Sunday, January 15, 2017

My Weekend Morning Routine + 3 Beauty Products I'm Loving Right Now

Wake up and be awesome.
I'm a fan of morning routines. If I don't establish and follow a morning routine, I can end up frittering the day away, not really accomplishing anything, forgetting to exercise (then becoming too busy/tired/unmotivated later,) and just generally wasting time.

Don't get me wrong--some weekends, you need to just lie in bed until whenever, lounge around in pajamas until 2:00, and do anything you want (or nothing at all.) I get it, and I do it. But if I do that every weekend all weekend long, I inevitably feel unproductive, angry at myself for not making better use of my time, and rushed all the next week because I didn't do anything to prepare for the week ahead (like a load of laundry, making a big pot of soup for leftovers during the week, cleaning at least one thing in the house.) Also, during the school year, the weekends are my biggest chunk of time for writing, so I generally try to get organized enough to spend at least a few hours at my computer.

So here's my current weekend morning routine. It's basically the same as my weekday morning routine, except I get up earlier on weekdays, and I don't have time to cook a full breakfast (so I try to bulk-cook my breakfasts--eggless frittatas, scrambles, potato hashes, pancakes, and/or scones--on the weekends, wrap individual servings in foil and refrigerate, and then just pop them in the toaster oven to reheat while I take vitamins and journal.)

1. Wake Up and Do 15 Minutes of Yoga

My yoga set-up.

First thing when I get out of bed (usually 7:30 on weekends,) I sip some water and roll out my yoga mat. You don't really need a yoga mat on carpet, but it helps me align my body, I "stick" to the mat better than to carpet (for more stability,) and it just feels official.

(If my room feels chilly, I turn on my little space heater and let the warm air blow on my face while I get started with my breathing/yoga routine.)

I have a set of essential oils that I rub on the soles of my feet and inhale (Young Living's Valor II, Aroma Siez, Peppermint, En-r-gee, and Dragon Time) while I do my deep breathing and 15-minute yoga set. I sip water throughout as well to rehydrate, and I play my daily affirmations, healing prayers, creative visualizations, etc. that I have recorded on the "Voice Memo" app on my iPhone. Sometimes I just listen to the recordings and meditate, and sometimes I repeat after myself out loud.

I love morning yoga for three big reasons:
  • - It opens up my airways, gets me breathing, calm, yet energized
  • - It stretches stiff muscles and opens up my joints (I have back and neck issues, and this really, really helps with stiffness, pain, and alignment first thing in the morning)
  • - It is a quick, easy, yet productive exercise routine I can do without getting out of my pajamas or going anywhere
I do yoga when I first get out of bed because later in the day I'm usually too busy or unmotivated to do it.

2. Take Vitamins and Supplements

My morning line-up.
Yes, I'm kind of a vitamin freak. But, I only take the supplements and vitamins that really make a difference, and I test things to see if there is any difference when I stop.

I take Femenessence MacaLife and Black Cohosh to aid with menopausal symptoms (the over-40 struggle is real, people,) Vitanica Uplift and Country Life Stress Shield for mood, Vitamin C for immune system support, probiotics for digestive health, Hallelujah Diet BarleyMax in water plus a drop of Iodine for energy and metabolism, Vitamin B complex (B-Stress) for energy and metabolism, Vitamin D-3 for bones and whatever else D3 does, and a Fiber supplement to keep things regular.

Like I said, on weekdays, I might pop my foil-packet of breakfast in the toaster oven to reheat while I'm taking all these pills and powders, depending upon how well I'm running on schedule (or not.) If I'm ahead of schedule, I can wait until after the massive Vitamin Bonanza to start heating breakfast, and let it heat while I journal.

3. Brew Some Coffee (or Teeccino) and Journal

Really kind of into Teeccino's "Chocolaté" blend for drip coffee at the moment.

I love the sound of coffee percolating in the morning, but since I quit coffee two years ago, I've switched to Teeccino. (I don't work for them, but I should, because I'm a huge fan.)

A morning chore.

While my "coffee" is brewing, I'll usually go unload the dishwasher from the night before.

Perfect journaling spot.

