Plant Based Goodness

We set our clocks back last night which is a good reminder that fall is definitely here. We’ve had a warm September and October, and November is starting out cool and damp-typical for the midwest. Although I’m not a fan of it getting darker earlier now, it’s a part of the life process we must traverse. I think the warmer temps helped some of the leaves stay on the trees here, there are still a lot of red, yellows and oranges dotting the landscape. Sometimes most of the leaves have blown off by early October; I’ll enjoy the color as long as I can.

Fall weather means warm comfort dishes like soups and stews. I made my veggie stew last night for dinner and my homemade recipe did not disappoint. We’ve got great leftovers for the week and some in the freezer for later! I’ve got a lot of great recipes for the fall and winter, but sometimes I like to just make stuff up (like my stew recipe)

Tonight I made the Spinach Potato Tacos from the Forks Over Knives app-with a twist. I added some bell peppers to the mix and it was heavenly. I served it with a quick Tex Mex rice and it was a perfect dinner! The rice consisted of Whole Foods frozen brown rice, some frozen roasted corn, frozen black beans (I freeze beans on a regular basis for times like this), diced red and orange bell pepper and diced zucchini. After I warmed it in the microwave, I added some Trader Joe’s roasted salsa to it and it was DELISH! Quite an easy dish to put together!

Here are some pictures of my creations!


Veggies sautéing without oil! I love the colors!

Tortilla Bowls!

Spinach/Potato/Pepper Tacos served in a corn tortilla bowl, and easy Tex Mex Rice


Giant Burrito Cake-It’s what’s for Dinner!

I am on Facebook a LOT, more than I’m on WordPress! I connect with friends and family, I learn new things about all sorts of stuff and I find a LOT of recipes. I don’t always have time to make all of them, but this recipe looked intriguing. It was one of those time lapsed videos which I find fascinating to watch. This one was from BOSH, and it actually goes kind of fast, but I found the actual recipe too! Here’s the link to the video /recipe that I found on Reddit:

I will warn you that it is a lot of work (lots of chopping and prep cooking), and I did make some modifications to remove the oil and ‘fake’ cheese. I decided to use fat free tortillas, but they are kind of thick, so it was somewhat difficult to slice the cake once it was baked. Next time I might try the Engine 2 brown rice tortillas. In place of the ‘fake cheese slices’, I made a ‘cheese’ out of Kite Hill cheese and some nutritional yeast; it was a nice replacement. I added some roasted corn to the rice/bean mixture which was also delicious! I obviously did not use oil to sauté anything, but did line my cast iron skillet with a little oil. It was probably not needed, but I didn’t want a sticky mess on my hands when it came to serving it. It’s a little hard to flip a cast iron skillet that is packed with food, so I recommend using a lighter baking dish. It’s garnished with salsa, guacamole, and I added some plant based sour cream (thanks to Kite Hill Greek Style yogurt) to my plate.

This will probably not be quite as crunchy as leftovers, so I recommend making this for company, or a family dinner.

I highly recommend making this yummy plant based dish, you will not be disappointed!

Sunday Cooking

I had some fun cooking today! I found a great recipe for an energy bar that promises to be very tasty. The recipe is from We Are So Vegan. I didn't have all the ingredients and found the recipe is very forgiving for whatever nuts you have on hand ( It's a little sticky and crumbly, but it would also be great for travel, provided you have some wet wipes with you!

I also made pistachio crusted tofu (adapted a recipe for pistachio crusted tuna), with a white wine/shallot sauce, roasted veggies and a yummy grapefruit/basil/red onion salad. I used to serve this salad with pork tenderloin and the grapefruit complimented the meat very well. It's a great salad with ingredients you normally might not put together, and goes with a lot of dishes. It was perfect with tonights meal!

Sunday Morning Walks

I love taking walks on early Sunday mornings during the summer. It's such a quiet and peaceful time and you have a lot of time to yourself. Even with an occasional lawn mower or saw going off in the distance, I find these walks very calming and centering. I keep up a good pace, and usually walk for just over 3 miles. If you look closely, you see a lot of great things in nature. Today I went for one of these walks and saw and heard a lot of great things.

