Tag Archives: green monster

to buy grass? or not to buy grass…

7 Dec

It was a sad moment this morning when I discovered this

No more grass:(  I’m still deciding which breaks my heart more – the picture above or paying twenty five big ones to restock.  hmmm.  I’ll have to think about that one.  And I’ll have a few days to figure it out since I can only get more in the city, which won’t be until Friday.

I was able to scrape the cannister enough to have one last grass-filled green smoothie.

It’s seriously cold in these parts today – there’s even a chance of snow flurries later on.  A girl can only hope!

I do have to admit that green monsters are getting less enticing day by bitter cold day.  I have to bundle up tight to be able to enjoy it. It’s so worth every little chill bump, though.   I really love mixing up my breakfasts and trying new things, but nothing makes me feel as awake and energized as one of these.

In other news, unfortunately I do not have any baby pics to show you today.  We didn’t stay at our friends’ house for long before we had to rush off to have dinner with the Korean couple that I tutor.  I didn’t even get to hold her, which I was kind of bummed about…but maybe next time:)  It was still fun to get to see her and catch up with our friends for a few minutes – we hadn’t talked to them since they had her, so we got to hear the short version of her birth story and all about how parenting is treating them so far.  They were so happy; it was sweet:)

I spent the last part of the afternoon making a crock-pot full of vegetarian chili and some homemade cornbread muffins to take to them.  It smelled so good in my kitchen all afternoon – it was all I could do not to snag a bowl!

Vegetarian Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can corn, no salt added
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 3/4 can tomato puree
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • ground red pepper, to taste

Directions

  • Add all ingredients to crock-pot and mix well.  Turn heat to low and allow to simmer for at least 2 hours.

This was a very basic recipe, similar to soups/chilies I’ve made before.  That’s what’s so grand about it though…it’s so easy to make and it warms you from the inside out.

And you can’t have chili on a cold night without cornbread muffins.  I found this vegan version here, and I didn’t change much about it, just a few minor tweaks.  It was pretty good, but next time I think I would tweak it some more….maybe add a bit more sweetener, like some agave or something?  I’d also like to try using part spelt/whole wheat flour.

While this muffin was a tad bland on it’s own, it was delicious with Earth Balance spread on it.  I didn’t eat any chili since we were taking it to our friends, but I’m sure this would also be awesome crumbled on top of the chili.

Vegan Corn Muffins

Ingredients

  • 3 tsp egg replacer
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Spray a 12 muffin tin or use muffin liners.
  • In a small bowl, combine egg replacer and 1/4 cup water.  Whisk until well combined and set aside.
  • In a medium sized bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Mix well.
  • Add egg mixture, olive oil and water to dry mixture and mix until smooth.
  • Fill each muffin tin with batter.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Slather with Earth Balance or enjoy crumbled over a hot bowl of chili.

Dinner with our Korean friends was great last night, too!  I look at all of my tutoring students as great friends, and sometimes it seems weird to me that only a matter of months ago, I had never met them! Today is my first day to meet with my new 4th grade Korean student.  I don’t get to hang out with kids very often anymore, so I’m really looking forward to it.

I’m off to plan my yoga and PiYo class and then meet up with my friend Grace for lunch.  We’re going to my favorite sandwich place today…I can already taste that heavenly bread….mmmmm.

Hope you all have a fantastic day!

What is your favorite splurge item that it kills you to spend the money on, but you just can’t bring yourself to not buy it?

decisions, decisions

21 Sep

Thanks so much for the well wishes yesterday.  I’m very happy to report that I’m feeling much better today.

I started out this morning with a 4 mile run.  Sadly I forgot to plug in the Garmin last night, but the husband came through for us by suggesting we use the Map My Run iPhone app.  It worked like a charm!  If you’re ever in a pinch, try it out.  It doesn’t tell you a lot of details, but it does tell you your average pace, distance, time, and it maps as you run.  Not bad for free, right?

