Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Pizza Quesadillas!

Hey you guys! Before I get into the fun stuff, I just wanted to thank everyone for the kindness and support you've shown me after my last post. It is really nice to know that I am part of such a supportive community. It's not easy sharing something like that but I knew that everything would be ok because you are all amazing.

Anyway, today we are here for fun! I'm sure you are being bombarded with Vegan Superbowl Snack ideas but I decided to throw my idea out there as well. I thought of this last week and was so excited to try it out and share it with you! I decided to make some Vegan Pizza Quesadillas and they came out amazing! Everyone loves pizza but it's hard to find good vegan options that aren't super expensive. You just need a few ingredients for these and they won't break the bank. And they are DELICIOUS!

I mean, look at these beauties! Perfectly crispy and stuffed with your favorite pizza toppings with enjoyed with a side of pizza sauce to dip. I am loving this twist on the traditional quesadilla.

I made two different kinds to show you but the options are endless.

This first one was a "Margarita Pizza" type of thing. I used Daiya Mozzarella Shreds, fresh tomato slices, fresh basil and some more Daiya. 

My personal favorite pizza toppings are spinach and broccoli so I decided to make a quesadilla with these toppings as well. I added in the Daiya Mozzarella and they were amazing.

Oh and I highly recommend including a sprinkle of garlic powder to really amp up the flavor!

It seems kind of silly to include a recipe for these because it is so easy but I'll include a rough outline of what you'll need to make these. Amounts really depend on how many you are making and how stuffed you like them.

Pizza Quesadillas


Flour Tortillas
Vegan Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (I use Daiya brand - it melts really well!)
Favorite Pizza Toppings (suggestions below)
Garlic powder (optional)
Pizza sauce for Dipping

1. Spread a thin layer of cheese over the bottom of half of your tortilla. 
2. Layer pizza toppings over the cheese layer.
3. Sprinkle toppings with garlic powder (if you are using it - and I highly suggest it!).
4. Add a thin layer of cheese on top of the toppings and fold tortilla over to cover the toppings.
5. Add quesadilla to a pan that is lightly sprayed with cooking spray. 
6. Cook over medium low heat until first side is brown and crispy and cheese is melted. Don't turn your burner up too high or the tortilla will burn before your cheese melts.
7. Flip quesadilla to brown the second side and melt cheese.
8. Remove from heat and cut into pieces. Serve immediately with heated pizza sauce.

For the pizza toppings I would definitely suggest cooking the toppings that you want cooked before adding them to the quesadilla. It will just get warmed through and not really cook a ton (though your spinach will wilt for example) so if you want your mushrooms or onions cooked do so before.

Topping suggestions:

Vegan meats (pepperoni, sausage, ham, bacon, chick'n, etc.), spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, olives, peppers, tomatoes, basil, pineapple, eggplant (eggplant parm quesadilla?! Yes please!), sun dried tomatoes, artichokes, caramelized onions, zucchini, vegan ricotta, roasted garlic, and whatever other veggies you love! The options are endless.

Both of my combinations were amazing. I thought I'd love the broccoli and spinach the most but the margarita pizza flavor was AMAZING. The basil made it taste really fresh and gave it a great pop of flavor.

So there you have it, a really easy and delicious Superbowl Snack idea! I especially love it because everyone can customize their own flavors and you don't have to worry about ordering a ton of pizzas to satisfy everyone. If you make this let me know how you like it!

For fun, what toppings would you put in your Pizza Quesadillas? Let me know in the comments below.

I hope that you are all doing well and having a great week so far! I'll see you back here on Saturday <3

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Coming Clean

Hey guys! I hope that you are all doing well. Buckle up, this one is going to be a bit more serious than my other posts. What I'm going to be talking about today is not an easy thing to put out there but I've decided that now would be a good time to do so. So today we are going to talk about why I decided to finally seek therapy a few months ago.

