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the incredible, edible

15 Aug

If you’ve been around my blog for very long, then you know that not too long ago I was eating a mostly vegan diet.  Once I became pregnant, though, it didn’t take me long to start including dairy and eggs again.  For one thing, I was so sick for the first 16 weeks or so that it was really hard to eat much of anything.  Since my options were already limited by sickness, I didn’t feel like I could limit them even more by not including such a wide food group.  You may be wondering why I didn’t also start including meat based on that philosophy, and the simple answer is that I just couldn’t.  My feelings about actually eating animal flesh just run too deep, and after 4 years of being a vegetarian I just can’t stomach the thought of biting into a piece of meat.

Another reason dairy and eggs showed back up is because I was really feeling a need for more protein options.  It took me a little while to concede, primarily out of stubbornness.  I really wanted to prove that a healthy vegan diet is possible during pregnancy.  And I still do believe it can be done, but for me personally, it just wasn’t worth the stress of making it work.

So, since I started eating eggs again, I’ve really been enjoying them!  I do make sure to buy both organic and free range, although I know some of that labeling can be a gimmick.  But until I find a local farm to buy from, I’ll do all I can do.

Some of my current favorite egg concoctions:

cooked in the microwave in a small bowl for 2 minutes, then sandwiched on a whole wheat english muffin with a bit of cheese and hot sauce

spinach, mushroom and onion fritatta made by the husband.  this was hands down my favorite.  absolutely delicious!  you must make this super easy recipe.

egg salad sandwich – I didn’t really measure amounts, but just threw together a couple of mashed, hard boiled eggs, chopped spinach, chopped onion, chopped pickles, salt and pepper, and a tiny bit of Earth Balance olive oil mayo. Don’t forget to toast your bread and add some avocado slices to really take it up a notch:)

While scrambled used to be my favorite, I’m also really enjoying fried lately.

I just spray a pan with olive oil cooking spray and drop two eggs onto it.  While they cook I usually spread some hummus and hot sauce on a pita or tortilla, and then lay the eggs on top, fold it over, and done!  In less than 5 minutes I have a delicious and protein filled breakfast.  The combo of hummus, egg and hot sauce really can’t be beat.

And of course they’re awesome plain too.

All I can say is I really hope these babies like eggs because they’re getting a lot of them!

Are you a fan of eggs?  What’s your favorite way to eat them?  I’m always looking for more ideas:)

when in doubt…

23 Mar

Last Friday I got an email from my sweet friend, Amber saying that there would be live music at one of the quaintest little coffee shops in town located in Full Circle Bookstore.  I didn’t know what our evening plans were yet, but the husband and I are always down for live music!  We arrived about an hour late and finally found a seat in the far back corner.  And when I say a seat I really mean a seat.  We shared it.  I never mind having an excuse to get a little closer to the husband anyway 😉

I was so excited to meet Amber for the first time!  She was exactly like I had pictured her, which I think is such a great thing.  I love it when people are so real on their blogs that when you meet them IRL they are exactly as you imagined them.  Amber also had her two cute kiddos and her husband with her, and I loved getting to meet the whole family.  Sadly, the picture of us must have been eaten by my camera because it is no where to be found.

The music was great too – a group of violinists called The Stringents who covered all kinds of old and new songs.  We love groups like that!  Anyway, I got so caught up in talking about our time with Olive over the weekend, and I totally forgot to mention our epic Friday night!

——————–

This morning the husband and I got our mojo back by heading out for our four miler before the sun had even shown its face.  We both had a great run despite the hills, crazy strong wind and a short bout of stomach troubles for me.  It sure felt good to have a great workout already done by 7am.  Love it when we drag ourselves out of bed that early!

After sending the husband off to work and taking a quick shower, I decided to make some breakfast.  After browsing a few recipes online, I finally settled on Angela’s spelt pancake recipe.

It was super easy – just a matter of mixing the dry ingredients and then adding milk!  I actually had to add in more milk after mixing it up because it was a little too thick; other than that I followed the recipe exactly.

plus

equals

These were pretty tasty.  They were maybe a little too dense for my “loving”, but overall not bad.

Also making its debut in my kitchen this morning: coconut butter.  For the last couple of weeks I have not been able to get the smooth, tropical white goodness out of my head.  Last spring I bought my first and only jar because it was on sale at our local health food store.  It was Artisana Cacao Bliss Raw Chocolate Coconut Butter, and it was divine.  Considering I really didn’t want to go spend $10+ on a jar today, I decided to try my hand at making my own.

