Category Archives: fun

Do Stuff: Festive Christmas Mantel!

I love beautiful holiday decorations and for the first several years that David and I were married I decorated elaborately with a different theme each year. I had over 10 rubber totes full of Christmas décor. A few years ago I decided to go the minimalist route with my Christmas decorations. One reason I decided to cut back was because I was spending a lot of money every year on my ‘themes’. Secondly, my curious Cat Friends were destroying my trees! And finally, I decided that I wanted to focus most of my holiday energy on other things like baking and making gifts. So now I spend a few hours each season decorating my mantel (where kitties can’t reach) with some favorite things and usually something new and crafty each year. I have an adorable vintage aluminum Christmas tree that my BFF Joe found for me at a yard sale in New Jersey! I had always wanted a big aluminum tree but the vintage ones are hard to find and the vintage-inspired ones are not in my budget. One year I got a little package in the mail and when I opened it I couldn’t believe my eyes! There was a tiny vintage aluminum tree with its original packaging and instructions! Joe is the best!

Joey's tree!

My mom has a wonderful tradition of giving my sister and me a new special ornament each year. Several of these are hung throughout my house year around, but the others always make an appearance at Christmastime!

several of my special ornaments

And for my crafty fun thing this year I made these adorable (and easy) yarn wrapped trees! I discovered this beautiful gift guide from Ruche and got so inspired to do all kinds of fun holiday things, but the main idea that stuck with me was the wrapped trees. I found a rustic earth-toned yarn at Big Lots that was perfect for my Pumpkin Party banner and also for these trees. And I found the foam cones at the dollar store! I think I made all three trees (plus I have yarn leftover for gift wrapping) for about $4.00.

easy and fun crafty trees

I think little holiday vignettes are so cute and festive! Here’s an adorable one from Smile & Wave that I just fell in love with. What kind of holiday decorating do you like to do?

All my favorites!

funny little santa from before I was born!

I wish I had 1000 of these!

Partying- Pumpkin Style!

This past weekend I hosted a little party. The Second Annual Punkin’ Potluck Par-tay to be exact. The point of this soirée is to get together with a few friends and family members before the holidays and enjoy each other’s company and, umm, gorge ourselves on all things pumpkin!

Pumpkin Fun!

I kept the party of little smaller this year but there was no shortage of pumpkin deliciousness! My friends outdid themselves! And almost everyone made an effort to bring something vegan, even though there were only three actual vegans at the party.

I made a main, savory dish, the Pumpkin Baked Ziti with Caramelized Onions from Veganomicon. This dish is always a hit with vegans and omnis. I made it for a yoga potluck once and people were freaking out about how good it was! I made this last year for the Punkin Par-tay too and guests were anticipating it again this year. I couldn’t disappoint. Plus, I made an extra smaller dish of it so I’d be sure to have leftovers the rest of the week.

so much fun!

I also made a pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese frosting (veganizing a recipe I found online using a box of spice cake mix), chocolate pumpkin cupcakes (recipe from Cupcakes and Kale) and pumpkin scones.

cuppies!

The guests brought an array of awesome: pumpkin-cream cheese-chocolate brownie bites, pumpkin cranberry cookies, and chocolate spice cake with the most insane chocolate icing that tasted like chocolate donut icing! There was a pumpkin brownie cheesecake, and my mom made a lovely Autumn Harvest soup that had pumpkin, carrots, sweet potatoes and butternut squash. Another friend brought some homemade spicy pumpkin butter! And I’m sure there’s a bunch of other stuff I’m forgetting!

super creamy!

I served hot apple cider (spiked with Buttershots and, I swear, it tastes just like a caramel apple!), and the Great Pumpkin Martini made another appearance. Although, without the spooky friends hanging on the side of the glass.
I had so much fun noshing all afternoon on pumpkin goodies. Can’t wait to do it again next year!

Vegan MoFo 2011 Comes to an End

I signed up at the VERY last moment for MoFo (Vegan Month of Food) this year. I’m so glad I did! Even though I took a couple weeks break in the middle due to a work trip (read about my food adventures in Los Angeles here and here), I really enjoyed writing about food (especially NACHOS) for the month of October. I can honestly say that I never got tired of eating nachos this month. I even ate nachos multiple times without taking pictures or blogging about them. I just really do love nachos that much!

