Organic Cocktails with LO Juice

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Getting ready for the holidays?  What drinks are you serving at your holiday parties?

I’d like to introduce you to LO juice.  LO is a tasty, low glycemic juice alternative made with premium organic ingredients and sweetened with Stevia extract and organic blue agave.  It contains no preservatives, no artificial ingredients or sweeteners.  When LO sent me bottles of their juices to try, I was a bit hesitant because their juices contain a little agave and I NEVER use agave in my cooking since it has high fructose levels.  However, I thought a small taste wouldn’t hurt.  Heck, I’ve been testing holiday cookies all season-long, how much damage can a drop of agave do at this point?!

If you’re like me, during the holidays I’ll have a glass of champagne at a party.  When thinking of how to incorporate this juice into my holiday recipe repertoire, I recalled that I’ve made bellinis with Prosecco (Italian sparkling white wine) using fresh fruit in the past.  It can also be done with LO!  Simply make fancy bellinis by adding one part LO juice to a champagne glass, then add 2 parts Prosecco (Italian sparkling wine).  Going this route is cost-saving because champagne can be expensive!

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There are four LO flavors that you can choose from, Mango Mojito, Acai-Blue, Pomegranate, and Pomegranate Mojito.  Each bottle has under 45 calories, with the Mango Mojito having the lowest at 30 calories a bottle.  They are naturally delicious, made with premium fruit juice, and have been clinically tested as being low glycemic.  Find LO at Walgreens, Rite Aid, Amazon.com, A&P, HEB, and Merijer stores.  These are great for the holidays, especially if you’re going to be mixing drinks.  If you’d like to pick up a bottle or two, try the recipes, below!

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For those who don’t drink alcohol, you can make mocktails, like I usually do.  I love using homemade kombucha in place of hard liquor or champagne!  If you don’t make kombucha at home, I recommend Health-ade’s original or ginger-lemon kombucha flavors in place of the liquor.  Beware, though, as kombucha contains alcohol (but very little), depending on how long it has been fermented.   The ones I buy from the store seem to be much lower in alcohol content than the kind I brew at home for some reason.  Anyway, I love kombucha in place of alcohol because it is alkalizing and packed with beneficial probiotics, making it great for digestive health.

I hope you try LO juice, kombucha, and the recipes below this holiday season or anytime you have a party!  Happy holidays!

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Poinsettia 

Servings: 1

 

Ingredients

2 parts LO Pomegranate Mojito Juice

1 part white tequila or kombucha

Directions

Shake all with ice, strain into a martini glass

Top with a splash of pineapple juice

Garnish with a mint leaf

 

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Red-Nosed Reindeer

Servings: 1

 

Ingredients

2 parts LO Pomegranate Mojito Juice

1 part vodka or kombucha

Directions

Splash crème de menthe

Shake all with ice and strain into a glass

 

 

 

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Green Smoothies and a Holiday Giveaway with JUNIEblake

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I love the holidays and I am loving my new Laura dress by JUNIEblake, a clothing line designed and manufactured in Arizona!

This dress is perfect for holiday parties, where I plan to sip on green smoothies or vegan no-egg nog.  I also plan on devouring lots of vegan sweets and savories, of course.  I can’t wait!

This is my favorite time of year because it’s the one time of year that my huge family of 5 older sisters, our husbands, their 16 kids, my mom, and our extended family get together.  I love my family and how we carry on our holiday traditions, so it’s something I look forward to every year.  Can you imagine how busy I am this time of year?  With recipe development, buying holiday gifts, and attending party after party, I barely have time to brush my hair!  Luckily, green smoothies are a cinch to make–you’ll see when I share my recipe, below.

When JUNIEblake sent me the Laura dress, I was so ecstatic because I haven’t had time to shop for myself.  It was such a wonderful gift–just what I needed!

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I partnered up with my friends at JUNIEblake to give a special gift to one of you.  If you’d also like to own this dress or any of their other modest holiday dresses or clothes, enter our giveaway to win a $30 gift card in time for the holidays!  You can even give the $30 gift card to someone special as a holiday present!  Here are all of the details.

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This is mainly an Instagram contest, but you can also enter on Facebook and Twitter.  The contest is open worldwide and ends on December 20 at 11pm PST.  The winner will be chosen randomly via the #MEKGiveaway hashtag!  Get posting and good luck!

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More on the Laura dress.  What I love about it is the fabric.  The gold shimmers and shines, making it very festive.  I also like the pleats in the front and back of the dress.  If you happen to overeat at a party, like I will sometimes do, the pleats can hide any sign of belly bulge.  Speaking of bulge, when I’m away from home, I will sometimes accidentally  consume gluten, which makes me severely bloated (I can look 5 months pregnant), so the pleats can help hide a bloated belly, too!  As you can see, this dress is a win all around–it’s a comfy, warm fabric, it’s stylish, and it just screams holiday party!  If you prefer more color, search JUNIEblake‘s website for more styles!

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Now, here is my green smoothie recipe.  My husband and I have 16 ounces of it every morning for breakfast, at least 30 minutes after we enjoy our warm lemon water.

