Guest Interview – The Friendly Fig!

Happy Wednesday!  I’m excited to have my first GUEST INTERVIEW on the blog today!  I want to introduce you guys to Bianca and Sara from The Friendly Fig!

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I came across their blog and LOVED that in addition to food they had great posts about cruelty free fashion and vegan tips.  I’m excited to try a couple of the styles from the Cruelty Free Boots post and Tony drooling over the recent Vegan Donut post (I’m sure we will be recreating those delights soon)!

I asked and they answered – enjoy!

Tell me a little bit about your blog:

Bianca: I’ve been a writer all my life, and starting a blog was always on my list of to-do’s! Once I became vegan, I noticed how much I posted pics of my food – because let’s be real… you can get pretty creative in a vegan kitchen! I finally decided that I wanted to share that with more than just my friends and family. I wanted to spread the word and show people that veganism and a plant-based diet is not hard, nor boring! My #1 hope is to inspire, and hey, maybe encourage a few people to make the change.

I’m also interested in much more than veganism, so I like to consider The Friendly Fig a lifestyle blog. There will be fun, style, inspiration, health tips… all that good stuff! I have also recently finished a novel, which will be included on the blog in the *near* future. Very excited about that!

Sara: Bianca approached me about helping with The Friendly Fig earlier this summer. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, as I had recently decided to cut most animal products out of my diet. I find that the blog has helped keep me accountable. Plus, Bianca’s recipes are really delicious :)

What has been your favorite post so far?

Bianca: Of my posts, my favorite recipe is Vegan Apple Cider Donuts, so I’d have to go with that one! For Sara’s, she just wrote this passionate & incredible post on what it means to be vegan, and why it’s okay to cheat. I love this! While I have been strict on my vegan diet, I think this appeals to a wider audience, as a lot of our readers are not vegan, but may be interested. It’s all about doing the least harm and most good!

Sara: I got pretty passionate during my post about cheating on veganism. The vegan community is not at all what I expected, in both good and bad ways. The support I got for that post really helped me see that I’m doing the right thing.

5 words that describe you:

Bianca: creative, passionate, kind, witty, dedicated

Sara:witty, passionate, pragmatic, cultured, traveler

What would you do with a million dollars?

Bianca: Invest!! Pay off loans, travel, and donate to The Humane Society International: Be Cruelty Free Campaign, Save the Whales, and the Born Free Foundation.

Sara: Invest and travel the world!

What is your dream job?

Bianca: A full-time blogger, of course! Well, that and a best-selling author. Crossing my fingers!

Sara: I’d love to do something with dogs. Whether that’s training, running a shelter, or just dog walking, I’m all for it. But I’d really like to do something where I’m saving the lives of dogs and educating people about the horrors of puppy mills, animal cruelty, etc.

What big goal of yours scares you yet inspires you?

Bianca: To become a best-selling author. I finished my first novel, and am ready to start my second. So, I guess that is what scares me! Writing another novel… so scary to start on a blank canvas, but so so inspiring. The possibilities are endless.

Sara: I want to live all over the world, and that’s terrifying because I don’t know people all over the world and it’s hard to make friends, let alone deal with language barriers! But I think it’s so important to get out there and see everything this world has to offer.

Do you have a favorite quote:

Bianca: “It takes nothing away from a human to be kind to an animal.” – Joaquin Phoenix

Sara: “If you don’t like where you are, change it. You are not a tree!”

Favorite quick snack:

Bianca: A Smoothie Bowl – so pretty and delicious! And I am going to share my favorite recipe with you guys :)

Sara: Apples and peanut butter for life.

Sarah and Bianca are also all over Social Media so check them out!

AND in addition to the bomb dignity interview that they agreed to we ALSO get a awesome recipe today – check out the Smoothie Bowl!

AND in addition to the bomb dignity interview that they agreed to we ALSO get a awesome recipe today – check out the Smoothie Bowl!

dragon

RECIPE:

Green Dragon Smoothie Bowl

This is my all-time favorite bowl thus far! And it’s so easy…

In a blender:

  • 1 peach, cut in chunks
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 dragon fruit
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1 tbs flaxseed oil
  • 1/2 cup soy milk

Top with frozen raspberries, chia seeds, and dragon fruit. If I had some at the time, I would have probably added some coconut chips, too. So delish!

