Vegan Father’s Day BBQ

grillfather1

When I think of Father’s Day, I think of my father’s famous BBQ’s. He loves grilling meat on a grill, but ever since I’ve been vegan he’s been more open to grilling veggies as well. In fact, he has perfected the art of grilled broccoli, so much so that even my teenage step-brothers beg for seconds of his home-made barbecued broccoli. So, keep reading to discover his amazing recipe as well as find out how easy it is to put together a vegan barbecue for your father this Father’s Day.

BeyondMeat1

The classic staple in any barbecue is the burger. And trust me, vegan burgers do not disappoint. In the words of my husband, the best vegan burger is by Beyond Meat. With 20 grams of protein, 25% of your daily intake of iron, zero cholesterol, and only 5 grams of saturated fat, this burger is beyond healthy but without all the fattiness and cholesterol of a normal beef burger. Beyond Meat keeps the whole experience of cooking burger as similar as possible, so they’ve worked very hard to create a burger that changes color as you cook it just like animal protein by using beets as one of the primary ingredients for the color and for its ability to “bleed”. The beets give the patty a red-meat appearance and provides the juice for it to cook just like a normal burger would normally cook in its own juices and fat. And, while your dad is cooking up these amazing burgers, you can easily prepare the toppings like lettuce, onions, tomatoes, pickles, etc.

BeyondMeat2.png

Another thing you can easily throw on the grill are veggie kebabs. You can make these yourself, or you can buy them in the deli section at your local grocery store. Most kebabs come with pieces of meat stuck between pieces of bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, and onions. However, you can ask the deli to prepare kebabs with only the veggies if they don’t have any prepared. You can just simply place them on the grill plain, or you can dress it up in a vinaigrette-based marinade. My two favorite marinades are by Lawry’s, which are cheap and found in most grocery stores, are Lawry’s Lemon Pepper Marinade and Lawry’s Teriyaki Marinade with Pineapple Juice.

VeggieKebab

Another delicious grilled veggie is corn. Grilled corn is one of my favorite barbeque essentials, plus corn is super affordable and in season during the summer. I like to top my grilled corn with vegan butter, sea salt, pepper, cilantro, lime, and a hint of cayenne. For non-vegans, you can even top it off with a little sour cream and shredded cheese.

GrilledCorn

Ingredients

1-2 large heads of broccoli

Worcestershire Sauce

Soy Sauce

Brown Sugar

Directions

  1. Set oven to broil.
  2. Cut off broccoli florets from the stem and rinse under clean water.
  3. Make a little bowl out of tin foil and prepare sauce by mixing 1-part Worcestershire sauce, 1-part soy sauce, and 2 parts brown sugar in it.
  4. Place sauce on top shelf of oven and broil until the brown sugar begins to bubble.
  5. Take sauce out of oven and place broccoli florets into the tin foil bowl. Cover the bowl with more tin foil to have it fully encapsulated so the sauce can steam into the broccoli.
  6. Place broccoli on the grill for about 15-20 minutes.
  7. Take off the grill and enjoy.

GrilledBroccoli.jpg

I hope that this Father’s Day you can share and enjoy a vegan barbeque with your dad, grandpa, or any person who’s been a father figure in your life.

Top 5 Travel Tips

Travel_Planning2

As summer soon approaches, so do summer travel plans. Whether you are travelling stateside or planning to travel abroad, these tips will help you be prepared for your vacation.

Tip 1: For domestic flights, the best time to buy a ticket is six to eight weeks before the desired date of travel. And the best day to buy a ticket is on Tuesdays at 3pm. The reason for this, is airlines release their flight rates on a weekly basis on Mondays, so Tuesday is when airlines see each other’s prices and reduce their prices to be competitive. And if you are traveling internationally, then the best prices will be eight to ten weeks out from the desired date of travel. Just make sure to check that your travel dates don’t align with any domestic or foreign holidays, as this will increase the price of the ticket as well as the pricing and availability for hotels.