Unfortunately it turned out to be a little bit harder than I thought, and I ended up looking like this:

Coconut in my hair.  coconut in my eyelashes.  coconut everywhere really.  I didn’t even know it was there until about an hour later, too.  Glad I work from home currently.

Anyway.  I started out by adding 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut to the Vitamix and setting it on variable speed at about 5 or 6.

It seemed to work at first, but then I couldn’t get it to stop sticking to the sides, and I began to feel like I wasn’t making any progress at all.  So I added another 1/2 cup, thinking that it might help to have more, but also hoping I wasn’t just wasting even more of my precious shredded coconut.  This helped for another minute or so, but then the same thing kept happening.

At this point I was getting really frustrated (read: hungry) , so I just slathered some of the coconut chunks (and apple butter!) on my piping hot pancakes and called it breakfast.

But a little while later, I was back at it.  At this point, I was just so mad that it wasn’t working that I probably would have done just about anything to salvage it…so I added more coconut.  One whole cup more.  Desperate times people….

Hallelujah, it worked!  In fact, it worked amazingly well.  Within minutes the mess in my Vitamix had turned into a creamy pool of white just ready to be poured out in one smooth stream.  Beauty.

Lesson learned.  When in doubt, add more coconut. I think that might become my life motto actually…kind of has a nice ring to it.

Now I’m ready to start practicing with add-ins, namely cocoa.  Perfect in a green monster, on an Ezekiel english muffin, as an oatmeal topper and much more!

I definitely think this would also work in a regular food processor as well.

I’m off to work on more job applications.  I’m quickly learning that applying for jobs could be it’s own full-time job, and honestly I wouldn’t really mind it.  Does that exist?

What’s your dream job?  If you could restart at age 18 and do anything you wanted to, what would it be?
I would either go to school for a combination of nutrition and writing or just a degree in writing – like journalism maybe.  With an English Education degree I was somewhat close to that, but it seems maybe not quite close enough.

greens are back!

22 Feb

Hello!

This morning I started the day off with a trip to the gym for a run.  I ended up knocking out 3.6 miles before doing some stretching and push-ups, and then heading home.  For the last couple of months my workouts have been pretty irregular, so I’ve been trying to get back into some sort of routine.  Which is comical because the word routine really doesn’t have a place in my life right now.

Something else I’ve come back to after a 5 day hiatus is green smoothies!

I had to start taking some medication last week, and it completely robbed me of my appetite!  There were certain things I could tolerate to eat, but one food group in particular was OUT.  And that would be vegetables.  A tragedy.

But now they’re back in full swing praise the Lord.

As predicted, this past weekend was so sweet despite the busyness.  On Friday night we met with our house superintendent and our builder to finalize the house plans.  We went through every single area of the house – inside and out – deciding on everything from doorway arches to outlets.  It was a really fun meeting, and we’re hoping to be able to get our foundation poured in the next week.  Fingers crossed!

We had been warned that our superintendent was….a little rough around the edges.  One of those “shoot it to you straight” kind of guys.  And he was.  But I really liked him.  His best line of the night said when the husband asked him what is normal as far as matching exterior colors: “Don’t even ask me about normal.  Nothing about this house is normal, so let’s not even go there.”

The husband and I tend to like sort of a unique style…and I don’t think Doug is used to working with our type.  It’ll be good for him though. hah.

After out meeting we celebrated by eating out some mexican food and then went shopping for some birthday shoes for the husband.  His big 2-8 is coming up this weekend, on moving day nonetheless. Poor husband.

Saturday morning we enjoyed the beautiful weather by going for a drive…taking the long way to our favorite bagel shop.

And after filling up with an everything bagel + Tofutti cream cheese, we set out on a walk to campus.  I really needed the fresh air, sunshine and endorphins, and it felt so good to just get out of the house after all the cold weather as of late. Olive had a banner day, obviously.

less than thrilled to have his picture taken

Later in the morning my mother-in-law came into  town to help us pack, and thank the heavens she did.  She cracked down on us and our procrastination, and we all three packed for about 10 hours total between Saturday and Sunday.  We were so productive and got so much done, but it really made me realize how much we have left to do!  I’m so glad she came because otherwise I’d be in a bad place at this point.

update: I decided for the time being I am growing my hair out, but the resulting poofiness is about to send me running to the salon

Sunday we stayed home from church in lieu of maximizing time packing with MIL, but the husband and I did rise early and go for a 4 mile run. Aside from the 30 mile an hour gusts of wind, the run wasn’t half bad.  You know how you just have on days and off days?  Well, this was an on day for me.  No amount of wind could have kept me from rocking that run.  I love days like that!  By about hour four of packing, my legs were really feeling it, though.

