I cannot believe that next week is Thanksgiving. How?! When?! Can someone please explain this to me?! My new cookbook, The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook, was released at the end of last month and I've been busy book-touring and yoga instructing, so things have been absolutely flying by around here! Before we know it, it's going to be CHRISTMAS. But not so fast - for now, we've still got a Thanksgiving dinner to plan for, and I've got you covered. I've rounded up 33 of my best, Thanksgiving-worthy dishes that're totally vegan and good enough to impress your (or my) cranky grandma. Dishes like my Cranberry Apple Walnut Stuffing, Garam Masala Roasted Acorn Squash, and Purple Sweet Potato Pie Bars are sure to please everyone at your table this year!
I'm thankful for everyone that's on this journey with me: whether you're here because you're vegan, trying to eat a little healthier, or just stumbled across the page this morning - I'm happy you're here. Now, get your stretchy jeans ready and let's get cookin'!
3 EASY, PLANT-BASED DONUT RECIPES FOR NAT'L DONUT DAY!
It's official guys - I missed National Donut Day yesterday. Whoops! This week had been so busy, it flew right by me yesterday until late last night as I was scrolling through instagram and realizing a real, round, dole-shaped pattern. And that's when I realized! Now I'm home, late on a Friday night while my husband works, whipping up a batch of baked donuts topped in a sweet, simple glaze so we can celebrate. Because let's be honest - I'll use any excuse to whip up a batch of donuts, but this day makes it a must! Since it's the weekend, it's almost a better time to make donut. You can sleep in, whip up the batter, bake while you face mask and catch up on Netflix, then munch on fresh baked donuts for the rest of the afternoon! That's basically my perfect Saturday, guys. Scroll down for the recipes - and let me know how you plan to spend you Nat'l Donut Day re-do tomorrow. I may just have to make another batch of donuts...🍩 P.S. The beautiful donuts above are from our wedding - read more about that here and here!
Kettle Corn Donuts We adjusted our typical donut cake base to make a richer, brown sugar-sweetened donut, slathered it in rich butter glaze (yup, BUTTER GLAZE GUYS. I'm not messing around here.), and topped it with perfectly crunchy kettle corn. The kettle corn's combination of sweet and salty flavors was the inspiration for the whole combination. The sweet cake base slathered in thick, creamy butter glaze might be almost too rich without the addition of the popcorn, but with it becomes the perfect combo and sweet and salty! They're super rich and delicious, which makes them perfect for sharing. Double the batch for a fun treat to share with friends or serve at a brunch, or make a single batch all for yourself! I would never judge when it comes to donut consumption. If you're looking for a creative new donut flavor, or just another excuse to squeeze a few more donuts into your day, these are definitely for you.
Baked Pumpkin Cinnamon Sugar Donuts Just because Halloween is over doesn't mean the pumpkin has to go away! These pumpkin donuts have a ton of flavor - and that's before they're rolled in cinnamon sugar. They literally are SO EASY to make that I thought I must be doing it wrong. From start to finish this was maybe a half-hour project, and I was so happy with how they came out! They so remind me of getting fresh donuts at apple farms when I was a little girl. Simple and SO GOOD! These are the kind of donuts that give you street cred for being such a great cook. And you'll be like "Oh these easy things? I whipped these up lickety split!" and feel like a badass.
Blood Orange Glazed Donuts Sometimes I'm more of a glaze person than a sugared person, so I whipped up this batch of healthier baked donuts and covered them in sweet, seasonal blood orange glaze and OH, guys! The blood oranges gave the glaze a really lovely pink color and a light citrus taste that is next level when paired with the light cakes texture of the donut itself. Plus, the added flax means you can have two (or three...) instead of just one, because flax makes everything healthier, right? Seriously, these donuts come together from start to finish in about a half an hour and save pretty well for next day consumption, too. Let's bake, babes!
ORGANIC ALMOND MILK WITH CASHEW + MY FAVORITE MORNING MATCHA RECIPE!
This post is sponsored by So Delicious and all opinions are my own.
Good morning, guys! We’re off to a slow start over here this morning but have a busy day ahead. A planned yoga photoshoot with my favorite photographer on a trail I’ve never hiked before - should be exciting! But first, we’re slowing it down, enjoying the morning, and making a refreshing morning matcha with my new favorite nut milk. Now before I sell you on why this new crafted nut milk makes my morning matcha taste better, let me tell you why I normally avoid store bought nut milks: they’re packed with weird, unpronounceable ingredients and they taste funny. Not good funny, but a little weird funny. Like whatever the bottle is made of, or whatever weird stabilizers they added to the milk to make it shelf stable. Ick.