Tip 2: Subscribe to airline/train/coach buses newsletters. However you plan on travelling, subscribe to these newsletters as they are always competing to give you the best offered price and deals on tickets. I like to fly with Alaska Airlines domestically, and once a month they send me a newsletter for very cheap flights which require me to pick dates up to two months in advance. When I lived in Europe, I subscribed to Eurostar which also offered a similar newsletter deal for cheap train tickets to certain destinations.

Tip 3: Buy tickets in advance. This may seem obvious, but if you can buy a ticket online in advance then do that. Otherwise, you’ll end up paying more on the day of. I made the mistake of buying a train ticket from London to Paris the day of and it cost me 4x the normal price. But since the train was already full, the only ticket option available was first class. And this applies to all types of tickets. For example, if you are planning to go to Disneyland/Disneyworld, then buy the tickets online since they will be the same price in person and then you get to skip waiting in another line.

Tip 4: Research what you want to do/see and where you want to eat. I use Pinterest to look up free activities to do in cities I travel to, as well as where to find vegan restaurants. What’s great about Pinterest is that there are a lot of blogs linked to the site, and if you are searching for cities then a lot of these blogs are written by locals, which means you can make the most of your travels by visiting the city like a local and less like a tourist. And I’ve used this for everything, from finding vegan food to getting step-by-step directions using the metro in Paris.

Tip 5: Try to plan to do 1 or 2 things a day, but nothing more. Whether this be sightseeing at two spots or visiting a museum followed by dinner, this minimal planning will make your vacation feel less stressful and more enjoyable. To plan on doing one or two things allows time for traffic and travelling from spot to spot without any rush. It also allows you to feel accomplished if you get to do everything you set out to do. If you plan to do 5 or 6 things a day, you’ll find it harder to fit everything into your schedule and end up feeling rushed or you’ll feel disappointed that you didn’t get to do everything.

I hope these tips will help your vacation be more affordable and less stressful. And Bonus tip, make sure to pack a capsule wardrobe to make the most of your suitcase. You can read a step-by-step guideline on how to create a capsule wardrobe for your suitcase here. Make sure to check it out and to follow these tips to make your next vacation a relaxing, stress-free holiday.

Travel_Planning

San Diego’s Old Town

IMAG0800

Last weekend, my husband and I traveled to San Diego for Comic Con and while we were there we were told by friends and locals to check out Old Town. And we were not disappointed by our visit there. It is in a great location with lots to see and do like visiting the free museums, eating at one of the Spanish or Mexican restaurants, or checking out all the little shops.

We started our visit to Old Town by walking to the top of the hill, that way it would be easier for us to sight-see while walking down the street. Our first stop in Old Town was a little shop called Old Town Model Railroad Depot. My husband is a fan of model cars and model trains, which is why we decided to stop by. But, when we walked inside, we were completely blown away. I remember saying, “whoa!” upon entering. As you step inside, you are easily in awe at the huge dioramas that take up both rooms (nearly the entire space) of the store.

IMAG0799

With small towns replicated using scale models, two trains circle around the track that connects each scene to one another. If you love the 40’s and 50’s, then the small-town scenes depicted here will easily charm you and make you nostalgic for that era. And even if trains aren’t you’re thing, this store will amaze you with their passion and dedication to make this huge diorama.

IMAG0798

IMAG0797

A little donation is recommended (~$5) for maintenance and operating the trains, but it’s totally worth it after seeing this in-person. And with every donation, you get a card to have a free appetizer at Café Coyote right down the street. But, seeing how much hard work goes into this place is reason enough to donate. The two gentlemen who run this shop and operate the model trains clearly demonstrate how quaint, charming, and special this place is. What started off as a passion project for them transformed into a full-time job they both love. Remember how when I walked inside I couldn’t help but say “whoa!” like a three-year old kid opening a present on Christmas morning? The owner said in response, “That’s the response we look for. It makes me so happy to hear people say that.”

So, if you want to believe in the awesome magic of trains, or just feel like a kid again then make sure to visit yourself and you’ll see how amazing this place is.

