Let Them Eat Cake!

It took all of my will power last night not to stick my finger in the frosting of a cake. I don’t really even like cake. In fact, if you put a vanilla cake with vanilla icing in front of me a month ago, I would have said “no, thank you.” Chocolate cake is a bit of a different story, but even then, it is not my favorite dessert (ice cream). Last night, Michael & I went over to my friend Erin’s house to watch the Tech vs. TCU game. When we got there she had cooked pork tenderloin, mac & cheese, salad, and cheese bread. Other than salad, none of these things are my favorite foods. I’ve never really liked pork tenderloin, even though my dad made his stuffed; I did like it when it was battered and fried at home though. Mac & Cheese has always been my enemy because I can’t make it. It seems super easy, I just can’t do it. It always comes out weirdly liquid or overly cooked? Then there is bread. I hate bread. I hate bread soooo much. I wouldn’t even touch bread until I was 18, and I had to eat something on volleyball trips. Secret: I have never (ever) eaten a roll (ever). The point is, last night I wanted to try all of these things (not the bread)! It is the idea that you cannot have something that makes you want it. Skinny Bitch addresses this issue and says (something to the effect of) you can have it, you choose not to, and that is how you overcome the urge to eat it. I would tell you more, but I let a friend borrow my book so she could read about the horrors of cheese (she’s already vegetarian).

Anyway! Instead of eating all of those things, which contained something I did not want to consume, I made vegan nachos! I looked at a bunch of recipes, but in the end I used what I had in my kitchen, plus a few extra ingredients from Whole Foods! They turned out really well! (All Ingredients = Organic) I used Amy’s Low Sodium Medium Chili, Pinto Beans, Black Beans, Corn, Red Bell Pepper, and a vegan taco mix from WF veggie section which had onions, cilantro, and other goodies. I cooked the chili, beans, and corn together, put it on top of chips, then the veggie mix, then the vegan cheese, then the bell peppers. I used a vegan cheese that I had heard is to die for, and it was delicious.

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After nachos, I wanted cake. I did not have cake, but I wanted cake. So I thought I would add a few vegan cake recipes on here so that next time I can make my own cake to bring!

Vegan Golden Vanilla Cupcakes

Vegan Golden Vanilla Cupcakes

Vegan Cookie Bars

Vegan Petits Fours

Petits Fours

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Why You Should Do Yoga

I have never been the most flexible person. In fact, I played volleyball in high school and I was constantly injured so I spent a lot of time in the training room, which means a lot of time on ice, heat, STEM, and stretch, and I was SO un-flexible that we celebrated any time my legs got to 90 degrees. It wasn’t that I didn’t stretch! I did! Just not often or long enough, apparently. Today, I can almost put my palms on the ground and after an hour of yoga, focused on hamstrings, I usually can.

I tried yoga once while in college at Texas State University.. I hated it. It was the most awful vile thing I had ever experienced. At this point in my life, I hated stretching. I worked out and ran, but the only time I would stretch was in group warm-ups, when everyone was stretching, but looking back that does not count because touching your toes and counting to ten is not stretching. I should tell you now that stretching is not the only reason to do yoga, nor is it the primary reason, but at 19, I didn’t know that. I walked into that yoga class thinking it was going to be calm and serene stretching, but by the end of the class I was soaked in sweat, had fallen a few times, and my ego was bruised. I didn’t go back… until last year.

I started practicing yoga in a rec room inside the OKC Lighthouse in September 2012, with a wonderful woman named Judy. Judy was somewhere between her late 70s – early 80s and had been practicing yoga her whole life. This is when I first realized that yoga was not just stretching; Judy looked like she could not be a day over 65. (Not to get off topic, but this realization has held true in every woman I have met that practices yoga; something has taken years off their looks.) I spent three months in that rec room with Judy, and my roommate Allison, learning how to practice yoga. On my first day, I walked in, grabbed a mat and sat near a wall; I later learned the wall part was a bad choice because I have monkey arms. The lights turned off, incense were lit, and they started the practice with deep breathing through the nose. All of this was foreign to me, but I went along with it because everyone else seemed to enjoy the idea, and I was there for a new experience. We began that day with what I now know are sun salutations, however a the time I was pretty sure I was doing a slower version of burpees. Up, Down, Up, Swan Dive, Jump, Push, Pull, Fall, was essentially the order I went it. After 30 minutes, my arms were burning, my mat was slick, and breathing through my nose was not an option; I was out of shape. At the end of class, I thanked the teacher, wiped the pool off of my mat, and left wondering what the hell just happened in there. But I went back. Somewhere in the next few classes, Judy taught me how to flow properly. Then I learned the Warriors. And by the end of my three-month subscription at OKC Lighthouse, I could generally keep up with the easier modifications of poses. I didn’t notice a difference immediately, or at any given time, it just got a little less difficult day by day; even so, my favorite pose is still savasana.

