Category Archives: Food

The Best of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bonanza

I don’t know if any of you have made it to Trader Joe’s this year, but dear lord, they are killing it with the seasonal pumpkin overload! While most of it isn’t vegan, there are quite a few veg friendly items that are definitely worth a try. Of course, I bought all the vegan items to indulge my pumpkin fanaticism and they are all tasty (except for the body butter, I didn’t taste that. … yet.)

vegan seasonal treats

  1. Pumpkin Joe-Joes- Let me say that these are probably my most favorite Trader Joe’s treats ever. They are like Oreos, but the vanilla cookie ones, with pumpkin filling. Can I repeat that? PUMPKIN FILLING! Ok now that you heard me, let me tell you how amazingly yummy these are. I bought one box and it was gone in a day. Then I bought the second box. It was gone in hours. (Husband and I are not pigs I swear, we just gorge ourselves once in a while. No big deal.)
  2. Pumpkin Spice Roobios Tea- This is a smooth, spicy, tea that’s great for winding down from a long day. This tea is a great substitute to those pumpkin spice lattes that everyone loves and is especially good for people who are avoiding coffee or caffeine. I like to brew it and then add some almond milk so it kinda feels latte-y.
  3. Country Pumpkin Spice Granola- Eat it as a snack. Eat it for breakfast. Eat it hot. Eat it cold. You can even throw this on top of some yogurt. I tried it all ways and its fabulous.
  4. Pumpkin Body Butter- Ok, Trader Joe’s is not the first place I go for lotions and potions but I saw this by the register (damn impulse buys) and I decided to check it out. After a quick check to make sure it was vegan and cruelty-free, it ended up in my basket. It really smells mostly of cinnamon and nutmeg but it feels luxurious when you slather it on. This is a super silkily, delicious fragrance that will have you smelling spicy all day long.

Have you tried any Trader Joe’s seasonal goodies? Which ones are your favorites?


10 Ways to Use Pumpkin This Fall

Alright, alright, alright, it’s October 1st and you know what that means. It’s officially pumpkin season. Now, I know Starbucks and most various other places launched their pumpkin seasonal lovelies back at the end of August but in my own personal opinion, October is really when it should be debuted.

vegan, Pumpkin, recipesPumpkin is crazy versatile and super nutritious (tons of antioxidants.) Fresh is always best, canned will do in a pinch but you have to be aware of those nasty BPAs that  can be lurking in cans. I usually get a good-sized pumpkin, roast it, and then can or freeze it for when I need it. Seeing as there are million things you can make with pumpkin you’ll probably go through it pretty fast.

With that being said, here are my top 10 Favorite Ways to Use Pumpkin

  1. Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte- Starbucks may taste nice, but ditch the nasty additives and make the real thing at home.
  2. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds- A delightful snack if you’re on the go. Also a great topper for salads and soups
  3. Pumpkin Soup- Super yum. Pumpkin soup is creamy and it can be sweet or savory.
  4. Pumpkin Ravioli- I have yet to make these, but they are on my bucket list for fall this year. Pumpkin filled little noodle delights? Where can you go wrong.
  5. Pumpkin cookies If you remember last year’s pumpkin cookies…
  6. Pumpkin smoothie- Just a little frozen puree, almond milk, and spices and you have liquid pumpkin pie for breakfast.
  7. Pumpkin pie- Der. Can’t have fall without at least one helping of pumpkin pie.
  8. Pumpkin pie oatmeal- You can have pie for breakfast! Didn’t you know? Add some puree and pumpkin pie spices to oatmeal for a hearty breakfast.
  9. Pumpkin pasta sauce- Making any squash into a pasta sauce is super delicious and makes me want to cuddle up under a fluffy blanky and watch the leaves fall.
  10. Roasted pumpkin- Roasting is great for almost any vegetable. Roasting really concentrates the flavors and the nice caramelizing on the outside is enough to make my mouth water.

Ok, I think covered everything. Pumpkins are great because they are nutritionally dense on top of tasting amazing no matter what you do with them. Celebrate fall with some pumpkin!

What are you favorite pumpkin treats?

Vegan Lunch: “Chicken” Salad Pita Pockets

So today is Meatless Monday here in the House of Snuggles.

In fact, everyday is meatless so that’s a moo point (ha ha, get it.)

I dunno about you, but my workday lunch hour is only about a half hourlong. That’s not a whole lot of time to squeeze in a sensible, nutritious lunch. With that being said, sandwiches are pretty much my BFF in the lunch world.

This week’s sandwich is a spin on the classic deli favorite chicken salad. My mom used to make these beautiful gourmet chicken salad sandwiches for my school lunches. They were so gorgeous in fact all my friends were jealous and wanted to trade. I’ve been in a reminiscent mood lately and I have decided to re-create this very sandwich but my style.

