I’ve Discovered Baking

Get ready for a long one! I don’t know if you have noticed, but I have discovered baking. I have also discovered that I LOVE to bake, as well as watching my husband’s reaction when he tries a new recipe. I know this newfound baking obsession has come about out of necessity since there are so few places around here to get good vegan baked goods, and cereal with milk was just not cutting it for my hunger in the morning. In addition, my class this semester is in the morning, so I need something I can eat quickly or while I am driving down I-4 since I have trouble getting up in time to sit down and eat. Finally, I really like baking for people that don’t expect something that’s vegan to taste good, like the brownies I made for the Super Bowl party. Anyway, even though it is 9 months away, I’m now trying to decide what I want for my birthday because I know either way it is a major investment.

Since I’ve discovered baking, I have been mixing everything by hand since I only have an ancient hand mixer that I only really use one in a while because it tends to spit things out of the bowl quite easily. I was thinking that maybe I would want a stand mixer so that I can mix batter much quicker. However, I also have discovered photography, especially for this blog, so I want to upgrade to an actual DSLR instead of my point and shoot in order to take more professional looking pictures. Either way I go, I know it will be an expensive proposition for whoever buys me my gift, but I know I have some time to decide. I know if I do get a stand mixer, it will definitely be the Kitchen-Aid because I know the brand and trust them, but if I get a camera, I’m still torn over which brand to buy. I have always been a Nikon girl from way back, but recently I have been thinking of jumping ship to either Sony or Canon. Canon just released the T3i, which looks pretty good, and Sony has the A55, which also looks good. I’ve been a Sony girl in every other aspect of my life for the past I don’t even know how long, so I’m kind of partial to the A55. I also really like the features of the camera, so that’s the way I am leaning right now…but we shall see when the time comes as to what is out. But more about that as the time gets closer.

I feel that my life has been strange this semester because it is the first semester since I started back to school in August of 2008 that I have not taken a full load of at least 12 credit hours. Heck, last spring and last semester I took 17 credit hours and 18 credit hours respectively, so this semester taking only 6 credit hours has left me with a lot of free time. I really should have gotten a job to help out with the financial load, but I really couldn’t bring myself to get a menial job that would only last for 4 months. The nursing programs I am applying to strongly discourage working at all for at least the first 2 semesters, so I would have to quit in May anyway in order to start school. In order to make ends meet, I’m going to have to borrow some extra money for the summer semester and beyond in the form of private loans, but I have to know where I am going first before I can apply for financial aid. It is a wait and see game for financial aid, but in the meantime I am learning to cook and bake vegan. Thanks for Mama Pea, I have some great jumping off points for recipes, as well as the other bloggers I follow. This week has been a week of delicious food adventures that started with some awesome juice.

Like I posted on Saturday, that is the only day I have my husband M all to myself, so I decided to treat us both to some amazing homemade juice. I made M some straight up apple juice with a mix of Pink Lady and Fuji apples. He really enjoyed it, so that’s a win in my column 🙂 I made myself carrot, apple, cucumber, and ginger juice. Let me tell you, it was great and it gave me some awesome energy.

Apple, carrot, ginger, and cucumber juice

I got on the treadmill afterwards and had a great workout with my newly exchanged shoes, which are working out so much better than the other ones. I did get a blister, but it was small and on the new skin under my old blister. Saturday night, we ended up going to Ruby Tuesday because I love the salad bar, and I love to crumble the veggie minis on top of my huge salad. Sunday, I made us some awesome pita pizzas from Mama Pea, but I added sliced kalamata olives to the pizzas. For M, I bought him some dairy Mozzarella cheese and some prepared chicken pieces so he could get his meat in.

BBQ Black Bean Pizzas with Olives

I was going to make burritos for dinner, but after looking at what seems like a million restaurant possibilities for our anniversary trip to New Orleans and beyond, I was in the mood for Chinese. It took almost no arm-twisting to convince M, so sautéed asparagus and seaweed salad for me. I sautéed some Great Northern beans with some Gomasio so I could get some protein.

This week has had its ups and downs when it came to eating right. Monday for lunch, I reheated some butternut squash, quinoa, chickpea, and onion soup that I had gotten off the hot bar at Whole Foods, and I threw in some broccoli for some freshness. It was very good, so I think if they have it on the hot bar next time, I will definitely be getting some more.

Soup from WF hot bar with broccoli

For dinner, I finally made the burritos from Mama Pea, and this recipe went over like gangbusters. M and I both really enjoyed them, and he even went back for seconds. I also made her Almost Chipotle Guacamole, which will most likely have to be made at least once a week from now on because he ate about half of the bowl the first night (he LOVES guacamole).  I totally forgot to take a picture of these before digging in because I was starving, but believe me, they were pretty and pretty tasty.  Tuesday, when I got home from lab, I decided to make some pumpkin muffins I found on The Post Punk Kitchen website, but I decided to tweak them a little bit to fit what I had on hand and my tastes. I substituted coconut milk for the soymilk since I’m allergic, and I added pepitas (roasted, salted pumpkin seeds) and sweetened, dried cranberries to the batter before baking. I also decided to make a streusel topping for muffins, adding in more pepitas for added salt (I have been on a sweet and salty kick lately). They turned out amazing!

Ingredients for the muffins

Muffins still in the pan

Muffins on the cooling rack...yum!

While those were baking, I sautéed some broccoli slaw with a little bit of EVOO and some Gomasio to go under the Lemon Chickpea + Red Quinoa from last week to eat for lunch. It turned out very good, and I really enjoyed it.

Sauteed broccoli slaw

Lemon Chickpeas + Red Quinoa over broccoli slaw

This morning, I simply put a teaspoon of organic peanut butter on top of one of the muffins and added a whole pink grapefruit for breakfast.  It was nutritious, delicious, and filling.

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins with Pink Grapefruit

But, what has been great is that M hasn’t really asked for any particular foods because he has been enjoying what I have been cooking, so he is almost vegetarian because he is cooking mostly what I cook with some yogurt in his breakfast. In addition to his eating habits changing, my eating habits have changed. My diet for the past few years has been all consuming with measuring and counting calories, and it hasn’t gotten me very far other than obsessed with calories. In the past few weeks, I have been tracking my calories burned, but I have not counted a single calorie consumed and it has worked for me. I have continued to lose weight by simply eating vegan whole-foods, and I feel better for it. So onto this week’s stats…

Beginning Current Difference
Chest 47.5 44.5 -3″
Waist 39 38 -1″
Hips 51 49.5 -1.5″
Wrist 6.75 6.25 -0.5″
Forearm 12.5 12 -0.5″
Total Lost -6.5″
BMI 43.05 40.97 -2.08
Weight 235.4 224.0 -11.4
Percentage of weight loss 4.84%

2 responses to “I’ve Discovered Baking

  1. Karen -> Mom-in-Law

    I really like your updates but want to see pictures of you. Has Matt also lost weight?

    • I put pictures up last week at the end of the “I’m back” post. It has the first pictures I took with pictures taken on the 1st of February. I will be taking more pictures maybe next weekend or the following weekend.

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