You Can Call it a Comeback

FOOD

The best thing about being off from work is kitchen fun.  I made up a soup recipe using roasted then grilled cauliflower that turned out really well.  Here’s the recipe:

Crissie’s Creamy and Cheesy Cauliflower Soup

Ingredients

*1 head cauliflower, greens removed and cut in half

*1 can coconut milk

*1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

*spicy seasoning blend (I used Vulcan Fire Salt from the Spice House, but any spicy seasoning blend will work).

*1/2 medium onion

*3 cloves garlic

*1 cup vegan cheddar cheese (I used Daiya cheddar shreds – this addition is totally optional, as the soup tasted great without it too).

*salt and pepper to taste

Directions

*Preheat oven or toaster oven to 500 degrees

*Cut the head of cauliflower in half, spray lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle generously with the spicy salt blend (I used Vulcan Fire Salt from the Spice House in Milwaukee – its salt imbued with jalapeno’s, chilis, and various other spices).

*Place on a cookie sheet and roast for 10 minutes.  You want it roasted, but NOT rubbery – which will happen if you leave it in too long.

*Preheat a grill pan on medium-high heat.  Grill the cauliflower for 8-10 minutes, rotating it to get a nice brown on it.

*While the cauliflower is grilling, place the onions and garlic in a dish and stick in the oven to roast also.  You can add a little olive oil here if you’d like – I used a sprinkling of my Tuscan herb infused olive oil.

*Put the cauliflower in a stock pot, add the coconut milk, onion, garlic, and vegetable broth.

*Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer until everything is soft – about 15 minutes.

*Blend until creamy – I used an immersion blender, but you could use a normal blender and cream in batches.

*Stir in the Daiya cheddar shreds and stir until melted.

*Salt and Pepper to taste

cauliflower ready to hit the roasting phase
cauliflower ready to hit the roasting phase
grilling on the stovetop while the onions and garlic are getting their roast on
grilling on the stove top while the onions and garlic are getting their roast on
nicely roasted onions and garlic, ready to hit the soup pot
nicely roasted onions and garlic, ready to hit the soup pot
a smoky and cheesy soup with just a hint of spice
a smoky and cheesy soup with just a hint of spice

I was surprised how filling this was.  Adding the cheese was a last-minute decision, but it didn’t really need it.  I think if you added a Yukon gold potato during the simmering phase, that would add a depth and creaminess to it also.  In the end it was a smoky flavored cauliflower soup that I’d definitely make again.

Another fun dish I made was a sammich.  I’ve realized that my sammiches of youth were very basic – a meat and a cheese – and this is exactly how I think of sammiches.  So when I became a vegetarian and then vegan, sammiches were pretty much removed from my diet with the exception of the occasional Subway visit.

Yesterday, I decided that I missed sammiches, and wanted to come up with something fun.  And I did!  I think it just may be the Earth’s Best Sammy.

Crissie’s Best Sammy (so far)

Ingredients

*2 portabella mushroom caps

*1/4 onion, sliced

*4 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

*1/4 cup pineapple juice

*2 rings of pineapple

*1/2 avocado, sliced

*handful of baby greens

*2 slices bread of your choice (the sturdier, the better)

*1 tbsp. vegan mayo and a squirt of siracha

Directions

*heat a skillet on high, adding the vinegar and pineapple juice.

*when it comes to a boil, add the mushroom caps and onion slices.  Lower head to medium and cover.

*cook for 10 minutes, flip the caps, cover, and cook for another 10 minutes.

*remove the mushrooms and onions to a plate.

*For this next part, I used my Panini pan, but any clean and dry pan or skillet will do.

*heat the pan (if not non-stick, use a spray) and grill the pineapple slices for a few minutes on each side.

*meanwhile, assemble the sammy.  I spread both slices of bread with my spicy mayo mixture, then layered on the mushrooms and onions, avocado, pineapple slices, and baby greens.

