You Know You are a Mom When…

…you are really sick, nausea, headache, chills…..and you get this text from your fourteen year old:

Funny-kid-meme-1

…and from this goes on to a half hour of random picture texts and goofy replies. Common sense says to just tell him that I’m sick tonight, that I love him but I can’t text because the room is spinning and I feel like I’m going to hurl.

But my heart says to keep the conversation going, and send a few pictures back myself.

Because he’s fourteen, and I don’t want to lose this conversation. I don’t know how many more I’ll have like this. Once the busyness of teenager-hood, afterschool jobs, girls….will he still send his mom random texts?

I hope so.

But if not, I’ll savor everyone I get, spinny head or not.

Dry Vegetable Stock Mix, take 2

So, I’ve learned that nutritional yeast is expensive (about $8-$10 for an 8 oz container), and the original recipe I posted for dry veggie broth mix calls for a cup of it….so I needed to find another way. My goal is to save money. πŸ™‚

So I found this recipe. I haven’t tried it yet, and again, I’m linking the original blog because it is not my recipe.

I also learned that wheat germ is a good supplement for nutritional yeast, and is much more cost effective. I may try that route as well, with the original dry broth recipe I found online. It’s found usually in the cereal aisle, next to the oatmeal, and it looks to be about $3 for a 12 oz bag, which is way more doable.

I’ll keep you posted!!!

Succotash Rice

Quick and easy lunch. That’s just what I need. So I combined this. Someone else somewhere probably did also and probably made it better, but for my purposes, it is great!

IMG_0177

I make this ‘per serving’, but you can easily cook more rice and veggies to feed your family. And you carnivores can easily add a chicken breast on the side or shredded inside of the bowl to get your protein. Altho I pile mine up with lima beans, so I can ensure I get a lot!

I used white rice, but if you have brown or another kind of rice, use that! I used white because it’s quicker, and I was in a pinch for time. Whatever rice you use, whenever your timer is at 20 more minutes for the rice to cook, that’s when you start your lima beans and corn.

Individual serving:

1 cup water to 1/2 cup rice. Prepare as directed on package. Note this is for white rice.

Half a can of sweet corn, drained, frozen lima beans (as many as you will eat!) Place them in a small saucepan, put some water in the bottom, and a dab of Earth Balance Vegan Butter (or regular butter) on them. Cover, and cook, 20 minutes or until beans are tender.

Top the rice with veggie mixture!

I paired this with a spinach salad today, and it was awesome! Usually when I make my ‘one serving’ portion, I have leftovers to share with Liam. He isn’t crazy about the lima beans (he says!!) but I just put other veggies on his (green beans and corn he does like).

I usually have to salt and pepper this afterward to taste. Enjoy!

What, Me Worry?

I talked to my sister on the phone today. It was refreshing to talk to her. We talked about my mom, about my vegan diet, and about my worries with telling my parents about it.

I asked her if she had a hard time with telling them when she turned vegetarian. She just laughed! “Oh Maria, you worry too much!! You need to worry about important stuff, like your kids…not what other people think!”

She’s right. I worry too much, especially over what people think. I think that’s my biggest issue with Facebook. When I post something, I want to know if it was liked. I want that validation. I enjoy the comments on pictures I post.

But I don’t like that I feel I need that validation. For instance, if no one ‘likes’ my post, it doesn’t matter. My mind knows this. But it stings in my heart, and I feel rejected. Why? I don’t know.

I told her my new Lent thing should be to quit worrying over what people think! She laughed and agreed.

I don’t know if I mentioned this in previous posts, but this Facebook fast is hard. The first few days, I was checking my phone probably ten-fifteen times a day. Then I realized the app was gone. Fifteen times a day! Now I know it’s off, and I don’t check it so often, but the tug is still there. God reminded me today that I am feeling the tug because I’m not filling that time in how I said I would, by spending it with Him or investing in my kids. I spend it wondering what people are doing or posting, and wondering what other apps I can put on my phone to pass the time.

I need to spend this time renewing my mind in God’s validation of me, not of some witty comment or picture I take. I don’t know if I’ll return to Facebook when I’m done. Maybe. I just want to make sure that whatever I do, that I can honestly say about myself, “What, me worry?” at the end of the day.

A New Way to Play with the Kids Down the Street

IMG_0175

My fourteen year old son, Troy, came home two hours early from his buddy’s house, who lives about a block down the street, and immediately hopped on the Xbox.Β 

“Why are you home so early?” I asked.

“Because his mom just reactivated his Xbox Live account, so we can play our game together,” he replied.

“So, let me get this straight, you left your friend’s house, where you could play with him the game ‘in person’, so you could play the same game with him online, each in your own houses?”

“Yep.”

I thought that was pretty hilarious. πŸ™‚ I must say, technology is cool, but I think he could of played the game at his buddies house and had just as much fun.

