Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday: Waste of Cakes

Best Blogger Tips Last week, I had lost 8 lbs. since going plant-based vegan, then came the cake.

I used to make cakes for other people.  I learned how to use Wilton's buttercream recipe, then moved on to fondant.  I think I got pretty good.

In a way, I was a little too good.  In addition to making them beautiful, they tasted great.

Whenever I made a cake, I sampled the frosting as I decorated.  I ate the leftover pieces of cake I carved away.  Any leftover fondant became snacks throughout the day.

I gained weight, so I stopped making cakes.

For my son's birthday last week, I made an exception. 

First, I made the mini "ice cream cone" cupcakes for his preschool.

Then, I used the leftover cake mix and icing to make a cake for us at home. 

I threw away the extra frosting after I was done decorating.  I have learned that it isn't waste if I throw something away my body doesn't need.  If I eat something, like leftover frosting, I'm throwing it away in my body instead of in the trash.  And it is easier to take the trash out of the house than out of my body!

Unfortunately, the three of us split the cake.  Matthew had two pieces, while my husband and I ate the rest the next day.

I gained two pounds this week and am fighting sugar addiction again.

Today, I really tried to get out of the sugar fix.

I still snacked.  Alot.

In no particular order, What I Ate:

  • 2 protein shakes with spinach
  • 6 dates
  • 4 Ry Krisp crackers
  • 1/2 c. mixed nuts
  • a bowl of slow-cooked veggies and black beans (recipe coming soon!)
  • a big bowl of frozen mixed fruit
  • broccoli and quinoa with vegan onion-mushroom gravy and bite-size pieces of Amy's California burgers (recipe coming soon!)

This week, I am launching my first recipe eBook, Smoothies and Shakes.  For a limited time, I am offering it as a FREE GIFT to my subscribers.  Check back tomorrow for more information!

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Five Today!

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Today, my little boy turns five years-old! 

Yesterday, we went out for Valentino's (pizza buffet, his favorite) with a few friends, then on to the children's museum.  He loved it!

Earlier, I took mini ice cream cone cupcakes to his preschool. 
(That is frosting, not ice cream.)
Tonight, we are going to have Haystacks for supper, another of his favorites.  Then, we will have the confetti cake that is leftover from the cupcakes. 

It is actually white cake that I added sprinkles to the batter just before baking.  The store was out of confetti cake.  I have to try to finish frosting it here soon.

Here are some of my favorite pictures of Peanut.

Check back next week!  I have finished my first recipe eBook.  I will share it with my readers for free for a limited time!

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday: Veggie Tales

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It has been two weeks since my husband and I decided to go "veggie."

We have flirted with vegetarianism for most of our marriage.  Even though we were raised by women who grew up on cattle ranches, we still ate mostly meatless meals.  Recently, we ate more chicken and fish than any other types of meat.

After watching Forks Over Knives, we decided to go back to a plant-based diet.  I was almost a vegan before I was pregnant with my last child, but I have never attempted to cook a vegan diet.  The majority of meals I made for us without meat included cheese or eggs.

Thankfully, I have two or three vegan cookbooks.  With the addition of a few internet recipes, I'm learning how to cook vegan.  I also joined a local organic and specialty food co-op.  I can get those vegan cooking staples like Bragg's Aminos and nutritional yeast.

My husband and I feel great!

He has eaten meat four times while out with colleages, but has still managed to lose 4 lbs.  I have lost 7 while seemingly eating all of the time!  Our digestion is working perfectly and my complexion looks great.  Our four year-old (gasp!), who turns five this week, is very proud of us for not eating meat any longer.  "Now, you can be really healthy like me."

Here is what I ate on Tuesday.

I had a glass of strawberry banana smoothie.

I drank a raspberry pear smoothie.
I am putting the finishing touches on my first recipe
eBook and needed the pictures of the smoothies.

and ate three of them.

For a snack, I ate a small bowl of grapes
and three Ry Krisp crackers.

I fixed up mixed green salads for supper with grape tomatoes
and dried berries with Annie's organic salad dressing.

I also made a spinach, artichoke, and black olive pizza
with homemade "cheese" sauce and Diaya "mozzarella" cheese
on whole wheat and flaxseed crust. 
This was a new recipe for me
and it turned out AMAZING!

In other news:

  • I hope to get my eBook finished this week.  I am SO excited!  I am going to give it away for FREE to my subscribers!
  • My four year-old turns five this week??  How did he grow so fast??
  • I am so happy with going vegan that I want to open a natural foods store here in our town again.  We can't get specialty foods around here.
  • My six month-old son has his first cold.  He got it the same day as his immunizations.  We had a rough night, but at least he wasn't screaming and crying, just complaining and restless.

Is there anything new and exciting going on in your life?
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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

RECIPE: Chocolate Cherry Breakfast Cookie

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[Print this Recipe]

I hate mornings.

