About Jennie

I enjoy cooking. I'm interested in healthy living and nutrition. I love baking, but it's not the most beneficial thing for my waistline.

Good Grief!

It’s been 10 days since I last posted…sorry for the bloggy silence.

I lost my camera charger and can’t seem to find it…so, I haven’t been taking any pictures lately.  …and how fun is a blog post with no pictures?  So, I’ve been having trouble justifying a post.

So, I thought I’d go through my last upload and see what I was up to 10 days ago. 🙂  …but not much was going on.  I did get some good shots of these peaches I made.

These were for my mom’s group.  We have a potluck-style brunch at each meeting.  I sliced about 4 peaches.  Then, I made a mint syrup by melting 1/2 cup sugar in 1 cup of water in a saucepan.  Bring it to a boil and add a bunch of chopped mint.  I did about 1/2 of one of those little clamshell boxes you can buy.  Then, after the syrup is cool, you pour it over the peaches.  It was REALLY good!

We just went blueberry picking this afternoon.  It’s SO late in the season, I was shocked to find out the u-pick place was even still open when I saw a post on our local message board.  We had a really cool summer this year and the berries took a long time to get ripe, so it extended the season, but this was their last weekend open.  The berries were pretty sparse.  I’m used to finding little bunches of berries and filling a bucket pretty fast.  Our picking today was more like blueberry HUNTING.

We ended up with 1.25 pounds after about an hour of picking.  Aaron probably ate about 1/2 lb. while Mike and I were picking though. 🙂

I should be able to make a batch of blueberry pancakes…and some blueberry scones!

We’re going to head to church this evening. I’m loving our church!


Cool Down!

Monday was Aaron’s *REAL* birthday.  We’ve been celebrating it all month though, so it was pretty low-key on his actual day.  We ended up going over to the Seattle Children’s Museum and met up with one of my friends from college who had also recently moved to Seattle.

September 19th also happens to be “National Talk Like a Pirate Day,” so the museum was having a special where kiddos who were dressed as pirates got in for free.  Aaron really liked dressing up like a pirate and had his “ARGH” down pat.
One imaginative play area of the museum featured a mexican restaurant.  Aaron loved this area (it was a close second behind the fire truck) and was excited to be a “helper” and serve people from their stock of about 20 plastic tacos.

I went up and ordered 3 tacos.  They must have been special tacos because he charged me $50 for them!  What really cracked me up, however, was when he loaded the tacos into a little basket and then stuck them in the “Fridge,” telling me, “They’re too hot. They have to cool down.”  I had to consciously keep myself from laughing out loud because I do that all the time to him!  Case in point…tonight’s dinner:

Aaron and I made calzones.  Of all places, I had the best calzone ever on the Seattle Ferry a while ago.  I was starving…and on the way to take my nursing board exam when I realized that I hadn’t eaten anything all day.  (Nerves, stress, etc.)  So, I went to the restaurant on the ferry and the only vegetarian option they had was this “Pesto Calzone.”  I love pesto, so I went for it. It was amazing…and super simple.  It just had pesto, mozzarella cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes.

For my re-creation, I made a whole wheat pizza dough and then filled it with pesto, mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, and a handful of baby spinach. Aaron just had marinara sauce with cheese.

Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes…and voila!

I went to get a shot like that of Aaron’s and his oozed out into a puddle of magma!

Hence, why it ended up in the freezer as I told him, “It’s too hot…it has to cool down.” 🙂

All Labels Aside

You can’t say I didn’t warn you.

Skinny Bitch is a book that I started hearing about around the blogosphere about a year ago.  It’s supposed to be an in-your-face book with a strong vegan agenda.

I’m not skinny…and I’m not a bitch…but out of sheer curiosity, I decided to pick it up at the library just to see what all the hype was about. It was actually written in 2005 by two women who really have no credible medical background.  They’ve essentially read TONS of books and articles about diet, nutrition, food politics, and the treatment of animals in slaughterhouses.  All of their sources are sited in the back of the book – and it’s an extensive bibliography.

