March 27, 2012

New Age and Carrie Underwood

Now that I'm 26 (eek!) I've made a commitment to myself that this will be the year I get truly fit.

(And yes. I've said this every year for the past 10 years. But eventually it's got to stick, right?)

Now that I finally have eating habits right on track (what with being vegan and all), fitness/working out/not sitting around like a bump on a log is my next challenge to conquer.

I'm committed to myself to work out 4 days a week, 5 or 6 if I'm really doing what I need to do. Now that the weather is gorgeous, I have no excuse not to take a few laps around the neighborhood everyday.

 Why, why, why was I not born a California beach babe? Check out the workouts at  

And since Spring Break is, uh, two weeks away, I'm reduced to desperation attempting to get fit fast with the Drop 10 workouts from my newest issue of Self, which has newly vegan Carrie Underwood on the cover!

Can we new object of worship? 

Since Self also mentioned that you have, like, 120% better chance of exercising if you plan it out in advance, I'm going to give it a go for this week:

Monday: Zumba class OR elliptical for 20 min followed by Drop 10 strength moves
Tuesday: Drop 10 workout on stationary bike, probably followed by fainting/vomiting/maybe some crunches
Wednesday: Zumba or 3 mile outdoor walk followed by Drop 10 strength moves
Thursday: Pilates or Drop 10 workout on stationary bike
Friday: Aerobics/Toning class (as in, step aerobics circa 1982)

Weekend: Walking. 

Whew! If I'd started this back in January like I said I was going to, I'd probably be looking more like this right now:  
How do you make sure you get your workouts in?

March 16, 2012

Fashionable Friday: j.crew, Old Navy, and leather-free boat shoes!

The funny thing about teaching (well, ONE of the funny things about teaching) is that you have the time to travel but not any money. My spring break this year (still three weeks away and won't involve any exotic getaways, but that doesn't mean I can't dress for it, right?

I've lost 3 lbs in the last week (you read that right. 3.) and I'm so proud of myself that it might as well be 30. Losing weight while teaching is nearly impossible. I'm proud of myself that I've decided to prioritize my health and have been going to the gym even when I absolutely don't feel like it.

However, I still wish I looked like this...
Does this come in a "makes my A cup look like a C?" Didn't think so.
j. crew Ashbury floral top and bottoms, $48.00 each
...but I'm pretty sure you'd have to change my DNA, which apparently is a service that the local YMCA doesn't provide. Rude.

How amazing are these earring that I found on sale there as well? To. Die. For.

Sunburst Earrings $29.99

This was the first picture under their "weekend" wear. I totally look like this on the weekends. Just add some glasses, adult acne, and swap the entire outfit for non matching sweats and we're in business!
Unfortunately, those amazing leopard flats are calf-hair, which means this preppy vegan won't be wearing them. It did inspire me to set out on a search for some fun, spring-y shoes, though. Here's what I found at Old Navy:

Yellow and flat and non-leather? Oh my.
Old Navy Yellow Ballet Flats, $22.94
Looking for some non-leather boat shoes? Old Navy's the place!
Boat Shoes, $29.94
Happy shopping!

Creamy Asparagus Soup with Chili Croutons

I was super excited when my March 2012 issue of BH&G arrived a few weeks ago with an entire recipe section devoted to...asparagus. 

First reaction: Say wha?

Second reaction: I think I can work with this...

And work with it I did. Asparagus is super inexpensive right now, which is great for my teacher's salary, and veganizing made this dish a lot lighter. (Can we say: Spring Break body?) It also happens to taste amazing, though my kids gave me more weird looks than usual while I ate this in the lunch room.
Disclaimer: Tastes better than photo looks. I don't know what's wrong with me. 

Chili Croutons:
2 Tbsp non dairy margerine (like SmartBalance Light), melted
2 to 3 Tbsp Asian chili sauce, like Sriracha
1 medium whole wheat baguette, sliced diagonally into 1 in. slices

2 lbs asparagus, washed and cut into 2 in. pieces
Ice water, for blanching
2 Tbsp dairy free margerine
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp whole wheat flour
1 tsp. cumin
2 14.5 oz cans vegetable broth
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 Tbsp lemon juice

For croutons:
1. Turn on broiler.
2. In bowl, stir together melted margerine and chili sauce.
3. Brush each side of bread with chili-butter sauce. (Save any extra sauce for the asparagus.) Place slices on cookie sheet and broil for 2 minutes on each side. Set aside.