When I wake up, I don't want to squint as the sun shines in my eyes.  I'm wired to stay up late at night.  I love to sleep.  Mornings are an unpleasant interruption.  I would rather stay in bed. I don't want to get up and make breakfast for anyone.

But, I have a family.  I have two sons, one of whom is in preschool. I have a husband who gets up early before me and goes to work for the day. 

I need to get them fed before they go out the door, but I'm not going to wake up a half an hour early to make something from scratch.  Breakfasts are often reheated homemade waffles, cereal, or quick oats loaded with fruit and nuts.

This breakfast cookie is a perfect morning convenience food.  They can be made a few days ahead of time or frozen for several months.

Unlike store-bought breakfast bars, the first ingredient isn't high fructose corn syrup.  In fact, there is no added sugar or fat in these cookies.  Since oatmeal is a great source of protein, there is no need to make these with eggs.  The oatmeal, ground flaxseed, walnuts, and dried fruit make these high in fiber, while the bananas and applesauce add nutrients and sweeten the cookie naturally.



*2-3 overripe bananas
*1 c. applesauce
*1 tsp. vanilla extract
*1 1/2 c. quick oats
*1/4 c. chopped walnuts
*1/4 c. cocoa
*1/4 c. dried cherries
*1/8 c. ground flaxseed


1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.
2.  Mix bananas, applesauce, and vanilla until thoroughly blended.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
3.  Drop heaping tablespoonsful of dough onto greased baking sheet.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.
4.  Store in air-tight container until ready to serve.

Yields 1 dozen breakfast cookies.  Each cookie is approximately 130 calories.

Do you hate getting up in the morning like me or are you a "morning person"?

See this linked at
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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Foods I Fixed Last Week

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Since I decided to go vegan a few weeks ago, I am trying out all kinds of new recipes.  I will eventually start to make my own up, but right now I'm still learning!

Here are some of the foods I fixed last week.

Chocolate Chip Blondies.  This are so good!  You won't find any eggs or butter in them, but you will find lots of fiber and protein.

Fudge Daddies.  Vegan fudge brownies.  Lowfat and low in sugar, they have protein and whole grain.  I've made them twice in the past week and regret nothing.

Quinoa.  Naturally high in fiber and protein, I am in love with this grain.  My husband is also crazy for it.  We have been fixing it up in exchange for rice.  When I come up with a recipe for it, I will let you know. : )

Kale Chips.  Low in calories and high in nutrients, these make a great afternoon snack when I'm craving something salty.  Did you know kale can lower your risk for 5 different types of cancer?

Protein shakes.  Although there is plenty of protein in a varied, vegan diet, I am giving myself extra protein with homemade protein shakes.  I'm breastfeeding my 16 lb. 6 month old son.

Breakfast cookies.  Made with no added fat, sugar, or artificial sweeteners, these tasty cookies are full of fiber and protein.  They are great for breakfast-on-the-go!

Loaded oatmeal.  When I have time to make breakfast for my husband, I'm making him loaded oatmeal with 2-3 types of fruit, nuts, and flaxseed.  It gives him energy and nutrition to take on his day.

Salads.  We try to eat a salad with viniagrette dressing for either lunch or supper.  Nuts, fresh veggies, and even a little dried fruit make a yummy, satisfying salad.

Beans.  We are eating beans in everything from dessert (you can't taste them) to main dishes to salads.  They are high in fiber and protein.

Fruit.  I have 3 cups of fruit each day for a snack.  I'm noshing on a big bowl of slightly frozen fruit nearly every day. 

Fruit Smoothies. When want a quick, nutrient-rich snack, I blend up a fruit smoothie.  Filled with antioxidants and naturally occuring vitamins, fruit smoothies are my favorite snack-to-go.

I will let you know when I come up with some yummy recipes to share with you!

I am almost finished with my first eBook, a collection of fruit smoothie and protein shake recipes.  I will share it for FREE with my subscribers!


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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Las Vegans

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As I was dealing with personal stuff last week, I decided to make a big change in my life:  I decided to go vegan again.

It started like this.

My husband started watching Forks Over Knives on Netflix and I joined him.

I knew about Forks Over Knives for a long time, that it was about a diet free of animal products.  I still didn't watch it though.  I thought it was going to show me slaughterhouses, chicken confinements, etc.  I've seen those videos.  I wasn't eating much meat, almost exclusively fish or chicken.

Instead, the video was about how meat and dairy cause cancer and heart disease.  I already knew about how animal products contribute to heart disease, cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity.  I thought I was making healthy choices by choosing "lean meats" and eating less dairy.

Growing up in a church that places importance on diet and health, I heard that meat caused cancer.  I assumed it was because of the hormones, antibiotics, etc.  I didn't realize it was because of the animal protein itself.

