Watermelon Smoothie

One thing I’ve missed since becoming vegan is Cookout’s watermelon milkshake during the summer. For those of you that don’t know, Cookout is a restaurant that was founded in NC. Specifically in Greensboro, NC, only 30 minutes up I-40.  There are other locations in various southern states. The restaurant sells “cookout” food like burgers, hot dogs, and barbeque, among other things. It also has an extensive milkshake menu of over 40 different flavors. June-August you can enjoy a watermelon milkshake, with chunks of watermelon…delicious. It was one of the only variations of watermelon I would entertain other than just eating it fresh in slices, chunks, or just with a fork straight from the whole things. But, being allergic to dairy, and later vegan I had to give it up. Since committing to full fledge veganism, I’ve learned not to give up my favorite things, but rather to reinvent them. Here’s my reinvention of the watermelon milkshake. img_16591

Ingredients:

  1. 2 cups frozen watermelon chunks
  2. 1 frozen banana
  3. 2 scoops vanilla vegan protein powder ( I use Vegan Smart)
  4. 2 cups almond milk

Directions: Put all the ingredient in the blender and blend until smoothish, add more almond milk as desired. I like mine to still have some chunks of watermelon, but you may prefer it to be completely smooth. Enjoy as a post workout snack or summer treat!

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Healthy.Nappy.Nerdy.Mommy. Update.

marvel cap running
Out for a 2 mile jog.

So its been a LONG time since my last post. Over NINE MONTHS to be exact. I think the same thing happened last year. I started strong, but once the school year got going, (I’m a teacher), I fizzled off, then got going again during the summer. I am going to try really, really, hard to stay active with my blogging. I enjoy it, and I’ve been told a time or two that I’m good at it. My page started to get some traction and I want to keep it going. Here’s a little bit of what’s been happening with the Healthy Nappy Nerdy Mommy, and what’s to come.

Healthy

I’ve been doing some rollercoastering in this department. Pretty much for the same reason I stopped blogging….life. I’ve gained 30 pounds since my lowest after having my son, 4 YEARS AGO. Its not baby weight anymore, its just plain weight. If I gain 30 pounds again, I’ll be back to the weight I was after I left the hospital with him. I’ve got to get back in gear. Exercise is not my problem. Since rejoining the YMCA, I usually workout 90 minutes to over 2 hours at least 4 times a week. I know it is nutrition. I have been trying to follow mostly a Whole Food Plant Based lifestyle. That’s a step further than vegan. It means no meat, no dairy, no eggs, no refined sugar, no white flour, and no oil. At first glance you see all the things I can’t have, but there are so many better things I CAN have. I love fruits and vegetables. I also love cooking, so I am definantly capable of doing this. I’ve seen videos on Facebook of these women that look so young and vibrant into old age. I want that for myself and my family. My ultimate goal is to have an organic garden and cook most of our food from our own backyard.  As Physical and Health Education teacher I have to be able to talk the talk and walk the walk. My body, animals, and enviornment will be better off as well.

Nappy

I started locs. I’ve thought about for a while. Last summer when I cut my hair it was a step towards this. I could’ve done it without cutting my hair, and part of me wishes I had, but I think I am going to enjoy the process of growing my locs from baby twist. Last summer I cut my hair to a fade, in December I cut it down low, and in April I started locs with finger coils from that growth. I started them on my own first. I did like the results and tried again with my husband’s help. I helped me part the hair horizontally, to make sure there was some uniformity. I don’t want perfect locs, but I also want some neatness to them. We shall see what this journey brings.

Nerdy

Most recently, and I mean VERY recently. I’ve gotten back into Pokemon Go. I started playing it when it came out 2 years ago, and fell off. Two days ago my husband and I started playing again. I did my first raid and my first micro transation within a game. I’m excited because I’ve never been a gamer before, aside from pressing buttons repetitively on some fighter games. I have been of course continuing to watch Anime. We’ve been watching My Hero Academia, Borotu, and Black Clover. We also started One Piece. It is an old anime that neither my husband nor I had ever watched. We also, started watching Sword Art online again. I was not blogging when all the Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War mania was fresh. I’m not going to backtrack and do seperate post, I am just going to say that I though both were AMAZING. As a Blerd or Black Nerd, I was more than ecstatic about what Black Panther brought to the table. As a marvel fan period Infinity War was pure gold. Every summer, save the one right after having our son, we’ve gone to Otakon. I am not sure if we will go to Otakon this year. But I know we will be going the Raleigh Supercon.   Moving foward you can look to hearing about more Pokemon Go, Anime, and movies.

