a family Easter

Hey friends!  Happy Easter!  I think I’ve said that already in at least one post, but I think it’s fun to just celebrate all weekend!

Saturday Jon and I headed to my hometown.  We met up with my mom and step dad and then headed over to my Grandma’s for Easter dinner.  Before we left our house though, I tried to shove a little too much into the morning, which made us run pretty late.  I did get a lot accomplished, though!  Went for a three mile run, made a couscous salad and protein bars, packed, went shopping for a birthday present for my Grandpa and drove an hour home!  No wonder we were late!

We had such an awesome day with family, though.  I got to meet my little cousin, Caroline for the first time ever, and she is just a doll!  It totally made my day (and gave me a little bit of baby fever:) to see her.

I just have to say – my Grandma and Grandpa are awesome.  I love them so much, and I’m so proud of them.  They have both made healthy changes over the past year, and jointly have lost about 60 pounds so far.  They both have so much more energy!

It thrills me to no end, too, because my Grandma has moved to fixing healthy dishes at family gatherings, as opposed to all the traditional unhealthy staples.  She does still mix some of those in, but I never have to worry about having something healthy, even vegan, to eat when I go home!  Check out my plate from yesterday.

I ended up with fresh strawberries and pineapple, a black bean and rice dip, red bell pepper strips, cucumbers, the couscous salad that I made, and one perfect little chocolate covered strawberry:)

It was delicious!  She had a ton more options of veggies, as well as some ribs, chicken and baked beans (which I passed up of course:).  I was just too full to eat it all!

After dinner, we had great family time.  I love just sitting around hanging out together.  We did have a little dessert as well.  It was my Grandpa’s birthday, so my aunt brought birthday cake.

I brought vegan peanut butter chocolate chip protein bars, and everybody loved them!  Well, most everybody at least.  It totally made my day because the last time I took a vegan cake, it was NOT a hit:(  Can’t win ‘em all I guess!

Tomorrow I’ll be posting the recipes for the couscous salad as well as the protein bars that I made.  Make sure you stop by because the couscous salad was to die for!  It was the first time I’d made it, and I seriously loved it. Here’s a little teaser:)

Today we went to my mom and Clark’s church, and then met my grandparent’s for lunch at Mazzio’s (an italian restaurant here in OK) afterward.  I was a little concerened because I hadn’t been to Mazzio’s since I became vegan, and my old favorites included their famous ranch dressing and deep dish pizza (eek!).  It totally worked out, though!  I’ll also be sharing that with you tomorrow:)

Well, I’m off to get stuff ready to start another week of school.  I hope you all had a lovely weekend, whatever you did, and have a great start to the week!  See you tomorrow!

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the week in food pics and happy Easter

Hi!  If you didn’t catch my earlier post, check it out to see who is the winner of the chia seed giveaway!

As mentioned (ahem) yesterday, I’ve been a bit behind on blogging my meals.  And I figure what’s a food blog without pictures of food?!  So, here’s a little catch up…

Two different days this week lunch was Amy’s low sodium lentil vegetable soup.  I love to have Amy’s soups on hand for busy weeks like this one.  I think this is my favorite one!

The stats:

Not bad, eh?  The ingredient list is stellar as well.  I also had a nice, juicy pear on the side.

This is my “plan b” for mornings when I don’t have a green monster: an ezekiel english muffin, 1 tbsp nut butter and half a sliced banana.  Heaven.

A quick and easy dinner – Joseph’s whole wheat and flax lavash wrap, hummus, mushroom, cucumber, zucchini, squash, onion, spinach and hot sauce! With pear slices and a kiwi.

I love to take salads for lunch – they’re so refreshing!  They’ve got to be loaded with goods if they’re gonna make the cut, though;)  This one was fixed up with chopped cucumber, zucchini and squash, corn, chick peas, chia seeds and balsamic.

I hope everyone has a fantastic, family filled Easter!  It’s one of the greatest weekends of the year because we get to specifically celebrate Christ’s Resurrection and the fact that we serve a living God.  I love that!  I honestly don’t know how I would live without Jesus by my side giving me comfort, guidance, love, grace and acceptance.

