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Hello blog it’s me again!
I’m finally taking a few minutes here to type out my thoughts on the last
eight months. It’s been a time of new beginnings, new opportunities, soul searching, adventures out of my comfort zone along with some farewells and goodbyes!

Eight months ago I left the job I had for over 20 years to embark on a new position at a Chiropractic office. I’m privileged to have had the opportunity to meet a fantastic doctor and having the advantage of learning new skills along with meeting a slew of awesome people. I don’t regret any of those decisions and it’s true that God always does work for our good even when we step off the beaten path he has paved for us.

Along with all the learning, studying and stretching that job did for me in getting me out of my comfort zone it also had me in comfortable no thinking of what to wear everyday stretchy pants!!

Don’t get me wrong it was a nice change of pace of not having to figure out what to wear everyday and sliding into those pajama type pants day in and day out BUTT ( hee hee) it was not a win win situation for my figure!!

Yes I’m 43 and I think I will always be conscious of what I look like and how I feel in my clothes but I’m not the one to go about changing myself in unhealthy ways or torturing myself to get there!! Those days are gone and let’s face it those quick miracle working programs and products do not produce lasting results and it’s just plain exhausting!

So…. This February I signed up for a 21 day fitness challenge 21 day fix and with most any fitness challenges they will always ask you to take your before pics. This is where I fell apart because when I looked at those pics I was automatically aware of what the last couple of months in a stretchy pant wearing and sitting office job had led to. It was not pretty but I took the attitude of start where you are and go from there and was happy with my 21 days of hard work! I lost about 9 pounds and liked the results.

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I was starting to feel like me again! Yay!

Then a month ago I got the news that my ex had remarried and although I knew it would happen it still hit me kind of hard. I was finally faced with reality of the finality of the end of our relationship. No more hoping, no more what ifs or maybes.. Done! It was time to turn the page only it isn’t as easy as most people think.

I still have my moments with it all but I’ve closed that chapter and frankly I don’t know why I have kept referring back over those pages for so long because the only thing they really served me were lessons!

Farewell and goodbye chapter #??

I also decided that although I liked what I was doing at the Chiro office it was not what I loved. After much praying and yes stressing out over it I made my way back to the world of my beloved little consignment boutique.repeat boutique

It’s where I belong and I’m finally feeling the pieces of life are falling into place.

What about those stretchy pants? Well they are folded up in a drawer and I’m back on track. I’m down about 5 more pounds and have about 5 more or so to go before I’m back at my fighting weight.

I’m not exactly doing everything by a certain formula or regimen but concentrating on healthy eating and exercise…. Funny how that works huh?

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We really make it so much harder then it really is.

In the end I’m just happy to say along with my friend Frank…. That I did it my way and it’s working!

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We got our first “snow” of the season today.I know you that live in the more northern states are laughing at me by now :lol: We don’t see a lot of snow here in Tennessee very often so we take what we can get. Waking up to our dusting this morning put my dogs in a frenzy. They are very spoiled little dachshunds and they don’t like the cold temps. I tend to spoil them a bit.

They love to be snuggled up on their heated throw and they dare you to move them. They are the funniest little creatures. They are my  fur babies and just like any mom I like to spoil them. I have been known to give them special meals quite often. I will chop up carrots and peas and throw them into their dogfood with some vegetable broth.They are happy little campers.They love carrots , apples and countless other pieces of veggies that may drop on the floor during my cooking sessions :D How could you resist that face ?

They were my inspiration today for my baking experiment. I wanted to make a little doggy snack for them. Just because I’m easing up a bit on the baked goods I have to channel my energy on other things :D

Apple Carrot Nibbles

1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 large apple (minced)

1/2 cup carrot (chopped)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup water

Pre -heat oven to 350

I chopped the apple and carrot in processor until nicely chopped.

In large bowl mix flour,oats,cinnamon and add to mixture apple,carrot,maple syrup,and water until mixture forms a dough.

Scoop out small mounds onto greased cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes and flip over and bake for another 10 minutes.

They were jumping for joy :D

I even had a little nibble myself and they were not too bad. I think the neighborhood dogs may get an early Christmas gift from their neighbors Buck  & Chuck.

These were very easy and it would make a sweet little gesture for the fur babies in your life or others.

