Thursday, January 31, 2013

Vegan Potato Leek Soup

This super easy and low cal soup is still satisfying with its rich and creamy texture.  It's also a great base soup for you to play around with and add your own fixings to...but trust me, it's still quite delicious all by itself!  :-)

Ingredients: Serves approx. 12 1-cup portions

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
3 leeks, sliced and rinsed
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 tbsp ground thyme
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp red cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
6 cups water or veg. broth


1.  Cook onion, leeks, garlic and spices in olive oil until soft.
2.  Add water and potatoes, bring to boil, cook until potatoes are soft.
3.  Blend with immersion blender and serve!

Nutrition: Cal-77, Carb-14, Fat-2, Protein-2, Fiber-1

Zombie 5K Run

Zombie 5k Run

For me, finding the time to be consistent with my running (and exercising in general) is well, difficult.  When I'm not dedicating 40+ hours a week to my job as a social worker I find myself wanting to just have fun.  I can be found having dinner with friends, drinks with friends, shopping with friends, movies with friends, IKEA trips with friends, crocheting with friends, partying with friends, beaching with friends, gossiping with friends, and for good measure, just spending time with my friends.  

Social butterfly?  You don't say.

Obviously, I'm happiest when I'm spending time with my pals.  So it only makes sense to incorporate any activities of the exercise variety...with friends.  Now I've had the occasional gym buddies who bail at the last minute.  As good as their intentions may have been they just simply weren't interested in working out regularly.  Or I've had friends who are avidly interested in shaking their groove things in Zumba classes and while I will dabble in Zumba here and really isn't MY thing.

So there I am, an extroverted people person without any consistent and super local workout buddy.  Enter one of my best friends, Lisa (Hi Lisa!).  We both discovered around the same time how much we loved running.  A mutual adoration for being outside and for social contact made us quick running buddies.  We enjoyed evening jog after jog together all through the summer of 2012 while preparing for The Color Run 5k.  Both being inexperienced runners, we were able to share in the small but exciting victories of "I ran 0.4 miles further than last time!" and "I finished that mile in 32 seconds less than before!"

Those seemingly trivial moments proved to be monumental for me as I shed 20 pounds over the summer.  Our first 5k came and went and suddenly with the decreasing daylight and lack of a formal 5k run to look forward did our almost daily running routine.

Throughout this past fall and winter I've managed to maintain my 20 pound weight loss with weekly half-assed workouts of Just Dance and brief walks.  While happy that I've finally managed to keep off a significant amount of weight for more than a month, I can't help but be a little bummed that my precious momentum has dissipated.

The Solution?  Getting chased by zombies, of course.

If signing up for a fun themed 5k helped me out once, it should do the trick again.  I'm back on the treadmill (and on nice days back outside) running my butt off to get ready to escape the zombie apocalypse.  I'm extra motivated due to the fact that I'm terrified of the feeling of being chased and I'm about as brave as a baby when it comes to zombies and anything remotely scary.  So this could result in me running the fastest in my life or cowering in a fetal position on a path in FDR Park.  0_o

I'm feeling great and also excited to weigh myself soon, especially since I've been transitioning my normal emptycarb-sugar-salt-aholic vegetarian diet to a more whole food and minimally processed vegan regimen.  Updates are sure to follow and I hope to see lots of friends and family at the upcoming Zombie 5k in Philadelphia.  Visit The Zombie Run's website for more details or to find a race near you.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Vegan Avocado Jalapeno Cilantro Lime Dip

 Vegan Avocado Jalapeno Cilantro Lime Dip

Ingredients: Yields approximately 20 2tbsp servings
Fruit of 2 avocados
2 jalapenos, chopped
zest and juice of 1 lime
1 small bushel cilantro leaves
1tbsp veganaise
3/4 cup almond milk

This is beyond easy and super healthy.  Simply throw all of the above ingredients in your blender until it's nice and smooth.  Use it as a dip for some hearty sweet potato fries, a spread for a black bean & rice burrito, or add a bit more almond milk to use it as a dressing for a refreshing salad.

Nutrition Facts per serving: Cal-32, Carb-1, Fat-6, Protein-1

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Crochet: Freshman Dorm Blanket

Simple yet interesting stripes in a two-toned gradient make this quick lap blanket a must have.  Grab your crochet hook and stitch it up in your school's colors!

Find the pattern here!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Crochet: Fall Semester Infinity Scarf

A loooooonnng infinity scarf in a fun mesh pattern.  A fabulous layering piece for your fall and winter wardrobe.

Find the pattern here!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Rest in Peace Lexie

One of my best friends, Erica, has to put her gorgeous golden retriever to sleep today.  Lexie will be sorely missed as she has been so dearly, dearly loved.

"Bronte" by Goyte

Now your bowl is empty
And your feet are cold
And your body cannot stop rocking
I know
It hurts to let go

Since the day we found you
You have been our friend
And your voice still echoes in the hallways of this house
But now
It's the end

We will be with you
When you're leaving
We will be with you
When you go
We will be with you
And hold you till you're quiet
It hurts to let you go

We will be with you
You will stay with us

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Etsy Treasury: Philly Love

A treasury list featuring shop owners from the Philadelphia area, have a look!

