Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Baby

I can't believe I now own one of these!

It's so old-school, but I absolutely love it! It works so well! I had a Green Monster today and didn't have to chew any of it! A post with my favorite combination for GM's to follow soon!

Now to explain how I got it also explains why I've been gone for so long.

Unfortunately, Dillon's grandma died while recovering from open heart surgery on January 19th. This was her Vita-Mix that my family thought I would get a lot of use out of. So its a very special, totally fabulous blender. 

She was such a wonderful woman, and I will think of her while I am blending away!

She also loved tea parties, so I got to take this home, too!

Isn't it adorable?! She had so many teapots, that friends and family got to take one home with them if they liked. I thought this one was so cute, and it goes so well in my kitchen. We're trying to drink more tea, so this gives us even more motivation!

After we got home from being with the family the first time, Dillon's dad had a heart attack. Therefore we went back to Bismarck again, just about a day later, to be with our family. Three stents later, his dad is on his way to recovery at home... thank goodness!

Now we're back in our Fargo home and are very happy to be here. Today we grocery shopped, cleaned, and did laundry. I hope this week we will be able to get back to normal. It's been a rough couple of weeks! 

Today I'm making my favorite pizza again for supper - except using 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 all-purpose. Then we're going to watch the Pro-Bowl tonight! I'm sad football season is ending, but so happy that the Packers made it to the Superbowl! I can't wait for next Sunday!

I hope you had a fun weekend!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Banana Cinnamon Oatmeal

Good Morning!

I did in fact stay cozy in my bed this morning instead of going to the gym. My plan was to get up and a yoga podcast, but I woke up with a headache. So I slept an extra hour and took some ibuprofen, and I feel a bit better.

Since it's so cold outside, I thought today would be a good day for oatmeal! As I've mentioned before, I eat this pretty much every morning. Today I made oatmeal with the same flavors.

In the mix:
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup unsweetened soymilk
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 banana

Cook the first 3 ingredients in a small saucepan and cook until bubbly. Add more liquid if you like soupier oatmeal. Then pour into a bowl and add toppings.

It was very good! I did miss my toast combo, but I did enjoy this warm breakfast for a change.

Well I must get ready for work. Have a great day!


Monday, January 17, 2011

"Cheese" Sauce

Happy Monday, All!

I had the day off today! I did some shopping, had lunch with a friend, worked on my resume while drinking coffee at Starbucks, and cooked. All in all a good day. I'm sad its almost over, as I now work 7 days in a row. Bleh - oh well. I'm sure it won't be that bad.

On to my yummy supper! We bought a couple of russet potatoes yesterday on a whim, so I decided to make baked potatoes for supper tonight. I just wasn't sure how I wanted to serve them.

Awhile back I made some delicious cheesy pasta sauce and remembered thinking that it would be good on other things. Things like baked potatoes and roasted broccoli.

Cheesy Sauce from Vegan Yum-Yum
(I halved this today, but made the full amount when I used it as a pasta sauce.)

1 Cup Soymilk
1/3 Cup Raw, Unsalted Cashews
1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
3 Tbsp Low-Sodium Tamari or Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Earth Balance Margarine
1 Tbsp Tahini
1 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp Paprika
1 Pinch Nutmeg
2-4 Cloves of Garlic, optional
Black pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Then either heat it on the stove in a saucepan if using it as a topping, or combine in a skillet with cooked pasta.

Easy as that!

It thickens up pretty nicely while being heated. Make sure to stir quite often so it doesn't burn.

Mmmm, a delicious and simple supper. It's a really good cheesy sauce, without all the fat and cholesterol that comes with real cheese. I topped my potato with some vegan sour cream and ground pepper, as well. The broccoli was roasted in the oven like we always do - with olive oil, salt, and pepper at 375° for about 10 minutes. Yum! A hearty and warm meal was just what we were hungry for - especially since it's barely above 0° outside!

