1 Year Older, 1 Year… Different

Posted on May 27, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I have to say, I don’t even really remember writing this post 1 year ago tomorrow. I actually started the blog 1 year ago today; I’m not quite sure what happened to the first post but it was nothing special as I remember. I guess it’s fitting that this blog started with a product review, since that’s one thing I’ve done through it all(I still do, too. I’ve just been enjoying a house with a loaded kitchen). But over all that time I can’t say that I’ve really “learned” anything; I’ve simply changed. In a lot of ways.

I’ve updated both my bio on the side bar and my About Me to reflect my latest thoughts. There was a time when I measured out nut butter on oatmeal, and that worked for me. Now, I’m happy plopping it on and not knowing. And in this post, I swore off artificially sweetened yogurts; that sparked 8 or so months of eating how I would call “all-natural”. Honestly, I’m a little over that label. I still probably eat that way 99.9% of the time, but it’s not how I’d label myself. But I realized at the root of everything I’ve done, it’s been in the name of comfort. I think no matter what you do, it needs to be what feels right to you. So that’s where I am now: a comfort eater.

Speaking of comfort, we used to eat pizza as a family probably twice a week in my younger days. It was always from a greasy local joint, never quite good or healthy, and yet we all loved it. Since going gluten-free(another thing different), I really have missed pizza. So yesterday I broke out the gluten-free pizza mix and got to work. The dough tasted like Bertucci’s!(I made it vegan so it was OK to eat the dough ;-))

The ingredients were very basic: we got pizza sauce made fresh at Whole Foods, fresh mozzarella on sale, basil picked from our garden, Daiya, and canned pineapple. Yes, my favorite pizza has always been Hawaiian. 

It came out of the oven perfectly. The dough was a little… doughy, but I realized that was because I cut the whole recipe in half except for the water. Whoops. Half of this was a traditional pizza margarita and half vegan Hawaiian.

My plate had two slices of each, and a salad made with strawberries, yellow onion, and grape tomatoes. Like I said, the crust was a little bit doughy. But besides that this was excellent. I don’t even think anyone knew the pineapple pieces were vegan until I told them.

Of course, some things will never be different.

I still like ice cream. It just happens to be made from coconut milk.

I’ll have my cake and eat it, too. Even better, I can do it without gluten, eggs, or dairy.

And chocolate… how I love my Endangered Species chocolate. The only thing different here is that I’ve elevated my hydrogenated Jif to vanilla peanut butter and other fun flavors by Naturally Nutty.

After 1 year, I never thought I’d be so excited for another and more. I could never pick 1 favorite thing about blogging; I’d have to pick 3. Making friends with other bloggers is huge to me, and I look forward to many more meetups and getting to know new people. Hearing about how I’ve influenced people in any way, shape, or form, big or small always brings a smile to my face. If I can help someone in anyway by just doing my own thing, I’m happy to. And I never, ever take for granted a public platform to embarrass myself, because how will I ever achieve my dream of being a Food Network chef/stand-up comedian/Today Show host/Mythbuster/Adventurer if I can’t take a little criticism.

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I’m The MacGyver Of Baking

Posted on May 16, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Yesterday, my parents went to see our relatives while I stayed home studying. My aunt, ever-thoughtful, sent back some cupcakes for me. It was really thoughtful; but there was something that worried us. If you asked her what they were, she’d say “organic, gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, nut-free…” the list goes on. She did the same when I made my cousin these cupcakes. And they didn’t seem gluten-free. In fact, after a little investigating, it seemed likely they weren’t and she just got confused. Well I was OK with that and letting my family have them. Except then I wanted cake. I really wanted cake.

Simple Chocolate Cake

Simple Chocolate Cake

I broke out the Sweet Utopia cookbook sent to me by Book Publishing Co. and flipped open to the first recipe in the book: a simple chocolate cake. Perfect. I made a few alterations to the recipe(switching to gluten-free flours, almond milk for soy milk, and olive oil for canola oil), and 28 minutes later I brought life into this world.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Cake

Vegan, Gluten-Free Cake

Isn’t she a cutie? But I wanted cake fast so I cut a slice and stuck it in the fridge to cool quickly. While that was cooling, I made a 2-minute buttercream frosting by mixing earth balance, powdered sugar, and vanilla powder in a small dish with a fork. It was almost too easy.

Cake With Frosting

Cake With Frosting

I went from thinking I’d have a chocolate bar for dessert(but not really happy with that) to 1 hour later having a vegan, gluten-free chocolate cake with vegan buttercream frosting all with whatever ingredients I had on hand. I think that qualifies me to be the MacGyver of baking.

Organic Smooth Dark Chocolate

Organic Smooth Dark Chocolate

Vanilla Oikos With Vanilla Peanut Butter

Vanilla Oikos With Vanilla Peanut Butter

Organic Baby Carrots

Organic Baby Carrots

Oatmeal With Butter Toffee Peanut Butter

Oatmeal With Butter Toffee Peanut Butter

After that excitement, I just couldn’t sleep; this happens almost every Saturday night and it’s so annoying. I figure this last time just might be because of my last final. But I definitely needed more fuel than usual for the 2+ hours I was awake. I’m not even sure when I got to bed, but this morning I stumbled out of bed late and just hungry.

Pineapple Chobani, Oatmeal With Crunchy PB, Maple Syrup, And Maple Butter

Pineapple Chobani, Oatmeal With Crunchy PB, Maple Syrup, And Maple Butter

Oatmeal With Crunchy PB, Maple Syrup, And Maple Butter

Oatmeal With Crunchy PB, Maple Syrup, And Maple Butter

I’m still trying to find out the secret to making a really amazing maple peanut butter. It’s harder than you’d think! And the secret ingredient is not coconut oil as it turns out. Oh well. This bowl was still really good with crunchy maple butter. And now I’m eating a Chobani as if it were a parfait–not stirring the jam up first. It’s pretty good this way.

