It’s Time To Get New Pants

Posted on May 11, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I noticed a funny thing yesterday. My jeans which have always been a bit big are starting to fit better, and the ones that have traditionally fit well seem a bit tight and uncomfortable. Being a guy, my first two thoughts were a) I’ve been shrinking everything in the laundry or b) someone else had them be altered to mess with me. That’s when option c hit me.

It might actually be me who’s growing out of them

My gut response was the typical “healthy living blogger” way of seeing it: I’ll eat out a little less, cut down on the sugars, and things will go back to the way they were. And then I thought about it. What if I didn’t adjust to fit the pants; what if the pants adjusted to fit me?

EVOO Seared Sweet Potato And Chickpeas

EVOO Seared Sweet Potato And Chickpeas

I’m still healthy and eating my superfoods.

Rehydrating

Rehydrating

I’m running faster and further than ever before.

Local Hereford Beef

Local Hereford Beef

And I’m enjoying eating out including brunch at fantastic new places.

In short, why would I want to change any of this? I love this! Underneath clothes, we’re all naked; what does it matter what size they are? Be healthy, but be happy. And if happy leads you to a shopping spree at that incredible French clothing store, Targe, with a buttload of gift cards to get jeans from the 75% off rack, so be it.

Who else is willing to throw out the old and put on the new with me?

Whole Foods' Salad Bar Food

Whole Foods' Salad Bar Food

Not only did I go to Whole Foods last night, I ate out, too. This was my last dinner of Providence, so I was prepared to make it a good one even if I had the ingredients for something much more humble back at my room. I got from the salad bar roasted carrots, potatoes, and onions with paprika, avocado rubbed kale, and golden sesame tofu. All delicious. All making me grow out of my pants. All good.

They didn’t have the coconut almond chip coconut milk ice cream I went all the way to get. Bummer, right? I was pretty let down. That’s when I made a plan and got the regular coconut ice cream and add Tierra Farm‘s almonds.

Coconut Ice Cream With Almonds

Coconut Ice Cream With Almonds

I really liked the bare coconut flavor. This ice cream had just 6 ingredients and 11g of sugar per serving–unreal! It was a little chewy even because of the coconut flakes. It was definitely a good ice cream for anyone who likes to add their own mix-ins.

Aztec Crunch Lulu's Bar And Cashew Butter

Aztec Crunch Lulu's Bar And Cashew Butter

I never got hungry for oatmeal, but I did still want the nut butter and I can always go for chocolate. I was worried whether I’d like Aztec Crunch because I’m not a fan of raw cacao nibs(part of the crunch). But this really blew me away. It was raw, but not bitter. It definitely had a solid crunch. One of the ingredients is said to have magical soothing powers; I’m not sure if it was the chocolate or the ingredient but I was definitely soothed.

Of course, the other side to new pants is the completely metaphorical side: fitting your surroundings to fit how you want to be. As much as I love oatmeal, I’m willing to toss it by the landside if I’m craving something else. And this morning, I had a huge white potato craving.

Maple Salmon, White Potato Home Fries

Maple Salmon, White Potato Home Fries

Home Fries

Home Fries

Home fries, anyone? I think I’m still getting past the shock and awe that I made these and not some restaurant, because they’re so delicious. It was just 1 1/2 white potatoes tossed in a pan for a while with some red onion in EVOO. It would be great with sage or rosemary but I didn’t have any. To make this more of a meal and less of a breakfast, I added flaked salmon with maple syrup and sea salt. Definitely not as good as the home fries; but that’s where the extra maple syrup comes in handy.

And how about this for new pants: I’m moving out tonight =-O

If the pants do not fit, you must acquit

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Celebrate!

Posted on March 25, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I looove all your confessions on this post this morning. Some of you would eat anything expired! I’m mostly the same way 🙂 I just could not down that moldy tasting yogurt for my own health. Ironically, the replacement one I ate that tasted fine was expired by 4 days, while the moldy one had 2+ weeks. Ridiculous? I think so.

