Monday, May 30, 2011


So I was tweeting (I was going to say twittering until I was schooled on the correct useage of the word Lol) with a fellow blogger/tweeter Jameil last week and she asked me about different foods I always have now that I didn't have before going vegan.  I think Jameil may love food as much as I do.  Lol  First let me say I don't technically consider myself vegan since I still eat tuna and salmon....but I'm headed in that direction.

Her question got me to really begin thinking about my food journey and all the ups and downs that come along with changing your diet in such a way.  It's funny because when people found out I was vegetarian I would always get the same response..."so you only eat fruit and vegetables."  I think that's so hilarious.  I think people equate VEG with vegetables and think that every thing else is off limits.  This is so far from the truth.

I've always, even when I was little, loved fruits, vegetables and grains so when I eliminated meat from my diet it wasn't a huge adjustment.  Around the age of 19 or 20 I gave up beef.  There were a few times where I would indulge (anytime I went to Benihana) but for the most part only ate chicken and turkey which I eventually gave up in 2009.  Shortly after I stopped eating dairy, which was a little more difficult since I LOVED everything dairy.  I would use it in excess and am surprised I don't have high cholesterol or heart problems as a result. I loved it so much that even though it would kill my stomach I would still indulge and pay for it seriously later.  Crazy right?  My daughter has severe allergies and eczema and we've noticed that she's has significantly less trouble with them after giving up dairy.  It's funny how changing your diet in small ways can impact your health in such a way. 

I've always enjoyed honey.  I would eat in on my toast, and love it in my tea.  It wasn't until recently that I learned about Blue Agave honey and began to use that and it's become a staple in our house.  I've heard recently that it's not too much better than actual sugar, so I'll have to do a little more research and find an alternative.  But in the meantime I'll stick with the Agave as my sweetener.  I used to always use Turbinado or raw sugar, but we've kind of steered away from using that also.

I wanted to get away from using all purpose white flour and began using Spelt which is a wheat flour that's supposed to have a lower percentage of carbohydrates and fat.  I also read somewhere that all purpose flour has a negative impact on joints and since I'm having arthritis issues I thought it best to remove this from my diet. Needless to say Spelt flour is also a staple in our house.

So here is a list of foods that we keep on hand or cook with frequently:

Quinoa pasta
Carob powder
Dayia Cheese shreds
Morning star meat crumbles/burgers/chicken strips & patties and bacon
Coconut oil
Vegetable Broth
Follow your heart Vegan sour cream
Almond milk
Nayonaise (vegan mayo)
Earth Balance dairy free butter
EnerG egg replacer
SOdelicious Vegan ice cream (YUM)
and of course there's always fresh fruit and veggies.  :) 

There are other things but this is all I can really come up with at the moment without running into the kitchen.  We eat a lot of the same meals we did before we just substitute or omit the meat from the recipe all together.  I'm learning a lot about how my body responds to certain foods I eat.  I've noticed how I feel drained and sluggish when eating certain foods or how I feel hungry shortly after eating others down to what foods give me energy and don't have me feening for like a crack head an hour later.

I was also asked what foods I miss since changing my diet.  Even though it hasn't been too difficult, there are days when I think about fried chicken, or when we're at the families for the holidays and I'm tempted to eat a piece of turkey and dressing.  My dressing was the BOMB!!!  And baked macaroni and cheese or ravioli!!!  I have been dying for some ravioli for months and am starting to think I'm going to have to break down and buy a pasta maker and make my own.  Oh and let me not forget to mention French toast. There's a place here in CO called the Egg & I and I swear they had the best french toast I've ever tasted.  I tried making a vegan french toast and.....lets just say it didn't go over too well.  Just GROSS!  There's somethings that you just cant alter and make them taste good no matter how hard you try.   I used to LOVE cheese much so that several months after I gave them up decided to try some.  Um...yeah...that didn't go over well either. They almost came right back up.  I felt sick for hours after and like I was on the verge of losing my lunch.  I haven't craved them sense. UGH!!! 

So there you have it.  A little bit about my food journey.  What we do currently works for us and for our family minus the little one and the 20 yr old.  The 20 year old will not succumb to the evils of our diet. Lol.  He's a funny character.  The little one is picky anyway and getting him to eat food PERIOD is a challenge.  If someone can help me overcome that little hurdle I'll be a happy person.