Yellow Rice

“There has to be another way!” I thought as I put several boxes of Zattarain’s Yellow Rice in my cart. This alone would equal $6, the cost of a ten pound bag of rice.

I’ve managed to make plain white or brown rice, and even “spicing it up” a little with veggie broth instead of using water. But it’s still not amazing….I like a little flavor.

Putting the boxes back on the shelves, Adam and I found a recipe online. Tweaking it for my convenience and my family, here it is:

IMG_0161

Yellow Rice: Serves 4-6. Based on 4 servings, it’s 175 calories

  • 3/4 tsp. ground tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 tbsp. butter (Vegan Option: Earth Balance Butter)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups white long grain rice or basmati rice
  • 2 tbsp. diced scallions (or some chopped onion if you don’t have scallions)

In a medium saucepan, heat tumeric, cumin, and cinnamon over low heat until fragrant, stirring, about 30 seconds. Add water, salt, butter, scallions and bring to a boil. Add rice and stir well. Cover, reduce heat to bare simmer, and cook covered, without stirring, for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat, let sit, covered 5 minutes or so. Fluff with fork.

It tastes just as good and from a financial standpoint, you are saving a lot more money than buying the prepackaged convenient rice. Since everything the recipe calls for I had on hand, it was a free dish for me, saving me $6 this month.

Date Night and Snowy Day

I had an extended date yesterday, with many thanks to my friend and next door neighbor who kept Liam. It was so nice to get away, and of course, I wanted to do everything since I was child free. We came home exhausted, after a day full of walking!

We started walking around downtown Morgantown on the 10 degree day, and altho it was cold, it was fun. We walked in a jewelry making shop and I made a pretty bracelet out of beads that are my favorite color (a burnt orange). Even tho I have no vision for such things, the saleslady helped me, and Adam kept me entertained!

We continued walking through shops, through a pet store where a bird let Adam pet him. We also hit the mall, where it was warmer, and walked around, and had dinner at Black Bear Burritos. We chose them because they are vegan/vegetarian friendly, and a local business. It was nice. They had live music, and the food was delicious!!

Here I am with my vegan dinner: A ‘stroller’, which is a salad wrap, with a spinach tortilla, lettuce, onions, roasted red peppers, and Fakin’ (fake bacon), with an onion vinegarette dressing. Only one word can describe it: YUM!

IMG_0168

After dinner we hit a few more stores, a book store and Dick’s Sporting Goods (we had to hit a bike shop and the sports shop for Adam!!). It was such a romantic time, and a definite NEED to get away.

Today of course it snowed a lot, and I got great pictures of the kids. I wanted to post them on Facebook, but….oh yeah, I’m not on Facebook right now! Ugh, this is harder than I thought. Still. I have to remember why I’m doing this, and like when all fasting happens, I have to pray and draw closer to God when I am tempted. Adam may post the pics however, I do know his family enjoys seeing the kids on Facebook.

So here are the kids enjoying the snow. It let up for a while today and then it rained, I’m still contemplating if they’ll (the older two) have school on Monday.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Decision Day: Am I Gonna Keep Up with It??

Well, it’s that day. A month ago I challenged myself to a “Whole Food Plant Based” Diet. I found recipes online and branched out beyond my husband’s ‘rice and potatoes’ diet. I’ve watched some documentaries on the vegan lifestyle and the quality of our food. It was eye opening, and encouraged me to go on.

I’ve read books like, “The Idiot’s Guide to Plant Based Nutrition“, which educated me about what to eat, and how to get vitamins and minerals from my foods.

I went through a detox or withdrawal period, and I realized a lot of what I had eaten previously was processed, even if it was marked healthy. I realized I ate a lot more dairy than I realized, and my portion sizes for meat were double what they should of been. During my detox, I was irritable, moody, tired, and had a constant headache. I didn’t know how I would survive without my daily dose of chocolate.

But I did.

I found ways to sneak chocolate into my diet, from vegan ice cream to vegan hot chocolate. Both of which were just ok, and I found myself craving fruit more. If I wanted a sweet treat, I’d whip up a smoothie. I found that satisfied me more than my allotted three squares of chocolate that I previously ate for my ‘fix’.

I only had one breakdown, and that was in my head. We stopped at a gas station and I wanted a snack….I couldn’t find a thing! I knew that it would be a processed snack, but I couldn’t even find a nutrigrain bar! Then I walked over to the coffee shop inside the gas station (a famous chain coffee shop), and they informed me that they don’t have any soy milk or dairy free options for their coffees. Defeated, I went to the car and had my breakdown. My husband got me a hot pretzel. He’s so good at knowing what I need. I decided from then on to always carry some nuts in my purse. I need to be intentional if I want to make good choices! This is good in all areas of life, and any diet in life really!!

