TGIM

Posted on September 28, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update, Rant, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Sorry for the negative Nedness I’ve been putting forth lately. I promise it gets more cheerful at the part about this morning, so just skip ahead to the big muffin if you’d like. Overall, this was just one of those weekends where we hail the arrival of a fresh new week and wave goodbye to the weekend happily. They happen, but the important this is moving on and looking at things with a pleasant disposition. But let’s back up a bit. Yesterday I enjoyed my morning in and made a breakfast around 9:

Kashi Vanilla Oatmeal With Peanut Flour, Greek Yogurt With Figs And Vanilla Sugar

Kashi Vanilla Oatmeal With Peanut Flour, Greek Yogurt With Figs And Vanilla Sugar

The Greek yogurt with figs and vanilla sugar was clearly something off of Mount Olympus itself, and I should know since I’ve been trudging through the Iliad for the past 3 weeks. The creamy yogurt contrasted with nutty fig seeds and crispy sugar to be just perfect. The peanut flour in the instant oats was great and it come out as thick as pudding. It was missing one thing though:

Peanut Oatmeal With White Chocolate Wonderful

Peanut Oatmeal With White Chocolate Wonderful

White Chocolate Wonderful. Wonderful. I’m so glad I’ve gotten my dad(who admitted to being the culprit who reads this) to be an addict for that peanut butter and keep a jar in the pantry. I also decided that I’d keep up the baking while I had the opportunity. I made my Maple-Apple Morning Cookie recipe and tried altering it for oatmeal raisin. I swapped the maple syrup for NuNaturals baking blend, added 1/4 cup of water, swapped raisins for the apple, swapped the amounts of oatmeal and flour, and halved the ground flax.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

The result was OK, but not spectacular like the originals; I could kind of taste the baking blend a bit too much, which wouldn’t had been an issue if it was more like brown sugar, but it’s not. We also went out for another Sunday morning treat:

McDonald's Decaf Coffee

McDonalds' Decaf Coffee

So good. But wait, it get’s better. That was free. Yep, McDonalds is having a promotion until Wednesday where anyย  hot coffee is free. And the fact that I couldn’t make my morning decaf and refused to drink the regular stuff my mom makes made this so much more sweet(well, that and all the stevia). Before I even got a chance to do some homework it was lunch already–kind of a problem since I had virtually neglected all homework on Saturday with the drama. My grandmother came over, we sat down, and had a nice Sunday lunch:

Sweet Potato With Cinnamon And Salt, Brussels And Carrots, Steak Tips, Twist Zevia

Sweet Potato With Cinnamon And Salt, Brussels And Carrots, Steak Tips, Twist Zevia

This meal had everything that should have put me in the right mood but just didn’t. The Zevia Twist flavor was really good and sweet, more like 7Up than Sprite. The sweet potato, despite being amazingly seasoned by moi with salt, cinnamon, and black pepper, wasn’t quite as spectacular as it should have been; it was even so big I had to cut a bit off to make room on my plate for anything else. The steak tips were the biggest disappointment. I like eating meat when it’s well prepared and a choice cut, but this was like most steak tips and too fatty for my taste. Unfortunately, there wasn’t really enough on the table for me to make a well balanced vegetarian meal so I ate my protein and tried being happy with it.

Well while I was in MA there was one thing I had to do before departing:

Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's

I believe there’s one in all of RI that’s no where near me so this was a must. I picked up some of my favorite cinnamon raisin english muffins, carrot ginger regular muffins, and turbinado sugar to fuel my recent sugar-over-yogurt kick. I’m excited to try turbinado, both because it’s less refined and I expect the molasses flavor to be perfect with pumpkin oats. Trader Joe’s has tons more I’d like to try, like their new black beluga instant lentils–yes, I said instant lentils. I kept the trip minimal though. We got back and loaded up the car, but not before I took a few more scoops of this:

Whole Soy & Co. Chocolate Hazelnut Frozen Yogurt

Whole Soy & Co. Chocolate Hazelnut Frozen Yogurt

Like I said, this IS nutella in frozen yogurt form, only with better nutrition. The second time around I think I totally liked this more because of a funny realization I had: this is fake milk ice cream btu it tastes just like the real stuff. I completely missed the first time that this was soy milk because it’s so creamy and doesn’t have a touch of aftertaste.

I won’t deny that lifted the mood of the weekend, but froyo alone is not enough for a man to enjoy life on. When we got onto campus it was a bit of an emotional silliness. My entire family including my grandmother carried things to my dorm room, a place where I didn’t even want them to come in the first place. I came into my room to find my roommate and his friend hanging out, watching youtube, and pretty much blowing the weekend off. Now my mind was really all over the place. The family who I didn’t want to come this close to my dorm I now wanted to have stay for as long as they could but didn’t want them to come into my room, which isn’t even “my” room because it’s shared with someone who I might be able to live with but don’t connect with at all. We said our goodbyes in the hall, and I don’t even know how sincere I came off because my mind was running 10 directions. When I got into the room I really just wanted to throw myself on the bed and bury my head in my pillow, but I didn’t even feel like I could do that with the people around. I calmly unpacked my groceries and laundry and made myself a snack:

Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin With Maple Almond Butter And Apple Butter, Oatmeal Raisin Cookie

Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin With Maple Almond Butter And Apple Butter, Oatmeal Raisin Cookie

Like I mentioned, the cookies didn’t come out slammin’ like I had hoped; this was when I found that out. I suppose it would be good as a topper on plain yogurt with a heaping amount of cinnamon to balance it out. Thankfully, melted almond butter has a way of making problems slide away(I know a lot of you know what I mean here).

