Sunday, March 31, 2013

Calzones & Quinoa Bake

Week Two of my weekly meal planning endeavor was a success!  Here are two of my favorite recipe's from the week.  Enjoy :)

Broccoli Calzones
1package of pre-made dough (or homemade if you are feeling ambitious)
1 1/2cup broccoli
3tbs ricotta
1/2cup daiya or standard cheese
1/4 of a medium-sized red onion (chopped finely)
Served with a little tomato sauce :) 
1tbsp of chopped garlic
1tbs of Earth Balance or other butter
Dash of salt
Dash of pepper
Dash of nutritional yeast
Optional: topping of parmesan, tomato-ish sauce

Directions: Roll pre-made dough out onto a large baking sheet and cut into four equal pieces.  Preheat oven to 400F.  Steam broccoli and drain.  Place back in warm pan and stir in ricotta, cheese, and spices.  Combine this broccoli mixture well.  Warm butter up in the microwave so that it is completely melted and add chopped garlic.  Brush this mixture on the dough evenly.  Then, add the broccoli mixture to the dough (add to the side WITH the garlic mixture) so that 1/2 of each square has broccoli-mix on it.  Fold the dough over the mixture, creating a pocket and use a fork to form sealed edges.  Top with olive oil and parmesan, if desired.  Heat in the oven for 20-25minutes.  Serve hot!

Quinoa & Spinach Bake (Casserole with Vegan option)
Scoop out with a spoon and serve :) 
1pound frozen spinach leaves, thawed and drained
2cups cooked (equal to 1cup uncooked quinoa)
2tbs chopped garlic
1/2 cup of mixed veggies (mushrooms, onions, etc)
1/2cup daiya or cheddar (or substitute for nutritional yeast mix)
2tbs of Tofutti (or other sour cream-ish substance)
Dash of salt
Dash of pepper
Dash of rosemary
Dash of oregano
Optional: breadcrumbs & parmesan for topping

Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. Chop spinach into fine pieces.  Sauté garlic and any veggies that you have chosen to put in the mixture (excluding spinach).  Put all ingredients in a 9x13 baking pan (I am sure any size will work but you may have to adjust bake times).  Mix well so that the ingredients are evenly dispersed throughout the pan.  If wanted, top with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. For added crispiness drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the toppings. Bake for 35minutes or until mixture is warm and golden brown.  Serve hot!

These were, without a doubt, two of my favorite meals this week.  Cody loved them too.  Easy, healthy, and hearty.  I think they will both become go-to meals for us.

Do you have any go-to meals?
Do you usually use toppings on your casseroles?


Thursday, March 28, 2013

All Quiet On The Northern Front

Sorry for the lack of posts this week.  I have been busy and out of the house a lot.  Specks is feeling a bit sad :(

Sad faces at the front door in the morning. 

Cody and I have been making the most of our time together (sans computer) by eating quick and tasty family dinners.  Even though its been a busy week, it has been a tasty one. I think you'll all enjoy the recipes that are to come this weekend.


Calzones, recipe to come. 

I have hopes that this weekend will be a fun and bright adventure.  The weather this week has led me to believe that we are in for something wonderful.  Cross your fingers!

View from my office (last day Friday!) 

This weekend I will be more interesting, promise!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Nine Mile Creek

Today was a girls day :) I woke up, ate breakfast, loaded Specks in the car, and headed out for a hike with some girl friends.  We went out to Nine Mile Creek Road, which is part of Mendenhall Wildlife Refuge (the refuge spans a huge amount of space on both sides of the channel).  Nice weather and beautiful views greeted us!

View of the mountains at the refuge. 

We had an awesome view of the airport in the distance and we sat on this boat and watched them take off and land for awhile.  It was a beautiful and relaxing break in our trek.

Why are there so many abandoned boats in Alaska? 

Specks and his bff Sergeant Pepper, aka Pep, (our friends dog) had a HUGE time chasing each other and passing ducks all over the place.  They were pooped by the end of the trip and Specks immediately fell asleep in the car on the way home.  Ahhh, the tough life of a pampered puppy.

Best friends!! 

Tired and ready to head home to nap. 

Do you pamper your pooch?  

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Cody gifted me with some new ink for my birthday.

