ice cream and oats – a perfect combination

Happy Friday, friends!

This week has flown by so fast…and leaves us with only two weeks until we move.  Two!!  And I’m probably about one one-hundreth of the way through packing.  I’m in trouble.

So, I realize I’ve been writing some heavy posts lately, and while I usually like to keep things light on a Friday, I’m going to shamelessly bombard you with more deep thoughts.  Because that’s how I roll these days, folks.

I think all this uprooting and moving business has gotten me all worked up over what I’m doing with my life.  I’ve caught myself trying to plan so many years into the future I might as well have my grand-children’s names picked out (exaggeration).  I feel like I have all these ideas, aspirations and concerns that in turn leave me with endless confusing decisions; every outcome affects other decisions and those outcomes affect more…and so on.  You see what I mean?

So the other day as I was pondering what my next steps should be, I had an epiphany.  Are you ready for this?

I do not have to plan out my future or know exactly where I want to be in x number of years.

I do not have to know how my next job will affect my future children or how it will look on my resume in 20 years.

I do not.  I do not.  I do not.

While I know it’s good/responsible to plan for the future as much as is reasonable, I also know that there are things that will happen in my future that are unplanned or that I have no control over. If you had told me when I was a freshman in college that four years later I’d be living in Thailand, I would have called you crazy and laughed in your face.  And I certainly did not plan that the husband and I would be moving out of Stillwater right now.  As I’ve said many times before, God’s plans for me don’t necessarily match up with the plans I have for myself.  And when it comes down to it, that’s what makes life so fun and interesting.  Embracing the unknown and being willing to change directions at the drop of a hat if that’s where my heart is leading me.

We must focus on making the best decision we can in the present moment…with the information we have.  And then make the most of it.  Each turn we take in life is a stepping stone to the next place.  And I truly believe that as long as we’re willing to take risks and step out into the unknown, we will achieve our goals…they may not pan out exactly how we imagined them, but they’ll be even better because they’re real.  And because we made difficult choices each day based on our own intuition, desires and guidance found through prayer.  What can be better than that?

So, here’s to not putting pressure on ourselves to have everything figured out.  Here’s to embracing the unknown and living in the present moment!

Thoughts?  I’d love to hear your input on this topic.

Aside from spending waaay too much time thinking (if you’re like me it’s very difficult to shut down your mind - hello savasana), I’ve also been dying over this amazing breakfast the last two mornings.

I think the idea of overnight oats mixed with banana soft serve was originally Angela’s, but I could be wrong.

First, mix together 1/3 cup of raw oats and 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with just under a cup of water.  Set it aside in the fridge for overnight (preferably) or at least a half hour.

After it has set, place one frozen banana (cut into half at least, if not slices) in your food processor or blender and blend until it achieves a creamy, soft serve like consistency.  You may have to stop it a couple times and scrape down the sides.  After it is about half way done blending, add one tablespoon of natural peanut butter and blend until smooth.

Now pour your creamy, cold peanut butter banana soft serve over the (still cold) oats, admire it for several seconds and then mix it all up!

The absolute best part of this breakfast, in my humble opinion, is how the textures work together.  The creamy cold oats weave together with the frozen banana “ice cream” so with each bite you get a combination of smooth oats with a little bit of icy cold peanut buttery goodness.

Now, let’s just say (hypothetically of course) that when you reached into the fridge to pull out your oats, an entire container of salsa fell out and busted on the floor, throwing bits of tomato all over the floors and walls.  Well, in that case you might just need a little added craziness in the form of chocolaty indulgence.  Go ahead and add crumbles from the leftover chocolate brownies that are wrapped in foil on the counter.  There, that’s even better.

Now be prepared because your husband or your roommate might look at you like you’ve lost your mind, mixing cold oatmeal with blended frozen bananas…but it will all be worth it.  In fact, my sweet husband commented that he “couldn’t think of any worse combination.”  Now honey, that simply can’t be true.  Let’s not be crazy.

This morning I taught an earlyish PiYo class and then tutored Hye kyoung.  I’ll be spending the rest of the day trying to make our house appear as though humans live her and not animals…and desperately trying to avoid laying down for a nap.  I was up late last night busy having epiphany’s about planning out my future…and my eyes are paying the consequences.  So tired.  All the more reason to celebrate the fact that it’s Friday!

Any big plans for the weekend ya’ll?  Will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day or just laying low?
The husband has some plan up his sleeve for Sunday…but he won’t tell me what it is.

