Monthly Archives: September 2013

Spicy Chai Latte Blender Muffins

I love Saturday mornings, and I LOVE cold weather. It might be premature to say it’s ‘cold’ outside, but we’re getting there! Being a nurse, I used to work most Saturdays- especially since weekend shifts are the ones that you want to pick up when you’re new to the profession. I loved Saturdays for a different reason when I was working them- but now that we’ve got Gabs and I’m working less, Saturday mornings usually consist of: fresh brewed coffee, breakfast with the husband, snuggles with Gabs, and watching soccer while watching the sun come up.

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It’s great. I love it.

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Aaaand Gabs is 7 months now!! I’ve been without a phone for a couple days, so I don’t have a good new picture of her (Gasp! The horror!) but I’m sure that’ll be rectified soon. In the meantime, I have some delicious muffins for ya’ll.

You can make ’em in the blender.

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My mom recently got a Vitamix (totes jelly) and it came with a fantastic recipe book for making pretty much anything in a blender! I don’t have a Vitamix, but I just used my regular blender for the muffins and things turned out okay. Deliciously okay.

We changed up a couple things on the recipe to suit our tastes, aka less sugar, less chocolate chips (what?) and spicy chai latte mix.

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If the name of the recipe has ‘chai’ in it, that means it’s healthy right?? I don’t know, but these are super good and a perfect breakfast, snack, or post-workout re-fueler. In this case, a pre-workout snack- I’ve started going to some classes at my gym and am hooked. I don’t know how I keep going back because usually I can’t hardly move for 2 days after the class. Muscle Blast and Spin Class are my recommendations so far- each is led by an awesome instructor who is awesome at motivation and using music to keep up the intensity.

She made me do an extra set of push-ups because I merely mentioned Krispy Kreme in her class. Yeah. I LOVE intense fitness instructors though- I’m a glutton for punishment. Anyways, I usually save breakfast for after class, but these muffins are small enough and not super sweet, so they are a perfect energizer for a good workout.

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Best part about using a blender to make muffins? To clean the blender, Vitamix recommends just blending hot water and a drop of soap for 30 sec or so, and then rinsing. Then wah-LA! Clean! Changed my life.

Hope your weekend is wonderful!

~M

 

Blender Chai Latte Muffins 

adapted from the Vitamix recipe for Jamocha Tea Bread

Makes 12

INgredients:

{dry}

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3 TBSP spicy chai latte mix

{wet}

2 eggs

1 stick of butter, softened

1/2 greek yogurt

1/2 milk

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. In the blender, put all the {wet} ingredients. Once fully blended, add the blender mixture to the dry mixture and stir well. Add more chai mix to taste 🙂 Bake for about 20-22 minutes at 350 degrees.

Enjoy warm with BUTTER!!

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Filed under Baking, fitness, Food Stuffs., Uncategorized

Baby Art

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While I never really developed any artistic ability, I do want to give Gabsy a fighting chance. And even if she’s not terribly artistic either, we are always up for painting. Especially the kind of painting where it’s messy and edible.

It’s much easier for Gabs to paint than draw right now, since she has more interest in eating the crayons/colored pencils than color on paper. So we combined her two interests (putting things into her mouth and smearing food) into yogurt painting!

I didn’t come up with this idea (PINTEREST, as per usual) but the original momma used cool whip instead of yogurt. We had greek yogurt in the house so that’s what we used! Besides the yogurt being chilly, it was a blast for both of us. We spent about an hour covered in breakfast, then another hour of Gabs splashing in the kitchen sink.

Can’t wait til next summer when sidewalk paint happens!

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{yogurt + food coloring= body paint} ** after a quick google, I read that Greek yogurt is awesome to use because it’s strained much more than regular yogurt so it’s a little easier on the baby digestive system than cool whip or any old yogurt. Having said that, babies are tough and can probably handle a tablespoon of any of those options, since that’s all that Gabs really tasted. She was too busy painting me. 🙂

~M

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Baked Cheesy Quinoa Mac

Ah, a breath of fresh air provided by my non-vegetarian sister. Felt gooood! I talk to her almost daily and it is so inspiring to hear her talk about her day whether it be at her internship or at work. Way to go Katie! Next step, doctorate. You know it’s gonna happen, even if you don’t accept it yet.

While she’s busy finishing school and eating her meat, I’ve been cooking up quinoa and deciding that cheese is my favorite. My cheese drawer in the fridge (I think that drawer is actually meant for lunch meat, but in its absence, it is filled with CHEESE) is absolutely packed.

