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Happy Holidays with Newport Beach deals! #EnrichYourSenses


We are so lucky to live in So-Cal, enjoying gorgeous weather and scenery daily! Sometimes though, amazing things are happening around us and we don’t even know about them. Sometimes we are a tad spoiled by living in such a wonderful place that we miss out on some great events.
Enough is enough! It’s time to enjoy what makes California so great again!
* and in case you don’t live here, not to worry, this will help you plan your visit*

Maybe you’re like me and have been to Newport Beach before, but have you REALLY seen all it has to offer? I didn’t know about these great Holiday events and I can’t wait to go this year and share some So-Cal magic with my girls.

* Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade – I love to be on the water but adding Christmas lights makes it a truly magical experience. They are also offering discounts on Holiday Cruise Tickets!

* Wine Down Wednesday and All Night Happy Hour on Fridays- may not be for the kids but is definitely worth a mention.

* Corona Del Mar Christmas Walk – a free family event December 6th! Santa, live music, beer and wine garden and tons of prizes make this a must do event!

Now that you are all excited to visit Newport Beach, why nat save some $ with deals like free hotel nights, free kids meals and discount whale watching tix.

and a few of my fave instagram So-Cal beach photos…



easy vegan thanksgiving recipes with thyme and cranberry #OMGardein

easy vegan thanksgiving recipes and tips #omgardein

With thanksgiving just around the corner, are you panicked with what to serve? This meal came together in minutes, looks wonderful, and will take on any “traditional” t-day meals out there! Using thyme and cranberries in the dishes as well as decor means you have more time to enjoy the holiday.  My gang was thrilled to help with this post, a delicious pre t-day warm-up.

So what’s on the menu? How about Gardein Turk’y cutlets and gravy, shallot and thyme mashed potatoes, green beans with cranberries, almonds and thyme and we top it all off with a cranberry ginger cocktail.

I’ve always loved Thanksgiving and was content eating all the side dishes, but the Gardein Turk’y cutlets and gravy are SO good they took center stage of this meal. They also have a Gardein Holiday Roast which I am hoping to get soon and tons of  healthy vegan recipes on the website!

Now for the recipes…
Gardein Turk’y was prepared per package directions in the oven.
Shallot and Thyme Mashed Potatoes

Green beans:

Ingredients: 8 servings

1 1/2 pounds organic green beans, trimmed
1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 Tablespoon fresh organic thyme
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice – optional
salt and pepper – to taste


in a large pot, bring water to a boil, enough to cover green beans. add beans and boil 4-6 minutes, just until tender,  drain and immediately place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. drain again and set aside. in a large dry skillet, toast almonds over medium low heat until lightly golden. add olive oil, green beans, and cranberries tossing to coat and until warmed. drizzle with lemon juice, add salt and pepper. may be served warm or at room temperature.

Cran-Ginger Cocktail: * I made a virgin one for the kids, simply omit the vodka

Ingredients: per 1 serving

1 ounce vodka
2 ounces organic cranberry juice
2 ounces natural ginger ale
fresh cranberries and thyme for garnish


in a glass of ice, mix vodka, cranberry juice and ginger ale. garnish with fresh cranberries and thyme.

A few tips to make your Thanksgiving stress free and enjoyable
1. dress the table with beautiful herbs and berries used in your meal
2. stick with a few great fresh ingredients, I chose to highlight thyme and cranberry
3. assign a dish to a guest if possible, the meal is always better when everyone helped to make it
4. get the kids involved, each of my girls is responsible for one dish on the table
5. make a pitcher drink, like the can-ginger cocktail above, in a larger scale that everyone can pour on their own

What Thanksgiving tip tops your list? I’d love to hear all about it!


easy vegan thanksgiving recipes with thyme and cranberry #OMGardein

5 minute pumpkin sage soup


*in the spirit of being totally out of time, I am posting my iPhone photo ;)*

Fall is the perfect time for soothing, warm soups. It’s also freaking crazy busy! Costumes, decorations, parties, recitals and I am out of time for some fancy thing to entertain with tonight. 5 minutes pumpkin soup to the rescue, with fresh sage and a beautiful appearance, everyone will think it was a labor of Autumn love- ha ha.

Pair with a salad or crusty bread for a complete meal, or serve as an appetizer , any way you have it you can’t go wrong! If you are interested in other pumpkin recipes, check out my thai pumpkin soup, pumpkin sage pasta, or pumpkin granola. Can you tell that I really love pumpkin?!

