Tag Archives: healthy

I’m Dealing With Some Stuff

Readers, I am quickly learning the value of a good schedule. When the quarter ended, I had three weeks before my new job started. Three weeks when my daily life looked a bit like this:

8:30AM–Wake up. Sort of
9:00AM–Realize that I had not actually woken up. Panic and start yelling at Mike to get out of bed and get ready for work.
9:15AM–Make Olive and Mike some breakfast.
9:20AM–Convince Olive that YES, her hair does need brushing.
9:30AM–Realize I have not packed Mike a lunch. Panic and promise myself to pack his lunch tonight before bed. (I won’t remember).
9:40AM–Throw Mike out of the house with a baggie of veggies, a piece of fruit, and a leftover I’m pretty sure he’s only been eating the past few days to make me happy. Kiss him goodbye and thank my lucky stars he’s polite enough to at least try to eat it.
9:45AM–Realize that he’s probably been getting subway every day, since the leftover comes back mostly untouched. Become filled with rage. Resolve to punish Mike for this later (I won’t remember).
10 AM–Eat WHATEVER I WANT FOR BREAKFAST. Usually this is a delicious fruit and veggie filled smoothie I made during my panic to get Mike out of the house, with a piece of toast. I then savor at least one cup of coffee.
10:30-11:30AM–unspecified internet time. I tell Olive I’m doing important work. Important work often includes reddit. Hey, I gotta keep the routine.
11:30-12:30PM–Gardening/miscellaneous chores/whatever I feel like doing. Sometimes that means laundry, cleaning the bedrooms, or weeding. Sometimes it means Olive and I get fancy and have a tea party, leaving the dusting for another, unspecified occasion. Sometimes this means I take a shower and think about things I could potentially do. Sometimes I have another coffee and doodle for a little while. It’s a very productive time.
12:30-1:00PM–COOK AND EAT WHATEVER I WANT FOR LUNCH. Remember I am lazy and opt for PB&J again. Yum.
1:00–3:15PM–Remember that I’m an adult and am supposed to do things. Freak out, clean the kitchen, clean myself if I haven’t already, and try really, really hard to remember if there was something I was supposed to do. I completely forget until Mike gets home.
3:15PM–Mike gets home and I remember that I was supposed to go to the grocery store. Hey Mike, wanna go to the grocery store?
3:15-5:00PM–Miscellaneous Mike’s home stuff.
5:00-6:00PM–Dinnertime stuff. We eat whatever I want to cook. It is glorious.
6:00-8:00PM–More miscellaneous stuff. We often sit around talking about what we want to do. This sucks up most of the actual free time. Usually, we let Olive play outside for a bit or run errands. What am I saying? Usually, I forgot that I Was supposed to do something, uproot everyone from what they were doing, and go do the other thing instead. This is also a very important part of the routine.
8:00-8:30PM–Olive’s bedtime. This often involves stories, songs, and pleas for more goodnight kisses. I can not stress the importance of routine enough, people.
8:30-10:00PM–I drive to the gym and get in a decent workout. Sometimes. Other times this part of my day involves me bargaining with myself to go tomorrow instead. This time can also be facebook time, movie time, or eating vegan ice cream from the pint time. It’s pretty versatile.
10:30PM–I start to get sleepy.
11:00PM–Convince myself that I’m not tired. Whine to Mike that I still have to do the dishes. Do the dishes with Mike, and then whine that I’m tired some more.
11:30PM–Tearfully apologize to Mike for whining so much.
11:35PM–Wait, wasn’t I mad at Mike about something earlier?
11:45PM–Pass out, if I haven’t already. Remember as I’m falling asleep that I had intended to read/sew/write a letter/call someone. Tell myself I’ll do it tomorrow.

Repeat.

Readers, I was bored. Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored. That’s why I had scheduled so much “miscellaneous” time. I mean, I could have come up with something constructive to do, and eventually I tried to a little bit, but when you’re broke, burnt out from school, and completely unfocused, it’s nearly impossible.

