Das Dutchman Essenhaus, Indiana & Spring

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Das Dutchman Essenhaus- outside, this is only about 1/2 of the main restaurant.

Lately Genki Husband and I have been feeling a bit cooped up so we decided instead of stay inside another cold day we would go on an adventure to one of our old favorite restaurants, Das Dutchman Essenhaus in Middlebury, Indiana.  It’s an Amish restaurant that serves family style meals in large proportions.  If being stuffed to the length one has to unbutton ones’ pants, there is a separated section of the main restaurant building for menu style ordering.  Eating at this section does come with a warning though you may be mocked on your way inside (just kidding).  As this is a Amish style restaurant (German and Dutch), the food is 100% not vegan so we did not delight in the eating process but went for the entertainment of shopping.  Our intentions for the entire trip was to purchase Amish apple butter and Amish Fruit Spread- it is just like my grandmothers’ recipe and it doesn’t mess up my kitchen.  It’s something special only when we come to Michigan.  If you are in the area, I highly suggest this restaurant!  While there we also entertain ourselves by walking through the other village shops and look at knickknacks available for sale.  Once my mother and a family friend took a quilting class on the Essenhaus premises which was great fun, so if you plan it out right there are certain traditional classes available too for signup.   One can truly spend a day just in this one area, which might be necessary if you can’t move after eating a family-style meal.  Anyways I can babble on for hours about this place since it’s a family tradition to go here for food and entertainment.  So, on to the rest of the day through photos.

This is seriously how I found Genki Pup this morning in our bed as I returned to make it after Genki Husband got out of it. She is usually the last to get out of bed. Please don’t judge on the mismatched sheets we are on vacation. :)

Grape Nuts with Unsweetened Almond Milk and a little brown sugar.

Cardinal Checking us out through the window.

Spring flowers in a large batch. This will be gorgeous in about a week!  We found this large batch on a nice pup walk in the cool morning breeze.

We use these kids pouches for traveling to assure we get enough food and fruit. Today I used it for my hot cross buns recipe and it worked wonders since we don’t buy applesauce but make our own. This was used in a pinch and did a great job! No more buying large jars of applesauce anymore – just use one of these!

Vegan Hot Cross Buns Recipe. Non-vegan and Vegans alike will love it!  Genki Husband and I made these together for the first time -normally I make them alone but it was nice to have someone to do it with this time around.  

Lunch leftovers: homemade vegan american biscuit, tofurky deli slices and a large bunch of peas. Mmmm I’m thinking the biscuits should be a bit larger next time though. haha

Barry goes to Das Dutchman Essenhaus in Middlebury, Indiana. This is an Amish restaurant with stores alongside.

The shops – there is about 4 stores which are mostly connected so you can enjoy them on a cold day or a snowy one.

Inside the bakery at Das Dutchman Essenhaus in Middlebury, Indiana. It changes all the time.

Das Dutchman Essenhaus in Middlebury, Indiana. You can climb inside the silo. There’s not much to see though, we did it for fun anyways.

The jam, butter and fruit spreads section! mmmmm These are all handmade. We bought one that was Rhubarb and Strawberry!

Banana Butter? Haven’t noticed this before until after we came back from Australia and this was popular. So funny how ones’ eyes are opened after going overseas. Someone is going to get this in her next box for sure!

Had to stop from buying all of these!

Amish country in Indiana. This is very common to see going down the roads.

We found these at the store this last week – I love pretzels! Unfortunately these spoon shaped ones are not as good. :(  This was leftover pb and I ate it as the perfect snack. mmmmm

Sunset tonight after dinner. We had a nice vegan Gardein burger and some leftover rice pilaf. Mmmm

 

 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies {Recipe}

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Some of you have been wondering what recipe I used for my Vegan Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookies the other day. If you ever want a recipe or now my secret to making any recipe featured on my daily blogs, please let me know and I will write it up to share with all of you. If one person questions, I will answer since each and every one of you are important to me. I’m so thankful we can share recipes and tips to making our lives healthy and a bit easier.

My favorite chocolate chip recipe (with flour) comes from Alien’s Day Out (Please go visit her website, she is an amazing blogger in South Korea) that owns a cute vegan restaurant called PLANT in Itaewon, Seoul. Mipa (the blog owner) writes about her daily adventures in Seoul and her restaurant. She also has some wonderful recipes that are simple and inexpensive to put together without tarnishing the taste of the traditional recipe from which hers are inspired. Can you tell I’m a big fan? Ha-ha If you have never heard of this site or Mipa I highly encourage you to check out her website or check out a review/introduction video on Eat Your Kimchi (English Speaking YouTube Bloggers in South Korea).

