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  • Two years ago I started writing down goals and intentions. Items on the list related to health, creativity, finance and other things. One of the big goals was to get my work into my favorite magazine, VegNews. I’d started The Nut-Free Vegan a year earlier and felt like its message could benefit a wider audience. So I reached out to VegNews’s food editor, @jchenwriter , with a half-baked idea for an article. It clearly wasn’t good—though I do hope to hone and pitch it again someday—but Jennifer told me she really liked my photography and offered me a freelance gig shooting a recipe for their upcoming issue. What?! I did the job, terrified because this was my first paid food photography assignment. After one reshoot because of a rookie mistake, I picked up the magazine in Whole Foods and there it was: my first photo in print! I assumed it would be a one shot deal, because who am I to be working on two issues of VegNews? But Jennifer reached out again, along with art director @suttonlong. They were both so helpful in guiding me along with that shoot, this time an amazing Thai curry trail mix recipe I still make often. And for the rest of the year I kept getting hired—always feeling like an imposter and waiting for the other shoe to drop. But it never did. And recently when both ladies left the magazine I thought I was done for sure. But I wasn't. New food editor @jonimarienewman came along and hired me too. There’s a new art director, as well, with whom I haven’t worked yet, but I look forward to it (if that other shoe doesn’t finally drop). Then, yesterday I came home to find a package on my doorstep, and inside was an amazing bounty of vegan products and a note from VegNews publisher, Colleen Holland, and the staff, thanking ME for working with THEM. I need to thank them, though—and Jennifer and Sutton especially—for taking chance after chance on me and allowing me to grow on their pages. I'm so incredibly grateful. It’s very encouraging and gives me hope that I maybe earn at least part of a living in this field. The moral here is: set intentions and then take a leap. Whether they work out or not, you absolutely have to try.
  • Memorial Day weekend is almost upon us, and if you're looking for a tasty vegan recipe to take to that picnic or backyard barbecue you're attending, I have you covered. I've created a roundup of 10 great dishes posted on the site over the past year that are all sure to please. There are appetizers, sides, sandwiches—if that's what you consider a vegan hot dog—and even dessert. All of these are super easy to make and sure to please even the pickiest of guests. So grab the link in the bio and give one or two a try. I'll be hanging out at home all weekend, working on new recipes to share with you in the coming weeks. What are your plans for the long weekend?
  • I recently took a trip to New Orleans and was totally blown away by the culture. @lac30 and I went to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and had such an amazing time. We also got to explore all the beautiful and historically rich neighborhoods of the city, which included trying a lot of delicious vegan variations of classic NOLA dishes. (@seednola was THE BEST. Vegan Beignets FTW!) I was inspired to explore the area's food for the Nut-Free Vegan site, and today I'm presenting a slightly different take on traditional creole dirty rice. This one is filled with amazing spices and vegetables, and the secret ingredient that really puts it over the top is that I ditched the usual pork sausage and chicken gizzards, opting instead for everybody's favorite plant-based protein: the @beyondmeat Beyond Burger. Obviously, it's delicious! Get the link in the bio and see for yourself. Do you have a favorite creole dish? I'd love to hear what it is!
  • The weather is really starting to warm up and it seems like it might finally be here to stay. That means you'll need something to help you stay cool. Enter these delicious Piña Colada Popsicles! With only FIVE ingredients they're really easy to make and super refreshing thanks to the tropical flavors. If you want a festive way to chill this summer, grab the link in the bio and give these a try!
  • Today I'm sharing another recipe from the website's Staples and How-Tos page: Nut-free, Vegan Ranch Dressing. If you haven't visited this section yet, its mission is to provide simple ways to make common plant-based items you'd probably have throughout your refrigerator and cupboards. The recipes are often things there are a million versions of online, but these, of course, are made without nuts—something that isn't always the case in other versions. . . . This recipe for a simple Ranch dressing is incredibly easy and works as a fine base for other flavors. I, for instance, love Ranch with a little avocado blended in. That's just one of countless ways to jazz it up though. What's your favorite way to eat it? And what kinds of things can you not eat without a heaping helping of Ranch to accompany them? I use it on A TON of different things—sometimes as a dressing, but mostly as a dip for just about everything. 😳 . . . Grab the recipe in the bio and bookmark it for whenever you need to restock on everybody's favorite dressing!

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