Vegan MoFo 2017 Day 13: Sell Yourself (your book)

Hi, it’s Laura.

I did not post here yesterday, as I posted a video on my Instagram account instead. If you missed it, check me out there at @bananacurlvegangirl

Today I’m sticking with the daily prompt. Sell yourself. And since everything I’ve done so far is about the book I’m writing featuring Fluffy the Vegan Unicorn for my thesis project for my master’s degree in Humane Education, I figured I’d write a bit of a pitch of the idea and where I hope to go with it beyond publishing it in my school’s thesis database or whatever.

I am actually planning on sending it to vegan-friendly publishing companies after I have a manuscript so that everyone can access it. I have no idea how that would go, but if I am rejected by everyone, then I may look into self-publishing, although that seems really hard and expensive for me right now. I’d rather turn it into a zine if formal publishing does not work out. Please send positive vibes for me that someone will want to take it on to publish!

This book is designed to bring humane education to the masses in a wholly positive, compassionate, and loving way. It will make learning about hidden cruelties that affect humans, animals, and the earth in food and craft supplies less overwhelming because alternatives and resourced to avoid products free of the suffering will be recommended at every point and Fluffy’s voice will be comforting and pleasant. Fluffy also brings their sense of pizzaz and humor to each recipe, so that it makes reading them a bit more magical.

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It is designed to appeal “grownups and not-so-grownups who never stopped believing in magic.” Really, it’s for everyone, with special attention to kids and their parents. The cookbook portion will go beyond recipes for rainbow tinted cakes and desserts. There will be savory dishes, unicorn-inspired lunch box bento ideas, and more! However, the concept of the book is more than just cooking fun food once in awhile. There is an emphasis on planning a party. So, there is also a chapter on craft projects that are fun to make for presents, decorations, party activities, goodie bags, and beyond. Then everything is tied together to culminate in the epic unicorn party! There are suggestions on unicorn themed books, movies, products, etc. too that I love as well.

While I am trying to maintain a good balance between secrecy and sharing so I don’t spoil all the surprises awaiting you in the book, I do want to share a few of the recipes I’ve created so far that I am most proud of:

An amazing white cake that can be colored any color of the rainbow

All natural food coloring dye

Unicorn Poop Sugar Cookies

Rainbow Cloud Cupcakes

Energy Bars

Dessert pizza

Parfaits

& more (plus others in progress)

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing a behind the scenes look at the test run of my birthday cake (for the end of October).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Vegan MoFo (Month of Food) Day 1 Introduction

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Hey everyone! I haven’t been posting much here lately but I’m going to be writing (hopefully) every day in October to participate in Vegan MoFo. I first started doing MoFo in 2014, and I skipped it last year, but this year I am back at it because I have a cool new project and life stuff I want to talk about.

Plus October is my birth month (my birthday is on the 29th), and in the previous years, I have done MoFo it has been in September. What a better way to celebrate my birthday than to do what I love best? Talking about vegan food!

So what is this cool new project? Well, for my Master’s thesis in Humane Education I’m going to be writing a Vegan Unicorn Party cooking and craft book. Humane Education is a field that seeks to help others learn about the environment, human rights, animals, cultural structures, and how to effect change in the world. You can learn more about the kinds of things I seek to practice from my grad program’s blog here.

So how do unicorns and humane education go together?

That’s where Fluffy the Vegan Unicorn Comes in!

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Fluffy the Vegan Unicorn is a body positive, gender non-conforming (they use they/their/them pronouns) treat loving unicorn who believes that vegan food should be fun!

Having fun with food is great for kids of all ages, even children at heart who happen to be adults. In fact, it is Fluffy’s hope that their food can bring joy to all, even the most grumpy, un-childlike adults. Fluffy believes that is healthy for all adults to have a childlike sense of wonder about food and other beautiful things, like the magic of nature.

 

The first week of Vegan MoFo is devoted to Changing Vegan Perceptions. This week Fluffy will help me share a lot of their attitude toward vegan food philosophy. There may not always be recipes or pictures of food every time, but hopefully, you will learn some new things about vegan food, be encouraged to play, treat yo’ self, and enjoy more. Maybe Fluffy will even change your perceptions of vegan food.

This is the rundown for the rest of the week, so you know what to expect:

Monday, October 2, Eating Treats Without Guilt

Tuesday, October 3, Body Positivity for Vegans

Wednesday, October 4, Researching Hidden Cruelties in our Food

Thursday, October 5, Who says vegans don’t care about human rights?

