The Worst Thing About New Years…

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

The worst thing about New Years is dating everything 2009 for the next 2 months and having to cross it out. Seriously, I’m going to be doing that into March. But if that’s the worst thing about 2010, I’m guessing it’s going to be a good year 🙂

Isn’t it the case that whenever you’re hosting you forget something? For us, it was good parmesan cheese.

Parmesan Cheese

My dad and I ran to the store(in a snow storm) to grab a hunk. I also quickly looked for nutritional yeast while we were there but couldn’t find any 😦 I guess that’ll be one new thing to try in 2010! I also may have been convinced to come along by a McDonalds’ coffee–just saying.

Our guests called to say they’d be here more 5-ish because of the snow, so I definitely needed some snacks before party food.

Oatmeal With Mighty Maple

Red Delicious Apple

Oatmeal and peanut butter will still be a theme in the New Year; please, nobody fret. We laid out the appetizers…

Apricot Glazed Baked Brie

Savory Cheeseball

Whole Wheat Red Pepper Foccaccia

…and soon they were here. Can I just say that we demolished these? I think there was 3 slices of foccaccia left, 1/2 of the hummus, and 1/3 the cheeseball and… that was about it.

Whole Wheat Red Pepper Foccaccia, Apricot Brie, Dr. Kracker Hummus Maximus Crackers

I ate this times about 2 because I went back for seconds on them all. The bread was so good! It was a Food Network recipe–just store bought whole wheat pizza dough brushed with olive oil, garlic, and red pepper and topped with onion and parmesan. Could it get much simpler? I also really liked the Hummus Maximus crackers; I don’t know that there was anything specific about the flavor I could pinpoint as chickpea, but it was definitely unique and worked well with the hummuses. We did a very early toast.

Toasting Glass

Everyone had champagne except for me and their 4 year old boy, who had milk. Can you guess what was in my glass?… Black Cherry Zevia 🙂 And I wouldn’t have had it any other way(This, naturally, led in to the conversation of how something could be natural and diet soda and why my shirt matched my beverage ;-)). Once we were done with appetizers, we moved on to the main course.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Homemade Meatballs

Roasted Carrots And Turnips, Sirloin Roast, Roasted Broccoli, Homemade Whole Wheat Potato Gnocchi

Our guests were Korean and love their vegetables and red meat; can you tell we tried to accomodate that 😉 Everyone seemed to love everything, and there was nothing bad here. Our guest’s husband was soooo happy that the gnocchi was whole wheat because that meant “his wife would let him eat it”. Haha! Have I mentioned how much I love these people?

Roasted Brussels And Broccoli, Homemade Whole Wheat Gnocchi With Meatballs

This was my plate; I chose the 3 or 4 things I wanted and made a more-or-less normal dinner. I knew I’d be seeing this all for leftovers next year, anyway. You can pretty much assume I at 4 times the brussels and broccoli as pictured because that’s what I kept going back for more of. For the first time, my mom made her meatballs with all-natural ingredients so I made those my main course instead of the sirloin roast that the rest of the table had. They were so soft and moist they melted in my mouth! The gnocchi were also very good, too.

After dinner, we laid out the desserts.

Peanut Butter And Chocolate Gluten Free Brownies, Peanut Butter And Chocolate Biscotti, Italian Bakery Bought Cookies, Tiramisu, Wine, And Newman's Organic Decaf Coffee

At first I was honestly too stuffed for anything but coffee. After a few cups and about 30 minutes of sitting and talking, I had room.

Peanut Butter And Chocolate Gluten Free Brownie, Tiramisu

This was my dessert plate. Oh My God, did these gluten free brownies turn out good! They didn’t even stick to the pan and were super super fudgy. I was worried 3 tablespoons peanut butter chips wouldn’t make a difference but you totally got the peanut butter flavor. Our guests brought a homemade tiramisu made with hazelnut liqueur. It was good! I appreciate that they made the cake bottom instead of using HFCS-laden ladyfingers. We’re not sure what happened with the top layer, which was rather thin, but overall the flavor was there.

Our dessert conversation ran through everything from my bacon milk chocolate bar to beliefs in God. The good thing about good friends and family is you can argue and disagree and everything and it won’t matter 10 minutes later 🙂

Our guests left around 9:45 to go home, put the little one to sleep, and spend time with their grandparents. Within 30 minutes, we had the house back to spick and span and our PJ’s on. We actually got a call from our neighbors to come over to their house but we were exhausted and did not want to think about leaving the house. Oh well, we’ll see them sometime this year.

Tiramisu, Peanut Butter And Chocolate Gluten Free Brownie

I made a snack plate. Seriously, these brownies are addicting! I’ll be making another batch before I know it. We watched Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin since we’re such fans of hers and wanted to see what she’d say. Good thing no drinking games around here because there are a ton with her and we’d all had been wasted.