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a few thoughts + vegan brownies

You all left some really great comments here yesterday, and I loved reading through every one of them.  I really enjoyed hearing your perspectives on dealing with tough habits and emotional struggles.  Thanks so much for sharing:)

This morning we woke up to another thick layer of snowy white…and once again the whole state is pretty much shut down.  No complaints here, though.  I was really happy that the husband was able to work from home today rather than commute to the city…I would have been a nervous wreck.

Yesterday was a great day of working from home.  I was able to get a lot accomplished and even pack a few things along the way.  I’m really focusing my energy on living fully in every moment more than ever these days, as my time with my students (both tutoring and yoga) and time working from our house is drawing to a close.  Have you ever been in a moment and thought to yourself – I just want to live in this moment forever?  I had a lot of those yesterday from taking a break to water our little plants to making a new healthy lunch to giving the husband a little massage on the couch last night.

I read a book recently that talked about how we all forget so much of our life…there is so much we just don’t remember.  It’s like only the big milestones – graduating, getting married, having kids – are what we most remember.  But what about the sweet little things that make up the majority of our time?  I want to remember those things too, and I think one reason we don’t really remember many of them is because we don’t fully live them.  We’re always focusing on and pressing toward the next big thing.  And while it’s good to be working toward big goals and accomplishments, if we don’t really see and experience the mundane moments of the day-to-day, then we’re missing out on a large part of this life we’ve been given.

Lunch yesterday was that meal I mentioned a couple of days ago that I’ve been craving.  One day it just popped into my head, and I thought to myself – why have I never made this before??

Prepare a nice big bed of fresh spinach

Pick your pasta and cook it – I used veggie shells that I got as a sample at HLS, but you can use any kind

Mix together about 2 tbsp hummus, 1 tbsp nutritional yeast and water to thin

After mixing pasta and the creamy sauce together, pour mixture over spinach.  The heat will cause the leaves to wilt just slightly.  Perfect.

This meal was every bit as tasty as I imagined it would be.  I loved the combination of the creamy soft texture of the pasta with the slight crunch of the spinach leaves.  And there was plenty of protein built right into the sauce.

In other food news, the husband surprised me last night by bringing home my absolute favorite meal from my favorite restaurant in the city – Pei Wei.  It was a little cold by the time we got here, but a quick round in the microwave and it was as good as new!

And what made it even better is that while we were savoring every bite, the thick, mouth-watering smell of brownies was filling the air.  I’ve been craving brownies for days, and all I needed was a good, cold snow day to do me in.  I found this recipe and then used a few of the suggested tweaks plus a couple tricks of my own.  They came out so delicious!

Chocolate Chocolate Vegan Brownies
adapted from here


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • dairy free mini chocolate chips (or chips of your choice:)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8×8 inch baking dish
  • Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and sea salt in a large mixing bowl
  • Add in water, oil, applesauce and vanilla extract
  • Mix until well combined
  • Pour batter into baking dish and then sprinkle chocolate chips all over the top
  • Bake for about 26 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool a bit before serving.

Serve warm with a glass of almond milk.  Or if you really want to go crazy, serve with a dollop of banana soft serve on top.

I’m planning on packing some today, editing some papers for my students and maybe doing a little job searching online.  I’m still as confused as ever about what I’m going to do as far as a job, but I’m trusting that it will work out and trying not to waste too much time worrying over it.

Happy Wednesday to you!

What is something you hope you never forget as time goes on, be it little or big?!
I hope I never forget the way the creaky wood floors sound as I walk through our house or the way the windows shutter just slightly when the heat comes on:)

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let’s talk about food

Thanks so much for all the sweet well wishes for the husband’s first day on the new job. Ya’ll are so sweet.  I texted him mid-day to see how it was going and he texted back “it’s going really well.  A great company to work for…and so much to learn!”  Today and tomorrow are basically just orientation days, and then Wednesday will be his first day in the office.  That is, unless the predicted 6-10 inches of snow keeps him home (fingers crossed:).  Anyway, I’ve always been so thankful that he has a job he loves, and I feel that way even more now.  Every time I ask him about how he’s feeling regarding the change, he just starts talking about how great he feels about this company and the difference they’re making in people’s lives.  Yay.

Now let’s just see if I can get a job as well!

I started off yesterday morning with a serious craving for yogurt and raw oatmeal.

