and the sailor hat is an easily-folded white sheet of paper. The telescope is a paper towel tube. So clever…

Five: Oh Happy Day has the most adorable snail we’ve ever seen! The items used in this costume are brown paper, glue, cardboard, a headband, Styrofoam balls, and ribbon!

Six: Okay, is this Harry Potter too sweet?! Courtesy of Love & Lion, this costume is made from khaki or blacks pants, a white button up shirt, and a knitted scarf and black glasses (click here for info on the knitting pattern and where to buy glasses). The mom used her eyeliner to draw Harry’s scar on the toddler’s head. Love!

We hope these costumes gave you some ideas to focus on saving money and the environment this Halloween! Just remember, anything you can re-use, recycle, or swap is considered eco-friendly! No need to break the bank for your child to look adorable, as you can clearly see above. Happy Halloween!

Best Dressed Moms on the Emmys Red Carpet

October 2, 2015
entertainment, lifestyle

Last weekend, the stars shined bring on the Emmy’s red carpet but none had that special glow quite like the celebrity mamas!


Here are just a few of our favorite fashionista moms:

Best Dressed Moms on the Emmy’s Red Carpet

Amanda Peet is a mother of two daughters with Game of Thrones showrunner David Benioff. At the Emmys she looked incredibly elegant in this Michael Kors floor-length black brocade dress.

Best Dressed Moms on the Emmy’s Red Carpet

Is it just us, or could only Kerry Washington pull off this Marc Jacobs dress? The star of Scandal, and mother to one daughter, is fiercely confident which makes her all the more beautiful.

Best Dressed Moms on the Emmy’s Red Carpet

Julia Louis-Dreyfus has been owning the red carpet since her Seinfeld days. Julia is now the star of Veep and mother to two sons. Julia’s style is always timeless, and this Safiyaa gown is no different.

Best Dressed Moms on the Emmy’s Red Carpet

Always bright-eyed and cheerful, Maggie Gyllenhaal wore this Oscar de la Renta gown perfectly. This mother of two girls is a great example of “the happiest girls make the prettiest girls.”

Photos courtesy of

Favorite Fall Candles

September 18, 2015
lifestyle, links i love, lovely

Favorite Fall Candles! #joyofmom


Autumn is my favorite time of year. I could wear my worn hoodies, old sweaters and comfy sweats. Everyday.

I can’t seem open enough windows and as soon as the weather dips a bit, our fireplace is crackling away.

And then there’s the candles. Handcrafted for this cozy and magical season. With scents that seem to make summer’s end seem worth it!

I’ve curated a list of my fall faves. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Barr-Co. Soap Blood Orange Amber Apothecary Jar Candle: An amazing blend of essential orange oil and amber creates a deliciously sweet and earthy fragrance. These special candles are handcrafted in small batches with pure soy and vegetable waxes.

Yankee Candles Chocolate Cappuccino: An irresistible blend of buttery dark chocolate, warm mocha and vanilla froth. Simply yummy. It’s sweet scent is perfect for the kitchen when you and the kids sit down with homework together.

Paddywax Salted Caramel Ceramic Candle: Envision subtle waves from a pot of melted caramel with just a hint of spicy salt. Made of soy with a cotton wick. Not only does does soy burn longer and cleaner than petroleum-based candles, you can also repurpose your creamy matte ceramic container when the candle’s life is over. This is a sweet candle to burn when baking apple cookies with the kids.

Paddywax Fig and Olive Candle: This beautiful soy candle combines the sweet smell of figs with the fresh, buttery smell of fresh olives. This is a great candle to light when you’re home alone cleaning and want a nice boost. I just gave one to my nephew and soon-to-be niece for their engagement and they love it!

Brush Fire Soy Candle: The toasty essence of a cozying up by the fireplace or sleeping under the stars. The rich, smokey scent brings back the best of memories of campfire days.

Graybill & Downs Boxwood Grove Candle: For a more subtle scent, Boxwood Grove offers lemon leaf and fresh herb accents in this luxurious scent. The sandalwood and leather provide a smooth finish. This selection is perfect for winding up the day on the couch and your favorite book.

