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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Disgusting

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

Warning: I’m not going for the pretty post today.

You could ask, when do I ever go for the pretty post? Well played, well played. But everything today was just pretty gross and disgusting, no matter how good it got.

The thought of eating 2 sticks of earth balance, or any fat really, grosses me out. So why do they taste so damn good in this recipe? Note to self: Don’t ever cook that rich again if you’re going to have leftovers for the next 3 days.

Running 14 miles is disgusting, especially when New England decides to warm up. Was I proud? Damn straight. But it was hot. There was cow manure involved. Every part of me got sunburned. And you get really dirty running without a shirt on. In the end, I looked like this:

Disgusting, no? I’m practicing to compete with some of Holly’s self-portraits. I’ve got a long way to go on growing out the hair and getting that kind of frizz.

The entire soda industry is–let’s face it–disgusting. There’s high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors and preservatives. And all those plastic rings kill sea-life. Not cool, Coke, not cool. Instead, I made a much cleaner version of “Sprite” for recovery: 1/2 cup lemon seltzer, 1/2 cup organic limeade, fresh lime, and some light agave nectar. Sweetness.

The raw olive “cheese” from Grezzo’s looks like a pile of poo; I’m aware. But it tastes deliciously rich in olives. And was perfect on a salad with some organic balsamic vinegar. Oh, and this is the best 2.50 you will ever spend:

Don’t look at the nutritional information; it’s not pretty. “Golden” means fried, but it’s fried by Whole Foods, so it’s magical and delicious. I love keeping one of these around for times I really just don’t feel like cooking, even if I’m taking in my daily limit of way too many things.

Sweet potatoes? Love them! But after they’ve been roasted, grilled, and sitting in the refrigerator for 3 days… There’s a reason that’s not in any recipe book.

…I don’t have any more words to defend myself. Even as a food blogger, sometimes you gotta eat a little disgustingly.

That is 6 squares of my favorite dark chocolate by Endangered Species and a pomegranate Chobani with Justin’s chocolate almond butter. The only disgusting thing here is how much chocolate I can eat in a day. If anybody ever hears of an organic chocolate eating contest, send it my way. We can split the prize money.

What’s the last thing that’s made you think “Gross!”? For me, it was the fish at the beginning of the post. It’s an Asian carp, and it’s making a move to be the next, big, sustainable seafood. Not on my plate, it isn’t.

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A Night At The Museum

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

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

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

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

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

Cantaloupe And Virgil's Root Beer

Cantaloupe And Virgil's Root Beer

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

Virgil's Root Beer

Virgil's Root Beer

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

Chickpea-Raw Mozzarella Salad, Raw Almond Butter

Chickpea-Raw Mozzarella Salad, Raw Almond Butter

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

Boston Skyline

Boston Skyline

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

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

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

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

Newman's Own Organics' Super Dark Chocolate

Newman's Own Organics' Super Dark Chocolate

French Bulk Chocolate

French Bulk Chocolate

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

Oatmeal With Raw Cashew Butter And Honey

Oatmeal With Raw Cashew Butter And Honey

2% Fage With Organic Strawberry Conserves

2% Fage With Organic Strawberry Conserves

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

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

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Excuse Me, Your Head Is Blocking The Fridge

Posted on January 31, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

7:53: Get into some comfy pajamas. It’s going to be a good night

8:23: Find Disturbia on TV; decide to watch even though I’m a scaredy cat for movies like this.

Burnt Sugar Crumbly Chocolate Fudge

8:30: Think fudge would be a good thing for dessert, even though I can’t remember the last time fudge did anything for anyone’s hunger

8:40: This fudge is really weird and hard–not really like church fair fudge but it’s sweet and that’s nice

9:12: Realize while doing Greek homework that Plato was soooo much dirtier than people give him credit for. Why don’t I remember things like this from 9th grade?

9:23: Why am I watching Disturbia?!?!

Chocolate Avocado Pudding With Coconut Butter

9:30: Start the process of making chocolate avocado pudding, mashing avocado, cocoa powder, and coconut milk kefir in a bowl

9:40: Start cleaning the mess I’m making, throwing out bits of avocado, and cleaning the bowl.

9:43: Coconut oil? Coconut Butter? Cacao Bliss? Why can’t I decide?

Artisana Coconut Butter

9:47: Coconut Butter

9:52: Still cleaning; still hungry

9:53-9:57: Photographing the chocolate pudding

9:58: Screw it–I’m hungry and need to eat something now and no longer even want this damn pudding.

Cheesy Pumpkin Oats With Banana Peanut Butter

10:02: Shove the pudding in the fridge and make oats with pumpkin and nutritional yeast, topped with banana peanut butter.

10:12-10:23: Simultaneously admire and devour the oatmeal while burning my tongue because it’s so hot.

10:25: Need something sweet; feeling self-destructive.

Ginger Ale Zevia

10:32: There are worse ales I could have reached for.