*with your Panini pan/skillet preheated on medium high – put your sammy in it. Place a heavy plate on it while it’s cooking to squish it down (hence the beauty of a Panini pan or press)

*cook until brown – about 4 or 5 minutes.  Remove the heavy plate, flip the sammy, and press again.

mushrooms and onions getting cooked
mushrooms and onions getting cooked
getting a little grill on the pineapple rings
getting a little grill on the pineapple rings
sammy fillings all stacked up.  This would be impossible to eat if not for the pressing of it while cooking.
sammy fillings all stacked up. This would be impossible to eat if not for the pressing of it while cooking.
in the Panini pan
in the Panini pan

I really, really loved how this came out, and that it didn’t require any added fat or oils.  It also kept me full for a VERY long time!  So yay for sammy’s making a comeback!

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best sammy ever!  (so far)
best sammy ever! (so far)

FITNESS

Thursday night, my daughter A and I went to a yoga class.  It was called Yin yoga, and while I knew going in it was of the gentle/restorative kind, I don’t think I was quite prepared for exactly how gentle it would be.  Don’t get me wrong – I love to slow down once in a while and just get a good gentle and peaceful stretch.  I’m used to yoga being a challenging workout though, and I found myself struggling to slow down.

That said, A loved the class and said she almost fell asleep.  If it hadn’t been so late when we got done (845 pm), I would have gone for a run or something.  Oh well.  I guess that means for me, Thursday felt like a rest day.

Yesterday was a gym and run day.  My intention was to run outside, and then R and I would go to the gym, she’d do the fun kid things like rock climb, and I’d do my weights.  However, as we were getting ready to go, she asked if she could run on the treadmill, and as much as I hate treadmills and wanted to run outside, I couldn’t exactly say no to such a cutie – especially when its surrounding working out!

So, we went, she played and climbed rock walls while I lifted weights, and then I grabbed her and we picked out side by side treadmills to run on.  She was thrilled to find a TV attached to each one, so she plugged in her headphones, put on Cartoon Network, and cranked out 2 miles – smiling the whole time.

That's my girl!
That’s my girl!

LIFE

Thursday was a nice and quiet day, mostly spent doing wash, organizing the kitchen, cleaning, and cooking.  Other than meeting D for lunch at Salsarita’s for a quick taco salad and then yoga that night, I stayed home and hung out and played with the kids.

taco salad fun
taco salad fun

Friday was also very nice.  After R and I spent 2 hrs. at the gym, I came home and worked on my spring training schedule.  I have two races so far, one in April and one in June.  I created my training plan to get me through April’s 10K, but need to create the one for the half marathon in June.

I’m really excited about my training plan.  D mentioned a few weeks ago (when I ran in a race in early Dec – my first in well over a year), that I light up when I have something to train for.  Since the Chicago marathon, I’ve struggled with defining what I want to do in terms of racing.  Run?  Triathlons? Quit and just “workout” for the sake of working out? I’ve done all, but haven’t really committed well to any.  I workout, but it lacks the focus for me as when I’m actually training for something.  Just the act of sitting at my computer with my spreadsheet, different running websites and books scattered about me as I create at training schedule got me really excited.  So yeah – I guess my training is making a comeback too!

Last night I went out to dinner with a friend of mine at Carrabba’s, and had a really great time (and great food, of course).  Tonight I have dinner plans with another friend, and am very much looking forward to that too.

For now, I’m going to clean up and hit the gym with R for a swim workout.  I was supposed to go on a group beach hike, but it was canceled for rain, and since I can’t face another treadmill run, the pool it is!

 

 

I Want to be a Hobbit…but With Normal Feet

FOOD

Christmas breakfast for me was my normal green smoothie.  I don’t like eating big elaborate breakfasts – and even though I made one for D and the kids – I stuck to what I know my body needs.  It was a simple one – banana, strawberry, and spinach.

Christmas dinner wasn’t something I actually planned.  Holiday’s are usually spent either planning a big meal or going out to dinner.  We did neither – though I will say that dinner came out very well.

