Almond Coconut Granola

A few days ago, I made a new granola recipe.  I was going to go with one of my tried and true favorites, but I wanted to try out a few things.  I threw them together, crossed my fingers, and waited to see what happened.  What followed was a little bit of granola heaven.

Almond Coconut Granola

  • 2 cups oatmeal (old fashioned)
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 3 tbsp almond butter
  • 3 tbsp coconut butter
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp (or 3/8 cup if you have that measure) maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

Mix the dry ingredients (oats, quinoa, walnuts, coconut, and salt) together in a large mixing bowl.  It is okay that the quinoa is still wet from rinsing.

Add the remaining wet ingredients along with the cinnamon in a small mixing bowl and whisk together until smooth (it may help to heat the almond butter and coconut butter on the stove top or in the microwave first).

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix well until everything is coated.

Spread out on a foil lined baking sheet (or two).  Place in oven, and after 10 minutes, stir the mixture around.  Bake for another 10 minutes.

Allow the granola to fully cool before transferring to storage jars.  Remember, the granola with dry out and get more crunchy as it cools.

I will not lie to you, this granola tastes a bit different because of the quinoa.  After my husband tasted it, he said that you can definitely taste the quinoa.  At first, I thought “hmm…this is okay.”  Then I tried another bite.  And another bite.  And a few more bites.  And I slowly (okay, not that slowly…about 3 bites in) became addicted.  The quinoa does give it a different taste, but it also gives it a good crunch.  You can play around with the almond butter/coconut butter amount.  This granola does not taste overwhelming of coconut, which left me a tad disappointed.  If you don’t have coconut butter, you could always use coconut oil, though I’d probably do 4 tbsp (or 1/4 cup) almond butter and only 2 tbsp coconut oil then.

Anyways, my little rugrat just woke up and is demanding some attention in the cutest possible way, so I’m off.  Hope you try and enjoy the granola as much as I did!

She’s My Cherry Pie

So I finally read and finished Gone Girl.  My reaction: meh.  I thought it was a bit anticlimactic at the end, no?  I don’t know…adult fiction isn’t my favorite.  I mean, those kind of books are okay.  I start reading them, they get my attention, they keep my attention, but by the end I put them down and know I would never read them again.  I prefer young adult fiction.  I’m not sure what that says about me, but I just feel like that type of fiction is more creative and makes you use your imagination more.  I suppose I’m talking more specifically about science fiction/fantasy, but not the weird-o stuff.  Examples of some of my favorites in that category: pretty much ANYTHING by Madeleine L’Engle (we almost named Audrey Madeleine after her, my favorite author), the Harry Potter books, The Hunger Games Trilogy, and the list really goes on.  So I’m going to wait until the library has Divergent ready for me to read on my nook…some of the other books can wait because I know their type.  And their type is not mine.

On the opposite side of having mediocre feelings towards something are my feelings towards the smoothie I made today.  MMM was it good!  The smoothie I made yesterday was pretty good, but I didn’t take a picture and put it on instagram because it was rather ugly in color.  I changed it up a bit today by using mostly coconut milk rather than just almond milk and by leaving out the cocoa powder, and BAM!  I found my new favorite smoothie.

Cherry Green Smoothie

  • 2 cups spinach (or any green you’d like to use)
  • 2 cups milk (I used about 1 to 3/2 cup coconut milk, the rest of my almond milk, and water to add it up to 2 cups)
  • 2 cups frozen cherries
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • a squeeze of cinnamon

Add everything into the blender in the written order (spinach on bottom, cinnamon on top) and blend until smooth.  I say a “squeeze” of cinnamon because I get mine in a big plastic container from Costco and I literally squeeze it until a big cloud puffs out.  I rarely measure how much cinnamon I add to things, and yes, I’ve added way too much before and have had to force it down anyway.

Like I said, when I made this smoothie yesterday, I used all almond milk.  What made me like today’s smoothie so much better than yesterday’s, though, was the lack of cocoa.  I have cocoa from Penzey’s and, although it is very rich, good cocoa with no additives, it is very strong.  So the 2 tbsps of cocoa over-powered the fruit flavor.  In today’s smoothie, I used coconut milk (light, from Trader Joe’s), which is my favorite.  I was able to taste the sweet tanginess of the cherries.  Both Audrey and I drank ours up super fast.  Needless to say, I’ll be making this one again tomorrow!

