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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:)

red dirt love

18 Apr

A weekend recap!

Friday

The husband and I are currently re-watching Lost through Netflix.  We started watching it during our time in Thailand and completely fell in love with the show, especially the characters.  One night we decided that we needed a new show to start watching, so we walked down to Night Bazaar, surveyed the available options and after narrowing it down between Grey’s Anatomy and Lost (neither of which we knew anything about), we decided on Lost.  After which, we proceeded to watch every single season within about a month long period (could be slightly exaggerated).  I think the show was technically in season five or so when we discovered it.   We totally fell in love with it, and of course continued watching it once we moved back to the States.  Anyway, it’s such a complex show that we recently decided to re-watch every episode, which has proven to be almost as exciting as the first round.  We’re noticing and catching things that we never noticed before, and the story has become even more amazing.  If you’re a Lost fan, you know what I mean.

So Friday night we had a Lost marathon and ate some pizza in bed.  Yes, in bed.  Our bed is essentially our new living room because my mom and step-dad don’t watch Lost.  We spend a lot of time on our bed these days, which also really reminds me of Thailand because when we lived there our bedroom was the only room that was air-conditioned.  Tropical country + no a/c = no further explanation needed.

I digress.

Saturday

After relaxing in bed (told you) for awhile Saturday morning, we headed to the city to get some house progress done!  Most recently we got our a/c ducts and furnace installed as well as wiring throughout the whole house. With all the progress that’s happening, we’re realizing more than ever that we need to get on the ball with making decisions about the inside.  We met with our design person in the early afternoon, and finally decided on our flooring – it feels so good to have one decision finally made!  Our entryway, kitchen, living, dining and bathrooms will all be stained concrete, and our bedrooms with be a dark brown wood.  I love the idea of juxtaposing the two materials, and I think it will add to the eclectic feel – which makes me happy!

Anyway, after house errands, we met with our accountant – finally finishing up taxes – and then decided to explore some more OKC restaurants, namely Iguana.

The husband had heard about this little mexican cafe, and it sounded divine.  Upon pulling up to it, we knew it was going to be right up our alley.  Situated at the edge of Midtown right beside the railroad tracks, it has a lively, modern atmosphere complete with indoor seating as well as a lovely outdoor patio.  So so pretty.  The service was fantastic – from the waiter who, upon bringing our setup, breezily stated “best chips and salsa in OKC” to the fast delivery of our meals.  And the food was honestly the best mexican food I’ve had in Oklahoma, no exaggeration.  There were a TON of veggie options, and everything (especially the salsa) was ultra fresh and delicious.

I ordered the veggie quesadillas, and the husband ordered a veggie burrito so we could split both.  It was definitely way too much food by the end, and next time we’ll try to restrain ourselves by ordering just one dish to split…but we enjoyed every last bite, only leaving a few remnants behind.

Despite being so full, after we finished eating we walked next door to check out yet another cupcake shop – hey, it was too cute to pass up!  SaraSara Cupcakes is a cupcakery we hadn’t heard of yet.  The atmosphere was adorable, located in a two story old fashioned house – it surprises you when you walk in to find super modern decor.

The cupcake selection was pretty extensive, and the husband and I walked out with a red velvet and a mint chocolate in tow.  To be eaten later of course…in bed.  I’d say the atmosphere of this shop ranks just under Cuppies and Joe (for all you Oklahomans), but above Gigi’s and Pinkitzel.  However, as far as taste GiGi’s cupcakes have still yet to be beat (in my opinion).  Overall though, I’d choose Cuppies and Joe any day if I was looking for a great cupcake + great atmosphere.  Love that place.  No doubt we will be back to SaraSara though, and I will say I think you get more cupcake bang for your buck there!

Last stop of the night was a tiny little shop called Shop Good next door that we just barely noticed on our way back to the car.  Intrigued, we ventured inside to discover a novel little place filled with vintagy and unique clothing, accessories and trinkets.  What really makes it special though, is that every item in the store comes with an attached tag that indicates a specific cause to which part of the profit of that particular item goes.  They currently have a partnership with “The Tapestry Project, an OKC-based nonprofit that’s working to address homelessness and poverty among marginalized women in a deteriorating neighborhood on the south side of the city.” [source]  So not only did I come out with an awesome skirt and tee, but 5% of the cost went toward this awesome OKC charity.  Epic.  I love my city.

