February 25, 2011

A week in review and other things too

Other Things Too:
I thought I'd start with the "other" things this week b/c they seem to be all consuming right now! So, I think the last time I posted was last Wednesday!  Yikes!  Things have been really crazy here with our remodeling projects and I just haven't really had the time to blog.  I finally had a chance last night and I looked at how many posts I've missed and it was completely overwhelming.  I will try to get around to reading your awesome posts!

*  Our kitchen is S L O W L Y coming together.  I have been trying to repaint the cabinets, but the weather is not cooperating!  It has to be at least 40 degrees to paint, and although the outside temp. might be in the 50s, our garage is FREEZING!  So, it's just not happening.  I think I'm going to have to start painting the doors on my kitchen table and just deal with the smell!

*  Our new counter top is supposed to be installed next Friday!  Woohoo!

*  Did anyone catch that I said project(s) in the first paragraph??  Well, not only are we taking on our kitchen, but we are also taking on our bathroom!  The original layout was completely cramped and the tile on the floor was cracking.  So, we pulled up the old tile, which by the way came up too easily, and are putting in a corner shower.  It is going to be so much better when it's done, but in the mean time, it's just a complete mess!  AND, we have to share a bathroom with our 3 and 5 year old boys.  Umm...being the only girl sharing a bathroom with 3 boys is NOT fun!  What is it about boys/men and not being able to get all their pee into the toilet??!!  Sorry if that's too much information, but it's GROSS!  

*  My mom came for a visit this past week and it was awesome having her here!  We got to go around and find fun things to decorate/update our house!  Although it was stressful at times (who knew it would be sooo hard to find a nice set of tall candle holders??), it was a lot of fun!  My mom is an amazing decorator and I am so thankful for her help.  

*  NADA, ZILCH, NOTHING, ZERO!!  I have not worked out in over a week!  I feel fat, blobby, and just gross in general.  I NEED to workout!  Remodeling is zapping all of my energy, but if I don't start doing some sort of exercise soon I am going to explode!

February 16, 2011

Humpastry Day - ChocoMint Cookies!

ChocoMint Cookies:
I was craving something chocolaty and minty, so I thought I'd combine the two into a yummy cookie!  They are crispy and crunchy, and I thought they turned out pretty good.  Although I loved the combo of mint and chocolate, you could definitely leave out the peppermint extract if you're not a fan.  

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

*  2 flax eggs (2Tbl. flax mixed w/ 6Tbl. warm water)
*  1/2C coconut oil
*  1/2C Earthbalance butter
*  3/4C raw sugar
*  3/4C brown sugar
*  1 1/4C whole wheat flour
*  1C all-purpose flour
*  2tsp. vanilla extract
*  1tsp. peppermint extract
*  1tsp. baking soda
*  1tsp. salt
*  1/4C cocoa powder
*  1C chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silpmat.
2.  Prepare flax eggs and set aside.
3.  In a bowl, cream the coconut oil, butter, and sugars together until creamy.
4.  Beat in the flax eggs, vanilla, and peppermint extract.
5.  In a separate bowl, combine the flours, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
6.  Add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until just combined.
7.  Fold in the chocolate chips.
8.  Drop by rounded teaspoons onto the cookie sheets.
9.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until slightly browned.
10.  Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
11.  Enjoy!

February 15, 2011

A Big Mess!

What do you get when you decide to redo your kitchen DIY style?

Our kitchen pretty much looks like a war zone.  We ripped out our old back splash, took off the old cabinet doors/drawers so I could sand and repaint, and we're waiting for a new countertop.  Let me tell you, it is A LOT of work.  My poor little guys have been totally neglected this past week and have basically been planted in front of the TV when they're not at school!  Usually I don't let them watch a lot of TV, but we have to do what we have to do.  Besides, nonstop episodes of Backyardigans, Little Einsteins, Wonder Pets, and Dora/Diego can be considered "learning" programs...ha ha!

Anyways, I have been absent from bloggy land b/c of our never ending projects.  Why is it that when you estimate a job to take a weekend it actually ends up taking weeks!?!  Ugh!

I hope you all had a great Valentine's Day!  :)

February 8, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Vegetarian Korma!

