I just arrived in Japan! I’ll spend half my time in Tokyo, and the other have in Kyoto. I’ve got 2 weeks to explore as much as I can. Please give me advice!
Of course, I’m most looking forward to the food. The seaweed, the ramen, the Japanese yams, and tofu. Japanese food has long been a favorite of mine, and though eating out at non-vegan restaurants can be tricky for a vegan, I’m super excited to cook for myself, and enjoy the vegan restaurants here. Of course I’ll be taking you guys along for the ride! Make sure you’re following me on Instagram @sweetpotatosoul and subscribed to my YouTube channel!!
But before we dive into this Japanese adventure I want to tell you about my other recent trip, and share a delicious and easy Valentine’s Day recipe with you!!
If you’ve been following me on social media you’ll know I just spent 2 weeks in Los Angeles. Trading NYC winter for LA sunshine was a stellar idea! I’m pretty sure I can’t stand another winter in the polar vortex. Eight years in the northeast is more than enough. I won’t move away permanently––NYC summers are divine––but I’m going to make my bi-coastal dream come true 🙂
In California I stayed with my dear friend Kristin of Mindful Muse! She just moved from NYC, and is living in a charming apartment on a tree-lined street in Santa Monica. Only 10 minutes from the beach!
While I was in town Kristin and I cooked daily––together we are the queens of salads and avocado toast! I ate at some of the most fabulous vegan restaurants in the country, MAKE, Gracias Madre, and Cafe Gratitude more than a few times 😉 We hiked, we biked, we exercised, and spent time with friends and even when it rained, the weather was lovely.
One of the highlights of my trip was meeting and being pampered by Miss Adina Diaz, officially my west-coast esthetician. When I was a teenager with acne, my parents paid for me to get facials regularly. But back then they were never relaxing. The many extractions would bring tears to my eyes, and I’d leave looking like a fright. I hadn’t gotten a facial since my acne days, but when I arrived in LA I started craving one. I reached out to the PR woman for my new favorite skincare line, Lotus Moon, and that’s how I found Adina. She gave me the star treatment, and even now, 7 days later, my skin looks and feels amazing!! I can’t wait to get back to her. If you’re looking for a fabulous, yet affordable, Valentine’s Day present in LA buy a gift card from Adina. I did just that for a friend <3
My goodness, I could go on and on about my trip to Los Angeles, but I’ll leave it here with this very delicious V-Day cookie recipe. These chocolate cherry thumbprint cookies are extremely easy to make, and make for a delightful present along with that facial gift certificate. Really they’re great any day, at any time, and for anyone. Happy Valentine’s Day to you! xoxo
- ½ cup almonds
- ½ cup old-fashioned oats
- ½ cup spelt flour
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- ¼ cup coconut oil (or canola/grapeseed)
- ¼ cup + 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla
- about ¼ cup fruit sweetened cherry jam
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Place the almonds and oats into a food processor and pulse until ground. Leaving a them a little coarse for texture.
- Transfer this mixture to a large bowl and add the spelt flour and cocoa powder.
- Stir well, then add oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and salt. Stir to combine.
- Scoop out tablespoon sized balls of the dough and roll in the palm of your hand to form each cookie, then arrange on a large baking sheet, spacing cookies 2 inches apart.
- Press your thumb gently down into the center of each cookie to make an indentation. Spoon a scant teaspoon of jam into the center.
- Bake cookies for 15 minutes.
- Transfer to a rack to cool (about 10 minutes).
- Cookies will store for days, if you can manage that sort of self control. Store in an airtight container.