Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Sweaty Run + Thoughts on Food Delivery Service

Hi there!

Well, I won't say Monday night was restful; however, baby boy did let me sleep in until 7:30AM on Tuesday morning, which is by far the latest I have slept in since before he was around.  I woke up feeling slightly energized and decided to run!  But first, I made a shake to start the day right - 1/3 cup leftover Starbucks Americano + oats + PlantFusion protein powder + vanilla almond milk + ice.  YUM!  Thirty minutes later it was time to run.  

Sage played on his activity mat and I ran two sweaty miles.  It rocked.  Have I mentioned how awesome it is having a treadmill in my basement?  Thank you, Santa Claus. 

Post run!

Since I was already disgusting, while Sage took his nap, I did some house cleaning and before I knew it, it was lunch time.  A wrap was calling my name because those Gardein crispy tenders are just so tasty.

 I receive a subscription to Parents magazine, although, I'm not really sure how because I never signed up, but regardless, I was pleasantly surprised because there was a coupon for $40 off a food box from Hello Fresh inside.  I ordered the veggie box which is supposed to contain three meals worth of ingredients that feed two people and recipes included.  I only paid $19 which I think is a really good deal if it really does turn out to be six solid meals, but I don't like the idea of paying the full price of $59/week.  That seems a bit pricey.  My box is supposed to arrive in another week and I will definitely report back on my thoughts.

I do love the convenience factor here.  Especially since I go back to work in less than two weeks (OMG!).  Being home on maternity leave the last four months has given me the beautiful opportunity to cook lots of meals and try out many new recipes, but it's going to be a different story once I'm back at work.  Healthy and convenient meals are where it's at.  I did a Google search on "organic food delivery service" and turns out there is a lot out there!  For example, this site.  I'm going to want to come home from work and spend as much time with baby Sage as possible before his bedtime, so I'm certainly not going to want to be spending hours in the kitchen.  Maybe there is something to this food delivery?  We shall see...

What are your thoughts on a food delivery service?  

Have you heard of Hello Fresh?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cashew-Peanut Butter Cups (vegan & gluten-free)

Hey hey hey!

I am not typically a recipe creator.  I so admire all of you that do create your own wonderful recipes though because I certainly love making them!  It's a hobby of mine to skim through recipes and try them out.  Desserts are some of my favorites.  

I decided to be a little adventurous the other day.  I had a jar of cashew butter sitting in the refrigerator that I wanted to do something with.  I was finishing up my salad at lunch and thinking about dessert (as I often do) and peanut butter cups came to mind.

The Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders are AMAZING!  I had a side of Vegenaise/BBQ sauce mixture for this salad.

I've made them with just peanut butter and I've made them with peanut butter and almond butter, but never with cashew butter.  Time to give it a try!  Turns out, it's a splendid combination.

The cashew butter just scrumptiously compliments the peanut butter.  I had to share the recipe for you to enjoy and because I don't want to forget what I did.  Great healthy fats and protein packed into this dessert, or mid morning snack, or late night snack, whenever the craving hits you.  They are also 100% vegan and gluten-free.  Another super cool thing is they take no more than 15 minutes to make.  That's my kind of treat.  

Makes six large servings:

1st layer: 

1/3 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup cashew butter
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 cup brown rice krispies

2nd layer:

1/4 cup cacao powder
1/8 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup vanilla almond milk

1. Line muffin tin with six liners.

2. Melt all the ingredients in first layer over medium-low heat and divide among the six cups.

3. Melt all the ingredients in second layer over medium-low heat and pour on top of peanut butter/cashew portion in each cup.  Spread with spatula if needed.  I don't go crazy trying to make them look perfect.

4. Place tray in freezer for an hour.  Note:  I keep mine in the freezer and then let thaw for 10 minutes before eating each time.

5. Indulge!

Tell me if you try these! I so hope you do because they are worth it.  

Do you like to create new recipes?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Eat & Run Kind of Day

Hi there!

