How To Have A Staycation

Posted on May 22, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Staycation: A vacation spent at home or nearby(merriam-webster)

Did you know Italy could be in the town right next to yours? And later in the freezer? Italia est mi amor.

At The Colosseum

At The Colosseum

On The Ponte Vecchio

On The Ponte Vecchio

The Vatican On Palm Sunday

The Vatican On Palm Sunday

I’ve been there twice and both times have been pure magic. Looking back at the pictures makes me want to go again. Of course, all of this was pre-foodie days so there’s no pictures  of the mountains of pizza I consumed.

Last night, I decided we’d take a staycation to Italy. Really, do you have to go 1000s of miles to eat good food, overindulge, and open your wallet? Not really. You can do that all at home!

Tomasso

Tomasso

Dinner took place at my favorite Italian restaurant nearby: Tomasso Trattoria. This place is the real deal; I was listening to twitter updates from them all day about how they got a fresh pig in and were roasting it. Heaven.

Roasted Pig With Fennel And Local Greens

Roasted Pig With Fennel And Local Greens

For my Secondi I ordered the special: roasted suckling pig stuffed with garlic and fennel sausage, radicchio in agrodolce, local field greens. With a Contorni:

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Roasted fingerling potatoes with sage. Yes, I am 110% a meat and potatoes person. The fennel was too vinegary for my own taste so I passed those off. I loved how rich and fatty and well cooked the meat was; a little salt and it melted in my mouth. And I think white potatoes are my true passion; these were divine. Another great meal in Italy, err… at Tomasso’s.

Starbucks Sumatra Decaf

Starbucks Sumatra Decaf

All good Italian desserts start with a good cup of coffee. This was to die for. I swear, this Sumatra blend didn’t even need sugar or stevia or any sweetness. I won’t say that about a lot of hot drinks!

Scharffen Berger Bittersweet

Scharffen Berger Bittersweet

For dessert, there was a little dark chocolate. I don’t think I’d tried this one before. Tres magnifique!(yes, I know that’s French). But I think the price and smaller portion will have me not buying this one again.

Talenti Tahitian Vanilla Bean Gelato

Talenti Tahitian Vanilla Bean Gelato

Finally, it was time to get my Italian gelato. I picked up this brand on this blogger’s recommendation. I love how they add a little lemon for a vanilla flavor–so Italian!

Talenti Tahitian Vanilla Bean Gelato

Talenti Tahitian Vanilla Bean Gelato

Dreamy. Creamy. Deliciouso. Do you know the difference between gelato and ice cream? Ice cream legally has 10% or more butterfat, whereas gelato has less. It’s also churned at a slower rate, meaning less air is added into it and the product is denser. That was my Italian history lesson for the day.

Gluten-Free Biscuit With Walnut Butter And Sea Salt

Gluten-Free Biscuit With Walnut Butter And Sea Salt

On the flight home, we had a layover in the South, so I ate one of their biscuits and topped it with Artisana Walnut Butter and sea salt. I hate layovers, but I love these biscuits so I went ahead and ate another.

Oats In A Butter Toffee Peanut Butter Jar, Plain Oikos With Local Honey

Oats In A Butter Toffee Peanut Butter Jar, Plain Oikos With Local Honey

The best part of a staycation? No jet lag. No unpacking. And only a slight sense of “OH, I really need to hit the gym now after that”. Yes, I do believe I’ve found a love for staycation, along with my pre-existing loves for local raw honey and butter toffee peanut butter. Speaking of Naturally Nutty, you can win some in Averie’s giveaway! Let’s recap:

How To Have A Staycation

1. Pick the cuisine. Italian? French? Hell, you could take a whole tour across Europe if you want!

2. Find the local spot. Look for the best “authentic” restaurant. Now is not the time to drive around and stop at the first place called “Georgio’s” only to find it’s a greasy pizza joint.

3. Plan the night out. From dinner to dessert, just have a plan and things will run smoother.

4. Make use of groceries. Now might be a good time and excuse to buy that French wine you’d been eyeing that was out of your budget. Like my gelato, the food frontier doesn’t just have to be in a restaurant.