When my Teeccino is ready, I snuggle into the cushions on my sofa with my laptop, and journal for at least 10-15 minutes, longer if I have time. I have journaled for years and years because it helps me work through my thoughts, issues, dreams, and goals. In my journal, I often write prayers, listen for and write down answers to them, plan my day, plan my year, do check-ins with myself emotionally, etc.

4. Breakfast

Sauteeing veggies for a vegan quiche.
On weekends, I cook a lot, and not just breakfast. But for breakfast, I try to make extra so I'll have leftovers for the week ahead. Some good recipes for leftovers are eggless scrambles, quiches, and frittatas (made with either garbanzo bean flour or tofu,) potato hashes (or as my family called them, "fried taters," whole-grain and/or gluten free scones, muffins, coffee cakes, and pancakes.

5. Get Freshened Up and Dressed For the Day

Then, before I go on with my day, I'll go freshen up (brush teeth, etc.) and put on some comfy weekend wear like yoga pants and a sweatshirt.

Some affordable beauty products I'm really into at the moment.
And last but not least, I wanted to share with you guys a few inexpensive bath/beauty items I've found recently that are making my life happier.

1. Ulta's Foaming Fresh Hand Soap in Verbena Bergamot. Ulta's hand soaps are usually $6 a bottle or less, and they are almost always running a "Buy so many, get 1 free" promotion on them. Every single fragrance I've tried (about 5 different ones now) smells amazing. Highly recommend.

2. Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads and Nip + Fab Hydrate Dragon's Blood Plumping Serum. The cleansing pads are refreshing and exfoliating, plus they save me a lot of time and hassle in washing my face in the morning (splashing water everywhere, getting it on your sleeves...you know.) And the serum purports itself as "plumping," which I do believe it does. It's super hydrating going on my skin, and for the price--an amazing value. I paid $10 for 60 cleansing pads and $15 for the serum on Amazon. (Ulta is selling the pads right now for $13 and the serum at $20 but they are running a 40% off the 2nd item.)

3. Wet 'n Wild Wildshine Nail Color and Clear Nail Protector. Okay, true story. While I was in Huntington Beach a couple of weeks ago, wearing my Uggs boots to my chiropractor appointments, one of my chiropractors (four total in the office I go to) was teasing me for being overdressed for the sunny weather. I did bring a pair of knock-off Birkenstocks with me, but I didn't want to wear them out of the hotel room because my last pedicure was in October, and I had been just letting the polish grow off, and it looked terrible. I didn't want to spend a ton of money on my toenails just for a few days' vacation, so I stopped in and looked for the cheapest nail polish in Walgreen's on my way back to my hotel. Wet 'n Wild had two colors on clearance, a shimmery light blue and this frosty jade color (483D Be More Pacific,) so I nabbed the jade one for 79 cents, bought a travel pack of nail polish remover pads, and set to work on my toes back in my hotel room. The jade color went on way more smoothly than I expected for a 79c bottle of polish, so on my next pass by that Walgreen's, I stopped in to buy a bottle of Wet n Wild Clear Nail Protector ($1.29 I think?) to protect the color and make it shinier. Two weeks later, my toenails still actually look great, with no chips or peeling even though I've been wearing socks and boots since I've been back in Colorado. I'm very impressed!

All right, time to go have a productive, relaxing weekend.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

How To Organize a Tiny Bathroom

No drawers, no counter space, and no floor space? No problem.

I have a teeny bathroom in my house, and I'm not exactly a low-maintenance girl who gets by on one all-purpose moisturizer and a swipe of lip gloss.


I have two different skin care lines I use, a ton of makeup, lots of hair care items and accessories, and a complicated dental routine involving both an electric toothbrush and a waterpik. I want my bathroom to be utilitarian as well as a soothing, spa-like place to be, with all my bath essentials within easy reach. I have no counter space, barely any cabinet space, no drawers, and no floor space for an extra piece of furniture like a cabinet or shelving unit.

I'm about to reveal to you how I organize and store all my stuff in this itty bitty space, in the hopes that if you too live with a minuscule-sized bathroom, you can make it work better for you.

The Organizers

If you have no floor space, you have to use your walls to your advantage. I have a cheap over-the-toilet cabinet that I got at either Walmart, Target, or Bed Bath and Beyond years ago. It has three open shelves if you count the top as a shelf (which I do) and two little doors that I can hide random bottles and miscellaneous behind.

