On the Bandwagon

Hi Friends,

Now that the weather is warmer, I have been enjoying smoothies for breakfast almost every morning.  I was intrigued by recipes for overnight smoothies I spotted on Michelle and Emily’s blog and knew I had to give it a try.

Blackberry Pie Overnight Smoothie

– 1/4 cup rolled oats

– 1 TB chia seeds

– 1 tsp cherry pie spice

– 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

– 1/2 a frozen banana

– 1/2 cup frozen blackberries

– unsweetened coconut for topping

– Combine oats, chia seeds, cherry pie spice, and 2/3 cup almond milk in a jar.  Shake to combine and leave in the refrigerator overnight.

– The next morning, place oat mixture, frozen banana, blackberries, and 1/3 cup almond milk in the blender and blend until smooth.  Top with coconut.

I was very pleased with how this turned out.  The oats gave it a thick, creamy texture.  The cherry pie was an awesome addition.  I took home a sample from the store.  I haven’t seen a cherry pie spice blend in the grocery store before so I am not sure what they typically contain.  The one from work had plenty of cardamom which I enjoy.  This will be a fun recipe to experiment with throughout the summer!

I picked up The Perfect Scoop at the library last night.  My head is swimming with creative ice cream ideas this morning.  I may have to start a batch before heading to work this afternoon :)

Any great smoothie or ice cream ideas to share?!?!

Later,

Kate

Fun With Sweet Potatoes

Hi Friends,

Thank you for your well wishes yesterday.  I am half convinced that my sickies were attributed to the fact that Art likes to leave the heat up really high in our apartment all night long.  I doubt there is any medical evidence behind this, but I am sure sweating all night long can’t be good for you.  Right?!  After more rest yesterday morning, I was feeling better by lunch time. 

Ok, on to the food!  I attempted sweet potato falafels in the fall but wasn’t super pleased with how they turned out.  This second attempt proved to be much better.  Can you still call them falafel’s if they aren’t ball shaped?

Sweet Potato Falafels – Round 2

– 1 cup chick peas

– 3/4 cup baked sweet potato

– 1 TB olive oil

– 1 heaping TB garlic hummus

– 1 tsp cumin

– 1/4 tsp cayenne

– 2 big handfuls of cilantro

– 3 TB cornmeal

– Combine chickpeas through cilantro in a large bowl.  Mash all ingredients together until well combine.  (I used my immersion blender but a potato masher would work as well.)

– Stir in cornmeal until mixture thickens up and isn’t quite so sticky.

– Form into patties and cook over medium high heat in a greased skillet.

I was left with five, flavorful falafel patties.  The cornmeal added a nice crispy texture that previous attempt was lacking.  Art suggested using mango chutney for dippage.  This was a the perfect accompaniment.  I would definitely make this recipe again.

I saved about a 1/4 cup of sweet potato to play with in a smoothie.  I saw this recipe on the lovely Lori’s blog and was inspired!

Sweet Cranberry Smoothie

– 1/4 cup baked sweet potato

– 1/3 cup frozen cranberries

– 1/2 a small frozen banana

– 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder

– cinnamon and cardamom

– 3/4 cup Unsweetened So Delicious Coconut Milk

– Combine all ingredients in blender.  Mix until creamy.

YUM!  I loved this smoothie.  Topped with some gluten free granola and flax seed it made for a great breakfast.  Plus it was just so pretty to look at.  The color was a gorgeous shade of salmon that my crappy, flashy photo does nothing to fully capture.  Thank you Lori for the inspiration!

What is your favorite way to eat a sweet potato?

Later,

Kate

Acne Busting Eats

Hi Friends,

Before I show you what I’ve been eating lately to combat my pimples I wanted to update you on that bone density scan I wrote about in October.  I mentioned it to some nurse friends from school and my mom.  Both were shocked that I had the test.  Apparently it is typically only done on women over the age of 50 or very petite women.  I’m 28 and have never been described as petite! 

