Instagram Shenanigans

Let’s all just consider for one moment how great the word “shenanigans” is.

Ok. Thanks for indulging me on that one 😉

I’ve been busy with school and musical rehearsals recently, so I haven’t been cooking from recipes too much. However, I’m still doing my best to be creative and fun with what I eat, and, when I can get a good picture, I love to post photos of that on Instagram. I thought I’d post a few of these photos on here as well though, because this blog is not only about recipes that I make; it’s also about just having fun with interesting, creative, pretty, or plain awesome food!

  1. Berry and Chocolate Oatmeal

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I just made some plain oatmeal with water and a little salt, then topped it with blueberries, blackberries, pomegranate arils, and extra-dark chocolate. This was supremely delicious, and so fresh and wholesome.

2. Peanut Butter, Jelly, and Banana Oatmeal

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Again, this was plain oatmeal, topped with sliced banana, peanut butter, and raspberry jam. I love this combo, especially with really good jam (we got some Spoon Fruit jam from a small company in Michigan. I love Michigan berries!).

3.  Curried Rice, adapted from The Full Helping

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Here, I adapted a recipe from The Full Helping titled Creamy Curried Quinoa. I made a ton of changes, like switching out quinoa for rice, but drew heavily from the recipe for guidance. This was actually amazingly delicious, and so, so healthy. It’s seasoned in a very savvy, delicate way that enhances all the natural flavor of vegetables and rice. Also, it made a huge amount of food (like, 5x more than pictured!).

4. Mixed Berry Oatmeal

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Um, more oatmeal. I guess you can see what I’m into making right now! But this was really fun to make, and kind of adventurous by my standards. I cooked rolled oats with mixed frozen berries and water, and topped them with ground flax and chocolate PB2. It was yummy, but let’s be honest I was mostly in it for the pretty color 😉

5. Oh She Glows Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Yay, cookies! These are Angela Liddon’s Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies, made this very day as a special weekend treat. I’ve featured these cookies on the blog before, and they are a recipe I come back to again and again.

I hope you enjoyed seeing what I’ve been up to on Instagram! And if you have an Instagram, please leave your username in the comments section. Let’s be friends! ☺️

Six Months in Oklahoma

Six months ago, my family and I arrived in Ada, Oklahoma. We had packed all our bags, loaded all our furniture, and cleaned our house within an inch of its life. We had said goodbye to people that we love very much, who sent us off with beautiful words and hugs. We had spent a last weekend in lower Michigan, being with our extended family and having a last bit of normalcy. We had struggled through very, very long days of driving to get to Oklahoma, and even picked up a new car in OKC. Then we got to Ada, and it felt like this crazy newness that I would never be used to.

Now, somehow, we have been here for six months! I can’t get over that. It’s been six months since I’ve seen my best friend and said goodbye to people who have known me since I was four. Since getting here, I’ve earned my learner’s permit, gotten through my first semester of junior year, and even found a place in Oklahoma’s All-State high school choir. I’ve fallen deeper into Obsessive Compulsive Disorder than I ever thought I would, and I’ve started my journey to free myself again. I can’t believe everything that has happened, and yet, I still feel like it was yesterday that I was at school and church in Escanaba, surrounded by my friends, feeling so safe and appreciated. I hope that I can always keep that vision of my life until now in my heart, because it’s such a huge part of who I am. And as I keep chugging along with my family here in Ada, I’m always thinking about the people and places I love, at home in Michigan.

Just to be even more sentimental, I want to add some pictures of our last days in Michigan, our drive to Oklahoma, and our recent life here. These are all over the place, but I love them!

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my friends gave me a goodbye party and they are wonderful
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camping in June
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the morning we left. this may have been the best moment of the day
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mom and I being silly selfie-takers in a hotel en route to Ada. just call us comic relief
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crazy green in Ada and a spiffy new pastor sign at church!
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first ride in OK on sweet little pony
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plus this guy came home
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and always always always lots of this

Man, I love those photos. This digital age is a huge gift in a lot of ways. If you made it this far: thanks a ton, and I really appreciate anybody who reads this blog at all. I want it to be a little more “me”, and this is a great place to start. 😘

Vegan Lentil Sloppy Joes

Hey guys! I am writing this post as I ride home to Ada after being in Dallas for the past few days. That was a very interesting trip… Dallas is quite the big city and is very stimulating. We walked all over downtown, went to the top of Reunion Tower, went to Galleria Mall, ate at the awesome Spiral Diner, and (possibly my favorite part!) walked in the botanical gardens. It was a fun trip, but I’m glad to be going home again. I’ve always been a homebody when all is said and done.