What do you hate most about restless nights? In the time I’m awake, all I can think about is the stuff I could have done with that time rather than lie in a dark room and toss and turn. And here’s a fun chocolate giveaway to enter.

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Special

Posted on April 26, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

You might think someone who’s willing to post such a large portion of their life on the world wide web would live for attention. I don’t. In fact, in life I really hate being “special” in any way or getting extra attention at all. But some days that’s hard to avoid. Some days, you just stand out whether you’d like to or not.

Organic Red Delicious

Organic Red Delicious

Like this apple. It was probably the biggest piece of organic fruit I had ever seen. It held me over 2 and 1/2 hours. I love it when organic fruit is humongous; it gives me hope for organic farming.

Avery's 4th Birthday

Avery's 4th Birthday

We drove to New Hampshire for my cousins birthday party. It was at a local raquet club where the kids could swim in a pool. I conveniently forgot my bathing suit and went out to pick up the pizza with my father and grandfather. Of course, I didn’t want to be “special” but I couldn’t eat the pizza because of the crust. On the way back, we stopped at a natural food store where I found a salad bar.

Stir-Fried Greens, Pineapple, Organic Chicken

Stir-Fried Greens, Pineapple, Organic Chicken

I was having a good vegan streak this weekend and wanted tofu, but chicken was what they had :-/ It was very tasty chicken, I must add. I also had some greens and pineapple, and ate off to the side trying not to seem “special”(though it was pretty obvious). I must add: pizza still smells really good even when you can’t/won’t eat it, and the one with pineapple and marinara sauce was tempting me.

Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake

Thank God for birthday cake, because I could have sworn he was turning 4! 8-| Obviously, I passed on this, but not on this…

Gluten-Free Vegan Midnight Chocolate Cupcake

Gluten-Free Vegan Midnight Chocolate Cupcake

The cupcakes I made were a hit, even though I really didn’t care for the frosting. Even my older cousin who doesn’t care for chocolate loved them. My aunt, in trying to describe them, gave them every “special” title in the book: vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, organic. I was surprised she didn’t add Jesus made them. They weren’t 100% organic, but they were all-natural.

Organic Baby Carrots And Orange Zevia

Organic Baby Carrots And Orange Zevia

Coming home, I was really torn whether to try and go back to campus tonight or not. I was tired, not prepared, and overall a grouch, so that made the answer pretty simple after chewing on the last of some baby carrots and an orange Zevia. And since no one felt like cooking, it was out to dinner.

Coconut Curry Tofu And Veggies

Coconut Curry Tofu And Veggies

I had such a coconut milk craving last night, you wouldn’t have believed it. We went to Big Fresh Cafe. After explaining why wheat noodles wouldn’t work for me in this dish, and that I’m just not a fan for rice, my plate was a big bowl of veggies, tofu, and coconut curry sauce. I’d rather get a big bowl of “special” ordered food I love than not eat 1/2 of it. And I loved this; I could have drank the sauce, but I didn’t. Come to think of it, that may not have been vegan if they used eggs or anchovy in the sauce. Regardless, I need to make curry more.

Endangered Species Deep Forest Mint

Endangered Species Deep Forest Mint

I bought this chocolate bar while at Whole Foods and started digging in with some mocha teeccino. It may be a project cleanout fail but it wouldn’t be much longer I could get a decent mint chocolate bar for $2.

And I finished up with the emotional roller coaster that is Brothers & Sisters and a bowl of oatmeal with almond butter, which photos my camera is withholding :-/ It’s probably just as well since I didn’t bother to photograph the 2 fingerfulls of almond butter and handful of almonds I had afterwards. I think I was on an almond kick, especially after baking these.

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Wrapping And Packing Up

Posted on April 5, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

This weekend has been a blast! I hope you’ve enjoyed yours, too. And in case you missed them, here was my raw birthday dinner and then the Easter feast. Also, Go Sox! Had to throw that one out there 😀

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Staying home an extra night was definitely a good choice; I did not feel like doing much last night, and hardly got anything accomplished staying in one place! At some point, there was a little bit of my favorite ice cream by So Delicious. Yum! I hope most/all of my ice creams will still be in the freezer by the time I get back on campus, not like I left much of any to begin with 😉

Irawnic Salad, Birthday Cake

Irawnic Salad, Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake

Leftovers are a funny thing: You crave them at odd times and never feel guilty getting them out of your fridge. Around 10pm I just wanted something citrus/vinegary, which the irawnic salad totally satisfied. Of course, salad breath is never fun to go to bed with, so I washed that down with a side of birthday cake; you got to eat this stuff up while it’s around, right?

Oatmeal With 365 Peanut Butter, Eggs, Tempeh Bacon

Oatmeal With 365 Peanut Butter, Eggs, Tempeh Bacon

Eggs And Tempeh Bacon

Eggs And Tempeh Bacon

I spent this morning muddling around, packing things, sipping on teeccino, and eventually whipping up a breakfast. I would be crazy not to include what I gave up for Lent here, right? Truthfully, I just wanted a bowl of salty oatmeal with plain ol’ 365 brand peanut butter on it, but figured I’d add 2 organic eggs and some Lightlife tempeh bacon for some protein; the tempeh bacon tasted salty and delicious, especially after 40 days without 😀

Maple Sugar Leaf

Maple Sugar Leaf

Right now I’m planning out a run and eating the healthiest thing possible: a maple leaf made entirely out of maple sugar. At least I’m about to run and put that instant energy to good use. This was from my Easter Basket, speaking of which…

Easter Basket

Easter Basket

You didn’t think the bunny forgot about my favorite holiday, did you? With a little guidance, the bunny was very good about knowing what I wanted. There was a little something from everyone including Divine, Lake Champlain, Green And Black, Go Max Go Foods, and Alter Eco. Should we start the betting pool on how long this will last me?

