a look back….

Hey everyone! Gosh oh golly, a lot sure has happened since this time last year. I thought it would be fun to do a little bit of a reflection and appreciation of everything and everyone in my life right now.

Remember my resolutions post from last year? Well, I am pretty impressed with myself; I actually followed through with all of them! Well, mostly. I still suck at French, but I’m giving it an OK effort. So there’s that. Je parle français terribles. Le sigh. But, my pronunciation est magnifique! 

I think it’s pretty incredible how we can sometimes make things happen when we put our minds to making them happen. Which, is essentially called trying, right? I love it when it trying works. Obviously I haven’t tried very hard with learning French; it’s a beautiful language, I picked it up quickly, and I really enjoy speaking it… but time. You know, there is only so much. Plus I became addicted to Breaking Bad and Downton Abbey thanks to many a late night rendezvous with my roku, and that cuts time down considerably. This year’s resolution should be less internet tv, non?

Anyway, here are 6 of my favorite things about 2012. If you have a favorite moment of 2012 or a resolution that you are proud to have followed through with, please share in the comments! I love love love reading happy news.


1) My first cookbook was published!!

Back in June Fair Winds Press published my book Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats. During the writing of the book I laughed, I cried, I and probably stress-freakout-yelled at my poor husband for no good reason more times than I’d care to admit. So seeing it printed and sitting on the shelves of bookstores, and on people’s bookshelves, and just out there, is an incredible feeling. It is truly a childhood dream come true.

Also! As if that wasn’t good enough, GGFVE was listed as one of the Top 5 cookbooks of 2012 by Vegetarian Times Magazine AND as one of the Top 10 Vegan Cookbooks of 2012 by VegNews Magazine. Wow. Wow. Wow. The amount of gratitude I have for all of you who are reading this post now, or who have purchased my book and said nice things is just too much to even try and explain in this post… but it’s there, and it’s big, and it’s wonderful. Thank you all for your support. Thank you Veg News, and thank you Vegetarian Times.


2) I finished my second book!

Well, “finished”, is subjective, as I am still working with the awesome team at Fair Winds with the final touches, but by gosh, it’s almost completely done and will be on shelves this Spring! More on that to come…



image credit: vegnews.com

3) I got on board with Veg News Magazine as an Allergy Free columnist!

If you’re looking for allergy friendly fare, Veg News Magazine now has you covered. I’ve been a fan of Veg News since I was a wee vegan, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be contributing to the magazine with recipes 100% free of the top common food allergens. My first article debuts in this month’s (Jan/Feb 2013) issue shown up above. Go getcha one!

And, I also had a good time helping to create their Ultimate Vegan Thanksgiving Feast (Nov/Dec 2012) feature along with two of my favorite vegan chefs, Nava Atlas and Ayinde Howell, who I admire and adore. Gorgeous photography and food styling by Kate Echle.


Screen shot 2013-01-04 at 4.41.28 PM

4) I found myself in the city.

As many of you know, my family and I trekked 500 miles east and relocated from the rural-ish landscape of Ohio to Philadelphia, PA in late 2011. And in the little over a year that I’ve been here, I have found myself reborn, if you will. I had no clue that I was such a city slicker at heart, but I’ve never felt more at peace than I do here in Philly. Luckily, my husband and kids feel the same way. We love the city!

new york city

And we really adore the big city. I also fell madly in love with NYC (shh…don’t tell Philly!) and found myself visiting there quite a bit over the course of this past year. Friends. Mentors. Food. Fantastic memories. New York is simply fabulous.

I can’t say that I really miss those cornfields I grew to know so well back in Ohio–although I dearly miss my family and friends who are surrounded by them. Cornfields seriously encompass everything where I come from. It took me all of 30 years, but I finally realized that I much prefer the fast click of my shoes on city sidewalks to driving (forever and ever!) down country roads.

This conglomeration of tiny towns is where I grew up and pretty much where my entire family lives. Those green patches? Corn. And soybeans, of course.

It is fun to visit though…

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5) I went on my very first TV show!

I was so lucky to have the opportunity to not only meet, but cook with the ultra talented and inspirational Julieanna Hever on her new TV show “What Would Julieanna Do?”. Talk about an awesome time. I had such a blast, and Julieanna is even more gorgeous in real life than in all those pictures and videos she’s in. Both inside and out.


kelly drive

my favorite running path in Philly: Kelly Drive/Schuylkill Trail

6) I Got Back to Nature and Upped My Healthy*

This year I took stock of my many bad habits, and tried to weed them out one by one. Some were petty and some had a pretty big impact to my health… and some I’m still happily holding onto (special shout out to sugar and red wine! ). But, there are a few things I’m particularly proud of.

I started to brew my own Kombucha (highly recommended to those of you who are hooked on the booch, and don’t wanna break the bank), and Hennaing my hair (if you’ve followed this blog for a while, you may have noticed my hair color changes on the regular. It’s true, I love change… just now I’m doing it with ground up henna leaves rather than the chemical bomb I was so terrifyingly accustomed to), and I even finally started yoga!**  I also upped my running milage. Even though I’ve been running for over 8 years now, I could never get past 5 miles in one run. Ever. This year though, I began long distance running and now I can easily go 15 miles straight. Which, to me, is crazy. And awesome. I registered for my first 1/2 marathon in April with plans to do a whole 26er by the end of this year (probably the Philly Marathon or NYC. Either would be phenomenal).

2012 was amazing, and I can’t wait to see what this year brings. I don’t have any resolutions for this year… other than me wanting to really get familiar with yoga, run a marathon, and write another book. And that internet tv thing. I guess those all totally count.

