A Day In NYC

Posted on December 24, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Technically, yesterday started at around 4am when I woke up hungry and had a bowl of oatmeal with NuttZo. I didn’t bother taking a picture because I was hoping that wouldn’t be the most exciting part of my day(though NuttZo is always tasty);-). After I got back to bed, my alarm went off promptly at 6:45 and we hit the road by 7:20. The plan was to drive to a Stamford, Connecticut to take the train in to NYC. The car ride was such a great time to relax and get away from anything; I read 3 out of 5 magazines I’ve had lying around since October! Bliss. Somewhere along the way I “made breakfast”.

2% Chobani With Kashi Vanilla Creamy Oatmeal, Barney Butter, And A Vitabrownie

I think being a sort of food McGuiver is so much fun! I had a bag packed of snacks and I was determined to make something healthy and well balanced out of it and I think I did. I mixed a packet of vanilla oatmeal with Chobani, salt, and stevia and let that sit and soften the oats. Then I added some Barney Butter I was sent to sample and review a while ago and this was the perfect opportunity. On the side, for good balance(or chocolate. Yeah, definitely chocolate) was a vitabrownie. This was delicious. I liked the Barney Butter more than I remember and might pick up a jar if I see it on the shelves. At 11:30 after a 60 minute train ride we arrived.

Grand Central Station

It wasn’t as busy as I thought it would be the day before Christmas Eve but still when is NYC not hustling and bustling? We had to rush to meet our Georgian friends for lunch at 12 at Carmines. They’ve wanted to eat here for years and finally got reservations. Honestly, the restaurant couldn’t have been a worse fit for me. The whole mindset behind it was gargantuan portions of meat and pasta served family style(I don’t have anything ethically against pasta, I just happen to be one of the few Italians who doesn’t like it). Still, I stuck with my guns and found a meal somewhere in there.

Apple Pear Vinagrette Salad, Grilled Marinated Portabella Mushrooms

The salad was OK; very oily. The mushrooms were good with salt and red pepper. At the same time, I don’t think mushrooms should ever constitute a meal. Everyone else at least had a good time and had their fill of fried calimari, meatballs, penne, and lemon cream sauce chicken.

Aunt Chris And Mom

Afterwards we had to finish up and rush off to a 2 o’clock matinée. It’s a tradition that we always see a play when we meet them in New York. It’s not my cup of tea but they’re a very artistic family and enjoy this stuff. It’s always a surprise what we’re seeing because they go to the box office that morning and find the discounted shows and choose from those. This year it was Mary Poppins.

Mary Poppins On Broadway

The show was great; technically it was probably the most amazing one we’ve seen. With trap doors and wires, they had Mary flying through the sky and even replicated her bag that holds far too much. I might have dozed off a bit during supercalifragilisticexpialidocious but it was only because the theater was so nice and warm. Midway through I had a snack.

Lemon Ginger Gnu Bar

That definitely curbed my hunger for the rest of the show. Afterwards, we had some time left with them so we worked out a new plan. My dad, knowing Goji Gourmet cookies were on my Christmas list, located some in the city so we decided to walk to a coffee shop that sold them. Of course, we took in the sights as we walked.

Times Square

Interestingly, the numbers still say 2009; when do you think they’ll change that? It was cold out–about 26. I managed to step in not 1 but 2 puddles. I’m a genius, right? Fortunately, we were able to find the little coffee shop and grab some cookies which now are under the tree. We also convinced the man behind the counter(who probably thought we were crazy tourists and was sooo right) to get a group photo.

The Sterns And Thomas Family

We 3 are on the right and the other 5 are them. Really, what was going through our mind was “Please take 20 more so we can stand in your warm shop without having bought much”. After that we walked back into the car they rented and drove around to take in some of the sights that were too cold to walk to.

Pop Culture Yogurt Fruit And Nut Bar

I grabbed this while we were in the car. This bar was also sent to me and it seemed perfect to save for a day like this when yogurt would not be as handy. overall, it was OK. The yogurt coating was soooo good, but the fruits and nuts were a little M.I.A. But with probiotics and 4g fiber, it was a good deal. We drove past the tree at Rockefeller center and then ended up back at Grand Central Station where we said our goodbyes until we see them again in July.

Grand Central Station

Dinner was a bit of a debacle; frankly, I was a little upset having only eaten mushrooms and bars I brought all day and wanted somewhere nice. At the same time, all we could find was chains and ones that served mostly meat. Just when we were about to give up and grab something quick and board the train, we found this restaurant hiding in Grand Central Station.

Charlie Palmer's Metrazur Menu

Yes, it was more meat. But this was good sounding, local meat that I could really get into without questioning. It was a bit pricey but how often do you get to eat in Grand Central Station? My mom wanted just a salad and my dad and I funnily enough chose the exact same entree.

The Natural Chicken

This sounded sooo good. It was a piece of white meat and dark meat chicken in a truffle broth. Underneath were broccoli rabe, oyster mushrooms, and soft and tender potato gnocchi; it was heavenly. I gave my dark meat to my mom(her favorite) and practically cleaned the bone of the other. The desserts sounded good, too, but I figured there’d be enough of those over the coming days and I was full. We ended up catching an 8:10 train and getting to our car at 9:30, driving home by 12:15. In the car I had a dessert of my own.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I found these cookies at the same bakery that served the Goji Gourmet ones. Peanut butter and chocolate; how could I resist? They were also fairly healthy with simple ingredients like whey protein, rolled oats, peanut butter, eggs, brown sugar,chocolate chips, butter, baking soda, and salt. They were really delicious; I thought the protein powder might affect the flavor but not at all. I also ate an apple in the car but that wasn’t nearly as exciting. When we got home, I pretty much passed out in my bed; it was 90 minutes after my bed time afterall 😉 And this morning I got to wake up to a full inbox and google reader. Joy to the world, and happy Christmas Eve!

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I’ma Survivah

Posted on December 20, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Correction: I’m watching Survivor. The finale is on tonight! Anyone else excited? At this point, I kind of want Rusell to win; I mean, anyone who screws his way to the final 4 deserves it. Otherwise, my day was snow packed.