Anyway, a few weeks of this went by and before I knew it, I was employed again, and my schedule starting looking like this:

6:00-6:30AM–Hit snooze button every ten minutes. Bargain with alarm clock to turn back time a little. I know it can do it and is just keeping the technology from me. Please?
6:30AM–Give up on the alarm clock. Wake up, get dressed, and pack gym bag.
7:30AM–Commute to gym.
8:15-9:30AM–Gym/shower/get dressed for the day.
10:00AM-4:00PM–SPREADSHEETS.
4:00PM-5:00PM–Commute home.
5:00-6:00PM–Hug family, cook dinner, thank god I am not staring at a computer screen.
6:00-6:30PM–Eat dinner, tell Olive that yes, she does need Mike’s help brushing her hair tomorrow morning, and no, I don’t think I’ll be able to teach him french braids.
6:30-8:30PM–Family time. This still occasionally involves panicked errands. Old habits are hard to break.
8:30-9:00PM–Olive’s bedtime routine. It hasn’t actually changed, it’s just a bit later.
9:00-10:00PM–Dishes and lunch packing for tomorrow. This includes me, Mike, and three days a week, Olive. Yes, I do pack them little notes. I have yet to find a note in my lunch bag, though. I resolve to give Mike what for about that later (I won’t remember).
10:00PM–Insist that I’m totally down for watching a movie or playing a game with Mike, as soon as I’m done with my blog/reddit/facebook/stalking Edward Norton.
10:30PM–“Actually, can we watch it upstairs, instead? I’m kind of tired.”
11:00PM–“No…no…I’m…I’m awake. I swear.”
11:05PM–/transmission

Now, you may have noticed that a large chunk of my day once devoted to panicking, using the internet, and whining, are gone. They are now completely devoted to spreadsheets. So. Many. Spreadsheets. This has caused me to organize things a little better in order to manage things, and to appreciate my evenings with my family. As a result, I go to the gym before they’re even out of bed (the lazy jerks) and eat my breakfast afterwards. This means that my delicious breakfast smoothie and toast are a no-go. The smoothie doesn’t pack well guys; please accept this as a fact and do not go through the process of learning this heartbreaking lesson for yourself.

I had a few go to foods initially. Sometimes this would be a cup of cheerios, some nuts, and a piece of fruit. A few times I packed a peanut butter sandwich with fruit. These are all fine and dandy, but lets face it, when you’re used to waking up and having your only dietary limit being what’s in your kitchen, they’re just plain boring. I needed something awesome and quick that would pack well and give me the nutrients I needed after a really hard workout.

Yogurt Oats
1 cup plain non dairy yogurt (omnivores and lacto–ovos, get what ever you’d like, but please check the ingredient list for gross stuff.)
1 cup of fruit (Any and all are fine.)
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
A handful of nuts (optional)
maple syrup, honey, or jam to taste

Ok guys, do you have a thermos? No? Go get a small one, they’re $2 at Walmart or target and infinitely useful. Mine even has it’s own little spoon hidden under the cap. So convenient! Anyway, to pack this, you’ll need a thermos, and I recommend putting it in your freezer for about ten minutes beforehand to get it cold.

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Please pretend that the froggy ice pack you see in my freezer is Olive’s and not mine. Or accept that adorable cartoon frogs are a very adult way to keep your lunch cold. Whichever.

To sweeten the plain yogurt, I usually use about a teaspoon of maple syrup. I was in the mood for berries this time though, so I added a tablespoon of my favorite jam.

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Add the yogurt.

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Yeah, you could buy flavored yogurt, but the big tub is cheaper, and do you really want to commit to one flavor for an entire week? I don’t. Besides, I like being able to control the amount of sugar and omit sweeteners. Aspartame for breakfast? Or ever? No thank you!

Add the fruit, oats, and nuts if you want them. I lift weights at the gym, so I like to get a teensy bit of extra protein. Besides, I’m also a big fan of healthy fats, and it’s not like I can get to a fridge to spread avocado on a piece of toast anymore.

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You can’t see it, but I added both berries, and a banana. Mix and match whatever you want. I have my suspicions that raisins and apples would be pretty awesome in this, too.