Lucky for us, food trends keep driving toward cleaner labels and simpler ingredients, and bigger brands with more influence are catching on, too. We’ve become a society that prefers to know where it’s food comes from - and I LOVE that. Even luckier for us, So Delicious DairyFree is getting in on the clean label game with their brand new 7-ingredient or less Organic Almondmilk with Cashew! It comes in 3 styles - Original, Vanilla and Unsweetened, and all contain quite literally 7 (or less!) super clean, purposeful ingredients and ZERO carrageenan. To paint you a clearer picture, here’s what’s inside the vanilla: organic almondmilk (filtered water, organic almonds), organic cane sugar, organic cashews, sea salt, gellan gum, real vanilla extract. I mean DANG! It doesn’t get much more pronounceable than that, am I right?! These super simple, clean ingredients mean it needs to be refrigerated to stay fresh, so look for their stylish new designs in the refrigerated milk section of your grocery store.
While you’re in that aisle, you may notice that these clean, tall bottles look a little different than most of the other bottles on the shelf and that’s because - HI! - they are! These bottles are super unique - not only is the inside material made of plants, the OUTSIDE is, too! This totally recyclable bottle is made from at least 80% plants - renewable sugarcane, to be exact. This helps to reduce So Delicious’ dependence on fossil fuels, which is great for the planet! I love the rich, creamy texture that combining the almond and cashewmilks gives, and the unsweetened version has quickly become my go-to milk in all of my sweet and savory recipes! Even better, these smooth, light-tasting almondmilks are USDA certified, organic, non-GMO certified, and of course - dairy, soy, and gluten-free! No artificial flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives to be found in these clean, healthy plant milks. Sharing my favorite Almondmilk Matcha Latté recipe below - scroll down for the simple, cozy recipe!
INGREDIENTS: 1-2 teaspoons high quality matcha powder 12 ounces steamed Vanilla So Delicious Almondmilk with Cashew 3-4 drops stevia OR 1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
DIRECTIONS: Simply heat your milk until warm, not to a boil. Using a milk frothy or a high-speed blender, been the milk at a high speed until foamy and frothy. Set aside. In a small bowl combine your matcha powder and a small splash of milk or water using a bamboo whisk. Create a smooth paste with the mixture, then add your additional steamed milk slowly, whisking to combine the matcha all together. Enjoy!
NOTES: You can add in other powders, oils, and mix-ins if you like, but this my super simple way to enjoy it every morning! Serves 1.
Find So Delicious Dairy Free NEW Organic Almondmilk with Cashew at stores nationwide - head to their website to find a store locator and sign up to receive exclusive product coupons! And let me know in the comments below what YOUR favorite morning drink to get your day started is - I know I can't be the only matcha fan around here, and I'm always looking for new ways to enjoy it. Thanks friends!
These GF, Grain-Free muffins are moist, rich, and packed with plant-based goodness! Plus, they're low in sugar and bake up quickly. I created them as part of a recipe pack for a anti-inflammatory post I was working on a few months ago and never ended up using the recipe - but never forgot about it, either! This recipe is amazing because the muffins have this soft, rustic, slightly crumbly around the edges texture, but are soft, moist, and perfectly cohesive on the inside. Add in the combo of sweet and tart summer fruits and you have a morning combination that's satisfying and just the right amount of healthy. These muffins are a crowd pleaser - perfect for allergen-friendly bake sales and at-home brunches alike!
HUGE thanks to my close friend and super talented videographer David Lee for filming this fun video of me making these scrumptious muffins. He made me - and my kitchen - look beautiful well lit, and for that I will be forever grateful! And better yet? He loved the muffins.
Watch the video below and scroll all the way down for the written recipe and a printable PDF, too. Don't forget to let me know what you think in the comments below - would love to hear about your favorite muffin flavor combos!
INGREDIENTS 1 cup almond milk 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 1 cup almond flour 1 cup teff flour 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup sugar or maple syrup (for richer muffins) 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut oil 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup frozen strawberries, halved (or use fresh!) 1 cup frozen rhubarb (or use fresh!)