Snow

I didn’t even have to get up to capture that as I was blogging. Can I reiterate how amazing Boulevard’s hot chocolate with vegan fluff was? It was really really good. For lunch, I think the original plan was spoon roast? My stomach was not up to meat, however, and neither was someone else’s, so we played it safe with lentils.

Snobby Lentils, Carrots And Parsnips With Salsa, Broccoli

I always associate lentils with massive bloating and a huge feeling of being full but for some reason this didn’t do it; in fact, all day I’ve been sort of on and off the fence of hunger when I’m eating and when I’m not. I think all those brussels last night might have funked things up but I bet it will pass in a few days with fiber and regular exercise. I was still a bit hungry, so I went for a dessert.

2% Chobani With Dark Chocolate Raspberry Jam

Me? Having trouble getting 2 sources of probiotic a day? Not with tasty jams like this. So perfectly creamy and sweet(I added a little vanilla stevia to the base). After that I continued to put my things in their proper place, lazed around on Twitter, and did some behind the scene blog work I’ve been meaning to since… Oh, I don’t know, October? Yikes. I had another amazing(and fibrous) snack.

Chocolate Brownie Gnu Foods Bar

Normally, it’s just a bar. But when you stick it in the microwave, it get’s kissed by heaven. Seriously, this was too perfect; I had the chocolate chips boiling they were so hot, and the outside got a little crusty–yum! I had to sprinkle a little stevia on top, though, because these really aren’t that sweet on their own. Well after my dad snowblowed us out, he needed to go out. Of course, I tagged along for the opportunity to be free. I grabbed a snack before I left.

Kim & Scott's Pizza Pretzel

Kim & Scott's Pizza Pretzel

A very savory snack. I had a coupon for a free box of Kim & Scott’s pretzels and after looking at the flavors I could find near me pizza seemed like the best choice. You can read my full review here, or just know that this was super doughy and delicious. A little skimpy on the sauce, but overall a winner. It was also whole wheat with fiber and protein, so I felt rather good while hitting up Job Lot(for cheap goodies), Price Chopper(for a guest post project), and CVS(camera batteries). I think I said yesterday we wouldn’t have time to shop at all before Christmas? Yeah that was a lie.

Groceries

I got a few things for baking projects you will see(yeast and peanuts), some more decaf tea because apparently I’m as addicted to that as I am coffee, some peppermint to get into the holiday spirit, and a new peanut butter! It scored a NuVal 49, which is HUGE for peanut butter, so I wanted to see what all the fuss is about. I’ll let you know how it is once I give it a whirl. When I got home, other people went out, so I figured a snack before dinner was in order.

Apple Slices, Cinnamon Raisin Toast With White Chocolate Wonderful

But then once they got back my mom decided her stomach wasn’t up for dinner and I’d be on my own. Not a problem, as that’s how I’ve rolled for the past 4 months. And it gave me a chance to a) try something I’ve been mulling over in my mind for a while and b) stay veg for the day.

Amy's Tomato Bisque

White Chocolate Chickpeas, Asparagus

The soup was on sale 1.25 a can at Whole Foods; it wasn’t bad. It wasn’t particularly flavorful but it was a good, basic tomato soup that I could have herbed up. What I really wanted to taste was the white chocolate chickpeas. Yes. You read that right. I melted down a tablespoon of white chocolate chips and tossed it with canned chickpeas, and it was excellent. It was even better once the chocolate hardened up a bit to cling to the chickpeas. It’s not quite a “dessert” flavor because there’s not that much chocolate; what it’s more like is chickpeas in a sweetened cream sauce. I will definitely work on these and make them again.

Apparently Montana isn’t as big a fan of Survivor, because at one point he stepped on the remote and turned on the Home Shopping Network. That dog needs to learn his priorities.
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What Was I Thinking?

Posted on December 18, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Have those words ever been uttered at a good time? Doubtful. What was I thinking joining Twitter? This is not helping my productivity(EvanFMFF… I’m such a PR harlot).

What was I thinking when I was mindlessly snacking on carby carbs yesterday afternoon?

Oatmeal With Smart Balance Peanut Butter

Note to self: Fat and protein are just as amazing; never forget that. Unfortunately, the Today Show has told me that the omega-3’s in smart balance peanut butter aren’t the ones we need. Then again, any omega-3’s are good omega-3’s and this peanut butter is quite tasty(and melts oh so beautifully). Therefore, I will eat my peanut butter, and have my fish too!

Chickpeas And Tuna, Green Beans With Cream Cheese

I was actually thinking of canning dinner and going straight to dessert when I wasn’t hungry for “real” food at 7. Then again, that’s not really like me, so I decided to just have dinner from a can(get the pun). I mixed a can of tuna and a can of chickpeas and had green beans from the dining hall(95% sure these were also from a can at some point) with a little cream cheese for flavor and fat. I don’t know how they can say there’s 2 servings of tuna and about 3 servings of chickpeas in those cans because they hardly made 1 dinner. Anyway, dessert was obvious.

Divine White Chocolate With Strawberries

Divine Advent Calender Milk Chocolate

What was I thinking buying myself all this Divine chocolate? It is clearly dangerous to keep around because it tastes amaaaaaaazing. I think it’s because they use butterfat and dried cream. It may add a little trans fat but it’s natural and life’s worth living. After that, I was clearly thinking I’m not done with white chocolate and berries.

Oatmeal With White Chocolate Peanut Butter And Raspberry Frosting

Maybe one of my New Year’s Resolutions will be to show restraint fro white chocolate. Until then, let the good times roll. I finished up studying for my exam and winded the night down with Leno and this bowl. I realized why it was so quiet and there wasn’t a loud frat party: They’ve all gone home already. Seriously, I’ll be the last kid on campus. Amazingly, after this bowl I still felt like I could eat more.

Cinnamon Raisin Gnu Bar

What was I thinking? I need to learn “I could eat a little more” does not mean “reach for the most fiberous thing on the planet”. This filled me up, and then some.

