Building A Perfect Evening

Posted on May 30, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Movie Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

What would be in your perfect evening? Last night might not have been “perfect” btu, well… I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Whole Foods Salad Bar OptionsFalafals

Eating out? Good. Eating somewhere with a huge array of choices? Better. Trying new and exciting things? Best. I think I want to try to make falafels now, because these were my first taste, and while they were good, they weren’t the best. But that tamarind chutney. WOW. I wish I took note of the ingredients besides onion and raisins because it was amazing.

The Holiday

I have to admit this is one of my favorite movies, so I went ahead and popped it in for the night. I still remember trudging through snow in Boston with friends to see it at the movies. I think it comforts me that Cameron Diaz’s character might just be crazier and more high-strung than me. And if Jack Black can get a girl like Kate Winslet, well there’s hope for everyone.

Gluten-Free Birthday Cake Ice Cream With Chocolate Chips

You haven’t had ice cream until you’ve had homemade. The gluten-free birthday cake didn’t come out quite like I hoped for(probably needs more sugar). But I’d rather have a decent birthday cake flavor that’s gluten-free than an excellent one that’s not. And chocolate chips–of course.

Dark Chocolate With Salted Buttercream

Who says vegan buttercream has to be just for cakes? It tastes just as good on a Newman’s Own Organic‘s 54% dark chocolate bar. I was looking for cream cheese but we didn’t have any. Next thought: buttercream. The day you discover the how to make a really fast buttercream with be the first day of the rest of your life.

2% Fage With Pineapple, Oatmeal With Justin's Nut Butter

And now we’re back to realty… sort of, with oatmeal, Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter(aka, better Nutella butter), and a Fage with pineapple and brown sugar.

Yogurt With Brown Sugar And Pineapple

Pineapple Chobani, eat your heart out.

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Let’s Make That Workout Happen

Posted on May 28, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Let’s face it: When you’re just out there running for fun, it’s a lot easier to get “bored” with running than if you’re motivated by a race, or weight loss, or have some crazy deal where you get paid per mile you run(If I had a deal like that, I’d be out there all day). The truth is it’s just hard to love a tough workout 100% of the time. Here is how I get workout-ready in my morning.

I always start the day with a big breakfast, workout or not. My perfect trifecta is oatmeal for fiberous carbs, peanut butter(cinnamon raisin swirl PB & Co. here) for healthy fat, and greek yogurt for protein. To be completely honest, I don’t love Greek yogurt here always; a lot of days I’d be happiest with 2 huge bowls of oatmeal and nut butter. But greek yogurt is a great source of probiotics and protein. And starting your day with protein has been shown to boost metabolism and curb you late-night hunger. I can certainly scoop some Fage for that.

When I know I’m about to run, I always steal some chocolate from my stash. Call it a bribe; it’s as natural as putting on my shoes. “Rituals” lie this can keep you on a regular exercising route.

Today, my workout motivation as music. I just downloaded Telephone(I know, I’m terribly behind) and Love On The Inside by Sugarland and made a big playlist out of them. I definitely couldn’t have gone so far without that energy pumping through me. For some, it’s music. Other times, it’s whatever’s on the TV at the gym. And, of course, there’s always the beautiful nature of the outdoors. Whatever it is, distractions can be some of the greatest ways to make a cardio workout enjoyable.

Afterwards, it’s important to hydrate. In fact, I plan this beforehand by sticking water and anything else I might want in the fridge and knowing just where it is to grab it to drink while doing stretches. Without stretches, the next workout might not be as enjoyable…

And, of course, you need to refuel. There was a lot of hype last Summer about chocolate milk being the “perfect drink”. Really, what you need is food. Drinking carbs is certainly one way to get energy back in to your system. That just doesn’t fit me, personally. For myself, I made a “dream salad”(as in, I dreamed this up all run long): Spinach, avocado with lemon juice, sauteed onions, and toasted cashews. If this doesn’t work for you, feel free to go back to the chocolate milk.

And it never hurts to have a little more running motivation. Sundae Friday, anyone?

No matter how difficult it is, there is nothing that tastes better than homemade ice cream. Can you see the vanilla bean specks and thick chunks of organic dark chocolate? Maybe I got hit by a car on my run and went to heaven and don’t know it yet.

