Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving in Colorado

We’re back from our trip to Colorado for Thanksgiving and we had a great time! It was certainly a different experience to have to travel home for a holiday - much different than driving down the highway for a couple of hours.

We left town on Wednesday night after Dave was able to leave work and landed shortly after midnight in Colorado. There was a small hiccup with Dave’s luggage and it didn’t come up the baggage carousel, but luckily the airline delivered it to my parents’ house before we woke up in the morning so all was well.

We spent Thanksgiving day at Dave’s parents’ house where his uncle was visiting from the mountains and his grandma, grandpa, and cousin were visiting from Illinois. We had a yummy meal (turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, rolls, green beans), caught up on each other’s happenings, and enjoyed hanging out until it was time for us to head back to my parents’ house.


We did get up to do some black Friday shopping, but only for a couple of essential items that we needed and knew we could get for cheap. I got a wireless mouse for $10 (mine died a few weeks ago), Dave got a Bluetooth for $5 (in CA you have to use a hands free earpiece to talk and drive), we picked up a webcam for my grandma (who we set up with Skype before we realized she thought she could use her digital camera to video chat), and Dave got a video game and some headphones. So overall we were out from 7:00-8:00am and spent less than $35. I’d say that was a pretty successful shopping trip!

Later on Friday we took a trip to the Denver Zoo with my family. We always have fun looking at the animals and walking around and Dave had fun taking pictures.


On Saturday morning we went to breakfast with Brianna & Rob. Brianna’s parents live across the street from my parents so it was easy to get together for a quick break from the family. We went to Snooze for one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had. If you haven’t been to a Snooze restaurant, you need to go. I’ve never been disappointed with anything I’ve ordered there, including this great meal. Yum!

Later that night we had another Thanksgiving meal at my parents’ house with some of my mom’s extended family - my uncle and my aunt & uncle who are also from California. I think I gained five pounds after this meal. My aunt made this AWESOME pumpkin soup and we also enjoyed bean bundles, turkey, beef, cranberry Jell-O salad, mashed potatoes, and deviled eggs. That’s enough to sent anyone into a food coma. Yummmm.

On Sunday we tried to take some family photos with my camera and remote but its hard to get such a big group together and smiling and in/out of the sun. We did manage to get a few good ones of the group and then I took a few fun photos of folks in pairs. They came out pretty well!


We had lunch with Dave’s Grandma Kay on Monday and then we spent some time looking through some of her scrapbooks from 1990-1992 and I found this gem:

This is Dave’s 10th birthday cake - the Lochness Monster. First, how cute is it that he wanted a Lochness Monster cake for his birthday?!? And second, how awesome is my mother-in-law for making this cake?!? It was so much fun to look through those books and see so many photos of Dave when he was little :-)

Monday night we hopped on a plane back to California and headed home. It was a good trip, but it is nice to be back at our new “home”. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Deliciously Vegan Fridays

Welcome to another edition of Deliciously Vegan Fridays! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We’re in Colorado celebrating and visiting with family and friends, but we still managed to fit in our vegan meal before we left home. This week’s recipe: Blueberry Corn Pancakes.

I found this recipe in my new vegan cookbook, Veganomicon. We decided to have breakfast for dinner - and it was so fun! What I liked most about this recipe was that the ingredients were things that I (mostly) already had around the house. It was also really easy to make.

Blueberry Corn Pancakes

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp canola oil (or mild tasting vegetable oil)
1  1/4 cup plain soy milk
1/3 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 cup fresh blueberries

1. Preheat a large non-stick pan on medium high heat. Sift together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.

2. In a separate bowl, combine all other ingredients (except blueberries). Add wet to dry, mix until just combined, then fold in the blueberries. Do not over mix or pancakes will be tough.

3. Spray pan with cooking spray. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to pour batter into pan. Cook pancakes until brown on bottom and bubbles form on top, about 4 minutes.

4. Flip pancakes over with a spatula and cook until bottoms are brown and pancakes are barely firm to touch.

They were really good! The cornmeal gave them an unexpected texture - it was different, but good. On a scale of 10, we would give it an 8. We even thought that we could pass these off on family members who think we’re a little weird for eating vegan food - and they would never know they were vegan.

That’s my recipe for the week. If you made a vegan recipe and would like to share be sure to link up below. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What I’m Loving Wednesday

I’m so excited to share what I’m loving this week! So far, it has been a great week!