When I woke up, I was not thinking. Then again, that’s excusable at 6:30am, methinks. It took waaaaaay too long to occur to me that the person in the shower had not just woken up himself but rather was winding down his night. Everybody is done with finals 😦 I was not thinking about how cold it was, so the walk to the gym, albeit short, was quite hellish(0 degrees with wind chill).

KIND Almond And Cashew Bar

What was I thinking thinking that I wouldn’t need a bar to get me through my run? Luckily I had this in my pocket and clearly enjoyed it. My run itself was one GIANT what was I thinking. it was sabotaged from the start when I ate tofu, soy yogurt, and chickpeas(all of which don’t agree with me but I love) yesterday making major GI issues. Even though I wasn’t feeling up to par because of that, I wanted to get a good last run in, so I thought I’d go 16 miles. And I did. But I knew that was not the right choice when I was finishing up at 9:30 and everyone else had came and gone long before. The whole thing felt “off”. I was just happy to get back and eat breakfast.

French Toast Oatmeal

Greek Yogurt With Peanut Flour And Nuttzo, Advent Chocolate

What was I thinking? I was thinking a) I want to use up that last egg so I don’t have to worry about bringing it home and b) I’ll eat that advent chocolate now so I don’t have to “fit it in” to dessert later. At least those are practical thoughts.

Now I’m thinking more coffee will make me a happy studier. At 2pm I’ll be walking in to my final Final(slightly unprepared, mind you) and be burning through some pencils to get out of there and get home! Have a good day 🙂

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Cookie Friday’s Triumphant Return

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

It’s the freakin’ weekend, baby I’m about to have me some fun study my butt off! It’s the final push though, so I don’t mind; in a week I’ll be done done done no matter if those grades are good or bad(but let’s hope good). And I’m glad you all agree moving out is bogus! We do get $50 dollars compensation, but basically that comes from my parent’s bill which is already ridiculous with tuition and textbooks so it’s not money we’ll really be seeing. Otherwise, it’s probably the best dorm on campus, and I’ll be requesting to live there every year so long as I can help it.

Anywho, yesterday my dad swung by after work and we made 4 trips to the car to load her up. Before we left town, we hit up Whole Foods to get some things for the weekend. While I was there, I picked up a snack.

Clif Mountain Mix Mojo

Yum! This totally hit the spot. In the car I got to thinking and came to a funny realization: I like to eat vegan except when I’m not. By which I mean, I generally choose vegan foods, unless I’m eating something that directly goes against veganism like yogurt or meat. Otherwise I’m “shocked and appalled” whenever I find non-vegan ingredients like milk powder in a granola bar. We also stopped at Market Basket because my mother needed spoon roast. While I was there I took advantage of their incredible prices.

Earth Balance Butter Spread, Dark Chocolate And Green Tea And Chai Simply Well Pudding

Simply Well’s all natural probiotic puddings were 99 cents each! That’s insane! I also think I got the very last chocolate one by reaching farther back than man has gone into the freezer 🙂 And the earth balance was only 2.99; I really wish they sold their peanut butter because I haven’t tried that yet.

When we got home, it was one of those times when everyone was running around bumping in to one another. My mom was making 100’s of gnocchi for a holiday party. I was pushing food around trying to make room. And my dad was basically doing all the orders me and my mom were shouting out frantically. Family bonding 🙂 We each threw together dinners and ate standing up.

Brussels Sprouts, Lightlife Sausage And Onions With Cheddar Cheese

This was my dindin of choice. None of us had time to remove the stubs from the brussels so I ate them anyway; that’s how much in a tizzy we were, haha. My parents ate the rest of the teriyaki ginger sausages and loved them. I was glad to hear that. They surprisingly didn’t share the same enthusiasm for sunflower cheddar flatbreads, which is odd because I loved them and I’m the least of the cracker lovers. This sight made me very happy.

Snow On The Porch

Snow! All the snow melted really quick in Providence but they still have a good couple of inches here. I just love staring out the window and looking at it. After dinner, things settled down a bit(just a bit). When I got to thinking about it, I realized 2 Friday’s ago was right after Thanksgiving, so I didn’t make an effort to get eat a treat then. Last Friday was hectic coming home, so again I missed out on Cookie Friday. That meant this Cookie Friday needed to be legen–wait for it…

Gluten Free Life Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookie

Wrapper

Yummy! Waiting for me at home was a few products from Gluten Free Bakery. As the name suggests, the company makes all their products in a gluten free facility. What’s not in their name is what makes them so much more! The company uses whole grain sorghum flour instead of traditional refined rice flour, which makes their gluten free products very nutritious. Besides that, they also use organic ingredients and eggs from their own small farm hens! How impressive is that?

But how did it taste? To be honest, this was not one of the best gluten free cookies I’ve had… this was one of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve had! It was sooo deliciously chewy with plenty of butter; even the chocolate chips tasted particularly sugary and rich. I never would have thought twice about the “flour” for this cookie. I can’t wait to try some of their other products and I’ve added them to my HoliDEALS page. Of course there was chocolate…

Q.bel Peanut Butter Wafer Rolls

Simply Well Chocolate Pudding With Q.bel Peanut Butter Wafer Rolls And Advent Chocolate

I might have to go out on the limb and claim this as one of the best pudding messes ever. These little wafer rolls–I totally did not expect them to taste that peanut buttery. And with the chocolate pudding–yum! So much better than greek yogurt with chocolate powder and sugar(but don’t tell yogurt that ;-)) Before going to sleep I wanted fiber power.

Banana Walnut Gnu Foods Bar

So much better than a banana 🙂 I admit, I don’t like bananas but I like banana tasting things. So far I’ve slept 9 1/2 hours, spit out the decaf coffee they have here because it’s just not edible, and moved on to decaf English breakfast tea. What for breakfast, oh, what for breakfast?

