5-Minute Bruschetta Toast

>> Friday, June 28, 2013

This is one of those simple recipes that's dangerously easy to get hooked on. And -- actually -- there's nothing dangerous about it at all. Pretty healthy if you ask me. I'm so bruschetta (pronounced "brusketta") obsessed that you'll be getting yet another recipe next week. That one's a bit more involved with naan and grilling, etc.

This recipe is fast, brown bag + work week friendly.


5-MINUTE BRUSCHETTA TOAST
vegan. you'll want to make it every day.

What you'll need . . . 
  • 1/4 cup Pomi chopped tomatoes, drained well
  • 6 large basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (or 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 2 slices of you favorite crusty bread

Method . . . 

  1. Toast your bread (darker + crunchier the better), slice into wedges, and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together all other ingredients. 
  3. Spoon over wedges and serve immediately. Oh, and I would have drizzled mine with balsamic reduction if I had any!
  4. You can double, triple, etc. this recipe to make as many servings as you wish.
What to do with the rest of the chopped tomatoes? Make Boozy + Bold Tomato Sauce. And try it with these favorites:

PIZZA, ETC.:
* means VEGAN

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Why Taking a Break Isn't the End

>> Thursday, June 27, 2013

I thought I'd take a break from food today to share a continuation on a freelance article I wrote this week about Getting Back Into Running After Sickness. A part II, if you will. Though, if you'd like a basic how to start back again on the path to normal training, you should definitely check out the other piece.


So, in short -- I was really sick and didn't run for twelve days. As in, almost two weeks. I've written before about the DOs and DON'Ts of running while sick, and since this cold resided in my chest with a low-grade fever, I knew I shouldn't even try to get in my nomal miles. What a bummer.

When I headed out on one of my return-to-running runs yesterday, it struck me that my attitude toward this topic has changed dramatically over the course of my time with the sport. When I was a newbie, I was devastated whenever I was sick. Time off my feet meant getting off schedule and getting off schedule was catastrophic. I'd try desperately to sneak in any distance at any pace just to maintain some semblance of continuity.

Otherwise, I felt DOOMED.

I distinctly remember one cold February afternoon in college when I slugged along to run my 4 miles on the treadmill, "sweating out" a fever. I'm sure that did me no good at all -- not for my sickness, not for my race plan. It wasn't an isolated incident either. Now -- years, many illnesses, injuries, and a pregnancy + postpartum period later, I'm faster than I have ever been and have had multiple lapses in my training ranging from days to months.

Yes. There have been times when I haven't gone for a run in months.
And yet, here I am.
Still alive.
Still breaking personal records.
Cool, huh?

Each and every time something happens that takes me away, I've learned something. Over time, that accumulation of knowledge has enlightened me to the fact that -- yeah, I might not be performing at optimal levels at all times, but ultimately, it doesn't matter much. Our bodies, if we otherwise maintain some consistency with running, rebound. It's like riding a bike in that respect.

Getting back into it is difficult, but the muscle memory is there.
The cardiovascular system catches up, lagging only slightly.

If you are sick or discouraged in the wake of some unplanned hiatus, I hope this is encouraging news to hear. It can be one of the hardest messages to deliver to ourselves. I mean, during the height of sickness . . . it can feel like you're a tragically frail character in a Victorian romance novel . . . but you'll heal and be back running (as it nothing ever happened) before you know it.

But I hope you're all well!
What's on your training plan today?
 
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Blackberry Lemonade for 2

>> Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wow. It really feels like feast or famine over here on the blog with regard to recipes. One week, I'm writing about ridiculous diet claims or giving a detailed food diary, the next I'm all about making + eating food. I've just felt particularly inspired this week to make different dishes, desserts, and other tasty treats.

I am also having a blog identity crisis. But more on that another time. In the summer, I love lemonade, but I never want to make/drink an entire pitcher. This recipe isn't rocket science, but I figure if I didn't think to make a small batch until now . . . maybe it's new to you as well.

Hm?


BLACKBERRY LEMONADE for 2

What you'll need . . .

  • Juice from 3 large lemons 
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 1+ tablespoons raw honey*
  • Handful frozen blackberries**
  • Ice, lots of it

* Feel free to experiment with using agave, maple syrup, or even pure cane sugar -- whatever floats your boat and customizes the sweetness to your liking.
** Would also work great with frozen raspberries, chopped strawberries, etc.


