Reigning Over Imperfection

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

Just so we all get the pun…

Rain In Providence

It’s raining really hard right now. And will be through Saturday, hence the “reign”. OK, good, I don’t feel crazy laughing alone at my own jokes 😀

I wouldn’t say I “struggle” with not being perfect simply because I’ve never met perfection in a bar and shattered a bottle to start swiping at it. That being said, I am pretty finicky(read: Polish stubborn) and try my best to excel at whatever I do or make. Sometimes A lot of times, things don’t work out. But the more I grow the more I learn to just “deal”.

Banana Whip With Vanilla Powder

This banana whip was far from perfect; some of the bananas I had just stuck in the fridge 2 hours earlier and weren’t even frozen. I needed to use Bob’s Red Mill guar gum and vanilla stevia here along with vanilla powder to get the flavor where I wanted it. And, in the end, I’d say it was just “OK”. Disappointing? A little. But there will be other banana whips.

Last night I also got the rough draft back from my writing fellow for a paper due today. I just don’t work that fast. And the comments she had I neither agreed with stylistically nor had time to properly work in. Naturally, my gut reaction was to freak out on how imperfect this paper’s going to be. In my stress, I made some tea to try and stop me from just grabbing a spoon and killing off a peanut butter jar(oh yes, I very well could have done this). But then I stepped back and thought: This is the class I took for “fun”. This is the class I changed to Pass/Fail so that it wouldn’t stress me out. And here I’m letting it walk all over me. I’m going to pass the class, perfect paper or not. And I was just being silly. At that, I edited what I could, and sent the final draft in calmly and rationally. So what did I eat in my no-longer stress?

Coconut Oil Chocolate

Oatmeal With Chocolate Peanut Butter

Simply: Food. I whipped up 1/2 a batch of coconut oil chocolate and stuck it in a muffin tin because I’m OK with eating something imperfectly shaped if you’re OK with seeing it. And I had a nice filling, relaxing bowl of oatmeal with Justin’s chocolate peanut butter to calm my nerves. Did you know oatmeal is one of the best things you could eat to fall to sleep or back to sleep? I would have thought the carbs would make it imperfect for that but I guess since they’re all complex it works out.

8 Miles In 73:31

This morning, I woke up to rain(as I pointed out). I started thinking about how this could be the perfect excuse to not hit the gym. But then I had a funny thought: I wanted to brave the rain and get a good run in. There I had it, so I went and ran 8 miles in 73:31. The treadmill set up is imperfect; it only goes for 1 hour at a time, throws too many numbers at you, and doesn’t give a remote for the TV when the hour changes. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love it anyway 🙂

Fair Trade Organic White Chocolate Strawberry Raw Almond Butter

If it’s not clear that I’m somewhat of a neat-freak perfectionist, check out the sweet label I gave this homemade nut butter I made over Winter break. On the other side, it has a complete nutritional panel and even a little Fair Trader sticker 🙂

Chocolate Avocado Pudding, Pumpkin Pie Oats With White Chocolate Almond Butter

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal With White Chocolate Almond Butter

Lastly, I wholly acknowledge that I’m an imperfect refueler; I break about every rule for post-run recovery(which you can read the proper way for in this awesome and detailed post). But the flip side to that is I’m very good at telling what I want/need. Today felt like a “fat” morning where only fat would fill me up. I added a nice plop of almond butter on top of oatmeal made with pumpkin and egg whites(for a wee bit of protein). And instead of greek yogurt, I had chocolate avocado pudding. And, in an effort to keep stevia out of my breakfast, I sweetened this with 1 tablespoon Xagave instead. Was the flavor perfect? Not at all. But what’s a little real sugar after 8 miles in an effort to use stevia–while sweet and natural–a little less?

I’m also far from perfect for taking so long to get you this recipe; if you’ll remember, I made these coconut cherry cups for my family for Valentine’s Day. It took me a while to giving them their own recipe page but I finally have. Enjoy! If you try them, I bet they’ll come out perfect 😉

Vegan Sweet Cherry Coconut Cups

Ingredient:

  • 1/2 pound dark chocolate(I used 3/4 cup Trader Joe’s chocolate chips and 2 squares(4 pieces) Baker’s Unsweetened)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup cherry butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar

In the microwave or using a double boiler, melt down the chocolate to a liquid state. Put a dab of chocolate into the bottom of 12 paper muffin cups to coat the bottom. Mix the coconut oil in a liquid state with the cherry butter. In a seperate bowl, mix together the coconut and agave nectar until fully incorporated. Mix together the two until a thick consistency and even red/pink color is reached. Add about 1 tablespoon of this mixture to each cup(there might be extra; if so, either make more cups or save for another use). Add a dollop of melted chocolate to the top of each coconut ball and work with a spoon until the cherry coconut is fully covered. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or more until serving.

And it would be imperfect of me not to mention this Chobani giveaway.

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Working (And) Up An Appetite

Posted on February 22, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

If this post has a somewhat downer tone it’s probably because my dinner was a little bit of a Disaster with a capitol D, but more on that later :-/

Laundry

I still love Mondays, though! I managed to get laundry done, and read 160 pages for a class I need to read. It’s not as much homework as I’d like to have done but there’s still time after dinner, right? I’ll just keep hoping.

