Latest Dessert Obession

Dark Chocolate PB & Coconut 

Your very own gourmet reese's peanut butter cup w/ the added crunch of coconut.

1 square of unsweetened ghirardelli  chocolate + 1 teaspoon natural PB + unsweetened coconut = heaven.

Two days until California! Leaving work early tomorrow for laundry & packing. Bed time now for yoga tomorrow.

Green Falafels & the Greenline

Greenline Falafels

Today was without a doubt one of the greenest days I've had in the long time (not to get confused w/ a blue day...this was not a blue day).  The day started with a little Bikram Yoga warm up, quick green avocado & spinach smoothie & then we were off the the Greenline. 

I couldn't be more excited! I have been trying to make it to the Greenline ever since it first opened a year ago & have yet to make it. For those of you that don't know the Greenline a seven mile stretch of all railroad tracks that have been converted into a biking & running path--amazing!! And in Memphis??

Well I can tell you this today did not feel like Memphis. The air was crisp & there was a perfect breeze. We rode up Central cut over directly after the Pink Palace, biked through a park over to Walnut Grove then finally hit Tilman (all that was the kind of scary part!). From there we rode the path all the way out to Shelby Farms. I'm telling you it was crazy. It was not Memphis. After taking a quick breather & water break (I did yoga this morning & my roommate ran a 5 miler in under 40 minutes...) over looking the beautiful lake at Shelby Farms we headed back. We pulled off at High Point, rode down a few blocks and pulled right up to High Point Pub, Grocery & Cheffie's--our destination. Yes, we are still in Memphis in case you were thinking we'd skipped off to Charleston, CO or the Bay Area.

Loved the Addition of Sprouts!

We sat on the porch & enjoyed fresh spinach salads. (At this point we are close to people so there were quite a few reminders of where we were--big outside tvs with football men tv & beer for lunch--wouldn't have it any other way!)

24 miles later we arrived home. Tired & ambitiously thinking we would tackle & clean the house, cook, do laundry & I wanted to start thinking about packing...well we both fell asleep. I did however make the my two recipes for the week for lunches & dinners. Tonight I ate the Falafel for dinner even though it will really be for lunch the rest of the week.

Mint Yogurt Sauce added the perfect balance to the Spicy Salsa

Greenline Falafels w/ Yogurt Mint Sauce & Roasted Tomato Jalapeno Salsa

The Falafel recipe came from Green Kitchen Stories but w/ a few Placebo additions & deletions:
  • I added 200 grams of mixed nuts (pistachios, walnuts, almonds & cashews)
  • I used a mix of cilantro, parsley & basil 
  • Food processor order to prevent mush: onions, garlic, nuts, chickpeas, herbs, oil, flour & baking soda.
  • Final change is to coat the top with cooking spray to make sure you get that nice crispy Falafel taste--flip half way through & coat again. 
The Roasted Tomato Jalapeno Salsa recipe came from Lottie + Doof w/ the addition of Tomatoes & only 1 T of oil.

For the assembly I used:
  • 1 large Iceberg Lettuce Leaf
  • 3 Falafels
  • Sprouts
  • Roasted Jalapeno & Tomato Salsa
  • Mint Yogurt Sauce
Divine--This could possibly be my most favorite recipe I've ever made. It was so good! Hope you had a happy green day too! I'm off to remake my bed w/ new clean sheets--one of my least favorite tasks ever.


Sunflower Saturday & Tahini Cabbage & Squash "ColeSlaw"

Whitton Farm Bouquet

The day started with a beautiful 8 mile run. The sun was shining & it wasn't too hot--finally! I came home quickly changed & headed down the market for flowers, eggplants & butternut squash once again. I was a good bit later this week and it was quite busy. Live music & cooking demo--but still nothing in comparison to the Charleston Market. I guess it is the best I've got for now.

Weekly Fresh Flowers

This week one of the guys arranged my flowers instead of Jill and it was a little bit more funky so it deserved something less conventional than a cut-glass vase. So I went with a vintage green pitcher (it was my grandmothers...I think we used to drink minutemaid lemonade out of it).

