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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The Birthday Day

Posted on March 30, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

First of all, thank you. For everything. I haven’t had time to say that enough between the half marathon and my birthday, so I wanted to get that out from the start. These past two days have been hectic but I panned them that way after all and so thank you for all your well wishes. Over the past two days, 1) my official time and place was announced as 1:42:10 and 36, 2) Megan wrote this article which I really enjoyed pausing to take the time to read and I think you might as well, and 3) my Wellness giveaway is still running so get your entries in!.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Butter Toffee PB, Vanilla Cake Chobani With Milk Choc Peanuts

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Butter Toffee PB, Vanilla Cake Chobani With Milk Choc Peanuts

Vanilla Cake Chobani With Milk Chocolate Peanuts

Vanilla Cake Chobani With Milk Chocolate Peanuts

For breakfast I had plain ol’ pumpkin oatmeal with butter toffee peanut butter, which we’re running out of here and at my dorm so clearly it’s time to reorder Naturally Nutty. I sweetened a plain Chobani with 1/2 a serving Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free vanilla cake mix for something really yummy. On top were also one of my favorites–milk chocolate peanuts–making this definitely one special birthday breakfast.

Spelt Banana Goodness Bread

Spelt Banana Goodness Bread

Since it was raining, I took the chance to do something I haven’t done in over 4 weeks: bake! Runners gotta run and bakers gotta bake. Since going low-gluten, I’ve discovered that one of the wheats I can tolerate is spelt. Spelt is an ancient, non-hybrid grain whose gluten is generally accepted better. Hearing that, I whipped up one of my favorite recipes, the banana goodness bread. A good bread has plenty of brown sugar on top to turn into a crust 🙂

Honey Baked Tofu

Honey Baked Tofu

I decided to do a “practice” for something to make for Easter Sunday and try baking a tofu “ham” with honey and cloves. The result was OK, but it really didn’t come out like I was thinking it would, and I much prefer maple anyway. Who needs to stick to tradition?

Honey Pineapple Soyaki Tofu And Asparagus

Honey Pineapple Soyaki Tofu And Asparagus

Spelt Banana Goodness Bread

Spelt Banana Goodness Bread

The honey with some soyaki Trader Joe sauce was actually really good and made it taste a little “tropical”; it reminded me of the Wildwood tofu I reviewed a while ago. For a vegetable, there was asparagus. And because bread tastes freshest, I had a slice of banana goodness bread made with spelt, chocolate chips, and hemp seeds(!!). The hemp added a great subtle nuttiness to it that I preferred to the flax.

Apple

Apple

Even though I wasn’t running, I felt like I could eat and eat and eat. This apple came while I was cleaning up dirty dishes and waiting for my next baked good to cook…

Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

You all didn’t think I posted that recipe last night for no reason, did you? I made a batch of gluten free chocolate brownies done peanut butter style. I had such difficulty finding the black beans, wondering why they weren’t with the baking items?! I definitely had no patience, ended up cutting into them way too early, and making 1/4 of the pan turn into crumbs. Nevertheless, I got my slice.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie With Chocolate Chip Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie With Chocolate Chip Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Brownie a la mode, anyone? I’ve actually never understood the combination of cold ice cream and warm brownie–until yesterday that is. It’s not that you want the contrast between the two, you just want brownies and ice cream and so take both 🙂 This was So Delicious, pun intended, but not terribly filling. Why not have more?

Coconut Milk Vanilla Yogurt With Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie

Coconut Milk Vanilla Yogurt With Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie

Did you know the same amount of So Delicious ice cream and yogurt has just about the same amount of sugar? In fact, a lot of flavored yogurts are just as sugary as some ice cream brands. Maybe I should have just had the ice cream, lol. At least this had probiotics. And after this grand afternoon snack I was filled well for dinner, which we ate at Tomasso.

Grilled Local Chicken, Sage Roasted Fingerlings, Broccoli Rabe

Grilled Local Chicken, Sage Roasted Fingerlings, Broccoli Rabe

Holy yum, a dinner I didn’t have to cook! At first, I was a little disappointed the prezzo fisso menu wasn’t that appealing nor were the specials; I ended up ordering(for the first time, too, probably) just off the everyday menu local Misty Knoll chicken, roasted potatoes, and broccoli rabe. Let me tell you, the chicken and potatoes were to die for. Seriously, I have a little for leftovers and can’t wait to have them. I don’t think I’ve eaten local chicken before, either! So it was special after all.

