Tag Archives: recipes

Favorite Vegan Blueberry Muffins!

I’ve recently been trying a lot of vegan recipes and I am amazed out how great they have tasted! A lot of people hear vegan and are immediately turned off. The truth is, vegan can be delicious! This is especially true when it comes to sweet treats! Check out my favorite vegan blueberry muffins!


1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar or artificial sweetener

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 cup soy milk

1/4 cup oil

1 cup blueberries

Sprinkle of chocolate chips (optional)

Combine all ingredients and evenly distribute into 6 muffins tins. Top with chocolate chips if you choose. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until cooked completely through.

And there it is! I made a batch of these the other day and they were gone sooner than I care to admit. Let me know if you try this recipe and how you like them!

Exciting news coming up this weekend!

Ellen 🙂


Weekly Recap: Movie Star Grandmother & Awesome Recipes!

I’ll be honest…this week seemed LONG! My husband and I couldn’t wait until the weekend! However, it wasn’t all bad! In fact, there were some pretty awesome moments!

My grandmother (Meemaw), had her 92nd birthday this week. She has been a HUGE part of my life and I love her so much! I have so many memories growing up of doing fun things with her. My favorite memory is standing on the piano bench as a little girl, and Meemaw playing my favorite songs on the piano while I sang along.


She is hilarious, sweet, kind, and talented. She is my grandmother…she is a big part of who I am today.

And doesn’t she look like a movie star?!


That’s on of my favorite photos of her.

Happy Birthday, Meemaw!

In other news, I made some really delicious and healthy recipes this week! They were both really easy and fairly quick. I really enjoyed making these with my husband and we definitely enjoyed eating them!

Check them out:

Weight Watchers Broccoli Mac and Cheese

You can find the recipe and all the points (if you’re using the program) here.


Here is another DELICIOUS recipe, and probably my favorite thing we ate this week:

Weight Watchers Lasagna Soup

Here are the recipe and points.

Follow me @ellenvandever on Instagram to see everything we make and all our fun adventures!

And that’s the blog for this week! Super simple and short. I’m sorry about that, but next week will be FILLED with fun stuff! I hope you enjoy the recipes! If you try them out, let me know what you think of them!

Have a wonderful week and I’ll talk you guys on Wednesday!

Ellen 🙂

Weekly Recap: Homemade Hibachi & Family Hike

Welcome back, friends! I’m glad you’re back to hear what’s happening at my little cabin in the woods.


I love these weekly recaps! I was literally just thinking about how awesome these are going to be to look back on when baby Flynn is all grown up and I get nostalgic. I wonder if that’s the reason a lot of people start blogs. It seems like these days, I’m seeing a lot of “10 ways to be happier”, and while that’s totally fine and dandy, those blog posts are very frequently information that it’s all but too obvious to the reader already.

Communicate with my partner? No kidding.

Take time to do the things I like? Done.

Wake up early? I have an 8th month old.

I just feel like I’d love to read more stories and fun things that people are doing than some boring list of stuff that’s really not helpful to me or is obvious to everyone in the world.

Someone should start a blog called “Captain obvious” that’s just those lists and nothing else.

I digress…

This week was awesome! It’s really fun taking more pictures and documenting what we’re doing. It makes me more present and I am likely to do more things now that I’m blogging about them!

On Sunday, we went on a family hike in the woods around our house. We are currently renting a little cabin in the woods and close by are some old stone chimneys from a home that used to sit there. It’s really amazing, and my husband has taken the medal detector down there a few times.

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This time, he found an old cast iron pot lid buried in the dirt. We’re planning to take some lawn chairs or a blanket down there and have a picnic one day. What a cool and secluded location for some good old fashion family time!

Baby Flynn also enjoyed his ride! Speaking of Flynn, I made him some yummy baby food this week!

Green beans (his favorite), sweet corn, and peas and carrots!

Let me know if you’d like to see a blog post of how I make all of Flynn’s baby food. I’m even experimenting with some yogurt making for his breakfasts!

