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HAPPY 2015!!!! Two months late…

I can’t deny that I have been neglecting my blog in 2015. Here’s what has been going on:

– In December, I got a new, full-time job. Which is great! As much as I loved dropping everything and moving to Australia, it took a serious toll on my finances. So did the two moves in less than 12 months and the tempting I did August-December. So yeah to paychecks again!!! Unfortunately, with a new job comes a new schedule and an adjustment period. I have been working lots of hours to try and get up to speed with my co-workers and to earn my keep. There has been more than one night where I’ve come home at 8, had a cup of tea and a bowl of popcorn for dinner, and passed out at 9:30. As you can imagine, that not only makes me incredibly boring but it doesn’t leave a ton of time for new recipes. Unless you want a recipe for making peppermint tea and stove top popcorn. Cause I am ALL over that!

– In January, I started the Tone It Up plan, which I am loving! You can follow the link to read more about it if you are interested. Since I was making next to nothing Aug-Dec and still having to pay rent and bills, I was eating really, really poorly. I was eating a lot of free food that was available at my temp job which means I wasn’t hesitating to have pizza for lunch two days in a row. Hey! I mean, take the cheese off and that’s a free meal right there! So, once I got hired full-time in December and started receiving real, grown-up paychecks again, I decided to crack down and start eating better. The problem with this is, though I make all my own food for the Tone It Up plan, about 90% of it is from their nutrition plan, which is all under copy right. Not super helpful for a food blogger!

Despite these set backs, now that I am a bit more settled into the new job and the new plan, I am able to work out some wiggle room for recipes for the blog. I am hoping to start posting again in the next week or so. The recipes may be a little slower coming as I get settled into my job and they may be a bit more healthy but they are on their way.

Until then, here is a Valentine’s Day Round-Up for you. I’ve added to last years since I made some super fun things while in Aussie.

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Breakfast:

“Be Mine” Fruit Smoothie

Chocolate Pancakes for One (can easily be multiplied)

Heart-shaped Red Velvet Nutella Breakfast Rolls

Strawberry-glazed Donuts

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Dinners:

Peanutty Noodles

Pumpkin Burger with Beer Fries

Spicy Black Bean Quinoa Soup

Tofu Mango Summer Rolls (as Boston is currently buried under a million feet of snow, give or take, I couldn’t resist adding these as a nice alternative to soups and stews. They are also a fun “Make Your Own” if you and your significant other like different things)

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Desserts:

The Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes (You could fill these with Strawberry Chia Jam for something a little different)

Coconut Passion Fruit Cupcakes with Coconut Milk Buttercream Frosting

Dark Chocolate Truffles

Healthy-ish Peanut Butter Truffles

Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treats

Red Velvet Beet Cupcakes

I want to eat ALL of these desserts. Instead, I am currently eating grapefruit. If you want to see more of what I am eating which is all vegan and Tone It Up approved,  you can check out my instagram account, tiu_wickedvegan. Part of the plan is you check in regularly so be prepared for A LOT of food pics. You’ve been warned.

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Friday Favorites

1.                              

This remake. Jimmy Fallon can do no wrong. And the song? So catchy!

 

 

2. Two Girls advertised on Craig’s List for “Fall Boyfriends”. Highlights include “2 males interested in something steady/serious-ish…Interested parties should have a window in their bedroom and want to cuddle with the window slightly open to let the fresh autumn air in while a fall scented candle (that I’ll buy for you, babe) fills the room with cozy comfort”. Click here to read the whole thing. Aside from the fact that they are looking for a very specific type of dude I would never date (“Def in a frat or played a sport”), they are sort of geniuses. Why didn’t I think of this?? And is it too late to start taking applications???

 

No Hipsters3. This amazing sign my roommate emailed me. I think she found it on Reddit so my apologies for not having the source.

 

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4. THIS SCORE! This first game score. Are we serious with this Dolphin victory? The only team I route for above the Pats are the Dolphins so I was pretty pumped they were starting the season with such a solid victory. We’ll see how the rest of the season goes.