Yesterday was a very good day.  An eat & run fun filled kind of Sunday.  In the morning, we went to Fleet Feet so my husband could get some new running sneakers.  By the time we were through with that, we were both starved so we headed to pickup some takeout from my favorite vegan cafe (once again, twice in one weekend!).

Just can't get enough of those Tofurky clubs.  And those cheddar chips are made by earth balance - vegan and gluten free, and AMAZING!

We couldn't not get a holiday cupcake to split...

Sage did us the favor of taking his nap along the journey...

In the afternoon, we watched The Theory of Everything, a movie based on Stephen Hawking's life.  It was really good and I definitely recommend it.  Well, we got halfway through the movie and decided if we wanted to get in a workout that Sage was in the perfect point between naps, and we should give it a whirl.  I was super tired from my late night wakings with baby boy, but my husband encouraged me to get moving because he knew (and I knew too) that it would make me feel better, and it sure did.  I needed a good sweaty workout.  Sage joined us in the basement and had so much fun watching his parents run on the treadmill and do circuits.  He was also great inspiration for us to work hard!

First family workout session in the basement.  I love having a gym down there!  It truly makes getting a workout in possible.  

And finally, a run on the new treadmill!  I am now beginning my half marathon training plan.  I still have 13 weeks to train which isn't too bad.  I've trained for races in much less.  I'm not trying to set any records at this one.  Just get in a race for the fun of it.


How was your Sunday?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Life Lately

Hey hey hey!

Happy holiday season! 

I took a little blogging break the last week aside from Sage's four month update.  My husband and I both came down with a horrible stomach bug last Monday.  Thankfully it hit us nine hours apart from each other because it was the kind of bug where it hits you out of the blue and just standing is a challenge.  Just as my husband was coming back to life, it washed over me.  It took 48 hours to really come around.  My dad came to the rescue and helped us care for Sage last Tuesday because we really needed the help.

So what do you do after 4 days of not really eating anything?  Grocery shop!  Sage and I went shopping together on Friday and stocked up the kitchen with the goods.  Fresh start.  It's a beautiful thing to be happy to eat again.

Another thing that makes life easier is getting our Honest Company shipment each month.  I fell in love with the shampoo and conditioner during pregnancy, and now I think the honest wipes are the best on the market.  And the bubble bath makes Sage smell like heaven (not that he doesn't already to me).

On Friday night, my husband took Sage and I to my favorite vegan cafe for dinner.  We shared a Tofurky club, peanut noodle appetizer, and an Apple Maple Cupcake (best cupcake ever) while Sage starred at the lights.  Successful family date!  On the car ride home my hubby surprised me with some swag from the cafe including a tank top and hoodie that I will now be living in.

I bought the below book after reading this review.  Every recipe involves chocolate and is vegan so I was immediately intrigued.  There is also a ton of information about the superfood that is cacao which just made my chocolate loving soul happy.

So far I've just made the Double Chocolate Cookies.  Truly guilt free cookies and CHOCOLATE!

Yesterday we did some shopping at Target and Bed Bath & Beyond.  I just realized now that I posed with Sage in front of the men's boxers, ha!

And the biggest news of all: the treadmill is setup in our basement (thank you, Dad!).  I wanted to make sure I was fully recovered before hopping on for a run.  I should probably mention that I've also been super sleep deprived because baby boy has been up a lot lately, but we're working on that.  All in good time...but a run will happen this week!!!

What's new in your world?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sage: Month Four Baby Update


Sage is four months old!  What a wonderful month with Sage it's been.  This month has been full of play, but a lot less sleep than at his three month update (more on that to come).  He has got such personality and I've loved watching it shine all month long.  At his four month checkup on Monday we learned that Sage is now 14 lbs. 7 oz. and is 26.5 inches long.  That means he's gained seven pounds since birth and grown six inches.  No wonder I feel stronger when I carry him!  Baby boy is tall for his age just like his Grandpa.

