Lightning in a Bottle!

Reminiscing about such a beautiful weekend one year ago. Really wishing I was dancing in the sand this weekend❤ #nextyear

The Yummy Bunny

It is totally that time again…festival season! Music festivals hold a really special place in my heart-some of the best memories I have from the last few years of my life are from these weekend getaways. 

When one of my best friends told me about her journey to Lightning in a Bottle last year, it sounded like perfection. Camping, yoga and music? It had my name all over it and before I knew it they had a ticket with my name on it. This huge gift ended up being what I believe will be a turning point in my life (for the better!)

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SPIRITUALITY. Spirituality in the sense of turning my gaze inwards for deep reflection and development. Lightning in a Bottle is totally unlike any other festival I’ve been to. The energy and feeling throughout the festival is truly unique and even three weeks later, I find myself channeling…

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Mint Chip Ice Cream

Source/Inspiration: Adapted from TheNourishingGourmet
Yield: 8 cups
Skill level: Easy 

Time: 25-35 minutes (5 minutes active, 20-30 minutes churning) 

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INGREDIENTS:

    • 2 14 ounce cans of full fat coconut milk (light milk doesn’t freeze properly and the ice cream turns into a slushy!)
    • 1/3 cup agave nectar 
    • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 teaspoon peppermint extract 
    • 1-3 cups dairy free-chocolate chips or dark chocolate (adjust to your liking!) 

INSPIRATION

I am enjoying the next four weeks of summer and time off work. While I’m not completely off (taking time to prep for the coming year and work on projects!) I definitely have some more time to enjoy this BEAUTIFUL city I call home.

With temperatures rising, bringing in warm summer nights and time with family and friends, I have to share this ice cream recipe. I’ve definitely tried a few ice cream recipes but this one is still my favorite-I love this blogger too for inspiration! This is the EASIEST and quickest ice cream recipe and ridiculously delicious! I made this Coachella weekend and it was a hit! 

DIRECTIONS

1) Combine the coconut milk, agave, vanilla and peppermint in a medium bowl. 

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2) Once combined well, pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to instructions. It took my Cuisinart about 25 minutes to churn the ice cream. 

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3) While you wait, cut up the chocolate chips or dark chocolate into chunks. I cut some chunks into smaller pieces to vary the size of the chocolate pieces. Wait until the ice cream is almost done (1-2 minutes left) and then add the chocolate. 

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4) You can either serve this delicious treat right away or you can put it in the freezer for another 20-30 minutes to harden even more. Either way, put the ice cream in an airtight container to store!

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My favorite sweet tooth indulgence is to add this ice cream between two chocolate chip cookies. Delicious ice cream sandwich, vegan style! 

Enjoy! 

xoxo -The Yummy Bunny

Signature TYB

Lightning in a Bottle!

It is totally that time again…festival season! Music festivals hold a really special place in my heart-some of the best memories I have from the last few years of my life are from these weekend getaways. 

When one of my best friends told me about her journey to Lightning in a Bottle last year, it sounded like perfection. Camping, yoga and music? It had my name all over it and before I knew it they had a ticket with my name on it. This huge gift ended up being what I believe will be a turning point in my life (for the better!)

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SPIRITUALITY. Spirituality in the sense of turning my gaze inwards for deep reflection and development. Lightning in a Bottle is totally unlike any other festival I’ve been to. The energy and feeling throughout the festival is truly unique and even three weeks later, I find myself channeling the feelings and thoughts from the weekend to re-center and ground my ever busy life. Capturing the beauty and magic of this festival was my primary focus throughout the weekend-bottling it-and bringing it back home. The calm of camping for three days, welcomed lack of cell phone service, the power of meditation and finding comfort in simplicity needs to be brought back to a world that pushes people to lead hectic lives that place far too much value on insignificant things. I push myself daily to not get so worked up about things and focus on the beauty in the world. 

LEARNING. I spent the day engaging with people from so many walks of life. Who doesn’t love a beautiful yoga session followed by an all-out dance party before noon, a cooking class or two, a sound bath and wrapping up the day with some groovy music?

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Yoga from sunrise to sunset, Brother Echo talking about blending foods for health and wellness, Tanya Petrovna, founder of Native Foods teaches how to make seitan, Ayurvedic cooking class makes kitchery. 

FOOD. LIB is a pescatarian festival and there were tons and tons of vegan options!

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Raw Pad Thai that was ridiculously good, the biggest burrito I’ve ever had, acai bowl and chai, samosas and salad. 