Mix it up, and let it hang out for a little while. If you’re making this at home, just put your bowl in the fridge and eat it an hour or two later. If you’re on the go, keep it in your thermos, and when you get to eat it after your workout, it will be delicious!

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Letting the oats soak in the yogurt makes them very chewy. Some of you may have had muesli the traditional way by soaking it in milk overnight. This is kind of like that, but with yogurt and less nuts. It’s porridgy, and really filling.

Now, I’m not saying it’s best to eat your breakfast at your desk. I love sitting down with my family for as many meals as possible, including lunch and breakfast. Still, if I worked out at night, Mike wouldn’t see me, and if I worked out in the evening, Olive would start to miss me. This way, I get my day off to a great start and they get more time with me. If you have to pack your breakfast, this is an awesome way to get something that is tasty and healthy without spending your hard earned paycheck on something sub par. Everyone wins!

Plus, now I don’t have to deal with those two monsters in the morning. Of course, that has nothing to do with why I leave the house so early.

…I lied, it’s a huge a perk.

I mean it. They’re horrible. Remember the three bears?

Still, they’re my bears. And those bears are far, far away.

Eat something good today, readers!

Just Beet It

Readers, beets. Beeeeeets. Beets!

Seriously, what the hell do you do with beets?

When my reader/friend, Emily, asked me what to do when she got an extraordinarily large amount of beets from her farm share, I was at a loss. Beets are not things the crunchy house is familiar with. I’ve eaten canned beets before, and they were yummy. I’ve gotten them at salad bars and enjoyed them plenty. That, unfortunately, is the end of my experience with them.

I put Olive to the task of trying to figure them out.

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She had nothing. So I gave it my best shot.

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I poked. I prodded. I became the beet.

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I had nothing.

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The only thing I knew for sure about beets, was that they were root vegetables, so I did what I would with any root veggie and decided to roast them. For science!

(Emily is a science person. She has a lab coat and everything.)

Roasted Beets and Beet Based Vinaigrette
Two Recipes in One!
1 bunch beets (probably about three large beets)
2 tbs + 1/2 tsb Olive Oil
4-6 tbs Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Preheat oven to 425F.

Wash the beets. If they’re anything like what I got at the store, they will be kind of gross. Once they are clean, cut the tops and bottoms off of them.

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I’ve heard one can eat the green leafy top part. I wasn’t about to risk it though. I had science to complete!

Quarter the beets.

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Take a minute to marvel at how awesome the inside of the beets look.

Throw them in a “roasting pan” (mine is actually just a baking pan 😦 ) and toss them with 2 tbs of oil and salt and pepper.

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The oil is overkill. The reason for that is because I thought it would be cool to use the excess oil as part of a salad vinaigrette. Good news, it was cool! If you only wanted to roast the beets you could get away with much less oil. I’ll talk about that on Friday though (TEASER).

Throw those in the oven for at least 30 minutes, or until a fork goes through them easily. During this time, you may be alerted to strange noises coming from your oven. Here’s a video that will explain: Beets are Loud. They’re easily the noisiest root veggie I’ve ever cooked.

During this time, you can assess how much your kitchen looks like a scene from CSI.

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Oh God, what have I done?

When they come out of the oven, take the beets out of the pan to cool and pour the oil into a bowl. Add the remaining half tablespoon.

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Whisk the oil and the vinegar together and add pepper to taste. Voila, you have salad dressing.

Once the beets are cool, you can peel the skin off with your hands. **A tip: Almost all root veggies peel more easily after cooking. Once they’re soft, the peels just sort of rub off. This includes potatoes!**

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So here’s the thing, you guys almost didn’t get a meal made out of these because THEY’RE DELICIOUS. Olive and I ate half of them while I tried to figure out what to put them on. I actually had to say the words, “Stop eating beets, you are going to ruin your dinner!” To myself, no less. My suggestion to Emily? Just roast these and have them on hand for snacking. My goodness, they are dee-lish!

But, if you’re feeling fancy and in need of your veggies, you can take some spinach, top it with walnuts, sliced strawberries, a handful (…ok, two handfuls) of beets, and drizzle a little vinaigrette over them.