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Gnu Foods Product Review Recap

Posted on December 8, 2009. Filed under: Product Review | Tags: , , |

2 weeks ago, the kind people at Gnu Foods sent me a box of their products to sample and review. The Gnu bars come in 7 flavors and all have one big focus: fiber. Lots and lots of fiber. 12g, or 50% the daily value, to be exact. Gnu makes their bars so fiberous with their special blend of grains, seeds, and chicory root extract. Besides that, their bars feature some powerful, natural flavors, all sweetened by fruit sources. Before I get into the reviews, I want to mention an exclusive coupon code for Food Makes Fun Fuel readers. If you go to their website and place an order, enter the code FunFuel10 upon checkout to receive 10% off. The only exception is with 5-bar flavor sampler, which ships free all its own. Either way, you’re going to get good savings. Gnu bars can also be found at health retailer stores such as Whole Foods.

Banana Walnut

8.5/10: I really had low expectations for this bar: banana could hardly be lower on the ingredient list after other fruit sweeteners and most banana flavored bars I’ve tried disappoint me anyway. Thankfully, I couldn’t have been more wrong. This was delicious with a very pungent banana flavor and the perfect hint of spices. It tasted justlike banana bread. I’d love to rate it higher, if it didn’t give the expectation of walnuts, but I can’t. There was only a small hint of nutty chew to it and no way to distinguish walnut in particular. Otherwise, it was a clear winner.

Chocolate Brownie

8.5/10: Gnu Foods starts all their bars with a whole grain blend, sweetens with natural fruit sources, flavors and adds binders for further fiber, giving each bar 50% of your daily value. Wow. At first I didn’t think this was sweet enough. But as I took the tie to enjoy it, I came to appreciate it more as a dark chocolate–slightly bittersweet. The more I ate, the more I got and appreciated the cocoa essence to it, and it had great texture from the baking process. With 15% natural fiber to boot, this really filled me up and had me feeling strong. I’d gladly get this again.

Cinnamon Raisin

9/10: This perfect in theory and practice is perfect with Gnu’s product line. It’s a flavor that has to be heavy on the spices, but not on the sweet; this definitely had a good amount of earthiness from the cinnamon added. Since Gnu already fruit sweetens their products with plum puree and other natural sweeteners, the raisins fit right in. They fit in so well, it was actually hard to tell just how many there were by texture. Overall I was pleased by this and would buy it again for when I’m on the go and a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread just isn’t practical.

Espresso Chip

8.5/10: This bar has a clear, deep mocha flavor. You get that rich sense of cocoa and coffee without all the added sugar of other bars. I didn’t notice any particular “chips”; rather the flavor and texture was even throughout. One thing I would warn is this is notfor the caffeine intolerant. Though it doesn’t state the content of this bar, from my own reaction I have a sense that it’s pretty high. Overall, this was definitely something for any true mocha lover(though don’t expect one of those sugary Starbucks drink flavors here).

Lemon Ginger

9/10: Dare I say it, this was my favorite rendition of a lemon flavor in a bar. At first, I hesitated to do more than smell it; this was just like a fresh baked lemon square. Once I finally got around to biting in, however, I found the kick: the ginger. These had a big spicy flavor thanks to the ginger, but still kept the zestfulness of lemon and an overall sweetness for pleasantry. This complex flavor isn’t something I’d be wanting all the time but for a very specific craving it’s absolutely perfect.

Orange Cranberry

8.5/10: Zesty would not be the word for this tart treat; whereas I was expecting a hint of orange essence I got something much closer to a full fruit attack. I really enjoyed the promise and delivery of flavor here. I thought the cranberry was a nice touch, though I would have liked that flavored to be louder and not just incorporated by whole craisins alone. I also would have liked to see them much higher on the ingredient list, but they were welcomed when they came. Overall this was a fun and fruity bar.

Peanut Butter

7.5/10: Peanut butter by itself has a little fiber. But gnu turns that notch up all the way to 12 with this product. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about flavor. While there was a hint of nuttiness hear and noticeable peanuts, it all didn’t feel like enough. I think Gnu’s mission to make bars around 140 calories really hindered the here. Peanuts are relatively low on the ingredient list and peanut butter is non-existent unless it’s a “natural flavor”. I enjoyed it and would eat it again, but not for a peanut butter craving.

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Overprepared

Posted on December 7, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I think all I need to do is pull up a picture of what I consider “necessary” for a 2-day trip home to show what an overpreparer I am. So naturally, last night while I was watching Brothers & Sisters(seriously, how good was that and isn’t that clif hanger awful to give without even a sneak peek at the next episode?), I finished my oats and started thinking about preparing for my run. Normally, I don’t actively carbo-load any more than my hunger wants, but for some reason I got it in my mind that this would be good to “prepare” for a time-free run.

Peanut Butter Gnu Bar

If you’re going to eat late at night, fiber is totally the way to go to top off energy levels. Not a lover of the peanut butter flavor here, but not a bad bar overall. Well i tried falling asleep right after that but nope. Not happening. Part of it was probably the cold and another part the anticipation, but I was up and out all night over and over. I tried getting a good night sleep but who knows how much I actually slept when I woke up at 6:45, then 6:55, then 7:10(an hour later than usual).

When I got to the gym it was just as I’d hope: practically no one. In fact for the first hour it was just me and my two gym friends who are employees of Brown. All the students have been taking advantage of sleep during reading week. I definitely felt a bit more energized–from my carbo loading perhaps? And I didn’t need an energy bar to keep going, either. All in all I was happy to stop at 12.5 miles in 1:41:47. The .5 might or might not have been to watch a Today Show segment 😉 When I got back I definitely was in the mood for food, going over 3 hours with nothing but water.

Banana Oatmeal With Banana Peanut Butter And Honey

"Fig Newton" Yogurt

Can you tell I wanted honey? It was a weird craving but it was well honored. For the oats I added 3oz of mushed banana before cooking and microwaved it an extra 2 minutes to boil off moisture. It was too perfect with this peanut butter. And the honey–magnifique! For the yogurt, I added 1/2 a tablespoon fig jam and some honey, topped with vanilla sugar. It was perfect and the crunchy sugar reminded me of a fig newton newman.

