#52NewEats :: Week 37 :: Vegan Strawberry Cream Cheez Rolls

Vegan Strawberry Cream Cheez Rolls

Hey y’all!  I am SO EXCITED to share this recipe with you today because it’s part of a little collaboration I did with two of my favoritest ladies on the planet, Heather and Eryn at //The Practical Minimalists//.  I have been listening to their podcast since earlier this year and as you know, as I’ve mentioned here before, they are a big part of what has inspired me to live more intentionally.  I can honestly say they helped motivate me to finally get my barn unpacked and get rid of more than half the stuff that had been sitting in boxes for over a year!  As a result, my house is most definitely less cluttered, and now, if I even think a little pile of something starting to develop, I almost get some kind of itch to take care of it before it turns into anything crazy.  I find with each podcast I listen to, that I relate to them on practically every topic they cover – from their recent show about news consumption, to their episode on meal planning, and even, especially, all the way back to their series on “unbecoming”.  In fact, I have been wanting to go back and re-listen to those episodes, as well as the ones they did with //Jess Lively//, so I will have to do that soon!  I love their show so much, because as the name suggests, they approach minimalism in a practical way – and insist that it doesn’t have to look any one way: you don’t have to wear black all the time and have one chair in your living room; minimalism can look how you want it to look.  This way, there is no pressure to fit into some predetermined category or label; it can be whatever you want it to be.  So please, if you are feeling like you need some motivation or inspiration to de-clutter your life (in more ways than just the physical), //check out their podcast// and you can thank me later.  😘

Now!  Onto the food.

Eryn shared this recipe with me and I positively jumped at the chance to make it.  For one thing, if you’ve been following along with me recently, you know that I have been heading down a more vegetarian path.  I have also dabbled in vegan baking recently when I shared these //chocolate chip cookie bars// with you, which was a bit of a turning point for me because I think I had been in the camp of, “ew, vegan!” before.  And now here is the second vegan recipe I’ve made, and I am honestly realizing that there is really nothing “ew” at all about vegan food.  In fact – I am planning on trying a vegan queso in the very near future 😱 as the self-proclaimed #connoisseurofnachos, I will be SURE to report back on its worthiness!  But anyway.  These strawberry rolls were really, really tasty.  This was my first time trying vegan cream cheese – I swear it doesn’t even taste different to me than regular cream cheese.  And, bonus!, at my Whole Foods I found the //coconut milk yogurt// that my high school friend, Anita, has been working tirelessly on developing over recent years, and I was jazzed at the opportunity to use it here!

My sister and I baked these //strawberry cream cheez rolls// together – I was happy to have her help as I am more of a cook than a baker, and she is a pro biscuit maker, so she happily cut that cold vegan butter into the dry ingredients for me and rolled it out into the most perfect rectangle.  We refrigerated the roll for about twice as long before cutting, just to make really really sure it was properly chilled.  And, instead of using Eryn’s vegan red food dye recipe listed on her blog post, I cooked down the rest of the strawberries with a little bit of water, and made a strawberry syrup.  I then pressed it through a sieve and dyed the frosting pink that way.  And, uh, it.  was.  so.  delicious.  🙌

Once I pulled these out of the oven, I was having a hard time waiting for them to cool to eat them (are you surprised?).  And then once the frosting started to melt all over the warm rolls I couldn’t contain myself.  So I did my due diligence with the photographs and promptly scarfed down my first roll.  And now, I kid you not, as I write this, I am scarfing down another.  🙂  And my belly is happy.

Would you know that these are vegan?  No, not by taste.  They are quite tasty.  Maybe by texture?  But that could be the gluten-free-ness of this recipe.  This is not a fluffy, sugary, strawberry version of a Cinnabon (which, if you’ve ever had one, you may recall sits in your stomach like a boulder for the rest of the day.  Who wants that?  Not me!).  Here’s what I think, though.  It shouldn’t really matter what’s in them – it should only matter what your tongue thinks when you shovel a forkful into your mouth.  Is your tongue happy?  Yes?  Then eat more.  😊

(She says, as she digs into her second strawberry roll in 15 minutes…)

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#MinimalismJune :: The Minimalism Game

Minimalism

So I haven’t talked much about minimalism this month but trust me when I say I am still full speed ahead going at it!

This month, my BFF Jackie and I decided to play the “minimalism game”, where, for every day of the month, you get rid of that number of things.  On day 1 you part with 1 thing, on day 2 you part with 2 things, and so on and so forth.  This month has been VERY interesting for me, because when we started I really didn’t think that I’d make it through the whole month.  But look!

Minimalism June

All that stuff is going to the Vietnam Veterans of America charity organization.

