Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Spring Roll Dreams

I LOVE the spring rolls at Open Harvest so much, that I have been toying with the idea of making my own for quite sometime.  The only setback for me had been the fact that I could not, for the life of me, find rice spring roll paper anywhere.  I tend to visit a variety of different grocery stores in town, just depending on where I am at and what I need and every time I made a trip to the grocery store I would search for the mystery spring roll paper (I was beginning to think it didn't exist)!  Then on a random trip to the grocery store I frequent the most...I FOUND IT!!!! I was beyond excited.  So I bought a package and my spring roll making adventure began!


1 package Rice Spring Roll Paper
1 package Raw Cole Slaw
stir fry sauce (amount varies depending on your taste)
warm water

I planned to make the spring rolls on a weeknight, which probably wasn't the best idea because it  meant that I wouldn't have much time to devote to the "rolling" process.  So to avoid spending large amounts of time on prepping vegetables for the rolls, I purchased a package of Cole Slaw from the produce section.  Now, I know traditionally spring rolls are supposed to contain sprouts and other yummy raw veggies, but I just didn't have time for that.  And since this was going to be my first attempt at making these, I figured the whole process would be a disaster anyway so what would it hurt to stray away from tradition and make it my own.  I'll go the "traditional" route second time around.

Rice paper comes in very think, delicate sheets about the size of a an 8" pie.  In order to make them pliable for rolling, you dip them in a warm water for about 10-15 second.  Then VERY carefully transfer the paper to your assembly service.  It took me a couple of times to get this right, but after the 3rd or 4th I was able to lay the paper flat and not have it fold over on itself.

Then I added a small handful of coleslaw mix (raw coleslaw tossed in a stir fry sauce - again, not traditional, but adding a little flavor made it more kid friendly) to the center of the paper.  Next, fold one side of the paper over the slaw mix, then fold in the right and left ends, and finally fold the final side over the entire roll.  Once again (sense a trend here?) I am not sure if this is the traditional way to fold a spring roll, but its how they fold the burritos at Chipotle, so it works for me!

The roll will remain sticky for a little while, so be sure to place them in a single layer to dry.  I did not do this, so learn from my mistake, otherwise you will carefully be pulling your spring rolls apart.

I served the rolls with a couple of different sauces I found at our local grocery store, along with Jasmine Rice and Edamame. The dipping sauces weren't the best, but they worked.  I think next time I will visit one of our local Asian markets for something a bit more authentic.

So I bet your wondering what the verdict was? Well...I LOVED them! Probably because I had been dreaming (yes, litterally the night before I had dreams about making my spring rolls) about making them for quite sometime.  Kiley thougt they were okay, but next time he said he would appreciate the addition of some type of meat.  Ellie wasn't a big fan of the rice paper (texture issue) but she loved the vegetables (perfect).  So I think this one is a keeper...with a couple of minor tweaks of course!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

WE go grocery shopping.....

Grocery Shopping.  I know I am lame, but this is my FAVORITE thing to do.  Its a whole process for me.  Almost like an event or holiday that I get to participate in weekly.  That is how excited I get! I actually look forward to it.  Planning our meals for the week...checking the kitchen for what we have in stock...making my list....wondering through the store looking at new things...refilling my empty out the fridge.  I LOVE the whole process.  Kiley on the other hand, does not.  Therefore I typically grocery shop alone, or with the help of my mini me.  But even Ellie gets board and annoyed with the amount of time I tend to linger in each isle!

On this particular day, Kiley and I decided to grocery shop together.  Usually when we shop together, Kiley totally cramps my style.  He is such an impulse shopper.  Grabbing mini powdered donuts, Trix Cereal, fun bendy straws...really anything that catches his eye.  I am a strategic shopper.  I stick to my list, think things through.  I look at ALL nutrition labels.  Kiley looks at ZERO nutrition labels.  Do you see the ridiculous mess of a picture I am trying to paint here??

Mixed Berry Green Monster

So when Kiley said he wanted to go to the store with me, needless to say I mentally rolled my eyes. I KNEW what was in store.  But...I was wrong!  Kiley was a huge help.  We recently watched the documentary "Forks Over Knives" together, and it completely (probably temporarily)  changed his perception on eating.  He was actually reading nutrition labels, picking out produce, giving healthy meal suggestions.  It was SO much fun!  And it was Kiley's idea for me to create this....


