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Easter 2010

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” (1 Peter 1:3, NIV)

What a beautiful day!

I decided after the 10-miler yesterday and being a special day and all that I should have a special breakfast this morning. Which usually means…pancakes!

I called on the Pumpkin Pie Pancakes recipe from my Vegan Planet cookbook. The last time I made these, I substituted a lot of ingredients but this time I stuck to the recipe for the most part, only substituting applesauce for oil.

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I also cut the recipe in half so I wouldn’t have a lot of leftovers. They were so very good. Dense and yet still fluffy. I think the Silk almond milk helped too!

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I topped them with Dark Chocolate Dreams and sugar free syrup (trying to use it up) and had blackberries and coffee on the side 🙂

When we got home from church, I was really hungry and knew we were having a late lunch so I snacked on some mixed nuts.

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Lunch was nothing too special, except of course for the company. Anytime I have a disappointing restaurant/food experience, I always remember what my friend Carrie says: “So what if it’s not the best meal you’ve ever eaten, going out to dinner isn’t really about eating anyway, it’s about socializing, you can eat when you get home.”

We went to Our Best, which is a lot like Cracker Barrel with their southern style country cooking. Today was buffet style which was kind of disappointing because they usually have more veggies to choose from on their “regular” menu, but I just went with it.

I started off with some salad and a roll.

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When I went back through the line, I was sad to see the only thing really “safe” for me to eat was corn. My husband yelled at me from across the room not to eat the green beans – they were cooked in meat juice, he found out for me.

So corn, more salad and another roll it is!

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Believe it or not, I actually got pretty full. It wasn’t the best or most diverse meal ever, but I felt blessed to celebrate with our families, which definitely made it a special day 🙂

After lunch, I did some serious grocery shopping and since it was so warm and sunny outside, I said what the heck to another…

027 I am an addict. I need to at least start making these at home to save some money, right?

For dinner, I made a tasty Indian dish I found at Whole Foods.

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The only thing I dislike about products like this is that they aren’t as big as they look. The box said 2.5 servings but it was really more like 1.5 once I cooked it.

However, it was very good! Spicy, just the way I like it 😉 And still cheaper than an Indian restaurant.

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I had some leftover peas and 1/2 of a Greek pita (I’m multicultural today) on the side.

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As I am blogging, I am enjoying a POM spritzer, which is just POM wonderful juice and some seltzer. I’m going to write a longer post about POM at a later date since the company sent me some free samples 🙂

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Time to do some housework, homework and soak in the tub before going to bed. I’m still not too sore from the run yesterday, just some tightness in my quadriceps.

Hope you have had a blessed and beautiful Easter weekend 🙂

Tofu scramble is yummy

A few bloggers this week had posted their egg sandwiches and for the first time in over 5 months, I had a major craving for eggs!

But, since I am definitely committed to remaining vegan, I decided to go with the alternative…tofu!

001I made a tofu scramble with mushrooms, onion and spinach and 1/2 a block of firm tofu (crumbled) and a little bit of soy sausage.

I used Vegan Planet for inspiration but pretty much threw it together on my own. I sprinkled salt, pepper and turmeric on during cooking.

002It was delicious! It totally satisfied my craving for eggs and left me completely full all morning long. I’m going to have to make this one again.

I also had a slice of whole wheat toast with Smart Balance Light and Blackberry fruit spread.
  003 I am so grateful for alternatives that fit my lifestyle but still taste delicious and are healthy for me.

It’s currently almost 60 degrees outside so I am heading out for a walk with the dog before I do more homework and then head to an Oscar party 🙂

Hope you are enjoying the weekend!

My first frittata

For girl’s night potluck this week, I had the main course. I wanted to try a new recipe and I was definitely feeling like a breakfast dish.

Only this time, instead of baked oatmeal, I was feeling more like something savory. I decided to bust out my copy of Vegan Planet and make a frittata!

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I was shocked at how easy this was to make. I decided to use vegetables I already had on hand and thanks to Lindsay, I learned I could substitute corn starch for arrowroot.

In the mix: asparagus, red onion, red and green peppers.

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I was a little unsure about using tofu in a dish like this. I wasn’t sure how it would look or taste.

