Meatless Monday: Quesadilla with Gardein Beefless Ground

Is it Monday again already?

These days Mondays make me happy because I’m linking up with Tina and Deborah for Meatless Monday! As promised I have a vegan quesadilla recipe made with Gardein Beefless Ground that will knock your socks off!

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Not only is Gardein Beefless Ground 100% plant based, it is also gluten free, so if you’re wanting some healthy deliciousness, simply make these quesadillas with gluten free tortillas.

Quesadilla 2

Quesadillas are one of my go-to dishes when I’m short of time. They are ready in less than a half hour, delicious, and really filling too. You can use prepared refried beans and salsa or make your own. The guacamole used in this recipe is very simple, just a mashed avocado with a little lemon or lime juice and salt and pepper. It works perfectly with the seasoned Beefless Ground and salsa.

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We are the Restaurant Killers and other random stuff

I’m linking with Amanda today for Thinking Out Loud!

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Birthday!

Birthday

Wednesday was Alan’s birthday. And my gift to him was…a pair of socks! Actually, two pairs, which isn’t as boring as it sounds. Alan has been wearing the thick Thorlo running socks for years, and he mentioned the other day that his old socks were getting pretty ragged. So when I was shopping for a birthday present the other day, it just so happened that Sports Authority had a special, BOGO half off. I thought that they no longer made the super thick ones that Alan always liked, so I had a couple of pairs of their new, still pretty cushy, socks in my hand when I decided to wander around the sock section just to make sure. What do you know:

ThorloActually, I planned to buy him a swim suit too (is that what they’re called for men?). I didn’t realize though that they come in waist sizes as opposed to small-large and I wasn’t sure what to buy. I settled on 32 (yes, he’s that slim), but when I was checking out the cashier told me that suits weren’t returnable, so I backed off. Turns out I had the right size, but instead I bought a suit that he picked out from the Speedo website (with a discount!), so all was good.

suit

Restaurant Killers

We went out to eat a couple times this week. On Mother’s Day Alan took me to Native Foods in Palm Springs. Since I always say we live in the Palm Springs area, you may not realize that it is actually a 40 minute drive, so we don’t get there as often as we’d like. We enjoyed it very much, as usual. It’s so nice to be at a 100% vegan restaurant, so we can have anything on the menu, including desserts, without worrying.

Native FoodsWe decided that for his birthday we’d go to lunch at a Thai restaurant in La Quinta that we liked a lot. In fact, we were just there about a month ago.

Thai

So we were really surprised when we pulled up and it was gone! Well not gone, but cleared out. Moved, closed, whatever, it was no longer there. Another good restaurant with vegan options gone.

Legacy ThaiThat got us to talking about how many restaurants we’ve “killed.” It seems like every time we find a place that we enjoy, poof, it goes out of business. This list won’t mean anything to you, because, well, they’re all gone, but here’s a short list of our victims: Mrs. Bones, Pita House, Kacoon, Frankies, Cucina Pasta, Thai Smile La Quinta, Kokapelli’s, and a few others whose names I can’t remember because this has been happening for close on 20 years.

So, if you ever open a restaurant and you see Alan and me walk through the door you had better either 86 us immediately, burn our meal so we never come back, or just say goodbye to your restaurant. Sorry.

Bob and Peg

I finally heard from my two favorite clients who moved back to Northern California last year. Or rather, they chose to stay there year round and not, at age 83, put themselves through the stresses of traveling back and forth. We’d lost touch, but I finally spotted a Facebook message from their daughter (don’t forget to occasionally check your “other” folder!), and we spoke the other night on the phone. I’m happy to report that they are still exercising, though they feel they could use a little instruction and aren’t really impressed with the trainer at the gym they use. When you’ve had the best…(just kidding)! I may have to put something together for them that they can follow on their own.

Bob and Peg

Car in the Water

Last weekend we were in San Dimas where Alan announced a triathlon, I took a run, and it was really cold. Well, for us. It was in the 50s though, and we’ve grown used to 90s, so yes, it was cold. Anyway, the most interesting thing that happened was this:

Car in the Water

Yes, that is a car in the water. It floated (drove?) by towards the end of the triathlon, beeping its horn to get everyone’s attention. Of course, I took a picture and posted it on Instagram (<–follow me!) with the hashtag #carinthewater. I noticed when I posted it that there were about 80 other pictures with that hashtag. When I checked them out there were the usual cars under water, but interestingly (I thought), there were two other pictures of cars that looked just like mine, same color and everything (and not from California). That’s all, I just thought it was interesting.

Naked Nails

I actually did this last week but forgot to write about it (shocking, I know). I decided to take off my fake nails for the summer (at least), so now I’m dealing with the aftermath of that: weak, broken, chipping, splitting, ugly nails.

nailsMy strategy for nail repair is to keep them as short as possible for now, treat them with tea tree oil (suggested by a couple people) and a nail strengthener, and I’m trying some Biotin, because that’s what it says it does. I’d appreciate any suggestions that you may have because I hate how they feel. You know, like they’re going to bend backward all the time. Though I’ve got to say that typing is a lot easier.