After I left the Lighthouse, I decided to go to a studio dedicated to yoga. I started off at Cadence Yoga, in midtown in January of 2013. I loved Cadence! It had a wonderful class schedule and amazing teachers. I absolutely grew as a yogi under that roof. I learned more about practicing yoga mentally, not just physically. It was here that I decided that yoga need to be a part of my everyday life. Michael finally decided to join me in my yoga adventure after going to Mandy Lathan’s (the owner) class one time. We both committed to a month of unlimited yoga at Cadence, and we went as often as possible. Unfortunately for us, Cadence was going abroad in February, so it was time to say goodbye and find another studio. We spent a month visiting studios all over Oklahoma City. Thankfully, most of the studios around here will let you try your first class for free, so that you get a feel on what their studio is like. We loved all of the studios, but none of them had that special feeling, until we discovered The Yoga Room. Mandy had suggested The Yoga Room a few times before she left, but we were still hesitant and looking for a place with similar student pricing. In March, The Yoga Room picked up Cadence’s prices and teachers, so we went to try it out, and we never left.

I guess this month is my one year anniversary with yoga. I must say that I have grown the most under the Yoga Room roof. They have amazing teachers, a warm, inviting atmosphere, and that special something that I can’t actually put into words. I have learned so much about yoga and the effect it has on the body. I even gave a speech about it at IgniteOKC. Fortunately for me (and you), Ignite has posted the videos from the event, so now you can listen to my five minute talk on why you should do yoga, instead of reading it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRL5LJefduw

I named this post “Why You Should Do Yoga” and the answer is not just one thing. It is everything. It is community, friendship, health, fitness, and spirit.

Namaste!

Where Do You Get Your News?

Every morning I wake up and lay in bed to find out what is happening in the world. My go-to is usually the New York Times since I have the app and subscription on my phone. I love the Times! But, it can be a little long if I don’t have a lot of time. Yesterday I was jumping around a few blogs and I found a post boasting about this website they use to get their news; so I checked it out. TheSkimm sends you an email every day with a summarized version of the important news, and it seems pretty useful! Today was my first day receiving the email, and I loved it. See what you thinks!

Today’s Skimm Below:
THE STORY: Russia and the US are patting themselves on the back for potentially solving the Syria crisis with a little diplomacy. Although each thinks it’s the problem solver. Cue lots of talking.

CAN WE JUST REWIND FOR A SEC, HOW DID WE GET HERE AGAIN? Syria has been in a civil war for more than two years, killing over 100,000, with forces supporting President Assad going up against rebel groups trying to oust him. The violence led to calls for international intervention but the US had implied that if Assad crossed a “red line” (used chemical weapons) it would be a game changer. On Aug. 21, the line was apparently crossed and over a thousand were killed in a gas attack. The international community was pretty divided about what to do, with the US pushing for a military strike as punishment. But then Russia had an idea — Syria could hand over all its weapons and the international community would destroy them. No strike.

CAN I JUST SAY, WHY WOULD ANYONE BE ANTI-STRIKE? Well, some people (cough, Russia) are friends with Assad. Others have fears about becoming the world’s policeman. There is real concern that no one knows who these rebel groups really are, although the CIA did just start delivering lethal aid to help them out after much delay. They are made up of different factions and some have close ties to al-Qaeda (hint: that group is not meant to get the aid), making it a bit awkward for the international community to come to their defense. The rebel groups have also been accused of committing atrocities and using chemical weapons. So let’s just say, they’re not perfect.

