Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Baked Pears

When the weather turns bad, I turn to baking to warm my soul.

It is absolutely perfect weather for baking, especially pears.  There is something about the warm, sweet, softness of a baked pear that comforts me and brings me home.  As you may know, I am still working on my first book and today was the prime opportunity to make one of my recipes (the pears)!  Sadly, I can't share the recipe with all of you, but I am hoping to get the book out before the Holidays!

Here's what they look like!!!!!
Oh yeah, and they taste as good as they look!  This guy was my mid-morning snack :)

I hope everyone is staying safe during this period of bad weather.  May comfort and blessings fill your homes.

Luana ola!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Part 1

This time of year is so great!  Crisp air, sun, warm soups, hot tea/cocoa, and so many things to do...  Well this weekend was the last weekend of Goebberts for this season so I decided to dress up in my best Medieval Garb and get a few pictures with Gus before the festivities begin.  I used to always decorate the garage and help my parents pass out candy, but this year will be a little different since I am not living at home.  As of right now, there are only pumpkins being used for decoration and I think I will just be handing out bags of tea to trick or treaters this year.  

Here's a picture of me and my little bat girl! (Both outfits are home made by yours truly...except the corset, I haven't quite mastered that one yet, but am definitely up for some advice...anyone?)

I am very much into Halloween and its history/traditions.  On October 31st, I will devote a post to the wonderful past of this holiday; you might be surprised about its history!!

Last night's dinner was another round of delicious squash soup!  We can't get enough of it...it's that good!  Along with Stacy's pita chips (the cinnamon ones are so good too)

Well, better stop distracting myself and get back to Chemistry reading...

Luana ola!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Plantains and Product Reviews

Yesterday for Nutrition Lab, we had a giant food tasting!  I got to try so many foods that I had never had before.  Foods like choke cherries, rutabaga, purple potato, watermelon radish, black garlic, and plantains!Speaking of plantains, two of my classmates come from Hispanic countries and both have family recipes involving plantains. For them, these starchy bananas are a staple food and are used as a potato or other starch replacement in all meals.

This chapter is obviously on starches...!

These plantains were so good, I stuffed myself of them!  Each girl made them 2 different ways that their families like to prepare them.  Girl 1 used very very ripe plantains; the skin was completely black!  She peeled them and boiled one and pan fried the other in a little bit of oil.  They were both very sweet and had a little bit of a banana flavor.  Girl 2 used very green plantains, which are much more firm and starchy.  Her aunt made fried plantains (aka plantain chips) and another way of pan frying them.  I actually liked the pan-fried one better and can definitely see myself using more plantains to cook with (maybe for the holidays??)

Here are the other tastings

After all this tasting, you know I had to do some nutritional research, so here's what I found...
Although 3/4 of the recipes involved frying, it was in healthy oils and not a lot of it, but the nutrition facts I found are for 1 cup of sliced, plain cooked plantains:

  • 179 calories
  • 47.97 g carbohydrates
  • 21.56 g sugar
  • 716 mg potassium
  • 16.8 mg vitamin C
  • 1400 IU vitamin A
  • 3.5 g fiber
  • resource
Overall, this is a pretty healthy food and would make a decent replacement for other starches.  As with all starchy foods, though, it is important to not over do it.

And last, but certainly not least, I got a confirmation for my first product review on Luana ola!!  I'm not going to spoil the surprise, but the company will be mailing some samples for me to review, so keep checking in to see when it comes!!  I am so excited!

Luana ola!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Broth is Good for Bones

After going through emails and blog posts this morning, I got inspired to write this post about broth.  Broth is one of those foods/food items that gets forgotten about and put on the back burner (pun intended!).  The cool thing about broth is that, like the soups that are made from them, there are so many variations/flavors/ingredients to use that you can never get bored.

Broth in general has many health benefits. I make lots and lots of veggie broth.  The great thing abut this broth is that I can use whatever veggie scraps I want, which saves on waste and keeps the flavors changing constantly so we never get bored.