Likes:  Sage loves interacting with his mommy and daddy and having their attention.  He gets excited when we watch him play.  He also gets a kick out of watching his parents dance and act goofy.  He still loves blankets and his Pooh and Piglet stuffed animals.  His ladybug toy goes on every outing with us because he keeps Sage happy.  So many colors on ladybug.  Sage is quite the observer and loves watching the world around him.       

Dislikes:  Being tired is #1.  Being hungry could be at the top too.  Neither are fun.

Eating:  Sage still tends to eat every two hours.  He is exclusively breastfeeding.  Boy loves to eat!  Sage took a bottle (3 oz.) from the babysitter for the first time this month. 

Playing:  Sage's favorite place to play is in his new activity gym.  After visiting a neighbor who had one, we just had to go out and buy one immediately because Sage had enjoyed himself so much.  Definitely his favorite toy right now.  Also, Sage loves to play Superman.  Daddy holds him up high in the air and he flies around and gets such a kick out of it.  Big smiles!  Mirrors are also a favorite of Sage's.  He grabbed the mirror on his activity gym and starred at himself.  Especially loves his own reflection.  Basically there has been much longer periods of play overall. 

Sleeping:  It's been a rough month of sleep.  Sleep has gone completely downhill since last month.  There were a few good nights:  11/20/14 - slept 9:30 to 4:30, 11/30/14 - slept 10-6:15 with one wake up, but otherwise beginning on 11/14/14 Sage started getting up every 2 to 3 hours at night.  Mama is exhausted.  I've heard it could be the four month sleep regression...  

This month we began making the transition to have Sage sleep in his room.  We started out by moving the rock n' play into his room.  I've been putting him in his crib for naps and swaddling him with one arm out.  Today we officially packed up the rock n' play.

New this month:

We discovered this month that Sage likes to be read to.  Grandma started reading him a book and he was completely engaged and liked touching the pages.

Baby boy is laughing, squealing and babbling a lot more! It's so fun when I feel like I'm having a conversation with him.

Sage can stand (with our help of course holding him under his arms), but he holds himself up with weight on his feet.

He sees us from much farther now.  All of a sudden we can be in the kitchen and Sage has spotted us from his activity gym in the family room and is looking at us.

He turns his head from one side to the next with a larger turning radius

Manipulating toys with his hands intently with more purpose and precision.

Puts hands in his mouth a lot more along with everything else he can find.

Key Dates:

11/14/14 - First nap in crib

12/3/14 - First night in own room

12/5/14 - Took bottle from babysitter

12/6/14 - Fell asleep in crib by himself for morning nap after laying in crib for 15 minutes

My maternity leave is ending at the end of December and I'm so grateful for every moment I was home with Sage.  It's the greatest Christmas gift I could have ever asked for and this time home with him will always hold a very special place in my heart.  He is my little angel.  Going back to work is going to be a big transition.  I will miss Sage so much, but I'm excited for Sage to be around a few other kids at the babysitter's and I know he'll have so much fun with them...growing and learning!  And I will be so excited to kiss and love him every night when I get home from work.  

See you next month for another baby Sage update!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

New Toys & a Run is Near


It's snowing right now making for quite a pretty scene out the office/room for excess stuff/junk room window... Do you have a room like that in your home?  This is the room that we keep the door closed when company comes.  There's always laundry on the futon that needs to be put away, the vacuum just chills in the corner, and my shoes take up half the closet.

Anyways... the treadmill has arrived!!!  Two big men delivered it this morning.  They told me they were only allowed to bring it as far as the garage though, so that's where it sits in a giant box.  Assembly is required.  If I had the Hulk strength I'd bring it in the downstairs room and attempt to set it up right now.  Sage is napping so it would be the perfect opportunity.  I'm not even sure how we'll get it in the house.  We will probably need to recruit a neighbor or two to help my husband bring it in.  It's not a one person job.  I can taste the run it's so close.  Like within the next 24 (ok, maybe 48 hours) close!

