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Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad with crunchy pecans, celery, cinnamon, sweet raisins

Hello from London! For the past pre-holiday week I have been happily visiting one of my favorite cities in the UK - splendid, lovely London. Preparing for the chilly weather, I unearthed my winter gear from the back bin in my closet back in sunny Los Angeles. Goodbye tank tops, flip flops and ballet shoes, hello winter boots, warm socks, long sleeves, long scarves and red noses. Trekking around London in this icy weather requires a warm coat and frequent stops for hot peppermint, lemon-ginger tea and wide mugs of foamy soy lattes. Plenty of warm vegan porridge too! But it is so magical to trek through the crisp cold air over cobblestone streets, lovely winding paths, parks, historical sites, neighborhoods and underground "Tube" stations. But today, quickly, I wanted to pop in here and share a delicious side dish recipe I made last week...

This cinnamon-hinted Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad has sweet cubes of roasted butternut squash, crunchy bits of celery, citrus, plump sweet organic raisins (cranberries work too!) and crunchy pan-toasted pecans. The very light dressing is a mixture of tahini, maple and cinnamon.

Plus, check out what I've done in London so far!..


Wild Blueberry Cranberry Sauce. With Apple, Citrus and Cinnamon. Tastes Like Pie.

This deep purple, dreamy, magical cranberry sauce turns everything up a notch for your holiday (or any day) table. My Wild Blueberry Cranberry Sauce is brimming with dark berry goodness - accented with citrus, apple and cinnamon. The flavors and texture are reminiscent or a luscious, gooey, sticky-sweet, tart berry pie filling.

The flavors are sweet and zingy, perky and bright. You can serve this sauce warm or chilled. The blueberries and apple mellow out the usual zingy flavor of cranberry sauce. Spoon dive into this side dish!..


Vitamix 780 Review (Touchscreen Model!) + My How to Choose a Vitamix Guide.

For the past few weeks, I have been so excited to take the latest Vitamix model, the Vitamix 780, for a spin! Or, a whirl. A swirl? A blend? Whatever I get to do with it I am just excited to try it and bring the results of my Vitamix adventures to you guys. Plus I share my insight on which Vitamix I think you should purchase for your kitchen if you are looking to buy!..


My Best Creamy Potato Soup

You know the cliché of licking the bowl when you make a fluffy, yummy cupcake frosting? Well, I have hit a new mark when it comes to bowl-scraping goodness. This soup. Along with spoon scraping every last drop of this soup, I was dancing around my kitchen singing, "Best soup ever. Best soup ev-errrrrrr." My husband, who actually chose to have leftover spaghetti and meatless balls instead of this soup wasn't in on my soup-satisfaction. But I can guarantee you that when I serve him a bowl tonight, he will be dancing along with me.

The Best Creamy Potato Soup. Rich and silky, creamy and luscious. Spicy, kinda cheezy, and lovingly smoky, with an accent of sweetness somewhere underneath all those rich, bold savory layers. But really, it is all about the texture. This classic thick, velvety, creamy potato texture that doesn't come from just a quick heat and serve method. You slowly simmer this soup to let the starchiness from the potatoes mingle with the cauliflower and spices and wait for the soup magic to happen. I hope you try this soup and do a soup-happy dance in your kitchen as well..


To Share or Not To Share? Social Media, Privacy and What it Means to be Real Online.

You stare intensely at your smart phone screen like a cat staring at a bag of kitty treats. Inspiration hits you, humming through your warm body. A voice inside you wants to share. Your thoughts play with a sentence, idea, hashtag, video, image. The "publish" button is just a touchscreen finger click away. Hm. Do I share this? Is this annoying? Is this TMI? Will people care? What word should I use here? Shoot, over the character limit. Re-write! Ahh, nevermind. Delete. Or... Posted! I shared. That felt good. *awaits any possible feedback*

What, where and how much of our lives do we share in this anything goes state of the Internet?

I mean, just this week I have watched more than my share of Shia Labeouf's #AllMyMovies. Over-sharing at its finest. Watching a live stream of Shia sit in a dark movie theater, quietly watching films he has been in, with modest reactions here and there, has been strangely addicting. Is this where internet culture is leading us? A perpetual livestream of our lives?

As I ponder social media, blogging, vlogging, 'gramming, snapping, streaming and everything in between, I keep asking myself this question.. "Do we need to share our vulnerable, quiet, reflective side of ourselves to be seen as "real people" in the online space?"

I have seen many tweets saying that Shia is a genius and that people "love him even more now!" Well, why is this? He hasn't changed during his three day movie marathon. Just the image he has projected to us has changed. It is truly unedited. Candid. Honest. Real. (Or is it? Is he acting? I don't think so. But who knows, really.)

Today I am chatting about social media, privacy, transparency in blogging and just what the term "real" means when it comes to your image online.. (And don't miss the bonus blogger section at the end!)