Burger Bowl With Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, And Nutritional Yeast

Burger Bowl With Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, And Nutritional Yeast

Burger Bowl With Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, And Nutritional Yeast

Burger Bowl With Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, And Nutritional Yeast

I decided to have a burger for lunch(shocker, I know); tomorrow’s Lent and who knows when I’ll be around over the weekend so I wanted to eat up this meat while it was still fresh. I was inspired by this daring teacher to make a burger bowl, filled with a grass-fed burger, sweet potato hash, spinach, ketchup, sea salt, and nutritional yeast. It’s a good thing I used nutritional yeast because if that were parmesan I’d of killed a cow. It was so cheesey and delicious! And the whole bowl was amazing; overstuffed plates are just too good 🙂

Spring

Spring

I was really excited for my History class today because it was the last class before break for me! Woohoo! The actual topic sucked and my friend and I ridiculed it the entire period, but that just made the hour fly by. The professor even let us out a little early because it was so nice and no one who showed up wanted to be there. Can you see Spring where you live, too?

Dr. Zevia

Dr. Zevia

Well I got back to my dorm, tied up some matters, and popped open a Dr. Zevia. This was the 1 flavor I hadn’t tried–mostly because it had caffeine–but I totally needed that this afternoon. It was good, but not great; to be fair, I’ve never liked Dr. Pepper, so that I liked this at all was a miracle 😉 Now that I’ve had all the flavors, I feel like I should do a review of each. Would anybody like that? Then I stepped out of the room to grab myself a little treat…

Juniper

Juniper

Fro Yo! There’s practically zippo frozen yogurt places in New England compared to Florida and California, but happily there’s one hole-in-the-wall joint in Providence called Juniper. I’d never been, have been wanting to try it for a while, and figured this was the best way to celebrate this week and have my “me” time.

Original Fro Yo With Blueberries And Almonds

Original Fro Yo With Blueberries And Almonds

Original Fro Yo With Blueberries And Almonds

Original Fro Yo With Blueberries And Almonds

I got a medium original flavor with blueberries and almonds. I wanted to get some toppings even if they cost an arm and a leg, and these were the among the more “natural” choices(you mean those fruity pebbles weren’t organic?!). I have no gripe with being limited in options by an all-natural diet; this I’ve long come to terms with. What I do question is having almonds, peanuts, pistachios, and soynuts, but no peanuts; where’s the peanut love?! Regardless, this was delicious. Oh my God, where has tart fro yo been all my life? It’s so tangy, yet so sweet–perfection! I know Trader Joe’s carries some so I’m definitely going to check that out when I’m back in Massachusetts.

Oatmeal With Mighty Maple

Oatmeal With Mighty Maple

Well, I got my peanut love eventually 🙂 It turns out fro yo is not the most filling thing, so where that misses a small bowl of oatmeal with a big dollop of PB&Co.’s Mighty Maple hits the spot. And, in case you missed it, Oprah’s show was all about pornography today. Awkward much? I was mildly amused while also watching segments of The Today Show that I missed which sounded interesting.

Roasted Broccoli And Sweet Potato, Maple Baked Tofu

Roasted Broccoli And Sweet Potato, Maple Baked Tofu

Dinner was shaked and baked 🙂 I threw some maple tofu, sweet potatoes, and broccoli in the oven around 5:30 and they were good-to-go at dinner time. I don’t even care if it doesn’t fill me up, like I established a few days ago; I just love this dish! And it’s easy to make and forget about, too.

Keep Your Eye On The Reward

Sometimes, when you’re leading a tough time, it’s best to keep your head up and eyes focused on what’s at the end of the tunnel rather than your present situation. It may sound like it was on a whim, but really I had that trip to Juniper planned all week long. At the very least, it gave me something fun and different to look forward to as a “reward” for a potentially stressful week. It doesn’t have to be food. It doesn’t even have to cost money. But doing something for yourself special or out of the ordinary is a great way to keep your mind in a healthy place. Do you have an “reward” planned soon? Or just celebrate anything fun and exciting?

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Chocolate For My Morning And How To Do To-Do

Posted on March 24, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Who else watched the Biggest Loser last night? I loved that the contestants got to see their families and had so much support. And I totally thought Jillian was going to bust out of that big box and whip them in to shape. Anyone else? While I was watching that, I was writing an essay on my midterm about the gripping effect sugar had on England between 1600 and 1800 and how that pushed slavery. Yikes! Scary stuff. So I made a resolution to eat without added sugars for a bit.

Red Delicious Apple

Red Delicious Apple

An apple fit that bill and made me feel healthy for the time being. “I’m on a roll!” I thought.

