When The Weather’s This Perfect

Posted on May 27, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I’m so happy for the enthusiasm for my blogiversary. It was definitely fun looking over old posts and old photos; nothing makes you feel better than seeing a picture and thinking “I look so young and fresh here” until you realize it’s 3 1/2 years old 😉

After yesterday hit 91 degrees, and the night was riddled with thunderstorms and showers, the weather today was just perfect. There’s so much can do on a day like today!

I love it when it’s not too hot that chocolate melts. This was mint-flavored carob, but I’d assume it’d melt if it were too hot, too. There is nothing worse than opening up a chocolate bar only to find melted poo.

When it’s this nice out, part of me feels like I could keep going and going. The other part of me(aka, my knees) remembers all too well the 14 miles from yesterday, so there wasn’t much enthusiasm to go any further. Still, this was a dreamy run.

When the weather’s this perfect, grilling is the obvious option, but there are some things that just taste better in a seasoned pan.

I was craving Spanish potatoes and ground beef. This was so simple, too; just potatoes and onion cooked in olive oil with sea salt, paprika, and black pepper, and then grass-fed ground beef cooked through. A little basil just brightens up everything; it’s my favorite herb to add in the Summer.

I couldn’t wait for Sundae Friday this week; I just had to have fun in the kitchen. I used up the last of the vegan blondies and mixed them with snickerdoodle soy ice cream. It was missing something, though…

Rice whip, anyone?! All vegan; all delicious.

When the weather’s this perfect, I think my diet soda addiction kicks back in. Like I said here, even though I went 96 hours without stevia, I still adore it in moderation.Since the weather was so nice, I took a walk around the neighborhood, and made a delicious snack plate upon my return.

A random plate of raw onion, raw broccoli, and 2 slices vegan Hawaiian pizza. I was curious if leftover gluten-free, vegan pizza had that same magical quality as regular leftover pizza. It does.

For dinner, my mom went out with her girlfriends for the night. That used to mean “breakfast for dinner” for the boys, where the breakfast was poptarts. Thankfully, we’ve all grown up a little since then and can make real food.

When the weather’s this perfect, a Summer Salad is the way to go. This was just dressed spinach with homemade chickpeas, raisins, and Daiya. I think I’ve reached my fake-cheese limit for the day.

Do you take your leftover pizza hot or cold? I like to heat it back up and get it to the gooey cheese state.

What do you feel like doing in perfect weather? I’m 90% sure ice cream will be made tonight. I’m just debating between a very classy chocolate chip or a vegan white chocolate flavor…

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1 Year Older, 1 Year… Different

Posted on May 27, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I have to say, I don’t even really remember writing this post 1 year ago tomorrow. I actually started the blog 1 year ago today; I’m not quite sure what happened to the first post but it was nothing special as I remember. I guess it’s fitting that this blog started with a product review, since that’s one thing I’ve done through it all(I still do, too. I’ve just been enjoying a house with a loaded kitchen). But over all that time I can’t say that I’ve really “learned” anything; I’ve simply changed. In a lot of ways.

I’ve updated both my bio on the side bar and my About Me to reflect my latest thoughts. There was a time when I measured out nut butter on oatmeal, and that worked for me. Now, I’m happy plopping it on and not knowing. And in this post, I swore off artificially sweetened yogurts; that sparked 8 or so months of eating how I would call “all-natural”. Honestly, I’m a little over that label. I still probably eat that way 99.9% of the time, but it’s not how I’d label myself. But I realized at the root of everything I’ve done, it’s been in the name of comfort. I think no matter what you do, it needs to be what feels right to you. So that’s where I am now: a comfort eater.

Speaking of comfort, we used to eat pizza as a family probably twice a week in my younger days. It was always from a greasy local joint, never quite good or healthy, and yet we all loved it. Since going gluten-free(another thing different), I really have missed pizza. So yesterday I broke out the gluten-free pizza mix and got to work. The dough tasted like Bertucci’s!(I made it vegan so it was OK to eat the dough ;-))

The ingredients were very basic: we got pizza sauce made fresh at Whole Foods, fresh mozzarella on sale, basil picked from our garden, Daiya, and canned pineapple. Yes, my favorite pizza has always been Hawaiian. 

It came out of the oven perfectly. The dough was a little… doughy, but I realized that was because I cut the whole recipe in half except for the water. Whoops. Half of this was a traditional pizza margarita and half vegan Hawaiian.

My plate had two slices of each, and a salad made with strawberries, yellow onion, and grape tomatoes. Like I said, the crust was a little bit doughy. But besides that this was excellent. I don’t even think anyone knew the pineapple pieces were vegan until I told them.

Of course, some things will never be different.

I still like ice cream. It just happens to be made from coconut milk.

I’ll have my cake and eat it, too. Even better, I can do it without gluten, eggs, or dairy.

And chocolate… how I love my Endangered Species chocolate. The only thing different here is that I’ve elevated my hydrogenated Jif to vanilla peanut butter and other fun flavors by Naturally Nutty.

After 1 year, I never thought I’d be so excited for another and more. I could never pick 1 favorite thing about blogging; I’d have to pick 3. Making friends with other bloggers is huge to me, and I look forward to many more meetups and getting to know new people. Hearing about how I’ve influenced people in any way, shape, or form, big or small always brings a smile to my face. If I can help someone in anyway by just doing my own thing, I’m happy to. And I never, ever take for granted a public platform to embarrass myself, because how will I ever achieve my dream of being a Food Network chef/stand-up comedian/Today Show host/Mythbuster/Adventurer if I can’t take a little criticism.

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I’ma Survivah

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

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

Snow

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

Snobby Lentils, Carrots And Parsnips With Salsa, Broccoli

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

2% Chobani With Dark Chocolate Raspberry Jam

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

Chocolate Brownie Gnu Foods Bar

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

Kim & Scott's Pizza Pretzel

Kim & Scott's Pizza Pretzel

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

Groceries

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

Apple Slices, Cinnamon Raisin Toast With White Chocolate Wonderful

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

Amy's Tomato Bisque

White Chocolate Chickpeas, Asparagus

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

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

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

Last night, the plan for dinner was Whole Foods turkey(on sale). Well, the smallest turkey was 11 pounds… we’re 3 people. New plan: Dinner at Tomassos! I adore this restaurant, as it’s by far the best one near us, Italian or otherwise. I even dropped some not-so-secret hints last weekend I wanted to go, so I was glad those were picked up. I definitely did not want to go hungry, so I kept snacking on through the afternoon.

Apple

Organic Sprouted Cinnamon Raisin Bread With Macadamia Butter

This was my first time trying macadamia butter, and I have to say the bread really outshined it. It tasted almost precisely like cashew butter(which is the other ingredient in it). It wasn’t bad, and if I were a vegan I could see myself turning to this as a “butter replacement”, but it really didn’t wow me. It seemed like something that could highlight other flavors rather than stand on its own. A little white chocolate with this would have been amazing(Ok, that can be said about a lot of things). We got to the restaurant around 6:30.

