Vegan Butternut Squash Ravioli

Today I’m sharing an absolutely delicious recipe for butternut squash and homemade vegan ricotta ravioli with a brown sugar and butter sauce and fried sage! I’m also going to share with you a lesson I learned the hard way while making this yesterday and that is don’t try to make ravioli if you don’t have the proper tools! Everything was going smoothly and surprisingly quick and easy when I went to roll out my dough and realized I didn’t have a rolling pin. I knew I didn’t have a ravioli cutter but I figured it would be easy enough to do by hand…. What could have been roughly a 45 minute recipe to make ended up taking about 2.5 hours because I had to stretch my dough by hand, and piece each ravioli together by hand, which was a messy and long affair. Also, my raviolis were a little thick- too much dough to filling ratio. However, if you have a pasta roller and a ravioli cutter than this will be much easier for you! And if not, I have another option! Tonight I made spaghetti, tossed it in a bit of the butter sauce and then threw the leftover filling on top and it was just as delicious. So, ravioli not your thing? Easily turn this into an easy and delicious spaghetti dish!

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*Note how ugly and thick my ravioli shapes are!*

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This is what your filling should look like- gross, I know, but I promise it is SO good.

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Vegan Butternut Squash Ravioli

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

For the filling:

4 cups cubed butternut squash

1 block firm tofu

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 to 2 cloves minced garlic

For the dough:

4 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

4 tbsp olive oil

1 cup water

For the sauce:

1 cup melted butter (I like Earth Balance Organic)

4 tbsp brown sugar

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp black pepper

15-20 fresh sage leaves

Instructions:

  1. Start by roasting or boiling your butternut squash. To roast, rub with olive oil and heat at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes or boil for about 25 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, make your homemade vegan ricotta. Drain and press your tofu- I like to slice my block in half to make two thinner pieces for pressing. In a medium sized bowl, mash with a fork into soft crumbles and then add the lemon and garlic. Put bowl aside and get ready to make the dough.
  3. In a large bowl whisk your flour and salt together. Then add oil and half of the water to the middle. Fold inwards working into a dough and add the rest of the water as you knead. Add more flour or more water depending if your dough is too wet or too dry.
  4. When your squash is soft, place in a blender and puree. Then pour it into the ricotta and gently mix together.
  5. Bring a pot of water to a boil and in the meantime roll out your dough and assemble the raviolis.
  6. Place a few raviolis at a time into boiling water and cook for 3-5 minutes. They are ready when they float to the top.
  7. While your raviolis are boiling, simmer the butter in a sauce pan and then add the brown sugar, pepper, and garlic powder.
  8. In a separate pan, fry your sage leaves in olive oil until crispy. Place on a paper towel, press off the access oil, and crumble them up.
  9. Toss your cooked raviolis in the butter sauce, add leftover filling if there’s any left, and top with the fried sage. Enjoy!

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Vegan Hot Cocoa

Winter has finally struck here in Boston and I have been cozying up with cocoa and marshmallows every day since! I’m loving the Cocoa Felice mix from Coop’s Microcreamery and Dandie’s vanilla marshmallows! 


If you don’t want to spend the money on these products, it is super easy to make yourself. Just heat up a cup of your favorite non-dairy milk and mix in about 3 tablespoons of a one part cocoa powder and one part granulated sugar mix. Then whip up some coconut cream to top and enjoy with some cookies! 

20 Minute Tomato Basil Orzo

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When I got home really late from work the other night and was starving, I had to throw something together quickly. With a few unopened packages of orzo and some cans of tomato soup on the shelves, I whipped up this tomato orzo in under 20 minutes! I personally used the small cans of Campbell’s tomato soup but I recommend using a low-sodium kind, as this recipe is pretty healthy if you’re using a good soup! It’s great to make in big batches as it stays well in containers and heats back up, without changing the taste or texture. This meal is vegan (obviously,) easy, yummy, and filling! I hope you enjoy it!