There are so many health benefits that we can reap from these green smoothies.  Just to name a few– beautiful skin, less puffiness around the eyes, calcium, iron from the dark leafy greens; parsley and cilantro pulls heavy metals out of fat cells; fiber and electrolytes from the celery; and lemon is packed with vitamin C, which helps the body absorb the iron in the greens and  helps support the liver, our main fat-burning organ

My green smoothies will keep you full in the morning or afternoon and will give you all the nutrients you need.  Just a note, I also have another 16 ounces as an afternoon snack on some days.  It is like fuel, so energizing!

This recipe is my adaptation of Kimberly Snyder’s glowing green smoothie that Peyman likes best.  I hope you try it and love it as much as we do!

Cheers!

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Green Smoothie

Servings: 4

Time: 7 minutes

Diet: V, GF, DF, SF, SRF, NF, CF, R

 

Ingredients (all organic). 

2 cups of filtered water

1 handful of cilantro

1 head of romaine lettuce, base cut off

2-3 big handfuls of spinach or kale

4 stalks of celery

1 gala apple

1 ripe pear

1 ripe banana (spotted)

juice from 1/2 a lemon

1 tsp of turmeric, optional

1 tsp spirulina, optional

Directions

In a blender, add 2 cups of water, cilantro, romaine and spinach.  Cover and blend from medium to high just until it is completely blended.  Add more spinach and water if it looks too thick.  Blend from medium to high speed.  Add the celery, apple (seeds removed), pear (seeds removed), banana, turmeric, spirulina and lemon juice.  Blend from medium to high speed until smooth.  Enjoy!

I hope you’ll try this recipe and get inspired to start your days with my green smoothies!

 

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Photo Credit: Riva Takahashi

 

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Fruit Basket Giveaway with Melissa’s Produce

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Did you know that Melissa’s Produce sells a large variety of gift baskets on their website (search their Gifts page) and they supply fruit for companies such as Harry & David and Williams Sonoma for their gift baskets?!  I didn’t know this until recently myself!  Best gifts for vegans, ever!!! ❤

Just in time for the holidays, I have a special GIVEAWAY for all you fruit-lovers!  I teamed up with my amazing friends at Melissa’s Produce to give away a Deluxe Exotic Tropical Fruit Basket!!!

SUPER SIMPLE contest rules:

1) Like & repost this photo

2) Follow & tag @melissasproduce & @yvonne_deliciously_vegan 

3) In the caption of your repost, hashtag #MEKgiveaway & #vegan

That’s it!

The winner will be selected randomly via the #MEKgiveaway hashtag! This contest runs until this Sunday, December 14 at 11pm, PST.  You may enter once a day on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

Get posting and good luck! ❤

 

Sorry, this contest is only open to those living in the lower 48 states in the US.  However, I still have another #VegGenGiveaway going on with @raisingvegans that my International friends can enter! See previous post for details!! I just love the season of giving!!! ❤❤❤

 

Instagram: @yvonne_deliciously_vegan

Facebook Pages: My Eclectic Kitchen App & My Eclectic Kitchen

Twitter: My Eclectic Kitchen

Pinterest: My Eclectic Kitchen

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Cyber Monday – My Eclectic Kitchen App Sale!

 

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Exciting news!!! For Cyber Monday, December 1st from 12am to 11:59pm PST, the My Eclectic Kitchen app will be on sale!

For one day only, the app will be sold for a steal–25% off the regular price!!!

In the app, you will receive 141 delicious vegan and gluten-free recipes.  Search for recipes by food-type (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, sweets, condiments), diet (raw, nut-free, soy-free), ingredients, or by photo. Updates will be made regularly, which means that you will receive recipes as I create them!  You can find useful resources and tips, such as how to properly soak nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes; vegan and gluten-free substitutes for common cooking ingredients; most commonly used kitchen equipment; kitchen staples; and suggested articles on family, home, garden, food and drink, mind, and body.  You can even watch my cooking videos, index your favorite recipes, and shop for kitchen equipment and ingredients!

The app is not only for those with vegan and gluten-free diets, but also for those who are looking to eat healthier, plant-based foods without compromising flavor.

It has been a true pleasure creating and sharing my recipes with you. Thank you so much to all of my readers for your continued love and support!  You help make my job of developing nutritious, gluten-free, and vegan recipes a labor of love!

To download the My Eclectic Kitchen App in Google Play or iTunes, click this link!

 

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Giveaway Contest & Interview with Jazmyn Smith

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I teamed up with Jazmyn Smith for giveaway to celebrate the launch of her new website, Raising Vegans!  This fantastic prize pack includes the following:

1 – Your choice of a My Eclectic Kitchen iTunes app or eBook

2 – Blood Tight Apparel tote bag of your choice

3 – Vegan Sidekick  1st edition comic book

4 – Best Simpsons pin that ever was!