Anyway, once we got home I had a green monster for breakfast before doing a run through of my yoga class.

lots of spinach, 1/2 banana, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1/2 scoop Amazing Grass, 1.25 cup almond milk, ice

There really is just nothing that compares to an ice cold green monster in the morning…really there isn’t.

By the time I got ready for the day and then enjoyed an hour of yoga, it was time to go meet my friend, Grace, for our weekly lunch.  Definitely one of the highlights of my week!  We went to my favorite little cafe, Cafe Bella. If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ve seen this sandwich many a time before…but I just can’t resist getting the same thing.  The one time I branched out I regretted it, and since then have clung dearly to my staple.

grilled veggie panini with hummus

I spent this afternoon working on Outbox tasks and laundry.  Definitely one of my favorite parts of working from home is being able to stay on top of household tasks throughout the day.  I’m really quite the domestic diva;)

Snack break!

grapes

cinnamon raisin Ezekiel muffin with natural peanut butter

I also ended up having a small mug of Kashi Go Lean Crunch with almond milk later in the afternoon.  I am like a bottomless pit today!

Tonight Jon and I decided to turn off work for a few hours and just hang out.  We hardly ever watch TV…but tonight one of our favorite shows premiered for the fall season.  How many of you watch The Biggest Loser?  We are huge fans.  And I have to admit, part of my love stems from my love for Jillian.  Don’t you just wish you could carry her around in your pocket all day? Or not;)

Anyway, I never fail to feel inspired after watching an episode of TBL.  I think it’s going to be a really good season.  The only thing I didn’t like about tonight was the way they chose the contestants.  They went from city to city, and at each stop they picked 3 people; however, those 3 people had to compete in their first challenge in order to decide which 2 got to actually go on the show.  The other person had to go home.  One of the challenges was a 1 mile run in which the first two people to finish won.  I felt that the most unhealthy person, the one who needed the most help was of course the one to lose on every challenge.  I just thought it was kind of silly.  I’m sure there was a reason for it, but you’d think they’d want the most unhealthy person to be chosen.  I guess that’s the way the show goes, too, though.  If you watched tonight, what did you think?

For dinner Jon and I had the bright idea of making quesadillas.  Unfortunately, by the time I was all psyched up for it, we realized we were out of soy cheese.  Enter sad face.

For some uncharacteristic reason, I decided to just have regular cheese on mine.  I think I might have been from Mexico in a different life. Not even kidding.  It’s like I get in the zone…and my eyes glaze over at the mention of mexican food.  Kind of scary, really.  Anyway, it wasn’t that big of a deal, but afterward I did wish I had made a different choice.  Isn’t that always the way it goes?  Onward and upward, though.  Perfectionism will not get the best of me:)

I’m definitely not going to kid myself by saying they didn’t taste good.  The husband knows how to make a mean quesadilla.  Mine had cheese, vegetarian refried beans, chopped onions, and diced green chilies. mmm.

I’ve got a busy day ahead tomorrow – the usual Outbox work,  3 tutoring appointments and a yoga class await me!  My newest tutoring student, Nada, is a little bit high maintenance…which I guess she has every right to be.  She wants to learn strictly grammar…and she wants the hard core stuff.  She catches on really fast and asks lots of questions – definitely keeps me on my toes!  She’s also quite the talker.  At the end of our last appointment she started talking and ended telling me everything from how to not get taken advantage of at Disney World (what?) to how to get a job in Dubai.  45 minutes later, I was walking to my car in a daze.  I’m going to have to reign her in tomorrow though, or else I’ll be late to yoga.  Doesn’t look to good when the instructor’s late!

Okay, now I’m starting to act like Nada:)  I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

P.S.  I don’t want to bug you guys, but if you feel so inclined, please drop by and vote for me in Project Food Blog – you can check out my entry and vote here.  Thank you so so much to those of you who already voted.  You guys are the best!

let's clear things up

14 Sep

Hello!

This morning…I juiced.

But before that I went on a 3.5 mile run.  It was a decent run – not the best I’ve ever had, but certainly not bad.  I love those moments when I hit a high in the middle of my run, whether caused by my current tune, something to do with the scenery or just a good strong and steady stride, it’s just so sweet.  We didn’t make great time – I think we finished in about 38 minutes, but I’ve just been less worried about time lately.  I would honestly rather just enjoy running than be super worried about how fast I’m going.

