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!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A cute breakfast and thoughts about protein.

This morning, Sam decided to make "Bull's Eye Toast" for breakfast. Usually, he just cuts a circle out of the bread for the egg, but he found one my gingerbread man cookie cutters.

Aren't they cute? They sure tasted good. The fat and protein combined with the fiber in this nine grain bread made for a SUPER filling breakie. Even Sam was stuffed after two pieces, and I could only do one!

They're really easy to make:

Bull's Eye Toast

Whole grain bread (We used Nine Grain Crunch with sunflower seeds, my favorite!)
1 egg per slice of bread (Local and free-range is preferable. These came from my Daddy's chickens)
Butter, Earth Balance, or whatever

Butter both sides of the bread and cut a hole out of the center. Heart-shaped, person-shaped, Christmas tree-shaped, whatever.
Throw on a griddle and crack an egg into the center.
When the egg has set a little, flip and cook until both sides are crispy.
Don't forget to cook the cut-outs too!
Devour. Goes great with orange juice.

Though Sam and I have, um, differing opinions concerning food, he's a very good cook, and not everything he cooks involves a vat of oil (though it would if I let him.) Don't even get me started on the time he tricked me into eating frog legs. Any other girl would have killed him!

Don't let the sheepish look fool you. He's sneaky!

I usually go for sweet, carby things in the morning like oatmeal concoctions or pancakes, but Sam's more a bacon-and-eggs kinda guy because he needs a lot more protein than I do.

While we're on the subject of protein, I know there's a lot of debate about our protein needs. Supposedly, humans only needs 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily. Supposedly, animal proteins are the highest quality because they are more complete and therefore easier for our bodies to use.

This high-protein craze that's taken the country by storm the past few years says we need lots of protein to lose weight, because carbs get turned straight to sugar and go on to pad our hips for the rest of our lives.

I'm not a nutritionist, but I've tried high protein diets, and I hate them. Some people, like a lot of my extended family do really well with them. I know Sam feels off when he doesn't get a good amount, especially from animal products when I can go days or even weeks without meat or dairy and not even notice. I do like a little fish and eggs in my diet though, but try to go easy on dairy and other meats.

I found this quiz through Averie's blog, and I think it's an interesting way to see how your body might handle protein. I seem to be a normal oxidizer, which means I just need moderate amounts of fat and protein but the bulk of my diet should be complex carbs. I try to eat this way, and it works pretty well for me. Don't take this quiz or anything else as gospel, but it offers some interesting ideas.

As usual, the bottom line is listen to your body. If you feel weak without a little meat or eggs in your diet, eat them. If heavy proteins make you sluggish, avoid them. Do what's right for you.

What do you guys think of the protein hype? Do your body like a lot of protein, just a little, or a more moderate amount?

Hope you all had a great Memorial Day!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

The hardest part of Intuitive Eating

About a year and a half ago, I was trying desperately to lose weight and get my "bad" eating habits under control. I counted calories, packed itty-bitty lunches to get me through nine hours shifts of caring for two dozen kindergarteners and beat myself up whenever I gave in halfway through the afternoon and ate one of the brownies laying around at snack time.

I'd dieted before, and this was actually a pretty mild, and this time around I quickly recognized something was wrong, so I talked to a counselor and she recommended I read Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elysse Resch.

In a nutshell, Intuitive Eating is all about listening to your body's hunger and fullness signals and eating what you want. It makes so much sense, and it felt so right, because this was how I lost 55 pounds over three years without trying at all. I jumped right into this new way of eating, but I have looked back a few times.

I know it sounds crazy, but learning to eat intuitively is so much harder than dieting. There are no absolutes, no hard rules, none of that stuff to "keep you on track". No foods are inherently "good" or "bad".

I've come a long way. I eat when I'm hungry, I usually stop when I'm full, I naturally choose healthy foods most of the time, I rarely guilt trip myself when I overeat, and I exercise because I want to.

The only hard part is the emotional eating part. Fitness magazines and diet books tell you to go for a walk or paint your nails or something when you have a strong emotion instead of eating. A therapist told me to try to seek another distraction, but I came across an amazing idea on a wonderful IE blog, Honoring Health:

Instead of avoiding emotions, why not try to feel them?

Well, because it's scary. It's painful. Nobody wants to go wading through all that nasty stuff, but maybe feeling an emotion, acknowledging it, and doing something about it would be better than distracting myself with a Harry Potter book or blasting music to drown things out.

