Hey guys! We’re back with some of my favorite things from the last week or so… this was meant to go up on Sunday but I was busy and didn’t get around to it until now. Whoooooops! Forgive me? I’m still getting into the swing of trying to stick to my self-imposed deadlines – some weeks are clearly better than others. Onto my favorites!
1. Mat & Nat: These guys make some of the cutest vegan-friendly bags out there, all out of materials like nylon, cork, rubber, plastic bottles, polyurethane, and PVC. They’re not only free of leather but they’re also very socially conscious in the factories they use to produce their products which makes them a company that I am proud to support. I have a nude crossbody bag from them that I LOVE (you can use the smaller strap if you don’t want the long crossbody strap) and I have my eye on one of their wallets! I actually ordered my bag from Herbivore Clothing (from last week’s Brenna’s Favorite Things) when it went on sale so I got the double whammy of supporting both Mat & Nat AND Herbivore Clothing, two kick ass vegan brands. Love!
2. b. good kale & grain bowls: b. good has become one of my very favorite places to grab food – partly because I’m living in the suburbs right now and there are limited vegan choices but also because these kale & grain bowls are SO GOOD. From reading the menu they don’t look very special but they manage to create such delicious flavors and they’re super filling and there are SO many vegetables. The toasted almond & ginger bowl is my current favorite, and is vegan as is. It has kale, quinoa, sautéed veggies, bok choy, tamari almonds, red cabbage, enoki mushrooms, mint, and a toasted almond-ginger sauce. I’m not a big mushroom fan (the rubbery texture of cooked mushrooms freaks me out) but I’ve recently discovered enoki mushrooms and they just look and taste like sprouts! Yummmm… I also really like the spicy avocado & lime bowl (without queso fresco) and it has the kale, quinoa, and sautéed veggies with avocado, black beans, corn, grape tomato, lime, cilantro, chipotle puree, and red pepper vinaigrette. The chipotle puree is so mouthwateringly good! b.good is mostly in the northeast and mid-atlantic right now but they are a great option when you’re on the go or you want to eat out somewhere instead of cooking yourself yet another meal.
3. WAFFLE MAKER: Yes, this deserves ALL CAPS. I’ve wanted a waffle maker for eons but kept puting it off and now I have no idea why! It all started when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to make for my birthday dinner, and suddenly it came to me like an inspired vision: BREAKFAST FOR DINNER. Sure, I could do pancakes, but that’s not what was in my vision – WAFFLES WERE. I mentioned this to my mother and she told me that she’d get me a waffle maker as one of my birthday presents. Score! She’s really the best. So now I am the proud owner of this bad boy and couldn’t be happier. It was the easiest thing ever to use – it has a light that turns from red to green when the waffle is done so it’s super easy to just spray with some coconut oil spray, pour the batter in, shut it and continue cooking something else while you keep an eye on the light. What’s easier than that?! I used Minimalist Baker’s recipe for 7 ingredient vegan gluten free waffles and I LOVED them. Which brings me to…
4. Minimalist Baker: Dana and John’s website has become one of my most frequently visited sites when I’m looking to try a new recipe or just get some cooking inspiration. Some of my favorites are their roasted red pepper pasta, the green chili mac n cheese, and their gluten free sugar cookies. The sugar cookies are honestly some of the best sugar cookies I’ve ever made before – they absolutely do not taste gluten-free! I’m such a fan of their site because they also offer tons of resources for other food bloggers and I’m making it one of my goals to invest more time in reading through their content to make my own site better and more professional over time.
5. Carving Pumpkins: I don’t care how “basic” this makes me, I just have always loved carving my pumpkin every year. Now, I’ve gone some years without carving pumpkins, but I don’t want to think about that because that makes me sad. I’ve had a tradition since going away to boarding school at 16 – I watch Monster House while I carve my pumpkin, without fail, EVERY TIME. It’s a silly animated movie that’s adorable and gets me in the Halloween mood! I used to sit on the floor in my dorm rooms in high school and college, with newspaper under me, and go to town on my newly acquired pumpkin. Funny story: When I was a freshman in college, at NYU, I was having a really hard time around my birthday and Halloween (college is a really rough transition!) and ended up getting a cold because I was super stressed and anxious and sad. I knew that carving a pumpkin would make my soul feel a little bit better but I didn’t think about how carrying a heavy ass pumpkin 10+ blocks back to my dorm would make my already flimsy body feel. By the time I got back to my room and I was crying and felt like shit and curled up in bed instead of carving my pumpkin. Eventually I carved it, don’t worry, but that shows the lengths I will go to in order to carve a pumpkin and celebrate Halloween properly. This year my pumpkin was HUGE and I went to town on it while watching Monster House and Hocus Pocus. Ahhh, I love Halloween!
6. Hazelnut Latte from Starbucks: I haven’t had one of these in YEARS but man oh man, this latte immediately brought me back to Fall 2012 when I took a semester off of college (again, college was not easy for me) and traveled down the east coast and around the south. It was easy to find a Starbucks almost anywhere, and since I was by myself in many of the cities I visited, I would go to a Starbucks, get a hazelnut latte, and either walk around on my own for a while if the weather was nice or sit in one of their comfy chairs with a book if it wasn’t. Now that Starbucks offers almond milk I had to try one of these lattes again, and I’m so glad I did. There was so much foam and now I’m obsessed. Too bad it costs like $6 for a grande latte 😦 Ugghhhhh now I really want one!
7. hot for food videos: Lauren and John are another rad couple producing some really awesome vegan content with their brand, hot for food. I’ve been catching up on their YouTube videos as well as Lauren Toyota’s own personal YouTube channel, and I’m hooked! Their videos are beautifully shot and I love watching them cook together in their kitchen. They’re super relatable and every time I go to watch one video from them I find myself watching video after video and then all of a sudden I’ve spent way too much time on YouTube! Check them out if you need some cooking inspiration, especially Lauren’s Recipe?! videos where she takes random things from her fridge and pantry and creates a meal on the spot. They’re all about encouraging people to get their hands dirty and cook, no matter their skill level, and experiment with vegan food, which is a message I can definitely support!