Pumpkin Beer & Upton’s Seitan Bacon Pizza

For the past three years Neil and I have done a harvest beer/pumpkin beer tasting (2010, 2011, 2012) and this year was no different except we are now on the other side of the country where there is a major lack of pumpkin beer options. Anyways we decided to have our friends over and we did a blind tasting of 6 different pumpkin beers, or rather it was 4 pumpkin beers, one pumpkin cider and one combo or pumpkin beer and oatmeal stout.

Of course a pumpkin beer dinner party is complete without dinner so first I whipped up some appetizers of chips, salsa, veggies and hummus and then for dinner we had vegan caesar salad and pizza.  Now this post is really about the beer and the pizza so let’s first do a run down of the pumpkin beers (and cider) that we had and then I’ll share my recipe or a yummy fall pizza.

2013 pumpkin beer

Okay so the beers we tried were:

  1. Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale
  2. Elysian Night Owl
  3. Ace Hard Pumpkin Cider
  4. St. Ambroise Pumpkin
  5. KBC Pumpkin Ale (Trader Joe’s)
  6. KBC Pumpkin Ale + Stockyard Oatmeal Stout

Favorite of the night: Elysian Night Owl. Runner Up: Ace Hard Pumpkin Cider

Now on to the tasty stuff the pizza! As you might already know we are big fans of pizza around here and I really enjoy creating fun and new topping combinations. Last nights combination was a bit of a risk but I would say it was a success, a delicious success! I have been working on a few recipes using Upton’s Seitan products and this pizza uses my absolute favorite product of theirs, seitan bacon. Seriously this stuff is so good!

If you have experienced vegan bacon in the past you may have had what I like to call “cardboard” version, you know the one that you cook and it gets really hard and loses any flavor it’s just gross. Then there is the tempeh and coconut versions which are both tasty but not so versatile. Well now Upton’s has a seitan bacon and it is seriously so good. It cooks up well, it tastes great and I have used it for so many different recipes although I have to say a good ol’ BLT is my favorite way to use it, however this recipe is probably my new favorite way to use it now.

Okay, okay let’s get on to the recipe!

upton's seitan bacon pizza

Upton’s Seitan Bacon Harvest Pizza Pie

Preheat your oven (and pizza stone if you have one) to 550F. Roll out the dough cover with a layer of pesto and then top with all of your toppings. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove. Let rest for a few minutes. Serve. (Easy right?)

Little note about Upton’s (from a recent press release of theirs): Upton’s Naturals—a Chicago company specializing in a wheat-based meat alternative, seitan—has opened West Town’s very first 100 percent vegan establishment, housing their production facility, a top floor yoga studio, and Upton’s Breakroom: a vegan cafe with a modest menu featuring the company’s seitan, soft serve ice cream, and pastries created in-house by Chicago-area native Kelly Peloza (author of The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur and the soon-to-be released Cheers to Vegan Sweets).

So Chicago friends if you’re in the West Town neighborhood stop on by and check out Upton’s Breakroom and enjoy a yoga class or a vegan ice cream! I just checked out the menu and a vegan pastrami sandwich sounds so good. I am hoping we make a Chicago trip soon and this will for sure be on our list!

Disclaimer: I was provided coupons for free Upton’s Seitan products. All opinions are my own and I really am excited about their new location! 

You can check out my very first Upton’s post back in April 2011 here and my recipe for Upton’s Chorizo & Mushroom Potato Skins.

Q: Have you ever tried Upton’s seitan?



My Big Fat Revenge Finale & Giveaway Winner!

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Oxygen Network. All opinions are my own.

I can’t believe that the season finale of My Big Fat Revenge airs tonight 9/8c on Oxygen.  What a season it has been! Who else has been following this season? I have to say it’s pretty inspiring to watch others achieve their health and fitness goals. I’m ready to take charge myself and start accomplishing my own health and fitness goals such as putting myself first more often, losing the baby weight and (finally) running a half marathon.

So before I reveal the winner of the giveaway check out this sneak peak clip from tonight’s season finale:

So now for the giveaway winner. First I want to say thank you to all 53 entrants your stories were all so inspiring and I am planning on responding to each of you over the next month. I really appreciated the time you took to answer the giveaway question and seriously what amazing answers (go take a minute and read a few).

The winner of this giveaway was chosen my random.org and the winner is:


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Committing to Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation

The following post is sponsored by Girls Gone Sporty on behalf of Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation. As always all opinions are my own.

I am just going to say it I’ve been struggling with making time for workouts.  I started off October on a good foot and was doing T25 but I didn’t stick with it (surprise, surprise?). Now we’re getting closer to November and it’s time to recommit and this time really commit so I am going to say it here and now to all of you:

I am committing to four weeks of participation in Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation program.

Right now we are in pre-season mode so I am getting ready to officially start the program this Monday. In pre-season there are eight tasks to fulfill and let me tell you they really put things into perspective. For example the ‘Get Real’ task forces you to confront everything that is holding you back or rather how you are holding yourself back.  All the excuses that I make which lately have included lack of sleep, Neil’s schedule, too many other things to do, too late, too rainy, ect.

