Tag Archives: friends

Lacey’s 1st Puppy Party!

My little puppy, Lacey, turned 1 year old on July 19th, 2011.  To celebrate this grand occasion,  I threw a puppy party which involved my friends bringing their dogs by to socialize and play with Lacey.  I also made doughnuts for people, pizza treats for pups, and treat bags for puppy mamas to take with them.  Here are some pictures from the fun day!  (photo credit, Mariah Moore, Pictures Pups and Pies)

Lacey had 4 pup friends join her for her party!  (Sydnee Joe, English Springer Spaniel; Lilly, Malti-Tzu; Astra, Peekapoo and Lucy, Pomeranian)

Sydnee Jo




Here are a few pics of the crazy birthday girl who was soo excited and happy at her party!

Hmm...which new toy should I play with?

Definitely the Bully Stick! Thanks Aunt Mariah!

Lacey LOVED this new bully stick she got and became obsessed with it, as Mariah warned me Lilly does as well!


Lucy was the lucky one that could be trusted off the leash for the entire party!

Lil beggers

Enjoying some peanut butter banana puppy smoothies!

while we enjoyed freshly baked doughnuts!

sniffing eachother

what could they be telling eachother?

My lil family!

Overall it was great to catch up with good friends and let our dogs play together on the patio!

Here is the recipe I used for Lacey’s pizza puppy treats!

Pup Pizza, Adapted from The Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook

For Dough:

1 c. oat flour

1 c. brown rice flour

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1 egg

1/4 c. part skim milk ricotta cheese

1/2 c. water

For Topping:

1  6oz. can tomato paste

1 c. shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. dried oregano

Preheat oven to 375degrees.  Combine all the dough ingredients together and mix thoroughly until a dough forms.  Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4in. thickness.  Use a round cookie cutter or the rim of an upside down glass to cut 2″ round circles out of the dough.  Place them on an ungreased cookie sheet (they can be rather close together as they don’t grow much while cooking).

Spread the tomato paste evenly on top of all the circles.

Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese, basil and oregano on top of each.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is lightly browned.  Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  But have your puppy sit for a treat first!


“Time to Make the Doughnuts!”

Have you ever heard of the phrase, “Time to Make the Doughnuts!” ?  It’s from a 1983 Dunkin Donuts commercial, it cracks me up thinking about it actually.  The commercial must’ve ran for quite a few years, because I remember the commercial vividly and I was born in 1983.  If you’ve never seen the commercial, here it is on YouTube.com.   So as I was prepping for these doughnuts, I kept thinking to myself, “Time to Make the Doughnuts!” –haha so funny! 🙂  I’d have to say these are BEST doughnuts I’ve ever had for many reasons!

1.)  They are 100% VEGAN!

2.)  They are sweet and have a good moist consistency and you can decorate them however YOU want!

3.)  They are BAKED, not FRIED!!

I made these doughnuts to share with friends at my puppy’s birthday party!  Yes my friends and I have puppy birthday parties…when you are in your late 20’s and have no children, you have to have to celebrate your dog’s birthday!  Besides, it’s another reason to get together with friends!

*Note these are not for dogs.

Baked Vegan Doughnuts, Inspired by OhSheGlows.com

Dry Ingredients
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar (I used raw cane sugar)
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Cinnamon

Wet Ingredients
1/2 Cup Soymilk (I’m sure this would work with any milk or non-milk substitute)
1/2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar (I believe you can substitute this for regular white vinegar)
1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Egg or 1 Flax Egg (1 tbsp. Ground Flax Seeds + 3 tbsp. water–stir and let sit for 5 min)
4 Tbs Earth Balance (regular margarine should work too)

Icing Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered icing
  • 1 tbsp soy milk
  • sprinkles

You can buy a donut pan like mine, here.


Preheat oven to 350F. Take all the wet ingredients and put in a small pot on the stovetop on low. Whisk ingredients together to blend well.

