Sunday, January 29, 2012

Short, but Sweet!

   Hi everyone!  I've totally been neglecting my little blog and I'm so sorry about that!  I've been really busy but I couldn't stay away any longer!  So this will be a quick post... here goes:
   "How is school?", you ask.
Well, I've been studying like crazy for my first exam!  Let's face it, I want to be the BEST Holistic Health Coach I can possibly be, so my head will be in the books for a while!
   "What have I been cooking?", you ask.
Well, nothing really!  I know, I know.  But I haven't had any time!   I will say though, that I have been obsessed with the chocolate shake from my last post.  I've been making it a lot and I am totally in love with it.  If you haven't made it yet, you really should!
   "Have I moved yet?", you ask.
Almost!  I got the keys on the weekend and I've been in and out of there cleaning everything I can get my hands on!  Yes, it's empty... but, I still want to give it a thorough cleaning before my stuff goes in!  I really love my little corner of the world. :)
This week I'll be painting some of the rooms and slowly moving some of the little things.  This coming weekend we'll be moving the big furniture in and I should be settled by Sunday! Yikes! 
   "What have I been watching?", you ask.
Well, lots of stuff actually.  But most recently I got my hands on a movie called Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days.  It's a really great movie and very informative.  I highly recommend it to anyone interested in a Raw lifestyle but also if your just interested in eating more whole foods.  I think I may have been a bit "misty-eyed" while watching the movie but that's because my step-dad is diabetic.  So, it's a little personal.
Check out the Trailer:

   Anyway, I'm hoping that by the end of this week things will go back to normal.  Well, as normal as they can possibly go with all of the changes that are happening!  *deep breaths*
Here's hoping that you've all had a relaxing and stress free weekend!

Ves xx

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Shake, Shake, Shake Señora!

   Today I had a massive craving for a Chocolate Milkshake.  It came out of nowhere and I couldn't think of anything else!  I'm trying to do my homework and every few minutes visions of a thick chocolate shake flood my mind.  What's a girl to do?  Make one of course!  I should confess though, that I was never really a huge milkshake kind of a gal.  I had one occasionally (like once a year) and usually I would get strawberry.  So I'm not really sure where this sudden need for a milkshake came from?  I should also tell you that a couple of hours earlier I had a MASSIVE craving for Eggs Benedict.  However, I have no tofu in the house and it's WAY too cold for me to even consider going out to the store so, I didn't cave in to that craving.  (I'm also still in my pj's!) I usually get these funky food cravings after a night out, so I guess it was to be expected.  I ate a simple leafy green salad for lunch in case I got any other weird, unhealthy cravings I could at least feel good about that choice!
   Anyway, back to the shake.  Let me start by telling you that this shake, which tastes so decadent, is actually super healthy too!  I love when I can get a chocolate fix and not worry about my waist line!  Who am I kidding?  I would eat the chocolate regardless of what it would do to my waist line!  But I don't have to anymore.

  On to the recipe.

   The banana adds a creamy texture while the dates give this shake it's sweetness.  It's so chocolatey and yummy, you have to make this ASAP! 

Chocolate Macashake
serves 1
1 frozen banana 
2 dates, pitted
1 1/2 tbsp RAW Cacao powder
1 tbsp Maca Powder
1/2 cup Almond milk
dash of cinnamon
pinch of sea salt

Put all the ingredients into your blender and process until smooth.  Pour into a glass add a straw and enjoy!  *You can definitely add more milk if you think it's too thick.  I wanted mine to be super thick - and it was! 

   On another note; I'm still missing my Bella but, the chocolate shake has definitely helped put me in a happier mood. 

Peace, love and chocolate!
Ves xx 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Bella, So Beautiful

   This is a dedicated post to my sweet and beautiful cat, Bella.
      Many people who have pets consider them a member of their family, or even their fur children.  I'm one of them.  But Bella was different.  She wasn't really my fur child because she was always so 'grown-up'.  Even when we first got her.  I was almost 15 years old when my mom brought home this little kitty in a box.  What a scraggly little thing!  She was a rescued alley cat who, at 15 months, had already had a litter of babies (a litter of kittens?).

