Sunday, December 30, 2012

Holiday Cheesecake

Christmas was not the same this year because my baby brother was not home. He calls once a week for 10 minutes, and I am usually not around when he calls. We have been writing back and forth and he seems to be doing well. When we sat down to have dessert on Christmas we all wrote him a letter--- why there are pens with my pie haha! This was my first attempt at a vegan cheesecake.... well actually any cheesecake. It turned out pretty good! I found the original recipe from and modified it.

Vegan Eggnog Cheesecake

  •  12.3 ounce package extra firm silken tofu
  • 8 ounce vegan cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup vegan eggnog
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 3 tbs brandy
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 tbs cornstarch
  • egg replacer for 1 egg
  • 1 prepared graham cracker crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Drain the tofu and put it and the Tofutti cream cheese into your food processor. Blend until smooth. Add the sugar and eggnog, and process again until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients (except crust) and process until completely smooth, about 3 more minutes. Pour into the pie crust and bake in the middle of the oven for about 55 minutes (do not allow to brown). Filling will be slightly jiggly, not completely set until chilled.
  2. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Refrigerate until completely chilled (the longer, the better). Serve sprinkled with additional grated nutmeg.
Post Pie Nap

apologize for being MIA lately. I really am busier than ever. I work 7 days a week and often 10-12 hour days. Coaching is going very well though! We have 2 months left in the HS boys swim season. Here is a picture of my team on Christmas Eve. I dressed Miki up as Santa and brought them come cookies. 

They are just a great group of boys. I will be able to post more often after February when season is over! Hope you all have a safe and happy new year :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sweet Potato PBR Chili

This post is in honor of my baby brother Christoper. =)
So my baby brother left today for his training for the Air National Guard. My dad said he was actually kind of sad because the "last cub left the den". And my mom keeps texting me saying she misses her little cub. I honestly really thought they would be throwing a party by now. I mean everyone is gone. They just have a poodle now! No offence, Reine!
I made this black bean and sweet potato chili for Chris for lunch yesterday. Because really, what's better than sweet potatoes... and black beans.... and chili on a cold day before your brother gets his butt kicked in basic training? Good luck Christopher! See you in January at your graduation, I hope! :)

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • One small onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or cooking oil of choice)
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 28 oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 15.5 oz can black beans, drained
  • 1 15.15 oz can chili beans * 
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 PBR beer (or your choice)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika 
  • 1 tsp basil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Sliced scallions, vegan sour cream, vegan cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips (all optional)
I used mild because my mom is a baby and that would have just been too much considering I put a whole jalapeno pepper in there already. 


(Cook in the crockpot for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high)
  1. Bake the sweet potatoes at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until just firm. Allow to cool, then peel and slice the potatoes into small cubes. Set aside. 
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. add the garlic and onions and saute until softened. 
  3. Add the jalepeno pepper, tomatoes, sauce, beans, beer, and spices. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes. 
  4. Add the potatoes and corn. Simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. 
  5. Top each serving with sliced scallions, vegan sour cream, cheese, and tortilla chips (optional).
My mom made her Napa Cabage salad to go along with this. It's the best salad! Anyway, this is an awesome chili recipe and I will surely make it again! Until next time :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

STL RnR Marathon & The Rest of October

Emilies and I reunited at the RnR expo

Emilies and I after the Race. Emily ZK got second overall with a time of 2:55. Amazing!
October was such a fun month! After the Chicago Marathon I was on a bit of a runners high... especially considering I qualified for Boston. I decided to wait and run the marathon in 2014. I might even be able to get mom and dad on board. I think they are starting to realize what a big deal it is to me! 2 weeks after Chicago, my teammate Emily B and I paced the 4:30 group at Rock n Roll marathon with Michelob Ultra in Saint Louis. We had a BLAST. We even got to see the Emily Z (who we now refer to as Emily ZK since she is now married).