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Goat cheese. Parmesan. Feta. Gruyere. Tillamook sharp cheddar. Boursin. Gouda. Fontina. Ay yi yi I can’t get enough! I was desperate for some mac’n’cheesy last week and cheesy quinoa mac is what I came up with, with some help a lot of help from Giada de Laurentiis.

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I got the recipe from her book , Giada At Home. A lot of times, I find that I don’t have half the ingredients that she calls for in her recipes (fresh herbs, weird pasta/grains, gourmet meats) but usually the recipes still work with the substitutions I use. Improv, dudes.

The recipe is actually online and available for you to see without having to purchase the book! Woohoo! My substitutions were: quinoa instead of farro, no mushrooms, no tomatoes, dried thyme, and I added cheese to the topping, obviously. Why didn’t I add the mushrooms/tomatoes?? That would have been delicious… I must have not had them on hand. Don’t leave them out!

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I used my leftovers all week in my lunches- usually just heated up and mixed into a salad, or eaten cold by the giant spoonful.

I’m totally into cooking large batches and eating leftovers for days right now- makes it SO easy to choose good things to eat for lunch. I started logging my eats in an app called “Lose It” and am slightly horrified at my habits- I don’t usually have a hard time eating healthy main meals, but my snackage logs more calories than my meals all combined! Niiiiice. Sounds like I have another challenge to undertake… or just delete the app. 🙂

In other news, we are SOOO ready for fall! I am a lover of cool weather, and bundling up to go outdoors. I am jittery with excitement for when I can wear sweats and put Gabs in a cozy tracksuit and hit the trail!

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~M

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Non-Vegetarian Sister

Major thanks to my wonderful sister for keeping you all going with reading material the last few months. Im sorry for having been away so long, I take a break and she goes vegetarian on me!? Although these meals look delicious and I truly do trust M’s talent in the kitchen, I’m not sure I could do tofu.
I really like meat.
Now that school is back in session and my internship has started, I plan on being much more diligent in my efforts to share my goings-on with you all. Because I am having some truly awesome experiences!
Because the nature of my job has a huge element of confidentiality, I hope my shortened version of experiences will still be able to show how much I am loving social work.
I’ve got a great group of supervisors both at school and my agency, but so far my relationship and dependency on God has blossomed in a way I didn’t expect. I wrestle a lot with being a follower of Jesus and being a person who advocates for others especially when the two vocations don’t mix. Or cant mix.

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(From A Voice in the Wind, by Francine Rivers)
It’s an awesome learning thing for me, and I am repeating to myself daily that God’s plan for me is greater than my plan for myself. Self-care has been underlined from the beginning as something that is necessary to my health and ability to do my job, so posts like M’s last week (even though I have no moppets yet!) made a big impact on my day.
Did anyone else gain from M’s post last week? I love how God uses so many different people with so many different talents to reveal Himself to us.

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~K

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Meatless Monday {unfortunately}

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It’s really not that unfortunate. Because these spring rolls are to die for. Having said that, I had my once-weekly ‘cheat’ Sunday gourmet burger yesterday and it was just so dang good. So dang good, in fact, that I think the memory of it will propel me into another successful vegetarian week.

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Remember when I told you that Joey ate tofu? This was the occasion in which he broke every man-law in order to help me make this vegetarian month happen. Did he love it? Nah. He did say it was acceptable for this month though. I think it helped that the tofu was fried 🙂

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This was a totally easy and quick dinner, and I’m thinking kids might like the fun-ness of it. I could be totally wrong though, Gabs wasn’t subjected to the ‘horrors’ of tofu just yet. Anyhow, here’s a meatless monday recipe for you!

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egg roll wrappers

sprouts

shredded cabbage, shredded carrots (i tossed with sesame ginger dressing)

fried tofu, seasoned with garlic powder and rice flour

miso ginger dressing

water for sealing egg roll wrappers

~ wrap it all up and either fry it in a little oil, or bake them! Takes about 5 minutes to assemble, and less time to fry.

I made a quick dipping sauce with a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, a pinch of sugar, and rice vinegar. Totes delish.

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I’m off to some more torture cycling class this morning, it’s killer but I’m always on top of the world after a good workout (and a shower). By the way, K does still contribute to this blog! She is a busy little stinker lately, but is coming at you with a life update shortly 🙂

~M

 

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Baked Eggplant Fries

Eggplant… Sounds grody, I know. Gabs is trying to master the sweet potatoes right now and judging by her response, she’ll be 35 before she tries eggplant.

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Joey has been up to his ears in work/school/harvest/beingadaddy&husband lately, and poor guy is putting up with my vegetarian challenge. Or mostly, anyway. I did hear something about a carne asada burrito the other day, but I didn’t push it. The guy ate tofu two nights ago, for Pete’s sake! He could eat a buffalo and I’d understand.

