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time to celebrate

Do you ever have one of those days where it just seems like you blink twice and the day is gone?

Today has been that kind of day!  Jon and I went for a little walk with the pups this morning after which I came back and gave some baths before heading back to the gym for some running and yoga.

He (my nephew) wasn’t too keen on holding still, so it’s a bit blurry:)

I also squeezed in 1/2 of a green monster before the gym

Jonathan brought me these purty flowers for our anniversary

For this monsta I used

3 handfuls of spinach
1 tbsp of chia seeds
1.25 cups almond milk
1 scoop Amazing Grass
leftover chocolate and peanut butter softserve from yesterday (about 1/3 cup)

As you know, yesterday was our 4 year wedding anniversary, and it was such a sweet sweet day:)  We planned on not making a big “to do” about it yesterday because we wanted to celebrate tonight!  We did, however, go out to lunch at our favorite little cafe, Cafe Bella.

I went with the Hummus wrap which was filled with hummus (obvs.:) tomato, greens, onions, cucumbers and feta

Honestly, it was just meh.  I like the sandwich I usually get from there much better.  I’m still glad I tried it though!

Last night we celebrated by making homemade black bean burgers and baked french fries.

Come back tomorrow to get the recipe!  I can assure you, it’s a keeper!

After dinner we spent the evening working on my banana split for the Foodbuzz Ultimate Banana Split Challenge

It may seem silly that we spent the evening of our anniversary making this beauty, but let me tell you – it was so fun!  From making the ice cream, making the coconut whipped cream to staging it all….we really enjoyed it.  We really love working on projects together, so I guess it makes sense!  I’ll be posting these how to’s tomorrow as well!

I must run now – because we’re doing our real celebration tonight!  Tell you all about it tomorrow!

Tomorrow is going to be a pretty full day it seems;)

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comfort food + chia giveaway winners revealed

Jon and I had great intention of running a 5k this morning, but we have a bad habit of chattin’ it up so much that our running suffers.  We ended up running/walking 2.54 miles in about 35 minutes .  Obvs. there was a lot of walking involved.  o’well…at least we were up and moving!

By the time we got back, I had to rush around to get out the door on time!

green monster to-go please!!

2 handfuls spinach, 1.25 cups soy milk, 1/2 frozen banana, 1 scoop Amazing Grass, 1 tbsp natural peanut butter, chia seeds, ice

Need. Bigger. Cup. (I’m hardcore like that;)

After my orthodontist appointment (hi, I’m Candice and I’m 13 years old) I ran through S-bucks for a decaf soy latte.  I have cut down on my Starbucks runs exponentially; it’s funny how much better it tastes when it’s a rare treat. Totally worth every last cent today.

After a quick stop at the mall to do an exchange, I headed home for lunch.  Sweet Jon had it all prepared for me

Sunflower sprouts make their debut!  hooray!

whole wheat pita with hummus, Morningstar black bean burger, broccoli slaw and sunflower sprouts

with a side of juicy watermelon that I picked up last night

one of my thousand new obsessions.

And several hours of work later I dug into this new container of Sabra hummus with baby carrots.  Does anybody know how baby carrots came to be?  Do they grow them that way?  Curious minds want to know!

love me some carrots and hummus

Tonight I was in the mood for some comfort food because I received some bad news.  The ESL teaching job I told you guys I landed last week fell through. She called today and said that there had been some kind of hiring freeze and that they weren’t going to be able to hire me after all.  Sad:(  It hit me pretty hard because I was counting on that being a sure thing when I resigned from my job.

I’m trying to stay positive regardless of what happens.  I know that God will provide, and I know everything will work out for the best…I just have to have faith.

Someone quoted the following on twitter last week.  Please tell me if you know who it was because I can’t find where I wrote it down!

“This week shall rock!  I’m going to hold steady and strong at not digging up in doubt what I planted in full on faith.”

This has been my mantra since I read it last week…I keep repeating it to myself every time I start to sink into doubt.  I can’t lose hope the second things don’t go as expected.

Onwards and Upwards!

So, back to the comfort food.  I’ll give you 1 guess as to what comfort food was calling out to me.

