Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New Blog

Hey guys!

 I've started a new blog over at

 Be sure to check it out and follow me on Facebook and Pinterest, too. :) 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Good day

This morning, I crawled out of bed as slowly as I could, careful not to wake the sleeping hubby next to me. As I opened the door to let Lola outside, I shivered.  Although it was officially morning, the darkness was hanging around and the air crisp and still. I knew what I had to do. I crept back to our room and found a pair of slipper socks and then quietly logged on to the computer to search for a pumpkin pancake recipe. After a few minutes, I found one on that had 1,164 reviews and 4.5 stars, good enough for me! I read through the reviews and decided to add an extra egg and used pastry flour for extra fluffiness. Also, I added extra spices for a bolder flavor. Try adding chopped pecans and pure maple syrup as toppings. Mmm, I can’t think of a better way to start a cool fall day.

Pumpkin Pancakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I use Coconut Milk)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg (Many reviewers used 2 eggs)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (Try whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. In a bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a separate bowl. Stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.               

After pancakes, I slipped into my jeans, a cozy sweater and my beloved scarf. My hair went up into a quick pony tail and I scrambled to put my face together before I rushed out the door to Eastlake Community Church (ECC). I have been attending the morning service for a while and absolutely love it! On my way in, I stopped by the tea station and grabbed a peppermint herbal tea with a few shakes of raw sugar. I found a seat and swayed to the soulful music.  The lead singer has the most beautiful voice. You can't help but feel lifted no matter what you're going through. ECC has recently opened two new locations, but still uses the same pastors to deliver the service. How do they do this you might ask?? By using hologram technology, of course! They have a modern message and do great things for the community. Plus, it's just around the corner from us, for now anyways. Come November we'll be in moving to a house in Edmonds. This weekend we've been painting a few of the rooms and working on packing all of our stuff. We sure accumulate a lot of stuff! But speaking of painting and packing, I better get back to work!!

“Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.” Martin Luther

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Motivational Interviewing

This past Saturday I spent the day with colleagues at a workshop learning motivational interviewing (MI) and counseling skills. Drs. John S. Baer and Kevin King introduced the basics and coached us through group activities. In the medical field, motivational interviewing has been gaining popularity. The newest definition describes MI on three levels. I like the technical therapeutic definition which describes MI as a 'collaborative, goal-oriented style of communication with particular attention to the language of change. It is designed to strengthen personal motivation for and commitment to a specific goal by eliciting and exploring the person's own reasons for change within an atmosphere of acceptance and compassion.' It's a mouthful but paints a thorough picture of what this patient-centered counseling style entails.

The essence of motivational interviewing is best described by the acronym A.C.E. The 'A' is for honoring autonomy and recognizing the patient will make his or her own choices. The 'C' stands for collaboration. In MI it is important to not always act as the 'expert' but to instead build a non-authoritarian and non-judgemental partnership with the patient. Lastly, during the session you will evoke change by eliciting the client's ideas, desires, reasons and needs. In short, it is our job to support and assist the clients while they resolve their own issues.

We do this by incorporating the four fundamental processes.

1. Engaging:  This is a very important step and may have to be circled back to if the client shows signs of discord. OARS is a set of skills developed to help build relationships and fully understand the client's issue. 

  • Open-ended questions: Questions formed in a way that push the client to elaborate instead of answering yes or no. Helps the provider gain perspective.

  • Affirmations: Honoring and recognizing efforts, successes and intentions. Encourage clients by finding things they value about themselves. Remember, affirmations must be genuine to work.

  • Reflective listening: Using simple or complex reflections to help communicate understanding or empathy. This was a huge focus at the training because MI is basically built on these skills. It felt awkward at first, I was more worried about formulating a response than actually listening. Try using the suggested stems below.

  • "So you are saying..." "It sounds like..." "You are wondering if..."

  •  Summaries: Type of reflective listening used to change directions or ask a key question. Start by indicating you are about to summarize, be concise, note both sides of  ambivalence (if any) and end with an open question.

  • 2. Focusing: Strategically using information and advice to set an agenda.

