Monday, December 31, 2012

Banana Blueberry Bran Muffins!

 It's December 31st! I can't believe that a whole year has already passed. We're literally hours away from welcoming 2013!

I decided to stay home and celebrate with family, since my boyfriend is "sick". Sixth time this month, alone. Crazy, I know. I'm thankful to say that I have gone ill-free, aside from my food poisoning, this year. I'm just a lucky one. For NYE, my family ordered pizza from Pizza Hut and I got an Amy's Roasted Vegetable Pizza. Let me tell you. You haven't had good frozen pizza until you've tried this. If your vegan or not, I don't care. Go to the grocery. Grab this pizza. Cook it. Eat it. Thank me later. I'm not kidding, GO! (Well, don't go yet. You can wait around for a little bit.) Back to NYE, I wanted to make a healthy side for the family since "pizza" isn't the healthiest thing in the world. So I made a side salad that only my grandmother and I ate, because my grandfather can't chew salad, and my uncle "wasn't hungry" even though he was chomping his way through a second slice of pizza. (Fist palm.)

Then the inner baker inside me finally shouted at me.

"Bake something, bake something, bake something!"

So I hit up the family pantry, examining different products, trying to figure out what I could possibly come up with. I noticed a box of unopened oat bran that I had purchased with every intention of using, but unfortunately I never found myself getting around to it. I actually had forgotten that I had some to be completely honest. I thought to myself, today is the day. I'll make Oat Bran Muffins.

As I was setting up in the kitchen, I noticed that my grandmother had purchased some bananas. That's when the light bulb in my head went off and I decided that Banana Oat Bran Muffins, would be my choice of action. Until, that is, I opened the freezer door and noticed my frozen fruit that I keep stocked up on. My eye, caught my blueberries, and the rest is history.

Ladies and Gentlemen.. I give you. Banana Blueberry Bran Muffins.

  • 1c spelt flour.
  • 6 tbsp sugar.
  • 1 tbsp baking powder.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • 1c oat bran.
  • 2 tbsp golden milled flaxseed with blueberries. (plain milled flaxseed would work, also.)
  • 1c ripe bananas, mashed.
  • 1c frozen blueberries.
  • 1/2c unsweetened almond milk.
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare 13-cup muffin tin by spraying with pan spray or lining with paper liners.
  2. Shift flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in oat bran. Once fully combined, add in remaining ingridents.
  3. Mix until moistened. Fill muffin tins, almost full.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes.

When the muffins are ready, let them cool for just a few minutes in the pan before turning them out.

I'm sure most of you already know that when you eat something that is loaded with fiber you should always drink an extra glass of water with it. If you didn't know that, well, now you know. If you don't drink the extra glass of water the exact opposite of what you'd expect from a bran muffin will happen.

After the family and I each got our muffin, I froze the leftovers. I did this simply to preserve them. You can always thaw them back out and/or microwave them for whenever you'd like another.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Elf4Health: Dec 24-29th.

 Monday, December 24th.
“Call a friend just to chat!”
I called my mom since I haven’t spoken to her in a few days and to wish her a happy Christmas Eve. I only got to talk to her for about 20 minutes because she was hanging out with "a potential girlfriend" but the day after Christmas, she texted me and told me that, that relationship was all for nothing. It just didn't work out. Unfortunately, my screenshot app wasn’t working so I couldn’t snap a proof picture of the call.

Tuesday, December 25th.
“Go for a walk with a family member!”

My grandmother and I went on a nice walk through Charlie Creek Trails in 37 degree weather for about an hour. She went prepared. Three layers, gloves, a hat. I just had a tank top on underneath my hoodie. No gloves, no hat(unless you want to count my hood as a hat) so needless to say I went unprepared but I still went 3/4 the way through the trail and back so I'm pretty proud.

Wednesday, December 26th.
“Look at yourself in the mirror. Find three things you truly love about yourself!”

My eyes: I’ve always liked my eyes. They change color from blue/green/yellow to a dark green/yellow. To me, they are my best feature.
My nose: I have a very unique nose. I have an indention in the center of my nose that nobody else in my family has and quite frankly I haven't met anybody else with a nose similar to mine. My nose is just one of kind, I guess. Which makes me like it more.
My shortness: Though, it can be annoying having to use a step stool to open up cabinets, put things in the microwave, etc. I like the fact that I’m 5’0”.

Thursday, December 27th.
“Make a list of 20 things you’re thankful for!”

