I am woman, hear me roar!

Happy Memorial Day! Thank you to all the women and men who have fought for our freedom. We are able to enjoy this beautiful weather this weekend because of the thousands who have sacrificed, and that’s something that we always need to remember and cherish.

This weekend was one for the books – that’s for sure. My beautiful mother came out Friday afternoon and stayed for the weekend with me. Friday we pampered ourselves with haircuts, a new hair dye for her – I took her back to her natural color from the typical highlights I’ve been doing, a fully satisfying vegan dinner, and a movie.

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My favorite vegan restaurant – we both got a compost plate with lentil burger – my mouth is watering right now just thinking about it. All of the food is amazing at this place but I can’t help but order the same thing every time. The flavors of the mac salad, sweet potato salad and lentil burger all compliment each other in an explosion of flavor in your mouth. It’s insane.

We both fell asleep during the movie and woke up just behind the sun rise Saturday morning & we were off! After a yummy vegetable hash breakfast with fresh fruit we ran to the market to pick up some fresh vegetables for the week, plants for the garden, and hanging plants that my mom took home with her 🙂

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We continued on to antique shops, garage sales, Ollies, and Home Depot to shop for furniture and nick nacks for my apartment. I’ve been here for 3 months now and I still don’t have a couch, kitchen table, pantry, or let alone things hanging on the walls. We got a few things – beautiful hand painted pictures, a green vintage banker’s desk lamp, and the most important — my new grill & patio set!

I feel like a grown woman now for sure. Check out how we were able to fit everything in the back of my ford focus. The men at home depot didn’t think we would be able to do it, my mom even doubted me, but “I am woman, hear me roar!”

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Only women have the mindset to figure things like this out – especially using flip flops to protect the glass window from breaking. Ha! Later on Sunday I got everything set up in my backyard. I’ve enjoyed laying in my anti-gravity chair and working at my patio table in the shade.

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After a long day of shopping, my mom and I went to a local Mexican joint and had some yummy margaritas and dinner. We rushed to the mall for the last two hours before closing, unsuccessfully finding new blouses for work, and called it a night. Phew, what a weekend!

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Today I spent the day preparing three different types of vegan burgers for grilling. All three are my own recipes (inspiration from Pinterest, obviously).

1. Curry Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burger

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled & cubed
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs curry powder
  • 2 tsp tumeric powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup cooked red quinoa
  • 1 cup black beans, cooked
  • flax egg (4 tbs flax seed with 1/2 cup water)

*I mixed all ingredients in my ninja storm (food processor) and added a little bit of coconut oil.

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*Chilled in fridge for 30 minutes, then 1 large scoop for each patty.

*Patties in freezer for 1 hour until very firm, then packaged individually in plastic freezer bags.

2. Smokey Beet Burger

  • 2 large beets, peeled & cubed
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils (cooked down in Cajun seasonings)
  • 1 cup brown rice, cooked
  • 2 tbs brown seeded mustard
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder

*I mixed all ingredients in my ninja storm (food processor).

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*Chilled in fridge for 30 minutes, then 1 large scoop for each patty.

*Patties in freezer for 1 hour until very firm, then packaged individually in plastic freezer bags.

3. Spicy Green Power Burger (contains gluten)

  • 3 kale leaves, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup diced asparagus
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup red lentils (cooked down in Cajun seasonings)
  • 3/4 cup brown rice, cooked
  • 1/2 cup whole grain oats
  • 1 tbs Sriracha sauce

*I mixed all ingredients in my ninja storm (food processor).

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*Chilled in fridge for 30 minutes, then 1 large scoop for each patty.

*Patties in freezer for 1 hour until very firm, then packaged individually in plastic freezer bags.

Very excited to enjoy these for the first few weeks of summer! When I have friends over I can easily offer them choices for their veggie burger with them individually packaged like this.

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I of course had to sample each of these on the grill tonight to make sure they were good — and they were! The sweet potato burger feel apart much easier than the other two – the quinoa is much drier than brown rice and I think this made a huge difference for binding (even with the flax eggs – which didn’t seem to do much at all).

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I also made some grilled veggies to top on salads for the week at school.

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I am jumping up and down in excitement for the summer now that I have my backyard all set up for entertaining! Yay! 23 days left of school — but who’s counting? 🙂



Inevitable and optional

“Being challenged is inevitable, being defeated is optional.”


I came across the above quote this afternoon when on my pinterest, doing my normal routine of searching for new recipe ideas, diy house ideas and fitness routines. Sadly, its been weeks since I’ve been to the gym… since my trip to Florida to be exact, so a month. I deleted that last sentence about five times before making myself keep it. I have felt defeated the last few weeks. School has been busy and the students have been squirrely and I’ve felt weak, not in control. Sleeping more than ever and letting the smallest things bring me down.

