Healthier Brownies for a Lazy Sunday

Today I found myself in a very unique position for a Sunday: I was at home/in town and had absolutely no plans (save for a much needed morning yoga class). Even more, the man was out all day working on a consulting project, so not only did I have the day to myself, I had the abode to myself.

Weird.

The morning started off well. I got up in time to get to yoga (and find a place for my mat) and got my sweat on. After that, it was time to grocery shop. Grocery shopping solo is far different than grocery shopping with my partner, let me tell you. Suddenly I had so much TIME! Time to look at the shelves. Check out special and new products. Compare labels. Heck, get (almost) everything on my list. It was wonderful. Continue reading “Healthier Brownies for a Lazy Sunday”

A Delicious (but not quite so healthy…) Pumpkin Roll

I will be the first to say this is NOT a healthy recipe, but it is OH SO delicious! I did make some modifications to make it slightly healthier, but sometimes, you have to make those delicious things every once in a while. My hope is to experiment with ways to make it healthier in the next couple of week, so stay tuned! I did however make sure this was corn free, which is a lot of times hard to do.

PumpkinRoll
Beautiful and delicious.

Continue reading “A Delicious (but not quite so healthy…) Pumpkin Roll”

A Peek into the Life of Vegans

I am always trying to find a new recipe that not only tastes great but is also super healthy for my family. I look for recipes that contain little to no processed ingredients and lots of veggies. Recently, my husband came home from work talking about how he had a salad for lunch and how he even made it “vegan”. In response, I was a little confused as I didn’t realize we were TRYING  to go vegan; sure we try to not eat a ton of meat but attempting to cut out all animal products had never come up in our house. Well, as of this past Saturday, we decided try it out. For those of you who don’t know, according to vegan.org

 “a vegan (pronounced VEE-gun) is someone who, for various reasons, chooses to avoid using or consuming animal products. While vegetarians choose not to use flesh foods, vegans also avoid dairy and eggs, as well as fur, leather, wool, down, and cosmetics or chemical products tested on animals.”

Along with the health benefits, veganism also has to do with animal rights; vegans are against animal cruelty and so they do not want to consume anything that might have harmed an animal in the process. Am I for animal cruelty? No, however I have no problem eating a hamburger or a slice of cheese. Our main goal here is health. We had been trying to make it to the gym frequently but were finding it difficult due to the usual business of life, hence the oh-so-original idea of “if you can’t work it off, don’t put it in” idea was formed. Yes, we will try and continue to be active (we have an almost two-year-old who definitely helps with that HA!), but if we eat better, then our bodies will function better and do what they are supposed to do.

So, I have been scouring the internet and my recipe books to find either vegan recipes or regular recipes that I can leave out the animal products to make it vegan. Can I just say that this is extrememly hard for me because I LOVE cheese….and I LOVE to bake and you use a lot of animal products in baking. Sigh…the things I do for love. While we are only on day three, both my husband and I have been relatively satisfied with the meals I have prepared. 20140803_135839[1]On Sunday we had lentil wraps from The Garden Grazer (The picture of the filling). My hubby- who comes from a picky eating background – actually thought they were alright. They are a hearty wrap full of wonderful goodness…definitely try them out.

Sunday dinner was a black bean/corn taco salad bowl. I just made this recipe up as I went: threw in black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, chopped green peppers, just a tad of diced onions. I then sauteed it all for a few minutes along with a pinch of homemade taco seasoning. To serve, I made a bed of chopped lettuce (you could really use any mix of greens here: lettuce, kale, spinach, etc.) then scooped on the black bean mixture. 20140803_191455[1]Topped it all off with some diced fresh tomatoes, salsa, and some chopped hot peppers (for the hubby). Used corn tortilla chips to scoop the mixture or crushed them and ate it all like a typical taco salad. We were very happy with the results.

On Monday I served up a favorite but with white beans subbed for chicken: One Pot Pasta!

20140804_184231[1]You can find this recipe on multiple sites but the specific one I used was from Apron Strings. I steamed up some green beans and made some Honeyed Carrots (this is not the exact recipe I used since I sauteed them on the stove, didn’t use butter, and seasoned with dried thyme, but it’s close enough. I can’t even remember where I got my recipe from- its been too long!) to go along with the pasta. I had some left over Overnight Bread that I  made a few days ago that went well too. Altogether a great vegan meal.

Tuesday was a great day; started off with berry oatmeal! 20140805_094418[1]I made the oatmeal on the stove with half almond milk and half water for the liquids. During the last minute of cook time, I added blueberries and chopped strawberries.  For some sweetener, I stirred in some “brown sugar” sauce (put approx 1 cup brown sugar in pot and add water until sugar is covered. Boil for about 5 minutes, let sit for a minute). I also sprinkled some shredded coconut on top. My young daughter and I loved it! Lunch was leftovers with some sauteed mushrooms atop my pasta. And dinner consisted of a huge salad – with more homemade bread (best wheat bread recipe I have ever made) from Pennies & Pancakes.

So far, we have enjoyed our food and not really missed our usual diet. I have to say though, it is hard to pass up the cheese or yogurt that is still in our fridge – I LOVE yogurt and granola! And I’m not interested in finding vegan substitutes (I mean, WHAT is in them if it’s not dairy etc? I don’t think I want to know). I will post an update next week with any more cool recipes we try so definitely check back next week! Will we continue this long term? My husband is committed but I’m more of the vegetarian mindset, or even Nutritarian Lifestyle suggested by Dr. Fuhrman so who even knows.

Have you ever tried drastically changing your diet? How did it go? Did you stick with it? We would love to hear about your experiences!

Disclaimer: I am in no way discounting animals or those who fight to protect them, I am merely stating my opinion that I think it’s ok to use animal products. I don’t believe in animal cruelty and would love to see changes in the world regarding how animals are treated in the consumption industry. 

For the Love of Cake

60 years is a long time, isn’t it? I mean, seriously, that’s a long long time. I’m not even halfway there! Well, my husband’s grandparents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary earlier this month and we had a big party to celebrate! All the family from out of town came to visit and we made table decorations and put together a little video of us all saying how much they inspire us with their commitment. It was a great weekend of celebration! One of my jobs was making the cake. I am not typically called upon for this duty as my sister-in-law actually went to culinary school and makes awesome cakes for family events, but she wasn’t arriving until the night before the party so I got the job. Of course, I didn’t mind as I’ve always dreamed of making it onto Ace of Cakes or Cake Boss or Cupcake Wars and being a super awesome cake decorator. Anyway, my job was to try and replicate the couple’s original wedding cake. 122 (16)This was the picture I was to make my designs from; awesome picture but when you have a white cake in front of a white dress in a black and white photo, it makes things a little difficult. I was told that it was a simple white cake with magnolia leaves around it, and that was about it. So my decorating doors were wide open it seemed. We borrowed some cake pans and decorating books from a lady at church and I got to practicing. Continue reading “For the Love of Cake”

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