This week will be a bit sparse as far as good food because I currently am finishing packing up my entire kitchen.  Last night I made vegan enchiladas for dinner, and I made enough to have leftovers one night this week. Other than that we’ll probably be eating veggie wraps, Amy’s, or cereal for the rest of our meals.  It’s only for a week though!  I just keep reminding myself of that.

In other news, I still need to share a couple of tasty raw (ish) meals I made last week before the aversion to veggies took over.  I initially found both of these in Crazy Sexy Diet, and they’re so good they’re even husband approved!  Typically I don’t have a hard time keeping it raw until lunch, but when dinner comes this girl needs some cooked (read: hot!) food.  This is an example of a meal I had for dinner a couple of times.

I filled a plate up with a massaged kale avocado salad.

With it I had a smaller portion of quinoa with slightly stir-fried veggies.

For the salad, I tore up a whole bunch of kale into bite sized pieces.  Then I added about 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice and 1 small avocado, and I got my hands in there and massaged away.  The dressing turned into a creamy coating over all the leaves that softened the kale, both texture and flavor wise.  The husband commented that it tasted quite similar to a ceasar salad, and I would have to agree!

Next, I very lightly sauteed various veggies (zucchini, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, onions etc) in a wok and then sprayed them with Braggs several times.  Just before it was done, I added the chick peas and stir friend until they were heated through.  Meanwhile, I had a pot of quinoa cooking on the stove, and when it was all done I poured the veggies over the quinoa, plated it, and that was it!

This meal was so easy and delicious!  I had the salad again the next day for lunch, and still had leftovers after that.  So if you’re eating alone, you may want to half the recipe.

I’m getting in some extra tutoring hours with my students this week as they all have some really important events coming up.  Works out for me too because I’ve got some important events coming up that need some money!  Otherwise, the husband and I are just trying to keep our heads above water with work and packing.  It’s a crazy time for sure!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

ice cream and oats – a perfect combination

11 Feb

Happy Friday, friends!

This week has flown by so fast…and leaves us with only two weeks until we move.  Two!!  And I’m probably about one one-hundreth of the way through packing.  I’m in trouble.

So, I realize I’ve been writing some heavy posts lately, and while I usually like to keep things light on a Friday, I’m going to shamelessly bombard you with more deep thoughts.  Because that’s how I roll these days, folks.

I think all this uprooting and moving business has gotten me all worked up over what I’m doing with my life.  I’ve caught myself trying to plan so many years into the future I might as well have my grand-children’s names picked out (exaggeration).  I feel like I have all these ideas, aspirations and concerns that in turn leave me with endless confusing decisions; every outcome affects other decisions and those outcomes affect more…and so on.  You see what I mean?

So the other day as I was pondering what my next steps should be, I had an epiphany.  Are you ready for this?

I do not have to plan out my future or know exactly where I want to be in x number of years.

I do not have to know how my next job will affect my future children or how it will look on my resume in 20 years.

I do not.  I do not.  I do not.


While I know it’s good/responsible to plan for the future as much as is reasonable, I also know that there are things that will happen in my future that are unplanned or that I have no control over. If you had told me when I was a freshman in college that four years later I’d be living in Thailand, I would have called you crazy and laughed in your face.  And I certainly did not plan that the husband and I would be moving out of Stillwater right now.  As I’ve said many times before, God’s plans for me don’t necessarily match up with the plans I have for myself.  And when it comes down to it, that’s what makes life so fun and interesting.  Embracing the unknown and being willing to change directions at the drop of a hat if that’s where my heart is leading me.

We must focus on making the best decision we can in the present moment…with the information we have.  And then make the most of it.  Each turn we take in life is a stepping stone to the next place.  And I truly believe that as long as we’re willing to take risks and step out into the unknown, we will achieve our goals…they may not pan out exactly how we imagined them, but they’ll be even better because they’re real.  And because we made difficult choices each day based on our own intuition, desires and guidance found through prayer.  What can be better than that?

So, here’s to not putting pressure on ourselves to have everything figured out.  Here’s to embracing the unknown and living in the present moment!

Thoughts?  I’d love to hear your input on this topic.

Aside from spending waaay too much time thinking (if you’re like me it’s very difficult to shut down your mind – hello savasana), I’ve also been dying over this amazing breakfast the last two mornings.

I think the idea of overnight oats mixed with banana soft serve was originally Angela’s, but I could be wrong.

First, mix together 1/3 cup of raw oats and 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with just under a cup of water.  Set it aside in the fridge for overnight (preferably) or at least a half hour.

