Monday, November 17, 2014

Vegan Thanksgiving recipe roundup

Thanksgiving is next week. Can you believe that? I sure can't! But I still can't believe October is over, so I'm running quite a bit behind the calendar at the moment.

This year I have, waiting in the freezer for me, one of these to replace to turkey in my largest meal of the year.


I've never tried it before, but it looks pretty taste. I bought mine at Whole Foods, but if you want to check out more information before you buy, here's some more info on the Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute.

Aside from that, I've been cruising Pinterest and blogs searching for a delicious side dish to make and bring to Jim's parents' house with us.

Here are a few that I've found that look absolutely to die for! (Please note: None of these photographs were taken by me. They are the property of the blog owners, and I have linked each one back to it's original post. Please click the links to find the recipes and to give these blogs some love!)

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad from {KITCHENETTE)

Doesn't that look amazing? I love butternut squash, especially when it's roasted. This salad looks like the perfect combination of delicious and healthy.

Wild Rice Stuffed Squash from Martha Stewart

I actually had my mom make this recipe for me a few years back. It was pretty tasty. I think it's a tad much to make for a large group, but I had to post it anyway because it's a perfect substitution for turkey if you don't want to try one of the "vegan versions" (Tofurkey, Celebration Roast, etc).

Harvest Vegetable Stew in Mini Pumpkins from 86 Lemons

These are so cute! And again, more of a vegan main course than a side dish, and probably not what I will bring for Thanksgiving this year, but they'd be PERFECT for a cold winter night at home. Or maybe just the stew as a side dish without the pumpkin. Either way, the recipe looks fabulous, and I will definitely be trying it out at some point in the near future!

Pear and Fennel Salad from Love & Lemons

Fennel is one of the things I love most about this time of year. And this salad looks like the perfect way to combine it with one of my other favorites of the season: pears! It looks fresh and delicious and I think it would be a perfect complement to some of the heavier dishes this meal invites to the party.

Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Pecans by Rachel Schultz

I made a dish similar to this last year when we held Thanksgiving at our house. People loved it. Rachel's recipe looks a lot prettier than mine did...I think I left my brussels in too long, even though I don't remember them being mushy... Anyway, it's a fantastic dish and a real crowd pleaser.

Fluffy Vegan Pumpkin Biscuits by Opera Singer in the Kitchen

As you know, I'm a fan of pumpkin anything. These biscuits looks like a delicious replacement for the usual dinner rolls. They look flakey and soft and sort of make my mouth water just looking at them.

Salted Honey and Fig Cheesecake by A House in the Hills

No meal is complete without dessert and this one looks beyond delectable. I love figs and honey and a healthier dessert is right up my alley. I'll be trying this one someday even if it isn't for this Thanksgiving.

Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving recipe? Vegan or otherwise?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Getting a head start on my Christmas list

I've always been a strong proponent of the idea that Christmas shouldn't roll out of storage until after Thanksgiving. And, for the most part, I still support that fact, with one exception: shopping.

Every year I wait until the day after Thanksgiving to get my shopping started. I inevitably wind up the week before Christmas, having not found the perfect gift for someone, rushing around, wishing I'd spent less money and not enjoying the process one bit.

This year, I've decided to get practical about it. I started checking out deals online last month and I'm pleased to say I've purchased our gifts for every single kid in our lives! I've spent the bulk of the money we will spend this Christmas, so we won't be eating ramen come December 24th (not that we eat ramen anyway. It's kind of crappy food, despite being pretty dern enjoyable when you're sick).

Naturally, in the course of searching for gifts for others, I came across a few things to add to my own Christmas list this year. (which I also always procrastinate on. I can't tell you how many times my mom asks me what I want for Christmas before I ever get her a list!)

1. Breville Crispy Crust Pizza Maker.  ($149, Williams Sonoma) I loooooove brick oven pizza. This little baby claims it will make brick oven style pizza in less than ten minutes. Santa, oh, please please leave on of these under my tree!

2. Crabtree & Evelyn Big Top Twelve Hand Therapy Musical Tin. ($60, Crabtree & Evelyn) I don't know about musical tins, but I do know that this lotion is amazing. I got a set from Costco a while back and all the scents were lovely and the lotion wasn't greasy or too heavy.

3. Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee. ($25, Blue Bottle Coffee) Jim and I love Blue Bottle Coffee. We get a bag of the Bella Donovan whenever we are in the bay area (you can buy it online, but the ice cream shop where we get it is just down the street from Jim's cousin, so we make a trip of it). We've also gotten pretty interested in coffee brewing, so this book seems like it would be an awesome addition to our new hobby.

4. Sugarfina Cocktail Hour Tasting Box. ($25, Sugarfina) Candy? Good. Cocktails? Good. Combine the two and you've got a match made in heaven! Sugarfina is also an environmentally friendly company and donates a portion of their proceeds to the Lili Claire Foundation which helps special needs children and Kiva, an organization that offers microloans to entrepreneurs in third world countries. So you can enjoy your treats knowing you've done a bit of good in the world.