Before we left, I made this delicious dish by Gena Hamshaw: vegan lentil sloppy joes! My whole family and I loved this dish. In fact, I made it in the morning, and by 8:30 that evening, it was all gone! I think it’s definitely better than the non-vegan sloppy joes I’ve had. This version is bursting with flavor from the unique blend of seasonings, which include smoked paprika, chili powder, mustard, and plenty of onions and garlic. It’s also pretty simple to make: just cook the lentils, prepare and sauté the veggies, combine everything, and let simmer for a few minutes.

I ate the finished product in two ways: as the filling in a sandwich (pictured below), and mixed into sautéed zucchini with tomato sauce and hummus for a quick, filling dinner. I also think it stands alone very well. So go ahead! Make a versatile, delicious lentil dish that will not only taste good, but do your body, the Earth, and the animals a favor as well. 

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Wait, one more thing: I just need to go on about one of my favorite sweeteners for a moment! I used maple sugar for the 1 tablespoon of sweetener called for in this recipe, and it reminded me how addictive the scent of maple is. In the U.P. of Michigan, there are many sugar maples (makes sense, given the proximity to Canada), and maple syrup, maple candy, and maple sugar are all popular gifts given in the community. You could buy locally made maple syrup at gas stations, health food stores, and other privately owned businesses. So, as much as I already love the smell and taste of maple sugar, I love it even more because it reminds me of home.

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Chocolate Covered Katie Gingerbread Banana Bread

Ok, so the title is a mouthful… but hey, I’m just trying to give you all the information 😆

I thought I’d show this Gingerbread Banana Bread from CCK off a little, because it turned out to be pretty delicious! I’m not really surprised though, because I’ve made Katie’s regular fat-free banana bread before as well, and that is definitely the best basic banana bread (alliteration? Yes indeed, I’m a scholar 😂) I’ve ever had.

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I felt good about making this recipe just 2 days after Christmas, because in fact it is pretty healthy. It contains Bob’s Gluten Free 1-to-1 baking flour instead of wheat flour (not that I’m against wheat, but all we had was AP white flour), a conservative amount of maple syrup, molasses, lots of ginger, coconut oil, and tons of banana. I used very ripe bananas, which contributed to the sweetness to the point that I didn’t need to add the optional sugar.

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I’m pretty happy with the texture of the bread. It’s a little tiny bit on the gummy side – nothing too bad at all though, and I’d personally prefer that over crumbly. Overall, it’s soft and cake-y, yet satisfying. I feel like, when I use Bob’s 1-to-1 mix, the texture always comes out as very melt-in-your-mouth, rather than chewy. It’s never bad, but sometimes I prefer the heartiness of wheat flour. Do you have any preferred GF baking mixes? I haven’t experimented too much, though I have fallen in love with almond flour!

Also, the flavor here is great. Total gingerbread, just with the addition of bananas! It’s mildly sweet, and I think that’s just right. No need for the optional sugar listed in the recipe if your bananas are ripe enough.

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By the way, I’m still on Christmas break for another week! That means we get to take a little family trip to Dallas, TX for a few days. I’ve never even been into Texas before, but now that we live in Oklahoma (which I hear is basically north Texas!) it’s time to explore the state. I’m really excited about this trip. Some of my favorite bloggers/social media presences (“presences”? Yes, we are going to that level of formality today) are from Texas or live there currently. For example, Katie from CCK and the McKnights from Cute Girls Hairstyles. I’m sure we’ll go to some vegan restaurants while we are there, so I’ll definitely post about it.

I hope you all have a great week! I’d have said “y’all”, but to be honest I’m not quite there yet. #michigander

 

Christmas Day in Photos

I hope you all had a beautiful Christmas Day. Ours was really nice; we opened presents together in the morning, which was so fun and full of so many laughs!! And then we spent the day playing with our different presents, hanging out together, and cooking dinner. Since my mom and I are the only vegans in the family, my dad cooked Maine lobster tails for the rest of our family. Mom made this awesome vegan potato and turnip mash, and I made little hand pies filled with wild rice, mushrooms, chickpeas, and vegetables. It was probably our most gourmet meal yet 😉

The moment my brother Elliot opened up the camera and lens, he started taking pictures. This was one of the first ones, featuring Bianca and my mom at our dining room table.

