April Sunshine

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First things first,  Whole Foods jelly beans are awesome (not an April Fool’s joke). 

I am going to go ahead of state the obvious – it has been a while since my last blog post. It might be a bit of an understatement to say that my life has gone from zero to sixty in a short couple of months, but it has. Instead of spending most of my days soaking up the benefits of unemployment, I now spend most of my days spinning circles in an office chair, drinking way too much tea, and organizing my inbox. And, I’m truly thrilled with the way that things have worked out. Sometimes I miss Seattle (West Coast, Best Coast …), but DC just feels right these days although I still get all my coffee fix shipped from Cafe Vita.* 

And, now that I’m much busier, I have been better about exercising. In fact, I’m running the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in five days. EEK. I am a bit undertrained, but it feels good to have a race planned. I haven’t run a race since the Portland Half Marathon in October 2012. Although, in full disclosure, I have promised myself I will  stop running if my IT band gets too tight.

And in other news, I have also developed some I-sit-at-a-desk-all-day bad habits, such as buying afternoon snacks and drinking too much Starbucks. But overall, things are good. Life is good. 

Unfortunately, cooking hasn’t been a priority for me these days. There have been a lot of Amy’s soups, roasted vegetables (read: russet potatoes), and tofu and veganaise sandwiches in my daily repertoire. While copious amounts of tofu, low-sodium microwaveable soups, and potatoes aren’t the worst things in the world, cooking is one thing I haven’t been doing enough of. I also experimented with FODMAPS for a short-lived week, and while it might be my least favorite “diet” ever, I have to say it did wonders for my stomach. But, that is another conversation for another day. I’m trying to keep this short and sweet. 

And on that note, I just wanted to pop in and say hello. I have a few things on my mind for this week: soba noodles, new cruelty-free lip colors, and whiskey. Thank you for hanging in there with me as I figure out my new schedule. Hasta luego friends. 

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* This is not an affiliate link. I just love Cafe Vita. 

Tempeh “Waldorf” Salad [ Meatless Monday ]

Well internet friends, I start a new job in two days! Two days! That good news I was hoping for last week came through. I almost can’t believe that my “free” time has come to an end. Part of the reason I started this blog was unemployment boredom, and now, I am transitioning back into the working world. I hope it is like a riding a bike – I haven’t had a full-time job in almost four years. I am sure I will miss those occasional days laying in bed and binging on Netflix, but, if I don’t like my job I can always become a full-time blogger, right? Just kidding ya’ll – totally not my plan. 

I don’t really know how I’m going to keep up this blog and work at the same time, but I’ll find a way. There may not be five posts per week on Life Between Lattes. For reals, I could barely keep up with that schedule while I was unemployed, but I’d still like to stop by the share a little slice of my life a few times a week. And before I forget, it is Meatless Monday, so I have one of my  new favorite recipes to share. 

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A lot of times I feel pressure to be really creative and unique with the meals that I create, but at the end of the day, I want to create realistic recipes that readers can make or use as inspiration. I rarely make other people’s recipes, which is a result of my inability to follow directions, but I use people’s recipe for inspiration all the time. And a lot recipe out there on the internet aren’t vegan, so I have become a queen of modification. 

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So this week, I have been brainstorming about lunch ideas. Back to work means eating lunch at a desk again, and I am person who consistently forgets to pack my lunch. This tempeh salad is spin on the traditional chicken waldorf salad. I was never a fan of cold chicken, but I love cold tempeh. This recipe is delicious and super easy to throw together and throw into your bag on your way to work in the morning.  