I also made a very conscious effort to eat better this week (notice I said better, not less) and did some meal prepping as well. I made:

Vegan chocolate muffins, healthy apple crisp, corn on the cob, sweet potatoes, vegan mac and cheese, veggie burgers, asparagus…and many other delicious things!

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One of those delicious things was homemade hibachi!

My husband and I started to make our own hibachi style food at home in an effort to save money. We love Japanese Steak Houses and our cooking it all only serves to save money and bring us closer together as we work to prepare a meal. That’s something we really enjoy doing together- cooking.


Anyone interested in a healthy yum yum sauce recipe? Let me know!

My good friend Sam came to stay for a few days, as well! We had such a lovely time (we always do with Sam), and Flynn had the time of his life! Lots of board games were played, tea was made, and delicious food was consumed.

We also had a little photo shoot! Check out the pictures!

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Has anyone else seen the movie “Definitely Maybe”? It’s a blast from my past and we watched it while I did some bullet journaling and drank a little tension tamer tea.



I love bullet journaling. I’m not great yet at making it look all fancy- frankly, I don’t have the patience. But I’m working on it and really enjoy my own style of bullet journaling too.

And that was my week! Tomorrow we’re going to my sister in law’s birthday party and we have a lot of fun things planned for this week!

As always, I’ll also be posting this Wednesday so check back then and subscribe if your not! I’d love to see your beautiful faces back here again!

Thanks for visiting and have an awesome week!

Ellen 🙂



Weekly Recap: Healthy changes & Hubby haircut

This was a great week! A long week…but a great one. My mom was visiting for a good portion of it and helped a lot with baby Flynn. I was really grateful for that.

I decided that since I post on Sundays and Wednesdays, that I would make Sunday my weekly recap post day. So, here it is! I’m excited to share all the pictures I took with you! I really had a lot of fun documenting my week and now I have a lot of fun memories to look back on! Also, I’ve been getting so hyped up to publish blog posts! I’m so happy that I found a hobby that gets me this enthused!

This was last week (I think- mommy brain is real, ya’ll), but I did want to share it with you! My husband got me Rosanna Pansino of “Nerdy Nummies” silicon poop brownie mold. I didn’t have any brownie mix and I needed something to make fast for Zack’s students so I used some chocolate cake mix that I had in my pantry. It worked perfectly and they were SO delicious. I could have eaten all of the ones that I made. Seriously…which leads me to my next point….


Some things in my life need to change. I’m a very happy person and have less anxiety right now than I have ever had in my life before. It’s amazing considering my anxiety has always been an ever looming presence. My point being, even though I’m super happy right now, it doesn’t mean there still isn’t work to be done.

I’ve known for a while now that I’ve wanted to lose this baby weight so that I’d not only feel better in my own skin, but also be a healthier person and feel better all around. It’s something that’s REALLY important to me, but I have such trouble getting motivated…especially when there are poop cakes just sitting around my kitchen!

Note: I think it would be especially funny if you used sprinkles around Christmas time and made them “reindeer poops”! I might have to find another use for these bad boys…

Valentines poop?…hmmmm….back to the drawing board, I guess. ❤

Anyway, now that I’ve gotten off topic. The bottom line is: It’s time to get back on track, get in better shape for myself and my family, and feel better in my body overall.

Now, to do that, all I have to do is eat healthy and workout. Easy right? Ugh…easier said than done is more like it!

However, I’ve really been working to find the “right” workout routine for myself and I’m striving to eat better. This is actually a big goal that myself and my therapist are working on.

Here are some of the healthy meals/things that I ate this week:

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I’m documenting even more on my Instagram! Follow me @ellenvandever for more fun pics and inspirational fun!

It’s been really hard to diet, and getting my exercise routine going has been a pain, but I’m doing a pretty good job so far. I just have to keep reminding myself that little moments in time add up to big results. I’m not a very patient person, so this is something that can be really difficult for me.

It really does sound so cheesy but I’m actually enjoying pushing myself sometimes. I like the feeling I get when I say “no” to myself when I want to eat more calories than I really should be eating in a day- it feels empowering. I can’t control everything in my life, but I can control what I put in my body and how I take care of myself. That’s freeing to me in a way.


