A Night At The Museum

Posted on May 23, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I like to think I’m not stereotypical “meat and potatoes”, but…

Ground Beef, Potatoes, Olive Oil, Rosemary, Basil, Paprika, And Sea Salt

Ground Beef, Potatoes, Olive Oil, Rosemary, Basil, Paprika, And Sea Salt

My lunch yesterday comprised of meat and potatoes might argue differently. I did not realize what a great flavor paprika was for a smokiness! This whole dish was herby goodness. And it felt good to refuel after my slowish 10 mile-run.

Cantaloupe And Virgil's Root Beer

Cantaloupe And Virgil's Root Beer

We did our grocery shopping in the afternoon; beforehand, I grabbed some things from Whole Food and made it snack time.

Virgil's Root Beer

Virgil's Root Beer

I had a major craving for the real deal root beer, so I gave Virgil’s Root Beer a try because it was among the cheaper varieties and I remembered Mama Pea toting Papa Pea’s love for it here. ‘Twas alright; I don’t think I picked up all the subtle flavors listed as ingredients but it was a fun change of pace.

Chickpea-Raw Mozzarella Salad, Raw Almond Butter

Chickpea-Raw Mozzarella Salad, Raw Almond Butter

Back home I made a quickie-early dinner with a stick of Next Generation Dairy Raw Probiotic Mozarella and part of a can of chickpeas, all over spinach dressed in Foods Alive‘s Sweet & Sassy. Yum! for a sweet dessert, there was an Artisana Almond Butter sample eaten with a spoon. I swear it tasted like marzipan, it was that good.

Boston Skyline

Boston Skyline

Last night, I had a reunion of sorts held in the Museum Of Science’s skyline suite. Love that dirty water, Boston you’re my home.

Mixed Colored Vegetables, Beets And Golden Beets, Almond Encrusted Salmon

Mixed Colored Vegetables, Beets And Golden Beets, Almond Encrusted Salmon

I honestly had no faith in the food that’d be there so I was packing tofu and larabars, but I was pleasantly surprised to see loads of vegetables and wild salmon. I actually only had about 2 bites of the salmon–wasn’t in the mood–but grabbed a 2nd, equal-sized plates of vegetables and put those away too. I definitely run on plant power.

Newman's Own Organics' Super Dark Chocolate

Newman's Own Organics' Super Dark Chocolate

French Bulk Chocolate

French Bulk Chocolate

Dessert after a show was a Newman’s Own Organicssuper dark chocolate bar, and then a little bulk baker’s chocolate at home… times two… plus baby carrots. Have I mentioned I’m an insomniac every Saturday night?! That’s turning in to a frustrating habit…

Oatmeal With Raw Cashew Butter And Honey

Oatmeal With Raw Cashew Butter And Honey

2% Fage With Organic Strawberry Conserves

2% Fage With Organic Strawberry Conserves

Why is Fage so good?! It’s also the most expensive Greek yogurt brand around here, but it’s been on sale, and magically delicious. Take that, Lucky Charms.

What do you buy in bulk? Working with a 3-foot fridge and a tiny room, it was hard to buy anything in bulk all year long. Since coming home, I’ve started buying 5 pound bags of organic potatoes. And now I’ve done the math and discovered that if you buy the gourmet baking chocolate by the pound from Whole Foods, it’s cheaper than buying chocolate bars, so I’m sure I’ll be taking advantage of that from now one.

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An Eventful Day In Boston Part 2

Posted on May 18, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

So, I timed this to publish right when I start taking my last final. It might be a little late for this, but wish me luck!… please? Good God, I’m going to need that or a hard drink.

What is someone to do in the North End when they’re hungry and can’t eat gluten(the North End is primarily Italian-American with the best pizza and pasta in Boston)? Well, either starve to death or find somewhere with a slightly varied menu.

Antico Forno

Antico Forno

Just down the road, I found a lovely looking Italian restaurant with an open window and ended up dining here. The prices were reasonable, which isn’t something you can say about a lot of restaurants in Boston, and there were things on the menu for me.

Olives In Oil

Olives In Oil

There were bread and olives; I couldn’t touch the bread, but I was all over the olives. I loved how fast the service was; I had ordered not 5 minutes after I got there, and it couldn’t have been 10 minutes more before my plate arrived.

Involtini Di Melanzane

Involtini Di Melanzane

I ordered a dish that was rolled eggplant stuffed with mozzarella and basil baked in a plum tomato sauce. The cheese was supposed to be ricotta, but they were out; honestly, I love fresh mozzarella so that was no big deal at all. It as all very delicious with a deep, stone cooked flavor. My only gripe was the lack of a basil flavor; it really needed that to lighten it all up. But for $8, how could I go wrong?

Trader Joe's Fair Trade Dark Chocolate

Trader Joe's Fair Trade Dark Chocolate

I was still a little hungry after that and happy to break into a new chocolate bar from Trader Joe’s on my walk to Boston Common. I was hoping this was going to be a new, cheaper version of my favorite chocolate bar. It wasn’t. But it was still pretty good, definitely a bargain at $2, and all fair trade. I’ll be sure to stuff some stockings with this one.

Trader Joe's Fair Trade Dark Chocolate, Iced Tea

Trader Joe's Fair Trade Dark Chocolate, Iced Tea

When I got to the Common, I found a place to study and ordered an iced tea. Instantly, I got a HUGE headache and had some more chocolate thinking I might have gotten dehydrated walking around so much. In hindsight, it probably was the case that I had just drank more caffeine than I have in a week. Chocolate cures everything.

Picco Restaurant

Picco Restaurant

To get over the Grezzo disappointment, we stopped somewhere I really wanted to try on the road home. This restaurant is known for using local and organic ingredients. But, since it was just 4pm, we weren’t there for food…

Ice Cream Flavors

Ice Cream Flavors

They also have gourmet gelato. Did someone say gelato? sign me up.

