Category Archives: fun

7ish Months… and a ton of traveling and other stuff

Wow. I haven’t blogged in seven months. I could have almost had a baby in that time! HA! Or I could have gotten in amazing shape. Or I could have… well, I could have done a million things but I’ll start by telling you a couple things I HAVE done in the last seven months.

Ok, well, one thing I didn’t do: I didn’t run that half marathon I started training for last fall. It was supposed to be in February. I ended up having to travel for work that weekend and when I found out about the trip I lost all my momentum (and I lost my entrance fee I’d already paid too). I also injured my hip somehow and was getting acupuncture treatments for a few months… and then I FELL on my hip while stepping up on a curb while running… so anyway, I stopped running altogether. Maybe I’ll get back to it at some point.

The very most awesome thing that has happened is that I got a NEW JOB that I love! I am still a Marketing Coordinator. But now I am working from home for a not-for-profit society. I won’t go into detail because its a very specific green construction industrial segment that will likely bore you… haha. But it’s not boring to me and that’s all that matters! I’m just absolutely thrilled with my new position.

I have travelled A LOT this year for work (old and new jobs) and a bit for pleasure:

  • January- Houston
  • February- Denver
  • March- Sacramento and Las Vegas
  • April- I stayed home!
  • May- Orlando
  • June- Las Vegas (for fun!!), Cleveland (I loved it there!), Omaha (for a wedding…)
  • July- Orlando… again

And coming up the rest of the year:

  • August- Chicago
  • September- no work trips so hopefully I can go on another mini-vacay
  • October- Chicago again- I love it there so no problem with this!
  • November- Calgary- my first trip to Canada!
  • December- Hawaii with my Fam! :)

Whew. I’m still cooking lots of vegan food. I’m still Instagramming all the time (obsessed might describe it). And I’m still NOT on Facebook- which is seriously awesome. I never miss it. It’s been months and months and months. I was seriously addicted to Facebook so this was a necessary cutting of the ties. I tweet every now and then, but it’s pretty few and far between.

I want to start blogging on a more regular basis again. I’m trying to find my path though for that. I guess this is a just a general lifestyle blog and my space so I can do whatever I want. I’m thinking maybe some posts on my plants, my home (which we’ve been working on quite a bit lately), nachos of course, my fitness journey, yoga…

I’ve been working from home a little over a month now, but just got my office set up last weekend. I needed to hit up Ikea. I plan to do an office tour soon- when I get it all set. In the meantime- here’s a pic of the cheerful rug I picked, and my beloved Nathan checking it out.

Cheers! rug and nathan

Baby It’s Cold Inside

I live in California- right on the dividing line between So Cal and Central Cal. It can get cold in the winter. It’ll be down in the 30′s tonight. But my house is fairly new (14 years old) and fairly well insulated. This fall, David and I decided to go as long as possible without turning on the heater. Just to see how long we could hold out and also as kind of a fun game to see how low the power bill would go. I think last night was the coldest night so far this season. But it hasn’t gotten below 60 degrees inside the house yet (at least not while I’ve been awake). But 60 degrees inside your house is pretty dang chilly! But we will not cave! At least not yet! January may get colder though.

I’m sitting here in yoga pants and a t-shirt. Accompanied by fleecy socks, fuzzy slippers, a big wrap sweater, and fingerless gloves (so I can type). And I’m covered up by a thick faux furry blanket. I’m pretty comfy, except my fingertips… ; )

A byproduct of this experiment is that I’ve become more mindful of just how much of a luxury having central heat inside a cozy home really is. With the flip of a switch I could have warm, toasty air circulating throughout my entire home. Not everyone has this luxury or can afford to run their heat even if they have it. I am grateful I have the option to play this ‘game’. Also, kittens really like to snuggle when it is cooler in the house. They may even sleep with you ALL night!

