Happy New Year! I’m grateful for being off work today for taking down Christmas decorations (not fun), settings some New Year’s goals (fun), and catch up on a little cleaning (not fun). Last night hubby and I headed to another vegan meetup dinner in Sacramento where touring vegan chef Joshua Ploeg created an impressive menu for sampling. I found out about this event through the local Sacramento Vegan and Vegetarian groups on Meetup, a slick site for local clubs and interests groups. If you’re interested about local events and groups in your area, poke around Meetup.
The spread was impressive and over 40 people showed up for this event, the room was packed!
The menu for the evening was:
- Pomegranate Gazpacho Shots
- Collard Dolmathes with Creamy Dill-Garlic-Lemon Dipping Sauce
- Sweet Potato Bites
- Twice Baked Cauliflower-Tahini Puffs
- A Nice Big Salad
- Mini Veggie Tofu (Unchickeny style) Pot Pies
- Pumpkin Pie Baklava
- Ginger Almond Truffles
And the portion sizes were perfect for sampling then going back for seconds and everything was delicious. The sweet potato bites were coated with coconut oil and a blend of seasonings with cacao powder for a unique and fun flavor, must try that at home soon. The cauliflower tahini puffs and pot pies seemed to be the most popular, they disappeared first.
We were lucky to sit down next to a couple that we hit it off with, the girl is also a vegan runner in the area and will be doing a lot of the same races I am for 2014 – fun! And they brought these cute little cans of sparkling wine with bendy straws.
We also chatted with other vegans I’ve met at past meetups and had a great time. Like dorks, we were home by 9:30pm to watch movies and chill with the pets until midnight since it was a busy day at work for me.
No long 2013 recap post this year, but I have been reflecting on the year and noticing it seemed to fly by faster than previous years. The biggest events include:
- Trading my old economy gas car for an electric car and learning to view cars and my transportation needs in a new light
- Gaining Skipper, an older rescued dog with health challenges and learning to be more patient caring for his needs
- Not a lot of travel or vacations this year, just a getaway to Lake Tahoe and traveling this year will be a challenge making sure our house full of pets is cared for
- I did finally make it to Animal Place farm sanctuary multiple times and plan more visits and support in 2014
- I only ran one half marathon in 2013, but it was a good one with a huge PR! And I got my first race award for a speedy 10k while improving my pace overall with lots of treadmill training and taking on more shorter races.
Really 2013 seemed busier with more work, but not a lot of significant memories. I think I got more caught up with taking care of pets, adjusting to a busier home life and more financial demands rather than living in the moment and creating more memories. That’s something I want to change for 2014 taking on more fun experiences and valuing the present more than worrying about the future. Some more goals for 2014 include:
- Running at least two half marathons and more races in between. I’m already signed up for one in March with my sisters that I’m excited about!
- Learning new skills! I’m thinking of taking on a new language, working on IT certifications, learning to play an instrument, and getting more into yoga.
- Making gradual improvements to be a happier and a more positive person that I plan to write more about
- Being a more generous person donating to good causes while saving money by improving my thrift shopping skills
- Testing and writing about more vegan products, especially cosmetics and fashion
- Creating more whole food recipes that do not use oils and consuming less soy, ideally saving tofu and other soy products for eating out while choosing better sources of vegan protein at home
Consuming less refined sugars and carbs is also important, so I’m starting the New Year off with a great giveaway of NuNaturals Stevia! Stevia is a great, natural, no calorie sugar alternative that comes in many forms from liquids to baking blends. I’ve used it in many recipes in the past including:
- Banana Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding
- Breakfast Quinoa
- Simple Vegan Pancakes
- Spiced Chia Seed Pudding
- Wasabi Sweet Potato Fries
- Holiday Spiced Dessert Balls
- Orange Dessert Balls
And 4 lucky winners will receive:
- 1 bottle of NuNaturals Pure Liquid Peppermint NuStevia
- 1 bottle of NuNaturals Pure Liquid Lemon NuStevia
- 1 bottle of NuNaturals Pure Liquid Cherry Vanilla NuStevia
- 1 box of 50 NuStevia White Stevia Powder packets
You can order Pure Liquid Stevia directly from NuNaturals and get a 15% discount by using discount code BLG0614 at checkout, effective until June 30th, 2014. And you’ll also get free shipping on orders over $35 in the continental US.
To enter to giveaway, leave a comment telling me what you’d use the stevia for. For additional entries:
- Like NuNaturals Facebook page.
- Like my Facebook page.
- Follow NuNaturals on Twitter.
- Follow me on Twitter
And leave a comment for each. I will announce the winners one week from today on January 8th, 2014. Good luck!