Thanks again Bianca and Sara for your time and your amazing recipe!  I’m so happy we were able to collaborate!  Everyone go check out these fab girls over at The Friendly Fig!

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Weekend Recap!

How is it Monday again?!  Luckily I had a great weekend to re-vigorate me for the work week!

As I had mentioned the other day we were going to the Asia concert Friday night.  It was actually really fun!  We headed down to the Variety Playhouse in the Little Five Points area of Atlanta.  it is a smaller venue and a great place to see a show.  We went down a little early so we could explore the area and eat.  After walking around a bit we decided on the Brewhouse Cafe.  It was great because we could eat outside.  I figured we could always get a salad and fries but we lucked out since all their burgers could be substituted with either a Black Bean Burger or a Veggie Patty – yay!  Still got the fries though…….

Brewhouse Cafe

Brewhouse Cafe

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Veggie Burger with mushrooms and fries!

The concert ended up being really fun.  They sounded great, there was a little bar, seating was good – overall a great time.  I wish this pic was better but you can see we had pretty good seats. This show was open seating and reminded me in size of a movie theater.

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Saturday we did our usual round of grocery shopping which included a big haul from Costco. Being plant-based we really go through the produce so this is a great place for us to purchase it.  Additionally,  they have a decent amount of organic choices – this time they had both conventional and organic bananas.  We also got organic spinach and organic mixed greens – we use those like crazy with smoothies!

Love Costco!

Love Costco!

We also had a pace run on Saturday which we waited until about 5pm to do.  In retrospect, since we had a longer run (9 miles) on Sunday and we did that at 9am, we should have done that pace run earlier.  Tony and I were both incredibly sore yesterday afternoon.  I did the pace run at 8:54 and the 9 miles at 9:25.  I KNOW we need to stretch more and probably should have taken at least 24 hours between the runs.  But, regardless, it’s done!

On a fun note, we got Athena’s room painted this weekend and I covered some cork boards for her.  Her room has gray and aqua so I wanted to accent with yellow and picked these fabrics.

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I was happy with the final result – and more importantly so was she!  I also got some of her pictures hung up so the place is starting to feel more homey.  Next project – using the extra fabric to make some pillows for her bed……….if I can find (and remember how to use) my sewing machine!

Work in progress but almost done!

Work in progress but almost done!

Lastly – I’m excited to share an interview with Bianca and Sara from The Friendly Fig this week.  Look for it Wednesday!

Lentil Soup and a good book!

I can’t believe it’s already Thursday – this week has been busy, busy, busy!

First off, we are in the middle of week 7 on the half marathon training plan.  This weekend’s long run will be 9 miles.  The weather looks great for it too!  I will say that my legs are a bit tired – likely due to the hard 6 miles on Sunday and then my “easy” 4.5 probably should have been easier then I did it.  Sometimes the darn Garmin makes me competitive with myself!  Anyhow, as a result of the Sunday run and pushing too hard Tuesday my speed work was extra difficult last night.  I got it done though  –  I just didn’t get the intervals as fast as I’d have liked.  My two take aways from this:  Easy runs should be easy – I’ve read numerous times that “most people don’t do their hard runs hard enough or their easy runs easy enough.”  Second take away – not every workout will be perfect.

On a different note – I made soup yesterday!  Not many dishes are as easy and nutritious as Lentil Soup.  Plus my whole family likes it – score!  Here’s the scoop on this one dish wonder:

This is all you need!

This is all you need!

Lentil Soup Recipe

  • 1 1/2 c Lentils  (I have an organic tri color lentil mix form Costco that I use but you can use all one type if you want)
  • 8C water or veggie broth
  • 3 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 potatos peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1-2 teaspoons of sea salt if you use water – broth will already be salted

Put all in crockpot and cook on high for 4 hours.  My soup was still a little watery so I added 1/2 c cracked wheat – I’ve also used rice in the past – switch to low and cook 1-2 more hours.

All done - let's eat!

All done – let’s eat!

This soup is SO versatile.  I usually add an onion but was out, unfortunately.  It still tasted great! You can also use celery and or sweet potato.  Sometimes towards the end I’ll add some chopped spinach or you can do that when you are re-heating as well.  If you don’t want to add a grain at the end you can reduce water to 6 cups or so and it will be thick without the cracked wheat or rice!

