Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Size Beautiful AND Healthy

So, I feel like I need to write a post on what this blog is really about. I write a lot about internal and personal beauty and that how you feel about yourself is very very important. However, I think I need to redefine the line between viewing yourself as truly beautiful and viewing yourself beautiful by someone else's standards. Gal's we're not going for beautiful by other people's standards; we're going for beauty by your standards and feeling completely comfortable and confident in your own skin. 

Granted it has taken me a little while to get to this feeling. Good gravy, I am lying I am still not completely to this point; I still sometimes feel the need for outside confirmation that I am looking pretty each day. I do have it easy, having a boyfriend and all, but that doesn't give me the excuse to depend solely on his kind words to have a great day. Each and every one of us has to find a happy place, a place inside where we feel genuinely pleased about how we look in the mirror. We need to be okay with ourselves through thick and thin; not cave under the heavy pressures of magazines, TV shows, and other girls. 

So, I could rant about this for three or four more paragraphs but for your benefit I will cut myself short and give you a quick tip that I learned from the great Angela Liddon that helped me turn my focus in the right direction. I strongly encourage you to run to your closet right now! YES! That means now! Go and grab all of the pants you own; whether it be jeans, yoga pants, (yes, even the Victoria Secret one's with the sequins!), corduroys, and gym shorts and Sharpie out the number. Then, in it's place right the word "healthy." The size you are right now, whether it be a low, high, or middle weight, is what you weigh and it's just a number, like your pant size. We are not labeled by the number inside our pants (that no one but us sees!) we are labeled by how our body is functioning and if it is functioning healthily. I know this post probably seems like a quick jumble of thoughts that I half-heartedly shared with you guys, but it is, in fact, something I feel very strongly about. So, seriously, run to your closet! Now! Run, Forrest! RUN! 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Mushroom Marsala

After a day of studying away wit Prince Charming I finally made it home to help my mom cook dinner. Now, dinner is always a huge controversy at the Troxel house; my brother, will never eat anything my mother makes, so he stays content with frozen foods. My father, dabbles in and out of vegetarianism with my mom, and I am a hard core vegan. (And proud of it!) However, my parents are slowly migrating my way and have discovered that mushrooms are a wonderful and filling meat substitute. Needless to say, after a few bickering moments my mom and I decided to give Chloe Coscarelli's "Marsala Mushroom Ragout" our own little twist! 

Mushroom Marsala


1 tablespoon of olive oil (to heat pan) 
1 whole onion finely chopped
16 ounces of shiitake mushrooms (cut into bite size pieces) 
A hardy shake of Montreal Steak Seasoning (our personal favorite)
1/4 Marsala Wine
2 tablespoons of minced garlic (we like our garlic)
1 cup of organic vegetable broth
2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro 

The Process: 

Heat the oil on medium to high heat in a large skillet. Add the mushrooms, onions, and garlic and sauté until soft. Add Montreal Steak Seasoning, a pinch of salt, and garlic and stir until mixed. Then add Marsala Wine and vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a boil, then let simmer for approximately 20 minutes. 

*Note: While the Marsala was simmering my mom and I decided that we need something more, so we again took Chloe's idea and added Polenta. Chloe insists on frying the Polenta but my mom and I simply bought some organic Polenta from the store, sliced it, and baked it in the oven until crispy. (In my opinion, it was just as good.) 

This is a quick easy, fine restaurant, tasting dish that I highly recommend for not only vegans but everyone. Enjoy! 


Pass It On

A few weeks ago my parents were at a Starbucks Coffee shop not far from our house, they were going to buy not only a afternoon "pick-me-up," but a bag of coffee for the week as well. (At the Troxel household there are three very serious coffee consumers, my mother, father, and brother, all of whom prefer lots and lots of creamer!) As they slowly made their way up the line to the register they gave their orders and waited to pay, not paying much attention to their surroundings. However, when they got to the front and gave their card to purchase their goodies the smiling cashier she said, "The man in front of you has already taken care of it for you." 