After it has set, place one frozen banana (cut into half at least, if not slices) in your food processor or blender and blend until it achieves a creamy, soft serve like consistency.  You may have to stop it a couple times and scrape down the sides.  After it is about half way done blending, add one tablespoon of natural peanut butter and blend until smooth.

Now pour your creamy, cold peanut butter banana soft serve over the (still cold) oats, admire it for several seconds and then mix it all up!

The absolute best part of this breakfast, in my humble opinion, is how the textures work together.  The creamy cold oats weave together with the frozen banana “ice cream” so with each bite you get a combination of smooth oats with a little bit of icy cold peanut buttery goodness.

Now, let’s just say (hypothetically of course) that when you reached into the fridge to pull out your oats, an entire container of salsa fell out and busted on the floor, throwing bits of tomato all over the floors and walls.  Well, in that case you might just need a little added craziness in the form of chocolaty indulgence.  Go ahead and add crumbles from the leftover chocolate brownies that are wrapped in foil on the counter.  There, that’s even better.

Now be prepared because your husband or your roommate might look at you like you’ve lost your mind, mixing cold oatmeal with blended frozen bananas…but it will all be worth it.  In fact, my sweet husband commented that he “couldn’t think of any worse combination.”  Now honey, that simply can’t be true.  Let’s not be crazy.

This morning I taught an earlyish PiYo class and then tutored Hye kyoung.  I’ll be spending the rest of the day trying to make our house appear as though humans live her and not animals…and desperately trying to avoid laying down for a nap.  I was up late last night busy having epiphany’s about planning out my future…and my eyes are paying the consequences.  So tired.  All the more reason to celebrate the fact that it’s Friday!

Any big plans for the weekend ya’ll?  Will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day or just laying low?
The husband has some plan up his sleeve for Sunday…but he won’t tell me what it is.

a few thoughts + vegan brownies

9 Feb

You all left some really great comments here yesterday, and I loved reading through every one of them.  I really enjoyed hearing your perspectives on dealing with tough habits and emotional struggles.  Thanks so much for sharing:)

This morning we woke up to another thick layer of snowy white…and once again the whole state is pretty much shut down.  No complaints here, though.  I was really happy that the husband was able to work from home today rather than commute to the city…I would have been a nervous wreck.

Yesterday was a great day of working from home.  I was able to get a lot accomplished and even pack a few things along the way.  I’m really focusing my energy on living fully in every moment more than ever these days, as my time with my students (both tutoring and yoga) and time working from our house is drawing to a close.  Have you ever been in a moment and thought to yourself – I just want to live in this moment forever?  I had a lot of those yesterday from taking a break to water our little plants to making a new healthy lunch to giving the husband a little massage on the couch last night.

I read a book recently that talked about how we all forget so much of our life…there is so much we just don’t remember.  It’s like only the big milestones – graduating, getting married, having kids – are what we most remember.  But what about the sweet little things that make up the majority of our time?  I want to remember those things too, and I think one reason we don’t really remember many of them is because we don’t fully live them.  We’re always focusing on and pressing toward the next big thing.  And while it’s good to be working toward big goals and accomplishments, if we don’t really see and experience the mundane moments of the day-to-day, then we’re missing out on a large part of this life we’ve been given.

Lunch yesterday was that meal I mentioned a couple of days ago that I’ve been craving.  One day it just popped into my head, and I thought to myself – why have I never made this before??

Prepare a nice big bed of fresh spinach

Pick your pasta and cook it – I used veggie shells that I got as a sample at HLS, but you can use any kind

Mix together about 2 tbsp hummus, 1 tbsp nutritional yeast and water to thin

After mixing pasta and the creamy sauce together, pour mixture over spinach.  The heat will cause the leaves to wilt just slightly.  Perfect.

This meal was every bit as tasty as I imagined it would be.  I loved the combination of the creamy soft texture of the pasta with the slight crunch of the spinach leaves.  And there was plenty of protein built right into the sauce.

In other food news, the husband surprised me last night by bringing home my absolute favorite meal from my favorite restaurant in the city – Pei Wei.  It was a little cold by the time we got here, but a quick round in the microwave and it was as good as new!

And what made it even better is that while we were savoring every bite, the thick, mouth-watering smell of brownies was filling the air.  I’ve been craving brownies for days, and all I needed was a good, cold snow day to do me in.  I found this recipe and then used a few of the suggested tweaks plus a couple tricks of my own.  They came out so delicious!