Aw, snap! Cold snap, that is…

It is below and beyond freezing around here.  As of right now, it says it’s -12, but feels like -36, and I don’t think that’s the coldest it has been today. My poor Peanut will barely go outside to do her business, and when she does, she does it on the patio stoop about 3-6 inches from the door.  It’s quite lovely.  Ahem.

So because of a few different reasons, one being a sick toddler, others being personal that I won’t divulge, I have gone on a bit of a hiatus from the elliptical for a few days.  I know, I know.  You’re thinking “Seriously?! A hiatus after what, 4 days??”  I’ve thought it, too.  But like I said, things have gotten in the way.  But have no fear, I will be back in a day or two!  I woke up with cold symptoms this morning and am trying to ward anything off…exercising with a cold can be miserable at times.  Hopefully, lots of water, tea, healthy foods, green smoothies, and some light exercise will have me feeling better in no time.

Speaking of healthy foods, Audrey and I shared a green smoothie today for lunch with some eggs.  It was pretty good!  Here’s the recipe, adapted from simplegreensmoothies.com:

Green Smoothie (2 large servings)

2 cups baby spinach
3 cups pineapple (I used frozen)
1 and 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
1 clementine orange

For dinner tonight, since I started feeling this cold big time this afternoon, I was really feeling like some homemade chicken and brown rice soup, but didn’t have anything thawed and ready for that, so that’s for dinner tomorrow.  Tonight we went with veggie bowls.  Here’s what I did:

Veggie Bowl (makes 2-3 servings)

cooked quinoa (1-2 cups depending on how much you want per serving)
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 head cauliflower, broken up
1 can chickpeas, rinsed, drained, and dried off on some paper towels
almond ginger dressing*

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Toss the sweet potatoes in 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, garlic.  Toss the cauliflower with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic.  Toss chickpeas with 1 and 1/2 teaspoon olive oil.  Sprinkle with the same seasonings.  Put all veggies on separate foil lined baking sheets and into the oven.  After 15 minutes, roll the chickpeas around and flip the potatoes and cauliflower.  Roast for another 15 minutes.  Take the potatoes and chickpeas out.  Bake the cauliflower for an additional 5 minutes.  (Exact roasting times may differ based on how big your pieces are!)

To serve: Put cooked quinoa in bowl.  Add sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and chickpeas. Drizzle with sauce.

*Dressing: I used the recipe for the dressing from Oh She Glows:
http://ohsheglows.com/2013/09/10/the-big-salad/

I use almond butter, but have used peanut butter in the past when I ran out of almond butter.  I also use low sodium soy sauce since I don’t have tamari.  I make a double batch of this stuff and use it all. the. time.  The nutty sauce combined with the creamy sweet potatoes is heavenly.

Anyways, enjoy.  Send warm thoughts this way to get us out of this freeze!  I know I’ll be dreaming of beaches tonight 😉

 

Rest Day

So far, I have completed 4 days of the elliptical.  I’m going back to season 1 of the Gilmore Girls to get me through.  I greatly dislike the elliptical otherwise.  I can run or walk on the treadmill for as long as I’d like, but when it comes to the elliptical, if I’m only listening to music, I usually only last about 20 minutes, tops.  So Gilmore Girls it is!  I was going to try Felicity, but it’s too quiet.  

Today will be my first rest day.  I wasn’t really planning on it necessarily, but yesterday along with completing my 40 minutes of cardio on the elliptical, I shoveled.  Twice.  And guess what?!?  This morning, you can barely even tell!  But I’m sure the hubs will appreciate it when he’s shoveling because there are definitely several inches LESS on the driveway now than there would be otherwise.  And my shoulders are sore from all that work.  

I forgot to weigh myself today, but that’s okay.  I think I’m going to aim for once a week to give myself some accountability.  That way I can also see if what I’m doing is working for me.  If it’s not, I’ll adjust as I go.