I've always been really transparent about my struggle with anxiety and depression in the past. That has been a part of my life since my early teens so it's nothing new to me when it pops up. It turns out, however, that I was in denial for a long time about my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Yup, it turns out I have OCD and while it was apparently pretty manageable earlier in my life, it has become more troublesome and has disrupted my life a lot in the past few years. Over the past year is when I really started to figure out that it is actually a big problem for me and that I was no longer living my life and I decided that I needed help.

So for those of you that don't know what OCD is I'll attempt to tell you a little about it in general. Then I'll give you an idea of what my specific version of this disorder is. OCD is a mental health disorder where you have obsessions and compulsions. The obsession is a thought that occurs over and over and that the person finds disturbing or distressing. The thought causes overwhelming fear, anxiety, dread and can be completely consuming. The compulsion is the action that you take to in order to combat the obsessive thought and to make the obsession and the anxiety go away. There are a lot of different categories of obsessions and compulsions which I won't get into but if you are interested in learning more about OCD you can read about it here.

I feel as though my OCD is always evolving and changing which I find really interesting. I think that everyone's case is also really unique which is why I'm choosing to really only focus on my own experience. So anyway, I guess I'll get to what you are all wondering which is what my obsessions and compulsions are. This isn't going to be a comprehensive list by any means but these are the ones that I experience most.

My most prominent obsessions right now deal with fear of harm. I am terrified of being a victim of home invasion or violent crime and I also have thoughts of my family and close friends becoming victims of violent crime (more on this later). My compulsion to deal with this is I check my locks. I check my locks over and over again. At the worst point I would walk from lock to lock in my house and back around checking each lock multiple times before I finally felt like the door was locked. Then doubt would creep in and I would think that I left something open or someone else left something unlocked and I would do it again. I would leave my house and I would check the lock at least once before I would drive away and would often drive a few blocks before having to check again. I would be at work and experience complete panic thinking I forgot to lock my door and I would have to leave (on a break) and check the locks. It's an awful feeling and took up a lot of time and caused a lot of fear and anxiety for me.

In addition to checking the locks, I had also begun to avoid places that I have decided are the most dangerous and where I feel like I would most likely be a victim of a violent crime. No malls, movie theaters, sporting events, concerts, comedy shows or large gatherings of any kind really. I also have a lot of anxiety if I am in one location for what I feel is too long. The longer I stay the more I feel like I am in danger. As you can imagine, your bubble gets a lot smaller when you are having these thoughts. I have never been agoraphobic but the list of places I would go definitely would get shorter and shorter as time went on.

Driving is a catalyst for some obsessions as well. I have to check my tires every single time I get in my car, every single time I get out of my car and once in a while I will have to pull over and check them if they don't feel right while I'm driving. There are two fears that go along with this: I will get stranded or I will cause an accident. Another driving related obsession that I have is I will think that I have hit someone or something with my car. This is an awful feeling and I will have to drive back to where I had that thought and make sure that nothing happened. Finally, if I have to use my headlights you can bet I'll be checking at least 3 times to make sure I turned them off.

I mentioned before that I also have thoughts of horrible things happening to my family. Sometimes the thoughts are so vivid and real that I will start checking the news to make sure nothing has happened to anyone. I will go from news source to news source from local to national and just keep refreshing until I can get in touch with them or I feel like I have checked enough. I will also go on a news hunt if I try to get in touch with someone and get no response. I will automatically assume the worst has happened to them and I will fall into a news hole until I finally hear from them or from someone that has heard from them.

As you can imagine being consumed by these thoughts is incredibly disturbing and exhausting. Right around my birthday last year things had gotten so bad I could no longer really deny it and I decided to get help. This is where the good news comes in. I was able to find a great therapist who respects my wishes to not be on medication and has helped me and encouraged me so much. I still have the obsessive thoughts but I have been able to get my checking under control. I've gone to the mall a few times and while it is stressful and anxiety inducing I still went. I have a long way to go but I'm confident that I'll be able to regain my life and most importantly my happiness.