Emmy's Organics' Lemon Ginger Raw Macaroon

Emmy's Organics' Lemon Ginger Raw Macaroon

And then, whoops! Fell off that train 🙂 I had a hankering for a lemon ginger macaroon by Emmy’s Organics. I think choosing raw desserts sweetened with agave nectar is a pretty good compromise for sugary goodness 😉 The hint of spice here from lemon and ginger is so nice! It was a perfect treat for sending in my take-home midterm.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Butter Toffee Peanut Butter And French Toast Almonds

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Butter Toffee Peanut Butter And French Toast Almonds

And then–ipso facto–sugar never counts when it’s on top of oatmeal 😀 I had pumpkin oats with some butter toffee peanut butter from Naturally Nutty and my own homemade french toast almonds to seal the night off. This made me thing homemade nuts would be a great thing to make for Easter lunch. The only thing is I’m not sure if/which flavors would work. Suggestions?

I listened to not 1 but 2 of my mental health tips. First of all, after I sent that paper at 9:15 it was me-time all the way. I spent it with television and mindless games. It’d be more fun if me-time were, say, during the day, but I’m glad I snuck it in at the end. I also didn’t set my alarm this morning, got 8 and a half hours of sleep, and decided to postpone any run. Even if I end up running to the bickering of Kathy Lee and Hoda, the sleep was worth it.

Pomegranate Chobani With Dark Quinoa Chocolate, OIAJ

Pomegranate Chobani With Dark Quinoa Chocolate, OIAJ

Breakfast in bed had to be a little bit more “desserty” than usual, right? The first thing that came to my mind was pre-flavored greek yogurt; this always tastes like a dessert, but totally passes the “healthy” bill. I grabbed a pomegranate Chobani and added some Dark Quinoa Chocolate from Alter Eco. And then what could be better than oats in a chocolate peanut butter jar?!

White Chocolate Cherry Almond Butter Oats With All-Natural Fluff

White Chocolate Cherry Almond Butter Oats With All-Natural Fluff

In the bowl jar was my standard 40g oat blend, what was left of the white chocolate cherry almond butter from Naturally Nutty, and some all-natural fluff. I was worried because the fluff stuff was rock hard at room temp(it’s an old container), but it seemed to melt well over everything and add a smooth vanilla tone.

To-Do It Right

To-Do List: Homework

To-Do List: Homework

Last night’s Mental Health Week tip was all about decluttering your workspace; now I want to talk about how to work! While we could try to juggle everything in our mind, why? All that remembering and forgetting easily adds stress. The first step is to put it down in writing. I use Google Tasks because it goes wherever I go, and I can have different lists. Above was my homework list circa 11am yesterday morning, but I also have them for everything from blog stuff, to television shows I need to watch online, to my grocery list, etc. And my favorite mental booster is to cross off–not erase–tasks gone by; seeing things with a strike through them will remind you of what you’ve done and make you feel more accomplished. Do you keep a list? If so, where is it?

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So This Was Christmas

Posted on January 25, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Do you realize that 1 month ago today was Christmas? Isn’t that a funny thought? I remember the time leading up to it going by soooooo slow and now it’s like the time since has flown by. I’m still “discovering” some of my gifts.

Organic Raspberry Preserve

My mom picked out this organic preserve; it’s not one I’d buy for myself because sugar is higher on the ingredients than raspberries but as a gift it was sweet 🙂 And since it has all the seeds in their, you have to think there’s fiber, too, right? 😉 Raspberry. Perfect to go with some dark chocolate.

Greek Yogurt With Organic Raspberry Jam And Endangered Species Dark Chocolate

Yummm. And because it was organic preserve and endangered species organic 70% dark chocolate, I was totally saving the environment with this dessert. That has to be one of the best 70% out there, too; it just tastes perfectly unsweet without too much bitterness. Nothing was on TV last night so I ended up watching the 30 Rock I missed Thursday. If you’re at all familiar with New England, you have to see this episode. It was all about the gang coming to Boston and filled with inside jokes that had me laughing. That show entirely deserves all the awards it gets. After that, I had a killer craving.

Cornbread Oatmeal With Mighty Maple

For some killer cornbread, that is. Instead, I made some cornbread oatmeal which came out awesome. I substituted whole grain cornmeal for the whole oats, used almond milk instead of water, and added 1 teaspoon agave, a pinch of baking powder, and an egg white. I’m not going to lie and say it was “just like the real thing”, but short of making an entire batch, this was the bomb.

This morning, I just got up too late and didn’t really feel like working out first thing. 2 cups of coffee had my number, not the stairs 😉 Before breakfast, I ended up packing some things for the dorm, and making a favorite around here.

