Monday, November 12, 2018

World's Most Coziest Slipper-Shoes: Graham Shoes by Jambu

OH HELLO.

Oh my goodness. These shoes were like love at first sight... love at first wear? I have been wanting something like this for so long! These are the vegan Graham shoes from Jambu Footwear. They're meant to be wearable as proper outdoor shoes, but they are also perfectly awesome for around-the-house slippers. Let me tell you all about my new beloved cozy-cozy shoes:

These are slipper-style shoes with a very cute knit fabric on the outside. As you can see, there are faux suede straps across the tops. The top strap is adjustable, to some degree, but I haven't felt any need to mess with it since I took my shoes out of the box. Inside, the shoes are lined with fleece-y fuzz. These shoes are like a magical hybrid of your favorite flip-flops, Ugg boots, and comfy house slippers. The insoles are made with lovely memory foam and feel super comfortable to wear... and then the outer soles are really rugged and substantial. 



I seriously cannot stop wearing these shoes. We've been having some funny autumn weather - with very chilly mornings and evenings, and hot afternoons. I don't usually love chilly weather, but now I am super happy when it's cool enough for me to wear my favorite little cozies. I teach in the morning a few days a week, and I love popping these Graham shoes on as I rush out the door. I'm almost always pushing it a little, schedule-wise, and I love having such a warm, cute, and comfy shoe that I can just slip on and dash out. Sometimes I even bring along my flip flops in case the sun comes out while I'm teaching! ha ha. I'd rather be prepared and have toasty feet when it's cool than suffer through the chill with my flip flops on! 


happy feet! 


Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work I go! 

These shoes are so comfortable to wear. Even though they feel like slippers on the inside, they act like proper shoes on the outside. They feel great for errands and dog walks - and they're so cute to boot! I always get compliments on them when I'm out and about wearing them. I think all those people are just jealous that their feet aren't as cozy as mine! 

The Graham shoes come in 4 different colors: blue (like mine), grey, brown, and black. On the black ones, the fleece lining is also black. I ordered these in a size 9, and the fit is snug. I think that's partly because of the fleece lining. I like the way mine fit, but if you're between sizes, or if you want to be able to wear socks with your shoes, I think you might want to go up a half-size. 


hometown hygge

Although I wear these all the time when I'm off to teach and do errands... I also wear them all the time around the house. I wear them when I'm cozying up on the sofa with Snoopy, when I'm cooking in the kitchen, when I'm working on my blog (like right now!!), when I'm doing my yoga studies... They are just the ultimate around-the-house shoes. They will keep your feet so happy!! 


 
your feet will be so cozy that they will need their very own cup of hot cocoa and big bowl of soup. 

*** COUPON CODE for you! ***
Use the coupon code VEGANEATS18 for 20% off any purchase from Jambu.com 

I think most of you know by now that I am a brand ambassador for Jambu's line of vegan shoes for women. Jambu makes a huge range of vegan styles - from winter boots to stylish boots to sandals and sneakers. (Remember that not all of their shoes are vegan though, so be sure to stick to the vegan shoes section of their site). 


Here are the other styles I've reviewed this fall: 



Monday, November 05, 2018

Yoga Retreat Eats!

Last month, I headed up to Graeagle, CA to lead a 3-day yoga retreat. It was my second year teaching up there, and I already have plans to go back again next fall. Graeagle is a wonderful little community about 1 hour north of Truckee... and it is just so beautiful. It's about a 6 hour drive from where I live, so it's a nice little road trip. I got a good early start so I wouldn't be stressed - and BEST of all, I had company because my mom came with me! My mom has been coming to my yoga classes for many years, and this was her first time coming to one of my retreat. We had such a great time together, like we pretty much always do. :) Plus, it was her birthday weekend! 

Momsie and Me Yoga! 


One of our road snacks: Biena Chickpeas!

Biena sent me a bunch of their chickpeas to try - and they arrived right before we left for our trip. I really love these guys - they are definitely the best store-bought roasted chickpeas I've ever had. They're perfectly seasoned, crunchy but not too dry or too starchy. Yum! 