Once I laid out my excuses I then set my goals for the next 12 months. My overall goal is to lose 30+ lbs in the next year.  This month my goal is to lose 5 pounds, my three month goal is to have lost 10 pounds and to be able to once again run a 5k with ease, my six month goal is to have lost 20 pounds and to be back at my 10k pace and then lastly at 12 months I want to have lost 30 pounds and be ready to run a half marathon.

So task three was to gear up based on where you will be doing your workouts inside, outside or at home.  Since most of my workouts will be outside or at home I really have nothing to get but I do need to get the tire on our BOB looked at because it keep losing air; anyone else have this problem?

Task four is the kitchen makeover and I have to say besides the pumpkin beer for our tasting party this weekend there really isn’t anything that I needed to clean out. We have been making a real effort to keep our kitchen filled with whole and healthy foods so it felt good to see that we have been keeping up with it.

Next I did my Fitness Test which included a flexibility test, running, push ups, plank and a wall sit. It felt really good to get out and run even if it was just for the fit test. I’m slow but honestly my pace wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated but nevertheless I am still in the beginner category because I have taken such a long break from consistent workouts.

After my fitness test i did my weight and measurements which is always something I dread.  I don’t plan on going back and doing either again until I have completed the four weeks. I really don’t want to get hung up on my weight and measurements and would rather focus on how I feel. I do however think that a monthly check in especially when doing an activity like this is important so that I can gage results.

Let’s see the last few tasks I completed where to organize my schedule to include time for the prescribed workouts and I took time to go over the first weeks meal plan. Unfortunately there is no vegan plan so I have to go with the vegetarian and make swap outs. This is the one thing I haven’t cared for with the program because I ended up having to take about 45-60 minutes to rework my meal plan for the month so that it was dairy and egg free and I had to make my own shopping list because once you customize your own meal plan your shopping list they provide you is useless.

So here I am at my last task before the official start of the program; I need to say it out loud. So now I have. I am committing to this program and I am ready for a change. I am ready to commit to myself and to improving my health and fitness levels.

What are you committing yourself to this month?

100 Things Before 100

I have been meaning to do this for years and I finally sat down and did it. Here is my list of 100 things I want to do before you turn 100. Otherwise known as a “bucket list”.


1. Buy an Airstream or something similar.
2. Travel to all 50 states.
3. Take a romantic trip with my husband for our 25 wedding anniversary.
4. Run a half-marathon.
5. Run a race in 10 different states.
6. Practice yoga on a beach.
7. Take Edith on an overnight hike.
8. Go on a two night backpacking trip.
9. Go snowboarding at Mount Hood.
10. Become a postpartum doula.
11. Complete my baby wearing educator certification.
12. Become a birth doula.
13. Become a child birth educator.
14. Practice yoga everyday for one year.
15. Run 1,000 miles in a year.
16. Write a cookbook.
17. Travel to Spain (again) and show Neil all of the places I love.
18. Buy a house.
19. Visit the Portland Art Museum.
20. Go on one date per month with Neil for an entire year.
21. Watch all of the Godfather Movies.
22. Visit Disneyland.
23. Learn French.
24. Visit Ireland.
25. Run a 10k.
26. Write a book (not a cookbook).
27. Move to Montreal.
28. Ride in a hot-air balloon.
29. Pay off my student loan debt.
30. Skydive.
31. Visit all seven continents.
32. Dine at Candle 79.
33. Become a midwife.
34. Become a placenta encapsulation specialist
35. Run a mile in less than 8 minutes.
36. Run a sub 27 min 5k.
37. Run the Disney Princess Half Marathon.
38. Run the Wine and Dine Half Marathon.
39. Do the Goofy Challenge.
40. Become a yoga instructor.
41. Go for a hike in the Grand Canyon.
42. Visit the Red Wood Forest.
43. Have six months of living expenses saved.
44. Run Hood To Coast.
45. Run a Ragnar Relay.
46. Run the Vermont relay 100 on 100.
47. Float in the Dead Sea.
48. Put a piece of bubble gum on the Gum Wall in Seattle.
49. Try hot yoga.
50. Attend Wanderlust Tahoe.
51. Make homemade ice cream.
52. Become a good photographer.
53. Visit Germany.
54. Attend a Portland Timbers Game.
55. Go to a World Series Game (when the Yankees are playing).
56. Attend SXSW.
57. See Chuck Ragan live.
58. Visit Vancouver, BC.
59. Spend a child free weekend at The Essex.
60. Have a second child.
61. Travel to Wawa, Ontario (and visit Emma & Derek if they still live there).
62. Vacation on Lake Superior.
63. Tailgate.
64. Play a round of golf.
65. Become fluent in Spanish.
66. Adopt a dog.
67. Reach my “happy weight”.
68. Gamble in Vegas.
69. Visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
70. Become a NASM certified personal trainer.
71. Visit a Trappist brewery in Europe.
72. Go to a resort in Bali.
73. Write for a magazine.
74. Byline in a healthy living magazine.
75. Byline in a parenting magazine.
76. Try Barre3.
77. Complete the entire Long Trail.
78. Visit all Canadian Provinces.
79. Go for a run in Central Park.
80. Brew my own beer.
81. Have a professional massage once per month for an entire year.
82. Take a cake decorating class.
83. Speak at a conference.
84. Go Wine tasting in Oregon.
85. See Eberts ‘102 Movies You Must See’
86. Watch all Best Picture nominees prior to the Oscars.
87. Host a huge Oscar party.
88. Make a vegan creme brulee
89. Eat every meal at home for a month.
90. Audition for The Amazing Race.
91. Visit Crater Lake.
92. Spend the weekend at the beach in Newport, Or.
93. Take a photo next to the Goonies House.
94. Spend the night in a Yurt.
95. Go fruit picking along the Hood River County Fruit Loop.
96. Hike to the top of Multnomah Falls.
97. Go camping at Acadia National Park.
98. Make pickled green beans.
99. Knit a pair of slippers.
100. Kiss the Blarney Stone.