Aside from praising and thanking Him, we’ll be spending lots of time in the beautiful weather doing this…

with the wind in our hair:)…

See you all later!

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and the winner is…

Hey guys!  It’s time to announce the winner of the chia seed giveaway!  I have been so excited about this giveaway – first of all because it’s my first one and second of all because I LOVE chia seeds!

I just want to thank ChiaSeedsDirect for sponsoring this giveaway!  They were kind enough to donate a 2 lb. bag for the lucky winner.  Thank you so much ChiaSeedsDirect!!

And the winner is…

I promise I didn’t look;)  This is one of the joys of being a humble little blog – you get to draw out of a hat Kitchen Aide mixer bowl!!

Congratulations Kelli!
email me your information (candice dot mccoy at hotmail dot com), and your chia seeds will be on their way!

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fear and risks

First things first – don’t forget to enter my chia seed giveaway if you haven’t already!  Deadline is tonight at midnight!

Hey guys!  Happy April Fool’s Day!  I’ve only had one trick played on me today.  A couple of my super thoughtful and wonderful sophomores (insert eye roll) hid their cell phone up in the ceiling tiles of my classroom and then proceeded to call it incessantly during the next period.  Imagine the Lion King ring tone going off every 2 minutes throughout an entire class period.  Wonderful.

I’ve been very contemplative for the last couple of days. These pictures exhibit exactly how I’m feeling.

Picture taken on one of our outings to the villages during our year in Thailand

Picture taken on a boat in Halong Bay, Vietnam

Right now I’m in the midst of making a pretty big decision.  I don’t want to disclose any details yet, but I can’t help but write about it because it’s been on my mind constantly.

I have so many different thoughts swirling around in my mind.  One of them has to do with passion.  I am a firm believer that everyone has the ability to chase after something they want, and catch it if they have enough determination and discipline.  I think the one factor that often holds people back is fear.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of change.  Fear of taking risks.  Fear of failure.  Fear often paralyzes people and holds them back from living the story that God wants them to live.

My mom told me a story this morning about my step-dad’s dad (we’ll call him Steve).  When he was younger, he and his wife (we’ll call her Ann) lived in New York, and he worked for the FBI.  He hated living in New York and longed to move away from the busy city. When Ann became pregnant with their first baby, Steve knew he couldn’t live another day in the city.  So, he sent Ann ahead of him to a small town, and after quitting his job he soon joined her.  He didn’t have another job yet, and I can only imagine the fear he must have felt at taking that risk.  In the grand scheme of his life, however, that huge risk became just a small stepping stone that led him to where he wanted to be.  Needed to be.  In fact, he has lived quite a lovely story and has been blessed beyond measure.

This story reminded me of  an article I read not long ago.  This article made me really ponder this one question: what if?  What if I took that risk?  What if I actually threw myself full force into pursuing my dream?  What if I failed?  What if I allowed myself to live without abandon and without regret by pursuing my passions?  What if I stopped taking myself too seriously and gave myself a little more credit for the things I do well?  What if I stopped worrying more about what other people think of me than about what I think of myself?

When Jon and I decided to move to Thailand for a year, despite the fear, I kept coming back to this same conclusion: that if we didn’t go, we’d always wonder – what if?  What would it have been like?  What kind of relationships would we have built?  In what ways might God have changed us to be better than we were before?  I’m so glad I don’t have to wonder about those questions.  I want to look back on my life and see a story that possesses many victorious, joyful moments, yet also many difficult moments resulting from living so fervently that occasional failure was inevitable.  I’m praying that God will provide opportunities for this kind of story and give me the courage and the confidence to embrace them.

Sorry this post is a little heavy tonight.  But many things are heavy on my heart, and I need to talk them out, if even only in my head.  So, I ask you  – what might your “what if” questions be?  Please share them in the comments.  Feel free to make yours a little more specific.  Sometime soon I’ll share my own specifics with you, but for now I need to keep them under wraps:)  Thanks for understanding.

I hope to see you all again tonight for a wrap up of today’s eats – I’ve been a very bad food blogger the last couple of days, but I promise I’ve got photos just waiting to be unleashed:)

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