January 2012 / Carmen Varner // Lifestyle Blogger & Social Media + Blogging Coach


Where is the love?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Where is the love?
I am exhausted from the killing.
White flag.
White dove.
Is anybody willing
to commit to peace
instead of murder?

Life's Little Lessons: Part III

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Remember: there is a moral for each occurrence, each situation, each day. What have you learned from life so far?

Life's Little Lessons: Part I
Life's Little Lessons: Part II

10. Do something - Anything. Get up off your butt and get out of the house. Or else you'll forget this day. Or else you'll regret this day.

11. Make memories - Whether it's the most enthralling day you've ever had or one of the worst you've ever had, make it worth your while. You don't want to look back tomorrow and say, "What did I even do yesterday?" There are 24 hours in each day. There's nothing worse than wasting time.

12. Make the most out of it - It may not be the best day, the best food, the best date, the best encounter, but make the most out of the whole experience. See the positive, rather than the negative. There will always be a pretty even mixture of the good and the bad, it just depends on what you decide to focus on.

13. Things can change -  The world is a crazy, confusing place. Things change, they alter. Just roll with it. Life is an ocean. There are constant waves, some are enormous and overwhelming, while some are smaller hiccups. Regardless if you wipe out, the sun is there, the water is nice, the fish are swimming. Plus, other people are surfing the waves of life too. Get up, brush your shoulders off, and ride the next wave. Each one is different. Things change, remember?

14. If you're looking for real love, you won't find it here - If you're looking for real love, don't come around here. You won't find love any place you look. The more you search for it, the farther it hides. Like most rejections: don't call love, it'll call you. Love will find you when it wants to. Love is really stubborn.


Simple 6 Sauté

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

When I come up with easy cheap vegetarian recipes, it usually involves me opening the fridge, seeing what's in there, then mixing random ingredients. This is a classic example. I've been purchasing an abundance of fresh produce these days, so I have to use them up before they go bad. This recipe is somewhat similar to Soyrizo Surprize, but has a lot more veggies. The more the merrier though, am I right? 

Well, this scrumptious Carmen Varner concoction contains six, you heard me, six veggies. That's almost one's entire daily recommended intake of vegetables. Say what?! It's insanely easy to eat healthy when it tastes so darn good and fills you up for hours. Here you go! Try this easy cheap vegetarian recipe yourself.


Simple 6 Sauté
1 red potato
1/2 onion
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
1 big handful green beans
1 green bell pepper
2 cups spinach
1/2 onion
1/2 package of Trader Joe's Soy Chorizo

  1. Chop up all ingredients. Heat a pan on the stove. Add olive oil.
  2. Add chopped potato and onion. These take longer to cook thoroughly.
  3. Once the potato/onion mix begins to look cooked or starts to brown, add green beans.
  4. Once the green beans begin to brown, add zucchini and yellow squash. Since there's a plethora of veggies, this part takes 10-15 minutes for everything to cook. But it condenses greatly. 
  5. Once the zucchini/yellow squash is soft, add bell pepper. Cooking tip: How do you know if it's soft? Answer: Taste it.
  6. Now add in your spinach. It looks massive at first, but spinach shrinks into an itty bitty little thing.
  7. After the spinach is all shriveled and shrunken, add in your soy chorizo. The chorizo itself takes hardly any time to cook.

There you have it, my friends. You've got yourself an easy cheap vegetarian recipe. Make this and share with one of your own buddies! It's super simple, yet divinely delectable. The soyrizo is pleasantly spicy, but all the veggies add flavor and texture. From trial and error, I have developed the order in which to sauté everything. When I added the potato later or the spinach earlier, I ended up regretting it. But try it out for yourself. Half the fun is in the experimentation. 

Bon appétit!

Life's Little Lessons: Part II

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Life's Little Lessons is a series about the moral of each day. I am a strong believer in positive thinking and seeing the good in the bad. After all, when a horrible thing happens, you can either wallow in your sorrows or find the deeper meaning in the experience. Even on the darkest of days, there is a raison d'être or reason for existence.

Here is what 2012 has taught me, but before you read on, take a look at Life's Little Lessons: Part I. Hope you're having a happy new year!

