Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cold Turkey

When I decided to quit smoking I thought about all the different ways I could go about it. I have tried to quit smoking tons of times. I have tried the patch, chantix, cold turkey, and the LiveStrong app. I am sure people have had success with all of these methods, but I haven't. The patch and Chantix give me vivid dreams. Not necessarily scary, but vivid. Also, when using the patch the nicotine addiction is still there, and I don't feel that is helpful for me. The LiveStrong app is nice, you can track your cigarettes you smoke, and set a date to quit. Each time your smoke or have a craving you can track it and it gives you encouraging words, or facts about smoking. This might be a good method for some people, but I just didn't remember to track, or kept pushing my date out further.

Aaron and I both quit smoking a few weeks before our wedding in July. We both made it 5 days, and then for sake of our sanity I gave in. Two people going through nicotine withdrawals while planning a wedding is scary. And I didn't want Aaron to give up. So I refused to let him smoke, dealt with his bad attitude, and tried to stay away from him when I did smoke. Aaron still hasn't had a cigarette since that day we quit in July.

I have been smoking, and I really didn't want to quit. Yes, I know it's bad for me. Yes, I know they cause cancer. Yes, I know I smell bad. And yes, my teeth and breath are probably gross. I still didn't care. That was until little M had something to say about it....

He hated when I went outside to smoke. And the fact that my beautiful, innocent son knew what cigarettes were broke my heart. So I made him a pinky promise that I would quit smoking. That is a big deal for a 4 year old, and this mom.

I have been putting it off. And then 2 weeks ago I said I was going outside, and the sadness I saw in Aaron's eyes and the thoughts of that pinky promise as I sat on my front porch in the cold just broke me.

Cold turkey it was. I smoked my last cigarette while driving to the dentist on Wednesday November 7, 2012 at 6:45 am.

It has been 10 days and I have been mean, crabby, short tempered, I have slept at least 10 hours a night every single night, I have cried, I have eaten some of my feelings, drank chocolate shakes that normally would make me gag, and I would hate to be around me. Despite my mean words, and horrible attitude my husband has remained sweet and caring. He has driven to get me ice cream at random times, wiped my tears, sent me encouraging text messages, and has walked on egg shells to try and make it as easy as possible for me. (Yes, I am the luckiest woman alive.)

Today was a big day for me. I told little M that I quit smoking. 
I have stuck to the pinky promise for 10 days and I trusted myself enough to tell him I quit. Am I crabby today?...yes. Do I want a cigarette right now?....Heck yes. Did I cry out of frustration today?....yes, twice.
Did I love the look on my sons face when I told him I quit smoking?.....More than words can say.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My first blog entry! The bench is done!

Aaron has been doing all the blogging, but I have finished my bench now and I am ready for everyone to see it.

My Mom recently got married, and moved in with her now husband. She was getting rid of things, and finally let me have a bench I asked for about a year ago. This bench is probably 20 years old, and saw quite a bit of abuse from my sisters and I. I knew I wanted to use it at the end of our bed, but I didn't really have a plan. So I took it apart (with the help of Aaron) and sanded the legs.

Here is the bench...

Taken apart and sanded....

I painted it with a white spray primer. It actually took more paint than I thought it would.

Then I sprayed it with a white gloss paint to give it the shiny look.

This is after the gloss....

I searched the fabric at Hobby Lobby to find something that I thought would look good. I found about 4 different patterns and let Aaron choose. (We had a 40% off coupon!)

The fabric.....

Now when it came to the padding under the fabric I was having trouble finding what I wanted. Finally we ended up at Walmart and bought a foam pad that you use on a mattress. It was actually cheaper than the padding squares.

We cut the padding, and the fabric to fit, and stapled the fabric to the bottom of the bench. It was finally time to put the bench back together, which ended up being more difficult than we both planned.

Helpful husband :)

And here it is!!! For less than $30.00!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Making Cinnamon Soap!

Finally, I did it. I successfully made scented soap on my own! It was a lot easier than I thought. If you take a look at my previous posts, I decided to buy a 5 lb bag of soap base. All you need to do is melt it, and scent it. I'll take you through the process.


-1 lb Soap Base
-1 Tbsp Cinnamon

I measured out EXACTLY 1 lb of soap base. You don't know how many combinations of soap blocks I made, trying to get exactly 1 lb, but I did it.

Meanwhile, on the stove, I set up a double boiler so I could melt the soap.

Once the soap was melted, I added in the tablespoon of Cinnamon and stirred it until it was mixed in as much as possible.

Then I poured the soap into the mold and tried to make them as even as possible.... It didn't work out that well. I'm going to have to work on that...