For soup:
1. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add asparagus, boiling for 2-5 minutes until a bright green color. Remove from heat. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer asparagus to ice water. Strain.
2. Toss asparagus with remaining chili butter sauce. Reserve 1/4 of the asparagus for later.
3. In a large pot, melt 2 Tbsp vegan margerine. Add onions, cooking 2-5 minutes or until soft.
4. Add flour and cumin, stirring to coat.
5. Slowly whisk in veggie broth. Add asparagus to pot and bring to a simmer.
6. Simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. Cook slightly.
7. Add almond milk, stirring throughly.
8. Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree soup in batches.
9. Top with remaining asparagus spears, stir in lemon juice and serve with chili croutons.

Makes 4 servings.

Cheers, ya'll!

March 13, 2012

Mmm...Mediterranean Pizza

These days, I don't pay many visits to family members without applying relentless and unceasing pressure suggesting for them to try eating vegan. (For best results, try serving them round after round of VEEV-itos or other drinks of similar alcoholic content. )

The verdict? So far, so good. (I mean, no one's told me to shut up. Yet.) This weekend, my aunt in Virginia Beach allowed me to drag her every which way in Farm Fresh as we stuffed her cart full of almond milk, vegan SmartBalance, and tons of fresh veggies.

I wanted to make her something for dinner that I knew would be a hit, so naturally I went! I wanted to show her how, with the right ingredients, typically non-vegan foods can be made even more delicious once you remove all those nasty animal products from them.

The verdict? "Divine," said the auntie.

I have to agree.

Mediterranean Pizza
1 pre-made pizza crust (read carefully to make sure it doesn't contain milk or cheese)
1 container sun-dried tomato hummus (or other flavor of your choosing)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small bunch asparagus, rinsed and chopped into 2 in pieces
1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup black olives, sliced

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Spread hummus over pizza crust, leaving 1 in border around the edges. (As in: don't spread hummus all the way to the edge. I'm sure you could figure it out.)
3. Sprinkle asparagus over hummus, followed by tomatoes, artichokes, and olives.
4. Carefully sprinkle garlic, making sure it's spread evenly so no one gets an unexpected mouthful.

Makes 4 servings, unless your like us and eat half the pizza each. Then it makes 2.

March 12, 2012

Drink of the Week: VEEV-itos

While in Virginia Beach this weekend, my aunt and I got to sample VEEV, a liqueur made from the "superfruit" Acai berry. Acai enthusiasts claim that the berry is one of the most nutritious foods in the world, having 57% more antioxidants than pomegranates.

 Basically, VEEV claims to be the only alcohol (I'm sorry: "distilled spirit") that has a ton of health benefits, including having 30 times more anthocyanins that red wine. (I looked up "anthocyanins" and the short definition is that they're antioxidants from the pigments of colorful fruit, i.e. grapes, acai, blueberries, etc.)

Nutrition facts aside: it tastes great! It's pretty sweet, but not sweet enough that I'd sip it on the rocks like the reps suggested. They also had it mixed up with mint and lime to make a mojito, which, for lack of a better phrase, was bangin'. My aunt and I like it so much that we bought a bottle, some all natural mojito mix (aka no artificial coloring or flavors-yuck) and desperately waited for the clock to hit 5:00 so we could start happy hour.

Ours didn't look quite this beautiful, but it didn't stop us. 
The verdict? Totally delicious, and now I can use science as a basis as to why drinking is good for me! (That's called a win-win.) Check out the VEEV website for more information on the superfruit liqueur, as well as recipes and where to find it.


March 8, 2012

VLL: Vegan Lilly Lover

A few weeks ago, I was finally eligible for a phone upgrade from my clunky, terrible Android. (Sorry Android. But if you were a boyfriend, you would totally be a scrub. You always deleted my contacts and sent texts to the wrong people, which made me terrified to talk crap about anyone. Not cool.)

So on my recent jaunt to Virginia Beach, I marched myself to the Sprint store and picked out a beautiful, shiny, sends-texts-to-the-right-person iPhone 4.

Yes, I realize everyone and their mother has had one of these for FOREVER. But as a teacher who had to save up for one on her own, and who's had other crappy Smartphones, this feels like a big accomplishment. (Yes, I'm slightly out of touch with reality. So sue me.)

Obviously, the first thing I did after downloading Words with Friends carefully reading the user's guide was force my cousin Royar to drive me down to the Lilly store where I coughed up $27 for my gorgeous Lilly case with card slots for my ID and credit card. (You know, since I hit up so many clubs in the boonies and need to be purse-free.)

The verdict? Worth every penny. I smile every time I see my gorgeous new phone with the beautiful cover. It's the little things, I tell ya. (Or the Lilly things....)

To keep the awesomeness rolling, my friend Mackenzie sent me an extra Lilly planner in the mail and it arrived today. I'm sort of ....looking forward to making my to-do list tomorrow. any extra Cassie dresses laying around, Mackenzie?


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