Vanilla Bean Gelato

Vanilla Bean Gelato

I ordered the Vanilla gelato. You can really get to know a place through their vanilla. What I didn’t realize was that this would be vanilla bean and absolutely amazing. It was just so rich and creamy. And I seriously don’t think I’ve ever seen so many vanilla beans. I was in heaven. I can’t wait to go back (many, many) times over the Summer.

Raw Local Milk

Raw Local Milk

Another place I hope to frequent this Summer is Eastleigh Farm; they’re a local business that sells their own raw milk, and have faced many troubles from the State and raw milk controversy. They’ll get our support; and I can’t wait to try their cheese and ice cream!

Chickpea Salad With Raw Ingredients

Chickpea Salad With Raw Ingredients

And, yes, I got my raw meal for the day despite the closing of Grezzo’s. This was a simple salad starting with spinach and arugala in this raw dressing. Then I added mulberries, chickpeas, sea salt, and cheddar organic raw cheese from Next Generation Dairy.

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Raw Foods And Fried Foods

Posted on April 27, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

If you asked me what I loved to eat, I’d probably answer fried foods and raw foods. At least the one balances out the other, right? The easiest ways I find to get raw foods in is a fresh salad:

Maple Spinach Salad With Raw Cheddar, Avocado, Maple Tofu, And Maple Walnuts

Maple Spinach Salad With Raw Cheddar, Avocado, Maple Tofu, And Maple Walnuts

Let’s call this the “garbage can” salad because I threw whatever I wanted to get rid of on it. And it worked! The base was spinach tossed with maple syrup and walnut oil. In the mix was 1/2 an avocado, a Next Generation Dairy cheddar cheese stick, and leftover maple tofu, topped with Tierra Farm‘s maple glazed nuts. I made this to-go to eat in class like always on Tuesdays but it didn’t make it that far 8-| I just couldn’t resist; and it was so tasty! I went with my hunger and ate it and went off to class.

Almond Protein Plus Boomi Bar

Almond Protein Plus Boomi Bar

Mid-afternoon I snacked on an almond protein plus Boomi Bar. I’ve always wanted to make my own bar like this: throw it all together and hope it works. I like that this was 3 simple ingredients: almonds, honey, and whey protein isolate. I didn’t care much for protein isolate, though(I rarely do). And the flavor wasn’t quite as good as Perfect Foods Bars(reviewed here).

Organic Red Delicious Apple

Organic Red Delicious Apple

I had an apple after taking another Greek language test. If you remember, I made a small fortune off of taking them earlier in the semester, and I’m hoping the same for this one. Although since I’m competing against juniors and seniors who know much more than me, I’m wary.

Raw Brownies

Raw Brownies

I also found time to “bake” raw brownies this afternoon, except I used a different recipe with a few new, secret ingredients. I’m not sure how they’ll be once they set. And the added ingredients definitely added a ton of fat. The batter was tasty, at least.

Food Processor

Food Processor

My favorite thing about vegan desserts is that you can always eat the batter. I think I had a little too much of this. Blech. But it was good! Can’t wait to see how these come out.

Preparing Dinner

Preparing Dinner

For dinner I gave my first attempt at frying! I filled my pan with a good coating of sesame oil and laid down some tofu strip. I let them brown for about 3 minutes on each side.

Sesame Tofu, Broccoli And Snap Peas With Soy Sauce And Sesame Oil

Sesame Tofu, Broccoli And Snap Peas With Soy Sauce And Sesame Oil

Golden Sesame Tofu

Golden Sesame Tofu

And then for my Asian-inspired dinner. I probably could have let the tofu go for longer; it certainly didn’t taste like Whole Foods. But I was really proud of this! I feel like a whole new culinary style has opened up to me, and I can start to use a Paula Dean cookbook 😉 Is a deep fryer in store for me over the Summer? Probably not. I’ll let Whole Foods handle that.

Do you/Did you ever walk around the neighborhood a lot? Usually, after dinner(especially a good, big one), we would walk around the neighborhood for fun and for health. I feel like when the weather’s nice everyone’s out around where I live. I can’t wait for that during the Summer again! And I definitely feel like I could use a walk now. It might not be as good without the neighborhood, but I’ll find somewhere.

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The Foods I Crave

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

I’m a big fan of “eat what you crave”. I truly think cravings can be a way for your body to tell you something that you need. I also tend to crave really yummy things and might just use that as an excuse to eat them more often. Take your pick.

Grass-Fed Burger, Maple Tofu, Spinach With Sassy Hemp Oil Dressing

Grass-Fed Burger, Maple Tofu, Spinach With Sassy Hemp Oil Dressing

Today for lunch I craved a juicy piece of red meat. I do think I crave meat when my body wants proteins or specific vitamins at times but I would never assert that you need to eat meat or even dairy to get those. I think you can be completely adequately fueled and nourished whatever your diet may be so long as you pay a little more closer attention to what you might be missing. On the side I had some maple tofu, not really because I was craving it but it was Easter leftovers. I have craved tofu at times before; that’s always a fun and unexpected craving 😀

Cashew Almond Pranabar

Cashew Almond Pranabar

I think my lunch needed more veggies because it wasn’t very filling :-/ Happily, I broke in to the cashew almond Pranabar I packed. Even if it wasn’t what I was craving, this was good!  I never would have guessed from the packaging it would be so chunky and nutty. I love that it’s mostly raw with living enzymes; and the nuts are chunky and delicious 🙂 I definitely can’t wait to try more Pranabar flavors; I might even start to crave them.

Strawberry Chobani

Strawberry Chobani

What I was craving was a strawberry Chobani. My friend, Alex, ate one in our 1pm class and for the next 3 hours I couldn’t get my mind of the smell of sweet strawberries and the Summer air *swoon*. This did not disappoint, but it was a little too tiny to really fill me up before dinner.