Buck & Chuck say woof woof vegan dog treats rock :D

I am well into day two of my own little challenge. So far so good but I have not really been too many place to be tempted to eat goodies. It’s not that all the goodies are bad it’s just I have done an overload on them. I’m FINALLY starting to feel better. Having a cold is no fun and some of them seem like they want to hang on for dear life. I am easing back into my half training but I will probably only do 2 miles for the day. I am very eager to get back into it :D Once you start running and you stop for illness or injury it literally drives you crazy because I think your body craves it. To hear myself say that really makes me kind of chuckle because back in the days of high school I actually got failing grades in gym because I hated it so much. I remember when we had to run a mile and I thought I was going to die :shock: It just goes to show you anybody can change.

Today I wanted to spice up some potatoes. I couldn’t decide between sweet potatoes or white potatoes so I went for both :) Earlier this month I was introduced to a sweet and spicy marinade that I have just fallen in love with. It is all natural and its a great blend of spices and peppers.

Captain Rodney's

I have always been a sucker for sweet and sour sauces. I’m also a dipper :D I love to dip my veggies,bread,crackers and countless other things into dips. So I get excited when I find those things that are all natural and vegan.If I could only find a solution to ranch dressing!!!!! Here’s the website if you would like to check it out….. http://captainrodneys.com

Sweet Potato Pie

Sliced sweet & white potatoes

1/2 cup canned or fresh corn

Half of a sweet onion

1/2 cup Captain Rodney’s

3/4 cup – 1 cup water

1 tsp. garam masala

1/2 tsp Herbs De Provence

salt to taste

olive oil for drizzling

Pre-heat oven 10 425

I simply sliced 1 sweet potato and 1 white potato and layered in a casserole dish drizzling olive oil  and salting between layers. Add corn and sprinkle Herbs De Provence to top.You could add any spice you wish :)

Bake for 15 minutes

While potatoes are baking saute the chopped onion until carmelized and adding water ,garam masala and Captain Rodney’s

After 15 minutes take potatoes out of oven and pour mixture over top and bake for additional 15 minutes.

This turned out fabulous. It was just the perfect blend of sweet and savory. Those are my favorite combinations. Opposites do attract huh  ;)? I also liked the blend of both types of potatoes plus it gives your dish a lot of color :D

Well I must go and suit up for my 2 mile run maybe more we will see. I just figure it’s probably best to ease back into running when you have been under the weather for a week.

I hope you are having a splendid day… you deserve it :D

Challenge……don’t you just love that word? The very sound of it makes you feel a little stronger. I can can get in such a rut with the things I eat that I bore myself to tears :) There is such an abundance of beautiful fruits and veggies that I know are out there but because of my rut I give them the cold shoulder. In return my body starts telling me in subtle and not so subtle ways that it lacks certain nutrients and vitamins. For the past week I have been battling this awful cold thing and have felt so tired and lethargic. I have had to put my half marathon training plans on hold because I’m trying to allow my body to heal. I feel like I’m finally turning the corner and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel :D

During my resting time it has giving me the time to reflect upon what I have been putting into my body. Sure I focus on eating a vegetarian/vegan diet but what I realize is that in my attempt to veganize a lot of my holiday goodies that I have done this overload on sugar. I have become this mad chef turning my holiday cookies and cakes into the vegan variety. I have had quite a bit of success because you know that you have to taste test things :D My belief is that no food is the enemy but it’s how we eat these foods that become the enemy. Moderation is always the key. As much baking as I do around the holidays I am challenging myself to cut back on the baked goods for 14 days as kind of a cleanse.

I don’t like being sick and this is the sickest I have been in a long while :( I start today with paying closer attention to what I’m putting in my body. I will focus on eating more of a variety of fruits and veggies. I want to share this with for the next 14 days to keep me accountable. I feel like my body so needs this right now.I can’t wait to get back to my training and just to get back on track.

Do you ever get into eating ruts? Do you find it difficult sometimes to take rest days when you are not feeling your best? I know that ever since I started running that it’s sometimes difficult to take needed rest days because I love it so much.I am always curious how other people deal with these issues.

Until recently the only time I believe I had ever eaten a fig was when it was in a Fig Newton :lol: I had never tried them just on their own. I have always seen recipes where people had baked them so that’s what inspired me to pair them up with some roasted beets awhile back. I fell in love (swoon). I love their sweetness and chewy texture and their overall presentantion when baked up to golden goodness.

I believe figs are one of those fruits that are often misunderstood and very much looked over. If you asked most people what a fig was they would refer to the newton or the line in the Christmas song “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” :D That was me just up until a few weeks ago :oops: but now I am prepared to get Figgy with it.