Sundried Tomato Al Fresco Chicken Sausage

I wanted lunch to be low-key so I grabbed a new flavor of Al Fresco‘s chicken sausage to try and review. I love these because I just have to defrost in the microwave for 90 seconds and then cook them in there, too, for another minute!

Black Beans With Salsa, Broccoli With Hemp Oil, Sundried Tomato Chicken Sausage

Even though this was an early lunch, I felt like I needed volume. I guess those 10 miles this morning got my appetite going, too. The broccoli was jazzed up with a little of the hemp oil dressing from Foods Alive and then the beans by salsa. Yum. This sausage wasn’t nearly as flavorful as I was looking for :-/ It tasted… like chicken. AND I was still hungry. Dessert time!

Lemon Fig Pecan Raw Bar

Which obviously called for coffee, as well. I dug into my stash of Uli Mana raw desserts and tried their lemon fig pecan bar. It was super delicious! I just loved how bursting with lemon this was, like a lemon bar with powdered sugar but sooo much better for me. It was a nice sweet tone to end Lunch with and get working while watching TV.

Chocolate Chip Banana Soft Serve

3pm rolled around and I was starving AGAIN. Did you know Stedman isn’t a fan of chocolate? The things we learn watching Oprah… Anyway, that gave me a major chocolate chip craving, which led to some rawesome ice cream with chocolate chips.

Chocolate Chip Banana Soft Serve

Yum! I think I need to make a recipe page with all the possible alterations on banana soft serve, because the possibilities are endless! This batch was chocolate chip, and at the end I made it something of a banana de sel by sprinkling sea salt on top to bring out the sweetness. Can you say heavenly?

Trader Joe's Chocolate Chip

These are my preferred chocolate chips of choice for applications like this. They are gluten free and vegan. They taste deliciously sweet(hello, 8g of sugar per serving). I’ve had lengthy discussions with Avery just about how much these rock. My only complaint is that Trader Joe doesn’t make mini chocolate chips; mini makes everything more fun! Oh, I’d also complain they aren’t terribly filling.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Chocolate Peanut Butter

Looks like a breakfast, but eats like a snack. And, yes, I eat oatmeal usually with a salt shaker at arm’s length for some flavoring. Pumpkin oatmeal with Justin’s chocolate peanut butter was just what I needed to power me through an otherwise painfully long afternoon.

For dinner, I wanted to make an entry into Katie’s new contest. All you need to do is make pancake roll-ups, top with fun toppings, and enjoy. Simple, right? My idea was gluten-free coconut flour crepes with cream cheese, avocado, salsa, and tuna toppings. But instead of crepe, I got…

Coconut Pancake "Grits" With Grass-Fed Butter, Tuna With Coconut Milk And Cream Cheese

Crap. CLEARLY I am not that good at making pancakes. I tried! I honestly did! I was flipping away in the dorm kitchen but everything turned to mush. This was one gluten-free recipe that was not meant to be. Not to mention it wasn’t very smart to keep licking the batter when there’s egg white in it(oops). In the end, it was really a meal that would have better off uneaten 8-| But I also am pretty strict about not wasting food, so I called it a “grits” and went ahead and had something like the planned meal.

I could let the nastiness of this get me down, but instead I’ll focus on the positive points. It was a meal full of fiber, healthy fats, and protein. Besides, with a hunger like mine, there are plenty of more meals to come and 1 bad one isn’t the end of the world. In fact, tomorrow night’s dinner will be a real hum-dinger I know I can pull off 😀 And so I can look forward to that. And maybe, just maybe, Katie will take pity on my and let my shameful attempt count as an entry? So let’s hear in the comments some of your worst dinner disaster stories.

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“Life” Is A Funny Thing

Posted on February 12, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

That’s actually a huge understatement; life is more like the craziest thing you’ll ever attempt to know. That’s what has been on my mind most of today. A few things that sparked that:

  • Someone in my year was struck and killed by a car on a road I’ve crossed 100’s of times this year. I could have had a class with him, lived in the dorms with him, or at least knew him, but I didn’t. I went to his Facebook page when the email was sent out to get a sense of what he looked like. Not 24 hours ago, he was “making friends” on Facebook.
  • While on Facebook, I noticed someone I went to middle school with remark that 5 years ago today, we left off on what would be 10 tough days of community service in Costa Rica. This was one of those trips that breaks you down and builds you completely anew; my eyes were opened in so many ways, good friendships were made better, and it gave me a completely new experience to look back to.
  • Sunday’s Valentines Day. Facebook reminded me(nothing I didn’t already remember) that it also would have been the 18th birthday of a girl I went to high school with and knew very very well, who died from cardiac arrest on a school trip 2 1/2 years ago. She was 15.
  • On a much lighter note, some guy on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire won $250000 answering movie trivia. That’s probably the kind of stuff people told him all his life “would never be useful”, and now look at him. I’ve picked up tons of information like that(hell, it’s my major! haha).

What’s the takeaway from all these doses of “life”? For me, it’s that I’m now looking forward to going home Sunday to be with my extended family. At first, this seemed like such an imposition; could I really give a day away from work? Now I’m thinking, could I really not for family? I don’t think so.