This morning, Sage and I ventured to Babies R Us.  I had three things to get:  Sage's new toy (pictured below!), Nose Frida (for sucking out baby snot...never thought I'd be so happy to own this), and a sleep sack with no arms (which I bought the wrong size, oops!).

Sage had such a blast playing in one of these activity mats at our neighbor's the other day that we just had to get one for our home.   And it totally inspired him to start rolling...oh boy!

I think it exhausted him because he went down quite effortlessly for his 2 o'clock nap. 

So now I'm making tea and dreaming about that run that will be happening soon.  Can you tell I'm a little excited?  There's a TV on the wall in front of where the treadmill will go so I can binge watch The Good Wife and run at the same time all in the comfort of my own home.  That's a wonderful thing.

What's the best thing you did this week? 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Rough Patch with Sleep

Hi there!

I'm currently enjoying an Amy's vegetable pizza topped with some daiya and vegan parm.  Simple lunch is where it's at.

Sage is currently taking a nap.  I'm trying the one arm out of the swaddle.  Last night was rough.  Baby boy was up every two hours.  I'm not sure what the deal is.  I didn't feed him at his 1 o'clock wake up and fortunately got him back to sleep until 3 o'clock.  I never know what to expect anymore with nighttime sleeping.  We really want to transfer him to the crib (he's in the rock n' play in our room right now) but it's proving a bit difficult.  He was sleeping better at three months old than he has been at four months.  

We haven't done any sort of sleep training and I'm starting to think maybe we should.  I know it's not for everyone and from what I've heard from other mamas it sounds quite challenging, but I want Sage to learn to self soothe.  He needs to learn for his benefit and mine. 

(Update added 12/4/14 - I put Sage to sleep swaddled in his crib at 8:30pm.  He woke up at 9:30pm and 10:30pm but did not eat.  At 10:30pm I switched him to the rock n' play, but in his bedroom with the white noise playing on the iPad and he slept until 5am!!! We shall see what tonight brings...) 

Mamas:  Any advice?  Have you done sleep training?

Even after being up so much last night, the little man woke up so happy!  Makes me smile and laugh even in my sleep-deprived love love...

In other news, our treadmill is being delivered tomorrow!!!  I can't wait.  It says it takes an hour and a half to setup, so hopefully that doesn't actually mean like 4 hours for someone who is bad at building things.

I want to start wrapping Christmas presents.  I stopped at the Dollar Store and wow did they have wrapping galore.  That is so the place to go!  This weekend we are decorating gingerbread houses with family.  Such a fun tradition that I definitely want to pass onto Sage.   

Ok, Sage has been sleeping for 30 minutes with one arm out of the swaddle.  I consider that I big success.  Woohoo!

Sage and I had to run an errand to my husband's school this morning and of course he fell sound asleep in the car.  I took advantage and went through the drive-thru at Starbucks.  Grande soy steamer with a pump of peppermint.  It just screams holiday spirit.  However, I'll be needing something much more caffeinated when I'm back at work...all in good time.  

Any sleep advice you have for a 4 month old, please share!

How's your week going?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I Can't Believe it is December

Happy December!

I'm staring out at green grass right now so it's odd that it is December, but I'm sure the snow will be returning soon and I'm definitely not complaining.  We had a bunch of snow just after Thanksgiving, but then it got warm and melted.  That's how it works around here.

I came across this Tazo chai at Wegmans last weekend and fell in love.  It's way better making homemade drinks because I always think the ones from Starbucks are too sweet.  I like just a 1/2 cup of the chai and then I fill my mug with lots of soy milk and add ice.  I need to stock up on this stuff because it is quickly becoming my favorite thing first thing in the morning.

And speaking of new things, yay for vegan mac & cheese!!!  I like the orange cheddar best.  Serious comfort food here.  I added a tbsp. of earth balance butter and a shot of soy milk and it rocked.  Thank you, earth balance.

I have four more weeks of maternity leave.  Part of me knows it will be good to get back into a rhythm with work and of course the extra money will be nice, but the other part of me is having a rough time.  I will most certainly cry lots of tears during the transition period.  Taking a 20 week maternity leave has been such a blessing.  