 

Super Simple Rules:

1. Repost the giveaway photo

2.  Follow and tag @yvonne_deliciously_vegan and @raisingvegans

3. Hashtag #veggengiveaway and #vegan

The winner will be selected randomly via the #veggengiveaway hashtag!  The contest runs until Friday, December 12 at 11pm PST.  You may enter once a day on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter as well!  Get posting and good luck!

My Facebook: My Eclectic Kitchen App & My Eclectic Kitchen

My Twitter: My Eclectic Kitchen

 

I interviewed Jazmyn the other day, so you can get to know who is behind this giveaway and the new Raising Vegans blog!

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Name: Jazmyn Smith

Origin: Australian

Current city: Brisbane, Queensland
Occupation: During my pregnancy and for the past six months since giving birth to our precious baby boy, I have had time to improve and expand upon my passion for all things food! I’ve been spending time experimenting and crafting unique recipes, not only for our new website but for our ultimate goal of opening our town’s first ever Vegan restaurant. It’s an inspiring time of rapid personal growth, for sure!

Can you describe your lifestyle and food philosophy?
I am still young – I come from a childhood of meat and 3 veg, like most other Australians. It has only really been in the past two or three years that I have started paying attention to the important role food plays, and so my ideas and comfort zones are forever changing. Alas, my food philosophy is also forever shifting, but always toward a more minimalistic and nutritious one – especially stemming from the thought ‘would I feed that to my baby?’. If the answer is no, then it’s probably not such a great option for us either. For example, I used to be pretty flexible with buying generic pastas, breads and rice – whereas now, wholemeal is my go to. That’s a small example, but it sums up that gradual improvement of our family’s diet pretty well.
If it’s not nourishing your body, and if it’s not made with love, enthusiasm, and conciousness, then I don’t believe it’s worth ingesting. A high quality, nutrient dense diet is too important, for all its ripple effects, to shrug off as ‘someone else’s lifestyle’.

Have you always been living this way or what triggered the change?
Absolutely not! Though I had been a vegetarian on and off through primary and high school, I had no solid foundation to grow from. All I knew was that eating animals felt wrong – but it was 100% ‘normal’; even now I don’t know many vegetarian/vegans in my immediate social group or family. As a young kid, all I had was my instincts, and it took time to grow to trust them, as well as to educate myself enough on the farming industry so that my instincts evolved into beliefs and truths. I made the final decision to follow a vegan diet when I had moved out of home when I was almost 16. I had just moved away from my step fathers dairy farm. I have never looked back. My health improved beyond belief and my passion for veganism has only grown with each year that’s passed. I believe that many young children feel this way about consuming meat – that’s why vegetarianism is a ‘phase’ that many of them test. However, without education and support from those around them, they may never reach that final turning point, where the switch just flicks, and one realises, ‘ah, that’s what’s wrong with it all!’

Have you noticed any changes in your life when eating a more plant-based diet?
Within the first year of becoming a vegan, I lost 25kg! I had been obese for my childhood and teenage years up until that point. I also struggled with deep mental health issues, including anxiety, depression and symptoms of schizophrenia – all which I took medication for, and all which I no longer need medication for! I could attribute these improvements to a few lifestyle changes, but none more so than changing to a plant based diet. It only makes sense that if you take care of yourself, your body, mind and spirit will respond accordingly.

Besides health aspects, there are social observations which I think every vegan realises at one point or another. I could write a book about those, but let me sum it up by saying that we have so much capability as a species, but equal amounts of cognitive dissonance! Sometimes it is a very hard truth to live alongside, other times it is a source of encouragement for working that little bit harder to spread the vegan message.

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Is there anything you are completely strict about when it comes to your diet and lifestyle?
Firstly, of course, animal products. There are no “what if’s” about it. I can accept that others draw their lines at certain products – eggs or honey for example, but I think it is inevitable that as you grow with your vegan lifestyle, that it should only become more refined, and the difficulty of breaking attachments to certain foods dies away. Lifestyle wise, my strongest belief is to surround yourself with those who enhance your best attributes and who make you feel good. I won’t tolerate people or groups who have a negative affect on myself or my family. Life is too short to waste on those kinds of things – fill every day with love, give and take as much as you can from those who mean the most! Be kind and expect it in return. Etc etc!

Where do you find inspiration and motivation to keep living your healthy lifestyle?
As my healthy lifestyle is greatly linked to my love for cooking, I find that the most part of my inspiration comes from taking a trip to the health food store and finding a new ingredient that I haven’t worked with before. There are some wonderful, strange things tucked away on the highest shelves and the quite dark corners of those places, I tell you! Other times, it’ll be the weather. The weather is a fantastic point of direction for what I feel like eating – it’s Spring here in Australia at the moment, and while I’ve never followed a raw food diet, I’ve never eaten so many creative, colourful, beautiful raw recipes in my life than I have this season! Other sources include different patterns (‘what’s a recipe that would match this fabric?’) or scouting through the many incredible home cooks on Instagram. All of these things invigorate and motivate me to continue with my food journey!