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It is the single fanciest thing I’ve eaten all week. The acidity of the strawberries and vinegar with the odd but wonderful texture of the beet meet together beautifully. I wished I’d had some sliced oranges to throw on top, since I once had an orange and beet salad at a salad bar that was pretty amazing. Sadly, no oranges.

Still, it was super, duper yummy, and an excellent addition to the main course which was…

…um…beans and rice…

Shame.

Still, I felt pretty darn fancy while I ate the salad. I think that’s worth something, don’t you?

Money Saving Monday–Stay AWAY From the McDonalds Breakfast Menu!!!

Don’t do it readers! I mean it, stop, just stop! Back out of the drive-thru, go home, and eat a real breakfast. I’m not even kidding, stay away from there.

I have a myriad of reasons to tell you not to pick up breakfast on the way to work–donuts, hash browns, breakfast sandwiches and overpriced, overheated coffee (serious McDonalds, my tongue is on FIRE) being among them. Mostly, though? I want you to eat something better and save yourself a couple of bucks.

Fast food restaurants have these clever things called value menus, or dollar menus. Aren’t they smart? They make a semi addictive substance for you at a bargain in the hopes that you’ll buy more of it. If cigarette companies were allowed to do this without being taxed to high heaven, I would probably still be smoking. What you’re getting at your local McD’s though, is tax free…”food.” You can buy as much as you want, they can pocket the entire profit, and you get to feel sick and lethargic all day.

Hooray!

Guys, I have something better and quicker for you, so long as you’re willing to do a little preparation earlier in the week.

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I did not invent the tofu frittata. This is a thing vegetarian and vegan cooks have always made, and you can probably find other recipes for it all over the internet. I’m going to go ahead and tell you that this one is my favorite.

Why? Well, first off, you can pronounce all the ingredients. Go ahead, see what’s in a sausage biscuit with “cheese.” I’ll wait.

Disgusted? you ought to be.

Second, while I’m not a huge proponent of calorie counting, they are a whopping 48 calories a pop. Eat two. Seriously, you should probably eat two with some fruit and a piece of toast (mine was devoured while these were cooking). Besides, what these guys lack in calories, they make up in everything else. These are protein-alicious, so they will keep you full longer, and just one has 29% of your daily vitamin C, 16% vitamin A, 7% of your iron, and is a good source of apparently everything. Try using a nutritional analyzer on this recipe and you will be amazed. Eat two. Heck, eat three. You’re doing nothing but good.

Finally, these guys are pretty cheap in the long run. Sure, they require some fresh veggies, but buying good veggies this time of year is a snap. Give me a month and I’ll have most of the vegetable components coming straight from my garden. Plus, it contains my good friend tofu, which I’m sure you remember from this post. Some people will undoubtedly tell me that while tofu is cheap (less than three dollars for this particular block and cheaper at some stores), you can sometimes get eggs for less than a dollar. While I would love to explain that those eggs are probably gross (they are), instead, I’m going to counter practically: Yes, a dozen eggs may be cheaper than a block of tofu. However, to make the same amount of frittatas you will probably need the entire dozen, possibly more. If you’re trying to cut out the cholesterol by using egg whites, it will end up costing you even more. And if you’re using quality eggs that you know the source of? Trust me. It’s not cheap.

Besides, these keep you from making that dreaded stop through the drive-thru, which is rife with impulse buys and super hot, overpriced coffee (please, McD’s, just a couple ice cubes or something next time?).

Make these. They’ll keep in the fridge for a few days, are good cold or heated up, are good smooshed between toast, and are healthy. Enjoy!

Tofu Frittatas
Makes 12
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 Zucchini
1 Bell Pepper
1 BIG Handful of Spinach (or 1-2 cups)
1 14 oz block of soft tofu
1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast (don’t remember this ingredient? Read this.)
2 tbs Unsweetened Almond Milk
2 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Chilli Powder
1-2 tsp Braggs or Soy Sauce
1 dash liquid smoke
pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Chop the veggies while you wait.