You got it

Our specialty: homemade enchiladas.

  • Whole wheat tortilla
  • black beans
  • rotel tomatoes
  • soy cheese
  • Roll tortillas up and place in a baking dish
  • Pour canned green enchilada sauce over entire dish
  • Bake to perfection at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes

**We make six at a time because they are great for leftovers!

All jokes aside about our obsession with Mexican food...if you like enchiladas, you MUST make these.  They are like biting into a little piece of heaven.  No kidding.  You can make any variation – spinach, beans, cheese and onion or a mix of all three!  Let me know if you try them out, and I’ll post ‘em on the blog!

In an effort to save money this month, I decided to make a big batch of homemade salsa since we eat it like it’s goin’ out of style.  Below is the recipe I came up with tonight, but I think it still has room for improvement.  Let me know if you have any ideas for alterations!

Place the following ingredients in a food processor:

  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 jalapeno pepper, seeds and all!
  • ~ 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • small handful basil leaves, chopped
  • small handful cilantro, chopped

Process until it reaches the consistency you prefer.  Eat up!

There are millions of different ways to make salsas – peach salsa, chipotle salsa, black bean and corn salsa, the list goes on and on…

Jon and I prefer just basic, spicy salsa – we’re not crazy about all the add ins.  I’m excited to experiment with this a bit more.

Okay, okay, now for what you’ve all been waiting for.  I selected the winners using True Random Number Generator from random. org.

Drumroll please.

The winners of the chia seeds so graciously donated by Monterey Bay Spice Company are….

Rhea from Happy Greek Feaster

and

Amber from SAHM’s Musings

Congrats Rhea and Amber.  Email me your information, and we’ll get your chias shipped asap!

Thanks to everyone who entered.  And a very special thanks to Monterey Bay Spice Company for being our lovely sponsor.  Hop over and check out their website when you get a chance.  Chia seeds are only the beginning of their amazing products!

That’s all for tonight, friends.  Hope you all had a fantastic Monday!

What kind of salsa is your favorite?  Any tips to improve my recipe?  I’m all ears!!

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trying to let go

Gosh, guys, I’m trying to write my resignation letter, and it feels like I’m going through this decision making process all over again.  My resignation is not official until the letter is sent to the Board, and they cannot post my job until then as well.  So, it almost feels like this is as big of a deal as when I had to walk in and tell my principal the news.

This is so hard.  I thought I’d be feeling free as a bird, but instead I still feel timid and doubtful. I never realized that leaving a job that I know is not best for my life would be so difficult and emotional.  I figured I’d be so overcome with excitement about the possibilities of the future that I wouldn’t even look back.

So, why do I found myself continually glancing back over my shoulder?

This past year, I honestly gave my life to this job, and even though I don’t want to do that again, I feel an emotional attachment that is hard to break.  It’s like my school and the people there became a part of who I was, and now I’m consciously choosing to let that part of me go.

I’m trying to be brave, but of course I have doubts.  What if I regret my decision?  What if the commute wouldn’t have seemed as taxing this year?  What if the dreams I’m following don’t work out?  What if I fail and become even more unhappy than I’ve been this past year?

I always look at people who have made a change in their life in order to be successful at something they’re passionate about, and I admire them immensely.  But I don’t ever think about the people who make a change and then their dreams don’t pan out.  Until now.  Now it’s me who is stepping out to try and make my life what I want it to be.  And it’s so scary.

And the tears just keep coming.

In an effort to carry on, let’s talk about food.

With all the stress I’ve been feeling this week, I just haven’t had much of an appetite.  Especially in the mornings.  But, alas, I was feeling weak and shaky this morning, so I knew I need something to get me through some time on the treadmill and yoga.

I went with an old childhood favorite, but healthified it!  When I was growing up my mom would make us cinnamon toast by spreading butter over the toasted bread, then sprinkling it with sugar and cinnamon and spreading it all around.  It’s funny how food can evoke such vivid memories:)

This morning I toasted a piece of ezekiel bread and spread a thin layer of Earth Balance over it, then sprinkled it with cinnamon.  I could have added a bit of sweetener, but decided against it because my stomach just needed something kind of bland.