I have to tweak the following recipe, but it’s going to be awesome when I do.  I decided to attempt a Holiday Tofu “Ham” recipe.  I marinated a pressed brick of extra firm tofu in cloves, brown sugar, pineapple juice, and coke.  Then I baked it for an hour whole.  Next time I’m going to slice the tofu before marinating it and baking so the flavors seep through better.  Overall though, it was tasty – but needs that extra soaking time.

sprinkled both sides liberally with cloves
sprinkled both sides liberally with cloves
pat with brown sugar, then add cola and juice.  I used a very small baking dish so the tofu could mostly be submerged
pat with brown sugar, then add cola and juice. I used a very small baking dish so the tofu could mostly be submerged

I also made a pumpkin risotto that I’m really proud of.  Those were served with a spicy green bean casserole (fresh chopped mushrooms sautéed in a homemade white sauce made with soymilk.  Lot’s of cayenne and garlic and baked with fried onions on top!), corn, and salad.  Not bad for an unplanned holiday dinner!

Christmas dinner!
Christmas dinner!

Crissie’s Pumpkin Risotto

Ingredients

* 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

*4 1/2 cups vegetable broth (I used bullion powder in water)

*1/2 cup white wine

*3 TBSP vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance)

*1/2 cup chopped onion

*3 cloves minced garlic

*1 can pumpkin (I used the organic 365 brand from Whole Foods, but any will do)

*salt and pepper to taste

Directions

*preheat oven to 375 (I used my toaster oven)

*put rice and broth into a 2 qt casserole dish and cover.

*bake for 1 hr., stirring every 15 minutes.

*in the last 10-15 minutes of baking, heat a large nonstick skillet (the largest you have – wok sized works great) on medium high heat.  Sauté the onions and garlic until translucent.

*stir in the can of pumpkin and mix completely.

*scoop in the cooked rice and blend well.  Add the wine and margarine and stir until melted.

*salt and pepper to taste.  I imagine this would take a cheesy flavor with the addition of some nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan.

It ended up being a very creamy dish, and I loved it.

FITNESS

After the opening of gifts and eating of breakfast, I went for a run.  I will admit that I was in a funky mood, and was hoping the run would help shake it off.

Day after Christmas was a nearly 2 hr. gym workout.  I did a 45 minute whole body strength training workout, and then a 4 1/2 mile treadmill run.  I absolutely hate running on the ‘mill, but it was pouring outside with no chance of letting up, so I didn’t have much choice.

One thing I noticed is that my pace on a treadmill seems slower than when I’m on the road.  I don’t know if it’s a mental block of pushing the up arrow to make the belt go faster, a lack of wind cooling me off on my run, or the fact that I’m so focused on trying not to hate running in place that I can’t just zone out and enjoy myself – but my treadmill pace tends to be significantly slower that my normal outside one.  Anyone else ever experience that?

LIFE

I’m off this week, so of course things have been low-key.  Christmas eve we did the jammies and game thing like we always do, shuffled the monkeys off to bed, and then stuffed the loot under the tree.

The kids seemed happy with their gifts.  iPad minis, tons of gift cards, clothes, new bedroom sets for the youngest two, games, hiking gear, textbook (yes…my oldest asked for a college patternmaking text book for Christmas….), books, etc.

peaceful before going to bed Xmas eve
peaceful before going to bed Xmas eve

 

Bumble had a blast playing in piles of wrapping paper
Bumble had a blast playing in piles of wrapping paper
R getting new hiking shoes!  Pay no heed to the crazy bed head.  Christmas pictures would be boring if we all looked put together :)
R getting new hiking shoes! Pay no heed to the crazy bed head. Christmas pictures would be boring if we all looked put together 🙂
M bought R a DVD set of her favorite cartoon - Adventure Time - which included this ridiculous hat.  That she's barely taken off for the past few days.
M bought R a DVD set of her favorite cartoon – Adventure Time – which included this ridiculous hat. That she’s barely taken off for the past few days.
putting together her Harry Potter Hogwarts lego game from her aunt...listening to Cage the Elephant channel on Pandora on her new iPad mini...and wearing that silly hat.
putting together her Harry Potter Hogwarts Lego game from her aunt…listening to Cage the Elephant channel on Pandora on her new iPad mini…and wearing that silly hat.

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We went to see the Hobbit and just loved it!  I knew I would though, but still…I was happy my expectations were met.  I now fanaticize about being a hobbit (without the big hairy feet though – otherwise I’m good…I’m already short) and taking cross country adventures that involves a lot of hiking and camping and cooking outdoors.  Since I’ve never been camping and am just starting hiking, that may be a stretch of the imagination….but it’s fun to think about.

