Feb 9, 2011
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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Jan 18, 2011
Well, in true Candice fashion I was up until 2am last night baking away.
But first, let’s back up for a second. It’s time for a little honesty. Over the last couple of weeks I have really been slacking with my workouts and with putting energy into eating clean. My workouts have consisted mainly of the classes I teach and a couple sporadic short treadmill runs, and my eating has included a few too many Amy’s frozen burritos. There has been so much going on here as of recent, and I’ve been hanging on by a thread as far as taking care of myself. I’ve been getting an average of about 6 hours of sleep a night among other things….and it’s really starting to wear on me.
So this morning I got up with the best intentions of really making the extra effort to treat my body really well and start replenishing my energy. As many of you know, I believe that just because you slack a little in any area of healthy living for awhile, doesn’t mean that you should give up or be discouraged. It’s all about whether (and when) we get back on track. There’s no way I’m going to eat, sleep and exercise perfectly for the rest of my life, so I’m adamant about cutting myself some slack when life gets crazy. But there is definitely value in getting back on track when you feel like you’ve derailed a bit.
So, things started off really well this morning in regard to eating; I made up a bowl of oats cooked in water, and then added a few spoonfuls of soy yogurt and a sprinkle of Kashi Go Lean Crunch. It definitely was lacking a bit in the fruit and veg department, but otherwise made me pretty happy.
The rest of the day continued on a pretty good track, but then I started feeling a little crazy, oh…sometime after dinner. I got this serious craving for a cinnamon roll. How do these things happen? lol.
Even though it was nearing 9pm and I still had some tasks to complete before bed, I naturally started brainstorming how I could get some vegan cinnamon rolls stat. Oh boy.
After a few moments I suddenly remembered this recipe from Project Food Blog several weeks ago. At the time I thought it looked awesome, but I just wasn’t feeling cinnamon rolls. But this is the kind of thing that I tuck safely back in my mind to be pulled out on a perfect night such as tonight. While I realized that this recipe would no doubt be outrageously delicious, I didn’t realize just how involved the whole process would be. Let’s be real…do I ever?
But once I get started on an idea like this…there’s nothing that can stop me. And for the next 3ish hours I was mixing, chopping, kneading, sifting, stirring, rolling, flossing and of course baking. And man oh man was it worth it.
These rolls were like everything that is good in the world being wrapped up in a soft and doughy little spiral, baked at 350 degrees and coming out just the right shade of golden brown. They were chewy and hot, with the mingled flavors of pumpkin, cinnamon and butter baked into the inside. To. die. for.
I used this recipe…and only made a few changes like maple syrup instead of vanilla extract, organic cane sugar instead of regular white, soy milk instead of almond milk. I also replaced two cups of white flour with bread flour, and I did not put Earth Balance in the Pecan Cinnamon Streusel filling (I was buttered out!). It still worked just fine! Lastly, instead of the cream cheese frosting on the recipe, I simply mixed a little bit of powdered sugar with some soy milk for a nice, thin glaze.
Hey – at least I did have a green monster on the side this morning. I am trying to clean it up around here after all.
Obviously my biggest problem now is how to not eat the entire pan in the 48 hours. Thankfully, I do have a few ideas up my sleeve.
So, aside from sabotaging myself by staying up until 2am making cinnamon rolls, I am really trying to step it up and take better care of myself, even during these crazy times. Because when it seems that so many things in life have been turned upside down, my health is the one thing I can still control. The one thing I can still hold onto that makes me feel sane. And vibrant. And like I can take on anything.
So tell me, what are your tricks for keeping these things in order when life gets crazy?
Are you a cinnamon roll fan? What’s your favorite morning baked treat?
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Dec 10, 2010
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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Dec 1, 2010
Amidst the busyness of the last few days, there have been some really sweet highlights.
Yesterday I received a mysterious box in the mail. I always get so excited when an unexpected package comes, but usually I open it to find junk mail of some sort. But not this time. I opened the box, peered inside and saw this:
My mom, step-dad and sister bought me this cute little scarf and mailed it to me as a surprise. How sweet is that? It totally brightened my entire day and made me feel so loved and happy. I have the best family:)
Another highlight came today when I finished a project that I’ve been working on. My friend, JJ, facebooked me about a week ago and asked me if I could make a couple of tag blankets for some friends of hers who are having a baby shower this week. I made a tag blanket for JJ’s baby right before he was born, and she says he takes it everywhere with him, so she thought it would be a great gift for her friends!
I of course happily obliged, but unfortunately my sewing machine was not quite as willing. Yesterday took all the patience I could muster as my machine jammed over and over and over. Finally, after about 4 hours of working, I finished them up!
tag blanket numero one
and numero two
If you’re wondering what a tag blanket is, allow me to explain. It’s a small, soft blanket for babies that has loops of ribbon coming off of it – it’s great for cuddling, pulling, chewing and just all around good fun:)
Anyway, regardless of my frustration with the sewing machine, you really can’t beat an afternoon of sewing while jamming out to Christmas music and sipping a hot latte on a frigid winter day. Can I get an amen?
Another thing you can’t beat?
baked apples with cinnamon and a splash of agave
and spinach lavash wraps with hummus, chia seeds and veggies. with a side of ceramic birds:)
So, I mentioned yesterday that I would be back to talk about getting back in a healthy groove after veering from it for awhile. The last couple of weeks or so I have just gotten a little lazy with eating clean. Between the stresses and busyness of the everyday and the extra craziness of the holidays, I’ve been eating a few too many chips and cookies, and not nearly enough veggies.