After I caught up on emails/blogs, I wasn’t really sure what to do with myself. I didn’t want to stay and do homework because I was not in a people mood, so I went for the one thing I knew I did want: the caramel sauce I found at Dedham Whole Foods but put back. I decided it was an entirely necessary Fall item even if I was paying for it, and it was the perfect item for me because it came in a squeeze bottle and only had milk and sugar as its ingredients. Well, I went for a walk in the rain to my Whole Foods for it, and after going 1.2 miles I was extremely disappointed to find out they don’t carry it. They have a different brand with cream as its first ingredient in a glass jar, but that’s not the kind I’m looking for. It hit me that the Dedham Whole Foods might just be the only place I’d found that particular brand before, and now I wasn’t going to get it until the next time I go there, which won’t be for a good long while most likely.

Walking back in the rain was incredibly long and frustrating(not to mention wet because the Thomas family doesn’t believe in umbrellas). I was pretty much throwing myself my own pity party and not beaming a smile when I went into the cafe. I didn’t even bother eating there because I wanted to get into my dorm and put on my PJ’s despite the fact it was 6:40. That’s when I decided, if I just eat out of the plastic take out containers and don’t season my food, it’s only going to feel worse. If I take the time to make myself a decent meal I’m excited about, I might just turn my frown upside down. So that’s what I did.

Snobby Joes, Sweet Potato, Cooked Cabbage, Broccoli And Beets, Peas And Mushrooms

Snobby Joes, Sweet Potato, Cooked Cabbage, Broccoli And Beets, Peas And Mushrooms

One of the things in the Ratty was a “lentil stew”. It was completely under/not seasoned which actually worked for me; I mixed it with some mustard, ketchup, and steak sauce to make a sort of “snobby stew”. All the vegetables tasted like their vegetable self, but it was nice to have some cheery colors to look at.

The night indeed got a little better after that. My roommate FINALLY got himself out of the room for dinner and I was able to dissolve to some music, watch The Amazing Race, and make this:

Pumpkin Oats With Dark Chocolate Chips And Mighty Maple

Pumpkin Oats With Dark Chocolate Chips And Mighty Maple

The Amazing Race definitely isn’t my favorite reality show, but it has its moments and eats up time well. These oats were pretty decent, too; the dark chocolate chips are from Dedham Whole Foods and sweetened with grains rather than corn products, isn’t that cool? I really didn’t care what nut butter I had on it, I just wanted something melted and gooey. Half way through I realized it wasn’t enough, and I needed something a little flaxy in my life:

Adding A Spoonful Of Smart Balance

Adding A Spoonful Of Smart Balance

Much better. I don’t know why, but I think chocolate and Smart Balance go hand in hand. Maybe they really do in this case since both had grains in them, haha. To round out the night, I pretty much cut myself some slack and stopped doing homework once I did the bare minimum for today; it was a little thing but really helped to take pressure off my shoulder. I was in bed, watching TV, and ready to go to bed by 10:30. I’m sure my roommate thinks I’m nuts but I’m taking up a new attitude where, if I just want to go to bed that damn early and not do work or go out, so be it.

I was very excited to kick off a new week. unfortunately, the kick off happened about 25 minutes late because I slept through my alarm. I wasn’t sure what to do at that point, because I planned on doing a long run for that day. But then I thought why should anything change? So I hit the gym and did my long run on the treadmill–yes the treadmill. These are not optimal for long runs because a) it’s easy to get bored and b) they stop after 60 minutes, but I didn’t let any of that stop me. And even though I was listening to a playlist I made up in a bad mood, my mood was higher than ever thinking about finishing. I did 10 miles in 81:30 minutes and couldn’t have felt better by the end. Talk about a runner’s high, I was practically dancing back to my dorm, until I realized my roommate locked me out while he was taking a shower. Oi. After 10 minutes of standing in the hall, he FINALLY got back, I took what was perhaps the quickest shower of my life, and threw together a fast, portable breakfast:

Blueberry Bran Muffin With Cream Cheese And Honey Maple Protein Peanut Butter, Raspberry Maple Kefir

Blueberry Bran Muffin With Cream Cheese And Honey Maple Protein Peanut Butter, Raspberry Maple Kefir

Portable? Check. Nutricious? Check. Probiotic? Check. Delicious? Can I get a check check? When life makes it so that oats are a little inconvenient, I love a good healthy muffin to kick off the day. The Honey Maple peanut butter is made by a Providence company and has 14 grams of protein per serving! Not to mention it tastes very similar to Mighty Maple and Butter Toffee. The kefir was my first try at portable probiotics; I decided to just drink it straight up like I believe Ada mentioned. It was pretty decent. It definitely had the raspberry flavor, and was thick sort of like a milkshake. I was a little shocked at first by the tanginess I assume is lactic acid, but got used to that. I could definitely see myself trying more brands of kefir for the future.

I completely messed up my google reader, haven’t opened my mailbox(wait, I just did), and have class in less than 30 minutes. Needless to say, my running 10 miles has me running behind, but I’m not letting that put a damper on my Monday. So please excuse me while I dash off to work on all of that and here’s to a great week!

