Bread, Bread, Bread

Tonight I decided to try something different when I was making french bread.

When you're making french bread, you get to a point in the process where you roll out the dough on the table into a flat rectangle. Then you roll it up, taper the ends and lay it seam side down on a baking pan.

I decided to experiment.

After I rolled out the dough, I finger painted on the flat surface with neon food coloring.  After I rolled it up, I also put a drop of food coloring into the slits you put on the top of the bread.  I then brushed it with silken tofu (because I do not use egg whites) and in the process created a streaky finish on the outside of the bread.  That loaf was for the kids, but I think it's pretty cool myself.

Moving on, I decided to spread a thin layer of vanilla extract across the dough.  I then sprinkled cinnamon and brown sugar before rolling it up.

I also made a loaf using basil (fresh, picked it from the plant myself). I cut the basil julienne style and sprinkled it across the dough before rolling it up.w

They all turned out really, really good.  My favorite is the basil.  It's highly addictive and I'm pretty sure I'll be making it very frequently. I will continue to post new experiments with bread as I bake!

Don't be intimidated by the process of making bread!
My 8 year old son has made several loaves, and he loves it.
You can totally do it!

My son making bread with my Mom (a.k.a. Grandma), and my niece.

Chipotle Black Bean dogs w/roasted bell pepper salsa..

So I decided to make this today.

It turned out REALLY good.

So I'm sharing with you.


I grabbed a box of Gardenburger Black Bean Chipotle Veggie Burgers
Check 'em out

Cooked them on the grill, then sliced them into strips - so they fit in the hot dog buns.

Diced and mixed together: 
fire roasted red bell pepper, red onion, avocado, jalapeno peppers

Seasoned with:
 olive oil, cumin, smoked black peppercorn and cayenne pepper
Then mixed it together. 
(Carefully, you don't want mushy avocados)

Assemble and eat. :)

Weight Loss


Let's talk about it.

I am somewhere between 5'10 and 5'11.

When I was 16 and in gymnastics, my weight stayed around 150.  I was in GREAT shape.
I have NEVER been skinny.  I have always had an athletic build.
That will never change.  I don't want it to.

My first pregnancy...

By the time I was ready to give birth, I weighed around 190.  
After I had him, I leveled out at 172 and my weight stayed the same until my second pregnancy...

My second pregnancy...

By the time I was ready to give birth, I weighed around 222.
After I had her, I leveled out at 186 and my weight stayed the same.

Despite exercise, and many different dieting techniques.
Cutting calories, taking Stackers, etc.

None of which made me feel good.  Some did help me lose some weight, but I was hungry and irritable.
And the second I stopped doing it, the weight came back.  I figured I was probably just meant to weigh 186-199 lbs.  That was my new body.  My Dr. however felt differently.  He said he wanted to see me lose the 10-15lbs and weigh in at around 170. I left his office and cried, because I couldn't believe he told me I was fat. (Not his words, but that's what I heard.) I spent the following year working out vigorously, without fail. I ate healthier, I was more active - ... but I wasn't losing the weight.  I still wanted, craved, needed a lot of junk food, and I still felt like I wasn't able to eat enough to satisfy my hunger.  I assumed my stomach needed to shrink, and I was overeating and eventually it would even out.

Then I started reading all the books about health and nutrition that led me down the path I am currently on.  I am still not active, but I do not work out like crazy like I used to.  I still eat A LOT, but I follow the vegan food pyramid.  And my weight has steadily came off.  I now weight 170.

Today I went to the mall because I had to pick up some new pants.  Literally.  My old pants were falling off, and I was tired of wearing my husband's belt to keep them on.  I previously owned (and sometimes barely managed to fit in) size 12 all the way to 14 and a few size 15. (Yes ladies, some brands carry size 15 pants. It is odd to find a pant labeled with an odd number.) So I went to the store today and I grabbed a size 10 and a size 12 pant. (A few times before I thought I lost weight and went down a jean size, but really I had stretched out my pants I already owned and I was still in the same size I bought before I stretched them out and gained weight.) I tried on the size 10 and realized they were loose. I tried not to get excited as I went to grab a few size 8s and made my way to the dressing room.  I started to pull them up, assuming they would be tight around my thighs and I would have to struggle to zip them.  If I even could.  

I didn't struggle...

They slid on perfectly, and are even a little loose around my waist.  Not so loose that I need a smaller size, but loose enough I can function and move and breathe... I am a size 8.  I literally jumped around in the fitting room and immediately text my Mom, & a few of my close friends. So now I'm posting a few pics from today.  Because I want to look back at these pics and remember how proud of myself I was. I want to keep the feeling present tense, and some days it's harder to do than others.

So here is my reminder...

Be proud of yourself.

It's not easy, it requires a lot of work, research, commitment and focus.

But it is worth it.