Cooking · Recipe · Seasonal · Uncategorized · Vegan

Cleansing Squash Soup

Autumn is a time of hearty foods such as pumpkin pies, stews, and heavy breads. Our systems can get overwhelmed with the indulgence of it all. This soup is a great meal to take a break from those heavy foods while still enjoying an Autumn themed meal. It is cleansing and boosts immunity to prep you for when those bugs make their rounds this winter. Add some quinoa or rice to bulk up this soup and make it a nice family dinner!

Ingredients:

  • 4 Cups of Vegetable Broth
  • 2 teaspoons of Minced Garlic
  • 1 Apple, peeled, chopped
  • 1 Butternut Squash, peeled, chopped
  • Carrots, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1/2 Cup of Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon Pumpkin Spice
  • 1 teaspoon of Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut or Almond Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
  • Garnish with fresh greens
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

 

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Step One-

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Peel your vegetables and apple. Remove the seeds from your squash and apple. Chop everything into quarter sized chunks, put your apple aside for later. Fill pot with water and place in squash and carrots. Bring your pot to a rolling boil and let your vegetables boil for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes drain your vegetables from your water and put aside.

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Step Two-

In a crock pot, add your vegetable broth, garlic, carrots, apple, squash, salt, turmeric, brown sugar, cinnamon, coconut oil, and pumpkin spice. Put crock pot on high and let cook for 1 hour.

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Step Three-

Take everything in your crock pot and place it into a food processor, or a blender, and puree until smooth. Place your soup back into your crock pot and let steep on high for an additional 2 hours until creamy.

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After your soup has cooked, add the milk and maple syrup. Whisk well.

Add  garnish, salt, and pepper to taste.

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Enjoy!

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crafting · DIY · Seasonal · Uncategorized

Fall Leaves Canvas Art!

The most characteristic part of Fall for me is the changing of the leaves! The falling leaves are the embodiment of Autumn. So, for my first craft, I thought the perfect project would be to show everyone how to preserve the beautiful colors and shapes of the leaves, and display them in your home. For this project we’ll collect leaves and make a unique wall art display for your home!

What You’ll Need:

  • Iron
  • Wax paper
  • Leaves
  • Canvases
  • Paint/Color of your choice
  • Mod Podge
  • Brushes
  • Paper Towels

Step One:

Get outside and collect some leaves! Pick ones that have vibrant colors and that aren’t dried out yet. Collect as many that catch your eye as you can, since you’ll need a lot for this project (at least 30 decent sized leaves).

Step Two:

If your leaves are wet from rain or dew, sandwich them between paper towels to dry them off for about an hour.

Once you have enough dry leaves, place them in between two sheets of wax paper. Place paper towels on either side of the wax paper to protect your iron and your surface from the melting wax. Coating your leaves in wax and heating them lightly with an iron helps eliminate moisture in the leaf and seal in the color.

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Set your iron to the satin setting and delicately iron the leaves till they have a thin coating of wax on both sides.

Remove the leaves from in between the wax paper. Let cool for 30 minutes.

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Step Three:

Now that you have sealed your leaves in wax, it’s time to coat them in Mod Podge!

Brush the top side of your leaves with one coat of Mod Podge, don’t worry if it looks like your glue isn’t adhering, its just having trouble sticking to the wax, but its still doing its job.

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Example of the first coat of Mod Podge.

Once the top sides of your leaves are dry, flip, and repeat with the backsides of your leaves. This layer of Mod Podge will keep the leaves from deteriorating.

Pro-Tip: If you want your leaves extra flat, press them in between some heavy books for a few hours after following all the above steps. You can add a full tea kettle on top for some extra weight!

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Your leaves should look like this when your all done!

Step Four:

Purchase canvases at your local art supplier Micheals. Choose sizes that go well together and remember to always find the best deals. I happen to prefer Micheals as I can use coupons. Try to go when they are having a sale.

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Some Wall Art Ideas!

Once you have purchased your canvases, pick a base color to paint them! It can be anything you want, I chose brown to match my existing decor and to bring out the colors in the leaves. However, you can pick a statement color like teal or yellow!