Method . . .
  1. Put the lemon juice, water, and honey in a large glass and stir until raw honey is completely dissolved.
  2. Put in however much ice you'd like and then toss in the frozen fruit. Shake or stir around a bit until the fruit releases some of its juices into the drink. It will happen fast.
  3. Drink ASAP -- the ice melts fast. Enjoy the thawed fruit at the end of your drinking.
  4. (And feel free to add a splash of your favorite booze. Or even just add tonic water for some sparkle.)
What's your favorite hot weather drink? Share your recipe in the comments! I'm thinking of posting a roundup on one of the upcoming Weekend Things posts.

Psst: Today we're mixing up batch 2 of our frozen yogurt (batch 1 was the chocolate + coconut, which is almost gone -- I can't believe it!). This time, it's going to be delightfully tart! I can't wait to share.

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Garlic Scape + Swiss Chard Pesto, 2 Ways

>> Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It's CSA season, so our fridge is teeming with beautiful seasonal produce. So much of it, in fact, that I'm frantically trying to come up with good ways to use it all. Maybe "frantic" isn't the right word, but I hate wasting food we get from the hands of farmers we know + love.

Pesto is a favorite of mine because it's adaptable and forgiving. You can use so many different nuts, greens, and other additions to make it new and different. You can add flavor a bit at a time so it doesn't get out of control. It freezes well, too. So, though this recipe makes four 1/2 cup servings -- I kept two in the fridge for the week and sent two down to our upright freezer for safekeeping.

Bring on the greens!


GARLIC SCAPE + SWISS CHARD PESTO
// 2 ways // feel free to use other nuts, greens, or seasonings!

What you'll need . . .

(vegetarian version)

  • 5 garlic scapes, chopped
  • 1 cup swiss chard, leaves only, cut off stems
  • 1/4 cup coarsely processed almonds
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juice only
  • salt + pepper, to taste

(vegan version)
  • 5 garlic scapes, chopped
  • 1 cup swiss chard, leaves only, cut off stems
  • 1/4 cup coarsely processed almonds
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juice only
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • salt, to taste

Method . . .
  1. Prepare all your ingredients. (Or just half if you want less or just one type of pesto.) The great thing with this recipe versus some of my others? You don't need to cook anything.
  2. Make your first batch by tossing all the ingredients (except the salt, pepper, and other seasonings) into a food processor and pulsing until you reach your desired consistency. I left this pesto pretty chunky because we're going to be using it on pasta and on pizza -- if you're like it drippier, add more olive oil, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  3. Set aside + repeat same process with other pesto ingredients, from start to finish.
  4. Then divide your finished pesto into two portions each and store in airtight containers. (Alternatively, you can place in freezer bags and freeze for up to 6 months or more.) 


MORE THINGS PESTO:

Pumpkin Pesto Rolls
Spinach Pesto
Vegan Walnut Pesto
Basil-Pesto French Toast
Pesto French Toast, II -- with Avocado Butter
Pesto Quiche with Oatmeal Crust
Pesto Garlic Knots
Pesto Portabella Sandwiches
(Pesto) Smothered Mother

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Chocolate + Coconut Frozen Yogurt

>> Sunday, June 23, 2013

In the past year, our area has gained two frozen yogurt places + an ice cream joint within walking distance of our home. So, I don't know why-oh-why it's taken me eons to make a frozen treat in our ice cream maker. Maybe it's rebellion. After all, I'm sort of anti-Pinterest food trends.

But guys, this is so worth jumping on the bandwagon.


What kept me from mixing up a batch at home was -- in part -- my own impatience. After all, you need to freeze that mixing drum for a good 15 hours. I never plan ahead. If I want dessert, I want it in the moment, which is probably why I make so many cookies.

Saturday afternoon, we realized we had an entirely uneaten container of low-fat yogurt that we needed to use. Fast. So, I crept into the basement, blew the dust off the ice cream maker box, and let the thing chill overnight. Today, I hastily mixed together what I had on hand.

I think it might be impossible to mess up frozen yogurt.
This recipe is great for beginners that want a chocolatey, yet distinctly tart.
Go!


CHOCOLATE + COCONUT FROZEN YOGURT 
nothing fancy here, just delicious homemade goodness

What you'll need . . . 