For the last 10 weeks, my daily Green Monster has consisted of the following...
     6 oz. soy or almond milk
     2 handfuls spinach
     1 tbsp Agave Nector
     2 tbsp Flax Seed
     1 Frozen Banana
     5 Whole Strawberries
     1 handful of ice

Don't get me wrong I LOVE that combination.  But Kiley suggested I try something new.  (what??? who is this guy???) So I substituted Kale instead of Spinach (my idea) and Kiley suggested fozen mixed berries instead of strawberries.  The next morning I blended it all up and LOVED it!  A Green Monster update was just what I needed! My husband knows me too well! :-)

Doggy Birthday Party

Have I mentioned before that I LOVE my family?  Seriously though, they are amazing.  And when I say family I mean both my sides of the family; both my side and my husbands. The 2 sides are so very different from each other but the core values are the same, and that is what makes me love them so much! At the end of the day, they always put family first. Case in brother in-law Calvin.

Calvin is my husbands youngest sibling (actually, he is 5 days older then me) and the only sibling without any "human" children. Why did I have to point out the "human" part, you ask? Well, because Calvin does have a child.  That child is his Pomeranian, Hobbs.  Hobbs' birthday was coming up so Calvin decided to throw him a birthday party! Naturally, I volunteered to make the doggy birthday cake because...well...I just enjoy doing things like that!

*Note: If you haven't caught on, my brother in-law's name is Calvin...his dog's name is Hobbs...just like the Saturday morning cartoon? I think this is the funniest thing EVER! Anyways...

So Sunday night we headed to the doggy birthday party at Calvin's house....

Lilly is all dressed up & ready to Par-tay!!!! 

After opening presents, I presented Hobbs with his birthday cake! 

He really wasn't all that interested in it.  I don't know if it was all the excitement of his birthday, or all of the little kids chanting his name.  Either way, he didn't eat the cake I made him. :-( 
But, the other dogs sure did! 

Including Lilly.  Who then puked all over our living room couch the next day while we were at work.  No more doggy birthday cake for this boxer!!! 

If you are interested in the recipe, which the other dogs enjoyed AND kept down, here it is.  Courtesy of dog treat recipe exchange.  

1 cup white or whole wheat flour 
tsp baking soda 
1/4 cup peanut butter 
1/4 cup vegetable oil 
1 cup shredded carrots 
tsp vanilla 
1/3 cup honey 
1 egg
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
Mix together flour and baking soda. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into a ring mold sprayed with a nonstick spray for 40 minutes.
Frost this cake with low fat cottage cheese and decorate with carrot pieces. Store in refrigerator. 

1 month and 3 states later....

I NEED to block out a certain time of the day for blogging.  I LOVE doing it so why is it so hard for me to check it off my 'to do' list?  I think I need to rethink my daily priorities because lately running and blogging have taken a back seat to my daily life which is unfortunate because they are the two things that, honestly...keep me sane! I make check lists daily because I love the satisfaction of crossing things off my list.  Sometimes....(sshhhhhh) I even add things to my list that I have already accomplished for the day, just because I like the feeling of crossing something off! Does anyone else do this...or is it just me?  Apparently my list making isn't efficient nor effective if my favorite things are left "uncrossed" at the end of the day.  I would appreciate any tricks for managing my day better.  I love staying busy and feeling accomplished, so why does so much stuff get left undone?  Maybe my list is too long?  Maybe I need to ask for help (another thing I struggle with)?  So here goes....HELP me figure out how to better prioritize/manage my day!

Now that that is cleared up, let me feel you in on the!!!!

The morning of Saturday, August 27, I ran my first race!!! It was a charity race in a smaller town not far from where I live.  It was a 4 mile run in honor of a little baby that only lived to be 4 days old.  It was so wonderful to see so many people come out and support such a great cause as well as do something good for their own health and well being.  I was a late registrant because I kind of got a wild hair 3 days before the race and decided that August 27 would be the day that I scratch something off my Summer Bucket List and commit to running a race. 

The race started at 9:30.  I left my house about 7:30 to ensure that I had plenty of time to drive to the race location; figure out where the race was; register; stretch etc.  The problem with this is that when I left the house it was still pretty chilly out, and I had failed to check the weather before departing on my journey.  So my black cotton jogging pants and tank top (which were nice and warm for the chilly Saturday morning), were WAY to hot as the sun beat down on my 2 hours later and 2 miles into the race.  Ergo Lesson #1: wear appropriate attire. 