Do not let the mixture get too hot, it should just be warm to the touch. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Add the wet to the dry and mix until just incorporated. Do not over mix.

Now the batter will become very sticky, so it can be tricky putting the batter into the doughnut pans.  Spray your pans with cooking spray to prevent sticking.  After a few trials, what I found worked best was taking a 3 spoonfuls worth of dough and scooping it directly over the individual mold. Then take your fingers to press it out and make the middle pop through.

Bake for 12 minutes.

You don’t want them brown, but they should slowly pop up when pressed with a finger. Cool on a wire rack and then decorate!  Makes 6 doughnuts.

Look at Lacey at my feet just waiting for a crumb to fall!

Since I was bringing my doughnuts to share with others, I followed this recipe 3 times!  I first started out making 1 batch, just to see how they came out.  They figured I’d make a 2nd, then thought well if someone has more than 1, I’d better make 3 batches.  So let’s just say I got my practice with this recipe real well yesterday.

Are you sold yet?  Here is a photo I edited, I liked the bright contrast–it reminded me of an Andy Warhol painting.

Here is the sweet puppy, ready to celebrate her 1st birthday party…

…and we are ready to celebrate with doughnuts!

My life explained as a flexitarian.

To begin today’s post, I wanted to explain my evolution as a “flexitarian”.  Actually, my boyfriend, Brandon, and I have both evolved our diets into flexitarianism.  What does that mean you ask?  Well to better explain our diet, I am turning to some notable quotes from this WebMD online article.  “Being a “flexitarian” gives you the benefits of a vegetarian diet without having to forgo meat entirely.  A relatively new term, flexitarian comes from a combination of the words “flexible” and “vegetarian.”  Following a flexitarian diet simply means eating more plant-based meals and less meat.”  In other words, when we go out to a burger joint, we more likely order black bean and portobello mushroom burgers vs. your standard American hamburger.  Sounds tasty right?  Right.

One of my favorite blogs, Sometimes I Veg, first brought this term to my attention.  The author of this blog, Miriam, also states how she loves vegetarian and vegan foods but still wants to maintain the ability to eat meat.  She always experiments with new ingredients and blogs about how well the new recipes have turned out.  Reading blogs as this one, has in turn, taught me to be more experimentative with my cooking at home and more conscious of what we are putting in our mouths.

Now for one of our favorite tasty vegetarian recipes…..Orange Pan-Glazed Tempeh.

This recipe was first introduced to me here by Mariah of Pictures Pups and Pies, and we’ve enjoyed making this in our constant rotation of dinners ever since.

Orange Pan-glazed Tempeh Recipe

1 cup of orange juice (I use Trader Joe’s No Pulp from Concentrate)

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

2 small garlic cloves, crushed

roughly 10 ounces of tempeh (or extra-firm tofu)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 lime

a handful of cilantro

Put the orange juice in a small bowl. Squeeze the grated ginger over the bowl to extract the juices, then discard the pulp. Add the soy sauce and maple syrup, ground coriander, and garlic. Mix together and set aside.

Cut the tempeh (or tofu) into thin-ish, bite-sized pieces, and if working with tofu, pat dry with a paper towel.

Put the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the tempeh and fry for 5 minutes, or until golden underneath. Turn and cook the other side for another 5 minutes, or until golden. Pour the orange juice mixture into the pan and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced to a lovely thick glaze. Turn the tempeh once more during this time and spoon the sauce over the tofu from time to time.

Serve the tempeh drizzled with any remaining sauce and a squeeze of lime, with the cilantro scattered on top.  I usually serve this over whole wheat couscous or quinoa with cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and peppers added.

This dish alone has inspired both Brandon and I to become flexitarians!  WE LOVE IT!! It’s filling, healthy, and a great dinner to add to your rotation.

Now for a vegan dessert.  Vanilla Agave Cupcakes—are you not sold yet?

How ’bout now?