10:52: Learn through Mythbusters that if I hold a gun the wrong way, my thumb will be cut off. Great.

11:02: Sleep. Glorious sleep.

3:17: Wake up, and now having trouble falling back asleep.

3:25: Roommate and 2 people I don’t know(maybe?) come in a little giddy. They whisper a lot and fall asleep on the floor.

3:27: Amazed at how the drunk people can fall asleep faster than I can and WOW DOES ONE OF THEM SNORE LOUD.

3:34: Ok, I’m hungry and not sleeping. What do I want?

3:35: I want that damn pudding but one of their heads is blocking the fridge. Would it be rude to wake whoever that is up?

3:37: Pry the door open, grab the pudding, head downstairs to the dorm kitchen.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding With Coconut Butter

3:40: Heat it up and start digging in. As I walk back to my bed to finish it

3:45: All gone. I like fat. I really like fat. Why do I eat protein and carbs?

4:02: Finally back to some shut-eye

7:07: Wake up and th 2 people on the floor are gone. Ugh, why is the gym not open until 9 on the weekend?! Would it be bad to watch Cartoon Network until then? I’ll just go back to sleep.

8:41: Wake up after a dream nightmare about never being able to find sour cream & onion popchips. If that’s the world I have to live in, I don’t want to live. On the bright side, I can get ready to go to the gym.

8:58: Chugging some decaf hazelnut coffee and out the door.

Running Stats

9:03: Starting my 5-miler after stretching the left calve which was acting up

9:08: Getting way too in to “Single Ladies”; resisting the urge to put my hands up and regretting that I didn’t put a ring on it

9:22: I’ve got Cartoon Network on TV, my iPod blasting, I can do this!

9:49: That felt great. Maybe could have done more? Tomorrow’s my long run so I wasn’t going to push it.

Walking Stats

9:50-10:25: Cool down with a two mile walk followed by stretching.

10:12: What time am I going to finish? When will I get back? Will it be breakfast or lunch?

10:33: Back in the dorm, roommate’s still sleeping, should I be shocked by this? Not at all.

10:46: Hop out of the shower and run back to the room.

1047-10:48: Have a fight with the scale to get it to turn on and stay on. It does, which is a sign that I should eat a “breakfast”.

10:55: Oops, people are starting to get up. Perhaps I should put on pants?

Banana Cinnamon Oatmeal With Walnut Butter, Goat Milk Yogurt With Raspberry Jam

11:02-12:02: Oats come out of the microwave and I start eating. Write a “cutesy” blog post, Twitter a bit, talk to a friend on the phone, e-mail my dad, and finish breakfast saving a huge bite of walnut butter for the last bite.

12:04: Publish.

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Too Cold For Anything Else

Posted on January 29, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Today has just been too cold for anything other than what I did and was done. My hands are recirculating, and my jeans have been long swapped for PJ’s by now. I suppose that when they announce an “Extreme Cold Advisory” on the news, they mean business. Backing up, I had some weird cravings for lunch. It was just too cold to want something real or excited. I managed to reign back my cravings a bit and make a semi-normal lunch.

Root Beer Zevia, Turkey With Mighty Maple, Hickory Honey BBQ Baked Kettle Chips, Steamed Broccoli

Turkey With Mighty Maple, Hickory Honey BBQ Baked Kettle Chips, Steamed Broccoli

Did maple peanut butter jump out of the jar onto my turkey? It just might of… with a little help. I prefer dark meat, so if I’m going to have white meat turkey I better stick some fat in there somehow; the sweet maple was pure craving, but at least it worked well with these chips.

To-Do List

I probably should have heeded the weather warning and stayed indoors just because I could but I had a bit of a list to work on. At least while I was out I managed to get it all done. I’m officially on a lower meal plan, trading 110 meals and 125 flex points for about $240 dollars;It’d definitely be a “better bargain” to have stayed on but what’s the use if it goes to wast? Nada.

Books And Notebooks

I ended up returning 2 of my books and buying them new; I try to buy used when possible but these were a little too used and they’re books I’ll be looking at for a while so I figured the extra money was worth it. The final total for the semester was around $350–not bad considering the majority of the books are in my concentration and I’ll need beyond this semester.

Tazo Calm Tea

It was too cold not to get tea while I was near a campus convenience store. I threw everything on the bed and considered making a snack, but wanted to get to a dining hall right at 4 to grab things for dinner and get in for the night before it got colder. Or so I thought. I got there at 4:10. They opened at 4:30. But unless I wanted to go back into the cold(absolutely not), I would just have to wait there. So I did. I didn’t end up getting back to my room until 4:45.