So on to the recipe (which I don’t follow exactly but who does right?): Original Recipe

1 c unbleached flour
1 c oatmeal (Just don’t use 1 minute instant wonder oats)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 c vegan chocolate chips
3/4 c light brown sugar
1/2 c canola oil (or ½ c applesauce or 1 banana)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c water
 
1. Preheat oven to 350F/175C.
2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
3. Add chocolate chips, mix well.
4. Use two spoons to scoop out normal sized cookies just like normal onto a prepared cookie sheet.
5. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Cool or just eat and complain they are hot… (That’s what we do at least…ha-ha)

 

Tuesday Blues & Lentil Soup

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We woke up to this view this morning – a little snow covering on the ground. At least it was warm inside.

Oh Tuesday how you did slightly disappoint me.  We woke up this morning to snow, yes spring snow.  Where did you come from snow flurries?  It was just a slightly covering on the ground but it was a bit of a shock considering it is spring now, we are supposed to be filled with color instead of white powder.  After the first few hours, the sun was shining down upon us again and if we didn’t go outside it was nice and warm.  Does it appear I am always obsessed with the weather?  ha-ha  Not much going on today besides more telecommuting via internet and going to the grocery store.  Space is sparse here so our grocery shopping has to be minimalistic so there really was nothing really to share besides what you will see in our food recipes coming up this next week.  It’s just a lot of fresh vegetables and lentils.  Some weeks are just like this, not too much excitement I’m afraid.  Maybe some of you will find it more exciting than me though, who knows… :)  Exercise was done inside today, just some basic yoga since it was too cold to do much of anything outside.  We did manage to get about a five minute pup walk in but other than that we just worked on thawing our frozen ears the rest of the afternoon.  Today might have been another off day but at least we have tomorrow.  Never let one day ruin the rest – each day is an entirely new adventure and you can choose how each one goes.  So dream big!

Vegan Breakfast Ezekiel Sprouted (no flour) bread with pineapple slices and a Black Cherry Silk Soy Yogurt.

Some pistachios I ate before making breakfast in the morning. Actually I was making Bananas Elysian for Genki Husband and stole these nuts… hehe

Trader Joe’s Mixed Raw Nuts and Cranberries. These are ‘raw’ so they do not contain salt or preservatives. I ate this small batch for a snack which provides energy and essential fats for the rest of the day. Nom nom nom Never underestimate the power of nuts!

Leftovers make a lovely lunch time special when you have a few options. This is vegan mac n chez and cranberry apricot pecan rice pilaf. Actually we had two options today and Genki Husband and I had to agree to share both since we were fighting over the mac n chez since it is sooooo delicious!

Leftover Chocolate Chip Banana Bread – oh yum! You haven’t had banana bread until you have experienced this one. nom nom nom When we go on our way to our new destination, remind me of this banana bread when I see I have gained too much weight. haha Then I will be okay with having to work it off again. (Kidding, I haven’t gained any weight.)

These are licorice pieces and soooooo tasty! I grew up on the stuff and love every piece I can get my hands onto… Homemade is best but store bought comes in a good second. (I had three servings like this – so delicious! Perfect for all the walking we did around the grocery store x3)

Kale Sweet Potato Lentil Soup for dinner. It made enough to feed the entire country for less than $5. Perfect!  My intention of making this soup was to entice my in-laws into eating something healthy and vegan.  They love sweet potatoes, soup, tomatoes and supposedly lentils.  Unfortunately my father in law said “oh, I smell something” when he came in the door with a positive tone.  Looked in the pot and said “oh that looks interesting.  Is it lentils? I love lentil soup by my wife never makes it for me. I am going to definitely have some of that tonight!”  I was so excited that I might have enticed him into trying it.  Then dinner time came around and he warmed up a plate of leftovers in the microwave and turned his nose up to the soup.  He wouldn’t even eat one piece of a homemade American biscuit that I had again made knowing he loved them.  So another day, another failure at trying to get them to eat my cooking.  I’m starting to think it’s not my food but me… My quest continues…

American Style Biscuits that can be made in under 20 minutes. It’s so easy to whip together before dinner that you won’t even think of those other canned kinds in the store. I made these to go along with the soup above and for the next morning at breakfast. I made a full batch instead of 1/2 so there are a lot of leftovers now. Come on over if you love biscuits!

Spring flowers today – love the hyacinth coming up in our yard. It’s exciting to watch them grow each and every day.

Furry babies sitting in the sunshine. Love my two babies. Who said cat and dog could not love each other?