Along with it, I had a green monster of course.  But I lightened up on the ingredients a bit – this one contained

  • two handfuls spinach
  • 1/2 banana
  • a little over a cup of almond milk
  • ice

Simple and healthy.

By the time I got to the gym this morning I only had time to do about a mile on the treadmill before yoga.  Ideally I would have had more time but I just have so much going on today, that I decided to just call it a day after class was over.

On the list for today

  • do some invoicing for Outbox
  • write and send my resignation letter:(
  • place an amazon order for a book I’m needing
  • meet with Mohammad
  • think through some things for my interview
  • rock my interview!
  • figure out what foods I want to take for the lake this weekend
  • mail some bills

What are your plans for the 4th of July? Jon and I are meeting my family at my Grandparent’s lake cabin.  We’ll be leaving Saturday and returning on Monday, and unfortunately there is no internet access down there, so unless I figure out how to schedule a couple of posts (does anybody know how to do this?), CSM will be awfully lonely for a couple of days.

I hope you all have a great Friday and if you’re headed out of town be safe and have a great holiday weekend!

See ya later!

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epic vegan chocolate chip cookies (enough said:)

Happy 2nd day of summer!   I failed to wish anybody a happy 1st day of summer yesterday, so I figure why not make up for it today?!  Honestly, summer is not my favorite season, and so far this one seems hotter than ever!  I stepped outside about an hour ago to water our flowers, and after a minute flat I was sweating profusely.  Ugh. I’m pretty sure the flowers appreciated it though:)

Woke up this morning and headed to the gym for Piyo.  The instructor today made the class ten times more intense than the other instructor I’ve had.  I have never gotten into yoga.  In fact, I went to my first yoga class only within the last year.  I think I love it.  And it loves me.  The last couple of weeks I’ve been going a lot more, and now I crave it all the time.  I think I’m going to have to get some DVDs or find some online bc my gym only offers three classes a week, only one of those being only yoga (not Piyo).

Breakfast was a green monster that was as delicious as it was ugly.  Don’t know what happened to the color, but I’m not happy about it!  This one contained 1 cup soy milk, 1/2 banana, 1 scoop Amazing Grass, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1 tbsp peanut butter, the last of my spinach and 1 kale leaf.

There is the cutest little shop in our town, Peck’s Lodge, and in our early college years Jon and I frequented it so much that we became good friends with the owner.  This past week his mother passed away.  I never had the pleasure of meeting her, but the way Dan always talked about her I know she was lovely.  This morning we attended her funeral; it was a very meaningful service that really made me think about life and what’s important.  I was reminded that at the end of life, the kindness and love that a person showed to others is what’s remembered most.  It really made me think about how caught up I get in trivial things that don’t really matter in the end.  Always a good reminder.

Soon after I got home, I threw together some lunch

leftovers of this meal, with the addition of homemade guacamole

I also snacked on a few blue corn tortilla chips.

Now onto the good stuff. I bring you….

Epic Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from here)

Yes…they were epic.

Ingredients

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp.salt
vegan chocolate or carob chips – YOU decide how many!
1 cup raw sugar (I used sugar in the raw, but you could use turbinado etc)
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil (I used canola)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup water
1 flax egg (combine 3 tbsp water with 1 tbsp milled flaxseed in a sauce pan.  Simmer until it reaches egg-like consistency
about 1/2 to 1 tbsp of Agave (I didn’t measure)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl. Add chocolate/carob chips. Set aside.
3.  In a separate bowl mix vegan sugar and oil. Next add the vanilla and the water. Mix it well.  Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix well.   Spoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for about 8-10 minutes.  I basically just checked mine every two minutes after the initial 10.  I think they ended up taking about 18 minutes.  Take them out while they are still a bit soft and gooey.  They will harden as they cool; however, these cookies stayed very soft!
4.  This batch made about 12-16 cookies.

My husband is a chocolate chip cookie connoisseur.  They are his absolute favorite, and they have to be just right.  On top of that, he is always honest with me about my vegan/healthy creations.  He doesn’t bat an eye when telling me how he really feels, even if he abhors whatever strange concoction I’ve invented.

