Thanksgiving Thoughts

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American friends! And to all of my international friends, please go make yourself some stuffing and potatoes and join in on the celebration 🙂

So far this morning, I have been running around like a mad woman trying to get everything prepped and ready for the gang to get here. The turkey is roasting away, the potatoes are peeled, the appetizers are set, the desserts are made, and I finally put some presentable clothes on. Now, it is time to count my blessings.

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Thanksgiving is the time to give thanks. So many times throughout the year, I [and many other people] forget how fortunate they really are. Here are some things I am thankful for…

1. My family: They are truly amazing. They are the most supportive, nonjudgmental, funny, crazy, silly, and loving humans I know. Maybe I am biased…but they are great! Love you guys!

2. Living in Southern California: Seriously though, this place is paradise. Today it is 90 degrees. In the middle of November. While I have never been able to experience a white Christmas, or the changing of the leaves in the Fall, I truly do love the sunshine. The environmentalist in me is kind of worried about this kind of weather though. Global climate change!!!!!

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3.Completing my bachelors degree in May: I have one more semester until I am finished with my bachelors degree. Now I have to find a job…Lets pray for that to happen very soon!

4. Health: Health is SO important. We take for granted the everyday things we are able to get done. This past week, my mom has been hit with a serious case of vertigo for the first time ever. It has been awful and really taken a toll on her. It made me realize how important taking care of ourselves really is!

5. Internet shopping: I am NOT happy about all of the stores opening on Thanksgiving day. I think its sad actually and do not want to participate. Although, I am a crazy Black Friday shopper. I usually don’t even buy anything, but I love to be out with the masses! Its so exciting! This year though, I really wanted to buy a DSLR camera, and Best Buy had a crazy sale on one. It turned out that they offered the same sale online, so I woke up early in the middle of the night and got it ordered. Mission accomplished!

6. You! Anyone who reads my blog means so much to me! I am a new blogger and just getting a start, so anyone who cares to listen makes my hearts smile! Thanks so much. It means more than you could imagine.

There are so many other things that I am thankful for, that I could be typing for days on end.

Happy Thanksgiving or Thursday everyone. Remember to reflect on everything you are thankful for.

Be sure to check out the other thoughts!

WIAW- My Thanksgiving menu

I cannot believe Thanksgiving is tomorrow. It seems as if just yesterday was Halloween.

Thanksgiving is a very stressful holiday for me.
1. It’s food centered.
2. It’s meat centered
3. It involves a lot of people.

Last year, I didn’t plan anything in advance and then figured out when it was time to eat that my options were pie, mashed potatoes, salad, and rolls. Ummmmm yeah. It wasn’t the best situation. My family tends to enjoy their meat on this holiday and want to put meat in EVERYTHING.

Bacon in the green beans. Turkey broth in the stuffing. Turkey drippings in the gravy…

So this year, I am more than ready. Instead of focusing on the anxiety it might cause me, I have learned to plan ahead.

What will be on my Thanksgiving plate:

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Banana Streusel Muffins

Cauliflower steak with Mushroom Gravy from Vegan Richa

Simple vegan stuffing from Minimalist Baker

Thanksgiving Loaf from Fat Free vegan

Mashed cauliflower from Detoxinista

We will be having a lot of family over for Thanksgiving day, so it will be a full day of cooking and eating.

Happy [early] Thanksgiving!

Check out the other eats today!

Banana Streusel Muffins

A non-pumpkin recipe… in the middle of November? I know, I know. It’s slight craziness. Do not be disappointed though. These banana streusel muffins do not disappoint.

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Now, normally I am pumpkin all the way. Bread, pancakes, muffins, donuts, etc. I want all the pumpkin I can get my hands on. Until, I run out of cans of pumpkin. And I am too lazy to go buy some more. But I want some muffins. Oh, the dilemma!

