Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A fine Tuesday

My morning was off on the right foot today, despite sleeping all night on the couch!  Yup, all night on the couch.  Now let me explain...we have a really comfortable couch and at least once a week we decide to fall asleep downstairs on the couch.  Typically we end up in our bed around 1 am, but last night we lasted all night!  So a little cramped and groggy, we were up at 6:30 am.  I started with about 2 hours of work in my home office and then went downstairs for this...
What is this you might ask.  A yummy micro-muffin that only takes 3 minutes to whip up.  Inspired by (never home) maker, this breakfast is perfect for a quick and satisfying meal when you are tired of oats and toast.  If you are vegan, you probably don't eat as many pastries and muffins because they aren't so readily available.  This treat will keep you from cheating at your next visit to Starbucks!

Pumpkin-Chip Micro-Muffins
2 tbsp pumpkin puree
1/2 mashed banana
1 chia egg (1 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 3 tbsp water, let sit until gelled)
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp ground flax seed
1 tbsp peanut flour (or another tbsp regular flour)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
handful vegan chocolate chips

Lightly grease the inside of a coffee mug.  Stir together wet ingredients (pumpkin, banana, egg).  In small bowl whisk together remaining ingredients.  Stir dry ingredients into mug and mix in chocolate chips.  Cook in microwave for 3 minutes on high.  Serve on plate or right in mug. 
Check out my last micro-muffin here.

I then headed to the Y to meet my running friends for a quick 8-miler in the rain.  I have talked about my running a lot lately.  I told you briefly about my 17-miler.  The truth is is that I'm still discouraged.  The pain is still there in my foot and my knee.  Most of my runs are pretty miserable.  I am forced to walk more than I should.  My pace has slowed considerably, and it is just simply painful.  Please don't badger me to stop.  I will have to make that decision on my own.  I really do need to re-evaluate here.  I think I will start with some X-rays perhaps.  My foot has been hurting for two months now!  I think it is time to have it looked at.  Long story short: I managed the 8 miles today.  But I am concerned that I won't be able to run tomorrow and I am very concerned about my long run this weekend.  I really want to be injury-free.  Running was so much more fun then!

Moving on to lunch:
Just call me "cheater-cheater pumpkin eater."  There have been at least 4 of these wraps in my meals this week.  Let me tell you my secret.  Please don't judge me.  Mr. Kummerow and I ate at Jason's Deli on Saturday and I got a cup of soup with a piece of toasted bread and a salad bar to go.  If I dine-in on the salad bar I can never eat all of my favorites before I am full.  But if I get it to go, I can pile on the veggies and take it home and my salad can last me for several meals.  If I wrap it in a tortilla, it can last even longer.  This one salad bar served up at least 4 this week!  On the side of my lunch wrap today are leftover Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates.  Still good.

Here is dinner last night just to prove how many times I have been eating these wraps.
On the side of this wrap are dehydrated green beans.  They sat in the dehydrator for about a day and a half.  Did I mention I got a dehydrator?  Next I'm going to try apples and sweet potatoes.  Although the green beans didn't turn out exactly as I expected, they were still awesome!

Moving on to tonight's dinner.
Steamed broccoli and an open faced grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich.  Hmm-mmm! Other items I ate today not pictured include chips and Newman's Own Mango salsa (so good!), tator tots with ketchup and a 1/4 Twilight candy bar for dessert tonight.  While these candy bars are delicious, they have nothing on last night's dessert.
That would be our last Pumpkin Pie served with Cinnamon Spice Banana Soft Serve.  I just made normal banana soft serve and tossed in some cinnamon at the end.  This was delicious.  I could have eaten the whole thing, but I did share with Mr. Kummerow! 

