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

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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

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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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TYB goes Vegan

About three months ago I had honestly lost the joy of cooking and eating (gasp!) I had tons of stomach issues that were making me so sad. On two occasions, I walked down the supermarket aisles in tears not knowing what I could eat-everything made me sick. I started doing my research on various foods that may be hurting my stomach. A night in with my dog led me to Netflix to watch the documentary Vegucated. That documentary propelled me to do lots more research about our nation’s food industry-animals and plants-and I was far from happy with my findings. I cut out all meat and fish out of my diet but I still wasn’t feeling like I wanted to, and still having tons of stomach issues. 

I spoke with a friend of mine who tried out being Vegan who connected me with a friend of hers who has been Vegan for years. She answered so many of my questions and helped me plan out what begin Vegan would look like for me. Throughout the month of September, I read a ton of research, tried new foods and methods of cooking and planned out what my “official trial month” of being Vegan would be. 

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October turned out to be beautiful in so many ways. I found myself loving so many different foods, not missing meat or dairy at all and truly being more inventive with my cooking, spending time developing my knowledge of what real food taste like before it is radically processed and packaged into boxes and bags for sale. My stomach issues have dramatically decreased and I love cooking and eating again. Icing on the cake? In a month with minuscule exercise due to a knee injury, I lost 6 pounds! Needless to say, I feel better in a hundred different ways. 

I promised myself I would try being Vegan for one month and reflect. It has been so much easier than I thought and delicious! Biggest pieces of advice: 1) You are going to make mistakes, it is okay. Don’t get angry or down, just learn from it and move on. 2) ASK about ingredients. Unfortunately there are so many hidden ingredients in the food we eat.

I cannot wait to share all of these recipes and so many more!

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Veggie Orzo

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Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto

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Powerhouse Veggie Salad with homemade “Mexican Goddess” Dressing

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Curried Chickpeas

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Wild Mushroom Risotto

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Chocolate Chip and Walnut Cookies

Nobody could have told me that this is what I needed to do to feel better. I had to discover and understand it on my own. So the big question is, will I be Vegan for good? Yep! 🙂 Send great Vegan recipes my way please!

In health and yumminess, 

xoxo -The Yummy Bunny.

The YB Goes Camping, Part 1

I love the outdoors and I loooove camping. From being away from all email and cell phone service, to exploring hidden trails and observing wildlife-I love it. While the government shutdown this week derailed our plans to visit Joshua Tree this weekend, we were able to secure another campsite in Idyllwild and I cannot wait to be huddled around a fire under the stars with friends!

So, I spent some time reflecting on my last camping trip over Labor Day weekend to Sequoia. A last minute, unplanned trip to one of the busiest national parks on a holiday weekend was risky, but we went and it was nothing less than incredible!

Paul challenged me to plan all of our food, meaning no meat and seriously limiting anything with animal products-no dairy or eggs. Night one I made a bell pepper and portabella mushroom sauté. I used a raw ginger dressing that I picked up from whole foods, added two tablespoons of water (which evaporated shortly after), oregano, salt, pepper and garlic. With a pot of rice and black beans, we added this to some corn tortillas from Trader Joe’s and rolled them up as little tacos.

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Night two I wanted to experiment with lentils. Lentils are widely known in the vegetarian and vegan world as a great nutritional staple in one’s diet. Helping to stabilize blood sugar after a meal, lentils are packed with fiber, iron and even some protein. Proves to show, protein is not just found in meat!

I cooked the lentils with just enough water to cover them in a pot. After some of the water evaporated, I added 1 small can of tomato sauce and 1 small can of sliced black olives. Spiced it with pepper, oregano and garlic and let it cook for 20 minutes, constantly stirring. I also sautéed some kale which was a nice color addition to this meal.

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Breakfast was a mixed oatmeal of traditional oats and steel-cut oats with fruit and honey. I love steel-cut oats for the chewiness and texture. Cooked with water and some rice milk, I also threw in some honey, raisins, sliced bananas and raspberries for a visually appealing one pot breakfast!

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Eating yummy foods is totally possible camping. I’m so excited to do it again this weekend!

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Enjoy!

xoxo -The Yummy Bunny.