When The Weather’s This Perfect

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

I’m so happy for the enthusiasm for my blogiversary. It was definitely fun looking over old posts and old photos; nothing makes you feel better than seeing a picture and thinking “I look so young and fresh here” until you realize it’s 3 1/2 years old 😉

After yesterday hit 91 degrees, and the night was riddled with thunderstorms and showers, the weather today was just perfect. There’s so much can do on a day like today!

I love it when it’s not too hot that chocolate melts. This was mint-flavored carob, but I’d assume it’d melt if it were too hot, too. There is nothing worse than opening up a chocolate bar only to find melted poo.

When it’s this nice out, part of me feels like I could keep going and going. The other part of me(aka, my knees) remembers all too well the 14 miles from yesterday, so there wasn’t much enthusiasm to go any further. Still, this was a dreamy run.

When the weather’s this perfect, grilling is the obvious option, but there are some things that just taste better in a seasoned pan.

I was craving Spanish potatoes and ground beef. This was so simple, too; just potatoes and onion cooked in olive oil with sea salt, paprika, and black pepper, and then grass-fed ground beef cooked through. A little basil just brightens up everything; it’s my favorite herb to add in the Summer.

I couldn’t wait for Sundae Friday this week; I just had to have fun in the kitchen. I used up the last of the vegan blondies and mixed them with snickerdoodle soy ice cream. It was missing something, though…

Rice whip, anyone?! All vegan; all delicious.

When the weather’s this perfect, I think my diet soda addiction kicks back in. Like I said here, even though I went 96 hours without stevia, I still adore it in moderation.Since the weather was so nice, I took a walk around the neighborhood, and made a delicious snack plate upon my return.

A random plate of raw onion, raw broccoli, and 2 slices vegan Hawaiian pizza. I was curious if leftover gluten-free, vegan pizza had that same magical quality as regular leftover pizza. It does.

For dinner, my mom went out with her girlfriends for the night. That used to mean “breakfast for dinner” for the boys, where the breakfast was poptarts. Thankfully, we’ve all grown up a little since then and can make real food.

When the weather’s this perfect, a Summer Salad is the way to go. This was just dressed spinach with homemade chickpeas, raisins, and Daiya. I think I’ve reached my fake-cheese limit for the day.

Do you take your leftover pizza hot or cold? I like to heat it back up and get it to the gooey cheese state.

What do you feel like doing in perfect weather? I’m 90% sure ice cream will be made tonight. I’m just debating between a very classy chocolate chip or a vegan white chocolate flavor…

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Can Carob Compete?

Posted on April 30, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Before last night, I had never tried carob.

Mint Carob Bar

Mint Carob Bar

I had known about it for months now, and even have had this bar since November. Still, I hadn’t really tried carob, not because of what it is, but because of what it isn’t: chocolate. Carob has been marketed as “the new, healthy chocolate”. Hold the phone; what was wrong with our old chocolate? Chocolate-specifically cocoa powder which is found in higher concentrations in dark chocolate–can be packed with antioxidants. Dark chocolate only has fat from cocoa butter and relatively low added sugar. Carob, on the other hand, has no antioxidants and inherently more sugar than cocoa. The only advantage might come in its lack of caffeine, or for anyone allergic to chocolate(if you are, I am so so sorry you have to sit through 90% of what I eat). But how did it taste?

Mint Carob Bar

Mint Carob Bar

This certainly was sweeter than dark chocolate, and it’s hard to tell if that’s from a disproportionate amount of carob/cocoa powder or because carob naturally has higher sugar content. The texture was what threw me; this was rather chalky, and not at all smooth like my favorite dark chocolate. As for the benefits of carob, it’s easier to obtain in its raw state than cacao. It also boasts more calcium(or, in its case, calci-yum). I did like it, but I’m certainly not running out to buy carob powder or recommending it to anyone not allergic to chocolate(again, sorry!).

Baby Carrots And Broccoli

Baby Carrots And Broccoli

I also had healthy snacks like baby carrots and tiny broccoli florets. Actually, I ate this right after my dinner post. I love roasted broccoli, but it’s about 1/2 as filling as steamed broccoli, and 1/10 as filling as raw. Don’t get me wrong, though: The flavor is a thousand times better. Can you tell I’m good with numbers, particularly food math?