Sunday

Sunday started out bright and early with an eventful ten mile run.  We had planted frozen water bottles along our route that morning, thinking they would be partially thawed out by the time we got to them.  Unfortunately, it was quite a bit chillier than past weeks, and upon hopefully arriving to each bottle we realized each time that they were still frozen solid.  Finally at about mile eight, we ran up on some sprinklers working hard to quench the thirst of the yard and sneakily took full advantage of them, getting huge mouthfuls of water as it ran down our chins.  I was a new woman.  We rocked the last two miles and came in at about an hour and fifty minutes.  The weather was absolutely perfect for running – high 50’s with a slight breeze – and now I’m keeping my fingers crossed for similar weather at our race – which is in just 2 weeks!  So excited!

Unfortunately, after spending about 15 minutes looking for the long sleeved shirt I’d ditched and hidden a little too well at mile 2, we were still an hour away from church and were already clearly going to be late, so we just hit up Panera looking way too dressed up.  Though completely unplanned, it was a wonderful breakfast and we spent some time dreaming about plans for the future and all the great things that are happening right now.  Love those kind of moments with the husband:)

More family time ensued in the afternoon when we picked up Olive and then followed my mom, step-dad, and grandparents to our new house.  They hadn’t seen it yet, and we were so excited to show them; it meant so much to us that they came up to see everything.  After the house, we caravanned around OKC, cruising by some cute houses in our favorite districts and then finally ending up at Subway for some quick dinner.


– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Since moving to OKC, our weekends have become so much more full.  We are LOVING all that there is to do here – the neighborhoods to explore, new restaurants to try, streets to walk.  We love to go, do, see – and the city lends itself to that so much more.  We’ll always love our little college town, and every visit back there will be so sweet…but I think I can officially say our hearts now belong in OKC.  I’m so thankful for the opportunity to make our home here, and so excited for the future.  I know OK isn’t a popular city, and many people probably still think it’s red dirt and cowboys, but it truly has so much to offer, and I hope we’ll be able to offer back to it in the years to come.  And besides, a little red dirt never hurt anyone anyway. 🙂

What’s your favorite thing about the city you call home?

another busy weekend

11 Apr

Good morning!

The weekend flew by so fast, as always, and it was as full as ever in the last two months.  Friday evening the husband and I stopped by our house after work to see how it was coming along.  It really is incredible how much has been done this week.  Last Sunday our house looked like this:

And this Sunday it looked like this:

After we signed the papers and everything it literally felt like absolutely nothing happened for weeks, and just when we were starting to become a little bit concerned they really got going on it.  Here’s the progression of the last month in pictures:

We’ve now got about 2 months and 11 days until our anticipated close date…we’re so ready!  And another couple pics just for fun:)

haha – jumping pictures are not my strong suit

looking into our living/dining room from the entryway

After checking out the house Friday evening, we re-visited one of our favorite new restaurants.  The last time we went to Cafe 7 was last Sunday with some friends, and we knew there was so much more that we wanted to try.   This time we both got something different, and it did not disappoint.

I went with the margarita pizza, which had marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, spinach and tomatoes.  Delicious!

I ate about half and took the rest home because the husband and I had grand plans to split a cookie.  Seeing as how Cafe 7 is only about a mile from our new house, I’m sure we’ll be back many more times.

Post dinner we decided to head down to an area of OKC called the Plaza District.  We went there during the day once before, but on the first Friday night of every month all the shops are open, there’s live music, street vendors, food, and all kinds of other fun stuff like the Humane Society pups up for adoption.

As you all know, now would not be the best time for the husband and I to adopt a new dog, but I wanted to take this guy home so badly!  I think I’m having puppy withdrawals:(

Anyway, Saturday we had an appointment to pick out the lighting for our house and then we met up with the husband’s parents for lunch and to go see the house.  Lunch was a cute little restaurant that sits right on the lake, called Louie’s.  We actually had this place in our old town, but we didn’t go there very often…only once I think.  It was excellent though – great atmosphere, great food – actually the best fruit I think I’ve ever had at a restaurant.

black bean burger with avocado = amazing

iPhone pics. eh.