Sage is showing me how to Jingle Bell rock and we're getting in the holiday spirit.  Time to start wrapping gifts soon!  Today, Sage and I are going to pick up my new glasses and we have a play date with the babies on the street this afternoon.

I hope you have a fantastic Tuesday!

How are you?

What's new in your world?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

31 Foods in My Kitchen


I actually did my hair for a dinner we had on Wednesday, so I got a picture with my sweet baby boy.  Normally he's all dressed up and I'm in sweats.  I swear I put socks on his feet, but they never stay on!  I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We traveled to visit family and had two delicious meals, one for lunch and the other for dinner; therefore, I was definitely stuffed.  

On that note, let's talk food.  With the arrival of snow, I like to make sure my kitchen is always stocked with food because I hate having to go out on a snowy, freezing day because the refrigerator is empty.  I'd much prefer to stay cozy at home with my family, drink tea, read, cook (and run because soon our treadmill will be arriving!!!).  Here are 31 foods you can almost always find in my kitchen.   Ironically my refrigerator is close to empty right now though and we really need to get to the store!  I chose 31 foods simply because I listed every food item I could think of that I always want around and that's when my brain stopped.  They are all vegan.  Having these items around makes putting a healthy meal together simple.

In no particular order...

1. Almond Milk and/or Soy Milk
2. Chia Seeds
3. Spinach 
4. Kale 
5. Oats 
6. Peanut Butter and/or Almond Butter
7. Tofu
8. Tempeh 
9. Sprouted Wheat Bread
10. Broccoli 
11. Avocados 
12. Brown Rice 
13. Whole Wheat Flour
14. Chocolate Chips 
15. Nuts (one or more of: almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans)
16. Bananas
17. Black Beans 
18. Whole Wheat Pasta 
19. Marinara Sauce
20. Faux Chicken Patties 
21. Garlic
22. Onion 
23. Tomato 
24. Nature's Path Cereal 
25. Flax (ground)
26. Udon Noodles
27. Vegenaise 
28. So Delicious Ice Cream
29. Squash and/or yams
30. Apples
31. Tofutti Cream Cheese

If you need a grocery list, that's actually a pretty good start!  And check out these cookbooks if you need a little more assistance in the meal preparation part (like I did!).

What are a few items always in your kitchen?

Do we have any of the same?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Things To Do & Happy Thanksgiving Week

Hey there!

I have things to accomplish today.  First stop is Wegmans to get the ingredients for the pumpkin pie I'm making from Vegan Pie in the Sky.  It will be the first time I make a pumpkin pie, and vegan!  I'm excited.  Next stop is Home Depot to get my dad the drill he wants for Christmas.  It's on sale for another few days while supplies last so Sage and I need to get over there quick.  And lastly I need to get to Babies R Us to exchange our baby monitor because it won't charge and I want to have it for when we visit family for the Thanksgiving.  A day of errands...

But right now Sage is napping.  I'm trying to wean him from the swaddle because we want to start the transition to sleeping in the crib at night very soon.  This is the first time I left an arm out so we'll see how it goes.

Last night I made a new favorite meal of mine.  Creamy Vegan Butternut Alfredo.  You must try it!  The recipe makes a ton of sauce so I have enough leftover to last me the week.  Here's the link for the recipe.  My husband thought the nutmeg flavor was a little strong, but I loved it.  You can always go lighter on the spices.

Yesterday my mom visited and we took a glorious walk.  It was 70 degrees out!  It's back in the 40's today, but man it was wonderful.  I hadn't gotten out with Sage for a walk in a while due to the cold.  He was so happy.  

I really just wanted to pop in and say hi and wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving week!  I probably won't be back until after the holiday.  I hope you eat lots of amazing food and enjoy the loving company of family and friends.  

I'll keep you posted via Instagram on all my vegan eats of course!  

Talk to you soon =)

What are you doing for Thanksgiving?