  • 32 ounces low-fat yogurt
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk*
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup raw sugar**
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
* I imagine if you want to stay with the low-fat theme, you could use reduced fat coconut milk. All we had was the real stuff. And I'm not talking the kind in the refrigerated section -- use the canned kind that's nice + thick.
** Feel free to also experiment with other sweeteners and using less, which is what I'm going to try later in the week. Yup -- more frozen recipes soon!


Method . . . 
  1. In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients. Then chill for 3 hours -- covered, in the refrigerator.
  2. Then prepare according to your ice cream maker's instructions. Ours instructed us to pour in the mixture and let churn for 30 minutes. 
  3. Then we let it freeze in an airtight shallow container for another 6 hours.

If you don't have an ice cream maker, there are a few kinds to choose from. You can get one that hooks right onto your KitchenAid mixer -- the Ice Cream Maker Attachment makes up to 2 quarts at a time. If you don't have a mixer, check out this economical Cuisinart Frozen Dessert Maker.

I'm sure ours will pay for itself if we can resist all the goodies $$$ on our evening walk.

Have you made your own ice cream?

Even if you don't have a fancy machine, you can enjoy frozen desserts of your own making. Try out our Frozen Banana Bites (and the new FAQs about them) or even my favorite Ultimate Vegan Banana Ice Cream recipe.

Now to go clean the drips off my camera strap!

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Weekend Things

>> Friday, June 21, 2013

I could go into the inane details about the third day on my "detox" this week. But I'll just cut it short: I ate really well for three days and still feel like crap. It has nothing to do with my diet, though. I ended up having to go on antibiotics for my cold, which morphed into a sinus/ear infection.

I have now been super sick for 9 days straight, and I'm hoping for some respite soon. (Except poor Ada is now sick, but I won't delve into that. I fear I'm nearing a mental breakdown from sleep deprivation.)


Here are some links to get us all through the weekend.

// Two Wheels //
I've found the Kanken Mini backpack with its many snaps + straps
To be the best-ever bicycle "basket" (bonus: doubles as a purse).
These visor helmets are really cute, too.

// Tasty //
Here's 17 Desserts you can make on your grill.
Wash it all down with a virgin Moscow Mule.

// More Tasty //
I don't love egg salad with mayo, if you checked out those recipes.
Try subbing Chipotle Vegenaise in for the mayo. You will LOVE IT!

// Blockbuster //
I'm hoping we're all well enough soon because
I really want to see World War Z this weekend!
Also: I've been watching Pretty Little Liars.

// We Can't Stop //
Please. Tell me. What on Earth do you think

// Did I tell you? //
I have a new gig I'm super excited about.
I now write running-related articles for Walk, Jog, Run.
Check out Training with Tots + Running on a Budget

// Q + A //
If you have a question, email us.

And here's what you may have missed recently on Writing Chapter Three:



Have a great weekend!

Psst: You can check out more Weekend Things here + here + here + here + here + here + here + here + here + here + here + here + here + here + here + here + here + here.

And don't forget to enter the Albion Swimsuit Giveaway and the Sprout Toddler Snack Giveaway.

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Another Day of Food

>> Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I've received a few comments and emails (with good intentions, I know) worried that there's more going on with me than just junky eating and my desire to clean it up. I want to clarify first and foremost that my "detox" is a.) Only three days long, b.) 1500 calories/day, based loosely off this eating detox, which is far from starving, and c.) Is OK b/c I'm not exercising much (no long runs, speed workouts, etc.) as I've been sick.

I realize I've written a lot about feeling "toxic" or icky or bad in the past year especially. I've had my ups and downs, but a lot of it stems from eating too much sugar and failing over and over and over again to stay the course with healthy foods. I think many of you can relate to this struggle. When things get busy, I grab easy convenience crap. When I'm hungry, my body has now trained itself to search for the quick simple carb calories versus sustaining proteins. Oh, and when Ada's not eating her lunch, I focus more on THAT than on my own meal.

I'm working on it, but I just haven't found the solution yet. I assure you, I am very happy right now with my personal life, with my job(s), with the sun + summer temperatures = generally in a good place.

I'm hoping this time's a charm. Stephen will be home for the summer at the end of this week and I will have a bit more time in my day to focus on my needs. Eating clean again (because I used to eat healthy automatically -- really! As if I can remember those days, though. They seem distant!) is a huge goal for my summer. I'll always be in love with pizza and desserts, but they simply can't be a daily thing for me. It's a slippery slope to eating candy bars as lunch, you know?

