Tag Archives: comfort food

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?


cheesy noodle dish + blog reading tips

2 Dec

Hi!

This morning Jon and I hit the gym a little late, so I did a really quick interval run.  Sometimes it’s hard for me to get the motivation to kill it on the treadmill, but when I do it’s nice because I get done so much faster and I feel so good!  Unfortunately I didn’t have time for weights or ab work, but later I did spend some time running through my PiYo class for this week.

I also spent some time catching up on some of my favorite blogs over breakfast!

1/3 cup oats, handful of frozen blackberries, 1 tbsp chia seeds cooked in 3/4 cup water for 2 minutes.  Add a couple spoonfuls of soy yogurt and another sprinkle of chias (just for fun:) = best oatmeal ever. creamy. thick. delish.

I hate when I get behind and I feel like I don’t know what’s going on with everyone.  This morning was like catching up with friends…I love all my blog friends:)

One thing I’ve been having a hard time with lately, though, is time.  No matter how bad I want to catch up and comment on everybody’s blogs, I just don’t have enough time.  I can sit for an hour at some point in the day, reading and commenting, and still feel like I’ve only gotten through about half, which for me is about 15 or so. I just feel like I don’t have much more time than that to give to it, especially by the time I post on my own.

I feel like I see so many bloggers who comment on tons of blogs, and I just don’t see how they have time to do it.  Is there a secret that I don’t know about? I use google reader, but by the time I click out of it to comment, I’m not sure how much time it really saves.  What gives?

I’m hoping I’ll get some tips from some of you on how to read and comment on more blogs in less time!

Moving on.

For lunch today I made one of my favorite meals, but in about 1/4 of the time it took me to make it last time!

Cheesy “noodles” and brussel sprouts

Instead of cooking the spaghetti squash in the oven, I poked holes in it with a fork and put it in the microwave for about 12 minutes.  When I took it out, it was just the right amount of softness and I sliced it open with ease. In less than 2 minutes, I had cleaned out the seeds and then scraped out the “spaghetti” strands into a bowl.

this is what it looks like after being cooked and cut in half

and after separating out the strands

While preparing the squash, I placed a bowl of halved brussel sprouts in the microwave with just a little bit of water for about 1 minute and 30 seconds.

Next, I mixed together 1 tbsp nutritional yeast, 2 tbsp hummus and about 1.5 tbsp water.  I whisked it until it had a smooth consistency.  Last, I combined about a cup of spaghetti squash and 1/2 cup of brussel spouts before pouring the sauce over top and mixing it all up.

I added a dash of black pepper and ground red pepper for some kick!

Delicious!  This is one of my favorite meals.  The credit does not go to me though – I think I originally saw this idea on Heather’s blog, and I think Gena actually came up with the sauce idea.  I know some of you may think it sounds like a crazy idea for a recipe…when I took this to work for lunch last year, my coworkers thought I had lost my mind.  Try it before you knock it though.  It honestly tastes like a big bowl of creamy, cheesy pasta!  Added bonus: it took me less than 15 minutes to make, and it heats up well too if you’re looking for lunch to take to work.

I know some people have a problem with using microwaves.  Honestly, I haven’t done enough research to voice an opinion, but I try to choose my battles.  And right now, that’s one I’m going to choose not to worry about.  If I had more time, I would just cook the squash in the oven, but on days like today I’d rather have microwaved spaghetti squash than none at all!

I’m off to meet a new tutoring student.  This is my first student who is not an adult – he’s a fourth grader!  I’m not used to this, so I’m crossing my fingers it’ll go well.  Hope you all are having a great day!

food, family and lots of fun

30 Nov

Hello!

This week has been so crazy!  Since we’ve been back home from visiting family for Thanksgiving, we’ve been so busy.  I haven’t even had a chance to recap our Thanksgiving weekend…better late than never, though.  Right?

I ended up making three different dishes to take to my family’s dinner.  I’m blessed to have grandparents who are healthy eaters, so there were several great options on the table.  I was really excited about cooking up some new recipes I’d been wanting to try, so I decided to take a few things anyway!

First up, I made this Maple Spiced Quinoa dish that Angela had posted awhile back.

This dish was delicious!  Unfortunately the picture doesn’t do it justice.  All I had to put it in was my mom’s Tupperware bowl, but i promise it tasted worlds better than it looks.  The only negative was that I kind of wished I had made a savory quinoa dish for dinner, rather than sweet.  This almost could have been eaten as a dessert!