French Toast Roasted Almonds

We found raw organic almonds on sale yesterday so I figured I’d make 1 last batch for my mom(and myself) before I leave. This definitely had the house smelling like Christmas 😀 I used earth balance soy garden for consistency but I’d love to try this with grass-fed butter next time. I still had a little of the glaze left so I put it to good use…

Greek Yogurt With Pancake Syrup

Banana Oatmeal With Chocolate Sunflower Butter

Tastes like Christmas, too! It was also better because of some full fat yogurt mixed in for creaminess. The oatmeal–anything banana and chocolate will fly by me, these days 🙂 I think I’m getting more potassium through soft serve than anything else.

It’s going to rain today. Hard. I think someone mentioned 3 inches? Yikes! So far, it’s only been winding though. And it’s the kind of wind that makes you think somebody through their body against the front door. Joy. Maybe I’ll do a count-to-ten workout once those oats digest(the bowl is most definitely empty and licked clean so it shouldn’t be too long now).

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Amarett-Oh My

Posted on January 4, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

So, it was obviously a bummer to have driven 30 minutes to go to a sold out show last night :-/ Once we were heading home, we thought about what we could do to make it not such a waste to have left the house at night. Since we were in the area, I suggested we stop at Whole Foods to look for an ice cream I thought I saw there last time but that technically didn’t exit, even online.

Cherry Amaretto Coconut Milk Ice Cream

I was right. How awesome does this sound? But, like I said, it doesn’t exist. If you go to the So Delicious website, it’s not listed under the flavors. Weird, huh? But when it comes to groceries and ice cream, I knew what I saw, so I was pretty sure it’d be there. We also asked the prepared foods section if they still served my favorite stuffing after the holidays. Nope. Bummer 😦 But the man behind the counter detailed a very odd and complex way through emailing the right people that we could specialty order some, and I entirely plan on following through with that because it’s worth it. When we got home, to get in the mood for ice cream(because it’s freezing up here in case you didn’t know), I broke out one of my Christmas presents.

Almond Amaretto Herbal Coffee

This technically isn’t coffee. It’s made of carob, dates, and other natural flavors. The smell is absolutely amazing. It’s like whiffing pure liqueur and had us all salivating–not gonna lie. And a little goes a long way, apparently, because 1/2 a tablespoon made a strong cup. Overall, the actual flavor was a little “medicinal”, like cough syrup but more pleasant. I think I’d rather just smell it, though. After that, I was definitely “in the mood”.

Cherry Amaretto Ice Cream With Slivered Almonds

In the ice cream itself is only cherries(big, honking ones) and I needed some crunch so I threw on slivered almonds. This was unreal-good. The flavor was perfect for the description. The ingredient list is super short. The nutrition isn’t too shabby, either(130 cals, 6g fat, 5g fiber). And, bestly, it’s soy and dairy free. Of course, I eat soy and dairy, but I’m not convinced my stomach loves me too much when I do; coconut milk, on the other hand, I’m pretty sure I’ve never had trouble digesting. I almost went back for more during Brothers and Sisters, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t need all that sugar then, so instead I reached for something different.

Tropical Coconut Almond Bora Bora Bar

I won this in Averie’s giveaway, and it looked appealing a) because the flavors were like the ice cream and b) it only had 7g of sugar with plenty of nutty fats. I also definitely needed some more almondy crunch. It was good, but I don’t know that I’d buy one(I’m not even sure where they sell them?). To be fair, coconut is not my favorite flavor(unless it’s in ice cream form…) and it’s the number 1 ingredient here.

I was so happy to see Brothers And Sisters back on television. After setting us up with a huge cliffhanger, it now looks like Kitty’s getting over her cancer completely after 1 episode. Gotta love TV. This morning I actually woke up on time for once, but didn’t have much ambition to do any workout. I did, however, get the house to myself after 30 minutes and was able to brew a nice big pot of coffee to go along with breakfast 🙂

2 Eggs With Raw Cheddar Cheese, Green Beans

Plain So Delicious Soy Yogurt With A Newman's Own Peanut Butter Cup

Would you believe that I didn’t want oatmeal this morning? It must be a full moon or something. What I wanted was eggs–properly cooked and with cheeeeese. I melted a little vegan butter in a pan and then made what had to be one of my best omelets, technically. The little butter on the bottom makes it go so much better. Then again, a lot of things go so much better not in a dormroom microwave. Along side I had soy yogurt with a peanut butter cup. I remember this combo being so much better than it was. Soy and eggs–you’d think I’m trying to smell up this place at this rate.

