My Top 20 Posts of 2011!

2011. I've had so much fun creating and sharing vegan recipes with you all this year. I hope you picked up some new favorite recipes from my blog. And I love stumbling upon brand new favorites of my own - like my Toasty Pumpkin Fritters, Coconut Whip, my Fully Loaded Kale Salad, Caramel Apple Pie, My Macro Bowl and my summer obsession: the Watermelon Frosty. And many more.

So lets look back at the Top 20 Healthy. Happy. Life. posts of 2011. Did your favorite make the list? This is a great way to catch up on some of my popular posts from the past year that you may have missed!..


Healthy Food at Disneyland: Where's the Magic?

You may have noticed from my tweets that I spent Christmas day at the Happiest Place on Earth: Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California.

But as a food blogger, I had more than Space Mountain and Mickey Mouse on my mind. Investigating Disney eats would be a whole new adventuresome part of this trip. Could the vegan and/or healthy Disneyland food options live up to the famous Disneyland Park magic?..


Vegan Chocolate Chip Walnut Vanilla Bean Cookies.

For my Vegan Chocolate Chip Walnut Vanilla Bean Cookies, I've taken one of my favorite cookie recipes and made it even better. Huge chunks of organic California walnuts, mini dark chocolate vegan chips, Vietnamese cinnamon, and my secret ingredient for taking just about any cookie recipe to the next level of awesomeness...


Raw Breakfast: My Busy Season Power Fuel.

I would have liked to have slept through breakfast this morning. But in fact, I did not. I worked through breakfast. Tis the season to keep food bloggers very, very busy.

AM. Outside the sun crept into the sky, a pool of periwinkle flooding the windowglass. I stumbled to the fridge for my usual early morning swig of Pressed Juicery raw coconut water, then over to my computer like a drowsy moth to a glowing streetlamp.

Cue the "spinning hands on the clock" visual. And suddenly it is noon. Then 12:30pm. Breakfast, officially skipped. Or maybe just perfectly delayed..


Spa-tastic Giveaway! 10 Tips to Manage Holiday Stress.

Stress. We all have it. Some of us let it take us down like a ripped linebacker tackling a waify quarterback. And some of us are stress-masters, grabbing hold of stress and buckling it up tightly so that we control its every move in our bodies. And yes, stressed is desserts spelled backwards. So that means stress and a plate of holiday sugar cookies do not mix well together.

Don't let stress scrooge-up your plans for holiday cheer.

Ahead, you'll find my 10 Tips to Manage Holiday (and everyday) Stress! Plus I have an awesome $75 + C3* for Stress giveaway for you! Breath in ....... breath out..... click ahead.

Stress touches us all - and there is really no way to remove the stresses in our lives - unless you are planning on moving to a private island, chucking your cellphone to the sea and saying adios to society. Well, actually, I'm sure there are everyday stresses in paradise too. A cloud blocking your sunbeam could be quick upsetting I'm sure.

Is stress effecting you right now? Signs of stress can include:
* higher blood pressure
* increased agitation
* stomach problems
* decreased concentration
* decreased sex drive
* weight gain

Fact: 75-90% of all doctors office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints. -source C3*

We are all in the thick season of stress: the holidays, So rather than attempt to ditch stress, lets simply try to manage it. Here are ten of my favorite ways to feel a little more chill.

See GIVEAWAY details and my C3 review at end of post! (#10 on the list)

10 Tips to Manage Holiday Stress

1. Deep Breathing. Each breath you take has a startling impact on how you feel. And each breath also reflects on how you are feeling. Here is a breathing exercise to try to help you manage a stressful situation or just stay in a zen mood. Close your eyes and find your zen within each deep breath you take.

2. Break a Sweat (in your holiday sweater!) Holiday shopping isn't the only way to get a workout this time of year. Grab your favorite cheezy holiday sweater, pull on some leggings, top it off with a Santa hat and pump up the holiday music for the silliest dance-off ever. Invite some friends or simply strut your stuff solo with twinkly lights in the background - your kitty cat on the couch giving you a curious gaze. Breaking a sweat is my personal favorite was to manage stress :)

3. Water Power. I'm a huge fan of bubble baths. And adding little goodies to bring your bath up to par. Try essential oils, sea salts, Epsom salts and even some bubble-bath-approved kitchen pantry items like day-old wine, sugar for scrubbing your skin and baking soda. And for total rejuvenation, try some hot/cold water therapy.

