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tofu redemption

So, last night I finally sat down to eat my long awaited tofu dinner at about 9:30pm.  You guys already know – it was not good.

But I’m not the type who gives up easily.

My mom can attest to this story:

When I was a wee four years old, still using a pacifier mind you, I had a bike with training wheels.    I would pedal that bike as fast as my little legs would go, trying to keep up with my big sister at all costs.  Until one fateful day when one of my training wheels bit the dust.

I’m not one to give up easily, though.  Despite my mother’s constant scoldings, I perfected riding the three wheeled bike.  She would constantly be yelling out the door – “Candice, get off that bike!  You’re gonna get hurt!”

I’d stop momentarily…but then I’d be right back at it.

Until the next fateful summer day when the other training wheel gave out on me.

My mom was so relieved.  She sighed “at least now she won’t be able to hurt herself trying to ride that bike with broken training wheels.”

Like I said, though.  I’m not one to give up easily.

Not many days later, my mom glanced outside to check on me, and there was little four-year-old me, flying down the road after my big sister on my two wheeled bike, with pacifier in tow.

To this day, determination is something I don’t take lightly.

As evidenced by this

So, you’re probably wondering what the heck happened right?

After I finished blog venting about my tofu fail last night, I walked back into the kitchen where my tofu was still gloating smugly atop the stove.  In a moment of sheer rage frustration I grabbed the dish, punched the broiler button on the stove, and threw it back into the stove.  Take that!

I honestly figured I’d be trashing those mushy little tofu cubes in less than ten minutes, but I figured “hey, it can’t get any worse, so I might as well make one last ditch effort!”

Ten minutes later I pulled out a sizzling batch of perfectly browned, crispy on the outside, but chewy on the inside tofu.

And that my friends…is how it’s done;)

Apparently it just needed cooked longer, as I would have found out by reading all the awesome comments from last night’s post.  Thanks for all the tips – with the help of them hopefully I’ll be able to get it right the first try next time!

Now I’m off to bake some vegan cookies – don’t wait up for this one;)

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hls – the gift that keeps on givin’

missed recap 1, 2 or 3?

Hey, hey!

It’s finally time for the fourth and final HLS recap!

After the last session on Saturday I had a really short break before yoga.

I was so excited about this yoga class!  Confession:  I have never been to a studio yoga class before. There isn’t a studio in my town, so I only go to our gym yoga.  And let me tell you, it is NOT the same.  Subway sponsored us to go to Exhale to attend a core fusion yoga class.  Core Fusion Yoga includes a cardio element and is fueled by upbeat and inspirational music.  Oh, and the instructor was cuh-razy.  And I liked it:)  A lot.

There are no Chinese gongs at Gym One.  Nor are there any wall ladders use for stretching (perfectly normal).

Allison, Lauren, Lizz, me

Love my new yoga buddies!  I was freakin’ out Saturday because I didn’t know anyone going to yoga.

Let’s be real.  I didn’t know anyone going to yoga, AND I didn’t know anyone going to the Mexican dinner I had signed up for that night.

Hi, I’m Candice, and I sometimes get scared of being awkward and having no friends. There, I said it.

So, like any normal person would do – I tweeted out a plea for friends during one of the sessions on Saturday.  And the angel above in the blue dress was my twitter hero:)

I loved this yoga class.  Oh, and they gave us free mats!

Which we had no other choice than to cart around for the rest of the night at said Mexican restaurant.  Classy.

JT and I before yoga

After yoga, we dried our sweaty hair, applied new deodorant and rushed out the door to dinner!

Sabrina had made reservations for a group of us at Mercadito, a swanky and fun mexican restaurant.

Jessie, Sabrina, Lizz

I sat with this awesome blogger and we hit off right away!  I  love this girl.  Cannot wait to go to NY to visit sometime.

It was a fun night of chattin’ up a storm, takin’ photos of our food…and eating!  All the plates were for sharing.

I was in heaven from the start – 3 different kinds of guacamole

chips fo dippin’

mixed greens, red cabbage, corn, jícama,
queso fresco, chipotle-balsamic vinaigrette

fried plantains with a  ginger-jalapeño sauce

vegetarian tacos – black bean hash, rajas poblanas,
crema fresca, crispy potatoes

These tacos were the food highlight of the day for me.  The flavors were fantastic, and the corn tortillas were homemade – so soft!

and dessert….

flan de cajeta  – goat’s milk caramel custard

Flan!  I’ve never had flan before – it’s always been a dessert that I’ve only seen in the movies, lol.  This caramel one was to die for!  There were two other flavors brought to our table, but I nearly gagged on one of them, so I tried to lure the caramel one back down to our end;)

This meal was awesome – so many different new flavors.  And I loved that everything was shared.  I got to try so much, but I was able to walk our rather than roll out, so that was a bonus!


We hung around the restaurant for quite a while and then walked back to the hotel about midnight.  Still with our yoga mats in tow.

And that’s a wrap!  About 4 hours later I was up and at ‘em, heading to the airport.

