Friday, April 18, 2014

red hair and green thumbs!

Work has been crazy over stressful the last couple of weeks.  I have been eating bad and not walking (it's been HOT too).  My serenity lately has been the backyard in the evenings.  It is the PERFECT time of the year for eating out back and kicking back watching TV (yes, we have a TV out back lol).  However, our backyard has been lacking plants as one of the foster puppies ate most of them last year.  Our favorite papasan chair has been beaten up by the sun.  Our dinning table is way to large for us now and we end up just placing junk on it.  Here is a before photo showing the mess:


You can see that we covered the papasan with an ugly quilt, the table with a DIY project on it, bathing suits drying and just ICK looking.  My first thought was to replace the table with a smaller bar top table for the husband and I to enjoy.  Our first stop at Home Depot and we were done looking.  Quick and easy!  Trying to get the employees there to pull the correct boxes, that was NOT quick and easy.  We also found two chairs we liked to create a smaller sitting area for morning coffee.  My plan was to create three different areas: Sitting for coffee, Bar top for beer and TV and Papasan relaxing and napping!  Here is the bar top table and the start of the sitting area:

Last Sunday morning I enjoyed coffee and watched some Netflix on my tablet, heaven!  We also took our wine barrel we had been putting our Christmas tree in and made a planter out of it, but somehow if forgot to take any photos of it!

The Friday before last weekend I made a cover for the papasan cushion that turned out great!  I used an outdoor fabric that should hold up pretty nice and I love how the dog hair just shakes right off of it.  The girls Mazie and Daphne love it too!  The cover was really easy to make.  I measured the size of the cushion, added two inches to each side, laid the cushion on top of the material and traced with a pen then added two inches to that.  I sewed around leaving the bottom open and added Velcro as a closure. The fun part was stuffing that HEAVY cushion inside, it kicked my BUTT.  I need the husband to help the next day.  Thinking of making Prada a matching dog bed to have outside for her using the same material.

We also spent time adding lights to the backyard (and new plants & lemon tree!).  We have a large palm tree we added white lights to and then I came up with the idea to hang a lantern over the waterfall.  The lantern has a timer candle inside and looks great at night!  I might add one more, now that we are in love with it. I still have a list a mile long of things I want to do; make a drop cloth curtain and the end of the patio for some privacy, add more planters, make a coffee table for the sitting area, etc.  I have to tell myself, "One project at a time!"  Which actually lead to what could me a new addiction for me - Fairy Gardens!

Fairy Garden - Phase I

So, I have seen these on Pintrest and thought they were kind of cute.  After looking more and more I knew I had to create one for my new patio!!  I found lots of blogs and did lots of reading as to how to start.  My Fairy's house would tell me the scale of the items I would want and of course I had to find the perfect Fairy!  I LOVE the customer service on eFairies.com and found both my house & Fairy there! I knew I wanted an English cottage type of house and the little Fairy holding the blue bird...OMG, loved her!  They shipped out the SAME day I ordered them and should be here by tomorrow!!  That will give me my starting place for size.  I did find a bottom planter, but plan on making my garden multiple levels...no, I can't start easy.  We will also be building a stand for the garden as I have found that Mazie enjoys eating the flowers out of my wine barrel planter.

Lots of DIY projects going on this weekend!  I can't wait to get started!!  Hoping keeping busy will keep me from eating vegan junk food!!  Have a great Easter and stay healthy!!



Tuesday, April 1, 2014

start the day off right! mediterranean tofu scramble

One of my favorite things to do come Saturday morning is make a HUGE tofu scramble.  I make enough to take my husband and I through Sunday, Monday and sometimes even Tuesday!  Every weekend I normally do something different, Mexican, Veggie, just depends on my mood and/or what I have in the house.  This weekend, Mediterranean with a side of homemade red potatoes!