Dirty Dishes

I totally made a mess doing 10 different things this morning, but this is all now cleaned. Not put away, but I’m not trying to be Mother Teresa.

Kahlua Almond Butter

I made up the nutrition label for my newest nut butter. I was worried how it’d come out(besides drunk) but apparently only has about 3g of sugar per serving–not too shabby.

Killer Cornbread

And I whipped up some Killer Cornbread. It was such a hit with my parents and grandmother, I know this won’t go to waste. And it’s a simple side any time we don’t feel like cooking up a carby vegetable. I also went through our freezer to throw out nasty baked goods from the Summer, just in case we need to freeze this or anything else(though I’m 95% sure this won’t last that long). I was so ready for a simple lunch after doing all that.

Killer Cornbread, Baked Beans, Roasted brussels With Bac'Uns

I figured since the cornbread was fresh I might as well see how it came out 🙂 This actually came out better this time than last! I think last time I used room temperature vegan butter, whereas this time I was lazy and just cut it in cold. The result is a lot richer, chunkier flavor. I also used only 2 tablespoons sweetener because I thought that was what the recipe called for. For protein I had some baked beans and then roasted up some brussels sprouts. They could have used another 10 minutes but after 35 minutes of waiting I just wanted to eat them! That’s the problem with roasted vegetables: You have to start when you’re full.

My dad took 1/2 a day off from work so that we can meet the same people to see Avatar in 3D this afternoon 🙂 We bought our tickets online this time, so everything should go smoothly. I found an awesome recipe for dinner but it’s a good 2 hour+ preparation so I guess it will have to wait until tomorrow.

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I Need A BIG Cookie

Posted on January 3, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Sometimes you need a cookie. Othertimes, you need a COOKIE. I think I turned in to this guy this afternoon:

After lunch my dad took me on a drive through the snow to the little all-natural store with bulk bins nearby. I needed to stock up on some almonds and we browsed a bit while we were there. My eyes definitely kept turning to those huge, oversugary, amazing all-natural cookies by the counter(same brands as at Whole Foods). I couldn’t, however, bring myself to pay that much for a cookie, when I know we have a ton at home, so instead I picked up another foodie find.

Xanthan Gum

Xanthan Gum

I must be an alien because now I have Xanthan gum in my pantry. After seeing all the wonders Heather has whipped up with this stuff, I can’t wait to get to “playing” with it. When we got home, my mind was still on cookies. I didn’t want any of the cookies we had for one reason: they were wimpy. I wanted a size-of-my-face cookie that was rich and buttery and felt like a bad, naughty thing. Naturally, I whipped some up. I made a cookie recipe that otherwise I’d portion into 18, but this time made into 6.

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

The recipe I whipped up in my head and was rather simple for a chocolate chip cookie. I’ll write up the actual recipe soon with some tweaks I think might improve them, too.

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie

Basically, this entirely hit the spot. It was rich and delicious, sweet but not so sweet as to overpower the butter(or vegan butter), and filled with chocolate chips. The texture was a little too cakey but besides that I thought I’d died and gone to cookie monster heaven. After that recipe, I roasted up 12 1/2 ounces of almonds while the oven was on, and whipped up some new almond butter with flax seeds and a special ingredient.

New Almond Butter

Care to know what the secret ingredient was?…

Kahlua

You know I don’t drink, but what goes in my nut butters I’m saying is a thing on its own 😉 I won’t say how much I used, but that jar has some serious proofage on it, because it was taking a lot to get it to a butter consistency and I eventually got frustrated and just added a lot of liquid.

French Toast Almonds

With the other half of the almonds, I made one of my mom’s favorite things. They came out fine except some stuck too much to the wax paper I’m afraid. Other than that, making your own nuts is so simple and so much fun! Around then we got a call from some friends to meet them to see Avatar in 3D after dinner. I’m not so much a spontaneous person but I thought sure, why not? This, however, did not put me in the mood for a “normal” dinner.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With French Toast Hazelnut Butter, Banana Yogurt With Pecan Butter

Maybe it was the threat of not having time for oatmeal later, or maybe I just needed some fats in me because I hadn’t eaten, but I was craving me some nut butters(not a cookie monster anymore, apparently). I added a little xanthan gum to the yogurt to thicken it up–I can tell I’m going to have fun with that 🙂

When we got to the imax, Avatar was unfortunately sold out 😦 Eventually, our friends showed up, and we decided to go to a regular theater to see what’s playing. Apparently, we missed the start of everything by 20 minutes or so there, too, so we were plum out of luck. We decided to take a rain check on the whole thing, and now I’m back home, blogging, and drowning sorrows in amaretto… sort of. You’ll see tomorrow .