But then, to my surprise, two way overripe bananas are sitting on the counter. You see, I do not eat overripe bananas. If they have the slightest hint of brown on them, there is no way I will be the one to consume them. Unless, they are in baked good form. Then I am game!

So, with my lack of pumpkin, and overly brown bananas, these muffins were born. And they sure did satisfy.

They are perfectly fluffy with big round tops, and a crunchy brown sugar topping that puts them over the edge. They are also made partly with wheat flour to give them some extra fiber. Because of the sweetness of the banana, and the addition of applesauce, not much added sugar is necessary. Hooray for healthier baked goods, that take care of any cravings you might have. These are definitely a winner!

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Banana Streusel Muffins:
adapted from Damn Delicious
-1 cup all purpose flour
-1 cup white whole wheat flour
-1/4-/1/3 cup sugar (depending on your desired sweetness)
-1.5-2 teaspoons cinnamon (depending on how spicy you like)
-0.5 teaspoon nutmeg
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-0.25 teaspoon salt
-2 large very ripe bananas
-0.5 cup applesauce
-2 eggs
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Streusel Topping:
0.25 cups flour
0.25 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter (I believe coconut oil would work as well)

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a jumbo muffin pan with 6 liners. A standard 12 size muffin pan would work as well.
2. Prepare the streusel topping by by combining all streusel ingredients in a small and working together with a fork or your hands to make sure butter is incorporated.
3. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
4. In another bowl mix together the banana, applesauce, eggs, and banana.
5. Combine wet ingredients with the dry and stir until just combined. Do not over mix.
6. Scoop batter into muffin pan and sprinkle streusel over top. Use fingers to press gently into batter to make sure it sticks.
7. Bake in oven for 25-20 minutes for jumbo sized. Baking time will be less for standard size muffins.
8. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
9. DEVOUR!

Check out the other WIAW posts

WIAW- Because I like carbs

I like carbs. Some of my favorite things to eat include bagels, muffins, fruit, vegetables, and frozen yogurt. All of those things are mostly carbs. Some days I embrace it, while other days I try to even myself out with other nutrients. Yesterday, I embraced it.

Breakfast:

Wheat bagel

Wheat bagel

Bagels with an [unpictured] smoothie

I LOVE bagels. Not just any bagels though. I like one specific bagel from one specific store. Any other bagel I could take or leave, but these….YUM! I am not sure what it is with them, but somedays, I just need to have one.

Lunch:

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Chicken-less noodle soup

This was leftovers from Monday night. Soup is always so comforting and warming. ‘Tis the season, it finally feels like fall down here.

Dinner:

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Baked ziti with garlic bread and brussels sprouts

I am not a pasta lover. It never satisfies me or interests me, but sometimes, it gets the job done. Its easy and quick. Dinner was served.

Snack:

I ate a million and one snacks yesterday, but this is the one that stood out.

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Amanda’s snickerdoodle donut holes

My picture does not do them justice, so be sure to check her amazing photography out, but these were good. I ended up needing extra sugar coating though. Oops.

Yay for carbs. Embrace them and let the days balance out.

Happy Wednesday. Check out the other links.

Do you have carb heavy days?

Whats your favorite carb?

WIAW-11/5/14

Ever since the time change last weekend, I have woken up to a sunrise instead of pitch black darkness. It is spectacular in the morning, but not so ideal at night when I am driving home. This whole getting dark at 5:30 is throwing me all off balance…as well as my meals.

My appetite is all out of whack, and I am going to blame it on this time change thing. What is so bad about leaving the time alone? My body would greatly appreciate it.

Anyways, on to the food:

Breakfast:

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Oatmeal parfait-pumkin oatmeal, greek yogurt, and graham cracker crumbs.

For some reason, I have not joined the whole flavored oat craze. I like my oats plain and simple, no flavorings, no toppings. This parfait was my 1,000,0001 try at getting myself to like flavored oats, and I still am loving the plain version more.

Lunch:

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Roasted brussel sprouts along a [unpictured] smoothie. Lunches at school are especially hard because I have almost no breaks in between classes, so I grab what I can when I have time. Whatever works right?