Now both food items today are bit funky as well. I have had this Tahini Cabbage & Squash Coleslaw for three meals in a row now. I love it. But, I have been craving creamy (even kind of mushy.) food recently, so it tasted wonderful to me! The pumpkin seeds on top give it a perfect crunch.
Cabbage & Squash Coleslaw

Tahini Cabbage & Squash Coleslaw
  • 1/2 T ghee 
  • 1 1/2 cups cabbage, shredded
  • 1 medium squash, shredded
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • S&P
  • 1 T tahini
  • 1 t red curry paste
  • 1 T nutritional yeast 
  • 2 t pumpkin seeds 
Heat ghee in large skillet. Add squash & cabbage mixture, cook for 2 minutes. Add spices and continue to cook until cabbage has wilted, about 3-5 more minutes. Remove from heat & toss with tahini, red curry paste & nutritional yeast. Top with pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!

For the final recipe of the day--very funky & tasted funky too. I have been desperately trying to find something (portion controlled) that will help me through those times when I want to eat the whole kitchen. Sadly this was not it. It was a great base recipe & I know I will eventually get there. Once the recipe is perfected I will share!

I did love the idea of putting the mousse in muffin tin liners though. Each little baby only had 150 calories (which is probably why it tasted---not so great!). But, this is a perfect trick to help you to only eat one!

Come back tomorrow! I will be making Herb & Pistachio Falafel & roasting up my veggies for the week. 

Basil & Oregano Margarita Pizza--Vegan Style

My Basil & Ripley Tomatoes 

Just a tease! Recipe & Pictures coming tomorrow. Off to bed so I can get make it to yoga in the morning.

Quite the family excitement these days: N will be coming to teach a Canning Class at the CHC (details coming soon!) and R&I will be getting a special visitor--ME!! for Labor Day. Can't wait for both happy events.

Carrot-Basil Quinoa with Roasted Eggplants & Mushrooms

Carrot Quinoa w/ Roasted Veggies & Fresh Basil

Tonight's recipe inspiration came from last weeks kids cooking class recipe: Carrot Cake Muffins. They had 1 cup WW Flour & 1 Cup Cooked Couscous. The Couscous was cooked in the microwave, but I used 100% carrot juice instead of water. The couscous came out a beautiful orange color and tasted like heaven. I couldn't believe how good it was!! Then the cupcakes ended up being awesome too.

I do so many different and weird things with the kids I've made it a rule that eww,yuck,nasty & gross are words not allowed in the kitchen. They can say different, strange or weird instead. And of course after they try it they can say they don't like it. All part of the beauty of trying new things. To my delight though they loved the Carrot Cake Muffins!

But, the delicious Couscous got me thinking! YUM--I've got to do this with Quinoa and eat it with roasted veggies. The options are endless.

Tonight I cooked the quinoa in the microwave with equal parts quinoa & carrot juice (Click Here for instructions on how to cook in microwave). Allowed it to cool, toss it with fresh basil & topped with the roasted Eggplants & Mushrooms (just some plain old olive oil, S&P).

One of the coolest things about this recipes was the mushrooms. Last year I got all my blood work done and found out I was super Vitamin D deficient. So, I desperately started searching for foods high in Vitamin D. Well the neatest thing has happened--we now know that when mushrooms are exposed to UV light one of their natural substances called ergosterol will convert into Vitamin D2.  Just three ounces of button mushrooms will provide you with 100% of your daily Vitamin D. Very important for those of us that don't do dairy.

Carrot-Basil Quinoa with Roasted Eggplant & Mushrooms 

Fresh Basil from my Backyard! So Proud!!

Serves 2

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup 100% Carrot Juice
  • 10 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 4 baby eggplant, sliced into rounds
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive oil
  • S&P 
  • Fresh Basil 
Cook quinoa in microwave using carrot juice in place of water.  Toss sliced mushrooms & eggplant with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roasted in oven at 400F for 20 minutes. Toss cooled quinoa with fresh basil and roasted veggies. Enjoy!

Latest Pintrest Influence:

Coffee Ice Cubes in muffin tins
Perfect for Ice Coffee

Nope that's not a brownie--Coffee!

No more watery ice coffee!