I make my broth as follows:
  • load up a stock pot with raw veggie leftovers (i.e. broccoli stalks, kale stems, carrot ends, celery, onion pieces, beet tops, etc.)
  • fill with water until the veggies are just barely covered
  • add spices (I like to use star anise, coriander, mustard seed, pepper corns, cumin seed, all spice berries, and any other whole spices I have lying around)
    • Bring the whole concoction up to a boil and then simmer until the veggies become mushy; this ensures that all of the nutrients are in the broth.
    • You can use the veggies to feed the birds, make a pie, or chop and use in a soup.  The most important part here is to not waste, but remember that all the nutrients from those veggies are now in the broth.
Once the broth is finished, it can be refrigerated for a few days or frozen for a few months.  Use it like water, or drink straight up!  I like to make rice and beans with broth to add flavor and nutrients, but I also use it to make all of my delicious fall soups!

What's you're favorite food to make with broth?

Luana ola!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Super Awesome Crazy Weekend

I had a full day of work on Saturday (from 9AM to 7PM) and was busy the entire time!  Goebberts is one hoppin' place on the weekends, especially now that the season is almost over...only 8 more days...

Exhausted, hungry, and tired, I walked through the front door to a warm hug and a new book on the table, waiting to be opened!!!!
 Vegan Holiday Cooking has so many amazing recipes for all year round, but specialize in holidays (in multiple denominations!)  I can't wait to try some of these!!!

Here's some pictures from Goebberts on Sunday morning:

 Sunday afternoon, Andrew and I went to my Mamaw's house to help her bake an old fashioned stack cake.  It has mainly wholesome ingredients including whole grain flour, home made applesauce, and lots of love!  You make individual rounds of the cake and bake it until it's really crisp.  Layer the cake with spiced applesauce and let it sit overnight to soak up all the goodness.
 I apologize for the bad picture, but I couldn't figure out the lighting...I made potato and split pea soup (yes, it was all made in one pot!)  So amazingly delicious, especially with pita chips!!
 Then we shared this piece of cake for desert!  Had to call Mamaw and tell her how good it was!!!!!  I'll definitely be making this again, and tweaking the ingredients for different flavors, and smaller portions...

Nothing says fall like soup for dinner and apple for dessert!!  Did you make anything special this weekend?

Luana ola!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Friendship Bread

Can I just say that Amish Friendship Bread is the best baked good in the fall!!  Add pumpkin and chocolate chips for a perfect bar/bread/muffin/etc.

Amish Friendship Bread:
-1 c starter (fermented for 10 days)
-3 flax eggs
2 c flour
1 1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 c pumpkin
1/4 c oil
1/2 c sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 c soy milk
2 t cinnamon
1 t vanilla
     mix all ingredients and bake at 325 degrees F.  Times vary depending on the pan you use, but here's some general guidelines:  loaf = 1 hour; mini muffins = 20-30 min; 1/2 sheet pan = 40-50 min
This recipe makes 2 loafs and freezes very well (not that it needs to be...)

Andrew and I both got home late and were famished before dinner was ready...Friendship Bread was calling our names!!  Desert before dinner?...Yes please!

Dinner included baked potatoes and mixed veggies...mmmm...nothing like autumn.

Anyone have fun plans for the weekend?  I'm baking with my Grandma!!

Luana ola!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fall Favorites

After my post about ideas to help all of us eat just a bit more healthy, I decided to post today about some of my favorite fall foods.  With a little inspiration from an email I got this morning(check out this link), here's what I came up with:

Apples:  Loaded with poly phenols to help fight disease, these handheld fruits are perfect for every meal.  Let it be noted that the majority of the nutritious poly phenols are located in the skin of apples.  Eating a fresh, whole apple is the best way to benefit from all it has to offer.  Skip peeling, pureeing, and baking apples (although these forms of preparation are okay every now and then...) and eat the whole fruit as mother nature intended.  Eating the fruit whole will allow for all the nutrients to get absorbed properly, help regulate your blood sugar, help prevent cancer, and even control cholesterol levels (Source).  My favorites include golden delicious, jonagold, honey crisp, and rome.