Raw Vegan Brownies

Raw Vegan Brownies

When we got home I whipped, err, processed up dessert. I made a batch of raw vegan brownies using sunflower and hulled hemp seeds; I love that a raw recipe can be so no-fuss and still taste great and exotic! I made a quick and raw coconut milk frosting using about 2 parts coconut milk and agave to 1 part cocoa powder.

Raw Vegan Brownie With Raw Chocolate Frosting, So Delicious Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Raw Vegan Brownie With Raw Chocolate Frosting, So Delicious Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Brownie a la mode was definitely the theme of the day 😉 The chocolate peanut butter swirl ice cream never gets old; it’s just pure magic, and such a fine, natural replacement for my old Turkey Hill addiction. And anything with frosting never disappoints 😉

Raw Vegan Brownie

Raw Vegan Brownie

I snagged one last brownie, because, ya’ know, they’re best when they’re freshest out of the food processor. They’re also little sugar bombs, which is probably why I was up 2 hours later, but I got to sleep… eventually. All in all, it was a great great day, and that’s coming from someone who has a tendency to inflate the importance of things and create impossible expectations. I drank too many cups of decaf coffee to count, ate a lot of sugar, and couldn’t get out for a run because of the constant deluge here in New England, and I’m OK with all of that because that’s what special days are for.

I can’t believe all the Facebook notifications in my mailbox right now; did it have to send one everytime someone posted on my wall? Now I have the morning to deal with that. I’ve also decided I’m going to try to go low/no added sugar today and without sweetened beverages; after yesterday, my palate is just begging to taste something other than sweet. I managed to keep my breakfast “clean”, but I’ll save that for the next post. In the meantime, here are giveaways for a refrigerator makeover, my favorite brand chocolate, gluten-free goodies, a gluten free cheesecake giveaway, and one for coconut oil.

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If I Ate Like This Every Day…

Posted on January 23, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Restaraunt Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

If I ate like this every day, I’d be

  • poor by the end of the week
  • happy as a clam
  • the “healthiest” me I could be(in my opinion, though this is completely relative)

Really, words cannot express my gratitude just for being alive today. To recap from my breakfast post, I kicked off the day with a full core and cardio, after convincing myself that a core wouldn’t be that bad if the promise of a raw vegan raspberry brownie was attached(I totally bribed myself with food here :-)). I followed that up with a bangin’ breakfast of greek yogurt and oatmeal with a couple of cage-free organic Eggland’s Best eggs. Have you heard that they now test higher in vitamins and minerals than supermarket eggs? Fascinating.

After breakfast, I was off to the city(which in my case means “Beantown”, or simply Boston) to meet with an old friend from high school. I suggested a cozy little restaurant I’ve been wanting to try.

Grezzo Restaurant

Grezzo is the only raw vegan restaurant around Boston that I know of and as I learn more and more about that cuisine, I’ve been dying to eat here. I arrived a bit early and got to look at the menu before my friend, Eury, arrived.

Grezzo Menu

Not like that extra 10 minutes helped me at all; I still had no clue what to order after reading all their good options. I wanted to ask the waitress about everything because the descriptions were all very brief and you know at a raw and vegan restaurant a “slider” is very different. I ended up just taking a leap of faith and choosing the burger(that’s a safe choice wherever you go, right?).

Seaweed And Wild Mushroom Bistro Burger With Guacamole

Sweet Potato Chips

The burger was made with seaweed and mushrooms, topped with guacamole, and served between cucumber “buns”. The burger had a great meaty texture, but it might have been a tad bit underseasoned. The guacamole was absolutely delicious and pure and I ate it by the spoonful. On the side came “sweet potato chips”; they were very thin slices of sweet potato dehydrated overnight. They were sooo good; they actually sort of reminded me of dry marshmallows, but in a delicious way. Maybe I need a dehydrator next Christmas?

Big House Salad

Eury got the big house salad. I had a lot of fun explaining my knowledge of raw food and explaining how the “cheese” was actually made of nut milk. You know you’ve been a blogger for too long when you are surprised that someone doesn’t know what a nut milk is. We had a great time catching up; I had yet to giver her her graduation present  8 months gone by and it was hilarious not remembering in the least what I wrote on the card.