Anyway, so I came home and showered and then got to juicing.  I know I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had switched cleansers to Burt’s Bees because I wanted to start using all natural skin care.  I’ll be doing a full review on it later as I want to give it a little more time before I form a final opinion.  One thing I don’t think I mentioned before is that I felt like it was a good time for me to make the switch because I was having some serious breakouts on my face.  I haven’t had a problem with breakouts since high school, and I’m not really sure what’s going on.  But I figured since my face was already broken out, it would be a good time to change my skin care system, since switching can often trigger a breakout. Might as well get it all over with at once.

Not sure that was the best idea.  I’ve been using Burt’s Bees for about 2 weeks now, and my face has progressively gotten worse.  I honestly don’t think that BB is specifically the problem.  I think there was already a problem, and so far BB just hasn’t miraculously cleared up my skin.  It has gotten so bad, though, that I finally called the other day and set up an appointment with the dermatologist.  I’m seriously feeling desperate!

Anyway, I woke up this morning and was washing my face when it occurred to me that I should really try every natural remedy I can think of before I end up with a prescription cream of some sort that is full of chemicals and most likely expensive on top of that.  After just a little bit of researching I came up with a few ideas that I’m going to begin implementing.

  • Drink a lot more water – I drink water with most meals, but often forget to drink it in between
  • Eat more raw foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds (read: lots of juices, green smoothies and salads)
  • Eliminate (with a few exceptions) refined sugar and coffee
  • More yoga – yes, I think this matters.  It helps relieve stress and tension, which has a positive effect on my skin
  • Not wearing makeup whenever possible – this is kind of a catch 22 because I want to avoid makeup so my skin can breathe and begin to clear up, but I also have more of a desire to wear it because my face is so broke out.  Not sure exactly how to handle this other than I won’t be wearing makeup anytime I’m at home
  • Continue to wash morning and night with Burt’s Bees
  • Use tea tree oil on blemishes
  • Stop touching my face! I have a bad habit of doing this.

I just felt so compelled today to do whatever I can to take care of this problem.

Breakfastleafy greens + 1 beet + 1 carrot + 3 celery stalks + 1 apple + small piece of garlic = one amazing juice

After my juice, I did an hour yoga session.  I’m learning to turn my planning for classes into awesome classes for myself. I pulled out all the stops, even using my lavender scented cloth:)  A couple of hours later I had a snack plate.

Newman’s Own spelt pretzels

natural almond butter

homemade salsa

carrots and celery sticks

And for lunch I opted for a green smoothie.  This contained 2 handfuls of spinach, 1 container of soy yogurt (we’re out of almond milk), 2 heaping tablespoons Vega Shake and Go Smoothie, half a banana, 1 tbsp chia seeds and ice.

For an afternoon snack I veered from raw and ate up a cinnamon raisin Ezekiel english muffin with 1 tbsp almond butter.

Plus I drank lots and lots of water all day long!  Many trips to the bathroom ensued.

For dinner Jon and I grabbed salads from Chipotle on our way to buy groceries.  Mine included lettuce, black beans, grilled veggies, 3 kinds of salsa and guacamole of course!

Overall I already feel much better today.  Even though I can’t tell a difference on my face yet, it feels good to know that I’m going everything I can.  I would love to be able to cancel that dermatologist appointment in a week.

Well, now that I’ve laid out all my problems for the world to see, I must be headed to bed;)

Question: have you ever had problems with your skin, whether acne or something else?  Any ideas for natural treatments?

asian food rocks

4 Aug

for lack of a better title..lol.

Hi!

Thanks for the sweet and encouraging comments on this morning’s post.  You guys are so great:)

It’s funny how the blog community works – I am so freaking excited for Caitlin, and I’ve never even actually met her!  At least not yet.  I’m really looking forward to Healthy Living Summit for that reason…among many others.  It has been such a fun day of seeing so much support from everyone and all the Operation Beautiful posts that have gone up.  I’m loving it!  Don’t forget to tune into the Today Show tomorrow morning at 8:30am to see Caitlin talk about the book!