This is my grocery list. I have to say, it’s usually better looking than this but I was in a bit of a rush. I looked on Pinterest at the best healthy grocery lists for vegetarians and got a lot of great information. I ended up spending $150 on 2 weeks of groceries for myself, my husband, and baby food for our little one. Let me know if you’re interested in hearing more about how I make my grocery lists and meal plan for less.

I love grocery shopping and meal planning- I could color code everything and be in heaven!

For dinners, we’re making:

  • Mexican Mush: Zucchini, leftover rice and black beans, low cal cheese, a dollop of greek yogurt, and some salsa all mixed together and baked until the veggie is tender
  • Spaghetti and Salad: Whole wheat Spaghetti with homemade  marinara sauce and a iceberg lettuce wedge salad with low cal vinaigrette dressing
  • Loaded Baked Potatoes: Sweet Potatoes with low cal fixin’s
  • Tacos: Black beans, brown rice, a dollop of greek yogurt, low cal cheese, lettuce, salsa
  • Stir Fry: Zucchini, baby corn, and broccoli cooked with brown rice
  • Pizza and Salad: Small portion of Totino’s party pizza (my splurge for the week) and a large salad with a light vinaigrette

Flynn wasn’t too sure about the new contraption we put him in at the Grocery store…

but he sure looked cute!


Side note: we went to Walmart this week and while I was shopping for new sports bras, I saw this underwear…


Team Quidditch? Not…team Gryffindor? Ravenclaw? Hufflepuff? Slytherin?


I mean…you had one job, Walmart.

We also got another dusting of snow this week! Thank goodness it wasn’t another Snowpocalypse, but they did close down school one day. I insisted we go take a family picture in our winter wonderland!


Flynn wasn’t too thrilled, but what can ya do?

Zack and I also got to go on a little date and he decided he was ready for the UNTHINKABLE!

He chopped off those long locks! DUN DUN DUUUUUUUN!!!! *gasps*


All I have to say is…HUBBA HUBBA!

That’s right ladies, my husband’s a dream boat! *swoons*

While Zack was looking spiffy, my normal glasses broke and I had no choice but to wear my backups. They make me feel like Harry Potter and I’m really not so sure about them.

I was really feeling self conscious about them but then I thought, “Ya know what? I can be ashamed of these, or I can rock these…”

And you know what? They grew on me a little. Zack fixed my normal ones today though, so I definitely feel more at home now!

We also took part in the phenomenon sweeping the social media sites! We face matched using the Google Arts and Culture App! So much fun! We got a good chuckle out of these, and I have to say, I’m not mad about mine. 😛

Flynn was, of course, just like his Daddy all week. I love those boys. ❤


And finally, I added a few new things to my Etsy shop! Here’s a high chair banner I made for both of my niece’s birthday parties. I’d love for you guys to check it out and feel free to request any crafts you want or need made! I’m very into customization and I have very competitive pricing!


So, that’s it! In the future, I think I’m going to get better about documenting my week. I will continue to update my Instagram and you here about my weight loss journey. Send good vibes my way (specifically the ones that keep my away from the doughnuts!).

I really appreciate all the support I’m getting from you all! It means the world to me!

Much love and see you on Wednesday,

Ellen 🙂

How We Survived The Snowpocalypse

Let’s be honest, everyone makes fun of us Georgians.

Down in the South we are ill prepared for when something like “Snowpocalypse” happens, and all the crazy that comes along with it.

The weather channel predicted a few inches of snow…maybe…boy were they wrong.

It recently snowed 10 and 1/2 inches here in the North Georgia mountains- literally more snow than i’ve ever seen in my life. I know what some of you are probably thinking, “That’s precious…10 and 1/2 inches”, but for people who don’t actively get snow, we might as well have been plopped down into the middle of Antarctica.

I’m EXTREMELY lucky because my husband (aka..daddy bird) was a boy scout and is always referred to as the person you’d want around if a zombie apocalypse happened. This one time, we thought someone was breaking into the house so I started to freak out. He calmly got up and pulled a sword out from under the bed. A SWORD PEOPLE! I’d like to see someone try and break in. The idea of my husband charging into the other room with a broad sword and scaring the bajesus out of the burglar makes me giggle.

