A-Z Blogging Challenge

I learned about the A-Z Blogging Challenge in the 10 Minute Writers group on Facebook. After investigating the website, I thought it would be a fun one to try. I haven’t been regular with any kind of writing since we moved and now that I’m finally starting to get settled, it’s time to gear back up. This seems like a fun way to do it. 

The way the challenge works is you blog every day for the month of April except Sundays. This leaves 26 days, and as many letters in the alphabet. Some people choose themes to blog to as well but I’ve decided I’d like to stick close to what I normally blog about with an emphasis on coffee and my health and fitness way of life. 

I was able to find coffee shops, within walking distance, so David can come with me while I explore the different places here. We did one today but I found ones that can fit on days D, J, P and V. I can’t wait!

If you’d like to join the challenge, you can sign up here. I’m looking forward to a fun month! 

Mmmm Summer Rolls!

One of my very favorite things to eat these days is Summer Rolls. I’ll admit I don’t make them too much because the dipping sauce, which is divine, contains a little more fat than I like right now. But every once in a while, you’ve just gotta.

low-fat-high-carb-raw-vegan-summer-rolls

I made them for dinner last night and, as well as being delicious, they are super easy.

You’ll need some spring roll wrappers. I got the biggest rounds they had at the Asian market. They have them in some standard grocery stores, too, but there’s a bigger selection (and bigger wrappers!) at the Asian market. 

Then, you put whatever kind of veggies you want in them. 

This time I had romaine, spinach, carrots, cucumber, tomato and alfalfa sprouts. I will tell you that in my opinion, these guys are NOTHING without the alfalfa sprouts but you decide for yourself. 

You just dip the wrappers into water to soften them up, layer the veggies of your choice inside, and roll them up. Easy peasy!

You will, most definitely,want to dip these in this dipping sauce that I modified from one that Megan Elizabeth shows on her YouTube channel.

I use 2 tablespoons of almond butter, 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar, 1 tsp of Liquid Aminos, 1/4 cup of water and some crushed red pepper for the dipping sauce. I take all of the ingredients and blend them in my little Magic Bullet which does a fabu job of mixing it all up. I have mixed it with a whisk, before I got the Magic Bullet, and it’s a little difficult because the almond butter is very thick. But it can work. 

And that’s all there is too it! A tasty way to eat a bunch of veggies. I can usually eat three of of these and sometimes more if I’m particularly hungry.

Try them, you’ll like them! :-)

Bel Bacio Cafe

We’ve been in San Jose now for nearly a month and I decided it’s high time to start checking out the local coffee places. I think about it during my days when I’m running all over the place but I’ve been too busy to slow down and stop at those times. Plus, it’s more fun to explore with David. 

We decided today that we’d try Bel Bacio Cafe at the end-ish of our morning walk.

Bel-Bacio-Cafe

 
Bel Bacio is in a cute little house located in Little Italy. We walk through Little Italy every weekend and have had dinner at Paesano and attended the arch dedication ceremony Friday night so it seemed like a good place to start. 

Bel_Bacio_Cafe

We walked over two miles before getting back to Bel Bacio and going inside. I was warm enough that I wanted to order an iced coffee and sit outside.

Iced_coffee

David got a hot Americano and a Nutella croissant which he pronounced as “really good”. I think he was somehow surprised but it was NUTELLA. How could it be bad? 

Nutella_croissant

When I check in on Yelp! I saw that we got a free coffee with the purchase of two pastries so we went ahead and got these cute little cookies as well.

Italian_cookies

We then sat outside under and umbrella in the beautiful morning before concluding our 3+ mile walk. 

IMG_1847

We really enjoyed Bel Baccio Cafe and I know we will stop by there again really soon. The lady who served us was super friendly, the coffee and food were great, and we loved the atmosphere. :-)

I Am That Monkey

Yesterday, I ran over to Costco to get more frozen strawberries. Since I was there, I went ahead and grabbed six more bunches of bananas.  I’d just bought a case on Monday but since I always have to have them ripening I figured it would be a good idea.

monkey

The line was pretty long and the man behind me got a good chance to look at the contents of my basket. 

Him: Do you have a monkey at home?

Me: I AM that monkey. Some days I eat as many as 21 bananas.

Him: Well, you know they have a LOT of sugar.

Me: I assure you, I’m probably one of the healthiest people you’ve ever met. 

He looks like he’s considering this for a little bit. Then…

Him: You only eat bananas?

Me: No, I eat all kinds of fruits and veggies. 

Him: Well, then, you’d better write a book!

I had to laugh. It was just such a funny conclusion for him to come to. I’m sure he noticed that my diet made me a friendly person and I’m sure he’ll be looking for my book. ;-)

Wheeee!

I rode a bike! I haven’t been on a bike since I was a kid but I rode one today. Here’s my experience. 

The biggest thing I learned is that while I might be able to run with my mouth open, I should most definitely not ride a bike with my mouth open. LOL! I’m pretty sure my protein intake is higher today. ;-)  

Bonk!

So I did it. I violated the first rule of raw vegan eating and bonked. Here’s the update.

Please note: I have no desire to get caught up in obsessive calorie counting or restricted eating. I mainly just want to set a level so I know how many calories I need and what that looks like since I’m not always hungry! :-)

Mango!