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Open Wallet Day

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

Good morning? Ever have one of those days when you just need to buy things to make yourself feel better? Well yesterday felt like that day, but I kept it pretty modest(just not entirely on budget). The second I got to Latin class I realized I completely forgot these in my room:

Dorm Keys

Dorm Keys

How could I forget something so adorable? Well that was on my mind all Latin class, speaking of which, yesterday’s discussion was which sounds like a bigger insult: slut or whore. I would feel more offended by slut(though neither term really bothers me because a) I’m a guy and b) I don’t think either really applies). Which do you think? The solution to the problem in class was to just use the Latin word and get the sense. When I got out of class I was so excited that it was Wednesday which meant the Farmers’ Market was on my quad:

Farmers' Market

Farmers' Market

They have a great system where you can pay 200 dollars and get a bag of local products delivered each week. I would love to do that but I’m on a pretty all-inclusive meal plan and wouldn’t know what to do with extra heads of lettuce in my room. What I did get was these guys:

Maple Raspberry Kefir

Maple Raspberry Kefir

Local Corn

Local Corn

Yep, that’s local kefir. I’ve never tried the store brand or any kefir before, but I had to grab this. I can’t wait to try it, since I always try and eat 2 sources of probiotics a day. I can’t decide whether it’d be best straight or with cereal or some other way. How do you eat kefir? Needless to say, kefir wasn’t what was for lunch.

Hugh Jass Salad, Stir Fried Tofu And Veggies, Bean Casserole

Hugh Jass Salad, Stir Fried Tofu And Veggies, Bean Casserole

I’ve definitely picked up a pattern: The lunch room is for protein and veggies, and my dorm is for grains and treats. That’s what makes sense/tastes good to me, so I’ll stick with it while it works. I wasn’t jazzed to try the stir fry again because it upset my stomach last time, but this one was sans noodles and a little less oily, so it wasn’t an issue. The beans were beany(aka good). And I think I got my servings of leafy greens, don’t you? I’m not a big raw broccoli fan because it’s so fiberous; I chew it about 50 times to make sure it doesn’t give me bowling ball stomach syndrome.

This didn’t seem like a lot at the time but it actually held me over through my 2 classes and more. I was thinking of eating something at 3 because that’s my routine, but I decided to try and listen to my stomach, which said it didn’t need/want anything. With that in tummy mind, I went to where not thinking about food is impossible: Whole Foods. Again, I could spend about 30 minutes just browsing the aisles, and I think I did. I ended up with way less than usual but spending a bit more:

Snickerdoodle Ice Cream And Blueberry Bran Muffins

Snickerdoodle Ice Cream And Blueberry Bran Muffins

I definitely set out with hopes of snickerdoodle in my future. When I got there, I had to look at EVERY flavor and change my mind about 100 times. But once it started getting ridiculous, I decided to take what I intended to all along and be happy. Which I was. Very very happy. The muffins were a bit of an “impulse buy”, and an expensive one at 6 dollars. In hindsight, I don’t like the idea of paying so much for something which main ingredients are water and oat bran, but I’m a sucker for a healthy muffin ๐Ÿ˜ฆ And at 22o calories, 10g fiber, and 6g protein per muffin, these definitely make the cut. I managed to spill my water bottle all over my bed after taking this photo, but kind of ignored it so I could eat this:

Snickerdoodle Ice Cream

Snickerdoodle Ice Cream

Since I spent longer grocery shopping than I planned, I was actually pretty famished when I got back. This definitely hit the spot, and there were so many cookie dough chunks in the scoops I gave myself(not even on purpose!) that it ate like a meal. Let’s just say I was very very pleased with this “investment”. I figured my diet had been severely lacking in grains since breakfast and was easily convinced into this:

Kashi Mountain Medley Granola

Kashi Mountain Medley Granola

Normally I don’t eat granola except for on yogurt. But like I said, I was jonesing for some grains, and what’s a better source than granola? I didn’t like how this was more chewy than crispy, but it sufficed while I was doing Greek homework. I met up with some of my high school friends for a special local dinner at the Ratty; everything was local from the veggies to the meat–how cool is that? While we were waiting for Mike I had my 4th siting of Emma Watson! I was wicked excited. We even were in the same line inside, and technically ate under the same roof! Anyway, that excitement aside, here was the eats:

Cilantro Chicken, Brussel Sprouts, Turnips And Beets, Stuffed Bell Pepper, Corn On The Cob, Crude Salsa

Cilantro Chicken, Brussel Sprouts, Turnips And Beets, Stuffed Bell Pepper, Corn On The Cob, Crude Salsa

What tasted better than this meal was knowing that it supported local farmers, and that everyone in the Ratty was doing the same, whether they make that their mission or not. I’ve always tried to eat local veggies, which are generally more nutritious. I was excited to try local protein, too, to see if it would feel different eating it. It tasted the same, but felt a little more special, ya know? I don’t think I would have taken the stuffed pepper if I knew it had copious amounts of cheese in it, but I’m glad I did because copious amounts of cheese are always delicious. And one thing I’ve never had to be forced to eat are brussel sprouts; I just love them!

Wednesday nights and quality TV weren’t besties last night, so I started out with some modest google readering homework and a nice muffin:

Blueberry Bran Muffin With Cream Cheese And Chocolate Chips

Blueberry Bran Muffin With Cream Cheese And Chocolate Chips

Here’s a life lesson: Anything healthy tastes better under cream cheese. Take notes, children. This muffin was OK but it wasn’t stellar like the carrot ginger ones from Trader Joe’s, which I think are actually made by the same Massachusetts bakery. These tasted a lot… branier? No, Microsoft, I refuse to believe that’s not a word. One of my biggest qualms in life is that nobody makes blueberry chocolate chip bagels or muffins. What’s with that? I think the two are a match made in heaven. Take a lesson, Panera. I tried to get in to the new ABC show, Modern Family. I have to admit I laughed a lot during it, but it felt like most of the funny moments were from the previews and I’m wondering how it’s going to keep up. More study snackage:

English Muffin With Mighty Maple And Blueberry Jam With Chocolate Chips, Cinnamon Raisin Toast With Cream Cheese

English Muffin With Mighty Maple And Blueberry Jam With Chocolate Chips, Cinnamon Raisin Toast With Cream Cheese

Please excuse me while I eat through my entirely too big stash of bread. Bread’s my number one thing to buy at the store, always, which is a little ridiculous since I usually microwave my grains in water. I still have 3 english muffins, parts of cinnamon raisin and 10-grain loaves, and a whole whole wheat loaf in my freezer, plus 3 bran muffins. Need bread? I’m your boy. I figured why change up the flavors of the night and stuck with blueberry, cream cheese, chocolate chips, and maple. Can’t go wrong with any of that. My dad sent me a funny article around then telling me I worked at the most dangerous college in America over the Summer; of course Emerson has to report a high amount of crime because it’s right on the common where all the crazy shitstuff goes down, but it’s a legit college I promise.

This morning was a treadmill morning on account of my early class. I resolved to go 6 miles before I got on. Can I just say this morning was absolute torture; I don’t know why, but my body never fully got into and I felt like I was fighting a snail’s pace the whole time. With .3 miles to go, nature was calling–loudly. Amazingly I just kept running, finished the 6, and then ran another .05 to the bathroom. I did the 6 in 51 minutes flat, which I wasn’t jazzed about but more happy that I stuck it out for that long and got a good run in. When I got back it was time for a little inspiration to strike for Miss PB&Jenny’s oat’s round up.

Almond Encrusted French Toast Oatmeal, Plain Oikos With Raspberries And Maple Syrup

Almond Encrusted French Toast Oatmeal, Plain Oikos With Raspberries And Maple Syrup

I love my Oikos, but even better is fruit sweetened greek yogurt. Not the kind you can buy, but using actual fruit from your store(or in my case, the freezer). And let’s just call these oats one for the record books, my friends; I feel as though I’ve perfected them and here’s the magic formula,

20g(1/4 cup) oatmeal

20g(1/4 cup) oatbran

160g(2/3 cup) unsweetened vanilla almond breeze

1 egg

15g(1 tablespoon) maple syrup

7g(1 tablespoon) sliced almonds

Cinnamon

Sea Salt

Were you taking notes? Cook the oats in the almond breeze for 2-2 1/2 minutes. Crack in an egg and swirl until broken but not completely mixed. Microwave for a further 1-1 1/2 minutes and top with maple syrup, almonds, cinnamon, and sea salt. If Julia Child ever made oatmeal, this is how she would have made it.

Say, want to be able to measure in grams like myself, Kath, and all of crazy England? Green Dog Wine is having her 1st blogiversary giveaway here where you can win a nifty food scale, so what are you waiting for? Enter!

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Flour Flying Everywhere

Posted on August 26, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Yesterday morning I put on my work clothes and did some heavy lifting.

The Spare Bedroom

The Spare Bedroom

I can’t believe move in day is in less than 2 weeks? I feel wicked prepared, but also very not prepared. I have most of the big stuff, so today I focused on finding pencils, binders, etc., and moving that huge ass trunk. A hernia, fallen cactus, and 20 minutes later, I was spent. That’s enough for one day, right? I mean, it IS over a week away. I needed sunlight being trapped in that room so I stepped outside with a peach.

Going For A Walk

Going For A Walk

When I got back, we needed to go next door to let out our neighbors’ new cat. His name’s shadow, and he was a stray that’d been roaming the neighborhood for the past 2 weeks. Finally my parents and neighbors got wicked attached to them and apparently he’s been adopted. I’m pretty sure that breaks about 3 rules my parents taught me but apparently never learned themselves?

Shadow

Shadow

After that I was pretty cranky, which definitely meant lunchtime. I tried making a salmon and tuna burger with our leftovers–bad idea. I should know not to take on difficult cooking projects when I really just want to eat, but I needed to relearn that. I settled for a pretty sweet reincarnation of pizza and wings.

Trader Joe's Individual Pizza Grilled With Buffalo Bleu Kettle Chips

Trader Joe's Individual Pizza Grilled With Buffalo Bleu Kettle Chips

What a knockout combo. Of course I grilled the pizza which gave the bottom that crusty, burnt flavor. We used to have pizza parlor pizza and wings every Tuesday. Looking back, that was fun, but definitely not healthy and something to eat every week. Plus, fresh basil? I would eat this meal in a heartbeat over that greasy stuff.

After “the soaps” we jumped in the car, swung by my grandmothers condo, and took her to Roche Bros. I needed something for some shopping energy.

Banana Goodness Bread

Banana Goodness Bread

This loaf is definitely on its last leg. Roche Bros. was a reminder of why I’m not much of a fan of shopping other places than Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Does anybody else find it ridiculous that grocery stores these days have special sections for “natural” products? I mean, it’s a food store, you’d hope most of what’s in there is natural. But that’s just not the case these days. And Whole Foods is lovingly termed Whole Paycheck, but have you ever tried buying Whole Foods quality stuff at regular supermarkets? That’ll be your paycheck and your bonus. Whole Foods can actually be quite affordable; the trick is to shop the sales and use the coupons from companies/The Whole Deal and you can get some real bargains. That all being said, I did get some loot(with a little help from a stop at a natural food store on the way back)

Watermelon, Carrot Cake Ice Cream, Bulk Bin Oats, Cinnamon Sugar Grinder, Banana Vanilla Yogurt

Watermelon, Carrot Cake Ice Cream, Bulk Bin Oats, Cinnamon Sugar Grinder, Banana Vanilla Yogurt

The wallaby yogurt and spice grinder is for my next banana loaf–I am so on top of this planning thing. The oats were from the natural stores’ bulk bin, which are rocksome for getting high quality cheap grains and seeds. And the dairy free ice cream was another find from the natural food store.