While in Old Town, make sure to check out all the cool, free museums. You get a glimpse of what life was like in San Diego in the 19th century. These were awesome to walk around in. And let’s not forget all the cute little shops. Some of them are kitschy and trouristy, but others are pretty authentic with local artists displaying their artwork. There’s a good balance of these types of shops to keep you entertained.

IMG_20170724_153843_533

And while wondering around Old Town, make sure to check out every little niche and enclave. My husband and I stumbled upon this adorable little niche that made us feel like we were transported to another country.

IMAG0801

Right next to this niche is a vegan chocolate shop called Nibble Chocolate that had a fun way of displaying their process for making chocolate. Customers get the chance to grind the cacao beans themselves. My husband had a fun time giving this a try and kids will easily enjoy this too.

IMAG0803

Because this chocolate is vegan and only has 2 ingredients (cacao and raw brown sugar), it is on the bitter side. But what I recommend is getting one of their desserts and/or drinks. They have chocolate Bundt cakes, chocolate truffles, etc. And their drinks are all served with their powdered cocoa with a choice of almond, soy, or cashew milk.

IMAG0805

I ordered the soy hot chocolate and can easily defend that this is the best vegan hot chocolate I have ever tasted. Ever! It’s that good. The chocolate is so smooth, you feel like you’re drinking liquid gold. This was hands down my favorite dessert in San Diego. And my husband tried the iced chocolate espresso. With the richness of the chocolate and almond milk, the espresso is more of an undertone and takes a back seat to the very delicious chocolate flavor. Whether you are vegan or not, you should at least try the drinks here because they are seriously divine.

If you want, there are a lot of Mexican and Spanish restaurants in Old Town. You can’t go wrong picking any of them to eat from, but if you want the local favorite in Old Town, it’s best to ask your Taxi/Uber/Lyft driver. Trust me, they will know which ones to recommend, but just know, since it is a touristy area, some of the restaurants have higher prices than others.

Overall, Old Town is a unique blend of the old missionaries, old west, and Mexican history, which makes it an awesome place to visit in San Diego. Here, you feel like a real Ranchero on set of an old western movie. So, make sure to check out Old Town and see this cool and beautiful place.

Make sure to stay tuned for future posts on San Diego and my experience at this year’s Comic Con 😊

Chihuly Blown Glass Museum

DSC_4166

If you love art or museums, then I highly recommend going to the Chihuly Art and Glass Museum in Seattle. It’s whimsical enough to feel like you’ve been transported down the rabbit hole right into Wonderland and breathtaking enough to make your jaw drop at every piece. So, prepare to be amazed by the amazing technique, skill, and master craft behind these beautiful pieces of art.

DSC_4131DSC_4141DSC_4249DSC_4275DSC_4220DSC_4279DSC_4307DSC_4310DSC_4393DSC_4410DSC_4430DSC_4559

Seattle Architecture

DSC_4070

When it’s a nice, beautiful, summer day in Seattle, you stop and smell the roses. Or, in my case, take a billion pictures of the beautiful city 🙂

DSC_4076

The Pop Culture Museum is one of my favorite architectural designs. I love the iridescent panels and the shapely curves and lines of this building.

DSC_4083

And as if the buildings weren’t fascinating enough, check out this beautiful skyline! I love living near Seattle, such a fascinating city filled with something to see at every corner. If you get the chance to travel this summer, make sure to check out Seattle and see it for yourself.

Vegan Eats: Disney World Resorts

VeganEats_DisneyWorldResorts

Continuing with the theme of amusement park fun for the summer, this post will take us across the country to Orlando, Florida – America’s home for roller coasters and resorts. If you plan on going to Disney World, then this is the right post for you. I’m going to share my experience staying at a couple of the resorts within Disney World and explain why I think it can be worth your time and money. So, let’s hop on a plane to that sunny state and discover the best vegan eats at Disney World resorts.

Click here to read more.