I discovered tons of new and interesting blogs and made some new bloggy friends! And of course I kept up with my regular vegan food blog reading.

I especially enjoyed the testing of Creepy Cocktails, masterminded by SnarkyVegan. This was a perfect Halloween activity for me. Cocktails, creepy toys, butterscotch schnapps…

I will definitely participate in Vegan MoFo again next year. I’ll be thinking about my theme for the next 11 months or so… but it will probably end up being Nachos again- I mean- why not? A few of my friends have crowned me “Queen of Nachos”, so I think I’ll roll with it!

Creepy Cocktails!

The fabulous and fun Julia of SnarkyVegan came up with two delicious and Halloween-y festive martinis. She gathered a group of bloggers to test them out, play around with them, and then post about them!

First up is The Great Pumpkin!

the great pumpkin!

Part 1- Pumpkin Mash

mix really well in a small bowl:

2 tablespoons pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon soymilk or soy creamer- I used Silk Pumpkin Spice soy drink (for extra pumpkin-ness!)

1 tablespoon agave syrup or brown rice syrup

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Part 2- Booze

2 ounces vanilla vodka

3/4 ounce butterscotch schnapps

Part 3- Shake!

Mix the pumpkin mash and booze in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously.

Strain into a sugar & spice rimmed martini glass (I mixed raw sugar and pumpkin pie spice, rimmed the glass with agave on my finger, and dipped the rim in the sugar mixture)

Garnish with fun Halloween-themed toys.

Bottoms up!

Creepy Cocktail #2 is The Graveyard Smash!

help meeeeeeeee

In a cocktail shaker mix-

1 1/2 ounces vanilla vodka

1 1/2 ounces cream de cacao liqueur (you could also use Frangelico here for a hazelnutty treat)

squirt of vegan chocolate syrup

splash of soymilk- optional (I also made a variation with canned sweetened illy espresso that was fantastic!)

ice

Then- 

Rim a martini glass with chocolate syrup (just use your finger here). Dip the rim in crushed Oreos or Newman-Os.

Finally- 

Strain the cocktail into the cookie crumb-rimmed glass. Sprinkle with more crushed Oreos (creepy graveyard dirt!)

Garnish with fake dead things and enjoy!

creepy crawlies

Happy Halloween everyone! I hope you all enjoy the weekend as much as I plan to. Halloween is the best holiday ever invented!

You can see the other fun variations here:

the tasty vegansnarkyvegan

kohlrabi and quince

amanda eats slc

little things big things

tak-home-a

will work for veggies

Trick or (Popcorn) Treat!

Chocolate and peanut butter is my favorite flavor combination for sweet stuff. I created this recipe for Kala of VeganCraftastic‘s fabulous Halloween Zine called “Late October”, which she is selling in her etsy store. This would make the perfect treat for a Halloween party, to give as treats, or just to eat all by yourself!

trick or treat, smell my feet (eww)
Trick or (Popcorn) Treat!
Chocolate/Peanut Butter Crispy Popcorn Treat
1/2 cup light corn syrup (or brown rice syrup)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 c semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips
pinch of sea salt
10 cups popped popcorn
2 cups rice crispy cereal
various tiny candies of your choice (I used tiny orange jack-o-lantern candies)
Mix the popcorn and cereal together in a BIG bowl and set aside.
In a small sauce pan heat the syrup till bubbling. Add the sugar and stir constantly till dissolved. Add the peanut butter and stir until melted and incorporated. Add the vanilla, chocolate chips and salt and continue to stir until completely melted and combined.
Immediately pour over popcorn and use a wooden spoon to stir it all around until evenly coated. Work quickly so the liquid doesn’t harden. Mix in the tiny candies. Spread on parchment or wax paper in an even layer and let cool for at least an hour.
Serve in a big, festive bowl, or divide up into goody bags and give as treats!
give me something good to eat!