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Vegan Waldorf Salad
Serves 4
Print
Total Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 block of tempeh ( I like LightLife Three Grain Tempeh or Trader Joe's brand)
  2. 1/4 cup of raisins
  3. 1 large apple
  4. 2 stalks of celery
  5. 1/4 cup of Veganaise
  6. 1 tablespoon and 1 heaping teaspoon of dijon mustard (Grey Poupon!!)
  7. Juice of 1 Lemon
  8. Freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Steam tempeh for around 5 minutes.
  2. While tempeh is steaming, chop apple and celery into small pieces. Mix together with raisins.
  3. When tempeh is done, chop into small pieces, and mix with apple, celery, and raisins. Put in the refrigerator for 5 - 10 minutes to make sure tempeh is cool.
  4. Add Veganaise, mustard, and lemon juice to other ingredients, and stir everything together.
  5. Garnish with black pepper.
Notes
  1. You can put this on a sandwich like I did, but I also think it would be great as a dip for crackers.
Life Between Lattes http://www.lifebetweenlattes.com/
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My Mom is so weary of soy by-products and meat substitutes, but tempeh is nothing to be afraid of. It is basically grains and soybeans that have been fermented and pressed into a block. Think of it like a fermented bean burger, which is not scary at all! But, in all seriousness, tempeh is one of my favorite vegan proteins, and it packs a ton of fiber, iron, and protein. Good stuff ya’ll. 

Wish me luck on my first day! And please make this tempeh salad – I promise you won’t be disappointed. Hasta luego! Happy Monday! 

February :: Action

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Not to be cliche, but I apologize for my lack of posts this week. True to my Type-A(ish) personality, I wanted to start off February strong with a lot of awesome content in this space. However, I am waiting to hear back from some interviews and writing a blog post has been the last thing on my mind. Thankfully, the weather has been a little more cooperative for running, and I have gotten in two workouts at home – something that is always a struggle for me. So I am almost staying sane.

I feel like I shouldn’t complain about unemployment because when I was really busy in law school, I fantasized about having days to sit around and do nothing. Now that those days are actually here, I crave routine and schedule, and most importantly, I crave a pay check. But, of course, the grass is always greener on the other side. And let’s not forget that I made it through an entire month of not eating dessert, and now, I have chocolate on my side. Chocolate makes anything better. Chocolate and space heaters. 

So this leaves me thinking about February. What do I want to do in February? What do I want to accomplish? How am I going to try to make this month better than last month? Well, I did learn a few things in January. Obviously, having three loose intentions for the month didn’t work out so well for me. So this month I am going to narrow my focus: exercise and productivity. 

  • [ Exercise ] This is happening ya’ll. Just because I don’t gain weight not working out doesn’t mean it is okay. Plus, I feel a million (yes a million) times better about life when I’m working the booty.  
  • [ Just Do It ] For some reason, the less I have to do the worse I am at getting things done. So this month, I’m looking forward to getting shit done. My beautifully written to-do list is pretty worthless if I never cross anything off. First up, mailing thank you notes from Christmas (yikes!). 

This morning I went for a run. It sucked. It was cold and windy, and my legs were heavy and tired. But I did it, and then, I picked up some post-run Starbucks, which was glorious.  Sometimes unemployment makes me feel like I’m living my life under a gray cloud. I know things don’t change overnight, but appreciating the little things in life goes a long way. What do you do to help you get through rough patches in life?  

Spinach Noodles [ Meatless Monday ]

I am still recovering from the Super Bowl last night. I usually do not at all care about sports, but I love Seattle, and thus, I love the Seahawks. This is the first time I ever remember caring about the outcome of the Super Bowl. I usually just use the Super Bowl as an excuse to drink beer and eat a lot of chips and dips. But for the first time last night, I actually watched and cared about an NFL game. I know the consensus was that it wasn’t a very competitive Super Bowl, but I surprised myself and had a great time seriously watching football.

The only disappointing thing about last night was that I wasn’t in Seattle to celebrate. 

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But onto more important things, these spinach noodles are bomb y’all. When I first moved back to DC, I ended up eating a lot of to-go food from the local organic market. One of my favorite  meals was pre-packaged spinach noodles with some tofu and vegetables. Now that I am settled in, I try to cook at home as much as I can because it saves money, so I decided to create my favorite grab-n-go meal myself. These noodles can be eaten hot or cold, so they are perfect to take to work or to prep on the weekend for a quick weeknight dinner. 

