Saturday, October 29, 2011

Family is All I Need

Recently I had a follower email me requesting
a prenatal vitamin recommendation.
New Chapter, baby!
They make the best vitamins.
I've been taking them for three years since I've been 
pregnant then nursing, then pregnant then nursing.
I love them.
Other vitamins made me nauseous. 
These are small and are taken three times a day.
When I first had to get into the habit of taking a vitamin three times a day
I would make checks on my calendar so I could keep track.



I also take their Vitamin B since I don't eat meat!
It is so important to take vitamins since our soil is so depleted.
You can get them inexpensively online from vitacost.com.


Time with My Girls!

My past couple weeks have been terrible! 
I've been so stressed and busy with midterms and events.
Now that they are all over with,
I set yesterday aside to do nothing but spend time with my family.
Of course, for a Mother,
"Nothing" mean doing three loads of laundry,
scrubbing both bathrooms,
and making three means from scratch,
Yummy!
It was such a great relaxing, memorable day. 
A perfect day for me includes 
working in the kitchen with my toddler!

on Natalie's blog and I had to make them with my girls.  
I consider this a great treat because it really isn't bad.
Well chocolate, yes.
I only think about the good qualities of chocolate when I'm eating it though.
Of course I eliminated the shortening,
I used canola oil instead.
We used raisins as eyes instead of sprinkles,
and I didn't use the reese's pieces.
But other than that, come on,
crackers, pretzels, peanut butter...sounds like a perfect snack to me.
Plus singing the itsy bitsy spider is an essential part of our day.
We are major fans of the guy. 
These were so fun to make together.

Thérèse dipping the crackers into the chocolate.


Working very hard to get that chocolate spread on.


Putting on the eyes.


Pretzels dipped in chocolate.
Her art. 


AH! Spiders. Yes I want one! 
As I was eating mine,
I felt like I was four.
After a week of midterms...
yes I want to feel four again. 

Stick them in the fridge so they can hold together.


Yesterday we also loaded the girls into the trailer 
and road our bides to the park.
So fun!

Monique is my energetic one!
I don't know if she'll ever sit still enough to cook with me in the kitchen.


The other day we carved pumpkins.
I was stunned that when we were finished,
they looked like our personality.

On the left, we have my brother-in-law,
who is always making THAT face when he can't believe 
he is eating yet another vegan meal.
HAha. (Btw: He secretly loves being vegan).
The middle is me, I'm the stressed/uptight/annoyed one.
At the right, my husband.
Enough said. 
I think you can understand his personality just by looking at that thing.
Too happy about life. 



Thursday, October 20, 2011

How I Get Through My Day

Oh good people of the blogging world,
how I miss you, 
and the simple life I had when I was able to blog.
I'm dealing with midterms in school right now. 
Which is....okay, I'm not going to lie, 
I actually kind of like school. 
I enjoy my major (English Lit) 
and I totally am in love with my professors.
Not totally down with the craziness of school and babies though.
And we are commuting for my classes which is super hard.

Take your own Lunch:
The Cheaper Healthier Option

I always take my own lunches and snacks to class with me.
Daniel will make dinner, clean the kitchen, 
and sit down with a sigh after a long day of running the house with the babies.
Then I'll get in the kitchen to make my lunch for the next day while I hear him exclaiming,
"Your always cooking! You have to take wraps, sushi....",
and it's totally true.
Hey, if I'm going to spend six hours on campus
sitting in uncomfortable seats, and watching everyone else eat fast food
I want to treat myself with some good food.
GOOD food. Food that is going to 
fill me, nourish me and make me excited to be alive.

I'm going to share one with you.
It isn't by any means a meal you sit down to, and think about the amazing flavors.
But I loved it today. 
With the built up stress of homework, essays, midterms, potty training,
I've been doing daily cardio and intense yoga. I'm finally intermediate! Yay!
So today I did an hour of exercise, showered, and rushed off to school.
After my first class this tempeh salad was perfect.