Okay, in the last post (yesterday!  how’s that for you?!?), I promised granola. They aren’t my own recipes.  Most of my recipes are not my own, actually…I just find ones that I think look tasty and adapt to my own tastes.  But really, what recipe isn’t like that?  I think at this point, there are very few original and new recipes.  But I digress.  I have two favorites that I have been making a lot lately, and actually some family and friends got for Christmas.  The runner up: Chocolate Granola.  Chocolate.  Mmmm…..Ahem.  Where was I?  Oh yeah, chocolate granola.  Here’s the link to the recipe: 

http://www.yummymummykitchen.com/2013/08/healthy-chocolate-granola-recipe.htmlcrlt.pid=camp.hPrPD6wfZDEM 

from yummy mummy kitchen.  And boy is it yummy!  I used walnuts because I have a lot of them, but anything would be good.  I also used chia seeds rather than flax since that is what I had, but the chia seeds add a nice crunch to the granola, though you will be fishing them out of your teeth for a bit afterwards.  Totally worth it, though, in my opinion.  I have made this with maple syrup rather than honey, and I made it with brown rice syrup, too.  Brown rice syrup is thicker and stickier than maple syrup, more like honey, and it makes for wonderfully “chunky” granola.  It actually gets a bit hard to break up.  I like sometimes doing half and half with the two syrups.

But my favorite granola is almond butter granola.  Everyone in our house agrees this is our favorite.  I like to combine it with the chocolate granola, cut up a banana, add a few blueberries, and pour almond milk (I do unsweetened vanilla most of the time) over it all.  YUUUUUM. Very few breakfasts can top that!  But here’s the scoop on this one:

http://myhealthyhappyhome.com/2012/11/14/what-i-ate-wednesday-two-tasty-recipes/

Again with this, I use whatever nuts I have.  I think I only had sliced almonds the first time I made it, so I used chopped walnuts afterwards.  Still ridiculously good.  And again, I did not use honey.  I used maple syrup and/or brown rice syrup.  LIke I said before, I like a combo of the two to get better chunks, but not too chunky.  I’ve also cut a bit of the oatmeal in this one and added chia seeds.  This recipe doesn’t make as much as the chocolate one, so whenever I make this one, I most definitely double it.  It’s just too good.  Trust me.  And I bet it would be equally good with peanut butter if that’s all you have on hand.

One note, though.  When first making this granola, I thought that it seemed like a lot of salt to add. You can very easily put less salt in.  However, I found that I kind of liked the saltiness of it (the almond butter I used had nothing more than almonds in it, so no salt or sugar there).  Use your best judgement.  I still use a tad less than what it calls for, but more than half of the original amount.  

I also have found from making granola recipes a lot that my baking times are often different than those listed.  Just watch.  Flip at least half way through, and go from there.  Remember that granola dries out and hardens up as it cools, so don’t expect it to be super crunchy right out of the oven.  If you get to that point, chances are it’s burnt, and nobody likes burned granola.

Either way, make one of these!  They are way too good to pass up!

My Very Most Favoritest Salad Ever

I haven’t written a post since July.  JULY.  And this post was actually started in August, but I only saved it as a draft. But all I actually saved was the title of “My Very Most Favoritest Salad Ever” and a blank document.  Sooo…progress is being made.

It’s January 1, 2014.  A New Year…a new me?  No, the same old me, but definitely a new year.  I haven’t made a set list of resolutions or anything, but one thing I am going to try and work on is updating this blog a bit more often than I have the past year.  Along with that, I’m hoping to make some more permanent, healthy lifestyle changes for me and my family.  Generally, we eat pretty healthy meals, but we slip up quite a bit, and we eat out much too often.  And neither my husband nor I are that great at making sure we are getting regular exercise.  Well, THAT is what we are working on!  Or at least I am.  I started working out again a few days ago with the support of some girl friends, and I’m hoping to keep it up.  When I work out regularly, I tend to eat healthier, too.  I not only crave better foods, but I don’t want to waste all my hard work.  The hubs also got me a FitBit Force for Christmas, which was 1) unexpected, and 2) motivating.  I wear it (bracelet) all day and night, it doesn’t need to be charged too often, and when I reach my goal it vibrates, which is surprisingly uplifting. I plan on chronicling my journey to a healthier life on here….if I can manage to update every so often!

