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“hot and ready!”

I seriously cannot believe the weekend is almost over.  Let’s face it, no weekend lasts very long, but this one has seemed to go by ultra fast!

I spent many hours over the weekend working on lesson plans for school.  Jon is in his busiest season at work so we went up to his office yesterday and today to work.  I really enjoy what I do for the most part, but there’s a limit.  I start to get antsy and want to forget about work and just do something for fun…like cook, blog and eat!  We’re also in the process of revamping our bedroom, so we worked on that quite a bit as well.  Either way, updating my little blog got pushed to the wayside Friday and yesterday, so this is a little catch up post!!

Thursday night we did a variation of one of our absolute favorite meals:

Veggie Pita Pizzas

I used:

Joseph’s Protein and flax pitas (for crust)
organic marinara
sprinkle of veggie shreds
chopped onions
chopped bell peppers
chopped mushrooms
organic baby spinach

Just throw everything on the pita (LOAD on the veggies!) in whatever order suits your fancy, and whalaa! That’s what I call “hot and ready!”

Next up:  I have to say that I made the most amazing bowl of oatmeal yet on Saturday morning for breakfast.

In this bowl of oatmeal goodness went:

1/3 cup oats
3/4 cup water
1 scoop (a little over a tbsp) of chia seeds
1/2 a sliced banana
1/2 tbsp almond butter
a generous sprinkle of granola
a few carob chips

This concoction was probably a little higher in calories than I would usually aim for.  While I don’t count calories anymore, I do still try to be mindful when using higher calorie foods.  It was worth every gooey bite, though, and I would will do it all over again next Saturday.  Saturday is really the only day that I’m home long enough in the morning to fix breakfast.  I’m usually running out the door with my green monster in tow;)

Another A-mazing treat I had for the first time this weekend was a Starbuck’s Awake Tea Latte made with soy and no sweetener.  I’d been wanting to try one of these for awhile, but always would forget as I’d hurry to get my usual soy latte.  I do think it is my new favorite drink, though.  I asked what all goes in it before I ordered and learned that it contains Tazo Awake tea, steamed milk, water, and sweetener (which I skipped of course).  This drink doesn’t even need the sweetener.  Starbucks uses vanilla soy milk, so just that little bit of sweetness is all it needs.  It was delish!  And I will definitely be ordering it again in the future.  Try it if you get the chance!

I’m not sure what’s in store for din din tonight, but if all goes as planned, there will be a trial run of vegan blondies afterwards.  Recipe and review to come!!

Hope everyone has a great start to the week!!

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homemade black bean burgers

I’m excited to share a recipe that Jon and I made Thursday night for dinner.  It was all his idea, and he found the recipe in The Eat Clean Diet Recharged (the book that changed my life:).  So, without further ado…

Paradise Island Bean Burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed, drained and mashed
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice1 clove garlic (passed through garlic press) (I just used minced garlic to save time)
  • 2 tbsp leeks, whites only, finely chopped (I used onions b/c I didn’t have any leeks on hand)
  • 2 tbsp cooked and mashed sweet potato
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp evoo
  • 4 ezekiel buns, toasted

Method

  • Mix all ingredients except the olive oil and buns in a large bowl.  Coat clean hands with olive oil to mix.
  • Divide mixture into equal fourths.  Shape into patties.
  • Heat grill pan over medium flame and coat lightly with oil.  Add patties and cook five minutes per side or until the patties are golden and crispy
  • Serve on toasted burger buns.

I topped mine off with some (previously) homemade guacamole, a little bit of hot sauce, some greens, a slice of tomato and some pickles.  Obvs. with a side of baked sweet potato fries.   This meal was super tasty.  The bean burger itself could have used a little bit heavier dose of spices in my opinion, but overall it was pretty tasty.   It was pretty quick to put together, too!

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a “re-epiphany”

First things first, people.  As I mentioned yesterday, I made Averie’s Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Bars.  They are TO DIE FOR.  So good!  They are gooey and soft, and for me the bitterness of the carob is the perfect compliment to the sweetness of the dried cranberries.  All of the flavors mix together in just the right way.  Her recipe is pretty flexible, so lemme tell you what I put in them.

- one ripe banana
- 1.5 cup oats
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup carob chips
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup natural pb

- 1 scoop of the only protein powder (soy) I had on hand
- 3 tbsp sliced almonds
- 2 tbsp milled flaxseed – Walmart didn’t have whole flaxseeds.  I think whole would do much better.
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1.5 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract

I mixed it up just like Averie suggested.  If you notice, I omitted the coconut, which may have made my bars more gooey – not that that’s a bad thing!  I certainly have not skipped a beat in slicing off a piece each night;)  Definitely try these out if you’re looking for a healthy, vegan sweet treat!

