Healthy Is Not My Word

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

First off, huge news on the nut butter front! Naturally Nutty has just released a new line of seed butters! I had the great fortune of trying the Pepita Sun Butter and I promise you it is one of the best I’ve ever had. I was so excited I’ve already placed orders for some of their new products as of last night, so go on over to the site and give them a looksie.

Ok, enough excitement and good morning. Thanks to the long weekend I got not one but two great nights of sleep in a row. Boy that has me feeling rested. Like I mentioned, yesterday we were heading off to Maine in the morning. I am completely incapable of packing light for wherever I go:

Study Bag

Study Bag

Yeah, let’s just say I don’t get much on the times I come home except what I do in the car. That’s one of the things I’ve hated about the past few weekends; I feel like I always fall behind and by the time I get back on campus I’m rushing like a mad man. Anyway, I packed plenty of dead languages, a couple bars, and my camera. Along the drive I got a bit snacky and came across the perfect time to try this:

Nature's Path Organic Orange Chocolate Bar

Nature's Path Organic Orange Chocolate Bar

This was another one of the goodies Nature’s Path Organic sent my way, and let me just say: wow! I had not had a Nature’s Path bar before at all so this was very new to me. The nutrition, look, and ingredients were all along the same lines of an Odwalla bar so that’s what I was comparing it to in my mind. At first I didn’t think it looked chocolatey or orange, but each bite had a great zest to it which made the flavor distinct. There were also plenty of chocolate chips as well as bits of soynuts which added a great crunch to the texture. The size was personally a bit bigger than what I look for in a bar, but it also helped to hold me over longer. There was a good bit of added sugar, but overall it was a tasty and nutritious bar that I wouldn’t mind buying again.

When we got there it was about 1 and all the appetizers were out. I’m not an appetizer person; I’d really rather sit down with a plate full and eat. I did, however, contribute the cumin cheddar from the farmers’ market:

Cumin Cheddar

Cumin Cheddar

It seemed to be a hit. My family is definitely more into crackers than chips–what’s up with that? Well people got moving surprisingly fast for my family and by 1:45 the lunch had came. If you guessed lobster would be on my plate, you were right:

Lobster, Cumin Cheddar, Green Beans

Lobster, Cumin Cheddar, Green Beans

I also had an unpictured salad with Newman’s Own Honey Mustard dressing when I realized there really wasn’t enough on the table for me. Lobster is a bit overrated if you ask me, but it feels fun to eat because of all the hype. There were also mussels but that’s one sea creature I can not get my mind around eating; it’s just too weird. After lunch we had the 90 minute getting ready for dessert period which always happens. With 2 young cousins and an entire family who need ADD pills when it comes to conversation, things don’t get moving so fast. Which is a shame because they also like ice cream cakes that manage to turn into mush by the time they want to eat them. I caught this little tyke red handed:

Avery Stealing Cake Frosting

Avery Stealing Cake Frosting

Like I said, 90 minutes and 90 candles later we were ready to sing Happy Birthday.

Birthday Cakes

Birthday Cakes

Enter joykill moment of the day: My family, although I’m sure they try, really don’t “get” me and why I eat what I eat or even just what I eat. There’s a major assumption on my grandmother’s part that I only eat “healthy” and shun sugar. She even mentioned having a “special sugar-free dessert” for me which she thankfully never brought out or up again. Let me say it straight: Not now or ever do I claim to be a healthy eater. That isn’t my aim or focus. I’m all about eating natural, and I assure you natural can be just as unhealthy as laboratory food. I actually shun the word “healthy”. Does it sound fun? Not at all. I would much rather be “healthy” in the sense of sane and happy than any of its other meanings. So yes, in a sense when I didn’t have either of the cakes, which were made from a box and frosted from a can, I was avoiding them. But I was avoiding their absolute artificialness and not their nutrition; had they been made from scratch with wholesome ingredients like I believe in I assure you I would have had half a cake myself. Unfortunately, it’s easier to find stuff like that for me from my Whole Foods than my family. Well this is what I actually did end up having:

