2012 in review

Thanks to everyone for visiting, reading, commenting, following and sharing in 2012!! My first year as a vegan blogger was a success! Here’s to more blogging in 2013!

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 9,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 17 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Holiday Hash Brown Casserole – and Happy Herbivore Abroad Giveaway Continues!

I hope everyone had a safe and Merry Christmas!! Don’t forget! The Happy Herbivore Abroad giveaway goes until midnight on Dec. 28. Click on the link below to enter via rafflecopter. Giveaway is only open to U.S. and Canada. Winner will be chosen at random.

Click here to enter to win a copy of Happy Herbivore Abroad!

HappyHerbivoreAbroad_FrontCoverYesterday, we spent the day with my in-laws for Christmas. Though my mother-in-law did veganize some of her dishes, I felt like we should also contribute to the Christmas meal.

I’ve been craving a really good hash brown casserole. The kind with lots of cheese and a buttery corn flake topping. Vegan Crunk’s Cookin Crunk Cookbook came to the rescue!! DSCN3725

Bianca has a whole section dedicated to dishes perfect for potluck meals, and in it was that yummy, cheesy hash brown casserole that I had been craving!

I made the casserole a day ahead, and since we didn’t want to wait until the next day to eat it, I also made a smaller casserole for the two of us to eat that morning.

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This was DELICIOUS!! And, it keeps overnight in the fridge really well. The only change I would make is to save the corn flake topping and add before taking it to the party, since the corn flakes did get a little wilted.

We will definitely make this again! And if you are looking for a belated holiday gift, be sure to pick up your own copy of Cookin’ Crunk!

 

Happy Herbivore Abroad – Another QandA with Lindsay Nixon and Giveaway!

I’m a big big fan of Happy Herbivore, Lindsay Nixon. Her cookbooks helped me make the transition into a vegan diet, and recipes from her two cookbooks are some of my favorites.

I’ve also had the pleasure of interviewing her during blog tours for Happy Herbivore and Everyday Happy Herbivore.

More on the giveaway after the interview!

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How does Happy Herbivore Abroad differ from HHC and EHH?

HHA is international themed and has a lot of me in it — personal stories and such. You won’t find that in my other books. This book is so personal, and I really love that about it.
You are a world traveler! What destinations have influenced your cooking the most?

Living abroad and traveling throughout Europe has really shaped me as a person, which I’m sure has translated to or effected my cooking and approach to meals/recipes in some way. It’s hard to pinpoint a specific country or even city that has influenced me more than the others — I think all the experience together have influenced me.
What are some of your favorite places that you have visited?

Many of the places I traveled to were so different from each other you can’t really compare them to have favorites. How can you compare the mountains to the desert, for example? There were places with mesmerizing vistas that I could stare at for days, but then there were other places, with no vistas, but such beautiful architecture… or a culture that was so rich and vibrant it was intoxicating… I guess if I had to pick, I’d say Germany, Spain, Italy, The Netherlands…

What are some of the biggest challenges you face for eating vegan abroad, and how do you deal with them?

As with domestic travel, you have to have patience. I’ve never had trouble finding vegan fare (anywhere in the world) but it wasn’t always the most convenient choice. A little creativity and persistence is key.

You are going overseas – what’s in your carry-on bag?

I take my backpack on board as my carryon — which as all my clothes and toiletries in it. In my purse I have my passport, peepers (eye shades) and ear plugs for the ride, my kindle, money, chap stick, a few snacks for the plane and important papers – like travel reservations.

Would you like to win a copy of Happy Herbivore Abroad? Enter below! Giveaway is only open to U.S. and Canada. Giveaway closes at midnight on Dec. 28. Winner will be chosen at random.

Enter to win Happy Herbivore Abroad!

Vegan Wings at Graveyard Tavern

D played a show at The Basement (the venue underneath Graveyard Tavern) on Saturday night, so we took advantage of the opportunity to go upstairs and check out the mythical vegan wings that I keep hearing and reading about. I was not dissapointed.