5. Forget about the costs. Since a staycation is meant to be taken in place of a mini-vacation, treat it like one and let your worries go for the time being.

6. When in doubt, take a rain check. Didn’t get reservations at the restaurant of your dreams? Unless the staycation needs to be taken that day, put it off until you can do it right.

Where do you want to take your next staycation? I think Greece is on the travel plans for me.

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How To Ace An Exam

Posted on October 6, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Good morning, good morning 🙂 I have a Greek test in less than an hour(Yikes!) so the end of this may be a little rushed, but bear with me.

Tip 1: The day before, avoid being killed by the creepy girl in class

Yesterday the girl who sat next to me in Latin class sharpened her pencil with a pocket knife. Who does that? This was also the same girl who complained about getting a shoe thrown at her by her old roommate. At first, I was on her side, but now I’m wondering what the real story behind that room situation was. And why this girl can’t get a 2 dollar pencil sharpener like everyone else. After class I went on a mission to get some new batteries for my food scale, but when I got to CVS I realized I had no idea what size I needed: bad Evan. The trip wasn’t a total waste because I took the Via challenge.

Via Taste Test

Via Taste Test

Tip 2: Load yourself up on caffeine

Do I fail, or does Starbucks win, because I thought the regular Pike’s Place was nasty and the Via was at least palatable. I normally get Pike’s Place decaf which I swear tasted better than that regular. I think Via will be a great thing if it’s widely available and affordable. I also grabbed lunch around this time:

Black Bean And Sweet Potato Ragout, Sunny Sprouts, Broccoli, Carrots, Mushrooms

Black Bean And Sweet Potato Ragout, Sunny Sprouts, Broccoli, Carrots, Mushrooms

Tip 3: Eat plenty of beans so you can let out a big toot mid exam

This lunch was full of surprises. Surprise one was the ragout; I thought I’d hate it because it looked like it came back out of a dogs mouth and I have bad memories of black beans from my trip to Costa Rica in 8th grade. Actually, this was really good and had a nice, potato flavor to it. The sunny sprouts were anything but sunny. They actually tasted a little soapy, which I think was the mustard/margarine on them. Besides that everything was good stuff that I grabbed from the salad bar.

After that I had 2 classes per usual. I gave my friend in Greek History a vegan pumpkin molasses cookie. At first she didn’t want it because she thought I found it on the floor, but when I told her I made it she took a bite and said “That’s a freakin awesome cookie” Couldn’t have said it better myself 🙂 Up next was Epic Poetry which I got a bit hungry during so I had a peanut butter Z-Bar I had in my pocket. After class I went back out to CVS to get the batteries.

Tip 4: When in doubt, take a Whole Foods trip

While I was 1/3 the way to Whole Foods, rather than do my homework like a good student, I felt like grabbing some essentials. When I got there I was pleasantly surprised with this:

Farmers' Market

Farmers' Market

I forgot that the Farmers’ Market that’s on my quad on Wednesdays is at this Whole Foods on Mondays. I grabbed a Macintosh apple because I was super snacky. I actually kept it really brief in Whole Foods because I felt bad about being there in the first place. I think I was in and out in 10 minutes!

Shopping Loot

Shopping Loot

I picked up my favorite Greek yogurt, my favorite plain yogurt, batteries, and a yam from the Farmers’ Market. The yam and apple together were only 1 dollar, which was a pretty great steal. Not to mention it’s adorably sized and perfect for 1 person. I needed 2 things when I got back to my dorm: to pee like a race horse and get some food in me.