Snacks:

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Banana applesauce muffin. This was GOOD!

Dinner:

Jackfruit tacos

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I finally got on the latest kitchen craze to drape your tortillas over the oven racks to create healthy shells. It was a success. I will definitely be using this method in the future.

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My family is Mexican food obsessed, so they will try anything out of the ordinary in Mexican flavored form. These tacos turned out great! This is the  second meal I have created using jackfruit and both were better than expected.

What was the best thing you ate this week?

Are you still living off of Halloween candy?

Check out what everyone else is eating today as well!

October Favorites

Happy Halloween!

Where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday was October 1. Geez. Before we know it, Thanksgiving will be over and then Christmas will be here. Woah. Stop me before I start stressing out and getting way too far ahead of myself. Lets stick with October for the time being.

Its time for another Monthly Favorites post!

Beauty:

I received this nail polish by 7 Free in my Ipsy subscription last month and really love it. It is a deep red and perfect for the Fall and Winter months. I especially love that it is vegan with no animal testing used. Yay!

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Dr. Perricone Lip Plumper. I am usually very against lip plumper, because they are painful and not very good for your lips at all. This lip treatment has no tingly effect like the other products and does make your lips look enhanced at all. In fact, I don’t even think of it as a plumper. I use it solely for chapped lips and it works amazingly well! It has anti aging properties and is very moisturizing. Highly recommended!

Fitness:

I am loving all things group fitness these days. When I wasn’t in the healthiest mindset, I focused completely on cardio and didn’t care the slightest bit about weight lifting or strength exercises. I have changed my thinking and am loving lifting weights again. Group classes give me some direction and are also more motivating than trying to figure out new workouts all the time.

These Pro Compression leggings are amazing! I have been looking for new leggings for a while now that are not quite as expensive as Lulu Lemon, but are good quality. These are perfect. I got them on sale so they were a decent price, and I love them! They have a roll down waistband to adjust how high/low you want and also have cuffs that roll up on the legs as well. Success!

Foods:

It is all about the roasted vegetables. Cauliflower, mushrooms, and zucchini/squash are some of my favorites.

I am also obsessed with frozen yogurt, but that isn’t new for this month. I am ALWAYS loving froyo!

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Books:

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to read anything this month other than textbooks, but I really want to read Gone Girl! That is next on my list.

Have you read or seen Gone Girl?

What are you going to be for Halloween?

WIAW- Halloween Tradition

Happy Wednesday. For some reason, I am all off balance this week. I keep thinking Friday is tomorrow, and then get disappointed that its not. 2 more days…

Anyways, Halloween is Friday! Although I am beyond my trick-or-treating years, my family does still have a few traditions that I look forward to.

One of them is to always cook some sort of soup and have grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner. In fact, it became such a well known tradition, that the neighbors even expect to come over now. Its like one big party…

This year, we will be making chili. With cornbread. Lots of cornbread. I could just eat the cornbread and leave the chili. Is that bad? because…carbs, carbs, and more carbs 🙂

Eating a nice, hearty dinner is also a plus because it makes you fuller and less likely to eat the entire bag of candy. Maybe half, but not the WHOLE thing. 🙂 Sitting down with an entire bag of candy on an empty stomach is setting yourself up for failure in a sense.

After dinner, we sit out in the driveway and hand out candy to the kids….if we have any candy left by that time! Whoops. I love seeing all of the costumes and hanging out outside.

Here are some of the chili recipes we are considering.

Chocolate Covered Katie’s Vegetarian Chili

Oh She Glows Vegan Chili

Damn Delicious Quinoa Chili

I love chili because it so customizable. If you are not fond of vegetarian options, it is easy to add ground turkey or beef to most chili recipes.

What are some of your favorite chili recipes?

Are you dressing up?

Do you have any Halloween traditions?

Check out what everyone else is eating!