Chocolate Chocolate Vegan Brownies
adapted from here

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • dairy free mini chocolate chips (or chips of your choice:)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8×8 inch baking dish
  • Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and sea salt in a large mixing bowl
  • Add in water, oil, applesauce and vanilla extract
  • Mix until well combined
  • Pour batter into baking dish and then sprinkle chocolate chips all over the top
  • Bake for about 26 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool a bit before serving.

Serve warm with a glass of almond milk.  Or if you really want to go crazy, serve with a dollop of banana soft serve on top.

I’m planning on packing some today, editing some papers for my students and maybe doing a little job searching online.  I’m still as confused as ever about what I’m going to do as far as a job, but I’m trusting that it will work out and trying not to waste too much time worrying over it.

Happy Wednesday to you!

What is something you hope you never forget as time goes on, be it little or big?!
I hope I never forget the way the creaky wood floors sound as I walk through our house or the way the windows shutter just slightly when the heat comes on:)

go get 'em husband

7 Feb

Good morning!

I honestly cannot believe how quickly the weekend flew by…seems like it just started.

On Saturday things warmed up a bit around here, and some of the snow started to melt off.  By late in the day, many of the streets were almost clear…but there’s still tons of white everywhere else!  Apparently (I never watch the weather) there is more snow headed this way in the next few days, but we shall see!

I know I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but Saturday and Sunday we spent a lot of time organizing and packing.  The story of our life these days.  I have to admit it feels sooo good to get it done, though.  We are still a long ways from being packed, but I think we did finally finish the office for the most part after being buried in boxes and files for the last few days.

Saturday night I got inspired to make a stir-fry.  When I asked the husband what he wanted for dinner, he said something I thought I would never hear him say: “How about something besides mexican?”

I thought I was dreaming.  Did he just say he didn’t want mexican food?!

So stir-fry it was!

I chopped up bell pepper, onion, broccoli, carrots and cabbage and stir-fried it in about one tablespoon of olive oil until it was tender.  Then I tossed in some frozen edamame (did you know edamame has the same amount of protein as roasted turkey?) for protein.

After it had cooked for a little bit, I mixed together about two tablespoons natural peanut butter, two tablespoons tamari, a couple teaspoons rice wine vinegar and some water to thin it out.  Honestly, I just kind of guessed at the proportions and tasted as I went.  I poured the sauce over the veggie mixture and continued to cook them for another 5-10 minutes.

In the meantime I cooked some buckwheat (soba) noodles, and when it was all done I poured a big spoonful of veggies over the noodles….and that was it!  Easiest stir-fry ever.

Stir-fry reminds me of Thailand so much.  During the last few months we lived there, I literally ate stir-fried veggies in some form every. single. night.  No exaggeration.  Always on top of brown rice.  Granted I wasn’t a vegetarian then, and I used fish and oyster sauce (Thai style) for flavoring, but it was still so good.  Really takes me back:)

cooking with friends in Thailand

Anyway, on Sunday the husband and I went to lunch with some dear friends of ours from our college days.  They are several years older than us and have three of the cutest little kids.  During our time in Campus Crusade for Christ at OSU, Dan discipled Jonathan, and Debbie discipled me.  They have always meant so much to us and have walked with us through some of the most important decisions in our life.  It was so nice today to catch up and spend time with them…we’re really going to miss them when we move.

Debbie and I / Dan and Jon – about five years ago

Other than packing throughout the afternoon, I also made some Super Charge Me cookies for the husband.  While he ate cookies, I enjoyed a leftover vegan cinnamon roll.  This morning someone brought cinnamon rolls to Sunday School, and ever since then I’ve been craving one.  I can honestly say that these rolls are one of the best vegan baked goods I’ve made yet.  The day after I made them, I realized that unless I wanted to turn into a giant cinnamon roll, I needed to put them away for awhile.  So into the freezer they went.  A couple of times since then I’ve pulled one out and heated it in the microwave for about a minute and a half…and it’s always just as good as when it was fresh out of the oven.

You really must make these if you’re a cinnamon roll fan!

So that’s the weekend in nutshell – only two more weekends left until moving weekend!

Last thing – I have to give a shout-out to my better half.  Today is the husband’s first day at his new job, and I am so dang proud of him.  I’m so thankful for all the hard work he has put in over the last several years to get us where we are.  This is just one more step we get to take along the path of our life.  I’m going to miss him now that he’s leaving earlier, getting home later and not coming home for lunch (tear), but I know he’s going to love his new role…and he’s totally going to rock it! Go get ’em husband:)  I love you!

Did you have a good weekend?
What’s your favorite vegetable?