Tomassos

I love the open atmosphere; you can see right into the kitchen and the dining room is perfectly arranged for relaxation. The funniest part of the night was when my mom asked our hostess “So is your sister home yet?” with no pretext; last time we were there, we decided that the hostess looked like a girl I went to elementary school with, though we never confirmed this and she clearly had no clue who we were. This time, my mom thought that we had confirmed this with her and she knew who we were, but in reality she gave us a very creeped out glance back. Once we explained things it turned out it was her and she was shocked to come across us. Isn’t it fun running in to old acquaintances?

Pizze Margarita

I had to steal a slice of my parents pizza as an appetizer. This is seriously the best margarita pizza I’ve had outside of Italy, and even then only 1 pizza has ever tops it. It’s perfectly thin and crispy, with an herby sauce and light but fresh cheese. For my dinner I had a really hard time deciding but settled for the maiale

Local Pork With Local Cranberry And Pear Monstrada

I can’t say I’d ever reorder this. The monstrada was delightfully spicy and sweet, but I’m just not someone who can sit down to a big plate of meat and feel good(and that’s all there was on this plate). It felt vulgarly big. I ate most of the leaner meat, but ended up giving 1/3 or so of it to my parents and not feeling particularly satisfied with what I’d eaten. In fact, I was just about downright hangry as we were leaving and other people were talking about how full they were. When I got home, I knew just what I needed.

Brussels Sprouts With Vanilla Sugar

Maybe I should change this blog to VeggieBoy in homage to this lovely blogger(who we should all wish good luck on finishing her finals!). I sprinkled a little vanilla sugar on top because I couldn’t decide if this was a “dessert”. At heart, I’m truly a vegetable lover, which led me to this new plan: Eat meat as a side or seasoning, never more than 1/3 of the meal. Don’t order it while out(I could, but I don’t expect many restaurants to meet the first sentiment, so why set myself up for disappointment?). Maybe those brussels sprouts were more than I expected, because they left me big and bloated. But there’s always room for chocolate!

NibMor Original Style Chocolate

This was a new chocolate I got in the mail yesterday to sample and review by NibMor.

So Delicious Agave Sweetened Plain With Dark Chocolate Newman's Cup And Original NibMor

With a little more chocolate and some soy yogurt to go along side. Yum! This chocolate really impressed me. The flavor was slightly more bitter than I prefer, which was odd because this was a 70% and that’s usually my perfect number. But overall the flavor was good. And I couldn’t get over the fact that this was entirely organic and raw! Seriously, that part astounded me as I couldn’t taste any difference. After posting my peanut butter cookie recipe, a snack plate was in order.

Peanut Butter Cookie, Deep Chocolate Vitatop, Advent Chocolate With Smart Balance Peanut Butter

I don’t think they’re quite as good after being frozen from a week, but oh well. Not quite as good still equaled damn fine for a “healthy” cookie. I ended up getting to bed before 11:30, only to wake up around 3:45 and having difficulty falling back to sleep; I think I was either in anticipation of the snow or workout(both to come). I ended up making some 4am oatmeal to settle myself.

Oatmeal With Honey

McLure's Clover Honey

I don’t usually sweeten my oatmeal with stevia or anything; in fact, I like salty oats. But I thought I’d try out my new honey as I definitely was having a bear’s tooth for it. I only did 1/2 a tablespoon(I was trying tog et back to sleep after all), so I didn’t get a lot of flavor, but what I could taste was so nice and pure. I can’t believe I got this for only $4. I did eventually get to bed, and the snow outside was soooo amazing when I woke up.

7:30am

Could you think of something better to wake up to? Well I spared no time in starting my quest to find some good at home workouts to do over the next 30 days if that’s going to be the case. This morning, I did an overall body core workout first which kicked my butt. I need to readjust it for my level before I go and post anything. That took 30 minutes, and afterwards I did stair iterations for 200 flights, which took another 60 minutes. I was literally dripping sweat by the end but it felt soo good. New plan: Get a workout in every day, even if it’s just some light walking around. You’ll feel so much better once you do! And being couped up at home doesn’t have to be an excuse to get out of exercise. I was so ready for breakfast after showering.

Pumpkin Oatmeal WIth Mighty Maple And Pumkin Cream Cheese

Boulevard's Organic Hot Chocolate With Vegan Fluff

This was perfect for a snowy day. I know she wasn’t the first person ever to do this, but Brandi deserves a huge shout out for reminding me of hot cocoa and fluff. The combination of Boulevard’s Organic and vegan marshmallow spread couldn’t have been simpler and tastier. And I just love my pumpkin oats with mighty maple and pumpkin cream cheese(as I’m sure you’ve figured out by now). But that brings me to a final new plan: Get 2 sources of probiotics a day. Actually, this is a rather old plan of mine, and something I generally do, but I think I need to remind myself of this one. Probiotics from fortified foods is so good for the digestive system and I shouldn’t be skimping. If that means I have to eat frozen yogurt at night, who’s to complain? 😉 Clearly there weren’t any at breakfast which just means I’m going to need to fit them in a bit later.

I can’t believe how much it’s still snowing; this is too perfect!

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Sweet 16

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

I did it! As I mentioned in a 6:29am mad rush yesterday, The Biggest Loser inspired me to get out and try for a distance personal record. More specifically, what I was inspired by was the contestant’s goal: not necessarily to “run a marathon” but more “to move their bodies 26.2 miles”. Every morning I’ve gotten up and ran until it was time to stop(which, if the time is a literal thing, around 8:30). Yesterday I decided no time excuses–that I was going to get up and “move my body 16 miles”. While I wanted to run it, I acknowledged I might need to walk, to hop off the treadmill for the bathroom(which happened a lot), or to take a water break. Regardless, I was determined to hit the distance and not factor in anything else. While it was long, it wasn’t nearly as grueling as I anticipated. I overprepared like a pro.

Peanut Butter And Jelly Larabar

I brought 3 bars and only ended up eating what you don’t see of this PB&J Larabar. And, yes, I made it 16 miles. Needless to say, it felt quite good to finish after a time of 2:17:50 and I was into the 3rd hour of The Today Show. Best of all, I learned a new way of thinking; I loved the mentality shift from running to moving myself a certain distance. It makes all sorts of distances look possible for the future. Also needless to say, I was a sweaty mess when I got back to my dorm at 9:20, so I showered and made this salty and sweet mess:

Sweet And Salty Oats

Oatmeal
1/2 cup pumpkin
1 tablespoon Smart Balance PB
1 tablespoon peanut butter chips
2 strips Fakin’ Bacon
Maple Syrup
Sea Salt

If this is at the end of 16 miles, I’m running 32 tomorrow. I was short on time after ignoring it so I went with the throw-everything-in-a-bowl method and wow was this good. I don’t know where to begin, so I’ll just let your imagine soar 🙂 I still wanted to get some breakfast probiotics though, so I gave a new product a try.