Tiramisu

At 11:58 I unapologetically went back for another scoop of this dessert. It was last year, so it totally doesn’t count anymore, right 😉 And, of course, we watched the ball drop. After that, though, we pretty much went straight to different rooms and crashed. Midnight is a stretch for me!

So far, the New Year has been filled with laziness, not-working out, and baking. Excellent 😀 How long can I reasonably keep this up? We shall see… Actually, I did wake up at 7, but since no one else was alive I felt free to sleep for another 90 minutes. After coffee and a shower, I decided that my banana goodness bread would be my first dish of the decade. Whether it’s a new home or a new decade, I think homemade bread just says “welcome”. I mushed bananas, sifted flour, and stuck it in the oven. While it was baking I had my first breakfast of the decade.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Vanilla Almond Butter And Strawberry Yogurt Frosting

See? Things don’t change overnight! That’s partially why I haven’t made any resolutions: I do that enough day-by-day that I feel no pressure to do it year-by-year. Anyway, I wasn’t too hungry and this was late so I kept it simple with delicious, Springtime flavors. I love my salty sweet 🙂 Eventually the bread was done.

Banana Goodness Bread

Another perfect loaf 🙂 This time I swapped out the flaxseed for wheat germ and sprinkled vanilla sugar over the top for some crispness–beautiful. Then my grandmother came over for a New Years lunch. It used to be our tradition when I was a little kid to have chinese take out every new Years day with my grandparents. Instead, we had leftovers, which were 10 times tastier anyway.

Roasted Vegetable Medley, Sirloin Roast, Banana Goodness Bread

Was I supposed to hold off on slicing into that bread? I’m sorry; I think I missed that message 😉 I portioned out 3oz of meat and then loaded up on bread and veggies.Yum! I kind of wish I had the sirloin last night when it was freshly cooked and dripping red but oh well–that’ll happen again in my life sometime. The bread was simply perfect. The key to a crispy stop is a little sprinkling of sugar and it is sooo worth it. Today it sounds like we’re “getting out” because it’s going to snow for 3 straight days, so I’ll be curious to see where we wind up.

A coconut bliss ice cream giveaway! Never tried this but it sounds delicious.

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Thanksgiving 2009

Posted on November 27, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Hopefully with a title like that it’ll be easy to find in the archives 😉 How was your Thanksgivings?(if I haven’t already read about them on your blogs). Mine was pretty fantastic I’d have to say. But why take my word–the proof is in the pictures!

Firstly, the relatives were running “a little behind”. This is absolutely expected every time. So it didn’t really change anything. I knew Thanksgiving lunch wouldn’t be for a few hours, and I had no plans to touch the appetizers, so I got a head start on dessert.

Deep Chocolate Vitatop With Cocoa Greek Yogurt

Can you tell I had a chocolate tooth? I just mixed cocoa powder and sweetener with the yogurt and voila–it was so thick I think had it been frozen for 30 minutes it would have been like ice cream. At around 1:15 the relatives showed up(which impressed us who thought they wouldn’t be here until 1:40). They came bearing gifts.

Organic Balsamic Vinegar And Lemon Pepper Oil

Maple Syrup From Berlin

*Swoons* Something tells me my relatives are finally starting to “get” me; the maple syrup actually was on my Christmas list!! Now I need something to take its place, right? As predicted, my little cousins had one thing on their mind: video games. They aren’t allowed to have game systems besides a computer(they’re only 8 and 3) so my house is like gold. When they were doing that, the adults had appetizers:

Homemade Meatballs, Whole Food Stuffing Stuffed Mushrooms, Cheese Platter, Trader Joe Chicken Wontons

I’m pretty much the opposite of a grazer, and was still satisfied from my vitatop, so I was fine skipping all this. My mom’s meatballs are kind of famous within the family; maybe some day I’ll steal borrow the recipe and make it with bison and organic sauce. I don’t think I’ve seen someone attack appetizers like my grandfather on those wontons. Apparently he’d been “saving” calories all last week for today. Probably not the healthiest thing but when you’re 75 who’s to say you can’t do what you want.

Carved Turkey

The turkey rested while people chatted and then we got to carving. Notice how on the left it’s pulled like pork and on the right it’s nicely carved in tact. Guess who did the right 😉 My mom was anally organized about the table and had labeled everything a place so set up was fast.

Thanksgiving Table

Like usual, my mom and I were the first to the table with the old people behind only because they’re… slower. And the uncle, aunt, and cousins were running around enthralled with video games, haha. My cousin wanted me to help him on a level but I told him I was hungry, and when my grandmother said I’d need to prioritize with my own children I assured her that’s a ways away. And then there was food.