SO WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW? Talking. First, the Fab Five main members on the Security Council — US, France, UK, China, and Russia — talked yesterday at the UN. They were set to discuss what to include in a resolution that would require Syria’s chemical weapons be handed over and destroyed. Each member has veto power which makes an agreement challenging. Meanwhile, US Sec. of State John Kerry is meeting with Russia to discuss logistics.

DOES THE UN HAVE ANYTHING TO ADD? Why, yes, yes they do. The body announced yesterday that it had evidence that Assad’s forces committed war crimes. But the panel also said that rebel forces were guilty of crimes like murder, torture, and indiscriminately attacking civilians, too, just at a much lesser extent.

DOES PUTIN HAVE ANYTHING TO ADD? Oh yes. In an op-ed in The New York Times, Russia’s president said that going through the UN is the way to solve this, as a strike would be bad for many reasons, including throwing off the system of international law and order. He also said we really don’t know the rebels that well and that Russia is not protecting its friend Syria, but international law. Ending with a bang and giving the US an ego-check, Putin added that the US is not so “exceptional” and should stop bragging about that.

theSKIMM: These diplomatic efforts are gaining momentum and could be the most significant development to the ongoing crisis in over two years. Or they could go nowhere. Or as one rep from California said, “I think what the Russians have proposed may turn out to be the best thing to come out of Russia since vodka.”

REPEAT AFTER ME…
What to say when you feel like frowning… Go ahead. The FDA agrees with you that crow’s feet are not your best look and has approved Botox for taking care of them. The anti-wrinkle injected drug was approved more than a decade ago for treating frown lines, but that hasn’t stopped some docs and other practitioners from using it in other ways. It’s also FDA-approved to use it for such things as migraines and underarm sweating (sorry). The miracle worker, which stops your muscles from tightening so you don’t see wrinkles as much and can leave you looking a little stiff, comes from a purified form of a highly toxic substance. Hollywood and baby boomers, rejoice!

What to say when you’re looking for a new job… I wish I just knew a guy who knew a guy who could get me in. Enter Saul Goodman. “Better Call Saul” has heard your request. The “Breaking Bad” spinoff is finally, really happening. Saul Goodman will live on after Breaking Bad ends in a one-hour “prequel” to the critically acclaimed mind f*ck of a drama. It will focus on the evolution of Saul’s character before he became Walter White’s lawyer and the go-to expert on vacuum repairs. To add even more suspense to the one show that could easily give you a heart attack, AMC and Sony TV have not yet announced an air date.

What to say while practicing quitting… “It’s been a hell of a fun ride.” Tina Brown summed up her five-year run as the Daily Beast’s editor and founder and announced to staff that she is splitting with parent company IAC next year to launch her own thing. The Daily Beast had merged with Newsweek but the latter was later sold. Brown, a member of the media elite who ran Vanity Fair, Talk magazine, and The New Yorker, plans to start Tina Brown Live Media which will continue the celebrated Women in the World conference and focus on summits, salons, and debates.

What to say on a shopping trip… I’d like some Trader Joe’s wine and new healthcare. The chic but cheap grocery chain is making part-time employees do a little shopping, just not the kind they’d prefer–it’s dropping their health benefits. Not to fear though, Joe’s directed its part-time employees to Obamacare’s new insurance exchanges. The company, which currently offers great worker benefits, will give those working under 30 hours per week a $500 check next year. That check, plus tax subsidies that low-wage workers will be eligible for under Obamacare, apparently will be able to get them health coverage. The insurance exchanges are meant to give customers the opportunity to comparison shop to find the health plan that fits just right. Obamacare critics are saying ‘I told you so,’ since they worry the exchanges will encourage companies to drop benefits.

Organic Co-Op

So today is hump-day! Time for an update! I have held true to my elimination of refined sugar from my diet! I had a dinner party Tuesday night for Turner Inn (law school inn of court) and they served Big Truck Taco, which meat-eating Caitlin wasn’t really a fan of anyway, but everyone loved it. I stared at the food for a second wondering what I was going to eat. My trial coach suggested nachos, so that is what I ate.. Not vegan, but still vegetarian. However, my body was not pleased with cheese, even though it has only been about a week since I had eaten cheese; my stomach hurt for the rest of the night. This experience only solidified my desire to eat clean. Other than Tuesday night, my week has been pretty tame; lots of fruits, salads, and tea.

