O.M.G. We just finished watching the season 4 finale of Brothers and Sisters (finally!) and I’m shocked. I wish season 5 would be on Netflix already! So good.

Today was busy busy busy. I was in court all day working on an issue that was totally new to me–it was fun to learn something new!

We also finally got a frame for the print I got Kit for Christmas…6 months later haha. It’s called CMYKat. If you happen to be a graphic designer, you might get it.

I’ve got a great easy meal idea for y’all tonight! I whipped this up last night after realizing that I completely forgot to prep the meal I was planning for. When I walked in the door, I simply stuck the tofu under my Black’s Law Dictionary to drain, and let it sit for about an hour while I worked on some other things. When Kit got home, I dumped some marinade on it while we had our nightly chat, and by the time I was ready to cook, it was already nicely seasoned!

Quick Tofu Stir Fry


1 bag frozen stir fry veggies
1 cup frozen edamame
1/2 can water chestnuts, drained
1/2 can baby corn, drained
1 block extra firm tofu
2 Tbs sesame ginger dressing (optional)
2 1/2 Tbs teriyaki sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
Brown rice for serving
Optional toppings: toasted sesame seeds, sriracha


Drain excess liquid from tofu and slice into strips or cubes. If desired, marinate tofu in sesame ginger dressing for at least 30 minutes.
Mix vegetables with teriyaki sauce until everything is coated. Add sesame oil to a pan and turn heat to medium. Add tofu and veggies, and cook until everything is hot. Serve over brown rice, and top with sesame seeds and sriracha if desired.

This meal is super healthy AND tasty! You get several servings of vegetables, tons of protein from the tofu, edamame, and brown rice.

I TOTALLY recommend the Cascadian Farms thai-style stirfry blend…it was fantastic! I loved how everything was cut into smaller pieces, which meant that you got a more uniform mix of veggies in every bite. Green beans, broccoli, carrots, bean sprouts, and onions. Plus, no mushrooms :)

You have no idea how much I love water chestnuts. They are awesome! What the heck are they anyways? I just did a google image search and they are so weird looking!

Baby corns are also up there. So adorbs.

I mean, come on. Who wouldn’t like to get this awesome meal placed in front of them after a long day? What a good little wifey I am :)

Gotta get going friends…we have something very exciting happening here in a few minutes. At lunch I went to Home Depot and got TONS of paint chips, and in a few minutes Kit and I are going to pick through them to choose wedding colors! Squee! Okay, maybe this is only exciting to me, but give me a break…I’m a blushing bride :)

Thought for the day: Too often, the only difference between HAVE and HAVE NOT depends on whether or not the initial request was followed by a thank you, yee-haa, and action, rather than a question mark, timidity, and TV.

Green Chips

Hey y’all! How was your Monday? Hopefully not too draggy!

As promised, I hopped my booty outta bed this morning an entire hour earlier so that I could run. It wasn’t too hard to get up because the cats were going a little cray-cray, so I wasn’t sleeping well anyway. My run was good, but it wasn’t quite as nice as waking up to this…

That’s what I look like in the morning, kids. Luckily Kit has already put a ring on it, so he’s stuck with me.

In addition to running, working, taking care of assorted chores and errands, cooking and blogging, I also went to the oral surgeon today for my first consultation. I have actually seen him before about 2 years ago for my TMJ, and I really like him. He’s super nice and kinda funny. The office itself on the other hand, might be the world’s most depressing space ever. The good news is that after all my drama, things are healing super well, and from here on out things should be less complicated. Instead of a major surgery, I’m just going to have a smallish surgery.