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Would you say that your way of eating and living have affected you on your spiritual path? (if so, in what way?)
(Tree hugging vegan alert)
Oh, is there anything better than sitting in the sun with a belly full of fresh fruit and meditating while the breeze rolls around you and nature sings!? (Not many things, I’m sure!) I’d say that in that sense, a plant based diet has shaken up many of my preconceptions about life here on earth. I’ve not been devout to any faith in my life, excluding when I was a child being raised by Anglicans, but I do feel that the deeper my appreciation for wholesome, natural foods grows, my appreciation for the earth it came from grows, too. The earth and it’s nature is where I place my greatest respect and devotion.

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How do you handle social situations as being vegan? (Do you find it difficult? Please share your some advice how to handle social situations)

Growing up, I have always been somewhat assertive and vocal in my belief for justice – but only in recent years have I refined those things to work for me, and not against me. My passion for veganism began in high school, and we all had Facebook, which was great for sharing my thoughts on all these new things I was learning (okay, perhaps I have been a little more ‘militant vegan’ in the past), but it was not so well received by peers. I completed high school in a right wing, rural farming community, which I think links to the attitudes and intentional opposition toward my veganism that I received at every turn for a long time. I don’t want to lump everyone who comes from those backgrounds into one basket, as I have certainly seem some of those who most opposed my views transform and do 180 turns on their own views over the years, but I believe that in general it had a lot to do with it. I would post a status with some information on the farming industry and would then have to spend the evening debating with three or four individuals about literally any argument you’ve ever heard against veganism. It was a really trying learning curb for me, as I didn’t have all the answers back then, nor the emotional capacity to not take it all to heart. I find now though, especially since I have found my life partner who is also a passionate vegan, that the more comfortable and confident I am with my reasons for being a vegan, the more others accept it, some even are inspired, and some even have thanked me for being their guide into veganism. Family has been the toughest crowd to have ‘the vegan conversation’ with, though I hear this is quite common. Generally now, I try to avoid meals with my family if I know that there is a lot of non-vegan food involved, and that is not to say that I don’t wish to be spending time with them, for I love them dearly, it is just to avoid the frustration and emotional struggles I encounter when seeing others consume meat based meals. The world is increasingly becoming more comfortable with the ideals of vegans, and I think it will only be easier for each new generation to be accepted for their beliefs on this matter. My only advice to other vegans would be to continue to educate yourself, and when you do find yourself being asked questions by those around you, respond diplomatically and matter of fact-ly. It is an important topic, that’s for sure, but we needn’t start wars over it. Stay peaceful, stay switched on – the world will catch up.

What ingredients are must-haves for your fridge and pantry?
Currently, 1kg buckets of hummus (yes, we have them here!), nutritional yeast, cous cous and bananas are staples that we are never without. I feel that hemp seeds and saurkraut are about to make their way on to that list shortly.

How do you keep your energy level high throughout the whole day?
I’ve found that the most effective addition to a nutritous plant based diet for keeping yourself feeling energised through the day is to drink water at every chance you have. I actually have a couple of rules for myself that help to remember to drink enough water: ‘never turn down a glass of water if someone offers it’, and to only ever purchase water as opposed to other beverages when travelling or out shopping etc. Also, find a unique water bottle that you really love – this will make keeping it around more of a priority.

When looking back, could you give three changes you have done in your life that has shifted your life to new levels? (and what it has done to you)
First, and perhaps most importantly, my move from home to independence at a young age. I believe this was the ultimate test of becoming aware of myself, which was necessary to survive back then. As I said before, if you are not surrounded by people who mean the most to you and bring out all the good in you, then you are probably wasting a good part of your life that you will not get back! Find your safe, happy space, and watch how much you flourish. Secondly, my transition to veganism, for all reasons mentioned above! And lastly, my decision to have a son with my incredible partner. Mothering is a natural extension of my compassion, empathy and patience, and it only builds these traits stronger. Plus, how cute are babies?! Especially ours, and I’m pretty sure that’s not even bias.

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What are your daily health routines?
As well as nourishing ourselves with good quality foods, my partner and I train weights together most nights. He is far more experienced in this than I am, and has been ridiculously helpful and encouraging with my journey into it. It is an incredible blessing to have someone who knows what they’re talking about there to guide me from the start and through every new level that I reach. Training weights is an incredibly important physical feat, and I am glad to see the outdated attitude that ‘weights are for men, cardio is for women’ is shifting and balancing out. Yoga however is my personal favourite. I only started six months ago after giving birth to Finn, but it has already taught me so much about the importance of physical and mental strength, balance and focus.

Your top 5 tips to stay happy, healthy and beautiful! (and a short description to each)
1. Be honest with yourself – One gift that I have been given from some time in my early years is a fantastic ability to self reflect. I believe that it can be learnt and utilised, but the most important thing in self reflection is being able to be really honest with yourself. Once you can do this, you will make better, healthier choices in all aspects of your life.
2. Be good to others – Do unto others what you would want for yourself. No random act of kindness has ever been worthless. It is amazing what you will discover in some people if you give them the chance to feel loved and appreciated! Plus, it will always make you feel good!
3. Learn more about food – there are libraries full of information about food and what eating it means for your own personal health and wellbeing. This information grows by the day. Pick up a food, google the heck outta it, and there’s your starting point. You’ll find more questions to ask about your food with each new piece of information you come across. So much to know, so much room to improve!
4. Become a food minimalist – by this I mean, reduce the pre-packed, processed stuff! Make your condiments from scratch, buy your produce fresh, and if buying packaged goods always choose the brand with the least additives.
5. Never stop trying new things – there are infinite adventures to be had. You have an unknown number of pages to be filled in your book. Never stop exploring, experimenting and getting out of your comfort zone – don’t leave a half written story!