DIRECTIONS In a small bowl combine the almond milk and vinegar to curdle. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond and teff flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients and set them to the side. In a separate, smaller mixing bowl whisk together the coconut oil, vanilla, and milk mixture.
Pour the wet ingredients into the well in the dry ingredients, then whisk the entire mixture together until just mixed. Fold in the fruit (fresh or frozen!) and scoop the mixture evenly into prepared muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick pulls clean. Enjoy!
NOTES Makes 12 muffins.
Let muffins cool completely before serving!
Berries and rhubarb weren't exactly in season when we filmed, so we subbed frozen fruit instead. Fresh fruit works great here, too!
Expo West came and went this weekend and boy - it was NUTS! I have worked the event with Ozery Bakery as a chef for the last two years, so I haven't had to worry about perusing the halls as a blogger - which is a huge stress reliever. It's hard to make contact with brands and can be overwhelming dealing with the crowds, but I also love seeing all my foodie friends and finding the newest and most exciting plant-based products at the show.
Since I was stuck in my booth most of the weekend, I made it a point to connect with some of my favorite brands when I had time - and Daiya was one of the brands I was most excited to check out. They make comfy, crave-able, totally vegan foods that are also free of dairy, gluten and soy! Now found in over 25,000 grocery stores over the US and Canada, they are leading the charge is making dairy-free cheese accessible to everyone. And I LOVE that! This year they're introducing a bunch of new products that I am super stoked to share with you guys - there's literally something for everyone! A Meatless Meat Lover's Pizza with vegan sausage and pepperoni, Yogurt Duets - creamy yogurts with lids full of sweet and crunchy toppings, Savory Burritos (in four flavors!), plus a few extra goodies I didn't expect to see including cheese sticks and new frozen desserts!
I made my way all around Daiya's big, bright green booth and had as many samples as I could - they were all so GOOD! Since I can only show you and not share with you (yet!), I wanted to give you a breakdown of all my faves from the show so you know what to expect when they come out. You should start seeing these goodies by summertime!
Meatless Meat Lover’s Pizza The first-ever plant-based meat lover’s pizza, Daiya Meatless Meat Lover’s Pizza is a better-for-you, dairy-free pizza crafted with meatless sausage and pepperoni, Daiya’s signature melty shredded cheeze, and zesty sauce atop a newly improved artisan gluten-free crust! Unlike its traditional counterpart, Daiya Meatless Meat Lover’s Pizza is entirely plant-based and free of dairy, gluten and soy, making it a swapworthy alternative for those with dietary restrictions or looking to live a healthier lifestyle. Plus it tastes SUPER good - a little spicy and crunchy, it's the perfect Friday night-in dinner alongside a movie! Perfect with kombucha or a glass of wine.
Yogurt Duets Daiya Duets are the perfect combination of creamy and crunchy, each containing 5-6 grams of plant-based protein per serving. The clever duel packaging keeps the toppings crisp until joined with the velvety coconut cream yogurt, which only enhances your yogurt-eating experience. Duets come in flavors including Chocolate Coconut, Key Lime Crumble, Cranberry Harvest, and Salted Caramel Crunch. YUM!
Savory Burritos Daiya just added savory burritos to its line of plant-based comfort foods, each packing a hearty 8 grams of protein and perfect for late-night snacking, on-the-go lunches or to simply satisfy a burrito craving! The new Daiya Burritos are free of dairy, gluten and soy and come in four varieties: Traditional, Tuscan, Chipotle, and Aztec. I LOVED the flavors in the spicy Santa Fe, but also tried the white bean-filled Tex Mex at the show and it was really great, too. These will definitely be a product we keep the freezer stocked with!
Cheese Sticks The are going to be a MAJOR hit with all the Mom's out there! These portable, lunch-friendly snacking sticks are great for kiddos who are dairy-intolerant, allergic, or simply need to eat more plant-based foods. They're an easy swap that taste so good, kids won't miss the old stuff. And they're available in two flavors - mozzarella and cheddar!