Squash:  Winter squash is so good because it can me prepared so many different ways and adds a mild touch of sweetness to dishes.  My favorites include, but are certainly not limited to:  muffins/quick breads, soups/stews, roasted, stir-fried, steamed, mashed, and baked.  You can even include them in cookies, cakes, pancakes, and waffles!!
     -Pumpkin.  Obviously my favorite of all types of winter squash!

Cranberries:  Did you know what cranberries are more than that big glob of dark red stuff at Thanksgiving?  Besides being loaded with antioxidants, which help fight cancers, cranberries also help to prevent urinary tract infections.  I like to boil the cranberries until they pop, add some seasonings, and toss them in a soup or quick bread.  They are also really good dehydrated.

Roughage:  Fiber is your friend.  All of these wonderful dark greens are low in calories, fill you up, and provide essential nutrients like vitamin K, C, and iron into your diet.  My favorite way to eat greens is either raw or lightly steamed.  The steaming makes them really bright green and brings out the sweetness of the plant.  More to come on recipes (psst...I'm making Brussels sprouts tonight...)
     -Brussels sprouts

Nuts: Oh nuts!  These little guys are packed with healthy fats and protein.  To control portion sizes, I like to crack them myself; I get tired of cracking after awhile and it slows down my eating speed.
     -Acorns (you can get these right off an oak tree!  Just make sure they haven't fallen to the ground yet, but are just on the verge of doing so)

Well, now you know more about why I love this time of year so much!!  Tons of healthy food available...what's you're favorite fall food or recipe?

Luana ola!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Healthier Ideas

As you may or may not know, I went through an emotional bought of binge eating and am still working through the recovery phase.  Although I have not binged in a long time (over 6 months), the struggles are still there and I face them almost every day.  Here is a list of some of the ways I have come up with to help me stop a binge from occurring:

First of all, it is important to note that I have found out how to tell when a binge is coming on and have learned how to either counteract it with the following list or to completely obliterate it from happening in the first place by eating scheduled, balanced meals.

         1. Know that I am not perfect.- I have a type A personality.  This means that I LOVE organization, order, lists, and perfection.  These things can be great, but they also bring many difficulties to my life.  For example, I am my own worst critic for everything; some of the things I say to myself, I wouldn't dare to even imagine saying to someone else.  I strive for perfection and hate to fail, but failing is inevitable when perfection is all you see.  With this in mind, I try to remind myself to be the best Me I can be by eating healthy, getting exercise, and minimizing stress.

  • 2. Eat a balanced, healthy breakfast every morning. - make oatmeal with fruit, whole grain pancakes, or stir fried veggies. Starting my day with healthy wholesome foods helps me to get in a healthy state of mind for the rest of the day.

  • 3. Give up dieting.- I am a firm believer in the old saying "diets don't work". The definition we have given the word "diet" has become so negative that we are becoming more and more afraid of food. We need food to survive! Eating a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables will ultimately lead you and me to a healthy lifestyle and long life with loved ones.

  • 4. Get support.- We are social creatures and are not meant to do things on our own. If you have a goal in mind, tell many people. This way, you can be held accountable and those people can help you get to your goals in a slow and healthy manner.

  • 5. Always keep healthy snacks in my bag.- There is nothing worse than getting stuck somewhere hungry with nothing around but fast food or sugary snacks. For this reason, I have become accustomed to packing a snack bag with nuts/seeds and some fruit and/or vegetables.

  • 6. Exercise daily.- Our bodies were meant to move and movement helps to relieve stress and bring oxygen throughout the body, allowing your mind to think more clearly and deeply.

  • 7. Learn mindful/intuitive eating.- I am still working on this one. When I am hungry, I can not think of anything else but food. If I let myself go too long, I become a completely different person and am no fun to be around. I try to listen to my body to hear what it wants whether it be water or fuel. When I listen close enough, I will know how much to eat or drink, what to eat or drink, and when to stop.