I heard several blue jays throughout the course of my walk. My mom used to tell me that it was going to rain when you heard a blue jay 'jaying'. There was NO rain anywhere near us today…maybe that's just a myth! I saw two baby robins that had fallen from their nest…they had feathers, but were pretty little. I could hear their mom and dad squawking in the background, so I left in hope they would get the babies to safety. I'm praying they did not become dinner for some larger animal.

I also saw a very interesting bug hanging from a thread below a tree. It's the same thing I saw on a vacation at the beach a few years ago…looks like a pile of leaves; I still need to figure out what it is. Part of my walk goes along a square block of an assisted living community; it's very quiet and peaceful. I usually encounter numerous dog walkers, other walkers and joggers on my path and today was no exception. Everyone is always friendly and says hello!

I saw some very pretty flowers along my walk, which always make me smile and remind me to be happy I can see them! Queen Anne's Lace is always one of my favorite flowers. I love the color of the summer sky in July…it's such a rich color of blue!
If you haven't gotten up early on a Sunday morning to go for a walk or a bike ride in the summer, I encourage you to do so; you'll find it is very refreshing and cleansing-provided you aren't glued to your mobile device!

New Beginnings

I started a new job this past Monday; I left my last job after only 23 months. I knew 6 months in that the job was not a fit for me. I chose to face my mistake as a professional by focusing on my job search, but continuing to do my best at the duties I was given to do. I did go through a tough phase in which I was very angry, angry with myself for a while, but eventually got over it. (It's a natural part of the grieving process). It took many interviews and training presentations to find the right fit. At times it was overwhelming and frustrating and I often thought about giving up, but new I didn't want to continue in my current position so I continued my search. I never let on that I was looking for a job and continued to give my best. I was finally rewarded with a new position at Ecolab Equipment care as a Senior Training Specialist. I even managed to negotiate for a higher salary due to a higher health insurance premium; that negotiation also netted me 3 weeks of vacation too!

After one week , I'm cautiously optimistic about my job. I would like to say I'm grinning from ear to ear, but I want to be realistic as well; I still have a lot to learn. I've learned some important things over the past week:

1. Always trust your gut…if something (as small as it might be) doesn't feel right, don't do it. Your gut truly does sense what's best for you…you just need to learn to listen to your inner voice.
2. Hold out for something better. Even after many interviews and rejections, I kept telling myself that there was something better out there for me.
3. Believe in yourself. Over the last few years, I've lost confidence in myself and my abilities (due to a variety of reasons). Always believe that you CAN do what you set out to do.
4. Enjoy the friendships you make at your job. I have met many wonderful people that I still keep in touch with (even if it's simply liking a photo or post on Facebook) and they have helped make me who I am today. I'm grateful for all the friends I've made!
5. Reach for the stars!!! If you are applying for a job, apply for jobs that challenge you and are just outside your comfort zone…you'll be much happier if you do!
6. I forgot how exhausting it is to start a new job…there is SO much to learn! Be gentle with yourself during this time and get the rest you need.

One thing I've discovered over the past week that has been lost for a long time is my self confidence. It's amazing what a difference it makes to have your plant director truly believe that you will make a positive difference (based on your experience AND leadership skills) AND that he's willing to support you in your journey along the way. I honestly haven't had that kind of support in a very long time. It's a refreshing feeling!

I'm also discovering a whole new lifestyle at my beckoning. With this job I can start as early as I'd like, and leave after my 8 hours are complete…most people are gone between 4:00pm and 4:30pm. I now can do more after work than I have in many years. I'm very excited about what the future holds! I'm very proud to work for this company and I'm looking forward to continue learning and growth!

Here are some moments capturing my first week:

Required of all employees on the plant floor: Safety Shoes

My nameplate (these really help me learn who everyone is)

Ecolab Swag! T-shirt and lunch bag