Flash forward to 2 hours later when I hadn’t sat down at all and realized it was one of those 2-lunch days.  Now I’m relaxing with oatmeal and cashew butter and a pineapple Chobani. Glorious, no? I’ve been trying to churn up a real good dessert. It’s been a battle so far; we’ll see how it comes out tonight. We’ll see…

How do you stay motivated to work out?

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That Food Network Show I Hate

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

I’m not very picky when it comes to television, especially since moving back home and getting more channels with a DVR. I men, you have to be a TV whore to record something called Sex In The Ancient World airing at 3:01am, right? To be fair, I had a history class period this past semester devoted to that, a whole awkward class period. But there’s one Food Network show that I both watch and loathe.

What’s right about this show? I’m sure the contestants are great hometown chefs, but they never pop. They just aren’t Food Network chefs and it shines through. The producers are constantly trying to build the pressure when there just isn’t any. And presentation is always overemphasized. If you can mix sugar cookie dough and miso and make a dessert, you can dress it up all you want but I just want to know how it tastes. There was no emphasis on pressentation last night. No funky ingredients. And no Chopped.

2% Fage With Raw Honey, Green & Black's White Chocolate

2% Fage With Raw Honey, Green & Black's White Chocolate

Green & Black's White Chocolate

Green & Black's White Chocolate

I like to balance the incredible health benefits of raw honey with nutritionally void white chocolate. It’s OK when it’s organic 😉 And so delicious. Just look at those vanilla bean specks! Green & Black, you have my heart.

Oatmeal With Dark Choc And Peanut Chunk PB

Oatmeal With Dark Choc And Peanut Chunk PB

See? I would definitely fail presentation on chopped, even if you can never go wrong mixing crunchy peanut butter, peanuts, and dark chocolate shavings. I had no clue what I was in the mood for at the time, but how can you go wrong with peanuts and chocolate?

Oatmeal With Almond Butter, Fage With Fig Jim And Hazelnuts

Oatmeal With Almond Butter, Fage With Fig Jam And Hazelnuts

This morning was all about the almond butter. The Trader Joe’s creamy salted is to die for. But I think I have enough nut butter to shingle a roof so I’ll have to wait to buy another jar.

Fage With Fig Jim And Hazelnuts

Fage With Fig Jam And Hazelnuts

I think I’ve been spoiled with Fage since it seems to be on sale everywhere lately. It really is the best plain yogurt to get, and you can dress it up with anything, like fig jam(from an open market in France!!) and hazelnuts. That makes the day feel so much more adventurous already.

What television show can you not stand?

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What Would You Do?

Posted on May 8, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

My newest Friday night television obsession is the ABC show What Would You Do? The whole show is based on what used to be a 20/20 segment where they put real people in morally compromising situations with hidden cameras to tap their reaction. Since I’ve been watching 20/20 and this segment for 5-6 years, I was excited for this(You can go ahead and do the math; you’ll just find out I turned into a grandpa at a really young age). As much as I wanted to recommend this show, I didn’t have much to say about it. That was until I had a What Would You Do? moment in my own life.

At the gym, someone clearly left their Debit card and hadn’t noticed since they weren’t around the entire while I was there. I’ve seen lost personal property at the gym before and left it, but since this clearly had the person’s name on it I decided to take it and find them. When I tried to find a school email, they weren’t in the system; at this point, I thought I’d made a huge mistake and wanted to go throw it back on the gym floor and forget about it. Instead, I used one of my most prominent skills: Facebook stalking. I was able to track them down and message the person, who actually cancelled the card right away and said thank you but that I could tear it up. What would you have done in my situation? In their’s? I think we both did the best thing; I definitely would have been hesitant to take anything from the gym if I didn’t think finding the owner would be reasonably easy, so if it were a real gym I’d probably have turned it in to the front desk and went on my way(there’s no staff there; it’s just a single room of machines).

Butter Toffee Peanut Butter Oatmeal

Butter Toffee Peanut Butter Oatmeal

Cherry Fage With Lemon Ginger Macaroon

Cherry Fage With Lemon Ginger Macaroon

For breakfast I had a bowl of oatmeal with Naturally Nutty Butter Toffee Peanut Butter; how is it that I haven’t eaten this peanut butter in weeks?! It may not be vegan, but it’s perfection. And on a cherry fage I crumbled my last lemon ginger macaroon from Emmy’s Organic. You know you’re a blogger when you forget that “real” macaroons have egg whites in them and aren’t raw. They also aren’t this yummy.