    3. Evoking: Using questions, responses and summaries to elicit change talk.

    4. Planning: Requires some commitment from the client, then work with them to develop a plan for change.

    With all of its parts, it may seem a bit daunting. However, one of the benefits to learning such a comprehensive style, is that no matter the situation, you always have relevant material to apply. At first during the activities it felt a little uncomfortable and somewhat forced. I stumbled through reflections and fought my natural "righting" reflex, but in the end I found this workshop to be extremely helpful. Like any other skill, it doesn't always come natural. Yet as you begin to master the different elements of MI, it certainly becomes a huge asset. Not only is it useful in nutritional counseling but I believe it will be beneficial in most relationships (even marriages). :)

    To learn more about motivational interviewing, please check out these additional resources:

    Rollnick S, Miller, W.R., & Butler C. (2008). Motivational Interviewing in Health Care. New York: Guilford Press.
    Rosengren, D.R. (2009). Building Motivational Interviewing Skills: A Practicioner Workbook. New York: Guilford Press.
    Naar-King, S. & Suarez, M. (2011) Motivational Interviewing with Adolescents and Young Adults. New York: Guilford Press.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Peanut Butter Cookies

    Every few weeks in elementary school, I waited in the salad bar line for a pump or two of my favorite peanut butter. I would grab three small, white paper cups and fill them to the brim. I remember it being the best peanut butter EVER! Nothing like the stuff in the jar my mom brought home from the store, it must be an extra special recipe. Lucky for me, one of my friend's mothers worked at the school and I soon discovered the secret ingredients! You'll never believe it,  they simply added honey and ground cinnamon. Really?!?! That's it?? Feeling slightly fooled, I started a tradition that would unknowingly continue into my adult years.

    I believe childhood memories have a huge impact on what we cook as adults and it was that specific memory that influenced this next recipe. When it came time to make peanut butter cookies, it seemed like a no-brainer to add local honey and ground cinnamon. Mmm, the memorable flavors sparked that happy spot in my brain and left me completely helpless. The dough was calling my name and before I knew it I had already downed countless spoonfuls. Go ahead and sample the raw dough, an undeniable advantage of egg-free recipes. However, don't forget to save some for baking, you won't want to miss out on these chewy morsels.

    • 3/4 c crunchy peanut butter (I like Adam's)
    • 1/2 c vegan margarine (Try Earth Balance)
    • 1 c light brown sugar
    • 1 Tbsp local honey (leave out for vegan cookies)
    • 2 Tbsp non-dairy milk (Try So Delicious Coconut milk)
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 2 Tbsp ground flax seeds mixed into 3 Tbsp warm water
    • 1 3/4 c flour
    • 3/4 tsp salt
    • 3/4 tsp baking soda

    • Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, cream the peanut butter, margarine, and brown sugar. Add non-dairy milk, vanilla, and flax mixture, beat.
    • In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Add dry mixture to wet; mix well.
    • For easy clean up, drop by rounded tablespoons, 2″ apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Flatten lengthwise and crosswise with a fork.
    • Bake 6-8 minutes. Store in an air-tight container.
    Enjoy fresh out of the oven, with a glass of milk.

    Saturday, August 27, 2011

    Elimination Diet: Week 2

    Another week ....the first few days were tough because we had company in town and groceries were starting to dwindle. We chose to eat out, which makes it difficult to avoid spices and the rest of my list. I tried the best I could, but a few of the days my headaches and tummy problems returned and my energy was completely zapped! Wednesday, I had an all day training and did well except for lunch. For the vegetarians, they had small wheat buns (on my list) topped with lettuce (on my list), tomato, avocado (on my list) and cream cheese (on my list)  with sides of fresh fruit and green salads. I was starving and had one sandwich with the sides, about an hour later my head started getting heavy and it quickly developed into a painful headache that lingered for the remainder of the day. Maybe it was the lunch or a build up of delayed reactions from the previous days. Either way,  I vowed to get back on track Thursday.