It was such a quick weekend…and I totally wish I could relive it!  I’m so ecstatic about the new friends I made, and the twitter and blog fun that will ensue.  HLS: the gift that keeps on givin’.

Hope to see ya at HLS 2011!


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the last hoorah

This is true love.

I arrived home super late tonight after spending the first half of my day cleaning out my classroom and the last half at the orthodontist (for 3 hours!).  I was so happy to walk in and smell dinner cooking right away.  The husband really outdid himself this time:)

He made his and hers Mexican Casseroles by first lining a small glass baking dish with corn tortillas (2 per bowl). He then layered black beans (rinsed and drained), soy cheese, vegetarian refried beans, chopped tomatoes and onions, black beans, green chilis and a garnish of cheese.  These were delicious!  He baked them at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes…perfection:)

Today was so crazy!  I met my mom at my school this morning, so we could pack everything away.  They’ve already hired someone new to take over my position, which made me a little sad.  What did I expect, though…right??

Per the usual, it ended up being a much more time consuming job than we expected + the air conditioning was not running in my room, so by the time we finished several hours later, we were both famished and exhausted!

I know I’m a dork, but I commissioned my mom to take some pics of me in my room.  I spent SO much time there this past year…I just wanted to having something to remember it by!

It looks quite different because a lot of stuff had already been taken down and my desk had been cleared off, but it’ll still remind me of my room!  Can you see my “censored” poster in the background.  I’d hold it up over the T.V. during sketchy parts of movies – the kids got a pretty big kick out of it:)

And last but not least – there was lots of time spent here.

Anyway, cleaning out my room was the last thing to check off before officially signing off from my school.  It was a touch bittersweet leaving for the last time today.  Another chapter closed and a new one opened, eh?

Also, a special shout out to my mom for giving up one of her last days of summer to help me out.  I needed moral support, and I’m so thankful she was there!

I promise I did eat other stuff besides our little Mexican fiesta tonight – green monster this morning, larabar for a snack, Panera for lunch – but unfortunately I was in such a craze this morning that my eats escaped the camera.  And for some reason my lunch pictures turned out dark.  Sad!

On our marathon training schedule for today was cross training, so we took it easy by going on a 30 minute, 1.9 mile walk.  Nothing too intense, but it felt great to stretch our legs after yesterday’s 6 miler.  I’m still so excited about training – I woke up smiling about it first thing this morning!!

I hope you’re all having a great start to the week!

Question for today:
What are you most looking forward to this week?
I’m most looking forward to going to the lake on Wednesday and Thursday with my mom and sister.  We’re taking a girl’s trip as our last “hoorah” before they go back to school.  I’ll be scheduling some posts for those days – maybe the last couple of vacation recaps from Europe (better late than never!) and a spiralizer review!

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second time around

Thank you all for the wonderful comments this morning!  You guys totally made my day!  Well…you and Foodbuzz :)   lol.

I really do appreciate your support tremendously.  ChiaSeedMe would not be the same without you.

After yesterday’s 7 hours of driving and 8 hour certification class, I just could not pull myself out of bed on time this morning!  I slept in until Jon left for world at 8am, then finally lured myself out of bed by envisioning a refreshing and energizing juice. mmm.

1 beet, 1 apple, 1 pear, 2 carrots

Totally did the trick:)

I also managed to make it to the gym and crank out a 5k on the treadmill.  It was a tough run…but I’m really trying to start pushing myself more.  Instead of focusing on the discomfort, I want to focus more on the satisfaction of sprinting that last mile….or running it 20 seconds faster. Whatever it may be.  It really worked today, and I felt so great!

Lunch was leftovers from the other night.

stir-fry veggies with bulgur, chick peas and chias

I had mentioned before that this stir-fry sauce I made was a total fail…but honestly, it tasted better today than it did the first time.  I kinda liked it!

Later on I snacked on a brown rice cake with natural pb, sliced banana a chia seeds – one of my favorite snacks:)

Dinner tonight was leftover enchiladas.  muahahaha.

Today when I met with Mohammad for our tutoring session, he had some bad news to tell me – he’s moving!  This was totally out of the blue.  Basically (we learned that word today:) he just isn’t happy with the classes he’s taking at the institute here, so he’s moving to OKC to attend a different one. Wednesday will be our last meeting together.  I’m really going to miss it because I’ve been enjoying tutoring a lot!

So, you guessed it.  That leaves me jobless once again.  And once again, I’m just trusting that God has something better for me. It’s not easy, but I’m turning away from lies and believing truth.  Something that I’m getting to work on a lot lately:)

In other news…

…this little guy left us yesterday.  While Olive certainly has a little more peace in her life, Jon and I are kinda missing him.

Well, I’m off to cuddle with the husband.  What a great day it’s been; let’s try to top it tomorrow!

And a couple questions for you guys because I love getting to know more about you!  What better way to find out more about you guys than hearing about your lovable fur babies? Or lack thereof;)

Are you a dog person or a cat person? Or neither?
What kind of pet(s) do you have and what are their names?