I think mine would have to be spinach…or maybe snap peas.  It’s really hard to narrow it down, though!

friday photo fun

28 Jan

Happy Friday!

Am I the only one who feels like this week has seemed sort of long?  I’m so glad it’s Friday!

I’m off to teach PiYo this morning, and then I have a tutoring appointment right before lunch.  The rest of the day I’ll be just working around the house – Outbox, moving etc.

While this week has seemed long, it has been great as far as food is concerned. I’ve incorporated so many more juices and raw fruits and vegetables, and I feel great for it!  It’s cool the way your body starts to crave those things when you give it lots of them. I’ve been craving fresh juice and green smoothies so much this week.  The only downside is I’m going broke over produce.  But it’s so worth it.


I’ve also been eating a lot of salads, which is not usually my cup of tea in the winter months.  Almost every lunch this week has been a plate of fresh greens with lots of toppings.  The key is to make a really full, great salad with lots of textures and flavors.


I made a batch of tahini salad dressing that I found in Crazy Sexy Diet, and the creaminess has left me craving more after every meal.  It’s so basic – a mixture of 1 cup tahini, 2 tbsp lemon juice and 1 minced garlic clove. Whisk it all together, adding water until you reach the desired consistency.  I love simple ingredients that create a lot of bang!

I’ve switched my additions up a little bit each day, but it’s been some combination of tons of spring mix and spinach, pinto/black beans, chopped carrots, chopped bell pepper, onion, unsweetened dried cranberries, corn, diced avocado and chia seeds.  Perfect!  It has helped a lot for me to make a large batch of the dressing ahead of time and even pre-chop all the veggies (except the avocado)…then all I have to do is throw it together and it’s done!

I’m thinking I’ll probably top off the week by having another one for lunch…I really might turn into a big lettuce leaf.

Switching topics.

Remember last Friday when we talked about geese, and I told you all that I used to catch ducks when I was little?  Well my Grandma has come through with the evidence (thanks Grandma!!).

These showed up in my mailbox yesterday and gave me quite a laugh.

Photo 1: candice luring the duck to shore.

Photo 2/3: the catch.

is it just me or is that a very large duck?

I love side bangs, don’t you? I should totally rock those again.

Photo 4: HELP!!

thank you mom and Cristen, for being completely oblivious to the duck attack;)

Photo 5: Quote from my grandma – “This one has nothing to do with ducks.  Tom was a big cat.  Seems you’re trying to lift him.”

looks like it’s not going too well….for me or Tom…

There are many things that are funny to me in these photos, but one in particular is that in my quest to grow my hair out – the image in my head of what I want eventually is uncannily close to photos 1 and 2. ha!

Happy weekend ya’ll!

What is something funny or crazy that you did as a child? What are you most looking forward to this weekend?

cupcakes in the house

27 Jan

I’m feeling better since yesterday – I think it helped to get everything down on paper.  It’s funny how that is always the way it works.  It was also encouraging to hear that not everyone is content in their current career.  I wouldn’t wish that on any of you guys, but of course it feels good to hear that I’m not the only one.  So, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

I realized yesterday that we have exactly one month until we have to move out of our house – eeek!  I’m going to have to get going on all the packing.  I have too many memories of being up until 3am the night before a move, so I’m going to try my best to not let that happen this time.

Yesterday was my busy day of the week – full of tutoring and then yoga in the evening.  I truly think it may have been my best yoga class yet.  It definitely was my biggest class, and I got some really nice feedback afterwards.  I haven’t been able to tell my students about the move yet because my boss wanted me to wait a little while, and it’s really hard to carry on with them as usual, knowing that I won’t be there in a month.  I feel like I’ve built a lot into that class, and I’m getting really sad to have to leave it.  I really hope I can find another yoga position in OKC sooner rather than later!

Continuing with my focus on eating more fresh/raw fruits and veggies (ala Kris Carr) than I have been, I had the most epic salad yesterday for lunch – I can’t wait to share it.  Usually in the winter salads just don’t sound that good to me, but I could eat this salad no matter what the weather is like…it was that delicious.  I made a new tahini based dressing, which really was the star of the show.

But what am I doing talking salads right now?  We’re supposed to be talking cupcakes!

I made these cupcakes for our Sunday school party last Friday night, and as I mentioned before they were a big hit!  No one suspected they were vegan, and when I saw a couple people go back for number two, I knew I had done something right.

I found this recipe in my Vegan with a Vengeance cookbook (you really must check it out!), but you can also find it online here.

