Top 7 Posts of 2012

Ok. It’s January 13, and I have yet to post anything this year. That’s bad. Bad, bad, bad! I’ve been a bad blogger, and for that I apologize. Sincerely.

One of my goals for 2013 is to blog more often. I’m off to a very good start. Bad blogger!

I could list all of the reasons I haven’t been blogging, but all you have to do is go back a few months and you’ll see all of the reasons. Sometimes my real life gets in the way of blog life. And sometimes they cross paths. Right now, they are on separate paths, and my real life is winning. I’m teaching 10 classes this semester between two schools, both of which are about an hour away from home. (But only about 30 minutes away from each other, which is nice.) And, since school just started last week, I haven’t gotten used to my new schedule yet. But, as soon as I do, I’ll have some time to create new recipes and share all of my veggie adventures with you 🙂

To get the ball rolling on 2013, though, let’s take a look at 2012 one more time. Here are the top posts from 2012…

#1: Cookie Dough Balls: This was by far the most viewed post last year, and rightfully so! These are delicious! I still make them often, switching up the ingredients.

#2: Butter Pecan Balls: Again, super delicious! I just made a batch of these over the holidays, and they were gobbled right up. So good! And so easy 🙂

#3: Super Simple Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls: These dessert balls really are super simple. The simplest! Just throw some PNB, cacao (or coco) powered and your favorite sweetener in a bowel, vanilla if you want, mix to combine, and roll into a ball. You can make a batch of these in a few minutes and be on your way to dessert heaven. They also freeze well, but there probably won’t be any left to freeze 🙂

#4 Raw Zucchini Bread: This was one of my first attempts at raw bread, and one of my early uses of the dehydrator. Great way to use up all of that summer zucchini!

#5 Brownie Dough Bites (plus Cake Batter Balls): Who doesn’t love brownies? And, who doesn’t love easy to eat and travel with brownies? And cake batter, well, ’nuff said.

#6 Peanut Butter Banana Muffins: I ate some many of these last fall that I should be sick of them. But I’m not. I haven’t made any in a while, but I’m pretty sure there will be peanut butter banana muffins in the oven this week. Oh yah!

#7 Grain Free Double Chocolate Mocha Cookies: I just made these two days ago. I was craving cookies and had all of the ingredients in the house. Too good to pass up! And too good not to eat up 😉

Grain Free Double Chocolate Mocha Cookies

2012: A Year in Review

Well, here we are, about to celebrate the end of 2012 and welcome the beginning of 2013. Can you believe it? 2013?!  Wow.

Before we usher in the new year, I want to take a minute to reflect on what a fun ride 2012 has been. Here are some highlights (and low lights?!) from the past year.

January:  I started the year with a desire to move toward a more natural, less toxic lifestyle, and I did it! This year, I successfully replaced all of my health and beauty care items to vegan and toxic goodies. It took a bit of trial and error, but I’m in a good place with all of my products. (Why did I search so long for a face wash?! Dr. Bronner’s really IS magic!)

March: I finally had my gallbladder surgery at the beginning of March; this was a decision I did not take lightly. I consulted many physicians and two surgeons, consented to numerous tests, and after considering family history, personal history, and future issues, the best decision for me was removal.  While I am concerned with scar tissue, overall, I’ve been happy with my decision. Plus, I can eat a bit more fat than before without feeling like I’m going to die. Bonus!

May: In May, I made the leap into the world of raw veganism. I had been flirting with it for years, but I finally made the decision to give it real effort this month. I even managed an 80-10-10 style diet while on vacation over the July 4th weekend. Fast-forward to December, and I’m still high-raw, but I’ve added some cooked foods (mostly veggies) back into my diet. I’ll have a future post on this soon, but I found I was under-eating, and instead of losing weight, I gained about 5 pounds over the eight or so months of being high raw. ( At first I thought my caloric intake was too high, even through spot checking calories here and there, but after tracking for the past few weeks, I realize I’ve probably been inadvertently starving myself. Oops!)

I also did my first public presentation about the wonders of a vegan diet in May. I cooked a full meal(choice of two hardy soups, choice of two hardy salads, and tons of desserts) for the 50 or so ppl in attendance and presented about two hours of information. The event was well-received, and my quickly assembled cook-book CD’s were all purchased, which set the wheels in motion for Veggie V, LLC. (I’m currently in the processes of incorporating, so I can get some product out in the public!)

June and July: Both months took me away from home for a few days on road trips. In June, I went to Chicago for the Self Work-Out in the park with my friend Ellen – a fellow vegan. Even though our trip was cut short, we got to sample a couple of vegan restaurants in Chi-town 🙂 We may be going back later in January for a Dr. Fuhrman immersion. I’ll keep you posted! In July, Mr M and I went back to a state park we visited last summer, Salt Fork, located in the south-eastern part of Ohio. It’s beautiful there! But, the weather was so freakin’ hot, we didn’t get to enjoy much of the outdoors this time (actual temps of over 100F every day!). Luckily, I planned to eat a high carb, low fat diet the four days we were gone, so I packed lots and lots of fresh fruit and veggies and had plenty to eat while we were holed up in our hotel room. Thank goodness for the mini-fridge!

August: I started a new job at the end of August, teaching at the university where I received my undergraduate degree. Adding the extra classes and driving to my schedule was tricky, but well worth it! I love working there 🙂 The students seem to like me, and I’m teaching there again next semester. Woohoo!