Dining-Hall Apple

Dining-Hall Apple

If I ever do crave an apple, it’s a nice, fresh, crisp red delicious, and not this slightly bruised one that I had at hand. That being said, I go with what’s free and convenient. Did you know vegans can get all their Vitamin B12–something normally found in animal proteins–through the decay and bacteria on fruits and vegetables? I guess this was insurance if this burger didn’t have enough :-/…

Chickpea And Cheddar Salad With Maple Syrup And Maple Glazed Nuts

Chickpea And Cheddar Salad With Maple Syrup And Maple Glazed Nuts

Chickpea And Cheddar Salad With Maple Glazed Nuts And Syrup

Chickpea And Cheddar Salad With Maple Syrup And Maple Glazed Nuts

And I absolutely crave chickpeas; I could eat them for every meal, and I know I’m not the only one. They’re like little nuggets of vegan joy. Besides those, I don’t normally crave cheese but I do enjoy it(and love the bloggers who do crave it) and Next Generation Dairy makes a fine raw cheddar cheese. I topped off the salad with some Tierra Farm‘s maple glazed nuts and sea salt. Fun fact: I’m convinced if I ever start craving canned tuna, it means my sodium level is low. I’m also sipping a root beer Zevia with dinner, for anyone who cares; it’s my first stevia sweetened beverage of the day and after no coffee or tea I was craving something other than water.

What are you craving right now? Personally, I could go for some coconut milk hearing  Heather talk about it so much lately. And I haven’t had my healthy ounce of dark chocolate yet today. Hmm… decisions, decisions. If you crave Greek yogurt, you’re in luck with this Oikos giveaway!

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Determination And Wellness

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

I apologize for the absurd length of this post. If it’s any consolation, I’m the one who actually had to write it 😉 And there’s a giveaway at the end, so hold tight.

Sunridge Organic Jolly Beans

Sunridge Organic Jolly Beans

I was eager to get a run in before lunch today, though apparently running didn’t feel the same way about me 😦 I pushed through 3.33 miles at the gym before just wanting to give up; I felt like I was running on empty. That was one option. The other was to get some quick carbs in me, finish the 10 miles I had planned, and worry about refueling afterwards. I’m stubborn and determined if nothing else. I ran back to my dorm, grabbed a handful of organic jolly beans, and got back on that horse treadmill.

10 Miles In 1:29:04

10 Miles In 1:29:04

I managed to finish the 10 miles in 1:29:04. It was a pretty difficult run as they come in all respects, but I’m just glad I pushed through. I’m trying to adjust to running at different times like mid-morning for my half but clearly my body would prefer I get up and going at 7. If nothing else, I got to see this segment of the Today Show which pretty much sums me up and how I grocery shop. 100% natural on products means nothing, but unless you’re determined to pay for the organic seal then you have to read the ingredients. And organic chicken legs?! What was up with those? After a quick 5-minute shower, I was ready for a lunch meeting.

Chilled Salmon Salad With Citrus Fruit And Vinagrette

Chilled Salmon Salad With Citrus Fruit And Vinagrette

My gym friend, the res life dean, invited me to lunch to get to know each other off the treadmill. I was excited to see the ins and outs of the faculty club, which had an amazing selection including a chicken, maple, and walnut salad that had my mouth drooling. But since it is a Friday in Lent I kept it kosher(so to speak) and went with the chilled citrus salmon salad, which had grapefruit, mandarin orange slices, and a citrus vinagrette. I loved the mandarin orange here; it was so nice and flavorful! It made things seem like Spring, even though it was snowing this morning.

Red Delicious Apple

Red Delicious Apple

Vivani 72% Dark Chocolate

Vivani 72% Dark Chocolate

When I got back to my room, I made a quick dessert of an apple and some Vivani 72% dark chocolate. With just 3 ingredients, this chocolate is a dream and perfectly sweet. It’s even better ingredient-wise than my favorite dark chocolate(Sorry, Endangered Species, but clearly you don’t need soy lecithin to make something solid).

Chickpea And Raw Cheese Salad Over Dressed Spinach

Chickpea And Raw Cheese Salad Over Dressed Spinach

An hour later, I was pretty famished. It wasn’t even snackish-hunger, but I was ready for a meal. Since I was going to have chickpeas for dinner, why not 2 and 1/2 hours early? I made a salad of chickpeas with Next Generation Dairy Organic Garlic Parsley Cheddar Raw & Probiotic Cheese. The spinach I dressed with some Foods Alive Hemp Oil Sweet & Sassy Dressing, all of which was deliciously sweet. I could definitely be happy eating chickpeas every day if I kept that many cans in stock.

Apple

Apple

In the afternoon, I braved the cold temperatures(seriously, New England, don’t you know it’s almost April?) to get some food from the dining hall and Tedeschi. While I was out, I snacked on an apple, and then forgot to take back more for my dorm. Drats! Good thing I’ll be going home tomorrow.

Tuna Salad With Chili Lime Cashews, Broccoli With Honey And Sunflower Seeds

Tuna Salad With Chili Lime Cashews, Broccoli With Honey And Sunflower Seeds

2 apples, a crap load of greens, and 3 meals later, I just might be full. I think this day easily makes up for those when all I’ve eaten has been chocolate. I mixed a can of tuna with the remainder of some Voskos plain-non fat yogurt and topped it with chili lime Yumnuts; I think I’ve become officially obsessed with that combination since I ate it last Friday on a picnic with a friend. On some steamed broccoli I added sunflower seeds and a drizzle of honey–love that crunch!

Instead of bore you with more food-food and not desserts, I’ll launch my Wellness Giveaway. First, here’s a recap of all the mental health tips from the week.

Me-Time

Everyday, especially those at rough or difficult times, make sure you have an activity 20-60 minutes to spend on you. Treat yourself or just enjoy alone time. In the end, you’ll be grateful for those moments and you’ll realize that that’s not thatmuch “time lost” in the grand scheme of things; in fact, it’s time gained.

