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no place like home

I’m now back from a 3 day hiatus.

Over the weekend, the husband and I got to visit our family in his hometown.  We always love spending time there; I may be a little biased I suppose, but I’m certain that I have the best in-laws on the planet.  Here are a few photos of our little weekend getaway.

They are so thoughtful to always make sure that my favorite foods are in the house.  I always think it’s so sweet that they do that because these are not things they would normally have.

Breakfast Saturday morning – Ezekiel bread with almond butter and sliced banana

Playtime in the backyard:)  Olive is the only grandchild so far, so she gets a LOT of attention.  I worry about the day she’s no longer the only one…she will be a sad baby dog:(

ready….set….

GO!

One thing I love about visiting our family is that, like us, they love to hop in the car and just drive around, ending up wherever the days takes us.  On Saturday it took us to a cemetery in this tiny little country town. Don’t even ask:)

trying to see her Grandpa

And then dinner.  The family had spaghetti with meatballs, my MIL’s specialty.  I fixed up a giant pan of seasoned and roasted chickpeas, sweet potato, carrots and squash.  Easy and delicious.

And as usual, the day ended with a great round of game-playing

On Sunday we went to church to hear my FIL preach and then sadly, we had to rush to get back on the road toward home.  I never want to leave when we visit, but this week the sadness was softened just a little bit because I was so excited about what we were headed home to do!

More on that later:)

Hope you all had a great weekend!!

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a hot topic: what do you think?

It’s Fridaaaaaaaay!

Another rainy day here and my heart is telling me to go curl up on the couch and take a nap.  Oh, the dangers of working from home.

There is no time for naps today, though because the husband and I are off to visit mom and dad McCoy for the weekend!  This means lots of relaxing, game playing, good eating and the best part – just feeling at home :)   But first, there will be packing.

I couldn’t possibly leave you high and dry after teasing you with chocolate last night, though.  That would be cruel.

Vegan Mocha Chocolate Chip Muffins
from Vegan with a Vengeance via this site

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (I used Hershe’s dark chocolate, and it is to die for)
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp instant coffee powder (I used a Starbucks Via sample)
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3 tbsp soy yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • as many (vegan) chocolate chips as you want!

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit and grease a muffin tin or line with muffin liners
  • Sift together all dry ingredients except the coffee.  Then mix in the coffee.
  • Whisk together all wet ingredients.
  • Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix well.
  • Dump in chocolate chips and mix well.
  • Bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

A few things worth noting:

First.  This is the most delicious vegan dessert I’ve ever baked or eaten.  Ever.  It is so moist and soft…just as delicious or more so than any non-vegan dessert I’ve ever had.  And the husband can vouch for that as well.   I think I may have to order Vegan with a Vengeance as soon as possible.

Second.  Next time I might try using whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose, softened Earth Balance instead of oil and more coffee powder.  Might is the key word because these muffins are so delicious I would die if I messed them up!

Third.  I have only recently thought about the fact that it might not be a good idea to post a recipe if said recipe comes straight from a cookbook.  I honestly never really thought about it until now.  I found this recipe on a website and didn’t realize that it actually came from a cookbook until about 5 minutes ago.  Considering I had already taunted you with it last night, I couldn’t bear not delivering you the recipe.

But I really want to hear your thoughts on this issue.  I can see both sides.  On one hand, if a blogger posts a recipe that is from a cookbook, then readers have no reason to go buy the book because they can just access the recipe for free online. This could quite possibly hinder book sales, and when it comes down to it could probably be considered stealing, even if credit is given to the book.

On the other hand, now that I have had a chance to try this recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance, I am hugely motivated to go purchase the book now because I want to bake/cook every other recipe in it! Obviously, this is a way to increase book sales for the author by generating interest in her book.

I found an interesting article from another blogger on this issue.  Here is an excerpt (entire post found here) from what he has to say in regard to publishing recipes via blogs:

“If it’s from a book, it’s acceptable to use a recipe, as long as credit is given and the person changes the language of the recipe to personalize it…When you adapt a recipe from another source, you do not need permission to adapt the recipe. But it’s considered proper etiquette to acknowledge the source. You should not reprint a published recipe word-for-word, which can be construed as a violation of copyright infringement.”

This brings us to another issue – when is a recipe considered to have been adapted?  How much do you have to change in order to say you adapted it?  Where do you draw that line?

