Spontaneity and Guilt-Free Cheese

I would never use the word spontaneous to describe myself. I actually would choose the antonym of spontaneous. I am extremely structured and organized and I am pretty stubborn when it comes to changing up a routine. But yesterday, I made a quick decision to do this….

New Hair

9 ½ inches gone. It was so fun. I, thankfully, have a good friend in Orlando that does hair so it was not something I had to wait around for ( if that was the case I would have eventually changed my mind). However, within 24 hours of thinking about doing it, it was done! When I texted her, she already had a vision of how my hair would look and started sending me pictures of Hailey Devine. I loved everything about this woman’s hair and could not wait to take a risk! It makes me want to be more spontaneous with more of my life. 🙂

This week has overall been off to a great start. I had the opportunity to sit in on interviews with my principal yesterday to higher an extra set of hands for my classroom, we visited our friends  adorable newborn,  and enjoyed a stroll around the park with a good friend this morning.

Baby Joshua

This morning I also pulled my tiny hair back into a ponytail  and used my Sworkit App to do a 10 minute upper body and 10 minute core circuit workout. If you have not heard of Sworkit before, it is a free app that is perfect for daily circuit training strength and cardio workouts, yoga, Pilates, and stretching. You can choose the type of workout you want and then follow created video routines from 5 to 60 minutes.

For lunch today, I enjoyed a Mexican wrap made with Vegan Cheese. I do not follow a vegan diet. I love myself some grilled chicken, ground turkey, turkey sausage, and a nice steak every now and then. 🙂 But, like I said in my about me, I love to experiment in the kitchen. Ben loves going to lunch at a Orlando restaurant called Dandelion Cafe and often comes home and expresses his love for the vegan cheese they have to dip tortilla chips in. I decided to look into what vegan cheese consists of and now it has become one of my favorite addition to Mexican dishes! I put it on top of rice and bean dishes, Mexican casseroles, lunch wraps, and my all-time favorite, sprinkled on top of tortilla chips!

It may look a little strange, but it is nutritious, delicious, and so easy!

The Kandt’s Vegan Queso:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups cashews, raw
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I use almond milk)
  • 2 Tbsp green chilies (canned) ( save the rest of the chilies because you will want to make more!)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp of oregano
  • 1 tsp of thyme
  • ½ tsp of red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Boil 4 cups of water in a large pot. Add the cashews. Boil for 2-3 minutes then turn off heat and strain out cashews.
  2. Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender. Blend from low to high until silky smooth (about 1 minute)
  3. Store in fridge. Best served warm ( heat in microwave).

Cashews

The queso has two different consistencies. When taken out of the blender/fridge, it should be silky smooth. I use it like this on the rice dishes and on my wraps.When it is placed in the microwave, you will need to mix it around with a spoon and it makes more of a queso consistency.

Vegan Cheese Queso

If you give this recipe a try, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts.

Have you done anything spontaneous lately? What is your favorite vegan recipe?

First Day of Summer Quinoa Salad

Hello and Happy Fathers Day to all of the fantastic fathers out there!

View More: http://ktcrabbphoto.pass.us/benandalana

You have always looked at me with an adored/proud of you/I am for you/never against you/you are my treasure, look on your face. Because of that, I have a glimpse of the way my heavenly father sees me. You are my #coffeedad, and I love you. 🙂

This weekend has gone by so quick. It is officially summer in Florida with the perfect weather during the day and monsoon/hurricane/ are we even safe/ weather coming in around 4:00 pm. After the storms come through it usually results in beautiful unique skies all over the place. Am I right Florida people?

Rainbow Lake Apopka

One of my favorite things about this weekend was celebrating one of my very best friends, Jordan. Her birthday celebrations consisted of breakfast, roller blades, and a hurricane-themed dinner party due to the weather I was talking about earlier. I can go on and on about this girl and her impact in my life, but I will save that for another post. 🙂 She is SO easy to celebrate.

Breakfast Skating Jordan

Going with the summer theme, since today is officially the “first day of summer,” here is a delicious lunch option that we have been enjoying for the past couple of days at home!

Quinoa Salad

Summer Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 + 1/2 cups shelled edamame, thawed, if frozen
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced small
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced small
  • 1 small red onion, diced small
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 3/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Cook Quinoa
  2. In a large mixing bowl toss everything together and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Everything is cut up small, like a chopped salad and even though there’s a lot of chopping to do it can be done in the time it takes to cook and cool off the quinoa.  Ben and I double teamed and the words ” this is so fun” came out of his mouth as he was chucking the edamame.

It makes a huge bowl full – enough to eat for lunch everyday (with tortilla chips, of course) for an entire week or more making it perfect for a pot luck, party or a day at the beach. It’s gluten free and vegan too!

How are you celebrating your dad today? What is your favorite summer potluck dish?