Cooked Vegetables, Raw Broccoli, Sandwich Lettuce, Apples

At least it was a productive shopping trip. I don’t know if you’re supposed to load up two large take out containers with vegetables, but no one particularly stops you if you do. You might get odd looks, but no words. I was starving and just threw together the best thing I could think of.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Mighty Maple

It was too cold not to eat pumpkin oats with maple peanut butter. Nothing would have made this better, unless it were made in the jar; I think that’s a principal of life. Instead of eating more after this, which definitely would have spoiled my appetite for dinner, I just decided to invest a little time and “make something” that’d be nice. Since I was craving Indian, I mixed 2/3 a can of chickpeas, 1/3 cup pumpkin, 2 tablespoons ketchup, 1 tablespoon steak sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons indian spice, and enough watter to thin it. Normally I’d prefer a tomato based sauce but it was too cold not to utilize pumpkin(and that’s all I had on hand). That made about 3 servings, so I took 1 and saved 2.

Vegetable Melange, Pumpkin Indian Chickpeas, Raw Vegan Brownie

Pumpkin Indian Chickpeas Wit Full Fat Greek Yogurt

Raw Vegan Brownie With Raw Chocolate Frosting

This was pretty darn good. The chickpeas came out nice and spicy, with the pumpkin to add some savor factor. A dollop of full fat yogurt, though, really made the whole thing come alive; the dish needed fat and depth. Speaking of fat, the raw vegan brownies are still just as delicious. It was too cold not to have something sweet to finish of dinner. Do other people eat the best part of their meal at the end, too? I always did this as a kid, but people would confuse this for me not liking something and picking it off my plate before I would get to it. Not cool. No one got my brownie.

Don’t think having chocolate with dinner meant there won’t be some for dessert; it would just be too cold to ignore chocolate like that. I do feel somewhat bad on skipping out on a friend’s birthday party tonight. But if I went–and in this cold–I wouldn’t be enjoying myself, and I’m not convinced she’d notice me there amongst the other 100 facebook friends attending. So after all I don’t feel bad about ditching it for some light and humorous reads.

Homework

Wow are there a lot of giveaways going on now. Here’s one for a bread machine. Here’s another for coconut oil! Here’s one for some delicious bars. And here’s one for iHerb shopping spree! Here’s one for chocolate. And how about one last one for chocolate, here!

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Taking Control

Posted on January 15, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Giveaway, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

*Chobani winner announced at the end of this post*

I think everyone is entitled to control of their own life. And it then becomes our duty to make sure we actually take the control into our own hands. This morning I had my annual doctor’s physical, which I was not looking forward to. Frankly, I haven’t been happy with my physician for the past few visits, which doesn’t bode well for him since I’ve only had him for a few years now. I feel he judges his patients as dots, simply comparing them to all the other dots in America on his little chart; that doesn’t cut it for me. I’m unique. You’re unique. Everyone is unique. Like I predicted, he pulled up his laptop with his charts and explained what numbers were a little high and which ones were a little low, and I sat there and took it. What I really wanted to yell say was that everything he was pointing out runs in my family and is hereditary and that they are who he should be comparing me to. But when I walked out afterwards, I made a decision: I will be changing doctors after today. We have every right to be in control of our health care, we just need to take it. Consider control taken. Is there any part of your life that you need to take control? You don’t need to write about it in the comments; just do it!

What else gives me a great sense of control? My meal planning, which led me to this lunch of tactfully planned leftovers:

Vegan Meatloaf With Ketchup, Sweet Potato Rounds With Nutritional Yeast, Broccoli

Root Beer Zevia

I cannot tell you how excited I was for today’s lunch; as good as the vegan meatloaf is the first day, it’s about 10 times better after sitting in the fridge–sooo amazing! Especially with a little ketchup because I’m classy like that 😉 And, hey! There might have even been some sweet potato under that nutritional yeast… just maybe. And on the side I sipped a root beer Zevia for something special while watching the television and catching up on the google reader.

While we’re talking about control, I never feel more in control than in the kitchen. I love it, especially when it’s my own recipe I’m working on. I made up a recipe last night just for Cookie Friday that hit all my cravings for the time.

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Chunkies

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance(or butter), softened
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-natural peanut butter
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup 2% or whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 a teaspoon salt
  • 60g milk chocolate bar, shaved(or 1/4 cup chocolate chips)
  • Coarse sea salt

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, cream together the earth balance and sugar. Whisk in the egg and egg yolk, peanut butter, milk, and vanilla extract. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the dry ingredients the egg mixture and mix well. Fold in the milk chocolate shavings. Scoop out cookies onto a lined baking pan. Sprinkle coarse sea salt over the top of the cookies and flatten the top with a fork perpendicularly. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch.

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Chunkies

These definitely would be the show-stoppers at any cookie swap; who can say no to milk chocolate and peanut butter? And they really aren’t that unhealthy for you at all because a lot of the sugar has been replaced with healthy fats and butter replaced with no-cholesterol Earth Balance. And of course you can take control and adjust the recipe to suit yourself.

