Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sweet Eats For All: 250 Decadent Gluten-Free, Vegan Recipes: A Review

Allyson Kramer has done it once again! She keeps coming out with amazing cookbooks, and I keep buying and then gushing about them. I gushed about Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats, and I gushed about Great Gluten Free Vegan Eats Around the World, and now I'm here to gush about Sweet Eats For All.


What makes this cookbook worthy of such praise? The complete breadth of recipes is all there, from cookies to pastries to ice cream and everything in between. As it says in the title, there are 250 recipes, and they are all (ALL!) amazing and worth a look. Every night since I got it, I've flipped through the book, and I joked just last night that for Hanukkah (even though we don't celebrate it), instead of exchanging gifts with each other, I should bake a new recipe from the book each night.

That probably won't happen EVERY night, but it's been happening about every other night since the book came in the mail. It's the first item I pick up when I sit down to relax on the couch, and even though I've looked through it so many times already, I still find something new every time I open it up.

This book is for you if:

  • you like to bake
  • you are vegan, gluten-free or BOTH 
  • you aren't vegan, gluten-free, or have any dietary restrictions (you're still gonna love it - I promise!)
  • you have a sweet tooth
  • your partner/spouse has a sweet tooth
  • you like to look at pretty pictures of food
  • you want to be inspired
Really, there is no reason this book is not for you, unless you are an alien from Mars. Then, I really can't help you, and I don't know what types of book(s) to suggest for your enjoyment. In the meantime, all Earthlings should experience endless joy by adding this book to their collections. 


Just a few things I've made and enjoyed already:

  • Sugar Cookies (p. 110)


 -Dipped in chocolate:



  • Pearberry Tart (p. 170)

  • Pretentiously Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies (p. 87)


This would be perfect as a (oversized) stocking stuffer or a present for the foodie in your life. Or, even better, a present for you! Whoever receives this book as a gift will be sure to thank you for it.

Disclosure: I bought a copy of Sweet Eats for All with my own money, and all the pictures and opinion expressed within this post are my own. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What I Love About Seattle

D and I have now lived in the Seattle area for nearly three months. It's hard to believe that we've been here both that long and short of a time. Although we don't actually live in Seattle (we live in a suburb just east of Lake Washington), I currently attend school at North Seattle College, and go into the city at least four days a week. We often spend parts of our weekend in the city, so it feels like we do live in Seattle.

I've discovered so many things that I love in this short amount of time, including restaurants, jewelry stores and boutiques, and chocolate (the most important thing, right?!). I wrote about my love of Seattle a few years ago, back when my good friend used to live here and I visited all the time. But that was then, and Seattle was magical because it was a vacation destination. Now, I live here and get to visit it whenever I want!

By the way, I've stopped taking pictures of foods and dishes when I go out to eat (unless it's for a really special reason) because I find it's pretty obnoxious to: 1) the people I'm dining with, 2) the people serving me the food, 3) the people I'm dining next to, and 4) the food itself (it gets cold!). So, you'll have to forgive the lack of personal food photos and just imagine all of the delicious things I've been consuming lately.

What I love about Seattle:

Kick It Boutique: I visited this fun store two days in a row because of their amazing buy one, get one free legging sale (yes, really!). But besides that, they have lovely clothing that is actually reasonably-priced -- something I never thought I'd say about a boutique located in Ballard!


PonyTail Jewelry: This jewelry store is a sister shop to Kick It, and I originally went there with D to browse for possible Christmas presents. I found so many beautiful pieces (they focus on local, handmade jewelry), it was hard to choose just one, and I'm sure we'll be back for Valentine's Day.



Razzi's Pizza: They have a completely separate gluten-free kitchen, and a gluten-free and vegan menu. Their pizzas are aMAZing, and I really have nothing but good things to say about this restaurant. It's great to find a yummy gf/v pizza shop where you don't feel like you're sacrificing taste because of dietary restrictions.


Miro Tea: A lovely tea house nestled in the heart of Ballard, Miro gave me the best tea latte I've had in a long time, if not ever. It was made of rooibos tea (one of my favorites!) and spices mixed with hemp milk (they also have almond and rice milks available). It was soo good, and such a relaxing place to rest after walking around.


Rancho Bravo: This is not somewhere you want to go on a first date, but it IS where you want to go if you want to enjoy delicious tacos with a fantastic vegetable medley and cheap prices. There are a few locations, and we went to the one that's housed in a former Winchell's Donuts. There is only outdoor seating, so I suggest getting it to go and then hopping back into your car to enjoy.


Farmers' Markets in December: I'm sure the folks tending the booths were FREEZING, but it was a delight to find a winter farmers' market in Ballard. This one had a good selection of farms, bakeries, wineries, housegoods, and other food-related vendors. We got there right as it was closing, but I'm sure if we had explored it a little sooner, we would have had access to even more awesome December produce and goodies.