Here’s to welcoming in all the richness, beauty, and savoring the quiet moments of this special season! Happy fall!

Always burn candles responsibly ~ Make sure you have a protected, heat-resistant location that is out of reach from little ones, and never leave candles burning unattended.

This is not a sponsored post. I am sharing these products because I adore them and I think you will, too! Sponsored material will always be disclosed.

Favorite 5-Free Nail Polishes!

September 15, 2015
family, lifestyle, motherhood

Favorite 5-Free Nail Polishes! #joyofmom


A mom’s hands are priceless.

We use them to pick up our precious children and to wipe away the tears after tumbles and stumbles. Our hands are often the first touch of the day…and the very last.

As moms, we want to create the safest environment as possible for our little ones – and that includes the nail polish that we put on our busy hands!

Whether you can get away to the salon for a mani-pedi or you’re putting on a new coat of polish on the couch at night, fresh nails always seem to feel good!

As both a mom and consumer, I’ve always been passionate about what’s safest, healthiest, and best for our families health and well-being. And when in doubt, I do my homework – and then some. I’ve been concerned about the toxins in regular nail polish including toluene, which is added to gasoline and is a solvent. This particular toxin can wreak havoc on your respiratory tract and eyes. Many polishes also contain formaldehyde, which is not only flammable, but has been classified as a carcinogen. If your polish has DBP in it or dibutyl phthalate, you’re wearing a substance known to cause hormonal imbalances, liver and breast cancer. In fact, DBP is banned in Europe.

The good news is that there are polishes out there that are natural and toxin-free.

A few of my favorite 5-free include:

Zoya: Zoya was voted the longest lasting nail polish in Lucky Magazine’s Green Guide and a Top 10 Nail Polish by I love their colors including deep reds, subtle pinks, natural tones. Some of my faves for fall are Rue, Rowan and Normani.

SuncoatThis company has been around since 2001 and creates their polishes with a water base and no toxins. They use mineral pigments and natural ingredients instead of chemicals, so they are free of acetates and parabens. They even have peelable polish, so you don’t need remover.

Sheswai: This is clean, fabulous polish with beautiful bamboo toppers. The colors are sweet as their names! Just a few… so pretty, for real and nice. They have the most perfect violet and even an awesome yellow.

Piggy Paint: I love businesses created by moms! Piggy Paint is a great choice when our little ones want their nails done just like Mommy’s! Melanie Hurley created this brand that is “natural as mud.” Her polish is water-based, non-flammable, non-toxic, and cruelty-free. Say goodbye to harsh, smelly chemicals and hello to mommy daughter mani pedis and Piggy Paint!

WatercolorsThis line from Honeybee Gardens is also a water-based polish formula that’s odorless and doesn’t include synthetic food dyes. There are 25 amazing colors from blue to red and even black. It’s free of formaldehydes, toluene and dibutyl phthalates.

Whether this is your time to escape or you have a set of small fingers lined up next to yours, enjoy the guilt-free fun and treat those busy hands!

Seven Things You Should Say To A Mom

September 6, 2015
inspiration, motherhood

Seven Things You Should Say To A Mom! #joyofmom


In honor of a different kind of “Labor Day,” I’ve got some mama love for you today! Today {like everyday} is a great opportunity to celebrate the hard work that moms do 24-7. Here are seven of my favorites:

One: Do you need a hand? You see that mom juggling ten things as she tries to help a four-year-old and a toddler on a plane? Or perhaps you see that same mom trying to juggle a baby and groceries. There is nothing nicer than saying, “Can I give you a hand?” Nine out of ten times, moms will say, “Thanks, I’m good.” But there will be that one time when the mom might say, “Can you help me lift this box?”

Two: You look great. Moms often have three seconds to get themselves ready in the morning after tending to their families. It doesn’t take much to tell your mom friends, “You look great. I love your shirt.” It’s just a little daily pick-me-up for a mom who might be wondering if she has had a shower in the last 36 hours.”