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

While I was in the kitchen I made up some peanut butter cups. There were also 4 others that are just out of the picture. What I love about this is you can take control and adjust the chocolate and peanut butter to your liking. The chocolate here is a darker milk chocolate made with 3 parts Trader Joe’s milk chocolate for every 1 part Baker’s Unsweetened. The peanut butter was a blend of 8 parts Smart Balance Agave Sweetened to 1 part vanilla bean infused sugar. I’m not sure how the peanut butter tasted but I slipped a bit of the chocolate and it was perfect. When everything was done, I took my cookie and coffee and sat down.

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Chunky

Soooo good. These are more salty than sweet, which is totally my preference. But that’s not saying they don’t have sweetness to them. They just taste like good ol’ peanut butter and some smooth chocolate. I ended up watching Tivoed Good Eats and was pleasantly surprised to find it was Alton’s new weight loss episode. Have you seen him recently? He lost 50 pounds of fat! Go Alton! I loved his “no-diet” diet of how he eats:

  • Daily: Fruits, whole grains, leafy greens, nuts, carrots, green tea.
  • At least 3x weekly: oily fish, yogurt, broccoli, sweet potato, avocado.
  • 1 time a week at most: red meat, pasta, dessert, alcohol.
  • None: fast foods, soda, processed meals, canned soups, “diet” anything
  • Breakfast every day–no excuses!

I love it! Probably because it sounds like me 😀 (Except for the dessert thing. Desserts a daily item with me) He really took control of his life. What was best was that he was serving this up as a lifestyle and not a diet, which is how it should be seen. If you can, seek out the whole episode. Before dinner I snacked on an apple:

Organic Apple

I don’t know why but I feel the need to point out when things are organic. Thankfully, I’ve noticed this is a common thing among blogs so I don’t feel completely random here. And then I made dinner. I tried a honey citrus salmon, which probably would have been 10 times better were the fish thicker, fresh, and not done in a pan. As it were, it actually didn’t come out bad(though caused a lot of smoke).

Honey Citrus Salmon, Mashed Kefir Cauliflower With Black Pepper

Salty Oatmeal With Raw Cheddar Cheese

We just called it “blackened” salmon 🙂 I also tried out a new recipe! Mashed cauliflower with coconut milk kefir as the creamer. Sooo good! I loved how it came out a bit tangy and sweet from the kefir. AND I can count it as a probiotic source(which is helpful because this would then be number 1 of the day). On the side, I was having a major craving for salt oatmeal. So while I made my parents white potatoes, I cooked up really salty oats and topped it with a salty, raw cheddar–heaven. I’m sure that doesn’t sound in the least appetizing, and I’m sure it wouldn’t have been if it weren’t a major craving. And now, as I’m typing, I’m “unwinding” to this:

Zevia Cola

What is it about beverages that make them what we unwind with? With caffeine, this probably isn’t the best choice to have at night for me, but it is Friday after all 😀 Before I bring up my giveaway, I want to point out the Oikos giveaway at An Apple A Day and the Crofter’s giveaway at Crunches For Cupcakes. And without further ado…

Carrie H!

“Lemon Bluberry Chobani loaf! I NEED some baked goods in my life right now! Oh, and I’ve never tried Chobani, so thanks for the giveaway!”

Never tried Chobani?! We’ll have to fix that. Send me your address and I’ll forward it to the company.

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Say Cheeese And A Giveaway!

Posted on January 12, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Giveaway, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Road trip! Route: Memory Lane

Did anybody else eat way too many of these in their childhood? It might or might not be just a New England thing; I’m not sure. Basically, these are cheese sandwich crackers with peanut butter in between. They’re not exactly health food, but at least they don’t have trans fat or HFCS(anymore at least. I have doubts about when I was a kid). OK, well I didn’t quite have these, BUT I figured out a kickassbutt way to work them into my lunch.

Cheddar Pop Chips With Smart Balance Peanut Butter

While trying out a new flavor of Pop Chips. Pretty snazzy. Plus I had real food.

Snobby Lentils And Broccoli With Nutritional Yeast

And something tall and bubbly to wash it all down.

Blueberry Pomegranate Steaz

And then I moved this all to the couch in front of the television. No, really, I did. My stomach was still feeling funky for lunch so instead of tofu I kept it simple with overcooked lentils and snobby joes over broccoli. I think I’m becoming a bigger and bigger fan of nutritional yeast; you just need to add A LOT at the time. The soda was OK but the flavor didn’t blow my mind; it mostly just tasted like green tea.

Also “just OK” was this flavor of Pop Chips. It just didn’t have that same, overly processed flavor as other cheese snacks. But maybe that’s a good thing? It’s just what I’ve come to expect from cheddar chips. What was really good was them with the peanut butter. It was just like the crackers! The sweet and salty work so well together. I might have to buy a bag of Pop Chips just for that.

After lunch and television, I started working on dinner.

Wet Ingredients

Along with the meal plan, I was making some killer cornbread. This time, I tried a variation some variations on it: I sweetened with 3 tablespoons agave nectar, accidentally poured in about twice the salt, and cut in cold pieces of Earth Balance natural butter spread at the last moment instead of mixing in the butter well.