Lunch on the Road!
I got us each a Veggie Hummus Wrap from a cafe near our house (Gayle's Bakery, for any Santa Cruz locals!) I love these wraps, they're one of my go-to options when I need a quick lunch that feels nourishing and healthy. It was a perfect road trip lunch because it was easy to eat in the car - chock full of veggies, and super delicious! Also, see how beautiful the countryside is up there??? 

Before we left for the weekend, I did a load of cooking - in fact, I cooked up pretty much all our food for the whole weekend. Graeagle does have some cute restaurants, but there's not a lot in the way of vegan options. Plus, when I'm teaching all weekend at a retreat, it's really nice to just go back to my little place and eat and be quiet - rather than having to hustle around to a restaurant. Here's what I made: 


Tofu Scramble with Kale and Sweet Potatoes
(from Vegan Brunch)

This is one of my favorite tofu scrams of all time! I made a huge batch - enough for breakfast every day for my mom and me. It's a super hearty and filling. This is the backyard at the cute little spot where we were staying. 


Potato-Kale Enchiladas
(from Veganomicon)

For our lunches, I made a large batch of these Potato-Kale Enchiladas, one of my favorite recipes of all time! I'm not sure what went wrong, but for some reason this batch of enchies was so dry! I think part of the problem may have been that I didn't use the proper type of potato... Another problem was that the microwave at our little apartment was hilariously insufficient and we had to microwave our enchies for at least 9-10 minutes to make them hot! ha ha ha. By Sunday, we realized that it was helpful to add some water while we were heating them up. We also went to the little local market and successfully located some guacamole, which was a major help! Don't let my bad experience discourage you though, this really is a great recipe, I promise! 


Red Lentil Dhal

I love this recipe SO much! It was absolutely perfect for our dinners - hearty and warming and satisfying. If you are looking for a good dhal recipe, look no further! This has been one of my favorites for so many years. Despite having to microwave it for one hundred and thirty-five minutes, it really was delicious! 

I also made COOKIES! I always like to make treats for my yoga students when I teach retreats or workshops. For this year, I wanted to make some cookies that had good autumn flavors - so I made Ginger Cookies (from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar) and I made a batch of "Grandaddies" - an amaretto cookie recipe that I made in honor of my grandpa. I love to share the joy of vegan treats with other people! Plus, we had to have a special treat for my mom's birthday!!
(photo by Emily!)


doin' backbends... thinking about cookies!
as you do.


On Saturday night, we had a really great group dinner. My friend Emily, who was hosting our retreat at her beautiful studio (Trails Within), organized the dinner and had it catered by some friends of hers. We gathered at the vacation rental that one of our group had rented, which was a totally great spot. The couple who cooked for us did an absolutely amazing job making us a very special vegan dinner: roasted pumpkin halves filled with a delicious quinoa stuffing, topped with sweetened pecans. With a side salad of a very autumnal kale salad. Then we even had a lovely apple crisp for dessert. The whole thing was really delicious and was cooked and served with so much love and affection. Their adorable little son even acted as our little waiter, and it was so sweet. The plates were made with 100% compostable palm leaves, and they even wrapped our plates with tinfoil if we had leftovers. It was such a wonderful evening and a delicious meal! 


Here are a few pictures from our adventure:

My mom and me looking out over Long Lake! On Sunday, after our last practice together, Emily led us on a group hike, which was really fun! This area is filled with open spaces, mountains, rivers, and lakes... it's just so much beauty in every direction! 


I saw some very special wild creatures: crawdads and kokanee salmon! If you look closely at the bottom left corner of the picture on the left, you'll see a pretty little red crawdad who was cruising along on the floor of the river. So sweet! There were actually about 6-7 of them, and I got so excited. I hadn't seen a crawdad since I was a little girl! 

And in the picture on the right, you can see some salmon swimming upstream to spawn. This was so special and meaningful for me. I think salmon spawning is just so emotional and amazing. How do they know what to do?? My friend Emily took me on a hike where we could see these salmon and it was so great! 


Giant pinecones from a Sugar Pine, golden autumn light, trails for hiking, wandering rivers, and more trees than you can imagine!! What a beautiful place and what a beautiful weekend with such a wonderful group of people!