If you're sad, cry. If you're angry, beat the crap out of your pillow. Let it come out, let it happen, and try to do this in a safe environment.

So this is my goal for a few days. Feel stuff instead of avoiding it, with food or anything else.


PS: If you're stuck in the tyranny of dieting, I strongly urge to you read Intuitive Eating. It's hard, but it will help you with so much more than eating habits. I've gotten to know myself better in the last two years than I have my entire life. Read it, read it, and take care of yourself.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Writing, eating, and neglecting to blog about it.

Hey guys, sorry I haven't written since...last monday? Wow. I haven't forgotten you at all, I've
commented on a lot of your blogs and I always love reading about what you're up to.

So what have I been up to that I've been too lazy to tell you about?
Writing, writing, working, editing, and writing.

Last spring, I started writing my first novel and I recently finished the first draft! Writing a book and going to school at the same time is almost impossible, but since graduation I've really buckled down and I did it!

However, that means I get to move on to the next step in the writing process: Editing and revising. I usually don't mind editing, but I've never had to edit something this big. Cleaning and tightening up a term paper or short story is one thing, but a 300 page novel? Aaaah! This isn't just fixing spelling errors or grammar issues either. This means rewriting a chapter in another point of view, writing in new scenes and maybe cutting out others, feeding in more information to clarify the plot, etc. I read through the manuscript and made a bunch of notes and a huge laundry list of stuff to fix. Overwhelming? Oh yeah.

So with all this fantastic writing going on, I admit I haven't been cooking much. My diet for the last two weeks was mostly oatmeal, veggie wraps, peanut butter toast, salads, fruit, and about four tons of chocolate.

What? Writing a book is stressful!

To switch gears here, I've learned through my work with Intuitive Eating that I tend to get extra munchy and obsessed with food and health when something else is bothering me. This usually takes me by surprise and I have to dig for the root cause, but I know I'm sitting around reading health books because I'm avoiding my book. Is this weird, to procrastinate something that brings me so much joy? Is it strange that something I love can cause me so much turmoil?
I had an art teacher that told me that our true passion will drive us crazy and we'll even hate is sometimes because we care about it so much. Does anyone else feel like that?

If I'm this nervous about editing, wait'll you see me when I'm writing query letters!


Monday, May 10, 2010

My Foodie Friday!

I hope everyone else had a great weekend! Mine started early on Friday. Every once in awhile, my mom gets together with her sisters/cousins/whoever else wants to come. I go sometimes, but you know, life is busy.
Now that I don't have school, I took a day off work to go with her. Friday started with a cooking class in Midway, Utah hosted by Leslie Smoot who is an amazing chef and food stylist. We also had a guest pastry chef show us how to make a berry tart, which was amazing!
They gave us all these cute little tarts to sample. I'm not into making pastries, but maybe I'll try making this someday. I'll put that one waaaay on the back burner.
This is a little more my speed. These are a few of Leslie's creations, fresh green bean salad and Italian bread salad, which has a fancier name but I don't remember. These were both delicious and I plan on making them, then I'll share the recipe and let you know how it went.
Leslie also spoke about the nutrition benefits of various fruits and veggies and how our bodies and appetites work with the seasons. We crave fruit in the spring because it cleanses our bodies of all the heavier foods we've been eating all winter. This makes sense, because I've been tossing back mangoes and strawberries like a madwoman for the past month.
We had to leave a little early, and I was too shy to ask for a picture with Leslie. Oops! She is starting a website with her sister called Bona Fide Foodie, which is all about eating fresh, local food, so when it gets going, I'll leave a link.
I scrapbooked the afternoon away with my mom and aunties and we hit an early dinner at The River Horse in Park City.
Park City is a beautiful resort town that's trying really hard to look like Switzerland, but I think it's cute.

Ok, The Riverhorse. This place is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I was kind of nervous because it was really expensive, but I would have paid more. Photo time:

Cherry-walnut bread: amazing with or without the honeybutter.
A gift from the chef, marinated eggplant salad on a home-baked chip. I don't think I've been anywhere with an actual chef, let alone was who sends out complementary treats!
One happy Kellapillar!
My entree: Chilean seabass with roasted beets, mashed sweet potato and truffle buerre blanc. Major foodgasm.
Even the menu was gorgeous.
Our "dessert appetizer", another gift from the chef. Peanut brittle and homemade chocolate truffles!
I'm not a big cobbler person, but this wild blueberry cobbler was to die for. Mmmm..
I couldn't finish everything and I took quite a bit home, but it still tasted delicious a day later in a cardboard box. I don't think I've been anywhere with take-home boxes that weren't styrafoam!