In case you can't get a good look at the picture and what I wrote, I'm thankful for:  My wonderful grandparents-they have always given me open arms and a place to come to if something happened and I had no where else to go. My mother-though we have had our ups and downs. She is my mother and I can't help but be thankful for her since she is my only parent. Thomas's love- through everything.. the ups, the downs, me moving, he has never stopped loving me, and has never given up on our relationship. Lilly(my fur-daughter) she always rushes over to me whenever I come home with her tail wagging, and her big, cute, dog smile of hers. Lilly gives so much love. I've had her since I was 10 years old and even though I know she won't be around forever, I'll always cherish the time we've spent together. There's nothing like the unconditional love of a dog. Choosing to live(life over eating disorder)-even though I still struggle, I know I have came so far from where I was. I was literally knocking on death's door but I learned to just accept life and now I'm re-learning to love life and all it has to offer. I no longer live in that fear and mindset. My health-I don't have any diseases. My last check up I had a month ago said everything was a-ok with me and I'm so grateful for that considering the hell I have put my body through. Ability to excerise- some people can't physically exercise due to health reasons. I'm thankful I'm lucky enough to have this simple yet powerful ability. Vegan alternatives- I don't know what I would do without them! I wouldn't be able to bake without my egg replacer, wouldn't be able to enjoy my favorite foods like.. Macaroni & Cheeze without cheese alternatives. I'd feel completely deprived without them. I'm thankfully people are out there making such alternatives available to me. I'm excited to see what they come up with in the future. Music, creativity-I'm an art lover of many sorts and music has helped me through a lot in the past, present and I'm going to guess and say that in the future it will help me too. Not living in proverty, having a roof over my head- I'm happy to say that I'm not struggling with money. My family in general isn't struggling, and I'm thankful for that. I never have to wonder if I'll be able to eat that day, or worry about having the house reprocessed. Having the opportunity to graduate early, love, forgiveness, my dreams that I live for, my motivation, internet access, cell phone- so I can keep in contact with my friends/family. Coffee, tea, avocado, blueberries- just to name a few favorites.

Friday, December 28th.
“Make a healthy mug cake in the microwave.”

I made a chocolate mug cake, but since I was feeling a little rebellious I made a side of vegan cream cheese frosting to put on top! Nommers! The frosting wasn't really that calorific. It was made with just 2TB vegan cream cheese, a little bit of powdered sugar, almond milk, and vanilla extract.

(It may look like a mess, but the texture and taste was perfect-o.)

Saturday, December 29th.
“Take some time for yourself! Read a book for fun, do a craft, take a bubble bath!”

After a busy day, I took a nice, hot, relaxing bath. Used my new Spunggle that I got from my grandmother for Christmas, and gave myself a hand/foot srub! Perfect way to end my day.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Scenes from the Weekend: Holiday Family Visit(Uncle Adam, Aunt Charlotte, Cousin Riley)

My uncle Adam, his wife Charlotte, and her daughter Riley came up to visit us for the holidays this weekend. They were supposed to come up from Tennessee for Thanksgiving but Charlotte got ill and they never made it. I was sick at that time, too, due to food poisoning. (Note to self: If I ever go back to Trader Joe’s, I need to make sure to bring a cooler. My perishable food that needed to be refrigerated spoiled on me on the 2 hour trip from Indianapolis to Wabash. Stupid mistake. Won’t happen again.) So truth be told, I was relieved that they weren’t going to make it. That would have meant that I would have had to move upstairs into “my room” that’s unbearably cold. Plus, I wouldn’t have been able “to be seen” since I looked like death. I wouldn’t have allowed it. Not sure why I fear to be vulnerable-looking in-front of people but I do.

Unfortunately, for me, I’m going to have to move up there for a couple days since Adam and Charlotte will be in the “guest room”, that is, the living room. Friday-Sunday. Yes, I have been sleeping in the living room for the past few months. Reason being? There is a heater directly beside the couch and I’ve been using it to my full advantage. I let my legs fall off the end of the couch and cover my lower half of my body with one blanket which makes the warm air travel up and spread throughout my body. Then I use another blanket to cover my upper body. It works, judge me.

On Friday:

  • After my continuous nagging at my grandmother to get me an electric blanket she finally gave in and got me one. Well, two. One for me to use while I’m upstairs and one for Riley. I’m a happy girl.
  • It snowed for the first time since I’ve been here! I don’t like it. Yes, it’s pretty but the fact that it’s cold turns me off. I’m just not well-adapted to this type of weather.
  • I’ve been enjoying this hot tea I got at Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago. It smells just like french toast. I’m not even kidding.
  • When Adam, Charlotte, and Riley first came through the door.. I’m not going to going to lie I felt immediately judged. Adam said hello. Charlotte and Riley did not. So I kept my distance, and took pictures with my grandfather until we had to go over to my cousin Nicki’s house. I kept having to mentally trick myself because I suffer from social anxiety on occasion. It’s mild anxiety. Nothing serious. I have mental tricks I do like pretend I’m in a video game. It helps me act like myself and not take what anyone says (that’s negative) to heart. I just do me, basically. After 2 1/2 hours of talking to family I hadn’t seen in years, I was beyond ready to go home and hit the sack. It’s hard to get my grandmother out of social situations but eventually she took my word that it was time to go. I came home, took my sleep aids, and said goodbye to Friday.
On Saturday:

  • I woke up early-ish, to discover that everyone was gone. I knew they were wanting to go to the YMCA because Riley has to practice for swimming. So I automatically assumed that’s what they did. So I made some wake up juice aka coffee, sipped on it a couple times and starting doing my ab workout. I only got in 10 minutes before they came back. At that moment, I was frustrated because I needed to get in at least 20 more minutes. I went up stairs to do my hair, makeup and as I was doing so Adam came up and told me they were going to the YMCA. Phew! They had just went to breakfast. So after they left again, I ran down, and did 20 more minutes of exercise.
  • As soon as everyone came home from last minute Christmas shopping. My grandmother and I went to work with preparing the Christmas dinner. (We figured we’d do a small Christmas with everyone here.) I made a Vegan Green Bean Casserole, Vegan Cranberry Stuffing, Vegan Mashed Potatoes(easily vegan- just don’t add butter or milk into them), and a Spinach Avocado Salad. My grandmother made a Ham, Yeast Rolls, “Regular Green Bean Casserole, and Apple Pie. We also set out an olive and beet plate. I wasn’t really hungry but I ate a little bit of everything I could.(except for the pie, no room left in my belly for that)
  • After eating, I helped my grandmother clean up and then we opened up presents. My grandmother got me two Spongelle. Which are body wash infused buffers made with bergamot, lemongrass, sea kelp extracts and olive oil. Awesome! My grandmother actually got me a cool gift. I’ll be putting these to good use. Adam, Charlotte, and Riley got me 4 nail polishes. Black, Blue, Red, and Sliver. Great! I needed some new colors other than black. I love the bag, too. It’s adorable. I love pugs. (and bulldogs, just saying) Lilly is half pug so this bag was a cute idea.
  • Charolotte, Riley and I had a "painting party". Which is just us three doing each others nails. By this time I felt more accepted because every one wasn't so uptight. I don't have a picture, but it was nice having some quality family time.
On Sunday:
My grandparents took Adam, Charlotte, and Riley to The Wabash Inn, for breakfast. I was orginally going to go but my uncle Rhett came home earlier on in the night/morning and woke me up from being to loud so I was sleep deprived. My grandmother bought Adam upstairs so I could say my goodbyes, though. I'll miss Adam.. he has always been my favorite uncle. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Elf4Health: Dec 17th-22nd.

 Monday, December 17th.
“Do a circuit workout today!”

While I was looking at the email that Lindsay and Elle sent me. I saw Elle’s pick for The Power Hour Workout for the ambitious elf. I looked it over and decided that this would be perfect! I definitely have been very ambitious with my exercising this whole month which I’m very proud of. So I figured, why not? Let’s add on another 30 minutes to my usual 30-45 minute workouts. I did half the workout in the morning before Bowen, and the other half after Bowen. I feel accomplished!

Tuesday, December 18th.
“Treat yourself to something you’ve been craving!”

I treated myself to two nutrition bar. Yes, two. I grew ravenous after my workout in the morning and decided to just rad my "stash of goods." Blueberry and Peanut Butter were my cravings so I grabbed two bars with those flavors. (Told you those *Perfectly Simple bars were on my grocery list.)

Wednesday, December 19th.
“Bake cookies! Find a healthier recipe to try or make some healthy swaps for an old favorite.”

Great excuse to get myself back into baking. I’ve been slacking with it, lately. So I hit up my Pinterest and found my favorite low calorie cookie recipe for 42 Calorie Pumpkin Cookies.

Thursday, December 20th.
“Winter is the perfect time for casseroles! Make a casserole for dinner tonight. Add extra veggies and go easy on the cheese and sauce.”

I was unsure with what kind of casserole I wanted to make for this day. Lindsay’s pick in her email was her Lentil Veggie Mac & Cheese. I have previously posted a recipe for regular ol’ Vegan Mac & Cheese, but being the lover of Macaroni n’ Cheese that I am. I decided to make Lindsay’s recipe but revamp it vegan style! (All I did was use vegan alternatives to her recipe and I added in an extra cup of vegetables. I used 1 cup each of red onion, tomato, peas, red bell pepper, and spinach.) It made a perfect dinner on a cold, rainy day. Everyone enjoyed it.

Friday, December 21st.
“Pay it forward! Do something nice for someone else.”

I emailed my elf, Laura, on Monday and asked her if it would be okay to send her a care package for this day’s challenge and because Christmas is literally.. right around the corner and why not give to all I can? Yes, I’m a giver. Always have been, always will be. I went shopping for cute Christmas-y items for her and her family and mailed it off to her on this day!

Saturday, December 22nd.
“Going to a holiday party? Eat a snack before you go, choose water and split dessert with someone else.”

I did my “holiday party” yesterday at my cousin Nikki’s. It wasn’t really a party though. More as, a get together. I did eat a “snack” before going while I was making a salad to take over. I ate the leftover garbanzo beans that I didn’t put into the salad as my “snack” before going. Yes, I know, eating garbanzo beans straight out of the can is strange. You don’t have to tell me. I already know. Since I’m the only vegan in the family. My salad was the only thing that I could eat while I was there. The spaghetti had meatballs in it and the garlic bread had butter smothered all over it. The dessert was pumpkin and lemon zest bread. Which I assumed was made with dairy so I didn’t touch it. I only drink water, coffee, and tea. So I easily avoided the pop and stuck to my water.

Today starts off Round 3 of Elf4Health as well as a new elf buddy for me. Hopefully my new elf is just as wonderful as Laura has been. Tomorrow, I'll start on my new challenges.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Concious Box: The Vegan Zombie

Ever heard of The Vegan Zombie? If your a non-vegan and not a fellow YouTuber, my guess is.. probably not. The Vegan Zombie hosts a YouTube channel "that introduces vegan cuisine alongside zombie survival tips." Yes, zombies.

