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a lovely breakfast

5 Aug

Thank you all so much for the sweet responses to my post from Monday.  I couldn’t have asked for more encouragement and understanding than what you all showed me.  It was a difficult post to write, but once I put it out there I felt immense relief.  It felt really good to be open about everything, and your words brightened my spirit.

On Monday afternoon I had another doctor’s appointment, and the news was not what I wanted to hear.  For certain reasons, my doctor feels it’s best to hold off from doing another treatment this month and instead give my body a month to rest.  It’s hard to feel like I’m just sitting back, making no progress.  But I trust my doctor one hundred percent, so I’m trying to just distract myself and not dwell on it.  One thing I’ve learned more times than I would have liked is that it is not a good idea to put timelines on this process.  I get ideas in my head about when I want things to happen by, and so far I’ve been let down every time.  I’m working on letting go of any plan I have and just focusing on other things in life instead.  Easier said than done, right?

In other news, I’ve been trying out some awesome vegan recipes as of late.  My new kitchen was calling my name from the second we moved in, and I have seriously been in heaven since I started cooking again!

One of my favorites from the last couple of weeks is one I snagged from Vegan with a Vengeance.  I’m telling you – if you don’t have this cookbook yet, you must pick up a copy.  Everything single recipe I have made from it has been awesome (see here, here and here)…and this was no different.

The husband and I woke up late last Saturday morning…okay, he woke up late, and I woke up even later.  And when I dragged myself into the kitchen, he had all the ingredients laid out for a lovely little breakfast of pumpkin waffles.  After some intense discussion, we decided to nix the waffles and try out this scone recipe from VwaV.

He made chocolate chip.

And I went with blueberry (his were better).

But they were both delicious.  I think I ate about 4 scones in the following 12 hours.

A lovely Saturday indeed:)

I hope you all have had a great week, and are looking forward to an even better weekend.

What is your favorite cookbook – vegan or non-vegan?

Mine is a tie between VwaV and Eat Drink and Be Vegan.  Couldn’t live without those two!

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great books and other stuff

1 Apr

Despite the fact that it’s Friday and the weather has made vast improvements, I am dragging today!  The culprit?

This book.

Yesterday I was killing a little bit of time before picking the husband up from work, so I ran across the street to Border’s because they’re having a huge closing sale.  After wondering around for awhile, my eyes landed on the cover of Euna Lee’s memoire.  I am a big fan of memoirs; I just recently finished two different ones, Thin is the New Happy by Valerie Frankel and The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls – two books that could not be more different, but were equally engaging and wonderful.  I highly recommend both, but to give you fair warning, The Glass Castle is very harsh and somewhat disturbing at times…like when you see something so devastating that you want to look away, but you just can’t.  But in the end it shoots straight to your heart as it speaks of redemption and the ability to rise above any situation, and I walked away feeling inspired and more aware of the world.

But back to the book of last night.  I read a few pages right after I bought it and knew right away that it would be hard to put down.  After running a couple of errands and making the trek back home, I picked it back up; three hours and 275 pages later I stumbled into bed.  Lee’s account of her time in captivity in North Korea took me on a journey that ended in a renewed thankfulness for the most important things in life and a new perspective of how God leads us through the toughest of times.  Thought provoking and emotional, at times I felt I was right there with her as she agonized over missing her baby and having no certainty over her future – and upon her arrival back home where she embraced gratefulness, safety and those she loved most.  I loved it.

This morning I had plans to get some work done at Starbucks, but I just had to finish the last 15 pages or so.  This is my problem with books – if they’re riveting enough to keep me flipping the page, then I simply cannot walk away from them.  Gets me every time.  Having rushed out of the house in a blur of bags, laptops and keys this morning, I didn’t have time to eat breakfast, but Starbucks perfect oatmeal to the rescue once again!  The best option for breakfasts on the run.

topped with dried fruit and nuts

I also wanted to toss in one my favorite easy lunches that I had yesterday.  I’ve made a version of this before with just black beans, but the spices in this one had me over the moon.

Baked sweet potato with leftover Amy’s Chili poured over top. And a side of kale chips.

This could even be a portable snack to take to the office (which I’ll be needing soon!) if you have a microwave.  Maybe subbing out the kale chips for a bag of steamable broccoli?   I just love little meals that are warm and homemade tasting, but take minutes to prepare.

I’m so happy it’s Friday (duh), and I’m so excited because the husband and I are going to the OKC home show this weekend.  We’ve got some serious house decisions to make in the next week, so hopefully we’ll come away with some direction and inspiration.

Have a lovely weekend!

What is your favorite book you’ve ever read?
If I had to choose one, I’d probably say Barbara Kingsolver’s Poisonwood Bible – read it while we lived in Thailand, and could read it a thousand more times.  Side note – the other day I was re-listening to My Sister’s Keeper in the car, and I had this sudden realization that books can take on a whole new meaning and impact with each time you read them.  There are different things going on in my life right now that cause me to read it in a completely different way than last time.  Love that about books.

catching up: job news, running, food

31 Mar

How is it already Thursday???