    Thursday 8/25-
    Breakfast:  (9:00 am)
    • 1/2 c whole wheat hot cereal
    • 1/2 tsp Earth Balance vegan margarine
    • 1 tsp brown sugar
    • 1/3 c So Delicious Original Coconut Milk
    • Blueberries
    Lunch: (12:30 pm)
    • Whole wheat wrap
      • White bean garlic dip (white beans, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and shallot)
      • Shredded carrots, sliced cucumbers, sliced tomatoes and sunflower seeds

      Snack: (2:00 pm)
      • Apple w/ 1 Tbsp crunchy PB
      • Iced rooibos tea w/ honey and lemon
      • Small plum
      • Sparkling water w/ limeade
      • Carrot sticks w/ white bean dip (love the garlic!)
      • 1-1.5 c couscous dish (toasted Israeli couscous, garlic, pine nuts, broccoli, cucumbers, kalamata olives, tomatoes, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt)

        Exercise: 30 minute bike w/ Lola + 25 min walk w/ Lola and hubby

        Friday 8/26
        • 5:30 - V8 Splash
        • 8:00 - 1 c Autumn Wheat cereal + coconut milk
        • Black tea + coconut milk
        • 1/2 banana
        Lunch: 11:15 am
        • 1-1.5 c leftover couscous salad
        • A few blackberries
        • 52 oz H2O
        Snack: 4:30 pm
        • 1 vegan coconut cookie - YUM!
        • Apple
        • Grilled portobello Mushroom stuffed with artichoke tapenade, vegan mayo, Oregon shrimp, sundried tomatoes, spinach and garlic
        • Corn on the cob

          After Dinner:
          • Root beer 'float' - Root beer, 1 oz vodka + coconut milk
          Saturday 8/27
          Breakfast 6:30 am
          • 1 c Autumn Wheat + Coconut Milk
          • 12 oz Soy Awake tea latte w/ 1/2 the sweetener
          Lunch: 11:30
          • Super hungry by the time I got the chance to eat at work
          • 1 grilled portobello stuffed w/ shrimp fixins - Yummy
          • 26 H2O
          • Chips + salsa
          • Edamame
          • Veggie wrap
          • Drinks downtown Seattle w/ Friends -
          • Craving bland salty food. Basically just ate whole wheat spaghetti noodles w/ a little vegan margarine and Braggs liquid aminos (early lunch and dinner), carrots w/ garlic bean dip, limeade, twizzlers, water, popcorn w/ vegan margarine and salt
          • v8 splash on the go 6:00 am
          • Autumn wheat + coconut milk 7:30
          Snack: 9:30
          • Banana
          • Black tea + soy latte w/ 1.5 pumps classic syrup
          Lunch: 11:30
          • Veggie wrap (spinach, carrots, cucumbers, white bean dip, sunflower seeds on whole wheat tortilla)
          • 26 oz H2O
          • Carrot + sweet potato chips
          • 1.5 c wheat berry salad w/ dried cherries, green onions, spinach, toasted walnuts, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, agave syrup
          • Iced herbal tea
          • Edamame

          Tuesday 8/30
          • Bran cereal w/ 1/2 banana + coconut milk 7:00 am
          • 20 oz 'Paris' tea
          • 2-3 Tbsp sunflower seeds
          • 1-1.5 c wheat berry salad
          • 1/2 banana
          • 26 oz water
          Afternoon snacks:
          • 26 oz water
          • 1 oz sweet potato/carrot chips
          • 1/2 apple
          • Tootsie Pop
          • Vegetarian 'sloppy joes' w/ local sauce, onions and sweet potatoes
          • Made vegan peanut butter cookies - sampled the dough and a few cookies :)
          • 1 piece of licorice

          Friday, August 26, 2011

          Meal Plans

          I'm a planner. My hubby and father tease me about it relentlessly. never ends!  And if something goes wrong, forget about it! "What happened, planner?" "You planned this?" "I thought planning was supposed to prevent these things." Oh, aren't they just hilarious little buggers? Sometimes they are two peas in a pod.

          So I like to be does that saying go? "Hope for the best, prepare for the worst." That's kind of my motto. To some this may sound a bit pessimistic, but to me it just makes sense. It's what I do. I enjoy making lists and crossing things off. I have a chore list on my fridge. I make weekly meal plans/shopping lists. I make lists of things to pack before going on a trip, tasks to complete, places to see, people to call/write, etc. It keeps me sane. Maybe it's because forgetfulness runs in my family or it limits unnecessary stress. Either way, I thought I would share a few of the fun tools I discovered along the way.