Stress Sleep

First up, I’m not saying sleep like you’re stressed. I’m telling you to put stress on sleep. That’s the best thing you can do for your mental health at a time when you might otherwise be distracted. We’ve all been there: Too much to do and the first thing you’re willing to sacrifice is sleep. But that’s not the answer. In fact, in times when we just need clarity, sleep can be the most beneficial thing for us and boost brain power and concentration in our waking hours. It also helps to “normalize” hunger cues. Despite a 6:15 wake-up call, I prioritized and managed 7 and 1/2 hours of sleep last night to be a sharp thinker for my tests. Between 7 and 8 hours is the recommended amount, but this varies slightly between person to person.

Declutter

I could not imagine leaving my room with an unmade bed. Hell, I couldn’t imagine being around with an unmade bed, dirty dishes, unorganized pile of papers–you name it. My point is not to make your bed, however; I don’t even do this at home when I spend almost no time in my room. My point is to declutter the area you spend the most time focusing. It’s a fact that if you only look at mess, you’ll only feel like a mess and stress out. Keeping a work area neat and tidy is the most important thing not just for organization but also mental health.

To-Do Lists

I want to talk about how to work! While we could try to juggle everything in our mind, why? All that remembering and forgetting easily adds stress. The first step is to put it down in writing. I use Google Tasks because it goes wherever I go, and I can have different lists for everything from blog stuff, to television shows I need to watch online, to my grocery list, etc. And my favorite mental booster is to cross off–not erase–tasks gone by; seeing things with a strike through them will remind you of what you’ve done and make you feel more accomplished.

Meal Planning

This is the happy union of being a foodie and doing things for your mental health: meal planning. I know it’s something a lot of other bloggers are passionate about. The 1 week we did it for my family back in January, I remember meals being the last thing on my mind all week, which was such a comfort. Now that I have such a small refrigerator to work with and so less options, I don’t keep up the practice. But I do keep meals in mind, and usually am able to plan at the very least 3-4 hours ahead.

Don’t Sweat It

Sweat during your workout? Definitely. But one of the best things you can do for mental health is not stress what you do not control. Some people find this through acceptance; some people find it through a higher power. Whichever way is right for you, it’s important to recognize there are some things in life we don’t choose but we can prepare for.

Keep Your Eye On The Reward

Sometimes, when you’re leading a tough time, it’s best to keep your head up and eyes focused on what’s at the end of the tunnel rather than your present situation. It may sound like it was on a whim, but really I had that trip to Juniper planned all week long. At the very least, it gave me something fun and different to look forward to as a “reward” for a potentially stressful week. It doesn’t have to be food. It doesn’t even have to cost money. But doing something for yourself special or out of the ordinary is a great way to keep your mind in a healthy place.

Now for the giveaway. One lucky winner will receive the Celestial Seasonings Natural Wellness Kit. I got 6 teas to keep me healthy and sane this week, all of which will be given review pages in due time. My favorite so far is actually the honey vanilla, which I wasn’t sent but found in the store and bought myself. I like how most of their teas are caffeine free, because herbal wellness doesn’t have to come with a big dose of caffeine and a crash later on.  The kit itself includes:

  • Four wellness teas to ease  symptoms associated with the cold and flu including Sleepytime Extra, Echinacea Complete Care and Tummy Mint
  • Two green teas to support a healthy immune system year round – Authentic Green Tea and Honey Lemon Ginseng Green Tea
  • Mug, soothing lip balm, honey sticks and Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Bear and the book “Herbs for Health and Happiness” by Celestial Seasonings founder Mo Siegel and Nancy Burke

Do you need some wellness in your life? There are plenty of ways to enter, just be sure to leave a separate comment for each one to make sure it counts. Answer/do any of the following:

  • Which of these tips did you find most helpful? How did you incorporate it into your life this week?
  • Which flavor from the wellness kit or Celestial Seasonings website most appeals to you?
  • Tweet this contest, saying “FoodMakesFunFuel is having a Celestial Tea giveaway http://tinyurl.com/ykub24n @EvanFMFF” and leave your Twitter name.
  • Blog about this contest and leave a link to the post.

That’s 4 possible entries to rack up. The contest will run through the end of March and I’ll announce the winner April 1st. Good luck!

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Easy Running And Planned Meals

Posted on March 24, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Happy humpday, all! I have to admit: Normally, I don’t give a damn about what day of the wek it is or being half way there. But today, when I walked in my room, threw down my stuff, and knew I would be in for the night, I just wanted to do a happy dance. I’m 1 midterm I haven’t studied for, 1 class I won’t pay attention in, and 1 paper I haven’t started writing away from break. When I write it out like that, things don’t sound so good. LOL. I’ll just get on to my day then…

Red Delicious Apple
Red Delicious Apple

10 Miles In 1:29:56
10 Miles In 1:29:56

I grabbed an apple and was good-to-go to the gym. This was perhaps one of the easiest runs I’ve had in a while; I was well rested, well fueled, and feeling overall refreshed. The only thing that made it difficult was the 4th hour of the Today Show with Hoda and Kathy Lee and then local news, but I survived 😉 Through segments about women’s products like “the butt bra”, I don’t know how I made it…

Broccoli, Shredded Parsley Salmon, Garlic Parsley Cheddar Raw Cheese Stick
Broccoli, Shredded Parsley Salmon, Garlic Parsley Cheddar Raw Cheese Stick

For lunch I couldn’t decide wether to go protein-heavy or carb-heavy because of the workout. I decided on protein mainly because this salmon has been sitting around for 2 days and needed to get eaten :-/ It was tasty, though! It’s always better when you let someone else(thank you, Whole Foods) cook for you. On the side I had broccoli with my favorite dressing by Foods Alive and an organic garlic parsley cheddar cheese stick from Next Generation Dairy.