70% Dark Chocolate With Vanilla Peanut Butter

70% Dark Chocolate With Vanilla Peanut Butter

Like I said, chocolate is irreplaceable. The texture is smoother; the flavor is richer; and think of all those antioxidants! I enjoyed Endangered Species Organic Smooth Dark Chocolate with a shmear of 365 peanut butter sweetened by Madhava vanilla agave. The chocolate bar looks damaged because it was in my pocket all last Friday and got melted along the way, but it tasted delicious. And I was so happy Grey’s Anatomy was back new last night! That show has had me addicted since Season 1.

Oatmeal With Vanilla Peanut Butter

Oatmeal With Vanilla Peanut Butter

This morning I actually forced myself to sleep in until 8; otherwise I just wouldn’t have known what to do with myself. I muddled around/read blogs until I was hungry for breakfast. It was more of my non-chocolate addiction:365 peanut butter sweetened by Madhava vanilla agave. I have yet to see this agave in a store, but if I do I’m buying them out. And I’m sure the overall price is better than buying a fancy nut butter, since 365 only cost me $1(Get those Whole Deal coupons before they go!).

Plain Yogurt With Raspberry Conserves And Vanilla Almond Butter

Plain Yogurt With Raspberry Conserves And Vanilla Almond Butter

Of course, fancy nut butter will always be a part of my life, like vanilla almond butter from Naturally Nutty. I prefer things like nuts or trail mix on my yogurt so much more than granola; and I never have to think if it’s gluten-free or not!

Have you tried carob? Like it or not? It was fine, really; but it will never be a part of my life like chocolate is.

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Keeps Gettin’ Better

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

Thank you all for your comments this morning! Getting that news was such a great way to start my day and started a momentum of feeling like things keep getting better. It also never hurts to be recognized for hard work, especially when it’s you’re concentration(and one that’s not known for being a money0maker. Hey, I’m realistic ;-)) Now–here’s my pledge that Whole Foods will NOT get most of that. Considering I estimate my shoes have an 2000+ miles on them(I’m not even exaggerating here), I definitely have some good plans.

Nature's Path Pumpkin-N-Spice Granola Bar

When I got back from Greek, I grabbed Nature’s Path Organic Pumpkin-N-Spice bar and switched in to workout clothes lickity-split. Even though it’s not the most opportune time to work out between classes, I felt 20 times better then than when I woke up, and this just felt “right” so I was determined to make it work.

10 Miles In 87:09

Do you know how hard it is to make it work when you only have Kathie Lee and Hoda to watch on The Today show? They are no Meredith and Matt–I’m just saying. Besides that, I was fast! This isn’t the pace I can do outside, but 87:09 was quicker than my normal treadmill pace. Part of that was GI, part of that was just not having time to play around with, but all of that felt nice 🙂 I showered and thought up a lunch really quickly.

Broccoli With Breakfast Style Chicken Sausages, Spicy Peanut Tofu Salad

I’ll throw out a disclaimer and say you can set any dietary restrictions you want on yourself and get adequate nutrient levels. That being said, after going 26 hours of eating vegan when my idea of vegan “food” involves chocolate and pudding, I truly felt like I was lacking protein. I was having a HUGE white meat chicken craving, and even contemplated getting the non-local, probably hormone induced chicken from the dining hall for a split second. In the end, I scrapped up a few Al Fresco breakfast style sausages and tossed those with broccoli along side a tofu salad made with The Heat Is On by PB&Co.. It wasn’t the “best meal everrrr” like all bloggers want to share, but it was “good enough” and got me to class 2 minutes early.