I started the race at a nice pace and found my place in the pack of runners pretty quickly.  But, as the sun beat down on my and inabioity to cool down began to set in and I started to loose motivation.  Normally when I loose motivation while running, I find a good song on my iPod and I am able to work my way through it.  Welp...not this time.  Celine Dion mixed with New Kids on the Block, Mariah Carey and Tom Petty just wasn't cutting it.  Lesson #2:  iPod DESPERATELY needs to be updated.

At about mile 3 I started to get hungry.  I didnt want to overeat that morning in fear that I would get sick.  So I had a homemade "Raw Bar" and my usual breakfast Green Monster.  Both of which were consumed at 6:30 that morning.  Three hours later....I needed to refuel.  I felt my energy level starting to drop and I knew that I had not eaten enough the night before and that I probably should have consumed a more nutrient dense breakfast with more staying power to help me through the race Lesson #3:  Rethink the "fuel!"

10:30 AM I arrived back home.  The whole experience was absoluetly wonderful! Not only was I able to support a good cause, I was able to do something good for myself! I wasn't the first to finish the race, but I wasn't the last either.  And I am okay with that because I did set a personal best.  I have definelty fallen in love with racing and I am anxiously looking forward to my next one in the beginning of October.  I have also signed Ellie and I up for a couple of 1 mile "Fun Runs" per Ellie's request.  I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree! :-)

Fast forward one week and it is Labor Day Weekend.  Kiley, Ellie and I spent the weekend camping at a lake about 45 minutes outside of town. 

Side note: Growing up we never went camping.  Not once.  When we went on family vacations we stayed in nice hotels with air conditioning, hair dryers, hot showers and food cooked in an actual kitchen.  Needless to say I am an unexperienced camper to say the least.  I spend Monday-Friday in high heels, makeup and dress clothes.  But I abandoned all of that for bandanas, sweat pants and tents...and I had an AMAZING time!

I wasn't sure how camping as a Vegan would go.  In my mind camping consisted of hamburgers, hot dogs and smores.  All things I won't eat.  So I did some thinking and a little research and came up with some fantastic "camping friendly" vegan foods:

     -homemade hummas
     -portablla mushrooms for grilling
    -LOTS of fresh veggies and fruit
    -vegan marshmellows
    -homemade vegan grahm crackers
    -baked potatoes
    -grilled corn
    -homemade black bean and corn salsa (VERY versitle)

So I successfully went camping without having to sacrifice my beliefs surrounding what I put in to my body.  For me, that spells S U C C E S S.

I do have one confession to make...I brought my blendor!  I left all of my other modern ammenities at home, but I just couldnt survive without my blendor and my daily green monsters.  That is just asking WAY to much of me! Thank goodness my husband is a good sport, and he just laughed as I fired that baby up everymorning using electricity from a neighbors RV!

We headed out to the campsite Friday night after work.  The goal was to be out of the house by 5PM.  Yeah...that didn't happen! We finally made it to the campground just as the sun was setting (I would like to blame our tardiness there is nothing to blame it on other then the lack of preparedness on our part.  Oops!)  and with us we brought some large black clouds, thunder and rain. LOTS and LOTS of rain.  At this point all that was left to do was laugh! So Kiley and I ran around soaking wet trying to set up a 3 room tent in the pouring rain with only the light from two lanterns as our guide.  As luck would have it, we had the tent assembled just as the rain stopped! From the first night I knew it would be a camping trip we would NEVER forget!

                      Confession: this pic was taken when we were leaving...not when we set the tent up!

Saturday the weather was hit and miss.  It rained on and off so we spent most of the day sitting around.  I caught up on some reading and Ellie was able to practice riding her bike...without training wheels!

Sunday the weather was gorgeous! I snuck away from camp for about an hour to take a run around the lake.  The beautiful scenary makes me wish we lived out on the country and closer to water so I could run in such beautiful surroundings on a daily basis!

We also took Ellie fishing.  Sitting on a rock and eating sunflower seeds and watching your bobber hopeless float without a bite can be a tad boring.  And no sooner did Ellie say, "This is boring, I am done," she got a bite!

Ellie's attitude changed post fish, "Fishing is fun! But I am still done!"