Would it be weird to say my “me” time came in History discussion? We had nothing to do this week, since the midterm was yesterday, so we watched 50 minutes of a PBS special. If 50 minutes listening to bad British documentaries while making fun of it with a friend and drifting off isn’t “me” time, I don’t know what is. After that I had another class(Object History), which just made the day feel so much longer. Midway through I broke out a snack.

Peanut Choco' Chewy Nature's Path Granola Bar
Peanut Choco’ Chewy Nature’s Path Granola Bar

Mmm I just love these bars from Nature’s Path. They’re sweet, salty, nutty–perfect! Except the ingredient list is totally less than stellar. Sugar as the number one ingredient? A chocolate coating that has less cocoa than palm oil? Yeah, I’m going to pretend I don’t see that because it’s organic…

Green & Black's Peanut Bar
Green & Black’s Peanut Bar

Candy, in general, gets a HUGE oversight from me if it’s organic, like Green & Blacks chocolates.

Vanilla Chobani With Green & Black's Peanut Bar

Vanilla Chobani With Green & Black's Peanut Bar

Once I got this in mind, I had to hop to a campus store to grab a Vanilla Chobani; the combination was just too dreamy. The bar is milk chocolate with caramelized peanuts and sea salt. The sea salt wasn’t really present enough for me, but then again there isn’t enough sea salt in the sea to please me! But this tasted a lot better overall than I would have thought for a protein-packed snack.

Grass-Fed Burger, Broccoli, Baked Cheddar Cheese Fries

Grass-Fed Burger, Broccoli, Baked Cheddar Cheese Fries

And now with dinner plated, I feel a whole other happy dance coming on. Can I get into my PJ’s before this burger is even gobbled up? For the first time in a while, it was cooked to perfection: rare. On the side, I had some Snikiddy baked cheddar cheese fries to sneak my snack fix, and some plain broccoli for a “real” vegetable. What? Ketchup doesn’t count as a vegetable? 😉

Meal Planning

This is the happy union of being a foodie and doing things for your mental health: meal planning. I know it’s something a lot of other bloggers are passionate about. The 1 week we did it for my family back in January, I remember meals being the last thing on my mind all week, which was such a comfort. Now that I have such a small refrigerator to work with and so less options, I don’t keep up the practice. But I do keep meals in mind, and usually am able to plan at the very least 3-4 hours ahead. When things are really crunched, I know to turn to prepared foods like the salmon I had for lunch. Likewise, the dinner I planned this morning taking in mind the fact that I had class until 5:20 and like to eat at 6:30. Do you meal plan? What’s the last meal you planned and prepared?

P.s. Survivor is on tonight! Get excited!

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Super Salad And The Great Egg Debate

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

Good afternoon! It feels more like afternoon now than evening or night just because it’s still sunny! This time shift thing is definitely throwing me for a loop; I love the extra light at the end of the day, but feeling around for everything in the dark at 6:15? Not a fan. P.S. Google Reader and formatting both have not been my biggest fan today so if you missed my chocolate obsession eating and Alter Eco review you can still read it here.

Red Delicious Apple

I had my entire lunch packed and ready to go for class when hunger struck like a brick 20 minutes before hand. Rather than gobble down what I packed, I grabbed this apple. Most foods I like to eat slowly and savour but apples I can deal with the chew-and-go nature. Besides, I really wanted to give time to the salad I made.

Hemp Oil Dressing And Mulberries

The combo of these ingredients does not get old. But winding back, last week I was craving chickpeas like craaaazy but since I try to make the most out of my meal plan and the dining hall never had any, I was out of luck 😦 Over the weekend, I decided since when does anyone go poor off of buying canned chickpeas? So welcome back to my life chickpea salad!

Chickpea, Mulberry, And Cheddar Salad Over Dressed Spinach, Gingerade Kombucha

What makes this a super salad are all the other ingredients. First I overdress the greens with Foods Alive hemp oil sweet & sassy dressing, which really does have that sweet(agave nectar) vinegary flavor going on. Next up, I toss 1/2 a can chickpeas with Navitasdried mulberries(a superfruit!) and a diced raw & probiotic cheddar cheese stick ala Next Generation Dairy. I think cheese sticks by their very nature are super, don’t you?

Chickpea, Mulberry, And Cheddar Salad Over Dressed Spinach

The result is one big old trip to flavertown–I never thought I could enjoy a salad so much! And the health benefits here are ridiculous. Beans? Great vegan fiber and protein. The cheese has living enzymes for positive digestive health. The spinach is filled with vitamins!! The mulberries–well they’re a superfruit so they have to be healthy but they’re also a great subtle sweetness. And the hemp oil has healthy omega-6’s and -3’s. You can’t go wrong! I really enjoyed washing it down with a gingerade kombucha; did you know ginger has anti-flu properties to it? Not to mention kombucha also restores your body’s alkalinity and is probiotic as well. Wow, I’ve beaten that salad to death, so I’ll move on to dessert.

So Delicious Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Yogurt And Sweet Scoops Mint Chip Frozen Yogurt

Flash forward after 3 hours of class and some email responding and you have a munchy college student on the first day the sun’s been out 5 days. The answer? Ice cream! To shake things up, I had a scoop of Sweet Scoops‘ mint chip froyo(dairy & probiotic) with a scoop of So Delicious‘ vanilla bean coconut milk ice cream(vegan). The flavor came out perfect with a coolness from the mint and a cleanness from the vanilla bean. And since my stomach’s been a bit off since Sunday when I had that gluten-freefilled cookie, this was easy cals to take in without feeling more bloated.