Happy New Year, everyone! May it be filled with joy and love and inner peace.

*Spoiler: I’m going to begin a series this year on Manifest Vegan highlighting a few of these said items and some other fun tricks I’ve picked up over the years–and for the un-initiated, I’ll share my thoughts/experiences in case you’d like to try some of them out too.

** Okay, well I only started doing yoga hardcore yesterday (I know!), but I committed to the idea well over 6 months ago. Plus, it happened before I made this list, so it counts. By the way, I am already head over heels for yoga.


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24 Responses to a look back….

  1. Jamie says:

    Reading this post a little late as I just discovered your site! I am interested in reading about what changes you made health wise that impacted your health the most. Also, would love to try my own kombucha! I don’t know if you’ve written about those things yet so I will do some browsing!
    Hope 2013 is great!

  2. MollyG says:

    Fantastic post! Good for you for making big, positive changes in 2012. Mine kinda sucked. Here’s too a better 2013 for me and an equally good 2013 as 2012 for you! And I ran the Philly Half last November. It was amazing, I highly recommend it (for the half or full!). I’ll be running 2014’s NYC marathon! Hope to see you there!

  3. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog :) featured it on my top vegan blogs for 2013 list on my own blog. Keep it up girl :)

  4. Melissa H. says:

    I was so happy to come across this post! It sounds like you had a very successful year (forget learning French you have done SO MUCH!). I am looking online right now to purchase your book! I am quite health conscious and always looking for new recipes and new ways to make me look and feel better! My new years resolution is exactly this! I need to stop microwaving meals and going out to eat! I need to get in the kitchen and take control of my food! I have quite a few friends who are gluten intolerant and have heard from a number of them that there are some amazing gluten free recipes out there that are delicious and extremely healthy (and assist with weight loss!).They have opened my eyes to the wonderful world of gluten *and even dairy free cooking* and I would highly recommend the website http://www.ninacucina.com/. I recently purchased her book, Nina Cucina: Your Healthy Gourmet and I have become addicted to gluten free recipes! I am not a great cook but I found this book (and website) so informative and so easy to follow. For every single recipe the author, Nina Pucillo, gives the nutritional value of each dish and step-by-step instructions on how to prepare the dish. All of the dishes featured in the book are totally gluten-free and Nina has included many recipes that are dairy-free too! Thanks for sharing! I hope my suggestion helps too :)

    • allyson says:

      Thank you, Melissa! I’m really happy that you found my blog and you think it helpful!

      What a fantastic goal to get cooking more in 2013. Love it. I’ll have to take a gander at the website suggested; thanks!

      Wishing you the very best!

  5. Camille says:

    Wow, congrats on what looks like a wonderful year! I love your blog and it is great to follow your journey through life and food. I had a pretty great year too, here are some of my highlights:

    – Addicted my homestay sister to Spinach or “Salad Americane” as she calls it.

    – Moved to the beautiful region of Kedougou closer to monkeys, waterfalls, mountains, and my beautiful girlfriend.

    – Resumed blogging after a long hiatus.

    – And…..Finally committed myself to cooking beans from scratch instead of cheating and using a can (I’m so insanely proud of this as it has taken me at least 4 years to realize this dream).

    I’m wishing you the best for 2013!

    • allyson says:

      oh my goodness, Camille, lucky lucky you! I would DIE (in a good way) if I lived in Kedougou, surrounded by such beauty. :) And welcome back to blogging–sometimes a break is exactly what we need. What a great year it has been for both of us!

      Happy 2013!

  6. ameyfm says:

    what a great post – I’m so glad you had such a wonderful year! Yes, it is so totally amazing how we can decide to make something happen in our lives – and it does happen!!! I love your book so much, and I can’t wait for the second one. Also, I hope you enjoy your yoga experience. Yoga has been such a beautiful presence in my life.

    • allyson says:

      Aw, thank you Amey for always being such a sweetie! And, yes, I am LOVING yoga so far. It has been a game changer. :)

  7. jess says:

    incredible, congratulations on what was a huge year for you allyson! hoping 2013 brings you as much joy & continued successes. 2012 was also a pretty wonderful year for me — the highlight being a blissful pregnancy followed by the birth of my wee vegan bean!

    • allyson says:

      OH MY GOODNESS–now, if that isn’t a wonderful accomplishment, I don’t know what is. Congrats and hugs to you!!

  8. Tara says:

    This is such a joyful post! So happy for you and all that you have accomplished. I also had a great 2012–I went on a 3 month road trip with my husband. While on the trip we did tons of fun things, like swim with manatees and visit Farm Sanctuary in New York. Here’s to an equally fabulous 2013!!

    • allyson says:

      How fun! I’ve always wanted to swim with Manatees! I always think of them as giant adorable pitbulls of the water world. :) Happy 2013!!

  9. FoodFeud says:

    Good for you for accomplishing what you wanted to! Set goals and the good will come, right? Here’s to an even better 2013.

  10. It’s been a good year for you! That’s so great! I’m excited to see your bit in VegNews too! Good luck for the coming year! NYC is a lover’s city and everyone is a lover! I love that place too and miss it!

  11. Wow – Looks like you had a pretty big year … congrats!

  12. Nikki W. says:

    Sounds like a wonderful year. Congratulations on your books! Hope 2013 is just as good to you :)

  13. It has been so nice to follow your journey on the blog. I definitely cooked a lot of veggie friendly meals and discovered some new favorites (like your black eye pea salad).

    • allyson says:

      It has been so nice to read this! My sister, Wendi, would be delighted to know you enjoy that salad! I know I am. :) Happy New Year.