I think the sauce would also go well over rice or quinoa. I'll test that out by using the leftovers in a quinoa bowl tomorrow for lunch. I hope I won't be disappointed!

I'm off to enjoy the last few hours of my day off. Tomorrow morning it's supposed to be about -20° real air temp when I get up. We'll see if I'm motivated enough to hit the gym, or if I'll just stay cozy in bed.



Sunday, January 16, 2011

"It's the best pizza I've ever had"

Says Dillon after his first couple bites of the pizza I made from scratch for dinner.

Look at that crust! Made from this recipe. You really can't go wrong with Mark Bittman's recipes! The toppings included tomato sauce, kale, red pepper, onion, and dayia cheese. Mmmmmm

And for dessert - 

Looks like cookie dough, doesn't it? Well it's much better for you than that! Here's what I used:

Dessert Hummus adapted from The Wannabe Chef
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tbsp vanilla
1/4 cup chocolate chips

All you do is blend the first 4 ingredients together in a blender or food processor until smooth. Then fold in the chocolate chips.

It tastes like peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough... but without the guilt that usually comes with  eating a bunch of cookie dough! I know it seems weird, but believe me... it's delicious!

I told you I've been a busy bee in the kitchen today; My food processor and I are exhausted!

I'm off to eat some more of my dessert hummus. Good night :)


My Favorite Hummus

Happy Sunday, Everyone!

We ended up having a great day yesterday. I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to do this -

I got my nose pierced! I've been wanting to do this forever and the parlor where I've gotten my tattoos done was having a special and piercings. $10 for piercing and jewelry because they were training an apprentice. Lucky me, though, because the trainee was too busy, and I got the professional to do it for the discounted price! It was only a little painful, but Dillon held my hand so it was ok. It doesn't even hurt today. I just love it!

This morning I got up to do a bit of cross-training after my long run yesterday. I did 30 minutes on the stationary bike and some weights. I need to make a point to do cross training so I don't get burned out from running.

Then Dillon and I did our normal grocery shopping. I couldn't wait to get home to make hummus since I've been out for a few days.  I make the same recipe every time because I just love it - so I thought I'd share it with you!

My Favorite Hummus
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
~ 1/2 cup reserved chickpea water
4 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup tahini
4 garlic cloves
ground pepper to taste

To start, drain and rise the chickpeas, but make sure to keep about 1/2 cup of the chickpea water to add to the mix. Then add all ingredients to the food processor, but use the chickpea water sparingly so you're able to adjust the thickness later. 

Then just blend, blend, and blend - scraping the sides and adding any more chickpea water as needed. I let it blend for a very long time, probably 5-9 minutes for so, because I like really smooth hummus.

Put it into a container, and then you're done! Easy as that :) It's garlicy and delicious! 

This morning I also made peanut butter (sooo good), and pizza dough for later tonight. I've been a busy bee!

Now I'm going to watch some more football with my love (and kitty!). Have a great day :)


Saturday, January 15, 2011

9 Miles!

This morning I ran about 9 miles in 1:40:00! While not super fast, it's still pretty awesome if you ask me.

The half marathon isn't until May, so I think I'll be very ready for it! I think I'm really going to focus on speed during the week, and then on the weekends get 8-12 mile runs in most of the time. I don't like following a particular plan; I think it kind of takes the fun out of running. I want to run when, where, and for how long I want to run at that time! So I think this flexible plan should work very well for me.

To prepare for my long run today, I devoured this last night -

Mac and Chreese with roasted broccoli! You've probably seen this before :) We were supposed to have this on Thursday, but we went to Granite City for dinner that night instead. Whoops!

Last night we also went to Dairy Queen for Blizzards. Not very healthy of me, but it's been so long since we've had actual ice cream - it was a nice treat. Treats in moderation, right?

We turned in early last night after watching an episode of The Wire (it's so good!) so we could be rested for our day.

Right now I'm sipping this to recover from my run -

1 cup of unsweetened soymilk, 1 cup of frozen blueberries, and 1 frozen banana. Yum!