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This of course continued as we all started to get dressed, which is impossible to do without holding the dog a little!

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Dad and I had some snuggle time as well.

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Then, Elliot and Bianca headed outside for a little photo shoot.

I’m now realizing that most of these photos are of Bianca. Oops… actually nope, no regrets. She’s that great.

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Ooh, look, it’s a photo I took myself!! This was just my view on the dining room table as I took photos of the scrapbooks for yesterday’s post and generally messed around with the camera.

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I also made some macarons with the new sifter that Mom gave me (thank you mummy!) so I took a picture of the cookies as they dried out before baking.

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A little later, it was time to cook and eat dinner. These are the vegan hand pies that I made, adapted from the spring hand pie recipe in the My New Roots cookbook.

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These plates have lobster, wild rice stir fry, lobster and vegetables, and hand pies.

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A family photo or two was taken.

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And at the end of the evening, Bianca was paid for the modeling efforts she exerted all day.

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Almost all of these photos were taken by Elliot, my older brother. He’s pretty excited about the new camera! And that was pretty much our Christmas Day. I hope you enjoyed all the photos.

Christmas Scrapbooks

Crafting stuff is SO fun, especially when it’s Christmas-related!! So, of course, I like to make a few gifts. Last year, I made my dad a clay model of the horse that he liked to ride, and made one for myself, too. I think they turned out really nicely, and the paint job is my favorite part.

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By the way, I used the same cookie cutter for these as I did for a lot of the gingerbread cookies that I made a few days ago (check them out on Instagram @thekalestorm 🙂 ). We’ve really gotten a lot of mileage out of those cutters. I don’t even know how old they are! And there are a couple whose intended identities are…. ambiguous. For example, the sleigh/elf’s boot/snow boot/pi minus one leg, and the Michigan mitten/glove/bird!

Anyway, though, for this year’s handmade Christmas presents, I made my parents each a mini scrapbook documenting a few moments of 2015. I didn’t even know I was going to do that project until last weekend, so it was an intense few days of scrapbooking, but it was SO fun and totally worth it, especially when I saw how much my mom and dad loved them. Here are a few photos!

 

Those photos were taken by our new camera!! This was a family Christmas present, to us and from us. It’s a k3 Pentax, and is probably the fanciest piece of technology I’ve ever used, aside from my computer. I’m so excited to be able to put better photos on TKS!

I think that tomorrow I’ll post a Christmas recap, with a bunch of photos from the new camera. But for now, here’s a little preview of the World’s Most Documented Dog 😀

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Halloween 2015

Happy Halloween! This year was our first Halloween in Ada, and it was definitely a lot different from Halloween in Escanaba. Instead of staying at our own house and handing out candy, my family and I went to our neighbors’ house, where they went all-out with decorations.

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There were so many trick-or-treaters! I got to hand out candy to the sweetest little children, which was really fun. There was a taco bar at our neighbors’ house, so we ate dinner there. Many people dressed up, but I was the only one of my family who did (you see, I am the cool one of the family).

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I was a bunny, and I made my costume myself! I wore grey sweatpants and a grey sweatshirt with a pink shirt, because bunnies have pink tummies (or at least in my fantasy world, they do 😉 ) I also made Oh She Glows vegan and gluten free brownies to bring to the party, which were so unattractive but so delicious! They were probably the best vegan brownies I’ve ever made.

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And now, it’s the morning after Halloween, the first morning of Standard Time, and I woke up early enough to make a pretty breakfast. The decorations were totally inspired by Haselnussblond, who makes the most beautiful breakfasts in the world.

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This particular breakfast was made with my favorite adaptation of CCK’s Chocolate Banana Bread in a Bowl. I’ll have to post specifically about it on The Kale Storm soon, because it’s my go-to breakfast! The decorations here are golden flax meal, sliced dried figs, and cashews.

Question of the Day:

What did you dress up as for Halloween?? Do you prefer to be spooky or sweet? I’m more of a fluffy-bunny-cuddly-costume person myself.