Green Peppers And Savory Breakfast Chicken Sausages

After getting the first bit of news barraged at me, I needed a lunch that would “wow!” me and take my mind of things, but didn’t feel like doing much. I looked at the Al Fresco website to get some ideas for something simple, and found I could make this recipe pretty easily.

Kitchen Sign

I like to adhere to all the rules while cooking; I especially try and remember to take pizza out of the box before putting it in the oven. But that one always trips me up 😛 Anybody care to make a kitchen confession? I’ve done the foil in the microwave thing when I was younger(actually, it was probably my dad’s bad. It was a pancake syrup container from McDonalds on a night my mom was gone from the house). And a note on the last one: The fan doesn’t even work, haha 🙂

Egg And Sausage Frittata, Broccoli With Cayenne Parma

I changed the recipe by using 1 egg and the rest of my egg white container, and microwaved it for a minute afterwards rather than the traditional bake to finish off the top egg. On the side, I had simply steamed broccoli with cayenne parma. I pretty much loved this, licked my plate–the whole shebang. These sausage can do no wrong; I remember thinking that the first time I ate them when I snuck them into the dining hall as my protein. Expect to see this again(hopefully a lot!).

Banana Whip With Maple Syrup

I was pretty awful at getting work done this afternoon; I blame twitter friends and other blogs on my reader 😛 I decided a cool treat was necessary while I had time. I blended up some bananas and drizzled the top with maple syrup. Surprisingly, the syrup didn’t taste awfully sweet with the banana 😦 It was really only sweet the whole spoonfuls I got. Oh well, they were each good on their own part. It always amazes me how something so natural and raw can be so satisfying(technically, maple syrup isn’t raw. But from a New England and New Hampshire standpoint, it’s more natural than breathing).

Peanut Sweet & Salty Odwalla Bar

Later on I wanted some peanuts(not surprising). I realized so few bars I have actually have peanuts in them :-O I think it must be so that companies can boast a peanut-free facility. I remembered grabbing this one from a campus store last semester and went for it. It was way more sweet than salty(I actually had to pour a little salt on). I also convinced myself to go out for the 2nd time today and grabbed some yogurt; 1 vanilla chobani could not last me through Sunday morning.

Bacon Tempeh, Marinated Brussels Sprouts And Tempeh Cubes, Honey

Dinner was flavorful and–better yet–taken care of much earlier. At 3, I marinated brussels sprouts and tempeh with soy sauce, maple syrup, and liquid smoke. I roasted them for 45 minutes and then added some cooked tempeh bacon and honey for a more-or-less savory BBQ flavor. I think this has sparked a new craving for honey in me; I forgot how sweet and pure the real stuff tastes; I’ll grab a local one at a farmer’s market when those rise up again.

On the other side of life, there are happy, tame points that make you smile. I could ask myself every night before going to bed if I lived life that day the way I wanted to and the answer would almost always be “yes”. I love my family and friends and couldn’t be happier with my readership. It’s no secret I like to network with all of you through this blog, both influencing and being influenced. I’m happy to have influenced Freya who made my raw vegan brownies with chocolate frosting here.

And here’s an iHerb giveaway you could win and live life to the fullest with online shopping!

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Welcome To The Weekend

Posted on February 11, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Giveaway | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Welcome to my weekend, at least! I can’t think of a more perfect way than with a new Survivor season starting in 20 minutes! I’ve been watching the show since season 1 when I was only around 8 or 9 years old. Has it really been that long? Anyway, It felt soooo good getting out of my class at 4pm this afternoon. If you’ll remember, last Thursday it was out of class and off to chocolate fest so there wasn’t much “downtime”. This afternoon, however, has been nothing but. Speaking of being lazy, I really didn’t want a “real lunch” this afternoon. All I cared about was dessert. I ended up doing something sloppy and simple.

Scrambled Eggs With Ketchup, Canned Pumpkin With Nutritional Yeast

What can I say? I’m a college student 😛 I scrambled 2 Eggland’s Best Cage Free eggs in a little pasture butter and topped with ketchup–OMG. I seriously forgot how satisfying just scrambled eggs are. My grandma would make them for me all the time; I’ll need to do them more often. On the other hand, I’ve decided pretty firmly that I just do not care for pumpkin anywhere but in my oats. It tastes bland and nasty, in my opinion. Blech. But I was also out of fresh, fiberous vegetables and was in a pickle(Mmm… pickles). More importantly, I just wanted my dessert.

Banana Whipe With Peanut Flour Topping

Banana whip! Oh how I love thee. So smooth. So creamy. So delicious. I’ve been keeping bananas from the dining hall in the dorm fridge for this; it’s free for me and takes up common space 🙂 For the topping, I meant to make a peanut sauce but didn’t use enough flour so it was more like dough. That doesn’t matter; what was important was that I realized peanut flour is something that upsets my stomach. It’s weird to think something that’s only peanut would do that to me, but it does. And it sucks that it’s a perfectly vegan source of protein 😦 I don’t even know what I’m going to do. Thoughts? Any lactose intolerant ice cream eaters out there?

Choco Peanut Butter Honest Foods Bar

During my 2nd of 2 classes this afternoon, I broke open this bar from Honest Foods. Honestly? It was pretty fantastic. I’ve come to notice that anything that’s supposed to taste like peanut butter with grains in it usually doesn’t; thankfully that wasn’t the case. I think any walnuts/sunflower seeds in here would have been better off being more peanut halves, but beyond that yum!