 

After deciding on a base color, paint your canvasses. It may take a few coats as my canvases took 3 coats to get the deep brown I was looking for.

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Step Five:

Now that your canvases are painted and your leaves are prepped, its time to put them together.

Plan out your pattern with your leaves before you start gluing. When you’ve found a design you like, paint the backs of your leaves with Mod Podge and glue them down to your canvases. Allow them to dry for an hour or two. If your leaves aren’t flat against the surface, wait for the the Mod Podge to dry, lay down something plastic like Ziploc bags or saran wrap, and then place some heavy books on top.

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Once the leaves have glued to your canvases, paint an even layer of Mod Podge over the entire surface, even the sides. This will give everything a nice finished look and keep the leaves pressed down.

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Don’t worry if your leaves hang off the edge, you can trim off the excess when everything is dry.

You can even add extra layers of Mod Podge if you feel like you need to, just allow them to fully dry before adding the next layer.

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 Pro-Tip:  If you want to get extra fancy and make your project really last you can add a layer of Acrylic Paint Sealer over the whole project. Be sure your entire work surface is covered (I use empty trash bags as work mats) and that you ventilate the area after using the spray.

Once your Mod Podge is dry you can hang your new art work and admire it all season long!

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Life · Monthly Health Check In · Uncategorized · Weightloss

September, That’s a Wrap!

I’m not going to lie, September was a difficult month for me. I lost a drastic amount of weight in the beginning of the month, seven pounds in just over a week. Then I started to feel sluggish and my weight started going back up and continued to yo-yo for the rest of the month. I later realized that a new protein powder I had started using was causing some nasty side effects after a few weeks. I dumped the new powder just in time for my New Hampshire vacation. I left weighing 228 pounds. I tried my best to stay on track while I was away and was able to stay vegan and drink my Shakeology every morning. However, I didn’t stick to my allotted portions and gained 2 pounds, ending the month at 230 and losing a total of 5 pounds. Even though it’s not what I had hoped for, it’s a start!

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My planner, showing my dramatic weight loss in the beginning of the month.

Progress:

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Milestones:

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This month I hit 30 pounds lost!

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Goals:

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September Goals –

I tried my best with the goals I set at the beginning of the month, but I didn’t do as much as I intended. As far as eating more fruits and veggies go, I really stepped it up to incorporate them into at least one meal a day. Moving forward I hope to take further strides in accomplishing more.

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October Goals-

For October I plan to work out more. I’m going to focus more on Beachbody On-Demand workouts because as the weather gets colder I will work on transitioning into a winter workout routine. I’m going to make more of an effort to stick to my dinner plan with my family as there have been a lot of nights in September where I haven’t eaten at home or I just casually threw something together. This month I really want to stay on track with healthy family meals. Lastly, I really need to drink more water! It’s my worst habit, but from now on I will drink 8 glasses a day.

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A New Addition to the LaManna Family-

My boyfriend’s family has been fostering dogs for a while now, and they recently brought home a loving Aussie named Blaze. He was heavily matted and in some serious need of TLC, but everyone pitched in and quickly fell in love. Their family has been searching for a new furry friend since the passing of their beloved Rocky. Blaze has gone above and beyond everyone’s expectations and was officially adopted before the end of the month, and was given a more fitting name, Beau. Welcome to the family Beau!

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My niece Millie’s 2nd Birthday-

I love my boyfriend’s family and how they have accepted me as one of their own. Especially his nieces and nephews! September 19th was his youngest niece, Camille’s , 2nd birthday. We celebrated with a small brunch over the weekend before her big birthday party back home in Massachusetts. Millie’s mom, Chel, has a great blog over at A is for Adelaide , please go check it out!

Meeting my new baby cousin-

My cousin, Tobias Connor Goodenough, was born on September 5th at 10:54 pm to my Aunt Pam and Uncle Dan! I finally got to go meet him and spend some time with his adorable sisters on the 21st! We are so blessed to have this new addition to the family, congratulations Dan and Pam!

