Good evening & happy Monday!
First off, it feels good to be home. I enjoyed every minute away, but I missed my dogs, Kyle, and my regular routine. I figured I’d jump back into the norm by sharing a recap post from the past few days. Since I skipped an entire night’s sleep on the plane, I’m jumping back into the proper timezone rather smoothly. For all of you who messaged me on Instagram for the roasted tomato soup recipe, I’m sharing the details in this blog.
Last Tuesday, I had to say goodbye to T.C. and his amazing girlfriend, Abby! They spent a few days out in Hawaii with me, and it was the best time ever! My brother and I live on entirely different coasts, and we don’t get to hang out much, so being together in Hawaii was a blast. They are coming to the Carolinas for Christmas this year, which I’m so so so excited for. Truly, I think he wants to visit so he can be apart of vlogmas 😉
I have been on a tofu pad thai kick. I made it for my brother, again for my friends in Hawaii, and my parents when I got home. This has been one of my favorite go-to meals, and I’ve been trying to perfect the recipe before blogging it. I’m going to also add it to my meal prep for one of my vlogmas videos.
To get the tofu crunchy, I heat the oven to 450-degrees, toss the extra firm tofu in avocado oil (i cut it up small), and bake for 40-minutes! I sprinkle the baked tofu with sea salt and pepper to flavor it up. I could eat the tofu just like this without the pad thai because it’s so delicious when crisp. When I made this recipe for my mom and dad, I knew it was a longshot. Whenever I say the word “tofu,” they cringe. Well, after they tried this recipe, I had my mom texting me the next day asking which tofu to buy.
The cool thing about pad thai is that you can make it so many different ways. You get to choose your protein, add as many veggies as you’d like, or make it extra spicy. I think I finally got the pad thai recipe perfected, and I’m excited to share! I could eat it every night, and it’s even better the next day.
I packed up all of my stuff on Thursday before heading to the airport. I was so proud of myself for managing to only bring a carry on for the three weeks. I ended up buying two adorable tops from a local boutique there, and a couple of packages of dark chocolate macadamia nuts for the family. From now on, carry-on is going to be my travel go-to!
I left Hawaii at 2 pm on Thursday. It was a 5 1/2 hour flight to LAX, where I had a three-hour layover.
It was pretty late in L.A. I thought about finding a spot to work, but also knew I’d get super hungry on the flight to Chicago. I decided to do something that was out of my comfort zone. Instead of grabbing a fast-food salad and some chips to eat in the corner on top of my carry on, I grabbed a good dinner and a glass of wine by myself at a restaurant. I’m one of those people that isn’t a fan of eating alone at a table. I know it’s not a big deal, but it’s something I hate doing. I feel silly for admitting that, but I bet others feel the same. The more you put yourself in that situation, the less uncomfortable it gets, and to be honest, I loved having my meal alone. I enjoyed the most delicious red wine, seared salmon, broccoli, and french fries! It was a great way to spend the next three hours at the airport.
My next flight was at midnight out of LAX to Chicago landing at 6 am in Chicago. The flight was miserable.
I made the mistake of just sticking with economy. I should have just paid the extra $100 for the upgraded leg room. This was the first flight I’ve ever had with a man sleeping in my lap and my knees touching the seat in front of me. It was colder than 52-degrees on the plane, and I was so tired, but so uncomfortable so I could not sleep. The T.V.’s on the flight were broke, so I just sat there for four hours playing candy crush. I felt pretty miserable and so ready to come home.
I landed in Chicago at 6 am, ran to my gate to catch my next plane, which took off at 6:35 am! Luckily, I made it (almost stopped for Garret’s popcorn!) I landed in Charlotte at 10:30 am, my Dad picked me up, and I headed straight to their house to hang out and catch up on a ton of last-minute projects that were reaching their deadline.
After working, I finally fell asleep at around 3 pm and woke up at 6 pm when my mom got home from work. I made them the pad thai (surprise!) which they loved, my mom and I stayed up watching the movie, Intruder, which I highly recommend, and then I was out for the next ten hours.
I was so excited because Kyle was coming on on Saturday afternoon!