  • 8. Set a timer and meditate- When life starts getting too fast and busy, set a timer for 3 minutes. Trust me, these three minutes will feel like an hour, but once you have been still and calmed your mind and body for that short period of time, you will feel so much better and will actually be more productive.

  • 9. “I can always have it later”- Part of my biggest problem is that I deny myself constantly, so when I don't deny myself for one instant, I go crazy and gobble up the sweets because my mind thinks that I can never get this food again. I have begun to tell myself, "You can always have it later". This is a form of self-discipline; your mind is like a small child and wants things that make it feel good, aka endorphins. Endorphins are released in your brain after eating grains, sugars, and chocolate! This makes complete sense if you think about what you eat when you are sleepy, emotional, or unhappy: chocolate, cakes, cookies, and other high fat/sugar/starch foods.

  • 10. Know my triggers- It is amazing how little we know ourselves. Taking a self-analysis or answering questions to yourself is a great way of getting to know what triggers your personal "bad behaviors". This is kind of like a self-date. Really get to know yourself, your deep self who is rarely seen by the outside world. Explain to yourself the reasons you do things and if those things are not healthy, teach yourself how to make them healthy.

  • 11. Get sound sleep.- Sleep is our body's way to rejuvenate and repair itself. Without adequate sleep, we can not function well the next day. Make sure you go to bed at a decent hour and try to rise without an alarm, if possible.

  • 12. Treat yourself with love and be kind to your body.- This is your home. Treat it as though it were a statue on a pedestal in a museum. It is your shrine to show off to the world. Every body is different, so there is no such thing as perfect. When you care for your body and respect it, you will have a beautiful glow coming from your skin and people will notice. Health starts from the outside in, what makes up who you are?

Since I am still working on these things, I would love some comments on your thoughts and ideas you may have come up with.

Luana ola!

Happy Pancakes

Good Morning!!!

Upon waking, both Andrew and I had an inkling for pancakes.  Not just any pancakes, though...chocolate Kodiak flapjacks!

You start with 1 cup of Whole Grain Kodiak Cakemix.  Then, add 2 T cocoa powder and some water to mix it all together.  Now, heat a skillet and add a little oil of choice.  Pour batter in skillet and cook 1 to 2 minutes per side.  This recipe made 2 larger pancakes for Andrew and 2 small ones for me (banana not included).

I accidentally made this smiley face, so when I realized what I'd done, I had to take a picture to show all my readers!!

Luana ola!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Yoga and Food

In terms of the many articles that I read about yoga, I am very new to its concept.  I began practicing yoga just over 2 years ago and  have only attended one official practice session.  I do most of my yoga at home and it is based off asanas and routines I find online, especially from Yoga Journal.  As of this past summer, I found a yoga studio that offers teacher training for a pretty decent cost.  Since I have been so busy with Goebbert's and school, getting certified has been on the back burner, that is until recently...

I noticed that after October, my time at Goebberts will be over :(  I will be working on mostly school but this might be a good time to begin a new journey.  I have found a passion for yoga and am really wanting to become certified so I can spread my love of movement and health/nutrition. Pretty cool, eh?