Turkey, Stuffing, Roasted Brussels, Organic Jellied Cranberry

Delicious. The turkey, from Whole Foods, was free-ranged so I felt perfectly fine digging right into it. Ironically, I probably took less than 2oz of meat! I think meat being absent so much while I’m at school makes a little seem like a lot and have me appreciate it more. My “strategy” going in was just to take 3 or 4 foods, even though there were plenty more on the table. I didn’t want to do a “sampler” of everything; I knew I’d have all this for leftovers so I’d rather eat what I did take and ignore what I didn’t. No regrets here or in the foods I did choose. I’ve loooooved cranberry sauce from a can since being a boy and am so happy that this didn’t have HFCS in it. Here are my 3 living grandparents also enjoying the meal:

Enjoying The Meal

We swiftly started heating up pies, defrosting desserts, and cleaning plates. I completely failed on taking a picture of the dessert line up but there was my pie, Trader Joe lemon bars, homemade berry pie from my grandmother, store bought cheesecake, chocolate and vanilla ice cream, and a Carvel birthday cake.

Blowing Out The Candles

Tuesday was my grandfather’s 75th birthday. Happy birthday! Hopefully he doesn’t eat like that everyday or there’s no way he’s hitting 76, haha. There was also another unique item welcomed to the table.

TruWhip

This week I received a coupon from TruWhip to try and review their product. Could you think of a better time than Thanksgiving? Unlike its competitors, TruWhip is 100% natural, 70% organic, with no hydrogenate oils or HFCS. Not only was I happy to try this but it felt great to serve to my family. I took plate of the natural goodies that fit my hunger.

Pumpkin Pie, Trader Joe Lemon Square, TruWhip

What a sweet way to end the meal. The pumpkin pie came out as good this time as last time. The lemon square from Trader Joe was good but not superb; it was definitely better than any lemon bar I could’ve made from scratch. The real shocker here was the TruWhip, which everyone seemed to enjoy. It really tasted just like the competitor to me. I must admit there are some things I miss since eating all-natural so it’s always fun when groceries like this come along. It was light and airy, sweet with a hint of cream. I think the only one who wasn’t convinced it was an identical match was my mom, who went in with a slanted opinion to begin with. I think a carton is only 4 or 5 dollars, and since it can be refrozen for another holiday, this is completely worth buying and keeping around for a naturally special event.

Everyone had a good time and piled out by 5 o’clock. I think the most tired of the day was Montana, who was already sleeping on the couch. We tried passing off as much leftovers as we could but in the end our fridge was full. At least what we have is real food we can work into any meal over the next few days. By 5:45 I was feeling munchy.

Raw Vegetables

I started to work on the leftovers with the raw veggies. My mom couldn’t understand how anyone would still be hungry after Thanksgiving; I believe it’s called not eating 3 slices of Carvel cake? I was happy with eating until I was comfortably full and knowing how much was enough–I absolute despise that “overstuffed” feeling. Right like clockwork I had a dinner for one made and ready for 7.

Brussels And Tempeh Bacon With Maple Syrup, Grand Marnier Sweet Potatoes, Lightlife Breakfast Sausages

3 delicious meals in one day–how lucky am I! I wasn’t quite up to real meat for the time, so instead I let my protein be soy sausaged and tempeh bacon. I steamed and then pan seared some brussels to add some crust, and drizzled maple syrup at the end. The sweet potatoes were one of the dishes I passed over at lunch because I knew there’d be leftovers, and I rather liked this because it made it feel like I was eating a completely new meal! They were pretty good, but I think my mom had a heavy hand with the alcohol because these were pungent, haha 🙂

You know I was right there for the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Special(it helped that Survivor was just a clip show, too). After a cup of coffee for good digesting, I got to work on more leftovers.

 

Plain Soy Yogurt With Cranberry Sauce

 

I will never understand how something like cranberry sauce has become accepted with dinner and not as dessert but I’ll just be thankful for that 🙂 We got 365 organic and it is perfect. Not only does it not have HFCS but it’s and also a little less sweet so that the tartness is evenly balanced. Between the textures of jellied cranberry soy yogurt and the flavors this was just to die for.