My over-the-toilet cabinet.
This thing is a workhorse. It holds my hair products, my basket of washcloths, some of my skin care, my perfumes, my hair accessories and brush, my Q-tips and cotton pads, my deodorants, clippers, medicines and lotions, nail polish remover, Bag Balm container (for my lips,) and Lord knows what else behind the little doors.

Cabinet with doors open. Do I really need 4 deodorants? Apparently I do.
I also use it to hold my hot roller hair clips, which I attach to the sides of the cabinet.

When you mount this cabinet on the wall, you want to leave enough space between it and the toilet to be able to place a basket or container of some sort on top of the toilet lid. That basket is where I keep my makeup.

Makeup basket closeup.
I got this rectangular basket at Walmart years ago in their bathroom accessories section, where you get shower curtains, matching trash cans, toothbrush holders, soap dishes, etc. I think it was less than $10. Then I filled it with little boxes, plastic pencil cups, and a tea tin to organize my compacts and brushes. I literally just scavenged around the house for whatever I could find that would hold makeup and placed it in this basket like a Tetris puzzle. Most of the little boxes are small gift boxes and lids, like for jewelry and such.

When I get ready in the morning, I move this basket to the sink and prop it on the right side of my non-existent counter space, use the items I need, then stash it back onto the toilet lid out of the way.

My washcloth basket.

The basket on top of my cabinet that I store clean washcloths in is technically a bread basket (like for a loaf of french bread) and came with a gift in it years ago. Like most of my baskets, it was just one I had lying around the house. If you don't have any lying-around-the-house baskets, you can find inexpensive ones of all different shapes and sizes at places like Hobby Lobby or Big Lots.
Yet another basket, this one for hair accessories and my brush.
I use another couple of random, lying-around-the-house containers to hold my Q-tips, cotton pads, and hair clips and bobby pins. The purple ceramic one was a lidded container I impulse-bought at a craft and art show years ago and never really knew what to do with, and the black lacquer container was something I bought to decorate my apartment years ago when I was into Asian-looking decor.

Q-tips, cotton pads, and hair clips.
The point is, scavenge around your house for decorative knickknacks and baskets that have no purpose and are probably collecting dust, fill them with the bathroom items you use every day, and store them on the cabinet shelves over the toilet.

Now For the Sink

If you have no counter space, what you need here is a small shelf with 3-4 hooks underneath that you can mount on the wall beside the sink. I got this one at Big Lots years ago for around $10 as I recall.

Literally no space on that counter for anything. Must use wall!
I always keep my daily/nightly skin care collection on this shelf, within easy grabbing reach. I also have my eye drops, the two essential oils I put on my wrists every morning, a couple pairs of stud earrings, and my electric toothbrush (because the Waterpik takes up what little precious real estate I have on the counter by the outlet.)

This is my grab-and-go section.
On the hooks below, I always cut a hole in my handtowels so I can hang them on the first hook (yes, they fray a little around this hole, but the towel holds together and still hangs great for years and years.) I use the other hooks for a mirror, a comb, and my blowdryer.

Left side, under my sink. More baskets.
If it's a Style-Hair Day, then I grab my straightening iron or curling iron from this basket under the sink and plug it in. (I keep my hot rollers on a closet shelf right around the corner, although I don't know why, because looking at this photo, there is plenty of room for them to sit on top of the stuff in these baskets.)

Those baskets in the back hold extra Q-tips, cotton pads, a makeup bag full of makeup that I'm not using right now but don't want to throw away, other body care and health care things I don't use that often, razors, band-aids, and all those little tubes of special conditioner that comes with my hair coloring kits. (Love those conditioners, and try to make them last!)

Under my sink, right side. Just more bathroom stuff.

And To Grab a Little More Space for Organizing, on the Floor

I'm not done with baskets. I also have one on the floor beside my tub. This basket holds my feminine supplies (in the pink makeup bag,) my battery-powered face scrubber and its attachments (in the blue/black/pink/white makeup bag,) air freshener, a couple of recent gifts (the Burt's Bees hand care set and a fancy wrapped bar of soap,) plus my exfoliating mitt and my packaged face masks that I always stock up on at the Daiso $1.50 Japanese Store when I travel to Huntington Beach.

More bath stuff.