Three: One day your kids will thank you. It might not be today, and a seven-year-old isn’t really programmed to thank you for everything. But reminding a mom that someday her kids will be grateful for her love is life affirming. You never know just how much someone needs to hear those words.

Four: Take a little “me” time. Help a family member or close friend who needs a little break. Call them and say, “I’ll watch Rowan. You need a little me time.” Maybe that mom will want to get a haircut or just take a nap. But those two or three hours you offer to babysit might be just what that mom needs to recharge and regenerate. For you, it’s a little time to spend with the kids. For the mom, it might just be priceless.

Five: You’ve made me a better mom. All of us borrow parenting tips from moms we know and admire, but we might not give them the credit they deserve. If you have a mom role model then tell her. Send her a card or just say, “You’ve made me a better mom because…” then list the ways that this mom has served as a mentor to you. Your words will tell the other mom that she’s not just influencing her own kids, but other mothers around her. Now, that’s an amazing feeling!

Six: It’s okay to mess up. Maybe your friend didn’t take little Liam to the doctor yesterday and then his fever spiked. Or she didn’t sign up for that baseball team and now it’s too late. Moms have so much to do and so many decisions to make in one day. We blame and guilt ourselves to the extreme when things aren’t perfect. Stop and tell yourself and your mom friends that it’s okay to mess up now and then. You’re only human.

Seven: You’re doing a fabulous job. There are days when many moms feel like they’re failing everyone because they’re pulled in so many directions. There are other days when we just maintain as we do our best. And we never give ourselves the credit we deserve. Celebrate yourself and others as a mom and remember that you have happy, thriving kiddos! That means you’re doing a really great job!

I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your little ones snuggled close ~ and maybe even a little time to put your feet up!

Photo courtesy of Colibri Photo

Tips For a Successful School Year

September 1, 2015
family, lifestyle, motherhood

Tips For a Successful School Year! #joyofmom


There’s just something about seeing the bright yellow school bus rolling down the street and little ones excitedly (or nervously) waiting for it to arrive to climb aboard. Even through it’s been many years since my kids have taken those sweet bus rides, I warmly smile as I see the bus approaching on my early morning walks in my neighborhood, and I feel for the mamas who have a whirlwind of emotions during this time of year. School is just back in session. As much as it’s an exciting time for both parents and their kiddos, it can also be a bit stressful. As a mom of three, I’ve gone through many back-to-school days that taught me about how to help my children through this special and all-important transition time of year.

Here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned:

Children Handle Change Differently: One child might welcome a new class filled with faces that will soon become close friends. Another child might withdraw because they’re shy and have trouble meeting new peers. As a mom, it’s important to take special note of how each one of our kids embrace and handle the new year. The shy child might need a play date on the weekends with a good buddy. Or perhaps you might spend a little more time asking about the new classmates, giving examples on ways they can say hello and meet new friends.

A New Teacher Can Be Your Best Resource: Although teachers themselves are easing into the new school year, I’ve found they warmly welcome e-mails from parents. This is a great time to introduce yourself and ask if perhaps the teacher needs any help in the classroom, if your schedule permits. If you have concerns and insights you’d like to share for them to better know your child and make the transition period a little smoother, it’s a good time to share this or ask to schedule a quick conference chat. Perhaps your daughter had a very hard time with math last year and feels a little bit reluctant about the subject. Teachers need to be aware so they may best work with your child and their special needs or areas of attention that may need a little extra encouragement or TLC.

Don’t Complain About Homework: As Moms, we set the tone. When you pick up your child on a busy day, it’s fine to hope there’s not a lot of homework because it takes away family time. Just remain positive about it even if your young one is swamped. A project on the Grand Canyon? You say: “Great! Let’s go collect some rocks. That will be fun.” Have to draw a map of the states? “Cool. Let’s make a family list of what places we want to visit.” Your enthusiasm is contagious!

Make The Little Things Easier: Please don’t sweat the small stuff. Pack those lunches the night before. Choose their favorite (healthy) lunches to prepare. Don’t immediately jump into carpooling. A little one-on-one time to start the school year can make a world of difference. In other words, make it as uncomplicated as possible to have a smooth start.