So back to the title of this post.  I don’t remember how exactly I came across making this salad recipe.  I was inspired from something in a  magazine, but I don’t remember which one, and it doesn’t help that I do remember that it wasn’t from an actual article…it was just a side note or something.  Anyways, I make this a lot in the summer, and I can eat it. Non. Stop.  I love it.  It’s vegan, if you’re into that kind of thing.  And even if you’re not, it’s still soooo yummy and good.

My Very Most Favoritest Salad Ever (Quinoa Salad)
Makes about 4 big servings on its own, or several smaller side servings

For the salad:

  • 1 cup quinoa (uncoooked)
  • 1 cup chopped red pepper (or just one red pepper, which is what I do)
  • 1 cup shelled and cooked edamame
  • 1/2 cup diced onion (I usually dice up an entire small, red onion and rinse it in a sieve or colander for a minute or two to take the bite out of the raw onion)
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries, roughly chopped (I prefer cherries)

For the dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • pinch of sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the quinoa* according to package directions and let cool.  Toss the cooled quinoa with all of the salad ingredients.  In a small both, whisk together the dressing ingredients.  Taste and adjust salt and pepper (and possibly sugar) as necessary.  Pour over salad and mix.  Adjust salt and pepper again, to taste.

*Note: You can cook the quinoa in water or broth (chicken, veggie).  I’ve done both and either way, it tastes great!  (I generally cook quinoa in my rice cooker so there is pretty  much no thinking involved.  One part quinoa to two parts water/broth, set it for “steam” and in about 20 minutes you’ve got some pretty perfectly cooked quinoa.  I also will only cook rice in my rice cooker.  Once you’ve had rice cooker rice, you will never go back!  Perfect. Every. Time.) Obviously, to remain vegan, you wouldn’t want to use chicken broth.  Additionally, if you’re going for gluten free, you will either want to cook the quinoa in water or check the ingredients for your broth.  Something as simple as store bought broth can have a lot of additives!  You can always use homemade broth, too!

 

Super easy, super tasty.  All of us enjoy this salad, and if I had a good picture of it, I’d share because it’s really beautiful with the red pepper, bright green edamame, dark maroon cherries, purple onions…ugh, I can go on and on!  But it’s January 1, and it’s not exactly number one on my list to cook right now.  I’m more in the mood for things like soup, chili, and casseroles.

Speaking of which, I made a fantastic chili last night that little Miss Audrey (and the hubs) gobbled up.  It’s from The Clothes Make the Girl: http://www.theclothesmakethegirl.com/2009/02/22/my-favorite-chili-recipe/.

I used ground turkey and chicken broth since I apparently am out of beef broth.  I let it simmer uncovered for about an hour to an hour and a half, then covered it up.  I found that I had to add a bit of salt at the end, but I’m guessing that is because I used turkey rather than beef.  Turkey tends to be a bit more bland.  One pot made quite a bit, so we are having the leftovers this weekend when my parents come to visit.  I’ll make some elbow macaroni to serve it on to make my dad happy, and I might bake up a spaghetti squash to serve mine on (and maybe my mom’s) for a lighter fare.

Well, I just took a swig of the last of my coffee, and it is now stone cold, which indicates that it’s time for me end this lovely little entry.  Next time, I will thrill you with tales of my battle with the elliptical and entice you with my favorite granola recipes!  That’ll keep you coming back for more, I’m sure!  Happy New Years!

Long Time, No Nothing…

Well, I think it’s pretty safe to say that I’ve been more than lazy when it has come to this blog.  I started all into it, but then all of a sudden stopped.  The reason?  I’m lazy, like I already said.  Updating a status on Facebook is soo much easier 🙂

Anyways, since I’ve been trying out new recipes and ideas more often now that I’ve been making frequent trips to the farmers’ markets around town, I thought I’d get back to this blog rather than litter Facebook with all my pictures and posts of food.  When I was working at the high school, I would often get teased by certain teachers about my cooking.  It got to the point that it didn’t matter what I was talking about and they would start teasing and hinge on one thing or another.  It eventually got very frustrating for me.  It was okay for other teachers to have different interests outside of work (mainly sports, of course) and they could talk about them all the time.  But when I talked about a good dinner we had, forget it.  Anyways, it’s nice that when I post pictures on Facebook, I get a positive response from my friends.  