Microwave Vegan Chocolate Fudge

Microwave Vegan Chocolate Fudge

Right before leaving for the gym I remembered my fudge in the refrigerator. My runs are a lot better when I do some serious prefueling. Ironically, I thought eating chocolate before a run would just be crazy and cheap. But fudge? Now that’s a class act.

I ran 12 miles on the treadmill. In hindsight, I have to question how sane it is to run on an electric machine when there’s a huge thunderstorm outside. But the thought didn’t occur to me until mile 7 so I kept going. I also got to watch Ice Age and laugh out loud at the line “It’s hard to get fat on a vegan diet.” Someone hasn’t tried my fudge

Black Beans And Daiya, Spanish Potatoes With Salsa

Black Beans And Daiya, Spanish Potatoes With Salsa

Black Beans And Daiya

Black Beans And Daiya

Dr. Zevia

Dr. Zevia

For lunch, I threw together a little Spanish fiesta with foods from the dining hall. I topped black beans with Daiya, which is still pure magic in case you’d thought I’d forgotten. On the side were some Spanish Potatoes and salsa, and a Dr. Zevia to wash it all down(OK, actually to empty the can so I don’t have to carry it out of the dorm).

Microwave Vegan Chocolate Fudge With Vanilla Peanut Butter

Microwave Vegan Chocolate Fudge With Vanilla Peanut Butter

Dessert was more vegan chocolate fudge with a little vanilla peanut butter. I have a recipe for vegan peanut butter fudge in my mind! But obviously I don’t want to release it until I can make a test batch.

So Delicious Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Coconut Milk Ice Cream

So Delicious Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Really, the fudge was just an apertif for the main course: So Delicious chocolate peanut butter swirl coconut milk ice cream. I’m going to cry in the time that I don’t have this between moving out of the dorm and settling in at home. It’s that good.

Citrus Kombucha

Citrus Kombucha

Righteously Raw Caramel Dark Chocolate Bar

Righteously Raw Caramel Dark Chocolate Bar

After that I walked to CVS where I got the most perfect Mother’s day card and picked up a citrus kombucha and ate that as a snack with 1/2 a raw chocolate bar. I’ve had this 1/2 lying around for so long frankly because I haven’t cared for it; if you’re looking for raw chocolate, better to try Nibmor or Lulu’s or even make your own with my recipe. Speaking of recipes…

Maple Baked Tofu, Roasted Broccoli And Sweet Potato Chunks With Maple Syrup And Sea Salt

Maple Baked Tofu, Roasted Broccoli And Sweet Potato Chunks With Maple Syrup And Sea Salt

I cooked! OK, it wasn’t anything more than maple baked tofu with roasted broccoli and sweet potatoes. But it felt soooo good to get back in the kitchen and turn on the oven after more meals than I can count from the dining hall or Whole Foods or made of oatmeal. Don’t get me wrong–I love a good meal made for me here and there. But there’s nothing more grounding than making something yourself.

Do you feel like you need to cook or bake from time to time? Clearly, I do. Do you think it’s “hard to get fat” on a vegan diet like Sid the Sloth says? That’s how I used to think–that vegans were sticks who ate grass–, but after learning more and reading so many wonderful vegan blogs I know they can cook with the best of them and it’s still everything in moderation that’s key. I’ll point out everything here today besides the butter toffee peanut butter and Cherry Fage was vegan. And what would you do?

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For The Sake Of Sanity

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

At the end of this post, you might question whether I have an ounce of sanity left in me. I might say I’ve never felt more sane. Finals period started today for me 2 hours ago and go on for 2 weeks from today. It’s going to be a loooong 2 weeks.

Lulu's Rare Heirloom Chocolate Bar

Lulu's Rare Heirloom Chocolate Bar

2 long weeks full of chocolate, like a new Rare Heirloom bar from Lulu’s. Oh my. Oh my, oh my, oh my was this good. It was unusually sturdy for a raw bar, with chunky coconut sugar. Even though it was 85% cacao, it wasn’t too bitter. It just tasted like pulling cocoa off a cacao tree and chowing down. Thank you for my sanity.