My most popular post

Several years ago I had a breast cancer scare and had to have an excisional biopsy, which fortunately came back negative. I wrote about the whole experience and since that time, that post has become the most popular one I’ve ever written. It still gets 10-15 hits a day, and I’ve had so many women comment about their experience both before and after the operation. It warms my heart to hear that my words have comforted them and helped them prepare for their procedure. I’m reminded why I write sometimes about very personal topics. It’s on my mind because I had another comment today.

The Fitfluential Blog

And finally, in case you missed it, my article was featured on the Fitfluential blog this week. It’s a post about vegan protein sources and Everlast VP, Everlast Nutrition’s new vegan protein powder. Plus I created an outdoor HIIT workout especially for the post. You can get a free sample of Everlast VP and enter a contest to win a two month supply! Check it out!

Everlast VP

What’s on your mind this week? And what should I do about my nails?

Meatless Monday: Spaghetti with Gardein Meatless Meatballs

I am always on the go. Between work, blogging, dog care (yes, seven dogs including one who is handicapped are quite time-consuming), plus running and working out of course, leaves very little time for cooking, especially on weekdays.

The thing is, I love to cook and be creative in the kitchen. It’s just hard sometimes when time is short. So I’m happy when I find a product that is not only plant based, it is also healthy, easy and delicious.

Gardein Meatless Meatballs

I’ve shared recipes made with Gardein here many times. Their products are a great option for almost everyone, whether you’re participating in Meatless Monday, trying to eat more healthfully by adding more plant based meals to your diet, or if you are already a vegan or vegetarian who loves the taste and ease of cooking with Gardein.

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Vegan Pesto Pizza

I’m joining Tina and Deborah for Meatless Monday, and sharing some of my favorite recipes.

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Now that I’m (temporarily) not training for anything (except life, you know), I decided to join in the link up fun.

Speaking of training (sorry, can’t help myself), after taking a long recovery week, getting reacquainted with my foam roller, and, well, Aleve, my back is feeling much better and I’m ready to get running again. This past week consisted of a three mile run on Wednesday, and a two mile run with my dogs on Sunday, so you can see I take my recovery seriously. Oh, I also got in a TRX workout and spent some time on the Pilates reformer.

Doggies on the run.

Penny, my Dalmatian, turned 14 last week. She was so excited to run on Sunday that she charged out like a two year old. Look at the smile on her face. Of course, she was good for about a mile, then we walked home, but in her mind she is still a runner. I know the feeling!

Back to Meatless Monday. Today I’d like to share one of my all time favorites dishes, Pesto Pizza.

Vegan Pesto Pizza

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Before you can make pesto pizza, you need to make some vegan pesto! Regular pesto recipes include cheese of course, but I assure you that you can take the cheese out and it still tastes great. In this recipe, I used nutritional yeast to add a little cheesy taste and texture, but I have also made pesto without it and it was very good.

Pesto Pizza 2015

Vegan Pesto

2 cups fresh basil
1/2 cup pine nuts (walnuts work too)
2-4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to taste

Add the basil, pine nuts, garlic and nutritional yeast to a food processor. Process until just roughly chopped. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Process until thoroughly mixed.

Now that you’ve made the pesto, let’s put that pizza together.

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Vegan Pesto Pizza

Vegan Pesto Pizza
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Pizza
Cuisine: Pizza
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Pre-made (vegan) pizza crust. I used one from Trader Joes
  • ½ cup pesto sauce
  • 2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup vegan mozzarella cheese (I used Daiya)
  • Any additional favorite toppings of your choice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven and pizza stone or pan to 450
  2. Roll out your pizza dough to desired thickness
  3. Transfer the pizza to your preheated stone/pan
  4. Spread on the pesto evenly
  5. Add a layer of tomatoes
  6. Sprinkle on the cheese
  7. Add the mushrooms
  8. Bake at 450 for 20 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown.
  9. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing.

I think this may be one of my favorite pizza creations ever! Of course, feel free to add your own toppings. I’m just a mushroom pizza addict, though I did add some caramelized onion to this one. Extra basil, faux meat, other veggies would all be great additions.

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Do you make your own pizza or order out? What are your favorite pizza toppings? And oh, if you didn’t get enough doggy cuteness above, here’s Coco to fill you to the brim:

Coco

A Food Lovers Dream: The Orange Chef Countertop

This post is sponsored by Orange Chef and Fit Approach. All opinions are my own.

