Monday, May 18, 2015

Meatless in Monterey

We just returned from a weekend in Monterey, California. I had no problem traveling with my omnivore family and staying meatless. We rented a cottage with a kitchen, so we ate about half of our meals there. We brought a little food with us and made a trip to Trader Joe's. As a treat, I think that the Trader Joe's Coconut Milk Chocolate Ice Cream cannot be be beat! It is really rich and delicious. Is not not low calorie or low fat, but it does have less calories and fat than a serving of regular ice cream.

Before the trip I bought the Happy Cow App to help research veg-friendly restaurants. We played our meals by ear, but it was still nice to have this tool. Our first meal in town was at the Sand Bar and Grill. John wanted seafood, but I was still able to find a meatless and delicious pasta dish. It had olives and capers for a nice flavor. Our view of the bay and boats was fantastic.

Once of our favorite Bay Area chains is Ike's Place. They make a huge variety of sandwiches, including vegetarian and vegan options. Alex and I split a "Meatless Mike" since the sandwiches are large.

I was impressed with the cafe at the Monterey Bay Aquarium even though it is a bit pricey. I was able to find a veggie burger and plenty of other meatless options. They had menus out that shared their vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options.

The food was just one part of this fun trip! I will share more pictures later this week.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Easy Vegan Waffles

My husband made whole wheat vegan waffles for Mother's Day, and they were a hit.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 pinches of salt
4 TBSP sugar (I can find vegan sugar at Trader Joe's.)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup plant milk
4 TBSP vegetable oil (I may sub apple sauce for some of the oil next time.)
Makes approximately 12 small waffles

We enjoyed our waffles with some veggie bacon and raspberries from the farmers' market.

(Recipe adapted from Spark People.)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

TGIF Challenge

I enjoyed making a card to enter into the first TGIF Challenge. I love the color combination of Crushed Curry, Calypso Coral and Pool Party!

I was so happy to see that the Kind Koala stamp is not on the Stampin' Up! Retiring List. I wanted to use this cute stamp again and decided to fussy cut the cute koala from some Crumb Cake card stock. I used a blender pen to add some Crumb Cake ink to the ears. The blender pen also allowed me to add Crushed Curry ink to the flower petals.

I originally intended to die cut a Crushed Curry oval to layer on my card until I realized that I am out of Crushed Curry card stock. Another easy way to add a pop of color is to ink the edges of your card stock with the Stamping Sponges.

Here is my finished card:

Supplies Used:
Stamp: Kind Koala
Card stock: Pool Party, Calypso Coral, Whisper White, and Crumb Cake
Ink: Black Staz On, Crumb Cake, and Crushed Curry
Tools: Blender Pends, Big Shot, Oval Framelits, Polka Dot Embossing Folder, Stamping Sponges, Scissors, Trimmer
Accessories: Pool Party Baker's Twine (retired) & button (from the Everyday Occasions kit)

The new Stampin' Up! catalog goes live on June 2, 2015. Based on the demonstrator preview, this is my favorite catalog in my 6 years of stamping. If you do not have a demonstrator and want a free copy of this catalog (US only), feel free to email me at

Thank you for visiting my blog!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Around Here - April 2015

Here are some of our pictures from April 2015:

Alex enjoyed an Easter Egg Hunt and then we headed to the East Bay for a yummy vegan brunch with family at Sanctuary Bistro. I managed to avoid eating milk chocolate Easter candy this year!

We continue to have mainly vegetarian & vegans dinner, and recently I made vegetarian chili with "Happy Herbivore" cornbread. I found a vegan cheese that I like on grilled cheese sandwiches. It takes a little longer to melt than dairy cheese, but it fulfills my grilled cheese craving.

Alex and I planted a little garden during his spring break. We need to add a little more dirt, but I am happy with the fabric container. It will be easier to move in the future and holds a tomato plant, a blueberry bush, and some strawberry plants. We planted spinach, summer squash, and carrot seeds. We also have a couple of herb plants.

On April 25th, we headed to the first ever Oakland Veg Fest and had a great time. We enjoyed yummy food, free samples, and inspirational speakers.

Happy May!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

These muffins are easy to made and taste great. I adapted the recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup applesauce
4 ripe mashed bananas
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup nondairy semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray or line a muffin tin.
2. Mash 4 ripe bananas and set aside.
3. Mix all of the dry ingredients except for the chocolate chips
4. Add in the wet ingredients and stir.
5. Fold in the chocolate chips.
6. Fill each muffin spot about 3/4 full.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
8. Cool & Enjoy!

We are not big egg eaters, so I do not often have eggs in the house. I love baking with bananas since they are a binder and taste great. I got 16 muffins from this recipe, which was enough to share with friends. What have you baked recently?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Spring Cleaning

I spent some time decluttering this week and am happy with the results. My latest efforts were inspired by this book (borrowed from the library).

One of "Konmari's" central ideas is to only keep the items that spark joy. I said this in a tongue-and-cheek way to John when I started reading the book. It sparked his curiosity, so he also read the book. She recommends that you start by decluttering your closet, and John donated many extra clothing items.

While Alex was a day camp during his spring break, I found the time to tackle my clothes. I have been decluttering my closet as we've moved, but this was my easiest session. The ideas in the book really helped me let go of items that no longer fit, items that are worn out, and items that just did not spark joy. My side of the closet is pictured below (for now my swimsuit is hanging.) I also have 3 drawers in our dresser. I currently like all of the clothes in my closet, which was not the case in the past. My shoes are on a hanging divider and my bags are nested in the bottom of the closet.

A lesson from The Minimalists also helped me purge my closet. They write about how many items that we own can be replaced for under $20 and in less that 20 minutes. I confirmed this with a pair of jeans. I donated a pair of jeans last fall before we moved because they were too small. After changing my eating habits this winter, I bet they would finally fit again. I was able to find a similar pair of Levi's jeans in a lighter color at Goodwill for $8. Now I don't regret giving away my smaller jeans, and I donated my jeans that are too big. There are also online sources for used, name-brand clothes such as thredUp and Twice. My first order is on it's way from thredUp with a shirt for me and shorts for Alex.

I am going slightly out of order from Marie's recommendation in the book, but I wanted to declutter my craft supplies this week. I was able to sell some stamp sets online, recycle some scraps, and start my donation pile. Here are items ready to ship out to new homes. My pattern paper and card stock stash are finally contained.

It has been both a productive and relaxing week. How is your spring going?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

New Card: Tic Tac Toe & Birthday Challenges

At the beginning of this week, I received my order from Simon Says Stamp and found this challenge from The Paper Players.

I chose the three items across the middle and really wanted to use the Lawn Fawn Year Five stamp and matching die. I have done more coloring in the past month inspired by Kathy's 30 Day Coloring Challenge.

Here is how my card came together:

I am also entering this card in the Simon Says Happy Birthday Challenge. Thank you for visiting my blog!