Lemon Gem Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar – I used organic cane sugar
  • 1 cup rice milk – I used almond milk, but I think these would turn out fluffier with rice milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

Icing

  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance
  • 1/4 cup almond/soy milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • Enough water to achieve desired consistency

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 12 muffin tins with papers or grease them
  • Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, milk, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest
  • While mixing, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, combining thoroughly
  • Get a good taste of the delicious lemony batter. mmmm
  • Pour batter into muffin tins, filling them about 3/4 of the way full
  • Bake for about 17-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the cupcakes spring back when you touch them.
  • Allow cupcakes to cool completely before icing them.

Icing

  • Whisk the Earth Balance until it reaches a fluffy consistency.  Add in the almond/soy milk and lemon juice and stir.  The mixture will look a bit odd, but don’t fear!  Begin mixing in the powdered sugar until it is all well combined and smooth.  Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

The ingredients aren’t necessarily healthy as there is plenty of sugar (though I used organic cane sugar), but they are vegan and delicious!  So, they’re more of an occasional treat – but it’s so awesome that vegan baked goods can taste this good.  Further proof that you can be vegan and still eat all kinds of delicious food!

And they’re pretty easy to make, too!

First, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

Use the small section of a grater to get your lemon zest.

Then mix the oil, sugar, almond milk, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest in a mixing bowl.  Pour the dry ingredients into the wet, and mix thorougly.

Pretty batter!

After your batter is mixed well, fill 12 muffin tins a little over 3/4 of the way full.  These cupcakes don’t rise very much, so you’ll want to really fill them up!

I went back and added more to some of mine

Bake until they spring back when you touch them and a toothpick comes out clean!

In the meantime, mix together the Earth Balance, soy/almond milk, lemon juice and powdered sugar, adding water until you get your desired consistency.  Place the icing in the fridge until ready to use so that it can harden up a bit.

Allow cupcakes to cool completely before using the icing.  It really is more of a glaze and will run right off the sides if the cupcake is warm at all.

And there you have it – animal free and unbelievable tasty!  I will definitely be making these again in the future.

Today I’m playing catch up on some stuff around the house, and then I have a hair appointment this afternoon before tutoring.  I’m still contemplating whether to let her cut my hair again or have her just trim my bangs and try to grow it out.  I’m so torn about it, but right now I’m leaning toward growing it out.  I can always go back and get it cut if I change my mind, but I think I’ll feel disappointed if I let her cut it all off.  You never know what I’m going to do when I get in that chair though:)

Hope you all have a wonderful Thursday!

If you could only have one dessert for the rest of your life, what would it be?? Mine would either be chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing or peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream – yum!

the best surprise

20 Jan

I felt so blessed by the response to yesterday’s post.  Thank you so much for every encouraging word, congratulations, prayer and thought.  It really means so much to Jonathan and I.

As we are going through so many changes, I’m so thankful for this blog and all of you who stop by to read it.  This is a constant in my life that brings me calmness and familiarity to focus on.

Yesterday was yet another milestone marked off in the journey toward moving to OKC: our house inspection.  I think because everything has happened so fast and easily since we put it up for sale last Friday, I had a bad feeling about the inspection, like something just had to go wrong.  But it didn’t!  We passed with flying colors, and we’re so relieved.

We went to bed last night feeling so at ease, and woke up this morning to the best surprise.

Not only was everything covered in white, but the husband’s office had decided to not open until 10am!  Not a bad way to start the morning for sure.  We laid back down and slept off and on for another 45 minutes or so, and then got up to have some breakfast and get a few things done.

On my to-do list was to cook up a side dish of some sort to take over to a friend’s house for dinner tonight.  Earlier this week, when Grace and Jonathan invited us over, she said she’d be making a vegetable soup, but also some quesadillas for the guys.  I promised to make a side dish to go with the soup…I was originally thinking salad, but this morning I just couldn’t get hummus out of my head!  So, I pulled out a slew of cookbooks, searching for a recipe that I would already have the ingredients for.  Finally, I stumbled upon one in, you guessed it – Eat, Drink and Be Vegan.  I adapted the recipe a bit to suit our tastes and due to the fact that I didn’t have a couple of ingredients.

I think it turned out great!  But I guess the true test will be tonight.  I love how the peanut, tamari and sesame add a distinct sort of flavor, but the garlicky hummus still shines!

Peanut Sesame Hummus with Chias

Ingredients

  • 2 cups canned chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp tamari
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes , or to taste (I like it hot!)
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Directions

  • Place chickpeas in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 1 minute
  • Add remaining ingredients except water to bowl and mix thoroughly
  • Pour mixture into Vitamix or a food processor

  • Puree, adding water until consistency is smooth.  You’ll also have to stop to scrape down the sides at regular intervals
  • Garnish with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and chia seeds, crushed peanuts or a wedge of lime!