 EXPLORE. 

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I’ve never really believed it when people say something like this can change your life but it totally has and I am forever grateful for the people that I shared this experience with and for making it possible for me to engage. There is something magical in this space that I only found it because I was so open and hungry for it. Deep inner reflection and finding beauty in small things has helped me to live more purposefully in all of my daily activities. I’m really looking forward to this summer to “clean” up my life-physically and spiritually, continuing on this journey. 

CREATE. Find the things you love, make the life you want to live-then THRIVE. 

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Schedule from this past year’s LIB –> http://lightninginabottle.org/schedule/

xoxo -The Yummy Bunny

Signature TYB

Grand Cayman Adventures!

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Just take it easy mon…

Even though it has been a full three months since returning from Grand Cayman, I still get super giddy thinking about it or looking at pictures. I get this nervous, overly-excited anxiety that burns through my body and I just can’t wait to go back. It is such a wonderful place to go!

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I have been blessed to have celebrated the last two new years in Grand Cayman. Summer has always been my favorite season so getting a nice week long dose of it in December/January is always welcomed. I was a bit nervous being away from home for more than a couple of days, with this being my first vegan vacation. With the thoughtful, considerate and wonderful hosts to help and lots of questions, I was pleasantly surprised! Grand Cayman is boppin’ with some awesome vegan options. Lots of super fresh fruits and veggies here. 

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We even found the cutest little vegan restaurant- Bread & Chocolate! (Check it out on TripAdvisor!)

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Island Bowl-spicy jerk tofu, greens and veggies, plantains, guacamole, beans and rice

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It is hard to visit Grand Cayman and not go scuba diving. We completed our certification here last year and we are totally spoiled-warm, clear water and so much to see. There are so many wonderful sites to dive!

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This was definitely the highlight of the trip for me- I swam with a turtle!❤❤❤

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While these beautiful creatures below look super calm in this photo, they were quite the surprise when we were driving and turned the corner to see them running in the road! Regardless, I had a quick second to see how awesome they are so close up. Island cows! 

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Here’s the link to an AWESOME little video that my lovie put together using his new GoPro. Check it out –> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vn4oJgvXgE4 

Until the next adventure!

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xoxo -The Yummy Bunny

Signature TYB

Chocolate Chip Cookies (Surprise, They’re Vegan!)

Source/Inspiration: Adapted from Veganbaking.net
Yield: 36 bite-sized cookies
Skill level: Easy 

Time: 25 minutes (12 minutes active, 13 minutes baking time) 

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INGREDIENTS:

    • 2 Tablespoons golden flax meal
    • 3 Tablespoons water
    • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon 
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 3/4 cups + 2 Tablespoons vegan butter (or 1 3/4 sticks)
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar 
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons molasses
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (at least!!) 
    • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

INSPIRATION

Soooo blogging more definitely has not happened in the last two months-these are the hardest months at work and I totally got stuck in the whirlwind of it all. Regardless, I am so excited to share this recipe!

The biggest compliment a vegan chef or baker can get is “This is delicious- I can’t believe it is vegan!” I have baked these little nuggets so many times in the last couple of months-this recipe totally rivals my best chocolate chip cookie recipe I baked before becoming vegan. Even better, they are so quick and easy to make. I usually make the dough and bake just a few at a time. Caution: just because they are vegan doesn’t make them “healthy”- there is a ton of sugar in these babies, but makes for a delicious once-in-a-while treat!

DIRECTIONS

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk the flax seed meal and water together in a small bowl. Allow the mixture to rest for 10 minutes in the fridge while you mix the rest of the ingredients. 

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2) Combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. (The cinnamon is a wonderfully yummy touch!)

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3) Combine the vegan butter and sugar until mixed together well. Add the flax seed mixture from step 1 and stir. Once combined, add the molasses and vanilla extract and mix until combined-this smells delicious!

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4) Gradually add the flour mixture from step 2 and mix together. 

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5) Once the dough is combined (use your hands if necessary!) add in the chocolate chips. 

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6) Form small round dough balls using two spoons. Bake for 10-12 minutes. 

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How will you enjoy this little delicious treat?!

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Freshly baked with a scoop of almond milk based chocolate ice cream and crushed pistachio nuts.