I recently wanted a vegan-friendly dessert to bring to our annual Pops in the Park 4th of July picnic with friends, so my friend passed this recipe my way to try.  You can find Vanilla Agave Cupcake recipe here.  The added sprinkles were just an extra festive touch I added.

We had a lot of good food, wine, and company at Pops in the Park.  Here are a few of my favorite pictures of the night.

Photo Credit, Mariah Moore.

Mariah and Nate's cute pup, Lilly

At one point, Lacey started to join another picnic.

Photo Credit, Nate Moore

I love this picture that was taken.  It shows exactly what summer is all about.  Wearing sundresses, visiting with friends, playing with pups and picnicking.  Look at all those chairs and blankets in the background!

Pups relaxing in the shade.

Photo Credit, Mariah Moore

Overall we had a great 4th of July picnic, filled with laughter, food, fireworks and wine!  Can’t wait for our next one!

Dining Experience at The Cowfish Sushi~Burger~Bar

The Cowfish Sushi ~ Burger ~ Bar

Last night Brandon and I decided to go out to dinner to a new restaurant in Charlotte we’ve been wanting to try for awhile now…The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar.  We have heard from friends that they have great sushi, burgers and also offer something called Burgushi–a tasty combination of both the components used to make a burger and the components used to make sushi.  We thought we must try this!

I loved this depiction of ginger and wasabi on the wall.

It was pretty packed and we had to wait a bit for a table, but we knew sitting at the bar was first come, first serve so we anxiously were watching the bar to hope seats opened up there first.  Sure enough, 2 seats opened up and we were able to get our dining experience started.  We were pretty hungry so we started with an appetizer, Blackened Ahi Tuna Nachos.  Our server recommended these nachos and we both love Ahi tuna, so we thought we’d try them!

Blackened Ahi Tuna Nachos

Menu Description-5 crispy wonton chips topped with our famous Crab Rangoon Dip, spring mix, homemade pico de gallo with avocado, and sliced seared rare blackened Ahi tuna.

Mmmm….soo good!  The tuna tasted sooo fresh and yummy and had a great flavor mixed with the pico de gallo and avocado.

Next was our entree.  Here is the description from The Cowfish’s menu of their food style and selections.  “The Cowfish introduces a unique fusion of burgers and sushi! Burgushi items are served in various formats, including sushi rolls created utilizing beef & burger components and non-traditional ingredients, and sandwiches created using sushi components. The Cowfish bento boxes offer a sampling of both burger and sushi! Open your mind and your taste buds as you experience these originals brought to you by The Cowfish.”

Bento Box

While we were waiting for our food to get here, we played some really cool games on what was like a large individualized iPad full of games, screen savers and things to do while you wait for your food.

Matching game

Trapping the mouse…seriously.

 Then I figured I’d give myself a free plug, you never know who might be reading this!

We knew we wanted to pick a traditional sushi roll but we also wanted to try the much talked about, Burgushi.  So we asked our server again what was her favorite and what they were known for.  She suggested the Taste Explosion Roll from the Burgushi Menu and the Firecracker Roll from the traditional Sushi Menu.  So we tried both!!

The Taste Explosion Roll (bottom)

Seasoned natural Angus ground beef, applewood bacon, fresh jalapenos and spicy cream sauce inside of a sushi roll coated with tempura flakes. Each piece is topped with marinated Roma tomato and pepper jack cheese, then baked to perfection. Drizzled with cashew cilantro pesto to finish.

Firecracker Roll (on top)
Shrimp tempura and kani roll coated with tempura flakes, topped with fresh yellowtail and salmon. Finished with spicy cream sauce, tobiko and scallions. Served with ponzu dipping sauce.
They were both very tasty!! But yet again, there’s not much sushi I don’t like!  The Taste Explosion Roll had a great burger flavor with the added spiciness of the pepperjack cheese and fresh jalapenos.  The Firecracker Roll was also yummy!! The yellowtail and salmon it was topped with were both super fresh and paired well with the spicy cream sauce and scallions.
Overall there were sooo many options on what to order at Cowfish that we will definitely be back again to try something new!  Next time I’d like to try either a hand roll, bento box or a different type of sushi roll.

