Tag Archives: family

peace in heart and body

25 Jan

Well, I’m coming in a day late with my recap of the weekend. The husband and I spent most of the weekend in our new city, and I spent this morning playing catch up with some of the things I didn’t get to even think about doing.

On Friday I really enjoyed hearing all of your stories about geese!  I had no idea that so many people were afraid of them, ha!  It seems that several of you have some kind of scarring memory about a run-in with a goose as a child – never knew they could be such ferocious creatures.  In fairness I think I must clarify that I was catching the smaller, cuter white ducks…not the geese as shown in the picture.  And it sounds like it’s a good thing based on all your stories!

As I mentioned on Friday, we went to a party with our Sunday school class.  We played a game that Jonathan and I had gotten for Christmas called What’s Yours Like?  I was a bit skeptical about it in the beginning, but it ended up being pretty fun!  Everyone had brought different desserts, and there was definitely no shortage of sugar.  I took cupcakes as planned, and I’m excited to share them with you tomorrow!  They were a hit.  No one knew they were vegan, and our friend Greg went back for a second which let me know that they truly passed the test:)

Saturday we got up and after doing some tasks around the house, headed to the city.  We had plans to drive through our future neighborhood to get some ideas for the exterior of our house.  Jonathan carefully crafted a fun design that resembles a craftsman style, and now we’re just trying to get inspired about a color scheme.  While we recognize that building a house is going to be a lot of work, we are pumped to get to pick out everything and make it unique to our style as much as possible. We also met with our builder and signed our contract! Our names are written in blood…there’s not turning back.  Yay!  Building should start in the next month, and we’re looking at about 4ish months until it will be done.

gotta love that Oklahoma red dirt

The biggest decision (of many) that we are trying to make right now is where we’re going to live between now and the time our house gets done, which will be around the end of June.  Both Jonathan’s parents and my mom and step-dad have graciously offered to let us live with them.  We are so thankful for family who are supportive and will sacrifice to help us out. But the big decision is looming of which one to go with.  Jonathan’s parents live about one hour and fifteen minutes from his job, so he would have to commute back and forth everyday, which would be really taxing on him.  Especially considering he’ll be working on Outbox in the evenings as well.  My mom and step-dad only live about thirty-five minutes from his job, but the situation is such that Olive cannot live with us there.  So, we would need to figure out somewhere else for her to live, and it will be really hard for us to have to be away from her for 4 months.  I honestly cannot imagine it right now.  I know some people probably think that is crazy, but those of you who have pets surely understand…right?  But living with my family would be so much less draining of a commute for Jonathan, and more convenient all around (i.e. dropping by our house to check progress, finding a church to get involved in in the city etc).  If we are unable to find somewhere for her to live, then that will obviously make our decision…but even if we do find somewhere we are still torn as to what to do.  Too many decisions!!  The good news is we love both of our families, and living with either one, while being an adjustment, will be great.  We are very blessed. I’m hoping to get some new perspective from you guys on this!

Anyway, so Saturday night we headed to my hometown and got to watch my little cousin play basketball.  I hadn’t seen her play in years, and I had the best time!  I was a super proud cousin too because she played so great.  I think she scored the first ten points of the game all by herself!  She’s super cute, too:)

My sister played on the state championship team when she was a junior, and now a giant picture of her team hangs in the gym.  We got a huge kick out of taking our picture with the Cristen of 1998…I’m sure anyone walking by thought we were ridiculous, but that combined with my cousin being so embarrassed was what made it quite funny.  Maybe you had to be there.

The husband and I partied late with my family and didn’t get back home until late. We spent Sunday morning at church, and then headed to the city once again to meet my mom and step-dad to show them our lot and walk through a house that has our floor plan.  It was fun!  But I realized one thing really quickly – looking at houses after you’ve already signed a contract for yours is like looking at wedding dresses after you’ve already made the purchase for your big day.  Not a good idea.

All in all it was a busy busy weekend, but I’m pretty sure that’s becoming the norm these days….and we’re okay with that. I’m really making every effort possible to stay in a routine in the important areas of my life during this super chaotic time.  I’ll be sharing much of the journey with you as the months go by!  And for starters, that’s going to mean getting a lot more sleep.