Today's post is just food, food, food.  It was a good day overall:

My high: coffee with Brandy before I picked up the kids
My low: a slight disagreement I had with Mr. Kummerow

Hope you had a great Tuesday! What was your high and low?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Vegan Holiday Recipes {Sweet Potato Casserole, Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates, Blueberry Cranberry Sauce}

Thanksgiving Dinner is served!  That is our (count them) third Thanksgiving Dinner this week.  Did we have 3 families to visit? No. We just simply wanted 3 wonderful harvest meals.  I know I said last week that we were just going to stay home for the holiday and make a simplified version of Thanksgiving.  Well, that kinda fell through and this ended up being our third and final (minus the insane amount of leftovers) feast.  Check out our other two here and here.

Thanksgiving Feast #3 Menu
Sweet Potato Casserole
Green Bean Casserole
Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates
Blueberry Cranberry Sauce
You see, I have found the trick to eating Thanksgiving meals without gorging and feeling all bloated and gross...eat 3, on 3 separate nights!  Then you can fit in all of our favorites without over-doing it!

Sweet Potato Casserole
adapted from Oh She Glows

This was a great addition to our holiday table.  Originally I was just going to bake the potatoes and serve.  At the last minute I decided I really wanted a casserole.  I loved this recipe, but prefer chunks of whole potato in a casserole.  I might remember that next time I make it.  And I also over-processed the crumb topping.  It might be helpful to not use a food processor and use a fork instead if you are like me and tend to turn on the food processor and move on to another task.  Either way, it turned out delicious!


3 medium/large sweet potatoes
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp Earth Balance
1/4 cup Almond Milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt

1 cup walnuts
2 tbsp sucanat
2 tbsp Earth Balance
1/4 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350*.  Wash, peel and dice sweet potatoes and boil in pot of water for 10-15 minutes until tender.  With potato masher, mash together potatoes, butter and milk.  Mix in maple syrup and vanilla extract.  Stir in seasonings.

In food processor, combine all topping ingredients, careful to not process too long.  You want the topping to crumble, not mush together (like mine did).  It is ok, if you forget.  You should still use it, it was really good!

Lightly grease 8x8 casserole dish and pour sweet potato mixture.  Top with walnut crumble and bake for 50 minutes.  Serve.

Blueberry Cranberry Sauce
adapted from Peas and Thank you

Cranberry sauce really isn't as difficult as I thought it was!  This recipe is quick and easy to put together and you can adjust based on the ingredients in your house.  The blueberries added sweetness, so you don't need as much sugar as ordinary cranberry sauce and the lemonade added a nice little zest without any overwhelming flavor.

8oz fresh cranberries
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup sparkling lemonade (or other fruit juice of choice)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

In medium pot heat lemonade and sugar to boiling. Stir in cranberries and cook 10 minutes, until cranberries open up and sauce begins to thicken.  Stir in cinnamon and nutmeg.  Remove pot from heat and stir in blueberries, mashing a few along the way.  Pour in serving dish and refrigerate 1 hour or overnight. 

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates

These little gems were so delicious!  I had my first date last weekend during my long run, and they really are natures candy.  So sweet and yummy!  I had found this recipe a long time ago and decided to veganize it, but rarely buy "fake" products.  I had the dates in my fridge, so I decided this was the perfect opportunity.  Mr. Kummerow and I absolutely loved these!  I can't say they are the healthiest vegan options, but would be great as a party appetizer, or even the main event at dinner with your family. 

18 medjool dates
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese (I used Tofutti Herb and Chive Cream Cheese)
1 package tempeh fakin bacon

Slice open each date and remove pit. 
Scoop 1 tbsp cream cheese into center of each date. 
Wrap with 1/2 slice bacon.  Secure with a toothpick. 
Place on cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet and bake in a 400* oven for 6-8 minutes.  Serve warm.
The candles were lit and dinner was served at the table.
But my husband couldn't take his eyes away from the tv.
Apparently it didn't take me as long to make dinner as we planned...the Bears were still playing.  This just wouldn't do.  Fancy dinner or not, the Bears must be watched.
A slight adjustment was made...No Big Deal.  Whatdya gonna do?
Happy Thanksgiving! Times three!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What I like about Sunday