Tempeh is a food for atheletes. 
It's loaded with protein.
We try to have it once a week.

You can pick it up at Trader Joe's (Their brand is in an orange package)
or any health food store.
It's usually in the fridge section with the tofu.


Tempeh Salad

1) Unwrap tempeh from package and steam for twenty minutes.
Remove tempeh from heat and cool completely.

2) This is a salad. So go crazy with the veggies!
I used the leftover veggies that were in our fridge.
Here are some options:

- 1 chopped carrot
- 1 chopped celery
- 3 chopped radish
- 1 minced green onion
- 1/4 cup frozen peas
- 1/4 cup frozen corn
- 1 tablespoon minced parsley

3) Mix in: 

1/4 cup veganaise
a dash of umboshi plum vinegar (optional)
a teaspoon mustard 


I made this salad Monday night.
Got to plan ahead when you take your own meals!

Lunch #1 

Tuesday I had it in two wraps with lettuce in Ezekiel tortillas. 
I love these hearty tortillas.
They are packed with fiber.



Lunch #2

Today I had these with the most scrumptious crackers.
My in-laws had them in their cupboard.
Trader Joe's Multigrain Crackers.
Really yummy.


This meal is super colorful and rejuvenating. 
I highly recommend it for busy, active people.

Stretch it Out

For me, doing yoga is the equivalent of getting a massage.
I feel so great after a work out!
Here is my new favorite. 
My body gets a complete stretch.



Indulge in Stories of Hope:

This month is Domestic Violence Abuse Month.
A friend of mine recently lost her best friend to domestic violence abuse.
You can go to Natalie's blog to read her whole story.
Anytime she mentions it in her blog I just burst into tears
because she is so honest about her suffering and 
hopeful about the reason for this suffering.
Please pray for an end to domestic violence
(they recently legalized it in Kansas)
and pray for Shannon's two beautiful babies.


On that note, I'm very happy with my babies
(and the messes they make)
and our happy (stressful) home.


Talk to you soon!



Monday, October 17, 2011

Wall Art


Wall Art is taking creativity to a whole other level. 
Hmm, I wonder why, maybe my the size of the art piece.
It catches the eye and creates drama in a way other pieces of art miss. 

Wall Art and Street Art are the thing now. 
Since I found the video below, I knew that I wanted to paint, 
use mixed media, and spray paint a big piece of art. 


Amazing and inspiring but the only problem with this method of creativity, 
is the temporariness of the piece of work.
I would want to preserve it, just in case we ever moved or got tired of the space. 
My cousin and I were talking about this the other day. 
How cool would it be to have a big piece of canvas that you could draw, paint, whatever. 
This got me thinking into various ways to create a canvas,
other than just using a wall.

Today, I found a solution to the problem.
Taking household products I created my own cardboard canvas.

(I know its a poor paint job, but once the whole piece comes together it will look cool)

Items needed:

Cardboard
Masking Tape
Scissors
Nails
Paint

You just need enough cardboard to the size desired.
Since I have been itching to do a wall art piece
I made my as big as a wall in our house.
After getting to desired size nail the cardboard to the wall.
I recommend nails to really support the cardboard,
once the cardboard gets painted it begins to lean forward from the weight.
Find those studs! Nail into a stud whenever possible.


After you have it up, its time to paint it whatever color you choose 
to be your background. 
I choose white since I had a spare bucket of it in the garage. 


D'awww look at my help! 

I will be sure to snap a picture of the finished outcome, 
whenever I am able to complete the whole piece. 
The cool thing about using cardboard isssss, it's cardboard
you can easily replace it or make another if needed to, anyways 
this is your art piece make it your own, create a canvas in the shape of 
a dinosaur, a tree, whatever! 

Have fun, I now I will!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sweet Potato & Pecan Cinnamon Buns with Maple Glaze

Hey good people of the Blogging world!
I really should be doing homework right now,
but I absolutely had to share this recipe with you all.