In some of those responses, I got requests for the rumchata pudding pops that I made.  Ask and ye shall receive!

Rumchata Pudding Pops

1 package instant coconut cream pudding
1 cup milk
1 cup Rumchata
1 8oz cool whip

Whisk pudding, milk, and Rumchata together.  Let it sit for a few minutes until it thickens a bit.  Fold in the cool whip.  Freeze.  Enjoy!

I’ve made this mixture and froze it all together in one container and scooped it out like ice cream, and the most recent time I made it, I ladled it into 5 oz dixie cups before freezing. 

Another option: whisking or mixing in with an electric mixer an 8 oz brick of cream cheese.  The pops are really good either way!

Long Time, No Chat!

Okay, so it really hasn’t been that long, but it feels like it!  Yesterday we got hit with a pretty fierce snow storm that left the ground definitely covered, but it was only a few inches of snow.  Wet, heavy snow.  Marcus went out a shoveled this morning.  I shoveled after the snow we had last time and tweaked my back a bit, and with the snow so wet, I definitely sat this one out.

I forgot to mention the other day that along with all the other goodies I made, I tried some granola bars from, you guessed it, http://mywholefoodlife.com/2012/11/14/peanut-butter-granola-bars/  (I forgot to take a picture.  I know!  How dare me!!).

I added more chocolate chips, because, come on, 2 tablespoons?  I put about 1/4-1/3 of a cup or so.  The bars are really tasty!  I think I should have cut them right out of the oven, though, because when I cut mine after they had cooled for a few minutes, some of mine fell apart a bit.  Also, in her picture, it looks like it made a 9×13 pan, but mine definitely didn’t fill that, so I made it slightly smaller on my parchment paper. Oh well, they are still quite tasty.  I’m having a LOT of fun cooking through some of her recipes.

Yesterday during the storm, I took my mother’s advice and used the time stuck inside to bake.  My mom loves to bake and is really good at it, too.  I’m not so much of a baker.  I hate when recipes say things like “bake 10-15 minutes or until done.”  Wow, until done?  I was just going to stop it about a minute or two after I put it in, because I don’t like my food cooked, just warmed a bit.  Thanks for the help.  And 10-15 minutes?  That can make the difference between raw and burnt!  Bah.  Anyways, I baked yesterday and had good luck. I made the following recipes: http://mywholefoodlife.com/2012/11/16/gingerbread-granola/ using banana instead of applesauce and http://mywholefoodlife.com/2013/01/22/peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-donuts/ using whole wheat flour instead of spelt and a mini muffin pan instead of a donut pan.  (I told you I was having fun with her recipes!)

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That’s a half of donut hole…I had to try one!  And there’s the granola toasting up in my oven.

The donut holes (that’s what they look like now) are kind of dense because of the flour, but tasty.  I didn’t realize that they don’t change shape at all when baked, but that’s okay.  I baked them for about 15 minutes rather than her suggested 10 because of the pan.  The gingerbread granola made me nervous at first.  It calls for an entire tablespoon of ginger!  Man, the “dressing,” if you will, for the oats smelled STRONG!  It stayed in my nose all afternoon.  I feel like I could have added a touch more oats, or almonds, or whatever kind of nuts to the recipe because I definitely had enough liquid ingredients.  The banana taste is non-existent, so it proved a good sub for applesauce since I was out after making the donut holes.  It is super crunchy and really good, but I’ll bake it for maybe 20-25 minutes rather than the almost 30 she suggests.  Once I make some more applesauce, I can’t wait to try more granola recipes!

Last night, I made a spinach salad and potato soup for dinner.  The spinach salad had an awesome lemon vinaigrette that I might have made a bit too lemony for some (aka Marcus), but it made us both not cringe at eating spinach, so it’s a win in my book!  Here’s the recipe:

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice (I squeezed half a gigantic lemon, hence too much juice)
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (which I absolutely love, by the way)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper (I add salt and pepper by taste rather than measuring)

Whisk up the dressing, then toss with about 2 cups baby spinach and throw in a handful or two of fresh blueberries and strawberries.  Yum!  It was nice and light, which was the perfect side to our thick and creamy potato soup.