Carrot Cake Ice Cream

Carrot Cake Ice Cream

How could I turn this down? I couldn’t obviously. Carrot cake is my favorite dessert so I needed to give it a try. The base was absolutely delicious, like a frozen form of carrot juice with cinnamon and nutmeg, and absolutely none of that soymilk flavor. In the ice cream was big globs of gingerbread dough, which were surprisingly soft and moist, almost like eating right out of a freshly mixed batch. Overall this was really good, but not quite what I was expecting. I love raisins and pineapple in my carrot cake, as well as a little cream cheese frosting. Still, this was great for what it was. The nutrition threw me off in a non-favorable way. No fiber or protein? That’s one of the reasons I’m not a fan of non-dairy ice creams: Because you miss the nutrients from milk. Still, it was a great treat, just not something to be eaten if you’re looking to get filled up.

I also really wanted to try out my new peanut butter flour today, and one recipe instantly caught my eye. I majorly tweaked it to fit my particularities–aka no butter and low sugar. Even for being tweaked so much, these came out great.

Maple Peanut Butter Muffin Tops

Ingredients:

2oz Mighty Maple Peanut Butter

2oz reduced fat cream cheese

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

1/4 cup peanut flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon baking powder

Cinnamon sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350. In a bowl, blend the cream cheese and peanut butter with a mixer. Crack in the eggs and add the milk and maple syrup. Mix until well incorporated. In a seperate bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Sift the dry into the wet and mix until fully smooth. Using an ice cream scoop, dump the dough onto lined cookie tins. Dust with cinnamon sugar and bake for 10 minutes or until puffed and firm.

Maple Peanut Butter Muffin Tops

Maple Peanut Butter Muffin Tops

I’ve never made muffin tops before, so I was a little dissappointed when these didn’t turn out just like the picture. But then I figured they probably used real muffin top tins, which apparently exist, so boo on them. While these cooled we had dinner:

Halibut, Watermelon, Asparagus, And Corn With Sunflower Butter

Halibut, Watermelon, Asparagus, And Corn With Sunflower Butter

Yours truly grilled the watermelon using some fun kabobs. It makes them so juicy and sweet, almost like they were dusted with sugar. The halibut was ok, but when I heard how much wild halibut costs “on sale” my jaw hit the floor. Seriously? That’s a lot of nut butter. Speaking of nut butter…

Naturally Nutty Vanilla Almond Butter And Butter Toffee Peanut Butter

Naturally Nutty Vanilla Almond Butter And Butter Toffee Peanut Butter

A package came for me at dinner time as well and it was this lovely gift bag from Katie over at Naturallynutty.com I ordered 3 of their flavors last month and wrote a review here. Katie loved my review and clearly figured out how much I LOVED these two flavors and was nice enough to send me 2 8oz jars! This package really threw me off at first, because I also am waiting for another ordered I placed to try 3 new flavors, which is apparently in UPS’s hands in Ohio at the moment. So much peanut butter! It’s a good problem to have, though, like a REALLY good problem. Thanks again, Katie! Now I have some jars to take to college and some to leave home. To anyone who hasn’t gotten a chance to try some of this peanut butter, I highly suggest treating yourself to some from their website. They’ve been my celebration-purchase of choice for my first and last week of work.

For dessert I needed carbs–loads of them for running. Obv, my favorite source is breads and spreads, so I loaded up on those.

Maple Peanut Butter Muffin Tops With Maple Agave Syrup

Maple Peanut Butter Muffin Tops With Maple Agave Syrup

Frozen Cherries, Toast With Vanilla Almond Butter, Carrot Ginger Muffin Top With Cream Cheese

Frozen Cherries, Toast With Vanilla Almond Butter, Carrot Ginger Muffin Top With Cream Cheese

Hey, what’s that fruit doing there? Ever notice how the same food appears on every blog. Well, it’s quite simple. After reading all of each others blogs, how could we not get cravings for the food we see? Frozen cherries was all over blog world last night and nothing felt like it would hit the spot better. The muffin tops were really delicious–not much of a maple flavor but HUGE on the peanut butter and protein. I did some mental math and found out there’s at least 5 grams of protein per top. My one problem with muffin tops is that they’re ugly which is the only reason I don’t think I’ll be making them again unless I get my hands on a special tin.

Waking up this morning was an odd experience. Usually my alarm radio is playing Daughtry and having some light hearted talk about the Red Sox but today it was all reminiscing about Senator Kennedy. Reminiscing? It took me a while to put the pieces together and realized he passed away. I’m not a very political person in the least, but one thing I do remember is him taking the time to meet and shake the hands of my entire 7th grade class on a trip to DC, so he was definitely a great man by my standards.

Normally my mornings are pretty standard: Run 5-7 miles, shower, make breakfast, blog and eat, do my email/website round-up, all while watching my Regis, Kelly, and Rachael Ray. Not a bad life, right? ๐Ÿ™‚ But this morning I had a bagel-hankering. After pleading for arranging a ride I was good to go for a new plan. I ran the first 3/4ths of the run I was planning but then took a turn and ended up at this humdinger of a place:

Panera Bread

Panera Bread

It’s definitely been a while. I ran here at the beginning of the Summer but it was always a 2.5 mile walk back, and that just wasn’t a wise use of my time. I went in expecting to get a French Toast bagel but what was this? A new signature bagel? Cherry vanilla?! That’s definitely one of my top flavor combos so I knew I needed to order it. I got one of each, came home, toasted up half of each, and unleashed my armory of spreads.

