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weekend in pics

Friday I took off work so that Jon and I could leave early for the Train concert.  I started my morning off with an ice cold green smoothie and Pilates at the gym.  Bliss.  I miss going to the gym in the morning.  Only four more weeks until I can go everyday!

Later I had some carrots and hummus to hold me over until lunch.

A little while later we packed up, hopped in the car and headed south.  The concert was at a casino about 3 hours away, so we had quite the drive!  It was nice, though, and we arrived just in time to check into our hotel, eat some pizza for dinner (sorry, no pics!) and make it to the concert with plenty of time to spare.

Guys, the concert was awesome!  If you don’t listen to Train, you should, and if you do listen to Train, you MUST hit up one of their concerts.  They put on a great show and played all my favorite songs.  Jon and I sang and danced the night away:)

The concert was over by about 10:30.  We just headed back to our hotel and spent the evening just hanging out.  It was the best night.

Saturday morning we slept in a bit, then hit the road.  We picked up some Starbucks for breakfast – I had the perfect oatmeal made with soymilk.  I added about half the amount of nuts and dried fruit that they gave me.  This was my first time to try Starbuck’s oatmeal, and it was fantastic!  It was the perfect serving size and was so delicious!  I would definitely get this again.

Next, we met up with my MIL and FIL in the city.  My FIL was going to play some golf, so we planned to hang out with my MIL for a couple hours.  Not before joining in on a little family golf and juggling.

I promise there is a ball there:)

Later we hit up PeiWei for lunch.  Yum!  My favorite.  I had a nice ice water with orange…

one vegetable spring roll…

and the Korean Spicy dish which consisted of brown rice, tofu, mushrooms, carrots, long beans, broccoli, sugar snap peas, onions and sesame seeds.  I cannot get enough of this dish!  I ate almost all the vegetables and about half the tofu and rice.

After lunch and some quick shopping, we stopped at my mom’s house to pick up Olive and headed back home.  It was such a great weekend…I totally wish I could go back and re-live it all!

I started off this morning with a bowl of cereal.  I found a new Nature’s Path cereal that has corn flakes, amaranth flakes and quinoa .  It’s awesome!  We found it at Big Lots ( a bargain store) of all places.  So random!  I’ll be doing a real review over it later.

After church, we had lunch at Panera (I had my usual – black bean soup and mediterranean veggie sandwich), then spent the rest of the day taking a nap, watering the flowerbeds, doing laundry, washing the car, cleaning out the fridge and buying groceries!  Such a productive and fun afternoon.

Olive even made a new friend:)

And I ended the afternoon with another energizing green smoothie.  This one had a TON of spinach, Amazing Grass, 1/2 banana, almond milk, a bit of soy yogurt, ice and a sprinkle of granola on top!

Well, that’s it for tonight!  I’ve got to do some work for school still, and I need to be off to bed in about a half hour.  eek!

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basic pasta sauce

Don’t forget to enter my chia seed giveaway that is going on – only 6 more days!

Happy weekend everyone!  How has your Saturday gone?  I love Satudays, and this one has not disappointed.

Jon and I slept in this morning, and then got up and headed out to our favorite running spot.  We have a small “lake” out north of town that has a 3.1 mile asphalt path all the way around it.  We actually did most of our marathon training out there last year.  Anytime we mention to someone that we once ran around it over 6 times they think we’re crazy.  And we probably are.

Anyways, we only made it around once today.  The wind was blowing about 30 miles per hour, and coming off the lake it was chilly!  But I have to say it felt great.  I have been having a hard time getting motivated for running lately, and I think I needed a good, solid, happy run to cure me!

We didn’t get going until about 11am, so I decided I need a little carb boost for energy.  I popped about 5 of these little guys

High in carbs and all the sugars are natural.  No added sugar for this girl!

A couple hours later we decided to hit up Panera for lunch.  Since it was about 1′clock and I’d had almost nothing to eat all day (so abnormal for me!), I upped the ante a bit and went for a pick two: half a Mediterranean Veggie sandwich (hold the feta please!) and a cup of black bean soup.  Against my initial better judgment I also had a whole grain baguette.  I guess my body needed the carbs!

After lunch I spent a little extra time at Panera getting some grading done while Jon went home to work on some design projects.  I have to say that grading is by far my least favorite part of teaching.  Getting through those essays was brutal today, and I still have half of them left!  Guess I know what I’ll be doing tomorrow afternoon:(

One afternoon of grading, a Starbucks soy latte, and some Lost watching later, we decided to cook up some dinner.  Tonight was another “eatin’ cheap” creation.  Very simple – “Basic Pasta Sauce.”

Ingredients:

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 15 oz. cans tomato sauce
3-5 button mushrooms, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
minced garlic
italian seasoning
oregano

Add chopped onion and garlic to skillet and cook until onion starts to get soft.  Next, add diced tomatoes, both cans of tomato sauce, chopped mushrooms, 1 tbsp italian seasoning and 1 tbsp oregano.  Mix together, then cover and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

While this is not a ground-breaking recipe, I love it because it is so fast, easy, cheap and it pleases the palate.  Leaving the meat out of the sauce reduces cost, and bulking it up with veggies is great for taste and satiety! If cooking only for myself, I would have added some chopped squash and zucchini, but Jon isn’t a fan so we stuck with mushrooms and onions.

Jon poured his sauce over whole wheat spaghetti, and I went with bulgur as my base.  Often times I’ll sub in bulgur for spaghetti because it has fewer calories and has 8 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein per 1 cup serving.

I also had a side salad of mixed greens, chopped carrots, cucumber, onions and chia seeds with balsamic poured over the top along with garlic bread – aka ezekiel toast with Earth Balance vegan butter, garlic powder and nutritional yeast.