At 11 one of the maintenance people came to see if our heat was on: nope. I could have told him that. It seems like it’s fixed and hopefully tonight will be warmer. I think I did just about everything I possibly could besides writing my paper so that I have no excuse later to not do that. I enter about 30 contests online a day–no lie. It’s not very common to win anything but you never win if you never enter, right? For lunch I decided to try out something new and exotic.

Teriyaki Ginger Al Fresco Chicken Sausages

This was another flavor that Al Fresco sent me. I left most at home but grabbed this one and another because I figured teriyaki goes with anything, right?

Honey And Soy Glazed Carrots And Broccoli, Teriyaki Ginger Sausage

Right. This was so simple but delicious. The carrots got very soft in the microwave and the sauce on them was perfect. As for these sausages, I thought they were a bit subtle at first until I dipped the in the honey soy sauce and then it was magic. Seriously, where did that kick come from? Probably the ginger, but wow was it nice. Clearly I’ve become a little honey obsessed over the past day. I’d like to say I have some super cool, local, organic honey, but that’s not quite so.

Honey Bear

Just a cheap, store brand bear that I bought months ago because I thought I should own some honey even if I might never eat it. Now I regret not picking some up while the farmers’ market was here. I’ll have to see what good local honey I can find at Whole Foods next time I’m there to feed this new craving. Now that I’ve blogged, I’ve really done everything I could besides write this paper, so I’ll work on that. Tonight–weather permitting–there’ll be a fun Classics caroling concert on campus I’ll stretch my legs for. And then the first of 3 finals tomorrow morning already! I thought reading week was supposed to be easy?

Here’s a very sweet and nutty Larabar giveaway!

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A Time To Unwind

Posted on December 5, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I completely forgot to mention yesterday that I did a guest post over at Heather Bakes. It’s on one of my favorite subjects so go ahead, check it out, and tell me what you think. And while you’re over there be sure to congratulate Heather and Brian on their new baby, Jack!

Yesterday morning I had my last Latin class of the semester where I had to recite a 16 line poem in Latin. Oi that had me nervous, but I think I did pretty good. I stumbled on the last 3 lines out of nerves but overall I did well. Plus the assignment only called for a 10 line poem so really what were those but the cherry on top? 😛 It felt so good to be done with a class, until I decided to take something harder upon myself: microwave eggs.

2 Eggs Scrambled, Broccoli With American Cheese

Lightlife Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash

I guess this can sort of count as a deconstructed omelet? I should have gone for the one bowl wonder, because while this was all OK, it didn’t really pull together. Scrambeled eggs are a hell of a lot less explosive to microwave so I did that until they were just a little runny. The broccoli with an american cheese slice was pure goodness: Is anything with cheese not? And the squash and sausage… just didn’t work, which was a shame because I wanted it to. This also got cold by the time I was eating it in class so that was not so appetizing.

Having my last History and Epic Poetry classes was also a joy. In between I stopped to get coffee when the worst happened: they had no decaf 😦 Rather than play around with drugs(i.e. caffeine), I tried a new tea.

I’m not normally a tea drinker, but I already had put stevia in my cup and didn’t want it to go to waste, and I noticed this was a) seasonal b) caffeine free and c) all-natural so I thought I tried it. I liked it, though as with all tea it tasted mostly like hot, sweetened water. It did have a nice lemon and ginger kick to it, kind of like some bars I’ve had(is it bad that my mind relates things to bars? Don’t answer that…). When I got back to my dorm, I found out it was National Cookie Day! And yet I had not prepared well enough. Oh well, I grabbed the closest thing to a cookie I could find.

Vanilla Chip Cascadian Farms Bar

Seriously, if you’ve never tried this bar, you should. It has 0 nutritional value to it, but it tastes JUST like a cookie. The vanilla chips and touch of salt make it so amazing. That cured my cookie tooth(with about 2 cups of coffee), until I was hungry like 20 minutes later. I choose non-nutritious snacks and then get upset when they don’t keep me full 😦 I’m a genius.

Orange Cranberry Gnu Bar, Peanut Butter Yogurt With Vanilla Cranberry PB

Muuuuuuuch better. This was a perfect assembly of fiber, protein, and healthy fats. When they called this bar “orange cranberry” they weren’t kidding! The flavor was potent. I think I’ve been programmed to expect duller flavors in bars but not here. The yogurt was soooo good. It was like eating peanut butter straight out of the jar, but with some control(and probiotics, too!). Like I said, those mini-Oikos containers are perfect for when you could care less about the yogurt and just want the toppings.

As I ate this I packed all my stuff to bring home. On Thursday after the persimmon incident I asked(read: commanded) my dad to pick me up early this week and take me home Friday. It just felt soooo long and rough(remember the lock out incident?) I really was just dying to feel “at home” and college wasn’t feeling like that this week. We were hoping to get home for a real “homestyle” dinner, but time was not on our side so we hopped off the highway to get something at Whole Foods. I was craving general tsao’s chicken, but they only had it in party platter size(as in, meant to feed and clog the arteries of 20 people). Instead I went for an equally greasy meal.

Golden Sesame Tofu, Roasted Brussels Sprouts

This felt… a little disgusting, but I went at it anyway because I was starving. My mom makes way better roasted brussels than these; they were so oily they didn’t get crisp. And the tofu was… fried, but oddly didn’t have that heavenly fried food feeling. Bummer 😦 And I had to throw salt AND soy sauce on it all just because… ok I wasn’t really thinking then. I guess, though, if this were everyone’s “greasy, guilty fast food”, America would be a little less screwed up–just sayin’.

It felt so good to get home. What I loved most was seeing all the Christmas lights on the houses! That’s another thing you miss at college-the true holiday spirit(I say “holiday” because it’s not just Christmas time and our Jewish friends can get just as spirited with giant, lit up manorahs ;-)). There was so much mail when I walked in the door; I’m really excited about some of the product reviews I’ll get to give you guys! For instance…

Boulevards Organic Dark Hot Chocolate Dairy

This was amazing and very welcomed into my life. Thank you to the people from Boulevards! The weather in New England has been so disappointingly unseasonal but hot chocolate never fails to make it feel like Christmas time. Next time I think I’ll be adding a touch of stevia to perk it up. I might even get a little crazy and add it to decaf coffee. Look out, Lindsey Lohan; we’ve got one crazy partier here 😉 After settling in and getting things organized around here, I had some solid food.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Kettle Cashew Butter And Chocolate Peanut Covered Sunspire Candies

This bowl was mighty random, and mighty good. My dad had some new cashew butter he wanted me to try. With a little maple syrup and sea salt, I was down with it. All of you guys who said these Sundrops on yogurt look like a Blizzard are soo right! I don’t know why it never occurred to me; I used to get those with reese’s pieces and that’s probably where my color obsession came from.