Cherry Vanilla bagel With White Chocolate Cherry Almond Butter And Cherry Butter, French Toast Bagel With Pumpkin Butter And Mighty Maple, Carrot Juice

Cherry Vanilla bagel With White Chocolate Cherry Almond Butter And Cherry Butter, French Toast Bagel With Pumpkin Butter And Mighty Maple, Carrot Juice

Breads and spreads make my life. I had an awful thought last night: What if my roommate is allergic to nuts? He’d be dead if he got within 10 feet of me. I’m sure he would have mentioned this in one of our emails, right? Here’s hoping. Today we’re totally hitting up a Farmer’s Market for some Great Harvest bread. This is a chain, but there are only 2 in all of MA and I’ve never tried them before. I think they’re good though, Kath from KERF seems to really like it.

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Pick Me! Pick Me!

Posted on August 24, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

After going through a mountain of circulars and clipping some coupons I noshed on this little guy:

Juicy Peach

Juicy Peach

Peaches seem to be a favorite of bloggers, myself included. This turned out to be a cling peach, which I don’t like nearly as much as the free stone peaches(although not liking nearly as much is still liking a lot). Any other people with a preference one way or the other? I also like peaches with a darker orange flesh. White peaches are just not up my alley, sorry to get all racist on ya’ll. For lunch we were grilling but I did my own thing.

Turkey And Avocado Sandwich, Newman's Own Organic White Cheddar Soycrisps

Turkey And Avocado Sandwich, Newman's Own Organic White Cheddar Soycrisps

Turkey and avocado is just so tried and true I couldn’t turn it down once it got in my head. And I really like the Newman’s Own Organic white cheddar soycrisps(and the fact that they sent me 2 bags since the first is almost gone ;-)) They’re much better than their barbeque counterpart I decided after trying these again. For dessert I killed some dead weight:

Stonyfield Cookie's N Dream Frozen Yogurt

Stonyfield Cookie's N Dream Frozen Yogurt

Doesn’t it feel good to empty out a pint and make room? I don’t even know what I’m going to replace this with, but I’m already racing my mind. Any suggestions are welcome so long as it’s an all-natural brand/flavor.

I really didn’t think today would be all that exciting or interesting until my mom came up with a great idea–berry picking! We went to Tougas Farm a while back for blueberry picking, from which we still have some berries, but this time we wanted something different. We decided to be fancy and mix it up.

August 23rd 004

August 23rd 005We decided to get 1 pint of blackberries and 3 of raspberries, since raspberries are just that pro(and so expensive to buy in the store). I really kick the other people in this family’s asses butts when it comes to picking berries, mostly because I find the really ripe ones and then put them in my container instead of my mouth. I ended up doing about half the total picking, including this pint which I proudly labeled after getting home.

My Pint O' Raspberries

My Pint O' Raspberries

Peaches were also in season at the farm(!!) but there was a bushel minimum. I enjoy my peaches, but a bushel plus the ones we already had would make enough pies for a Southern State Fair, so we just bought some already picked. I asked the lady distributing them who said they were free stone, which has me pumped to try one.

Tougas Farm's Peaches

Tougas Farm's Peaches

After that my parents needed to get some coffee from price chopper. Folgers is definitely not the best part of waking up, but they got 2 containers for 3 dollars, which I must admit was a killer deal. We also stopped at Trader Joe’s for some whole wheat hot dog buns for an upcoming meal. I was also getting the snackaroo’s at this point and figured it was a great chance to try one of Trader Joe’s muffins.

Trader Joe's Carrot Ginger Muffin

Trader Joe's Carrot Ginger Muffin

Normally, I’d say avoid any store or cafe muffin, but Trader Joe’s are the real deal. They’re well sized with decent nutritional stats–full of fiber, protein, and healthy fats. I love that all the ingredients make sense and are things I would put in my muffins. And what I love more is that I don’t have to lift a finger to make them ๐Ÿ™‚ I chose the carrot ginger flavor since it sounded like my most beloved dessert–the carrot cake. The carrot and ginger flavor was present but subtle, which I liked because it made this muffin taste like a muffin and not a dessert. The oatmeal and oatbran added a lot of texture, and the water, oil, and white grape juice kept the muffin moist. Overall it was a great, filling snack and would make a killer on-the-go breakfast. I definitely want to stock up on these to shove in the freezer and heat up whenever I’m feeling a wee bit lazy.

Before dinner I took a little note from my previous day:

Stonyfield After Dark Chocolate With 365 Crunchy Peanut Butter

Stonyfield After Dark Chocolate With 365 Crunchy Peanut Butter

2 pints free from the fridge? Ooo, I could buy a quart of ice cream now ๐Ÿ™‚ Another pick-up from Trader Joe’s was some Wild Atlantic Salmon for dinner.

Summer Squash, Atlantic Salmon With Homemade Sauce, Trader Joe's Brown Rice Medley

Summer Squash, Atlantic Salmon With Homemade Sauce, Trader Joe's Brown Rice Medley

I made my own sauce for the salmon instead of turning to my standby Island Soyaki and am so glad I did. All I did was take 1 part apricot preserves to 1 part soy sauce, added a few squirts of agave nectar and zested a little lemon and voila. It was light and citrusy and asian, so basically perfect for this meal.

