Merry Christmas Eve!

Hello my friends! I apologize again for not being around much lately. I haven’t been eating a lot because I haven’t been feeling great and it just hasn’t been all that interesting here so I decided it was time for a little break. To be honest, posts will probably be sporadic through the end of the year but I’ll do my best to get back to regular posting. Today I’ll just fill you in on some stuff that’s been happening here.

First, something SUPER exciting!! Check out what my boss got me! A FUCKING JUICER!!!!! Sorry for the language but times like this kind of warrant a little bit of potty mouth! I am SO EXCITED about my juicer! Apparently he purchased it off my Amazon wishlist… which I never really tell anyone about since I just use it to bookmark things I want for myself. You can imagine my surprise and gratitude upon opening it! I haven’t used it yet but I’m looking forward to making my green juice with it!!

I hung out with my friend and she gifted me with Party Vegan! I am actually going to go through it after I post this but while flipping through it I saw a recipe for hot and sour soup… my favorite! Very excited!

I’d also like to say a big thank you to Laura!! She sent me a sampling of this amazing Vegan Fudge that she made recently. She is so sweet and generous, thank you so much! This stuff is rich and delicious :) A little goes a long way which is probably better for the waistline!

Finally, I made up some gluten free, vegan (duh) mac and cheese for our festivities tomorrow. I have another small (mini loaf sized) pan of it for dinner tonight. My sister in law was excited to try it so hopefully she likes it! I used this recipe which I’ve made before and it was good so I’m looking forward to it!

So that’s pretty much all that’s been happening. I’m planning on getting rid of sugar and gluten after the holidays so I’ll be back showing you where my kitchen adventures lead me. I’m planning on drinking green juice almost every morning and I’ll be trying to adhere to the anti-Candida diet again. Hopefully this time will work out better because I’m hoping that it may be the solution for the health problems. More on that later!

Hope you all have a really great Christmas eve and Christmas Day!! I’ll be back when I have something interesting to post ;) Hope you’ve all been well!

2012 Holiday Baking Extravaganza Part 3

Hello friends! Quick post today because I’m completely exhausted. Did some running around after work and I’m spent. So I’ll keep the chit chat short and just show you some pretty treats that came out of my kitchen.

The last baked treat to come out of my oven is also from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. These are the Caramel Pecan Bars to which I added a little chocolate to the top ;) Everything is better with chocolate, right?

They came out great! These are super sweet so a little goes a long way. Another great recipe!

In total contrast to that gooey, sweet, decadent dessert, here is the raw treat I made from Practically Raw. I couldn’t wait to try the kale chips and the Sour Cream and Onion flavor jumped out at me right off the bat!

Here they are all packed up in my paper bag :) They stayed pretty well! A little soggy but not too bad! The flavor is phenomenal! A little tangy, a little punch from the shallot. Definitely a winning recipe! Very excited about this one!

That’s all for tonight! Off to rest! Hope you all have a great night!

2012 Holiday Baking Extravaganza Part 2

Good evening friends :) How are you all doing today? I’m exhausted but doing well since I had some more successes in the kitchen. After my fails a little while ago it feels good to have everything come out ok. Especially since it is crunch time and I have to get these packages out soon!

Here’s what came out of the oven today:

Up first is another winning recipe from Vegan Cookies Take Over Your Cookie Jar! Oh man, aren’t they gorgeous?

These beauties are the Blueberry Spice Crumb Bars :) I wanted to add something fruity to the mix since I’ve been making a lot of chocolate and what a great choice! These would be great during the summer for a beautiful dessert featuring fresh berries (ooooh or cherries!!). I highly recommend this recipe!

Check out these Chocolate Chip Surprise Cookies!! What’s the surprise? Well, I subbed out half of the chocolate chips for crushed Candy Cane Joe Joe’s! Oh man, it’s very subtle but definitely adds a nice holiday flavor.

Aren’t they pretty? I used this chocolate chip cookie recipe and used 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and a 1/2 cup of crushed Candy Cane Joe Joe’s. It’s as easy as that!

There are actually two more treats that I made today that I have yet to photograph. Stay tuned for part 3 coming up tomorrow or Wednesday… whenever I can get back on here. There’s one more sweet recipe as well as the second recipe I’m trying from Practically Raw. It’s still in the dehydrator right now but I can’t wait!

Oh, as for the Dr. more of the same nothing. We are re-re-re-testing the results I’ve gotten in the past for inflammation and Vitamin D and whatever else was elevated (or deficient in the case of Vitamin D) to see where I stand. She also wants me to get a CT scan of my sinuses… a very isolated small part of a large problem but whatever, I guess I’ll see what happens after the blood results. When they call with the results I’m going to ask about the possibility of Celiac disease again. I’ve read you can still have it even with negative blood work so I’m going to see if that is still something we should explore considering nothing else is really panning out.