Most of this week will be cleaning up the Christmas mess, taking down the tree (I’m one of those people who wants to rip it down on the 26th), and getting back to work/school organized.  I have two scheduled hikes planned – one with R and one just me with a hiking group at a beach that I’m really looking forward to.

 

 

 

Building Traditions and Tossing Wrapping Paper

FOOD

Dinner last night was a BAS with a Raw Lemon Dressing from The Raw Project that was absolutely amazing.  I bought a package of hemp seeds several months ago and haven’t used it (since I really didn’t know how).  I was surprised at how thick it was, and tasted almost like tahini.  Either way, I’m totally making and eating this often.

my BAS
my BAS

I also made a sweet potato, red lentil, and spinach soup based on a recipe from Everyday Happy Herbivore.  Yummy dinner!

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I met up with D for lunch today at Haru sushi and had the best cucumber avocado rolls ever.  And edamame of course!

FITNESS

I wasn’t in the mood for a run today, and couldn’t find a yoga studio open past noon so I downloaded a yoga video online and did that and a workout DVD.

LIFE

D had to work half of today so when his alarm went off I naturally woke up.  I decided that Bumble was way too snugly, so I grabbed a cup of coffee and crawled back in bed with her to read for a little while.

After a green smoothie and working out, the kids started to wake up, have breakfast, and then proceed to do as little as possible.  Can’t say that I blame them!

After lunch was a trip to the grocery and then watching TV in my room while wrapping gifts.

I’ve mentioned before that D and I don’t live near family, so we have a mish mash of traditions from growing up.  For example, my sister and I always opened a pair of jammies and a game on Xmas eve.  D and I do that with our family too, and have built on it a bit.  We all exchange jammies and a family game.  Then we play the game (in our new jammies of course) and the winner gets to pick what’s for breakfast on Christmas morning.  We shall see who the victor is tonight and what awaits us for food in the morning.  I won’t know for a while though, as the Settlers of Catan takes a long time to play.  Though truthfully, if I win, I still have to do the cooking, so they may just get cereal depending on how I’m feeling!

two eldest elves
two eldest elves
wearing last year's Xmas eve jammies...waiting to open THIS year's Xmas eve jammies!
wearing last year’s Xmas eve jammies…waiting to open THIS year’s Xmas eve jammies!
perfect shot of the ball of wrapping paper A is throwing at R as it passes right in front of M's head!
perfect shot of the ball of wrapping paper A is throwing at R as it passes right in front of M’s head!

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Christmas day is usually spent cleaning up the post-wrapping carnage, lots of cooking, and then a trip to the movies.  This year we’re planning on either seeing The Hobbit or The Rise of the Guardians.  I guess we’ll see!

Note to Self – Don’t Dress Like You Live in the Artic Circle. It’s Just Virgina

FOOD

I can’t believe it.  I don’t have a single picture of food from the past 2 days!  Wow…something is seriously wrong with me.

That’s not to say, however, that I didn’t enjoy some good eats, because I did.  Green smoothies, salads, veggie sushi, and some roasted veggie flat bread comes to mind.

Entering holiday week means I’ll be cooking and baking even more than normal (heaven forbid), so I promise to make up for today’s lack of pictures!

FITNESS

I went for a run this morning when it was still pretty chilly out (just shy of 40 degrees).  I have absolutely no concept (still) of how to dress when it’s not either blisteringly hot (aka – as little as possible) or freakishly cold (aka – as much as possible).  I think, “wow, 36 degrees, that’s nearly freezing”, and thus bundle up like it was 20 below.  Halfway through I seriously started to question my polar bear impression and if I could have, I would have stripped half my clothes off and left them on the side of the road.  So as usual….I was way overheated and ended up a soaking wet stink bomb by the time I got home.  Even my socked feet were leaving sweat marks on the floors.  TMI, sorry – but I was sweaty.

That is NOT to say I didn’t have a stellar run, because today’s was great.  I just think the hat, gloves, pants, long sleeve T, short sleeve T, and hoodie was overkill.

An hour or so after getting home from the run, R and I hit up the Y for some strength training.  I love that she loves the gym at her age (9).