I didn’t think much of until I got the bill for the visit in the mail this week.  (sidenote – Why bill now?  The physical was in early October!!)  None of the test was covered by my insurance and it was pricey.  GAH!  After being pissed off about this for a day, I decided to call the doctor’s office and calmly express my dissatisfaction over the situation.  Turns out they will credit me the money for the test.  Woohoo!  Nothing like being proactive and advocating for yourself. 

In the middle of December I started taking a food based Women’s Multi Vitamin with iron from Whole Foods.  It recommends taking 3 pills a day but I only take one or two depending on the amount of veggies I eat.   So I get a little extra calcium insurance from the vitamin.   

On to the eats!

Tuesday     

Breakfast – Smoothie with frozen spinach, blueberries, banana, ground cinnamon, almond milk, vanilla brown rice protein powder and two ice cubes.  Topped with ground flax and gluten free cinnamon pecan granola from work.  Unphotographed mug of coffee with cream.

Lunch – Microwaved sweet potato and salsa.  One scrambled egg and one egg white.  Boat load of snap peas with tahini, tamari, and miso dressing.

Snacks – Unphotographed apple, apple pie Larabar and big mug of Aztec Sweet Chilli Yogi tea.

Dinner – Leftover Hot and Sour Soup.  Mixed Greens with raisins and Newman’s Own Light balsamic dressing and half a carrot.

Daily dairy – cream in coffee.  Daily gluten – none.  Daily soy – tofu in soup.  Daily refined sugar – none.

Wednesday

Breakfast – Smoothie with frozen spinach, cherries, banana, almond milk, vanilla brown rice protein powder, and coconut extract.  Topped with ground flax, unsweetened flaked coconut, and gluten free granola.  Coffee with cream.

Lunch –  Packed for work.  Mixed greens, cooked quinoa, raisins, walnuts, and half a carrot.  At work I added some cranberry salsa and dijon mustard to the mix.  YUM!

Snacks – Kombucha, an apple, and an allergy free snack bar.  The bar tastes like a hockey puck.  Unfortunately I bought two boxed as they were on sale :(

Dinner – Scrambled eggs and mushrooms with salsa.  Frozen veggie blend with tahini, tamari and miso dressing.  Gluten Free Mutli Grain bread from the French Meadow.  Art had the flu earlier in the week.  This was his first “non sickie” food meal.

Dessert – Unpictured Aztec Sweet Chilli Yogi tea and a chunk of 87% Dragoba dark chocolate.

Daily Dairy – cream in coffee.  Daily Gluten – none.  Daily soy – none.  Daily refined sugar – none.

Thursday

Breakfast – Greek yogurt topped with chopped apple, ground flax, cinnamon and gluten free granola.  Coffee with almond milk. 

Lunch – Microwaved sweet potato with salsa.  One egg one egg white scramble with kale and green onion.  Snow peas and tahini, tamari, and miso dressing.

Snacks – Kombucha and the allergy free snack bar.  The berry flavor was less hockey puckesque the chocolate kind.

Dinner – Packed for work.  Mixed greens, quinoa, raisins, almonds, and a few snow peas.  At work I added some spicy balsamic to the salad, a piece of nitrate and gluten free cranberry summersausage, and a salted caramel. 

Dessert – Unpictured Aztec Sweet Chili Yogi Tea and 87% Dragoba dark chocolate.

Daily dairy – greek yogurt and caramel.  Daily gluten – none.  Daily soy – none.  Daily refined sugar – caramel. 

Interesting things I have noticed thus far:

– My pimple spots are less red then they were earlier in the week.

– I could feel the yogurt on Thursday morning.  I definitely noticed it in my stomach.  It didn’t hurt or anything but there was different sensations going on.  Could this be from limiting my intake for 6 days?

– The French Meadow Gluten Free Multi-Grain bread is yummy!  It kind of tastes like corn bread.  I am a fan!