It's Autumn! Time to get our fall foods on!
Which include sweet potatoes and cinnamon rolls,
put them together, and you get perfection.
My mother-in-law made these a couple days ago.
I finally made it to their house today to devour not one,
oh no, but two.
They made me do a little dance and be excited about life.

Oh! Don't they look good!


She made them with whole wheat flour and they still rocked. 
They also call for vegan cream cheese, 
which turns the frosting into paradise. 
There are lots of brands out there
and major grocery stores are starting to carry them.
Very cool.

You can find the recipe here.

Alright! Back to homework!

Love you all,

Friday, October 7, 2011

Nature in your home

Not everyone is able to live in nature, as these people do
so in what ways can you add a touch of the natural 
in your own home? 

1). House plants - plants are a great way to liven up your home and at the same time 
create a healthier environment. 






         A Peace Lily Plant placed in your bathroom can 
                    help reduce mold by 60 percent. 






                     A Boston Fern Houseplant helps turn your dry air 
                   in your home just the same as a humidifier, by 
                                 releasing moisture into the air. 



       Spider plants provide healthier and more breathable air 
             into your home, pollutants in the air you breathe 
        can cause wheezing and headaches, if you suffer from 
                       any of these, this plant is for you. 







2.) Bring the outside in through Art


There are many websites offering posters or pictures with nature in them.
Or you can paint a room a more natural color.
Or you can create your own Art that has natural elements
as I did below.


In this artwork I created I took a clipart photo and created it to fit 
on a 8.5 X 11 sheet of paper. 
Then cut it out and went outside to pick some flowers from 
our Bugambilia plant, which has some pretty flowers


I used the middle flower to look like mini flowers, 
you can see a few along the ground outline. 

A cousin of our's (from Arisa's family) brought in a branch
and used that as a center focus in her living room.
And she has a house plant ;)


When we go on vacations we try to gather little remnants of our trip 
and stick them in jars to decorate our home. 
Here is a jar from when Arisa and I were dating. I was going to school in 
Santa Barbara so I sent her sea shells and sand from the beach we hung out at. 
This is a great way to incorporate nature and memories into your home decor. 


The summer is finally over out here so I hope to be able to post more 
since I can work outside now! 
Look forward to more posts from the toolshed side of this blog. 



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Easy Macrobiotic Family Meal

I miss you people! 
I've been so busy with school
I haven't had a chance to blog 
about all the great food I've been chowing down on.

Monday night I was beat! I've been doing about eight hours of homework a day,
and between that, toddlers and life, I was exhasted.
I came home from picking up my daughter from a play date 
after my four hour class, and I felt awful.
My hubby made this amazing dinner for me and it was just what I needed. 
Very medicinal and restored my body.
I followed it up with vegan chocolate cake of course.

Here is what we ate:

- Adzuki beans (leftover from Tasty Tostadas)
- Arame with Carrots and Onions from The Kind Diet
-Fried Rice with Kale and Scallions from My Father's Daughter.
Yum!
Everyone in my family ate this, everyone.
Including my one and two year old. 
I think this is toddler friendly food because it is loaded with flavor,
but macrobiotic flavor is very subtle
so they can easily eat it.

The Brown Rice Dish is easily my favorite rice dish.
So good!
As you know, I'm learning to appreciate sea vegetables.
Thankfully, Daniel accidentally added 
way too much soy sauce to the Arame with Carrots
so I couldn't even taste it! Love it! 
It makes me so proud when my family eats this food. 
I can already see their bones strengthening and their skin brightening.


And lastly, we must reward ourselves with a healthy chocolate cake.
I made it with my toddler over the weekend.
Baking is one of our favorite things to do together,
so I make time for it.
We added strawberry jam over the frosting for the middle filling.
Totally delicious!
You can get this gluten-free, sugar and dairy-free cake recipe here.
A while back, one of my readers ask if I'd share what is in my pantry.
I hope to share this with you this upcoming week!