Pumpkin Oats With Maple Almond Butter And Sliced Almonds

Pumpkin Oats With Maple Almond Butter And Sliced Almonds

Tip 5: Go nuts. They support the healthy fats in your brain

Once the former was taken care of, I plugged in the batteries to my food scale and got to work with some grains–perfectly cooked this time. This is my original pumpkin oats that I was making way back in July: oats with Libby’s canned pumpkin, Justin’s maple almond butter, and sliced salted almonds. It’s a great salty/sweet almond dish. And I must have been hungry because I scarfed this down(eating a bowl of oatmeal in under an hour is scarfing for me). I knew I had a lot of work ahead of me so I called the person I was planning on meeting for dinner to reschedule. Instead I got take out from the dining hall, got some stuff accomplished, and made my meal:

Broccoli, Sweet Potato, Beets, Vegan Taco Beans, Orange Zevia

Broccoli, Sweet Potato, Beets, Vegan Taco Beans, Orange Zevia

Tip 6: Blow off your friend to study, but end up blogging

Eating in my room might not be something I want to get used to, but it’s damn good when I do. For instance, I can tap into my small hoard of Zevias 🙂 The beets and broccoli and sweet potato were all great, plain and salted with a little cinnamon on the sweet potato. The taco filling wasn’t bad, it was just interesting. I liked it more than I was expecting to, but it mostly just tasted like seasoned black beans and didn’t have the flavor or consistency of taco filling.

Tip 7: Unwind to your favorite television programs

For Monday Television I had to decide between CBS and NBC. Since HIMYM is only 30 minutes and Heroes is an hour, it made sense to go with Heroes for night. While it was on I talked to my parents and heard I have a package waiting from Nature’s Path back at my house(!!). Way to not help me concentrate for the rest of the night. This also didn’t help me concentrate on anything but how delicious it was:

Fig And Almond Blondie, Figs In Yogurt With Vanilla Sugar

Fig And Almond Blondie, Figs In Yogurt With Vanilla Sugar

Trader Joes All Natural Halloween Gummies

Trader Joes All Natural Halloween Gummies

Tip 8: Suuuuugar

This used up the last of my big container of plain yogurt; see why I have to go out to Whole Foods every day?(Besides the fact that I love it, of course) The figs were more than ripe being almost 2 weeks old, but a go in the microwave made them soft and juicy. And if I’m only ever going to have sugar in moderation, I choose this vanilla sugar from Whole Foods. It has real vanilla beans! How cool is that? The gummies from Trader Joe’s were also decent; I think they’re more of a novelty for your average 5 year old who refuses to eat artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

Heroes was OK. Next week looks a bit better, especially with the preview about Claire and her roommate(what on earth could that have been about?) After that I watched Two And A Half Men. When did the boy in that become older than me? And yet they pretend like he’s still 12. It doesn’t work. And after a month or so I’m ready to confess how much I love the 10pm Jay Leno show; it’s so nice to have a program that you can count on being at least halfway decent every night at the same time, that isn’t a rerun.

Carrot Ginger Muffin Top With Smart Balance Peanut Butter, Deep Chocolate Vitatop With Cream Cheese

Carrot Ginger Muffin Top With Smart Balance Peanut Butter, Deep Chocolate Vitatop With Cream Cheese

Tip 9: Eat your fats, too.

Something was telling me I didn’t eat enough fuel during the day so I didn’t hesitate to load up before bed. I think this was the first muffin where I’ve eaten the bottom part before the top. Oh, and clearly I buy cholesterol free chocolate brownies to smear cholesterol directly on it. JK. I love my cream cheese and could/would never think of giving it up. I liked it here because it tapered the sweetness of the chocolate, which was nice right before bed.

Tip 10: Early to bed, early to rise.

I was able to fall asleep pretty well because my roommate was off working on a project with his friend(or maybe just partying, who knows) and was up by 7. It was pretty easy to decide today’s run: until the machine turns off or 8:30, whichever comes first. I got to the gym early so I knew I had a full hour in me I felt great and ran a strong 7.48 in my hour. I could have gone a full 10 miles this morning I think but I didn’t want to be late fore anything.

Tempeh Bacon, Toast With Mighty Maple, Blueberry Chobani With Pumpkin, Flax, And Holly's Cookie Crumble

Tempeh Bacon, Toast With Mighty Maple, Blueberry Chobani With Pumpkin, Flax, And Holly's Cookie Crumble

Tip 11: Eat a healthy, nutritious, and delicious breakfast

I was really feeling oats on this cold October morning, but I didn’t want to be running to class with a bowl in my hands so I kept it portable. I think Chobani tastes good but they go a bit sugar happy in their yogurts; when I have fruit sweetened yogurt I want all the sugar to come from lactose and the fruit, and would rather have a little cream in their instead of plain nonfat. To thicken it up, I added a tablespoon of flax and 1/4 cup canned pumpkin And I topped it off with a vegan pumpkin molasses cookie because… well why would I not?