Friday, October 6, *keeping with the MoFo daily theme for this one* Vegan Cheese is Real Cheese with a surprisingly cheezy unicorn recipe

Saturday, October 7, Fluffy’s Vegan Dessert Food Pyramid

Sunday, October 8, You Can Make Friends With Salad *Vegan MoFo day theme* After reading about all this dessert stuff, don’t forget to eat your vegetables!

Then in the following week, you’ll be getting a behind the scenes look at some of the things I’m doing for the book, some of Fluffy’s favorite staples and tools, and rainbowy frosting tips. The third week will be mostly keeping in line with the daily themes for the ingredient challenges, with a unicorn twist. And the final week of MoFo will be all about entertaining, Halloween, unicorns, and their overlaps.

You can also follow my posts on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. I also have an additional Instagram devoted to Fluffy Approved recipes and other unicorn things, that you can follow @unicorns.eat.vegan 

So get excited and I cannot wait to look at and read what my other vegan blogger friends are doing for MoFo this week and beyond!

 

 

 

 

Adventures in Ethiopian Cooking

Over the holidays, I got a vegan Ethiopian cookbook, Teff Love, by Kittee Berns, for a present.

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I have loved Ethiopian cuisine since I lived in the Boston area, where I used to go to a restaurant in Cambridge, MA called Addi’s Red Sea. It is a very vegan friendly cuisine. Vegnews recently shared a story that has more about Ethiopian culture and their food and why it’s so vegan-friendly. Check it out here.

At first I only had the time and energy to try the Ethiopian style tofu scramble recipe. I’m pretty sure I could eat that almost every day for the rest of my life and not get sick of it. What really makes it is the berbere spice, the signature spice mix for the cuisine…although I’m a baby when it comes to spice and so I reduce it by quite a bit.

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You can get it in the international section of Whole Foods, among other places, I am sure.

One of the best parts of the food is the Injera, the spongy, crepe-like sourdough bread that you eat everything with. It can be used instead of utensils. It’s naturally gluten free (made from teff flour–which inspired the name of Bern’s cookbook). However, it takes up to a week to fully make, which is a bit complicated…but worth it if you can figure it out. If you are pressed for time though, the book has a teff crepe recipe which is really awesome as well.

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Another great aspect of Ethiopian food is that it makes a lot of food, and it lends itself to making multiple dishes and feeding lots of people.

For example, the first time I made it, I gave some to my friend who had just had a baby as part of a meal train.

Here’s a picture she took of her plate:

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And here is one of my favorite pictures of my own plate (one of many):

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Also, my dad happens to work with someone from Ethiopia, who ended up giving me a huge jar of Teff flour! It was very exciting as it’s like hitting the teff jackpot!

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After making a large batch of food for myself and my friend and her family, I made a dish by itself. It is called ye’zelbo gomen be’karot, which is kale with carrots, onions and mild spices. It’s seriously the best kale dish I’ve ever eaten, and that is saying a lot (I love kale) and my whole family loves it.

Speaking of which: yesterday (Wednesday April 7), after spending the weekend in my kitchen making a big feast for Monday, only to have snow (!!!) cancel the class, I served the small college program, College Unbound, who helped me get my bachelor’s degree, the feast as well! I kept raving about the kale dish to everyone, and one student said she doesn’t like kale, but I got her to try it anyways, and she really liked it! Her cousin who was also there, was claiming she might need to contact the local news channel because I had her trying foods she’d never tried before, and she’s usually so picky…which was a big compliment for myself and the author of the cookbook! Here are a few pictures of some of the other students posing with their plates:

Also, the majority of the students had never had Ethiopian food before when we asked. Most people who tried it were not put off by the fact that there wasn’t meat in the dishes, which can happen sometimes when I am feeding large groups (or at least they didn’t say it to my face! haha). I had one person comment to me that the split peas in mild sauce (called ye’ater kik alicha in the book) had a meatlike texture. My friend Domingo, who is pictured in the first picture above, was excited also that I made the vegan Ethiopian style mac and cheesie, because he’s lactose intolerant.

It was a really positive experience for myself and all involved. Especially because I could effortlessly share my love of another culture’s food and share that vegan food doesn’t have to be bland, boring, or leave you craving protein (in fact, the red lentils in spicy sauce, in a dish called ye’misser wot, have 15g of protein per serving, according to Teff Love!). I hope to do it again soon.

And I can’t recommend the cookbook Teff Love, enough!

Vegan MoFo Post #2: Childhood Favorites: sharing a recipe from my zine!

