Two-Week Vegan Challenge {Day III}

Thursday

Overall, I felt good! Around dinner, I started to notice a lack of energy and the gym felt harder than usual; however, that could be because I haven’t been to the gym in a week. Oops…

breakfast – 10:00 am

Rice Krispies cereal with soy milk and bananas. I had time to make biscuits, but I didn’t have any margarine that didn’t contain whey (and obviously can’t use butter). I thought it was going to taste weird, but I could honestly barely taste the difference between regular milk and soy milk. I’m so glad I bought that Silk last night!

Snack – 12:00 PM

A few chips with salsa and a square of chocolate. Around this time, I was super excited about the vegan possibilities and decided to go grocery shopping!

Veganism

I bought tofu (nervous about it), vegan “cream cheese,” hummus mix, falafel mix, lots of veggies vegan wonton wrappers (!!), pasta, whole wheat bread, and pita bread. I, upsettingly, could NOT find ANY egg substitute! It was so frustrating! Granted, I was at a regular ol’ grocery store, but being vegan shouldn’t mean I have to shop at special stores. Ugh. I mean, they had tons of vegan stuff, but NO egg substitute! Infuriating.

lunch – 3:30 pm

I had sort of a late lunch, but it was so worth it! I made the falafel / hummus mixes and enjoyed a savory Mediterranean meal!

First, I made the falafel balls according to the package instructions, then prepared a piece of pita bread with a tablespoon of both the hummus and my vegan cream cheese.

Then, I cut up some tomato, lettuce, and cucumber. I added it all to the pita bread, folded it like a taco, and ate up!

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I was so excited at how yummy it was! I felt like I was in another country. It’s so fun to have so many different types of food.

Not-related Adventure of the Day:

Around 5:30, I went to a master class / open rehearsal with violinist Joshua Bell. The friend I went with is getting his masters in music and raved, giggled, and skipped with excitement as the thought of us getting to see (in his words) “the world’s best violinist” for free. I was skeptical. Bell started out by saying it was just a sound check and he probably wasn’t going to play very much. Then, he busted out the full Devil’s Trill by Tartini! He played the whole thing! Oh my gosh, it was a dream. Do yourself a favor and listen to it:

When he finished, he just sort of shrugged. Shrugged! I’ll tell you something, I went in not super ready to be impressed, but I quickly was won over. He was so non-assuming. I also heard he did an experiment. I saw the article back when it was posted, but didn’t read it. I just finished reading it. You should too. He also answered a ton of questions from the audience and gave fantastic responses. I was so inspired. I even took notes.

dinner – 8:00 pm

A bean and rice burrito was my dinner. I was going to make a tofu stir fry, but I wasn’t all that hungry. I also munched on some carrots while doing my homework!

nutrition information

Grade of A- (up from yesterday’s C+!).

  • 25.9% fat
  • 12.5 % protein
  • 61.6% carbs

According to USDA recommendations, I had too little vitamin C, calcium, iron, and potassium. I bought iron vitamins at the store today, but I had almost enough iron in my food, so I didn’t want to take a pill and get too much. I don’t know if that’s a thing, but I didn’t want to risk it.

Conclusion

I went grocery shopping, to the gym, cooked my first truly vegan meal, and got to see one of the world’s best violinists perform for free, and talk about music and truth. I’d say a pretty good day!

Keep up-to-date on my new postings by following me on Twitter. You can also contact me through my website here, email me at brittany@lacelollipops.com, or send me a message to my Facebook. Thank you!

Two-Week Vegan Challenge {Day II}

Wednesday

Overall, it felt like a normal day! I got tons of sleep and I think the snacks helped a lot. I do think my lack of energy and terrible mood yesterday afternoon was due to lack of protein. I was determined not to make that mistake today.

Breakfast – 10:00 am

Oatmeal & OJ again, this time without bananas. I was going to make vegan biscuits, but I didn’t have enough time. I think I’m going to make some tonight to have for tomorrow.

snack – 12:30 pm

Graham crackers with peanut butter, and a crystal light lemonade. This was filling and delicious, exactly what I needed.

lunch – 2:00 pm

I ate out again, since I hate money, apparently. I got Noodles & Company Indonesian Peanut Saute.

