Vegan Mother’s Day Brunch (including a Vegan Quiche Recipe)

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One of the earliest memories I have of Mother’s Day was when I was a young girl and my siblings and I (with the help of my dad, of course) made my mom breakfast in bed. I think there is something so wonderful about cooking someone you love a special meal. And on Mother’s Day, I got to be the one who made her breakfast. There’s something distinct about feeding and taking care of the one who always feeds and takes care of you. So, after many years since I last made breakfast for my mom, I thought a special way to show my appreciation for her would be to make her a wonderful brunch featuring one of my own recipes for a vegan quiche. See, how easy you can assemble a little brunch for your mom or grandma and how easy you can impress her with a delicious home-made vegan quiche that I trust you will be easy to cook up.

First up, a brunch isn’t a brunch without drinks. The typical brunch drink are mimosas, which is simple mixture of champagne with a dash of orange juice. But, if you or your mom isn’t one for alcoholic drinks, then try the virgin mimosa. This is mostly carbonated water (like La Croix) with a splash of orange juice. It gives all the same tingly bubbles without any of the alcohol. And if you want to spruce up your real or virgin mimosas then try adding a few raspberries into it to make it taste and feel extra fancy.

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Next up is the main attraction, the vegan quiche. You will find the recipe below. You can make this a day or two in advance if you’d like. All you have to do to reheat it is place the little quiches either back into the muffin tray or on a cookie sheet and heat at 300◦F for 10-15 minutes.

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Vegan Quiche Recipe

Total Cooking Time: 45 Minutes

Makes 6-8 vegan quiches

Tools You’ll Need: Oven, Pan/Skillet, Blender, Muffin Tray

Ingredients:

  • ¼ of a medium red onion sliced
  • 1 medium red potato sliced or cubed
  • 6-8 (1/4 of a container) cremini mushrooms sliced
  • ¼ green bell pepper chopped
  • ¼ orange bell pepper chopped
  • ½ a container of firm Tofu cubed
  • 2 Tablespoons of Garlic Salt (Plain salt will also work)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Turmeric
  • 1 Tablespoon of Pepper
  • ¼ cup of Soy Milk (or almond, if you prefer)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Vegan Butter
  • 2 cans Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
  • 1 slice of Vegan cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350◦F and heat up a pan on stovetop to medium heat.
  2. Slice ¼ of a medium red onion and place slices into warmed up skillet. Continuously stir onions around until they are caramelized.
  3. After onions are tender, place potato slices and chopped bell peppers into pan. Stir often.
  4. While vegetables are cooking in pan, prepare tofu. Place firm tofu into blender with garlic salt, turmeric, pepper, and soy milk. Blend until you get a thick, smooth texture similar to a hollandaise sauce.
  5. After blending, put aside “eggy” base and use a paper towel to spread the vegan butter to wipe the inside and top part of a muffin tray. This will help prevent the crescent rolls from sticking to the tray.
  6. Pop open crescent rolls and use two triangles to shape the bottom portion of your quiche. Don’t worry about the ends sticking up out of the tray, we will fold these back over once the filling is inside.
  7. After placing crescent rolls inside muffin tray, take 1-2 tablespoons of the vegetable filling from the pan and place inside the muffin (on top of where you put your crescent rolls).
  8. Then scoop 1 tablespoon of the tofu “eggy” base and place that on top the vegetables. And if you want to make it cheesy, place a little piece of vegan cheese on top.
  9. Once everything is filled inside the muffin tray, fold over the corners of the crescent rolls so they cover on top of the vegetables and tofu “eggy” base.
  10. Place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Use a fork to poke inside, if it comes out clean then it is cooked all the way through. Let stand for 5 minutes, then ready to serve.

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The quiches are quite filling, but if you want to add a little bit more to really make it feel like a brunch then keep reading to see what other things you can put on the table.

My next suggestion is a favorite of my husband’s, which are the Trader Joe’s hash browns. What I like about them is they come in a cute serving size and only take 4 minutes to fry up on the stove top. They are super easy to make and only cost a few dollars for a pack of twelve.

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Another thing which makes any brunch feel extra fancy is fresh fruit. You can go to your local grocery store, like Safeway, and find an assortment of freshly cut fruit packaged up and ready to serve. You can mix and match different fruits to make your own unique fruit salad, or you can buy the fruit salad assortments already available. The prices vary on this, depending on which options you select, but you can expect to spend $5-$8.

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If you or your mom have any other breakfast favorites, make sure to include them on the table. Otherwise, with this brunch menu you are all set to make one amazing breakfast for your mom on Mother’s Day.

5 Things to Use Instead of Wrapping Paper This Christmas

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As a child my favorite thing about Christmas morning was ripping open my presents. I loved the feel of soft plush bows, satiny ribbons, and crisp new boxes. In fact, when I was three I preferred the boxes my gifts came in instead of the actual gifts. I played with those boxes for hours.