Well I need to go get ready for the day! Our plan today is to get some errands done (recycling, pharmacy, etc..), go eat Indian food, and then probably head to JL Beers to enjoy some brew while watching football. Go Packers!!

I think it's going to be a wonderful day. I hope yours is, too :)


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Roasted Veggies

Hello Everyone!

We made it more than halfway through the work week! Yay :) I can definitely feel that mid-week slump setting in. School started back up yesterday, and I'm so glad I just get to focus on work now. It's so nice to not have to worry about school work. I just do my job and come home with nothing I have to work on or stress about. It's a nice feeling!

To fight off my mid-week fatigue, I made a bunch of roasted veggies for dinner! I cut them up this morning, so the only prep I'd have to do after work was season them. Our favorite combo of seasoning is olive oil, salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast. Simple and delicious.

Dillon and I absolutely love roasted broccoli, and we decided to give brussel sprouts another try. This time I cut them into smaller pieces so they were able to cook better.

I roasted them at 375 ° for 15-20 minutes.

Mmmmm, veggie perfection. We were loving the brussel sprouts this time.

While they were cooking, I made burgers to go along with them.

I pan grilled one of Amy's American veggie burgers (my fave!) and served it over Ezekiel bread with ketchup, kale, nutritional yeast, and onion. I made Dillon a turkey burger with the same fixings.

This very satisfying meal was made, eaten, and cleaned up in less than 40 minutes. Success!!

Well I'm off to watch Law and Order SVU - it's one of the only shows I try to catch each week. I'm amazed that there have been soooooo many seasons of it, and yet it is still so interesting and entertaining. 


Monday, January 10, 2011

Taco Salad


I hope your Monday wasn't too painful. Mine went by pretty fast! I was very excited for dinner all day long. I make some type of taco dish every other week or so because it is so easy, quick, healthy, and delicious!

For this recipe, I was originally going to use some meatless ground for the "meat" of this dish, but the grocery store was out, so I used plain ol' black beans. It turned out wonderfully!

Taco Salad
6 corn tortillas
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
chili powder
black pepper
cayenne pepper
sour cream - I used Tofutti's vegan sour cream, you could also use plain greek yogurt
cheese - I used Dayia's vegan cheddar cheese, but again, you could use any type you like

Preheat oven to 375°. Cut corn tortillas (I use a pizza cutter) into chip like pieces and arrange on a baking sheet. Coat with olive oil and salt to taste and bake for about 10 minutes. Check them frequently because they do burn pretty quickly. They should be crispy and just beginning to brown when they are done.

While the tortillas are baking, drain and rinse the black beans. Then place into a skillet, and cook on medium heat. Use the spices listed to season the beans to your liking.

The beans should be done at about the same time as the chips. Then serve with your choice of toppings!

Delicious! I like to assemble mine by starting with lettuce, then beans, cheese, onion, salsa, sour cream, and then the chips. I had this plate, and then another serving! Dillon loved it, too! We've never done a taco salad with beans before, and they were really good. Definitely one of my favorite meals.

I've always loved tacos, and they are just so versatile! Plus- this meal took only about 20 minutes to make, which is great since I don't get home from work until a little after 6:30.

Well I think I'm going to do some reading before turning in for the night. I just picked up some compression socks (in hot pink, of course) that I'm excited to wear during my run tomorrow morning! I must be well rested to have a good run. I'll report back later with how I feel about them.

Good night!

Meal Plan: Jan 9-15

Here's what I'm cookin' up this week:

To Prep
Roasted Chickpeas, Almond Butter

Dunn Bros
Crock-pot Guiness Stew & Beer Bread

Leftover Noodles w/Tomato Sauce/Leftover Stew and bread
Taco Salad

Leftovers - Taco Salad and Stew
On your own (most likely a big salad w/chickpeas)

Salad with Chickpeas/Leftover stew
Veggie Burger (Turkey for hubs) and Roasted Veggies (broccoli & brussel sprouts)

Veggie and Chickpea wrap
Mac and Chreese* with Broccoli


Passage to India - Lunch Buffet!
Leftover Pizza

As usual, I'll be sharing some recipes along the way!