So remember when I told you how in love we were with Brad’s Raw Kale Chips? Well, technically we’re still in love with them, but it’s a lot easier and cheaper to make our own, so that’s what I attempted. While I love kale, I have longed for a flatter, less crumbly veggie chip for some time now. The bad thing about the kale is that once it’s dehydrated, it can easily fall apart and turn into teeny crumbles instead of nice big leaves. What to do, what to do…

“Cheesy” Collard Chips


1 large bunch collard greens
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
1 red bell pepper, coarsely choped
juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
2 tsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp Himalayan pink sea salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground mustard powder


Wash and dry greens, and cut into chip-sized pieces. Put all ingredients except collard greens in a food processor and blend until smooth. Using your hands, coat each collard piece in sauce, and place on dehydrator trays. Dehydrate on low heat for 12-24 hours; until desired crispiness is reached. (If you do not have a dehydrator, you can bake then at 425 degrees until crisp–I have not tried this so I don’t know how long it will take. Watch them closely!!)

I’m not a big chip person. Sure, I’ll go to town on a basket of tortilla chips on Mexican Restaurant Night, but I don’t buy chips for the house, and I usually prefer other snacks. (The major exception being my all-time-fave brand Zapp’s which I only eat when we’re in the south. Unless y’all wanna send me some…) Did I have a point? Oh yes, I meant to tell you that even though I’m not a huge chip fanatic, I know that vegetables are not a substitute for chips. Ya know how sometimes magazines or web articles tell you to much on raw veggies when you have a chip craving? That’s garbage.

These collard chips (while technically still raw veggies) are a lot closer to the real thing. But let’s be honest…it’s not a chip. It’s a collard chip. And it’s dare I say better than a regular potato chip. That’s right. I dared to say it. BETTER. But you don’t have to take my word for it…I’d love to show you what they look like when they’re finished, but naturally I lost the final product photo. If I find it, I’ll post it with a link back to the recipe :) oops. How bout a nice photo of  a snail instead?

One more important note before I sign off for the night…today is my beautiful friend Red’s birthday! Happy birthday my love! Oh wait wait…one MORE thing! A super special congrats to my bff on her awesome new job! Woohoo! Big things are happenin!

Thought for the day: Everyone loves you, no matter what they think or say or do.




The Days Fly By…

Hey y’all!

Thank you SO much for all your sweet comments and congrats! It warms my heart :)

We spent the weekend trying to catch up on rest, work, and returning to normal, but it’s been tough! I still feel like I could use an extra day’s rest, but tomorrow we’re back to work. The weekend just flew by! And guess what, since we’re returning to normal, I’m going to the dentist tomorrow! Technically it’s the oral surgeon and not my regular dentist, but you guys know the drill by now. (heh heh)

I have had almost zero energy to workout, but I’m excited to be jumping back into it tomorrow. The plan is to wake up early to run before work…maybe since I wrote the plan on here I’ll actually follow through with it and not push it to the afternoon. Fingers crossed!

Kit woke up quite sick this morning, so I wanted to make him a nice hearty dinner tonight to help speed his recovery (after I pumped him full of zinc and emergen-c). A few weeks ago Mama Pea had a great recipe for tamale pie that sounded awesome. I decided to adapt it using ingredients I had at the house, and it turned out fantastic!

AVT Tamale Casserole

Adapted from Peas and Thank You.


For the filling:

½ cup chopped onion
One package soy crumbles (like the kind by Morningstar)
2 cups broccoli slaw
2 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbs chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
2 ½ tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp agave syrup
One 14 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes
One 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbs lime juice
1 Tbs hot sauce (more or less to taste)

For the crust:

2/3 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
½ tsp chili powder
2 tsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 Tbs agave syrup
2 Tbs unsweetened applesauce
1 c. frozen corn, defrosted and drained
1/3 c non-dairy or organic cheddar cheese (optional)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place a large skillet over medium heat and spritz with cooking spray. Add onion and sauté until softened and starting to brown, about 4 or 5 minutes. While onion is cooking, puree fire roasted tomatoes and set aside.
Add the frozen soy crumbles and broccoli slaw to the pan with the onion, and cook an additional 2 or 3 minutes.
Add all additional filling ingredients to the pan, and cook over medium heat for a few more minutes so that the flavors blend. Spray a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray, and transfer filling to dish.
In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Add wet ingredients to the cornmeal mixture and stir until just combined. Gently fold in the defrosted corn.
Spread cornbread batter carefully and evenly over the top of the casserole dish. If desired, top the casserole with shredded cheese.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese has melted and crust is set and starting to brown.