Sunset tonight as I finally got to watch a half hour of TV! (First time since we got here I could use the remote.) Sadly there was nothing on which is probably why I got to watch something and everyone else was off doing something else. ha-ha But still a score.

 

Did any of you manage to get outside to workout today?

Vegan Mac N Chez Monday?

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Happy Monday! It was such a nice and relaxing weekend it was hard to come into the work week but that’s okay because the weekend will live on in memory.  Did all of you have a wonderful weekend too?  What about fitness, did any of you get out there and enjoy some fresh air?  Genki Husband and I got together with Genki Pup and did about a hundred walks outside in the sunshine.  It was so gorgeous we even had our flip flops out so our toes got to come out and breathe.  Hooray!  This morning when we woke up it was warm still but there were very cold breezes.  Thankfully we got outside for a nice pup walk before the cold weather came – aka snow flurries.  There’s something different about snow flurries in Michigan in the spring though compared to winter, maybe it is due to knowing it will melt the next day.  So yeah, we just stayed inside and did some work the entire day.  It was a bit of an emotionally draining day so I decided to end the day with a nice Dr. Teal’s Eucalyptus salt bath to remove some of the strain.  If you haven’t tried this kind, go for it, it’s amazing!

Lake in Michigan in Spring on a rainy, cold day.  Not as gorgeous to wake up to this but it’s still pretty to watch the waves.  We joked this morning we would go learn how to surf since the waves were very big at times.

Breakfast:  Did not take a photo for whatever reason. I had a bowl of oatmeal with agave nectar and some homemade Chocolate Chip Banana bread leftover from the other day.  Mmmm…  Anyone try this recipe yet?

Snack:  Genki Husband and I shared some oreo’s with each other.  We finally finished off the Birthday Cake Oreo’s – and did not buy any more this week. ha-ha  We find we eat them way too often when we have them in the house for too long- it’s good for a few days but then we start to overdo it with the sugar.  Sugar is an addiction so we want to make sure we don’t buy them all the time.

Leftover Cranberry, Apricot, Pecan Rice Pilaf from the other night. It is just as delicious as the night before – Genki Husband said he couldn’t tell the different so score for leftovers!

Snack:  Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Pretzels.  We find we snack more here in Michigan but that might be due to the fact we are trapped inside and can’t go outside for long.  Hopefully that changes though as the weather is going to warm up again starting this weekend.

Genki Husband made dinner tonight to get away from his work computer (can I say workaholic). Normally we make Vegan Mac n Chez on Fridays’ but we missed this last week so we made our comfort food tonight. Yum! Side dish of Wegman’s Chicken-less Nuggets which are so tasty! You probably get tired of me talking about them but they are just like real chicken nuggets minus the cholesterol, fat, calories and guilt for eating an animal. Mmmm I could eat them every night!

Pure Camomile Tea- no other ingredients. This helps me sleep on stressful days when I wouldn’t be able to get to sleep. I have issues relaxing the mind at night (that makes me smart right? ha-ha) so sometimes I reach towards a natural alternative instead of any medicines or chemicals that others use.

What do you do to sleep at night when you have a stressful day?

 

The Liebster Award!

Hooray! I’m so thrilled to have received the Liebster Award! To be nominated for the Liebster Award is an honor – I love the idea of spreading the love between fellow bloggers and for being appreciated for the things I share with all of you. Thankfully I just fit into the required categories, so I am going to go ahead and start the sharing with all of you.

Just so you know, ‘Liebster’ is a German word that stands for the English term “sweetheart” or “dear friend”. And since all of you are my friends, (Du bist ein lieber Freund.) I wish to share all of my answers with all of you…

1. What is your favorite blog post you’ve ever written? Wow! Start off with a hard one right off the bat. I love sharing everything with all of you but I most importantly love to share any information that gives you inspiration to live a healthy, fit lifestyle full of happiness. Blogs that spread information of this type of lifestyle would have to be my favorite of all the rest. Additionally, I love the recipes from my childhood to share with all of you such as my Japanese One-Pot Dish and my Grandmothers’ homemade dishes like Genki Goulash Soup. Maybe all of you can tell me what you like best, which might be easier…

2.  Where do you get your inspiration from? My inspiration is from my own life experience, I went through a major lifestyle change after I returned from my living in Japan. I lost more than ½ my body weight through natural methods (not starvation, no pills, or anything drastic) such as healthy amounts of exercise and eating healthy every day. My life mentally and physically has changed throughout my entire process of changing so I pray I can share the wealth of my experience with all of you to inspire you each and every one of you to live a happy, healthy life.