The idea for this tattoo stemmed from a necklace that was gifted to me by a dear friend who passed away two years ago.  I wore the necklace for a very long time, but I always worried about loosing it.  So, in the end I settled on getting it tattooed just under my collar bone (close to where the necklace naturally sits when I wear it).

I have always been a fan of tattoos.  Cody has a large chest piece, which I love.  And, he is constantly planning new tattoos.  Personally, I have three different tattoos and I am always in the works for a new one. Many people will ask why I choose to get them, the answer is always the same... I think tattoos can be beautiful!!

What are your thoughts on tattoos? 
Do you have any tattoos? 

Weekly Meals, Part Two

So, last week was CRAZY as far as eating goes.  Cody and I both had super stressful weeks and celebrated our birthdays.  There was not a meal plan in sight.  I made one…but then completely threw it out the window.  Most of my meals came in the form of instant-meals from this company.  Annie's was my savior and go-to for the week.  The upcoming week is looking to be less kooky, here's to hoping!

Saturday: Eating Out (celebrating a friends birthday)
Sunday: Spicy Orecchiette with Steamed Veggies
Monday: Quinoa and Spinach Baked Casserole
Tuesday: Butternut Squash Soup with Tofurkey Rollups
Wednesday: Veggie & Tofu Stir-Fry
Thursday: Broccoli Calzones with Tomato Dipping Sauce
Friday: Mini Deep Dish Pizzas

This week I found a lot of my recipes on this website.  It is the Martha Stewart Vegetarian Meal website.  I usually search online for meals that look good and then make them my own.  That is my plan this week with my many Martha-inspired recipes.

I leave you all this morning with this aDORKable picture of my boys.  Aren't they the cutest?

The hubby and our puppy :) 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Birthday Gifts & Big Changes

Happy Birthday to me!!  I turned a year older on March 18th.  And, for my birthday I…….. bought a new car and landed a new job!!!!!!!

The car: Cody's car broke down about 3weeks ago and it has been so difficult carpooling.  We work different schedules by about a two hour difference.  This meant a lot of waiting around for whoever was stuck without the car for the day.  We shopped for a few weeks (VERY limited market in Juneau) when we stumbled across this car. It is a 2008 Hyundai Accent.  I can now drive to work, getting 45mpg, and be a happy clam.  (note: Cody's car breaks down and I gift myself  with a new ride…typical.)

The Green Machine :) 

The job:  While I loved my job and the people I worked with at Spunky Sprouts Preschool, I needed a change.  The main contributing factors to this were that I missed teaching and I needed more financial stability (aka: higher salary).  The main reason though was that I missed being in the classroom.  I supervise at the preschool and spend a good portion of my day pushing papers.  This isn't ideal. I miss the kiddos, the broken chalk, the days spent teaching class morning meetings.  So, I made the decision to seek out a public school job.

At the front of my class, back when I was teaching 3rd grade in Illinois. 

And, one week after interviewing I was offered a position as the new pre-k teacher at Glacier Valley Elementary School.  The position starts in April and I will be under contract for this year and next year. All day teaching…ahhhhh, sounds glorious.  Not to mention….summers off!!

My birthday was two days ago and I have to say that this was a fantastic way to spend it :)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patty's Sunday

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

We spent our St. Patty's Day enjoying a hike out at Fish Creek with some good friends and our favorite puppy, Specks.  (Sidenote: Specks is about to turn four….so he isn't really a puppy).  Anyways, our hike was beautiful and the weather held off and allowed us a few hours of sunlight and cloudy-ness.

Fish Creek.  

Crab legs found on the beach. 

Views from the island that we hiked.  

Abandoned boat at the end of the trail.  

After hiking we ran errands, bought a new couch, and did some housework.  It was a pretty typical Sunday.  Now we are tucking into some Vegetarian Shepard's Pie.  Yumm :)

Just a typical Sunday and the Thompson-Middleton household.

Weekly Meal Wrap-Up

So, I just thought I would update you on whether or not the weekly meal pan works.  The verdict is….It works!! Ok, so it worked for the most part. Obviously, there were some slight deviations.  Mainly this was due to not feeling like eating what I had planned and running out of certain ingredients.  I really liked having the meal plan though.  It helped me as far as grocery shopping and it helped me mentally plan my days.  I highly recommend it.

Fried polenta drizzled in a creamy mushroom sauce.  Side of fakin' bacon-wrapped asparagus. 