We seriously could have eaten this entire pan. This is actually the second time within a week I’ve made the same recipe, and that NEVER happens in this home.

Y’all know I positively hate chopping onions, which is why I always use frozen for recipes like this! Did you even know you could do that? Just take them straight from the freezer to the pan! It works out nicely for me because I’m not a huge onion fan, and using a bag of frozen allows me to use just the amount of onion I want with zero waste. Yay!

The fire roasted tomatoes add an extra layer of flavor that makes you think “hmmmmm.” If you have plain tomato sauce on hand though, you can also use that.

The cheese topping is optional, but it’s a nice special touch. If you are using real (as opposed to non-dairy) cheese, I suggest a nice sharp cheddar to give it a little kick.

Mama Pea’s original recipe called for tempeh. I like tempeh, and I fully intended on using it. However, if you are Ali, you will get to the grocery store and discover that they are out of tempeh. Not to be discouraged, you will improvise.

This would be a great recipe to make for children…you could leave out the hot sauce for tiny palettes. I wish there were extras for my lunch tomorrow, but they’ve already been promised to Kit’s supercool roommate Derek. (Hi Derek!)

And just like that, it’s 11pm and I have to tuck myself into bed in preparation for another long week. I have a feeling things are going to be getting pretty crazy around here once wedding planning gets into full swing, but for now we are still kind of basking in the awesomeness that is our life :)

Tell me friends, what did you do this weekend?

Thought for the day: “The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.” ~ Morrie Schwartz

It’s A Beautiful Thing…

In December 2009, a friend at work asked me if I wanted to go out with her brother-in-law. Thinking that I could use a new friend, having recently moved back to the area, I happily agreed. I got in touch with him, and we agreed to meet up on a Thursday night for dinner. I gave him my address and asked if he knew where I lived. “Yeah…I actually live next door.”

He jokes he knew I was the one when I ordered a Stella. I knew he was the one when he asked if he could come in to meet Tootsie.

A year and a half later, Kit (you of course know him as Boyfriend) woke me up at 5am to go have breakfast on the beach. After learning that we wouldn’t be swimming because the sharks feed that early in the morning, I got dressed and hopped in the truck for the short drive. We crossed over the bridge, parked the truck, grabbed our breakfast and blanket, and trudged through the sand to the perfect spot.

We just happened to park in an area that had four or five sets of two wooden chaise lounges which were attached in the middle, so we decided that was the perfect place to spread out our lovely brekkie. After setting out the fruit, croissants, and glasses, Kit suggested we go down to the water before our feast. It was so early that hardly anyone was out yet, so everything was pretty quiet. We walked down to the shore line, and started looking at shells.

He was crouched down looking at a shell, when suddenly he said “Alison…” and I realized he wasn’t looking at shells but was down on one knee! He told me he loves me so much, and he wants to spend his life with me…and then he said “will you marry me?”

Of course I said YES!! I bent down to give him a big hug, and then he put the world’s most gorgeous ring on my finger!

The ring, which he had custom designed, has little fleur de lis for the prongs. It’s so sparkly and perfect!

After hugging (and crying) for a long time, we went back up and had mimosas and our breakfast. It was actually hard to eat because we were both so excited! We also spent a long time looking for shells (for real this time), and I have a great collection now that I’m going to keep forever as a reminder of this magical day.

I thought it would be a good idea to find someone walking down the beach to take a photo of us, so I waited until I saw a lady with a big Canon hanging from her neck. When I told her we had just gotten engaged and asked if she would take our photo, she readily agreed and informed us that I had made a good choice because she was a wedding photographer! She snapped a few shots with my little point and shoot, and then very sweetly thanked us for letting her be a part of our moment.