Vega Vanilla Chai Whole Food Health Optimizer

You can read my review here, but to sum it up I’d say the nutrition was ridiculously amazing, the flavor decent, and the coloration scary. I think that’s how it works with most green drinks, at least the last part anyway. I ended up walking into class right with the bell(score!) just in time to do teacher evaluations… I’m sure I’ll stick out like a thumb on my evaluations in the classes where I’m the only freshman(and that’s the first question on the paper) but I tried being honest in all of them. After class I picked up something at a campus convenience and made my way home for emails and lunch. Lunch came in to parts:

Trader Joe's Mac N' Cheese, Broccoli

Chocolate Peppermint Stick Luna

It just felt like a mac n’ cheese day; I don’t think that needs any explanation 🙂 When I saw a chocolate peppermint bar at the convenience store, I had to grab it. Yes–it’s a bar marketed for women. But I see you gals eat Clif bars all the time so if you can gender-bar hop so can I 😉 Plus it just felt so nice and seasonal. I really liked it and even bought another one afterwards to enjoy with cocoa some time.

All I could think about in classes 2 and 3 was how I almost spent as much time on the treadmill as I would in class yesterday–insane! When i got out, I wandered around a bit up and down Thayer street. I bought 2 magazines even though I had 3 I hadn’t read yet(whoops), and managed by Blue State for some coffee. Eventually, I realized all of this was procrastination since I had an overflowing inbox and homework to do, so I hung my head and got back to the dorm. I also picked up this delicacy while I was out and about:

Pizza Strip With Lightlife Breakfast Sausage

A pizza strip is a local food comprised of a yeast dough topped with a thin layer of herby sauce and nothing more. I added some breakfast sausage to make it a “faux meat lovers” pizza–yum! I think this officially makes me a Rhodey now, right Big Girl? The afternoon was filled with busy work. I got pretty hungry by 6 but didn’t want to ruin my appetite for meeting folks at the dinning hall at 6:30 so I snacked on an apple.

Apple

It’s really unfortunate this is my pre-dinner snack because my dining hall serves some pretty bad apples and I refuse to buy produce with my grocery money that’s not some sort of tuber or I can’t store under my bed 😦 For dinner, I knew I didn’t want the veggie option so I made my main in my dorm and relied on the cafe for side veggies.

Maple Mustard Tofu Steaks, Sweet Potato, Steamed Vegetables

It feels like ages since I’ve done the maple/mustard combo, so it was welcomed to have it back. I cut up 3 slices(2 servings) of firm tofu and tried letting it marinate for 30 minutes and “glaze” in the microwave but in the end it was more of a sauce. I don’t know why the sweet potato doesn’t look like much here because it felt HUGE and sat like a rock in my tummy. I was honestly stuffed when I got back to my dorm and just wanted to put on stretchy PJ’s and my glasses to watch TV.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who was glued to the tree lighting ceremony? Rudolph was also on, and so were some new ABC shows, but how often do they light the Rockefeller tree? I never knew Jane Krakowski was an actual singer; I never would have guessed that from her 30 Rock character. Eventually, when there was room, I had a seasonal snack.

Chocolate Peppermint Stick Luna

Haha, guess I’m getting a little repetitive? I blame this blogger for giving me a peppermint craving(and by blame, I mean utterly adore). It was still as good as the first time and prompted me to write a review so I can spread the crack love. Other than that, I got an embarrassingly low amount of work done 😦 It’s just that time of year when things are piling up so high doing the “normal” amount of work won’t cut it. I realized when enough was enough(aka, quitting time) and tried getting out with my sanity. I was ready to get under the covers and enjoy one last night time snack.

Oatmeal With Peanut Butter Frosting, TJ's Mini PB Cups, Smart Balance PB And An Advent Chocolate

Holy oats! So good. True fact: I’m all for dark chocolate and it’s antioxidental power, but when it comes to chocolate and peanut butter I need my milk–it’s just better if you ask me. For the peanut butter frosting, I did 2oz greek yogurt with 1 tablespoon peanut flour and 5 drops stevia. Expect to see about 22 more of those little hearts before Christmas.

Newman's Own Organic Mocha Milk Chocolate

I might have snuck a little more milk chocolate. At least I’m good enough to take pictures of it? Sleep felt so easy and natural last night; it was raining when I went to bed and I love falling asleep to the sound of rain. Unfortunately, when I woke up, it wasn’t rain but a full blown torrential downpour. I decided to sleep in and not run(and since I run in the gym, you can imagine how bad this ran seemed at the time). I got up an hour or so later and realized I’m so lost when I’m off my “routine”. Regardless, I tried to normalize things with oats and yogurt.

Banana Oatmeal With Banana Peanut Butter, Pumpkin Yogurt With Pumpkin Flax Granola And White Chocolate Chips

Normal tastes gooood. I think I underseasoned the oats because I tried to make them taste more like my banana goodness bread but they came out just banana with a touch of cinnamon. Salt and this peanut butter perked it up. I completely forgot how nice and flaxy the Nature’s Path granola is. Yesterday I got awesome news that I was their “fan of the week” on facebook and am getting some products I’ve never had before!! I can’t wait to try them.

As the sun is coming out, it’s making me feel bad about not getting a great run in. Well where was it at 6:30am? I might take the rest day, or might be drawn out after class. Or I might just call a trip to the Whole Foods salad bar a “workout”. Any of those are good options.

Giveaway over at the PB queen herself’s blog!

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Foodie Gallery

Posted on October 11, 2009. Filed under: Restaraunt Review, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Warning: If you’re prone to drooling on your keyboard, get out a napkin for this post. Ironically, my morning was very disorganized and ugly. I was running way behind yesterday morning(not so much literally as figuratively). Apparently, there was a tornado warning and my room was affected:

Dorm Room

Dorm Room

Thankfully(or not), somebody was also a bit late leaving my house that morning, so I had more time than I thought to pack. For a 3-day trip home, I feel the need to pack as though all I’m eating is what I pack. 4 jars of nut butter and my coffee machine were necessities, of course. Because I was still eating breakfast in the car, we skipped the Whole Foods on the way home and got there by 1. I was very excited to see not 1 but 2 packages waiting for me:

Packages

Packages

So many exciting goodies here. In one of the packages was 2lb’s of peanut flour I ordered. I really liked my gift from The National Peanut Board, so much so I ordered these 2 pounds for myself. I can’t wait to see how the dark roasted contrasts in flavor to the light roast. The second package was an amazing surprise from my friends over at Nature’s Path:

Nature's Path Organic Products

Nature's Path Organic Products

Wow. I am so spoiled 😀 My good friend, Joy, from Nature’s Path Organic sent these over for me to sample and review.  Thank you, Joy, for all these great sounding products. She asked me if there were any in particular I wanted to try and I mentioned how among all their products their Pumpkin Flax Granola really stood out to me so she was sure to include that. Now, normally I reserve oatmeal and yogurt–as much as I love it–as just a morning and dessert thing. Well, special exceptions were made in this case because I just couldn’t wait, so I made a unique lunch:

Pumpkin Oats With Chocolate Butter Toffee PB And Pumpkin Seeds, Pumpkin Yogurt With Pumkin Flax Granola

Pumpkin Oats With Chocolate Butter Toffee PB And Pumpkin Seeds, Pumpkin Yogurt With Pumkin Flax Granola

Did I mention I also got my dad hooked on Naturally Nutty, so much so that he ordered some for himself and this was his Chocolate Butter Toffee I was stealing trying? Well now you know. Overall what can I say about this meal but that it was pumpkinrific. I actually wasn’t blown away by the chocolate butter toffee because of how remarkably similar it was to the regular butter toffee. But since I love their butter toffee I wasn’t too disappointed. The Pumpkin Flax granola was exactly what I was hoping for. I liked this a lot. It was crispy without being dense. A lot of granolas are either light and get soggy or crispy but very hard and dense; this was light but it remained fresh even after spending quality time with my yogurt. I could definitely make this a daily whole grain. We needed to do some Trader Joe lovin’ while I was around so I grabbed this and jumped into the car:

Peanut Butter Vitatop

Peanut Butter Vitatop

It’s definitely not one of my favorite because the peanut butter is a bit scarce and lacking in flavor, but as with any chocolate vitatop: even when it’s not good, it’s still pretty good. I also translated my Greek homework, which was a great break because I actually translated the exact story last year in another book. Lucky, huh? I can’t wait to be tested on it for the 3rd or 4th time. We hit up Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s in a reasonable amount of time. I picked up ice cream at the first store so that really got my booty moving in Trader Joe’s to get in and out as quick as I could. Overall I would call it a great success:

Grocery Trip Loot

Grocery Trip Loot

I grabbed fruit, because apparently that doesn’t exist to my parents besides bananas. I also got 2% greek yogurt from Trader Joe’s; this is part of why I love the pineapple Chobani so much and I completely forgot TJ’s made their own! There was also english muffins and whole wheat cinnamon raisin rolls via my new favorite bakery. They’re 200 calories each with little sugar and a great, yeasty base–heaven. I grabbed my favorite ice cream on sale, snickerdoodle! And to round it off I picked up some more vitatops and Stonyfield plain lowfat yogurt. Oh, and I got some Trader Joe pumpkin whoopie pies which I bought especially for when we see my relatives today; trust me, it’s taken a lot of restraint to keep away from those. Well I definitely needed a snack, and boy this was a good one:

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Roll With Vanilla Bean Sugar Frosting

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Roll With Vanilla Bean Sugar Frosting

I channeled my inner Jenny to make this, and oh my God was it good. I heated up a cinnamon roll and mixed 1 tablespoon greek yogurt with vanilla stevia to make an icing. Then I sprinkled on my special vanilla sugar from Whole Foods. This was perhaps one of the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had. When I say that I mean this actually topped the ones from the mall with 1000 more calories. I’ve never been lucky enough to have a Holey Donuts cinnamon roll, but I bet this beats that, too. Oh my God. You have no idea. Ok, ok, I’ll stop gushing. My afternoon “project” was to make something for seeing the relatives. Of course I went with my new favorite recipe:

Vegan Pumpkin Molasses Cookies

Vegan Pumpkin Molasses Cookies

Vegan Pumpkin Molasses Cookies! Holly definitely showed her inner genius here. I modified her version a bit but it’s impossible to improve on perfection. My cousins’ grandmother made a great molasses cookie. These aren’t quite as good, probably because they’re way lower on the butter and sugar, but I’m hoping they’ll enjoy them along the same strand. And, you know, if they don’t love them I certainly do 😉

Well we(read: I) decided we should go out for dinner tonight. The first and only place to pop into mind was Tomasso. It’s definitely the classiest, most amazing restaurant within 30 minutes of here, and makes Italian food we just love. Best yet, the restaurant is very conscious about serving “food” that’s local and organic when possible. You’d be hard pressed to find anything processed in their kitchen. The entire menu looked amazing and deliciously seasonal. I decided to order of the menu and go with the special of the night.

Local Albacore Tuna With Vegetable Salad Medley

Local Albacore Tuna With Vegetable Salad Medley

This fish was absolutley delicious. When they say local and fresh, they mean it; my guess is this was caught this morning or yesterday. And it was so rare that I couldn’t have (not) cooked it better myself! Yum. I felt a little naughty adding some sea salt to it, because it was so nicely seasoned; the truth is I just salt everything including the soups at my dining hall, so I salted it in secret. My parents decided to get a pizze:

Margharita Pizze

Margharita Pizze

I’ve had this as my main before, and let me tell you this: It’s the best pizza I’ve had within the United States. I had to cut myself off a piece just because it was there. They also ordered a ton of appetizers to split amongst themselves. The only one I tried was the polenta fries:

Polenta Fries

Polenta Fries

It was OK, but not something I’d order. It tasted a lot like something I could make myself with some polenta, milk, and a mild cheese. When I go out to dinner, I really like to focus my meal on a great protein like fish or beef rather than something carby; I can always make myself pasta but I’m not going to go out and butcher a cow for my dinner(I let someone else do that because it’s less messy). Overall it was a great night and I’m glad everyone enjoyed their meal.

While my dinner was fantastic, it wasn’t as filling as my usual veggie-fest nights, so I quickly grabbed this from the freezer:

Purely Decadent Snickerdoodle Ice Cream

Purely Decadent Snickerdoodle Ice Cream

I love my snickerdoodle and I can not lie. I had to enjoy this with a cup of coffee; I’ve never understood desserts that involve coffee on top of ice cream, but to each their own. The perfect show for me was on TV at 8: Good Eats Salt. I never learned so much about salt. Thanks, Alton Brown! I never liked Good Eats when I first started liking Thee Food Network. I always thought it was too much talk and not enough cooking, plus the recipes always confused me. Once I got a food scale and realized that recipes really were all about the science behind them, I started liking the show a lot more. For instance, I know that yeast makes things rise which makes them light and airy and makes me want to eat them again:

Vegan Cinnamon Roll With Greek Yogurt Vanilla Bean Icing

Vegan Cinnamon Roll With Greek Yogurt Vanilla Bean Icing

I used a little less vanilla stevia in the yogurt which gave it just the right sweetness to not overwhelm the roll. I seriously think this could convert the fickiest of healthy eaters. I intended to catch up on TV shows on the internet and homework for the night. What actually ended up happening was the 10th anniversary of Good Eats! What a great special that was; I love how he sat down, came up for the concept of some crazy cooking show that’s never existed, and got it done. For some reason, the night did not seem complete until I had my oats:

Oatmeal With White Chocolate Wonderful

Oatmeal With White Chocolate Wonderful

I love that I’ve corrupted people in this house enough that I don’t need to bring certain flavors because I’m positive if I crave them there’ll be there. Case in point: White Chocolate Wonderful. This was good eats for Good Eats. And I forgot how good of a melting peanut butter this is. Peanut Butter & Co., 365 Brand, and Crazy Richard’s are all my staple for oatmeal because they get so liquidy that it’s joyous.