Send Sweet Surprise Notes: There’s nothing better than getting a happy “I love you” note in a lunchbox! A sweet, simple note to let your child know you’re thinking about them can be just the warm hug they need while away at school. If you have little ones still at home, they can draw special pictures along with your note. A touch of home is so welcome especially during the first couple weeks of the new year.

Moms, you’re the permanent and most influential teacher in your child’s life. If you teach your little ones to love school and welcome new adventures, then your newly minted first or third grader (or any grade) will go out there with the best of attitudes.

Here’s to our kids having an amazing school year! And to the moms having one, too!

Popcorn & Pics: Favorite Family Home Theater Flicks

August 28, 2015
entertainment, family

Summer is coming to a close as fall is in the air, and, for many of us, school has begun. It’s my favorite time of year. One where I just to want to pause… and soak it all in. The magic of moments. Family moments… One of our favorite things to do on a weekend evening is curl up on the couch with loved ones, make popcorn (the old fashioned way) and watch a fabulous movie. Not a fan of popcorn? Make your family some of our favorite movie night-worthy snacks!

In honor of back-to-school season, here are some of our school themed family home theater flicks.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) Matthew Broderick stars in this iconic film, as a young student who takes his infamous day off while trying not to get caught. His jealous little sister, played by Jennifer Grey, is simply classic.

School of Rock (2003) Jack Black stars as Dewey Finn, who poses as a substitute teacher at a formal elementary school. He doesn’t teach normal school lesson plans, but rock music, making a band out of his “fake” students. Jack’s passion for music and, ultimately, his students beautifully shines through.

High School Musical (2006) Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens take the lead in this Disney favorite. Two teens who come from completely different worlds are brought together through their love of song and dance in this memorable musical.

Rudy (1993) Sean Astin portrays Daniel ‘Rudy’ Ruettiger, in this inspirational film. Rudy was  told he couldn’t do anything, especially play college football. But he is dedicated to overcome the obstacles and finally play for Notre Dame. Talk about a heartwarming film.

Miracle (2004) starring Kurt Russell as coach Herb Brooks, tells the incredibly true story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. The ultimate David versus Goliath.

Freedom Writers (2007) Hilary Swank takes the lead as the inspirational Teacher-Erin Gruwell. Who takes it upon herself to teach her “at-risk” students about acceptance, tolerance, and dedication. So beautiful, powerful and inspirational, on every level. (This film is PG13 and more appropriate for older children.)

To Sir With Love (1967) Sidney Poitier stars as Mark Thackeray, the ultimate teacher who must transform high school students from London. A beautiful classic.

Happy viewing! And, most importantly, happy viewing with your precious family!

xo, Vicki

Photo courtesy of imdb

10 Household Hacks that Double as Beauty Treatments

August 24, 2015

10 Household Hacks that Double as Beauty Treatments! #joyofmom


Hey, Moms! You don’t need an appointment or a babysitter to book the hottest spa in town. In fact, this is a place where your spa treatments will either cost nothing or just a few dollars.

Yes, you have the makings in your home for some very luxe spa treatments.

Here are 10 Household Hacks that can turn your home into a spa!

One: Kosher Salt. That fancy exfoliating agent at the tony spa is probably an inexpensive kosher salt mixed with a scent. You can do the same thing at home. Just take a few teaspoons of the salt into the bath with you for a great mommy leg scrub. Add to it your favorite amazing scent depending on your mood. Peppermint energizes while lavender, chamomile or sweet marjoram to relax. Use geranium or clary sage for balance and tea tree oil to purify and cleanse. Feel the smooth!

Two: Grapefruits. It’s not just a great dieting aide! Make sure to save the other half of your grapefruit to rid your elbows and knees of that summer dry skin. Go outside since this is messy and scrub the dry spots. Rinse. Moisturize.

Three: Coffee Grinds. Save your cooled coffee grinds to make an amazing cellulite scrub. Just take the room temp grinds into the shower and with your hands scrub the cellulite areas. The caffeine in the coffee helps to break it down. Rinse. Moisturize.