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Christmas 2009

Posted on December 26, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Christmas Eve recap here.

I was definitely the kid who woke up early on Christmas morning and woke up everyone else around me so we could get to opening presents faster. I think I’ve grown since then because I let people sleep in until 8 now 🙂

Unwrapping Presents

We just did simple family presents between the 3 of us on Christmas morning. There was the obligatory scratch tickets.

Scratch Tickets

I won! But by now I forget how much… Oh well, the money is somewhere 🙂

Spreads And Spices

My parents know me so well. I’ve never tried Saratoga Peanut Butter before but my dad ordered some to try. The Catch Me If You Can flavor was invented by our very own Meagan! I’m glad I got it before it went off of the market.

Goji Cookies And Baking Pans

The Goji Gourmet cookies weren’t much of a surprise since I picked them out in NYC 🙂 But the vitatop pan will be fun to play with! Maybe I will rekindle my obsession with muffin tops but not bottoms.

Cuisinart Mini Prep

And I got a food processor! Sort of. Any one have experience with this model? I know Cuisinart is a good brand because I have some of their other appliances. But I might return this one and take some of the money I got from Christmas to buy a more expensive model. I think opening presents is way more fun than working out 7:30-9:00 😉 But afterwards I was ready for breakfast.

Eggnog Greek Yogurt With TRUwhip

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Butter Toffee PB, Gingerbread PB, And A Ginger Molasses Cookie

TRUwhip at breakfast is totally OK at breakfast on Christmas if it’s over a seasonal yogurt. The Catch Me If You Can peanut butter was really good! Go Meagan! I loved the way the ginger and the molasses played together–yum! At 11 we packed up to go to my dad’s family, who live in Concord, New Hampshire. It’s only a 90 minute ride and honestly it felt like we were there sooner than ever. When we walked in we were greeted, and with food.

Snack Spread

The spread was so good; there was even Kettle Chips and Food Should Taste Good chips! Rather than not fill up on chips, though, I chose some of the “healthier” food items.

Blackberries And Cantaloupe

I can not resist fresh, precut fruit. We never have it at home because it’s such a waste of money to buy, but then we’re also to lazy to cut our own–double whammy! Naturally I had about 3 times as much is pictured.

Tio Juan's Margarita Salsa Mild

There was also a plethora of celery dipped in this salsa. It has amazing flavor, except I much prefer the hot to the mild(and the hot one you know is hot because it burns your tongue when you hit a seed). My little cousins were quick to tell me what to do and where to go while I was eating.

The New Mario On The Wii

The big gift this year was a wii! I have to say, this was entirely a present for me, too. No more little cousins going crazy for mine when they come to my house! Haha. They wanted to show me it and their new Mario game. I have to say it was pretty fun, and they were in awe about how good I was. I don’t think they realize this game is 20+ years old and I’d been playing it since I was their age 😉 Once I peeled myself away from that, I was able to hang out with my grandparents and aunt and uncle. They told me stories about my great-grandfather who ate 3 raw eggs with milk and maple syrup every morning, walked 5 miles a day, and was tiny framed his whole life; well now I sound like a chip of the ol’ block! After much cooking, dinner was ready.

Dinner Table

So much food! And unlike Christmas Eve dinner, I could eat 90% of it! It was pure heaven. Usually, at holidays, I try to treat meals like every other one: make a balanced plate of 3 or 4 things and eat until you’re comfortably full. However, I really just wanted to pig out on good and natural food and feel for once like the holiday season was actually here!

Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Brie, Sweet Potatoes, Turnips, Cornish Hen

Such a good plate of food(though nothing in comparison to how much my grandfather put away 8-|). I also tried boiled onions for the first time and had seconds(and thirds) on the brussels and cauliflower. It was all really good. The cornish hens were naturally raised so I had no problem digging in to it. I ate the breast meat and my mom picked at probably the rest of it. Everyone pigged out on veggies so we even got to take home 3 hens!  Sweet deal. After all that amazingness, my cousins drove us to unwrap gifts.

Faux Christmas Tree

Scratch Tickets

Can you tell the type of family we are? 😉 This time I won 6 more dollars!

