Wednesday, July 25, 2012

summer fun and challenge hilights

Summertime, summertime, sum, sum, summertime.  We have been enjoying our summer and I hear we are over half way through with our summer.  Boo!

Here is a short review of what we've been up to the past couple of weeks.  Photos are taken from my iPhone.

Cherry Festival was the first week in July.  The festival kicked off with an airshow.  We found our spot on the beach and stayed most of the day.

The kids played in the water, we had lunch, and watched the airshow. 

We've had hot, sunny days.  With sidewalk chalk in hand I made this town and road on our driveway.

Also as part of the Cherry Festival, the boys ran in their first race, a one mile kids run organized by HGTV's Carter Oosterhouse.  He's a Traverse City native and loves to do things for kids.  There was a parade after the run and we stayed and watched.

We took one morning and walked around the festival.  It was hot, so we didn't stay past lunch.  It was fun to see the sites and eat some cherries.

My brother, Adam is moving to Boston soon.  Since I moved back to MI I've gotten to spend more time with him than I ever have since I left my parent's house.  It's been great having this time to reconnect with him and I'm going to miss him when he's far away again.  He came for a visit one weekend right after we got some outdoor furniture.

We've been enjoying our CSA share this year.  And saying hello to the farm cats.

We live about three minutes from a beach on a small lake.  The past couple of weeks I've taken the boys there before dinner, after dinner, for just an hour, or for 3 hours. 

We took a quick roadtrip to see my brother and to pick up a couple of old console radios.  My Great Grandparents owned them (so my brother says - I don't mean to sound like I don't believe him, I do, it's just that I didn't remember that they did), even purchased them new.  I was happy to take them in.
And we had a fun visit with my brother.  I got to see his house for the first time!

Imagine finding vegan, gluten free food at a restaurant! The tofu was a bit over done, but everything else was good.

My husband was gone over the weekend and the trip downstate followed by lots of outdoor activities made the weekend much better without him here.

Garden goodness:

Yesterday I headed to the beach yet again, only this time I was alone.  I drove to Lake Michigan, laid down my towel and did yoga on the beach while watching the sun set.


Now, onto the food!  My cleanse challenge went great.  In two weeks I lost 4 pounds but gained a lot of insight on my eating habits, eating options, time required to make food, snack options, and what would satisfy my sweet tooth. 

You'll remember that potatoes were on my list of no-no's for my challenge so don't worry, I didn't make this Thai Corn Chowder until after the two weeks were over.

Since buying my ice cream maker attachment I've been making two or more ice creams per week.  Hey, I have five mouths to feed, and it's summertime!

This Raspberry Almond Torte (from Dreena's Let Them Eat Vegan) went great with the Vanilla Bean Banana Coconut ice cream (also from Let Them Eat Vegan).

And since my husband is not a fan of raspberries (what?!) I made a blueberry version for him, equally delicious.

Since my challenge ended I have continued to eat gluten free.  I heard that it takes a while for gluten to completely exit your system.  I've allowed a bit of sugar and oil back into my diet, but not like I was consuming before.  I have found other ways around adding oil and sugar to my foods and am very happy with the methods and the taste of my food.  All in all I think the challenge was a great way to take a better look at how and what I was eating.  Sure, I was eating a relatively healthy, vegan diet before.  But now I am taking it one step further.  I'm happy to continue and make my "challenge" a part of my daily eating habits.

Friday, July 6, 2012

fourth of july recap and beach day :: day 5


 We had a great Fourth of July.  My Mom and niece came over along with some friends.  They have 3 children who are all about the same age as my kids.  Their youngest is a girl and Nickel and her get along well.  It's very cute when we take them along when the Mom and I go to coffee and they have their own conversation.  Usually they are having their own individual conversations, which makes it even cuter.

We cooked on the grill, like thousands of others around the country.  It was HOT so it was nice not having to turn on the oven.  I made some veggie burgers, roasted veggies (I still have turnips!), and this quinoa salad.

It has zucchini, black beans, dry toasted almonds, green onion, and dressed with citrus tahini dressing (yep, from Dreena Burton).  I would have liked to have put something red in there, but didn't have anything!  It was delicious and light but also filling.  We also had homemade ice cream.  I made strawberry and chocolate chocolate chip.  My friend made vanilla with her old-fashioned ice cream maker.

We did fireworks and we had the best ones yet! We spent less than $25 and most of them stayed on the road because of the dry weather  But the fountains we got this year were spectacular!  Sorry, no pictures of the day other than the quinoa.  I was enjoying myself too much to take pictures.


Today we spent the day at the beach with my Mom and niece.  Our favorite beach, North Bar Lake in Empire, MI.

It's wonderful, just a long way to walk to our favorite beach spot.  After parking in the lot we walk along a dirt trail leading to the lake.  We then walk a short bit parallel with the lake along the tree line. 

About midway in the picture above is where we finally make our way down to the water and continue to walk heading around the lake some more (left, as in the picture above).

We continue walking along the lakes edge.  Keep in mind we are lugging along all of our beach paraphernalia (towels, toys, bags of food and drinks, a cooler, umbrella, camping chair, etc.).  We've found that walking in the water and letting the cooler float as we pull it along works the best.  But still...'s a long way around when you're carrying all of that stuff!

But it's worth it.  This spot is perfect for us.  The smaller lake is warmer for the kids to swim and also has a short canal that leads to Lake Michigan.

And the Empire Bluffs never disappoint.



Now, onto my challenge.  I'm doing well.  I'm keeping with my diet but have been having cravings, starting last night.  I seemed especially hungry yesterday, not being fully satisfied after my humungous salad and really wanting something (that I shouldn't have) to eat after the kids went to bed.  Popcorn was calling my name, or cereal with almond milk (no gluten-free, sugar-free cereal on hand) and the last bit of granola wasn't quite enough.  Tonight I'm feeling kind of the same way.  I didn't eat a whole lot at the beach and now I'm feeling hungry, even after I ate a nice-sized portion of leftover Fourth of July dinner (see above).  

My sister's advice would be to drink a big glass of water, because I could be needing the hydration (true, since I spent so much time outside today).  But I think I may pop some corn tonight (air oil) too.  We'll see how I feel after drinking that glass of water.

Does anyone have cravings?  How do you deal with them?  Do you indulge?  I'm curious to gain some additional tips.

Happy weekend!