Advent Calender Milk Chocolate

Because I clearly hadn’t had enough milk chocolate for the night(and it’s only December 4th once a year), a piece of advent calender. Advent calenders are a great way to say “you’re probably going to overeat this holiday season anyone, so one more piece of chocolate everyday isn’t going to kill” :-).

How ironic I came home to “unwind” and as I think of everything I need to do I want to pull out my hair. At the least, there’ll be 2 different batches of cookies being made, a definite trip to Trader Joe’s/Whole Foods, plenty of product reviewing, and a 15 page paper being written in the background. I’d love to run, eat out, and perhaps get a haircut, but we’ll see. It’s also supposed to snow for the 2nd time this year! That has me seeing the silver lining. Have a great weekend!

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Persimmon Failure

Posted on December 3, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Good afternoon. Thanks to all the praises on the 16 miles 🙂 I’ll definitely be thinking of those whenever I step it up again! Even though that was yesterday and I didn’t run at all today, I have felt like a bottomless pit. Delayed reaction much? Breakfast really didn’t do it for me so I had to pull out a bar in Greek.

Gnu Espresso Chip Bar

How awkward is it to pull out a crinkly wrapper in a small room? I reviewed it here. The flavor was spot on for what I would expect, though it wasn’t quite what I was wanting at the time. I’m also wondering how much caffeine it had in it? Because I am absolutely dragging now and that might have been the source… Well the 12g of worked for a bit; I decided that since the weather was so nice(62 degrees!) I’d take a walk to my big Whole Foods. However, while I wanted to eat there, I didn’t want to pay there, so instead I brown bagged it.

Broccoli, WildWood Original Veggie Burger

My favorite greasy, fatty veggie burger(I really do mean that in a good way, because portioned fried food definitely makes you feel better as we’ve discussed). I also made a few purchases to round out the meal.

Root Beer Zevia, Persimmon

So apparently Zevia’s are cheaper individually than in a 6-pack? What? The persimmon was on sale this week for 1.50 so I was SUPER excited to give it a try. Unfortunately, this is how much I got through:

2-Bite Persimmon

I think I’m allergic to persimmons. I’ve never had an allergy attack to anything, but after the first bite my mouth felt numb and inside was very dry like cotton. It kind of freaked me out, but I had to take another bite. This time I had the same feeling all the way down my throat as it went down. I was honestly a bit scared because no one knew where I was or anything like that but thankfully that was the worst of it and I promptly threw it out(all 1.50 of it >:-()

After that mini-debaucle, I organized my coupons and studied the sales as I went through the aisles. Had I been a savvyer shopper, I could have got PB and carob chips 3 bucks last sales period, but no luck. Fortunately, soy yogurt has never been cheaper! If you’ve ever been curious why I rave about So Delicious Soy Yogurt, now is the time to give it a whirl. Anyway, I spent way too long in there(as always) and tried making up time on the walk back. When I got in the door I grabbed this immediately.

Apple

They may not always be fresh, but I know they won’t screw me over like a persimmon(sorry, but I’m a bit bitter on this one). I also took count of what I purchased and entered that into my food budget.

Groceries

My two favorite yogurts–one being cow’s milk and one soy milk. In one of the containers is shredded salmon from the salad bar(such a cheaper option than the prepared food section) and the other has milk chocolate covered peanuts(!!). Can’t wait to have those over oats or yogurt. Lastly, I got a curry simmer sauce; I don’t know why but the Indian food seemed so appealing on the salad bar. And I love buying the sauces and flavors so that I can make my own as opposed to buying 1 meal because for the same price you’re getting a good 4-5 meals out of them.

It’s not even 4 o’clock, and I’m putting on my lazy-day pants. I’m exhausted! And bogged down with work. I don’t mean to be a depresser though, so I assure you my spirits are bright because I’m listening to this Christmas album which I just bought for 1.99 off Amazon. What should I make for dinner with my new finds? It’s just me tonight, so I’m ready for suggestions 🙂

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Locked Out

Posted on December 1, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

So much for getting back into the swing of things! I couldn’t have been more off my game yesterday if I’d crashed my car into a tree and then drew attention to myself by releasing a sketchy statement about it. I completely forgot the first rule of morning time management: The days you want extra time are exactly the days you won’t get it. Regardless, I skipped doing the dishes and ran out the door at 10:45 to grab coffee before class. For the first time, I forgot my camera. What if yesterday was the day I ran into Emma Watson and explained to her about my blog and she offered to pose for a photo with me?… I like to dream big so that whatever happens in the day isn’t a disappointment. Well that wasn’t the case, but I did get my coffee, sit through an rough hour of “welcome back, now work” class, and hustle on back to my dorm to pick up where I left off. After cleaning, emailing, and blog reading, I made another meal of leftovers.