Here's yesterday's eats:


Breakfast:

Two eggs pulsed in the food processor
with a handful of spinach and scrambled.
A piece of 7-grain sprouted toast w/ peanut butter.
Fresh berries on the side.


Snack:

A half cup of Greek yogurt mixed with
a teaspoon raw honey
+ a tablespoon cocoa powder.

Didn't work out into being the chocolate fix I needed, but wasn't half bad.


Lunch: 

I combined my snack and lunch since I got to both later in the afternoon.

A smoothie with banana, frozen strawberries,
a heaping cup spinach, cup and unsweetened almond milk,
and tablespoon peanut butter.
I think I put some cinnamon and vanilla extract in there, too.

Then I used some leftover wheat berries and half an avocado + dressed it with some sesame oil and soy sauce.


Dinner: 

Half a pizza. But not just a crazy pizza.
It had a buckwheat crust that I'll share sometime soon.
Light on the cheeses and heavy on the sauce.
A big glass of water with lemon to wash it down.

Generally I feel the food is giving me more energy than what I have been eating. I've been very much focused on protein, which is a notorious issue for me. I am not nixing sugar, but I am certainly trying to curb it wherever possible. And not drinking beer at night is only helping with that low level of dehydration I get during the summer months.

Today has been a challenge, though. I'm on day 7 of this nasty cold and debating if I should go get the medicine the doctor prescribed just in case it turns into a sinus infection -- or wait it out another couple days. I haven't been hungry AT ALL, so I had a smoothie for breakfast. I'm thinking eggs and toast for lunch. Yeah. My meals are somewhat repetitive, but that's how it has to be on a budget.

I'm hoping to fill my plate with a blockbuster dinner featuring this week's CSA share's finest.We have a lot of good stuff to use up, and since I won't be jogging today, I'll have some time to myself in the kitchen to do something creative.

How are you guys doing? Thanks for all your support! And if you missed day one, check it out here.

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Clean(ish) Food Diary

>> Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Still feeling somewhat toxic, but I know this stuff takes time. I think the best way for me to come clean, so to speak, is to make myself accountable. That means sharing everything I'm eating -- the super duper healthy stuff to the not-so great treats. Yesterday? I definitely had a mix of both.

Here we go!


BREAKFAST:

1/2 cup old fashioned oats cooked in 1 cup unsweetened almond milk.
Added dash of cinnamon + vanilla extract.
Topped with blackberries and strawberries.
Drank tea.


SNACK:

1/2 large banana,
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (nonfat),
1/2 cup water, handful greens,
1 tablespoon cocoa powder,
1 teaspoon raw honey,
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter.
Blended until smooth.


LUNCH:

2 hard boiled eggs mashed with 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
+ dash smoked paprika and dill.
Spread on 7-grain sprouted Ezekiel bread.
Large glass of water.

SNACK:

Apple with handful of raw almonds.
Glass of water.


DINNER: 

Broccoli rabe sauteed in olive oil, garlic, onions
+ canelli beans. 1/2 cup wheat berries.
Dash parmesan + sriracha.
I washed it down with a sparkling water versus a beer.
Not the same, but not entirely bad either.



DESSERT:


1 tablespoon each peanut butter, honey, coconut oil (virgin).
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. 1/8 teaspoon baking powder.
1/2 cup old fashioned oats. 1 serving dark chocolate chips.
(Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 15-17 minutes.) 
Based off this recipe.


EXERCISE:

Still feeling sick, but Ada and I took a walk to the grocery store, which ended up being around 45 minutes round-trip. Then I started out for a light jog, but all the coughing has given me a huge headache + it was a really hot, so I stayed indoors and peddled on the indoor bike for 20 minutes. I drank a glass of water while exercising.

The numbers . . .


These meal calorie totals are low, I'm looking specifically at you, dinner!, but -- though I am eating food -- this is a sort of detox. My activity level is much lower than normal and I'm not terribly hungry after this sickness. This isn't how I plan to eat for the rest of my life. It wouldn't be sustainable.

The plan I'm loosely following isn't vegetarian, so I think that some of my substitutions could be better for the fish. Have you come across any good clean eating plans that are specifically vegetarian with lots of protein in them? What do you suggest?

As you can see, snacks took up more than half of what I ate, which is fine. However, when you break it down to see what took up half of the snack calories (deep dish cookie). Hmmm. You guys/gals have told me that just forgoing dessert will help, so I suppose I need to try it. Even with all the "healthy" substitutions, that treat is glaring in all areas.