Today I had an epiphany.  Funny thing is, this isn’t the first time I’ve had this epiphany.  I’ve realized, though, that sometimes in my life I have to learn things over and over.  Bad habits tend to come back randomly, and I have to relearn my new, good habits.  Here’s the story:

Usually when I come home from work, I run in the house, change clothes as fast as possible and race to the gym.  I like to get my workout in and get back home before Jon’s been home from work for too long.  Today, as I was driving home I was realizing that my body…and mind, for that matter…were just not feeling a workout.  Now, for me there is a difference between just not wanting to get on the treadmill or weights and me really needing a rest day.  I could feel it in my bones muscles, and I knew that I needed to take a day off.  Plus, I was completely mentally drained.  This week has just been extra busy and strenuous, and I haven’t given myself a chance to recoup.  So, I was going back and forth in my mind between two things: burn calories and get a good cardio workout in OR give myself a mental and physical break.

I started feeling guilty at the thought of not going to the gym.  I was telling myself that I needed to go to the gym no matter what because I needed to burn those calories.  Then Jon called.  He was headed home early from work and would be home any second.  Talk about making a hard situation harder for me.  Now I wanted to stay home to be with him, really wanted to rest, but the guilt was warring inside my head.  I haven’t done this to myself in a long time.  I honestly thought I was past the point of feeling guilty over working out and focusing way more on calorie burning than mental, emotional and relational (when I’m feeling guilty it affects my entire attitude, even toward Jon) health.

So, to make an already long story a little shorter, Jon coaxed me into staying home and resting, but not without a lot of whining and “bad mood” from me.  Because of him, I went to lie down for a bit.  I started thinking about the whole situation with a little more clarity.

Our physical health is not more important than our mental or emotional health.  Sometimes I make the mistake of putting more emphasis on my physical health because it’s outwardly evident.  If I gain five pounds, other people will notice and my jeans won’t fit quite as well, however, if I completely exhaust myself, other people don’t have to know.  It’s a lot easier to ignore.  So, I decided I’m making a commitment to start focusing equally on each area of my life.  I’m always striving to find that balance, and while I did have a setback today, I also took several steps toward becoming more balanced.

Do you ever have trouble finding balance between everything that is important in your life?  Do you often feel that you don’t have time to take care of every part of your life?  How do you try to maintain balance?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Well, it’s about time for me to skidaddle (sp?:) to bed.  Jon is trying to coerce me into staying up late with him, but I’m not sure how long I’m going to make it!  See you tomorrow for a review of the homemade vegan black bean burgers we made tonight.  Good night!

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too much or too little – that is the question

Hello blogging friends!  How was everyone’s Tuesday?  Mine was busy busy!  I feel like I just sat down for the first time today, and now it’s almost time to go to bed!  Such is life sometimes;)

Today, I started off with a green monster made by the wonderful husband.  I am so thankful that he makes my gm’s every day – I don’t know how I’d do it without him!  Today, I had him sub in natural peanut butter for almond butter.  AB is really my ultimate love, but it’s just so darn expensive!  So, I decided that I need to start alternating it with PB, just to salvage it a bit.

I have a feeling I didn’t eat enough today.  Since I stopped counting calories, I’m always hesitant about how much I really should be eating.  Do any of you have that issue or did you at some point?  I basically eat when I’m hungry, or at least as close to when I’m hungry as possible, but I always just have this uncertainty about whether I should be eating more or less.  This is probably just paranoia that comes along for the ride during the process of giving up the counting.  Thoughts?

For lunch today I had some leftover spaghetti squash with organic marinara and some veggie crumbles.  You may remember this meal from several nights ago.  I love having leftovers for lunch – so easy!

On my way home from school I had a (little too ripe) pink lady and a small handful of almonds before going to the gym.  My gym time was really when the hunger hit me, and it did not subside until I ate dinner around an hour and a half later.  For dinner I had vegan enchiladas once again.  They are so good, I just can’t help myself!!  Tonight I subbed in a Joseph’s lavash wrap instead of the whole wheat tortilla.  It was delish!  These wraps are a spin off the Joseph’s protein and flax pita.  They’re basically just a different shape.  Love these!  I put veggie shreds, spinach, chopped mushroom, chopped onion, and diced green chilis inside and drizzled green enchilda sauce over the top. With a side of refried beans and homemade guac…Yum!