That’s all for today! I hope that you are all well. I’ll be back soon with the last installment of my kitchen adventures from the past two days. For now, I’m completely exhausted and I’m just going to relax :) Have a great night!

2012 Holiday Baking Extravaganza Part 1

Hey guys! Hope you are all enjoying your Sunday. I woke up today and stayed in bed for a while and that felt GREAT. It was nice to be able to relax this morning, especially because I knew I’d be doing a lot of baking today. I can’t believe how quickly Christmas has crept up this year. I’m hoping to do all of my baking between today and tomorrow, so far I’m doing pretty well!

Let’s check out what came out of my kitchen today :)

Gingerbread Biscotti from Vegan Cookies Take Over Your Cookie Jar!! Aren’t the pretty?!!

They came out absolutely amazing! I left out the crystalized ginger because I don’t like super overwhelming ginger flavor but these were subtle but still spicy. Such a great recipe!

Peppermint Cookie’s n Cream Bark! I packed up this box for my friend who LOVES this stuff. It’s always a hit so it’s a great choice and it comes together really quick. All you do is melt some vegan chocolate at mix in some crushed Candy Cane Joe Joe’s, spread on a cookie sheet and place in the fridge to harden. So quick and easy!

Finally, I made these Chocolate Pumpkin Loaves from the PPK! I’ve been wanting to make this recipe for a long time and I’m so glad I did!

I mixed up one recipe’s worth of batter and split it between a few mini loaf pans. It made 3 regular sized ones and one runt ;)

Obviously I couldn’t give these away without trying them first! ;) I cut off a small piece of the runt loaf and tried it and it was delicious! Oh and I forgot to say I made them gluten free by using oat flour instead of all-purpose flour and the taste and texture were still great! Definitely a great recipe!

So that’s what I made today :) I have another day of baking planned for tomorrow after my appointment with the Dr. I also will be making another recipe from Amber’s book! Lots of great stuff happening so hopefully I’ll be able to post a little more than I have been. For now, I’m going to relax in bed and listen to some podcasts and drink some tea.

Hope you all have a great Sunday! It’s definitely lazy day weather around here so I’m going to take advantage of that while I can :)

Giveaway Winner and Holiday Fun!

Hey guys! Happy (?) Monday! Hope you all had a great weekend! I wanted to pop in last night but my day ended up being really long and exhausting so I didn’t get a chance to say hi. I’m really excited with how the maternity shoot came out and I’ll share some of those with you a little further down the road. Delilah was all over the place but I got a few cute ones to share :)

Before I get to that we have some business to attend to! Using the Random Number Generator, I’m happy to announce that the winner of my giveaway is entry #2, Amy! Congrats Amy! Please send me an email (xvavaveganx@yahoo.com) with your address and please include any allergies that I should be aware of!

Thank you all so much for entering! If you didn’t win no worries, I have more fun stuff coming up for you in the near future! ;)

So as the holidays approach I decided to buy myself a gift. My family and some of my friends and I have come to the agreement that we won’t be doing large gifts anymore which made me really happy. I love this time of year but get a little bummed out when the stress and pressure of buying gifts overwhelms the spirit of the season. I feel a lot more relaxed this year. And I decided that I would give myself some gifts because I deserve it dammit!

Basically, I decided to give myself the gift of good health. This year has been really hard for me in terms of health. I have felt really sick for months and have been in pain for years. I don’t really feel any closer to having an answer so I’m taking my health into my own hands. Check out what I purchased!

First up we have Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Kitchen Cookbook! I felt my best after doing the Crazy Sexy Diet 21 day cleanse and I’m ready to kick the gluten for good and to cut the sugar dramatically. This book will definitely help me get back on track to feeling better! If you’ve wanted to check out this book I’d suggest checking it out now because it appears to be discounted :)

The second book I decided to FINALLY order for myself is Amber’s book Practically Raw. I’ve been a big fan of her site for a while now and have heard amazing things about her book. I’ve had it on my Amazon wishlist for a while but decided that it’s time for me to spring for it! A whole chapter devoted to kale chips?! I’m in! I’m hoping to definitely eat more raw foods so I’m really excited about this book. I also really like that she offers cooked options for her recipes too. While I want to eat more raw, the cold winters get rough so it’s nice to have that cooked option! Can’t wait until this is delivered!

Finally, I ordered Rodney Yee’s Daily Yoga DVD. I’ve really wanted to get back into yoga to help stretch and move and center myself and decided to start with this DVD. He also has a Yoga For Flexibility DVD that I’d like to try so I’ll see how I like this one before I order it :)

I can’t wait to show you what I make out of these books! I’m also going to be baking over the next week or so and I’ll have some fun things to show you from that!