   Anyway, trying to come up for a name for my very first cat was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be.  We came up with a lot of the usual names like, Precious, Fluffy, Princess... and none of them suited her.  At some point, one of us blurted out 'Bella', which totally stuck.  And thankfully so.  Because initially, Bella was not a beautiful cat.  I wasn't kidding when I said she was a scraggly alley cat.  We got her right after she was fixed AND de-clawed <---- (which, by the way, I do not agree with (the de-clawing part) - she came that way).  Over the years, Bella became such a beautiful cat.  And somehow, also ended up becoming a kind of matriarch in the family.  This tiny pip-squeak who used to climb up our artificial Christmas Tree (no claws, people!) until she put a hole in the middle of it from sitting on the branches, became the 'boss'.  She came into our lives at a time when we really needed her.  Or at least my mom and I did.  I don't think my brother would ever admit to needing a cat... my sister might, though.

  There has never been a cat like my Bella, nor will there ever be.  If you were sad, or upset, or angry, Bella sensed it and would approach you to see if you were okay.  If my sister and I were having a screaming match (all the time when we were teenagers!), Bella would come right up to me and 'meow' - if I was sitting, she would jump in my lap.  She hated when we fought.  One time, my mom was home alone and feeling a bit sad over something.  Bella totally sensed it and cozied up to my mom to comfort her.  In the early years this was not typical Bella behavior.  She was not a lap cat no matter how much I wanted her to be.  If I picked her up she would do her best to wriggle out of my arms.  If I put her in my lap she would immediately jump out.  If I started to pat her she would walk away.  This is the cat I'm dedicating my post to! Ha.  As she got a bit older she started to change her snobbish ways and became the sweetest cat on the planet.  Don't worry, I loved her like crazy when she was a snob, too.

   Bella was also like the dog I never had.  I have a dog now, and she is nothing like Bella.  Bella always greeted me when I got home from school, and then later in life, when I got home from work.  I was locked out all the time when we were teenagers and Bella used to sit and watch me from the inside while I sat on the porch waiting for someone to get home.  Sometimes I used to imagine Bella unlocking the door for me, but unfortunately (for me), that never happened! Ha.  This cat followed me around everywhere.  In her defense, I followed her around everywhere when we first got her.  I'd never had a cat before so I didn't know what it was like.  When Bella would head down to the basement and hide under the stairs, I would go too, crawling through cobwebs to 'rescue' her.  I didn't know it was normal for cats to hide and get used to a new environment!  I just wanted to be able to see her at all times.  And I wanted her to hurry up and love me like I already loved her! Ha.  In the early days, that poor cat was probably wishing she was never rescued!  And it didn't help that my mom was just as annoying as I was- carrying Bella to her food, water and littler box just to make sure that Bella knew where they were!   What a couple of fools we were but, I wouldn't have done it any other way.  We've rescued other cats as well, but we were never as annoying as we were with Bella in the early years!

   I could write all day about her and not even scratch the surface about the wonder that was Bella.  She was THE BEST mouse catcher of any cat I've ever known even though she had no claws!  This cat has been through A LOT.  She overcame diabetes, complications from diabetes, pancreatitis, eye infections - you name it!  If cats have 9 lives then Bella's had like 20!  She was such a fighter and a total trooper.  I've had to give her needles, pills, eye drops, and she still loved me in spite of it all!  She was amazing with little children, put the other animals in their place, and converted cat-haters into cat-lovers.  The two of us couldn't be separated for more than a couple of days - and if we were, I would ask to talk to her on the phone.  No joke.  When I went away for a couple of months to California, Bella became depressed.  For the first couple of weeks she would run to the door any time someone came in, hoping it was me.  After a while she would go hide out in my room.  Back in California, I would have visions of her sitting next to me on the couch.  Talk about separation anxiety!  Needless to say, we had a major reunion when I finally came home.  I never went away for long periods of time after that!

   Sadly, after living 17 glorious years, I said good-bye to Bella on Thursday.  She was one in a million and I'm going to miss her like crazy.

Bella 1994 - 2012 

This one's for you Bella: 

Ves xx

Thursday, January 05, 2012

"Do You Get to Open Presents?"