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When I poured the mixture on top of the veggies, I was getting nervous.

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But when it came out of the oven, it sort of looked like eggs and the consistency was quite similar.

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The only problem was the veggies sort of “fell out” so it got a little messy 😉

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But I have to say, it tasted pretty good. It didn’t taste like eggs, more like baked tofu, but I liked it!

And because the ingredients were so simple and fresh, the calories were pretty low in this dish.

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For dessert, I had some strawberries that were pretty good. I’m so looking forward to Spring and Summer fruits.

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We also enjoyed a bottle of Beringer Pinot Grigio.

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I had a glass with some bread that arrived later (this Meijer fresh baked bread is vegan and totally delicious).

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I also had a cup of Plantation Mint and another piece of bread (and another that went unpictured)!

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Everything was so good and I was really pleased with how my first “frittata” turned out.

I do think I will try it again and I’m also ready to tackle a tofu scramble that sounds really good 🙂

What dish have you made that you were unsure about, but it turned out good?

Vegan pomegranate pancakes

I woke up this morning and I thought “Hey, it’s Saturday. I should make pancakes!”

As you know, I have tried both the pumpkin pancakes and spiced banana pancakes from the cookbook Vegan Planet. I highly recommend both recipes and the book because the recipes are simple with very easy ingredients.

Today, I used the Flax Berry Pancake recipe as inspiration but made it my own by changing several things, so I’m going to post it here.

First, I pre-heated my griddle to 375 degrees. Using it turned out to be a huge time saver. So glad I remembered I have one!

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I mixed up the ingredients in my Pampered Chef batter bowl (another Godsend).

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I love how I can cook so many at one time this way! This will come in handy someday when we have a bigger family 🙂

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The batter was so thick they were almost like cookies or muffins – ooh, that’s a good idea too. Hmm…

I cooked them on each side for a minute and flipped a few times. They took a while to cook through because of their thickness.

Once they were done (in about 15 minutes total start to finish), I put three on my plate but then remembered my eyes are not a good indicator of my stomach, so I put one back.

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They were so thick and dense! I topped mine with peanut butter and light syrup. I’ve had this syrup forever and I’m more or less trying not to waste it but once it’s gone I won’t replace it. Did that rhyme?

Leftovers!

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Overall, these pancakes were good but I found them slightly on the bland side except for the pomegranate arils. Perhaps if I had used vanilla soy milk instead of plain. What do you think?

The texture was great though. I just think it’s missing something.

But, in case you want to try it, here is the recipe!

Vegan Pomegranate Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp toasted wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.25 cups soy milk
  • 3/4 cup pomegranate arils

Directions:

  • Combine the flour, sugar, powder and salt into a bowl and set aside.
  • Blend the wheat germ and water in a blender or food processor for 30 seconds.
  • Add the soy milk and vanilla to the blender and blend until smooth.
  • Add the wet ingredients into the dry and combine.
  • Mix in the pomegranate arils.
  • Cook using your preferred method and enjoy!

I still can’t believe I’ve made so many vegan pancakes! They are so healthy and so easy, I feel really good about it.

Hope you have a great Saturday! I’ve got cleaning, exercise and grocery shopping on my agenda 🙂

Oh yeah and maybe some baking too…

Day 30: Get up and give away

Happy Friday!

Actually, yesterday was like my Friday since I am off today. Unfortunately, I’ve still got an icky throat and my nose is running. But at least I’m not at work 🙂

I took off today to take Suzie to the vet, so I’m sure it will be a more exciting day for her than me! If the fact that she woke me up at 6 is any indication…

For breakfast this morning, I used up the rest of the pancake batter from my Spiced Banana Pancakes only this time I turned them into waffles!

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This batter was really tricky both as pancakes and waffles and I think next time I will tweak it a bit to see if that doesn’t help. They look messy but they sure do taste good 🙂

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I covered my waffles in peanut butter and light syrup. Speaking of peanut butter, check out my latest Examiner article on the subject.

Now for the other part of this post…GIVEAWAY TIME!

Need some coupons?

