It is Still FALL, Right?

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Warm, spicy chai and a pumpkin muffin with maple cream cheese.  I love Fall!  I love the leaves and the rainy weather.  I LOVE Thanksgiving!  A holiday to give thanks to God for all that He has done for us.  And we celebrate with a feast! Fantastic!  What is happening to Thanksgiving?  People in my neighborhood have been putting up Christmas lights for the last couple of weeks.  Down came the spiders and Jack-o-lanterns and up went the lights and the blow-up Santa.  What about Thanksgiving?  What about Fall?  I would guess that Americans don’t really like Thanksgiving.  We like food, but not if we have to make it.  And being grateful for anything is a foreign concept.  I am an American, I am entitled to everything, I don’t have to thank anyone, I don’t have to work for anything…(I wasn’t planning on a rant about the problems with this country, just Christmas lights in November.)  Do you know why we celebrate Thanksgiving?  Because our pious forefathers celebrated Christmas as a religious holiday.  No trees or lights or presents and definitely no drinking and feasting.  That is what Thanksgiving is for.  I love Christmas, but I don’t want to celebrate it for 2 months!  What is special about that?  So, I will celebrate Fall and Thanksgiving!  We will have turkey, potatoes, cranberries, white wine, apple cider, and chai and pumpkin everything!  Hooray for Fall!

Chai “Recipe”

Heat almond milk and 1 tablespoon of honey, add Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice tea bag.  Steep for at least 2 minutes.  Take a deep breath and enjoy!

Week 2 Workout Challenge

Who was the dope that said starting your day out right sets you up to make good decisions for the rest of the day?  Maybe that was just a Nutri-grain bar commercial.  This is my second week of exercising and drinking green smoothies in the morning and I have gained 3 pounds.  Apparently, I feel that since I exercised for 15 minutes in the morning I am entitled to a couple of hamburgers, large fries and a large Coke for lunch.  I don’t think that is the way it is supposed to work.  Maybe as I go along I’ll feel better and look better and make healthier decisions.  Stupid scale. I DON’T BELIEVE YOU! So there!

A Clean Pantry! Woo Hoo!

I spent half the day Saturday organizing my pantry and my desk.  I looked at pictures of organized pantries on Pinterest and there is no way that those are real pantries in people’s houses.  They must be photo shoots for some organizing magazine or from professional organizer brochures or people who have no kids, don’t cook and  spend all their time organizing their pantry.  Is it necessary to put all of my sugars and flours in matching glass canisters with fancy labels?  Should I pour all of my vinegar and oils into vintage flip-top bottles?  Wallpaper the shelf backs?  Put my potatoes in wire baskets?  No!  But if I had the money to hire someone to do it for me I sure would!  I have always wanted a house that looked like it came out of Better Homes and Gardens, but I just don’t get it.  Decorating is a mystery to me.  It’s like fashion, I can watch shows and look at magazines, but I can’t figure out how to look like those people.  And I don’t mean the starving, walking stick-people aspect, I mean the clothes.  I am a woman, I am creative and crafty, artistic even, but interior design and decorating are completely beyond me.  I know it doesn’t take money alone.  I have seen regular people with lovely homes and I don’t know a lot of rich people, but their homes were lovely too, but I’m sure there are rich people with ugly homes.  Wait, I have seen houses on TV that were huge and expensive and UGLY.  So, it’s not just me.  Maybe I’ll use this blog to have a little adventure in decorating.  Or maybe I’ll try to get my recipes organized, my exercise regulated, my menus printed every month, my nails manicured and my skin and body care regimens written down.  Yes, that seems like that should keep me busy.  Maybe when my kids are in college I’ll take an adult-ed class in interior design.  Good plan.

Smoothie Bag and the Kale Cubes

Overripe bananas? Opened can of pineapple? Too much fruit salad? Costco sized tub of baby spinach? All of these are perfect candidates for the Smoothie Bag! Having smoothie ingredients in the freezer ready to go makes mornings easier and helps keep the fridge clean. In my freezer I have a 2 gallon Ziploc bag, full of quart sized bags, full of bananas and frozen cubes of fruit and veggies. I bought a silicone ice-cube tray that is just right.
Yesterday I used the last of my fresh baby spinach, but not to worry I have kale in the fridge. I have left kale in the fridge until it turned into a bag of green slime and I don’t want that to happen again. So, I decided to make kale cubes. It’s a bit like baby food, except that I didn’t cook the kale. (And I don’t remember ever trying to feed my babies kale.)