Chocolate Avocado Pudding With Coconut Oil

I could have been dancing getting out of my last class this afternoon; it didn’t quite matter that I didn’t do all the homework for it because we never get that far in translation courses. To celebrate the afternoon, I had some raw chocolate avocado pudding with Tropical Tradition‘s coconut oil. Welcome to the weekend indeed! If this is any indication, this weekend will be fattening 😉 After that I mostly vegged out doing some potential online shopping(aka filling a shopping cart with foodie finds but not hitting “check out”) and planning a comforting dinner.

Spinach & Feta Chicken Sausage, Roasted Brussels Sprouts And Sweet Potato With Maple Syrup

I think that pretty much sums up my comfort foods: brussels sprouts(or broccoli–either will do), sweet potatoes, maple syrup, fatty meat, salt, and anything roasted! Actually, the vegetables were a bit of a disappointment in that respect; either the fact that they were cooked in the dining hall(with no apparent fat) or my lack of patience meant they weren’t well roasted. This flavor of Al Fresco all natural chicken sausage cooked in a pan with some pasture butter made up for it a bit.

Fat Talk

Since I have a bit of time, I thought why not address some fat talk. And not the kind that we all snickered about in High School! I want to talk about fat in your(or my) diet. I was turned on to different and new fats and ways of thinking about them by bloggers like Heather and Averie. If today can be seen as an average day, then I get a good deal of mono- and poly-saturated fats from almond butter, peanut butter, and avocado, and my saturated fats from coconut, grass-fed butter, and hormone-free meats.

The obvious question would be “How do you feel?”. My answer is “Pretty darn good”. The fat is definitely delicious and filling. I haven’t had any stomach issues save the peanut flour which is actually only 12% fat. And–for what it’s worth–my skin and complexion seem smoother and clearer. If I had to sum it all up and be catch, I’d say “Fat is here to stay”. And I still think that getting the mono/polysaturated fats as well as the “bad” saturated fats. These really aren’t so bad if you stick with sources like coconut and grass-fed meat and dairy options.

Well that’s just my 5-minute 2 cents. But without further ado, the winner of the Yogurt Maker via Random.org is…

Erika!

Congrats! I can’t wait to see what she cultures up. And, if you didn’t win this, you can win Chobani from Anne in her giveaway here.

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Let Me Eat Oats

Posted on January 24, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Happy national peanut butter day! Right now, I’m sitting here watching the Screen Actor’s Guild awards that I tivoed and I’m still entirely in a food coma from yesterday. Seriously–how do you get over food like that? At the same time, I’m so happy to get back to “normal” eating. I’ve often thought about how great it would be to be a celebrity and eat at the best restaurants every night, but 1 day and I’m dying to get back to good old cheap-and-tasty food. Does anybody else think certain celebrities are the same? Steve Carell is one celebrity I could certainly picture going home after a long day of work and reaching for a bowl of oats instead of anything fancy; I like down-to-earth celebs like that.

I didn’t want to completely abandon my ritual of chocolate after dinner last night, so I found room for some dessert 😉

Chocolate Banana Soft Serve

It always amazes me that cocoa powder, bananas, and a dash of nut milk can make something so glorious. I’m planning on making a How-To post for chocolate banana soft serve, because there’s a little “trick” to it if you ask me. But when you’ve got it right, it comes out so deliciously cool and creamy–you’ll think it’s soft serve!

Did anybody catch the new Unwrapped last night? It was on at a really odd time: 10:30. It was all about bargain eating, and the first 10 minutes were devoted to Trader Joe’s! Gotta love that store. They also showed a visit to the Hungry Man factory; I don’t know how anybody who works there would eat one of their meals. I actually thought some of the photos were bit graphic(if you saw this and the chicken, you might now what I mean).

That show probably influenced a dream I had last night about being at Trader Joe’s and looking for Swedish fish with a friend from high school. I used to love Swedish fish, and it sort of bums me out I haven’t found a natural alternative yet. There just soooo good. I might have to make an exception in my diet one day soon for them. Anyway, the dream got me hungry so I scrounged the kitchen for the closest thing to Swedish fish.

Dried Raspberries

You know–for something not Swedish fish, these weren’t half bad? Chewy? Check. Sweet? Check. They were just a little too tart, but I bet blended with dates they’d be a good substitute. When I stumbled on an old Disney Channel Original Movie on the TV at 4am, I might have had a mid(quarter?)life crisis; why can’t we all grow young like Benjamin Button? No worries–I’ll spoil the hell out of my kids and live through them. Lucky bastards 😀

Because of my latenight wanderings, I slept through my alarm for a full hour. That’s not an easy thing to do at the volume I play it, so I’m sure other people got an earful. I decided to just save time by nixing the strength workout since it’s good to give muscles a rest, but kept the cardio and did stairs for 200 flights(which takes almost exactly 1 hour). For breakfast, I was soooo up for eating more “normal”.

Crofter's Europe Superfruit Spread

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy myself; I opened the European superfruit spread from Crofter’s Organic to see if I could add some exotic(or at least organic) flavor.