FINAL THOUGHTS:

Overall, a good day. Eating little meals every few hours and adding protein where it's usually lacking helped keep my energy levels stable, and I could tell a huge difference in that regard. I do wonder how lighter meals will stack up once I get back to my normal activity levels, but this week I'm taking it easy -- so it won't be an issue.

Also: I'm capable of not eating dessert every night. However, it seems like every time I set out to NOT eat it, I HAVE to have it. Funny how that works. I don't even think it's the sugar so much as it's the ritual of baking and then eating something warm and satisfying. And yes, probably the sugar. My dinner wasn't enough, so tonight I'm aiming to make a much larger meal and see if it satisfies.

Have you started eating clean this week? Or started again? How are you doing?

Onto day 2, which you can follow on Instagram . . . 

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Toxic

>> Monday, June 17, 2013

Have you ever woken up and felt . . . just . . . toxic?

For me, it's been building for months (years?). I've talked about it here on the blog. I've even started some "plans" or thought of different things that might help. I've tried going gluten-free, keeping a diary of the foods I eat + calories, and many more tactics.

What's compounded the problem is this nasty cold I've had the last week or so. It's the worst cold I've had in years -- chills, chest cough, fever, night sweats (TMI?), etc. I've been to the doctor because it was getting that bad, but he said to sit tight because it's viral. Thankfully, this morning it seems to be letting up. In its wake, I am having major digestive issues, I'm mammothly (not a word) bloated, and I feel generally flat -- dazed + confused -- because I've been in bed, little movement, eating a diet of convenience + comfort foods.

Today I am starting a 3-day clean-food detox. I don't do the whole fasting thing. I'm interested in a juice detox, but don't have a juicer -- making lots of carrot juice in the Ninja would be too labor intensive. Scratch that. It would be Insane with a capital I.


The "detox" will be sort of like this one I found on the GAIAM website, but it's not vegetarian so I'll need to make some protein-riffic substitutions. Basically, there was a day over the weekend where I hit rock bottom. I felt absolutely terrible from my cold and I proceeded to eat s'mores, shovel down yet another grilled cheese, and then crave a beer (yeah -- I didn't drink one because of the cold, but I sure wanted to!).

I've realized the only person keeping me from feeling vibrant and alive again is me. I can dream all I want about ways to juice or detox or diet or what have you, but unless I start doing something and making that something permanent and not a gimmick -- this will be just another Monday that I thought to start, but continued the trend of sugar + alcohol + too much bread and dairy + etc.

It's funny how those Mondays can go from subsequent weeks to months to a year or more.

Commence the eye rolls.

I know I'm always writing about some grand scheme to do something like this. So, I don't blame anyone who is skeptical. (Even my snarky self is like, c'mon -- are you for real this time?) But REALLY, guys, I felt at the BOTTOM in the last few days. Knocking on heaven's hell's door, if you will. I'm am adult and I need to start acting like one and eating chocolate and marshmallows for lunch is something my 10-year-old self would have died to do, but that doesn't make it remotely OK 20 years later.

So maybe you're in similar shoes right about now. I invite you to join me. Informally, of course. (I'll be sharing my foods over on Instagram.) I'm hoping that taking the approach of a few days at a time will be better than setting out on some gigantic plan. Those are intimidating. I often make promises to myself that I can't keep.

But three days of using our CSA share to the max? I think I can handle that.

Off to make my oats . . .

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Sick Day

>> Thursday, June 13, 2013

I woke up with scratchy throat, aches + chills, and then discovered I have a chesty cough.

Gross.


Those of you who have already listened to me moan and groan on Twitter and Facebook gave me some great suggestions for how to feel better, fast. Thanks! Here are some goodies if you're not feeling so hot today either.

"Rest, tea, citrus, steamy things, spicy things (like horseradish spicy), REST, netflix" -- Laurie

"Do you have any eucalyptus oil? I dilute in coconut oil and rub on chest and back. I also put drops of it (pure) in shower." -- Diana

"ACV, Lemon, H2O & Honey mixed. Fruits & veggies. Squeeze in a nap. Peppermint or Eucalyptus Oil may also help." -- Alyssa

"Drink kombucha. Lots of kombucha." -- Jason

"Inhale peppermint oil - either some in hands, or in boiling water and breathe steam. Olive leaf extract. Sleep." -- Kat

"Sleeeeep! Take zicam, vitamins and lots of water! ACV works wonders too!" -- Marisa


Thankfully Ada is super happy today. So, after I mustered all the energy I could to play with her this morning, we went out to the store and I got some Badger Chest Balm, Gingerade Kombucha, and fresh chocolate donut(s). Probably not the best dietary choice, but I'm not hungry either -- so I haven't had any yet.