While I havent had the time of day to cook a good meal for myself, I've still managed to throw a few things together for friends. One thing I love about the fall is that soup actually sounds so GOOD. I made this awesome butternut squash and apple soup for my friend Dora.
Here is what I did to make the soup:


  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 rib of celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  1. heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrot and saute for about 5 minutes. 
  2. Add the squash, apple, and broth. bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer for until the squash and carrots are soft (about 30 minutes). 
  3. Puree in a blender and return to the pot. add the spices and you are done!
Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Vegan Pumpkin Lasagna

This recipe was inspired by Sam, who is a friend of my brother Daniel, and a Facebook friend of mine. A couple weeks ago Sam posted a picture of the pumpkin lasagna he had  at some restaurant in the Quad Cities (where he and my brother live). It sounded like such an interesting dish that I instantly I wanted to get my paws on some! Sam explained that the lasagna was layered with pumpkin puree, spinach, and a ricotta cheese mixture. It was served with grilled asparagus. Here is my version of the pumpkin lasagna and served with a side salad made by my friend Amber! I I made a small batch of the lasagna and it was more than enough for 3 ladies.

Ingredients for vegan ricotta cheese:
  • 1 lb extra firm tofu, drained
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbs Italian seasonings
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder seasonings
In a small bowl mash the tofu, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, Italian seasonings, and garlic powder.

Ingredients for lasagna:
  • 16 oz sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree 
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 tbs dried sage leaves
  • pepper to taste
  • 9 no boil lasagna noodles*
  • 1 cup vegan ricotta cheese (see recipe below in step 3)
  • 3/4 cup vegan Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups vegan mozzarella cheese


  1. In a large skillet, saute the mushroom, 1/2 tsp salt and green onions in coconut oil over medium high heat until tender. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, coconut milk, sage, 1/2 tsp salt, and pepper.
  3. spread 1/2 cup pumpkin sauce in an 11 x 7 in baking dish. top with 3 noodles. Top the layer of noodles with 1/2 cup pumpkin sauce, half of the mushroom and onion mixture, 1/2 cup tofu ricotta cheese mixture, 1/2 cup mozzarella, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat this process. Top with remaining noodles, Sauce, and cheese. 
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes. 

* read labels! Some no-boil noodles contain eggs.

I liked this dish a lot, and I think it's one my family would enjoy as well. I might double the recipe and  make it for Thanksgiving this year in place of the Tofurkey.... I don't know. I'm the only one who ever eats the Tofurkey anyway! Hope you enjoy :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Chicago Marathon

I saw the above poster over the weekend and it made me laugh.Well I definitely do feel a little cooler considering I got my PR in the marathon, which I was expecting to do. What I wasn't expecting to do was to qualify for the Boston Marathon! Last time I looked up the qualifying times I remember thinking, "Hmmm maybe when I turn 45 I could make it!" So I honestly didn't remember what the qualifying time was going into Chicago. I started off holding under an 8:00 pace and kept that pretty consistent until the last couple of miles. My official finishing time was a 3:34:19... which barely qualified me! Whatever, I'll take it! 
Thank you to my friend Emily, "B" for making the drive to the big city with me and cheering me on. And thank you to my friend Jessie for also cheering me on and opening up her home to B and I to stay at. And cooking a lovely vegan friendly meal for us :)
Here are some pictures from my weekend in the big city:

B and I at the expo

Of course I brought wine on the trip. And drank it out of a giant bowl.

I made this poster for the girls to hold up at the race

Met up with Justin post race for lunch!

Tofu Scramble for lunch!
B and I  headed back to Springfield on Sunday after lunch. On Monday I took my little friend Jenna to the pumpkin patch. Yes..... it was hard to kneel down like that! I am still incredibly sore even 3 days post race.  I can't remember the last time I was this sore. Been doing lots of swimming in the mean time. Hoping to get back to running tomorrow or Friday! I can't believe I'm pacing the St. Louis Rock n Roll marathon in just over a week.... crazy.

I haven't decided if I will actually run Boston or not. It would be a once in a life time experience for sure, but also an expensive one. My family doesn't come from a racing background so they don't really understand. I'm actually being encouraged NOT to sign up for Boston because it would be "a waste of money". I feel like most parents would be on board, or even want to come and witness it as well. Maybe I can rope someone else into that adventure.
Have a good week!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Vegan Tiramisu....Sweet :)

Check out this vegan tiramisu my friend John whipped up for me! It was AMAZING. Honestly probably the best vegan dessert I've had and maybe one of the most thoughtful things someone has ever done for me. John lives in Colorado and he is not a vegan. Maybe it's good he doesn't live around here or I might be fat. 

the recipe came from He said the only change he made was that he used plain vegan yogurt in place of the sour cream. If I ever make it that's what I would do because it was perfect!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Apologies!