Kale Cubes

1/4 Cup orange juice, plus more for pulsing
fresh kale, rinsed and ribs removed

We’ve all watched Rachael Ray remove the stems from kale, right? Just lightly pinch the leaf and gently pull the stem. Rinse and drain the de-stemmed kale. Pour 1/4 cup of OJ into the blender, grab a small handful of kale and blend away. When the first handful is blended grab another and add it to the blender. Keep blending and adding more kale until you have added and blended all the kale (in the house).

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Pour the lovely green gunge into an ice tray and pop it in the freezer.

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Next morning you have perfectly portioned kale cubes to green up any smoothie!

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T-Tapp done. Goodness, how can I be glowing after only 15 minutes? I am perhaps a bit out of shape. I can’t even imagine trying to do a full hour workout.
Http://www.t-tapp.com

Now on to the smoothie.

Green Smoothie #2
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup pineapple tidbits in juice
1 Tablespoon Spirulina powder
1/2 cup strawberries (I use frozen)
1/4 cup blueberries (frozen again)
1 banana (frozen, unless you have an overripe one on the counter)
1 Tablespoon coconut spread (also called coconut cream concentrate @ Tropical Traditions)
1 cup baby spinach

Blend it all up and slurp down something that resembles wet concrete.
Color is the reason I usually add chocolate to smoothies for my kids. Plus, chocolate covers a multitude of flavors.

 

Day 1 T-Tapp and Green Smoothie Challenge

I have got to do something if I want to get through the holidays and still fit into my jeans.  My plan is to do T-Tapp 15 minutes each morning (unless I get super enthused and do 55 min) followed by a green smoothie.  I should also make sure to drink water throughout the day, no soda, no fast-food and NO SUGAR.  Well, let’s start slow.  I once gave up dessert for Lent, just dessert, I was drinking hot chocolate every day and eating cinnamon sugar toast and trying to get all the sugar I could, but no actual desserts, I lost 15 pounds!  I might have a sugar problem.  I know I have a sugar problem, but I can’t face the idea of giving up sugar.  Enough about the sugar!  I have done my T-Tapp and I better make a smoothie before I make myself chocolate waffles with coconut syrup (I’ll post a recipe later).

Green Smoothie #1
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup orange juice
1 ripe banana
1/4 cup pineapple tidbits in juice
1 cup baby spinach
1 Tablespoon coconut spread (Healthy Traditions)
Blend all together and then add 4-5 ice cubes and blend again

Dairy-free Tuna Noodle Casserole

The thing about traditional tuna noodle casserole is that it is easy.  Dump a can of tuna and a can of cream of something soup in a dish with noodles, bake and it’s done.  The dairy-free version takes a bit more time, but looks, smells and tastes better than something out of a can.

Dairy-Free Tuna Noodle Casserole                                                                 

Loosely adapted from Joy of Cooking

 

2 Tbsp dairy-free margarine or coconut oil

1 ½ C unsweetened coconut milk

¼ C finely chopped onion

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

¼ C finely diced red or green bell peppers

1/2 to 3/4 C Daiya cheddar-style shreds (optional)

1 or 2  7-ounce cans white tuna

2 C cooked egg noodles

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

½ C crushed potato chips

Preheat oven to 375°.  Grease a 1 ½ to 2-quart shallow baking dish.  Melt margarine or oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add bell peppers and onion.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes.  Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.  Add milk, whisk and cook until the sauce comes to a boil and is thickened, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and add cheese, whisk until melted.  If sauce is too thick add more milk.  Drain tuna, stir into the hot cheese sauce then add noodles and salt and pepper.  Stir together well and pour into baking dish.  Sprinkle chips over the top.  Bake until bubbly and browned on top, 25-30 minutes.