I wonder if we’ll want to experiment with how long we can go this summer without running the air conditioner? It gets up to 105+ degrees on the reg in these parts. We shall see. (I could go for a nice 85-90 degrees right about now. I’m kind of a warm weather person…)

I won’t feel like a failure if we decide to turn the heat on. I’ll just feel warm. : )

Let’s Eat: Cacao Buckwheatie Brittle!

Buckwheaties are dehydrated raw, sprouted buckwheat groats. You can eat them like cereal or grind them up and use as flour in raw recipes. OR you can make brittle!

Several months ago I bought a little bag of buckwheat groats at this tiny local health food store with the intention of making raw cereal. Last week I finally started the process. I looked online for some guidance and found all kinds of conflicting info. Soak them overnight. Don’t oversoak or they won’t sprout. I was confused but decided to wing it a bit and soak them overnight and see what happened.

First I measured out a cup of groats and rinsed them well in a fine mesh sieve. Then I covered them in four cups of water and let them soak overnight in a bowl. In the morning I drained and rinsed them and let them sit in the bowl covered with a tea towel all day. That evening I gave them another rinse and drain and let them sit overnight covered again. The next morning they had sprouted tiny green tails! So cute! (If groats can be cute. Which they can because almost anything can be cute with a tiny tail!)

At that point the groats could have been eaten for a truly raw experience. Or I could have continued to let them sprout and then added them to salads. But I continued my quest for raw cereal. I spread the sprouted groats out on dehydrator sheets and put them in the machine at 115 degrees F. I let them go for about 8 hours. They seemed dry and ‘done’. When I squeezed them between my fingers they crushed easily so I figured they were dry enough.

deydrated groats- buckwheaties!

The next morning (this is, like, four days later from starting the process!) I poured them into a bowl and was about to pour some soymilk over them for breakfast when I decided to give them a taste first. They tasted like I figured they would. Planty. Sprouty. Groaty. They would have been good with some berries and agave or stevia. But it was Sunday morning and I wanted something heartier. And more Sunday brunchish. So I made pancakes.

I decided to follow the advice of one of the blogs I came across and flavor them and give them another spin in the dehydrator. So I made a coating using raw agave and raw cacoa nibs. I mixed the groats with the coating and spread it out of parchment paper (I don’t have those special sheets for my dehydrator). I dehydrated overnight. The next morning I flipped it over and dehydrated another eight hours or so.

groats mixed with agave and cacao nibs ready for dehydration

When I finally felt like it was done I started to break up the big piece to store and realized that not only did I have cereal if I wanted it, but even better I had made buckwheatie brittle!! I decided to enjoy it as a snack. I took a piece to my raw-enthusiast co-worker too. When I received an email from her entitled: “Brittle is the Bomb” I knew I had reached success! And it only took a week! ;)

raw buckwheatie brittle!

Happy Hour: Cocktail Infusions

I was planning to write this post about detox smoothies filled with yummy “super foods” because that’s what one does in January, no? But then I decided that
A: Everyone knows how to make a smoothie, and
B: Cocktails are WAY less boring than smoothies. (not that smoothies are boring, but cocktails are fun!)

In my Christmas stocking I got something very interesting: A box of Tea Forte Cocktail Infusions. They look like fancy tea bags and I had never seen anything like this before. The box says, “These revolutionary pyramids infuse directly in spirits.”

The  infusions flavors are Lemongrass Mint, Lavender Citrus, and Silkroad Chai. There is a little  booklet with recipes for cocktails and mocktails, too!

So you just put the ‘tea’ bag in a glass and pour alcohol over it and steep for three minutes. Just like tea! But you can add different ingredients to make all kinds of cocktails. The recipes for the Lavender Citrus infuser include: Cosmo de Provence, Lavender Pear Martini, and Lavender Lime Rickey. The Chai recipes include: Peach Chai Crush, Chai White Russian (sounded amazing!), and Bombay Chai Rum & Tonic. The Lemongrass infuser recipes are: Bali Breeze, Lemongrass Gin & Tonic, and Wild Mint Mojito.