5. Filled Owl Candles. ($14, West Elm) Aren't these little guys adorable? I kind of feel like I need one on my new desk.West Elm does so many cute things with owls. I love it!

6. Anne of Green Gables Book Scarf. ($42, Etsy) I am in love with anything books. By now you probably know that, and growing up, Anne of Green Gables was one of my favorite series. This scarf is made of cotton and over 3,000 people gave it an average of 5 stars on Etsy, so I'd be willing to bet its as comfy and cute as it looks.

7. The Instax Printer.  ($220, Photojojo) As a photographer, I love anything photography related. But being able to print photos from my phone at home? Pretty dern cool!

8. Vermont Maple Porter Brewing Kit. ($48, Uncommon Goods) I never much enjoyed beer until my husband encouraged me to give it another shot...and another...and another. I've found, through much research, that porter is my favorite. This fall I found a pumpkin porter by Alaskan Brewing Company that I loved so much I actually drank a whole 6 pack of it to myself (over the course of, like, a week, people!). I would love to try a hand at making some at home, and if there's any flavor that takes a second to pumpkin in my book, it's maple. (Jim, Hint, hint!)

9. 2015 Day Designer by Whitney English. ($59, Etsy) Honestly, I'll probably buy one of these long before anyone can buy it for me, but I am kind of excited to try out this planner! I've heard great things about it and I am hoping its as great for me as it is for other people. I've been using the same planner for about 5 years now, but my life is getting far too busy for the weekly design. I need a page a day, and look how cute it is!

For even more great gift ideas (to add to your list or, you know, to put under my tree), check out my pinterest board, and while you're there, feel free to follow!

Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Do you have your own list started?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

What to do with all that leftover Halloween candy

This year it rained on Halloween in our town. While a few kids braved the weather and rang our doorbell, we were left with a ginormous pile of candy that Jim and I have been munching guiltily away at for the past three days. 

It seems like such a shame to just throw it all away, so I came up with a list of alternative options:

1. Bring it to work. 

Where I work, I can guarantee all the candy will be gone by the end of the week. The plus side to this one is earning some major points with your coworkers.

2. Freeze it. 

You can thaw it later and put it in Christmas stockings or add it as a garnish to cookie plates. Or, you know, sneak a piece after dinner whenever your sweet tooth strikes.

3. Bring it to a potluck. 

No cooking necessary!

4. Leave a few pieces in the mailbox for your mail man. 

I'm sure he'd appreciate a sweet little treat when he opens the box to deliver your mail. If you want to take it one step further, add a little note and express your appreciation for all he does.

5. Give it to your nieces and nephews. 

I don't know about you, but I take great enjoyment in sugaring up my nephew before sending him home to his parents. And he loves me for it!

6. Send candy grams to your college roommates. 

Who doesn't love getting mail? A sweet little treat will brighten anyone's day and probably send them down memory road to Halloween's past.

7. Host a game night, have candy prizes. 

I'm envisioning cute little baggies filled with a variety of treats, tied up with little bows. Maybe different sizes for first, second and third place...and, if you have as much candy as me, a little parting gift for everyone, just for participating.

8. Create a care package for a soldier overseas. 

And if you don't know a soldier yourself, check out this Halloween Candy Buyback Program,, and they'll send it off for you. Just enter your zip code and get a list of participating dental offices in your area where you can drop your candy off.

9. Bake it into something. 

Check out this pinterest board for a plethora of ideas. I'm thinking of making a popcorn snack mix out of some of ours.

And if none of those things sound appealing, you can always just keep munching on it until its gone!

Do you have a ton of extra Halloween candy? What are YOU doing with it all?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tiny Prints and Best Friends For Frosting #HolidayBash

Well, wedding season is officially over for Stephanie Sutherlin Photography. I have a massive pile of editing to do, but we've shot our last wedding until spring and we're fully ready for the holiday season to begin!

And what better way to kick off the holidays than with a beautifully styled holiday party at Tiny Prints headquarters in Santa Clara with Best Friends for Frosting?


Melissa Johnson and her crew at BFFF did an amazing job styling the event. I loved all the details in pink and gold!

And of course,  I was enamored by this delectable looking dessert table. I sampled almost everything, as you would expect.

 After a bit of mingling and munching, Melissa demonstrated how to make this simple and adorable succulent pot. It would make a perfect little gift or table decoration for a holiday party. I'm going to put mine on my desk where I can enjoy it while I work on those wedding edits!

When I sat down to enjoy my desserts, this display was on the table. I LOVED this mug so much I snapped a shot of it. I was thrilled to find out that we each got to take one home! It, too, will live on my desk (full of coffee or tea, of course!) as a reminder to enjoy each day.

We also got to take home a stocking and a pillow from Tiny Prints' new home decor collection. You can personalize and purchase your own pillow here. And your own stocking here. They have a lovely selection of personalized stockings, all of which would be adorable on any mantle.

I had such an amazing time, checking out all the new holiday offerings from Tiny Prints and hanging out with a great group of other bloggers!  

Many thanks to Tiny Prints and Best Friends for Frosting for inviting me!