Let’s Not Call Them Resolutions

2011-year-resolution-400x400I’ve been lurking around WordPress and have seen so many blogs with posts regarding New Years resolutions.  I don’t believe in resolutions.  We make these up on the first day of every year just to be forgotten quickly afterwards as one settles back into the humdrum or daily life.  I mean, we rattle these off while still on holiday vacation from work, drunk off champagne and high from sugar cookies and hot chocolate.  Why wouldn’t we think we could rule the world in the upcoming year?  The second week of January arrives, we get busy and complacent and most of us are like “Aw, F-it….at least it was a good idea!”

What is the actual meaning of the word “Resolution”?  This is what google told me:

res·o·lu·tion

ˌrezəˈlo͞oSHən/
noun
  1. a firm decision to do or not to do something.
    “she kept her resolution not to see Anne any more”
  2. the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter.
    “the peaceful resolution of all disputes”

If you notice – the definition actually has a negative connotation.  It has to do with deciding to not do something or resolves around the basis of problems.  .

So, let’s not call them resolutions.  Let’s call them accomplishments….let’s call them goals. What’s the difference?  Goals and accomplishments are positive things.  They don’t have to be about solving a problem or resolving not to do something.  Goals and accomplishments are about doing something new, something worthy….something fulfilling.  They don’t have to be world-changing.  Hell, they don’t even have to be life changing but if I can reach at least one realistic goal that I set for myself in 2014, no matter how small or insignificant, then it will be a good year.

After all of this thought, I actually only have a couple of goals I would like to reach this year.  There’s no need to have a long list and the fewer I have, the more time and effort I can dedicate to reaching each one. I’ll share my list with you and at this time in 2015 you can ask me how I did.

1. Start and maintain a food blog.  I’m always telling my mother she has so many recipes that it would take years and years to possibly make everything she is an expert at making.  She makes a lot of things from scratch and even the things she uses recipes for – she changes and tweaks into something of her own.  Why let these jewels go without sharing?  When I was young, we didn’t have internet, blogs, Facebook, twitter etc. She would write the recipes down and hand them to people.  Now there’s a new world out there for letting everyone else know what a great cook and baker she is and I intend on doing it.  So, after a bit of research and time – this year, I will launch a food only blog and make it official.

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2. Move the family into a bigger house.  We’ve been renting a really nice home for going on 6 years now and we have the world’s best landlords.  They never bug us, never raised the rent, never pop up unannounced, fix anything that breaks and even send us a Christmas gift every year without fail.  But with two kids that were only 10 and 8 when we moved in – who are now teenagers – we’ve outgrown it three times over.  Since the kids have made several friends who live in the area,  the front door mimics the madness of Grand Central at times and it would be really nice to have some extra room where my husband and I can retreat to and actually watch a full length movie or our favorite TV show without being interrupted.  Our lease isn’t up until the fall and I say this every year, but we will move this year.  

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3. Take a “different” summer vacation. This is one is already in motion.  We have been visiting some area of Florida for every single year except for 2012 when we went to Hawaii.  Even then, it was the same type of vacation…we hung out on the beach for a week.  This is what we do.  Beach, theme park, beach, theme park, beach, theme park on and on…  We wanted to do something different in 2014.  Go somewhere we have never been and do something we have never done.  So California is on the agenda this year thanks to my social media loving children who asked to attend VidCon, the annual convention for YouTube-ers.  We will combine the 3 day convention with a four day driving tour of Los Angeles, Malibu, Hollywood and wherever the road leads us.  It should definitely be an adventure and we are really looking forward to it.

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That is it for now.  Three goals, three very realistic and tangible goals for my 2014.  I knew way before Dec 31 what my plans were and this is a big reason why I started blogging here again.  It’s always fun to share the ride with others and have a way to document it along the way.  Maybe several will go along with me on this journey, maybe nobody will but sharing it makes me accountable.  I hope you will visit often and see where it goes.  I look forward to good things coming in 2014!

Fast and Easy Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

I’m sitting here watching Teen Mom and got a sudden urge to bake something.  Then I remembered…I don’t have any eggs in the house.  Soooo….I threw some stuff together and the result was YUM!!