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Throw everything but the spinach in with the oil and saute till soft.

While those are sauteing, remove the tofu from its packaging and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. That’s right, no pressing required! Then crumble it into a bowl.

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Using an electric hand mixer, blend the tofu with the spices, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, liquid smoke, and almond milk until smooth…ish. It won’t be perfect, and that doesn’t matter.

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At this point, the veggies should be soft, so throw the spinach in with them and saute until wilted. This shouldn’t take more than a minute or two.

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Then add the veggies to the tofu mixture and mix by hand until everything is combined fairly evenly. I forgot to take a picture of it, but it’s not exactly rocket science, so you should have a handle on it. 🙂

Pour these into a very lightly greased muffin pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until they are set and the tops are a golden brown.

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Let these cool before you remove them. They are hot and a bit crumbly initially. That’s what makes them so wonderful though. They taste quite a bit like scrambled eggs and are easy enough to make a sandwich out of. They have some moisture, which is necessary because dry, crumbly tofu is…well, gross. All in all, these are pretty awesome.

They keep well in the fridge, and just pop them in the microwave the next day, slap them on some toast, and you’re ready for a health filled, wonderful day.

Besides, how many times have I told you to eat your veggies for breakfast? (Answer: Once, actually.) With these, you will be a crunchy rock star, and your greased out, sugared up coworkers/classmates/children will be jealous of your increased productivity. Yay!

Happy Monday, readers!

Money Saving Monday–A Crunchy Kitchen Essential!

Readers, I’m probably never going to give you a “What’s in my kitchen!” post, because it will leave you incredibly confused. I live in a household of three adults, one vegan, one vegetarian, and one meat eater. So while some things, like the bunches of kale, or the entire section of my cupboard devoted to beans, will make sense, things like Hamburger Helper, canned ham, and stacks of frozen, ground “beef” will not. I do think, though, it’s important that you know a few items I can’t live without. Since today is Money Saving Monday, this is the perfect day to talk about the one thing I panic over if I can’t find it–unsweetened applesauce.

This stuff is insane, guys! Unsweetened applesauce is more than just a tasty treat to give your kid so she’ll shut up while you try to get the dishes done, it’s an absolute necessity in vegan and low fat baking. Whenever a recipe calls for an egg, you just mix 1/4 cup of applesauce with about 1/2 tsp of baking powder, and voila, you have an egg. In fact, you can replace a good bit of the oil many recipes call for with applesauce and end up with a much lighter, but still moist, baked good. One of my favorite brownie recipes omits all the oil and replaces it with applesauce, and you can’t tell the difference!

Applesauce is a cheap eat, at around $1.80 for a giant jar of it. It keeps in your cabinets for a long time, so when it’s on sale stock up on it for super cheap (I’m a big fan of the buy one, get one sales, myself). It’s good to have one jar opened in the fridge, for immediate use, and one sealed in your cabinet, for when you’re in a bind. All of my cakes and cookies require the stuff, and I think if you’ve baked them, you’ll agree, applesauce does the trick quite nicely!

Watch out for applesauce with added sugar. The sugar is completely unnecessary, as applesauce is naturally very sweet, but companies add it in because it tends to sell better. I promise, though, that you will not know the difference, especially if you are baking with it. At that, if you sprinkle in some cinnamon, your kids probably won’t know the difference either!

Sure, you could mash a banana up and use that as an egg instead, but for $1.80 a jar you get a fake egg that isn’t going to alter the flavor of your baked good AND won’t disintegrate into something unrecognizable on top of your fridge in a few days. Plus, it shuts the little ones up pretty darn fast when they’re begging for sweets.

Is it as good for you as an apple? No. Apples have fiber and more vitamins overall. Whole fruit ALWAYS beats purees and juices. What it is, is a low fat alternative to the oil and eggs you were going to throw into your banana bread, so it’s worth a try. Trust me guys, it’s good stuff.

Happy Monday readers! Yummy recipes are up ahead for the week, but today I want you to think long and hard about how good applesauce is, and then try one of my muffin recipes. It will be your best applesauce experience ever, promise!