I just realized it's time for me to go to work! Oops!

Later Bloggies


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

From The Very Hungry Kellapillar.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Veggie Garden Pizza and Graduation!

I love pizza and I happen to be married to a pizza fiend. Instead of measuring the cost of things in dollars, he measures them in Little Caesar's five buck Hot N' Readys.

"That costs four pizzas!"
"If we cut back on X, we could save six pizzas a month."

You get the idea.

The other night, I had a vegetable drawer full of stuff that needed to be used, so I whipped up a whole wheat pizza crust from the recipe from Better Home and Gardens, slathered on some homemade pizza sauce and piled on every veggie I could find.

Here she is all decked out in eggplant, mushrooms, sweet peppers, spinach, arugula, garlic, and onions. I used real cheese because I haven't yet found a non-dairy cheese I like and I'm a little leary of cheeseless pizza. Another adventure for another night.

10 minutes later at 350, I added a little black pepper and some grated parm, and here it is:

I thought it was amazing, but Sam was a little disappointed. "Where's the meat?"
I guess I need to go buy Sam some meat, because I've forgotten for the past few months...

Oh well. This is a great way to use up random veggies. You can just buy a pizza crust, use a mix or find a good crust recipe online or in a cookbook. This one was only ok, but I think my yeast might be a little too old. I'll try again another time.

And...I graduated! It's really weird to NOT be a student anymore. I jumped right out of high school and into college and worked right through without a break, so this newfound freedom, delicious as it is, is kinda scary.

But I'll get over it:)

My parents (The Hungry Mommy and Daddypillar?) and paternal grandparents. This is where I get my good looks, intelligence, etc. :)

I love my Sam!
Have an awesome Monday!


Saturday, May 1, 2010


I've heard this term tossed around a lot and I always thought it was kind of silly. Either you're a vegetarian or you aren't. The more I think about it though, I acknowledge that there's a whole lot of difference between a non-vegetarian who occasionally eats fish or a salad with some goat cheese and a non-vegetarian who eats meat three times a day and washes it down with a big glass of chocolate milk. The difference is huge, so why shouldn't it have a name and be considered a separate eating style?
I've been toying with vegan cooking and eating for a few months now, and I love love love it. I still eat whatever Mom cooks when I visit though, and I might order restaurant meals with a little meat, egg or dairy. My diet is largely plant-based, but I do still include some animal products, so I guess I fall into the camp of "Flexitarianism," and I think I'll stay this way for awhile. I think I've found a nice balance for me that feels good to my body and doesn't trigger my obsessive tendencies, as veganism tends to do.
What do you think about flexitarianism?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Violently Chocolately

The weather sucks and I've been having mean chocolate cravings all day, so I decided to fight fire with fire.
My baking supplies are a little sparse right now, but this Brownie Recipe from Fitness Magazine is pretty simple, so I fired up the Kitchen Aid and whipped up a batch. It calls for 4 tablespoons of butter, so you could sub Earth Balance or Smart Balance Light if you want vegan brownies. I also used about 4X the chocolate chips the recipe called for...
I baked it for 18 minutes, and the middle was still gooey, but I like it that way. Here's what I got:

With my ooey gooey piece out of the middle. Seriously, I don't know what I even bother to bake stuff sometimes. I got really insane and devoured it with a scoop of Soy Dream chocolate fudge brownie.

The verdict?

Oh. My. Gosh.

A big, gooey bowl of chocolatey amazingness with more chocolate on top.

And I feel like I won't want chocolate for a week. Take that craving!

But soooo good.

The Very Hungry Kellapillar

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cake Fight!

This is what happens when I don't pay enough attention to my husband. I brought some cake home from work, and Sam kept trying to get me to watch some CollegeHumor videos with him and I wanted to mess around on my computer, so he grabbed a handful of cake and smeared it all over my face!
I couldn't have that, so I pulled a big glob off my face and smeared it all over his. Eventually, it turned into this:
Kinda looks like we've been playing in a sewer.