Mystery Food

Mystery Food

And what on earth could this be?! I’ll let you wonder that for just a little bit while I hope and pray it turns out right. In the meantime, you can enter this Zevia giveaway or this Easter giveaway.

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Easter 2010

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

All this post made me want was cheese. I don’t eat cheese much but when I do, God, do I love cheese. I’m not even sure I understand the bastardization of it in the first place. It’s milk processed with enzymes to the point of having little to no lactose. Sure, let’s all bastardize Velveeta, but then again I wouldn’t call that real “cheese” to begin with. Real cheese is an art.

Next Generation Organic Garlic Parsley Cheddar Raw Cheese

Next Generation Organic Garlic Parsley Cheddar Raw Cheese

Keeping the theme of the night “raw”, I had some of Next Generation’s Dairy organic raw garlic parsley cheddar cheese. Soooo good *drools*. And if you were  to tell me something about this complete protein with organic dairy fat and raw enzymes wasn’t healthy, I wouldn’t believe you. Skip the Velveeta and stuff yourselves with this. By the way, it scares me that my spell check finds nothing wrong with “Velveeta”, but type “kombucha” and let the red squiggles go flying!

French Toast Oatmeal, Pomegranate Chobani With White Chocolate Wonderful

French Toast Oatmeal, Pomegranate Chobani With White Chocolate Wonderful

I was surprisingly hungry right when I woke up. Instead of running, I made myself breakfast and started food prep. Hot cross buns have nothing on french toast oatmeal. Yum! And dark chocolate, white chocolate, peanut butter–whatever you put on a pomegranate Chobani tastes delicious.

Raw Vegan Brownie With Coconut Oil

Raw Vegan Brownie With Coconut Oil

Finally I was ready to run after we went to Easter Mass. For some quick energy I had a raw vegan brownie with coconut oil schmeared on top. I don’t know if it was this sudden heat wave, improper hydration, or too much casein at breakfast, but the first bit of running was definitely uncomfortable.

Banana

Banana

Eventually, I got into my groove and did 9.5 miles around the neighborhood at a great pace. I refueled with a banana while I showered, cooked more, and waited for the relatives to arrive. Among my dishes was my Irawnic Salad

Irawnic Salad

Irawnic Salad

Doesn’t that look amazing? I finally got around to making my own and it was heavenly. I can’t wait to make this recipe more often. It was so simple, too!

  • 2 bunches organic kale
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2-2 avocadoes
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/2 cup cashews roasted with sea salt

In a bowl, mash the avocado with the lemon juice and vinegar.Massage the kale until well coated. Top with diced red onion and salty cashews. Dear Lord, is this good. It’s “irawnic” because the salad is completely raw except for the roasted salted cashews. I like to think of it like the fatty bacon slices in an otherwise “healthy” salad 😉 and that’s why it’s ironic.

Easter Table

Easter Table

Easter Table

Easter Table

Easter Table

Easter Table

There was so much good food. But I never feel pressure to eat much differently at holidays than on regular days. In fact, I make it a point to choose 3 things, and just eat those. Since there is always leftovers, I know I’ll be seeing all of this for the next few days, and that way it’s like each meal is “new”.

Parmesan Cauliflower, Maple Tofu, Irawnic Salad

Parmesan Cauliflower, Maple Tofu, Irawnic Salad

For my plate, I had irawnic salad, roasted parmesan cauliflower, and maple baked tofu. Yum! This was perfect and just what I needed to eat. The salad I think was a hit; even the maple tofu got a few fans among the meat eaters. There was no love lost hereon skipping the ham(at this meal, at least). I had seconds on the salad and tofu.

Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake

Dessert was easiy my favorite part 🙂 Since my relatives are always down for Easter, we also celebrate my birthday with them.I was very particular about my cake, but that made it just the perfect thing when it came out. It was Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free vanilla cake made with 3 organic eggs and coconut oil instead of canola. The frosting was a vegan buttercream made with earth balance and on the side was a little organic coconut shreds.

Birthday Cake With Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Birthday Cake With Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Ice Cream

It was dreamy. Seriously, this was one of the best cakes I’ve ever had. And I think everyone else shared that sentiment. It was perfectly sweet and moist, and you would never thing twice about the “gluten-free” texture. Bob did me well for my birthday 😀 On the side was a scoop of dairy/soy-free So Delicious coconut milk vanilla bean ice cream. Between the cake and the ice cream, vanilla beans were flying everywhere!

Irawnic Salad And Melon

Irawnic Salad And Melon

A few screaming cousins, Disney World slide shows, and pots of coffee later, I made a raw snack plate. I figured the salad wouldn’t really keep well, so I’d have those leftovers first On the side was some cantaloupe and honeydew melon, all covered in sea salt. Glorious.

I was supposed to go back to school tonight, but the day totally wiped all of us out: Church, cooking, cleaning, little cousins, etc. Not to mention I wasn’t packed and there were leftovers bursting out of the fridge Instead, we mustered up the strength for a small Whole Foods run and then leftovers for dinner.