Vegan Pumpkin Molasses Cookie, Trader Joe Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pie

Vegan Pumpkin Molasses Cookie, Trader Joe Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pie

This was not healthy. Dessert shouldn’t be healthy. This was tasty and joyful–that’s my kind of dessert. The Vegan Pumpkin Molasses Cookies were a HUGE hit with the family; like I mentioned, my cousin’s deceased grandmother used to make some amazing ones for us and they were really happy to have these as a sort of notalgia to those cookies. I was equally pleased to break into the TJ pumpkin spice whoopie pies we picked up. They were good, but a bit too sweet for me. I wasn’t really in a sweet-tooth mood at the time, so 1/2 of one was more than enough to satisfy me. I think I liked the ones from Whole Foods a bit better because those had a cream cheese filling; if you’re going to get fat from dessert, you might as well be eating fat instead of sugar(tasty, tasty fat :-P).

We managed to escape say our goodbyes by 5, which was good because I had light for most of the way home to catch up on work. Unlike other people who actually did eat half a cake, I didn’t so I needed a little boost on the way back:

Peanut Butter Z-Bar

Peanut Butter Z-Bar

This was perfect in the sense that it hit my peanut butter tooth. All my grandparents had was original Skippy(so happy to have at least weened my dad off that stuff). But unfortunately it didn’t fill me up very well and I was pretty cranky by the time we got back into my town. On the one hand, all I wanted to eat was lentils and beans to actually feel full for once in the day. On the other hand, time was a factor. By only some good grace, I managed to find a vegan 365 chili in the back of our cupboard; I know no one else bought this so I assume it was something I grabbed over the Summer and just completely forgot about. Well, it certainly made my night and my meal:

365 Vegan Chili With Cumin Cheddar, Apple With Mustard

365 Vegan Chili With Cumin Cheddar, Apple With Mustard

Thank you, fiber. This was a gala apple, which was a bit too sweet to work with the mustard as good as a tart apple. But trust me, the combo does work. I would be lying if I said some apple didn’t find it’s way into the chili and I liked it. It’s all pretty much about earthy flavors so it shouldn’t be too surprising that it worked out. Thankfully my inbox was pretty empty after being gone for the day. My google reader? Not so much.

Last night I had the pleasure of watching The Food Network(why oh why don’t I get this in my dorm?) and catching up on The Next Iron Chef. Any love for this show? I liked it on principle, but honestly I don’t know if any of them seemed like a true Iron Chef to me; it’s pretty hard to rank any cook along the lines of Bobby Flay and Cat Cora except maybe the other Food Network stars who are a bit too famous to do a show like this. I digress from the food of course.

Vanilla Frozen Yogurt With Peanut Butter Drizzle

Vanilla Frozen Yogurt With Peanut Butter Drizzle

I love my self rule about 2 probiotic sources a day because it gives me an excuse for things like this 🙂 I used 365 peanut butter because it’s nice and runny so it gets onto the frozen yogurt well. Personally, I’ve always been more of a vanilla and peanut butter person, especially with ice cream; I think a good chocolate overpowers the peanut butter but a good vanilla works right at its level to make a great overall product. After this, I had to get a little nutty 😉

Cinnamon Raisin Roll With Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter

Cinnamon Raisin Roll With Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter

Just when I thought those cinnamon raisin yeast rolls couldn’t get more amazing, I added this. Let me explain how this jar got into my possession, or rather my dad’s. He placed a large order a few weeks ago, and the company had run out of labels for the Vanilla Peanut Butter Jar. No biggy, he still got the flavor, but the company is so nice overall that to apologize they sent him that before it was released. It’s only by pure luck it wound it’s way into this nutty characters hands. And let me tell you, it was ah-mazing. It reminded me a lot of the pepita sun butter except a little less french toasty and a little more subtley sweet. Have I mentioned since finding these online last night I’ve already ordered 15oz jars of Pepita Sun, Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower, and Chocolate Sunflower? Clearly I didn’t like it so much I had to have it again:

Deep Chocolate Vitatmuffin With Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter Frosting

Deep Chocolate Vitatmuffin With Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter Frosting

Just because I don’t like the word “healthy” doesn’t mean I don’t think about things like nutrients and vitamins, which felt a little low at the end of the day. Low on vitamins and sunflower butter on the brain? This was the perfect snack for the drama of Brothers & Sisters.

