Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wonderful things

I finally had a good workout!  Jessica our instructor is so inspiring and fit! She's such a buzz of energy!  I just want a cup full of her enthusiasm.   I realize she's still in her 20's which makes me well over a decade older than her but I can still feel inspired by her.  Her energy helps pump me up and to see women older than me that look rock hard and trim...that's just as inspiring.  That means to me that it's possible to have just as much energy and look the best I can in my forties as these girls do in their twenties.

Did I say forties?

Well, I may not be as energetic as Jessica but I do feel way more fit and healthy now than I did in my twenties and thirties.  I know that if I stick with a program of exercising daily and keep up on good food, I can feel even better.

Work out evenings also equal quick dinner options.  There was one last bag of precooked brown rice in the freezer and I knew the perfect thing to have with it.

I have to say that red Thai curry paste and coconut milk are wonderful things.  You can change up the heat and flavor depending on how much paste you use, you can mix and match whatever vegetables you want.  The textures and some of the flavors will change, but you will always have that rich and creamy curry sauce to keep it cozy.  I use light coconut milk to try and lower the fat I'm taking in.  Since this dish is meat free, it has zero cholesterol.
I started by cooking up some sliced button mushrooms and fresh rapini.
When the rapini was wilted enough I added some cubed tempeh.
I threw in a frozen bag of mixed carrots, cauliflower, Lima beans, green beans and zucchini.  I try and keep a few bags of mixed frozen veg in the freezer for quick add ons.
A nice dollop of red Thai curry paste (we like ours with some heat).
Mixed in the curry paste well.
Added two cans of light coconut milk, stirred a bit and let simmer about ten minutes.
Served over the brown rice.
I love this sauce!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Always have on hand

For those evenings when I'm running low on time or just needing something quick I always make sure to have my staples on hand to make roasted veg and pasta. Tonight was one of those nights.  I changed into my Jazzercise gear today at work only to begin feeling ill later and never made it to class.  I repacked my gear for tomorrow.  I'm having some vertigo I think from my allergies.  The oak pollen is troublesome for me. 
Chris noticed I wasn't feeling 100% and wanted to help so he chopped up the veg (onion, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, garlic and cherry tomatoes) for me and we roasted them until browned on top.
Pureed the veg with some salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and a little honey.
Some toasted pine nuts.
Tossed the veg puree with cooked pasta and topped with the nuts.  For this dish we used brown rice pasta.
My shadow Max.  If I'm in the kitchen, he's in the kitchen.  At least now I have a crumb catcher for those items that make it to the floor.  He's a good little guy. 
Another friendly greeting from my little man.  He told me, "You are beautiful mommy."  I asked him how he became so sweet and he replied.  "I opened the frig."   

He knows the frig holds yummy things like vanilla almond milk, kumquat marmalade, homemade peach preserves, his cherry yogurt, red grapes and maple syrup.  All the things my little sweet tooth likes. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Just in time

Nothing beats the work day blues like the weekend.  It came just in time.  I really needed a couple of days to familiarize myself again with my life and get away from the drama. 

It's been a great weekend.  Saturday Nanna joined me and the kids as we did our monthly Whole Foods run and weekly groceries.  We all had dinner together and it was fantastic.  Nannu made some awesome stuffed squash and we threw together some roasted veg for a side.  There were no leftovers.

Sunday was packed full of more items.  Got one of the car's oil changed, picked up some seeds to plant, organizational items for the house, Chris pruned some trees, cleaned house, finished the laundry, organized the pantry, washed Max, washed the floors, organized my closet, dresser and bookshelves and began to tackle more then realized it was time to start dinner. 
Another lovely batch of Forbidden Rice!  The recipe is from Whole Foods and can be found here. This time I added edamame instead of canned beans.  I really liked the edamame because they still held some texture to them.  I added some seitan sausage for extra flavor. 
Someone was so proud of getting his pjs on himself, he had to celebrate.  He prefers to try and dress himself.  Not always perfect, but he manages. 

I'm trying to calm my stomach as I sit and write this evening.  The rest of the house is sleeping and I just needed a little time to myself to sit, write and stare at the TV.  I know Monday morning is fast approaching and I'm trying to soak in every moment of this weekend that I can. 

Insert motivational photo here.  Tomorrow is a new day.  I will smile at the sunrise and be thankful.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Just keep moving forward

Here is an image of frustration.  I'm feeling this way today.  Even though I try my best to let things roll off my back or to see the brighter side, I have a point where I just get fed up.

Work....it's a pain in my ass.  I'll just deal and move on.  I have bills to pay. 