4. Ginger Juice. To calm a troubled tummy (tummy troubles often have roots in everyday stresses) - try juice that is boosted by some fresh ginger. You may have to seek out a juice bar if you don't have a juicer. I have several ginger-infused juice recipes in my drink index. Try my AM Sunrise Juice.

5. Travel Zen. Try my pre-travel routine to ease travel stress.

6. Give Santa a Year Off. One of my favorite tricks for decluttering the holidays is to plan a vacation as part of your family gift. That way you'll be so excited about your travel plans that presents won't seem like the big highlight of the holiday and you'll be more focused on spending time together rather than unwrapping gifts under the tree. (Less presents means less stressful shopping!)

7. Probiotics! Again, tummy troubles are no fun. And stress can set them off. So be sure to take a probiotic around the holidays and load up on probiotic foods like soy yogurt, kombucha and fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickles, tempeh and more.

8. Try Chamomile. Blend up a Calm Chamomile Smoothie or brew some chamomile tea.

9. Grab a Banana. Keeping your blood sugar levels up during the holidays is a must. So I always keep bananas on hand and even in my purse when I am out and about. Heck, Starbucks and 711 even sell fresh bananas! Bananas are a perfect calming food because they contain Vitamin B6, potassium, fiber, are easy to digest and have actually been shown to interact with the lining of your stomach to produce digestive-enhancing mucous, helping to protect your stomach against acid. Potassium, an important electrolyte for a hydrated, happy (and calm) body. Try my Banana Almond Shake for instant energy.

9 1/2. Bonus: Manage stress by staying hydrated by chugging some potassium rich coconut water. Try to find the raw, real stuff from a fancy juice bar if you can (or buy and crack open one of those big white coconuts for sale at Whole Foods. Raw coconut water is truly the best.)

10. Try C3* for Stress - and enter my giveaway! I was pretty amazed that this stuff actually worked and gave me a fuzzed-out, chill feeling within minutes. Fizzy and lightly sweetened with a zesty flavor - C3 is easy to drink. Visit C3* for Stress for more info and enter my giveaway below!!

C3* for Stress + GIVEAWAY! (note this is not a sponsored post - I only received a free sample to try the product and a giveaway prize to offer my readers)

C3* for Stress Review. I was skeptical. I'm not a big fan of supplements featuring big claims. And a powdery pack that claims to calm me down seemed pretty outrageous to me. But I swirled the mixture into a glass of chilled water and sipped. Within minutes I felt different.

A main ingredient is kava root. C3*'s blend of kava and other botanicals like polygala root, longan berries and more definitely chilled me out. I personally would only use c3* in the PM hours because it was so strong for me. But if you want a buzz - a buzz of calm - try this stuff and see if it works for your stress management routine. I love that C3* is sugar free - sweetened with stevia - and contains 100% RDA of vitamins B6, B12, Zinc and Niacin. Note: always read packaging and warnings before trying - and I'm a huge fan of always discussing new supplements with your doctor before trying them.

*GIVEAWAY ENTRY PERIOD HAS ENDED* Congrats to the winner: Heidi.

Giveaway Prize: (1) $75 gift card to AND a one month's supply of C3* for Stress (two 25-packs)

How to Enter -> enter by commenting on this post. You must comment to gain initial entry into the giveaway. Comment by telling me what your go-to way to manage or reduce stress is. Maybe it is a food, activity or even a favorite calming quote.

Additional entries:
* tweet this post and include @replies as shown: " I just entered the @C3forStress Giveaway hosted by @Lunchboxbunch - enter here: "
* Follow Lunchbox Bunch on Facebook and share this post on Facebook (easy share link at top)

NOTE: for additional entries add the tags #tweet and/or #FB to your comment so I know that you shared.

Giveaway Entry Period Ends Wednesday December 28th at 12pm PST (I'll tweet the winner and contact via email)

More info and learn how to get a free sample of C3: C3* for Stress


Holiday Edition! Meatless Monday Recipe Round-Up

In the words of Madonna, "Hol-day-ee. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Celebrate.... lalala."

Super-jam-packed Holiday Edition of this week's Meatless Monday Recipe Round-up via my posts over at's Family Kitchen - AND this week, I'm listing ALL my favorite recipes from this holiday season (and a few of my favorites from season's past) here on Healthy. Happy. Life. as well. Your vegan holiday feast is ready..


Jumbo Soy Nog Snickerdoodles

These jumbo-sized Soy Nog Snickerdoodles are my way of infusing some holiday spirit into one of my favorite cookies. Light and chewy, these tender spiced cookies have gentle notes of holiday nog in each bite. Leave a stack out for Santa or gobble them up yourself. Pairs well with an ice cold glass of vanilla rice milk with a dash of fine cinnamon...