Anyway…back to snowy adventure….

Soon after the snow started to fall, our power went out. Not only our power, but around 700 other people in our area. Those poor power companies were working their butts off to get everyone restored! I’m really grateful for them and how they came to everyone’s rescue.

Here’s the kicker though…we have an electric well pump which means…you guessed it…NO WATER! This was made even scarier considering the heat was gone and we have an infant. Our main priority at all times was to make sure he was as comfortable as possible. I think (hope) any parent in that situation would feel the same.

Without heat or water, we did our best. We were the Pioneer family for a few days! That’s right…days! 3 in total to be exact. And, you know what…aside from being concerned and a little nervous about how long this would last…it was actually kind of fun. I’m happy to say that we definitely made the best out of the situation.

Without water, we had to figure out another way to wash the bottles we have for sweet baby Flynn. My husband, without fail, is the smartest person I have ever met. I’m not saying others wouldn’t have done what he did, but he’s constantly taking care of us and showing me time and time again just how caring and intelligent he is. Enough gushing, Ellen…here’s what we did…


My husband scooped up some of the snow from outside and sat it next to our fire. We basically had snow water boiling constantly for any need that we had. Mostly, it was for Flynn’s bottles. We were lucky enough to have some distilled water in jugs so we used that to fix with his formula.

Speaking of the fire, HUGE shoutout to my husband Zack for keeping it going for as long as he did…36 hours! He was literally up every 30 minutes to stoke the fire so that we’d stay warm. Poor thing barely slept at all.

He really is our hero.

Luckily, we have a ton of firewood available to us!

Next up was how we could eat. It’s amazing the things we take for granted- ya know…like stoves. I dug in the pantry for something…anything. We hadn’t gone to the grocery store for a while and we didn’t have a whole lot available to us. That was really scary to me.

Here’s what I came up with and lovingly titled, “Snowpocalypse Stew”:


  • One can of diced tomatoes
  • any frozen veg you have (because it was just going to melt away in the freezer anyway)
  • any fresh veg (ours was Zucchini, Broccoli, Onions, and Potatoes
  • A little vegetable broth (I’m a vegetarian if you guys didn’t know!)
  • Salt and Pepper (although we eliminated the pepper this time because my mom is allergic)
  • Water


Mix all that stuff together and heat of the fire (or a stove if you’re so lucky and not going through a Snowpocalypse)

Easy as Pie! Ohhh…I wish we had some pie! 😛

We were also lucky enough to find a stove top stuffing box in the back of the pantry…don’t worry…it wasn’t expired, so we made that along with the Stew.

IT. WAS. DELICIOUS!!! Such a hearty meal with things just laying around in the pantry and we truly used what we had to make something so fantastic. My mom even said it was the best veggie soup she’s ever tasted- and SO easy! I recommend making it on a night where you want to feel all warm and cozy inside…which is every night for me. 🙂

The next day, Zack and I needed to make an emergency run to the store for a few things. It was still snowy so we were a little nervous…and what happened next made our fears very valid. But we had no choice…we really needed to go…

So, we’re on our way to the store, driving peacefully and remarking on how beautiful everything is. I even took some pictures moments before our next great adventure began…


A beautiful view right? Well, not when you’re sliding down a huge hill and into a ditch. Yep, that’s right…

We hit a patch of ice and the car spun around and started to slide. We are SO lucky that our son wasn’t with us. My mom had come up a few days before and was stuck with us so she was watching him.

We felt the car tip back and started to go down the hill and towards the big creek. My husband exclaimed, “Hold on! We’re going down!” and held onto my arm as I braced myself for what I was sure was going to be the car flipping.

The next second we were stopped and breathing hard. Zack asked if I was ok and I nodded. We got out of the car to assess the situation. We were inches away from the creek. Now, I won’t lie, I’ve struggled with my faith for my whole life, but in that moment, it really seemed as though someone or something was looking out for us.

See that behind the car…that’s the creek!