Noodles and Co Indonesian Peanut Saute

It was absolutely divine! I got a half-size, and couldn’t finish it all. It was spicy and delicious and completely vegan! I wish I would’ve realized I could add tofu, because I’ve really wanted to try tofu! Oh, well. Plenty of time.

Snack – 4:00 pm

A handful of carrots were my snack since I didn’t get enough vitamin A yesterday.

dinner – 7:00 pm

I finished my Noodles & Co (so yummy). I really wasn’t all that hungry by this time. I totally had energy today.

Adventure of the day: I went to pick up a friend’s car from the shop, and when I got back to his house, I was faced with a dilemma:

Chocolate or mac n cheese

Mac n’ cheese, and chocolate! I’ve been very reluctant to tell my closest friends and family that I’m going vegan for two weeks. This is mostly because I’m dreading getting the “what?!? WHY?!??” and experiencing all the negativity people give to those who are vegetarian or (especially) vegan.

So I didn’t tell my friend that I couldn’t eat his mac n’ cheese because it had dairy, but instead told him it was because I had already eaten–which was true, but I probably would’ve accepted the offer if I wasn’t going vegan. He then broke off a piece of chocolate and handed it to me, then proceeded into the kitchen to finish cooking his dinner. I said thank you and just held the chocolate until he walked away and I could discreetly read the ingredients. As I was turning over the packaging, I decided that if it wasn’t vegan, I’d simply slip the chunk back, confident he wouldn’t notice. Oh, the lengths I’ll go to in order to avoid being teased for going vegan for two weeks (and avoid answering why). Thankfully, it was a 68% dark, with only 3 ingredients: cocoa, sugar, cocoa butter—aka: Vegan Approved!

I enjoyed and savored that chocolate, suppressing a happy chuckle upon realizing I could eat it. When I got home, I was motivated by my ability to refuse non-vegan food! I went to the grocery store on the corner and picked up some Silk Soy Milk, then made myself a vegan chocolate chip cookie in a mug. It was delicious, and here’s the recipe I used (click for the website):

Vegan chocolate chip cake in a mug recipe

Nutrition information

I thought for sure I would do well today and get enough protein, but I didn’t (only a C+) and I ate too much fat.

  • 35.6% fat
  • 9.2% protein
  • 55% carbs

USDA guidelines said not only did I consume too much fat, but I didn’t get enough protein, dietary fiber, calcium, iron, or potassium. I realized that my calcium vitamins have Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) in them, which is derived from animals and therefore NOT vegan. It was the first thing I consumed yesterday, which means since I had my first vegan meal (yesterday’s oatmeal), I have not broken the rules once! Good for me. It was close, though.

conclusion

I did crave chicken today again. And I found myself dreading having to plan for what I was going to eat–but it’s a good thing: one of the biggest reason’s I’m doing this is to stop myself from mindlessly eating! I have to pay so much more attention now. I’m excited to do it again tomorrow (but more healthy)!

Keep up-to-date on my new postings by following me on Twitter. You can also contact me through my website here, email me at brittany@lacelollipops.com, or send me a message to my Facebook. Thank you!

Two-Week Vegan Challenge {Day I}

See yeterday’s introduction to the Vegan Challenge

Tuesday

Breakfast – 10:00 am

Oatmeal with fresh bananas and a glass of OJ. When I finished eating, I felt very satisfied. Yum. Who knew veganism includes foods I already love to eat.

20131112_094407

Lunch – 2:00 PM

Kneaders Veggie Avocado Sandwich (no cheese or mayo/sauce), unsweetened applesauce, and a handful of almonds.

I have a lot of fresh avocados at the house, so I was going to make an avocado/tomato sandwich similar to the ones I survived off of when I lived in California. I was looking at the ingredients in the only bread I have–lo and behold, it was sweetened with honey! I packed myself an avocado anyway, as well as a cup of unsweetened applesauce and a serving of plain almonds. I knew it wasn’t going to be enough to hold me over all day, so I decided to see what vegan options I could get at fast food places.