I'm dreaming of a White Christmas (tree!)
    So I've just made a connection between veganism and religion.  "Huh?", you say.  Okay, before you freak out, just hear me out for a sec.  Being vegan is kind of like being Serbian Orthodox.  No one really knows what's going on but, they are so concerned with what you can and can't do (or eat, for that matter).  Well, my family happens to be Serbian Orthodox, which means we celebrate Christmas on January 7th... which means that Christmas Eve is tomorrow!  Eek!!
   It's funny but people who have known me for years are still asking me questions like, "do you guys do a big dinner"?  "Do you open gifts"?  Um... it's the same thing just a different date!!  Of course we have a huge dinner (both nights!) and open gifts (duh!) and have family over (hello!).  Imagine.  A holiday without food and family?  Who would do such a thing?  Okay, I know what you're thinking: SARCASM OVERLOAD.  It's been that kind of day, though.  Did I mention that these people KNOW me?  I thought so.
   Anyway, in all seriousness, I can't wait for tomorrow and Saturday.  This is my first Christmas as a vegan, but really, I never ate much of the meat anyway (my family roasts a whole pig for Christmas dinner).  But, I LOVE cabbage rolls and you better believe that I'll be veganizing them this year!  I can't wait to see (taste) how they turn out!  I'll share the recipe with you after I taste test and make sure that they are awesome!  In the meantime, here is another recipe...
   Last week I promised you guys the recipe to my semi-raw Beehive Cookies.  Here it is:

Beehive Cookies
For the base:
1⁄2 cup pecans 
1⁄2 cup almonds (soaked)
1⁄2 cup coconut (shredded)
1⁄4 cup raw cacao powder
1 tsp sea salt to taste
1 cup medjool dates (this amount is approximate.)

Place the pecans and almonds into the food processor and grind until broken down. Add in the coconut, salt, and cacao powder and process again.  Add dates slowly until your mixture starts to stick together. You should be able to form balls in the palm of your hand.

For the Lemon Kream Filling:
1 cup cashews (soaked for 2 hours or overnight)
1 – 2 juice of lemon
2 Tbsp Agave Nectar
1/4 - 1⁄2 cup water

Blend in a high speed blender until smooth.

1-2 wafer sheets

*If you have the beehive molds; roll the base into a walnut sized ball, mold it into the beehive shell, fill it with a small amount of cashew kream, and seal it with a wafer sheet.

**If you DON'T have the beehive molds, fear not!  You can still enjoy these cookies!  Simply roll them into bite-size balls and drizzle with some cashew kream.
Roll them into balls and then flatten them into cookie rounds.  Ice them with the lemon kream and enjoy, or keep them in the freezer until you are ready to eat them.  The possibilities are endless, so have fun!

Have a great weekend, and Merry Christmas to everyone who is celebrating this weekend!
Ves xx

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year!!

   I just wanted to take a moment to wish you all a Happy New Year!  This morning while I was driving home with some friends (after a fabulous night out), we each took the time to reflect on our highs and lows this past year.  Here are some of mine:
I became a vegan,
started a blog,
became a Godmother(!),
took a huge leap and began a nutrition course,
got an apartment (gulp!),
joined a boot camp (and liked it!),
...and so much more!
   This year had so many ups and certainly some downs as well.  Most notably when my step-dad had open heart surgery; that was a very scary time for all of us.  Thankfully, the surgery went well and he is on his way to healing and making healthier food choices!
   If you haven't taken some time to reflect on 2011, take a moment now to do so.  You'll be glad you did.  Oh, and I don't make resolutions for the New Year but I do like to set some goals for the year ahead.  I'm so excited for 2012 and have so many things that I'd like to accomplish.  I plan to make a vision board as well, to help keep my goals in sight.  Here are some of my goals:
Blog more,
take myself less seriously,
practice yoga,
get a clear vision for my Health Counseling career,
hug my nephews even more than I already do,
laugh more than I already do,
make more time for friends and family,
read more,
haul my tush to California,
find time to relax,
don't feel guilty for relaxing(!),
and so much more!!
   I think this year will be the first in a long time that one of my goals is NOT to "go to the gym more"!  Ha.  You don't know how good that feels (or maybe you do?)!

  Anyway, I'm off to eat my version of a Hoppin' John Salad.  Apparently it's good luck to eat black-eyed peas on New Years day, so that's what's for dinner!

May 2012 bring you all heaps of good health and happiness!
Ves xxx
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