I'm still in shock that Christmas is a week away. I may be caught up on holiday recipes, but my present count is pretty dim. But that's OK. Some Christmases I'm just not in a huge shopping mood. Then some years I go way overboard, stuffing the tree with stacks of twinkly wrapped presents and goodies.

This year I'm feeling minimalist about Christmas. And even though giant LA shopping malls and decked out Rodeo Drive is just a speedy (or more likely, quite traffic-jammed) trip down Santa Monica Blvd, the present-bug hasn't bit me yet. Maybe I'll go mingle with some last minute holiday shoppers and catch it. Anyone else not caught up on holiday shopping and feeling sorta oddly zen about it?

..Or maybe it is just the lack of sparkly snow and brisk Christmas air that is throwing my present cravings off. Hmm.

Well even with no snow in LA, there certainly are a lot of twinkly lights. Check out my view last week from Griffith Observatory..

Snickerdoodle Inspiration. I was presented with a super stellar holiday baking gift from the from little elves of Microsoft. It was filled with inspiring things like some adorable tiny measuring spoons with labels like "dash" as well as some baking tins and such. Super cute stuff. It's nice to get a present with no strings attached. Also included was a jar of Vietnamese cinnamon. Super high quality cinnamon meals one thing: Snickerdoodle baking time.

Jumbo Soy Nog Snickerdoodles
vegan, makes 12-14 cookies

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp cinnamon (Vietnamese if you have)
a few dashes of nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegan butter, melted
1/4 cup safflower oil
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup soy nog
2 tsp apple cider vinegar

cinna/sugar mixture for rolling dough balls in


1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
3. Add in the wet ingredients - fold the vinegar in last. note: depending on how "wet" you like your dough, you can adjust the soy nog amount. Add gradually so you get the perfect consistency for rolling balls of dough.
4. Roll large balls of dough between your palms - about 1 1/2 Tbsp of dough. Then roll around in the cinna-sugar mixture and place on a greased baking sheet. I personally don't mind if a little cookie ought sprawl happens and the cookies touch as they bake - but if you do, you'll need to use two baking sheets and separate cookie dough balls by at least 1 1/2 inches.
5. Bake at 350 for about ten minutes.


Virtual Vegan Dinner Party: I'll Bring the Pumpkin Pie!

When I heard about this festive potluck-style vegan dinner party with some of my fave vegan bloggers, I said..

"I'll bring the pumpkin pie!"

Virtual Feast. You are invited to ogle this online feast - and you don't even have to get all primped and pampered. Stay cozy in your slippers and take in some vegan eye candy to inspire your own holiday meal preparations. Step inside the Virtual Vegan Dinner Party..


The Vegan Big Stack. Breakfast Sandwich. Spinach. Citrus. Panko.

Why have one layer when I can have two? This is the thought that ran through my head as I was carefully plating my latest breakfast sandwich creation: The Vegan Big Stack. Breakfast Sandwich...


My Pressed Juicery 3-Day Cleanse. Juice Bonanza.

"Our bodies require vital nutrients to function at their optimal levels, and the quickest and most natural way to get them is through fresh juice." - Pressed Juicery website.

Last week I signed on to try 3-day juice cleanse via the Los Angeles-based company Pressed Juicery. The juice-guru trio behind the company: Hayden Slater, Carly Brien and Hedi Gores. The Pressed Juicery has locations in Malibu and Brentwood and just opened a new West Hollywood location (the first super fan customer of the day? Nicole Richie).

Fresh off my 3 day juice-chugging bonanza - green, red, white, yellow and pink colored fresh juices on demand - at my fingertips - I can say I am a changed lady. And I have one new reason to love LA.

Juice Journey. Although I not a juicing-newbie, during this cleanse I was shocked to discover a few new things about my body and juicing. Get my story and lessons learned on my Pressed Juicery 3-Day cleanse..


Meatless Monday Recipe Round-Up 12/12

This week's Meatless Monday Recipe Round-up via my posts over at's Family Kitchen: holiday-infused recipes including Cocoa Cardamom Cake, Holiday Lattes - veganized, Soba Noodle Stir-Fry, my coziest soup ever: Leek, Potato, Mushroom with vegan Field Roast Sausages, my list of the top ten best vegan cheeses - and more inspiration your meatless day and the week ahead! Plus find out my holiday favorite treat of the week...


Cinnamon Citrus Soy Nog French Toast, a la Pita!