3. What does your name mean? My name, Genki Kitty, derives from my love of Hello Kitty and my love of a healthy lifestyle. The Japanese term “Genki” can be translated into English as health, energy and/or spirit. Genki encircles around the three main aspects to the lifestyle I want to live and share with all of you. The term “Kitty” comes from “Hello Kitty” or as in the old phrase “one cool cat”.

4. Do you prefer the gym or the great outdoors for exercise? The weather really determines my mood for whether I want to workout indoors or outdoors. Cold weather is not my friend most days in the winter so I prefer to go indoors. All other days I prefer to stay outdoors and run, hike, bike, walk and swim. There is so much more to do outdoors so I never get bored- which is important to a healthy lifestyle.

5. If you could go on any reality TV show, which one would you choose and why? I have been asked to go on a few talk television shows before however it is not in my interest zone. There are people that want and appreciate the attention but I am in the point of my life that I do not need external attention. I merely want to share my experience and daily life with all of you to inspire you all to live the life you want to live. Each and every one of you is worth it.

6. What was your worst date ever? Thankfully I never had to really date since I was best friends with Genki Husband before getting engaged and getting married. Genki Husband was the man that took me to my Senior Prom in high school and on that date, we knew it was meant to be and never stopped. Our intention before prom was never to date but to continue being friends but fate caught hold and took us down a different path. God always has plans, even if they go against your own.

7. What is your drink of choice? Normally I am a plain water type of gal, nothing special I know. If I had a choice among any drink though, I would go for real coconut water which I love on especially hot days when I run outside. Cracking up a Thai coconut is much easier than you probably think. Mmmmm

8. Who is your fashion/style icon? Fashion and style? Oh this one is hard because I am terrible at fashion and style. Have you ever noticed I never do any OOTD’s? Ha-ha Sadly, I think I need an intervention or a full makeover because I have not changed my appearance since around high school which was quite a few years ago.

9. If you could try or take up something new (and had the time and financial means to do it), what would it be? It financial means were not an issue I would continue on with my personal pilot lessons that I started in High School. Or I might take private Spanish lessons since so many people speak Spanish in America and I love talking to people in their own language. Ohhh or Australian surfing so that I can learn to surf and return to Australia. Two for one! Ha-ha

10. If you could live one day over again, what would it be? Not one day in my past is a day I would want to live again; I love everyday for what it was and what it had been in the past. I love to look towards the future and not the past since our future is where we will be…

11. What’s the favorite thing about the stage of life you’re in right now? Right now we are in a vacation stage between jobs for my husband so we can spend some time with our families before moving far away. We love our families (although would never want to live too close by) so a few weeks before we move was a great option for us seeing we have the financial means to take a few weeks off and work telecommuting. It is something I believe we will treasure for a long time to come when we are living a great distance away and not able to come home every holiday.

Instead of tagging 11 bloggers, I am going to tag ALL of you! Pick one of the questions above and answer it in the comments.

Or go ahead and try all of them out on your own personal blog.  I just ask you put a link to my website in your blog post.  Then, I will add your link to this blog post for others to read.  It’s so much fun to get to know each other!

Bloggers that I nominate for this award are: (These are all blogs I subscribe to that I love and also mean the requirements.  I can’t wait to hear everyone’s responses!

tacokittens.wordpress.com
Vegetate
Little Vegan Bear
Natural Fuel
Memoirs of a Yo-Yo Dieter

Original Liebster Award was from Bump & Run- check them out – you will love these two ladies!

Palm Sunday

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Palm Sunday!  This is one of my favorite weeks in the Christian calendar since it is the week that one can really look deep into our faith and meditate on what happened while Christ was on earth.  Genki Husband and I started out the day with a positive note.  We were going to make Pax cakes but I really wanted to make something extra special for my in-laws to try out and enjoy.  My in-laws do not understand the vegan lifestyle (even though we have been vegan for years) so I am trying to get them to understand it is not about eating just salads but also delicious items everyone can enjoy together.  Food is not about nourishment of the body but also a cultural piece that brings people together.  My father-in-law is not impressed with the idea of vegan eating and turns up his nose to all my food so I am trying to go the extra distance to bring food to the table he will enjoy.  I will not be defeated!  ha-ha  This morning I got up just before 6A.M. to make this banana chocolate chip bread for everyone before church.  The house smelled so amazing!  Unfortunately my father-in-law decided to make his own instant oatmeal instead of trying my bread but at least my husband and mother-in-law (tiny slice= tiny victory) enjoyed this for breakfast.  Then we were off to church and settling in to a day of relaxation.  After church we just relaxed since it was the first day since getting here we did not have work to do or coursework.  Such a nice relaxing day at the lake.  For exercise we did manage to take it easy and go for three pup walks since it was warm.