20131112_141114

Kneaders, which is a bakery and cafe that runs along what I call the Mormon Belt (Idaho, Utah, and Arizona), has a veggie sandwich that I thought I’d try out. It was just under $5 for a 1/2 sandwich. I have to admit, I thought it looked underwhelming and like it was going to be incredibly unsatisfying, especially since I couldn’t get it with cheese or their “Kneaders Sauce,” which she was nice enough to inform me contains mayo.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was filling and delicious! The whole lunch was super nutritious and I didn’t feel it lacked anything.

Dinner – 7:30 pm

At around 4 pm, I felt like I had no energy and was exhausted. At 7, when I left work, I was completely worn out. I definitely don’t usually get this way. There are a few different possible reasons, but I made sure to get a big dose of protein for dinner just in case. I didn’t get home until really late, so I decided to forego a big dinner. Instead, I made a bean burrito with rice. I don’t know if it was because my body was craving protein or what, but it tasted better than the average bean burrito.

It was around this time I realized I can’t eat chocolate…or take my usual vitamins! I went to take my women’s health vitamin this morning, but there were way too many animal byproducts (gummy vitamins), so I had to settle with a calcium/magnesium/zinc vitamin pill instead.

daily nutrition report

I’m keeping track of the food I eat. It’s on a very helpful website that tells me how good for me each food item is.

I’ve used this site before, and a normal day for me has an average B+ rating, with a calorie distribution of:

  • 32.7% fat
  • 14.8 % protein
  • 50.7% carbs, and
  • 1.8% other (like vitamins).

Based on generic USDA values, I generally have too little fiber (15g out of 25g), calcium (.56g / 1g), potassium (1.4g / 4.7g), and iron (9.8g / 18g).

Today’s report gives an A rating for the day, with a calorie distribution of:

  • 27.2% fat
  • 9.9% protein
  • 61.7% carbs, and
  • 1.3% other.

Based on the USDA values, I didn’t get enough Vitamin A, potassium (1.9g / 4.7g), or iron (11g / 18g).

Conclusion

I didn’t have time for the gym tonight, but I feel too tired to go anyway. It’s only 8pm, so I’m not sure if that’s the diet talking or other factors; however, I did get “in the green” with all my nutrients for the USDA recommended values. That’s a success. Tomorrow, I’m going to pack higher protein snacks to eat between meals, because when I got hungry, all I could think about were some nice, juicy chicken nuggets.

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Vegan for Two Weeks

One of my best friends was vegan for a while (now she’s 100% pescatarian for over a year) and said as a vegan, she’s never felt better. I already don’t eat a lot of red meat, but I’m in love with chicken and eggs and sushi. The thought of giving those up is anxiety-inducing.

Honestly, I just want to see if I can do this and stick it out for two weeks, then record my progress and feelings.

Two Week Vegan Challenge

So the plan is to eat healthy, vegan foods and still go about my daily activities. I want to see how this affects me. I want to keep track of my progress here. I’ll be posting the difference between my starting and ending weight, as well as my waist/hip measurements, and how I feel as far as energy and self-perception.

I’m not confident enough to post any actual numbers, but I’ll let you know my progress!

The Food

All my recipes are taken from PETA’s 2-week vegan meal plan. Politics aside, they know veganism like no one else. I decided to do this at 10:30 pm on a Monday, so my week starts on Tuesday (11/12/13) to Tuesday (11/26/13), two days before Thanksgiving.

The Feelings

I’m going to post every day in some fashion (vlog or traditional) to describe the meals I had, their recipes, and how I feel.

The Goals

I want to see if I can stick it out for two weeks, and if I can maintain my day-to-day routines with sufficient energy on a vegan diet.

The Research

I started with PETA’s guide to becoming vegan/vegetarian. I skipped all the celebrity propaganda, and pretty much only read pages 4-6, 14-22, because this post isn’t about addressing that part of veganism.

Vegans don’t eat any product that comes from an animal: meat, fish/shellfish, dairy products, eggs, or honey.

I need to check labels for common nonvegan ingredients, such as: casein, carmine/carminic acid, beeswax, gelatin, lactose (but lactic acid is mostly always vegan), lanolin, vitamin D3 (D2 is okay, though), and whey.