It seems like we were just chillin’ in Tulsa yesterday, and it’s already been almost a week.  While I kind of feel like my head is spinning, I really wouldn’t mind if all of the next 12 weeks (until our house is done) go just as fast.

This morning I woke up in serious need of a run.  I was just itching to get out there!  It was a welcome change from yesterday’s wake up after which I did not want to go out in the freezing cold and run.   I also was on a deadline with a job application and having some stomach problems, so I didn’t go.  I wonder if maybe the break was just what I needed.  Anyway, I sailed through five miles, happy as a lark (seriously).

Upon arriving back home I did some stretching and downed half a coconut water.  Hydration, hydration.  And a yogurt bowl.

plain greek yogurt, blueberries, 1/2 banana, raw oats and chia seeds

Catching up….our weekend in Tulsa was just as glorious as expected.  Really, one for the books.  While I truly thought there would be a lot of exploring of Tulsa going on…we actually explored very little.  Much of our time was blissfully spent at the house eating, reading by the fire, watching Lost, and sleeping.  We were so happy to have little O by our side – and she was the sweetest little thing all weekend; our family was complete again for 2 whole days.

We weren’t completely lazy the entire time, though.  On Saturday we tried a new restaurant called Cafe Samana that the husband discovered while perfecting his Googling skills.  A little hole in the wall nestled in the center of a plaza on Peoria Street, this restaurant was our match made in Heaven.  We walked in to find that everything in the store was recycled or recyclable – from the papery thin tablecloths to the mismatched vintage glasses.

The vegetarian/vegan options were nearly endless, and everything on the menu sounded delicious.  I ordered the day’s special – the Falafel Sally.

A crisp bed of lettuce served as a base for carrots, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles, spicy sprouts, and feta with a cucumber dill dressing, hummus, pita crisps and the star of the show – seasoned chickpea balls.

A last minute mango Kombucha rounded out my meal perfectly.  Meals like this make me happy, from the quaint atmosphere to the eclectic mix of people dining there….it was all good.  And the food was really really delicious.  If we went back I’d actually have a really hard time not getting the same thing again.

Our other non lazy activity was our seven mile run by the river on Sunday morning; I absolutely adored this running path.  We started on a park trail which soon transitioned to the path that runs down Riverside and ends on a two lane road, leading to our weekend home.  Little traffic, nice trail, light breeze, cold temps.  Perfect formula for a successful run.

Lately I’ve been concerned about the husband because his training has been a bit….sketchy.  With his work transition, plus carrying two jobs on the side, he just hasn’t had the time to put in the weekly mileage.  On Sunday, about a mile in, I was trying to think of a way to entertain him, which I’m sure he really appreciated (sarcasm).  So I just started talking.  Telling stories of my youth – from riding my mini bike in the woods beside our old house to how many Accelerated Reader (do you remember this?) points I got in the 5th grade.  What can I say?  I’m an interesting gal.

Anyway, once I started chatting I couldn’t shut up, and I ended up talking his ear off the entire 7 miles.  It was like a dam was broken and I couldn’t hold back the flood of words. heh.  Turns out the husband had an insanely happy run, finishing it out at a sprint (yeah husband!).  I’m pretty sure it was because of my mad entertaining skills.  Either way we finished 7 miles in about an hour and 15 minutes including walk breaks.  Not a time we’d qualify for Boston with by any means, but we were satisfied.

This week has been pretty crazy.  I’ve still been filling out applications like it’s my job, and I got two interviews this week!  Both interviews were for the same position just at different places.  Same job responsibilities, same hours…but a decent amount of difference in pay and 20 minutes apart in location.  For both I would be teaching English classes to international students, which I am so thrilled about; you know how I am about international students.  One of them is a stone’s throw away from the husband’s office, which would be a huge plus (meet for lunch, ride to work together etc), but it’s also the one that pays about $350 a month less.  The other one is about 20 minutes from his office, but only about 10-15 minutes away from our new house.  I’m supposed to go in this afternoon to talk to the latter one a little bit more and meet some of the other instructors.  I’m pretty excited!  I was afraid I’d have to get a random job like Gap or something that I don’t really care about, so I’m just happy to have the chance to do something I love.

We’re also busy this week trying to get our Mini fixed (from getting rear-ended) and back on the market to sell, which is harder than one might think. Blah.  Crazy times, crazy times.  People keep telling me that one day I’ll look back on this time and miss the craziness.  People love to say things like that when your life is turned upside down.

Anyway, hopefully I’ll have some more good (and more definite) news to report on the job front later today.  I hope you’re all having a fanstastic week!

Do you have spring weather where you are?
Our weather seems to be confused, thinking this is November instead of March – it’s freezing!

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.

running + coconut lemon cranberry bars

16 Mar

Hello!