Photo credit: https://foodlustandwanderlust.wordpress.com/2012/08/12/i-should-not-have-done-that-ballard-farmers-market-edition/
Soulever Chocolate: At the aforementioned December farmar, I discovered my new favorite chocolatier. All gluten-free, and nearly all vegan (get the honey-less chocolates!), this vendor had chocolates that blew my mind. I can't wait to go back and have more.


Flying Apron: Always consistently good, this gluten-free and vegan bakery is a common stop for D and me. We like the location in the Fremont area, which is near all the great shops in that neighborhood. I can count on getting a slice or loaf of delicious bread and some curried lentil pie, and my day is guaranteed to be happier for it.



Theo Chocolate: Some of the only soy-free, fair-trade and organic chocolate to be found, it's also delicious and made right here in Seattle!


I'm sure, the more time I spend here, the more I will discover. I can't wait to see what's in store for me in this lovely new city.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

My 2014 Christmas List

I realize that time goes quickly when we're a) older, b) busy, and c) not paying attention, but I really can't believe there's only 2 WEEKS until Christmas! Seriously, where has this year gone? Last thing I remember, I was wearing a tank top and shorts, moving into my brand-new house with D and closing up my business, and now a year later, I'm in Seattle, wearing waaaaay too many layers for my liking, and finishing up my final year of prerequisites before heading off to get my master's in nutrition! Time goes by too quickly for my tastes sometimes, but it's nice to look back and reflect on all the things I've accomplished within a year's time.

Of course, that isn't the topic of today's post! Instead, I'm sharing with you a list of goodies that I think you'll really appreciate and - perhaps - even put on your own list!

Happy holidays!

My 2014 Christmas List:

1. This wonderful calendar. With full disclosure, I have to admit: this is already in my house, but I think it's worth noting on this list because not only was it lovingly created and put together by D's mother, but its sale benefits a nonprofit that D's parents are part of called Yakote Women Farmers, whose goal is to "improve education, food security and family health in northern Ghana". This is a beautiful calendar, with a wonderful cause. Order it here: http://www.gone2ghana.com/ (Preview it here: http://www.printingcenterusa.com/print/calendar-printing/455935/gone-2-ghana-2015-calendar.html)



2. Look at these lovelies! I feel like you could really be happy with a box from Vegan Cuts.


3. Allyson Kramer has a brand new book out! How can I say no?!?


4. I've really been wanting a spirulizer lately; just think of the possibilities: I could make zucchini noodles AND curly fries!


5. This gorgeous nail polish. I need it.

6. And another great cookbook is out this year from Chocolate-Covered Katie:


What's on your Christmas list?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

a gorgeous view from a recent ferry ride from Bainbridge Island, WA
Hello again!! I can't believe I'm actually writing two posts within a weeks' time!

I just wanted to take a minute to say how thankful I am for this community, this space where I'm able to say whatever I want, post whatever I want, and eat all the delicious vegan, gluten-free food that I want...it's a wonderful opportunity, and I'm so grateful to have it. Thank you SO MUCH for stopping by and reading my thoughts, random and otherwise!

Now, let's get down to the really important stuff:

Foods I'm looking forward to eating this Thursday --

These sweet potatoes from Allyson Kramer wowed me last year, and I'm not about to let a Thanksgiving go by without including them on my table.

This isn't gluten-free as written, but substitute a different whole grain in there (millet? quinoa?) and you've got one heck of a side salad.

I don't love using the "superfood" label, but this stuffing dish has so many deliciously healthy ingredients that it's really just that: super.

For a dessert that's a little different than the norm, I'm thinking these sweet potato cupcakes will really brighten up the table.

Finally, a lentil-quinoa loaf to round out the meal. I'm dying to try this right now, but I guess I'll have to wait until Thursday!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Try This Soup!

Hark! It's Geanna, burrowing out from under my pile of homework to say hello!

It's getting cold in the Seattle area, and last week I had to wear long johns underneath my clothes. LONG JOHNS! I have a four-hour chemistry class on Thursday afternoons, and it's always a challenge to find the right combination of clothes that will keep me warm throughout all four hours. I may have finally found the perfect combination last week: long johns, jeans, 4 layers on top, and a warm lunch. These things kept me warm for nearly the entire class period.

Speaking of a warm lunch, I was recently given the opportunity to try a new soup from one of my favorite companies, Pacific Foods*. I'm a big fan of Pacific Foods products; I've written about them before, and I feel like I can never say enough good things about the company. They make delicious foods and with this new soup, they've done it again!

The soup on the menu today is their new Organic Vegetable Quinoa Soup.




As you can see, the soup is made with ingredients that most people have lying around -- in other words, real, whole foods that are recognizable and unprocessed. This is my type of soup!

The flavor is just what you'd hope for: basil and garlic really steal the show, and the quinoa adds a great texture with the vegetables. I literally couldn't put my spoon down from the second I picked it up for my first taste. This is a winning soup, and perfect for those even colder days that are sure to come.

*I received this soup free of charge from Pacific Foods, but all the opinions and thoughts expressed and pictures are my own.

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