1/3 cup raw oats, whole soy yogurt, chia seeds, dried cranberries and cinnamon

Totally hit the spot.  Sometimes I feel myself getting tired of foods that I’ve been eating a lot of, and all it takes is scrolling back through my blog a little bit to find inspiration.  I can almost always find a basic meal that I haven’t had in awhile to bring back all fresh and new!  This oldie was definitely a highlight to start the day.

Other highlights for the day included but were not limited to the following:

  • painting my nails mint green

  • spending a little extra time with God this morning

  • making my green smoothie with a scoop of natural peanut butter and chocolate almond milk for lunch

  • having a really great conversation with my mom on the phone this afternoon

  • eating yet another leftover cinnamon roll for a snack this afternoon (I know).  One a day does = moderation.  It does!

I have had two tasty meals in my head all day today, but I’ve been on kind of a weird schedule (hence the green smoothie for lunch), so I haven’t been able to make either one of them.  One is the veggie chili I made for the husband’s work party a couple of months ago, and the other is a really simple lunch idea that I just can’t get out of my mind.  I’m thinking I’ll be enjoying it for lunch today, and if so then I’ll share it later on!  As far as the chili goes, I think it’ll be the perfect meal for Wednesday when we’re all snowed in again.  mmmm.

The last part of this post has been pretty much all about food, ha!  Food is where it’s at, though.  Even Mr. Squirrel agrees.

He sits right outside our kitchen window almost every morning, munching on all kinds of nuts and seeds.  Gives me a hankering for nuts and seeds myself, just watching him.

But really food is such a big part of life, you know?  We need it for fuel and nourishment…but it also affects us in psychological ways. We celebrate with it.  We comfort with it during times of loss.  We have memories attached to it.

I’m not encouraging emotional eating in the sense of eating to hide or cover up emotions, but we’d be crazy to say that food isn’t tied to something besides a physical need.

I’ve never really talked about this on the blog before, but in the past I’ve had issues with emotional eating, and it wasn’t in a positive way.  Sometimes, whether I’d be feeling stressed, sad or just plain tired, I would go straight to the pantry and just eat mindlessly.  And then when I would finish, I’d feel guilty and even more stressed, not to mention physically kind of sick.  I remember at times feeling like I’d never be able to break the cycle.  I ate healthy enough all the rest of the time and exercised enough that I never really put on any visible weight, but the emotional weight it was adding on was not a good thing.  It was a bad habit…and I needed to break it.

It has been a long time since this last happened.  I still get carried away with the chips and salsa occasionally (okay, often;), but it’s not the same kind of destructive behavior.  It’s no longer me trying to cover up an emotion…it’s more just about liking blue corn tortilla chips a little too much. ha.  I think the point that I really was able to gain control of what I was doing was when I recognized the true issue behind the behavior.  After a lot of prayer and internal processing, I realized that I was eating at these times in an effort to relieve the negative emotions I was feeling inside.  Food was a way to cover those emotions up by doing something that felt good right at that moment.

Besides identifying the root of the problem, another thing that helped a LOT was realizing that just because I disappointed myself by doing this didn’t mean that I should punish myself afterwards.  When I treated my body that way I needed to do something really nice for my body in turn…rather than beating myself up about it.  So, I started going for a long, slow walk,  taking a bubble bath, or just cuddling with Olive for a bit.   I also spent some time identifying the specific reasons why I would eat, and then made an alternative plan for each negative emotion, such as laying down for a twenty minute nap, getting into downward dog and holding it for 20-30 seconds or spending some time in prayer. Basically, I was ready to tackle the problem itself, whatever problem it was, rather than trying to put a band-aide over it.

After so many weeks of implementing my new plan, it became a habit, and now I don’t even think about it.  I’m not saying it was an easy process, and I definitely had my fair share of set-backs, but in the end it was so worth it.  Every time I would fall back into the behavior, I would take time to really process through what I had really been feeling in the moment, work through that emotion (if it was anxiety over my job, I would take 30 minutes and problem solve or call my teacher friend and ask for advice).  And through the whole process, not only have I gained confidence in my ability to eat in a healthy way, but I’ve also become more confident in handling conflict and anxiety.

I don’t know if I’m the only one that has ever dealt with us, but somehow I doubt it.  Just the other day I was talking to the husband, and it suddenly hit me that I hadn’t eaten in this way in a long long time.  I realized that I’d totally forgotten what it was like and is totally out of character for me to do something like now.  I know there’s a possibility that I could fall back into the habit someday, but it feels good to know that making slow progress toward a healthier way of dealing with negative emotions has brought me to a place where I feel much more confident in my relationship with food. Isn’t that how it should be?