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My table is a mess, I know.

The soup was a piece of cake, too.

Sauté two pieces of chopped up bacon till soft. Then add a diced onion and 1 clove of minced garlic.  Sauté for another 5 minutes or so. Add 2 cups chicken broth, 1/2 cup water, 3 peeled, diced potatoes, about 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.  Bring it to a boil and let simmer, covered, for about 25 minutes until the potatoes are tender.  Once that’s done, puree it up (I used my immersion blender), add 3 tablespoons heavy cream, mix, and enjoy!  We had ours with a sprinkling of cheddar on top.  Audrey, Marcus, and I all ate this right up, and Marcus and Audrey both had seconds!

I have to say, trying to “eat clean” or eat “whole foods” is work, but it is making a difference.  I am still slowly losing weight (my first goal is to be at pre-baby weight by Audrey’s birthday…so 2 more pounds by April 24!), and the best part is that I am not eating typical “diet” foods.  For instance, I had 2 waffles and 2 pieces of bacon for breakfast!  The thing is, they were the whole wheat pumpkin waffles I made this weekend that are pretty healthy, and the bacon is the nitrate free stuff.  I ate that around 6 or so this morning, and I didn’t even start to get hungry again until around 11:30!  Whole, good foods are just more filling and satisfying.  More and more research is coming out saying we’ve had it all wrong with these low fat, low cholesterol (etc, etc) diets.  Low sugar is what we need, and the rest in moderation.  Well, I am slowly becoming a believer.  My next personal goal is cutting out any sugar from my coffee.  I’m cutting my usual Coffee Mate Bliss with regular half and half.  Pretty soon it’ll just be that, and once Audrey is drinking whole milk, I’ll probably just use that instead.

If you have any questions about changing your diet around like we are trying to do, I suggest looking into http://www.100daysofrealfood.com and http://mywholefoodlife.com . Both are FANTASTIC resources of information and they have GREAT recipes!  I’ve tried a bunch on both!

Well, I’m off to finish up my notes for class this weekend.  Oh, Fundamental Theorem of Algebra, how I’ve missed you 😉

Horse Meatballs

The past few days have been busy around here!  With my class feeling like it takes up my entire Saturday, our weekends really fly by.  Yesterday, after our delicious breakfast (see previous post), we went to Ikea.  We were planning on looking around for a new media center.  Our current TV stand has a glass top that sticks out and doesn’t seem too safe for a 10 month old who’s taking over the house.  Anyways, we went to Ikea and ended up with a bunch of new rugs instead.  Oh Ikea, how I love you and your horse meat meatballs.  (I jest…I’ve never had their meatballs.)  Anywho, we got some new rugs and swapped a bookshelf from the basement with the TV stand.  Presto-chango! Our family room looks brand new and like some fashionable young couple lives here!

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A runner behind the couch and a short one for the door for when Peanut goes in and out.

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The new family room area rug and a tiny corner of the short runner between the family room and kitchen, and the bookshelf that now holds our TV.

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Better view of the same two mentioned above.  Audrey is loving her new, more open feeling play area, and yes, that is my mini wiener dog on top of the couch.  I swear she is more cat than dog sometimes…though she is currently burrowed underneath my covers as I type this.

After Ikea, we came home (pooped!) and I made dinner…spicy meatballs (not horse meatballs!) over parmesan polenta.  Oh. My. Goodness.  They were sooo good!  And I even messed them up by forgetting to add the 6 tablespoons of milk.  Who says 6 tablespoons, anyways?  I guess it’s better than 3/8 of a cup (since that’s what it is).  We’re having the other half of the meatballs Wednesday for dinner.  Audrey gobbled hers up…it was the first time she had ground beef and she loved it!