Ingredients:

1 box white cake mix

I use this kind of cake mix because it has pudding in it

1/2 cinnamon

1/2 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp baking power

1 tsp cider vinegar

1/2 cup soy or almond milk

1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 can pumpkin puree
Directions:

In a cup, combine the cider vinegar with the soy milk and set aside.  In large bowl combine all dry ingredients with the pumpkin puree and mix.  Next, combine vanilla in with the cider vinegar and soy milk.  Pour that into the dry ingredients along with the oil and beat with beater for approximately 3-5 minutes.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 way full with batter (I cover mine with cupcake liners) and bake on 350 degrees for approximately 15-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean.

These were the most light and fluffy muffins I’ve ever made

Yummy Roasted Chickpeas….Just Cuz

Random post:  I’m finally caught up waking with work today and I’m sitting here reading my favorite blogs and munching on the most yummy snack ever.  Spicy roasted chickpeas (garbanzo beans).  I just discovered making them this way a few days ago.  My first attempt went bad — they burnt,  but the ones I have today…aaaaah, party in my mouth.  I thought I’d share the goodness.

So here’s how you make them:

Take a can of chickpeas and rinse them really good. Get all that starchy water off of them.  Then dump them out on some paper towels and dry them off completely. Throw them in a bowl and mix with about 2 tbsp olive oil and spices to your liking.  I used garlic powder,onion powder, red pepper flakes, salt and paprika. Stir them so that all the beans are coated well. Put them in a shallow pan (just a regular aluminum pan worked the best for me) and roast for 35 minutes on 375 degrees, shaking the pan every 10 minutes or so.  After 35 minutes is up, I added just a few squirts of soy sauce and shook them again — baked for another 10 minutes.

You can eat them right away or like me, put them in a bag and take them to work.  Or wherever.  I thought next time I would try using buffalo wing sauce…I love spicy stuff.  Good luck with them, lemme know how you like it!

These are not *exactly* the same chickpeas I’m eating at this very moment, but they will look like this when done. I found this pic on About.com

 

Warning:  It really is true what they say about beans, beans the musical fruit….eating these could be hazardous to the health of those around you.  Seriously.

You’ve been warned

 

Lentils: The Other White Meat

I don’t know why I’m writing about lentils…but as I was cooking up a batch yesterday evening I thought it would be good to share why I love lentils so much.  If you’ve read my other posts you know that I am a vegetarian but my family is not.  This usually results in me cooking two separate dinners….one meaty, one non-meaty.  Sometimes I have a real hard time coming up with new and exciting things to make for myself…but here’s where the lentils come in.

Lentils are versatile.  You can put them in anything.  they are also great meat imposters.  In most recipes that call for ground beef, you can substitute cooked lentils and no one would ever be the wiser.  I make a mean chili with lentils and I was able to successfully fool my son (who is a very picky eater) into thinking he was eating meat.  Not to mention, lentils are very healthy for you; they are high in fiber and protein.  I will usually cook up a batch of lentils and keep them in a Tupperware container in the fridge.  that way, during the week I can add them to anything I am cooking in a pinch when I have nothing else to make myself.

Of course, on their own lentils make a great Greek-type salad.  I’m going to make some this weekend and post the recipe, so keep your eyes out.

Here are some meal ideas in which you can use lentils in place of meat:

~Veggie Burgers
~Chili
~Tacos / Taco Salad
~Meat Sauce (for pasta)
~Lasagna
~”Hamburger” Helper
~Soup

Are there any favorite lentil ideas you would like to share?  Let me know!

Lentils….they’re what’s for dinner.

Hawaiian Vegan Wraps with Cilantro Lime Rice. Vegetarian version too!

 

Cilantro Lime Rice

Long grain or Brown rice

¼ cup lime juice

1/3 package McCormick Mojito Lime Seasoning

Chopped cilantro

Cook rice according to package instructions but substitute ¼ cup of the water for lime juice and add seasoning.  When done, add cilantro to taste and fluff with fork.

It’s like Franks Red Hot Sauce….I put this S*** in everything!

Mojito Lime Portobello mushroom Wraps

2 large portobello mushroom caps, chopped

2/3 packet McCormick  Cilantro Lime seasoning (or to taste, I love this stuff)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 giant burrito size flour tortillas

Shredded Cheese

Chopped cilantro

Butter/margarine

In bowl mix mushrooms with olive oil, vinegar and seasoning.   Toss to coat. Saute mixture on medium heat until mushrooms are cooked through and have the consistency of meat.

Mushroom “meat”

Layer cheese, cilantro and mushrooms on tortilla.  I like to add some of the rice too.

Vegetarians eat good too ya know!

Roll up burrito style.  Brush on butter each side and grill on griddle until both sides are golden and crispy.

Yummy Yummy in my tummy!