July Blog-A-Day #22: Puppy Surgery, Scripture and Comfort Food

This morning Zoey and I went on a walk, but it wasn’t just any walk.

Do you see the look of concern on that face?

It was Zoey’s last walk before her womanhood was taken away from her. That’s right. This morning, Zoey underwent surgery to be spayed, as well as have another minor procedure done to prevent “stomach flipping” issues that are common in Great Danes and other large bread dogs. 
Greg took the baby girl to the vet while I got ready for work and ate my breakfast. I was so excited to tear into yesterday’s mail this morning because my prints from Sacred Made Shop finally arrived. My semi-new friend Becca and one of her friends run the shop featuring scripture prints that are are gorgeously designed. Check it out!!

The highlight of my breakfast was a thick spread of mashed avocado on top of crispy whole wheat toast. A single scrambled egg added an extra kick of protein. 

Then it was time for work. Work, work, work. I spent much of the day wondering how Zoey was doing, what she was thinking about, and how cute she probably was. I arrived home at the end of the work day to this adorable face…

She was so out of it then, but slowly getting her energy back and hasn’t wasted a second chewing apart a new toy I got her in anticipation of this rough day. 
Even though I didn’t have surgery, I felt the need for comfort food. BFD was calling my name.

I used Trader Joe’s Multigrain Pancake Mix to make a short stack for myself. I filled the cakes with sliced banana, then topped it off with leftover blueberry filling (from this cheesecake), and some whipped cream for good measure. 
Perfection.
Here’s to hoping Zoey stops whining tonight and we can all get some much needed rest!!

Tempeh Zucchini Patties

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You saw all the food I ate on our honeymoon, right? After a week of enjoying eating out for just about every meal, combined with almost zero exercise, I’m refocusing on balanced eating and routine morning workouts. 
It hasn’t been easy though. My body still wants to sleep in and my stomach still wants to be filled with comfort foods like pancakes, pizza and ice cream a little too often. I’m slowly transitioning back to my normal ways, but embracing more of a carefree attitude. Not carefree as in giving into every temptation and not thinking about what I eat, but more like not obsessing about every calorie. I know what a balanced diet looks like and I really do enjoy centering my meals around veggies, fruits and whole grains. I don’t want or need to count calories (as I have been doing for a long time now) to determine every meal or snack. It’s more of an intuitive eating approach. I’m okay with eating more of the right foods as long as I keep my sweet tooth in check when it comes to desserts. Easier said than done
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Anyyyyyway. As delicious as pancakes and pizza and ice cream are, it’s hard to beat a meal that’s delicious and healthy at the same time. Like these Tempeh Zucchini Patties for example 😉 Topped with guacamole, you’ve got yourself one nutritious meal. 
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I haven’t cooked with tempeh too much, besides chili and enchiladas, so this was mostly an experiment. I’m thankful for the successful outcome, because my lack of kitchen time recently is causing this blog to suffer. I was just talking to my friend Hannah the other day about our occasional blog guilt when we worry about not posting enough. All it takes is a reminder to myself not to get caught up in the comparison trap and I instantly feel better. There will always be bloggers who post more, but there are certainly bloggers who post less. In the end, I’m blogging because I enjoy it, no matter how much or little I write.

There is enough unintentional comparison in the real world that we don’t need to bring it to the blog world too. Wait…blogging isn’t the real world? Now I’m just being crazy. Too much coffee this morning. Sorry. Am I even making sense anymore? Probably not.  

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Tempeh Zucchini Patties

Makes 8 small patties

Ingredients:
1-8 ounce package tempeh
1/4 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 large zucchini, shredded
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1 large egg

Directions:
1. Set frying pan on stove-top over medium heat. Add olive oil. When hot, crumble the tempeh into the pan and cook until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Pour tempeh into a medium bowl. Add onion, zucchini, and spices. Stir well to combine.
2. In a small bowl, whisk breadcrumbs and egg. Add to tempeh mixture and mix until all ingredients are evenly distributed. Divide mixture into evenly-sized patties.
3. Reheat the frying pan to medium heat. When hot, add patties and let cook about 3-4 minutes on one side. Flip patties and cook another 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Top with fresh guacamole.