For Shen, who is a big fan of Delilah’s fashion sense ;)

This may be the cutest outfit ever!

A rare moment where she’s sitting still! So sweet :)

Snowballs!!

So that’s what I’ve got for you today! I’ll be back with some food tomorrow! Sorry, I know it’s been a while but my appetite is still off. Working on it though! Had x-rays this morning (what a waste of time, there’s no injury but whatever) and I’m going back to my rheumatologist next Monday. I guess we’ll see what happens!

I hope you all have a great night!

Holiday Treats Giveaway!

Hey everyone!! Hope you are all ok! Sorry my posts have been more sporadic lately. Between a low appetite and being busier than usual it’s been tough to get posts together but I promise this will be a good one!! As always, I’m planning on making A LOT of baked treats for the holidays this year to give to friends and family and have decided that it’s GIVEAWAY TIME!!

I’m going to make up a yummy package of delicious vegan treats for one of my awesome readers :) Before I get to the details, I figured I’d provide some inspiration from the past few years.

Peppermint Cookies ‘n’ Cream Bark

S’mores Bark

Almond Joy Cookies

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies

Candy Cane Joe Joe Truffles

Ginger Snap Truffles

I love holiday baking in case you couldn’t tell ;) I finally decided on what I’m going to make this year and with the exception of one item, everything will be new this year! Can’t wait to see how everything comes out!

So here’s where you come in. All you have to do is comment on this post with your favorite holiday treat by midnight on Sunday, December 9. Earn an extra entry by tweeting about this giveaway (please tag me @xvavaveganx). Please write a second comment for the tweet and include your twitter name :) If you don’t have twitter you can earn an extra entry by posting about this giveaway in your blog! Please link back to this post and provide the link to your post in a separate comment!

That’s all you have to do! I’ll choose one winner on Monday and let you know that evening! I’ll be baking starting next week and I can’t wait to show you what I’m making!

I hope you all have a great night!

Tis The Season

Hey everyone! I wasn’t really planning on posting tonight since I had such a long day at work but I had some fun stuff to show you and I figured I’d just pop on really quick to say hi :)

I had intended to try the slice of gluten free vegan pumpkin roll that Laura sent me for days before I finally did! Last night I savored this amazing treat and let me tell you, Laura can bake! It was so delicious, had a great texture and smelled great too! I paired it up with some So Delicious Mint Chocolate coconut milk that I heated and drank like hot chocolate. It was such a festive, seasonal indulgence! Thanks again Laura!

The catering hall I worked in today was decorated so beautifully for the holidays. It is so funny because I’m Jewish but I have a major appreciation for the holiday season and the decorations and lights. My friend and I ride around each year looking and Christmas Lights and decorations and it’s such a great time! Anyway, I took some pics of my favorite decorations to share :)

These were hanging from the ceiling and I thought they were so pretty! They were all lit up and they just looked so cool.

They seriously had one of the most beautiful Christmas trees I’ve ever seen in my life. This is an extreme close up of the decorating. I was seriously in awe of it and we definitely got lots of pics by it.

That’s all for tonight because I’m really exhausted but I had to share these things because I feel all festive and excited about the holiday season! I’m going to sit down and figure out what treats I’m baking this year! Treats that some of YOU may get to try!! Stay tuned for a giveaway ;)

Have a great night!

A Very VaVa Thanksgiving ;)

Hey guys! Happy Thanksgiving! Or Happy Thursday if you don’t like/celebrate Thanksgiving ;) I spent my day with the family over at my brother’s house and had a lovely time. I’m sorry to say I didn’t get any pics of Delilah because she’s like a tornado, tearing around the house at full speed!

Just wanted to do a quick post to show you what I enjoyed as my Thanksgiving dinner.

A cute little sweet potato that I roasted up all yumlike, some quinoa mixed with cheesy cauliflower mash and roasted brussels sprouts. Yum!

What did you guys do for Thanksgiving! Hope you all had a great day! I’m so thankful to be surrounded by an amazing family and great friends and I’m thankful for all of you! I consider you all my friends and I thank you for your continuous support! You are amazing!

If you haven’t already, please check out Alter Eco’s Thanksgiving Challenge and learn how you can give back this holiday season! I love their ideas for fun ways to spread knowledge, I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!

Have a great night and if you have the rest of the week off enjoy! I have to work tomorrow and Saturday, boo!

Fun Friday: Countdown to Fall Part 3!

Hey everyone! I’m back with another Fall themed Fun Friday post! Last week Sage made a great suggestion for a post when she asked me about what I do for Halloween! I totally took the idea and ran with it :) So here’s a fun Friday post about one of my favorite holidays, Halloween!

