I’m a San Diego Native who loves food with an insane passion. I’ve been known to drink almond milk straight from the carton and expensive wine out of plastic red cups. My favorite meal is, has, and always will be dessert.
If you want to send me cute videos of your cat, invite me to brunch, or just tell me how your day is going, you can email me at:


Petula Pea Photography


“I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.” – Julia Child (and me)

*Part of a healthy lifestyle is enjoying life. To me enjoying life involves the occasional splurge or two. This blog is meant to be a resource for Paleo-ish sweets and treats. I do not endorse eating sweets on a daily basis, Paleo or not, but rather on occasion. You know your body better than I do, so it’s up to you to decide if eating Paleo treats is a weekly, monthly, or yearly thing. My recipes are meant as a go to if you are having a dessert crisis (yes, needing chocolate is considered a crisis) or event that requires you to make something that everyone can eat and enjoy, that doesn’t require you to eat ingredients you’d rather not i.e gluten, soy, dairy, legumes, etc., due to allergies, intolerances, or personal choice. It’s also for my friends who are sick of me posting pictures of my Paleo food creations on my Facebook page. Get a blog! they said. Better than get a life I suppose.


61 Comments on About

  1. Lemons 'n Lyme
    March 21, 2013 at 2:41 pm (11 years ago)

    Ohh I SO want to be blog buddies with you! You’re like the cool kid on the playground who has all the better recipes… I’m pretty sure I’m about to go spend all my money on baking ingredients so I can try every single one of your recipes! Can’t wait to see what other great recipes you post 🙂

    • cleaneatingwithadirtymind
      March 21, 2013 at 4:13 pm (11 years ago)

      Yay for blog buddies! And you can totally hang out with me on the cool section of the playground. All of our lunches are Paleo and we say things like “I’ll trade you my carrot sticks for your Paleo cookies.” 🙂

  2. Esther
    March 21, 2013 at 9:43 pm (11 years ago)

    Hi – I just found your site through paleOMG and when I saw that you’re in SD and new to blogging, too, I had to say hi! I just started a blog myself, and although it’s not Paleo specific, I’ll definitely be trying some of your recipes and probably writing about my adventures in the kitchen! I can’t wait to try the Vanilla Chai Pancakes, it’s like you jumped in my head and combined a bunch of my favorite things! Can’t wait to see what else you come up with!

  3. Marty
    March 21, 2013 at 11:53 pm (11 years ago)

    What an awesome blog! Going without dessert is the hardest part of a paleo challenge….I am looking forward to trying your recipes.

    • cleaneatingwithadirtymind
      March 22, 2013 at 4:00 pm (11 years ago)

      I’m so happy you like the blog, thanks for reading! Dessert is one of the best things in life, one should never go with out it! 🙂

    • cleaneatingwithadirtymind
      March 22, 2013 at 4:03 pm (11 years ago)

      Thanks Kiwi, can I call you Kiwi for short? Mr. Peckish sounds so formal. 🙂 These things are always fun, and I enjoyed reading yours!

      • The Peckish Kiwi
        March 23, 2013 at 1:50 am (11 years ago)

        You can call me whatever you like, except late for the Paleo McGriddles.

  4. onmywaytohealth
    March 25, 2013 at 2:49 pm (11 years ago)

    Just found your blog and I love it! I just recently (well since January) started eating paleo and it’s amazing how much better I feel! Look forward to reading more from you!

    • cleaneatingwithadirtymind
      March 25, 2013 at 3:17 pm (11 years ago)

      Congratulations on becoming Paleo! It’s amazing what eating real food does for your body! 🙂 Thanks for reading, I’m happy you are enjoying the blog!

  5. Laura
    March 26, 2013 at 2:08 pm (11 years ago)

    I just found you from the San Diego Paleo page on Facebook… I can’t wait to try the red velvet cakes! Yummmm…… It is nice to meet a fellow San Diegan Paleoite!

    • cleaneatingwithadirtymind
      March 26, 2013 at 2:15 pm (11 years ago)

      Nice to meet you too Laura! San Diego has such a great Paleo Community! Thanks for checking out the blog!

  6. bwbears
    April 21, 2013 at 7:58 pm (10 years ago)

    What a fantastic blog. Love your chocolate posts the most. I’ve decided to become your fan.

    Keep up the good work.

    • cleaneatingwithadirtymind
      April 21, 2013 at 9:19 pm (10 years ago)

      Thanks Bears! The chocolate posts are my favorite! Can you tell? 😉 Trust me there is much more chocolate in this brain that I’m just dying to blog about!