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And finally, my trip to New Hampshire-

My family has had a Colon Cancer fundraising team, called Pooper for Pat, since 2011. My family and I attend a big event in Philadelphia in March and a smaller one in New Hampshire every September. It’s a great reason to get together with family and go sight seeing in a beautiful state. Of course, always in the loving memory of my late Uncle Pat, who our team is named for, our Pooper. You can go online and register for our team or donate at Get Your Rear in Gear. I really hope to see some of you there, someday!

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Life · Lists · Uncategorized

Hiking, Crafting, Cooking and what’s in between…

Now that you’ve read My Story , let’s get to know each other a bit better! Here are some interesting facts about me, make sure to tell me something interesting about you in the comments!

1. I love to hike. I’ve only been hiking for 4 months now, but I instantly fell in love the second I started. That doesn’t mean it’s been an easy road. I went through a long phase where my feet were constantly in bad shape and I had to take long breaks to let them heal. Thankfully the right shoes, socks and TLC has defeated the problem and is allowing me to hike to my hearts content.

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2.I was raised on classic rock and it’s the music my soul loves. Play me some Led Zeppelin, Van Halen or Queen and you’ve won me over.

3.I’ve been with my boyfriend for over 5 years now. We’ve known each other since we were kids and started dating the day we graduated High School (I asked him out).

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4. I love the company of animals. I have a dog named Henry, he’s a Havanese/ Poodle mix. He’s seven years old (I cant believe it! He’s still such a puppy). He is a total ball of energy and love, all he wants is to lay on your lap.

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5. I’m interested in all things related to art , but I love crafting. I love the joy of making something from scratch.

6. I taught myself to sew when I was a teenager.

7. I do not drink alcohol, ever. I’m no fun at parties.

8. My whole family calls me Nans, I have a million nicknames in my family, including Nannanators!

9. I love cooking! I especially love finding a great recipe and adding my own twist. I cook for my whole family every night. My dad is diabetic and I’m vegan so putting together a meal can be a challenge, but it’s a lot of fun experimenting and trying new things!

10. I’m in love with movies, especially scary ones! I’m also a bit of an oldie as I enjoy black and white films and I’ve watched some silent pictures. Some of my favorite movies are Jaws and The Birds.

11. As a matter of fact, thanks to Jaws, I’m terrified of lakes, ponds, and the ocean. It’s one of my biggest fears. When I’m in water where I cannot see to the bottom, I immediately believe there’s something lurking beneath me.

12. One of my idols is Frida Kahlo, as the result of a bus accident when she was 18, Frida was in severe pain all of her life and endured 35 surgeries. Her struggle with disability has always inspired me to cope with my own problems.

13. Ever since I saw the movie We Bought a Zoo, I’ve fallen in love with the idea of opening up my own animal sanctuary when I’m much older. I want to save every animal I see, and ever since my boyfriend’s parents started fostering dogs from Lulu’s Rescue and ASF Rescue I’ve been inspired by the dedication and work they put into every dog they rescue.

14. I’m a natural redhead with unruly curly hair. It’s always been a struggle to tame my mane.

15. I can memorize the lyrics to any song I hear after one listen and remember it forever. I constantly have one song or another playing on a loop in my head and my boyfriend likes to taunt me by tricking me into singing old 80s songs cause he knows I won’t be able to stop myself from singing them too.

16. Autumn is my favorite season. I love the colors, leaves, the fashion, and Halloween. It is my favorite holiday because I love everything spooky!

17. I’ve donated to Locks of Love twice,  a total of 22 inches.

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18. I attend Get Your Rear in Gear events every year, in honor of my Uncle Pat who passed away from Colon Cancer. Our team name is Pooper for Pat and we do two 5ks every year, one in New Hampshire and another in Philadelphia.

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19. I’m a collector of  anything that tells a story. A few of the things I collect include antique bottles, skeleton keys, feathers, and old family photos.

20. And finally, my family means the absolute world to me. I love them more than anything. We’ve all been through a lot and we are always there for each other.

Please tell me some facts about you!

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