Now, I don’t think I can really remember what an actual Chicken Wing tasted like, but these little nuggets were wonderful! They came with a side of fries and vegan ranch sauce. Either they gave us the wrong sauce, or their idea of ranch is along the lines of horseradish sauce. But, it was still a good pairing for the wings.

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It’s $8 for the wings/fries combo. I could have shared them, they were quite filling. But a good option for a night out at the bar.

Graveyard Tavern is having some big 12/21/12 apocalypse party, so go get yourself some vegan wings and party down!

A Very Vegan Hanukkah – and cookbook giveaway preview!

Saturday marked the last night of Hanukkah and we celebrated with our annual family gathering hosted at my sister’s house. It was a great night exchanging presents, spending time with family, and enjoying some yummy vegan versions of our favorite Hanukkah foods!

Let’s take a little tour of my plate, shall we?

hanukkah dinner

At the bottom right of this delicious plate, you’ll see my mom’s famous potato latkes. Mom makes the best latkes in the world. Seriously. I’ve never found any that stand up to hers. And, it’s family tradition that my sister and I help mom fry and flip the latkes on the stove before dinner. So they are fresh! Never frozen! If you don’t come out of Hanukkah dinner smelling like vegetable oil, then it’s not a real Hanukkah dinner! and of course, served with apple sauce and Tofutti sour cream.

Moving to the left, you’ll see the maple roasted Brussels sprouts that I’ve started to make for everything. I don’t even think my family likes Brussels sprouts. But I do. So I make them.

Next, you’ll see my veganized Brisket! It was so easy, and turned out delish! I based the recipe on my mom’s traditional brisket recipe, which calls for  one packet of onion soup mix, two bottles of chili sauce, water (fill up the two bottles and add that to the pot), potatoes and baby carrots, but substituted Gardein beef tips in place of the brisket meat. I also threw everything in the slow cooker and set it on low for the day.

My aunt made a yummy salad and left the cheese on the side for the vegans. My Brother-in-Law also made a vegan peach pie, which was pretty tasty too!

Mom also brought her yummy mock chopped liver, based on this recipe. It gets better and better each time she makes it, and it was yummy to begin with! All the taste without the guilt or the cholesterol!

It was such a great night and we all rolled ourselves home and slept well with full hearts and tummies.

Giveaway Alert!! On Monday, December 24, I am excited to be participating in The Happy Herbivore’s 31 Days of Giveaways for her new cookbook, Happy Herbivore Abroad. So please check back in on Monday to read a Q&A with the Happy Herbivore and enter to win a copy of the book!

 

A Very Kali-Like Year

Kali is a Hindu Goddess who often represents change. Now, on first impression, Kali is a pretty scary lady. She wears a necklace of skulls, she’s got blood dripping out of her mouth, she’s blue. . .

But, Kali is misunderstood. She represents change, but not slow gradual change. She represents destruction that pushes you out of your comfort zone and creates change. She symbolizes letting go of the past, to make room for a new, purposeful and bright future ahead.

2012 has been a very Kali-like year for me. We were forced out of our rental home, but it made way for us to find an even better home, with a fenced yard for our puppy. I had a great opportunity at work to take on new challenges that definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone, but made me a better professional. I attended a retreat with my fellow yogis (the theme was letting go, very Kali-themed), and worked through some feelings I had held onto for way too long, and was finally able to accept and let go of some resentment, anger and grief I was feeling over a lost friendship. I went through a horrible ordeal in the hospital, but it helped me prioritize the things that are important in my life, and reminded me that life is short and to take advantage of opportunities presented to me and to also appreciate all of the blessings in my life.

As hard as 2012 was, it was also a catalyst for some great things to come. I have some very clear goals in mind for 2013, but I’ll post about those later. I’m optimistic going into 2013, and excited to see what it will hold.

Namaste.