Since I started eating the high carb, low fat, raw vegan diet, I’ve listened to other raw foodies on YouTube extolling the virtues and deliciosity of mangoes. I didn’t think I’d ever eaten one and, honetlly, I wasn’t sure how.

mango

I saw the red kind of mango at Aldi several months ago and the glambaby and I were going to try it. I’m so glad I tried it first or she would’ve probably thought I was trying to poison her. It wasn’t good. I’m not sure if it was unripe or what. I sincerely had no knowledge about mangoes.

On our first trip to Costco here, I saw the mangoes and mentioned to David that I rally wanted to try one but didn’t have any idea of how to know if they were ripe or not. A lady who was selecting some for herself turned around and gave me a mini mango class. It was so sweet of her but I wasn’t ready to buy a warehouse store quantity of something I wasn’t sure about so I didn’t get any mangoes that day.

cut_mango

 A few days later we were at a grocery store where I got one yellow mango to try using the instructions the lady at Costco gave me. And guess what? It was good! I liked it. 

I need to figure out how to get into them better.  I didn’t know what kind of a seed situation was inside. The first half was a mess and I basically sucked the flesh off the skin. But the second half I was able to cut into chunks that came off easily when I ate them. 

So, yum! I’ll definitely get some more mangoes. :-)

Book Review: House of Echoes

House of EchoesHouse of Echoes by Brendan Duffy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a great, creepy book. It reminded me somewhat of The Shining.

Ben and Caroline move with their family out of the City after Caroline loses her banking job and their oldest son has trouble at school. While looking at Ben’s grandma’s house after her passing, he notices The Crofts. They decide to buy it, renovate it, and turn it into an inn.

As they begin to work on the house, Caroline, who has had periods of depression, starts feeling put upon. She’s trying to turn the Inn into something out of a magazine and she feels like she’s doing it all by herself. Ben, a writer, is having trouble with his second book, and their older son Charlie, keeps withdrawing more and more spending hours outside.

The house and the town itself have a creepy history and it’s chilling and creepy to see how they finally get away from it all in the end.

I recommend this book. Great story, plot and it’s a page turner. :-)



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Book Review: Scent of Triumph

Scent of Triumph: A Novel of Perfume and PassionScent of Triumph: A Novel of Perfume and Passion by Jan Moran

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fabulous book! I loved the story of Danielle Bretancourt, a perfumer from France and her family as they traveled through WWII.

Danielle is married to Max. They are on a ship to England the day that war breaks out. Danielle is pregnant with her second child and they have left their other son at home in Poland with Max’s mother, Sofia, as he was too young to travel with them. After they arrive, Max decides he needs to help the resistance. His half brother, Heinrich has turned into a full blown Nazi and they feel Max can help out by getting information from Heinrich. Sofia and Nicky are on the run with neighbors to get away from the Nazi’s.

Max loses his life and, try as she might to find him, Danielle loses Nicky and Sofia. She takes her daughter, niece and mother to America where her friend Jon’s sister lives to try and be safe and start over knowing she will never stop trying to find her son.

America is hard, as Danielle works as a shop girl. She wonders if she can ever get ahead. Finally, her boss invests in her perfumes and designs launching the career that will save them.

Jon writes to Danielle. He loves her but feels it’s too soon after Max’s death to tell her. She loves him but knows she can’t go back to London with her family while the war rages on. She ends up marrying another man after misunderstanding Jon’s intentions and he marries another woman whom he doesn’t really love.

The story is about a strong woman who goes through so much but refuses to quit. In the end she succeeds and has everything she wants.

Terrific book! I highly recommend it. :-)



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I Ran!

I was so excited to run this morning. I used to run all the time, completing as much as a 20k. I was a member of the Chicago Area Runners and I did races a couple of times a month. My favorite race was the Chicago Avenue On The Run that took place on Mother’s Day. My favorite distance was the 10k.

I don’t “look” like a runner. I’ve never been built that way. I’m built for distance, not speed. I was never fast but I was never the last person across the finish line either. 

It’s been a long, long time since I ran with any regularity. I ran some for fitness 15 years ago but it’s been since the early 90s since I was a regular runner.

Still, on my goals list I have a 5k, 10, half marathon and a whole marathon.

Before we left Tulsa, I told myself I’d start running again once I reached a certain weight. But since I’ve banished the scale now and have no clue how much I weigh, I decided that today would be a good day to start.

I’m still learning my way around here and I got a nice warmup walking to the trail where i wanted to run. I am pretty sure there’s got to be a better way to get there than the one I chose that included a LOT of stop lights and traffic. 

I got to the trail and started running. It was HARD. Every time a bike passed me I thought, “I need a bike”. More than once I thought, “I’m never doing this again” but an interesting thing happened on my walk home. Where I happened to get a little lost-ish thereby extending my cool down by about a half a mile. 

I thought, “You know what? I will do that again! It was good. I can’t believe I actually ran!” 

That put a smile on my face. :D

Like my friend Marie told me this a.m.

I know that’s true. I’m excited for that day. I’ve planned a half marathon in September and a full marathon in May of 2016. It will be so much fun to cross those off of my goals list. :)