P This morning I wanted to make something super delicious for my in-laws. My father-in-law does not like the idea of ‘vegan food’ so he won’t eat anything I make. So I thought this coconut chocolate chip banana bread might do the trick. Who can resist this great smelling bread baking at 6A.M.? My father-in-law I guess. ha-ha This was delicious though, highly suggest it but not too often since it does contain a lot of sugar. mmmm

This was my slice along with another slice. So delicious!

I don’t think I have shared with you our Michigan church. My aunt and uncle attend this church and I used to attend every Sunday while in High School and college with them. I used to play trumpet in this church so it was very special to me. It is relaxed and full of fun-loving people that are more like family than strangers.

Lunch:  Forgot to take a photo but it was leftovers again- a ton of them since we wanted to finish them off.

Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Pretzels are the best snack when hungry. If you don’t want to eat the entire bag, don’t open them! LOL We ate these as a snack before dinner since my in-laws eat around 8PM and we like to eat around 5PM.

Love seeing the robins out playing in the grass. They are a wonderful attraction to Michigan, especially in the spring.

Unfortunately my in-laws live on the wrong side of the lake in Michigan. Look at this crowd, so dangerous. haha

These diving ducks are hilarious to watch going in and out of the water. They are so graceful and entertaining at the same time. We watched them for about an hour or so together while chatting with family.

Time for dinner. Again I tried to get my in-laws to eat something vegan (no luck again for father-in-law) with this Cranberry, Apricot, Pecan Rice Pilaf dish. This was almost creamy thanks to the vegan vegetable broth. I highly suggest it as a side dish or full meal.

Cranberry, Apricot, Pecan Rice Pilaf with vegan chicken-less nuggets from Wegman’s Grocery Store. (which you all should know by now is my favorite vegan chicken-less nuggets.)

After dinner we watched the sunset over the lake again and just delighted in the warm air outside and good company.

 

Sunshine as Medicine: What I Ate Saturday

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Saturday has sprung upon us and oh my it did not disappoint.  Not only was the sun shining down upon us but the temperatures were in the perfect 70′s range.  Genki Husband and I were off of Grandma watch duties so we were free for the day.  Unfortunately I had about 3/4 of a week left of coursework to do by Sunday night so time was limited for outdoor enjoyment.  Thankfully Genki Husband and I got into the sunshine for a nice pup walk in the morning, afternoon and evening.  It was the first evening we were able to have all the windows open in the house and sit outside for a picnic dinner for two- such a delight after a long winter.  Our spirits were lifted by the sunbathing outside, warm pup walks and a grande picnic outside with just the two of us.  Sometimes sunshine is the best medicine for just about any illness.

Traditional oatmeal with a drizzle of agave nectar with a few ‘accidentally vegan’ chocolate chips. On the side a homemade bagel with vegan earth balance butter and a nice hot cuppa.

Berry Almond Amaretto Herbal Tea by Teavana. This is the perfect tea for a day you want a cuppa that is light in fruitiness but does not just taste like water. It smells amazing – if you have a teavana nearby just go smell it, you will want to buy it.

We had homemade vegan cookies for breakfast but this was all that we had time to take a photo of… oops… all gone before the camera could come out. 1.5 each person. mmmm

Lunch time with leftovers: 1/2 tofurky sandwich with organic mixed greens on top and hummus; bowl of Genki Goulash Soup and 1/2 pink lady apple.

My parents have an exchange student again this year and she is from Colombia. She had these at the house and who can pass up figs? mmm Maybe not vegan though, no idea. This is a fig with non-traditional caramel inside. Delicious! It is very sweet though and I had to eat one piece in two different sittings.

View of the fig with caramel piece. It has plastic wrap around it so it has a strange appearance to the top. The dark piece was the fig.

Coon Hollow Preserve in Michigan. This is a small preserve but it is very pretty any time of the year. There are snakes on sunny days though in the spring, we learned this after a few clouds moved and the sunshine filled around us.  Yep, I moved out of that preserve pretty fast into the car. ha-ha  We went here after lunch for a little touring.

Spring flowers peeking through the grass and leaves.

A little too much time at the preserve and we started to get a little crazy… started to hug all the trees.

Then we cried over fallen trees… poor trees.

We did some bird watching.

We found these cute sprouts coming up through the ground too. I love sprouts, they are adorable almost like mini umbrellas.

Finally on our way back up the trail again. It’s short but pleasant hour trip.

Carrot, Dill, & White Bean Salad. This was really good but our white bean fell apart so it wasn’t as attractive as the original.  Our only change would be to use 2 tsp brown sugar (or none) instead of 2 tbsp.  It was really sugary.  This would be nice as a side dish more than a main dish even though it has the protein in it.

