Roasted Portobellos, Steamed Artichoke, Sweet Potato Fries and My Vegan Anniversary!

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I’m super super excited to be celebrating my three year vegan anniversary. I could care less about birthdays, but I get sooooooooooo very excited for my vegan anniversary.

Honestly, I cannot believe it’s only been three years. That’s not long at all. But it feels like it’s been an entire lifetime. It’s really amazing how different it feels to be really aware of the ingredients in the food I eat every day. I am so very grateful for every bit of wonderful plant-based food I’ve eaten in the last three years. Really, truly grateful.

To celebrate, I like to make a really great meal at the very least. Last year I made veggie sushi and had a bonfire with an old friend. Tonight, veggie sushi takeout and a lazy night with my sister are in the plans. It’s pretty rare that we get to spend time together, just the two of us, without my nieces around. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my nieces, but it really is nice to get to finish a conversation with my sister without someone wanting a snack or getting fingerprints all over my glasses. So, I plan on having a wonderfully quiet evening celebrating.

Onward, with the recipe…

I made this meal on Monday, actually, but the colors are so vibrant and beautiful that I wanted to share it for my vegan anniversary! Everything about this meal was absolutely scrumptious. I felt wonderfully spoiled, as a person should on their day off!

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Ingredients

  • 1 artichoke
  • 1-2 portobello mushrooms, depending on size
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup brown rice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, depending on preference, minced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • 1 tsp umeboshi vinegar
  • optional: sliced radishes for a fresh crunchy element, pickled beets or any kind of pickle- these are from my garden.

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Begin by getting brown rice cooking. I use a rice cooker and seriously, I don’t know if I’ll ever choose to cook rice in a pot again.

While rice is cooking, preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Slice sweet potato into fries. Drizzle with half of the olive oil and sprinkle with a dash of salt and toss. Lay out flat on a parchment lined cookie sheet and place in oven. Roast for 30 minutes or until insides are tender but outside have a slight crunch.

Place cleaned portobellos on small roasting pan. Drizzle with remaining oil, mirin, and umeboshi vinegar. Sprinkle with minced garlic and a dash of salt. Place in oven 10 minutes after sweet potatoes. Roast until tender, about 20 minutes

Put a pot of water on to boil. Place a steamer basket with a lid inside. When mushrooms go into the oven to roast, place whole artichoke in steamer basket.  Steam until tender, about 20 minutes. If you don’t know how to prepare or eat an artichoke, here’s a quick article. I didn’t know what part to eat until just a few months ago!!

When all ingredients have finished cooking, serve with a pickle of some kind and garnish with some kind of cold, fresh, crunchy vegetable. Enjoy!!

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And don’t forget!!! Join or check out the Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck!!!

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Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free Teriyaki Sauce and Stir Fry

Vegan Teriyaki Sauce and Stir Fry

Ahhhhhh what a wonderfully long title. I’m always looking out for recipe names labeled like that since I have food sensitivities and preferences myself. Is it just me? Or do any of you with food sensitivities get super excited when you see a recipe online somewhere that’s already labeled soy-free or gluten-free or plant-based in the title? I was craving some sweet teriyaki stir fried veggies and had the perfect combination of veggies fresh out of the garden.

I love the changing seasons! It’s so much fun to switch up my favorite recipes depending on the weather. I’m soooo done with green salads. Unless they’re steamed! Yum. Steamed salads are great!

Vegan Teriyaki Sauce and Stir Fry

Ingredients

  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2-3 medium sized carrots, sliced
  • 3-4 cups broccoli florets and peeled stems, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil, divided
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced (or triple that if you’re my dear friend Alicia, Queen of Garlic)
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/3 cup Coconut Aminos
  • 1 Tbsp mirin
  • 3 Tbsp brown rice syrup
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 3-4 Tbsp filtered water
  • 1 Tbs. sesame seeds, optional
  • White or brown rice for serving

Begin by heating 1 tablespoon sesame oil in skillet on medium heat. Saute onions until translucent. Add carrots and saute until just tender. Toss in broccoli and saute until tender.

While veggies are cooking, heat remaining sesame oil on medium in saucepan. Add garlic and ginger and saute for 1-2 minutes.

Add coconut aminos, mirin, and brown rice syrup. Whisk until thoroughly combined.

In a small bowl or cup, whisk together water and cornstarch until totally dissolved. Pour dissolved cornstarch into sauce and whisk. Let simmer and thicken. Once thickened, remove from heat.

Pour sauce over stir fried vegetables. Serve over rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Enjoy!

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If you haven’t checked out the Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck 16, please do! Join in, too!!

DIY Ombre Throw Blanket

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I’ve been dragging this blanket around like Linus from Peanuts… Anyone else love their DIY projects so much that whenever they make something new, it becomes your sidekick?  This DIY cost me $5. Five dollars! That’s all! I found one similar online for $70. I actually didn’t plan on make this but I bought this dye to alter my halloween costume, and since I still had plenty left I grabbed this cream colored blanket off my bed and ran outside with this as well. And I’m stoked about how it turned out!

My life is finally slowing down enough that I have time to get back to DIY projects, well-planned meals, and relaxing outside. My blog will finally get some much need attention again! It’s a relief. Such a relief.