All that stuff – I didn’t even need to pack!  Or store!  Or move!  Argh!

But it’s ok.  I knew when I began this journey that I would be encountering some things that I knew I probably should have parted with when I packed up the old house, but wasn’t in the right mental space to do so.  I honestly think that this game really helps you decide what you can truly part with.  It puts you on the spot.  And if you’re even remotely competitive like I am, you WILL want to finish the game, and gosh darn it, you WILL decide much more easily to part with something!  I can’t tell you how many times I came across something this month that, previously, I was like, “Well I just don’t know about getting rid of this just yet”, but, as a result of this game, found myself thinking, “NOPE TIME FOR YOU TO GO UNWANTED THING, I GOTTA FIND 23 THINGS TO GET RID OF TODAY.”

This month I did focus a lot on my house.  There were some specific spaces inside my house that I knew needed my attention, and I focused there.  I also turned my attention to the barn to finish unpacking the boxes there.  I am proud to say that, FINALLY, TEN MONTHS AFTER MOVING IN, we are fully unpacked.  👏  I am not able to say that we are exactly where I’d hoped we’d be, as far as stuff we kept vs. stuff we got rid of, but, I am learning to make peace with it.  It is 99% my daughter’s stuff.  She was very involved in the unpacking/trashing/donating process, and did a very good job deciding what to let go of – though of course I wish she’d let go of more, but that’s okay.  I think she will get there one day.  I think this month has been a good lesson for her on intentional living.  By the end of the month, she even kind of joined in on the game.  She’d ask me, “How many things do we have to get rid of today?” and would figure out how she could contribute to the count.  🙂

So, even though my daughter was super into it, like I said, she still kept a LOT of stuff that I thought she could part with.  Things she obviously hasn’t needed in a year, hasn’t seen in a year, baby toys, broken toys, puzzles she’s never even opened and is now too old for, etc.  Now that all her stuff is unpacked and into her playroom and bedroom, I think for the rest of the summer, what I’d like to do is pick an area in her playroom or bedroom, and minimize it.  With her help.  We talked about it last night and she’s totally on board.  I told her we could be really lazy about it, we could do a little bit every weekend or skip a weekend, it doesn’t matter.  I offered her a “weekend chores bonus” – I told her that she could pick the area of the rooms that needs some attention, she could decide what stays and what goes, and if we can finish that area of the room then she would get a $2 bonus added to her chore money.  She actually laughed and asked for $20, and then I launched into a bit of a diatribe about why we are doing this in the first place, how it’s about giving, and having less unimportant things so you can focus more on your important things.  She gets it, and I think it helped her to know that her Aunt Jackie and her family are going through the same thing right now.

I really can’t believe that I got through all the boxes in my barn though, AND got through some areas in my house.  When I started this month I really was not sure I would make it to the end, and it WAS touch-and-go there towards the middle of the month before I started digging into my barn.  But alas!  I got rid of OVER 500 items this month, EASILY.  It wouldn’t have been so easy if I didn’t have so much to unpack, but wow!  I think I will do this game again in the fall or towards the end of the year.  It will definitely be more of a challenge!

I also wanted to say that I do think that my actual mindset is starting to change towards a more minimalist one.  For example, we have Amazon Prime, and my husband used to joke that I would order things and the box would come 2 days later and I would forget what I ordered.  It’s only funny because it’s actually true.  Now, in my defense, we HAVE “needed” a lot of stuff for this house.  But, there is some truth in that.  I have been much more mindful of my Amazon spending over the last month or so.  I went to Amazon just 2 days ago to order something for a little BBQ we are having this weekend, and I hadn’t ordered anything in almost a month.  A MONTH!  Previously completely unheard of.  Also, this minimalist way of thinking has creeped into my grocery shopping and menu planning.  My lovely minimalist inspos over at //The Practical Minimalists// mentioned that one of the things they do is have a ‘smorgasbord’ night at home for dinner once in a while.  There is no meal planned, you can just pick whatever you want out of the fridge and cupboards for dinner.  I’ve tried that a couple times this month and it’s not a bad idea!  It certainly makes me think more creatively about what we eat for dinner.  You know, we aren’t going to die if we have onion rings and cous cous and chips and salsa for dinner one night.  Is it ideal?  No.  Is it food blog-worthy?  Certainly not.  But is it helping me clean out my cupboards?  YES.  Is it saving me money on my grocery bill?  ALSO YES.

I am so jazzed about my progress with minimalism and my journey isn’t over yet.  I am actually looking forward to what’s to come and how this journey evolves.  And I highly recommend it for anyone looking to declutter their lives in any way!

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