This piece of toast x 3.

This meal really filled me up with all the volume foods and veggies!

We are off to rent a movie we’ve been wanting to see called Brothers.  Has anyone seen it?  What movies have you guys seen lately that you loved?  I’m always up for suggestions!

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dallas day three

Day three was inevitably less relaxing than days one and two.  After sleeping in, we got ready, ate some Kashi Heart to Heart cereal with soy milk and banana and headed out for our last day of fun!

First, we had to drive to a Best Buy that was about 20 minutes away.  The package deal that came with our camera also came with an extra lense (yay!), but we had to pick it up at the other store.  After picking it up, we hit up a Panera that was right across the street.  We had been craving an everything bagel all weekend, but surprisingly hadn’t run across a Panera at all!  So, despite having just eaten cereal an hour and a half earlier, we both decided we had room to split a bagel and cream cheese.  Yes, cream cheese.  I know it’s not vegan.  As far as I’m concerned, sometimes you just have to step outside your box to really live life to the fullest.  For me on that particular morning, that included eating about 2 tbsp of cream cheese.

I believe it’s about what we do 90% of the time that really matters.  Honestly, that’s what I had to convince myself of in order to be vegan.  If I thought I had to be perfect and eat vegan 100% of the time, I never would have even tried.  I think a lot of people want to take on a healthy lifestyle or want to become vegetarian or vegan, but they’re scared that they’ll fail.  Or they’re scared that they won’t be able to avoid all dairy/meat all the time.  Why do we always feel like we have to put labels on ourselves and not step outside the box that we put ourselves in?  If a person cuts out meat even 75% of the time, isn’t that better than not cutting it out at all?  We need to show ourselves some grace and not expect perfection.  Perfection is boring anyhow.  Let’s just live.  This wasn’t all sparked just by the bagel, haha. It’s something that has been on my mind for awhile now.

Back to day three.  After Panera we met up with my sister and did some shopping.  I hit up Forever 21, Banana Republic (sale racks!) and Gap.  I actually found a few things on sale, which was exciting because my wardrobe needs some serious revamping!  I don’t know about you, but I am so tired of winter clothes!  Unfortunately, there is a chance of snow again this weekend.  Winter, will you ever go away?

Anyway, we broke for lunch at the food court in the mall mid-day.  Normally, I shun food courts, but this one wasn’t half bad.  I ended up with a Whichwich sandwich.  Avocado and tomato with lettuce, pickles, cucumbers, mushrooms and bell peppers on whole wheat.  I didn’t get a pic unfortunately, so you’ll just have to take my word for it – it was amazing as always.

After shopping we headed back to the house to pick up this girl

and this guy

and then headed back to Ikea for round two!  We had to rush through the first time we went because they were closing, so we wanted to go back and pick up a couple of extra things.

After Ikea, it was time to head home.  We did grab some Chipotle on the way home, but I failed to get a picture.  I was packed in the front seat of our mini with Olive in my lap and stuff packed all around me, so it was all I could do to eat my food, much less photograph it.  I got my usual vegetarian tacos with black beans, grilled veggies, corn salsa, verde salsa and pico, with guacamole on top obvs.

The ride home was pretty uneventful except for one little stop.  Starbucks.  You won’t believe what I did.  Everything started out really well.  I ordered my usual plain soy latte at which point the barista told me that they were out of soy.  What?!  He then went on to offer me a dark chocolate cherry latte made with fat free milk.  Now, I’m no genius, but if someone told me they wanted a plain soy latte I would not translate that to mean that he/she may want to try a sugar laden, full dairy drink.  Would you?  Either way, I politely refused, then ordered an iced passion tea lemonade, minus the sweetener.  As we were waiting for our drinks, the barista says “would you guys try something if I made you a sample?”  Ignoring the warning voice in my head, I joined in with my sis and Jon by agreeing to try the “sample.”  Now, in my defense, I was expecting the “sample” to be about the size of a shot.  Oh, no no.  It was a full eight ounces.  So, he serves up three of these mystery drinks.  This is the point where “no” would have been a good response.  My sensitivity got the best of me, though, and I felt too bad to refuse it.  That’s not all, though.  The barista proceeds to insist that the drink just wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t chug it down as fast as possible.  That should have been red flag number 546.  But, of course I proceeded to start gulping this mysterious drink as fast as I could.  I have to admit that it was cool that way the drink was hot on top, but cold at the bottom – meaning that as I drank it, it was warm on the roof of my mouth, but cool on my tongue.  I think he said the drink was called an “undertow.”  Have any of you heard of it or tried it?

Anyway, so it wasn’t until after I had gulped down about half the drink that I stopped to breathe ask what was in it.  He responded with “espresso (good so far :) ), half and half (uh oh),  and sugar free vanilla syrup (crash!).  I couldn’t believe I had just chugged the antithesis of what I had gone in there to get.  Not only that, but after the absurdity of the beverage I had just injested, I could barely get down even a quarter of my iced tea.  I seriously felt sick for almost the entire rest of the drive.   I thought I might never recover.   Lesson learned. Do not, under any circumstances, allow a barista to take advantage of you by giving into his request to try some mysterious drink when he obvs. is just so bored in small town OK that he would do anything for a little entertainment.

After another couple of hours in the car, we finally arrived back in OK later that evening.  We were happy to be home, but sad that our mini vacation was over.

Day four away from home centered around my grandma’s funeral and a drive to the town that she grew up in for the graveside service.  Even though it isn’t food oriented, I may do a post later on just for my own need to document the day.   I should be back to some fun food posts soon, though!

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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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