Tasty Tuesday!!
Welcome to Tasty Tuesday, where I'll be posting some of my favorite vegetarian recipes every other week!   Whereas a lot of vegetarians/vegans decide to change their way of eating because of animal rights/cruelty, my reasonings were quite different.  So, before I get to the recipe, I just want to do a quick blurb about how I came to be a vegetarian.    
  I grew up in Kansas where my grandparents owned a cattle farm.  So, most of our meals were the typical "meat and potato" variety.  After I got married, I just continued cooking the same way I grew up, with some sort of meat in every meal.  I perfected the art of grilling a steak, and to this day, I don't know anyone that can grill a steak better than me...ha ha!
But, when I started training for triathlons I started paying more attention to what I was eating and how it was effecting my training and racing.  That same year my father-n-law gave me a copy of "The China Study" and told me to read it. When I finished the book, my husband and I ate through the last of the meat products in our fridge/freezer and vowed to start eating healthier and find better ways to fuel our bodies...not only for us, but for our sons too.  Being a vegetarian was difficult at first, especially when we would go out to eat, but it has been a wonderful change.  Although 99% of our meals are vegetarian/vegan, there are two things that I just won't give up:  turkey sandwiches (especially Jimmy Johns) and sushi.  But, overall I don't miss the meat. And, I don't miss that full/bloated feeling I would get after eating dinner, or the lack of energy I had. I love being a vegetarian and I think it has done wonders for my health and training.  
With that, I bring you the first installment of Tasty Tuesday!! 
Vegetarian Korma
This is one of my favorite vegetarian meals.  Although some prep work is involved, it is still pretty easy to make and the end result is super yummy!!  It is pretty versatile, so you can add other veggies you might have or delete the ones you don't care for.  It is really good served with quinoa, brown rice, or brown basmatti rice and Naan bread.  I usually double the recipe so my family can eat it two nights in a row.  And, like any dish with great seasonings, I find it even better the next day when all the spices have had time to truly mix together.

Before I get into the recipe, I thought I'd share some tips that I found to be very helpful when I cook.
Don't those veggies look beautiful and yummy!?!
*  Precut all of your veggies before you even start cooking.  I have found that this actually saves me quite a bit of time.  This is also a fun way to let your kids get involved too (if they're old enough to use a knife).  My boys love to watch and "help" me cook, and any way that I can get them involved and interested in cooking is awesome!   
My "dump bowl"
*  I use a "dump bowl" while I am cooking to collect all of my trash/scraps.  This way, I am not constantly running back and forth from the counter to the trash can.  This makes for super easy clean-up too!
My spice rack
*  I buy almost all of my spices in bulk.  I have spice jars that I just refill when needed.  Plus, if you find a recipe that has a spice you're not familiar with, you can go to the bulk spice section, buy the exact amount you need for the recipe for cents, and not have to worry about paying $$$ for a spice that you may never use again!  Most grocery stores have spices in bulk, but you may need to make a trip to Whole Foods, for example, for some of the less common ones.  
Serves 4
Prep Time: ~20minutes
Cook Time: ~30minutes

*  1 1/2Tbl. canola/vegetable oil
*  1 small onion, diced
*  1tsp. minced ginger (I use jarred ginger)
*  4cloves garlic, minced (I use jarred garlic)
*  1 potato/sweet potato cut into small cubes
*  4 carrots, peeled and cut into small cubes
*  3Tbl. chopped unsalted almonds (you can use whatever nut you prefer here, or take them out all together)
*  1-4oz. can tomato sauce
*  2tsp. salt (or more/less to taste)
*  1/2Tbl. curry powder (or more/less to taste)
*  1tsp. garam masala
*  1Tbl. brown sugar
*  1C frozen peas
*  1/2 green bell pepper/celery, chopped
*  1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
*  Big handful of raisins
*  1can light coconut milk  *Note:  You can use less of this depending on the texture you want.  If you want it more "soupy," use the whole can, but if you want it more "chunky," use 1/2 of the can.

1.  Heat the oil in a large skillet/dutch oven/pot over medium heat.
2.  Stir in the onion, and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
3.  Mix in the ginger and garlic, and cook for 1 minute.
4.  Mix in the potatoes, carrots, almonds, and tomato sauce.
5.  Add the salt, curry powder, garam masala, and brown sugar, stirring well to combine.
6.  Cover the pot and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.  *Note:  The smaller the potato and carrot cubes, the shorter the cooking time.  Also, you will need to stir the mixture frequently to keep it from completely sticking to the bottom of your pot.  
7.  Stir in peas, bell peppers, raisins, and coconut milk.

8.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring every once in awhile.
9.  Serve over quinoa, brown rice, or basmatti rice and add a side of naan
10.  Enjoy! :)

I hope you like this! I would love to hear what you think about it if you decide to make it! :) 

February 6, 2011

Stylish Blogger!