The book really irritated me in the fact that they have a TON of great information, but present it in a way that is really dumbed-down, peppered with F-bombs and other curse words…and regularly call their readers “bitches.”  It’s like their target audience was the Britney Spears and Paris Hilton crowd.  This makes it a very quick and easy read though! I got through it in two days.

I hate cussing and felt like it was very unnecessary and out-of-place in this book…but I was able to roll my eyes and skim over the offensive words.  It really had a lot of good information that mostly left me really ticked off.  A lot of the stuff in the book wasn’t new information to me – it just re-ignited my anger at what a disaster our food supply has become.

Still, I don’t really like being labeled and don’t think I’m ready to take on the “vegan” title.  By claiming to be vegan, it feels like you’re suddenly under scrutiny from everyone who knows you.  While I do try to make healthy choices and tend to avoid most animal products, I’m far from perfect. I would feel like such a fraud – waiting for the vegan police to jump from behind the bushes as soon as I sneak a piece of cheese.

An issue that I do have with veganism is that they use artificial stuff to mimic the “real thing” in many recipes.  Tofutti’s “Better than Cream Cheese” is a huge one that you see used a lot in vegan recipes

…but the main ingredient is hydrogenated oil!  Wouldn’t it be much healthier to just eat real cream cheese than an artificial hydrogenated oil spread that has a slight cream cheese flavor.  I did just find out that they have a “non-hydrogenated” variety…but I’ve found it’s really hard to track down.

For now, I’m just choosing to do my best at making choices that are healthy for me and my family.  Hopefully my hubby and I can get to a healthy weight in the process. 🙂

No More Kitchari!

While I was technically supposed to be doing the detox until today, I decided to be done last night. We were out of the kitchari and we got back to the house around 7pm after a very frustrating day out…so I didn’t have the time or patience to make another batch.  I did have things on-hand to make meatless meatball sandwiches though! I made a side of saute’d zucchini.

Over the course of 6 days doing the detox, I lost 5 pounds!  At times it felt silly to be doing a detox diet, but I did take away some good lessons.  First, I need to be more aware of how much I eat at each mealtime.  I need to stop before I feel full.

Mike and I also learned that we don’t need to snack after dinner.  Before this detox, we were horrible about munching on bags of pretzels, chips & salsa, various baked things I’d made, etc. With the detox, we didn’t really have any options to snack on…so, we just didn’t.  It forced us to break that habit, and we’ve made a choice that we’re going to stick with it.

Today we celebrated Aaron’s birthday, which is actually tomorrow.  He wanted to go to Red Robin and was especially excited about the prospect of people singing to him.  I love that Red Robin allows you to totally customize your order. You can choose the type of bun, type of meat – or even meat alternative (Boca or Gardenburger), and they have several sides you can substitute for fries.

Our Aunt Amy had a freebie appetizer on her reward’s card, so we got the onion ring tower to share.

I got a Gardenburger on a whole wheat bun, with broccoli for a side.  It was good, but I was a little disappointed.  I’ve had better at Red Robin.

Sorry for the flashed out picture…but my side of broccoli consisted of two pieces.  Then, the lettuce on my burger was seriously lacking. 😦

Nonetheless, the day was for Aaron. 🙂  We had a great time hanging out with our Aunt Amy and Grandma.

After Red Robin, we hit up Chuck E. Cheese.  I am loving that Aaron’s at the age where he enjoys that place.  I had forgotten how much fun it is! 🙂  Better than a casino!  I made some *almost* vegan cupcakes using Trader Joes’ cake and frosting mixes (they use buttermilk in the cake mix).  I love the Trader Joe’s cake mixes.  They taste GREAT and they don’t have any hydrogenated oils in them like every other store brand mix.  Today, I found they can handle some ingredient substitutions also.  I used coconut oil instead of butter in the cake and Ener-G egg replacer instead of eggs.  Then, I used Earth Balance instead of butter in the frosting. They ended up being delicious!  Aaron wanted plain vanilla with green sprinkles.  Then, I made chocolate chip ones for the rest of us.