5. Pumpkin baked goods. ALL the baked pumpkin baked goods. I just…want them all. This is insane because for some reason, I am not in the fall mood at all. I mean, usually by September 12, I have my Halloween costume at least picked out. For whatever reason, though, this year I am reluctant to embrace it. Apparently pumpkin-flavored muffins and breads and cookies and bagels…and yeah…they don’t fall into that category. I will try and not post pumpkin things until it’s at least officially Autumn but I can’t make any promises.

I hope everyone has an excellent weekend! Recipes will return next week 🙂

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Travel Tuesday- Gold Coast

This is one of my more lengthy Travel Tuesday posts. I usually like my pictures to do the talking in these but so much of my experience with the Gold Coast was the people and the stories that I have to share it in text. I’ll try to throw some pretty pictures in there to break it up.

A view overlooking Brisbane, on our way out

A view overlooking Brisbane, on our way out

In my last Travel Tuesday post, I talked about the short two-day trip I took to Fraser Island immediately after a week at the Sunshine Coast. After my Fraser Island trip, I was dropped off in Brisbane and was planning on heading back to Toowoomba the next day after a day in Brisbane doing city things. One of the hardest parts about moving to Toowoomba from Boston is how much I missed the city sometimes. Giving up constantly having places to go, things to see and restaurants/cafes/shops to explore was an adjustment. Toowoomba isn’t small but it definitely isn’t the New England city I was used to. So I figured I would crash in Brisbane for the night, do some exploring during the day and head back to Toowoomba that evening.

Tony's Mom on her land, helping to clean it up

Tony’s Mom on her land, helping to clean it up

While in Brisbane, I had booked a cheap hostel less than a mile from the train station but my boss assured me I could stay at her practice for the evening. Free room and board? Yes please! She is a midwife and has a practice “not too far from the train station” she said. Unfortunately, I had done a crap job at packing (not surprising) and had taken most of my weeks worth of stuff from Sunshine Coast with me to Fraser Island. Which means, I was lugging it around with me in Brisbane as I hunted down my bed for the evening. 3 miles later, with a giant back pack on my back (and no, not the back packing ones. I’m talking about an overstuffed laptop bag, with my circa 2008 Macbook, and my teddy bear sticking out) and a tiny rolling bag, I found myself standing in the middle of a road, at night, with the name I was looking for but with numbers that weren’t going low enough. Turns out, I had to go across the street and go behind this little wall thing and the street continued.

The View

The View. Those tall buildings are the Gold Coast

That obstacle tackled, I got into the practice no problem and plopped down on the bedroom to unwind before bed . An hour or so later, after going to the bathroom and planning on calling it a night, the alarm for the practice started going off. At first, I didn’t realize it was coming from my place because, well, I had been there for an hour or two. Then,  my brain did the most logical thing and jumped to every single episode of Law and Order: SVU that I had seen where there was a single white girl alone in a new place where she is attacked (so like, 50% of them?). As I was creeping about this place, I was relieved to find it empty but at this point the sirens were loud and I couldn’t figure out what to do! I opened the door to see if something had triggered it and found the neighbors crowded around. Yeap, the American is making a scene! But because they were Aussies they weren’t nearly as disgruntled as Bostonians would have been and kindly came inside to help disarm the alarm. During this time, I was frantically calling my boss, who had no idea what to do, so put me through to Sharon, one of the midwives who worked regularly at this practice. She walked me through disarming the alarm and when silence descended, finally, I found myself alone with two older middle-aged men, one who was in something that vaguely resembled a white bathrobe. Again, cue the SVU panic.

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Shore where we docked the boat to the untouristy beach

Thankfully, they were incredibly nice and immediately exited the facility. And I was now in contact with Sharon, who was coming to the practice tomorrow and offered to let me stay with her when she returned for the weekend to the Gold Coast. I was hesitant at first but isn’t this what traveling is for? The next morning, she arrived with a Starbucks for me and I knew it was a sign from above. So off I went to the Gold Coast!