New Super Mario Bros. Wii

And I got the Mario game for myself 🙂 I have to admit, it was really fun when I played with my cousins so I was definitely looking forward to getting this(especially after hearing Lynn talk about how much she loved renting it). There was also clothes–some of which I’ll keep and some return–and gift cards. My aunt got me not 1 but 3 Target gift cards; apparently she couldn’t decide which one looked cute enough. After everything digested I was sooo ready for dessert.

Dessert Spread

Along with the two things I brought, there was Carvel birthday cake for my mom’s birthday and a chocolate pudding pie and apple pie from my grandmother. I think the apple pie was all-natural, but really I was not that hungry at all after the feast. I just opted for coffee(decaf, of course) and some tiny tasty treats.

Peanut Butter And Chocolate Biscotti, Chocolate Mint Gluten Free Brownie With TRUwhip

This was such a sweet ending to the whole thing. The gluten free brownies came out amazing! No one could guess there was anything funny about them, let alone having black beans! I’m definitely going to be posting the recipe soon(and maybe even making another batch). And these biscotti got rave reviews again. I don’t think I could possibly get tired of them. The secret is in the peanut butter, peanuts, and peanut flour. After dessert we gathered our gifts, said goodbye, and drove home. It was snowing slightly and looked sooo beautiful all the way home; what a perfect way to end Christmas. When we got home it was past dinner but I wasn’t really hungry from the feast anyway. Instead I had (another) sweet ending.

NibMor Original With Raspberry Jam

Yum! The NibMor raw chocolate is definitely a bit lighter on texture but the flavor is just as decadent as rich, dark chocolate. And I love that combo of dark chocolate and raspberry 🙂 I was actually thinking of making raspberry chocolate cups but this was way faster and more effecient at 8pm at night.

Oatmeal With Honey Cream Cheese Frosting, Adirondack Jack Butter, And French Toast Almonds

A little later I definitely reverted into my nutty habits and was hungry for dessert 🙂 The “frosting”, which had yogurt in it, was more to get a 2nd(albeit, lame) source of probiotics in for the day. The adirondack jack butter was new and really interesting; it’s a mix of peanuts, almond, flax, cranberries, sunflower seeds and honey. Not my favorite, but it definitely has its own flavor. I loooved the added roasted nuts. I took them to New Hampshire, too, and everyone seemed to enjoy them, so I’m thinking next Christmas I’ll roast a batch for each person individually.

Well, that was my Christmas. In writing this post, I think I’ve remembered one of my favorite things about this blog: I know have all these great memories in a place I can go to whenever I want. Being able to share it with you all and my family is just the cherry on top. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night 🙂

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The Oven: A Roasting Machine

Posted on December 23, 2009. Filed under: Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , |

For the past 4 months I’ve been at Brown, what I’ve had to work with has been limited, to say the least. Now that I’ve been home a few days I’ve been stretching out and exploring all these fancy gadgets and gizmoes. I’ll admit: about 80 percent of that I make is still with the microwave. However, I’ve also discovered than my long-time baking friend, Mr. Oven, can do so much more. Most noticeably, he’s a roasting machine!

Roasting is a great way to let heat slowly seep through the food from the outside to get a nice browning. It often tends to add a nutty flavor to whatever you’re making. You can really roast anything your heart desires.

Sirloin Roast, Roasted Brussels, Noggy Butternut Squash

For dinner a few nights ago, we had sirloin roast. Now, over the Summer(if you’ve been reading that long) you might remember I was Mr. Grill. I love our grill and it’s such a great way to cook things. Unfortunately, ours is under 6 inches of snow right now, so I thought there was no way I’d be enjoying well-cooked rare meat. Boy, was i wrong. After 15 minutes of roasting at 325, this meat was juicy and tender. It was a most perfect cut of meat.

Meat not your thing? That’s fine, because I’ve been doing plenty of vegan roasting, as well. At that same meal was roasted brussels sprouts, which my mom tossed with 1 tablespoon canola oil and had in the oven for 30 minutes after steaming. I, however, prefer a different leafy green roasted.

Roasted Broccoli, Buttered Apple, Maple Apple Chicken Sausage

There is few vegetables better than broccoli in my book, and roasted broccoli tops it all. The buds on the stalk get nutty and charred while the stalk gets crispy like a french fry. Really, this makes it into a whole new vegetable. The perfect way to roast broccoli is to steam it until virtually fully cooked, then roast it at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Don’t worry if it gets blackened; black is flavor here.

Veggies still not your thing? Maybe you’re just nuts for nuts, which I can relate to. In that case, you should learn how to roast those, as well.

