What happens when you pair a health-conscious, vegan mother of two who has her own diet business with a husband and children who sometimes have other ideas? This blog is a chronicle of my journey to eat and live in a life-affirming way!

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Ups and Downs of Life

I don't usually like to write solely about what is going on in our family, and try to keep it mostly to posts about healthy recipes, great products, new restaurants that we have tried, fasts that I am going on (or putting my clients on,) what the Pennington family is serving at the dinner table.

But, too many important things have been going on in our lives that I just cannot ignore the elephant in the room. How can I write about food when really important things are going on in our lives?

One of the biggest changes was that my daughter changed schools!  Please ignore the goofy picture of both of us but it was pooooouring down rain on her first day of school. The last few weeks I have been giving myself 24/7 to make sure that she is settled, happy and having lots and lots of playdates. She is thriving in her new environment and I have never seen her happier...

Just when I thought I had it all down- happy 3rd grade daughter in a new school that she loved, happy 6th grade son who had gotten his favorite teacher- something tragic happenned. Last week my son's beloved teacher, Mr. Feldman died. One day he is in the classroom alive and well and the next day my son comes to school to find out that he had passed away.

My son's weekend writing assignment was "I Don't Usually Complain," and here was his essay:

"I don’t usually complain but it has been a really hard week for me. My teacher, Mr. Feldman, passed away.

Mr. Feldman was the best teacher I have ever had. He was hilarious and made us laugh the whole day! But, we were learning at the same time. He also made me believe in myself and he wanted each one of us to become the best that we could be.

He loved history and would tell the class about George Washington in full detail. He told us about how Washington left all the gunpowder on the ground and, when it rained, they had to retreat. He told us about how Washington tripped over a rock and shot the French ambassador. And, he told us all about Christopher Columbus and how he wasn’t quite the figure that we thought he might be. He made history come alive for us.

Mr. Feldman would also jokingly make fun of us, but in a weird way it drew us closer to him. He made fun of A. for reading a newspaper in class, for talking to himself, or looking back at the schedule constantly. He made fun of N. and called him an egomaniac. He made fun of me for calling out and said that he would break me of that habit. I told him, “good luck.” He also teased me about how I used to get kicked out of class a lot when I was in 1st grade. He would joke that Mrs. Mackie set up a hammock for me out in the hallway.

It might sound mean to others but he teased us because he cared and we all thought that the teasing was funny. The teasing, though, had hints of truth to it, and inspired us to be our best. Mr. Feldman always told us that he gave 100% of his effort to make learning fun and expected us to give that 100% back.

I am not one usually to complain but I am sad because my teacher died this week."

Mr Feldman was a very special teacher and person and we are so very sad for his family and the boys. Mr. Feldman, we will miss you. My son is getting tons of support and love at his school (and, of course, at home) and I will begin regularly writing the blog starting tomorrow.
I don't usually complain but...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Gluten-free Protein-Packed Blueberry and Carmel Chip Pancakes

These pancakes are packed with protein, calcium, fiber and, in the case of the blueberry ones, antioxidants! These pancakes are a great way for an athlete, busy working person, or a child to fuel their day.  Best yet- you can make a bunch and freeze them and pull them out when you are really in a pinch.

We had a playdate coming over early this morning and a whole host of fun activities planned for the day so Caroline and I decided to make our Gluten-free Power Pancakes and fresh squeezed orange juice. We made 2 varieties: one blueberry and one carmel chip (don't ask)!

I am all about ease and simple and adore the Cherrybrook Kitchen Gluten-free mixes so today Caroline and I used the mix as a base then made our own subsitutes and additions!

Blueberries OR Carmel Chip Power Pancakes
1 box Cherrybrook Kitchen Gluten-free mix
2 cups almond milk
1 tbsp coconut butter
1 tbsp Earth balance (could also use just all coconut butter)
4 tbsp honey
2 scoops vanilla Sun Warrior protein powder
Dash of vanilla
To mix in by hand: blueberries or carmel chips (or any other favorite fruit!)

Mix all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend well. If you are making two separate mixes (if you have eaters in your house who prefer their pancakes different ways,) split the mix evenly into two containers and mix in blueberries, carmel chips or whatever else you desire.

Here is a pic of our pancake mixes at this stage of the game. We put ours into plastic easy-to-pour pitchers that are easy for the children to pour:

Then, cook on the griddle until brown and enjoy! Then, all we had to do was make our orange juice, which is so beyond easy. I LOVE, LOVE, BEYOND LOVE my Breville citrus juicer!!!

Here is our crew at breakfast. Think they enjoyed their pancakes!!!