What’s on your bucket list?

P.S. this was harder than I thought it was going to be!

Weekend Things 10.11.13


– Thinking it’s time for me to update my wardrobe and that this would be a good place to start.

– Planning on perusing this book and making a few more recipes.

– Wishing someone would cook this up for me this weekend.

– Where’s my lounge chair? aka I want to drink this

– We’re planning on doing some Fall activities this weekend and I am thinking that this would be a good end to the weekend.

Share a link of your own in the comments!

October Challenge Insta Meals

We are 10 Days into our October Meal Challenge and we are going pretty strong. We have been eating at home more often, although we have been out a few times due to a friend in town and laziness but overall have been doing really well. We have had two coffees out but have been making ours at home which is a huge money saver. We have also been making our own treats as well such as banana ice cream. So far we are about 2/5 through our budget which is pretty good since what we have will last us until at least the 12th and we don’t have any big plans besides a date night for the remainder of the month.

Here are a few of the things we have been eating (sorry for the Insta photos but I can seem to find my camera in the mess of this new house):
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Vegan Poblano Mac and Cheese with Sauteed Spinach

        • Whole Raw Cashews 2.50
        • 2 poblano peppers 1.00
        • vegan shredded cheese 0.45
        • organic black beans 1.19
        • pasta 1.29
        • onion 0.50
        • nutritional yeast 0.50
        • Olive oil 0.50
        • lemon juice 0.25
        • spices 0.25
        • Sauteed Spinach Spinach 1.89
        • Garlic 0.10
        • Olive oil 0.25

Total $10.67; Portions 8; Price Per Portion $1.33 –> This was eaten for dinner, lunch and snacksScreen Shot 2013-10-10 at 8.11.30 AM

PB Banana Chip Ice Cream

  • 3 frozen bananas $1.50
  • 1 tablespoon PB $0.25
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate chips $0.25
  • Water $Free

Total $2; Portion one large portion for one hungry toddler and one hungry adult

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Homemade Pour Over Coffee: honestly we could save even more coffee by buying less expensive coffee but what can I say Neil is a real coffee snob (okay so am I). A nice bag of single origin coffee from our favorite local coffee shop goes for $16-18. Basically that’s 8 pots of pour over coffee (total 20-24oz of coffee divided by 2). So a Mug of coffee in our house goes for about $1 per person which is still about $3 less per person than it would be if we bought a 12oz pour over out.

We do plan on saving a little bit more on coffee because Neil is (finally) getting back to roasting his own beans. Oh the joy of having a husband who likes to be self sustainable! That means we will be cutting our coffee spending in half and to be honest since we already have the green beans to roast it’s basically free this month since we won’t have to take out of this months budget! Our goal is to have Neil roast for the remainder of the month (although I see at least one more bag of roasted coffee in our future). – Side note would anyone be interested in learning how to roast their own coffee?

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Creamy White Bean Hummus Pesto

Full disclaimer on this one I am now an ambassador for Eat Well Enjoy Life Hummus so I received the hummus for free. As you can see on my Instagram I have been gobbling it up with the help of my little mini-me.

  • 2/3 cup white bean hummus – Free (thank you EWEJ!)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth $0.50
  • 6 portions of gluten free pasta $2.60
  • Frozen Asparagus spears $2.10 (got on sale for 1/2 off!)
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn $0.25
  • salt and pepper to taste

Total: $5.45; Portions: 6; Cost Per Portion $0.90

As you can see we have been doing pretty well! We have been eating out of our pantry as much as we can and sticking to more of the basics such as rice, beans and greens. We have only had one night were things went a little awry with our budget due to Neil being sick and desiring some ginger ale, toast, ginger chews and coconut water.

How are you doing so far with your budget?