Monday morning we disassembled the tent, loaded up the car and headed home.  I was ready to wash three  days worth of filth off of me and enjoy the benefits of modern technology.  But overall it was a great weekend with my family full of fantastic memories.  There is no better way to relax then to completely remove yourself from you environment and all of the connections you have to the craziness that is life!

                                                 Notice the MOUNTAIN of stuff behind us!

                                                               Lilly got to relax too!

What is your favorite way to unwind, relax and disconnect?

Time to jump ahead again...this time only 3 days.  I spent the 31st of August in Grand Rapids, MI for work.  It was a quick trip day trip for a presentation so there really wasn't time for pictures or anything interesting.  I just thought I would feel you in on the fact that I was there since this post references my presence in 3 states in 1 month!

Jump ahead one more week to September 8...yes September.  I can't believe we are already halfway through the month.  That means I am almost 3 years shy of 30! EEEKKK.  Anyways....I spent the 8th of September in New Jersey for another work related manner. 

My alarm went off at 2:45 the morning of the 8th because I need to be at the airport by 4:45 am to catch a 5:45 am flight and the airport is an hour a way.  I never sleep well the night before such an early flight because I am always scared that I will sleep in and miss my flight.  So of course I didnt fall asleep until around 11:00pm the night before and woke up in a panic at 2:15am thinking that I had missed my flight.  Stupid dreams.  I layed in bed until 2:45, unable to fall back asleep and finally climbed out of bed at 2:45 to get my day started (sigh....)

Do you have any idea how hard it is to eat vegan in an airport...let alone healthy!  So I packed my laptop bag with almonds and homemade raw bars to hold me over till I reached New Jersey.  I had what was supposed to be a brief layover in Milwaukee.  But due to bad weather in Newark, my layover in Milwaukee lasted an hour long then expected.  So of course I was late arriving to my final destination.  (Grrrr business travel isn't all its cracked up to be!)

My late arrival in New Jersey meant that I was going to be late to my appointment...the whole reason I flew out there in the first place.  Thankfully, my client was VERY understanding, and was able to rearrange her schedule so that we were still able to meet for a couple of hours.  PHEW!!!!

However, my late arrival did mean that I didnt have as much time to explore before catching my flight home.  Which was a HUGE bummer, because the Newark airport is ridiculously close to downtown Manhatten.  A place I have NEVER visited!  And due to my late arrival, I didn't have enough time to take a 30 min. roundtrip train ride into NYC.  So I explored the towns surroudning the airport instead, while the NYC skyline taunted me in the distance!

My GPS along with the help of my Yelp app, took me to a Vegan Bakery in Rutherford, NJ.  I was SO excited to visit Sweet Avenue Bakeshop because Nebraska does not have a bakery devoted soley to vegan dining.

This place is just as cute and quaint on the inside as it is on the oustide.  The street that it is on is full of lots of unique shops in what appears to be a historic district.  Once inside I was overpowered by the amazing smell of baked goods, which brought a huge smile to my face.

At this point I was starving.  I had been up for 12.5 hours and my food intake consisted of a green monster on the way to the airport, 1/2 cup of almonds and 2 raw bars (which I had been trying my best to ration).  I was more then prepared to make up for my lack of food by consuming a large amount of cupcakes for lunch.  But lucky for me the bakery also served a handful of different vegan sandwhiches and wraps.  I debated between the "Chicken" Ceasear Salad Warp and the "Chicken: Salad Sandwich only to choose the "Chicken" salad in the end because I had not had vegan "chicken" salad before and I have been very curious to try it.

After purchasing my sandwich, a bottle of water, 2 dough balls and 4 cupcakes to take back home to Kiley and Ellie I ventured back outside to find a place to eat.  I wasn't familiar with the area I was in and it was starting to sprinkle, so I headed back to my rental car to fill my grumbling tummy!  Here is what I got....

This was probably one of the best sandwiches I have ever had! The bread was very light (which is good, becasue one of my biggest pet peeves is a sandwich with too much bread) so it didn't take away from the flavor.  The "chicken" salad was AMAZING! It had the taste and textrue of real chicken salad.  I definelty need to find a way to replicate this!

For dessert I had two dough balls. The first of which was Carrot Cake...


                                                          Followed by Chocolate Chip...

