Friday, March 27, 2015

Happy Spring!

Hello again!

I'm finally done with winter quarter and I'm able to share with you lovely people once again. This term was one of the hardest I've ever had. I was taking three science major-level science classes (chemistry 3, anatomy and physiology 2, and microbiology), and barely had time to breathe. My weekdays and weekends were full of reading, homework, studying, labs, and trying to survive. But somehow I got through it and I am now enjoying my moments of rest and relaxation.

Things I have planned for spring break:

  • reading books about subjects OTHER than chemistry, anatomy and physiology, and microbiology.
  • baking! I can't wait to try out so many new recipes!
  • cooking elaborate meals! I acquired three new cookbooks that I want to talk about here, but first I need to actually cook from them.
  • spending time with D. Now that the weather is warmer, I have a feeling we're going to be out on the water sailing quite a bit.
  • seeing friends outside of school. 
  • traveling around Seattle and discovering new awesome places.
  • catching up on sleep.

When I was looking for pictures to add to this post, I realized that in the past three months, I have mostly only taken pictures of bacteria and anatomical models. Since I'm sure you don't really want to see those, I'll add a rare picture of something else: a trip D and I took to Vancouver, B.C. over Presidents' Day weekend:

the main branch of the Vancouver BC library
And here is a picture of my new niece! She was born in early January and is the sweetest thing ever. She's coming up from Portland to visit (with her parents, of course) this weekend. I can't wait to see how she's changed since I met her in January.

See you soon!

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Best Green Smoothies on The Planet: A Recipe and Cookbook Review

I'm really excited to share a review of a new cookbook with you today that I think will really speak to a lot of you. Green smoothies are (and have been) "all the rage" in recent years, but there are few cookbooks that really offer green smoothies in a healthy, whole foods way like this one does. 

However, The Best Green Smoothies on the Planet is packed full of very healthy, nutrient-rich smoothies that you can feel good about adding to your green smoothie recipe collection. Tracy Russell creates delicious recipes out of common household ingredients such as bananas, spinach, celery and cinnamon, leaving you with wonderful smoothies that are low in fat, high in nutrients, and absolutely delicious going down.

The book is broken up into two parts. The first part of the book gives a basic introduction to green smoothies, their nutritional benefits, how to make the perfect green smoothie, and what types of ingredients are best for green smoothies. The second part of the book is full of smoothie recipes, divided into nine different chapters. There's a chapter each for detox and cleansing smoothies (perfect for this time of year!), fitness and energy green smoothies, and heart-healthy green smoothies. I want to try nearly every single recipe in the book, but today I get to share with you the Spiced Blueberry and Pear Smoothie, found in the weight loss smoothies chapter. 

I really want to try these recipes:
  • Pear-Dandelion Green Smoothie
  • Cherry-Plum Green Smoothie
  • Chocolate-Peanut Butter Smoothie
  • Sweet Potato Smoothie
  • Coconut-Grapefruit Smoothie
  • Avocado-Peach Green Smoothie

...just to name a few!

This is a great book, and it's obvious that Tracy really put a lot of thought and research into creating it. There are no pictures, but because the smoothies are so easy to put together, you'll be looking at your own smoothie in just a matter of minutes, so no picture is necessary! 

For more information about Tracy Russell and her amazing health story, visit her website: Without further ado, here is a recipe for her wonderful spiced blueberry and pear smoothie:


Adding spices to smoothies is a great way to add a lot of flavor without adding additional calories.

Frozen wild blueberries are a great low-calorie fruit that is loaded with 25 percent of your recommended daily value of fiber and 12 percent of your recommended daily value of zinc— with only 80 calories!

1 medium pear, cored
1 cup frozen wild blueberries
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 ounces homemade almond milk (page 64)

Calories: 208
Fat: 1g
Protein: 2g
Carbs: 49g
Calcium: 3%
Iron: 0.8mg
Vitamin A: 1%
Vitamin C: 29%

Friday, January 9, 2015

My Favorite Cookbooks of 2014

I think I say this every year, but 2014 was a great year for cookbooks. So many great ones came out to inspire, intimidate and are my top 10 favorites of the year:

The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Over 100 Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out by Angela Liddon - another gorgeous cookbook that features beautiful, whole food recipes.

Sweet Eats for All: 250 Decadent Gluten-Free, Vegan Recipes--from Candy to Cookies, Puff Pastries to Petits Fours by Allyson Kramer - oh, you already know how I feel about this book, but in case you missed this post, just know that this is not a book you can do without!

