what i ate wednesday #6

It’s finally starting to feel like summer here!  The first half of the week has been gorgeous weather wise and most of the rest of the week looks like it’ll be about the same!  I’ve definitely been going out to enjoy the sunshine :).  Yesterday, my friend Emilee did a mini-photoshoot with me to try out a new lens she got.  We walked around the Third Ward in downtown Milwaukee and the pictures turned out great!  I also learned I have to practice my serious not-so-mad looking face haha.  To check out my photos and Emilee’s other great photos (engagements, weddings, senior photos) check out her website blog!

Now, onto my eats for the day…

Breakfast

I was starving for breakfast this morning.  I had been planning on going for a run before breakfast but that wasn’t happening.  So I ate steel-cut oats made with chia, with a banana, a peach, some ground flax, a little granola and topped with the last remnants of the Honey Almond Butter.  This bowl was delicious.

Post-Run Snack

I ran a 5k and came back famished again… I don’t know what was with my hunger.  I ate a chocolate brownie clif bar and had some Earl Grey Ice Tea (I brewed a cup of tea and then put it in the fridge for a few hours & served over ice!).

Lunch

My friend Ashley came over today and I made up a small batch of Veggie Fried Rice for us for lunch.

Crosby also had to get his Vitamin D in for the day.  I really didn’t put this out for him… but he sure took it over ;).

Mid-Afternoon Snack

Afternoon snack was some cantaloupe and papaya with a wedge of Cinnamon Pumpkin Coffee Cake.

Dinner

I used the grill for the first time by myself today!  I made the most delicious sweet potatoes, just rolled in foil and put on for about an hour.  Also had some Lentils in Sloppy Joe sauce (ketchup + honey + mustard + spices) and carrots with TJ’s avocado hummus.  Avocado hummus is one of the best creations ever.

Kinley’s now working on some gluten-free bread so if it turns out, I might have a slice of that before bed.

This Wednesday is also the opening of Summerfest in Milwaukee!  And now starts a countdown to Kinley’s Summerfest 1/2 Marathon on July 10th!

it’s fall… somewhere?

I was looking for something to bake.  I was in the mood for some type of coffee cake, but came up short in the recipe department.  I was also in the mood for something made with pumpkin… yes, it’s currently June but pumpkin is not a seasonal ingredient for me :).  I found this recipe for gluten free pumpkin muffins, and thinned out the base to make it in a 9×13 pan and topped with some cinnamon oat pecan topping – yum!

*I used the measurement for honey listed below as I prefer my baked goods less sweet.  If you are looking for something a bit sweeter and more dessert like, you can add up to 1/3 cup honey in the base recipe and adjust the amount of honey (or possibly add some brown sugar) in the topping as you desire as well.  Even with the 1T listed below, these bars got a lot sweeter the next day and really turned out delicious!

Cinnamon Pumpkin Coffee Cake

Base

  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/2c millet flour
  • 1/2 cup (2T garbanzo bean flour + the rest sorghum flour)
  • 1/2 cup ground flax
  • 1t baking soda
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1t nutmeg
  • 1T cinnamon
  • 1/4t salt
  • 1/4 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 15oz can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/3 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1T honey
  • ~3/4c water

Topping

  • 1/2c oats
  • 1/2c crushed pecans
  • ~1 1/2 T honey
  • ~1T water

cinnamon to taste (lots for me!)

1. Sift together the flours and add the flax, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.

2. Whisk together the almond milk, pumpkin, applesauce and honey.

3. Create a hole in the center of the dry ingredients.  Add in the wet mixture and mix until combined.  You can add the water at this point to get your desired consistency.  (Since I was baking it as a coffee cake, I wanted it thinner than the original recipe made).  Pour into a 9×13 pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

4. Mix together the oats and pecans for the topping.  Add in the honey and water to create a crumbly topping.  Sprinkle on top of the base batter.