However, I think everyone can agree how satisfying it is to tear off that wrapping paper, but had I known then how bad the gift wrapping paper was I would never have unwrapped my gifts. Now as an adult, buying wrapping paper is so costly for something that’s just going to be thrown away. I’m sure, like my family, this Christmas, after all the wrapping paper is torn off the gifts, you’ll gather up all the paper remains into a trash bag and throw it away. This is such a huge and unnecessary waste. Keep reading to find out how to replace gift wrapping paper with Eco-friendly options that also have multiple uses too.

The tradition of wrapping gifts in paper isn’t a very long one in American history. For most of the 18th, 19th, and early 20th century, gifts were presented in keepsake boxes which brings me to my first recommendation. A keepsake box today can be in the form of a nice storage container. You can find them for under $10 at places like TJMaxx, Ross, or HomeGoods. What’s nice about them is they come in various sizes, artistic designs, and they usually have magnetic top lids. So, after your friend or family member opens their gift they’ll have a great and unique box to use afterwards.

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However, if those boxes aren’t quite your thing my next recommendation can be used for many occasions. You can buy cardboard gift boxes in a bundle for pretty cheap at the dollar Store or online at Amazon. Since they are plain you can reuse them for many occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, etc. If you store them nicely, you can keep using these over and over saving you lots of time and making gift wrapping less of a hassle.

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If you have a smaller gift, you can try out this next recommendation by also buying a scarf. There are many tutorials on YouTube which demonstrate how to wrap a small gift with a scarf. This is a great idea since the scarf is not only the wrapper but also a bonus gift too!

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If a scarf is not suitable as a bonus gift, then I also recommend a small blanket, a coffee table cover, or even a table runner to use as the wrapper. These can also be useful in wrapping larger gifts too.

For my last recommendation, I suggest using reusable grocery bags. These are pretty affordable since most only cost between $1-$3. Plus, after Christmas is over you can easily put these into great Eco-friendly use at the grocery store.

I hope this list helps you create some new Christmas traditions that are Eco-friendly without the holiday waste.

Top 10 Eco-Friendly Gifts

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During this holiday season, a lot of gifts will be exchanged. While advertisements pressure us to buy material items to give, you also have the option to give gifts with meaning behind them. And what better way to celebrate the present moment than by giving thoughtful gifts that consider the future. This top ten list will you give you many options to consider giving to your eco-minded friends and family or to simply give a gift that helps reduce waste and moves materials products into a more resourceful and innovative future.

Pets

CycleDog

My first recommendation is for all pet lovers out there. Cycle dog is an amazing earth-friendly pet company that sells recycled collars, harnesses, leashes, toys, and beds. Materials range from recycled water bottles, recycled rubber tires, to recycled bottle openers. Collars range from $23-$25, price depending on dog’s size, and their products can be customized to fit your dog perfectly if needed. Based out of Portland, Oregon, all products are hand-made and hand-sewn at their facility there. And shipping is a flat rate of $5 or free with orders over $60.

Children

GreenStart_Blocks

This is an exciting year for a few of my friends who recently had children or are expecting their first baby. For my friends with young, toddler-age children and expecting their first child, I’m giving them this awesome gift to their children. The Greenstart line by InnovativeKids has an amazing toy kit called the Stacking and Nesting blocks that is made entirely from Earth-friendly, recycled materials. With ten sturdy boxes to stock build, and nest featuring beautiful illustrations, your child will have enriching content for hours of fun and learning. These blocks also include different early-learning concepts of each side; numbers, letters, shapes, colors, and baby animals. This has so much learning in one toy that it can easily last for many years in a child’s early life. For toys in different age ranges, make sure to check out their website to see all the eco-friendly toys they have ranging from newborns to five years old. The Earth-friendly green start line features puzzles, games, books and more made from recycled materials, FSC wood, and eco-friendly inks. Every green start product is designed to encourage a love of nature and features simple messages that kids will understand and enjoy.

Jewelry

JordWatches

Around this time of year there’s a lot of pressure to focus on jewelry as a gift, especially for women. But what about something a little more unique, like a wood watch? Jord wood watches is a company ran by artists, designers, and marketers that offer options for both men and women. And what’s special about this gift is the watches come in beautiful wood gift boxes. If you are looking for something like this but with a little bit of a lower price point, then I recommend WeWood watches. Both companies are completely committed to bettering the environment, which makes this little gift quite impactful.

Home

SaltLamp

For a little gift that can easily decorate a house another eco-friendly gift is a salt lamp. Not only are they great at cleaning the air and removing dust and toxins from inside, they also give a calming, beautiful glow. In store, I’ve seen small ones for $13 and larger ones for $32. You can easily find them online at Amazon and find a size and price point that best suits your needs. This would be a lovely gift and inexpensive gift for anyone, especially an eco-minded person on your gift list.