I’m loving that FIVE IRON FRENZY IS BACK FROM THE DEAD!! The band broke up eight years ago yesterday and last night they announced that they are back and they plan to release a new album in 2013! They are my favorite band ever - so much so that one of their songs was the inspiration for my blog title. If you missed the big announcement, visit

I’m loving that it is the end of November and there are roses still blooming in my garden!


I’m loving that in a few hours I will be on a plane headed back to Colorado to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends!

I’m loving the pictures we took this past weekend for our Christmas card. I had so much fun playing with my camera and lenses and posing… even if I did have to use the remote to snap the pictures :-) Here are a couple of my favorites.



And of course I am loving my wonderful husband!


That’s it from me this week. I hope you are having a great week. Be sure to link up with Jamie and share what you are loving today. Happy Wednesday!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Deliciously Vegan Fridays

Welcome to another edition of Deliciously Vegan Fridays! If you don’t know why I‘m doing this be sure to check out this post. Now, on to this week’s recipe: Parsley & Basil Pecan Pesto.

I found this recipe online here. This has been the easiest vegan recipe I have made so far and with the smallest mess. Don’t let the vegan cream or cheese in the ingredients intimidate you - I found vegan soy cheese and creamer at Trader Joe’s at a low cost. I’m sure similar things can be found at Whole Foods :-)

Parsley & Basil Pecan Pesto

3-4 cloves garlic
½ cup pecan nuts
3-4 Tbsp chopped parsley
4–6 Tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup vegan cheese of your choice
sea salt to taste
1 tbsp water
½ cup vegan cream

Garnish Ingredients:
¼ fresh red pepper, cut into small squares
a little sprinkle of sweet paprika
vegan parmesan cheese (optional)
freshly chopped parsley

1.Start off by processing the garlic and pecan nuts in a food processor until finely chopped.

2. Add the parsley and basil – process also until finely chopped, then begin to add the oil, a little at a time.  Next add in the rest of the ingredients, except for the water – add this in at the end, if you want to make it smoother.

3. After you have boiled and drained the pasta of your choice, set aside. Meanwhile pour a little olive oil into a casserole, heat, and add all the pesto. Allow to cook for a minute, then add the pasta. Continue to mix, and finally pour in the vegan cream.

4. Heat for a minute, then turn over into a serving bowl, and add the garnish.


For the garnish I only added the red pepper which turned out to be really good! I would have never thought to add that to pasta. Dave and I both really enjoyed the meal and it made for yummy leftovers. On a scale of 10, we would give it a 7.

That’s my recipe for the week. If you made a vegan recipe and would like to share be sure to link up below. Happy Friday!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What I’m Loving Wednesday


It has been a while but I am back for What I’m Loving Wednesday! Be sure to link up with Jamie and let us know what you are loving this week!

I’m loving my new holiday blog design! Usually I avoid all things Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but after designing this look I just had to put it up right away!

I’m loving Mochi Ice Cream. I had never had it before but saw it at Trader Joe’s and fell in love. Dave isn’t a big fan but that just means there’s more for me. Yum!

I’m loving Trader Joe’s! They have so many wonderful and yummy things at great prices :-)

I’m loving our new cell phones with the text-to-speech feature. It is such a time saver!

I’m loving that I am getting to spend more time with Gromit. Since I don’t have a job yet G and I get to hang out for most of the day. I love it when he comes to sleep on my lap!

I’m loving all of the new friends we are making here in California!

I’m loving my wonderful husband who is working hard at his new job! I still can’t believe grad school is over and we’re living in California. Crazy!

I hope you have a great Wednesday!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Deliciously Vegan Fridays

Welcome to another edition of Deliciously Vegan Fridays! If you don’t know why I‘m doing this be sure to check out this post. Now, on to this week’s recipe: Almond Joys.
I found this recipe online here. I thought I would do something a little less intimidating this week. Perhaps some of you not participating in making a vegan recipe a week will even try this out! And don’t be intimidated by vegan chocolate, many dark chocolates are vegan because they don't contain milk, milk solids, milk fat or crazy additives. Google vegan chocolate for some specific brands to look for. I used Trader Joe’s chocolate chips. Mmmmmmmmmm!