Four: Leftover Water from Rice. For centuries, Asian women have saved their rice water as a hair treatment. Rice water contains inositol, a carb that helps to repair damaged hair and protect it from damage. Plus, the amino acids in the rice help strengthen the hair root and make hair silky smooth. Cool the rice water before applying. You an also use it on your skin to calm inflation as the rice water is moisturizing and is also an antioxidant with healing properties.

Five: Egg Whites or Yellows. If you have oily skin take the whites of an egg, whip them and make a facial mask. If your skin is dry, take the fatty yellows and make a mask. Smear on your face and let it set for 20 minutes. Rinse well. Just don’t eat the raw eggs!

Six: Marbles. Do your kiddos love marbles? Borrow them at night and make this relaxing spa treatment. Fill a plastic bin with warm water and drops of your favorite essential oil and/or liquid scented soap. Great scents for relaxation are chamomile, bergamot, sandalwood, mandarin and jasmine. Place the marbles on the bottom of the bin. Now, rub your feet over the marbles as you close your eyes and relax for 20 minutes. It’s an instant reflexology treatment. Rinse and moisturize when you’re finished.

Seven: Peaches are still around for the next few weeks, so let’s put them to good use. Did you know that the vitamins in peaches in also a natural skin brightener that will make it look like you’ve just had a facial. Simply mash the inside of a small peach, discarding the skin. Smear on your face and relax for 20 minutes. Rinse. You will notice instant brightening.

Eight: Love chocolates and your bathtub? Now there’s a way to combine both of them. Add 1/8 cup powered milk plus 1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder into your bath plus ¼ cup Epsom salt. Stir the tub water with your hand to make sure the chocolate dissolves. Melt into your tub while smelling delicious chocolate, which is also an antioxidant. Another variation: 1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk plus ½ cup unscented bubble bath. It’s a chocolate bubble bath now! (Moms, this is also big fun for the kids!)

Nine: Avocado. Don’t eat this one with chips (although tempting!). Mash a small avocado in a bowl and add half cup of coconut milk. Use this mix as a deep conditioner that you leave on for 20 minutes for silky, shining hair. Rinse.

Ten: Coconut and Roses. Find a small jar or a mason jar. Add one large scoop of coconut oil on the bottom that should comprise 1/3 of the jar, add rose pedals to comprise the middle third of the jar, add raw sugar for the top third (brown sugar or raw cane sugar. It should be course). Keep this as a fragrant scrub.

Bonus: We can’t leave without one more tip. Got lemons? You can make a fabulous fresh clarifying toner by mixing a few drops of coconut water with three drops of lemon. Use a cotton ball and gently pat your face. The coconut hydrates while the lemon brightens and clears your face of congestion. To learn more bit the power of lemons click here.

Here’s to a beautiful you (inside and out) this fall!

Awesome Eco-Friendly School Supplies

August 22, 2015
family, motherhood

Awesome Eco-Friendly School Supplies! #joyofmom


Time feels like it’s flying right on by. Although it seems like summer is in full stride, it’s all but over for this year. School begins again in just a few days. What does this mean? Back-to-school shopping for supplies before the clock ticks and the first bell rings.

There’s always something special about fresh school supplies. Like a rite of passage ushering in each new school year. The crackle of new notebooks, freshly sharpened pencils, and backpacks soon to be brimming with all things school!

I’m excited to share a few of our favorite back-to-school supplies our kiddos will love and that are kind to our environment.

Pack It All Up: Start the new school year with an adorable backpack that is part toy, part bag. EcoZoo’s Kids Backpack line is earth friendly and the perfect school companion in designs that include a panda, a chick, a monkey, a puppy and a pig. PVC-free and made from natural cotton and rope. The buttons and buckles are made from recycled plastic and sustainable wood. Another fabulous and eco friendly backpack to check out is made by Milkdot.

