Quarterly Bites: Winter 2014

As 2014 draws to a close more and more of our time is spent indoors, reflecting on the past 12 months and preparing for a new year full of new opportunities.

Lizz Delicious is officially 3 years old! I began my food blog in December of 2011 after receiving nearly 100% food-related gifts for Christmas. It has been a wonderful and fulfilling journey though not without its challenges.

For 2015, you'll notice a few changes. To start, let me introduce to you my "Quarterly Bites." On the 1st day of February, May, August, and November I will be publishing what most people will refer to as blog posts. Mine, however, will be constructed like newsletters. They will include relevant information concerning the goings-on at the Lizz Delicious homestead as well as seasonal inspirations and recipes, product recommendations, promotions, and the like. You'll be receiving the same great information that you would via weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly blog posts but more concentrated and useful. To sign up via email, click here. Otherwise, be sure that you're following Lizz Delicious on Facebook or Google+ as the newsletter links will be shared on those pages automatically.

The rest of the site will become more developed with helpful resources and guides and will be geared more toward helping you on your vegan or plant-based journey. I'm really looking forward to it!

What's New With Lizz
Married life has been great so far! It has been over 2 months and the only thing that's changed is how much my love for my wife has grown. The two of us have set a goal for ourselves for the coming year; we're going to go backpacking. It's going to require some training on our part but it will be well worth the hard work. In fact, if you'd like to follow us on our progress you can do so by subscribing to a blog I created to share our adventures called Expedition Me & You.

In regards to recipe and book development, I am collecting most of my plant-based recipes in a manuscript that I intend to publish some time next year. This will be a print cookbook targeted toward those vegans who want to eat healthier but may not be 100% oil free or gluten free, for instance, though most of the recipes so far are oil-free. I'm having great fun with this one! It will consist primarily of quick, healthy meals for every skill level but will also contain healthier desserts and weekend baking for those who may be interested. Also, I am developing another e-book for vegan pizza fiends. This one will also be geared toward those of us who want to eat healthier but who also want our food to taste good and not necessarily like cardboard! You'll find recipes in it for whole grain crusts, homemade sauces, faux meats, and nut based cheeses. More details will come after the beginning of the year. To help me with developing recipes, though, I would love to hear about what your favorite pizza is. Making pizza is a personal thing, so if you have recommendations for the best. Pizza. Ever. I really would love to hear about it. Comment on this post or reach out to me via Facebook.

Seasonal Inspiration
For those of you looking to add some more holiday flavor into your menu this week, take a gander at these recipes I've previously published on Lizz Delicious. They may just be what you're looking for!

When it comes to gifts, shopping for vegans can be a bit tricky. Take a look at my list of 15 Great Vegan Stocking Stuffer Ideas for starters. Then, if you're on the crafty side, don't forget to check out my e-book of vegan "gifts in a jar." Vegan Glass Jar Goodies shows you how to make 10 different recipes for layered mixes in jars that can be made for absolutely any occasion. Click here for 3 free recipes from the book!

Frothy Hot Cocoa
This issue's recipe is for a thick, sweet, chocolatey vegan hot cocoa. It's warming, filling, and very easy to make.

2 cups plain, unsweetened soymilk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup evaporated cane juice or sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

In a medium saucepan combine all ingredients. Set to medium heat. Whisk frequently until the mixture starts to bubble. At the first sign of bubbles, whisk constantly for 5 minutes until all ingredients are fully incorporated and heated through. If desired, top with homemade coconut whipped cream or serve with vegan marshmallows, a cinnamon stick, or a candy cane.

Makes 2 servings.

Product Recommendations
The lovely folks at Lilly's Sweets sent me a couple of bags of their vegan dark chocolate baking chips in November. They are not only dairy-free but are also sugar-free, sweetened with stevia. I actually really like stevia as a sweetener, but my wife does not. When I used the baking chips in a batch of blondies, she was absolutely amazed at how similar they tasted to regular baking chips. Yum! They made an excellent addition to my black bean brownies, too, as well as to an oatmeal breakfast cookie (scone) I whipped up, too. If you're a health-conscious individual looking to cut out a few calories, you should give them a try.

In Closing
Don't forget to take a break this holiday season. So many of us rush around trying to do everything when we all know that it just isn't possible. The less happy you are the less happy you'll be able to make anyone else! Disconnect from the internet for a few minutes each night. Read a relaxing book. Take up a new hobby. Just remember, if you don't feel like you can get everything done, you probably can't. Ask for help or just save your ideas for next year instead.

Happy holidays! See you next year!

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