French Toast Ingredients

Now if you thought lunch was just the bee’s knees, you’re going to looove dinner. I’ve had eggs in my fridge for weeks now that I’ve been wanting to eat but not knowing how to eat in a way that would excite me. Why eggs? Because they’re packed with protein and healthy, nutrient-rich fat from the yolk when they’re given the right feed. These were local, organic, and tested for 600mg Omega-3’s per 2 eggs, which is excellent! Especially since my diet has been lacking DHA omega-3 from fish this entire month and 1/2 I’ve been at school. Then I just needed to decide what to do with them…

Cornmeal French Toast Oatmeal

The man(and I’m pretty sure this was a man and a lazy bachelor living in a crappy apartment at that) who first used breakfast for dinner as an excuse was a genius. Since french toast oatmeal never fails me and tastes delicious, I figured that would be appropriate. To switch it up, I replaced the oatbran with cornmeal! And then continued to make it with 2 local & organic Country Hen eggs and patted with pasture butter, drizzled with New Hampshire maple syrup, and then topped with cinnamon and vanilla powder–magnifique! as the French would say 😉

Like I said and believe, eggs are very nutritious in their complete form. However, they’re subject to so much labeling! You can get regular, cage-free, cage-free organic, cage-free vegetarian fed, omega-3–the list goes on. Personally, I think so long as it’s vegetarian fed, it’s good enough; that’s really the only label I think “matters” and while some can be better vegetarian fed, the changes after that get wish-washy. However, I try to buy the most labeled eggs I can find. This time, I bought the Country Hen eggs; usually I go for Eggland’s Best cage-free, organic, even though I think they’re just as good as their regular ones. Why? The labeling makes me feel better. It just does when it comes to eggs–not all foods, but eggs in particular. I like to imagine the happy chicken wandering around dropping eggs as she pleases(even though I realistically know this is never the case) and so I shell over the extra money for the better bird. What about you? Does it matter at all, or are you at some sort of conflict like me?

And here’s an awesome giveaway for coconut oil!

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Who Plucked Out My Sweet Tooth?

Posted on March 9, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

If I took you all in a room, and told you I didn’t like things sweet, I’d expect a roar of laughter(or at least some backwards glances). But today it’s like I’ve crave nothing sweet(that, for me, just meaning not a lot–not literally nothing). And the only reason I can think is that–save 1/8 teaspoon in my coffee at 6:15–I haven’t had any stevia. Today was not a hot drink type of day and I used agave in my yogurt this morning. I’ve never thought it before, but maybe there’s some truth to not craving sugars without low-cal sweeteners, even natural ones like stevia.

Red Delicious Apple

I can never make it between breakfast and a reasonably timed lunch on Tuesday/Thursday, so I had a naturally sweet apple. It was also quite naturally mealy and just naturally not-good, but it held me over so that I could make my favorite salad to eat in class.

Hemp Oil Dressing And Mulberries

I’d never thought I’d say that: “Favorite salad”. But I’m really digging the new flavor combination I struck on 2 weeks ago. I guess these are sort of sweet ingredients, but not too much. I used a good squirt of Foods Alive Hemp Oil Sweet & Sassy dressing and a handful of Navitas Naturals mulberries, mixed in with chickpeas and diced cheese.

Raw & Probiotic Chickpea Salad, Trilogy Synergy

Chickpea, Mulberry, And Garlic Parsley Cheddar Salad Over Dressed Spinach

Everytime I eat this, I swear it gets better; it just makes me feel so fresh! The garlic parsley cheddar raw & probiotic cheese from Next Generation Dairy really makes the flavors come together. And so much of this is raw, you know it must be good for you. On the side, I accompanied the meal with a raw and probiotic drink, namely the Trilogy flavor by Synergy. I talked about this more in the end, but it was quite the tastey juice. It tasted more just like a regular gingerade kombucha to me, but I didn’t mind because that’s most of the ingredients and a flavor I love. I would’n say this was sweet, though; It’s much more vinegary. And it finally made me feel full. Where was that when my stomach was on a war path yesterday?

Orange Chocolate Energy Bar

This afternoon, on top of my 3 hours of class I had another engagement that lasted about an hour. Therefore, a bar was a complete must. I grabbed this Nature’s Path Organic Chocolate Orange Energy Bar from my bag. Sweet? Definitely. I didn’t say my sweet tooth had wholly disappeared 😉

Broccoli With Salsa

When I got back to my dorm, it was the oddest thing: All I wanted was dinner foods, even though dinner was a good time away and I still had preparation to do. I scrapped around for something not sweet, and this was the best I could do; it totally hit the spot, too! Go figure. I just hope this doesn’t continue for long because I do not keep that much savory stuff around.

Forming Grass-Fed Beef Patties

It was that time of week again. I want to thank each and every one of you who comments on how well I eat for living in a dorm. I assure you, after a full day of classes, the last thing I want to do is form burgers, cut sweet potato fries, and cook it all, especially when I still have homework for the next day. To be honest, I just don’t feel like there’s much of a choice, though. To eat in the dining hall, I either need to compromise a lot of my food philosophy, or learn to be happy with the salad bar; I just don’t like raw vegetables that much. When you get right down to it, cooking is work(God, now I understand my mother all too much), but it’s work I’ll do.

Grass-Fed 1/4 Pounder, Sweet Potato Fries

This was worth the work, too. I do not know what was up with the beef; it was incredibly juicy but wouldn’t hold on to the juice. That’s OK because I ended up licking the plate clean(did I really just admit to that?) Happily, despite the lost prep time, I can be a fast eater and move on to my readings for tomorrow now. I’m sure today was just a fluke and that my sweet tooth will reappear soon for dessert(how could it not?).