Anyway, these are just some thoughts I’d been pondering lately, and I thought I’d share them.  I used to think this issue was something I was ashamed of and wanted to hide.  I’m still not proud that I struggled with it, but I realize now that we all have battles such as this and the best way to overcome those struggles is to bring them out into the light.

What is something you’ve overcome through a lot of time and hard work?  How does it feel to be in a place where you feel confident and at peace in regard to that issue?  Or are you still working through something and trying to get to that place?

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go get ‘em husband

Good morning!

I honestly cannot believe how quickly the weekend flew by…seems like it just started.

On Saturday things warmed up a bit around here, and some of the snow started to melt off.  By late in the day, many of the streets were almost clear…but there’s still tons of white everywhere else!  Apparently (I never watch the weather) there is more snow headed this way in the next few days, but we shall see!

I know I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but Saturday and Sunday we spent a lot of time organizing and packing.  The story of our life these days.  I have to admit it feels sooo good to get it done, though.  We are still a long ways from being packed, but I think we did finally finish the office for the most part after being buried in boxes and files for the last few days.

Saturday night I got inspired to make a stir-fry.  When I asked the husband what he wanted for dinner, he said something I thought I would never hear him say: “How about something besides mexican?”

I thought I was dreaming.  Did he just say he didn’t want mexican food?!

So stir-fry it was!

I chopped up bell pepper, onion, broccoli, carrots and cabbage and stir-fried it in about one tablespoon of olive oil until it was tender.  Then I tossed in some frozen edamame (did you know edamame has the same amount of protein as roasted turkey?) for protein.

After it had cooked for a little bit, I mixed together about two tablespoons natural peanut butter, two tablespoons tamari, a couple teaspoons rice wine vinegar and some water to thin it out.  Honestly, I just kind of guessed at the proportions and tasted as I went.  I poured the sauce over the veggie mixture and continued to cook them for another 5-10 minutes.

In the meantime I cooked some buckwheat (soba) noodles, and when it was all done I poured a big spoonful of veggies over the noodles….and that was it!  Easiest stir-fry ever.

Stir-fry reminds me of Thailand so much.  During the last few months we lived there, I literally ate stir-fried veggies in some form every. single. night.  No exaggeration.  Always on top of brown rice.  Granted I wasn’t a vegetarian then, and I used fish and oyster sauce (Thai style) for flavoring, but it was still so good.  Really takes me back:)

cooking with friends in Thailand

Anyway, on Sunday the husband and I went to lunch with some dear friends of ours from our college days.  They are several years older than us and have three of the cutest little kids.  During our time in Campus Crusade for Christ at OSU, Dan discipled Jonathan, and Debbie discipled me.  They have always meant so much to us and have walked with us through some of the most important decisions in our life.  It was so nice today to catch up and spend time with them…we’re really going to miss them when we move.

Debbie and I / Dan and Jon – about five years ago

Other than packing throughout the afternoon, I also made some Super Charge Me cookies for the husband.  While he ate cookies, I enjoyed a leftover vegan cinnamon roll.  This morning someone brought cinnamon rolls to Sunday School, and ever since then I’ve been craving one.  I can honestly say that these rolls are one of the best vegan baked goods I’ve made yet.  The day after I made them, I realized that unless I wanted to turn into a giant cinnamon roll, I needed to put them away for awhile.  So into the freezer they went.  A couple of times since then I’ve pulled one out and heated it in the microwave for about a minute and a half…and it’s always just as good as when it was fresh out of the oven.

You really must make these if you’re a cinnamon roll fan!

So that’s the weekend in nutshell – only two more weekends left until moving weekend!

Last thing – I have to give a shout-out to my better half.  Today is the husband’s first day at his new job, and I am so dang proud of him.  I’m so thankful for all the hard work he has put in over the last several years to get us where we are.  This is just one more step we get to take along the path of our life.  I’m going to miss him now that he’s leaving earlier, getting home later and not coming home for lunch (tear), but I know he’s going to love his new role…and he’s totally going to rock it! Go get ‘em husband:)  I love you!

Did you have a good weekend?
What’s your favorite vegetable?

I think mine would have to be spinach…or maybe snap peas.  It’s really hard to narrow it down, though!