Honest Foods Almond Trail Mix Bar

Honest Foods Almond Trail Mix Bar

Is it insane to love the smell of a bar more than the flavor? Because I do. I could have sniffed this all night without actually eating it. These almond trail mix Honest Food bars smell like opening up a bottle of amaretto. Need I say more? I may not have had many to any drinks in my life, but I’ve definitely had enough Italiano desserts to know when a liquor’s good.

Oatmeal With Chocolate Peanut Butter

Oatmeal With Chocolate Peanut Butter

And there will be oatmeal, lots and lots of oatmeal, over the next 2 weeks as a constant “stabilizer” in life. Equally, there will be lots of Justin’s Chocolate Peanut Butter in that time, too. Justin, don’t fail me now. I might have been blaring out loud Mika’s Happy Ending and Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn while eating this. If so, don’t worry, it was all for the sake of sanity.

Vegan Chocolate Fudge

Vegan Chocolate Fudge

You know how sometimes you wake up at 4am thinking “God, I just really need some vegan fudge right about now” but you never have it on hand? Yeah, maybe it’s a good thing if you don’t have it in the same room as you. Nevertheless, this was tasty.

D'Anjou Pear

D'Anjou Pear

10 Miles In 87:01

10 Miles In 87:01

What insane person would wake up 2 and a half hours before their first final to run 10 miles when they aren’t training for anything? Hi, nice to meet you, too. I could have made worse nutrition choices at that time than a pear, like more fudge(and the thought did cross my mind).

Oatmeal With An Egg And White Chocolate Strawberry Almond Butter, Cherry Fage With Trail Mix

Oatmeal With An Egg And White Chocolate Strawberry Almond Butter, Cherry Fage With Trail Mix

Cherry Fage With Trail Mix

Cherry Fage With Trail Mix

I’m sane, and this trail mix from Whole Foods is crazy good; I just had to go back and get more. It has in it–from what I can tell–massive chocolate spirals, dark chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, raisins, sweetened cherries, peanuts, almonds, chocolate coated raisins, and peanut butter coated yogurt raisins. Deeeelicious.

Trilogy Kombucha

Trilogy Kombucha

After my test, I walked a bit and treated myself to a Trilogy Kombucha from the bookstore; I’ll drink for my hydration and health on someone else’s money 😉 Now I can’t believe the amount of stuff I have to get done in the next 2 hours. Will I keep my sanity? Do I still have it?

What’s the most embarrassing thing on your ipod? I ran listening to music in the gym this morning, and put my whole ipod on shuffle. It was fun coming across a lot of songs I forgot I had or wouldn’t have listened to otherwise, and then came this song. Oh brother, how tastes change.

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Can I Petition A Petition?

Posted on May 1, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Happy Saturday! I for one am more than happy to be closer to Summer and living at home with a full kitchen and refrigerator. Have you all seen this petition yet? Basically, it’s a petition for Obama and his family to become vegans for their influence. Uhhh, what?! I fully support those who are vegans, or vegetarians. But how on earth could anyone want to dictate how another person eats? Especially when some of those are just little girls?

If I posted this when I first heard about it, I’d have some not-so-choice words, but I think by now my minds mulled it over to speak better of it. If anything, we should be preaching tolerance–tolerance of those who have a different way of thinking or path in life. This petition shows no more tolerance than the intolerance you could find against vegetarianism in a Southern cattle farm community. More importantly, you can eat ethically and aware without being a vegan, which is part of what Michelle Obama has already done through her time in the White House. What do you think of this petition? Besides that it’s going nowhere, I think it’s a little rude. And–as always–I’m on a mission to show you can eat well and ethically without devoting yourself to any label.

Naturally Nutty Vanilla Almond Butter

Naturally Nutty Vanilla Almond Butter

I had this little bowl of Naturally Nutty Vanilla Almond Butter and a scoop more before hitting the gym. What is it about almond butter that makes me just want to eat out of the jar?! It’s so delicious! Especially with a little vanilla. I felt extra fueled after that.

10 Miles In 88:59

10 Miles In 88:59

Fueled enough to runner a faster 10 miles as the last training run before my half-marathon. That feels weird to even think about. Enough, enough. Lunch!