The mocktails include Lavender Fizz- Lavender infuser with lemon/lime soda; Virgin Sunrise- Lavender infuser with orange juice and seltzer; and Chai Cooler- Chai infuser with ginger ale! They all sound so refreshing!

cute little infuser bag filled with chai goodness

I decided to make the Chai White Russian because I had the ingredients on hand and I love chai AND white Russians! The recipes says to infuse the chai bag with 1 1/2 ounces of vodka (I used vanilla vodka), then add 1 ounce simple syrup and 2 ounces of light cream ( I used soymilk) over ice.

Santa Claus- where did you find these??? A quick internet search revealed they are available at specialty stores and fancy department stores and also online through their own website, amazon, etc.

infuser steeping in vanilla vodka

I steeped 1 1/2 ounces of vodka with the infuser, but I only used 3/4 ounce in my cocktail (saving the rest for another drink). I ended up steeping it for about 10 minutes because I wanted to get as much flavor our of the infuser as possible and it seemed like it needed much longer than three minutes. I made a quick simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar, heat in a small sauce pan till sugar dissolves). Then mixed according to the instructions.

the final product- perfectly spiced

WOW! The Chai White Russian was easy and fun and super tasty. I loved using the pretty little bag, too. It was definitely a ‘craft’ cocktail as it almost took me longer to make it than to drink it, but that was mostly due to the fact that I needed to make the syrup. I definitely plan to enjoy an infused cocktail again! I’ll be sure to let you know what I make next.

Cheers!

Weekend Adventures: Birthday Monster Cookies!

I have one nephew and his name is Jake. He is a rad kid- super athletic and handsome- but more importantly, he is a good person. He is fun and friendly and polite. We just love him to pieces, of course!

Jake’s birthday is right after Christmas so everyone in the family is careful to make sure we make a big deal about his special day so that it doesn’t get overshadowed by the holiday. This birthday Jake turned 9, his last single digit bday!

Jake chose to get a video game console instead of having a party with his friends so we had a little family gathering for cake and ice cream (well, actually, per his request, it was an ice cream cake) and opening presents. And he showed all of us old fogies how to play video games!

I’d been carrying around a picture of some super adorable monster cookies for months waiting to make them for Jake’s birthday. I got the idea from this cute blog, which is one of my favorites. Aren’t they great?

I used my standard sugar cookie recipe which I adapted from this one, and had fun decorating with green frosting and candies. My only regret is that the Tic Tacs are nearly identical in color to the frosting. Next time I’ll switch it up a little more. I wanted to surprise Jake with the cookies, but these would be super-duper fun to make with little kids and let them go crazy with the decorations.

this one was my favorite!

  • Sugar Cookies- oven 425 degrees- yields 12 giant cookies

Cream together:
1 cup vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
1 cup sugar

Add to that and mix till combined:
the equivalent of 3 eggs made from Ener-G egg replacer (mix according to package directions)
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix together and then add to the sugar mixture:
3 cups flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda

Roll dough on lightly floured surface to about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. I used a wide-mouth mason jar lid as a cookie cutter.

Bake about 7-10 minutes. My oven seems to run hot so 7 minutes is perfect for these for me.

  • Frosting- frosts 12 giant cookies

I really just eye-balled this but I mixed about a 1/2 cup Earth Balance with a cup of powdered sugar and a bit of soymilk. I used a hand-held electric beater and just kept messing with the ratios until it made a thin, smooth spreading consistency. Then I added green food coloring until I got the shade I wanted.

  • A little tube of black frosting for the mouth
  • Various candies for making facial features. I used Jr. Mints, Lemonheads and Tic Tacs, and some nonpareils.
Once the cookies are completely cooled make the frosting and then start frosting and work quickly. Frost one cookie and then decorate it so that the candies will stick to the wet frosting, before moving on to the next cookie.

all the lil monsters!