This morning was a bit of a mess again, but a mess I’m glad to have done. You see, I greatly underestimated how cold it was when I decided to run. Now Mr. Weatherman is telling me it was 30’s and 40’s, and I’m definitely an 80’s and 90’s boy. Well even though I couldn’t feel my fingers a mile out, I figured I’d keep going while I was already running. Towards the end of the run I had major digestion… let’ just not go there and instead say I was dashing for the bathroom when I got back before thinking about stretching. On the bright side, it was a goregeous run through the back roads of Marlborough and Southborough and I got to listen to my country songs which really helped me feel grounded. And those issues probably sped me up to finish 8.5 miles in 1:09:25. If Sunday’s good for anything it’s breakfast and circulars:

Pineapple Chobani, Nature's Path Maple Nut Oatmeal With Mighty Maple Peanut Butter

Pineapple Chobani, Nature's Path Maple Nut Oatmeal With Mighty Maple Peanut Butter

I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t on my mind the whole run. The pineapple Chobani is simply one of my favorites; my mom who almost never eats yogurt had one and liked it, too! I think it must have been the cream because she uses 2% in her coffee and it’s obvious she misses the real stuff. Normally I don’t do packeted oatmeal; it’s much better in my mind to do 20g oatbran, 20g irish oats, and liberal salt and make my own. That being said, Nature’s Path Organic sent me some of their instant oats to try and this one really appealed to me. Rather than have me gush about it here, however, I’m going to gush about it here. This is how I hope for my whole Product Review section to look in the future. Let me know if you like it; I think it makes things much neater and simpler for me and you, not to mention I don’t have to worry about deleting pictures or old posts for space.

Today like I mentioned we’re going to see the relatives. There will be something bright red on my dish that was living about 20 minutes before I cracked it open. Ok, not the most appetizing description, but any guesses what that might be? 🙂

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A Room Of My Own

Posted on September 13, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Good morning. I feel so much more chipper today than yesterday. Maybe it was the not running in the rain, maybe it was the sleeping in my own bed. I’ll get to all of that later.

The ‘rents came down to Providence around 11:30. I loaded up a cooler with half the vitatops to bring home in case my school freezer wouldn’t cut it. On the way home we had a few stops, the first being here:

Farmer's Market

Farmer's Market

This is part of the same Farmer’s Market loop that comes to my quad on Wednesdays. There were a lot more vendors today but nothing peaked my interest(except specialty jams which ALWAYS do except they’re so expensive). Afterwards we went to the Whole Foods which has an exceptional collection of ice cream–but more on that later. It was lunch time and I needed a snack or a full blown meal to keep my crankiness down so we went with the salad bar:

Salmon, Sweet Potato Tempeh Taco Filling, Lentils With Brown Rice

Salmon, Sweet Potato Tempeh Taco Filling, Lentils With Brown Rice

Salmon is always a good choice, no? It was a bit dry, and cold, but you know how I am about salmon: just say yes. I also got some hot sweet potato/tempeh taco filling and some cold lentil/brown rice concoction. I put them in the same container because I didn’t realize one was hot and one was cold wanted to spare the environment. Again, these were pretty damn good. I was so happy to see this lil’ bugger when I got back:

Montana

Montana

He was happy too, and I’m taking sniffing my leg, itching himself, and falling asleep as happy signs. Remember when I mentioned that ice cream? Well let’s just say I didn’t ask my parents to come down to Providence and bring a cooler for nothing.

Laloo's Strawberry Darling Ice Cream

Laloo's Strawberry Darling Ice Cream

I came across Laloo’s on my goat’s milk kick(which I’m totally still on). It’s an ice cream made of goat’s milk that comes in fun and interesting flavors. It’s carried at a few stores such as Whole Foods and a pint costs around 7 dollars. I was immediately drawn to Strawberry Darling–juicy strawberries in cream married to a graceful swirl of balsamico. Um, yum? This totally lived up to its description and more. The sweet strawberry flavor with the natural tang of goat’s milk was wonderous enough, but the balsamic swirl really set it over the edge. It added a savoriness that half made me want to stop eating it and half shove the whole thing in my mouth. Yes, it’s expensive and I probably wouldn’t buy it for more of the plain flavors; but I think for some of the more extremes it’s a must go-to.

Afterwards we went out for a bit more errands. My mom made it expressly clear that if I planned on staying we needed yogurt and bread. Yogurt, I understand, but why does no one buy bread once I leave? They clearly can’t function without me. First we stopped by a small store where I couldn’t help picking up these:

Indigo Rabbit's Gingerlicious Cookies

Indigo Rabbit's Gingerlicious Cookies

I love these little cookies. They’re soft and delicious and taste like they’re from the oven of a happy, healthy home–better yet, not mine. We also worked our way down to Trader Joe’s where I was jumping up and down the aisle at the sight of these:

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Butter

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Butter

They’re baaaaack. Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Butter has hit the shelves again. I got 2 jars and I’m already regretting not getting more; I’ve had other pumpkin butters that taste like baby food but this is the real spiced-up deal. I can’t wait to bring one back to my dorm. When I got home I knew just what I wanted for a snack.

Snobby Joe

Snobby Joe

Properly cooked lentils. What can I say? I’m a man of healthy tastes. Having lentils so much at the Ratty that were cooked only OK made me really want to bust out the pans and start simmering. I made a batch and added snobby joe sauce. Believe it or not, this was only OK. I had to use Market Basket steak sauce instead of 365 since I stole that for my dorm room; I never realized just how much of the flavor it brought.

For dinner we tried something a little different and sort of special?

Tomass's Margharita And Eggplant Pizza

Tomass's Margharita And Eggplant Pizza

We ordered take-out pizza from this place. I love Tomasso even though I’ve only been there once. It was such a great experience that took me back to Italy. I’m tantalized every time I get a facebook update about their specials for the night. That being said, getting their take out just did not make the night feel special at all. It tasted blander than when we ate it fresh out of the oven; I would have rather a good homemade dinner even if it was just something bland like chicken. To make things worth, no one said a word during dinner. Not a word. There were a few little nuisances earlier in the evening that caused a little awkward anger–not the way anyone wants to spend their time “home”. Oh well, I happily left the table and moved to the fridge to get a little more Laloo’s.

