Tag Archives: vegan

Vegan Fudge (or Another Super Easy Recipe)

I’ve been testing a few new recipes lately since I’m working on meal planning and cooking at home. I usually am trying one new dinner recipe each week or every other week. I’m trying to find simple recipes since I don’t want to have to buy a ton of ingredients that cost a lot of money or something that takes forever to cook. So my searches tend to be for pretty basic stuff. And sometimes, I need something to inspire me to find a new recipe.

A friend of mine had a loss recently and I wanted to do something nice for them. They are vegan so most of my guilty pleasure foods wouldn’t work for them so I did some searching for good vegan treats. So many of them had lots of ingredients that I don’t have or don’t use. It’s not worth it to buy something that will just be used in that one recipe (the problem I’ve had with cooking in the past) so I just kept searching for something easy to make. And finally I came across the perfect recipe!

I found a very basic recipe for vegan peanut butter fudge that pretty much only had ingredients that I already have! It was so easy and fast to make and so good that I know this will be something I will be making for lots of people in the future! And as I have before, whenever I find an awesome recipe I want to share it with you all!

Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge (from Spoon University)

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup natural nut butter (this was the only ingredient I had to buy because the only peanut butter I had in my house had honey which is not vegan)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, softened or melted
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

What to do:

  • Combine all ingredients and stir until combined
  • Pour into a container that is lined with parchment paper
  • Put container in freezer and freeze for 45 minutes
  • Take out of freezer, cut, and enjoy!

That’s it! It’s so simple that I can’t believe that I haven’t made this before! I actually have not been able to get the fudge to my friend yet (so they might be finding out that I made something for them by reading this blog), but I know that they will be a hit!

This isn’t necessarily the healthiest thing to eat, but it’s so much healthier than most desserts that I know how to make. And I’m sure this recipe is easy enough to switch things up so the basic recipe can be used for a bunch of different things. I was thinking that this could be a really good topping to the gluten-free brownies I know how to make. Those brownies are sometimes used as the base for triple layer brownies with brown butter frosting. But I think using this fudge as a frosting could really be amazing! I might have to try it out sometime.

Every time I try a new recipe, I’m so anxious that it’s not going to turn out ok. I had that happen a few weeks ago with a new soup recipe that I tried. I thought it was going to be amazing and I was so excited about it. And then I tried it and it was horrible. I tried to fix it but there was no saving the soup and it had to be thrown out. I felt awful doing that because it is a waste of food and money (and I did try to see if any of my neighbors wanted it), but I knew I couldn’t eat it.

Having a recipe go wrong was a blessing in disguise because it wasn’t the end of the world like I thought it would be. It was unfortunate, but nothing horrible happened because I made something that tasted horrible. I’m not as scared now as I was before that I will do something wrong. And more often than not, the recipes will turn out awesome (like this one did) and it will become something that I will want to keep making!

The trial and error in my kitchen continues each week. But I know that this vegan fudge is going to be something that I make over and over again.

Fitting Splurges Into My Meals (or How I Need To Eat For Life)

I’m still getting used to post-cleanse life. It’s tough to find a balance even though I completely understand what I need to do now. But I had some opportunities to test out my new knowledge with some splurges over the past week.

It started on Sunday with the Oscars Party. I ate cleanly and limited my calories before going to the party. I tried to go to the party without being hungry, but I knew I could be there from about 3-10pm, so I’d have to eat at some point. I did make some good choices like cut up veggies. But that wouldn’t be enough to hold me over for the evening.

The traditional thing that Chris and Marie make for their party is queso dip with chips. So I made a small portion of that for me and it was really delicious! By eating so clean and plain normally, things that are different taste more extreme than I’m used to. So less of it filled me up and satisfied me. Beyond that, I stayed with pretty healthy options for the rest of the party. My weight the next day was up a little, but that was to be expected because of sodium.

The next test for me was Disneyland. I ate breakfast and lunch at home (and also did a pre-Disneyland workout at Orangetheory) and brought a snack with me. The only thing I ate at the park was my soup in a bread bowl. No treats or candy for me. And all I drank was water. With my smart choices and all the walking I did, I lost the weight that I had gained from the Oscar Party while at Disneyland and splurging a little.