Frozen Desserts Pretty sure these are also going to be available in 4 flavors! I tried the chocolate coated vanilla bar, but also saw chocolate and expresso ice cream versions with fudge crunch coating on the outside. UPDATE! The official flavors are as follows:
-Chocolate Fudge Crunch—This decadent chocolate dessert bar with a deep fudgy swirl is dipped in rich fair trade dark chocolate and finished with crunchy roasted pumpkin seeds. -Classic Vanilla Bean— Rich and creamy, this classic vanilla dessert bar is dipped in rich fair trade dark chocolate and finished to perfection with a semisweet chocolate drizzle. -Salted Caramel Swirl—Rich and velvety smooth, this vanilla dessert bar is swirled with a salted caramel ribbon throughout and dipped in semisweet chocolate and finished with a dark chocolate drizzle. -Espresso Coffee—Bold and smooth Arabica coffee is blended in a dessert bar, and dipped in rich and velvety fair trade dark chocolate.
These seemed to be the hit around the time I got there, late afternoon after the lunch rush. The perfect dessert - everyone around me agreed! Sweet, satisfying, and dairy-free. Basically a dream!
For more information about Daiya, please visit www.daiyafoods.com, become a fan on Facebook or follow them on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with the release of these awesome new products! And please do let me know when you start seeing them in stores - its always nice to know where they start popping up so I can find them for myself. I found the Meatless Meat Lover's Pizza this very morning in our local Sprouts Market! Keep an eye open this weekend for a post of our other favorite finds from Expo West this year, and make sure to look back on our fave products from 2015 + 2016, too!
This anti-inflammatory, healthy fats-rich smoothie is packed with iron, nutrients and hidden greens - and tastes AMAZING! It's become one of my favorites in the morning - and you'd never know how GOOD it is for you! Get the full recipe below or head to our YouTube page for more. Enjoy!
Anti-Inflammatory Avocado Smoothie Ingredients: 1 ripe avocado 2 cups fresh spinach 2 cups non-dairy milk 1 cup frozen mango 1 frozen banana 1 cup ice a few drops of vanilla stevia, to taste (optional)
Directions: Blend it all together in a high speed bender until smooth. Serves 2. Enjoy!
Veestro's Vegan Holiday Meals - We Tried Them, You Get 15% off!
Veestro is a plant-based, organic meal delivery service that offers meal packs, juice cleanses and dishes a la carte on it's website. We've tried and loved their Wedding Prep pack, which comes with lunch and dinner for 30 days, for either one or two people. We tried just a 5-day version, but it was so nice to have the option of NOT cooking the week of our wedding! All of the meals are clearly labeled, so I was easily able to avoid the dishes with soy, and the offer gluten-free dishes as well. This time of year Veestro is back with an awesome new batch of Limited-Edition Holiday meals available through the end of this year! They have a NEW Turkey Scallopini with Sweet Potato Mash, Cauliflower Milanese with Green Beans, and Herbed Crusted Turk'y with Stuffing and Cranberry Sauce - plus Baked Mac n Cheese Dinner and a slice of Pecan Pie.
The meals are actually quite affordable, about $6-$12 per dish, and a decent sized portion at that. The meals are shipped on dry ice straight from the prep kitchen here in Southern California. I loved that they came frozen because it gives us the option of picking and choosing meals when we're ready to eat them. Most of the meals are baked straight from frozen, literally eliminating any meal prep work. And, all of the packaging was either recyclable or compostable and totally BPA-free.
These meals are perfect for vegans and non-vegans alike, because the ingredients are simple, clean, and most important: recognizable! Yup, all the ingredients are real , whole foods - things I would cook with in my own kitchen. A lot of the meals come with sauces to spice them up, and it was easy to add our own fresh accents, like cilantro or parsley, if we want to make the meal feel a little more homemade. One of my favorite things about these meals were how fresh they actually tasted on their own - it didn't feel like we were being lazy or eating "frozen dinners". The meals were creatively and thoughtfully prepared with health and a real focus on vegetable in mind. Did I already mention there are NO preservatives? Because that's a pretty big deal. That's how you know it's fresh.
I was especially thankful for the Holiday meals because it took SO much stress off of me the week after Thanksgiving. No more cooking or messy meal prep for me for the WHOLE week after that fiasco. Veestro made it so easy! If you're someone who's looking to stick to a hearty, healthy, plant-based diet during the Holiday season, this may be your perfect option. To see all their menu options and meal packs, head over to Veestro.com! Use code "GOODSAINT15" for 15% off any a la carte dishes until 12/31.