Monday, October 29, 2018

Rainbow Potluck Bonanza!!!



Hooorah! It's time for another Double Rainbow Potluck Party! 
The double rainbow potluck party rules are as follows:

*) We attempt to  create a savory dish and a sweet dish for every color of the rainbow.
*) Each attendee must commit to one or two dishes (example: "red savory" &/or "green sweet")
*) Bonus points for wearing clothes the color of the dish you brought OR wearing garish rainbow clothing!
*) No food coloring! Try to use seasonal food if possible, but only use food-based colors for affect!
*) Friendly and generous attitude toward the culinary creations of others!

This year's potluck was more intimate than some previous years - for various reasons, a few of our most esteemed Rainbow Potluck regulars were not able to come. But worry not! We invited cool news friends and even made a fun brand new friend-to-be!


  
Red Savory: Tomato and Basil Pizzas on Cornmeal Crusts

This is one of our very favorite summer meals - it's so simple and really lets the ingredients shine all on their own. For the pizza crusts, I used the organic cornmeal pizza crusts from Vicolo. They come in the refrigerated section and they are incredibly delicious. They also come in a gluten-free variation, so I made one of those for our GF guest as well! I make these very simple: fresh pressed garlic, a dash of olive oil, a ginormous load of julienned fresh basil, and then thinly sliced dry-farmed tomatoes... all topped with a little pinch of finishing salt. Oh my goodness, it's all so delicious. I could eat ten of these! 


Red Sweet: Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

I usually dip more of the berry into the chocolate, but I wanted more of the redness to be on display. Why are chocolate-covered strawberries so perfect? What a delicious combination, and so easy to make (and easy to eat!)


Orange Savory: Orange Tacos! 

One year, when I was in charge of green, I made all-green tacos. So this year I made all-orange tacos. I made orange Pico de Gallo salsa using orange hot peppers and orange tomatoes from the farmers market. Next I made Fajitas, using the recipe from The Taco Cleanse. I used only orange bell peppers for extra orangy-ness! And then I made orange tortillas - I don't think you can tell in this photo, but they turned out a pretty nice orange tone. To get the orange hue, I pureed roasted red bell peppers and sundried tomatoes in the water that I added to the masa. It worked great! 


Orange Sweet: Grilled Peach-Plum-Apricot Hybrids (!)

I planned to make a fancy almond cake with these fruits, but it was pretty much a total disaster. It was actually kinda yummy, but it totally collapsed, and the fruits sunk down entirely out of sight... ha ha. I needed a last minute idea! So, I cut them in half and grilled them. I love grilled stone fruits - it really brings out the sweetness in a nice way. 


Yellow-Orange Savory: Curry! 

Check out the color on this beautiful curry!! This was so delicious - with lovely seasoning and full of veggies. We wanted a couple more people at our party, so our friends M & M were like "we know JUST the right person!" Ha ha. Their wonderful pal showed up with this totally excellent offering, full of good cheer and was a really delightful presence at our party! How fun that it all worked out in such a great way. I hope we get to hang out with her again. :)


100% Yellow Savory: Saffron Rice

She also brought this beautiful pot of truly yellow Saffron Rice to go along with the curry - and it was really excellently yellow!! Altogether, an excellent offering for Yellow Savory! 


Yellow Sweet: Chai Cookies with Apricot Jam

Our friend, and trusted alumna of every rainbow potluck, Alana brought these *delicious* and surprisingly yellow cookies! I don't remember exactly how she described them except that it was a long list of ingredients that pretty much sounded like my dream cookie: nutty, apricot jam, chai spices... they were beautiful and tasty, and happily, she left a bunch for us at the end of the evening. So we were enjoying them for a few days! YUM. 



Green Savory: A Truly Green Salad

You know how we always call it "green salad"? Well I decided to make a totally literal all-green salad. I thought of everything green to put in: lettuce, green bell peppers, cucumber, celery, steamed broccolini, avocado, green tomatoes, and hemp seeds -- all topped with green goddess dressing (the recipe from Appetite for Reduction). That green goddess dressing is one of my favorites. I make it all the time! In general, I am a strong believer in having a proper salad at every potluck. It just makes me feel good to have a good dose of salad along with all the sweeties and treats and special foods. 