So what I do in terms of candy for trick or treaters and what I would like to do for trick or treaters are two totally different things. I usually don’t have much time to scour the stores for healthy but still fun vegan halloween candy ideas so I just grab something vegan from stores to give out… never healthy but good enough to satisfy the sprinkling of trick or treaters that I get.

Since that is a totally unsatisfying answer I decided to see what kinds of healthy(er) candy options I could find. Here’s a few that could definitely work! Growing up in NY we have the whole wrapped candy rule. Parents get worried about what’s in unwrapped candy so anything home made or unwrapped immediately gets trashed so everything here will satisfy that requirement as well :)

First up we have Yummy Earth lollipops! They are organic, made with natural ingredients and have so many fun flavors! Lollipops are always a great choice, and the kids probably won’t be able to tell the difference. I’ve always wanted to try these anyway so I would definitely buy these and hope for leftovers! In fact, maybe that’ll be the plan this year :)

Next we have Annie’s Homegrown Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks. Lots of fun flavors, they taste great (yes I’ve had these before) and kids love fruit snacks! The only thing is that they may get pricey if you have to buy a lot, but if you mix these with another less expensive choice or if you can buy them in bulk they’d be a great choice!

I also came across a website called Natural Candy Store. They have a whole section on vegan candy and gives you TONS of options. Here’s a few that I found.

They have these yummy looking organic Dark Chocolate Bites. They have 55% chocolate and 70%. I would go for the 55% because I think the kids would do better with that but you have an option :)

They also have these fun vegan Organic “Bug Bites!” I think they are kind of perfect for halloween with just enough of a creepy factor ;)

As you can see, there are lots of vegan options that have somewhat better ingredients than the usual crap ;) I’m sure there’s a ton more out there too!

Sage also asked what I do for Halloween. What I do and what I’d like to do are, again, two totally different things :) I typically just have a mellow night at home watching Ghost Hunters Live and creeping myself out.

I also went trick or treating with the cutest Octopus ever last year :) Sorry for the stupid flipped pic, it flipped during the upload and won’t go back. Wah! Anyway, I’m sure I’ll be trick or treating with her again this year!

What I would love to do is have a really fun Halloween Dessert party! I’d make fun, creepy cocktails and treats.  In the past I’ve made fun Halloween cupcakes. The ones I have photos of were in my pre vegan days… but they were so cute I have to show you!

The photo quality is horrible so I apologize but these are my spider web cupcakes complete with nasty creepy plastic spider.

These are my bloody eyeball cupcakes :) So much fun! Both of these creepy cuppers are totally veganizeable.

I’ve been dying to make these…

Kittee’s beautiful Popcorn Balls! She makes hot pink (so cute!) but I’d love to make them in orange, black and purple. So yummy and so cute!

I’m concocting a recipe for vegan pumpkin pie dip that I’ll share as soon as it’s ready! I would totally serve that too along with tons of other fun treats! :) In my head I’d also have things like spiced cider and some fun halloween themed cocktails. One day I will have a big Halloween blowout. Maybe next year ;) This year I’ll just be mellow as usual… hopefully with some sort of fun treat to snack on.

That’s all of my Halloween edition of Fun Friday: Countdown to Fall! Hope you all enjoyed it! I’ll be back tomorrow, hopefully with a recipe :)

Thanksgiving Recap!

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I was totally unprepared for it this year so my Thanksgiving meal was basically a continuation of my every day diet which is kind of fine for me. I had a nice day and my meals were tasty, though not exactly traditional Thanksgiving fare. We went to my brother’s house so it was my family and the animals :)

For breakfast I had a bowl of oats with banana, walnuts and cinnamon.
I snacked throughout the day on carrots with hummus and clementines.
I cooked up my favorite side dish for the family. Roasted brussels sprouts with caramelized onions. This batch came out amazing!
For my main dish I just whipped up some brown rice with roasted cauliflower and roasted chickpeas. Boring but still delicious.
My brother found out that there is a vegan restaurant around the corner from his office and sent me the link (this was totally unrelated to Thanksgiving). I checked out the link and made a comment about how I would go there for blueberry coconut cake alone. Wouldn’t you know it he went there and got me some blueberry coconut cake! We surprised each other with treats! I had a small piece of it and it was delicious! No pic though, sorry :(
Delilah says hi!

She was a happy girl!
Stretching out in her PJs!

Jack decided to climb their tree. You can’t tell because this is a close up but she got up almost to the top! I’ll post a full length tomorrow for you to see.
I hope you all had an amazing holiday! I’m thankful for so much :)
OK I’m gonna go catch up on blogs and ice my thumb because I totally busted it during my training session today. Direct elbow impact :( Ouch!
Have a great night everyone and yay for the weekend (I worked a bit today but have Saturday and Sunday off)!