There’s so much extra out there, I feel lie I have to mention a few before I give a product review summary. First up, there’s this article concerning fat as a new flavor. I’ve read this a couple places now, and I’m totally willing to jump aboard the flavor train if that’s the case. What’s interesting is reading how they want to take and utilize this knowledge. There’s also a funky monkey snack giveaway for you all to enter, not like those have much fat in them 😉 And check out the $50 shopping spree giveaway on Mary’s Weight Loss Blog! I can win an $50 Shopping Spree Giveaway from iHerb.com and so can you! Click here for contest details! Now, I’ll wrap this up with my Kombucha product review recap. I was able to sample 4 flavors to review for Synergy, and here’s my thoughts on those I tried. I think what I learned was, whichever you choose, you won’t be disappointed so long as you like Kombucha. You can also look at my Synergy review page to see what other flavors I’ve had and might have in the future. Enjoy!

Botanic No 9

8.5/10: A delicate blend of honeysuckle and flowers, this kombucha has an equally tame flavor. It wasn’t “blue” in a saddening way but rather very mellow. I almost missed the vinegar flavor of the kombucha which is pretty much rendered down to nothing here. This one wasn’t for me on account of its subtlety but would definitely be a mellow welcome to anyone looking for “down time” or simply new to kombucha.

Citrus

8/10: The vinegar flavor of kombucha is a lot to handle naturally. I’m afraid it just might be too much for citrus to handle, too. While I liked this as a drink, it didn’t scream citrus! or lemon! the way I was expecting; there was just some certain zest of life missing from the flavor. That being said, it was very good kombucha, and I’m glad nothing fought the natural vinegar punch but–if anything–enhanced it. And perhaps the citrus helped to boost my mood because I felt like an all star after drinking it.

Multi-Green

9/10: “Drinking your calories” often gets a bad wrap; but when you’re drinking greens, living enzymes, and a host of other nutritious things, how can anything be bad? I’ll admit that I was wary of the color for this. When I started sipping I was pleasantly surprised to find that the flavors here–vinegary kombucha and bitter greens–actually work and thrive together! And the algae and other add-ins give a welcome dose of protein. The only unpleasantry was the chalky remnants at the bottom of the bottle. Otherwise, this was a surprisingly joyful way to take in my greens!

Trilogy

8.5/10: Even when synergy dabbles with juices, they really can’t go wrong; so often, the typical juice drink is over-sugared and more of a dessert than a health drink. I like how synergy keeps the kombucha strong and the ingredients simple; in this was just kombucha, raspberry juice, citrus, and ginger. The “trilogy” of flavors work well, but perhaps a little too well; you can’t identify much more than a strong vinegar flavor with a sharp bitter tone that could come from any 1–or all–of the flavors. Still, this drink had me sipping more and feeling well,, and is one of the flavors I’d gladly grab again.

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Full Of Probiotics

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

That pretty much describes me right now! These days, I don’t really keep track of any part of my diet. I don’t do calorie counting, I don’t keep track of my fruit and veggie intake, if I’m not down with a protein at a meal I let it slide, etc. The one thing I have sort of kept up with as of lately is getting 2 sources of probiotics a day. They’re a superfood of mine because I think they’re great for digestion, an upset stomach, and longevity. But even this isn’t much of a “goal” because 2 sources is quite average for me. You know what’s not average? 5. And that’s all before dessert.

Pineapple Chobani With Custom Goji Granola

Backing up, what are probiotics? They’re strands of bacterial culture added to foods, most recognizably yogurt. Since these bacteria already exist in our digestive tracks, eating more of them helps to bolster any that might have died out over time. Probiotics have been suggested to have a host of other benefits from weight management(unless you’re only getting them through gallons of frozen yogurt) to flu prevention. This morning, I got S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus, and L. Casei from my pineapple Chobani.

Hemp Oil Dressing And Mulberries

For lunch, I had another superfood salad in mind! I had something like this Monday; I’m really not a big salad eater, but something about this particular combination of ingredients just “works” and made me crave it. In the mix was a good dose of Foods Alive‘s Hemp Oil Sweet & Sassy dressing and Navitas Naturals mulberries.

Chickpea, Mulberry, And Garlic Cheddar Salad Over Dressed Spinach, Gingerade Kombucha

Chickpea, Mulberry, And Garlic Cheddar Salad Over Dressed Spinach

I mixed the dressing with spinach, and made a composite of chickpeas, garlic, sea salt, diced Next Generation Dairy raw & probiotic garlic parsley cheddar, and the mulberries. I love the mulberries here, which are like golden raisins but less sweet and more fiberous. On the side, I had a gingerade kombucha. Overall, not only was this meal fantastic, but it was amazingly healthy. The dressing, spinach, mulberries, cheese, and drink were all raw. Only the chickpeas were cooked, but those are healthy anyway so who cares? And the cheese was fortified with Ganeden BC30 probiotics, while the kombucha has 1 billion Lactobacillus Bacterium and S. Boulardii. That’s a lot of cultures!

Mint Chip Sweet Scoops Frozen Yogurt

Let’s just say I was more than happy to get out of my class at 4pm–it was the weekend! And I needed it, too, seeing as how much I had juggling in my mind to handle “once the school work was done with”. Well, really the first thing I did was get to my dorm, turn on the computer, and scoop out some frozen yogurt. We picked up this mint chip frozen yogurt from Sweet Scoops on Sunday; I’ve had it before so I knew I’d like it. Plus I love anything mint. But I think Sweet Scoops is also good because they keep the milk kind of fatty so it has a thick texture.  And it had my good friends, L. Bulgaricus & S. Thermophilus–score.

If you’ve ever wondered about the cultures in frozen yogurt(because I know you have ;-)), they are live but–unlike in yogurt–are not active. The freezing process puts the bacteria into a dormant state. Once they get into your system, however, where the temperature is much higher, they become active again. That is what makes frozen yogurt what it is(it has nothing to do with fat content). Running around like the nut that I am pressing tofu and shoving vegetables in the oven, I needed more fuel before dinner. Enter into my life more probiotics:

So Delicious Soy Yogurt With Milk Chocolate Peanut Sunspires

How many times do I eat this? A lot. And yet I never thought to notice that each time I do I’m taking in L. Bulgaricus, S. Thermophilus, L. Rhamnosus, L. Acidophilus, Bif. Bifidum, and Bif. Animalis. Good to know. It was also quite delicious, perfectly sweet and salty, and a little nutty. I’ve heard that Stop & Shop employees in R.I. are going on strike this weekend! I sure hope not; it’s $1 cheaper to get these So Delicious soy yogurts there than it is at Whole Foods. Now, if you can believe it, there weren’t any probiotics at dinner.