I also had a minor setback/splurge this past week with some crispy M&Ms. Those are my favorite and they only just came back into stores after being gone for a long time. I didn’t need them, but I had them. But I balanced it out by not eating as much for dinner that night.

I’m also looking at finding more good options for lunch. Now that my lunches can be cooked, I’m exploring what else I can eat while I work (which means that I need it to be ok to eat cold). Right now, I’m loving the quinoa cowboy veggie burgers from Trader Joes. I had one the other day with half an avocado and a banana. This kept me satisfied and full even through my workout!

Vegan Lunch

I’m hoping to not have as many splurges/treats in a normal week. This weekend will be tough because I’m going wine tasting and will be going out for some nice meals. But once I’m back, I will be back to my almost always clean eating. But this is normal life, and I have to learn how to live this way and still continue the right way on my weight loss journey.

Another IAP Hangout (or The Entire Team In One Place)

I love that the Inside Acting Podcast is doing more and more hangout with our listeners! It was great when we had our Chipotle meetup, but not everyone was able to make that one. So we scheduled another dinner meetup for this past week.

The dinner was at Native Foods, which is a vegan restaurant very close to my house. At first, I wasn’t planning on eating there because it was going to be on the last day of my cleanse. But I did a lot of research on their menu and discovered 2 things that were actually cleanse-friendly (most of their food has soy in it which was not allowed on the cleanse). So I decided that I would celebrate the end of my cleanse with a meal that wasn’t prepared by me (the first meal like that in 28 days!).

I ended up getting a salad which was ginormous and super delicious! I was only able to eat about half of it, so a friend of mine ended up eating the rest. It felt so decadent to eat something that someone else made. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt that way about a restaurant meal before because I used to eat a lot of prepared foods (whether it was delivery or frozen meals from the store).

When I got to Native Foods, a couple of people were there. But before we knew it, we had about 25 people there! We took over a majority of the seating inside (we gave them a heads up about our group and they said “bring it”). It was so great to reconnect with old friends and to meet lots of new people. And everyone is so amazing and awesome!

And within the 25 or so people who were there, the entire team behind the podcast was there! I don’t believe that we have all been in one place at one time, so of course we took a team photo.

IAP Team Photo

I ended up being at Native Foods for almost 5 hours. Time flew by just chatting about random stuff with everyone there.

I’m so happy that the podcast is now becoming a more social thing. And if you are interested in finding out more about our future hangouts (we’ve got a couple of ideas in the works right now), I recommend joining our email list. We send weekly emails and include any podcast events in the emails.

Finishing Up The Cleanse (or Some Lessons I’ve Learned)

If you are considering doing this cleanse, Nykki has decided to do another flash sale for my readers! Just go to her website, pick out which cleanse you want to do, and enter the promo code: LOVE 

Today is the final day of the cleanse! These 28 days have gone by super quickly, but at the same time it seems like forever ago that I started.

This past week was a breeze compared to the two weeks before. Not having to do any detox drinks or tonics made everything seem so simple. Although it was weird not having to get up all the time during work to take a shot of a tonic. I’m also glad that I’m not drinking orange juice all the time anymore. As much as I love orange juice, I don’t like drinking it all the time. Plus, it’s just extra calories in my day.

While I did make a few new dishes this week, most of my meals were pretty basic. A banana for breakfast, apples with nut butter or veggies and bean dip for lunch, and rice bowls for dinner.

I also made my new favorite meal, sautéed potatoes and onions. It’s not the prettiest dish, but it is so yummy and so filling!


I think after today when I can add dairy back into my life, this dish will be improved by a scoop of greek yogurt (which I prefer over sour cream).

I’ve really loved having all my meals prepared by me so I can make them exactly how I want them. And it’s nice to see so many pretty colors in my fridge.


And my plan is to keep going in a very similar way that I’ve been doing on the cleanse. I am not going to stay vegan. I feel no need for that, and I know that I need more protein in my diet to continue pushing myself in my workouts.