Saturday: Polenta & Mushroom Potpie  Fried Polenta in Mushroom Sauce with Asparagus
Sunday: Vegetable & Rice Crock Pot Soup (perfect for a long hiking day!)
Monday: Grilled Tomato Cheese, & Basil Sandwiches with leftover Veggie Soup Tomato Soup

New twist on the classic grilled cheese & tomato soup combo. 

Tuesday:  Teriyaki Tofu with Quinoa and Oven Roasted Veggies Vegan Cheesy Rice Bake 
Wednesday:  Fend for yourself day!  (aka-leftovers and such)
Thursday: Homemade Veggie Pizza
Friday: Vegan Baked Macaroni or Cheesy Rice Bake Pesto Pasta with Steamed Veggies

Quick and easy pasta served with delicious veggies.  

Saturday: Date Night! (We went to Chinese for lunch with friends and enjoyed leftovers for dinner.)

I am all shopped up and planned for this upcoming week.  The post with the meal plan is in the works.  Other than that, I am going to attempt to bring you guys some awesome veggie recipes this week.  I have been slacking on recipes, but it is my passion at heart so I plan to post some more in the upcoming days.

Do you create a weekly meal plan? 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Cody's Birthday!

Today is Cody's birthday!! He is getting pretty old (but he's still younger than me…doh!) We are planning a very fun and relaxing day in Cody's honor.

The hubs after a jog.  

Cody awoke to this delicious multigrain breakfast wrap.  It consisted of eggs, fakin' bacon, and sauteed potatoes.

Yummm….breakfast :) 

For lunch we splurged on some tasty chinese from our local restaurant, Zen, with some great friends.  They bought our drinks for our birthday presents (booze is pricey up here).

Spring rolls, fried rice, veggies, and tofu.  Oh, and a little Corona.   

Then, we took a trip to the local secondhand bookstore.  Success!  We are such nerds at heart.  

Bookstores=the most peaceful places on earth. 

Now, we are back home contemplating a nap/watching Where The Wild Things Are (a personal favorite).

Specks is just as lazy as the rest of us. 

Sometime today I am planning on making an eclair cake, courtesy of my mothers recipe.  She is the best at making birthday treats. I planned to make this last night so it would be ready today.  But, this whole sharing a car-thing has been cramping my shopping style.  Here are some other recipe links that will be contributing to my belated birthday concoction.

Paula Deen's Eclair Cake
Easy Vegan Eclair Cake

Obviously, I will need to find a balance between the two recipe's.  Ha ha.

What are your favorite birthday treats?? 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Alaska Rental Construction

My blog post today is short and not-so-sweet.  This is because I came home to this…..

This WAS (note: past tense) our driveway.  No notice of the construction starting (or even a mention that it might happen).  Just pulled in the driveway and this was blocking my way.  I am literally parked right behind the backhoe.  I just stood there and stared at the hole for awhile to try to figure out how to get to my house.  My house is at the bottom of the hill.  It was a treacherous trip.

Tomorrow will be less random…I hope.  Cross your fingers for me.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Waking Up Is Hard To Do

How I feel about mornings, as told by one of my favorite women in the entertainment industry.  

I always wake up at least 90minutes before going anywhere so I can have some time to myself to drink coffee, think about my day, lounge, and wake up!  This Sunday Cody let me do just this.  I woke up to cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting and steaming hot coffee.  Delicious :)


Specks feels just like I do in the mornings. 

Sometimes, I just need to wake up super sloooooowly.  I am sure many of you feel the same.  Cody, however, does not.  He wakes up 15-30minutes before he leaves the house.  He rarely eats breakfast but he somehow still has time to shower, drink coffee, and get dressed up all spiffy in that short timespan.  I envy this quality of his.  For now though, I am content being a sleepyhead each morning.

Happy Monday Morning :)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Couples Jogging

Sunday was a lazy morning….followed by a moderately lazy afternoon.

Our running path. 

In the afternoon we headed out for couples jogging.  Cody and I headed down to the beach to enjoy some early afternoon jogging fun.  We ran around for about 30minutes, played with the puppy (who ran with us), and enjoyed each others company.  It was a much needed break from the stressful week we both endured.

Take One: At the beach, impossible to take a nice picture. 