Killer Cornbread

I actually think it might have cooked a few minutes faster, but besides that it looked and smelled the same: delicious. I also made up a rub for the chicken.

BBQ Chicken Rub

BBQ Chicken Rub

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine the ingredients in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt, if desired. Rub over chicken before cooking.

Marinating Chicken

It might technically be a marinade. I’m not sure. But if it’s a problem for you, please take it up with my lawyers. After that I rewatched the newest episode of Unwrapped(because, really, you need to see it twice to let it sink in). As much as I hate to eat bars at home, I was craving something dense and chewy, much like a granola bar. It was that or cut into the cornbread early.

Nature's Path Peanut Butter Optimum Energy Bar

I won this bar from Nature’s Path‘s facebook page and had no reason to try it until now. It definitely wasn’t very peanut buttery, but at least it had peanuts in it, as well as fiber and protein. Probably didn’t need all that added sugar for sitting on the house and converting recipes, but c’est la vie. After a good while, I got a start on dinner by putting broccoli and the chicken in the oven, and made a snack while I waited for that.

Vanilla Bean Greek Yogurt With Organic Strawberry Conserves

Vanilla bean sugar makes everything feel special 🙂 And I just noticed my strawberry is organic, which has me far more excited than it should. Now I feel like I’m saving the earth every time I have some, though that’s probably not the case.

Killer Cornbread, BBQ Chicken, Roasted Broccoli Fries

Killer Cornbread, BBQ Chicken, Roasted Broccoli Fries

Finally, some decent broccoli fries. The perfection comes in the patience; these roasted for over an hour. The chicken was really good, but it would have been better had we had the grill to use. Still, the notes of cinnamon and cayenne were perfect. And the cornbread came out much better than the last time, probably because last time I forgot to add 1/2 the sweetener. This batch we decided was definitively more “corny” due to the agave nectar.

You should enter this giveaway for Amy’s Kitchen products right after entering my…

Chobani Giveaway!

Now that you’ve seen me cook with Chobani, here’s your chance to win some. Would you like to win a case of fruit Chobani? I love their fruit flavors because fruit is always the number 2 ingredient right behind milk(except for with the raspberry flavor). To enter, go to the Chobani website and write in one of the recipes that looks good to you. For bonus entries:

I’ll randomly choose a winner Friday at 8pm(which spells Ghost Whisperer time in this house) so get your comments in by then and good luck!

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I Don’t Do Semi-Homemade, Sandra Lee

Posted on December 30, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I don’t do “semi”; I go full throttle or cop-out entirely.

Acorn Squash With Baked Beans And Brussels

Have I ever made baked beans from scratch? No. Do I have any plans to? Not at all. I’m fine with these organic ones from Whole Foods. I threw together this lunch and then literally threw it in the car to get to finishing things. Good thing I’m not the driver 🙂 First we stopped off at the natural food store near me where I bought this foodie find with Christmas money.

Almond Amaretto Herbal Coffee

This isn’t really “coffee”(or “cawfee” because I’m a New Englander). It’s actually dried carob, figs, almond, and other natural ingredients for an herbal drink very similar to coffee. I was a little disappointed when I forgot to add coffee to my x-mas list because I’m such an addict, but in hindsight that was probably a good call because I don’t know how anyone in my family would have found this. I can’t wait to see if it really tastes like amaretto 😉

After the natural store, we went to get the last items on the lsit for New Years from Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods–mainly the meat which we didn’t want sitting in our fridge. I’m so excited because my favorite candy bar protein bar is $1 off the entire month! Expect a lot of those for green snacking 😉 I was parched by the time we finished Whole Foods so I broke out a new soda I found on sale to try.

Steaz Orange Green Tea

I wasn’t aware that there was another stevia sweetened beverage on the market, but these in 4-packs were 3/$8 so I thought I’d give it a try. I’m sure it had caffeine even though it doesn’t say, but that was OK with e at the tie. I liked the flavor; it was a little subtle but I think tea is all about subtlety so I can understand not over-sweetening it. While I was at Whole Foods I also made another purchase with my Christmas money.

Vegan Cinnamon Raisin Rolls

Like I said, i don’t do semi. I’ve made my cinnamon rolls, and now I’m buying these cinnamon rolls 🙂 I still don’t know how they can make these with just whole wheat flour, flour, water, grape juice, canola oil, yeast, salt, and cinnamon! Soo good. After we unpacked, I got working on cooking projects 4 and 5.

Thai Peanut Hummus

When it comes to having company, I never phone it in; I do homemade. In this case, I was making hummus for our guests tomorrow. The first one was my own concoction, with 1 can of chickpeas(drained), 2 tablespoons The Heat Is On, 1 tablespoon each of soy sauce and lime juice, salt, and 2 tablespoons crushed peanuts stirred in in the end.