The Super Snuggly “Chicken” Salad Sandwich

vegan, lunch, tempeh, healthy

What you need:

  • 1 package of tempeh- (I like the whole grain kind)cubed into cute little bite sized bites
  • Vegan Mayo- I use Earth Balance made with olive oil because it’s so damn tasty
  • 1 medium dill pickle, diced
  • 1/2 of a medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 2tsp dijon mustard
  • 2tsp tamari
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/2 tsp dill
  • Lettuce, tomato, sliced onion for sandwich toppings

What you do:

  • First steam the tempeh for 15-20 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
  • Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl, add the tempeh and stir to completely coat everything.
  • Chill for about an hour before serving.

I find this goes perfectly in a pita pocket. To add some nutrition to this, I used whole grain pitas. This makes a perfectly satisfying lunch when paired with a big bowl of watermelon for a side and a homemade cookie for dessert.


Lazy Sunday Funday June 8, 2014

vegan, helpful living, cats

Boy, Kohska, if you’re gonna help me at least stay awake.

A Lesson in Just Rolling With It 

Ever have a day when nothing goes your way? I mean, like a real shit-storm of a day where you want to do nothing but hide your head in the sand? I know I do. Most of the time when this happens I just want to scream, cry, and throw a temper tantrum but that’s not very productive. It’s a conundrum. You want to get upset and pout all day but that’s a big effing time waster.

So what do you do to stay on task?

  1. Go Work Out- Take advantage of the endorphins.
  2. Bake-  aka do your favorite activity. Everything is right with the world when I’m making a delectable, sweet treat.
  3. Take a Bath- Just soak in some soothing epsom salts and essential oils. While you’re at it, pour yourself a glass of wine and light some candles.
  4. Pet a Fur-Baby- Take a lesson from the furry ones. You can also tell them everything that’s wrong with you and they won’t judge.
  5. Take a Nap- Sometimes all you need is to close your eyes for 20 minutes.
  6. Sit Down and Be Grateful For What You Have- When the dark cloud is persistently over your head, this can be really hard. But it can also put a lot of things into perspective.
  7. Love Thy Self- Take that however you will.
  8. When all else fails, Laugh.

Interesting Article for the Week: Use Brain Science to Get What You Want In Life 

I find the topic of manifesting really interesting. Is it really that easy? I’ve read a few books now and watched a bunch of youtube to try and figure this stuff out and I’ve had some small successes, such as getting free coffee, but not much more than that. This article explains the brain connection to manifesting your reality a little bit better so that maybe more of my experiments can come to fruition. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Snuggle Sample Menu:

  • Breakfast- Bagel with cream cheese and strawberries
  • Lunch- Mock Chicken Salad in Whole Grain Pita
  • Dinner- Watermelon Strawberry Dreams Salad
  • Snack- Random nuts (cashews, almonds, walnuts whatever I have lying around.

Peaceful Dumpling Contribution: What Kind of Taster Are You?

How you taste can give you insight into your inner self. Or at least explain why you prefer certain flavors to others. I’m also kind of obsessed with this topic because one of my fantasies is to create the most amazing tasting dishes ever.

Have a good week, Snuggles Friends! Don’t let the crazies get you down.


Vegan Strawberry Walnut Pancakes

vegan, breakfast, strawberry walnut pancakes

Ever wake up and just feel like making pancakes?

I know I do.

This past Sunday, I woke up with a hankering for interesting pancakes. I looked through my fridge and found some strawberries that were about to turn and a bag of walnuts.




Sold. I adapted a recipe out of La Dolce Vegan to fit my strawberry-walnut pancake dream and my little experiment turned out beautifully. They were sweet, fluffy and had just a hidden crunch. What can be more satisfying for breakfast? I’m not sure, but I’m sure I’ll share with you when I find it.

Strawberry Walnut Pancakes

1C All-purpose flour

1/2tsp baking powder

1/2tsp baking soda

1/4tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4C “milk” (I use almond)

1T canola oil

1/2C chopped strawberries

1/4C chopped walnuts

  • Combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl.
  • Mix your vanilla, milk,  and oil in a separate bowl.
  • Combine your dry and wet ingredients until just mixed. A few lumps are ok. If you over mix, your pancakes will get kind of rubbery and that’s no good. We want fluffy, not rubbery.
  • Gently fold in your strawberries and walnuts.
  • Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet or on a griddle over medium heat. Put a scoop of batter on your skillet and cook until you see a bunch of bubbles (roughly 5 minutes or so.)
  • Than it’s time to flip! Flip your pancake and cook until golden.
  • Top with maple syrup or whatever toppings you like. Depending on the size of your scoop, recipes make about 8 pancakes.

Lazy Sunday Funday- June 1, 2014

Hellllloooooooo Snuggle Friends,

I’m back after a little break and here to bring you your weekly edition of Lazy Sunday Funday.


You know, I just finished my first vacation in 4 years (WTF, what took so long, right?). It was a 10 day staycation and it was fabulous! Not to get too cheesy, but it’s totally what I needed. I feel so well rested with a new perspective on life. It’s kind of similar to the main guy in Office Space after he was hypnotized.

A staggering 70% of people in the United States hate their jobs. Let me repeat that: 70% of the population of the United States hate their jobs. Since the mass majority of us hate the work that we do, it is important to add some variety in other aspects of life until things change and we are able to do the work we enjoy full-time.