Today has been so crazy!  Sadly, Jon and I did not get outside for our run this morning.  We stayed up so late working last night and just couldn’t pull ourselves out of bed this morning.  It is for that very reason that I must make this quick!  So I can actually get some sleep tonight.

Even after we finally got up, I still felt like I was dragging so I whipped up an energizing green monster.

2 handfuls of spinach, 1.25 cups soy milk, 1/2 scoop Amazing Grass, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1/2 banana, ice

After a couple of hours of writing, it was due time for a snack!

Ezekiel bread with homemade Classic Garlic Hummus

Today was my weekly lunch date with my sweet friend, Grace.  We met at Qdoba.  I ordered the vegetarian salad with black bean and corn salsa, grilled veggies, black beans, pico, verde salsa and guacamole.

I promise there is lettuce under there;)

It was just meh.  I have come to like Chipotle so much better than Qdoba.  It is good to change it up occasionally, though.

After lunch I worked on some Outbox tasks for awhile, and then it was time to get crackin’ on my photography class.  It actually started on Monday, but today was the first time I really studied for it.  Every week there is an online lesson and then a homework assignment.  My assignment isn’t due until Sunday night, but there is a live chat with the instructors tomorrow, so I wanted to make sure and be prepared for any questions I might come up with while shooting!  I’m so excited about this.  Today I learned about all the parts/settings of my camera, aperture and shutter speed.

I literally spent about 3 hours studying, taking one short snack break of course:)

recycled photo.  You guys know I’m obsessed with this snack.  I can’t help myself!

Anyway, I wrapped it up and flew out the door just in time for yoga. It was a great class as always, but also the last chance for me to talk to my instructor before I teach on Friday morning.  I’m getting so nervous, y’all!  I’m definitely feeling more confident about it than I did this time last week, but it’s still so nerve wracking.  I can’t wait to accomplish this, though.  I’ve dreamed of being a fitness instructor for so long…and it’s finally happening:)

Dinner tonight was fun and easy!  We decided to copy a dish that we used to eat a lot in Thailand – stir fried rice.

Tempeh Stir Fried Rice

Ingredients

1 cup dry brown rice
1.75 cups water
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/2 block tempeh
2 organic, free-range eggs
3 tbsp gluten free organic teriyaki sauce
2 tsp olive oil

Directions

1.  Bring water to a boil.  Add rice and lower to a simmer for about 10 minutes or until all water is absorbed.
2.  Meanwhile, add 2 tsp oil to wok or skillet.  Toss in green onion and tempeh and heat through.
3.  Add two eggs and continue to stir fry until eggs are cooked.
4.  Add rice and 3 tbsp teriyaki sauce and mix everything together well.

I served mine with a side of sauteed brussel sprouts, seasoned with garlic powder and ground red pepper

Delicious!  I loved this meal.  It really took me back to our days in SE Asia.  I’ll definitely be making this again.

Well, folks, I’m off to bed!  I’m already getting a late start.  Tomorrow is a big day – my last day to prepare for PiYo and my first photo class instructor chat.  Yay!

What’s your favorite type of food? It’s no secret that Mexican food = my life.  But I do love me some asian food as well!

it's race time!

25 Jul

Hey guys!

Hope you all had a great Sunday and that you’re ready for the week ahead!  Thank you all for your suggestions and opinions on the dresses this morning. They were really helpful in my decision!

I’m crazy.

And a bit indecisive.  Okay, a lot indecisive.  But I’m working on it.

I ended up ordering the cream Modcloth dress in two different sizes, the pink and gray Modcloth dress and the black and white Modcloth.  If you couldn’t tell, I really love vintage modern style, and I just decided that those three were more “me” than the black one I bought on Friday.  I’ll be waiting until after the Modcloth ones arrive before returning it though, just in case none of them fit well enough.