7. Never assume anything - A friend of a friend said he saw your girl eating dinner with a blond guy. You spotted a questionable photo of your brother on the web. The teacher postponed the midterm paper, but didn't say when it was due. What does that mean? Nobody knows. It's literally impossible to understand what's going on in someone's brain, unless you happen to be a mindreader. There may be a valid reason for these instances or there may not be. Either way, do not presume anything without asking or figuring out the true meaning.  

8. Occupy your mind - There are instances in life when you may feel an internal struggle, something just is not right within. You can't put the feeling off forever, but sometimes it's good to give yourself a break. The only way to make the time go by is to occupy your mind. As a word of advice, do not look at the time. Doing so makes things a million times worse! Read a book. Meditate. Turn off your cell phone. Write some poetry. Take your mind elsewhere.

9. Don't over think things -  A male friend interrupted a girl friend of mine as she was discussing something to say: Stop over thinking. Girls overanalyze things. Both genders are capable of doing so, but regardless of your sex, keep it simple. Don't waste your life pondering about things that never were or never will be. Don't squander your life attempting to understand stuff that you'll never know the answer to. Let it ride, let it be, then you'll see.

How to Cook Brussels Sprouts

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Have you ever eaten Brussels sprouts? Did you know the correct term is Brussels sprout & not brussel sprout? Because I certainly didn't. I guess I've been saying it wrong all my life. Regardless, this is about how to cook Brussels sprouts not how to correctly use it in a sentence.

Before we get started, Brussels sprouts contain protein, fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, & folate. All of which are necessary daily nutrients. I've heard so many references about Brussels sprouts being disgusting, but they're not at all as gross as one would assume. Add them to any meal to create a healthy vegetarian recipe.

Since turning vegan, I've been experimenting, eating, & cooking with many vegetables I'd never have touched before. I decided to pick up some fresh sprouts from the store (ironically I purchased my sprouts from Sprouts), but I wasn't sure what to do with them. Here's what I came up with:

Step 1: Obtain & wash Brussels sprouts.

brussel sprouts

Step 2: Cut Brussels sprouts in half.

brussel sprouts

Step 3: Add olive oil, salt, & pepper. Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees or until outermost layer starts to brown.

brussel sprouts

That's pretty much it. This is simple & it tastes scrumptious. Make these for an easy cheap healthy vegetarian recipe for one or for all! Alternatively, you may add garlic salt, rosemary, vegan butter, or other spices if you so wish. This is a basic template to get your Brussels sprout taste buds flowing. Go out to the store, pick out a few good looking sprouts, & get to cooking! 

Bon appétit!

Life's Little Lessons

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Every day there is a lesson to be learned. Each moment is new, so life is a never ending experience. Even on the dullest days, there is reason for being. Here is what I have gathered from this short but already fabulous year. 

1. Spend time with those closest to you - When all is said and done, one of the most fulfilling things a person can do with their time on this planet is to be with their favorite people. Don't let the year pass you by. Don't forget those who are always there for you. Whether you enjoy the company of your family, your work buddies or your high school homies, it is important to keep in touch with them throughout the year. 

2. Have alone time - In order to function, it's very necessary to set aside time for yourself. Life's daily hassles  are often daunting, so make sure to have some breathing room. Turn off your phone and tune out the outside world.

3. Give a gift - Gifts are fabulous. Who doesn't love a little present? It shows a token of appreciation, along with the fact that you spent time thinking of that person. If you're on a budget, you don't have to purchase anything. The best things in life are free, right? Give your stressed our roommate a massage. Pick some flowers for your mom. Take your precious puppy out for a walk. Everyone wins.

dog walking

4. Help someone in need - In the big picture, no good deed goes unnoticed. If your friend needs someone to talk to, be there for them with open ears. Sure, sometimes their problems are trivial, but you may truly be of help to them. Or maybe your new neighbor needs assistance moving their couch in. Do something that isn't for yourself.

5. Do something out of your element - So you had the weirdest, most awkward experience going to a dance club, but you did something new. The smoke machine, the flashing lights, the annoying Top 40 songs, the creepy guys in ties, and the scantily clad ladies in too-high heels are all a part of living it up and trying something different. 2012 is supposed to be refreshing. Why waste a new year doing old things?

6. Exercise often - We all know that it's recommended to get some sort of activity every day, but many people forget it. You don't exercise for your grandma or your archenemy, you should do it for yourself. This is your body, take care of it. Go on a hike. Go to the gym. Blast some music and dance around while you cook or clean. 


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