As most of you, may know, the end of the world is upon us. December 21st marks the day that the Mayan’s foresee will be the day the world ends. Am I a believer? Absolutely not. Do I think something hazardous may happen on that date? Possibly, but I'm not holding my breath.

I’ve always been one to joke around about how the zombie apocalypse is coming and that the world will be overrun by the living dead. So what better why to prepare myself for this zombie overrun that’s going to turn this country into a living hell? Buy a Conscious Box that The Zombie Vegan, himself, has helped put together. (Okay, maybe I was just waiting for the perfect excuse to finally get my monthly subscription for these boxes.)

To those who are not familiar with Conscious Box, it is a monthly subscription box that’s sent to your door.  It costs $12/month plus you need to pay for shipping which costs $7.95 so it’s $19.95 a month.  You can also purchase 3-month subscriptions (total $56.85) or a 6-month subscription (total $111.60) It’s well worth the price considering what all you get in the box. They also offer coupons and discounts for the majority of the items in the box, if you find yourself really loving a product and want more of it.

There are two kinds of boxes – The Classic box and a Vegan Box available. (You should already know which one I chose.) In the box you will find Eco-friendly products. Many of them are sample sized, and since it’s a lifestyle box they include products that span a range of uses. From snacks to soap. Anything is possible. Each month is a new surprise filled with different products.

Every month, there is a different picture in the window of the box.  I think they're so cute, and the picture is easily removable, so you can use it for other things. Just flip the lid open, and you have yourself a beautiful picture that you can frame or use to your own devices. On the back of the picture, it talks about the month that you received your package in. Since I got this one in December, they had a little blurb about the month.

The vegan boxes are extremely special. Each month there is a new “famous” vegan who helps pick what goes in that month’s box. As you know, The Vegan Zombie, helped with this month’s box. I got a card with him and his camera man on the front and a little information about what he does. (Which I already explained at the beginning of this post.)

Here's all I received in my first vegan box.

Baby Ecos* Stain & Odor Remover/Hypoallergenic Laundry Detergent: I'm not going to lie. When I saw the word "Baby" I got a little nervous. Truthfully my first thought was, "What the heck? What am I going to do with these? I don't have a baby!" Then I took a closer look and found out that these products aren't just for babies. Phew! Both products are formaldehyde free, petrochemical free, and pH balanced. Neat! My original thought was to save these for when I move back to California but I now have someone special in mind that I'm going to send these too. She has 3 little girls of her own, who let's be honest, are prone to messes. (All little kids are, heck, even I am sometimes.) So I figure she could put these to good use.

Sweet-ish Fish Soup: When I first saw this I was little confused, because I'm sure "Swedish" Fish aren't vegan. Then I noticed the "Soap. Don't eat." warning. Yes, this is "Swedish" Fish homemade soup that Dirty Ass Soups makes. It looks just like the actual candy fish and smells just like them as well! I'm still in a debate with myself if I want to use these or not. I probably will eventually but for now I'm still so fixated about them and astonished by how realistic they are.

Achiva Native Energy* Chia Seed & Dehydrated Coconut Water Drink Mix: I got the Raspberry Green tea flavor. It's basically a water enhancement that you combine with water and drink 30 minutes prior to working out. Since I've been working every day this month, I was excited that I received some working out "fuel".

Just Pure Foods* Sour Cream & Onion Zucchini Chips: These chips are gluten free, raw, organic, nut-free, yeast-free, and of course, vegan. They are very thin compared to other types of chips and I felt guilt-free after eating this sample. I would definitely consider buying from this company. A little about the founder of this company:

"Founder Justin Feldman started Just Pure Foods with a vision to share his passion
for healthy, organic food with the world. Justin found the best way to improve
people’s lives is through their stomach and his food does just this. His snacks are
uniquely all vegetable-based and offer a new flare to the health foods marketplace.
Justin believes that food, as well as all matter, is simply energy, and emphasizes that the
key to vital living is through minimally processed, organic, high vibration foods. His
foods have graced the palettes of noteworthy celebrities and numerous Los Angeles
locals." I'm not surprised. These "chips" were delicious.

Raw Revolution* Chocolate Coconut Bliss Organic Live Food Bar: I ate this the day I got my box. Luckily, they included a Buy One Get One Free coupon in the box, so I can get more when I go grocery shopping!

Lush Nuts* Dark Cocoa Chili: When I saw the flavor I was a little intimidated. Then I popped a couple in my mouth and was blown away. The peanuts are roasted perfectly and the dark cocoa and chilli flavor tastes amazing together. It's not in the slightest overwhelming, taste wise. I may just have to "gift" myself some of these nuts.

L'Ecuyer's Gourmet: Dill Dip Mix: This homemade dill mix came with a little recipe inside. Thank goodness, because I've never had dill dip in my life. 

Parma! Vegan Parmesan Original Flavor: I was hoping that this would come in the box! I've heard so many good things about this brand of vegan Parmesan. People have even called it "the best". I'm excited to try it out! Sucks they don't sell this brand anywhere around here. So I'm going to have savor it for as long as I possibly can.

Postcard: Adorable! It's right in the middle of the second picture along with all my coupons, discounts, deals, and product information.

