I participated in my second Vegan Food Swap last month and was super excited for all the new things to try. If you are not familiar with the Vegan Food Swap be sure to visit http://www.theverdantlife.com/p/vegan-food-swap.html to get more information. October will be the last one for the month as Cat is taking a few months off for the Holidays.
My Vegan Food Swap came from Shannon at http://leavesandflours.blogspot.com this month. I love that she helped satisfy my sweet tooth but also provided some raw treats to enjoy. There was not one thing in my swap that I had ever tried before and I loved that.
If I had to pick one thing that was my ABSOLUTE favorite it would be the maccaroons
One particular item that I liked less than the others were the sprouties but they were still not bad.
The chocolate bars were nothing I expected them to be. I shared the one with Sea Salt with my kids and they loved it. It took me a bite or two to get used to the taste but once I did there was no more sharing 🙂
Thank you Shannon-I will be out searching for a few of these items to add to my snack drawer at work.
This month I participated in my first ever Vegan Food Swap. The best way I can describe it is like a pen pal for Vegans except each month you get a new pen pal. You get matched up with your “pen pal” and set out to find some goodies to send out. You will will also get matched up with someone to receive a box of goodies. I think it’s kind of cool and after participating and receiving my goodies, I know its cool. Go ahead and check it out http://www.theverdantlife.com/p/vegan-food-swap.html Giving is just as much fun as receiving.
This month my match was Sage http://sageadderley.blogspot.com/ after checking out her blog I was pretty excited to see what kind of things I would receive. TBeing that this was my first swap I was NOT disappointed. I also live in a pretty rural area so finding Vegan goodies can be a little difficult. I had my items shipped to my office and boy was I glad I did that. The day the goodies arrived was a stressful day to say the least so receiving these snacks was just what the Dr. ordered and everyone in the office kept coming into my office very curious about what everything was.
One of my absolute favorite items are Chia seeds. I honestly eat these every single morning with dry oats, almonds, a banana and almond or rice milk. I was very excited to get more of these and see that they are carried at Trader Joes as I have been ordering them online.
The next item I couldn’t wait to tear into was the green beans. I nearly ate the entire bag the first day that I received them. What an awesome little snack. I knew my kids would enjoy these but unfortunately they didn’t last long enough for me to share them with them.
I have purchased Justin’s treats before for my kids but have never personally tried anything from them. Saturday I was having an extremely busy day and was running around like crazy trying to prepare my girls for the upcoming school year and found myself STARVING! When I got home I wanted something quick and easy to eat and tried out my peanut butter with a banana. It was really good. It was a little grainy and I am not sure if this is normal or if maybe I needed to knead the package but I would definitely have this again.
I have not tried this yet but will. I think I will add it to some tofu and make some type of yummy nachos.
These almost made me stop and buy a dehydrator. I have been contemplating buying one anyway and these are just the icing on the cake. SO SO SO SO GOOD! I will be making a trip to Trader Joe’s to pick some more of these up.
I LOVED all of the little snacks. I wish I could say that I had some of this left. I love Archer Farms brand and plan to check and see if my Target carries this particular snack.
This was probably my most favorite item in the box. It was another extremely busy day for me on Sunday and I was again out without any type of food to hold me over. I
walked fell in the door from exhaustion and starvation. OK, maybe a bit of an exaggeration but I was HUNGRY. I remembered I had this little treat waiting for me and planned on savoring it but honestly I do not remember one thing about the bar other than it was GOOD. I had read multiple postings about these bars and will be picking some up in the future to keep in my purse or car so I do not pass out (again a flare for the dramatics) while out running errands.
So there you have it! Anyone hungry? I am!! Thank you Sage! Everything was amazing! Can’t wait to see who I am matched up with September.
Back in the December I purchased a Groupon for Hot Yoga. I had always wanted to try yoga so I thought what better time than to try it out (10 classes for $20). It was not until early spring that I actually got around to using it.