Sunny Tomato Hummus

The second one was a recipe from The Broccoli Hut. Apparently, food processors have no problems with nuts, but sundried tomatoes are touch cookies veggies. From the itty bits I snacked on from the scoopula, I can tell I loved the first recipe and didn’t care too much for the tomato flavor. After nibbling through these, I decided to eat something real.

Oatmeal With An Egg And The Heat Is On Peanut Butter

I guess this is “homemade”? Hard to get much simpler. I figured while the peanut butter was out I’d use it and have a spicy afternoon snack. The albumen(or egg whites if you aren’t feeling pretentious) were cooked to the perfect runniness. But after this was done I quickly got working on dinner(my thing for the 3rd night in a row).

Al Fresco Buffalo Style Sausage

I went store bought on the main protein. Actually, this was part of the large array of flavors Karen from Al Fresco sent to me a while ago. As a family, we used to always get greasy pizza and buffalo chicken wings on Tuesday nights(real healthy, right? ;-)) so this flavor was right up our alley. I did, however, do something homemade.

Killer Cornbread

Like I mentioned this morning, I had a killer craving for cornbread(say that 5 times fast). After looking at some recipes, I combined them to make my own and hoped it would come out all right.

Killer Cornbread

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup whole grain cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sweetener
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, sift together the first 5 ingredients(unless using a liquid sweetener like honey or agave in which case just the first 4). Beat in the egg, milk, and any liquid sweetener if using. Add in the greek yogurt and butter and mix until blended. Move into an 8×8 baking pan and bake until browning on the outside(about 20 minutes).

Green Beans With Hot Sauce, Killer Cornbread With Cream Cheese, Buffalo Style Chicken Sausage

The cornbread was, in a word, killer. It came out perfectly grainy. I definitely had an extra 1/2 a square, and as a family we polished off 7 of the 12 servings. I think that recipe is a keeper! I also really loved this flavor sausage. It was super spicy and didn’t need a hit of hot sauce at all. Watching Paula Dean definitely had me craving cream cheese, which topped the fresh-out-of-the-oven cornbread perfectly.

Where has the day gone? What about the year?! It’s too much to think about. Instead I think I’ll figure out what foodiness is for dessert once all this darn cornbread digests.

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Color My Yogurt

Posted on December 4, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Apparently the mystery is solved: I ate an unripe hachiya persimmon whereas I should have eaten a fully ripened or fuyu persimmon. I think from now on instead of hear about the 25 reasons I could be dying from WebMD I’ll just ask the blogger world. Dare I go back and try another? I think this experience has scared me off for now and I will stick with the dried persimmons in my granola. Well when I said I was dragging yesterday, I was reeaaallly dragging. I reached for the only caffeine I keep around after I posted.

Cola Zevia

Well that picked me up. I straightened up a bit around here; there seem to be papers and books everywhere. What is this? A dorm during finals period?! Oh wait… haha 🙂 Dr. Phil was on Oprah; I can’t really stand him on his own show but somehow Oprah made him tolerable. I must admit I love some of his expressions: “dogpiling in the foyer” If anyone can explain that to me, they get bonus points. My hunger definitely subsided after the persimmon incident and I wasn’t feeling too snacky in the afternoon. There was one thing I didn’t mind having, though.

Plain Soy Yogurt With Peanut Sundrops

Omnomnomnom. I love this soy yogurt with milk chocolate peanut butter cups, so having it with milk chocolate coated peanuts was just as good! It was so nice and sweet and salty and delicious. But what I really loved here was how the colors ran and made the yogurt orange and yellow and purple. It may sound silly, but once and a while since going all-natural I miss the fun food colors and playing with those, and most natural food dyes cost an arm and a leg. This reminded me of how ugly cookies get when you bake them with M&M’s in them 🙂

Like I said, I wasn’t very snacky in the afternoon, so I had no problem holding off until dinner when I could try out my new purchase.

Tikka Masala Simmer Sauce

I think I’m starting to like Indian food. Or at least start to crave it, because it was on my mind all through Whole Foods. I really wanted to make a chickpea dish but the dining hall didn’t have those, so instead I got carrots and broccoli and diced half of one of my sweet potatoes and let that “simmer” in the microwave at a low power. I served that along side some lemon and lime salmon also from Whole Foods

Vegetable Tikka Masala, Lemon And Lime Salmon

The salmon(which was like 1.50 off the salad bar, wahoo bargains!) surprisingly did taste like lemon and lime. Sprite, anyone? With enough salt, though, it got back to its fishy roots. I liked the vegetables, but the sauce was a bit too mild? I know it says “England’s favorite mild curry sauce” but I was expecting their mild to be a bit more. Oh well, I’ll have to step it up next time!

I loved loved loved Survivor last night. it was the auction episode, which I’m always a fan of. It’s also such a good sign you’re getting towards the end of the season and can see who the real playa’s are. I had a (very repetitive) snack.