Honey Ham, Grilled Asparagus, Roasted Carrots

Honey Ham, Grilled Asparagus, Roasted Carrots

Now the ham makes an appearance. It’s from Whole Foods, so it’s completely natural and nitrate-free. The best part of this meal was purposely avoiding these 3 and other foods at lunch so that it didn’t even feel like leftovers! Admit it: You wouldn’t have known if I didn’t mention it 😉

Well, my Easter rocked. How about yours? If you posted it on your blog and I didn’t comment, I promise I read it. I was on and off my computer all day catching up with things when I was allowed a break from being the 3 wheel on the Wii. Like I said, there’s so much I want to and have to do before I can think about school again, even though Spring Break ends now 😦 Perhaps I’ll make a chronographic list! That’s one mental health tip that’s never out of style.

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Oops, Was I Supposed To Fast?

Posted on April 2, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I’m 110% distracted by my breakfast and reading the closed captioning on the Today Show right now, so if this has a bazillian typos, that would be why.

Chococonut Nature's Path Chewy Granola Bar

Chococonut Nature's Path Chewy Granola Bar

Nature’s Path sent me a few of their granola bars to try and this one had been freakin’ call my name: chocolate and coconut? Yes please! This bar was super sweet–like a candy bar. I’m surprised it actually had more whole grains than sugar, too; that’s a plus. But it wasn’t very “coconutty” even if the chocolate was pretty amazing. If you want to avoid the Quaker Oats bars and have your kid not know the difference, the Nature’s Path ones are brilliant. Otherwise, I think there are better and more nutritious bars.

Pumpkin Oats With Mighty Maple, Maple Cashews, And Maple Butter

Pumpkin Oats With Mighty Maple, Maple Cashews, And Maple Butter

2 things were amazing last night: Grey’s Anatomy and this bowl of oatmeal. And neither of them were very pretty, either. But I assure you the combination of mighty maple, whole roasted cashews, and gritty/sweet maple butter was a little bit of heaven. It was weird not having my pumpkin oats salty; I don’t know if I liked that part. But otherwise this was divine chocolate.

I started watching The Marriage Ref with Kirstie Alley, Jimmy Fallon, and Sheryl Crow last night; to my great surprise, they were actually pretty funny! But I was beat, so I turned in early and was asleep probably by 10:30. Glorious.

For breakfast, I wanted a big slice of German’s Chocolate Cake. Not happening? I can do better.

Coconut Milk Oatmeal With Dried Cherries, Chocolate Cherry Greek Yogurt

Coconut Milk Oatmeal With Dried Cherries, Chocolate Cherry Greek Yogurt

Coconut Milk Oatmeal With Dried Cherries

Coconut Milk Oatmeal With Dried Cherries

After making this, I remember hearing that you’re supposed to fast on Good Friday and have 1 “meal”. 1 meal?! I have like 5 or 6 a day. If I ate 1, I don’t know how I’d function; even if I took a rest day, my hunger would be haywire. Then it occurred to me that I’ve never actually fasted on good Friday or any other day. No one enforced it in my house, so why start now? Have you/do you fast? Or how do you fast?!

Besides that, the breakfast was amazing; could it even be called a breakfast without Green & Black’s chocolate? Clearly not. In a plain Chobani went cherry butter and a little sweetener. I think that’s why I like plain yogurts the best: You can doctor them up however you want. And I’m still working on that can of coconut milk I opened a while ago, which tastes just as fresh; coconut milk on oatmeal makes it incredibly rich and satisfying. For me, a “German’s Chocolate Cake”, even though it gets its name because of German’s Brand Chocolate, entails chocolate, coconut, and cherry. But apparently it isn’t those flavors for everyone! So what makes a “German Chocolate Cake” to you?

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Surprise!

Posted on March 29, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Race Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Surprise! It’s Monday. How much does that suck? Miss the weekend race recap? Read all about it here.

Surprise! Oprah hates surprises; did you know that? She would not like this post.

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato Fries

Surprise! These were all from 1 sweet potato! Granted, it was a hugh jass one, but I think that’s impressive nonetheless.

Surprise! I stayed home while my parents went to Whole Foods. I’m pretty sure this is theopposite of how things should be, but I was worn out from my race and needed to sit on the couch with my friend, Mr. Computer 😀

Perfect Apple

Perfect Apple

Surprise! This apple actually tasted good!

Grass-Fed Grilled Burger, Sweet Potato Fries With Chipotle Cayenne Parma

Grass-Fed Grilled Burger, Sweet Potato Fries With Chipotle Cayenne Parma

Surprise! I still eat the same at home as at school, just with different equipment 😀 I asked for red meat for dinner, so we heated up the grill and made some burgers. Mmmm so much juicier than in a pan! And I love how spicy the chipotle cayenne parma makes sweet potato fries; they’re like a new experience.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Surprise! My parents picked up a chocolate flourless cake at Whole Foods the day before my birthday to celebrate while my grandmother was around! This really was a surprise; I saw the sketchy brown paper bag they hid it in, but could only guess what it was. You have no idea how relieved I was when I realized they understood gluten-free eating and got an appropriate style cake; that’s love for ya 😉

Purely Decadent Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Purely Decadent Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Surprise! When we got So Delicious cookie dough ice cream, we also got the peanut butter chocolate swirl, which I’m ready to confess is my new favorite frozen dessert. OK, I don’t think there’s actually much surprise here except from my dad when he realized how much ice cream I need to grab for a few days at home.

Flourless Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Ice Cream

Flourless Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Ice Cream

Surprise! Could you see this one coming? How could I not take the two fattiest pieces of dessert in our kitchen and combine them? 🙂 I was refueling from a half-marathon, after all. Needless to say, this was tasty. But I think my mom and I agreed there are better flourless chocolate cakes out there, hers included.

Surprise! My stomach got me! 30 minutes later I was not feeling so hot :-X It had been so long since I’d eaten something that rich made from dairy, I forget that a lot of milk fat really doesn’t sit well in my stomach. That plus a sugar rush had me wanting to be near a garbage tin for the rest of the night. Could I possibly regret it, though? Not a chance.

