Monthly Archives: August 2014

#29 Try 29 New Foods: Strawberry Butter

I can’t believe I got through this whole summer, no, I can’t believe I got though my whole life so far without…

Strawberry Butter!


Simply mix 1 part fresh or frozen berries with 2 parts earth balance buttery spread in the blender to taste. Left large chunks in mine to enjoy with banana oat waffles!


#23 New Physical Experiences: Air Maxx!

#23 Try 23 New Physical Experiences

Today is my 25th birthday!

Remy and I bought a groupon for Air Maxx Trampoline Park in Eden Prairie! Our deal included jump time in their 10,000 sq. ft. trampoline zone, $10 in arcade game tokens, and laser tag for two!


Remy is a surprisingly good jumper! We bounced for almost an hour and played trampoline dodgeball against each other! It was a tremendously good time!



Laser tag was a blast too! The chamber was totally dark with tons of neat hidey-nooks! gun holes, barrels, and more. I would definitely go there again sometime! I am such a nerd!

#29 Try 29 New Foods: Paella

#29: Paella

The love of my life got me one of the best birthday gifts I’ve gotten in my life. I own a lot of awesome vegan cookbooks, from vegan baking to junk food to global cuisine, but this blows them all away!


Candle 79 Cookbook is by far the fanciest cookbook I’ve ever owned. Candle 79 is a gourmet vegetarian/vegan restaurant in New York that was the first-ever vegetarian restaurant to be reviewed by the New York Times.

The first dish I hoped to create was a Spanish paella. Paella is a traditional Spanish coastal dish made with rice and vegetables (and historically fish). This high-class paella includes oyster mushrooms, roasted corn, red bell pepper, tomatoes, cauliflower, garlic, and chorizo seitan-sausage, and was seasoned with saffron and smoked paprika.


I swear to whoever it is people swear to these days that you can taste every single ingredient in this dish! I’m beginning to understand what the chefs on TV mean when they say the cooking and seasoning “bring out the flavor of the food”. Remy and I couldn’t stop eating it! (Probably because there was like $5 worth of saffron in there, that stuff’s not cheap!)

The restaurant version is served with oyster mushrooms and some sort of sauce, but ours looked pretty close to the beautiful picture of the pot in the book! I’m very impressed, and it also got the stamp of approval from my non-vegan best friends Matt, Jenny, and. Jenny. Looks like there will be more good things to come from this cookbook! Here’s the restaurant photo.


#23 – New Physical Experiences: Bodyweight Workout

#23: Bodyweight Workout!

My partner Remy’s summer project is to get into shape better than he ever has before! I think it’s an admirable goal for anyone to watch what they eat, increase their activity, and slim down into last year’s shorts! But I can safely say I don’t really concern myself with these things much on a day-to-day basis. I am fortunate enough to maintain a stable weight without giving too much thought to my diet or exercise – but I’m learning more and more that this is not the case for everyone!

Given that the average American has an excess of calories and a deficiency of exercise it’s not surprising that, given my vegan diet and modicum of activity, I can afford to worry less about weight and health… But Remy’s determination and new-found love of exercising have really inspired me to take an even more active role in my health and fitness.

Remy has been biking to and from work five days a week, 7 miles one-way for the past two months! He has also been reading about fitness, nutrition, fasting, and different workout routines. Recently two of my best friends and I caught his enthusiasm, and decided to work out together 1-2 times per week.

Being low on cash and noncommittal about a gym membership, we decided to take it to the park near our house! They all asked me to lead it, so I looked up different workouts. Remy came up with the Bodyweight workout from!

This workout can be done using only your body as weights, so no purchasing a gym membership or weights required!

We simply did circuits: 8 reps of each activity as many times as we could in 15-20 minutes! 8 squats, then 8 Australian pull-ups, then 8 lunges, and 8 push-ups. We allowed 1 minute of rest time between each circuit.





15-20 minutes may not sound like a lot but it was really hard! It was tough but we all left feeling great about ourselves! Everyone pushed as much as they felt comfortable, and I assisted with form. I found it really exciting to be “coach” for the day, and have all my friends doing something active with me! And while Remy definitely gets the credit for inspiring us all to get together, we have all started to take this “fitness kick” and make it our own!

Remy’s goal is to lose weigh, gain muscle and just be stronger and more fit all-around. Matt has been jogging in his own at least once a week, and his goal is to be able to roller blade again this summer! Jenny recently decided to train for a 10K run with her sister! Woah! That’s more intense than I would even do!

What’s been so nice about all of my friends getting into this with me is that we can all relate about and get support for what each of us is going through. Being in our mid-twenties now and having gotten a few years away from any organized physical activity we used to do in our youth, we each feel like this is a major change in our own ways.

Some of us (me) are realizing that the healthy, young, in-shape version of ourselves we still see in our head isn’t really true anymore. We’ve gotten busy, we’ve made choices, and we’ve done things that have taken us away from the healthy athletes we used to be. It has been a challenge to find ways to convince myself that being active is fun and I enjoy doing it. I have been especially been struggling with jogging; I just can’t make it fun (even though it’s more fun with friends). So I’m addressing this challenge by continuing to seek out new and interesting ways to be active. Yeah, anyone can jog, and it’s free, blah blah blah. But working out should be fun! Anyone have any ideas for FUN and FREEE workouts?

For others of us who have never identified as “athletes” in their lives, this process has been a different kind of challenge. Instead of falling short of our expectations and feeling, “why can’t my body do the things I want it to do anymore,” some if us are unsure what expectations to have at all. Remy for example was not an active youngster, in fact he was pretty overweight as a teenager. Because of his weight and asthma he never really thought cardio was something he could do. Now that new possibilities are open to him as a skinnier, healthier adult, he’s been questioning, “how can I get used to making this a part of my lifestyle when I never really have before”.

So for some of us this has been about letting go of the person we used to be and accepting and loving ourselves the way we are now! For others it has been about adopting a completely new or long forgotten way of life that involves making healthier choices when it comes it eating and exercise! I believe these challenges will be ongoing, but at least we have each other for support!

We still feel like we’ve got a long way to go, but we’ve maintained our commitment for 3 weeks already as a group! We are all setting our own small goals and big ones, but it’s still hard not to get bogged down wishing those long-term goals could happen faster. Anyone have any good advice on maintaining enthusiasm and not getting discouraged by the long road ahead?

Now that we’ve all been at it for a few weeks, I’m thinking about sustainability. How can we make sure this isn’t just a summer fad? How can I capitalize on our fitness successes and encourage even healthier eating habits among my friends without seeming pushy?

Wish us well as we try to keep this up all summer and into the fall! Remy, Jenny, and I have all decided to reward ourselves with a gym membership in the fall if we maintain our commitment until the weather starts to turn!

Here’s hoping!


See, aren’t you glad you signed up to get email notifications when I post a new blog?

If not, I hope you weren’t waiting around for 4 months, checking in every day to see if I’ve posted!

Just because I haven’t posted doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing things!

I’ve been busy as all get-out, but I’m back now so stop worrying already! Here’s a sneak peak into what you might see in my upcoming posts:

I bought some new work clothes….

Moved back to Minnesota!

Started a new job…






And a whole lot more!