I was also thankful for NBC’s People Of The Year special. I really hope it wasn’t just me. I think I’m becoming old, because in my head I thought of this as “The Today Show + 60 Minutes + Miracle Grow” and practically wet my pants in anticipation. It lived up to what I hoped. I’m really tired of the Octomom and balloon boy, but I could never get tired of hearing praise for Taylor Swift. Right before I went to bead I had what my day was lacking–whole grains.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Almond Butter And Smart Balance Peanut Butter

That brought me back to my roots. I’m liking the double nut-butter topping now as opposed to the nut butter and a topping(like chocolate). Not sure why, maybe I truly am just nuts for nuts 🙂

This morning there were plans to maybe attack Target for Black Friday sales with my dad, but my parents had to leave for a funeral at 8:30(irony) and the sales just weren’t as appealing as last year so we called it off. Today it’s planned raining all day so it will, by all likelihood, become a rest day, and I will be between the kitchen baking and my computer studying. Again, hope you had a great Thanksgiving! Now get to work on them leftovers 🙂

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Having My Cake And Eating It Too!

Posted on August 22, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Peanut Butter Boy 2nd Place Prize

Peanut Butter Boy 2nd Place Prize

Sweet, No? Don’t tell me you’re not jealous 😛 Once again, it was a ton of fun and I can’t wait for the next one, and I have yet to bake one of the other recipes from the contest but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been looking and gearing up my hand mixer!

So the new thing out there seems to be the breakfast challenge, which I am all for. I pretty much have the same thing every morning–fruit, whole grains, nuts, and yogurt–but that doesn’t mean it has to always be in the same form, right? I took a hint from some fellow bloggers for Thursday’s breakfast:

Kashi Strawberry Waffles With Mighty Maple And Maple-Agave Syrup, bananas, Chocolate Chobani With Cherries

Kashi Strawberry Waffles With Mighty Maple And Maple-Agave Syrup, bananas, Chocolate Chobani With Cherries

What’s new? The PB on the waffle. Believe it or not, I’ve never done this before. I always thought the spreading would be difficult and uneven, but I gave it a go to get those fats on the plate. And I have to say, ya’ll were right; the pb on the waffles worked well. Thursday morning was major Tivo time. I don’t even remember what I watched, just that I got through it all. I hardly recognized when lunch came around and Ias starving, but luckily this guy only took about 5 minutes to throw together:

Meatball Sub, Cantaloupe, Green Beans, And A Tomato

Meatball Sub, Cantaloupe, Green Beans, And A Tomato

This meal made me realize why I love blogging so much: Taking pictures of what I eat makes me take the time to really appreciate what I’m putting on the plate and know it in a whole new light. Really, everybody should blog or take pictures of what they eat, because it stimulates the senses and makes you became a better eater. Even though all a picture can share is sight, when you take the time to make your food look good, you sure as hell put just as much into the flavor. I made a great sauce for the meatballs with pizza sauce, steak sauce, and fresh basil. I salted the cantaloupe slightly and let it sit. And while I can’t say I prepared the tomato any particular way, I can tell you it was grown in our very own garden–another thing I might not have done if I hadn’t learned to appreciate food. So this meal was dedicated to food blogging. Thre cheers!

After lunch I explored the neighborhood:

Exploring

Exploring

By which I mean I killed time waiting for my mom to get back from “lunch with the girls”. I also killed a pint with a little ingenuity:

Stonyfield Java With Vegan Fluff And Midnight Moo Sauce

Stonyfield Java With Vegan Fluff And Midnight Moo Sauce

Stonyfield Java With Vegan Fluff And Midnight Moo Sauce

Stonyfield Java With Vegan Fluff And Midnight Moo Sauce

I wasn’t sure how the fluff would work with coffee, but then I did some simple math. Fluff = vanilla. Vanilla + coffee = french vanilla latte. Ok, the math worked out and the taste buds agreed. This was rather good 🙂 We hit up Whole Foods and Trader Joes. I spent 15 minutes looking at the bread at Trader Joes–no lie–and ended up buying the same one we always get: light wheat. I really want a bread like the sunflower bread I got from Dekalb Farmer’s market, and I noticed 2 of TJ’s bread have sunflower seeds on the ingredient list. Anybody ever try these/have an opinion to share? At Whole Foods we quickly filled the space left from the Java FroYo with So Delicious Snickerdoodle Ice Cream. I have yet to break into this but I’ll let you know how it is when I do!

I got home and instantly whipped up a recipe that was running through my head:

The Wet

The Wet

The Dry

The Dry

The Cookies

The Cookies

I’m just going to call them Pumpkin Patch Chocolate Chippers. They came out great, but I’m sure there’s ways to improve them, so I’m not sharing the recipe just yet. Plus, these are based off another recipe which is a tight family secret, so I might just have to keep these locked away in the Disney Vault with Cinderella. Dinner was one of them boring well balanced meals *yawn*

Chicken, Broccoli, Basmatti Rice, And Island Soyaki Sauce

Chicken, Broccoli, Basmatti Rice, And Island Soyaki Sauce

Jk, it was pretty good, it just… wasn’t dessert 🙂

Newman's Own Organic Chocolate Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies

Newman's Own Organic Chocolate Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies

I’ll admit, I’d fallen behind on my Newman’s Own Organic testing since I’ve been baking up a storm lately, but I welcomed a treat that I didn’t have to make from scratch. The first thing that confused me about these was the long ingredient list, which I realized was only long because this has chocolate chips AND organic chocolate chips(both of which list all of their ingredients). A bit odd, but that cleared up some q’s. Like the espresso cookies I noticed how tough these looks. The initial texture was rather dry, but after a few seconds of sitting in my mouth the flavor really popped. There was no denying this was chocolate chocolate mint. I think a lot of chocolate mint products have one or the other flavor be overbearing, but this had a nice balance. The texture was dry but it all came together on the palate, making them ultimately enjoyable.

I also baked a fresh loaf of pumpkin bread and banana chocolate chip bread:

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread And Pumpkin Bread

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread And Pumpkin Bread

Did I say baked a fresh loaf? I meant took the ultimate lazy shortcut to some fantastic results. For the banana bread, I nuked 1/4 of a banana into a spread and added chocolate chips. They melted and got nice and gooey as they sat there. For the pumpkin bread, I just used some good ol’ TJ pumpkin butter(almost out 😦 but almost the right season again :-)) and topped with salted and roasted pumpkin seeds. Seriously, baking whole loaves is overrated when you can be lazy ingenious and just do this.

Friday was a very special day–my last day of work! Of course that meant a very special morning–my last day of 6am running!! The air was so thick and humid, just breathing took thought(yuck) but my itunes shuffle was very good to me and powered me through the 5 miles. I kept up the breakfast challenge for the 2nd time:

Overnight Oats With Plain Yogurt, Kashi Vanilla Oatmeal, Frozen Cherries, Cocoa Almonds, And A Deep Chocolate Vitatop

Overnight Oats With Plain Yogurt, Kashi Vanilla Oatmeal, Frozen Cherries, Cocoa Almonds, And A Deep Chocolate Vitatop

I’ve done the overnight oat thing twice before: The first time they came ou great and I loved them, the second time they were too thick so I thinned it with too much milk and ended up dumping it and clogging the drain. Needless to say, I was hesitant to try them again after that, but I’m glad I did. The yogurt was a little thick bt I resisted from thinning it and I’m glad I did because the natural cherry juice really loosened it and got it perfect. The whole almonds were a great way to get my nut fat into breakfast without turning to butter(and who doesn’t love cocoa?). And the vitatop was a little special treat to celebrate my last day 🙂

I have to say this breakfast was so filling I kept half the vitatop for work, where it said hello to my little friend:

Newman's Own Organic Coffee And 1/2 A Vitatop

Newman's Own Organic Coffee And 1/2 A Vitatop

Newman’s Own Organic has been so good to me. Oh won’t you just adopt me into the Newman family already? I love getting their coffee from McDonalds because a) it has a balanced neutral taste and b) it’s cheap. Oh, and c) it’s good for the environment. I challenge any die hard Starbucks fan to try this out; your taste buds won’t mind and your wallet will thank you.

UFood's Chopstick Chicken Ubowl

UFood's Chopstick Chicken Ubowl

Lunch was the typical-but-oh-so-delicious UFood. Only UFood can take brown rice and make it taste so delicious. I never make brown rice from a box for myself because it always has that bland, healthy taste, but UFood totally doctors it up with broccoli, carrot, chicken, and spicy thai ginger terryaki and you’d think your eating something as sinful as deep fried general tsao’s chicken–no lie.

When I got back to the office there was a little surprise in store for me…

Last Day Card

Last Day Card

Party! Haha, well it wasn’t quite a full blown party, but there was a card and some snacks from Chinatown and mindless joking. The four of us played a rousing game of pin the tail on the donkey:

Pin The Tail On The Donkey

Pin The Tail On The Donkey

Meghan from healthy Tipping Point has been listing things to do more often. Add spontaneous childhood gaming to that list, because this was pretty fun. Mine is the one coming out of his neck, so we changed the game to pin the ponytail on the donkey and I won! Filing really switched into high gear my last hour at work so I was very relieved when 5(or 4:50 but who’s counting :-P) rolled around. i treated myself to this:

Strawberry Banana Vivvano

Strawberry Banana Vivvano

I’d actually never had this flavor before, and I must say it was pretty good. It had a strong strawberry flavor which i was really looking for. It was a great way to get fruit into my day, and I love the added protein and fiber to curb the carbgestion. I used this to power me through the farmer’s market at Copley where I got some great finds:

Yellow Squash, Okra, Raspberries, And Hickory Smoked Goat Cheese

Yellow Squash, Okra, Raspberries, And Hickory Smoked Goat Cheese

I’d never seen okra before until this moment. Ever. Needless to say, I was excited to find it. It’s not really a New England thing, but I’m going to search some recipes and figure out what to do with them. I already found something on KERF last night to try! And the goat cheese was a local product that sounded so good. I love goat cheese, and you can’t beat fresh, right? It was well worth the $4.25 for 4oz. When I got home this was waiting for me:

Thrive By Brendan Brazier

Thrive By Brendan Brazier

This and Oprah okra have been all over the blog world. I bought it from the internet to use up my Barnes & Noble card, and am really curious to see what I can learn from it. I’m not interested in going raw or vegan, but I’m happy to pick up some recipes, and definitely have stuff to learn on fueling. Any pre-book knowledge to share before I open up the pages?

Dinner was, again, quite the treat:

Salmon, Grilled Tomatos, Corn, And Goat Cheese

Salmon, Grilled Tomatos, Corn, And Goat Cheese

Salmon, salmon, salmon. Oh how I love thee. Have I mentioned I would have it every night if that was an option? Switching the protein up is overrated. Slap me some salmon and I’m a happy boy. And the goat cheese was as good as it sounded. Cheese and bread I think are two of those things that, if you find homemade, you just gotta go for because you know it’ll be good.

For dessert I had these two treats:

Chocolate Cake From Finale

Chocolate Cake From Finale

Redwood Hill Farm Vanilla Goat Milk Yogurt With Raspbrerries

Redwood Hill Farm Vanilla Goat Milk Yogurt With Raspbrerries

The cake was a gift from my fellow work study–very rich and delicious and prefect with a cup of joe 🙂 The yogurt was something from Thursday’s Whole Foods trip. I grabbed it because it was on “sale”(I have a hard time calling anything that’s 5 dollars a sale but that was about 15% off). I’d only tried Liberte goat milk yogurt which I loved so I wanted to try more brands. This one stood out as one of the best yogurts I’ve had; the vanilla isn’t overpowering but balances the natural tang of the goats milk so that the result is palatable and pleasant while still being true to the goat milk nature. I would totally buy this if it were ever cheaper, but it’s nice to splurge now and again.

Today there’s a farmer’s market in store(!!). I just hope the farmers show up, because they never seem to do around Marlborough, lol. We also might check out a hole-in-the-wall artisan bakery to find some decent sunflower bread. Until then, have fun and do what you can to beat the heat!

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Thank God It’s Thursday

Posted on July 16, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Anybody else wiped out by this week? Anybody? Well I sure am. But let’s rewind first. Who loved Harry Potter? I’m already waiting for it to come out on DVD so I can be a complete nerd and watch all 6 in a row on a rainy day(because that’s how I roll :-)) I’m just happy I got to see it early without having to stay up until midnight. Major props to all you diehard fans out there–that’s just wayyy past my bedtime.

Anyway, after my quickie review on Tuesday, we went to my mom’s childhood friends house for a mini-party. There was a beauty of a pool:

A Pool

A Pool

Ok, all I did was just take pictures, I didn’t actually go in 😛 If it’s not hot like a bath I’m just not seeing the appeal. We also ordered from this great little Italian place I’d never eaten from. The four of us split an Italian, Prosciutto di Parma, and antipasto. I DEFINITELY need to eat more prosciutto because that just melted in my mouth.

My Plate

My Plate

After a lot of sitting, catching up, finding out that 4something year olds are way more addicted to facebook than me, and other fun stuff, we hit up Market Basket and Whole Foods to get some pantry staples. I hate doing errands in the afternoon, but hey, they got to be done right? We didn’t get home until lateee(apparently I consider 5 late), but I still managed to do almost everything I had left, including baking this beauty:

Pumpkin Loaf

Pumpkin Loaf

I let her(pumpkin loaves are female in gender) sit over night and brought in a slice to work the next day. I really wanted to bring it in in a Starbucks bag for some reason lol but I couldn’t find one 😦

Well that was Tuesday, Wednesday I rocked it out just as hard. I woke up at the butt crack of dawn(6am) and did a 5.3 miler. This was way more fun and energizing than I would have thought and is definitely something I want to do again. Of course, once I got home I had to shower, pack a breakfast, and go to work(oh joy). It was a pretty lame/tame day at the office. For a morning snack I had this:

Kind Mango Macadamia

Kind Mango Macadamia

‘Twas ok. It had a strong tropical/coconut flavor; too bad that doesn’t really appeal to me. I like that it had 20% my DV of calcium:-), but not so much that it had 5g of saturated fat:-(. From now on I’ll stick with almonds, cashews, peanuts and the occasional pistachio’s(those 4 are my posse).