Hey all,

Welcome again to Vegan MoFo 2015!

Today’s prompt is to recreate a meal from my childhood. I’ve actually already done that multiple times, and wrote about the stories behind them, in my zine that accompanies this blog!

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You can buy it from my Etsy shop here. Please keep in mind, that I wrote these recipes earlier in the year, before I went gluten free, so almost all of the recipes are made with gluten, many are not very easily adaptable either. I can no longer eat most of them either. Such sadness.

But, if you can eat gluten, here is one of a few recipes I will be highlighting from the zine this month!

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Vegan Sausage Macaroni Skillet:

This used to be our favorite meal in our family, until my mom became allergic to milk. For awhile my mom would make it for us on special occasions, or if she couldn’t eat. Since going vegan, I remade it! It came out just as good, and healthier of course. My mom still couldn’t eat it because she can’t have soy. And now I can’t either until I find a good gluten free substitute for the Gimme Lean. Maybe that’s next on my recipe agenda…

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Gimme Lean Sausage style
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 15 oz can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp vegan white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup vegan sour cream (I used Tofutti)
  • 1/4 cup plain almond milk or other non dairy milk of choice
  • 1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
  • Oil, as needed

Directions:

  1. Break Gimme Lean up into pieces, and fry in a pan with a bit of oil until browned and a bit shiny. It should become firmer than it was before it was cooked.
  2. In a large skillet over high heat, add some oil and saute onions and peppers until they are shiny and start to become translucent. Add the sausage at this point.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, uncooked macaroni (I promise it’ll be cooked when done), sugar, salt, and pepper.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the vegan sour cream and almond milk.
  5. Serve and enjoy.

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Have fun!

My zine is finally done!

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You can buy it here on Etsy (but if you live in RI email me first at pleasinvegan@yahoo.com before doing so, because we may be able to arrange a pickup or something so you don’t have to pay/wait for shipping)!

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I was selling these for donations for Girls Rock RI at Ladies Rock Camp this weekend. Maybe you’ve seen my posts about it in the past, here, here, and here. You can also see this video of me during the camp, where I gave a speech about being food coordinator and some other fun stuff. I love this organization!

Here are some cool pics of it there!

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Also, this is so cool! It’s the shout out wall at camp…IMG_3616_2

Easy Baked Seitan Recipe for Vegan Homemade Hibachi!

Hi all, it’s been awhile since I have posted anything. I’ve taken a sort of unofficial break to work on some other stuff.

Things like my running blog, actually training for a half marathon, and my Banana Curl, Vegan Girl cookbook zine that’s all my favorite recipes from my childhood. I hope to complete it and start selling it by March. I’ve also started a new website, but haven’t done much work on it yet. It’s not ready to share yet, but I plan to have it be an informational website for vegans of all levels interested in various topics around veganism for social justice and support for people who want to become new vegans. I’m really excited about it, but I have to be patient and keep it secret for now while I’m working on it.

In the next few months or so I will be trying to post new recipes more often as I’ve gotten a bit out of habit with it. I will be sharing recipes I’ve created for the zine too to get you all excited about buying it when it comes out…(It’ll be cheap, like 2-5 dollars I think).

One of those recipes I’d like to share is my recipe for Vegan Hibachi. I loved hibachi and other Japanese foods so much growing up as a kid. We had this restaurant in Providence called Fuji when I was very young in Providence that we would always go to. We went there so often that we got to know the family who owned it really well. Their daughter even came with us on a trip to San Francisco. Unfortunately, it went out of business years ago, but I still have fond memories of it. They always gave us Botan Rice candies as a treat when we left, which I still love (and they are vegan too!) It wasn’t a hibachi restaurant. It was more traditional.  After it went out of business we often went to Hibachi restaurants. I feel like trying to recreate a dish from Fuji I would never get right, and would not do justice to. So, I have settled on making yummy vegan hibachi.

This recipe consists of 4 major steps, but with some planning I am sure you can pull it off! Make the Yum Yum dipping sauce and baked seitan the day before, then prepare the veggies and seitan and mushroom hibachi right before serving.

vegan hibachi!

vegan hibachi!

Recipe for Yum Yum Sauce:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup Just Mayo (a commercial vegan mayo that can be found at Target and Whole Foods, among others)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp melted Earth Balance
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • dash cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Stir together all ingredients.
  2. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  3. Use as a dip for the hibachi.