Vegan-approved proteins

  • whole grains
  • oatmeal
  • beans
  • peanut butter
  • brown rice
  • peas
  • lentils
  • tofu
  • soy milk
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • faux meats (this makes me nervous)

vegan-approved dairy alternatives (calcium)

  • broccoli
  • beans
  • “many leafy green vegetables”
  • almonds
  • soy milk
  • tofu
  • calcium-fortified orange juice

Other Stuff

“A majority of the foods you already eat are vegan, including many cookies, chips, breads, crackers, pastries, cereals, soups, and candies.” (p. 15)

Oh, good.

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Southern Party Moonshine

A Southern Food Night

Southern party sign

I don’t know how much I’ve talked about it on here, but I am proudly and loudly from the South. North Carolina, to be specific, and I am always grateful for the chance to celebrate where I was born and raised.

I am lucky to live by a few friends that are also from the South.

I suppose I should clarify: I’m from the South. They are from…the South. As in–I lived in the suburbs of the capital where people from everywhere came to participate in the growing technological advances in what they call the “Research Triangle.” They are from Mississippi.

Alas, my Mississipian friends were missing their Southern roots as much as I and had the brilliant idea to throw a Southern Food Night! The premise was basic: come, bring something Southern that we can all share.

Cut up watermelon in the rind

Of course, to Utahns, that sounds like “bring cornbread or coleslaw.” To me, it was an invitation into heaven! I went all out! I made hush puppies, pulled pork, corn bread, “Moonshine,” and of course cut up some strawberries and watermelon. It was a hit. In fact, it was such a hit that I didn’t get any pictures of the food before it was gone!

Anyway, just in case you’re thinking of a Southern Party, here’s what I did and the recipes I used:

Hush Puppies Recipe:

  • Oil to fill a pot
  • 1.5 cups cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 beaten egg

Mix it all up and drop by the spoonful into a pot of oil. Flip them when the time comes (they’ll be brown–a dark gold at the lightest), then place on some paper towels to dry. All very simple. Eat with butter! This one was fun to make, because almost no one knew what hush puppies were!

North Carolina Style Pulled Pork Recipe (4-6lbs):

I don’t have a smoker, so I (don’t hate me for it) use my slow cooker. I’m telling you, it’s not the same, but it’s darn close!

The rub:

  • 2.5 teaspoons paprika (I used smoked)
  • 1.5 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Rub it on, then wrap it up and refrigerate overnight.

The sauce:

  • 1.5 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 3.25 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon white pepper

Mix it up, then place the meat fat side up into the slow-cooker. Pour about 1/3 of the sauce over the meat. Cook on low for 7 hours. After that, pull the meat and pour on another 3rd of the sauce. Let cook on high for another half an hour. Transfer the meat with tongs into a serving dish, then pour as much sauce as you think it needs over the meat, then serve with my favorite sauces!

Southern Party Moonshine

To add another twist to a non-alcoholic event, I made some old-fashioned classic lemonade (this recipe) and labeled the jar “Moonshine!” Even though moonshine is clear, people still thought it was a cute touch.

That was the party! I really wish I had bothered to take any more pictures, but I was so caught up in everything that I didn’t get the chance! Next time I make these delicious southern foods, I’ll be sure to add the photos.

Have a great Southern Party! (Confederate flag optional)

Confederate Flag

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Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers

After I bought the ingredients for the quiche I made last week, I had a bunch of ingredients left over–and I’m like HEY, what else can I make with all this spinach and cubed ham? Welcome to my take on Stuffed Peppers:

(Makes 4 stuffed peppers)

Ingredients:

  • 4 bell peppers – any color.
  • 3/4 cup cubed ham
  • 1 (8 oz) can of stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (8 oz) can of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 large red onion
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup pepper jack or mexican blend cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Slice the tops off your peppers and set aside. Remove the cores of pepper body.
  3. Place your peppers upright in a bread pan.
  4. Pour the can of tomato sauce into the bottom of the pan.
  5. Pop out the middles of your pepper tops and discard. Dice remaining pepper rings, and onions.
  6. Put the diced peppers, onions and ham in a pan with the olive oil and sauté until slightly brown.
  7. Fold in spices.
  8. Place the entire mixture a medium bowl. Add stewed tomatoes. Stir well.
  9. Fill your peppers with the meat mixture and cover with cheese.
  10. Cover with a lid. If you don’t have one, cover tightly with aluminum foil.
  11. Bake for approximately 50 minutes at 350 degrees F.