To read previous Vegan Eats articles, click below:

Disneyland

Vienna

Munich

Amsterdam

London: Part 1

London: Part 2

Summer Bucket List

2017_06_10_10_18_59

I remember as a kid every summer would come and I would have such high aspirations for what I expected to happen. But the thing is, nothing ever happened, especially none of the things I thought would happen. Which was pretty disappointing. But now, as an adult, I’ve learned a few things. One, you need to set clear, realistic goals you want to accomplish and know you can accomplish. Two, make sure you set a reasonable amount of goals – don’t get crazy and wish for everything. And three, find a way to make things happen – if it’s something you really want, then go for it and find a way to get what you want. Be a go-getter! And this summer, I plan on getting what I want by working hard for it. No more laziness and no more disappointed summers.

 

So, for my goals this summer, I set out to accomplish 10 things. For me, I felt 10 was the magic number but choose whatever amount you know is reasonable for you. I figured 10 things in 12 weeks was enough time for me, so make sure you give yourself enough time to do whatever it is you want. And as you see, some of the things on my bucket list are already planned and have some grass roots already in place, which is a great way to make sure that you not only start your task, but you accomplish your goal as well.

 

  1. Travel to another city (I’ve got NYC and San Diego already planned and booked. But I’ve been saving for these trips since March.)
  2. Write another novel (Yes, another novel. Good thing I’ve already started writing Chapter 1)
  3. Go to a Writer’s Conference (NEW YORK, baby! Going to the Writer’s Digest Conference in August, got my ticket, flight, and hotel booked)
  4. Pitch My book to Agents (I do this weekly already by email, but at the conference I get to do this in person)
  5. Read 10 books (At least, 10. I’ve already read two since the beginning of this month)
  6. Learn how to cook some new dishes like a real chef (Not simply using Lifehacks as my recipes)
  7. Learn how to Make/Sew a new piece of clothing (making my husband his cosplay coat)
  8. Cosplay a character (Yep, I’m going to Comic Con in San Diego!)
  9. Enter some writing competitions (whether that be poetry or fiction)
  10. Visit a County/Country Fair (the last time I went to one of these was like 10 years ago)

 

So, that was my bucket list for this summer. Thank you, Kalynn Nicholson, for giving me this great idea to pen down my goals. Writing them down and putting my thoughts in order makes it clear to me what I need to do to make sure everything I want is accomplished. Now, try making your own bucket list. Let’s make this summer a great one!

Vegan Eats: Amsterdam

 

Vegan Eats Amsterdam

I can’t decide what’s the most romantic thing about Amsterdam. Perhaps the cobblestone alleys, the endless river canals, the myriad of bicycles, or perhaps the tall Dutch houses? Or maybe the tinkling sounds of the tram and bicycle bells, the floral smell of tulips sprouting everywhere, or the cute country picnics that pop at every garden? For a city dubbed “The Venice of the North,” it sure doesn’t lack any of the romance you’d imagine to be found tucked away in a small Italian city. But this isn’t Italy, it’s the Netherlands – where you hear the soft-spoken Dutch language mixed with English, where contemporary architecture blends in with 17th century architecture, where the ambiance of the entire country seems to be welcoming to foreigners. As you walk across the little canal bridges and take in the breathtaking views this charming city has to offer, I’m sure another thing you’ll fall in love with is the food, especially the vegan eats.

Click here to read more.

To read more Vegan Eats, click to read the other cities I’ve visited.

London: Part 1

London: Part 2

Munich

Vienna

Vegan Eats: Vienna

Vienna_streetview

Wilkommen aus Ӧsterreich! (Welcome to Austria!) This week we discover the classical beauty of Wien (Vienna). From the creative compositions of Amadeus Wolfgang Mozart to the original masterpieces of Gustav Klimt, Vienna offers many artistic treasures for you to experience and see during your visit here. And speaking of artistic masterpieces, let’s not forget about the delicious food. This is the land of café und küchen (coffee and cake) after all. And better yet, let’s discover the vegan options of Austria’s delectable delights.

Click here to read more.

Read more Vegan Eats by clicking below.

London: Part 1

London: Part 2 

Munich