Of course dessert started with this little number:

Plain Greek Yogurt With Agave Nectar, Raspberries, And Slivered Almonds

Plain Greek Yogurt With Agave Nectar, Raspberries, And Slivered Almonds

I totally had this in mind when I was picking my berries. It’s one of those combos that you just know works and is going to be good. Nothing beats berries and cream in the Summer, am I right? I tried to toast the almonds for 6 minutes, which didn’t really work but I was feeling a little impatient. If you have the time to, toast away–it really brings the flavor out. Then I noshed on a little more homemade banana bread with coffee.

Banana Goodness Bread With Coffee

Banana Goodness Bread With Decaf Coffee

One idea I had was to bake the bread with instant coffee granules to give it a bit of a mocha taste, but if it had any caffeine in it I probably would be afraid to eat it past 5pm because, yes, I am that much of a lightweight.

This morning I really didn’t know what to run so I did the same 6.7 as yesterday. My time was only 1 minute slower than yesterday, which I thought was pretty good considering my legs weren’t feeling 100% and I was slightly bored/hesitant running the same path. Maybe I’ll be spending more time on Google Maps today looking for something new. As I write I’m sitting down to a deliciously orange breakfast:

Carrot Juice, Peach, Carrot Ginger Muffin With SB PB, And Wallaby Yogurt

Carrot Juice, Peach, Carrot Ginger Muffin With SB PB, And Wallaby Yogurt

I love whole grains at breakfast but I always turn to toast or oatmeal. One of the challenges of the breakfast challenge for me has been how to work whole grains in in a new way, to which my response is this delicious muffin top, smothered in peanut butter. The peach from the farm wasn’t really free stone, but it didn’t matter. It was so ripe and buttery it all practically fell apart and tastes amazing. Alas, that was the last of my quart of Wallaby Vanilla Bean yogurt that I got for 2.50. That was a good Whole Foods sale. Today I plan on getting a lot more college stuff done. i can’t believe I move in in less than 2 weeks; it seems so close yet so far!

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A Berry Long Past Two Days

Posted on July 23, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review, Recipe, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

It feels good to sleep in, check my emails, and blog in the morning again ๐Ÿ™‚ I swear if my work week wasn’t just 2 days and that money wasn’t being put towards some tasty peanut butter I would just stay home and not write that reflective essay I’ve been neglecting so well. And look what was waiting for me when I got home: it’s the Zevia I won from Melinda’s blog! Thanks! I love how it’s a sampler of all the flavors–I had only ever tried root beer.

Zevia Package

Zevia Package

Anyway, let’s jump back to rainy Tuesday. After a hectic morning of running around/blogging/contacting Odwalla because my last carton of carrot juice had more skin in it than a Playboy magazine/other stuff, my body was craving red meat. Of course, the one time I crave red meat the grill won’t start. But it was that bad that I settled for a skillet cooked burger, along with some TJ Mac N’ Cheese.

A Burger & Mac N' Cheese

A Burger & Mac N' Cheese

I was really hungry, and that lunch hit the spot. Once the rain let up, I went out for a short walk around the neighborhood. Apparently I do my best thinking on walks. I was thinking about what to make with my buckets o’ blueberries; I had picked out a recipe for maple blueberry muffins with flax seed. Well, I didn’t really feel like cooking with flax because it seemed complicated. And, although I like maple, I love white chocolate. I never actually restashed my white chocolate after my last batch of Toffee Almond Blondies, so I thought about the next best thing: vanilla. Hmmm, vanilla and flax? Sounds like my favorite Kashi oatmeal. SO, I took the lazy shortcut and modified the recipe.

Ingredients

4 packets Kashi Creamy Vanilla Cereal

1 cup white whole wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 1/4 cup almond breeze

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups(210 grams) blueberries

The Set Up

The Set Up

In a cup, let the almond breeze and lemon juice stand for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the oatmeal packets, flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, oil, and sour milk. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and slowly incorporate the egg mixture. Fold in the blueberries and mix until it reaches a lumpy batter. Line 12 muffin tins and pour equal amounts of batter into each one(it should fill up to the rim). Bake for 20 minutes or until tops are golden and springy.

Blueberry Mixing

Blueberry Mixing

Muffins Out Of The Oven

Muffins Out Of The Oven

I’ve got to say, these muffins are amazing. You would never know they’re at all healthy with the soft, cupcake-like bread and the generous mix of blueberries. They have a strong vanilla flavor that ties in with the blueberries well. And the best part about these muffins is the oatmeal shortcut adds all the flavor and health benefits for you. Next time I’m going to try this with raspberries(and maybe toss in a few white-chocolate chips if I restock).

While those were cooling, we ran to the store and picked out a few things:

Blueberry Z-Bars

Blueberry Z-Bars

Blueberry Sausages

Blueberry Sausages

I was absolutely craving those Z-Bars the entire time I was baking. Is it bad that I ate one of them before I ate my own blueberry creation? They’re just so delicious. I think I’ll keep them in permanent stock from now on. The sausages I had never seen before and needed to grab. I just figured they would go so well with my blueberried dessert. They ended up being really good. The blueberry flavor is subtle, but the maple really brings pizzazz to the sausage overall and makes it more of a dessert than a meal. It went really well with these:

Warmed Blueberry Muffin

Warmed Blueberry Muffin

I popped it in the microwave for about 10 seconds so the blueberries were nice and juicy.

