About bonneliza

At almost 30, I'm learning the piano, attempting photography, managing a business and trying to be a halfway decent mom. I also love, love, love food. This will (mostly) be about my kitchen adventures and navigating my way through the vegan way of life. Except I'm only vegan about 90% of the time so you may find a few other tasty treats here as well.

Things that make me go… :)

Sometimes when I’m surrounded by negativity and sadness in the news, in every article I read, and even in my own head, I just need to breathe and maybe make a list of all the things that make me smile.

  • Spring.
  • Sitting by a waterfall in the middle of the N.C. mountains.
  • Campfires.
  • People playing guitar around campfires.
  • Sitting on the top of a huge rock outcropping in Utah…or Arizona.
  • Going out West.
  • Taking a photo that ends up being really cool.
  • Being in unfamiliar places where I do not know anyone and have no chance of running into a familiar face.
  • Travelling overseas anywhere.
  • Being out of my comfort zone.
  • My hilarious 7 year old.
  • My super smart 8 year old.
  • Shelves full of books. My bookshelves in particular.
  • Quiet time to read random articles and blogs on the internet.
  • Playing pitch and catch.
  • Riding a bicycle really fast down a huge hill in the country.
  • The way the air in the Kentucky country smells in the spring time.
  • Driving way too fast on old empty roads.
  • Ice-cream. Specifically vanilla Blue Bell with a scoop of peanut butter.
  • Geology.
  • Learning about other languages and other cultures.
  • Good music. Music can make or break a mood.
  • Being on a raft going down a fast river.
  • Spontaneity.
  • Sarcasm.
  • People that actually get my sense of humor and don’t think I’m an asshole. (see previous)
  • Music festivals.
  • Hard physical work.
  • Understanding things from another persons view point.
  • People that don’t pretend to care what others think.
  • A really juicy brown pear.
  • The hustle and bustle of the big city and being able to walk anywhere anytime and get lost in the crowd.
  • The middle of nowhere and being able to go outside naked if you want.
  • Extremes.
  • Sore muscles.
  • Writing in my journals.
  • Cooking amazing food for other people.
  • Quantum Physics.
  • Chemistry.
  • That feeling when you are exhausted and you lay your head on pillows that are just the perfect amount of cold.
  • Skittles.
  • Laughing until it hurts.
  • Weeping Willow trees.
  • When my cat climbs in my lap just to give kisses.
  • When I can feel the good energy from people around me.
  • Hula Hooping.
  • A good cold summertime cocktail.

 

smile hula

 

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Pita Pockets-My Favorite Quick & Easy Lunch

I discovered these on one of those digging through the fridge, hungrily, trying to find something worth eating and nothing sounds good days.  Since then they have become a regular and loved lunch staple in the household.  With minimal ingredients and a small amount of prep, a deliciously simple lunch is ready in about 10 minutes.

Pesto Pita

Pita Pesto Pockets

makes 2 

Spoonful of Pesto of your choice.  (I use a sun-dried tomato pesto found in the Italian section of my local grocery.  It contains olive oil, pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, basil, and pecorino.  I am sure you could also make your own if you’re feelin fancy.)

Quarter of a Zucchini

2 Handfuls of Baby Spinach Leaves

2 Flatbread/Pitas/Tortillas, any that you have on hand will do.

Mozzarella (optional)

Olive Oil

  1. Heat 4 Tbsp Olive Oil in a skillet over med. heat.
  2. Spread pesto evenly on one side of your pita or flat bread.
  3. Thinly slice about 6 pieces of zucchini (for each) and layer on to the pesto.
  4. Add one handful of spinach leaves to each pita. Pita
  5. If you are cheese friendly, add a decent pinch of mozzarella to the top of the spinach.
  6. Carefully add the other half of your pita to the top.  It will be very thick, but becomes more manageable as it cooks.

Pesto Saute

7.Place both sandwiches in the shimmering olive oil and cook for approx 5 min. on        each side. I prefer them to be quite brown and a bit crispy.

8. Slice in half and enjoy!

Finished Pita

Is it Spring yet??

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This winter has been absolutely beautiful.  We have had more consecutive snow (and ice) days than I can ever remember having.  That being said, winter is my least favorite season.  I stay cold constantly, my body just can’t seem to produce enough heat, my mind goes crazy staying indoors so much, and then the depression usually kicks in.  This year has been no different other than I have pulled out all the stops to try to combat my blues.  I invested in a light box which I sit by every morning as I wake up and work on the computer.  I’ve made it a point to try to exercise at home more often to try to keep those pesky brain chemicals in line.  I’ve even done cleanses, started antidepressants again, and attempted to eliminate all unnatural chemicals that I have control over from my home and body.

I’m not sure which of these has been effective or if it’s only effective as a combination of them all, but regardless, it seems to be working.  I’m not quite my normal self but I am certainly better than I was a month ago. Now if only spring would get here…  I terribly miss the sunshine and being outdoors.  More than anything though, I think I miss my garden and access to fresh fruit and veggies whenever I please.