Oh, and I’ll be returning all but ONE of the Modcloth dresses.

Really I will;)

I just ordered all of them so I’d have a high chance of getting one that fits.

Rewinding to this morning, Jon and I dragged ourselves hopped out of bed at an early 5:30am this morning to go on our first training run!

We have decided to train for and run this race on November 21st. Jonathan has been creating the design (tshirts, medals, signage etc) for this race for the past 6 months, and we’ve been leaning toward running it, but finally made the decision to go for it yesterday.

We’re planning on going for our 2nd full marathon (1st full marathon recap here). But we are recognizing that there may come a point where we have to drop to the half. As much as we want to do the full, we’re a little worried about time.  Jonathan’s boss (at his 9-5 job) will be going on maternity leave starting in September, which will leave Jon to manage the entire department by himself.  Add on his second job (Outbox), and that doesn’t leave much time/energy for training!

So we may end up doing the half, but we’ll see!  This morning we started training as if we’re running the full by pounding out a full 6 miles.  I’ve mentioned a couple of times lately how hard just 3 miles has become for me.  This morning proved that it really is all about perspective. We set out to run 6 miles, and we ran 6 miles.  With flying colors I might add.  We felt great the entire run and out last mile was our strongest.  Can’t beat that!

Here is the elevation chart for our 6 miles.

Total ascent = 138 feet  (those were some serious hills!)
Total time = 1:03
Avg pace = 10:18 per mile
Fastest pace = 8:33 per mile

As long as we’ve had our Garmin, I still haven’t sat down and figured out how to get our mile splits, but I’m definitely going to figure it out before our next run.

can you tell it was hot out??

we’re pretty excited:)

I feel so excited to be embarking on training for a marathon again.  There is just something so emotional for me when it comes to running long distances.  Jon and I have now run a half and a full (among other smaller races), and we always train together.  It’s such a great thing for us and really helps us to grow in our relationship methinks.

We always compare our marathon to our year in Thailand.  There were parts where we didn’t think we’d finish, but we helped pull each other through and were much better for it in the end.  I can’t wait to experience that again!!!

Now for some eats.

As soon as we got back from our run, I realized we were out of soy milk.  NOOOOO!

I absolutely had to have a green monster to follow the run, so off to the store we went – sweat and all!  Lucky for me the husband is sweet enough to run in for us so I didn’t have to subject all the nice Walmart people to my grossness.

Finally.

1.25 cups soymilk, 2 huge handfuls spinach, 1 scoop Amazing Grass, 1.5 tbsp chia seeds, 1/2 banana, 1 tbsp natural pb

This monster was huge!  Hence the stainless steel juicer cup:)

This held me over through Sunday School and church.  We got the chance to take Mohammad to church with us this morning, which was so fun!  He was really interested to see what the American church is like.  Of course we were happy to oblige, also praying that God would speak to his heart of course:)

After church I made up a quick black bean burger pita.

whole wheat pita, Morningstar black bean burger, spinach, broccoli slaw, hummus, guacamole and chia seeds

And then we passed out in bed.  For 3.5 hours!  I guess that run wore us out more than we realized! Bed seriously felt so good:)

veggie sub on 9 grain wheat – lettuce, tomato, onion, bell pepper, banana pepper, pickle with olive oil and oregano

I was in such a haze when we woke up that I just didn’t feel like pulling together anything for dinner, so we got free Subway!

Last Christmas we were in south Texas visiting Jon’s family and he found a $25 gift card for Subway in the middle of the road!  Obviously we don’t go to Subway much considering we still have money on it, but it totally hit the spot tonight.

Tomorrow I’m meeting my mom and she’s going to offer her moral support and manual labor to help me clean out my classroom.  I’m a little nervous because I’m thinking it’s going to be pretty emotional, but I’m ready to just get it over with and move on!

I’ll “see” you all tomorrow!

Have you ever run any races?  If so, what distances?  Feel free to leave a link to your race report!

For those of you who haven’t, are you interested in running races at all?

time to celebrate

16 Jul

Do you ever have one of those days where it just seems like you blink twice and the day is gone?

