Friday, August 27, 2010

New and improved!

Remember a few weeks ago, I promised I'd be back with a better blog after things calmed down?

Here I am.

I've sorted things out a bit and I've started a new blog called Handprint Soul, which is about all-around, inside and out self-improvement. All the awesomeness (ha ha) of The Very Hungry Kellapillar with a lot more substance.

See you there!


Thursday, August 5, 2010

All quiet on the blogging front

Hey everybody, I know things in the blog have been quiet lately and I hate to leave you hanging. I've got a lot going on right now (moving, new job, etc.) and I'm taking some time to write and think and figure out what the heck I'm doing with blogging. I admit I kind of jumped into blogging without knowing the first thing about it. I feeling like I've been putting everything out half-baked, and I feel lousy for not being diligent with my posting and creating quality content. I'll be back once I get reoriented.
I'll still be floating around reading and commenting on your blogs!

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I can honestly say this has probably been the most stressful three weeks of my life. That includes getting married, starting new jobs, and my senior year of high school, which until now has taken the crown.
Have you ever made plans? Have they ever been blown to pieces? This happens to me all the time.

I planned on using my technical theater scholarships for a different school and going in to set design. I ended up choosing a different school to study art.

I planned on being an artist, then I changed my major to my first love, Creative Writing.

I planned on going away to school, graduating, then teaching English in an orphanage in Romania. Instead, I married my best friend.

If I've learned anything from this, it's that I can plan all I want but life is going to happen anyway, and it rarely goes according to plan. This happens to everybody. Since graduating college, I've applied for a few different jobs and came very close to accepting one in a foreign country. I've always planned on traveling, but this just didn't feel right somehow. It would have been an adventure, but you know that naggy feeling in your gut that you want to write off as nerves, but deep down you know it's something else?

Stress, stress, stress.

Finally, another great job opportunity presented itself. Thank goodness, because I realized I'd been looking for an excuse to get out of the other job since I applied. So now, I get to move out of my creepy apartment and live for free as a nanny to my six cousins while Sam finishes his animation degree.

Now let's see how this plan changes.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Homemade Almond Milk and Birthday Frivolities.

Long week, folks. I actually started this post the day after my birthday because I was being so organized and responsible, but then a massive windstorm knocked out our power for most the day and I haven't touched it since.

So, as promised, this is how you make almond milk.

First, soak some raw almonds for a few hours then drain, rinse, and pick off any skins that came off. I usually do about a half cup at a time.

Dump the almonds and fresh, filtered almonds in a blender. You want a ratio of four parts water to one part almonds. I use one-half cup of almonds and two cups of water. If you want vanilla almond milk, add a couple dates and a few drops of vanilla.

Blend for a minute or so until the mixture is white and fairly smooth.

If you have a nut milk bag, like this nifty won I snagged in a giveaway at Almost Vegan, this will be easier.
If not, use a clean, thin, undyed cloth. I've heard of people using panty hose, but before the nut milk bag arrived I just used unbleached cloth.

Open up the bag and push some of it into a jar or other container and wrap the rest around the jar, using the drawstring to tighten it. If you're using a cloth, push some of it inside the jar so there's a well and secure the cloth around the mouth of the container with a rubber band.

Yes, that is a reused peanut butter jar.

Slowly pour in the almond milk. Let it sit for an hour or two. I usually screw the lid on the jar, bag and all, and stick it in the fridge. You don't have to strain the milk of course, but I prefer it strained because it's much smoother.

When all the liquid is in the bottom of the jar, pull the bag or cloth out and keep the pulp. You can dehydrate this into raw crackers or dehydrate and blend it into almond meal. Get creative with
this stuff. Use it in a raw nut pate, in fudge babies, etc. Does anyone have and good ideas for using up almond pulp?

This stuff doesn't keep as long as commercial almond milk, a few days usually. Also, you'll need to shake it up before using because it will settle. I might try using an emulsifier someday, but for now I'm happy to give it a little shake.

I apologize for the ugly pic. I have very few photogenic surfaces in my apartment, and virtually no natural light. No bueno for picture taking.

Almond milk can be substituted for cow's milk in virtually every case, but I don't really like drinking it straight, especially the homemade stuff. It's wonderful for cooking, baking, smoothies, oats and smoothies though.