The 30-Day Vegan Challenge by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau - this is a second edition of the book, but the most exciting part is that my very good friend designed and did the layout for the book! She put in hours of work, and you can really tell. It's a beautiful book, inside and out.

Plant-Based Eating from Ben Bella Vegan Publishers - this ebook takes great recipes from some fantastic vegan authors (Lindsay S. Nixon, Christy Morgan, and the crew at HappyCow, to name a few) and puts them into a beautiful book.

The HappyCow Cookbook: Recipes from Top-Rated Vegan Restaurants around the World - I wrote a bit about the book already, and it's a great addition to your collection.

Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen: 150 Pizzas, Pastas, Pestos, Risottos, & Lots of Creamy Italian Classics by Chloe Coscarelli - this girl just keeps popping out amazing books, and she doesn't show any signs of stopping.

Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed by Bryant Terry - I really respect Terry's philosophy about food and I especially like his style of cookbook. This is another great one for the collection.

The VB6 Cookbook: More than 350 Recipes for Healthy Vegan Meals All Day and Delicious Flexitarian Dinners at Night by Mark Bittman - although not an entirely vegan cookbook, I like where this man's headed, and I like the simplicity of his recipes along the way.

Choosing Raw by Gena Hamshaw - this is a wonderful book with lovely recipes and pictures to match.

The Vibrant Table: Recipes From My Always Vegetarian, Mostly Vegan and Sometimes Raw Kitchen by Anya Kassoff - I love the author's take on foods in this book. She was born and raised in Russia, and Russian food influences her recipes. Since I am Polish, I love finding new, healthier takes on Slavic foods, and this book gives me that treat.

Well, these are my top 10 of 2014! There are so many I didn't get to this year, and so many that are coming out next year that I can't wait's a great time to be a home cook. What were your favorite cookbooks of 2014?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 in Review

a picture of D and me all gussied up at his company's holiday party this year
Wow, it's been quite a year, hasn't it?! Here are the highlights from my life, as shared on my blog, from the momentous year of 2014:

I started the year by ending [my allergen-free bakery] Cinnamon. That's quite a way to begin a year, isn't it? It was a relief to close the business, but also a very difficult thing to do. I'll never regret the fact that I founded and ran my own bakery, but I'm very content to keep that all in the past and focus on a (hopefully, more profitable) future in dietetics, instead.

As I delved more into studying all the time, I started spending a lot of time in front of my computer, making tasty, yet healthy snacks a must. As a result, I jumped on the trendy bandwagon and made some tasty avocado chocolate pudding.

We got snowed in! It was the snowpocalypse to end all snowpocalypses. It was fun to be stranded in the new house with D, sending Betsy out to enjoy the snow and warming up inside in front of the fireplace. I love snow days in the Pacific Northwest. I met D in the Arctic Blast of '08, so snow storms will always hold a warm place in my heart.

Because it continued to be so cold outside, I crafted a delicious soup out of cauliflower and leeks and roasted potatoes. It warmed the soul, the body, and didn't last long in our soup bowls!

D and I spent a part of my spring break in eastern Washington, in Spokane. It was so fun to see old friends and to re-explore my college. Spokane has become a much better city than I remember, and I wouldn't be surprised to see myself visiting again in the near future, especially now that it's a mere 4-hour drive away.

I shared a review of a delicious packaged gluten-free bread mix that's on the market from Luce's. It was crunchy (in a good way), had a great texture, and fulfilled my dreams of gluten-free sourdough.

I shared a glimpse into my new garden. My, what a garden. As I'm looking at the pictures now, I'm remembering just how awesome our yard in Portland is, and I'm feeling a little jealous of our current tenants. Oh well, we're living a good life here in the Seattle area also, and we luckily found a place to rent that already had garden plots (albeit, not quite as nicely constructed), so don't be surprised if you see a "2015 garden" post coming up next spring.

I created a list of my favorite gluten-free and vegan ice cream recipes for the summer. I'm so cold in this basement as I write this that I can't really fathom eating ice cream anytime soon, but I'm sure when the weather warms up just a bit I'll be putting my trusty ice cream maker back into the freezer so I can produce homemade ice cream anytime I want.

I was too busy with school and a quick vacation to the beach with friends to write anything! However, I'm pretty sure I was spending all my free time outside, because we were fortunate to have an amazingly sunny and warm summer in Portland.