In the meantime, let’s focus on making everyday feel like the weekend. What does that mean? Basically, that we greet everyday relaxed, energized, and focus on the possibilities that the day will bring.  Here are 4 simple ways to bring you closer to it:

  1. Delegate responsibility. If you are at work and you start to feel too stressed or anxious, take steps to lighten your load. I have worked in places that have a real problem with this and not only is it stressful on individuals, it brings the moral of the business down. So ask for help! It’s not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of intelligence.
  2. Sleep! Make sure you are well rested. This is a non-negotiable. The quality and quantity of sleep can great effect your mood and how you interact with reality everyday. Keep a strict sleep schedule and make sure you get good quality sleep. Need help in that department? Check out this article I wrote on Insomnia Cures.
  3. Make time for something you do like to do everyday. This is another non-negotiable. Even if you can only devote an hour to your favorite hobby make sure you do so.
  4. Get into the practice of self-love. Need a luxurious bubble bath to relax? Do it. Want a massage but it’s only Wednesday? Do it. We do not pay enough attention to when our bodies need a little extra self-care and it should always be a priority. Just ask your self, “Hey self, how ya doing? What do you need today? You are awesome and I appreciate you!” Sound nuts? Don’t care, just do it.

Weekly Interesting Article: Americans Have Stopped Cooking, And Here’s How Our Recipes Are Suffering.

I was perusing Huffington Post and came across this gem. This article basically talks about how as we grow up, we are learning less and less about making our own food and as a result our recipes have to be dumbed down. I have found this quite interesting. I learned quite a few basic cooking and baking tips from just hanging out in the kitchen and watching my parents. By doing this, not only was I learning survival skills, but I was bonding with my family and learning about culture and traditions.

What are your thoughts? How have you learned to cook or bake?

Food Time in the House of Snuggles Weekly Menu Preview:

Breakfast: Strawberry Pancakes

Lunch: Taco Salad

Dinner: BBQ Tempeh Sandwich

Snack: Homemade granola bars

Dessert: Snickerdooders (I just think Snickerdooders are a better name for these cinnamony deliciousness of a cookie)

That’s it for this week. Have a beautiful week!

Lazy Sunday Funday: April 20th, 2014

Hello Snuggle Friends, it’s another edition of Lazy Sunday Funday!

Lazy Sunday Funday, vegan food, vegan menu, healthy

Hot Topic of the Week: Blood Moon Rising

Did anyone get the chance to see Monday night’s lunar eclipse? I actually set an alarm for midnight so that I made sure to get a glimpse of it. This is the first in a tetrad series of lunar eclipses that are going to happen over the next year. They are semi-rare and an exciting treat for astronomy lovers. It was amazing to see and I can’t wait to see the next one!

Vegan Product of the Week: Iss’ Magic Mixesiss' magic mixes protein powerhouse vegan breakfast

This week’s feature is a local product based out of Mesa, Arizona. I had the pleasure of meeting, Melissa, aka Iss,  at Chandler Farmer’s Market this past week and I sampled a few of her Magic Mixes. Iss’ Magic Mixes are these really delicious and super nutritious oatmeals mixes and She has amazingly yummy flavors like Chocolate Cherry Rapture, Banana Bread, and Walnut Apple Pie. I ended up walking away with the Protein Powerhouse which is an earthy blend of rolled oats, hemp powder, ground flax, ground chia and a few other tasty ingredients that definitely has been giving me a power boost each morning. Interested in trying one but don’t live in the metro Phoenix area? You can order these beautiful mixes online through their website. Go, try them out, you won’t regret it!

Belly Rub Approval Rating: 5 out of 5 Belly Rubs

What’s Cooking in the House of Snuggles This Week:

Breakfast: Iss’ Magic Mixes Protein Powerhouse 

Yes, I’m kind of addicted. You can eat this cold or hot, mixed with yogurt or just plain almond milk. It an amazing source of vegan protein and gives me the energy to tackle my busy days.

Lunch: Red Beans and Rice

Simple. Delicious. Red beans are little, meaty nuggets of nutrition that are packed full of protein, folate, and iron. This will an easy and cost-effective lunch that is great for the budget minded vegan.

Snack: Carrots and Hummus

Hummus gives you that protein pick me up during your afternoon slump and carrots are just plain yummy.

Dinner: Tropical Island Kabobs with Cilantro Rice

I was gifted Chloe Coscarelli’s Chloe’s Kitchen cookbook by my friend’s parents (Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Sandretto!!!) This is the first recipe that caught my eye and I’m super excited to try it. I have been missing a good kebob so I really can’t wait to get this in my belly.

Peaceful Dumpling Contribution: Healing Ingredients: 10 Facts about Garlic

Garlic is my favorite ingredient to add to anything. Here I share some fun facts about this tasty nutritional powerhouse. Plus, a really awesome recipe for garlic bread.

And Finally…

I’m going to leave you with this super sweet Pedigree Adoption Drive Share for Dogs video because I love puppies and any money that’s earned from views and shares is going to homeless pets. Enjoy!