The last few days I’ve been focusing more on getting a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables in my body.  When things get busy, stressful and/or crazy, the first thing I tend to slack on is having fresh food around.  While we were in the city I picked up Kris Carr’s new book, and I’ve really been enjoying it the last couple of days.  Sometimes a little inspiration goes a long way!  I’ll share more about the book as I keep reading, but so far it has really helped me get back on track.

I’ve been starting each day off with some warm lemon water, which is great for your skin (and we all know I need that!).

Green monsters have also been a daily staple.  Unfortunately the other day I ran out of spinach, so I got creative and decided to try broccoli!

I wouldn’t recommend it.  The only way I got the entire thing down was to chase each sip with water and picture all the amazing nutrients coursing through my veins with every swig.  It was not pretty.  I think I’ll stick to leafy greens for now.

I also had an apple mid morning

For lunch yesterday I threw together a concoction I haven’t had before, and it totally rocked!

baked sweet potato, Earth Balance, black beans, salsa, broccoli

I’ve always thought I only like sweet potatoes baked as rounds or fries, but those days are long gone!  I do think the key for me was having different foods mixed in with each potato bite – it helped break up the mushy texture, and all the flavors worked so well together.  Delicious!

Unfortunately, last night didn’t exactly go as planned.  The husband and I got a late start to the grocery store, and by the time we got done with all our shopping it was 9pm.  I was so tired and hungry, so we stopped at our favorite mexican restaurant.  I ordered two black bean tacos and ate a couple handfuls of tortilla chips.  Not exactly clean fresh food on the chips, but not a bad choice for a restaurant either!

One thing I love about Kris’s book so far is her stance on perfection.  It coincides exactly with my thoughts on the topic.

“The crazy sexy diet (not a diet, but a lifestyle) is an optimum way of life.  Let it be your foundation, a home base to come back to whenever you veer off.  The cleanse is intended to give you freedom from obstruction and liberation… It’s not meant to create or support more stress in your life.  As I said earlier, there’s no such thing as perfection.  Perfect is beige.  Obsessing over every bite is completely contrary to the purpose ans spirit of my book.  Your overall goal is to have a peaceful feeling in your heart and in your body.

With that, I’m off to bed…I hope you all had a great weekend and are enjoying the start to the week!

Any advice on our living situation?  What would you do?
Less than half the commute, but being separated from our baby?  Or a much further commute, but keeping our little family together?  Ahhh!

What was the best moment of your weekend?

a new chia recipe

13 Jan

Wow, guys.  Thanks so much for all the love you showed to me and my blog yesterday.  It may seem kind of silly, but yesterday really did feel very special to me.  ChiaSeedMe has seen me through so many moments this past year, and it has been such a blessing as it’s allowed me a place to express myself in so many different ways.  It’s really quite amazing when you think about it. A blog makes it possible for a person to have a responsive audience to whatever it is you need to share – fears, hopes, dreams.  It also has allowed me to express myself through photography and writing, which I never would have had the opportunity to do otherwise.

Another aspect I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday was hearing all the comments from those of you who love chia seeds!  These little guys are taking the world by storm.

And speaking of chia seeds, last night I added them to a meal that I’ve never added them to before.  And they were delicious as always.

When I was growing up, it was a rarity for my mom to not have a homemade meal on the table.  It was a norm for her to call us in from playing outside five times before we would actually come, and I remember never wanting to stop for dinner (who was I?).  But now I hold very dear the memories of our whole family sitting around the table every night.  My mom was (and is:) a great cook; some of her specialties included mexican casserole, tacos, meatloaf, chicken and rice casserole, roast with cooked potatoes and carrots, and last but definitely not the least – her famous spaghetti sauce.

I always loved spaghetti nights.  The sauce would simmer on the stove for hours as each flavor mingled together giving off the most mouth-watering aroma you can possibly imagine.  It would fill the entire house, luring us in from any part of the house; she probably got so tired of us inquiring “when will dinner be ready, mom?”  Sitting here right now I can vividly taste the slightly sweet, warm tomato flavors.

Now that I am older I can appreciate more than ever before the fact that my mom valued having a healthy, homemade meal on the table (almost) every single night.  Having my own family (minus kids) now, I realize how challenging it is to meal plan, get the groceries bought, plan ahead for preparation and create a tasty meal in time for dinner.  But I’m so thankful that it was important to her to do so and that she instilled that importance in me.

Last night’s dinner was the ChiaSeedMe version of spaghetti sauce.  Honestly, it doesn’t taste a whole lot like my mom’s.  But, I’ve dabbled in making from scratch spaghetti sauces before, and this one is by far the most delicious.  The flavors are much more complex and they work so well together, but this recipe was super easy as well.