Mommy

Our son is 4 now; we have moved out of the Troublesome Three’s. Night time potty training is much better, although not perfect. I am told things don’t really taper off until 6, and that 6-10 are the best years. God, I can’t wait for that. This boys is really driving me crazy. I love him though, as coo coo for coco puffs as he is. This year I hope to get him into a Pre-K program. Either way I will be making sure he is ready for Kindergarten. As he’s gotten older he has shown many gifts and interest. He likes singing and dancing. He also seems very inquistive and into nature. Any anybody who know myself or him, knows he is a ball of endless energy. I may have a musician, athlete, or scientist in the making. I can’t wait to see what he is interested in. I have no intentions of making him conform to anything. Whatever his niche is, I will nuture it to the fullest.

Of course there’s been more happening in the past 9 months, but I didn’t want to ramble on and on, plus some of it deserves it’s own post. Here’s hoping I can keep things going. What are some changes or updates that’ve happened with you?

2 Super Late Movie Reviews: Wonder Woman and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Wonder Woman and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 were two awesome super hero movies that came out this Spring. Unfortunately, my husband and I did not get the chance to see them on the big screen. We can usually get around to the movies we really want to see eventually, although almost never on opening night or even the first week of its release. We went on a date night earlier this summer and intended on seeing either Guardians of the Galaxy or Wonder Woman, but the timing wasn’t right for the showings so we ended up seeing Spider Man Homecoming. Its was good, but not what we wanted to see that night. We finally got to see Wonder Woman, which everyone had been raving about, at my parents house, and we bought Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 when it came out on blu ray.  Here’s what I thought of both films.

Wonder Woman

wonder woman cosplay
Wonder Woman Cosplay @ Otakon 2017

Overall I really enjoyed Wonder Woman. It kind of felt like the same movie as Captain America: The First Avenger, but different. I usually prefer Marvel over DC and not just because Marvel movies tend to be better. To me Marvel characters are more real somehow, I connect to them better. Wonder Woman did a good job at getting that connection. Maybe its because this was a leading role superhero that was a woman. DC seems pretty heavy on the white males, as far as their big movies go. Although DC actually seems to have more diverse comic, Marvel movies showcase diversity more to me. My favorite of the Marvel Universe are the X-men, not the movies particularly, they are hit or miss. But the whole, X-men ideal has undertones of the Civil Rights Movement and the Holocaust. But Wonder Woman seemed to have what many of the DC movies of late have been missing. Any movie that brings in historical fiction is going to be a win for me. So maybe that fact that it felt like Captain America was a good sign. The villain of the movie caught me totally off guard, which was weird. I can usually catch a twist. I get the feeling of, this all seems so easy, who’s the real bad guy. But for some reason that didn’t happen this time, I was with Wonder Woman thinking General Ludendorff was Aries. Maybe it was because David Thewlis, who played Sir Patric Morgan the real Aries, was also Lupin from Harry Potter. Professor Lupin could never be a bad guy? I guess I was wrong. All in all it was a win in my book. I hope the next DC movies can continue in its footsteps, make for an epic Justice League, and win on the DC Universe movies.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

That’s a lot to type, I’m just going to abbreviate it as GGV2. GGV2, was action packed, funny, and sentimental all in one movie. Once again, Marvel strikes gold for me. Not platinum or diamond like the first Avengers or Captain America: Civil War, but a solid gold. I would pick a best part of the movie but I can’t. Baby Groot added the cute factor, and Drax the Destroyer is always good for a laugh. The big tugs at the heartstrings for me were of the relationship between Star Lord and Yondu and Gamora and Nebula. Any

