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Jan 082013
 

Being a lover of autumn, bright colors, and Hoodie weather, I find that the winter winds bring to me a dismal temperament, along with their cold, snow, and ice.  The motivation that generally embraces me, shrinks slowly with the sun.  As the days grow shorter, I feel less and less inclined to accomplish tasks, and more inclined to snuggle under a warm blanket, clutching my mug of Hot Chocolate. With my energy levels depleting, resulting in a lax workout schedule, I decided on a solution: more protein.

The easiest and most certain way for me to increase my daily protein consumption would be to invest in a daily protein shake.  Since I am trying to consume less dairy, my shake needs to be lactose free.  That way, in the very least, I have 1 meal a day that is 100% good for me.  I have hunted around for the best protein shake that can serve up a high dose of energy, without tasting like some chalky, sandy, grog, scooped up from a murky pond. However, I found that all the yummy tasting ones are whey based, and thus contain dairy.  The most logical non-dairy option seemed to be soy.  However, since I already get plenty of soy in my diet, I kept looking for another option.  That was when I found it: Vega; a plant based, all in one nutritional shake.  My favorite flavor is Vanilla Chai – it actually tastes yummy!

My Forever Flavor of Protein Shake!

My Forever Flavor of Protein Shake!

The specs:

50% daily intake of vitamins and minerals

15 grams of Protein – pea protein, SaviSeed protein, hemp seed protein, sprouted whole grain protein

1.5 grams of Omega 3 – Flax seed, chia seed

1 Billion Probiotics – Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum Bb-06 (as much as 1 cup of yogurt)

6 grams of Fiber – organic gelatinized Maca root, Inulin from chicory root

3 servings of Greens –  chorella, alfalfa, spinach, broccoli, kale

2.7 cup’s worth of Antioxidants – grape seed extract, maqui berry, goji fruit, acai berry, pomegranate seed, mangosteen fruit

A Digestive Enzyme Blend – Protease, aminopeptidase, HemiSEB

After drinking my Vega One Nutritional Shake every morning for breakfast, I was amazed at how energetic I began to feel.  In addition to the extra protein in my diet, Vega also provides me with essential vitamins and nutrients.  I have begun to feel more motivated, have the drive to stick to my exercise regimens, and feel better about myself.  I would recommend this protein shake to feel more energized, lose weight, and become healthier.  I love it, and would encourage all vegans to try it! For the rest of you, it does not matter whether you choose whey based, soy, or other, but substituting one meal a day for a balanced nutritional shake is a great step towards living a healthier life.  Best of luck!

Vega One Protein Shake!

Vega One Protein Shake!

What are some of your favorite Protein/ Nutritional Shakes?

 

Jan 052013
 
Gourmet Vegan Maccaroni

Gourmet Vegan Macaroni

With the new year just recently upon us, I am trying to eat more Vegan meals.  This is heard for me, because I LOVE cheese!  Unfortunately, cheese does not love me back, so I am making an effort to use my favorite non-cheese products to make my favorite comfort foods. This one is Gourmet Vegan Macaroni.

Gourmet Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

Gourmet Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

Best of luck to you in all of your New Years resolutions!  And if you are either Vegan, or trying to eat less dairy, this recipe is a good one to try :)

 

 

 

Gourmet Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

By Bonnie Published: January 5, 2013

  • Yield: single sized entre (1 Servings)
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Ready In: 35 mins

Gourmet Vegan Macaroni With the new year just recently upon …

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In an oven-safe bowl or serving dish, mix boiled pasta, Teese cheddar sauce, Daiya shreds and garlic.
  2. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the cheeses are thoroughly melted.
  3. Mix Rice Parmesan, Parsley, and Panko, and sprinkle on top of the macaroni dish. Bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  4. Take out of the oven, let cool, and enjoy!

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Jan 012013
 

Happy New Year Everyone!  I hope that you have all had an enjoyable 2012, and that you have a very successful 2013.  Some of my most valuable lessons learned in the past year seem to revolve around passion, drive, and fulfillment.  I am a woman of many passions, including baking, writing, art, fashion, shopping, and enjoying time with my friends and family.  I also have drive, lots of it.  Although I may seem a bit frantic at times, or exhibit perfectionist behaviors, it is only because, in addition to my career and daily tasks, I want to pursue and find success in each of my passions.  However, fulfillment only comes when that drive turns passion into achievement, delivering the feeling of success.