Teak and Blown Glass Tube Vase by Viva Terra

Another décor item that is very unique and cool is the Teak and Blown Glass Tube Vase by Viva Terra. Artisan-made in Indonesia, molten glass is poured over a reclaimed teak wood root to create this breathtaking sculpture. The glass flows over the curves of the wood, looking as if it’s frozen in time. Each vessel is made to fit a specific root, and the pairs will all be one-of-a-kind. For only $59, I think this is such a steal for something so incredibly special.

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This next gift is for the bathroom and for your body. Rocky Mountain Soap company is a Canadian company that uses all-natural ingredients to create products for both men and women. They have bath and beauty products that ranges from an entire face care line, bath and shower, body care, candles, deodorants, chap sticks, and aromatherapy. What really makes their products stand out is the amazing range of scents they have. Their holiday collection includes scents like Vanilla Ginger and Vanilla Candy Cane, and they even have fun flavors like their kid’s root beer bubble bath.

PaperSource

If you know anyone who loves writing letters or needs stationary for their home office, then I recommend Paper Source. One of my favorite things to gift is a stationary set with paper and envelopes to a friend of mine who lives in a different state then me. Stationary makes a great gift for family and friends who live far away because I see it as a promise to continue communication even though distance may keep you apart. But Paper Source is an amazing choice for stationary due to their commitment to being eco-friendly. They only partner with mills that adhere to environmental and socioeconomic standards, many of which are fueled via wind or hydro power. Their collection of solid color papers, cards, and envelopes are made from at least 30% post-consumer waste. And their printers operate with reduced volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions and recycle their ink waste. Based out of Chicago, this company is on a mission to making stationary paper as stylish ad eco-friendly as possible.

In many cities now, plastic bags are no longer being used which is a good thing for the environment. But to avoid paying for paper bags, the best thing to use are reusable bags/totes. One can never have enough of these bags. You can keep a few stored in your kitchen and another couple in your car. And now that these bags are everywhere, not to mention super affordable, you can find some great styles. Trader Joe’s has a fun selection in their stores. But what really surprised me was to see the Dollar Store collection, which are nice in quality and super cute.

This next gift is something I love giving and receiving. Every year, millions of water bottles aren’t recycled and instead are thrown away. You can help reduce that waste by giving someone a reusable drink container. I love love love using my Camelbak as my water bottle. They range from $12-$25, but they do come with a warranty in case they are damaged. But if you need something insulated, I recommend Kleen Kanteen. It keeps cold drinks cold for 24 hours and hot drinks warm for 12 hours.

Strawesome-Glass-Straws-BPA-Free

For a fun little stocking stuffer, I recommend glass or metal straws. Plastic straws are so environmentally wasteful and nearly impossible to recycle. So, if you know any cooking enthusiasts, iced-coffee or smoothie lovers then these are perfect for them. I found my favorite metal straws online at Amazon but another good option with lots of fun choices is Strawesome Glass Straws. This company is family-owned and operated in Michigan that’s committed to health and the environment.

Book Review: The Land of 10,000 Madonnas

10000Madonnas

With Summer closely approaching many people will embark on vacation travels here in the US or abroad. But if you’re like me and you can’t scrounge up the money for an epic Eurotrip, then let me recommend experiencing a nice little vacation vicariously through reading. There are many great reads that include the journey aspect within the narrative. But my current pick at the moment is Kate Hattemer’s The Land of 10,000 Madonnas.

To best explain this novel’s premise, I’ll simply refer to the book jacket’s blurb:

“Jesse left behind five grieving friends – and five plane tickets abroad. As they backpack through Europe [Germany and Italy] with only their secrets for company, will they be able to fulfill Jesse’s dying wish?”

Now, the rest of this post will be a review so if you don’t want any spoilers, I suggest you come back to this post after you’ve read the book. However, if you’re still here let me tell you what I enjoyed and disliked about this book.

Let’s start with why I enjoyed reading this book. The story’s concept of Jesse sending his friends to find his birth mother, who had left Jesse when he was a baby, after his death is fascinating and engaging. It had my eyes glued to the page, reading to see if this gang of friends would find this mystical mother. As the group discovers clues about the mother’s whereabouts in Europe, the pacing of the novel subtly picks up and before you know it you’ve already read 50 – 100 – 150 pages. And what I loved about its realistic, life-like climax, (*SPOILER ALERT*) is that they didn’t find the mother! Because, that’s not what’s central to this story – the story is about Jesse and how his life and death impacted those that loved and cared for him. Jesse is beautifully woven into his friends’ lives and Hattemer’s writing only highlights the themes of life, death, and friendship. And I also liked how the characters initially butted heads and disliked each other at the beginning, understandable given the circumstances they’re thrown into. But as the group travel, they grow to trust each other and grow up a little, which illustrated great character development that I was fond of.