Both of them were de-li-cious! Note: see the "Focus" sign in the background? LoL I told you I ate in my rental care! :-)

My vegan lunch more then hit the spot! Next time I am in the Rutherford area, I will definetly make a special trip to stop by again. 

Remember those 4 cupcakes I purchased to take home to Kiley and Ellie?  Well, it was a nice thought, but they didnt exactly survive the ride home in my suitcase.  What was I thinking?? They were competlely demolisehd by the time I got home.  Even thought they didn't look pretty, Ellie and I grabbed a fork and dug in!

I finally arrived back home around midnight Thursday night (21 hours awake and counting).  I changed into my jammies, snuggled up next to Kiley and...couldn't shut my mind off. Sigh...oh the joys of traveling for work!

The next day was a LONG a tiring day at work to say the least.  I had an 8:00 am meeting so by no means did I get to catch up on the sleep I had missed out on the 2 nights before.  Because of this, I decied I deserved a treat! My FAVORATE spot for lunch is a local healthfood co-op/Organic Market.  They have some amazing homemade vegan lunch options that are kind of my weakness.  I spent my hour lunchbreak going out of my way just to indulge in their spring rolls!

But I didn't just stop at the spring rolls....

Call me crazy, but 4 vegan Spring Rolls doesn't exactly fill me up.  So I made myself a small salad using some of this yummy spring mix that happened to be on sale (bonus...and no it wasn't passed the expiration date! ) and topped it with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a couple of spoonful of this yummy stuff...

The lady at the deli counter told that it was AMAZING and made fresh that morning, so YES, I  HHHAAADDD to have a sample! And a sample of course that resulted in myself purchasing some (The deli lady sure knows how to do her job!).  My lunch was yummy and hit the spot! 
Spring Rolls; Baby Greens topped with Sumi Salad and this little guy right here....

vegan scone courtesy of Open Harvest that I nibbled on on the way home to eat my lunch! 

Well that's officially it for now.  That has been the last month or so summed up, except for the last 2 weeks which I am now behind on.  So get excited for lots of good reads coming up, and hopefully one day soon I will be blogging about life's adventures less then a month after they occur.  

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ooops, I did it again!

Welp, there is no secret here. I did it again.  I completely neglected my commitment to blog.  The bad part is, I was consciously doing it.  Let me tell you why....

Reason #1:

Last weekend was my daughter's 5th birthday party. 

I took last Thursday morning off of work to take Ellie up to her old daycare to see her friends and bring them treats for her birthday.  I decided to test out my vegan baking skills on her class.

Since Ellie was having a bug themed birthday party, I made "dirt n worm" cupcakes.  They were a huge hit!!!! And everyone knows a bunch of four year olds are the toughest of critics!!! 

I then spent all day last Friday (which I took off from work) and all weekend making food and preparing for the shindig.  I am kind of obsessive compulsive when it comes to party planning and I go WAY over board, and tend to "geek out" at every minor detail.  I made her a vegan "bug" cake, vegan lady bug crackers, "insect egg" bean salad, "caterpillar" spinach and artichoke dip (Thanks to Emily at Daily Garnish. Click here for this AMAZING receipe)  "butterfly wing" pasta salad, ants on a log and bug juice.  The food was SPECTACULAR and  90% vegan (I had to include ham and cheese croissant sandwiches for the husband) and everyone LOVED it!

Birthday cake....Stage 1!

Its coming together! The cake was white, so i decorated the leftover daycare cupcakes so that guests could have the option of having choclate cake if they desired.

The finished product!!!!!!

....and the mess! Thank goodness my husband wasn't home to see this!

And a glass of wine to make me forget what a mess I was making....;-)

Although everything turned out well in the end.  The party started a little rough.  I had tried to reserve the park where we were having the party through our local parks and rec office and unfortunately the park we had chosen did not allow reservations.  The women at parks and rec assured me that I would not have an issue finding a picnic table because generally on a Sunday morning at 11:30 the parks aren't that busy.  Boy was she wrong!!! We showed up at the park about 11:15 (yes, I should have been there earlier so this is partially my fault!) And all of the picnic tables were reserved.  Luckily, there was a family that was reserving about 10 picnic tables for a large party later in the day and she was willing to loan us a couple of our party. 