That's it for me for now.  Back at you all later and in the mean time.....Peace and Blessings.

Friday, May 27, 2011


It's so funny how fast time flies.  My children have grown right before my eyes and I don't even notice sometimes until there's some type of event that signifies their growth.  Have I ever mentioned how much I love my kids?  I really do.  As much as they drive me insane and I want to smack them upside their heads for doing and saying something crazy.  I love each one of them and am realizing now more than ever how much I need to cherish each and every moment, good and bad, because once these moments are gone...they're gone forever. 

My son is going on his 3rd year in college which is amazing to me.  It seems like just yesterday he was just starting high school and I was worrying about how he would make THAT transition.  Now he's an adult recently promoted to supervisor at his job and making his own way.  I couldn't be more proud.  I'm sure I've said that a million times and will probably say it a million more.

My daughter continuated with honors from 8th grade and will be in high school in the fall.  It's amazing how much she's grown even in the few short years we've been here in CO.  I was looking at a picture that we recently took and wondering when she got taller than me.  I've seen her grow from a sweet, shy, quiet little girl to an outgoing, witty, intelligent, amazingly talented young lady. I'm proud of how hard she works to maintain her grades and how committed she is being a great student.  How could a parent not love that?

Little one continues to impress us daily with how much he's learned this past year now that we've officially begun home schooling him.  It's funny because he'll say things or do something and I'm thinking; I don't even think that's a concept or a lesson that we've worked on and wonder how on earth he picked it up.  Kids truly are sponges.  I just have to find a way to get him to be more cooperative when it's time to sit down and study which has been sooo challenging.  Overall it was a great school year and I have to say I'm pretty pleased.

My eldest...21 started a new job recently.  I don't get to see what's going on with him in his daily life like I do with the other kids since he lives in MD, but I'm just as proud of him as I am of the others.  My baby is no longer a baby but officially a grown up.  We've had our ups and downs and our battles like most parents have with their kids.  He's had his struggles and has still endured.  I love when he calls me and tells me that he understands now all the lessons and the reasons behind the everything I've tried to teach them.  It's nice to know that he is finally getting it.  That's a great feeling.

And then there's my step daughter.  I'm looking forward to her visit next month and am so happy with her accomplishments this school year.  She started a new school in a new state and I was a little nervous about how things were going to go since she was so resistant about moving.  It turned out that she really loves her school and enjoys her teachers.  It seems like she's getting so much more out of her education now that she's in  a new state, new school and surrounded by new friends.  She's making better choices when it comes to her friends and I definitely love that.  She's excited about learning and calls us and tells us about projects that she's done, grades and even sends us presentations she's worked on so that we can see.  I love that she takes so much pride in her performance at school.

All the kids work my LAST nerve and often times I feel like they cant grow up fast enough, but I really do enjoy watching them grow and become unique little people with their own minds.  I love my babies!!!  Frustrating as they all can be at times.  But I think that's their job as kids.  Lol

Ok...that's my emotional moment....Peace and Blessings people!  Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Todays breakfast and dinner.......

I had been wanting muffins for a minute.  I'm not big on baking but since these are so simple (I know you guys are thinking to yourselves, "she says that about everything") I decided to go ahead and bite the bullet and make blueberry muffins.  I don't know what my hangup is about baking.  I'll do chocolate chip cookies and muffins and that's pretty much the extent of it for me.  I haven't been able to find chocolate without milk in it, with the exception of bakers chocolate so when I make cookies I just chop that up and use that instead of chips.  They turn out just as good, if not better.  Yummy.  Now I think I want some cookies.

We bought this book awhile back and although all the recipes aren't 100% vegan the one's in there that aren't I will just substitute the ingredients.  You all know I'm good for that.  Lol  I love a good dessert.  Ok who am I kidding.  I love food period.  

I love these muffins.  I always use a few more blueberries than the recipe calls for because I love a lot of fruit in my muffins.  I've used this same recipe and made raspberry muffins and a mixed berry muffin.  So delicious! Prep time is pretty quick...I keep forgetting to time it, but I would say ten minutes max and then 22 minutes to bake. 