We ended up walking around a bit afterwards down to South Station were we went our separate ways. On the way home my dad and I did weekly grocery shopping at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Note to self: Saturday afternoon in the city is not the time to go grocery shopping; I’m surprised we got out with our limbs! There was a cute baby behind us in one of the register lines who kept on saying “Hi”. When we finally got home, I was so happy to put away the groceries, brew up some decaf coffee, and break out this baby:

Raw Vegan Hemp Seed Brownie With Chocolate Frosting

I took a dessert home from Grezzo, namely their hemp seed brownie with chocolate frosting. Another raw brownie? Sure, why not 😉 The raw frosting was simply amazing. I’m guessing it was agave nectar, cocoa powder, and avocado from my limited knowledge of raw foods and how they work together. The brownie was OK I thought. It had a nice chocolate flavor without any fruitiness; it might have been a bit too hard and dry for my taste, but seeing as how I can’t get my recipe to be hold together better I was very impressed that there’s is so firm.

If the day had just ended there, I would have been very content. To my blessing, it continued. For the past two weeks, I’ve been hearing about the dishes Tomasso has been making with 1/2 of a local, 100% grass-fed cow they received. Do you get where this is going? We wanted to go Thursday night, but then ended up closing for a private party. Thankfully, they still had the beef for a special tonight(though by far a pricier cut).

18oz Local Grass-Fed Sirloin Steak

Rather than eat there and all order entrees, we decided to simply get the special take-out along with an appetizer-size pizza, and cook our own vegetables as sides; we figured just the one entree should be enough for the 3 of us( I mean, we aren’t that big eaters).

Local Grass-Fed Beef

Steamed Broccoli With Sea Salt

Holy. Freaking. Yum. This was absolutely everything I could have hoped for. The meat was so tender that parts of it just melted away in my mouth. I had 3 big ol’ slices of the meat. I have no clue how much that totaled up to and quite frankly I don’t care; when the beef is grass-fed like this was, the quality is through the roof, the fat is omega-3 rich, and in my line of thinking it’s all “healthy”. Portioning out and only eating 3oz would have been a shame, so I didn’t bother. As a simple side, I steamed up some broccoli; just like the beef was grass-fed, so was I 😀

And now, with today as a memory, I will not at all mind returning to eating oatmeal and beans for every meal this week(and with me returning to school soon, that’s not that big an exaggeration). I’m stuffed. And I can hardly fathom(though I will) eating something for dessert(cheap, like a banana processed with cocoa powder). Perhaps I could add to the menu some Honest Food Granola Bars if I won this giveaway or some Zevia if I won this one.

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Dinner Was A Boar

Posted on January 10, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Good morning, all. And good thoughts towards all the runners out at Disney right now! I can’t believe I’m saying this but I do not envy them for being at Disney; it’s cold down there. If I wanted that I could be running around my neighborhood right now, haha. Anyway I didn’t post last night because I was… eating. So really, I was just doing my job 😉 Yesterday, Montana had a morning visit to the vet, and since we were in Bellingham we planned to buy groceries for the week then and there. Market Basket was crazy, however, and I didn’t feel like getting bumped by 10 people with shopping carts at lunch time before I ate well, or I might have been tempted to bump back… and hard. Instead I popped in Whole Foods to grab more chicken that’s on sale this week and organic raw almonds which are the same price as Whole Foods’ cheapest this week due to sales. Woot Woot! We got home a good 2 hours after leaving so I was famished for some lunch. I resisted the urge to throw everything in the microwave and gobble it down.

Tofu, Sweet Potato Rounds, And Brussles In Sweet And Salty Cashew Sauce

Instead, I threw it all in a frying pan and gobbled it all down 😉 No, but really, this was a lot better than I thought it would be and appreciated it more after the fact. I cooked soft tofu and sweet potato slices in a pan with tamari. Then I threw in steamed brussels and let it all brown. In a mini-processor, I blended 1/2 an oz cashews, 1 1/2 tablespoons almond milk, and 1/2 a tablespoon tamari for a quick sauce. I loved the sauce and how sweet it came out for something only nuts, unsweetened nut milk, and soy sauce. The whole dish was really nice and I didn’t even need to add salt(granted–there was half a bottle of wheat free soy sauce in there). I didn’t even realize it was vegan or gluten-free until after the fact. Go figure.

