Great Gift Idea: Adult Coloring Books

Earlier this year (way ahead of the trend), my best friend sent me one of my favorite gifts ever – an adult coloring book.


Since then, I’ve seen them everywhere. They’re the entryway display at the craft store, they’re at farm potlucks, they’re at girl’s night. And they’re the perfect gift.


Why? They give the person you care about an opportunity to indulge in personal time. When I first started coloring, it felt like a waste of time, like I could be doing something more productive. But adult coloring books made me conquer my Type-A personality and forced me to relax and just enjoy the passing of time. They helped me enjoy beauty and creativity without demanding a purpose or an end product. They’re definitely something I would never buy myself.


Adult coloring books are pretty challenging, but they also encourage you to stretch your imagination and approach colors in a new way.


Currently, I have two adult coloring books. The first one, The Secret Garden, is probably the most popular one out there and with good reason. Johanna Basford uses whimsical and complex illustrations to bring a joyous garden to life.

Sometimes the illustrations are a little too complex. I’ve never actually finished a complete page. But they’re still very fun.

I’ve also colored in her other book Enchanted Forest  and absolutely love it. It had unicorns in it!


I also have the Creative Cats Coloring Book, of course. Creative Haven, the company who makes this book, also makes a few more. They’re certainly not as intricate or imaginative, but I like them all the same. It takes less time to complete one of these drawing and I wouldn’t say they’re strictly for adults. Mosaic Masterpieces is really fun and challenges you to get creative with color!


These are the markers I bought to accompany my new hobby. They’re a nice quality and color for the price. The tips are shaped so you can color thin or thick lines and you get 100 colors!

If you’re struggling to find something for your creative loved ones, I’d definitely suggest these. Or, if you’re stressed out from the holidays, sit your butt down in front of a coloring book with a candle and some hot cocoa. It will absolutely calm you down.


So do you have an adult coloring book yet? What do you think of them?

Warm and Nourishing Vegan Pot Pie

In our home, pie is a point of contention. For me, pies are a lot of work with relatively little payoff. Ryan entirely disagrees, but of course, he’s not the one making the pies.

Vegan-Pot-Pie-Final-4It’s usually the pie crust that pushes me over the edge from “maybe I’ll make that” to “hell no.” I’m too stubborn to buy the pre-made crust, which frequently contains lard. And the idea of cutting butter into flour, rolling out dough, cleaning flour off the counter because, of course, I get flour everywhere…it’s just exhausting.

Pot pie, in particular, is something that took Ryan a long time to sell me on. It was a while before he convinced me that a pot pie can be more than the frozen, pea-filled, slightly fishy tasting, microwaveable flour brick of my childhood. But he asked nicely, if not repetitively, for a vegetable pot pie and how can I deny his cute face?

Vegan-Pot-Pie-Final-2If you aren’t intimidated by a little hard work, this vegan pot pie might just be for you. Or, in my case, your loved ones.

With the holidays just around the corner, this pot pie would be a perfect centerpiece to your vegan Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Or, if you’re like us, it can be one of many centerpieces. The thick and buttery crust holds together a warm and nourishing center that leaves you feeling heavy, contented, and warm.

Vegan-Pot-Pie-Final-3I searched the web for a vegan pot pie recipe, but couldn’t find one that satisfied me. A lot of the recipes seemed to cut corners in some way. Hell, I did too by adding a frozen veggie medley. Part of the reward in cooking such a labor-intensive pie is the process of making it.  It’s clearly a pie for special occasions. One that is made slowly and consumed even slower over a glass of wine and a candlelit dining room table.

Vegan-Pot-Pie-Final-5If you’re concerned about the time it will take to make this during the holidays, don’t worry. You can freeze the assembled pie uncooked and place it in the oven when you’re ready to eat. I doubled the batch and froze an entire pie for later. Definitely worth it.