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What kind of advice would you give anyone wanting to become a healthier and happier person but doesn´t know where to start?
Education is key, I will say it a million more times before I die, because a million more people are going to say ‘I want to get healthy, but I have no idea how to!’. The internet, though not always 100% accurate or conclusive, is a great tool for learning, no matter where you’re starting from. I believe that true happiness starts with good health. Focus on a nutrient dense, plant based diet, learn how to cook and then cook what you love, and you will be sewing the seeds for happiness.

If you could go back in time and tell your younger self any wise words, what would you say?
You will have absolutely no use for knowing how to code your myspace profile in 5 years. Please, step away from the computer!

What´s your favorite quote? (and shortly why!)
‘Success is never owned, it is rented, and the rent is due every day’

Instagram: @raisingvegans

Website: raisingvegans.jimdo.com (SHORTLY TO BE) raisingvegans.com.au

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Giveaway: Pitaya Plus

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It’s GIVEAWAY time!

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I teamed up with Pitaya Plus to give one of you the following:

1)  16 Pitaya Plus Smoothie Packs

2) The new My Eclectic Kitchen Organic Cotton Tote Bag

3) Your choice of either the My Eclectic Kitchen eBook or iPhone App!

SUPER SIMPLE contest rules:

1) Like this post

2) Follow @pitayaplus and @yvonne_deliciously_vegan in Instagram

3) Repost this giveaway photo.

4) In the caption of your repost, tag @pitayaplus, @yvonne_deliciously_vegan, & #MEKgiveaway.

That’s it!

 

The winner will be selected randomly via the #MEKgiveaway hashtag! This contest runs until Saturday, November 29th at 11pm, PST.  You may enteronce a day on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!  Get posting and good luck!

 

pitaya pink

If you’re not familiar with pitaya, it is also known as Dragon Fruit in Asian countries. Central American and Asian pitaya differ in color, nutritional profile, and taste. The ones from Pitaya Plus are from Central America and they have deep magenta flesh, a strawberry-raspberry flavor, and are grown along nutrient-rich volcano mountainsides; whereas the pitaya from Asia have white flesh, they’re quite bland, and don’t carry as much nutrients.

 

Pitaya Plus smoothie packs are raw and never cooked, heated, or pasteurized. They do not contain any sugar, and are a rich source of antioxidants, Vitamin C, fiber, magnesium, and vitamin B’s.

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How do you like to enjoy pitaya?

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Cooking with Friends: Sweet Eclectic Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is fast approaching and my lovely friend, Jasmine Briones, and I want to make your Thanksgiving one to remember!  We created a bountiful feast for our readers to enjoy, which consists of 13 deliciously tantalizing recipes that will make everybody’s taste buds scream in delight.  We’re referring to this collection of recipes as our Sweet Eclectic Thanksgiving celebration!

Since we are both obsessed with delicious and nutritious food, we thought it would be a great idea to collaborate on a holiday feast.  What better time to combine our vegan talents and get inspired than in the Fall—just in time for Thanksgiving and the holidays!

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Thanksgiving is a special holiday that I hold dear to my heart.  Every household carries on their own unique family traditions.

Jasmine grew up in an Ecuadorian/Filipino household, where it has been a long-standing tradition for her Ecuadorian grandmother to prepare Thanksgiving dinner. Her grandmother uses a Cuban marinade for the turkey (Jasmine being vegan does not partake, of course) and the rest of the meal consists of Equadorean dishes.  It was not until Jasmine and I joined forces in the kitchen that she had her first taste of cranberry sauce and candied yams. She loved the cranberry so much that she ate it by the spoonful!  I was surprised because I only have about 2 tablespoons at most during my holiday meals!

I grew up in a Filipino-American household.  My Grandpa Floyd, who was born and bred in the Midwest (Missouri), started my family’s tradition of enjoying the standard American Thanksgiving feast.  For as long as I can remember, we always had elaborate feasts.  It was always my mom and me who prepared the family’s Thanksgiving meal, consisting of a savory, flavorful protein, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, candied yams, green beans (and/or corn), and pumpkin pie with whipped cream.  We sometimes have the same meal for Christmas because it’s so good!  Meals like these are so comforting for the soul. Seriously, eating my Thanksgiving meal is like eating a hug.  It brings back so many good memories growing up.  These days it brings my loved ones together, where we sit around the table, share what we are grateful for, reminisce, and discuss our game plans for Black Friday.