Not really knowing what to expect I walked into class with my yoga mat and proceeded to sweat my A** off. When I say I sweat my A** off I do not just mean little beads of sweat or a damp sports bra. I mean slipping on the mat sweat , pouring off my face like a water faucet sweat, burning and stinging my eyes causing blindness sweat, sopping wet sports bra sweat. I think you get the picture.
I remember telling myself “normal people do not do this”, and that is when I remembered I am not normal. I am now hooked on Yoga and try to go at least once a week and as NASTY as I feel when I leave it does not compare to how great I feel inside.
So last week I decided to try a new recipe. When I decided to change my diet earlier this year one of the first blog’s I came across was Cara’s Cravings. I never actually tried anything, quite frankly because I was terrified of the ingredients that some of the recipes called for. After having a little bit more experience and walking up and down the aisles of Whole Foods I decided to venture back to try out some recipes.
Which brings me to Butternut Squash and Chickpea Patties with Grape-Avocado Salsa.
I had a ton of fun with this recipe and results did not disappoint.
Next time I make this recipe I would cut the grapes a little smaller. The recipe calls to cut them in half and I either had some ginormous grapes or they were really just supposed to be that big. For me personally I would dice them to give it a more salsa like appeal.
Moving onto the Butternut Squash and Chickpea Patties. These were absolutely delicious!! Again, I am learning as I go on this journey and each recipe is trial and error. The recipe calls for the squash to be peeled. I baked the squash first and then tried to peel it which proved to be a challenge since the squash was soft and mushy. The end product was still delicious but getting it finished was more difficult than what it needed to be.
I wish I could say I had a picture of the finished product…………..but another lesson learned with blogging………charge the camera. Head over to Cara’s Cravings to see the finished product and all her other cool recipes.
The #1 item on my bucket list was to go sky diving. Never in my life did I actually think that I would have been able to make this dream become a reality. Especially when I was carrying around an extra 80lbs due to the weight limits for this “adventure”. Well in August of 2011 I was able to cross this item off my bucket list.
My flight time was not until around 1pm in the afternoon but I had to get to the drop zone early to fill out all kinds of waivers and watch an ancient video about the risks of skydiving. I assume anyone who decides to venture into this extremely dangerous sport already knows the risk they are taking but this all for liability purposes so………
There was a lot of sitting and waiting and at first I was extremely annoyed and realizing I may be having second thoughts about crossing this off my bucket list. I think the excitement, nerves, and anticipation almost got the best of me. I also think that there is a reason they have you arrive so early prior to your jump time and it’s not only to watch the goofy video. As I was sitting there I watched groups go up and come back down, up and down, up and down, and as I watched these people go up and down my nerves also went down and the closer it came time for my jump I was almost ready. Well sort of.
It was now or never and this was something I had waited my entire adult life to do and I chose now. Going in the plane was a bit scary. After all it was a tiny plane that had been running all day and what if this time was the time it decided it didn’t want to work. There were also storms rolling in and winds were picking up and it appeared that they were going to have to shut everything down due to safety reasons. All I kept thinking was “I have gotten this far, I have to do this, I have to do this.”
I did it. I remember exactly what I was thinking as my feet were dangling over the side of an airplane in the air. It went something like “Oh Holy S**T.” I was really doing this and at this point there wasn’t much I could do if I decided I wanted to back out.
As soon as we jumped I closed my eyes. It took me a split second to realize that I may never be able to picture this again and that I needed to open my eyes and take it all in. As soon as I did everything hit me all at once. It was SO LOUD during those moments of free fall and VERY COLD but the adrenaline rush was something I had and haven’t since experienced before.
It was so beautiful and peaceful aside from me screaming and giving thumbs up to my camera guy and screaming “THIS IS AWESOME”
I’m not sure exactly how long we were free-falling. I remember in the moment it felt like forever but in reality I am sure it was not as long as it seemed.
After the chute was pulled it was really quiet. We were just floating and gliding and looking at the earth below us. I was having some really strong emotions going on that point but managed to suck them in (especially with some guy strapped to my back that I had just met 20 minutes earlier) The overall experience only lasted a few minutes but the memories will last forever.