Until then, if you want a good ghost story
read Turn of the Screw,
a story I just read for class.
Or IS it a ghost story?
Dun dun DUN!



Can you tell I've been spending way too much time doing homework?
Turning slightly geeky.


















Wednesday, September 28, 2011

City Biking


Now that the weather is finally cooling down in our area
Daniel is trying to convince me we should ride our bikes to run errands. 
We got a trailer for the girls, and he's going to be constructing 
some sort of trailer to carry groceries. 
I was totally not into the idea at all.
I kept picturing the Wicked Witch of the West 
peddling away on her bicycle and the music that follows her.
I didn't want that to be our family.
But Daniel just showed me this video
and I'm warming up to the idea. 
Nice family outing...right?
I'm mostly interested in how 
I can get me one of those outfits that girl is strutting. 

Exercise makes endorphins and endorphins make you happy
and happy people just don't shoot their husbands.
No, I did not just quote Legally Blond.
Seriously, this makes the Netherlands seem so crazy cool. 


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie


This week I went back to school!
I'm excited to start, but horrified at my syllabi.
 I'm a literature major, so yes, heavy reading.
So now I have one more reason to be busier.

But so far being busy hasn't stopped us 
from hitting up my husband's family parties.
His father comes from a family of ten kids,
and since most of those kids, had kids, and they had kids
and most of them still live in the same area,
there is usually some sort of fiesta every weekend.

I'm beginning to slowly get more and more comfortable
making vegan food for others.
So far everyone is really enjoying it.
This might partly be, because so far, everything I've made vegan
falls into the dessert category and is laced with sugar.
Daniel's cousin told me that he'd gladly come vegan dessert time.
Now that Daniel's family is getting into severe healthy eating
(they are eating less meat and dairy, 
and have to eat a pound of raw veggies, 
and a pound of cooked veggies everyday!)
to lose weight, I'll probably be taking more main courses.
Last night there was a going away party for an aunt,
and there were three veggie dishes!
I couldn't believe it.
Usually I'm only able to eat rice and beans at their parties.
I can hardly contain my excitement for their new diet.

I made these because they don't require a lot of special ingredients.
They call for vegan butter, which I happen to believe 
should already be in everyone's fridge,
and a milk replacer, which everyone 
should also have for cereal and baking. 
Instead of egg replacers these call for bananas,
which cause these cookies to taste bananay.
I have to say, for traditional chocolate chip cookies,
these wouldn't cut it.
But these are still really good.
My absolute favorite thing about these 
had to be the dough.
 It was perfect.
Vegan cookies can be dry or crumbly.
Not these.
Please make these this weekend and see for yourselves.
Yummy!
Next time I make these I'll probably double the chocolate chips.
I like my chocolate chip cookie covered in chocolate chips,
not three per cookie.

My toddler mixed the sugar and butter for me.
Wow, she did a fantastic job!
Got it all creamy.
Electric mixer, what? 
Get a toddler.


The recipe calls for white and wheat flour,
but I just stuck with white since it was for a get-together. 

I highly recommend pressing the cookies down before baking.
And ours took longer than ten minutes.
We just kept our eye on them till they got golden.


I went to the party with two dozen cookies and came back with none.
One cousin went so far as to seal some in a zip lock bag 
for himself before everyone else got to them.
Looking forward to my next batch so I can enjoy them. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Creating Letters Out of Wood

I had made some letters for our first daughter, Therese, 
and now I will share the process through 
the letters I made for Monique's. 

First, to start I found a font I liked Monique's name in using Word 
which looked like this:
Monique
After finding a style, I then free hand drew out the letters in a larger print 


The M turned out to be problematic when cutting out of the wood,
I turned to drawing a more simple cursive M. 
After drawing out the letters, I cut them out to trace onto the wood. 