Had to add this pic b/c sadly my fave 1 T measuring cup has been broken to pieces by Mr. Garbage Disposal

Farmers Market Panini/Flowers & Paper Towel Bracelets

This morning with no help from an alarm I jumped out of bed at 7am--ready for the market. Grabbed my bag & headed downtown. One of my newest necessity in life --> fresh flowers form the market every Saturday until the end of the season.

The problem is I never want to throw them out....

Two Week Old Flowers

But if I make the effort to go every Saturday, hopefully it won't be so hard to throw them out when it is time (or past time...)

Three Bouquets

I made three Bouquets: 1 for dresser, 1 for bedside table (Oh Good Morning!) & one for my gray drab cubical at work!--Hoping to bring a little sunshine to the day.

Work Bouquet

Sunflower Love (New Comp in Background!)

Whitton Farms Fresh Cut Flowers

Love the Orange

I also got the most adorable baby eggplants. This leads me straight into lunch...

Whitton Farms Eggplant

Farmers Market Roasted Veggie Panini

Roasted Veggie Panini

Roasted Veggie Panini
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • S&P
  • Onions, cut into strips
  • Bell Pepper, cut into strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Squash, sliced
  • Eggplant, sliced 
  • Any Type of bread
  • Vegan Cashew Basil Cheese Spread
  • Rao's Pasta Sauce (or Homemade version if you aren't lazy like me)
  • Fresh Basil 
Toss all veggies with olive oil, salt & pepper. Roast in 400F oven for 35-40 minutes or until tender. Cover 1 slide of bread with pasta sauce & 1 side with cashew basil cheese. Pile on the veggies, top with basil & grill on George Foreman grill or in skillet.

YUM!! Mine blew up, because the bread I used was so thick. This would work better on thinner bread (sandwich thins would be great). Would also be great on corn tortillas for a gluten free friendly version. If you don't skip out on dairy, this sandwich would have been declious with some melted cheese as well.

Finally, the rest of the day has been spent cleaning, washing & organizing. My latest Pintrest influence:

Artwork/Organize Bracelets Using Paper Towel Holder
**Important note: If you've never roasted Eggplant, try it now! It is so good, the consistency is a little different, but they soak up all the good flavors of whatever spice & oil you decide to use. I eat them straight off the pan. Tip: Each Veggie needs it's own space on the cookie sheet. Don't overcrowd the pan! Better to have 2 pans to wash than veggies that take forever to roast (or even worse some burned & some under cooked)

Freshly Roasted Market Veggies: Peppers, Onions, Potatoes, Squash & Eggplant

4 Month Bikram Yoga Benefits

Well I started Bikram about 4 months ago (Start Date: May 7th, 2011). I am no longer in the honeymoon phase --> That brief stage of exercise (happens right after the horrible stage of this is miserable I can't do it) where you see big changes (not necessarily weight loss, but mood,ability to stretch/run faster or father/lift more, etc), then you hit a plateau. YUCK...I feel like I've been trudging along that flat surface for about 2 months now...then I had somewhat of a breakthrough (I know I'll hit a stand still stage again soon...all part of the process)

Bikram was so different and so good for me. Here is a brief outline of how it has affected me:

Month 1: Feeling great/went 6 days/week and seeing all those results I wrote about here
Month 2: Signed up for 3 month unlimited, things were getting easier & I could start focusing on the more specific details (hold in your abs, hips forward, arms back etc). Then 1 week beach trip, 1 week sick = two weeks of no yoga. This lead me right into month 3...
Month 3: Running was brought back into the routine. Start only attending 3-4 days/week. Suddenly very frustrated, my hip started hurting again & things did not feel right!
Month 4: Here I am in August & my hip still hurts, but I have made few HUGE leaps forward in relation to my hip-hurting struggles! (Most important Aug update: Mother came along for her first Bikram Class!! A little glimpse of the class...."Esther,Esther...How much longer?????...Answer me!" We only had 2 more poses at this point, so obviously she did fabulous!...However, I don't think she was hit with the same Bikram Craze as I have been. Don't think she will be going again...but hey maybe I'm wrong??? It was so fun to have her there with me & of course we enjoyed Trolley Stop Pizza & 2 Muddy's Cupcakes directly after...all part of the deal!)

