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So let’s just get something clear – I am a cookbook hoarder. I have shelves and piles and stacks of vegetarian cookbooks, vegan cookbooks, gluten-free cookbooks, juice and smoothie recipe books, raw foods un-cook books, an entire book devoted to peanut butter, and oh-so-many vegan and vegetarian “health” books. Yup. It’s bad. It’s bad because so frequently I get all excited to pre-order a new, well-reviewed and highly anticipated book on amazon (yes, guilty as charged), only to flip through the pages a few times, ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the glossy photos, try a half a dozen recipes and then put it aside, somehow forgetting about all the delicious meals I was once oh-so-inspired to make (that’s why Pinterest is so freaking handy!). Then, naturally, when the next cookbook arrives, this routine starts all over again. Now, that’s not to say I don’t return to the said cookbooks from time to time… But in reality, there are only a precious few that encompass recipes that end up making themselves into my weekly cooking menus.

Christy Morgan‘s Blissful Bites is one of them. This book, my friends, has turned my kitchen into a Blissful Bites Cafe. I kid you not – ever since I purchased Blissful Bites, I have been literally living off of her Mac ‘n Kale Salad (I eat it nearly every day- sometimes with extra veggies, hemp seeds, a little tempeh or whatever else is handy). I also LOVE the Kale Salad with Sweet Mustard Dressing. Can you tell kale is my favorite food? Aside from these amazing massaged kale salads, my boyfriend and I LOVE her tempeh recipes and I make either the Maple Tempeh or the Tempeh Fakin’ Bacon each week to add to salads, wraps and sandwiches. Other faves include her Curry Tempeh Chicken Salad, Save a Duck Pate,  Not-Your-Usual Pad Thai, Gluten-free Banana Walnut Pancakes and the Basil-Cashew “Cheese” Sauce… and so many more! What makes Christy’s recipes different, in my opinion, is her perfectly balanced focus on health in all aspects- physically, mentally and spiritually- combined with her creativity in the kitchen and desire to make health taste as good as it feels.

Aside from providing me with the majority of the recipes my boyfriend and I literally LIVE on, I have to say.Blissful Bites is more than a cookbook. It is full of bright, vivid food porn! The photographs are eye-catching, amazing and always inspire me to experiment with even more of her delectable creations. What’s more, however, is the length that Christy goes to in order to truly educate (and again, inspire!) her readers about not only her vegan philosophy and tips for “starters,” but also the basics of macrobiotic cooking, tips on pantry stocking, explanations of some of the less common ingredients, clear directions on various cooking, chopping and slicing techniques and the benefits of seasonal eating (going so far as to divide the chapters up by season, which makes it effortless!). With all of this goodness packed into one book, what isn’t there to love?

So, as I stated- Blissful Bites is one of my absolute favorite cookbooks- full of delicious, healthy, easy to prepare plant-based foods that both long time vegans and full time omnivores (yes, even vegaphobes, ie: my brother!) enjoy. If you have yet to get this cookbook, I highly recommend you do so- if you are anything like me, it will be a worthy investment for your health, taste buds and for anyone that is ever lucky enough to have you prepare a meal for them!

 

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So I stumbled across this article while skipping around the interwebs today and thought I would share. It is a list of VERY commonly used foods that use genetically modified ingredients, ranging from BABY FOOD to cooking mixes, soda to meat products and more or less everything and anything in between. Although I didn’t see any of the foods I personally eat on the list, I figured this list is worth sharing for anyone interested.

Things you didn’t know were genetically engineered foods!

As a long time vegan and excessive stalker of all vegan-themed blogs, I figured it was time that I start my own.

For years I have debated beginning my own vegan blogging quest- yet always decided not to, feeling a little too intimidated, a little too inadequate. I don’t have a good camera- and even if I did, I wouldn’t know how to skillfully photograph anything. I don’t know anything about web design. While I am a great home-cook and adept baker, I do not compare to the many culinary geniuses that are out there on the web, developing new recipes and perfecting the art of “food porn.” While I know lots about nutrition, I hold no qualifications and therefore deem myself unable to offer any significant dietary advice. And I don’t have a cool job or a weeding or cute kids to talk about either. So what could I possibly offer to the vegan-blogging community?

Nothing- or so I thought. Until right now.

This morning I came to the sudden realization that everything that I am permitting to hold me back from starting a blog are the things that have held me back my whole life- fears, insecurities and self-doubt. I am comparing myself to people I am not- registered dietitians that specialize in vegan nutrition, holistic nutritionists, doctors, professional chefs and bakers, cookbook writers, food photographers, culinary geniuses, fitness gurus, motivational speakers- the list goes on… And so it’s no wonder I have continued to shush my voice and devalue my own experiences to the point that I refuse to share them! It’s easy to feel inadequate when comparing yourself to other people – and that’s why it’s generally not something I would suggest any one do- including myself. So here I am, saying “shut up” to those voices and allowing myself to just being myself, blogging my little fingers away about whatever it is that is burning beneath my skin, boiling through my veins, waiting to erupt through my fingertips and onto the screen. I have my own voice, my own interests and my own experience to share. And hopefully that’s enough.

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Filling bellies and hearts.

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