Oatmeal With Butter Toffee Peanut Butter

Oatmeal With Butter Toffee Peanut Butter

Not A Surprise! You didn’t have to be psychic to see a final bowl of oatmeal before bed coming. I wasn’t sure if I’d see this come back up, so I kept it small with just a little butter toffee peanut butter. And before you say “Isn’t that dairy fat, too?”, butter is the 5th or 6th ingredient and 2 tablespoons has just 2g of saturated fat, so I can’t imagine there’s much.

Cards And A Present

Cards And A Present

Surprise! was how I felt when I woke up to cards and my favorite chocolate bar. Awww, what a perfect way to wake up 🙂

Surprise! I’m going to keep the rest of the morning a secret for a good birthday recap tonight or tomorrow morning. What a shame because there’s already been cake mix involved and it’s not even 10am 😉

Surprise! Not even 24 hours after my last half marathon and I’ve signed up for my next! I was actually thinking about this before yesterday. It’s perfect. It’s the Providence Marathon, so let’s just say I know the streets quite well 😉 It’ll hopefully be a nice, warm May day, too. And I might be able to coerce a Brown friend of mine into running, too, which would be great. My only concern are the hills around Providence but I’ll have a while to work with those.

Surprise! You or I could win either Tazo tea, gluten free goodies, or coconut butter in either of these giveaways.

What has been a surprise in your life lately?

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Today Was Not S.A.D.

Posted on February 14, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Today has been a lot, but you know what it wasn’t? Singles Awareness Day. I must have been living under  rock, because I first heard the term driving up to my house this morning. I have to say–it made me laugh at loud! I love it 🙂 It’s totally a great attitude to have if you can “wear it”. I think I can defiitely wear it and proud; I will 100% celebrate V-Day single with a box of chocolates and not give one bit. If you’re single, would you embrace S.A.D., too?

Making Chocolate Cups

Today for me was not S.A.D. or V-day but B-day, or my Aunt Leslie’s B-day at least. We rushed home and got their at 12:30 after stopping at a few stores to get baking supplies. I always feel like I need to make a dessert. And while I know I don’t need to really, I think it’s fun 🙂 Today, I made simple milk chocolate peanut butter cups, and a new recipe for vegan coconut cherry dark chocolate cups! How good do those sound?

Next Generation Cheddar And Caribbean Cheddar Raw Cheese

I also was able to provide some appetizers for the crowd; Next Generation Dairy really did send me 2 moo’s worth of cheese to sample and review so I loved the chance to share. This later sparked some great conversation about raw cheese and Canada and “the old days”. Yes, 1/2 of me stems from cow-milking Canadians 🙂

Sour Cream & Onion Popchips, Cheddar Cheese

As we waited for the relatives I made a snack plate of sour cream & onion popchips and cheddar cheese. Yes, we found them! I’ve been looking for this flavor for so long since I loved them so much and now I have a brand new bag along with the cheddar flavor 😀 I do have yet to review this flavor of cheese, but I’d rather do it when I’m not rushed so will the next time I taste it. From what I could tell, it was very good! It didn’t have a strong tang like raw cheese tends to so I think it would be a great start for beginners.

Carved Chicken

It was my job to carve the chicken, as usual. First off, my dad had the sniffles all day, so we didn’t want to infect anyone. Besides that, I’m just better than anyone 😉 Not going to lie. And I totally stripped the 2 we have down to the bare bones. My mom made a point that the were Amish and from Whole Foods. Do you think that means they would have protested to being cooked in an electric oven?

Table Set Up

As always, there was an impressive spread of food, of which we could not begin to eat all of. Whenever there’s so many options in front of me, I like to keep it simple and just pick the 3 that look most appealing. Then I feel free to load my plate with those. I think that’s so much better than “sampling a little bit of everything” because it leaves you so much more satisfied with what you did it.

Golden Beets, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Dark Meat Chicken

I went with roasted brussels sprouts–a favorite, obviously–, golden beets which were a new find at Whole Foods, and the dark meat chicken. I love the dark meat, and since I only eat meat so rarely and in small amounts, it makes sense to go for dark in my opinion. And if you’re buying naturally fed animals, all the better for the fats in there. It all was delicious! I’m sure the same goes for what I didn’t taste. A good home cooked meal was a major perk for making the trip.

Blowing Out The Candles

A little later, we sang happy birthday to my aunt who turned 46, and then my cousins blew out the candles. They love Carvel cakes and I cannot begin to imagine how many they’ve eaten in their lives–100’s for sure. There was all-natural vanilla bean ice cream from Hannafords for me, but honestly this wasn’t 30 minutes after lunch so I couldn’t care less for dessert and passed.

PB And Coconut Cherry Cups

From what I could tell, everyone who had one of my cups found them delicious! I’m always worried trying out a new recipe, especially when I myself haven’t even tried it. I’m so glad they worked out. Most of the time, my cousins were playing my video games as we were eating. They couldn’t figure out how come I’d only gotten through so few worlds on Mario; I don’t think they quite understand what it means to not live at home. Oh to be young again 🙂

Acorn Squash With Maple Syrup, Cinnamon, And Sea Salt

While they were doing their 30 minute farewell tour(as anyone with young children understands), I totally got hungry for real food again. I heated up an acorn squash that was meant for lunch, and added maple syrup, cinnamon, and sea salt. It’s an unusual “snack” for sure but so good! This is absolutely the best combination of flavors, and was 100% necessary to suffer the parade of hugs.

Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Ice Cream

After the relatives left, it was then time for my family to get back in the car and bring me back to campus. My grandmother even came “just for the ride”. Oh, am I jealous of having time like that. Right before we hit the dorm, we hit Whole Foods for this, which I was waiting for all afternoon. Seeing everyone else have ice cream really gave me a craving for some, but we didn’t have any flavors/types that would fit that craving. I knew I needed to give this one a shot if only to quench my curiosity.