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Now that I eat vegan, there are a lot of coupons in my stash for products I will not purchase in the near future, so I thought they might as well get to someone who will use them!

This stash includes coupons to Whole Foods, Horizon organic dairy products, Stonyfield and a ton of manufacturer coupons that have been in the Sunday paper the past two weeks.

To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me your best money saving tip for grocery shopping!

To receive additional entries:

  1. Re-post this giveaway on your blog (and leave another comment with the link to your blog).
  2. Re-tweet about the giveaway on Twitter (and leave another comment telling me you did so).

Entries will be accepted until midnight next Friday, November 6th! I will announce the winner in my first Friday post.

Lots of the agenda today, better get to it!

Day 26: Making adjustments

I just realized that today is exactly ONE MONTH UNTIL THANKSGIVING!

This has made me realize that I have been indulging in some things lately that I don’t usually and it’s time to make some adjustments before we get into the holiday season.

To start the day off, I had some healthy, filling oatmeal with apples, cinnamon and peanut butter for breakfast.

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I decided to give the Pumpkin Spice Silk another try so I heated up about 1/2 cup and then poured coffee on top of it.

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BINGO! This tasted great and what a more affordable (and vegan) way to enjoy pumpkin in my coffee 🙂 Next I’m going to have to try Mama Pea’s version!

Snacked on some peanuts for the first time in a while (for me).

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Then for lunch,  I had leftover Vegan Refried Bean cakes which I turned into a sandwich with some spicy mustard!

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I also had some carrots and a new type of hummus on the side.

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I picked this up at Whole Foods over the weekend. Once again, it was just okay. I’m going back to the good stuff after this 😉

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After lunch,  I went to class and tried not to fall asleep. I managed but I still yawned quite a bit. Exercise Science is an interesting field to me but we’re still making our way through all the body systems and I’m finding it rather dull.

Later in the afternoon, I snacked on some soy yogurt.

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This stuff was way too sweet and made me realize that I have been consuming more sugar lately than I am used to. There’s one adjustment I’d like to make. I need to find a good brand that has lower sugar. Some are better than others. And I definitely need to stick to plain and put my own stuff in it.

After work, I went for a 4 mile walk. I had it on my “agenda” to run tonight but it was one of those days where I walk just sounded like a better idea. I really enjoyed it and my legs are definitely still tired!

For dinner, I was having a major bread craving, so I made this ciabatta loaf I picked up at Kroger (take and heat):

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I also made a nice salad of Italian style greens and a drizzle of Italian dressing.

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Then I heated up some leftover Hot Tamale Vegetable Pie with a side of bread 🙂

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All together now…

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I’m so glad I took the time to figure out what I wanted and made a healthy and enjoyable dinner. The only thing missing was some good wine, but that is another thing I am trying to keep to a minimum. I am secretly hoping somebody brings some on Wednesday at Girl’s Night 🙂

With just one month until Thanksgiving, what goals are you hoping to work on?

I’ve also decided to join Caitlin, Bobbi, and many others in the Pile on the Miles challenge that begins on November 1st!

While I have no goal of winning this thing, since there are some really dedicated runners in this group, I do want to make it a goal for myself to get in lots of miles, either through walking or running, between now and Thanksgiving.

This is why I love Mondays, ends of months, and beginnings of new ones. Let’s get to it!

Day 25.2: Recipes and Nightmares

I promise this is my last post for the day, it’s crazy trying to catch up two days in one!

For dinner tonight, I made another recipe out of Vegan Planet, this time it was the Hot Tamale Vegetable Pie.

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I got my ingredients together. I used black olives instead of pimientos because I had them and wanted to use them up instead. I also used a yellow onion instead of red for some variety.

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Throwing it all together was pretty easy! First veggies…

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Then adding the tofu-flour-seasonings mixture.

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Going into the oven, I was impressed at how easy this was to make and hoping it would turn out well.

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While this was cooking, I started watching “A Nightmare on Elm Street” one of my all-time favorite horror movies. It doesn’t scare me like it used to when I was a kid but I still enjoy watching it.

I’m looking forward to the remake they are doing that comes out next year but I also get nervous when they do this because something always changes. We’ll see!