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She ate all the pieces of meatball before she would eat anything else 🙂

Today, Audrey and I took a trip out to visit Grammie at school.  Then we went to Grammie’s and Grandpa’s to play.  While Audrey stayed and played, I got to go to the dentist and get a cavitity filled.  Oh the excitement and fun in my life…can you stand it?!?  At least it was only one cavity.  The new dentist I was trying wanted to drill 8!!!  So when I found out my childhood dentist was in network for our insurance, I booked it over there and he found only 1.  PHEW!  When I got back from the dentist, it was time for Audrey to eat, and Grammie and I found that she cut her first tooth sometime today!  I would have taken a picture to post but the girl sticks her darn tongue out whenever you try to open her mouth so it was a no-go.  But I did get this one to leave you with.  Before she got changed into her jammies and got packed up in the car to go home, Audrey enjoyed her bottle in the most comfortable seat in the house.

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I want a bean bag chair that fits me like that!  Well, I hope you were able to go out there and enjoy the weather today…it was beautiful out here in the midwest.  Tomorrow we’re supposed to get hit with the biggest winter storm of the season, so I’m running any errands early.  Speaking of early, I just remembered that my alarm is set for my 5 am workout time, so I’m heading out!  Good night!

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles

I’m so excited to write this post and share a new blog that I found that I am currently IN LOVE WITH!  So one way or another, I came across this: http://mywholefoodlife.com.  It’s a blog run by a mom of two adorable little girls.  Her family is vegan and they try to eat clean.  She has an amazing source of recipes, especially for breakfast and baked goods.  I’ll probably be sharing a lot of her recipes on here!  This morning, we made her pumpkin spiced waffles (recipe here: http://mywholefoodlife.com/2013/02/23/pumpkin-spiced-waffles/).

Oh. my. goodness. were these babies good!  The only modifications we made were the following: 1) we used regular organic whole wheat flour (I don’t have any white whole wheat flour), 2) I doubled the batch because I only had a 32 oz. can of pumpkin and didn’t want to split it, and 3) up until about 10 minutes ago, I didn’t have coconut sugar (who’d a thunk that Meijer would carry organic coconut sugar?!?), so I used organic cane sugar that I’m trying to finish up.

Along with our waffles (topped with a bit of pure maple syrup), we made scrambled eggs and a couple of pieces of bacon.  Now I’m not a crazy bacon lover like most people seem to be, but lately I’ve been craving some good bacon.  I burnt mine the other day in my effort to have crispy bacon (I cannot stand it when it’s soft and slimy), but Marcus cooked it to perfection!

We have a bunch of leftover waffles, so I threw them in ziplock bags with some parchment paper in between and put them in the freezer.  My house still smells of pumpkin and bacon….it was such a good Sunday morning breakfast!

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Audrey loved both the waffles and the eggs…I managed to get a quick picture before she had her fingers and waffles in her mouth!

After breakfast, I ran out to Meijer to do my grocery shopping for the week.  I made my meal plan (thank you emeals.com – clean eating plan – for help with a few dinners this week!) and went out.  I got everything for the entire week of dinners, lunches, snacks (I’m going to try making some other treats from my new favorite blog) and still spent under $80!  Not every single thing was organic, but every single thing does not need to be.  If I really want something only organic, I wait to buy it at a good price.  For example, all raspberries (organic and conventional) were on sale for the same price, so I went organic.  The 1 lb ground beef I needed for tonights dinner?  Well, Meijer doesn’t have organic ground beef, and I didn’t buy it in bulk the last time I was at Costco, so I bought the sale stuff.  Works for me 🙂

We’re heading out to Ikea today to check out some new media stands.  Audrey is going to have too many accidents with our current one.  Tonight’s dinner (and Wednesday’s since there will be leftovers), courtesy of emeals.com (you really should check that website out): Spicy meatballs over parmesan polenta.  The parm polenta is so good, we had it last week.  I have high hopes for the meatballs, too.

I hope you all enjoy your beautiful Sunday afternoon!  It’s cold here, but it’s sunny without a cloud in the sky!

 

Another Day, Another Dollar…

So Saturdays mean teaching for me.  I teach College Algebra at the community college from 12:30-4:30.  I always liked teaching at the community college, especially when I compare it to my experiences teaching high school.  But teaching a 4 hour long math class smack dab in the middle of a Saturday kind of sucks sometimes.  I’m able to go workout or grocery shop, or workout and grocery shop, before I even go to class, but most Saturday mornings are filled with just working out, showering, and getting all of my notes and whatnot ready for class.  I still do enjoy teaching at the college level; I just don’t think a 4 hour, once a week class is the best idea — to take or teach.