Last But Not Least, the Shower Caddy

I know everybody has a shower caddy, but for an organized small bathroom, I recommend you keep it cleaned out and minimal, stocked with only the products you are currently using.

My shower caddy. Yes, there is another comb in here so I can comb conditioner through my hair when I'm not feeling too rushed or lazy to do so.
You don't have to throw things away that you aren't currently using. Keep them in the baskets under the sink or in a basket in a linen closet, if you have one. I cycle out body washes and shampoos I'm tired of when I get a new one I want to use instead, and then go back and use the rest of the old ones when I run out.

So that's it! My teeny tiny bathroom and the multitude of items it stores. If you have a large bathroom with plenty of counter space, lucky you, but if not, I wish you lots of luck in organizing your tiny space. Let me know how it goes in the comments!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Let Me Introduce You to My New Boyfriend, Val - It's Sweet Barbarian's Release Day!

It's finally here - the day my new novel goes out into the world to seek its fortune. I imagine that it's sort of like sending your child off to his first day of kindergarten...will he be okay out there on his own? Will the teacher and the other kids like him? Will he come home excited because he had the time of his life, or crying and heartbroken?

This novel had almost 7 times more preorders than the last novel I released, and while it's been thrilling to watch those sales numbers grow steadily over the past few weeks, it also made me nervous. That's a lot of people who put their trust in me and my novel before it had ANY reviews, and before they could read any sample pages. Hoo boy. I hope my sweet barbarian delivers the goods!

So, speaking of my new hero, Val...I'm really kind of ga-ga over him at the moment. Here are his quick stats:

Age: 27
Height: 6'6
Weight: 282
Hair: Blondish Brown
Eyes: Hazel
Profession: Warrior/clan leader (in 483;) Contractor (in 2015-16)
Hobbies: Building, woodworking, carving, and learning English on Rosetta Stone
Favorite Foods: Homemade pizza, chocolate brownies
Hates: People who are controlling and selfish
Loves: Scents, hot showers, working with his hands, protecting and providing

Last night the novel appeared, ready to download on my Kindle app, and I immediately opened it and started reading it just to get the experience of how it would look and feel for my readers. I read the first three chapters in one sitting, relieved to find that even though I wrote it and have edited the entire thing three times in the past 3 months...it still grabbed my attention and had me turning the pages to see what happened next. This novel is not as action-and-adventure heavy as Caribbean Jewel or Kiss of the Assassin (admittedly, both of those novels are extremely action-and-adventure heavy) so fans who are looking for swordfighting, narrow escapes, and complicated intrigues won't find as much of that here. There is a tiny bit of swordfighting as well as a couple of narrow escapes, but Sweet Barbarian is mostly dialog, most of it just between the two main characters Karly and Valamir, in the confines of her mountain cabin where they are snowed in for several days. I don't know if that sounds too exciting or not, but I'm relying on the fascination you'll hopefully have with Valamir's character, watching him navigate the strange new world that is Colorado in 2015 as well as his attraction to and feelings for his savior-hostess, Karly Draper.

My hope is that you, my readers, will live vicariously through Karly, leave behind the trials and tribulations of this life to escape into her world, enter her skin, and fall in love with Val as he falls in love with you. Isn't that why we read (and I write) romance novels???

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Easy Vegan Cabbage-Tomato Soup With Quinoa

Cabbage, tomatoes, and quinoa...just what I need for a light, nourishing winter lunch. Yum!
Let me introduce you to one of my favorite go-to soups, one I love to make on weekends in the winter when I need something quick and healthy. (It probably burns more calories to prepare it than it adds when you eat it.) We used to call the original version of this soup "T-J Miracle Soup" back in the day in Oklahoma, where I'm originally from. That soup calls for the same veggie combo as I use here, but it's seasoned with a packet of onion soup mix and doesn't call for quinoa. It was part of a 7 day diet plan to lose 10 pounds by eating very specific foods each day, along with as much of the "T-J Miracle Soup" as you wanted. I did the T-J soup diet in my 20's a couple of times and yes, I could definitely lose 8 to 10 pounds in a week, but I'd gain it right back as soon as I went back to the foods I ate then (pizza, chips, etc.)