Can you believe that was all only Tuesday? Well on Wednesday I kicked my butt out of bed at 6am for a 5.3 mile run around the neighborhood. Why I do this I do not know but it felt so good(in hindsight, not so much at the beginning). I think I was running on blueberry power maybe? Haha. Well then I had to do what I do best worst and make a breakfast for the road. My taste buds led me to this:

Pumpkin Oatmeal In The Car

Pumpkin Oatmeal In The Car

At least I wasn’t driving, right? In the mix was oatmeal, pumpkin, ground flax seeds, Mighty Maple PB, and sliced almonds. This was the first time I used ground flax, so I was a little nervous. Overall they came out nice and thick and nutty; ground flax is definitely something I’ll try using more of.

Why I Love My Office

Why I Love My Office

Work was pretty bland. Luckily it was a meeting day and when there are meetings I get kicked out and get to go on a coffee break. I got an extra hour and a half to sit and sip ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, I wasn’t really paying attention to what I was packing after my run before I had to head out of the door. I found it a little funny when I actually looked:

My Bag Of Bars

My Bag Of Bars

I’m seeing at least 7 snacks plus the cinnamon raisin Larabar I made and threw in the company fridge. Well if there was a blizzard in July and we were trapped suddenly I would have been Mr. Popular. For lunch my dad and I went over to UFood Grill, a restaraunt I did a review on a while back. I love this place because of the generous portions, healthy simple dishes, cheap prices, and friendly atmospher. i got their signature Chopstick Chicken UBowl:

Chopstick Chicken UBowl

Chopstick Chicken UBowl

This is one of those dishes I feel like I should be able to recreate but just can’t. It’s steamed brocolli, grated carrots, and seasoned kitchen all over a big pile of brown rice and covered by a teryaki ginger glaze. In all honesty, their might be a little too much brown rice. This really filled me up, filled me up like air into a Macy’s Day Parade float. For the rest of my time at work I nibbled on a chocolate brownie Z-Bar. And then once I got off hunger hit me like a ton of bricks. Luckily we were planning to go to Whole Foods anyway so I grabbed this to give a try:

Goat Milk Raspberry Yogurt

Goat Milk Raspberry Yogurt

I was craving something cool and creamy with a tang. This went above and beyond the call. I absolutely loved the goat milk base which gave a very unique flavor. Also, the manufacturers use chicory roo insulin to thicken it, which not only adds fiber but also makes it somewhat thick(not greek yogurt thick, but not Stonyfield creamy thin). If it ever goes on sale, I will be loading up on all of the flavors. Wow that was a long two days. Hope Thursday turns out restful!

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Such A WTF Day…

Posted on July 7, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Ok, time for a real post. Well this morning it was pouring and lightening when I woke up. Joy. After about 5 snooze cycles I finally got up and it had stopped raining! I really wanted to run this morning since I won’t be able to tomorrow so I went out and did a hilly 5.6. Breakfast was a random medley of things. I haven’t had hunger all day and I find all I can convince myself to eat on days like this is random things thrown together and dousedย with salt. Well when the sun came out I went for a walk and came back to make those muffins I showed earlier. Voila:

002 (3)

Honestly, I haven’t tried them yet; I might dig into some later or save them for an extra special breakfast tomorrow, but they look tasty. I think some of the brown sugar stayed in lumps and got nice and carmelized in the oven. Yum. So after that I was feeling pretty peachy:

001

It’s a tuna burger smothered in Smoky Peach salsa with a cut up peach on the side. What can I say, I like peaches ๐Ÿ˜‰ Well right after lunch we head off to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s to knock off the grocery list. I basically spent 30 minutes at the bulk bins at Whole Foods getting the exact amount of ingredients I needed. And when we came out of the store, hell had clearly opened up over New England. It looked like 8pm and was pouring cats and dogs again. On the way home it actually hailed for 5 minutes, and we had to drive through some puddles we weren’t sure we’d get through, but luckily the ol’ car held out.

Got home, made myself my between-lunch-and-dinner meal of a cinnamon raisin english muffin fluffernutter(with White Chocolate Wonderful cause that’s how I roll) and a chocolate chip Z-Bar. I always see other people eating the chocolate chip kind and even though I don’t really like it I get a craving for it, eat one, and realize I don’t like it again. Weird, I’ll stick with my chocolate brownie ones, thank you.

So it was then time for my second recipe of the day. I won’t lie, brownies and muffins are way simpler for me than granola and granola bars. I modified the recipe I posted earlier, using 4oz dried cherries, 4oz cashews, 8oz rolled oats, 1/2 cup maple agave syrup, 2 egg whites, vanilla extract, and salt. I think it needed something more for glue like 1/4 cup cashew butter. Here’s my slightly depressing results:

009

It actually made about 12 bars. Some of them held together, making me a proud papa. Some of them kind of crumbled in my hands and made me want to throw them against a wall, but I figured my parents will eat those ones.

Then the sun came out again weirdly and there was a lot of dishes in the sink so I did the natural thing: go for a walk and hope someone else cleans them when you get back. And guess what, someone did! That happified me. Again I basically had no hunger for dinner and ended up eating some rice and bean(burger)s while everyone else had potstickers. Now because I didn’t eat potstickers there are leftover ones in the fridge. I hate leftovers; I always feel obligated to eat them even if I really don’t want them.

Well what’s left for tonight is to pack for my first day of work. I hate preparing snacks and stuff because how am I supposed to know what I’ll want at 3pm tomorrow? I’m the type of person who will hate eggs for 3 months and suddenly crave them for lunch. Oh well, I figure if I pack some chocolate brownie Z-Bars those’ll satisfy any sweet tooth I might have. Well, I’m going to put on a pot of coffee and figure out what else I can convince me to eat. Maybe marshmallows + microwave?

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