LIFE

I went up to Richmond Friday night by myself.  It was blissful!  My original plan was a day trip on Saturday, but D convinced me that I wouldn’t do all the things I really wanted to do if I had to drive 4 hrs. of the day away.  He was right.

I stayed downtown at a very nice place and enjoyed a quite dinner and a book.  Bright and early Saturday morning I grabbed breakfast and then walked through Carytown shopping.  After that I went to the Virginia Fine Arts Museum to see the Chihuly glass exhibit.  He’s been a favorite of mine for a long time, and was very excited that he had something (fairly) local.  Then it was off to the mall for a few more things, REI, and Whole Foods for lunch.  I ended my adventure at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg where I wandered through the lights, taking pictures, and enjoying some solitude.

On a much more fun note, my niece back in WI is doing a school project based on the Flat Stanley children’s book!  In the book, Stanley Lambchop has a bulletin board fall on him in his sleep and squish him (yes, sounds almost horrifying…but this was a book written in 1964 when our sensibilities weren’t so easily shocked!), and he takes advantage of his flatness to mail himself to fun places.  By the way – in the end his brother pumps him back up with a tire pump and Stanley is back to his normal 3D self.

Each of the kids in her class made a flat version of themselves, and picked someone to send it to and have travels documented.  So my family gets to be the caretakers of Flat M! for the next few months, and we have some fun planned.  I took her to Richmond and then Busch Gardens in Williamsburg yesterday, and be the end of April she’ll get to go to Baltimore, Boston, New Orleans, and Washington DC.  Not to  mention our own Virginia Beach, Yorktown, and anywhere else we end up going.  I’m thinking of starting her own Facebook page – the Adventures of Flat M!  We’ll see – that’s going to be up to her mom.

On a very exciting note, my daughter A got her first college acceptance packet this weekend!  She’s very excited, though she wants the trifecta – admission to all three schools she’s applying to.  Hopefully we’ll know in the next month or so and we’ll go from there!

Until then – happy (non food) pictures!

Flat M hogging the covers in bed at the hotel Friday night!
Flat M hogging the covers in bed at the hotel Friday night!

 

The Chihuly Pictures

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Flat M loves her Chihuly like her Aunt!
Flat M loves her Chihuly like her Aunt!

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Busch Gardens Pictures

Flat M in front of the map in France
Flat M in front of the map in France

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Flat M resting on a bench in England
Flat M resting on a bench in England

A few other pics from the museum

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Healthy and Tasty Food? Free Stuff? Yeah, Keep Reading!

Lindsay Nixon of the Happy Herbivore blog and cookbooks has been one of my favorites since I first started blogging and really getting into vegan cooking. Her easy approach to food makes vegan cooking approachable, affordable, and easy. No hunting around hippie grocery stores to find obscure ingredients (though hippie stores can be fun!) and no overly complex recipes. Don’t get me wrong – I love a great complicated recipe that takes hours to pull off – but let’s be serious. No one has the time nor inclination to do that ALL of the time. I know I certainly don’t.

When my eldest daughter first approached vegetarianism when she was 16 – it was Lindsay’s first book The Happy Herbivore that she used for every single meal since it was easy to follow and tasty. And believe me…if A can make a successful dish out of these time and again, you know they are easy to follow! (sorry honey).

I bought her second book, Everyday Happy Herbivore and was amazed that she came up with even more, tasty, healthy, and quick vegan meals.

So as Lindsay was looking for bloggers to help promote her latest creation Happy Herbivore Abroad with a review, interview, and giveaway – I jumped at the chance and feel fortunate to have been selected for the Blog Tour!

With over 135 internationally inspired recipes, there's something in here for everyone.
With over 135 internationally inspired recipes, there’s something in here for everyone.

So the day is finally here, and I want to tell you all about the newest book, what I’ve made from it, the reviews from myself and my family, and Lindsay’s answers to my interview questions, and best of all – give YOU a chance to get one of your very own. For free.

REVIEW

Peppered throughout the book (pun intended…you know…a food reference) are stories of Lindsay’s international travels. So while its first and foremost a cookbook, it’s easy to read it cover to cover as she shares stories about people, food, recreating dishes she’s enjoyed, or even getting recipes from a woman on a train (probably my favorite story).