Today has been that kind of day!  Jon and I went for a little walk with the pups this morning after which I came back and gave some baths before heading back to the gym for some running and yoga.

He (my nephew) wasn’t too keen on holding still, so it’s a bit blurry:)

I also squeezed in 1/2 of a green monster before the gym

Jonathan brought me these purty flowers for our anniversary

For this monsta I used

3 handfuls of spinach
1 tbsp of chia seeds
1.25 cups almond milk
1 scoop Amazing Grass
leftover chocolate and peanut butter softserve from yesterday (about 1/3 cup)

As you know, yesterday was our 4 year wedding anniversary, and it was such a sweet sweet day:)  We planned on not making a big “to do” about it yesterday because we wanted to celebrate tonight!  We did, however, go out to lunch at our favorite little cafe, Cafe Bella.

I went with the Hummus wrap which was filled with hummus (obvs.:) tomato, greens, onions, cucumbers and feta

Honestly, it was just meh.  I like the sandwich I usually get from there much better.  I’m still glad I tried it though!

Last night we celebrated by making homemade black bean burgers and baked french fries.

Come back tomorrow to get the recipe!  I can assure you, it’s a keeper!

After dinner we spent the evening working on my banana split for the Foodbuzz Ultimate Banana Split Challenge

It may seem silly that we spent the evening of our anniversary making this beauty, but let me tell you – it was so fun!  From making the ice cream, making the coconut whipped cream to staging it all….we really enjoyed it.  We really love working on projects together, so I guess it makes sense!  I’ll be posting these how to’s tomorrow as well!

I must run now – because we’re doing our real celebration tonight!  Tell you all about it tomorrow!

Tomorrow is going to be a pretty full day it seems;)

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!!

trying to let go

2 Jul

Gosh, guys, I’m trying to write my resignation letter, and it feels like I’m going through this decision making process all over again.  My resignation is not official until the letter is sent to the Board, and they cannot post my job until then as well.  So, it almost feels like this is as big of a deal as when I had to walk in and tell my principal the news.

This is so hard.  I thought I’d be feeling free as a bird, but instead I still feel timid and doubtful. I never realized that leaving a job that I know is not best for my life would be so difficult and emotional.  I figured I’d be so overcome with excitement about the possibilities of the future that I wouldn’t even look back.

So, why do I found myself continually glancing back over my shoulder?

This past year, I honestly gave my life to this job, and even though I don’t want to do that again, I feel an emotional attachment that is hard to break.  It’s like my school and the people there became a part of who I was, and now I’m consciously choosing to let that part of me go.

I’m trying to be brave, but of course I have doubts.  What if I regret my decision?  What if the commute wouldn’t have seemed as taxing this year?  What if the dreams I’m following don’t work out?  What if I fail and become even more unhappy than I’ve been this past year?

I always look at people who have made a change in their life in order to be successful at something they’re passionate about, and I admire them immensely.  But I don’t ever think about the people who make a change and then their dreams don’t pan out.  Until now.  Now it’s me who is stepping out to try and make my life what I want it to be.  And it’s so scary.

And the tears just keep coming.

In an effort to carry on, let’s talk about food.

With all the stress I’ve been feeling this week, I just haven’t had much of an appetite.  Especially in the mornings.  But, alas, I was feeling weak and shaky this morning, so I knew I need something to get me through some time on the treadmill and yoga.

I went with an old childhood favorite, but healthified it!  When I was growing up my mom would make us cinnamon toast by spreading butter over the toasted bread, then sprinkling it with sugar and cinnamon and spreading it all around.  It’s funny how food can evoke such vivid memories:)

This morning I toasted a piece of ezekiel bread and spread a thin layer of Earth Balance over it, then sprinkled it with cinnamon.  I could have added a bit of sweetener, but decided against it because my stomach just needed something kind of bland.

Along with it, I had a green monster of course.  But I lightened up on the ingredients a bit – this one contained

  • two handfuls spinach
  • 1/2 banana
  • a little over a cup of almond milk
  • ice

Simple and healthy.