The three items that really intrigued and interested me where these:

Shaman Shack Herbs* 3 Immortals Reishi, Shilajit and Ormus Pure Herbal Extracts: I had no idea what to do with this or really what it was for that matter. So I looked up the "Shamen Shack Herbs" website and found this out.  "3 Immortals is a super concentrated full-spectrum mineral superfood, combining 3 truly empowering super-substances; Reishi uplifts the spirit and builds protective power, a true Crown Chakra herb. Shilajit is a full spectrum nutritional substance from the Himalayan mountains- It is thought to be comprised of broken-down carbons from ancient rain forests, sandwiched between rock strata as the Himalayan mountains were formed 50-100 million years ago, and now in spring, a black substance oozes out between rock strata in the high Himalaya, where it is harvested and dried into a powder. There is a whole pristine eco-system in Shilajit! and it is said to be excellent as a garden soil additive for minerals and plant nutrition. Ormus is an alchemical mixture of semi precious stone silicates washed down from the mountains over eons, ground into fine clay-like sediments on ocean beds and eventually found in thin veins deep in the earth. At its base, ormus is thought to contain elemental alchemical substances that form precursers of both gold and crystal, quite fascinating! It is said that ormus can structure the water in the body, activating extra absorption of the powerful nutrients and minerals in the Reishi and Shilajit. This is an awesome superfood, great in smoothies, or as a hot coffee-like drink." Wow! Superfood, indeed.

Eye Walker Elements* Sacred Loom: Another product I had no idea what to do with. It's made from: Organic botanicals of clary, sage, bergamot, grapefruit and frankincense. Crystal essences of tiger's eye and goldstone. Hm, after reading that I figured it was some kind of oil. I found and read a card that was included that explained it a little bit better. "EyeWalker Elements is passionate about the profound healing powers of crystals and aromatic botanical medicine. Guided by the clear intention that we are one with mother earth. EyeWalker Elements uses their aromatic botanical alchemy to create aromas that attract, shift, and ascend your being." Interesting.

Simply Hemp Milk: This came with instructions so that's a plus! According to the package it's perfect for: smoothies, cereal, pre/post workouts, and a dairy substitute, by itself, over ice. In other words.. a great post-workout drink I can use! Awesome!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Elf4Health: Dec 10th-15th.

My first week of being apart of Elf4Health was a success!(It's actually the official third week, but as  you guys know I skipped out on the first two weeks.)

Monday, December 10th.
"Track your water intake today. Try to drink your body weight in oz of water!”

I definitely succeeded in drinking my body weight in water. I got in 160 fl. oz of water, way past my body weight. (I weigh 105, still.) Which is qualitative to 5 refills of this bad boy. Check out that water bottle swag! I don't do it any other way.

Tuesday, December 11th.
“Clean our your fridge today & pantry today! Get rid of expired and unhealthy things!”

This challenge was very tricky. Currently I’m living with my grandparents who have different eating habits than I do. For example: I’m a vegan. They are meat and cheese loving folk. So cleaning out the unhealthy stuff was close to an impossible task to do so that part of the challenge I couldn’t completely follow through with because my grandmother was is very opposed to throwing out edible food. Healthy or not. Since I wasn’t able to get rid of 70% of the food, I decided to just clean out the unorganized, horrendous looking fridge. I through out a ton of expired things that went bad close to two years ago! As well as other sketchy, moldy, gag worthy items. It’s was vile, but I did! I was going to take a before/after picture but I forgot that I had an app on my phone that could do so. (Good to know now) So I just took a picture of the after fridge. Trust me, that’s a huge improvement.

(Just for the record: That IS the family fridge. So the majority of items are not mine. Some of mine are at the bottom right hand corner. (Spring Water, Unsweetened Almond Milk, Soy free Vegan Butter, 3 Raw Bottled Juices, Organic Vanilla Soy Yogurt, Organic Black berries, Organic Gala Apples, Organic Cauliflower, Jalapeno Hummus, and Organic Firm Tofu. Tis' mine.)

Wednesday, December 12th.
“No need to save all your veggies for dinner. Work them in at breakfast and lunch too! Eat 3 servings of vegetables by 2pm.”

Another tricky challenge. But hey, they are not called “challenges” for nothing. The only reason this was tricky is because I’m never hungry in the mornings so I skip breakfast 99% of the time. Literally. It’s very rare if I feel hungry enough to eat breakfast. This morning was no exception, but I made myself eat so I could accomplish this challenge. I made a Tofu Scramble with loads of vegetables + avocado. (My favorite!) For lunch a Tofurky Wrap with vegetables + hummus. So I definitely got in my 3 servings of vegetables before 2pm.

Thursday, December 13th.
“Buy coffee for the person behind you in line this morning. Not a coffee drinker? Treat a coworker to lunch or snack!”

Since I brew my own coffee at home to drink and there’s no Starbucks in this little town. I couldn’t just go and buy some stranger a coffee. So I had to think of something else. I was going to bring in coffee for someone at Bowen but then I remembered that I’m the only coffee drinker that attends in the morning. Strange ay? So I looked to the other challenge option. “Treat a coworker to lunch or snack!” I don’t work with anyone, but I do attend Bowen with a couple “friends.” One of them wasn’t at Bowen so I gave the other “friend” money so he could get himself a package of pop tarts because he was having a rough morning and I felt bad. His off and on again girlfriend of 4 years officially called it quits for good. Yes, I know. Pop tarts are the opposite of healthy, but that’s what he always gets and Bowen doesn’t offer any healthy snack options. So, I guess, it works. I don’t have a picture because I forgot my phone like an idiot. Hopefully, you guys don't have to be seers to be believers.