But I’m not going to go crazy starting tomorrow either. For a while, I said that my plan was to eat a steak on my first non-cleanse day. I’ve pretty much changed my mind on that. I will be going to a very nice steakhouse in 2 weeks with my mom and sister-in-law, and I think I can wait until then to eat a steak.

I still have about 2 weeks left in the Orangetheory weight loss challenge. And while I don’t believe that I could win the national challenge, I think that I might be able to place in it and maybe even win the local challenge. So the idea of going crazy with food right away isn’t appealing to me.

I’ve also had some “ah-ha” moments while on this cleanse (mental clarity is one of the effects of doing this cleanse). I realized that obviously I don’t have to live the rest of my life with these food restrictions. But if I keep these restrictions (or something similar to these restrictions) at home, that means I can go out and splurge on meals without it having as much of an effect on me. In the past, I’ve allowed myself cheat meals and treats at home. I really think I need to limit those and make my cheat meals out. That way there is only one serving and I don’t have to deal with any leftovers at home.

This may seem like a silly or stupid realization, but as someone who has always been all or nothing, it’s a big deal. I’m hoping that I will be able to maintain this new mindset, and with the new mindset I will continue to see results.

It’s so funny how much I learned from this cleansing process. When I went into it, I mainly did it for the weight loss (and I did lose a good amount of weight). But I really gained so much more out of it that I never could have expected.

Black Bean Dip (or Another Super Easy Dip Recipe!)

2 recipe posts in one week! Who have I become?!?

All joking aside, I needed to find another recipe that would work for my lunches. While I’ve been happy with apples and nut butter or a salad for a while, I’m looking for other options. It didn’t help that my salad the other day was ruined by almost all the vegetables having gone bad (I have no idea how that happened).

So I was trying to think of what else I could do with uncooked veggies or fruit (since that is what I eat for lunches on the cleanse). I love having dips with veggies, but most of them have ingredients that I cannot have like dairy. And while having guacamole would be amazing, I needed something with more protein.

So I did some searching on Pinterest and found this black bean dip that seemed super easy to make! It’s from Edible Perspective and it is super yummy! I might even make this when I am making dips to bring to Thanksgiving!

Super Easy (and Vegan) Black Bean Dip

What You Need:

Bean Dip Ingredients

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

3 tablespoons of water

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon lime juice

1/2 teaspoon of cumin

1/4-1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper (I had to skip this because salt and pepper are not allowed on the cleanse)

1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

smoked paprika (optional)

What To Do:

In a food processor, pulse the garlic clove until it’s finely chopped.

Add all the other ingredients and blend until smooth. Taste and add salt/pepper/cayenne if needed.

Making Bean Dip

Refrigerate and enjoy!

Finished Bean Dip

Seriously, that’s it! It really does need the salt and it’s a little bland without it. But after this week is over I can add salt back into my diet.

I’ve seen a lot of other recipes online for black bean dip that have salsa added to it, but I don’t know if I’ll do that. But I do like the idea of adding things like onion, tomatoes, and red pepper into this mix. Again, something to try when I made this again (which will probably be this weekend!).

I ate this dip for lunch yesterday with some carrots and celery. Celery is a new vegetable in my life lately. I hated it raw for so long, but I forced myself to try it again. And with this dip (or nut butter), it isn’t so bad.

Bean Dip Lunch

I love that I’m discovering new recipes that are cleanse-friendly but also something that I can see myself making even when the cleanse is all done. It makes me think that I can keep up the weight loss that I’ve experienced on the cleanse (although most likely not at the same speed) even after I’m done. The more healthy options I know how to make myself, the better!

Vegan Portabella Mushroom Pizza (or Testing Out A New Recipe)

I’ve been eating a lot of the same things for dinner while on the cleanse. While it’s great because I’m getting the right number of calories and nutrients, I know that I can’t keep this up for forever.

I’ve tried doing a little experimenting with my food and it’s all been pretty successful. But I wanted to get out of my comfort zone.

I had seen portabella mushroom pizzas on Pinterest a lot, but I’ve never been motivated enough to try them. I had to make them with soy-free vegan cheese (made from peas) to make this cleanse-friendly. But I will totally make this again with real cheese!