Goat Milk Yogurt With Europe Superfruit Spread

Oatmeal With Mighty Maple And Organic Pasture Butter

I thought the goat milk yogurt with Europe superfruit spread would be a fun and exotic(well, as exotic as Europe gets) combination; honestly, the spread did not wow me, and it would have been a better idea to completely mix the two since it’s so thick. On the other hand, it was pretty “European” in flavor, so if you just can’t quit Europe this might be your best bet. The oatmeal was a divine treat. It came out kind of like pancakes topped with butter and brown sugar, except with a peanut buttery twist. All I wanted was my oats–no fillers–so I just loaded up on ‘dem grains 😀

They just played the In Memoriam section of the SAG awards. Those are always my most and least favorite parts of an award show; I totally forgot Bea Arthur died this year 😦 Youtubing Golden Girl clips for the rest of the day? Yeah, that could be a plan.

Here’s a giveaway for teather fruit strips and here’s another for nutrasalt!

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I Wanna Be “That Guy”

Posted on January 21, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I’ve decided that I want to be “that guy”. Not “that guy on the bus”,

Or “that guy who got screwed by NBC”,

I want to be “that guy” who, when he’s 80 and grey, his grand kids can recite all the rituals he did every day. I want to be “that guy” whose routine you can set a clock to. Basically, I want to be boring. But I don’t see it as boring. Other people see it as boring and tell me I should want to switch it up and try new things. Great. Fine. But here I am knowing what I want to do; and last I checked, when somebody knows what they really want, that’s something to celebrate, right? So rather than fight my routine, I’ve decided to start embracing it. For instance,

The Raw Bakery Cacao Brownie

The Raw Bakery Cacao Brownie

I want to be “that guy” who has something chocolate every night after dinner. That seems to be the theme, as of late. I’ve had raw things after dinner. I’ve had yogurt after dinner. But, in the end, they’re all chocolate. Does anyone want to argue with me that that’s a bad thing? Didn’t think so. Last night’s treat was a raw cacao brownie from The Raw Bakery. I definitely didn’t need something composed of dates and agave right before bed but c’est la vie. This was OK, but it tasted oddly figgy and not chocolate enough. It had a great texture–better than most cooked brownies I’ve ever had. I’d definitely have it again, but, in all honesty, I could probably make a recipe for these or find a better brand.

I want to be “that guy” who has his shows and is always up to date on them. How could I ever show my face at the water cooler if I didn’t know how hilarious Modern Family was last night(seriously, wasn’t that good?).

Oatmeal With Organic Chocolate Peanut Butter

I want to be “that guy” who has oatmeal with nut butter every night before going to bed. I’ve fought this one before and it’s just not worth it; I love it, it’s good for me, and I’m going to do it. Last night, I even got to try a brand new nut butter: Justin’s chocolate peanut butter. I bought this with my Christmas money, skeptical of how it’d be since I haven’t had a chocolate peanut butter I like before. My verdict? YUM-O! This is seriously one of the best peanut butters I’ve ever had, and the first chocolate peanut butter one I’ve liked. You can taste both flavors, and they aren’t mixed into one; it’s simply perfect. I can’t wait until these are in every Whole Foods, at which time PLEASE get yourself a jar. And it’s organic–my heart be still.

I want to be “that guy” who sleeps 11-7, so long as he can help it. Sure, once and a while I’ll be up later than that, or have to hit the snooze button. But I’m not letting anyone convince me that I shouldn’t be asleep that early at my age. It’s just how I am.

I want to be “that guy” who gets up and exercises! To be honest, I’ve fought myself on this one. I mean, really, who’s thinking anything difficult is “fun” 10 minutes after waking up? But you know what? After I do it, I feel energized and ready to tackle the day, and sooo much better than when I don’t or put it off. Sometimes, we may need to tell ourselves what we want, but that’s just how it is. This morning, I told myself I wanted to do  full core and 200 flights, and that’s what I did. And I felt so good afterwards.

Justin's Chocolate Peanut Butter And Suzanne's Ricemellow Creme

I want to be “that guy” who sets the record straight. For months now, I’ve been calling the all-natural Fluff I’ve been using vegan. Well, a little while back I double checked the ingredients and saw egg whites top the list. Oops. Turns out it wasn’t vegan, just all-natural. Because it wasn’t breaking news, I didn’t think to make a point of it. Recently, Suzanne’s sent me some of their goodies to review. And their ricemellow creme is vegan. There. Record straight.

4 Parts 0% Greek Yogurt : 1 Part Full Fat Greek Yogurt

Bananamon Oats With Justin's Chocolate Peanut Butter, Suzanne's Ricemellow Creme And NOO's Cinnamon Grahams

I want to be “that guy” who has yogurt and oatmeal at breakfast everyday. Predictable? Definitely. But what’s wrong with that when you’re getting protein, fiber, probiotics, whole grains, and healthy fats? Nothing. And occasionally things do change, like trying out my new vegan ricemellow creme. Honestly–I loved it. Fluff who? This was an identical match. It was airy and gooey and sweet. I only wish it had improved on the vanilla flavor of Fluff rather than match it. Definitely not a disappointment by any means, though.

I want to be “that guy” who watches gets his news from Regis & Kelly and The Today show every morning. It’s pretty much how I stay on top of things. I think it’s a lot more reliable than The Jay Leno Show these days, don’t you?