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Look how quiet the beach is! Locals know the best spots

So, I’m not sure if I mentioned this previously, but I did zero research for my stay in Australia. I’m talking, nothing. As someone who obsessively makes lists (and leaves them in purses, pant pockets, jacket pockets, books, magazines, on the fridge….), the little planning I did for this vacation is astonishing and speaks volumes to my need to get out of Boston for a while. With that said, I knew nothing about the Gold Coast and let Sharon and her husband, Tony, show me whatever they wanted. I pretty much just tagged along with them for a few days. We hung out with Tony’s mom and saw her land with a beautiful view then went shopping and had coffee with her. I had dinner with Tony’s family, all who were incredibly welcoming and tolerant of a random American with weird food issues crashing their party. I went to an untouristy little beach via boat where Tony surfed, Sharon swam and I prayed not to get a sun burn (she did eventually get me in the water). I learned that the sand on this beach was a lot softer then in the states and walking on it was the most intense work-out my calves had ever experienced. I had Easter dinner with Sharon and Tony’s parents and siblings and helped make this tomato salad. I embarrassed myself immensely by taking it upon myself to organize their 500+ DVD collection. I spread out across the living room and attempted to find cases for all the loose DVDs, then divided them into kids and adults, then sorted them all alphabetically. I wish I was kidding. I’m not. It took me two nights and in the end, I never found the Man of Steel DVD that started the whole thing. Sharon found me very amusing and told me I was welcome back to organize whatever I wanted. 🙂  Sharon and I also took an ocean side hike, which had both amazing views and crazy vegetation. Then she was a saint and took me to Starbucks (yes!) and Lush (YES!!) before bringing me back to Brisbane to catch a bus back to Toowoomba.

no tourists means I could finally get some whole shells which I had been looking for. There were none at Bondi Beach or Sunshine Coast- too many people

no tourists means I could finally get some whole shells which I had been looking for. There were none at Bondi Beach or Sunshine Coast- too many people

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Sharon made me soy cappuccinos with little milk hearts twice while I was there. I’m trying to remember why I left…

Views from our ocean-side hike

Views from our ocean-side hike

 

ocean-side hike

ocean-side hike

 

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I was overwhelmed by the kindness that Sharon and Tony showed me and had such an amazing time! They lived right on the water. I would wake up in the morning and sit on her porch and just relax. If I ever move to Aussie, I’m finding a house right next to Sharon and Tony’s and cooking for them every night as a huge ‘Thank You’.

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The Winner of Seriously Delish

Here we go! The winner of Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant is:

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Sue Derosiers! Congrats, Sue. You don’t have an email linked to your info so please shoot me an email at wickedveganblog@gmail.com and I’ll get all your info. Congratulations again!! 🙂

Coming up this week is a new Travel Tuesday for the Gold Coast and Cold-Brew coffee. Stay tuned!

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It’s been too long!!

My new neighborhood <3

My new neighborhood ❤

Hello everyone!

First off, thank you for those who have been continuing to check in here every once in a while. I can see that I have had a steady stream of people checking up on Wicked Vegan and that makes me so happy! I am sorry I haven’t been updating! But let me fill you in on what has been going on.

I won’t go into too many details about my Aussie travels. I love doing my Travel Tuesday posts so I hope to restart that tomorrow. I don’t have too many trips left but I feel like I should wrap up my travels.

I ended up leaving Australia at the beginning of July and flew into California to see my old roommate and friend, Ashley. I had never been to Cali so I thought this would be a great opportunity. Plus, you know, I was just REALLY dragging my feet on entering the real world. Like, REEEEALLY. Responsibilities and bills and moving and just…nah, I’ll pass! So, clearly, the best place to go when you are avoiding being a grown up is Disneyland. I was only in California for three and a half days and you can bet your ass I spent one of those in Disney! I’ll do a whole Cali update eventually but I can tell you that I ate more In and Out then should be allowed by law and I spent so long in Disney, over 14 hours, that I almost had to be dragged out of the park cause my feet hurt so bad. It was an awesome trip, clearly!

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Then I spent a little bit of time in Connecticut, reconnecting with my family and old friends and getting used to the US again. Driving on the US-side of the road again? Still not used to it. Oh, and applying for jobs. Which was not fun.