Also, I had a great birthday. We ate at my favorite Mexican restaurant, Cafe Sabor in Logan, Utah. I had the shrimp enchiladas, which I'd never had before. Amazing, and something pretty simple to recreate at home.

I only ate about half, but it was sooo good.

After dinner, we stopped by a park where we took some wedding pictures (over two years ago!) and Sam let me feed the rest of his tortillas to the duckies. That's love.

The B & B was wonderful, as usual. We actually got locked out on one of the balconies and Sam had to climb onto another one to get inside to rescue me! Neither of the balconies was attached to a private room by the way.

I wanted to go to another park on my actual birthday, but it was raining like crazy, so we bummed around Logan for a few hours. We did a little shopping and Sam bought me my first-ever real bottle of perfume!

Clinique Happy :) He says it suits me.

Then my nerdiness reared it's bespeckled head and we hit Borders, because Ogden is hopelessly devoid of good bookstores. I picked four cookbooks off the bargain rack right away, and a cheap copy of Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, a must for every writer.

I don't know why the bargain rack is always full of cookbooks. Sam says it's because everything one could ever want to cook is on the internet, but I love browsing through cookbooks to find things I never would have dreamed of making, things I didn't know existed. Do you still use cookbooks?

This is what the light in my apartment looks like. Yuck.

We stopped by Firehouse Pizzeria for lunch and I ordered a personal chicken and artichoke. Looked yummy, but sadly disappointing. I wished the toppings were chunkier. I ate half, and it actually tasted better the next day reheated in the microwave. Some stuff is just weird like that.

Then I decided I wanted cheesecake, so I ordered the turtle cheesecake, which came out looking pretty, but overall disappointing. It wasn't bad at all. In fact, I finished the whole piece. That's the problem though. I like my cheesecake to be rich. My general rule is that if I can finish a whole piece, it's not rich enough.

We drove home in a downpour and wrapped up the night with a cuddle and Julie and Julia. We loved the first half when it was all lighthearted and fun, but then stuff started getting sour and it just wasn't what we wanted. Overall disappointed.

Wow, disappointed three times in one post. Am I just too hard to please?

And yes, I didn't feel guilty about a thing, even though I haven't exercised much or eaten very healthfully since. I just feel kind of yucky, but not guilty at all. This is progress.

Overall, great B-Day. I like being 22 so far.

See ya!


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hungry, Intuitive Eating Goals, and Birthday Surprises!

One of my favorite ways to deal with body image issues and stay in a healthy mindset is reading, and I found a gem.

Hungry is the story of Crystal Renn, today's leading plus-size model and in my opinion, one of the most gorgeous women on the planet. She tells about her struggle with anorexia and exercise bulimia as a struggling young model while offering an honest, insider's view on the fashion industry. When her agency gave her the boot for being too fat, she decided to stop living off steamed veggies and exercising up to eight hours a day. She stopped fighting her body and surprise, her career took off and she found love. I love this because it debunks the false notion that one's life will be so much better "when I lose weight.." Today, she's a healthy size 12 and works much the same way as straight sized models, in dramatic, "editorial" photographs and runway shows.

I think every woman should read this, especially if you struggle with body image.

Speaking of body image, something happened to me yesterday that hasn't happened in a long time.

I had a "fat day".

Fat days used to be every day for me, but working with intuitive eating and body acceptance, I've learned that "fat" isn't an emotion, and I know myself well enough to know that when I feel "fat", something else is bothering me, usually a feeling a general inadequacy from a lifetime of self-esteem issues. When this happens, I try to take a step back and reevaluate a few things.

Sometimes I notice the diet mentality sneaking back in and I use IE as a weight loss tool. This isn't what IE is about. The goal here is not to lose weight, although that may be a side effect, but to create a healthy relationship with food and our bodies. Here's what I usually do when a "fat day" attacks:

  • Exercise only if I feel like it, and only if I enjoy it.
  • Sit with the emotion for awhile, journal about it so I can get everything out and organize my thoughts.
  • Wear something flattering.
  • Give into a little emotional eating sometimes, so I can really understand that dieting will never again be part of my life.
  • Do not feel guilty for anything I eat or any exercise I don't do. I still struggle with this sometimes.
  • Watch a funny movie. Laugher can fix anything.
I do this until I feel better. My "recovery" periods are getting shorter, so I count that as progress.