Now, for the best part:  I made a batch of Averie’s Vegan No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein bars.  I left out the shredded coconut and added some sliced almonds instead.  I couldn’t find unsweetened shredded coconut at the store, and I didn’t want the sugar, so I just left it out.  If they taste half as good as they look, then I’ll be in business!  Review and pics to come tomorrow…

I gotta jet – time to get ready for another day!  I love finishing off Wednesdays, so  I can’t wait for tomorrow.  It’s just feels so good to be over halfway through the week!  Have a great night!

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i love being off work so that I can work!

Hello!  Happy Martin Luther King Day!  I was thankful to have a day off work today because I needed to get a lot of school stuff done.  Since this is my first year teaching, I have to put a TON of time into planning.  So, having an 8 hour day at home with no hoodlums really can’t be beat.  I may or may not have been known to take a sick day from work so that I could stay home and work.  Am I the only one who has done this?  I definitely took advantage of today.  I literally worked from about 9 am ’till 5:30 with about a 15 minute break for lunch.  I did snack along the way of course, though.

As soon as I get my food philosophy page ready, I’ll be able to share more about my food lifestyle.  I try to get in about 5 small meals a day, but it’s hard on workdays because I just don’t have time for a mid-morning snack.  So, I eat breakfast (green monster) around 6am and then lunch at about 11.  Not ideal, but it works out alright.  It was kind of fun today, though, to get in 5 small meals.  And here they are in all their glory:

Breakfast was a greem monster right after I got home from lifting at the gym.  It was my usual concoction of a little more than one cup almond breeze, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 2 big handfuls of spinach, 1 scoop Amazing Grass, 1 tbsp almond butter and ice.  Like heaven in a glass:)

At about 10am, I was ready for a snack, so I had leftover soy yogurt (about 2/3 cup) and a sprinkle of this awesome granola I picked up at our local grocery store.  It’s called blueberry almond granola and is stock full of awesome stuff! Organic rolled oats, organic evaporated cane juice, organic pressed canola oil (obvs. could do without this), organic raisins, organic apples, organic almonds, organic oat bran, organic blueberries, and organic sunflower seeds.  It’s SunRidge Farms brand, and you can check out their website at sunridgefarms.com.   Unfortunately, in my work frenzy I failed to snap a shot of it, but I’ll get it next time;)

Lunch was very basic.  I wanted to have something that I wouldn’t normally take to work, so I toasted two slices of Ezekiel bread, smeared it with almond butter and added a sliced banana.  It was rather tasty, but about two bites in I decided to forego the second piece of toast.  It was masking the flavor of the almond butter and banana just a tad, and we can’t have that!!

With a side of stapler and a macbook;)  bad joke, but I couldn’t resist.

A few hours later, I snacked on one of my Joseph’s protein and flax pitas with some Sabra roasted garlic hummus on the side (unpictured).  I usually like to base my snacks on fruits or vegetables, but this little combo is to die for!  So, I sneak it in here and there:) If you haven’t had this particular hummus, you have got to try it.  I’ve tried every brand I can find at the store, and nothing compares!

We decided to splurge a bit for dinner and go to Panera.  I always opt for either their black bean soup or their garden vegetable with a whole grain baguette.  But tonight they had a little surprise in store for me.  They changed up their garden vegetable soup!  Personally, I loved it just the way it was.  This new version has a couple of different vegetables and big dollop of pesto right in the middle!  I am a huge sucker for pesto, so I really enjoyed that part, but honestly by about halfway through, the pesto wasn’t even noticeable anymore.  It was really good, though, and a nice break from cooking and cleaning up!

Well, that’s about it for my eats today.  I sauntered over to ohsheglows today and really enjoyed the discussion going on in the comments of this post.  I just stopped counting calories a matter of months ago, and I feel more free than ever before in my life. I do, however, still weigh once a week.  I’m not sure if I feel like I even need to ditch the scale.  I don’t really feel like the scale has a negative impact on me because even when I weigh I know in my head that fitness and health are all that really matter.  As I was telling myself this, however, I was left with the following question: if weighing doesn’t negatively affect me because I am confident that the number is not what’s most important, then why do I still weigh?  Props to anyone who would like to be speak some truth as to your opinion on that.  I can totally take honesty;)

I’d love to discuss this more at length at some point, but I’d say this post is long enough for tonight;)  Back with more tomorrow.  Have a great night!

Btw, sorry for the lack of pictures!  I’ve been a bad blogger today.  To make up for it, though, I’ll leave you with a picture of our baby.  It’s about time she got some face time on the blog.

Meet Olive.

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