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JUMP JUMP!

As a kid, jumping on trampolines was super fun…so you can imagine the joy a child…or adult gets when they see an entire room filled with trampolines lined from end to end!  Tonight we BOUNCED off the walls…into foam…and into each other!  Sky High Sports in Bellevue have some pretty decent deals to keep you coming back for more.  If you’re not in the Seattle area, just google “trampoline parks” and let the jumping begin!

Ron getting some sweet air before he lands in a pit of foam…getting out of the foam pit is even a work out!

Kelly (Ron’s wife) getting plenty of access to a bunch of trampolines!

Ron rocking some great form on his back hand spring!

Patton doing some show-tunes action on his injured knee…but completely making the best of it through all of the pain!

Me, reminiscing of my old High School cheerleading days…and probably feeling the pain from it tomorrow :)

Patton and I wishing everyone a very Happy and Healthy New Year!

It’s hard to estimate how many calories we burned, but I found an estimate on the livestrong website that “jumping on a trampoline burns an estimated 410 calories per hour for someone who weighs 150 lbs. By comparison, a person weighing 150 lbs. will burn 355 calories per hour by running at a speed of 5 mph”.  That’s a pretty good workout…especially since we were there for 2 hours!

How is everyone doing so far on their new year’s resolutions?

 

Onion Goggles

While tonight, some of you will be wearing your “Beer Goggles” while ringing in the new year, I’ll be wearing my “Onion Goggles” to make more of that “New Year’s Soup” in hopes of a great 2012.  Some people have this super-human like ability to cut an onion without shedding a tear…I don’t have that ability.  My friend Lisa, who is AMAZING at finding the right gift for anyone gave me a pair of some super fast looking onion goggles for Christmas.  And friends, THEY WORK!  They have a sponge-like boarder that snuggles up to your face keeping the onion fumes from affecting your eyes.  I’d post a picture of me with the glasses on, but Patton burst out laughing when he saw me wearing them!  Can you believe he didn’t sweep me into his arms and give me a huge kiss?!?!

Happy New Year to all!  And many thanks to all of you for your encouraging words regarding the loss of my favorite little carnivore :(  My friend Pam really put it into perspective though:  “God must have sent Elmo to you for a reason and when he accomplished his duty, filled all of your hearts with love, and gave you the very best of memories, God then decided that he wanted a little of Elmo’s magic up in Heaven”.  Pam, I know I say it over and over again….but I really do LOVE your perspective on things!

Lastly, to get you into the resolution mode…Check out Mimi Kirk  (who is vegan), “Sexiest Vegetarian over 50 years old”…She was born in 1938!  Getting a look at this lady will hopefully entice you to add some more color to your plate!

What are your new years resolutions?  Remember, keep it simple and build on it once your reach your first goal…You’re more likely to stick to it!

With a very heavy heart, I write this post honoring my favorite little carnivore…Elmo.  The day after Christmas I got the call I’ve been dreading…my parents had to put Elmo to sleep after he suddenly took a turn for the worst.  This came vey unexpected as Elmo has been very healthy all of his life.  This past summer he was running 2 miles/day with me like it was nothing on his stubby little basset legs.  But when a mass showed up over Christmas weekend and Elmo couldn’t walk…let alone eat his favorite treat (ham) my parents knew it was time.

This little guy had an impact on numerous lives.  He was the focus of the neighborhood parties…the topic of conversation was often about what kind of treat each neighbor would give Elmo when he stopped by to say hello.  One neighbor called my parents to see if ELMO liked ketchup on his hot dogs!  While Elmo loved food, he loved walks, chasing bunnies, and he LOVED boat rides!  He was a summertime dog for sure.  I’ll miss watching his big ears flop in the wind at the bow of the boat.  Elmo brought my family closer.  Before my Grandpa passed, he even talked about how Elmo changed my Dad’s rough exterior to a much more open and loving exterior.  He was truly an angel brought to us from GOD, but leaving us has created a hole in each of our hearts.

Luckily, when I got the bad news I was with some really special people…we were in the car heading to Leavenworth, WA.  Sitting on one side of me was my husband and on the other a very dear friend of mine…Kelly.   Kelly’s husband and mother-in-law were in the front seat.  Needless to say I was in good hands.  Kelly, is a vet and a dog lover so she’s been on both sides of the equation…and assuring me and my parents that they did the right thing made a huge difference.  They kept us busy in Leavenworth, so getting the first day over with was really helpful.

Patton and I after going on our first sleigh ride!