I know, I've been a bad blogger! Not much has changed since my last post! I'm still crazy busy... training for those two marathons, working, and coaching after school.  
Miki and Abigail, one of my swimmers. I try to keep him busy like me.

A few weeks ago my parents had a "family" cookout. Our family, being so small, considers friends family :) Brother Dan came home so it was great to see him. Miki was reunited from his fan club from Colorado too! Everyone loved him when we were there.

Miki with some family friends

I made a vegan broccoli salad and seasoned sweet potato fries. The broccoli salad was a hit... and who doesn't just love sweet potato fries? My brother made this bomb mango and avocado & corn salsa. I need to get the recipe so I can share it with you. 

For the Broccoli Salad:


  • 2 heads fresh broccoli, chopped
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar. (You could also use regular sugar).
  1. Place the vegan bacon in a skillet and cook over medium-high heat until brown. Allow the bacon to cool on a plate.
  2. Combine the broccoli, onion, cooked bacon, raisins, and sunflower seeds in a large bowl.
  3. In a small bowl,  make the dressing by stirring together the vegenaise, cider vinegar, and agave nectar until smooth. Add the dressing to the large bowl and ta-da!

The cooler weather has been amazing. I got my last 20 miler in on Saturday with Emily B and now I can taper for the next three weeks :). On Saturday we will head down to St. Louis to meet up with the rest of the Michelob Ultra team and to run the half course for the marathon we are pacing! Should be fun :) You may not hear from me again until after Marathon #1 in Chi. Be thinking of me. Hoping to PR by a LOT =)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Busy, SO busy!

Being back at school in addition to coaching and training for these marathons has had me super busy! I've had to adjust to having literally NO time to prepare meals. I've been making sandwiches and wraps, like the tomato basil avocado wrap (not even grilled) and the BBQ cranberry chickpea wrap from my last post, ahead of time so that I can grab them on my way out the door to coach in the evenings :) Another easy sandwich recipe I like is a mock tuna salad recipe I modified from That "Vegan" Shit. Here is my version of the recipe!


  • 1 (15 oz) can of chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup vegan mayo (I used Vegenaise) 
  • 1/3 cup diced celery
  • 2 T fresh dill
  • 1 T Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 T Soy sauce pr Bragg's amino acids 
  • 1/4 cup diced yellow or red onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Drain and rinse the chickpeas and mash in a medium bowl with a fork or a potato masher. Combine all the ingredients in the bowl. Serve with lettuce and tomato as a wrap, sandwich, or as a salad!

Hope you enjoy this one :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Triathlete to Teacher

Me and Patty with our award hardware after the race.
Potties make a for a good background, lol.
I did my last triathlon of the year here in Springfield. This one was an olympic distance (there was also a sprint option) called the "Iron Abe". I had good times in each leg and placed first in my age group, BUT it did not feel good at all! I guess that's what I get for taking a two week vacation :) I could do another triathlon this weekend, but I'm just really in a different mindset. I've had my fun, and I'm ready to get back to work! I can't believe I am saying that... wow! I also have 2 marathons in the fall so I can focus on those. I've been training a lot with my other friend Emily B. She and I will be leading a pace group the St Louis Rock n Roll Marathon for Michelob Ultra. 

I had one of my co-workers over for dinner this week to talk art and get ready for the upcoming year.... which starts NEXT week! She brought over some vegan Chardonnay and I made these super easy BBQ cranberry chickpea wraps. Honestly, probably the easiest dinner I've ever made.... and very tasty!! 
This recipe came from one, and so did the picture. I forgot to take one!

BBQ Cranberry Chickpea Wrap
2 whole wheat flour tortillas
1 15oz can chickpeas, drained
3/4 cup your favorite BBQ sauce1/2 cup sweet onion, diced1 tomato, diced4 Tbsp vegan mayo (I used grape seed Veganaise)3 Tbsp whole berry cranberry sauce (I used canned)

1. Add the chickpeas and BBQ sauce to a medium saucepan and simmer on your stove top for 15 minutes. 
2. While the chickpeas are heating, dice the veggies. 
3. Start assembling your wraps. Add 2 Tbsp of vegan mayo (Vegenaise) and 1 1/2 Tbsp of cranberry sauce to each wrap. Spread evenly. Add in 2-4 heaping scoops of the warm BBQ chickpeas. Top with a palmful of onions and tomato. We also added fresh spinach to ours.
Chickpeas are such a versatile ingredient... I just love them! I just made a mock tuna salad with them... I'll have to post the recipe in my next entry because it turned out bomb! 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Veg Food & in the Mountains

I hope you are ready for multiple landscape and food photos from my trip to Colorado! =)
Ryan and I having dinner for my 27th birthday.
I finally made it out to Denver to visit my brother, Ryan. I LOVE Denver. The first place we went to was a little cafe near his school (he had a meeting), The University of Colorado Denver in Aurora. Seeing half the menu items labeled "vegan" or "gluten free" was a breath of fresh air! Later we went to whole foods and picked up some stuff to make dinner- then to get beer of course. Hmmm what's that gonna turn into?