Take Two: Back at the house,  a little bit better. 

  One thing I have noticed is that I need a new pair of running shoes.  Somehow, my nice Nike's got lost in the move and I have been running in my hiking tennis shoes.  Not the best footwear for running excursions but they don't totally suck.  Until I can buy a good pair though this old pair is going to be getting ALOT more use.  More bang for my buck with the hiking shoes I suppose.

Specks knows that when the shoes go on,  he is going on an adventure! 

I need some suggestions for new good running shoes! Any ideas? 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Weekly Meal Plan

In an effort to really plan my cooking out better and grocery shop more efficiently I have been attempting to make weekly meal plans.  Last week I epically failed at following my meal plan but in general I have been able to follow my plans somewhat closely.  This week will hopefully be successful.


Saturday: Polenta & Mushroom Potpie with Asparagus
Sunday: Vegetable & Rice Crock Pot Soup (perfect for a long hiking day!)
Monday: Grilled Tomato, Cheese, & Basil Sandwiches with leftover Veggie Soup
Tuesday:  Teriyaki Tofu with Quinoa and Oven Roasted Veggies
Wednesday:  Fend for yourself day!  (aka-leftovers and such)
Thursday: Homemade Veggie Pizza
Friday: Vegan Baked Macaroni or Cheesy Rice Bake with Steamed Veggies
Saturday: Date Night!

Cross your fingers that I can actually make this happen!  In the meantime, check out the website for our local grocery store, Rainbow Foods.  Cody and I don't go there often because it is VERY pricey (makes your local coop look like Wally World).  In comparing prices (which we did this weekend)  our typical items were $2-$4 (sometimes up to $8) cheaper in the health food section of Fred Meyer.  EEK! They did have some great sales this week though.  And, I love to pump money back into the community when I can.

Enjoy your Saturday, I know we will :)

High tide on a sunny morning. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Deliciously Bad Treats

Ok, I am going to be upfront about something….I like to splurge and eat crappy food from time to time.  Yes, I generally cook healthy for Cody and I.  Yes, we avoid keeping sweets in our home.  Sometimes a girl just has to splurge though.

Here are a few of my favorite (and very easy) unhealthy dessert recipes.

Reese's Stuffed Rolls
4 Resse's Peanut Butter Cups
1 Package of instant crescent rolls (makes 8)
Powdered Sugar (Topping)

Directions:  Preheat oven to whatever the crescent roll packaging says (typically about 350F).  Unroll crescent rolls and lay them out flat.  Cut each peanut butter cup in half.  Place half of the peanut butter cup in the fat end of the crescent roll and roll it up (as you normally would).  Repeat this with all of the rolls.  Place rolls on a baking sheet and pop in the oven.  Bake until golden brown (time depends on the type of crescent rolls).  Sprinkle with powdered sugar about 2-3 minutes after removing from the oven.  Let cool, eat warm, and enjoy :)

Peanut Butter Brownies
1 package of instant brownies
1/4 cup of powdered sugar
Milk (non-dairy or good old fashioned 2%)
Double Yummy. 
Chunky peanut butter ( I used Simple Truth Organic)

Directions:  Cook brownies to package directions.  Remove from oven and let cool.  While brownies are baking, mix powdered sugar and milk together to form a semi-thick mixture (make thinner than if you were making frosting).  Add chunky peanut butter to frosting-type mixture and stir well.  Let the mixture set in the fridge for 30minutes.  Spread mix on cooled brownies.  Indulge!

Obviously, you shouldn't eat stuff like this on a regular basis.  But this girl has a sweet tooth and a bit of a lazy side.  Every so often I need to use the instant mixes and stuff myself on sugary goodness.  Enjoy the oh so good, but oh so unhealthy recipes.  I will be back this weekend with healthy goodies :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Winters End

It would seem that the groundhog was right.  Juneau is enjoying wonderfully sunny, and dare I say, springlike weather!  Ok, maybe not springlike….more like sunny and 35F with calm winds.  I'll take it.

The views couldn't be more beautiful on these sunny days.  I am a happy girl.  Not much else to say about this fine Monday.  Although, there may be some changes happening in the near future for this little family…more on that later :)  For now, enjoy these beautiful photographs.

Specks, the original photo bomber. 

Snow on the mountains in March. 

Me & Specks looking out to the ocean. 