Portabella Mushroom Pizza

What you need:

Mushroom Pizza Ingredients

Portabella mushroom caps

Pizza or marinara sauce


Whatever toppings you like (I had olives, onions, garlic, and spinach)

What to do:

Preheat your oven to about 375.

Clean and prep the mushroom. Clean off the outside with a damp cloth and then remove the stem and gills from the inside. I used a spoon and it worked pretty well.

Step 1

Put the mushrooms on a foil-lined baking sheet. I saw online that by making little cups for the mushrooms to sit on, they wouldn’t get as soggy.

Step 2

Take some of the pizza or marinara sauce and spread it on the mushroom.

Step 3

Cover the sauce with the cheese and then add your toppings.

Step 4 Step 5

Once the oven is at the correct temperature, stick them in to bake. I kept mine in about 15 minutes and I think they could have used a bit more time. But a good judge is once the cheese is browning and bubbly, it’s ready.

Step 6

I made a few decisions with my pizzas that could be considered mistakes (too much sauce, not enough toppings, not baking them enough), but honestly it was still very yummy! With a few adjustments, this recipe will definitely be in a regular rotation at my house.

I’m still so shocked that I’ve gone from never really cooking to cooking every day (and making up my own recipes!). This is such a positive change in my life and I’m looking forward to continuing it even after the cleanse is done this week.

An Elopement Reception (or Enjoying The Sunset And Gluten-Free Vegan Cake)

A friend of mine, Sarah, got married last week. She and her now husband decided that they didn’t want a big wedding and eloped. I think the only people in attendance at the wedding were her parents, the officiant, and the photographer.

Even though they didn’t want a big wedding, they did have a small party celebrating their marriage this past weekend. And I was honored that I got an invite to the party!

I had some fun picking out a present for the bride and groom. I got them a photo farm to use for one of their wedding photos (they already opened the gift so I’m not spoiling the surprise). And I do work hard on wrapping gifts as nicely as possible.


That is all my handiwork. Even the flower which I made from tissue paper. And yes, I’ll do a blog post soon about how to do the flower (I’ve already gotten requests to do that and I just need to get more supplies before doing it).

The party was held in a house in the hills near Silverlake where the bride’s parents were renting a house while on vacation here in LA. Sarah and her husband actually got married in the backyard of the house.

And as soon as I got there, I was blown away by how gorgeous the view was from the backyard.


It was a pretty casual party, so that was really nice. There was Mexican food brought in from a restaurant (whose name is escaping my memory). It was really yummy food and we all ate in the backyard. There were different decks and seating areas to be in, so I was in a small group sitting in this little covered deck area and we all had fun chatting and goofing off while eating.

Before we knew it, the sun was setting and the view got so much better!


After dinner, we headed back into the house for some dessert. There was vegan and non-vegan ice cream and a gluten-free vegan cake. I’ve had some bad experiences with gluten-free vegan cakes, but I have to say that this one was actually really good. I might not have known it was gluten-free or vegan if people didn’t tell me.


I enjoyed a small scoop of non-vegan Oreo ice cream as well!

Before I knew it, it was getting pretty late and I needed to head home (I had some things I had to do early on Sunday morning). Before I left, Sarah made sure I took a favor from the wedding.


Everyone at the wedding got to take a little pot of flowers home with them. Mine is sitting in my living room until my parents are here to visit me later this month. Since my dad is the one with the green thumb, I’m going to let him tell me what I should do with the flowers.

I’ve been to many different types of wedding over the years, and I have to say that every wedding I’ve attended really fit the people involved so perfectly. While eloping and having a very small reception a few days later might not be for everyone, I think it was so perfect for Sarah and her husband and I had the best time at their party.

Beautiful Wedding For A Beautiful Friend (or I’m Glad I Wore Waterproof Mascara)

This past Sunday was my friend Jennifer’s wedding. It was held at Shanghai Reds in Marina del Rey. I’ve only attended one other wedding where I could drive from my house, so it was nice that I didn’t have to worry about a hotel or travel this time.

It was seriously the perfect day for a wedding! The ceremony took place outside right on the water.