The ingredients and process:

Most of these are staples in our household

Adding the blueberries

completed muffin mix

they say it makes 12 but it ALWAYS  only makes 11

Finished muffins

I had a ton of things to get done today and knew I wouldn't have time to come home and cook dinner after picking girlie up from school so I decided I would go ahead and start dinner and get that out of the way.  Blogger/twitter Canadian buddy Angela actually posted these little mini lasagne cups on her food blog and I couldn't resist.  I wanted to run to the grocery store the day I saw them and make it for dinner that night, they looked so good. 

I haven't had lasagne since we gave up dairy almost about 2 years ago I think.  I am a pasta fanatic and lasagne was probably one of my favorite foods but what's lasagne with out cheese?  Spaghetti I think.  Lol  I found a cheese called Daiya about a year ago, and it took some getting used to.  I can eat it in quesadillas, burritos and a few other things but using it in large amounts like you would need for lasagne or pizza just wasn't very pleasing.  I tried it on pizza and although it melted it didn't quite melt the way cheese did and had a weird oily slimy texture.  I know, NASTY right?  So I kind of hung up the idea of having lasagne. Oh woe is me. Well, that is until a few days ago. 

When I found this recipe I figured, because the cups are the size of muffins you would only need a little bit of cheese in each cup...THAT I can handle.  I have yet to find a vegan ricotta cheese or cottage cheese so I did substitutions like I ALWAYS do.  Lol.  I don't even know if it's possible to make either of those cheeses vegan, but you never know.  I was surprised to find vegan sour cream and cream cheese.  Who knew?  So that's what I chose to use instead.  So I'm going to need you all to be open minded for a sec. Ok?  Ok!  

I ended up melting some of the cream cheese, mozzarella, and sour cream into the sauce.  The cheese melts really well that way and actually thickened the sauce a little bit.  When I DID eat dairy, I would use that also along with ricotta and the other cheeses and it was always a hit.  I'd get requests for my lasagne constantly. 

I cheated using store bought marinara sauce because I was a little pressed for time and didn't feel like making my own sauce.  I have to say it turned out pretty good.  I'm not going to post pictures of the process because I got lazy and there really wasn't much to it.   The recipe called for wonton wrappers but the only brand I've ever seen has egg in it so that was out. I stuck with lasagne noodles, which was frustrating because those jokers are forever sticking no matter what I do.  If someone has a magic trick to resolve my little cooking dilemma PLEASE let me know.  I dumped so many noodles it was pitiful. 

So here they are:
Filled and ready for the oven
Out of the oven

Close up

See what I mean about the cheese not really melting?  They still look amazing to me and I'm anxiously awaiting dinner time.  It's taking all the discipline I have to not sample one.  

Alright....that's it for me.  Back at you all soon.

Peace and Blessings.

Monday, May 23, 2011

New design....

Hey People!!!  Happy Monday.

I was tired of my old blog design and wanted to change it to something that was more reflective of me and what my blog is about.  Since my entries are typically about my love of my family, food and myself I thought it was appropriate to have the header depict just that.  So here you have it.  My new blog.  I like it!

Wishing you all a wonderful week as I prepare for family members graduations and my little girlies continuation on Thursday.  Back at you all soon.

Peace and Blessings!!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011


While I was blogging about my spinach soup the other day and thinking about how much I really love spinach I started reminiscing about some of the food that I no longer eat that I used to really enjoyed.

When I lived in MN there was a restaurant called Copelands that has a New Orleans style menu.  I've heard the MN location actually closed some time ago which is really sad because the food was ridiculous!  I know they made tons of money off of me because I used to go there every chance I got.  My Sister and a few of my best friends threw me a surprise b-day party there when I turned 33 or 34.  Best party ever!  But that's a story for a different day.   Anyway....they had this spinach and artichoke dip and I swear it's the best I ever had.  I settled for Olive Gardens dip when we moved away, which was pretty good, but definitely not as good as Copelands.