With many passions, and never enough time, I have come to realize that it is quite difficult to pursue each and every passion to the fullest of my ability, I am not superwoman after all.   This has brought me disappointment and frustration at times throughout the past year.  I will admit that when I had to choose which passions deserved my strongest drive, and which ones were set aside to make way for life’s more pressing issues, there were moments that I felt like abandoning them all.  It was the frustration I felt in these moments that led me to discover a very important lesson.  Life is what you make it.  Although it is important to plan for the future, to be a hard worker and a benefit to society, this should not provide a reason for not enjoying the present.

Therefore, my first resolution for 2013 is to find peace in the moments I have, and to enjoy life by celebrating each success, no matter how small.  I will plan for the future and set goals, but will not be devastated when they fall through.  I will live, laugh and love life!  My wish for you is the same; have a prosperous new year filled with happiness, success and fulfillment!

 

Oct 082012
 

When you first get up, exercise.

I realize that not everyone is a morning person, and that is too bad, because the BEST way to wake yourself up in the morning is an invigorating cardio work out.  A short, fast paced workout will accelerate your heart-rate and get your blood pumping, making you feel alert and energized.  It stretches your muscles, preparing them for a day’s work, and jump-starts your metabolism.  A work out first thing in the morning allows you to burn more calories throughout the day.  In addition, a great work out will put you in a healthy mindset, and when you FEEL healthy, you tend to make healthy choices.  If you start your morning off feeling healthy, you will be more likely to make healthy food decisions for the rest of the day. Even if you are not a morning person, giving yourself just 10 minutes in the morning for some jumping jacks, squats, jogging in place, and some stretching will do wonders for your health, as well as your energy levels throughout the day.

Beat the mid-morning slump with an Apple!

Every day I go to work, I pack an apple, lunch, and some dried fruit.  Around mid-morning, when I start getting lunch related cravings, I delve into my pack for my apple.  Not only are apples sweet and delicious, thereby satisfying my sweet-tooth, they are a high volume food.  High volume foods have a high water and fiber content, thus they can fill you up while delivering a very low calorie count.  Because apples are a negative calorie food( they burn more calories in digestion than they contain) they won’t even count towards your end-of-day calorie count!  In addition to being a healthy snack, apples also contain fructose: a simple sugar that travels slowly through your bloodstream, without causing a crash, to keep you feeling alert and focused for a longer period of time than caffeine (More on Apples vs. Caffeine).

In the Evening, work those Muscles!

After you have come home from work, I am sure you are pretty worn out, and all you want to do is sit in front of the TV and veg.  Hopefully, you have been following the above tips and are not snacking on potatoes chips right now :)   Go ahead, relax, watch a movie or read a book.  It is good to get off of your feet and wind down after a long day of work.  Just don’t relax too long.  After you have eaten a healthy dinner full of fruits, vegetables and protein, and have given your body a rest and time to digest and regenerate, you should feel pretty refreshed.  Sitting at that TV for one hour longer might make you temped to grab a bowl of Ice cream from the freezer, but in order to avoid that temptation, it is time for your second work out.  If you want to work out at home, or go to the gym, it is up to you.   A good idea would be to lift some weights, or use machines, to do some muscle toning exercises.  Building muscle is not only a great way to burn calories, it also helps keeps you fit and looking great.  Did you know that muscle burns more calories during the day that fat does?   So even when you are sitting at a desk, your new muscles are burning more calories than your body was before.  If you are not into lifting, there is always running, yoga, or Pilates, all ways of building lean muscle.  A good work out in the evening will keep you from snacking, make you feel great about yourself, and help you to have a better night’s sleep.

If you can add any or all of these practices to your daily routine, or  just start off with 2-3  times a week, then you will  find yourself less fatigued and become a much healthier, and happier, person!

Oct 042012
 

Unfortunately, I do not  think  there is any universe in which pasta is considered “healthy”.  Which is too bad, because I love pasta.  Not only is it tasty, it is super versatile, not difficult to prepare, and is an easy answer to the age-old question: “What’s for Dinner?”

Pasta is my go-to dinner at least once a week, usually 3-4 meals (including leftovers) a week contain some form of pasta.  However, at over 200 calories a serving, filled with carbohydrates (43 grams!) that turn straight into sugar, and offering very little nutrients, pasta by itself is not very healthy.  The only redeeming quality that is posseses is its ability to be paired with more nutritional toppings, such as a spinach, goat cheese and a tomato basil garnish.  Unfortunately, it is just as easily paired with non-healthy choices such as being drowned in cheese or Alfredo sauce, both high in calories and fat.