Genki Husband and I sat and watched the sun set together while outside on our picnic table. It was gorgeous even though there were clouds. Nice calm, warm evening in Michigan.

Then we sat eating homemade popcorn with coconut oil and salt. We also had a glass of Virginia Cooper Vineyards wine as we watched “How’s it Made?” on television. This was actually the first time we watched television since getting here.  There’s just something about sitting on the floor that makes watching television more romantic. 

 

 

Grandma Watch & Sunny Kayak Time

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Hooray!  It’s another day to spend on the lake while on our vacation in Michigan.  We are going to be very spoiled when we have to leave here.  There is nothing more refreshing than waking up and opening the shades to see what the Michigan weather will showcase for the day over the lake.  Today it was another gorgeous day full of sunshine and near 70F temperatures.  So what is an active couple to do after watching an elderly grandmother for the morning?  Well, kayak of course for 2 more hours on the private lake.  For some reason there are no others on the lake, minus one curious fishing boat.  It’s strange no one is taking advantage of the weather but then again we are thankful we get the entire lake to ourselves – minus the diving ducks.  So here’s our day in photos again.  Hopefully all of you are enjoying these daily posts.  I am sure they will evolve but for now I am testing the waters.

Morning fog only over swamp land. Can you see it in the distance? We saw this as we were driving to my parents house from the lake house.

Breakfast:  Oops, forgot to take a photo since we were in a great hurry.  I ate a bowl of traditional oats with agave nectar and a homemade bagel.  I made a breakfast of eggs, sausage and toast for my grandmother and her caretaker (one would think that would get boring…)

Made these brownies for my grandmother and her caretaker for dinner dessert. It was a heart shape since it was the only baking pan I could find, haha.

Yep, this is about right – found it on my instagram today.

Korean rice with green peas, carrot slices, and some broccoli. Drizzle with a little soy sauce and you have an easy meal. I had a side of banana slices with peanut butter and crackers. This was sooooo delicious!

Kayaking in Michigan on the lake today. This was a section that comes off the main part of the lake. It’s a bit swampy but it’s fun to go down into since there is a lot of different animals hiding such as turtles. It’s spring so most of the animals were caught in the action of doing “spring actions”.

Genki Kitty getting her kayak time on – so much fun on the lake in Michigan! Crazy hair though since it’s so windy.

 

A view of the bottom of the lake from the kayak.

We were hungry from our kayaking on the lake. So, fruit smoothie time! This was for 2.5 smoothies. My mother-in-law wanted some too so she was a .5 serving. We added a few ice cubes and a little bit of water and it was perfect! This was strawberries, 2 mangoes and 2 bananas.

The end result while sitting outside sunbathing.  A bit hard to see since the cup was purple, sorry.

Genki Pup sitting outside sunbathing next to the lake.

Mixed organic greens with tofurky deli slices, tomatoes, and a little hummus.

Snack:  A few Australian Minties and some homemade chocolate cookies made by Genki Husband.  I was working on some coursework for school so I don’t have the recipe or photos.  I’ll have to double check with Genki Husband and post tomorrow if he has them available.

Lake in Michigan on a warm Spring night. Looked gorgeous with the sunshine coming through the clouds and a slight bit of orange coloring.

That’s our Friday evening in a nutshell.  It was an inspiring day of sunny weather, kayaking, watching my elderly grandmother and studying for school.  I’m thankful for each and every day we have here on earth and with the people in our lives.  Thank you for reading today and I hope to see you again tomorrow.

Grandma Watch Thursday

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Thursday, Thursday, Thursday…. Yep, it was another day of Grandmother watch while my parents are away on a nine-day vacation.  She’s not that much of a handful but there are a lot of other things that need to get done daily on top of catering to her every need.  How do in-home healthcare professionals do it?  If you are one reading this, you definitely get a nod of approval and a bow-down from me.  Whew, it’s great work!  Some things that need to get done are dishes from the previous night and from today, laundry from the entire house, vacuum, dust, clean the kitchen, make meals and so on.  Then on top of that I am keeping to my promises for work so it’s a double work load.  Guess this is good practice if we ever decide to have children some day. he-he

Since we were on Grandmother watch, we did not get to go out for a run since she can’t be left alone for long.  We did manage to get in a ten minute walk outside since it was sunny and both of us needed a break.  It was just a gentle walk to get fresh air, stretch our bodies and get the blood flowing.  It’s always a good idea to take a break from whatever you are doing and enjoy a little bit of sunshine or fresh air – no matter what the temperature.  My head hurts, that’s going to have to be my greatest insight of the day I’m afraid. ha-ha  (sorry)

Homemade Bagels with Vegan Earth Balance butter and coffee! Mmmm Best breakfast! These bagels are seriously the best bagels ever – even my in-laws have been eating them and they generally shy away from bread.  We made these a few days ago and they are still here (1.5 left).  (Breakfast for the caretaker watching my grandmother at night and my grandmother I made eggs, sausage, toast and rolls.)