Last year was the first year I had a home with a yard that I was able to garden in.  We started all of our seeds indoors until they were strong enough and the weather was cooperative enough to move them outside.

Seedlings

At first we started the seeds in the plastic containers you can buy at any hardware or outdoors store.  After several weeks they were large enough to move into a small pot on their own.

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And then finally, outside.

Raised Bed Garden

Graham worked so hard on setting up the outdoor plots for us.  He built the beds and shoveled about 50 bags of organic dirt and compost (into each!) bed.  Our front yard received amazing sunlight and we were lucky enough to get plenty of rain just when we needed it last summer.  By late summer we had huge amounts of lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, onion, sweet potatoes, squash, strawberries, and broccoli.

Front Yard Garden

We planted some marigolds in with the garden to keep bugs away and only had to spray with Neem Oil once to prevent green worms from devouring our broccoli leaves.  I don’t think I have ever been more proud of something.  It is truly a great feeling to start something from scratch and watch it grow into real food on your dinner plate.  I guess I am just having a little gardening nostalgia this morning.  Is that normal?!

What are you all planning to grow this year and when do you typically begin?  Do you use a raised bed or not?  Even if you don’t have time to do a large garden, I highly recommend trying something small.  Even just a tomato plant or two may make you discover a new love for nature and food. And if you see her, please, please tell spring to hurry up!

Morning Rush Smoothie

Mornings are the worst time of the day for me. I rarely get what feels like enough rest and it usually takes me a good 2 hours to “wake up.”  That being said, breakfast is not something I usually want to work at unless it’s a weekend and I have plenty of time for some coffee before getting started in the kitchen.  Most vegan breakfast recipes seemed to take forever-cook rice for 45 minutes, boil your oats for 30 minutes, soak this overnight, cook that yesterday.  Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but still!  So smoothies became my breakfast lifesaver and it’s even something nutritious and filling that the kids love.

Smoothie Fruit

I always keep at least 2 bananas chopped and in zip-lock baggies in the freezer just for smoothies and the occasional banana ice-cream. Sure there’s a bit of prep work involved, but honestly it’s not much more complicated than roughly chopping or juicing the items of your choice and throwing them in a blender.  As far as healthy, whole foods, plant-based breakfasts, it doesn’t get much simpler.

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This is my all time favorite go-to smoothie recipe.  It’s not too tangy for first thing in the a.m. and it’s filling enough to get you through until lunch.  Also easy enough to take with you on the road to work or school.

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Morning Rush Smoothie

serves 1 (lg. glass)

1 frozen banana

3/4 cup almond milk

1/2 a pomegranate-juice of. (save the other half for the next smoothie!)

1 large handful of spinach (can’t even taste it)

6 or 7 large strawberries

2 pitted and chopped dates (these can easily be omitted without affecting the taste)

Blend and enjoy!  I use a Ninja blender and it gets the job done nicely.

Pair with these muffins for an even tastier breakfast!

StrawNana Muffins

It has been a long couple of days!  We have had snow days on top of snow days lately and the cabin fever has started to set in.  After trying to appease an irritable six year old for most of the morning, I decided to lay her down for a nap and make myself a treat.  I have a terrible sweet tooth and sometimes it can be a little bit unsatisfying when all you want is a big bowl of ice-cream, but the health conscious side of you wins out and you opt for the apples and peanut butter instead. Not today.

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These have to be the best vegan muffins I have ever had.  Not only that, but you don’t have to feel guilty when you eat them.  Food is made to be enjoyed, and let me tell you, my taste buds enjoyed three of these guys.  They were the perfect pick me up for a cold, dreary day.  Here is the recipe for anyone else suffering from this never ending winter weather.

StrawNana Muffins

makes 12 muffins

(adapted from a similar recipe found in Forks Over Knives) 

2/3 cup almond milk

1 1/4 tbsp ground flax

2 cups wholewheat pastry flour

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup organic apple butter (I used R.W. Knudson)

1/4 cup melted Earth Balance

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 large banana (mashed)

1/2 cup sliced strawberries

1 small handful dried cranberries

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together the milk, flax, and vinegar until frothy and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Flour, baking powder, baking soda, and  salt.
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk mixture.
  5. Add the apple butter, earth balance, maple syrup, and vanilla.
  6. Stir until well moistened.
  7. Add the mashed banana to a measuring cup, then add sliced fresh strawberries on top of banana until you reach 1 full cup.
  8. Fold the berry/bananas into the wet mixture.
  9. Sprinkle in cranberries (or any other dried fruit of your choosing-blueberries would be good!)
  10. Stir and pour mixture into the greased or nonstick muffin pan, filling each about 3/4 of the way full.
  11. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes, cool, and dig in!

(I apologize for the not quite up to par photograph.  I just got a new “fancy” camera and am still learning the ropes. Let’s hope my food photography can be as good as the food one day!)Image