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20 Minute Tomato Basil Orzo

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:
– 1 cup orzo
– 1 10 oz can of tomato soup
– 10 oz of non-dairy milk
-1 clove of fresh minced garlic
-1 tbsp fresh chopped basil or 2 tbsp dried basil
-pinch of pepper
-2 slices bread
-1 tbsp olive oil

Directions:
1. Cook orzo according to package directions
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
3. When the orzo is finished cooking and drained, place it back into the pot and add the can of tomato soup. Then fill the can with the milk and add it to the pot.
4. In the meantime, cube up your pieces of bread and place them on a baking sheet.
5. With the stove heat on low, stir in the soup and milk with the orzo until completely blended and add the garlic, basil, and pepper.
6. Once the oven is preheated, add your cubed bread and toast until crispy, about 8-10 minutes. During this time, continue to stir your orzo to marinate the flavors.
11. Serve the orzo with your new croutons on top, and drizzle them lightly with olive oil.

The Every Girl’s Gift Guide

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are long behind us but there’s still time for Christmas shopping and many deals to come. Luxe handbags, spa-like adventures, and decadent sweets make up this curated list for the beauty-obsessed, fashionista, foodie, traveler, and home goods lover!

The Beauty-Obsessed: Fluffy makeup brushes, silky velvet lipsticks, a creamy bath set, and natural nail polish; these essentials are a go-to. Lime Crime velvetines are my favorite lipwear and The Body Shop is my favorite skincare brand! Both have tons of gift sets on their websites.

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Lime Crime Mini Velvetines Boxed Set $28

EcoTools Travel Set $9.99

The Body Shop Coconut Classic Picks Gift Set $20

Zoya Mini Pro Kit $35

For the Fashionista: I recently discovered Melie Bianco, a great destination for beautiful vegan leather handbags. I also love Public Desire, a UK shoe site with great over-the-knee faux suede boots. Explore them now or opt for this delicate “leather” choker or cotton-linen blend scarf.

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Melie Bianco Lennon Tassel Crossbody $49.80

Public Desire x Hailey Baldwin Sudney Western Style Boots $69.99

Ethique Le Petit Classique Double Choker $65

Jill Milan Cross-hatch Scarf $75

For the Foodie: Vegan marshmallows? Game changer! Pair these with some vegan hot cocoa (check out Coop’s MicroCreamery in my post here) for a cute and inexpensive gift. A great cookbook like The Taco Cleanse (grubby) or Oh She Glows (tasteful) is a great addition to anyone’s collection.

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Dandies Vegan Marshmallows $4.69

The Taco Cleanse $12.20

Rawmio Hazelnut Beyond Gourmet Chocolate Hazelnut Spread $12.95

Alternative Baking Co Cookies $2.19

For the Traveler: Passport, check! Camera, check! Snacks to-go, check! Make sure your traveler is prepared for her next trip with these stylish pieces.

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Deux Lux Etoile Camera Bag $105

Mark and Graham Travel Jewelry Case $65

Eco Vessel Surf Recycled Glass Water Bottle $19.95

Go Macro Organic Cashew Butter Bar $2.60

For the Home Goods Lover: I’ve never tried bamboo sheets, but I hear they are luxurious and amazing! Dishes are always a great choice, like hand painted local ceramics, or these wooden coconut bowls, and a natural candle can be both personal and versatile.

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Cariloha Resort Bamboo Sheets $239

Coconut Bowls Coco Combo $29.95

Boulangerie Jar Candle $18

Blue Dot Round Bakset $32

 

Gifts That Give Back

Give the gift of giving back this season with presents that make a difference. Here are five gifts that will please everyone on your list which support non-profit organizations.

  1. Limited Edition parkas from Gap in partnership with (RED)

Join the fight against aids and support local artists with a purchase of a jacket or other limited edition products, including children’s and toddler clothes. These unisex parkas ($198) are perfect for both men and women and depict strong messages of peace and love.

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2. Symbolic Animal Adoption from WWF

This is a great option for the kiddos on your list or anyone who loves animals. For $55, pick a species to adopt and you’ll receive one stuffed animal and an adoption card, or pick a bucket of 3 for $75. You can now also build your own bucket, with the ability to pick and choose 3 or 4 stuffed animals based on which species you love or which plush is the cutest!

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3. Love Your Melon Beanie

50% of all proceeds from Love Your Melon products support children battling cancer. With beanies ($30,) hats, and tons of color combos, there’s something for everyone and it’s a truly feel-good cause.

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4. Ivory Ella Shirt

Ivory Ella donates a portion of its proceeds to Save the Elephants, an organization fighting elephant poaching and working to increase the declining elephant population. They also feature other non-profits which they support through specific items like this top ($36.) 10% of its proceeds will support Operation Warmth, which provides winter coats to children in need.