My main reason for choosing to eliminate refined sugar this week was because last week (when I was not eating meat,) I would eat snacks that were not healthy – like cookies full of sugar. I think the reason I want to get refined sugars over with is that I want to stop craving sweet things. Monday night Michael wanted a popsicle. Earlier, we purchased organic frozen fruit popsicles from Whole Foods for dessert, but Skinny Bitch says you can’t have something because you need it, only if you want it. We have a bad tendency of always needing something sweet after dinner, which is a habit I would like to kick! After letting the craving pass, he realized he really didn’t want the popsicle, thus (hopefully) retraining his mind not need something sweet after every meal. However, there is always a 50/50 chance that he ate that popsicle without me knowing. 🙂

As of yesterday, Michael and I are officially part of an organic co-op in Oklahoma City called OKC Organics. We bought a year membership to this co-op, which gives us access to $35/bag of organic fruits (4) and vegetables (8) once a month. Skinny Bitch says organic fruits and vegetables are important because they are grown without pesticides, so organic food keeps you from worrying about all the chemicals that you would be ingesting. Michael and I have always shopped at Whole Foods, but we don’t necessarily buy only organic food. I always kind of assume that Whole Foods is watching over me and make sure that pesticides aren’t in my food, but Skinny Bitch has the right idea because you have to know exactly what you’re eating to be able to control what goes into your body. Yes, organic food is more expensive, but you’re going to waste that money anyways – going out going out to dinner and buying frivolous things that you don’t need – when you could be putting money into your health and your body. It is hard to justify not doing so when you know you only get one chance.

Over the past few days I’ve been searching for wonderful vegan recipes on Pinterest while I wait for my Skinny Bitch in the Kitch book! I wanted to share a few with you! I have linked the pictures and the titles to the websites which have ingredients!

Vegan Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

Vegan Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins - Easy Recipe at averiecooks.com #vegan #pumpkin #muffin #recipe

Mushroom Chili 

Mushroom Chili - VeganJumbo Stuffed Shells

Jumbo Stuffed Shells made without dairy? Oh yes, it's true!

Kahlua Hot Fudge 

Vegan Kahalua Hot Fudge | via minimalistbaker.com

Getting Mail

I arrive home from school today to find a package from my Grammy! I was so excited 🙂 inside? Cookies.

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And they look delicious! She is so sweet! I called to thank her, and she said now you can eat cookies and get fat. My thoughts exactly! So, as I throw my black bean burger onto the skillet, I wonder about the universe’s ability to tempt me with refined sugar.

Also, my Birchbox order came today! Organic natural blueberry mascara and Stila eyeliner and eye shadow! I love getting mail.. I sometimes order tiny things or free samples to receive mail 🙂

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I am waiting for my amazon delivery of Skinny Bitch in the Kitch and Skinny Bitch Book of Vegan Swaps! I am excited 🙂 Also, if you haven’t heard of Birchbox consider looking it up, I love it.

Vegan Cupcakes

Vegan Cupcakes

I found this on Pinterest, but it linked to a german site, so I had to translate! I wanted to keep it so I could try to make them, thus you also get the recipe!

“Today’s cupcakes are so 🙂

4-5 tart you need
  – 2 bananas
  – 750ml blueberries
  – A few coconut flakes

and the ingredients for the base:
  – 12 Medjool dates
  – 4 tablespoons of coconut flour
  – 1 handful of tiger nuts
in a food processor (S-meter) process until it “crumbs” are.

The “crumbs” then knead with your hands into balls and flatten into a ring.
It then come the banana slices.
Then mix in the blueberries Vitamix and IMMEDIATELY pour into the rings on the banana slices. This must happen fairly quickly, because the mass is fixed very quickly.

Shortly before serving, a few faithful and grated coconut on it with a knife, loosen the cake from the ring.”