It was raining all day, so my mom and I headed to the mall to look at dresses. One of Kyle’s best friends is getting married in a few weekends, and I wanted a warmer dress to wear for a winter wedding. I found the PERFECT dress, and I can’t wait to wear it. I’ll share the details when it arrives!
After shopping, we headed to Living Kitchen for lunch and to kill time before Kyle landed. He was in Germany for work the entire time I was in Hawaii. I started with a coconut milk matcha latte and ordered my favorite fire and brimstone veggie burger to go.
On Saturday night, I made my homemade granola recipe. I put them in little containers for Kyle and packed one up for Becca. She’s not a fruit fan, so I used Lily’s no added sugar vegan chocolate chips for hers. I’m telling you if you haven’t made this granola yet, you must. It’s pretty much crack! My mom has already made as many batches as I have.
I did love the warm weather in Hawaii, but I was excited to put on the jeans, a sweater, and my boots to get in the holiday spirit. I met up with Becca in the morning to work on a new project.
After working for a bit, we headed to our favorite spot, Light’s Juicery & Cafe.
We always split the gluten-free avocado toast because it’s super delicious, even when you’re not hungry! The avocado is still so fresh, and they give you a big serving. I had their ginger shot, and also ordered some cinnamon apple power balls to take home with me.
When Kyle and I were talking about what we wanted for dinner, we both decided on grilled cheese and tomato soup. I’ve wanted to try the Ina Garten roasted tomato soup for so long, so I figured it would be the perfect chilly evening to do so. Football and soup? Yes, please! The Ina Garten recipe is so perfect because it can easily be made vegan, and it’s already super healthy. There’s no heavy creams or sugar added to it. It’s super fresh, and the basil flavors make it decadent.
I never wanted to make homemade tomato soup because I thought there was so much to it, but it was rather simple.
- I roasted the tomatoes in the oven with avocado oil, salt, and pepper for 45-minutes at 400-degrees!
- Sauteed the onions, avocado oil, garlic (I doubled the garlic), salt, pepper, red chili flakes together with vegan butter until onions and garlic were lightly browned.
- Mixed in roasted tomatoes, thyme, basil, and vegetable broth (recipe calls for chicken broth) & let simmer for 40-minutes
- Added all of the ingredients into the blender, and then back into the pot to serve!
THAT EASY! (the full recipe is here!)
For the grilled cheese, I used Udi’s gluten-free sandwich bread, Follow Your Heart vegan American Slices, and Earth Balance vegan butter. This was the first grilled cheese I’ve had in years since becoming dairy-free, and it did not disappoint, especially with the tomato soup. This is one of my all-time favorite meals, especially around the holidays.
We had so much soup leftover, so I’ll be eating that for the next few days!
After dinner, I tried on my new Christmas pajamas that Becca and I got for Vlogmas. We are doing a fun scene for the intro with matching pajamas 😊
Around 9 pm, I was ready to wind down for the night, so I decided to do a hot bubble bath with my calm spray. This always helps me fall asleep faster and better. The bubble baths help with body temperature and relaxation. It’s my nightly go-to every winter. I actually can’t wait to close this laptop and head upstairs for my bath. I woke up pretty late this morning. My body is still a bit confused about what timezone I’m in. It was so cute, though, because when I woke up, my coffee was made, the dogs were walked, the dishes were put away, and there was a cute note next to my coffee machine. I truly got lucky 😊
I had my coffee and enjoyed my last few days of fall decor. On Wednesday, the Christmas decorations are going up!
Anyways…I hope you all have the best week! Please make sure you’re subscribed to my YouTube channel to get ready for all the Vlogmas! I was hesitant about doing it this year because of all of the long hours it took, but I’d feel so sad if I didn’t do it. It means a lot when you all take the time to watch, comment, and give me your feedback! I can’t wait to hang out with you over there this December, and no worries, I’ll continue to do recaps and all the blogs too! Xo xo
Questions for you!
- What is one homemade meal you love cooking in the winter?
- Have you ever tried Ina Garten’s tomato soup?
- Will you be watching the new Bachelor?