Hope you have a great Monday!

*Yes, it's really called that! "Chreese" - like "Trees" - because it's plant-based. Get it? haha ;)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Guinness Stew and Beer Bread

Our errands today included getting a new cutting board, new pot holders, and new napkins with napkin holders. Kind of impulse buys, but I got some pretty yellow pot holders and white napkins with blue holders. I think I'm getting too anxious for Spring. Too bad it'll be a good 3 more months until winter is over :( I want to ride my bicycle!!

We also checked out a new bar in West Fargo - JL Beers. They have a smaller bar downtown that has 32 beers on tap, but the new one has 40 beers on tap! We love having a big selection to choose from.

I had a Breckenridge Vanilla Porter, easily the darkest beer I've had all to myself. It was amazing! I definitely have an appreciation for rich, dark beers. Dillon does too, of course. He recently discovered his love for Guinness - which brings me to our dinner, Guinness Stew!

Guinness Stew 
Adapted from this recipe

2 bottles of a dark stout or ale - I used one bottle of Guinness and one bottle of Smithwicks
3 cups of vegetable broth - give or take
7 oz of seitan - you could definitely sub this for ground beef or turkey
1 can of dark kidney beans, rinsed and drained
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 russet potatoes, cut into cubes
2 large carrots
4 stalks celery
2 tbsp of soy sauces
1 tbsp steak sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tbsp flour, to thicken
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Cut seitan into strips and put into the pan with the drained and rinsed beans. Add soy sauce and steak sauce to the pan and cook until throughly covered in sauce.

While the seitan and beans are cooking, prepare vegetables and add to a crockpot. Add the seitan and beans to the crockpot and pour the beer on top. Add enough broth to the crockpot to cover all the ingredients.  Let cook on high for a couple of hours.

While it's cooking, make this delicious and easy Beer Bread to go with your stew!

When you're about ready to eat, add the flour to the stew to thicken the broth. I did this about 40 minutes before serving, and it worked out perfectly!

Then when you're ready - serve!

So hearty and delicious! (See - cute new napkins and holders :) )

We really enjoyed this stew! It's really easy to prepare and now we have some leftovers for lunches this week, too! The beer flavor isn't very strong, but you get a taste of it. Dillon especially liked it, and the bread goes complements it so well!

I would definitely recommend trying this recipe, and like I mentioned, you could easily sub ground meat or even sausage for the seitan and beans if that's more your style. I'm sure it would be great either way. And if you're not into buying a whole 6-pack of Guinness or dark ale to make this stew, you don't have to! Most liquor stores have a "make your own 6-pack" section, and that's where we got our beer for this. Though now that Dillon discovered that he really loves Guinness, I'm sure we'll have it around more often. 

Well I must get to prepped the other food I want to make for the week. Especially the almond butter, as it is kind of rude to process almonds late at night in an apartment!

I hope you had a great weekend! I know I did :)



Good Morning!

This morning, Dillon and I got up early to grocery shop. It's becoming out Sunday morning tradition. First we stopped at a local coffee shop for muffins and drinks - it's fun to have something different for breakfast once and awhile. Plus, we were out of bananas!

Here's what we got for food for the week:

brussel sprouts


black beans
veggie burgers

pizza sauce
cucumber water and coconut water - impulse buys!

All of our weekly food was just under $70 - not too bad. It stays consistently in that price range each week. I'll share my menu plan later

After we got home we went on a cleaning spree. All the floors and swept or vacuumed, surfaces dusted and wiped down. We even re-arranged the kitchen a bit and hung some pictures.

Look at the cute new apron Dillon got me for Christmas. I love it! Also note to silly pig-tails. Dillon likes when I wear my hair like this, so I like to humor him sometimes :)

Well now we're off to run some more errands. We prepared the Guiness Stew in the crockpot already for dinner, and I'll be making some Beer Bread to go along with it once we get home. Recipes for those coming soon!