Honestly, I most enjoy creating my own recipes because it’s such fun and brings so much satisfaction.  That being said, I think part of the process of becoming more competent at baking/cooking is gaining inspiration and experience by using other people’s recipes as well.  It’s all a part of the process for me.  I don’t know where we would all be if it wasn’t for sharing recipes and learning new ideas from others.

I would never post a recipe here and not give full credit to where it came from, but lately I’m beginning to wonder if that’s enough?  According to the excerpt above, as long as the directions are written in the blogger’s own words, it is perfectly acceptable (legal at least) to publish it, as long as credit is given.

What do you think?  Do you think it is ethical to post a recipe with little to no adaptations, as long as you write it in your own words?  When do you consider a recipe to have been adapted?

I hope you all have a wonderful, fantastic, refreshing and relaxing start to your weekend!

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chia seeds are like weight training

Hello!

Thanks so much for the sweet comments on my Thailand post from yesterday.  Reminiscing about our time there is near to my heart, so I’m super thankful that you guys enjoy hearing about it. I’m sure there will be more to come:)

Today was rainy and dreary here in Oklahoma, which lent a kind of peacefulness and relaxation to the day.  And laziness I suppose:)

I pretty much rocked it out at the gym though, getting in 4.5 miles on the treadmill and lifting arms, chest, back, legs and abs.  I have to admit, I am so thankful that I can spend more time at the gym these days.  Last year it was a major feat to even make it in the front door, and I’m well aware that this is probably a very small window in my life in which I can spend almost as much time there as I want (within reason of course) – I’m really trying to take advantage of it!

As soon as I walked back in the door of my house, I headed straight to my blender.  Minutes later I was guzzling this:

Chocolate milk!

Actually, it was better than chocolate milk.  I blended one and a quarter cups of unsweetened almond milk, 2 tablespoons of Vega Shake and Go Smoothie powder and some ice.  I have become a huge fan of Vega in my green smoothies, but this was the first time I’d had it just in milk.  I’m telling you, this will become a regular occurrence for post-workout fuel.  It has many of the benefits of Amazing Grass, but also boasts 11 grams of complete protein per serving.  Perfect to repair muscles after an intense workout.  As much as I love my Amazing Grass, I think if my wallet forces me to choose, I’d have to go with Vega at this point.  It truly is the only protein powder I’ve ever actually liked.

Anyway, by the time I got back from the gym, showered and dressed, and caught up on some email, the husband was pulling up outside ready for lunch!

I swiftly got to work making hummus, and it was the most troublesome batch of hummus I’ve ever created.  First, my food processor broke.  As soon as I turned it on it started making this really weird noise like a dying engine and then I started to smell something burning.  Oh-kay!

Time to bring in the reinforcements.

Enter…the Magic Bullet.  My biggest problem with the Magic Bullet is that it is too small.  And the lid gets stuck and won’t come off if you leave it processing for too long.  Which of course happened today.  So, I ended up with a big mess and a bad attitude.

But at least I also came out with a veggie pita.

This pita was super basic, layered with a generous helping of homemade hummus, broccoli slaw, pickles and chia seeds.  mmm.

This was kind of a light lunch, so it wasn’t but a few hours later and I was ready for a snack.

soy yogurt, chias, raw oats and unsalted almonds

More chias!  I told you they’d be back in the picture around here.  Chia seeds are kind of like weight training for me.

I don’t realize how much I miss them until I bring them back!  And once I start, I just can’t stop.

I spent a large portion of the afternoon researching vitamins.  I’ve never been a big vitamin person, aside from B12, because I believe that you can get all the nutrients you need out of a healthy diet.  But I know that sometimes I slack on getting in the right amounts of certain foods, so I’m going to start incorporating some vitamins into my day.  For the most part, it can’t hurt…and it just might help in certain areas!  I especially did a lot of research about vitamins and acne.  Yes, I’m still have problems with my skin. Honestly, it is as bad as ever, and I’ve kind of come to a breaking point.

Anyway, I need to do a little more research, but once I settle into which ones I’m taking, I’ll do an update.

Onto dinner.  I’ve known pretty much all week that I was going to make tofu for dinner tonight, but I hadn’t yet decided how I was going to make it.  I set up the tofu to press around 5, then started looking around for a good marinade or sauce.

And I found this.