What I like about Sunday:
  • Waking up early to clean bathrooms before church. (Yes, really. That is a semi-tradition of ours)
  • Going to church, teaching Sunday School and realizing I only have girls in my class today...Woo-hoo Girl's Day! (No offense boys, we missed you!)
  • Picking up my free bike from Kelly.  Thank you, thank you, thank you! I can't thank you enough Kelly!
  • Eating a healthy lunch of leftovers from Jason's Deli, all wrapped in a tortilla.
  • Spending the afternoon in the kitchen baking and cooking and prepping.  One last Thanksgiving Dinner tonight.  Just me and Mr. Kummerow so far.  Anyone want to join us?  7pm?
  • Wearing my new boots I found for $20 on Black Friday!
  • Watching the bears play football in the comfort of my own home.  Thank you network for airing my favorite team!
  • Going to MJ's for the first half anyway for $2 mimosas.
  • Relaxing with my hubby and enjoying one last day before stay-cation is over. 

What do you like about your Sunday?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Day leftover idea {vegan potato pancakes}

What to do with those leftovers?  If you are like me, you will just eat them.  I absolutely love leftovers.  Nothing wrong with green bean casserole and sweet potatoes for days and days!  However, I realize most people do not enjoy eating the same thing meal after meal.  In that case, I highly recommend Potato Pancakes.  In fact, Potato Pancakes are really the only reason to ever make mashed potatoes in my opinion.  Sorry mashed potatoes...you really aren't worth all the effort.  If it wasn't for this wonderful leftover idea, you would probably never exist.

Vegan Potato Pancakes
(double or triple or quadruple this recipe based on your mashed potato leftovers...these measurements are based on what I had leftover)

2/3 cup mashed potatoes
1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax seed meal mixed with 3 tbsp water)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced celery
1 tsp parsley
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil spray

Combine flax seed meal and water and let set a few minutes.  Combine mashed potatoes and flax egg.  Stir in onion, celery and seasonings.  Stir in flour one tablespoon at a time.  Add more or less depending on how soft your mashed potatoes are.  You want the mixture to be sticky, but to release from your hands when you form into pancakes.

With about a quarter of the mixture, form into pancakes.  Spray pan with cooking spray and place pancakes in pan over medium heat.  Cook 4-5 minutes until crispy and light brown.  Flip and cook other side.  You want to cook the pancakes slowly so the insides cook as well.  Reduce heat if needed. 

Serve pancakes with butter, vegan sour cream, vegan cream cheese or applesauce.  Our Friday night Thanksgiving meal consisted of potato pancakes, sauteed green beans with lemon and garlic and leftover Field Roast Hazelnut Cranberry EnCroute.  We also enjoyed leftover cranberry sauce and Pumpkin Gingerbread with Spiced Buttercream Frosting

Tomorrow will be our final Thanksgiving meal.  I find that you can reduce a one-day massive feast into 3 smaller feasts to enjoy all your favorite foods without over-doing it!

Vegan Pumpkin Pie and Pumpkin Gingerbread

Good morning! It is a very good morning around here. Sunny skies, a productive morning, and some Christmas music...who could ask for anything more?

Today I was wide awake at 6:30am. No alarm, just tired of sleeping. Yes really.  My early wake up allowed for some quality time with God.  I finished the rest of the book of Isaiah.  I have been working on it for quite some time.  In my prayers this morning were the people in Mwandi, Africa.  Anthrax is likely to infiltrate the region and is quickly moving up the river.  A good friend of ours is there now helping to vaccinate the cattle to hopefully prevent an entire outbreak.  Please keep them in your prayers. 

In other prayer news...the New Balance Girls on the Run 5k is next weekend.  As part of my job I direct two 5k events each year.  I still need lots of volunteers and am beginning to stress out.  I am just praying for peace in my spirit, that I will not go crazy this week and that the volunteer teams will pull through.  You can also keep me and the event and all the girls running the race in your prayers as well.

This morning I made it to the Lake Norman YMCA for some heart-pounding cross training and a fantastic yoga class.  I had never taken spin or yoga at the LN Y, but both were excellent classes this morning.  They have left me floating on cloud 9! 