Cody enjoying the last minutes of sunlight. 

The sun setting just beyond the lookout. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Age of the iPhone & Other Grown Up Things

This weekend I truly learned how old I am….I woke up at 7am two days in a row, without an alarm clock.  Why????  I really thought that I could still do the whole sleeping until 11am thing (college didn't prepare me for waking up before noon).

Saturday and Sunday were relatively uneventful.  We went car shopping, which was a fun and very grown-up activity.  We are debating between these two cars.  We originally wanted a Jeep/SUV but they all ended up being waaaaay out of our price range.

Hyundai Accent
Kia Optima

Saturday we did a little bit of lounging, a lot of cleaning, and a bit of walking on the beach.  We took Specks out and he was in puppy heaven!

Isn't he the cutest?!?

Sunday we both went and got new phones.  And, drumroll please….I HAVE JOINED THE 21ST CENTURY!!! I finally got an iPhone.  I have been putting off upgrading to an iphone for about five years.  I just wasn't sure what all the fuss was about.  But, after spending the last year being the proud owner borrower of a MacBookPro (I steal Cody's because it rules) I knew I needed to upgrade to an Apple product.  We shall see how it goes!

Look at this amazing picture-courtesy of my iphone camera :) 

Saturday and Sunday were awesome eating days. Breakfasts were delicious egg sandwiches, fakin' bacon, and GF waffles both days.  Sadly, I don't have a picture of Saturdays dinner meal.  We had Tofu Steak with Rice and Zucchini casserole.  It was delicious.  Tonight the menu consists of some Potato&Veggie Soup.  Recipe to come soon :)

Vegan Potato Soup-during the cooking phase.

Question: Do you have an iPhone/Apple products?  If so, do you like them? 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Little Vitamin D

This week we saw the sun!! At first, I almost didn't recognize that fire-orange ball in the sky.  Alas, It was the sun!

So, Cody and I got out and trekked to the glacier (again) last weekend when the sun came out.  It is one of our favorite spots and Specks loves it there so we figured we could handle tackling the hike two weekends in a row.  We hiked out to  Nugget Falls, as usual.  Then we trekked around some other trails.  All in all, two hours of fun in the sun!

The sun was off and on all week.  When it was out, Juneau was stunning. We also saw a bit of snow early in the week.  It all melted in a matter of hours because of the warm temps.  But, it was pretty while it lasted.

There were beautiful views from our front porch all week.  The mountains were perfectly reflected in the channel waters.  It reminded me just why Cody and I chose this apartment. Beautiful views!

More sun to come this weekend, or so the weatherman tells us.  I am crossing my fingers that we get some sun this weekend.  It would be unheard of for us to have two, BEAUTIFUL weekends of sunlight.  I am lovin' the Vitamin D.

Are you enjoying sunny days?  Or are you one of the many still struggling through snow storms?  

Stress Cooking

This week was…stressful, to say the least.  Cody and I both had insane work weeks and came home completely pooped each night.  Needless to say, blogging was not on my mind.  Cooking was far from my mind as well.  My days consisted of waking up, going to work, running errands, cooking dinner, and going straight to bed.  None of this makes for particularly interesting blog entries.  At any rate, I still had to make some meals this week.  Here were three of my favorite meals from breakfast, lunch, and dinner this week.


Breakfast: Open-face fried egg and fakin' bacon sandwiches.  Made with Silver Hills Bread (Vegan), organic eggs, and MorningStar fakin' bacon.  It was topped with some Cairo BBQ Sauce, which Cody's parents sent us in the mail because it is a local sauce.

Lunch: GF wrap with smoked tofurkey, kale, spinach, onions, and tomatoes.  I topped this with a little bit of Roasted Garlic Sauce from BWW (also mailed to us by Cody's parents).  I ate it with some Kettle Chips and Light & Fit Greek Yogurt.

Dinner:  Chik'n Patties on Vegan Bread.  Cody topped his with just cheese,  I had mine with cheese and veggies.  Served with a side of Annie's Mac N' Cheese.  Quick, easy, and delicious.

Obviously we were slacking a bit on the cooking this week.  We are hoping this weekend we can get back in the healthy-cooking groove.  Wish us luck!  In the meantime I plan on continuing to look something like this….

Picture courtesy of Cody.  Payback to come.