French Toast Almonds

Roasting and flavoring your own nuts can be a great homemade gift for others or a tasty treat for yourself. First I line a cookie tray and heat my oven to 350. After laying out the nuts, I roast them for 15 minutes, shaking the pan every 5 minutes. In their heated state, you can really play around with them. In the past I’ve made maple cashews by melting 1 tablespoon vegan butter spread with 1/4 cup maple syrup and tossing that with roasted cashews. I’ve done the same to almonds(pictured) adding in cinnamon and vanilla powder. After that I drop the temperature to 300 and roast for another 12 minutes, then let them cool and setting.

So there you have it: plenty of new ideas for your oven. Really, any of this can be applied to so many other foods that the possibilities are endless! For a wintery, nutty flavor, roasting is the perfect way to make a meal special and show you put thought and time into it. B

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French Toast Morning

Posted on December 13, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Today’s the last day to enter this giveaway!

For anyone wondering what the flourless peanut butter cookie recipe was, it was 1 cup peanut butter, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1 egg, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. I wasn’t particularly looking for making this vegan or with grains, but thanks for all the suggestions! I love finding and reading new reipes to try another day. Last night everything was set for It’s A Wonderful Life.

Christmas Tree And Fireplace

Of course there was one big party pooper.

Montana

It was past his bedtime, anyway. I decided to whip up a batch of my double chocolate pillows, except with white chocolate this time instead of regular chocolate chips, and earth balance butter spread instead of canola oil.

Double Chocolate Pillow Dough

I love the batter for this recipe! It’s so ridiculously thick, you think you’re doing something wrong but you’re not. You just need to work work work to get the flour mixed in. They came out pretty nice, though there were too many white chocolate chips and I think a tablespoon of them got stuck to the pan.

White Double Chocolate Pillows

Surprisingly, I wasn’t craving one when they came out. My mind was on another cookie.

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookie

These are like crack. I did a little history. Not going to lie–throwing my notebook into the fireplace crossed my mind once or twice, but I resisted. Towards the end of the night I was exhausted and just wanted to curl into bed with some peanut butter and chocolate.

Oatmeal With Earth Balance And Advent Chocolate

Endangered Species Milk Chocolate With Peanut Butter

The Earth Balance peanut butter was something like Smart Balance, but a little bit of a let down. If you’re looking for a more neutral taste but with the same health benefits, it’s probably a great buy. I, on the other hand, was hoping for a really flaxy funky flavor that Smart Balance has. The chocolate bar was the real let down. I had high hopes for it but–I can’t. I don’t want to think about it.

When I woke up this morning I knew it was a french toast morning. First up I wanted to start on something I’ve been thinking about for a while.

Oh Nuts! Almonds

Oh Nuts! sent me some almonds a while back. These things were huge! And smelt so fresh. They were also raw, so I decided to throw them in a 350 oven for 12 minutes to roast them. Then I melted together 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1 tablespoon earth balance butter, vanilla powder and cinnamon and coated the almonds in that. Then I threw them back in the oven for 10 minutes or so to dry a bit.

French Toast Almonds

Voila. I haven’t tasted them yet, but they smelled delightful(and the bit of extra syrup I licked off my fingers was mighty fine, too). This also called for a french toast breakfast.

French Toast Oatmeal With Maple Syrup And Smart Balance Butter, Al Fresco Sausage Links, Breakfast Tea

This was all OK, but clearly if I wasn’t loving these sausages it meant my appetite was off. I haven’t ran in 2 days and I also haven’t gone to the bathroom in 2 days; directly associated? I think so. It’s made me not want anything. Ugh. All else I could tolerate was some very very dense calories.

Smart Balance Peanut Butter

Besides that, not much else special has happened. It was Sunday lunch with the family. Lunch? I really just wanted to find a treadmill and hopefully get things moving rather than put more food in. But I was also cranky, which meant I didn’t have enough food. I hate contradictions like that.

Fake Chicken Patty, Parsnips, Sweet Potato, Roasted Broccoli, Ketchup

I honestly don’t know how I got this all in(sans the ketchup bottle). The chicken patty was much better baked than the last tie I had them microwaved. And the sweet potato was just calling me with it’s roasted aroma. But now it feels like sitting is discomfortable. I’ve asked to leave to get back on campus a little earlier than usual so I can hopefully hit the gym before doing some intense work on my Latin final paper; now that I have a direction, I’m excited to just work and finish it!

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