So speaking of working out, my work out sucked this morning.  I was not motivated. at. all.  I go workout at Planet Fitness (woohoo for $10 a month!) with my neighbor, Mandi, 3-4 times a week.  I’m training for the Shamrock Shuffle that my friend, Spring, bullied me into.  Let me explain.  I am not, nor have I ever been, a runner.  I used to despise working out.  I used to also be fat.  I was a really chubby kid.  I’ve battled my weight my whole life.  Fast forward to this fall a few months after I had Audrey: I downloaded the C25K app for my phone (one of the only apps I’ve ever paid for!).  I started jogging with that, but in December, we had a lot going on, and all of us (Audrey, Marcus, and then me) got the stomach flu.  After that, Audrey and I had a nasty cold, and then there was Christmas, and New Years, and why don’t I shove some more goodies in my mouth?!?

I digress….I started the program, but only for a month.  Then I took some time off, and Spring kept coming at me with this Shamrock Shuffle.  So I finally agreed, thinking what the heck?  I can do a 5k!  Wait a minute….what?!?!? It’s an 8k???  Ughhhhh….so one day I finally said, “Screw it!  I’m doing it!” and I signed up.  That same day, I downloaded the only other app that I paid for, the C210k.  I figured as long as I worked as far as I could, I’d be in good shape for the 8k.  But I was really scared of signing up for the run and not completing it because I was lame and didn’t train.

So, I’ve been striving towards not being lame.  It’s helped a bit with taking off some of the remaining baby weight, too.  I only have about 2 more pounds to go, and my goal was to lose it by Audrey’s 1st birthday (not till April 24).  After that, I’d still like to lose a bit more.  The spring before I got pregnant with Audrey, I lost a bunch of weight and got to my smallest ever, in the 140’s!!  (145.5 to be exact…funny story, I told Marcus that after I weighed myself, I thought it had said 154.5 because I had never seen those numbers before in that order…145.5 was mind-blowing to me!)  During the summer, I put a few back on, got pregnant, and decided I could eat whatever the heck I wanted.  Forty-six pounds later, Audrey came. I weighed in at 200 pounds even right before I gave birth to Audrey.  Sooo…I’m working my butt off to lose that weight.

But things are different this time. Yes, I want to lose the weight.  But more importantly, I want to be fit.  Like, kick someone’s ass fit.  I want workouts to be part of my regular day, and I want Audrey to see that her parents are active.  The awesome part is that even though I’m only 2 pounds away from my pre-baby weight and another 8.5 pounds from the very smallest weight I’ve ever been, I’m fitting into clothes that I was wearing when I was that small.  They don’t have quite the same fit, and not all of them are loose enough for me to wear, but I know that I’m getting fitter with more muscle mass.  The last time I was the weight I am, I wouldn’t have been able to fit in these clothes, so that makes me happy!

I don’t want to be the skinniest, or be in any particular size.  I want to fit into my old clothes from before I was pregnant so I don’t have to buy new ones (I’m cheap).  And I want to be healthy.  I want my family to be healthy.  So that’s what this is all about.  We’re exercising, and we are eating more whole foods.  Which brings me to tonight’s dinner….leftover pork tacos and roasted carrots!  The pork tacos were just as delicious as the other night, and even easier (if possible) since we just nuked the meat.  I had some organic carrots that I wasn’t using and didn’t want to go bad, so here’s the scoop with them:

Roasted Carrots

About 2 cups carrots, cut at a diagonal
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 F.  Mix the butter and oil, pour over the carrots.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and mix to even coat the carrots.  Roast or bake for about 15-20 minutes.

Now, I don’t like raw carrots, but boy were these good! Image*Picture taken after I had already snatched half of them!

I paired dinner with the last of the white wine I had gotten to try.  I’m not a huge fan of white wines, but I really enjoyed this one!

Image*Empty bottle…so sad…

With that, I hope you all have a great weekend!