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This Thanksgiving I am thankful for my good health, family and friends, and for the amazingly supportive readers and followers on my blog and social media.  Being able to do what I love for a living is a wonderful thing.  I feel so blessed and am incredibly grateful.

Vegan, gluten-, and soy-free food has a bad rap for tasting like cardboard. With my recipes, I hope to transform the general public’s view of these foods. I want people to keep using my recipes, I want that food to be shared (with vegans and non-vegans alike), I want to shock and amaze people, and let them know that vegan, gluten-, and soy-free food can be absolutely delicious, not to mention nourishing, can promote longevity, is harmless to animals, and is good for the environment and our planet.  Through this blog and through the My Eclectic Kitchen app, I think I’ve been able to do that more and more each day.

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Also, by partnering up with friends, like Jasmine, I am able to spread this message (my mission) even further.  I want to thank Jasmine for doing her part with her blog and with her own recipe development. 

Thanksgiving does not have to be the same every year.  Although I like to carry on my family’s traditions, I add my own little nuances to everything every year.  A vegan and gluten-free Thanksgiving is definitely a huge nuance.  Even so, I hear no complaints.  Although my family is predominantly omnivorous, my vegan holiday food and sweets are foods they actually request I make.  It warms my heart to see them enjoy my food and especially when they get seconds and thirds.

Hopefully you and your family will be as enthusiastic about our recipes.  We hope to see some of our recipes on your holiday table!

 Here are the 13 Vegan and Gluten-, and Soy-free Thanksgiving recipes!  

_MG_2421Cranberry Glaze

Sweet, tangy, perfectly spreadable for Holiday “Meat”loaf, and fantastic to serve as a side!  Made with fresh cranberries, dates, a little coconut sugar, a touch of orange and holiday spices, this Cranberry Glaze is so delicious, you might even want to eat it by the spoonful, like Jasmine did! Ha!

_MG_2360Garlicky Cauliflower Puree

A client-favorite, this is a healthy vegan alternative to garlic mashed potatoes.  Garlicky Cauliflower Puree with Mushroom Gravy is a wonderful, oil-free, low-fat, and delicious side dish.  It is so easy to make and can be enjoyed year-round!

IMG_7788Mushroom Gravy

This easy and flavorful mushroom gravy goes perfectly with Garlicky Cauliflower Puree and Holiday “Meat”loaf.  The caramelized mushrooms and port give this gravy a nice richness, the herbs bring it to life, and the arrowroot thickens the gravy while giving it a glossy sheen.

_MG_2321Candied Yams (or Sweet Potatoes)

These candied yams are so simple to make and yet they are so delicious!  Spiced with vanilla and cinnamon and sweetened only with dates and oranges, these are my all-time favorite candied yams, not to be mistaken with the recipe in my app.  These are new and improved!  A must-try!

IMG_7688Green Beans with Garlic and Lemon

Every table needs a pop of green!  Ours was these crisp green beans with garlic and lemon.  The little kick of spice chile and hint of citrus make these a perfect side dish for the holidays!

_MG_2241Creamy Mushroom Rice

Infused brown rice with an assortment of herbs and vegetables, meaty mushrooms, and a decadent cream sauce make this a hearty side dish.

_MG_2207Quinoa Stuffing

A clean and high protein alternative to traditional stuffing.

_MG_2344Raw Stuffing

This tastes just like Stove Stop Stuffing, except this is raw and is actually beneficial to your health.  I know you’ll LOVE it!

_MG_2359Holiday “Meat”loaf

This high-protein “meat”loaf looks and tastes like the real thing, only it’s better for you, is cruelty-free, and great for the environment.  I fool my non-vegan family and friends every time!  Top this holiday loaf with our Cranberry Glaze or with traditional “meat”loaf glaze.

_MG_2379Savory Pumpkin Pie

We wanted to include pumpkin in our Thanksgiving menu, and since we already have pumpkin pie recipes in our respective recipe arsenals, we decided to make a savory pumpkin pie.  The best way to describe this savory pie is to say it is basically a vegan, gluten-free, soy-free quiche with pumpkin!

_MG_2236Cranberry Pomegranate Cider

This ruby red (my favorite color) beverage tastes like a lovely tea and can be made bubbly and sparkling with a sparkling kombucha or champagne.

_MG_2323Raw Pumpkin-Spiced Mamey “Cheese”cake

Oh, I love this dessert!  Find out what Mamey is the recipe post.  If you can’t find mamey, substitute with pumpkin or sweet potato!  The combination of vanilla bean “cheese”cake, pumpkin-spiced mamey, and a fig/date/ nut crust is just heavenly.

_MG_2272Chocolate Mousse Pecan Tart

This easy-to-make chocolate (sweet potato) mousse pecan tart is really easy to make and is just so pretty to look at!

Our collaboration required a lot of hard work, but it was so worth being able to spend time together, getting to know one another better, with the intention of sharing the fruits of our labor with our readers!  To add to the list of things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving, I am so thankful that Instagram, veganism, the desire to eat delicious yet nutritious food and to share it with others brought me to meet so many amazing people, like Jasmine!  It’s been fun learning from and about one another, and I look forward to many years of friendship!