  7. This Sydney Life
    April 21, 2013 at 8:38 pm (10 years ago)

    CEWADM (Bit of a mouthful but I love the sentiment!) – thought it was high time I let you know how much I’m loving your blog AND salivating over all the recipes! 🙂 I have yet to actually make one of your marvellous creations BUT consider me a fan! 🙂

    • cleaneatingwithadirtymind
      April 21, 2013 at 9:25 pm (10 years ago)

      I’m so happy you’re enjoying the blog so much! I know such a long name! It’s been really interesting trying to get a logo made 😉 thanks so much for reading!

  8. oiyoufood
    May 5, 2013 at 12:13 pm (10 years ago)

    Nice blog Vanessa! I created a blog for similar reason: to keep my so called ‘annoying’ food-loving side away from my friends! 🙂 I’ll be interested in Paleo recipes.

    • cleaneatingwithadirtymind
      May 8, 2013 at 9:35 am (10 years ago)

      Thank you Sarah! I just checked out your blog, how exciting are you running your first half!? Amazing, you’re going to do fantastic!

      • Sarah Christine
        May 8, 2013 at 9:47 am (10 years ago)

        Thank you! Let’s hope I can at least cross the finish line!

  9. Eduard Schwan
    May 29, 2013 at 6:16 pm (10 years ago)

    Thank you for offering up your “bloginess card” to me today, and telling me a little about your food/photo passions… I have just started to dive into your blogs and the treats look like they’ll be a lot of fun to replicate… and your photography is gorgeous, definitely a talented pairing! 🙂 My blog is not food-related, but hopefully a bit smirky, in case you’re interested in trading blog-n-forth 🙂

    • cleaneatingwithadirtymind
      May 29, 2013 at 6:45 pm (10 years ago)

      Eduard! Great meeting you and chatting with you today! Thanks for taking such an active interest in my blog! I am currently reading yours and listening to your lovely “Carol of the Bells” arrangement, which is spectacular by the way. Like I said this morning I hope to have many treats to bring in for you guys, even though they will be “healthy”. 🙂 I can’t eat them all myself! Okay I can but I shouldn’t! 😉

  10. Gloria Griffis
    June 14, 2013 at 6:24 am (10 years ago)

    Hi Vanessa! I just came across your blog and love the recipes. I, too, just recently started blogging. I’m originally from southern CA! My parents live in Temecula, it’s nice to find bloggers from that area. I miss CA. I would love to be a blogger buddy. I, too, do paleo and I love the results. 🙂

    • cleaneatingwithadirtymind
      June 15, 2013 at 9:37 am (10 years ago)

      That’s awesome! I’ll have to check out your blog! There are so many Paleo bloggers in San Diego we are so lucky! Thanks for reading 🙂

  11. Sharon
    August 23, 2013 at 7:21 am (10 years ago)

    I loooove poking through your blog! Pictures are amazing and desserts look so delectable! I just want to face dive into the screen 😮 😀

    • Vanessa Barajas
      August 23, 2013 at 9:18 am (10 years ago)

      Thanks Sharon! Dive on in, the water’s warm! Or I guess I should say the desserts are warm! haha. 🙂

  12. spinach4breakfast
    September 13, 2013 at 9:03 pm (10 years ago)

    Love Love these recipes! And the fact that you live a “real life” but still eat clean. Great stuff 🙂

    • Vanessa Barajas
      September 14, 2013 at 6:32 pm (10 years ago)

      You’re the best! So happy you’ve found me! 🙂

  13. Kim Jorgensen Gane
    December 4, 2013 at 2:31 pm (10 years ago)

    Please, please, pretty please will you join the Pinterest Party?! We’d LOVE to have you ’round these parts!

  14. Robert Palo
    January 8, 2014 at 10:02 am (10 years ago)

    I came across your blog while readying a 21DSD recipe on Julie Bauer’s website (PaleOMG). I have been off the paleo wagon for about a year and it has been miserable. But I decided to make the change permanent this time and to keep myself motivated, I began blogging to post progress and maybe recipes. It’s nothing fancy and I just started this week, but I would love to be blog buddies with you for your insight and constructive (or deconstructive) criticisms. 🙂 Thanks and keep up the great work!

  15. Carol
    January 25, 2014 at 3:15 pm (10 years ago)

    Hi! I found your blog through Civilized Caveman…he linked the Reese’s Cheesecake. And I have gone through just about your whole blog and can’t wait to try some of these treats. We went Paleo in 2012 and did great for several months and then fell off the wagon. We dabbled occasionally in 2013 and currently finishing up the 21 Day Sugar Detox. We hope to get back to Paleo or something close to it. I have a blog I just started back up…nothing fancy–life, kids, weightloss, food, whatever. Here it is in case you’d like to check it out…I will have more and better posts in the future! http://thelo5.blogspot.com/

  16. Jessi
    February 9, 2014 at 10:32 am (10 years ago)

    Found your blog through a friend on facebook and am excited to start baking (like as soon as I finish typing this). I’ve never done Paleo… I’m currently doing carb cycling (which I thought I hated at first but I might actually love it now… ) and I attempt to be as unprocessed as possible too. I blog about my adventures in the kitchen as well. 🙂 Looking forward to exploring your blog.

