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pack your bags!

This morning started off kind of rocky due to sleeping through our alarm and missing church.  Sad:(  We made a last minute run to the city last night because I needed to get some shoes to wear on our trip.  I had a little too much luck with shopping and ended up with more shoes than I really need.

I’ve had worse problems.  Either way, I guess our bodies weren’t quite ready to be up and at ‘em this morning.

We turned things around pretty quickly though, putting it in high gear to get ready to leave for Europe.  By mid afternoon we had laid out most of our clothes to be packed, cleaned out the fridge, mowed two lawns (I mowed ours, Jon mowed a friends), and done three loads of laundry.  I also was fortunate enough to get two of my drawers and my closet cleaned out.  You see, I have had this stellar pair of Nike spandex workout capris that I absolutely adore, and they have mysteriously gone missing as of about three weeks ago.  I really want to take them, but alas, even after looking every last place I can imagine they’d be – they have remained undiscovered.

Regardless of the busyness of the morning, I managed to throw together a healthy breakfast and lunch.

Breakfast – Yogurt bowl w/ one soy yogurt, sliced almonds, granola and dried cherries

Lunch – two slices Ezekiel bread, spinach and artichoke hummus, sliced cucumber, tomato and onion.  With a side of corn on the cob.  Kind of random, but we’re trying to eat the last of the perishables in the fridge.

I am so happy that I planned out my vacation outfits a couple of weeks ago.  It has made packing so much easier.  Now, if I could just get the laundry done, I’d be set!  Folding laundry is my least favorite household task.  I’m not sure why, but I’d rather do just about anything else.

We are flying out of Dallas on Tuesday, so we’ll be driving down early to stay with my sister for a day.  We are actually comtemplating going tonight, but still have not decided whether it is possible, so we’ll see!  Regardless, we will be making a pit stop at Whole Foods once we get there so I can stock up on some healthy snacks.  I wouldn’t want to get caught with plane food as my only option!

As far as our time in Europe, I plan to enjoy the food and indulge, but in moderation.  I’ll be packing a few of my own healthy things (think rice cakes, nut butter and bars) to supplement, and doing the best I can!  I’ll be updating later about ideas for taking food on trips in case any of you are planning your own trips and are interested.

Gotta go finish packing – talk to ya’ll later!

What are some ideas that you have as far as packing food to take on an international vacation?  How do you balance eating healthy and indulging while on vacation?

What is your least favorite household chore?

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exciting news

Jon and I are going shopping for a new camera next week!!  I am so stoked.  I have been taking all my blog pics with my iPhone, and it’s become so uninspiring.  I’m sure you feel the same way;)  We have wanted a new one for awhile, and since Jon’s side business has really taken off we’ve finally come to a point where we can get one.  Now the problem is just deciding which one to get.  Neither of us knows much about them, so we’re going to have to learn a lot…not only to buy it but to figure out how to use it!

Does anybody have an recommendations?  I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Canon Rebel, but aside from that I don’t have much to go on.  I’d love any suggestions you guys might have!

These past few days have been CRAZY.  On Saturday, my mom, step dad and sister came up to visit for the afternoon/evening.  I love hanging out with family.  My mom and I cooked dinner together while my stepdad and Jon went to Lowe’s to get a deadbolt for our front door.  Awhile later my sister got here, and we spent the rest of the night eating and just hanging out.  It is not often that my mom, sister and I all get to spend time together, and it was definitely the highlight of my week.  I wish we could do it more often.

Sunday also involved family, but was not nearly as pleasant.  My grandma recently found out she has pancreatic cancer, and her health is declining quite rapidly.  She doesn’t have much longer, so we drove to my hometown on Sunday, picked up my sister and went to visit her.  While I’m so glad we went, it was really hard to see her in the state that she’s in.  Needless to say these last couple of days have been a bit dismal feeling.

I do have some random pics of some eats from the last couple of days.  I promise that once we get our new camera (and figure out how to use it;) food pics will be much more exciting.  I can’t wait!

Regardless…

One of my favorites as of recent – stir fried carrots, zucchini, spinahc and brussels with soba noodles, doused in nutritional yeast obvs.

This is the kombucha that I brought home from Whole Foods when we went there on Valentine’s Day.  I saved it ever since then and finally broke it out after our 5 miler on Saturday.  It was totally worth the wait!!  Now I just need to figure out how to get another one…

This has become my current favorite way to eat oats – cooked in water and topped with soy yogurt on one side and almond butter on the other.  Sprinkled with a bit of Bob’s Red Mill cinnamon apple granola.  This is addicting.  I am so addicted to the combination of yogurt and granola.  I may have to add that to my challenge list.  haha! yeah right.

And last but not least, dinner tonight.  I kept it simple because Jon wasn’t home to eat with me, and I just didn’t feel like spending much time on dinner.

Avocado and hummus sandwiched between ezekiel bread.  Exactly what I was craving.  It totally hit the spot.  I love simple meals like this.  Obvs. this meal was lacking a bit in the veggie department, but I’m never low on veggies so I didn’t worry about it too much!

I hope everyone is having a great start to the week.  Only four more days and I’ll be on Spring Break when I get to spend every waking moment with the Mr.  It seems like a dream right now.

G’night!!

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potatoes au grautin

Tonight I made a clean version of an old favorite, and it was delish.

Growing up my mom used to make potatoes au grautin from the box on occasion.  Honestly, it wasn’t too often that one would find a processed or “boxed” food on our kitchen table.  My mom always made homemade meals from scratch, and she prided herself on feeding us mostly healthy food and everyone coming together at the table for a family dinner.  At the time I never really understood why I had to come in from playing outside to sit at the table with everyone, but now I’m so thankful for those memories, and I won’t have it any other way with our (future) children.