I still have frosting up my nose.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I'm finished. No more tests, no more tuition or textbook bills, no more jumping through hoops. Four years of non-stop working my tail off and I'm finally graduating!
Granted, a BS in English isn't the most prestigious degree, and no one is going to be banging my door down for me to analyze Tennyson or Joyce for them, but at this point rest means more to me than money.
So I'm sticking with my job in childcare so I can hopefully get a promotion. That way, I'll be bringing in decent income from a job I love while I try to get my writing career off the ground.
I've reached another landmark this week, which really can't be measured or displayed like a diploma, but I feel it's just as significant.
This morning, my jeans were a little tight, so I got the little orange measuring tape from under the bathroom sink.
The difference is, this time I didn't freak out when I saw I've gained a 1/2" in my thighs. I got rid of my scale long ago, but that measuring tape still lurked under the sink for whenever I felt masochistic. So what did I do?
I threw it in the trash, put on some comfier clothes, and sat down to read Fablehaven. I was much more concerned with the Sphinx's plot to open Zzyxx than my thighs. A few years ago, I would have cried and downed a pint of something cold and creamy and/or planned a new diet and exercise program to start tomorrow. When I'd fall off that wagon, I'd gain more weight and wash, rinse, repeat.
I've struggled with weight and body image all my life, but especially since my eating disorder in junior high, when I existed on 600-700 calories a day and lost forty pounds in three months. I've yo-yoed between 130 and 185 since then, but now I'm right in the middle, about 155 or so on my 5'8" frame, which the books say is healthy but feels a little uncomfortable, but I'm not stressin'. I've been working with Intuitive Eating for the past year and a half or so, and I only feel that I've really made progress in the last two months while I've been experimenting with a more plant-based diet. I can hear my body signals so much easier, I naturally choose healthier foods and I've been exercising because I want to. In the last two weeks, I've even been eating less because I've been less hungry. I think my body is ready to let go of a little extra weight. Either way, I'm fine. If I lose, great. If not, that's ok too. If I gain, no biggie. I'll just have to buy bigger pants and everything else in my life will stay exactly the same. Weight gain isn't the apocalyptic event it used to be.
I think I'm finally free of disordered eating and body image. I'm seeing myself clearly for the first time, and I can honestly say I love my body, flaws and all.
To me, this is just as valuable as graduating from college.

No if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to Fablehaven.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sleepy Sunday post.

I hope everyone out in the blogoshpere is enjoying wonderful weather this weekend! I haven't seen a cloud in days and flowers are popping up all over the place, tree branches are weighed down with blossoms, and little birds are hopping around with beakfuls of twigs to build their nests. This was one nasty winter, and I'm soooo glad it's over!
No recipes today, but thought I'd leave you with a few silly Louka pictures and a survey question.

We know who wears the pants in the family.

I was working at my desk, and she just hopped up and wedged herself right in. Of all places.

Today's topic: Comfort Food

Are you totally free of emotional eating, or do you have a favorite comfort food? I think it's funny how different people have totally different foods. I love sweet things like my chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and the chocolate/peanut butter combo always works. Notice all the peanut butter cups and thumbprint cookies and stuff all over my blog.
Sam, on the other hand, likes meaty stuff like pepperoni pizzas and bacon burgers.
Do you think emotional eating is always bad, or is it ok sometimes? I think a good cookie can brighten any day, but constant emotional eating isn't the best thing for obvious reasons. Do you struggle with this? How do you keep your hands out of the cookie jar every time you have a rotten day?

Nap time.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Almost done!

I graduate one week from tomorrow! Four years of working my tail off and I'm finally getting my BS in English Creative Writing! I'm staying with my current job for the summer and I'm going to try to get my novel published, so life is good and let's see how everything works out, huh?
So here are some of the culinary adventures I've been up to, in no particular order:

Green smoothie making in my new Blendtec! This one is banana, papaya, and kale with a little almond milk.

More creative lunches. This is seitan with barbacue sauce (Amber Shea, avert your eyes!) and a salad topped with homemade baked kale chips! When I first made the seitan, I thought the texture was a little weird, but I found it gets lots better after it sits in the fridge overnight or even for a few days.

Chocolate peanut butter thumbprint cookies, to feed my pb and chocolate addiction. I found these on Pursuing Balance, so go say hi to Meredith and pick up this yummy recipe!

Banana softserve, courtesy of my Blendie. I got a huge case of overripe bananas from work, so I peeled them all and stuck them in two plastic ice cream buckets in my freezer, so I just pull a few out and blend whenever I want ice cream! I usually mix it with cocoa powder, but it's more photogenic this way.