Thank you to all the New Englanders who gave me props for running yesterday. Trust me: I wouldn’t have gone out if I had any clue of how freaking cold it was. This morning I definitely learned my lesson.

Coffee

Coffee

So a little low on the breakfast front as of yet. It has a spoon in it, so it counts as food, right? I’ll come up with something I’m sure. Fun fact: I drink decaf. Always. And yet I swear I need it to get up in the morning. At this point I think it’s more mental, because if I just have water I know I can’t get up and go as good as with some joe. Anyway, I’m starting to get a little hungry so time to experiment in the kitchen.

Hey It’s Tay is having

a giveaway

so say

yay!

Advertisements
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 17 so far )

We’re Drama People

Posted on September 27, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review, Rant, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

First off, I’d like to let the somebody in my house who reads this know I’m on to them 🙂 Dad, I’m guessing it’s you since you probably can work the browser history better, but clearly not well enough to make it so that I couldn’t find see my own self. Oh well, now I just can’t write anything too too bad about ya’ll.

Yesterday morning that sugar really had me pumping, so much in fact I took a walk down to Eastside Market to pick up another pint of black mission figs. That’s just too good a deal not to take advantage of again and again. Then I popped over to Whole Foods where I didn’t buy anything but I sure had fun browsing!

Swordfish Sample

Swordfish Sample

My school might not feed me fish, but my Whole Foods sure will. There was also some cheese I’d never heard of but was nice and sharp. Good cheese is something I’ve definitely been missing in college life, but I eat it so rarely and in such small amounts at a time it doesn’t make sense to buy any. I actually didn’t buy anything during this Whole Foods trip, just snacked on the freebies and dashed. I found the new Whole Deal for October/November(!!) which I was super excited to see hit shelves.I think I spent a little too long scoping out the freebies because by the time I had gotten back on campus, grabbed my lunch, and made my way into my dorm room it was 12:50.

Broccoli, Artichoke Vegetable Melange, White Bean Ragout, Roast Beef

Broccoli, Artichoke Vegetable Melange, White Bean Ragout, Roast Beef

As far as Ratty meals go, this is one I’d happily have more often. Roast beef was the main protein option; I don’t think you need as much as they encourage you to put on your plate but a sensible amount of meat as a side to a meal is always welcomed. The veggie option, which I had reserves about, was a white bean ragout with mushrooms and leak. It looked heavy but the nutritional info insured me it had a relatively low amount of fat and no butter. Overall this was really good. The mushrooms and white beans ad a real earthiness to them tat paired with the roast beef. I also like the artichoke melange, but got a sharp piece in my mouth–not so fun.

When I finished this my parents pulled onto campus, I hopped in the car, and we were off to foodie heaven:

Dedham Whole Foods

Dedham Whole Foods

If you remember my trip here at the beginning of September, you’d know that Dedham now has the biggest Whole Foods in New England. That picture does it no justice and captures about 1/20th of the store. This place is so big you can(and we did) spend well over an hour shopping each aisle. And look what I found:

Spooky Smores Z-Bars

Spooky Smores Z-Bars

It’s totally Fall now. I’d been looking for these forever and you readers who mentioned having found them were just more taunts until now. I did my little happy dance and loaded up the cart. Now do you believe me this was foodie heaven. If not, let me mention the amount of ridiculous add-ons it has that I’m now convinced should be in every Whole Foods:

Trail Mix Bar

Trail Mix Bar

Dessert Bar

Dessert Bar

You know, in case the walk in cheese cave, sushi bar, gelateria, winery, and massive bulk bins sections weren’t enough for you, maybe the trail mix bar and dessert bar might be. What do I mean when I say dessert bar? I mean they had full bread puddings, boston creme pies, strawberry shortcakes, AND carrot cake for you to scoop and buy by the pound. Normally, I can’t turn down a good carrot cake, but I didn’t have too much trouble passing up this one; to get it you had to scoop out your piece rather than cut, which made the whole thing really messy and disassemble.

