LuxLyfe

Food & Drink

Vegan Chocolate Pudding

Good things are bound to happen when you combine a Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen with My Dancing Kitchen! Recently my friend Kathy Patalsky came over to share this easy, delicious vegan chocolate pudding recipe. It’s SO SO SO freaking good. My  fam and I love this guilt free treat. Kathy is one of the top (if not THE TOP) vegan influencers on the internet and dare I say the WORLD. She has a vegan cookbook with killer recipes and multiple websites about all things vegan. She’s such a pleasure to collaborate with and her dance moves are always on point. Check out all her info below including this fabulous recipe.

CHECK OUT KATHY:
Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen
Smoothies Book
Finding Vegan
Instagram: @kathyPatalsky
Twitter: @LunchboxBunch
Facebook: Lunchboxbunch
YouTube: Little Lost Grape

Here is the RECIPE:

Double batch Easy Chocolate Avocado Pudding

4 avocados (medium), peel removed
1 cup maple syrup (add about another 1/3 cup to taste if desired)
1 cup vegan chocolate chips (add 1/3 cup more for extra chocolate-y results)
2 Tbsp Virgin coconut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or vanilla bean pod, scraped) – optional
Salt to taste (1/8 tsp is minimal)

Add avocado and maple and vanilla to blender.
Melt chocolate and coconut oil together in microwave until silky smooth (heat at 30 second intervals and stir).
Add chocolate mixture to blender.
Blend until silky smooth.
Salt and add additional sweetener to taste.

Serve warm and freshly blended or chilled!
Consume within a few days – slight darkening will occur next day as avocado oxidizes.



Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Hola! Como Estas? My fam and I headed to Puerto Vallarta last month and I wanted to share some of my favorite places. I’ve been going to PV for a few years now, but this was my first time going with a toddler so my activities changed a bit. There was still tequila, just not as much ; ) Below are some pics and my recommendations whether you’re traveling with kids or not. Enjoy.
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Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta
EAT:
For a beautiful (more touristy) beach side dinner head to La Palapa. Great food, good vibes and an unbeatable view!
For something super kid friendly and very lively (and not so touristy) check out PiPi’s. They have exceptional service, big portions of yummy food and live entertainment.
Cafe Des Artistes is romantic and beautiful, but not-so kid friendly.

EXPLORE:
Walk around the Art’s district and pop into some of the cool galleries.

The Vallarta Botanical Gardens was such a treat that I’m dedicating a separate post just for that. Check back again soon to see those pics!

Walk on the Malecon and see all the wild street performers. If you are traveling with kids, definitely rent one of those little remote control cars for a few minutes. Your kid will be in heaven!

STAY:
For an unique, non touristy experience, check out Hotel Conchas Chinas. You can reserve a room from the hotel or rent from an owner. Many of the places (like the one pictured with a private pool) are listed on AirBnB.

*The bottom 4 pics were shot by my awesome dad, Mansur Kiadeh.

Sick of reading? Watch the video below instead!



The Lobster Santa Monica

The Lobster in Santa Monica is a Pescatarian’s dream. (Pescatarian is not a religion fyi!) I’ve been coming to this historic beach side staple for a few years now. In fact it was one of the first restaurants I went to with my now husband. I’ve always been a fan, but lately they’ve done some super sexy renovations and added some delicious new things to the menu. I enjoyed a massive lunch the other day… okay, maybe I went a little wild- but it was to die for. Excellent work Chef! Can we say location location location? Hello perfection. It’s on the beach overlooking the iconic Santa Monica Pier and stunning Pacific Ocean. This is a great place to bring out of town friends and family, it’s perfect for date night, or a beautiful lunch with girlfriends. Basically, just go there if you want a lux beach side experience, extremely fresh seafood and an incredibly friendly staff. (Hi Lobster Lynne!)

