6 Reasons to be an Early Bird

 

  1. Your days are literally longer. By waking up early, you’re squeezing the most out of your day and have more time to do the things that you love to do, as well as the things that you have to do.
  2. It’s the most serene part of the day! I don’t know about anyone else, but I am always awake first at my place and I would never trade in an extra hour or two of sleep for my chunk of solitude in the morning. I make my breakfast listening to the birds and Sinbad, our squirrel who hangs out on the electrical line outside of our fire escape, instead of the hustle and bustle of the city swarming with commuters. When I wake up, the city is still more or less silent.
  3. Speaking of breakfast, when you wake up early you have more time to make and truly enjoy a healthy and hearty breakfast! What sounds better, eating a banana in your car on the way to work on a week day, or waking up a few minutes early to prepare a feast that will keep you going until lunch (or snack) time? Even on the weekends, if you sleep the day away, then you don’t have the time to relish in the fact that the whole beautiful, work-less day is ahead of you after you eat your delicious first meal!
  4. The morning is the perfect time to work out! By working out in the morning, you start your day in the most positive way possible; you treat your body to some endorphins right away, boosting the chances for a positive day and healthy choices throughout that day! Also, if you’re working out outside, you get to enjoy the morning beauty and some fresh air in your lungs before your daily obligations/routine.
  5. You sleep better at night! By waking up early, you’re most likely going to get tired a little earlier, and increase your chances for a good night’s sleep. I know that when I don’t get a solid night’s sleep I am a royal bitch/mindless zombie the next day, so I try to keep my sleep schedule pretty consistent. By waking up early and packing as much as I can into my day, I fall asleep because I am tired, not because I am trying to force myself to get some z’s in. And better yet, I go to sleep with the knowledge that my day was used to its fullest potential.
  6. You have more energy throughout the day! This is a BIGGIE for me. I am naturally a very energetic and enthusiastic person, but if I stay up too late one night and set my alarm a few minutes or so later than I normally do, I don’t have the same spring in my step during the day that I normally would. If I don’t give myself enough time in the morning to fully wake up before I hustle off to work or any other commitments, I am still tired and in the process of waking up when I get there instead of awake, alert, and prepared for the day ahead. Plus, when I give myself enough time to fully wake up in the morning, I have more time to put on a sick outfit, give myself an awesome hair do, and look my best.

I am, always have been, and always will be an early bird. I truly feel that I get that worm.

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Vegan Flour-less Black Bean & Avocado Brownies

A friend from work is leaving us on Wednesday so we’re throwing her a lunch time party. Everyone is supposed to bring something, and since I’m planning on making a batch of black bean brownies to bring on vacation next week, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to test this recipe out!

I got this recipe from Ambitious Kitchen, and though I haven’t tried a whole brownie yet, lemme tell ya, the batter was 100% delectable.

I’m not all that into baking, really, but lately I’ve been craving some brownies and wanting to add some healthy vegan recipes to my go-to’s for desserts. I altered the recipe a bit by using organic coconut sugar instead of brown sugar, because that’s what I had on hand and I LOVE coconut sugar. If you haven’t used it, well, you should.

The recipe is for 12 brownies and each one is 137 calories and pure healthy decadence!

Vegan, flourless black bean avocado brownies

Vegan, flourless black bean avocado brownies

My Sunday Dinner!

Tempeh Cannellini Balls with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce Over Whole Wheat Rotini

Tempeh Cannellini Balls with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce Over Whole Wheat Rotini

Today my dad drove up to visit my boyfriend, Collin and I for a full day of Rochester fun times and activities, First we went to Starry Nites Cafe on University which is one of my favorite coffee shops I’ve found in the city for some iced coffees; then we went to the Owl House, a restaurant that serves all made from scratch local foods with tons of vegan items or dishes that can be made vegan. I got the green giant scramble with tempeh bacon and multigrain toast. It was fucking amazing. Then we went to get some Kombuchas at our local health food shop, stopped into a bike store to browse, then went to a Red Wings game to watch some baseball, which is me and my dad’s favorite past time. After the game we hit up Havana Cabana, an awesome bar and Cuban restaurant on Alexander for some sick mojitos (I got coconut…again fucking amazing stuff). After we were nice and buzzed I made a huge sunday dinner for the three of us. I cook pretty much every night of the week, but Sundays I always like to cook an elaborate, semi time consuming meal like this one. We listened to music and chatted while I cooked and the food was delicious if I do say so myself! I got the meatball recipe from pinterest and tweaked it, which I will share below, and got the sauce recipe from the Minimalist Baker, one of my favorite vegan recipe blogs. 