yellow and red peppers pre-cooked stuffed peppers cooked stuffed peppers

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Crustless Ham and Spinach Quiche

Crustless Ham and Spinach Quiche

I hate it when blogs make you read a whole spiel about why they baked it, the events surrounding the day when you baked it, and the history behind the food, etc. Just makes me work harder to scroll past it all to find the actual recipe. WITHOUT further ado, the recipe: (click to make bigger and to see the PDF)

Crustless Quiche Recipe

Click to make larger and to view the PDF

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Mini Pecan Pies

Mini Pecan Pies

So last week was Pi Day and I went to a pie party…and of course, made mini pies. Because WHY NOT. Everything is mini nowadays. But seriously, this recipe is TO DIE for. I literally could have eaten the filling plain right then and there. And I almost did. I also made blueberry ones, but those are pretty much the same recipe with different filling.

Basically this is how it works:

  • Mini muffin tin, sprayed, oven preheated to 325 degrees F.
  • Pillsbury Pie Crusts (the box that comes with two, makes about 30 one-crust mini pies if you re-use the scraps until they’re too small to do anything with)
  • Cut out about 3″ diameter circles
  • Gently press them inside the cups
  • Add the filling (see below for Pecan Pie filling recipe)
  • Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until crust is golden

Pro-tip: If you use the filling from a can, you might need to add a top crust, because the liquid will evaporate otherwise and leave the pie filling with a gelatin-like texture. You could also dilute it a little. Best to make your own fillings–I’m still perfecting my blueberry filling, so if I cook it again and get it to turn out just as good, I’ll post it here.

PECAN PIE FILLING

  • 1 egg
  • 1 c. brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar)
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1 c. chopped pecans
  1. Beat egg, sugar, butter, vanilla and salt until combined.
  2. Fold in pecans.
  3. Fill mini pie crusts 3/4 full.
  4. Bake 17-20 minutes, or until crust is golden.

Trust me, you’ll want to devour these little guys whole. Make sure they cool adequately, though, because the insides will be SO HOT. So very hot. And delicious. They got scarfed up at the party!

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Mini Mojito Cupcakes

Mini mojito cupcakes

Oh my heavens, are these little guys delicious! I ended up making these for St. Patrick’s Day and I will make them again. The original recipe was a good starter, but I honestly changed is too much to call it anything but a new recipe. First of all, I didn’t have any legit rum, so I used imitation extract. Also, I am serving these to people who don’t drink alcohol, so I thought a more mild taste would go over better. Without further ado, the darling Rum/Mint/Lime Cupcakes:

Mini Mojito Cupcakes

(Makes around 34-38 mini cupcakes)

RUM CUPCAKES:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick of butter ( ½ cup), softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 3 ½ teaspoon rum extract
  • ¾ cup unsweetened apple sauce

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line one and a half mini 24-muffin pans.
  2. In a bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the egg, lime zest, rum and vanilla, beat until combined.
  5. Alternate adding the flour mixture and apple sauce, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined.
  6. Divide the batter between the muffin cups, about ¾ full.
  7. Bake about 17 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Remove from oven, then immediately place the cupcakes onto a cooling rack.

MINT AND LIME CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 (8oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • Lime zest of 1 lime
  • ½ teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon mint extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Beat butter in a bowl until creamy.
  2. Add cream cheese and beat until combined.
  3. Gradually add powdered sugar until well blended.
  4. Add lime juice, mint extract and half of the lime zest, mix.
  5. Frost your cupcakes once they’re cool, garnish with remaining zest and enjoy the heck out of them.

Optional thing I considered but didn’t actually do: pull out the green food coloring. I just couldn’t help but not want to artificialize the cupcakes any further. Anyway, Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Have a good one!

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Unhealthy Eating Behaviors and their Remedies

I just weighed myself for the first time in a year. I didn’t realize it’d been a year, but yes. It’s been almost exactly one year. I have gained almost 10 lbs since I moved back to Utah from California. 9.1lbs to be exact.

I exercise way more than I did in California, it’s just that I ate like a bird because I never had enough money to buy anything substantial! Isn’t that sad?! I lived on avocados, toast and oranges. Oh, how things have changed.