Friday, December 14th.
“Workout with a buddy! Grab a friend, your spouse or even your dog!”

Perfect way to get my exercise in for the day! I took my fur-baby Lillian on a walk. Yes, my dog, sleeps like a human. It's adorable and I couldn't resist showing you guys.

Saturday, December 15th.
“Donate to a holiday charity in your area. Look for food drives, toy drives, angel trees, etc.”

I told my grandmother about this challenge. She was already going to donate so I helped her shop around for the food drive that her church does around this time of year. I also chose to donate that granola that my foodie gave me that I couldn't eat. I had no other options since my family members aren't granola eaters. Yes, I know. They are weirdos. Who doesn't like granola? I mean.. common. At least it went to a good cause!

So, that's week one. Stay tuned, next Sunday, for week two!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Scenes from the Weekend: Studying, Brain Food, Pie.

My whole weekend has consisted of studying, eating brain food, and baking a vegan pecan pie. Friday-Monday. Study, study, study.

My test is Tuesday and I have to pass it in order to be able to graduate. I took a similar test called the CASHEE when I still lived in California and passed both the English and Math with flying colors. I actually almost got a perfect score in Math, which surprised me considering math has always been my weak subject.

I took the Indiana exit exams a few months ago but I failed my math.. by only five points! Frustrating. It wasn’t a shocker though, I didn’t get to study for it like I got to with the CASHEE. They just randomly gave it to me without warning.
So since I’ve been pushing my brain to remember things, and work a lil’ harder than normal. I’ve been eating foods that are supposed to help stimulate the brain.

Coffee: We’ve all been there.. “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee.” I know I’ve said those words countless times without a second thought. When my grandmother, says “Good Morning” to me when I have just woken up.. I’ve caught myself responding to her by just saying, “Coffee.” That’s “good morning” in my language if I haven’t gotten my dose yet. Coffee helps me focus and gives me that morning boost I need in order to make it through the rest of the day.

Blueberries: Blueberries improve learning and motor skills. They are filled with antioxidants and a variety of essential vitamins for mental health. Blueberries top the brainy fruit chart and luckily are my favorite fruit! I added some frozen blueberries to vanilla soy yogurt during a couple study sessions.

 Tofu Scramble with Avocado: You non-vegans may be wondering.. what the heck is Tofu Scramble? Well, it’s actually very simple. Tofu Scramble is just scrambled up firm tofu that you cook on the skillet with vegetables of your choice. It’s a favorite of mine, especially when I have avocado on hand. I love topping off my scramble with a full avocado. Avocado is full of monounsaturated fat, which contributes to healthy blood flow. “And healthy blood flow means a healthy brain.” I know people suggest to only eat 1/4-1/2 of an avocado a day due to the fat content, but I don’t follow that rule. I love avocados, their my favorite. I can’t stop at just eating a quarter or half of one. No way. Besides.. the fat in an avocado isn’t the “bad” saturated, trans fat. It’s a healthy fat that’s beneficial for you. Why not indulge in something healthy?

A few other brain-boosting foods include: Sprouted/whole grain, nuts/seeds, beans, tea, dark chocolate, ginger, vegetables(brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, kale) fruit(watermelon, cantaloupe, apples.)

 I also enjoyed a few yummy, healthy meals this weekend. Here's a couple that are worth sharing.

Romaine, Broccoli, Tomato, Cucumber, Mushrooms, Olives, Broccoli, Falafel Patty, Jalapeno Hommus. (This is basically my take on "Greek salad".)

Romaine, Yellow Bell Pepper, Cauliflower, Cucumber, Mushrooms, 1/2 Tomato, California Sun-dried Tomatoes, Fat free Balsamic Vinaigrette; Organic Sprouted Quinoa, Organic Dried/Sweetened Cranberries, 1 TBSP Lightly Roasted Almonds.

I love adding quinoa and topping it off with dried cranberries & almonds on a bed of salad. It may sound like a strange combination to some, but trust me, it's amazing!