Happy weekend!  Anyone doing anything fun?

Kate

Mugs

Hi Friends,

I got home from a LONG day of work on December 23rd to find my blogger secret santa gift waiting for me from Laura.

Two of my favorite things, chocolate and coffee!  Thank you Laura!  She sent a whole Gladware full of the little chocolate cookies but it didn’t photograph so nicely so I just took a few out.

Breakfast 17 – Return of the Green Monster

I haven’t made a green smoothie for breakfast in a while.  I spotted the frozen spinach during my weekly trip to Target and added it to my basket.  I love eating veggies in the morning :)

In the mix: half a frozen banana, frozen cherries, frozen spinach, two ice cubes, Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze, 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder, a dab of vanilla bean paste.  Topped with ground flax and some Kashi Go Lean Crunch.  Fruits, veggies, protein, and carbs all accounted for with a bit of omega 3s thrown in for good measure!

The real star of breakfast this morning was the coffee.  My brother gave me a coffee grinder for Christmas and boy could we taste the difference.  Grinding the beans this morning made for a flavorful cup.  I can’t believe I haven’t gotten a grinder before this.  Thank you John!

Have a good day friends!

Kate

OY!

Hi Friends,

Our store was featured in the Living Social (similar to Groupon) deal of the day on Monday.  We were SWAMPED yesterday wrapping gift baskets for all the customers that came in.  I am a bit sloppy when it comes to wrapping the gift baskets so my unofficial role is the “chatter.”  I chat up the customers while my coworkers put the basket together.   Just one more  reason I think I may have a giant sign flashing over my head that says “TALK TO ME!”

I have never really thought of being able to talk to people as a skill but the more time I’ve spent out in the “real world” the more I realize that it is.  Why do you think that some people have a hard time talking to others?  Sometimes I think it is because they are just out of practice and sometimes I think it could a cultural thing.  We don’t feel connected to strangers so why would we share with them?  Something to ponder.

Day 14 – Pumpkin Smoothie WIN!

I got it right this time!  Into the blender went 1 small frozen banana, heaping 1/4 cup of pumpkin, 2 TB coconut milk, 2 ice cubes, vanilla protein powder, drizzle of buckwheat honey, and a bunch of cinnamon and cardamom.  Toppings included ground flax, granola, and flaked coconut.

Nice creamy texture and a very flavorful.  So all you who asked for a good pumpkin smoothie recipe, try this one!

Day 15- Pumpkin Gingerbread Oats

The best of both worlds!  I cooked steel cut oats in my overnight method listed here.  This morning I added a splash of Almond Breeze, canned pumpkin, molasses, a handful of raisins, and a bunch of ginger and cardamom.  Topped with some plain yogurt and ground flax.

After photographing, I added an orange to my breakfast.  I am feeling the first snarffles of a cold coming on so I figured a little vitamin C couldn’t hurt.  Please share any cold smashing tips you may have!

Have a lovely Wednesday.   I am sure I will in full chat mode today at work.  ‘Tis the shopping season!

Kate

Baking Day

Hi Friends,

I closed at the store yesterday which meant I had the morning to bake!  YEHAW!  My parents are hosting a holiday party this weekend and they asked me to make some cookies.  I jumped on the request and started researching fun holiday treats to share.   I made two yesterday

Vegan Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles

I love the whole spicy chocolate thing so when I saw the recipe for these on the PPK (I forget how much I like this blog!) I knew I would have to give them a try.  I doubled the recipe and only added a small pinch of cayenne as I wasn’t sure how adventurous the palates of my parents friends would be.  I also added a chopped Mayan Gold bar from Black & Green as you can never have too much chocolate.

I think for the first time ever, I actually got as many cookies as the recipe said it would make.  I taste tested the cookie that was the most burnt around the edges and was very satisfied with how they turned out.  I would definitely add more cayenne the next time I make these and maybe a little orange zest too. 