Ingredients: serves 4, 1 1/4 cup servings

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, grated or finely chopped
1/2 cup onion (red or white) grated or finely chopped
2 cups organic pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
2 1/2 cups organic vegetable broth
1/2 cup organic coconut milk- or unsweetened non-dairy substitute
3-6 leaves fresh sage plus more for garnish


heat olive oil in medium saucepan, medium heat. add onion and garlic, and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. add remaining ingredients and heat through, remove sage leaves and serve immediately.

* I garnished with a drizzle of coconut milk, pumpkin seeds and fresh sage. Other topping ideas include, maple syrup, walnuts, green onions, croutons, nutmeg, sesame seeds or nutritional yeast.

As I am generally cooking for kids as well as adults, I tend to keep the base recipes fairly simple and add red pepper flakes to the adult servings. If just making for adults, feel free to spice it up!



fishless tacos with cilantro slaw #meetchef #OMGardein

fishelss taco cilantro slaw recipe from sunnyvegan #OMGardein #meetchef

It’s taco Tuesday, yippee!
Chances are that Tuesday’s may not be the most popular day of the week for you and your family, so let’s change that with a super quick and super delicious fishless taco, cilantro slaw dinner. I’m talking 15 minutes start to finish for a healthy family friendly meal that looks this good.

Just in case you STILL haven’t tried Gardein, here’s a coupon to get you started on your garden + protein Gardein adventure!
With 9 grams of protein, 32 mg of omega 3’s and zero cholesterol, these fishless filets are an easy and healthy addition to your weeknight-need-a-quick-dinner routine!


Ingredients: 3 servings, 2 tacos each

1 10 ounce package Gardein Golden Fishes Filets
6 whole grain soft taco shells
1 1/4 cup finely shredded cabbage
2 spring onions, sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped plus more for garnish
1/3 cup vegan sour cream
1 Tbs lime juice
1/4 tsp lime zest
1 tsp agave
salt- to taste
1 acocado- sliced
lime slices- for garnish
hot sauce


preheat oven to 425, prepare Gardein fishless filets per package directions. mix cabbage and next 7 ingredients in medium bowl, allow to stand while fishless fillets bake.  warm tortillas per package directions, top with 1 fillet, 1/4 cup cilantro slaw, avocado and hot sauce. serve immediately.


fishless taco recipe from sunny vegan and #OMGardein #meetchef

Thanks again to Gardein for sponsoring our discussion, don’t forget to get your $1 off coupon!


#OMGardein #meetchef fishless taco cilantro slaw recipe from sunny veganWhat is the favorite Gardein product or meatless meal you have had or like to make?

September 22, 2015 - 7:48 pm

Tori - I love that you put the recipe at the top of the page! I always get frustrated scrolling down to the bottom of recipe blogs. The pictures make this look so yummy. Can’t wait to try it!

September 23, 2015 - 3:41 am

Zoe - I have never heard of fishless fish fillets but love the idea of fish free fish tacos!
Does it taste good? I’ve never seen this product in Oz…

September 23, 2015 - 4:35 am

Yolanda Rooney - These are beautiful! I am going to see if my grocery has the Gardein fish filets. I don’t think I’ve seen those before. Thanks for sharing the vegan recipe! It’s nice to have fresh ideas.

September 23, 2015 - 11:38 am

Shashi at RunninSrilankan - I haven’t tried Gardein’s fish fillets yet – and now I feel I need these tonight! Love the cilantro slaw!

September 23, 2015 - 8:03 pm

MonicaP - Looks delish! I like Gardein products especially their chicken strips. I’ve never tried their fishless filets.

I’m not a 100% plant based eater although I do love vegan and vegetarian foods and try to eat these types of dishes on a regular basis.


September 23, 2015 - 8:03 pm

Jen - First, can I just say, your blog is super cute! It’s like a ray of sunshine & put a smile on my face.

Second, okay, YUM! Now I have an idea for dinner – those fishless tacos look absolutely DELISH! Thank your for sharing! Maybe I’ll save some for my husband…maybe… 😉

September 24, 2015 - 8:28 am

Pam McCormick - Great recipe, instructions and photos. Sounds delicious!!! :)

September 24, 2015 - 10:27 am

Jacqulyn Munns - This looks amazing. I really need to stop looking at food blogs at lunchtime. :)

BTW: I may be in love with your stove.