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Vegan Spinach Noodles
Serves 2
Print
Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 servings of spinach noodles
  2. 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  3. 2 cloves of garlic
  4. 1/2 purple onion
  5. 5 ounces of shiitake mushrooms
  6. 4 carrots
  7. 1 teaspoon of parsley
  8. Black pepper to garnish
  9. 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  10. 7 ounces of extra firm tofu
  11. Salt and pepper to taste
  12. Olive oil for garnish
  13. 1/2 lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Press tofu.
  2. Prepare pasta according to directions.
  3. Heat large skillet over a medium heat. Chop garlic into small pieces, and thinly slice onion. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil, garlic, and onion to skillet. Sauté into onions are soft.
  4. Add shiitake mushrooms to skillet. Cook and stir until mushrooms are soft.
  5. Add carrots to skillet, and cook for 2 -3 more minutes.
  6. Add cooked vegetables to cooked noodles.
  7. Put skillet back on stove, and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Crumble pressed tofu into pan. Cook until tofu is browned.
  8. Add tofu to pasta and vegetables, and stir everything together.
  9. Garnish with olive oil (if desired) and lemon juice!
Life Between Lattes http://www.lifebetweenlattes.com/

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And I am off to watch the Bachelor and devour a big bowl of noodles. Buenos noches!  

January :: Energy [ Recap ]

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing. That is why we recommend it daily.”  Zig Ziglar

I can’t believe that tomorrow is February 1st. January flew by. Don’t you agree? At the beginning of January, I chose to focus on the word energy. I honestly find unemployment to be one of the most draining things I have ever done. I am person who thrives on busyness and routine, and for me, unemployment is challenging. So in January, I wanted to focus on getting in a solid healthy routine. 

  • [ Exercise ] Exercise was a pretty big fail this month. I worked out a total of six times this month – that doesn’t even average twice per week, so obviously, I shouldn’t be your fitness idol. I want to blame the polar vortex for my lack of running, but really, I should just get on board with working out at home. I really dislike working out at home, but I can’t afford a gym, and it is cold outside, so I need to make what I have work. However, I did work out more than I did in December – that is a win. 
  • [ Less Sugar, More Water ] This intention went really well. I haven’t had dessert all month, and although I have had some added sugar, it is been in limited amounts. And it is certainly less sugar than I consumed in December – by a lot. 
  • [ Routine ] I am kind of embarrassed to say – this was another fail. I do keep myself busy, but having a routine is a struggle. I apply for jobs, I set up networking meetings, I am taking legal classes online, and I am writing this blog. But I won’t tell you I’m not suffering from some serious motivation issues. So things tend to get done when they get done, which is the most efficient or ideal. 

Honestly, I wanted to start this yearly project to form good habits, good routines without putting a lot of pressure on myself. But, I did not really follow through with the goals I set for myself, and I don’t really don’t care. Instead of thinking of this as a failure, I going to think of it as something I need to continue to work on. I am not going to put extra pressure myself because progress is more important than perfection. And I would say that I made progress is all these areas this month even if I didn’t achieve my “ideal” results. Plus, I did kick that intense need for sweets after every meal. 

I kind of hate posting this on the internet because it feels mopey. But, the big word being thrown around the internet this year is authenticity. Well friends, this is me being authentic. 

However, I am absolutely looking forward to having cupcakes for breakfast tomorrow. Seriously ya’ll! 

How To … Use Goji Berries

I would like to think I am a morning person. Yet, my delusions are consistently knocked down by reality, and I am, unfortunately, reminded that I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination. But, morning is truly my favorite time of day. As much as I hate rolling out of bed before dawn, it is such a peaceful time, as long as the homeless people aren’t threatening each other in the park below your window. 

Once upon a time in law school, I used to have a morning routine. Well, I used to have as much of a routine as a non-morning person can have. My aim was to start everyday with a glass of hot lemon water. Sometimes, weather permitting, I would enjoy my lemon water on my balcony although it was usually in front of the morning news. Hot lemon water – the more lemon the better – is so clean, crisp, and fresh; it wakes you up in a soothing way. Plus, you get bonus points for hydrating before drinking coffee. 