    • Vanessa Barajas
      February 10, 2014 at 11:18 am (10 years ago)

      Yay for baking! It’s so fun when you aren’t tearing your hair out. 🙂 My blog is definitely the place to go for unprocessed treats that are Paleo-ish. I really hope you enjoy!

  17. Michelle Daniels
    August 15, 2014 at 8:05 am (9 years ago)

    Hey Vanessa! Love, love, love your blog! My daughter and I started eating Paleo in January of this year to help her very sad & inflammed colon…& by mid March, all better! No more meds and feeling like a normal, beautiful 19 year old!! I am a huge baker, so the transition to Paleo meant missing out on much yumminess from my oven! But let’s just say that for Mother’s Day I was on the hunt for a special treat for both of us and stumbled upon your German Chocolate Cupcakes! Wowser!!! Happy Mother’s Day to me baby!!! Hit the spot big time and have been following you ever since. Bless your dessert minded heart!!! I am also training for a marathon in October…my first marathon since going Paleo. Feeling great so far! I notice that you are also a runner, would love some of your insight on your pre-race meals & what keeps you fueled during your long runs 🙂 Have a most wonderful and sweet day & thank you for such a fun and tasty blog to follow!!! ~Michelle

    • Vanessa Barajas
      August 15, 2014 at 9:26 am (9 years ago)

      Hey Michelle! What an awesome story! I’m so happy to hear Paleo is yet again changing lives for the better! I’m even happier to hear that you enjoyed the cupcakes, yay! Also, congrats on the marathon, that’s amazing! I’m only half crazy, haha. You’re going to do awesome! I found the best pre-race meals were actually sushi the night before. White rice gives me the longest lasting energy, and the fish is a great lean protein, and the gluten-free tamari (used in place of soy sauce) is super high in sodium which helps you to retain water. Then the morning of I actually found acai bowls to be the best pre-race breakfast. I blend 2 frozen acai packs with some almond milk soaked chia seeds, peanut butter (oh yeah!) and a banana. Then I put this blend on top of gluten-free granola. Not really paleo but this always worked great for me. For some reason the peanut butter fuels me better than almond butter, I’ve tried both numerous times, and I have no idea why. For in race fuel I use the Jelly Belly Sport Beans and clear full sugar Gatorade, none of which is paleo in the slightest obviously but you are also using the carbs and sugar for immediate fuel for an intense endurance sport, so I think it’s justified. Test all of this before your long training runs and see what works best for you! One race I even ate a bagel with peanut butter (OH MY!) and I’m sad and happy at the same time to report that I PR’d my race. I was also training pretty intense and doing CrossFit so it may have been that and not the bagel Hahah. SO in short it really depends on you, what you’re comfortable eating, and what your race goals are. Please let me know how it goes!!!! Thanks for writing!

      • renee
        August 26, 2014 at 6:24 pm (9 years ago)

        I just came to your site for the first time today due to the paleomg post. This is the first post I read and I am an endurance runner that is trying to get my kiddos eating Paleo and processed sugars are there go too…so I clicked on the link due to the s’mores cookies that paleomg was raving about! You comment is so on point! “It really depends on you…” I have a friend that was strict paleo and qualified for boston! And leaned out on Paleo to run Boston…He is manager of a restaurant and wife is a SAHM. I asked him, how do you do it…he said “I eat tons of bananas, almonds, and meat” end of story…

        I am trying every day to figure out how Paleo will work for my long distance runs….

        Long story short…love your post and site!

      • Vanessa Barajas
        August 28, 2014 at 2:39 pm (9 years ago)

        Glad you found my site Renee! Yes it absolutely depends on you. I have only ran half marathons, never full, and not even close to qualifying for Boston, haha. I eat Paleo for normal life and shorter runs that are 4-5 miles. For long runs I would eat white rice and gluten-free oatmeal/granola. Even peanut butter. And let’s not forget crap tons of Gatorade and energy chews. That’s what worked for best for me. I think some people are fine doing endurance stuff on strict Paleo but it didn’t work for me…and it may not work for you and that’s okay! It’s all trial and error and really being able to listen to your body. Then give it what it needs. End of story. Good luck! 😉

      • michelledaniels64
        October 12, 2014 at 2:56 pm (9 years ago)