October: Mr M and I went on another road trip at the beginning of October. I wanted to visit the school where I may complete my PhD, so we drove  the 8 plus hours to Philadelphia. The people were nice, answered all of my questions, and the campus was beautiful. Bonus –  Whole Food’s stores everywhere! Seriously, there are five within a few miles of campus in every direction. We also went into the city one day and visited as many of the sites as we could on foot. (We kept missing the bus tours!) After Phili, we drove up to Pittsburgh with stops along the way at the Yuengling factor and Hershey’s Chocolate World. I didn’t sample any of the beer or candy, but it was fun to see both places 🙂

November: I did my second public presentation on the joys of plant-based eating. This time, I spoke informally to a plant-based diet group on campus. I got myself involved with the group after reading about them on a campus-wide email. I hope to remain active with the group this coming semester as well. (Some of the people will continue with the program, but it will mostly be new people.)

In November, we also bought a new car! This is the first new car I’ve ever purchased, and I got to choose all of the options, the color, everything! After a lot of research and a lot of test drives, we went with the Subaru Outback. And, I love it! The gas mileage is SO much better than my previous vehicle, and it has tons of awesome features.

December: This month, Mr M and I have been spending some quality time together. I have time off between semesters, and he had a bunch of vacation time left-over, so we’ve been relaxing at home a lot. I’m going to be sad when Mr M goes back to work on the second; I like having him around – even if he is snoring on the couch and junking up the recycling with empty beer bottles 😉

This year, I also continued working out regularly, but I incorporated a few more down days. In the past couple of years, I have only taken off a couple of days all year, but this year, I averaged about one day off a month. Honestly, I feel guilty when I don’t work out, but my daily life is pretty sedentary, so I really need that movement to not feel like a total slug. Since we joined a gym (a first for me!), I’ve found a new enthusiasm for the treadmill, and I love using the different weight machines. I’m still a bit intimidated to try them all, but along with my free-weight training at home (I’m still increasing my weight – woohoo!), I’m still getting in quite a few heavy weights workouts a week.

Well, there it is: 2012 in a nutshell. I have some fun things to share with you in early 2013, so stay tuned for that!

Happy New Year, everyone! Thank you for another great year. I really appreciate all of your support, and I’m continually excited to share my vegan adventure with each and every one of you!

HappyNewYear

[Photo Source]

Hello 2012

It’s here!!

I can’t believe it’s the end of the world beginning of a new year already.  Last year was awesome, and this will be even awesomer. (Yes, I know that’s not a word, but being more creative is on my goal’s list this year.) I see good things in our futures! And to help achieve those good things, I’m making a list of goals for 2012. No, these aren’t resolutions. I’m not resolving to do anything. But I am setting goals, and I have plans in place to help achieve my goals (without plans, goals are just wishes, and I save those for birthday candles).

2012 Goals (partial list)

Eat more kale (and other leafy greens). I just started eating greens (other than spinach) this year, and so far, so good. That needs to continue.

Eat less wheat and soy. I’ve recently become aware that wheat and soy play havoc on my digestive system. So do beans and lentils, but not to the same extent. I’ve been consciously working on lessening my gluten consumption. That needs to continue.

Eat higher raw. Some day, probably sooner than later, I’ll probably be a raw vegan. I might not be 100%, but I’ll be close. I already know raw food and my body get along well. Very well, in fact, so I’m going to consciously work on increasing my consumption of living foods. I do OK now with salads and veggie snacks, but I want to do better than OK. That needs to improve.

Workout harder. I just started lifting weights this year, and I just recently started lifting heavier weights. This also needs to continue.

Run faster and farther. I finally broke my mental hurdle and ran farther than two miles. In the last month or so, I’ve logged at two treadmill workouts at 3.2 and 4 miles, respectively. This needs to continue, increase, and improve. My speed is very slow. That needs to increase.

Blog more.  I want to be more consistent with my blogging. When I get busy with school and home stuff, blogging is the first thing to get pushed aside. But I enjoy it. I really enjoy it. I need to do more things that I enjoy. That needs to increase.

Create more recipes. Sometimes I get lazy and have toast/cereal for dinner. That’s not a problem – until it’s seven days later, and I’ve had toast/cereal for dinner every one of those seven days. (Don’t judge. You’re just jealous of my stack of nut butters – ha!) With my upcoming semester’s schedule, I should have time to develop two or three recipes each week – easily. We’ll see how that goes.

I have some more personal goals too, like make more of an effort to wear make-up and do my hair for work (this is a hard one!), shop less/spend less money, acquire more online teaching gigs, drive less, run outside more, take shorter showers, be nicer to Mr. M when I’ve had a bad day, have less bad days (!!), and the list goes on. (Mr M also wants me to add a couple of things to my goal’s list, including snuggle him more and give him more love pats in the middle of the night.  I’m not sure how I’m going to accomplish either, but I’ll work on it.)

Good luck with your new year’s goals!

Goodbye 2011

The news reported  most people polled can’t wait for 2011 to be over and are excited to usher in the new year. They didn’t poll me, obviously. I’ve had a pretty good year. I very recently celebrated my first wedding anniversary, I started this blog, I got serious about exercise, I made lots of new friends, and I conquered my fear of Twitter. (Ok, the fear may be gone, but the knowledge hasn’t quite replaced it; If Twitter and I were in a relationship, our Facebook status would say, “It’s Complicated.”) So for me, all of those things add up to a pretty good year.

I hope your 2011 was good, too, and I hope your 2012 is even better.

Cheers to good health, more happiness than you know what to do with, and prosperity up the wazoo! Kale to you, my friend. Kale to you…