Vegan Coconut Cherry Cup With Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Ice Cream

This would be my dinner. Oh yes I did 😀 I figure–If I’m ever going to go all-out dessert for dinner, it might as well be on Singles Awareness Day, and might as well be vegan, right? The ice cream was a little bit of a let down because it tasted a bit too coconutty, but besides that was decent. The vegan coconut cherry cup was incredible! Oh my God, now I get why people were raving about them. I will get a recipe page up for them, but first I want to submit them in to Tropical Traditions and want to keep it under wraps until then.

Speaking of Tropical Traditions, I’m picking a coconut oil giveaway winner in the morning! Now’s your last chance to enter! Also in the morning, I have a long run of 10 miles planned! Yikes! I’m a bit nervous to go for double digits again, but I’ll give it a whirl. I also need to do my laundry, but that’s a bit less frightening, haha.

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I Go Back

Posted on November 21, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Normally, I hate leaving my room if it’s not perfect. Even if that just means one dish is unclean. What did it look like yesterday?

Messy Bed

Beautiful. But let me explain. I get out of class at 2:50 and my dad had planned to pick me up at 3. I was using the “throw it on the bed as you remember it so you can grab and go later” method. Surprisingly, I think it worked, because it’s been a day and I can’t think of anything I forgot. After my first hour of class I grabbed a bit of lunch and supplemented it with a bit more of what I was feeling.

Trader Joe's Mac And Cheese, Roasted Balsamic Portabella

Broccoli With Cream Cheese

I think the backlash of vegan Thursday was wanting dairy products wherever I could put them(i.e. on broccoli). By the way, that was delicious and something I’ll do more often. And the mushrooms from the dining hall were soooo good. I’m not even sure what they were roasted in but there was tons of rosemary. This really filled me up for my next two classes, and when I got out at 2:50 things when just as planned. We piled everything up in bags and hit the road. I grabbed a nutritious pick me up.

Orange Zevia

Let’s pretend this has nutrients even though it completely doesn’t and doesn’t even have caffeine. On the way home, I did something I haven’t done in forever: nap in the car. I tried working but napping one out. I usually can’t/don’t and am always afraid my contacts will disappear somewhere if I sleep with the but it felt so good I couldn’t care less. That also made the trip that much shorter. When I got home I realized we really didn’t have much of the food I’d like, so I grabbed a snack and we went off to Hannafords.

Blueberry Crisp Clif Bar

This was the last of the Clif bars I recieved to review and i’m very happy that it ended things on a good note. I was a little skeptical about how this flavor would be, but I think the blueberry flavor with the plethora of spices(which I take to be the “crisp” part) worked really well. A little bit heavy on the sugar but I probably needed that at that point. We just picked up some Greek yogurt and pumpkin(surprise surprise) because we really didn’t have tie to do more damage.

The reason I came home yesterday was because my elementary school principal was retiring and they were having a banquet. Not many people get to know their elementary school principal and facutly well but I went to a very small school for 7 years where it was easy to become like family with everyone. My graduating class in 6th grade was 4 kids including me, and my full class(6th plus 5th) was 7. Here’s the class photo that was on the wall last night:

6th Grade Class Photo

I’m the little chubby one on the bottom left. I guess I’ve always liked food 🙂 But I like the better food now(i.e. not tacos from a box). It was a ton of fun to get to see all my teachers. Because it’s so small a school, most of the faculty’s the same; my kindergarten teacher from 13-14 years ago still teaches kindergarten and was as kind as ever. There were just a few speeches, the best given by the man himself.

Mr. O'rourke

Did I mention he’s retiring at 87?! We actually don’t know his age; it’s been debated that might be 89, but it’s pretty high up there. Amazingly, he also has most of his mind with him. Most of the night was fun and light-hearted but it was a little emotional when he mentioned how he missed my grandfather; in the time I was here they became good friends and he even surprisingly showed up to his funeral 4 years after I left the school. There was even someone from my old class there.

The Thomas And Tardiff Family

Andrew(the tallest one who dwarfs us all) was pretty much my best friend from kindergarten to 5th grade. We basically all sat and chatted about the scandelous moments from the past, like when so and so broke a window or someone knocked over the school’s sound system. I was hoping I could make a dinner out of the Whole Foods energy bar I packed and what there was but it really wasn’t the case; thankfully, Whole Foods is pretty close to the school so we took a short trip there.

Carrot Ginger Soup, Traditional Stuffing, Salad

Yum! I can’t believe Thanksgiving is less than a week away, at which time I’ll have about 10 times more that stuffing. It’s soooooooo good. And the soup was delicious, too. The ginger gave a strong kick. There was cake:

Retirement Cake

Which I avoided because I figured it was box mixed and the frosting was from a tub. There was apple crisp:

Apple Crisp

It wasn’t very good and probably because it had twice as much flour and butter as it should have but I figured it had a good chance at being all-natural none the less. This made me appreciate how amazing my vegan apple crisp is for something relatively healthy. It was a fun night and such a trip to go back and think “this is where I learned to read”. I hope that I retire long before 87. I even got approached by a 50-60 year old man who saw my sweatshirt and was an alumnus of Brown. Apparently, his kids went to my school in the 80’s. I honestly don’t think I’ve met an alumni of Brown who’s had anything bad to say about the school. I’m so happy to be part of that community. When I got home I was a bit famished from the lack of eats, so I made some comforting oatmeal.