I started off by sauteeing some chopped onion and garlic in olive oil until both turned slightly golden and then adding one and half chopped bell peppers.

As soon as the peppers had turned tender, I poured in the tomato puree, tomato sauce, and tomato paste, mixing them together until the different textures became one and it became smooth. Already my nose was being filled with the fresh italian aroma.

Next came the seasonings – basil, a lot of italian seasoning, rosemary, garlic powder, sea salt and ground red pepper.  Dumped them all in and stirred like crazy.  When they were all incorporated well, I completed the second best step – the taste test.  I recommend you definitely not skip this step as you may want to adjust the seasonings to perfectly suit your tastes:)

And lastly, it was time to add in the namesake of this recipe…the star of the show.

As many of you know, the chia seeds did not affect the flavor of this sauce, but what they did add is protein, iron, omega 3’s and 6’s, calcium, fiber and other vitamins.  After sprinkling them over the sauce, I stirred to incorporate them well and then allowed the sauce to simmer for another ten minutes or so.  This gave the chia seeds time to soften and gel up; they were undetectable in the sauce, but they gave it a little bit thicker texture and absorbed some of the liquid so that the sauce wasn’t the least bit watery when ladled over the noodles.

After adding the chias, I took a quick break from the sauce to toss a handful of thin spaghetti noodles (the best kind) in some boiling water so they’d have just enough time to cook.  We can’t forget the noodles!

My only question is: how did I never think of this before now?

Spicy Chia Spaghetti Sauce


  • 29 ounce can tomato puree
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • small can tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1 – 1.5 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1.5 bell peppers, any color, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp olive oil, for sauteeing
  • 2 tsp minced garlic


  • Sautee onion and garlic in olive oil over medium high heat until both are slightly golden.
  • Add bell pepper and continue to saute until tender.
  • Pour in tomato sauce, tomato paste and tomato puree and stir until well combined.
  • Add in garlic powder, basil, rosemary, sea salt, italian seasoning, ground red pepper and stir well.
  • Lastly, add chia seeds, stirring to combine.
  • Allow sauce to simmer on low heat for at least 10 minutes.

Serve over whole wheat thin spaghetti with a sprinkling of Angela’s vegan parmesan and a side of sprouted bread slathered with Earth Balance and garlic powder and toasted in the oven until slightly crispy.

Mexican look out – italian just might be moving in for good!

How did your family handle dinnertime when you were growing up?  Did you eat around the table like me?  Was it family night around the TV? Do share – I love hearing how other families live!

**Also, don’t forget to enter ChiaSeedMe’s one year anniversary giveaway for some chia seeds or a special secret care package of my favorite little things!  You can enter by clicking here or by clicking the button on my side bar.

a new member of the family

29 Dec


Can you guess what this is?!

If you said green smoothie, you are correct!

But it’s not just any green smoothie.  It’s a green smoothie that is extra smooth because it was made with the newest member of our little family, my new Vitamix!

It all started about a month ago when my food processor broke for the second time.  A broken food processor means no homemade hummus, no homemade nut butters…and that’s just the beginning.  My food processor is an attachment that goes on my blender, and considering my blender has been on its last leg for awhile, we figured it was time to upgrade asap.  Of course we could have just bought another blender like the one we’ve had, but what fun would that be?

Really though, I use my blender almost every day and sometimes twice a day, and at that rate we’re going to be replacing it and the food processor on at least a yearly basis.  Considering the Vitamix comes with a 7-year warranty, we figured we might as well bite the bullet now and we’ll come out better in the end!  All of this on top of the fact that both the husband and I just really really wanted one:)  So, for our joint Christmas present we ordered a refurbished one from the Vitamix website.  Oh, and it comes with the same warranty as a new one!

So far I’ve made the husband frozen coffee drinks in the morning and myself green smoothies of course.  But I’m excited to branch out and make some other things like soups.

Anyway, we finally headed home from south Texas on Sunday morning, but it turned into a longer trip than we planned!  But first, a recap.

Christmas morning we headed over to my father-in-law’s side of our family for pancakes and gifts.  It’s our yearly tradition to have a pancake breakfast and then open gifts together.  I decided to have a small bowl of Kashi cereal and soy milk before we went, and then I ended up eating about half a pancake.  We had a great time eating and hanging out with everyone.  We don’t get to see that side of our family very often, and it’s always so good to spend some time with them. We wish it could be more!