Oh, how they need to change again. I just need to find that happy medium.

This semester, I’m taking a fitness class for fun, just a one credit class, and one of our homework assignments was to study unhealthy eating habits. I have a lot of these. Here they are, according to my textbook:

  • Overeating, when seeing a certain restaurant, entertainment, or at events
  • Binge-eating certain foods and beverages; or when very hungry; or when feeling certain emotions
  • Choosing food portions that are too large or too high-calorie
  • Eating too fast; everything on the plate even when no longer hungry; leftovers because it’s “a sin to waste food;” while watching TV, reading, or doing other passive activities; throughout the day; or when not hungry
  • Overeating when stimulated by the sight, smell, nearness of food, in social situations, or at the persuasion of family and friends
  • Eating as a reward
  • Skipping meals, but overeating at dinner or later in the day.

Luckily, there are more solutions than there are problems, in a handy-dandy A-Z list:

Preface: my only problem with this list is under “Q,” and their quote “nothing tastes as good as slimness feels!” It’s only a step away from Kate Moss’s declaration that anorexics have taken as their own sort of motto (just Google “nothing tastes…” and you’ll see it). SOOOO, I’m going to suggest amending that to say “Nothing tastes as good as healthiness feels!” Silly, silly fitness book.

Solutions to Overeating (click to see the PDF)

Solutions to OvereatingSo let’s all vow to do better. Overeating = bad. Finding a balance = good. Also, sorry for the 3 of you that look at the blog regularly. It’s already the 8th and this is only my first post of the month. You don’t want to hear my excuses. Have a healthy weekend!

Keep up-to-date on my new postings by following me on Twitter. You can also contact me through my website here, email me at brittany@lacelollipops.com, or send me a message to my Facebook. Thank you!

Mini Cheesecake Bites

Mini cheesecake bites

Some of the most amazing treats I’ve ever made by far. I usually make some form of yums each Sunday, and these are definitely some of my favorite. If I weren’t so determined to try something new each week, I’d probably make these and these only forever more. BEST PART: graham cracker crust. Could just eat that plain, but then add creamy cheese fluffiness with unsweetened blueberries on top–and I’m in heaven.

This is the recipe I used, slightly modified as seen below:

Crust:
1 cup cinnamon graham cracker crumbs
1/8 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Butter; melted
Filling:
16 oz cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup Sugar
1 cup fresh fruit, or 1/2 cup canned

Mini cheesecake bites

Mini Cheesecake Bites Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Line mini muffin pan with mini muffin cups.

3. Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter.

4. Add 1 tsp crumb mix to each cup. {She said “It’s ok to be generous,” but I say don’t be too generous or you won’t have enough room for your yummy cheesecake.}

5. Firmly press down in cup to pack the crumbs.

6. Combine cream cheese, vanilla, eggs, and sugar. Mix well. {I’d suggest mixing it super well to make it fluffy and nice}

7. Add 1 tb of cream cheese mixture to each cup.

8. Bake 14 minutes at 350 degrees. {This ended up being perfect.}

9. Top with a dollop of fruit of your choice.

10. Refrigerate at least one hour prior to serving.

Notes

This recipe is to be used in a 24 quantity mini muffin pan.

Original recipe-lady said it makes 50 mini cheesecakes–this made barely a pan and a half for me! So what is that…math…hmm…*opens up calculator app* *gets frustrated, does math in head instead* uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I think 8 is half of 24, so 32. Whew. Haha, this is why I have a major that has one required math class and that’s it.

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Hawaiian Chicken with Rice

Hawaiian Chicken with Rice

This recipe was really easy. Sorry the photo looks so saturated. The purpley/blue is just a reflection from the window. Those parts are actually just black. Didn’t feel like fixing it! But back to the recipe: it’s really easy. ALSO, for like once ever, I made it myself without a recipe to start off of from Pinterest! *takes a bow*

Ingredients:

  • some chicken
  • soy sauce (should be 1:1 ratio to water)
  • water
  • garlic powder
  • brown sugar
  • diced onion
  • pineapple wedges
  • sesame seeds
  • coconut oil
  • rice

That’s what I used.

Most detailed recipe ever.