Kelly and Ron…my support crew :)

So, in honor of changes and focusing on the good….I’m ready to bring in the new year…I’m going to continue documenting our lives with photos and videos because some day, we will all lose someone we love with all of our hearts and while we can’t fill the void, we can always return to memories….The video below was never meant to be shared on a blog…I made it for my Dad’s Birthday last November.  It’s just a summertime home video  highlight of my family on the lake…Elmo of course is included…keep an eye out for his soft little ears flopping in the wind at the bow of the boat….he even goes tubing with my mom….and lastly, the end 3 shot shows me with my parents….the first just my parents and I, but then ending with Elmo…because our family just wasn’t complete without him.  Give your furry friends some extra love tonight, we just never know.

Stay tuned below for a New Year’s Soup that is believed to bring good luck into the new year…I’ll be sure to devour it on Jan. 1, 2012!

Onto the soup….and some really good luck :)

This is from “Clean Start“…if you’ve been reading my blog for a while…you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Terry Walters and her two books.  Terry mentions that “In the south it’s believed that eating black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Year’s Day ensures good luck and prosperity in the year ahead”.  I could use some good luck….and good nutrition….and….it tastes really good!  So give it a whirl, start 2012 off with a New Year’s Soup!

Collard greens are good sources of vitamin C and soluble fiber…it’s also a good preventer of cancer.

Black-eyed peas are also rich in Vitamin C as well as fiber, protein, potassium, zinc, and iron.  *  Iron is one of those curiosities for non-vegans…”where do you get your iron from”….black-eyed peas help :)

NEW YEAR’S SOUP

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

3 carrots, cut into 1/8 inch rounds (about 2 cups)

3 parsnips, cut into 1/8 inch rounds (about 1 cup)

1 bunch collard greens, stems removed

3 cups cooked black-eyed peas

2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

4 cups vegetable stock

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

In soup pot or large Dutch oven over medium heat, saute onion and garlic in olive oil 3 minutes or until soft.  Add carrots and parsnips and saute 3 minutes.  Chop collard greens into bite-size pieces and add to pot along with black-eyed peas and oregano.  Add vegetable stock, bring to boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes.  Stir in apple cider vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and serve.

SERVING SUGGESTION

For a healthier meal, stir 1 cup cooked quinoa or millet into soup before serving.

*  This recipe was SUPER easy…I was able to talk on the phone the entire time with my sister-in-law and make the recipe…kudos for simplicity and taste :)  It’s also Patton approved…he snuck a bite and gave me a thumbs up…I love that man :)

Thanks for letting me share my woes about my little carnivore and all the joy he’s brought to my life and others…If you have furry friends who’ve crossed over…leave a comment and tell me about them.  It really does help with the grieving process….at least for me :)

*  If you happen to read the comments about this post, you’ll notice that my friend Linda mentioned the “Rainbow Bridge“….Here is how the poem goes…be sure to grab some tissues:

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together…. 

Author unknown…

 

 

 

Wow!  I wish you could see the stats that I’m looking at right now…it tracks the number of hits to my site.  Let’s just say with help from all of you, I’m blown away…overjoyed…thankful…  by how many of you took time out of your super busy schedules (especially since it’s so close to Christmas) to read my blog.  You’ve inspired me to share the recipes I’ve been sharing with my husband for the past 3 years since beginning this vegan journey.  I’ve really witnessed a change in myself and Patton, so I’m happy so many of you are willing to try some things out.  I realize that being vegan isn’t for everyone, but I’m humbled that you’re taking an interest into something that has been a struggle for some of the people closest to me to embrace.  So a very big warm hug of gratitude goes out to each and every one of you!

Now, without further adieu…the winner of the first Super Shegan Giveaway goes too…………..CHRISTINE BILLROTH!

Congratulations!  Be sure to send an email to christieleenix@gmail.com and give me your shipping address and whether you’d like dutch chocolate or vanilla bean flavored Juice Plus+ Complete!  For any of you who expressed an interest in Juice Plus+ Complete and would like to try it, I’m going to send a blender bottle to each of you who orders by January 10th!  To place your order, send me an email to the address above, or goto my website and place the order when it’s convenient for you.  If you’re in the Seattle/Tacoma area and want to host a Juice Plus+ Wellness Party with a some of your friends and family in January, I’ll give you a month supply of Juice Plus+ complete for hosting :)

Now, onto my FAVORITE pancake recipe….

The foundation of this recipe comes from the “Vegan Yum Yum“,but I added a few things along the way :)  This recipe is so good, it has turned me away from all other pancakes…You’ve been warned!  While yes, they’re called “slow rise”…I think “super simple” should be included in the title.