          Menu Planning Sites:

 - You can save recipes as you search through the site and then add these recipes to your meal plan and create shopping lists. However, in order to save these lists for future use, you must become a supporting member which is $9.95 for 6 months.

          Printable Planning Sheets:

 - This is right up my alley! They have awesome sheets for menu planning, shopping lists, to-do lists, diet tracking, birthday calendars, etc. Lots of useful stuff for my fellow planners!

          Meal Planning/Diet Tracking:

 - You enter your weight/height and it gives you your BMI. Then you can add recipes from the site or items from a list of common foods such as 'Apple, raw'  to your meal plan and it calculates your caloric intake for you. You can also track your weight, put together shopping lists or keep a journal.

 - This is a great site because it requests your age, wt, ht and activity level before setting a goal of maintaining, gaining or losing weight. You can keep track of your food, fitness and weight. Plus, it has a ton of great info on diet, fitness, inspiration and 'dares' on every category imaginable. Did I mention it's free?!?! Check it out!

          Speaking of plannning, tonight's menu is shrimp stuffed portobello mushrooms (for me), cheeseburgers (for the hubby), corn on the cob and garden salads. Yum!

          Thursday, August 25, 2011

          Elimination Diet - Week 1

          Thank goodness I made it through week one!! Cooking this week wasn't much fun, mostly because I couldn't try out new recipes. Gosh darnit, I can hardly use any seasonings, which is no fun.  :( For flavor I've been using lime juice/zest, lemon juice/zest, green onions, cilantro, fresh vegetables and most recently, garlic.  I decided I'll never be able to (nor want to) cook without garlic, so I could use it during my diet and enjoy my food that much more. Plus, it was in the 'very low' category on my antibody results sheet. I struggled a bit and had a few setbacks but realized planning ahead is the only way I will make it through this test. Here is how it went:

          Monday 8/15:
          Breakfast: 8:00 am
          • 1 c hot wheat cereal
          • 1/2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
          • 1/3 c Original Coconut Milk
          Snack: 11:00 am
          • 1 c. mixed fruit (cantaloupe, strawberries, blueberries)
          • Black tea w/ 1/4 c. Original Coconut Milk
          Lunch: 12:30
          • 1 c whole wheat pasta + 1/2 Tbsp lemon olive oil
          • 1 c carrot sticks
          • 16 fl oz water
          Snack: 2:00
          • 1Tbsp sunflower seeds
          • 20 oz H2O
          Things were going well until we went to the MSU Alumni Social at the Mariner's game. I hadn't ate dinner and all they had were hot dogs, chips, beans and cookies. I had a cookie, a Mac & Jack's Microbrew (For $9.25!!) and a bottle of water. Afterwards we found our seats and the smell of the garlic fries wafting down from above won over my willpower. My hubby and I shared an order of the delicious garlic goodness and a Pyramid Hefeweizen while we basked in the sunshine. I was only one day in, so I'll just start tomorrow. :)

          40 min walk w/ Lola + abs

          Tuesday 8/16/11:
          • 1 c. hot wheat cereal
          • 1 tsp Earth Balance Vegan butter
          • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
          • 1.5 c WA cherries
          • 1/2 can V8 Fusion - Pomegranate Blueberry 100% Juice
          • 1 c strawberries
          • 1 small cob of sweet corn
          • 1 pkg edamame
          • 2-3 Tbsp sunflower seeds
          • 1 c mixed fruit (strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe)
          • 3 oz grilled salmon
          • Sauteed zucchini and red/orange/yellow bell peppers
          • 1 c spaghetti tossed w/ caramelized onions and roasted tomatoes
          40 min bike w/ Lola arms/abs