4.  Bake in at 350* for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Serve with butta!  (aka Earth Balance)

there must be light at the end of the tunnel

Today was not a good day.  It didn’t start out that bad – pretty good actually.  I wasn’t feeling the best but felt a bit better after a short walk.  And then I got a good email from the company I had an interview with last week.  Well last week was actually my third interview with them.  I finally got word of a fourth and final interview through the email which was scheduled for Thursday.

Early afternoon I was feeling better, but still off.  The sun was shining however and I went outside for a dose of Vitamin D which was nice.  Kinley got home at 5:30 and shortly thereafter I got a phone call… from the aforementioned company.

I was told that they were no longer going through with hiring for the position at this time.  They said they really liked me, and it was only down to me and one other person, but due to a backup in something they decided to hold off hiring someone for 30+ days.  It was nice for them to be honest with me, but it still completely sucks.  Plus, to know I was so close to the finish line.

I thought I was finally winding down in the job search and now I’m right back at the beginning, with not even a handful of options available.  I have continued searching job boards but it just seems as if no one is hiring, which makes my job prospects dismal.  It’s so frustrating.

And to top it all off, I’m still not feeling well and my list of foods to avoid is increasing – now along with no dairy or wheat, corn is being put on the back burner momentarily as well.

Sorry for the depressing post, it’s just the mood I’ve been the later part of today and wanted to get it off my chest.  Hopefully I can find light eventually after this long, dark and miserable tunnel I’m in.

easy peasy meatless monday

Kinley is convinced she started the Meatless Monday craze.  She has been following it (almost constantly) for close to a decade – who knows where she comes up with these things?  Just recently I noticed two communities who are taking on a day without meat – whether or not it’s on a Monday it still has a positive effect on our environment (and waistline – their words, not mine)!  Aspen, Colorado is the first city in the US to adopt Meatless Monday.  Restaurants, hospitals, schools and organizations are coming together to make this happen!

Ghent, Belgium has adopted Meatless Thursdays for over the past two years – with the town council proclaiming (although not mandating) living a day without meat.

Ghent has obviously been successful in their attempt, and hopefully Aspen will follow suit.  Aspen’s initiative just started this month and I feel that the more restaurants they get on board, the more popular it will become.  I will never preach to anyone that they have to become a vegetarian, it’s not how I roll.  I certainly do not like to be told what to do so would never do that to anyone else.  I will however share amazing and meatless meals on my blog because they are delicious and it’s how I eat.  So if you’re up for trying out just one meatless meal (or day) per week, this should be on your menu ;).

Veggie Fried Rice recipe adapted from Daily Garnish

  • 1/2c – 1c dry brown rice (I only had 1/2 cup so that’s all I used, so depending on how many people you’re serving increase the amount 1/4c per person)
  • 1-2T oil, divided
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 cups frozen peas and carrots
  • 1/2 cup frozen lima beans (or edamame)
  • 2T liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 1 egg
  • salt (to taste)
  • sesame seeds, optional

1. Cook the dry rice in either a rice cooker or on the stove top.  You can even do this the night before and keep in the fridge until you’re ready.

2.  Place half of the oil in the bottom of a large non-stick pan headed over medium-high heat (I used one shaped like a wok, but use anything you have!)

3. Into the pan, add the rice and cook for a few minutes to give it a ‘fried’ texture.

4. Add the carrots and frozen veggies and cook through.  It took awhile to get my carrots cooked, so if time is an issue and you don’t want crunchy carrots, pre-cook them for a few minutes.

5. Mix in the liquid aminos (or soy sauce) as well as the sesame seeds.  Create a hole in the center of the rice mixture.

6. Add the egg to the center and scramble it into the rice mixture.

7. Serve with chopsticks!

Worried about protein while eating vegetarian?  Don’t be.  The rice along with the peas creates a complete protein, and the addition of the egg increases it even more!  If you were to use edamame, that is considered a complete protein in and of itself as well.  I actually think I eat more protein now than when I used to include meat in my diet, mainly because I am more conscious of it and love experimenting with combinations of different grains and beans!

fruit with flair

Fruit salsa is surprisingly easy to make, and yet it seems like we never get around to making any!  This recipe is a variation of one that we have had at a few Pampered Chef parties – usually featured because the Pampered Chef Food Chopper makes this recipe a snap.  Don’t have a food chopper?  I’m sure it’ll work just fine to chop your fruit up into small pieces, it just might take a little bit longer.