Well, you can imagine my surprise, shock, and delight when

I discovered a “noodle” with no fat, no carbs, no gluten, and no Calories at all!

Noodle lovers: NoOodle.
NoOodle is a Japanese-style Shirataki noodle made up of Glucomannan flour.  Glucomannan is a natural, water-soluble dietary fiber extracted from the Asian Kenjac root.  It expands in the stomach to several times its size, which makes the consumer feel full and satisfied.  Glucomannan, by reducing the rate of glucose absorption in the small intestine, prevents blood glucose from spiking, with similar effects to xanthan gum and psyllium. When consuming  Glucomannan in combination with high sugar foods, it lessens the body’s absorption of sugar, and of course, unlike wheat or rice pasta, does not contain sugar itself.

So the take away is, eating foods with high levels of Glucomannan lowers your calorie, fat, and sugar intake, as well as curbing hunger and making your feel more satisfied with your meal.

Where can I get these amazing, healthy noodles?

NoOodle can be found at either online, at Whole Foods, and probably many other health food stores, you will just have to check around.  I am also a big fan of Tofu Shirataki, which is still gluten and sugar free, and only has 20 calories and 2 carbs per serving.  What I like about Tofu Shirataki is that for only 20 calories, you get 7 grams of protein, so you are actually consuming some nutrition and not just empty bulk.  I also like their fun shapes; including spaghetti, angel hair, fettuccine, and macaroni!  However, if your main concern is the toppings on your noodle, and you don’t want to worry about adding any calories or nutrition, NoOodle is the way to go.  Let me share with you a new recipe I just concocted using this no- calorie base.

Healthy Noodles

By Bonnie Published: October 4, 2012

  • Yield: 1-2 Servings
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Ready In: 15 mins

A gluten-free noodle, with no fat, no sugar, and no calories.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Rinse and heat the NoOodles according to their package.
  2. In a bowl, beat eggs, garlic slat, soy milk, and Pesto. Add in cooked noodles and pour into a small baking dish.
  3. Cook at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
    IMG_3256
  4. When lightly browned on top, bring out, let cool, and then eat with a spoon like a casserole!
    IMG_3253
  5. Makes about 2 moderate servings at about 233 calories, or you could eat the whole pan for only 466 calories. I like to spread a little more pesto on mine right before eating. Enjoy!
    2012-09-23_13-22-14_680

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Sep 302012
 

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Pumpkin Spice, and Everything Nice

I love Pumpkin, this you already know.  I also love cookies, so I took a well used and much beloved cookie recipe of mine and added the Magic of Pumpkin Spice!

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

As soon as  a batch of these babies came out of the oven, I greedily gobbled, I mean, taste tested, the largest one on the pan.  It was amazing!  Maybe I am just saying that because I LOVE pumpkin, or because I get really excited when I discover a new favorite ingredient combo, but I was, and am , hooked.

After awhile, I started to think why I liked them so much.

Besides the obviously amazing Pumpkin Pie flavor, there was also the fact that they were light and fluffy, and the perfect mix of sugars and spices.

It was then that I realized they tasted VERY similar to my grandmothers’  prized ginger molasses cookies.  A favorite that she makes me every year for my birthday, but I never seem to be able to get a hold of the recipe.  Excitedly I realized that with  a few small changes, I would be able re-create her secret recipe and my favorite cookie!

To discover TWO favorite cookie recipes for the price of ONE, definitely my lucky day :)

I will share with you my recipe for the delicious Pumpkin Spice cookies.  If you are interested in the ginger molasses cookies, just substitute Prune Puree for the pumpkin, and about 1/2 cup of Molasses for the white sugar.

 

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

By Bonnie Published: September 30, 2012

  • Yield: 2 dozen small-medium cookies (10 Servings)
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Ready In: 40 mins

Pumpkin Spice Cookies with an amazing Pumpkin Pie flavor, are light and fluffy, and the perfect blend of sugars and spices.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Mix Flour, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Blend Pumpkin puree with sugars. Mix in egg and vanilla extract and blend well.
  3. Slowly mix the flour mixture in with the pumpkin mixture. Beet until well incorporated.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet.
    IMG_3264
  5. For larger cookies, bake 10-12 minutes, for mini cookies, bake 6-7 minutes. When they are light orange-brown and spring back to the touch, they are done baking. Take them out of the oven and cool for several minutes. Then enjoy!