INGREDIENTS:

2 Cups All-Purpose Flour [I use spelt flour]

2 1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast [one packet]

1 tsp Salt

2 tsp Sugar

1 1/2 Cup soymilk [or other non-dairy..or dairy]

2 tbs Oil [I use grapeseed – good for the skin]

1 Ener-g Egg, prepared [1.5 tsp mixed with 2 Tbs water] – Ener-g is an egg replacement – but I won’t hold it against you if you decide to use real eggs :)

1/3 Cup soymilk [for thinning the next morning, if desired]

Optional

Any fruit you’d like to add to the pancakes – apples are my favorite!

Flaxseed – I add this to the mixture just before making pancakes

Sliced almonds – I add this the same time as the flaxseed.

DIRECTIONS

Whisk all the dry ingredients together until well combined.  Add the rest of the ingredients (except 1/3 cup of soymilk) and mix well.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.  Use batter anytime the next day.

Once you’re ready to make pancakes, remove the batter from the fridge and stir in up to 1/3 cup of soymilk to thin if needed/desired.  Let the batter sit out on the counter for 20-30 minutes.  Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat.  Spray with spray oil and wipe out the pan.

Using a 1/3 cup measure, begin making pancakes.  I added apple slices to the batter before it set.

Once the top is bubbly and the edges are set, check to make sure the bottom is brown.  Flip.  Cook on the other side for another few minutes until browned. Stack pancakes in a low oven to keep warm, serve with earth balance margarine and maple syrup.

Lastly, I want to send a shout out to two of my newest subscribers….

Tami Barber – Although we live in the same state….maybe 30 minutes away from each other….our fate brought us together on a beach in Hawaii.  Tami and her husband Ed are really……really….REALLY cool parents…they let their two boys Wyatt and Cody use the spare shower in the condo they were staying at, as an aquarium for all of the geckos and insects the boys were catching!  That is a vacation I’m assuming the boys will always remember!!!  Tami, GOD gave you boys because you’re strong enough to handle them :)

Laura Maxwell Breidinger – My beautiful, talented, and insanely smart cousin!  Laura just graduated from CMU and now is a PA.  Upon graduation, she also married Marcus, a great addition to our family!  For the longest time it seemed like I would never have cousins and then Laura came around and made family get togethers way more exciting!  A couple of years later, Laura’s sister Rachel came into the world and once she was old enough, we’d entertain ourselves by doing cheerleading stunts :)  The good ol’ days :)

None of you have mentioned it…but I might be taking on the “Julie and Julia” role without even realizing it….Yes, I’m posting another recipe from Terry Walters…This is from her new book, “Clean Start“.  Her books are amazing because she separates her recipes according to the season so if you follow her book, you won’t be eating produce out of season…therefore you’re saving some money at the grocery store…$8 for strawberries is ridiculous…and this is one of the very reasons people think eating vegan is expensive!  Please don’t buy produce out of season…I know the strawberries look way more tempting than the squash and parsnips, etc..but it won’t last forever…Hang in there with me this winter will ya?  I’m dying for summer produce too…but it’s for our own good…Did you see my last post?  It highlights some important winter vegetables that help prevent cancer.

Anyways…onto the casserole, which is super tasty…nice and sweet and it doesn’t leave you craving dessert after…win win!

INGREDIENTS

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled

6 parsnips, peeled

5 carrots, peeled

1 small yellow onion, sliced into wedges

10 pitted prunes, halved

1/2 cup unsweetened dried cherries

2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and julienned

1 cup orange juice

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup lime juice (1 lime)

1 teaspoon arrowroot powder

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg – I used the spice

Zest of 1 lemon

Sea Salt

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375 Degrees

Chop sweet potatoes, parsnips, and carrots into 1-inch chunks and place in 9×13-inch casserole.  Add onion, prunes, cherries, and ginger and toss to evenly distribute ingredients.

In separate bowl, combine orange juice, maple syrup, lime juice, arrowroot, nutmeg, lemon zest, and salt.  Whisk to combine ingredients and pour evenly over vegetables.

Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes.  Remove from oven, remove foil and baste.  Return uncovered casserole to oven and bake another 15 minutes.  Toss vegetables to recoat with thickening liquid and bake a final 15 minutes.  Remove from oven, toss vegetables again to recoat with sauce and serve.

VARIATIONS

One large butternut squash can be substituted for the sweet potatoes, parsnips, and carrots.  If you have leftovers, heat them in a pot with just enough vegetable stock to cover and lightly puree for a sweet root vegetable soup with a refreshing, tart finish.,

Tomorrow is the GIVEAWAYIf you haven’t left a comment on this post….go do it!  Time is running low to get in the running for a bag of Juice Plus+ Complete and a blender ball!  Tomorrow the winner is announced!