 

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Make sure to check out more details on our fun-filled day in the kitchen by reading my previous post!  We also thought it would be fun to interview each other so you can learn a little more about us.  My interview is on Jasmine’s blog, and Jasmine’s interview is here.  

 

Please make sure to tag us on Instagram: @yvonne_deliciously_vegan  @sweetsimplevegan  Twitter: @yvonnemrod  @sweetsimpleveg and hashtag #SweetEclecticThanksgiving and #MyEclecticKitchen if you recreate any of our recipes!  We would love to see your photos and Thanksgiving feasts!

 

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May you and your loved ones enjoy a

 

 

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 With Love,

Yvonne and Jasmine <3

Photo Credit: Many of the photos in this post were photographed by Jasmine Briones.

 

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Ugly Sweater Vegan Potluck

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I’M SO EXCITED!!!

My vegan friends and I are having an UGLY Sweater Vegan Potluck in celebration of the Holiday Season!

Saturday, December 6th at 6pm.

Lincoln Plaza Hotel’s

Spirit House Bar

123 S. Lincoln Avenue, 2nd Floor
Monterey Park, CA 91755
(Los Angeles County)

(Bar closes at 2am, but we usually leave around 10-10:30pm. You’re welcome to stay later if you’re over 21!)

Parking:

Free parking! Park at the top of the parking structure next to the hotel.  There is direct access to the Spirit House Bar from there.  We will have directional signs so you can find us!

No cover fee, just bring a vegan dish to share, but please let @yvonne_deliciously_vegan know what you are bringing on her potluck post so you can see what other people are bringing as well.  If you don’t know what to bring or don’t have time to make something, stop by your favorite vegan restaurant and pick up something to-go that you can share!

The owner the Spirit House Bar (my friend, David) is more than happy to open the rooftop patio, bar area, and ballroom foyer for us earlier than normal and is so generous to allow us to bring our own potluck food!  It would mean a lot to us and it would give thanks to him, if your party ordered at least one drink from the bar.  No obligation for drinks—we will also have a tip jar available if you’d like to give!

All ages are welcome!  We will have colored wrist bands to put on everyone who is under the age of 21.

Please comment below this photo on my Instagram gallery, @yvonne_deliciously_vegan, to let us know if you are coming and how many you are bringing with you so we can let David know how many to expect. This is going to be a low key event (maybe). We all love to just hang out and meet new people like you do!

We plan to have a few games and even a DJ!!

Again, please only use @yvonne_deliciously_vegan’s Potluck post in Instagram as a sign up sheet to jot down what you will bring or for questions you have only about this event so that it will be easy for everyone to get clear information.  Thank you!!

Who are my friends?

Andre @unhealthyvegan, Jazmin @wonderfulvegan, Jasmine @sweetsimplevegan, Sarah @ahnestveggie, & Elana @klean_slate

We can’t wait to see you in your ugly sweaters!!!

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Give Thanks to Bees this Thanksgiving!


beethankful

Guest post by Amy Ziff at Veriety.

From about as long as I can remember Thanksgiving in my family has really been about food first and foremost.  Of course immediately followed by family.  (If not for family, both real and adopted, who would all that food be for anyway?!) Then, not exactly as an afterthought, we would give thanks.

These days, I’m profoundly aware of the need for gratitude in our lives, and not just as a virtue but because gratitude can have a profound effect on happiness as well. [http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier]

Of course as a Mom and healthy living coach, I love that this holiday is about food too!  Bringing gratitude and food together leads me to think about where our Thanksgiving food actually comes from.

I’m grateful for the farmers who grow and prepare our food and I’m grateful for beekeepers and their incredible fleet of workers – literally worker-bees! – who, with their pollinator brethren, make many our favorite Thanksgiving dishes possible.

Did you know that Cranberries, Pumpkins, Celery, Onions, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Carrots, Apples, Pears, Vanilla, even some Coffees all require the work of a pollinator? (In fact 71 out of the top 100 crops providing 90% of the world’s food are pollinated by bees. One out of every three bites of food is pollinated by honeybees alone.  Bees contribute over 20 billion to the US economy and $217 billion to the global economy annually!)

While researching this column I found out that there is something we can do to extend this gratefulness one step further this thanksgiving.  We can actually thank the bees and other pollinators and speak out to protect them.

Turns out that bees are dying at alarming rates. A certain kind of pesticide, known as neonicotinoids (neonics), are a key contributor to their die-offs.  (In Europe there is a 2-year ban on these pesticides in order for them to figure out the path forward.) But here in the US neonics are among the most heavily used insecticides. At the same time we’re seeing the loss of pollinators (including butterflies, earthworms, lady bugs, dragon flies, reptiles, and birds).

Beekeepers report an unprecedented 30% loss in hives over the last eight years.  The bees in this case are the “canaries in the coal mine” sending out a warning for all pollinators.  Studies clearly indicate neonics as a key factor in bee declines.

From now until November 24th we have a unique opportunity to call on President Obama and his administration to take action to protect pollinators.