Eat More Veggies, and Start With Breakfast

Readers, today I incited a teensy, weensy bit of controversy on another food blogger’s comment list. It seems that while we both agree that everyone needs to eat more vegetables, some key differences–health vs. weight focus, whether or not it’s ok to cater to someone with a low carb diet, etc –occurred. She handled my comment very diplomatically, and the only person who flamed me for my criticism was a complete and utter moron who apparently couldn’t bother reading what I actually said. As far as controversy went, this was pretty tame.

I’m not one to let internet mayhem (or morons) get me down, so I’m going to focus on the one thing I and every other health blogger believes–vegetables are wonderful! They are full of vitamins and other nutrients, including beautiful, beautiful fiber, one of the keys to staying full after a meal. Vegetables are incredibly nutrient dense and are rock stars of the food world.

The problem? While it’s easy to munch on some carrots and celery for lunch and a big ol’ plate of roasted broccoli for dinner, breakfast, a time when you could use that filling fiber and wonderful vitamins the most, is typically pretty light on the vegetables. Yes, most people have a bit of fruit for breakfast–a wonderful habit to be in because fruit is also a rock star in the food world–but vegetables are kind of a no go for most folks.

I have two go to solutions for this problem, depending entirely on whether or not Olive is home. The first is to shovel some leafy greens into my smoothies. A cup of kale or spinach will blend into a smoothie beautifully and is entirely tasteless. Olive will guzzle them down with the fervor of a child who doesn’t know icky green vegetables are in her strawberry banana beverage. She gets to have what she refers to as a “Breakfast Milkshake” and I get to pump her full of health food. So much win!

The second solution involves savory flavors and goes well with toast, nuts or veggie sausage, and a piece of fruit. It’s delicious, good to have while you’re sipping your coffee, and makes just enough for two. Which is why I never, ever make it when Olive is home.

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Just for Grownups Sweet Potato Home Fries
1 sweet potato
1 tbs canola oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp red pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Dice the sweet potato into bite sized pieces. Make sure you use a very sharp knife, or else this will be an incredibly painful and annoying experience.

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Put the pieces into a medium sized bowl and drizzle with the oil and spices. Toss the sweet potatoes until evenly coated. You should use your hands.

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It will be moderately gross.

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Add the potatoes to a medium sized skillet and fry over a medium high heat.

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Fry until they are tender on the inside, but somewhat crispy on the outside. They will be perfect.

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Pour yourself a cup of coffee, get yourself a handful of almonds and some blackberries (they’re in season right now!), and sit down with someone you love for a peaceful, enjoyable breakfast.

If you have to you can double the recipe and share it with your kids, but I’m not going to force you. As if they would appreciate it. If they had their way you’d throw some poptarts in the toaster, turn on cartoons, and leave them alone for a few hours. I think you’d be better off saving this for yourself.

Enjoy!

Rain, Rain, Go Away, or at Least Let Me Make it to the Grocery Store

Readers, sorry I haven’t been back sooner. I try to make Wednesday posts most weeks, but to be honest, I was just too excited about the fabulous weather we’ve had. You see, it’s been in the 80’s all week long!

This is a far cry from last Saturday which was cold, wet, and disgusting. It was not even normal “gross” outside, it was Cat in the Hat bad. I felt bad for Olive because I had no idea what to do with our time the entire day. I felt even worse for Mike because he had to go teach in it. I felt relatively fine for me because we had plenty of coffee and tea in the house, but I wasn’t leaving for anything, not even to pick up groceries for our relatively understocked kitchen so I could make my miserable, freezing family something good for dinner. It was gross out there!

Hey guys, I know it is wet, and the sun is not sunny, but I made soup, so shut up cuz’ it’s yummy. *

Note: A thank you must go out to my mother, without whom I would have no basis for how potato soup ought to taste.

Two Potato Soup
2 large russet potatoes, cut into bite sized chunks
1 sweet potato, cut into bite sized chunks
2 carrots, diced
1 Vidalia onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
6 cups vegetable broth
2 tbs olive oil, divided
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 dash liquid smoke
3/4 cup almond milk

In a large stock pot, cover the potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots with broth and bring to a boil. Let boil until the potatoes are very soft.