Once everything was set up, the clown arrived and painted all the children's faces and entertained with lots of balloon animals.  We ate lunch, opened presents and enjoyed some cake.  I had planned a few bug themed games, but with the amount of kids at the park I didn't even want to attempt the activities I had planned. It worked out find though because between lunch, cake, present and clown we took up a little over 2 hours of time...perfect amount of time for a birthday party if you ask me!

We had such a great turnout for the party and enjoyed spending time with both Kiley's side and my side of the family at one event.  We are so lucky to have such wonderful and supportive family in our lives! xoxo

Reason #2: Ellie is now a KINDERGARTNER!!!!! The first day of school was Tuesday and boy has been an adjustment. Ellie is doing just fine...I am the one that is struggling.  On the first day of school Ellie would not let us take pictures of her once we got to school because we were "embarrassing" her.  Then when it was time to line up and go in the classroom, I tried to give Ellie a kiss goodbye and once again, Ellie was mortified (I almost broke out in to tears at this point).  I found her concern for being embarrassed extremely ironic considering the little boy in front of her, and behind her in line were both BAWLING because they did not want to leave there moms.  El did break down and give me a quick peck on the cheek just as her class began to enter the building! :-)

On the second day of kindergarten Ellie informed me that she "doesn't watch noggin anymore because it is too babyish" and that she "watches Nickelodeon instead."  I don't think I like Kindergarten! :-(

Today is day number 3 of Elementary School, so we will have to see what kind of comment she has to make this evening when I pick her up!

Reason #3)  I accepted a new position at my job.  Under my current role I was doing alot of traveling to see clients and prospects.  As fun as it is to be on the road, I missed my family.  Especially now that I am married and Ellie is in kindergarten I had an even stronger urge to be at home.  So I have been busy making the transition from my old role to my new role this week!  More on this too come....

Reason #4) Sigh......So I have mentioned a couple of times prior that I needed some good luck.  Well, I didn't get the good luck I was hoping for.  Long story short, Kiley and I put an offer down on our dream home and we lost it! We found out on Tuesday that the house had slipped between our fingers.  Devastated does not even begin to describe how hurt I was after finding out we lost the house.  I have spent the last two days crying..and crying...and crying...and finally taking my frustration out on my poor undeserving husband who is just as upset as I am.  So today I finally sucked it up; admitted defeat to myself; and decided to move, which is why I finally feel like I can blog again!

SOOOOO in a nut shell, that has been my life the last week.  I have been absent in the kitchen the last couple of days due to the "cooking extravaganza" I took on over the weekend prepping for the birthday party.  But I am itching to get back in it tonight and for sure this weekend!  I can't let a small upset like a house take me off track from the things that make me the happiest....i.e. my daughter, my husband, cooking and running!  In the end, it was just a house.  It's my family that makes it a home! :-)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Well hello! I apologize for my absence but I took a break from blogging (all 3 posts that I have done so far) to spend some much needed time with my family.  As I mentioned on Thursday, I was anticipating some much needed news in a couple of areas of my life.  Well, unfortunately that news did not come and instead I received other new that was extremely unexpected.  I can't really disclose any details right now, just please continue to keep your fingers crossed!

Since the news I was hoping for didn't make it my way, I was slightly....upset! So I redirected negative energy to something positive....RUNNING and FAMILY!  We had a fantastic weekend! Friday night Kiley, Ellie and I attended our county fair for a few hours where Ellie got to ride her first pony.  Saturday consisted of a trip to our local farmers market in the morning, birthday party shopping in the afternoon, followed by a brief trip to the neighborhood swimming pool to cool off and then finally, off to the Roller Derby.  The No Coast Derby Girls were definitely the highlight of our weekend.  Kiley had attended before, but for Ellie and I this was our first experience. 

Ellie was SO excited to take this pic, however her response post picture, "I didn't think the girls would be all sweaty!" LoL Oh how I love the non-filtered mouth of an almost 5 year old!

Sunday consisted of scrubbing the house in preparation of this week and next when my little girl starts school. Yes, KINDERGARTEN!!!! WoW where does the time go?  I am so excited and proud of her, but I know I will be a teary mess come next Tuesday.

Sunday night we headed to the my in laws for our weekly family dinner.  Phew what a weekend, I am tired just think about all that we did! But thinking about all that we did got me thinking about all that I have NOT done this summer. Which lead to the creation of my "Summer Bucket List."  If there is one thing you should know about me, it is that I am an avid list maker.  I make lists about EVERYTHING.  I even put things on my lists that I have already accomplished.  Now, this maybe cheating, but it gives me just enough of a confidence boost to make me convince myself that "yes, my lists work. And, yes, I am productive!"