I definitely have my ups and downs when it comes to living healthy. I go through phases where it seems I just get on a roll of eating too much junk and not making it to the gym. And once I start slacking, it can be sooo hard to get back on track.
But no one can be perfect all the time, and the important thing for me is to focus on the fact that I do always get back on track. Instead of beating myself up and regretting what I’ve done, I am so much more successful overall when I just dust off my behind and jump right back in the game. Dwelling on what I’ve done in the past only serves to drag me farther down, killing any remnants of mojo I have left and leaving me feeling discouraged and sad.
Over the last couple of days, I’ve really stepped it up and gotten back on track with food and exercise. Tonight I was thinking through a few things I’ve done to help, so I thought I’d share them with you!
- I re-read a book that has been motivating to me in the past. This renews my energy and refreshes my perspective of why it’s important to me to make healthy choices. This time around it was Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean book. Absolutely love this book – if you haven’t read it, put it on your Christmas list stat!
- I took a few minutes to write out some goals/reasons why I want to do what it takes to feel great and be healthy. These change from time to time, so it’s really important to me to keep them fresh and current in my mind.
- I got a partner! Turns out I’m not the only who has been slacking since the holidays started. Talking to someone else and sharing ideas, struggles and goals together really pumps me up to make some changes. Plus, I get instant accountability for my choices!
- I wrote down a mantra and memorized it! Every time I start to fall back into bad habits, whether by skipping the gym multiple days in a row or by eating another handful of chips rather than some raw vegetables, I immediately repeat my mantra in my head. It focuses me instantly!
- I perused blogs and jotted down some new fun meal ideas that I can get excited about! Sometimes I just get in a rut and become tired of the same foods I always eat. There’s no better place than blogs to get new inspiration for workouts and meals.
- I pretended I felt better even before I did. Sometimes it really does work to “fake it till you make it.” Even though I felt sluggish and kind of weighed down, I began to act and think like I felt healthy and alive. This got me through for a couple of days until I really did start to feel better!
These are just a few of the things I did – nothing groundbreaking, but yet these never fail to help me get back on course when I seem to have strayed far away.
I’d love to hear any ideas you have for getting back on track after being in a rut. What do you do when this happens to you?!
Hope you’ve all had a great Wednesday! Onward!
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Nov 30, 2010
This week has been so crazy! Since we’ve been back home from visiting family for Thanksgiving, we’ve been so busy. I haven’t even had a chance to recap our Thanksgiving weekend…better late than never, though. Right?
I ended up making three different dishes to take to my family’s dinner. I’m blessed to have grandparents who are healthy eaters, so there were several great options on the table. I was really excited about cooking up some new recipes I’d been wanting to try, so I decided to take a few things anyway!
First up, I made this Maple Spiced Quinoa dish that Angela had posted awhile back.
This dish was delicious! Unfortunately the picture doesn’t do it justice. All I had to put it in was my mom’s Tupperware bowl, but i promise it tasted worlds better than it looks. The only negative was that I kind of wished I had made a savory quinoa dish for dinner, rather than sweet. This almost could have been eaten as a dessert!
I also made Angela’s healthy Sweet Potato Casserole. Let’s just go ahead and get something out on the table – I totally had an Angela inspired Thanksgiving dinner! Why not, right? Her recipes almost always amaze me, and I didn’t really have time to come up with something on my own. Plus, I had been drooling over these recipes since she posted them several weeks ago. What better time to try them out than on Thanksgiving?!
I totally scored big with this casserole…especially when it came to my baby cousin, Caroline. She was a big fan:)
This casserole was competing big time too because my aunt brought a delicious sweet potato casserole. I think it competed well, though it may not have won out in the end:( Except with Caroline that is.
For dessert I made Pumpkin Brownie cupcakes. Now these were a hit!
Every bit as delicious as they look and sound. How can you beat the combination of brownie + pumpkin + cupcake?! Seriously? I was so happy that everyone enjoyed these, and the recipe has already been sent out to the family. I could actually really use one of these about right now…
To top it all off, I made up a quick batch of Super Charge Me Cookies from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. They were awesome, as always.
My plate: vegetarian, mostly vegan and 100% delicious!
After lunch, we spent the rest of the day playing games and just hanging out. I love holidays at my grandparent’s house – it’s so nice to just spend time together. It doesn’t happen nearly enough.
And don’t forget family picture time!
And all the grandkids…starting at 1 year and going all the way up to 30!
My sweet grandma on her birthday. Her actual birthday is today, but we celebrated it with her on Thursday evening after all the Thanksgiving festivities. Happy Birthday Grandma!
The rest of the weekend was spent shopping, hanging out with my mom, step-dad and sister, decorating our Christmas tree and then celebrating yet another birthday.
We had a surprise party for my sister’s 30th, and I was in charge of lying to her all morning, getting her out of the house and then getting her back to the house in time for the party. I don’t think she likes to be surprised very much, and she didn’t make it easy on me. I think she ended up being about 1/3 surprised. Fun was still had by all though:)
We came back home on Saturday just in time to get ready for the Bedlam game. The husband and I had to work in the suites taking pictures. It was definitely the most fun game all year – even though we ended up losing in the end.
On Sunday we spent the day catching up on work and the house, and then we decorated for Christmas! One of my favorite activities of the season! Pictures will be soon to come:)
That’s all for now! I’m so glad to finally be caught up on everything…now it’s time to get caught up on all of your lovely blogs:) Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and are having a great start to the week. How crazy that it’s already almost December!
I’ll be back tomorrow to talk about getting back and staying on track during this chaotic season – it’s not easy, but it’s so worth it!
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