He loves these!  While he says they don’t taste just like a regular non-vegan chocolate chip cookie, they are still delicious and satisfying.  I’ll take it!  Besides, he can’t stop eating them, so that’s enough proof for me:)

Make these…asap.

Still to come this week: two more Paris recaps (humor me if you’re tired of these) + review of my affordable and fantastic Waring Pro Juicer from Target.

See ya later!

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this girl knows what she wants

So, I’m not the only one who knows exactly what I want in my food.

For awhile now we’ve been having trouble with Olive not being able to um….let’s just say “hold down her food.”  It finally dawned on us yesterday that she might just be trying to tell us something.  Maybe losing your lunch at least once a week for no apparent reason isn’t totally normal.

After a short visit to the vet, we decided to change her food.  You can’t just change it overnight, though.  You see, if we switch her cold turkey lamb, we’ll risk having problems at the other end.  The trick is to sift in the new food just a little at a time and after about a weeks time be completely done with the old food.  Well, that only works if the ahem person involved agrees to continue eating the old food.  As opposed to only picking out the new food kernels of course.

Exhibit A.  This is what we found after having incorporated the new food in with the old.  If you look closely you can see that there are bits of food under her bowls.  She also had trailed it all across the kitchen floor.  So, we decided to do a little test to make sure it wasn’t a fluke.

Exhibit B.  Olive is given an Olive sized bowl each of California Natural (the old food) and Prairie (the new food).

Exhibit C.  When given the go-ahead, Olive immediately goes for Prairie.

Exhibit D (not pictured).  Trickster Dad stops Olive mid-gulp and quickly switches up the bowls to see if she chooses the same one again.  Of course she does.

Lastly, dad gives Olive the California Natural bowl and scowls as she turns her nose up at it.  He then proceeds to give her the Prairie bowl, which she immediately devours.

Folks, we have a verdict.  Now we’re left scratching our heads and wondering “has she been throwing up as an act of rebellion because she doesn’t like her food? or is she allergic?”  We may never know.

Onward and upward.  Today Jon and I proudly made it out of bed in time to get in a workout.  We had planned to break our sweat at the gym because it is so dang hot outside, but we were pleasantly surprised when we stepped outside and it felt only like a cool 80 degrees.  Without hesitation we abandoned our gym passes and headed to the street.  After putting in a quick 20 minute run, we came back to get O for a walk.

Shortly after our run, I was reunited with this guy

2 big handfuls spinach
1 cup soy milk
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 scoop Amazing Grass
1 tbsp almond butter
ice

Because of vacation and a lack of groceries since, I have not had a green monster in a couple of weeks!  It was a grand reunion.  Tomorrow I shall be reunited with overnight oats methinks.

I spent most of the morning at the coffee shop working on some stuff and sipping on a nice iced soy latte.

Now I know how this looks.  Let me explain.  When Jon and I decided to commit to our “no eating out for a week and that includes coffee” challenge, we agreed that we could still get coffee drinks from The Daily Grind.  Jon worked there for five years during college and we’re still good friends with the owner, so we have a prepaid card and we are only charged a dollar per drink.  I know, I know.  It still seems like we’re cheating, but technically no money changed hands, so I vote that we’re in the clear.

On a more honest and admirable note, I did pack my lunch so I wouldn’t be tempted to grab something.

Thank you Mister whole wheat tortilla broccoli slaw sprouts hummus and tempeh wrap.  You saved me from making a decision I would later regret.  Just a warning for tomorrow, though.  A good friend whom I haven’t seen in some time asked me to meet for lunch tomorrow, and I agreed.  Hey, life happens.  And the point of the challenge is still being driven home.

And dinner…

Carrots, onions, bell pepper, squash and zucchini sauteed in Evoo and doused with Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and Nutritional Yeast.  Served over a bed of Soba noodles.  A go-to favorite.

Followed by banana soft serve with a bit of Maranatha Chocolate Almond Butter mixed in.

The rest of the day consisted of a long overdue phone chat with my college roommate, starting to clean out our office and chilling with my sweet husband.

I’m off to bed now!  G’night!

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