Nouishing and Warm Vegan Pot Pie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Vegan
Cuisine: Vegan
Yields: 8 Slices
Double Pie Crust (adapted from Easy as Vegan Pie)
  • 2 ½ cups of flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cups cold non-dairy margarine, cut into chunks (I used earth balance)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp (or more) ice water
Vegan Pot Pie Filling
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small red potato, chopped
  • 1 ½ - 2 cups cup frozen vegetable medley (I used Trader Joe’s Organic Foursome)
  • 6 oz tofu, cut into chunks, (seasoned and pre-cooked optional, but recommended)
  • ¾ cup vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup non-dairy creamer
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • leaves from a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 fresh sage leaf, chopped
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
Make the Pie Crust
  1. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl
  2. Using a food processor or a pastry blender cut in the margarine until the mixture has a grainy, wet sand-like texture. Be sure not to over-work the dough. Tip: You want the margarine very cold. I put the chunks of margarine in the freezer while I’m getting everything ready. You don’t want it to freeze, but it works much better.
  3. Sir in the lemon juice.
  4. Then add the ice water into the mixture, one tablespoon at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the texture is smooth and the dough is combined well enough that it sticks together.
  5. Split the dough into two equal-sized round balls. Cover each ball with saran wrap and let the dough rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Prepare the Filling
  1. In a small dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil. Sauté the onion and chopped red potato until the onions are clear and the potato becomes slightly tender. The potato doesn’t have to be completely cooked at this point.
  2. Add in the tofu and the vegetable medley and cook for an additional five minutes.
  3. Pour the vegetable broth and the non dairy creamer into the pot and wait for it to simmer.
  4. In a separate bowl, create a roux by whisking together the flour with the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil, the nutritional yeast, and soy sauce.
  5. Add the roux into the pot with the filling, whisking constantly until the flour is well combined.
  6. Throw in a few sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped fresh sage, white pepper, and salt and let the mixture cook for five more minutes.
  7. Turn off the heat and let the filling cool slightly. It will thicken as it cools.
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. While you’re waiting for your filling to cool, roll out the pie crusts with a rolling pin.
  3. Line the bottom of a pie dish with one of the rolled out crusts.
  4. Pour the filling into the lined pie pan, smoothing the filling out so it appears flat on top.
  5. Complete the pie by adding the second rolled out pie crust on top, pushing the edges together to seal the pie.
  6. Using a sharp knife, add a few slits in the top to vent.
  7. Cover the edges of your pie crust in aluminum foil to prevent them from burning.
  8. Bake for 50 minutes (or 60 minutes if it’s a particularly deep dish pie) removing the aluminum foil after 30 minutes.
  9. Let the pie cool slightly before digging in!

Vegan-Pot-Pie-Final-1I’ve adapted this a couple of different ways. I’ve added Follow Your Heart mozzarella style cheese and  vegan sausage crumbles. Both were very good, but I’d avoid doing both at the same time because it gets a little too salty.

Pin it here!

This warm and nourishing pot pie is perfect for a cool fall day.
This warm and nourishing pot pie is perfect for a cool fall day.

decorate a pumpkin with nail polish

Confession time: I buy way too much nail polish, but I never use it. I can’t help it. I’m attracted to the fun colors. How can I resist? I love the idea of carrying around bright, cheery colors on my fingers and toes.  


But the reality of the situation is that I have about twelve shades of beige and only paint my nails once every few months. I loathe waiting for my nails to dry – I’ve got things to do! – so I often go without. As a result, most of the polish I purchase sits on a shelf for years until it gets too gross to use.


In addition to using immense self-discipline at makeup stores, I’m trying to find creative ways (water marbling!) to use my nail polish reserves. Of course, decorating pumpkins was at the top of my list.


Crackle nail polish always seems to make a comeback around Halloween, and I couldn’t wait to plaster a pumpkin with it.


I absolutely love this effect. It’s perfectly eerie for Halloween. I used Maybelline Color Show Shredded in Carbon Frost.  If you use crackle nail polish, be sure to apply two layers of base coat on the pumpkin. If you don’t apply the base coat, the nail polish won’t crack.


I was perusing my favorite discount makeup store when I stumbled on this polka dot nail polish! This is definitely my favorite effect on the pumpkins. How fun is this?


Mixing in a few treats with the tricks – I call this my cookies and cream pumpkin. No need to apply a base coat. Just one coat of the polka dot nail polish was enough.


This textured nail polish (Sally Hansen Fuzzy Coat) is my least favorite of the effects. I had such high hopes for it. I think it would look cool against a black background, but it looked washed out on the white pumpkin and I was afraid it would blend in too much with an orange pumpkin.


Oh well. It was still worth a try. Which technique is your favorite?