Friendsgiving & Giving Tuesday & Vegan Ranch Dip

A week ago on Sunday we hosted a Vegan / Vegetarian Potluck Friendsgiving Fundraiser for No Kid Hungry. Our dear friend Daniel Kuttner donated two of his outrageously gorgeous tables for the occasion which were placed under a sea of twinkly lights beneath the pergola in our garden. In hopes of raising more money for this wonderful organization the husband and I paired up on a health and wellness inspired goodie bag to award to the evenings largest donor.

Of course things don't always go as planned and as the weather report became more and more accurate we realized we were in for a (much needed) downpour at the exact time as our outdoor fete. So, the amazing husband, built a pitched addition to the pergola and covered it with the largest tarp he could find... being Swiss, he even draped it down the side where the wind was due to come from - he's a keeper - reason #457!!

Tables by Daniel Kuttner. Succulents by Garden Street Company.

Tables by Daniel Kuttner. Succulents by Garden Street Company.

With 9 families (32 people) due to arrive exactly as the rain hit - we spread out our old pelts, cranked up the heat lamps and readied ourselves for a long cozy night. I'd forgotten how much I loved the sound of rain. Ahh to sit outside, with dear friends, yummy food and wine, listening to the rain - such a treat.

We're so ridiculously lucky. We have more than we need and don't want for anything. Sadly, that's not the case for so many. 1 in 5 kids in America lives in a household without consistent access to enough food, let alone healthy food. That's 16 million children. 44% of SNAP (formerly food stamps) recipients are children (nearly half!). When schools become a place where kids can reliably get the food they need, their attendance increases, as do their grades. Did you know that for millions of kids in this country - school lunch is their last meal of the day. In short, hunger devastates children and quite frankly it should not be happening in this country. To be able to bring together a few friends and raise over $700 on a blustery and rainy night was a drop in the bucket for this epidemic but a drop nonetheless and if we all raise awareness and keep those drops coming - we can make a difference. This isn't a handout, this is helping to provide kids with a most basic necessity. As today is Giving Tuesday we'd like to invite you to contribute to our fundraising efforts for NO KID HUNGRY - theres' still a few more days to give on our behalf!!!

So - back to our evening and that Goodie Bag..... As most of you know - the husband, along with his good buddy, launched a very cool, men's apparel line earlier this year. Saltura was founded on the notion that cool, coastal inspired clothes don't need to be made in sweat shops and flown around the world and made from cheap fabrics that only last a season nor have loud logos emblazoned all over them. No - two dudes with absolutely zero experience in the fashion world (but tons of experience in design and media) could create a locally made mens fashion line using high quality, organic cottons and other sustainable or upcycled materials to create modern, clean and thoughtful garments. They recently partnered with Apolis to create a limited edition Saltura Market Bag and it has fast become my favorite bag for quick getaways to Ojai or Los Alamos, shopping at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market or just a fun day at the beach (the bag has a fully waterproof liner).

Annndddd if you're reading this you definitely know that I recently launched Basking in Goodness. So I thought of curating a collection of a few of my absolute favorite wellness inspired goodies as not only an incentive to give more but to also bring a little extra goodness into the home of dear, generous friends. A few super rad, local Santa Barbara based people jumped in and immediately offered to donate to the bag - so extra massive shout outs to: 

The Basking in Goodness x Saltura - Market Bag o' Goodness:

  • Bag: Saltura Market Bag

  • Books: The Help Yourself Cookbook for Kids by Ruby Roth and The New Health Rules by Frank Lipman & Danielle Claro

  • Edibles: Imlak'esh Charge Boss Clusters and a sampling of Zing Bars two favorites for when you need a healthy bite on the go.

  • Supplements: Kaibae Hibiscus Baobab Coconut Sprinkles (this stuff is my jam, sprinkled on top of salad, morning oats, avocado toast, lemon sorbet - the possibilities are endless - loaded with antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, minerals and freakin' delicious!! Bragg Nutritional Yeast (Nooch) and Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother). No joke - not a day goes by where I don't use one or both of these - AVC morning tonic, salad dressing, skin reviver and Nooch - in the wee girls eggy burrito, supporting role in most vegan cheeses, sprinkled over popcorn. Dr. Brite Mineral Toothpaste for Kids - I recently discovered Dr. Brite (on Instagram!) and love what she is creating. Her toothpastes are fluoride, sls, artificial color and sweetener free and taste great.

  • Succulents: Sarah at Garden Street Company created these amazing living centerpieces for our tables and contributed an extra one for our big donor to take home. Her work is magnificent.

It was a treat to put this all together and although the family that walked away with the bag is pretty clued in on the health front - I know that many of the items were new to them and hope they spark even more goodness in their home.

This was such an amazing evening and I was blown away by our friends (none of whom are vegan and only one is a vegetarian) who brought together such a delicious and flavor filled collection of dishes. We had vegan butternut squash soup, individually rolled vegan eggplant parmesan, vegetarian eggplant parmesan, grilled peppers stuffed with tomatoes and herbs, vegan roasted brussel sprouts, cauliflower rice, roasted squashes, vegan tian / ratatouille, carrot soufflé, vegan ranch dip, vegan carrot cashew pate, a selection of vegan / nut cheeses, tomato bruschetta and of course vegan and gluten free dark chocolate chip cookies, vegan blackberry pie and vegetarian pumpkin pie. It really was an amazing evening. Even the 11 kids aged between 2 and 10 devoured everything in site!!!

The Vegan Ranch Dip was completely new to me but ended up being a pretty big hit - served as a traditional crudité platter.  I'm pretty terrible at following recipes and usually just read a few different-but-similar recipes and then wing it. I threw a whole packet (2 half blocks) of Trader Joe's Organic Sprouted Tofu into the cuisinart and blended until achieving very small crumbles, then added:

  • 2 Tbsp of Soy-free Veganaise

  • 3 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast

  • 1 Tbsp White Miso Paste

  • 1 Tbsp Dried Dill

  • Juice of 1 Lemon

  • 1-2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Salt & Pepper to Taste

These are all approximations - I really can't remember exactly - but I encourage you to get in the kitchen and just experiment. Get your kids involved - when they cook it - they eat it!!!

I hope you get to enjoy some of the above products and hope you look further into all of the amazing companies out there bringing health awareness to the masses. As always - I love hearing from you - did you try something new because of this post? Do you have an item you'd love to share with us? What more would you like me to delve into?

And finally - as a reminder - today is Giving Tuesday and if you'd like to contribute to our fundraising page for NO KID HUNGRY - we'll love you even more!!!

Emma - Basking in Goodness 

Friendsgiving &  Giving Tuesday &  Vegan Ranch Dip.png