Yesterday I decided to try my hand at  making a  vegan version to satisfy my craving and it turned out pretty good.  I'll have to play around with the measurements a bit because it was a little too zesty for me; I think it may be due to my not using fresh artichokes.  I was being lazy and didn't really feel like taking the time to cook them so I just decided to buy the ones that come in the jar.  I used spinach and artichokes of course and then a vegan cream cheese, vegan mozzarella instead of parmesan (haven't found a vegan parmesan cheese yet) sour cream, and a few other ingredients I can recall off the top of my head at the moment.  It wasn't really complicated and didn't take very long to prepare.  Everyone enjoyed it which you know always makes me happy.  I chose to serve it with some warmed garlic naan that we had....they actually went pretty well together.

I didn't take pictures of the preparation, but did take a picture of the finished product:

Finished Dip

Served with Garlic Naan 

Ok, I'm thinking I really need to not blog about food late at night because all it does is make me hungry and  tempts me into going and grabbing something to eat.  I don't think eating at 11:45 at night is really conducive to my desire to lose weight.  Guess I'll practice some self control and just take myself to sleep.  Night All!!! 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Wednesday's Dinner

Today's Friday I know.  I actually planned on posting this the other day but got a little side tracked.  That seems to happen a little to often, what can I say?

I love spinach.  It's probably one of my favorite vegetables and I'm certain I could find a way to add it to almost any meal and be happy.  I think I say that about most vegetables...  I'm a vegetable lover, sue me.  Lol

I was flipping through my soup book the other day and realized how many soups I skipped over when doing, or attempting rather, the 30 day soup challenge.  I failed miserably since I only made it half way.  I found a cream of spinach soup and since I love creamy soups and spinach I decided to give it a try.  It was pretty easy.  Spinach, vegetable broth, onions, soy milk, creamed coconut, salt and pepper and nutmeg.  I was a little skeptical about the nutmeg but decided I'd stick with the recipe.  You all know how tempted I am to change up a recipe...I'm a rebel.  Lol

I had planned on taking pictures of each step but there wasn't much required so I scratched that idea.  When I say this was simple I mean it.  All you had to do was sautee the onions, then spinach for 10 minutes, add the creamed coconut, vegetable broth seasoning, milk and then VOILA!  Sounds easy right.  So easy even my 5 year old could make this.  Ok....maybe I'm exaggerating a tad bit, but it really was something even the most unskilled cook could make and have it turn out perfectly.  I not then I strongly advise that person to STAY OUT THE KITCHEN!  Lol

With all that being always pictures:

Finished soup w/chives

Close up of soup

Soup with veggie wraps

Close up of veggies

I don't know why but for me wraps always seem to go so well with soup.  I added roasted zucchini and red peppers, onions, mushroom and tomato with a balsamic vinaigrette.  Delicious!  The soup was very tasty.  It didn't taste like spinach at all.  I cant really describe the flavor, but it was really good and the nutmeg was a great addition to give it that little zip.  We added cayenne to our individual bowls....we put cayenne on everything...don't ask.  Lol  

So there you have it....another tasty soup.  If anyone tries it, or has had it let me know your thoughts.

Happy Weekend.  Peace and Blessings!!! 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Time for a change...

This blog is officially UNDER CONSTRUCTION!
My blog isn't the only thing that's in need of remodel but no need going into all that.  I'll save that for a later time.  Let's just say this is where I'm going to start.  I've decided to make some much needed changes, because quite frankly I'm a little tired of the old design.  I don't feel that the way it is currently really conveys who I am as a person.  So....with that being said I'm looking forward to change.  I'm not the most creative person in the world...wait, let me rephrase that....I don't have a creative bone in my body would probably a little closer to the truth.  Let's see what I come up with. 

Alright, so until then......

Peace and Blessings!!!

Friday, May 6, 2011


Happy Friday People!!!

So it's Friday and it's a beautiful day outside. It's only just after 11am and already 68 degrees outside.  We're supposed to hit 80 today and you all know how I LOVE the heat and abhor the cold, so I'm looking forward to it.  You would think that since it's going to be so nice I'd have a little more energy but for some reason I already feel like I need a nap.  Did I mention it's only 11am?  Crazy!  I'm not even a nap type person.  Ugh!  I've got to find a way to get my energy up.

