The world didn’t end! I’m still getting married!

Well it looks like the world did NOT come to an end after all, which is good news. I was going to be super mad if the world ended before I got to marry the love of my life. Not to mention I would have cleaned 20 spin bikes for nothing.
I did suggest to my fiance that we get married yesterday, you know, just in case the world was going to end. He said we were going to be fine because it was already 12/21 in other parts of the world.
It was just a thought πŸ™‚
To be honest, an unplanned, spantaneous wedding sounds pretty nice to me. Sometimes, for me anyway, the more time and effort I have to put in to planning something the less enjoyable it becomes. I am motivated by FUN, so planning and spending lots of money greatly decrease my happiness factor. I can pretty much only handle finding a dress…everything else overwhelms me. Flowers, no way. Decorations, definitely not happening. Cake: HAPPENING!
Did you know that it is super easy to get married in Utah? You can apply for your marriage license and get married in the same day…in the same place even if you want something really fast and easy. It’s only $30 for a marriage license and all you need is a drivers license and a social security card (unless you don’t have one, then you don’t even need that). Then you can get married right then and there for another $30! To me, that’s a double win because a) you didn’t have to prepare AT ALL, and b) you are out the door for $60. Sure it’s probably not the most romantic place in the world, but if you are with the right person Costco is a romantic place, am I right? If Costco had a wedding chapel I would DEFINITELY get married there. They should look in to that.

Anywho, I don’t have any useful information to share today because I am writing this from the airport on my way to Costa Rica!

My mom and dad are at my house taking care of Lilly so I know Lilly will be the happiest dog on the planet because her grandma gives her lots of snuggles. πŸ™‚

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Have a happy and wonderful holiday break!

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Cilantro Lime Dressing

Well the cookies and sweets continue to roll in to work and I continue to be extremely bad at turning down cookies and sweets.

It makes me really look forward to my nightly salad. I can feel the vegetables un-doing the badness, haha!

I absolutely love this cilantro lime dressing from Stonewall Kitchen but I can’t usually find it in Salt Lake so I decided to make my own version. It’s pretty good but not quite as good as the real stuff. They put cilantro oil in their dressing and I have no idea where to get cilantro oil so I just throw some fresh cilantro in my salad and call it good! I used hemp oil as one of my oils because hemp oil is loaded with omega 3-6-9’s and those are hard for a vegan to come by. So hemp oil is good. I also used grapeseed oil because it has a very mild flavor and is a good oil to use in salad dressings. But if you don’t want to go searching for weird oils I’m sure olive oil would work fine.

Cilantro Lime Dressing

1/2 cup grapeseed oil (or olive oil)
1/4 cup hemp oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons dried cilantro

Place all ingredients in an old salad dressing bottle (cleaned of course) and shake. Store in the fridge and shake before using.

My favorite salad these days is:
Black beans
Brown rice
Guacamole
Mixed greens
Cilantro lime dressing

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I dog shamed my dog again too. We had a few really cold days here in Salt Lake and Lilly really doesn’t like to go outside when it’s cold. This dog has a bladder of steel I tell you. I’ve never really tested her limits but it’s upwards of 13-14 hours.

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Have a wonderful weekend!

A Whole Lotta Nothin’

I feel bad. I don’t have any new workouts or recipes to post today. I’m sorry. 😦 So instead I’m going to fill the page with absolutely useless information about my life. Again, I’m sorry.

First up. Trader Joe’s opened their first store in Utah last weekend, so exciting! I went twice during opening weekend because I am crazy like that. When I lived in Los Angeles I shopped at Trader Joe’s frequently so it was fun to be reunited with some of their products. Of course, when I lived in Los Angeles I had not yet adopted the plant based diet so most of the food I bought from Trader Joe’s was basically junk food. I did get a HUGE pack of fresh basil for $2.50 though which I used in a Red Curry and the to make the Tomato Pesto Pasta. Mega Yum. My favorite snack these days is hummus, but instead of dipping chips in it, I use sliced cucumbers. It’s quite delightful. And my go-to breakfast continues to be the “Thin Mint Protein Shake”.

Second up. I have been dealing with a nagging ankle injury since last FEBRUARY. About 2 weeks ago I got an injection in my ankle and apparently the tendon that got the medicine is very close to a vein and the vein got very angry about this medicine being injected there. So for the past two weeks walking and standing have been very painful and I haven’t been able to work out much. It’s feeling better today though. I feel like a big whiner for writing that whole last paragraph. Yuck.