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no cabin fever here

The last few days have been full of so much time.  Time to slow down for once and enjoy just being.  My love for snow days runs deep for this very reason.  There are only a few times a year that one can hole up indoors with their favorite person (and dog) and have every excuse to stay there.  There’s something about the beauty of the cold and white outside that makes it perfectly okay to lack productivity and busyness.  While almost all you see on Facebook is people remarking about how stir crazy they are and how ready they are for the snow to head out, I can’t help but feel just the opposite…and cuddle up a little deeper with the husband.

We’ve had lots of naps, good food eaten while curled up on the couch, watched many episodes of Lost and actually have accomplished a small amount of packing and organizing for the big move.

mixed greens, chick peas, chia seeds, dried cranberries, chopped bell peppers and onions and tahini dressing

baked kale chips seasoned with cumin, sea salt and garlic powder + sweet potato, black beans, salsa and broccoli

Thursday night I decided to whip up this dish I’d seen several days ago.  It looked so delicious, and considering the husband and I’s love for avocado, I figured it simply couldn’t go wrong.  I mixed the avocado, fresh basil and lemon juice in the Vitamix while the husband cooked some quinoa pasta.

One of the things I adore about my husband is the way that he spends time with me. Whether it’s cooking dinner each night, running a few errands or cleaning the bathrooms, he is usually there right alongside me.  I will never forget a comment he made last year when I was so consumed with lesson planning and grading each night that I couldn’t even leave the house.  As he headed out the door to run to Walmart one night I asked him “does it make you sad that we aren’t able to do most things together these days?” His reply: “Yeah, usually when I’m on my way to the store I look over at the passenger’s seat and it makes me sad that you aren’t there.”

I love that we do everything together.  Not that we never do our own thing or have time apart…because there’s a place for that as well.  But we’re a team and most everything is more fun when we’re together.

I digress.

So, once we each finished our task, I poured the avocado sauce over the pasta and mixed it all up before spooning a portion out on each or our plates.

Antsy to bite into what would be one of my favorite dishes ever, I carried our plates to the table.  We prayed for the food and then wound a big bite of noodles around our forks and….

It was not good.  My only idea about why it went wrong is that the husband and I didn’t communicate very well about portion sizes of noodles to sauce.  The sauce was just really gooey and overpowering.  I tried to keep eating it, but after a few bites was really feeling like I might be sick.  Weird, right?  The husband, being not quite as adventurous as I when it comes to food, quit after the first bite.  We were so hungry by this point and didn’t feel like taking the time to create an entirely new meal, so we resorted to a couple of Amy’s burritos jazzed up with a bit of enchilada sauce.

Not exactly what I had planned, but sometimes you just have to roll with it, eh?

Based on the comments from the recipe’s post, I feel pretty sure that we are the ones that screwed this one up.  I’m thinking I’d really like to try it again one of these days…maybe with a little more pasta and a little less sauce.

Last night we had our traditional Friday night date night.  We made our classic enchiladas and guacamole…all ready in about 20 minutes and so delicious.  I have been feeling so nostalgic lately; I’m a very sentimental person, so while packing and having “lasts” in our house, I get probably a little dramatic.  But along with the drama, I try to really savor every moment, remembering exactly what it feels like and ingraining it in my memory, so I can keep it with me forever.

We’ve had so many memories in this house, and I’m happy that before we leave it for good we were able to spend a lot of time just being together and doing our favorite things at home.  The other night I was packing some boxes in the office, and as I loaded another armload of books I noticed that the boxes was labeled “books – office” in thick black marker.  I mused aloud “it really was just like yesterday that we were packing to move here.”  It just really took me back to the excitement we both felt over moving into our first house together and how in love with it we were the first time we laid eyes on the shiny wood floors.  I always imagined that we would be in this house for many years.  That we’d bring our first baby up the steps of our porch and fill the second bedroom with a crib and rocking chair, placed right between the two corner windows.

But now we’re moving on sooner than we thought because God’s plan wasn’t quite what we had envisioned for ourselves.  And sprinkled throughout my sad moments about leaving, I feel so excited over where we’re going and so thankful that He is taking us there.  Since the day we got married, the husband and I have thrived on adventure – moving to Thailand for a year, exploring NYC, Europe, starting new jobs and then leaving when we feel a pull toward something different.  Sometimes the adventures bring fear and struggles, but always at the end we are closer, wiser and more in love.

So yay for new opportunities in life and yay for doing it all together!  I’m off now to help the husband – he’s currently buried in boxes and paperwork, attempting to get our office under control.

I hope you all have enjoyed your snow days if you had any…and happy weekend!

Are you a person who likes change?  What is a big change that you experienced in your life that had a big impact on you?

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