We had these accidentally vegan Pretzel crisps too as a shared snack. My parents house is full of junk food so it is hard to resist, we try to pick the healthiest available. If you do not have these available where you live, they are very crispy since it is just the outside of the pretzel. Mmmm

1/2 Tofurky Deli Slice Sandwich on Ezekiel Bread topped with plain hummus and organic mixed baby greens. Side dish is steak fries with 1 tbsp ketchup. We generally do not buy deli slices unless we are on vacation or strapped for time. Since we were going to my parents house, we new there would be nothing really to eat. We planned ahead. These fries were from the freezer and since we had to make them for my grandmother, we just ate some too. Not recommended though. (Grandmother had steak fries, a turkey sandwich with cheese, macaroni salad and a pudding cup.  Just so if you were worried about her… )

Anyone remember these things? We found this at my parents house from the caretaker who had KFC the other night. It’s been more than 10 years for us I think… The honey packet contains only 7% honey! No wonder we used to love these things when little. It’s all high fructose corn syrup! Never going to happen with my children. Thank goodness the USA states all ingredients to warn parents now.

These are both vegan! That’s Meijer Apple Pie (yep, accidentally vegan!) and homemade vanilla banana cupcakes with white frosting. We were so hungry today after all the hard work we ate these for a dessert. mmmmm The pie piece was smaller than the cupcake – moderation is key. You can eat whatever you want as long as you are active and eating smaller amounts.

Coming into Michigan’s Spring, the forests are still bare but it has it’s own beauty I think. We know these trees provide shade in the summer and houses for the furry friends all year around. These are hard working trees.

It’s Easter time in Michigan. These are basic plastic eggs that people tie to trees as a festive addition to their yards.

Sunset in Michigan in April 2014. The whole sky is a gorgeous purple and pink. It is so surreal to see this happen before your eyes. It’s like magic!

Dinner:  For some reason I can not find the recipe.  I had a large plate of mixed organic baby greens with some leftover grilled eggplant and zucchini.  Additionally I added a side bowl of vegan baked beans.  It was so tasty I wanted more.  Mmm Now I am thinking about it again.  If I find the photo I will share.

Birthday Cake Oreo’s are amazing! They are also accidentally vegan! Oh my, oh my! If you have never had these you can find them still at Walmart (only place we can find them) for the same price as the original. They are not only a slight birthday cake flavor but have sprinkles in the creamy center! Oh my! You know I love sprinkles! ha-ha

Exercise:  A ten minute walk and watching my grandmother then entire day.

Yep, we at a ton today but nope we aren’t guilty.  When you learn to moderate what you eat, you learn that portion control is very important when you want to have something less healthy.  For instance, we did keep active the entire day and we also ate a light dinner to compensate for the snacks.  It’s okay to do this a few times without having too many issues.

About Me: Twenty Questions

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Me in Australia at the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie in Australia.

Lately I have been getting a lot of requests for more personal information since I generally have very few photos of myself and have in the past had a rule of not giving out too much information for security purposes. Given that my viewership has more than doubled in the last few months, I wanted to give something back to each and every one of you for your continued support and lovely comments. (I personally get a kick out of reading all of your messages and respond to each comment. Test me, I’ll respond back.)

My first idea was to make a large amount of healthy vegan cupcakes but then remembered I would have to pay for the shipment to each of you. Since I’m not a millionaire, I thought I might as well give in to my first rule of blogging and share a bit more about myself. I found this cute idea of doing a “bit more about myself” idea from the girls (Bre and Ree) over at ‘bump & Run‘, a fairly new website.  You can get to know these bloggers a bit more too on their site.

1. What brings you the greatest joy? Days when I am feeling down I find my greatest joy from my closest family members (Genki Husband and Genki Furry babies). There is nothing better than coming home after a hard day at work to the furry babies and husband coming down the front entrance hallway with plenty of hugs and cuddles.

2. What are your vices? Watermelon!!! Those of you whom have been around since at least last summer will know, I absolutely love watermelon! I could eat it every meal and in the summer that’s what I basically do. Genki Husband has to yell at me to eat more for at least one meal each day in the summer. My non-food vice would definitely be Hello Kitty – I have been addicted since I was about three years old I think and have never turned back.