I was so excited when I learned that Julie from You Just Have to Tri! and Suzy from Running on My Time tagged me for the Stylish Blogger Award!  I have to admit, I love these type of awards because I think they're so fun.  I like reading the random things that people post and learning a little bit more about them.

I know this has been going around for awhile now, and I'm sure you are all familiar with the rules.  But, just in case you're not, here are the rules:
1.  Make a post and link back to the person who tagged you with the award.
2.  Share 7 things about yourself.
3.  Award to 7 great bloggers.
4.  Contact the bloggers and tell them they've won!

So, Here are some random things about me.  I apologize if any of these are repeats from posts before! :)

1.  Hi, my name is Aimee, and I am addicted to organizing.  I love to organize things and put them in their own little area.  This is a picture of my training binder.  It has separate tabs for swim, bike, run, strength, registration receipts, etc.
You should see my cabinets and closets.  I have labeled bins for just about everything!

2.  I hate my hair.  I have never liked my hair.  I've tried long hair styles, cutting it short (something I will NEVER do again), and shoulder length cuts and I've never really liked any of them.  I have a really bad habit of pulling my hair in a ponytail pretty much every day and it's getting old.
My problem is I just don't know what style would look best on me.  If you've ever seen "What Not to Wear" on TLC you know about the hair stylist, Nick.  I would love to make an appointment with him because he always seems to know the right hairstyle for everyone.  Someday maybe...


3.  I am TERRIFIED of spiders.  Seriously, just looking through the images of spiders to put on here gave me the heebie geebies!!

4.  I am horrible at making decisions.  Sometimes I am spontaneous, but for the most part, I like to research things and compare options before making a decision.  It drives my husband crazy, especially when it comes to decorating our house!

5.  I love racing, but I really like being on the sidelines cheering on my loved ones and friends!  Now that my husband is getting more into running, he's been doing more and more races.  I love seeing him come down the course, taking pictures, ringing the cowbell with my boys, and cheering him on.  It's so much fun!

6.  Someday I think I would love to try my hand (or feet) at Ultra Running.  There's something alluring about it and I think it would just be an amazing experience.  This year is out of the question because of IMAZ, but maybe sometime in the future I'll work my way up to it!  Who knows!?!

7.  I love when my boys draw pictures for me and my husband.  I have them all over our house and I love them all!  They are on our refrigerator, the bedroom doors, in our bedroom, etc. and every time I pass by them they bring a smile to my face. :)

Now, to tag 7 other bloggers! This is tough because I know so many of you have already gotten it!  So, I'm sorry to be so lame, but I'm going to tag all of you out there that haven't gotten it yet!

I hope you are all having a great weekend!  :)

February 4, 2011

A week in review and other things too

* I can finally say that I am almost 100% better!  Woohoo!  I was feeling so good yesterday, that I wrote up a 2month winter maintenance plan that will start on Monday!  As you probably remember, I was supposed to start my winter maintenance plan a month ago.  So, I am excited about finally getting back to some sort of training!
* Swimming: Guess what I found out when I went to the gym yesterday?  They are redoing all of the tile in the showers in our gym and they will be closed until the end of Feb!!  They closed off the access to the pool from the locker rooms, which means that when I go to swim in the morning I have to walk through the main gym in my suit and towel to go to and from the locker room!  Then, I won't even be able to shower afterwards!  I could go to another gym, but the other locations are just not that convenient for me.  Ugh!! What would you do?
* ITB: My right ITB is still giving me problems.  I really did a number on it from that marathon.  I've been stretching and foam rolling, and I think it's helping.  But, sometimes I'll take a wrong step and POW..the pain returns!  It's been about 3 weeks since the marathon and I really hope it heals soon!

And Other Stuff Too:

Because of the extreme cold temps, my boys had two "cold" days from school.  We were all pretty much going stir crazy in the house, so we decided to venture out to our favorite place, Target.  I decided to get a new movie for the boys and I've heard that "How to Train Your Dragon" was a good one.
We got home, made some popcorn and hot cocoa, and sat down to watch it.  I just have to say that it is one of the best kids' movies that I have seen in a long time!  The messages in the movie are awesome and we all loved it!  If you haven't seen it, I would highly recommend watching it with your kiddos!

*  I am getting pretty tired of the cold temps around here!  I know it's winter, but it's pretty ridiculous!  Luckily, we're getting a "warm" up this week and will be back in the 40s.  Spring come soon!!

* I still have some tri clings left, so if you want one, email me your address and I'll send one out to you!
*  It seemed like the majority of you would like to see some vegetarian/vegan recipes!  Woohoo!  So, starting next week, I'll be introducing "Tasty Tuesday!"

