Living Well and Wild In Los Angeles

Friday, December 01, 2017

Spontaneity is normally outside of my comfort zone. Chris is usually up for any adventurous opportunity and I'm the one who deliberates until the opportunity is long gone. In an effort to act on my love of travel I agreed to a weekend trip to Los Angeles to see FM-84 and The Midnight (two of our favorite New Retro Wave bands) in concert. 

When we made the decision to go I was all over the internet to try and find the best sights to see, food to eat, and unique stores to browse. When it became clear that I would not be able to sleep in order to do half of the things on my list, I quickly adjusted my expectations. We had a mere 48 hours and LA is WAY bigger than I realized with a traffic situation similar to NoVA and DC. I decided to pick a few places that I wanted to eat and one or two sights I wanted to see and whatever didn't get done would be saved for another trip. 

These are just some of the few photos I was able to take during our time out west. The concert was AMAZING and I was surprised to find out that it was only the second show ever for FM-84. There is a sort of nostalgic comfort I find in New Retro Wave and I encourage you to check out the genre if you're into 80's synth with a modern flair. You can listen to New Retro Wave on YouTube and on Spotify.

The other awesome thing about Los Angeles is all of the delicious vegan food that is everywhere. We ate at Veggie Grill, The Vegan Joint, and Sage. There were also lots of vegan options at most of the non-vegan restaurants. We had great food delivered from LA Cafe at 2 AM, when we got back to the hotel after the concert. The highlight for me was the O.G. Ramen Bowl from Ramen Hood at the Grand Central Market in Downtown LA. Three words- Sunflower Seed Broth. I was so sad when it was all gone. Definitely check it out if you are in the area. 

I can't wait to go back and experience more of the outdoor activities. Here's to being more spontaneous. 

What was the most spontaneous thing you've ever done?

P.S.- Check out the vlog for this trip over on the Living Well + Wild YouTube channel.


Three Fall Drinks (Vegan)

Monday, November 06, 2017

Fall is finally here in Virginia and as long as it doesn't get too cold too soon, I am going to love the opportunity to break out my hoodies and light jackets. It's also the time where I make the switch from iced to hot drinks, especially in the morning and late evening when temperatures are lower.

Today  wanted to share three vegan, cold weather beverages to keep you warm and cozy as we transition into Fall. Grab your biggest mugs and check them out!

London Fog

Earl Grey Tea
Coconut Sugar
Steamed/Frothed Almond or Soy Milk

1. Brew a cup of Earl Grey tea with 1/2 -1 tsp of lavender (I actually used a Green Earl Grey from Fortnum and Mason that I picked up in London)
2. Strain lavender and loose tea or remove tea bag
3. Add steamed frothed milk topped off with a little foam. (I don't have a milk steamer but I was able to get the same effect with an immersion blender, after heating almond milk on the stove)
4. Sprinkle coconut sugar on top of foam.

Golden Milk 

1 cup of Almond or Soy Milk
1/2 teaspoon Tumeric Powder
1/2 teaspoon Ginger Powder
Dash of Cardamom Powder
1 cinnamon stick
Cracked Black Pepper
Coconut Sugar to taste

1. Warm vegan milk on low heat with the tumeric powder and cinnamon stick.
2. Once warmed, add ginger, cardamom, fresh cracked black pepper, and coconut sugar.
3. Remove cinnamon stick and enjoy

Hot Cocoa with Vegan Carmel Drizzle and Sea Salt

1 cup of Almond or Soy Milk
1 tablespoon vegan Hot Cocoa mix (I use the Lake Champlain organic hot cocoa mix. You can also make your own with cocoa powder and sugar.)
Vegan Marshmallows (I have been using Dandies but I heard recently that Trader Joe's has a house brand bag of marshmallows that has no gelatin and is super affordable. I need to make a trip out there soon!)
Vegan Caramel Drizzle (I made a batch using this recipe from Jessica in the Kitchen. Check out her website for more vegan recipes!)
Sea Salt Flakes (I use Maldon which you can get at most grocery stores and Amazon)

1. Warm vegan milk on low heat.
2. Add hot cocoa mix and whisk together
3. Pour hot cocoa into mug and top with 2-3 large marshmallows
4. Drizzle caramel sauce on top
5. Sprinkle sea salt flakes to finish

Leave a comment below telling me your favorite thing about fall!


A Week of Vegan Groceries

Friday, September 01, 2017

This week I thought it might be fun to share what we picked up at the grocery store to stock our vegan fridge and pantry. I'm hoping this will give you some inspiration if you are interested in trying a plant-based diet and wondering what kinds of foods you should have on hand.

The Staples

We had a small staple restock this week as we still had a lot of things like grains and frozen veg on hand. These are things that we like to always have in our fridge/pantry because they get used quite often in meals. 

Our basics for this week
  • almond milk
  • tofu
  • pasta
  • pasta sauce
  • lentils
  • cannellini beans
  • black beans

The Fresh Fruit + Veg

This week we purchased
  • sweet potatoes
  • raspberries
  • baby spinach
  • cherry tomatoes
  • cantaloupe melon
  • mushrooms

Much of this category is supplemented with the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) that we bought into at the beginning of the summer. We get mostly vegetables with the occasional selection of seasonal fruit. It's been so nice having farm fresh veg, specifically tomatoes that actually taste like something other than "wet.

This week's CSA haul included
  • various melons
  • onions
  • various squash
  • zucchini
  • potatoes
  • tomatoes
  • various peppers

The Extras

I consider this category the "wants" as opposed to the "needs." (Although I really should have included the coffee with the rest of the staples.) This includes all of our snacks, faux meat products, sauces, iced coffee, and my precious yerba mate drinks.

Extras for this week were
  • Stubbs BBQ sauce in Original
  • Starbucks Iced Coffee in Unsweetened Medium Roast
  • MorningStar Roasted Garlic and Quinoa Veggie Burgers
  • Gardein Meatless Meatballs
  • Gardein The Ultimate Beefless Ground
  • Gardein 7 Grain Crispy Tenders
  • Skinny Pop Salt and Black Pepper Popcorn
  • Garden of Eatin' Sesame Blues Blue Corn Tortilla Chips
  • Van's Power Grains Frozen Waffles
  • Lenny and Larry Perfect Cookies in Chocolate Chip and Double Chocolate
  • NuGo Bars in Mint Chocolate and Chocolate Pretzel
  • Wegmans Hummus
  • Guayaki Yerba Mate in Bluephoria

The Budget + Actual Cost

For our household (the 2 humans anyway), we try to stick to a budget of no more than $150/week. This includes cleaning supplies that we don't get from and things like toilet paper and paper towels. I know some readers may spend less and some may spend more. I just wanted to give you an idea of how much we spent on this particular shopping trip if you are trying to budget for similar foods. The actual cost for everything on this trip was $106.

What are your grocery staples?