Chocolate Coconut Truffles

I spotted these guys on Lori’s blog and followed her links to Alisa’s blog.  The recipe seemed so simple and yummy that I couldn’t not try it.  I subbed the peppermint extract for coconut and rolled the truffles in unsweetened flaked coconut.  The co-op had the vegan chocolate chips on sale so the recipe is also vegan. 

I made one and half batches and ended up with 30 truffles.  After rolling all the cookies, my desire to roll things into balls was a bit low.  Some of the truffles got a bit large in order to finish the task.  Again, for the purpose of quality control I samples one.  It was good :)  How can you go wrong with chocolate and coconut.

Breakfast Day 9 – Breakfast Double Apple Crisp

I sautéed a small chopped apple in some water, cinnamon and a squeeze of buckwheat honey.  Once it was soft, I mixed the last two spoonfuls of homemade applesauce into 1/2 cup of plain yogurt.  I layered the two and topped ground flax and cinnamon pecan granola.  A super yummy, dessert like breakfast :)

Day 10 – Coconut Chai Smoothie

I wanted to do something with the leftover coconut milk for breakfast this morning.  Enter the creamiest smoothie I have made to date.  Into the blender went one small frozen banana, 1/2 vanilla protein powder, three ice cubes, a little over 1/4 cup of coconut milk, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom.  I topped with some Go Lean Crunch and a pinch of unsweetened coconut.  YUMMMMMMMMM!  Hello medium chain fatty acid smoothie of deliciousness.  If you like coconut and chai spice, I highly recommend this combo.

I am about to hit up the gym and head down to my parents.  I talked to my mom this morning and they are predicting a big old snow storm for the weekend so the party may be much smaller than originally anticipated.  Oh well!  I am excited to finish my baking and chill out with them for a few days.

Later,

Kate

Midweek Inspirations

Hi Friends,

Tuesday evening was the last meeting of my ecology class.  The professor shared the Wolf Credo by Del Goetz with us and I thought it was kind of nice.  Simple but eloquent.  I thought it would be a nice thing to share with you all as you start your day.

Wolf Credo

Respect the elders
Teach the young
Cooperate with the pack
Play when you can
Hunt when you must
Rest in between
Share you affections
Voice your feelings
Leave your mark.

Day 7 – Vanilla Cranberry Smoothie

After my pumpkin smoothie, I was craving a good smoothie combo.  Into the blender went frozen cranberries, half a frozen banana, 3/4 scoop vanilla protein powder, unsweetened soymilk, a bunch of powdered ginger, and three ice cubes.  I topped with some ground flax and a sample of Kashi Go Lean Crisp that I got in the mail.  This was a nice, thick and flavorful smoothie combination.  YAY!

Day 8 – Steel Cut Banana Bread Oats

Art was in charge of groceries over the weekend and he accidentally brought home steel cut oats rather than rolled.  Since they came from the bulk bins, I felt weird about returning them.  I don’t not like steel cut oats but they take so long to cook.  After a bit of research, I discovered how to cook the oats overnight.

Last night, I brought 1 3/4 cups water to a boil.  I added a pinch of salt and 2/3 cup steel cut oats.  After boiling for  a min, I cut the heat and covered the pot to sit overnight.  This morning, I heated the oats over medium and added 1/4 cup soy milk, 1 mashed banana, a bunch of cinnamon, vanilla, and a big handful of raisins.  This made two portions of oatmeal.

They turned out pretty well.  The texture was different and a bit chewier than regular oats.  They got very creamy with the banana and my yogurt topping.  I would definitely make these again and Art enjoyed them too.

My desire to go to work today  is slim.  I’ve worked everyday since last week Tuesday.  While I still really enjoy the store, I am tired of thinking about gift baskets and selling fancy chocolate.  Luckily I have this Friday through Sunday off.  Hopefully this will recharge my batteries so I make it through the holiday rush. 

Later

Kate

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