Pupkin Oatmeal With Chocolate Butter Toffee Peanut Butter And Vegan Pumpkin Molasses Cookie

I’ll pretend like this wasn’t almost exactly my breakfast except with chocolate butter toffee instead of butter toffee peanut butter. Nope. Not me 🙂 I was basically away from my computer since noon so there was tons of catching up to do but only so much that could happen before my self-imposed bed time(maybe I am 87 already?). After I logged off I was still hungry so had some random snacklings.

Kashi Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Cookie

Newman's Own Organic Milk Chocolate With Smart Balance Peanut Butter

Raw Broccoli And Carrots

I warned you it would be random. I forgot how much I love those cookies until I heard Tina and Melissa mention they score a NuVal score of 41 when the average for a cookie is 3! I’ll eat to that 😉 The chocolate square was good, although I was looking for my favorite Mocha Milk Chocolate. Apparently this family likes their chocolate too much for it to stick around while I’m gone. And the vegetables were eaten in bed when I realized I was still pretty hungry. I forgot that I hated raw broccoli, so left half the bag untouched. Talk about going back, I found The Golden Girls on The Hallmark channel to fall asleep to. Things like that remind me of being sick when I went to elementary school and staying with my grandparents and watching their daytime tv. Such great memories 🙂

This morning I slept in until a little after 8. Glorious. After grinding some beans and making a pot, I mostly meandered around the house until I got hungry an hour later.

Pumpkin Oats With Maple Yogurt Frosting And Mighty Maple, Snickerdoodle Greek Yogurt

I couldn’t decide what I wanted so I went with the obligatory pumpkin oats. Still delicious 🙂 The snickerdoodle yogurt was just plain with cinnamon and vanilla stevia, and then topped with 5g of turbinado brown sugar. The fun thing about buying plain in my mind is you can do with it whatever you want, and 5g of raw sugar compared to the pre-flavored ones is a smart move.

This morning I’d love to get out and run 5-7 miles. It doesn’t even look that bad out. However, at the moment, I’m catching up on the TONS of tivoed shows, and I kind of haven’t started homework even though it’s a pretty light weekend. You can be assured that, since I’m home, there’ll be baking and recipes 🙂 We just need to hit Whole Foods and Price Chopper today to grab the ingredients and we’re good to go. Yikes, that’s making running seem less probable. Have a great weekend!

Here’s a soupy giveaway.

Michelle(Lucky Taste Buds) is really outdoing herself with a peanut butter giveaway, a soda stream giveaway, all in honor of her own birthday! Happy birthday!

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Healthy Is Not My Word

Posted on October 12, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review, Rant | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

First off, huge news on the nut butter front! Naturally Nutty has just released a new line of seed butters! I had the great fortune of trying the Pepita Sun Butter and I promise you it is one of the best I’ve ever had. I was so excited I’ve already placed orders for some of their new products as of last night, so go on over to the site and give them a looksie.

Ok, enough excitement and good morning. Thanks to the long weekend I got not one but two great nights of sleep in a row. Boy that has me feeling rested. Like I mentioned, yesterday we were heading off to Maine in the morning. I am completely incapable of packing light for wherever I go:

Study Bag

Study Bag

Yeah, let’s just say I don’t get much on the times I come home except what I do in the car. That’s one of the things I’ve hated about the past few weekends; I feel like I always fall behind and by the time I get back on campus I’m rushing like a mad man. Anyway, I packed plenty of dead languages, a couple bars, and my camera. Along the drive I got a bit snacky and came across the perfect time to try this:

Nature's Path Organic Orange Chocolate Bar

Nature's Path Organic Orange Chocolate Bar

This was another one of the goodies Nature’s Path Organic sent my way, and let me just say: wow! I had not had a Nature’s Path bar before at all so this was very new to me. The nutrition, look, and ingredients were all along the same lines of an Odwalla bar so that’s what I was comparing it to in my mind. At first I didn’t think it looked chocolatey or orange, but each bite had a great zest to it which made the flavor distinct. There were also plenty of chocolate chips as well as bits of soynuts which added a great crunch to the texture. The size was personally a bit bigger than what I look for in a bar, but it also helped to hold me over longer. There was a good bit of added sugar, but overall it was a tasty and nutritious bar that I wouldn’t mind buying again.

When we got there it was about 1 and all the appetizers were out. I’m not an appetizer person; I’d really rather sit down with a plate full and eat. I did, however, contribute the cumin cheddar from the farmers’ market:

Cumin Cheddar

Cumin Cheddar

It seemed to be a hit. My family is definitely more into crackers than chips–what’s up with that? Well people got moving surprisingly fast for my family and by 1:45 the lunch had came. If you guessed lobster would be on my plate, you were right:

Lobster, Cumin Cheddar, Green Beans

Lobster, Cumin Cheddar, Green Beans

I also had an unpictured salad with Newman’s Own Honey Mustard dressing when I realized there really wasn’t enough on the table for me. Lobster is a bit overrated if you ask me, but it feels fun to eat because of all the hype. There were also mussels but that’s one sea creature I can not get my mind around eating; it’s just too weird. After lunch we had the 90 minute getting ready for dessert period which always happens. With 2 young cousins and an entire family who need ADD pills when it comes to conversation, things don’t get moving so fast. Which is a shame because they also like ice cream cakes that manage to turn into mush by the time they want to eat them. I caught this little tyke red handed:

Avery Stealing Cake Frosting

Avery Stealing Cake Frosting

Like I said, 90 minutes and 90 candles later we were ready to sing Happy Birthday.