Sadly, Jon and I didn’t end up getting a picture with our Grandma McCoy, but here’s one of my brother-in-law and sister-in-law.

After all the McCoy festivities, we headed back over to my mother-in-law’s side of the family and spent the rest of the day there.  Thankfully my mother-in-law was feeling better by then, so we had Christmas there that night!  If I was still keeping track, I’m pretty sure this would be about Christmas #5?  Can’t have too many I suppose!  Anyway, great fun was had by all as always.  My MIL, aunt and grammy had cooked up several games with prizes for the winners.

Luckily for each game they had pre-determined who would win the prize (s) for that game.  For instance, when we played wii bowling, they had decided that first place and last place would both win prizes.  Last place never felt so good:)  I won a remote control car! ha!

Remote control modes of transportation were very popular this year – there ended up being a remote control car and 2 remote control helicopters.  Crowd favorites they were:)  My brother-in-law had already received a remote control helicopter for Christmas a couple of weeks ago, and he ended up winning both of them this weekend as well.  I surprised myself (and everyone else) by how much of a kick I got out of those little helicopters, and he ended up giving me one of them.  Love that guy:)  Jon and I have been having a little too much fun with it the last couple of days.  If you’re like I was you’re probably thinking how dumb that is…but don’t knock it ’till you try it.  I promise, they’re addicting.

We also had great food.  I didn’t get a picture of my plate, but I had some roasted potatoes, fresh green beans, some bread and an Amy’s burrito.  What?   A girls gotta have some protein.

And then came dessert.  I had been eyeing my dessert all day as it sat in the fridge.

Best food part of my weekend, hands down!  I love caramel apples and hardly ever have them (who does?).  I ended up eating about half of this one.  Oooooh, it was goooood.

Sunday morning Jon and I got up bright and early so we could get on the road and make it back to Oklahoma by 6 o’clock for my cousins birthday party.  It was going to be a stretch, but we thought we’d be able to make it.

And then I lost my wallet.

The husband realized right before we were about to leave that my wallet was not in my purse.  So, an all out search ensued, but turned up nothing.  After brainstorming for awhile we guessed that maybe it had fallen out of my purse at the candlelight service two nights before. We called the church, and then waited on pins and needles for them to call back.  About 20 minutes later, they finally called back with the good news that my wallet had been found!  The bad news was that the person who found it was now in church and still had the wallet.  Also random was that it was a relative of the family.  Weird right?  Anyway, we tried calling her and texting her, but she wasn’t responding so we basically just had to wait it out.  As soon as the service let out we were able to get it back, but by then we were running almost an hour late getting on the road.

We still thought we might be able to make it but over the next four hours, between the traffic and me not feeling well we decided that it just wasn’t in the cards.  We were also so exhausted…we both felt like we simply could not keep our eyes open, and five more hours on the road seemed like no less than torture.  So, we decided to stop and stay the night in Dallas.  Upon arriving there, we headed straight to our favorite Dallas hotel and took a two hour nap.

This isn’t our actual room, I was so tired I forgot to take pictures so I got these from google images.  It looked basically the same though.  We love Aloft hotels and highly recommend it in any city!  And they’re pet friendly, so Olive was able to tag along.

After our two hour nap we found some dinner, ending up a mexican restaurant – shocker I know.  I was so out of it I went with a cheese enchilada and ended up regretting it.  I guess I was just feeling so tired and lazy I didn’t take the time or energy to figure out a vegan option.  I almost always regret it when I do that because I never feel well afterward…but I’m not perfect and I’m finally learning to accept that.  Onward and upward.

After dinner we headed back to the hotel and fell asleep watching Sleepless in Seattle.  The next morning we both woke up feeling refreshed and ready to hit the road and get home.  Jon had a lot of Outbox work to do, including some calls that had to be made by 5pm, so it was kind of a mad dash to get back home.  We made a quick stop at Whole foods, where I replenished my Amazing Grass stash and also got a fresh juice.

I like to think I’m pretty tough when it comes to juices, but I have to be honest, this one was kind of hard to get down.  Not sure if it was the wheat grass in it or what, but I just kept telling myself how much my body would appreciate it.  And I kept reminding myself of how much it cost.  And I think my body did appreciate it, especially after the shenanigans of the night before.  The husband also got a slice of breakfast pizza, and we stopped at Starbucks and I got a perfect oatmeal.