Boo.

Now I'm sitting on the couch watching The Details. (I have a thing for Tobey Maguire since The Great Gatsby, which I know is strange because his character, at least in the book, isn't exactly meant to be a dreamboat for the ladies, amIright?) Messed up movie, but not entirely un-enjoyable. Just wanted to pop in and say hi.

And also . . .


The winner of the Albion swimsuit giveaway is Andrea! Congrats -- I'll be in contact with you soon regarding your prize.

Like what you just read? Browse more of our posts + recipes on Pinterest. You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!

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Tangy Roasted Veggies

>> Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I'll have that food blogger rant for you soon. Promise. But today I wanted to share a quick way to jazz up a simple meal. Simple because our weeknight dinners are far from culinary masterpieces, but they're tasty anyway. I mean who has time to really COOK during the week?

I roast a lot. (A LOT!) It can get boring.

So, here's something fun:


Chop up sweet potatoes, bell peppers, onions, garlic . . . and apple chunks, too.

(I peeled the sweet potato and apple, but you don't necessarily have to.)


And instead of drizzling with olive oil + salt + pepper, which you can do but = boring, take your favorite barbeque sauce (1/4 cup) and add to it a tablespoon olive oil + 2 tablespoons coconut milk + even a glug of hard cider. Maybe 2 glugs, actually.

Roast for around 40 minutes on 400 degrees F, stirring every 10-15 minutes until browned.

Why? It makes the veggies tender and gives them a tangy flavor.


Really delicious on the side of this (strange and horribly photographed on my iPhone, I know, I know) meal we had last night: Grilled cheese, eggs, and those veggies with avocado.

What's your favorite way to transform a simple side dish?
Any good sauces to share?
And do you agree that avocado makes everything better?
Please say YES!

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Last Week in Running + Fitting It In

>> Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I had all these grand plans for training really hard for the upcoming Boilermaker 15K. We've been so busy with various things, from house projects to family obligations, that I've just been running where I can fit it in. Not only that, we're getting into my least favorite season for exercising outdoors.

Excuses, excuses.


M: 9.3 mile long run at 8:25/mile average pace
T: 3.5 mile shakeout run, not timed
W: Yoga for 1 hour at gym
R: Off
F: 3.1 mile jog, not timed
S: 3.1 mile progressive run (8:10, 7:50, 7:30)
S: 6 mile stroller run at 8:30/mile

TOTAL: 25 miles. But that 9.3 should have happened on the Sunday of the previous week. So, yeah. I need to get back to serious training if I want to meet my 1:40 half marathon goal for the fall.

You read that right, I didn't do much cross-training either. After a grand post about my at-home spinning routine, I skipped my cycling workout to rest. Grrr.
  • I feel good that I am actually getting out there most days and moving myself. 
  • I feel bad that it's not for longer distances or more challenging workouts. 
  • I feel good that I'm living a healthy balance and actually enjoying my workouts. 
  • I feel bad that I might be stalling my progress toward a major goal by being lazy.
Now that I'm a mom (yup -- the mom-card), things really are different with training + racing. I always knew they would be, it was just a matter of to what extent. How much time would the baby take away from my running? Or, rather, how much time would I take away from running to focus on other things?

For example, I see/know some moms training for marathons, Ironmans, etc. -- and I think, WOW. That's incredible. On the other hand, I think -- WOW. That's absolutely insane. I'd rather do other things with all that time.

Right? I'm not sure all the time. I waver. Toggle between cool-with-it and feeling like I'm just lazy.