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I, however, am staying strong and sticking to the challenge. Besides my er,burger on Sunday, that is. And a few shrimp. Eh.

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Sheesh, we are a mess. A mostly vegetarian mess.

Joe had a dairy meeting the other night and I had an eggplant in the fridge. Naturally I made it into fries.

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I hate it when you try to make fries with vegetables and the recipe promises you they’re ‘just like the real french fries!!’ but they are basically just limp,soggy sticks of the veggies. That is NOT a fry.

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But these… These seriously give French fries a run for their money. I ate an entire eggplant myself, guys. That’s kinda weird but really delicious.

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~M

Baked Eggplant Fries
Adapted from Bon Apetit magazine

Ingredients
1 eggplant
1 cup brown rice flour
2 T garlic powder
1 t salt
3 T olive oil

Ice water

Directions
Cut eggplant into fries and submerge in ice water. It’s best to get at least 2 hours of soak time in the ice water, but I only soaked mine 20 minutes. (Soaking longer makes a crispier crust)

Mix together all dry ingredients, and generously coat eggplant strips with olive oil. Dredge in flour mixture and bake at 500 degrees for 20 minutes.

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Filed under Food Stuffs., Vegetables, vegetarian

A MOP and a MOPPET

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Yesterday’s MOPS was FANTASTIC! It started off fabulously by me being late (last minute wardrobe change due to surprise spit-up) and still getting a prime parking spot smack-dab in the front entrance. A kind MOPS leader waved me down and ushered me into the spot, and then helped me find the MOPPETS room for Gabby and made me feel so welcome!

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I walked in and was immediately welcomed by many other moms and leaders and quick hopped in the food line to grab some grub before the meeting started. Darn, I didn’t get a snapshot of the brunch spread, but the MOPS leaders sure put together some delicious food for us.

We all were seated at tables with some people we already knew, and some people we didn’t. I loved this, because I felt comfortable but still got to mingle with some sweet ladies I didn’t know before.

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Treat bags made for us by our awesome leaders who happen to by my aunt-in-law and cousin-in-law!

The theme this year for MOPS is “A Beautiful Mess”. The leaders introduced themselves by giving their names, and shared a picture of the messiest place in their home- that took some courage! I absolutely loved that they started the morning out this way. They were so real, and it was refreshing! The ladies at our table were also so funny and honest- we played a few ‘mixer games’ and got to learn a few interesting things about each other.

Being able to share this time with other “beautifully messy” moms was (and is) going to be a huge blessing for me this year. I absolutely love being a mom, and have a wonderfully happy baby, and supportive husband. Even having all those wonderful things, I still sometimes feel like a mess! And this year is going to be about embracing that. No matter how perfect I try to be, I’m never going to be- it’s all about the beauty that can come out of those difficult spots.

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I especially liked this snippet from our theme paper today: “Moms often feel like a mess. They are exhausted, under-showered, and hormonal. Their past and present circumstances and decisions can leave them feeling inadequate for God’s love and purposes. A Beautiful Mess- reminds moms that beauty can come out of their difficult spots. The grime of mothering young children brings the beauty of motherhood. The bruises of life can bring God’s redemption. Embrace Your Story- reminds moms that their past, present, and future can be used for good. God knows where each of us has been, where we are today, and has set in motion where we are headed.”

I only have the one kiddo, and get cranky when our house isn’t picked up. Ooooh boy, Mon- this MOPS sesh was meant for you.

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I loved this quote on our table too! (I know, I know, is there anything I didn’t love??) Last week was a rough week in our house- Gabby was sick with a cough and she was waking up every 3 hours throughout the night, and I had a hard time getting used to that schedule after being used to her sleeping through the night. That translated into me being short with my husband, (who is awesome, because he just easily accepted my apology, hugged me and told me to take a nap) and then I felt horrible for being short-tempered. Then I felt even more horrible because I thought, “I only have one kid?! What’s going to happen to me when I have eleven???” KIDDING.

I’m tellin’ ya though, that guilt cycle is vicious. Gotta control it with some prayer and MOPS.  EMBRACE bring imperfect.

Because that is what we all are. Beautifully. Even if you’re not a mom yet, everyone needs to know they are not alone and be reminded of God’s bigger purpose for us.

‘For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.’ Ephesians 2:10

~M

P.S. It’s my mom-in-law’s birthday today! We are going to celebrate tonight by going to the family favorite Mexican restaurant in town. My MIL is one of the strongest, gentlest people I know (yes, she manages to be both at once!) and I love her a LOT. A lot, a lot. She has been a big role model in my life, and also raised me a wonderful husband. Thanks Mom!

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