Maple-Walnut Oil Salmon With Craisins And Golden Raisins, Baby Carrots, Hemp Oil Greens

Maple-Walnut Oil Salmon With Craisins And Golden Raisins, Baby Carrots, Hemp Oil Greens

Motivated by Kath, I’ve been getting in to canned salmon for extra omega-3’s without much fuss. I mixed mine with maple syrup and walnut oil for something packed with even more essential fats and tasty! Over the top was Tierra Farm‘s dried fruit and baby carrots, with salad dressed in Foods Alive hemp oil dressing.

Organic Red Delicious Apple

Organic Red Delicious Apple

An organic apple for dessert!

Trilogy Synergy Kombucha

Trilogy Synergy Kombucha

On my way back from my grocery trip, I picked up a trilogy kombucha at a cafe because I felt a little down about the whole trip :-/ A lot of it was on the store’s sale, which was good. But I probably could have saved more in coupons if I was better organized. At least I didn’t blow the project cleanout challenge too much. And you can’t say I don’t eat what I buy:

Soy-Free, Dairy-Free Chocolate Sundae

Soy-Free, Dairy-Free Chocolate Sundae

Isn’t it dreamy? My whole point in going was to get some whipped cream to make a sundae. They didn’t even have regular–just non-fat sugar-free or Rice Whip, which is dairy and soy-free. The latter seemed less processed, so I went with that and made a sundae with So Delicious chocolate coconut milk ice cream. The fudge sauce was simply cocoa powder and agave nectar mixed together. Voila! OK–the Rice Whip tasted REALLY fake; if you’ve ever had rice milk, just imagine that in an airier form. Besides that, this Friday sundae was delicious and a perfect before-dinner treat 🙂

Grass-Fed Burger, Sweet Potato Fries With Mozzarella Daiya

Grass-Fed Burger, Sweet Potato Fries With Mozzarella Daiya

If Obama wants to eat his beef and have his vegan cheese, too, I fully support that! I made a 1/3 a pounder hamburger but undercooked it far too much 😦 I really wanted to try the daiya so instead of eating it straight from the bag I made some sort of vegan cheese fries–YUM. This was better than mozarella cheese; it was crack. I’d be lying if I said I’m not planning on having it again today(maybe twice).

Endangered Species Dark Chocolate With Deep Forest Mint

Endangered Species Dark Chocolate With Deep Forest Mint

I love mint. I could eat a salad made of mint leaves. This bar doesn’t have a great minty flavor like alter-eco’s mint bar. But it was what the Whole Foods I was at had, and I don’t terribly mind it.

Oatmeal With Chocolate Almond Butter And Coconut Milk

Oatmeal With Chocolate Almond Butter And Coconut Milk

And some oatmeal with homemade chocolate almond butter because nowhere near me carries Justin :-/ Oh well, now that I’ve pinned down the secret to making good homemade chocolate nut butters, I’m less enthused to go out and pay $10 for someone to do it for me.

This morning I woke up nice and early to not run. Maybe it defeats the purpose of a rest day to keep yourself from sleep. But I want to be nice and tired tonight so I can go to bed early and sneak 8 hours in somewhere before the race.

Oatmeal With Cookie Dough Peanut Butter

Oatmeal With Cookie Dough Peanut Butter

Cherry 2% Fage With Almonds

Cherry 2% Fage With Almonds

I love Fage, especially their cherry flavor. Unfortunately, it’s about expensive as they come around here. At least it’s on sale at Whole Foods this week. The cherry here tastes just like the cherry dips at Dairy Queen! Yum! Next time I’m trying full fat. The peanut butter–again, since I’ve figured out how to make cookie dough nut butter, I’m less enthused about paying someone to do it for me. Besides, this one seems really fake since half of it melts over oats and the other half is still solid :-/ Until it’s gone, though, I’ll live it up and enjoy it.

What are your thoughts on mint? I made my gluten free chocolate brownies with a lot of mint extract once and was told it was like mouthwash; hell, I thought they were great! The more mint, the better in my opinion. Even though it’s often paired with chocolate, I wouldn’t mind a dessert exclusively with mint as the flavor. Speaking of chocolate, here’s a Bubble Chocolate Giveaway. Now I get to go to my very first race expo! I hope it’s nifty.

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