Lunch Time: Our kids can carry their lunch in an insulated and reusable Bento Carrier lunchbox. It’s a great way to reduce the waste from brown bagging it. It also fits a reusable drink bottle and the Bento Lunch Box 2.0 (both sold separately). The product is free of PVC and lead and made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled materials. The interior has a mesh pouch to hold the biodegradable non-toxic ice packs (also sold separately). Healthy lunches will be kept fresh until it’s time to enjoy.

H2O: We all know the importance of staying hydrated. Here’s a great way for our kids to during the day. These super cute limited edition water bottles from Camelbak are 100 percent free of BPA and BPS, kid-sized and easy to clean.

Taking Notes: Kids can write it all down in EcoJot’s 100% recycled notebooks. No trees were harmed in the making of these books, which are created from recycled paper. The cover design has environmental themes like “rethink” and “re-use” or chose from many adorable, inspirational, and beautiful ones. And, best of all, each journal (or product purchased) gives back! Click here to learn about their amazing Give Program and projects.

Write On: Eco-friendly colored pencils and regular graphite pencils from Stubby Pencil Studio write super smoothly and are made from California incense-cedar wood, a renewable resource.

Mistake-Gone: Made a mistake. No worries. These tiny, sweet, precise detailing cupcake erasers will get the job done. These super cute erasers are assembled with separate parts making it a puzzle to take apart and put back together. Kids love to collect and trade them. Moms love that they are eco-friendly and non-toxic. Responsibly made.

Budding Artists: These awesome eco-crayons are designed to emulate sea rocks from the beautiful Maine coast. Earthy colored and made from natural wax and mineral pigments. Each set includes eight cool colors shaped like canyon rocks.

To all our moms and their precious kiddos ~ here’s to a fabulous, fun and safe school year!

Carrot Muffins

August 17, 2015

Recipe: Carrot Muffins #joyofmom


There are two schools of thought on muffins: either you can think of them as a small cake or turn them into a healthy, yummy treat or even breakfast on the run.

Carrot muffins are especially tricky if your kiddo is a picky eater with veggies. The idea is not only getting them to eat their vegetables but to enjoy them. Carrots are a rich source of beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant that also promotes healthy skin and supply the body with essential minerals, vitamins and enzymes.

The negative of these muffins is that some recipes are loaded with sugars and white flour. We found an amazing recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe adapted from 100 Days of Real Food that combines whole wheat flour, honey and unsweetened applesauce to give the muffins that sweet taste. We also included a delish and healthy recipe for cream cheese frosting from Ceara’s Kitchen Your kiddos will be asking your to make these all the time, plus they pop nicely into lunch boxes. Warm them up on a cool fall day and you have the perfect after school snack. PS: The at home smell from these muffins baking in your oven just shouts homemade love! Enjoy!

Healthy Applesauce Carrot Muffins

• 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoons butter, melted
• 1/2 cup honey
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
• 3/4 cup finely shredded carrots (about 2-3 medium carrots)

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
• In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.
• Make a small well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter, honey, egg, vanilla, and applesauce.
• Stir ingredients together until just combined and there are still some spots of flour remaining.
• Fold in the shredded carrots just until combined (don’t overmix or the muffins will be dense).
• Distribute the batter evenly among the muffin liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. These muffins freeze wonderfully and keep well if covered at room temperature for 2-3 days.

Vegan Cream Cheese Icing from Ceara’s Kitchen

½ cup raw cashews soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes or overnight
1½ tbsp maple syrup
1½ – 2 tsp lemon juice
pinch sea salt
¼ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp cinnamon

•Drain and rinse soaked cashews (make sure your cashews are thoroughly soaked for the icing to be silky smooth). With an immersion or small blender blend the cashews together with maple syrup, lemon juice (1½ tsp), sea salt, vanilla extract and optional cinnamon until silky smooth (this took me about 3 minutes). Taste test and add an additional ½ tsp of lemon juice if necessary (I prefer it will 2 whole tsps of lemon juice). The icing should be thick like traditional cream cheese icing. If necessary add a little bit of water if the icing is too thick.
• Once carrot cake is cool, ice cake with icing and garnish with optional walnuts or pecans.


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