They also offer happy hour M-F from 4:30pm-6:30pm & Brunch on Sunday’s until 2:30pm

Please enjoy the seafood porn below. Full descriptions are at the bottom of the post.
The Lobster Santa Monica
The Lobster Santa MonicaThe Lobster Santa MonicaThe Lobster Santa MonicaThe Lobster Santa MonicaThe Lobster Santa MonicaThe Lobster Santa Monica

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Crudo Platter
New Zealand King Salmon Sashimi, Avocado Horseradish Puree, Ponzu & Coleman Farms Radish Salad
Japanese Hamachi Sashimi, Jalapeño, Lime & Cilantro Salsa with Flowers
Peruvian Scallop, Yuzukosho Vinaigrette with Poblano Peppers, Sweet Onions, Tomato & Chili Oil
Oyster with Spicy Tomato-soy salsa

Schaner Farms Tahitian Squash Soup
Pumpkin Seeds, Vadouvan & Yogurt

American Lobster Salad
Avocado, Little Gem Lettuce, Schaner’s Citrus Vinaigrette & Crispy Leeks

Sauteed Blue King Prawns
Brandy, Garlic, Shallots, Italian Herbs & Shrimp Butter with Toasted Ciabatta

Seared Rare Yellowfin Tuna
Charred Leek Vinaigrette, Oven Dried Tomatoes, Taggiasca Olives & Garlic Chips with Horseradish Crushed Potatoes

Lemon Curd
Shortbread Crumbs & Torched Merengue

Warm Chocolate Pudding
Caramel Corn & Vanilla Ice Cream

Are you drooling yet!?!



Salt Lake City

Back in November I headed to Salt Lake City for a friend’s wedding. It was the first time I’d been there and I had so much fun exploring. Here’s a quick snapshot of my girls getaway.
Salt Lake CityScreen Shot 2016-01-04 at 9.20.09 AM The Grand America Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 9.20.32 AM The Grand America The Grand America The Grand America Salt Lake City

 

Where to stay: I LOVED my experience at The Grand America. It’s a luxury hotel walking distance from downtown. They have a fantastic spa where I received a TWO HOUR massage. (#Heaven) There are multiple dining options in the hotel, including a lobby bar with live music on the weekends. (Yes, you can drink booze in Salt Lake!) They also have a toy store, pool, gym and even a French Patisserie.

Where to eat/drink: I had a few meals at the Grand America but I also wanted to explore the city. The Copper Onion came highly recommended for brunch. My girls and I had a great time there. We also LOVED the speakeasy inside Bodega. (aka The Rest) That was by far my favorite place. Definitely check it out if you find yourself in Salt Lake. Tons of people told me to eat at Red Iguana and sadly I didn’t get a chance to. Next time!

What to do: Other than the staring at the stunning mountains, one of the main attractions is the Mormon Temple/Temple Square. The building itself is beautiful from the outside. Because it is considered a sacred church you must be a member to go inside. City Creek Mall is a few blocks away and requires no membership! It’s a nice indoor/outdoor shopping center with great retailers and restaurants.

Watch my Salt Lake City video below!

Gotta Go!

 

 



3 Vegan Holiday Treats

On the latest episode of My Dancing Kitchen I created 3 Vegan Holiday treats that are perfect gifts for the special people in your life. I also paired the goodies with adorable, festive Holiday Cards from Hallmark. Click the picture below to see me in action!3 vegan holiday treats

The first recipe was Maple Chili popcorn that I got from MyRecipes.com. I substituted coconut oil for butter to keep it vegan. I loooove the way it turned out.
The Rice Crispy Treats were from Detoxinista. I also want to experiment with Vegan marshmallows next time. Last, but not least my Roasted Rosemary nuts. This dish was inspired by Meg from What’s Up Moms.

Let me know if you try any of them. Have a beautiful day!



Let It Snow

Hey LA fams! Looking for something fun and festive to do with your kiddos this Holiday Season!?! Me too. I typically head up to the Bay Area to ring in the holidays, but this year we’re shaking it up and I’m staying right here in La La Land. I’ve been researching the best activities to get into the spirit and I think I’ve found the perfect one. Four Seasons Westlake is celebrating like nowhere else. They have an incredible Winter Wonderland package that includes a variety of fabulous adventures for you and your little ones. We’ll be heading to the property in December to see first hand how fun it can be to celebrate the holidays in LA. I know my son is going to freak out with happiness when he meets all the elves and plays in the fake snow. Ready for some good news!?! Four Seasons Westlake is currently doing an Instagram contest where you can have the chance to win a giftcard to use on their property! Click here to see the details on how to enter.