We finally got back home at about 4pm and spent the rest of the night working on stuff and unpacking.  I felt kind of bummed that Christmas was over, but it definitely felt good to be back home too.  The last couple of days I’ve really been trying to get back on track.  While I planned ahead and made some really good choices while we were traveling, I also indulged a lot more than usual.  While there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s a slippery slope for me.  Anytime I get out of my healthy routine, I have a bit of trouble getting back in my groove.  It’s definitely time to get back in my groove.  I’ll be posting more about what I’ve done to stay sane and healthy while traveling this past week as well as what I’m doing to get back on track soon!

Thanks to everyone for reading and all the sweet comments you’ve left over the last several days.  I haven’t been able to keep up with my favorite blogs at all, but I’m looking forward to catching up with everyone in the next couple of days!  Hope you’re all having a great week and looking forward to the new year!

merry christmas eve

24 Dec

Merry Christmas Eve!!

This morning I slept in and then headed out for a quick walk/jog around the neighborhood. It felt good to get my blood flowing.

Afterward, I enjoyed a bowl of cereal and soy milk.  I wanted to add banana, but the bowl was really shallow, and there simply wasn’t enough room!

Kashi Go Lean Crunch mixed with Shredded Wheat n Bran

For lunch I had an Amy’s bean and rice burrito plus a few of Jonathan’s curly fries.  Today I’ve popped a few too many chocolate covered almonds in my mouth.  They taste so good going down – I love those things. Every year Jon’s grammy has chocolate covered almonds and chocolate covered cashews…and every year I eat one too many:)  It’s become my yearly tradition. haha.  When I have been eating super clean I find that even the smallest bit of junk food makes me stomach feel edgy.  Sometimes it’s just worth it though. sometimes.

Hopefully I’ll be able to settle it for dinner tonight! The family is getting fried fish from a local restaurant that everyone loves, so I’ll be baking some sweet potato rounds and some broccoli.  That should do the trick:)

We’re getting ready to head to a candlelight Christmas Eve service, and I’m so looking forward to it.  I haven’t been to one in a few years, but I really love them.  I’m hoping for lots of hymns and Christmas songs ’cause I haven’t had enough of those this year.  And also looking forward to a little down time spent focusing on my Savior.  Definitely hasn’t been enough of that!

Before I go, here’s the gingerbread recipe I promised.  If you’re looking for an ultra soft, perfectly spiced gingerbread that is just right for cookie cuttering, then look no further!

Vegan Gingerbread Cookies
recipe found here


  • 1 cup Earth Balance
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 EnerG Egg Replacer egg
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg


  • In a large bowl, cream together the Earth Balance and sugar until well combined.
  • Add in “egg”, molasses and vinegar.  Set aside.
  • In a medium sized bowl combine all the remaining ingredients by sifting them together.  Organic cane sugar tends to clump together, so it’s very important to sift it in with the other ingredients.
  • Add dry mixture into Earth Balance mixture and mix thoroughly.
  • Place dough in the refrigerator and allow it to firm up for about 2 hours.
  • After dough has become firm, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Flour a large, hard surface and rolling pin before rolling dough out to about 1/4 inch thick.  Use cookie cutters to cut dough into shapes before placing them on a greased baking sheet and baking for 6-8 minutes.  Do not overcook.  Cookies will become more firm after being taken out of the oven.

Decorate with colored icing or enjoy plain with a hot cup of tea – a perfect Christmas treat:)

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!!

What are you doing to celebrate this Christmas eve?

hello from texas

23 Dec


Well, we’re finally in south Texas!

On Tuesday we left home and headed to my hometown to see my grandma and grandpa.  We went and grabbed some dinner with them and then ended the night at their house opening gifts together!  It was such a great time spending the evening with them – it’s not everyday we get them all to ourselves;)

It was also a perfect example of how sometimes there are sacrifices involved when eating vegetarian/vegan.  There are a lot of ways to plan ahead and avoid less than ideal food situations, but sometimes there’s just not much you can do.  The restaurant we went to was mexican, and I wasn’t too worried about it because usually mexican restaurants have options – I usually go for black bean tacos (just ask them to sub out beans for meat) or veggie fajitas.  But this particular restaurant didn’t have black beans and their refriend beans and rice were not vegetarian.  They did have fajitas, but they were twelve dollars and I just couldn’t bear to spend that much.  So I went with the guacamole and ate it with a flour tortilla and some chips.  I wasn’t there for the food anyway:)

Anyway, the next morning we got up fairly early and hit the road, heading south.