I am working through trying to get some recipes that can be used as your everyday standby meal. Working full time, shuffling kids here and there, and trying to fit in workouts does not leave much room for preparing meals. One thing I have learned over the past few years when it comes to diet is that you need to plan ahead. So as I have started this journey I have done a ton of research searching for some recipes that are quick and easy yet healthy and will past the test of my youngest daughter who is my toughest critic. I am sure this has nothing to do with my epic fail at my first attempt in making tofu.
During my research I stumbled upon a blog called Daily Garnish by Emily Malone and found the Vegan Bean Burgers. They looked easy enough and I had all of the ingredients needed to make them so I decided to give them a go and see if they past the test.
The recipes calls for Pepita (pumpkin) seeds but I only had flax seeds. I opted to throw these in and see how it turned out.
Once I had all my ingredients prepped and ready to go I opted to use the food processor instead of the Vitamix. To be honest I am still a little scared of it and all it POWER. My husband laughs at me whenever I go to use it because of the fear he sees in my eyes. I am sure I will grow to love it but right now I’ll stick with what I know.
Once all the ingredients are added to the food processor its time to mix them all together to form a really ugly grayish/brown looking paste. Although the mixture does not look very appealing the finished product is wonderful.
The trick to this whole recipe is forming this mixture into patties. As the recipe calls for, I highly recommend getting your hands a little damp. This prevents the mixture from sticking to your hands. You may need to do this a few times during the process.
Now all that is left to do is pop these into the oven and let them bake. They will be dry and a little crispy on the outside but do not let this fool you. They are my new favorite burger. I dress them up with a little bit of fun to make them just right.
Once everything is ready to be assembled-You are ready to enjoy a delicious Vegan Bean Burger. The “little bit of fun” toppings are entirely up to you. The only thing I honestly think my burger was missing was a bit of tomato. “Oh Well” just gives me another reason to make them again. Enjoy!
I have only been rock climbing once in my life and the first time I decided to venture into this sport was in Las Vegas at Red Rock the day after I ran a 1/2 marathon. Luckily, the guide just happened to be a very good-looking, athletic, experienced rock climber.
The day started out with a Starbucks and a Ginormous Doughnut from the Hotel at New York New York. Breakfast of champions right there. “what? I just ran a 1/2 marathon-cut me some slack.”
We drove to the Red Rock Climbing center where we met our guide and were taken out to Red Rock Canyon where we would set up camp for the day. For anyone that thinks that Las Vegas is warm year round think again. It was absolutely FREEZING and I was not ready for how cold it was going to be. After a small hike to where we would be climbing our guide Andy went and got all the ropes set for us to start climbing.
While our guide was setting everything up I decided to take some photo opportunities. It was absolutely gorgeous despite the cooler temps. I can honestly say that was one of the most peaceful days of my life outside of being terrified to climb these giant rocks. It was so quiet and it felt like I was in my own little world.
It was now or never. The angel on my one shoulder was telling me “don’t do this” while the devil on the other shoulder was saying “c’mon, what are you waiting for you big chicken” Obviously, I listened to the little devil.
After I had reached the top during one of the climbs I just took a moment while I was up there to reflect and take a photo so I could remember this feeling. I think I climbed that day 3 different times. I walked away all bruised up from hitting my legs on the rocks but also knowing that a few years ago I never would have been able to accomplish all the things I accomplished that weekend. It was absolutely amazing to feel like I was on top of the world and not in an arrogant “I am so good” sense but more a “You did good kid, you did good” sense.
We ended the day with a drive through the rest of the conservation area and observing some more experienced climbers taking on some serious rocks. I hope to one day be able to experience the euphoria that I felt climbing those rocks in the cold Las Vegas air. I have searched for places in Michigan to climb but have come up short and I feel like going to an indoor gym will somehow not be anywhere on par with climbing an actual rock .