Gingerade, 1/2 Carob Chip Perfect Foods Bar

Class was brutal. Maybe it was the fact that we kept having to turn off the lights for slides. Or maybe it was just an exhausting day(my friend Alex next to me actually fell asleep during some slides). Either way, between that and a “meh” lunch, dessert was definitely in order. Between classes I grabbed a Gingerade Kombucha from a local coffee shop and cut in half a Carob Chip Perfect Foods Bar I stuck in my pocket. Pardon the pun, but this really was a “perfect” dessert/snack for getting through my afternoon; the bar tastes a lot like a cookie, anyway, and who would want milk over Kombucha? 😉

Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream With 1/2 Carob Chip Perfect Foods Bar

It was another “long day” with extracurriculars even after all the regular class. When I finished those, though, I was on my weekend! Things just keep gettin’ better 🙂 Of course, I needed to celebrate all the hubbub somehow, right? This dessert–once again, pardon the pun–was also quite “perfect”. Since I can’t stand having 1/2 a bar around, I chopped up the other part of my Carob Chip Perfect Foods Bar and blended that with So Delicious coconut milk chocolate ice cream. Besides the subtle coconut flavor, this was awesome! It reminded me of all that peanut butter and chocolate ice cream I had as a kid. The fact that I was “catching up” with my protein intake was just ice creaming on the cake.

Grass-Fed 1/4 Pounder With Sweet Potato Hash

Then again, maybe protein’s not a problem with burgers on the menu for dinner. Since I had 1/2 a sweet potato already baked, I diced that and cooked it in the healthy grass-fed burger drippings in the pan–easy peasy clean up, too! Unfortunately, baked potatoes I find don’t make the best of hashes; you really need to get them when they’re raw and just steamed to start.

Burger 101

Preparing A Burger

It’s been asked “How do you make your burgers with just dorm room equipment?” Well, let me tell you, it’s probably one of the simplest things I or you could cook! You just need a quality steel pan and a slightly fatty cut of meat(I like 85/15 grass-fed beef, but anything up to 90/10 should do). Form your patty with a slight dip in the center because when it cooks it will puff up. After letting your pan heat up on medium-high heat, let your patty cook on the first side for 5 minutes. Then, flip the patty and let it cook another 4, or until the juice running out of it is thin and only slightly red. Then–and I can’t stress this enough–carefully move it to a plate, and let it sit untouched for 5 minutes. This helps the juices to settle and doing this will get you a nice, rare burger. If you like your meat more well done, extend the cooking on both ends by 1:30-2 minutes. Bonus: If you’re a New England reader, regular beef is on sale at Whole Foods this week for $2.99 a pound and even the grass-fed is reduced an amount! I for one will be getting at least a pound over the weekend if not more. And that’s your burger 101!

If you’ve never had the great pleasure to try Zevia(now that sounds like an idea for tonight), you can win some in this giveaway. Also, you can win coupons for So Delicious products like their coconut milk ice cream or kefir in this giveaway; if you enter this, please say Food Makes Fun Fuel or EvanFMFF is how you heard about it so we both have a better chance of winning 🙂

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Go Ahead, Overdo It

Posted on March 3, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

It’s snowing! I just had to let that one out. It’s not going to accumulate to much, if anything, but I’m always so happy to see the white stuff 🙂

Last night, after posting, I went to the dining hall to grab some yogurt. At dinner you can use your meals to pay for some instead of points, and they sell Chobani. I couldn’t decide what/how many I would reasonably need without filling my fridge unnecessarily. I decided to grab 3: 2 pomegranates and a vanilla(they never have any plain). I thought this might have been overdoing it. Clearly, as you’ll see all 3 in this post, I was wrong.

Pomegranate Chobani With Organic Endangered Species Dark Chocolate

While watching The Biggest Loser, I made a reasonably healthy snack of pomegranate Chobani with a few squares of Endangered Species‘ organic dark chocolate. Not to be confused with this one I reviewed, these came from a full sized bar my dad paid for from Whole Foods. If I were reviewing it, I’d actually score it slightly less than the 1.4oz; the flavors the same, but I really like the notion of a quality, organic chocolate bar that’s single-sized. HUGE chocolate bars seem to be one place where overdoing it is not a cool thing :-/

I loved The Biggest Loser last night and that it’s back on air. The challenge in the first half was pretty great, if you ask me. But really, what’s 2000 calories when you’re in a gym all day with Bob and Jillian? I feel like the contestants have probably eaten that much extra junk at one time without even realizing it. They might have overdone it a bit, but at least they were self aware and could kick their own butts next time.

