Vegan Gingerbread House Party

After decorating cookies Saturday afternoon, I headed back to the apartment to pick up Hector who just got home from school. We headed to Megan’s for our December Post Punk Kitchen {ppk} potluck. This month we decided to make vegan gingerbread houses. The kit that you can buy isn’t vegan but Megan made the cookies for the houses and figured out how to hold the pieces together!

Before we got too much sugar into our system, we had a lentil cauliflower soup that Megan made. It was really delicious. A perfect way to start the evening.

Lentil Soup

We all brought cookies to share with each other. All of them were really yummy!

gluten free chocolate chip cookies

chocolate crinkles

biscotti Megan warned us that once the sugar was heated, we had to act fast and start building. Nissa & Hector tried really hard to figure out their game plan! {Hector & I shared a house, which was pretty comical}

getting read to buildWhile we waited to start, we enjoyed some So Delicious Nog.

so delicious nogOnce Hector, Megan & Nissa began making the houses, I could not stop laughing. I will blame that from the sugar, but it was so much fun to witness the making of these houses.

construction begins!

DSC_0275

will it stand up?

DSC_0289We had to get some string reinforcement to hold the houses together. It worked!

string reinforcementNissa’s dog, Oliver, wanted some sugar! He is too cute!

Oliver!We finally finished building the houses and decorated them. They turned out really unique!

Our house may have some flaws, like a hole in the roof, but we just incorporated that into the house as a skylight. The additional awning really adds a nice touch to the house.

our house!Megan’s house was amazing. The best part would have to be the boarded up windows!

Megan's HouseNissa’s house lives in a different neighborhood. It is well taken care of and color coordinated. Just look at that roof!

Nissa's HouseI really had so much fun Saturday! I am really for more holiday related things! 🙂

Have your every built a gingerbread house before?

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Christmas Cookbook Wish List

I already own many cookbooks, but I am always on the hunt for more! There are cookbooks that I haven’t even cooked from, but I am always wanting to add to my collection! It might be an addiction, but I am ok with it. I find recipes online, but sometimes they don’t turn out. I have much better luck with recipes in cookbooks!

Since I am newly gluten free, I have a whole new cookbook genre to explore! I have complied a list of gluten-free cookbooks that I would like to own. Maybe my list will help you find a cookbook for someone who is gluten-free and vegan!

Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats: Cut Out the Gluten and Enjoy an Even Healthier Vegan Diet with Recipes for Fabulous, Allergy-Free Fare By Allyson Kramer

glutenfreeeats

{Via Amazon}

Allyson Kramer is the author behind the popular blog Manifest Vegan. I have been reading her blog for awhile and have really been intrigued by her gluten-free recipes. This cookbook looks like it would be great for beginners. I really love that the nutritional information is included. This book is at the top of my list!

Review from VegNews Magazine:

“Top-notch photography, interesting-yet-not-overwhelming recipes, and an affable, approachable style are the hallmarks of Manifest Vegan, and each of these qualities shines through in the 200-plus page Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats.”

Gluten-Free and Vegan Holidays: Celebrating the Year with Simple, Satisfying Recipes and Menus by Jennifer Katzinger 

glutenfree and vegan holiday

My eye caught this book because it is geared towards the holidays. Finding vegan and gluten free recipes that can be enjoyed during the holidays can be difficult and having recipes in one book is a great resource to have all in one place! I am especially interested in the holiday cookies, cakes, and bread section! I have been struggling to find really good gluten free christmas cookie recipes!

Review from VegNews:

“Katzinger’s expertise sets this book apart. As founder of the Flying Apron Bakery in Seattle and author of Flying Apron’s Gluten-Free and Vegan Baking Book, Katzinger bucks the stereotype of gluten-free baking as boring and tasteless.  Her recipes…would be welcome on anyone’s holiday table, whether the host is vegan, gluten-free, or just hungry. Katzinger also includes tips on where to source specialty ingredients (just in case your local supermarket doesn’t regularly stock teff), and organizes her recipes into complementary menus for each holiday that make planning out your meal a breeze.”

The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook by Cybele Pascal

allegen free baking

 I like the idea that this book focuses on baking for those with all the common allergies  It can be hard to find a baking recipe that doesn’t call for wheat, eggs, soy, etc. 100 recipes are included!

—Review from Cookbook Digest “Somehow, without using wheat flour, dairy, soy, eggs, or nuts, Pascal finds that baking ‘possibilities are endless’ and with recipes for Chocolate Chunk Brownie Bars, Classic Yellow Cake, or Brandied Peach Tart, she is very convincing.” “the kind of advice that can make you an intuitive, allergen-free baker.”