Super Easy Eggplant Pizza's For Two

  • 1 medium Eggplant 
  • Pizza Sauce
  • 1 cup vegan cheese (we used daiya)
  • Your choice of sliced vegetable toppings (we used 1 small roma tomato and a handful of mushrooms).
  • 1tbs dried basil
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  2. Slice the eggplant into 1/2" thick slices and arrange on a greased baking tray. Spread 1-2 tbs pizza sauce onto each slice of eggplant. Add your vegetable toppings and basil. Pop those mini pizzas into the oven for 25-30 minutes. 
  3. When the Eggplant slices appear to be cooked through, remove them from the oven. 
  4. Turn the oven to broil. Add the vegan cheese to each mini pizza and put back in the oven until the cheese has melted (about 2 minutes).
We enjoyed our pizzas with a little side salad. This was super easy and fun to cook with my brother. 

The next day my brother took me out to City O City for a birthday dinner. They had lot's of yummy vegan items on their menu as well!
Vegan Mac n Cheese at City O City

Grilled Tofu at City O City

 I got to meet some of my brothers friends and hang with him and my friend Laurie (who I went to college with) for a few more days. For the remainder of my trip I went to Breckenridge to spend some time with family. My mom, dad, brother chris, and even Miki came along for the fun. Here are some pictures from the rest of my trip!

Mountain biking in Breckenridge with Laurie

Boating with fam and friends on Lake Dillon, CO

On a hike, looking at Gray's and Torrey's Peak. Dog's came on this hike. Miki did well!

Hiking up Mount Quandry with Laurie- this was a 14,000ft climb!

Miki has been doing so much sleeping since we arrived home! What a busy couple of weeks for him :)
 I already miss the mountains. And my brother. Maybe I will move to Colorado soon. :) 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Racing in Racine 70.3

Loved that Lake Michigan water :)

My "A" race was here in no time and it went pretty well- other than the heat.  I brought Miki with me for support. Patty and I picked up our packets and got everything taken care of on Friday. On Saturday we went for a practice swim and a run. Later in the day we walked to and from transition with Miki for the pre-race meeting. Transition was pretty far from the hotel- about 2 miles so Miki was pooped. Poor thing could barely keep his eyes open after that.  

Oh! I also got to meet Craig Alexander... he just happened to be chillin at the holiday inn (sorry, had to) when Patty and I got back from our run. And no, we aren't THAT short, he is just SO tall!

Back to the race....I had a blast. I loved swimming in the cold, clean Michigan water. I somehow managed to stay insanely hydrated during the whole race and forced myself eat every 30-40 minutes. Doing this kept me feeling strong on the bike and into the run, but the heat (107 DEGREES!) got to me quick. The run was definitely my toughest leg of the race. I placed 8th out of the 75 women in my age group (25-29) with a time of  5:18.

Patty got 1st in her age group qualifying her for the Ironman World Championships in Las Vegas this fall! I am thrilled for her! We celebrated our finishes with some beers at the "freaky Tiki" and called it a successful weekend. As soon as I returned home I had to pack and get ready for my trip to Colorado, which I will have a post about soon! Take care!

Monday, July 9, 2012

This weekend was the Rodney T Miller triathlon in Decatur. I borrowed Dave's wheels and aero helmet again (what a sweetie pie). Patty and I loaded up the bikes in the dark and headed to the race. I especially like this triathlon for a couple reasons. 
This race takes place in the town I went to college at- Good old Millikin University :) I often see a lot of familiar faces at it. This year I got to run into one of my old friends Stacey. She and I became friends instantly my freshman year. We were both art majors and often ran together when it wasn't swimming season. We also ended up becoming sorority sisters my sophomore year :) 
I also enjoy this race because it has a particularly long swim in relation to the bike an run. The race is in honor of Rodney T Miller who happened to be a swimmer- which is why the swimmers have been given an advantage at this race. The distances are .75 mile swim, 19 mile bike, 4.5 mile run. 
This race also has an elite wave, bringing in some professional triathletes! Last year I entered in the elite wave on a whim and placed 4th out of the 4 of us who were in it. Considering I didn't get my butt kicked that bad by the pros last year, and because the top 3 elites win money, I decided to sign up for the elite wave again this year.  This year I placed 4th again out of 5 elites. The 3 girls who beat me are pros, so again I didn't take it too hard :) And my times improved by a lot! But someone please help me with my transitions!! Ugh!