I want to be “that guy” who tries new things from time to time, too. On today’s plate(literally): seitan. I had had seitan jerky but never seitan as a main part of a dish. I bought pre-prepared seitan and just heated it up.

Prepared Seitan, Smoky Soy Brussels Sprouts, Honey Barbeque Baked Potato Chips

Smoky Soy Brussels Sprouts

I want to be “that guy” who brings you fun flavor ideas, like wheat-free tamari and liquid smoke brussels sprouts. Seriously, every time I hear a commenter say that putting certain flavors together was a great idea or that they tried it and loved it, it warms my heart. Really, I don’t think too much about things. I just throw them together if they sound good, and thankfully these came out amazing with the honey barbeque chips and seitan. But also sometimes they don’t work out; that’s one of the benefits of having a dog 😉

I want to be “that guy” who’s a hoot to watch shop, moving slowly and picking up and feeling every product. Yes. I shop like an Italian grandmother, which was ironic today because it was my Italian grandmother who drove me to the natural food store down the road. But I totally encourage shopping like this, because how else would you know if a fruit is ripe? Or nut properly roasted?

NuNaturals Pure White Stevia Extract 1oz

I want to be “that guy” who people trust for good recommendations. I’m kind of hoping to be that already, and I’m hoping you’ll trust me when I say this is the best stevia I’ve had to date. I was sent this along with other NuNatural products over the Summer to sample and review. I’ve boughten 2 or 3 of this particular product because it is truly the purest, least bitter stevia I’ve found. If you think it’s pricey($14 for 1 ounce), know that you get at least 200+ servings out of it so it’s not so outrageous.

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream

I want to be “that guy” who raises his family right but never deprives. I like to take cues from Mama Pea. She’s so popular, I’m sure I don’t need to plug her. But if you haven’t heard of her, you must check her blog out; she’s raising her two girls so well, giving them wholesome snacks that they truly enjoy(like chocolate banana ice cream), and if I raise kids half that well one day I’ll be happy.

I don’t want to be “that guy” who calls his dad in a whiny voice complaining how we have no dinner for tonight and our back-up restaurant randomly completely closed due to a private engagement(seriously, how often does this happen?), but I was that tonight. I’m just trying to keep us all fed, people.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Organic Pistachio Butter

I want to be “that guy” who has all the crazy cool nut and seed butters. Can I be that guy already, with this organic pistachio seed butter I ground with Tierra Farm‘s organic salted pistachio meat? There’s something kind of fun looking at a bowl of what should be oatmeal and peanut butter and seeing all orange and green–just saying.

I want to be “that guy” who wins this giveaway for Chobani, so don’t enter.

So there it is. That’s just the kind of guy I want to be, day in and day out. Why the word “want”? Who’s stopping me? That’s the guy I am.

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Yellow Yolks

Posted on January 20, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I don’t want to think what I’ll do without a food processor when I go back to campus. It’s sooo amazing. For instance, it can turn fruit into ice cream… twice in one day!

Banana Soft Serve With Milk Chocolate

I had a second bowl of banana soft serve. This time I omitted cocoa powder and added some xanthan gum because the bananas weren’t fully frozen to begin with–delicious. I topped it with the milk chocolate that Kristie gave me. Holy yum was this good! I didn’t check but I bet they use butterfat in the ingredients because this was soooo rich and creamy and delicious. I think it rivals Divine’s milk chocolate; would it be ironic that one of my new favorite milk chocolates was given to me by a vegan? Thanks, Kristie!

I also like the food processor because it makes seeds into seed butter, such as it did yesterday with my pistachios, which I couldn’t wait(literally) to dive into.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Pistachio Butter

This bowl was saltier than the sea but it was sooo delicious, too. I forgot how much I liked pistachios; they’re just such a pain to deshell. I ended up watching Chopped, which is one Food Network show I don’t care for. Have you seen it? It’s just not my style. What I do like is trying to figure out what I’d make if I were one of the contestants. For instance, they had to make a dessert with tofu, cacao nibs, cherry tomatoes, and gingersnaps. If I were them, I would have made a gingersnap crust, filled it with chocolate tofu pudding, and garnished with whip cream, a candied cherry tomato, and cacao nibs. I don’ know how good that’d come out but it’d be worth a shot 🙂

When I woke up I was pumped for a strength and cardio session. I did my core of

  • 40 push-ups
  • 50 standing lunges, 50 walking lunges
  • 70 side crunches, both sides
  • 100 crunches
  • 70 crunch pose-hold
  • 240 arm rotaries
  • 5 sets of 7 chair swings
  • 40 squats
  • 70 standing marches
  • 70 rower arms
  • 40 second rower’s pose hold
  • 100 sit-ups
  • 70 tricep dips
  • 100 air bike kicks

Followed by the standard 200 flights. I knew my after-dinner snacks wouldn’t hold me over through all of that so all the while I was nibbling on this new bar I was sent to review:

Jay Robb Cashew Coconut Bar

As with all Jay Robb products, if it will make me look like that, I’ll eat it no matter what it tastes like. Thankfully, this cashew coconut bar was also delicious. It really tasted quite tropical with the coconut and sweet cashews. I couldn’t even notice the rice crisps, which I normally detest. And I love that it’s lightly sweetened with agave nectar and sugar alcohols; who wants a lot of sugar when they’re reaching for a protein bar? That’s what energy bars are for. This also has a good deal of NUTrition(cashew butter is the first ingredient), so for breakfast I went for some other fats.

