Eat to Live – Week 1

March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!  This weekend has been one of the best in a long time.  I am usually that person who has things planned out all weekend and is constantly worrying about what I should be doing for next week, or next month, or next year.  But this weekend, for once, I just relaxed and didn’t worry about a thing.  Tyler and I spent a lot of time hanging out together at home, I got to see some wonderful friends, and I spent some quality time with my family.

I stuck to my menu plan for the most part this week, but once the weekend hit, I sort of lost track of the things I was eating and let myself go a little.  Normally I would be very disappointed in myself, but it was a weekend for celebrating.  My birthday was on Friday, so my mom and I baked a 3 layer vegan birthday cake.

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I have never made a layer cake before and my mom said she usually doesn’t have success with them, but it came out great and tasted good!

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I shared my cake with some friends who came over for a movie night.  My friend Amber made me the most amazing blondies with a peanut butter frosting.  They were so good!!  Thank you, Amber!

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As Spring tried to show itself this weekend, we had a cookout with my family in celebration of my birthday.  I got some wonderful birthday gifts!  The one below is from my amazing parents.  They know me so well.  🙂

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The cookout was a great success and I got to try some Tofurkey beer brats!  With a family from Wisconsin, ya gotta know that brats are one of the best things ever.  😉  And the Tofurkey brats were a great substitute.

We ended our Saturday evening with Easter egg coloring…

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This is me trying to be creative in announcing our date we have set.  🙂

Easter has been a wonderful day of family and great food (not necessarily what I should be eating, but still good).  I feel so lucky to have such wonderful people in my life.  I hope you had a great weekend, as well!

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Eat to Live – Take 2

March 25, 2013

I still can’t seem to get a handle on this blogging thing.  😛  I become so busy and exhausted that I don’t take the time to jump onto my blog.  I will try to get on more than once every 6 months.  🙂

As you are probably wondering how my eating to live is going, I must confess I did not succeed with the 6-week program.  But I’m not making a big deal about it.  Eating to live is a very different life style than what I’m used to and it’s not something I’m going to be able to jump into.  The good news is that I’ve gone almost completely vegetarian (I have the occasional egg, but try to make sure it’s “cage free”).  That was something I had tried to do in the past and failed many times.  But it’s now been at least 3 months since I have had any sort of meat other than eggs.  The next hardest thing to give up is going to be the delicious sweets that show up to my desk when there is a birthday.  🙂

I love my job.  I was just talking with my fiance the other day about how I have the best job (I was on Spring Break.  :P).  I love working with kids, I love learning new things, and the breaks we get are wonderful!  I am just finishing up my Spring Break and I can’t tell you  how many things I got done at home that were waiting to be done!  It’s been almost a year that Tyler and I have lived here and I am still unpacking and going through things that need to be sorted.  Not to mention all of the laundry I got done on my first weekday of Spring Break.  And I never thought I would be able to say this (not that I want to be saying this), but today was supposed to be our first day back and school and it’s a SNOW DAY!  So, because of this unexpected snow day in Spring, I am able to catch up on my blog.  😛

I always find myself most productive on Sundays.  I’ve had enough time to relax and realize the reality of my life and getting back to it.  It always seems to be on a Sunday that I make new goals and life changes for myself (or plan to for the coming Monday).  Well, yesterday I took it upon myself to get myself back into a routine.  I am pretty sure I do best a meeting my goals when I’m in a daily routine.  I created a 3-week meal plan for myself (working on it up to 6 weeks), mostly trying to follow Eat to Live.  I printed out a copy to carry around with myself so that if I end up snacking or changing something about a meal, I can write it in.  At the times that I have succeeded, I always wish I knew what it was I was eating and doing that helped me to succeed.  So hopefully keeping complete track of my eating routines will help me.  Now, when I was telling Tyler and this plan last night, he begins to ask me if he shouldn’t let me cheat.  Aw, my fiance knows me so well.  He knows how stubborn I can be.  I told him to just be supportive and that it would probably be best if he didn’t try to correct anything I end up doing, as I know how I can get angry at him for saying something, which is usually because I know he’s right and I become mad at myself for it.  Ah…to be a woman.  😉  Other routines I am going to try to build with this is to create a time in the evening that I will get ready for bed and read before I go to sleep.  I have never been a big reader, but have recently gotten into the Harry Potter books, as well as Kathy Reichs’s books (after “Bones” became my favorite TV show).