Serving suggestions:
-Over a bed of greens like spinach or spring mix.
-On a toasted English muffin

{Vegan} Whole Wheat Banana Cupcakes with Avocado Frosting

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Sometimes I bake things that I know are going to be good before I even start. If I’m following a tried and true recipe, or sticking with traditional flavors and ingredients, I don’t usually worry about the outcome. 
This was not one of those times. 
Yesterday I showed you my breakfast from the weekend – a bagel, spread with mashed avocado, and topped with sliced bananas. I was one bite into the bagel when I knew what I would bake later on that day. 
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In my head, it had potential. When I said it out loud, it just sounded weird. But I could not get the idea out of my head. I wanted to…needed to…combine the banana and avocado flavors into my most beloved dessert. I worked up the courage and decided to go for it. 
The only question was: banana cupcakes with avocado frosting? Or avocado cupcakes with banana frosting. Judging by the title of this post and the pictures, I think you know what the answer turned out to be. 
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Once I had the flavors figured out, I wanted to take these cupcakes one step further. I wanted to healthify them. 
Besides the fact they’re filled with all-natural fruits, I brought in whole wheat flour and cut back on the sugar. I even made them vegan by leaving out butter and eggs, instead only using vegetable oil. 
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The end result was better than I even imagined. I mean really, what’s better than a (somewhat) healthy cupcake? 
You want to make these soon. And because of the green frosting, I think you need to at least make them this week/weekend for St. Patrick’s Day, no?
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Yes.

{Vegan} Whole Wheat Banana Cupcakes with Avocado Frosting 

Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:
For the cupcakes-
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup almond milk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 very ripe medium bananas, mashed

For the frosting-
3/4 medium avocado
2 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon almond milk

Sprinkles, if desired

Directions:
For the cupcakes-
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill cupcake tin with liners and place aside.
2. In a medium/large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Whisk well and set aside. In the bowl of a stand-alone mixer, add vegetable oil, milk and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Add mashed banana and continue to beat another 2-3 minutes. Turn speed to low and slowly add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Beat until just combined, be careful not to overmix. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and give the batter a couple stirs.
3. Fill cupcake wells with batter, about 3/4 full. Bake 15-18 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting-
1. Add the meat of the avocado to the bowl of a stand-alone mixer. Beat on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.
2. Add remaining ingredients to the bowl. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 3-4 minutes.

Weekend Eats 2-4-13

Hello Monday. Off we go into another week…

First of all, thank you to everyone who gave me feedback yesterday on a rehearsal dinner dress. Y’all were so helpful and had great suggestions! I’ll be sure to let you know when I pick one.

Here’s a recap of the weekend:

I treated myself to Menchie’s during my lunchbreak on Friday to get myself through the afternoon. They just released their Red Velvet Royale yogurt. Oh my gosh this stuff is GOOD! I swirled it with cheesecake fro yo and topped it with sprinkles and cool whip. Simple and sweet.

I started my Saturday with a toasted english muffin topped spread with mashed avocado, and an apple on the side. Then later on, Greg and I were out car shopping for myself (Eeekkk! So excited about this, but trying not to get my hopes up yet!). He wanted Bojangles and thankfully there was a Panera right next door. Win-win! I had the You Pick Two with Black Bean Soup and the new Spinach Power Salad.

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Later on Saturday afternoon we went to an adorable baby boy’s 1st birthday party! It’s Greg’s boss’s baby and he is so precious. I wish I had a picture to share. They had a carnival themed party with popcorn, cotton candy, hot dogs and plenty of traditional carnival games for the kids. It was the cutest thing. 
I had a busy day in the kitchen on Sunday. I am so excited to show you what I was up to, but that will come later on this week (if you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you already got a little preview).
Since I was busy preparing other things, I kept lunch easy by heating a bowl of creamy chicken noodle soup Greg and I bought from church as part of a fundraiser that morning. Now that’s a meal I can feel good about 😉 I mixed in some steamed broccoli too. 
We went to a friend’s house for a low-key Super Bowl get together. I made a giant bowl of guacamole to bring along and ate that with some chips along side of my salad creation from Harris Teeter. 
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I had a cupcake and bowl of strawberry fro yo to finish off the weekend. Not bad if I say so myself!
What was the tastiest part of your weekend?

Holy Moly Guacamole

Hmm what could this be?
Green mush? Nope. Well, yes, but so much more than that! 

Guacamole! Do you see it now?

I have been waiting. And waiting. And waiting for avocados to go on sale. Guess what? They’re still not on sale. So I gave into peer avocado pressure and bought the dang thing anyway. 
You can’t have guacamole without tortilla chips. So I saved on buying those and made my own with tortillas I already had at home.  
I’ve already talked about my love for salsa, but truthfully chips combined with any dip makes my heart skip a beat. Now, salsa will always be my fave because it’s so low in calories. But guacamole packs the health benefits too.
This dip takes less than ten minutes to throw together. When you run out of tortilla chips too quickly (like we always do), spread some guac on a sandwich or wrap. 
Guacamole
Makes about 6 servings
Ingredients:
1 hass avocado
1/4 cup chopped tomato
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
1/3 cup sweet yellow corn, cooked
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Juice of half a lime
Directions:
1. Scoop pulp of avocado out of skin. In a medium bowl, mash avocado with a fork or whisk.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and whisk until well incorporated. 
3. Serve immediately with tortilla chips.