Green Sweet: Kale Cake (unpictured!)
Oh no! I can't believe I didn't get a picture of the kale cake (hangs head in shame). Our beloved pal K brought her famous kale cake! She says that it doesn't actually have a ton of kale in it, but it has enough kale to turn green! Kale really packs a green punch like that. Ha ha. This year she made it gluten-free and wasn't sure about it, but it was really good! And it had a really great icing made with applesauce, a nice fruity flavor combination with the cake. So fun! 


Blue Savory: Blue Corn Chips with blue hummus and blue salsa
Blue Sweet: Blueberry Crisp! (at the very top of the picture)

Our excellent friends M&M came to the rainbow potluck for the first time... and when I sent out the group text to see which colors people wanted to sign up for - they bravely responded within minutes "We'll take blue sweet and savory!" WHAT. Most years, everyone avoids blue and I get stuck with blue! ha ha. I applaud their sassy confidence!

Blue is notoriously difficult in foods - but they did a noble attempt (even if the result was a little more on the purple spectrum, hee hee) - and their offerings were very tasty! Along with the blue corn chips were two really creative dips: a salsa made with dark tomatoes, purple cabbage, and black beans - it was beautiful and yummy! The other dip was a hummus variant - I think they said that it even had potatoes in it! 

For blue sweet, they brought along a blueberry crisp - an excellent way to make friends and influence people! ha! You just really can't go wrong! It was SO good! 


Purple Savory: Israeli Couscous with Purple Madness!

Alana also brought this excellent and hearty purple couscous dish - it was so fun and playful: huge Israeli couscous (why is this such a perfect food?? so fun to eat!) with kidney beans, purple cabbage, purple onions... all full of purple veggies, and full of flavor too. I think she must have just innovated this recipe... and in addition to being a celebration of purple-ness, it was also so tasty and satisfying. 


Purple Sweet: Concord Grape Pie

For purple sweet, I got creative and made a Concord Grape Mini-Pie. I used my lovely little mini-pie pan that makes a half-sized pie. I love it for those times when you don't want to be left with a huge amount of pie!

I had recently canned some grape juice, using the Concord Grapes from my aunt's garden. It's so good and SO intense, and also extremely purple. I was thinking of a lemon meringue pie... but with grapes! I kinda roughly used a recipe from Deborah Madison, but then I realized it wouldn't work vegan... so I went off the rails. I added some agar, some kudzu, and some arrowroot ... I was SO happy with the result! I wish I'd taken better notes on what I did! The texture was great: it held together, but it wasn't too firm either - the consistency was really smooth. It was EXTREMELY grapey and actually pretty intense. I think next time I would add a little more sugar? Also, after I had made it, Musty made a comment in passing about a peanut butter and jelly pie! What if I had used peanut butter in the crust??? That would have been amazing. Maybe I will experiment again with this in the future.


Clouds: So Delicious CocoWhip! 

Going way back to the very first rainbow potluck, we sometimes always like to have some offerings for the clouds at the end of the rainbow. Happily, I wanted to get some CocoWhip to go with the grape pie and the grilled stone fruits... so it was a perfect cloudy fit. Warning: this stuff is very, very good.


My Rainbow Dinner Plate! 

Of course I arranged my food in rainbow order!!! Is there really any alternative? 
Just look at all this glorious bounty!!! Everything that our friends brought was truly delicious - we are lucky to have such excellent friends who are also good cooks! 


My Rainbow Dessert Plate!

Oh! Here you can see my piece of green kale cake! Red orange yellow green blue purple desserts!!! How fun is that??? Obviously, the rainbow potluck is extremely fun. We were a little later in the season this year, but I'm so glad we made it happen! We all stayed up late having such fun conversations, sharing ideas, and eating all this delicious food. Huzzah! Would celebrate again. 






Thursday, October 11, 2018

Evans Boots for Stomping and Romping: A Vegan Shoe Review!

feeling fancy and all ready to teach a yoga retreat! 