Recipe for Seitan:

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 vital wheat gluten
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp lemon pepper
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp organic brown sugar
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp ketchup

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. If you have an electric stand mixer, place them in the bowl for that.
  3. Add the wet ingredients into another bowl or large measuring cup. Stir together well.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
  5. Stir until there is no loose powder.
  6. When cohesively stirred together, use the dough hook attachment on your mixer, or knead the dough by hand on a clean surface for 10 minutes.
  7. Place into a loaf pan, stretching it to fit the length of the pan.
  8. Heat for 30 minutes, flip over, reduce heat of oven to 350 degrees, and heat for another 20 minutes.
  9. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then take out of the loaf pan and place on a plate to cool.
  10. Slice up into pieces as desired.

Recipe for Seitan w/ Mushrooms and Veggie Hibachi

Ingredients for seitan hibachi:

  • 8 oz whole white mushrooms, sliced in halves
  • 1 batch Seitan (in the basics chapter)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 tbsp Earth Balance
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • Salt and Pepper

Ingredients for hibachi veggies:

  • 2 cups chopped zucchini, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp earth balance
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • salt and pepper

Directions for Hibachi:

  1. Place a tablespoon of oil in two separate skillets. Heat oil over medium heat.
  2. Melt Earth Balance in the skillet in which you will cook the veggies in.
  3. In the other, add 2 tablespoons soy sauce and the mushrooms.
  4. Cook mushrooms until their juices are released.
  5. Melt the Earth Balance with the mushrooms and 2 more tablespoons soy sauce.
  6. Add seitan to the mushrooms, cook until heated, stirring frequently.
  7. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  8. In the other pan, place the veggies into the oil and melted Earth Balance, add 4 tablespoons soy sauce, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  9. Stir frequently, until everything is fully cooked.
  10. Serve with Yum Yum sauce to dip in.

If you like or dislike this recipe, please tell me why in the comments. And keep an eye out for the zine that will have this recipe inside!! 🙂

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Ps: here is a beautiful picture of my cat, Franz, that I took recently and wanted to share. Isn’t he cute?

Another blog? Yup! And some other exciting plans!

Hey everyone!

I have started to train for a half marathon. Don’t ask me why I am thinking this is a good idea as Winter is just about starting, but regardless, I am.

In response to my training I have decided to start a blog where I document what I am thinking about while on my runs. Sometimes I think about some really interesting stuff, other times not so much, but either way I thought it would be cool to see. I hope to inspire people with the way that I share my thoughts and that’ll encourage them to tackle things they think are scary but want to do anyhow (like how I did with running).

You can check it out here at http://streamoflaura.net

Over my winter break from school I’ve decided to produce a cookbook zine. I am hoping it will be ready to go by January 20, but we shall see! It’s going to be chock full of kid-friendly recipes, since it is about my favorite recipes that I grew up with turned vegan, and the memories I have about them.

For a project with school right now, I am designing a series of posts for this blog about Labor History for vegans. I hope to educate my readers about issues of labor in our food choices and how we can understand labor issues past and present and consume foods that are not just helping save non-human animals, but also are treating the human workers that make our foods nicely and honoring their rights. Look for that, as well as some more educational topics I will be exploring soon!

Happy Birthday to me! Banana costumes and a birthday-worthy waffle recipe!

For my 30th birthday, which happens to be today, I had a bunch of fun stuff planned. The biggest thing was my run last weekend, in which I lived up to my blog’s name, and ran in a banana suit in the Providence (RI) Monster Dash 5k. I made a PR by about 2 minutes and it was soooo fun running in this costume:

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10435985_10100231982422689_6184586216801925680_nIt was a big hit with kids, especially. When I ran through the large crowd of people cheering us on, so many kids along the way would exclaim “there goes the banana!” And many of them put their little hands out to catch a high five from me as I ran past them…it was so cute. I waved to several of them, and even had a trifecta of 3 little kids put their hands out all at once that made me feel like I was a celebrity working the crowd. Haha. So that was cool, and I also plan to use this banana suit for more things for this blog, to make it funnier. You’ll see what is in store for it soon!

This morning, I made birthday cake waffles. I had some left over chocolate sauce from my candy apples and some strawberry syrup left from the strawberry frosted donut recipe that I put on top. Yum.

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BIRTHDAY Cake Vegan Waffles

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Immaculate yellow cake mix (found in my local Target in the baking section)
  • 1 cup vegan bisquick mix (read labels)
  • 1-2 scoops vanilla vegan protein powder (optional)
  • 2 tbsp melted Earth Balance
  • 1 tbsp applesauce
  • 1 ½ cup vanilla almond milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp almond extract
  • ¼ cup vegan non-pareille sprinkles (read label, I was able to find one without the confectioner’s glaze that’s in most sprinkles at my regular local grocery store, and instead has carnauba wax.