I am also reading a book about yoga right now (actually, I was reading it just now, which prompted this post).  The part that stuck out to me in this book was about mindful eating and there are a couple topics I want to address in this post that I even have trouble with:
1. Make the bulk of your food intake during the day.
        I tend to have a really hard time getting in enough calories during the day because I am too frugal to buy lunch at school (so I bring my own) and I have class throughout the entire afternoon (no time to eat...).  I have found a couple different ways to sneak in meals because my teachers will not allow food during class.  If so inclined, I bring a protein shake with me, but sometimes I am just not in the mood for them. Second, I munch on nuts/fruit/veggies during the 10 minutes I have between classes.  Now, I know that is no where near mindful eating, but I feel that it is more important to keep my energy levels up and be mindful during breakfast and dinner.  Do what you have to do.
2. Be aware of habitual eating
     Do you eat in front of the TV?  When you're bored, stressed, or tired?  I know I do!  Especially when I'm, stressed.  My goal for myself is to try to practice yoga or meditation the next time I get too stressed and want to eat junk food.
3. Make time to enjoy your food
     Make it from scratch (when you have the time) and sit down with those you love and enjoy it.  Take at least 20 minutes to eat each meal.  This will help you to enjoy each bite and morsel of food.
4. Don't deny yourself foods you love
     Everything in moderation is good for you and your soul.  Eat the foods you love, but fill up on wholesome and healthy foods first.  This will ensure that you are getting enough nutrients and you will then be more aware of your craving as to whether it is because you really want it or if you are just bored.

Luana ola!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pumpkins Galore!

Well, I officially have 5 followers!  I know it doesn't seem like a lot, but it is still really exciting for me to have followers!  I started this blog because of a college assignment and it has blossomed into a journal/recipe experience full of joy and fun.  I love that I can share my passion with even the few amount of people who do read my blog (and I thank you all so much!!!!).  I hope to reach more people soon, so please let me know what you would like to see on my blog and I will accommodate as best I can.

As for today's post, I would like to introduce to you my favorite autumn food of all time...(seriously, people think I'm crazy because of all the things I use this food for...):
I bought those beauties pictured above before work yesterday.  Well, actually I got them for free because being an employee means that I get to spend up to $16 on pumpkins on the company (that's Goebbert's by the way).

Pumpkins, like the butternut and all winter squash, are loaded with beta carotene which turns to vitamin A in our bodies!  Vitamin A supports healthy eyes and actually helps to give our skin a glow, but beware, if consumed in extremely large amounts, you just might turn orange!!

Gus loved the little pumpkin I got for her.  She actually started to bite at it, so I think we will chop it up for her dinner tonight!

Still working on my book, Medieval Feats and Marvelous Treats.  I should be getting more time to work on the recipes and take pictures soon and I am shooting to be done by Christmas!

Luana ola!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

Upon waking, a big mug full of hot banana-cinnamon oatmeal warmed our stomachs before venturing out into the frigid autumn air for some exercise. Please note, my oatmeal was in the Tigger mug!!

After a good workout, we went to Barnes and Noble for some "couple's" time and reading over a cup of hot coffee!! (and Andrew had a blueberry muffin...I had a piece of the sugary top!)

I wanted to buy so many books!  Especially this book!!! Flipping through the pages prompted the need to cook a good vegan soup for dinner...Butternut squash anyone?

Here's my recipe (created on the fly), but feel free to play around with the spices and ratios to find the recipe you like best:

  • 2.5 lb butternut squash, washed, peeled, and cubed
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • good pinch of each whole black pepper corns, cloves, cumin, and coriander in a spice bag
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 c non-dairy milk
  • 3 c vegetable broth
    • Saute the onions, celery, and garlic in a medium sized pot.  Add broth, spices, cinnamon, and squash.  Simmer with the lid on for 15-20 minutes, or until the squash is very soft.  Transfer just the chunks of vegetables into a blender.  Puree, adding milk and/or broth from the soup until your desired consistency is reached.
    • Pour into bowls and garnish with roasted squash seeds!

This is quite possibly the BEST soup I have ever had!!  Ask Andrew, I couldn't stop talking about it; he called me crazy, but I just think I am in love.  As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure I need this shirt...

Beyond pumpkin, I love all forms of squash summer and winter varieties.  I had never made this soup before but seriously wanted to give it a try because I'd had something similar in my past and loved it.  Besides making the perfectly creamy luscious soup that it becomes without adding cream, butternut squash has many health benefits as well:

Butternut Squash, Raw
Butternut squash, baked, without salt

What's you're favorite soup?
Luana ola!

Friday, October 5, 2012


Well, I am, but it's just getting cold out...oh autumn in the mid-west...