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5. ONEHOPE Glitter Edition Brut Sparkling Wine

Everything from ONEHOPE supports a different charity. This festive glitter bottle ($59) provides 15 meals to a child in need. Perfect for displaying and serving at your own holiday party or giving as a hostess gift!

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Toothpaste Review 

I’ve been searching for a perfect natural and non-toxic toothpaste and I’ve tried out a few in the last couple months that I wanted to share with you guys. I’ve found huge differences between all three of them and think I’ve found the best one for me. What’s your favorite toothpaste? Let me know in the comments below! 


The first i tried was Tom’s of Maine and what I like most about this toothpaste is the texture. A little goes a long way (unlike the other two) and it’s has a fresh foamy feeling as you brush. The taste is lacking, with a more powdery flavor but you definitely get used to it. I got this toothpaste at Trader Joe’s for just a few dollars. 

Next was Dr Brite, which had the best minty flavor of them all. I like the ingredients in this one which include activated charcoal and vitamin C and that’s it’s natural without seeming too hippie-ish if you know what I mean. The downside to this is that it’s pricy, at $9 a tube, or $22 for a 3 pack.

Ugly By Nature was my least favorite for a couple of reasons. The slogan of this toothpaste is “Keep your mouth clean and your sink dirty” and that is no understatement. While I don’t mind the dark color for brushing with, it makes such a mess and gets grey splatters all over the sink. I also didn’t like the texture of it- I felt like I had to put a ton on my toothbrush because it thins out quickly in your mouth and feels like there’s not enough to brush all your teeth. It also turns to a very grainy texture which feels like biting down onto tiny sand pieces, I assume from the clay ingredient. Lastly, the tube is really hard to squeeze once you get about half way through the bottle so that’s a pain.

And so, although it is the most expensive, my favorite is Dr Brite with a close second going to Tom’s of Maine. I also recommend trying Dr Brite’s vitamin C mouth rinse which you can get in a bundle with your toothpaste. 

Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide

Not a lot of things are better than going through a stocking full of goodies on Christmas morning; fun-sized gifts, yummy treats, and precious trinkets. Some things I love in my stocking are small beauty products, chocolate, and fuzzy socks (not included!) I’ve compiled a list of ten awesome brands and products so Santa can get working on your stocking!

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  1. Deborah Lippmann The Cure Nail Cuticle Repair Cream Treatment $24
  2. EcoTools Retractable Kabuki $7.99
  3. Deux Lux Bisou Small Pouch $30
  4. The Body Shop Wild Argan Oil Beauty Bag Gift Set $10
  5. Marley Marie Naturals Aromatherapy Nail Polish Remover $9.99
  6. Yes to Tomatoes Clear Skin Acne Fighting Sheet Mask $3.29
  7. China Glaze Holiday Micro Mini Nail Lacquer $3
  8. Lush Rudy Bath Bomb Pair $16.95
  9. Pacifica Stellar Gaze Length and Strength Mineral Mascara $14
  10. Chocolove Orange Peel in Dark Chocolate $2.99

Cruelty-Free and Vegan Holiday Lip Guide

With Thanksgiving around the corner and Christmas, Hanukkah, or whatever you celebrate quickly approaching, deep, fall lips and classic reds are here to stay. Be mindful of what types of ingredients are in your makeup products and always check for cruelty-free symbols, like the Leaping Bunny. Below is a list of red lips perfect for any style, budget, and skin tone!

The True Reds

Milani Color Statement Moisture Matte Lipstick in True Red $5.99

Lush Liquid Lipstick in Decisive $19.95

The Pink Reds

Too Faced Melted Liquified Longwear Lipstick in Velvet $21

E.L.F. High Shine Liquid Lipstick in Crushed Berries $4

The Brown Reds

Gabriel Cosmetics Gabriel Lipstick in Walnut $17.60

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Vampira $20

The Shimmer Reds

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar in Black Meta Dahlia $16

Au Naturale Lipstick in Spanish Rose $22

The Wine Reds

Pacifica Coconut Kiss Creamy Lip Butter in Blissed Out Warm Plum $10

Circa Color Absolute Velvet Luxe Lip in Maria $10

The Orange Reds

Aromi Matte Liquid Lipstick in Terra Cotta $17

Lime Crime Velvetine Lipstick in Pumpkin $20

The Best Non Toxic Nail Polish Remover

Becoming vegan opened my eyes to all of the every day things that contain animal products, like gelatin in nail polish and nail polish removers. It’s crazy to think how many beauty products contain these things and as I become more educated about ingredients in both food and beauty, I care more about both animal by-product and toxic chemicals.