Juicy golden winter satsumas, silky sliced bananas and zesty green kiwis pair perfectly with this cozy platter of holiday french toast - a la pita!..

My latest breakfast creation: tender, crisp edged Cinnamon Citrus Soy Nog French Toast Triangles (a la Pita). These crazy cool pita triangles are worth staying cozy in your PJs for.

Holiday Mood. Why fight it? Embrace your cozy, festive, just-wanna-nap-and-watch-holiday-movies-all-day mood this weekend. Soak it in. And if you are lucky, maybe a few snowflakes outside. Or at least some sparkly sunshine...


One Lucky Duck Giveaway! And 15% Off! Gift Ideas Galore.

Holiday offering for you, my wonderful readers! I'm excited to bring you guys a giveaway from one of my favorite brands: One Lucky Duck. Enter to win a $50 e-certificate to the online store. But wait! There's more. Since you are reading this post, you get a treat: a holiday discount code for 15% off any One Lucky Duck e-store purchase.

So get all your holiday shopping done in one healthy, happy, vegan swoop! And also ahead, I'll share my Top 10 favorite One Lucky Duck products/gift ideas and why I love them. Happy holiday giveaway details ahead!..


Easy Vegan Family Meal. HSUS Party too..

This fancy, golden plate is loaded up with Vegan Southern Comfort eats with flavor combos I crave. It's all here: creamy, spicy, zesty, crispy, savory, sweet, sassy and a little bit of green too.

The eats: leftover cheesy shells, lovely wilted spinach, zesty sautéed sauerkraut, savory rice and red beans and some spicy Buffalo Bites. Grab a plate and dive into this buffet of deliciousness.

Ahead, get the recipes to create my Southern Comfort Plate and hear what I was up to this weekend!.. Including my time at the Humane Society Wrap Party here in LA - and my brush with fashion destiny as I pulled on my very first Vaute Couture coat. Emerald, plush, vegan fashion heaven..


Vegan Spicy Chipotle Shells and Cheese.

Meet my dinner last night: Vegan Spicy Chipotle Shells and Cheez. Totally served up seconds with this dish on the table.

Thick and creamy, spicy "cheese" sauce coats tender pasta shells. Dollop on a few more spoonfuls of sauce and pile on spicy, crispy, sizzling nubbins of Field Roast chipotle sausage - sautéed with zesty diced onion. The final step: green, fresh, fragrant chopped cilantro on top.

Each bite pairs bold spiciness with cozy, oozy, creaminess. And while this pasta is totally decadent - it's also loaded with healthy stuff! Sweet potatoes and beans anyone? Recipe ahead..


Meatless Monday Recipe Round-Up 12/5

This week's Meatless Monday Recipe Round-up via my posts over at's Family Kitchen: holiday-infused recipes including Pumpkin Macadamia Scones, Frosty Holiday Cocoa Shake, Cardamom Breakfast Latte, Cinna-Sugar Flutes and a few fun recipes like Spicy Vegan Buffalo Nuggets (with only 3 ingredients!) and my right-now obsession: sautéed sauerkraut - and more inspiration your meatless day and the week ahead!...

Holiday Season Eats. Celebrate the holidays with the help of my other site: - hundreds of vegan recipes sure to inspire you (and more being posted everyday). From savory to sweet. FindingVegan's #HOLIDAY tag

Meatless Monday Recipe Round-Up - 12/5

* Easy Protein Recipe: 3 Ingredient Buffalo Nuggets
Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside. These super flavor-packed bites are covered in crisp Panko crumbs - a spicy kick of hot sauce in each zesty bite. Veggie protein-packed.

* Holiday Treat: Holiday Frozen Cocoa
Every year I whip out the frozen cocoa recipe for a frosty treat that might not be the best idea when 'coming in from the cold' - but it certainly is delicious is sipping by a warm roaring fire, or even for my friends in not-so-snowy climates (like myself in LA this year!) Frozen coconut milk ice cream cocoa shakes with vegan dandies on top are the best!

* Treat: Cinna-Sugar Flutes
A lovely accompaniment to your hot bevies this holiday season: my Cinnamon Sugar Hazelnut Flute Twists. Sticky caramelized cinna-sugar crusting these tender pastry wands. Lovely!

* Beverage: Cozy Cardamom Nog Breakfast Latte
This cardamom-spiced breakfast latte is sophisticated and cozy all at the same time. It satisfies my new found cravings for all things cardamom.