The good news is that the leaves are all changing and the neighborhood is lined with differing shades of gold, orange, red, and green.  I can not even begin to describe how much I love this time of year.  It saddens me to think that winter is just around the corner, so I'm not going to think about it!  I am going to enjoy these days while they're here.

Speaking of enjoying the days, I made a raw sunflower seed butter this afternoon.  Friday's are my early days for class and it just so happens that I have to pass Whole Foods on the way home.  Needing to pick up a few items anyways, I stopped in for a quick browse.  I ended up leving the store with $60 out of my bank account and one giant recycled bag full of good food.  Sadly, I still have a few items to pick up at another grocery store on Sunday, but my bulk items are taken care of for the next couple of weeks.  Here's what my bag was filled with:

  • coconut oil
  • tri-colored quinoa
  • raw hulled sunflower seeds
  • kale
  • organic fugi apples
  • 8oz almond yogurt (trying to find a good vegan yogurt for extra probiotics...)
  • butternut squash
  • multi-colored popping corn
  • Endangered Species dark chocolate bar with gogi berries, pecans, and maca
What is it with me and colorful things?  I will take some pictures tomorrow morning, when there is hopefully more sun, so you can see how beautiful the popping corn and quinoa are!

I am a huge believer in eating a colorful variety of whole foods, so when there is a mixture of collors for one food, I go crazy!  As a matter of fact, I probably bought enough to last us3-4 weeks!

This has become a very random post, but I just wanted to inform all of my readers about my Youtube channel that I just recently started!  I will be posting videos of different healthy recipes that are vegan and gluten-free for the most part :)  Let me know what you think of it and feel freee to pass it along to friends and family.  I started this blog as a journal, but the next stp for me is to make connections with as many people as I can.  I do not get paid for anything on this blog, it is a really fun hobby that I picked up and would like to eventually turn it into a career.  I welcome all advice and/or comments with great happiness, so please help me out by letting me know what you like/don't like or would like to see more of/less of.

Luana ola!

Thursday, October 4, 2012


     This is a very spur-of-the-moment post.  As you might have guessed, I LOVE to write.  On my bucket list, I have at least 3 different books that I'd like to publish, not including the ones that Andrew and I would like to write together.  As of right now, I am working on a children's cookbook entitled Medieval Feats and Marvelous Treats.  In this book, I share stories of a family in the Middle Ages and the recipes that they create and share together.  This book is very close to my heart because I got my passion for food from my Grandmother (aka Mamaw).  She taught me so much of what I know and has been a huge influence in my life.  This book practically sums up the joy I get from cooking and sharing food with friends and family, so I hope you get a copy for that little chef in your home and teach them about great food and making memories together.

     The next book that I write is going to be about healthy living.  I would really love some input from my readers!  What topics interest you most?  I am also thinking about a Q&A...would anyone be interested in being in my book??  Just send me an email or leave a comment with any ideas.

Luana ola!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Awesome Oats!

Last night I was thinking about what I wanted for breakfast...I honestly couldn't come up with anything!  So, after the Bears game, I laid my head down on my brand new comfy pillow and went right to sleep.

This morning, all I could think of was oatmeal!  The cool weather has definitely got me craving hot tea, hot coffee, and warm breakfasts to soothe the soul.

The recipe for this yummy concoction is as follows:

-1/2 cup rolled oats
-1/2 cup water
-1/2 cup soy milk (or water/cows milk/almond milk/coconut milk/etc.)
-1/4 t each cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg
-1 T ground flax seeds

Dump everything into a small pot and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until your desired thickness is reached.  Serve with a bit of studying for nutrition and you have a balanced morning!

Right now, I am studying vitamins for one of my classes and Vitamin A was the topic during that picture.  Besides some oils, vitamin A can be found in all orange/red vegetables, especially carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potato.  Is it ironic that I had a post about the color orange on the second day of October?   I think not, my friends.

Well, off to do more studying and then to work.  Hopefully I'll get some pictures to post about later!

Luana ola!