We tried our best to get the car back up the hill but it was too steep and the wheels just kept turning in place. Of course, we immediately called AAA but it would take the at least 3 hours to even let us know when they would be able to come. Which meant one thing…we were walking home.

We ended up getting the car out after the snow had melted away…3 days later.

Luckily, we were only .7 miles away from the house. Still a very long walk while you’re more than ankle deep in snow and wearing converse. I called my mom to let her know we were ok and we headed back.

It was cold and quiet, white and sparkly. Magical. And seemed like a real gift to see after what we had just experienced.

Even though we were shaken up, my husband was making jokes like he always does (dad jokes what what!!!). In retrospect, he was probably just trying to calm my nerves. He put his arm around me and we walked back to the house laughing, talking, and singing to keep ourselves warm. If anyone had described this situation to me, I would guess that it would be a horrible experience. But, you know what? It was romantic. A little mini date in the snow. I love my husband…and moments like this only serve to make our relationship stronger.

Once we got home, we warmed up by the fire and under blankets. I kissed my sweet boy and thanked God he wasn’t with us for that. I can’t imagine trying to hike back in that cold with Flynn. Seriously…I am SO grateful he was safe at home with my mom.

One of the bright moments during this was that Flynn turned 7 months old. So, of course, we HAD to take advantage of the snow!

Look at that face. Kills me everytime! ❤

Also, our snowman was a Hufflepuff…HUFFLEPUFF FOR LIFE!!! 😛

As night fell, it obviously got very dark and cold. We had to plug up the back rooms with towels so the warmth would stay in the living room. We pulled Flynn’s pack and play close enough to the fire that he could be warm but not too close, of course.

I felt really smart because I came up with this idea- an idea that my boy scout of a husband was thrilled by! That made me feel even more proud!

I took our old water jugs and put the flashlights in them to illuminate the room. It was perfect because we could hang them up for light but also take them with us to the bathrooms when we needed to go. That’s another thing- we had to boil water for the toilets- that’s all I’m going to say about that though.


We quickly fell asleep (all of us besides my husband who was stoking the fire), and Flynn slept a little on me..and then my mother…and then in his pack and play. Poor little guy must have been so confused. My husband slept on the floor as much as he could and let myself and my mom take the couches. It was freezing in the bedrooms so we all had to stay around the fire.

Then…out next adventure began. See, when the power goes out, the back up alarm system comes into play. When the battery on that goes out…it goes off. So, at about three in the morning the LOUDEST and I mean LOOOOOUUUUUDDEEEST alarm went off saying…

“BURGLARY! BURGLARY! THE AUTHORITIES HAVE BEEN CALLED!!!” over and over and over again. I woke up and stumbled around screaming to my mother, “What’s going on…what’s happening?!” while my husband ran to get it shut off. My mother was looking at me with one eye open and saying, “WHAT??!”. And, of course, Mr. Flynn was out cold. I mean, seriously you guys, it was the LOUDEST sound I have ever heard and my baby slept through it all. Again..someone was looking out for us. Because, in that moment, it was chaos!

Zack got the alarm to turn off and we all settled back down, nerves flying all over the place.

Now that I look back on that moment, I find it hilarious. I mean, it could have been a scene in a sitcom! I told my sisters and brother and they died laughing. It’s one of those times that isn’t funny when you’re experiencing it but make a great story later.

Craziness I tell ya…craziness.

So, while to snowpocalypse was VERY challenging, it was also a great opportunity to band together and see what we could accomplish. I felt so proud of that soup and the lighting jugs that I made, and it really solidified that I am an intelligent person (my therapist says I questions my intelligence a lot so I’m working on that).

Through good times and bad, be there for each other and work together. It’s a beautiful thing when people work together to keep each other safe and happy. I truly wish there was more of that in the world…especially right now.

So, there’s our crazy Snowpocalypse story! I hope you enjoyed reading and got a little chuckle out of our experience with the alarm system. Let me know your thoughts in the comments! I’d love to hear your favorite hearty recipes and what other things you might have done if you were in our situation.

Much love,

The Pioneer Family 😛