What I do know.
  • I don't have the desire to completely fill up my weekends with running events. I'd rather focus on family time, me time, and getting things that need to be done . . . done.
  • I don't have the desire to wake up early on weekends to get in key training runs; I get up early enough during the week (5:30) to start my work while Ada's still sleeping. I don't deserve a medal, but if Ada sleeps past 7:30 on a Saturday, I'd like to as well.
  • I have a bigger social life now that "our" friends have encompassed Ada's friends, too. Instead of planning a day around working out, I'm finding myself squeaking in runs before/in-between/after birthday parties, picnics, and other play-dates. That stuff is important.
  • Sometimes being at home with a toddler all day long is great and other times, not. Some nights I'd rather use my free hour to get out + see friends. Or watch TV. Or get my hair cut.
  • And my free time is limited unlike before. As in, finite. I only get so much, so if I do feel like doing something instead of working up a sweat, that's it.
Again, I hate making the excuses. So, instead of fitting in key workouts, I'm finding I'm fitting in working out in general. Period. Mom or not, I'm sure you can relate. We all have periods of life that just push our priorities elsewhere. I'm OK with that. I just can't be surprised when I don't do well at a race. I can't mope when I'm not knocking minutes off PR-times.

What I am committed to:
  • Working out 4-5 days a week. Even if it's just Jillian's Ripped in 30 + a short jog. Which I started last night. My butt hurts. I ran two miles after the video and almost cried died.
  • Keeping my comfortable long run distance 10 miles. This way, I can easily jump to the 15K or half marathon serious training if need be.
  • Cross-training. I WILL get in my spinning workout this week.
  • Doing some type of speed-play with my running, whether it's intervals or what. I need to get my legs moving fast.
  • Signing up for a 5K. As a reality check. It might help motivate me back into hard-core training if my time isn't so great. We'll see.
Moms + other busy runners of the world (that's everyone, right?): How do you fit in your training?

Do you have a similar experience of wanting to train hard but having life just get in the way?  I know it can be done, but I think balance is always good -- and when there's a lot to balance, everything has to give a little.

Do I just lack discipline? Maybe!

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Baked Veggie Pockets

>> Monday, June 10, 2013

Making this vegan spanakopita recipe transformed how I view my own at-home cooking. Kicked my butt, in a way. I have much longer post about that whole situation in the queue for tomorrow. It's a continuation on my why food blogging is weird series.

First, the deliciousness!


I'm not going to pretend it turned out like traditional spanakopita. Foremost, my spotlight veggie was kale, baby kale, specifically, and not spinach. Halfway through the recipe, I decided I had changed so much, it had transformed into something else entirely.

The turning point? I tried making phyllo dough and failed pretty miserably.

It doesn't look half bad, though.


BAKED VEGGIE POCKETS 
an attempt at creating a healthier grab-and-go lunch
based off this fantastic + legit vegan spanakopita recipe

What you'll need . . . 

  •  1-1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (for brushing)
  • A large tub of baby kale or spinach*
  • 1 can of black or white beans, drained + rinsed 
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • squeeze lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • seasonings, for which I used 
    • smoked paprika
    • thyme
    • salt + pepper
* I don't remember exactly the measurement, but it's one of those large plastic tubs of greens. It cooked down to about 3/4 cup of kale when all was said and done. Feel free to sub in other greens as well.

Method . . .

  1. Follow the instructions in the original recipe for how to mix together the dough. Then refrigerate it for about 2 hours and made the veggie mixture.
  2. Boil 1 cup of water with baby kale and let cook -- covered -- until it wilts. Then let that cook until cool enough handle to squeeze out the excess moisture, chop up a bit, and place in a large bowl.
  3. Saute an onion in some olive oil and then add to the bowl as well as the beans, nutritional yeast, almond meal, and other seasonings. Give mixture a good tossing to ensure it is all coated.
  4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F + roll out the dough, again, just like in the instructions
  5. Then I deviated to turn these into pockets versus a pie. Lay two pieces of the dough atop one another, brushing a layer of olive oil in between, and then cut into diamonds or rectangles, however you choose to look at it. (Around 5 inches long by 3-4 inches wide.) 
  6. Fill half of each with a heaping tablespoon of the veggie mixture, fold over and use the tines of a fork to press and seal. 
  7. Continue this process with the remaining ingredients, placing each unbaked veggie pocket onto a rimmed baking sheet. Poke holes with tines of fork into each to let steam escape. Brush each with a bit of olive oil.
  8. Bake for between 20-30 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool before serving.

And after all that, I I snapped one good finished photo and then accidentally deleted it when I was taking photos of Ada. You'll just have to trust that what's inside stays nice and green and the outside gets crisp and delicious.

Trust me? Still, it's a far cry from spanakopita. So stay tuned for tomorrow's food blogger rant #2.

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