What a year!!
From living in New York City to becoming an Aunt for the 5th time…from visiting my parents in Ireland to traveling throughout Southern Europe and Morocco…from selling all of our belongings to living in Nashville for a month…from our big move to CHINA to adjusting to life overseas…from learning Chinese culture to studying Mandarine…from traveling throughout India, Nepal and Taiwan to figuring out normal life in our small city…
…it’s been quite a year!
Thank you for all of your comments and support this year as I’ve undergone some big life changes. It’s so nice to have a safe place where I can share my experiences, thoughts, and recipes!
Speaking of recipes, amazingly, amidst all the craziness and change I’ve still managed to find so much joy in cooking and sharing plant-based, simple recipes with you all, as well as the people around me. It’s been a delicious year for sure and I hope you’ve received some inspiration from the recipes I’ve shared. I feel like I’ve grown so much in my creativity and cooking ability this year. Yes, I definitely still have botched meals, but they’re few and far between. I know my husband is happy!
Before I share some recipes and life highlights from 2015, I’d love to hear from you! What were some highlights from your year? What big (or small!) things brought you joy? How did you step out of your comfort zone? What was the best thing you ate? I’d love to know!
My Favorite Recipes from 2015:
From Top to Bottom, Left to Right:
1. Vegetable and Chickpea Mafé || 2. Homemade Almond Joys || 3. Vegan Portobello Mushroom Fajitas || 4. Homemade Vanilla Cashew Butter || 5. Oil-Free Edamame Hummus || 6. One Bowl Basic Muffin Recipe || 7. Refreshing Green Smoothie || 8. Chocolate Tahini Brownie Bites || 9. Vegan and Gluten Free Coconut Birthday Cake || 10. Pumpkin and Carrot Curry || 11. Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Biscotti || 12. Baked Turmeric Falafel || 13. Quinoa, Kale and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad || 14. 3 Ingredient Vegan Artisan Bread || 15. Creamy Vegan Tomato and Zucchini Soup || 16. Chewy Vegan Oatmeal Date Cookies
Most Viewed Recipes from 2015:
In addition to my favorite recipes, I thought you might like to see the 4 most viewed recipes from this past year. It’s a pretty diverse round-up and included a beverage, breakfast recipe, salad, and entree! Check out these recipes if you haven’t already!
I’ll mostly let these pictures speak for themselves, but it looks to me like I’ve learned a lot about food photography lighting and set-up this past year. Praises!
The first part of our year was spent living in the lively New York City. No complaints here! I actually said I would never want to live in New York City when I was younger, but now that statement couldn’t be more false. Brett and I LOVED living in New York. There is something for everyone and you never run out of places, parks, or restaurants to explore! Living in Queens, was always an adventure and we felt like we were overseas most of the time, which is just how we like it. We had so much fun together exploring different areas of the city in our free time and, of course, the food was amazing! New York is full of plant-based, vegan restaurants as well as bakeries. This sweet tooth lady was in heaven!
One of the most wonderful things that happened this year was the birth of my niece Brynn. I love all eight of my nieces and nephews so much so I was thrilled to have some time off to spend a week with my sister and her family in Virginia right after Brynn’s birth. In my opinion, there’s nothing better than sister and baby time!
Overseas travels. Oh wow. So many wonderful adventures happened this year! Our first major trip didn’t happen until June due to our work schedule in New York City, but our travels sure started off with a bang! My parents flew us out to Ireland (where they live) and we spent a week traveling all around the island, catching up, seeing amazing sights, eating delicious food, and getting a glimpse into their new life. You can learn more about our time here!
From Ireland Brett and I flew to Barcelona. From Barcelona we drove to Cinque Terre, Italy and spend a few days hiking and eating ALL the pasta. We then slowly made the drive back to Barcelona, stopping to jump off some cliffs in Marseille, France. After a couple of wonderful days in Barcelona we flew to Morocco. We mainly explored Fez and Marrakesh and the highlights for me were riding camels in the desert and taking a Moroccan Cooking Class!
After all of our travels in June, we had a couple of weeks left in New York City before we had to sell all of our belongings and move out. The month between NYC and our big move to China was spent visiting and saying goodbye to family. Most of our time was spent living with Brett’s family in Nashville and their hospitality was just what we needed to relax after lots of travel and to help us gear up for our move to China.
And of course, the biggest thing that happened this year was our big move to China! I’ve been sharing lots of stories and thoughts since we moved here–including what it looks like to go to the market, host a Chinese friend for dinner, and visit a Chinese Hospital–and I’ll be sure to continue to share about life here in the coming year. It’s always an adventure, but Brett and I love living here!
We especially love the amount of travel we can do, considering how close so many other countries are to China. Our first trip out of the country was to Taiwan and last month we spent two weeks in India and Nepal. AND in less than two weeks we are heading to Thailand! Unlike our trip to India, I’ll be bringing my camera along with me to Thailand, so stay tuned for some delicious Thai, plant-based eats!
And of course, none of these memories would be the same if they weren’t made with my husband Brett! I can’t believe the experiences we’ve been able to have in just the few years we’ve known each other. We’ve grown so much individually and as a couple and have grown more in our love for each other (sorry, a little sappy, I know). It’s been a whirlwind of a ride, but so much fun and I wouldn’t want to share it with any other person!
And that’s a wrap!