Gamora and Nebula
Gamora and Nebula cosplay @ Otakon 2017

movie with a parental relationship issue is going to be a tear jerker. It probably should have been expected since Marvel is Disney now and Disney is always taking parents from their children. Unlike my character analysis in Wonder Woman, I knew right away that Ego was no good. I mean, his name is Ego, so of course it would come down to him wanting everything for himself and not even caring about his “son”. The Gamora and Nebula relationship was personal for me. I have 2 sisters and technically I’m the middle child, but we never grew up with our oldest sister (although I love her the same). So in our household it was like I was the eldest. I kind of felt like Gamora in the movie. Sometimes win you’re growing up with your sibling, especially being less than 2 years apart, everything turns into a competition of who’s the best, or who did this first, rather than just being their for each other. I found myself thinking, “was that me?” “Did I just win, while my sister got body part, after body part torn off?” I’m talking emotionally of course, neither of us received any physical abuse. In every Marvel movie I look for the connection to the next BIG Avengers film which will be “Avengers: Infinity War“, there was only the mention of Star Lord being able to hold an infinity stone without dying. We always wait for all the credits to be over, and these didn’t really give a glimpse into what’s to come next. I was a little bummed that Quill lost all his godly powers, but hopefully there’s some twist where he’ll get them back. Although it would make more sense if they didn’t because Ego was never his father in the comics. Once again another good Marvel movie, I can’t wait for more.

Both Marvel and DC have some impressive movies coming up leading to their big team movies Justice League and Avengers. I can only count down the days until the next big film, hopefully I’ll get to see them sooner than months after their release.

The Terrible Three’s

angry toddler

I’m not sure who came up the “terrible two’s” but they got it wrong. For us, its been the terrible threes. When our son turned two everything was peachy. He could walk, talk, and was pretty much potty trained. He was started to understand the world, he wasn’t a baby anymore and there as a lot that he could do and enjoy about life. As a family we could enjoy having some “conversations”, and going on various outings. When he turned 3 all of that changed. I take him in public out of obligation and necessity. I either have to because there’s no one available to babysit or I do because I of course can’t keep him hidden in the house forever. I’ve tried different tactics to deal with his behavior. We’ve done charts, reward systems, being super strict, being super nice, time outs, spankings, talking, taking away privileges, but nothing seems to work. He just seems bent on doing what he’s going to do. My pet peeve is when I’m venting out for advice people say “maybe you should spank him” or  “just try being firm”. DIDN’T YOU JUST HEAR ME FREAKING SAY WE’VE TRIED EVERYTHING!!!!!!!” I am not opposed to spanking my son, but I also know its not the only solution and isn’t the right solution all the time. I just hate the assumption that we spoil him, because of how he acts. I don’t buy or give him whatever he wants, whenever he wants. My husband and I make very clear boundaries and expectations, he just doesn’t follow them. These are some of the things that are making year 3 almost unbearable.

1. Potty Training Regression

We started potty training our son at 1.5 by 2 he pretty much had it down packed. We had even got to the point when we didn’t have to wake him up in the middle of the night to prevent night time accidents. Now that he’s 3 he wets himself every other day at daycare and at night even with us waking him up to go before bed. We’ve always restricted beverages 2 hours before bedtime. I know that know he’s busier and therefore not stopping to potty. I’ve just decided that we have to make him go potty every hour whether he wants to or not.

2. Not understanding punishment/reward

Sometimes I go to spanking him, because he doesn’t seem to understand the whole punishment/reward system. For example, if he does something wrong in the morning before I drop him off at daycare he doesn’t seem to connect that that’s why he has lost a privilege when we get home that evening. Even when I’ve had a firm discussion that morning and explained what’s going to happen. In his 3 year old mind I’m not even sure he remembers what he did. Whereas if I pop/spank him that moment he knows why it happened and there’s an immediate response. He doesn’t seem to understand what’s happening when he say you can get a toy/treat if you do this or that. He just wants the toy/treat once he hears about it.

3. Attitude Problems

I call my son a “three-nager”, because that’s how he acts. He has a major attitude problem. Not only does he do the normal toddler tantrums with whining, crying, and stopping, but he also talks back, makes faces, and mocks. In these situations when my immediate response would be too aggressive I send him to his room, because I may initial feeling is to do things I don’t comfortable broadcasting for the world to read online.

4. Blatant Disobedience

It one thing for him to not understand something, but he’s at the age now that he knows exact what he does. We can say “come here” or “stop jumping” and he continues as if we said nothing at all. These are the times that really get my skin boiling because usually he causes some possible or eventual harm or injury. For example, we tell him to sit while he is eating, he then runs and jumps around everywhere. This usually results in him choking on whatever he was eating and sometime throwing up all over the floor. It almost as if we should say the opposite of what we want in order for him to do what we intended on him doing.