I mean, who am I kidding? I’m sure many people would have loved to be me this week — being filmed along with my students and colleagues by a national education foundation — whom is making a short resource video on our school. And on top of that being asked by the director to interview for an additional video they are working on as an expert practitioner critical of the stereotype theory and its impacts on student learning. I felt honored and amazing in the moment and still feel that way, but my body doesn’t. Being away from the gym has made me feel so sluggish and being so busy at school has made my eating habits not so great.

So, I am challenging myself today – to start fresh. Summer is upon us and I am so excited for the endless possibilities I will have. This is my first summer not working and I’m looking forward to having free time to exercise, DIY,  garden, and travel 🙂 I need to get me back into working order, mind, body, and soul.

At the grocery store today I stocked up on fresh fruit – pineapple, cantaloupe, apples, and strawberries for snacks before the gym after work. I also bought lots of greens! Broccoli, kale, beet greens, arugula and spring mix. This week I’m going to load up on my green vegetables the right way – raw!

Cooking anything strips the food of nutrients. Heat breaks down chemical bonds between vitamins, minerals, proteins, sugars, etc. Therefore, eating vegetables and fruits raw, with the skin (where all the fiber is!) allows for optimum nutrient intake.

Other than fresh salads and fruit for lunches this week I’m going to indulge in this powerful green stew:

1/2 red onion, 3 cloves garlic, 1/4 cup chopped carrot, 3 small sweet peppers chopped: sauteed in 1 tbs coconut oil.

Added to the vegetable stock- 1 zucchini, quartered and sliced, 2 cups beet greens, 2 cups kale, 1 can garbanzo beans, 1 can crushed tomatoes and a large amount of fresh cracked black pepper.

I put the lid on this and let simmer for 30 minutes and all of the flavors became a marriage of deliciousness!

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I also made some homemade peanut butter for snacking and breakfast (in my oatmeal or smoothie). And I roasted some of my broccoli and some baby bella mushrooms to add to salads.

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Here’s my dinner tonight alongside 2 huge glasses of water after workout #1 which consisted of legs, arms and abs. Tomorrow I will hit the gym and get back into the game! Watch out world, here I come!

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Happy Mother’s Day!

So, I got in my car right at 3:10 after school on Friday and I hit the road. I was exhausted from the week so I stopped and grabbed an iced soy mocha on the way from Starbucks (won a gift card this week for teacher appreciation…whoop!) and headed home to my mommy!

Friday night we had fresh walleye for dinner – caught by my very own mother dearest and stepdad – who grumbled with the way I prepared it. I lightly oiled the fish and topped it with freshly minced garlic, thinly sliced lemon, and cracked black pepper.

My mom and I also made roasted portobello mushrooms topped with leeks and tomato with roasted asparagus. Oh my, was this dish as to die for as it looks. My mouth is watering just thinking about how great it was.

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Saturday morning for breakfast was homemade buckwheat date pancakes. My mom found this recipe a while ago, something that my stepdad enjoys so she made them for us. Literally – 1 cup dates, 1.5 cups almond milk, 1.5 cups buckwheat flour, 1 tsp baking soda and cinnamon. WHOA!!! You’ve GOT to be kidding me! Look at how fluffy these things turned out without any egg or dairy! YUM! YUM! YUM! These are for sure a keeper in the recipe book for generations to come 🙂

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Oh and my momma also made this – sweet potato kale casserole. Nice a sweet flavor with the savory bitter kale. Great to munch on even for a snack or lunch! And why yes, a fresh fruit bowl too! Berries were on sale at tops this week so my mom stocked up… she is a woman after my own heart, clearly.

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For dinner Saturday we kept it simple because Sunday afternoon was the Mother’s day party. Fresh ground turkey burgers with kale and red peppers. I had just talked with my friend about veggie burgers and how I was hesitant to get into making them because I don’t want to eat the bread – she reminded me of a trick I’ve done before, just use lettuce leaves! Duh!

We dressed our turkey burgers with an garlic avocado cream sauce – did two cloves of garlic and boy was it zingy! Next time I’d probably just do one as it did take over the flavors of the burger. Stay tuned for veggie burger 101 this summer – it’s so going to be my thing 🙂

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Happy Mother’s Day! Sunday morning came real quick and I had already indulged so much in my mom’s cooking and cooking with her – it was my turn. Sadly I did not perform as well, but my bf will tell you that my mom’s a better cook anyway. I tried a pinterest recipe – baked portobello eggs. I’ve done baked eggs before and I was reminded as to how silly it is to make these. See, when I eat eggs (about once a week), I like a runny yolk… not running all over the plate or down your hand, but soft and runny enough to have a little liquid to mix in with veggies. So, when you bake eggs – there’s no such thing as a runny yolk. Runny whites, yes. Gross! I had to bake mine longer because it still had uncooked whites. Anyway, I topped them with rosemary, thyme and black pepper. The flavors were great. Mushroom could’ve been cooked longer – so next time I would cook the mushroom first and then add the egg. I also made a red potato, kale and broccoli hash with some left over turkey burger mixed in. All of which was anti-climatic, but my mom was pleased which is all that matters 🙂

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Here’s to all the wonderful mother’s out there that raise their daughters to be such independent, successful, beautiful women. I am blessed to have my mom. She is my rock and I don’t know where I would be without her in my life. Love you momma!