By the time I got to the gym this morning I only had time to do about a mile on the treadmill before yoga.  Ideally I would have had more time but I just have so much going on today, that I decided to just call it a day after class was over.

On the list for today

  • do some invoicing for Outbox
  • write and send my resignation letter:(
  • place an amazon order for a book I’m needing
  • meet with Mohammad
  • think through some things for my interview
  • rock my interview!
  • figure out what foods I want to take for the lake this weekend
  • mail some bills

What are your plans for the 4th of July? Jon and I are meeting my family at my Grandparent’s lake cabin.  We’ll be leaving Saturday and returning on Monday, and unfortunately there is no internet access down there, so unless I figure out how to schedule a couple of posts (does anybody know how to do this?), CSM will be awfully lonely for a couple of days.

I hope you all have a great Friday and if you’re headed out of town be safe and have a great holiday weekend!

See ya later!

epic vegan chocolate chip cookies (enough said:)

22 Jun

Happy 2nd day of summer!   I failed to wish anybody a happy 1st day of summer yesterday, so I figure why not make up for it today?!  Honestly, summer is not my favorite season, and so far this one seems hotter than ever!  I stepped outside about an hour ago to water our flowers, and after a minute flat I was sweating profusely.  Ugh. I’m pretty sure the flowers appreciated it though:)

Woke up this morning and headed to the gym for Piyo.  The instructor today made the class ten times more intense than the other instructor I’ve had.  I have never gotten into yoga.  In fact, I went to my first yoga class only within the last year.  I think I love it.  And it loves me.  The last couple of weeks I’ve been going a lot more, and now I crave it all the time.  I think I’m going to have to get some DVDs or find some online bc my gym only offers three classes a week, only one of those being only yoga (not Piyo).

Breakfast was a green monster that was as delicious as it was ugly.  Don’t know what happened to the color, but I’m not happy about it!  This one contained 1 cup soy milk, 1/2 banana, 1 scoop Amazing Grass, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1 tbsp peanut butter, the last of my spinach and 1 kale leaf.

There is the cutest little shop in our town, Peck’s Lodge, and in our early college years Jon and I frequented it so much that we became good friends with the owner.  This past week his mother passed away.  I never had the pleasure of meeting her, but the way Dan always talked about her I know she was lovely.  This morning we attended her funeral; it was a very meaningful service that really made me think about life and what’s important.  I was reminded that at the end of life, the kindness and love that a person showed to others is what’s remembered most.  It really made me think about how caught up I get in trivial things that don’t really matter in the end.  Always a good reminder.

Soon after I got home, I threw together some lunch

leftovers of this meal, with the addition of homemade guacamole

I also snacked on a few blue corn tortilla chips.

Now onto the good stuff. I bring you….

Epic Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from here)

Yes…they were epic.

Ingredients

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp.salt
vegan chocolate or carob chips – YOU decide how many!
1 cup raw sugar (I used sugar in the raw, but you could use turbinado etc)
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil (I used canola)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup water
1 flax egg (combine 3 tbsp water with 1 tbsp milled flaxseed in a sauce pan.  Simmer until it reaches egg-like consistency
about 1/2 to 1 tbsp of Agave (I didn’t measure)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl. Add chocolate/carob chips. Set aside.
3.  In a separate bowl mix vegan sugar and oil. Next add the vanilla and the water. Mix it well.  Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix well.   Spoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for about 8-10 minutes.  I basically just checked mine every two minutes after the initial 10.  I think they ended up taking about 18 minutes.  Take them out while they are still a bit soft and gooey.  They will harden as they cool; however, these cookies stayed very soft!
4.  This batch made about 12-16 cookies.

My husband is a chocolate chip cookie connoisseur.  They are his absolute favorite, and they have to be just right.  On top of that, he is always honest with me about my vegan/healthy creations.  He doesn’t bat an eye when telling me how he really feels, even if he abhors whatever strange concoction I’ve invented.