My parents, quite taken aback at this random act of kindness, preceded to thank the elderly man gracefully for paying for their $17.00 bill. However, the man, instead of willingly taking the thanks, told my parents that it was a usual thing for him. Once a week this man buys coffee for one person or couple behind him in line, it is his random act of kindness, and he strongly encouraged my parents to pass it along. Needless to say, my parents and I now both buy coffee for one person behind us when we stop at Starbucks. This act isn't to be recognized or to gain attention, but simply to pass along the idea of doing "nice" and kind things. I know society and the media have shed light on these random acts before, but again, that is defeating the whole purpose of the act. It's simple, sweet, and genuine. Pass it on.    

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Happy Birthday!!!

 So, after looking over my blog I have noticed a few things, first off: my blogging amount is seriously lacking. Second, I mostly have posted about pointless things. Third, most of my posts have had to do with birthdays. Well. . . Oh well! Here is another one for you! 

So, Prince Charming recently turned the big 18! And I knew from the moment I opened my own present (the juicer), that getting him a gift equally amazing and thoughtful was going to be a challenge. So after weeks of trying to find the perfect gift, I was relieved when he told me all he wanted was a cake. Now, don't be fooled, he specifically asked for a vegan cake, wait! He asked for a RAW vegan cake. Holly-Shmolly! (For those of you who are not aware, a raw vegan is someone who does not eat anything that is cooked above 118 degrees Fahrenheit. So. . . In short, this was going to be a challenge.) 

So I began my Google search for recipes that I could tweak and make my own; I looked and looked. . . And finally settled with a Lemon Blackberry Cheesecake (Minus the Cheese). Sounds good right? 

And it was! It turned out perfect and was exceptionally tasteful. However: Let it be known that you will be in the kitchen for a awhile, and you may need more than one food processor. :) 

I adapted this recipe from a recipe I found online, (but actually can't find anymore!) so let's be aware that I was not the first maker of this cake, it was some other creative genius. Nevertheless, here is the recipes and instructions for how to make the cake. Have fun! 

Lemon Blackberry Cheesecake 


2 1/2 cups raw cashews (preferably soaked overnight)
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp lemon zest
1/3 cup plus 3 Tbsp agave nectar
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp coconut oil (warmed to liquid)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract and seeds from half a vanilla bean (other half reserved for topping)
2 Tbsp organic dried lavender flowers
1 cup fresh organic blackberries

Blackberry puree:
1/4 cup blackberries
1 Tbsp agave nectar

Cream Topping:
1/2 cup raw cashew pieces (preferably soaked overnight)
1/2 cup coconut water
3/4 cup fresh young coconut meat* (or additional soaked cashews if not available)
2 tablespoons agave syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla and seeds of half a vanilla bean (the other half of the one you used for the filling)
1/4 cup coconut oil (warmed to liquid)

The Process: 

To prepare the crust, spray a 6 inch spring form pan with nonstick spray.  Process hazelnuts and sea salt in a food processor until the hazelnuts are fine crumbs, then add the dates and process until the mixture holds together when squeezed between your fingers. Firmly press crust into the bottom of prepared pan. Set aside.

To make filling, drain cashews and combine them with lemon juice, and zest, agave nectar, coconut oil, sea salt and vanilla in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Remove the filling from the food processor, stir in lavender and divide evenly between 2 bowls. Place half back into the food processor and add 1 cup blackberries. Puree until smooth and scrape back in the bowl. For the blackberry puree, using an immersion blender (or you can rinse out the food processor) combine the 1/4 cup blackberries and 1 Tbsp agave nectar and puree until smooth. Drop the filling alternating between the vanilla and blackberry in about 3 tbspful amounts over crust in pan, until all is used up, sort of in a checkerboard fashion. Tap on the counter to level (keeping pan level).  Drop some of the puree in teaspoonful amounts over the top of the cake (reserving some for serving) and swirl with a knife to create marbling. Place in the freezer until it is set, 6 hours about.  After that store in the fridge until ready to top. 

To make topping, drain cashews and blend all ingredients until smooth in a food processor, and set in the freezer about 30 minutes until a frosting consistency. Place in a pastry bag and pipe decoratively on top of the cheesecake.  Store in the fridge when not enjoying.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Crossing the Bridge

Well, I finally did it. I crossed the bridge and am now an adult, and yes, if you care to know I do feel old! The Dancing Queen song doesn't even apply to me anymore because I am not seventeen! UGH! However, one good thing did come out of today, Prince Charming got me a present. A present that is the king of all presents out there. . . He got me a juicer! 


