Thanksgiving: 12 Year Old Wants to Open an Animal Sanctuary to Give Back

I have referred to my children and stepchildren in the past but I want to first clarify they are all my children both unofficially since the day I met them but I also adopted my two older daughters in April making us one wonderful big funky family of five. The good thing about this is that I can be way more involved in supporting their dreams and goals now. The middle daughter is a huge animal lover. She wants to save every animal and do everything she can. She also is 12 and slips up. She will do a vegan challenge and then eat a burger. It happens. I give the kids two guaranteed vegan meals a day. Breakfast and Dinner. Their lunch is up to them. I think they need to make their choices at school since I know they are healthy at home. They are both very aware and compassionate and want to do what is kind and right. One thing I haven’t gotten into much is that Emma wants to own an Animal Sanctuary one day and she has dedicated nearly every conversation toward this goal for quite some time. We ask her what she wants for Christmas, Birthday, etc. it is money for her Sanctuary or to go to a sanctuary or to do something with animals. She is only 12 and that dedicated. She is learning how to take care of horses now as well and it is very therapeutic for her (I know many vegans are against horseback riding but I encourage her compassionate side. She wants to take care of them, not use them to pull people around Central Park.) If she has them at the Sanctuary she dreams of, then she will be that much more aware of their needs and things that should be avoided because they hurt the animal. I am so proud of the girl she is growing into.



In a few weeks she turns 13. So I started a page for her secretly to jumpstart her entrepreneurship of this future sanctuary. I will unveil it to her on her birthday. Emma’s Animal Sanctuary will need many steps and I promised I would help her from the day she asked me very seriously about it. I told her she needed to study in college and make sure she could do everything that encompasses owning such a venture. Since then she has made design plans, business plans, ideas for raising money. I said she’s incredible right? Well anyway I want to share her page with everyone so you can donate, help out, volunteer expertise, or anything. She will be grateful that you are supporting her in any way. For a girl that came into my life as a toddler to now be so strong is a dream. She has conquered some serious things in her little life and she pushes through PTSD and Anxiety by therapeutic animals and people. She wants to give back to other girls like her while saving all the animals she can. Compassion is her medicine and she wants to share it. So help me help her. This is a big goal and I will need the whole community to make this happen. Happy Thanksgiving.


Martha Stewart’s Vegetables Cookbook (Meatless)

I was really interested in this cookbook from the minute I picked it up in my hands. It is beautifully set up, has wonderful pictures, the recipes are detailed, they label vegan or vegetarian etc. I mean I really can’t ask for more in a mainstream book. Also the famed Martha Stewart was behind it and I wish one day to be like her in so many ways (obviously not the way she got in trouble but the cooking and housekeeping ways). The major disappointment I felt was that everything was focused around cheese and eggs and there was very few novel recipes for vegans. As a vegan i can indeed substitute and I did in some cases like a pasta dish. It did open me up to experimenting more with sauces and trying to alter the ones that were dairy based in the book but I wish that they had these options in the book already. The food that I did make and feed to my family was amazing. I now keep foods in my fridge I did not before (like lemons in the freezer for zesting). Overall I was happy with it but I guess as a vegan you always hope for just a little more from mainstream cookbooks. If I was a vegetarian or omnivore I would have been elated!

New Year’s Resolutions!

Every New Year people traditionally make there New Year’s Resolution to lose weight or get fit. Although after having a baby this is an obvious need for me it isn’t my New Year’s Resolution. I like to make a few guide posts for my year but I never get too disappointed if things go awry… there is always next year right?!?! Puns aside here is my list of things I would like to accomplish in the next 52 weeks:

  1. Take a vacation with my daughter.
  2. Go to church more and really find a spiritual center than I can pass on to my daughter, whatever that is.
  3. Meditate more. I find peace and rest in this but hardly do it enough.
  4. Use more whole foods and whole grains in my meals and recipes.
  5. Bake my own bread more often.
  6. Go to sleep earlier.
  7. Read to my daughter more. My favorite book right now to read to her is “My Mom Eats Tofu”. It makes me smile and laugh.
  8. Organize my kitchen and my spices.
  9. Declutter everything in my house.
  10. Join a CSA.
  11. Practice yoga more regularly.
  12. Start running again. That jogging stroller isn’t going to jog my daughter around on its own!
  13. Learn to use my paddleboard.
  14. Learn to let go of things.
  15. Read more books for joy after work rather than watch tv.
  16. Teach my stepkids to surf.

So those are them. I may find that some aren’t feasible this year, or all are and add more, or even tweak the ones I posted, but here is to another wonderful. hope-filled year ahead of us. I hope everyone’s dreams begin coming true with the drop of that crystal ball in Times Square.

Happy New Year. Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy.