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Sep 172012
 

Pumpkin Pie Chex Mix

Pumpkin Pie Chex Mix!

Pumpkin Pie Chex Mix!

This recipe was invented because A) I love Chex Mix, and am always trying new flavor combos and experimenting, and B) I had a teeny, tiny bit of Pumpkin Pie filling left over from all the pumpkin baking I have been doing all week long.

First, I melted the butter in a glass dish in the Microwave. Then, I added about 1/8th cup of pumpkin pie puree. Next, I added brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg , and allspice. Really, if you have made pumpkin pie before, then just add the spices you normally would add to the pie filling.

After thoroughly mixing the wet ingredients with the sugar and spices, Add the Chex. I used half Rice, half Corn, however, I was really wishing I had some Cinnamon Chex to add to the mix. I also added walnut halves., they really add to the taste and feel of a pumpkin pie. Stir so that all dry ingredients are well coated.

Alright, here is where it gets tricky. If you have ever made Chex mix before, this is when you would normally just stick your bowl in the microwave for 1 minute intervals and it would be done in about 3-4 minutes. However, because of the consistency of the pumpkin, this has to be done the old fashioned way: in the oven.

Now you might be thinking: “hey, it doesn’t really matter, does it? I can just nuke it, no big deal!”

Well, I won’t stop you from doing that, but I will tell you, if you go the microwaving route, you will have a sticky, soggy, lump of, very tasty, but hardly snack-worthy, Chex mix. If you want a crispy and crunchy treat, stick with me.

First, we will preheat the oven to 350 degrees, thwn pour the bowl of wet Chex mix onto a greased roasting pan, cookie sheet, or whatever you prefer. Make sure you spread them pretty thin so that all areas are being heated equally. Then proceed to bake them, stirring every 10 minutes. They will probably take 20-40 minutes, depending on the baking speed of your oven, but make sure to keep an eye on them, you don’t want them to burn. If they are roasted for too long, the flavor will still be good but they will be hard as rock, not very good for snacking ;) (I may or may not be speaking from experience…)

When the Chex come out, they may look a little steamy, but let them rest for a couple minutes outside of the oven, and they will cool down and dry off a little. They should be well browned (due to the dark colors of your spices) but not burned, and they should be crispy. Viola, Pumpkin Pie Chex Mix!

Pumpkin Pie Chex Mix

By Bonnie Published: September 17, 2012

  • Yield: 4 cups (10 Servings)
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 20-40 mins
  • Ready In: 30 mins

Crispy, crunchy, nutty: Chex Mix with a pumpkin spice twist!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a glass dish in the Microwave.
  2. Then add the pumpkin pie puree, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg , and allspice. Blend well.
  3. Add the Chex and walnut halves. Stir so that all dry ingredients are well coated.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and pour the bowl of wet Chex mix onto a greased roasting pan or cookie sheet. Make sure you spread them pretty thin so that all areas are being heated equally. Place them in the oven for 20- 40 minutes stirring every 10 minutes.
  5. Take the finished mix out of the oven and let them rest for a couple minutes . They should be browned, not burned, and crispy. Viola, Pumpkin Pie Chex Mix!

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Sep 152012
 

Mmm, Autumn, my absolutely favorite season.

The taste of creamy pumpkin pie on a crisp September morning,
A slight chill is in the air, as the leaves begin to turn, golden red,
And fall, softly to the ground. Crunch, crunch crunch.

It evokes a sense of excitement, comfort, mystery, and pure decadence, all wrapped up into the beautiful sights, sounds, smells, and tastes presented every year around this time.

Pumpkin is Back!

Pumpkin Time!

I wish this feeling would last all year round.  The brisk morning air that  invigorates me, the beautiful colors that inspire me, the chilly nights that invite me to snuggle in a warm blanket.  Fall means Hoodie weather, my all-time favorite article of clothing.  But let’s not forget the best thing of all, Pumpkins!  During the months of September, October, and November, you can pretty much find pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING!  Let me just give you a little hint of how much I LOVE pumpkin.  In the last week, I have made/purchased:

pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal bars.