Cheesy Broccoli, Tofurkey Slice, Acorn Squash With Caramel Mustard

I think from now on I’ll just cook everything on the weekend and only eat “leftovers” all week long because they’re always the best. The broccoli was simply steamed and mixed with a slice of cheese from Trader Joe’s. The acorn squash was delicious with the caramel mustard, which I definitely had a heavy hand with(how could I not?). And the Tofurkey roast was still mighty fine, though I made sure not to overdo it again because apparently too much Tofurkey is rough on the stomach! Cost for calorie, these aren’t so bad to buy on sale after the holidays eat throughout the week. Here’s hoping to more in the future!(besides what I still have as leftovers :-P)

I don’t know where my head was because I almost left my room and went to class without any of the books I needed. In history we got back our 3 midterm essays, all of which I did really well on and lifted my spirits. Then we got our final paper topic–yikes! That’ll be 12-15 pages of get-me-out-of-here. After class I “had” to dash back to my dorm to pick up stevia packets for a coffee before epic poetry(going to class without a coffee would be dangerous). Unfortunately, as New Englanders know, the weather was awful in the afternoon and my plans to grab something at Whole Foods were no more. I headed back to my dorm, at which point I was struck with a Jimmy Neutron brain blast.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Butter Toffee Peanut Butter And Shortcut Cream Cheese Frosting

I loved this recipe so much, I had to post it immediately. That is seriously going to change the way I eat anything carby(probably not for the better but oh well). Oprah had some awesome guests on, including Sugarland, all singing Christmas songs! It was pretty awesome–I wish I’d known to tivo it. Afterwards I had to get out even if it was raining. Naturally I chose the bookstore.

Coffee At The Bookstore

I realized I forgot all my cold-weather clothes at home, as well as an umbrella and q-tips. Again, where was my head? After perusing I couldn’t find any good coats, and the umbrellas were a bit much(and I completely forgot about the q-tips :-() so I left empty handed. I was still feeling a bit snackish, though, so I dug up this bar back at the dorm.

Lemon Ginger Gnu Bar

Wowza! I think this bar had the most flavor out of any of their bars, and I really really liked it. The lemon and ginger were both loud and it made a fun study snack. While doing some work before dinner, I realized I hadn’t heard from my friend if we were doing dinner. That’s because I forgot to turn my phone on in the morning and it’d been off all day… wtf. After getting some texts and finding out I was too behind for the rest of the world, I ended up grabbing something and eating in.

Vegan Roasted Vegetables, Sweet Potato, Wildwood Teryaki Tofu

Do you see the sun? It needed to come out at some point. Before I dug into this, I realized, I took my only fork home before break and forgot to bring it back. What’s wrong with me? Chopsticks and my baby spoon it was. Unfortunately, the flavors were not nearly as sunny; this was one of those meals that just felt like a waste after eating it(except the sweet potato, which would take a lot to feel like a waste). I wish this tofu had half the flavors on the ingredient list but in the end it tasted much like their savory flavor and wasn’t teryaki at all. As for the veggies, I tried to ignore the massive amounts of olive oil, but I had to stop 3/4ths the way through and throw out the rest. I don’t mind healthy fats, but I’m not a big fan of olive oil :-/ Nuts, peanut butter, avocado–all good. But this was too much to an absurd amount.

The night just went downhill from there. Heroes was OK but nothing to draw my attention, and my stomach just felt off, which I’m going to go ahead and blame on the vegetables. I did some light reading but realized I was tired. Could I go to bed at 9 and be asleep at 10? Was that allowed? Why the hell not, so I shut down my computer early, and figured out what to have right before sleeping.

 

2% Greek Yogurt With Strawberry Jam And Strawberry White Chocolate

Well the night wasn’t a complete bust; I removed 1oz plain and replaced it with 1oz full fat yogurt to give the base a 2% taste. Then I swirled in strawberry jam(technically “conserve”) and topped with a shaved Divine bar and some more jam. Just what I need before going to be–sugar. Midway through this I realized I forgot to brush my teeth, and so went to the bathroom to do that. In the 3 minutes I was in there, my roommate must have came home and grabbed something, locking the door and leaving. I was locked out in my pajamas, glasses, barefoot with a toothbrush–glorious. I freaked out for a minute and tried running outside to find him but no luck. Thankfully, one of the RC’s on the other side of the dorm was home and called campus services on my behalf. She also lent me slippers to wear while I waited outside(in 40 degree weather) for the campus security to show up. By the time I got in my room, i completely missed Big Bang Theory and was quite livid. The only thing I could do from wanting to tell someone off was eat this.

 

Deep Chocolate Vitatop

I’m not sure how well that worked, but heating it a little extra and just holding it in my hands for warmth made me happy. I totally didn’t get to bed early like I had planned, and the entire night felt like a waste. I maybe got 20-30 minutes more of sleep than normal–maybe. When I woke up I just needed to run it out, so I grabbed this and just left:

 

Amazing Grass Berry Energy Bar

I swear I always run farther than planned when I have an Amazing Grass bar. Stock up while they’re still on sale! I was first thinking 8, then pushed it to 10, then settled at 12. 3 days in a row? I think that’s a new favorite distance. My time was a little slower(1:41:11) but not bad. I was very pleased that my room wasn’t locked when I came back this time, and I was able to get in and make a quickie breakfast.

 

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Smart Balance And Maple Syrup, Plain Chobani With Blueberry Jam And A Double Chocolate Pillow

Is there anything better than opening up a new jar of PB? I bought this Sart Balance with agave to replace the one I had with molasses–it’s just better! And perfect on some salty oats with maple syrup. And the yogurt–yum! I love the combination of chocolate and blueberry but it’s so hard to find in foods unless I make it myself. The pillow cookie made a perfect, rich cocoa topping.

How about a question of the day, shall we? Tell me either your worst story of being locked out(fortunately this hasn’t happened too me more than 2 or 3 times in my life) or your most annoying roommate story(I realize my roommate could have been a lot worse so now I want to hear about those who were). And here’s to December not being as bad as November ended!

 

 

 

 

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Pans And Pies

Posted on November 26, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I didn’t feel that much pressure to get out and run yesterday. At the same time, I wasn’t sure how many opportunities I’d get today and tomorrow, so I decided to take the time and go out. It was a slightly slow 6.7 but felt good to be active for an hour(because I firmly planned on being lazy the other 23). When I got home, I challenged myself to make a lunch not with the microwave. It’s simple enough but there’s so many flavors and textures it just can’t achieve. After planning out a menu, I got to work with my fancy pan I won from some Hood milk promotion last month.

Brussels And Sausage In A Pan

First I scrambled 2 eggs and cooked those in the pan to the perfect doneness–so much easier than in a microwave! Then I steamed raw brussels for 3 minutes in the microwave and then pan-browned them for another 2 minutes. I also heated up a pre-cooked chicken sausage in the microwave(btw, all these uses of it don’t count ;-)) and finished that in the pan.