On Sunday the husband and I got up early to do our long run.  Honestly, I was not looking forward to it.  On Friday, I had experienced one of the absolute worst runs of my life.  Every step was brutal – my lower back hurt, my shins hurt, my quads…everything.  In retrospect I really should have just thrown in the towel probably, but I really needed to get in the mileage, so I did my best to push through.  I had kind of an emotional breakdown after it…I think the pain and frustration brought out all these pent up emotions – stress, tiredness, feeling like everything is all out of whack right now – and I just needed to let it all out.  I was really feeling down.  Thankfully the afternoon improved drastically because my interview went really well, and the husband booked me an afternoon massage.  He really is the most thoughtful husband in the world.

But back to the long run.  We were slated to go 9 miles, and the first 4.5 went pretty well; I felt a lot better than I anticipated I would.  We ended up doing sort of an out and back route, and it was only when we turned to head back that we realized how windy it was.  With the wind at our backs we barely felt it, but all of a sudden it felt like we were running into a wall.  Flashbacks to our marathon 2 years ago kept popping into my head as we fought our way back.  Hills, wind, the whole bit was the essence of the last 4.5 miles…and there were definitely some walking breaks.  However, we both somehow got a second wind with about a half mile left and finished at about an 8:30 pace.  No matter what the majority of a run is like, I always feel as if I’ve redeemed myself when we finish strong and happy.

The rest of Sunday included breakfast at Subway, lots of IcyHot, a long nap, and a visit to our baby.  The best way to end a weekend I think.  Now for another busy crazy week!

How was your weekend?

weekend photo overload

22 Mar

Another successful weekend in the great OKC.  The husband and I ate and explored until our hearts were content…and we did most of it with the little baby in tow, which made it all the bettter.

We started off Saturday afternoon at Panda Express because it was the only veggie friendly restaurant that had a nice outdoor patio just begging for us to relax on it.

One of my not so healthy loves is lo mein noodles and spring rolls.  mmmm….Asian food.

After lunch we headed down to the Plaza District, a quaint little area in the heart of OKC dotted with vintage shops.  One of our friends from college opened up her own handmade boutique a few years ago, and I’ve been itching to stop by and check it out.  It was just as cute as I’d imagined.

One of the best parts about this little shop is that it’s pet friendly.  We carried O around for awhile, but eventually let her down to make friends with the shop dog.  She wasn’t toooo excited.

And she was a good little baby while her mama tried on some clothes.

After shopping for a bit, we decided to hit up the much talked about little cupcake shop just a couple of miles way.

Cutest little cupcake shop ever!  Even counting the ones in Old Town Alexandria that I fell in love with last fall.  Very quickly I’m finding out that OKC has more than a few things going for it.

I ordered the highly recommended iced coconut latte with soy.  yum!  And the husband and I split this little gem – chocolate cupcake with a mocha chocolate icing.

We liked.

After letting our little snack settle, we were off to our next destination – the Paseo District – for a little walking and sightseeing.

She still loves me:)

And then the long drive back home.  She was tuckered out.

After we picked up Olive at my grandma’s, we were cruising along toward the city when we suddenly looked at each other and we knew exactly what each other was thinking.  Our little family was finally together again, and it felt like everything was right in the world.  I still have moments of weakness when I think to myself “why did we decide to give her up?”  “What were we thinking?”

We’re now 3 weeks down and 13 to go.  Just trying to keep whittling it down.

I spent most of yesterday on the search for a job.  I’m having a bit of a hard time with it.  Sometimes I think I just analyze things too much…and it gets me all stressed out.  I’m hoping to be able to find something this week, but so far I’ve kind of struck out.  Hopefully I’ll have better luck today!

Is there something in your life that you’re having to make an effort to stay positive about?  What do you do to help yourself stay focused on the bright side?


hap-bee halloween!

31 Oct

Olive says “I hope you had a ‘Hap-bee’ Halloween weekend!!”

Is there some kind of competition for cutest dog costume contest?

Some may think it’s silly to dress up animals for Halloween, but I think it’s just so darn cute.  And besides, with no human children to speak of we must spend our time doing something!