So, what did I have? The Raw Mixed Berry Pancakes that I had made the night before and they were delicious!!!

Once we were all well-fed, it was off to the Circle Line, lunch at Serafina and then the bookstore. All in all a perfect day!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Funky Monkey Smoothie

Funky Monkey Smoothie
I just got back from a worldwind trip picking up my daughter, Caroline, from camp...

a 4 day trip to Cashiers, NC where we swam...





spent time with friends...


then dropped off Oliver at camp...

So, when we got home, major nutrition was called for!!!

My daughter loves making smoothies and decided to make one of her favorites, the Funky Monkey smoothie, which is adapted from one of our favorite smoothies called the 'Pooh Bear Smoothie' at the Laughing Seed in Asheville!

Funky Monkey Smoothie
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1 banana
2 tbsp peanut butter (unsweetened)
Healthy squirt of honey
1 scoop Sun Warrior Chocolate powder (32 grams of protein!)
Ice cubes
2 stalks of kale

Blend it in blender until smooth and enjoy! Packed with protein, potassium, iron, vitamin C, and other antioxidants, this is the perfect way to start your day!!!

Here is my crew enjoying their "Funky Monkey's" this morning for breakfast!

Monday, June 6, 2011

June- somehow I am still sane!

I know that it seems like I may have fallen off the face of the earth...

and, I sure feel that I have been tight-rope walking through life the past few weeks with all that is going on. But, let's just say, this month has been very, very busy!

Got my daughter's trunk for camp packed and shipped.

Went out to our beach club and opened the cabana (poor me!) I truly think that this is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in the world! Here is a picture of the golf course and stream on the walk up to the beach.

And, here is a pic of the beach from our cabana.

Here is our cabana where you can see our crew takes refuge...

If we look up and smile, will you please leave us alone to read in peace?

The only downer is that the clubhouse is being renovated- well, downer in the short-term because see that tent right there? This is where they are serving "lunch"- for a vegan my only fare was a green salad. That just doesn't cut it for me so I will know to bring my own food next time until they are serving a proper lunch! I won't even tell you what kids had!

Had my daughter's Girl Scout end of year Field Day party- so cute! They did sack races, the egg race, and a relay race. Pure joy!

The next day, I had my son's Sports Day.

Planned our June trip to London where our son is celebrating his birthday and having a school interview. Booked flights, planned itineraries, made  restaurant reservations, booked train tickets out to school... won't bore you with the rest.

Oh, this is a biggie- realized our son, Oliver's, passport, was expired! "It's Easy Passport" service may be great at expediting passports, but there is nothing easy about the amount of paperwork you have to fill out prior to sending it to them or the wait at the post office to have the paperwork approved. UGH!

Planned son's Paintball birthday party. I have heard that everyone leaves smelling like fish and am frightened of having a pack of smelly, paintball covered boys in my car Wednesday!

Packed for North Carolina (trip to drop off daughter at camp) and flew to North Carolina to drop off Caroline at camp.

So, how have I been keeping sane? Well first of all, as you can see by my "frequent" posts the last few weeks, I have made a list of priorities.

Priority #1    Get everything done

Priority #2    Make sure I am working out and eating healthily. This mainly translates to my running since it only takes an hour!

Priority #3    Ditch anything but the essentials (alas, this means no frequent blog posts and I have cancelled some writing assignments due in a few weeks)

Priority #4   Spend time with the children and don't fill up day with little things.

And, what am I eating to keep my energy up and going?

Well, lots of these-

Green Smoothie
(Almond Milk, Sun Warrior Powder, Locinato Kale, Greens Powder, Maca, Frozen Banana)

Mixed Berry Smoothie
(Almond Milk, Frozen Strawberries, Blueberries & Raspberries, Hemp Protein, Coconut Butter)
Chocolate Banana Smoothie
(Almond Milk, Chocolate Sun Warrior Powder, Greens Powder, Frozen Banana)
Here is what I put into my smoothies...

And, of course, my beloved granola :)

Laughing Giraffe Raw Cranberry Orange Cacoa Granola (Yum!)

Earthling Organics Vanilla Rawnola
And, for lunch, plenty of these healthy salads!

As well as a little help from my Brain On E3 Live...

My Innate Probiotics...

Dulse flakes that I have been putting on everything- salads, you name it! And, my Pure Synergy Greens powder that I put in smoothies and sauces...

And, I can't foget my good Vita Synergy multi-vitamin...

And, of course, lots of this...

And, plenty of this...

How do you stay sane when you get busy?

Is your June as busy as mine?

How do you prioritize, and what do you let slide when things get crazy?