Then of course there are the recipes. Indian, Italian, Mexican, French, Middle Eastern, German, Spanish, Thai, etc. You get the picture I hope. What’s even more fun is they are quick, no added fat, vegan, and use common ingredients from the local grocery. And somehow she manages to capture the essence of the different cultures in each dish.

I have already made a ton out of this book, but I’m going to share just a few favorites – and hope it encourages you to pick up a copy when you can. I promise – you won’t be disappointed.

my husband is VERY Italian, and we'll do all-out Italian dinners every few months.  I served up the Vodka Sauce on page 171, and it was the biggest hit of the night.  Spicy, smooth, and fabulous.  And when you can serve up a traditional Italian dish at only 89 calories...you don't feel guilty eating a ton of it.  And we did.
my husband is VERY Italian, and we’ll do all-out Italian dinners every few months. I served up the Vodka Sauce on page 171, and it was the biggest hit of the night. Spicy, smooth, and fabulous. And when you can serve up a traditional Italian dish at only 89 calories…you don’t feel guilty eating a ton of it.

We also do a themed Mexican night most weeks – Taco Tuesday. The very first recipe I made was the lentil taco “meat” on page 43. I’ve now made it 3 times because it gets eaten so quickly and I never get leftovers. Next batch, I’m hiding in the back of the fridge so D doesn’t eat it all (again).

my personal preference is corn tortillas, though the rest of my family likes flour ones.  Served up with a side of Easy Spanish Rice on p. 126 (which I made even easier by using my rice cooker), it was a perfect meal.
my personal preference is corn tortillas, though the rest of my family likes flour ones. Served up with a side of Easy Spanish Rice on p. 126 (which I made even easier by using my rice cooker), it was a perfect meal.
our preferred taco toppings - build your own, of course.
our preferred taco toppings – build your own, of course.

And finally, on Indian night (usually 1-2 weekend days a month), I made three of Lindsay’s Indian recipes. You can’t have Indian night with just one dish! Served up with homemade garlic naan, everyone was digging the food.

Red Lentil Masoor Dal (p. 46), Vegetable Korma (p. 100), and Aloo Matar (p. 102) all on basmati rice.
Red Lentil Masoor Dal (p. 46), Vegetable Korma (p. 100), and Aloo Matar (p. 102) all on basmati rice.

INTERVIEW

1 – What is your favorite thing to cook, and how did that feature in your new book?
I enjoy cooking in general, I don’t favor any one ingredient per se.
2 – Everything I’ve ever made from your books has turned out fantastically. How do you decide which of your recipes are the most successful, and how many do you actually create, but not include in the book?
That’s awesome! woohooo!
When I’m working on a new cookbook, I try out new recipes. If I like them, I pass it on to my team of testers for their approval and feedback. A good bit of recipes never make it to them and a small handful of recipes don’t make it past my testers.
3 – What is your philosophy when it comes to food, what you eat, and what you include in your book?
I eat a low-fat (no oil) whole foods, plant-based diet, so I write recipes that fit that definition. I believe food just be just as nutritious as it is delicious.
4 – Can you relate your career change from lawyer to vegan chef to a particular experience?
I think anyone that has ever changed a career — or experienced a significant change in their life could relate to my experience. For me it was about finding my way, making sacrifices, and finding the determination to make it work. I think those emotions and experiences associated with them could be present in many life situations.
5 – What advice do you have for the aspiring chef?
What makes you stand out? Know that and focus on it. Also know what your end game is — what is the dream? Being a personal chef, opening a restaurant… It’s important (with any career) to know where you’re going so you can travel the right path to get there.
6 – What’s the longest time you’ve spent in the kitchen cooking? I’d hate to think I’m the only one out there who can spend 8-10 hrs. straight just cooking!
Well over 12 hours.
7 – What’s your favorite movie? as a movie junkie myself, I just HAD to throw this in there
Hmm… I’m not sure I have one. I live in Los Angeles, so I see movies constantly — there are so many great ones! I just re-watched The Town on a 17-hour flight to Finland and remembered how fantastic that movie was. Not my favorite, but the freshest in my memory.
as a personal comment…The Town is really good. Boston, bank robberies, Jeremy Renner. Need I say more?