I know this is a really long post but I do really want to make this point. I used every excuse in the book to avoid therapy for a really long time. It's expensive, I've gone before and they were awful, they are going to push pills on me, no one is going to "get me." I didn't realize that the reason therapy has never been beneficial for me was because I hadn't found the right therapist for me. Now that I have I can honestly say that therapy has completely changed my life and it was 100% the best gift I've ever given myself (I literally found my therapist on my birthday last year). If you need help please seriously consider finding someone that you can speak to. I know it can be easy to cover up your emotions, to shove everything down and pretend everything is ok. I did it for a really long time. I suspect most of you didn't really have any idea this was going on. I was able to pretend and put on a mask… and I was miserable doing it. Now for the first time in a long time I feel hopeful and excited about what is to come. So please, if you need help please go get it. You deserve it.

I'm going to finish up by saying that it is really really hard to put all of this personal, private information out there for everyone to read and judge. I never thought I would be writing this post… that I would have the strength to put this all out there. I didn't write this post for sympathy or attention. Anyone that knows me knows that the last thing I want is attention. My sole purpose for writing this post is to do my part to help erase the stigma associated with mental illness. There is NOTHING to be ashamed of. Mental health awareness is a passion of mine because it has been a part of my life for over 20 years and if this post can help even one person then it was worth it.

There is so much more that I could write but I don't know what else you would want to know. I am happy to answer any questions you may have. You can leave them in the comments below. If I get a lot of questions I will definitely write a follow up post answering them. If I just get a few I'll answer them in the comments.

Thank you all so much for always being so kind and supportive to me. There are no words to express how much I appreciate you <3

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

What I Eat In A Day #1

Hey guys! I hope that you are all doing well. The weather has been so crazy here! Super high winds and gross rain. I'm just thankful it isn't colder and this isn't snow. Anyway, I'm here today with a full day of eating. The lighting was horrific for this so sorry about that but here is what I ate today. I don't think it was a super exciting day but still delicious nonetheless.

For breakfast I just had some toast with peanut butter. After I had an apple that I didn't photograph.

Midmorning I had half of this kombucha. It does have some caffeine in it so I just make sure to have one serving at a time.

I found this Just Caesar dressing at Target and I had to try it. I love the Ranch so I figured the Caesar would be good too!

For lunch I made another Bento Box! On the left is a Caesar salad with greens and some randomly vegan croutons I found. On the right is some stuffed grape leaves and a large pear.

Because it is so gross and cold and rainy and because I'm so damn lazy when I get home from work I threw together the easiest cozy dinner I could think of. I made udon noodle soup with an instant miso broth. The miso broth was ok but obviously could never compare to fresh made miso broth. I love udon noodles so those are always amazing. As I tend to do when I make pasta or noodles I made way too much so I'll be having the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

This is the stuff I used to make the broth. Just meh. I'll be using the real stuff next time.

That's all I have for you tonight! I can't remember if I told you but I'll be house sitting again starting Thursday night. I can't wait for cuddles with my little lovebugs. I'll do my best to take pictures of them for you! I think Sunday will be a nice pamper day with a face mask and a bath so I'm really looking forward to that as well. 

I hope the rest of your week goes quickly! <3

Saturday, January 21, 2017

More Stuff I Ate This Week

Hey guys! I hope that you all had a good week and that you are enjoying your weekend so far! I have one last day of work today and then I have my two days of freedom :) I'm planning on decluttering some more and I'm excited because it feels good to clear out some of the old stuff that I no longer need. Do any of you have fun weekend plans?

So for today's post I'm going to show you some more stuff I consumed this week. It's been a pretty delicious week. I'm still not as diligent as I once was with photographing my meals but I'm doing a bit better and I'm at least catching some good highlights :)

First up, a few beverages!