But back to the occasional “PAG.”  I used to love those cheesy little spuds, but of course nowadays they don’t exactly fit into my repetoire of clean foods.  So, tonight I veganfied (?) them!

Alongside a tasty mushroom burger…

Indulgence at it’s finest.

I started out by slicing a sweet potato up, sprinkling the rounds with ground red pepper and garlic powder and baking them for about 20 minutes.  Next I mixed up some toasted pine nut hummus, nutritional yeast and water to make my new favorite humnut sauce.  After the potatoes were baked, I arranged them on a plate and poured crack the sauce all over them.  Yum!  Next time I would bake the sweet potatoes for a little bit longer because they were a little too soft for my taste.  Otherwise this meal rocked!!

For the mushroom burger, I just sauteed some portobello mushroom wedges in balsamic vinegar until they were cooked through and soft.  Chopped onion, tomato, avocado and smushed it all between an ezekiel bun.  I may also have added a teensy bit generous spoonful of humnut sauce to the burger as well;)

That’s all I’ve got for tonight.  I took the day off from school tomorrow because I am so buried in grading I can’t even see my way out.  With sophomore projects and junior research papers both piled high along with several random assignments that are waiting to be graded, I just needed a day at home to catch up and breathe.  So after a workout with the hubs bright and early, I’ll have my head in the books papers all day.

It’s going to be a busy weekend even with the day off.  Jon is cooking something up for Valentine’s Day, but we’ve planned on keeping it low key because we’re going to Dallas for a couple of days over Spring Break (only 4 weeks away!) as our real Valentine’s celebration.  I can’t wait.  I live for having days on end with nothing to do but explore and hang out with my favorite person!

Hope everyone is having a great night.  TGIF (almost!)

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vegan love

Happy Monday evening!  Sabai di mai ka (just felt like throwin’ a little Thai in)?  Things are going pretty well here.  Sometimes it is sorta refreshing when a day doens’nt go just like you planned, ya know what I mean? This morning I got up, got ready for work and off I went, thinking that today would be just like any other day.  But by 10 o’clock, it was snowing hard enough that I decided to get a cover for the classes I teach after lunch and go ahead and make the hour trek home.  The bad news is that it turns out I really didn’t need to leave early because the roads never got bad (I feel like an idiot a little bit silly).  The good news is that I miraculously got squeezed in for a doctor’s appointment I’ve been needing to have, and I got a little extra grading done on my research papers.  Score!

I also had an awesome day of eats!  It all started this morning when I decided to have the hubs put a little twist on my usual green monster.  Don’t worry, it was still green:)  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a pic to prove it, but it really was…promise.  This combo was excellent.  I will def. be having it again in the very near future.  I the sweet husband combined:

a couple big handfuls of spinach
chia seeds!
half a banana
1 cup soy milk
1/2 tbsp almond butter
1 big, heaping spoonful of canned pumpkin
sprinkle of cinnamon
ice

Wooooweeeee this was good!  I tell you what, I am hooked on pumpkin.  The flavors of the pumpkin, cinnamon, banana and almond butter totally hit the spot.  I was going to have him add a bit of nutmeg as well, which I think would be a great addition, but we didn’t have any on hand so that will have to wait.  You may have noticed that I left out the usual Amazing Grass.  I really did miss it, but as discussed in this post, I’m trying to cut back a bit.  I may just start having it a couple of mornings a week as a special treat:)

For lunch I swung through Whichwich on my way home.  I hadn’t had a good ole’ tomato and avocado from there in ages, and it totally hit the spot!  I always get the same thing (don’t fix it if it ain’t broken, right?) – tomato and avocado on wheat with lettuce, bell pepper, red onion, pepperocini, pickles and crushed red pepper.  I could so down another one of those right this second….but I won’t.

I snuck in a couple of snacks while grading research papers – first, a tall soy latte from our local coffee shop and then a mix of yogurt, almonds and a few puffins before going to work out a little later.  I don’t usually eat two snacks in the afternoon, but that’s just how it worked out today – like I said, nothing went as planned!

Okay, now for din din.  I got this idea from HEAB the other day, and I just tweaked it a little bit.  After cutting it in half, I put a spaghetti squash in the oven on 375 for about an hour.  After it was done, I scooped out all the insides.  Then I mixed a bowl full of “spaghetti” with some steamed turnip greens (microwave for about 30 seconds with a tad bit of water) and the most amazing, creamy, vegan sauce I’ve ever had!  This sauce, I believe, was created by Mae.  I just remembering reading somewhere about her “humnut” (hummus + nutritional yeast) sauce, and while I didn’t know what proportions she used, I knew I had to try it anyway.  So, I basically just scooped about 2 tbsp of  roasted garlic hummus into a bowl and added 3 tsp of nutritional yeast (my new wonder drug:) and a little water for thinning.  I then poured the sauce over the squash and greens, mixed it all together and topped it off with a sprinkle of black pepper and pine nuts.

(So sorry that the picture is kind of rough.  I only had my iPhone.  Sad.  This meal deserved better.)

Now, I can honestly say this is one of the most indulgent tasting vegan meals I’ve made thus far in my vegan journey, and it was so simple.  It took me longer to type out what I did, than it actually took to do it (not counting oven time for the squash)!  Seriously!  It was to die for.  It really did taste like a healthified version of mac and cheese.  It was so creamy!  I could go on and on, but I’ll spare you.

Sorry for the lack of pictures on this post.  Too many words, too little pics.  I’ll do better next time;)  I hope everyone is staying warm and having a great week so far.  I’m pretty stoked because I’ve got overnight oats “doing their thing” in the fridge right now.  It should be a tasty drive to work tomorrow!  Have a good night friends!

BTW…I am so enjoying the Sarah Bareilles station on Pandora right now.  Try it out if you get a chance!

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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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