I’m looking forward to a great day tomorrow, celebrating my munchkin! 🙂



On the Downhill – Detoxin’ Day #5

Today started amazingly when I stepped on my scale and saw the lowest number I’ve seen in ten years…if not longer.  I did a little happy dance.

For breakfast, I made some really yummy green juice with lots of spinach, a handful of green grapes, a pear, and a few stalks of celery.

I was skeptical – as it was totally just based on me grabbing whatever I could out of the fridge.  I really enjoyed it!

I’ve been trying to be more conscious about my water intake.  I know I haven’t been drinking enough – especially since I’m on a “detox,” I should be drinking even more.  So, today I was much better.  Plus I had a big glass of iced Yerba Mate tea.

For lunch, I tried to doll-up the kitchari.  I did 1/2 of an avocado and then “filled” it with the kitchari and garnished it with the fresh coriander chutney.

I did the Barre3 video today and my legs were SHAKING!  I’m really loving that video though.  It’s a great workout.  Then, later in the afternoon, Aaron and I took a long walk – well, Aaron scooted on his scooter and I walked. 🙂

For dinner I had some more kitchari and a plum.  I got Aaron to bed and am now drinking a big mug of my detox tea while I’m writing.  I’ve referred to the detox tea a few times in the past few days.  Yoga Journal has some that they included in their recipes for the detox, but something about ginger and tumeric in water just didn’t sound appealing to me…so, I bought some Triple Leaf Detox tea at the store and I’ve been drinking that every day.

I think it’s pretty obvious that I have only LOOSELY followed the Yoga Journal plan.  Like I mentioned in my detox “preface” post, I’m really not into all the eastern religion stuff that Yoga Journal likes to use. …and, you’ll definitely lose me if you start getting too “weird.”  The guy that designed this detox definitely weirded me out on the first day.  (They email videos each day.)  But, it was day three, I think, where I was seriously creeped out by this video about a special breathing exercise.  I was like, “Whatever,” to that – and haven’t really been back.

I feel like I got the gist and I’ve done enough research on my own to know what is cleansing for the body…and so far, I’m definitely happy with the results.  My entire motivator for this was to get a kickstart to some weight loss and get over a plateau. Honestly, how would you be able to quantify true detoxification results?  I feel like my own version of this has worked really well for me and is helping me achieve the results I was after. 🙂  Day #5 is over…it’s all downhill from here! 🙂





All By Myself – Detoxin’ Day #4

Day 4 is pretty much over!  That means only 3 more days left!  What a relief. Today was HARD.  It’s mostly the lack of variety in foods.  Despite changing it up a bit and cheating for lunch yesterday, I felt like I hit a wall today and didn’t want to eat another bite of the kitchari.

I stuck with it, however, and choked down ate it for both lunch and dinner.  While at Trader Joe’s today, I saw some avocados and remembered that we could have avocados as part of the meal plan.  They were like little chunks of heaven mixed into the kitchari for dinner tonight.

Unfortunately, someone fell decided to blatantly jump off the wagon this evening.  It’s largely my fault.  When I made the first batch of kitchari, I had the all spices it called for, but the cumin and coriander were supposed to be in SEED form, but I just went ahead and used my powdered versions…and it called for black mustard seed…and I didn’t have those, so I left them out.  Well, for the second batch, I made a trip to the store (I love having a bulk spice section!!) and picked up the correct stuff.  Turns out, the first batch was way better. Poor Mike couldn’t stand the coriander seeds…each time he’d happen to crunch down on one, he’d gag.  So, despite an extra-huge smothering of Frank’s on tonight’s bowl, he hit one too many coriander seeds and proclaimed that he was done.  …and he immediately stormed the pantry for the bag of pretzels (his favorite snack).