Indonesian Tofu with Peanut Butter
original recipe found here


Ingredients

  • 1 block of extra firm tofu, pressed and sliced
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp onion powder

Directions

  • Heat large skillet over medium heat
  • place tofu slices in skillet and press down with spatula until brown.  Flip and repeat on other side.
  • Once tofu is cooked through (browned on both sides and chewy on the inside) pour peanut sauce over tofu and continue to cook for several more minutes.
  • Serve over rice or noodles

I served this tofu over a bed of soba (buckwheat) noodles with a side of broccoli.  While it wasn’t the absolute best tofu I’ve ever tasted, it was pretty dang good and I would definitely make it again.  The husband actually raved and raved about it, so if I don’t make it again, he probably will! We did both go back for seconds, too, if that tells you anything:)

After dinner, the husband had the brilliant idea of making chocolate muffins together.  I don’t know where he gets these crazy schemes, but who am I to complain?  We scrounged around for a recipe and came up with one that sounded decent, but required a quick run to the store.  An hour later we were back home, mixing up some chocolatey goodness.

I used to say this to my students all the time last year…but if you haven’t listened to a word I’ve said so far, hear this:  I will be popping in tomorrow to give you the recipe I used for these muffins.  As soon as I do, you will want to drop everything and head for the kitchen.  They really are that good.  Here’s a little sneak peek for you.

He just couldn’t wait one more second:)

I’ll see you guys tomorrow!  Happy (almost) Friday!

Question: Do you take vitamins regularly?  If so, which ones and why do you take them?

*I was given the Vega powder in my HLS swag bag, but have not been compensated in any way for this review.

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from the past

hi!

today has been super busy as all wednesdays tend to be.  i did lots of yoga, lots of hanging out with international students, and I ate enchiladas made by the husband for dinner.  i’d say all in all that’s a pretty successful day.

but now it’s late…and I’m oh so tired.  so I’m going to head to the bed soon.  but first I just had to stop in and say hi.

hi!

And what do I do when my busy day has prevented me from taking any pics worth writing home about?

Leave you with (random) memories from the past.  I can always dig up pics from our days in Thailand that make me smile to no end.

one of my favorite students and I studying the Gospel

on the college campus we worked on

the campus parking lot

beautiful campus

getting relief from the heat with an afternoon nap

a bridge in Bangkok

on the subway in Bangkok – New Years 2008

i didn’t even know what a food blog was, but I was still taking pictures of myself eating carrots, ahem made of icing

the husband on a songtau right around Christmas

hope you all had a wonderful Wednesday. and as always, it’s all down hill from here!

g’night!

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roll with it

Hello.

Even though Tuesday’s are my favorite day of the week, today has been kind of a stick in the mud.  There is just a lot going on and a lot of things the husband and I are thinking through right now…but one thing I’m thankful for is that we get to do it together.

So, instead of talking about the less than stellar parts of the day, let’s talk about the highlights!

I made it to the gym this morning in time to lift a few weights (today was arms) and get in a 35 minute workout on the treadmill.  I did a little incline walking, non-incline speed walking and running.  And then I came home and had an cold and creamy green smoothie.

For some reason green smoothies have been missing from my life lately, and I’m not sure why.  But today I got a serious craving, and it really hit the spot.  Refreshing.

A few hours later the husband surprised me with a lunch date at “the bread place.”ahhhhh.

This sandwich was stacked with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, cucumbers, sprouts and pesto.  One of those kinds of meals that you finish and then wish you could relive every. single. bite.

Or is that just me?

Anyway.

Do you ever have those nights when dinner just doesn’t seem to come together very well?  For every meal you think of to fix, there is some reason why you can’t make it happen.  You’re out of hummus.  Or the bread is molded.  Or you forgot to pick up that green pepper at the store.

Or you char your kale chips to a crispy black.

Whoops.

The kitchen was quickly filling with smoke, so I snatched the baking sheet out of the oven and raced it out onto the back deck.  Suddenly have no idea why I was standing outside in the cold, barefoot with a smoking hot sheet of blackened kale in my hand, I balanced it on the deck railing and hightailed it back inside!

Whew!

And now, 3 hours later, I’m remembering that I never went back out to retrieve it.  Our neighbors must think we are so weird.

Anyway, so dinner ending up looking like this.

roasted potato rounds, corn, steamed broccoli and steamed green beans

This meal was seriously lacking in protein, but by this point I really could have cared less.  Sometimes you just gotta roll with it.

What did you have for dinner tonight? Let’s hear it!

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