Oikos With Crushed Sunspire Peanut Milk Chocolate Drops

These mini Oikos cups are… mini, but they’re perfect for when you just want the topper and could care less about the yogurt 😉 Have I mentioned I’m now obsessed with the milk chocolate covered peanuts? I’m writing in to Trader Joe’s to request it(literally). Since there was no Grey’s, I was able to watch The Office and 30 Rock on their regular time. Neither of them had me loling, but at least I don’t have to worry about watching them online now. Then I got really random for Leno.

Toast With Butter Toffee Peanut Butter, Vegan Pumpkin Molasses Cookie, Double Chocolate Pillow, Advent Chocolate, Newman's Own Organic Orange Dark Chocolate

Like I said: random. I was going to make my favorite bowl of oats but then thought this “sampler” platter was more fun. I still way prefer peanut butter on oatmeal than toast–it’s just better! And both of these cookies were still amazing after so much refrigeration, which made me happy. I’m definitely “rediscovering” my Newman’s Own Organic chocolate stash, which is dangerous since there’s a ton to rediscover.

This morning I didn’t have much of an excuse not to get up and go go go for a run. I set my sight on 12 miles and grabbed this bar.

Amazing Grass Whole Food Energy Bar

At 6:40, anything with the word energy is very welcomed. This flavor is OK, but I really prefer the chocolate or chocolate peanut butter(Could you imagine that? Me preferring chocolate and peanut butter? :-P). I ended up eating half and saving the other part for another morning, though I must admit I hate the idea of having half a bar around and right now that’s the case with 2(!). After the 10th mile I had to stop; I just wasn’t feeling it and, while I could have “entertained myself” and gone another two miles with eating up the rest of the bar, I recognized this was a time when pushing myself was not a strengthener but would weaken me. Instead I stopped at 10 miles and 83:18, did my cool down, showered, and made a breakfast.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Maple Almond Butter And 2 Goji Almond Oat Cookies

Pumpkin Yogurt With Brown Sugar

Omnomnomnom. The oatmeal was such a great bowl of antioxidants, healthy fats, and flavors. And I forgot how simple yet worth it raw sugar on yogurt can taste. Maybe that’s a good thing I forgot since sugar isn’t exactly the most nutritious thing but some granolas are practically 100% sugar anyhow so I just got rid of the bulk 😉

This morning I had a really positive interaction with my gym friend, Gail, that I thought I’d share. She told me that she saw me from her office window yesterday and wanted to compliment me on my leather jacket.

Firenze Leather Jacket

Spiffy, no? I got it in Italy the summer after 9th grade and now that it fits me better I find it so comfortable to wear. I also corrected her in thinking that my name was Ian; it felt a little awkward to address but I knew it’d be only more awkward with time and that it was better to correct a problem like this at the beginning. I think I’m going to make it my goal to compliment someone today. If such a simple and little thing can brighten someone’s morning, why not do it, right?

Who doesn’t love a tofu giveaway?

Amazing giveaway at Averie’s blog

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I Go Back

Posted on November 21, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Normally, I hate leaving my room if it’s not perfect. Even if that just means one dish is unclean. What did it look like yesterday?

Messy Bed

Beautiful. But let me explain. I get out of class at 2:50 and my dad had planned to pick me up at 3. I was using the “throw it on the bed as you remember it so you can grab and go later” method. Surprisingly, I think it worked, because it’s been a day and I can’t think of anything I forgot. After my first hour of class I grabbed a bit of lunch and supplemented it with a bit more of what I was feeling.

Trader Joe's Mac And Cheese, Roasted Balsamic Portabella

Broccoli With Cream Cheese

I think the backlash of vegan Thursday was wanting dairy products wherever I could put them(i.e. on broccoli). By the way, that was delicious and something I’ll do more often. And the mushrooms from the dining hall were soooo good. I’m not even sure what they were roasted in but there was tons of rosemary. This really filled me up for my next two classes, and when I got out at 2:50 things when just as planned. We piled everything up in bags and hit the road. I grabbed a nutritious pick me up.

Orange Zevia

Let’s pretend this has nutrients even though it completely doesn’t and doesn’t even have caffeine. On the way home, I did something I haven’t done in forever: nap in the car. I tried working but napping one out. I usually can’t/don’t and am always afraid my contacts will disappear somewhere if I sleep with the but it felt so good I couldn’t care less. That also made the trip that much shorter. When I got home I realized we really didn’t have much of the food I’d like, so I grabbed a snack and we went off to Hannafords.

Blueberry Crisp Clif Bar

This was the last of the Clif bars I recieved to review and i’m very happy that it ended things on a good note. I was a little skeptical about how this flavor would be, but I think the blueberry flavor with the plethora of spices(which I take to be the “crisp” part) worked really well. A little bit heavy on the sugar but I probably needed that at that point. We just picked up some Greek yogurt and pumpkin(surprise surprise) because we really didn’t have tie to do more damage.