The Gluten-Free Vegan: 150 Delicious Gluten-Free, Animal-Free Recipes by Susan O’Brien

the gluten free vegan

The beginning of this book has an introduction to eating vegan and gluten free. I love when cookbooks provide information, especially if you are new to vegan/gluten free cooking. It is really helpful. It also looks like most of the recipes call for real, whole foods, which is very important for me!

Gluten-Free and Vegan Bread: Artisanal Recipes to Make at Home byJennifer Katziner

artisan bread

I will be honest. I am intimidated by gluten free baking, especially with bread recipes. Maybe this book would help with my fear of gluten free bread making? This book looks wonderful and would be a great addition to a cookbook collection!

These 5 gluten-free & vegan cookbooks are definitely on my Christmas wish list this year! If I do get any of these books, I will do a more in-depth review!

Do you own any of these cookbooks? Do you have any cookbooks on your list this year?

Updates!

Hey everyone! I haven’t posted here recently because I got really busy with school & officially started wedding planning!! Wedding planning is going to be a lot of work! {Will post soon about the location!!} Hint: It’s going to be a destination wedding!!

I just wanted talk about some things that have happened recently & that are coming up!!

This week I received my tester copy of Vegan Eats World! I will write a whole post dedicated to this wonderful book! I highly recommend it!

I also received a copy of American Vegan Kitchen that I won over at Kim Cooks Veg 4U. I love getting new cookbooks!! 🙂

A few weeks ago I officially registered for the Detroit Turkey Trot 10k. I really want to try and PR. I love that they are having a medal for the race! It will be nice to visit my family for Thanksgiving, although I don’t even think we are having a Thanksgiving dinner with my whole family. Not quite sure what is going on with that.

My knee is finally feeling better! I can finally run with no pain. This is great news because I am in the middle of training for the Disney World Marathon! I can’t wait to tackle the rest of training.

My next race coming up is Chicago’s Perfect 10. I am not sure what my plan is going to be for that race! This race should be fun, at least I hope so!

Those are all the updates that I have for now! I have a lot of things to do today and I need to get ready for the book club tomorrow! I am really looking forward to seeing everyone again!

Have a great Friday! 🙂

Why I Became Vegan

I have been wanting to write a post on why I became vegan for a long time. There isn’t one short answer, but more of a journey that I am still going through. People become vegan for many different reasons. Some do it for their health, others for the environment, and those who are animal rights activist. {Just to warn you, this post gets pretty personal}

I decided to stop eating meat the day after Thanksgiving 2006. I didn’t understand how I could be contributing harm to innocent beings. The following March I gave up all dairy products. I mainly gave up dairy products because I thought it would improve my health. I was never really a big cheese person to begin with! Milk was trickery, but there are so many wonderful plant milks out there! This was honestly the best decision of my life.

Ever since I was born, I have had acid reflux. I would spit up my formula and gaged while trying to be fed. My acid reflux got really bad in middle school. I was puking almost every night and wasn’t getting much sleep. The doctor said that it was just acid reflux and that was it. My problems continued for years. My junior year of high school, I finally went to see a specialist. It turns out that I had a hiatal hernia. In 2007, I had surgery to remove the hernia, which turned out to be the size of a baby’s head. I can’t believe that was in my stomach!!

Since I had become vegan about 9 months before my surgery, I noticed a great improvement in my health before I even had my surgery. I had lost about 50 pounds and the symptoms had almost disappeared. Before my operation my acid levels were the highest my doctor had ever seen. If I didn’t have surgery, I would have gotten cancer of the esophagus.  Scary!!

After removing the hernia, I felt better. But I know that if I hadn’t changed my diet, some of my symptoms would have returned. Looking back on my experience, what really bothers me is that no one talked to me about my diet while I was growing up. I think this is were some doctors are lacking. Nutrition is extremely important especially if you have stomach problems.

I do blame my diet growing up for a lot of my health problems. I ate meat at almost every meal, drank milk with my dinner and ate so much junk! The typical American diet. Changing to a vegan, plant based diet has greatly improved my health! No more stomach problems!!

To sum it up, I became vegan for health reasons. Along the way I have become aware of the environmental impact of factory farming, and the rights of animals is now one of my main concerns. Through my journey into veganism, I have become a better person. I have a more compassionate outlook on life and see the world differently. I am still on my journey to living a compassionate life and I hope that I am able to share my love for the animals with others.

If you are vegan, what made you become vegan? If you aren’t vegan, have you ever though about adopting a plant based diet?