I had won a Starbucks gift card in a Giveaway in December and I'm finally getting around the using it. This was a Tall Decaf Soy Hazelnut Latte. So good.

I also tried the Raspberry Lemon Kevita Kombucha. This flavor was ok but I'm definitely still feeling like the Pineapple Peach is my jam and I'm probably just going to stay loyal to that one.

For dinner one night I had a Vegan Chicken Ranch Wrap (TJs vegan chick'n tenders, tomato, greens and some Just Ranch) with some corn tortilla chips and unpictured salsa.

I am not typically a pasta person but I was craving it one night this week so I made some Gluten Free pasta with tomato sauce. This actually made a lot so I didn't eat the whole bowl and had some for lunch the next day.

I went back to the Bagel Store this week and got a Cinnamon Raisin bagel with Tofu Cream Cheese for breakfast one day. So good.

I finally tried the Chocolate Covered Cocomels. I don't know how I feel about them. They were ok, had a great texture but I guess I just wanted to like them more. 

I finally used my Bento Box this week! I'm going to collect some pictures as I use it more and do a special post but I wanted to show you the first use! In the box on the left is peanut butter on whole grain bread cut into little strips to fit in the box, some Lemon Energy Bites and some carrots. In the right box I was craving fruit to snack on throughout the day so I cut up a large pear and a half of an apple. Not bad for my first Bento Box meal using this box!

I mentioned in my last post that Delilah got her ears pierced! I decided to get her some earrings for Valentine's Day and I found this adorable pair!. How cute are they?! I'm so excited to give them to her along with some more fun goodies :) 

I had shown you guys in this post that my friend gave me an awesome journal as part of my holiday gift this year. Her timing was impeccable because I had decided that I wanted to start journaling this year as a way to get my emotions and thoughts out and onto paper. Well, I started writing in it and while it was a bit weird at first (the first few entries, yikes!) I feel like I've gotten used to it and I've been really loving it. I write in it almost daily and whenever the mood strikes. It has been really effective in helping me acknowledge things that I have going on or just a way to record my thoughts before they disappear. I would definitely recommend journaling as a way to get in touch with your feelings, emotions and thoughts. 

So that's what I have for your today! I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend and I'll be back on Tuesday! <3

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Stuff I Ate

Hey guys! I hope that you all had a great weekend. I was really productive yesterday so that makes me really happy. The de-clutter is going to take a lot longer than I thought but I'm being pretty cutthroat about it and I am kind of loving it. No mercy on any of the "things" that are unnecessarily cluttering my life ;) I got rid of two garbage bags worth of stuff (one bag was donated clothes) and it felt nice. As I said, I have so much left to go through but having a good start is always motivating.

I also did a little bit of prep for the week yesterday. Here is what I made:

First up I made these amazing Lemon Energy Bites! I don't know if you can tell but there are white chocolate chips in there so this was what I had in mind when I placed the order.

Here is a closer look. There is fresh lemon juice and lemon zest in there so it has a really nice fresh, bright lemon flavor. These are good. Next time I'll probably put less maple syrup because they are a little sweet but I love them. Oh and I refused to pay $14 for a jar of cashew butter so I made my own. It added quite a bit of time for the process but cut down the cost A LOT.

I also roasted some eggplant and mushrooms to throw in salads, on sandwiches and on my Mediterranean plates this week. They are seasoned with just pepper and garlic and it worked out well!

On Sunday I went out to lunch with my brother to a place called Bareburger. I was a little skeptical because I'm always skeptical of burger places but he assured me it would be good. Well, it turns out that they have plenty of vegan options! Everything is fresh made and I think it is all organic. I made my own burger with the Vegan Black Bean burger, shredded Daiya Cheddar, lettuce, tomato and pickles. The bun was sprouted grain. It was so good guys. I wish I would have actually fixed it to make it look a little prettier but I guess I'm a bit out of practice of photographing restaurant meals. 