Once the soap has cooled down and is solid, you can remove the soap from the mold. Below is the finished product! 

I've done some looking around, and a bar sells for 3-7 dollars online. Maybe I'll start selling them...

Taco Dip for the Wife

I make Emily taco dip....pretty much once a week. It's really not too difficult since we usually have cream cheese and sour cream in the fridge, and we also have an industrial sized bottle of taco seasoning.


-8oz Package of Cream Cheese
-8oz Sour Cream
-Taco Seasoning to Taste


First i leave the cream cheese out on the counter for 15 minutes to soften up a little bit, then place the cream cheese and sour cream in a bowl to mix with an electric hand mixer. Once it has been mixed well, I usually add around 1/4 to 1/3 cup of taco seasoning and mix again with the hand mixer. It's that easy.

I've made Emily taco dip probably 15 times, and we still have seasoning left. I got the taco seasoning from Sam's Club, and it was around $5. I think packets at the store are between $1 and $1.50, So I've saved at least $10 so far by buying the large container!

Vegan Gluten-Free Fries/Potato Wedges

I've made these A LOT, they're simple enough to prepare within the amount of time that it takes for the oven to preheat, and they are delicious!


-3 Russet Potatoes
-1 Tbsp Corn Starch
-1 1/2 Tsp Seasoned Salt
-1/2 Tsp any other seasoning you would like
1-2 Tbsp Canola Oil or Olive Oil

Start out with preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Then peel the potatoes and cut in half, cut the halves in half the long way, then cut at an angle, making them wedges. Place the wedges into a ziplock bag and add the dry ingredients. 

Shake vigorously ensuring that all wedges are covered. Add the oil to the bag, reseal, and shake again.

Take a cookie sheet and lay down a layer of parchment paper on it. The parchment paper keeps the wedges from sticking. Lay the wedges out individually with a little space in-between. I stick to 3 potatoes because I know that I can safely fit 3 potatoes worth of wedges on one cookie sheet.

Place the wedges in the oven for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes, turn the wedges over and bake for another 15 minutes.

When you remove them from the oven after 30 minutes of baking, they should look something like this!

My favorite condiments for these are sriracha hot sauce mixed with ketchup, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

5 Ingredient Whole Wheat Vegan Bread

This is my favorite bread to make. It's easy, cheap, you don't have to touch the dough with your hands, and it makes your house smell awesome, and there are only 5 ingredients!!!!


-3 1/2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
-1 1/2 Tsp Salt
-1 Tbsp Yeast
-2 Tbsp Agave Nectar
-2 Cups Water


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Microwave 2 cups of water for 2 minutes and leave aside. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and wisk together. Be sure not to skip the wisking, if you don't wisk, the bread won't rise fully.

Once you are done wisking, add the water and agave nectar and stir until combined, feel free to add more water to reach a loose consistency as seen below.

Cover the bowl with a towel and leave it alone for about an hour.

After the hour, your dough should look like this!

Spray the inside of your bread pan with cooking spray, quite generously. Mix the bread dough again to get the air out of it, it should only take 30 seconds of stirring to achieve this. When you are scraping the dough out of the bowl into the pan, I've found it is best to spray the spatula with cooking spray as well so the dough doesn't stick to the spatula.

Once you have the dough in the pan, it is best to spray the top of the dough, then cover the pan in plastic wrap so when the dough rises, it doesn't stick to the plastic wrap!

After your dough rises and pushes on the plastic a bit (takes about an hour) remove the plastic and bake for 40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and place on the counter for 10 minutes to allow it to cool down before taking it out of the pan.

There you have it! 5 ingredients, a little patience, and a couple of hours and you have fresh, delicious whole wheat vegan bread!

Friday, November 9, 2012

500 views in less than a week!

Thank you to all of you who have been checking out the blog, I can't believe that it has been viewed 500 times in less than a week! Hopefully it's not just my mom checking it 500 times herself!

Thank you all, this is inspring me to keep going. It took a long time for me to get started, but I'm glad I did. Keep checking back, I'll be posting more of my favorite vegan recipes as I make and document them!

The Best Tasting, Worst Looking, Superfood Juice for Running

Ok, so that was a lot to fit in a title, sorry about that, but when you see the pictures of this juice, I'm not going to lie, it doesn't look pretty, but it is delicious. I have 4 favorite super-foods, and this juice contains 3 of them. Here is everything that is in the juice.


-Chia Seeds
-Goji Berries
-Hemp Protein Powder
-Bragg Organic Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
-Apple Juice

I put in half a cup of each of the super-foods  3 tbsp apple cider vinegar, and then fill the rest of the juice, then stir. Try to make this about 12 hours before you are going to drink it since it takes a bit for the Goji Berries and Chia Seeds to plump up! The Chia Seeds you do not need to chew, you can just swallow them, but the Goji Berries you need to chew. You can leave them out if you don't want to chew your juice, but I like it!