Laloo's Strawberry Darling Ice Cream

Laloo's Strawberry Darling Ice Cream

I really love this flavor. The pint’s almost gone 😦 I’ll need to try their seasonal flavor, pumpkin! I can’t even begin to imagine how that’ll be 🙂

I needed some totally-different-carbs to get my mind off dinner.

Trader Joe's Carrot Ginger Muffin With White Chocolate Wonderful

Trader Joe's Carrot Ginger Muffin With White Chocolate Wonderful

I picked out the Carrot Ginger Bran Muffins from Trader Joe’s. These totally have that healthy-muffin taste which is what I love about them. A muffin SHOULD be healthy. Otherwise it’s a cupcake–nuff’ said. My big box o’ PB was back at my dorm, but luckily I left a little White Chocolate Wonderful back home for just such an occasion. Yum. I was thinking about trying out Skippy Natural which was a new find in my pantry(can I just say how proud I am of my parents for actually learning something about nutrition from me). But I thought “If I’m going to have a peanut butter with sugar in it, I might as well have a flavored peanut butter”. Speaking of peanut butter, I gave this a try while catching up on television shows via Tivo and the internet:

Crazy Richard's Chunky Peanut Butter

Crazy Richard's Chunky Peanut Butter

How was it? You’ll have to wait and see until I try both varieties and write a full review. But I think it’s clear from the picture that, when Crazy Richard’s says chunky, they mean ChUnKy. This was more like smooth peanut butter + whole peanuts than coursely ground peanuts. Can I reiterate what a blessing tivo and internet television sites are? I’m still having trouble tracking down a lot of my Food Network shows(oh, Unwrapped, where art thou?), but otherwise I’m almost caught up.

This morning I hoped to do 8.5 miles on my own turf. I realized I just wasn’t feeling it towards the end and took a turn that landed me at 7.5 miles. But I did do this at sub 8:00 pace and finished a little under 59 minutes, which I loved; it’s so hard to go fast on those Providence hills but it really helped on the flats here. When I got back I showered, had a bit of an identity crisis, and made breakfast… we’ll get back to the middle part after breakfast.

Peanut Butter Muffin Tops With Honey Almond Butter And Strawberry Jam, Cherries With Chocolate Yogurt And Chocolate Chips

Peanut Butter Muffin Tops With Honey Almond Butter And Strawberry Jam, Cherries With Chocolate Yogurt And Chocolate Chips

The yogurt and cherries is my excuse for getting potassium. There’s potassium in there, it’s just under the chocolatey goodness. The peanut butter muffin tops are from the batch I froze and taste just as delicious, although I prefer them as “pancakes”. They’re light and airy and the peanut flour really pumps the protein. Both the spreads were new; I really loved the strawberry spread. It tasted like the smuckers that you would slather on toast at Denny’s except it’s organic and the first ingredient is strawberries, just as it should be. The honey almond butter was a bit of a disappointment. It was like almond butter-light, meaning the flavor was really neutral and almost unrecognizable. I added some salt which always perks up almonds, but I probably won’t buy this again.

Like I said, I had a bit of a moment, and I’d love to hear any thoughts you guys have on this. The weekend home really wasn’t what I thought it’d be; it didn’t feel at all special really since we just grocery shopped and watched the rain outside, and at times it didn’t even feel like “home” since half of my stuff is back at my dorm. That being said, my dorm doesn’t feel like a “home” either. I mean, how could it when I have half a room to call my own and pretty much rely on the college for everything else including food, cable, and entertainment, as hit-or-miss as those all may be. A lot of you have probably gone though this experience and felt the same way at one point or another, so I’d really appreciate any advice/stories on how you dealt with the transition.

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Flour Flying Everywhere

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

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

The Spare Bedroom

The Spare Bedroom

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

Going For A Walk

Going For A Walk

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

Shadow

Shadow

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

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

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

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

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

Banana Goodness Bread

Banana Goodness Bread

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

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

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

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

Carrot Cake Ice Cream

Carrot Cake Ice Cream

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

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

Maple Peanut Butter Muffin Tops

Ingredients:

2oz Mighty Maple Peanut Butter

2oz reduced fat cream cheese

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

1/4 cup peanut flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon baking powder

Cinnamon sugar for dusting

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

Maple Peanut Butter Muffin Tops

Maple Peanut Butter Muffin Tops

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

Halibut, Watermelon, Asparagus, And Corn With Sunflower Butter

Halibut, Watermelon, Asparagus, And Corn With Sunflower Butter

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

Naturally Nutty Vanilla Almond Butter And Butter Toffee Peanut Butter

Naturally Nutty Vanilla Almond Butter And Butter Toffee Peanut Butter

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

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

Maple Peanut Butter Muffin Tops With Maple Agave Syrup

Maple Peanut Butter Muffin Tops With Maple Agave Syrup

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

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

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

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

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

Panera Bread

Panera Bread

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

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

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

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

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I Brake To Bake

Posted on August 15, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Have you gone out and bought chocolate yet? What could you possibly be waiting for?

I have to admit, the time between blogging and lunch is pretty brief and boring and I don’t know why I bother to mention it. I snacked on a homemade Larabar and ground some flax.

Fresh Flaxmeal

Fresh Flaxmeal

Please tell me I’m not the only one who sniffs the flax after they grind it and get a huge smile on their face. Anyone? No? You’re just not willing to admit it. I can’t wait until I go to Brown and my roommate finds this in our fridge and asks “Dude, what are you on” and I stare blankly and say “Flax, man. Flax.”

Lunch was the perfect opportunity to try another Newman’s Own Organic product:

Newman's Own Organic White Cheddar Soy Crisps

Newman's Own Organic White Cheddar Soy Crisps

Is it even fair to review a product you already know you’ll love? Idk, but these were really great. The white cheddar flavor was very present and they had a great crispy crunch to them. The best part is that a serving(pictured) has 8 grams of protein and they’re completely vegetarian. I’m not a vegetarian, but I try to have 2 meals a day without meat, and I usually have to worry about getting enough protein on the plate during those meals. I threw this alongside a black bean burger, which has moderate but not high protein, and didn’t have to worry anymore. These would probably also make a great snack as opposed to potato chips since the protein is much more filling, though I’m not someone who tends to munch on chips in between meals.

After lunch was, what else, but grocery shopping. Our fridge was a little low on things I consider staples since I’d left for vacation so we picked up some stuff like spinach and fruit. We must have been out for longer than I realized because I was pretty hungry(and cranky) when we got back. I threw together an afternoon wrap:

Salmon, Goat Cheese, And Spinach Wrap

Salmon, Goat Cheese, And Spinach Wrap

I’m getting so much better at using leftovers. The salmon was from last night, the wrap and spinach were from the shopping trip, and the goat cheese sadly is almost gone! And I was just at Trader Joe’s yesterday, now I’ll have to go back. Ugh :-(… ;-).