We did have some Halloween fun with humans this weekend as well.  Saturday night we headed over to our friends’ house for a party with our Sunday School class.  We had sort of potluck with lots of delicious food, roasted marshmallows and a pumpkin carving contest!  I was the proud wife of the best carved pumpkin winner. Here’s the husband’s masterpiece:

Not bad for a graphic designer, eh?  🙂

Anyway, I signed up to bring a pasta salad to the party.  The main dish was slated to be ribs, and when we arrived our sweet hostess proudly announced that they had grilled 15 pounds of ribs – “so eat up!!”  haha. Lovely:)

I don’t mean to be cynical at all – this is one of the sweetest couples you’d ever meet, but I have to admit that I cringed a bit at the announcement.  Anyway, I usually sign up to bring some kind of side dish or salad when we got to parties, so that I’ll for sure have something substantial to eat that is vegetarian. And for this particular occasion I decided to go with a classic favorite.

Summery Fall Couscous Salad

Even though it’s technically more of a summery dish, I knew it would be a hit.  Plus the recipe makes a huge amount, perfect for parties and potlucks.  Seriously ya’ll, if you get a chance, please make this salad.  Once people get past the “foreigness” of couscous there is no holding them back.  Sometimes I even make it just to have at the house – and the husband eats it like candy:)  If you’re making it just for your family though, you may want to half the recipe.

The stars of this salad:

My sweet friend, Grace, also brought a tasty salad that was meat free, so I enjoyed some of that, a few chips and some bread!

And a s’more of course.

Anyway, it was a great time.  You really can’t beat good food and great friends, ya know?

After the party Saturday night, we stopped by Redbox to rent a movie – The Greatest.  Have you seen it?  If you don’t mind movies that make you bawl for an hour straight, then you should definitely rent it!

Jon loves to rent really sad movies with me and then fall asleep and make me watch them by myself.

Case in point:  When we were in Tokyo a couple of years ago, we got in bed to watch P.S. I Love You.  Um, yeah.  Talk about a tear jerker.  Within 5 minutes the husband was fast asleep, and I was left to be sucked into this horribly sad movie all by myself.  I got revenge, however, when he woke up to me sobbing uncontrollably at 1am, begging him to tell me why he made me watch it all alone.  And that is no exaggeration, my friends.  I was an complete mess.  If you’ve seen it, you know what I mean.

Anyway, so last night was pretty much a replay, but not quite as intense.

Needless to say I woke up after only about 5 hours of sleep, puffy eyed and tired.  I’m sure everyone at church wondered just what kind of party we had Saturday night, haha.  o’well!

Naturally, it is now almost midnight, and I still have some tasks to finish up.  I’m working on something for tomorrow’s post that I’m pretty excited about.  Heather is having a special post this week where she’s linking other bloggers who took on a recipe that is a challenge and is out of their comfort zone.  I love challenges like this!  Stay tuned…

See you guys tomorrow:)  Let’s start strong for another week!

What was the craziest or funniest costume you saw this weekend? While it wasn’t super crazy, on Saturday afternoon at about 4 o’clock I happened to glance out our front window, and there was a Peter Pan and Tinker Bell walking down our street.  I know it was the day before Halloween and all, but there was just something funny about it:) lol.

tempeh veggie chili

24 Oct

Good evening!

I can’t believe the weekend is already over.

I arrived home from DC around 8 o’clock Friday night, but the husband didn’t get home until after midnight!  Our flights were supposed to land in Tulsa within 15 minutes of each other, but his got delayed…twice.  Wouldn’t you know it?

Anyways, I decided to go ahead and drive the hour home without him, and then he hitched a ride with his coworkers.  We had such a great time while we were gone, but it felt so great to get home.   Isn’t that how it always is?

After getting in bed so late on Friday night, we accidentally overslept on Saturday morning and didn’t wake up until 11:30!  We were both a little sad to have missed out on the whole morning, but apparently we needed the sleep, so it’s all good:)

Saturday afternoon we had to work in the suites for the OSU/Nebraska game. By the time we got home it was already past six, and we spent the rest of the evening just like this.

