Oh, I’m getting so excited.  Saturday afternoon, Rob’s parents will be making the three hour trek from Fort Lauderdale to our house to watch the crazies and hold down the fort while Rob and I go to Orlando for his annual mandatory partner meeting for work.  Sure, it doesn’t sound so exciting to the average person, but all I can think of is three nights in a nice hotel with no kids!  Last year for the conference, I stayed home with the boys while Rob went all around Washington DC, going to the National Mall, playing in the snow and rocking out to Train, the entertainment provided one night.  I was a little (just a smidge) jealous, and didn’t want to miss out on the fun this year, if given the opportunity.  Thank you Grandma and Grandpa!!!

We spent Thursday running around like crazy people. Both Rob and I needed to get some clothing that fit a little better than the ones we had.  I was able to find two pairs of running shoes and two dresses (score!).  Rob did a little better, finding a lot of dress shirts that fit on clearance, some jeans and shoes, and some new ties.  Evan even got some new outfits, including a Spiderman t-shirt that he is a little unnaturally obsessed with.

I have been doing a lot of cooking the past couple of days.  I feel like my love of all things culinary has been renewed since the fast.  Not only do I have a new appreciation for food again, but learning how to cook delicious dishes without using dairy, meat or wheat has made experimenting fun!  Some successes this week:

Chickpea “chicken” salad:  Slightly mashed chickpeas take the place of the usual chicken in this recipe, which is also packed with celery, spring onions, pickle and fresh dill and bell pepper.  I stuffed the delicious result in a sprouted grain pita (only after forcing myself to stop eating spoonfuls) with some alfalfa sprouts and lettuce.  This is one case of the “fake” stuff being better than the real…all the taste that you would expect from chicken salad without the game flavor of chicken!  This will become a staple.  Another staple?

Green Monster smoothie:  I’ve been so focused on juicing that I have completely neglected how delicious a good smoothie can be.  I whipped up this recipe from the “Oh She Glows” cookbook, and lost all self control after the first sip.  But it’s okay to lose control over this smoothie…check out the ingredients!

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1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 cup baby spinach

1 frozen banana

2-3 ice cubes

1 T peanut or almond butter

1 tsp chia seeds

dash of cinnamon

1/4tsp vanilla extract

protein powder (if desired)

I added some protein powder to mine, since I was going to enjoy this for lunch.  I don’t have the best blender, but it did a fine job making this into a thick and creamy smoothie, and blending all the spinach enough to turn it a pretty, almost “Hulk” green color. (my protein powder is cookies and cream flavor, so the final color was a little darker than normal.)  And you will feel a little like the Hulk after enjoying this bad boy, filled with all the energy it provides.

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Vegan Overnight Oats:  Less than 5 minutes is all you need to prepare a tasty and healthy dessert, ready to go first thing in the morning.

1 cup rolled oats

1 1/2 cup almond milk

1/4 cup chia seeds

1 banana, mashed

1/4 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix all the ingredients together, cover and refrigerate overnight.  The chia seeds and oats soak in all the flavors of cinnamon and sweet banana.

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I layered the oatmeal with fresh blueberries and strawberries, dried coconut, walnuts and raisins.

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Oh man, this is amazing, quick, beautiful and tasty.  And chia seeds are the unsung heroes of this dish (and any dish, in my humble opinion.)  I know what you are thinking, “Cha- Cha- Cha- Chia!” Why  would I eat the seeds from the fuzzy green novelty heads from years ago? High in omega-3’s, calcium, fiber and protein, chia seeds are perfect to add to anything.  Smoothies, soups, sauces or even to sprinkle on top of a slice of peanut butter bread.  The gelatinous consistency also helps to aid in digestion and helps to rid your body of toxins that normally would stick around.  My big sister first turned me on to them on a visit some years ago, but now that I am exclusively eating plant based food, I love all the health benefits such a little seed can give.

My weight post-fast seems to have settled.  I was expecting to gain a little back, and after settling at 2.5 pounds gained, I am starting to lose again.  I’m sure watching our portion sizes and regular weight training sessions at the gym are helping to keep the weight loss going.  And I try to sneak in extra cardio anytime possible, from taking the boys on a bike ride around the neighborhood, to staging racing courses in our backyard, to walking to pick Logan up from school, instead of driving of biking…every little bit counts.

Till next time…

 

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