Nowadays I manage my weight a lot better without extreme dieting, but I still love my version of this soup. I really crave it sometimes, particularly after a feasting holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas when I just want something warm and satisfying that won't add many calories and basically zero fat (255 calories and 0.06 grams of fat in the entire pot of soup, by my calculations using the Calorie King app.) Added bonus? This soup is cheap to make. The most expensive item is probably the cup of quinoa.

It takes me maybe 10 minutes max to prep the soup and get it simmering, another 20-25 minutes to cook it, and 10 seconds to ladle it into a bowl and start enjoying its cabbage-y vegetable goodness. I love it with two or three drops of Tabasco sprinkled over the top, and the soup is made more substantial and filling by spooning some cooked quinoa into your bowl (making kind of a quickie, Eastern-European version of Peruvian Quinoa Soup, which, by the way, is also delicious.)



Easy Vegan Cabbage-Tomato Soup With Quinoa

2 celery stalks, sliced
1 cup yellow onion, diced
1 cup green bell pepper, diced
2-3 cups cabbage, diced or shredded
4-6 cups veggie broth, or water with a teaspoon of Better than Bouillon vegetable base
1 tsp sea salt, or to taste, plus fresh ground black pepper
1 can diced tomatoes
Fresh or dried chopped herbs of choice, such as parsley, basil, or oregano
1/2 cup - 1 cup cooked quinoa, or to taste

Place all veggies except for the canned tomatoes in a pot with the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Simmer 10-15 minutes, or until the cabbage is translucent and tender. Add salt and pepper as well as the canned tomatoes, and continue simmering an additional 10 minutes. Add fresh or dried herbs of choice if desired. If I'm in a hurry (which is usually the case) I just sprinkle in a good helping of dried parsley. Sometimes I like mixed-herb blends like Italian Seasoning in this. Just go with what herbs sound good to you at the time.

When ready to eat, spoon in some quinoa, mix, and enjoy.

Optional add-in: a drop or two of Tabasco sauce.


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Easy Vegan Gluten Free Snickerdoodles


Buttery, crunchy on the outside, nutty, cinnamony, salty and sweet. Ahh.
One bowl, seven ingredients, no electric mixer, and a delicious, crunchy-soft cinnamon "sugar" cookie ready to nibble with hot beverage of choice in about 25 minutes. What could be better? That it's vegan, gluten free, and sugar free as well?

I confess, when I invented this recipe a couple of days ago (in desperate search for a real cookie that fit all my dietary desires and didn't involve twenty million ingredients,) I sat down and ate six of them with hot Java-flavored Teeccino and coconut milk. Then, later that afternoon, I ate three more, and that night, I had the other three for dessert after dinner.

You might need to make a double batch.

Easy Vegan Gluten Free Snickerdoodles

Makes 10-12 cookies

1 cup almond flour
3 TBS soft coconut oil (at room temperature)
3 TBS classic (white) *Lakanto for sugar-free cookies (or other sweetener or sugar of choice)
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 TBS water, or as necessary to form a cohesive dough
Ground cinnamon, to sprinkle on top

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients together minus the water to form a semi-crumbly dough, then add enough water to make it stick together so you can roll it into balls.

Scoop about a tablespoon of dough into your palm and quickly roll into a ball (quickly to avoid melting the coconut oil too much.) Place about 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet or baking stone. Flatten cookies to about 1/4 -1/2 inch with bottom of a glass, then sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake for 15 - 20 minutes (I needed 20 at high altitude) until slightly brown around edges, or to desired level of browning. Let cool 5 - 10 minutes before eating, if you can wait that long. :)

*I swear I don't work for the Lakanto people - I just happen to love their product for surviving a sugar-free lifestyle.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sweet Barbarian Preorder Plus Teaser Excerpt!


My preorder status for Sweet Barbarian is officially ON! As of now, you can pre-order your copy of my brand-new romance novel for 99 cents.

I'm thrilled that preorders have been steadily climbing over the past few days, and Sweet Barbarian just hit the Top-100 Amazon Best Sellers list for Kindle eBooks Time Travel Romance (wow oh wow!) [Update 11-28-16 9:00pm - It's now in the Top 50 for Kindle eBooks Time Travel Romance AND Top 100 for ALL Time Travel Romance!!]