Adventure in the City – Detoxin’ Day #3

Aaron and I decided to take a trip over to Seattle this morning.  I got the Living Social voucher for Whole Foods that was flying around the Facebook world yesterday and it gave me a reason to take an adventure to the nearest store.

Aaron is so sweet about his love of public transportation.

If only we could all have the ability to truly enjoy the little things. Aaron was thrilled to watch the cars load onto the boat.  Then, when he feels the rumble of the engine, he says (quite loudly), “We’re moving!!”  Every time he sees the Space Needle, you’d think he was a tourist from the East Coast who had never seen it before.  “LOOK!! It’s the SPACE NEEDLE!!”

Our first stop was Aaron’s new favorite toy store.  Then, we had to hit up Starbucks for a potty break (the closest available bathroom). Oh, Starbucks.  I have been looking forward to a Pumpkin Spice Latte for weeks – and they have them now.  But I couldn’t get one. That was hard.

I ended up getting Aaron an apple juice and some fruit snacks so I could get the code for their bathroom (they’re locked and for customers only).

I was wanting to document our day, so I took a picture of him and his snack.  Then, a real tourist sweet young guy with a foreign (German?) accent, wearing a crisp new Mariner’s cap, was sitting next to us and offered to take our picture together.

For all of our trips to Seattle, up until today, I have ridden the ferry over and then walked or ridden the bus.  Today, I decided to change it up and figure out the “Light Rail” system.  I had been under the impression that it just went out to the airport but, while it’s much less expansive than the MAX in Portland, it does have a few stops downtown.  Aaron was thrilled to ride the train.

I decided I wanted to get some Cacao Nibs.

They’re one of the first things I read about when I started looking at food blogs and I’ve just never gotten around to buying them. Unfortunately, I’m doing this detox thing and can’t try them for a few days. 😦

Aaron and I also got lunch.  Poor planning on my part – we hit Whole Foods at 12:15…the height of the lunch rush.  The place was PACKED!  Aaron got a slice of cheese pizza.

…and I hit the salad bar to see what I could eat.  I hadn’t brought any of my kitchari – I figured I’d do a slight cheat today, for convenience sake.  I ended up getting some black rice, carrots, broccoli and kale.

Essentially the same stuff I had in the kitchari. Not to say that I wasn’t totally tempted by the pizza…all delicious things in the hot bar…the DESSERT BAR (Ohmyword!!).

To go along with it, I had some Evolution Super Green juice that I spread out over the afternoon.  I drank half with lunch and then the other half later on the ferry as a snack.

Detox-wise, I have felt completely fine today. It was great to get out of the house and hit the city. I was kind of surprised that I haven’t been hungry and have felt like my energy level is fine.  The kitchari is getting a little redundant though…and it’s only day three!

The Frank’s is getting Mike by…

But I was ready to try something new.  I made the Fresh Coriander Chutney today to smother on top of the kitchari.

It was really weird by itself, but blended well when mixed with the kitchari.

I enjoyed it and finished off dinner with half of an apple. I’m typically a HUGE late-night snacker, but I’m amazingly full and it hasn’t been a big deal to cut myself off from the snacks.  So, overall, I’d say the detox is going good.  Just looking forward to some variety! 🙂


Awesome Sauce – Detoxin’ Day #2

When we were down in Portland, Mike and I would regularly go to Hot Lips for lunch.  They’re a local pizza place that, while they have your typical cheese and pepperoni, they always have weird flavors like butternut squash and goat cheese.  One day, Mike told me, “Ohmygosh, I found the best combo!  They have this awesome sauce at Hot Lips that I put on my cheese pizza.  It’s amazing!”  The next time I hit up Hot Lips with Mike, I was curious to try this amazing sauce. I laughed at him when I saw that it was Frank’s.  As in ghetto Tabasco. “The secret ingredient in the original Buffalo wings.”

Nonetheless, Mike had a new affinity for the vinegarey hot sauce.  And I must admit, it was pretty good on the cheese pizza.  So, I had to laugh yesterday when I called Mike to check in on him and see how he was handling the detox diet.  He said, “I”m doing fine…but I’m putting some Frank’s on that stuff tonight for dinner!”  (As part of the plan, we’re eating the same thing for lunch and dinner.) We did…and it was great.  If only Frank’s knew they had a whole other market they could tap into!