Congratulations to any other students for finishing another semester, and double hooray's if you're graduating.


PS- Louka, my kitty is curled up next to me asleep, and she's snorting like a little piglet! I've never heard a cat do that.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lazy Treats and Fake Foods

I've seen recipes for homemade Reese's cups, and because Reese's are so dear to my heart, I tried them. Then I got lazy and started skipping steps, and eventually, this is what I came up with.

Kella's Lazy PB Cups:

Fill some muffin cups or a silicone muffin tin about 1/4 full of chocolate chips.

Nuke for 1 minute. When they come out all melty and delicious, add a dollop of peanut butter to each cup, like so:

Stick 'em in the freezer and wait. This is the hardest part. In about twenty minutes, you have some chilled, chocolate and peanut buttery disks. Not Reese's, but something amazing in their own right. Takes care of that chocolate-peanut-butter craving.


Next Topic: Fake Food

As I wandered the grocery aisles yesterday, I got a little sidetracked reading labels of some horrendous, "health foods" filled with artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated oils, dyes and preservatives, HFCS, artificial flavors, etc. The only reason they were toted as "healthy" was because they were low in fat and calories. People! Low calorie and fat content does not equal healthy! Breakfast cereals, nutrition bars, drinks, packaged snacks, diet desserts, it's everywhere!
It makes me sad, but I think people get so wrapped up in society's body ideals and dieting that they completely ignore what they learned in 4th grade health class-eat your veggies, food is fuel, eat a variety- and focus only on the top two numbers on the nutrition label. Anything goes as long as it's low-cal. I'm guilty too; I've gone through a sugar-free pancake syrup phase and I've choked down more than one meal-replacement bar. It's tempting, with sites like Hungry Girl, creating low-fat low-cal low-food versions of popular foods, usually filled with sugar-free puddings, diet cheese and cake mixes.
Listen to your body. You'll get much more benefit from a handful of almonds than a HFCS laden granola bar. Real maple syrup is healthier and more satisfying that sucralose-filled sugar free syrup.

Also, fake food hides under another veil:
I've read tons of books and articles about switching to a plant-based diet, but quit reading as soon as they recommended stocking up on soy deli slices, chik'n nuggets, dairy-free cheese, and Fakin Bakin. Why do we have to replace these products, when so many foods are naturally vegan and far more nutritious?
If you're cutting back on animal products, do yourself a favor and ditch the Tofurky and stock up on fruits and veggies, whole grains, legumes, and raw nuts. Focus on adding in healthy foods instead of subtracting other foods and replacing them with half-rate substitutions. Instead of not-meat or un-meat, call it seitan, or nut pate. Call it what it is, because truly nutritious foods deserves to be enjoyed in it's own right, and not be compared so something else.

Eat real food, be real healthy.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Move over Lunchables!

Remember those nasty things? In Elementary, the cafeteria introduced their own version of Lunchables complete with cold cuts, crackers and dried-out veggie sticks. I tried one to be cool once...I'll take greasy cafeteria food any day.
But don't worry, I've got you covered for lunch, with not one, but TWO yummy recipes I threw together in the name of using up leftovers.
For fun, I decided to try Chocolate Covered Katie's Chopstick Challenge. I bought a bunch of fun chopsticks in China last summer, so I eat with them all the time, but I'm always up for a challenge.
Here we go:

Recipe #1: Orange-cashew seitan

1/2 daikon, cut into matchsticks
1 C chopped cabbage (or bok choy if you really want to get fancy)
1 T sesame oil
1/4 C water or broth
1/2 small can mandarin oranges, drained
2 T orange juice
2 T soy sauce
1 t apple cider vinegar
2 T minced chives
6 oz seitan, cubed (this is a guestimate. I just threw in a big cutlet. Also, feel free to omit or use tofu if you don't do gluten.)
1/4 C cashews

Saute the daikon and cabbage in the sesame oil until tender. Add all other ingredients and stir-fry until mixed and heated through. Eat by itself or on a cooked grain. I put mine on millet.
Eat with chopsticks! (note: millet is not the easiest thing to eat with chopsticks!) Serves 2

Recipe #2 Hash-brown tofu scramble

1/4 chopped onion
1/2 chopped bell pepper
1 small potato, grated, thinly sliced, or cut into matchsticks
handful of spinach
4 oz. firm tofu
1/2 tomato
3 T snipped chives
1 T nooch
salt, pepper, tumeric, and cumin to taste
Salsa and diced avocado for topping

Spray a skillet and cook the onion, pepper, and potato until tender. Add the tomato, tofu, and spinach. Add chives, nooch, and spices. Stir until everything is cooked and the tomatoes start to get saucy. Top with avocado and salsa, then devour. This one is more chopstick-friendly.
Serves 1 if you're hungry, 2 if you're willing to share.