On June 8, 2011, I agreed to marry the love of my life…exactly 58 years to the day after my grandparents were wed. I know Pop-pop was up there smiling down on us :)

We are SO excited to be starting this journey together. I feel so blessed to be sharing my life with someone that God has created just for me. Kit is the most kind, generous, and fun person I have ever known. He makes me laugh every single day, and I feel so honored that he is going to be my husband. I can’t wait to be Mrs. P!!

Thought for the day: “To find someone who will love you for no reason, and to shower that person with reasons, that is the ultimate happiness.”  ~ Robert Brault


Florida Recap

Hey y’all!

Sorry for the break…blogging opportunities were scarce in Florida but we’re home now and normal blogging has returned :)

I thought it would be fun to do a little recap of what went down while we were on vacay, and include some of my eats. So let’s see…where did we leave off?

Sunday morning we got up and went to a great church service…lots of music and praise! I think it’s so fun going to other churches to see how differently we all worship. Boyfriend and I both remarked that the two hour service seemed to fly by!

Afterwards, we went to lunch at a little spot called Hopjacks, where the entire group split four big pizzas (two vegetarian and two carnivorous). I really loved the Southwestern, which had TVP, beans, corn and other veggies, and a really awesome chipotle sauce. I’m thinking I might try to recreate that at some point. Sadly it was WAY to dark in there for pictures. Alas.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing, and then later that night we hit up a little barbecue down the street. Everyone was so great about making sure I have plenty to eat, and I certainly did not go hungry!

Plate number one had chickpea salad, roasted potatoes, hummus and a roll. That chickpea salad was awesome! We actually ended up making it again the next night because it was so good!

Plate number two consisted of fruit plus a rice/bean salad. Lots of yum.

Monday was busy because we had a graduation to attend! Boyfriend’s gorgeous (really, she is stunning) little sister Addie graduated with highest honors from Pensacola High School. We’re so proud of her!! She’ll be attending college in the fall and we know she’s gonna do great. Big things in store for that one.

We also got to see my bestie who drove in from Louisiana to have lunch with us. We hit up a tiny hole in the wall international shop that had amazing food. I got a wrap with falafel, artichoke salad, tzatziki, and taboulie and it was SO good. It was also huge so I only ate half.

Fortunately for me we also got to meet up with the BFF and her beau on our last night, when we tried out a really nice restaurant called Fish House. Our table overlooked the water and they had a great little band. Great atmosphere and the food was fantastic! Boyfriend and I split an entrée and even though it was a smaller portion, it was plenty with the snacks we had eaten before we left :) Oh, plus I got a souvenir glass! LOL

Basically it was just a very chill trip. Most days we had no plans, and we just hung out with the family, laid by the pool, and tried to escape the blistering heat. Here’s a few more pics for some fun highlights. Let me know if you wanna hear the story behind any of them ;)

Thought for the day: Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.

Greetings from Sunny Florida!

Hey dolls!

We are having SUCH an amazing time here in Florida. Our trip started off bright and early on Friday morning when we headed to the airport. By the time we made it through security, I was super hungry! We stopped at Potbelly where I got a cup of steel cut oats with brown sugar and cinnamon, and a banana, and Boyfriend got the World’s Greatest Sandwich.

Seriously, I thought he was going to cry tears of joy. I don’t know what was so good about the sandwich, but he liked it so much that he went back and got a second for our layover. Silly boy.

When we arrived at our final destination, we spent the entire rest of the day with family, just relaxing and catching up and hanging out. It was so nice to see everyone again! It was a long day  for us with all that traveling on little sleep, so by the time we made it back to our room at Boyfriend’s aunt’s home, I was exhausted!