A big shout out to two new subscribers…

Kelly Garberson – A fellow Michigander…but we didn’t cross paths until North Carolina!  Kelly is out here in WA shivering her recent tan off from her 2nd honeymoon (same marriage)!  I like her style :)  It’s so nice to have a partner in crime to do things with while our hubbies are away.  She’s been a blessing to have to get through a deployment!  She’s also the friend who brought the Pronutrients to my attention….she’s a smart cookie, that Kelly :)

@dawningblu – Thanks so much for the subscription!  Don’t be afraid to say hello and let me know if there is anything you’d like me to post….I’m taking requests :)

 

 

Although I haven’t gone into great detail about why I became vegan, for me it was strictly based on health reasons.  I know a lot of vegans stand up against animal cruelty (which I agree is tragic), but it’s not the answer I give when someone asks me about my vegan lifestyle.  The reason I’m committed to being vegan is an insurance policy.  I don’t want to live a long life…..unless it’s a LONG and HEALTHY life.   There is plenty of research out there that supports the fact that fruits and vegetables do wonders for your health…and prevent cancer and other diseases!  So my insurance policy is, if I eat right, exercise, get plenty of sleep, and deal with stress the best way I can….then I’m doing everything I can to help prevent disease.  If I end up getting cancer or some other disease, then I know I’ve done my best and I’m at my healthiest going into whatever disease I may have.

I’m still learning a lot of things, but lately I’ve discovered a little cheat sheet that I got from a book called “Anti Cancer“.  Garlic seems to be the winner in the area of cancer prevention…and there is a lot of it in the soup I’m going to tell you about :)  While the majority of people are starting to think about their new year’s resolutions…maybe you can consider adding a few of these powerful little guys to your dinner table?

The following images focus on specific types of cancers…Notice how the level of prevention changes depending on the type of cancer…Prostate cancer has a pretty decent size army helping out :)

Now…onto the SOUP!  If you’ve tried my Chunky Winter Vegetable Soup, then you are well on your way to some anti-cancer goodness! This “Tuscan White Bean” soup has come from the same source as Chunky Winter Vegetable, Rebar a cookbook that’s not entirely for vegans but it has vegan suggestions for those of you who are afraid of taking the plunge into plant protein :)

It’s simple…it’s good…it’s anti cancer!  Just for the fun of it, I’m going to bold the anti-cancer ingredients that are listed in the above charts…and, I will say this…eating raw is the best way for you to get the most out of your fruits and vegetables…but having a hearty soup in the winter can also warm the soul…Gazpacho is great in the summer for that sort of thing :)

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups (480 mL) Cannellini Beans, soaked overnight – I cheated…using the canned kind.

10 cups (2.4 L) water…I used 8 cups for fear my water would boil over in my medium sized pot

4 bay leaves

1tbsp (15 mL) salt

1 tbsp (15 mL) minced rosemary

2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

8 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 tsp (1.2 mL) red chile flakes

4 ripe Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced – oops…I forgot to seed them

1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) cracked pepper

2 tbsp (30 mL) balsamic vinegar – which I always up the ante on :)

1 bunch of kale, or spinach

DIRECTIONS

1. Drain and rinse soaked beans and place them in a pot with bay leaves, 2 tsp rosemary and cold water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the beans are tender.  In the last 15 minutes of cooking, add 2 tsp salt to the beans.

2.  When the beans are tender, heat olive oil in a soup pot and add the onion, remaining 1 tsp salt and chili flakes.  Saute until the onions are lightly golden, then add the garlic and remaining rosemary.  Cook several minutes, then add the cooked beans and their cooking liquid.  Bring to a simmer, add the tomatoes and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

3.  Meanwhile, remove the stems from the kale, tear or roughly chop the leaves and rinse well in cold water.  Add the leaves to the soup and cook until wilted.  Season the soup to taste with balsamic vinegar, cracked pepper and more salt.  Garnish with fresh garden herbs if you like or add 1/2 cup orzo or other small pasta shapes for a thick and hearty minestrone-style soup.

Lastly, we’re in the last couple of days before the “Juice Plus+ Complete” GIVEAWAY!!!  Have you posted your comment here?  You should…because even if you’re a subscriber to the blog, your name will not be entered unless you comment…so…comment :)  And please please please feel free to share the giveaway with friends and family…I’m half-way to my goal of comments from 50 people….my comments in response to your comments do not count toward my goal…please help :)

Lastly, I’d like to thank my newest subscribers:

Sheri Ohly – We go back to Junior High!  Sheri has one of the kindest hearts..although we’re not as close as we used to be, I know that if I ever needed anything, Sheri would be a person I could truly count on.  She’s amazing.  A mother of 3 adorable girls…you should see the clothes she puts these cuties in!  Sheri also has a blog called “Designing Dreams on a Dime“…check it out!  The girl can work some magic!