Hope you liked all the, err, study tips(yeah, that’s what we’ll call them.) Oh, before I forget, like Justin’s Nut Butters or just want to try them for the first time? Check this blogger giveaway out. The same blogger has an awesome giveaway for NuGo bars. Never had one but I’d love to try ’em!

And here’s a fun, very different contest. The Unbake Off. Get your brains turning for that one.

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Having My Cake And Eating It Too!

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

Peanut Butter Boy 2nd Place Prize

Peanut Butter Boy 2nd Place Prize

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

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

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

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

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

Meatball Sub, Cantaloupe, Green Beans, And A Tomato

Meatball Sub, Cantaloupe, Green Beans, And A Tomato

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

After lunch I explored the neighborhood:

Exploring

Exploring

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

Stonyfield Java With Vegan Fluff And Midnight Moo Sauce

Stonyfield Java With Vegan Fluff And Midnight Moo Sauce

Stonyfield Java With Vegan Fluff And Midnight Moo Sauce

Stonyfield Java With Vegan Fluff And Midnight Moo Sauce

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

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

The Wet

The Wet

The Dry

The Dry

The Cookies

The Cookies

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

Chicken, Broccoli, Basmatti Rice, And Island Soyaki Sauce

Chicken, Broccoli, Basmatti Rice, And Island Soyaki Sauce

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

Newman's Own Organic Chocolate Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies

Newman's Own Organic Chocolate Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies

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

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

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread And Pumpkin Bread

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread And Pumpkin Bread

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UFood's Chopstick Chicken Ubowl

UFood's Chopstick Chicken Ubowl

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

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

Last Day Card

Last Day Card

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

Pin The Tail On The Donkey

Pin The Tail On The Donkey

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

Strawberry Banana Vivvano

Strawberry Banana Vivvano

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

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

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

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

Thrive By Brendan Brazier

Thrive By Brendan Brazier

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

Dinner was, again, quite the treat:

Salmon, Grilled Tomatos, Corn, And Goat Cheese

Salmon, Grilled Tomatos, Corn, And Goat Cheese

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

For dessert I had these two treats:

Chocolate Cake From Finale

Chocolate Cake From Finale

Redwood Hill Farm Vanilla Goat Milk Yogurt With Raspbrerries

Redwood Hill Farm Vanilla Goat Milk Yogurt With Raspbrerries

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

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

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Feel Better Blondies

Posted on June 27, 2009. Filed under: Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , |

Well after the overwhelming response to the poll(lol, zippo) I’ve decided to do chocolate because it’s a pretty safe bet that you all love chocolate, so look for some good products here tomorrow. As for today, I have no clue what the future holds. I might go for a run since it’s so nice out, but right now I’m having a food hangover from last night’s deck party. Brownies, chocolate pudding, whip cream, and toffee bits in a bowl is apparently my weakness. I can’t wait to recreate that with Z-Bars and chocolate yogurt when I can stand to look at food again. I also have on my agenda to make some bagels but it seems baking is always the thing that gets pushed off until later.

Today I wanted to share a recipe from a little back. On this particular day, I got a letter from the doctor about a check up and where he wanted me to be weight-wise and by when all of this put me in a pretty bad mood. Well after throwing the letter out and later having to recover it for my mom, I decided I’d bake even though we don’t need more food lying around our kitchen. I made what I now call “Feel Better, Get Fat” Blondies, or as my recipe book has them titled, Starbucks Toffee Almond Blondies.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1 1/2 cups light whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2 teaspoons almond extract

1 ounce slivered almonds

3 ounces Heath bar morsels

3 ounces white chocolate chips

004

Preheat your oven to 350. In a small bowl, mix oil, applesauce, and sugar. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the eggs into the sugar mixture and whisk.  Whisk in the almond extract as well. Pour the wet into the flour mixture until just incorporated and then fold in the Heath morsels, white chocolate chips, and almonds. Pour into a 9 by 9 pan and bake about 30 minutes or until golden. Cut into 16 blondies, each with around 180 calories.