I deviated from the recipe a little because I didn’t have chocolate molds and I thought that the 1/2 cup coconut that was recommended was not enough to make 15 bars. So here’s what I came up with:

Almond Joys

2 cups shredded coconut
Raw almonds
Vegan chocolate (I used Trader Joe’s chocolate chips)
Dash of non dairy milk (I used vanilla soy milk)
1. Blend coconut in a food processor until smooth. Add non-dairy milk as needed to help blend.

2. Form blended coconut into 15 balls and place on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper. Place in the freezer for 5 minutes so that the coconut is easier to shape.

3. Remove from freezer and shape each ball into a 2 inch rectangle and place an almond on top of each one. Freeze for 20 minutes to set shape.

4. Melt chocolate (about 2 cups of chocolate chips) in a double boiler (or microwave). Dip bottoms of each bar into chocolate, put them back on the wax paper and place back in the freezer for 5 minutes.

5. This is where I really improvised and tried different things to see what worked best to cover the rest of the bars in chocolate. I recommend to try a few things out and see what works best for you. I tried hand dipping each one into the chocolate (ouch! when it came to covering the sides), spooning chocolate on top (very chunky and a lot of chocolate pooled on the tray), and taking a wooden skewer and sticking it into the bottom of the bar and dipping the top and sides of the bar in the chocolate then grabbing the bar by the bottom and putting it back on the tray. The skewer thing seemed to work best but again, figure out what works best for you. And please excuse the deformed bars on my tray - those are the result of me trying different things.

6. Freeze for 15 more minutes to let the chocolate set. Voila! Yummy and healthier Almond Joy bars!

Although really yummy it was a little messy to work with the blended coconut and a pain to figure out the best way to coat the bars on chocolate without them looking crazy. It probably would have been easier using a candy mold. Maybe I’ll buy one some day :-) I would make these again, but in a larger quantity to make extras. On a scale of 10, we would give it a 9.

That’s my recipe for the week. If you made a vegan recipe recently and would like to share the recipe be sure to link up below. Happy Friday!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Deliciously Vegan Fridays

Welcome to the very first edition of Deliciously Vegan Fridays! If you don’t know why I‘m doing this be sure to check out this post. Now, on to this week’s recipe: Broccoli Cheese Soup.

I found this recipe online here. Now, I’m not the greatest cook and what I made didn’t look like the picture on the site where I found the recipe, but here’s what I came up with.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Ingredients for soup:
1 batch of creamy cashew cheese (recipe below)
3-4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
4 small or 2 large celery, diced
4 small or 2 large carrots, diced
pinch of salt and pepper
3 32-ounce boxes of organic vegetable broth
about 4 heaping cups of chopped broccoli florets (3 small heads of broccoli)
1 tsp salt and a crack of pepper
1/4 tsp. ground mustard

Ingredients for Creamy Cashew Cheese:
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for about an hour
5 sundried tomatoes
1 cup nutritional yeast
juice of 1 small lemon
1 Tbsp. mustard
1/2 of a small jalapeno pepper (I didn’t use this)
1 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 cup fresh water

Directions for soup:
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes until softened slightly. Add the celery and carrots and a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté a few more minutes.

Then add the vegetable broth, broccoli, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the broccoli becomes tender.

While the soup is cooking make the creamy cashew cheese. 

Directions for Creamy Cashew Cheese:
After soaking the cashews place the nuts and all other ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until completely smooth. (Mine turned out really orange… I’m not sure if it was supposed to look like that. Plus there was no step in the recipe to add the cashew cheese to the soup, so I added it after the 45 minutes that it simmered.)

Directions for soup, continued:
Gently blend the soup in batches in your blender or using an immersion blender, but do not over blend. (I did it it in batches in my blender and then just blended it for a few seconds. The one thing I wouldn’t recommend doing is blending while the soup is still really hot - the liquid bubbled up over the blender lid and burnt my hand a little bit). The soup should be mostly smooth but still with some very small chunks here and there and a little texture. Taste the soup at this point and then add any additional salt and pepper you need.

Mine looked a little more orange than it did on the recipe site. And it is totally possible that I messed up the recipe somehow, but Dave and I thought it tasted more like tomato and cashew soup, rather than broccoli. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t the flavor we were expecting. On a scale of 10, we would give it a 4.5.

That’s my recipe for the week. If you had a vegan meal recently and would like to share the recipe be sure to link up below. Happy Friday!