Figgy Delights

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup spelt flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 cup sucanat or light brown sugar

1/4 cup organic granulated sugar

3/4 cup Earth Balance (softened)

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

2 chia eggs ( 1 Tbsp chia ground chia seeds to 1/4 cup water per egg)

Pre- heat oven to 375

Beat Earth Balance,sugars.vanilla and chia eggs until well combined.

Whisk together flours, salt and baking powder.

Add wet ingredients into dry and mix well.

Scoop out into mounds and try to create an indention in each cookie and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

When cookies have cooled fill centers with fig filling.

Fig Filling

About 1 1/4 cup dried figs

1/4 cup orange juice

1 Tbsp pre maple syrup

Process in a blender or processor until smooth texture forms.

Next time I make these I will probably make them more bite size but these are so good :D It makes a great Christmas time cookie. Don’t you wish they had a smell app for your computer ?

Have a good one ! :D

I have been eating a vegan diet now for about 6 months and I have to say I have not missed eating meat that much at all. I do have to be honest and confess that there have been times when I have been in the presence of my mothers fried chicken that I want to cave but I don’t :)  I think the biggest thing for me  to give up has been cheese. I miss its creamy texture when melted and added to pasta or to have it grilled into a sandwich. Trying to substitute that has been difficult :( I know there are cheese alternatives out there but in my research you have to read labels carefully because not all non dairy cheese is vegan. They can be tricky with the ingredients so I do my investigating and I’m always plotting and thinking about what I can use to create the perfect cheesy sauce.

As I was sitting at my desk at work today I had a brainstorm from out of no where :idea: I came home and started scurrying around my kitchen to gather my ingredients. I felt like a mad scientist going from the fridge to the pantry and grabbing my spices :lol: Those hamsters were really spinning that wheel up there in my head.

Thus I introduce to you …….

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roasted Red Pepper & Walnut Alfredo Sauce

1 Roasted red bell pepper * See note at bottom of recipe

3/4 cup toasted walnuts

1 1/2 cup almond milk

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper or more if you like a lot of spice

Warm Almond milk and add yeast and spices while peppers are roasting. Place all ingredients into a blender or processor and blend.

Once blended place into sauce pan and add in 1 Tbsp flour mixed with 1 Tbsp water to thicken sauce. Heat until thickened a bit and serve over your favorite pasta :)

* To roast pepper cut in half, remove seeds and ly in a broiler pan or cast iron skillet. Rub with olive oil and broil until outer skin is blackened. When done remove blackened skin.

I have to say not too many of my brainstorms turn out to be great the first time around but this was very delicious. It was warm and toasty and hit the spot for a cheesy sauce craving :wink: It’s not even got out of the 30 degree temps here today but this sauce warmed me all the way down to my toes :oops:

 I served my sauce over whole wheat angel hair pasta with brocoli florets. Yum Yum Yum!

Happy Hump Day Everybody :D

Nothing goes to together better than cookies and tea. Ok so maybe everything goes better with cookies :D I used to be so intimidated by baking until I became vegan. I think being vegan has given me more inspiration to bake. I am still quite intrigued that you can bake yummy tasting baked goods without butter and eggs. I think I have fallen in love with chia seeds and the fact you can use them as an egg substitute. When I present my vegan goodies to my family and friends and I let them in on my secret ingredients I get a lot of confused looks and grimaces like I’m speaking in some foreign language but I  am proud to present these goodies to anyone and even prouder to proclaim them vegan :D

Being vegan has opened my taste buds to so many different things and I love coming up with new ideas to share with others. When I used to hear the word vegan I thought the same things that most people think….Tastless food….nothing could be farther from the truth. It’s a world of some the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten :D

LEMON TEA COOKIES

Pre-heat oven to 425

Mix together

1 cup Earth Balance

1/2 cup sugar

1 Chia egg ( 1 Tbsp ground chia seeds to 1/4 cup water)

 Stir In….

3 tsp. lemon extract

Sift together and stir in….

3 cups all – purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

Roll out onto floured area and cut into shapes if desired. Bake for 10 minutes. Brush with Lemon Glaze and enjoy with your favorite cup of tea or anything that makes you happy :D

Lemon Glaze

Mix together…..

3/4 cup powdered sugar

11/2  Tbsp almond milk

1 Tbsp Lemon Extract

The perfect pick me up on this cold rainy day. Being from the south I have always enjoyed my sweet iced tea in the summer time months but I have absolutely fallen for hot tea this season. I am enjoying this very yummy peach tea and I also have a peppermint tea that is delish.So if you will excuse me I’m going to go enjoy my tea and cookies :)

Enjoy your day :D

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