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$6 well spent + spicy chia black bean burger

This morning Jon and I slept in a bit, then got up and headed to the Farmer’s Market!  We are really trying to stay on a strict budget these days, so I planned to only use the cash that was leftover from our trip last week….which was $6.

I repeat.  $6.

We didn’t really need anything, surprisingly, so six bucks isn’t quite as ridiculous as it sounds.  Last week I had picked up some fresh blackberries and they were so good!  I was dying to get some more this week.  The vendor I bought from last week was out, so I had to get them from another.  Guess how much they were.

$6.

Ha.  So, I spent my entire budget on blackberries!

Breakfast – decaf iced soy latte (by way of gift card!) with a bowl of berries

They have already been worth ever cent so far.  Delicious:)

Now that we are crackin’ down on our budget, I’m really trying to utilize all of our leftovers.  Hence, this salad for lunch.

chopped fresh spinach, broccoli slaw, corn, leftover black bean burger (recipe below!), vegetarian refried beans, salsa, a sprinkle of cumin and chias

This was just okay.  I had let the second batch of black bean burgers cook a little too long the other night, so this was a bit dry and crumbly. It did the job, though;)

For our anniversary celebration (our anniversary was actually Thursday) last night, we went Cafe 501, a really nice little place in the city.  Jon had been there once a really long time ago, but I had never been!

And enjoy we did.  It was really wonderful.

free bread and garlic oil while we waited – we each had about a piece and a half

Appetizer – hummus with roasted red pepper and garlic.  Served with warm pita bread.

I really could have just ordered this and been perfectly fine…and full.  But of course I didn’t realize that until I had already ordered my meal and eaten about half of the hummus!  eek.

I did thoroughly enjoy this salad, I’m not gonna lie.  And all it’s sweet, crunchy, feta cheesy goodness. It was made up of a bed of fresh greens, feta cheese, spiced pumpkin seeds, granny smith apples and a lemon vinaigrette dressing.  Dressing on the side as to avoid floating lettuce:)  I ate about half.

After dinner we had planned to go to a movie…but alas, we were both tired, and it sounded much better to just head home and cuddle up in bed  to watch something (Isn’t that always better anyway?).  And that we did:)

Okay, now for the two recipes I promised yesterday!!

First up - Spicy Chia Black Bean Burgers


Ingredients

  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed, drained and mashed
  • 1 cup cooked barley
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed (minced will work)
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp avocado (mashed sweet potato will also work)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Directions

  • Mix all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.
  • Divide and shape mixture into four patties
  • Heat George Foreman grill (or skillet) and coat with olive oil
  • Cook patties until crispy

recipe adapted from The Eat Clean Diet Recharged

I made these once before, but this time I tweaked the recipe and cooked them on our George Foreman rather than the stovetop, and they worked quite nicely. They do tend to be a bit more fragile than your average beef/turkey burger, but these held together just fine!

We enjoyed them on Ezekiel buns; I only had the bottom part of the bun and ate it with a fork.  Also added broccoli slaw, spinach, pickles, onions and hummus.

Hi husband and Olive.  hehe.

We also had some baked fries on the side.  I cut up one whole russet potato, spread the pieces on a cookie sheet, sprinkled with a little of this (seasoned salt, garlic powder) and a little of that (ground red pepper) and baked at 400 degrees for about 20 – 25 minutes, flipping them every once in awhile.  Don’t forget to spray the pan really well before you lay on the fries! Not that I’ve had a problem with this or anything:)

Tasty!!

Okay, next up is a recipe that isn’t really a full recipe.  More of a how-to of sorts.

As you all know, I participated in the Foodbuzz Ultimate Banana Split Challenge by making this baby

I wasn’t able to eat the entire thing (as no self respecting person would:)…but the three bites I did inhale eat were out-of-this-world!  It tasted every single bit as indulgent as it looks.

To start, I used my food processor to make 3 different kinds of banana soft-serve.  I added a small handful of strawberries to the first batch, about a tablespoon of cocoa powder to the second batch and a tablespoon of natural peanut butter to the third batch.  Each batch contained one whole banana.  All you do is process a frozen banana until you achieve a smooth, creamy consistency.  Then add your extra ingredient (the possibilities are mind boggling) and process until mixed well.

I froze each flavor for several hours so it would be the right consistency for scooping.

Next I made the coconut whipped cream.

First things first – leave your mixing bowl and beater in the freezer for several hours so it is very cold.  Next, poke a hole (or several) in the bottom of  a can of Thai Coconut Milk (only the full fat version works).  Let the milk drain out the bottom.  Use a can opener to open the top, at which point you’ll see the thick coconut fat.

Scoop the fat out into your mixing bowl.  Mix until smooth, but don’t over mix.

Next add about .5 to 1 cup of powdered sugar and continue mixing until it becomes a whipped consistency. Ta-da!  Vegan whipped cream:)

recipe found here

I know I’ve been saying this a lot lately, but I have some big news coming up in my next post!  Remember in this post when I said I have “a few other things up my sleeve?”  Well one of those things is going down tomorrow! I am so excited…and I can’t wait to tell you guys.

Talk to you later!

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