Be the change you wish to see in the world...

- Gandhi

Monday, May 5, 2014

Vegan Brunch!

VeegMama's Vegan Brunch Round Up

Mother's Day is fast approaching and with it, ideas for the perfect "thank you" brunch abound!  I have a thing for brunch.  Before kids, it used to be my favorite way to entertain.  Now, I savor those Saturdays and Sundays when I don't have to jump out of bed, so sadly, I can't even recall the last time I hosted a brunch.  As a vegan, I have fantasized about the dishes I would make to delight my friends and family.  Sadly, four years later, it hasn't happened.  For a little motivation to get a date on my calendar, I decided to reach into my archives for some mouthwatering inspiration.  

This VeegMama post shares a wonderful Mother's Day inspired brunch menu.

I share some wonderful recipes - from to potatoes in Get Your Brunch On!

I found some new takes on waffles, as well as an eggless frittata in Brunch Recipes To Please.

Of course, there are more where those came from!  Check out my breakfast and brunch board on Pinterest!  And if you still want more, check out Isa Chandra's book, Vegan Brunch.  I just added it to my wish list.

Here's to brunch!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

It Feels So Good!

April unleashes an urge in me to organize and clean out the spaces in my house.  This year, it has inspired home maintenance too.  I have been purging and organizing every space in my way - my closet (again), the linen cabinet, my kids' rooms...the list goes on.  We recently moved the girls back to their own rooms, and my son into our former guest room, so that revealed a whole other list of items to be done.  Then, as I mentioned, we decided to do some home maintenance and my hubby and I went through the house room by room and made a list of upkeep to be done.  This was a fabulous exercise.  After eight years, it needed to be done!  Through it all, it feels so good.  So good to have things in their place.  So good to have a beautiful space to greet me when I am open a door or cabinet.  So good to feel organized.  I want to share this "good" feeling so I am highlighting a previous post I wrote last year to inspire.  Happy organizing!

5 Spring Cleaning Projects That Will Change Your Life
Originally published 4/5/13

I don't know about you, but a clean house brings me lots of joy!  I have only tackled half of the items on my Spring cleaning projects so far, but the ones below have truly changed my life, bringing order and beauty to my home spaces, and in turn have filled me with inner peace and calm.  Try them for yourself.  Life.  Changing.

Clean out your closet: This isn't your basic purge.  Purge with an awareness of what you feel fantastic in and what makes you feel uncomfortable.  Get rid of the stuff you never wear, but say you will know, that dress that has been in there for two years unworn or the skirt that you'll wear someday when you get the right shoes or lose that last 5 pounds.  If you don't feel great in it now,   purge!  And then, here's the life changing part.  Toss out those plastic hangers and put them on wood hangers (IKEA and The Container Store are great sources for hangers).  Fold all of your clothes neatly like in a boutique.  Organize them by color.  Step back and say "Ooh.  Ahh.  Hello, beautiful closet."  I am still on a high from my closet's transformation three weeks ago!

Organize the cabinet under your bathroom sink: Invest in some plastic shoe boxes from The Container Store ($1.99 each) and organize all that stuff under your sink into categories.  I have one box for first aid, another for shaving stuff, another for cotton balls/swabs/Q-tips, another for travel items, another for toothpaste/toothbrushes/floss, etc.  Once you have them all neat in your new bins, stack them under the sink and exhale.  Never again, will I dread finding a razor or bar of soap.  P.S. This works for the other spaces in your home that have tons of stuff (e.g. the laundry room cupboards, below the kitchen sink...)

Corral the stuffed animals: The stuffies on my kids beds were driving me crazy.  I started with my son and am tackling my girls' beds next.  I bought a colored, tiered net with shelves from IKEA and placed the animals inside.  It's stylish, fun, and practical.  

Purge your kitchen gadget drawer: I had rubber spatulas galore, wooden spoons I hadn't used in years, and loads of other gadgets I never used.  I could barely close the drawer and when I tried to open it, things always got stuck.  For this project, get real with yourself.  How many peelers do you really need?  Do you really use that egg slicer?  Then, clean out the drawer, get a drawer divider from The Container Store and bask in the beauty of your drawer that slides open and close easily!

Organize the pantry: For someone who cooks as much as I do, this truly was life changing.  I made a major investment in The Container Store in storage bins and baskets, but it was so worth it.  I got rid of appliances and serving platters that were taking up space but never used, organized my cookbooks with the corresponding cookware (for example, slow cooker, barbecue, and baking), and took snacks out of their packing and placed them into attractive baskets.  Everything is neat and in its place and it looks so pretty.  Every time I walk in there (and that's a lot), I smile! 

Do you have a spring cleaning project that has changed your world?  I'd love to hear about it.  Please share in the comments section below.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Perfect Cup of Soup

VeegMama's Recipe for Bean Soup

It is Spring, meaning lighter and breezier days (at least for me, in beautiful Southern California!). Although it looks like summer with these beaming, sunny skies, vibrant breezes have kept me from breaking out the sundresses just yet.  With this cooler weather, a small cup of soup has become a welcome companion to my lunchtime salad these days. 

This bean soup is one of my favorites and it pairs nicely with a light salad.  It is hearty, healthy, and packed full of protein with its wonderful medley of beans.  I use cannellini, kidney, black-eyed peas, black, garbanzo, lentils, and pinto in my mix.  I like to top mine with a few fresh baby spinach leaves.  Enjoy!

Bean Soup
Serves 8-10

2 cups of dried beans, any mix you like (soaked overnight and rinsed)
64 oz vegetable broth
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrot, chopped
1 tsp dried basil
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning (I love Penzey's Spices)
1 can chopped canned tomatoes
Handful fresh spinach, optional
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a stock pot and saute onion, celery, carrot, basil and garlic until soft.  
2. Pour vegetable broth into pot, followed by the beans.
3. Combine mixture and add remaining ingredients.
4. Simmer covered for about 1 hour to desired tenderness.  Add broth if liquid dissipates.  Remove bay leaf.  
5. Salt and pepper to desired taste.  Ladle into bowls and top with spinach leaves.