GIVEAWAY!!!

So now that I’ve completely convinced you to want this book, it’s very simple to win one. You only have to do TWO things – and they are both really simple.
1 – click on the Subscribe Via Email link on the left side of the blog.
2 – put a comment on this post asking to be entered into the drawing.
That’s it! Simple as can be. If you’re already a subscriber, just enter your comment.
The entry deadline is 12/29/12 at midnight EST, and if your name is picked out of the (electronic) hat – and yes, it’s a fully random selection – then just in time for the new year, you’ll get a brilliant, fun to read, easy to follow, healthy-habit-forming cookbook. And if you’re NOT vegan – don’t be intimidated. It’s all about GOOD food. It just happens to be meat and dairy free too (bonus!).
If you are the winner, I will email you to get your address. The book will come directly from the publisher. That means – do NOT post as an anonymous commenter. Your email will not be displayed on the comment if you don’t want it to, so it’s safe and private to enter.
GOOD LUCK!

Looking For An Army To Feed

FOOD

What a long week!  I didn’t do much cooking during the week, but did quite a bit this weekend.  I’m really looking forward to some downtime in the next month, and hope to do more weekday cooking.  Until then, I’ll keep relying on my bulk cooking Sunday’s!

My favorite dish this weekend was a sammich.  My husband likes very simple sammiches, and doesn’t appreciate that they can be gourmet.  For me – I was never a big sammich lover, but if I’m going to eat one, it’s going to be fantastic!

I made a tempeh po boy yesterday!  It was based on a recipe meant for portabella mushroom caps – but I realized too late I didn’t have any.  So I subbed tempeh (cut into triangles and boiled first).  I put pieces on some toasted Ezekiel bread and topped with homemade refrigerator pickles, spicy sammich spread made with vegan mayo and siracha, avocado slices, red cabbage, and tomato.  It was incredible, and I’m glad it made leftovers!

tempeh after breading in mustard, cornmeal, and Cajun spices
tempeh after breading in mustard, cornmeal, and Cajun spices
my really, really yummy sammich!
my really, really yummy sammich!

We had a party yesterday, so I made typical party foods (guacamole, salsa, spinach dip, cookies, etc.).  Most things I made, but some things I bought.

Today was crockpot fun.  I had all 4 going today.  In one I made Mexican flavored stuffed bell peppers, one had tempeh, vegan sausages, caraway seeds, and sauerkraut, one has a chickpea and rice dish, and one is my first ever attempt at making seitan.  I’ve actually never eaten seitan before, but I come across it so much in recipes, I figure I may as well.  I made enough food for about 20 meals plus whatever I can make with the seitan.  No excuses not to eat well during the week!

004 (Medium) 005 (Medium) 006 (Medium) 007 (Medium)

stuffed peppers!
stuffed peppers!

FITNESS

I squeezed in runs most days this week.  That, one gym day, and some at-home yoga is about it.

LIFE

This has been a crazy week all the way around.  I had late nights Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and R had swimming most nights and her swim team holiday party.  And a swim meet.  And we had a party, M had a party, and I’m completely exhausted!

Friday was probably the best day though.  D and I both took the day off so we could do whatever we wanted.  When we finally got out of bed, we went to the post to mail off packages, got pedicures, went to lunch, shopped, and then hung out with the kids all night.  It was an absolutely wonderful day.  And I have festive silver toenails too!

The party last night was low-key and nice.  Just a few friends, a keg, a fire pit, and some laughs.  It wound down just before 1am, and we eventually headed off to bed.  D has been feeling pretty rough today, clearly having overindulged in the Sam Adams!  We mostly all hung out in jammies all day.

This week my nights shouldn’t be as long.  With the holiday’s fast approaching, I don’t have any late-night meetings the rest of the month.  That means I should be home by 5 every night and actually get to take R to swim!  D keeps telling me how fast she’s improving, and I hate that I rarely get to see her.

she saw D by the pool and started grinning...in the middle of her race.  I love this kid!
she saw D by the pool and started grinning…in the middle of her race. I love this kid!
gaining ground!
gaining ground!