Whenever we talk to someone reasonable and not someone who has there own judgments or preconceived notions of our parenting they say things like “it’ll get better” or “its just a stage”. Its not ALL bad, although right now I feel like the bad is outweighing the good. He has his moments when he is sweet and cuddly. Like when he helps me cook Sunday breakfast or when we snuggle up with some popcorn watching a movie. I try to concentrate on those times when I want to stuff him in a trash can. I’m just trying to do the best I can to make him understand that there are consequences for his actions, and he can’t go around in life doing whatever he wants to do. Parenting is so freaking hard. As a teacher I can really understand the parents that say “I just don’t know what to do” when they get negative phone calls about their child’s behavior. I just hope that what we are doing now will have some impact and by the time he gets in school or even further an adult in “the real world” we haven’t failed him and he will be able to survive as a good, contributing citizen.

Short Cut Finger Coils

When I first went natural and did the big chop, I did finger coils often. I would actually spend time taking small sections of hair and coiling them around my fingers. Then a week or so later I’ll uncoil them for springy curls. Now I cannot fathom spending that much time on my hair. When I cut my hair last month I immediately searched youtube and pinterst for style ideas. I loved being able to wash and go but I wanted some options for when I wanted to get a little fancy. I was getting ready to start my first week back teaching from the summer and my fade was no longer fresh. I though “how can I have a nice style, without having to take time and money at the barber or hair dresser?” Luckily I stumbled across a video on how to do finger coils in a fraction of the time. Here’s what I did:

  1. Wash hair with sulfate free shampoo. Organix Coconut Milk Shampoo
  2. Condition and detangle hair.  Aussie Moist Conditioner
  3. Deep condition for 30 min-1 hr. (Aussie Moist + EVOO + coconut milk)
  4. After rinsing apply a palm full of EVOO.
  5. Spray hair liberally with water
  6. Rub gel and curling cream into hair (eco-styler/ Cantu coconut curling cream)
  7. Brush hair in circles with a paddle brush (soft side) until coils form
  8. Continue to spray water as needed as use brush your hair.
coiled TWA
coiled TWA

This process was so simple and the deep conditioning left my hair so soft. After I wore the coils for a few days I uncoiled them for a crinkly curly look. I will do this probably every month in between cuts, when my fade grows out. What other styles do you do with your TWA?

Hiking: New Found Love

I’ve never been a girly girl. I’ve also never been super outdoorsy, but as I’ve been mt pic2stepping up my fitness game, I found myself looking for new interesting ways to workout. One day I did an #askfb to find a good place to jog and a coworker suggested Pilot Mountain, a nearby mountain and national park. My request for a jogging trail turned into a hiking adventure. I did another #askfb to see who’d be willing to accompany me and a couple of my workout group members at work volunteered. We planned out first hike after one of our teacher workdays, before we left for the summer.

Over the weekend before our hike a looked online to get an idea of what trail to do. They were labeled as easy, moderate, and strenuous. I’d never been hiking before so I didn’t know how difficult their scale was, it didn’t even know if I could handle the easy trail, would I be scaling the side of a mountain? I ask a few other teachers that had been before and they were confident that I’d totally be able to handle the moderate trail and more than likely the strenuous. The group I was with decided we would play it safe with a moderate path.

We drove to the mountain and parked. When we first started we were all thinking “hey this isn’t so bad” after about the first mile that changed. We started to be walking continuously uphill. After about 2 miles it was only steep steps upward for the last mile. We took a few breaks and could see the gorgeous view, it gave us some relief and motivation to get to the top. Once we arrived the feeling was indescribable. We were on top of the world. I felt so accomplished, I’d never done anything like that before. We took another, shorter route back to our cars. To be honest the walk down was worse, because we were tired, hungry, and sore, but there was no other option but the press on.  Once we reached the bottom we discovered we had accidentally taken a strenuous trail. We had already done it so it was just another achievement for us. We planned on taking 2 more hikes over the summer. This hike empowered us to continue our workout group over the summer via Facebook and planned more hikes.