This was my lunch from yesterday. I made a pita sandwich with hummus, my roasted veggies pictured above, tomato and cucumber. So good guys.

I've been snacking on popcorn lately. It's such a good, easy snack. And it's totally guilt free :)

So there you have it! Just a little look into my past week. I hope that you have all been doing well. It's been so warm here lately and I'm kind of loving it. Any day above 25 degrees is a win in my book ;)

Have a great week everyone! I'll be back on Saturday with another post <3

Saturday, January 14, 2017

This Week

Hey guys! I hope that you have all had a great week :) After today it is my weekend and I'm really excited about it. I have big plans of cleaning and organizing and downsizing and meal prepping and it is kind of making me really happy. I've planned out a bunch of bento box meal ideas and I'm hoping to have a post up for you with those ideas soon! But for now, let's just check out a few things from this week.

I picked up this delicious plain bagel with scallion tofu cream cheese for breakfast one day. I can't even tell you how happy it makes me that places here on Long Island offer tofu cream cheese. Offering scallion tofu cream cheese is definitely a big bonus.

I ate this big beautiful salad for lunch one day. So good. It has lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, cranberries and almonds with a balsamic dressing.

I treated myself to veggie rolls yesterday. I was the first customer of the day and they had just started prepping so I had to order my rolls (normally I just grab them from the case). They decided to load me up because I was the first customer and check out the mountain of rolls they gave me! A pretty great value for $6.49.

I think you guys know by now that I am NOT a fan of Kombucha. The chunks really gross me out and I don't think it tastes particularly good. Then the other day I saw that Bianca had a Raspberry Lemon flavored Kevita Kombucha and thought that flavor actually sounded delicious. I went to the store to try one and I also found the Pineapple Peach flavor. I got one of each because they were on sale 2/$5. I tried the Pineapple Peach first and holy shit guys! It's GOOD. It smells like the sweetest pineapple ever and it tastes amazing. I'm so excited I tried this flavor! I still have to try the other one so we'll see if that one is good!

This big girl got her ears pierced this week! She looks so cute and I can't wait to buy her some fun earrings when she is allowed to change them out.

This is totally random but I found it on Instagram (I don't remember which account though, sorry!) and it really resonated with me. It is kind of exactly what I needed to see because it is exactly what I struggle with. When I find things like this I like to post them because I have a feeling there are a lot of people out there that can probably also benefit from it.

So that's all of the randomness I have for you today :) I hope you all enjoy your weekend! I'll be back on Tuesday with another post. I'm really excited you guys… I feel more inspired and motivated than I have in a really long time. Really great changes and growth are within reach and it makes me feel really amazing.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

All The Hauls

Hey everyone! I hope that you are all doing well! I think I've decided that for now a Tuesday/Saturday posting schedule is what will work best and I'm really going to work hard to stick to it. I've felt really inspired lately to get back into the blogging game and I plan on getting back into the food related posts but also including some other content as well. I miss my Fun Friday posts as well so maybe I'll have to get something reminiscent of that going again :)

Anyway, today I have a few hauls to show you! I ran to Trader Joe's and H-Mart yesterday and I also received an order from Vegan Essentials. I didn't get a lot but I still wanted to show you what I picked up.

First up is Trader Joe's! They finally started to sell Tahini so I got a jar of organic tahini for dressings and hummus, some Soy & Flaxseed Tortilla Chips, some apple juice (weird craving lately), spring mix, avocado, lemons and a lime, shredded carrots and some mushrooms.

I only got a few things from H-Mart but I definitely need to shop there more often. They have some great produce and really low prices. I got a bunch of baby bok choy for a whopping $.79, a head of Napa Cabbage for $1.49 and a bunch of scallions for $.99.

So the reason for the order to Vegan Essentials was for the white chocolate chips. The kosher market I would get them from before closed (wah!) so I placed the order. Now I couldn't spend a ton on shipping for just a bag of white chocolate chips, right? So I decided to pick up some more of the Thai Peanut Primal Strips, Peppermint Choco Chews (barely any peppermint flavor detected) and the elusive chocolate covered Cocomels that I could never find! I can't wait to try that!