Pumpkin Bagels with Pumpkin Pie cream Cheese

Pumpkin Bagels

Pumpkin Bagels

Einstein’s Pumpkin Bagel with Pumpkin Smear and a Pumpkin Latte.

Pumpkin Bagel Poppers, Also from Einstein Bagels

Pumpkin Pie Bagel from Panera

Pumpkin Pie Rita’s Ice

Pumpkin Spice coffee, a limited time flavor from Archer Farms(you can find it at Target)

and later tonight I plan on making

Pumpkin Pie Chex Mix!

If you LOVE pumpkin just as much as I do, keep a look out on my blog for the next couple of months, I will be sure to share my favorite Pumpkin Recipes with you!  And Please feel free to share your favorite recipes/ products with me as well.  Happy Fall everybody!!

Pumpkin Pie Cream Cheese

By Bonnie Published: September 15, 2012

  • Yield: single serving (1 Servings)
  • Prep: 5 mins

Cream Cheese with a Creamy Pumpkin Spice Flavor

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Melt the cream cheese for about 20 seconds in the microwave. Mix well, spread onto your favorite Pumpkin treat!
    IMG_20120911_091611

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Aug 312012
 

The Pizza of Awesomeness

A garlic bread, marinara, half vegan, half meat, sensation!

Side by Side Pizza

First, we begin by making the crust.  Good pizzas must always begin with a good crust.  Here is the recipe for the Pizza dough:

Pizza Crust

1 package of active dry yeast

1 cup warm water

1 tsp Tbl sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbls Olive oil

2 1/2 cups flour

 

Dissolve yeast in warm water.  Stir in remaining ingredients and beat vigorously.  Turn it out on a floured surface and knead until smooth.  Let stand for about 20 minutes to an hour.  Then roll out the dough with a rolling pin.  Place the rolled dough on a greased pizza pan or cookie sheet.  ( I cover mine in aluminum foil first, less mess ;)
Then, using a pastry brush, paint some canola oil to coat the top.  Sprinkle with garlic salt and cook in the oven for about 8 minutes.  When it has cooked to a soft spongy texture, but is still white-ish in color, it’s time to take it out and add the rest of the pizza makings.

Time for the Sauce!

Garlic Bread Crust with a Marinara Middle!

Garlic Bread Crust with a Marinara Middle!

Sauce

Now, it might be easiest to use a Ragu, or other preferred pre-made pizza sauce from a can, and I won’t blame you.  But, if you have the time and patience, making your own sauce is quite fun, and you get to tap into your creative side :)

Start with a tomato paste, or, if you are feeling really chef-like, used canned whole or chucked tomatoes.  Simmer the tomatoe goodness in a pot on the stove on medium high heat.  Add Kosher salt (about 1/2 tsp for a large batch of sauce) Brown sugar, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, Parsley and Ketchup.  Lots of flavors, you can play around with the proportions, and add or take away ingredients to suit your individual taste preferences.  When you have been a cook as long as I have, you learn to just go with what you feel, and most of the time, it turns out great!  (And for the times it doesn’t, toss it and tell your hubby you want to go out for dinner. No one has to know.)

On to the fun part- Toppings!

Cheese and Non Cheese

Cheese and Non Cheese

Toppings

I kept it simple, but the great thing about toppings, is they can really be just about anything.  Get creative.  Ours has cheese, peperoni and black olives on my husband’s side, Vegan cheese and black olives for me, and now we’re both happy!  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, depending on how hefty the toppings are.  Bring it out and enjoy a splendid meal!

Side by Side Pizza

Side by Side Pizza

Aug 112012
 

I have adapted this Corn Pudding recipe from a family favorite that has been passed down for generations.

vegan corn pudding Now non-dairy and egg free.

Ingredients

1 whole can of corn

1 can of creamed corn

2 Tablespoons of powdered soy-milk

1 cup of cornmeal

1 stick of  Earth Balance’s “Natural Buttery Spread”

8 oz “Better than Sour Cream” by Tofutti

1tsp of Sugar

1 tsp of paprika

1/2 teaspoon of seasoned salt

1/2 tsp of garlic powder

1/2 tsp parsley

1 tsp of onion powder

1 tsp black pepper

dash of Kosher salt

 Directions

Mix it all together in a a bowl.  The pour into a 9″ x 13”  glass dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 30-40 min.  For deeper dishes or stoneware, baking times will be a little longer.  Bon  Appetite for some Vegan goodness!