He loves these!  While he says they don’t taste just like a regular non-vegan chocolate chip cookie, they are still delicious and satisfying.  I’ll take it!  Besides, he can’t stop eating them, so that’s enough proof for me:)

Make these…asap.

Still to come this week: two more Paris recaps (humor me if you’re tired of these) + review of my affordable and fantastic Waring Pro Juicer from Target.

See ya later!

this girl knows what she wants

15 Jun

So, I’m not the only one who knows exactly what I want in my food.

For awhile now we’ve been having trouble with Olive not being able to um….let’s just say “hold down her food.”  It finally dawned on us yesterday that she might just be trying to tell us something.  Maybe losing your lunch at least once a week for no apparent reason isn’t totally normal.

After a short visit to the vet, we decided to change her food.  You can’t just change it overnight, though.  You see, if we switch her cold turkey lamb, we’ll risk having problems at the other end.  The trick is to sift in the new food just a little at a time and after about a weeks time be completely done with the old food.  Well, that only works if the ahem person involved agrees to continue eating the old food.  As opposed to only picking out the new food kernels of course.

Exhibit A.  This is what we found after having incorporated the new food in with the old.  If you look closely you can see that there are bits of food under her bowls.  She also had trailed it all across the kitchen floor.  So, we decided to do a little test to make sure it wasn’t a fluke.

Exhibit B.  Olive is given an Olive sized bowl each of California Natural (the old food) and Prairie (the new food).

Exhibit C.  When given the go-ahead, Olive immediately goes for Prairie.

Exhibit D (not pictured).  Trickster Dad stops Olive mid-gulp and quickly switches up the bowls to see if she chooses the same one again.  Of course she does.

Lastly, dad gives Olive the California Natural bowl and scowls as she turns her nose up at it.  He then proceeds to give her the Prairie bowl, which she immediately devours.

Folks, we have a verdict.  Now we’re left scratching our heads and wondering “has she been throwing up as an act of rebellion because she doesn’t like her food? or is she allergic?”  We may never know.

Onward and upward.  Today Jon and I proudly made it out of bed in time to get in a workout.  We had planned to break our sweat at the gym because it is so dang hot outside, but we were pleasantly surprised when we stepped outside and it felt only like a cool 80 degrees.  Without hesitation we abandoned our gym passes and headed to the street.  After putting in a quick 20 minute run, we came back to get O for a walk.

Shortly after our run, I was reunited with this guy

2 big handfuls spinach
1 cup soy milk
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 scoop Amazing Grass
1 tbsp almond butter
ice

Because of vacation and a lack of groceries since, I have not had a green monster in a couple of weeks!  It was a grand reunion.  Tomorrow I shall be reunited with overnight oats methinks.

I spent most of the morning at the coffee shop working on some stuff and sipping on a nice iced soy latte.

Now I know how this looks.  Let me explain.  When Jon and I decided to commit to our “no eating out for a week and that includes coffee” challenge, we agreed that we could still get coffee drinks from The Daily Grind.  Jon worked there for five years during college and we’re still good friends with the owner, so we have a prepaid card and we are only charged a dollar per drink.  I know, I know.  It still seems like we’re cheating, but technically no money changed hands, so I vote that we’re in the clear.

On a more honest and admirable note, I did pack my lunch so I wouldn’t be tempted to grab something.

Thank you Mister whole wheat tortilla broccoli slaw sprouts hummus and tempeh wrap.  You saved me from making a decision I would later regret.  Just a warning for tomorrow, though.  A good friend whom I haven’t seen in some time asked me to meet for lunch tomorrow, and I agreed.  Hey, life happens.  And the point of the challenge is still being driven home.

And dinner…

Carrots, onions, bell pepper, squash and zucchini sauteed in Evoo and doused with Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and Nutritional Yeast.  Served over a bed of Soba noodles.  A go-to favorite.

Followed by banana soft serve with a bit of Maranatha Chocolate Almond Butter mixed in.

The rest of the day consisted of a long overdue phone chat with my college roommate, starting to clean out our office and chilling with my sweet husband.

I’m off to bed now!  G’night!