Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Recipe: Pumpkin Oat Power Nuggets

Hello my friends - it's time for a new recipe!
Last night I wanted to celebrate being 95% moved in to our new place, and try out our new oven. Zak has been working hard on moving things every day, and I wanted to bake him some treats as a thank you.
I looked in the pantry and wanted to make something with the canned pumpkin, oats, raisins and whole wheat pastry flour I had on hand. Put 'em all together and what do you get?
Pumpkin Oat Power Nuggets!
Wet ingredients:
2 eggs
2/3 cup of raisins
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup of canned pumpkin - Libby's is my fave
1/3 cup of honey
1/3 cup of brown sugar, firmly packed
Dry ingredients:
2 cups of oats - I used Quaker quick oats
1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour - I like Bob's Red Mill
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup of chocolate chips
1/3 cup of chopped walnuts
1. Preheat the oven to 375. Prepare cookie sheets by lining with parchment paper.
2. Beat the eggs. Mix in raisins. Allow to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes to soften the raisins.
3. Mix together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
4. Add the rest of the wet ingredients to the egg / raisin mixture (I started with a teeny bowl and had to transfer to a large one). Mix until well combined.
5. 1 cup at a time, mix the dry ingredients into the wet combination in the large bowl
6. If desired, add chocolate chips and walnuts. Combine for even distribution.
7. Use a cookie scoop or drop onto cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes or until firm when pressed with the underside of a spoon.
These turned out great! The texture is more that of a muffin or scone, and these are not overly sweet-tasting like your typical cookie, so I decided to call them "nuggets." They are high in fiber and packed with Vitamin A, and very low in fat. These are great for an on-the-go breakfast, or a pre- or -post workout snack!
Baking in cowboy boots, oh yeah.
Next time I am going to experiment with vegan-izing the recipe, removing the eggs and perhaps substituting with a flax "egg" mixture instead. Also, I will try and "plump" the raisins by soaking in hot water for a few minutes. I've heard that applesauce is a great way to add moisture to low-fat recipes, so that could be a variation as well.
Do you have any recommendations on a good website to calculate the nutritional value of your recipes? I registered for but have not yet figured out how to use their tools!
Back to work. Cory Chisel & The Wandering Sons, and Brendan Benson of the Raconteurs are playing tonight at our Turner Hall Ballroom! Can't wait :-)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Forecast includes Sunshine [Burgers]

Happy Monday, everyone!
Zak and I had a great weekend... the majority of our stuff is moved to our new apartment, and we spent our first night there yesterday evening!
We have a LOT of unpacking to do, and work to be done at the old place, but it feels so great to have most of the daunting task completed. We even brought over the animals and they are making themselves right at home.
Check out Rufus cruising down the stairs, ha.
It will also be good to get back to normal, healthy-food wise. Over the weekend, I lived off of green tea and Larabars! Now that we're at the new place, we went grocery shopping and purchased some healthy, whole foods.
For breakfast, I had some Wallaby organic raspberry yogurt - this was on sale for $.98.
Side note - my "new" grocery store has TONS of organic stuff in the dairy case! It was like hearing a chorus of angels sing when I laid eyes on this spread. Wow!
Back to breakfast. I had never tried "Australian-style" yogurt before. It tasted pretty usual and yogurt-y, save for a slightly grittier texture. Good, but 20g of sugar in this tiny 6oz serving.
For lunch, I enjoyed some sauteed veggie leftovers with a 'SouthWest' organic Sunshine Burger on top.
This flavor rocks! I LOVE that these are made from raw sunflower seeds and a variety of other whole foods. Check it out:

Ingredients: Organic ground raw sun-flower seeds Organic Brown Rice Organic Carrots Organic Black Beans Organic Bell Peppers Organic Cilantro Organic Garlic Organic Jalapeno Peppers Organic Ground Cumin Seeds Organic Onion Sea Salt

I feel just fine about putting these ingredients into my bod!
A lot of my coworkers asked what smelled so good as I reheated it in the microwave! I love the look on their faces when they hear me say "vegan" or "vegetarian," haha.
I brought a honeycrisp apple for a snack, and will be enjoying it with some Justin's Natural maple almond butter. Great fuel for a busy afternoon at the office.
Plans for tonight include more unpacking (boo); but beforehand, a "Ladies' Night" dinner at The Melting Pot with my favorite gal pals. Can't wait!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Top Self-Defense Resources