In other news the eCornell class is AMAZING!  I so enjoy listening to T. Colin Campbell’s lectures and will likely buy his “China Study” book as well as “Whole”.  Some of the information is review but I’m learning a lot of new stuff as well.  It’s so funny how when something is interesting it’s actually easy to do the homework!

Personally – I am reading “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown.  The book gives a lot of good insight in to shame, vulnerability and the like – great thinking points to ponder on.  I am reading this as part of the Fierce Forward Book Club – check it out if you are interested!   There will be a couple online discussions the month of October – I think he first is on the 15th so still time to get in on the action!

Finally – guess what I’m doing tomorrow???? Going to see ASIA in concert!

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Tony scored some tickets from a colleague and we are children of the 80s (well technically children of the 60s who grew up in the 80s) so why not?  I’m looking forward to it and excited to check out a new area of Atlanta as well!

 

Weekend recap!

Well I meant to get this up earlier but things like work and whatnot kind of got in the way!  We had a GREAT weekend which of course went by way too fast!

Friday night we went to this really cool restaurant Sushinami – we had been once before and they had some great vegetable options.  Tony and I both love the salad with ginger dressing and this place actually has a large size – um – yes please!

This salad was ahhh-MAZ-ing!

This salad was ahhh-MAZ-ing!

We also got these sweet potato things that are fried and have some powdered sugar sprinkled on them and are served with a side of Tobasco.  I know it might not SOUND good but it does TASTE good!

Sweet Potato delight!

Sweet Potato delight!

Lastly we ordered some veggie rolls.  They actually  didn’t have much listed on the menu in the way of veggie rolls but we just asked what kinds of vegetables were available and they put them together for us.  On a side note, when we went to this Mexican place on Sunday they also told us they had 4-5 vegetarian options that were not on the menu which we could “veganize” by leaving off cheese, sour cream, etc .  You really CAN make it work when dining out by just asking a few questions.  Oh, and the list of side dishes frequently can be a good place to look for plant based options.

OK back to the rolls – they were fabulous!

Yum-a-liscious!

Yum-a-liscious!

All that eating and no workout on Friday – our current training plan has Fridays listed as rest days – and I take them!

Saturday Tony and I headed to the gym with Lexy.  After a quick weight workout we all hit the pool for some laps.  This was my first time in the water since Puerto Rico and it felt GOOD!  I always forget how much I enjoy swimming until I am back in the water.  It really is a good complement to running to since it is gentle on the body.  The best part was that Lexy got in the water too!  She has officially started the swim portion of her triathlon training!  YAY!  Mother/Daughter bonding moment :)

For Sunday we were suppose to do a 10K race but there were no local 10Ks that I saw on the Georgia Running Calendar for Sunday and not even many to choose from on Saturday so we decided to run a fast 6 miles on our own.  My first 3 miles felt SO good and were SO fast (meaning fast for me) – it was awesome!  But then we had to turn around and run back.  Um, yeah, I had gone out WAY too fast.  Regardless, it got done and my pace was 8:42 which is incredibly good for me at that distance.

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Oh, and because I burned 603 calories according to the above picture we had to replenish.  We decided fajitas and a margarita would do the trick and stopped by this adorable restaurant we had seen a few times – PURE.  It did not disappoint – we will be back for sure!

We went to the Aplharetta location – how cute is this place?

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And how good does this look?

drink fajaitas

Lastly………..today I applied to be a “Sweat Pink” ambassador over at Fit Approach which is a “healthy community” site with a blog ,inspiration, transformation stories and lots of other great stuff.  One of the things I like best is that they have a program for college students.  It’s a great way for young adults to get involved and on track to a healthy lifestyle as opposed to becoming a victim of the “freshman 15″.  This is especially close to my heart because Lexy will be heading off to college next fall and I think a program like Sweat Pink University would be great for her.  Stay tuned for more information on this!

 

 

Where did the week go?

This week has been insanely busy!  I’m pretty sure that I use to think that people who work from home didn’t really do much.  NOT THE CASE!  Now that I’m doing that I find that although, yes, I have flexibility, I also find it difficult to step away from the desk.  On top of work stuff and my class starting this week (YAY – LOVE it so far!) Tony was traveling.  That just meant that I had to do all the kid-related stuff myself.  I am NOT complaining, and the girls are FAR from babies anymore, but there are still plenty of things that I do for them.  Make breakfast, make lunches, make their beds, straighten up their bathroom every morning after they leave for school.  Yes, I probably do more for them then I should.  The result is that they have failed to learn certain things – like how to replace the toilet paper:

But putting it on the roll is TOO HARDDDDDD.....