Meatballs:

8 oz. tempeh

1 cup cannellini beans

1 cup wheat germ

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 cup marinara sauce (your fav. brand)

1 tbsp. tomato paste

6 oz. chopped spinach

3 cloves garlic

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. fresh rosemary

1/4 cup brown rice flour

salt & pepper to taste

1 tsp. dried oregano

2 tbsp. molasses (my secret ingredient thanks to my mom!)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Chop the tempeh into tiny, pea-sized pieces and saute in a saucepan over medium heat with the olive oil, chopped spinach, and garlic until spinach is wilted. Set aside to cool. Next, mix the brown rice flour, wheat germ, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and oregano in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mash beans into the marinara sauce and tomato paste. After they’re mixed together, add in cooled tempeh and spinach mixture. Once those are mixed, add them into the dry mixture and use your hands to incorporate everything. Form into balls and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes on one side. Flip, then bake 15 more minutes on the other side. Let cool and enjoy!

We also had a huge spinach salad with the pasta and meatballs and the whole meal was creamy, satisfying, super yummy. I’m already pumped to devour the leftovers at work tomorrow. After my dad left, Col and I went on an evening walk around Cobb’s Hill Park and are now finally relaxing to end the most perfect Sunday.

Homesick Lament

Last weekend I went on vacation with my mom’s side of the family in a big, beautiful house by a lake in the Adirondacks. Though my grandma drove me a little bonkers and the weather wasn’t all that great, I had such a good time just being with my family under one roof.

Since graduating from college, I moved into an apartment with my boyfriend in Rochester. After four years of living five hours from my family for most of the year, I am now 4.5 hours away permanently. With the chaos that is graduating college, the scramble to find a job and the apartment hunt, all of this monumental change happened before I even had a moment to process it. Being on this vacation was the first time I’ve gotten to spend a few days in a row with my family in so long that when I had to leave, I was consumed with the gut-wrenching realization that I am now an adult. This is how life is going to be from now on: me scrambling for a few consecutive days to see my family, to see my mother, my father, and my sister most of all.

In college I was away from home for a large chunk of the year, true, but I always came home eventually for breaks and vacation, etc. I always knew that at the end of the semester I would be living back home, settling into my childhood room, re-introducing myself to a living routine at each of my parents’ houses. But now, while home will always be home to me, it is not somewhere I know I’m going to land again after a specific chunk of time. I will never again complain that my dad never buys food or that my mom makes me unload the dishwasher. I will arrive to family vacations separately in the middle of the week and leave separately when the weekend is over. I can’t ask my mom to buy ingredients to cook meals with every time she goes grocery shopping or sit on her bed when she gets ready for work before I go to school. I don’t wake up to a note from my dad every morning, a half a pot of coffee waiting for me.

I am happy, really, happier now than I ever have been. I love my apartment, the guy I share it with, my lifelong friends, and the experience of making new friends. I have a stable job in my field and exercise and eat quality foods daily. I am lucky, and I know it. But when I was saying goodbye to my mom in the driveway of the lake house, I felt myself saying goodbye to my childhood, my life at home. The touch of my mother’s hand on the back of my head, the smell of her victoria’s secret perfume that she adores, the unmistakable sound of her kiss on my cheek and the look in her eyes that said she felt the end of my childhood, too.

Since last weekend, I have been more homesick and starving for the love of my parents more than I have since I was 18 and moved into my first dorm room. I constantly want to talk to my mom, tell her how much I just love her, how proud I am to possess the traits she bestowed upon me. I want to tell her that there is no woman in the world I find more awe-inspiring,  more beautiful.

I grew up with quite a dysfunctional family and ever-changing living situation, but in hindsight, I am now more grateful than ever for my family. I love them more than words can say. Though we grew up unconventionally, I consider myself lucky to have gotten to know my parents as people, as flawed human beings with imperfections, quirks, fears, and desires of their own. As an adult, I respect them completely for who they are and feel that I love them on a level most children never grow to love their parents.

Being a kid and living at home is something that I never get to relive again. I do not miss the awkward insecurity that is being an adolescent or the turmoil of coming from a multiple-times broken home, but I miss getting to see the faces of the ones who made me, whose blood I share, whose habits, voices, mannerisms, routines I know oh so well. It is gone, and life is fleeting so take a moment and appreciate the ones who love you the most, who are stuck with you forever, whether you’re under their roof or have left the nest.