This was pretty much where the day went from fun to just not. If you’re someone who doesn’t like to read about other people’s family drama(do people like that exist?), skip wayyyy ahead past the rant. Otherwise, strap in for some of the most pointless family bickering as of yet which was probably the result of how little sleep we’ve all gotten lately, my parents due to my dog who cries in the night and I because of my dormmates who drink during the night. as we proceeded to the check-out, my mom insisted we pay separately and that my items come out of my allowance. Umm, say whaaat? Obviously getting free groceries was not my ENTIRE point of coming home for the weekend, but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t something I was looking forward to. I think I was more insulted than anything, because I keep such good track of my allowance, expenses, and income; I even have a whole Microsoft document devoted to it. Well communication kind of broke down at this point while I put back all the fun stuff like 2 year old cheese and butterless, HFCS-less caramel sauce(which I’ve since resolved I must go back to a Whole Foods and buy with my money because Fall won’t be Fall without caramel apples).

The car ride home was more awkward than a fart in an elevator. A loud fart. I snacked on this to make try and calm my nerves at least:

Spooky Smores Z-Bar

Spooky Smores Z-Bar

Honestly, I wasn’t in the right state of mind to properly review this bar. I definitely liked it, but in hindsight I can’t remember why. All that I was thinking about was how the day had played out so far. I mentioned being taken back to my dorm without going home, and gave it a lot of thought, even once we were in the driveway at my house. I went into my room to compose myself(which didn’t really work out) and then demanded to go back to school. The way I saw it, I came home to bake and have a good time with family, and the former wasn’t going to happen since I put back half of my baking supplies at Whole Foods and the latter just wasn’t happening. Now we were all crying for one reason or another and none of us particularly well at sharing our feelings. What can I say? We’ve watched way too many soap operas in our house and now we’re just turning into one. After really bad communicating, I ended up staying, which was probably the best decision for all. Enough drama for you? Because it’s enough for me. Here’s the loot I ended up paying for from Whole Foods:

Whole Foods Loot

Whole Foods Loot

Essentials, right? I got the 6 5 Spooky Smores bars, cream cheese(aka old faithful), vanilla sugar, raisins, Greek yogurt, honey(for baking), grain-sweetened dark chocolate chips, and chocolate hazelnut Whole Soy frozen yogurt. One of the things that convinced me to stay was a trip to Hannafords for the rest of my baking needs, but not before this:

Elan's Chocolate FroYo And Whole Soy Chocolate Hazelnut FroYo

Elan's Chocolate FroYo And Whole Soy Chocolate Hazelnut FroYo

Chocolate, meet chocolate hazelnut. I think you two are half-siblings, but you make a perfect marriage. How dramatic is that? In all seriousness, this frozen yogurt was AMAZING. It tasted exactly like liquid nutella. Not to mention it has a skim milk base so it’s light and airy and similar to soft serve when it’s slightly melted. It has decent nutrition(120 calories per serving) and actually less sugar per serving than real Nutella and no artificial flavors–chew lick on that.

We were out and back lickity split, or as least as lickity split gets with grocery stores and I. On the agenda was 2 recipes, the first of which being my Banana Goodness Bread:

Banana Goodness Bread

Banana Goodness Bread

I switched up the original recipe a bit using some of the various baking products I’ve received for the blog. The first change I did was using 1/2 cup of NuNaturals special baking blend; this can fit into any recipe in a 1:1 replacement for sugar and adds fiber, not empty calories, to your product. The second change I made was adding 1/2 cup peanut flour instead of oatbran. In terms of recipe swapping, this was a bit of a mismatch. Oatbran adds structure whereas the peanut flour adds 24g protein and 6g fiber to the loaf, but I had hopes it would work. Dinner interrupted the baking magic.