Third up. I’m getting my hair done next weekend and I’m going to go darker. That was a completely mind blowing sentence, I know.

Fourth up. 2 weeks from today I will be in Costa Rica with my fiancΓ©! Woot woot!! My Mom and Dad are going to come and stay with Lilly so she doesn’t have to go a dog hotel. They are the best dog grandparents EVER! Thank you Mom and Dad! Lilly will have the best Christmas ever, I’m certain. This trip is huge for me because I haven’t done much traveling outside of the U.S. I went to France with my French class when I was 16 and I’ve been to Canada a couple times but that’s it. The man I’m marrying on the other hand has traveled the world. He has seriously been everywhere. He has never been to Costa Rica though so this will be a first for both of us.

Wedding update. Not much to update on. We still don’t know when we will get married but aiming for this summer. We did go ring shopping for man rings over the weekend which was really fun. πŸ™‚

And now for what everyone really cares about: Lilly!

Lilly was making this ugly face the other day.

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So I decided to “dog shame” her. My friend Ari introduced me to Dog Shaming. If you haven’t seen it, google it!

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Poor Lilly. She does have B.O.
And may I just say, I don’t place that stuffed animal next to her, she just always sleeps next to it so it’s in every picture!

Come January 1st-It’s ON

There’s nothing like eating really bad to make you want to eat really good, am I right?

Tis the season for over indulging.

I OD’d on sugar cookies today. And pasta. I know, I’m so so so naughty. But I enjoyed every minute of that frosting covered goodness!!

As the day went on I felt less and less like eating anything healthy. By dinner time my usual salad didn’t even sound good. I just wanted more sugar cookies. But I ate my salad anyway.

Le sigh.

So I have officially decided, come January 1 I am starting a cleanse! And I’m hoping others will do it with me! Even if it’s just a little tiny attempt, like cutting soda out for a week. Or maybe cutting all sugar out. That’s the beauty of the cleanse, you just do what you can and every positive change is a positive change. But if you’ve been considering a cleanse, this is a great time!

The cleanse I’m talking about is this one here. I’ll discuss it more later but pretty much it’s 3 weeks (more or less if you want) without dairy, meat, cheese (any animal product actually), sugar, alcohol, caffeine (I won’t give that up I’m telling you now) and gluten. But if there is something you don’t want to give up, then don’t give it up. I don’t see the point in quitting caffeine for 3 weeks if I’m just going to start drinking it again. Anyway, we shall discuss this more next week but that’s the basics.

That doesn’t give us a free pass to eat everything in sight for the next three weeks though. I know there are parties galore going on and chocolate around every corner. That’s a tough battle. Just do your best, hang in there and January 1st we are going to cleanse!

Ok, now Lilly time. Honestly, Lilly hasn’t done anything interesting lately. This is what she is doing right now. She kind of perked up when she saw me stand up (I could be going to the kitchen to get her a treat!) but by the time I got my phone out she had already started to fall asleep again.

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And that is no different than what she is always doing. Well, actually she cries a lot. She get’s a treat every night and I try to wait until 9pm to give it to her or else she forgets she had it and begs for another one. But she asks earlier and earlier every day. So pretty much there’s a lot of crying going on all the time.
Begging is sooooo much work. It requires being awake and kind of being upright. Good thing there are walls to lean on!

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This is the vision of abuse and neglect right here.

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Could you tell this face no? I can’t. I do whatever she tells me to do.

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Get silky soft skin and get rid of cellulite

Say what now?

A few months ago I started “dry brushing” my skin (the body, not the face) and I wasn’t really expecting to notice any changes, but WOW my skin is soft!

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I read that dry brushing the skin exfoliates it (obviously) but it is also good for lymphatic drainage and circulation. That’s how it can get rid of cellulite. So the benefits of brushing not only effect the skin but the entire body. Or so people say. I tried it because I read that it can help with acne, and I will try ANYTHING to get rid of acne. Sadly, it did nothing for me in that department, but I’m silky smooth everywhere else!

The proper method is to start at the feet and work your way up, taking long, smooth strokes toward the heart. And it doesn’t take long. Just a minute before the shower is all, 2-3 times a week.

There are special dry brushing brushes which can be found on Amazon or at whole foods. That’s where I got mine. I found it painful at first because the bristles are really stiff so I brush very lightly and over time I think my bristles are softening.