To compensate for the Market Basket fail that morning, we decided to go to a different one in the afternoon, mainly because this one has some awesome salsa we were trying to track down. I threw together a weird craving for the car ride.

Crushed Pineapple With TRUWhip

All I really wanted was pineapple. Finding out you can take frozen TRUwhip and let it thaw on its own for 5 minutes is some dangerous knowledge. Really, why’d I have to go there? This Market Basket was a little better; we actually got a parking spot! And we found the salsa, along with most everything on our list, which was basically vegetables, vegetables, and more vegetables. This sight made me very happy when we had put everything away:

Counter Vegetble And Fruits

That’d be acorn squash, spaghetti squash, avocadoes, organic apples, bananas, and a rutabaga. And that’s just the ones we didn’t have to refrigerate! I’m going to eat vegtastically this week. I’m also going to start meal planning to keep leftovers moving in and out, so having a good sense of what there is will be really helpful. I definitely wanted something nutty and sweet to hold me over until dinner.

Pomegranate Pecan Bora Bora Bar

This bar was hit the spot; I won it from Averie’s giveaway and had never tried one before but figured the name said it all. It was pecan pomegranate, but weirdly I think cashews and cherries were larger ingredients than pomegranate.

For dinner, unfortunately, we did not tap into any of those vegetables 😦 Instead, we went out! 🙂 Today is my parents’ 23rd wedding anniversary. But it made more sense to go out on a Saturday night than one where they’d both have to work after, so we drove down the rode to Tomasso’s. We’ve been here probably 5 times now and I always find it such a local gem. When you walk in they have 12 food lessons from Michael Pollen posted, including “Eat local” and “Eat less, pay more”. It was so packed, we actually had to wait for a table for once. But soon enough we had sat down, picked out our orders, and got our appetizers.

Fried Polenta Stick, Marinated Roasted Root Vegetables

This was my appetizer plate, which I tried holding off on until my entree came but couldn’t resist fully. The vegetables were sooo good. I had a little more afterwards. Really, all it was was carrots, parsnips, and butternut squash, but they were roasted just right(needed salt, though). And that little thing would be the most dangerous and delicious food you’ll ever meet: fried polenta with sage.

Polenta Fries

As much as I tend to stay away from fried foods, I have no problem stealing one of these whenever we’re here 😉 It’s so much more than polenta and I’d love to know what they do. It tastes like there’s a good amount of parmesan cooked in the polenta, and maybe a little cream. I think the magic is in not knowing. For my entree, I couldn’t help but to go for the pasta special of the evening.

Housemade Butternut Gnocchi In Wild Boar Sauce

Where to start other than delicioso? The meat wasn’t grass fed; it was wild! 🙂 Who knows what it was doing before some hunter found it? It probably did a keg stand or two in its day 😉 I do normally like to portion 3oz of meat to truly appreciate what meat I do have, but I also know when a night out is a night out and if there’s 4 or 5oz of wild or organic meat on my plate, I’ma have to go for it. I ended up eating 2/3rds of the gnocchi and all the sauce. I’m not one for pasta but if you put a little vegetable in it, it ain’t half bad 😉 All in all, it was a good meal, which left me feeling full but not stuffed. And when we got home, I did a little detox.

Decaffeinated English Breakfast Tea

Because, in my head, having tea after anything essentially wipes the slate clean. Does anyone else work like that? It’s a good way to work. The majority of the night was spent between pajamas and a space heater. Sorry to say it, Floridians, but it’s still colder in the North no matter how bad it is down there. I thought I’d be fine with tea for the rest of the night. The rest of me thought otherwise, apparently.

Liberte Raspberry Goat's Milk Yogurt With Raspberry Dark Chocolate

Little known fact about me: I loooove goat’s milk. I’ve always found goat cheese so flavorful and tangy but we never have it in the house because it’s quite literally the 1 food in the world my mom won’t touch. Apparently, she doesn’t notice we have it when it’s in yogurt form 😉 Raspberry really compliments the natural flavor of the milk. And I’m really impressed with the nutritional info for this; sugar(or raspberry puree) is the last ingredient. That’s probably why it retains its tang. On top I had 3 squares of dark chocolate with raspberries in it, which doubled as an edible spoon 🙂 Goat’s milk obviously isn’t vegan, but it’s a good alternative for dairy sensitive people.