SWOON. Aren't these just the cutest boots ever??? I am so in love with my new Evans Boots from JBU (a sub-brand of Jambu Footwear). They are kinda my dream shoe and I can't stop wearing them, and I'm so glad the weather is cooling down so that I won't have to stop wearing them for a long time. I took them up to Northern California with me last week when I was leading a yoga retreat in Graeagle, CA - and they were just the PERFECT shoes for that trip! 

First of all, they are absolutely crazy comfortable. They look and feel equally great with my yoga tights as with my regular pants or jeans. They are super easy to zip-on and zip-off. The soles are really high quality and feel supportive and durable. They kept my feet really warm and toasty without overheating.

Jambu makes lots of great vegan shoes for women, in a ton of different styles - from boots to sandals, and from casual to more dressy. They aren't all vegan though, so make sure you are looking at the vegan shoes part of their site before falling in love with a non-vegan shoe! 


STOMPIN' up a storm!

These shoes just make me so happy! They make me do crazy little dances and stomp my feet around like I am King Kong or like I am going to destroy my foes and emerge victoriously with my sword held high. I mean, really they just make me feel like a total badass and I love them! These are great attitude shoes when I mean business or want to feel extra confident. Obviously I am also a complete goofball who pulled over on the side of the road and took videos of herself stomping her feet around and pretending to be a monster. 

The first time I tried these on, I was at a yoga course out of town, and I ended up going for an hour long walk up in the hills with them on: climbing hills, climbing and descending long staircases, traipsing through woodland trails... and even with brand new shoes my feet were happy as can be! At first the Evans boot felt a little on the narrow side for my feet, but as I have continued to wear them, that has entirely gone away and they feel perfect on my feet. I wear a size 9, and these fit me very true to size. 


 These pictures show the stylish detailing on the Evans Boots - I especially like the little buckle and the gentle crinkle of the faux leather. And check out the soles - they're really serious and have great grip. These boots are also "water resistant" (not water proof, but sturdier than some!). They come in black and brown and I found it hard to choose between the two because they're both really pretty. I'm glad I went with black in the end though because I have more black in my wardrobe.

The top left picture shows the Evans boot from the outer ankle view, and the top right picture shows the inner ankle view where the zipper is. The zipper goes pretty much all the way to the sole of the shoe, so it's really effortless to get my feet in and out.


Here you can see how fuzzy they are on the inside!!!

Around the front of the ankle, these shoes have a sort of faux shearling lining, and then the rest of the inside liner is super soft velvety fleecey fabric. Whatever it is, it's pure comfort magic. The insoles are made with memory foam and it's just an extremely pleasant experience to wear these shoes! I almost always wear them with socks, but a few times I've worn them out for errands without socks and they are still cozy and comfy even without socks.


Before heading home after my yoga retreat was over, I wore my Evans boots on a day hike with my friend and her beautiful dog. It wasn't a crazy demanding hike, but my boots did a great job walking along the trail, scrambling over some rocks to see salmon swimming upstream in the river, and keeping my feet comfy and secure the whole time. They got all dusty on the trail and easily cleaned up again when I got home! 

The whole hike was super autumnal - with aspen trees turning bright yellow, a little chill in the air, and especially those amazing salmon. It had probably been at least 20 years since I had seen salmon swimming upstream to spawn. It's so amazing to watch. 


me on my hike, with my perfect pinecone

I also found a perfect pinecone on my hike and brought it home with me. See how beautiful it was there?? I was basically oohing and aahing the whole time and I took so many pictures. My friend Emily took this picture of me balancing on a little foot bridge... feeling comfy and confident with my awesome Evans boots on! 

In addition to day hiking and long city walks, I've been wearing these boots to go teach yoga, do errands, go to the farmers market, walk the dogs... you name it! They haven't failed me yet and I love them more and more everyday! 



*** COUPON CODE for YOU! ***
I am a brand ambassador for Jambu Footwear and I was sent these shoes to review... but happily, I also have a coupon code so that you can save 20% off any shoe purchase at Jambu.com 
VEGANEATS18
The coupon code is good until December 31st, 2018

Let me know if you get any shoes for yourself! This season I have also reviewed the stylish Parker Boots and the Spirit Vegan Slip-ons in case you want to check out those reviews as well.