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While the potatoes are boiling, heat one tablespoon of the oil in the skillet. Add the onions and celery and saute until the onions are translucent.

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Unfortunately, I was out of celery and nothing was going to make me run to the store to pick some up. NOTHING.

Add the garlic to the skillet, and saute for another minute. Set aside.

By this time, the potatoes will be soft, so turn the heat down to medium, and using a slotted spoon remove about 2 cups worth of the chunks. Some carrots and sweet potatoes will get mixed in, it’s not a big deal, so just go with it. Put them in a bowl, and mash the bajeezus out of them.

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Add it back to the pot along with the sauteed onions, celery, and garlic. Stir until the soup has thickened and the blob of mashed potatoes has disappeared (You can, of course, choose to mash a few more potatoes if you want the soup to be super thick, though we thought it was perfect as it was). Add the poultry seasoning, nutritional yeast, liquid smoke, and almond milk. Bring the soup to a simmer and drizzle the remaining tablespoon of oil over the top (this is optional, but delicious).

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Hey, that was easy!

This soup is perfect for gross days because it is so wonderfully warming. It’s comfort food without butter, full of potassium and vitamins, and tons of protein. It is the very best way to eat potatoes, and I love potatoes, so I should know. While it is loosely based on my mother’s recipe (which involved a secret ingredient known as “instant potato flakes”–sorry for ruining the secret, Mom!) and has a similar creaminess, the sweet potato adds a pleasant change of pace to this thick, savory, soup. I really wish Mike hadn’t eaten four bowls of it, because I would have liked seconds.

Oh well, even when it’s gross outside and I don’t have many groceries, I do usually have potatoes.

So I know it is wet, and the sun is not sunny, but soup can bring lots of good fun that is funny. *

*My apologies to Dr. Seuss.

Money Saving Monday–Eat it Starbucks

Readers, I’m not going to lie, I really, really like coffee.

I’m not one of those bloggers that’s going to tell you to abstain from God’s way of telling us he loves us and wants to wake up and have a good day…or afternoon pick me up…or a good study session…all nighter…etc… In fact, I love it exactly as much as I love tea, which says a lot because I ADORE tea! If I could find some hot water I’d be drinking some tea right now!

But this isn’t about tea. It’s not even really about coffee.

Starbucks has this creation that it calls a blended “coffee” drink. It’s not coffee. It might have a teensy bit of coffee, but it’s almost entirely not coffee. It is full of cream, chocolate, and other “goodies” that will set you back AT LEAST a meals worth of calories, fat, and sugar. It will also cost you AT LEAST five bucks. Boo!

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Yeah, that’s right, Frappuccino, I’m talking about you. You’re disgusting!

Guys, I don’t really care if you count your calories or sugar intake or any of that. I don’t and I’m much happier this way. But if you’re going to drink something that sugar laden and icky, you should at least get some nutrients. Or some coffee.

A Much Better Blended Coffee Drink
1/2 cup black coffee, room temperature or chilled
1 frozen banana, in chunks
1/2 to 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (some may need to dilute the coffee more)
4-5 ice cubes
maple syrup or other sweetener to taste (I used 1 tsp)

In a blender, add all the ingredients except the ice. Blend until smooth, then add the ice cubes, one at a time, until your drink has the desired consistency.

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Well would you look at that. I may have just put Starbucks out of business.

(I didn’t mean that Starbucks. I really like your soy vanilla lattes. Shhh. Don’t tell my readers.)

Seriously though, if you absolutely need something sweet and caffeinated, you can’t beat this. You’re getting the health benefits of coffee that all the doctors are raving about right now, the health benefits of cocoa (doesn’t get much darker than that), the health benefits of almond milk (hello readily absorbed calcium!), and the health benefits of bananas (potassium is a go)–and it’s DELICIOUS!

Go ahead, have a “venti” one. You’ll feel fancy and all your friends will be jealous of your barista abilities. And you’ll save yourself a few bucks, to boot.

Drink and be awake, readers!