So Delicious Soy Yogurt With Vanilla Bean Sugar

Oatmeal With 2 Cage-Free Organic Eggs

I had(what I thought) was a lightbulb moment: I separated the whites and yolks, cooked the oatmeal with the whites for 1 minute and then added the yolks fr the last 30 seconds. They came out so perfectly runny while the whites were completely set. That’s how I’ll be making eggy oats from now on. For the yogurt, I just took a plain So Delicious and added vanilla bean sugar from Whole Foods bulk bin; don’t you love looking at something and seeing vanilla beans? I definitely eat vanilla with my eyes first.

Today’s Tip: Eggs It seems like there’s a million different things to think about with eggs(then again, I overthink everything) and I was wondering: Where do you stand? Love it all? Just the whites, please? Or no eggs for you? For me, they’re a package deal. I think they’re a perfect protein balanced with fat when you eat the whole egg. And so much of the vitamins and nutrients are in the yolk that they’re hard to pass up. Of course, there’s the cholesterol that comes in the yolk, too(a healthy egg should have a bright yellow/orange yolk). But after reading the literature on egg cholesterol and cholesterol in general, I’ve came to the decision that it doesn’t matter to me. I do, however, keep a carton of egg whites on hand, just for those times when I want a protein boost or need the structure they provide in baking. If you want your baked good to be cakey, add 2-3 eggs. If you’re looking for something airy, omit the yolks and whip the whites. Or, on the contrary, if you want something a bit beefier like milk chocolate peanut butter chunkies, use just the yolk. Ideally, I’ll own my own hen coop some day. That way I’d know where my eggs come from, how the hens are treated, and not have to pay for eggs ever again. Clearly, not much plans to move to the big city here. So what are your thoughts on eggs?

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The Banana Soft Serve Diet

Posted on January 19, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I loved learning from this post that American Chop Suey is primarily a New England meal; I never knew that! It sounds like you either grew up eating this 3 times a week(guilty and proud of it ;-)) or have never tried it. Really, it’s just pasta(usually elbow macaroni) with ground beef, green pepper, onions, tomato sauce, and some seasonings, but it’s one of those dishes that is 10 times better than the sum of its parts; you would not believe the flavor it can have.

Another thing I cannot believe the flavor of? Fried Rice. I admit I’ve had this from a restaurant maybe once in my life, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to make it with my leftover organic brown rice. Of course, I had no idea what I was doing, but that’s never stopped me before 😉 I heated maybe a tablespoon of earth balance in a pan, then added the rice and tamari until it was mostly absorbed. Then I added steamed broccoli florets. I couldn’t figure out if eggs were traditionally added as a necessary ingredient, or a protein source(still unclear on this), so I threw in 1 egg white and cooked until that was well set.

Fried Rice

Lightlife Buffalo Wings

1 egg white was not my protein source so I had the rest of my Lightlife buffalo wings, too. I realize the flavors don’t work here at all; I could have thrown in some tofu. But damn if those wings ain’t delicious. Now if only they weren’t an arm and a leg 😦 The fried rice came out delicious! I mean, anything with added fat and sodium is never bad, is it? I think next time I’ll add a full egg or two for some yolk-flavor(Oh, and there will be a next time). Along with lunch I was watching television and guzzling down a new-to-me beverage.

Raspberry Steaz

This Steaz was a lot better than the other two I’ve tried. Instead of just tasting like flavored green tea, this actually tasted like raspberry. I don’t think I’d buy it over Zevia again, though, except for that we got 2 4-packs for $2.66; that was such a good sale at Whole Foods I think I’ll be dreaming about it.

Snow

Did I mention it was still snowing after Days? In fact, it snowed all day, even though it wasn’t supposed to at all. Weird. It was a nice snowfall to watch, though–very light and fluffy. For whatever reason my grandmother dropped by and proceeded to try to convince me it was “warm” out. Warm? Really? From what I’ve learned, it doesn’t snow when it’s “warm”. Then again, I wasn’t about to argue with an 81 year old(now, if she were 82, that would have been a different story).

The one thing I did not like about lunch was that it did nothing for my hunger. It really is true what they say about Chinese food: You’re just hungry an hour later. I could have eaten my arm off, but instead I decided to have an early afternoon snack.

Chocolate Banana Softserve

So much to say–where to start? Number #1: Anything put in a food processor with cocoa powder comes out good. It’s a fact. This was 6oz banana, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, and some vanilla stevia, and it came out amazing. I was thinking of adding Xanthan Gum but was sooo happy I didn’t. Look how thick it was all its own! #2: As good as this was, it wasn’t a Frosty from Wendy’s, which I was craving. This would be more like a frosty if it had less chocolate, and some milk, and some ice, and came from Wendy’s. Yep. That’d make it more like a frosty. #3: Whereas my meal of fried rice and buffalo wings didn’t hold me over for an hour, this held me over 3 hours until dinner. Does that mean there’s some truth to the banana diet? I’m totally up for it, so long as that banana comes in soft serve form.

Among the things I did in the afternoon was play with my food processor, while it was out.

