Mezcal Watermelon Margarita

Mezcal Watermelon Margarita

I’m going to keep it short and simple today. It’s Friday, just a day before one of my favorite holidays, the 4th of July!!!

I’m looking forward to

  • the fireworks (the best part!)
  • the picnic I’m going to have in the park
  • the delicious cucumber salad and veggie burgers I’m going to make
  • and, the giggly tipsiness I will embrace :)

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Refreshing Cucumber & Avocado Salad

Refreshing Cucumber Avocado & Peach Salad

I’ve never liked cucumber as much as I do right now. This dilly salad has been my go-to dish for weeks, and I want to share it with the world!! Especially all of the cucumber haters.

See, I used to be a cucumber hater myself. In an effort to get me to eat more veggies, my mom would make me eat them before dinner. A lil’ appetizer I guess. The only way I’d get them down is if they were sprinkled with salt. Even then I hated them. You can’t deny the fact that they’re pretty bland. If only my mama had had the internet to look up a recipe that would’ve given cukes more flavor and flair.

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My Vegan Story

My Vegan Story 2015

Five and a half years ago I got a job at a little vegan restaurant on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with the intention of working there until I received my big break as an actress. I thought it would come quickly, after all, I had just finished playing Princess Tiana of The Princess and the Frog in a live Disney show. Clearly acting success was around the corner for me {insert side eye emoji}.

But you never know where life will take you. I was reminded of that truth when I sat in front of the camera last weekend to share my vegan story with you.

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Vegan Chickpea “Tuna” Salad {VIDEO}

Vegan Chickpea Tuna Salad
Can you say delicious?

I say it out loud every time I eat chickpea “tuna” salad. This is an absolute perfect summer recipe for any occasion, from daily lunches, to beach picnics, to a Forth of July cookout. What’s better, it only takes a few minutes to make! MmMmMmmmm.

I’ve never been a fan of processed faux seafood products. Yet, I’ve found that by using whole plant-based ingredients in place of highly processed ones, fakin’ vegan food is so much tastier and more fun. Sure, I could go to the store and pick up some vegan “fish”, but what’s really in that? Could it be any healthier than opening up a can of chickpeas? Probably not. Using whole plant-based ingredients, like chickpeas, to replicate animal based dishes isn’t as creepy, and it’s so much better for you. Have you seen my vegan “crab cakes”? Boy… I used to L.O.V.E crab in every form, but I’ve seen the light. I truly believe this vegan stuff is just as good, if not better.

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Vegan Fennel Paella

Vegan Paella

Yesterday was my dad’s birthday, and Father’s Day is just a couple days away. So in the spirit of appreciation for all the great papas out there, here are three lessons I’ve learned from my daddy :)

1. Love your family.

My dad’s independence is enviable, yet he’s never failed to be there for his family when we need him. Though I didn’t grow up in the same house as my dad, he was always been a strong and loving presence in my life. He has come to every dance recital, every play, every graduation, and every special event. Over the last few years we’ve been able to bond more deeply over our shared love of travel. In 2013 we spent a week in Spain, and just 4 weeks ago, a week in Los Angeles to visit one of my brothers (picture below).

My dad is also the beloved “cousin-brother” of his extended family. He’s the great guy who always shows up, and is the life of the party. Everyone loves and admires my dad. So do I.

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