Homemade Vegan Pecan Pie.
I haven’t had pecan pie in years. My grandmother was going to make one for the family and I last weekend but couldn’t follow through because 1). She lost the recipe she was going to use. 2). The frozen pie crusts she bought had lard in them and since I can’t have lard she decided to postpone making it.
I went to the grocery store with her Saturday and after looking at many different brands of frozen pie crusts with no luck of finding one that wasn’t made with lard.. we finally found one. Marie Calendar’s, I thank you. My grandmother still hadn’t found the recipe she wanted to use and after hearing the horror of having to add 3/4c to 1c of corn syrup, that her cookbooks instructed to add to the filling. I looked online for a recipe that contained no corn syrup. Luckily, I found one. Bryanna’s Vegan Pecan Pie. After reading the reviews, a lady suggested to add a little more brown sugar and vegan margarine to give it a more rich taste since the recipe, I guess, is too light? I went with her suggestion. (I added 3/4c brown sugar, and 2 TBSP more of soy-free vegan butter, and reduced the cane sugar to 1/2c.) Soon after I stuck the pie in the oven. I went on my online calorie calculator to see how many calories this bad boy would contain per slice. My jaw dropped and my anxiety rose. At that moment, I remembered why I haven’t had this type of pie for such a long time. The last time I had pecan pie was when I was around the age of 10-12. Before my eating disorder took full effect. My grandmother had warned me that this pie was going to be very calorific but I wasn’t expecting it to contain 505 calories, 32g of fat, 53 carbs, and 33g of sugar for only 1 slice or 1/8 of the pie! I suffered an intense panic attack at the thought of having to eat a slice. First one, in a very long, that has been food related. Even the thought of only having a bite left me shaking with fear. So unfortunately I didn’t enjoy the pie. I couldn’t bring myself out of my fear to do so. I asked the family to try it for me and give me their opinions.

My grandmother said, “Perfect sweetness, nutty flavor, but lacks that buttery taste that regular pecan pie has. I’ll give it a 10 for being vegan but a 7 overall.” My uncle said, “I’ll give it a 7. It has a good sweetness, good flavor, but lacks consistency. It’s not solid enough, but I’ll give it props for being vegan and tasting good.” My grandfather barely has any teeth but I still let him try out the crust and filling and he gave it a 9 on that alone. (Maybe, later on in the week I'll challenge myself to try at least one bite of the pie. It'll be a good way for me to challenge my eating issue and show it who's boss..)

My grandmother asked me after the sampling if I wanted to go with her to the grocery store so she could get some chips. I agreed and went with her after my panic attack had went away. My grandmother must have felt bad because while we were at the grocery store she told me I could pick out something for myself to have since "I couldn't let myself try the pie." I went straight to the nut butter section and found a new peanut butter that I’ve been looking for!
Anybody who knows me.. knows I love my nut butter. Peanut Butter,White Chocolate Wonderful Peanut Butter,Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, Maple Almond Butter, Chocolate Hazelnut Butter.. doesn’t matter. Give me a sample or jar of nut butter and I’ll love you for life. Especially.. if it’s a flavor I’ve never tried before. So you can probably guess my excitement when I found this Planter’s* Banana Granola Nut Peanut Butter. Banana.. Granola.. Nut. I like bananas, I like granola, and I like nuts. This sounded perfect and to add on to my excitement.. it’s vegan! Without a second thought I proudly placed it in my cart. Yes, I “proudly” placed it in my cart. Literally. I was grinning from ear to ear with my head held up high.

Another weekend highlight, I got my elf match for Elf for Heath! I skipped Round 1 but after seeing how much fun everyone was having on Instagram, posting their daily challenges. I couldn’t help but participate for Rounds 2 & 3! Elf for Heath is a program that Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean and Elle have put together. Every two weeks your matched with a “buddy elf” that you talk to regarding the challenges and your there to help them whenever they need inspiration for a certain day’s challenge. Your to take pictures of each challenge that you do everyday and post them on Instagram with the hashtag #elf4heath. This gives you the opportunity to be chosen by Lindsey & Elle for Best Elf and Daily Elf Challenge Winners! Prizes are awarded to the Best Elf at the end of the two weeks and the challenge winners get to be in the running for the grand prize at the end of elf4heath program. This is open to everyone, so if your interested and want to learn more about the program and  how you can join in for round 3, just click here.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Turkey Run

I have a goal this month. I really want to tone up so I’ve decided that I’m going to aim to workout at least 30 minutes everyday this month. It can be anything from light walking to something more intense.

My exercise Saturday was 30 minutes of jogging with 5 pound weights in each hand.. and I may have danced a little toward the end. Gotta have fun while exercising!

My grandparents like to go on outings every Sunday after my grandmother comes home from church. They’ve asked me to come along a few different occasions but I’ve always either been too tired, or just busy. Yesterday, I wasn’t tired and I had no plans so I decided I’d finally go along with him. Hiking was the activity. Perfect.

I got to choice which state park to go hiking at and I found a place on the map that I’ve never gone before. Turkey Run.
We left at 1:15 in the afternoon, not knowing at the time that it’s 3 1/2 hours away in Parke County.


We finally made it though by 4:30. Before entering the park a lady was there and told us that the trails close at 5-5:30 since it starts getting dark around that time. So we only had an hour to really get to look around and hike a couple different trails and enjoy the scenery.

(Did you read that sign? The temperature dropped dramatically once we started walking through that path.)

After walking around with an empty stomach.. I was starting to get the hunger pains and antsy attitude so I was more than ready to finally get something other than coffee/water in my stomach. Luckily for me, Turkey Run has a Inn that has a restaurant in it. So my grandparents and I enjoyed a nice dinner at the Turkey Run Inn.

(Luckily, I told that picture prior to going hiking. It was pitch black when we finally made it there to eat.)

My grandparents and I both ordered the salad/soup bar. My grandmother and I also ordered a sandwich. (I was starving.. first meal of the day people.) She ordered the Philly Cheese Steak and I ordered the Garden Burger.