I didn’t really measure anything out, especially since I was just making one portion. Then, I just let the chicken marinate in the soy sauce & water, garlic powder, brown sugar and onions for a bit, then dumped it all in a frying pan on low for about 10 minutes on each side. In a bigger pan, I took the leftover white rice from Chinese takeout yesterday and warmed it up/fried it with about a half-teaspoon of coconut oil. I added some of the marinade mixture from the pan with the chicken, but not a lot. Then I sprinkled in some sesame seeds. After the marinade reduced a little and the chicken was almost done, I added the pineapple wedges, continued to cook on low for the remainder of the time, then turned up the heat and seared both sides of the chicken. I took all the chicken and rice off the heat, then let the soy-sauce marinade cook a little more ’til it was pretty much caramelized, then drizzled it on top of the chicken. Et voila!

P.S., it was SOOO yummy. Mmm mmm mmm.

So many words. Thanks for reading if you did! Keep up-to-date on my new postings by following me on Twitter. You can also contact me through my website here, email me at brittany@lacelollipops.com, or send me a message to my Facebook (show your support and send me a like!) Check out my Pinterest, too! Thank you all so much!

Healthiness and Hunger Games Nerdiness

I knew this girl in high school that was probably one of the skinniest girls I knew. And she was just genetically superior in a lot of ways. All that girl ate was vending machine food and like, boxes of pizza at a time. She never gained weight, either, but I was totally jealous and wanted to look like her!

I think it’s safe to say we all have a pretty messed up definition of healthy. What is healthy? What does a healthy person look like? Well, I Googled it and the image search pretty much held a bunch of pictures like this:

So apparently, to be healthy, you have to eat only fruit, be able to wrap a measuring tape around your waist a few times and look good in that ridiculously lacking outfit. IF YOU DO, then you’re healthy.

WELL, here I am to prove you all wrong. According to the dictionary, being healthy means:

Healthy definition

So that’s terribly less complicated than we were all expecting. Being healthy means not being diseased. I actually laughed out loud when I read that, because I think most people’s definition of healthy would be something like:

You eat x amount of [each food group], you exercise x amount of time per week, you have x% body fat and you meditate in the woods. And don’t have psychological issues.

While all that stuff surely contributes to being healthy, it definitely is not the line of where healthy starts. I think simply not having physical diseases is a bit too lax of a definition, so let’s add in “in good health.”

Medical dictionaries suggest being healthy is when we’re functioning optimally, or at the best we’re capable of being at the time. So that means to be healthy I should, at this moment, be able to compete and win in the Hunger Games? And everything below that is just unhealthiness, apparently.

Who knows, maybe that is how we ought to be: completely ready for any extreme physical or mental test. That seems unrealistic. Although this is one of my favorite things I’ve seen on Pinterest/the Interwebs:

(Although all the real fans know most of the Districts were completely malnourished and it took BRAINS to stay alive too.)

But in all seriousness, I think that being healthy means caring about your body and treating it well. Everyone has different definitions of that, I realize. I just think that assuming I’m not healthy because I don’t look like Jennifer Lawrence is detrimental.

It’s totally fine to want to look like all the superfit Hollywood types, but I think it’s important to differentiate between being healthy and being fit.

Yes, I could do without the thunderthighs and ALL that junk in my trunk–and I actually do want to be more fit, but I know I’m healthy now and that is a huge blessing and a giant +1 to my fitness goals. It’s much better to start knowing I’m already healthy, rather than thinking I’m just a big fatty who has to start from square zero.

{I would not go to this birthday party, for the record. What the heck kind of party would this be? “Oh, you all get to show up, we’ll stuff your face, then make you do all sorts of exercises until you wanna puke, then one of you will get cake. Heads up, it’s rigged and the birthday girl gets the cake. And she gets to physically harm you in the ‘games’ because it’s her birthday. Sign the waiver on the back to RSVP!”)

I also think it’s important to incorporate mental health into this whole “being healthy” thing. Google so kindly pointed out that feeling fit and healthy are part of actually being healthy. If you work out all the time and never quite get satisfied, that’s unhealthy mentally. I look back at pictures from when I was probably in the best shape ever and I say “OH MY GOSH I was so skinny and thought I was so fat!” And that takes all the fun out of being in good shape–if you don’t even realize it.