Luckily this morning we didn’t oversleep and managed to make it to church on time.  The rest of the afternoon was spent catching up on work and stuff around the house, although unfortunately I still have not unpacked.  That will be a task for after I write this post….or possibly tomorrow.  But don’t tell the husband;)

All afternoon I was craving something fallish -and what better way to satisfy that kind of craving than with a pumpkin spice latte and my latest and greatest Trader Joe’s find?!

I was so excited to break out this pumpkin butter for the first time that I could already taste it!  I toasted up a slice of ezekiel bread and giddily spread a thin layer of pumpkin goodness and then…

eh.

It was pretty good.  I think it was just a little too sweet or something.  Emily had warned me that it was pretty sweet, but wow.  I mean, you can’t really mess up good pumpkin flavor, so I still liked it.   I just didn’t like it as much as I though I would.  I think I’d like to make my own now, so I can control how much sugar goes in.  The good news is that a little bit goes a long way!  I think it would probably be really good to add a tiny bit to yogurt or oatmeal.

We shall see!!

To carry on the fall theme into dinner, I decided to put together a vegetarian chili.

This chili did not disappoint!

Tempeh Veggie Chili
makes about 6 servings

Ingredients
2 red bell peppers, chopped
4 large carrots, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup frozen corn
1 block tempeh, crumbled or diced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tbsp salt
2 tsp oregano
1 ½ tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp organic cane sugar
1 ½ cup water
1 12 ounce can diced tomatoes, no added salt
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1 tbsp olive oil

Directions

  • pour oil into large stockpot over medium heat
  • add onion, bell pepper, carrot, frozen corn and tempeh and saute for about 3-4 minutes.
  • add beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and water and mix well.
  • add seasonings and lime juice.  Cover and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • serve with crackers or baked pita wedges.

This chili turned out delicious!  One of my favorites methinks.  You should make it.  And then cozy up on the coach with your significant other (or your cat) and watch Amazing Race.  Because it’s amazing.

Even the baby couldn’t get enough of the smell of fall in the kitchen.

Er…maybe that’s her “puh-leeeze, give me a carrot, mom.  I promise I’ll be good and I won’t ever ask for anything ever again. Really, I won’t….”

Who can say no to that face?

But you don’t get somethin’ for nothin’ around here….no matter how cute you are:)

tofu redemption

20 Aug

So, last night I finally sat down to eat my long awaited tofu dinner at about 9:30pm.  You guys already know – it was not good.

But I’m not the type who gives up easily.

My mom can attest to this story:

When I was a wee four years old, still using a pacifier mind you, I had a bike with training wheels.    I would pedal that bike as fast as my little legs would go, trying to keep up with my big sister at all costs.  Until one fateful day when one of my training wheels bit the dust.

I’m not one to give up easily, though.  Despite my mother’s constant scoldings, I perfected riding the three wheeled bike.  She would constantly be yelling out the door – “Candice, get off that bike!  You’re gonna get hurt!”

I’d stop momentarily…but then I’d be right back at it.

Until the next fateful summer day when the other training wheel gave out on me.

My mom was so relieved.  She sighed “at least now she won’t be able to hurt herself trying to ride that bike with broken training wheels.”

Like I said, though.  I’m not one to give up easily.

Not many days later, my mom glanced outside to check on me, and there was little four-year-old me, flying down the road after my big sister on my two wheeled bike, with pacifier in tow.

To this day, determination is something I don’t take lightly.

As evidenced by this

So, you’re probably wondering what the heck happened right?

After I finished blog venting about my tofu fail last night, I walked back into the kitchen where my tofu was still gloating smugly atop the stove.  In a moment of sheer rage frustration I grabbed the dish, punched the broiler button on the stove, and threw it back into the stove.  Take that!

I honestly figured I’d be trashing those mushy little tofu cubes in less than ten minutes, but I figured “hey, it can’t get any worse, so I might as well make one last ditch effort!”

Ten minutes later I pulled out a sizzling batch of perfectly browned, crispy on the outside, but chewy on the inside tofu.

And that my friends…is how it’s done;)

Apparently it just needed cooked longer, as I would have found out by reading all the awesome comments from last night’s post.  Thanks for all the tips – with the help of them hopefully I’ll be able to get it right the first try next time!

Now I’m off to bake some vegan cookies – don’t wait up for this one;)