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happy happy friday

Happy Friday!!

I’m so excited that it’s the weekend finally.  Like I mentioned earlier this week - we are having Christmas with the husband’s side of our family. We’re heading out tonight and staying until Sunday.  There will be food.  There will be caroling.  Enough said.

I had lots to do today to get ready, so I started off this morning with an energizing juice.  I used more veggies this time than I ever have before, and I have to admit I was a little nervous for my first sip.

(don’t worry, the cucumber isn’t bad – the red spots are from the beet:)

The more veggies you use, the worse the color gets – this one had parsley, swiss chard, 1/2 a beet, 1/2 cucumber, 2 carrots, small piece of ginger and 1.5 granny smith apples.  Honestly…it wasn’t good or bad.  It was kind of a neutral taste, which I’ll totally get on board for because this thing was packed with vitamins and nutrients!

As soon as I guzzled it down, I headed out the door to PiYo.  I came “this close” to not having any students show up today.  I guess it’s just that time of year where everybody is busy and it’s cold outside so people don’t want to get out.  Anyway, at about five after, 2 girls, whom I had never seen before in my life, walked in.  Praise the Lord!  It was kind of fun leading a class of two new people as opposed to my new regulars.  I felt like I was kind of looking at my class through a fresh lens.

Anyway, after PiYo I met with HeyKyoung for tutoring and then I headed home to get some baking done!

For lunch I decided to break open this bag of dry soup that I randomly picked up at the store one day.  It’s Bob’s Red Mill brand, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong.  I added 1 cup of soup mix to 2 cups of water and 2 cups of organic vegetable stock.

I also tossed in:

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground red pepper

I let it simmer for about an hour while I got busy on some cookies!  And just as I was finishing up my last batch, it was piping hot and ready to go!  I also dug out some leftover cornbread from earlier this week and spread some Earth Balance on it. Yum!

I highly recommend this soup for a quick and healthy meal.  Even though it had to simmer for an hour, it took all of 5 minutes to throw it all in the pot…plus, you can make a big batch and have it for leftovers too!  It was tasty:)  I love soup in the winter.

Now back to those cookies.

I knew I wanted to make the classic Super Charge Me Cookies – they’re a no brainer because they’re vegan, healthy, energizing, delicious…and they have chocolate!  What more do we need to say?  Oh, also every non-vegan who has ever tried them has given them two thumbs up.  Especially the husband.  They’re his favorite:)

Besides the SCM’s I wanted to make a new and slightly different recipe as well.  So, I cracked open my trusty old copy of Eat Drink and Be Vegan where I found a recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies.  Perfect!

By the time I subbed in dried cranberries for the raisins and added just a sprinkling of vegan chocolate chips, they weren’t exactly oatmeal raisin anymore, but I think they were even better!

Dare I say I like these just as well – maybe even better – than Super Charge Me’s? gasp.

They are good.  Really good. I can’t wait to see what the husband thinks.

Now that I’ve got all my baking done I’m off to get packed, do some last minute Outbox work and load up the car before we leave.  We finally got all our wrapping finished up, and I just have to tie on a few last minute bows (the best part).

By the way, I’m still on a vegan sugar cookie mission, but I’m waiting on our health food store to get in vegan cream cheese.  Oh, the joys of living in a small town.  I’m hoping to have my first batch done by Tuesday.  I’ll keep you posted:)

Have a great weekend everyone! And thanks for reading ChiaSeedMe:)

What is your favorite tradition that your family does during the holiday season?

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happy day

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)

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christmas cookies: round 1

This morning I got up and went to work in the kitchen right away.  I decided a few weeks ago to make decorated (vegan) sugar cookies as a sort of Christmas gift for friends and coworkers.  And after finding some really cute cookie cutters at Williams Sonoma the other day,  I’m even more excited about it!  But first things first – I have to perfect the vegan sugar cookie and icing, which I fear will not be an easy task.  But I will do it or die trying:)

So, round one started late last night as I made my first batch of dough, placing it gently in the fridge to sit overnight and saying a prayer before turning out the kitchen light and heading to bed.

The second my eyes popped open this morning, I was so anxious to get in there and start rolling out my first batch!

Everything was going so well as I floured the counter-top, pressed out my dough and started rolling.

Once it was all flattened out smooth, I pulled out my new cookie cutters and pressed them, one-by-one into the dough.  So far so good.

The next step was when I began to sense a slight problem.  The cookies wouldn’t come up off my counter-top.  As soon as a slid the spatula under them and began to lift, they started breaking apart apart.  It was like they were too wet…even with a floured surface.

Now I haven’t made sugar cookies in over 10 years, so I really couldn’t remember exactly what the consistency is supposed to be…but I’m pretty sure they’re not supposed to tear into pieces before they even get to the cookie sheet.  But, by-and-by I managed to transfer them over with only a few casualties and some broken limbs:(  I placed them in the oven and hoped for the best.

14 minutes later I pulled them out, eager for a taste test.

note: they are brown as opposed to white because I substituted whole wheat pastry flour for all-purpose.

In the end, they turned out just okay – the taste was pretty much spot on.  But the texture was not right.  After taste testing a small bite, I found myself wanting more – so that’s encouraging, but they definitely aren’t gift worthy.  So, back to the drawing board I will go, with high hopes for better luck on round two.

I didn’t have much more time to bake this morning as I had to rush off to my tutoring appointment.  I usually come home during lunch before going back for my afternoon students, but today I decided to camp out in the OSU library and get some work done.

It’s kind of hard to see, but the other day they decorated the front of the building for Christmas – it’s so festive and pretty!  Makes me happy just to look at it.

I brought my current favorite lunch along for the ride as well, with a honeycrisp apple on the side.

This is the fastest lunch ever created – and it’s tasty too!  I used a whole wheat lavash wrap, spreading a layer of hummus down the middle and then sprinkling on some chia seeds and about one and a half tablespoons of nutritional yeast.  And last, I topped it with a helping of spinach leaves and broccoli slaw.

The chia seeds and nutritional yeast offer just the right amount of protein with a couple of grams thrown in by the hummus as well.  Did you now that nutritional yeast has vitamin B12 in it?  Vitamin B12 is usually only found in animal products, so for vegans it’s important to make sure to get it either through foods like nutritional yeast or take a supplement.  I do both!

Now I’m off to get ready to teach my yoga class.  Tonight the husband and I will begin wrapping gifts…only 2 nights left before we go see family!

Hope you’re all having a great week!

What is your favorite go-to lunch?

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to buy grass? or not to buy grass…

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?

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yesterday, i drank tea

Hi!

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?

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