Scrambled Eggs, Spicy Chicken Sausage, Brussels Sprouts

This deserves a Holy Yum award. Brussels sprouts are seriously my favorite green vegetable and by far the best thing here, even though they were a bit dry, with a touch of salt. The browning gave a good crispness to the outside. The sausage was also quite good. Note: It was real meat and not faux meat. I think I can love them equally. The fennel in it was really impressive. For dessert I had something that took neither pan nor microwave.

Oikos With Banana Pineapple Rum Jam

So perfect. Well, OK, it could have used more jam, but then again my ideal would be eating the jam from the jar with a spoon, which is a no-no when it costs as much as this one does. I had a lovely evening on the couch planned, but then my mom asked if I wanted to accompany her to Market Basket while she picked up some last minute food. My knee-jerk reaction was a big yes, and next thing I knew it I was in the car. Oops. At least I brought a little work with me. For those who don’t have a Market Basket, it’s a place full of interesting finds…

Christmas Decor

Oh, Canada. What are you doing up there? Jk, but Market Basket does have good finds. It’s right across the way from Whole Foods, and while it might only carry about 30% the same stuff, what it does have is very often cheaper. The only thing I could find on my list this trip was a 4-pack of deep chocolate vitatops for 3.69. they had faux meat, but unfortunately nothing all-natural and breakfasty 😦 It was pretty late when everyone was done, so I was happy to grab a snack in the car.

Banana Walnut Gnu Bar

Wow. Wow wow wow wow wow. All you have to do is read my review to know I loved this. I don’t like bananas that much, but I swear anything that tastes like bananas I’m game with. And this was just like banana bread. There wasn’t a large presence of walnuts, but that was fine by me since I don’t care for the. And all the fiber filled me up and kept me calm when I realized I still had to make the pie! Yikes. By the time we got home it was dark and I was getting anxious about that, until I remembered this is the simplest recipe and I didn’t even need to check my computer to remember how to make it.

Unbaked Crustless Pumpkin Pie

There was a mini-issue with the pesky water bath, but otherwise crisis averted and sanity restored. I felt a little something was in order along with a pat on the back.

Chocolate Elan Frozen Yogurt

This snack ended up being a little littler than I expected; who knew we were almost out and there was hardly a serving left in the container! Too bad nobody realized this over the past 4 weeks we’ve been having freezer-space issues. Normally I’m happy to finish an ice cream but I love elan and this flavor so much I feel like I need to get an exact replacement for it. I watched 1 of the 2 SNL’s I slept through and then the pie was done.

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

It had a couple bubbles but no cracks and definitely nice and firm so that it will stand on its own at the table. Amen 🙂 And then there was dinner.

Haddock With Soyaki, Beets, Parsnips With Peach Salsa

Not quite my pan-licious lunch, but this was pretty good, too 😉 There was a little more beets taken after the photo and we finished it all! We didn’t want any leftovers going in to Thanksgiving. I swear this house empties of all vegetables when I’m not here so I made sure we got good ones at Market Basket. Parsnips are so good for a soft and white vegetable; I don’t like white potatoes because they always taste dry and starchy but I think I’ve found a new friend in parsnips.

I almost forgot about The Biggest Loser last night! I was so thankful my tivo reminded me of it. I brewed some coffee and had a naked dessert.

Deep Chocolate Vitatop

I kept racking my brain to try and figure out what to do with this vitatop. It finally occurred to me: If it wasn’t coming naturally, it wasn’t meant to be. And this vitatop tasted just delicious on its own. It was great to see where former contestants are and to know they’ve really changed their lives. I think finding and staying with that balance must be the toughest thing. There was another snack.

Oikos With Turbinado Sugar And Chocolate Chips

Turbinado sugar is good for you because it has the minerals crystalized in, right? And it’s from Trader Joe’s so it cures cancer, right? We’re just going to go with all of that because this hit my sweet tooth. It was so depressing seeing the winner who gained back so much weight. Clearly, though, he felt bad about it, too, so it’s hard to be upset with him.

 

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Mighty Maple And Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter

Let’s just say, this bowl took a lot of work to figure out what to do with it, but I’m happy where I settled. I forgot how good and chocolatey(not to mention thick) the chocolate sunflower butter is. And probably a better choice at 10:30 than chocolate chips with my sugar tolerance(or lack thereof).

I set my alarm for 7 this morning. On a holiday–why’d I do that? To run, of course. I wasn’t sure it was going to happen but it was actually reasonably warm and I felt refreshed with only 8 hours of sleep. I grabbed a bar for the run.

 

Amazing Grass Chocolate Whole Food Energy Bar

What a delicious way to start Thanksgiving 🙂 I ate 3/5ths of it on the run and then never needing the last bit. I ended up doing 10.55 miles–my longest run outside! The course was completely new to me; they demolished a bridge near my house which pretty much eliminated as options all my longer runs but I figured out a new course that worked perfectly. I came home to a house already smelling of food–love that. I got a touch creative with breakfast:

 

Pumpkin Yogurt With Smart Balance Peanut Butter And Nog Cream Cheese Frosting, Peanut Oikos

Ok, I’ll admit it, I used the microwave for the oats and I don’t regret it because this bowl was perfect. The frosting, which I dreamed up on the run, really made it; the recipe is 1oz greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon low fat cream cheese, and 1 tablespoon Silk Nog with 3 drops vanilla liquid stevia. I wouldn’t give such precise measurements if I weren’t convinced those are the measurements of the Greek Gods. It’s sweet but not so much that you lose the cream cheese, and it’s entirely seasonal.

Happy Thanksgiving, all! Now I’m kicking back, watching The Parade with Pikachu just having floated by. My relatives are coming in just 2 hours! I’m so excited, even though I realize the 2 little cousins will probably have me tearing my hair out of my head by the end of the day, haha.

 

NuNaturals giveaway! I think they’re stevia taste the purest(and this is coming from someone who, from time to time, nibbles on his plant).

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