Tyler and I as Booth and Bones for Halloween, 2011

Tyler and I as Booth and Bones for Halloween, 2011

I have hopes to read 2 books in the next 6 weeks (I often read ONE book over the course of a couple years).  I also plan to go to the gym at least 6 times a week.  I have not been going to Title Boxing recently, 1. because they changed owners and got rid of one of my favorite trainers, 2. because I’ve been focusing more on cardio and have taken to running about 2.5 miles each time I go.  Also, when I go to the gym, I can often get my mom and/or my sister to join me.  😀  I am one of those people who needs that motivation from others.

Here is a look at my meal plan for my first couple of weeks (NOTE:  Some of the dinners are what we already have as leftovers, otherwise I’d choose meals with less carbs.  Also, my 28th birthday is on the first Friday, so I will probably splurge on dinner that evening):

Week 1:

Monday:

Breakfast – Fruit & Greens Smoothie

Lunch – Salad w/ nuts & seeds, piece of fruit

Dinner – Roasted Curry Cauliflower, apple

Tuesday:

Breakfast – Fruit & Greens Smoothie

Lunch – Salad w/ nuts & seeds, piece of fruit

Dinner – Black bean soup, apple

Wednesday:

Breakfast – Fruit & Greens Smoothie

Lunch – Salad w/ nuts & seeds, piece of fruit

Dinner – Indian Chole (carb – rice), orange

Thursday:

Breakfast – Fruit & Greens Smoothie

Lunch – Salad w/ nuts & seeds, piece of fruit

Dinner – Chili, apple

Friday:

Breakfast – Fruit & Greens Smoothie

Lunch – Salad w/ nuts & seeds, piece of fruit

Dinner –  ??  Birthday Dinner

Saturday:

Breakfast – Fruit & Greens Smoothie

Lunch – Salad w/ nuts & seeds, piece of fruit

Dinner – Soy “brat”, grilled veggies, vegan birthday cake

Sunday:

Breakfast – Fruit & Greens Smoothie

Lunch – Salad w/ nuts & seeds, piece of fruit

Dinner – Mac & Cheese w/ broccoli (carb – wheat pasta), apple

Week 2:

Monday:

Breakfast – Fruit & Greens Smoothie

Lunch – Salad w/ nuts & seeds, piece of fruit

Dinner – Zucchini Pasta w/ Bolognese, apple

Tuesday:

Breakfast – Fruit & Greens Smoothie

Lunch – Salad w/ nuts & seeds, piece of fruit

Dinner – Roasted Curry Cauliflower

Wednesday:

Breakfast – Fruit & Greens Smoothie

Lunch – Salad w/ nuts & seeds, piece of fruit

Dinner – Chili, apple

Thursday:

Breakfast – Fruit & Greens Smoothie

Lunch – Salad w/ nuts & seeds, piece of fruit

Dinner – Indian Chole or White bean and garlic soup, apple

Friday:

Breakfast – Fruit & Greens Smoothie

Lunch – Salad w/ nuts & seeds, piece of fruit

Dinner – Mac & Cheese w/ broccoli (carb – wheat pasta), apple

Saturday:

Breakfast – Fruit & Greens Smoothie

Lunch – Salad w/ nuts & seeds, piece of fruit

Dinner – Chickpea Burgers w/ roasted veggies, orange

Sunday:

Breakfast – Fruit & Greens Smoothie

Lunch – Salad w/ nuts & seeds, piece of fruit

Dinner – Black bean Crockpot soup, fruit

The good thing is that I sort of know where my downfalls are.  When school is in session, I am usually pretty good about having my morning smoothie and my salad and fruit for lunch.  My downfalls are usually if there is a lunch brought into work, if there is a student birthday, or snacking at home after dinner (usually because I sit in front of the TV all evening).  I am hoping that going to the gym after work, then coming home and cooking dinner will get rid of my evening snacking.  I am also going to try and watch less TV.  My other downfalls are the weekends.  I’m usually a creature of habit and get up around 7am, the latest, on the weekends.  If I eat at an usual time, however, it throws me completely out of whack and I end up skipping my salad and going straight for starchy foods.  So long as I keep myself in routine even on the weekends (at least for the next 6 weeks), I think I should be okay.  The other thing that sometimes happens on the weekends is going out to breakfast with the family.  My family is a HUGE breakfast family.  It was the thing when we visited relatives out of town that we all always went to breakfast together.  So long story short – I LOVE BREAKFAST FOOD!  Ways that I have avoided this issue in the past couple of months is that I would eat before we would go out (especially when I knew there was nothing healthy I could eat at that particular restaurant).  So I feel I am pretty organized and hopeful and I will try to post weekly about how it is going.