If you've hung out here for awhile, you know I love making my own Holiday gifts AND things that save me time and money. I'm a girl who loves a good deal! We've made a couple fun Holiday crafts on the site (see our Homemade Cookies in a Jar, Thanksgiving Centerpieces + 2-Ingredient Christmas Ornaments), but today we're talking about infusing your own oils at home, how to use them for yourself and friends, and the incredible new machine that helps you do it more easily than ever before. I'm obsessed!
When I first heard about the LEVO Oil machine I was totally intrigued; a machine that allowed you to create any custom infused oil, at home, with all the conveniences of a countertop coffee pod maker - but easier, cleaner, and sleeker than any other model on the market. Now maybe you're thinking "What kind of infusions could I possibly make?" And friends - the list is so, so long. As a yoga instructor I see value in this machine beyond food infusions, as a tool to help me create my own custom massage oils for practice and teaching. As someone with a love for cooking, I see unlimited infusion possibilities. Everything from garlic-infused olive oil and vanilla-infused vodka to cannabis-infused coconut oil and cinnamon-infused maple syrup. If you can cook with it, you can infuse it! The machine uses controlled heat and time are used to transfer the flavor, scent, color, and nutrients from a variety of ingredients into the carrier of your choice. The possibilities are nearly endless!
If you've done your own infusions before, you know that process is often time consuming, messy, and often fills your house with whatever smell you're cooking with for DAYS - which can sometimes be fine (think vanilla) and can sometimes be a problem (think marijuana). The old method often involved using a crock pot to keep a low, constant heat for hours or days until the desired infusion was reached. It took too long and was inconsistent. Plus, you had to have a crock pot! Then you were stuck making large batches just to make all of the work worth it, and you still had to strain the cloves or flowers or herbs from your oil once you were done. With the LEVO, it couldn't be easier! When you pull the machine from the box one of the first things you'll notice is just how sleek and counter-friendly the design of this machine is. It's no bigger than your standard Keurig, with a digital, touch-responsive keypad for adjusting everything from the power and lock buttons to the time and temperature of your infusion. The parts are all easily removed and dishwasher safe for easy cleaning, which is always a plus. The machine comes with a a small pod for fitting your infusing item - flower, herb, nut, fruit or root - and a small herb press for packing the herb (what we used) into the pod. Since their release, LEVO has since released a larger, double-sized pod for heavier infusions and a silicon pod press for pressing the last of the oil from your pod post-infusion (both items available on their website).
We've used the LEVO several times now, and the process is incredibly simple. Simply pack the metal mesh pod with your herb of choice - we used marijuana for the infusion in these photos. How much will depend on your personal preference, but for this particular infusion we used 2 grams of Utopia Farms C. Banana Strain Cannabis Flowers infused into 1 cup of Primal Kitchen Extra Virgin Avocado Oil. The flowers contain about 25%-30% THC. This combination means that for every tablespoon of oil, there should be about 36 mg of THC. Good to know if you're dosing! If you're using something like garlic or lavender flowers to infuse, it becomes more about how potent you want the flavor and smell to be and less about dosage.
Figuring out how long and how hot to infuse for can be tricky. Luckily LEVO has an incredible calculator right on their website, so it was easy for me to figure out that our infusion should be set at about 180-200 degrees F for about 2.5 hours. They have clickable options for all kinds of infusion situations, so you should be able to find the setting you need. After that it's easy peasy! Simply pack your pod, place it inside the oil reservoir - its magnetized! - and then pour in your oil or base. Close the lid, and use the keypad to lock the machine and choose the length and temperature of the infusion. Then wait! When the infusion is finished, simply dispense your infusion into a sealable container like a glass jar. Remove the used parts and throw them in the dishwasher. That's it!
LEVO Oil has made the infusion process one of ease, and this chef totally approves. I can see endless possibilities for what we'll make with the LEVO, and have plans for lots of homemade Holiday gifts using the machine. We love the people behind the company, who very much believe in knowing what you're putting into your body and supporting consumers so that they can be self-sufficient and successful. Interested in how you can play with the LEVO Oil? Check out their website for more info + to shop their NEW colors! And don't forget - use code GOODSAINT to get $10 off your LEVO infuser!
Want to learn more about cooking with infused oils? Click the link below to download a simple Thanksgiving recipe that'll have you celebrating Danksgiving, instead! (Don't worry - it's a very small dose. And if you like, you can always just make the most delicious garlic-infused butter or ghee instead.) Happy Thanksgiving!