I also made Angela’s healthy Sweet Potato Casserole. Let’s just go ahead and get something out on the table – I totally had an Angela inspired Thanksgiving dinner!  Why not, right?  Her recipes almost always amaze me, and I didn’t really have time to come up with something on my own.  Plus, I had been drooling over these recipes since she posted them several weeks ago.  What better time to try them out than on Thanksgiving?!

I totally scored big with this casserole…especially when it came to my baby cousin, Caroline.  She was a big fan:)

This casserole was competing big time too because my aunt brought a delicious sweet potato casserole.  I think it competed well, though it may not have won out in the end:(  Except with Caroline that is.

For dessert I made Pumpkin Brownie cupcakes.  Now these were a hit!

Every bit as delicious as they look and sound.  How can you beat the combination of brownie + pumpkin + cupcake?!  Seriously?  I was so happy that everyone enjoyed these, and the recipe has already been sent out to the family.  I could actually really use one of these about right now…

To top it all off, I made up a quick batch of Super Charge Me Cookies from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan.  They were awesome, as always.

My plate: vegetarian, mostly vegan and 100% delicious!

After lunch, we spent the rest of the day playing games and just hanging out.  I love holidays at my grandparent’s house – it’s so nice to just spend time together.  It doesn’t happen nearly enough.

And don’t forget family picture time!

And all the grandkids…starting at 1 year and going all the way up to 30!

My sweet grandma on her birthday.  Her actual birthday is today, but we celebrated it with her on Thursday evening after all the Thanksgiving festivities.  Happy Birthday Grandma!

The rest of the weekend was spent shopping, hanging out with my mom, step-dad and sister, decorating our Christmas tree and then celebrating yet another birthday.

We had a surprise party for my sister’s 30th, and I was in charge of lying to her all morning, getting her out of the house and then getting her back to the house in time for the party.  I don’t think she likes to be surprised very much, and she didn’t make it easy on me. I think she ended up being about 1/3 surprised.  Fun was still had by all though:)

We came back home on Saturday just in time to get ready for the Bedlam game.  The husband and I had to work in the suites taking pictures.  It was definitely the most fun game all year – even though we ended up losing in the end.

On Sunday we spent the day catching up on work and the house, and then we decorated for Christmas! One of my favorite activities of the season!  Pictures will be soon to come:)

That’s all for now!  I’m so glad to finally be caught up on everything…now it’s time to get caught up on all of your lovely blogs:)  Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and are having a great start to the week.  How crazy that it’s already almost December!

I’ll be back tomorrow to talk about getting back and staying on track during this chaotic season – it’s not easy, but it’s so worth it!

a cookie kind of day

20 Aug

So, today was just a cookie kind of day.

I woke up this morning and went to PiYo and then came home to do some more PiYo.  I teach my second class one week from today.  eek!

I am also going to go ahead and get my yoga certification.  Yay!  I signed up for the course on September 11th – 12th just outside of Dallas (sis – I need to crash your place that night:).  I’m getting certified for level one yoga through YogaFit, and then we’ll see where I go from there!  My first official PiYo class (not subbing) will start the week before that, as will the yoga class I’ll be teaching.  So, I’ll be teaching one yoga class without my certification.  oops!  I plan on just making it very PiYo-esque  for the first class.

Anyway, so after PiYo-ing it all morning long, I decided cookie making was definitely in order for the afternoon.  The husband’s boss is going on maternity leave (today was her last day), and Jon and I adore her, so I though I’d make her some cookies to kick it off right!

“You Got Peanut Butter in My Chocolate” cookies from Eat,Drink and Be Vegan
wheat free and vegan

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup unrefined sugar (I used pure cane sugar)
  • 1/4 cup vegan dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp spelt flour
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2-2 1/2 tbsp agave nectar (or more maple syrup)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup organic canola oil
  • 1/4-1/3 natural peanut butter

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a bowl, combine sugar, chocolate chips, and salt, sift in flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda and stir until well combined
  • In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, agave nectar, vanilla and oil until well mixed.
  • Add wet mixture to dry, and stir until just well combined (do not overmix).
  • With a knife, cut in peanut butter into batter, but just a little, so peanut butter remains in chunks and swirls in batter.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or spray with cooking spray).
  • Scoop rounded tablespoons of batter onto baking sheet evenly spaced apart.
  • Bake for 11 minutes (no longer, or they will dry out).
  • Remove from oven and let cool on pan for 1 minute (no longer), then transfer to a cooling rack.