Now for the nitpicking. My biggest complaint is that the story is told in close 3rd-person for the five friends and 1st-person for Jesse’s narrative. Except for Jesse’s chapters, it was sometimes difficult to initially establish who was speaking and/or who’s point of view it was from. And I think the reason this was difficult was because the narrative style (diction, tone, grammar) didn’t change from character to character. They all had the same vernacular and tone of voice, which didn’t work for me because the characters varied greatly in education, social background, and age that this singular tone and style of voice could’ve been more varied. And my next complaint wasn’t really a deterrent from reading, but I kept wondering if maybe there were too many characters/friends in the story overall. It just felt very crowded to have six people’s point of view compete for my attention. I’m not sure what I would recommend: have only two POV’s (Jesse’s and one of his friends), have an omnipotent 3rd-person narrator, or just eliminate two characters/friends entirely. At the moment, I’m leaning towards the latter choice and eliminating two characters since I felt that at certain parts of the novel some of the characters weren’t really that different from each other. In the novel, the five friends are made up of three of Jesse’s cousins (two boys and one girl), Jesse’s girlfriend, and Jesse’s best friend (boy). But the girl-cousin and the girlfriend felt oddly the same character split into two. And three cousins on the trip? Really? It just felt excessive.

But despite my nit-picking I still recommend this book and I think it’s a fresh read. Just to foreworn you though, there is a lot of references to obscure Medieval and Renaissance art (like enough to be sitting through a lecture in an Art History class at a University) and the teenage characters tend to all speak with a very collegiate vernacular (like enough extra SAT prep words to help you accidently study for your test). Even though this wasn’t a deal breaker for me, I thought I’d warn you about this style of writing in case it’s not your taste.

So, I hope you’ll give this book a chance and enjoy reading it (hopefully by the side of a pool on a nice, sunny day) to kickstart your summer reading.

Thrift-Giving for Mother’s Day

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With Mother’s Day coming up this Sunday (here in the US), all we hear on the radio and TV is how we have to buy our mothers something special in order to show her how much we appreciate her. But, do we really need to merit our appreciation for our mothers with a dollar value?

Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of spare change in my household, especially not enough to buy my mother the expensive items advertised on TV. And you know what? That’s very unfair to a child, to make that child feel incompetent because they can’t show their appreciation for their mother through materialistic means. Of course, you can always make your mom a gift, which is what I did for many years.

Now that I’m older and have a little money to spare, I want to buy my mom a nice gift. However, I also want to be consciousness about it though. I don’t want to contribute to the ever-growing fast fashion industry that horribly ruins the environment and workers’ lives. And I still can’t afford those flashy, expensive gifts advertised in the media for jewelry and department stores.

So, what’s a girl to do? Well, I decided to go to my go-to – thrifting. I checked out my local Goodwill and walked around with my husband hoping to see something that screamed “Mom” – and luckily enough, I also helped my husband find a gift for his mother too.

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Here’s a little outfit I put together under $10 for my mom. She lives in Florida, so a light-weight, flowy dress and a pair of sandals are very comfortable and fitting to her lifestyle.

I love the cinched-in waistline on this emerald green dress. It’s flattering for most body shapes and the extra space up top is roomy enough for women who need more space there. And I think this dark green will compliment my mom’s brown eyes. The faux-leather sandals have a sleek gold trim all the way around, which I think nicely pairs with the dress. I must admit though, there was a tiny chunk of the gold trim missing, so I simply filled in the scratched-up space with a gold sharpie and – voila – the shoe was fixed up. Now, it looks almost brand new.

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Now, I know you can’t always find clothing and shoes for your mother (due to various sizes and what’s available in stock), but here’s what you can find instead. Most Goodwill’s have a book section. So, for my mother-in-law, my husband picked out his favorite books. I think it’s a touching gift to give someone a favorite book of yours, to share with them something you fell in love with. But, what I think is so special about this gift for Mother’s Day is, chances are, your mother was the one who taught you how to read. So, it’s nice that she taught you how to read and now you can share the gift she gave you by showing her your favorite reads.

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Here, my husband found a complete Sherlock Holmes anthology (his favorite) and I picked out The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (two of my favorite books). My mother-in-law is an avid reader, so this was a fitting gift for her.

So, don’t worry about finding the most perfect or the most expensive gift for your mother. Just focus on giving something you think your mother will most enjoy. And by thrifting, you’ll often find it’s cheaper than buying something at the mall and you can feel good about reusing and recycling items instead of letting them rot in a landfall.

I hope you enjoy Mother’s Day and are lucky enough to spend it with your mother.