My Teaching Philosophy

Yesterday was such a summer day. My mom came up for the day and we drove to the Disney area to visit my first grade teacher at the resort her and her family are staying at for the week. The weather, the resort, and the company was wonderful!

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Did anyone see Jurassic World yet? The way that this resort was set up, looked like we were in Jurassic World. I told my mom as we were walking around that I felt like a Plesiosaurus was going to pop out and grab us out of that lake.

Anyways, my first grade teacher became good friends with my mom as she worked at the same elementary school that my sister and I attended. Therefore, it was easy to keep in touch. She moved to Kentucky when I was still in Elementary school, so this was the first time I have seen her since 5th grade! It was such a joy spending time with her and her family. She was exactly how I remembered. I bet she couldn’t say the same about me ( at least I hope.)

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Being an education major, I was asked the question all the time “ What do you think makes a good teacher?” Melissa was always the first teacher that popped into my head. Being in first grade, I do not remember more than the fact that she cared for me. I felt cared for, and that, I believe, built trust and and a desire to come to school each day.

I thought I would share my teaching philosophy with you! I am by no means a perfect teacher. This philosophy is simply what I aspire to be. I continue to fail in all of these areas but, by God’s grace, hope to grow as an educator each year.

My Teaching Philosophy

     As a teacher of students with special needs, it is essential to have deep convictions about the value and uniqueness of each and every student of mine. Too often students with special needs are viewed in light of their limitations, but I choose to view them in light of their possibilities. Working from a basis of dignity, I see each student as possessing immense potential. My job as a teacher is to cultivate and release that potential.
Learning is one of the greatest gifts and responsibilities in our world. While some may focus on the deficiencies of special needs children, I feel more attention should be focused on their abilities. It is a natural aspect of humanity to learn and grow. Since every child can learn, I have the privilege and the duty to cultivate that ability. Some may learn more than others and in different ways, but acknowledging and adapting for each student will enable them to develop and progress. As a teacher, it is my joy to know each of my students’ strengths and weaknesses so that I can enhance their learning experience and motivate them to high levels of success. The generational impact of teaching is the most rewarding part of my experience. I have a long term vision for each of my students to succeed as responsible and contributing members of their community. I focus on changing the trajectory of my student’s lives to have the maximum amount of impact in their world.
An outstanding teacher is one who sets high expectations for their students, taking into consideration their background and then developing a compelling vision of what they could become. This compelling vision enables the outstanding teacher to set goals and maintain high expectations through the learning process. Immediate positive reinforcement is essential to maintain gains long term which is why I literally wear a fanny pack. Outstanding teachers manage their classroom well, keeping it running like a well-oiled machine. Consistency with procedures and clear expectations are essential to excellent classroom management. Students must know what is expected of them as well as have the next steps to achieve those expectations. Lastly, an outstanding teacher strives to form positive relationships with their students by making it clear that they have their students’ best interests at heart. When students can tell that their teacher is working for their overall good, it is easier for the student to trust the teacher when achievement is difficult. Students have faith in their teacher when they know that follow through will lead to flourishing.

What do you think makes a good teacher? Who was your favorite teacher and why?

Extreme Home Makeover

Last night I felt like Ty Pennington from Extreme Home Makeover.
Ty Pennington

We have friends that just moved to Orlando and bought a house that needs to be completely renovated. I always wondered why home-buyers did that, and now I completely understand. There is something so special about being apart of creating a home to live in. There were about 10 of us that gathered and we got so much done in a little less than 3 hours. The boys took care of taking the tile out of the ground, while the girls painted three different rooms.I wish I had some before and after pictures to share, but I am still getting used to this whole documenting my life thing. 🙂

Before we went over there, we enjoyed this 5-ish ingredient/ 30 minute healthy and oh so scrumptious dish….



Butternut Squash Lentils

Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion (diced)
  • 1 carton of Trader Joe’s Butternut Squash Soup
  • 2 ½ cups of lentils
  • 1 ½ tbsp of curry powder
  • 2 handfuls of Kale (chopped)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place a large pot over medium heat and pour the oil onto the pot. Once hot, add the onions and saute for 5-6 minutes.
  2. Pour in the carton of butternut squash and bring to a boil.
  3. Add lentils and spices. Bring to a simmer, covered, and let it cook for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Add Kale and cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and enjoy with crackers or tortilla chips on the side.

For dessert, we enjoyed No Bake Peanut Butter Bars from one of my favorite bloggers, Peanut Butter Fingers (click on name for link to recipe).

FullSizeRender No Bake Peanut Butter Bars

This morning I woke up early to get a quick run in before attending an educational training on a software called Boardmaker. I learned so much in this training and I cannot wait to use some activities I created today in my classroom next year!

Boarmaker

Would you buy a house that needs to be completely renovated? Who are some of your favorite healthy living bloggers?