Blackberry & Apple Compote

This is just a perfect recipe to convert the sweets of summer fruit to the warmths of a fall recipe. Emily does such a wonderful job narrating her recipes also so I always love reading her entries. I am looking forward to this on top of some of my homemade vegan vanilla ice cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon!

Vegan Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich

So I know we are far far from Thanksgiving. But that is when my baby is due and that was on my mind when I was cleaning out my freezer and saw a huge bag of cranberries. In Massachusetts we are known for our cranberries and can pretty much acquire them year round. So I decided to make some cranberry sauce and that way I could cook down the cranberries and get them out of the freezer. I added 1 cup of sugar for every 12 ounces and then a splash of water. Nothing fancy. As I was cooking them I realized I also had stuffing leftover and thought…. THANKSGIVING SANDWICH!

When I was a kid, my father never ever ate leftovers. He hated leftovers. I did not, I figured free food and dragged them back to college as I got older. However, my Dad was always okay with Thanksgiving dinner leftovers in which we made leftover thanksgiving food sandwiches. Turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, potatoes, whatever you had and boom it went into a big open sandwich. So when I realized I had ingredients I thought if I make a chicken salad with Beyond Meat I will have one heck of a Thanksgiving Sandwich! So I did and my husband ate two of these sandwiches so you know they are good! Enjoy!





Chicken-less Salad Ingredients:

1 container of Beyond Meat Lightly Seasoned Strips (diced)

1/4 cup Just Mayo

Seasoned Salt (to Taste)


Cranberry Sauce Ingredients:

12oz cranberries fresh

1cup sugar

Splash of water


Stuffing Ingredients:

1 box Stove Top Stuffing (savory not chicken or turkey)

Water (per instructions)

Earth Balance Original (per instructions)


-Sliced Sandwich Bread




Making it!

Make stuffing in microwave (3mins)

Cranberry sauce: Combine all ingredients in a pot over medium heat until well combined and the cranberries pop and sugar dissolves. Continue mixing until sauce becomes less whole cranberry and more jellied. Take off heat and cool.

Chickenless Salad: Dice Beyond Meat strips and then toss with mayo and seasoned salt.

Top bread with cranberry sauce, chicken salad, and stuffing. Enjoy!




Food is Love. The Hippie Gypsy.

Milk-Off! The Real Skinny on Soy, Almond, and Rice

Very interesting piece on milk substitutes. I think it is a must read…


Got milk? Not anymore. In the latest sign that milk is losing the marketing battle to dairy alternatives, the industry announced this week that it would trade in its 20-year-old white-mustachioed ad campaign for a more competitive spin on the dietary staple.

Milk consumption per capita has been on steady march downward, dropping 25% from 1975 to 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Meanwhile, the mainstreaming of plant-based dairy alternatives like soy, almond, and rice milk has averaged annual sales growth of 10.9% since 1999 in the U.S., according to market research firm Euromonitor. The non-dairy category has also surged to more than $1 billion in annual retail sales in the U.S.

For the most part, alternatives like soymilk and almond milk are much lower in calcium and vitamin D, but these products make up for it by adding the nutrients later. So how is traditional milk trying…

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Roasted Potatoes with Avocado & Parsley.

This sounds like the perfect comfort food. I would eat this for Breakfast, lunch, dinner or as a great brunch dish. Yum!

Eat More Plants.


When it comes to cooking, the one thing that’s really stuck with me over the years, is that simple is best. Using the best quality ingredients and making sure each flavor and texture is treated with care and finesse should take precedent over everything else.

This roasted potato dish is a bunch of my favorite things all tossed together.

Start with clean potatoes and chop them into even sized pieces. Uneven sized pieces will cause the potatoes to cook unevenly; some will be underdone and some will be overdone.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss the potatoes in a bowl with olive oil, salt, garlic powder and smoked paprika.

Spread your potatoes on the baking sheet without overlapping. Drizzle a little extra olive oil on top of them too.

Roast at 450 for 25 minutes and then raise the heat…

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Beyond Meat Giveaway!


Today I announce my Beyond Meat giveaway! We will be doing a giveaway through twitter, FB, and my blog for some Beyond Meat Free Food and swag. Like me on FB ( ) AND send me a message on Twitter, FB, or my blog as to why you want free beyond meat and what you will make with it this year. It’s that easy! I will pick a winner in 48 hours so start writing! Also I only ship in the US so sorry to all my foreign hippies. Maybe next time! If I really like your recipe for what you want to make and you send me it, I may even feature it as a guest blog next week!

Food is love.
The Hippie Gypsy.