After a long, but fun day of driving, we finally arrived in south Texas around ten o’clock.  We started out at about nine thirty in the morning and ended up in Dallas around one o’clock where we stopped at the mall to make some exchanges and grab some lunch.

For Christmas my mom gave me running shorts from Lululemon (insert excited squeal:), but after trying them on I decided I needed a different size.  I have to admit it was so hard to go in the store and not want to buy ten other things, but thankfully I resisted.  I did get my shorts exchanged though, and I can’t wait to wear them – they’re my first pair of running shorts from there, and I’ll definitely do a review over them soon!

For lunch I grabbed a salad from one of those salad places I love so much.  Sadly, this particular one just did not measure up – they didn’t chop up everything in the salad before putting it into the bowl, so there were giant leaves of lettuce, giant nuts, giant artichoke hearts (I broke them up into pieces myself) etc.  I was a bit disappointed, but o’well.   The rosemary roll that came with it pretty much made up for it though – it was delicious!

After lunch and shopping we got back on the road for the last five hours of our trip.  Here is a little hello from the road that I tried to post yesterday, but due to the remote country roads of south Texas, it didn’t quite work out like I planned:)

As you can hear we jammed out to the husband’s new Sarah Bareilles CD, which we both happen to love, and the trip went by fairly quickly.

First things first this morning, I headed out for a quick speed walk, just to get my blood flowing a little bit.  I have to be really careful when we’re visiting family for an extended period of time.  If I don’t make a point to get some exercise and eat well I end up not enjoying our time here quite as much and I go home feeling less than stellar.  So, after my walk, I showered and headed to the store to get some healthy food to have around.

Just the basics…you know:)  Later we stopped by the store again and I grabbed a sweet potato, some broccoli and squash and a couple of Amy’s frozen burritos.  This is a meat/seafood eating family, so I always need something on hand for meals. I really wish I had grabbed a couple cans of Amy’s soup from the health food store before leaving town.  It really like it a lot better than the frozen foods, but I can’t find them here, so I’ll make due!  I usually plan ahead so much more, but I just completely ran out of time this year.

Anyway, today has been a fun first day – we’ve gotten to see a lot of family and just enjoy spending time hanging out.  Unfortunately my MIL is really sick and we ended up in the emergency room with her for a little while this afternoon.  She seems to be feeling a little better tonight, and I’m praying she wakes up feeling better tomorrow.

For dinner tonight we stopped by the best little restaurant – Geo Burrito – have you heard of it?  It’s basically kind of like Chipotle or Qdoba, but I think it’s even better.  Any mexican restaurant that offers brown rice and vegetarian refriend beans is a win in my book:)

I ordered a bowl with brown rice, refried beans, black beans, corn, lettuce, pico, salsa and guacamole

I seriously wish we could get this place in Oklahoma.  The guy who works at Chipotle told me the other day that they’ll be getting brown rice soon.  I haven’t seen it yet, though, so I’m not holding my breath:)

Anyway, before I go I wanted show you guys the cookie cutters I used for the sugar cookies and gingerbread men since several readers have asked about them. I bought the set of at William Sonoma, and even though I debated about the purchase for a half hour in the store that night, I definitely have not regretted buying them.  I love using them, and it has been so fun to personalize cookies for Christmas gifts!

They are super easy to use and even easier to clean.

As you can see, the set comes with premade phrases as well as all the letters in the alphabet plus extras of the most common letters.  You simply slide the letters you want to use into the grooves and then use it like you would any other cookie cutter – it’s that simple!

It seems that they are all sold out online, but I’m sure they still have them in the stores.  There is also a set that is not Christmas related that could be used year round!  I may have to splurge on those as well:)

Halley mentioned that she spotted them the other day and bought them as a last minute Chrismtas gift for her mom – what a great idea!

And while we’re on the subject of the cookies, I’ll be posting the recipe for the delicious vegan gingerbread cookie recipe tomorrow – you have to make them if you like gingerbread at all.  They are soft and chewy with just the perfect amount of gingerbread flavor – perfect for Christmas afternoon with a cup of hot tea:)

Only two days left until Christmas – hope you are all enjoying every moment!