If you want to give thanks, then take a moment to tell the EPA and USDA to suspend bee-harming pesticides. There is a short window to speak out for the bees and other pollinators.  Visit http://www.regulations.gov and submit written comments to comments regarding: EPA docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0806.  Or, visit the Friends of The Earth commentary page for this topic. 

Urge the administration to take the following steps:

o Immediately stop the release and use of neonicotinoids for agricultural uses—including seed treatments—as well as cosmetic and other unnecessary uses pending pesticide re-evaluation.

o Ensure that new pollinator habitat is free from neonicotinoids and other systemic insecticides and that all pollinator-attractive plants planted have not been pre-treated with these insecticides.

Don’t let the gratitude activism stop there!  Have your kids write a note and spread the word to others.  Please share this link on facebook, write a blog post, send out a thankful tweet #grateful4bees.  Lets make sure to thank those who are born to give – the bees, and all the pollinators – and work all their lives making Thanksgiving and every meal possible.

Thank YOU for taking the time out to read this post and to for taking action. I am grateful to live in a world with people who know the meaning of gratitude.

 

AmyZiff

 

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Chocolate Mousse Pecan Tart

_MG_2272This easy-to-make chocolate mousse tart is cause for celebration.   Thanksgiving, a weekend, or any day of the week for that matter, is the ideal occasion for serving this simple, smooth, and decadent chocolate mousse tart.  To make it more appropriate for Fall, we topped this off with pecan halves and glossed them with a glazed of apricot jam.  This is our clean version of a chocolate mousse/pecan pie!

When nourishing, healing, whole, plant-based food tastes this delicious, it’s cause for even more celebration! Enjoy!

 

My dear friend, Jasmineand I created a bountiful Thanksgiving feast for our readers to enjoy, which consists of 13 deliciously tantalizing recipes! We’re referring to this collection of recipes as our Sweet Eclectic Thanksgiving celebration! We hope you include this recipe, as well as our other recipes, on your holiday tables!

Photo credit: Jasmine Briones

Please make sure to tag us on Instagram: @yvonne_deliciously_vegan  @sweetsimplevegan  Twitter: @yvonnemrod  @sweetsimpleveg and hashtag #SweetEclecticThanksgiving and #MyEclecticKitchen if you recreate any of our recipes!  We would love to see your photos and Thanksgiving feasts!

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Sweet Potato Chocolate Mousse Pecan Tart

Servings: 9

Time: 1 hour

Diet: V, GF, GFV, DF, SF, SRF

Ingredients

Crust:

1 1/2 cup raw pecans

1 1/2cup soft medjool dates, pitted

2 Tbsp melted coconut oil

1 1/2 Tbsp cacao powder

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract (no alcohol)

1/3 tsp sea salt

 

Mousse:

1 1/2 cup sweet potato, cooked

3 Tbsp cacao powder

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (no alcohol)

12 soft medjool dates, pitted

1/2 cup plus 4 1/2 Tbsp almond milk (or any non-dairy milk)

1 ½ tsp coconut oil

pinch sea salt

liquid stevia drops, as needed

 

Garnish:

Pecan halves, as needed

¼ cup Apricot Jam

1 Tbsp filtered water

 

Directions

Crust:

1. Place nuts and dates in a food processor with sea salt and pulse to chop until they are to your desired fineness.  You’ll want a finer crust than a chunky one. Test the crust by spooning out a small amount of mixture and rolling it in your hands. If the ingredients hold together, your crust is perfect. If you don’t feel it’s holding together, try to mix the mixture with your hands until it comes together.  2. Pour the crust mixture into an 8” or 9” tart pan with a removable bottom. Press firmly, making sure that the edges are well-packed and that the base is relatively even throughout. Freeze for about 25 minutes. Make the mousse in the meantime.

 

Chocolate Mousse:.

1. Cook the sweet potato. Bake at 450 degrees F for 50 minutes, flipping it halfway through or steam for 15-20 minutes on the stovetop (when steaming, add about a cup of filtered water in a pot).

Note: I prefer peeling the sweet potato after it has been cooked because it’s time-saving. When it is cooked, cut it lengthwise in the center and open it. Spoon out 1 ½ cup of the tender flesh.

2. In a high-powered blender, add the almond milk, coconut oil, vanilla (if you choose to use it), dates, and sweet potato. Blend until smooth.

3. Taste and add liquid stevia if it needs more sweetness. If you want the pudding to look more chocolatey, add 1 ½ tsp more cacao powder and half of a date or more stevia until it tastes just right.

 

Garnish:

In a small sauce pan, add the apricot jam and a little water just to make it more spreadable as a glaze.

 

Assemble:

1. Remove crust from the freezer

2. Spoon the mousse into the crust and spread evenly and flat with an offset spatula.

3. Top with pecans in any pattern you desire, and brush the pecans with apricot glaze (to make it shiny and look fresh!)

3. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Pop the outer part of tart pan off before slicing.  Note: this tart tastes and cuts best when chilled!

 

 

 

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