Stay tuned for dessert!


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Meant to be?

About an hour after posting yesterday's "To run or not to run", I check my mailbox and found a letter from a group called Team in Training, a group that participates in athletic events like marathons and adventure hikes to raise money for blood cancer research. I've been looking for a way to volunteer or do SOMETHING for someone else, and I don't think it was coincidence that this ended up in my mailbox the day I decided I want to make running a part of my life. I RSVPed to the information meeting in three weeks, and until then I'll work on running to see if this is something I can do. Can I really run a half-marathon by the end of October?
Maybe helping people with leukemia will give me the push I need. I guess if I'm not up for the half-marathon, I can do an adventure hike. I'm a decent hiker already and if I can hike eight hours through the bamboo jungles of China, I can hike through Zion National Park.
Thoughts anyone? Am I going overboard? This feels right to me.
I got up early to go for a short run this morning before class. I was out for about thirty minutes, and I ran most of the first half and power-walked the uphill ending. I felt great when I got home, and I love that rosy-cheeked feeling. I want to make this a habit.

Have an awesome Thursday.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

To run or not to run?

"I don't run unless something's chasing me; and even then I prefer to hide,"
That's been my running motto most of my life. My nickname in school was 'slowpoke', my gym teacher made us run laps if we showed up late and the longest I've even run at once is a mile. I've done that twice in my whole life.
I read a lot of health and fitness blogs, and people seem to like running. What is this elusive "runner's high"? I've never understood.
I'm curious though, and I've decided to try running. I've actually run a little bit for two mornings in a row, which is the most I'v ever done! (Yes, I know how pathetic that is) You know what? It was actually fun! I woke up to a foot of snow though, so I was stuck in the indoor track, but I ran anyway, or tried to. I ran off and an for about a half hour both days. I've been skimping on cardio lately so it was harder than it should have been, but I really liked it, and I'm looking forward to running outside as soon as the ice melts.
I notice sometimes that running sounds really good when I'm angry or wired. Maybe there is a runner in me.



Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Say it ain't seitan...

I'd never heard of seitan until I started reading vegan blogs, but I looked it up, and I get some vegetarians avoid it on principal because it's too "meaty" tasting. My curiosity was piqued.
So I ran down to a local store that specializes in emergency food storage and bought a carton of vital wheat gluten.
I found a few different recipes online, so I decided to try a chicken-style version and a pepperoni version you bake in the oven.
I mixed the gluten with the spices, broth and soy sauce. I can't remember the last time I followed a recipe to the letter, but I figured I'd better learn to do this right before I play with it. So here's what I got:

I love kneading this stuff, it's stretchy and globby. Mom, you should have taught me not to play with my food!
So I separated it into two blobs, and I made 3 sausage shapes with one section and rolled it up into tin foil and popped it in the oven at 350 for 75 minutes, like an obedient little cook. I separated the other half into four cutlets and boiled it in chicken-flavored broth with some onion and ginger for an hour.
It poofed up pretty far, so I had to switch the biggest pan I own. After an hour, I had this:

They looked like they were 'sposed to, but they were still pretty spongey, so I threw them on the griddle for a few minutes to let some of the broth cook out.

They firmed up a bit and I sawed off a little piece to taste. Really interesting. Too salty, so I'll probably leave the soy sauce out next time, but they texture was better. I boxed them up and threw them in the fridge and once they cooled, they had firmed up.
The pepperonis? I opened the oven and laughed.

They escaped!

So what do I think of this stuff? I honestly don't know. I might play with the recipe a little more, but I'm not jumping for joy or anything. Also, I had some tummy troubles after eating about half a cutlet for lunch. I've never had trouble digesting wheat products, but straight-up gluten might be a little rough.

What do you guys think of seitan? Does anyone have a really good recipe or any tricks?

Have an awesome Tuesday,

The Kellapillar.