By the way, don’t forget to stop by Ecolissa and use the 20% discount offered to ChiaSeedMe readers!  Use code “vegan20” to get your discount.

note: I am not being compensated in any way by William Sonoma – I simply love them and wanted to share!

christmas number two

21 Dec

Happy Christmas week!

I got up yesterday feeling like Christmas was already over, and I had to remind myself that there is still almost a week of fun still to go:)

On Sunday we went to my mom and step-dad’s.  Saturday night I had done so much baking and cooking…I was worn out by the time we got there!  We still had such a great time though.  There really is nothing like going home for the holidays, you know?

My mom had already cooked a full Christmas dinner on Saturday for the other side of their family, and she worked so hard to cook one for us as well.

And especially once I added the dishes I brought, there definitely was not a lack of food.  It was great!

vegan broccoli casserole – I liked it, but no one else did.  I’d call that a successful failure I suppose:)

vegan garlic knots that were amazing (in my humble opinion of course:)

vegan pumpkin brownie pie – I made this at Thanksgiving, but this time I made it in pie form and loved it just as much!!

and gingerbread cookies!  I made one for each person with a little hint on it:)


and my plate at dinner – I couldn’t resist a little bit of mom’s mashed potatoes.  Other than that I filled my plate with all vegan delicious food, and I honestly didn’t miss a thing- vegan broccoli casserole, pumpkin seed salad, vegan garlic bread, and quinoa pilaf.

I’ll be posting recipes and more pics of everything I made in the coming week!

It wasn’t just about the food though of course.  We had a great time just hanging out, listening to music, and of course opening gifts!

Olive and her Christmas present from her Aunt Cristen:)

I’m so thankful to have been able to enjoy another Christmas with my family – now we still have 2 more to go as we head down to south Texas this week!  This morning I am running around like a crazy person trying to get Christmas cards mailed out, Outbox client gifts finished up, gifts taken to my tutoring students (I made them gingerbread cookies as well:), laundry done and everything packed!  It will indeed be a miracle if we make it out of here by our estimated leave time of 3pm, but we’re sure as heck going to try!

Tonight we’re headed to my Grandpa and Grandma’s to see them for a little bit and give them their gifts.  It is always sad for me when I’m not at my Grandma’s house on Christmas, but I am also really looking forward to seeing our McCoy side grandma’s.  We’re spending the night at my mom’s tonight and then heading out Wednesday morning!

I’ll see you guys tomorrow!

Hope you’re all having a great week!

p.s. Sorry if this post seems a little……high strung.  That’s kind of me right now:)

christmas number one

13 Dec

Well, I have to say that McCoy family Christmas weekend was an epic success.

We started the weekend off strong on Friday night when my mother-in-law announced that there would be intermittent BINGO going on all weekend – with prizes to boot!  At random moments one of my parents-in-law would make the call “it’s BINGO time!” at which point we’d all gather round for a chance to win.

This is my mother-in-law completely in her element – bingo by her side

and a grab bag of prizes just within reach:)  love it!

Saturday morning we got up first thing and got to cookin’!  It has become a yearly tradition for us to make meals for older folks in the church and then take them with us as we go caroling from house to house.

This year we made bean soup, corn bread and banana bread.  The phrase “how many McCoys does it take to _____” was thrown out a lot throughout the morning:)

Another important event on Saturday was the celebration of my MIL’s birthday! So so thankful for her:)

the original mccoy family:)

After a couple hours of visiting and caroling, we headed back to the house to get dinner ready.  I am the only vegetarian in the family, so many times I will either just eat the sides that are made or I’ll roast up a batch of veggies.  I went with the latter this weekend, and even threw in some potatoes and edamame.  Protein, check! Carbs, check! Veggies, check, check!

I coated them with a mix of olive oil and random seasonings.  Unfortunately I went a little heavy on the red pepper, but other than that they were pretty good!

While we enjoyed dinner, little Miss Olive enjoyed chewing on her new favorite toy given to her by her grandparents:)

And then it was time for gifts.  My mother-in-law completely goes over the top with the gifts – she and my father-in-law do so much for us.  It’s seriously outrageous.  We had a great time – I love getting to watch people open gifts…so fun.  And opening some myself wasn’t bad either I suppose:)

Unfortunately my mother-in-law had a bit of hard time this weekend because on Thursday night she was rooting around in her closet for something and a five pound dumbbell fell and landed on two of her toes.  I felt so bad for her…I think she was in more pain than she would let on…but of course it didn’t stop her from serving all of us all weekend.  It’s just who she is:)  I hope I can be as sweet and selfless as she is when I have children someday.