Also, you will need to stir the juice each time before you drink it since the Hemp Powder and Chia Seeds end up settling on the bottom. 

Here are the links to the super-foods  Take a look at the following links, there is way too much packed into all of these foods for me to be able to explain them all.

If I am going to go for a run in the morning, I will drink a couple glasses at night before bed, otherwise I drink a glass or two, two to three hours before running during the day. Believe it or not, it just tastes like apple juice! The Hemp Powder and Chia Seeds have no taste, the Goji Berries have a sweet flavor, and the Apple Cider Vinegar is diluted and gives it a stronger apple flavor. It's packed with a lot of nutrients that you need to keep running, literally!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Vegan Chocolate Banana Post Work-Out Recovery Shake

My workouts consist mainly of jogging/running. I drink a lot of water throughout the day before I work out, then I drink one of these shakes after I'm done. By the time I'm finished with it, I feel like I'm ready to work out again! It's a great source of Omega-3's, fiber, and protein!


1 Cut up Frozen Banana
1 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
1 Tbsp Agave Nectar
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
2 Cups Soymilk
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
2 Tbsp Hemp Powder
1 Tbsp Cacao Nibs (Not Pictured)


You will want to make sure that you cut up the banana at least a few hours before you intend to make the shake. Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.

I don't think I could function without it. Regular protein shakes with dairy in it are harsh on me, especially on an empty stomach after a work out. My body doesn't have any negative reactions to this. Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Gluten-Free Vegan Tortilla Recipe FAIL... Well, sort of.

Ok, so I feel really making mexican food, and I am eating a delicious flour tortilla, and my wife has to suffer with corn tortillas. :( I want to make some gluten-free tortillas so she doesn't have to eat corn tortillas. Here are the ingredients that I used, I figured it shouldn't be too far off from making regular tortillas.

2 cups gluten-free flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup soy milk
3 tbsp canola oil

oil for cooking tortillas in skillet

I mixed all the ingredients together well.

I let the dough sit for an hour, covered.

Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. (kind of, I'm really bad with eyeing things up like that)

Heated up my skillet on medium heat with canola oil and placed one ball of dough at a time in the pan and flattened with a spatula since it was too sticky to roll out. They turned out ok, and they are usable, but there has to be a better way. I'm thinking of trying a different type of gluten-free all purpose flour. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Gluten-Free Vegan Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Currently, I am not Vegan, but I did have a period of 7 months earlier this year where I followed a Vegan diet, just to see if I could do it. Now, if there is a way for me to make something without animal products, and it's not too much of a hassle, I will do it.

You will find a Gluten-Free Vegan pie crust recipe here. This recipe is just for the filling. If you are making your own crust, I suggest that you take a look at the pie crust recipe first!


-1 15oz can of pumpkin puree
-1 cup soymilk
-3/4 cup sugar
-4 tbsp corn starch
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1/2 tsp ground ginger
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp ground cloves
-1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

(I had to crush up the whole cloves myself, that is the brown powder in front)


Preheat the oven right away to 350 degrees, this wont take long. Mix all of the ingredients together until combined well. Pour into your unbaked pie shell.

Bake your pie for 60 minutes. When you take it out of the oven, it will seem runny, but actually thickens while it cools down. Just be sure not to cut into it before it cools down over the next couple hours.

There you have it, a Gluten-Free Vegan Pumpkin Pie! I bet if you brought this to your family's Thanksgiving, they wouldn't know it is Gluten-Free or Vegan!

Gluten-Free Vegan Pie Crust Recipe

This is the first time that I have ever made a gluten-free pie crust. I wanted to give it a try since Emily has a gluten intolerance, and Thanksgiving is coming up quickly!!!! It turned out really well, and you only need 4 ingredients, I took a picture of the ingredients before I realized I needed to add sugar.


-1/2 cup vegetable shortening
-1 tsp salt
-1 1/2 cups gluten-free all purpose flour
-2 tbsp white sugar
-1/2 cup water

Mix together the first four ingredients with a fork until the shortening and other ingredients get clumpy, then add the water and mix until it is completely combined.

I tried rolling the dough out, but it is very fragile, and kept breaking when I tried to get it to the pie pan.

I ended up balling up the dough, putting it in the pan, and forming it in there. I wrapped my hand in plastic wrap so it wouldn't stick to my hand while I formed it.