Financially, we did spend OVER budget this month. But I don’t think it will always be that way. Note that I’m still buying meat and milk for my children, so that is not completely a meat/dairy free grocery list. And I often have people over for dinner, which has upped my grocery bill to accommodate that. Β But I’ve learned what I need to buy more of (spices, dried beans) and what I need to buy less of, or none of (vegan ice cream, baking cocoa). I think next month I’ll actually spend less, as my pantry is getting stocked with new foods that I didn’t buy before. Plus, I realized that many of the things my recipes called for, especially spices, I did not have, so I did have to spend more on spices this month. Next month, I should be better. I’m going to track it tho, just because I want to know. πŸ™‚ One of the main reasons why I chose this diet was to save money at the grocery store, so I want to make sure I’m doing that.

I learned that I enjoy the challenge of cooking a new dish…and I’ve learned the joy of making things from scratch. I’ve also learned that with this hobby, I’m always washing dishes!!! I’ve seen the joy on my husband’s face as he tries new meals, and even snuck some whole food plant based meals into my kids’ dishes. I have more energy, and am enjoying life more. I am not dog tired at the end of the day. I seem more clear headed and intentional with my thoughts.

I’ll be posting recipes still, of things I’ve learned along the way….vegan and maybe some not vegan. I don’t think any less of anyone who eats meat or drinks dairy…I’ve just found what works for me.Β Any recipe that I post that is ‘herbivore’ can easily be changed to ‘carnivore’…simply by adding meat to it. Especially the soups. And I will be posting soup recipes…I love my soups!! πŸ™‚

Stat Time: Lost: 5.5 lbs, 5.5 inches around my belly button and 3.5 inches around just below my belly button. Altho I wasn’t trying to lose weight, it’s a good feeling to shed the holiday pounds, and a few extra! πŸ™‚

In the beginning I was tracking everything: my foods, my calories, my activity level. About two weeks in I stopped, and it didn’t matter. I didn’t have to count calories. I could guilt free drink a glass of juice sometimes because I knew I had the calories to splurge a little on a drink. (whereas before I never ‘drank my calories’ because I’d feel guilty). Now it’s not a thing I drink every day, as it is loaded with more sugar and it is not as healthy as eating the whole fruit, but it’s ok if I have some whole fruit juice from time to time. But I digress…

And I’m not eating like a rabbit either. I enjoy hearty meals, satisfying snacks and eat whenever I feel like it. Whether at 10 pm, or 2 am, or the normal breakfast, lunch, and dinner hours…I eat at anytime and am not upset that I have eaten at a typically bad time for metabolism to work (like, at bedtime).

So…I am going to keep up with it. I’ll continue to make the kids what they are used to, but I will incorporate healthier options for them, meat-free or not. Seeing how much ‘junk’ is in our food and learning how to read labels, has really opened my eyes to what all we are eating.

Tonight Adam is taking me to a vegan/vegetarian friendly restaurant for dinner. It’s actually very affordable too! So I’m excited to celebrate my weight loss and new lifestyle with a date night. πŸ™‚

Thanks for following me on this challenge!! πŸ™‚

Dry Veggie Broth Mix

I found this amazing plant-based diet blog tonight. And I found this recipe for Dry Veggie Broth Mix on it. **Update: I recently found out that wheat germ is a substitute for nutritional yeast. It’s more cost effective too, so I followed her recipe to the letter, except that I used wheat germ instead of the nutritional yeast.

I linked the original post because she is the one who made it and not me. I haven’t tried it yet, but I think it will be an easier way for me to make veggie broth than boiling 14 cups of water and vegetable. And a lot cheaper too, as it makes 24 cups of broth per recipe, and I have everything in my cabinet, minus the nutritional yeast. We’ll see!! I’ll keep you posted!!

Zingy Italian White Bean Soup

This soup has some kick!! Which is nice, because, baby…it’s cold outside!! And only going to get colder! Where I live, we are looking at negative temperatures in the next few days.

So, run out to the store, and grab your milk and eggs….and stuff to make this soup!

IMG_0163

Zingy Italian White Bean Soup. Makes 8 cups

  • 1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed *(or, I used 1 1/2 cups of cooked Great Northern Beans, that were previously dried)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (homemade stock recipe here!!)
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 stalks fresh fennel, or 1/2 bulb, trimmed and diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 bunch spinach, chopped
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried sage
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground pepper
  • juice of one lemon

In soup pot, saute garlic and onion, cook 1 minute. Add celery and fennel and a pinch of salt. Cover with vegetable broth and bring to a boil, simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Add beans, zucchini, spinach, oregano, sage, parsley, salt, and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes more, until the zucchini is cooked but not mushy. Turn off heat and add lemon juice.