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my husband bought us a mobile

Hey everyone!  TGIF, right?!  Per the usual Friday syndrome, I haven’t been super productive today; however, I was able to get caught up on some tasks built up from shopping with my mom all day yesterday, so it’s all good.

Speaking of yesterday (how’s that for a creative transition;), we had the best time.  It is rare that mom and I spend time just the two of us, but I’m always so thankful when we do.  Our day primarily consisted of talking, shopping, eating, eating…..and well, eating.  Wahoo!  My kind of day.  Unfortunately I didn’t get home until late and then spent the rest of the night cuddling with the husband, sooooo I didn’t do my online yoga.  Tomorrow.

Onto lunch

Black bean soup + whole grain baguette (my Panera usual) = not the most photogenic fare on the block

Strawberry Poppyseed salad (mom’s meal) = at least not a total fail in the looks dept. *ahem, iceburg lettuce*

I love that I now base my feelings about my food as much on how well it photographs as I do on how it tastes.  Priorities, right?!

Anyway, after shopping around for another few hours, we stopped for a snack

Oh for the love of all things good and holy.

Not sure why, but this yogurt was the best I’ve tasted in years.  And it was completely sugar/artificial sweetener free (not dairy free, but who needs to know that?)!

Insert more shopping…aka exericise;)

And dinner.  My step-dad drove an hour to the city just to meet us to eat.  He likes to do nice things like that (line stolen from my FIL).  Although, I’m not quite sure whether the company or the food motivated him to be so kind.

Appetizer – corn tortilla with spicy carrots, onions and tons of salsa.  Just a side note, when eating Mexican, I try to eat fewer chips, instead replacing them with a corn tortilla or two.  Saves in the calories dept. as well as your health!

Wanna know one way to keep it vegan and still enjoy Tex Mex?  Order tacos with black beans instead of meat (you will most likely get a strange look for this, at least in Oklahoma) and hold the cheese.  Also, make sure and check with the server because re-fried beans (cooked in lard ewww) and mexican rice (cooked in meat stock) are often not vegetarian.  I find that there usually is a vegetarian bean option, even aside from black beans – all you have to do is ask!

My mother and her charming husband

It was a fun day indeed.  And can we say relaxing?  Thanks mom!

Not sure what Jonathan and I are going to do tonight.  Actually, I do know one thing we’ll be doing.  My ever so creative husband ordered a mobile for us.  No, we do not have a little bundle of joy on the way.  This mobile is more of a mobile for adults.  Hmmm…that still doesn’t sound quite right.  Either way, after we assemble it we’ll be hanging it in our office, and I’ll just have to show you pics tomorrow.  Simmer down, guys.  Don’t get yourselves overexcited now.

How do you healthify Mexican food restaurants?
What plans do you have for the weekend?

Have a great Friday night, friends!

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say cheeeeze!

Gooood morning!  I was up and at ‘em fairly early this morning – I’m meeting my mom in the city to hang out for the day, and I have to leave in t-minus 20 minutes.  eek!

Jon and I got in a good, strong 2.5 mile walk this morning.  We set out with intentions to run, but were such chatty Cathys the whole time that we ended up walking.  I dare say that going on walks with my husband is one of my favorite things in life.  I think I’ll try to slip in some online yoga tonight…I’ll letcha know which video I end up using, but I’m thinking maybe this, which was suggested to me by Maggie via Heather.  Thank goodness for blog friends, right?!

Last night I went to my power yoga class, and by the time I got back home it was after 7, and I was famished.  I decided to whip up this little recipe for Vegetable Couscous + Cheeze Sauce that I had seen on Angela’s site a couple of days ago.

I followed Angela’s recipe, but I did make a few adjustments.  First off, I halved the recipe because I was running low on nutritional yeast; I still had leftovers.  Also, I had to keep adding water as I stirred the cheeze sauce because it kept getting too thick.  In the end, I still would have liked it a little thinner and will likely add more water next time I make it.  Thirdly, I used about half the hummus and half the Earth Balance.

For veggies, I used sauteed broccoli sprouts, chopped carrots, chopped onions and chopped bell pepper.  Lastly I sprinkled ground red pepper over the top before I inhaled ate it.

All in all it was just as amazing as Angela raved.  I will definitely make this again, and I’m super stoked to have leftovers of the sauce awaiting me in the fridge.  muahaha.

I also treated myself to a side of steamed broccoli:)

Okaaayyy, now that I am officially 5 minutes late already, I gotta jet.  Sorry mom!

See you guys later!

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get your juice on:)

Last night we attended a family picnic for Jonathan’s work.  While it was quite fun mingling with all of his friends and co-workers, I think the caterers had a goal to see how anti vegan/vegetarian they could possibly be.  Thumbs down to that:(

Let’s see, I’m picturing the buffet table as I walked down it, searching for a suitable option: some kind of red meat (I tried not to look), grilled chicken, white hamburger buns, potato chips, cheesy potato salad, and my saving grace – a plate of onions, pickles, tomatoes and lettuce.  I went with a bun stacked with lettuce, tomato, onion and two pickle spears.  The pickle spears made it kind of weird.  I decided to spare you by not taking a picture.

When I got home I had some Newman’s Own popcorn sprinkled with seasoned salt and paprika as a little snack.

This morning Jon, Olive and I went for a fast paced 20 minute walk.  I am really sore from piyo yesterday, so we decided to take it easy.  Tonight is power yoga at the gym – I’m looking so forward to it!  Two cheers for having yoga in my life now!

Breakfast was the usual, except my green monster and I had a little date in the flower bed.