So that is my haul for the week. I am looking forward to sharing how I use everything this weekend! I'm also going to start planning out some fun Bento Box meals to share with you hopefully next week in my first post in my Bento Box series!

I hope you all have a great week! <3

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Treat Yo Self

Hey everyone! I hope that you are all doing well, staying warm and having a great week. I teased a little splurge that I made in my last post and I'm excited to show you what I got! I decided to use the pictures from the website because they are better and lighting is not ideal here at the moment, but I couldn't wait to show you!

I got myself a new Monbento Bento Box!! This beauty is a little bit pricey ($32.99 + a hefty shipping fee from France) but honestly it is so worth it. I love how compact it is, it fits plenty of food and let's be honest, it's gorgeous! I chose the Matcha color which is a really pretty mint color. I was debating between a few colors but I decided on this one and I LOVE IT. Can you tell I'm loving the minty cool tones lately? Oh and by the way, this is not sponsored in any way… I paid for it myself, they have no idea who I am.

The above is what is included with the bento box. You get two stackable containers (the minty containers at the bottom) and one smaller container that fits inside, two white lids for the container, a green top lid for the whole thing and an elastic band to keep everything together. They have other accessories that you can purchase separately which I'll probably do later.

I picked this up because I thought it would be perfect for lunch and snacks at work. It will help me save money by packing something every day and it will offer me a variety of things to eat during the day. AND it will force me to tap back into my creativity to put together new combinations to keep things fresh and interesting.

I won't lie, I also thought it would be a really fun addition to my blog! I think a Bento box series would be really fun and cute and would also inspire me to be more creative when I put my meals together.

I haven't had a chance to use it yet but I'm looking forward to putting together fun meals and showing you how it works out next week!

I hope that you are all staying warm and dry and safe if it is snowing near you! I'm working today but will definitely be keeping an eye on the weather.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend and I'll see you next week! <3

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year!

Hi everyone! Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed the rest of your year and had a happy and safe new year. I am home from house/fur baby sitting for the week and as promised I have some fur baby pictures to share with you. I'm also getting settled back into my routine and am looking forward to getting back to my regular blogging now that I am back home.

Sweet Tyler. He did really well with the fireworks this year! I was so proud of him. He did shake for a few minutes but he didn't freak out and scratch at all of the doors like he usually does. He was such a good boy.

I don't know why TJ looks so sad all the time but he does. He is also a good boy. And a great snuggler!

He is giving me a "Bitch, please" look right here. It made me laugh.

Here is Jack getting into trouble by the Christmas tree. She's also so sweet.

I almost wasn't able to get a picture of Eddie because he hates me now. I'm super allergic to him so I can't let him in the bedroom and I just get stink eye from him now. I do try to pet him when I can but I have to be careful. I did catch him lounging here though. It was just a few hours before I left!

I exchanged gifts with one of my friends and I had to share what she got for me because it is amazing! I think you guys would appreciate it too :)

First are these HILARIOUS adult coloring books!! The one of the right is absolutely hilarious and they were not kidding when they said vulgar!! I can't wait to start coloring in it.

To go with the books I got a huge pack of colored pencils, an amazing "Zero FOX Given" mug, a sampling of teas, a cute little emoji bean bag (this is my most used emoji haha) and an unpictured Starbucks card (lets be real, that got used real quick - enter crying laughing emoji here).

Finally, she got this awesome journal for me! Her timing is perfect because I've been looking for a journal but haven't found one I like. This one is perfect!!

So that is what I have for you today! I will be back with some food soon. I'm really excited because I splurged on a gift for myself which should be arriving soon. It'll be really fun to use it for blog purposes as well and I can't wait to share what it is with you! Hopefully I should be able to show you this weekend.