3. What is on your nightstand? There is a double photo frame on my nightstand that I have traveled with for about 11 years, basically since my first ever move to Japan. Since that time it has been on my nightstand each and every place I go. The photos are two old college day photos of my husband and me in Michigan. Then I have an Ecos Lip balm for dry winter nights and a Korean Pucca Plush that holds/charges my iPhone. On the bottom shelf, I have two catholic reading books for specialized devotionals. (We are Episcopalian of the Church of England (High Church) so the Catholic faith is very close and reading material is similar.)

4. Do you have a secret talent? Normally I am not very secret about things but I do have a special talent that I am sure I have never mentioned on here. Since around the age of ten years old I have played the trumpet, I taught myself and then later took private lessons. Back a few years I had been asked to play for a few professional touring groups but decided my university education was a bit more important than running around with bands. So I stuck with my university orchestra, marching and symphonic bands and became one of the first chair (aka lead) trumpet player in my freshman year. Is that good enough for a secret talent?

5. What is your greatest indulgence? Normally I am not one to purchase anything for myself since I love buying things for others. I indulge on gifts for friends and family, especially my two and only nieces. My greatest indulgence is anything to deal with Hello Kitty – yes I have an addiction. It has to be true HK though, not the American merchandise but the Asian kinds. (There’s a difference…)

6. What should every woman try at least once in her life? Traveling alone or moving to another country. There’s something that changes in a woman when she goes abroad and relies on her natural instincts to get around and not on anyone else. My life changed when I lived in Japan on my own.

7. What makes you laugh? I’m one of those people that have an optimistic attitude on a daily basis and can laugh at anything big or little. I’m usually humored by just about anything – yep, I’m one of those people. Something particularly funny to probably just about me is when furry cat runs around the house and I see her chubby buns going around the corner… cracks me up!

8. What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? Ever since a young girl, I have suffered from social anxiety. Why would I start a blog then? Well because I love a challenge. At least I can say I’m one of the few socially anxious bloggers out there– it fits right? Ha-ha.

9. What is on your bucket list? Visiting my families’ castle in Germany, traveling around the world with Genki Husband and living next to the ocean.

10. What is on your feet right now? Fluorescent green and grey Hello Kitty socks since I have an addiction as stated a million times already.

11. How did you make your first dollar? My first officially real job was a small airport and I was a do-it all kind of worker. It was small so I managed the front desk, gave coordinates/wind directions/wind gusts to incoming airplanes, fueled airplanes and even washed the airplanes. For a young person to want nothing more than to live abroad, this job was made just for me.

12. What superstition do you believe in? While it’s hard for me to pass up the thought of not walking under ladders or crossing the path of a black cat, I do not believe in superstitions. The closest thing that comes close to a superstition are crazy beliefs from my grandmother. Firstly everyone should cover their mouth while yawning since evil demons enter your mouth at this time. Additionally, I believe one should always wear clean underwear each day since one never knows when he/she is going to get into an accident and no one wants the emergency crew to see dirty ones. Does anyone else believe this too?

13. What items in your closet do you wear in most? Jeans and my long-sleeve running Addidas shirts…Where I come from this is considered ‘fancy’.

14. What is the best gift you’ve ever received? Genki Husband allowed me to adopt Genki Pup from a breeder in Illinois. We rescued Genki Cat from a rain drain but she is a gift from God.

15. What is on your liquor shelf? Our liquor cabinet is rather sad since we just have one hard liquor which is Italian ‘Disarrono’. Our wine cooler is much more full with wines from Australia and from all over the Eastern coast of America. We have a few certified, special wines from Italian and France for special occasions.

16. What is on your kitchen counter? Right now we are on a vacation before we move to our new house. Normally we have our toaster oven, Keurig, a collection of stainless steel containers for flours, a collection of flavored balsamic vinegars and olive oils, and finally our Japanese rice maker.

17. What would you never leave home without? My iPhone and keys. (I’m not a fancy person as you can tell.)

18. What movie has the greatest ending? Anything with a happy ending…

19. Who is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party? Actually I am a boring type of person and would just love my family and friends to all be at my dinner table. I love catering meals for family and friends but oddly enough my family has never been at our house for a meal.

20. What is one thing you wish you had known when you were younger? What you want is what you get in life so go for your dreams and do not allow anyone to change them even if you have to go your own path.

I’d love to tag all of you bloggers out there that have not done this wonderful questionnaire to share with your subscribers too.  It’s such a wonderful idea and a great way to get to know other bloggers too.  If you do this tag, I would love to read your answers so please send them on over to my email (in ‘about me’ section)  or comment with a link below – thanks!

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