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Good Luck!

*Photo Credit: @LittleMissMomma (Ashley Stock)



Oyster Happy Hour

Three words: Oyster Happy Hour. Need I say more? Okay, I’ll say a little bit more. A few weeks ago I went on a date night with the hubs to Herringbone in Santa Monica. It had such a cool, modern, coastal vibe with a fabulous- very Sharzad friendly- menu. Having only been open a few weeks it was already PACKED. Clearly they’re filling a major void in Santa Monica! I was lucky enough to meet Chef Brian Malarkey who spoiled Michael and I rotten with various fish dishes like the one pictured below! I think my favorite would have to be the Whole Roasted Lobster with Shimeji Mushrooms, Baby Artichokes, Sweet Corn and Tarragon Cognac Cream Sauce. It as like nothing I’ve ever had. SO GOOD. They also have a full raw bar, live music and outdoor patios with a sexy- but laid back- chic Santa Monica vibe. We were treated like royalty by the super friendly and helpful staff and I noticed everyone around us seemed to be having a killer time too. This place is perfect for a date night, dinner with friends, birthday celebrations, and obviously the oyster happy hour ($1 each!!!!)- which I will become a regular at. It’s M-F from 4:30pm-6:30pm. See ya there! Sharzad Kiadeh

Herringbone Santa Monica
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*Professional photos courtesy of Marie Buck



Malibu Wine Safari

A few months ago I was cruising up PCH when I saw a big safari like truck parked on the side of the road with the words “Malibu Wine Safari” written on it. I got so excited and snapped a picture immediately. (Michael was driving). I looked it up when I got home and what I discovered was the perfect way to spend the day. I couldn’t wait to try it. Last Wednesday my wine tasting dreams came true. I treated my hubby to a super fun birthday extravaganza at the Malibu Wine Safari and we loved it! There are a few different experiences you can choose from. I went with the Vintner Tour which included meeting and feeding several animals (a 3 week old zebra to name a few) exploring the 1,000 acre property, checking out cave paintings from the Chumash Indians and a delicious fruit and cheese platter overlooking the beautiful canyons. Did I mention they serve wine throughout the whole experience!?! SO FUN. From start to finish it was about 2.5 hours and the cost for our specific tour was $115 per person. There are several other options available at different price points. This is the perfect adventure for couples, groups of friends or families. You can even bring your kiddos if they’re 48 inches or taller. Photo Sep 09, 11 37 47 AM Animals and wine!?! YES PLEASE!Photo Sep 09, 11 37 51 AM
Malibu Wine Safari

Malibu Wine Safari
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Malibu Wine Safari

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Malibu Wine Safari
Malibu Wine Safari
Gotta Go!



Cooking With My Mom!

Have you heard of Blue Apron? You may remember me talking about this amazing meal planning and grocery delivery service a few months ago. Michael and I are huge fans and have been religiously using it. Once a week we get a shipment of perfectly proportioned ingredients to make fresh, unique, tasty meals three nights a week. We’re on the Pescatarian plan and each meal takes 25-45 minutes to prepare and cook and they are anywhere from 500-700 calories. You can stay on track with healthy eating and learn a TON of cool cooking tricks. I feel so much more confident in the kitchen and using Blue Apron really got me out of my cooking comfort zone. I’ve experimented with veggies and grains I never knew existed. I’m talking to you Einkorn. Want to know a little secret? One of the things my hubby and I usually argue about is what to eat for dinner. I know that sounds lame- but it’s true. Planning meals, grocery shopping and cooking can be a bit stressful from time to time. With a service like Blue Apron all the dumb bickering about dinner is eliminated and we get to enjoy the process together. In today’s video I decided to shake things up and cook with my mom since we were visiting her last week. She’s clearly a fan as well! Watch as we make Parmesan Ratatouille.

Blue Apron

First 100 viewers will get two meals off their Blue Apron order free! Click HERE.

*Thank you Blue Apron for sponsoring this post.