Here is what I've found out:

  • I hyper-extend my legs=lock knee (always known this)...this causes a jutting out of one's hip in quite a few poses
  • Stomach,Stomach,Stomach: pull it in & tighten it can really relieve a lot of the pressure that is put on your hips during running, walking,standing and during yoga. 
  • Contrary to what they say in class, I don't need to lock out my knees. I need a slight bend, then pull up on my thigh muscle until you see muscle appear right there on your leg! (So, easy to just stand, run, walk, do yoga & not even really engage those muscles)
  • Awareness...think about your abs, think about your legs and use those muscles!!
Triangle Pose is the pose that I have seen the biggest change...I was doing it completely wrong!!

Triangle Pose
 Notice how her left hip (when looking at the technically it is her right..) is down & forward. For some reason I thought your hips where supposed to be squared towards the front mirror. This was causing quite a painful pinch in that hip region & I could always feel my hip injury durring this pose! So, I'm so glad I've made adjustments & no longer feel any pain...It has been about 2 weeks with these changes & so far so good. Hip pain is gone. It is amazing how other parts of our body when strengthened & engaged correctly can help cure the weak parts of our body.

I ran 8 miles last Saturday in 80 degree weather & I couldn't have been happier! I waited too long to sign up for St. Jude, so unless someone drops out I won't be running that in December. But, the Memphis Greenline is celebrating its 1 year anniversary & hosting a fun 1/2 marathon on October 2nd. Fingers crossed I will be running this! Just for fun, no need to worry about time and more than likely I will have to walk some of it.

Tofu Sandwich

Lunch today was rough...Slim pickings at home, but ended up being fabulous!
I made two version of a Tofu Sandwich:

Tofu Tahini Sandwich & Spicy Brown Mustard Tofu Sandwich

Tofu Tahini:
  • Left over tofu from Spring Rolls (marinated & cooked with soy sauce)
  • 1/4 cup Broccoli Slaw mixture
  • 1 t tahini
  • 4 Basil Leaves
Spicy Brown Mustard Tofu
  • Left over tofu from Spring Rolls (marinated & cooked with soy sauce)
  • 1/4 cup Broccoli Slaw mixture
  • 1 t Spicy Brown Mustard
  • Handful of Baby Spinach 

    Crazy Lunch with Leftovers
    Both were open faced on Ezekiel English Muffin. The slaw was mixed with either brown mustard or tahini & then I layered the sandwich with either basil or spinach.

    YUM! I made them different, because I was so unsure about both combos. I definitely had a favorite. Which one do y'all think it was??? Will reveal on next post!

    Herb Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce & Maybe I'm not Ready to Make Nice

    Herb Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

    Inside Summer Rolls

    This was a test drive for Tuesdays Class. I didn't have all the ingredients so some things were altered slightly. I used pumpkin seeds instead of peanuts (still really good!) and I didn't have as many fresh herbs as I will Tuesday for class. Also, in class our dipping sauce will be different: Hoisin Sauce, Curry Paste, Water & PB. Hoisin Sauce is not something I would personally use though. Super sweet--which makes me hope/think they will like it!

    Click Here for Recipe!

    For dinners this week I was inspired by one of the blogs I read: Oh She Glows and decided to make different versions of Portabella Pizzas all week! Mine didn't turn out as pretty as hers but they were delicious & filling.

    Portabella Mushroom Pizza

    Portabella Mushroom Pizza:
    • 1 Portabella Mushroom, remove stem
    • 1/4 cup Roa's Marinara sauce, seperated
    • 1 Tablespoon Vegan Cashew Basil Cheese Sauce (I used 1/4 cup Basil)
    • Any veggies on hand! 
    Tonight I used Squash, Onions & Red Bell Pepper.  As you can see I first put it on the grill, but it was taking too long, so I then moved it inside and broiled it for 8 minutes. It made it nice and crispy.

    For dessert I used my second jar of almost empty nut butter of the day (first was used to make peanut sauce this afternoon) to make tasty treat!

    Dessert: My Take on Oats 'n a Jar
    **Disclaimer: Oats in a Jar is a very common dessert & all pictures look like that. A said it looked gross...
    • 1 Tablespoon Sunbutter
    • 1 square Unsweetened Chocolate
    • 1/4 cup 2% Fage Plain Yogurt
    • 2 T Oats, dry 
    Melt Chocolate & Sunbutter for 30 seconds and stir. Add in yogurt & oats! Yum! 