I hope you all have a great weekend! :)

February 2, 2011

Humpastry Day - Almond Milk and Random Granola Bars!

Almond Milk
O-kay, I know almond milk doesn't really fit with the whole "humpastry day" theme, but it will all make sense in the end...I promise! :)  A LONG time ago, I won a nut milk bag from Amber at Almost Vegan.  I was so excited about it, but I'm afraid to say I kind of forgot about it.  That is, until we had an arctic blast come into Denver bringing temps. down into the negative digits!  Needless to say, I haven't really ventured out of my house and I had a lot of time on my hands.   I have been meaning to try making my own almond milk for awhile now, but something always seemed to come up and it would get put to the side.  Finally, I decided to give it a go! Although it takes some preparation, it is super easy to do.  The final product not only tastes great, but it doesn't contain any extra chemicals that you find in store bought milk.  And, it is definitely more cost effective then buying it in the store!  Woohoo!

(Makes about 4 cups of almond milk)
*  1C raw almonds
*  water for soaking
*  4 cups of water for the milk
*  vanilla, agave, honey to taste.  (These are totally optional.  I didn't use either because I figured I would be using it for different things.  It came out great, but I could see how adding a little agave or vanilla would be good too!)  

1.  Put the almonds in a good sized bowl and fill the bowl with water until the almonds are covered well.
2.  Cover the bowl with a towel or lid and let sit in a cool place for ~24 hours.  *Note: you could probably do less time, but the point is to make sure they are nice and soft.  When they are done soaking, they will be nice and plump.

3.  When they are done soaking, pour off the water, and rinse the almonds well.
4.  Put the almonds and 4 cups of water into a blender.  *Note:  I used my VitaMix, but I'm sure any blender would work.
5.  Blend for a couple of minutes until well blended.  You can add sweetener at this time if you want.  When it's done blending, it will have a lot of froth on the top.

6.  Using a nut milk bag [HERE]or a fine mesh sieve, strain the almond milk into another bowl or container.
7.  As you are straining it, you will get a lot of almond meal.  Some people just throw it out, but I don't like wasting food, so I saved it.  *Note:  There are a lot of things you can do with the almond meal.  You can freeze it in ice cube trays and use a cube or two in your smoothies.  You can dehydrate it or dry it in the oven to make almond flour.  You can use it to make bread, muffins, or granola bars.  You can even add it to cereal, yogurt, or oatmeal.  Like I said, there are a lot of things you can do with it!

8.  After you finish straining it, you will get about 4 cups of almond milk.  :)  It will keep in the refrigerator for about a week.  *Note:  You will need to mix the almond milk every time you use it because some grounds will settle to the bottom. 
9.  Enjoy!  I like to use mine with my homemade granola, cereal, or in my oatmeal!  Yum!

Random Granola Bars:
 This is where "Humpastry Day" really comes into play!  With the left over almond meal, I decided to use it to make some granola bars!  Basically, I just gathered some random ingredients (hence the name) and baked them in the oven.  The result was awesome!  They are super yummy, healthy, and make a great snack!  If you don't have almond meal, you could definitely ground some almonds up to make almond flour instead.  Or, you could add more oats.

Makes 12 granola bars
*  1C rolled oats
*  1/2C almond meal
*  1/2C unsweetened coconut (you can leave this out if you're not a coconut fan)
*  1/4C sesame seeds
*  2 dates- pitted and chopped
*  1/4C raisins (or any other dried fruit you have on hand)
*  1Tbl. Chia seeds
*  3/4C natural peanut butter (or any kind of nut butter)
*  1/3C honey
*  1/2tsp. vanilla extract

1.  Lightly grease a 9x5" baking pan and set aside.  Preheat the oven to 350degrees.  *Note:  Although I didn't try this, I'm sure you could eat these raw too.  
2.  In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla.  Set aside.
3.  In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla.  Microwave for 1 minute, then stir the ingredients together.
4.  Pour the peanut butter mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until combined completely.
5.  Press into a 9x5" baking pan and bake for 12-15minutes.  *Note: If you decide to eat these without baking them, I would put them in the freezer/fridge for about 15 minutes to let the ingredients set.  
6.  Take them out of the oven and let cool.  Cut them into 12 rectangles and store in the refrigerator.
7.  Enjoy!

P.S. I added a print button on the bottom of my posts in case any of you want to print out the recipes.  :)

P.P.S.  With the help of these lovely antibiotics I am happy to say that I am FINALLY on the road to recovery and feeling better every day!  Woohoo! :)