2011 Times
StatisticsTimePlace After
Age Group:

2012 Times 
StatisticsTimePlace After
Age Group:

It was fun being in 3rd place for most of the race because I felt pretty important. Maybe next year I can make it to the podium :) Patty did well for herself placing 2nd in her age group! 

Time for a taper week as Patty and I head to Racine 70.3 this FRIDAY!!! Say your prayers for us!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Yay For JULY!

I've been working real hard at summer lately, can you tell? It takes me a good couple weeks to get used to my schedule of early workouts, naps, working in the evening, and then playing :)

This week was been fun leading up the the 4th. I had some friends over for the Rock the Dock fireworks on the lake Friday night (one of my favorite things about Summer). And now we are into July... the best month of all! Lots of things are happening this month like fireworks, Racine 70.3, My trip to Denver, and of course my birthday :)

Another thing I love about the summer is the local farmers market downtown. I try to go every Wednesday and pick up fresh produce. Check out this yummy spinach salad I made with cucumbers and beets from the farmers market!

I topped it off with hemp seeds and the new Daiya "jack style wedges"! Pretty good stuff!  :)
Hope you all are staying cool! Sheesh.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Squashes are Betches

I got to spend some time with my two friends Meg and Mel over the weekend. They had been asking me if I would cook for them for quite some time, and we finally made it happen. 

I for real can't cook a spaghetti squash anymore without remembering this conversation and laughing to myself. 

Maybe you had to be there...
This recipe was modified from one I came across from Bev Cooks. I apologize for the picture... I completely forgot to take one before we started to eat. I'll blame it on the twins. I think they gave me too much wine to drink. :)

Southwest Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash
2 Tbs. refined coconut oil
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 jalapeno pepper, minced (leave seeds in for more heat)

1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbs. ground cumin
1 Tbs. oregano
1 Tbs. chili powder
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup freshly torn cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 tbs lime juice
1 cup vegan cheddar cheese (I used daiya)


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds (either discard or save to roast later).  Roast the halves face-down on a greased baking pan or sheet for 30-40 minutes, until the flesh of the squash is tender and has separated into spaghetti-like strands.
  2. While the squash is cooking, heat oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion, garlic, mushrooms, jalapeno pepper and red bell pepper. Saute 2 minutes. Add cumin, Mexican oregano, chili powder and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Saute another minute. Add the beans, corn and cilantro. Stir to combine. Squeeze in the lime juice and give one last stir.
  3. Using a fork, scoop out the spaghetti squash into a larrge baking dish. Add the sauted vegetables and spices to the baking dish and stir. 
  4. Top the mixture with vegan cheese and pop it back in the oven until the cheese has melted.
  5. Garnish with a bit of cilantro and enjoy.
The twins decided they liked vegan food. Mission accomplished :) Hope you are all having a good week. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I Love Beer

This is no secret. Combine a microbrewery and vegan food and what do you get? One unstoppable force called Obed and Isaacs.  The best part is, it's located in SPRINGFIELD. Yeah, you heard me...

Obed's has a great beer selection, and I've tried most of them. My favorites are probably the Ditsy Blond, Obed's Amber Ale, and the Long 9 IPA. Every time I go they have something different to try. The food is pretty good as well! Here are some menu items that can be tweaked and easily made vegan...

The Trio of Dips is already vegan. The black bean dip is my favorite

Black bean veggie burger without cheese. This comes with potato chips or fries both made in-house (the burger patty isn't).

Sunday Brunch.... the veggie scramble without eggs... they gave us extra taters. 
Breakfast with beer never tasted so good. :)

Another cool thing about Obed's is that they love dogs. What a coincidence... so do I. You can bring your dog and even order your friend some dog biscuits. That is so not Springfield. Go check it out!