Before I go, I will leave you with some photos from this winter.  🙂

I got engaged!!

I got engaged!!

My dad wasn't fast enough, so had him get down on his knee again.  :)

My dad wasn’t fast enough, so had him get down on his knee again. 🙂

The happy couple.

The happy couple.

Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake - and the most expensive dessert we have ever made.

Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake – and the most expensive dessert we have ever made.

Beautiful 12 inches of snow

Beautiful 12 inches of snow

...and the driveway that made me hate snow and winter altogether...

…and the driveway that made me hate snow and winter altogether…

St. Patty’s Day!  We cooked brunch at our townhouse.  We had real meat and eggs for most guests, and fake meat and eggs for myself and my brother’s girlfriend (who is vegetarian).

I was definitely festive!!

I was definitely festive!!

We made our own green beer.

We made our own green beer.

Tyler and I being festive.

Tyler and I being festive.

Karma and I.

Karma and I.

Homemade biscuits!!

Homemade biscuits!!

Look!  My fiance can cook too!  Who would have known...I love this man.

Look! My fiance can cook too! Who would have known…I love this man.

The man and woman of the house.

The man and woman of the house.

Time to eat!

Time to eat!

Time to relax...

Time to relax…

Broccoli-Edamame Soup

May 9, 2011

I found this amazing recipe in Vegetarian Times Magazine, thank you to my wonderful friend, Amber Shea.  The original recipe is made with jumbo goad cheese croutons, so my plan was to leave that out.  However…I just HAPPENED to have frozen my leftover Rosemary Olive Oil bread from the Farmer’s Market.  The bread helped make the meal.  🙂  Great idea, on my part.

Ingredients:

2 tsp olive oil

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

1 1/2 cups frozen shelled edamame

1/2 lb broccoli, trimmed, stems and florets chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

Bread of choice (not wheat)

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the onion and nutmeg.  You can season it with salt and pepper, if you like.

The original recipe says to saute for 10 minutes, but since this is only half of the original recipe, saute until onions are soft.  Stir in 1/2 cup broth, scrapping the bottom of the pot to lift off any brown bits.

Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups of broth, edamame, broccoli, and garlic.

Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.


Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and arrange bread of your choice on a baking sheet.  (I do not recommend wheat bread because it is too sweet for this meal.  A baguette, french bread, or a rosemary olive oil bread – which is really the best.)  Bake for 6 minutes, or until crunchy on both sides.  Remove from oven and set aside.

If you have a Cuisinart Smart Stick, that is really the way to blend this meal.  The original recipe suggests transferring batches of soup to a blender.  But I suggest you just buy a Cuisinart Smart Stick because you will find is SO handy.  This one in particular is actually my mother’s, so if she doesn’t end up giving it to me, I’m definitely going to have to purchase my own.  🙂

Blend until creamy and smooth.  Return pot to stove and warm over low heat.

Soup is served!!  I really enjoyed using my bread to dip in the soup.  It was delicious.  I only made half of the original recipe for Tyler and I and we STILL had PLENTY of leftovers!  I knew I was going to be cooking other meals during the week, so I went ahead and froze what was left.

*Note:  I defrosted the soup this evening and ate it for dinner.  I can tell you it is JUST as good as when it was fresh!  But that was also how I found out that wheat bread does not mix well with the recipe.  😉  I hope you get a chance to try this meal!  It’s delicious.

I was in the mood to bake a few months ago (When am I NOT in the mood to bake?!), so I was searching through one of my cookbooks for a delicious recipe (“Dinner on a Dime”).  I came across several, but one that stuck out were these peanut butter cup brownies!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup peanut butter (I prefer crunchy.)

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 Tbsp plus 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided

3 squares (1 oz. each) unsweetened chocolate

1/2 cup butter, cubed

3 Tbsp flaxseed, mixed with 9 Tbsp warm water (The original recipe calls for 3 eggs.)

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 Tbsp water

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl, beat the peanut butter, brown sugar and 2 Tbsp of flour until blended.  Then set it aside.  In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate and butter and stir until smooth.  Cool slightly.  In a large bowl, beat the flaxseed, sugar and water and stir in chocolate mixture and vanilla.  Combine baking powder and remaining flour and gradually add it to the chocolate mixture.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups one-fourth full.  Top each with about 1 tsp of peanut butter mixture and spoon the remaining batter over the top.

Bake for 13-15 minutes or until centers are set (do not overbake).  Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.  This recipe makes about 2 dozen cupcakes and they taste amazing!