Carob Chip Perfect Foods Bar

I started winding down the evening with a carob chip perfect foods bar. I still enjoyed this one, but I think I got even less of a carob/chocolate flavor than the first one I ate. Maybe carob just doesn’t work for my tongue? That’d be weird. I do seem to love my chocolate 😀 Still, the honey and peanut butter flavors in this are fantastic. After a “meal replacement” bar and some light history reading, I’d have thought I’d be full and ready for bed…

Pomegranate Chobani With Chocolate Covered Almonds

Apparently not! Last night, I really felt like I could eat a horse and a half. And I’ve felt like this a couple of nights looking back. Taking the rest day really helped me realize what I need: more time off, and more fuel. A lot of exercise kills hunger(ironic, isn’t it?) so I’ve come to think been listening to my hunger too well in the morning and throughout the day until it strikes right back at night; the brain can know best. At least in my repeat of pomegranate Chobani I tried something knew.

Organic Chocolate Covered Almonds

I just love Tierra Farm and all they’ve sent me that I’ve tried so far, so I was happy to try another new thing from them. The fact that these were chocolate covered made me 10 times happier 😀 These chocolate covered almonds were nothing fantastic, per say; they tasted a lot like chocolate and almonds, but didn’t really pull together the way macaroni and cheese do. But I loved that they’re organic and vegan. I used to eat up Emerald’s cocoa almonds until I saw sucralose(aka Splenda) on the ingredient list–not on my nuts! I would happily take these in lieu of those.

Apple And Coffee

This morning, I woke up knowing that I very well could need more time off than 1 day to recover from overtraining. That being said, I felt pretty good. I wasn’t particularly hungry from last night’s greek yogurt feasting, but I grabbed an apple. In light of overdoing things, an apple was the least I could eat before a good run. I can’t wait until it’s actually bright and sunny when I wake up again!

11 Miles In 1:38:49

On my run this morning, I truly felt fantastic. At first I was a little nervous, not because of anything running related but because some television channels changed their a.m. line-up; what the heck? I was gone for 1 day! Back to the run, this was where overdoing it really paid off. I felt energized, relaxed, and ready. I was only planning for 8-10 but overdid it and went for 11, partially because I felt so damn good and also because Lady Antebellum was on The Today Show performing then.

This gave me time to think about how there might really be 3 types of bloggers. I don’t mean to offend anyone; on the contrary, I think there’s a lot to be praised about some of you. I’m sorry in advanced if this gets taken any other way.

Type 1: You eat “healthy” and are extremely athletic–an energized and bubbly person. You know any fuel you take in will go to good use, and the overdoing it is just good fueling.

Type 2: You eat “healthy” and workout to a moderate extent to lower your weight or for some other health related reason that you need to get control of.

Type 3: You yourself would call yourself type 2 when a lot of your fantastic readers realize just how healthy you are and would easily put you as type 1.

95% of the blogs I read I would say are type 1 or type 3. It kills me to read a blogger who I think looks perfectly happy and healthy and is amazingly athletic talk about wanting to lose weight or be another way. Restricting your diet when you’re an active person is restricting all that you can be. So go ahead! Overdo it! And the results will show up in the gym, or on the scale but in a good way.

Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Vanilla Cake Mix

Breakfast was another thing I gave a lot of thought to on the treadmill. In particular, there’s one nifty bowl I’ve been wanting to give a try ever since picking this up and baking with it over the weekend.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Butter Toffee Peanut Butter, Birthday Cake Chobani

Birthday Cake Chobani

My real birthday isn’t for about a month, but I can celebrate early, right 😉 In the vanilla Chobani, I added 1/2 a serving of the mix, and then crumbled 1/2 a cupcake on top. Yum! This wasn’t quite as good as any cake-flavored ice creams I’ve tried(I’ve yet to find a really good, all-natural brand :-/), but it was really really yummy all things considering. And then, because that had only about 1/4 tablespoon coconut oil in all of it, I had pumpkin oatmeal with a big plop of Naturally Nutty butter toffee peanut butter on it. I just opened this 15oz jar a few nights ago and I’m already thinking I might need to place a new order soon! Great…

OK, so maybe if you’re lined up to be a contestant on The Biggest Loser, you shouldn’t overdo it; otherwise, dig in. All that fuel will show up as performance. Now the one area in my life I haven’t been overdoing it this week seems to be homework, particularly History. So if you’ll excuse me…

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