The reason I came home yesterday was because my elementary school principal was retiring and they were having a banquet. Not many people get to know their elementary school principal and facutly well but I went to a very small school for 7 years where it was easy to become like family with everyone. My graduating class in 6th grade was 4 kids including me, and my full class(6th plus 5th) was 7. Here’s the class photo that was on the wall last night:

6th Grade Class Photo

I’m the little chubby one on the bottom left. I guess I’ve always liked food 🙂 But I like the better food now(i.e. not tacos from a box). It was a ton of fun to get to see all my teachers. Because it’s so small a school, most of the faculty’s the same; my kindergarten teacher from 13-14 years ago still teaches kindergarten and was as kind as ever. There were just a few speeches, the best given by the man himself.

Mr. O'rourke

Did I mention he’s retiring at 87?! We actually don’t know his age; it’s been debated that might be 89, but it’s pretty high up there. Amazingly, he also has most of his mind with him. Most of the night was fun and light-hearted but it was a little emotional when he mentioned how he missed my grandfather; in the time I was here they became good friends and he even surprisingly showed up to his funeral 4 years after I left the school. There was even someone from my old class there.

The Thomas And Tardiff Family

Andrew(the tallest one who dwarfs us all) was pretty much my best friend from kindergarten to 5th grade. We basically all sat and chatted about the scandelous moments from the past, like when so and so broke a window or someone knocked over the school’s sound system. I was hoping I could make a dinner out of the Whole Foods energy bar I packed and what there was but it really wasn’t the case; thankfully, Whole Foods is pretty close to the school so we took a short trip there.

Carrot Ginger Soup, Traditional Stuffing, Salad

Yum! I can’t believe Thanksgiving is less than a week away, at which time I’ll have about 10 times more that stuffing. It’s soooooooo good. And the soup was delicious, too. The ginger gave a strong kick. There was cake:

Retirement Cake

Which I avoided because I figured it was box mixed and the frosting was from a tub. There was apple crisp:

Apple Crisp

It wasn’t very good and probably because it had twice as much flour and butter as it should have but I figured it had a good chance at being all-natural none the less. This made me appreciate how amazing my vegan apple crisp is for something relatively healthy. It was a fun night and such a trip to go back and think “this is where I learned to read”. I hope that I retire long before 87. I even got approached by a 50-60 year old man who saw my sweatshirt and was an alumnus of Brown. Apparently, his kids went to my school in the 80’s. I honestly don’t think I’ve met an alumni of Brown who’s had anything bad to say about the school. I’m so happy to be part of that community. When I got home I was a bit famished from the lack of eats, so I made some comforting oatmeal.

Pupkin Oatmeal With Chocolate Butter Toffee Peanut Butter And Vegan Pumpkin Molasses Cookie

I’ll pretend like this wasn’t almost exactly my breakfast except with chocolate butter toffee instead of butter toffee peanut butter. Nope. Not me 🙂 I was basically away from my computer since noon so there was tons of catching up to do but only so much that could happen before my self-imposed bed time(maybe I am 87 already?). After I logged off I was still hungry so had some random snacklings.

Kashi Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Cookie

Newman's Own Organic Milk Chocolate With Smart Balance Peanut Butter

Raw Broccoli And Carrots

I warned you it would be random. I forgot how much I love those cookies until I heard Tina and Melissa mention they score a NuVal score of 41 when the average for a cookie is 3! I’ll eat to that 😉 The chocolate square was good, although I was looking for my favorite Mocha Milk Chocolate. Apparently this family likes their chocolate too much for it to stick around while I’m gone. And the vegetables were eaten in bed when I realized I was still pretty hungry. I forgot that I hated raw broccoli, so left half the bag untouched. Talk about going back, I found The Golden Girls on The Hallmark channel to fall asleep to. Things like that remind me of being sick when I went to elementary school and staying with my grandparents and watching their daytime tv. Such great memories 🙂

This morning I slept in until a little after 8. Glorious. After grinding some beans and making a pot, I mostly meandered around the house until I got hungry an hour later.

Pumpkin Oats With Maple Yogurt Frosting And Mighty Maple, Snickerdoodle Greek Yogurt

I couldn’t decide what I wanted so I went with the obligatory pumpkin oats. Still delicious 🙂 The snickerdoodle yogurt was just plain with cinnamon and vanilla stevia, and then topped with 5g of turbinado brown sugar. The fun thing about buying plain in my mind is you can do with it whatever you want, and 5g of raw sugar compared to the pre-flavored ones is a smart move.

This morning I’d love to get out and run 5-7 miles. It doesn’t even look that bad out. However, at the moment, I’m catching up on the TONS of tivoed shows, and I kind of haven’t started homework even though it’s a pretty light weekend. You can be assured that, since I’m home, there’ll be baking and recipes 🙂 We just need to hit Whole Foods and Price Chopper today to grab the ingredients and we’re good to go. Yikes, that’s making running seem less probable. Have a great weekend!

Here’s a soupy giveaway.

Michelle(Lucky Taste Buds) is really outdoing herself with a peanut butter giveaway, a soda stream giveaway, all in honor of her own birthday! Happy birthday!

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