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together and follow waffle iron’s directions to cook them. Makes about 5 waffles depending on your maker.

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The batter

Tonight my family is making me a vegan vanilla cake, with raspberry filling and chocolate buttercream. I am making vegan crockpot buffalo ranch lasagna from this recipe for my dinner. I will share pictures later in a new post, maybe.

Also, I got three new cookbooks for my birthday present:

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So far I have looked in Chloe’s book the most, and I was seriously drooling after that. I will be cooking out of these for awhile in the next few weeks I think, so get ready for me sharing some reviews and pictures! 🙂

Foodie (photo) Friday! My week of cooking in review…

Hey everyone!

I have been trying to have a salad every day (or a meal comprised mostly of raw veggies…) and so I may have by default reduced the amount of meals I cook in a week…although usually lunch is pretty easy regardless of salads…so maybe it is essentially the same.

This week I made three things:

1. Good Gravy Bowl from Isa Does It! (the cookbook by Isa Chandra Moscowitz)

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Instead of putting rice in the bowl, I made mashed potatoes and put that at the bottom, it was really good, savory, and comforting. It is not something that really has a huge “wow!” factor to me but it’s definitely tasty and something I would make again! I’m going to give it 4 good bananas, 1 bad since it lacks the real wowieness…

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2. Butternut Squash Soup made in the crockpot from this recipe

ImageI may have ended up altering this recipe as I didn’t know weigh my squash and had no idea if was a pound, but assumed it was less, and so I reduced everything. For this reason (since I do not know if it was accurate to the original recipe or not) I am not going to give it a rating since I could have changed the flavors a lot. It was good, but I may have put too many carrots into it as the butternut squash flavor seemed weak…I also wished the coconut milk was more smooth in it, but I think that was also due to error on my part maybe.

3. Brace yourselves–Baked Vegan Mac ‘N Cheese Bun Sliders–My own original recipe (to be posted here tomorrow or possibly later on tonight)

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Oh my goodness, have I created a monster! I loved this and I am so proud of myself for pulling it off. It’s been something that has been in my arsenal for awhile now since seeing this on Pinterest. I wanted to create a version that A) was vegan and B) was baked, not deep fried. It’s possible to make it gluten free, and some of the processes that go into making it are fun to involve kids (plus the recipe itself is very kid-friendly!)

That’s it! I will be back here shortly to post the recipe for the Mac ‘N Cheese Sliders soon…

My culinary Christmas!

Hey everyone! Hope you enjoyed the holiday!

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I know I certainly did.

First matter of business: I need to share pictures of all the delicious food I ate. You can access the links to the recipes if you want them in the post directly before this about my menu!

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Vegan Raw Cheeseball!

Uh, this was the best. It was addictingly good. I’m pretty sure I’m never going to make this again without being able to give it to someone else…because I seriously devoured most of it wayyyy too fast and now I am slightly mad at myself about that. But happy it’s gone because…it is…way too good. This recipe deserves the best rating, by far!

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Om. NOM.

ImageMy dinner. Thanksgiving Veggie Burgers and Brussels Sprouts.

Really good but the burger recipe was slightly over-hyped. I think it’d be better with more dried or fresh cranberries in it. Still pretty amazing though. And for the Brussels Sprouts, that’s seriously my favorite recipe for them. Even my Dad who has been afraid to eat Brussels Sprouts since he was a kid ate and enjoyed them!

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Dessert! Truffles! So rich and tasty!

On to the presents!

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As you can sort of see here, I got some cooking and workout stuff! I got the new Isa Does It cookbook which I immediately opened and started to drool over. I was surprised with Canoe pans and a way to insert the cream filling so I can make vegan twinkie like desserts! A spiralizer device for making all kinds of interesting raw veggie pastas, and such! I also got headphones I can run with without them falling out of my ears, an iPod sport armband for the same purposes. 2 pairs of leggings, the Hyperbole and a Half comic book, and some stocking items, like Urban Decay eyeliner, 2 canisters of my favorite nutritional yeast (Red Star), super cute socks, a magazine, and other things I now forget, oops! 😉 I feel spoiled.

Oh, I also got a gift card to Amazon! I got some cool things already ordered, including No Meat Athlete which I’ll be really excited to share my thoughts and reviews on it once I read it!

Okay, I’ll be writing a bit more next week! Enjoy!