On a happier note, tomorrow is my birthday, and Sam worked some extra hours so we could spent the night at my favorite bed and breakfast, and he even booked the Bridal Suite, which is where we stayed on part of our honeymoon! I'm so excited and I'm trying to decide which restaurant I want to hit many good ones. I'll try to remember to take pics of whatever amazing thing I eat.

So whatever we end up eating in the next 24 hours, I won't let any nasty diet thinking ruin it. Delicious meals are triggering for me sometimes, so instead of getting on a bunch of restaurant websites and thinking of how I'm going to balance the calories in this meal, I'll do this instead: (sorry, I love lists)

  • Pick whichever restaurant sounds best tonight.
  • Order whatever the hell I want (whatever sounds best to my body and tastebuds)
  • taste every single bite that goes into my mouth
  • not feel obligated to eat anything I don't like
  • try to stop when I'm full and satisfied (this doesn't always happen, but I won't beat myself up if I eat past full.)
  • enjoy time with Sam on our little getaway
Stay tuned for a lesson in making homemade almond milk!


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Dizzy up the Girl

Great album by The Goo Goo Dolls, take a listen.

My body is doing something weird, and I have no idea what's going on.

Continuing with the dizzy theme, I woke up Thursday morning feeling like I'd been hit by a truck because I was really groggy and my limbs felt super heavy. I ate a good breakie and went for a walk because that usually straightens out whatever ailments I wake up with, but it just made it worse and when I got home, I got so dizzy that I actually fell over.

I'm feeling better, not so foggy but still crazy dizzy all the time do I explain this my torso is full of cement. I haven't felt hungry but I've been eating regularly because no food is not good for dizziness. Yesterday afternoon, I even felt stomach cramps but they went away after a quick swim.

I don't know if I'm fighting off a bug or if I ate something that didn't like me, but I'm kinda blaming the heat and maybe eating when I didn't actually feel hungry. I ate because I figured I needed food, but maybe I really didn't need food and I just made it worse.

Feeling "off" is often more annoying than being sick, because it feels like you're teetering on the edge of sick and you're just like "Ok body, make up your mind. Either get better or just get sick so we can lay in bed all day watching Supernatural reruns."

Totally random post that you probably don't care about, but has anyone had this? Sounds kind of like menopause, but I'm only 21. (22 on Friday!)

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Vegan Strawberry Shortcake-in-a-Bowl!

The Perfect Storm: $1 pints of strawberries, too-sweet vanilla almond milk (Silk brand, seriously it's like melted ice cream) and laziness.

The Result:

Friends, I give you, the Cake-in-a-Bowl.

Let me explain.

Have you ever seen these things?

Let me tell you, they're divine, but pretty expensive and not the healthiest things in the world. I love the convenience and the small serving size though.

A while back, I found a recipe for single-serving brownies you're supposed to bake in a single muffin cup, but I thought it was dumb to only use one cup of an entire muffin tray, so I ditched that idea. Then I remembered the Warm Delights and I decided to nuke them in a bowl instead and it came out beautifully! (PS, I can't remember where I found this recipe, but if you've seen it, let me know so I can give credit!)

But why just chocolate? (of course, I could easily live with just chocolate, but c'mon, let's branch out a little)

So, I changed the recipe to make vanilla cake, added the strawberries and made "whipped cream" with the too-sweet almond milk, and I had cheap, lazy, and even healthy strawberry shortcake.

Ok McKella, quit yammering and give us the recipe already.

Strawberry Shortcake-in-a-Bowl

2 T whole wheat pastry flour
1 T granulated sweetener like sucanat or brown sugar
1 T agave or maple syrup
1 T applesauce
1 t non-dairy milk
1/4 t baking powder
1/4 t vanilla

Mix in a microwave-safe bowl and nuke for 30-60 seconds or until fluffy.

Add sliced strawberries and whipped cream or Chocolate-Covered Katie's Agar Pudding, which is great stuff, and the perfect way to use up that Silk Vanilla Almond milk!
You can chill this or eat it warm like I did.


(Please excuse my lame photography. I'm still figuring out what all the stupid buttons on my lousy camera do.)

I'm really liking this idea, so expect to see more Cake-in-a-Bowl creations in the future!


Cinnamon cake
Carrot cake
Red velvet cake
Coconut Cake...

Let me know if you have other ideas! The funny thing is, I'm usually not a cake person, but these are so fun to make!