Have a great Sunday :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Workout Plan

Good Morning!

I had the toughest time getting to the gym this morning. Dillon woke me up before he left for work, and I just did not want to go.

So what did I do? I told myself that I have never regretted going to the gym, but I have regretted skipping a workout. Plus, I didn't want to mess up my workout plan.

And it worked! I had one of my best runs to date. 50 minutes on the treadmill of fast running (5.8-6) for much of it in my Vibrams. It felt awesome.

Speaking of my workout plan, I thought I'd share it with you.

45 minutes of Yoga
30DS - Level 2

50 minute run- Mizunos


30 minute run & weights- Mizunos

50 minute run- Vibrams

Zumba- Vibrams


So far, so good! I think the plan really helps keep me focused and accountable. I'm doing some running in my running shoes (Mizunos), but then I still like to use my Vibrams a couple times as well. I also am managing to get some cross training in, which is awesome so I don't get so burned out from just running.

I think the plan really helps keep me focused and accountable.

Well I need to finish eating my breakfast and get ready for the day.

Ezekiel sprouted grain toast, nut butter, cinnamon, and coffee. I seriously eat this every morning, and many nights I go to bed looking forward to eating breakfast. It's that good.

Today is my last day of work for the week! Well, kind of- I have to work on Saturday, but I have Friday and Sunday off. I'm excited for a break! Getting used to a new schedule is hard and tiring. I'm sure it will get better.

Hope you have a great Thursday!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Fried Rice

Good Morning!

I hope you're having a good week so far. Mine has been ok; I'm still adapting to this whole "real job" thing - working 40 hours at my desk. It hasn't been so bad, definitely much less stressful that job + school. Once I get done with my shift I can forget about work and pursue things that make me happy - like cooking!

Last night I made an adapted version of the Fried Rice recipe listed in Alicia Silverstone's book, The Kind Diet. I love this book and was excited to make a recipe using a couple of things I haven't used before - daikon, bok choy, and rice vinegar. Here is my adapted version.

Fried Rice
serves 2 generous portions

1 tbsp sesame seed oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup of thinly sliced daikon rounds
1 large carrot sliced into rounds
1 head of baby bok choy, chopped
1/4 cup of diced yellow onion
1 crown of broccoli, chopped
1 cup of cooked brown rice
rice vinegar and soy sauce, to taste

In a large skillet or wok, combine the oil, garlic, and salt. After about a minute, add the onion. After another minute or 2, add the carrot and daikon. Once those begin to soften, add the broccoli and bok choy. Season with soy sauce throughout the cooking process to taste.

Once the veggies are close to being done to your liking (I like mine still a bit crisp), season the rice with the vinegar and soy sauce and add to the skillet. Mix everything together and let cook for another minute or two and serve!

Looks good, right?

We had a glass of Riesling with our meal.

Mmmm, what a delicious mound of food!

This was really good! I liked the daikon a lot and am excited to try it in more things. This meal was so easy and quick, too. I got home a bit after 6:30 and we were eating just after 7. By 7:30, the kitchen was clean and we were relaxing on the couch with another (small!) glass of wine. Good day :)

I hope you enjoy your day!


Monday, January 3, 2011

Meal Plan: January 2-8

Good Morning!

As promised, here is what I plan on cooking this week. The first listing is what I will pack Dillon and I for lunch, and then the second is what I plan to make for dinner.

To Prep
Brown Rice, Black Beans, Chickpeas Tofu, Nut Butter

Tofu Scramble
Refried Bean Tacos

Rice bowl w/tofu and broccoli (chickpeas for hubs)
Salad with Beans/Leftovers

Black Bean Wrap & Salad
Fried Rice

Salad or Rice Bowl w/Tofu (chickpeas for hubs)

AB&J Sandwich
Grilled Tofu Sandwiches (turkey burger for hubs) & roasted veggies

Leftover Tofu for me, Black Bean Wrap for Dillon
Seitan Guinness Stew


Seems pretty do-able! Along with lunches, I always pack snacks like clementines, apples, nuts, etc because I like to snack a bit throughout the day.