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread

I snacked on that while baking Pumpkin Bread. I consider this my best recipe; not only is it healthy but other people actually like it too. Well I meant to bake this for our new neighbors but we were out of applesauce so I just had a field day playing with the recipe. The result tasted OK, but needs more sugar(and if I’m saying this, you know it’s not sweet enough).

I don’t usually share dinner but this was off the chain and so simple:

Buffalo Mac N' Cheese And Buffalo Chicken Sausage

Buffalo Mac N' Cheese And Buffalo Chicken Sausage

The sausages were Al Fresco brand which I love; they have no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, and come in a lot of fun flavors(blueberry maple anyone?). The Mac N’ Cheese was Archer Farms brand so it was also all natural. A big box had 3 servings–perfect for our family of 3. And the whole thing together had a nice hot-wing flavor without too much heat.

Dessert was a lot of goodies, per usual, but I’ll just share the highlight:

Newman's Own Organic Espresso Chip Cookies

Newman's Own Organic Espresso Chip Cookies

Another Newman’s Own Organic product to try. I’m not a chocolate chip cookie lover, so I was a little weary of these; I would choose a hermit style cookie anyday. That being said, I was surprised how much I liked these. My main issue with chocolate chip cookies is that the base is flavorless and each bite is a contest to see how many chocolate chips you can get–not so with these. The base of the cookie had a delicious vanilla-sugar flavor that made me completely forget about the chocolate chips. These are crispy whereas I prefer chewy, but they did melt in my mouth which was a welcomed surprise. Overall I’d definitely recommend them.

Friday’s are my unofficial rest days, which I celebrate by waking up at 6am and running 5 miles on. Before I headed out I emptied another PB jar and filled up it’s replacement:

PB&Co. Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter

PB&Co. Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter

I forgot how many raisins a fresh jar has before I get at them, this will be delicious 🙂

There was a police officer driving around my neighborhood, and he totally didn’t stop at a 4-way intersection D-X. He was probably called to check out who the nut running so early around the neighborhood was(I know 6:30’s not early for most runners, but for the people in this neighborhood it is). I had oats soaking in my microwave for 2 days(I didn’t mean to let them go this long but kind of never got in an oaty mood). I figured it was their time so I concocted this breakfast:

Pumpkin Oats With Maple Almond Butter, Cantaloupe, Strawberry Yogurt With Banana

Pumpkin Oats With Maple Almond Butter, Cantaloupe, Strawberry Yogurt With Banana

Surprisingly, I didn’t have carrot juice for once after a run. I figured the banana had plenty of potassium and the fruit and yogurt had sugar so I didn’t need it for recovery. Work wasn’t awful; it never is when we all just sit around and joke about other people in the office and have baked goods to keep the sugar up. Of course we had UFood for lunch. I wasn’t feeling like a meat dish since I figured we’d be having that at home so I went with their Tofusion bowl for the first time:

Tofusion Bowl

UFood's Tofusion Bowl

I’m not crazy ont he tofu, but I’m trying to get mmore vegetable protein into my diet. Next time, I’ll just go with the Newman’s Soy Crisps. For “dessert” I tried this:

Newman's Own Organic Ginger Breath Mints

Newman's Own Organic Ginger Breath Mints

Ok, a breath mint isn’t dessert, but it was really good. I lvoe that Newman’s Own Organic even has this sort of stuff on its line, because I figured I’d have to give up breath mints along with gum and candy after getting rid of artifical stuff from my diet. This had a a kicking flavor that really left my mouth feeling refreshed and spicy(in a good way). My dad said it was “too strong” and that “the flavor lasted 20 minutes after it was gone”, at which point I clarified it was a breath mint and NOT a candy. Then he seemed pretty pleased with the product lol.

Lady luck was on my side: Our boss let us all go an hour early because so many people took today off and no one would really notice. I took a trip to the Whole Foods at Symphony I never go to and on the way stumbled across the Farmer’s Market at Copley:

Copley's Farmer's Market

Copley's Farmer's Market

It was no Dekalb but it was pretty neat. There was tons I could’ve bought but I just grabbed some corn and broccoli and kept on my way. I stumbled upon Shaws and got some Vitatops on sale(!!), and then got wicked lost trying to find Whole Foods. Ultimately I found a cool asian chick carrying a Whole Foods bag so i asked her and it turned out she was going there, too. We talked and chatted; she’s a Berkley student and reminded me a ton of my friend Alex who’s already a Junior at Brown and one of the people who convinced me to go there.

The trip was a bit of a bust because they didn’t have much different except Coconut Artisana Butter and Blue Diamond Almond Butter, so I just grabbed some more figs that were on sale and was content.

There was a bit of an angry tantrum when I got home. I think one of my worst qualities is that I still have these. I was more upset with myself since I KNOW never to ask others to buy groceries for me because I’m so specific. So I was a little annoyed when I asked my mom to get a jar of unsweetened applesauce and she came back with individual cups of HFCS sweetened applesauce. Again, I was more upset with myself than anyone else, since I was JUST at Shaws and Whole Foods and should’ve bought it myself. Well the parents were nice enough to go back out and get what I asked for while I did the tons of crap I always have after a day of work.

Dessert started with a plate of zombies:

Loaded Scone And PB & J Homemade Larabar

Loaded Scone And PB & J Homemade Larabar

By zombies I mean foods that were dead(aka frozen) that I necromanced(aka thawed). I can’t believe I never froze my baked goods before. It’s so great to have something delicious and homemade whenever I want without lifting a finger. Then I had a bit of a savory tooth:

Trader Joe's Microwaved Pizza

Trader Joe's Microwaved Pizza

I love it when pizza parlors cut their pizza into uneven slices so I went with the 12-slice method here. And I finished up with some unpictured pumpkin bread, white chocolate cherry PB toast, and fresh figs. Is it just me, or do figs look a little… naughty when bitten into?

I woke up this morning still digesting most of those carbs and went out for my long run. I really didn’t see the 8.5 miles happening last night but something got me through them this morning in only 1:08:16. Not shabby, huh? I made myself a rather incredible post-run breakfast:

White Peach, Deep Chocolate Vitatop, Mint Chip Yogurt, carrot Juice, Toast With Vanilla Almond Butter

White Peach, Deep Chocolate Vitatop, Mint Chip Yogurt, carrot Juice, Toast With Vanilla Almond Butter

I’d probably have this every morning if I wouldn’t go po’ from the vanilla almond butter and vitatops. I can be satisfied with it being a weekly thing. I’m going to make some 4-grain Maple Apple Vegan cookies today, an adaptation from a recipe from the Runner’s World forums. I’m hoping they come out alright because then I will FINALLY have something for the neighbors. I also just found out that the wife(they’re newlyweds) is training for a marathon. I think that’s awesome, though I’m pretty much a horrible running partner/prefer going solo so I kind of hope she doesn’t ask if I want to go running some time. Asking me to bake whole-grain cookies is more my style 😉 Ok, I’ve got the oven preheating, time to make these bad boys.