Enjoy! 

xoxo -The Yummy Bunny

Signature TYB

5 Thoughts for 2014!

Happy New Year friends! Coming back to reality after a fantastic, relaxing, sun-kissed 8 days in Grand Cayman has been really difficult but I finally feel like I am back into the daily grind. Doesn’t hurt that it has been a constant 75-85 degrees in LA over the last couple of weeks. I do miss my scarves and boots, but I shouldn’t complain!

I have had some time to think about what I want to accomplish this year, and while I always stay clear from new year resolutions, I am happy to create goals for myself for the year. They help me to stay focused and drive my personal growth and well-being, allowing myself to actually quantify that growth. Here they are for 2014!

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1. Learn Spanish (for real) and be conversational. I have already mentioned this to many and I am absolutely serious about this. I have taken a total of 8 years of Spanish in both a high school and college classroom and at this point it is ridiculous that I am not fluent. So, 2014 is the year. I am personally committing to starting off one day a week is Spanish only. I hope to let this cultural knowledge seep into my culinary endeavors too and experiment with more latin spices and flavors. Si!

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2. Blog more! It is kind of funny how many pictures I take of food and food-related adventures but I don’t spend enough time sitting down to actually write and share the experiences I have. There are so many wonderful recipes and things that I want to share and I want to push myself to post once a week, at least!

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3. Explore LA food and try new restaurants. I have heard so many people say “Wow you are so lucky you live in LA and have so many incredible vegan food options!” Yes, there are so many and I haven’t explored them! This needs to change. Since I don’t go out to eat that often, I usually get stuck in going to the same places. Going to new restaurants also helps me think of new recipes to try in the kitchen. So, I’d like to push myself to make a list and start going to these new restaurants. I hope to share the wonderful dishes and good times here!

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4. RUN! The latter part of 2013 put working out and being active on hold with a knee injury and so many stomach problems. Now that I feel pretty amazing with the food I am eating, I am looking forward to making this the priority that it has been for the last several years. I am starting with a 10k in February and hope to work up to another half marathon by the end of the year. Slow and steady!

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5. Continue learning and follow through. I always say I am a forever student and I actually always seek out learning opportunities, but I need to focus those experiences. I have so many wonderful books on cooking, teaching and life. I want to actually finish them and then plan how to implement the things I learn from these books. That starts with me putting even more time aside for reading, which I am absolutely happy with.🙂

Needless to say, I am so excited for what this year has to bring and looking forward to sharing it!

xoxo -The Yummy Bunny

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Festive Couscous

Source/Inspiration: Whole Foods & Trader Joe’s
Serves: 4
Skill level: Easy (really easy!) 

Time: 25 minutes 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 Tbsp Vegan butter, divided (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 pecans, walnuts or pine nuts (I used pecans)
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 large cinnamon stick
  • 1 fresh or dried bay leaf
  • 1 package of Trader Joe’s Israeli Couscous (or 1 1/2 cups couscous)
  • 1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 cup dried parsley or 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/8 tsp ground thyme
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • Black pepper to taste

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INSPIRATION

I can always count on Whole Foods to have delicious Vegan options when I am out and cannot cook. Every time I go I always find something new to try but I always get the couscous. Full of flavor, mixes well with other dishes and just visually pretty, this is always a fulfilling treat. After getting this a few times, I was of course, on the search for how to make this dish at home. I came across Trader Joe’s box of Israeli Couscous and decided to try to recipe on the box. With a few additions, this dish is the same one they have at Whole Foods, full of flavor and compliments any side. Score!!

DIRECTIONS

1) CANDIED NUTS/PECANS: Melt 1 tablespoon of vegan butter over medium heat. Once it has melted, add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar (light or dark). Mix these two together until it looks like caramel (you can add more sugar here if you really want the nuts sweeter, but not necessary). Add 1/2 cup of your selected nuts (I used pecans). Cook for 2 minutes, moving nuts around to get covered with the caramel-like substance. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. 

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2) Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and add the onion. Allow the onion to cook until golden, about 6 minutes. Add the turmeric and stir. 

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3) Add the couscous, cinnamon and bay leaf. Stir until the ingredients are all mixed and the couscous is slightly browned, about 3 minutes. 

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4) Add the vegetable broth and salt and bring to a boil. Once the pot is boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the couscous has absorbed all of the liquid, between 10 and 12 minutes. Remove from heat.

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5) Stir in the last of your ingredients: parsley, thyme, raisins, and candied nuts. 

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Pictured here with a quinoa and kale salad and sautéed veggies. I’m thinking about making this as a side dish for Christmas! It is so tasty!

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Enjoy! 

xoxo -The Yummy Bunny