My Green Monster, Much ‘needed’ new items, and Brandon’s Tennis Match

My Green Monster

First of all, let me introduce you to the leader of the Green Monster Movement, the author of OhSheGlows.com, Angela Liddon.  Her blog has inspired me in many ways to create healthy meals for myself and my boyfriend and live a healthy lifestyle.  She has also inspired me to make Green Monsters which are essentially, green smoothies full of fresh fruit, veggies and other add-ins which improve skin, hair, nails and enrich our bodies full of nutrients. UPDATE—I just got my Green Monster recipe posted on the GreenMonsterMovement.com!! Check it out HERE!

Deuce's Green Monster


*1 handful of ice

*1 handful of frozen fruit

(I used strawberries, mango, pineapple, bananas, and papaya)

*1 c. almond milk

*2 handfuls of spinach

*1/2 c. to 3/4 c. of vanilla or plain yogurt

*1 tbsp. of chia or flax seeds

*1 tbsp. of honey

(omit yogurt and honey, if needed)

Place all ingredients in the blender and VOILA!  An easy and healthful smoothie!

I loved seeing how green my smoothie came out, by adding lots of spinach.  Just recently I have been making sure I always have frozen fruit on hand, in order to make last minute banana soft serve or smoothies.

Some other tasty add-ins would be…coconut flakes, granola, almonds or almond butter, sugar-free vanilla syrump, carob or chocolate chips…and the list goes on.

I brought my smoothie to drink at work as a meal replacement.  Everyone asked me how to make it and said it looked like a Smoothie King creation.  Smoothie King drink your heart out!

Here are a few more websites that have great smoothie recipes!!!

Sometimes I “Veg”

Pictures Pups and Pies

Oh She Glows

Much ‘needed’ NEW items 

While I was out running errands today, I got real excited about some much wanted needed Target finds…although some I needed more than others.  Here is a before picture of the measuring cups and spoons I was currently using.  Let’s just say my dishwasher had melted them, and I had been using them still for a few years now with holes in them….seriously.

Ruined measuring cups

New Item #1

Measuring cups and spoons and small colander for draining canned goods.

New Items #2 and #3

Next I treated myself to a new convenient roll-up picnic blanket to bring to Pops in the Park, if we don’t get rained out again this week.

Roll-Up picnic blanket and MUCH NEEDED Mimosa/Sangria Carafe

and…if you give a mouse a cookie girl a picnic blanket, she more than likely needs a carafe for mimosas or sangria!!!

New Item #4

Bird Feeder and NOT NEW PURCHASE Hummingbird Feeder

So…let me explain this next purchase…a bird feeder to feed hungry birds BECAUSE THIRSTY HUMMINGBIRDS ARE NOT COMING TO MY HUMMINGBIRD FEEDER!  My friend, Mariah, was having such good luck getting cute hummingbirds to come to her feeder in her backyard that I bought a nearly identical bright red(because that’s supposedly what they like best) hummingbird feeder and I haven’t seen 1 hummingbird yet!  Does anyone know what’s wrong with my feeder?  or the location?  or my fresh nectar (made with 1 part sugar and 4 parts water)?  Well anyways, while my hummingbird feeder stays empty, check out my friend’s cool hummingbird pics…and one day maybe I’ll have a good hummingbird update.

 Brandon’s Tennis Match

So…if you have been reading my blog, my last post was about how Brandon and I were practicing playing tennis more so, so I could learn how to play the game.  Well to help cheer him on, Lacey and I attended one of his mixed doubles matches this past week.  Here are some pics from our adventure!

And..Brandon and his partner wore matching outfits…I’ve forgotten to ask if he sent out a memo on wearing blue shirts and black shorts or not.

The park that Brandon played his match at also had tons of beach volleyball games consecutively going on.