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“I am strong and wise and I know no fear”.

Oh and random, but TOO FUNNY… my grandfather is a lifelong dairy farmer. Yeah. Again, let me remind you that I drank milk and ate cheese with every meal for my entire life until two years ago. When I made the change he took it personal at first but after chatting about the research I had studied and how much better my body felt afterwards he did what any grandparent would, he hugged me and supported me. Anyways, here’s his bumper sticker on his car… typical 🙂

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Funky fungi

I bought the family value pack of baby bella, or crimini mushrooms this week and decided to try some new things with them. Mushrooms are loaded with vitamin B, specifically riboflavin – which helps to boost your metabolism. Besides their nutritional value and low calorie content, I just love love love mushrooms. I didn’t always – growing up as a kid I thought my sister was crazy when she would eat them out of the can… well I still do. Not a huge fan of the canned mushrooms, but give me a fresh fungus and I’ll go to town!

The local vegan restaurant has made “vegan jerky” before and it was made out of different mushrooms – tossed in soy sauce, or at least that’s what it tasted like. So, I decided to try it – I sliced the baby bella about 1/4 inch thick and spread them out on a cookie sheet that was lightly greased with olive oil.

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I put them in a 350 degree oven, about ten minutes per side & got this:

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Then I tossed them with a tiny bit more of olive oil and some spices (Rick’s Red Rub – my dad’s personal spice mix made mostly of red pepper, garlic and onion powder). They were delicious and I ate all of them within the day of making them — next time definitely have to make more at a time.

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Then with the rest of the mushrooms I made a mushroom bourguignon – Julia Child made beef bourguignon and it was a classic that many women cooked back in the day.  Instead of beef, obviously, I used mushrooms.

3 cups baby bellas, cleaned and cut in half

1/2 cup chopped red onion

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup chopped leeks

1/2 cup chopped carrot

1/2 cup Cabernet Sauvignon

1 cup vegetable stock

spices (black pepper, salt, thyme, sage)

When making bourguignon you start by caramelizing the vegetables in oil (I used 1 tbs coconut oil) on a medium-high heat. The purpose of this is to brown the bottom of the pan – this is where the magical flavors are created.

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After about 15 minutes, I lowered the heat and added the wine – scrapping off all of that brown yumminess off the bottom of the pan. Then the vegetable stock, spices, and covered it to simmer for 2 hours.

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With normal beef bourguignon you would follow the same directions but then you would let it simmer for hours to cook the meat. Ah, the joys of being meat free – it just doesn’t take as much time to make even more delicious and healthy food!

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For lunches this week I made the cauliflower quinoa salad that I spoke of last week. I followed the recipe exactly as explained on the blog. I used cilantro and scallions in the dressing & it is super addicting. The crunchiness of the roasted cauliflower and quinoa with the spicy jalapenos and tangy lime dressing is a powerful combo of bursting flavors in your mouth.

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This is for sure a summer salad go to!

Lastly, breakfast. Oh the dreaded breakfast. I just don’t have time or energy in the morning to make pancakes or waffles. I always see wonderful vegan, gluten free recipes on Pinterest and I want to make them but just never have. I will push myself to do it one of these weekends, promise! Anyways, I just get sick of eating my 7 grain oatmeal or eggs in the morning. Both of these choices I don’t particularly like eating in the first place. No matter what I eat for breakfast I’m always starving by 10am anyways. So, for this week I made my quinoa breakfast bake that I’ve done before. But instead of doing banana and apple I did one banana and 3/4 cup of pumpkin with nutmeg, cinnamon and almonds and walnuts. It really doesn’t need to be baked as there is no dairy or eggs in it but I like to anyways because it gives that nice crispy crust on top. I’m thinking this week when I eat it for breakfast that I’ll spoon it out into a hot frying pan so that its nice and crispy and then top it off with some nut butter or almond milk.


The weather is supposed to start warming up this week and the forecast has limited rain. Cinco de Mayo tomorrow – can’t wait to go dance and sing along to a live band with a tasty drink in my hand tomorrow night after school. Then for the rest of the week – tackling my gardening, finally! Oh an for snacks – something I’ve been doing this past week that I’m sure I’ll continue– Trader Joe’s everything crackers with my homemade peanut butter and sliced banana on top. Sounds strange, but the combination of salty, spicy and sweet is fantastic!

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