Tierra Farm Organic Salted Pistachio Meat

Among the package Tierra Farm sent me was these pistachio meats. Because I’m 99% more likely to eat seeds and nuts in their butter form, and didn’t have a pistachio butter, I set 1/2 an ounce aside for dinner and shoved the rest into the processor.

Pistachio Butter

Nut and sed butters are, unfortunately, not the sexiest one at the party, but this was pretty bangin’. It was so easy to grind these, probably because Tierra Farm knows what they’re doing in roasting them unlike this nut. I can’t wait to put this over oatmeal. Pistachio and pumpkin? Sounds good to me. Speaking of being a nut…

Buffalo Chicken

I ate those buffalo chicken wings at lunch fully knowing I was making the real thing for dinner. Obsessed? Just a little. These were really simple. I cooked the chicken breasts fully. While those were working, I melted 2 tablespoons earth balance and franks red hot sauce in a pan until melted. When the breasts were done, I let them sit in the butter mixture for 5 minutes or so.

Brussels Sprouts With Goat Cheese, 3oz Buffalo Chicken, 1/2oz Organic Pistachio Meat

The chicken came out good and flavorful, but I don’t think the sauce was thick enough or took to it well; maybe add a tablespoon of flower next time? Still, it was an upgrade from what would have been all-white meat. It’s good to have some sort of fat on or with meat, and since I used earth balance it was trans-fat and cholesterol free 😀 I smeared goat cheese on my brussels, to change them up, and had 1/2 an ounce Tierra Farm organic salted pistachio meat to review. Umm, yum! Maybe I just forgot how good pistachios were, or maybe these were just that good, but I loved them! Nice and salty 🙂 I can’t wait to try my seed butter now!

I have to tell you: Tomorrow morning will not be pretty. Our big coffee pot died this morning 😦 It’s not so much a problem for me because I have my Keurig single cup brewer. The key words there are “my” and “single” 😉 And now I’m flipping between American Idol and The Biggest Loser right now. Why do we have to choose things like this? It’s not fair.

Here’s a superfruit spread giveaway.

A giveaway for vegan ice cream! How fun.

And a giveaway for Q.bel chocolate–one of my faves!

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Whippin’ It

Posted on January 6, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Alternate titles: A Fruity Morning, Freezing My Potassium Off, and I Said I Wouldn’t. All very descriptive, the last one as in “I said I wouldn’t go back for more vegan meatloaf last night.”

Vegan Meatloaf

I had to. It was just too good. And, no, this wasn’t like I didn’t eat enough at dinner and needed a little more. I filled up on this at dinner(trust me), and this was me wanting this for dessert 2 hours later. I even thought about all the chocolate I could have instead. Nope. I wanted meat(sort of). This was probably a good choice to watch The Biggest Loser with. Did you watch it? I did, but honestly I don’t feel any connections with contestants when there are still so many. After that, I noticed a recipe on Facebook that was calling my name!

Vanilla FroYo Banana Whip With NuttZo And 2 Goji Almond Oat Cookies

The link was to a NuttZo blog post about banana whip ice cream! It looked so good, I had to break out the food processor. I blended 4oz banana(about 1 big one) with 1/4 cup really pure vanilla frozen yogurt, and then topped it with some Goji Gourmet almond oat cookies and a spoonful of NuttZo. This was so good! The banana ice cream had such great flavor and texture, and the cookies and NuttZo really hit the spot. And the healthy sugar here didn’t even keep me up at all so that I was sleeping pretty 30 minutes later.

By the way, did anybody else catch the Jay Leno Show? It was perfect. First Kim Kardashian deep fried Oreos with Guy Fieri, then Jillian Michaels came out and traded insults with Jay. She admitted her fat food of choice was Cheetos as a child. i could not picture her ever eating a Cheeto. Anyway, this morning I woke up in time to say goodbye to everyone heading off to work. I decided I needed something that felt like dessert for breakfast, so banana whip it was!

Banana And Chobani Whip With Xanthan Gum

Oatmeal With Vanilla Almond Butter, Strawberry Frosting, And Strawberry And Cocoa Granola

This time I whipped the same amount of banana with 1/2 a container of plain Chobani and some NuNatruals vanilla stevia. The texture came out more like a smoothie so I added xanthan gum and refroze it. I feel like a mad scientist playing with that stuff 🙂 For oatmeal, we’re running low on pumpkin. W’ere not out, but dangerously close so that I want to save it for an oats emergency. Instead of break the little glass box that holds the last can of pumpkin, I made some plain oats and gave it a fruity frosting with my MojaMix granola that has dried persimmons and strawberries. Yum! It went great with the clean but earthy vanilla almond butter.

So far today, I’ve been very lazy(still in my PJ’s :-)). Morning TV has been eventful, though. First, Goji Gourmet was featured as Rachael Ray’s snack of the day! And it was the almond oat flavor I had last night–too funny. After that, on Regis and Kelly, a guest explained how you can use alternative natural sweeteners to cut sugar out of the American diet. Perfect! Except he said Fage yogurt was good for you “because it has only one sugar cube per serving”. Correction: Fage yogurt, and other plain yogurts, have no sugar cubes per serving. They have sugar, but it’s lactose which is completely natural in milk. Attacking that would be like attacking the sugar in apples. OK, I just had to get that out there.

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