I'm a little bugged because as nice as it is and as nice as it's going to be this weekend, I'm not really going to be able to get out the way I would like because of my back.  It was horrible a few weeks back.  It actually locked up on me which it hasn't done in awhile and I couldn't even walk up or down the stairs.  I think it was about 3 or 4 days before I was actually able to really move around good.  These past few days it's actually been really hurting and I'm feeling that frustration come back.  I'm trying to be positive, but I'm really not seeing any end in sight with my back woes.  Ok....moving on before I really get upset.  UGH!

So my Locs are really coming along.  I'm amazed by how much they've grown in four months since starting them.  People always say the my hair grows really fast, and I've never felt like it, but when I look at the difference between now and then, WOW!  I went and got them done yesterday and I'm happy to say it wasn't as painful as it had been in the past.  I attribute that to the length now.  Yeay!   For those of you that missed it, I'm horribly tender the point where I always feel like a little kid on the verge of tears when I go to get my hair done.  Even prior to the Locs.  Sad isn't it?  I'll have to take a picture and post it so you all can see and compare also.

I'm so excited....there's an Ikea opening sometime in July.  I've missed it so much since moving from MN.  I was so disappointed when I found out there wasn't one here when we moved here.  There's also an H & M opening, if it hasn't already.  I'm hoping that it's already open because I need to find a continuation dress for my little girlie.  Finding shoes for her is going to be challenging because she wears a 10 and a half  or 11 depending on the shoe, plus her feet are really narrow.  Shoe shopping is going to be a pain in the butt.  I'm excited about finding something for her but the downside is, since she's such a tomboy I'm sure what ever we find will only get worn the one time.  Wish me happy shopping people.  Lol

Ok...that's all I've got for today.  Everyone have a safe weekend and Happy Mothers Day to all the Mom's out there.

Peace and Blessings!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

His Journey Continues....

Hey Good People!!!  It's been a minute.  I hope everyone had a nice and peaceful weekend.

So I was talking to the 2nd Son the other day... I don't really recall how he and I got on the subject but he stated that he was considering moving out with a friend in a few months. I've got some serious mixed feelings about it, but keeping in mind at the same time, it's not MY decision to make.  He had some issues when he was living in the dorms last year with his room mates, which I think he handled in a very mature manner, so I had to use that as an example when talking about this possible new situation.  I had to convey to him that getting an ACTUAL apartment with a friend is a little different than living in the dorms.

I explained that although they may be friends, known each other for some time and hang out quite a bit that's not a really good indicator of what it will be like to LIVE with that person.  I had to let him know that if they have a falling out he's committed to that lease and cant just up and leave, or if that person can make their share of the rent it will be his responsibility to pick up the slack.  I just don't think it's wise, although I'm not going to stand in the way of him having that experience and learning for himself.  I just want to point out all of the facts that he needs to be cognizant of going into the situation that he, being only 20, may not really think or be aware of.

Of course we talked about the financial aspect, bills, car, insurance, and still being able to have time for school responsibilities and studying.  He's been working quite a bit for the past few months but working full time may be a bit much while trying to juggle school.  Usually he doesn't start working until the end of April or first part of May but he's been working since the end of January which is great because it's given him the opportunity to save up more money.

He's a very responsible young man and I'm extremely proud of him and all his accomplishments up to this point in his life and I know that he's going to have to make his own decisions without my influence.  I feel like if he does move out, regardless of how it turns out, it's just yet one more step in his journey to adulthood.  I'm still amazed at the fact that he'll be starting his 3rd year in just a few short months, I know he is just as amazed because we were doing his fafsa the other day and when we got to the question about what year he'll be in when school starts he was like "wow!" That's so amazing. 

Now if I could get the others to hurry and grow up things will be just gravy.  Kidding....kind of.   Lol   I know once they're grown and gone I'll be sad, crying and lonely for my kiddies, but there are times....and I have to say it's been frequently lately where I feel like...UGH!!!  They just cant grow up fast enough.  I know I'm not the only parent out there that feels that way right?  RIGHT???  Lol

Ok All.  That's going to be it for me for now.  Just wanted drop by and let you all know I'm still here and share what's going on with our family over here.  Everyone have an enjoyable week and I'll be back with you soon.

Peace and Blessings!!!!!