I went to bed a little earlier to fantastic results. I woke up with my alarm this morning and felt energized! As good as tea is to detox, a pumping workout is even better. I decided to revisit my “Count to 10” workout.

Stairs

  • 10 flights of stairs
  • 10 push-ups
  • 10 flights of stairs
  • 10 sit-ups(I did 15)
  • Repeat 10 times

That had me feeling good. Next time, I think I’ll try 15 push-ups and 20 sit-ups each time, which completely ruins the name but oh well. And yes, those are the stairs for those wondering. I’m not sure how many there are; maybe I should count next time? Breakfast was in my head the whole time.

Banana Oats With White Chocolate Cherry Almond Butter

Peanut Greek Yogurt With Peanut Butter And Chocolate Biscotti

I really wanted one of my biscotti 🙂 Yesterday at Market Basket, I bought 2 16oz yogurt containers instead of 5 individual ones, even though they basically worked out to the same price because it was “better for the environment”. As I’ve mentioned, I like the individual ones more, so the environment better send a thank you card >:-( Other than that, I repeated yesterday’s white chocolate cherry almond butter to try and get towards finishing that jar. It’s a fun flavor but I don’t think it’s one I’ll be ordering again; I have my own in plan 😉

Speaking of plan, this morning I’ve been making a meal plan for the week! Really, it’s just dinners that I’m doing in detail, and letting most other stuff fall where it may. I’ll post the weekly eats this afternoon. Can I say I’m drooling thinking about some of these?

A giveaway for probiotics(we all know how I love those).

Another giveaway for probiotics, this time Chobani!

And one for chocomize chocolate 🙂 Let’s not go into how much I love that


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New Plan, Stan

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

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

Apple

Organic Sprouted Cinnamon Raisin Bread With Macadamia Butter

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

Tomassos

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

Pizze Margarita

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

Local Pork With Local Cranberry And Pear Monstrada

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

Brussels Sprouts With Vanilla Sugar

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

NibMor Original Style Chocolate

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

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

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

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

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

Oatmeal With Honey

McLure's Clover Honey

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

7:30am

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

Pumpkin Oatmeal WIth Mighty Maple And Pumkin Cream Cheese

Boulevard's Organic Hot Chocolate With Vegan Fluff

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

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

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Foodie Gallery

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

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

Dorm Room

Dorm Room

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

Packages

Packages

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

Nature's Path Organic Products

Nature's Path Organic Products

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

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

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

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

Peanut Butter Vitatop

Peanut Butter Vitatop

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

Grocery Trip Loot

Grocery Trip Loot

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

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Roll With Vanilla Bean Sugar Frosting

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Roll With Vanilla Bean Sugar Frosting

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

Vegan Pumpkin Molasses Cookies

Vegan Pumpkin Molasses Cookies

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

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

Local Albacore Tuna With Vegetable Salad Medley

Local Albacore Tuna With Vegetable Salad Medley

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

Margharita Pizze

Margharita Pizze

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

Polenta Fries

Polenta Fries

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

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

Purely Decadent Snickerdoodle Ice Cream

Purely Decadent Snickerdoodle Ice Cream

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

Vegan Cinnamon Roll With Greek Yogurt Vanilla Bean Icing

Vegan Cinnamon Roll With Greek Yogurt Vanilla Bean Icing

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

Oatmeal With White Chocolate Wonderful

Oatmeal With White Chocolate Wonderful

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A Room Of My Own

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

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

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

Farmer's Market

Farmer's Market

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

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

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

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

Montana

Montana

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

Laloo's Strawberry Darling Ice Cream

Laloo's Strawberry Darling Ice Cream

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

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

Indigo Rabbit's Gingerlicious Cookies

Indigo Rabbit's Gingerlicious Cookies

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

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Butter

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Butter

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

Snobby Joe

Snobby Joe

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

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

Tomass's Margharita And Eggplant Pizza

Tomass's Margharita And Eggplant Pizza

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

Laloo's Strawberry Darling Ice Cream

Laloo's Strawberry Darling Ice Cream

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

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

Trader Joe's Carrot Ginger Muffin With White Chocolate Wonderful

Trader Joe's Carrot Ginger Muffin With White Chocolate Wonderful

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

Crazy Richard's Chunky Peanut Butter

Crazy Richard's Chunky Peanut Butter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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