Dec 27, 2016

My 2016 - the good, the bad. Photos and recipes.

Our wintery forest cabin

My 2016 was really colorful to say the least. There was good and there was bad. What were the things that brought me the most joy?

  • My love and my close ones.
  • A trip to Monaco in February to visit my mother-in-law. I had a wonderful chance to celebrate my winter birthday with a very sunny Spring picnic in the mountains of southern France.
  • My fourth cookbook (in Estonian) got published and it sold out really quickly. So thankful.
  • My Estonian publisher also decided to reprint my very first cookbook (2012).
  • Working on the new Neoandertals album.
  • Moments in our forest cabin.
  • A lot of delicious vegan food!
  • Second place at the Estonian Blog Awards in the food blog category. Only 40 more votes were needed to win it! Maybe next year? :)
  • Death DTA concert in Tallinn.

I want to share some photos with you from my year. These are the ones that still bring me joy and good memories.

I adore winter nights like these
Cranberry smoothies and a lot of snow.
My hair was freshly done, so of-course I  needed to take a photo. This picture also reminds me that I really need to dig out these jeans again.
During our trip to Monaco, we also visited France and Italy. Pictured is a charming little town named Menton, where we ate at the local Loving Hut.
Luscious green onions at the local market in Italy.
My sunny birthday picnic in the mountains of southern France.
My birthday evening in Monaco. 
Gorgeous little mountain village in France.
:)
The size of this pasta plate was like a HUGE hat. And the pasta in it was seriously good.
When we returned from our trip, Estonia had gotten warmer and sunnier. This is a scene from an 11km run. It was muddy and hard and awful, but I love this photo!
Ramen and sake at Tokumaru, Tallinn before the Death's show.
One of my favorite photos. It was a sunny and springy Saturday morning. I had just finished photographing a new recipe and then started to wait for our friends who would come to visit.
Our traditional Walpurgis Night outdoor dinner. Just to celebrate the end of a long winter and to welcome Spring.
My favorite bed!
A scene from a summery bicycle ride.
My cooking class in Tallinn.
My book party in Tallinn. In the background you can see the gorgeous peonies, homegrown by my mom. And I'm wearing a dress made by my sister.
Estonian Blog Awards 2016.
Cookie cake with fresh strawberries for Midsummer.
More strawberries!
My mom sent us her homegrown produce!
Vol.2!
I would devour these ripe tomatoes right now!
Relaxing after a sunny run in Tartu.
A humongous vegan burger for my man's birthday. It's a long tradition. He also makes me one every year :)
In October 2016 a big Estonian women's magazine made a cover story with me for their organic beauty issue. It was a pleasure to work with them, especially with the photographer Krõõt Tarkmeel!
Cooking food for 150 homeless people in Budapest, Hungary. Photo: Szabolcs Vadnai.
Enjoying amazing vegan food in Budapest.
Performing with Neoandertals in Budapest, Hungary.
The prettiest season!

So this was the tiny part of my favorite moments. Do you know what I also REALLY love? All of you, who cook my recipes, leave me awesome feedback and share your cooking photos with me. It is absolutely priceless. Thank you!

This was the good part. I also had bad moments this year. For example - one company stole my original vegan "blood" sausage recipe and presented it as their own on national television. Later they denied everything, were rude and even deleted people's comments on Facebook. I'm thankful for the people who supported me. I despise dramas, conflicts and especially internet wars, but this time I needed to say something. Especially if people were writing me and saying that they saw it too and it's wrong. Unfortunately it's not the only company. Recipe world is complicated, but some things are too obvious and you can spot your creation miles away. Especially in tiny Estonia! I also remember a moment where one English blog copied my recipe to their site, added my photos and then wrote how hard it was to create this recipe. I always feel physically sick when I see something like this. Because I know how hard I've worked on my recipes. Linking and giving credit is the least one can do!
I'm a vegan and I hope many people will try delicious vegan recipes. But I'm also a recipe developer and I will not tolerate obvious stealing. 

This year was a bit harder than some other years. OK, a lot harder. There were many things that took away a lot of joy. I know we have to concentrate on the positive all the time. It's true. I am very often SO thankful for everything good in my life! But I also feel that I need to live authentically and feel all the emotions. Because every feeling is a part of life. I want to be informed to make adequate choices. Over the years, I've just swallowed the bad. I feel fed up. This year there were a lot of let downs from people. Too much. And I had to witness many people who justified bad things. It was crushing and sometimes it makes me feel alone.

I don't know why I'm writing all this in here. I just felt the need. Maybe even just for myself? Let this post be in the 2016. It was a year full of lessons. I hope I will not forget these lessons!

I hope the new year will be a bit brighter. That the monkey will go away and take its fleas with him. And the rooster will bring a lot of new energy. One can hope! I'm already waiting for my trip to Nepal in March! The sun, mountains, hiking, vegan food and ayurveda...sounds amazing! I hope 2017 will bring us all a lot of good people, great vegan food, beautiful memories, joy, good health, new ideas, pleasant excitement, more time in the nature, less worrying, not too painful lessons and brave decisions! 

To close this post, I will present you with the TOP 10 recipes you visited in 2016. If you have some other favorites, I would love to read about them in the comments!


Easy vegetable and dumpling soup definitely won the first prize. I'm so happy you are loving this simple soup! I loved reading comments how some of you even made it for Thanksgiving dinner. What an honor! I also love this recipe and I make it super often, because I always have the ingredients at home. 


These smoky barbecue carrot hot dogs were also hugely popular. I love the marinated smoky carrots and the super creamy and juicy chickpea salad. I hope summer comes fast, so I can make these again!


Bean and zucchini cutlets are still popular. No wonder, they are ridiculously easy and delicious! Still one of my favorite vegan cutlets. 


Perfect homemade seitan steaks. My go-to recipe. I make these steaks really often or just use this recipe to make seitan strips. It works every time!


Sunflower seeds are the new cashews. Sunflower seeds are super versatile, available and affordable. I use them to make pasta sauces, gravy, sour cream and salad dressings. Have fun experimenting!


The best spicy vegan tex-mex burger. This burger is super hearty, tangy and spicy. A perfect combination. Seriously, if you haven't tried this recipe, I strongly recommend it!


Refreshing green kiwi smoothie. And oldie but goodie. A super healthy and colorful way to start your day!


Chickpea and onion omelette. I make it almost every morning for us. It's also my favorite quick snack, when I'm super hungry and want something filling and good really fast!


Carrots in a blanket. So much fun to make and eat! The kids will love it :)


Perfect rhubarb cake. What a treat! Super fluffy and moist. I can't wait for May to get some fresh rhubarb and make this deliciousness!

This was this year's TOP 10. I'm so thankful there were so many of you who visited and tried my recipes. I hope you will come next year too :)

Have a wonderful New Year's Eve !

Sandra

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