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Supplies

  • Dye in whatever color you choose.
  • Light colored cotton blanket (I got mine at a thrift store for $1 and washed it several times to be rid of stranger germs.)
  • A large tub or tote
  • Water

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Begin by preparing your dye bath as directed on your dye package. I like to put my dye in a large plastic tote so I have plenty of area to work with and keep from spilling over.

Wet the blanket in area where you want the topmost stain of your dye to cover. The dye will creep up the wet area on it’s own accord and give it a more natural gradient.

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Dip the blanket in the dye reserving 3 inches or so of the already wet area. Lift blanket 6-10 inches out of dye bath and leave remaining end of blanket in dye bath. Leave for a half hour or more, depending on how intense you want the color to be.

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After the blanket has been in the dye for the desired amount of time, rinse dyed end of blanket with cold water. 

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Hang blanket out to dry or put in a dryer. Make your bed or toss over the back of your couch and enjoy!

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Apple Cider Vinegar Natural Facial Cleanser and Toner

Apple Cider Vinegar Natural Facial Cleanser and Toner

As I’ve expressed in quite a few posts before, I’m pretty picky about what I put on and in my body. My general rule is that if I can’t easily read an ingredient or don’t know what it’s sourced from, I won’t use it. I honestly cannot remember the last time I bought some sort of facial cleanser or any facial product.. It’s probably been about ten years. I’ve just been using a mild soap with warm water to cleanse my face, and I’ve been pretty successful. A few weeks ago, I was paging through the book my mom has on her coffee table about different uses for vinegar and I happened upon a paragraph about using it as a skin cleanser.

I figured I’d give it a go, and for a couple of weeks now, I’ve been using apple cider vinegar on my face. It works as a cleanser, astringent, and toner. I’ve noticed that my skin seems softer, smoother, and not oily. I don’t have acne, but sure, I do get blemishes. Perhaps coincidentally (but only time will tell), I’ve not had any breakouts since I started using this on my skin.

Apple Cider Vinegar has antibacterial and antifungal qualities as well as helps balance the pH levels of skin. It can sting a bit if you mix it too strongly, so be sure it’s diluted properly. From my research I found that some people with acne experienced their skin getting worse before it got better, but I think that holds true to switching almost any facial cleanser. Also, it does stink a little when you first put it on, but as it dries, the smell disappears.

The ingredients are simple and inexpensive….

1:4 Ratio of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar to filtered water (if you have really sensitive or dry skin, I would recommend starting with a 1:8 ratio, so that it’s more diluted and you can see how your skin reacts)

I pour my mixture into a small mason jar and keep it sealed on my bathroom shelf.

After I’ve washed my face with a mild soap and water, I dip a cottonball or cotton pad in this solution and wipe my face with it. I let it dry and add moisturizer if I feel I need it, but I find that the ACV wash cleanses my skin without drying it.

Have any of you ever made your own facial cleanser?

Garden Veggie Juice

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Since my garden is finishing up, I’m trying to enjoy every last bite of my harvests. I’ve been especially enjoying a lot of root veggies. I haven’t had to buy a cucumber or green bean in months.

I don’t have a juicer, but when I’m craving juice, I find that I can blend my fruits and veggie together and just strain them. I know, I know, juicing removes almost all of the fiber from the produce, but sometimes I just want juice. Anyways, my blender is sorta crappy and greens don’t get all the way broken down when I blend a smoothie… Which I tolerate somedays, and other days I just don’t feel like it.

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Ingredients

  • 2 medium sized beets, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 medium sized carrots, washed well and chopped
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes and/or chopped fresh garden tomatoes
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 handful kale
  • 2-3 cups filtered water

Blend well and strain through mesh strainer. I like to strain into a large graduated pitcher or bowl, then pour into a mason jar. It may be a little more clean up than a smoothie, but, like I said, sometimes I just don’t want to drink a thick smoothie!

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What’s your favorite juice?

DIY Fall Wreath

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Fall is my favorite season. I’ve been daydreaming about halloween costumes since… Well, since last Halloween. Why don’t we have more holidays on which we get to wear costumes?!

Anyways, I finally took my spring wreath down. Heck, it looked good for summertime too, so I just left it up. My friend Julia, who I mentioned in my post about camping at my favorite state park, helped me make this wreath (as well as the one from springtime). I love sitting around with a wonderful friend and crafting and catching up.

I was shopping at a dollar store with my sister and my nieces and there was a huuuuge selection of fake flowers (and halloween decorations, yahooo!). So my niece Sophia and I set about finding the perfect combination of flowers for a wreath. I think I spent about ten dollars on the flowers, which was fine with me. I can reuse the flowers for another project if I should decide, or I can just hang this wreath up again and again. I enjoy projects that I can disassemble and make into something new again.

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Supplies

  • Variety of fake flowers in corresponding colors
  • Twig wreath (I got mine at JoAnn Fabrics)
  • Wire cutters

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If your flowers aren’t already singles and have connected stems, cut them so that they are separate from each other. You want about 5-6 inches of stem remaining.

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Wind stems into twig wreath, filling the front side of the wreath with different colors. I like to try to keep mine from looking too much like there is a set pattern, so I just fill it in and readjust and then fill in any open spaces.

Trim any excess stems that are sticking out.

Hang on the door (or a wall or mantle) and enjoy!

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Have you started decorating for fall/halloween yet?!