          Wednesday 8/17/11:
          • 1 vegan hazelnut/blueberry scone
          • 1/4 c blueberry fruit salsa
          • Fruit Smoothie
            • 1 banana
            • 1/3 c blueberry salsa (lime zest, lime juice, fresh blueberries)
            • 4 strawberries
            • 1/3 c Coconut Milk
            • Ice
          • 1 pkg edamame
          • 26 oz H2O
          • 1 c carrot sticks
          • 26 oz H2O
          • 1 apple + 1 Tbsp PB
          • 1.5 c quinoa salad
            • Red quinoa, cooked onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, black beans, corn, cilantro, lime juice
          • Tortilla chips
          • 3 Popsicles for dessert while playing board games
          45 min bike ride w/ Lola + arms/abs

          Thursday 8/18:
          Breakfast: 5:30
          • Smoothie: 1 banana, 1/2 c blueberry 'salsa', 1/4 c coconut milk, ice
          Breakfast #2: 8:00
          • Hot cereal: 1 c. hot wheat cereal, 1 tsp Earth Balance Vegan butter, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 c coconut milk
          Snack: 10:00
          • 2-3 Tbsp sunflower seeds
          • 8 fl oz Green Kombucha Tea
            • Feeling very hungry this morning, my stomach kept growling
          Lunch: 11:15
          • 1 c quinoa salad
          • 2 oz salmon
          • 1 small cucumber
          • 26 oz H2O
          Snack: 4:00
          • Apple w/ 1 Tbsp PB
          Dinner: 7:00
          • 1.5 c Israeli couscous w/ pine nuts, olive oil, lemon, garlic, kalamata olives, zucchini, onions
          • Popsicles
          Exercise: 40 min walk w/ Lola + strength/abs

          Friday 8/19:
          Breakfast: 5:30
          • Smoothie: 1 banana, 1/2 c blueberry 'salsa', 1/4 c coconut milk, ice
          Breakfast #2: 9:00
          • Hot cereal: 1 c. hot wheat cereal, 1 tsp Earth Balance Vegan butter, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 c coconut milk
          • 12 oz soy black tea latte with 1/2 the sweetener
          Lunch: 11:30
          • 1 c. couscous salad
          • 1 cucumber
          • 1/2 - 1 c mixed fruit (cantaloupe, strawberries, blueberries)
          • 24 fl oz. H2O
          Snack: 1:30
          • 8 fl oz unswtd. iced tea
          Dinner: Not a very balanced dinner at all :/
          • Cascade Ice Pina Colada mixer w/ 1 oz coconut cream + 1 oz alcohol + lime juice
          • Edamame package
          • Cherries
          • Homemade chips @ The Rock
          • 1 mixed drink
          60 min walk w/ Lola + abs/arms

          Saturday 8/20:
          Breakfast: 10:30 am
          • Green Smoothie: 2 c spinach, 1/2 c blueberry 'salsa', 1 banana, 1 Tbsp coconut cream, splash of limeade, 1 Tbsp ground flax
          • 16 oz H2O

          Lunch: Feeling snacky/on the go
          • 4 oz limeade + 12 oz Cascade Ice flavored sparkling water
          • Peach (oops, just looked over my sheet and realized peach was a reactant, but a very low one)
          • 16 oz H2O
          • 2-3 Tbsp roasted pumpkin seeds
          • Wrap: whole wheat tortilla, chickpeas sauteed w/ olive oil, garlic and sunflower seeds, red peppers, yellow peppers, onion, spinach, cilantro and a squeeze of lime
          • 16 oz H2O
          • A big bowl of air popped popcorn w/ 2 tsp Earth Balance + salt
          • Mixed drink < sparkling drink mix, peach schnapps, vodka, frozen blueberries, ice - blended and split w/ hubby 
          Exercise: 60 min bike w/ Lola

          Sunday 8/21:
          Breakfast:  Late Breakfast, grabbed on the go
          • Nectarine
          • Sunflower seeds
          Lunch: Out to eat for seafood @ Cutters after picking up my sister-in-law and friend from the train station
          • Seafood skewers over creamy polenta and arugula
          • Lavender martini
          • Water

          • Iced 12 oz soy chai tea (I know, I know -- spiced w/ off limits spices)
          Dinner: Again, out to eat for Mexican at Cactus
          • Portobello and veggie fajitas on flour tortillas w/ black beans + pepitas
          • Corn chips + salsa
          • Water
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