It is incredible how fast weeds grow in a flower bed!  We just spent hours on end weeding about 2 weeks ago, and they’re already sprouting back up.  I dominated them this morning.  Don’t mess with me.

Moving on.

It’s review time!  But first, let’s talk about juice.

I first started juicing after hearing about it from Kris Carr.  I saw an interview in which she talked about how juicing is one of the biggest weapons in her battle against cancer. After researching a little more into it, I found out that “freshly juiced vegetables give your body an instant boost of nutrients, enzymes, vitamins and minerals in a form that [your] body can easily assimilate, absorb and digest.”  Who doesn’t want that?  Also, according to that same website, Energise for Life, “…juicing allows us to add so many more vegetables to our daily diet, and to up the amount of raw food we consume giving the body energy and boosting the immune system and the body’s cleansing process.”  If there is one thing I need it’s energy, and I love the feeling of knowing I’m filling my body with one of the purest forms of nutrition that I can.

I first started experimenting with fresh juices by buying them any time I went to Whole Foods, which was rare….and expensive.  I decided that I needed a way to make my own juice, but I drug my feet for a long time because I couldn’t afford the expensive juicers that I’d seen advertised.  Then my sister-in-law came through for me big time.  She found this Waring Pro juicer at Target and bought it for me for Christmas.  Score.

I was skeptical at first, but couldn’t wait to get home and try it out.  It has worked beautifully!

The Waring Pro Juice Extractor is made from plastic and stainless steel, which is great because it looks nice sitting on your countertop, but it is also dishwashe safe.  To use it, you simply cup up the fruits and vegetables you want to juice into pieces that will fit inside the chute on the top.  I usually have to cut an apple into about four pieces, whereas a large, whole carrot will fit without any cutting at all.  No peeling necessary.  Once your produce is prepared, you simply push it down the chute and out comes fresh, pure juice into the stainless steel cup shown above.  Yes, it’s that simple!

While the greatest downside to juicers is usually the cleanup, this one is a breeze in my opinion.  First of all, like I said it is dishwasher safe; however, I usually wash mine by hand because I don’t run my dishwasher everyday, and I don’t want to be without my juicer!  There are five parts to be washed including the cup.  All but one of these parts really only requires a quick rinsing of the pulp….very easy and quick!  One of the five pieces is a metal part inside that separates the pulp from the juice, and it requires a quick scrub, but still nothing too labor intensive.  It usually takes me about 3-5 minutes to take it apart and clean it all up from start to finish.  Totally worth it if you ask me!

I really cannot think of a downside to this product.  It has worked perfectly for me since I got it about six months ago, and I absolutely love having fresh juice right at my fingertips.

I believe the other day I mentioned that this juicer was $40, but since then I realized that my sister-in-law bought it on sale.  The regular retail price at Target is $59.99 I believe.  Compared to the hundreds of dollars that some juicers can cost, it’s a steal!  And by the way, it also comes with a pamphlet of juicing recipes and combinations!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments or shoot me an email.

I have my first meeting with a guy that I’ll be tutoring in English (as a second language) here in about an hour, so I have to run.  I’m excited about it, but also a little nervous so wish me luck!  Be back later:)

I have not been asked by the company to review this product.  I simply love it and wanted to inform my readers of an inexpensive way to have fresh juice anytime.

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epic vegan chocolate chip cookies (enough said:)

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!

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runnin’ just as fast as i can

This morning I hit the gym for a quick 5k and some weight machines.  As mentioned before I have lost some of my running endurance, and I am now on the road to getting it back.  I took one walk break smack dab in the middle of my run this morning, so my final time was about 35 minutes.  Not that impressive, I know, but I’m just happy to be running!

Oddly, I wasn’t too hungry when I got home, so I held off awhile before fixing this for breakfast:

grilled banana and peanut butter sandwich on Ezekiel

This was my first time for a grilled pb and b, and I loved it!  Will definitely be making this again and again.  I simply spread a layer of pb on one side of a piece of Ezekiel bread  (toasted for about a minute to thaw it out).  Then I sliced a half a banana in half, laid it on the bread and put another slice of toast on top.  I then lightly buttered each side of the sandwich with Earth Balance so it would cook better.  Then threw it in a skillet and grilled away!

A few hours later I decided to make something fun for Jon since he was coming home for lunch.

For the bowl, crumple a piece of foil into a ball and lay a whole wheat tortilla over it, pressing it down over the ball.  Bake it in the oven at 400 degrees until the edges are slightly browned.  Spread the tortilla with refried beans and sprinkle on brown rice.  In the meantime, sautee green bell pepper and onion strips in seasonings until soft, then add them to the bowl.  Finish it off with rinsed black beans, cheese, salsa and homemade guacamole.  Jon could not stop raving over how delicious this was.  By the time he got home to eat, I was a bit hungry so I made one for myself as well, minus the tortilla and cheese.  Heaven in a bowl:)

Today I’m working on getting our office organized, which is proving to be quite a feat!  There is layer upon layer of stuff to go through, everything from college projects to current bills.  It feels like it’s never going to be done, but I know it will feel so good and be such a pleasant place for J and I to work once it’s all cleaned up.  We’re planning on rearranging and doing some more decorating as well…there will be chalkboard paint involved!

That’s all folks!  Hope you’re having a great Monday.  I’ll leave you with a quote I saw on a friend’s twitter earlier:

Inaction breeds doubt and fear.  Action breeds confidence and courage!

Amen and amen!

Also, stay tuned later for my promised juicer review as well as a recipe on these vegan beauties

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