DIY: T-Yarn Braided Belt


1.  Make t-shirt yarn from one XL brown t-shirt. (Free T-Yarn tutorial here)

2.  Cut 7 100” strands of the t-shirt yarn.

3.  Make 2 three-stranded regular braids (Note: It is helpful to knot your strands together and tape to a surface to hold while braiding).

4.  Using 2 previously-made braids and remaining 7th single strand of t-shirt yarn, make one three-stranded braid. Knot both ends evenly and trim ends evenly. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Crochet: Exchange Student Triangle Scarf

Triangle scarves are versatile and elegant.  This creation starts with a double crochet and then expands to a triple, to a double-triple, and back to a double again.  Find the pattern here!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Etsy Treasury: Blush Lingerie

A treasury of sexy blush lingerie, check it out here!

Hipster Dance Party

The key to a good workout for me is having a great playlist.  I usually stick to my tried and true compilations of classic and alt rock.  Who doesn't like to sweat to "Eye of the Tiger"?  To change things up I've been dabbling in some Spotify member created playlists all with titles like "BeSt X-rciSe Tuuuunnness!<3!", "OMFG MY favvvVeee werkOut moosic!", and the like.  At first they were fun.  But I can only wait for the beat to drop so many times.

Now let me tell you, I'm secretly a sucker for all of the music that those hip young kids are listening to these days.  Even that good ol' mainstream dubstep in moderation.  I can't help it.  But more than 15 minutes of it puts me in a psychedelic trance.  So, when I came upon a playlist entitled "Hipster Dance Party" I was hesitant but couldn't resist the temptation.  And it's utterly fabulous.  I threw it on shuffle and the variety kept me energetically running for the hour.  Find it on Spotify or take a look at some of its tracks below for inspiration to make your own workout playlist.  Happy Listening!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Crochet: Economic Studies Jewelry Holder

Give an old picture frame a new life by making it into an innovative jewelry holder.  The elegant lace pattern can be customized to fit various frame sizes.

Very functional and makes a great gift!

Check out the pattern here!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Mushroom Spinach Burgers with Sweet Potato Bites

Mushroom Spinach Burgers with Sweet Potato Bites

A juicy vegetarian patty made of mushrooms, onions and spinach.  Serve with crispy sweet potato bites for a nutrient packed and hearty meal.

Nutrition Facts 
(1 patty, 1 roll, 1/2 avocado, one serving sweet potato side)


Sweet Potato Side

Makes  2 servings.

1 large sweet potato, cubed
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tsp ground coriander seed
1 tsp cayenne red pepper


  1. Peel and cube sweet potato.
  2. Toss in olive oil, salt, pepper, coriander, and red pepper.
  3. Bake at 450 degrees for about 30-35 minutes.

Mushroom Burger

Makes about 10 patties.

24oz mushrooms, minced
1 white onion, chopped 
6 oz. baby spinach
4 oz. feta cheese
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp minced garlic
salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 egg

whole wheat sandwich thins
avocado for topping


  1. Mince mushrooms, chop onion (save some on side for topping).  Sauté the mushroom, onion, garlic, salt, pepper in 1.5 tbsp of butter until soft.  
  2. Add spinach (save some on side for topping) and feta to mushrooms and cook until all spinach is wilted.
  3. Mix oats, flour, and egg.  Cook on low heat for about 5 more minutes and remove.
  4. Heat olive oil in pan and form patties about 3-4” in diameter and .5’” thick.  Cook on each side for about 4 minutes.
  5. Sauté remaining onion in 1/2 tbsp of butter for topping
  6. Serve on bed of spinach, onion, and avocado.

Form patties of remaining mixture and freeze for later use!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Creamy Tomato Bisque

Creamy Tomato Bisque
Serves 8 1-cup portions

A creamy and delicious tomato bisque.  Simple, quick, and great paired with a cheese panini.  A soup that will make every family member, no matter what age, very happy. :-)

Nutrition Facts per serving

Calories: 184
Carbs: 11
Fat: 15
Protein: 4
Fiber: 1
Sugar: 3


2 cups water
1 pint light cream
4 vegetable bouillon cubes
1 14 oz can of diced tomato
1 small white onion
3 medium vine ripened tomatoes
1 tbsp garlic
1 tsp basil
4 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour


1.  Chop onion and tomatoes.  In soup pot, saute onion, bouillon cubes, garlic, basil, and all tomatoes in butter until soft.

2.  Slowly add flour and cream, stirring.

3.  Add water.  Blend with immersion blender or regular blender.

4.  Stir, heat thoroughly and serve with bread or a grilled cheese panini!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Creamy Mushroom Soup

A savory and satisfying soup for mushroom lovers.  
Creamy Mushroom Soup
Serves 8  1-cup portions

Nutrition Facts per serving:


8oz baby portobello mushrooms
8oz white button mushrooms
4oz crimini mushrooms
1 sweet onion
4 tbsp unsalted butter

2 cups water
1 pint light cream

1 tbsp minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp ground coriander
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
2 vegetable bouillon cubes


1.  Wash and chop mushrooms, chop onion, and sautee together in butter with spices and bouillon cubes.

2.  Add water.  Blend with immersion blender in pot or with regular blender.

3.  Add cream, stirring consistently.  Heat thoroughly and serve immediately.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Etsy Treasury: Sweet Dreams

Little lovelies for some sweet dreamin'...check it out here!