Corn On The Cob, Broccoli, Salmon, Goat Cheese, 2 Year Cheddar

Corn On The Cob, Broccoli, Salmon, Goat Cheese, 2 Year Cheddar

Salmon was also part of the “please, won’t you stay” shpeal, but honestly it didn’t taste that great after all that went down. I felt like I should have swiped my dining hall card or payed for my portion to eat it, which was just absurd but where my mind was at. As soon as my loaf was out of the oven, my fig and almond blondies went in. The original is Veggie Girls’ and let me just say there’s someone who knows how to bake. Every time I see figs on sale, my mind goes to that recipe, and this week was no exception. When the whole gang was out of the oven, it looked like this:

Banana Goodness Bread And Fig And Almond Blondies

Banana Goodness Bread And Fig And Almond Blondies

And my plates looked like this:

Banana Goodness Bread

Banana Goodness Bread

Spooky Smores Z-Bar, Fig And Almond Blondie, Blueberry Muffintop With Vanilla Almond Butter Creamcheese

Spooky Smores Z-Bar, Fig And Almond Blondie, Blueberry Muffintop With Vanilla Almond Butter Cream Cheese

I spent the night having “quality time” with my DVR. Oh how I miss some channels in college. I completely caught up on The Food Network shows–phew, right? On the snackage front, everything was amazing. I would have preferred a nice hot bowl of oats to the muffin but we have no oatbran in the house and a bowl of straight oats just doesn’t cut it for me anymore. The banana bread and fig and almond blondies came out perfectly despite all the distress surrounding them and I can’t wait to have them back in my dorm. And the spooky smores bar was PERFECT in my opinion. I can’t really compare it to the peanut butter or brownie because they’re all so different; I liked how this one had the graham base but with white chocolate specks inside that instantly gave a vanilla flavor –love at first bite. And I liked how the smooth chocolate drizzle melted with time and imposed itself as an after taste. I’m seriously stocking up on these before the season’s over.

Sleep last night was pretty amazing. I had a deep, full nights worth. And I had one of those long, intricate dreams which feel like I glimpse of the past and future with all these people, some who you recognize obviously but some who you can’t help but feel you’ll see on the street someday. Don’t you love sleep like that? Unfortunately, this morning I also woke up to this:

Rain

Rain

A bit unfortunate that my rest day coincides with the day I’m back on my old running turf but necessary nonetheless. Even though I’m not running, my metabolism’s pretty much running the same, so I plan on DVRing it until hunger strikes, probably around 9. Now if you’ll excuse me, this grandpa couldn’t stay up for SNL last night so he needs to get caught up.

BTW–If you loved drooling over my Vitatops, you’ll love even more the giveaway over at Busy Mom. head over there to win a HUGE vitasampler!

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 11 so far )

Screw The Blues, I Got A Cheap Date

Posted on July 21, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review, Rant, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

These Blues:

Blueberries

Blueberries

These dates:

Medjool Dates

Medjool Dates

Shortly after blogging, my mom wanted to go to Hannaford to pick up something for dinner. I’m never one to pass up a grocery trip, so I tagged along. boy was I shocked to find these; it seems like the 1.50 dates I found in Maine last weekend followed me down. These things are 11 dollars a pound at Whole Foods and 5 at Market Basket. What a steal, right? I basically grabbed a bag and went to town. I thought I took an absurd amount but guess what: My huge haul was less than 2 dollars because they’re so cheap. I of course attacked the bulk bins for some dry roasted nuts to make Homemade Larabars.

Now, I don’t have a food processor, so I severely improvised using a hand chopper and making these one at a time. yes it was painful, but it was also very worth it. The ratio I used was 3 parts fruit to 1 part nut, which makes it more like a Nectar bar than a Larabar(which I prefer). However, mine were larger in size than the average Nectar bar and had a calorie count more similar to a Larabar.