Simple Fruit Salsa

  • 2 apples
  • 2 kiwis
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • zest & juice of one orange
  • 1T any fruit preserves (we used cherry)
  • a splash of lime juice
  • honey to taste (depending on sweetness of your fruit – add last if needed)

1. Wash your fruit

2. Chunk your fruit up to fit in the food chopper.

3. Chop everything in small batches and combine it all together in a bowl.

4. Add in the orange zest & juice, preserves and lime juice.  Mix well and add honey if necessary.

This also made a wonderful topper on my morning bowl of oats.  I also had some as an afternoon snack with some rice crackers – it’s so good!

carrots for breakfast

Many people, including myself most days, ignore vegetables in the morning.  I would rather have my oatmeal without broccoli or peas and definitely no salads… Only when I happen to have spinach in a smoothie do I seem to get a dose of veg in the morning, but to be honest, there are more mornings than not where I wait until later in the day to get my veggies in.  But not this morning.

Normally baked goods with carrots contain so much sugar and oil that it definitely outweighs the benefits of carrots haha.  This recipe is great in that regard because it contains only 1T of maple syrup and no oil, leaving only the vitamins and nutrients found in carrots!  This recipe is also vegan and gluten-free, making it a great treat for almost anyone!  I just started experimenting with gluten-free baking, and it did take a couple trips to the store to stock my cupboards with some of the staples.  The original recipe called for Sweet Rice and Teff flours, which I didn’t have, so I replaced it with my favorite gluten-free flour, oat.  I also made a few other changes that I typically do to recipes ;).

Vegan & Gluten Free Carrot Muffins

  • 1c sorghum flour
  • 3/4c oat flour
  • 1/2c millet flour
  • 1/2c tapioca starch/flour
  • 2 1/2t baking powder
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 2t cinnamon
  • 1/2t nutmeg
  • 1c finely grated carrots
  • 1/4c raisins (optional)
  • 2t vanilla
  • 1 flax egg (1T ground flax +2-3T warm water, let sit for 5 minutes and whisk)
  • 1c unsweetened organic soy milk (or non-dairy/dairy milk of your choice)
  • 1t vinegar (I used apple cider)
  • 1/3c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1T maple syrup
  • optional: pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350* and line a muffin pan with muffin wrappers.

2. Sift all dry ingredients into a large bowl.  Add in the carrots and raisins.

3. In a small bowl, combine the soy milk and vinegar.  Add in the applesauce, flax egg, maple syrup and vanilla.

4. Combine the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until fully incorporated (no risk of overmixing with gluten-free flours!).

5. Scoop into the muffin pan (I made 12 muffins).  And top each muffin with a sprinkling of pecans.

6. Bake for 20-22 minutes.  These won’t brown up too much, so make sure to test with a toothpick.

I was surprised with how big these muffins got!  Usually vegan baked goods don’t puff or spread that much, but these definitely did!  They also did not have the extremely grainy texture that is common in gluten-free goods, I think because I didn’t use rice flour?  I’m getting used to this gluten-free baking!  Glad to have another success!

weeknight fiesta

I LOVE mexican food.  Salsa, guacamole, refried beans, rice, tortilla chips… so when it was Kinley’s plan to include a meal of Vegan Tamales, I was in.

Disclaimer:  I didn’t make this meal.  I wasn’t even in the house when it was being made.  But, I enjoyed eating it and Kinley documented it perfectly so I couldn’t not include it!  The recipe was inspired by one she found online, but changed it a bit so I don’t have any reference link!

These were ready to go when I got back from my impromptu interview yesterday.  The only thing that wasn’t ready was the avocado!  So Kinley had to run out to the store quick to get a couple new ones to make some guacamole!  I tided myself over with a few of my favorite blue corn tortilla chips when I was waiting.