For our second hike we actually did a moderate path, as we had a newcomer that wasn’t comfortable with the strenuous trail, which was fine. It was still a decent distance and had some hills. I didn’t like that the path was narrower and therefore closer to the wooded area, it made me very nervous. The moderate path also didn’t have any picturesque views, it was almost just like taking a normal walk with the fear of spiders and snakes.

I plan on taking a hike (no pun intended) at another mountain, Hanging Rock, which is further away, but I’ve been told the trails and views their are beautiful. Hopefully I can get a babysitter to make this happen on the regular, because I truly enjoy hiking. It is so therapeutic. All exercise is, but hiking is on a different level. Its like your one with nature and the earth itself. So here’s to the next adventure and many more to come.

My Big, Fat, Vegan Family Dinner

I have recently transitioned from trying to be semi-vegan, to trying to be fully vegan. I guess that still makes me semi vegan, but now I putting more effort into making my meals all animal free instead of planning to eat meat with dinner or when eating out. I truly believe it is the healthiest option, but I still struggle from time to time. I also don’t want to become a preachy, “extreme” vegan. Its everything that I hate about Christianity, so I’m not going to become that kind of vegan. My husband is on board with “trying it out” he tries and likes most of my vegan cooking and is open to having more vegan meals, he is not committed to becoming fully vegan and I have no intentions of forcing him. We were visiting our home town before heading off to Otakon in DC, so I decided to show my family that being vegan can be delicious and not a sacrifice.

I discussed my reasoning for being vegan. I get into a civil discussion with my dad about how veganism is beneficial for diabetics. He is all about keto and low carb. I informed him that I diet rich in whole grains, and whole food carbohydrates in moderation is good for everyone including diabetics. He refused to believe myself or the science based research I presented to him. He also discredits his argument because he doesn’t want to eat pasta, corn, or potatoes, but enjoys chips, candy, and ice cream. That’s his idea of moderation. He also drinks sugar free energy drinks. UGH! So instead of diabetes, he gets cancer. But, there’s no winning because we are one in the same and will argue our point to the death before admitting the other is right. He did agree to try to soup and appetizer part of the meal. He did not eat the entree or dessert, because it would be “too many carbs”.

These are the dishes I served for my cousin, sister, aunt, mother, and father:

Corn Chowder

corn chowderThis was the first dish I served and the unanimous favorite. I cooked chopped potato, celery, onion, and corn in the crock pot with vegetable stock. I took 2/3 out and pureed with almond milk then return to the pot. Those swirls you see in the bowl is smoked paprika, the ingredient that made the dish, no bacon required.

 

 

“Krab” Cakes

krab cakesThis was the second favorite item on the menu. I made this from hearts of palm and jackfruit. There is also lemon juice, chives, mustard, vegan mayo, bread crumbs, and old bay seasoning in them. On the side is a vegan remoulade.

 

 

Baked Pasta

This dish started out as a lasagna, then a skillet lasagna, then just baked pasta, because it pastacan’t really be lasagna without lasagna noodles. It was my least favorite dish because the cashew cheese was not as smooth as a wanted. Before being vegan and allergic to dairy, I was a cheese-a-holic. Now I’m finding when you’re using vegan cheese less is more.  But everyone else who ate it enjoyed it ( no pasta for Mr. Low Carb diet). There was eggplant, mushrooms, and zucchini with the pasta, sauce, and cashew ricotta and mozzarella cheese.

 

Key Lime Pie

Last but not least, you gotta have desserts. Learning that I was allergic to eggs and dairy is kind of what got me thinking about being vegan in the first place. I was having to piesearch for vegan desserts, side dishes, and snack so it seemed a common sense transition. The filling for the key lime pie is avocado, cashews, and almond milk. Agave nectar, vanilla, lime juice, and zest are added for flavor. The crust is made from walnuts, almonds, and dates. The purple swirls you see are blackberries pureed with some of the filling. Making this again I won’t use as much milk. This will stop in from being so icy when frozen, and hopefully stop it from melting quickly into a puddle due to the high liquid content.

 

I served this meal with the most love I have ever put into food. My hope is too get people thinking that this is a way of life that will be beneficial for their bodies as well as their taste buds. I’m using the ol’ “catching more flies with honey than vinegar” tactic. Hopefully it will catch on, if not I’ll continue leading by example, and at least taking the animals out of one meal every once in a while.