Needless to say, girls: I know jewelry is pretty and sparkly but we're going for practicality here. A new promise ring or something you can make delicious apple carrot juice with? Hm? Point made! 

Morning Glory

I am an unusual teenager, or well, I am in my book. In the morning instead of grueling and dreading waking up; the moment my alarm goes off I am up and wide awake. I think I got it from my Dad, the inability to sleep in, even on weekends, because my Mom can easily sleep in till noon or later. Of course, it would be nice to sleep in one or two days to catch up on some sleep. But I also feel that why waste your time sleeping when you could be awake and active? In Dean Karznases's book "Ultramarthon Man" he talks about how on average, we sleep a total of 26 years in our life time, that's like 1/3 of your life! Fruitful thought, yes?

Nevertheless, it is a lot easier to wake up in the morning with the question of "What yummy breakfast am I going to make myself today?"

Here is one of my many favorite morning meals, Sie's BIG Breakfast Bowl (adapted from Rip's Big Breakfast Bowl from the book Engine 2 Diet.) The ingredients vary from bowl to bowl but the one pictured above has the following:

Sie's BIG Breakfast Bowl


1 Ripe Banana (Half of it mashed and half sliced)
2 Barbara's Wheat Hockey Pucks (a.k.a. Barbara's Shredded Wheat)
1/3 Cup of Rolled Oats
1 Tsp. of Ground Flax
1 Cup of Misc. Fruit (Strawberries, Blueberries, and Raspberries.)


Tuesday, October 30, 2012


After two hours of ruthless drilling he still manages to make me smile.
This blog is primarily about my life lessons and experiences throughout life, right? Well the short answer is "yes." However, I often fail to mention the importance of dependence during your life, or my life. For instance, take a professional athlete. . . Hope Solo in this case. Hope Solo is an extremely talented athlete on her own and has worked her dairy-air off to get to where she is today. But. . . Think about her parents and how hard they have worked and encouraged her through life. Better yet, think of the personal trainers, the coaches, and the teammates that she spends her time with. All of those people are essential for athletes; they are also often referred to as a "team."

I have many marvelous and extraordinary people on my team, not to mention the people that were on my team in the past who were equally so. . . I have my parents and family, who by far are the base of my life. I have my trainer and workout partner: "Carpino" as well as my teachers and academic tutors. I also have my tennis coaches: "Bill", "Roberto", and Dar. These people help me through my day each and ever day. They have mentored me, inspired me, and taught me things that I will never ever forget. You could say that, in a way, they have molded me into the person I am today, which is something that I am very proud of.

However, to be honest, one of the most influential people I have worked with over the years has been one of my coaches: Dar. And I just wanted to take a few minutes and dedicate this post to him and all of the valuable life lessons he has given to me over the years. In fact, I just happened to write my college essay about him. . . And well, here it is. . . 

Whenever I described him my words followed a subconscious template; the man with the thick mustache who iswearing fluorescently flamboyant colors. Everyone knew his name and many of myyoung successors had “hit” with him at the same time and place as I had inyears past. He was a fantastic coach; there was no denying that fact. He lovedtennis and the kids he worked with almost as much.
            His repetitiveness could befuriously annoying at times; he was a man who could make any player exhaustedboth mentally and physically, especially me. Usually when I played tennis I wasthe grinder; the person who got every shot back and wore people down in everyway. However, when Dar and I hit, he was the one grinding me; getting everyshot and tearing my lungs to pieces. He would work me till I had nothing left.
            But then again, strangely, I lookedforward to my hits with Dar because it was the feeling afterward that made itall seem right. It was much like the feeling the “runner’s high,” where yourendorphins sing beautiful songs because you are too tired to be anything buthappy. It was great, that moment of losing yourself, like being on top of atall snowy mountain looking down over all of the beautiful things you haveaccomplished.
            These weren’t the only things thatDar allowed me to accomplish either. In his own unique way he taught me how tonever give up, to fight with everything I had, because in all truth, my futuredid really depend on it. He taught me that it didn’t matter if you werevertically challenged, or if you thought you were to slow, or you didn’t hithard enough; whatever you had within yourself was enough to conquer almostanything.
            He taught me that I had enough ofeverything to be the best I could be and that as long as I went with my gutfeeling, that every shot would land inside the court.