Now you have your pie crust, in the pan, ready for you to fill and bake! If you are looking for a Gluten-Free Vegan pie to make, try my pumpkin pie recipe!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Our Hobbies, Brought to you by Coupons, and Hobby Lobby

Emily and I both have hobbies believe it or not. I think that Hobby Lobby is a great place to find unique things that you can't find elsewhere, even though a lot of it is overpriced. That is where the Hobby Lobby 40% off coupon comes in handy. We saved about $15 dollars because of that coupon today, and it is something that they do on a weekly basis. Every week they offer the same coupon.

We made 2 separate transactions since you can only use it on one item per person per transaction per day. I have the Hobby Lobby app on my iPhone, so I sent Emily the coupon.

Emily bought a fabric that she will be using on her project, which I'm sure she would love to tell you about in the next few days as she works on it. I'm not going to ruin her fun! But I get the fun of saying that she saved $7 by using her coupon!

I finally bought the soap base I wanted, and a basic mold. We didn't feel like going to Wal-Mart to get the other ingredients for the laundry detergent, so that will have to wait until tomorrow. The soap base was $20, and I saved $8 by using the 40% off coupon. I LOVE SAVING MONEY!

After saving money so easily, I want to stand by the check out and make sure that everyone is using this coupon, it's just silly if you don't!

Parchment Paper in the Kitchen

Parchment paper is one of the most useful things in the kitchen. You can use it for baking, practically nothing will stick to it, and you don't need to use cooking spray.

Another use I have for it is handling sticky stuff like bread dough, or black bean burgers. It also comes in handy when I freeze the black bean burgers since I can form the patties, and freeze them without having them stick to my hands or the ziplock back I put them in. I will blog about those items when I make them next, and hopefully you won't be disappointed!

Parchment paper is very handy, and can be pretty expensive. The place I have found it cheapest is at Sam's Club, you get about triple the parchment paper for the same price as other stores!

Making a Trip to Hobby Lobby Tonight!

Tonight Emily and I are making a trip to Hobby Lobby to get started on my soap making, and laundry soap making aspirations.

There are a few different routes that I could go with soap making.

1. Actually make the soap myself from scratch(which can be dangerous from what I have read).
2. Buy a soap base(soap that is already made, unscented and cloudy white), melt it to scent it and color it, then pour into whatever soap mold I want to solidify.

I am planning on option number two. The reason for this is that you can get a 5 lb package from Hobby lobby for $20. They also have a 40% off coupon every week, which will bring the cost of 5 lbs of soap down to $12. A regular bar of soap that you would buy from a store is between 3oz and 5oz(I'm talking about Dial or Irish Spring). That means that you get the equivalent of 16-26 bars of soap for $12, plus you can scent and color the soap yourself.

Come to find out, you can use spices like cinnamon and rosemary to scent and color the soap, so I think I will try that out before I try essential oils. I have also read that you can use powdered orange peel too! That means Emily will need to put up with me saving my orange peels and putting them in the dehydrator!

The other reason for going with the soap base is that I can use it in laundry detergent. The appeal there is that it is unscented, and relatively cheap. All you need to do is finely grate the soap, mix it with 20 Mule Team Borax, and Church and Dwight Washing Soda. Then when you do a load of laundry, you only need to use 1-2 tbsp per load.

One pound of soap, one box of Borax, and one box of Washing Soda should supposedly last a year. I'll be sure to make a post about the process of mixing and using the detergent, as well as the actual cost of making the detergent.

I read an article about a cancer causing agent that is in my favorite laundry detergent, and that motivated me to get this done tonight.,0,2213594.story

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Homemade Instant Oatmeal

When I get to work in the morning, I fill up my water bottle, and make myself a bowl of oatmeal to take to my desk. I've been doing this for about a month, and I have seen a lot of recipes that are more complicated than they need to be.

To maximize my savings, I bought a 10 lb package of oats from Sam's Club. If you are unsure if you will use all 10 lbs, you may want to just start out with a smaller container of oats.

You only need 3 ingredients. 

-Quaker Oats
-Brown Sugar

I don't really measure when I make a batch of oatmeal, but for you, I measured... Somewhat.

I use the Magic Bullet to blend the oats to a powder, and you can do this with as much of the oats as you want. I usually do 2 bullets to prepare for the week.

I put the powdered oats into a bowl and then distribute them into Ziplock sandwich bags, putting 1/3 of a cup in each bag, followed by 1 Tablespoon of Brown Sugar, and finally 1/8th tsp of Cinnamon.

And there you have it, your own instant oatmeal! I'm not sure about you, but I feel better about eating things when I know what is in it. Also, it is ridiculously cheap to buy the ingredients, and is a cost saver compared to buying the packets of instant oatmeal.