Well eventually, I learned that you can soak goji berries in your hot lemon water for a little extra kick to your morning, and of course, I didn’t want to feel left when everyone is the blogsphere started eating goji berries, the “superfood.”  And goji berries are supposed to have a high antioxidant count, but honestly, the reason I put goji berries in my lemon water is because I like the way they taste soaked in hot lemon water. Any additional health benefits I am getting are an added bonus. 

I bought some lemons and goji berries at Whole Foods Market this week because it has been much too long since I have spent a peaceful morning sipping lemon water.  Plus, it is super simple – just add juice of 1 lemon and 1 – 2 tablespoons of goji berries to a 12 – 16 oz. mug of hot water in the morning. 

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Have you ever tried drinking hot lemon water in the morning

Build Your Own Bowl [ Meatless Monday ]

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“ In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection.” Curnonsky 

One thing I love about cooking is that the kitchen is always teaching me things. Sometimes I learn practical things like don’t get parchment paper to close to the toaster oven coil. Sometimes I learn more theoretical things like stop trying making things too complicated. This a healthy recipe is for those nights when you want your butt planted on the couch as soon as possible. Fortunately, it is also a recipe full of fiber and wholesome goodness.

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My favorite vegetarian meals are usually the simplest meals. Sometimes I forget that vegetables don’t need a lot of love – they are really quite tasty on their own. Growing up in Texas, I remember a lot of vegetables casseroles – broccoli and rice casserole, sweet potato casserole, and while those kind of dishes have their place, every once and a while it is nice to just add a light dressing to bring out the natural flavor of vegetables without all the other stuff. 

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Simple Bean, Grains, and Vegetables
Serves 2
Print
Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup of dried quinoa
  2. 1 can of garbonzo beans
  3. 1 purple onion
  4. 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  5. Salt and pepper to taste
  6. 1 large head of broccoli
  7. 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
  8. 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
  9. 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare quinoa (or grain of choice) according to package instructions.
  3. Dice onion, and toss with drained garbonzo beans, olive oil, and spices. Place on baking sheet covered in parchment paper, and bake for 20 - 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. Chop and steam broccoli.
  5. Mix balsamic vinegar, nutritional yeast, and dijon mustard together.
  6. Combine cooked grains, vegetables, and broccoli, and drizzle with dressing!
Life Between Lattes http://www.lifebetweenlattes.com/

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Happy (Meatless) Monday! 

#LBL Weekend Edition

 // I have almost made it to the end of January without dessert (5 more days!!!), but maybe I should think about  Giving Up Alcohol for a Month next. 

// Seahawks are going to the Super Bowl! Did you know the Seakbaws fullback, Derrick Coleman, is the First Deaf Offense Player in the NFL

// Some of these Natural Beauty Products may make it onto my Whole Foods Market shopping list because I obviously need more things to buy at Whole Foods. 

// Urban Farming looks cool!  

// This Public Health Infographic is great! 

// Red Pandas in Snow! And Lion Cubs! Enough said? 

// If you are unemployed, this is a great reminder:  Don’t Take the Job Search Personally

// It drives me nutty how you can only read ten free articles articles on the New York Times per month. One of my favorite pieces from the New York Times this week about  Wealth Addiction, or at least until I hit that monthly max. 

// I am glad to see that the Demand for Humanely Raised Hogs is getting national attention.  

// Not to piss off all the Paleo people out there, but Micheal Pollan, who happens to be one of my favorite food icons, was recently featured on a Podcast discussing What’s Wrong with the Paleo Diet

(Friday) Favorite Budget-Friendly Accessories

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If you haven’t caught on by now, I am unemployed. Being unemployed isn’t horrible (it also isn’t great). But, I rarely eat out. I do not have a lot of extra money to be hanging out at bars on weekend. But, what bother me most is that I don’t have money to spend on clothes. It is absolutely a #firstworldproblem, and honestly, I’m not really complaining  here (my apologies if that is what it sounded like). However, I do like to look pulled together and putting on a cute outfit makes me feel good about myself, so I make the most of my current wardrobe, and I definitely put any and all gift cards to excellent use. 