A rare sighting of The Brother. He came to visit for our Christmas in July celebration and got cozy with my guitar

A rare sighting of The Brother. He came to visit for our Christmas in July celebration and got cozy with my guitar

Then, it was back to Boston. Way back in August of 2013, I had moved to a new apartment thinking ‘yeah! when I move back from Australia it’ll be a fresh start with fun new roomies!’ Except, then I stayed three months longer and my landlord skyrocketed the rent. So, instead it was, ‘Yeah! now I have to re-move all my stuff out that I sort of just moved into this place I never lived in’ and ‘yeah! driving a ginormous van around Boston’s tiny streets” and ‘good-bye all my furniture because it can’t fit into my tiny new place.’ It was a rough welcome back but I’m moving in with my longtime friend and former roommate so it worked out! We actually just spent the day attempting to rid our place of that standard apartment color. You know what I mean. The we-are-trying-to-be-cheerful-but-non-offensive yellow-y beige, mixed with grime from other residents. Not anymore, though! woohoo!!

oh yeah, the van was big AND it was raining while we were unloading. We were all just so cheery that day. Ha!

oh yeah, the van was big AND it was raining while we were packing. We were all just so cheery that day. Ha!

And in addition to the moving and getting settled in, I have been temping and working part time slinging coffee. SO, it’s been a very, very crazy month back BUT, I think I’m ready to get Wicked Vegan up and running again! I can’t promise I will be posting super regularly what with the juggling two part time gigs and job interviewing but I can tell you I have some fun recipes planned and a super awesome give away coming up! So stay tuned!! 🙂

Oh, and I also dogsat for this adorable nugget this month. Don’t you just want to cuddle him?? Ok, I think ending on a cute dog pic is really the best way to go. Fraser Island trip will be up tomorrow!

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Last week I was on fire! I had a breakfast, Travel Tuesday, Lunch and had  dessert plannd. That is what I want every week to look like!

But, then the house got a new router. And my Macbook HATES it. Like, with the fire of a thousand suns. I turn it on and it freezes after about a minute. We’ve rebooted the router, we’ve messed with my Macbook, I’ve sacrificed small children to the computer Gods but nothing works. Ironically, I can get free wifi at McDonalds though *groan*

So, to spare myself any unnecessary trips to Maccas (Aussie slang for McDonalds. They crack up when I try to pronounce it), I’m just going to go on a bit of a hiatus until things get worked out, which hopefully won’t be for too long.

If you have any recommendations on fixing issues with a Macbook and a Billion router, email me. If your suggestion works, I’ll shower you with an uncomfortable amount of gratitude.

Thank you for your patience and hopefully you will hear from me soon!

Erin

 

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So, I did some more traveling. Finally! I went to the Sunshine Coast with the kids I nanny for and their mom over the kids’ April vacation. She had to work, the kids and I had no plans so we just hung around- beachside. It was fun. I didn’t do too much exploring down there because I didn’t have a car but I walked down to the Maroochydore Esplanade (they had starbucks and vegan fro-yo. Life made) and made it out to the Australian Zoo and Currimundi Beach.

Note: My camera had a terrible crash at Bundi beach back in December and it just hasn’t been the same since. Just a wee bit fuzzier then I like. I think I need a new lens 😦 😦 Also, some of these are off an old Samsung phone. Moral of the story- These pictures aren’t the best but I’m trying not to obsess over them. Trying be the key word.

Beach time and Maroochydore Esplanade walk:

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I built a sandman! Think more Frozen “Do you want to build a snowman?!” and less Metallica

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Vegan lunch one day at Raw Energy. I ordered the Mexican Roll Up with no sour cream. Yum!

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and followed it up with some Soy Chocolate Fro-yo at Yogurt Land. I was SO happy about this.

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Australian Zoo:

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Perentie, Australia’s Largest Lizard

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AHH!! Crocodiles!!

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Cassowary

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and more koalas!

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Robert Irwin picking up a little croc. He’s only 10!

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Kangaroo just chillin’

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aww, cute baby giraffe…

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and baby tiger!

and, last for the Sunshine Coast, Currimundi Beach:

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Currimundi had beaches…

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…and a shallow lake area

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We saw this randomly at a little airport. I don’t know anything about planes but I know that I sort of love this one!

 

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