Lunch time came around(yayy) and we went back to Binas. I was very much in the mood for some roast beef and the one in the window pushed me over the edge. I got their roast beef with asiago, arugula, and cipolinni on ciabatta:

My Sandwich

My Sandwich

I hate to say it but the roast beef was a little too overcooked for me. Maybe because I like my red meat so raw it’d be illegal to serve :-/ that’s probably why I stick to cooking my own usually. Oh well. I can’t wait to try their Prosciutto di Parma! When I got back to the office it was pumpkin time:

Pumpkin Loaf Slice, Coffee from Bina's

Pumpkin Loaf Slice, Coffee from Bina's

It needed some Apple Butter or something, but it was still pretty damn good. I also gave this a try:

Odwalla Super Protein

Odwalla Super Protein

Bring back the pumpkin loaf! This was awful. The first bite was ok but I was not going to go through my already painful work day with that aftertaste. Bleh. Needless to say I put it away and ate a different snack. On the way home we had to swing by Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s for some bread and bars(who could live without these two things?). Another reason I hate strongly dislike work days: I don’t get on the computer/watching tivo/doing core workout until 7:30. Basically I just did the basics and hit the sack by 11. Dear God, I hope my tomorrow is more tame than that.

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Fluffernutter Cupcakes!

Posted on July 10, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Good evening, all! This post is just going to have a really quick summary because I have been busy as a bee recently, and then it has a really super special recipe. So if you plan to skip anything skip this and go down until you find that lol. Ok, well, I didn’t get my but out of bed early like I had thought about; big kudos to Emily from Too Much Apple Pie though for getting herself up at 5:30 to run. I’ll definitely try to live up to that  my next work day, next Wednesday. Overall the day was rather dull. I did, however, discover my work has a fridge(it depresses me I didn’t realize this last summer). What does this mean? Basically free food and a place to store yogurt so I can eat it as a snack at work 🙂 Also, we went back to that little Italian place I talked about; I just love this place more and more. It’s not enough that a store like this is a unique find in Boston–the store is unique every day! They change the foreign groceries and menu daily, so it’s like walking into a new store each time. Today they had thin crust margharita pizza, my absolute favorite. Let me tell you, this was better than most of the pizza I had in Italy. Later on I went back and got one of their homemade chocolate cups; this one had a white chocolate shell with a raspberry puree filling, and it was only 80 cents! How I was a good son and managed to not chomp on my dad’s half I do not know.

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I’m also really excited because I can now upload photos from my phone!(^case in point) so expect a lot more photos in my blogging. Ok, well that was pretty much it for today. I won’t be blogging again until Monday. Right now my weekend plan is to wake up and run at 7 tomorrow, leave for Maine by 9:30, and not get back until lateee Sunday. Soo I wanted to make this post really special if I’m going to leave you that long.

The whole reason we’re going to Maine is for my grandparents 50th anniversary, so I needed to bake something to celebrate. Well what says celebration better than delicious, decorative cupcakes? So next time you want to whip up a treat for something special, give these childhood favorites a try.

Note: This recipe is my entry to http://www.peanutbutterboy.com/the-great-peanut-butter-exhibition-7-celebration

To make this recipe, I started by comparing a lot of different peanut butter cupcake recipes. After adjusting them to my taste, I came across the perfect base. It’s moist, full of healthy fats, low on added sugar, and packs a peanutty punch; in essence, it tastes like peanut butter slathered on bread. The cupcake then needed a companion, like so many peanut butter sandwiches have. While jam may be the number one add on, my most fond memories come from when sticky peanut butter met its sticky, vanilla cousin: fluff. I’ve always seen fluff as more of a frosting than a condiment, so this not-so-delicate spread didn’t need modification to fit my recipe. And any good cupcake has sprinkles, right? So to top my creation I added the third obvious member of the party: a banana chip. Add them whole or crushed, the slightly saltiness truly makes the vanilla of the fluff pop. And if banana chips aren’t your style, there is always the potato chip–yes, I admit to sticking these in my sandwiches on occassion.

Makes 12 small-medium cupcakes, or “tastecakes”

Ingredients:

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup fluff

Banana Chips(optional)

Potato Chips(optional)

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Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix the honey(I used maple-agave blend) and peanut butter. Beat in the eggs one at a time and add the vanilla extract. In a seperate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the milk(I used original Almond Breeze) to the peanut butter mixture and blend. Slowly incorporate the dry into the wet until the batter is only slightly lumpy. Line a 12-well muffin tin and use an ice cream scooper to transfer the batter into the tin.

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Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the top springs back to a touch.

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Let the cupcakes cool completely. With a frosting knife, frost each cupcake with a tablespoon of fluff(I used an all-natural, vegan marshmallow spread). Garnish with potato chips or banana chips.