The Last Day of 2013: My Bucket List for 2014

Everyone has some sort of “to do” list of things in their head similar to the movie “The Bucket List”. My husband wants next year to get a motorcycle and perhaps wrap up some unfinished business with his personal matters that bring him stress. I want to pull a Selena Gomez and “become a better person”. That is not a small task and yet I am drawn to it like flies to that sugared paper that people put in the back of yucky restaurants. There is simply no explaining it, it just is attractive. I mean of course there is explaining my “it” just not the sticky paper “it”, but the work that goes into becoming “better” is vague, tiresome, and most likely as unselfish as it gets to this American culture I live in. So I am going to put down tasks, milestones, if you will. To help me achieve the baby steps that I need to better myself and my world somehow in 365 days or less. I feel like a Domino’s Pizza ad now. So let’s do this 2014. I am going to sniffle and cough my way into the new year with such gusto the world won’t know what sneezed on it.

The 2014 “List”

  1. Get to my goal weight by May 31, 2014. This will harness a few things. It will require me to make better choices for my health and thus the health of my family. By making healthier, less processed choices I will also be helping the animals and environment. Hopefully it will also help the little bit of acne I still have (here is a current “before pic” unfiltered and no makeup so we can do this right!)!   IMG_2873   IMG_2615
  2. Buy only what I need for clothing and textiles and try to keep them organic and vegan all year. This will be my hardest one. I love clothes. However, if I am losing weight it may be incentive to lose it faster so I can “need more soon”. In the meantime, I am not contributing to consumer waste and if I need to I am doing it in a responsible way for the environment.
  3. Purge items I do not need seasonally at the least. Simplicity is the fruit of the Gods. I straight out stink at giving up stuff but at the same time I am no hoarder. I just feel like i shouldn’t get rid of things I may use even if that isn’t for say 10 years. So this year I am starting it off by purging old shoes on New Year’s Day. Terrible cold and all! I’ll take pics to prove it I promise!
  4. Start Surfing and Paddle-boarding again thus summer/spring. This is for my inner peace. I have always found surfing in anyway a lifesaver for my soul. So I will see you all out there on Lynn’s King’s Beach this summer. Inner peace means outer peace and that means a happy world.   IMG_2527
  5. Pay it Forward. Every chance I get to pay it forward I will try. This is important. I learned this winter season while my car was broken and the insurance wasn’t fixing it quickly that I have an amazing family and support unit. Without their help, I wouldn’t’ have had an easy time of it. So I am going to pay it forward each time I can. I will start with a giveaway of Beyond Meat free food and gifts on New Years.
  6. Learn to do the Crow Pose in Yoga by end of year. This seems like a weird one but let me explain. Yoga has been a great tool for me to de-stress and keep fit and I can do it during my lunch hour across the street. I think by constantly practicing yoga and its meditations with a goal I will continue to reap the benefits of a yoga lifestyle. Finding inner peace and working on my health goals. This will be beneficial to myself and those around me.   IMG_2874 (my yoga mat at work)
  7. Sing everyday and Meditate Every Night. This will add structure to my day but also allow for me to start off my day with joy and end in peace. I think this is necessary to keep your head clear so that when things arise or joys are exposed you can truly feel them and radiate them to others in a positive way.
  8. Be honest as the yoga rules define it. In yoga they tell you to be honest unless it is something that would hurt someone and then just to be silent. I tend to just be honest all the time to a fault (no silence) and this can be a turnoff. I think I need to study the yogic principles more and practice honesty in a compassionate way. It is a hard thing to say to yourself that you are over-sharing but, I am and I need to check it.
  9. Help my step daughters become better people through love, compassion, and support. In the past I have had a hard time being a step mom. It is not that I do not love my hubby’s girls, I do. However, I have worried too much about the ramifications of loving them and helping them because it may step on their biological mother’s toes (which are very sensitive). This year I am moving forward with treating them with more love than ever and not worrying about her feedback. She does not need to be a positive person (though I will  meditate on the idea that she will be more positive this year) but I do. The kids deserve that positivity, not just a choice of indifference or careful regulation. I truly kept myself at arms length until recently for fear she would accuse me of something like trying to be their mother or take over, because frankly she has in the past. I think it is okay to have multiple parents and multiple people love you all the same, blood or not. So this year I will be a great mom in every sense.   family 2
  10. Last, I will travel on my own at least once someplace I truly want to go and give back while I am there. I believe everyone should travel somewhere alone once in their lives. It forces you to see who you are without any assistance and to give back while you are there gets at your core values. It shows what you care about and believe in without any outside influence. I am excited to do this. I almost want to try for twice 🙂

So that is my 2014 bucket list. I encourage you all to make one too. Send it to me and I will post it! Let’s see what we can accomplish.


Food is Love. You are love. Pay it Forward this Year.

The Hippie Gypsy.