My only advice is to go make these cookies right now, then go buy this cookbook and make everything else in it too.  It’s that good:)

I also made a batch of Super Charge Me cookies, but we’ll save those for later!

Jon and I are going to go see Eat Pray Love tonight, and I’m so excited!  The last couple times we’ve planned to see a movie, we’ve ended up bailing at the last minute, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we actually make it there. I’m only halfway through the book, so I’m committing a major faux pas by going to see it, but o’well!

I’ll see you guys tomorrow!

Have you seen the movie or read the book?  What did you think?

comfort food + chia giveaway winners revealed

12 Jul

Jon and I had great intention of running a 5k this morning, but we have a bad habit of chattin’ it up so much that our running suffers.  We ended up running/walking 2.54 miles in about 35 minutes .  Obvs. there was a lot of walking involved.  o’well…at least we were up and moving!

By the time we got back, I had to rush around to get out the door on time!

green monster to-go please!!

2 handfuls spinach, 1.25 cups soy milk, 1/2 frozen banana, 1 scoop Amazing Grass, 1 tbsp natural peanut butter, chia seeds, ice

Need. Bigger. Cup. (I’m hardcore like that;)

After my orthodontist appointment (hi, I’m Candice and I’m 13 years old) I ran through S-bucks for a decaf soy latte.  I have cut down on my Starbucks runs exponentially; it’s funny how much better it tastes when it’s a rare treat. Totally worth every last cent today.

After a quick stop at the mall to do an exchange, I headed home for lunch.  Sweet Jon had it all prepared for me

Sunflower sprouts make their debut!  hooray!

whole wheat pita with hummus, Morningstar black bean burger, broccoli slaw and sunflower sprouts

with a side of juicy watermelon that I picked up last night

one of my thousand new obsessions.

And several hours of work later I dug into this new container of Sabra hummus with baby carrots.  Does anybody know how baby carrots came to be?  Do they grow them that way?  Curious minds want to know!

love me some carrots and hummus

Tonight I was in the mood for some comfort food because I received some bad news.  The ESL teaching job I told you guys I landed last week fell through. She called today and said that there had been some kind of hiring freeze and that they weren’t going to be able to hire me after all.  Sad:(  It hit me pretty hard because I was counting on that being a sure thing when I resigned from my job.

I’m trying to stay positive regardless of what happens.  I know that God will provide, and I know everything will work out for the best…I just have to have faith.

Someone quoted the following on twitter last week.  Please tell me if you know who it was because I can’t find where I wrote it down!

“This week shall rock!  I’m going to hold steady and strong at not digging up in doubt what I planted in full on faith.”

This has been my mantra since I read it last week…I keep repeating it to myself every time I start to sink into doubt.  I can’t lose hope the second things don’t go as expected.

Onwards and Upwards!

So, back to the comfort food.  I’ll give you 1 guess as to what comfort food was calling out to me.

You got it

Our specialty: homemade enchiladas.

  • Whole wheat tortilla
  • black beans
  • rotel tomatoes
  • soy cheese
  • Roll tortillas up and place in a baking dish
  • Pour canned green enchilada sauce over entire dish
  • Bake to perfection at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes

**We make six at a time because they are great for leftovers!

All jokes aside about our obsession with Mexican food...if you like enchiladas, you MUST make these.  They are like biting into a little piece of heaven.  No kidding.  You can make any variation – spinach, beans, cheese and onion or a mix of all three!  Let me know if you try them out, and I’ll post ’em on the blog!

In an effort to save money this month, I decided to make a big batch of homemade salsa since we eat it like it’s goin’ out of style.  Below is the recipe I came up with tonight, but I think it still has room for improvement.  Let me know if you have any ideas for alterations!

Place the following ingredients in a food processor:

  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 jalapeno pepper, seeds and all!
  • ~ 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • small handful basil leaves, chopped
  • small handful cilantro, chopped

Process until it reaches the consistency you prefer.  Eat up!

There are millions of different ways to make salsas – peach salsa, chipotle salsa, black bean and corn salsa, the list goes on and on…

Jon and I prefer just basic, spicy salsa – we’re not crazy about all the add ins.  I’m excited to experiment with this a bit more.

Okay, okay, now for what you’ve all been waiting for.  I selected the winners using True Random Number Generator from random. org.

Drumroll please.

The winners of the chia seeds so graciously donated by Monterey Bay Spice Company are….

Rhea from Happy Greek Feaster

and

Amber from SAHM’s Musings

Congrats Rhea and Amber.  Email me your information, and we’ll get your chias shipped asap!