I used left over particle board, just to be thrifty, in the end 
I should have used a more durable wood. 
The particle board becomes very flimsy and I had a couple of 
instances where the letters snapped and I had to 
glue them back together using wood glue. 
I used a jigsaw to cut out the letters. 


With the first letters I made, I wrapped them with cloth. 
I tried to do the same this time around, but 
was unable to, I believe the cursive added an element that 
I was unable to overcome. 
So I decided to paint the letters and mount them on the wall. 
Before painting I recommend sanding down the rough edges, 
also this is where particle board was harder to work with
since they are very porous I had to put many coats of paint to 
make it look really nice. 


Next up, bringing nature into your home decorating. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Subsistence

You all!
I'm terribly sorry for being absent for so long. 
I had family in from out-of-town,
and then we had a big party to throw.
It was my in-laws 25th wedding anniversary,
my daughter's first birthday,
and my brother in-law's 13th birthday.
What a party! 
It's going to take me a while to recuperate from that one! 
The party started at 11a.m. and went till midnight.
Yup, a real Mexican Party.
Unfortunatley I'm not a real Mexican.
I fell asleep before 10!

Here is my incredibly cute one year old
just after she devoured the vegan chocolate cake I made.
She made sure she had every last crumb!


I made the Fat Pants Cake from the first Babycakes cookbook.
The frosting is so hard to make.
It came out...slushy...
but it was still super good.
It's supposed to be covered 
in chocolate chip cookie crumbs as well,
hence, the fat pants,
but that's enough sugar for me!

For my brother-in-law I made the cornbread from The Kind Diet.
Best cornbread recipe ever! Everyone who eats it falls madly in love.
And it has no sugar, which is a major plus. 

After spending the weekend prepping for the party,
partying, and recovering,
we haven't been taking the best care of ourselves.
All I wanted to do was go home and 
make a good macrobiotic meal to rejuvenate my body.

Now I know you all aren't looking at this picture and thinking,
"This is my dream meal! So glad she is sharing!"
One month ago it wouldn't have been mine.
But really, it was so soothing on my body.
Incredibly medicinal. 
The only thing that was missing were steamed greens,
but we are out, so we had to live without them.


Millet Patties - the first time I made these, I had to eat them with ketchup.
Today I just flat out enjoyed them.

That onion dish with black stuff is the Hijiki, 
The first time I had hijiki, I could barely stomach it. 
This dish was actually totally delicious.
I went from detesting sea vegitables, to actually craving them.
What?
It's crazy what happens when your body takes over. 

I was out of mirin, so I doubled the shoyu.
Since I was really hungry, I cut the cooking time in half.
Never thought I'd see the day that I'd enjoy sea veggies. 

All Hail Hijiki

Hijiki is the alpha male of sea vegetables. Loaded with minerals, it packs a serious nutritional punch and is incredibly good for your hair, nails, skin and bones. In fact, after eating a serving of this dish, my skin feels softer immediately. Hijiki also has a fishy flavor, so it may take some getting used to. If this dish is too strong for you, substitute arame, which is a little milder in taste and intensity.

Medium handful dried hijiki, soaked in spring water for 30 minutes
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 onion, sliced in half moons
Pinch sea salt
Spring water
1 tablespoon shoyu
1 tablespoon mirin
1 medium carrot, sliced in matchsticks

While hijiki is soaking in spring water, chop the vegetables. When the hijiki is softened, discard the soaking water and, if the hijiki is in long strands, chop it into 1-inch pieces. Most companies, however, sell hijiki in little strands.

Heat the sesame oil over a medium flame in a heavy skillet that has a lid. Add the onions and sauté for a few minutes, adding a pinch of salt. Add the hijiki and sauté it with the onions, coating it lightly in oil. Add water to half way up the hijiki and onions. Bring to a boil and add the shoyu and mirin. Cover and let simmer 30 minutes. Add carrot matchsticks on top. Let simmer 10 more minutes. Garnish with scallions.

Makes 4 servings.