When it came out 35 minutes later, it looked pretty good! I let it cool for 5 minutes or so.

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I tried a slice with some salsa on top to test it out.

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This was pretty tasty! I loved all the veggies and the chiles and salsa made it pretty spicy. It was a bit on the crumbly side so I think I would bake it a few more minutes next time.

Apparently, I was pretty hungry because I went back for seconds and added an Ezekiel muffin on the side 🙂

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I still have two more servings to have later in the week, I can’t wait!

For dessert, I’m having So Delicious peanut butter zig zag. It’s almost gone and I have a couple other frozen desserts left. I will be taking a break soon in order not to get burned out.

Dessert should be a real treat, which for me means not having it every single night. But tonight is okay 😉

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Off to finish the movie!

If you are a fan of horror films, what are some of your favorites?

Day 25: The Final Stretch

So here we are, 25 days into the Vegan MoFo III challenge!

Just a few short weeks ago, I made the decision to adopt a vegan diet and while there have been a few challenges overall it’s been very easy and fun.

Now that I am in the final stretch, I’ve had a lot going through my head about what I want to continue after the end of this month. But we’ve still got 6 more days, so let’s wait on that!

Breakfast this morning was more banana pancakes 🙂 They kept sticking to the pan which is why some of them are a little messy looking but it certainly didn’t impact the taste.

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Plus I got to try something new I picked up yesterday.

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I have to say…as excited as I was about this when I bought it yesterday, I didn’t quite enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

I couldn’t really taste the pumpkin spice at all. I think I need to use more next time or save it for an in between meals drink because it was competing with a lot of other flavors in this meal.

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For lunch, we went with my parents and in-laws to Applebee’s which immediately made me nervous because I could never remember them having anything veggie-friendly.

As I paged through the menu, I couldn’t believe that every single dish contained meat and/or dairy. Literally! The only things without meat were some of the appetizers and soup.

I ended up getting the Crispy Orange Chicken bowl minus the chicken.

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It contained almond rice pilaf and a tasty mix of mushrooms, broccoli, red peppers, sugar snap peas and shredded carrots and topped with toasted almonds and crispy noodles, all in an sweet and spicy orange glaze. I stole the red onion from Josh’s plate 🙂

This dish was really good! I know it couldn’t be vegan or it would’ve been listed on the website but I felt I did pretty well considering the lack of options. My big complaint though is that I had to pick out a couple tiny pieces of chicken that I found in there!

The waiter had brought the chicken out on a separate plate because I “was going to pay for it anyway, so someone might as well eat it.” So what they had done is made the salad as is and then took the chicken off the top before it came out.

I found this a little weird and it’s good ethical animal issues isn’t my primary motivation. I could see where this would rub someone else the wrong way. I remember one time when Court was still a vegetarian, she found a piece of chicken in something and flipped out!

But I didn’t say anything because we were with family and my dad was paying. But I’m thinking about sending an email or a letter just to show my concern.

After lunch, I embarked on some house cleaning and then got hungry for a snack. I had been thinking about the pumpkin butter I bought yesterday all day long so it was time 🙂

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So good! I can’t wait to throw it in oatmeal. The other slice had a little bit of peanut butter on it 😉

I’m currently working on dinner, so I’d better get back to it. Hope you all are enjoying your weekend!

Day 24: Nigella and Banana pancakes

I love Nigella Lawson!

I could just listen to her talk (I’m a sucker for accents) and make chocolate all day.

She’s so gorgeous and even though I eat vegan now, I still like watching her cook. I only catch her show if I’m up early on a Saturday, like today!

I did my own cooking this morning, thanks to another great recipe from Vegan Planet…Spiced Banana Pancakes!

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I accidentally blended all the bananas instead of half, so I didn’t have any huge banana pieces in them, oh well.

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Instead of making the entire batch this morning, I decided to make what I wanted and then put the rest of the batter in the fridge for tomorrow (plus another day too I’m sure)!

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I also tried a new product for my coffee today. I got this sample from Mimic Creme a while back but had yet to try it.

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I had originally wanted to try it because I thought it was a coffee creamer but when I saw everything on the box it came in, I was thinking I must’ve been wrong.