Forks Over Knives inspired me to
  • trash the little processed food left in my house
  • stop eating dairy and preparing food with it
  • stop eating eggs
  • stop eating chicken and fish (I already stopped buying beef)
  • make fruits and veggies 75% of all the food I eat
  • order from the organic food co-op in town
So now my husband and I are eating a plant-based, vegan diet.  I eat lots of frozen fruit and salads.  I now plan my meals around vegetables, instead of meat or a dairy.  Since I'm breastfeeding, I still drink two soy protein shakes a day, to make sure I get the protein to make milk for my child.  I don't want to take any chances.

I feel great.  I've lost 5 lbs. and started going to the gym again.

I will keep you updated!

ElenaPin It Best Blogger Tips


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Hi there!

Over the past week, I had to take a break from my blog. I hope you forgive me.

I have abandonment issues from when I was an adolescent.  Sometimes they creep up and take over my life for a while.  I get in a situation where I feel like I did as a child whose parents left her.  I withdraw from people and eat a lot of sugary and fatty foods, which, of course, make me feel worse.  Even though I've been dealing with it for almost 20 years, the depression takes me by surprise and I need some time to figure things out.

This time, it didn't take me long to realize I had slipped into that little girl who was so alone.  Something strange happened this time; I got angry.

I saw the big, gaping hole in the story as to why my mom and dad decided to leave me at friends' and family members houses for 5 days out of every week.  I finally questioned why work was that important.

I reached a life-changing conclusion.

One of my favorite scenes from Enlightened

One of my favorite tv shows of the past year was Enlightened on HBO.  Laura Dern played a deeply flawed person working desperately to change her life and the lives of those around her.  Each week, I would tune in and find myself reaching a great truth.

The episode that affected me the most was "Not Good Enough Mothers." In it, the main character "Amy" learns to see everyone as a child.  Instead of being angry at everyone for not being good enough, she sees each person as a little girl or boy who needs more love in his or her life.

I was trying to comfort the hurt child inside of me.  My parents were likely doing the same.
Sometimes when we don't understand the behavior of others, it is because the child in them is in control.

I forgive. 

Being a (good) parent is the hardest job I ever have had.  I understand my parents did the best they could.  I try to be the best mother (and daughter) I can be.  I hope my children will forgive me for the mistakes I make.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

RECIPE: Peach Cinnamon Smoothie

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When I was in sixth grade, I started baking homemade pies.

Each week, I would meet with other sixth graders and our 4-H leader.  We baked cream pies, custard pies, no-bake pies, and fruit pies.  Fruit pies are still my favorite: cherry, blueberry, strawberry-rhubarb, and of course, peach. 
For my family, pie is a food that is reserved for the holidays.  When I make it, I use butter-flavored shortening for the crust and sugar with the fruit.  I indulge. 

Without the greasy crust and sugar, peaches are a great fruit to indulge in. 

Peaches are a great source of potassium and beta carotene.  They also contain two other carotenes, lutein and lycopene, which lower your risk of developing macular degeneration, cancer, and heart disease. 

Cinnamon has a host of health benefits, including regulating blood sugar.  Add it to the peaches, almond milk, and vanilla extract in this smoothie, and you have the taste of peach pie in a glass.

This recipe makes two servings at 135 calories each.

Peach Cinnamon Smoothie
Peach Cinnamon Smoothie

*16 oz. frozen peaches, thawed
*2 c. almond milk
*1/2 tsp. cinnamon
*1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Blend all ingredients thoroughly in a high speed blender.

Serves 1-3.

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

RECIPE: Tortilla Spirals

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[Print this Recipe]

My four year-old has this thing for tortillas.  He will sneak them out of the fridge, fold them up, and gnaw on them.  If the package of tortillas is missing from the fridge, we can usually find it empty underneath the dining room table.

I was thinking of him when I came up with this healthy snack idea.  I used a whole wheat tortilla, spread vegetarian refried beans on it, then topped it with guacamole, spinach leaves, a little shredded cheese, and green onions.  I added a little novelty by rolling it into a spiral, slicing it, then putting the wheels on bamboo skewers.

The whole wheat tortilla has fiber.  The beans also have fiber and when added to the tortilla, they create a complete protein.  I used fresh spinach for iron, calcium, and antioxidants.  The shredded cheese adds more protein.  The green onions provide vitamins A, B, C, and K.  If you make your own guacamole, you add healthy fat which lowers overall cholesterol.

 First, I spread the refried beans on the tortilla.

 Then, I placed the spinach leaves on top.

 I spread the guacamole on the spinach.
(I layered it this way to help the ingredients stick.)

 I topped it with a little shredded cheese and green onion.

 Finally, I rolled it up, sliced it, and placed the wheels on skewers.
(Matthew thought they were pretty cool.)



*1 pkg. whole wheat tortillas
*1 can refried beans
*1 bag fresh spinach
*1 bag reduced fat shredded cheese
*1 bunch green onions


1.  Spread refried beans over tortillas. Layer with spinach, guacamole, cheese, and green onions.  Roll up tortilla and toppings.  Carefully slice, creating spirals.  

I am sharing six healthy super bowl snacks with you this week. 
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