This morning I got up and headed to the park to get my training run in.  I’m still putting in 3.5 miles twice during the week and then a longer run on the weekend.  I have to say, my runs have been going so well.  I really think it is the yoga I’ve been doing.  In my past races I wasn’t doing yoga yet, and I think it’s making a significant difference.   I’ve also really been pushing myself to get my pace down, and I can tell a significant improvement in my long run endurance.  It feels so great to see so much improvement, and I’m getting so excited about the race!

After my run I came home and did a half hour of yoga before getting ready to head to the city.  My best friend from high school lives in OKC, and I am so excited to finally be in the same town as her for the first time in almost ten years. We met in 2nd grade and were practically inseparable from then until graduation.  It was so so good to catch up today!

I have spent so much time in the city this week doing all kinds of stuff.  When we decided to take this new job and move from Stillwater, we got so excited to live in OKC.  Then we moved to my hometown.  Which is not quite the city.  It’s about a 40 minute drive, so it’s not too bad…but not a short drive either.  So pretty much every day I’ve found some reason to go there – gotta meet the husband for lunch, gotta take something back to the store, gotta grocery shop – and usually I just pack my laptop, books, and anything else I need to work and set up camp at Starbucks for the remainder of the afternoon.

Obviously spending hours at a time away from home means there must be snacks packed.  I try not to leave myself at the mercy of the Starbuck’s pastry case or a drive through, so I found myself needing ideas for portable, non refrigerated snacks to take along.  Enter Angela’s Coconut Lemon Cranberry bars (click for full recipe)Moist on the inside, flaky on the outside, with a medley of sweet and citrus – tastes like a sunny day at the beach. Sign me up.

First, juice and zest your lemons!

Make a chia egg by combining lemon juice with chia seeds and allowing it to gel for about 10 minutes.

Next, turn 1 cup of oats into oat flour in a blender or food processor.  It’s so fun to watch the whirling blades transform oats into flour in about 10 seconds flat.  I really shouldn’t say stuff like that out loud.

Add all the dry ingredients together.  Combine the wet. Then mix them all together and press into a baking dish before dusting the top with shredded coconut and chia seeds.

Bake until the edges are brown and the top springs back when you touch it.

Allow to cool, and then enjoy as you close your eyes – envisioning the crashing waves and the smell of suntan lotion and lemonade.

These bars have been the perfect on-the-go treat this week as I’ve been out and about around the city.  I think they’d also make great pre-workout fuel or a dessert treat before bed.

Anyway, today I’m going to start the day off with some yoga and then spend the day shopping with my mom and aunt who are on spring break.  Even though I haven’t exactly earned a spring break, I’m kind of pretending I’m on it anyway because next week I start my new job of substitute teaching.  I hope you can tell how excited I am.  Really.

Are you on Spring Break this week?  What is your favorite SB memory?
Mine is from 2005 when I went to Thailand for tsunami relief.  A life changing experience I’ll never forget.  I never really was a beach person, so SB beach vacations never really appealed to me.  I know. I’m crazy.

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!

hello, spring

17 Feb

Hey!

What a beautiful week it has been so far – I am loving this weather.  Do you have great weather where you are?  Sorry to rub it in if not.

Yesterday it was so nice that I got a sunburn!  Hello, spring.  I had a break between tutoring appointments, so I decided to sit out on the lawn of our campus library to eat lunch.  Forty-five minutes later my chest was red – glad I had on long sleeves. I’m not sure why campus looks deserted in these pictures, there were people all around me.

greens topped with leftover stir-fry veggies/chickpeas + quinoa + lightly steamed brussel sprouts + tahini dressing

I got to feeling a bit nostalgic sitting there – I’ve spent many days on library lawn from walking to classes in college to long walks with the husband and Olive.  So many good memories. I even buried a baby chicken on that lawn during my freshman year of college.  Don’t ask.

I also got up this morning and went for a 3 mile run outside.  In a tank top and shorts!  I was planning on wearing a jacket, but when I stepped outside I realized it was way too warm for a jacket, so off I went.  It definitely felt like spring and almost like summer.  There was also a nice strong wind, which made for a tough run.  But I made it through with the addition of a few walk breaks.  It was so much more refreshing than the treadmill – my vitamin D levels must be sky high after yesterday and today!

I’m going to have to keep this post short, but I’ll be back soon with a couple of tasty raw meals I’ve been enjoying the last couple of days.  I made them for dinner a couple of nights ago, and even the husband was a huge fan.  Score.  Also coming up soon is another product review!  I love trying out new cooking (or not! – hint) tools, so I’m excited to work with CSN again.  Remember when I reviewed the spiralizer last fall? This time will be similar, but with a new and just as fun product.  If you haven’t checked out CSN sites yet, head over there if you get the chance.  They really do have every item you can imagine…everything from swing sets to…well, spiralizers.  You can’t get much more widespread than that!

With that I’m off to a tutoring appointment – I’ll see you later!

Hope your having a lovely Thursday…only one more day ’till the weekend!

What’s your favorite nice weather activity?
I think mine is just sitting in the sun, feeling the breeze and soaking it all up!