Vegan & Gluten Free Tamales

Corn Cake

  • 1 cup Masa Harina
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1 1/4 cup water

1. Bring water to a boil.  Dissolve the salt in the water and then add the Masa Harina stirring fast until it is fully incorporated.  This will be very thick.  Let cool while you start the filling.

Filling

  • 2 ears of corn, cut off the cobs but keep the husks for the wrapping
  • 1/2 can refried beans
  • 1/2 can black or pinto beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2T garlic powder
  • 1/2T onion powder
  • 1/2t cumin
  • 1t chili powder
  • squeeze of lime
  • salt to taste

2. Heat the corn, beans, tomatoes and spices in a pot and cook until heated through.

3. While heating the filling, split the masa harina mixture into 10 equal parts and roll into balls.

4. Once the filling is hot, lay out the corn husks in a cross pattern.  Flatten the ball of masa harina and top with about 1T of the filling.

5. Simply wrap the husks around the filling, flip over and add to a steamer basket (our rice cooker came with one!).  Continue with the remaining 9 masa harina balls.

6. Steam for about 20 minutes or until hot and steamy.

Serve with guacamole if you’d like!  And p.s. remove the husks before eating ;).

Easy Guacamole

1 Avocado

1/2t lime juice

Cumin and salt to taste

Mash everything together and it’s ready to eat!  This is the same guacamole that was served at my graduation party.

yes, this would happen to me

I mentioned in my post on Tuesday that I was heading to a job interview that afternoon, and I figured I would share the events surrounding my afternoon to be able to look back and see how completely ridiculous my life really is!

We ended up having terribly thunderstorms starting around 3pm.  Rain, thunder, lightning, it was crazy.  Luckily, even with my lazy nature kicking in that day, I was showered and pretty much ready to leave except for still being in sweats.  Part of the ‘assignment’ for my interview was to create a few promotional items and I would be pitching to the President and the Assistant General Manager.  I had everything done, and I printed them off around 3:15pm and put them in my padfolio so I was all set to go!

Around 3:30pm the power went out… and then briefly flickered back on and then went off again.  I didn’t think too much of it because I thought that it would flicker back on again soon.  Well… it didn’t… so I decided I would grab a snack since I was headed to a hard yoga class after the interview and did not want to go too hungry.  3:45pm I was done eating… power still not on.  So I brushed my teeth (in the dark), got dressed (in the dark), and grabbed my purse (you guessed it, in the dark) and headed out the door with padfolio in hand.  I hit the garage door opener…

Yeah, power was out.  Crap.  It was almost 4pm.  What to do?  Call dad.  Had to find the key to get in the side door of the garage.  Luckily it was not raining any longer so I wasn’t getting drenched.  Per his instruction, I pulled the red hangy thingy (technical term I think?), lifted up on the door and it only went up about a foot.  Crap.  Called dad again, he told me I needed to overpower it.  Okay, so I took off my cardigan and went to the garage door again.  Pulled it up… found my inner strength/adrenaline, and pushed that sucker up.  YES!

Got in the car, pulled the car out, and went back to close the door.  Crap.  I’m too short to reach the door…  I thought about leaving it up but wasn’t really liking the idea of our grill and bikes being left with an open garage door, because you never know who may be lurking around the neighborhood.  So what do I do?  Grab the garden rake.  Yes, garden rake.  I positioned it at the top of the garage door and pulled with all my might to close the door.  Got it!  Ran back out the side door, jumped in the car, turned the AC on full blast and drove on my way.

I was 2 minutes late.  Of course I had not saved their number in my phone so I could not call ahead.  I would have been fine with time but Milwaukee traffic can never behave when you need it to.  Thankfully, it wasn’t a problem and I was told that the President was not even going to make it to my interview because he got caught up with something else.  I still pitched my idea to the Assistant General Manager who seemed to like it, and she took notes and was going to give it to the President when he returned.  I was emailed yesterday morning as well and was told the President was impressed with my work – still waiting on the next step!

