December, 2013

Merry Christmas Folks


I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas!!! The Captain and I are bringing the pups to the mountains. After missing the holidays last year, it was important for us to really be able to enjoy them this year!! So that means vegan eggplant parm

, board games, hot toddies, walks in the snow, and as little internet access as possible!! Basically, perfection!! I hope everyone has a beautiful week filled with friends, family, love, and lotsa yummy food!!!! xoxo

Holiday Delights

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My holiday table | Photo via Kelsey Erin Photography

Holiday food is the bombdiggity!!! It’s warming and delicious and perfect and fabulous. Being vegan, I’ve had to make some considerable changes to the classics, but I assure you they are tasty and just as satisfying. I find inspiration everywhere! I love reading vegan and non-vegan cookbooks and blogs. I love turning a recipe into a veggie delight! It brings me such joy! Such joy!! And when it tastes so freaking good,  I’m so happy I wanna run into the streets screaming good tidings and kiss a good looking stranger right in the face. Here are 3 recipes, one created from my mind hole, one exactly as it was written, and one adapted to my plant based lifestyle! All of them are magical holiday dishes!! Enjoy!

imageGreen Beans with Shallots and Almonds
Serves 4 as a side

1 pound trimmed green beans

1/4 cup sliced almonds

4-5 large shallots sliced into rings

a sprinkle or 2 of whole wheat pastry flour (any will work)

1 tablespoon olive oil for the beans and 1/2 cup or so sunflower oil to fry the shallots

a splash of veggie stock (I like to add some stock to help the beans steam)

salt and pepper

So this is super easy. I’ve made it twice already and I’m sharing the more naughty version. After light dredging the shallots in flour, I shallow fried them in a frying pan until golden and crispy! Once out of the pan lay them on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. YUM! You might need to make more because you WILL eat them as they cook up. Then start the green beans, get a tablespoon of oil heating in the pan. Toss in the green beans with the oil and add a pinch of salt and a few turns of the pepper mill. Toss in a splash, roughly a tablespoon, of stock and put on the lid. Check every 2-3 minutes, you want them to be soft, but still have a bit of a crunch! You definitely want them to keep their brilliant color!! Once they hit the sweet spot toss in the almonds, shallots, and another pinch of salt. Sauté for a min or so and serve!! Soooooo good!!! If you want to make the healthy version, omit the oil and sauté beans with only veggie stock and instead of frying your shallots place them on a cookie sheet in a 450 degree oven for 10-15 minutes!! Fat free masterpiece! image_2

Christina Hendricks’s Rub All Over Your Body Stuffing” Sorta…

Serves two thousand people

day old cornbread (I use this whole recipe minus the green chilies)

day old biscuits (I use this whole recipe from The Kind Diet, but switch the oil for apple sauce)

1 cup celery, finely chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons salt

4-6 cups veggie stock

1 tablespoon dried sage

1 teaspoon parsley flakes

1/2 cup melted Earth Balance (I use the sticks for this)

optional: Field Roast’s Smoked Apple Sage “sausage” crumbled

This is so easy. I make the biscuits and cornbread the day before and try not to eat them. I actually like to chop my veggies and measure out my herbs too. Then the day of I just crumble up the biscuits and cornbread and dump everything else into a huge baking dish! Preheat the oven to 350. I pour over the earth balance and start with 4 cups of veggie stock. Bake for an hour, adding stock if it begins to dry out.

image_1This was a hit. Creamed Kale is where it’s at!!! I found this recipe at Food to Glow and holy bananas!! MIND. BLOWN. I can’t even believe how delicious this dish tasted. So simple. I can’t wait to make it again!!! Can a person be in love with Kale? Like truly, deeply in love?? Because I am. I definitely am. Check out the recipe here and make the vegan version, DUH. Enjoy these delicious recipes!!!!!!!


Christmas Party Time!