Cherie Robbins – I hope to one day have a link you can click on for Cherie because her dream is to open a catering business with her best friend!  They do some small parties together complete with wine pairing.  Cherie’s background is interior design combined with a love for cooking she’s got the complete package.  If you’re in the Seattle/Tacoma area look her up to put together a killer party for you…She’s also a social butterfly…maybe she should also start a business doing tours around the state :)

Joanna Polk – A friend for life.  We’ve known each other since Hawaii, survived a 15 month deployment and an Earth Quake together with some other amazing girls while our hubbies were in Iraq.  The military separates friends too often, but you know you’ve got a keeper when you still visit each other in different states…and now countries!!! Jo and Greg are heading to Germany with their 2 kiddos!

 

My husband has such a sweet tooth for terrible food candy!  So when he takes it upon himself to steal one of my “Coconut Cranberry Pecan Balls” while I’m photographing…an instant reflex happens and the next thing I know, I’m slapping his hand like a parent  who’s child is sticking their finger into an uneaten birthday cake…and then I smile and embrace the fact that he’s going toward a healthier option :)

I guess you can say that the author of “Clean Food”, Terry Walters wins again…especially because not only is this recipe good….it’s REALLY easy!  So if your stressing over what to bring to the next Christmas party…look no further :)

Ingredients

1/4 cup shredded dried unsweetened coconut

1 1/2 cups toasted pecans

1 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup almond butter – I used peanut butter…both work just fine :)

1/2 cup maple syrup

Directions

Place coconut in small bowl and set aside.

In food processor, combine remaining ingredients and process to form a stiff paste or meal.  Form into tablespoon-size balls and roll in coconut to coat.  Serve immediately or store in airtight container for up to 4 days.

I really want to thank all of you for your comments and subscriptions!  I’m blown away…and encouraged…so THANK YOU!  And a big welcome to the blog to my newest subscribers:

Alison Crowe – A girl from Tennessee girl who’s as sweet as the south’s sweet tea!  This past October Alison and Steve picked me up in Nashville and took me to the best restaurant…it had a vegan menu!  Totally made my day YEAR!  Alison, I’m hoping we get to live near each other again…soon!

Shelly Watterson – she made her way on over to my blog via the grommom’s site.  Thanks for venturing out and subscribing Shelly!  Hope to learn more about you!

Shawna Bielman – another friend of the grommom and now a Juice Plus+ Distributor.  The last time I was in Hawaii, we did a Juice Plus+ facial that will at some point be shared on the blog.

Ann Wong – Another “only child” :)  Ann was one of Patton’s instructors.  We adore her!  Congrats on your engagement!  You’re going to be a stunning bride!

Nicole Drake – AKA as “PJ”…not sure if she’ll tell you why :)  Nicole came to Hawaii with me and some other gals for spring break…back in 2002???  Ever since then we’ve had some great laughs and got to be in each others weddings…AWH :)

Lara Olsha – This girl has a kickin’ sugaring studio in Seattle…NEVER again will I ever wax my eyebrows…sugaring is amazing…way better for your skin…maybe I can get Lara to be a guest blogger to talk about it when she has time….HA HA…she’s a busy girl:)  I fear for my eyebrows when I move away from Seattle, I don’t know who I’m going to turn to take control of my ever growing brows…Lara, you’ve created a monster!

Lauren Castro – A fellow military wife I met in Hawaii who just left me the sweetest message about my blog!  Lauren, YOU inspire me…military wife…mother of 2 – one being brand new, and a fitness instructor…while the hubby is deployed!  Bless you friend!  Keeping you and your hubby in my prayers and wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

@mlheitman…….I’m missing your name, but thrilled you’ve stopped by and took the time to subscribe!  If someone sent you, please name drop so I can thank them as well!

BROKEN RECORD TIME

Most of you know I set a goal to get 50 comments on my GIVEAWAY post….Please if you’ve subscribed and haven’t made a comment on the GIVEAWAY post, please do so I can put you in the running for some delicious Juice Plus+ Complete!  There are some Juice Plussers who’ve commented about what they’ve noticed….I haven’t bribed them to do this, they’re just doing exactly what I was doing for 4 years before I finally decided to be a distributor :)  The drawing will be held on Friday December 23rd…but there needs to be 50 comments from people…not including mine :)