Today has really been a breeze! I feel great – and I don’t know if it’s just in my head due to seeing a three-pound drop on the scale this morning, but I feel thinner!  Less bloated, maybe? I know it’s impossible to lose three pounds of anything “real” in one day, so it must be water.

I drank a detox tea for breakfast…and we were out of apples, so I didn’t make any juice this morning.  My only option was carrot juice and it didn’t seem too appealing.  I had an early lunch around 11 and ate a bowl of the kitchari…with some Frank’s.  Then Aaron and I headed to the store for some much needed re-stocking of our fruits and veggies.

While out, I grabbed an Odwalla Superfood juice to drink…but Aaron informed me, “Mom, you have to share,” as he chugged most of it.  So, at the next store, I grabbed a Synergy Kombucha.

I KNEW I wouldn’t have to share that one. Heh. 😉 Mango is typically my go-to flavor.  The strawberry is good, too.  Honestly, from the Synergy brand, there hasn’t been one I don’t like.  So, today I was feeling adventurous and tried a new flavor – Gingerberry.  It’s a combo of ginger with blueberry, which sounded weird…but, I’m tellin’ you.  It was delicious!  I had to cut myself off at half a bottle so I could save some for tomorrow.  (They’re not cheap, so I try to spread ’em out.)

My sweet, sweet husband…since we were so low on food today, he didn’t have anything to take for a snack.  Then, he had planned on going out with a colleague for lunch, so he told me this morning he was probably going to cheat on the detox.  However, I was so proud of him when he told me that he had stuck with it, the best he could, by going to a Pho restaurant and got the veggie pho – essentially veggies and rice noodles in broth.  Not a crazy jump off the wagon at all!!  But, he called when he was getting on the ferry to come home and informed me that he was STARVING!

So, for dinner, I bulked up the kitchari with some roasted red, yellow, and orange bell peppers that I needed to use up and we had a side of asparagus.

After Mike had seconds, that tapped out my first batch that I’d made.  I doubled the recipe and it made it through two lunches and two dinners for two people.  I have another batch simmering now and it’s making my house smell good! 🙂

I took a picture of the mung beans after I put them in a bowl to soak, just so you know what I was talking about yesterday.  I found them in the bulk section of a local natural food store.

A little surprise was in today’s email from the Yoga Journal detox people.  We’re supposed to do a massage with sesame oil!  They call it abhyanga…but, I call it awesome. 🙂 It’s supposed to be done in the morning, and has the general benefits of any massage:

  • Increased circulation, especially to nerve endings
  • Toning of the muscles and the whole physiology
  • Calming for the nerves
  • Lubrication of the joints
  • Increased mental alertness
  • Improved elimination of impurities from the body
  • Softer, smoother skin
  • Increased levels of stamina through the day
  • Better, deeper sleep at night
    (Copied from this website)

But who has time to do a massage (and really enjoy it) in the morning?  So, I’m going to go let Mike in on this little piece of info NOW and see if he’ll reciprocate. 😉  …because what fun is it to just give YOURSELF a massage??

Detoxin’ Day #1

Today was the kick-off for my 7-day detox.
My dear husband is such a trooper and said he’d do it with me.

Initially, my plan was to follow along with the 7-day Fall Detox at Yoga Journal’s website. They had some information available over the weekend – a shopping list and recipes. Then, you’re supposed to get an email each day with further instructions, some yoga poses, etc.

I went ahead and made a huge pot of kichari, the main recipe that is the basis of the detox.  I googled kichari and found it’s a common Indian comfort food that is easily digested by the body.  It depends on the recipe, but can range from a soup-like consistency to a drier rice pilaf-type dish.  Somewhat like chili is in America, apparently there are multitudes of different recipes and variations.