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And Jennifer was such a beautiful bride! The dress she wore was amazing (and similar to what I always imagined myself wearing when I get married one day).


The ceremony was pretty traditionally Jewish. There were a lot of Jewish elements in it (such as the bride circling the groom 7 times and the breaking of the glass), but the ceremony was also very personal to Jennifer and her now husband Rich. The officiant is a friend of theirs and also a life coach, and she was a great officiant. Lots of personal touches without going overboard.

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During cocktail hour, I skipped the food (there was a big line) and I got to hang out with my friend Devon. Devon and I have known each other for about 11 years, but we haven’t seen each other in about 5 years. She was living in Sweden with her husband for a while, but now she lives in Florida. It was so great to get to see her and catch up.


The reception was held right inside next to the ceremony space, so we got to watch the marina as the sun went down.

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I sat at a table with a lot of the girls that I met at the bridal shower, so it was nice to have familiar faces around me.


Although I will admit that having fun friends around you (as well as an open bar) will make me do silly things like this.


Dinner was very nice. There was a salad and then my entrée was a chicken dish (I believe it was chicken piccata).


The cake was the same type of cake from the bridal shower, but this time it looked much more like a wedding cake from the outside.

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I tried it again, but I’ve realized that gluten-free vegan cakes just aren’t my thing.

I had some fun dancing with friends (sorry, no pictures of that), and I participated in the bouquet toss (I didn’t get it, but I did borrow it from my table-mate who did catch it for this quick photo).


Before I knew it, it was almost 10pm and I needed to head home so I could get a good night sleep before my work week started up again.

Jennifer, if you are reading this, I had the most amazing time at your wedding! Thank you for inviting me and letting me be part of your very special day! You and Rich are such a great example of finding your true soul mate. I wish you both so much happiness and love.


Wedding Season (or A Bridal Shower For Another Jen)

One of my good friends, Jen, is getting married next month. Jen and I met through our mutual friend Devon (we joked that she was collecting Jewish girls named Jen) and we’ve been friends ever since. In fact, when I tried online dating way back when, Jen and I attended a JDate event together. We joked that it was like an adult bar mitzvah because all the men were on one side and all the women were on the other.

Jen met an amazing man, Rich, online 2 years ago, and their wedding is fast approaching. So this past weekend, Jen’s aunt threw her a bridal shower, and I was honored that I was invited!

The shower was held at Inn Of The Seventh Ray in Topanga. I had never been there before, but it was a great drive up there. I was pretty much following the ocean up the coast for about 20 minutes.

When I got there, the first thing I noticed about the shower was how beautiful it was.

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The tables were set so nicely and we were all underneath the clear tent so we could enjoy the views.

After chatting a bit with some of the girls at my table (who I didn’t know before but were all awesome!), the bride-to-be arrived!


I know it’s hard to tell in the picture, but her dress was so amazing! It reminded me a bit of Tinkerbell, but in a good way. I might try to find something similar to wear to my brother’s wedding.

Brunch was a buffet, and there were a lot of things to choose from. If you are vegan, this is a good place to go as many things available are vegan. I got an assortment of things to try.


Eggs, potatoes, more eggs, and fruit. Not the healthiest, but this was counting for 2 meals.

Next was the cake. It was made gluten-free and dairy free just for Jen.


Everything was Hawaii themed because that is where Jen and her fiancée will be going on their honeymoon.

I tried a piece of cake (it was red velvet which I love).


But I actually wasn’t able to eat it. I don’t know if it was because it was gluten-free and dairy free, but all the cake touching the fondant on the outside was as hard as a rock! And since I had the edge piece, my whole slice was impossible to cut into. It was actually a bit of a joke with one of the girls sitting next to me. I attempted to put my fork tines down into the cake, and it got stuck in there! Oh well. I really didn’t need to add those calories anyway. And it will be the same cake at the wedding so I can try it again then.

After presents and cards, it was time for me to say goodbye to Jen. I don’t know if I’ll see her before her wedding. I’m super excited for the wedding, and I got a new dress that I think I’ll be wearing to it.

Congrats Jen (and Rich, her fiancée)! I can’t wait to see you exchange vows soon and live happily ever after!