007

Sure, they aren’t my typical healthy recipe, but they aren’t that bad for you(and definitely not for the soul). If you want just a simple, healthy blondie, feel free to leave out the add-ins. The base was very rich and moist on its own. Thanks for reading. Now I need to go take some pictures(and nibbles) of chocolate for tomorrow 🙂

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It’s A Wacky Wednesday Already

Posted on June 17, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

I need to stop “planning” how days should go the night before because they’re destined to not work out. Dad took the day off from work today, so I thought I’d run somewhere for breakfast. Unfortunately the only places around here are Panera Bread and Starbucks. Well, since I knew what I’d get order at both places(cinnamon raisin swirl bagel or cherry granola parfait), and since I knew I have the ingredients for both at home and can make them better, I just did a normal run and ended making myself neither! I had Kashi vanilla oats with White Chocolate Wonderful and raspberry jam, and peaches with cottage cheese. That breakfast definitely hit the spot for this sunny morning. Kashi definitely makes some of the best/healthiest instant oatmeals out there. It tastes non-artificial and the 7-blend thing really makes it something special. I don’t know how these sat in my pantry for 5 months uneaten.

007

One of the reasons I did my normal run is because I “planned” to watch morning TV, because who doesn’t love those talk shoes. Well, all the guest stars looked awful, so again I changed things up and am watching The Break Up–pretty funny. Also unplanned: My dog getting sick and puking after my parents went to the hospital for a check-up. Nothing says good morning like dog puke.

Well now I “plan” on doing some abs and arm work, and taking a shower, but I’m sure something will come up and change all that. Should I bother thinking about what I want for lunch yet or will that change too? There’s one thing I love about Wednesdays that never changes; It’s new sales at Whole Foods! And to celebrate we’re shopping at Whole Foods AND Market Basket later. There will definitely be pictures of the loot.

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Starbucks At Home And Lightened Up!

Posted on June 1, 2009. Filed under: Recipe | Tags: , , , |

Today I’m excited to post, for the first time, recipes! Baking is, in my opinion, what I’m best at(besides translating dead languages but no one cares about that). Today I’m bringing you two recipes for Starbucks classics that you can do at home and that are actually healthy for you. Without further ado…

Mocha Frappuccino:

1 cup Bolthouse Mocha Cappuccino drink

6 coffee ice cubes

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To make coffee ice cubes, pour leftover coffee in an ice cube tray and leave in freezer for a day. In general, these are great to have on hand so replenish your stock as needed. Put both of the ingredients in a blender and mix until the ice is crushed and the drink has a thick, frosty-like consistancy. Drink with a wide straw. This makes a perfect post-run drink, as it contains 28 grams sugar, 10 grams of protein, 19% your DV of potassium, and 45% your DV of calcium.

005

Starbucks Mocha Raspberry Brownies:

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 applesauce

1/4 cup coffee yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

2/3 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

2 teaspoon instant coffee granules

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup raspberry preserves

Mocha Raspberry Brownie Ingredients

Preheat your oven to 375. In a large bowl, whisk sugar, applesauce, yogurt, extract, and eggs. In a seperate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, instant coffee, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add dry to wet and mix just until blended. Pour into a 9×9 pan(if using glass, decrease oven temperature to 350). Spoon the jam into a ziploc bag and squeeze the preserves in straight lines across brownies. Using a knife, draw lines alternatively up and down the brownies to add a pattern. Bake for 25 minutes. I suggest cutting these into long, thin rectangles by slicing once horizontally and 5 times vertically. All of the ingredients only add up to around 1000 calories so 1/10 is only a 100 calorie brownie and has less than a tablespoon of sugar.

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So those are the recipes for today. I hope you try them out and enjoy them as much as I do. I’m sitting down to a brownie and a cup of joe right now 🙂

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