I didn't really have anything new to report, but I was excited about finishing up one whole year of classes and one half of my prerequisites. As I look back over the past year, I think I'm most proud of the fact that I've gotten a 4.0 in all my classes; if I were really ambitious, I could apply to a number of medical programs, such as nursing, physician's assistant, and, with one more year of physics, even being a doctor! It's thrilling to be doing so well in school, especially in subjects that I always thought were hard and uninteresting. And now I'm thriving! It's extremely gratifying, to say the least, that all my hard work (and absence from this blog and basically all forms of a social life) are really paying off. Let's just hope that the school I want to attend feels the same way I do!

D and I visited San Diego. I fell in love with the city - its people, its beaches, its sunshine, and its food. I would go back and live there in a heartbeat, except for the fact that it's not a great place to find a job in D's industry (plus, it's rumored to be really expensive). Oh well, one can dream, right?

D got an amazing job offer and we decided to move up to the Seattle area! It was a whirlwind couple of weeks, as we debated whether or not this was something we wanted to do, all while trying to live as if it simultaneously was and was NOT going to happen. I sometimes still can't believe we're here, because with our lives being so digital, it's easy to stay in touch with loved ones, making it seem like they're just a few miles away. Plus, Portland is a mere 173 miles away, and is easily traveled to via plane (45 minutes), train (4 hours) and car (2.75 hours with no traffic). Now that we're settled, I've found that I really like it here and really wouldn't mind staying for a while. If I get into the program and school that I want, I'll need to be here at least two more years, then after that, with the company D works for and my dietetics credentials, we will be able to live nearly anywhere!

This fall I took three classes: Anatomy and Physiology, Nutrition, and Chemistry 2 (the second of a 3-quarter series). I made the mistake of slacking off just a tiny bit the first week (a mere three days after we got here), and I played catch up for the next four weeks or so. It was awful. Thus, there was no blogging in October. I also took a quick trip down to Portland to see my sister and nieces that live in Kentucky, so any chance of writing a post just went out of the window. It was a long month.

I blinked and somehow it was my birthday, and I turned 31! It all happened so quickly, but I've always  found that once the summer is over, the fall seems to fly right on by, and this year was no exception. Back in the day (read: before I ran a business and then began attending school), D and I would take birthday trips because his birthday is four days after mine. However, now that we're responsible adults (read: I have way too much homework), we settle for nice walks on the lake, a lovely dinner out, and a weekend spent studying for a bone practical. Hooray, student life!

We also had visitors in November, and it was lovely; D's parents came up the weekend after his birthday, and my mother came up for her birthday, which was also Thanksgiving Day. It was so nice to have some familiar faces in our house.

It's already December! How does each year seem to go by so quickly? Anyway, I'm over it, and now I'm just concentrating on my final five prerequisite classes (the second half of Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology, the third Chemistry in the 3-quarter series, Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry), applying to my first choice program, and exploring even more of this wonderful new city. Also, I started making a list of all the things I love about the city so far.

Let's hope for an even more amazing, exciting and challenging 2015! Happy New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Dishes for Christmas Day. Vegan. Gluten-Free

What are your plans for Christmas (if you celebrate it)? D and I are headed down to Portland on Christmas Eve, then we'll spend the next four days in Portland, trying to fit in as much family and friends get-togethering as possible. We're seeing my sister on Christmas Eve, and having Christmas dinner with his family, and I know I'm seeing the new Wild movie with some gal friends on Friday night, but other than that, nothing is really set in stone. After that, it's off to Sacramento to visit my great-aunt and mother, while D heads back to Seattle, and we'll both meet back down in the Bay Area for his cousin's wedding (and our 4-year anniversary) over New Year's. It'll be a busy but fun holiday time.

I'm not even quite sure what dish(es) I'll be in charge of this Christmas, as I'll be cooking with D's family, but I've been browsing the internet and have found quite a few delicious things that should be prepared by someone (if not me). Here they are, in order of meals, some seasonal, vegan and gluten-free dishes that seem perfect for Christmas brunch, lunch, and/or dinner. Enjoy! And if you cook any of them, please let me know how they were!


Gingerbread Granola from Minimalist Baker

Cranberry Persimmon Crisp from Keepin' It Kind

Cinnamon Applesauce Muffins from Allyson Kramer


Winter Greens Salad with Fennel, Grapefruit and Beet from Ricki Heller

Roasted Veggie Panini from Vegan Cuts 


Easy Dinner Biscuits from Fork and Beans

Christmas Polenta Casserole from Chocolate Covered Katie

Mushroom Chickpea Hazelnut Tart from Kathy at Healthy.Happy.Life


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