When I grew up we had breakfast EVERY day.  Most days it was just cereal, but sometimes my dad would make something special like pancakes...or not special - like eggs.  I was never much of an egg fan.  Runny eggs totally freaked me out. Changing to a vegan lifestyle, lets just say...I had NO issues with giving up eggs.  If you have not tried making a scramble with tofu you are REALLY missing out.  Not only are they easy, but you can add any or all of YOUR favorite veggies!  Go crazy! Express yourself!


Mediterranean Tofu Scramble with Homemade Red Potatoes


Red Potatoes (I like to start these cooking first)

Ingredients
5 Red Potatoes (more or less as needed), julienne sliced
Salt
Pepper
Garlic Powder

Directions
Spray frying pan with cooking spray and heat on high.  Clean and slice potatoes and using a slicer cut julienne style.  Over high heat cook, adding salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste (8 minutes).  Turn heat down to med-high, flipping potatoes as needed and cook until crispy.

Mediterranean Tofu Scramble

Ingredients
1 Extra Firm Tofu
1 Red Onion, diced
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 14.5 oz Can of Artichoke Hearts, sliced
1 14.5 oz. Can of Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1 Bunch of Asparagus, cut into bite size pieces
1 Cup Sliced Mushrooms
2 T. Nutritional Yeast
Salt
Pepper
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Dried Basil
1 teaspoon Cumin
1/4 Cup Sun dried Tomatoes
Sliced Black Olives
1 teaspoon Turmeric
2 teaspoons Balsamic Vinegar

Monday, March 24, 2014

vegan mexican pizza and weekend recap

How much can one person eat in a weekend?  Thinking WAY TOO much in my case!!  I have started giving myself a little more freedom when it comes to the weekend (still all vegan), and I am now paying for it.  Ugh, full and maybe a bit hungover from yesterday lol.

Weekend Recap

Friday we switched up the pizza I normally make and made a DELISH Vegan Mexican Pizza for dinner!  This had to be one of the best pizzas we have had in a while AND really made us feel like we were eating good old junk food.



Vegan Mexican Pizza


Ingredients
1 Whole Wheat Pizza Crust (we buy ours from Whole Foods)
1 Can Refried Beans
1 Onion, sliced
Peppers, sliced
Jalapeno Peppers, sliced
1 Can Sliced Black Olives
1 Tomato, diced
Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes to taste

Friday, March 21, 2014

what, it's friday already?

TGIF

Really, where did this week go?  To top it all off - I have hardly gone out to walk after work (maybe just Wednesday night) and some how I have dropped MAJOR weight this week!  I am now at my all time low of 137.4 making my weight loss since January 23 lbs.  Dang!

I have to say Wednesday night was a great night.  The boy child and husband went to the Suns basketball game, leaving me home for a nice QUIET evening.  Daphne joined me for a walk and then it was leftovers for dinner.  However on the walk I decided my evening was going to consist of watching Talking Dead (I had missed it Sunday), hot tea and some AMAZING apple slices with raw peanut butter, walnuts and vegan chocolate chips...they were all I could think about as I was walking!  LOL!  It was such a nice night and the boys had a BLAST at the game as well.  My evening got a little more special as the girl child came home from work around 8pm and actually JOINED me on the couch to watch TV.  She's 17 now, and that hardly EVER happens...wait...I think the last time was Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

epic st. paddy's day!

St. Patrick's Day in our house is more than corn beef (and vegan corn beef) it is also the day my wonderful and handsome son was born!  Yesterday my boy child turned 14 years-old!!  Both my husband and daughter had to work yesterday, so for the first time in awhile we had a FAMILY dinner TOGETHER on Sunday to celebrate!  It has been awhile since we all ate together at the table, and it was really nice to see my lovely family all there.

I promised the boy child I would make corn beef just for him (and that was all he ate), but the rest of the meal was 100% vegan.  This was my first St. Patrick's Day meal as a vegan and thank God for the internet as I found my recipes for that evening all on one bloggers website - Fat Free Vegan Kitchen!  I made vegan corn beef (using Tofurky Roast Beef Style Deli Slices for my meat), cabbage, roasted red potatoes and Irish Soda Bread!  All amazing!!  I was a little under the weather all weekend, but the meal was so easy to cook up that we might have to have it again sometime during the year.