Blissful Happenings  2 - 61 Blissful Happenings  2 - 62 Blissful Happenings  2 - 63 Blissful Happenings  2 - 65 Blissful Happenings  2 - 68 Blissful Happenings  2 - 70Photos via Kelsey Erin Photography  | [pants] old Loft, but these are amazing!! [top] old Loft [shoes] ancient Steve Madden [ring] Nordies Rack  [lips]  Ombre with Mac Morange all over and Russian Red painted around the lip line then blended in.

It’s the holidays and that means Christmas parties, oh so many Christmas parties. This year I was determined to wear this outfit! I purchased the look for NYE 2013 which ended up being a total drunkfest in the privacy of my own home, which I like to tell myself is responsible and not super lame. I was determined to wear these pants somewhere!!! This is might be the only outfit I’ve ever purchased straight from the mannequin and it literally shocks people when I tell them it’s from Loft! That store is toats one of my secret affordable weapons. I purchase one of these shirts once a year, it’s a staple and looks so expensive!! That’s the beauty of Loft, it’s great to mix with higher end pieces to create a super unique style of your own! These are my favorite shoes which are total knockoffs of the Dior Addict gladiators that prance around in my dreams. Yep, I’m still crushing hard on those Diors. These are Steve Madden and they are cray comfortable, I wish they still made them. They are blatant copies, but dude this girl doesn’t have 800 bucks to spend on shoes and I definitely didn’t have it 4 years ago. I hate the lack of artistry in copying a designer piece, but I think that the prices of designer fashion have only gotten more and more insane!! Conundrum of the heart. Anywho, we had a blast at our Christmas party, ugly sweaters, engraved toilet seats, apple pie moonshine, olives!!!! I could go on and on. We love our West Coast military family!! So blessed to have such wonderful friends in our lives!!!!

Women Who Rock

e photo1Today I am just over the moon because I LOVE December’s woman who rocks!!!! Estela from Weekly Bite is a genius dietician, successful blogger, fabulous mommy, and I’m so delighted to call her my friend. She effortlessly (or so it seems) balances kiddos, work, and life while always keeping a balanced diet with an emphasis on healthy whole foods and moderation! She is the real deal when it comes to expert nutrition advice, plus she’s a total babe! Hope you enjoy her interview!

Hey superwoman, how do you balance work, kids, husband, exercise and stay sane? Balance is something I work at every day (some days are way easier then others). What keeps me sane is exercise. I make it a priority to schedule exercise somewhere in my day, whether it be running, yoga, or an exercise DVD. If I can’t find “me” time to exercise, I load the kids up in the jogging stroller (which is often) and pound my stress away on the pavement.

As for work, since I work from home I feel like I am working all day. Having two kids makes it a little challenging, but now that they are in school I am able to focus more on work before their pick-up time. When it comes to making time for my husband, I make it a personal rule to shut off the computer at 8pm. Since the kid’s are in bed by that time, it gives us a chance to catch up on our day and keep that line of communication open which is super important for couples. We also try to schedule date nights every couple of weeks :)

What’s your personal food philosophy? Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied! Try to make healthy choices most of the time, but never deprive yourself of foods you love. One of the hardest things to do is tune into our bodies and listen when it tell us it needs food. Try to avoid the emotional eating rut. When we start eating consistently for reasons other than hunger (like boredom, loneliness, or stress), that’s when the excess weight arrives.

Is there a common mistake you notice when people are trying to loose weight or eat healthier? Losing weight & becoming healthier is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. In order to keep weight off permanently, focusing on a healthy lifestyle change, rather than a diet is key. Take a mini assessment of your life and find little things you can change one at a time. Slow and steady should be the motto when it comes to weight loss. We can still enjoy the foods we love, but in moderation.

