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Cranberry Almond Baked Oatmeal

Ah, Fall…I love this time of the year. The crisp air, the colors of the leaves, the tastes of the season, including apple, pumpkin, and cranberry.

This recipe is a knockout! It’s great to make for a group brunch and fits my ultimate recipe criteria…it’s easy and cheap to make, and it’s healthy.

Enjoy! And remember…Veg in…don’t veg out!

Cranberry Almond Baked Oatmeal

2 cups of old-fashioned oats

2 cups of milk or milk-alternative of your choice

1/2 tsp of really good vanilla

6 ounce bag of sliced almonds

12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries

1 large unpeeled red delicious apple, grated

4 TBSP of maple syrup

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a casserole dish with cooking spray.

2. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix.

3. Place mixture in the prepared casserole dish and bake uncovered for 45 minutes.

ENJOY!

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Get Rid of Your But!

What’s holding you back from getting what you really want and deserve? What is stopping you from going after the things that are important to you in your life? What if I told you that it’s likely one tiny little three-letter word…BUT!

How many times have you caught yourself saying, “I would go back and finish my degree, but… I wish I could get out and enjoy time with my friends more, but… I wish I could be more organized, more focused, happier, more grounded, etc., but”

GET RID OF YOUR BUT! Think about what would happen if just for one day, you didn’t use the word but at all! Someone compliments you on how well you completed a project and all you can say is, “Thanks, I thought it was good, but I wish I would have had a few extra days to polish it…” How bad would it be to just stop at thanks? Or better yet, stop at, “Thanks, I thought it was good!”

Now don’t get me wrong, we all have real tangible things that hold us back. I’d like to be a Victoria’s Secret Supermodel but… (if you’ve ever met me, you know what that but is!) I’d like to be in my 20’s again, but I haven’t yet invented a time machine. There are some things that are just not in the cards. BUT… there are plenty of other things I can be and do, the things that often limit me (and I’m guessing limit a lot of other people as well) are limitations that are self-imposed.

Here’s an assignment for you. Get a piece of paper and write down all the things you want to have, be, experience. And don’t write the word but. Just make a list. I want to be more organized, I want more time with my friends, I want to have a beach house, I want to write a book. Your list can be as long or as short as you want it to be.

Then, on a separate piece of paper, write down all the things that are stopping you from getting what you want. I want to be more organized – I would need more time and more space. I want more time with my friends – I would need to prioritize my work and spend less hours in the office. I want to have a beach house – I would need to save more money.

Notice that nowhere in there did I use the word BUT. Instead, I used action words. I would need to…

Because if these are things you really want, you can get them, if you find a way. Don’t let one measly little three-letter word stop you! Instead, replace it with another, more positive, more powerful three-letter word… CAN!

Until next time, veg in, don’t veg out!

KarenĀ 

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Spruce Up Your Salad

Yes, I know it’s October, and everyone is thinking about comfort food. Warm, satisfying foods like chili, soups and stews, and hearty casseroles come to mind, but don’t give up on salad just because the leaves are changing.

Adding vegetables to your diet is the single best thing you can do for your body! People rarely get enough fruits and veggies in their diets, and a fun and interesting way to add them in is by incorporating them into salads. Let’s face it, few people really want to munch on a carrot, but add some carrots to a salad and that seems a lot more palatable.

So, add a few salads to your menu this fall. Your body will thank you for it!

And remember…veg in, don’t veg out!

Raspberry and Feta Salad with Couscous

12 oz of couscous

2 1/2 cups of vegetable stock

12 oz of fresh raspberries

Small bunch of fresh basil

8 oz of feta cheese, cubed or crumbled

2 zucchini, thinly sliced

4 scallions, trimmed and sliced

1/3 cup of pine nuts

1 lemon rind, grated

For the dressing

1 TBSP of white wine vinegar

1 TBSP of balsamic vinegar

4 TBSP of extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Put the couscous in a large heatproof bowl and pour over the stock. Stir well, then cover and let soak until all of the stock has been absorbed.

Pick over the raspberries, discarding any that are overripe. Shred the basil leaves.

Transfer the couscous to a large serving bowl and stir well to break up any lumps. Add the cheese, zucchini, scallions, raspberries and pine nuts. Stir in the basil and lemon rind and gently toss all ingredients together.

Put all the dressing ingredients in a screw-top jar, with salt and pepper to taste, then screw on the lid and shake until well-blended. Pour over the salad and enjoy!