Thanks to everyone who entered.  And a very special thanks to Monterey Bay Spice Company for being our lovely sponsor.  Hop over and check out their website when you get a chance.  Chia seeds are only the beginning of their amazing products!

That’s all for tonight, friends.  Hope you all had a fantastic Monday!

What kind of salsa is your favorite?  Any tips to improve my recipe?  I’m all ears!!

potatoes au grautin

11 Feb

Tonight I made a clean version of an old favorite, and it was delish.

Growing up my mom used to make potatoes au grautin from the box on occasion.  Honestly, it wasn’t too often that one would find a processed or “boxed” food on our kitchen table.  My mom always made homemade meals from scratch, and she prided herself on feeding us mostly healthy food and everyone coming together at the table for a family dinner.  At the time I never really understood why I had to come in from playing outside to sit at the table with everyone, but now I’m so thankful for those memories, and I won’t have it any other way with our (future) children.

But back to the occasional “PAG.”  I used to love those cheesy little spuds, but of course nowadays they don’t exactly fit into my repetoire of clean foods.  So, tonight I veganfied (?) them!

Alongside a tasty mushroom burger…

Indulgence at it’s finest.

I started out by slicing a sweet potato up, sprinkling the rounds with ground red pepper and garlic powder and baking them for about 20 minutes.  Next I mixed up some toasted pine nut hummus, nutritional yeast and water to make my new favorite humnut sauce.  After the potatoes were baked, I arranged them on a plate and poured crack the sauce all over them.  Yum!  Next time I would bake the sweet potatoes for a little bit longer because they were a little too soft for my taste.  Otherwise this meal rocked!!

For the mushroom burger, I just sauteed some portobello mushroom wedges in balsamic vinegar until they were cooked through and soft.  Chopped onion, tomato, avocado and smushed it all between an ezekiel bun.  I may also have added a teensy bit generous spoonful of humnut sauce to the burger as well;)

That’s all I’ve got for tonight.  I took the day off from school tomorrow because I am so buried in grading I can’t even see my way out.  With sophomore projects and junior research papers both piled high along with several random assignments that are waiting to be graded, I just needed a day at home to catch up and breathe.  So after a workout with the hubs bright and early, I’ll have my head in the books papers all day.

It’s going to be a busy weekend even with the day off.  Jon is cooking something up for Valentine’s Day, but we’ve planned on keeping it low key because we’re going to Dallas for a couple of days over Spring Break (only 4 weeks away!) as our real Valentine’s celebration.  I can’t wait.  I live for having days on end with nothing to do but explore and hang out with my favorite person!

Hope everyone is having a great night.  TGIF (almost!)

goodbye Wednesday…helloooo Thursday!

14 Jan

Happy Wednesday night everyone!  I, for one, am so glad Wednesday is over.  It’s my least favorite day of the week, and today it went so slowwww.  That is, it went slow until I got home and had a million things I wanted to do.  Of course!

I didn’t get to go to the gym today because I had a hair appointment at 4.  So, I had to race home from school just to make it ten minutes late.  Honestly, I just haven’t felt very good today.  I’m not really sure why, but by the time I got home, I was starving and just really needed some comfort food.  Enter vegetarian quesadillas made by the hubs and Averie’s Raw Vegan Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding.

The quesadillas consisted of a protein pita (more on this in a sec), veggie shreds cheese, and bell peppers and onion.  Simple and comforting.  Not the most nutrient dense meal I’ve ever had, but hey, sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.  And it was tasty.

While I’m on the subject, I want to put a plug in for these awesome pitas I discovered on the shelf at Walmart (believe it or not). Now, I have to say I usually like to buy things with a few less ingredients, but overall these are pretty clean.  They are Joseph’s brand flax, oat bran, and whole wheat flour.  They are a great source of Omega 3s and are “super soft!” – as stated on the package:)  These boast 60 calories, 8 carbs, 4 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein.  I seriously love them, and every time I go to Walmart I fear that they’ll be gone.  Does this happen to you guys?  I’ll just discover or start loving something, and the next time I go POOF it’s gone.  Either way, check ’em out if you get the chance.

Well, I’m off to have a bit of down time before I go to bed.  Tonight has been extra busy because I had to do some work on school stuff.  Need more time!  Need more time!

Have a fantastic night!  Oh, and more to come tomorrow on Averie’s pudding  plus our new bed that should be arriving!  Stay tuned…