Variation
To do this recipe using arame instead of hijiki, simply rinse arame (no soaking required) and reduce cooking time by 10 minutes. Feel free to use light sesame or olive oil for seasonal variety. This recipe is delicious with fresh corn, snow peas, green beans, or any vegetable that rocks your boat.


This week I'm definitely sharing a miso soup recipe with you.
I keep having that "I'm about to get sick feeling"
and three times this week I've made that soup 
and it makes me feel better instantly.
How cool is that? 
I love you miso soup. 


 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I Dream of Rice Dream

Just wanted to give a shout out to my dinner.
For the past couple days 
I've really been fighting 
the urge to cheat, especially today
(Aunt Flow came to town).
So instead, I treated myself 
to some of my favorite vegan food.

After scrubbing the shower walls 
and running errands,
 I was too beat to make dinner.
So I stopped by Chipotle.
Big fat burritos are one of my 
favorite meals of all time.
So satisfying.
I love their veggie burrito.
All the toppings are delicious!



I've been incredibly tempted 
to make a nacho run today.
At Chipotle they make the best chips.
Crispy and sprinkled 
with about three layers of salt.
Perfect!
Thank you Chipotle,
that was just what I needed.


I haven't had dessert in such a long time.
I'm trying to get on the Macrobiotics Diet.
They don't eat much flour and sugar, those macros. 
I made couscous cake this week for "dessert" and to snack on.
Yes you read that right, couscous cake. 
It's good...yeah....
Covered with dried fruit and apple juice.
Those macros, man.
It really is delicious, my daughters love it,
but it's not something I could feast on. 
Sometimes it's hard for me to consider 
anything that is not covered in chocolate, good.

So tonight I treated myself to a Rice Dream.
You all have homework:
go to your local health food store 
and pick up a Rice Dream Ice Cream Bar.
You'll be able to give up ice cream after you have one of these.
I had the Vanilla Nutty Bar, 
which is dipped in chocolate and covered in nuts.
But I also love their Moca Pie, 
which is a cookie ice cream sandwich dipped in chocolate.
I especially love these because they use barley malt instead of sugar,
so they don't spike up my sugar levels. 

Tonight I'm watching 27 Dresses for the zillionth time.
I love this movie because Kevin reminds me so much of Daniel,
always goofing around and not taking much of anything seriously.
And he's always aggravating Katherine Heigl's character.
Daniel walks a fine line between making me down right crazy and making me laugh.
Plus, I love this actor. 
I mean, how great are his lips? 
Remember when he was in X-Men 
and he wore those glasses so we never saw his eyes?
We could only see his lips, which really, are all we needed to see.


I sound like someone who needs to get out more. 
Have a great weekend everyone! 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

21 Challange

PCRM, a website by vegan doctors,
 has a great 21-Day Vegan Challenge.
When you sign up
you receive daily emails guiding you how to eat 
and what to make throughout the day.



I realize that Oprah had a vegan challenge 
that lasted one week,
but I think 21 days is a better way to go.
When you give up meat and dairy
the first week you may be irritable fighting off cravings,
detoxing, cranky,
but by week two and three,
that is when vegan powers start to kick in.
Your body relaxes more and you'll 
probably start to loose weight.

The vegan challenge started Monday the 5th,
but it is never too late to join!
Go pick up almond milk for your breakfast cereal,
hummus for for lunch,
and a veggie burger for dinner and bam!
There is one day all set!

A few weeks ago I 'fessed up
that I can be a big fat cheating vegan.
I can't help it!
I'm terrified of commitment!
How am I married you say?
Mighty forces were at work on my wedding day.
No, for real. 
But that's another story for another time.
For now, I'm joining this challenge
 to free my body from traces of animal products
and to remind myself how great I can feel.

Let me know if you sign up!
I'd love to suffer with all of you!

Haha, we all know not much 
suffering will be going on.
Vegan food is delicious!
To read a great story about changing 
your taste bugs from steak to tofu
visit The Kind Life

Happy Eating,