Saturday morning I woke up and knew exactly what I wanted to do: coffee on the deck overlooking the bay. By the time we made it outside (around 8:30) it was already HOT! That didn’t stop me from enjoying myself and soaking in all my peaceful surroundings though. The view from this place is unbelievable, and I feel SO lucky to be staying here!

Boyfriend’s aunt has two stepsons who taught us all kinds of great things about the local fish and shells and wildlife they encounter. It was a blasty hanging with them for the morning. And to top it all off, they had fat free Chobani in the fridge! Heaven.

There’s been lots of sun (YES I’m wearing lots of sunscreen :) )and pool time, and we are fully enjoying every second of it.

Hope y’all are having as great a weekend as I am! What’s going on in your neck of the woods?

Thought for the day: Wherever you go, there you are.

Top Five

Hey love bugs!

Long time no post! (Okay it’s been two days, but it seems like a lot longer!) Sorry for the delay…Thursday I was super busy and then Friday we were up and out the door by 5:30am to board our flight to Florida!

Boyfriend and I are spending the next few days in heavenly Florida visiting his family. So far it’s been amazing–but more on that later! For now, let me just post my favorite things from this week, and I’ll update you on all our southern shenanigans later :)

1. Garlic Gold! I was SO happy when my box of Garlic Gold arrived from Open Sky. It’s crunchy, flavorful, and makes a great topping or addition to just about anything. According to the package, you can put it on pizza, vegetables, popcorn, even SUSHI! Ca-razy good.

2. Eggplant Bacon. Boyfriend hates eggplant, and I have never been able to get him to eat it, although I’ve tried. This week I attempted to make eggplant bacon by marinating thin slices of eggplant in a special sauce. I wanted to dehydrate half for raw eggplant bacon, and bake the other half (mostly because I was out of room in the dehydrator.) Imagine my surprise when I caught Boyfriend scarfing down the baked (and BURNT!) eggplant bacon. This stuff was scorched y’all, but he loved it. I can’t wait to perfect the recipe so I can share it with you!

3. My first long bike ride on the trail. Boyfriend and I rode for 12 miles along the C&O Canal trail. It’s not that long, but it’s the longest I’ve ever gone before and it was so much fun! The weather was perfect and we had a blast, minus the huge the bug bites I came home with.

4. Brad’s Raw Chips. I’m currently a little obsessed with kale chips to be frank. This box of Brad’s also came with two boxes of raw kale chips in original flavor and “vampire killer” aka super garlicky. We polished them off within the first day of getting them, and then I promptly got to work creating my own spin on them. Stay tuned ;)

5. This moment. Cats LOVE when you make the bed. It’s highly inconvenient, but totally adorbs.


That’s it for now friends! Hope y’all are having a great weekend!

Thought for the day: Life is a journey, not a destination.



Caribbean Marinade


zest of 1 lime
juice of 1 lime
1 Tbs spiced rum
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1 Tbs brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of cayenne pepper


Whisk all ingredients together, and then marinate tofu, veggies, or whatever you like for at least 45 minutes prior to cooking.

PB Cocoa and Marshmallow Oats


1/3 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 Tbs cocoa powder
1 Tbs creamy peanut butter
1 Tbs chia seeds
1 packet stevia
1 vegan marshmallow
1 dash cinnamon
1 tiny pinch salt


Combine oats, chia seeds, cocoa powder, water, and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Continue to cook for several minutes, stirring frequently to ensure oats don’t burn or stick to the bottom of the pan. When oats thicken, add remaining ingredients and stir well until everything melts and combines.

The Three Minute Cupcake


3 Tbs unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbs coconut oil, melted
1.5 Tbs water
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract of choice)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 packet Truvia (or other sweetener of choice)
1/2 square dark chocolate, broken into pieces
coconut butter and almond butter for topping


Mix all ingredients except dark chocolate until no longer lumpy. Add chocolate bits and stir again. Spray a teacup with nonstick cooking spray and pour in batter. Microwave for about 90 seconds. Top with coconut and almond butter, or other desired toppings. Best enjoyed warm.

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