Birthday Cakes

Birthday Cakes

Enter joykill moment of the day: My family, although I’m sure they try, really don’t “get” me and why I eat what I eat or even just what I eat. There’s a major assumption on my grandmother’s part that I only eat “healthy” and shun sugar. She even mentioned having a “special sugar-free dessert” for me which she thankfully never brought out or up again. Let me say it straight: Not now or ever do I claim to be a healthy eater. That isn’t my aim or focus. I’m all about eating natural, and I assure you natural can be just as unhealthy as laboratory food. I actually shun the word “healthy”. Does it sound fun? Not at all. I would much rather be “healthy” in the sense of sane and happy than any of its other meanings. So yes, in a sense when I didn’t have either of the cakes, which were made from a box and frosted from a can, I was avoiding them. But I was avoiding their absolute artificialness and not their nutrition; had they been made from scratch with wholesome ingredients like I believe in I assure you I would have had half a cake myself. Unfortunately, it’s easier to find stuff like that for me from my Whole Foods than my family. Well this is what I actually did end up having:

Vegan Pumpkin Molasses Cookie, Trader Joe Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pie

Vegan Pumpkin Molasses Cookie, Trader Joe Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pie

This was not healthy. Dessert shouldn’t be healthy. This was tasty and joyful–that’s my kind of dessert. The Vegan Pumpkin Molasses Cookies were a HUGE hit with the family; like I mentioned, my cousin’s deceased grandmother used to make some amazing ones for us and they were really happy to have these as a sort of notalgia to those cookies. I was equally pleased to break into the TJ pumpkin spice whoopie pies we picked up. They were good, but a bit too sweet for me. I wasn’t really in a sweet-tooth mood at the time, so 1/2 of one was more than enough to satisfy me. I think I liked the ones from Whole Foods a bit better because those had a cream cheese filling; if you’re going to get fat from dessert, you might as well be eating fat instead of sugar(tasty, tasty fat :-P).

We managed to escape say our goodbyes by 5, which was good because I had light for most of the way home to catch up on work. Unlike other people who actually did eat half a cake, I didn’t so I needed a little boost on the way back:

Peanut Butter Z-Bar

Peanut Butter Z-Bar

This was perfect in the sense that it hit my peanut butter tooth. All my grandparents had was original Skippy(so happy to have at least weened my dad off that stuff). But unfortunately it didn’t fill me up very well and I was pretty cranky by the time we got back into my town. On the one hand, all I wanted to eat was lentils and beans to actually feel full for once in the day. On the other hand, time was a factor. By only some good grace, I managed to find a vegan 365 chili in the back of our cupboard; I know no one else bought this so I assume it was something I grabbed over the Summer and just completely forgot about. Well, it certainly made my night and my meal:

365 Vegan Chili With Cumin Cheddar, Apple With Mustard

365 Vegan Chili With Cumin Cheddar, Apple With Mustard

Thank you, fiber. This was a gala apple, which was a bit too sweet to work with the mustard as good as a tart apple. But trust me, the combo does work. I would be lying if I said some apple didn’t find it’s way into the chili and I liked it. It’s all pretty much about earthy flavors so it shouldn’t be too surprising that it worked out. Thankfully my inbox was pretty empty after being gone for the day. My google reader? Not so much.

Last night I had the pleasure of watching The Food Network(why oh why don’t I get this in my dorm?) and catching up on The Next Iron Chef. Any love for this show? I liked it on principle, but honestly I don’t know if any of them seemed like a true Iron Chef to me; it’s pretty hard to rank any cook along the lines of Bobby Flay and Cat Cora except maybe the other Food Network stars who are a bit too famous to do a show like this. I digress from the food of course.

Vanilla Frozen Yogurt With Peanut Butter Drizzle

Vanilla Frozen Yogurt With Peanut Butter Drizzle

I love my self rule about 2 probiotic sources a day because it gives me an excuse for things like this 🙂 I used 365 peanut butter because it’s nice and runny so it gets onto the frozen yogurt well. Personally, I’ve always been more of a vanilla and peanut butter person, especially with ice cream; I think a good chocolate overpowers the peanut butter but a good vanilla works right at its level to make a great overall product. After this, I had to get a little nutty 😉

Cinnamon Raisin Roll With Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter

Cinnamon Raisin Roll With Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter

Just when I thought those cinnamon raisin yeast rolls couldn’t get more amazing, I added this. Let me explain how this jar got into my possession, or rather my dad’s. He placed a large order a few weeks ago, and the company had run out of labels for the Vanilla Peanut Butter Jar. No biggy, he still got the flavor, but the company is so nice overall that to apologize they sent him that before it was released. It’s only by pure luck it wound it’s way into this nutty characters hands. And let me tell you, it was ah-mazing. It reminded me a lot of the pepita sun butter except a little less french toasty and a little more subtley sweet. Have I mentioned since finding these online last night I’ve already ordered 15oz jars of Pepita Sun, Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower, and Chocolate Sunflower? Clearly I didn’t like it so much I had to have it again:

Deep Chocolate Vitatmuffin With Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter Frosting

Deep Chocolate Vitatmuffin With Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter Frosting

Just because I don’t like the word “healthy” doesn’t mean I don’t think about things like nutrients and vitamins, which felt a little low at the end of the day. Low on vitamins and sunflower butter on the brain? This was the perfect snack for the drama of Brothers & Sisters.

Thank you to all the New Englanders who gave me props for running yesterday. Trust me: I wouldn’t have gone out if I had any clue of how freaking cold it was. This morning I definitely learned my lesson.

Coffee

Coffee

So a little low on the breakfast front as of yet. It has a spoon in it, so it counts as food, right? I’ll come up with something I’m sure. Fun fact: I drink decaf. Always. And yet I swear I need it to get up in the morning. At this point I think it’s more mental, because if I just have water I know I can’t get up and go as good as with some joe. Anyway, I’m starting to get a little hungry so time to experiment in the kitchen.

Hey It’s Tay is having

a giveaway

so say

yay!

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