Roasted Broccoli And Sweet Potato Chunks With Maple Baked Tofu

What it was was my ultimate comfort food dish; would it make sense to have anything else on a snowy night that’s kicking off the weekend? I think not. I was thinking about putting this on a plate, but a bowl seemed so much more comforting. Bowl? Plate? Doesn’t matter? This all tasted awesome with some sea salt to balance it out. I’m impressed the tofu pressed well in only 90 minutes.

Not only was that bowl incredibly comforting, it’s going to be very well digested. I think I got about 10 different strands of bacteria in me, if not more, and billions of cultures. Incredible, huh? Don’t get me wrong–today was a bit of an abnormality, and really getting any probiotics is a good start. If you aren’t a yogurt or frozen yogurt fan(although how could you not be?), they also make supplements that are concentrated forms of probiotics; Avery would be the one to see on those. Now, I’m freezing my butt off tonight; the bacteria strand S. Thermophilus would not be happy(this means heat lover in Greek). I think they lowered the heat in the whole building because my coconut oil used to even be liquid at room temp and now I’m cold 😦 PJ’s, a sweatshirt, and Survivor will cure the cold.

And because I’m tired of writing out scientific names for bacteria, I’ll talk about giveaways. Kate is giving away ch-ch-ch-chia seeds. Click here to win some Maranatha. There’s also a Tropical Tradition Coconut Oil giveaway. Here’s a chance to get some of my favorite protein bars. And, lastly, a [me] & goji custom cereal giveaway.

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But I Just Want A PB&J!

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

Wow. The comments on this post have been phenomenal. Whether it’s vegan guilt or any other kind, there is something so therapeutic about writing it down. It doesn’t have to be on a public place like I did, but if you have anything inside, consider writing it on a piece of paper, even if that only thing that sees that paper is the inside of a trash can. You’ll feel better.

Celestial Teas

This morning, while running errands, I was sipping on the Bengal Spice Celestial tea and I had to mention it because it’s phenomenal. It’s very earthy with cinnamon and nutmeg, and has a definite Indian spice to it. And I got both of these for $3 total with sales and store coupons at Stop & Shop Sunday–good deal! I managed to pry the cup out of my hand long enough to do laundry and make a trip to the dining hall before a phenomenal lunch.

Garbanzo Bean Salad

Chickpeas, Raw Cheddar Cheese, Hemp Seeds, Hemp Oil, Mulberries, Spinach

Normally, I couldn’t care less for salads, but WOW was this good. The base was just a spinach and greens medley with plenty of hemp oil sweet & sassy from Foods Alive. On top of that was 1/2 a can of chickpeas and a diced cheddar raw & probiotic cheese stick from Next Generation Dairy; I’ve nibbled on this cheese before(so I knew I liked it) but I finally got an accurate review up. If you love cheese, check it out, because this practically redefines cheddar from a flavor and nutrition point. Lastly, I topped it with Bob’s Red Mill‘s hulled hemp seeds and Navitas Natural’s Mulberries. I’ve had the mulberries before and wasn’t a fan, but here there mellow sweetness really worked, almost like golden raisins but duller and more superfoody. This held me over for a good while until my chocolate tooth struck.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding With ChocAlive! Dark Chocolate Crunch Truffles

From raw cheese I went to raw pudding and truffles. I made a batch of chocolate avocado pudding using 1 tablespoon coconut milk and 2 tablespoons water for the liquid. The topping was no question; recently, Chocalive! sent me a couple of samples to review. They’re completely raw, vegan, and endorsed by Alicia Silverstone! I tried the dark chocolate crunch ones first. The inside was to die for–so chocolaty and soft. The cacao nibs were a bit too bitter in contrast for my taste :-/ I’ve never really liked those sucker. Can you imagine that? A part of the cacao pod I don’t enjoy? Go figure.

Cranberry Crunch Perfect Foods Bar Lite

Before dinner, I snacked on a Cranberry Crunch Lite bar from Perfect Foods. There’s nothing particularly “lite” about this bar; it’s just not a full meal replacement bar like their other flavors and filled with brown rice crisps for volume. I liked how, even though they cut the calories from 300 to 180 in here, they kept the same mentality of a bar with a focus on healthy fats, protein, and a whole food blend. And their signature raw honey made this so sweet! It seemed like there was something raw in everything today.

Oatmeal With White Chocolate Raspberry PB, Greek Yogurt With Organic Raspberry Conserves

For dinner, I had an odd craving for me: PB&J. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day? Well, anyway, I don’t keep any bread around; gluten-free breads are usually more expensive, I don’t know of any good brands, and I don’t need bread that much, so what’s the point?(Sidenote: When I told my mom I don’t eat bread over the weekend, you would have thought I shot her in the chest. She loves bread, especially the Italian white stuff.) Sooo I improvised with some PB oats and J on the yogurt.

Oatmeal With White Chocolate Raspberry Peanut Butter

My poison PB of choice was the last of the raspberry white chocolate peanut butter from P.B. Loco(who apparently have fallen off the face of the earth since I did a review for them in the Fall). I just go loco for anything white chocolate and/or raspberry. I’m sure there’ll be more peanut butter celebrating in a little bit but this was definitely a delicious start 🙂 Did you celebrate? How so? And now I’m going to do a little research to figure out what the heck happened to P.B. Loco.

Here’s a giveaway for Tropical Tradition’s coconut oil and here’s another for their coconut creme concentrate–both great products!

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