When I first found out about gelatin in nail polish remover I knew I needed to stop buying the cheap CVS brand and look for something better. I took to Amazon and found something better than I could’ve ever imagined: Aromatherapy nail polish remover from Marley Marie Naturals. A non-toxic, biodegradable nail polish remover free of acetone and alcohol, enriched with vitamins and essential oils, and of course, vegan and cruelty-free. Say what?! It sounds too good to be true, but seriously, it actually works so well! Lightly saturate a cotton pad with the remover, press it to each nail to get the oils to start breaking down the polish, and then gently scrub away your nail polish as you normally would.

Things I love about this nail polish remover: A little goes a long way, so even though it’s a bit pricier than your average nail polish remover, it’s worth it, one pad lasts for all ten nails, it comes off easily, the oils feel silky and luxurious, and maybe the best part, it doesn’t smell! The strong, nasty smell of nail polish remover is replaced with a light, calming scent of your choice. Since it’s “aromatherapy” nail polish remover, the essential oils give you a spa-like experience!

I have the Black Currant Vanilla scented remover, which I love, but I can’t wait to try out the other scents (Orange Ginger, Lavender Vanilla, and Eucalyptus Spearmint!)

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You can buy them via Amazon here (some of them are eligible for Prime) or via the Marley Marie Naturals website here (there’s a gift set with all 4 for only $23!)

Boston Veg Fest: A Day in Review

If you were lucky enough to go to Veg Fest this weekend in Boston, you’re probably running off a sugar high and and stashing away handfuls of coupons. I was so impressed by the number of vendors and their amazing products. I ate way too many samples, including BBQ jackfruit, ice cream bars, and a really popular and trending item- cashew cheese dips and spreads. My favorite part of the festival was all the baked goods- obviously- so I’m going to talk about some of the best bakeries (and show you lots of delicious pictures) and then discuss some upcoming innovative new companies and their products, like pudding and cocoa!

Vegan Treats Bakery in Pennsylvania, named one of the top ten best bakeries in the world, attends all of these types of events. They were at Veg Fest in Worcester over the summer and the line was so long I never got to try anything. Well today I got there nice and early and was lucky enough to snag a pumpkin whoopie pie, a chocolate glazed donut, and a peanut butter chocolate cake.

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Then there was FoMu, which I have all the time since there’s a location near me, but still could not resist. My mom and I got four cupcakes: F’ostess (fake Hostess!) Salted Caramel, S’mores, and Peanut Butter Chocolate. Side note: I had a pint of their pumpkin caramel flavor last week and it was really yummy!

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Some of my favorite exhibitors included Cheeky Monkey, Veggie Fries, WayFare Foods, and Coop’s MicroCreamery.

Cheeky Monkey are these peanut butter puffs which look like cheeto puffs- except not bright orange- and taste just like Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs! But, they’re healthy and even great for babies! The downside is they’re very pricey, but an awesome snack to try.

Veggie Fries are these awesome baked fries made of different root vegetables. My favorite is probably the carrot potato and they are so crispy and amazing. I scored lots of coupons from them because I’ll definitely be stocking up!

WayFare is an awesome company with a variety of products including nacho cheese, butters, cream cheese, and pudding. My mom and I bought both butterscotch and chocolate pudding after trying them because they were both SO good, and my mom was so excited that they’re only 100 calories per pack. I also tried the butter and cinnamon sugar butter and those were both ridiculously good too. The prices are really great compared to a lot of vegan specialty products and each one is so worth it!

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Lastly, Coop’s MicroCreamery was selling hot cocoa mix and hot fudge that tasted just like the real thing. They’re such great stocking stuffers or gifts too, because the packaging is adorable!

 

I hope you check out these great new products and if you’re in either Boston or Pennsylvania check out the bakeries! Catch ya at the next Veg Fest!

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This donut from Vegan Treats Bakery was sooooooo good! Like a cake and donut mixed together and perfectly dense and moist- great with a glass of almond milk.