Sunshine Blogger Award

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My husband and son probably hate me by now as I have been glued to the computer and feeling downright addicted to blogging today, but what the hay, just one more thing and then I swear I will go to bed :).

I would like to thank Kayse over at Art, Health, and Happiness for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. So despite pissing two people off tonight, I have made even more happy in the blogging world, so I suppose my bad deed is outweighed in number by my good deeds/posts!

The rules for the Sunshine Award are:
1. Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back.
3. Answer the same 10 questions given.
4. Nominate up to 10 blogs for the award, include a link to their blogs in your post and notify them on their blogs.
5. Copy and paste the award somewhere on your blog.

The blogs I would like to nominate are:
Hangry Tales
Art, Health and Happiness
Honk If You Are Vegan
The Little Foxes
In Vegetables We Trust
An Unrefined Vegan

1. Where would you most like to travel to?
I have been very fortunate to have traveled a lot but I definitely have some holes on my map of must see places. My number one destination is India. I would love to go on a spiritual retreat and forget about the rest of the world, but I think this one may have to wait until my kids are older. In the meantime I will settle for Japan and number two on my list.

2. Do you have a sweet tooth?
I wish I could say no to this and perhaps show a bit of self control, but I have none and I love, love, love sweets, especially pregnant!

3. What motivates you to keep blogging?
I am inspired by what others blog about and that makes me want to blog even more and improve my writing, find my true voice, improve and share my recipes and send a little positivity everyone’s way as I feel that so many others do for me through their blogs.

4. Who is your favorite comedian?
I really don’t have one. I like to laugh and be entertained, and whoever can do that will make me a fan.

5. What is your favorite outdoor activity?
When I can, I love to ski. I am not very good, but I love being up in the mountains in the fresh, cool air with the sun reflecting off the snow and being surrounded by breathtaking views.

6. Who was your favorite teacher and why?
I am definitely having a memory lapse here as I feel like it has been too long ago to really remember well. I certainly had teachers that impacted me and their memory has stayed with me over the years. My sixth grade teacher Mrs. Clairfield was a wonderfully positive and patient woman, my Spanish teacher from Rome at university was an inspiring language genius and my advisor in Spain, Armando, was a ray of light spreading the Spanish spirit and infecting us all with his enthusiasm.

7. Do you own any pets?
I do not. We had an English bulldog that died over two years ago and have yet to get another pet. She will stay in our hearts forever, making it that much more difficult to get another one.

8. The most embarrassing moment of your life?
I don’t think I have one moment, I beleive that I have had many over the years. You can imagine living in a different country and learning the language that it just naturally brings upon embarrassing moments – too many to count! Good thing I now speak Italian very well and those moments don’t happen so often anymore, and when they do I understand well enough to laugh right with them!

9. Where are you from?
I am from Missouri, Columbia, Missouri to be exact. I have lived on the east coast and in Spain, and now for the past 8 years in Italy and although things can be tough here at times, I love it. If I ever were to move back to the states – sorry to all you Midwesterners and Missourians out there – I would never want to live in the midwest, nor Missouri (sorry Mom and Dad, and Sara).

10. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
I am blatantly cheating here as Kayse said that a woodchuck is another name for a groundhog (she did the research and I just copied) and that according to her friend it would chuck as much as necessary, and I think that that sounds like a very logical answer and I second it!

Portobello Mushroom Sandwich with Sun dried Tomatoes + Avocado + Pistachio Mint and Basil Drizzle

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Portobello mushrooms are really something special – full of flavor, meaty, earthy, and just plain good! And making sandwiches out of these is always so simple and so good. They are a great replacer to the classic burger and with interesting sauce, they can really knock the socks off even meat based burger lovers. And with summer is around the corner, which means barbecuing, hanging out outdoors, and sipping lemonade, these are a great way to sub traditional bbq fare. Although I made these in a pan, I suggest grilling them over an open flame, if you can, which would really take this sandwich to a whole new level – watch out meat eaters! 🙂

This sandwich is simple and like usual quick, but really satisfying. You can build on to it, adding your favorite condiments and toppings to make it just the way you like it. I do however suggest the sun dried tomatoes and avocado; the tomatoes add a nice touch of acidity to the meatiness of the mushroom and the avocado gives it a lovely creamy finish. Of course to top it all off, I went for a good helping of my pistachio mint and basil drizzle, which really made it pop. The sauce is really light – there’s no oil or even vegan mayo in it, but if you want something creamier, you can try adding in some vegan mayo.

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Easy Peasy Crunchy Asian Vegetables & Cashews in a Ginger Sesame Sauce with Coconut Rice

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I saw this episode of Jamie Oliver where he made coconut rice and it got my brain buzzing. I love coconut, I love rice, so naturally coconut rice just sounded simply amazing. But coconut rice is not a meal on its own by any means, it needs a bit of lovin’ from some other ingredients, and what doesn’t sound better than a bit of veggies on top snuggling with the rice! This super fast and simple recipe will have you eating in less than 30, and what’s even better, it’s healthy! I used bok choy and asparagus, but feel free to play around with whatever combo you like best. So to keep it quick and to the point, and as promised quick, let’s get down to business!

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Sweet Potato & Asparagus Quiche

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I’ve been craving this quiche that a friend had made for my Christmas party this past year. It was full of veggies and it this had a wonderfully flaky homemade crust. . . but, and there is a but here, there were eggs in it 😦 , and we know that eggs are a no-go. So ‘if there was a problem (eggs!) yo I’ll solve, check out this eggless quiche as the cashew resolve it’! Corny I know but I had to do it!! Right, back to the recipe, I had to veganize it and make it  healthier than its original vegetarian version. I’ve played around with vegan quiches before – tofu base, bean base, etc, but none were really able to hit that sweet spot. . . until I was struck with the great idea of tofu AND cashews! And the cashews did the trick, they really deliver as promised, making it  creamy and silky. The tofu adds in some extra protein and also helps balance the heartiness of the cashews, making it a little lighter. Now to the veggies: sweet potato and asparagus. I know the combination might not sound convincing but trust me, and the 6 other people that ate it and loved it, the sweetness of the potato and the crunchiness of the asparagus are a match made in heaven!  But there is one ‘but’ on my end of the healthy deal – I didn’t go all out like my friend and make the crust myself, and I can explain, really, I honestly just don’t have time with a hungry 1 1/2 year old and a husband-boy to feed, so I opted for a store bought crust. Regardless of wether you decide to make the crust or just buy, I assure you that this will be a hit! In fact, my son loved this so much he was licking his fingers, my husband ate almost half of it while my friend nearly polished it off, and meanwhile my in-laws still don’t believe me that there are not eggs in it! So I guess I can say without a doubt that this was a home run in my house and that it will for sure be a repeat in this house! I hope it becomes one in your house too!

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5 Layer Mexican Casserole

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I think I may just be smitten with this recipe, yeah that’s right, but I assure you, once you try it, you’ll have a crush on it too, just like a little school girl. Mexican food is so good and refreshing especially with the summer approaching, and nothing is better than guacamole and pico de gallo when it’s hot outside. This recipe has so many layers to it- literally and flavor wise, in fact it s probably one of my top ten! The first layer is a soft cornbread, next up is a healthy smear of black beans, then cashew cheese, and to top it off, pico de gallo and guacamole. It does involve a few steps, but once you’ve made it keeps well in the fridge for left overs – I’ve been too lazy to cook this week and have been having it for dinner for the past two nights, and am still not tired of it, and that is not like me, once I’ve had something I’m ready to move on and try something new, this one, this one had me at ‘cornbread’ hook, line and sinker. 

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