The Set Up

The Set Up

Homemade PB&J Larabar

Homemade PB&J Larabar

I got 14 out of my 1 1/4 pounds of dates(plus one failed attempt at a banana bread flavor). I made 5 PB & J, 5 Cinnamon Raisin, 1 Pistachio, and 3 Lemon Cashew. The PB & J had dates, craisins, peanuts and salt. The Cinnamon Raisin had dates, almonds, raisins, and cinnamon. The Pistachio had dates, lime juice, and pistachios. And the Lemon Cashew had dates, lemon juice, and cashews.

This was a ton of fun and delicious and cheap but I really don’t recommend doing this without a food processor and have no plans on doing it again until I get myself one.

After that it was time for a quick trip to the doctors. It had been 7 weeks since my check-up and he wanted to do a follow up on my weight.

Snacking In The Doctors Office

Snacking In The Doctors Office

The good news: I’ve gained 6 pounds. The bad news: my doctor was incredibly unencouraging. He basically acted like I hadn’t gained anything, told me I should cut my running down, and repeatedly asked me annoying questions like “are you stressed out? skipping meals?” Honestly? Who the hell gains 6 pounds skipping meals. Anyway, I’m one of those people who thinks the best way to get negative feelings out is to write a letter, so here’s my frustration put into organized and eloquent thought:

Dear Dr. Who

Our last meeting left me more discouraged than I think I have right to be; I feel as though you were unfairly discouraging in my progress so far. Over the past 7 weeks(the time since our last appointment), I’ve accomplished several things. First and foremost, I’ve been able to enjoy my summer with friends and family and live life to the fullest; this I prize more than anything considering it is the last Summer I will be home before going off to college. Secondly, I have become a stronger person. I have never felt more energized, and I’ve become a better and faster athlete. Last, but certainly not least, I have managed to increase my weight 6 pounds. This is one accomplishment I am very proud of as it has not been easy to take-in such an excess of calories each and every day but something that I’ve taken very seriously and am reaping the benefits of. Along with the weight-gaining, I’ve learned a lot about nutrition, world cuisine, cooking techniques, and other points of information I can take and apply into the real world. I can now make anything from spicy thai noodles to bagels to a myriad of other dishes. Like I said, I myself am proud of all that I’ve just mentioned in this letter, and found your lack of enthusiasm rather discouraging. If I misread our meeting at all, please do reply with anything you have to say. Thank you.

*Sigh of relief* Much better. Should I actually bother to send that? I feel like it could be taken as a long, eloquent “F-U”. What do you think?

Well, skipping dinner and moving onto dessert, I had picked up this little guy at the store and wanted to give it a try:

Stonyfield Strawberries & Cream Cream Top Yogurt

Stonyfield Strawberries & Cream Cream Top Yogurt

I’m one of those people who would rather have a fine yogurt or pudding than a bowl of ice cream(weird, I know). I was excited to try a cream top yogurt to see if it made it taste any more luxurious. This, however, was quite a disappointment. First off, I’m not a fan of Stonyfield’s fruit on the bottom variety; I never feel as though the flavoring is at all fruity. And when I did stir it up, I noticed something odd in my strawberries: a blueberry! No, it was not one of the ones I picked(I would never have picked such a small blueberry). Well I emailed the folks at Stonyfield about that and they were nice enough to say they’re sending replacement coupons(Ok, I really didn’t need to get replacement coupons just because I found a silly blueberry in my yogurt. I guess they’re just really nice people over there at Stonyfield). And the thinness of the yogurt is really what killed it for me. Apparently, I’m a Greek boy thick and through–for yogurt at least. Oh well, I’m glad I gave the cream top a try but probably won’t be rushing back to grab another.

Anyway, that was my yesterday. Today has been super super busy and this blog entry has taken me over 2 hours. I’ve been running around like a nut and am starving(does anybody else find when they get caught up in work the first thing to shove aside is eating/nutrition?). I did a quick 6.7 after sleeping in and enjoyed the ultimate comfort food:

Fluffernutter Oatmeal, Blueberry Parfait

Fluffernutter Oatmeal, Blueberry Parfait

Love them fluffernutter oats. Anyway, now I need to make lunch and then get back to the to-do list, which includes a lot of blueberry baking. When will I have time to read any of your blogs? Aghh. Anyway, bye.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...