This was my third interview with the company (1 phone + 1 in-person with the President).  Based on review of the promotional items, I will be in for a fourth interview with the president (since he wasn’t at this one)… and then finally be on to the final interview.  It is safe to say that this is the greatest number of interviews I will [hopefully as long as I get to the next 2 rounds] ever go on.  I am praying it’s worth it in the end and I get the position.  I see it as a great fit for me so it’s just convincing the President and Assistant GM to see it too!  Hopefully the events surrounding the next two rounds do not compete with the events of this one!  At least I’ve got a story to share ;).

what i ate wednesday #5

Welcome to the 5th edition of What I Ate Wednesday!  I had a super productive day today and it was also filled with a few surprises!

Breakfast

Steel-cut oats + chia topped with a little coconut butter, a little peanut butter, a ton of blueberries and some peanut butter granola (I’m addicted).  Also had a cup of green tea with soy milk (I made it one full week without coffee and only one caffeine headache!).

After breakfast I started two loads of laundry, cleaned the bathroom and cleaned a few windows before my friend Emilee came and picked me up to go workout by the bluff at my [former] college.  We did the stairs a couple times and walked around campus.  It’s kind of ridiculous how many renovations/additions are going on – making it nicer when we’re not there to enjoy it anymore…  I was definitely up for a snack when we returned.

Mid-Morning Snack

Fruit bowl – grapes + cantaloupe!

After my snack pick-me-up, I continued to clean – my room, the living room, dining room, and finished + folded the laundry.  Oh, and I also mowed the front lawn.

Lunch

I got to lunch a little later than usual due to my high productivity!  Lunch was leftover quinoa salad with green beans, sun-dried tomatoes, kidney beans and oregano with a glass of almond milk and carrots :).

Also had some not-so-lemony gluten-free lemon chia bread.

Around this time I saw a posting on Facebook for a small part-time job a local bakery was hiring for.  I emailed in my resume and they emailed back shortly thereafter asking if I was available today for an interview!  Jeesh, so I finally jumped in the shower at this point and got ready.

Afternoon Snack

Ate some rice cakes w/ homemade Honey Almond Butter + TJ’s Organic Blueberry Preserves (the raisin-looking dollops) while getting ready to go.

I also had an apple on the way to the interview.  The job would be throughout the summer and would be a fun addition to my schedule – I’ll find out by tomorrow if I got it or not!

Dinner

Kinley made dinner when I was at my interview.  Vegan Tamales (recipe here!) with broccoli and homemade guacamole with blue corn tortilla chips.  Yum!

After dinner, Kin and I took Crosby on a “Freedom Walk”.  AKA when he is really good and doesn’t need to use a leash.  He loves being able to wander around and not be weighed down by the heavy collar haha.

He just loves it, hope your night was as good as his was!

 

just a touch of sweetness

I think I have said it in just about every post the past few days but weather this week has been AWFUL!  Fog, rain, more fog, thunderstorm, power outage, another thunderstorm, power outage…  Luckily the sun has finally made an appearance today (although not without a few scattered rain showers).  I did find one thing that makes even the darkest and stormiest days a little sweeter.  Although I would not attempt making this if you’re without power… I would imagine it would be quite time consuming ;).

We had some almonds sitting around and are currently out of almond butter, so of course I knew what I had to do.  It took me a few minutes to decide what flavor I wanted to add along with the almonds… I considered the Vanilla Maple + Cinnamon Almond Butter that was oh-so-tasty, but wanted to try something new.  This combination is just the perfect amount of sweetness to add to any day.  Or any AB&J sandwich.

Honey Almond Butter

  • 8 oz raw almonds
  • 1T honey
  • large pinch of salt
  • 2-3T grapeseed oil

1.  Bake the almonds at 325* for 15-18 minutes, stirring about 3-4 times throughout.  Let cool for 5 minutes.

2. Put almonds in a food processer and blend for 6-10 minutes, scraping down the sides as necessary until the almonds start to butterize.

3.  Add in the honey and salt, mix well.  It will most likely turn thick at this point, so add as much oil as necessary (I used 2T).

It really was just that easy!  The flavor is amazing and I am making myself hungry just writing about it!