Big moment in my world.
Okay, so the pre-order thing is doing well. :-)

I shared a synopsis of Sweet Barbarian in  this post and in  this one, and here's a teaser excerpt from chapter 1:

Share body heat to warm the person up, not electric heat, the Mayo Clinic website said. Without clothes. Geez, Louise. Karly hurried to her extra bedroom closet to get a fleece blanket, dropped it on the floor near the stranger, then bent over him to work on removing his wide leather belt. It was very authentic-looking, with a homemade wrought iron clasp that looked like something straight out of the forges in Skyrim. She worked it loose, then fiddled with the waistband of the leather skirt until she figured out how to unwrap it and pull it away from his body. He was wearing an honest-to-goodness loincloth underneath, slung low over his muscular hips with a leather cord, the fabric draped over his bulging groin. His well-developed ab muscles arrowed down toward his pelvis, and his thighs were thickly covered in muscle as well.
Karly forced herself to stop ogling him and scooted back to tug off her boots, shrug out of her T-shirt, and peel off her leggings.
“Panties and bra are staying on, buddy, and I gotta get some of the dirt off you before I can, uh, share body heat.” She quickly swiped at the grime on his chest and belly with a wet towel before awkwardly straddling his waist with her knees. She draped the edge of the fleece blanket over her shoulders, then lay down on top of him with it, slowly, so as not to jar him and cause cardiac arrest. His torso was cold, clammy, and hard, and she shivered a little at the contact of her bare skin on his. She rested her head over his heart, listening for his heartbeat.
Thump. Thump, thump…thump.
“I’m glad I didn’t kill you with the electric blanket,” she whispered, resting her forearms over his biceps under the blanket and settling in. She’d never actually lain naked on top of a man as built as he was, and it was definitely a thought-provoking experience. His enormous size made her feel tiny and light. She hoped she could produce enough body heat to warm him up.
She closed her eyes and lay still, trying to steady her breathing, listening to his heartbeat. Lulu came over to sniff her fingers where they rested on his shoulder.
“You could help me out, you know. Curl up next to his shoulder here,” Karly whispered.
Lulu sniffed his wet, matted mane of hair, then trotted off to her bed by the hearth.
          “Punk.” Karly closed her eyes, willing her body heat to seep into his cold torso, and waited for him to wake up.

Follow my Sweet Barbarian Pinterest board here, and grab your pre-order copy of Sweet Barbarian at this  link.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

What Do Vegans Eat for Thanksgiving?

My vegan Thanksgiving plate. Before I went back for seconds on everything.
What do vegans eat for Thanksgiving?

This is a question I often get around this time of year from people who know I eat a vegan diet. To tell you the truth, I don't always have a good answer. For me Thanksgiving is kind of a tough holiday since I don't eat meat, dairy, or sugar. I could just make something from my usual vegan fare and call it good, but it seems like I should be making something special, something Thanksgiving-y, something that requires more planning and time in the kitchen than on other days.

A Vegan Thanksgiving Menu

So this was my menu today:

1. An herbed vegan loaf from Ricki Heller's book Living Candida Free (the recipe is called "Sunday Roast" in her book. All the recipes in the book are vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free, so even if you aren't dealing with Candida, I highly recommend the book for those looking to meet those dietary restrictions.) It turned out more orange than it probably should have because I put in too much sweet potato, but it was still yummy. It's mostly sauteed veggies and herbs with quinoa and chickpea flours to form a soft bread-like loaf reminiscent of a really delicious stuffing/"meat" loaf.



2. Mashed potatoes (Organic Instant from Sprouts) with vegan Brown Gravy, another recipe from Living Candida Free

3. Roasted asparagus with olive oil, lemon juice, and tarragon

4. Butternut squash and fresh sage sauteed in olive oil

5. Vegan Sweet Potato Pie from PopSugar (made with my go-to baking sweetener, plant-based Lakanto instead of real brown sugar so it would be sugar free) with Coconut Cashew Whipped Cream (recipe in Living Candida Free)



The vegan loaf, the gravy and the sweet potato pie were moderately labor-intensive (especially all in one meal,) but with instant mashed potatoes and pre-cut butternut squash from Costco, the meal went together within a few hours (some of that passive baking time for the loaf and the pie) and it turned out absolutely delicious to my palate.

So, if you're a vegan looking for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner ideas, or you're just curious what vegans eat, here's my answer, at least this year.

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