Hummus is one of the top items on my list of favorite foods.  I especially love how versatile it is – you can eat it for breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner…and you can eat it so many different ways.  My favorite store bought kind is Sabra Roasted Garlic, but homemade just can’t be beat…especially because it’s super easy and you can add whatever flavors you want!  I’m thinking maybe mexican inspired next time…

Now I’ve got some Super Charge Me cookies baking in the oven, and I’m working on a few projects – planning my PiYo class for tomorrow being one of them.  I always end up waiting until the last minute to plan my class, and I’m really trying to work on getting it done early.  It’s much more fun when I have plenty of time!

Hope you’re all having a great Thursday!

Do you have a love for hummus? Or have you never tried it before?  What’s your favorite kind?

cinnamon rolls!

18 Jan

Well, in true Candice fashion I was up until 2am last night baking away.

But first, let’s back up for a second.  It’s time for a little honesty.  Over the last couple of weeks I have really been slacking with my workouts and with putting energy into eating clean.  My workouts have consisted mainly of the classes I teach and a couple sporadic short treadmill runs, and my eating has included a few too many Amy’s frozen burritos.  There has been so much going on here as of recent, and I’ve been hanging on by a thread as far as taking care of myself.  I’ve been getting an average of about 6 hours of sleep a night among other things….and it’s really starting to wear on me.

So this morning I got up with the best intentions of really making the extra effort to treat my body really well and start replenishing my energy. As many of you know, I believe that just because you slack a little in any area of healthy living for awhile, doesn’t mean that you should give up or be discouraged. It’s all about whether (and when) we get back on track.  There’s no way I’m going to eat, sleep and exercise perfectly for the rest of my life, so I’m adamant about cutting myself some slack when life gets crazy.  But there is definitely value in getting back on track when you feel like you’ve derailed a bit.

So, things started off really well this morning in regard to eating; I made up a bowl of oats cooked in water, and then added a few spoonfuls of soy yogurt and a sprinkle of Kashi Go Lean Crunch.  It definitely was lacking a bit in the fruit and veg department, but otherwise made me pretty happy.

The rest of the day continued on a pretty good track, but then I started feeling a little crazy, oh…sometime after dinner.  I got this serious craving for a cinnamon roll. How do these things happen? lol.

Even though it was nearing 9pm and I still had some tasks to complete before bed, I naturally started brainstorming how I could get some vegan cinnamon rolls stat.  Oh boy.

After a few moments I suddenly remembered this recipe from Project Food Blog several weeks ago.  At the time I thought it looked awesome, but I just wasn’t feeling cinnamon rolls. But this is the kind of thing that I tuck safely back in my mind to be pulled out on a perfect night such as tonight.  While I realized that this recipe would no doubt be outrageously delicious, I didn’t realize just how involved the whole process would be.  Let’s be real…do I ever?

But once I get started on an idea like this…there’s nothing that can stop me.  And for the next 3ish hours I was mixing, chopping, kneading, sifting, stirring, rolling, flossing and of course baking.  And man oh man was it worth it.

These rolls were like everything that is good in the world being wrapped up in a soft and doughy little spiral, baked at 350 degrees and coming out just the right shade of golden brown.  They were chewy and hot, with the mingled flavors of pumpkin, cinnamon and butter baked into the inside.  To. die. for.

I used this recipe…and only made a few changes like maple syrup instead of vanilla extract, organic cane sugar instead of regular white, soy milk instead of almond milk. I also replaced two cups of white flour with bread flour, and I did not put Earth Balance in the Pecan Cinnamon Streusel filling (I was buttered out!).  It still worked just fine!  Lastly, instead of the cream cheese frosting on the recipe, I simply mixed a little bit of powdered sugar with some soy milk for a nice, thin glaze.

Hey – at least I did have a green monster on the side this morning.  I am trying to clean it up around here after all.

Obviously my biggest problem now is how to not eat the entire pan in the 48 hours.  Thankfully, I do have a few ideas up my sleeve.

So, aside from sabotaging myself by staying up until 2am making cinnamon rolls, I am really trying to step it up and take better care of myself, even during these crazy times.  Because when it seems that so many things in life have been turned upside down, my health is the one thing I can still control. The one thing I can still hold onto that makes me feel sane.  And vibrant.  And like I can take on anything.

So tell me, what are your tricks for keeping these things in order when life gets crazy?

Are you a cinnamon roll fan?  What’s your favorite morning baked treat?