All in all it was a great Christmas with the family.  It’s kind of nice to have one Christmas done, but still have almost two weeks of Christmas fun to go…I like it!

Merry Christmas from us! Jon, Candice and Olive

Olive refused to look at the camera.  I think she was a little bitter about the sweater.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Stay tuned tomorrow for round three of the perfect vegan sugar cookie + a discount offered from one of the coolest online boutique stores around!

happy day

9 Dec

Happy Birthday to the best sister in the world…

taken 3 years ago in Thailand: my sister and I on her birthday with two of our favorite Thai friends, P’Dew and P’Nong

Love you!

Also, happy 2 year vegetarian birthday to me!

Getting better all the time:)

(go here if you’re interested in hearing more about why I eat the way I do)

yesterday, i drank tea

6 Dec


How was your weekend? Mine was pretty great – it’s really hard to not have a good weekend during this time of year methinks.  I know it’s not the happiest time of year for everyone out there, which makes me so sad.  This year I’m really trying to be thankful in every moment. One of the best moments was Saturday night, when the husband and I cruised around OKC looking at Christmas lights.  There’s an area of town where the houses are huge and breathtaking, and every year it seems they have a competition to see who can put up the most extravagant lights!

The husband and I spent much of Saturday out and about, finishing up our Christmas shopping for the McCoy side of our family.  We do a small Christmas with this side a couple of weeks early, and it’s this weekend.  I can’t believe it’s almost already here!  I’m so excited – and I’m even more excited now that we got our shopping done…nothing like waiting ’till the last minute.  We actually still have to pick up one more thing this week, but otherwise the next few days will be about wrapping, baking and packing.  I’m looking very forward to two of these.

While we were shopping, we got distracted for a little bit in the Teavana store.  Have you been to one?  I’m loving tea more and more everyday lately, and I’ve been eying several different loose leaf teapots for awhile now.  I finally splurged and got one!  I’m feeling a tinge bad about spending money on myself right before Christmas, but I’m happy that I’ll have my favorite loose leaf tea to drink throughout the holidays!  In my defense I probably wouldn’t have bought it for myself had the husband not insisted…but that’s neither here nor there I suppose.  I do have a pretty sweet husband though:) just sayin.

So yesterday, I drank tea.  And a lot of it.

Here’s she is!  Well, most of her anyway.  This is what she looks like all ready to be filled with water and popped in the microwave.

After removing her from the microwave – she now has the tea sieve (not sure if that’s what you call it?) back in

prepare one teaspoon of tea

and dump it in

now we wait

and wait

and wait

and now the best part – we pour!

I’m obsessed with this little teapot, so expect to see a lot of it!  The coolest part is that you can steep the same tea leaves up to 3 times within a 24 hour period – when you consider that, the price isn’t bad at all!

Aside from drinking tea, upon my dear husband’s initiation, we also cleaned out our long overdue fridge.  The kind of clean out where you remove every last thing, take out the shelves and scrub.  It wasn’t pretty.  I think it’s one of the worst jobs, but also one of the most rewarding.  Afterwards, I finally went to the store and stocked up on food for this week – I got lots of stuff for juicing (organic carrots, tomatoes, beets, kale, apples, cucumbers, bell pepper) as well as ingredients for Vegetarian chili and homemade vegan cornbread. But not just for us.

Tonight we’ll be stopping by our friends’ house to take them chili and cornbread.  They just had a baby last week, and I can’t wait to get my hands on that baby girl (Carissa, if you read this, don’t be freaked out:).  I debated for about 5 seconds over whether to take them a vegetarian meal, since they are not vegetarian.  But one thought about having to handle beef, and the decision was made.  I decided on chili because I think it’s a vegetarian meal that many meat eaters will love.  You can bulk it up with lots of beans, veggies, and spices, and they won’t miss a thing!

I’ll be back tonight with recipes for chili and cornbread – and hopefully some irresistible baby pics!

Are you more of a tea drinker or a coffee drinker?

How would you feel if someone brought you a meal that was vegetarian (if you’re not)?  Would that bother you?

food, family and lots of fun

30 Nov


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!