But then I saw a couple other bloggers use it as a coffee creamer, so I said what the heck 🙂

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A lot like soy milk, it sort of “separates” so I had to stir it again about half way through drinking it. It doesn’t have much flavor but it does make my coffee “creamier” so I will have to experiment with some flavors now.

Breakfast was delicious!

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These were so moist and dense (I used half whole wheat flour) and I gasp when I say “I liked these better than the pumpkin pie pancakes!” They are that good.

Suzie is watching TV while I blog. She’s still a little sleepy.

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I can’t wait to get this day started. First, I’m off to the grocery store(s) but I’m not sure which ones yet. I kind of want to go to Whole Foods just to do some price comparing. So I think I will start there.

Then after lunch, Court and I are going Halloween “shopping” as I’m not really dressing up this year but it is fun to look at all the crazy stuff at the stores and try on wigs and hats.

She’s been going through a rough time lately, so our goal for the day is just to relax and be silly! Expect lots of pics later.

Then tonight is the UFC pay per view. So it’s going to be a loooong night at Buffalo Wild Wings. As many of you know, they have NO vegan options (boo) so I will have to eat before I leave home (and sneak a snack in my purse perhaps).

We are currently researching other places to go watch it in the future.

Hope you have an excellent Saturday!

Day 19: Finally ate that salad

This morning I finished off the last of my pumpkin pie pancakes. It was sort of sad to see them go but I know I can always make them again another time 😉

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On the way to work, my mom suggested we stop at Starbucks since it was cold and we had a few extra minutes. She rules 😉

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Soy latte! This seriously tastes like toasted marshmallows. Who needs those syrupy drinks? Well, I’m still pretty peeved about their pumpkin spice syrup (it has milk in it).

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This morning at work, we had a party to celebrate all the October birthdays in our department and I snacked on some fruit (strawberries, pineapple, cantaloupe, grapes) and some peanuts.

For lunch, I had the salad I had been talking about making for a couple of days now. I wasn’t too excited about it this morning, especially considering how cold it was today, but once I ate it, I changed my tune 🙂

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This salad contained: romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes with chiles, black beans and half a chopped green pepper. I used hummus as a dressing and had a few fire roasted tomato Triscuits leftover from the party that I saw on the approved vegan snack list!

Both the salad and the crackers were flavorful and spicy. What a great lunch 🙂

Unfortunately it was not too much later that I realized I forgot to bring an afternoon snack! I had been trying to get away from “convenience” foods like these but it was pretty much my only choice.

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Actually it was either this or some cinnamon Teddy Grahams. I almost went for the latter, until I saw partially hydrogenated stuff on the list of ingredients. They may be vegan, but they are still disgusting!

Plus, the bag would’ve cost me almost 400 calories while the bar was a mere 160. I made a good choice 🙂

After work, I hit the gym solo to do a nice walk/run. I decided to up the running amount today and do a little experiment with various speeds. Apparently, I’m most comfortable at 5.5 mph but I can stay at 6.0 for a while. And if I need to jog and recover, 5.0 is perfect.

I stuck with our 0.25 mile intervals but instead of alternating walking a lap with running a lap, I walked one (warm up), ran three, walked one, ran three, walked one, ran two and walked one (cool down).

I did 3.02 miles in 40:00. By running more this time, I shaved 5 minutes off my normal time. I was going to try for 4 miles today but my calves and knees were starting to tire and hurt so I kept it at 3.

For dinner, I made a new to me vegan recipe from Happy Herbivore!

Behold, Vegan Red Beans & Rice 🙂

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The original recipe called for Adobo seasoned tomatoes but I ended up with diced tomatoes with green chiles instead.

Here is my portion:

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Verdict: So yummy! And totally easy and inexpensive to make. I have leftovers too so you will be seeing this again over the course of the week 🙂

For dessert, I had the other half of my banana soft serve from last night topped with a little bit of peanut butter.

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I’m so sleepy and so glad that I did all the housework yesterday so tonight I an just RELAX!

I think I see some tea in my future and an early bed time. I’m thinking 9:00 is looking pretty good right now…I swear I’m only 27! Ha ha.

Good night friends 🙂