Anywho, just wanted to share that little tid bit.

Also, it’s December now which means the new year is just around the corner! I know everyone I work with has weight loss goals and plans for races in the coming year. Time to start making those plans NOW!

I personally am feeling a cleanse coming on in January! Who is with me!? Should we all do it together? That would be fun!

I am also planning on running the Salt Lake 1/2 marathon in April as long as I can heal from this nagging ankle injury I’ve had for almost a year. We can do a group 1/2 marathon training too!

I’ll post everything I eat and my training plans! I hope you are as excited as I am!

I will leave you with this. In case you can’t tell what you are looking at, it’s Lilly’s face. Hard to tell if her eyes are open or closed. She is in her usual state of half slumber.

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Starbucks Gingerbread Loaf

I did it! I nailed the Starbucks Gingerbread Loaf! Finally, after all these years! And even better…I veganized it!
I have never had luck with quick breads. Mine always turn out flat. Concave actually. I blame the high altitude. But I know plenty of other people who live at this same altitude and they don’t have problems with their quick breads going flat so I don’t know what I do wrong.

I have learned to tweak a couple things when I bake muffins or quick breads and it has really helped. First, I have to bake at 10-15˚ hotter than the recipe calls for. Then I have to cut the sugar by about 10-25%, and sometimes I add 1-2 extra tablespoons of flour.

Now the issue at hand is…how do I not eat a whole loaf of gingerbread! I mean geez! At least when I buy a slice at Starbucks that’s all I get. A slice! But now I have an entire loaf of this stuff staring me down. This is precisely the reason I don’t bake. I love to bake but I also love to EAT what I bake.

Here is the Starbucks Gingerbread Loaf in it’s glass cage. Sad.

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And here is my version! I couldn’t find those little candied orange pieces but who cares, right?

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My version seems to have a tad more frosting than the Starbucks version. That was no mistake.

Oh, and wedding dress shopping was a total bust this weekend. The store I went to that supposedly carried the dress I’m after didn’t have anything even remotely close for me to try on. Instead the gal working there made me try these beaded, lacey, ruffled, mega-train, 40 pound, built-in corset dresses. Yeah, let me just cram that in my suitcase for my destination wedding.
Then I went to the mega-chain wedding dress store (you know the one) just to get that bad wedding dress taste out of my mouth. They kicked me out because I didn’t have an appointment. Fine, I won’t buy a dress from you if that’s what you want. Super smart business practice. You will make a lot of money that way. Wait, what?
It’s all good though because the dress I really, really want isn’t available at the mega-chain wedding dress store anyway. It’s from a really smart company and they have a really brilliant program. You pick out the dress you want online, then you ORDER A SAMPLE of the dress in the size you want. For $35 they mail you the dress AND a pre-paid return shipping label. So you try it on, and if you love it, you just keep it. If you don’t love it, or you want a different size, you just send it back. And you get to keep it for 2 days to try it on all you want. Oh and they deduct that $35 from the total price of the dress if you end up buying one. Risk free shopping. Now we are talking! I love the internet :):):)

Ok, here is the recipe for that delicious Gingerbread Loaf!

Gingerbread Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all purpose baking flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 1/4 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup non hydrogenated vegetable shortening
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon orange extract
1 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon baking soda

Frosting Ingredients
1 8oz package vegan cream cheese (yes, it exists! I used toffuti and it REALLY is better than cream cheese)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350˚. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, salt and baking soda.
In a separate mixing bowl cream together the sugar and shortening. Then mix the applesauce and orange extract in. Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until smooth but do not overmix or it could make the bread tough.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. My batter was very light and fluffy and didn’t look like any quickbread I have ever made before.

Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Side note: Those are the real instructions for normal people. Since I struggle with concave baked good syndrome I only used 3/4 cup sugar, turned the oven up to 365˚ and baked for 40 minutes.

After the bread is COMPLETELY COOLED make the frosting. I will never forget the first cake I made. I was so excited to frost the cake (I have always loved frosting) that I took it out of the oven, let it cool for about 30-45 seconds then frosted it. I learned the hard way that frosting will melt right off if the cake isn’t cooled.

Frosting: Cream the cream cheese and extracts together then cream the sugar in. I ended up having to add waaaaay more sugar than the recipe calls for so I could have halved this recipe because I had way too much frosting. Huge problem πŸ™‚