Monday night still had to be celebrated, so grandma and I took the boy child out for dinner where his sister worked (about the only way I can get my daughter to do anything for me is visit her at work and MAKE her wait on me LOL!).  We enjoyed pizza (mine vegan) and then his wonderful sister surprised him with cupcakes and birthday candles to blow out!  Later this week for his birthday gift dad is taking him to the Sun's game for a boy's night out!!  They'll have a blast and I'll have a quiet night at home!  I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful son and wish him nothing but a year of luck and love!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

why hit the gym when you can just go to your kid's playground?

Just this last month our neighborhood received a makeover at one of the little parks.  I thought, "Oh, fun some new playground equipment!"  Well, the other day I drove by and found lots of kids playing enjoying all of the new equipment and out of the corner of my eye I spotted something that slightly confused me.  It was an elliptical machine.  I kid you not, an elliptical machine.  Right smack in the middle of it all. I think I even asked my husband, "WTF, is that what I think it is?!?"

I wanted to find a photo online to share and wow, there are lots of companies who make playground equipment that looks oddly like the inside of a gym mom and dad would join.  So, what are we saying?  "Hey, kids fitness is fun!!"  Or do the makers (and buyers) think, "Darn there are some really fat kids at the park."  I would love for it to really be more about teaching kids that fitness is fun.  Today P.E. classes are nothing like they were when I was a kid.  I think my kids had less P.E. classes than I did.  I'm pretty sure I took it every semester from grade school until I graduated high school.  I would love to see kids learn to enjoy being physically fit and learn about health and living a healthy lifestyle.

As I am getting older I have learned that the body I have TODAY is the body I will have when I am say, SEVENTY.  What do I want my life to look like then?  Am I killing it off slowly now that I will have a low quality of life at 70?  I have become a believer that my body is a temple and I need to treat it as such.  There comes a day you have to look further down the road of your life and decide how you want that trip to look.

Overall I am just glad to know that I now no longer need to join the gym.  I'm sneaking down to the park when the kids are sleeping and getting in my workout!!

Staying on the whole "kid" theme here I have an EASY and HEALTHY snack that not only will your kids love, but you'll love as well!  I LOVE my dehydrator my husband bought me and found that making fruit roll ups are SO easy to make!!  This past weekend I whipped up a batch of Peach-Banana-Blueberry Swirl Fruit Roll Ups.  You can use ANY fruit which makes this so fun to make.


Peach-Banana-Blueberry Swirl Fruit Roll Ups


Ingredients
1 Banana
3 Cups of Peaches (fresh or frozen, thawed)
1 Cup of Blueberries (fresh or frozen, thawed)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

weekend food recap AND a new recipe!

Wow, Wednesday already?  Last weekend was a bit of a wash out with the rain that came our way, so what is one to do?  Cook!  I had a blast trying some new recipes, like making sushi for the first time, and was really happy when everything came out as I had hoped.  Here is a little recap of my weekend, a new recipe and a bit of this and that.  :)

Weekend Food Recap

Saturday I wanted to make up some raw vegan bars that would last through the week and make for a quick grab-and-go snack.  I found a recipe for Raw Vegan Orange Pistachio Bars that turned out GREAT!  They were not on the sweet side, so i would suggest sweetening them up if you're expecting more of that thing.

Next up was lunch.  I had no idea that my husband had never had Spring Rolls before!  Normally I make these for myself on weekends when he works since they are so fun and easy.  Really ANYTHING goes!  This is a great time to use up veggies in the fridge and make something yummy out of them!  I even had some spicy peanut sauce that worked great for dipping them in.  Mine had everything inside from zucchini, red pepper, mushrooms, avocado and sprouts!!  Have all of your veggies sliced up and then get rolling!