I don’t have the means to treat myself to a lot of new things these days, but I do try to make the best of what I have.  Below are my three favorite accessories to help pull your style together on a budget. 

>> Statement Necklaces – I picked up this particular piece at Anthropologie on sale (with a gift card), and I love to pair it with red flannel if I’m hanging out around the house. And if I have a more formal networking event or happy hour, it is the perfect compliment to a black wrap dress or a black sweater. More so than buying a new shirt or a new pair of pants, this necklace is versatile, and you get a lot of bang for your buck. Just remember, when purchasing a statement necklace, make sure it is neutral enough (not necessarily neutral) to go with multiple items in your closet. 

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>> Lipstick – I am obsessed with Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick. Although I don’t think many people in DC have gotten the memo, a bright lip is a great accessory. A bright lip turns a jeans and t-shirt into an outfit. Plus, all Urban Decay’s make-up is cruelty-free! This lipstick is super creamy and soft, but it also stays in place. Yet, I usually smear urban decay eye shadow primer around the edges of my lips to help it stay in place. It also lasts forever – I’m always surprised when I go to the bathroom to freshen up, and my lipstick is still beautiful and bright.  

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>> Statement Shoes – When I was heavier, I had a pretty amazing shoe collection. I hated trying on clothes, so I resorted to wearing a lot of black and super cool shoes. To this day, I love a simple outfit with an amazing pair of shoes, and shoes can absolutely make or break an outfit. After having moved cross-country three times in the past five years, I have less than 20 pairs of shoes, but I try to make sure every pair is fabulous and versatile. I stalked these Lydia Cutout Loafers online until they went on sale. And I wear a lot of basics (think black skinny jeans and black (or flannel)), so these are the perfect pop to my outfit. 

Happy Friday! Stay warm, and don’t slip on the ice! 

Cherry Vanilla Whiskey

I totally meant to blog yesterday and before eight’o’clock today. But life got in the way. Yesterday, I took full advantage of the snow day here in DC and spent a lot of the day reading leisurely devouring Anna Karenina. And today, I went grocery shopping and got busy with my to-do-list, and now, I’m finally sitting down to write about my new favorite whiskey drink. 

Oh whiskey. I have been repulsed by whiskey for most of my life. I still remember when I was young, and my dad and uncle were drinking a nice bottle of scotch, and I found the smell absolutely nauseating. In college, I remember all my friends loved Jack Daniels and Coke, but I didn’t even like the smell, much less the taste. I had a few shots of whiskey in college that I do not remember fondly. Most recently, I was enticed to do a Pickle Back (a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice), and blech

However, as I have grown older, I have succumbed to peer pressure – not necessarily to drink alcohol but to appreciate a wider variety of alcohol. Law students and lawyers are not ones to shy away from drinking, and I have tried to expand my horizons when it comes to alcohol – mainly to beer and liquor. I still prefer wine, but over the past three years, I have developed an appreciation for different beers and liquors. Most recently, I have decided that in some well-mixed drinks, I actually like the taste of whiskey. 

And now, I have taken things a step further, and I am actually creating whiskey drinks to share with the world, and in the words of Kanye, “that shit cray.”  First, you need to make this Vanilla Simple Syrup, and then, we can get onto the cocktail making! It is perfect thing to keep you warm on a snowy winter day! 

Cherry Vanilla Whiskey
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 ounce of Bulleit Bourbon (or your favorite bourbon)
  2. 2 Luxardo Gourmet Maraschino Cherries
  3. 1 tablespoon of cherry juice
  4. 1 tablespoon of simple vanilla syrup (optional)
  5. 4 - 6 ounces of sparkling water
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together, stir, and enjoy!
Life Between Lattes http://www.lifebetweenlattes.com/

And on that note, I’m of to enjoy my clean room and a warm bowl of Indian food. How do you feel about whiskey friends? Love it? Hate it?