Alright, I am removing my post from last night because I don't want to perpetuate anger or fear.
This blog is all about a healthy, positive outlook on life... which includes getting upset where appropriate, but afterwards reflecting on what happened and getting smarter for the future.
Instead of ranting about the three dudes who threw stones at me last night, I'd like to share some top self-defense tips that I found through a simple web search. Hopefully you will never need to use these methods, but it's good to have the knowledge and to be prepared for any situation.
Top Online Self Defense Resources
1. - a great source, chock full of information.
Top Tips:
Be Aware. "Awareness is one of the most important things in Self Defense. By being aware of your surroundings, many threats on the streets can be avoided."
Trust your instincts. "If you see or sense problems on your way, just change your route and - prepare to run or defend yourself."
2. From Good Morning America - linked to this article is a free video download of ten easy-to-learn self-defense techniques, produced by two teenagers with the goal of empowering women.
Top Tip: Featured as the title of the video, the girls encourage women to "Yell FIRE" when being attached. "Nowadays, when people hear 'HELP' it's so often yelled and no one cares. Or if someone says the word rape or abducted, people are afraid... When you yell 'FIRE,' it draws the attention of onlookers."
Bonus: In the video, Evangeline Lily and Josh Holloway from "Lost" make cameo appearances.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar - In Stores NOW

A must for any healthy foodie's holiday gift wish list... and it's available NOW!!!
A highly anticipated follow up to Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I am soooooo excited, to say the least.
Sister note... Annie Mueller... let's just say don't buy this for yourself, Santa may be considering it for you ;-)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Changes in Latitude, Changes in Atittude

And.... I'm back.
So much has changed in the past 1.5 weeks, I don't even know where to start!
The biggest news of all - Zak and I are moving to a new, fantastic apartment. I generally dislike everything involved with moving, but this time it's been positive and I feel like a great weight has been lifted off my chest!
Without getting too personal, there was an issue with our roommate and we decided to leave. We both really loved the old apartment; Zak worked so hard on making the space unique over the years. Ultimately it's better for the two of us to be on our own.
The search really sucked at first, you should have seen one of the apartments we looked at! I was interested because on the craigslist ad, they said it was a "fantastic cottage" in Bay View, meaning a building on its own, and there were 2 bedrooms, a full basement, etc. Well, the teeny space would have made a perfect setting for a HORROR MOVIE and was totally creepy! We would not have been able to fit one of us in there, nonetheless both of us plus the cat and dog and all of our stuff. We looked at a few other places, some of them really nice, but the problem is they were very old / historic homes and that makes for not a lot of closet space, small bedrooms, and basements that draw water.
We struck gold when we found our NEW place though... a townhouse style apartment!!! 2 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, three levels of 100% usable space! The kitchen has some swank stainless steel appliances that I can't wait to use. Closets are a-plenty, there's a full size washer and dryer (giggity).
We will now be living in Milwaukee's trendy Bay View neighborhood, score. The townhouse is located right across the street from gigantic Humboldt Park, one of Milwaukee's first! Can you believe it was opened in 1891? It will be so fun to use the trails, I sense some Project Snow-style running in my near future!
It's a pretty awesome park, people.
(Photo from
There's also a Target within walking distance...
Best of all, it's finally just Zak and me. A new beginning!
With the change, we are each paying more than three times what we were for rent. Yikes! The move has forced me to take a cold, hard look at my budget and to revamp some things. We want to buy a house within the next 1.5 years, and will be squirreling away all the cash we can.
I decided to make some immediate changes to my banking options, and thought I'd share some tips with ya.
Let me know if you have any clever ideas for budgeting or finance!
Checking Account:
- I switched my account to a "Checking with Interest" option. You should revisit your bank's options every 6 months or so, as the banking industry is very competitive and products are updated regularly.
- With my upgraded account, I get 6.0% interest (APY) on all balances under $1000. This is great because it's rare that I have over $1000 in checking, and have never before received interest on this account!
Savings Account:
- Since my savings is at low interest, I used some money to pay off a nagging credit card balance (whose interest was higher than what I earn through my savings account). While the savings account balance is low for now, I will have more money each month from now on to contribute to savings.
- I have some money in a CD and am researching higher rates for it. Anyone have any suggestions? I've heard that ING Direct is pretty good, it's internet-based.
Any tips for moving?
So far we've been very 'green' in re-using boxes (thanks to Heather for grabbing these for us!), packing dishes and other breakables in old newspaper, and by making as few trips back and forth as possible. I've had success with using my suitcases to transport clothing, hanging up the clothing, then taking them back to fill them up again.
Thanks for reading! I will hopefully be back to food, fitness and music-type blogging soon.