Alright, well lets get to the point of this post.  I promised last night two excellent holiday (or anytime) dessert recipes.  I am not lying when I say that both of these are A.W.E.S.O.M.E.  They are both pretty easy to make and are so so good!  I hope you enjoy as much as we did!

Vegan Pumpkin Pie


1 package of graham crackers (not the whole box, just one package inside the box)
1/3 cup melted Earth Balance buttery spread

1 can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 cup brown sugar
1 package silken tofu
1/4 cup coconut milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
I made mine in mini pie pans for individual sized pumpkin pies.  This recipe can make 4-6 depending on the size of your pie pans.  I used slightly larger ones and each pie could serve two people.


Preheat oven to 350*.  If using ceramic or glass pie pans, lightly grease.

In food processor, finely process graham crackers into crumbs.  Add melted butter and combine. 
Separate crumbs evenly among pie pans. 
Press crumbs into a crust along the bottom and outside of pans individual pie tins or pie pan.  Set aside.
Note: I have not tried this recipe in one large pie pan.  I do not know how it will turn out. 

In food processor, combine pumpkin, brown sugar, tofu, coconut milk, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice.  Blend until super smooth. 
Evenly divide filling between prepared pie tins. 

Bake for 45 minutes, or until pies are puffed, lightly browned and cracked on top.
You could serve immediately or refrigerate.  The original recipe says that the pies will firm up after chilling.  We didn't try them warm, so I'm not sure how different the texture would be. 

Pumpkin Gingerbread
Adapted from Oh She Glows


1 cup canned pumpkin
3 tbsp maple syrup
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil (or other oil), softened
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1 tbsp Chia seeds
1 2/3 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp allspice)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2/3 cup chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 350*.  Line loaf pan with parchment paper and lightly grease (or grease pan).

On baking sheet, toast walnuts for 10-12 minutes, until golden.  Remove from oven and cool.  Chop coarsely.

Combine chia seeds with 3 tbsp water and set aside.
In medium bowl combine dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt. 

In mixer combine pumpkin, maple syrup, sugar, coconut oil, molasses and chia egg.  Slowly add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mix until well combined.  Stir in walnuts. 

Pour the batter into pan, smooth with fingers or wet spoon and bake for 50 minutes.  Test by inserting a toothpick.  If it comes out clean your bread is ready!

Allow to cool before removing from the pan.  Remove from pan and continue to cool on a rack.  While your bread is baking you can prepare Spiced Buttercream frosting.   I used the same frosting as the Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.  It is the best frosting ever! 
Thanksgiving dessert was amazing!  I am so happy I chose these recipes and everyone raved over the flavor and tastiness!  As far as Holiday desserts, these are relatively healthy. 

I had no guilt over eating 1/2 a pumpkin pie and a piece of the gingerbread!  It was so good and just the right amount of decadence!
I hope you enjoy as much as we did!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is the face of a happy girl!  Happy Thanksgiving Friends...and thanks for the day off!  I have had the most marvelous "stay-cation" and I keep pinching myself because there are still two full days left!

Stay-cation began with dinner at Joel's with my boss and the kiddos on Tuesday night and continued right into Wednesday morning with a little sleep-in.  We then headed over to the Sorenson's for a day of packing and moving.  They are finally out of their "bungalow" and into a beautiful new home!  All in the nick of time since their little one is just getting so big!
That was the only photo I captured during the entire move! And it isn't a very good one of Miss Ava Bug.  But she is a beautiful and sweet baby!

We spent the whole day helping the Sorenson's on Wednesday and it was so fun!  They are some of our best friends.  The type of friends you can just hang out with all day and never get tired of!  But apparently not the type of friends I want to photograph...no pictures of them at all.  They are a beautiful couple I swear.  I need to take more photos of people, and less photos of food, I have decided!

Thursday morning was an early start and I had quite the agenda.  First on the to-do list: tackle the infamous 17-miler.  Here is last week's stats:
That would be a failed attempt at running 17 miles.  Notice how much slower my pace is since my knee injury.