Okay guys, it took me 4 1/2 months BUT our Amsterdam Travel Diary is finally here! After our wedding, we spent the weekend recovering and packing and then left bright and early Tuesday morning for LAX where we boarded our the first leg of our flight to Reykjavic, Iceland and then over to Amsterdam for the first 5 days (technically 4 - we didn't get to our AirBNB until like 10 pm on the first night) of our 14 day honeymoon. When we first stepped off the train we were right downtown, just outside the Amsterdam Centraal Station. The sun was just beginning to set low in the sky - they're on about 20 hours of daylight over there in late June. We found our way to our AirBNB, not far from downtown but worth jumping on the metro. We checked in - our host was awesome and even had warm beer waiting for us - which apparently is how they prefer to drink beer in Europe. I had no idea...and my Dad is a US beer company executive! 😝
Since the sun wasn't due to set until around midnight, we were wide awake when we hit the AirBNB. Plus, we were just SUPER excited to be in Amsterdam! We used the HappyCow app a couple times during our trip to find vegan food, but mostly just used the incredible lost of recommendations you guys sent us on social media. I collected them all on a list and then starred all the places on Google Maps, so that as we were walking around cities I could see how close we were to our recommended places at all time! PRO TIP: You can download maps for offline use on Google Maps, so before our trip I downloaded maps for all of the cities we were visiting (Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, and London) and then used them offline and without burning up data overseas while we walked and traveled through the cities. Since your GPS works without needing data, you'll even see where YOU are on the maps. Very convenient!
Anyway, after we arrived we went to a HappyCow recommended, vegan restaurant near us called Mezebar Bodrum that served a sort of Greek-inspired tapas that was truly phenomenal. The first real food we'd had in hours, sure, but we went back again and I can confirm that is truly wonderful. The owners were sweet and accommodating and gave us awesome recommendations of stuff to see all over the city, plus they literally served us dinner at like midnight. The best introduction to this super friendly city! After we ate we found a 'coffee shop' and tried our first joint in Amsterdam. We didn't really understand why it made us feel SO weird until later, when we figured out that spliffs in Europe are usually rolled with tobacco. For a California girl used to a regular old joint, it was an unpleasant surprise and a serious head rush. Ick. We walked it off around the general area of our 'home' for the week before calling it a night. We were staying in a cute 1 bedroom overlooking the East side of Rembrandt Park. It was a huge, beautiful green space not far from the more famous Vondelpark. The parks and green spaces like the Bos quickly became our favorite part of being in the Netherlands. That and all of the friendly, off-leash dog culture! So many chill dogs, it was truly amazing.
Day two we started early, grabbing bagel sandwiches at the Bagels & Beans nearest us. I got hummus and veggies - a welcome meal after all the traveling. They are a chain, so we were able to find them all over the city. Perfect in a pinch! (I did bring probiotics with me while traveling to help with my crazy wonky digestion - more on how I pack for trips in an upcoming post!) After food we walked the city - over 17 miles the first day we were there! I came back with THE best, strongest booty I've ever had. It was awesome. We perused the canals and hit up the Van Gogh Museum area, including the Park Museumplein where the I Am Amsterdam sign is. There were also a bunch of small eateries, touristy shops, and plenty of people tripping on mushrooms in the park. We also stumbled upon some super cool Banksy and Salvador Dali exhibits at the Moco Museum, just across the park. We even found some kombucha at a small grocery store! It wasn't quite the 'booch we're used to, but it was cool to try different flavors and brands. We tried to get one or two different brands in each country and definitely ended up finding our favorite brand, Jarr, while we were in London. The whole 'I Amsterdam' area was super cool and busy with locals and tourists, and we stopped for lunch after seeing a big sign advertising vegan hemp burgers. It was delicious, and awesome to see so many plant-based options in Amsterdam. I totally fell in love with that area, and we ended up walking through it again on day 3, too!
Because of my soy and dairy allergy and dietary restrictions, we ended up eating a LOT of bread. This was no problem since I LOVE bread, but I did start craving fresh veggies at every meal pretty hard early on into our trip. Luckily for Alex, a baguette a day is literally what he wishes he could eat everyday. Luckily for me, we walked 11 more miles on day two, so I could deal with the bread intake. And of course the freshly baked bread from real neighborhood bakeries was SO much more satisfying than the grocery store crap we have here in the States. That said, we were super excited to find Maoz Vegetarian (last picture in this post), basically the Chipotle of falafel in Europe. It was so convenient and easy to make your own pita pocket stuffed with things you actually liked, and nearly everything was soy-free. Score!