Lacey had a good time checking out other people and dogs.

 And then she saw Brandon tying his shoes and remembered how much she missed her Daddy.

Until she found a stick….

and was preoccupied for a bit.

What a happy puppy!!

If you were wondering about the outcome of Brandon’s tennis match…no they didn’t win this time, but he’s still a winner in my heart!…aww

Tennis, Quinoa Burger, and Visiting with Friends


Over the weekend, Brandon and I enjoy doing some sort of physical activity together every Saturday.  Either we go to the gym and I let him train me and give me a series of workouts and reps I need to complete or we go for a run or walk in the nearby park, Freedom Park.  Since Brandon is a member of the USTA  and now plays in a mixed doubles league in Charlotte, I’ve been trying to “brush up” on my tennis skills so we can actually play and practice together.  Here are some pics of us playing.  Notice his semi-pro positions and how it looks more like I’m just posing for the camera.  haha



Needless to say, Brandon is helping me learn the basics of tennis so I can better develop my skills to hopefully play with him and help him practice for his future matches.

Quinoa Burger

I love this food scale I bought for Brandon last Christmas.  It makes it convenient to evenly portion out burger patties.  You can set it to ‘grams’ or ‘ounces’.

So here are my quinoa burgers all equally portioned out and ready to cook later in the day.

Quinoa Burger and Balsamic Green Beans

The recipe for this Quinoa Burger came from my friend, Mariah’s blog, Pictures Pups and Pies.  She also mentioned how to easily make this quick balsamic green beans on another post.  Please check out these recipes!!  We topped this quinoa burger with Mache (lamb’s lettuce), tomato, avocado and whole grain dijon mustard.

We loved this quinoa burger and will definitely make it again!

Back to my other new favorite healthy treat—VEGAN OVERNIGHT OATS(VOO).  If you have not tried them yet, you must!! So many people mention how they were never breakfast eaters before, but after trying these you will become addicted!!

  • 1/3 cup regular oats
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk, I use vanilla almond milk

Blueberry soft serve pairs wonderfully with overnight oats.  Do you remember how to make your non-dairy soft serve?  Slice 1 banana and place in fridge overnight.  The next morning put the frozen banana in a food processor for 5 minutes.  You may add blueberries, if you would like.  This is what I did for this recipe.  Just make sure you food process the banana and blueberry mixture for 5 entire minutes!  It will not come out correctly if it is not in the food processor for 5 full minutes!  Layer the banana soft
serve and oat mixture in a glass or mix together in a bowl.  Another shoutout to Pictures Pups and Pies for giving me this wonderful recipe and idea for a blueberry breakfast!

Vegan Overnight Oats and Blueberry Soft Serve

Visiting with Friends

So to end our weekend we had plans to go to Pops in the Park, which is a local event where the Charlotte Symphony performs and you are encouraged to bring a blanket and picnic basket full of wine and snacks to relax and enjoy their music.  Well…it rained…like it tends to often on Sundays in June from 6-9pm.

So I wanted to show you our papaya we cut up to make fruit kabobs along with mango, strawberries, and pineapple.  I’ve never bought a papaya so I wasn’t exactly sure how it was going to cut up, if it would be soft like an avocado or firm like cantelope.  It was definitely a very ripe papaya because it sliced like butter.  Seriously….Sooo sweet and yummy!!

Mmm...fresh papaya

Fruit Kabobs

Our fruit kabobs we planned to take to Pops in the Park to share with friends….until it rained.

We had our picnic basket full of wine, snacks and a little white dog ready to go!

But because of the rain, we figured we would just hit up Whiskey Warehouse instead….

Whiskey Warehouse bar

Brandon watched the final NBA match-up between the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks….which resulted in the Mavericks winning the championship, in case you have lived in a box since Sunday…

While I visited with my good friend and college roommate, Julia, who just got back from working in Hawaii for 3 months.

Me and Julia

All in all, it was a good weekend playing tennis, enjoying good food and friends.