This will not be my forever.  I will find it.  Or maybe it will find me.  The passion to push me
in the right direction.  Until then, I'll just keep moving forward.  Hoping, waiting, searching...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Like candy

I believe now that one of my favorite ways to cook veg is to roast them.  It always brings out more bold flavors from the food.  Steamed caulflower compared to roasted are two different animals.  With steaming cauliflower and needs the help of butter and such to bring back any savory or sweetness flavors.  When you roast them, they become these creamy, rich and sweet delights.  Same goes for carrots, parsnips, squash, potatoes.....anything!  I love to roast!
Here I made some roasted cauliflower with chick peas (garbanzo beans).  The chick peas become crunchy and meaty tasting.  Very good.    This is so easy too.  Just toss the cauliflower and chick peas with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, then roast in the oven at about 400 degrees until browned.  I'm still working on getting a good roast down...without any oil.  So I use just enough to barely coat.
Here I have a simple toss about of summer squash, zuchinni and mushrooms with a little soy sauce, salt and pepper.
For those nights when I'm pressed for time I make a dish like this.  I just sweat some onions and peppers add a couple jars of marinara sauce, some green olives and veggie meatballs.  Served over some whole wheat pasta.
Bella loves to read. Her reading level seems to almost be that of an adult it seems. Hell, I know she reads better than some adults.... Here she is reading a story online to Kristjan.  Sometimes I catch Bella reading Kristjan books in his room.  So cute.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Just to be funny

This gave me a chuckle.  Thought I would share.

Monday, February 13, 2012

What really matters

Something happens inside you when you face fear.  When you let the unknown take over and your imagination goes to the dark side. 
You think about those you may leave behind and how it's too soon.  You haven't seen or done enough in this life yet.

Perhaps the worry is silly, everything will be ok.  Then what?  Go back to being impatient?  Not that you don't appreciate, but it's taken for granted.  Daily.  When you aren't present in the moment but always focused on the tasks to complete in the future.  Always thinking ahead, leaves the present behind.

Then there is a clearing in the mind.  Room for a little peace, no matter what the end results are.

You reevaluate your life and what is truly important.  You weigh the petty anger you feel in aggravating circumstances.  You realize that all you can do is try to help others and if they can't think beyond their closed mind...just let it go.  You find out that it's senseless to rehash the past or be upset about the ghosts that have been.  You realize your worth.  Your importance of being.  Not for yourself, but for your family and friends.  Those whose lives depend on you or cherish your company.

You find that the most precious gift is health and life.  To spend this life with your family and to soak in all of the moments you have.  To live with your heart, without fear.  If you live each moment with a full heart, you are truly living.  If you eat the best food you know your body needs, you are truly trying.  To be present with your children, to love them.  You then know you are helping them grow and they know they are loved.

Sorry if I am confusing you.  I am just so happy right now.  I wasn't a few days ago as I had another bout of pancreatitis, being scared to my core, crying, doctor's visits, more doctor's visits, bloodwork, MRI and then results. 

The results were good and all is fine now.  I was given new instructions to go with that.  Apparently my pancreas is so sensitive to alcohol I can now only drink about four times a year or wait three months after having a few drinks.  That and I have to watch my protein intake.  That's right.  A vegan that was ingesting too much protein.  How is that possible when I eat no meat?  I thought that was a funny revelation.

During my scare, I felt fear, anger and then peace. It's a great feeling to know that the bugs in everyday life are just a nuisance.  Work, money, price of gas, government woes, co-workers, traffic, etc.  All really don't stress me out anymore.  They are either beyond my control or not worth my health to fuss with.  Just do your best, be calm and let it go...

All that truly matters to me is my health, my family and my dear friends. 

This cute little guy
This wonderful man and this perfect little girl.

I want to be here for them as long as I can.  To love them, play with them and take care of them.  Family and friends are truly a gift.  They are your anchor and your peace.  Love them.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Finally some food!

I apologize for the snooze.  I'll elaborate on another post.  Life kind of got in the way for a bit.  Until then...here is some food!
Baked sweet potatoes topped with Italian seitan sausage, mushrooms onions and red bell pepper.
My first attempt at making spaghetti squash.  Chris and I made this dish, he prepared the spaghetti squash after having to google what we were to do with it!  Here we have sauteed spinach with garlic, roasted cauliflower and spaghetti squash with fresh cherry tomatoes.

We found a new rice to love.  It's called Forbidden Rice.  It's black as coal, but sweet as honey.  It totally rocks.  I love it.  Here I'm heating up some onions, peppers, apple and maple seitan sausage with garlic.

There on the left is that black gorgeous rice awaiting its addition along with some pinto beans and then some left raw chopped peppers and onions for the end.
My first attempt at acorn squash.  Actually, I hadn't had the vegetable since I was a child and remembered I didn't care for it back then.  I totally dig it now!  Holy cow!  Very rich and sweet.  I added a bit of brown sugar and chopped pecans on top.
The completed forbidden rice dish.  Looks like there is more stuff than rice. Next time I may add more rice to the mix.
My plate before I devoured it.  I'll be making more of those squash again.

So far I haven't met a squash I didn't love.  Butternut, spaghetti, acorn, pumpkin, summer and zucchini.  Gotta find some more and give them a try.  I'm on a roll here.  Winter veg is so rich and yummy.