    So anyone that actually get this far into the post is someone that is genuinely interested in what I have to say--not really sure why?

    Recently, I've been struggling with trying to figure out my place in life. We all have doubts, but to be honest I'm not sure I ever really thought that much about faith or believing in God. It was just something I did or was told to do. If I didn't wake up Sunday morning for Church--grounded the next Saturday night (never happened, just a threat). I always hated Church, but once it was gone I really missed it. But, what I missed was the community and our family snickering sessions and the lunches we prepared afterwards. Yeah, so I got a catch in my throat & tears in my eyes during last weeks Lift High the Cross processional. So what? Was that really something in relation to God or was that just us having a good time and being together?

    I've heard so many stories and sermons about God's presences--stories where you could pinpoint it & say this part of the sermon was God. N's good ole story about the light blinking, Sister's random and generous gift of a car and too many to name. But, all I ever heard about myself was how I said "God messed up" and I was three.

    E says you are supposed to let go, give up and realize you can't be in control. Well I just don't know if I can do that. Of course, I see God in so many different moments in life, but I made those moments happen..right? I'm the one that makes these choices to run, do yoga, cook, be upset, be happy and when to go to bed at night. So, how can I just throw all that out the window and let someone else take control & give up? That just sounds impossible--could I possibly be being too literal? But, that is who I am. I need to see, feel & touch to believe (at least I'm not the only one..Thanks Thomas)

    E said happiness isn't the right thing to ask for. I've been thinking all this over and trying to figure out what it is like to "talk" to God. So, tonight as I was sprawled out on my sweating yoga mat in a room heated to 105, I decided to give it a whirl. I started thinking, asking, questioning, asking for peace & freedom of my past hang ups. I said I was ready to grab back on, give this whole faith thing a go again.

    I just kept thinking, questioning and asking for the peace. Finally I came to and realized I'd been sitting there completely still...peacefully. My nose didn't itch, I didn't wipe the sweat from my eyes & I didn't get up scurry out of the room like I normally do. I just laid there and then I moved--I smiled. I couldn't believe how silly, easy and obvious it all was. Of course I'm not alone. Of course I'm not really in charge. If I was in charge I would have run out of that room as soon as I heard the words namaste. Now that is exactly what I was looking for: I could see, feel & touch it in my own way. It worked.

    Maybe all this is a little too much for a silly blog, but I wanted to say it. And, finally for the moving on part this is what Pandora(or God??) gave me tonight:

    Not sure what to make of that yet, but the words are quite telling.

    Forgive, sounds good
    Forget, I’m not sure I could
    They say time heals everything
    But I’m still waiting

    BRB: New Comp on its Way!

    Sadly the life of my computer has come to an end...conveniently the same weekend as tax free weekend. So I bravely took the plunge and order the best of the best (or so I've heard!): Mac Book Pro. Should be arriving this week. Until then...Here are a few pictures from the weekend to keep you entertained until next time. 

    Tax Free Pants & Shirt!

    Sunday Morning Church

    Basil Hummus
    Basil Hummus:

    • 1, 15oz can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
    • 1/4 cup tahini
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
    • 1 clove garlic
    • S&P
    • 1 cup fresh basil 

    Cucumber Apps w/ Basil Pesto & Hungarian Paprika

    Spelt Berry Salad w/ Carrot, Squash & Dried Cranberries

    Raw Squash Salad w/ Creamy White Bean Sauce, Cuc APP, Homemade Cracked Pepper Bread & Spelt Berry Salad

    Asian Cabbage & Tofu: Red Curry Paste = AMAZING!

    New Shoes: Slowing me Down

    I now have six new pairs of flats. Two problems with this: 1) when did I ever think it was ok to buy so may shoes yes, but flats? I'm a heels, wedges or tennis shoes girl. 2) SIX PAIRS!! What was I thinking...

    Here are my favorite two.

    Silly New Shoes 

    Finally Have Toms!

    I was out of town for the weekend, so it is taking me a few days to get back in the swing of things. Last night was my first steak & veggie burger grilling experience! More to come...can't promise good pics though, I seem to have misplaced my camera charger.