My new house has a very very nice electric stove. Have I said enough. YEAH. I actually offered to leave all of my belongings when we moved from our old house, if I could just take my stove. I don’t think my husband beleived me but I would have.

September 24, 2015 - 12:13 pm

Rachel - Taco Tuesdays are a favorite night at our house. I’ve been thinking about getting a sombrero for the kids to wear. I really need to switch up the tacos I serve, and the fishless ones sound delicious plus I love cilantro.

September 25, 2015 - 3:13 am

Jessica Lane Massingill - OH! I love your topics, I love your sunshiny design! You have done an awesome job on your blog!

September 27, 2015 - 8:01 pm

Maria Magdalena - I love it! perfect recipe. Thank you!

September 28, 2015 - 6:53 am

Kimberly Gauthier - I’ve never heard of fishless filets. I’m considering going vegetarian. Right now, I mostly eat seafood. I’ve cut out pork and I’m working on the other proteins too. I love that there are so many options for vegans and vegetarians.

September 28, 2015 - 7:44 am

Angela - I really like these tacos!

September 28, 2015 - 8:35 pm

Caitlin - Oh my goodness, I’ve been eating a mostly vegan diet recently without dairy and egg, etc., with the exception of seafood. This looks awesome! I look forward to checking out Gardein!

September 29, 2015 - 11:17 am

Jill - I love the look of your blog! so colorful and energizing!! I have never seen these fishless fillets although I have had the chicken in this brand! Your recipe looks very good!

September 29, 2015 - 12:45 pm

April Ockerman - I had never heard of fishless fish sticks before. Your recipe looks delicious, saving this one for later use!

September 29, 2015 - 7:50 pm

Erica Brooks - Healthy, quick and easy. Love it. My kids would enjoy it too.

September 30, 2015 - 7:55 am

Lindi Mogale - This is the second blog Ive seen with Taco recipe I think i need to get to know the Taco better. I wil lbe trying this out as well

September 30, 2015 - 11:24 am

The Levantess - I have never tried fish substitute products. This recipe works for Taco Tuesday AND Meatless Monday. I am intrigued by the Gardein filets, will have to look for them.

September 30, 2015 - 12:20 pm

Malorie - Those look delicious!!! I’ve never tried that brand of fishless fillets, but after seeing this recipe, I’ll definitely try them.

vegan antipasto kabobs – healthy tailgating recipe

italian antipaso skewer recipe from sunny vegan

Did you know that antipasto has nothing to do with not liking pasta? No really, it’s not anti-pasta, it means “before the meal”  and is the traditional first course in a formal Italian meal known as appetizers here.

As we are a family of snackers, these cute and healthy kabobs were a hit as we start the tailgating season.  I know they look a little elegant for tailgating, but if you had a pile of these in a cup or on a paper plate, they will taste just as wonderful! So many tailgating foods are full of fat, cholesterol, sodium and calories. Combining not-so-healthy snacks with mindless eating for hours in front of the tv or in a parking lot is a perfect recipe for heartburn, indigestion, and spending half the game in the restroom! Not my kinda fun.
My friends over at have more healthy snack ideas for you, be sure to check it out. I recently found their site and LOVE their selection or organic and raw nuts, yum!

I decided to go with skewers because pretty much everything taste better when eaten off a stick. Not only that, but since you don’t need any utensils, you can just grab a skewer and get back to the game! Of course I wanted them to be super pretty, but the taste combination was amazing! The sweet tomato followed by cool basil and tofu, then a zing from the artichoke and olive, all topped off with a homemade sourdough crouton was an unexpected hit. The fact that they are super easy to make means that we may just have a new fave appetizer in the house.


Ingredients: 10 skewers

7 ounces organic extra from tofu, drained and pressed, then cubed
1 Tbs organic italian salad dressing
10 gourmet olives- we used garlic stuffed olives
10 grape or cherry tomatoes
10 pieces marinated artichoke hearts
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
3 large slices bakery bread- cubed
1-2 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper


marinate cubed tofu in italian dressing for at least one hour. brush bread cubes with olive oil then toast in skillet or grill pan over medium heat until lightly browned, turn over and brown other side, allow to cool and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  assemble skewers in desired order, refrigerate or serve immediately.


tailgate antipasto skewer recipe from sunny vegan

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