(I loaded up that salad. Baby Spinach, Grated Carrots, Cucumber, Jalapenos, Green and Black Olives, Broccoli, Red Onion, Radishes, Green Bell Pepper, Cauliflower and Honey Dijon Mustard Dressing.)

(The waiter said that the burger is made of rice and grated up vegetables. Yum! After filling up on all that salad, I just ate the patty along with the vegetables. My stomach was about at its limit and truth be told..I’m not a fan of non-sprouted bread.)

I had fun on this family outing. I wish we would have had more time to hike around the trails but I enjoyed what I could in that period of time. I'd love to go back sometime! It's a beautiful place to just get away for awhile and take a break from everyday tasks that can sometimes be unbearable.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Yesterday, my grandmother asked me if I wanted to go with her to this local, holiday event called the “Sip-N-Shop” that would be held at the REMC Building in Wabash. I read a small article in the paper about it and it seemed like a fun way to spend some time with my grandmother. She told me that she wanted to go last year but she forgot about it so I knew how bad she wanted to go this year.
Free admission, 30+ shops to shop at, and all the hot chocolate and coffee you can drink. You had me at coffee, I’ll be there.

When I first walked in I was surrounded by local businesses, a ton of people, and a coffee/hot chocolate stand! The first thing that caught my eye that was literally to the right of me as soon as I entered the building, was a stand that had different dips and some.. some pumpkin pie cheeseball/cheesecake mix! Pumpkin. Pie. I instantly checked it out and looked at the ingredients. The mix, itself, is vegan. I was sold. I gladly handed the lady my money.

Today I made my vegan pumpkin spice “cheese”ball. I let the whole family try it. My family used graham crackers to dip with and I used Stacy’s Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips. It was so delicious. My family also enjoyed it. (Family ratings; Grandfather: 10. Grandmother: 8. Uncle Rhett: 8.) I agree with my grandfather. It’s an easy ten.

Then I started exploring. First thing I grabbed on the go was my coffee. I needed a pick me up, that’s for sure. I made my way through and found myself at a Hempz Lotion stand. Deep down I wanted to look at everything before really going crazy. So I just checked it out and filled out a form for a chance to win some free products. Matter of fact.. I entered to win free products at a few different stands that interested me. Hempz Lotion, Avon, Pampered Chef(they had a snow-man rubber spatula in the goodie box. I want it.), Beauti Control and Scentsy. If I win something I’ll let you guys know.

Right next to the lotion stand was.. Avon. I love Avon. I have a eye shadow kit from them that I adore. I looked at perfume, lotion, makeup and jewelery before I decided on getting a hand lotion and lip balm for only $1 each. Not bad at all. I was in need of some more lip balm pronto, since I had just used up the last I had this morning. Look how adorable they are.

As I was browsing through the other stands that had handmade scarfs, bags, jewelry, stain-less steel glass, rugs, bakery goodies, tastefully simple(a grandmother favorite) and ornaments. I spotted one that really interested me. A huge ornament made from a light bulb! I’m a collector of ornaments. Especially unique, bizarre, and sometimes just plain ol’ cute ones. This one was definitely unique, adorable and only $8. I bought it. It was hard to decide on which one I wanted. I was between a gingerbread man, or the snowman. As you can see.. I chose the snowman. Hopefully he isn’t to big for the tree.

Then I spotted something else that I already knew I was going to have to purchase. A “Beauti Control” stand! The lady was so nice and gave me a free hand scrub to try it out for myself. They had 3 scents to choose from: Mint(ew), Brown Sugar N’ Spice(decent) and Margarita. Truth be told I chose the Margarita one and fell in love. My hands have never felt more soft in my whole entire life. It felt amazing getting my scrub down and as soon as I rinsed off with warm water.. my hands instantly felt softer, and lighter. I needed this product. I got the scrub that came with some hand lotion to use after I get my scrub on at home. A well spent $25 dollars in my opinion. I made sure I got the lady’s card so I can purchase more when I run out. You guys should definitely check out this brand and think about purchasing some for yourself. It’s literally the best thing ever.

That’s all I purchased. Though I am thinking of ordering a kitchen scale from a lady that was there at the “Pampered Chef” stand. I need one really bad. I have the lady’s information to order one once I make up my mind if I’m willing to spend 35$ dollars on one or not. We’ll see.

I did also grab a booklet for Scentsy. I’m thinking of possibly purchasing one. If I win the Scentsy bar.. I definitely will have to. The booklet has loads of unique, amazing styled lights that you just simply plug in, break off a piece or two of a scented bar, and let the magic happen. The lady gave me a free sample of a bar and the smell is unbelievable. Cherry Vanilla, people. How can that not smell good?

Before even going to the Sip-n-Shop.. my order for my nose ring finally came in! This lovely lady named Angela.. has an online shop on Etsy, that’s called AngelflieDesign. She makes homemade earrings, bracelets, necklaces, rings and nose rings. Since I lost my precious nose ring a few weeks ago while I was with Thomas I’ve been looking for a sliver nose ring with no luck until I found her online shop. The reason I’m even bringing this up is because I was having a very bad imagine day and just wasn’t a happy camper at all. When I received my package I noticed on the bottom part of the package she wrote.. “You are beautiful.” Something that simple, and thoughtful really made my day and upped my spirits.