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Double, Double Bake? No Trouble.

Posted on July 28, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Scones didn’t burn

But blondies bubbled

See? I can do Shakespeare no prob 😛 Haha. Anyway, like I said, yesterday was a get ‘er done type of day.

To do:
The Beak of the Finch Letter
Blog
Core Workout
Cut Nails
Check Mail
Plan Dinner
Bake Loaded Vegan Scones
Bake Toffee Almond Blondies
Run
Contests
Start College Checklist
Read Blogs

See how they all have lines through them? Yeah, I’m that good. And yes, I’m totally one of those people who needs to give forethought to simple things like cutting my nails/toe nails, because otherwise I’ll just push it off until god knows when.

One of the easiest things on that list was checking the mail. I was kind of hoping for my order from Naturally Nutty to come in(no luck yet :-(). I did, however, get this from Odwalla:

Coupons And Stickers From Odwalla

Coupons And Stickers From Odwalla

You’ve probably seen Odwalla carrot juice on my blog many many times. Well, the last carton I had was pretty nashtay; it had long carrot skins and a weird fermented taste to it–not good eats. I contacted the company and they were more than generous in reimbursing me. And how did they know I like stickers? Can you say dorm room decoration? After reading some blogs I was starving. Apparently, I need to put Eat on my to-do list from now on or else I’ll forget to do it. Once I remembered, I whipped up this:

Tuna Burger With Banana Pineapple Jam And Honey Hickory BBQ Chips

Tuna Burger With Banana Pineapple Jam And Honey Hickory BBQ Chips

Honestly, I really just wanted the Banana Pineapple Jam, but I figured I needed to eat something real and filling, so I slathered it on a tuna burger for a tropical delight. And we have so many chips around here, it’s basically a casino. I ended up choosing the flavor by which will (almost) finish the bag.

Again, I worked on more list stuff after lunch, and snacked on this:

Clif Dark Chocolate Walnut Bar

Clif Dark Chocolate Walnut Bar

I love these Nectar bars; they’re kind of like Larabars but with more fruit and less nuts. This definitely isn’t my favorite flavor but I was craving something chocolaty. The cocoa powder in this adds great flavor, but combined with the walnut makes it a little dry overall. Still, it’s a good chocolate fix. It’s also loaded with fiber and a smattering of nutrients(such as selenium, where else are you going to get that?).

Finally it came time to preheat that oven and get things acookin’. I love the combination of apricots and white chocolate, and, as I’ve learnt through my amazing peanut butter cookie sandwiches, White Chocolate Wonderful blends amazingly with light cream cheese. So I combined the peanut butter boy’s scone recipe with an apricot cream cheese scone recipe from King Arthur’s website, substituted a lil’ flaxseed because I could, and voila, these were born. I’m just going to call them Loaded Scones because a more descriptive name would get very long very fast.

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat flour

5 tablespoons peanut butter(I used white chocolate wonderful)

5 tablespoons light cream cheese

1/2 cup white sugar(I used 80 grams which is just slightly less)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

2/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond breeze

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup dried apricots(80 grams), diced

Cutting In The Peanut Butter And Cream Cheese

Cutting In The Peanut Butter And Cream Cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a measuring cup, stir the flaxseed into the almond milk until gelatenous. Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and chopped apricots in a large bowl. Cut in the peanut butter and cream cheese until coarse and crumbly. Slowly incorporate the almond milk mixture and vanilla extract. Move the mixture onto a hard surface and work a few times over. Break into 3 identical pieces and form each into a large circle. Cut each circle into 4 pieces and soften the edges. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned.

Loaded Scones

Loaded Scones

I wish I could capture smells, because these made my kitchen smell heavenly. If you’re vegan, simply replace the cream cheese with more peanut butter, or use a substitute like Tofutti. I’m a cream cheesaholic myself. It has to be my favorite cheese, which is a little sad because I don’t think it’s definitively a cheese? Be careful not to overwork the batter, and work quickly. Mine got a little soft and before I knew it, there was dough all over my hands. Still, they were delicious.

My second recipe was what I plan on giving to my new neighbors. These are my absolute favorite brownies/blondies because they’re so delicious and sinful tasting. They’re called Toffee Almond Blondies and are a recipe from Starbucks. You can find the original recipe on my recipe page, but know that for this batch I made some health(ier) substitutions after looking at tponz’s(www.tponz.wordpress.com) fig and almond blondies. I dropped the canola oil from 1/4 cup to 2 tablespoons, and replaced the 1/4 cup applesauce and 3/4 cup brown sugar with 1/2 cup apple butter. All that removed 640 calories from the pan, and you would absolutely never know it. I wasn’t too afraid to make those substitutions, since the star of the blondies is the mix-ins anyway. Even so, the base is just as moist and sweet, and the apple butter gives it more of a toffee color.

Apple Butter, Eggs, Canola Oil, And Almond Extract

Apple Butter, Eggs, Canola Oil, And Almond Extract

Batter With White Chocolate Chips, Heath Morsels, And Slivered Almonds

Batter With White Chocolate Chips, Heath Morsels, And Slivered Almonds

If you do take these on, know that the batter is VERY thick. This is not a mistake and it will bake just fine, but it certainly nerved me.

Fresh Out Of The Oven

Fresh Out Of The Oven

I can’t wait to pass these on to the neighbors and people at work. I’ll admit, I’ve already snuck 6 into the freezer for myself 🙂

After all that cooking, I still had to make dinner for myself and my dad. Can you say “what a drag”? Well I phoned it in worked my brain and decided to grill a frozen pizza since it worked so well last time, and also threw some frozen oven fries on the grill while it was on.

Magharita Pizza And Oven Fries

Magharita Pizza And Oven Fries

Meals like this remind me of two things. 1) An herb garden can make anything taste gourmet. I picked some basil and threw that over the pizza, and cooked some parsley in with the fries–delicious. 2) I’m so american. Seriously, where else would you get pizza and fries? It reminds me of going to a little town house restaurant and getting an order of fries to split with the table no matter what you’re eating.

Finally I brewed up a pot of coffee and sat down with my lil’ addiction:

Toffee Almond Blondie

Toffee Almond Blondie

Can you see the white chocolate chips, almonds, and toffee? I should hide the pan from myself until I figure out how many I’m giving away.

This morning I was a little sore but pounded out a strong 6.7 miles. I’ve been listening to the same playlist for the past 3 days which is full of songs I don’t usually hear. Would people be interested in seeing that? Finally I’ll leave you with a snapshot of breakfast. Today’s a lot less hectic than yesterday luckily, so I’ll see what I can snap pictures of to keep it looking interesting at least.

English Muffin With Mighty Maple & Raspberry Jam, Carrot Juice, VoskosGreek Yogurt, Peaches And Raspberries

English Muffin With Mighty Maple & Raspberry Jam, Carrot Juice, VoskosGreek Yogurt, Peaches And Raspberries

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