        Hey Vanessa! Wow, can’t believe I’m just now replying to your reply from 2 months ago!!!! My in box is a mess and way too full! Thank you for the “fuel” advice for the long runs, I so appreciate you’re getting back to me on that. My husband and I ran our marathon (along with some walking) last Saturday…super happy we did it and also happy to check it off the list of “completed” things for the year! We experimented and found that our energy levels did well starting off our run with some paleo muffins I made and using “barnana” dried bananas, raisins and actual fresh bananas they had at fuel stops for us. We did stick to strictly water for liquid refreshment as this does better for me and my hypoglycemia. Overall, we did about as we expected…I’d hoped to finish a little quicker but the 2nd half was very tough…soooo, regardless we finished our first all Paleo marathon and really couldn’t be happier! I LOVE the Paleo community so much and the genuine support everyone gives each other! Thank you again for following up as quickly as you did in August…and again so sorry I didn’t express my gratitude sooner! Love your site and all the yumminess that it is! Have a great week!! ~Michelle

  18. Jacqueline
    August 16, 2015 at 7:33 am (8 years ago)

    Hi Ms. Vanessa, I love love LOVE your blog! My mom gets these paleo magazines and there was an article on your blog in the latest one. I read it and I was was like “Oh my gosh I HAVE to check out this blog!” So I did and, may I just say, I am a lot more willing to have a more paleo based diet after seeing all the things I could still eat. Your food, especially the desserts, look AMAZING and I can’t wait to try it! Anyway, I have my own blog called growing into health and I would love it if I could mention your blog in one or two of my articles. I think my readers would really enjoy seeing all your yummy food and learning how to make it. Thanks!

    • Vanessa Barajas
      August 21, 2015 at 3:17 pm (8 years ago)

      Thank you so much Jacqueline! Of course please feel free to mention away! I’m so happy to hear you are a fan of the blog and enjoyed the Paleo Magazine article. I’m so excited to get my book out there too, I think people are really going to be amazed at how versatile healthy eating can be! 🙂

  19. windshirokuma5
    December 5, 2015 at 11:04 am (8 years ago)

    What a lovely website. Too often people who try to eat healthier also pretend that they’ve lost their sweet tooth. In my opinion, this is often the cause of their inability to stay on the diet. I firmly believe that indulging in your sweet tooth in a healthy and moderate fashion blends perfectly well with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Thank you for these great recipes. My personal favorite is the Chocolate Lasagna.

  20. Vanessa
    February 24, 2016 at 2:49 pm (8 years ago)

    I just wanted to say I love your book and that recipe for the almond butter patties was INCREDIBLE. So were the donuts. Thanks so much….

    • Vanessa Barajas
      February 26, 2016 at 9:59 am (8 years ago)

      So happy to hear you are enjoying everything! It’s comments like this that make me feel like all that hard work was worth it! 🙂 Happy Baking!

  21. Cecilia
    November 3, 2016 at 5:21 pm (7 years ago)

    I love your recipes and wanted to know if you know of a substitute for “crisco”. I have a old recipe for persimmon cookies from my mom. I have tried omitting the crisco or substituting it for coconut oil but they come out so flat. Any suggestions. Thanks

    • Vanessa Barajas
      November 3, 2016 at 5:26 pm (7 years ago)

      Thanks Cecilia! I do know of a great sub! Palm Shortening! It has no hydrogenated oils in it and works just like Crisco. You can find it in any health food store, or even chains like Vons, Safeway, Albertson’s, Sprouts, Whole Foods, and Amazon! http://amzn.to/2ejtFPX

  22. Allison Thompson
    November 11, 2016 at 2:54 am (7 years ago)

    Hi Vanessa

    Just wanted to send you a quick message to say how much I love your blog.

    I have been following a Paleo lifestyle for some time now and it has really made a big difference in my life. At the age of 48 I found that I had begun to go through the menopause. Of course I could of resorted to taking medication to treat it, but decided not to.

    Instead after reading through Mark Sisson’s books, which my husband was given as a gift I chose to change my eating habits. Since doing so I haven’t needed to rely on any kind of medication, other than natural supplements.

    I’ve heard women complaining that they have put on weight since starting the menopause, but this isn’t a issue I’ve had to deal with. In fact my weight has actually remainded pretty constant and much the same before the menopause began.

    I will continue to follow your blog and will start to try out some of your recipes. Like you I have a really sweet tooth.

    • Vanessa Barajas
      November 11, 2016 at 8:31 am (7 years ago)

      Hey Allison! I’m so happy to hear that a Paleo lifestyle has had such a positive effect on your health! That’s great to hear and it’s always awesome when food can be medicine. I’m also happy to hear that you are enjoying my blog! I’ve got lots of fun recipes to handle that sweet tooth for sure! 🙂 Take care!

  23. Rina
    May 4, 2017 at 2:01 pm (6 years ago)

    So happy I found your blog! Everything looks AMAZING! Are you in PQ?

    • Vanessa Barajas
      May 8, 2017 at 11:09 am (6 years ago)

      I am! How did you figure that out?! Hahaha. I’m happy you found my blog too and I hope you enjoy everything!


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