Spinach Salad with Bleu Cheese Dressing

10 oz of baby spinach leaves

4 scallions, chopped

3 oranges, segmented

2 oz of sunflower seeds

For the Dressing

4 oz of bleu cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled

7 oz of plain Greek yogurt

1 TBSP of white wine vinegar

1/2 onion, grated

1/2 small bunch of fresh chives, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

To make the dressing, put the bleu cheese, yogurt, vinegar, and onion in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add the chives and give another quick blitz. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill until needed.

When you are ready to assemble the salad, place the spinach leaves and scallions in a salad bowl and toss with half the dressing. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the orange segments and a sprinkling of sunflower seeds.

Spoon remaining dressing over salad, if desired. Enjoy!

Warm Pasta Salad

8 oz of farfalle or other pasta

6 pieces of sun-dried tomato in oil, drained and chopped

4 scallions, chopped

1 1/4 cups of arugula

1/2 cucumber, seeded and diced

Salt and pepper to taste

For the Dressing

4 TBSP of olive oil

1 TBSP of white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp of superfine sugar

1 tsp of Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

4 fresh basil leaves, finely shredded

To make the dressing, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, sugar, and mustard together in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in the basil.

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a salad bowl. Add the dressing and toss well.

Add the tomatoes, scallions, arugula, and cucumber, season to taste with salt and pepper and toss. Equally good served warm and cold. Enjoy!

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All I Want for Christmas Is…

I went to KMart the other day and was shocked to see that they already had their Christmas stuff out. UGH…Halloween is my favorite holiday, and retailers just blow past that in favor of Christmas trees and ornaments. I’m sorry, but it’s October, I don’t want to see Santa Claus staring at me!

But in looking at the Christmas stuff I realized that the holiday really isn’t that far away, and then I started to panic. Money is tight this year, and I really can’t afford to buy much, and truthfully, I don’t really want my friends to buy me much either. I live in a small place, and am starting to get heavily into minimalism, and I just don’t need or want anything. So I started to think about what I want for Christmas this year, and all I really want is the gift of experiences.

When my nephew was little (he’s 22 now) I would take him somewhere every year for Christmas. We’d ride the El train to 30th Street Station in Philadelphia and mail our letters to Santa Claus, have a nice lunch, see the Christmas decorations in the city, and I’d always take him to buy something for his mom for Christmas. I always thought that spending time with him was more important than buying some cheap plastic toy that would sit in his toy chest. Now, because I’m “that” Aunt that spoils kids, I’d inevitably buy him the toy too, but I always hoped that buy taking him out, we’d make what I call dot, dot, dot moments.

You know those; right? When you get older and you start your stories with, “Remember that time when we…” I wanted to give him the dot, dot, dot at the end of that sentence. And then it hit me, that’s what I want this year for Christmas. I want experiences with my friends. I want to go to a show, go to lunch, or meet for coffee in the middle of the hustle and bustle of shopping. I want to spend the day in Lancaster, go to New York, see a show, have a fabulous brunch in town. I want the experience; I want the dot, dot, dot. Because life is short, and I want more opportunities with my friends and family to start sentences with, “Remember that time when we…”

So no candles, or vases, or dust collectors for me, I want the experiences. That’s all I really want for Christmas. Unless of course someone out there is offering to buy me a brand new color printer and laptop, then…let’s talk!

Until next time folks, Veg In, Don’t Veg Out!

KarenĀ 

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Chickpea Broccoli Casserole

When I brought my lunch to work yesterday, my coworker Stephanie asked, “What is that?” When I told her it was chickpea broccoli casserole she replied, “You HAVE to send me that recipe.” And since I was going to share the recipe with her, I thought I’d just go ahead and share it with all of you.

This recipe is from the book Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. BUY THIS BOOK! Even if you’re not a vegan, BUY THIS BOOK! It’s full of easy and inexpensive recipes that are loaded with good-for-you ingredients. This one is one my favorites, because it’s easy to prepare, lasts me the whole week, and is super healthy and cheap to make.

So, enjoy this mid-week “bonus post” and until next time… Veg in, Don’t Veg Out!

Chickpea Broccoli Casserole

3 16-ounze cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced

3 large carrots, grated

1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets

2 TBSP thinly sliced chives

1/2 cup of bread crumbs

3 TBSP of olive oil

1 cup of vegetable broth

1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl mash the chickpeas well (a potato masher will do the trick!) Add the vegetables and mix well. NOTE… you need a REALLY big bowl to do this. Add the bread crumbs and mix, then add the oil and mix again. Finally, add the vegetable broth and salt and mix one last time.

Transfer all the ingredients to a 9 x 13 inch glass casserole dish. Press the mixture firmly into the dish. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 more minutes. Then, enjoy!

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