Is there a secret to getting kids to love healthy food? I get this question all the time from parents. There really is no secret. As parents, we serve as role models for our kids. We need to be the eater we want our kids be. As parents, it’s our job to decide when and what our kids eat. It is up to the kids to decide how much they will eat. The key is to never give up. It can take up to five introductions of a food before the child actually tastes it. I never force my kids to eat everything on their plate. I do encourage them to taste it, and I always make sure to have at least one food on their plate I know they like. We also do a lot of “tummy talk” when we are eating. It’s a way of getting kids to learn about listen to their hunger (tummy) cues.

Spill it, what’s your fave junk food?  This is embarrassing, but I’m going to have to say ‘Flaming Hot Cheetos’. I know they are super unhealthy (some might even say they’re gross), but I think they are yummy! I don’t eat them often, but if they are around I enjoy them in moderation :)

Vegan Afritada. BOOM.

afritata-filipino-vegan-veggieI’ve mentioned it before, but I am indeed an honorary Filipino. I love Filipino food, unfortunately it does not love me. Trying to get my Filipino family to understand the concept of being a vegan or plant based diet is like trying to explain nuclear fusion to a kindergarten class. Not only do they not understand, they don’t retain the information. To my mother-in-law vegetarian means there is a vegetable somewhere in the meal. I’ve been to a few Filipino restaurants and their veggie menu reads, eggplant with minced pork, string beans with minced shrimp, so on and so forth. So if I want it, I cook it. I make veggie lumpia, tofu adobo, and my favorite, afritada. The Captain’s late Grandpa Lolo made the best afritada I’ve ever had in my life. Full of pork, oil, msg, and magic. It tasted like heaven! A few years before he passed, I was able to sit with him and watch him lovingly make his recipe. There were no measurements, just a gut feeling of what was needed. It’s one of my favorite memories ever. I’ve changed very little of his basic recipe while cutting out the stuff we don’t eat. The Captain always has a shot of Lolo’s beloved Crown before we feast, it’s a tradition. I love watching his face when he takes a bite, it’s like tasting a memory and that fills my heart with joy.

afritata-filipino-vegan-veggieFeeds 3-4 super hungry people [doubles/triples/quadruples well]

2 red bell peppers, chopped into large chunks

4 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks

2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter

1 15 oz can organic garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

2 cups veggie stock

1 15 oz can tomato sauce

1/4 cup ketchup [yes, ketchup… and none of that fancy organic shit with no sugar, the real deal]

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons sea salt

A pinch of cayenne

This is so simple. Start the coconut oil and the garlic over medium heat. Once the garlic is fragrant, add carrots, peppers, and potatoes. Stir about until they are lightly coated in the oil. Add garbanzo beans, veggie stock, tomato sauce, ketchup, and peanut butter. Stir well. Finally add all the spices and mix together. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down. Cover and cook on low for an hour or so, until the veggies are soft. The only way to eat this is with steamed jasmine rice. Brown rice is acceptable, but trust me you should try it first with white.

Enjoy!! Trust me, this is comfort in a bowl and it will warm your body and your soul… yep, it’s that good!

Classy Rockstar

Blissful Happenings - September 2013 - 042Blissful Happenings - September 2013 - 045 Blissful Happenings - September 2013 - 043Blissful Happenings - September 2013 - 046Blissful Happenings - September 2013 - 053photos via Kelsey Erin Photography  [tee] Heather [jacket] old Zara, but I’m obsessed with this one [faux leather pants] BB Dakota, I like these too [shoes] cray old Jimmy Choo, but these are sorta epic.

As many of you know, I fancy myself a rockstar. I wear these “leather” leggings pretty much every time I go out lately. I pair them with a simple tee or an oversized sweater and call it a day. Chill, but still a great look. And I lalalalove a tweed blazer, I own like 5 and this Zara one is my rockstar version. Slightly funky shoulder pads and a lil’ bit of sparkle. I dig it. This is my kind of night on the town outfit! Add some red polish and you have a perfect casual holiday party look! Chic with a little bit of edge! WINNING.