But putting it on the roll is TOO HARDDDDDD…..

This is what I found in the bathroom.  I will take time this weekend to instruct them on how the TP holder works.

Runs have been on plan.  The day got away from me yesterday so I took that as a rest and did yesterday’s run today – basically just switched the two days.  Tomorrow is “easy run or rest” so I think I’ll actually get in the pool with Lexy.  It will be a good cross training workout and I have not been swimming since Puerto Rico 70.3 in April!

Oh, I tried to put together a collage of food pics for “What I Ate Wednesday” but that obviously didn’t happen so here are some eats from the week :

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Note – hummus with Siracha is da BOMB!  Also, chic peas with sea salt as a snack are not bad at all :)  This week I have been trying to get through what is in the fridge – don’t want to waste anything!  We didn’t go through things as quickly as usual since we were down one person with Tony traveling but overall we did fairly well.  I hope to try a new recipe this weekend – one that I REALLY want to do is the Cinnamon Berry Fig Bars from Southern Blonde Vegan – they look AMAZE-BALLS and not too difficult.  Sarah’s food pictures are gorgeous – check out her blog or Instagram (be prepared to drool!)

Tonight – sushi date!  Minus the actual sushi……we will do veggie rolls and wine.  Should be fun!

Have a great weekend!

weekend

So……….I’m a dork

I am not the most detailed person in the world………I can be really anal about some things – following a training plan, running past my house till I hit the mile marker on my Garmin – those types of things. In other areas – well not so much!  Case in point – my class (yes, the one that I’m SO excited about) did not start on Monday as I thought.  It starts tomorrow…….. When I registered it said September 24th but I just assumed it was a Monday and didn’t pay much attention to the date outside of “September 20-somthing”.  I went to log on Monday and it said i had “no available classes at this time”.  I freaked out for a minute then pulled up my receipt to confirm I had in fact actually registered (I had).  Then I looked at the date…..oopsie…… Oh well, better early then late I guess.  So tomorrow I will be getting started.  For real this time.  I really, truly mean it.  Really!

dork

In other news my older daughter is excited to do a triathlon with me – yippee!  Goal is Steelhead 70.3 next summer (she will be 18 then).  We will do other races prior to then to get her ready.  I am so thrilled that she has this interest and is actually open to working out (and racing) with me!  Tony and I had decided to do a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving this year and I had asked the girls if they wanted to do the 5k while we did the 10K.  Lexy opted for the 10K and Athena opted for sleeping in that day.  Monica over at Run, Eat, Repeat had posted a 10K training plan for a Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot so I printed that off for Lexy and she started it this week.

Workouts are back on plan!  As previously posted I took off Saturday but did the scheduled 8 mile run Sunday.  Yesterday called for “Strength and Stretching” which I did and then today was an easy 4 miles and I did that on the treadmill while Lexy did her 3 miles.  I’m feeling much better and SO glad I took Saturday off!  Tomorrow is a tempo run so I’m prepared to go a little harder and, believe it or not,  I’m actually looking forward to it.

Food has been really yummy.  We have a lot of produce in the fridge so I’ve been making some pretty big salads and I also made some butternut squash soup.  Technically it’s “Butternut Squash / Onion / Sweet Potato / Carrot” soup and it’s super yummy – especially with a tablespoon of Hemp Hearts sprinkled over top!

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

Please excuse that cell phone shadow in the picture.  I must work on my photography skills!