So whatever, y’all. Just do what you want and wear what you want and own it and if you exercise and you actually end up losing weight–whatevs. It’s all about how you feel, guys.

“Common sense tells us a pound of muscle and a pound of fat have to weigh the same, but they do differ in density. This means if you look at five pounds of muscle and five pounds of fat side by side, the fat takes up more volume, or space, than the muscle. That’s important when you’re on a diet and part of your goal is the lean look of muscle, not the flabby look of fat.

So why do people say muscle weighs more than fat?

“I find people make this statement when they put on weight,” says Stusek. “One person will say, ‘I gained three pounds and I’ve been working out.’ The good-friend response is, ‘It’s all muscle.’ And while this is a very comforting thing to hear, it’s just impossible to gain three pounds of muscle in a week. It is common for exercisers to lose fat and gain muscle without a change in body weight, so I understand why people often get frustrated.”

The first step in a successful diet and exercise program is to banish the idea that muscle weighs more and is therefore bad. In fact, Stusek recommends tossing out the scale altogether.

“I try to get people to think about how they are feeling, how their clothes are fitting, and how their body has changed,” Stusek advises. “It’s a hard thing to do sometimes. The focus should not just be the number on the scale. If we only did things to make ourselves weigh less, we wouldn’t necessarily be healthier.” [1]

There you have it. Happy New Years and don’t forget to make realistic resolutions.

(Also, if I have to pretty much torture myself to look like I want to look, I totally want to do something like this.)

Keep up-to-date on my new postings by following me on Twitter. You can also contact me through my website here, email me at brittany@lacelollipops.com, or send me a message to my Facebook (show your support and send me a like!) Check out my Pinterest, too! Thank you all so much!

The Cloud Cake

Spent lots of quality time this past weekend with Kate. It was all just quite lovely. We played lots of music together and even baked a cake.

The cake was quite an adventure! We wanted to make something sweet to go with our dinner, so we found a recipe via Pinterest (as per usual) and said, “we have all the ingredients, let’s DO IT.” Come to find out it’s one of those recipes that people with degrees in cooking make.

It’s the most dramatic recipe ever.

First of all, it calls for sifted flour with a sieve four times. I don’t even know what a sieve is, much less am I going to take a half an hour to sift some flour FOUR TIMES. I mean really.

But, oh man, did we whip that meringue. It was perfect. We some how managed to make a pretty good cake, regardless of Martha Stewart’s Most High Maintenance Recipe Ever.

Keep up-to-date on my new postings by following me on Twitter. You can also contact me through my website here, email me at brittany@lacelollipops.com, or send me a message to my Facebook (show your support and send me a like!) Check out my Pinterest, too! Thank you all so much!

Quinoa Fried Rice

Quinoa Fried Rice

I found this idea from here, but she didn’t really list a recipe. It’s just the order in which she added the ingredients. The following is my adaptation! Everyone loved it and ate it right up. I’m sad I didn’t get more. I will definitely be making this again. Also, this was my first time having Quinoa. It’s pretty good! I’m not sure if it was just the way I cooked it, but I love the nutty/toasty flavor it has!

1 cup Quinoa
1 cup peas
1 cup corn
1 cup broccoli
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced or shredded carrots
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 eggs, cooked omelet style and diced
  1. First things first, prepare the Quinoa according to package instructions in a pot. While the water is boiling, prepare the vegetables.
  2. When the Quinoa is prepared, move it to a bowl. Set aside.
  3. In the same pot on medium heat, cook the onions and garlic with the oil for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the broccoli, carrots, corn, peas and any other vegetables in intervals of how much they need heat. For example, if you use raw broccoli, but you microwaved some frozen peas, the broccoli will need more time since the peas would already be warm & cooked.
  5. Add the Quinoa, eggs, red pepper and soy sauce
  6. Stir it all together.
  7. Serve with chopsticks to look cooler (but also forks, because this stuff is tiny and near impossible to eat with just chopsticks).

Keep up-to-date on my new postings by following me on Twitter. You can also contact me through my website here, email me at brittany@lacelollipops.com, or send me a message to my Facebook (show your support and send me a like!) Check out my Pinterest, too! Thank you all so much!