The recipe that is provided on Yoga Journal has a base of brown basmati rice and mung beans.  I’ve never had mung beans before – but they’re tiny little green beans that come dried and you have to soak them before cooking.  Once cooked, they taste a lot like any other bean – just smaller.

From there, you add lots of spices and some veggies.  My batch has zuchini, fresh green beans, carrots, and kale.  My house smelled amazing last night!  Basmati rice is very aromatic…and then mixed with the spices, it smelled great!

I went to bed feeling a little unsure about “the plan” though.  There really weren’t any breakfast-like recipes, so I thought we may just be drinking a detox tea.  I was surprised when I read the email and they said we’re supposed to eat the kitchari three times per day.  While it seems like a great lunch or dinner dish, I’m not eating a savory beans & rice dish for breakfast.  Mike was getting ready for work and needed something to eat…so, I threw together a strawberry/blueberry smoothie with almond milk and protein powder for him.

I drank a cup of blueberry/green tea with honey and pondered how I can make this work. I really want to do this detox, but I have to do something that will work for me and Mike.  So, my current plan is to mix in juicing with eating the kitchari for lunch and dinner. I’ll have fresh juice for breakfast, detox tea a few times per day, and fresh juice for a snack between lunch/dinner.

For exercise, I’m going to walk every morning this week and do a yoga or my Barre 3 video. This morning, I ended up going on a walk with Aaron, who didn’t want to walk. 😦  So, I took the stroller.  When I got back, I did the Crunch: Super Slimdown pilates/yoga blend video.  It’s available on Netflix streaming and one of my current favorites.  Unfortunately, it was far from relaxing and near impossible to focus. While I was doing the video, I had to stop to make Aaron something to eat…and then he wanted apple juice…and then he found various things to interrupt me about while he kept crawling around me.

I have been tired today.  Definitely irritable. For today, I’m chalking it up to my body having a major shock to the system. No coffee…no baked goods…no carby snacks whenever I feel like it.

I’m mostly just curious to see what the results are and how it goes over the course of the week. Will I adjust and make it to the end or will I go completely crazy and make/eat a whole bowl of cookie dough?   I guess we’ll see….

Going Out With A Bang!

I love yoga.  I enjoy the different poses that stretch you out, improve flexibility, and balance. At one point, I started reading Yoga Journal…but was really turned off by the hardcore Eastern religion influence to which they regularly refer. I don’t really care about chakra’s and dosha’s.  I just want to get a good leg/back stretch with some downward dog.

So, when an ad recently popped up for a
7-Day Fall Detox plan at Yoga Journal’s website, I was initially uninterested.  However, I’ve got about fifteen pounds I’d like to lose to reach a major weight goal…but I’ve just been stalled out.  I’ve found that as long as I stick with a veggie-based diet, I can eat whatever I want and just stay at this weight; but I don’t want to stay at this weight.  At my height and build (I’m 6’2″), a healthy weight for me is between 175-195.  I haven’t been under 200 pounds in for.ev.er.  I was around 220 through college and at my wedding.  I’ve fluctuated through different life stages…pregnancy, etc.  But, I’m currently at an all-time (after high school, anyway) low of 214.

I’ve been considering doing different detoxes to try to jumpstart my body to get rid of that 15 pounds and be under 200.  If I don’t have an actual plan, I’m horrible with my eating.  I LOVE to bake and end up eating WAY too many carbs.  So, I really like the idea of having a laid-out detox plan.  Mentally, I can tell myself, “This is what we’re doing…and it’s only for 7 days.”  I’m pretty sure I can handle it.  Plus, if the scale starts moving, it’s super motivating!

So I checked out the Yoga Journal plan and I’m going to give it a go. It starts on Monday and I thought it’d be great for the blog too as I can keep track of my progress. 🙂  I figured I’d go out with a bang this weekend though and made Mama Pea’s vegan donuts.

Of course, they’re delicious! Baked, cakey…with the perfect amount of spice and sweetness…and they’re HUGE! 🙂