The soup is super simple to make.  I cut up an onion and saute it (in a tiny bit of water) in a soup pot.  Once it browns up a bit I put 6-8 cups of water (or veggie broth if you have it – I’ve done it both ways)  in along with a cubed butter nut squash, a peeled and cubed sweet potato, a couple carrots and 2-3 bay leaves.  I also toss in about a tsp of sea salt and a bit of pepper.  You can season it however you want.  I’ve done it with cinnamon and cloves before too.  Cook on medium/high for about 30 minutes.  Once everything is soft (poke with fork to make sure pieces are tender) let the mixture cool.  Remove bay leaves and puree in batches and return to the pot to warm up.  Sometimes I also add some rice at this point (already cooked) or a bit of dry cracked wheat which I allow to cook in the soup.  This just thickens it even more and gives it another taste.  The soup was soup-er awesome with this salad:

sald

Oh – I also found some zucchini in the fridge that Tony had bought when I was in Michigan.  I had to use those babies up as they were not going to last much longer.  A quick Google Search resulted in me finding this recipe for Zucchini Bread.   Gotta love Angela at Oh She Glows – I always find great recipes there.  Soooo I kind of followed it but kinda not.  I left out the nuts, raisins and didn’t do the topping.  I also didn’t use spelt flour cuz I didn’t have any.  BUT it still turned out really good!

Mix wet and dry ingredients separately before mixing them together

Mix wet and dry ingredients separately before mixing them together

Put in loaf pan which I greased with coconut oil

Put in loaf pan which I greased with coconut oil

One hour later - ready to eat!

One hour later – ready to eat!

It’s been a fun few days in the kitchen for sure.

Time for bed – but first a couple random cat pictures!  I had to take the little one in for shots today – he was SO good!  The Vet Tech said Nugget was a “perfect cat” – awwww – love the little dude!

Seriously - could he be any cuter?

Seriously – could he be any cuter?

And, not to be out done, Chester had to be cute today too by playing with my mouse.  Makes it difficult to work but it’s worth it!

Cat and Mouse - get it?

Cat and Mouse – get it?

See – told you I’m a dork – cat pictures and all!

Sunday Funday!

Happy Sunday!  I hope everyone is having a great weekend!  Mine started out on a B-L-A-H note – for no other reason than I was feeling REALLY run down.  Friday was a rest day according to our workout plan and thank goodness for that since I don’t think I could have done anything if I had wanted to!  Tony and I kept it really low key Friday night with a trip to Whole Foods.  We started by first going to the food bar and getting dinner so we wouldn’t over shop due to hunger.  The Whole Foods by our new house is SO big and has SO much stuff!  There are a couple places to eat inside and you will see people sitting at the counters/tables of the restaurant areas with a bottle of wine and having a nice meal.  We did the food bar where they weigh your plate and ate on the patio before doing our shopping – it was fun and just the right amount of activity for me!

Saturday had a 3 mile pace run on the schedule…………but I couldn’t do it.  I was still exhausted -even after sleeping almost 11 hours.  This was the first missed workout so far 5 weeks in to the plan and I almost beat myself up over it but I really, really wanted to listen to my body and was just EXHAUSTED so I skipped it hoping I’d feel well enough to get Sunday’s long run in.

Which we did!

But first a trip to the barn!  Athena had a lesson at 10 which was news to us as of 8am this morning.  SO plans to leave at 8 for our run were changed.  The upside to that is that we got to enjoy all of THIS!

Morning coffee and amazing scenery!

Morning coffee and amazing scenery!

Saying Hello to a four legged friend

Saying Hello to a four legged friend

Relaxing time with this hot guy!

Relaxing time with this hot guy!

Watched my Athena ride!

Watched my Athena ride!

It was a REALLY fun and relaxing morning at the barn – totally worth pushing back our run!  On the downside our run started at 11am which meant we were still running at “high noon” and beyond.    We also ran a hilly route so it was tough. Tony is coming back from being sick and I was just exhausted but we got it done……..but let’s not discuss pace…………

However we CAN discuss this  miss mash of leftovers which was fabulous post run!  I had a baked potato with leftover “Caulipower Alfredo Sauce” from Oh She Glows as well as a chopped salad and a falafel.  Oh, and a BudLight Lime with extra lime.  Every bite and sip was delicious!

Post Run Feast

Post Run Feast

Lastly, I am super duper BEYOND excited to start my Plant-Based Nutrition Certification through eCornell tomorrow.  I posted about it on Instagram and FB already.  This is one of the things I was referring to in my previous post about getting in my own way.  Tony was SO supportive of my decision to do this and thinks it will be great for me as well as for our family as a whole.  I will gain a lot of scientifically based knowledge about plant based eating – I’ll totally get my geek on!  I’ll blog about the course as I go through it.  Everything I’ve read has been extremely positive and I’m excited to experience the course for myself.

Now I’m off to buy some notebooks and pens for the first day of school!