The prep I do is on Sunday which makes throwing together lunches really easy. As for the meals in italics, I plan to make sure you get a recap of those :)

To Start, here is a brief description of how I prep on Sundays.

I made nut butter earlier in the day by blending ~ 1 cup of cashews until creamy (about 10 minutes).

Brown Rice
I used 1 cup of dry, long grain brown rice and 2 1/3 cups of water.

First, boil the water. Then add the rice, stir once, and let it sit, covered, for 45 minutes or until the water is absorbed.

Be patient and really just leave it alone to do its thing.

All done! 1 cup of dried rice made about 4 cups of cooked rice. I'll be using this in the rice bowls and in the fried rice I'm going to make on Tuesday.

While the rice was cooking, I made the next 3 things.

Black Beans
I started by draining and rinsing 1 can of black beans. Then I put it in a frying pan and added spices.

Cooked for about 7-10 minuted until warm and covered in the spices.

I repeated the draining and rinsing for the chickpeas. Spiced and browned in a pan for these as well.

Cooked about 10-12 minuted until browned.

I pressed the tofu for about 20 minutes before cooking. I used the same spices for the tofu as I did for the chickpeas.

Cooked for about 15 minutes until nice and brown.

All ready to go!

I did all of this in about 30 minutes and even cleaned up the kitchen while everything was cooking. It's surprising how productive I can be if I want to :)

I think this will really help the week be less hectic. Having healthy food on hand is very important to me, and it's pretty easy as long as you plan ahead!

Happy Monday! I'm working for 10 hours since its supposed to be a really busy day. I'll be glad to come home and relax.  I hope you have a great day!


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

Well hello, again. I'm sorry for my lengthy absence, but I've been recovering from being so busy for the last couple of months. After I got home from celebrating my graduation with my family, I kind of shut down. I've been doing a lot of nothing, which has been a much needed break!

Last week, I starting working full time! I work 10-6:30, which isn't bad at all. It gives me plenty of time to workout in the morning and still get home soon enough to make dinner.

In honor of the new year, I thought I would share some of the things I want to work on this year! Hopefully you all will help me stick to my plan :)

My 11 goals for 2011

1. Plan more weekly meals and stick to the plan

2. Practice Piano and Guitar more

3. Read regularly
-------no computer past 10

4. Keep a more regular workout plan

5. Run 2 half-marathons
------work up to a long run of at least 15 miles

6. Ride my bike more

7. Listen to my body better
------in regards to hunger, eating, working out, resting, etc..

8. Stick to a normal sleep schedule
------in bed by 11, up at 7 ~ keep close to that even on my days off

9. Develop my blog

10. Create some of my own recipes

11. Keep pursuing what makes me happy

See, these aren't big lofty goals. They are just little things that I want to work on! I'll have to check up on these periodically to monitor my progress.

I hope you had a wonderful New Years celebration. We had a blizzard that lasted for about 3 days over the weekend, so we had a quiet night in. Being on the roads was not worth it!

I'm excited to start a new week. I have a meal and workout plan already made; now all I have to do is follow it! I love making plans- that's the easy part. I just sometimes have a hard time following those plans. Hopefully I have some more success with that this week.

I'll be back soon to share my weekly menu. I hope to share that each week, along with highlight some of the new recipes. Blogging the cooking of each meal isn't really going to be very practical. It will still happen sometimes, but when I get home at 6:30, I'm usually starving! All I want to do is get food made and eat it :) I think my body will get used to the schedule, and my ravenous hunger at that time will lessen.

Ok- I'm off to prep some food for the week. If you made some New Years goals - good luck!

Remember - It takes about 21 days to make a habit. Stick with it!