And here is this week's 17-miler attempt:
Success!  Again, my pace is seriously struggling.  I'm not sure that I should have even ran this considering the pain in my knee...but I just had to.  The worst was around mile 4.  We took a short walk break.  When I walk there is no pain.  When I run there is.  We walked and the pain became more of a dull ache and I pushed through.  I ran the first 12 with my good friend Chrissy.  The last six my awesome husband met up and ran with me.  Or should I say run/walked with me.  It was brutal.  It was painful.  It was long.  And it was hard.  But I did it.  We ran 17 miles (walk breaks included) and then walked about 1.5 miles back to the car.  I really wanted to push through 18 miles so I kept us that distance from the end.  However, my legs did not want to achieve the goal.  Technically I covered the mileage, even though we completely walked mile 18.  It is what it is.  I finished.  And I felt successful. 

Eighteen and a half miles check.  Now onto Thanksgiving day activities.  We originally planned to lay low, chill at the house, enjoy one another's company...but plans change.  We decided to drive to Winston-Salem to have dinner with Mr. Kummerow's mom.  NBD (No Big Deal--the phrase of the week!).  What can I bring? Desserts?  NBD!  I was excited to spend some time baking.  And it kept me on my feet after the long run which was good for me!
Dessert #1 check.
Dessert #2 check. (unpictured here)

Drive to Winston-Salem, check.  Arrive at in-laws, check.  Meet fake meat, check.
Did she just say fake meat?  Yes I did.  I was a little hesitant, I know.  I mean, we eat tofu, tempeh, and very rarely we will eat seitan. But just plain old weird fake meat?  We are a little skeptical. 

Alina and Ron cooked up quite the feast:
We started with apps:
Chips and salsa, hummus and pita.

We moved on to a light salad with lots of options:
And finally it was time for the feast!  Check out side-by-side meat v. fake meat:
Sliced up and ready to serve:
Like I said, we found this a little bit odd before diving right in.  Field Roast Hazelnut Cranberry Roast EnCroute.  Hmmm, I thought.  Couldn't hurt to try.  Alina went through all the trouble after all.  I sliced a bite and dug in...mmmmm!  So flavorful.  The texture was great.  Perhaps it was trying to imitate meat, but it was really just so delicious.  I can't tell you how great the flavor was.  The texture was great as well.  And I love that it is wrapped in phyllo dough and baked.  So good! I swear.   Like I said, I was skeptical.  But this stuff was good!

Here are the rest of the vegan Thanksgiving dishes Alina and Ron prepared:
Ok, ok, maybe that one came out of a can...an oldie but goodie and always popular: cranberry sauce!
Vegan mashed potatoes made with Earth Balance and soy milk.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with cranberries and walnuts.
Corn for color!

A beautiful spread!
Can't forget about the wine...let me tell you how hard it is to drink wine after a 17 mile run...
Gotta love this stuff:
And for the finale:
The desserts...carefully and lovingly made!
I got raving reviews on both desserts I prepared.  I can't wait to share the recipes with you...but that would make for one long post.  Tomorrow morning, I promise.  You will have these delicious recipes.  And don't worry, they will be just as perfect for a Christmas party!

I was stuffed to the gills.  But in a good...I just ran 17 miles sort of way! 

Guess what we did after dinner with my in-laws in Winston-Salem?  A sleep-over with the Sorenson's of course!  Enter a 3am wake-up call, a trip to Wal-mart, then Belk, 3 pairs of boots and 15 cheap candles later, Melisa and I were back in bed and it was the boys' turn.  They didn't return until nearly 11am, but they didn't come empty handed...a new tv and deep freeze for the Sorenson's new house.  They passed the baton and girls were off once again...this time to Kohl's for some great deals on bathroom decor!  Finally the shopping was complete and Mr. Kummerow and I headed home. 

Since then we have enjoyed some strength training at the gym to clear our heads, showers and a magnificent dinner of leftovers (check tomorrow's post for details). 

We have also enjoyed some wine, some Christmas music and now we are getting ready to enjoy some leftover desserts. 
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  I'd love to know how you spent your holiday!