The 2nd night in town we ventured over to the famed Red Light District, or De Wallen. We found it near the Hash, Marijuana + Hemp Museum, among other coffee shops, boutiques, cheese counters and tourist trinket shops. It sure was something! The dark, thin alleyways were lit up so that you could see them before you arrived. After turning down the alley you are immediately greeted on both sides by matching glass doors, spanning the length of the alleyways. Each has a woman in the window, usually wearing a small amount of lingerie or waggling her finger at you as you pass by. It's kind of crazy to see, but in a country with legal prostitution and brothels, its certainly not out of the ordinary. Rumor has it that the woman are actually generally quite respected and have close relationships with city police. We saw that in action, with friendly ladies chatting up the local police patrolling the area, offering them a drink or letting them in to chat. It was a very professional way of doing things, really, and was wonderful to see the women so in charge of their space and presumably their bodies. As a couple we were smiled at a lot but I think they generally knew we were tourists just talking a look; we did see a few people enter the rooms and quickly shut the door behind them, but for the most part, everyone around were curious tourists, too. We even found a few tobacco-free joints in that area, and enjoyed those for the rest of our stay in the area.
Day three we decided to trek like locals and rent bicycles! That's how most of the population gets around in Amsterdam, and it felt only right that we participate while we were in town. We started early in the morning, trekking nearly 6 miles over to the Amsterdam Bos, a huge green space of over 2,500 acres with a full forest, rowing lake, and even a few small restaurant snuggled inside. It's over three times the size of Central Park! That was probably my favorite part of Amsterdam - the incredible swaths of bright green space. Not overly manicured, but full of people enjoying it. I wish we had more spaces like that here! We spent hours biking around, watching a rowing race, stopping at small cafes for rolls and fresh fruit, and just straight up loving being on our Honeymoon. For a late lunch we headed from the Bos back toward a place I'd been recommended on instagram called De FoodHallen, which was basically this amazingly designed old warehouse that has been converted into a community space for restaurants. There were at least 12 small cafes and restaurants in the space, and a bunch of long, community style tables in the center. Alex ordered a veggie temaki roll from Meneer Temaki and LOVED it, and I found and fell in love with a small Mexican place call Fento. They made killer jackfruit nachos and homemade iced teas, and I was really impressed that there was such good Mexican food in the middle of Amsterdam! Turns out Fento is owned by someone from LA who moved to Amsterdam and opened up this place - which is probably why it tasted to authentic and good to us. I totally LOVED it and highly recommend stopping by! After lunch we headed back to the AirBNB for a nap - those long days were killing us! - and then back out to a small, local hole-in-the-wall Indian spot for some chickpea curry for dinner. We returned our bikes and headed home. Renting bikes are enjoying the city really is a must-do while you're in the area, but know that the bike traffic moves fast and waits for no-one. Know where you're going before you start biking so you stay out of the locals way!
On day four we walked all over the city one last time, hitting up all of the favorite spots we'd accrued over the previous 3 days. We went all the way across town on foot to get to Dophert, a restaurant we'd heard literally rave reviews about. It was pretty good, and a super cute spot - plus the staff was incredibly friendly. That said, like most of the places we visited on our trip, the soy-free options were abysmal, and the portions were pretty small. But Alex really liked his Fried Seitan Sandwich, and we ended up loving walking around that part of the city, so it was totally worth the visit. I even found and made Alex take my picture in front of 'St. Peterhalsteeg' street sign! We finished off our last day walking the canals and stopping by the Vegabond vegan grocer. They didn't have a ton of options for on-the-go eating, but had some great groceries to take back to the AirBNB and a quality selection of kombucha, too. That night we hit up Mezebar Bodrum one more time and crashed hard, and were up early the next day for our train trip to Brussels! Hopefully I'll get it together and have THAT travel diary up next week! 😝 Until then, check out the resources below to help plan your trip, and check out our IG posts from the trip for more on what we ate + saw, and make sure to visit our youtube channel to watch the video recaps of our Amsterdam trip here. Vaarwel!