* Side Dish: Sauteed Sauerkraut
Sauteed sauerkraut is my latest obsession. I think I've served it at dinner every night for the past week. I just love the zesty flavor of sauerkraut warmed to a perfectly cozy temperature - some fine pepper and other flavor accents added to the mix. Give this easy recipe a try to perk up just about any meal.

* Cookie: Coconut Snowball Cookies
The best part of holiday feasting is bringing back your favorite recipes year after year. These coconut snowballs are a holiday standard in my house - I enjoy them every year (with or without a pre-treat snowball fight.)

* Protein Side Dish: Citrus Scented Tofu Cubes
I featured these tasty little tofu cubes in my "Salad for Breakfast" recipe post. I love this simply morning-approved tofu recipe. It's a little bit of tofu in the AM, without the standard "scramble."

* Treat: Pumpkin Macadamia Scones
Still hoarding a pantry full of canned pumpkin? This recipe is for you! Buttery, cake-like scones are flavored with spiced pumpkin and studded with buttery crisp macadamia nuts. Perfect pairing for your AM holiday cocoa, latte, tea or nog.

* Holiday Side: Pita Stuffing
Just in case you missed one of my favorite recipes from Thanksgiving - read up and bookmark this one for the upcoming December holiday feasting. Perfect pita stuffing is my mistake-gone-good.

Something sweet, something to sip, something protein-packed and something green (my Meatless Monday round-up needed that something green..)

* Easy Salad: Easy Cheezy Kale
Put some greens on our dinner table in a flash with this basic nutritional yeast-infused kale recipe.

* Snow Day!! 14 Snow Day Recipes!
When those snow days come, you'll want to be prepared! Here are 14 of my have recipes to inspire you - and get you energized for some serious snowball fights and snow-angel making sessions.

Also, be sure to check out this year's Veggie Girl Power Series. And catch-up on past interviews here: 2009 and 2010 and 2009 quotes.

Previous Meatless Monday Recipe Round-Up's:

* 11/28 - Post-Thanksgiving Meatless Monday recipe.
* 11/14 - Pre-Thanksgiving Meatless Monday recipe.
* 11/7 - Pumpkin Cheesecake, BBQ Chickpea Wrap, Easy Spicy Chick'n Ranch Wrap, Concord Cranberry Sauce and more!
* 10/31 - Halloween Bonanza - treats, sips, and more..
* 10/24 - Banana Pecan Muffins, Halloween Candy Veganized, Halloween Cupcakes.
* 10/17 - Papaya bowl, witches brew broccoli cheesy soup, cheezy broomsticks, Spiderweb Brownie Bites, Tofu Triangles over couscous with candied cashews and broccoli.
* 10/10 - Pumpkin Pizza, Fruity Faces, Peanut butter Banana Pudding, Carrot Juice and Double Pumpkin Cream Pie.
* 10/3 - Naughty/Nice Vegan Desserts, Raw Chocolate Shake, Pumpkin Potato Salad, Pumpkin Spice Cider Smoothie and more..
* 9/26 - cauliflower soup, pomegranate fizzy cocktail, food truck gyros at home, ghost whip, almost tiramisu pie
* 9/19 - apple jack flapjacks, seared tofu, tropical green smoothie, vanilla coconut latte, sumac salad
* 9/12 - ginger frosty, peanut butter cream pie, vegan chili, easy coconut rice and wonton lunch, peanut butter fruit stack sandwich
* 9/5 - Labor Day "Southern Food" Feast - biscuits, "chickn" fried seitan, cole slaw, pb shake
* 8/29 - pesto alphabet pasta, banana split, sweet potato biscuits, pasta salad to-go, cheeze sauce
* 8/22 - tropical smoothie, mushroom bites, veggie burger, love your green juice, peas and pasta cheezy style
* 8/15 - vegan jello, sunny pesto pasta, peachy "A" Smoothie, creamy cole slaw recipes, vegan sloppy joes, apricot cobbler and lime basil sorbet!
* 8/8 - jumbo croutons, fresh tomato hummus, peanut butter pillows, veggie burger slideshow, sticky maple french toast, cinna-rolls and more!
* 8/1 - hazelnut hummus, pesto pasta, tofu scramble, squash blossoms, savory waffles, hash browns.
* 7/25 - smoothies, vegan burrito, blueberry bread, panzanella salad, beet salad, peach crisp.
* 7/18 - roasted pepper hummus, raw food eats, papaya smoothie, owl cake, chocolate pudding parfait, hemp mashed potatoes and watermelon recipes.

And you can always peruse my HHL Recipe Index for many more vegan, meatless recipes!