Hello beautiful month of May!
Are you as pumped for a new month as I am? I’m looking forward to this month a lot. For starters, I get to celebrate my first Mother’s Day with Adriana, Eric, and my mom who is flying out this week for a visit. I’m so darn excited. Adriana has changed so much since we were there visiting over Christmas. Eric and I are also going on our first date night since becoming parents (!), thanks to my mom babysitting while she’s here. The following week is my birthday which brings visits with friends and family, including meeting our new cousin. Then we’re ending the month celebrating my Grandpa and Diane’s 50th wedding anniversary and another quick visit with my mom and stepdad. It’s going to be quite the festive month! The first 4 months of 2015 have been intense between cookbook creating, parenthood, and trying to find time for writing and sharing on this blog, but I know I can’t keep burning the candle at both ends like I have been. I need this month to replenish, recharge, and reboot. So I figure what better than a birthday month to do so.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 7 years that I’ve been writing this blog. When I started I was fresh out of grad school and newly married. I truly had no idea what I wanted to do in life, or rather, what would make me the happiest. Even though I haven’t been able to post as much as I’d like to lately due to my second cookbook creation and parenthood, I’m always thinking about those of you reading, ideas for this blog + recipes, and how I can improve this space. I have so many goals for the future of this blog…I just need to find a way to make it happen! It’s also funny to think that there was once a time in my life when I didn’t read blogs (or even know they existed) because now a day doesn’t go by when I don’t check in on my favourites. It’s been super inspiring to follow my favourite bloggers over the years and see them turn passions and hobbies into successful careers. There is nothing better than seeing someone do what they love.
Someone who has always inspired me is Kathy Patalsky from Healthy Happy Life. I’ve been reading her blog for years and I’ve always admired her positive energy and passion for creating colourful and inspiring vegan recipes. Not to mention, she is such a genuine person inside and out. I remember the first time I stumbled upon her site my jaw dropped. Kathy has a talent of creating vivid imagery that hooks you in and makes you excited about a plant-based diet.
photo credit: Kathy Patalsky
Aside from being an inspiring force in the blog world, Kathy just launched her second cookbook this past week, Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen! She recently took the time to answer some of my questions about the book and her life in general. Read on for the interview!
photo credit: Kathy Patalsky
Congrats on the launch of Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen! Can you tell us a bit about your new cookbook?
The book is a mix of fan favorites already developed and posted on my blog and also new-to-you recipes. But most of the new recipes are “old favorites” for me, so developing the recipes was not a huge challenge. I really wanted to take recipes that are timeless in MY kitchen and present them to my readers in a book that they can hold, instead of just appearing on my blog.
As a recipe developer, I’ve found that certain chapters come much easier than others. I’m curious which chapter was the most challenging to develop recipes for?
The most challenging part of the book for me was the desserts section. There are always SO many ways you can change up substitutions in a baking recipe, so trying to decide on ONE way to present the recipe was very tough for me. I still read through and think, shoot I should have said you can substitute the silken tofu with mashed ripe bananas in this muffin recipe! Etc. But placing all those subs in a cookbook can get challenging.
I can relate as I often drive myself crazy wanting to test a million and one substitutions! So what’s your favourite dessert recipe in the book then?
I would have to say my Trail Trekker Cookies (I love a nutty, rustic chocolate chip cookie!) or something super indulgent like my Peanut Butter Chocolate Silk Pie with Peanut Cookie Crust or even my Caramel Apple Pie.
You had me at trail…is that weird? Let’s say you’re having someone over for dinner who is very skeptical about vegan recipes. Which appetizer, entrée, and dessert would you serve to win her/him over?
Great question! I love serving vegan newbies comfort food. So I would go with oven-roasted crispy taters with dipping sauces, my 5-step kale salad, sweet potato veggie burgers with avocado (maybe add some tempeh bacon!) and maybe some classic chocolate chip cookies for dessert.
Vegan mac and cheese, vegan mashed potatoes or a vegan Philly cheese sandwich – also big faves for skeptics I have encountered!
I don’t think you can ever go wrong with comfort food! Good call. Which recipe do you feel is the most creative/unique in the book?
I have to be honest, I wasn’t going for super unique for this book! I really wanted to fill the pages with go-to classic vegan and (veganized!) favorite recipes. But if I think hard, I would say my white velvet roasted soup. It might sound ordinary, but using a sticky sweet oven-baked white sweet potato for this thick and velvety soup is soooo good and unique. If you are a sweet potato fanatic like me, give it a try.
Another creative recipe is my Pesto Chickpea Bowl which includes pesto smothered skillet chickpeas with fresh tomato garnish. Served with rice. Super yummy for pesto lovers.
Both of those recipes sound amazing but I have to disagree with you – I think your recipes are super creative! This is your second cookbook (your first being 365 Vegan Smoothies), what has been the most surprising thing about writing cookbooks? The most difficult thing?
Surprising: how many rounds of edits need to occur!
Difficult: staying organized. I have a creative spirit and when it comes to creating content I love freedom, but when you are writing a cookbook you really have to break out your virtual or real chalkboard and set a game plan and stick to it!
Oh yes, the multiple rounds of edits. It’s not for the faint of heart. Any words of advice for others looking to some day write their own cookbook?
I actually wrote an awesome blogpost for my friend Heidi of blogger babes! You can read my answers here.
photo credit: Kathy Patalsky
Great post. Let’s get to know you a bit better. What are three things about you and your life that your fans might not know?
I feel like lately I try to be an open book on my blog, but I like this challenge! Let’s see..
1. I was in high school when Britney Spears came on the scene, so I have a serious love affair with dancing around my living room to Britney and any other 90’s pop I can sneak onto my iTunes. And yes, I know all the moves to “oops I did it again.” Also of that era, my fave movie is Titanic and if I ever meet Leonardo DiCaprio I will probably faint. KiddingNotKidding.
2. My healthy lifestyle hasn’t always been perfect. As I have recently spoken out about on my own blog and Gena’s blog (choosing raw) I struggled with a pretty severe eating disorder and self esteem issues all through high school and even college. It is something that I think needs to be shared because I never thought I would “get better” but the place I am now is beyond any happiness I could have envisioned for myself way back then.
3. I was painfully shy growing up. I was that girl in class that was always friendly and had loads of friends but was mostly quiet and shy in class. But then I would join drama and sing in choir and become a completely different person. Totally open and free. I like to think my shyness is mostly gone and now I am just free. I used to care way too much about what others thought of me. Over that! And much happier for it. My best advice to young people ever is to stop comparing yourself to others and start focusing on getting to know YOU and develop your own personality and unique shiny spirit.
Love your honesty Kathy. (And now I’m feeling super nostalgic for the 90’s too). Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? Any plans for the future you’d like to tease us with?
I see myself happy. No matter what path I take, I will always put my happiness first. I have to. I love writing books but I do not have one planned for a while. I want to give myself a little break on that front. I hope my other website FindingVegan has grown even more! I love that site so much and I love working on it. I will still be blogging in five years, for sure. I also still see myself in California. I would love to start a family but who knows if that will happen. Life is so full of surprises so I am just happy to see what adventures await me around the next turn in my path. And of course sharing those journeys on my blog and social media is something I will continue to love doing.
I think that’s a great note to end on – making happiness a priority. Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions and also for sharing this inspiring collection of vegan recipes with the world! Congrats again on all of your success with Healthy Happy Life, FindingVegan, 365 Vegan Smoothies, and now Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen!