My Very First Contest + a Recipe!

I have some very exciting news to share! A few weeks ago, the lovely folks over at Ethical Ocean contacted me and asked me to participate in their 2nd Annual Recipe Contest. If you aren’t familiar, Ethical Ocean is an online marketplace featuring eco-friendly apparel, body care, home products, and more. The contest features a selection of bloggers who offer up their very best vegan recipe. The winner is determined by the highest number of votes. You can vote every day, for as many recipes as you like. By voting, you have a chance to win some awesome prizes! The contest kicks off at 9am EST on Friday April 26 and ends at 11:59pm EST on May 17. Please vote for me, I would LOVE your support!!! Check out the details here.

RecipeContestBanner

Once onboard, I immediately started formulating recipe ideas in my head. My initial instinct was to create a decadent dessert since my true love has always been sweets. But, I wanted a challenge. With springtime in full swing, it seemed fitting to represent not only seasonal foods, but also a few foods that are grown happily right here in beautiful Oregon! And that, my friends, is how the Kale Salad with Roasted Asparagus & Tarragon Vinaigrette was born!

EO_0229

This salad has it all: vibrant green kale, roasted asparagus, crunchy hazelnuts, tart dried cranberries, crisp apples, shredded carrots, and a delicious tarragon vinaigrette. It’s filling, nourishing, and representative of spring.

Kale Salad with Roasted Asparagus & Tarragon Vinaigrette

Tarragon and asparagus are a natural pairing, especially when they are at their peak in early spring. Serve this vibrant, light salad as a side to your favorite meal, or turn it into something more substantial by adding a wholesome protein, such as quinoa, to the bowl. Slender stalks of asparagus work best, but use whatever you prefer.

DRESSING
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon agave nectar
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

SALAD
1/2 pound fresh asparagus
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 head curly kale
1/2 cup diced apple, any variety
1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1/3 cup shredded carrot
1/3 cup dried cranberries

1) To make dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and agave nectar until smooth. Add in garlic, tarragon, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Whisk again until well combined. Set aside.

2) Preheat oven to 400°F. Snap off tough ends of the asparagus. Wash asparagus with cold water and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. Place asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Roast for 7-10 minutes, or until asparagus is tender-crisp (time will depend on how thick the asparagus is). Remove from oven and drizzle with lemon juice. Set aside to cool while preparing the rest of the salad.

3) Remove stems from kale, wash leaves, and pat dry. Tear kale into bite-sized pieces and place in a large serving bowl. With clean hands, toss the kale with 3 tablespoons of the dressing and massage until kale wilts slightly and reduces in volume. Add in diced apple, hazelnuts, shredded carrot, and dried cranberries. Toss together to evenly incorporate.

4) Chop cooled asparagus into 1” pieces and add to salad. Toss to combine. Drizzle remaining dressing over salad and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.

EO_0231

Please don’t forget to vote for my recipe (I’ll send you virtual love). It’s not as important as presidential elections, but you know… It’s vegan food and that makes people extra happy. Plus, there’s prizes!! Woohoo! Thanks a bunch and Happy Spring!

Good Things Come in Small Packages

I have a really nice mail carrier. She always brings bigger packages up three flights of stairs and places them in front of my apartment door. It’s the little things that make my day, you know? This past week I was dog/house-sitting for friends and had to make a quick trip home to pick up a few items. When I reached my apartment, there was a package waiting for me!VC Snack Box 02!

Now I don’t know about you, but I get really giddy when packages arrive in the mail. Really giddy. I could be starving, dehydrated, running from danger… but the only thing on my mind is tearing open said package. It’s a commitment. The package photographed above is the March snack box from Vegan Cuts. Since December I have been freelancing as their copywriter. Jill, one of the owners, offered me the chance to review the snack box on my blog. Yes! Yes, I will do that!

If you aren’t familiar with Vegan Cuts, it’s an online marketplace that offers spectacular deals on food, fashion, and body care – all vegan! They have a monthly subscription box ($19.95/month) that delivers awesome vegan products right to your door (if you’re lucky and have a nice mail carrier!). It’s a great way to discover new vegan products and it’s a super deal.

The March box was filled with an alluring assortment of goodies. Inside my box:

That’s a lot of stuff!! I already devoured the chocolate eggs because I am impatient, have terrible will power, and LOVE sweets. Sjaak’s makes some of the best organic, fair trade chocolate on the market. I also plowed through the bag of Earth Balance Aged White Cheddar Puffs because, well, they sounded incredible (they are) and nobody was around to intervene. Have you tried them yet? The Eli’s Earth Bar is safely stowed in the cupboard for future consumption (one of my faves for sure). I am looking forward to using the Beyond Eggs since cookies are my best friends. I will definitely update you on the status once I bake a batch of cookies… Soon!

If you love trying out new vegan products, I highly suggest signing up for Vegan Cuts monthly subscription box. You can’t really turn down a box of surprise goodies!

Speaking of Vegan Cuts, they just launched a very exciting project and need your support to make it happen! Check out the details here! Trust me, you don’t want to miss this.