Now some of these things you may have NO idea what they are, and that's okay! As I cross them off I promise to give some clarity.  My goal now is to create this for every season, because I feel my self frequently saying, "sometime I want to do this," or "sometime lets go there." And instead of just stating what I want to do SOMEDAY,  I am gonig to start doing those things today!  OOO that reminds me...I forgot something on my list...

There, much better! I am sure there will be many more revisions of this list, but at least its a start.

So this blog is supposed to also include "food" related topics, right? Well...I didn't do too much cooking this weekend. Friday night we grilled portabella mushrooms marinated in balsamic vinegar with basil and tomatoes and a cream cheese pesto sauce, alongside homemade onion rings (ok, I totally should have taken pics of that meal because it was AMAZING!)  But other then that, we just kind of scrapped together whatever we had in the house.  I ate quit a few tofurkey sandwiches and my husband and daughter had other odds and ends.  We were just too busy to spend hours in the kitchen!

Ellie is at her dad's this week, so I am determined to craft up something tasty to feed the husband.  He joked yesterday that since I have declared myself a vegan I have spent more time in our tiny, inefficient kitchen then he has in the past 8 years he has lived in the house.  I think that's pretty accurate!  But honestly, I have never had so much fun cooking! I always "liked" cooking before, but I was so afraid of cooking with meat because I was scared I wouldn't cook it long enough and I would get someone sick.  But now that I cook without meat, heck, nothing is holding me back!!!! Cooking is definitely my favorite pastime! :-) So I promise, something new and fun coming up.  I already know what I am going to introduce you too tomorrow....and trust me, you will be hooked!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A little spanish luck!

I am desperately in need of some VERY good luck today.  I don't want to reveal why yet, just P L E A S E keep your fingers and toes crossed for me! :-)

My daughter has been with grandma and grandpa in Omaha (about 45 minutes away) since Sunday night.  She was supposed to come home last night, but she begged and pleaded to spend one more night with Grandma Cheryl.  I miss here dearly.  The house is SO quiet without her not at home, but I know how much the two of them value their time together so I had to let her stay!

Since Ellie was gone, it was a perfect night to make tacos.  Ellie loves tacos, she just prefers them a little on the milder side then my husband and I. So it is always fun to make them when she is not home so I can really kick things up a notch.  While Kiley suffered in the intense heat mowing the lawn, I enjoyed the nice cool AC (one of the perks of being merried to an HVAC tech :-) ) and took my time chopping up cilantro, onions, tomatoes etc. for homemade pico.  I LOVE homemade pico, and I never make it the same way twice.  Last nights version was comprised of canned sweet corn, tomatoes, diced chili pepers, fresh lime juice, black beans, diced onions and LOTS of cilanto.  I really think I could eat cilantro like lettace. I love it that much!

Since Kiley isn't vegan, I made some ground hamburger taco meat for him.  I also heated up some organic refried beans and made some homemade vegan "nacho cheese" sauce.  That recipe you can find here!  I have to be honest, I wasn't so sure how the cheeseless, cheese sauce would turn out, but I LOVED it. 

I am not a fan of tortiallas and taco shells, so I heated up hard taco shells for Kiley and just made myself a large taco salad.  Unfortunelty I forgot to take pictures of the various stages of our dinner as I was cooking (please forgive, I am still very new to this blogging thing).  But we will be having leftovers tonight so I promise I will document!  By the way, it goes without saying that left over taco salad is FANTASTIC!!!  I love pico the second day because it has been able to sit and marinate and soak up all the deliciousness from the veggies and spices.  YYYUUUMMM! Needless to say I am dreaming of dinner already and it is only 10:55 am.  

So the BEST part of last night was when Kiley was putting together his tacos.  I had picked up some Kraft Mexican cheese for him and as he was sprinkling it on his tacos he said, and I quote, "babe you don't have to get special regular cheese for me, I am more then happy to eat the vegan soy cheese you buy." WOW!!! Talk about love and support, he really is the best! :-) A man willing to give up his love of dairy cheese to accomodate his newly vegan wife...I am SSSSOOO lucky!!!