I’ve always been an early adapter. I had my first smart phone in the dark ages, when they were slow, clunky, and didn’t even have GPS. I get a new phone almost every year, I have tablets, computers, GPS watches, a fitness tracker, heart rate monitors and more. My charging station is so full that there is a line to get in to charge. I love techno everything and believe me, I’m not easily impressed anymore unless you can really WOW me.

Well, I’ve been wowed. The new Orange Chef Countertop, coming later this year, will not only weigh your food, which is quite helpful for keeping track of calories and nutrients, it will also suggest what food to eat, find recipes, learn what food you like (and don’t like), and keep an accurate log of what you eat.  The Wow Factor is that it works with your Vitamix, Crockpot, and fitness tracker to offer you meal recommendations, customize your own recipes, and track everything from your exercise to your nutritional intake and your sleep. Wow!

Orange Chef 2

I can’t wait! I am a data nerd by nature, and I love knowing exactly what I’m putting in my mouth. That smoothie with two bananas, frozen fruit, protein powder, etc? Now I’ll know exactly how many calories that healthy “snack” provides.

I also create recipes, for myself, then I like to share them right here. When the Orange Chef Countertop is released, I’ll have a better idea of the nutrients in each dish. I tend to throw things together, and I’m lucky enough that they taste good. Now I can throw together with a purpose, and keep track of important details while I’m doing it.

Currently the Orange Chef Countertop is designed to work with Vitamix and Crock Pot (an optional adapter is required), and the Jawbone fitness tracker. Other appliances and trackers will be added. The app requires an iPhone 5 or above, with iOS 8 or above, though an Android version is in the works. It will be released in late 2015, but you can get significant savings by pre-ordering now, including a $10 savings by using my affiliate link.

Orange Chef ButtonSeriously, if you’re a kitchen gadget lover like I am, this is perfect. It is functional, nice looking, and it has a low profile, so it doesn’t take up a lot of space in your kitchen. What’s not to love?

Are you a kitchen gadget lover? What is your favorite one?

Training Recap (6 days until SLO Marathon!)

The important stuff first. I’m happy to announce that the winner of Dinner for Two and a bottle of wine at Mitch’s on El Paseo is Denise L! Congratulations! I know you’ll enjoy it.

Also good luck to all of the runners at the Boston Marathon today! I have many blogging friends doing the race and I’ll be trying to sneak an occasional peak at the live feed this morning at work. The forecast is for rain, but as I told Angela, the gods frequently smile on the Boston Marathon and send a sunny day along. If not, it will still be the experience of a lifetime.

Well, six day left until the SLO Marathon and everything is, well, not perfect. I’m still getting my workouts in (hurray for the taper!), but suddenly my knee is bothering me a little, and the asthma/dizzy issue I spoke about last week is still a concern. I’ve not had another incident like I had during my long run last week, but I frequently feel right on the verge, like if I push or go too far I might go right over the edge. Worrisome.

Training Recap

Last Wednesday was my last speed workout. Christina and I ran five miles a little faster than my marathon pace. All went well.

Long Run 3

After my tempo run. Needed to get the frog in the picture :-)

Saturday I ran eight miles with Alan and Christina. It should have felt easy and short after all my long runs, but as I mentioned, I’ve been feeling on the edge. I got it done though.

Long Run 2On Sunday I headed out alone for five miles on the trails. I love having a running partner, but sometimes I need to get out by myself. I took it easy, stopped for pictures, and felt good throughout. Now the final countdown to the race, and maybe some big decisions.

Trail Run 3

It’s not easy to take a picture of your shadow running.

Trail Run

Trail Run 2

Coachella boys

This one was pretty weird. As I was running I heard the sound of voices. Now this was about 7:30 on a Sunday morning and the voices sounded, well, they sounded drunk. I saw these guys down below the trail, singing and yelling. I kind of assumed they were refugees from Coachella, which is just a few miles away. I guess the camping is cheaper up in the La Quinta cove. I took a little detour, not wanting to deal with drunken revelers at that point in time.

And the Other Stuff

Kind of a boring week, at least in terms of writing something you’d want to read about. There was this, in case you missed it:

Its a girlYes, we’re going to have a granddaughter! After two sons, two stepsons, and three grandsons, we’re ready for a little pink in the family! On that note, I happened to wander into Target over the weekend.

DecisionsAnd I went for…

Baby Girl 2I was also curiously drawn to these:

Baby Girl 3But resisted the urge. They are, after all, toddler sizes.

Baby Girl 4

#Cutie. Let’s get her started on social media early.

Cactus FlowersSpring in the desert means the cactus is blooming.

And just a couple #dogpics:

Penny

My 14 year old Dalmatian can still get silly.

Johnny 2

And Johnny always finds ever cuter ways to sleep.

And some vegan food.

Mandarin SaladMandarin orange “chicken” salad. Easy and delicious. Here’s the recipe.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Any races, competitions, or other awesome experiences you’d like to share? Will you (are you, did you) watch the Boston Marathon? Go Meb!