My Christmas Thanks to You

Advent at Union Church Manila

Hello lovely readers!

It’s “Christmas Eve Eve” and amazingly, I’m not up to my eyeballs in wrapping paper and last-minute cookie baking.  Maybe that will be tomorrow…

But today, I have a quiet moment and I want to just reflect on these last 8 months of blogging and say a big THANK YOU!!!  I had no idea what I was getting into when I nervously hit that “Publish” button on May 4 earlier this year with my Banana Oat Cookies.  I wasn’t sure I would get any response at all, especially with those um, less than stellar pix, but I did and I was overwhelmed by your love & support.  I’m grateful for each and every one of you amazing people!

My readership is now (slightly) more than just my father, my aunts, and my cousins (I do have a big family though!) and it’s heart-warming to know that you’re interested in what I’m saying and what I’m cooking.  I can’t thank you enough for caring.  To know that you open my emails and read my posts… well, I could say that I only do this blog for myself, but that would be a lie.  I do it because I know that you’re there on the other side of the screen.  And to know I have such caring and devoted readers makes me just want to post better and better goodies for you.  I’m not sure you realise how very much I adore you all.  You have inspired me to go further with this baby blog than I ever thought possible, and it’s only gonna get better in 2016, I promise.  I have so many ideas for you, so many new recipes to give you, so many workouts to do together.  I just can’t wait!!

But meanwhile, enjoy the holidays with your family.  Eat everything not in moderation, ha ha.  Feel the wonder that is the coming of the Christ child.  That is the reason we celebrate.

Merry Christmas, everyone!!!


What I Ate Wednesday

Although it’s December, and snow has fallen several times for my family in Colorado, here in Philippines it’s still hot, hot, HOT!!!  Which means I usually can’t bring myself to eat cooked oatmeal, no matter how high I crank up my air-con.

Smoothie bowl

So today I had a smoothie bowl.  I’ve been really into these lately!  It’s my regular green smoothie, but with a scoop of Vega protein powder and about half the amount of almond milk.  That makes it thick enough to hold up all my toppings: almond flakes, homemade cranberry orange relish (made low-sugar with chia seeds instead of all the sugar!), papaya from our very own tree, hemp seeds, & dried coconut.  It’s cold, it’s creamy, it’s beautiful… I think I’m addicted!


In today’s workout we ran 6k at a pretty good clip.  I love this new addition to the weekly schedule- the steady pace run is so different than our normal high-intensity bootcamp.  I drank about a litre of water when we were finished, and ate this banana oat cookie with almond butter, a sliced strawberry & a sprinkle of dried coconut on my way out the door to Bible study.

Yes, we brought out the Christmas plates!

Yes, we brought out the Christmas plates!

When I got home, I was absolutely ravenous.  While I made my lunch, I ate 2 rye crackers with basil hummus without thinking to take a picture.  Then I sat down like a normal human being and had a few polenta squares with goat cheese & tomato chili jam.  These were leftover from Friday night’s party & I added fresh mint and more chili jam to pop them up a bit.

Shredded beetroot & carrot salad

I also had a big shredded beet & carrot salad, dressed with a maple orange dressing.  I threw some hemp seeds on top to add a little protein & crunch.

Christmas mall lights

The mall was hardly crowded at all- amazing!!

After lunch I felt fortified enough to brave the mall for some Christmas shopping.  This can be a bit dicey in Philippines at this time of year- you should really try to be finished by September 30 at the latest to avoid the crowds.  I’m serious.  But I did well!  Meaning I crossed at least 5 things off my list!  And kept smiling for 3 hours!!  I’m so proud of myself.

Vegan cookie sandwich

I finished just in time to wait 45 minutes at the bus stop, because apparently the kids were stuck in the crowds that I managed to avoid at the mall.  So by the time we all got home I was starving.  Again.  And even though I admonish my children “Don’t ruin your dinner!” with a late afternoon snack, I broke my own rule with this double chocolate peanut butter cookie sandwich.  It was totally worth it.


Pasta with goat cheese & pine nuts, roasted pumpkin with chili jam, & green beans

Obviously, by the time dinner rolled around 2 hours later, I wasn’t hungry, whoops.  I couldn’t finish my food.  I pushed it around on my plate and tried to eat my vegetables.  At least!!  I scolded myself for setting a bad example for my children.  It happens sometimes!

Sara's Egyptian pita bread

But then after dinner we baked Sara’s beautiful Egyptian pita breads for her “Culture Cafe” project at school.  And who could resist those?? We all had to sample one and they were absolutely delicious.  Sometimes you just gotta break the rules!!!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

What I Ate Wednesday

It all started with a green smoothie…

Green smoothie

You’d think I would get tired of this, but I don’t.  I actually miss it when I don’t have it.  To remind you what’s in it: a huge handful of fresh spinach leaves, 1 or 2 chunks of cucumber, 1/2 a fresh orange, 1 cup almond milk, 1 cup frozen pineapple, and a few sprigs of mint.  This makes 2 big servings.

Banana oat cookie & apple slices

I also had a banana oat cookie smeared with a little almond butter, and some apple slices.

At bootcamp today we did the Ladder workout.  In 45 minutes we did 75 pushups, 119 squats, 94 standing rows, & 75 burpees… it sounds kind of demoralising, but it’s not!  I mean, we didn’t exactly know our totals before we started… but each set progressively has more reps, up to a maximum number, then you work your way back down to the beginning set which only has a few reps.  It’s an effective way to build muscular endurance….

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What I Ate Wednesday

Considering all the “What I Ate Wednesday” posts you haven’t seen lately, you might wonder if maybe I’ve gotten into intermittent fasting or something.  But no, I’ve been chowing down as usual…

Morning coffee

My morning began as it normally does, with coffee & quiet time.  Love starting my day this way!  Then came the green smoothie, which I added coconut milk to this time.  Winner!

Green smoothie

Breakfast was chocolate chia champorado (basically oatmeal cooked with almond milk & cocoa powder, and slightly sweetened with maple syrup- it’s my take on the traditional Filipino version made with condensed milk, tablea chocolate, and lots of sugar.)  I topped mine with fresh mango, walnuts, & more almond milk….

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What I Bring Back

Colorado Wildflower

I was looking over my blog posts of the past 8 weeks, and I was startled by how its colour scheme shifted abruptly from yellows & greens when I was in Manila, to blues and reds since I’ve been in the U.S.  The difference between mangoes and berries, I guess!

Get ready for the shift back to yellow (I’ll get you started with this gorgeous Colorado wildflower,) because my summer vacation is nearly over and I’m heading home to Manila at the end of next week, taking with me a heart full of memories, and a suitcase full of healthy food….

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What I Ate Camping

Colorado Wildflowers

I promised you early on that my eating life is not all massaged kale salads, chia pudding, and homemade almond milk.  That’s right, friends, there are days, sometimes several in a row, when my normal abundance of fresh fruits and raw veg are scarcely seen.  Granted, it’s not often, but it happens.  Usually on vacation!  And always when camping….

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Banana Oat Cookies


Have you ever prepared for or anticipated something for so long that in the end, nothing can do it justice?

That’s kind of how I feel about this first blog post.

I’ve been planning IT, the BLOG, for an embarrassingly long time. Like 2 years.  Or 3, I can’t remember.  Part of my hold-up was that I know less about computers and on-line stuff than my 13-year-old daughter.  And part of it is that once you put yourself out there, you’re out there… vulnerable!  But then I reminded myselfthat probably only my aunts and 5 other people would actually read my first post, and that made me feel better enough to write it.

I resisted the urge to …

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