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I really hope you try this one; I’m sure you’ll love it.

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BBQ R&R

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

I’m glad pig out nights like last night only happen once and a while because they do not make the morning run the next day very fun. Haha, that being said, I’m glad nights like last night happen because god do they taste good! Quick run down of the night: I ate a red velvet cupcake in the car ride to the party so that’s one less thing I’d have to try there. Appetizers were meh. There were 3 gigantic bowls of fresh, cut fruit. Why can I not handle myself around these? There’s something about prepared canteloupe and watermelon that makes me go for 3rds and 4ths.

Dinner again was so-so. There ended up being a lot of different macaroni salads so I just had a bit of each. I didn’t get a burger because I’m so picky with my red meat. Is anyone else like this? I just don’t feel comfortable eating it unless I pick out the cut and cook it myself. Weird. I did have a piece of chicken off the grill which was tasty. I’m a lot less picky about my chicken because it usually all tastes the same to me.

Dessert was a bit better. I love my mom’s tiramisu trifle, except for the pudding and whip cream part. Just give me lady fingers soaked in coffee and kahlua and I’m a happy boy 🙂 There was another trifle with pudding, angel cake, and fruit that was delicious, and a real chocolate cake with frosting. The frosting was frostingy 😛 I never knew this but apparently kids go crazy over cupcakes baked in ice cream cones; I don’t quite see the appeal. All I know is that was the first dessert to go after a swarm of 10 year old girls attacked them. Weird.

This was my mom’s old college roomates that we partied with and for the first time in around 12 years every single parent and kid were there. You wouldn’t think this would be so rare but apparently it was, so much so that we all had to pose under a tree for a picture. I would share but it’s on my new phone and we haven’t worked out how to get pictures from there onto the computer. I’ll be so happy once we do work that out though because it’ll make blogging photos way simpler. It’s so nice out I think I’ll go for a walk before lunch, see ya.

P.S. Check out this giveaway www.fitandfabulouslife.com/2009/07/04/big-giveaway/

P.P.S. I told myself today I was going to eat “good” after last night’s splurging(which for me doesn’t mean any less, just all natural stuff). 11am and I pop open a Diet Mountain Dew. Lol oops, there’s always tomorrow I guess 😉

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When Should I “Let Go”?

Posted on June 14, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , |

Quick recap of my day, then an actual question for you, the readers, to try and help me out. It was pouring when I woke up so no running today. At around 10:30 we ran to Market basket to get some ice cream, oat bran, yogurt, and deep chocolate vitatops. They were out of the vitatops(The day was almost ruined right then) but I picked up the blueberry vitamuffins which I’m excited to try because they’re a combination of two of my favorites: muffins and a healthy baked good I don’t have to be the one to bake! After that, it was lunch on the run and then to my friend Kelly’s grad party(insert embarassing photo of her here because she’s probably never going to read it.) It was a lot of fun, mostly sitting on the couch watching How I Met Your Mother and Fever Pitch. After a drive home with a stop at TJ’s for some english muffins, a pretty relaxing night watching The Next Food Network Star(I can’t believe they booted Brett :-() and now some oat bran with White Chocolate Wonderful over it.

Ok, here’s my question for you all. As you might know by now, I’m underweight and hoping to gain some serious poundage(about 15lbs) while still being able to enjoy my summer, and what I enjoy is running 5 miles a day and generally being active. For the past 3 or 4 weeks I’ve been calorie counting and getting in 2500 a day, which has to my joy been working and I’ve probably gained anywhere from a pound to 3. However, my question is this: How do I know when it’s time to stop calorie counting?

In real life, not everything has the nutritional information listed, and today’s grad party was a reminder of that for me. I ate baked ziti, chex mix, salad, and potato salad and guestimated the caloric value and incorporated that into my daily. But at some point I’m going to need to eat without knowing how many calories I’ve consumed in the day and I need to figure out when that is. Right now, I’ve continued calorie counting out of fear that I’ll start losing weight again, and I really can’t afford to lose pounds. So how do I know when I’ve “relearned” how to eat?

And I should clarify this last part. I would not say that I ever had an eating disorder; not once have I thought I was fat or even worried about body image in that way. If anything, I’ve worried about being too scrawny. Me losing 40 pounds over the course of a year is a product of getting into running and working out, and choosing filling foods over indulgent ones. I’ve always eaten when I’m hungry, and that’s why I’m hesitant to stop calorie counting: I realize with my activity level I can eat to the point of being full but if I’m choosing filling foods I might not be getting all the calories I need. And that’s what I mean by “relearn”. Learn to eat for someone with my activity level and not for an average person.

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